Thursday, January 31, 2013

Party In My Crib

Dear Readers,

It is well-documented that Muffin adores the wee hours of the morning.  It amazes me that 5am could be so thrilling to him while so terrible for me.  But, thanks to some very good advice from some fellow mommies, we have started implementing "crib time."

"Crib time" is time when your wee one listens to music, reads books, plays and does what the rest of us love doing in bed at hours other than 5am.  The positives are many: your baby is safe, enjoying his crib/toys, taking in some rockin' tunes and exploring autonomy all while you get yourself psyched up to go start breakfast.

This is what we do:  When Muffin arises at 5:14am thrilled to be alive, one of us goes in, turns on a little lamp, greets him with hugs and kisses, and changes him/removes his wearable blanket.  Then together we select a couple of books and favorite toys for the crib and turn on some music.  Muffin is then re-deposited into his crib for a half-hour or so while Mommy or Daddy collapses back into bed.  Muffin is happy and we are better rested.  It's win-win.

Things to keep in mind: Both the BabyWhisperer (see her toddler edition) and 12 Hours Sleep lady advocate baby crib play time.  However, you need to make sure your baby is old enough for self time, can sit on his or her own and is surrounded by only safe toys, and unable to escape the crib.  If all that is true and you too are seeking a few more moments of rest, give this a whirl.  You can thank me later :)


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Just Say "Yes"

Dear Readers,

I finished Tina Fey's "Bossypants" a while back.  It really solidified my girl crush on Tina because  1) She really does seem a lot like Liz Lemon, and I love her all the more for staying true to that.  2) She acknowledges how hard it is to be a working mom, and I applaud her for being honest. and 3) Her rules of improv really made me happy and caused me to think: "You know, this is why some people are just so GREAT to be around!  They follow these rules!"  Of course, this also explains why people hate lawyers, but alas.

On to the rules!

Tina Fey's (Awesome) Rules of Improvisation (That Could Make People Like You More)

The first rule of improvisation is AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES. When you’re improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created. So if we’re improvising and I say, “Freeze, I have a gun,” and you say, “That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me,” our improvised scene has ground to a halt. But if I say, “Freeze, I have a gun!” and you say, “The gun I gave you for Christmas! You bastard!” then we have started a scene because we have AGREED that my finger is in fact a Christmas gun.
Now, obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.
As an improviser, I always find it jarring when I meet someone in real life whose first answer is no. “No, we can’t do that.” “No, that’s not in the budget.” “No, I will not hold your hand for a dollar.” What kind of way is that to live?
The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “What did you expect? We’re in hell.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “I told you we shouldn't have crawled into this dog’s mouth,” now we’re getting somewhere.
To me YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.
The next rule is MAKE STATEMENTS. This is a positive way of saying “Don’t ask questions all the time.” If we’re in a scene and I say, “Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here? What’s in that box?” I’m putting pressure on you to come up with all the answers.
In other words: Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles. We’ve all worked with that person. That person is a drag. It’s usually the same person around the office who says things like “There’s no calories in it if you eat it standing up!” and “I felt menaced when Terry raised her voice.”
MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice.
Instead of saying “Where are we?” make a statement like “Here we are in Spain, Dracula.” Okay, “Here we are in Spain, Dracula” may seem like a terrible start to a scene, but this leads us to the best rule:
THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities. If I start a scene as what I think is very clearly a cop riding a bicycle, but you think I am a hamster in a hamster wheel, guess what? Now I’m a hamster in a hamster wheel. I’m not going to stop everything to explain that it was really supposed to be a bike. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up being a police hamster who’s been put on “hamster wheel” duty because I’m “too much of a loose cannon” in the field. In improv there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents. And many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident. I mean, look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or Botox.
*Improv will not reduce belly fat
-From Bossypants

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Full-On Fab

Dear Readers,

Winter is dragging on and I am beyond tired of all my cold weather clothing.  Hope appeared to be lost and I was about to start freezing it out in my new spring purchases when I got a fashion jolt from my new fav fashion blog: Atlantic-Pacific.  Now, let me take a tiny time-out to say that I really wish I looked like Ms. Blair Eadie all the time.  She totally is my best-case-scenario fashion twin (in my head).  Preppy, East-Coast but California cool...Yes, please!

