Friday, November 30, 2012

Smooth Sailing

Dear Readers,

A while back leggings became a staple in my wardrobe.  They're comfy, easy, and chic paired with flats or boots and a long-ish top or short dress (no, leggings do not replace pants - see image below if you're confused about this).  Especially now that I'm a mom and spend a lot of time on the floor and bending over I appreciate having something on that doesn't require a whole lot of adjustment that moves with me.  However, one thing kept leggings from being my one true wardrobe love - waistband muffin top.

Now, while Muffin himself is the cutest baby on the entire planet, "muffin" of the mid-waist variety is the exact opposite of cute.  When I was pregnant I had some Be Maternity leggings that went all the way up to my bra line that I 1000% loved.  I even tried to keep wearing them after Muffin was born, but low-rider leggings are potentially even less cute than tight, muffin-top leggings so I grudgingly stopped.  And then I found miracle leggings made by every woman's frennemie: Spanx!

First, trust me you don't want to rip them off an hour into wearing them like most Spanx products.  The "Look-at-me High Waisted Leggings" go up to the bra line and down to your ankles. These opaque leggings smooth you out while remaining comfy.  Yes, they're a small fortune ($72 for leggings?!) but they're worth it in my book.  No yanking to keep them up, no concerns of what you look like in certain tops (especially from behind), just smooth black leggings that stay up all day long.  Simply put, these leggings offer peace of mind.  And THAT makes these leggings (or even two pair!) totally worth it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winged Victory

Dear Readers,

I am married to a man who could take or leave many things but loves specialty beer, liquor, wine and all the accouterments with the passion I reserve for designer handbags and shoes. Every foreign trip requires the purchase of at least one local specialty drink as a momento.  And they are...special.  Sweetie conducts large scale tastings of these finds late into our evening parties.  The net result is a lot of very intoxicated friends starring blurry-eyed at my husband while he happily goes on and on about where he found these bottles, how the locals drink them and what he thinks are the important things to notice.

My first Christmas gift to my husband was some Calvados and a personalized decanter.  We had met in Europe and everywhere we went he asked if they had Calvados.   I swear, he teared up a little when he opened the gift and was speechless for a second (realizing, of course, he'd met his soul mate, clearly).  Every year I hope to get him something misty-worthy, and I always strike out.  UNTIL NOW.  Enter:

Wingtip is a fantastic men's store curated for "the modern gentlemen."  The items are wonderfully organized with, obviously, a whole section devoted to wine and spirits.  Behold!  A pewter-mounted drinking horn!  An ice ball press (I know, I'd never seen one before either)!  A wine aroma master kit!  It's just so.....Sweetie.  They even have an interactive gift guide!  So, if your man is like mine, a "modern gentlemen" who would get a big kick out of something so super fabulous and fine, well, You're Welcome.  Christmas, complete.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hot Stuff

Dear Readers,

In our house, there is a lot of negotiating.  I blame this on the fact I married another lawyer.  We both negotiate and poke holes in other people's arguments for a living, so why not continue the fun at home?  There is a lot of "Hey, I'll do the dishes if you walk the dog" or "I'll put Muffin to bed if you start dinner."  Usually, one of us is offering to do what we're in the middle of doing anyhow.  But by suggesting everything is tit for tat, the other feels like a cad if they don't step up.  Hey, whatever works, right?

Last night while we were decorating our enormous Christmas tree we cut down ourselves.  It's seriously 20 feet tall and quite the undertaking. Sweetie said "If you'll sweep up the pine needles I'll make us hot toddies."  My husband makes the best hot toddies in the whole world, so I agreed.  I would agree to do many things for one and he knows it.  Well played, sir.

Anyhow, as the evening wore on I offered to make a batch if he told me what's in one.  Turns out, it's actually not really a hot toddy so much as a spicy, wonderful hot whiskey drink.  Details, details.  Either way, now the secret recipe is all mine and I'm sharing it with you.  Best part?  It's SUPER easy!

Sweetie's Holiday "Hot Toddy" Recipe 

4 ounces of apple cider (I'm a sucker for Knudsen's)
2 ounces of sweet vermouth
2 ounces of whiskey (we used Maker's Mark)
Dash of bitters
Heat in your Pyrex for 1.5 minutes in the microwave
Serve with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!
*Makes two small servings or one big one
**Disclaimer: this goes down a little too easy, so drink with care

Merry imbibing!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nailed it!

