School is closed (again) for my sweet baby boy and I think I have ten minutes before he wakes up from his nap- enough time to do a quick post on the Fresh 20. Has anyone tried the Fresh 20? I just heard about it but I believe I’ve seen it come up on sites like Groupon. Anyhow, the idea is that it’s a subscription meal planning service for $5 a month that provides a list of 20 ingredients that can be used for a week of healthy dinner’s. The list is designed to eliminate waste. I think I’m going to give it a try. I am pretty sure I spend way too much on groceries for my tiny family of three. I often feel like we have food in the pantry and fridge but not necessarily meals, and I often get stuck in a food rut which no one likes. Even if I don’t necessarily save money I want to be more efficient. It breaks my heart to throw away half a bag of bok choy because we got too busy and I couldn’t come up with any ideas for it, you know what I mean? I’ll let you know what I think.
I’m horrified when people suggest deep frying veggies because I think that takes so much away from their flavor, but bacon and veggies… bring it on!
Brussel sprouts, bacon, onion, olive oil. Toss with penne, squirt some lemon and call it dinner.
I’m a podcast listener. In the car, while I work out, while I clean the kitchen, anywhere and everywhere. I find podcasts a quick way to throw some knowledge into my earholes while I’m busy doing something tedious. And since a large part of what I love to do / have to do for hours and hours involves sitting in one place (drawing, not meditating as you might have assumed), podcasts are just the perfect burst of information I need to keep me chugging along.
Usually, I tend to prefer longer podcasts – 30 minutes to an hour. That way I can be immersed in a story or series of short stories without having to get up every couple of minutes to fast forward through the intro/outro before the next podcast comes on. Some of my all-time favorites are Stuff Mom Never Told You, RadioLab, Mysterious Universe, and Savage Love. It covers a good gamut of topics – general knowledge about female stuff, science stuff, ghosts, sex. Y’know, what everyone needs to know about!
Lately I discovered three new podcasts I thought I’d give a whirl: The Nutrition Diva, Money Girl, and The Domestic CEO, all from Quick and Dirty Tips. All three seemed likely candidates for providing me with some quick knowledge I could absorb into my arsenal of Ideas That I Plan on Putting to Use Some Day. Unfortunately, all three are under ten minutes per episode – they must assume that listeners have either a short commute or attention span. And that might seem like plenty of time at first, until you realize with the intro, outro, and random ads sprinkled throughout, it’s hard to glean the real stuff out of the middle of the podcast.
So far I’ve found The Nutrition Diva to be the most informative and sensible. I’ve mainly listened to the episodes focusing on extremes in eating habits – over eating, over dieting, is red meat bad for me, should I go gluten-free, etc. and I like the way she simply breaks down the scientific process of what certain foods are doing to the body. The information that’s stuck with me the most so far is to think of health habits as a grade point average. You can binge one day and purge the next, but it won’t do much to affect the overal marathon of your consistent eating/exercising habits. In other words, pig out on Thanksgiving and go sweets-free for a week but don’t expect magic to happen.
The Domestic CEO is also full of some good suggestions, and I found the host here to be the most pleasant out of the three. She has almost a hesitant, semi-awkward way of reading her tips that I can’t help but find endearing. I nerded out over hearing her method for rearranging my closet/drawers (totally going to try this) and I know Heather and Jessie might find something useful in the How to Pick Paint Colors episode.
The Money Girl podcast was the most grating of the three. I appreciated a financial advice podcast, but this one struck me as being the most similar to a one-day conference that promises to teach you something complicated in three easy steps and instead just teaches you buzz words. However, I did eventually find some of her episodes on whether to buy/rent and how to structure regular financial talks with your significant other to be particularly helpful. Word of warning, though – she ends every episode by saying “CHA-CHINNGGGGGGG” and letting that GGG drag out there for like, forever.
As with most of these “5 Easy Steps to _____” type deals, a lot of the suggestions will be common knowledge. They’re not necessarily always Useless Tips, maybe more Tips You Would’ve Guessed If You Were More Type A and Had More Free Time on Your Hands to Implement. I don’t know why I’m always such a sucker for these things, the Real Simples, etc. But I do know no matter how doubtful my face is going in, I usually remember at least one thing I bring back and incorporate into my daily life (hollah, using hair conditioner as shave gel, circa Real Simple 2008!).
We went up to visit my parents and had a great time. Contrary to what is portrayed by pop culture, the Jersey Shore is not like the Jersey Shore.
My New Jersey:
I grew up in Rumson and my parents now live in Highlands.
Here’s the view of NY from my parents’ house on an overcast day:
Picking up race packets for the Asbury Park 5K:
Local seafood from the Lusty Lobster:
I can’t wait to go back up.
