Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to bring things into perspective and recharge. Breaking out of the same old routine is a must once in a while. I love hiking and listening to the ocean waves.
Do you have a uniform? My sister the fashionista, tells me that my uniform is always jeans or shorts, T-shirt and flip flops. “Its always some boring top and and some boring jeans with you, you need to wear more skirts and dresses…do something different…”
My mom had a uniform, in the 70’s, she wore kaftans at home, yes, like Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company. When she went out, she wore polyester pants and and some type of hippie-ish top like many of the other moms. Oh those bell bottoms.
Our neighbor had a uniform, in the 80’s, it was a matching mauve or hot pink leisure jacket with teal and white stripes and matching pants with elastic cuffs. Her shoes of choice were white Reeboks.
My grandfather in India had a uniform. He wore a white cotton kurtha top and matching panchi everyday, (a panchi is a South Indian sarong worn by mostly older men). His clothes and mere presence were the stuff of legend. His clothes always looked clean, crisp and regal.
I saw a guy the other day sporting a tank top and crazy print weight lifter balloon pants. Wonder if that uniform is new or actually from 1989?
All the other stay at home moms I know have a uniform too. Yoga pants or capri pants, some type of Dri-fit top and athletic shoes. I think this getup is the modern day leisure suit. Some of my friends admit to wearing the same clothes they slept in and not showering daily. I know, I expressed the same mouth open outrage when I heard also. I guess they’re saving water and leaving a smaller carbon foot print?
I like my uniform. It is comfortable, transitions from morning carpool to Trader Joe’s to volunteering at school to coming back home to create art.
I would love to wear more dresses and dressy clothes in general. However, as a free lance illustrator and stay at home mom, dressing up daily doesn’t fit my schedule. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do dress up for special occasions, parties and going out with the ladies. I am working on moving away from my comfort zone for fun and giggles. I may have to sport an off the shoulder top on my next girls night out!
A quick and easy recipe that never goes out of style.
Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts
1 Bag of shaved Brussels Sprouts (mine is a 10 oz. bag)
2 t Garlic powder (I like a lot of garlic, you can cut back of course)
1/2 t Black Pepper
Salt to taste
Olive oil spray
Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Wash and drain Brussels sprouts.
Spray olive oil spray evenly to coat a metal sheet pan.
Arrange the sprouts flat on the sheet pan.
Spray with oil spray to coat all the pieces.
Bake for 10 minutes and check them to make sure the smaller pieces aren’t burning.
With a flat spatula, turn them over and cook for another 10 minutes. Ovens vary, so if the sprouts don’t look fully cooked, leave them in for another 3-5 minutes.
Once they are out of the oven, sprinkle garlic powder, black pepper and salt. These come out really tasty. Some pieces are crispier than others.
I am not sure when it happened to me or when it happens to others. As I mark another birthday and shake my head at yet another mole or spot on my face, I realize that I am now mellow. Mellow can mean: aged, cured, developed, rounded, seasoned, cultured or smooth. To me, it means that I am much more easy going than I was in my younger days.
As a kid, there is so much pressure on perfection and learning things properly. Aaah, the exuberance of youth! I see my kids always wanting things to be perfect or to be the best at something. My 12 yr old son has to have all his electronics devices in a certain way. My 9 yr old daughter has to have her stuffed animals in a particular order when she goes to sleep. And both of them love organizing their backpacks in their own way. Heaven forbid, mom puts a water bottle in the wrong place. Their motivation makes me smile.
As teenagers, we still have all that energy, only we pretend we are too cool to care. My room was my sanctuary during my teens. My two younger sisters and parents were not allowed to loiter. All my favorite bands and actors were on my wall in the coolest arrangement of course. A mean comment from one of my friends would send me into a sad brooding spiral. “How could she?!!”
In my twenties, it was all about eloping (that’s another post), career paths, promotions and graduate degrees. No pressure or need for perfection there…right? What I remember about my twenties is that B and I worked really hard and played hard too. Everything just mattered so much more.
My kids came along in my thirties. I had to make the agonizing decision to quit working and be a stay at home mom. Being first time parents is really hard. I remember torturing my family when they came to see the kids as babies.
“Did you wash your hands?”
“Is this one of the sterilized bottles?”
“That is a choking hazard…!”
I went from that to “You can still eat that…we have acids in our tummies that kill germs.”
