Saturday, April 27, 2013

lovin' it?

McDonald's has a feature that allows you to build your meal to see the calories, fat, and sodium in your favorite items. When eating at any restaurant it's pretty difficult to avoid sodium, which is why cooking at home is always better. But if you must eat at McDonald's here are my recommendations:  


Avoid sauces, dressings, everything disguised as cheese, and anything white and creamy.
Don't drink soda. 
Fill up on produce.


Water, coffee, or iced tea. 


Side salad, no dressing. Order two or three side salads if you want. Go crazy.

Main: Pick one!
  • Premium Ceasar's Salad, no cheese and no dressing with grilled chicken
  • Chicken Nuggets, honey sauce
  • Premium Grilled Chicken Classic, no mayo
  • Premium McWrap, no cheese and no Buttermilk Ranch


  • Kiddie Cone

McDonald's Big Mac

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Skinny Travel

Most people hate packing and unpacking for travel, but I love it. True, it does take me two hours to pack for a weekend getaway, but it's because I am quite thoughtful about white I will include. Here are some suggestions to make things a bit easier and take the stress out of packing:

Try on your travel ensembles the week before you leave. You will want to know if something must be altered, dry-cleaned, or replaced altogether. It's also helpful to know if pieces work together as planned. Does the sweater fit under the jacket? Does your handbag stay on your shoulder when you are wearing a coat?

A slim leg jean is most versatile. Unlike boot cut or wide leg denim, a skinny or straight leg can be tucked into a boot and worn with flats, sandals, and low profile trainers. 

Protect expensive blouses and sweaters by wearing a tee shirt. A tee shirt protects your clothing from oils, lotions, fragrances, and deodorants. Find the right neckline to fit the blouse or sweater, visible or invisible, and wear a tee shirt under sweaters and shirts like the boys do. Wash the tee after every wear but wash the sweater or blouse less often. It will prolong the life of your clothing and keep it smelling fresh. 

Rethink your bulky wallet. When my wallet was too worn to repair I replaced it not with another $200 leather Coach wallet that is now made in China, but with a colorful zip pouch. I pair this down before I travel by removing items I know I won't need, e.g., the loyalty program stamp card from my local beauty retailer or coffee shop.

Pack some comforts from home. A travel candle freshens up a hotel room instantly. I have been enjoying the Mokara scent from Anthropologie for over a year. I bought a pretty BIC lighter specifically for lighting the candle (nonsmoker) and I keep it in my toiletries bag. If there is a special tea you enjoy, pack a couple of bags in your purse and enjoy your own herbal tea on the plane instead of coffee. 

Leave full size at home. Instead purchase mini containers for everything from eye cream to sunscreen. Most are under $10. They save space and prevent you from choosing between eye cream and night cream due to space constraints. You can even buy labels for each container!

Eliminate the non-essentials. Use the hotel-provided shampoo and conditioner instead of bringing your own. Or, if you must have your own brand of shampoo and conditioner, leave your shaving cream at home and use the hotel provided conditioner instead. Conditioner is perfect for shaving your legs!

Moroccan landscap

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pet Peeves

You know what bugs me today? 

Anorexia nervosa. As far as I can tell this is a mental disorder that affects movie stars. The death rate is so low it's not mentioned on the CDC site except as a symptom of an actual disease. Since nobody is dying of anorexia can we stop talking about it and focus on something that people are dying from, say eating way too much?

People and their stuff. I am tired of hearing about organization and storage issues. "Oh help me I have too much stuff that I do not use regularly." Cry me a river. Instead of buying a bunch of other stuff to organize the stuff you don't use, why not try donating or selling it?

Fat pets. Is that a literal pet peeve? I get that people have self control issues with food and exercise, but how hard is it to feed a pet less food when a vet tells you the pet is fat? Why not be supportive and go on a diet a fat dog (or cat)?

Poorly and cheaply built new homes for the purposes of flipping. I hate it when someone with terrible taste buys and "rebuilds" a home in my neighborhood--white vinyl windows and sliders, composite shingles, rough stucco, boring wrought iron, disposable landscaping and too much cement. It all makes for curbside un-appeal. 

Memes. It seems like a waste of time to be up on the latest memes. Remind me of the point? Visit the memes site, view the memes, and then send memes to people not viewing the memes site? 

Pinterest cult-of-personality. Sock buns, weird and complex braids, ombre anything, bad nails, pigeon-toe poses, and phrases like "color pop", "whaa", and "I want." Toxic recipes that include cake batter, 7up, ground beef, and canned mushroom soup. I wish there were a Pinterest grown-up version.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Criminally Outstanding

Strawberry Banana Date Shake

The dates make the magic!

