My husband LOVES barbecue, but I am the one that loves TO barbecue. I cook it, he eats it. And recently my BBQ died. It just won’t work anymore. This thing has more miles on it than an ox during the pioneer days. Seriously, I ran this thing into the ground. Even when one of the burners collapsed on itself because the metal was so corroded, I STILL turned that baby on a grilled with huge flames licking at my meat. Well, that’s all over now and its time to say goodbye and get a new one. I have been eyeballing the sample grills at Ace Hardware for awhile now. Oh how clean and sleek they looked compared to my old Jalopy! The thought of a brand new grill is making me so excited its like Christmas has come early. What should I get? What is the best? I spend a lot of time with my grill so I need a good companion that will be around for awhile. I haven’t made a final decision yet so any advice is welcome. Tell me your thoughts grill-lovers!
So, as many of you know…I quit diet coke. After an “on again off again” relationship for over a decade I decided to quit. What was the final straw? Well, to be honest it came from a bartender. Go figure. I was photographing a wedding at the Montecito Country Club and asked for a glass of water. My assistant was chewing gum and the bartender noticed it and started on a rant about the aspartame that was in her gum. (To be honest I was relieved I ask for water since I usually ask for diet coke. Phew!) Evidently there is only one brand of gum that uses real sugar nowadays and the rest are sugar free and full of artificial sweeteners. He went on to say that aspartame is a mixture of ecoli and toxic waste that causes diabetes, makes you fat and myriad of other problems. This guy was pretty weird and I found it ironic that he was so passionate about this subject as he freely supplied all the wedding goers with liver killing booze. Anyway, after his long and bizarre rant it got me thinking. Is a 2 liter bottle diet coke a day (yes that’s what I was drinking) really worth it? What if everything he said turned out to be true. One of my friends was recommended by her doctor to drink diet soda during pregnancy because she had gestational diabetes and couldn’t eat real sugar. I didn’t drink diet soda AT ALL during pregnancy because my brother had heard on good authority in one of his UCLA science classes that it could cause birth defects. Yet doctors out there are prescribing it to pregnant women and I would assume they’ve heard the theories. Or have they? Well, let’s just say for arguments case that diet coke is totally fine and therefore my diet coke drinking Grandpa’s lived into their 90′s with no problems. The hard truth is that drinking diet coke did absolutely make me crave sweets and cause me to eat more. It did. And even though I’ve been counting calories for over a year now and have been losing weight slowly but surely, I don’t think drinking diet coke was making the process any faster. Actually, it wasn’t. I’ve been off the stuff for two weeks and am definitely losing weight more quickly than I was. My husband keeps exclaiming, “You look so skinny!” all the time. It feels good. And he deserves some of the credit as he shared the brunt of it by enduring my clawing at the ceiling moments. I’m sure he wanted to hook me up to a diet coke IV there a few times when I was especially “delightful” to deal with. So the end of the story is that diet coke MAY cause health problems but it most certainly DOES make it hard to lose weight. Done.
In conclusion, I still miss the idea of diet coke. I miss a refreshing bubbly drink that is calorie free and “guilt free” too. I miss a little caffeine boost when I need it and just a little reward for any reason I come up with. But my pants feeling loose and my face is emerging from the fat which is nice too. I think of the line, ”There you are Peter!” from the movie “Hook” every time I see myself in the mirror. Like I mentioned in my previous post I’ll still drink soda, just not diet. The other night I really needed to relax and got a mexican coke and a candy bar from the corner store to take the edge off . I said to my husband, “Is it a good thing or a bad thing that this is as wild as I get?” Seriously boring. But sometimes its good to not make life TOO exciting either if you know what I mean.
