Thursday, November 28, 2013

What I Am Thankful for Today and Every Day

We all have different reasons for being thankful this Thanksgiving holiday.  Trolling my social media feeds has been a treat and inspiration as friends are expressing their gratitude for life changes, career moves and more.

In the spirit of the season, here are a few things for which I am thankful.  Not just today but every day.
punta mita, casa de mita
Thanksgiving morning in Punta Mita, Mexico
  • I thankful for every day I wake up and am excited about the opportunities it presents. Having made quite the career change over the last two months, I am challenged and energized by my new endeavor.  I am also overwhelmed by the encouragement and support I receive from strangers, former viewers and friends every single day.  It's humbling.  Seriously, a FedEx driver brought me to tears on Tuesday with her kind words. 
  • I am thankful for my health.  I truly believe if you don't have good health, you don't have anything.  No amount of money or status can compensate for poor health.  I appreciate the fact I take responsibility for it and don't blame anyone else for weight gain, back pain or the like.  It's on me to improve it. Taking responsibility for your health is empowering. 
eiffel tower
June 2013
  • I am thankful for my daughter, her poopy diapers, her laugh, her snoring, her language development and curiosity.  Having a daughter is more fun than I ever thought it would be.  So many parents warned me about the work and drudgery that accompany having a child.  No one told me it would be so much fun. 
  • I am thankful for my husband, his patience with me and the bizarre bodily noises that emanate from him at all hours of the night.  They're not pretty but they're him.  As much as we sometimes want to strangle our spouses, those of us who have the right one are lucky.  He has every reason to strangle me but hasn't.  Yet.  God bless him. 
  • I am thankful for learning new technology.  Learning is fun.  Really.  
hermes les amoureux de paris scarf
Hermes Les Amoureux de Paris 
  • I am thankful for my obsession with Hermes scarves.  Collecting them has developed into a passion that I didn't know would bring me such joy.  Hunting for that vintage find is half the battle.  I am crushing on French-inspired scarves right now. 
  • I am thankful that I am rarely happy with the status quo.  I am someone who is always looking to do better, do more and get more out of life.  Many times it bites me in the ass and I fear my ambition outweighs my talent but when that hard work pays off, it's magnificent. 
  • I am thankful for The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Genius TV that is still relevant today.  That and Veep make me laugh.  
  • I am thankful for the failures in my life of which there have been many.  They're the best learning experiences.  
casa batllo in barcelona
Casa Batllo, Barcelona
  • I am thankful for my love of travel.  The misery of waiting in long lines at an airport and dealing with a cramped middle seat is alleviated by the magic of discovering a new city or revisiting a favorite one.  I'll never tire of Paris, Barcelona, New Orleans, Montecito or any of the wonderfully remote Mexican towns.  Just thinking about them get that travel bug going.  
Arc de Triomphe circa 1940-something
  • I am thankful for the pictures my grandfather, George Mobley, took while he was stationed in Europe in the 1940's. The picture he took of the Arc de Triomphe is as timeless today as it was nearly a century ago.  I love the feeling of being in the same spot, taking a picture where he did.  He died in 1998.  My grandmother in 2001.  They had the travel bug, too. 
Childhood friends
  • I am thankful for lifelong friends who are the same as they were in second grade and new friends who bring wonderfully fresh perspectives into my life.
  • I am thankful for my wonderful, wacky diverse family.  
  • I am thankful for you: readers on this blog and my social media family.  
Again, thank you.  I hope that whatever your Thanksgiving Day holds it's full of good food, good football, parades, good friends, family and whatever makes you happy.

Enjoy! 

What are you thankful for in your lives right now?
Monday, November 25, 2013

How to Bring a Breaking News Approach to Your Business

Launching a new product or service?  Calling a press conference to announce a new corporate initiative?  Have a celebrity in town to promote your company?  Is your industry convention introducing groundbreaking innovations?

All of that is news.  As a part of your overall event marketing strategy you need to treat it like a breaking news situation on relevant social media platforms to raise awareness for your brand.  Live-Tweet the details of the innovation.  Post photos to Instagram of the celebrity talking to the media and demonstrating your product.

This gets your company, product or service in the cultural conversation which raises awareness for your brand and will ultimately have a positive impact on your bottom line.

