Friday, October 29, 2010

the Ballerina Project

The Ballerina Project - ballerinas photographed in NYC - is amazing!
I must start saving for series of these prints for my home office.

Belle et brillant~

Thursday, October 28, 2010

bubbles for baby girl?

Thanks Melisa for giving me another budget temptation. This time it's crewcuts, JCrew's miniatures.
Don't you think my daughter needs this sequin bubble skirt in heirloom pink?
I will not buy a two-year old a skirt that takes $129 out of my pocket. But a girl (and a mom) can dream, right?
Maybe Santa Claus...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I would love to believe...

I would love to believe:

that no one watches these pathetic shows or this one or (even though Orange County CA is one of my favorite places in the world) this one

that everyone supports Kiva and other organizations that teach people to take care of themselves

that no one eats crap like fried beer

that people can learn to listen to opposing political beliefs with compassion and intellect

and most of all,

that all children feel the love my daughter does.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

phit web faves

I wish I could order these jack-o-lantern balloons!

Thanks Franki for letting me in on Eddie Ross's gorgeous decorating & entertaining blog and these photos of Anna Della Russo and her amazing (47 year-old!) legs. I am back on my "strict" nutrition program.

Are you getting enough rest? Shape magazine has this nifty sleep needs calculator.
My fantasy shopping list this month includes: colorful cake stands, this jacket for work, a raspberry lemonade cupcake (oops, sorry strict program, slipped my mind for a second), and Lululemon's skidless towel for sweaty yoga sessions.
I need some new cardio playlists. This one from Fitness magazine might be a good start.
I bought a Holga camera in the spring and still haven't found time to play with it. Anybody a Holga pro?
Images via Eddie Ross and Life in a Venti Cup

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

nursing moms - best idea EVER!

Kudos to Joanna for posting these goodies for nursing moms. I thought these nursing tops by this Swedish brand were especially brilliant. For one year I lugged a pump around (sometimes frustrated) and it would have been so nice to have had the option to be a little more discreet.

image via Boobs Nursing Wear

Monday, October 18, 2010

Women Who Inspire

I'm loving Donna Karan's new website, Women Who Inspire.
Susan Sarandon, one of my all-time favorite actors, is one of the featured women.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

a good five pounds to lose

I'm struggling with balancing my vanity and my health.

Make up.

There's the aesthetic draw. I love the beautiful colors of lipstick and nail polish. I don't even polish my nails, my manicures are "buff only."

But skipping foundation would be the absolute best thing for me. And my 40+ skin isn't exactly office-ready without it.

Putting chemicals on your skin is actually far worse than ingesting them. When you eat something the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help break it down and flush it out of your body. Cosmetics absorb directly.

Women who wear make-up daily absorb five pounds of chemicals into their body each year.


This does make the IPL facial make sense. I got one a year ago and loved the results. Something about spending the money on a laser (though you can barely call it that) treatment seems shallow and vain.

Though I'm now thinking it may be healthier.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another fave belly-flattener

These posts are kind of funny to write, as my belly is still anything but flat two-years after a late-in-life C-section. I am still confident that I wouldn't enjoy the strength (and healthy back) that I do if it's weren't for dedication to Pilates and yoga.

My other favorite belly flattener is a variation on yoga's "Dead Bug" pose. I just added some lower body movement to challenge the internal obliques and lower rectus abdominis (that would be the "six-pack" in super-lean folks).

This really targets the "Abercrombie muscle" -- or the low, low abdominal muscles that you see on the jean's posters in the Abercrombie & Fitch stores. :)

green tea

Green tea really is greener: it has a smaller carbon footprint than black tea or coffee.

For some reason the FDA hasn't verified it, but many studies show the health benefits of drinking green tea.

My favorite, by far, is Tazo Zen served at Starbucks. For a less-expensive version, I've found that I can brew two green tea bags and one mint tea bag and get a small pot of something very close.

Fun things to do this weekend

It will be a good weekend. We are hosting friends tonight from Colorado, then tomorrow taking the baby girl to the fall festival to pick out a pumpkin.

I always have a "fantasy to-do list" and here it is for Friday, the 15th. Sharing it for anybody with a free hour or two.

Plan a trip and buy a round-the-world plane ticket.

Schedule some free time in your calendar next week. And if you're feeling guilty about it, read these thoughts on "The best reasons I've found for backing the f*** off."

Make caramel apples. Be sure to decorate them.

Make a parody video of your favorite music video. These kids did Lady Gaga's Bad Romance and matched it screen shot-for-screen shot. With Flip video cameras. Amazing. I thought I was techno-hip and cool when I made a mix tape in college.