Can I just say that I’m completely annoyed with all the things that apparently kill you in the world!? Diet coke is the one that I’m attempting to distance myself from, but seriously, does ANYTHING not kill you eventually? I mean if you’re a vegetarian you’re gonna die from protein deficiency and diabetes from eating too many carbs. If you eat meat your gonna die from a heart attack. If you go in the sun you’ll get skin cancer but if you don’t then you’ll have a vitamin D deficiency. Your body needs sugar! Actually you’ll die from sugar! Are you eating too much salt? Oh no, wait! If you don’t have salt in your diet you’ll DIE. Some doctors recommend drinking diet soda to eliminate all the sugar that is causing obesity. Oh wait, no. Don’t drink diet soda because its made from e-coli mixed with toxic waste that some mustache twisting corporate jerk off decided to market as a joke. You will get diabetes drinking diet coke anyway and will grow a second head. Food combine! No, that doesn’t work just count your calories. Oh no no no, don’t you know you have to find out your blood type in order to lose weight? Don’t watch TV or you’ll get ADD. Wait, TV has so much information that if you’re out of the loop you’ll be like one of those weird home-school kids from the backwoods of Arkansas. Video games will make you a crazy lunatic that will inevitably make you go gun down your coworkers at the local post office. But wait, actually its been proven that video games are much like crossword puzzles and keep your brain sharp.
Okay, end rant. I’m just mad that I’m quitting diet coke (again) because its like my best frenemy. Nothing in the world is free, but I definitely felt like diet coke was my one free thing. The one little indulgence that I wouldn’t have to pay for later at my waistline. But aparently that is incorrect and not only will I die of diabetes, cancer and a myriad of other complications but more importantly it is actually making me fat. Yes fat. I have worked freaking hard to get back within 5 pounds of my pre pregnancy weight and am bound and determined to not stop. AND I want to work off the wedding pounds that I gained over the years and didn’t bother to lose before the baby. So, I won’t be happy until all the fat is shed and if that means no diet coke then so be it.
Now, this might sound really hypocritical but I’m only giving up diet soda NOT regular soda. Whaaaaat? Here’s the thing. If I drink regular soda I drink dramatically less than when I drink diet. Like 5x’s less. So this is my weening period and drinking a little regular coke during the day is taking the edge off. I’m also drinking sparkling water to give myself some kind of substitute. It helps but is so not as good.
Okay, I sound like the whiniest person on the face of the planet and I’m sure I am. But this is just how I feel right now. I thought maybe I would drink diet coke secretly (like those closet smokers) but realized that no one cares that I drink it so big whoop. And I’m the only one I’m hurting. So hopefully I can focus on looking hot and fabulous and making that the priority when I get a mid afternoon headache and a craving for a little caffeine boost. Those commerical with Taylor Swift drinking diet coke are so hard to resist though! I mean she is so cute and I feel like, “Oh, Taylor Swift is drinking diet coke and she hasn’t grown a second head from it, so I should be fine!” Taylor, you are beautiful and I’m not mad at you. You probably got paid an obscene amount of money to endorse diet coke. Beyonce on the other hand did a pepsi/diet pepsi commercial that in no way makes me want to drink it. Sorry Beyonce. Taylor won. (And Coke is waaaay better anyway…)
Alright so my last question: Is there a community support group for diet coke drinkers? It should be called DCA (Diet Coke Anonymous). If there isn’t then I’ll host it at my place. Who wants to come?
