Burrata and Tomato Zoodles Recipe

Summer has almost started in Oman and nothing says summer dinners to me like Burrata … and pasta! But since pasta is a bit heavy on the calories side we have replaced it with zoodles (my new obsession)…  I found this recipe via this blog and have made different versions of it but feel that if you are trying zoodles for the first time this recipe would be a good start. It takes about 20 minutes and is one of my favorite comfort food, minus the carbs. Before you start make sure you buy a good spiralizer. Trust me you won’t be able to live without it 😉

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2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
4 medium tomatoes
1-pint cherry tomatoes
1 large zucchini or 2 small zucchini, spiralized
1 large handful fresh basil
1 ball burrata
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil to taste, if desired

Heat up the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring often, until lightly golden. Add the medium tomatoes, cover, turn on medium high and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and carefully, using the back of a wooden spoon, crush the tomatoes into a sauce. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until the sauce is bubbling and has reduced slightly.

Add the zoodles, tossing, until cooked through and tender, 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off and garnish with torn basil and burrata. Season with salt and pepper and finish with extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Enjoy!

The recipe and pictures via Iamfoodblog

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Phenomenal Woman

Phenomenal Woman

BY MAYA ANGELOU
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY TO ALL YOU PHENOMENAL WOMEN OUT THERE

Nocturnal Animals: Part 2 The Movie Set

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Set designer Shane Valentino along with the movie director Tom Ford chose a stunning Malibu house designed by Scott Mitchell. The house was used as the home of Susan and her husband, Hutton. “One of the directives we had in terms of Susan’s world was that it wanted to feel very hard and cold,” he says. “A good way to do that is to look for lots of glass, concrete, or hard materials.”

Art was also a major component to the design of Susan’s home. Valentino used a mix of modern and contemporary art throughout the house.

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Valentino reworked the interior design of the house to include darker furnishings which you can see in the 2 pictures above.“A lot of it is almost a mirror of some sort of Tom’s life and his world that he lives in,” he says. “The chaise lounge, the settees, and the armchairs that are there are part of his aesthetic. We went to a lot of high-end design places like JF Chen to find particular pieces.” Below I’ve put 2 pictures of the original house before the changes were temporarily made for the movie! It has the complete opposite ambiance of the dark and mysterious movie set… here the house is light and airy which is beautiful but somehow I’m in love with the changes made by Valentino!

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Anyways back to the set design

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I love this photograph from Richard Misrach’s Desert Cantos series that was hung in the entryway. It’s  from Tom Ford’s private collection. Not sure if I would use or put this photograph in a home, but  I think that this particular movie it was a brilliant choice by Valentino, especially with Susan’s hair colour against it! And most importantly I feel that landscape was the perfect hint for us of what was expected to come in the movie….  and sort of set the mood for us!

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Another art piece that caught my eye was that beautiful painting by Mark Bradford that hangs above Susan’s bed. I haven’t seen his work in person before but after I saw this I put him on my lists of artists to check out!… I just love it… In fact, I love everything in this room… Everything chosen complements each other without feeling matchy …like how the black marble table top complements the painting…. I love how all the wood walls complement the black and white in the room… I could go on and on about this room but I’ll stop and instead share a picture of the original bedroom just in case you were wondering about it!.

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So what do you think?  Which house do you prefer?  The dark and mysterious one? Or the bright and airy one?

Vintage Photos Of The Academy Awards From the Golden Age of Hollywood

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 Humphrey Bogart and his wife Lauren Bacall arrive at the 27th annual Academy Awards at the RKO Pantages Theater in 1955.

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 Presenters Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly wait backstage at the RKO Pantages Theatre during the 1956 Academy Awards.

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Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed hold their Oscars as Best Supporting Actor and Actress in From Here to Eternity — a film that won eight statuettes in 1954, including Best Picture.

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Natalie Wood, Best Actress nominee for her role as Deanie Loomis in Splendor in the Grass, gets her hair done prior to the 1962 Academy Awards.

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 Grace Kelly and Clark Gable arrive at the 26th annual Academy Awards at the RKO Pantages Theatre in 1954

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Marlon Brando (right, with French singer and actress Line Renaud) casually holds his Best Actor Oscar for On The Waterfront at the 1955 Academy Awards at the RKO Pantages Theatre.

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Elizabeth Taylor walks through a crowd of admirers at the Oscars in 1961 — the year she won her first Academy Award, for her role in Butterfield 8.

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Last but not least…..The great, inimitable Charlie Chaplin — who had been living in self-imposed exile in Switzerland for two decades — blows a kiss to the crowd while accepting an honorary Oscar in 1972 for “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century.” When he was introduced to the audience, Chaplin received a twelve-minute standing ovation.

 Pictures Via LIFE Magazine

Nocturnal Animals: Part 1 The Movie Wardrobe

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There are many beautiful Movie sets and wardrobes out there but I must say that  I haven’t come across a movie where I loved the wardrobe and the set design at the same time…  until now! I honestly believe that Tom Ford has outdone himself as a director in this movie!….I’ve decided to divide this post into two parts because I feel both the wardrobe and the set design deserve to have their own post!

So the first part will be about the beautiful wardrobe that Arianne Phillips has designed for Susan which was played by Amy Adams.

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The ‘Susan’ style

“Surprisingly, Susan’s character does not wear any designer clothes at all,” confides Phillips. “Most of the clothes were made; they’re not Tom Ford nor any other designer! I mean, you would think they would be, because it’s contemporary, and Susan’s part of the cultural elite. She’s very presentational: heavy makeup, precisely waved hair, polished, pristine.”