In Action 
Let's launch a hypothetical product: a new iPad case, that has a built-in stylus which prevents you from losing the pesky pen.  Here's a crash course in treating it as a breaking news situation with your original content.
Courtesy Target.com
Before the Event
A few days before the release, write a blog post "teasing" a new product launch.  Emphasize that it will solve one of mobile computing's biggest pains.  Share promotional posts with links back to the blog on all of your social media platforms.  This builds anticipation.

Your Facebook page will promote the news of the launch.  Your Twitter and Instagram feeds will ask "What's in this box and why will it change your iPad game?"  Both feeds will feature a photo with just a portion of the case, "teasing" your followers of what's to come.

At the Event
Twitter is the best vehicle during a breaking news situation and you should take advantage of that during your company's events.

Live-Tweet the news of the launch.  As it relates to our iPad case/stylus, you would Tweet the inspiration behind the product.  "54% of customers, including our CMO Gina Miller, complain of losing their stylus. #SaveYourStylus"  Tweet why this product will prevent that.  

Create a Twitter hashtag for your event incorporating the product name.  In this hypothetical case, #SaveYourStylus might work.  Create a giveaway offering the new case to a follower who uses #SaveYourStylus creatively in their Tweets.

Post gorgeous product photos to Instagram incorporating appropriate hashtags during the event.

After the Event
Produce a blog post, in the same vein as a news story detailing the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of the event.  Include pictures.  Again, post to all the appropriate social media platforms.

The Takeaway
Social media is, more and more, becoming your first line of communication with new and existing customers.  You need an engaging content plan.  The thing is that it's not easy and it should not receive secondary treatment.

If you have a receptionist or busy account executive manning your Twitter feed or updating your company blog, your content plan won't receive the proper attention it deserves and will suffer in the process.


That Sports Girl Media is focused solely on raising your company's profile through original content.  We connect you with your core consumers, engage them in ways other content creators can't and share information with them that resonates and strengthens your brand.

We're news professionals. We know how to talk to people.  We also know how to use the news to help your business.  Contact That Sports Girl Media today to find out how we can ease your communication pain so you can focus on your business.
Monday, November 18, 2013

How to Use Social Media to Raise Awareness for Your Fundraiser and Organization

As more corporations realize that investing in original content and social media is a necessity rather than luxury, the same philosophy should apply to your fundraiser for your nonprofit organization.
Paws in the City Dancing With the Stars
Top Hat & Tails Dancing with the Stars 2009
Whether it's the Cattle Baron's BallDIFFA Dallas' Masquerade Ball, Paws in the City's Top Hat & Tails, Fort Worth's Cowtown Ball  or New York's legendary Met Gala, multimedia content and social media can be a gamechanger.

Why?  Because social media grows your nonprofit's profile not only in your community but also globally.  The right message and right campaign can resonate beyond the city in which an event takes place.  As your organization's profile grows, this can have a positive effect on your bottom line and fundraising effort.

How do you do this?  Produce content before, during and after the event and promote it to all relevant social media platforms as well as your organization's website.

Before the Event
Have a marquee auction item?  Detail how awesome it is via a blog post or Instagram video and promote it to social media platforms in the weeks leading up to the event.
Courtesy TACA-Arts.org
Take, for instance, The TACA Custom Auction Gala.  It is an amazing evening that celebrated its 48th year in September and always has wonderfully decadent auction items.  2013 was no different.

Among the items offered this year was a trip to Art Basel in Miami with a private guided tour by a famed art curator.  Following that was a trip to the Caribbean with a two-night stay at Rosewood's Little Dix Bay in British Virgin Gorda.

An experience like this is a priceless, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  In the days leading up to the event, a well-crafted blog post detailing the experience and thanking the sponsors generates buzz for the auction items and the event itself.  It also offers an additional mention to key big ticket sponsors.  That mention can be a part of your sponsorship package.

Incorporate this strategy for a number of premiere auction items to help build anticipation.  It not only raises awareness but it can potentially generate early bids online which helps your bottom line and fundraising efforts.

During the Event
People love live events.  That is why sporting events are so popular on Twitter and social media.  Games are a way for people to participate in a real-time conversation online.  The same principle applies to a fundraiser as people are rarely without their smartphones.  Incorporating Twitter and Instagram into your overall event strategy is a smart and cost-effective way to engage guests and potential supporters.

