Thursday, February 24, 2011

take silence and respect it.

Have you met The Chirpy Bird?  She's witty, cooks up a whole lotta scrumptiousness, weaves a great tale, and is gorgeous.  (Yes, I know that last one shouldn't matter...)  In fact, she's the kind of girl I'd like to set up with my older (hot) brother, if this were the real world, and not imaginary blog land.  The Chirpy Bird (she's also known as Tash =) recently started a series celebrating the things in life to which she is saying YES.  Today Tash's post centered on aloneness.  It brought to mind this amazing video by film maker, Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter Tanya Davis.  

I can't remember where I first saw the video, but it made a huge impression on me (as I'm sure it has on countless others.)  I mentioned it in a comment on The Chirpy Bird's blog, assuming that she must've seen it before.  To my surprise she had not, so I thought perhaps I'd share it here in case you've not as well.  Even if you have watched it, it's worth a revisit, yes?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

two forty.

I woke up this morning thinking about that number.  Yesterday, I wrote about my cleanse, mentioning that the three day endeavor cost $240 and suggesting that perhaps the money would have been better spent on a pair of shoes.  The two forty definitely would have found me closer to a pair of neutral heels I'm currently coveting for spring.  For example, these perfectly casual espadrille wedges--

or maybe these fabulous cutouts--

or these camel colored babies, which would put me a tad over 6 feet tall--

or perhaps this pair with the sexy ankle strap...

However, while I doubt I will ever spend $240 on another cleanse, I have to retract what I said earlier.  

In the past, I've been motivated to better health for many reasons.  My motivation has been intrinsic as in "I really want to FEEL better."  It's also stemmed from pure vanity as in "I will wear (and look hot in) that damn black string bikini again!"  It's even, at times, been altruistic as in "Sparky is going to love my legs in that short skirt."  Never before had I been monetarily motivated to feel and look better.  The simple knowledge that we had spent that money was motivating in and of itself; it kept me a little more focused on seeing the program to completion without any cheating (it was only three days after all!)  If I'd cheated, it would have felt as if I were throwing two hundred and forty one-dollar bills in the garbage can.  Or worse yet, as if I were throwing a pair of these in the garbage can!  And so in truth, I must say it was $240 very well spent.

Monday, February 21, 2011

my cleanse.

When I chose to participate in a juice cleanse, my decision wasn't based on a desire to lose weight.  I already knew that any weight I lost from a three day cleanse would be largely from loss of fluid and would (mostly) return when I started eating normally again.  I needed the drastic measure of the cleanse (and I do think it is drastic to completely cut food for multiple days!) in order to stop the madness of my sugar consumption.  I know, in truth, my sugar addiction is not as strong a compulsion as alcoholism, but there are times I feel completely helpless to the pull of the ice cream in the freezer, or the chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar, or the Hot Tamales in the pantry.  I'll have just one (bite, taste, piece, spoonful) does NOT work for me.

This was the first time I've ever stopped eating in my life.  The cleanse consisted of 6 juices a day.  Three of the six were the same.  In addition to that main juice, there was a pomegranate/coconut water "juice," a lemon/cayanne/agave "juice," and a cashew "juice."  I was supposed to drink the juices, in order, every two hours throughout the day.  I say "supposed to" because I didn't.  The first day I started with the wrong one simply because I grabbed the first one I saw out of the cooler (that I'd just picked up) as I was headed in to Starbucks to get the two year old a muffin.  In addition, I couldn't finish ALL six of the juices in one day.  ("Stomach" all of them would be a better word.)

Although the founders of the program "strongly encourage ditching all food for the length of your cleanse," the program allows for a few "cheats" (because we're human) that (they say) won't undo all the good work.  These include the following:
-half an organic avocado squeezed with lemon juice
-organic celery or cucumber
-organic romaine with lemon squeezed on it
-warm organic vegetable broth
I will tell you I had 1/2 an avocado a day, as well as some organic celery (that I salted) one of the days.  I also drank one cup of coffee with low fat milk each day.  I'm all about full disclosure people.  Yep, I cheated.  A little.  But I don't feel guilty.  Other than a severe caffeine withdrawal headache the first day, I felt really good on the cleanse.  There were times I felt hungry, but not famished, and the hunger went away as I drank the juices.  I'm happy to report, that the cleanse was very much a success for me.

