Monday, December 24, 2012

The Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

There are a few mantras by which I live my life:
  • People may not remember what you say but they will always remember how you make them feel. 
  • Karma is a bitch. 
  • Don't eat fake fruit (or food, for that matter)!
It seems that around the holidays, the most fake of fruits surface.  I'm referring to the nasty, gelatinous cranberry jelly-sauce from a can.

THIS:

Why would anyone eat this?  Particularly when making the real thing is easy, delicious and idiot-proof.  It's easy enough for me, the idiot cook, to make.  


I've used this recipe from Epicurious.com the since the early 2000's.  It works every time and is even better the next day with leftover turkey.

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar (you can easily get away with less)
1 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 teaspoon (or more taste) of freshly grated orange zest

Directions:
Bring water and sugar to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Add cranberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries pop.  Stir in zest, then cool.

That's it!  You can alter it any way you like.  I use about 1 teaspoon of zest and 3/4 cup of sugar. You can also add cinnamon and nutmeg.  I prefer the simplicity of orange and cranberry in my version.

It's fabulous and so easy.  You will never eat the gelatinous can of cranberry crap again. 

I will also be trying my hand at a few more ambitious dishes, at least ambitious for me.  I'll be making a roasted cauliflower as well as balsamic roasted brussels sprouts.  These are things I can easily screw up...I'm THAT bad in the kitchen.   We'll see how it goes.

Do you have any foolproof holiday recipes?  Please share.









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Friday, December 21, 2012

Fabulous Consignment Finds: Michael Kors Collection & CH Carolina Herrera

People are always surprised when I tell them I buy much of my professional wardrobe at consignment shops.  I get it.  Some people are freaked out by wearing other people's skeege.  You can avoid the skeege-factor by buying at the right store.  If you purchase items at the right shops, the clothes are barely worn or, in some cases, brand new. 

There are certain things I look for in my on-air wardrobe:
  • A good fit.  Bigger clothes make you look heavier.  ALWAYS slim fit!
  • Color - a constant challenge.  It's hard to find good, solid colors in tops and dresses that flatter.  I wear way too much black. 
  • Neckline - in a blouse it's got to be a scoop or v-neck.  Boxy necklines make me look like a linebacker.
  • Free of patterns, in general.  Patterns still are considered distracting on tv news channels.  Meaning, that great Missoni top or DVF dress that is co cute in person, can make viewers nauseous.  
The shops I frequent in Dallas, Clothes Circuit and Clotheshorse Anonymous, are selective in what they accept.  Items must be clean, gently used and free of any imperfections.  I know this because I am an avid consignor, as well.  I am always editing my wardrobe to eliminate items I no longer wear.

I was over the moon with my two recent purchases: a vintage, red Michael Kors Collection button down blouse and a cute purple/lavender CH Carolina Herrera blouse.  I need colors like this in my on-air wardrobe.  Both are big, so I will have them taken in a bit but I was absolutely thrilled. 

Even better was the price.  Clothes Circuit, drops the price on items after a certain period of time.  Both of these were considered Fall items and were in the mid-50's (can't remember the exact price).  I got out of there, with two tops I can wear for a few seasons on-air, for $112.46!  Score!  Remember, shopping is a sport.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Secrets to 12-Hour Makeup

Heading out after a full day at the office and want to keep your makeup from looking tired and faded?  You can, it's relatively easy and you don't need to reapply a full face.

I'm the queen of 12-hour makeup.  I do it almost daily because my days start mid-morning and I need to be in high hair in makeup for various TV shoots.  Take a look at my schedule this past Thursday and you'll see why I need long-lasting spackle.
  • 11am shoot at Cowboys stadium
  • 12:30 shoot at North Dallas high school 
  • Anchor the Fan Sports Show from 6:30-7:30 
  • Anchor sports for 10pm news on CBS
I applied my makeup at 9:30am and reapplied throughout the day with the last touch-up coming around 10:15pm. 

You don't need to add more product or color, just freshen up what you already have on your face.  More color, like eye shadow or concealer, simply looks layered-on and cakey.  By adopting the less is more philosophy, you can look fresh-faced 12-hours later.  (In the ensuing video, I applied more eye shadow because I was preparing for harsh TV lights.  In the non-HD universe, you don't need to do that).