I love my baby girl. Whenever she does something new or cute Michael and I just look at each other and without saying a word we communicate how crazy special our little girl is. When she wakes up in the morning and I go get her out of her crib she always exclaims, “Bobba! Bobba Yeah Yeah!?” and I go to make her her bottle and we snuggle while she downs it. Then she squirms out of my arms and enthusiastically goes about her day exploring the world. She has a walk of confidence as if her duty to mess up our shoes or play on her cat laptop are of the utmost important. Then she’ll come back to me and say, “Bobba?Bobba?” which this time means food. I’ll make us our morning Kashi waffle and she take a bite and then runs off to tend to her toys. And then before she even gets there she’ll run back for another bite. Back and forth, back and forth. We will hear her in the other room sometimes as she’s flipping through her books and talking to herself in a language only she understands. When she starts talking gibberish I go ahead and have a conversation with her anyway: Gigi: Way-do way-do di di da da di! haha! Me: Oh that sounds interesting Gigi: Yeah. haha! odey odey odey haha! She looks like this little impish fairly flitting about the house. She has the most contagious laugh that makes it impossible to not laugh right along with her. Passerbyers on the street can’t help but return her outgoing smiles. She follows people around at the park and sometimes I have to apologize because she likes to stare. Here favorite game at the sunken gardens of the courthouse are to walk up and down all the stairs with my help. I like it too because it wears her out so much she usually doesn’t squirm in her stroller after that. We like to go on long walks down state street and see what we see. Sometimes its just to the courthouse and Anthropologie and back. Sometimes its all the way to the Paseo Nuevo mall or even to the pier at the beach. It depends on the day and how much time we have. But regardless of the amount of time its always the BEST time. When Georgiana gets tired at night she becomes slap happy. She screams with delight at the smallest of encouragement and will laugh uncontrollably. She has learned (from her silly Mommy) to eat cheerios off the coffee table without using her hands. I was doing it to make her laugh and it stuck. Now at the park she’ll eat cheerios right out of my hand too so I’m not really sure what the other parents make of it. She knows how a lions goes “raaaar” and a sheep “bah’ and a dog “O O!” When she doesn’t want something she goes emphatically, “Na na na na na!” When I ask her if she loves her Mommy she usually goes, “Yeah!” but sometimes she goes, “Na na.” Ha! She has good size crop of blonde hair that looks like the top of a corn husk. So we can her corn husk or just husk sometimes. At my Mom’s house the toilets flush really loud. Anytime Georgiana hears one she goes, “Wow!” Georgiana already loves jewelry. We started small with me putting my hair ties on her wrist like a bracelet but then I got her some plastic jewelry and she puts it on herself all the time. I always exclaim with a greek accent from like the mom from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “Your so beautiful!” Every night when I say my prayers the first thing I thank God for is her because she is this absolute gift that has flown into my life to stay forever and I couldn’t be more grateful. Its like when you’re a kid and you get a present on Christmas that you’ve been wanting so badly. But this gift never gets old or worn out. It never becomes boring. Its this fresh new gift every day that is fun and exciting and precious. I love my little girl.
What is your go to snack when you’re hungry but don’t feel like making anything fancy? Mine is toast. Growing up with 4 siblings and two working parents meant that we often had to make sure we could fend for ourselves. When we whined and complained that we were hungry and there was, “nothing to eat” my Mom would always say, “Make some toast!” And boy did we ever. My little sister Leah when she was not quite the height of the counter would go around saying, “Will somebody make me some toast!? Will somebody PLEASE make me some toast!?” It was an emotion filled plea that would make anyone think she hadn’t eaten in days. My brother Daniel at a young age cleverly realized that if he opened a few drawers it would create a mini staircase for him to climb up and he could take care of his own toasting. I find lately that I’ve started eating toast much like my Mom did. She would take a bite and curl back her lips a little to avoid getting whatever butter or jam that was spread on the toast from getting on her face. It use to annoy me to no end but now I find myself doing the same thing. I guess when you graduate to adulthood you’re not okay with wiping your face on your sleeve. Apparently, my Mom grew up with toast as her go to snack as well. My Grandma was a little sickly in my Mom’s high school years and so lots of homemade food wasn’t necessarily on hand. She learned, as we did too, that a warm, crunchy piece of toasted bread slathers in melted butter and perhaps some delicious preserves brings a quick feeling of happiness to the mind and stomach. One hot day in the summer when I was 8 or 9 I was at my friend Kami’s house and we had gotten some bread and were eating it outside. It was so hot that the sun started toasting our bread. Kami keep getting mad that the bread wasn’t as fluffy as it was when we first brought it outside. I realized at this moment that she didn’t like toast. What!? How could she not like toast? Toast was a go to food whenever hunger was rearing its ugly head around the corner and yet here she was shunning this food as if it was now garbage. However, her family ate plenty of tuna fish sandwiches which I thought was utterly disgusting and would never partake in. It went to show that toast was ingrained in me and is as much a part of my makeup as my habit of putting vaseline on my lips every night (which is another story entirely). There are just certain things we grow up with that never leave us. Toast, thank you for always being there for me. I still greet you every morning and many afternoons with a smile and will for years to come. The countless times you’ve staved off hunger means the world to me. Now that I have a child of my own she can carry the metaphorical torch so as to keep the tradition alive. And for those who haven’t fully experienced a good piece of toast, what are you waiting for? Jump in. The water is fine.
