Friday, September 28, 2012

fat bottom friday... a fantastic flashback :)

hey everyone... how you doing? well, today i'm bringing you a pretty little melt-in-your mouth treat... vanilla macarons with strawberry mousse and chocolate ganache... mmmm... sweeeeet! these lovely ladies are as much as a feast for the eyes as they are for my tummy... bit sized pieces of heaven :)
like usual, i used my go-to macaron recipe that comes from the fantastic dessert queen, "tartelette"... her desserts and treats are just simply amazing, she's an artist... one day, maybe i'll be at that caliber... fingers crossed... :)

after the macaron shells were baked to perfection (look at those cute little feet and their little round tops... adorable!), it was time to fill, i then made a simple dark, bittersweet chocolate ganache and a creamy strawberry mousse...
i never get tired of these sweet treats... they are a little time consuming, but you know what.. in the end, it's so worth it... enjoy :)
happy baking everyone!

Friday Favorites.

Hey there Loves, happy Friday! I can't believe this is the last week of September, it really blew by. I am looking forward to October, I love the crisp Fall air, it's perfect for running. Speaking of running, I decided that I will be running the New Jersey Marathon in May, I am itching to get another marathon under my belt and this one is really close to home so it's a win/win. And speaking of home aka New York, this week I booked a flight home and will be joining my family in November for Thanksgiving. Because of my Visa situation I can't stay in France for over 90 days at a time, so this trip home is a must. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and being able to get some wedding stuff done while I'm there.

It's been a pretty productive week, school has me busy and since I am going to run the NJ Marathon I began working out, building a base so I have a good marathon platform. I hope you had a great week as well, do something special for yourself this weekend, you deserve it! Here are some of my favorite things and moments from this last week in September.

I got to see Kyle back in action, I love watching this man play!

Enjoying a rainy day inside with Kyle, those are the best kind of days. 

Wooden greeting another English Golden on his daily walk around the neighborhood. 

This may be one of my favorite pictures of all time, celebrating Wooden's First Birthday. He had his own Pup Cake.

These guys complete me. 

First attempt at making cupcakes from scratch, I used the classic vanilla Magnolia recipe. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Just a Dog.

Happy Wednesday Loves! It's a very special day in the McAlarney-McCarrick household, our puppy Wooden is celebrating his first birthday! I know some of you may think, "Is she serious? He's just a dog!" But to Kyle and I Wooden is so much more and this is a day to celebrate what Wood has done for us, he turned us into a family.

Wooden has helped each of us in our own special way, for me he has really helped me calm down.  I used to get anxiety being over here in Europe while Kyle was on road trips playing ball, being in our apartment all by myself, so far away from everyone made me feel uneasy. But once Wooden came into our lives that all changed, he is the perfect companion and to be honest I probably spoil him to much because he never leaves my side. He has really helped me smile more and worry less.

Wooden has brought so much love into our lives, and we're so lucky to have him by our side every day.

Happy, Happy Birthday Wooden, Woods-ba-Goods, Wooden-ba-Gooden, Woods, Woodson and never (Woody)! Kyle and I love you so much and thank you for being the best puppy on this side of the Atlantic.

Just a Dog

From time to time people tell me, "Lighten up. It's just a dog." or "That's a lot of money for just a dog."

They don't understand the distance traveled, time spent or costs involved for "Just a dog".

Some of my proudest moments have come about with "Just a dog."
Many hours have passed with my only company being "Just a dog". 
And not once have I felt slighted. 
Some of my saddest  moments were brought about by "Just a dog".
In those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "Just a dog" provided comfort and purpose to overcome the day. 

If you, too, think it's "Just a dog", you will probably understand phrases like "Just a friend" or "Just a sunrise" or "Just a promise".

"Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy.
 "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.

Because of "Just a dog" I will rise early, take long walks, and look longingly into the future.

For me and people like me, it's not "Just a dog".
It's an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past,
 and the pure joy of the moment.

"Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and 
the worries of the day. 

I hope that someday people can understand it's not "Just a dog." 
It's the thing that gives me humanity and keep me from being "Just a man" or "Just a woman".