Courtesy DIFFADallas.org
Think about it.  Each year DIFFA's House of DIFFA Masquerade Ball offers some of the most over-the-top, fabulous fashions on the Dallas social calendar.  Posting photos to Instagram and Twitter of the red carpet arrivals and the runway fashions featuring the relevant fashion designer hashtags is a great way to put the event in the social media conversation.  If a designer like Marc Jacobs or Oscar de la Renta retweets or likes a photo with your organization's name in it, that is a huge boost for your nonprofit's profile.

Another example: share the story of an individual impacted by the organization.  I emceed the Nexus Westapher Kickoff in September.  I posted a photo of former Nexus patient, Toni Lambert, sharing her inspirational story to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  This was not planned and was simply something I did because I was moved by her testimonial.  It received numerous retweets on Twitter and more than 30 combined likes on Facebook and Instagram.

Why?  Because people love good news.
Social media promotion of Nexus Westapher Kickoff
Note what Charlene Taylor said on Facebook: "There is a Nexus by me on Motley across from Eastfield College and I often wonder about what that center does."

With one simple photo, promoted to three different social media platforms, we helped educate one person about the Nexus Recovery Center.  Could it make a tangible impact?  Perhaps.  The thing is that it put Nexus in the conversation as the event was happening creating multiple social media impressions.

After the Event
Many organizations do a good job wrapping up the event and announcing the amount of money it raised on their websites via a blog post.  I suggest organizations take it a step further and produce a compelling video that details how wonderful the event was, how lively the auctions got and the positive impact the gala continues to make in the community.

Video is a powerful tool that can show emotion in ways a blog post can't.

How Gina Miller and That Sports Girl Media Can Help
While organizations already incorporate content and social media into their overall fundraising and event efforts, many times, it's a secondary consideration manned by an overworked volunteer or assistant.
Gina Miller at House of DIFFA's 2013 gala
Having a focused content and social media strategy can raise awareness for your nonprofit which can ultimately have a tangible effect on its bottom line.  Having a professional implement a targeted social media and content plan can alleviate the pain of doing this and let you, your volunteers and staff members focus on their primary roles.

Gina Miller has experience hosting and emceeing multiple events.  Ranging from 5k's and panel discussions to black tie galas, Gina is passionate about engaging your guests.  By having Gina and her That Sports Girl Media team at your event, you can also benefit from their social media and original content expertise.  Gina has more than 30,000 personal followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  That's a lot of exposure for your organization.

Contact Gina Miller and That Sports Girl Media to find out how they can take your event to the next level.

Friday, November 15, 2013

How to Stay Sane When Shopping for a New Car

If you Google "car buying tips for women", about 66 million results show up.  

A quick scan down the first page (let's be honest, who goes past the first page on Google anymore?) and you will see links to stories featuring the following titles: 
You get the idea.  Getting a car is tough enough.  Even tougher for many of us women.  It's a frustrating and often overwhelming process.  

Beth Anne Underwood told me on Twitter: "They thought I was shopping with Daddy's money." 

Ouch.

Beth Anne didn't feel like she was taken seriously when she was shopping for a car.  That is something no one should experience. 

The experience is remarkably different from Beth Anne's for clients, both male and female, who got their cars through D&M Leasing.  
D&M Leasing client Holly Kyle with her new 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
My own leasing experience was outstanding.  The thing is that my experience is the norm, not the exception. 

Thank you, Jared Smith, for restoring my faith in car guys! I felt like you really listened to what I needed and made it as stress-free as possible. I could not have asked for a better experience using D&M! When the hubs is ready for his new wheels, we'll definitely be giving you a call!  --Dee Hunt

That testimonial from client Dee Hunt sounds like hundred's of others you will find on D&M Leasing's Facebook page or Twitter feed

Getting a car is truly that easy.  D&M Leasing brings the car to you and makes the paperwork a snap. But don't make my word for it.  Read what other clients had to say via D&M Leasing's Facebook page:

Patricia Bossy-t Wright Bought two cars through D&M ... They will help restore your credit. Douglas Wright awesomeness wrapped in great personal service!

Kristin Pierson Payne My husband and I just bought a vehicle from D&M Leasing. This was the first time dealing with them and it was a great experience!! We definitely will be coming back and recommending all our friends too!!!!