Isn’t that just amazing?… its all about her look and about her style rather than the labels that we see most women focus on these days!

“The clothes really help tell the story of her precision, her perfection and her attempt to be presentational at all times, even when her life is falling apart,” says Phillips. Many of Susan’s scenes take place against the stark visual backdrop of her art gallery or her art gallery-like home where her wardrobe comprises mostly sleek black tailoring, killer heels, and opulent statement jewellery – or stealth-wealth knitwear for the moments when she is alone, often curled up in bed enthralled by the novel her ex-husband has sent her.

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I was dying to know where Susan’s beautiful tricolor fur in chestnut brown, amber, and white was from.. sadly it was custom made by Tom Ford atelier’s furrier, so we won’t find it in future TF collections  😦

There were many flashbacks to the Nineties which I really loved… They portrayed Susan as a young woman living in New York… 90s Susan reminded me so much of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy! I love that pared-back 90s chic.

“I stuck with neutrals so that it would have a timeless classic quality because that’s what we believed her character’s aesthetic would be and not particularly bending to trends.” Having said that, there are still recognisable pieces which were staples of the time yet would look just as ‘right’ today, especially given the influence which Nineties trends have had on fashion over the past few years. “Turtlenecks, body suits and trench coats…things that would have been accessible to a young woman of her age,” were all on Phillips’ list.

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They certainly saved the best for last with that stunning green dress that perfectly  complemented Amy Adams’ red hair.“That color was quite specific,” notes Phillips. “It was dyed and made; we labored over getting it the right color for film—and camera tested it….“It’s a public scene and we really wanted a colour that would stand out cinematically.” The keyhole neckline dress was chosen not only because it matches perfectly with the delicate wall decoration in the restaurant, but also for its powers in emphasising Adams’ flame-red hair. “That particular green is flattering to Amy Adams. I love a redhead in green and that was a yellowy chartreuse. It felt right, sometimes there’s an intuitive sensibility to filmmaking. I’m not a fan of ‘The Red Dress’ that you see in movies.

Book of the Week: Masterpiece Paintings

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I haven’t been consistent with posting about books! In fact, I haven’t been consistent with this blog at all…. I try to blog whenever I can or whenever I find something worth blogging about …. like for example this book! I think if you get only one book about art this year then this should be it! The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings… This book celebrates the greatest and most iconic paintings in The Met Museum collection. I found it very useful and think it’s an ideal introduction to the beautiful masterworks of The Met.

Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day

Madame Tussauds London museum dressed up the British royal family wax figures in ugly holiday sweaters in  honor of the “Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day,” which will take place on December 16 ….it’s a campaign that asks people to wear their favorite silly or ugly sweaters in exchange for donating to the nonprofit Save the Children.

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I must admit that I don’t mind Prince Philip’s sweater…. compared to what the rest of the family ended up with, his isn’t bad at all lol!!!

Here’s the link for more info about Christmas Jumper day

The Crown

Anyone who knows me knows that I love costume dramas…  So it comes as no surprise that I have been waiting for The New Netflix production to be released!…..Other than “Games of Throne” “Downton Abbey” has been my favorite TV costume dramas until now….  “The Crown” to me is just another level of entertainment! It’s my new addiction!

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  “Downton Abbey” was/is fun to watch but it is fiction, whereas “The Crown” is based on fact, with a far weightier dose of history and politics, including issues of constitutional duty and complex political issues. Writer Peter Morgan and the director Stephen Daldry — have succeeded in balancing the seriousness of intent against popular appeal, and for Netflix, which I think has already attracted a huge international audience!

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This is not the 1st time that Mr. Morgan, the creator of the show, has written about the Queen…. He actually has extensive experience writing about her. His 2006 film “The Queen,” won several Academy Award nominations and the best actress award went to Helen Mirren as the monarch, facing public reaction to the death of Princess Diana. Then in 2013 came his successful play, “The Audience,” also starring Helen Mirren and directed by Mr. Daldry, which swoops through some 60 years of the weekly meetings between Queen Elizabeth and her prime ministers. And actually this experience of writing “The Audience” gave him the idea for “The Crown.”

Part of the pleasures of watching “The Crown” is its ability to offer glimpses of life at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences (The furniture! The objects! The clothes! The jewels!). But it also offers a history lesson in world events, politics and the social manners and mores of postwar British society, seen through the prism of Elizabeth’s reign.

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For example, I was really surprised by the relationship between Winston Churchill and the young queen! I never thought the either one of them struggled in this relationship! Never thought that either one of them ever doubted themselves… until now!

I don’t want to say more and spoil it for those of you who haven’t watched it yet… but here are a few reviews I read about the series … Both +ve and -ve:

  • The New York Times says it is “just an orgy of sumptuous scenes and rich performances” in its Review: Netflix Does Queen Elizabeth II in ‘The Crown,’ No Expense Spared.
  • Vanity Fair’s review, The Crown Is Netflix’s Most Expensive Series to Date, and Worth It, says “A grand saga about the British royals begins with a sumptuous look at midcentury monarchy.”
  • USA Today gives The Crown 3-1/2 out of 4 stars in its piece titled Review: ‘The Crown’ is sumptuous miniseries with the stellar cast!
  • From the Maclean’s review by Patricia Treble, ‘The Crown’ on Netflix is riveting. And not completely true. “Unlike many so-called documentaries that are little more than rehashed tittle-tattle and gossip, The Crown’s fact-heavy fiction puts dramatic meat on much more substantial and accurate bones.“