Sage advice from my Spin Instructor?

I’m not knocking where the advice came from….I myself regularly quote “Kung Fu Panda” for deep thoughts, but I can’t decide if I agree with this piece of advice. Maybe “advice” is too strong a term, how about motivational fodder?  Still……

Let me set the stage:

I’m in spin (indoor cycling) class at my local Y and I’m huffing and puffing up this “hill” when over the bumping music the instructor calls out:

“To get something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done”


On one hand, there is the tie in with Einstein’s description of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  OK.

Then there’s “you’ve got to give to gain” tidbit.  Mmm-hmm, I get it.

With the logic of my spin instructor’s phrase, I could conclude:

I’ve never had $1 million dollars (something I’ve never had), I’ll go jump out of an airplane (something I’ve never done)?

You see where I’m struggling.  Perhaps something was lost in translation?

If anone would like to shed some light on this phrase or share your own magical words that help get you over the curve balls of life, please feel free to enlighten us with your comments.


Mama loves mango

For some inexplicable reason I have a freezer stocked with frozen organic mango.  I don’t particularly like it actually, but I probably stockpiled after reading this post from Sarah B. at My New Roots:

“…mangoes are an exceptionally healthy fruit. They are a good source of vitamins C and E, but they are vitamin A superstars – a single fruit can boast up to 10,000 IU of the stuff (holy cow, that’s a lot). Vitamin A can help preserve and improve eyesight, as well as help fight off viral infections.
Mangoes are also fairly rich in many minerals, including zinc to combat acne and psoriasis, boost the immune system, and speed up wound healing. They also contain magnesium to relax your nerves and muscles (especially good for menstrual cramps), build and strengthen bones, and keep your blood circulating smoothly. ”

I’ve been dutifully using it my smoothies and this little mixture has me singing along, “Mama loves mambo, Papa loves….”

1/2 cup Rice Dream

1/2 cup filtered water

2 ice cubes

1 scoop vega (Vanilla Chai)

1 large handful spinach

3/4 cup frozen mango

Give it a whirl in the blender. Enjoy.

Happy talkie talkie happy talk

Anyone name that tune?  I know my sister is flailing her hand in the air, “South Pacific, South Pacific”.  Yup, our mom is a major lover of the musical genre.

Now to my point, we’ve all heard the saying if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  However, that doesn’t mean these nasty thoughts just vanish; on the contrary these little meanies can hit a repeat loop to pollute you over and over, this is especially true when it comes to what I think about myself.

Since I’ve learned I do better with adding something positive rather than taking away the negative, I’m working on becoming my new best friend.  I’m using happy talk, many might call them affirmations or mantras but I’m a simple person, happy talk suits my needs.  This can be anything from a trick Diane Von Furstentberg uses – winking at herself in the mirror or writing “Hiya Gorgeous” on my bathroom tile (see above).

What do any of us have to loose in giving ourselves a few more high fives during the day?!  If I could replace the amount of times I’ve listed all my “weaknesses”, with listing all of my strengths – I’m guessing I’d be more familiar with all these likable attributes I possess.

It has to be said, this made me feel silly at first, when I told myself “I love you” out loud the first time, I rolled my eyes and giggled.  But the change is undeniable, I’ve been easier on myself and therefore everyone around me since I began this little experiment.

Cause here’s the thing, I’m seeing my daughter start to loose a bit of her inherent confidence that tells her how amazing she is, the part of her that feels so comfortable in her own skin that there are NO strengths and weaknesses, it’s just HER – incredible her.  If this parenting gig has taught me anything it’s you gotta walk the talk, so that’s why I’ll be working my happy talkie talkie happy talk.

After school snack

My kids come into the kitchen like clockwork around 3 proclaiming “I’m starving”.  I try to squash my annoying comment that they don’t really know what starvation is, since I myself am usually feeling some stomach noise that time of day as well.   Instead I focus on what to serve them that is not crap and they’ll still be hungry for dinner.  These shakes have been filling that order, what goes in varies a bit but the chocolate remains the same.

1.  Nut milk of some variety (1 cup)

2.  4 ice cubes

3.  Fruit of some kind (banana, frozen cherries, frozen blueberries)

4.  Handful of spinach (I’ve also used romaine lettuce or a scoop of choc. greens powder)

5.  2 TBS raw cacao

These two cups hold a little over 1/2 cup each it seems to be a good portion size.  The straw does make it fun – kids love straws.  I usually collect  straws from restaurants that bring them in drinks even though we ask them not too.  I can cut one straw into two making them a good size for these small cups.  I wash the straws and then re-use so one straw can last about 5 days before splitting or cracking – not bad.

