Friday, May 31, 2013

Why Traveling to Paris with a Baby is Just Like Getting a Full-Frontal Neck Tattoo

"You're doing what!?!?!"

I imagine that's how my boss would respond if I told her I was shaving my head, getting a full frontal neck tattoo and going on TV sporting the new look.

That's also the response both friends and strangers give me when I tell them my husband and I are taking our 20-month old daughter to Paris on Sunday.  It's actually the second time we have taken her across the pond.  While it's a challenge, the joy of spending time with her far outweighs the stress of the plane ride and unexpected "surprises" we might encounter along the way.

Jordan on the carousel at the Trocadero
There are a few reasons she's going with us:
  • I rarely get to spend time with her so when I am not working, caring for her is fun and actually feels like a holiday. 
  • A cute bébé is a wonderful conversation starter.  Last time we were there Jordan charmed the gruffest Parisians, which is a bit of an unfair stereotype.  (More on that here)
  • She travels for free in our lap until she's two.  Okay, she only travels free domestically, we pay taxes on international travel, but it's still a pretty good deal.  We're taking advantage of this as long as we can. 
All that aside, having THE screaming baby on a plane can be an arse-whip of epic proportions.  Her first flight was to Cabo San Lucas which she handled like a champ.  She's also done LA twice and New Orleans.  Here are a few tips to handle travel with a little one.   

We place a premium on sleep above all else.  Jordan was sleeping through the night at six weeks old and hasn't wavered from that.  A well-rested baby produces a happy baby and sane parents.

Jordan asleep on the plane

When traveling to a different time zone, we start adjusting her sleep schedule about a week prior.  For example, when Jordan went to LA, we started keeping her up about 30 minutes later each night a week out until she was on the Pacific time zone.  Ultimately, two days before we left for LA, she was going to bed at 10pm and waking up at 10am.  This was a tough adjustment for us but saved us during the trip.  Coming back to Dallas, she had an easier time falling asleep at her normal 8pm. 

As we prepare for Paris, which is currently seven hours ahead of us, she is going to sleep earlier.  This week, we have been putting her down between 6:30-8pm.   This is a little more difficult as the sun is still setting but the process of "winding down" earlier is effective.

On the Plane
No real secrets here: plenty of diapers, a change of clothes and a good attitude.  She has been a good flyer in the past but I know she's going to cry.  She is done using a pacifier but we are debating bringing it for the airplane ride.   We will also bring an iPad loaded with plenty of games, Dora the Explorer and Bubble Guppies episodes.  

We also have this little survival kit that includes meals for the plane and lavender oil which we will rub on her feet to help her sleep.

Once There
A good stroller is key.  We like the Joovy Groove Umbrella stroller because it's mobile and easily collapsible.  It's also one in which she can nap when we recline it.  This is huge.  We found out while we were out exploring the city, she would take her naps in the stroller.  We would simply put a rain cover over it and she was good to catch a few ZZZZ's. 

Jordan napping in her stroller at the Louvre
While Jordan pretty much eats when we eat, we were flexible with her meals.  We dreamed of lavish lunches and dinners in bistros and brasseries but we usually ended up eating lunch in the park which was fine.  It was just easier.  Having picnics turned out to be fun and a change from our typical routine. 

Picnic in the park
Most restaurants didn't even high chairs but, again, patience and a smile went a long way.  If she went crazy during a meal, we took her out of the establishment and tried to calm her down.  She's a bit more cantankerous now, so undoubtedly, this will be a test. 

Charming the owner of L'Epigramme on the Left Bank
The Takeaway
It won't be perfect and there will be meltdowns.   Mentally preparing for that is half the battle.
Breaking the perfume bottle!
There is no real formula for success for the unpredictable adventure of traveling with a little one.  Part of the joy is changing diapers in the park, breaking a perfume bottle at Hermes, making new friends at a playground and charming the elderly French nounou who has seen it all.  All things we did, btw.

Making friends at the park
Preparation, flexibility and a good attitude WILL help you and the family enjoy the trip and come away from it with memories that will last a lifetime. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to Win the Weight Loss Game by Focusing on What You CAN Eat vs What You Can't

A debate with a friend turned heated recently.  He is trying to lose weight and get in "fighting shape".  He is incorporating a low calorie weight loss plan that is, frankly, bland and boring.  He also laments the fact that he can't have beer, breads, ice cream, the chips he loves, blah blah blah blah. 

