Friday, October 1, 2010

Kudos of the Day...

Goes to Tulpen at Bad Words, for being totally honest in calling three-year-olds assholes.

Because, hello? They totally are.

You can read that excellence here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

South Beach Diet and Me

After losing 20 pounds by just watching what I eat, I am ready to start a more concentrated dieting approach. I am currently following the South Beach Diet way of eating, which I love. The SBD, as my friend and I call it, is a healthful way of eating, both because of the food, and on an emotional level. This diet does not require counting calories or points, so personally, I think about food less when I am following this way of eating.
The problem is, my recipe ideas run pretty dry after I have exhausted my SBD stand-bys: lean meatloaf, grilled meat with veggies, broth-y soups, and salads. There are numerous blogs out there that have wonderful recipe ideas for SBD, with the most helpful probably being Kalyn's Kitchen. Her website is very well-organized. My one complaint? (Which really isn't much of a complaint at all, just a difference in taste.) I tend to like more homey, comfort foods.

Kalyn's recipes are delicious, and I have used many of them. But I'm a coward, and like to stick to what I know... like casseroles, creamy soups, thick stews, and braised meats. Kalyn tends to enjoy cooking in more of what I would call a Mediterranean style. I prefer things more French. (Give me sauces, or give me death!)

Which brings me to my point... I am going to post recipes that I have tried, and how I liked them. I am going to attempt to bring a more French or American-comfort food bent to the South Beach Diet. I am going to be completely honest about how the recipes turn out, too. I will also do my utmost to make sure that the recipes I use comply with SBD, but if they don't, please feel free to comment! I would like to be corrected if I get it wrong.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Knock That Shit Off

There is a blog that I read on a daily basis. I used to love it, but lately...not so much. This person's blog has become nothing but a bunch of whining. And the thing is... the stuff the author is whining about isn't that big of a deal.

She has beautiful children. From her admission, she has a loving husband who works hard so she can stay home with said beautiful children, in a large, lovely home with a beautiful yard. She has wonderful friends who bring soup when her or her children are sick.

There is no cancer here. No lost job with a looming foreclosure. No infertility or loss of limb or earthquake or flooding. What there is on that blog is a lot of this:
-"It's so freaking hot! I cannot stand it. We have to stay inside in the air-conditioning all day." (Well, it is summer right now. Thank the Lord you have air-conditioning.)
-"I am nauseous ALL day! And I hate my husband. Him trying to be nice to me makes me hate him more." (You are pregnant, presumably with another gorgeous child. Pregnancy makes people irritable. Deal.)
- "My son is being so naughty lately. He has taken to throwing his toys at the flat screen." (Take his toys away, maybe? Or how about some good old-fashioned discipline?)

These are made-up quotes, of course. I know the blog world is a small one, and this woman has one of the most-read "mommy" blogs on the internet. She seems to have everything going for her, by her own admission. And I know life isn't perfect, and all of us need to vent sometimes. But if she doesn't knock off the whining spree, she is going to lose a big chunk of her readers.

Starting with me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tomato Tart

I made this tomato tart last night. (Recipe from Williams-Sonoma.) I used a store-bought pie crust, and did it in a circular tart pan. Also, I thought I had basil at home, but I didn't, so I substituted with dried greek herbs. It was very good last night, but I think I am enjoying it better cold today. It is very rich, so I would serve it with a light green salad. Delicious!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ergo Carriers on Sale

Ergo carriers for about 50% off. Here, but only today. Snag one, cause I'm not allowed to.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Have You Seen It?

I know I might be a little late jumping on this fan-wagon, but internets, I have to say it: Wicked is incredible. Talented Sister and I hit NYC a few weeks back, and we had to see it. The costumes were amazing; the story was compelling; the music was enthralling! I cannot wait to see it again. It leaves San Francisco soon, but you can still catch it if you hurry. And then, Wicked goes on tour! I think I will take my niece when it gets to Fresno.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stuff That Works...

When it comes to skin and makeup and body products, I own too many. Way more than you would think, from the looks of me. My problem is that I am picky. If a product isn't fabulous, I'm disappointed... and quickly on the hunt for something to replace it. Here are a few that I love:
Philosophy's Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash: This face wash is truly gentle enough to use every day. Just follow it up with a good moisturizer, right away. My sister and my best friend say I have nice skin. I think this really helps.
Korres Wild Rose Face Powder: This makeup is natural, and contains nothing on the "bad" list. It contains Vitamin C, feels amazing, lasts all day, and I swear my face looks better naked after I wear it.
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey: I hate wearing lipstick. I hate how gunky it feels, how it settles into fine lines in my lips, how it rubs off, how it tastes... This lip"stick" has none of those problems. I wear it over Chap stick, and it lasts all day. It goes on in a smooth, build-able color that looks different on everyone. On me, it looks like a really natural, berry stain. I love it.