So the next time you hear the phrase "Just a dog", Smile because they "Just don't understand"..

-Unknown Author

Monday, September 24, 2012

Look beyond the surface.

There are moments in your life when someone does something for you that is so touching and heartfelt that it makes you stop and think, wow this world can truly be an amazing place, if you just look a little deeper. One of these moments happened to me yesterday evening.

I was at Kyle's basketball game and after the match was over Kyle came out of the locker room carrying a package. When I went over to greet him he said, "This is for you, from Sambou's wife, Charafa." Sambou is another player on his team and his wife wasn't at the game. I was excited to see what was inside, Charafa is an amazing cook, she basically fed Kyle while I was still in New York, making him meals and making sure he was taken care of. Just from that you can see that Charafa is a very kind, thoughtful person.

Once we got situated in the car I began to open the package, on top was a letter, a letter that has changed my life for the better. Charafa is Muslim and wrote how sad she thinks it is that Muslims hate Americans and vice versa. She went on to say that maybe if both parties looked a little deeper and got to know someone who was either Muslim or American that their views and hate would change. She mentioned how much she has enjoyed getting to know me and that she looks forward to another season together. At this point, tears were welling up in my eyes, when I continued to read, that because of what was going on in the world as of late, her goal this week was to bake American cookies. In the package were the cookies she baked, she asked that Kyle and I try them and let her know how she could improve them.

The amazing cookies Charafa made. 

I looked over to Kyle and I shook my head, I read him the letter and after we just looked at each other. I knew he was thinking exactly what I was thinking, we immediately felt awful for anytime in our lives that we've made ignorant assumptions because of the way someone has looked or what religion they follow. Charafa was right, maybe if you just get to know someone of an opposite race, creed or color that your opinions might change. I know mine have.

 Last year I had the privilege of joining Charafa and some of the other WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends of Athletes) for dinner at Charafa's house. I was a little intimidated before I entered the house, here I was an American girl, who didn't speak French joining a group of French women for dinner. That intimidation quickly disappeared when I entered the house and everyone welcomed me, even though I didn't know everything they were talking about, it was just like a dinner party with my girlfriends back home, gossiping, talking about celebrities, weddings, family. Which made me realize that even though from the outside our cultures seem so different, that when you take a closer look it is more similar then you think.

I've come to the conclusion and as cliche as it sounds, you can't judge a book by it's cover, you must look deeper, I think you'll surprise yourself on what you might learn.

I am going to leave you with a quote that gives me goosebumps every time I watch this movie. I know I have shared this quote before but there is obviously a reason for that. It's from the movie, Love Actually, it's delivered by Hugh Grant who plays the Prime Minister of England. It's one of those quotes that makes you think, as I hope this post has.


Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around. 
-Love Actually

 By the way, Charafa's cookies were absolutely amazing, they made Kyle and I feel like we had a piece of home with us. I tell everyone that she needs to be on Top Chef!

Friday, September 21, 2012

fat bottom friday... how about some oatmeal bites

i have a confession to make...

i don't really eat all that healthy... i like julia childs philosophies on eating, like "fat gives things flavor" or "the only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook"...
my breakfast is usually an entire pot of coffee... lunch... well, i usually try and have something, like a sandwich, a salad or some leftovers with a redbull... and then dinner... well, that all depends on if the hubby is home or not... when the hubs is gone, i let my boys dictate the menu for the most part, except i pick the veggie they will be having, no if's, and's or but's about it... i fix their plates and my dinner is usually what they don't finish... then once they go to bed, i settle down with a glass of wine, then by 9:30 i'm starving and i raid the fridge... my late night choices are sometimes hummus and pita chips, chips and guacamole, or a hunk of bread and brie with some cucumbers... other times i'm making things like ramen noodles or cramming 3 brownies in my face... i try not to have junk food in the house... the hubs doesn't eat it, and i don't want it tempting me... the only real junk food is the stuff i bake... but i bake it all from scratch, so i know that i'm using good ingredients with no preservatives and chemicals... right now i have cupcakes, homemade ice cream and banana bread lurking about my kitchen... not to mention what i am about to share with you today...