Ice cream chocolate chip sandwich/Courtesy: Bon Appetite
I countered with two points: First, you CAN have those things once in a while as a part of a well-balanced diet.  He thought he had to eliminate them completely.  Wrong.  Think once a week, not twice a day.

Then I presented him with this: "look at the great food you CAN have.  Think fish, chicken, lean steak, sweet potatoes, greens of all sorts, peppers, fresh berries, red wine (HELLO), dark chocolate, blah blah blah blah." 

He couldn't get over the fact that he CAN'T have certain food items.  I maintain that if you focus on what you CAN have while you're trying to drop weight or stay within a healthy range, it will make the sometimes taxing mental process of trying to win the weight loss game more bearable.

Does this sound familiar: "Crap, no 4pm cookie, no afterwork beers, no pretzels during the Rangers game!  This sucks!!!!"

Yeah, it does suck.  The thought of what you can't consume can consume you so much so that you end stuffing your face with all the stuff you swore off eating.

The best, healthiest smoothie ever.
Instead, approach your day this way:
That's not some pollyanna way of thinking.  It works.  Succeeding at eating a healthy diet is as much about mental execution as it is the physical.  We know the right foods to eat.  It's just hard to do it.  Get your mind focused on what you CAN eat instead of what you CAN'T and you WILL succeed.


Looking for a great way to eat a bounty of fresh produce, wine, chocolate, nuts and more, try the Mediterranean "diet".  I hate using the word "diet" because it's much more of an approach to eating that is wonderfully balanced and so inclusive you won't feel like you're depriving yourself of anything.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Putting The 7-Minute Workout Into Action

So Monday was all about getting caught up in the buzz of the"7-minute workout".


But I did more than blog about this new fitness discovery.  I actually did my own version at the gym. 

Here was my Monday plan:
  • Thirty minutes on the stepmill.  I love it because I can read and work up a good sweat.  I have to do so much homework for my "day job" that if I can multitask and do my Rangers/Cowboys/Mavs/Colonial/Nelson/Whatever homework while exercising, I am a step ahead. 
Photo: American College of Sports Medicine

1. Jumping jacks Total body
2. Wall sit Lower body
3. Push-up Upper body
4. Abdominal crunch Core
5. Step-up onto chair Total body
6. Squat Lower body
7. Triceps dip on chair Upper body
8. Plank Core
9. High knees/running in place Total body
10. Lunge Lower body
11. Push-up and rotation Upper body
12. Side plank Core
  • I followed their practice of performing each exercise for 30 seconds followed by a 10 second transition time to the next exercise.  It totaled, yes, about seven minutes per circuit.
  • I did not have a chair, so in place of Step Ups (#5), I did reverse side angle lunges.  In place of the Triceps Dips on a Chair (#7), I did simple floor dips with bent legs.
  • I performed this routine twice. 
You know what, I feel like I got a workout.  As I write this at 9am Tuesday morning, I'm a little sore, especially in my upper body.  I attribute that to the push-ups (#3) and push-ups with a twist (#11). 

The thing is, those 12 exercises are not the end-all/be-all.  You can do a variety of exercises for a quality full body workout.  Any health and fitness magazine can suggest some great exercises for you to do. 

The key was the intensity and the speed at which I did the work.  There was no dawdling.  The workout was quick, intense and challenging.   It's a good option but, like I reiterated Monday, not the only way to go when it comes to getting in shape.
Monday, May 13, 2013

The 7-Minute Workout. Really?

Is this the workout of your dreams?  In your own home?  No gym required?


The latest research from the American College of Sports Medicine's Health and Fitness Journal indicates all you need is a high intensity, seven-minute workout for fitness.  Again, we're not talking about professional athletes or people who need to look a certain way for their jobs.  This is about the average person.  The key is you have to WORK for those seven minutes.  Don't donkeyjack. 

The study is pretty intensive in its scientific jargon.  Sunday's New York Times Magazine does a good job putting the results in layman's terms.
Friday, May 10, 2013

'The Great Gatsby'-Inspired Edition of Good News Friday

From "The Great Gatsby" movie's release (and all the wonderful collaborations to go along with its release) to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp literally giving a special fan the shirt off his back, it's been another outstanding week.

Read this story.  Tell me it doesn't impress you.  Kemp is a great guy.  This reaffirms it.