Blinc Kiss Me Mascara: I have tried SO. MANY. MASCARAS. in my life. Oy. Not everyone will love this mascara. It doesn't volumize, but it does lengthen. I am paranoid about clumps, so once in awhile, I have to comb my eyelashes out right after application. But not often. The best thing about this mascara is that once it dries, it will not come off without warm water and gentle rubbing. I used to get dark smudges under my eyes from my mascara sweating off during the day. So, I switched to waterproof. But that crap wouldn't come all the way off, so I would scrub half my eyelashes off, and still have dark circles in the morning. But this stuff comes all the way off with warm water, so no smudges, ever! It is also kind of neat to see the tubes in the sink after you are done.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Frugal or Crazy?

In this whole "will-we, wont-we" baby discussion phase that Hot Husband and I are currently in, I have made a list of items that I would like if we have a kid. Every one of these items has been thoroughly researched, and I am confident in the choices I have made. So, when I saw one of these items on Craigslist, and when I saw that it was brand new, and half-price... I bought it.

Now, in addition to the "maybe baby" discussion, we have added a "crazy versus smart-planning" debate. HH is convinced I'm a nut, but I think there is very little wrong with buying something, (at half price!) that you most likely will need someday. In response, HH likes to remind me of that one time when I bought a kitchen sink off Craigslist because I was excited about us talking about maybe building a house.

He might have a point there, but I still think that the baby purchase was a good one. However, since I am such a good, submissive wife, (HA!) I have agreed to not purchase any more items for nonexistent babies. Which is a lot harder than it sounds, cause I just found a killer deal on an Ergo carrier online...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Six Years...

On this day, six years ago, Hot Husband and I stood in a very hot church and said the most important words of our lives.

It is still the best thing I have ever done.

Thank you, HH, for being the most incredible best friend, handyman, provider, and lover of my heart. I love you, and am thankful for you every single day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Unisex is Thrifty...

If you are planning on having more than one child, and if you are on a budget, buying unisex clothing items may be the way to go. When baby is little, there are lots of unisex options. But when they get older, things are divided more decisively into the "pink camp", or the "blue camp." Here are some things that I found that would work for either a boy or a girl:

I would say that most of these items read a little more masculine than some moms would prefer for their little girls. But accessories would go a long ways with some of these things. What about changing out the white shoelaces in the Chuck Taylors for pink and white polka-dotted ones? Or a fun little belt with those Chinos? If HH and I have kids, I will definitely try to make clothing choices that could work for a boy or a girl.

Sources: 1) Chinos, OldNavy 2) Sweater, JCrew 3) Saltwaters, Nordstroms 4) Hoodie, Gap 5) Chuck Taylors, Macys

Monday, May 24, 2010

Future Plans...

When I get knocked up, I think I will register for one of these:
Do you think anyone will get the joke?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Fridge...

My fridge looked like this:

Until I bought a set of bloom decals, here...

And now, my fridge looks like this:

Hot Husband has this funny idea of not getting new appliances just cause the old ones are ugly. (Silly man.) So, I made the best of my non-matching fridge. Now it makes me happy. This project was pretty easy, as projects go.

Irony Is...

...getting your period while standing in line to buy a pregnancy test.

Yeppers, my oven is biscuit-free for now. I was surprised at how relieved I felt.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On a Happier Note...

I'm down a size in pants.

My new jeans are tighter than I would like, but my old pants were so big I kept having to pull them up when I walked around the office. NOT attractive.

When Hope Doesn't Float

Sometimes, hope can really suck. Like, when you don't know whether to hope you are or aren't pregnant. Like when you are so ready and so, so not ready for that. All at the same time. How is that even possible, by the way? Hope also sucks when it is a selfish hope. When you know that you shouldn't be hoping at all. This is, after all, so very much not just about me and my wants. And most of all, hope sucks when you feel like an idiot for hoping at all.