So I take this dance fitness class Monday-Wednesday. Its a class that incorporates dance moves that gets your heart rate up and burns calories. I use to dance a lot when I was younger (jazz, ballet, tap and ballroom etc) and have been looking for an adult class where I not only get a work out but have some fun while I’m at it. The only problem is that dance studios really cater to the little ones ages 2-18. Many offer the odd adult class which is usually poorly attended and not that serious and usually doesn’t get up a sweat. Gym’s offer classes but they aren’t serious or technical enough for me. I get bored easily. Finally after searching high and low I found this dance class that is at 9 am which is just when Gigi goes down for her nap and Michael is home to watch her. The class is great. The teacher has taken a lot of interest in me and I felt like I am getting some nice attention. The only problem is that I’m the youngest one in the class. By a lot. The average age is probably 50-60. There’s lots of talk of, “growing old isn’t for sissy’s” and all the ladies wear makeup while working out….On the flip side they are all so nice! They are always coming up to me and exclaiming on how quickly I’m picking up the moves and are super friendly. I’m happy with the class but in a way its like seeing into my future. And that sort of depresses me. Will this be me in 20 years still doing the Cha Cha with these ladies who will be 70 by then? I feel like I’m in the wrong place and intruding on my future. Its like my soul is saying, “Wait! Don’t jump the gun. Your not ready for this yet!” And just for the record I don’t think that 50 is particularly old – its just that its like working out with my Mom’s friends. Definitely a generation gap (or two). I love dancing so much and hope that one day I’ll find the exact right fit for me. Until then, I guess I’ll be sweatin’ to the oldies…
My husband has two sets of slippers. One for the inside of the house and one for the outside. This, in my opinion, is a very telling detail about the person I’m married to. Having two sets of slippers for two seemingly separate purposes makes perfect sense to him. However, I’d wager that there are many husbands in which this attention to detail would never occur. Michael sees things on a microscopic level while I see things on the “big picture” level. Michael likes to organize his things while I like to organize my time. Michael would rather run late to an event with a perfectly tied tie and I’d rather be on time and quickly put make up on in the car. Michael tends to spend hours editing one photograph while I take the same amount of time editing thousands of photographs. Granted, his one photograph looks infinitely better than my thousand but since we deliver thousands of images to our clients we sorta need to get it done. Michael takes 3 times as long in the shower than anyone I have ever met. One time I showed him my shower routine so he could believe that I actually get clean in the limited time I spend in there. He was surprised. When we got married, Michael not only read all the instruction manuals to our new kitchen appliances but gave me a tutorial on how to use them effectively. Michael owns socks that notate which side of the foot you should put them on with a “L” and “R” symbol. My socks are threadbare and have holes in them. Is one of us more correct in our choices than the other? No. We complement each other. We also drive each other crazy half the time too. Michael can’t seem to figure out why I leave stuff around the house when I’m trying to watch the baby, cook, take a client phone call and edit a wedding. I can’t understand why he takes so long to get anything done as he’s fastidiously windexing our glass desk before starting in on projects. But because we have each other we actually have it all. We have a neat and tidy house (most of the time) and an operating business (most of the time). We make up for each others failures and add value to each others lives. Basically, my life would suck without him. That doesn’t mean he’s perfect and nor am I. But we got married not only because we loved each other but because we were excited about what the other had to offer. And guess what? Despite Michael’s sometimes OCD tendencies (smile) I’m still excited. Love you darling….