Anyhow, Ms. Blair was wearing many full skirts in her posts (example: below) and I suddenly saw my new transition piece to get me through this dismal cold: a full midi-skirt (or two).  Seriously: for snow it works with tights, booties and a tucked-in sweater and come warmer temps just switch into a striped T and some cute wedges.  Ta-da!   I know - I live in a fashion wasteland and only now have awakened to the 50's trend.  Either way, I'm excited.  A full skirt is fun, easy to wear, and at a mid length super flattering and comfy.  Perfection.

If you haven't tried the trend yet, check out Boden's fab Grace skirt (on sale! and yes I know, the fact it's on Boden -and on sale already - really solidifies that I've been asleep at the switch on this trend) or Asos for a ton of fun and affordable options.

Also on my fashion horizon?  A long, chiffon maxi skirt with a cropped moto jacket for spring events.  Mmmmmm....coming soon!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Special Edition: Baby Gear - The "Musts"

Dear Readers,

Recently, my cousin announced she and her husband are having a baby.  I am THRILLED.  I actually started crying when she told me the news.  And then, after I calmed down, I sent her my over-inclusive list of baby gear suggestions with a lot of editorial comments (of course).  She responded that she really appreciated it, but didn't I recall they live in a small apartment in LA?  Ah yes.  We don't all live in the 'burbs with room for all the baby junk one can afford/register for.

So, I set out to cull the list.  After I finished, I myself wondered why I had so many things for such a tiny baby.  But a word on that: you do, in fact, need some baby gear.  And I mean YOU, not necessarily your baby.  But if you value sleep, showering, your sanity and the occasional quiet moment, then yes - you need a few things, but not everything.  Below is what works.

Baby Gear: Musts (IMO)

1.1.      Sleep:
a.       Crib
                                                              i.      Traditional:  Anything safe (bars close enough together; no bumpers) with a firm mattress. 
                                                            ii.      If you’re strapped for space or debating an upcoming move, consider an uber-fancy Pack n Play  that includes a bassinet, changing table, storage, etc. instead of a traditional crib.  And (bonus!) then you have a travel crib!
                                                          iii.      Bassinet (newborns only): I have friends who SWEAR by the Fisher Price Newborn Rock-n-Play Sleeper.  An upright position is very good for newborns, especially if they have reflux.  I’m buying one for the next baby.
b.      Swaddling/blankets:
                                                            i.      Love the Aden +Anais blankets for everything (swaddling, floor time, putting over the car seat to block the sun, wiping up spit up…endlessly great).
                                                           ii.      Summer Infant “Swaddle Me” Velcro and Halo swaddle wraps are essential.  We double-swaddled Muffin initially (Aden +Anais blanket on the inside and the Velcro swaddle wrap on the outside) at the suggestion of a friend with twins and it worked!  
                                                          iii.      Wearable blankets for post-swaddling.
c.       White Noise: At a minimum download free white noise onto your iPhone.  I also love our Sleep Sheep.
d.      Pacifier:  (If you want one.)  Muffin loves the Philips Avent Soothie
22.      Feeding:
a.       Formula Feeding:
                                                          i.      Bottles:  Muffin loves the Playtex VentAire with a wide nipple.  The Playtex Drop-Ins are nice too for less clean up if you’re travelling.
                                                          ii.      Formula: We use Earth’s Best.  If you look at the ingredients in the more traditional formulas, you won’t be very impressed either (corn syrup, sugar and oil).
                                                         iii.      Formula dispenser (I like Munchkin)
b.      Breastfeeding
                                                          i.      Lanolin gel: A nipple saver! 
                                                          ii.      Nursing tanks: I like the ones from Target 
                                                          iii.      Nursing pads: Either the toss away kind or the reusable ones (wash and wear).  ESSENTIAL to prevent massive leakage/embarrassment. 
c.       Burp pads/Bibs: Aden +Anais makes adorable ones that are both!
33.      Baby Care:
a.    Eucerin:  Original lotion for the body, Eucerin Aquaphor for their faces/bum and Eucerin baby body wash/shampoo for the bath (per my pediatrician, you aren't supposed to use "baby" lotions/washes on newborns).
b.     BananaBoat baby sun block (suggested by my pediatrician and it’s great)
c.     Any baby care set with nail clippers, combs, etc.
d.     A couple of thermometers (we use one to test the bath water -99-100 degrees- and one for the baby)
e.     Nosebulb (hospital will probably give you one) and saline for babies noses (LittleRemedies makes a good one).
f.      Bathtub: We have the Primo Euro Bath and absolutely love it.  It has two sides and works for newborns through toddlers.
g.     Diapers:  Love the 365 brand from Whole Foods and the diapers (adorable colors and patterns, made from corn with no chemicals). also delivers to your door and gives you free wipes!
h.    DekorDiaper pail.  Yes, you need one.
44.      Gear:
a.    ErgoBaby: In a word – amazing.  You can get an infant insert for when they’re newborns or use it “as is” once they’re over 15 lbs.  Provides more support than the Bjorn (which rocks for newborns) AND you can wear it on your front or back (or side, but seriously…).  It also comes with a “sleep hood” that is the best.  Muffin will sleep in the Ergo anywhere, anytime (parties, BBQs, campfires, sun deck at the Hotel Del…) with a pacifier in his mouth and the sleep hood up.
b.    Swing: Grayson HATED his swing for two months and then it became my best friend.  We have the expensive Fisher Price one and the cheap Fisher Price “space saver” (which really should be called “life saver”).  
c.    Car Seat: Required by law.  We have the Graco35 (so the baby could be in it longer).
d.    Activity chair: Some call it the circle of neglect, others the circle of autonomy (me) but either way it will entertain your baby and keep him safe so you can do important things, like use the restroom or take a shower.  We received the Summer Infant Activity Chair and it’s GREAT.  Same idea as the Excersaucer (also amazing) but much smaller and can be used as an infant seat, high chair/booster seat.  Its $50 and does what 3 separate expensive products do!
55.      Clothes:
a.       Footie PJ’s are essential as are onesies with optional matching pants.  Fancy/complex outfits aren’t really used as much when they’re infants unless it’s a special occasion.  They sleep a lot in the first few months and frankly babies seem really uncomfortable in the other stuff (darn).
b.      Infantsocks and baby caps/hats are also necessary for cold/sun.  iPlay makes great baby sun gear.  