I have taken two pregnancy tests. One was inconclusive, the other was negative. But I feel so odd. I wouldn't have even given it a second thought, but there is weirdness occurring. And I am usually like clockwork. I have been having these twinges. Weird, odd, bizarre twinges. My 'time' is almost here, so I keep going to the bathroom, hoping... for something. Hoping to need a tampon, or to not need a tampon. Seriously, it is like both of those desires are locked in some arm-wrestling match, where neither side will win. I feel like whatever happens, I will be disappointed.

Reading back over that, I realize that maybe it is better to feel disappointed because you need a tampon than to feel disappointed if you don't.

Friday, April 16, 2010

This Weekend: San Francisco

When tax time rolls around, it is always good to remind myself why in the hell I live in California, the land of the $18 hamburger and 10% sales tax. So, Hot Husband and I are off to San Francisco. (Do you see the reasoning? Yes, we have to pay RA-HEE-LEE high income taxes, but we also have access to that fab city.)

Staying at a five-star hotel, too. (Yes, I just gloated a tad.) BUT, we got a really good deal. Apparently, about a month ago, the people who run Travelocity got together and smoked a bowl and then set the prices for hotels in SF this weekend. So, five-star hotel, with money left over for a nice dinner and a fun show. If you are at the late showing of Beach Blanket Babylon, I will be the one giggling a bit too loudly. Because I get sloshed after a drink and a half, and there is a two-drink minimum.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Etsy Crush...

I am loving these prints and originals from Etsy artist Nina Moscrip. The colors are incredible, and the drawing style is so intriguing to me. Her prices are great, too. The top one is coming to live with me, because that is the color scheme of my redecorating project. Check them out here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Cleaning with Simple Mom

Spring is finally here. This past week has been blue skies and sunshine in my neck of the woods, and I am loving it. Next week is Spring Cleaning Week over at SimpleMom. I plan to clean along with her from April 12-April 16, and I will let you know how it goes! I am looking forward to a cleaner, more healthful home at the end of that time. Right now, I feel like my house looks like this:
But at the end, I hope it will feel like this:

If it does, I certainly will deserve one of these:
Care to join me?

Highlights of My Week:

- A walk with Hot Husband through a beautiful state park near our home.
- Stuffing a shredder bin FULL of files from pre-1992 at work.
- Looking forward to getting cloth samples for my living room re-do project.
- My dog laying her sweet little head on my lap.
- 55-calorie beer that doesn't suck.
- Looking forward to thrift shopping with my crazy-talented sister this weekend.
- Sunny skies with perfect temperatures.

A Trend I Cannot Get Behind...

I think that both of these tables are lovely. But the one thing they have in common is the one thing I cannot have in my house. Do you see how they are alike? They are both "lipped" tables. I love the look of this style, but my house gets too dirty. I have been known to vacuum my coffee table. No joke. When I clean, I start by sweeping all the large particles onto the ground to vacuum, then I go back for a finer dusting. These tables would totally mess up my system! They look really hard to clean. Wouldn't dust and dirt get trapped in the "tray" of the table? Perhaps these people live in cleaner houses? Or they are better housekeepers? Am I the only one whose house gets too dirty to own one of these?

Images: 1.) Phoebe Howard, via Brabourne Farm. 2) Pottery Barn Moroccan Tray Table.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Dream Weekend

A few years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to stay at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay. We had no idea what we were in for. I had heard that it was nice, and was expecting something like the Hilton. The Ritz Carlton makes the Hilton look like a Motel 6. My friend and I spent the afternoon with glasses of wine, reading books in Adirondack chairs that overlooked the ocean, while the boys played a round of golf. At night, the fire pits were lit. The food was incredible, the spa was amazing, and the garlic fries in the golf clubhouse were a bit too yummy. I would really, really like to go back.

This is the kind of thing I think about when wondering whether or not to have kids. If we didn't have kids, we could go to the Ritz Carlton a lot more often. I wouldn't have to give up my reading habit. We could travel, be financially secure a LOT earlier... there really is a trade-off, and I will admit that sometimes having children does not seem worth it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Shoes

Un-manicured toes need not apply. From JCrew.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Today I Love: EmersonMade

The beautiful handmade flower above is from EmersonMade. I've been stalking their blog for quite some time now. Their lovelies never fail to amaze me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Have YOU Met Miss Jones?

