Archive for January, 2010

Ride Like A Life Depends On It

January 31, 2010

Today we were part of a life-changing event. We participated in the 4th annual Cycle for Survival, a 4-hour studio cycling event, benefiting the research and treatment of rare cancers through Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center.

Hosted by Equinox Fitness Clubs, over 600 teams gathered to spin their way through the day; sweating, cheering and supporting one another to fight this debilitating disease.

Some rode in memory of a loved one, some rode to celebrate the fact that they could, and some rode to support someone that couldn’t. We all rode as if our lives depended on it, and silently prayed that we would never have to.

Cycle for Survival’s remarkable and intrepid founder, Jennifer Goodman Linn, shared that she recently received the news that her cancer had returned for the 5th time, and would be resuming treatment next week. Her strength and determination is an inspiration to many, and a gift to those who are battling cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her as she begins her journey again.

Next week the ride resumes in Chicago, and the fund raising continues throughout the month of February.

Thanks to all of our readers who supported this very special cause. Your generosity is helping to save lives and change the face of cancer treatment.

To make a donation log onto: http://www.cycleforsurvival.org

photo courtesy of spencer jones

Organized Living

January 29, 2010

Recently, a reader asked me to do a post about organization tips. After I finished laughing out loud, I told her I would give it some thought. What is so funny about organization you ask? The fact that I had never felt more out of control in my life, and I was about to give advice to others, struck me as quite comical.

Once upon a time, I was a high level fashion executive, managing a group of 40 creative and sensitive people, a parade of certifiably insane bosses, and trying to be the best wife and mother I could be. My days started at 6:30a.m. (once my daughter actually began to sleep, that is) and ended at 10 p.m. on a good day. Every moment of those days were scheduled to the max.  Although I barely had time to breathe, I managed to be uber efficient. Yes, I had a loving nanny and housekeeper, and a doting assistant that brought me food, water, and other essentials of life. Scheduling, preparation and prioritization were the keys to my existence.

Then, life changed radically. No more job, and no more help in taking care of the commitments of day-to-day life. I had less to do, and seemingly less time to do it in.

I became less organized and more complacent.

Fast forward to the present: I now have a very busy, yet inconsistent consulting practice. I am working many hours, and still need to be responsible for the day-to-day childcare, and housekeeping. I feel out of control and stressed by the pressure of getting it all done.

So, when Susan suggested that I write about organization, I realized that I didn’t just need to blog about it, I needed to DO something about it.
Here are my tips for being highly productive:

1.Sort everything into 3 buckets: “have to do”, ‘want to do” and “other”. Take the “other” and forget about it. Trust me, it just isn’t going to happen, and it’s cluttering up your mind worrying about it. Now that that’s done with, it’s time to prioritize….

2. Make a to-do list, and prioritize the tasks as:” urgent” (that means today people!!!) “as soon as possible” and “long term”. That means painting the living room or cleaning the attic goes on the long-term list. This helps the list look less daunting when you set reasonable expectations.

3. Book appointments with yourself: if you had to be at the airport for a flight at 7 am.  would you be there? If you had a doctor’s appointment at 6, would you show up? Of course you would! Now treat your priorities the same. Working out is important to me, and I made sure that I was at the gym before 7 am several days a week. It was pre-scheduled so that I couldn’t roll over and go back to sleep, with the excuse that I would go tomorrow instead. There was never a day that I flew out of bed ready for my morning sweat session, but the fact that it was done before I even got to work was energizing, and liberating. How great is it to cross things off the to do list before the official workday even begins?

4.Lastly, a little trick learned from top chefs (and watching the food channel):
Mis en place, baby! Mis en place is a French term meaning “everything in its place”. In cooking, it means having your tools and your pre-measured, prepped ingredients at the ready. In life, it means putting everything in its place so that you don’t waste valuable time rushing around looking for things when time is tight. For me, it meant laying out my gym clothes, and packing my bag with the next day’s clothing and work projects the night before, so that the early morning routine was quick and fool proof.

As I look at my schedule for the coming weeks, I know that I will need to practice what I preach. It won’t be fun, and it won’t be easy, but it has to be done.  I will keep you all updated on how it’s going in subsequent posts.  Wish me luck!!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Bumble Beans Supports the Efforts in Haiti

January 27, 2010

We get so many positive comments about the beautiful quilts made by my friend Victoria of Bumble Beans. Now is your chance to own one, while helping to support the rescue efforts in Haiti.

This handmade quilt was created from fabrics donated by Pixie Dust Decor, with the intention that the finished product would be used to help others. All proceeds from the sale of this quilt will benefit Doctors Without Borders for their work in Haiti.

The quilt is available through Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=39313274

Unrecipe of the Week

January 22, 2010

This warm tasty spread is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It is incredibly easy to make, and always delicious.

Hot Artichoke Spread with Garlic Pita Toasts

2 cans artichoke hearts

1/2 cup mayonnaise (low fat or the real deal)

juice of 1 lemon

1 cup grated parmesean cheese

garlic, to taste ( 2 or 3 cloves, pressed or very finely minced)

Drain and mash the artichokes. Add the other ingredients. Mix well. Place in a baking dish,and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve with pita toasts.

Note:The consistency before baking should be thick and chunky. If it seems runny, add more cheese. If it seems to dry, add a little more mayo. This truly is an unrecipe, and the measurements listed should be used loosly.

