Monday, March 29, 2010

Obsessed.

Behold Chanel's summer nail varnishes. I am soooo in love! The Nouvelle Vague {far left} is very similar to Jade released last year, and it resembles tons of other polishes I have seen, but it seems to be such a pretty pastel blue I am not sure I'll be able to resist. The Riviera and Mistral are gorgeous as well though if pale aqua on your nails reminds you of a super cool fungus rather than chic nail color. All in all, you can't go wrong with any of them and I think everyone will be able to pick a favorite. That said, I think I am most excited about their matte black lacquer varnish due out in April. Heartsies. xoxo

Friday, March 26, 2010

I got a Rottweiler.

His name is Big Squish.

You see, usually, he is my little angel. This is an actual photo taken on Monday:

But a lot has happened since Monday. Big Squish's top two teeth are coming in. Apparently they are teeth the size of mutant iPods that shoot out nails as they come in because they have turned him into this... Actual photo taken today:


So I kind of want to do this:


But instead I am going to take a deep breath and pretend that I am sitting in this room:


and that I am reading a brand new issue of House Beautiful whilst getting a massage and pedicure and eating giant chocolate chip cookies that are delicious and healthy because they are made with spinach and that I have nothing else to do this afternoon but pick out an Oscar dress and decide what time I want to take my glitter bubble bath. The end.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Do your collar bones stick out enough?


And what about your hip bones?

Unfortunately this is a prerequisite for any modeling gig these days. Pardon me for a few minutes while I am sick.

A HUGELY important gathering took place last night in Boston: "Health Matters - Weight and Wellness in the World of Fashion." Anna Wintour {editor-in-chief of Vogue for those of you who live under a rock}, Michael Kors {wonderful designer}, and Natalia Vodianova {v famous model} all took part. The discussion at the forum centered around eating disorders in the industry and efforts to prevent them.

For those of you who are not aware of this, models are often as young as 14 on runways. FOURTEEN years old! Some I am sure are even younger. Thinking of the industry conditions they are exposed to at such a tender age disgusts me. I think I was still setting up Lemonade stands at 14. Michael Kors vowed to raise the minimum age limit on models he hires to 16. A step in the right direction, but I feel 18 should be the absolute minimum. Need I remind you that sixteen year olds can't vote or get into an R rated movie? Kors also refuses to book models who show any sign of an eating disorder. Bravo for him, but I wonder what these official signs are as sometimes it is tough to tell. The fact that it is a big deal for him to say this publicly demonstrates the extent of disregard for and acceptance of eating disorders behind the scenes. I wouldn't blink if models told me they were encouraged to skip meals.

At the end of the day, this is nothing short of heart breaking. At the forum, Kors stated that this year the focus on the runways was a return to women, not young girls, as it should be: teenagers are not buying designer clothing {at least I hope they aren't}. Thirty or forty year olds plus are. I agree to a very very miniscule extent when he says that the focus was a return to women. Miuccia Prada tried. Kind of. She put out ridiculous amounts of press leading up to her show saying that the models she was going to use would blow everyone away and turn the fashion world upside down...cue the show...and who comes out? Not stick thin anorexic teens - thank the Lord - but...drumroll please... Victoria Secret models! {do I laugh? Not sure. Was she serious?}

Natalia Vodianova, a beautiful model with two adorable children, admitted to post-pregnancy eating disorders due to the pressure for her to start modeling again shortly after giving birth. Much therapy later she is recovering, thank goodness. Aside from the pain I feel for her that she voluntarily did this to herself, it makes me feel for her babies. Mothers who begin cutting calories immediately after giving birth do themselves no favors when it comes to their breast milk. This makes me think of Heidi Klum {who I just adore} who has returned twice to the Victoria Secret runway SIX WEEKS after giving birth. INSERT ONE HUNDRED MILLION EXCLAMATION POINTS HERE. Now as I said, I love Heidi to bits. She seems so down to earth and to really take pride in taking care of her four children, and I get so giddy over the fairy tale love between her and Seal, BUT she also said in an interview that to get down to an acceptable size for bra and knicker modeling less than 50 days after having a baby, every day she only ate one cup of turkey chili, a serving of egg whites, and a cup of vegetables. Y'all. Come on! NOT healthy. {If anyone can find something to contradict this, please tell me, as normally Heidi gets 5 gold stars in my book. But I saw her say this in an interview on tv so I think we have to take this as fact.}

Anna Wintour, THE most powerful woman in the fashion industry hands down, said at the health forum that her readers want healthy looking girls. {I wonder if she truly means healthy, or just healthy looking?? Hmmm...People drink Diet Coke in an effort to be thin - even though it does not even come close to doing this...yet that is a whole other story in itself - but it is FAR from healthy. Eew.} Anna went on to say, however, that it is almost impossible to use "real" women because sample sizes the designers send for photo shoots are size 0 or even size 00 nearly 99% of the time. Well, designers, please change this. If Anna said that she flat out refused to shoot samples that were smaller than a 4 the designers would listen, so I wish she would take more of a stand herself. She controls the industry and can therefore control the image.