In my forties, I really just don’t care about all the things I used to obsess about. I tell my kids that they need to relax, that other people have it much harder and to stop complaining. By now, all my family members know each other really well. We used to push each others buttons in our younger days. Nowadays, we still push buttons but less frequently and then say something nice afterwards…
And my friends, many of them are still neurotic about things. They stress about aging, botox, kids and keeping up with the neighbors. But many of them have also mellowed just like me. It’s funny that words of wisdom from the past can help us throughout life. My karate teacher told me “stand tall and be proud”. One of my uncles told me “health is wealth”. And a teacher once told me “be thankful for what you have.” And I tell my kids “do your best, if it doesn’t work out, try again, if it still doesn’t work out, move on to something else .”
Bourbon Hot Chocolate
3 T Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate or any sweetened chocolate
6 oz Water
1 oz Bourbon
Heat water in a pan until boiling or microwave in a mug for two minutes. Add chocolate and make sure it dissolves completely. Add Bourbon. Viola!
Rum & Coconut Cooler
1 C Orgain High Protein Almond Milk or nut milk of your choice.
1 T Coconut Sugar
1 t Coconut Flakes Unsweetened
1 oz Rum
This is a cold drink. Combine all of the ingredients together, paper umbrella optional.
Rain is sprinkling lightly. I am gearing up to run. A little rain is not going to spoil my workout. I try to run at least three days a week, usually 25+ miles a week. There are two days that I bike with my workout buddy, M. Running has been a must for me since I was 14 years old. It helped me lose weight as a teenager and has become a necessity like air or water. Most people who don’t run always ask me how I run by myself and why I run so many miles. The simple answer is “I feel like a million bucks.” I have this “lightness” after my runs. I like to call it an “Unbearable Lightness of Being”. Yes, it is a runner’s high, endorphins…There is a Daniel Day Lewis movie by the same name, but that lightness is not from running!
I wish I could bottle that feeling so my friends, who always shake their heads at me, can feel it too. If they did, I bet they too would take up running or biking. This feeling lasts all day. On the days that I don’t run or bike, I don’t feel light. Unfortunately, I can’t run everyday because I have a metal plate and six screws in my left leg, (that’s another post!).
M and I have both suffered from overuse injuries this spring and summer. These injuries are fixable through physical therapy. Both of us are working through them and injuries are not a reason to stop moving. When one of us could not run or bike, we walked. Walking is a great exercise. It certainly takes longer to walk than run, but it still moves major muscle groups and burns calories. And the best part, it gets the heart rate up and results in that “unbearable lightness of being”. Now, I can’t tell you at what mileage or how long it will take for you to feel “lightness”. Each person is different and therefore, it will be a pleasant discovery for you.
According to most health experts, a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy. In my suburbia, we don’t walk very much. Most people drive to their gym and drive elsewhere. Compared to the rest of the world, Americans are very sedentary. My mom and dad were really surprised to see how many steps they got in a day. Their inexpensive Fibit clips have motivated them to get 10,000+ steps a day. My mom is now understanding how good it feels to walk. She has lost a few pounds, but isn’t feeling the “lightness” yet. It takes time and patience. I like to encourage her everyday because it will happen and she will feel it! I have included one of my easy post workout snacks below.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER SMOOTHIE
2 T Jif Peanut Butter Powder
2 T Trader Joe’s Chocolate Hemp Powder
1 T Nesquick or Cadbury’s sweetened Chocolate Powder
1.5 C So Delicious Xtra Protein Vanilla Almond Milk or your milk of choice
Based on the nutrition label on each product, I calculated about 235 calories and 16 g protein.
Combine all ingredients in an immersion blender or regular blender and enjoy!
Cooking and creating new recipes is one of my passions. Although the experts say that eating less highly processed foods and more whole foods is healthier, its not always that easy. Even with my nutrition and dietetics management background, it can be challenging. Hectic schedules don’t always allow for “made from scratch” cooking. And weekend bulk prep doesn’t always work for all recipes. I try to buy organic milk, meat and eggs whenever I can, but of course that rule is broken with fast food joints that my husband takes the kids to. I try to stick with organic fruits and vegetables, but that’s not always possible. Sometimes, the non-organic items may be fresher than the organic ones or not be available at the time.
I have managed to find a “middle of the road plan” for my family. In our house, I make plant based food for myself, kid friendly meals for my 12 and 9 yr old and meals for my husband. That may sound daunting, but our Venn diagrams do overlap with some foods! And, my husband does enjoy a lot of my vegan dishes.
