Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Juicin' Things up in my Cheap-o Juicer

The word juice rings loud and clear in my daughter's ears. I could be having a conversation with someone about steroids for all she knows, but she hears the words juice and instantly images of Capri Suns and birthday cakes come to mind. I don't keep juice in the house, and if I do it's leftovers from a birthday party or a play date. To me, juice is part of the food pyramid where it says to Use Sparingly. It's not a necessity and contains a vast amount of sugar and no nutrients and thus I don't give it to her on an everyday basis because I'd much rather her drink water and milk. But at the same time, I don't won't to completely avoid it from her diet, it's sweet and she likes it so I don't want to forbid her from it, it's just something that she's given as a treat like at a birthday party or a play date.

And so when my Sweet Pea was younger my mother had mentioned to me that I should make fresh juice at home so that she could get the nutrients of fresh fruit and vegetables without all the additives. Genius, I thought! And so I ventured to Wal-mart to see what I could find, because I refused to spend $500 on a Vitamix juicer. What if she didn't even like the fresh juice? All that money wasted! (Even if she did like it, I don't think I would spend that much money, even on one of Macy's 10 semi-annual sales of the year it would be too expensive.)

So on to Wal-mart I went where I saw a Black & Decker juicer for about $19.99. Nice! I immediately bought it and went home to make some juice. And of course Sweet Pea slurped up the orange juice faster than the time it took me to peel the oranges!

But the excitement was short lived and then the juicer went into hibernation. I hated washing all the pieces all for one small glass of orange juice that took me too long to make. And then I got pregnant and had no time to do much of anything and Sweet Pea was lucky to even get a glass of milk. (Ok, I exaggerate. Don't go calling social services.)

And so the juicer emerged from hibernation a couple of months ago. We were at my parents house where my dad was making fresh orange juice out of their fancy pancy juicer and both kids couldn't get enough. And so the guilt set in and I pulled out the juicer and made some fresh orange juice and threw in a carrot. When Sweet Pea saw me do that she instructed me not to, but I did anyways and she loved it. Now she asks for orange-carrot juice! (Side note: baby carrots come out much sweeter than regular sized carrots, but somehow Sweet Pea hasn't noticed.)

And so I make the juice quite often, as much as a pain as it to peel all the oranges and the kids finish the juice  in half the time it takes me to make it, it's still worth it since they love it so much and it so healthy for them. Oh, and I dump all the pieces in the dishwasher. Not sure if it's dishwasher safe, but it only cost me $20, I can just by another one if it does ruin!

Oh, and you may be wondering about the quality of the juicer since it was so cheap. I really have no complaints, it does it's job, but the only thing is that the cup that juice gets poured into is not attached, it is just placed at the spout, so if you're not paying attention it could easily not be lined up and juice will get on your counter (And you will scream in horror because all the hard work you've done to peel those oranges and the juice gets wasted ). Other than that, worth the $20 bucks! Especially considering the kids are pleasantly enjoying a glass of fresh Cutie juice (Kind of reminds me of Sunny Delight. Does that even exist anymore?) with some banana oat muffins as I write this. Scratch that, here come the screams...

Food pyramid
Vitamix Juicer

Monday, April 29, 2013

White House Correspondents' Dinner: Red Carpet Conservative

When it comes to red carpets, it doesn't get much better than the White House Correspondents' Dinner, it's where all the Politico and Hollywood elite mingle (Maybe not elite, the Kardashians and Lindsey Lohan have attended in the past. So maybe the Hollywood relevant?), poke fun at one another and dazzle us with elegance. What I love about this red carpet is that celebrities really make an effort to dress conservatively chic. It's like the celebrities are aware that they are honored to be invited to such a dinner and that they indeed should show respect and not be dressed in a JLO, Versace baring number. And those who do have a fashion blunder just painstakingly embarrass themselves among somewhat intelligent beings. It's such a hodge podge of celebrities and politicians and I love it! I can only imagine the conversations like Olivia Mun and Ben Bernake discussing what was on Tosh.0 last night while sipping on martinis.