Dear Readers,

I love fashion magazines and always will.  I honestly started buying Vogue in grade school.  Recently, however, being mid-makeover I've put a moratorium on clothing purchases.  More or less.  So I've turned my attention to my hair and nails.  My mid-length bob and short, recently-unmanicured hands were making me feel like a Frumpy Mommy.  However, I didn't want to go too far.  Being a Professional Mommy it's a tightrope between stylish and young and teenybop wannabe.

Then yesterday a client of mine had the cutest nails (maroon except for her ring finger which was a light silver sparkle) and it inspired me to try the different colored nail trend.  It's subtle if you have short nails but fun as long as you aren't in a jury trial.  You can even go more subtle by doing the same shade on all the fingers but adding a little clear sparkle over the fourth finger.  So many options, so many ways to make those fingers flying across that keyboard a little more festive.

Then there's the hair. The bob makes me feel like a middle-aged newscaster, but at the same time it's easy and it's always professional.  But then, after watching a million episodes of 30 Rock and reading Bossypants (fab) I figured if Liz Lemon can sport the trendy wavy curls so can I!  To avoid looking like Shirley Temple (a legit concern given the length of my hair) I invested in a Chi clampless curling wand.  These puppies are expensive, just like your fav ceramic flat iron, so check out Overstock and the like for deals.

Ok, for the how-to.  Styling was actually easier than I thought it would be.  Just split your hair in half at the ears.  Pin up the top half.  Starting on one side take one-inch sections and curl them away from your face. Then let down the top and repeat.  Comb your fingers through and set with a little spray.  Remember - you want it to look effortless.  The curls don't have to be perfect, but I HIGHLY recommend putting some smoothing serum on your ends lest you look like you just spent hours standing in the wind after taking out your sponge curlers.  I really like Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure Rescue Sealed Ends.

So there you have it.  Professional. Sassy. And Hot Mamma approved (see Beyonce, below).  Ta-da!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fast Food, Revisited

Dear Readers,

This last week I was in Nebraska for Thanksgiving.  My husband's family lives in a small town there and every year we make the trek and every year I'm on a diet.  It doesn't occur to me that I'm a perpetual dieter until things like an annual trip come up and then I think "oh yeah this time last year I wasn't eating anything yellow."

Anyhow, the challenge is this: these trips really make it hard to stay on track because 1) it's very busy; 2) lots of time on the road and staying with others; 3) I don't want to be rude; and 4) the traditional Midwestern diet isn't Richard Simmons approved.  Add to that I now have Muffin, and this trip had "comfort food weight gain" written all over it.  Not so I vowed!  Not this year!

With my recent "makeover" momentum behind me, I was compelled to come up with a solution other than to just give in and give up in a pile of casseroles, cookies and veggies covered in marshmallow.  What I came up with is "The Catherine Travel Diet."  May it help you as it helped me!


2 poached eggs and some fresh fruit or an egg white omelette with veggies.


A no sugar Think Thin bar and an apple or an orange (highly recommend the clementines this time of year!)


Chicken breast or fish baked or grilled, no oil, and veggies.

Snacks: Fresh fruit, veggies or wine (come on - you're on vacation!  But skip the beer or mixed drinks).

In a pinch - any meal, any time:

Catherine Tuna Salad: One can of water packed solid albacore tuna drained and mixed with a squeeze of lemon, a dash or two of hot sauce, some garlic salt and fresh pepper, a stalk or two of chopped celery and a quarter of an avocado.

I picked up the Think Thin bars, a bag of apples and a box of Clemintines, some avocados and some tuna at Whole Foods in Denver on our way to Nebraska.  I really did enjoy myself more knowing I had 10 Think Thin bars in my purse so I was ready no matter what the day brought our way.  In fact, I felt super smug about the whole thing until I got home and plowed headlong into some spicy Indian food out of sheer delight (rural NE isn't known for spicy, ethnic foods).  At least I'd been good up until then, right?

To your health!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Comfort is Key

Dear Readers,

Before Muffin was born people had a lot of parenting advice.  This annoyed me.  "Thanks, I've got this!" I kept thinking.  I'd been reading, after all.  I also thought, "billions of people do this - how hard can it be?"  I have a wonderful partner, I'm not stupid and I've bought every baby thing imaginable.  What more do we need?