Every year we have a little Oscar party with our family friends the Wrights. Brigitte & James and have three boys, one of which has flown the coop and is in college now. So this year it was just their twin boys Jace & Eli, us and our little Georgiana. We decided to do an Indian themed menu based off of the movie “Life of Pi.” It turned out great! Since I have recently been doing a “Skinny Jeans Challenge” at the gym (basically a boot camp), my meals of late have been a little more restricted. But fortunately every week I get a “free day” where I can be the pig that I am. j/k! Anyway, we had SO much food and the entertainment and company was amazing too. Here is what we had:
Samosas with Chutney
Salt & Pepper Potato Chips with Caramelized Onion Dip
Coconut Chicken Curry with Potatoes
Tandoori Beef Skewers
Naan with Raita
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Chocolate Rollo Cookies
Chocolate Oscars Awards
The only really important thing from the night is that Daniel Day Lewis won for his unbelievable roll in “Lincoln.” And of course that “Life of Pi” took a bunch of awards including best direction, production design, visual effects and original score. (A-MAZING movie!) So now let’s get down to the nitty gritty….
Jennifer Lawrence looked amazing in her Dior gown and it doesn’t even matter that she tripped on the way up to receive her Oscar because we got to view the back for that much longer. I think I’m partial to this dress because it looks like a wedding gown and if I had my way I’d just wear a wedding dress daily…
Charlize Theron is so freaking beautiful. My only thing is why do the pixie cut? She looks amazing in it but she is such a glamorous woman that keeping her hair that short just takes it down a notch. I heard that she had to cut it for a role but then decided to keep it short rather than growing it out. Oh well, whatever. Your gorgeous no matter what you do…
Anne you’re beautiful. What’s with the pointy boobs? I love your jewels though. Incredible job in “Les Miserables” and congrats on your Oscar.
Amy Adams gray ruffly dress I looove. A couture looking wedding-esque gown is home run in my book. Of course I HATED “The Master” so I’m secretly happy she didn’t win but also secretly sad she hasn’t won anything after 4 nominations. Oh well. Amy, you’re young and it will happen sooner or later. Keep up the good work (in acting and fashion that is….)
And finally onto the men. They all wore black tuxes except Samuel Jackson who had on a red eye sore from the front row. And that about sums it up…
I thought the Oscar’s host (whats his name? did a great job overall but did have a few doosies. The boob song WAS hilarious though… And of course Michelle Obama… What a surprise… Not sure what her career in politics has to do with being asked (did she ask or tell?) to read the Best Picture winner. Oh wait, she’s in politics I forgot. But Michelle does do a great job of being the face of the president. I use to go to lots of industry mixers without my husband back in the day too so I know how it is. And of course I had to cry while the “Les Miserable” cast sang their compilation number. I grew up listening to the soundtrack of “Les Miserable” on every major family car trip so its really sentimental for me and I’m also a musical theatre nerd….
Overall, we had a fabulous night with great entertainment, company and of course food. Is Oscar night better than Christmas??
My darling precious baby girl turned one and we of course had to throw a big party. I, being a victim of pinterest, decided that the only thing to do was to totally kill myself and do all homemade food AND a three tiered fancy cake (see menu below). It wasn’t such a great idea on my part but it all turned out great. A special thanks to my Mom for helping me haul everything to the party location and to my friend Gina who generously hosted it at her house. Georgiana really enjoyed her party (although she was of course oblivious that it was HER party). When the kids arrived they promptly dressed Georgiana in a hawaiian lei and a crown which was pretty hilarious. I mostly ran around doing everything from BBQing outside in the rain to making sure all the girls got a tutu favor that my friend Jen spent 4 hours tying together. It was a whirlwind and now I have to decide whether next year I’ll make all the food OR do the homemade fancy cake. (I just can’t do both…) I’d love you to cast a vote… (maybe one option will be doing no party except for a family get together in which case my Mom will do all the work. Yep, that sounds good!) Happy Birthday Georgiana! I can’t believe you are already one year old….
Crudite Platter with Dip
Salt & Pepper Potato Chips
Green Salad with Mandarin Oranges, Red Peppers and Pistachios
3 Tiered Homemade Yellow Cake with Homemade Buttercream Frosting
Vanilla Ice Cream
Kissing my Husband
Hearing my baby laugh when I tickle her
Taking long walks in downtown Santa Barbara
Marzipan Pie from Andersen’s Bakery
Having my back scratched
Reading before bed
Long hot baths