Monday, March 28, 2011

Cleaning out my closet

I have two closets (I know, that's more than the average human *needs*). For the record my husband has 2 closets as well. Much. Smaller. Closets.

I organized my primary closet by color a few years back. This has been an amazing strategy. Like today, I needed a navy shirt, so I reached into the blue easy. I also practice the 'one in, one out' rule where if I get something new I donate something I have not worn in a while. I was not using this rule for my dressy clothes closet. In fact, I had gowns in there from 1994, 1999, 2000, etc. There were a few I could not part with during my dressy closet overhaul this weekend (wedding dress, prom gown). I also got a batch of shoes together that need to be donated to a local charity (I'm going to donate to the local chapter for Dress for Success).

I also threw away some satin bags that were required purchases during a few bridesmaid stints. They had started to break down (hate how satin does that). So, although the new closet layout is not perfect my dressy work clothes (mostly skirts and blazers) can now breathe. If you have an old bookcase on hand (and a closet large enough), my suggestion is to use it to store shoes.

I guess I can count this towards Spring cleaning. Phase 1. Tonight I'm heading to the brand new Salvation Army in Framingham. My Mom expressed concern that some of them take the quality stuff and just put it in 'rag bags'. I let her know that St. Vincent's in Framingham (my favorite one to donate clothes to) does not seem to do that. :) What is your favorite charity to donate clothing to?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pizza, Chicken wrap, Cuban Food

Yesterday I worked at an event at BU so this meant I had to get up in the dark. For those of you that know me well, you know that this was fighting against my internal wiring. I also worked all day without a break and got home and *crashed* bad. I could have just slept on the couch with the remote in my hand but instead I hoisted myself out of the house and to my beloved Centergy class. It was a new routine, so it turned out to be just what I needed--a good sort of pain.

Prior to leaving my husband called me and agreed to purchase 3 things we needed to make this Cuban recipe for dinner. I was psyched. Tyler going to the grocery store during the week (or going to the store at all) never happens in our house. I called him with the recipe needs, left a post it on the counter thanking him, and galloped off to the gym with ice pellets raining down from the sky.

When I left the gym my high hopes were smooshed when I realized it was 7:40 and Tyler was still at work. We texted quickly and realized Cuban was not going to happen. He wanted a chicken wrap (what I had for lunch) and I wanted pizza (what Tyler had for lunch--no way to share whatever I picked up). I realized I had $0 cash and that I needed to go home first before picking up takeout. Yes, I know takeout after the gym sounds backwards. This is what happens when I wake up before the sun. I make bad choices.

Do you have any favorite weeknight recipes that you would like to share? I'm always looking for new ideas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I stayed in LA's Japanese section of town less than 1 week before the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear issues. I enjoyed eating Japanese food, drinking tea, and even watching Japanese TV later that night. It was the most I've ever been surrounded by Japanese culture in one 24-hour period. It made me want to go to Japan someday. Now since the disasters I'm a little bit ashamed to admit it's not as high up on my travel wish list. :(

Today I happened upon a Japanese phrase that is very interesting. It's Wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi "nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect." The cultures that have been around for centuries always seem to have very interesting ways of looking at life.

I remember a very good explanation of the Zen way of thinking. I can't remember who said it, but it's a perfect way to describe it. The person was saying that someone asked if thinking of God while peeling potatoes was a Zen mindset. They explained, "no, it's just peeling the potatoes."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Apple Cake on a Springs-Winters Day

It's been snowing pretty much all day. Like any good spring snowstorm it's not sticking much. However, I do have to wear my boots instead of sneakers to the gym tonight (taking my sneaks along to change when I get there of course).

I wanted to provide a comfort food recipe today. It even has yogurt in it. Best part is--it's a single bowl recipe!

Apple Yogurt Cake from The Kitchn (you can also follow them on Facebook here)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Clothes made in the USA

I've had good luck over the years finding clothes made in the USA. Usually it's by accident. I'll buy a dress made by Prana and it will be part bamboo (cool) and made here. I just happened to get the dress on sale. Or I'll be in Marshall's or Nordstrom Rack looking for new Yoga pants and the cheapest ones happen to be made in the US and of organic cotton.