The Australian company Have You Met Miss Jones has incredible decorative pieces for the home. Some of their items are whimsical and baby-shower worthy, (hello, mr. owl!), but some are breathtaking works of art. Aren't those wings lovely?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spotted: Custom IKEA Slipcovers

The incredibly talented Dana from the blog DanaMadeIt whipped up these oil-cloth slipcovers for her IKEA Henriksdal counter stools. I love this idea so much, I literally squealed a little when I saw them. Aren't they gorgeous?!

This idea helps me get past the last hurdle of buying my new dining room chairs. My husband has been objecting that the white slipcovers that come with the chairs will not hold up to daily use, especially once we have kids. But Dana saved the day! With her idea, I can have as many slipcovers as I can sew, including an oil-cloth set for everyday. (Read: waterproof and damp-rag-wipe-able.) Totally kid-friendly. Go over to Dana's blog to check it out!

Toodles, Starbucks!

For the first time in my life, I am on a strict budget. That has been a little bit of a transition. Gone are my morning Starbucks visits. I am using a recipe that my friend Jamie passed on to me, and it is a very delicious, inexpensive alternative.

- Chilled coffee, (I keep mine in a pitcher in the fridge)
- Sugar-free syrup, (I bought some Starbucks sugar-free hazelnut syrup from their website.)
- Low fat milk

In the morning, mix two to three pumps syrup, about a cup of chilled coffee, and about a quarter cup milk in a to-go coffee cup. I never measure this concoction, but I taste test and add ingredients as needed. I don't miss out on taste, and I certainly don't miss that $4 latte bill in the morning.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm Intrigued: VIPP Trashcan as a Diaper Pail

Hurray! My sister in law is pregnant! Besides the obvious benefit of a new bundle of joy in the family, this gives me a semi-legitimate reason to be stalking baby retailers. Now, I am no longer the crazy, wanna-be-pregnant lady. Now, I am a future aunt!

So, I was browsing Giggle the other day, and came across this beauty:

This stainless steel lovely is the Mercedes Benz of diaper pails. It's a VIPP trash can, and you may have seen it at your doctor's office. New parents have discovered that since it is stainless steel, it does not absorb the odors like plastic diaper pails can. VIPPs are made to last forever. And heck, isn't it cute? There is a downside, though. This little bugger costs about $320.

Even so, I am quite interested in seeing more reviews about this pail. So far, I have heard nothing but positive things about it. And if it really keeps smells in as well as people claim, isn't that money well-spent, especially if you can continue to use it long after baby is grown?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Things I Love Right Now

- Pandora: a website that creates you a custom radio station, based on a song or an artist that you like. You click whether or not you like songs, and the radio station figures out what you like. It's free, with very few commercials. Love.

- My Paper-Source letterpress calendar. My sister bought me this lovely desk calendar for Christmas, and it is incredible. Each month has a new, beautiful piece of letterpress art for you to look at. I never get sick of it. Right now, it is 30% off.

The Meaning Behind Our Things

My baby fevah has returned with such force that it shocks even me. However, since I need to get into and through nursing school before trying for a baby, I am trying to focus on and enjoy the aspects of my life that will be gone once we have a kid. This includes getting my house all spruced up and organized. I'm so, so, so excited about that. Hot Husband and I are going through all of our closets and getting rid of anything we don't need.

I am bringing all my old clothes to a local consignment store to see if I can get any money for them, and HH's old clothes are being re purposed as sewing material, or they are being sent to Goodwill. I have started asking myself very important questions about the items in our house, which have helped me clear out a few boxes of items for Goodwill already. These questions are very simple, but very effective:

- Do I love this item?
- Do I need this item? Am I sure?

If the answer is no to both of those questions, the item goes in the charity pile or a trash bag. As I started looking at the things in my house under this light, I was amazed at how many things I was keeping for no reason at all. And I was surprised to find that there were quite a few things that I was keeping because I felt guilty for getting rid of them.

Case in point: a teapot that HH's grandmother had given us for our wedding. I held that thing in my hands for a long time, before it finally went into the Goodwill box. I never loved that item, and I certainly did not need it. I had never used it. But it had been taking up valuable real estate in my cupboard because it was a wedding gift given by a person who is special to us. Even as I am typing this, I feel so heartless for getting rid of it. But I did not have enough room to keep it without sacrificing something I did love, or that which was useful.

"It's just a thing," I finally thought. But getting rid of that teapot made me think about the meaning that we put on the items in our environments. If that teapot had not been given to us at our wedding from someone we love, it would have been out of the house years ago. It was the meaning behind the object that I was treasuring, not the object itself. I realized that I can still treasure that meaning, while passing the teapot on to someone who will love and use it.