My kids have become interested in making their own food these days. Cooking on the weekends has become a favorite activity with my 9 yr old who always bugs her older brother to help. She always cajoles him into joining in. Whether its Trader Joe scones or grilled cheese, they want to do it themselves. They are allowed to make things like waffles, toast, PBJ’s and eggs with minimal supervision. They have also acquired some knife handling skills with supervision of course. They are not allowed to turn on any appliance unless an adult is present. Both kids have been super picky eaters in the past, but they have opened up to salads, tomatoes and nuts from helping me cook. I am not sure how long they will be interested in cooking. But, here’s hoping they learn a few skills and acquire new tastes that will take them through life!
I have gotten many recipe requests from friends. Therefore, I am working on a recipe gallery. Most of them are plant based, easy and take about 30 minutes. I hope you will find some of these dishes helpful and delicious as I do!
Reality television started in the early 90’s just like my relationship with my husband “B”. Back then, we both liked The Real World on MTV. It was new and different, just like B and me. We also liked the same things: parties, Santana, hip-hop, mexican food and any movie with DeNiro, Pacino, Jeff Bridges and Gene Hackman. Dinner and a movie was our thing.
During our twenties, we watched Seinfeld, Frasier and Absolutely Fabulous together. We lost interest in reality tv and were busy with our careers and grad school. During our thirties, before the kids were born, we didn’t miss an episode of The Brand of Brothers or The Sopranos. This is also when we discovered Asian cinema. First it was Zatoichi, then Kurosawa and all movies with Gong Li. Then our kids came along and I can’t remember what were watching those days except Dora, Little Einsteins and Spongebob.
People change as the years go by. B and I certainly did. I went back to watching reality television about five years ago. It started with one of the Housewives shows, I can’t remember which one. Along with many ladies in my neighborhood, I now watch all the Housewives shows and a few more Bravo shows. I can also admit to watching a lot of Masterpiece Theater…especially Downton Abbey. Of course B detests the Housewives and he is right. The shows are awful and obviously scripted…but I still watch. I really can’t explain why. Maybe they are a replacement to our mom’s soap operas in the eighties.
Poor B feels lost without his movie partner. He is very frustrated that I won’t watch Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones or the latest Hong Kong detective movie. But after having kids, watching gruesome and gratuitous violence is just not fun for me. We finally did find some shows we both like: The House of Cards, Mad Men and Bill Maher. So I watch my shows and he watches his shows but he still grumbles about it. At least I am not watching the Kardashians…
As a teenager in the 80’s, I eagerly awaited my Interview magazine every month. Andy Warhol founded this oddly elongated and very stylish magazine. The advertisements were amazing…Valentino, Absolut Vodka, Calvin Klein. The pages featured everything and everyone that was cool at the time. Cristy, Naomi, Linda, Cindy…I was really taken with one particular brand called “Organically Grown”. I dragged my mom to shop for clothes with this label. My first pair of Organically Grown shorts cost $32. The was quite expensive back then. I was so happy and wore those silly shorts everywhere for a long, long time. Izod shirt, my new shorts and penny loafers were my uniform and brought me pure happiness and joy. I felt invincible in that outfit cracking my Hubba Bubba bubble gum, listening to The Clash on my Sony MegaBass Walkman.
These days, I don’t get the same thrill with buying things, clothes or anything else for that matter. Happiness is so different in my 40’s. Both my sisters and many friends like designer labels. I can’t imagine what the inventory of designer goods adds up to even in one of their closets. Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things too, but I just don’t get that feeling I used to get in my younger days. Spending $1,200 on shoes doesn’t bring me elation. I have bought many overpriced items only to realize that I don’t feel any happier with them. My mom tells me I have become “an old lady” just like her. I don’t have a desire to acquire things anymore. Maybe it is a characteristic of getting older.
These days, I like feeling good. That brings me happiness. Nowadays, long runs make me feel like I’m invincible. And not being injured is priceless. Cooking keeps me content. And illustrating lets me express myself. My kids make me feel young again. My husband makes me feel appreciated (…in his own way…that’s another post). My parents make me feel important. And my friends make me laugh and laugh at my lame jokes. Excellent coffee and a really good margarita also make me happy!
I have become a minimalist. Simple things and being content really do bring me happiness.