Here are a few more tips:
  • Start with a good eyeshadow primer to keep your eyeshadow from creasing.  I use Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion.  Game Changer!  It's $20 from Sephora.  It's the bomb.  It totally prevents your eyeshadow from getting stuck in those eyelid creases. 
  • Work those lashes!  Re-curl your eye lashes to open your eyes.  Top off those curled lashes with a coat of mascara.  If your lashes look clumpy, use an eyelash brush to separate them.
  • Highlight your hotness by dabbing a little highlighter on your face.  The bow in your upper lip, your cheekbones or the tip of your nose.  This simply adds a little pop that makes a difference.
  • Use lipgloss and a lip pencil instead of lipstick.  Your face can look old lady-ish if you're reapplying lipstick every hour.  Think color bleeding into those lip lines.  Using lipgloss and a pencil keeps your lips looking younger, fresher and less cakey.
 The video below illustrates those suggestions (and more) right before I head to the studio.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How to Survive and Thrive Traveling to Paris with a Baby


Paris is so popular that we created a site to focus solely on our Francophile wanderlust. 

Merci!

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Motivation Monday

It's my first day back to work after a lovely 12-day holiday.  I'm not sure about you but I need all the motivation I can get this Monday morning.  I truly wish I was back in Paris, at the park, watching Jordan make new friends like little Maxus in the picture below.  Taking her with us introduced us to so many interesting opportunities we wouldn't have otherwise experienced, such as the wonderful parks and the charming Parisian families that visit them.

At Jardin du Forum des Halles

The following message struck a chord with me as 2012 closes and the focus shifts to the numerous goals we all seem to have for 2013.  It's from Austin resident and founder of The Daily Motivator, Ralph Marston.  His messages resonate with me consistently.

"It is far better to be exhausted from effort than to be tired of doing nothing."

So true.  Whether it's a solid workout session or a really productive day at work, there's no better feeling of satisfaction than a tough job well done.  
Inspiration from a 2003 visit to Venice for one of those 2013 goals


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Saturday, December 1, 2012

French Women DO Get Fat

This story has moved! 
Because you love Paris & France so much (we do, too), we created a website devoted solely to France. 
Please visit FabFrenchFinds.com for the full story.
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Friday, November 16, 2012

The Perfect Work Bag for Women

Is almost impossible to find!

I know because I've searched for decades.  Only recently have I found some quality options.  I bring this up because the Wall Street Journal writes about the conundrum working women face when schlepping around their work items, along with their personal stuff in a solid bag that is functional yet stylish.


The woman profiled, Silicon Valley executive Kim DeCarlis, seems quite the practical professional carrying a medicine kit, eye mask and ear plugs in her surprisingly fun Johnston & Murphy computer bag.
Gucci Soho Shoulder Bag aka the Kitchen Sink Bag
Gucci Soho Shoulder Bag aka the Kitchen Sink Bag
I jaunt across North Texas from sports facilities to my story shoots to Mother's Day Out carpool lines.  I have a bag that goes everywhere and carries everything: my Gucci Soho Shoulder Bag.

Gucci Soho Metallic Leather Shoulder Bag
Gucci Soho Metallic Leather Shoulder Bag
It comes in a variety of colors.  The metallic color is chic and versatile, too. I call it a Kitchen Sink Bag because it would truly hold that and more while still being stylish enough to take someplace fun and not scream "WORKING MOTHER WITH A SIPPY CUP IN BAG!"  Candidly, I think if it came between the husband and the bag, the bag would win.

Sophie Hulme Leather Tote
Sophie Hulme Leather Tote
I am also in love with the Sophie Hulme Leather Tote.  It's professional, structured and holds my iPad, notebooks, cell phone makeup and jumbo bottle of hairspray.  I get more compliments on this bag than any I have ever carried.  Both men and women comment on it.  It also comes in tan and burgundy.  Just gorgeous.