The fashion of the White House Correspondents' Dinner is what I live and breathe for when it comes to fashion, long gowns, sleek and sophisticated mane and even the trashiest can appear elegant. (Did I go too far there? Lindsey Lohan comes to mind with a big, fat yes.) 2013 showed to be no exception to the rule of chic at the Dinner. Everyone really brought it out. With a few exceptions, the womens gowns were absolutely stunning!

So let's start this off with the First Lady's attire. Michelle Obama was glitzed out in Monique Lhullier. It's funny, because this is a dinner where celebrities bring out their more sophisticated attire, but to the contrary the FLOTUS likes to show some flare. (Shhh, but I didn't care for her gown too much, but I feel like I can't speak badly of her.)

michelle obama white house correspondents dinner

Amy Pohler looked stunning in this Basler gown. The cream, the sequins and quasi-peplum, gorgeous! I loved that it comes all the way to the neck and has short sleeves, perfect for her age but still trendy. And the hair is the perfect fit to the ensemble, looks a little youthful, but not too youthful.

Kate Mara chose Prada for the night and it is equisite. I love the conservative white (of course) and the sparkle of color with the clutch and bracelet. The bow is a little questionable, but it works. And the sleek, pulled back hair tops it all off. I would have chosen to add some studs, something to the ears since the jewelry is minimal. 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus looks amazing in this purple, lace Dolce and Gabanna number. Like Amy Pohler, she's dressed her age and the hair down makes it youthful. I'm not sure about the green earrings though, I wouldn't have gone quite that far. A little too mardi gras for me with the color contrasts.

As usual, my girl crush Chrissy Tiegen really brought it out.  For a swimsuit model she knows how to go conservative when it's time to shake hands with the Prez. Love the one shoulder and sparkles. I don't like the hair or earrings too much, but I can looked past that. Oh, and John Legend looks pretty dapper too.

Tracy Pollan looks gorgeous here, the color and silhouette is so fitting for her and the casual hair really pulls it together. Gorgeous! And Alex P. Keaton looks good too.

Connie Britton's Temperly dress is similar to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but the coverage of the shoulder is similar to the Duchess's wedding dress, I love.

Sophia Bush's Lela Rose gown...is...I don't know. Initially I was down with the color and silhouette  but something just wasn't right. I've concluded that it's those bangs that I just don't like for her. She's a beautiful girl hiding behind those blunt bangs. 

As much as I dislike the quietly aggressive nature I sense from photos of Ana Wintour (It's that strong female aggression that I hate to acknowledge as a feminist, but it's there.),  her dress is amazing. Take off the bolero jacket and I absolutely love the gown! I don't care for the necklace with the dress too much.  She may be high fashion, but my dinky blogger fashion has a voice too! 

I expected more from Olivia Munn, I really did. While the black dress and dramatic gown are a beautiful contrast, the dress would look better if it were more fitted. And while I'm not a fan of the top knot, I'm kind of digging it on her. 

I'm not a fan of Katy Perry's fashion style, but she did make an effort to meet the President. While the dress isn't the most beautiful, it is flattering for her figure and she kept thinks simple. Kudos, girlfriend, kudos. 

This dress screams, "I'm going to win the Oscar for Best Actress." It's a very dramatic dress that needs a lot of attitude to be carried off, and Jessica Pare definitely works it in this Antonio Berardi dress. Work it girl, work it.  But sorry, you aren't getting an Oscar tonight.

Michelle Dockery looks stunning in this purple quasi-peplum gown. While I don't care for the sheer skirt with a solid patch down the middle, nor the red lipstick and pulled back hair, it is still a beautiful dress. 

Of all the red carpets this year, I must say the White House Correspondent's Dinner truly was the most impressive. The celebrities respected where they were going and dressed accordingly. There were no plunging necklines (Like Rosario Dawson's major faux pas last year) or thigh high slits a la Angelina Jolie at the Golden Globes, just sheer elegance. This is the type of affair I dream of wearing a Naeem Khan gown too. Perhaps I should run for city council, because I have a bigger chance of taking a political office than appearing in Real Housewives of Texas Suburbs! 

Click below for image sources.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

TBS, Please Bring Mad About You Back to Syndication!

