Spring Style – Black is the new Black

I bounce between admitting that I need to wear more color, and then come to my senses and say plain and simply: I love black. I feel confident in it. And with the exception of a spring, summer (or even fall) wedding, it pretty much works for all occasions. Do you agree? Lately I’ve been complimenting friends on various outfits and you know what the reply is? H&M! Yes, my old standby when I worked across the street from one. Over the years I’ve stopped shopping there because it’s just not right under my nose. But that said, it’s just SO cheap and SO cute, I ordered myself a big ole shipment of the stuff above. Am I too old to wear a kitten across my chest? Be honest!

Here’s the goods: J’aime tank; slim fit pants; eagle earrings; black-n-gold earrings; grey with black sleeves sweatshirt; fringy purse; kitten tank; lace bra; twill skirt; zebra loafers

Magnetic Wallpaper for your Kids’ Room

I love how sometimes little boys are total boys and little girls are total girls. Jack is obsessed with trucks, buses, and dinosaurs. It has nothing to do with me either. He’s just drawn to them. Then because he shows interest in these boy-ish things, I love encouraging him to learn more about them. It’s so cute how I have friends with girls who love walking around holding a baby doll, or playing dress-up with a scarf and purse.

I stumbled upon the coolest invention, magnetic wallpaper. It’s achieved by first lining the wall with a magnetic receptive, then pasting the wallpaper on top. I can just imagine Jack’s reaction of a big “WOW!” if he had this in his room. There are also other beautiful kid-centric designs of whimsical settings, some magnet and some not at the London shop Sian Zeng.

Thanks Est Magazine for the inspiration.

St. Patrick’s Day in DC, sans beer, ha

And a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you! These photos were taken hours before yet another snow storm hit DC. Sheesh, I remember the days when I’d long to see just 10 minutes of flurries, hoping for an excuse to lounge around the house and bake cookies or something. But oh, not any longer. I’m sick of it. It’s not even pretty to me anymore, it’s depressing. Come on spring, for the love of god!

So anyway, we had a super fun Sunday afternoon and headed downtown to see The District’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade along Constitution Ave. Oh what fun it was. Unlike last year, Jack is big enough to stand on his own and even sort of listens when we command him to please stay on the sidewalk. We were nestled with a view of the Capitol in front of us and the Monument behind us, so I was keen on taking pictures of every float with the perfect backdrop — which I won’t bore you with. I am forever a sucker for marching bands. I love listening to the go-go drum sets and stand there marching in place to the beat. Reminds me of my days in band way back when. Jack even loved it too, which made me swoon!

Hope you have a fun St. Paddy’s Day. Have a Guinness or something for me! I’m still detoxing, and you know what? I feel great! Who knows, maybe I’ll turn into a crazy nutrition obsessed household chef. We shall see. In the meantime, Sláinte!

From the archives: See how much Jack has changed. Saint Patrick’s Day last year.

The Detox has begun

It’s official, I started the Reinvent 21 cleanse and so far, so good. I’ll preface this by admitting when I signed up for the cleanse, I was so sick of myself, my lack of energy, and the number on the scale that I wanted to start immediately!!! I can be an impatient person so I cracked open the pristine hardback of Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook/lifestyle book called It’s All Good and read through her week-long detox diet plan. I sat down one afternoon and wrote down every ingredient I needed to get through the week. Gwyneth’s philosophy is quite similar to the Reinvent challenge where you cut out dairy, sugar, gluten, and caffeine. But like all of Gwyneth’s critics, a lot of her ingredients are things I had never heard of, which left me googling everything on the fly. That said, with one trip to Whole Pay Check Foods, I bought everything on my grocery list for $150. To be honest, I didn’t find that price all that shocking since I would probably spend about that amount on a normal shopping trip to Whole Foods (which is why I prefer Trader Joe’s — my second home.) For the two weeks prior to Reinvent 21 which started four days ago on Sunday, I had been cutting down on gluten, sugar and dairy, but I was still drinking double my weight in calories of coffee and red wineeeeeee.

Now that the official cleanse that I paid good money for has started, I strangely feel OK. Last week I suffered through a headache for a couple days, from lack of gluten and sugar, but now that the I’m detoxing for real, and I have had no coffee or wine, no sugar whatsoever, zero gluten and dairy, I feel for the most part, good. Not great though. I believe in my heart that it will come. At the moment my mood is more even, I have less stressful bursts causing my mood to spike.

