Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Handle With Care"

This is a beautiful excerpt from a book I'm currently reading: "Handle With Care" by Jodi Picoult.

"Things break all the time. Glass, and dishes, and fingernails. Cars and contracts and potato chips. You can break a record, a horse, a dollar. You can break the ice. There are coffee breaks and lunch breaks and prison breaks. Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Chains can be broken. So can silence, and fever....

...Promises break.
Hearts break."

French Nails

I tried a new spot that I found via LivingSocial, French Nails.
They did a fantastic job, not only with the care they put into the mani/pedi, but also the massages!! They massaged my calves and feet until I almost fell asleep! The hot stone and warm towel too?! They even massage your shoulders while your nails dry! RE-LAX-ING! (And all for $25! SHUT UP! I know right?)

With the holidays and all (and also a change from my typical "french") I opted for this glittery purple. I like that it's festive. The lady looked a bit surprised when I said I wanted the color on my feet too (I guess nobody over the age of twelve does that) but hey, they're my nails and I'll sparkle if I want to!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving met me chilling with one of my cousins in the wee hours of the morning. I should've been resting in preparations for the feast du jour, but I would trade sleep anyday for moments like those! (What life is all about!)
I thoroughly enjoyed the time with my family.
Here are a few pics from our weekend:

My cousin and I at the skating rink 

Out to dinner after iceskating

headed out to the ice...
"red and black lumberjack" ~ Biggie

This says it all !

So how'd I spend my weekend? Cooking, eating, drinking (lots of Moscato), laughing, having fun, very grateful...I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday as well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I've come a long way baby!

There was once a time when Thanksgiving for me looked like this...
I could barely cook and was the least interested, but I wanted to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving for my husband. With no idea how to start, I headed to the grocery and that's when I discovered Thanksgiving in a can: GLORY! (Glory Hallelujah is more like it!)

I picked up everything I could along the lines of Thanksgiving: mustard greens (which I had never had before; when I did ? "bleh" - didn't taste right to me), candied yams (which was a little soggy but reminded me of sweet potatoes so I could work with it -- later I found out that here in the US it's pretty much the same thing), baked beans, instant mashed potatoes, stuffing...honey you couldn't tell me nuthin'! I baked a chicken and voila! (Yes everything, except the chicken, was out of a can or a box).
(1) Open cans/ packages
(2) Follow directions (which was pretty much heating everything up).
(3) Done!
All this prepping the night before and waking up before God did, just to cook? Crazy talk!!
Of course my meal didn't compare to his mother's and grandmother's cooking but he was a good sport about it - rest his soul (and in case you're wondering, no he did not pass away from my cooking :)

His family is from "down South" so you KNOW eeeeeverything was not only good but made from scratch):
The glazed ham with pineapples
The turkey with the "real" stuffing (yes giblets and all - I thought I would barf when I found out giblets were in there though)
The collard greens (which were cleaned and seasoned and you have to know exaaaaaaactly how to cook them so they don't taste bitter?)
The mac and cheese (with about 5 cheeses!)
Sweet potato pies that everyone was asking grandma to make (what did she put in there? CRACK?)
Food that made my arteries cringe but sooooooooooo yummy!!

Fast forward a few years later and guess who is prepping the night before and waking up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare this Feast?
I still don't know how to cook Collard Greens (I haven't tried), and I ain't messin' with giblets but I LOVE that my son REQUESTS my lamb, and my sweet potato casserole as some of his faves for T/giving. I love that I now really COOK for my family and friends, and I'm not dumping everything out of a can. (Hey I'm not knocking it if YOU do, we all gotta start somewhere! lol)
Have a Happy Safe Thanksgiving and I wish you plenty of food and wine!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Countdown to "gobble" day

Thanksgiving is a few days away and this year I'm the chef! :) I'm SO looking forward to family time and sharing the day with friends as well.
Recently I went to a PRE-Thanksgiving dinner, hosted by my friend, Sheila (owner of Cakes Galore by Sheila). The food was delish as usual but the highlight for me was the cake.
Yes, this is cake!
(the "stuffing/croutons" is cake and other candy)

I already know Sheila is beyond talented with her creations, never failing to wow us time and again with unbelievable cakes and cookies and all sorts of goodies...but THIS literally "takes the cake" for me.
And because I know you're probably still doubting this is cake, here it is sliced...

(And  she just haaaaaaad to slice it like an actual turkey...)
Still shaking your head?

Here's the cake (red velvet at the bottom and vanilla on top) cut for you to see.

Cool right? (If you'd like to place an order with Sheila, call Cakes Galore: 732-675-2132).

Anyway, I'm off to find a "kiss the cook" apron....hey any excuse to get some kisses!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sexiest Men Alive!

Recently People Magazine generated some buzz when they named Bradley Cooper "Sexiest Man Alive 2011". Now Bradley certainly is sexy, but many women, myself included, don't regard him the sexiEST!
For my "under a rock dwellers", this is Bradley Cooper:

Yummm I know...

Gulp!..he has SOMETHING going for him, but I can't quite put my finger on it...hmmm

So I wanted to know what other people thought and here are the candidates WE came up with (in no particular order):
1. IDRIS "the only chocolate bar I wanna o.d. on" ELBA (this is a personal fave but other people mentioned him too so he tops our list.