To know me is to know my obsession with Bravo and Housewives. If you read my blog, then you're very well of this fact and how I've had numerous failed attempts at Bravo sobriety. But pre- Andy Cohen I did watch sitcoms and dramas (And The Real World. Come on, are you really surprised?) and I feel that there aren't good, quality shows like there were back in the day. (That or the fact that I can't appreciate television if over aged, alleged wealthy women aren't arguing over semantics) One of my favorite shows that I loved to watch was Mad About You, the original 30 something group of friends living in New York City, at least for my generation of tv viewing. (Not Friends, Friends is actually a spin-off of Mad About You! Kind of, I'll get to that.)

So Mad About You centers around Paul and Jamie, a newlywed couple living in Manhattan (The Upper West Side I believe.) and their bevy of friends and family. Paul is a filmmaker who had a tendency to wear his pants too high on his short torso. Jamie is a public relations executive who knows she's not the reacher of the relationship and subtlety makes it known. Paul's cousin Ira is Robin to Paul's Batman. (There were two actors who played Ira, but it wasn't like a Darren Stevens-Bewitched switcheroo, but rather one Ira in the first couple of episodes and then a recast.) He's your typical sleezy New Yorker who you grow to love. Lisa is Jamie's sister who is a whiny, lazy mess who you never grow to love. And then Fran is Jamie's ex-boss who brings some enlightenment to Jamie along with her Goofy husband. (Yes, I capitalize Goofy because Mark Devanow greatly reminds me of the canine character.)

The show is cute and quirky with the oddest, silliest and menial story lines that come together for a grade A production.

But don't think reality television was missing from this show, oh no. As a filmmaker, Paul was producing documentaries, he was the original producer of the close-up interviews in his pieces. And then there was the episode where Paul and Jamie had cameras installed in their house to produce a documentary based on their everyday lives. Unlike the slew of reality stars nowadays, they refused to put anything embarrassing on television, as seen with how many times Paul yelled cut and they started over again. The funniest being when Jamie pulled out a coffee filter from the trashcan to use again since they were out of fresh ones only to blame Paul on camera.

And the fashion, or lack thereof. On a television show today a PR executive living in Manhattan would be adorned in the most fashionable and expensive clothes from Giuseppe Zanotti to Zac Posen, but not Jamie Buchanan, she was no Samantha Jones, she wore the most simple of clothes, like her khaki pants and oversized blouse uniform. There is even an entire episode revolving around how she went shopping and got an extra shirt in her bag when she left only for that shirt to be cursed when worn. Who would ever get an extra pair of Louboutin's in their bag by accident? No one. Goes to show she's not shopping at high end stores!

And then the whole episode about Paul wanting to invest in a virtual reality program and they actually test out the software. Oh how technology has come so far, but meeting a long haired, virtual Andre Agassi is still pretty impressive to me!

Oh, and the whole episode where they go searching for Clemenza's or Clemente's Clams only to find that the restaurant had closed and reopened a post around the corner from their house! Why can't that happen to me out in the 'burbs? I'm really tired of Pei Wei, people.

And lets not forget the Yoko Ono episode where they are invited to a party at her house only to show up a day early with no one there to end the episode playing on John Lennon's piano, I think.

This show is really not appreciated for what it was, instead TBS plays episode after episode of Big Bang Theory and Friends. Friends! So Phoebe's twin sister Ursula was a somewhat regular on the show, she played the aloof waitress at the deli they always frequented whose twin sister went off to co-star in her own show right after Mad About You. Ursula was quite different from Phoebe, yes she was odd and spacey, but lacked any affect. In Friends you loved Phoebe for being a space cadette, but on Mad About You Ursula  was just the obnoxious waitress who could never get your order straight.

And so TBS, I beg of you. Why not wedge in some Mad About You episodes? You aired Brian Austin Green's horrible show The Wedding Band, but you can't put on some good, quality programming?

Or maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree here? Maybe it's Nick at Nite or TV Land that should be playing this older sitcom? While initially it was shocking that shows of my generation were making appearances on a network that played 60s and 70s shows, but I've come to terms that I am getting older and that I Nick at Nite isn't solely for shows that first appeared prior to my appearance in the world. That and the fact that sitcoms from my youth are considered old.

Regardless of who wants to air it, someone please! You're probably thinking I should just by the DVD collection, but it's not the same. Oh how I love to flip the channel and come across a favorite episode of one of my favorite shows, it's like finding some leftover Halloween chocolate in your pantry, such an unexpected surprise.