Just a bite

Years ago when I was transitioning from take-out pizza, Bud Light and American Spirits I heard about Mireille Guillano, she’s done a whole bunch of stuff but for my purposes I heard about her book, “Why French Women Don’t get Fat”.  Honestly, the title turned me off so I never read this particular book of hers, BUT I did read, “French Women for All Seasons”.  It was meant as a follow-up to her first runaway success to “Why French Women…” – anyhow the book talks about seasonal foods, seasonal eating and the importance of pleasure and indulgence just not gluttony.  This is a common dispute in my head, my balancing act of la dolce vita and “the white stuff will kill you” knowledge rattling around in my noodle.

So this week wen I was craving a bit of the sweet stuff, I recalled Mireille’s words of wisdom to have a little, just a few bites, enjoy it, just don’t over do it…… my mind “over-doing it” could be licking the plate… a restaurant.  Seriously.

But, since I’m kind of a grown-up I made these words my mantra – just a bit, just a bite – and created this wonderful treat for myself.

“Slice of Heaven”

Decaf Fair Trade French Roast Coffee

Sliced Baguette sprinkled with Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (and warmed in toaster)

3 TBS The Greek Gods Honey Greek Yogurt

Sat my butt down at a table, lit a fire in the fire place and enjoyed my little “Slice of Heaven” for all of 4 minutes before my kids spotted the chocolate chip bread.

A case of cold feet

And hands too.  It seems if the temp. drops below 60, even just during the morning hours, I am struck down with cold hands and feet all day.  Since this is 1. no fun and 2. a symptom if a sluggish circulatory system, I’ve been up-ing my GINGER intake.  Ginger is terrific in a host of dishes but (and I know you are shocked), I’ve been putting it in my smoothie!

Here’s my “Spice it Up”:

1 cup Vanilla Almond Milk Unsweetened

1 tsp cinnamon

1″ fresh ginger (peeled)

1 tbs cacao

1 cup rasberries

1 scoop Vega (Vanilla Chai,  but I bet the chocolate would rock in this)

Another amazing ginger experience is in the bathtub using powdered ginger, I did this last winter and I’m looking forward to a repeat performance this winter.  I’m not gonna lie though, it’s INTENSE and although I’m not really prescribing this for anyone, you probably wouldn’t want to do this if you are pregnant or breast feeding…..possibly even if you are alone in your house.  That said, it was crazy effective, totally a modern day sweat lodge experience in the convenience in your own home.  Of course, you can add a bit of powdered ginger to a typical bath and you’ll feel some nice warming effects without the hallucinations “detox sweat”.

Happy heating.

Corpse Reviver II

My cute, sexy husband had a business dinner and I was in need of an evening out, the babysitter was booked, outfit planned, the only problem is I was feeling less than stellar, fighting some kind of bug (called stress tying you in knots).  But since canceling a babysitter is one of my LEAST favorite things to do and the planned outfit makes me smile, I gave my cheeks a good pinch trying for any kind of color other than green-ish, and off we went.

My husband is good at planning these dinners, somehow he picks a place that will fit everyone’s mood perfectly and this night was no exception.  We got to the restaurant early and saddled up to the bar – I was planning on something “special” like sparkling water with lime when my husband takes matters into his own hands.  He catches the bartender and asks,  “what would you serve to my beautiful wife who feels like s%#*?”  Apparently no other information was needed because the next thing I see is a dainty cocktail glass being set aflame, then sparks flying with the twist of a zest – orange maybe?  And then there is pouring and shaking and pouring and TA-DAHHH, meet Corpse Reviver II.

I know next to nothing about cocktails except that they are having a “moment” but now I feel like I’ve been shown the magic behind the curtain of artist bartenders and their drink specialties.  Corpse Revivers were invented as a type of “hair of the dog” hangover remedy and there are loads of them but this one did the trick, I enjoyed our evening immensely.  Here’s what a little internet research (wiki) provided on the Corpse Reviver II for those of you who are cocktail inclined.

“The Corpse Reviver #2 is the more popular of the corpse revivers, and consists of equal parts gin, lemon juice, triple sec (commonly Cointreau), Lillet Blanc, and a dash ofabsinthe. The dash of absinthe can either be added to the mix before shaking, or added to the cocktail glass and moved around until the glass has been coated with a layer of absinthe. It can also be used to coat the edge of the glass to give a subtle absinthe aroma and flavor to the drink”

Thank you Jeremy for your magic making behind the bar, you and your skills put some much needed pep in this tired mom’s night out.