Those lips and that hot accent?
(Hey boo, call me!)

2. Next up we have Portuguese hottie: Cristiano Ronaldo 

Incentive for watching soccer

3. Laz "make-you-wanna-jump-more-than-the-broom" Alonso 

I LOVE Paula Patton, but show of hands...
who else wanted to push her little preppy ass off that bridge (Jumping the Broom) ?

Poof Be Gone Paula!
4. Pooch "Derwin" Hall

When you look like this, you're forgiven for a name like Pooch

5. Jason "transport me anywhere you want" Statham

Sorry one pic just wouldn't do

6. My friend, Erica, said ANY ONE OF THEM from the movie "Fast Five"

I totally agree...
(Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Tyrese)

...and we did not forget Luda was in that movie too...
with his fine movie star rapping rude self

7. Keston Karter: the model from Long Island via Trinidad. When I posted this pic on my facebook page, women went "CRAY" lol...I fear for his life if those savages were to ever meet him...he DEFINITELY gets a shout-out on this list!

8. Denzel: you don't need to even mention a last name. He was actually People Magazine's choice for "Sexiest Man Alive 1996" but many women still swoon after him so he makes our list today.

And last but certainly not least, Trey "I wanna lick ice-cream off your abs" Songz!! I've seen this man in concert a few times and LET ME TELL YOU!!!! With that voice, and them abs ???? When he rips off that t-shirt in one fell swoop?? (it has to be a cheap and probably perforated t-shirt because he rips it off with too much ease) but anyway, "Mr Riffs and Rips" KNOWS what he is doing cause lawwwwwdddd PPD right huurrrrrrrr (Personal Pannie Droppa).

On that note this concludes our list for today. (Ladies, I know most of you have to now get yourselves a roll of papertowels) but if you think of other sexy men we can always have another list...we KNOW there are plenty of them out there!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Braxtons Interview

My cousin, Bklyn J'Nell, recently recorded the Braxtons being interviewed by Egypt.
SO LUV the Braxtons and so proud of my cousin and her work!
Check it out:

"Love That Red"

I've been looking for a RED lipstick for some time now. One that would suit my complexion and be a little vampy at the same time. I finally found it!

"Love That Red" by Revlon is my new make-up must have. It's creamy and the color pops. It's a bit daring for the daytime but just what I need for my late night pout.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Braxton Family Values

One of my fave reality shows is back: Braxton Family Values. I've always loved Toni Braxton but my new fave is her sister, Tamar. Full of drama, full of life and can dress her a** off! I luv it!

Already the second season started with a little drama. Not the Kardashian kind of drama but intriguing all the same.

Check it out when you have a moment: http://www.wetv.com/braxton-family-values/videos/braxton-family-values-r-e-s-p-e-c-t-full-episode

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting screwed without the kiss!

This one is mainly for the ladies but fellas you are more than welcome to read.

Recently I was having car problems. My car is in good working condition, I ALWAYS take it for the regular service maintenance and it is not that old nor does it have a lot of mileage.
Ever since I've had the car, I've taken it to the dealership to be serviced (yes I can hear you now with the disappointed "ooooooh") but I'll tell you why. Like most women, I want security. I didn't have my own mechanic and after all the horror stories I'd heard I just didn't want to be bothered. I liked the comfort in going to the dealership; knowing they'd have the parts, the fast turn-around time, all that. Yes I was aware that I would pay more but I'd rather pay and have the work completed, than having shoddy work done and paying more in the long run for the same repair.

However, a friend of mine put me on to something I did NOT know: the service people work on commission!! WHAT??? Not just the sales people, note I said SERVICE.
No wonder they were always so glad to see me! They saw a SUCKA walking through their doors (fully equipped with coffee and donuts I might add when they had "major" work to do on my car); no wonder the Customer Service was always so top of the line and I was "VIP".
In their defense they ARE a great group of people and like I said I was aware that I would pay more, but hindsight is 20/20.
I thought of all the times my car needed repairs, what was necessary and what wasn't and how much MORE $$ did I simply give them all this time?
During the convo with my friend, I began to feel like I'd been getting screwed without getting kissed first. (She actually said they "are RAPING you Mandy!!" and just the thought of that alone made me nauseous.) I might as well had walked in with a wad of cash and said "here take this...oh and while you're having your way with me, here's some coffee and donuts too...have a great day!"

So I started to think and I actually KNOW a very trust-worthy auto-shop where I can take my car. (It's amazing how you get the answers when you ask the Universe :) That abruptly ended the sordid affair with my dealership (at least for repairs). Who's to say I might not buy another car from them in the future?

The moral of the story ladies is be aware. It IS a little sexist to say that they prey on us women because we don't know much about cars but sometimes sadly they do. Their reactions ARE different sometimes when dealing with men. Again sad but true. (Note: Not all "prey on women" so don't jump down my throat, and not all women are clueless about cars).

Do your research! Get referrals, do price checks to see if what you're being charged is in the ball park of what you should actually be paying. Take control.
We always have options.

(I'd be happy to recommend mine as well. If you're interested, e-mail me at mandy_joseph@hotmail.com)