Maybe I should start an online petition. It worked for Veronica Mars and I don't want a movie, just to watch reruns of a television show!

Click below for image sources.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fanny Packs are Back? Really?

I think it's a sign that you're getting old when styles from your youth cycle back to the mainstream. I remember in high school when bell bottoms were in style and how cool I thought they were since I wasn't blessed with the bell bottom craze of the 70s. Or when chunky, cable knit sweaters were the rage in college and how my mom had sweaters from the 70s that I found to be so trendy. And then styles from the 80s started to come back in vogue as such as skinny jeans, floral prints, denim shirts and I started to question my love of fashion. And then what was probably the inevitable happened,  fanny packs were back (Insert annoyed sigh and eye roll here). Fanny packs were never really ok. They were a style of clothing worn by children in bright colors, and usually slung low and to the right or left of the navel in a state of alleged hip. I shutter at those memories.

Kids wearing fanny packs back in the late 80s and early 90s were just for fad purposes. It was the cool thing to do. I recall wearing them myself, I had quite the rainbow assortment of fanny packs that I had accrued, not sure from where and don't care to know where they are now. But if you were a kid, tween or teen of the 80s, you had one too, admit it.

Teri Hatcher 
While she's not a kid, tween or teen here, it is the 90s and Lois Lane is sporting the fanny.

A Cosby Show Extra 
And we all know that the Cosby Show exuded cool.

Even Barbie was rocking a fanny pack!     

And then wearing a fanny pack for fashion went into obscurity, it became quite the fashion faux pas to be caught sporting the contraption on your waist. Carrie Bradshaw tried to bring it back in 2004, but even in Gucci it didn't work.


Unless you were on vacation, you just didn't see the waist wallet and those who did adorn the belly with personal belongings while exploring the Sistine Chapel were still considered one of those people.

Granted, there is great utility to  the pack of fanny as you can keep your personal belongings in there and have your hands free. It really was perfect for travel as you could keep your traveler's checks and passport in there without someone snatching it off your shoulder or picking it out of your pocket.

But lets be honest, if you are a tourist with a fanny pack around your waist that says Six Flags and a camera strap around your neck with the words Nikon in bright yellow you're just asking to be targeted by some native man in the vacation city you are in to grab your credit cards, superseding the purpose of the fanny pack. The guy above doesn't have a chance.

And then around 2011 fanny packs made a comeback into mainstream fashion. Dolce and Gabbana debuted the modern version of the 80's hideous classic in their Fall 2011 show. 

Um, are those socks with heels?

And then of course every fashion house had to jump on this unnecessary bandwagon. 

Hermes 5

Louis Vuitton bum bag Louis Vuitton Bum Bag
Louis Vuitton
I'm sorry, but this is far too reminiscent from the 80s. At least Hermes changed the structure! 

Again, let's at least use some creativity in bringing this back. Take off the Prada logo and it looks like something from Mervyn's.

And then since all the fashion houses were bringing back the style, all the celebrities had to jump on the nefarious bandwagon and sport the awful contraption on their waist.

Rachel Zoe
Yes, stylist extraordinaire has lost credibility for following the masses.

Brooke Shields
Two holders, wow!

Mr. Kim Kardashian
Even Kim wouldn't stoop to wearing one of these!


Rihanna (The repeat offender) and Amber Rose.
Someone please explain to Amber that just because it's Louis Vuitton doesn't know make the furry pillow on your waist a fashion statement. 

Tyra Banks

Despite celebrities following the herd and obeying to the commands of Karl Lagerfeld and the like, fanny packs are just not ok. Even on Rachel Zoe on the red carpet they do not look ok! I shutter to think of the possibility of fanny packs coming back into the mainstream, kiosks of fanny packs at the mall, fanny packs strewn across tween girls in bright colors and glitter and then the Kardashians put out their own line of fanny packs! 

And so as I was consumed with the atrocity of something that is sadly considered chic, and disgusted with how the mainstream quickly jumps on something just because we've been told by someone that we must all wear such a disgusting creation as if we live in some type of fashion dictatorship with Miranda Priestly as our corrupt leader, I found a fanny pack that fannied my attention on Etsy. Hmm, it's kind of cute. I wonder how much it costs? 