Once Muffin arrived, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.  Suddenly, all my norms were off.  I didn't know which way to turn, and I was sure everything I was doing was wrong.  Massive sleep deprivation and a heavy dose of postpartum anxiety (depressions' sneaky and less popular sister) didn't help.  My husband said "why don't you trust your instincts?"  I don't know.  Maybe because I didn't have any instincts left beyond fear, loving my baby without limit, and a feeling I was way in over my head.

Anyhow, I had some friends who did offer a little advice around that time and boy was I happy to receive it (in addition to some Paxil).  I'll pass along the best advice to you, because it really helped me:

Do what makes you comfortable.

Yep.  Seems simple, but hear me out.  There is a LOT of advice out there.  Books, blogs, friends, postmen, EVERYONE has a way they parent and a solid list of "musts."  Listen politely because you might learn something great.  But remember, the only rules are 1) love them; 2) feed them; and 3) keep them safe.  The rest is just details and personal preference.

The key is this: whatever it is you do, make sure it works for you and your baby so you can enjoy your little one and feel like yourself.  Cry it out?  It made me and Muffin hysterical.  Co-sleeping?  I was sure I'd smother Muffin in his sleep.  But somewhere between the extremes of Attachment Parenting and Babywise we found a very happy, comfortable method and routine that just felt right.  And suddenly, parenting was fabulous and the hazing was over.  In the end, I did follow my instincts and it worked.

So, just remember: If it feels right, do it.  If it doesn't, don't.  And if you need help, get help be it a book, a friend, a stranger or a counselor.  You'll find your stride and be a wonderful parent, I just know it.

Bon Parenting!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

For Fab's Sake

Dear Readers,

I'm friends of friends of some very trendy New Yorkers who are much hipper than I.  Through their "likes" on Facebook I discovered a new site called  Many of you probably already know about it, but since they don't sell baby things (that I know of....) it hasn't been on my radar.  That is, until I saw these fine t-shirts on there from Skip N' Whistle.

I personally love traditional Holiday sweaters.  I'm not talking ugly Christmas sweaters with the rhinestones, etc. but the traditional knit sweaters that look like you bought them in Bavaria.  Love.  So Ralph Lauren.  I always try to get my S.O. to wear one but he swears they're too hot.  All that standing by an open fire and yule nog makes sweaters too much to bear for some.  UNTIL NOW:

Enter, the Holiday Tee designed to look like a knit sweater!  And, for the really super cool and hipster among us, they have some, um...non-traditional prints too!

That too cool cousin?  Done.  Your sister's hipster boyfriend/whatever they are?  Sold.

The makers of this fine assortment of T-shirts, Skip n' Whistle, has a great website that sadly doesn't include their holiday looks.  They are fun though!  Check it out!

Hohoho -

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

'Tis the Season

Dear Readers,

It isn't even Thanksgiving yet and already I'm getting ready for Christmas!  I know, I at a time.  Well, I've never been very good at not leaping ahead of myself when I'm excited, and that has nothing to do with the Holiday season.  This will be Muffin's first Christmas and I'm seriously beside myself with excitement.  Imagine - the carols, the stories, the food, the traditions - all for the first time!  Oh joy:)

So, to prepare for this amazing time of year, I've gone over the top in a big way.  I've ordered our family matching pajamas.  Oh yes.  You read that right.  Call the Nerd Police - there are some new offenders in town!  But seriously, when else can you be totally cheesy if not Christmas?

The good news is, I'm not the only one to have thought of this.  Oh no.  In fact, many, many websites cater to those of us who have visions of sugarplums in our heads and wish to have them on our matching footie pajamas. of course has many different options (although, none really inspired me).  I ended up with some from  Then, 5 seconds after placing the order, I decided I really should have ordered a different pattern.  Their customer service person was great!  She changed everything for me, easy-peasy.  The Company Store likewise has some adorable options.  So, check it out!  You too could have the most stellar Christmas morning photos of all time.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hey, Sugar!