A D&M Leasing Fan

Kristi Belden Darracq I have leased 5 cars through D&M Leasing. Call Keitha Munday....she's awesome!!

Tonya Cornelius Johnson I really like the relationship that we had with D&M Leasing our sale rep came to our home with a 2011 Cadillac SUV love it....I'm driving it now....this is a good avenue to go if you want to drive a luxury brand car....leasing is a better way too go!!!

Patti Koehler Hark Love love D&M Leasing. We love our new 2013 Chevy Impala! Raymond with D&M was amazing!!! 
D&M Leasing Testimonial
Another D&M Leasing Fan

Delores' story is one of remarkable customer service.  That's what everyone receives when using D&M Leasing.  

Still unsure about the process?  Give D&M Leasing a look on Facebook.  They're transparent, quick to respond to any question you might have and are ready to take the pain out of the car buying process.  

*This article is brought to you by D&M Leasing. Please visit DMAutoLeasing.com for more information.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

4 Easy Ways to Exercise While Stuck at Your Desk All Day

You know the feeling.  That sloth-like, achy-back, sore-hips sense that grips you when you're stuck at your desk, in an uncomfortable chair for eight hours a day or more.

Studies repeatedly tells us that sitting at our desks for an extended period of time will kill us.  Nice.

So how you do combat the effects of sitting in a chair all day or prevent what I like to call "wide-ass desk booty"? I envision my booty getting wider and flatter, like a pancake, the longer I sit behind a desk.

lifespan treadmill desk
Treadmill Desk/Courtesy LifeSpan Fitness
If you don't have one of those fancy (or expensive!) treadmill desks, here are great ways to sneak in exercise:

  • Take the long way to get some water or use the restroom.  
  • Try to move for at least five minutes every hour.  For example: at 8:55 do 100 jumping jacks, 9:55 100 squats, 10:55 100 tricep dips, 11:55 100 desk pushups and so on.  Find a private space if you don't want co-workers to make fun of you. 
  • Don't laugh at this one: contract your abs while sitting at your desk.  If you don't want to get on the floor and do traditional situps, simply contract you're stomach muscles as if your bracing for a punch.  Do it for thirty seconds at a time throughout the day.  It's effective. 
  • Do a series of yoga poses and stretches.  A simple half moon stretch or cat cow pose feels amazing. 
cat cow pose
Cat Cow Pose/Courtesy LapBandSurgery.com

mountain pose
Mountain Pose/Courtesy: Yogr.com
Entrepreneur Magazine has some additional suggestions like visiting the park during your lunch hour, incorporating fitness into meetings AND working out at your desk.  Sound familiar? 

The mini-break you take to get the blood moving is worth it.  It will make you feel better and likely more productive when you plop back down. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Is Getting Enough Protein the Key to Weight Loss?

After three incredibly indulgent days in New Orleans, I am focused on temperance and moderation.  I might have had about a dozen souffle potatoes from Antoine's on Sunday.  Might.  
antoine's souffle potatoes
Antoine's Souffle Potatoes
As I plan my meals for the week, protein and greens are a key component of them.   Apparently, not enough protein could be one of they key reasons why we overeat. 

An Australian study found that the instinctive appetite for protein in humans is so strong that people will keep eating until their bodies tell them they have had enough of it.  The problem tends to be in that we eat too much crap before we will fill up on protein. 

The University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre determined that as we eat foods high in carbohydrates, fats and sugar, we reduce the amount of protein we consume.  The New Zealand Herald examines the findings published in Obesity Reviews
grilled chicken
Courtesy: Beck's Prime
"We found that regardless of your age or body mass index, your appetite for protein is so strong that you will keep eating until you get enough protein, which could mean eating much more than you should,' said lead author Dr Alison Gosby.

When you consume things like soft drinks, which are fairly low in proportion of protein but high in calories, your energy intake will increase because you'll need to keep eating to get the protein you need,' Dr Gosby said."

Think about it, when you eat a lunch full of starches and sugars featuring potatoes, bread and cookies, you're not fully satiated.  You're likely to be reaching for that mid-afternoon snack.  