Happy Registering!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lip Service

Dear Female Readers,

If you're anything like me, you own tons of lipsticks and lip glosses all born in the search for the "perfect" lip-coating.  You know - Enough color that you don't look washed out, but not too much for everyday.  Glossy so you look fresh and young but no glitter for work/people taking you seriously.  Oh, and preferably something that doesn't come with a wand because they splatter and flip out of your hand.  I mean, seriously!  Why must this be so hard?

Well, I have found an answer to my lipstick/gloss prayers:  Yves Saint Laurent's Volupte Sheer Candy - Glossy Balm Crystal Color.  Yes, that's an unnecessarily long name for "gloss in a tube" but trust me - it's fab.  I personally love the Mouthwatering Berry for work (red but not that too-red-for-day-even-if-you-do-live-in-the-Hamptons as oft sported by Ms. Ashley Davenport) and the Succulent Pomegranate is perfect for fun/warmer temps.  And because they're in a tube they never leak or drip, so you can comfortably apply en route to any appointment or occasion risk free.

But what if you want something just pretty for a Sunday/everyday?  Try Dior Addict Lip Glow.  First, thank you, Dior, for picking a less tiresomely vague name.  Second and even better, the sheer gloss does, truly, make your lips glow in the way you hoped Smashbox's O-Gloss would deliver before it turned your lips fuchsia (which is fun if you were going for that, way too much if not).  Soft, pretty, moisturizing, in a tube sans it!

Go get 'em!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Crazy Sexy Clean

Dear Readers,

Feeling I needed a little vitamin boost tonight I adapted the Sexy Goddess Smoothie from Crazy Sexy Kitchen, the cookbook by Crazy Sexy Cancer author and health nut Kris Carr.  I didn't have everything on hand, so I made a few alterations to the recipe.  Fortunately, it turned out so well I think I'll keep making it as I did.

Little One seemed very keen on what I was drinking, so I shared some with him.  Low and behold he loved it!  And I love that I've found a quick and easy way to get lots of healthy goodness into Muffin's diet.  So it is that as we continue down our path towards better health, little Muffin is being dragged along with us.  Fortunately, Muffin isn't being carted along kicking and screaming.

Give it a spin in a Vita-Mix (truthfully, this recipe alone made me so happy I got that overpriced power blender!) and you'll love it too.