Has it been hard for me? Well, I’ve discovered in order for me to successfully diet or “cleanse” (being the new word for “diet”), I needed to be at my wits end. Like, I was in dire need of a change. For me, dieting doesn’t work without a concrete plan. The secret of what I’ve found is I have to go grocery shopping for the week with meal plans in mind. Winging it does not work (at least for me). I have the best intentions and then I crash within 48 hours because I’ll be out of ideas and sick of salads with avocado and nuts. Gwyneth’s cookbook and the Reinvent challenge provide you with meal plans, both of which taste freaking good. Again, Gwyneth’s recipes are more technical though. The Reinvent’s recipes are geared to be more easily attainable.

The hardest day for me was Monday night (day two) when I watched the finale of The Bachelor. Usually I would be half in the bag as I watched the DVR’d portion of that silly, trashy, television show. Without my wine-o, it was a challenge to get through. Plus Juan Pablo is such an a-hole. I’ll leave it at that. [grin]

What’s still hard for me? Well, I have a big un-lady-like appetite. I like to eat! The meals are absolutely delicious in Reinvent 21 and It’s All Good, but sometimes I need to stop myself from eating too much! Though I’m hoping that things will level off. Even though I may have a big appetite, at least I’m not eating a big bowl of pasta with tons of parmesan cheese. The other thing I do tend to eat a lot of is meat. We are a meat eating house! And I’d like to cut it way back. The last portion of the Reinvent cleanse is to cut out meat entirely (though eggs are technically still allowed), meaning I’ll practically be a vegan. All of this is rather exciting to me. At least I say that from the fourth day of the cleanse.

What’s been surprising? I feel fine not having my wine. I still wake up and crave a jolt of coffee, but I don’t have a headache or anything. I just want to succeed. I love how I’m not craving dairy at all! It used to be a staple. Now I see the the leftover cheese in my fridge and it just doesn’t look appetizing. I know it’s going to weigh me down. I can’t believe I’m writing that! Gluten isn’t that hard either since there are so many grains that are gluten free. I’m learning that there are tons of other ways to get protein and calcium by replacing them with lots of leafy greens, nuts, seeds in combinations that are actually good. So far I’ve lost three pounds which makes me feel even more motivated. I promise to check back in about my progress soon.

Special thanks to my darling photographer friend and famous contemporary art blogger (oh dang!) Katie Hosmer for pushing me to write this post. Kisses girl!


My very first detox cleanse

Let’s talk about food: I love it. I love to eat lots of it too. And wine, oh man, tons of it. Red to be exact. And sweets? Yeah, they’re just about the best thing in the world, well second to wine. And all of those things make me happy in the moment and then make me feel pretty bad after consumption. Food is a popular topic and I’ve certainly jumped on the health bandwagon when it’s convenient for me. I buy organic when I can and try to eat grass fed and/or free roaming meats. And frankly our food industry does terrify me. I do believe the articles that tell us how terrible it is to eat packaged food with high-fructose corn syrup, transfat, and other cheap oils like soy and corn are for our health. That additives like sodium benzoate, monosodium glutamate, and the various other items that you can’t pronounce on food labels are either cancer causers, cause hyper-activity in children or just add to obesity (which leads to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in America). Yeah good times. I do believe all of that. But sometimes I slip (never on transfat though!), especially in this doozy of a winter when I cruise the frozen aisle in Trader Joe’s and pick up their delicious high in sodium package meals and down them entirely.

I’m only confessing all of this because this blog is an outlet for me. If I say it publicly I’ll be more likely to keep it up. Here goes: I’m going to embark on a 21 day cleanse. I’ve been following nutritionist Michelle Pfennighaus for awhile and love her positive nature, her easy tips about healthful eating, and tricks to help keep her clients feeling full and even put their sweet tooth in check. Michelle is launching what she calls the “Reinvent 21″ — a guided cleanse where she supplies the grocery list and meal plan for you to follow day-by-day. The cleanse consists of real foods (no juices or drinking lemon water with cayenne pepper!), but you will cut out sugar, white flour, caffeine, and dairy. I’ve been interested in cutting out those items for awhile, but haven’t had the willpower to do it myself. My thought is that by enrolling in a guided cleanse, I’ll be on the hook for following through (plus I already paypal’ed her the money). Michelle claims that by following the rules of her “Reinvent” program, we will have more energy, better digestion, and the skills to eat more consciously going forward. Plus secretly I’d love to shave off 5lbs. So there it is.