How about you? Do you suffer from guilt when deciding what takes up space in your home?

Oh Mylanta...

I am so sorry, internets! I've been busy. It is nursing school application-alooza at my house right now. Applying to school sounds very simple. But... when every school has different application requirements, and you are applying to six different schools, it gets a tad complicated. I am hanging my whiteboard back in the dining room tonight, just so I can keep track of it all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Product Review: Lunchbots

First and foremost, let me say that no one is paying me or giving me anything for this review.

About six months ago, I started looking for ways to make our home a more healthful place. In that spirit, I decided to stop buying cheap plastic leftover containers that were semi-disposable. I found that when I used those, I would throw them away quite frequently. Also, the lingering tomato sauce stains on several of the plastic containers made me concerned about how clean they were actually getting in my dishwasher.

I ran across Lunchbots, a company that makes food-grade stainless steel lunch containers. They are dishwasher safe, earth-friendly, and quite cute. Hot husband was a little leery of the price, but I explained to him that they will last forever, and that I would stop spending a fortune on plastic clutter. We purchased two green "Eco's" and two blue "Uno's" to start, and I am very happy with them.

They are sturdier than I thought they would be, and although not water-tight, the lids fit well. I throw them sideways in my husband's lunchbox, and even after much jostling, the lids stay firmly on. I love how clean they are when they come out of the dishwasher, and that I can put the blue ones inside of the green ones to save space. After six months of regular use, they look as new as the day they arrived. As I continue to throw away my ugly plastic containers, I will replace them with Lunchbots. It is a purchase I feel really good about.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gardening Plans for Spring

Yesterday morning, I woke up and realized that it is much lighter much earlier in the day. Which means: Spring is coming! My bulbs are pushing their hopeful tips through the earth. My dogs spend as much time as possible sunning themselves. And I have started looking around, thinking of what I would like to do in the yard this coming season.

I have two goals this season. The first is to get our watering system hooked up and running. We pay a few hundred dollars a year to have access to unlimited gardening water in the spring and summer. We just need to hook it up.

My second priority is to add privacy to our home. I would like to plant a row of trees along one side of our home, to block our view into the neighbor's yard. I would also like to tear out the shrubbery in front of the house and put in a fence, so the dogs can have access to the front of the house.

I want to plant some lilacs in the front of our driveway, to act as a privacy screen. Trees would fill in more quickly, but that section of the line runs under power lines. Lilacs it is. The other issue with that spot is that the previous owners planted Vinca. Vinca is extremely invasive, and almost impossible to kill. In fact, the only way to completely kill it is to lay down several layers of cardboard, cover it with dirt, and wait until the Vinca is smothered. This can take a season or more. Then, you can remove the cardboard, till the dirt and plant.

I don't want to wait. So, my idea is to make a raised bed over the Vinca, using old railroad ties. A bed two ties high should be sufficient for planting. I will fill it with dirt, plant my lilac trees, and by the time their root systems reach down enough to compete with the Vinca, the Vinca should be gone. The raised bed will be inexpensive and will add a little height to the lilacs, giving more privacy. Railroad ties are going for about six dollars each on my local Craigslist, so it should be a reasonable project.

My goal for these projects is simple. I want to be able to open all of our curtains and not see anything but our yard and our property.

Monday, February 8, 2010

One For the Girls...

I love Valentine's Day. When I was growing up, my Mom would set out special gifts in the morning for us. We would wake up, eat breakfast, and open presents. Even when I was a single girl in college, my friends and I would make a point to go out to dinner in celebration. And we would dream of the day when we would have significant others who would make the day special for us.

This year, I am hosting a Valentine's Tea for some of the special ladies in my life. Even though I am married, something about all the pink and red makes me want to get together with the girls. Let's face it: Valentine's Day is a very girly holiday.

If you are planning on being bored this weekend because of a lack of a special someone, don't neglect all the other special someones in your life. Throw an impromptu party or go out to dinner. Valentine's Day is worth celebrating!
(Photo from Martha Stewart)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Misunderstanding of the Day

Me: "Man, it's really cold in here."
(Boss gets up to change the thermostat.)
Me: "Oh, you didn't have to do that."
Boss: "No, it is kind of chilly. Even my Peter's cold."
Me: ::blank stare, looks down::

About ten seconds later, I realized that he had really said, "Even my feet are cold."