Muffin's Fav Green Smoothie

One cup of nut milk
One banana
One cup of blueberries
One Granny Smith apple
Two fistfuls of kale
3/4 cups of purified water
Dash of cinnamon

Blend all in a high-speed blender until smooth.  And enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Down and Out

Dear Readers,

Recently, Muffin's sleep went from predictable and good to unpredictable and bad.  Suddenly my easy baby wouldn't go to sleep without Herculean effort, wanted to party at 1:45 am and felt that 4 am was really an ideal time to get up (and not go back to sleep until at least 8 am).

This was a disaster.

You see, after Muffin was born I was obsessed with his sleep and mine (or the lack thereof).  I read every book, made his learning to sleep my full-time job while on maternity leave and basically blogged about it on Facebook.  Luckily for me, I got a lot of good advice that way from my fellow Mommy Facebookers.  The support was invaluable, and it turns out the advice was too.  One simple piece of advice a Mommy Friend passed along was "Just put them down."

That advice was harder to follow when Muffin was tiny, though I thought of it often.  But with him close to 11 months now, I heard that advice in my head one morning at 1:54 am while Muffin cooed and pointed.  Exhausted, I figured "why not?"  I put Muffin down in his crib, kissed him on the head, told him I loved him and would see him in the morning, closed the door and went back to bed.  In truth, I lay in my bed watching Muffin on the monitor, but what I saw convinced me this advice was spot-on:  He jumped, whined a little, crawled around, waved his arms and....fell asleep.  Until 7 am (!!) when he awoke happy and ready for the day.  Hallelujah!

Now, I've tried this technique since with naps and bedtime with about an 80% success rate.  He doesn't "cry it out" because truthfully he's not crying.  And if he is, I know something bigger is going on (like teeth or diaper issues).  But for any of you facing a similar sleep challenge, after the usual soothing routine try to "just put them down" so they can learn to sleep.  It works.

Happy Dreams!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sale Alert: Petunia Picklebottom!

BEST BEST BEST BEST BEST diaper bags are on SALE!!!!

Get the boxy backpack or the abundance backpack and you'll never be sorry:)

Check it out, here!

Sparkle and Shine

Dear Readers,

Here they are: more speedy, yummy vegan meals!  I discovered an amazing website - with delicious and healthy vegan and gluten-free meals that are simple to make but taste far more complex and special.  Ms. Sparkles is an adorable Australian, so you need to convert some of her measurements from weight to cups, but other than that simple, simple, simple, yummy, yummy, yummy!

We made the Cashew Cream of Mushroom soup and the Moroccan Sweet Potato Chickpea soup over the last two evenings.  Both were incredible!  Vegan or no, you must try them!  Ms. Sparkles also has some desserts I've set my sights on that look divine.

Tips for healthy, speedy dinners:

*Keep your kitchen stocked.  With the following on hand, you'll never be stuck without what you need: canned beans, onions, garlic, veggie stock bouillon cubes, a good variety of frozen veggies and a well-stocked spice rack.  Frozen veggies are the best for soups because it cuts down on the wash/chop time, plus they're never under or over ripe.  I recently found an amazing blend of mushrooms in the frozen section at Whole Foods I used for the Mushroom Cashew soup and some frozen sweet potato chunks I used for the Moroccan Chickpea soup!

*You don't need to cook with oil.  Oil is 100% fat, some of it saturated, and none of it healthy.  Try to get your fats from whole foods, not extractions (like olive oil).  This is the one change I made to the Vegan Sparkles recipes - I didn't cook the onion/garlic/veggies in oil or margarine.  Veggies, and in particular onions, have water in them naturally.  So turn up the heat and just toss them in!  The key with caramelized onions without oil is a very hot pan.  You can also cook your veggies in a little veggie stock if you like.

*Chop, toss and go.  These soups have some cooking time, so toss everything in the pot right when you get home.  Dinner is still done in a flash!  Plus these recipes make enough for at least 4 adults, if not more, so you'll have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.

*Get the gear.  Use a hand-blender to blend your soups if you have one.  And soaked nuts blended in a Vita-Mix makes any soup creamy and delicious without any dairy.  Obviously you don't have to buy a Vita-Mix (just think how much you're saving by not buying meat or eating out though!), but it really pulverizes the nuts into a perfect creamy base for your soup!  Seems so decadent, and yet it's healthy and wonderful.