I’m a sucker for headlines that go something like “10 Tips on How to Cut Your Energy Bill” or “Quick and Easy Ways to Save Money”. Even though past experience has taught me that 99% of these articles are useless, I always want to make sure that no, I’m not missing some great idea on how to save money, lose weight, get fit, cut my utility bills. Instead, I always read a list like this:
For saving on utility bills:
- Turn off lights when you leave the room
- Wear a sweater instead of turning up the heat
- Turn the a/c to a higher temp when leaving the house for the day
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth- turn on only to rinse
- Pack your lunch
- Make coffee at home instead of going to Starbucks
- Clip coupons
- Freeze your credit card in block of ice so if you want to use it you have to wait for it to thaw out (has anyone ever really done this one???)
Weight loss tips:
- Don’t eat fast food
- Eat less
- Cut down on soda
- Eat more vegetables
- Exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week
- Exercise in the morning (or at night, or the afternoon or whatever the latest fad is)
- Use soup cans for dumbbells
- Take the stairs
- Park farther away from your building so you have to walk more
These are all either 1) completely obvious and therefore useless (do you really need someone to tell you to turn off lights when you leave a room??) 2) not helpful at all (i.e., I already pack my lunch, stop telling me I can save a million dollars a year by not eating lunch out every day) or 3) not based in reality (a 30 minute stroll 3 times a week will not get you fit, sorry).
So here’s my stab at trying to give one truly helpful tip in each category I listed above:
Saving on utility bills:
- Ummmm…. well, I don’t really have one. If you’re too stupid to turn down the heat or turn up the a/c while you’re at work all day I can’t really help you.
- Don’t spend your money on stupid stuff. Unless it’s stupid stuff that’s really, really fun. Like a Slinky.
Weight loss tips:
- Anyone who has recipes that make vegetables taste good feel free to leave a tip in the comment section below…
- Exercise any time of the day that works for you. Morning, noon, or night- whenever you can fit it in is when you should do it. Just make sure to do it several times a week. And don’t fool yourself about what a workout is- it’s hard.
But seriously, I would LOVE to get some real, helpful ideas on how to do all of the above. I will keep clicking on headlines promising me health, wealth, and happiness in 10 (or 12 or 15) easy steps but won’t expect to learn much. Maybe you can help me put a real list together. Tips that work for people who aren’t morons. Like the people who think this list is helpful. We can do it!
I think everyone is looking forward to fall at this point. Scarves and boots are right around the corner. I have a tendency to get stuck in scarf ruts- I’ll wear my scarves one way forgetting that there are so many ways to tie them to create fresh styles. Recently I came across this video and was re-inspired. This short video demonstrates how four different shaped scarves can be worn for a total of sixteen ways. It’s worth the three minutes it takes to watch it. The styles are really simple, totally goof proof, but very chic.
Video: How to tie a scarf
How cute is this owl scarf for the fall? Today is the last day for Gap’s Friends & Family event. 30% off with code GAPFRIENDS.
At this point I’m not sure that Magic Mike is still in the theaters but I think it is still worth sharing that the ladies of Gen*HER went to see Magic Mike after weeks of anticipation. Naturally, we did some research. Leading up to the big reveal (yuk yuk yuk) we read some reviews to include:
Magic Mike : DVD Talk Review of the Theatrical http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/56847/magic-mike/
‘Magic Mike,’ Junk in the Face and the Female Gaze
My favorite of the two was the one with “Junk in the Face” in the title and I don’t think that requires any explanation, it speaks for itself.
So, surprisingly the reviews were not as awful as we expected given that it is a movie about strippers. We were feeling pretty optimistic.
Prior to the movie we ate dinner at Ten Ten and we had a great time. Good food, good drinks, and lots of laughing as we discussed things like what constitutes good stripper dancing versus creepy stripper dancing. Then we headed over the the best movie theater in the area, Landmark Harbor East. Armed with a bottle of sauvignon blanc, we headed into the movie. To our surprise, Magic Mike was still drawing a crowd after being in theaters nearly a month. We got pretty crummy seats as the theater was pretty packed. Composition was mainly what appeared to be professional women and two or three men. It was evident as the movie started that these women were repeat customers- they started hooting and cheering before the best scenes. Their enthusiasm for the movie added to our enjoyment and we laughed our way through the movie. I had a blast.
With that said, the movie was awful and the reviews we read were far too generous. The plot was all over the place, Matthew McConaughey was really creepy, and the movie was kind of dark. Were it not for the wine and good cheer of my friends and the other ladies of the theater, I would have thought the movie was a real downer.
The best part of Magic Mike is the anticipation and being with your girlfriends. If you haven’t gone, you should go because it is too silly not to.