Archive | May, 2011

May Flowers

30 May

Spring has sprung my friends!

Yes, I’m very aware that this light-hearted statement is coming from a woman sitting in her Southern California apartment, where apparently ‘seasons don’t exist past an eternal summer.’ (Not true.)  I’m even more aware that if you live anywhere on the east coast, like my beloved partner in crime, perennial temperatures have yet to find you.  I know this because Jenn makes sure to overwhelm my email, texts, and voicemail with regular updates, making it impossible for me to complain of a sunburn or take a cool breeze too seriously.

“The weather here still sucks the big one.”

“The weather in Toronto is ass. Every one looks sad and pale.”

Message received.  I get it.  But don’t get your hate on just yet, my dear East-coasters.  It’s important to remember that the beautiful thing about seasons, is that they change.  I’ll have you know that here on the coastline we experience our own ‘April showers/May flowers’ kind of deal. We have our  ‘May Gray,’ and ‘June Gloom.’  Almost every morning begins overcast and gray. I’m already anything but a morning person, so take away my morning sunshine, and don’t bother talking to me before 11am.  It won’t be pretty.   This weekend I stole away with my camera, while the sun was shining, to remind us all of what’s to come.  New color, new life, new shoes.  (Ok, maybe that’s just me. There are some serious Memorial day sales this weekend!)

       

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Thin Skinned.

23 May
So I had a totally different article planned for this week that involved big sunglasses, jeans, and the fact that my ass would never be the same after childbirth. Then Friday night my husband was going out for boys night so I bought treats and a magazine to enjoy while I watched HGTV until my eyes bled.  The magazine I bought was everything I wanted on a Friday night. New clothes, make up, and a few so-called “feminist articles” to make the magazine feel like we support the sisterhood!

On the cover of the magazine are Kate Hudson and Gennifer Goodwin, so I flipped to the article about their movie…and then I flipped out!!! The article (written by a woman by the way) does nothing but glorify how thin Kate Hudson is despite being six months pregnant.  And while Kate gloats about not having bought one single maternity item our reporter tells us that Ginny (who is “so slight you could fit her in your pocket”) listens wide-eyed and rapt to Kate talk about how “thanks to morning sickness” she has only gained 11 pounds. It was like “Thin Porn.”
In the first paragraph alone I was exposed to “So Trim,” “So bikini ready,” “Your body is ridiculous,”  and all in reference to a pregnant woman.
Sure we’ve been exposed all our lives to the media telling us that thin is the only way to true happiness but celebrating thinness during pregnancy actually made me sick.
The article was probably NOT how the conversation went between Ginny and Kate but the reporter felt THIS was the most important thing to focus on.
And this is a women’s magazine, written by women, for women. So then I asked myself why are we doing this to each other? What if we all just took a vow to stop making everything about weight? What if we make it about health and happiness and let the rest of this garbage fall to the bottom of a sinkhole where it belongs?
We can’t control what other people write, but Nicole and I are taking a vow right here and now to STOP the over glorification of thin. It doesn’t mean I can’t talk about how my ass will never be the same after my baby. Because when I finally publish that article you’ll see that I when I look at my beautiful daughter I DON’T CARE that my ass has changed.
 Please enjoy these pictures of me gloriously fat, happy, and pregnant with my baby girl!
                   

Feeding THE MONSTER.

16 May
(t-shirt courtesy of Polygon)
Once a month I am not myself.  Like a werewolf under the power of the full moon, I become a monster.  An angry, hormonal monster who thinks it’s appropriate to wear men’s XL sweatpants to the grocery store. To this day, men gather around campfires and tell the terrible tales of their women turning into THE MONSTER.

“She threw a yogurt container at my head” one will say.
“She ate a whole bag of marshmallows and wouldn’t stop watching Real Housewives of Atlanta” another will say.
“She said I didn’t love her, and made me talk about my feelings for 45 minutes!”

Oh the HORROR!!!!