Quality Work Bags Under $400
Both of those purses are investments but I will use them for years to come.  Here are some stylish options for under $400.  Still some major bucks, yes, but for something you will use daily, this is money well-spent.
Michael Kors Hamilton North South Tote
Michael Kors Hamilton North South Tote, $358


Coach Madison East/West Leather Tote
Coach Madison East/West Leather Tote, $298


Get These Fabulous Work Bags


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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Paris Refresher for Traveling with a Baby

Ah, the sport of travel.  Perhaps my favorite sport of all time.  I don't golf, play tennis or meet friends for bridge.  I save my time and money for traveling.  Nothing refreshes my soul or or energizes my spirit like getting the heck out of Dallas.  We're heading to Paris one week from today.  We're taking Jordan (a challenge itself) but I am looking forward to spending full days with her, something I never get to do in Texas while working.
The Eiffel Tower from Les Ombres restaurant on top of the Musee du Quai Branly
While I'm good about assimilating into the local practices whenever I travel, I revisited my observations from my last trip to Paris in the summer of 2010.  I learned a valuable lesson from a bartender, that has really stuck with me, in town or out of it.
Harry's American Bar
My crash course in French culture came to life in, of all places, Harry's American Bar.  Cliche spot to drink, I know, but we stumbled across it and were thirsty.  It was dead empty save for the bartender, a Frenchmen named Gerard, and a British man who now lives in Paris.  We gave our customary "Bonjour" to both men and went to the bar.  We waited for Gerard, who was sharing a glass of champagne with the expat Brit, to come to us at the bar to ask for our order.  We ordered our champagne and thanked him. 

A couple of glasses later, the expat Brit left for his family's Sunday dinner and Gerard was deep in conversation with us.  About this time, an American couple walks in wearing jeans, tennis shoes and, yes, dual fanny bags worn tightly around their waists.  Already fitting the stereotype the gentleman barks "two Bloody Mary's!".

"You can always tell the Americans," Gerard whispers to me.  "They never say hello, please or thank you.

A great, yet basic lesson: manners!  Politeness is something every grandmother tells us to practice, yet it's forgotten in our harried world.  While graciousness and manners should be exhibited daily, traveling avec l'enfant is the absolute perfect time to be extra diligent about being polite, particularly when she's screaming.

Here are a few photos I stumbled across from our last hop across the pond.  They can occasionally cure my travel bug.

If you have any fabulous new suggestions, please share!
Arc de Triomphe

Monks at the Louvre

Jean-Michel Othoniel's Metro Station Kiosque des Noctambules (kiosk of the night-walkers)


I love their street signs

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Cell Phone Diet. Really? Really. Sorta.

Ok, when I saw the headline "How the 'Cell Phone Diet' Works" my eyes immediately rolled and acquiesced to the full idiocy that seems to be invading the weight loss world.

But once I got past the headline, I realized, it's not that ridiculous.  Not so much the "diet" part but the essence of making your smartphone work for you to help you accomplish certain things.  And, at the end of the day, your cell can help you shed some pounds.

Follow me here:

Psychotherapist and weight loss expert William Anderson is touting his book, The Anderson Method - The Secret to Permanent Weight Loss and recently offered some advice on the Huffington Post The book title itself is a bit eye roll inducing.  Want to know the weight loss secret: move more, eat less crap and more of the good stuff.  I digress.  His clients are incorporating their phones into their broader plan of attack to get lean.
  • He has clients make their ringtones and other alerts motivate them to stay on the track.  The theme from Rocky works for one lady.  Ok, I'm all for whatever works. 
  • Use a picture of yourself at your target weight or some other inspirational photo as your wallpaper or screensaver.  I've done this.  I've used not a pic of myself but something that motivated me as a screensaver.  When trying to lose weight in the past, I have put Post-It notes of my target weight on my mirror.  Just a subtle, almost subliminal reminder. 
  • Download a calorie counting app onto your phone.  I've raved about The Daily Plate, my personal favorite diet log app.  This is a smart move.  Studies routinely show that logging your caloric intake is an effective weight loss tool.  I would also suggest logging your exercise, too.  It's a great way to track your progress. 
Here's another suggestion: set motivational reminders as appointments or tasks.  This might sound a tad Tony Robbins-esque (talk about eye-roll, ugh) but I have a 10am daily reminder of things I want to accomplish.  It can be as simple as working on my financial and professional goals or little notes to myself to serve as motivation.  Kind of corny, I know.  But it's a gentle nudge in the right direction.