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Final Answer...Dining Chairs

After much, much, much deliberation, I have settled on the Henriksdal chairs from IKEA for our dining room. I love the way they look, and at eighty bucks a pop, you can't beat the price. The white covers are removable and machine-washable, too. Still, I must admit that white + food makes me a tad nervous. I'm going to look into Scotch-guard techniques for these suckers.

What I Wanted and What I Got

This is what I wanted, from Circa lighting, about $700. This is what I ended up getting, from Overstock, about $140. I don't know about you, but I don't see a 550 dollar difference. Don't tell Hot Husband, but I'm thinking about spray-painting it a fabulous grey color. Or maybe I'll leave it. I haven't decided yet, and I always reserve the right to change my mind.

Things That Make Me Go Oooh...

My mother had a rose garden when I was growing up. She loved the classic tea roses, and during spring and summer, she would cut flowers and bring them to friends, family and the old folks' home. The response was always the same: "These came from your garden?"

As usually happens when you are used to something: it becomes the norm, and it isn't special anymore. I never understood why people were so impressed with roses. They didn't capture my interest. Until I met David Austin's roses, that is.

His roses combine old-rose beauty and fragrance with modern roses' hardiness and repeat-flowering. Some of my favorites are, from top: Queen of Sweden, Glamis Castle, Claire Austin, and Anne Boleyn. The Anne Boleyn variety can be grown in pots, which is fabulous. I have an area on my driveway that could use some sprucing, but there is no way to dig a flower bed there. I'm thinking three Anne Boleyn's in half wine barrels would do the trick.

Hot husband: that would make an excellent Valentine's Day present.


My apologies. Hot Husband had shoulder surgery this past week, and I have been practicing my nursing skills by bringing him food and pills, changing DVD's, and covering him with blankets. This hasn't left a lot of time for chatting at the internet on my blog. I was really doing well, until I gave his shoulder an affectionate squeeze on my way out the door this morning... the WRONG shoulder. This was promptly met with, "AAAAAAH!!! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!" Which upset the dogs, because any yelling in our home is directed at them. I think they were confused.


Anyhoo, that is what I have been up to. McFatty Monday and my diet have been thrown by the wayside. I am gearing up to start again. The application periods for several local nursing programs open up soon, and I will be working on essays and trying to bamboozle people into writing recommendation letters for me. Oh, and the house. I have lots of plans for the house and yard for the coming months. Basically, life got in the way of my blogging. But I have lots stored up to share!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Inspiring Kitchen

I love this kitchen, designed by Margot Austin, and photographed by Donna Griffith. First off, the lantern... I've been looking for the perfect dining room light fixture for over a year now. I think something like this would fit the bill, since I am going to be using traditional, black chairs.

And that kitchen island literally gives me butterflies in my stomach, it is so beautiful. The shape, the grey finish, those casters... yum. I have been putting off painting the legs on my kitchen island, but I think I am motivated again. I think a slightly lighter shade of grey would look good, with a lacquer finish. My "island" is currently at table-height, but some fun casters would raise it to the perfect level.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Drop in the Bucket

Sorry this is a day late. Hot Husband and I were away this weekend, to Los Angeles. We celebrated his great-grandmother's 100th birthday, played with nieces we haven't seen in ages, and hung out with HH's brother-in-law and his new girlfriend. It was a very fun weekend, but very full of unplanned strawberry daiquiris, tacos, MASSIVE cupcakes, and pizza.

That being said, I am happy to report that I lost 4.5 pounds this past week. Not too shabby, with all things considered. Except for a few days this week, I have been doing well with my eating and tracking points. I have not really been exercising so far, which I plan to change very soon. (Does cleaning the house count?)

I'm looking forward to a week full of new recipes and healthy movement. I will have to wait for my state park walk until the sun comes out again. Right now, it is pouring.

Congrats to all those who kicked this week's butt! Let's see what we can do during the next seven days.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Things That Don't Suck...

Let's just start this conversation with me stating that I am pretty much the most skeptical person on the face of the planet when it comes to product promises. I don't believe it when the manufacturer tells me something works, because it is their job to sell it. And I don't believe it when a magazine tells me something works, because it is their job to sell advertising spaces to the manufacturers. Have you ever noticed that a magazine's recommended products often are the same ones who have paid for advertisements in that magazine? I don't think that is a coincidence.