I am already so afraid of any future little girl I may have seeing Victoria Secret models as real women. It *terrifies* me. I think back to an episode of Oprah that I saw years and years ago where there was a 5 year old who tried to run around during her entire recess - literally run and run and run - so that her thighs wouldn't touch in the center. An 8 year old on the same show had resorted to eating cotton and paper instead of food to try to not be fat. Would this have happened decades ago when this was the standard for beauty:

...as opposed to this?


I don't know, but my guess is that it would not have. Fashion is such a huge part of our lives today. On the poll I am conducting regarding what my readers want to see most of, fashion is by far in the lead with 73% of you having voted for it. So yes, we are paying attention to and being affected by the images thrown at us.

One woman who spoke at the forum was Doutzen Krous. Hottie McHott if you ask me. She is the new Victoria Secret model for their ad campaigns but has been rejected by high fashion designers because she is too fat. Um, excuse me? Please speak in my good ear because surely I did not hear that correctly. Look at her!

Doutzen_Kroes_1Doutzen_Krous_762313j
Image courtesy of Elements of Style

She is a beautiful, curvy, size 6. This just demonstrates the absurdity of the industry standard of a size 0.

I don't know about you, but I already put so much pressure on myself to try, try being the operative word, to have a flat stomach, thin thighs and a cellulite free booty that seeing a drop dead gorgeous woman like Doutzen be rejected because of her fatness makes me want to cry. Now I cannot speak for others, but it is very difficult for me to hear people comment on individuals they do not even know and say things along the lines of, "She would be so much cuter if she was a bit thinner." It pierces my heart. Furthermore, judgment on someone's outer appearance, rather than their inner beauty? I know, I know, this all sounds absurdly cliche but, in my opinion, IT IS SO TRUE. Perhaps that is why comments about others affect me so deeply, and also why I put so much pressure on myself; if people around me care enough about someone they have never met to comment on their appearance, what type of comments are they silently thinking about me? But then again, maybe these are my own insecurities that I need to conquer. Today, at 25, I am 20 pounds lighter than I was at 17, yet much more body conscious. Go figure.

All in all, I am not saying that the fashion industry is solely responsible for eating disorders. Promoting models that I can see through doesn't do anything to help the situation though. My wish is for a HEALTHY image to be promoted. Again, I do not mean a size 4 that drinks Diet Coke all day long. Nor do I mean a size 0 who is naturally thin and eats pizza and pasta three meals a day. I mean a healthy person whose diet revolves around organic vegetables and fruit, organic chicken and grass-fed beef, wild fish, water, etc. We have such extremes in the world today from obesity to anorexia that I truly believe if people focused on being healthy and forgot about an image they simply want to attain, the puzzle pieces would fall into place and we would be a better society as a result.

So that's my two cents. I pray that things start to go in a different direction in the fashion industry. Please remember to love yourself for who you are and not what you think you should be. And I will try to remind myself of the same.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

POLL!



Attention coolest people in the world (aka my readers):

I am about two months into this blog and I would be tickled to bits if you gave me your opinions in all of their awesomeness about what you would like to see most of, or more of, or something of on here. I created a handy poll for you all to participate in.

The poll is over there on the RIGHT at the top ------>

- Motherhood and Family Life encompasses quite a broad spectrum of things. Basically anything having to do with babies and children or my general life is in this category.
- Fashion I think speaks for itself
- Interior Design includes the obvious, but also things like flower arrangements and anything having to do with design in general other than fashion
- Cooking. Some of you may ask what this is. An old act performed in ancient civilizations where you actually cook the food yourself and do not order take out from a restaurant. This is what I have been told it is but it seems like a silly myth to me.
- Fitness and Nutrition. Self explanatory methinks.

I have yet to post anything on Beauty or Travel, and have not taken on any new home projects. Apologies for that. They will come soon, but the focus of this blog are the current primary focuses in my life. Also, I said you can select multiple answers, but please don't click 6 or 7. If you choose multiples, it would be helpful and appreciated for you to explain why. Gratzi.

