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.

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.
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. 


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 for the full story.
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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Paris Refresher for Traveling with a Baby

The Eiffel Tower from Les Ombres restaurant on top of the Musee du Quai Branly
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.

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
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 

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.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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.  
Monday, September 3, 2012

I Lived on Guam for Six Months and Lived to Tell About It....Barely

"Hafa Adai, Guam!" 

That was how I started my sportscasts at 6pm and 10pm at KUAM Island News for six months in 1996 as the Sports Director of the tiny NBC affiliate.  It's the typical greeting for Guam residents and natives, called Chamorros.

When I tell people that my first, full-time on-air job right out of college was on the U.S. territory located below Asia and above Australia there is always an immediate double take followed by questions.

RELATED: 14 Things You Need to Know If You Want to be a Sportscaster
Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sitting at Your Job All Day Will Kill You. Tips to Fight Back

There are few things I hate more than sitting at a desk all day.  Report after report after report reinforces that it will kill you.

Sitting stops the electrical activity in your muscles the moment you put your booty in the chair.  If you sit six or more hours, you're at a greater risk of dying 15 years earlier than someone who sits less.  The decreased muscle activity results in a drop in your metabolism, resulting in smaller caloric burn.  In turn, enzymes that break down fat decrease as does the body's ability to control blood sugar levels.

Say you exercise.  Sorry.  That doesn't make much of a difference.  

When I'm anchoring shows for my day job, I spend a solid 7-8 hours in a chair, in front of a computer working on scripts and researching stories.  I feel the effects: sore hips, tight back, ankles and feet that fall asleep.  So I've developed a few tactics to combat the terrible effects:

-Squat while surfing the web. It might sound and look silly but squat for a minute or two at various intervals throughout the day and you will feel a burn, the good kind.
-Stand while you are on the phone.  Again: standing better than sitting.
-Take a walk break by getting some water, walking to the restroom on a different floor, talk to someone in person versus phone or email.  You get the idea.
-Stretch: just a simple cat/cow pose or pike stretch can do wonders.
-Stand, take a deep breath and arch your back, almost a full back bend with your arms raised over your head.  This is a truly invigorating move that gets blood flowing.
Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Heck of a Shopping Haul.....At a Hotel?

Trina Turk Cover-Up I bought at the Ritz Carlton Marina Del Rey

You can score fabulous finds at hotels.  Really.  The Wall Street Journal explores the rise of niche luxury hotel boutiques in Thursday's edition.

"The traditional hotel gift shop is getting an overhaul. Upscale properties hope to turn them into places where guests, and even locals, will want to linger and spend money—day after day."

The thing is, you don't have to spend a ton of cash.  Sure, there are some hotel boutiques that stock items that cost a fortune but many will discount their goods in effort to move them.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Good Juice Doesn't Have to Cost a Fortune

I love great hooch more than the next person.  I will spend triple digits on a quality bottle of wine if it's part of an experience that my friends and I will cherish for years to come.

Praying this has been stored properly!

But even more than great pricey bottle, I love a good wine value.  Eric Asimov has a great feature in Thursday's New York Times profiling what he considers "12 Values in American Wines"

Included on the list are two of my favorites:

Qupé Santa Barbara County Marsanne 2011, $20
Bob Lindquist is one of the unsung heroes of California wine, and his Qupé label is consistently overlooked, possibly because he makes wines of little-known Rhône grapes like marsanne. This is actually a blend of two Rhône grapes, 79 percent marsanne and 21 percent roussanne. Pleasantly weighty and harmonious with persistent floral, nutlike flavors. 

Heitz Napa Valley Grignolino 2009, $20
Grignolino? From Napa Valley? While other producers have converted their Napa vineyards of esoteric grapes into more lucrative cabernet sauvignon, Heitz has held out and continues to make this ruby-colored red, bone dry with dark, spicy flavors and a refreshing bitterness.

Both wonderful bottles and perfect hostess gifts that will never disappoint.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A 2014 Cowboys Training Camp Travel Guide

Jordan at Training Camp, 2013
On the fence about about visiting the Cowboys in Oxnard for training camp? Get off it and go.

It's a great opportunity to watch the Cowboys practice, something you can't do during the regular season.  You might also be lucky enough to snag autographs as players willingly sign for fans once practice ends.  Fair warning: the afternoon practices are packed and there is a fair amount of jostling for space to get certain signatures.

The Cowboys opening press conference is 5pm on Wednesday. Here is the full training camp schedule. You can still get relatively affordable August airfare to Los Angeles on Virgin, Southwest or American.
Visit Ventura
Here's the thing: Oxnard, as a city itself, isn't that great.  It's like any other American suburb, granted with the Pacific Ocean hugging its edge and strawberry fields rolling along the interstate.   Lodging options are basically limited to the Marriott Courtyard and the Residence Inn where the Cowboys practice.  Getting rooms at the latter are nearly impossible during camp.

If you can, stay in Ventura.  There is a nice Marriott with beach access, a gorgeous running trail along the beach and, of course, the legendary Ventura County Fair.  Downtown Ventura is darling with eclectic shopping and decent dining.   Here are some restaurant where I have spent my hard-earned per diems in the past:
Ventura Pier/Image Via

Try Montecito & Santa Barbara
Again, Ventura is lovely but if you're up for a GREAT side trip, head 35 miles north on the 101 to visit Montecito, perhaps my favorite city in the U.S.  

