Monday, September 29, 2014

Paris Travel Trips Or How To Meet The Man Of Your Dreams In France

arc de triomphe, paris
Arc de Triomphe
I was standing in front of the Arc de Triomphe on one of those magical Paris November days: cool but not bone-chillingly cold. While crouched on the ground and angling for the perfect shot of the famous monument, I heard a man say "Pardon, madame."

"Oui, monseiur" I said, standing up to fix my eyes on one of the most beautiful human beings I'd ever seen. I'm talking Michael Hutchence at Wembley Stadium hot.

"Would you take my picture?" he asked, obviously noting I was some random tourist.

"Pas problem," I responded, trying to impress this Frenchman with my high school English and wishing this experience was happening to me about five years ago.

I snapped the shot. He asked for my phone number while I was in Paris, jolting me back to reality. That jolt was apparent.

"You are here on holiday?" he asked with a sly smile. "Or with the airlines?" he said assuming I was a flight attendant. This wasn't Mr. Michael Hutchence look-a-like's first rodeo.

"Um, actually," I stammered and looked my left. "I'm here with my husband and daughter", pointing to Jim and Jordan.

"Quelle trag├ędie," he said.

Yes, it was. On my fifth trip to Paris, my first with my family, I finally had the stereotypical "flirt with a Frenchman" experience. Oh, what could have been.

On The Bright Side
Thing is, it wasn't a tragedy. It was further proof of the city's allure. In Paris, you never know where the day will take you or who you will meet. The struggle of getting there, dealing with potential language barriers and the dollar's weakness in relation to the euro are ALWAYS forgotten when met with the beauty of a city that inspires romance and a sense of adventure.

paris with a baby, paris with a toddler, paris with kids
At the Parc du Forum des Halles, November 2012
I have visited Paris and met neighbors from Dallas, oil barons from Dubai, new friends from Portugal and moguls from Austin. The city is one that breaks down those walls that we construct around us going through our daily existence.

Then there was the Michael Hutchence look-a-like. Damn....

Why Bring This Up Now? 
The husb, the kid and I are heading back to the City of Light this November (a great time to go). It will be the third straight year we've made the trip with Jordan.

It's gotten to the point where I am constantly asked about my favorite Paris stops. Those who take my recommendations are rarely disappointed.

paris with kids, paris with toddler
Paris with Jordan & a new friend at the Trocadero, 2012
I believe that traveling well is a sport. In the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some of my favorite Parisian adventures with you. From where to eat and sleep to secret shops and brocantes, I'll be spilling all my Parisian beans. Pardon, haricots. I'll even tell you how to get to Normandy and Champagne, the latter being a monumentally more difficult affair than it should be.

Heading To Paris Soon? 
I've written about Paris a ton: Here's how to rent a Paris apartment.  Paris avec bebe. And with a baby again. Looking for a great app to keep up to speed with Paris happenings? Hotel Pavillon des Lettres has you covered. Just search "Paris" on my blog and you'll find a bounty of travel treasures.

Explore Some Favorite Parisian Finds


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What To Wear To The Cowboys/Saints Game, Who Dat Nation Edition

saints fans, who dat nation

saints fans, who dat nation
Photos from the Cowboys/Saints game, 2013
Saints fans do not fear the bling or have any trepidation dressing up. I have been to a ton of Saints games as both a fan and reporter and am always impressed at how they bring it. I have seen Christmas elves, priests and zombies in full regalia at the Superdome.

While I don't expect to see that Sunday night when New Orleans plays the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium, I do know the Who Dat Nation will represent.

One of (many) great things about being a Saints fan is that their color combination is fabulous. Stylish black and gold is so easy to find. This MICHAEL Michael Kors camo top is ideal for New Orleans fans.

There are so many beautiful gold accessories that it makes shopping and dressing for Saints games a blast. Fleur de lis jewelry is so fun, making it easy to support New Orleans in style.

So if you're a Saints fan heading to AT&T Stadium for the game, don't be afraid to bling it. Pun intended. Click here for your Cowboys gameday look and game preview. Here's your AT&T Stadium purse and bag policy guide.

Get The Look


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The New Mavs Jersey: Following A Fashion Trend Or An NBA Classic?