So, my sweet dear amazing readers, please tell me what your favorite topics are and what you prefer to read about! I would love some comments as well to really hear your opinion on why you selected what. THANK YOU x 10 to the 5th power my darlings. Love love love xoxo

Image courtesy of bippity boppity boo.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kill the banana

We've been experimenting with finger foods recently {because the books say so...and ps how did anyone know how to do ANYthing without baby books?!} and by this I mean, I put miniscule sized pieces of food in front of Big Squish in his high chair and wait for him to pick them up with finesse and gently place them into his mouth. This is how it typically goes:

Act 1 Scene 1
Enter sweet smart patient talented mother, not in a robe and with make up on and hair fixed obviously. Mother in super cool red glitter stilettos lovingly chops up banana into perfectly equal unchokeable bite sized pieces. Banana is placed on high chair in front of Big Squish.

Big Squish: stares
Mother waits.
Big Squish: points
Mother waits. Prays.
Big Squish: Decides in his head that the bananas are very evil things that must be destroyed and crushed to death as if his life depended on it. ATTACK THE BANANA PIECES!!!
Mother: (sweetly, patiently, trying to add comical value to our morning breakfast time) Big Squish what are you doing? We don't hit the bananas. We eat the bananas. Silly bananas! Bananas are fun. Yay bananas!
Big Squish: DIE BANANAS DIE! SMUSH! WHAM! I WILL CRUSH YOUUUUUU!!!
Mother: Angel, please let's eat the bananas. The bananas love you. Here, let me put some in your mouth for you.
Big Squish: HA! Silly mother lady thinks I am going to eat this food of doom! I SHALL REVOLT! Commence Operation Spit Banana Bullets EVERYWHERE IN RAPID FIRE FASHION!!!!

Mother is thinking...where on earth did he learn this? Because obviously I could not possibly have instilled this behavior into my darling angel child. Husband must be showing him Jean Claude van Damme movies. Definitely.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Learning.



I feel like I have learned a lot over the past few weeks. I'm not sure why God chose this particular time in my life to throw so much at me all at once, but the lessons have been plentiful and I am thankful for that. In no particular order:

1. To me, this is perfect. I came across this image yesterday and I want to wallpaper my whole house in it. That's really all we need to know, isn't it?


3. The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

Very true. Keeps me strong even when I feel like I cannot handle something. I always know things are happening for a reason and, although out of my control, I will be ok.

d. Fly Through Our Window is a special blog. I read it on a daily basis. One recent post entitled 'forgiveness & grace' deeply affected me, and it was a true lesson for me to apply to so many areas of life. Click the link above to read it. I insist that you do. I promise you will be touched.

ix. Proverbs 3:5-6. I say this is my favorite Bible verse - although how can anyone really pick one true favorite - but this one always seems to apply, so much that I know it by heart. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by this much love.
So this is kind of a journal entry, and I apologize to those readers who didn't really sign up for this and are looking for Manolos instead. That said, I created this blog to be about my life as a Southern Eclectic and today, this is what I am feeling in my life...just wanting to write and talk. Thanks for listening. Now I am going to go build a rocketship with Big Squish.

Monday, March 15, 2010

One of those days...

Love this.

Image courtesy of Smitten Design.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dolly Johnson Antique Show!

There is a very special treat in Fort Worth this weekend folks that me likey a lot: the Dolly Johnson Antique Show. Now in it's FORTY SEVENTH YEAR, it is a hodgepodge {in the most amazing sense of the word!} of fantismo furniture, art and jewelry. Industrial, Western, Modern, French, Garden, American, English...you name it and the style is there. Judy and Jane Aldridge have been blogging about it so you know it's cool :)

My mom and I popped in for a visit today with Big Squish in tow and we had a great time wandering around. I fell in love with many many things {and in typical Sheridan bone head fashion did not take pictures...and I call myself a blogger?!}, like a beautiful mirror from India made of crown molding, an old church banister that would be a lovely headboard, turquoise American Indian jewelry {at $2500 a pop I will happily settle for a plastic imitation piece from Target thank you v much}, an old faded Coca-Cola advertisement, an incredibly stunning bright turquoise wooden horse because I really really need one of those...I could go on and on. My only purchase was a long, beautiful rustic looking wooden bowl full of character. I heart it mucho. It was used to mix large amounts of food in on the wagon trail. In the Olden Days! At least, that is what the lady at the booth told me. For all I know she could have fashioned it out of old 2x4s from Home Depot's dumpster this morning. But it's cool. I envision it in the middle of our dark wood dining table filled with bright red apples. Scrummy!