Last week when I was in LA I had lunch in Malibu. I drove right by the American Apparel store on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). I decided to stop in because it seemed like a neat looking store. I remembered driving up that they make their clothes in LA. I wondered to myself if they use sweatshops or if they actually pay their workers fair wadges. As it turns out they do. I picked up some basics (tee shirt, tank top) and discovered much off the clothes were designed for a size 2-4 type frame (translation: if you're not super tiny, stick to the shirts versus pants and shorts unless you want your bottom to hang out). It turns out the tee shirt is one of the most comfortable ones I've ever  purchased and it  washes really well.

A great resource to find clothes made in the USA is found here. If you're looking for the American Apparel in the Boston area it's on Newbury Street. If you check out their website you will find things on sale for $10 or less. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guinness Stout Cupcakes

 It's that time of year again! Corned beef for lunch at work this Thursday and of course, baking with Guinness!

GUINNESS STOUT CUPCAKES (courtesy of Dave Leiberman/Food Network)

  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa (plus more for dusting finished cupcakes if so desired)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 1 bottle stout beer (recommended: Guinness)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
  4. Lightly grease 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each ¾ full. Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out.
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • ¾ to 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (1-pound) box confectioners’ sugar
  1. In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually beat in the heavy cream. On low speed, slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Icing can be made several hours ahead and kept covered and chilled.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Travel

For me the worst part about traveling to California is how I feel when I get home. The first day is okay, I usually time it so I can sleep in (I put a Sunday as my recovery day this time around). I did pretty well yesterday. I wanted to eat at weird times, but overall I did okay. To combat the 'everything hurts' sensation I get after a day of flying I typically go to the gym. I also found it helpful to spend a few hours yesterday at the movies. Oddly enough, that helps the 'where am I?' feeling.

Today is the hardest by far. I'm back in the office. After being out for 3 days it's a little overwhelming. To deal with this I made sure to pack healthy food (Vs lurking at the M&M machine all day). I also am resisting the urge to sleep under my desk. I expect tomorrow I'll start feeling normal again.

Yesterday's movie was 'Adjustment Bureau' the latest Matt Damon movie. We loved it. I especially loved that it was based on a book by Philip K. Dick and that I could see parallels between it and 'Fringe'. Yesterday's book (not e-book) was a last minute airport purchase--'Wishful Drinking' by Carrie Fisher. I liked it in all of it's drug/alcoholic mental illness glory. It was also appropriate after spending a few days in the LA area.

Here's one of my favorite photos from last week. Huntington Beach:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Working out when you travel for work

I'm leaving tomorrow morning for a conference/trade show in Anaheim, CA. For those of you that have ever attended a trade show you know that it's long hours and lots of eating on the run. You get to eat dinner late quite often and you tend to just go completely nuts when you finally get a menu in front of you. The reason is it is your first 'real' meal of the day, it's paid for by work, and you're so excited to finally have REAL food. I'm not complaining. I actually love to travel for work. My face-to-face time with clients and prospects is one of my favorite parts of my job.

This time, I'm going about my work travel a bit different compared to the last 13 years or so. I got a workout DVD at Target for $8. I tried a few on Netflix on demand and decided which one to buy. This way, if I can't make it to the hotel 'gym' to work out (most hotel gyms are horrible) I can workout in my room. I chose Power Yoga since lots of hours on a plane, on your feet, and in heels can really do a number on your back. Oddly enough I choose that trainer from 'Biggest Loser'--Jillian--as the Yoga DVD. She's actually kind of cool when you get her out of the other training situations. On some business trips I've gotten a short-term pass at a gym near to my hotel. This worked out well in Kentucky ($11) but not so well in NYC ($50). I'm being strict in 2011 because travel in 2010 paired with huge meals and a departure from my normal routine led to some serious weight gain. I'll pack my gym stuff like I normally do but this time I will have a back-up plan to the hotel gym. No broken elliptical or dirty equipment is going to slow this girl down!