Mavs new jersey, mavs crowdsourced jersey

I've always postured that sports is woven into the fabric of our community in Dallas/Fort Worth. Now the Mavericks are truly reflecting that. The team unveiled its 2015-2016 jersey on Tuesday which reps the Dallas skyline well.

It was a crowdsourced project designed by Dallas native Geoff Case. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban chose Case's skyline-themed look out of 1,000 entries. For his efforts, Case received $1,000 and season tickets for the 2015-2016 season.

Sounds kinda skimpy to me. I digress.

This alternate jersey will be worn at least eight times during the 2015-16 season.

dallas skyline jewelry
Image via City + Sky

dallas skyline t-shirt, dallas skyline
Image via Outline The Sky

From t-shirt company Outline the Sky's skyline-themed looks to City + Sky's chic Dallas pieces, the Dallas skyline is having a moment. Dallas recently earned "Best International Skyline" honors  from USA Today.

Old Sonics Logo, sonics logo

Here's the thing: while this is a trend on the fashion front, skyline jerseys are nothing news. The dear, departed Seattle SuperSonics had a great skyline logo on their jersey from 1975 to the 94/95 season.

golden state logo, warriors logo

The Golden State Warriors have sported various versions of the Golden Gate Bridge in their logo throughout the years. The Nuggets had an odd Tetris-looking logo for more than a decade.

What Do You Think? 
I like all things Dallas. Given that the Mavericks are truly the only team that plays in AND is headquartered in Dallas, it's smart to promote that.

new mavs jersey
Maybe it looks better in action? Maybe....
As for the aesthetics, I don't quite care for the color patterns, particularly the blue uniform with the green piping. It just looks "off" to me.  I like the skyline logo, even if it does ignore the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and pegasus.

Do you like the new Mavs look? Hate it? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Southpark Takes A Shot At The Redskins And It's Awesome

I love anyone who takes shots at the Redskins. Even better when it's well-done. Even more awesome when shots are fired at team owner Dan Snyder.

Let me just say this: I've met the guy. Fire away.

Comedy Central aired a Southpark promo during the Redskins/Eagles game on Fox. In a word: brilliant.

What do you think?


Friday, September 19, 2014

Why 30 Minutes of Exercise a Day Will Change Your Life

exercise, 30-minute workouts

Whether it's aerobic exercise, yoga or weight lifting workouts, exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day will change your life.

I promise.

It bears repeating: 30 minutes.  That's it.  In the time it takes you to watch "Modern Family" or an old episode of "Sex and The City" you can squeeze in a workout and save your life.

If you're a relatively healthy adult, there is no excuse.

You don't have to spend hours in the gym, researchers have repeatedly proven this.  I blogged about less being more when it comes to exercise in February.   Gretchen Reynolds outlined reiterated in the New York Times Magazine in a Q & A titled Double the Workout, Double the Benefits?

In a notable study from 2011, people of all ages who exercised very moderately, for about 15 minutes a day, or approximately half of your current regimen, reduced their risk of dying prematurely by about 14 percent, or the equivalent of three additional years of life. Those whose workouts were twice as long — like yours, 30 minutes per day — saw an additional drop in the risk of premature death, but only by 4 percent. Using that data, other scientists have estimated that people who go really big with their workouts, increasing their exercise time from 50 minutes per day to 120 minutes per day — a 140 percent increase — achieve only about a 5 percent added decrease in their risk of dying too young.
Exercise beyond a certain level may even be counterproductive. When researchers tracked 52,000 adults for 15 years, those who ran 5 to 20 miles a week at a fairly pokey pace of about 9 to 10 minutes a mile received the optimal mortality benefits, the study authors write. The fastest runners and those who completed the most miles every week did not live significantly longer, on average, than people who didn’t run at all. 

Yes, You HAVE The Time
Every day, I meet women and men every who ask me how I squeeze in my workouts.  I have made it clear that exercise is my "non-negotiable".  I don't give those up.  I get at least five workouts in a week.

weighted hula hoop, hula hoop,
Empower Weighted Hoop - LOVE this
But here's the thing: they aren't always ball-busting, go-all-out-affairs.  Some days it's a brisk walk, a treadmill run, yoga, pilates, hula hooping or a quick weight workout.  

