Paper Is Still In

January 27, 2012

Moleskine at Work

This year marked an important milestone for me: I finally gave up my paper organizer, which I LOVED, and went all digital with my iphone calendar. Scary! For the most part it has been fine, but I must admit I miss being able to write things in with little notes to myself, refer back to see when my last haircut was…it just seemed somehow easier. But I am still adjusting.

I realized that there was a second part to my datebook which went beyond the calendar — it really was the organization of my life! I kept business cards from places I frequented in there (everything from my doctor to my eyebrow waxer), prescriptions I needed to fill, fortune cookie fortunes…you know, everything that kind of makes your life tick. So while I’ve become adept at making my shopping list on the “notes” section of the iphone, I still needed something to carry along day to day.

Moleskine! It has rekindled my love of little leather Moleskine notebooks. Do I like that Picasso, Hemingway and van Gogh used to use them? Sure! But for me it’s more about the size and durability. They’re perfect to throw in a purse, and come in thinner sizes so it’s not too much to cart around every day. You can write notes, tape in biz cards or photos. The leather cover holds up, the plastic band keeps your place, and I’m partial to lined paper — it’s all very functional. It used to only come in black but now they’ve got colors too. I go for the pocket size and it runs about $12, lasts all year.

Because while we may be in the Digital Age, paper still feels mighty good!

Single of the Week

It has been a while but our old pal Ken is back with his music recommendations:

Science can explain a lot of things – the boiling point of water, black hole thermodynamics, the advantages of a waffle pattern on sleepwear and why Tom Wopat would make a poor attorney. But it can’t explain what happens when you stop everything, turn down the lights and play this song. It may change your day.

Etc.

My son lost another tooth this week and he is coming to terms with the fact that the Tooth Fairy is…me! He’s like, “I know it’s you mom.” I ask why, to try to throw him off. “Because you have money and have the same handwriting as the tooth fairy!” I guess the jig is up, but I will press on.

I saw Nick Jonas in the lobby at work this morning, with his big old entourage. Why are famous people all so shiny and short? It’s so funny.

Hope you’re all having a great week…the blessed weekend is almost here!

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Warm and Snuggly

January 21, 2012

Flip-Side Quilt

Garnet Hill's Dream Quilt

I was just looking at a skin product online whose main active ingredient was Dragon’s Blood Complex…which really just proves that women will try anything if it promises to make them look younger. (P.S. I did not buy it!)

Well, the first real winter storm hit us in NYC. The kids were excited to wake up to snow covered rooftops. It was nice but COLD. The wind really whips up and goes through whatever layers you happen to be wearing. But I have to say that two pairs of socks really do keep your feet much warmer, no matter what kind of boot you have on.

And at night, another blanket certainly does the trick. Instead of a blanket or a duvet, I am liking the look of quilts lately. Not the older looking, woodsy/crafty ones (which some may find perfectly nice, just not my style) but some of the more modern ones, or even whimsical ones for kids. They add a layer of warmth without too much bulk. I really like Garnet Hill’s Dream Quilt, which has a more sophisticated look with its muted colors. Their Flip Quilt offers a different color on each side, so when your teen goes through their inevitable mood swings, they can flip their bed cover to warn you in the morning.

Garnet Hill is a great resource for bedding overall — I find their sheets to be good quality and the designs are modern and fresh. Their pajamas also hold up well. It can be a little pricey, but they do have sales. I find department stores have the same old, same old when it comes to bedding, but Garnet Hill still feels unique. (Garnethill.com)

No Reservations?

It’s almost upon us: Restaurant Week in NYC. They’ve extended it to a few weeks, January 16th to February 10th.With 3 courses priced at $24.07 for lunch and $35 for dinner, it’s a great way to try an expensive place. I made a reservation for dinner at Mesa Grill — it’s always a crowd pleaser and it’s nearby. But there are so many good ones. All of the participating restaurants do lunch but not all of them do dinner, so check before you make your reservation. You can see who’s in on the fun here. If you have an American Express card, they’re running a promotion if you eat at 3 participating restaurants, you get $20 back, making it all an even better deal. Enjoy!

Etc.

My kids went to the Cornell/Columbia basketball game tonight with my husband and it is so nice to be able to rest. I have a cold which I would really like to go away so it’s nice to be home in our warm apartment after being out in the snow/freezing rain all day. Although nights like this are great to go out to dinner — people from the suburbs get freaked by the snow and you can get a table just about anywhere. We used to always head to Nobu on snowy nights.

Hope you’re all keeping warm!

Can You Hear Me Now?

January 12, 2012

For the second time in the last year or so my Sony headphones bit the dust. I have never liked the ear buds that come with the iPod — maybe I have deformed ears. but they don’t stay in and it becomes particularly pronounced when I am on the treadmill. (Pre-busted knee, but that’s another story…) When you’re hitting your stride and the headphones pop out, that’s pretty darn annoying. So I have been partial to these Sony headphones that go across your head and stick in your ear. They are somewhat more stable. I had one pair for many years and then I stupidly jerked them while they were plugged in to the elliptical and it cut the cord. So I bought another pair, and in less than a year, they just snapped. I’m telling you they were much more cheaply made.