Things I learned during this process:
  1. I can do anything for three days.
  2. Kale, cucumber, spinach, celery, and green apples belong chopped up in a big bowl with a good Italian vinaigrette.  They do not belong in a juice.
  3. I would rather be hungry, than drink that juice.
  4. The best way to drink that juice is to hold one's nose and gulp the juice down as quickly as possible.  Affectionately, "plug and chug." (I wish I'd learned this on day one.)
  5. Apparently, not everyone thinks that juice tastes as bad as I do.  (See *picture.)
  6. I've always loved my veggies, but when the sugar is out of my body, I crave them.  (The morning after the cleanse, I woke up hungry (not normal) and was thinking about the small, perfectly round red and yellow cherry tomatoes the two year old had picked out from the produce section.  We bought three containers of them because she ate an entire one as we were shopping.)
  7. It's easier for me not to eat sometimes, than to make healthy choices.
  8. I'm glad I did the cleanse.
  9. I'm not glad I paid $240 for it.  (And neither is Sparky.)
  10. The next time I "cleanse," I'll get juices form Whole Foods or make my own and buy myself a new pair of shoes instead.  Perhaps these in tan.

{that's my brother.  "this stuff isn't bad."  really, denny?  you owe me 13 bucks for that juice!}

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

girl crushin'. (and just because I can't spell your names doesn't mean i don't love ya! just sayin'.)

Each Wednesday of the new year, my friend Torrie (and two more friends Danielle and Emily) are working their way through Listography 2011 as a way to reflect, categorize, and have fun (among other goals!)  They graciously invited us all to join them, and finally, I've gotten my act together in time to include a list for this week's topic, girl crushes.  You know you've got them.  Now it's time to share them.  Well, at least it's my time to share them. =)

Gwyneth Paltrow
because she puts being a wife and mom first, is multitalented, is my age, has had two kids, and looks hot in a bikini (which means there IS hope for me yet!)

Ina Garten
because she completely and successfully changed career paths, loves Jeffery, and has mad skills as a chef.

Sandra Bullock
because she's resilliant, smart, funny, and doesn't take crap.

Jennifer Aniston
because she embraces her single girl life, doesn't give a shit about other people's expectations of her, and always seems to be having a good time doing it.  (Oh, and she looks pretty smokin' in a bikini too.)

Zooey Deschanel
because she's a quirky, underrated actress, and because I love her bangs.

Ellen Degeneres
because she makes me laugh. Hard.

My amazing beautiful friends (~this is just a sample of them~)
because they inspire me in all the ways these famous ladies do, but they are real, and solid, and they're there to hold me up when I need them and laugh with me the rest of the time.

If you like to play along, link up here (or simply comment with your current girl crushes.  I'd love to know!)  And check out the entire selection of lists right over here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

just one cup?

It's midway through day one of my cleanse, friends.  And it's not food I am missing.  It's caffeine, specifically coffee.  I did not realize how completely I rely on those big mugs of gorgeous chocolate colored liquid.  I don't know if I can do this.


Monday, February 14, 2011

happy valentine's day, sparky.

Thank you for loving me through blonde and brunette, thick (+50 pounds preggers) and thin, happy and moody (a lot lately, sorry,) wild and reserved (never, really,) easy and difficult (I know I am.)  Thanks for reminding me I am more than a (frumpy) mommy.  Thanks for the amazing way you take care of our family.  I love you. 

 {our rehearsal dinner 2002}

P.S. Thanks for getting me a skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks this morning. =)

Friday, February 11, 2011

get set, reset.

I am in a rut and I feel like a need a kick in the tush.  A radical change.  Even for just a few days...