Here are some products that actually work, for me. None of these companies are paying me to say this, and I haven't received any free products. (Though I wouldn't say no if they offered.) I luh-uh-uh-uh-uve these items, because they actually follow through on what they claim to do:

Nivea chapstick is awesome. I have two different kinds, and love them both. They make my lips soft, smooth and feel plumper. I have actually dropped fifty bucks on a lip plumper in the past that hurt like hell and didn't do nearly as much for my lips as this stuff.

Burt's Bees Cuticle Creme is absolutely incredible. I have the nastiest, most-ragged cuticles you have ever seen. They are dry, dry, dry. I got this stuff in a gift basket a couple years ago, slapped it on, and was like, "WHOA." I now have a tin at my desk, in my book bag, my purse and at the house. Apply it once or twice a day, and your nails and cuticles will look like you just got out of a salon.

Smashbox Photo Finish works. I have the oil-free formula, which is nice and light. But this stuff really does make a difference. I use it over moisturizer and under powder, and I think it makes my skin look smoother and younger. It is pretty expensive, but if you are looking for something to make your pores look smaller, this might be the ticket for you. The full-size bottle is pretty expensive, but you can get a travel size for about fifteen dollars. A little goes a long way with this stuff, too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week One: How to Lose Four Pounds and Then Gain Them Back

Alrighty. This past week was a lesson in what not to do to lose weight. The first part of the week, I was great. I ate within my Weight Watchers Points range, and I worked out a bit on the Wii. And then, Gentle Readers.... then, I flew to Washington DC to visit my friend for the weekend.

There was pasta. And tiramisu. And heavens to Betsy if there weren't several coconut cupcakes from Georgetown cupcake. (HIGHLY recommended, if you aren't on a diet.)

I weighed myself before I left for the weekend, and I was down four pounds. I weighed myself this morning, and those four pounds were back.

Moral of the story: I will not be repeating that performance this week. I am more than a little pissed off that I don't get to join in the festivities of celebrating pounds lost this McFatty Monday. Pissed off is actually a great way for me to be when I want something, so I am embracing this state of mind.

Congrats to all those who did a better job than I did this week. And here's a big "I feel ya," to all the ladies that tripped and fell into a cupcake. Let's grab this week by the balls, shall we?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Non-Boring Vegetables- (WW 1-2 points)

You know those people who are like, "Oh, I'm starving. I think I'll have a cup of carrots"?

That is so not me.

Well, maybe... if the carrots are drenched in butter, pureed and then stirred into a cup of cream. And even then, I'm probably going to need a side of steak.

Before recently, I'd never met a dish of vegetables that made me say, "Yum," without a heck of a lot of cheese or butter. But butter and cheese are a bit taboo when one is trying to get rid of cottage-cheese thighs. So, here is a recipe for a truly delicious, healthy vegetable dish.

(Above photo shamelessly stolen from Martha Stewart. 'Cause that's how I roll.)

Vegetable Tian, (adapted from

3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large potatoes
5 medium zucchini
4 large carrots
1 large red onion
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil, (or multiple olive oil sprays)
1 Tablespoon oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel vegetables as needed. Chop into 1/8 inch slices. Try to make the slices fairly uniform in width; I like to use my mandolin slicer. Grab a big casserole dish, like 9x13" or so. Spray the bottom with olive oil cooking spray. Add the onion, garlic and oregano. Toss to coat.

Put the other veggies over the onion mixture in layers. (Mine never looks as pretty as the picture, cause I get bored.) As you layer, crack some black pepper over a couple of the layers, and spray a little olive oil on it. You don't need to spray every layer, and it doesn't have to be much, but do make sure to spray the top layer.

Cover the mixture with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue roasting for about 25 more minutes.

This recipe makes a lot of veggies. If you divided this into six servings, it would be 2 points. If you divide it into 10 servings, it would be 1 point. I made this on Sunday, and we will eat it all week. It is good cold, too.

Skinny Chicken (WW Points-4)

Last night, my husband and I enjoyed this yummy, low-calorie chicken dish. I made this in an enameled, cast-iron frying pan.


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, all visible fat removed
3/4 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup diced red onion
2 cups baby carrots
2 Tablespoons Spices- greek seasoning and pepper, or chicken spice rub
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat pan over medium heat. Drizzle in olive oil. Add onions. Rub chicken with spices. Put chicken in the pan, and brown both sides of the chicken, to seal in juices. (About 2 minutes per side.) Add carrots over and around chicken, add broth. Put into oven, bake for 25-35 minutes, until chicken is done. 1 serving is a chicken breast and 1/4 vegetables.