Isn’t it lovely, isn’t it marvelous

Spent some lovely time this weekend perusing this blog, the beauty of it is by Katey Denno, a NYC celebrity Make-up artist with a yen for all things natural.  I was particularly fascinated by this posting since cold and flu season is right around the corner and I especially appreciated her disclaimer about coconut oil.  I have a few friends who are repelled by all things coconut and couldn’t agree more with Katey who says,

Not everyone will like coconut oil. I firmly believe that if your body tells you it’s not for you by making you feel turned off by the smell, or if you feel sick to your stomach when you ingest it, perhaps try another brand, and if you get the same response, listen to your body and pick up an extra virgin, organic olive oil instead. It’s always best to listen to your body!”

THAT said, if you ARE into getting coco-nutty, I’ve been adding coconut oil to my smoothies lately and HOLY COW it’s like a whole new plane of yumminess, here’s my latest coconut dream, makes enough for 2:


2 cups Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk

1 cup frozen mango

1 tbs gently melted coconut oil

1 scoop Vega (Vanilla Chai)

1 sprinkle stevia (probably 1/4 tsp)

Put everything in a blender EXCEPT the coconut oil, give it a whirl, when the frozen mango seems incorporated – pour in the coconut oil while blending.  You are done.  Pour into glasses and enjoy!

Am I the last to know?

Full disclosure, I do not like manicures.  I think they are:

1.  Over priced

2.  Over familiar

3.  Over stimulating

When I think of relaxing here are the LAST things that come to mind:

  • a room that smells of toxic chemicals
  • chatty people disregarding the “no phones” sign
  • a stranger clipping my cuticles (no matter how many times I say PLEASE don’t cut my cuticles)

That said, I find it really fun to put some color on my nails from time to time and, to borrow a term from the British, I am absolute rubbish at it.  Enter the “color change”.  I did not know about the color change option, basically they apply nail color and you are out of there, it’s cheap, it’s fast and it’s fun!  I’m sure I’m the last to know about this fantastic option, but I want to document HOW I came about my knowledge of the color change.

You ready…….. I walked up to the girl at the counter and told her what I wanted.  Yes, I asked for EXACTLY what I wanted and I got it.  I plan to use this technique many, many times in the future for a variety of situations!

Since I’m getting a bit addicted to the fun with my fingernails, I went in search for a friendlier, less toxic nail product and found Butter.

Butter Nail Lacquer or polishes have none of the below:

  • Formaldehyde – a human carcinogen
  • Toluene – a nervous system toxin
  • DBP – dibutyl phthalate (linked to fertility issues)

Sadly, most nail polishes DO contain all of the above, I’ll let you know about my experience with Butter.

eBay I’m breaking up with you

And it’s all over this box.

Vintage Tiffany & Co box

When eBay arrived on the scene I was as enthralled as the rest with stories of used sneakers going for $0.25 on this new internet marketplace.  Years later I read Born to Run and understood there is a whole movement of folks wanting used, broken down running shoes and again I thought, how perfect that eBay provides a place for these items, that are headed for the trash, to end up in someone else’s possession and use.

BUT NOW, I have been offended by eBay twice and I think I’ve had enough.  The first time was years ago during my transition from career lady to stay at home mom – I had loads of clothes that needed to go and Buffalo Exchange was not yet up and running in my city.  So I dutifully list my items and wait for the magic.  I think I hit 20 transactions when eBay sends me a notice questioning the “authenticity” of my items and I was SUSPENDED for 20 days or something.  Let me tell you folks, I am a good girl, a rule follower, getting suspended from eBay made me cry……I was pregnant at the time so perhaps hormones were involved, BUT STILL.  We, eBay and I, get it all straightened out, my honor is re-established but I stop eBay-ing.

Years pass and my husband and I are ready to fill our home with a few unique items so we venture back into the land of eBay.  It’s wonderful, I could never have found the light fixtures we have hanging in our home anywhere short of a New York City flea market that requires pre-dawn attendance.  Since the New York flea market was NOT going to happen I was thrilled with my eBay experiences.

More years pass and I decide it’s time to once again sell something with eBay.  See above picture of Vintage Navy Leather Tiffany and Co Box.  I had sold one of these before on eBay, during my first 20 transactions, but had held onto a few thinking if I have a daughter maybe she’ll like them?  I have a daughter, she couldn’t care less so I can get them into someone else’s hands now.  I list them, opening bid $1.99, I’m not greedy folks, just thought someone who’s into Tiffany’s might like this sort of thing.

24 hours pass and I’m notified my listing has been removed!  Here it is in their words:

“– To provide a safer trading experience, certain branded items are not allowed on eBay without their accompanying product.

— This policy includes empty branded boxes, dustbags, and blank warranty certificates”

I am crestfallen, the whole idea of eBay as a wonderful open marketplace where one person’s trash is another’s treasure and all that now seems like phooey.  Pffff, eBay we are SOOOOO over.