If you need one to get you going on the exercise path, try this one I fully embrace:

“To keep the body in good health is a duty; otherwise we shall not be able to keep our minds strong and clear.” -Buddha 

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Confessions of the Anti-Mom: The First Year Fun

It's been more than a year. 

A year and almost two weeks, to be exact, since I had Jordan.  It's been the most joyous, rewarding and downright fun year of my life.  Fun in more ways than I ever imagined.  This from the girl who ended most work nights with cocktails well after midnight on a road trip.  That was my idea of fun pre-Jordan.  That's what is so shocking.  How much I actually enjoy being with my daughter. 

She goes with us to sporting events, restaurants, Mexico and, yes, to the bar.  She slept through cocktails at Mansion on Turtle Creek at three weeks old and was recently serenaded while Jim and I enjoyed dinner and champagne at Cru.  And you know what, she was fine.  Really.  In fact, she loved the jazz singer.  I shared this with one mother recently and she almost shrieked in horror.  I fully believe Jordan has come into our lives.  Not the other way around.  This has developed into the style that works for us. 

 
Let me take a step back: I was never a kid or baby person.  Ever.  I never wanted children.  That was never one of my goals.  I joked that the best part about trying to get pregnant was the "trying" part, if you know what I mean.  In fact, one single gal friend who knew all of this approached me at work a few months ago asking me how the motherhood thing was going.  I told her that, low and behold, the anti-kid person can do it while loving the awesome challenges that come with it.  She (in this case me) just moves on to become the anti-mom, the woman who doesn't quite fit into the traditional "cupcakes and kisses" mold and doesn't want to.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

In Our Time-Crunched World, What Counts as Exercise?

A simple walk?  Dancing with your little one?  Cartwheels on the lawn?

Yes to all of the above!
I had the "what counts as exercise" discussion with a time-starved mother the other day.  She lamented the fact she didn't have to exercise and she was desperately looking to drop the fat that she couldn't lose almost 18 months after giving birth.  She was shocked that I work out at least five days a week, work full time and have an 11-month old at home.  I've said time and again I exercise in place of going to therapy because nothing makes me feel better.  I'm not spending hours at the gym.  It's 30 minutes to an hour tops, many times just a quick half-hour.

Much of her issue has to do with diet but she feels as if she doesn't have enough time to devote a simple 30 minutes a day to some form of exercise, which in turn, means herself.

I had to cry BS.  Of course she does.  We make time for what we prioritize and, while she has a full schedule, she can definitely carve out a block to focus on her health.  The Department of Health and Human Services suggests 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, as well as strength training twice a week.

150 minutes equates to 30 minutes five times a week.  Anyone can do that without a gym.  Go a little more intense to shorten the time.  Here are some examples of moderate activity:
  • A brisk walk, kick it up a notch by pushing that kid in a stroller.  Try walking briskly up some hills.
  • Dancing with your kids.  Ever try to do the Chicken Dance for 30 minutes?  Yeah, killer workout.  Seriously.
  • When was the last time you played on a playground or took a ride in a swing?  That counts, too.
  • Mowing the lawn, cleaning the house.
For more vigorous options try a combination of running, jumping rope and jumping jacks.  You can also incorporate exercise apps.  I recently professed my love for the Nike Training Club app and finally did an advanced workout without feeling the need to puke.  I also use Pocket Yoga HD and Air Boxing.  Nike Training Club is free while the other two apps cost $1.99 each, I believe.  I also have pilates workouts from ExerciseTV, which is now available on Hulu, on my IPad that I use all the time. 

If you're just looking to start toning and get a bit stronger, push-ups, squats and dips are the perfect way to start.  Spend some time stretching.  Flexibility, in my opinion, is the fountain of youth.

One crazy tip: do 10-20 squats every time you get up to use the restroom at work or home.  You'll get the blood pumping.  I do it in-studio sometimes in breaks during the hour-long Fan Sports Show on TXA21.  The floor crew giggles but the squats are an instant energy boost.