Recently, I was in a time crunch, so I walked 10 minutes to the park with Jordan and the dog.  While she was playing, I jumped rope for about 20 minutes, on and off, and walked back home.  That was a quick workout that also allowed me to spend time with the kid.  She had fun watching me jump rope, as well. 

The majority of us aren't professional athletes, models or actors.  We don't need to "look a certain way" for the cameras or be able to dunk a basketball.  But we DO need our bodies to work for us in every day life: lifting the kids, moving furniture, running up stairs, even getting in and out of chairs. 

A simple 30-minute session of exercise will get the blood flowing, stretch and strengthen your muscles and make you feel better mentally, too.

Great 30-Minute Workout Options
When you're pressed for time, what do you like to do? 

RELATED: Is there such a thing as "negative calorie foods"? An expert weighs in.

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Want more diet and fitness news?  Click HERE to sign up for my weekly newsletter or just fill in the information in the box below. You will get an email, generally on Wednesday, full of simple diet and fitness tips like this one.

As a thank you for signing up for The Real Skinny, I will send you "The 10 Easiest Diet Tips: Simple Secrets To Help You Lose Weight & Maintain Your Weight Loss For Good". These feature 10 super easy diets tips that helped me lose 50 pounds and keep them off for more than a decade. This is stuff anyone can do.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How To Determine What Type Of Protein Powder Is Right For You

Protein powders are a quick and convenient source of quality, complete protein. If you're a growing teenager it's a good way to fuel workouts. If you're just starting a workout program and trying to build new muscle, you'll need more protein than normal. If you're amping up your workouts, recovering from an injury or going vegan, a protein powder is a good option to consider. 

But there are so many options out there! Still trying to figure out your whey from your casein? And what about egg white, rice and pea (really!) protein?

Here's a simple cheat sheet to help you navigate the overwhelming minefield that can be the protein powder aisle. 

Share it, Pin it, Tweet it, Facebook it. This is an outstanding cheat sheet from Health Perch to help you determine the right protein powder for you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Stylish Texas Rangers T-Shirts

I took in the series finale between the Braves and Rangers on Sunday (a 10-3 win and series sweep...woo-hoo!). Globe Life Park seemed like a half-empty ghost town in comparison to the pennant-chasing days of just two seasons ago. Certain concessions stands were closed. The upper decks were empty.

Kinda sad.

Texas Rangers Gear, Texas Rangers T-Shirts for Women, Texas Rangers T-Shirts for Men

What impressed me was how Rangers fans still support their team on the fashion front. Of all the four pro teams in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas fans make a point to wear team gear at games. Perhaps that's because there is a better selection for baseball fans.

Even more impressive is the outstanding offering of women's gear. I blogged about it earlier this summer. Major League Baseball makes it easy to support your favorite team in style.

The Rangers have one final homestand left in this brutal 2014 season. They begin a three-game series against the Astros Monday, September 22 before starting their final series of the season against the A's on Thursday, September 25th.  

Be honest, are you interested at all? Have you checked out on the Rangers or will you be there next week?
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Splurge or Steal: Gucci's Fall Collection

Gucci, fashion, gucci fall 2014
Click on any item to learn more about it. 

Have you seen Gucci's fall collection? It is full of all sorts of 60's-inspired looks that are beyond fabulous. I love everything about it...except the price.

While I am a believer in investing in quality pieces that last a lifetime, I can't afford to spend $3200 on a dress. So I set out to recreate one of my favorite looks with a more wallet-friendly approach.

What do you think?

Gucci Tote, $3800
Gucci Dress, $3200
Gucci Boots, $1450
Gucci Bracelet, $450
Gucci Ring, $430
Gucci Sunglasses, $345

Tory Burch Tote, $295
Ann Taylor Dress, $169 (50% off this weekend!)
Ivanka Trump Boots, $199
Alexis Bittar Ring, $195
Aqua Clara Bracelet, $50
ASOS Sunglasses, $22.86

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The Friday Cheat Sheet: LeSean McCoy Explains Tip, Fun With Nicknames and More

From Ray Rice to Ron Washington, it's a been a headline-grabbing week. Here are some stories you might have missed.
charlie sheen, lesean mccoy

LeSean McCoy Explains 20 Cent Tip
The Eagles running back has been tip shamed all over the internet. So much so that Charlie Sheen pledged $1000 to the waiter who received a 20-cent pittance from McCoy who has explained the reason for the tip. Sorta:

"A 20-cent tip is kind of a statement. You can't disrespect somebody and expect them to tip you. I don't care who the person is. That's why I left my card so they could see my name."

