Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

A three-month hiatus on this forum is followed by a brief farewell. It's been a wild ride, 2011 but it's now time to bid you adieu. In fact, I'm thrilled to bits to wave goodbye to this year. It's not that it has been a particularly terrible time. On the contrary, it has been a year of good news, happy celebrations, the establishment of new friendships and the strengthening of old ones.

I am ready to turn the page. At the stroke of midnight, I hope you will join me in raising a glass in honour of all the hopes ignited, dreams inspired and ambitions fuelled by the dawning of another new year... May life be as you wish....

Hmmm... doesn't quite work. But, heck, I tried. The new-age peace-and-love-hippie mantra thing isn't really my thing so 'let me stick with what I know best. New Year. New Start. New Promises I'll Promise to Keep But Will Likely Break Within the First Three Months. New Self-Forgiveness and Justification for Said Broken Promises. New Ambitions. New Sensations. New Order. New Kids On The Block. New and Improved.

2012 - we hope the Mayans have gotten you all wrong, but if you are indeed the last year of the world, here's to putting a LOT of pressure on making it one for the history books (of which there will be none since it will be the end of the world, but you know where I'm going...)

Buon Anno, Bonne Année, Happy New Year to you!


Friday, September 9, 2011

My sphere of influence... Tacos

Anyone involved in some form of social media activity has likely heard of Klout. Klout, as its name would suggest, measures how influential you are online based on how much you tweet, facebook, blog and who actually reads you. It then gives you a score (out of 100) and highlights categories you are particularly influential in. According to Klout, I am influential about one thing: Tacos. Why? No idea. But rather than try to shift the perception of my knowledge and influence to other things like fashion, make-up, public relations or other things I am actually involved in, I'm going to embrace this newly placed crown of expertise and share with you some of my absolute favourite taco, burrito, quesadilla and enchilada experiences.

1. The ones I dream about: Joey's Fish Tacos
Joey's - a Vancouver-based food chain, with a similar vibe and menu selection as Moxies and Milestones - has the best fish tacos I have ever tasted. Honestly. No. Exaggeration. They arrive, three six-inch, soft, warm corn tortillas filled with lightly seasoned, breaded white fish, then layered with their own tangy mole sauce, a sprinkling of cheese, a dollop of guacamole and just the right amount of cilantro. No sharesies either. Get your own and leave mine alone.

2. The ones I can't stop eating when I'm full: Milagro Tacuba Enchiladas
Typically ordered after a healthy dose of Milagro's house-made guacamole and hand cut "nachos" - plus a good-sized Margarita - the Tacuba enchilada is intense. It comes swimming in a tomatillo and serrano pepper sauce, filled with chicken and cheese, served with beans and rice on the side. My stomach says stop somewhere between bite three and four but my tastebuds gang up on it until the last bite is gone. I think I now understand what they mean by "the whole enchilada"...

3. The ones I am ashamed to talk about: Taco Bell Bean Burrito
I have said too much already...

4. The "everything I've ever wanted in a burrito" burrito: Halibut Burrito, Burrito Banditos
There are no seats in this tiny fast-food joint but it's better to take these bad boys on the road. Filled with your choice of beans, rice, guacamole, cheese, tomatoes, onion, sour cream, you'll need to walk about 40 blocks to put a dent in the caloric intake you've just inhaled. But this indulgence is oh-so worth it.

5. The ones that don't make me hate myself in the morning: Carly's Baked Quesadillas

2 3oz chicken breast (substitute a fish like halibut if you prefer)
2 tsps Chili powder
2 tsps olive oil
8 low-fat flour tortillas (I use weight watchers wraps)
2 cups low fat cheese, grated
1 bottle Old El Paso taco sauce (not salsa - the taco sauce comes in a small bottle and is available in most grocery stores)
1/4 c. chopped green onion
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
cilantro sprigs (optional)
Cooking spray

Dice chicken, season with chili powder. In a frying plan, saute in oil over medium heat. Remove and reserve. Set oven to broil. Place oven rack on top level. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Place two tortillas on the sheet. Sprinkle 1/8 c. of cheese on each tortilla. Place 1/4 of the chicken on each. Sprinkle with some onion and tomatoes. Add more cheese on top. Cover with another tortilla. Lightly spray tops with cooking spray so they don't burn too quickly. Broil until tops start to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove sheet and carefully flip quesadillas so the bottom side browns. Remove once tops are browned and cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve with cilantro and taco sauce. Makes four servings.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

day dreaming

so much to love...this inspiration is going to have to fight with my wedding budget. I wonder who will win...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lets catch up!