In my experience, simply getting the blood going, experiencing the fresh air and noticing your clothes fitting a bit looser are motivation to move more.  No matter how busy you are or how much the kids are driving you crazy, getting those vital 30 minutes of "me-time" will reap benefits in all areas of your life.
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fabulous Boutique Hotels in Texas

As much as I love my hometown, I've always lamented that those of us in Dallas and across North Texas aren't so geographically desirable.  Sure, we're a three-hour flight from either coast but if we want a quickie weekend getaway, there aren't a lot of awesome options. 

Think about it: LA has Montecito/Santa Barbara 90 minutes north on the 101, New York has the Hamptons, Phoenix is two and a half hours from skiing in Flagstaff.  You get the idea.

What do we landlocked North Texans have?  Cedar Creek Lake.  Possum Kingdom.  Eh, I guess.  Personally, I'm not a lake person.  In fact, I've taken to relaxing and insulating at hotels for mini-getaways.  I'll do a weekend at the Ritz-Carlton with a spa treatment, some pool time and a stack of magazines.  It's decently refreshing.

But what about really getting out of town to decompress?  Taking advantage of new experiences in-state?  It's easy to fall into that "let's go to the lake this weekend" rut.  Close to DFW would be great, but hardly anything in Texas is close.  

November's issue of Texas Monthly offers inspiration for great Texas travel in The Wanderer :: Where To Stay Now 2012 // The Ten Best New (Or Improved!) Texas Hotels.  I love a good hotel and this has a list of interesting new spots as well as some familiar ones that have gotten a facelift.  How fun was this assignment?

Here are some of the suggestions:
  • Hotel Zaza, Houston - I've stayed here a few times.  Zaza is pet-friendly and in a wonderful museum district location, directly across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts outstanding sculpture garden.
  • Hotel Galvez, Galveston - this is my go-to Galveston spot. It truly evokes turn of the century glamour.  It's gone through a much-needed renovation.
  • Rancho Loma Restaurant + Rest, Talpa - fabulous-sounding modernist outpost near Abilene.  This sounds like a great place to digitally detox.  Honestly, I'd never even heard of Talpa.  It's 200 miles west of Dallas, just north of Brownwood.
  • The Inn at Dos Brisas, Washington - I've been dying to try this luxury resort that offers perhaps one of the most luxurious Texas escapes with an indulgent culinary focus. It's expensive, both financially and calorically, with rooms starting at $665 per night during high season. 
The complete list has a more options in Marfa, Austin, San Antonio and also features Dallas' Joule Hotel.

Courtesy: Gage Hotel
I would add the Gage Hotel in Marathon.  It's a heck of a haul from DFW but is a great rustic resort near Big Bend National Park.  It's a Vaquero-style oasis in the middle of nowhere but a decent base if you're looking for a higher-end retreat while hiking Big Bend.


The Indian Lodge in Davis Mountain State Park is a unique option built with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps.  The adobe buildings are a gorgeous contrast to the west Texas skyline.  The rooms feature the most beautiful handmade wood furnishings.  It's a really cool place.

Courtesy: Indian Lodge at Davis Mountain State Park
All of these embrace that Texas lifestyle I would love to have: one that travels the expansive state and takes advantage of the diverse cultures and topography it offers.  Unfortunately, real life gets in the way.
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sleep - The Solution for Weight Loss and Overall Health

Remember when an all-nighter used to mean a wild night of partying?  Now that I'm a mom, an all-nighter refers to Jordan sleeping through the night.  Fortunately, she's been a solid 12-hour a night sleeper since she was about six weeks old.  Any parent knows a good night's sleep is important and it continues to prove to be vital to overall health.


Study after study cites the importance of sleep in weight loss.  The sleep sweet spot seems to be between seven and nine hours a night.  A new study publish Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicates that not getting enough sleep seriously affects metabolism by damaging the body's cells and causing insulin resistance which is a precursor to diabetes.  This disease runs rampant in my family.  I've seen it's devastation firsthand and it's beyond ugly.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Tired of la Tour Eiffel? Discover Europe's Best Big City Alternatives

So you've climbed the towers in Barcelona's Sagrada Familia enough to give the tour.  And you've waited in that line at the Eiffel Tour more times than you care to imagine but you still have that travel bug for your favorite European outposts?  Scope out of some of those cities' hidden gems, profiled in this Sunday's New York Times travel section.  Experts from Athens, Copenhagen, Moscow and more offer interesting places to visit, each and shop all over Europe.