They don’t get it. I sometimes wish men had an equivalent to a period. Let’s it call it the “semi colon.” They’d call their buddies saying things like “I can’t play street hockey today Greg. I’m on my semi-colon. I have major cramps, and my tits are killing me.”

This menstruating monster has so many needs. Yes, the monster will stand in front of the refrigerator for 15 minutes at a time, taking one bite out of every container. Yes, the monster will cry while watching “Barefoot Contessa” and “Cake Boss.”  Making the monster even more irritable is the sudden 5 to 7 pound weight gain that occurs. It is of the utmost importance to tell her during this time, that she is the most beautiful monster you’ve ever seen. And for goodness sake, do not mention, or even look at the giant zit in the middle of her forehead.  The monster will not respond kindly.

These monsters have cravings. Severe longings. They love milkshakes, would kill you for a pastry, and demand greasy fast food.  Now since I can’t even digest most of these foods, the cravings are clearly not of me, but of the monster.  And the monster cannot be controlled…

This month it’s cravings were for coconut ice cream bars and In N Out Burger.  After devouring a box of 4 bars, I tricked it by making a delicious gluten-free dish that even the fiercest of menstrual monsters couldn’t deny.  Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese!

Time to take a shot of Motrin, and head to the kitchen…

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

1 large sweet onion, diced
1 1/2c. dried elbow rice pasta (or preferred gluten-free pasta)
3c shredded goat cheddar
1c coconut cream or unsweetened coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, saute your diced onion over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until onion is tender and golden.  While your onion is sauteing, cook the rice pasta in a large saucepan, according to package directions.  Drain and  return to saucepan.  Stir in the sautéed onions along with 2 cups goat cheddar, and salt and pepper.  Toss gently to combine, then spoon into 1 large casserole dish, or 6 individual ramekins. (Frankly I need help controlling portion size, so this option works best for me!)

Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees F, for 20 minutes.  Stir gently and top with the remaining cup of goat cheddar.  Bake another 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

The Week of Feeling Delicate

9 May

In show business, there’s an age-old saying that you should never work with children or animals. Well I’m here to tell you that if you can avoid traveling with children and animals, I suggest you do so. Unfortunately, my husband and I didn’t feel the baby and the dog could handle themselves appropriately alone for 3 months at the LA apartment, so we decided to take them with us to Toronto. I feel the journey back to our homeland with baby and dog has aged me prematurely – approximately 6.85 years, to be precise. I’m heavily moisturizing and considering Botox.  Our camera also broke this week so let’s say hubby, Lola and I looked a little like this…..and Norman looked a little like that…..

 

From the red eye flight from LA to TO, our corporate condo/baby deathtrap accommodations, to my daughter’s public temper tantrum at the airport where she screamed and hit me repeatedly in the face, I wondered if I would ever recover.

As Mother’s Day approached, I kept thinking, “what do I want to do for my big M Day?”  I deserve so much, and 24 hours is such a small amount of time for my husband to express his undying love, devotion and appreciation of me! Ha ha! Moms have to think about this day very carefully.  You only get one chance every 365 days to be publicly and privately thanked for all the diapers and sleepless nights.

It occurred to me as the big day approached that with a one-year-old I needed to keep it simple. Also, champagne brunch is not such a great idea when you are responsible for keeping a toddler from falling over for the rest of the day.

So I decided I wanted sunshine, baked goods and good coffee!

The sunshine was out of my power, but it did happen today, so off I went with my two loved ones to Clafouti bakery.  Every Sunday morning, Clafouti on Queen St. West makes fresh croissants. But to say that Clafouti simply makes croissants, is to say that Lance Armstrong rides a bike.  Or Jimmy Choo makes footwear.  Or that Ron Jeremy has had a few on-camera “relationships.” Calfouti transcends the artform. On the sweet side, there’s fig, pain au chocolate, and cinnamon and brown sugar. For the savory folks, spinach and feta or ham and cheese. The catch with these delightful morsels is they only make a certain amount.  So basically, if you snooze you loose. Perhaps you are thinner for not having made it in time to enjoy these li’l buttery bastards, but you are not happier! I can guarantee that! And despite popular demand, they won’t make extra! Even on Mother’s Day! I love it! So French!