Oh haiiii there. It's me. You're on-again, off-again blogfriend. Lets not get into the gritty details of my extended absence, oui? Suffice to say the truth is always less exciting than the imagination so imagine away! (imagine me on a sailboat in the Mediterranean, big sunglasses and buckets of champagne)

Why don't we start with today. Here's a topic: the benefits of nursing a fat lip and a wounded eyebrow.

Perhaps we should take a few steps back, which I will now do very gingerly from now on. Frankly, every step will be taken with caution from here on in because this past weekend, I fell on my face. I don't mean I flopped, sucked, stank up the joint with a bad comedy routine. I literally fell. On. My. Face. My arms were busy holding very important things so as I tripped up my driveway Saturday evening (or was it early Sunday morning?) the only thing to brace my fall was my right eyebrow and my bottom lip.

Fast forward through the terrifying days to follow where I looked like a gargoyle, the swelling has now gone down but I still can't quite do solid food. Welcome to the soup diet! The hidden benefit of falling on your face is that since I can't eat solid food, my 674th attempt at sticking to a diet has begun a week early. And it's just in time, too.

This weekend is Labour Day, the last long weekend of the summer where tradition dictates that you gorge yourself on all the delights of the warm weather: bottles of chilled prosecco, exotic cheeses and dips, barbequed everything, bottles of chilled Kim Crawford, bowls of ice cream, peach cobblers, berry crumbles, and pitchers of delicious sangria. And then there's dinner...

Luckily, me and my fat lip can hang out, slurping soups and practice saying "no thanks, I'm not hungry..."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let me tell you a secret, put it in your heart and keep it...

Those are the first lines of a song I didn't know I knew. Well, clearly I did know it, but for the life of me, could not remember who sang it and how I knew it. Curiouser as it were, the man who fancies himself as somewhat of a musical encyclopedia, my husband-to-be didn't know it either.
So I Googled and boy, oh boy am I ever glad I did!
The song is called Heal the Pain and is from the album, Listen Without Prejudice by the timeless, George Michael. It's a pretty song, not a popular tribute but obviously one that left an impression deep in my grey matter. I immediately downloaded the entire album from iTunes and with it came two solid hours of nostalgia thick enough to knock out a small child. I remember being nine years old, spending hours singing along to that album, wanting so badly to be a supermodel in the ever-sexy Freedom video (Linda, Tatiana, Christy, Naomi and Cindy!). As nostalgia often does, it triggered other memories of other pre-teen sing-a-longs. So that night, my dear, sweet husband-to-be got a front-row ticket to 1987 as I dramatically reenacted Carly-esque versions of Lost In Your Eyes and Father Figure. Needless to say for the last week, my collection of late 80s classics including pre-cocaine Whitney, pre-Deborah, Debbie and post-WHAM George has grown exponentially and with it, my hair which thanks to the rain in Toronto, has also gone back to the future. SO RAD!
Just for kicks, speaking of sexy videos, this still might be one of the sexiest videos of all time - Being Boring, Pet Shop Boys.
"She was never bored because she was never boring."

Monday, June 13, 2011

When is it okay to hug?

Sometimes, I wish I had Ms. Manners as my fairy godmother. Actually, it's more Ms. Appropriate whom I really need to hang with more often. Case in point: I never know when it's appropriate to hug. Take today for instance. I ran into a former colleague with whom I was friendly but never good friends. Since our random meeting took place in a professional environment (in front of my boss), I initially went in for a half-snuggle but catching myself, stuck out my hand for a good ol' profesh handshakehowdoyoudo. The result was a super-awkward half-handshake, half hug where I blathered some frantic words like "oh of course lets hug, it has been so long..." True story.