You also had some great news to share!


:  My little niece went to her first recital!! 

Brian Ethridge: My wife's daughter Maddie Linyard, has just completed her first year at UNT! She is a Zeta, she has been working at WinStar hotel as a night admin and front desk person and maintained her lifestyle wonderfully! On top of it all she has a really good chance of making the deans list! 
Photo: Warner Bros
"The Great Gatsby" opens today.  The reviews of Baz Lurhmann's interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's iconic novel are mixed.  Some goodSome bad.  Some in the middle.  

I'm excited and anxious at the same time because I love the book so much.  My daughter's name, Jordan, was inspired by the novel's Jordan Baker.  Here's hoping the movie in some way lives up to its fabulous literary counterpart.  

Photos: Warner Bros
I'm thrilled to the see the clothes.  Costume designer, Catherine Martin, collaborated with designer Miucca Prada on the costumes and they are gloriously stunning. 
Deco Fan Bangle, Photo: Tiffany & Co
I'm also excited about the new collection from Tiffany & Co inspired by the movie.  While I won't be purchasing any of Tiffany's notoriously overpriced baubles, I do love to look.  (You HAVE to read this story about Tiffany's markup vs Costco's LACK of ridiculous markup, if you're jewelry-obsessed).

Photo: Tiffany & Co
 This breathtaking flower ring from the Great Gatsby Collection is set in platinum and features a 5.25-carat diamond in the center.  The price?  $875,000.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said about his main female character, Daisy Buchanan: "her voice is full of money." 
This is a ring worthy of that voice.

Check out last week's edition of Good News Friday that celebrated professional growth and a college-bound high school senior earning a full scholarship!
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Weight Loss Guide: It's About Calorie Intake, Right? Sorta

It's simple: burn more calories than you consume.  This is a tried and true formula, yes?

Yes, but.....

Many times those calorie estimates are inaccurate.  You could also miscalculate the serving size you consume (I only had one handful of M&M's, okay three).   Basically calories in vs calories out is akin to being good on paper but bad in bed.
The Mayo Clinic has an OUTSTANDING website that tackles all sorts of health issues, including the calorie conundrum.  Read this excerpt from their Nutrition Wise blog in a post titled "Calories Reconsidered: Old Assumptions Questioned":
Friday, May 3, 2013

Good News Happens! Here's Proof

This was a great week, yet again, for a multitude of reasons.  From stories of athletic success, both collegiate and amateur, to a friend following his passion and one on her way to an outstanding career, you had an awesome week.

Here's proof: 

@ShaundaPoster I found out that I will be co-hosting the pregame show for the Dallas Cowboys all home games next season!!

Shaunda is still in school and started as an intern for the Cowboys television department.  She has proven herself time and again.  She's professional, engaging and willing to do whatever it takes.  That's a recipe for success.  SO happy for her.  She deserves it.
@CBS11Tracy What a night: Luke commits to play for Vanderbilt AND my daughter chats with me on the phone for a good 30 minutes!

Talk about a proud mom!  Tracy Kornet's son, Luke, committed to play basketball at Vanderbilt this week.  His father, Frank played there.  All THREE of Tracy and Frank's kids play college basketball. WOW!   Read her full account of Luke's journey here

Here's why I will soon not be the editor of : If you think you can do it better, then step up.

Mavs Game Night circa 2010
Tim is a legend for many reasons.  One of them being perhaps the most awkward on camera hug ever when he co-hosted a Mavericks postgame show with me one night.  Thrilled to see what's next for him. 

@cbs11doug Hard work paying off. Found out this am I qualified for National Championships in the Olympic distance :)

Go, Dougie! 

Enough on the friends front.  Here is your good news:

@circlelranch69  1. Granddaughter weekend 2. PAYDAY

@SergieFresh has been donating proceeds to help those affected in Boston & West, TX.

@Tweave00 I had a pimento cheese sandwich today

@sgcr99  the crappy month of April will be finally over
Let me share a few things.  I work with THESE guys: 
The Boss, the Reporter and the Babe

And finally, if you still don't believe good news happened this week, let me just make you laugh:

This is Lakehill Prom 1991.  I was a junior.  My date, Robbie Wiles, was a dashing senior.  Not sure if he goosed me or if I stuck my finger in an electric socket.  I'm just glad I don't have that hair (and more) anymore.  

See!  Good news happens.