I don't know why I got distracted on YouTube, but here's how to make your eyes big and bubble-like a la Lady Gaga in above mentioned video. I won't be putting those drops or contacts anywhere near my eyes, thank you very much, but I am astounded at the art of make-up. And continually impressed with what youngsters can create with a Mac.

Make this Ricotta and Zuchinni Tomato Tart. Yum.

Help a niece, nephew or neighbor pick a Halloween costume.

Know how to sew? (Wish I did.) Make this bow pencil skirt. Darling!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Pilates "belly flatteners"

All the fitness magazines are featuring Pilates exercises, and I decided to share my favorite "belly flattening" exercise, the Roll-up.

The key to learning the Roll-up is to start with one knee slightly bent. Then as you get stronger begin to straighten that leg, until you can complete the exercise with both legs straight.

If that doesn't help, try putting a folded towel in the small of your back for a little assistance, again removing it when you gain strength.

The key to making the Roll-up effective is to keep your heels on the ground and "peel" your vertabrae up from the floor one at a time.

I knew I had healed from my C-section when I could do the Roll-up again.

Models are typically not in their 40's. Give a girl a break. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fast Track Your Career

On the flight home from a long one-day business trip (up at 4, airport at 5:30, back home at 9pm, that kind of day), I treated myself to a magazine. Here's a few juicy tidbits I pulled from a Women's Health article on "Fast Track Your Career."

*Fast-track your career by connecting with co-workers, not by churning out killer projects or clocking long hours. I have the book that was the source for this article, and it's quite good.

*Set your alarm to go off in the afternoon and let that be your cue for a five-minute doorway conversation. Don't blow off socializing. People who are laid off in the current recession have a much more difficult time landing their next job than those who don't have strong office relationships.

*Gossip wisely. Be brief. Apparently we can learn from the men here. Men will say "so and so is an a**hole" while women tend to get emotionally involved and have a hard time letting go.

P.S. Better book by Lois Frankel: See Jane Lead.

Carrie "gams" Underwood

I don't follow country music AT ALL, but I was impressed with the Women's Health article on Carrie Underwood.

Her exercise routine. {yoga, weight training, cardio, abs, abs, abs, workouts with her trainer Eve Overland}

Her nutrition. {quesadillas with low-sodium black beans, tomatoes, onions, and fat-free cheese combined with real cheese - so it melts. I mean, she has practiced this stuff until it's just right.}

But mostly, her legs. Wow.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

GI Jane

GI Jane's (aka Demi) was pretty impressive with those push-ups. I still remember that amazing strength (in what was only a mediocre movie).

Got nothin' on my girl M though...check out these pull-ups at our local Arboretum.

baby girl names

I came acrossed this list of the current top 100 baby names.

I laughed when I saw "Evelyn" still on the rise. This is my baby girl's name and it comes from her Great Grandmother, who has been aching for a baby to be named after her for decades (she has 40 grandchildren now!). Needless to say, she was thrilled when my girl's middle name was announced as Evelyn.

Funny thing, the very next year Evelyn appeared on the top names list at number 50.
Now it's 39.

Do you have secret baby names?

If I had twin girls, they'd be Norah and Lucie.

Norah for Ephron and Jones, and Lucie for my Mom's middle name, Lucille, and because I just think it's darling.

I recently found my handwritten list of name ideas I scratched out early in my pregnancy. (This was before Mr Right found "Mirabella" in a baby name book - that was our instant winner.)
My short list included:

Mirabella, how did I know exactly who you were? :)

photo of my girl in Chanel-inspired pink herringbone suit I bought THE DAY I found out I was having a girl

Monday, October 04, 2010

red "airstream" - road trip anyone?

Lavoro meraviglioso une touche.

Not your mother's crock pot

Mr Right and I pretty much never eat red meat. The two times a year we do: a steak on the grill at the beginning of summer and a roast {beef} in the crock pot at the beginning of fall.

This year we'll have roast twice. Because a few years ago, I mastered the art of EASY meals with slow cookers.

The secret:
1) make ahead
2) slow cooker liner bags (no scrubbing, soaking -- barely have to wash!

Yesterday, I put liners in two slower cookers. Chopped the veggies, threw in the roast, put a few miscellaneous seasonings and herbs in. Then I put one in the cooker and plugged it in for dinner.
The other one I tied up with a twistie and put in the fridge. Later in the week, it'll be easy. I'll grab the baggie on my way out the door to work, put it in the crock, put it in the cooker and plug it in.
And clean up (which I HATE) -- is easy!

22 Meals in 120 Minutes - Part Two

My earlier post on making meals ahead of time talked about how much stress you can save by setting aside two hours on the weekend.