McCoy didn't explain how he was disrespected but did add that he's glad Charlie Sheen is finally "doing something positive".

Curious: what's your tipping philosophy? I usually double the amount and leave 20%.

Kenny Hill Wants To Trademark Nickname
First Johnny Manziel's parents tried to trademark the nickname "Johnny Football", now Kenny Hill's parents want to trademark the nickname Kenny Trill but turns out some troll from Lousiana filed a trademark for the name as soon as Hill said he liked the nickname.

Oh No He Didn't
Rory McIlroy believes that Tiger Woods & Phil Mickelson are "into the last few holes of their careers".  Strong words in this "let's not say a damn thing" media climate. Let's see, Woods is 38 and Mickelson is 44. Rory's right.

Connect With ARod
Looks like Alex Rodriguez has a LinkedIn profile. As of Thursday morning he has zero connections. Would you accept his connection request?

Fun With Nicknames
From the Hutto Hippos to the New Braunfels Unicorns, I love a good nickname. How about the Conway Wampus Cats, Mars Area Fighting Planets or Webster University Gorloks? Here are more of the strangest mascot nicknames around.

I feel terrible for anyone who plays for Yuma. They're Criminals. Really.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Buzz: Cowboys Memes, JJ Watt Googles What Rich People Buy & More

dallas cowboys memes

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I thought the Cowboys would lose to the 49ers but didn't have any idea it would be that bad. Tony Romo threw three interceptions and seemed to have trouble finding his targets and seeing the field. It's going to be a long season.

But at least there are memes to make us smile.

Texans defensive end JJ Watt epitomizes good guy on every front. So when he signed his $100 million dollar contract he Googled "What do rich people buy?".  Turns out he, doesn't need any of it.

And then there's this....
Donald Sterling isn't the only racist former team owner in the NBA. Did you see what Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levinson emailed to GM Danny Ferry two years ago?

Here's an excerpt:

“My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant (sic) season ticket base."

Yeah. He wrote that. He announced on Sunday that he will be selling his interest in the Atlanta franchise.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Cheat Sheet: Hanz and Franz Return, Pam Oliver Opens Up & The Seahawks Fumble The National Anthem

Happy NFL Weekend! Thank GOD football is back. Spend one minute. Watch the State Farm commercial featuring the return of Hans and Franz "training" with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Brilliant.

The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks showed no mercy against Green Bay in their 36-16 win the first game of the season Thursday night.

Seahawks Ariana Grande Tweet

Singer Ariana Grande nailed it with her moving national anthem. The Seahawks took to Twitter to offer their appreciation but fumbled the lyrics themselves. Needless to say that Tweet was subsequently deleted.

From a thing of beauty to thing of......we'll let you decide. Did you hear boxer Manny Pacquiao sing his tribute to the NFL. It might make your dogs howl but will definitely make your morning.

Have you browsed the latest round of NFL Dopplegangers?

You have to read Pam Oliver's account of moving from Fox Sports "A" NFL team. It's a story I can relate to. All too well. Anyone who gets into the TV business must prepare for an eventual departure. That exit is rarely on your own terms. If you're an aspiring sports broadcaster or know one, understand this: there is a shelf life.

Hey. Cowboys. 49er's. Season opener. Here's your GameDay Style Guide.

On the college front, I have my eye on the SMU/North Texas game.

Did you see the best looks of the weekend from the first week of college football? You need to. Send your best of the weekend to me on Twitter or Instagram.

What About You?
What games are you watching this weekend? Share your plans in the comments section.

I'm in Austin for an event Friday night and will take in the pregame festivities before the BYU/Texas game. Hang with me on Instagram for some of the revelry.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

NFL Dopplegangers

The Bleacher Reporter takes a look at NFL dopplegangers, leading off with Lions chubby-cheeked quarterback Matt Stafford and actor Haley Joel Osment. Scary similarity. Also Common and Matt Forte are twinkies. I think they missed one, though:
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and actor Ken Marino (AKA Guy Young from "Eastbound and Down" ...I miss that show) share a resemblance. Marino could be Cutler's older brother, no?

