28 August, 2009

Celebrating...getting ready to celebrate!

My how time flies!! In just a few days, we will be celebrating the one year anniversary of On The Occasion of Celebration---and I have loved every minute of it!! I was trying to come up with something fun and fabulous to do to celebrate...so stay tuned. But today, I am celebrating the fact that there is cause to celebrate celebrating!!

I just love planning parties (which is funny because I am not so thrilled about attending parties)!! I love coming up with a concept and finding things to carry the theme throughout and watching it all come together and then during the party, watching the excitement as it unfolds. This is so much fun to me!! It is truly exciting when people are excited about how they are celebrating whatever occasion it is they are celebrating.

So..looking back over the last year, there are some things that I've done right, some things that I've done wrong, but I've enjoyed the ride (and hope you have too!)!! I've got some little changes planned for the coming year and I hope that you enjoy them.

As for now, I am about to get ready so I can meet some friends for dinner...celebrating old friends!!

Have a GREAT weekend...and celebrate something!!

Luv Ya!!
Pixxa

25 August, 2009

Celebrating...those Ruby Red Slippers (Wizard of Oz Anniversary)!

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the nation-wide release of the Wizard of Oz. Reveled as one of the most beloved films of all time, the Wizard of Oz has received many honors and awards. The Library of Congress names The Wizard of Oz as the most-watched film in history. It is often ranked among the top ten best movies of all-time in various critics' and popular polls, and it has provided many indelible quotes to the American cultural consciousness. Its signature song, "Over the Rainbow," sung by Judy Garland, has been voted the greatest movie song of all time by the American Film Institute. But despite these great successes, the film only grossed approximately $3 million against production/distribution costs of $2.8 million in its initial release. It did not show what MGM considered a large profit until a 1949 re-release earned an additional $1.5 million.

Here are some of the famous scenes from the movie:

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, September 23rd. For this one night only, the film will be shown again on the big screen. A digitally remastered version of the film will be shown in HiDef at more than 400 theatres across the country. For additional information on Wizard of Oz Celebrations, visit the official site:
http://thewizardofoz.warnerbros.com/
BTW, I found this as I was looking for a few pix to "borrow" and thought it offered an interesting viewpoint.
http://www.wetcircuit.com/2006/12/05/wizard-of-oz/

But there could be no celebration without hearing our favorite song of the movie:


Happy Anniversary Wizard of Oz!!!
Celebrate...with ruby red slippers!
Luv Ya!!
Pixxa

22 August, 2009

Celebrating...a great afternoon!

This past Sunday, I joined a few friends for a lovely afternoon. The weather was wonderful! The sun was shining. The temperature wasn't too hot and wasn't too cold. It was a lazy, Sunday afternoon.

We jumped in our friend's Volvo, cracked open the sun roof (or is it a moon roof? I forget the difference), and took off for a drive down Lake Shore Drive. If you've never driven down Lake Shore Drive on a beautiful afternoon, you must make plans to. I think this drive offers some of the most beautiful views of the city that you will ever see.

Anyway, we chatted and talked all the way...talking about music and birthday plans (yes, my birthday is coming up soon) and everything else under the sun. It was one of those great "girlfriends" moments that you see in the movies and on tv.

We found a parking spot and started walking toward our first destination, Phobes Cupcakes. (You knew this was going to be about cupcakes, didn't you?) While posing for a pix outside, I met 2 new friends who just couldn't resist giving me a kiss sandwich! And the sweetness (get it? kisses=sugar...sweetness?) continued once I got inside. So many choices...vanilla?
Chocolate?...Triple Chocolate? Who can decide?
Of course I decided one of each! Ha ha ha!! And then we were on our way, cupcakes in tow, to our final destination...dinner!