Worried about the expense of proteins like meat, fish or poultry?  Try less expensive sources such as beans, eggs, nut butters and tofu. 


lentil kale & sweet potato soup
Lentil, kale & sweet potato soup
It's easy to get protein at every meal.  Consider this: 

  • An egg or two at breakfast.  Worried about fat and cholesterol?  Try egg whites.  Short on time, hard boil a batch of eggs on Sunday to last you throughout the week.  Out on eggs?  Try some Greek yogurt. 
  • Add a tablespoon of peanut butter to your apple for a snack or pair that apple with a piece of string cheese. 
  • Have a veggie burger or put a protein like chicken, turkey, lean steak, canned tuna or salmon on your lunchtime salad. 
  • For dinner, make a big pot of veggie soup featuring lentils.  I'm partial to my lentil, kale and sweet potato soup.  Prepare a batch of chicken breasts for the week to have for dinner every night.   
Getting enough protein doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming.  It's really quite simple and worth the effort when you consider the payoff. 
Friday, November 8, 2013

Secrets of Female Car Buyers From an Industry Pro

Lisa Carr was destined to be in the car leasing business. 

Say her name out loud.  Right now.  

Get it?  Lisa. Carr.  Yes, that's her real name.  

Granted, Carr isn't her maiden name but she has been married to her husband, Bill, for 30 years with whom she has two children, Kristin and Will.  She's been in the automobile industry for 33 years and is still going strong as the Director of Agent Development for D&M Leasing.

As she has grown in this industry, she's seen it evolve particularly as it relates to the buying power women have. 
Lisa Carr and Gina Miller
"I think women are getting in the driver's seat, so to speak," Carr told me one day at D&M Leasing's North Dallas office.  "In years past, women were in the passenger seat and giving their opinions.  Now they're making decisions." 

The facts back up her observation.  Women buy more than half of the new cars in the U.S. and influence up to 80% of all car purchases according to a Women-Drivers.com

What's interesting is the way women approach acquiring a car.  

"Women these days are not only thinking about where they are right now but they also have the vision to go 36-48 months down the road and wonder 'Where will I be at that point? What are my driving needs? How are they going to change?  Am I going to be in a flexible enough situation to move seamlessly to one situation in my life and then another?"

Think about it: a single woman gets married, has a kid and needs a bigger car or a stay-at-home mom's kids start school and that mom doesn't need the large mini-van.  The needs change.  Lisa believes women have the foresight to consider these things when looking for a car. 

"Females have a clear direction on the fact that what's happening in their life right now may not be happening in their life in 48 months." 

As Lisa was explaining this to me, I felt she like was describing me to a T.  I am always that "what-if" kind of person.  Perhaps more pessimistically put: I examine potential negative consequences.  It's the reporter in me.


There is a certain amount of moxie one must have when working in a competitive industry like the car leasing business. For inspiration Lisa turns to one of my favorites, Nolan Ryan.

She has two pictures of his more "infamous" moments over her desk: the shot of him pummeling Robin Ventura and a picture of a bloody Ryan taken just after Bo Jackson hit a line drive which nailed Ryan in the mouth.


"I think of those pictures a lot when I'm dealing with something," Lisa says smiling.  "I say bring it!" 

She's a woman after my own heart. 

Because I had to know...
Lisa is a self-professed car geek.  She loves everything about them.  I had to know what her absolute favorite one was to drive.  She answered without hesitation. 

"A 2005 Red Ford Thunderbird Convertible.  It was a surprise from my husband for our 25th wedding anniversary," she beamed. 
2005 red ford thunderbird convertible
2005 Ford Thunderbird Convertible/Courtesy: TFLCar.com
Not a bad gift! 

*This article is brought to you by D&M Leasing. Please Visit DMAutoLeasing.com for more information.









Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What to Do in New Orleans This Weekend for the Cowboys Game

Jackson Square in New Orleans, New Orleans for Families
Jackson Square, March 2013
New Orleans is usually a good idea.

During the summer when it's 98 degrees with 100% humidity?  Not so much.

During football season?  Always.

Visiting New Orleans for a Saints game is a blast.  The city is always alive but the spirit is even livelier when the Saints are playing.  

When they play the Cowboys this weekend it will be electric.  Because of New Orleans' proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth, you will see Cowboys fans throughout the city.  

In fact, some Cowboys employees will fly commercially to New Orleans so the team charter can accommodate the sponsors who will be making the trip.