So I headed to Best Buy and I am happy to report that my choice seems to be a good one: Skullcandy Ink’d Ear Buds. They’re comfortable, they seem to stay in my ears and at $14.99, they’re easy on the wallet. There’s a slew of colors to choose from — I went with the red and black. Truth be told, I don’t love the skull on them, but I’ll sacrifice that for comfort and performance. (Although I should say my kids thought they were VERY cool.) Basically my motto is the less plastic the better, and after getting burned by my Sony headphones, I was definitely ready for something more streamlined.

By the way I know everyone is into those Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, but they are much more expensive and don’t seem to be conducive to sweating, so I am not suggesting the ear buds as an alternative to those or any headphones that are all about sound, just as a great option for the gym.

Off the Grid

We went to an interesting exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, about how the city originally looked (think: lots of rocks and hills) and how they eventually set up the grid system of streets. It was pretty fascinating, all of the farm land which now is Chelsea! My kids were interested in seeing how places they hang out, like Union Square and Madison Square Park, looked way back when. It’s pretty fascinating to see when the Upper East Side was essentially a house on a hill. The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan 1811-2011 runs through April 15th. So go before you do your taxes!

Excuses, Excuses

I have been sick of my limitations at the gym since my injury, so on Thursday I was trying to psych myself up to go swimming the next morning. But my head was using every excuse in the book: “it takes too much time,” “it’s going to be crowded,” “I don’t know how the lanes work,” and on and on. But on Friday I pushed all negative thoughts away and went swimming, telling myself I’d do just 25 laps. And I am happy to report that it was good! Yes, it probably adds about 10 extra minutes onto my workout time with the changing before and after. And I have to remember to bring a plastic bag for all of my wet stuff. But the swimming was a good total body workout. I wasn’t sure which lane to head to but I quickly figured out “Medium” was for me. I ended up swimming 42 laps, and have decided to swim once a week, injury or not. It’s a nice change up to my routine. So my advice to all of you out there who are thinking of trying something new for the new year: you can do it! Just try it once, keep your expectations realistic and chances are you will like it. Really, what have you got to lose? Plus I think just the pure act of trying something new makes all of us feel great.

Etc.

I made brownies from scratch on Sunday — melted the chocolate and everything — and my family told me the Ghirardelli ones from a box are better. File that one under why bother. Guess I won’t be posting that recipe.

I have to give a shout out to all of you who reached out about my knee and plantar fasciitis! Special thanks to Beth from Boston and Carol from Philly, who both were incredibly helpful in offering up their professional opinions and tips for pain relief — a frozen small water bottle is good for rolling under your foot! I went to the doctor and am currently high doing Aleve for 10 days — after that we’ll evaluate next steps. The Aleve does help with the swelling, I’m happy to report.

Hope your week is going well!

Happy New Year!! I hope all of you got what you wanted for the holidays, whatever that might be. My gift that keeps on giving is that my plantar fasciitis returned in my right foot…ouch! This is the lasting trauma from my 2 pregnancies (besides my two kids, but that’s another story!! ha ha)…But foot pain aside, let’s start the year off with a recipe, shall we?

My kids love mac and cheese — and let’s face it, I do too — but the one from a box can get tired. I like this recipe which I found on Epicurious (a great app for your iPad, fyi) because it tastes rich and delicious, but the copious amount of carrots gives it a hearty splash of vitamin A. Serve it on its own or as a side dish with some chicken. My kids loved it, my nephew loved it, and my husband and I loved it too…Bake it til it gets crispy on top — that’s what I’m talkin’ about:

Carroty Mac and Cheese

  • 2 cups whole wheat macaroni (I had trouble finding whole wheat — so I just used regular)
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrot (about 8 small)
  • 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (I used skim and it tasted fine)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Arrange a rack in the top third of the oven.

2. Cook macaroni according to package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water; add carrot 3 minutes before pasta is finished cooking; drain well.

3. While pasta is hot, stir in all but 1/2 cup of the cheddar and the butter. In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, salt, mustard powder, and pepper. Fold mixture into the pasta.

4. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and the parmesan over the top. Bake until the casserole is firm to the touch and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Man Candy

File this one under sheer beefcake, but I figure for the guys it will give you some inspiration for getting your 2012 off to a fit start, and for the ladies, well, thank me later…

Click here for David Beckham’s new ad campaign…

Etc.

Well the east coast plummeted about 40 degrees in one day — global warming, anyone? But it was good while it lasted. My knee and now foot injury has definitely got me bummed out that I haven’t been able to work out as much as I am used to, but I am going to make a concerted effort to get back to full form. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Also, I have to give a shout out as it is our SECOND ANNIVERSARY!! Yay Family Favs! For 2012, there will be at least one brand spankin’ new post a week…and more when the inspiration hits me. The best thing may be to subscribe if you haven’t already, and that way a new post will be delivered straight to your in-box…no need to keep checking back.

Thanks for your support!