Oh geez, I have been so busy this season I haven't been keeping up with my favorite blogs and it took until TODAY for me to realize that the lovely Amarie at Secondhand Style tagged me for a meme! Well here we go!
What four things do you love most about living in France?
Well, like Amarie, I do not live in France. I have only been there one and that was for a three-day layover in Paris before heading to Norway. However I am drawn to French style and have met many a wonderful woman on the French Chic message board!
1. The way that many French people seem to understand their personal style. Unlike many Americans, the French and other European countries do not fear showing their personality with their wardrobe and style choices.
2. The food! Smaller portions, but better ingredients really forces you to slow down and savor your meal.
3. Like Amarie, the cheese. I love cheese, the French love cheese. Cheese is fabulous.
4. The beautiful history and age in the buildings. Just walking around Paris is gorgeous and you are surrounded by such architecture that doesn't exist in a country as young as America.
What four most memorable jobs have you had?
1. I was a waitress for less than a week at a Mexican restaurant. my sister worked there, I needed money, they hired me. I sucked at it and never returned. I am the queen of retail, but I was not born to wait tables.
2. I was a lifeguard for many many years. My favorite stint was at a country club where we didn't have uniforms and I could twirl my whistle in the chair while wearing a bikini, getting a killer tan and attend their parties, drink on the company dime and race around the golf course in carts. Great summer job during college!
3. Manager at a fraternity and sorority merchandise store in college. This job taught me that I had a passion for retail, that I was good at training others, and that I wanted someday to be my own boss. I loved the trade shows, creating the training manuals, the behind-the-scenes goodies like P&L, inventory and accounting. I loved when a random idea thought up on the way to work could take place (the owner trusted me) and I would see an increase in the sales because of it.
4. Working for Express. I started as a sales associate, worked my way up to Assistant, Partner, Manager and then Visual Merchandiser. I worked in 12 different locations. I learned more in my five years with Express than my five years of college. I really got to understand fashion and how it worked for different women, got to understand how retail therapy really IS a form of therapy, and how $1 crap can be sold for $150 and we are suckered into paying those prices.
Four quirky things about the way I eat (and drink):
1. I love pepperoncinis. Like, I will eat three for dessert, I put them in my salads, on my sandwiches, in a bit of foil for a mid-day snack at work. I like them soggy, and I like their vinegar spicy brine too.
2. I hate food that is warm and sweet. Plum sauce, sweet and sour sauce, maple syrup, hot chocolate, hot brownie sundaes… I like my chocolate cold and my entrees savory.
3. I like my food separate. No putting a bit of each part of my meal on one fork, or mushing things up on my plate. I like my salad in a separate bowl so dressing doesn't get on anything else.
4. Um… I am a vegetarian. I eat eggs and cheese, but drink soy milk and do not eat fish, pork, chicken, beef or any other animal.
What are your four favorite foods?
1. Thai – the combo of the coconut, the curry, the spicy, the peanuts…
2. Sushi – yes, even as a vegetarian
3. my mom's recipe for macaroni and cheese – I don't have it often so when I do it is quite a treat.
Four recipes you cook all the time?
Well, I don't really use recipes. I often read them for inspiration but do my own thing. I also do “pantry-cleaning” meals where I make a dish from what is on hand at the end of a week. However some of my favorites:
1. Steamed artichokes. I steam them with garlic and Herbs de Provence and a tiny bit of olive oil, serve on a bed of steamed brown rice with hollandaise sauce on the side.
2. Last night I made the BEST meal – one acorn squash for $1.53. Cut in half, scooped out the seeds. I drizzled olive oil, crushed red pepper, black pepper, oregano and salt on them, put them in a baking dish at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then covered with foil for 15 more. In the mean time I took a take-out box of leftover steamed rice, 1/3 a bag of faux ground beef, two stalks of celery finely chopped, a handful of raisins finely chopped, leftover piece of portabella mushroom chopped up, a few cloves of garlic minced, some ketchup, various spices, a splash of the cab I was drinking and a little bit of olive oil and sauteed all this goodness up. Stuffed it into the squash halves, sprinkled a bit of mozzarella on top and cooked uncovered until the cheese was melted. Soo good and such a great way to clean out the fridge!
3. Chipotle night – I warm some whole wheat tortillas, make some vegetarian taco filling and mix it with black beans and some spices, steam up rice with a touch of lime juice and cilantro, put out guacamole, sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped red onion, shredded lettuce, salsa and hot sauce and we have an assembly line on the counter.
4. Another pantry cleanser – some Quorn brand chicken cubes, the last dredges of a container of sour cream, can of diced tomatoes, leftover bits of onion, peppers and garlic sauteed up, the three last olives in jar chopped, the half-glass of leftover wine, a touch of dijon mustard over pasta. It's all about starting with the garlic and onion – nice and caramelized and soft and then everything builds upon that.