Here is a step-by-step guide to what I did on Sunday:

1) After Sunday coffee and breakfast, headed to grocery store rather early (8:00am). Purchased the following: fresh produce - beets, leeks, brussel sprouts, carrots (both baby and real), small potatoes, a couple onions, arugula. At the salad bar, I put my fave salad toppings into one small container. I usually make another one for Mr Right. He likes peas, eggs, carrots. I like broccoli, mushrooms, etc. So two are necessary.

Arm roast {beef} was on sale so I bought two small ones.

Picked up six containers of low-fat flavored yogurt and a large non-fat plain yogurt.
{A note on yogurt: I need low-sugar but I don't want the baby girl to have Splenda. So I buy a large container of plain yogurt and mix it 1/2 and 1/2 with the flavored version.
My preference is to mix the plain yogurt with real fruit, but sometimes I need a quick snack for her, and mixing the two is a good solution.}

Already had at home from earlier shopping: two containers of ground turkey, five pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, brown rice.

2) I put two pots of water on to boil. Then I put a colander in one side of the sink and filled the other with water, grabbed a couple of veggie peelers and a big towel. Everybody (the veggies) went into the sink of water.

3) Washing ten pounds of fresh vegetables takes only a couple minutes longer than washing one pound of vegetables. I'm a big believer in doing it all at once. All the veggies I did not cook on Sunday (some celery and carrots) were washed, trimmed, dried and put in containers READY TO EAT. Makes all the difference in whether you grab them to eat in a couple days OR throw them out rotten ten days later.

4) I chopped the beets into quarters and threw them in one pot to par-boil.

5) I threw the brussel sprouts into the other pot of boiling water.

6) I took the chicken thighs out of the fridge and put them in a bowl, then put some Roasted Garlic-flavored Rice Wine Vinegar on them. Flavored vinegars make nice instant marinades -- they don't add fat and they tenderize the meat a bit.
While the the chicken sat about five minutes, I took the brussel sprouts out of the water. I took the chicken out and put it on the grill.

7) I put aluminum foil on a large baking sheet. I sliced the leeks and put them on the sheet. As I took the beets (and later carrots) out of the boiling water, I set them right on the baking sheet.

8) I chopped the peeled carrots into rough pieces and threw them into the beet pan (right into the red water, didn't hurt them a bit). After the carrots were done, I threw this water out but set the pan right back on the stove to use again.

9) I took the pot that had boiled the beets and carrots (didn't waste time washing it) and put a little olive oil in the bottom. I sliced the brussel sprouts in halves, then added them to the oil. Then I added a sprinkle of the Litehouse Freeze-dried red onion. {Love this product. I'm not typically a fan of dried herbs, but this is terrific.}
I only sauted these brussel sprouts a couple minutes, then turned them off. {this is really tasty if you saute a couple strips of prosciutto, then add brussel sprouts, but I didn't have any}

10) Veggies on the baking sheet get a sprinkle of olive oil, then into HOT oven. At least 400 degrees. Put half of the small potatoes on a second sheet and put them into oven too. (The other half of the potatoes go in the crock pot meals.)

11) Chicken comes off grill. Bring it in to cool.

12) Put a line of Gladware containers (any brand, but buy ONLY TWO SIZES, this way you don't spend all your time looking for lids!) in a row.
Put a chicken thigh or two into each container. Top with a few brussel sprouts.
{NOTE: Mr Right loves beets, hates brussel sprouts. The containers with brussel sprouts will be my lunches.}

13) While veggies roast, put together two crock pot meals. Details on this project coming in next post. THIS IS SUPER EASY. It doesn't take any time to do (actually will take me longer to type it!).

14) In second boiling-water-pot (again, do not wash) brown the ground turkey. I like to make "quick meat balls" by using a small scoop (Williams Sonoma #20). You can just scoop the meat right into the pot. Yes, the pot is playing saute pan, but who will know??

Two tips on browning ground turkey:
*I like to use the Litehouse red onion on the ground turkey too.
*Packages at the store are "99% lean" which is mostly white meat OR "97% lean" which is a bit more dark. I buy both. The 99% lean really requires oil to brown and the 97% lean has a bit more flavor.

15) Turkey should finish browning as veggies are done roasting. Turn everything off, let the food cool. Take a minute to catch up on clean up.

16) Back to the Gladware...put a serving of ground turkey in the bottom of the container. Add a couple carrots, beets, potatoes, whatever you like.
*The Veggies were par-boiled, which makes the roasting quicker and results in more moist veggies. They will still be crunchy, because they will cook a bit more when you re-heat them.