This kind of thing happens all the time. Being from European descent, despite not having been to Europe until I was almost 30, my pals and I always performed the double kiss. My family and I typically do the double kiss. So when I meet newer friends and we get to the kiss hello phase, I go for the double kiss. Muah, Muah!

Now, do you know what happens when you go for the double but your smooching partner sticks to the single? You sometimes kiss lips. Or eyeballs. Or other parts of their face. Regardless of the exact location of the smooch, it's quite embarrassing. My solution to this conundrum is to play it safe. Now I only go for the single. Let someone else look like they want to make out with me. I'm done!

But unfortunately, it's not that easy with the hug. As much as I'm a double kisser (muah, muah), I'm also a hugger. So how do you avoid going in for the hug and having someone recoil from your embrace?? Is there a tactful way to pull it back once you're mid-way there?

And really, when it comes to profesh situations, is it even appropriate to hug? I ask in earnest. Please help me stop embarrassing myself. xo Carly

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Battle of the Bronzers

Yesterday, I wrote about my crusade against boring, sad fingertips. In my quest to punch out a perfect 10, I popped into my favourite store on earth, Sephora. Now as many of you know, I live in Toronto, a city where winter hides in the summer just long enough to wear skin-exposing outfits, but not necessarily long enough to goldify the pasty whiteness of that skin.

Enter woman's other best friend: the bronzer. As overwhelmed and panic-stricken I was to make a colour selection at the nail spa, making the wrong choice when it comes to a bronzer can be a costly mistake - and I don't just mean in dollars. One false move and you can go from the walking dead to Adam-Lambert-meets-Oompa-Loompa. (Orange and glitter make for an evil concoction)

The key that I have found to a great overall natural bronzed look is a combination of textures and colours. Over the years I've tried various products ranging in price and functionality. Here are three that I will keep in my stable of summer staples:

BEST FOR FACE: Revlon ColourStay Mineral Bronzer
This product actually does what it supposed to: Stays all day. It has a nice soft matte finish with very subtle shimmer. No big sparkles, sorry Avril. Great for an all-over, nicely blended sun-kissed look. And priced under $15, it's a fantastic deal for the quality and quantity.

BEST FOR BODY: Sephora Tinted Self-Tanning Body Mist
I just bought this yesterday and I think I'm in love. Fine, I'm not in love per se but my legs might be. This is a body mist that is tinted in a nice shade of bronze that is simple to apply and (so far) has lasted more than 7 hours without wearing off. Unlike other body sprays end up so matte you look like you are wearing very ugly flesh-coloured pants (nothing subtle about that), this formula is moisturizing and has just a hint of sheen while giving a gorgeous natural-looking tan. Its scent is slightly overpowering at first but luckily it wears off quickly and you're left with colour that would have 1970's era Bo Derek awarding you a 10. Also priced right, Canadian girls can pick up a bottle for around $17 at their local Sephora.

BEST FOR AU NATURAL: NARS Illuminator in Laguna
I love NARS products. Always have. Always will. I fell in love more than 10 years ago when I was interning at FLARE Magazine. I had just wrapped up my eight-month stint as a copy editing intern and my farewell gift was a raid of the beauty closet. This is where I first decided it was okay to work for make up instead of money. This is also where I first met NARS - it was a foundation. It was for very dark skin. I used it as a bronzer. Now, I'm grown up and so is NARS. The Illuminator product line comes in four light-reflecting shades. Designed as a highlighter, it has a little more shimmer than the two products above, but is gorgeously light that you can wear it on its own for a super-fresh glow or dab a little in strategic spots above your cheekbones, bridge of your nose, on your decolletage, even down the front of your legs. To add an extra oomph (not oompa!), apply Laguna and highlight with Copacabana - this is the secret weapon that makes Jennifer Lopez look so radiant. Priced around $38.