If you have a chance this weekend to head down to Will Rogers definitely make the trip. It's not an all day thing; you can get around the place in 30 minutes if you go fast, but I'd plan on spending an absolute minimum of an hour to really take it all in. Admission is $7 for adults. Have someone get up early and go lay in a parking space for you because there are zero.

We quickly learned how Big Squish felt about perusing antiques...Bless:

xoxo everyone! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Teething Jewelry



Since starting The Southern Eclectic, I have gotten many many requests to include more about personal life and how things I discuss relate back to me. Most are interested in fashion and how I put outfits together {if you all only knew that I primarily live in American Apparel leggings my cover would be blown} but I wanted to start with something that is at the center of my day to day life with Big Squish right now: TEETHING. He wants to chew on everything. Proof below:

Sophie the Giraffe. Dog toy for babies. He loves it.

Alphabet letters. Squishy amazingness.
Alphabet letters covered in goo. Better.

Baby food jars. Glass in mouth ok yes?

Hard to see, but he is chewing on the camera that is supposed to sit on the side of his crib so I can see him on the portable monitor. Oh yes, he knows that if he knocks against the side of his crib for long enough the camera comes down and Mommy has to come upstairs for a visit. Pretty conniving for a baby...methinks I should be worried a smidge

Mommy's Dior's. Hmmm...

Glad my watch is water resistant.

Fruit holder...

which is also fun to stick up your nose...
hehe.

So, given the photographic evidence above, you can imagine my delight when I received my new Parents magazine in the mail and stumbled upon Teething Jewelry. What, you may ask, is teething jewelry? Well I shall tell you: The geniuses over at sonnyandreed.com have come up with nubby necklaces made from non-toxic acrylic that are teethers in disguise! They are CUTE y'all. Safe for soothing a baby's tender gums and stylish enough to wear, it is definitely on my list of products to purchase. At only $29.50 and with free shipping, how can you not get one?!


Images courtesy of sonnyandreed.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Sunny Raw Kitchen

My friend Mia brought The Sunny Raw Kitchen blog to my attention this morning. I had stumbled across it before but never spent any extensive amount of time on it. One thing that always turns me off of raw food is that I love love love to bake, and I love my sweets, so I have been apprehensive about finding a great raw equivalent. However, I have recently started playing around with my own raw treats and, if I do say so myself, have come up with some pretty great ideas! That said, a couple of weeks ago I tried to be very domesticated and whip up some Apple Cinnamon Paleo Pancakes for my darling husband...they were basically glorified applesauce people and after all the hard work put in I became completely discouraged from trying to make anything raw. Hmph.

BUT since my husband has shown more interest in this way of eating, and I am truly interested as well, I think it's time I gave The Sunny Raw Kitchen a second glance. Perhaps it's just something to master after lots of practice? Or burning off my taste buds so I can stomach it? There are two recipes I am eager to try and might do so this weekend if I can muster up enough courage. If anyone else tries one of these do let me know how they turn out :)

The first recipe is a Banana Chocolate Cream Cake...YUM!

Banana Chocolate Cream Cake
Inspired by Cafe Gratitude's
I Am Rapture

This recipe is for a 6" diameter pan or tub.
Serves 8

Cake
1 cup soft dates, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
Pinch salt
1/2 cup raw carob and cacao powder (I used 1/4 cup of each)
1 1/2 cup finely ground almonds or loosely packed left-over pulp from making milk (wet pulp is fine)
1 cup finely ground dried coconut
1/2 cup finely ground cashews

Whipped Cream
1 cup cashews or a mix of cashews and macadamia nuts
1 cup fresh coconut milk (simply blend 1 part dried coconut with 3 parts water in high speed blender)
1/8 - 1/4 cup honey or agave (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup coconut butter, melted
1 tablespoon lecithin* (1 tbs + 1 tsp psyllium)

*Lecithin is derived from soybeans and acts as an emulsifier. Look for lecithin (preferably non-GMO), in granules or powdered form, at your local HFS. If using granules, make sure to grind them up in a high speed blender of coffee grinder.

Banana Layer and Decoration
2 or 3 ripe bananas, sliced

To make the Whipped Cream:
Blend all ingredients except lecithin until smooth. Add lecithin and blend until thoroughly mixed. Set in fridge for about 1 hr.

