Hello. Have we met before? I’m Ali. The blogger chick who really loves new finds, but abandoned said blog and her followers since mid-July. Awful. Seriously awful. I’ve missed you!
Here’s the deal. Sister landed a new job! A job I began on July 2nd, and since then life has been off the charts busy…busy in a good way, of course! My desk is always a mess; the work of a genius right? I’ve got non-profit work galore and a nearing “Follies” production that is consuming life. Still, there’s nothing I’d change. J also started a new job the week before I began mine, so we’ve been adjusting to new schedules and learning curves. So much has happened over the last four months, but I’m skipping those details; otherwise I’d be writing for days. I’m back, and I’m renewing the commitment I made when I started Oh So Ali. My deepest appreciation to those of you who follow.
I look forward to returning from my blogging hiatus. More to come, I promise.
I love the French for many reasons…their style, their bread and the fact that many settled in Louisiana bringing the praline recipe along with them. Original recipes from the 1600′s in Europe contained almonds, but French settlers adapted the recipe with pure cane sugar and pecans. There are many variations to pralines, but the New Orleans style is by far my favorite. Typically using milk, the New Orleans praline has a fudge-like texture opposed to the European or Belgian nougat.
I decided to call on the Praline Queen, my mother, for her praline version. Her recipe uses a bit of salt, which is the perfect combination to me. The rich sweetness (Hello! 5 cups of sugar AND condensed milk!) is offset with the sprinkle of salt. We’ve enjoyed this recipe my entire life, and after finally making them myself, I was pleasantly surprised to find they’re not quite an intimidating as I always imagined.
5 cups granulated sugar / 5 cups pecan halves / 1 cup butter / 1 cup milk / 1 – 14.5 oz can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk / 1 Tablespoon Salt / 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract / Wooden spoon
In a deep boiler, combine sugar, butter, milk and condensed milk. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pecans and stir continuously for 20 minutes. You will likely need to reduce your heat to keep the mixture for popping out on you. Make sure to stir the entire 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Add salt and vanilla extract and beat. Let cool for only a minute or two. Then spoon onto greased (with butter) wax paper. Let cool until hardened.
Dress: Gap (no longer available in XS – M); Oxford: Brooks Brothers; Bag: Kate Spade; Shoes: Old Navy; Sunglasses Target: Bracelets: Kate Spade; David Yurman; Alissa; Unknown: Watch: Baume & Mercier; Ring: NYC Street Fair find
One of the best combinations, Champagne + Strawberries just got better…with cupcakes! I made these a while back for a wedding party for dear friends. The cupcake recipe was very simple, and I may have added a bit more champagne to the icing recipe! After baking and icing the cupcakes, I garnished each with a slice of fresh strawberry. Then, my creative brain dediced to fill half of the cupcakes with strawberry jam for a flavorful punch. By punching holes into the center of each cupcake with a straw, I squeezed the jam into the center with an icing dispenser. Then, I decorated the tops with champagne icing. I made over 100 cupcakes, and I was very pleased to take home empty platters.
Dress: C.Luce; Belt & Hat: Target; Watch: Michael Kors; Shoes: Tory Burch; Sunglasses: Tiffany & Co; Bracelets
I’m searching for a body double, and only serious applicants should apply. I’ve been running in so many directions lately, that my prized multi-tasking skills have been put to the test. Some days, I’ve failed miserably trying to pack so much in. While there wasn’t a lot of down time during our weekend visit to Lake Martin with my family (two little nephews keep you moving), it was a welcome getaway to spend time with the people I love and drink lots of coffee. Of course, all of the forget-me-not happenings of the past week are sprinkled with some please-forget-me moments.
in all of his beauty (and his hole in one!) at Augusta National, errrr I mean, Spending time with J at his favorite place on earth.
Pulling down the steep drive way at the lake to be welcomed by my nephews
Proving aPrincesscan catch the biggest fish of the day
Wearing my DVF wedges (simlar style here
)that have been patiently waiting in my closet since January
One hour of solitude in the middle of the lake, on a raft, soaking up the sun
“Camping Out” on the living room floor with my nephews (now, a five year tradition at the lake)
Sweet kisses from baby Jack after his weekend with our dog sitter
An evening walk that turned into a lawn party at our neighbor’s house
Four car naps while John drove to Augusta and the lake – car naps are some of the best sleep I ever get!
Bubba Watson slipping into the green jacket on Sunday evening
Snickers mini ice cream bars
Walking to the restroom after a big meeting to find your two front teeth stained with orange-red lipstick
Habin the skin on my face shed like a snake’s after over-exposure to the sun
Silk Dress + No Slip + Static + Wind = What the Heck was I Thinking Yesterday???
The moment when you realize the thought in your head to tell someone to please just “Shut Up,” is no longer just a thought because your mouth has taken on a life of it’s own and has, in fact, actually done just what you were thinking. I told you my multi-tasking skills have been compromised due to lack of sleep and running like a mad woman.
The “Please-Forget-Me’s” may be slim so far, i must remind you, it’s only Wednesday. This list will undoubtedly grow. Do you have any moments to share?
The first Thanksgiving I lived in New York, my family came into the city to spend the holiday. We, of course, watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and feasted in my small apartment on our family’s traditional Thanksgiving meal. We toured the entire city in the five days my mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law were visiting. While I have many wonderful memories of that special holiday, there’s one that always stands out – our entrance into St. Patrick’s Cathedral. As we stepped in off the busy Fifth Avenue sidewalk, we were welcomed by the angelic choir singing Amazing Grace. The music moved me to tears, and since then, any trip to or by St. Patrick’s reminds me of the need to find simplicity in the busiest of days.
Last Sunday morning, I left my hotel early in the morning to take a quiet stroll to Central Park before brunch. There’s nothing like NYC early on a Sunday Morning. The streets are quiet and the sidewalks are abandoned. With the millions of people living in New York, a Sunday morning can feel like the streets of a quaint town. As I made my way up Fifth Avenue, I saw members of St.Patrick’s as well as a number of tourists walking into the cathedral. I, too, joined them to flood myself with memories of a beloved landmark in our country.
As I crossed from the West to East side of the street, I looked up to see a very moving sign, which is part of the restoration campaign of St. Patrick’s. St. Patrick’s was paid for through the contributions of poor immigrants and prominent citizens. The cornerstone was laid in 1858 and her doors were opened in 1879. Plans are now in place for interior and exterior preservation of this gerat cathedral. You, too, can be a part of Restoring St. Patrick’s Cathedral by visiting here.
The weekend in New York was simply perfect, and I took advantage of so much the city has to offer. I’ll tell you all about my shopping extravaganza later on because, right now, I want to talk about food. I ate my way through New York. There’s no question about it. From Greek Cuisine to afternoon tea, food was the highlight of my weekend (aside from a few splurges for my closet, of course)! I was so happy to share these delicious meals with friends that are so dear to my heart. These are a few of my favorites from the weekend…
New York was AMAZING! As though it could have been anything less than. A detailed recap will come later, but the highlights of my long weekend in the city involved much needed time in Central Park, spring wardrobe updates, delicious food and great company. Early Friday morning, my dear friend Katherine and I went for a long run through the park, and the cafe latte above was the treat following that run. Truth be told, everything is better in NYC. More details on my wonderful birthday weekend to follow… xoxo
Loving the new Spring 2012 collection from Essie. The spin from the “Occupy Wall Street” movement is genius!