Pita Toasts:

Slice pita bread into 6 triangles, and place on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Place in a 350 degree oven and toast until slightly brown. Serve warm

Note: you can toast the pita while the spread is baking. Be sure to watch it, as it can burn very quickly once it starts to brown.

Enjoy!

This is also great with store bought pita chips, which makes the recipe even easier. Use the sea salt or multigrain flavors.

photo: Glasshouse Images


I Dreamed a Dream…

January 19, 2010

” I say to you today my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.”

Happy Birthday  Martin Luther King ! Thank you for dreaming.

illustration by : Bailey Jones 2007

Eliminate a Plastic Bottle a Day to Keep the Doctor Away

January 18, 2010

The US government is finally admitting something that many of us have known for awhile: BPA, a chemical found in plastic and other types of food packaging may be hazardous to your health.

The Food and Drug Administration said on Friday, that it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children” and would be studying the chemical in both animals and humans.

Concerns about BPA are based on studies that have been conducted in animals. The FDA has also acknowledged that the chemical seeps into food and baby formula. It seems everyone is exposed to it, beginning in the womb. In a recent study of over 2000 people, 90% of all tested had traces of BPA in their urine, as well as traces in breast milk and the umbilical cord and blood of pregnant women.

The upcoming research will focus on the possible effects of the chemical on behavior, obesity, diabetes, reproductive disorders, cancer, asthma, heart disease and effects that can be passed on generationaly.

While the jury is still out on the actual effects of BPA in humans, we have already started limiting our use of plastics.

You can protect yourself by making some small changes in your day-to-day life:

  • Start drinking filtered water from an aluminum bottle. Not only does this limit your exposure to BPA, it also is better for the environment, and your wallet.
  • Do not drink hot liquids from plastic cups, or plastic coated cups.
  • Never put plastics in the dishwasher, or microwave. The chemicals are released when they come in contact with heat.
  • Avoid any plastics marked on the bottom with the number 7. That particular grade of plastic is made with BPA.
  • The linings of some cans, and other food packaging also contains plastics made with BPAs.
  • Avoiding convenience foods wherever possible, and eating fresh, locally grown foods is always the best choice, both for your health, and the environment. The FDA is now recommending breast-feeding for infants up to 12 months of age to avoid plastic baby bottles and sippy cups which contain BPA.

While giving up conveniences, like plastic containers and children’s products seem like a burden today, if someone told you that you could avoid life threatening diseases for you and your loved ones by eliminating plastic food packaging, would there be any question in your mind?

photo: glasshouse images

Happy Birthday to ME!!!!

January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday to me! Another year has gone by ALREADY! My birthday was last Sunday and my daughter’s birthday was yesterday.

As B got ready for bed last night, she remarked that she was sad, because she didn’t feel older yet. She didn’t have a birthday party, since her special day occurred mid-week. She didn’t have her birthday snack at school, since there was a field trip. She didn’t get to play with her new toy, since Daddy refused to set it up after dinner on a school night. All that added up to still feeling like she was STILL only 9.
Ah, if it were only that simple, I would still be hovering somewhere in my late 20’s, when the concept of celebrating every birthday became obsolete. The tugs of work, family, business travel and cold weather, made it impossible to always acknowledge my birthday on its given day.

Since becoming a parent, the preparations for B’s birthday have over shadowed my own.
Yesterday was spent frazzled, baking cupcakes in ice cream cones for the class, and figuring out how to transport the topsy turvy treat across town intact (a whole other post to follow soon!!!) and making the requested Bolognese sauce, while shopping for the perfect gift, and trying to maintain a fledgling consulting business on the side. Although we had a lovely dinner in my honor on Saturday night, most of my weekend was comprised of cleaning, errand running and kid related events. My day passed relatively quietly, and I guess in retrospect, I don’t feel any older either. Whew!

Today, things were different. Cupcakes were consumed, party arrangements are being finalized, and the new toy is set up and pronounced “awesome”! Today, B feels like she is finally 10!

As for me, I still feel like I am 28. Adult, and responsible, yet still finding my way in the world. Just how I like it.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Channeling Chanel

January 8, 2010

Some people will go to any length to be fashionable. This frugal fashionista takes the cake. All we can say is “genius”!!!

Somehow, we think Coco Chanel would be proud.

Source:unknown

Unrecipe of the Week

January 6, 2010

This is our go-to dinner option when we want it fast, want it delicious, and want it vegetarian. In the time it takes to boil the water and cook most dried pasta, the sauce is done. Want a yummy fast dinner? On your mark, get set, GO!

Pasta with Quick Rustic Tomato Sauce

Finely dice a couple of cloves of garlic and quickly saute them in olive oil

Add several diced fresh tomatoes (4 or 5) to the pan and continue to cook on medium heat, stirring often

Season liberally with salt and pepper.

The tomatoes will soften quickly and create a chunky sauce in about 10 minutes or so.

When the tomatoes are ready, add about a tablespoon of butter to the sauce and stir it in. (yeah, butter..it really makes a difference!)

Sprinkle in a large handful of chopped, fresh basil leaves.

Mix the cooked, drained pasta into the sauce until it is completely coated, and serve with freshly grated parmesean cheese.

Enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Spell Check

January 4, 2010

This post is taken from a great site called “THE OATMEAL” which is written and illustrated by Matthew Inman. It features the 10 most missplelled words on Facebook. Read it and LEARN IT!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 366 other followers