I will be there with my family and friends celebrating my husband's birthday.  A friend who works for the Cowboys asked me about taking my daughter, Jordan, to New Orleans.  He wondered how the city is for kids.

In a word: FABULOUS.

This will be Jordan's second trip to New Orleans.  We were there in March and had the best time.


Storyland New Orleans City Park
Storyland/Courtesy: NewOrleansCityPark.com
New Orleans for Families
What do you do with a kid in New Orleans?  The same things you do without a kid.  She didn't impact our trip one bit.  She enhanced it.  New Orleans is a great city for families.  Here are some ideas:
Granted, we're not out hanging from balconies in the French Quarter until 4am with a toddler.  We will still visit our favorite restaurants, watering holes and shops, though.  Here are suggestions I share with friends any time they visit the city. 

Hotels - if you don't have a room, you will find the availability sparse and the prices high this weekend:
  • Ritz Carlton Hotel - great location on the edge of the Quarter on Canal.  This is one of the most affordable in the Ritz chain.  My go-to.
  • Marriott on Canal - nice Marriott with a Starbucks in the lobby.  I stayed here during the NBA All-Star Game where I stalked Mark Cuban for an interview outside a men's restroom following the Jason Kidd trade. 
  • International House - great boutique hotel located in the Central Business District.  We stayed here during Mardi Gras.  Very chic.  
  • W Hotel - there is one in the Quarter & one near Harrah's Casino.  Both are "W-esque" but the Quarter location has more charm.  I have stayed at both but prefer the one in the Quarter. 
  • The Saint Hotel - a gorgeous, Marriott-owned boutique offering next to the Ritz.  
  • The Windsor Court - near the casino.  Many NBA teams stay here. 
Restaurants - if you have a bad meal in this city, it's your own fault:
  • Antoine's - claims to be the oldest restaurant in America.  Gorgeous building in the Quarter  that is full of history.  Go, if only to check out the building & see if you can get a tour of the wine cellar.
  • Pelican Club - serves delicious local cuisine, nestled in Exchange Place.
  • GW Fins - popular, local seafood spot in the Quarter which is consistently voted one of the best.
  • Bayona - a foodie fave that is worth the wait, price and more. Located in the Quarter.
  • Nola - in the Quarter near Jackson Square, one of Emeril's more casual spots.
  • Emeril's - popular but good.
  • Gautreau's - located in Uptown.  Great seafood.
  • Vizard's - in Uptown on Magazine, good local cuisine. 
  • Herbsaint - in the Central Business district, serves French-inspired cuisine.
  • Domenica - in the Roosevelt hotel, great pizza & roasted cauliflower.
A classic Pimm's Cup at the Napolean House/Courtesy GoNola.com
Watering Holes - I'm not a bar person anymore but I definitely have some NOLA faves:  
  • Napoleon House - for a Pimm's Cup or Dixie to go.  The bartender, Mario, is quite salty but nice once he knows you. 
  • Bombay Club  - a martini spot in the Quarter that is full of character.  It reminds me of a British smoking club. 
  • Pat O'Brien's - a legend with a legendary patio, piano bar and signature Hurricane cocktail.  Go. If anything just to say you went.  
  • Carousel Bar - in the hotel Monteleone.  The name speaks for itself.
  • Bulldog's - sports bar with an awesome, dog-friendly patio on Magazine.  Get a spicy bloody Mary to go and continue strolling the shops on Magazine. 
  • Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop - in the Quarter.  Is it haunted?  You tell me. 
  • Old Absinthe House - on Bourbon street, see if you can find my business card on the wall.
  • The Sazerac Bar - good cocktails in the Roosevelt Hotel.
  • Bar in the Ritz Carlton - more than anything it's a good scene. 
Pirate's Alley
Lagniappe - a little something extra: 
  • Shopping on Magazine - head Uptown and check out the fun shops along Magazine.  I like Hazelnut (great home stuff), Storyville (cute t-shirts),  Probst decorating (LOVE her fabrics) as well as the slew of antique shops.
  • Saturday Morning at the Frenchmen Art Market - just off the Quarter, fun Farmer's Market vibe. 
  • Antique shopping on Royal Street
  • Cemetery Tours or French Quarter Walking Tour- these are popular.  I have never done one. 
  • Pirate's Alley - the inspiration for 1,000's of street artists.  
These suggestions barely scratch the surface.  Writer Rudy Maxa created an enlightening New Orleans walking tour on iTunes.  It takes you past Jackson Square, Truman Capote's old home and more.  Definitely worth a download. 