Dear Readers,

Cold weather is officially here and we all know what that means: chapped lips.  Ew.  I know.  I hate even talking about it, but it's a fact of life.  I broke out my fab lip products and thought "I'm so happy I have you!"  The reason I have them close at hand is because last year when I was preggers my lips were terrible.  Given that the only decent parts of my body left were 1) my lips and 2) my ankles, I went to great lengths to protect both up to the bitter end.  Through trial and error I discovered some awesome products that of course I'll share with you!

1. Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment.  Sure, it costs as much as one to three bottles of wine (depending on your mood and pocketbook), but it's the best stuff around.  The clear works the absolute BEST.  Fresh makes a line of tinted lip treatments too, they just don't work as well (IMO - and that's all that counts).

2. Fresh Sugar Lip Polish.  Back in the day, The Body Shop made a great exfoliating chapstick.  No more.  But this Fresh Sugar Lip Polish tastes better anyhow and does the trick.  It's a little messy, and make sure to remove ALL lipstick before using, but it gets your lips soft, smooth and fabulous in no time.

3. It's called a toothbrush  I learned this trick from the late '80's sitcom about models, Living Dolls.  I think it lasted about 3 episodes, but what I learned endures: just use an old toothbrush on your lips after brushing your teeth and your lips will be like silk.  See?  The more you know....

4. FUTURO Compression trouser socks.  When my ankles started to swell, I about lost my you-know-what.  Was it not bad enough I had no clothing?  Now I REALLY had no clothing because all of my adorable maternity dresses were supported by a set of tree trunks.  I bought all kinds of compression hose, socks, and tights and they all were, basically, torture devices that forced you to workout to even get a toe in.  Then I discovered these trouser socks at WalMart and switched to wearing leggings, tall boots and tunics.  Thanks to these puppies, at the end with my fancy socks hidden inside my boots I felt every inch the preggo sex bomb (in my head).  These could also come in handy on long flights post-baby.

See?  With a few key products you've instantly got your sexy back!  Bring it on!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dare to Dream: The Makeover Edition

Dear Readers,

Recently, while watching back episodes of Glee on Hulu (man I love Hulu and it is so not a waste of money), I was swept up in the Rachel and Kurt rapturous romp of reinvention and dream-following in NYC.  Then they broke into to try on dresses and SJP found them and didn't get mad, she just said "You had me at 'makeover.'" Then they started singing I felt like I did when I was little and watched Annie over and over and over and I was like, "I want a makeover and I want to follow my dreams too!!" (Side note, SJP got her start on Broadway in Annie.  And then she went on to SATC fabulosity.  Coincidence?  I think not.)

So this spurred the question: "what are my dreams?"  I mean, my life is pretty great.  I'm not on magazine covers or living in St. Tropez, but as life goes I kinda hit the "good life" jackpot.  So what's missing?  A little showbiz glitz and glamour.  And we all know what that means: MAKEOVER!

And so it has begun: my transformation from a "before" to an "after."  Oh yes yes yes - I'm not hideous now.  Not for a new mom living in the suburbs working a desk job with a shopping and fashion mag habit.  But let's face it - anytime someone qualifies "you look great" with "for a new mom" or "for [fill in the blank]" the makeover sequence should start.  And so it has!

"Can I get some music, please!"

This weekend, I received the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis package and decided that I should look like Tracy prior to Muffin turning one, or before I turn 34, whichever.  Especially after I heard her speak on her videos and decided that she was super nice, we'd probably be girlfriends, and then she'd introduce me to Gwyneth and Gwyneth would agree I look so super fab that really I should be Tracy's new spokesperson.

Anyhow.  I'm 3 days in and I love it! It's working!  I'm essentially eating baby food (actually, I've been feeding some of it to Muffin, though he isn't that into the steamed carrots and parsnips, smart boy) and dancing my way thin.  Home workouts are fantastic as a working mom.  It isn't easy, but hey - beauty is pain.  And it's worth it, because as we all know a great makeover can change your entire life.  Just look at Annie.  That little minx danced, dressed and sang her way into the heart of a gaziillionaire.  I've already got my man, so what's next?  Exciting! Stay tuned!

What's your dream?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fresh Start

Dear Reno Readers,

If you, like me, shop a lot you probably have a few things you no longer need/want/like in your closet.  And if you, like me and Mariah Carey have been a few sizes here lately, you may have even MORE you'd love to clear out.