The program starts March 9th — the first day of Day Light Savings. While I secretly wish it was starting tomorrow, I think the time change and new diet will help me renew my mind and body through a more healthful way of living. Until then, well um, cheers!

Photo found here.

Broad City + Amy Poehler + Comedy Central

Have you heard? Have you seen? Ecks, I’m freakin’ in love with the new show on Comedy Central called Broad City. If you are a fan of Girls, then I’m pretty sure you will love Alana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson who play versions of themselves in the show about a couple of broke friends in New York City. It’s raunchy, it has an unhealthy-but-hilarious dose of drug remarks, and a perfect amount of pop culture banter. I laughed out loud with a sort of shocked look on my face. Last night’s episode had a cameo with Fred Armisen in a wild scene where the girls cleaned his house sans-clothes in exchange for money. The show’s producers consist of a long list favorite people including Amy Poehler and Whitney Cummings. I was a huge fan of Cummings’ show Whitney, too bad it didn’t continue after two seasons. Anyway, you must tune in (Wednesdays at 10:30 pm on Comedy Central), DVR, or watch it online. I can’t wait until next week!

Art Classes for Adults in Montgomery County, MD

It’s the new year and one of my resolutions is to get out from behind my computer and create more with my hands. I love the idea that Square House Studio has concocted — an ART BAR, open to adults (only) of course because, ahem, some tasty beverages are served along with instruction of an art class or craft like silk scarf painting, block printing, intro to photography, paper making and collaging, jewelry design, intro to graphic design; the list goes on and on.

Square House Studio opened it’s doors this past autumn and most classes are held on evenings after work. It’s meant as a fun and casual environment. No experience is necessary, and all supplies are included in the flat fee. If you’re looking for additional inspiration, just look to the studio’s walls where you can see local artist’s work hanging. Just bring yourself and maybe your friend and let the creativity come to you.

I’m so excited for this new venture by my very own, Mom! Check out the website for more info on classes and pricing. So far, each of the classes have sold out so be sure to sign up early!

If we were in DC, we’d call this a Blizzard

Being as we are such poor planners in advance, we decided four days before leaving that we should go up to Buffalo to visit Daryle’s family and best friends from high school. It had been a long while since we’d last been up there in the winter. So we called Daryle’s aunt to see if she had room for an over-packing family of three and got in the car and made the eight hour journey. I was wondering how painful it would be forcing Jack to stay put for all of those driving hours. I wound up sitting in the backseat with Jack for most of the trip, offering to give him snacks, giving him hugs from Elmo, singing and reading stories. We are trying to limit Jack’s time on the iPhone because he becomes entranced with it whenever he gets ahold of it. But it really is helpful to have, especially at the last leg of the trip when we’re all so antsy to just get there!

We drove through a ton of snow in the mountains of Pennsylvania; I was at the edge of my seat, eyes alert at the possibility of skidding off-road. It was pretty scary for me, but Daryle reminded me that people are used to the snow, north of DC; and they generally kept their distance from one another on the road. Well, we got there and were instantly in a winter wonderland! Tons of snow everywhere. It made my last post about our 1/2 inch of snow pale in comparison.

The very next morning we awoke determined to go sledding. We stopped by Target to get Jack a pair of snow pants, but the last pair in the entire store were bright pink with matching gloves! We didn’t really have a choice, and at this point Jack doesn’t know the difference. I promised myself that I would convert the photos to black and white, but I sort of love the bright color contrast with the snow; pink pants it is! Jack loved wading through the snow and I loved dragging him behind me on the sleigh! We found a long and easy hill in Delaware Park which is nestled between a beautiful neighborhood filled with giant Tudor homes. We sailed again and again down the hill and Jack, who was first uneasy to go down the hill with Daryle or our friend Douglas, nearly leapt into my lap when it was my turn! My sweet momma’s boy.

I hope all of my friends to the north east are faring well in the recent storm. We got several inches in DC, enough for some sledding. Now it’s old hat for Jack!

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