Try these tricks and recipes and I promise you'll sparkle from the inside out too!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Out Of The Dark

Dear Readers,

Recently I ran out of my favorite eye shadow.  I don't really mix it up that much day-to-day (I know, feign huge shock).  After a mini-eye shadow lesson a long time ago from a friend at M.A.C (similar: here), I tend to stick to a shimmery nude on the lid with a sable color in the crease and black liner/mascara.  I think it says something not great about my sense of adventure when it comes to makeup that I bought those colors back when I got married.  Anyhow, when my fav eye shadows both ran out around the same time and I decided to hit the stores for something new.  It was about time.

I went to Ulta (though I prefer Sephora and its fabby V.I.B. program, I was in the neighborhood) and, rather that emerging with something new, re-discovered my fav eye shadow pallet from college: Stila's In The Light.  Re-discovery, sweet re-discovery.  The colors are all perfect for day or night with a tasteful mix of shimmer and matte, and I actually prefer the eye liner it comes with in a deep brown/almost black to my usual black for work.  Even better, it got me out of my rut of wearing the exact same thing every day.  If that's not enough to sell you the price will: $39.00 is an amazing deal for 10 eye shadows and one full-sized waterproof/smudge liner. Paired with the best mascara on earth (in my humble opinion) - Lancome's Definciles - you're ready for whatever the day throws your way.  It's a modern girl's dream come true.

Finally, I'll leave you with one major tip for making the most of your new eye makeup: To keep your shadow in place all day, make sure you first use a primer on your eye lid.  This made a world of difference for me when I discovered how well primers work (thank you to the Sephora VIB free gifts!).  No more wandering eye shadow, no more dark creases even after an entire day at the office.  I love Lorac's Behind the Scenes Eye Primer and M.A.C's Prep + Prime Eye.  Trust me - once you start using a primer, you'll never go back to just applying color directly on your lid again.

Got get 'em, Gorgeous!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Vegan To Go

Dear Readers,

The "year of veganism" continues for our family, and it's going swimmingly.  And how do we feel after 2 weeks?  Lighter, healthier, happier and more focused.  Seriously!  What could be better?

The #1 reaction I receive when I share what we're up to with people is:  "Wow, good for you" followed shortly thereafter by: 1) So all you eat is bread?  2) So all you eat is tofu?  and 3) Isn't that really hard?  The answer to all of those questions for me is "no."  Then again, pre-vegan we didn't eat only red meat, brie and use recipes from Julia Child.  Variety is the spice of life and, for me, the only way to eat.

We've been having a great time experimenting with new recipes and foods over the last two weeks.  Truthfully, we eat a lot more vegetables than ever before in addition to legumes (beans), whole grains and fruit and our plates went from blah to technicolor overnight!  But life in our household isn't all Vita-mix banana ice cream and Happy Herbivore Abroad meals (although both have been tried with great success!).

We're busy people, and eating a plant-based diet does require eating more often.  Luckily, convenience doesn't mean only 7-11 hot dogs and traditional fast food if you plan ahead a tad.  The following are some of my fav vegan foods to keep on hand in your desk or office fridge/freezer for lunch and/or snacks:

Dr. Praeger's California Burgers:  Excellent heated up in your microwave for 1.5 minutes and eaten between toast (preferably Ezeikiel).

Dr. McDougal's Soups: Keep in your desk, and never go hungry (or for the office coffee cake) again.

Lara Bars:  So many flavors, so few ingredients.

Amy's frozen meals:  Lots of options, lots of convenience, none of the bad stuff.

Also, and I know this sounds boring, but for snacks I keep chopped carrots and celery in the fridge along with some Clementines and activated almonds (in a nutshell - haha- you soak plain raw almonds in water overnight...that's it).

*All of the above can be found at Whole Foods and other natural food purveyors.

Happy Monday!

(Yes!  That's banana ice cream in the photo!)

Friday, January 11, 2013


Dear Readers,

A friend of mine turned me on to a great website for beautiful and sustainable leather handbags and shoes: ELF.  Elf's products are handmade in Bali and have a lovely mix of modern simplicity and globetrotter appeal.  If you're in the market for a new bag (and let's be honest, who isn't?) the following were some of my favs:

-Gorgeous Vagabond carryall.  Simple, and yet modern and very travel chic.  In burnt orange you could carry this anywhere, any time.  You could store a phone, passport, sunglasses and everything you'd need for a long flight or a short trip in this bag.  It's on my "birthday list" now!

-Lust-worthy Del Mar large clutch.  These are so in, but I especially love the stitching along the edge to set this apart from its cheaper, faux clutch friends.  In crimson or teal this would be one of those bags you'd wear day and night all spring and summer, with or without the strap.  Ok, birthday list....

