Sunday, January 16, 2011

Friends with Skills

So my friend Michelle is starting up her own jewelry business in Minnesota and I’m so proud of her! Being the fashionista that I self-proclaim to be, she sent me a pair of her handmade earring to test run. I don’t think I’ve worn another pair in the last month. These earrings are great to dress up or down and they are so lightweight I can barely feel them! She did an awesome job and I can’t wait to share her website with all of you when she finally decides to sell them!!

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As for the item of the day and my newest current obsession, big ups to my girl Maya for putting me up on the Tieks by Gavrieli foldable flats. (See image below from the Tieks by Gavrieli website)

Shop our BouTiek

These handmade flats are butter soft and feel like slippers (read more here), but will last WAY longer than the $10 not-so-foldable flats I used to get from Target and run into the ground after 3 months. I got a pair in black, but I honestly would take a closet full of every color they sell!! Here are some pics of my new “buddies”…

The beautiful packaging:


The pouch for folded flats (shown in the box, next to my iPod Touch for size and inside my purse… you can’t even tell it’s there!!):


The flats – folded….


…and then on my feet (sorry if they are a little ashy – its cold and my feet are bare, LOL!)


As an added “just in case” bonus, they come with this cute foldable tote to put your heels in!


Go grab a pair – I promise you won’t regret it!

Healthy Eating–Chicago’s Raw Food Network

I love McDonald’s – and I’m not just saying that because they pay my salary. The filet-o-fish, with a small fry and water is my usual choice, but sometimes I branch out and get a cheeseburger (no pickles, no onions) or Chicken Selects or the Crispy Chicken Club sandwich… or (gasp) a McRib when they are available. I have always been a fast food junkie (see pics below for evidence of my early love affair with Ronald McDonald) and realistically, deep down inside, I believe I always will be.

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That being said… my love for eating out and my distaste for working out, means I have to focus on one very important word – BALANCE. That’s right. I am one of those “eat what I want” people. But now that I’m 30 and my metabolism is about 75, when I eat out, I aim for smaller portions of fried (yummy), creamy (heavenly) and high fat foods (more fat usually tastes better)… and then I balance them with larger portions  and more frequent “meal swaps” with entrees and snacks that are of fruits and vegetables.

This year I decided to kick it up a notch and learn about Raw Food diets. No, I’m not leaving the work of meat and heat… but I was interested in learning more about food options and their benefits. So I went to Chicago’s guru of raw foods – Karyn Calabrese. Karyn owns 3 restaurants in Chicago, one of which is the city’s first raw food restaurant. You heard me. A menu full of uncooked items that will trick even the smartest of foodies. Poor Bobby took me to Karyn’s Raw Café for lunch, not believing me when I said there is no cooking – as the menu sounds like any normal boutique restaurant in the city. I ordered the “Ravioli” and he ordered the “House Salad”.


Basil Scented Ravioli

Half moon shells (turnips) filled with macadamia whipped crème dressed with an Italian olive marinara sauce $14





Karyn's Famous House Salad

Shredded Cabbage, Hearts of romaine, red onion, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus sunflower sprouts, candied walnuts, and teardrop tomatoes caesar dressing on the side $12


The flavors were interesting. In some ways its all tasted like “salad”, just varying types of salad.  Overall it was good (though quite pricey) and we could “feel the benefits” as our stomachs digested all the healthy veggies shortly after.

We went on a Saturday afternoon and the atmosphere was nice and calm and the presentation was very pretty. We stayed after our lunch for a 2.5 hour presentation by Karyn herself on her lifestyle as a Raw Foodist/Vegan/Entrepreneur. It was interesting to say the least. We were able to try a few food items, and I’d just say, I’m not converted and only liked 3 of the 6 items. While those three items were really good, when we left, I was starving and begging for a carb. Bobby wouldn’t satisfy my requests to stop and grab a Big Mac, he felt it was too soon after we had educated ourselves, so we went by his spot and made some of the healthiest tacos you’ve ever seen. I’m definitely interested in checking this place out again, but it seems like I might have to save up, cause that lifestyle is NOT CHEAP!

My item of the day, since we’re talking about food, is the Cuisinart Pressure Cooker. I can hear you know… “What the heck is that???” (Ok, if you’re not saying it I am). I have no idea what this thing does but it looks AWESOME. The geek in me wants this on my kitchen counter now. I have never cooked most of the things it claims to be perfect for (gnocchi, pot roast, short ribs) but I bet if I had one I’d be a roast queen in no time!

cuisineart pressure cooker

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year’s Eve–Family Style

My New Year’s Eve celebration have ranged from wild hotel parties to late night church services to being boo’ed up on the couch with a movie. But in my (not so) many years as an adult, I’ve never had a New Year’s Eve celebration that involved little kids. Enter 2010.

I decided to use the plethora of flight vouchers I had earned during the year and spend the holidays with my family. For Christmas, I headed east to Detroit and for the New Year I headed west to Minneapolis where my sistercousin Gabbi, her husband and their two WONDERFUL kids (ages 2 and 5) were finishing their holiday vacation with lots of fun and tons of love. It was definitely different, but it really reminded me not only how wonderful my family is, but also how much fun kids can really be.

The 2 year old is truly a SUPER model. This chick has “diva” written ALL OVER HER. I don’t have a clue where it comes from, but she loves to walk in heels, carry big purses, sing/perform and go outside. In Minnesota. In January. And I think its just because she likes to dress up in her cute winter coat and hat. She also likes to take pictures. Of herself. I don’t even know how she figured it out but there were about 25 self-taken photos of her face in my Blackberry by the time I left. The last pic is a drama queen moment… which she is known for. Its actually quite entertaining. She’s like a little Mariah Carey in the making. Oh,and she made me a Fresh Beat Band fan too. LOL


I did a little shopping and found her this cute Calvin Klein Jeans girls' outfit on clearance at Macy’s (much cheaper than shown here). It was adorable on her!

ck girls vest set

The 5 year old is a kid GENIUS and sports analyst/fanatic. I’ve never seen a kid WANT to watch so much ESPN – all day long if he could! He absolutely loves all sports and can tell you the score/time/coach/top players/bracket for pretty much every game coming on – both college and pro (see pic below where he is cheering on Wisconsin). He was a champ and made it all the way to midnight, although he did get a nap in… but we won’t count it against him. I like to cuddle with him and I always stock up on hugs and kisses since I don’t get to see him as often as I did when I lived in Minnesota and was his “nanny”. I love the 3rd pic where you can see our freckles :-)


It was such a fun, peaceful, relaxing weekend, I didn’t want to leave... and I’m already looking forward to going back! I miss them a lot *sad face*


Oh,and you might notice that I CUT MY HAIR! I went with bangs, which I hadn’t had since I was about…. oh, 10 or 12, maybe? When I cut them in Sharon’s bathroom with her safety scissors and got yelled at by my parents and made up some lie about my hair falling out. LOL…. oh to be young again! So my item of the day, almost exactly 3 years after the last time I posted this item of the day – A HAIRCUT!!! And once again, the beautiful work was done by none other than Mr Brian Graham himself. Check him out at Brian Graham Salon or check out their Facebook page… if you’re going to be in Minnesota, save up some money, pay him a visit and post a pic for us to see!


Watching the little cousins dance…