Sagrada Familia
This piece couldn't have been more timely for me, as I am planning on a trip to Paris in November.  I have no desire to do the Louvre or Eiffel Tower again but am always looking for unique, out-of-the-way options.  Ex-pat Elaine Sciolino, who also authored La Seduction: How the French Play of the Game of Life, a decent French-focused book on how to flirt in the real world, offers a fun bistro:

Notre Dame
Paris at daybreak has little to offer creatures of the night. But starting at 5 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, Pouic Pouic, a sliver of a bistro that opened last June in the St.-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, serves serious food to post-party-goers with big appetites. Diners craving breakfast may go for ham-and-cheese omelets or maybe spaghetti carbonara (which is, after all, eggs and bacon with pasta instead of toast); meat lovers can opt for veal chops, cheeseburgers, steak tartare and entrecôtes.

I would also suggest, Les Ombres located in the Musee du quai Branly.  I discovered this place through some TripAdvisor suggestions.  It was wonderful  My husband had the seasonal summer menu and enjoyed gorgeous views of the Eiffel Tower and Seine well past 11pm.  

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Perfect Pear Salad Recipes

With a plethora of pears at the supermarket right now, it's a perfect time to experiment with them.  Not only does my 11-month old love them sliced but they're a perfect fruit to add to salads.  The New York Times' Mark Bittman hits another home run with his 10 recipe suggestions for pear salads.

Spinach, apple and pear salad
From a pear relish to a spinach and apple recipe these look delicious and are so easy.  I always appreciate his recipes for their simplicity and seasonality. 

I don't make much but I can make a mean salad.  Here is my personal pear salad recipe that takes literally three minutes to make: 

Spinach
Sliced Pear
Crumbled Blue Cheese
Walnuts
Any Protein: turkey, chicken, even canned tuna or salmon  

I prefer to dress my salads simply with a good balsamic vinegar.  Perfection! 
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Best Green Smoothie Recipe Ever

The amazing green smoothie recipe keeps getting better.

It's a perfect "kitchen sink" recipe because you throw whatever you have on hand in the blender for a fabulous breakfast, snack or quick lunch when paired with a few nuts or some string cheese.

The double bonus: your kids will love it.  My daughter, Jordan, has a spinach smoothie almost every day at breakfast.


My original green smoothie recipe  featured berries, bananas and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.  Easy, delicious and only about 220 calories.

Add two handfuls of spinach to make the smoothie a nutritional game changer.  It packs a powerful antioxidant punch with few additional calories.  The crazy thing is you can't even taste the spinach.

I've started added frozen kale to the mix, too.  It offers the amazing nutritional green boost while thickening the consistency.  The kale does add more of a "green" flavor, though but it's not overwhelming.


Here's the basic base recipe:
  • Eight ounces almond milk (again, I love Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla)
  • One big handful of berries
  • One banana
  • Two handfuls of spinach
  • Optional: chia seed or flax seeds
Another view
The finished product

You can use any fruit combination with a few greens.  Pictured below is another version with the Almond Breeze, half a mango, half a banana, a few strawberries and two handfuls of frozen kale.  Delicious!
Mango Kale Smoothie
These are so good that they can be served as a frozen dessert treat.  Just use less milk and add more frozen ingredients for a thicker, soft-serve consistency.

*Almond milk is not safe for those with nut allergies and should not be used as a substitute for infant formula or breast milk.
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Baby Girl Fashion Tip

File this one in the hell freezing over department:  I never thought I'd be doling out fashion advice for kids.  But as any new parent can attest, I have learned a few tricks and now feel like I'm an expert

Tongue planted firmly in cheek as I wrote that last phrase.

Parents of little girls know that shopping for baby clothes is more fun and more expensive than it should be.  I got caught up in the baby clothes buying craze.  From baby-butt soft Kissy Kissy onesies to a DVF for Gap romper that Jordan wore only twice before she outgrew it, those adorable infant clothes fully sucked me into their fashion vortex.