I have been going to Cowboys camp in Oxnard since the team held it's inaugural camp there in 2001. By some grace of God, and courtesy of well-connected friends, I've been visiting Santa Barbara and Montecito, the area that some call the American Riviera, since I was child.

My family shows Arabian horses.  We have participated in and attended horse shows at Santa Barbara's world famous Earl Warren Showgrounds for more than 30 years.  I try to get there at least once a summer and the experience never disappoints. July 30th-August 4th is Santa Barbara's legendary Old Spanish Days. The celebration is definitely worth visiting if you'll be in the area.

I prefer to stay in Montecito, the cozier, albeit wealthier and more exclusive town just south of Santa Barbara.  Montecito is home to race car legend Andy Granatelli, Oprah Winfrey and a slew of other multi-millionaire celebrities.  Montecito is separated into two villages: the lower, on Coast Village Road, and the labyrinth-like upper. 

Image Via Montecito Inn
The lower village is one long street right off the 101.  There you will find the little hotel I always enjoying visiting, the Montecito Inn, which is quite reasonable.  Once you are there and plan on staying in Montecito, you really don't need a car.  The hotel will give you beach cruisers to explore the area.  It is next door to the town's hottest spot, Lucky's steakhouse, owned by the founder of Lucky Brand jeans. On any given night, you will find Carol Burnett, Kevin Costner, and, during Cowboys camp, members of the Jones family.

Other great spots include Cava, a spanish tapas joint as well as the bar and restaurant scene at the Four Seasons Biltmore, located right across from the beach.  The sunset views are glorious.  If you stay at the Four Seasons or happen to be a member of a reciprocal club, you can gain access to the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana. 

Courtesy Coral Casino
The Coral Casino was a tony exclusive club that opened in 1937 before falling into disrepair.  Beanie Babies founder-turned-hotel-entrepreneur Ty Warner has remodeled and rebranded it as an exclusive beach club for the west coast elite.  It is delicious.  Think beach club, California chic with an outstanding saltwater pool and first-class fitness center.

Montecito estate
The best part of the upper village is the estates.  The mansions and villas are breathtakingly stunning.  Take a drive through the hills and play the guessing game of "who lives there".  There is a great little shopping center which features Pierre LaFond, a market that is a perfect place for a break after driving around Montecito's winding hills.

The upper village is also home to the Rosewood-managed San Ysidro Ranch, one of the most luscious (and expensive) resorts you'll find.  John F. Kennedy spent his honeymoon there with Jackie.  Skip the stay and dine in one of the hotels two restaurants, The Stonehouse or Plow & Angel.  They make outstanding margaritas.  

Montecito coastline
The best part of Montecito is free: just walking along the beach.  So, if you visit Cowboys camp, make the drive to the sleepy, yet luxurious village and simply go for a sunset stroll.  It will make you forget any triple digit temperatures haunting your friends back home.

Save on Summer Hotels
If you're thinking about heading that way, is offering 10% off on select hotels with the code JUL1410NA! Book by 7/27/14, Travel By 9/28/14. Might be worth checking out.
Thursday, July 19, 2012

How To Squeeze In Exercise With A Newborn

It was almost fitting that I found this Wall Street Journal article Thursday morning while stretching after a killer Tabata class at Equinox.  Titled "Don't Hate Her for Being Fit" the piece touches on the sentiment I've been preaching for years: exercise will change your life, save your sanity and make your body better.  Simple as that.

"Fit moms spend nearly every free minute working out, cross-training for triathlons and scheduling regular boot camps and yoga," writes author Elizabeth Holmes.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recipe Review: Cooking Light's Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

If you know me, you know I can't cook. I can make awesome smoothies, excellent toast, rocking oatmeal, a decent salad with the dressing to boot. Other than that, I'm a failure. I once attempted a lowfat key lime pie that my dog wouldn't even try.

To the point: Cooking Light magazine had an interesting Cheesy Chicken Enchilada recipe that I decided to try.  I posted it on Pinterest as soon as I found it but didn't actually read the ingredient list.  It called for flour tortillas.  As a Tex-Mex purist, I don't do flour tortillas in an enchilada.  I substituted Whole Foods blue corn tortillas for the flour, which lowered the calorie count.

Image via
These were pretty easy to make.  The mixture itself was a breeze.  I bought grilled chicken breast (I seriously don't know how to cook a chicken breast) and just cut them into little pieces.  I sliced the onions, green onions and garlic and the rest of the ingredients. The most tedious part was warming the tortillas in a pan.

I assembled the enchiladas and while they cooked for 20 minutes, I made the suggested salad with greens topped with fresh pre-sliced jicama and mangoes from Whole Foods (my knife skills suck).

After topping the enchiladas with cheese and green onions and heating them an additional six minutes, I served dinner to the husband and sister with a bottle of Waterbrook chardonnay.  This fruitier chardonnay worked wonderfully to cut the creaminess of the cheese.

The end result was jawdropping.  They loved the enchiladas.  They really loved the dinner, lowfat cheese and all.  No one loves my food. Being so used to wonderful, grease-filled enchiladas I am surprised at how good these were.  The uber-light and fruity salad was a perfect complement and the juice was just right.

Having said that, I would have kicked the spices up a notch.  I don't miss full-fat cheese but these definitely could have used perhaps more garlic and onion.  I would also purchase a can of "hot" green chiles, not mild.  Definitely don't do these with flour tortillas like the recipe suggests.  Go with the corn for more texture and more authentic flavor.