-Cute Grace flats.  I especially love them in crimson.  Red shoes are never a mistake, and I love how these are both flattering with the low vamp and "now" with the t-strap.  They also look super comfy for walking along the Champs-Elysees or trekking over cobblestones in Brussels (because stilettos don't work on cobblestone; just trust me on that one).  Very Audrey, and very Continental with a pair of skinny ankle pants.

All of this online shopping and vacay dreaming makes me want to jump on the next plane!  And with these items, I'll be prepared.

Bon Voyage!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Warm Weather Dreaming

Dear Readers,

It's that time of year that I start dreaming of a warm get-away.  Obviously, such dreams include new beach cover-ups, new sandals and the latest over-sized sunglasses.  What else?  Fabby beach bags, dresses for dinner, lovely lounge wear, all the apres-swim one could envision would be needed while on holiday.

Well, one need look no further than Tory Burch's new Resort collection for 2013 to help make all your beach holiday dreams come true!

Alas, they are indeed dreams because I will not be spending $300 on a wonderful pom-pom cuff and adorable $400 pom-pom beach bag (yet).  Nonetheless, the collection is inspired and fits perfectly with my renewed desire to surround myself with things less-expected, less-ordinary.  And if history is any indication, in a millisecond these items will be copied downstream and available to those of us who are not Penthouse Princesses but instead Modern Warrior Mommies.  And I, for one, cannot wait!

But why wait when you could make your own pom-pom necklace right now!  Depending on your textile choices, it's even appropriate for non-beach days and city wear.  We Mommies are crafty.  Even better - it's chic, fab, cheap and you'll have major bragging rights when it's done.  Love it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wit and Whimsy

Dear Readers,

My resolution for 2013 is as follows: focus on happiness.  I'm naturally a pretty happy person, but I'm now actively focusing on bringing a little more sunshine into my world.  How, you ask?  By treating myself to happiness boosters inside and out:  1) Eating more fruits and veggies; 2)  Enjoying the moment; 3) Getting out and moving (walks, yoga, whatever) daily; and 4) Livening up the decor!

The last item is basically solved just by visiting Jonathan Adler's fabby website.  Life can be so serious and drab and "functional," can't it? Solutions! Add some unexpected frivolity to your surroundings and suddenly life goes from black and white to color.  I just love being surrounded by creative and joyful things because they make me feel, well, creative and joyful!  And that, for sure, is a happy thing.

Happy hunting!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

So Fresh and So Green

Dear Readers,

We made a great green juice for breakfast this morning designed to boost your energy and cleanse the body.  Maybe you didn't over-do it during the holidays (who are we kidding? or most of 2012...) but we did.  After watching Hungry for Change we are super excited to face "out with the old, in with the new" a little greener and a little leaner.

HFC has a simple and healthy 3-Day Cleanse that includes this fab green juice to start your day.  Even better, if you don't have a juicer you can also do a super simple mix of water and spirulina and wheatgrass powder.  What could be easier?  Hooray for change!

Super Detox Green Juice
serves 1

Juice the following:
2-3 celery stalks
1 small cucumber
2 kale leaves
handfull of fresh parsley
1 small lemon or lime, peeled
1 pear or apple

Time-Saving Super Simple Green Drink
serves 1 (no need for a juicer!)

12-oz glass of water
1 tablespoon of barley grass or wheatgrass powder
1 teaspoon of spirulina powder

stir and serve
*Warning: this drink is INTENSE on its own.  Consider blending in some fruit: 1/2 banana, some OJ and a handful of blueberries should do the trick.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mani Maddness

Dear Readers,

I'm the type to not go too far outside the norm with my hair and nails because I'm a professional and 3-D nail art is just too Snookie for the courtroom.  That said, I enjoy breaking up the shell-pink nails/red toes routine as much as the next girl.  Sweetie got me a wonderful mani/pedi gift with my stocking, so I decided to usher in 2013 with a fresh, fun mani that I adore!

I was inspired by one of my fav blogs, Cupcakes and Cashmere (see photo from C&C below).  I loved the light pink with the shot of gold coupled with the super-short nails (key for keeping nail art from getting too "Jersey").  Thanks to my super manicurist (Alayna at SOAK South if you live in Reno) I now know this is a "reverse French."  I got mine done in shellac because it lasts forever and looks super shiny and fab.  You could do this look in a million different color combos for different occasions and look hip without looking trampish.