Of course, it's ridiculous to spend a ton of cash on everyday clothes because kids outgrow them so quickly.  Thanks to my colleague, Bill Jones (and perhaps his beautiful wife Stacy), I figured out how to make dresses and pants last a little longer.

The Joneses gave Jordan the cutest Gymboree sweater dress for babies age 3-6 months.  Jordan wore it as a dress really well for a solid three months last winter and into early spring.  During the summer it was a little warm.  Now that the weather is cooling, and she has grown like a weed, we have repurposed the dress as a top, paired with leggings that Jordan wore six months ago as pants.

You can see in the photos, it's basically a top with versatile capri-type leggings now.  This is a great outfit for the season.  Even better, there's now another life cycle to two articles of clothing that she can wear deep into the fall.  Any flowy dress can be worn again as a top while those uber-cheap stretchy pants can be used again as leggings.  I LOVE that.  

That sound you're now hearing is the collective "duh!" veteran parents are saying.  But seriously,  amidst all talk of breast feeding and Boudreaux's Butt Paste, why did you guys not tell me this?

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Friday, September 28, 2012

How to Score Affordable-ish Business Class Air Fare to Paris

With the summer travel season wrapped up, it's time to start thinking about fall and winter plans.  I'm not an expert but do keep a more-than-casual eye on travel trends and prices.  I recently purchased airline tickets to Europe and might have uncovered a Transatlantic sweet spot in November enveloping the Thanksgiving holiday.
Back to the scene of many fun crimes!
My husband is turning 50 (but he acts 35!!) in November.  He wanted to return to Paris and spend a solid week in La Ville Lumiere.  I sucked up and started searching for deals.  My philosophy is to fight for business class on international flights and save money by purchasing the cheapest flights available when traveling domestically.  I also want his 50th birthday to be that memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience and don't want the air travel to suck the life force out of us.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Says 'Dallas' to You?



The New York Times recently published a great series offering "The History of New York in 50 Objects" inspired by the BBC's radio series "A History of the World in 100 Objects."  The idea was to feature tangible things that capture the essence and history of a city.  New York items such as the ubiquitous MetroCard, the AIDS button, the Greek coffee cup and a bagel all immediately come to mind.

New Orleans Water Meter
New Orleans has things like the fabulous water meter lids.  Las Vegas has casino tokens.  Chicago has pizza.  You get the idea.

What about Dallas?  What captures the essence of our town?

Reunion Tower

Reunion Tower?  That's a building.  Pegasus?  The new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge?  Sure, they come to mind but they don't quite fit the bill.

A large can of hair spray?  A Neiman Marcus credit card?  Big diamonds?  A Mambo Taxi?  Lee Harvey Oswald's bullet?   

Those pop into my head immediately.  But I struggle to think of something so iconic that truly screams DALLAS.  Can you?

Is it because our city has a branding problem?  Does Dallas have an identity?  You can say it's one of commerce.   Dallas is a relatively friendly environment in which to do business.  I say this coming from a long line of self-made entrepreneurs.  My grandfather was an early real estate developer in  Oak Cliff.  My stepfather had a gallery in Caruth Plaza for years.  My mother still has her boutique residential real estate firm headquartered in Lakewood.  My biological father started and sold an oil and natural gas company in the 70's before the big 1980's Dallas payday that had everyone building ranches in downtown Dallas or buying diamonds by the ton.  You can make a lot of things happen in this town.

But can you name something, a simple tangible object that says "Dallas"?  If you could tell the story of this city through items that represent it, what would be on the list?  A State Fair of Texas food coupon?  A Tolltag?  Help me.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to Get Great Arms With Just A Few Moves

Staying in shape not only improves your appearance but also helps you keep up with the kid.  Who knew!

We all did. 

Perhaps I didn't know just HOW important staying strong for a little one was.  From picking her up and putting her down to leaping up from a sitting position to chase her, I've learned the hard way that one must be physically ready to handle a kid.  My arms were sore the first few weeks I had Jordan because I wasn't used to carrying a child in so many different positions.  I've also dealt with a sore back because I wasn't ready for all the lifting associated with moving her around the house.  Instead of complaining about it, I'm proactive in my exercise routine to combat any muscular weaknesses.