Get a fresh start and help others get a fresh start!  Donate your new or used business attire to ProNet, a non-profit that helps people in need get the look to get the job.  Help the Nevada Bar Association Young Lawyers Section with their clothing drive for ProNet.

Donation location:

Gunderson Law Firm
3895 Warren Way
Reno, NV 89509


Sale Alert!

Dear Readers,

My fav RoSK blankets are on sale today on!  Originally $68 on sale for $34!

 It's the pouch kind, which would be AMAZING for using with a carrier or a stroller in these chilly temps.

You're welcome!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Soup's On!

Dear Readers,

It is officially Fall and I couldn't be more excited about the return of warm drinks, sweaters and some yummy soup to end these chilly, beautiful days.  I always have big plans to make meals in my slow cooker this time of year, but let's get real: who is that prepared?  Mornings are fast enough without layering on the chopping and prep time.

The best option really is fabulous soup that is easy to make.  My husband and I made this over the weekend (we had a "Parent's Night" while Muffin stayed with his grandparents) and it was so yummy and easy I'd make it any night of the week. Perfect!

·         1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded (they sell this in the frozen food isle if you don’t have/want to deal with fresh)
·         3 tablespoons unsalted butter
·         1 medium onion, chopped
·         5 cups chicken stock
·         1 cup of white wine (or more, in or out of the soup)
·         Curry
·         Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in wine.  Puree with a hand blender (If you don't own one you should!  Life changing!). Stir and season with curry, salt, and pepper. Voila!
Serves 6-ish
Calories: 125-ish
Bon Appetit!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Having It All

Dear Readers,

Though this may shock you, there is one time I hate shopping.  I really do not like shopping for most men.  I say "most" because I adore shopping for my husband and baby.  Thanks to me, they have a steady stream of adorable outfits and useful gadgets flow their way which I like to think make their life complete.  But other than my boys, I find shopping for men a chore, and I hate for my favorite pastime to be anything but what it's intended to be: a fun form of escapism that provides the necessary costuming and stage design for the theatre of life.  Say what you will about shopping being frivolous, but I do firmly believe that the right dress and decor really can change your life.

Enter my father's birthday which comes directly before Christmas.  For the man who has everything and more means than I, what do you buy?  I have had my share of hits and misses.  But I do detest wasting money and giving people things they stack in their closet the requisite amount of time before donating.  So every year I scroll through multiple online "men's gifts" lists and find nothing for the man who has everything except a hobby that inspires kitsch and gifts (if only he were a golfer or binge drinker...).

Then, this year an unlikely and wonderful catalog appeared in our mail and solved all of my problems: Restoration Hardware (Also check the website here and here.  The website isn't as easy to navigate as the catalog - ahem, RH peeps).  Now, I enjoy Restoration Hardware.  They have some fun things, even if their color palate is more bland than baby rice cereal.  But they have some fantastic man gifts this year, stretching from practical to whimsical to nostalgic that made my heart flutter with relief.  Finally!  Men's gifts that didn't include pajamas, cologne or a $500 interesting but unnecessary gadget.  Hoorah!

So, for the difficult on your list, check it out.  Turns out, you really can have it all.  Shopping true love restored.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Dear Readers,

A long time ago I read Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar."  In addition to the term "shock therapy" always reminding me of her, there was a line that I was really taken with.  It was a description of the experience of encountering something true, and it went something like "You open a door and the man standing there says he's your father, and despite the fact you've never met him before you know that he is."

Yeah, I know.  My, what a super sunny introduction!  But seriously, when I read that line I thought "I know what she's talking about" because I have that experience shopping.  You know - sometimes you run across things and instead of thinking "hmm....maybe that's me...maybe I could make that work" you find things that scream "I'M YOURS!"  And, being narcissistic as we all can be, anything that screams "I WAS DESIGNED FOR YOU!" requires immediate purchasing because how could you turn down anything so perfect?

So it was today when I ran across my new favorite website,  The music swelled, time stood still and for a brief moment I stared thinking "where have you been all my life?"  Clothing, accessories, home items, everything is just "me."  Colorful, fun, classic but not boring, girly but not icky-sticky...Stoppit.  Be still my beating heart.

Visa card: get ready.  You're going to get some serious exercise in the next few months!