Try it!

Friday, January 4, 2013

All-Natural Bebe

Dear Readers,

Muffin is at an age where we are introducing him to more and more solid foods.  Somehow, overnight my infant is now a toddler who can feed himself little chunks of gum-able food instead of baby purees (well, sort of).  What I have learned is that Muffin is far more interested in what I'm eating than anything else.  And so it was that we discovered our little baby is a natural "herbi."  While some of these foods are not traditional "baby foods" to me, they're healthy, fast, cheap and real.  What could be better?

The first food Muffin loves is Mommy's fav comfort food: couscous, cooked garbanzo beans and steamed broccoli.  Yes, I know.  For some this may not rank high on the "what a day; I could really go for..." list, but it's high on mine and, now, Muffin's.  I use a little food hand grinder my mom actually used for me (similar, here) to make sure our 3-toothed doll doesn't choke on broccoli florets.  He could eat this all day and night by spoon or mashed into baby-finger-sized balls.

The second food Muffin loves is Shredded Wheat (broken in half), softened with a little almond milk mixed with blueberries and banana chunks.  Just this morning we each enjoyed some cereal and a rollicking game of "repeat that sound/head movement" followed by the best thing in the whole world: Muffin Laughs!

Try these!  I promise they'll beat jarred turkey and carrots (or even homemade pureed chicken and veggie soup as it turns out) any day of the week.

Bon Appetite, Bebe!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Le Chat Noir

Dear Readers,

It is January, a time of year that makes me want to burn all brocade, fur, sparkle and wine-colored everything in my closet and replace it all with fresh white, navy and Kelly Green in preparation for spring.  That said, I am not yet ready to retire my winter staple: black tights.  First, it is unbelievably cold outside.  But beyond that, I always feel 60's cool and skinnier in opaque black tights, patent black high heels and a slightly shorter-than-usual work dress.

The only issue I have is finding the "perfect" black tights.  I thought I had found some by Betsy Johnson a few years back who makes some very cute, low-waisted ones with a tiny bow in the front.  However, they were very hard to find in plain black and my honest preference was for something higher-waisted (nobody needs muffin top under a dress; nobody).

And then: a breakthrough.  After years of trial and error, I can confirm I have found the perfect pair!  Ellen Tracy's Completely Opaque Tights in Jet Black.  They're long enough (I'm 5'9, so that's a minor miracle in and of itself), nearly completely opaque and (best of all) they can be pulled up comfortably to your bra line.  Hallelujah!  And as if this weren't enough, they're reasonably priced (ahem, Wolford) and will appear on your doorstep in seconds thanks to Amazon Prime (totally worth it - trust me).

Long live winter!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Breakfast of Champions

Dear Readers,

Happy 2013!  I don't know about you, but my new year's resolution is to focus on my health.  Oh I know - this resolution really doesn't set me apart from all other Americans.  But, after a lot of discussion and research Sweetie and I are going to focus on eating a plant-based diet for our health.  I mean, we need to be around when Muffin becomes President of the United States, so might as well focus on disease prevention now, right?

To get us on our way, we watched a short "kitchen rescue" video with Rip Esselstyn, author of the Engine 2 Diet and son of one of the doctors in my fav Forks Over Knives.  He's also a tri-athelete and got his whole firefighting group in TX to switch to a plant-based diet, so he knows a thing or two about implementing healthy foods into an active lifestyle.

Anyhow, Rip put together a super hearty, healthy cereal that he swears by Monday through Friday.  It looked yummy and super easy, so I bought the goods and it's great!  Best thing is it's not expensive, it stays with you and you can throw it together in a snap.  Working Mommy perfection!

Engine 2 Breakfast Cereal

Mix the following in a bowl (Watch out - your cereal will grow exponentially.  If you make too much, just put half aside for tomorrow):

Shredded Wheat (the real deal; careful - some other versions, including Kashi, have a lot of sugar)
Uncle Sam Cereal
Ezikiel Sprouted Grain Cereal
Old Fashioned Oats* (not instant)
Ground Flax seed* (apparently the seeds don't digest unless ground)
Chopped walnuts*

Next, choose a mix of fruit toppings:  Raisins*, dried blueberries*, berries, kiwi, banana, mango, etc.

(*Look for these items in the bulk foods section.)

Mix all with some unsweetened plant-based milk (soy, almond, coconut, rice) or regular milk and enjoy.

To your health!