The restaurant is called 44th Ward Dinner Party (http://www.the44thward.com/). Quite an interesting (and political) name and the decor was very rich and dark like you'd find in a traditional library or study in some old, stuffy, rich person's house. All of this luxury for a restaurant that focuses on grilled cheese sandwiches...it was rather quaint!!
That's right, they serve primarily grilled cheese sandwiches. Everything from a basic Wonder Bread with Awerican Cheese slice to over 40 choices for a build your own. They also give you a choice of house-made potato chips or sweet and savory fries to go with your sandwich. And lucky us...Sunday is the $2 Build-Your-Own Grilled Cheese. After much deliberation, we placed our orders and were presented with platters of food. All I could say was YUM!! The sandwiches were very, very tasty and both the chips and the fries were amazing!! And talk about taking a theme all the way to the end...they even had a version of a grilled cheese for dessert. It's called a Grilled Cheesecake and is a slice of cheesecake between two pieces of poundcake that is pan fried and served with whipped cream and raspberry drizzle. And even though we had cupcakes, three of us just couldn't resist trying it. It was wonderful---and I am not a cheesecake fan! Sorry...never thought to take a pix (even though it was very pretty) until it was just about gone.

We settled up the bill and took our full bellies back to the car for the ride home. Riding along the lakefront enjoying the night air we were all glad that we had taken this time to get together for an enjoyable afternoon.

We had a good time...now it's your turn!!

Celebrate!!

Luv Ya!!
Pixxa

P.S. - Don't tell anyone, but after I got home, I couldn't resist digging in to the cupcakes.

15 August, 2009

Celebrating...being able to support causes...join CARE!

The following message comes from a letter that was forwarded to me by a good friend. Though most of my posts are more frivolous and light in nature, sometimes we need to address the harsh realities of the world. Please take a few minutes to read this and take whatever action you deem appropriate.

Thanks!

Luv Ya!!
Pixxa

In places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), rape and violence against women are, sadly, an everyday occurrence. With an estimated 200,000 women and girls raped during the past 12 years, it's no surprise that the United Nations considers eastern DRC the "rape capital" of the world.

CARE has been working on the ground for years in the DRC to address the causes and consequences of violence against women and girls.

While much remains to be done, I am encouraged that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton included a stop in the war-torn city of Goma, DRC, during her recent trip to Africa to draw attention to the plight of the thousands of women and girls that are raped and abused there every year.

In the DRC, Secretary Clinton met with victims of sexual violence and encouraged the Congolese government as well as the U.N. peacekeeping force there to bring an end to the sexual violence that is being used as a tool of war. Clinton stated, "The U.S. condemns these attacks and those who commit them as they are guilty of crimes against humanity." And CARE was there when she announced a major increase in U.S. assistance to provide desperately needed medical, economic and legal services to survivors.

Please, take a moment to thank Secretary Clinton for standing with the thousands of women worldwide affected by sexual violence each year, and encourage her to continue to make preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence a foreign policy priority for the United States.

The physical and emotional harm that survivors of sexual violence face is staggering. While the perpetrators of these horrific crimes simply move on to their next victims, violated women and girls rarely find the medical and psychological care they so desperately need. Survivors continue to experience physical injuries, psychological trauma and social stigma long after the conflict has ended. Children conceived from rape are often rejected or face discrimination.

But there is hope. Secretary Clinton's visit signals a change - that rape is n o t a "women's issue," but a human rights violation that should occupy a prioritized place in U.S. foreign policy.

Please, take a moment to contact Secretary Clinton and let her know that you appreciate her attention to this critical issue, and that you want the U.S. to take a leadership role in preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence around the world.

Thank you for helping the thousands of women affected daily by violence.

Sincerely,
Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

14 August, 2009

Celebrating...Pot Pies (yes, I said Pot Pies)

I must admit that I've tried Pot Pies in my life only once---and it was not a pleasant experience. But given my love for pizza, I thought this was an interesting take---pizza pot pie.

The ingredients are simple and it sounds rather healthy, so I thought I'd share it with you---maybe we can try it together!!