You should have extra whipped cream but I'm sure you'll find other ways to use it. lol

To make the Cake:
Place dates in food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. You may need to add a little water.

Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth.

Assembly:
Grease a spring form pan with a little coconut butter or line a medium margarine tub with plastic film.

Next form an even layer on the bottom with half of the cake mixture.

Top with banana slices, followed by some of the whipped cream. Set in fridge.

When very firm, form another cake layer. Then top with more banana slices. (Remember to save some for decoration).

Again top with whipped cream and set in fridge.

When firm, gently remove cake from the pan or margarine tub and place on serving plate.

Decorate with banana slices and serve.

Carmella's Notes:
~ For the whipped cream, I used psyllium husks instead of lecithin, as suggested in Cafe Gratitude's recipe. As a result, I found that I had to let the cream set in the freezer rather than in the fridge. The consistency also made it difficult for the cake to hold its shape well once at room temperature. However, this may not be a major issue if you keep the cake in the freezer, thawing pieces as needed.

~ It is key that you grind your nuts finely in a coffee grinder or a high speed blender before processing them with the other ingredients. This will ensure that your cake layer has a lovely smooth texture.

~ In order to apply the cake layer easily, the whipped cream needs to be quite firm (set in the fridge or freezer first). If you find that the cream tends to yield while patting down the cake, try forming the cake layer on a different surface (such as the counter or a plate) then transferring it over to the pan.

~ For a simpler version of this, simply put a cake layer, followed by banana slices. Top with whipped cream and let set in the fridge/freezer. Decorate and serve.


And the second is Maple Pecan Ice Cream, which I think might be my first experiment because I am an ice cream fiend. And not ashamed.




Maple Pecan Ice Cream
Posted on
TheRawTable.com

Rich and creamy - you're going to love this!

Serves 6-8

3 ripe bananas
1/2 C raw almond butter
1/2 C raw tahini (sesame butter)
3/4 C dark agave nectar
1/4 C honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 C pecans, chopped (optional)

Place all ingredients, save the pecans, into a food processor and blend until perfectly smooth. Remove from processor and stir in pecans. Freeze in an air-tight container for 6 hours or overnight. Carmella's Note: This was really good but I'd recommend not putting quite as much agave as it calls for.

SHERIDAN'S NOTE: Both of these recipes call for agave nectar. There is a lot of controversy regarding agave, and from everything I have researched it is NOT something you want to use. It is a very highly refined form of sucrose which essentially becomes a high fructose corn syrup equivalent, which is certainly something you never want in you or your family's bodies! Stick with raw honey, and go for a local one if it's available.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Ghost Chair - something everyone must have


I am completely in love with Philippe Starck's Ghost Chair. Starck reinvented the classic and very formal Louis XV armchair to create a postmodern triumph of technical innovation and historical style with sleek lines and style abound. It made its debut in 2002 and has become more and more popular every year, with endless knockoffs around every corner. To me, the most amazing thing about the chair is that it can go in literally any home, in any room {even outdoors}, with any style of decor and miraculously, it works. Genius!





Images courtesy of Southern Accents, Traditional Home and House Beautiful.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Outstandingness of Balmain


One collection I have been waiting on the edge of my seat to see is Balmain. Balmain is me embodied in a clothing line. As Sarah Mower's commentary on Style.com says, "Sober, pared-down minimalism? Well, somebody has to kick against it...This season, [Christophe Decarnin has] gone Baroque 'n' roll, with a Balmain outing pitched somewhere between Prince's Purple Rain pomp and Louis XIV at Versailles. Gold, brocade, frock coats, Louis-heeled ribbon-laced boots, sequin and lamé dresses galore: Decarnin went for it." Unfortunately Balmain's highly elaborate pieces are notoriously expensive {upwards of $9000 for one jacket...um, yeah, so I own a total of zero} but my oh my are they fun to droll over!! One thing I am kind of excited about is Decarnin's promotion of the flared pant leg. He still displayed his fair share of skinny, ankle-hugging pants, and although very cool, they don't do anything to flatter most people's legs. Trousers that reach the toes of the shoe rather than stop at the ankle are very leg-lenthening, and I am certainly all about that :)

Balmain is great to me because it is not about the "staples" in your wardrobe. The line encourages risk-taking rather than going for the standard, classic, simple run-of-the-mill outfit. At the end of the day I always come back to the same thing - have fun with what you're wearing. Blindingly bright and reflective gold foil-esque slit to there evening dress with puffy 80s power shoulder pads that is so far from practical it's not even funny paired with military style combat boots - don't mind if I do!

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