But enough preaching.  Onto specifics.  A Facebook friend asked me to share my arm workout after seeing this recent picture.


My arms are not as "cut" as they could be.  I tend to carry fat just below my rear deltoids and above my triceps.  I'm benefiting from a good pose here (and not benefiting from a bad shirt that makes me look pregnant).  Regardless, my arms are pretty strong after a lifetime of lifting weights, practicing yoga, taking pilates and riding horses (an excellent full-body toner).  If I was more diligent with my diet, I would have that true "cut" look you see so many really lean women possess.
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Monday, September 24, 2012

The Best Coffee Shops in Dallas

Ocular Keratitis.  Google it.  Yeah.  

It's also a condition brought on by excessive caffeine consumption which can dry an individual's eyes and cause blurry vision.  The condition forced Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton to miss five games before returning to the lineup on Monday.  As Hamilton said before the series opener against the A's "it’s me we’re talking about here. Guys, it’s me. It’s Josh. It’s going to be something weird.”

True words. 

I'm just wondering why my eyes aren't desert dry?  I would leave my husband for caffeine if I could.  Like any coffee lover, I look forward to that first cup in the morning more than anything. ANYTHING.
A good cup of coffee is such a sensory experience.  The scent is a discovery in itself.  The appearance foreshadows the taste of what's to come.  And then there is the taste.  Get the coffee, creamer or milk blend perfectly right and it's pure heaven.  Miss it by an ounce or two and.....blech!
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

It Was Only a Matter of Time: The Starbucks Diet


Jared Fogle dropped 245 pounds eating Subway sandwiches in the 90's.  Some random chick lost weight eating only Taco Bell drive thru fare.  Now a 68-year old Virginia librarian claims she has lost 85 pounds over the past two years getting her meals from Starbucks.

Here is a sample of Christine Hall's daily diet.  

She usually starts the day with oatmeal and a black coffee (140 calories)  while her lunch and dinners consists of either a bistro box - a selection of cheese, bread and meats - or a panini which  total around 220-460 calories.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

So Too Much Soda Can Make You Fat...Shocking!

Shocker.  Consuming too much of anything can add extra heft to your body.  The New York Board of Health is expected to approve Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on the sale of large sugary drinks in restaurants, stadiums and movie theaters tomorrow.  In theory, it is supposed to help fight the obesity epidemic spreading like warm butter on toast across the country.  People will still be able to get their sugary soda fix.  The plan has flaws.

I think this is ridiculous not so much because it infringes on residents' civil liberties, which you could argue it does, but because it takes away the personal responsibility factor in controlling your health.

I was 50 pounds overweight at one point because I drank Mountain Dew and consumed M&M's like they were going out of style.  No one forced me to eat copious amounts of that junk.  I wasn't fat because it was sold or advertised on television.  I was fat because I chose to eat too much of it.  I promise that when you take personal responsibility for your choices and health, your life will change for the better. 

I digress.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Healthier Options for Your Cowboys/Giants Noshing Pleasure

For some, you know who you are, the best part of tonight's Cowboys/Giants season opener is the festivities surrounding the game.  I'm not talking the "Glory Hole" vs the "Beat the Giants ass!" smack.  I'm talking about the revelry: the parties, the food and cocktails.

Unfortunately, one snack-filled night of football can be a diet killer.  I watch games for a living.  The mindless munching can wreck havoc on your body and leave you bloated, backed up and regretting what you ate.  The good thing is there are some great alternatives and ways you can enjoy all those wonderful snacks without consuming a day's worth of calories, fat, sodium and sugar.

Here are few tips for your football party pleasure:

Cut the Cheese with Veggies
Have your favorite queso but just a tablespoon or two.  Instead of chips, dip some broccoli and cauliflower in the queso.  It's outstanding.  The vegetables provide the crunch that chips would while satiating your cheese fix.

Salsa Salsa Salsa
Not salsa of the Victor Cruz touchdown celebration variety but of the chunky condiment kind.  Salsa is the perfect choice for almost everything.  I use it as a salad dressing, a topping for baked potatoes, a dip for vegetables.  Use a low sodium, all natural version.  There are a ton from which to choose.  Serve the salsa with baked tortilla chips, vegetables, pretzels, whatever you like.  
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