PIZZA POT PIE

Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/pizza-pot-pies-recipe/index.html

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary leaves
2 ounces diced pancetta
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pizza Pot Pies:
3 cups Tomato Sauce (recipe above
2 cups diced roasted chicken
2 cups broccoli cut into small, bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds pizza dough
1/3 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Directions

Special equipment: 6 (10-ounce) ramekins

For the Tomato Sauce: Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, rosemary, and pancetta. Saute until the pancetta is crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the Tomato Sauce, chicken, broccoli, mozzarella, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Divide the chicken mixture evenly between the ramekins. Roll out the pizza dough and cut circles with a pairing knife that are 1-inch wider in diameter than the ramekins. Place the circles of dough over the filled ramekins and press down to seal, making sure to pull the dough over the edge of the ramekin. Brush the top of the pizza dough with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut a small slit in the top of the pizza dough with a pairing knife. Bake until the pizza crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Hope you like!! And don't forget to celebrate!!

Luv Ya!!
Pixxa

12 August, 2009

Celebrating...Cupcakes---and More!!

Yes, I love cupcakes!! Well, it's really cake that I love...but cupcakes make a nice little package of cake...and they're cute too!! So this past weekend, I made a trip to one of Chicago's up and coming cupcake shoppes, More: Forever More Cupcakes.



Aren't they pretty?!!
There's soooooooo many choices!!!
Even little ones on the bottom shelf...
So after making a difficult decision, I selected my cupcakes and took my box home.
My selections (l-r, back row): Salted Caramel, Black & White, Chocolate-Chocolate (front row), More (like a Hostess Cupcake, chocolate-chocolate with a creamy vanilla filling), Coconut and another Chocolate-Chocolate.
So I sat down at my computer and couldn't choose between these two...so I ate them both!
The cupcakes were pretty tasty. The coconut was the best to me. I would have preferred that they all were a little sweeter, but they were good. I just can't seem to find a great chocolate cupcake...chocolate is my favorite!! Even though More was nice, I still love Molly's the best!!
Now that I have shared my cupcake celebration, I thought I'd also mention a few other things that you might want to put on your calendar.
August 15th is Best Friend's Day. It's the perfect time to do something special with your best friend. Meet for lunch, go shopping, catch a movie, take a walk in the park or just hang out and be together---whatever you do, celebrate your best friend.
August 15th is also National Relaxation Day. It's the perfect excuse to reduce stress and improve your lifestyle by relaxing. Take a few relaxing minutes or nap the whole day away---it's all about relaxing!!

Cupcakes...best friend...relaxing---lots of reasons to celebrate!!

So...celebrate!!

Luv Ya!!
Pixxa

06 August, 2009

Celebrate...celebrating!

I was doing some research for a project and came across this and thought I should share. After all...it's all about CELEBRATING!!!



I just loved the 80's!!

Why not celebrate?!!

Luv Ya!!
Pixxa

01 August, 2009

Celebrating...Girlfriends!!!

Happy Girlfriend's Day!! Today, August 1st, marks the annual celebration of Girlfriend's Day!!

No matter how far you've come, how successful you become, and how things change (for better or for worst), you always have your girlfriends to depend on. They are there for you to help you celebrate, and they are there for you to help you pick up the pieces when things fall apart. They always have your back, no matter what.

There are several terms of endearment for your girlfriends: Your girlz, chicks, she-buddies, galpals, circle, sistahs, and even some not so nice ones, though they are used as a term or endearment. Whatever you call them, make sure they know how special they are to you. After all, who else will laugh with you and cry with you and hold your hand telling you that everything is going to be okay?

Although Girlfriend's Day is celebrated annually, I think it's good to celebrate your girlfriends as often as you can. Call them up just to say "hi!" and let them know how special they are in your life---or, meet for a quick drink, plan an evening out or a weekend get-away.

Here's to all my girlfriends...

Celebrate!!
Luv Ya!!
Pixxa