17) Make sure you save a couple of leeks, beets and carrots. Chop these cooked veggies even smaller and put them into a container. You can add them to brown rice for a healthy, yummy side dish for dinner later in the week.
You can even make an entree if you mix in a bit of ground turkey.

*To dress up this entree, add a tiny bit of any of the following:
Dark sesame oil
Garlic roasted flavored rice wine vinegar
Soy sauce
Low fat italian dressing
Tomato paste

18) Last step to have 22 complete meals...get yet MORE gladware, and fill it 2/3 full with Arugula. You can add a few of the salad bar veggies if you like. Get snack-sized Zip-a-locs (the tiniest ones) and put a piece of chicken in it. Put the baggie'd chicken right into the container on top of the Arugula, and you have a ready-to-eat healthy lunch.
I like to warm my chicken before adding it to my salad, so I take this extra step. It's worth it to have a restaurant-quality salad at my desk (that takes two minutes to put together!).


Seriously, it only took two hours.

And my favorite meals, all healthy stuff, are ready for lunch and dinner all week long.

A terrific use of two hours on Sunday!

11 year old food wisdom

22 meals in 120 minutes - A "How To" Guide

Today I shopped, prepped and cooked oodles of groceries. Ended my two hours with 22 meals.
I LOVE doing this on the weekend. I especially love doing it before Sunday night (that should be saved for relaxing and playing with baby girl).
I can't put into words the stress saved by opening the fridge and pulling out a gladware container that has a healthy, tasty lunch.
Or coming home at 5:15 and knowing I can take my daughter for a walk because dinner simply has to be re-heated.

Here are a few ways to cheat on meal preparation:
1) Put aside two hours on the weekend to shop, clean produce and cook.
2) Go to the store after breakfast. You won't buy junk food since you're full and you'll save loads of mental energy (stress) because the store isn't crowded on Sunday morning.

There's something remarkably easier about doing all that chopping and cooking at once.

And all week long, when I ask one of my co-workers "What's for dinner at your house?" and I see a look of stress, I know I did a good thing -- because I am relaxed and READY to feed my family healthy, tasty meals with almost no kitchen time.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Phit Kitchen Shopping

Dull knives, inappropriate equipment, too much stuff that is too complicated -- all will wreck your health eating plan.

Must-haves in the Phit Chick's kitchen:

Aluminum Foil and Baggies, Glass bowls for storage
Good knife
Silicon cutting board
Non-stick skillet or sauté pan
Sea Salt
Good olive oil
Good vinegars: rice wine, champagne, balsalmic

Read here how to choose a good saute pan.

Click here to read why the Mayo Clinic says sea salt is healthier than table salt.

I'm an Ina Garten fan and I followed her advice and bought Olio Santo olive oil. Love it. We had to order online but it is now available at Williams-Sonoma.

Ideally, you'll have two Chef's knives, but start with the 8" one. Henckels is an awesome brand.

And storage is critical. I know the potential danger of plastic, so I take food out of the baggie when I warm it up. And I am careful not to overuse - I actually rinse them and turn them inside-out to dry.
Baggies are bad for the planet and need to be used mindfully. I've considered giving them up, but I know from experience that if I have a refrigerator stocked with lunches for the whole week on Monday morning, then I save running out at lunchtime (gas), overspending (money), too many calories (health) and stress (stress).

So in the end, the plastic baggies are a good trade-off.
Glass bowls with plastic lids are better, but I have left so many at the office and I'm not sure washing more dishes is really better for our planet in the end.

Minutes, Miles, Months to a leaner you.

Been slacking? The ONLY way to regain consistency with exercise:

1) Put a calendar up that you see at least twice a day; record your exercise – minutes, miles, whatever.

2) After you have done this for a month, set a weekly goal for the next month.

When I had the baby girl, I kept deciding not to exercise because I only had 20 minutes, or I didn’t have time to get the sweat-your-guts-out workout that used to be my regular routine.
But then I started walking a mile a day – AND WROTE IT DOWN on the calendar. The next month my goal was to walk 6 miles a week. I did 10. The next month my goal was to walk 12 miles a week. I did about 11.5. Three months later, seven pounds gone.

It’s yet another mind game in a weight loss battle.

But this gives you an edge. It’s amazing how it works. You see you haven’t exercised in two days and you realize you CANNOT let it become three days. The blank squares of the calendar are staring you in the face.
One last important point: put the calendar where you’ll see it at least twice a day. Somewhere near the toilet is a sure thing.

My mileage calendar is in the "loo" - the toilet room in our master bath. I'm sure to see it a couple times a day. :) Makes for bad photo lighting though - sorry 'bout that.