If you will be there this weekend, get lost in the French Quarter, have fun, stay safe and don't drive! Taxis are your friend. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Diet Tricks You SHOULDN'T Do

There are all sorts of diet tricks out there.   I shared 25 of the best diet tricks of all time last year plus a few of my own faves:
  • Putting your fork down between bites.  It works, promise.
  • Leaving two bites on every plate when you dine in a restaurant.  Another winner.
What about so-called diet tricks that don't work?  The Huffington Post's Anna Almendrala offers "7 Diet Habits You Should Drop Now" and the suggestions are pretty logical:

  • Don't skip breakfast - good advice but if you're not hungry, don't stress over it.  Do what works for you.  I love breakfast.  If I'm not hungry, I will at least try to get something in my system like my green smoothie
  • Cutting out entire food groups - I mean really.  Who can live without bread or cheese fries the rest of their lives?  It's ridiculous.  It's about moderation and occasional indulgences. 
  • Filling up on diet soda drinks - this is a game changer.  From a pure hydration standpoint, you will feel so much better if you avoid diet soda (as well as regular) and quench your thirst with plain water, sparkling water, water infused with fresh fruit or cucumber slices or iced tea.  
  • Thinking about it as a "diet" in the first place - TRUTH!  
Your "diet" is your overall approach to eating.  If you think about a "quick fix" it won't work.  You will fall right back into those bad habits once your calorie-reduced diet ends.  Sure, you can jumpstart your weight loss by restricting calories and dropping a few pounds quickly but you must consider how you will MAINTAIN that weight loss once you resume "normal" eating.
salad

The "Diet" That Works For Me
I've said it repeatedly and will say it again: that Mediterranean "diet" is the BOMB.  Fish, veggies, fruits, nuts, olive oil, feta cheese, red wine and chocolate.  There is nothing "diet" or restrictive about it.  It's abundant in its bounties.

The Great Green Smoothie Recipe
Looking for a great way to get some fruit and veggies in your system first thing in the morning?  Try my great green smoothie.  This one features Almond Breeze almond milk, a banana, frozen berries, spinach and chia seeds.

Kids love it, too.  You can hear my daughter, Jordan, saying "Yummy! Smoothie!" in this video.  Or at least a 2-year old's version of those words. 


  
Monday, November 4, 2013

In Defense of Broccoli

It's not sexy.  It's not even pretty.  Former president George H.W. Bush famously despises it.  But who knew that broccoli was the weak sister of the super food world? 


broccoli

Imagine my horror when I opened Sunday's New York Times Magazine to find my favorite vegetable being described as “Overcooked, soggy"....“Hiding under cheese”....“Told not to leave the table until I eat it.”

How can something so wonderful be so maligned?  Broccoli's benefits are numerous: 
So why the hate?  It's not hip like kale or sugary like a sweet potato.  In fact, according to Sara Brito, the strategy director of the ad team hired to improve the cruciferous veggie's rep  “It doesn’t matter in our culture. It has lost its confidence, succumbed to bullying and pressure. It’s content being on the sidelines.”

Ouch.  

So how can you love it more?  Easily.  Here are a few ways to enjoy the most super of superfoods: 

Courtesy: Cooking Light
  • Steam it and sprinkle some of your favorite seasoning on top: Old Bay, Slap Yo Mamma, Mrs. Bragg's, any of them. 
  • Sprinkle warm, steamed broccoli with freshly grated parmesan cheese and some pepper. 
  • Serve steamed broccoli with your favorite salsa or mustard.  I love Edmond Fallot Dijon with it.  
  • Serve raw broccoli with salsa or salad dressings: ranch or Green Goddess are my favorites. I prefer the all-natural kind. 
  • Try a lighter broccoli casserole, like this one from Cooking Light.  
  • Use broccoli in an easy frittata. It's super simple and a great way to use extra vegetables.  
Don't hate the most wonderful of healthful foods.  Steam it.  Experiment with it.  Try it with some healthier toppings.  I promise you will fall in love.  If not with the flavor, with super boost of healthy nutrients and fiber it gives you.