Thankfully, on this sunny Mother’s Day morning, we made it in time…. barely! No more pain au chocolate, but a sweet fig, spinach and feta, and a plain croissant were consumed in a park, with coffee (from Dark Horse Espresso Bar), as I watched my daughter giggle while being pushed on the swing by my handsome husband.  In that perfect moment I thought,  “I may be starting to recover from that red eye.”

The Perfect Host

2 May

This past weekend Jenn, her husband, her daughter and dog made the temporary move back to Toronto for work.  Though I’m deeply mourning her departure, the show must go on, and thankfully she’ll be back soon enough.  For both Jenn and I, moving has resulted in house guests.  Since relocating to Los Angeles, we’ve both found a surprising influx of travelers taking us up on our offer of accommodations.  My husband and I definitely had visitors back in Toronto, but not like this!  We’re a freaking HoJo over here!!  …But way better.  More like the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  However sans pool, hot tub or spa.  But definitely including 400 thread count  bamboo cotton sheets, fresh towels, mini shampoos and an open bar.  Our accommodations also come with a deliciously low price tag and free entertainment.  (Blueberry smoothies make me wild.  I have one every morning.)

After hosting for some time, I really feel I’ve developed a system.  I know what works and what doesn’t, along with those little touches that leave a lasting impact on your guest.  I’ve also learned the difference between the chores that ‘need’ to be done, and the ones that really aren’t worth stressing over.

Fresh linens 

I know it sounds entirely obvious, but whether your guest is sleeping in a spare bedroom or on the couch, have their bed made up with freshly washed linens.  It makes them feel as though you were so excited for their arrival, you couldn’t wait to prepare the way!  Also, the smell of fresh laundry is a definite turn-on.  Clean sheets I didn’t have to wash myself? … I’m all yours!  Make sure to place a neatly folded bath and hand towel at the end of your guest’s bed.  Not only is it super cute, it saves you from that awkward call your naked guest will make while hanging out of the shower because you forgot to stock the bathroom with fresh towels before their arrival.

Flowers and Fruit

Anyone that has walked in to such hotels as the previously mentioned Beverly Wilshire Hotel, will tell you that the first thing they notice is the giant flower arrangement in the front lobby.  I’m not saying making it ten feet tall, import it from Bali, and name it Lidia. I’m saying hit up Trader Joe’s on your way home from work, spend ten bucks, and throw it in a vase.  Flowers make people smile.  They bring life, color, and the outside in.  As for fruit, who doesn’t love a bowl of oranges and green apples set up in their luxury hotel room?  I don’t even like green apples, but I always eat at least one at hotels because the color’s just so pretty.  By mixing colors and varietals, you’ll catch your guest’s eye right off the bat, and they won’t even notice you didn’t have time to clean the floors or wash those few dishes in the sink.

Bubbly

Have a bottle of champagne or sparking cider chilling in your fridge in honor of your house guests.  Friends should be celebrated!  (Also, it’ll make them feel so special that they’ll most likely take you out for dinner or get you a gift (like my sweet new anthropologie apron), which in turn will be worth way more than the couple bucks you spent on a bottle!)

Extras

Since my husband and I have traveled so much for work the last couple years, we’ve had the opportunity to stay in some amazing luxury hotels. I now have an entire box filled with mini shampoos, conditioners, mouth wash and lotions that I’ve collected.  Yup, I’m totally that person.  Throw a set of these minis on the bathroom counter or on your guests bed, and they’ll be making you breakfast!  Have the last three issues of Vanity Fair on your bedroom floor?  Stack them in order of issue on your guests bedside table.  I can promise you they’ll get more use there.  And for pete’s sake bake!  Smells good, tastes good, looks good.

Use these little tricks, and we can guarantee your house guests will leave more than happy.  (If you can get them to leave at all!)

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