1 1/2 oz almond milk
2 oz tofu
5 oz frozen strawberries
1 frozen organic banana
2 medjool dates
Ice (optional)

Blend, pour, and savor the deliciousness!

Strawberry Milkshake

Friday, April 12, 2013

Deep Thoughts ...

Attractive and comfortable is a great motivator. Make sure your exercise clothes and shoes are attractive, comfortable, and clean. It will make you want to get out there and show them off! I am trying out a new line of crops

Buy a lunch sack, bento box, or stainless stackable tower along with the necessary thermos, tupperware, or containers in which to pack the food. I like a combination of Ziploc bags and Pyrex containers from Target. The most important feature is that they work for you. If you're worried about buying too much plastic, consider that the decision to dutifully pack your own lunch is considerably more environmentally conscious that purchasing lunch daily. If the initial investment seems daunting remember that it will pay for itself in a matter of days.

Sun protection is important. An oversize visor and Shiseido Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ is a great start. You can add a colorful bandana to protect your chest as well! If lathering sunscreen for swimming seems like a daunting task try a long sleeve rash guard.  

A variety of your favorite herbal teas on hand can curb hunger. My favorite right now is Egyptian Licorice, but it tastes more like honey to me. Keep tea in your desk drawer and take advantage of the instant hot water at work. Block out the hour on your calendar when you would normally be craving a snack, turn on some Pandora while you finish a task and set your IM to DND. 

If you've never liked the taste of beans, try Kemp's Black Beans. Freeze half the recipe in a double-bagged Ziploc bag. You may change your mind after trying homemade, fresh dried beans. This recipe doesn't require soaking.

It's okay to get in a bit of exercise when you can. I fit a series of crunches, dips, butt lifts, and pushups in between meetings during my work day. 100 crunches 3 X per day pays off huge!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Things I Learned from the Love of My Life

Here are some helpful truths I learned from listening to my better half:

Take a jacket or a wrap.

I am always cold. Always. My neighbor told me this and I live it: Being too hot is uncomfortable. Being cold is painful. I always take a wrap or jacket to dinner, add layer a for a bike ride, and wear a hat and scarf to the movies.

Neither the most expensive option nor the cheapest are worth it.
This can be applied to wines by the glass, sofas, and household appliances. Many times the most expensive option is justified by branding and not quality. The cheapest option is wasteful because it must be replaced or was never needed in the first place.

It's better to be comfortable.

Why torture myself? I know that I will get thirsty running errands so I take a bottle of water with me. If the table is wobbly at a restaurant I ask the server for something to steady it. I turn on the heater if I am cold and turn it off when I get warm. If I need extra space, I get it. Complaining about a lack of comfort tortures others and there is no piety in suffering, so I may as well fix the problem and be comfortable.

Everyone looks better in color.

I used to think the color black was slimming, versatile, and elegant. All my clothes were black. But I just look better in bright colors. Now I make more careful considerations so I can be versatile and still wear color.

Ask for help ... or make two trips.

I regularly get in and out of my car with my lunch, laptop, handbag, green drink, and jacket. This does not leave me with a free hand to open door, much less steady myself as I walk down stairs in heels. I am still learning this, but sometimes I need to ask for help.

Barbie doll in grey jeggings jeans leggings and hand knitted colorful sweater

Monday, April 8, 2013

Southwest Food

I have never been a big fan of Mexican food restaurants because the food is heavy; it's laden with cheese, meat, and often deep-fried. Last week, however, I was able to sample light and delicious Mexican food in Tucson during a weekend getaway. The table-side guacamole, fresh fish tacos, and molcajete-grilled vegetables taught me that Mexican food doesn't require meat and cheese. It motivated me to focus on recipes that include fresh fruits and vegetables. This weekend I thumbed through the William Sonoma "Savoring Mexico" cookbook that I had been using as a decoration for a decade and bought ingredients from the farmers market to begin creating my own version of Mexican food.

Some recipes I intend to try are:
  • Scallop and avocado ceviche
  • Cold vegetable tostadas
  • Pumpkin seed and tomato dip
  • Lentil soup with pineapple, pears and plantains (will use veggie chorizo)
  • Poblano chile soup
  • Shrimp with orange and tequila
  • Chayote salad
  • Various salsas with roasted chiles
This is of course in addition to the food I regularly make such as fish tacos, guacamole, burritos and cheese-free quesadillas. I am looking forward to heading over to my local Mexican market to practice my Spanish! ¡QuĂ© divertido!

Mexican Market