I started the new year right.  After LOTS of holiday merrymaking (in every possible way!) I began eating more vegetables. Cutting out the sugar.  Exercising more.  Drinking less wine.  (Don't laugh!)  And to be  smug, it was all very easy.  It was just... back to normal.  And it felt amazingly good.  But then something happened a week or two ago...   I'm not sure what.  Perhaps it had to do with the five year old getting sick, and then, over the next 12 days, the rest of my family falling like dominoes.  Then there was the complete lack of sleep,  recovering with too much caffeine, rushing just to keep up, getting sick myself...

Thankfully I'm on the mend.  (I just have that horrible lingering cough.  You know the one.  It shows up when you start laughing really hard.  And what I need right now IS to laugh really hard... somewhat ironic. But I digress.)  And even though I am on the mend, I feel, well, to put it bluntly, like crap.  I've tried over the last few days to get back to my smug self, the girl who easily makes decisions that leave her feeling shiny-- healthy and revived, but not deprived.  (I'm really not good at deprivation, friends!)  But I can.not.find that girl anywhere.  And so I've decided that these desperate times call for desperate measures.

Enter the cleanse.  Next Tuesday, I'll be starting a three day juice fast created by Ritual Cleanse.  And if you think I'm waiting until after the weekend, after Valentine's Day for a reason, well, then, you'd be a genius.

Have a romantic weekend.  (In my daydream, Sparky and I are sailing away on that boat.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

let them eat cake.

Because I may have a slight obsession with cake (see here, here, here, oh, and here,) I've decided to start a blog devoted entirely to my love affair with, you guessed it, cake.  If cake pleases you too (and even if it doesn't--uh, you must be crazy, just sayin') please take a look at it's debut.

the two year old has a thing for cake too.  what can i say?  genetics!

Friday, February 4, 2011

i think i just fell in love.

You know, if it were possible to fall in love with a cake.  And I actually think that it is.  We certainly know I'm not going to bake this, but if you'd like to deliver it, the two year old and I are lying low this weekend as we are both officially under the weather now.  A piece of cake (or two) would surely get us on the road to recovery, don't ya think?

thou shalt not covet.

And yet I do.  Sparky and the five year old are off skiing in Mammoth.  The two year old is sick for what seems like the thirty second time this season and I was up all night with her, my poor sweet sicky baby, who let's face it, really isn't a baby anymore. =( So while she is briefly content watching Giada (thank goodness for Giada at times like these!) and slightly comforted by Children's Tylenol, I'm drinking my fourth cup of coffee, browsing the interwebs, coveting:

Comfort (aka my mommy)

Hope y'all have a good weekend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

eating my vegetables: ratatouille

Can I tell you, (wanna be)writer's block sucks?  I have these ideas.  They are floating around in my head.  I metaphorically go to catch one and as soon as I try to form a sentence, I can actually see it disappear into nothingness, like when the two year old pops a bubble with the tip of her finger.  

I still have to eat my vegetables though and fortunately, produce is real and finite, just waiting for me to transform it, usually with a sharp instrument and heat, into something better.  And so I do.

"Whatever's in the 'Fridge" Ratatouille
extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 Japanese eggplants, half inch cube
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large yellow peppers, half inch cube
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth (or water.  hmmm... or maybe white wine? next time.)
1 can chopped Italian tomatoes with juice
dried thyme (1/2 tsp?)
1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade 
cubed mozzarella cheese (or a sick of sting cheese cut up =)
crushed red pepper
fresh ground pepper

Cover the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and heat over medium.  Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.  Add eggplant, saute another 5 minutes, stirring occaionally. (If pot seems dry, add more olive oil.)  Season well with salt and pepper.  Add garlic and saute for one minute more.  Add chicken broth and bell peppers.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.  (You may need to add more liquid as it boils off.)  Add tomatoes and thyme, bring to a boil and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and vegetables are soft.  Stir in basil and remove from heat. Portion into bowl(s) and stir in chunks of mozzarella to create gooey goodness.  Sprinkle with crushed red pepper and fresh ground pepper.  (I like a course grind.)

Cook's Notes
1.  I also like this over a tube pasta, with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
2.  Also good as a side with grilled steak or chicken.
3.  I trim some of the skin off the eggplant.
4.  If everyone in your family likes heat, add the red pepper flakes with the salt and pepper.

{forgot to add the cheese on my second helping!}