Mothers Day Sale - Red Ruffled Canvas Women's Fanny Pack, Hip Bag, Belt pouch, Handbag, Handbag- Kinies Ruffled Waist Purse

Click below for a list of images.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Breaking the Chains of Deprivation Diets!

How do you spell deprivation?

When I think of the word diet images of large glasses of water and sticks of celery come to mind. I'm reminded of the Cosby show episode where Clair feeds the kids a luscious dinner and Cliff is fed a salad of lettuce tomatoes and carrots with fresh lemon juice as a dressing only for him to later be snuck a heaping helping of some ethnic food Theo brings over from a friends house which is later topped off with a large hoagie and an orange type soda. Ahh, the inevitability of restriction leaving to an overtime appetite.

Our society is consumed with diets. If you watch any of the morning Network news programs, you know that they are constantly bombarding us with how to lose 5lbs through dieting. The gluten free diet, Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, the Cookie diet and the list goes on and on. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1/3rd of our adult population is obese, and thus the bombardment of weight loss diets in our media. Research has shown repeatedly that weight loss will help to  lower the cost of medical bills due to obesity complications, thus reducing the burden on our healthcare system. So I understand the need for educating our society on  how to lose weight, but enough already!

It's obvious that people want to hear about weight loss, and thus the constant earful, but I'm tired of it! I'm tired of hearing how refined sugars are bad for you. I'm tired of hearing that you should only consume whole wheat breads, rice and pasta. I'm tired of being told that I should cut out gluten, when if you don't have Celiac disease or an allergy to gluten, your body needs it! I'm tired of hearing not to eat too many fruits because they are high in sugar. I'm tired of it all! What am  I supposed to eat then? That's right, Cliff's Huxtable's lettuce salad with a little lemon juice squeezed on top. That's fine for a first course, but what about dinner and dessert?

After having my Sweet Pea and gaining quite a bit of weight I was able to take off the poundage by cutting out sweets and white starches.  The weight came off quickly and by six months I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I still stuck to the same diet, but eased up on the restriction of sweets and white starches, I didn't eat it regularly, but did indulge from deprivation.  Going into pregnancy with Bambino, knowing how much weight I gained the first time around, I was conscious with what I ate to make sure I stayed healthy. And then after he was born I went back to the same diet of eliminating sweets and white starches to lose the weight and this time around it came off even quicker.
And now with Bambino a year old, I feel like I have been in a diet mode for about three years now. I'm always in fear of gaining weight and thus restricting myself from eating white foods and foods that are high in fat. But the result of that is when I do have a bit of something that is allegedly not so good for me, I go into overdrive and gorge. So isn't that just counter intuitive to restricting myself?

And I'm a healthy person. I exercise regularly and my diet revolves around lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. My blood work always comes out clean, no cholesterol issues or elevated blood pressure. No vitamin deficiencies, at every physical my doctor tells me I'm healthy, so why am I living in deprivation mode?

Enough, I tell you, enough! I'm tired of going to get frozen yogurt with the kids and not indulging because I don't need a snack mid day that is filled with sugar. Enough not having a hand full of goldfish with the kids only to sneak a large bowl after they go to bed in shame. I say enough!

I want to enjoy life and I want to enjoy food with my family. I want to get popcorn and have some with the kids without feeling guilty or shame when I consume the whole box! Moderation, that's my new motto. I'm going to eat white bread when I make fresh ciabatta bread from the breadmaker. I'm going to eat white pasta and a couple of goldfish with the kids, I'm just not going to  push myself to the point of gorging off of the whole bag! Moderation, that's the key. Having a little bit here and there for that satisfaction so that later on there isn't an urge to consume large quantities.

And so I may gain a couple of pounds by gaining that satiety, but when it comes down to it, who cares? Why do I need to be at a thinner weight? If all my blood work is healthy and I'm not in an obese or overweight state, what does five pounds matter? I'm not an athlete, model nor Hollywood star, my body appearance doesn't affect my career. And the most important career for me is being a wife and mother and I know my family will love me with a little extra meat on my bones, especially if it means I'm  happy and making happy memories around food.