Optional: Once cooked, take carrots and onions, and put into a bowl. Blend together with an immersion blender, adding pan juices spoonful by spoonful as necessary. Veggies should be the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fabulous Fat-Ass No More

Look... if you know me, or if you have been hanging around for any length of time, you know that I am pretty comfortable with me. I like me. I'm intelligent. I have a decent sense of humor, (enough to make me laugh, anyways.) I generally forgive myself for my faults, and try to fix them as I go.

I am maybe TOO comfortable with myself. Which might be why I am about 85 pounds overweight. Yeah, I need to lose a fourth grader. Super.


- A couple years ago, I went to the mall, and had the best luck. Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and J.Crew's clearance sections were full of fabulous things in my size. If you are a big girl, you know that never happens. I was exclaiming to my (very, very thin) friend about my good fortune, and a sales-lady overheard me. She smirked and said, "Yes, that's because we are discontinuing those sizes." (Never mind that she was forty-something and working at the mall. She felt superior.)

But, it is true. There is nothing attractive out there in that size anymore. And I like clothes. Really, I do. I like feeling pretty as much as the next girl. Oh, and I like heels. I used to be able to help carry a drunken friend in four-inch stilettos. Now, I'm all about the flats. (Let's not talk about the time I made Hot Husband drive me to the doctor for foot pain, and the hot female doctor had to try to diplomatically tell me, (in front of HH) that maybe I shouldn't be wearing heels anymore, cause I'm too faaaaaaat.)

- The Hot Husband. People, my husband is very attractive. I have high standards, and I'm not making this up. A couple of friends have honestly asked me how I managed to snag him. (In their defense, I don't think they were trying to be offensive; I think they were wanting to know about my secret mad skillz in bed.) I want to look like I belong with him. I am quite sick of the slightly-confused look on people's faces when we are meeting them for the first time. (Um, this is... who? Your fat, adopted sister that you hang out with a lot, perhaps?)

- The Sex. All you seriously overweight peeps know what I'm talking about here. Positions that used to be part of your repertoire slowly become impossible. There are fewer and fewer angles that you feel comfortable being viewed from. And standing-up shower sex? Fogettaboutit.

- Maybe, babies. I don't know for sure that I want to be a mom. I'm on the fence, going back and forth about things. But, I do know that I will be seriously pissed off if I decide that I want a kid and then can't because I'm too overweight. I do not want to get pregnant at this weight; I think it would be irresponsible to the child, and to myself.


- Weight Watchers Online, and honesty. Honesty is very important when you are doing Weight Watchers. Before, I was always trying to cheat the system. I have now realized that there is no cheating the system... there is only cheating myself.

- Cooking. I love to cook, but I rarely do because the cleanup takes effort and time. But I have a list of healthy, potentially-delicious recipes I would like to try. I was a big fan of the pre-packaged food while I was in school, but the sodium levels in that stuff are cah-razy.

- Wii Fit. I got one (accidentally) for Christmas, and actually like using it. My short-term goal is to burn 100-200 calories a day using it. Not much, but I'm going to start slow and ramp it up.

- Walking, (which will hopefully turn into running,) 2-3 times a week, with HH. We have a beautiful state park with many, many trails two miles down our road. It is time we start using it. And if fitness is going to be a big part of my life, I need to be able to do some of this with my husband.

- The Firm workouts, on days when weather prevents me from walking or running.

- Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred. Ok, I've done this before, and it kicked my ass. Which probably means I should keep doing it, right?

- Following the McFatty Monday crowd's progress on Heir to Blair. I'm rooting for all of us!

I did not mean for this post to become a novel. It just helps me to clarify my goals and reasons in writing. Right now, I can't hardly imagine what life would be 85 pounds lighter, but I am SO excited to find out!

Happy After the Holidays!

First and foremost: so sorry that I have been gone for a few days. We had a whirlwind Christmas, seeing every side of the family that there is... like, all eight of them.

Does anyone remember the good old days when you were young and/or single, and you only had two sides of the family to visit? But once you marry a child of a divorce, who has like eighty brothers and sisters, some of which don't chat all that often.... well, the sides multiply exponentially.

And after Christmas, I got sick. I milked that for a good week: PJ's, Grey's Anatomy on DVD, Hot Husband bringing me hot tea... the whole sick bit.

But I am better now! And I am really, really, really looking forward to this year! I have goals, yo!