 anyways, being that my sister is a advocate for healthy living and eating, i thought i would change it up a bit and post something that isn't covered in butter cream and bacon... but just as delicious... not to mention easy to make, and it's not a bad snackin' option for both me and the boys...

oatmeal chocolate chip bites
2 1/2 cups quick or old fashioned oats
1/2 cup rice krispies
2 tablespoon flax seed
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried blueberries, or craisins
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 all natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. preheat the oven to 350, mix all ingredients except for the chocolate chips together really well... i started with a spoon then i got in their with my hands... make sure everything is blended together
2. if your mixture seems dry after mixing add a little more peanut butter or honey (i kinda just eyeballed it)... add a little at a time until the mixture starts to come together... then stir in the chocolate chips
3. add the granola mixture to a mini muffin pan that has been sprayed with non stick baking spray, and press the granola into the molds using your hand or the back of a spoon... press mixture firmly, compacting it as well as you can
4. bake for 12-13 minutes
5. remove from oven and let sit in pan for about 30 minutes to 1 hour... remove them from the pan
6. enjoy... enjoy... enjoy!!

have a wonderful weekend everyone... until next time... happy and somewhat healthy baking!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Favorites.

Happy Friday Loves, this week sure did go fast and life is getting pretty normal here in France. All of our moving boxes arrived,  there were tears shed over some items that didn't travel so well but all in all it was successful. It's nice to have some of our home in New York here with us in France. Next week I'll be showing you how we've made our apartment here a home, where we can live comfortably for the next eight months. Until then here are a few things that made me smile this week.

Have a great weekend! Bonne fin de semaine! (I start my French lessons this Tuesday, wahoo.)

Without a Starbucks here in Limoges I've become very creative when I am lusting for my usual Caramel Macchiato. 
Finally had the time to finish our wedding website. Every time I see that picture of Wooden my heart melts. 
Enjoy a rainy morning with a cup of coffee, while admiring my new manicure. (Nail Polish:  Thakoon for NARS Pink: Anardana and Essie Sparkle: Set in Stones)
Our sweet baker from across the street saw Kyle and I walking Wooden and came out to give us a complimentary loaf of brioche bread. Such a kind gesture.
Catching up on New York Fashion Week by reading WWD and enjoying my morning coffee of course. 
Now that I look back on these Friday Favorites, I definitely see a theme...COFFEE! Coffee is definitely something I can't live without, it makes me so darn happy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summer Love.

Now that we have fallen into Fall, I thought I'd dive back into Summer for a second and share with you my favorite moments of my favorite season. I have to say that this was a stellar summer and one that I will never forget.


Enjoying the view in Aruba.
Kyle giving me an engagement ring in Central Park.
Enjoying a brew at the Frying Pan in Manhattan 
Lobster in Maine.
My cousin Jamie, my sister Becky and I in Aruba.
Sammy and I. 
Lyndsay and I having a moment at my nephew's Birthday Party.
Dinner at the Standard in Manhattan.
Wooden enjoying his time in New York.
Kyle and I in Aruba.
My city. 
Kyle about to enjoy some meatballs at the Meatball Shop.
My sister Becky and I at Marginal Way in Maine.
Kyle and I at Le Club in Long Branch for a Birthday Getaway. 
My siblings, Kyle and I. 
My nephews and brother enjoying the surf in Maine.
My cousins and I celebrating my Nana's 85th Birthday. 
My nephew Ben and I enjoying a local fair in Maine. 
My cousins and I enjoying a beach day. 
My sisters and I outside the Standard in NYC.
Kyle and I at the Frying Pan in Manhattan.
Lyndsay and I taking in the sun.
Celebrating Kyle's Birthday at the Bungalow. 
Kyle and I celebrating his Championship win. 
Family time at the bar. 
Kyle and I at the Beach Boys concert. 
Kyle and I having fun in the sand in Aruba.

What were your favorite summer memories?

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