Marino has a new TV show debuting on NBC this fall called "Marry Me". Cutler, I would think, has a bit more pressure on him. Earning $22.5 million, he'll be the highest paid player in the NFL this year, sparking all sorts of "what does Cutler need to do for the Bears to get a return on their investment" dialog.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo could write a book on that discussion.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cowboys/49er's GameDay Cheat Sheet

Cowboys/49'ers game, What to wear to a cowboys game
Click on any item to learn more about it.

Fashion counts at Cowboys games. Plain and simple. What you wear is more important almost as important as what happens on the field. While you can get away with wearing jerseys to games in Green Bay or Minneapolis, games at AT&T Stadium call for your Sunday best.

With the weather still on the warm side, I think a tank and sophisticated jeans is a great way to go. Go with a wedge shoe if you're a heels girl. If you like a flat, you will LOVE Yosi Samra's.

Jewelry is the perfect way to support your favorite team in style. The silver Alexis Bittar lucite bracelet paired with the navy top screams Dallas a good way. It's also a good gameday investment because it tends to last longer than a trendy piece of clothing. Wear Alex and Ani's Cowboys bangle set to show you're a fan throughout the week.

Remember you must abide by the NFL's bag and purse policy. AT&T Stadium's is a bit more liberal. Here is all you need to know about the purse policy. Check out my Purse Policy Boutique for a selection of bags that will be allowed into AT&T Stadium for a game. I'm always updating my GameDay Style boards on Pinterest.

Dallas Cowboys season opener

On The Record
Did you know: The Cowboys have the league's best record on opening day with a 36-17-1 mark. (Tweet This) The Broncos, Bears, Texans (?!?!?) and Giants round out the top 5.

I think Dallas will have a hard time containing the 49er's offense.

My prediction: San Francisco 34-23

Think I'm crazy? Share your thoughts on the season opener in the comments section.

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How Not To Look Like A Slob At the Gym

exercise gear for women, workout gear
Click on any item to learn more about it.

As a recovering recovering gym slob, I am always on the lookout for stylish workout gear that can withstand a beating and multiple washings. There are some outstanding pieces you can find to update your fall workout wardrobe which will force you to retire that ratty tank top (you know which one I'm talking about).

I'm sending a slew of my older pieces that are still wearable to Genesis Women's Shelter.

It's also a good time to update your shoes. I typically buy a new pair once a year. I bought these Reebok ZigKick Alphas last year. My eye is on these new Nike cross-trainers. 

Fall Workout Goals
Do you have any fall workout goals? I need to get back on the yoga routine. I think I took only one yoga class the entire summer. My Om was definitely OFF. I like to get at least one class a week, typically on Sundays.

What new workouts or classes are you looking forward to trying in the next few months? 

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

More Diets Tips That Actually Work

When In Doubt Workout Pillow, Motivation, exercise

After being skinny, gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight, having a kid, losing the baby weight and more, I feel like I'm a diet expert simply through practice.

After years of trying everything: Atkins, the Zone, the grapefruit diet, Cabbage Soup diet, I could go on. There are principles that I know work: eat well, eat real food, don't overindulge, exercise most days of the week.

There are certain "diet secrets" that work better than others, though. Putting down your fork after each bite, for example, is a gamechanger. I've featured them on the blog.

Fitsugar has a few more diet secrets that are truly effective:
  • Eat clean - no white food, refined carbs, sugar, alcohol, etc.
  • Don't diet - think of adopting an overall, longterm approach to eating, not a temporary "diet"
  • Do more cardio - ramp up the intensity to get that afterburn.
  • Drink more water - hydration is huge. Drink green tea, water with lemon or fruit added, any water-based drink without extra sweetener or calories added to it. 
  • Make calories in less than calories out - if you eat more than you burn, you will gain weight. I gained weight while training for marathons. Even though I was burning hundreds, sometimes thousands, of calories it didn't make up for the extra cookies I ate at lunch. 
  • Eliminate extras - all the little nibbles, sips and snacks add up. 
This is such a practical approach to maintaining your weight (notice I didn't say "diet). If you're looking for a particular dietary approach to follow, try the Mediterranean diet. It's simple, easy, delicious and calls for wine and chocolate. Win!

I love this Mediterranean Diet cookbook for recipe ideas.

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