Friday, November 29, 2013

Leave Black Friday Alone

So thanks to social media, "movements" tend to go viral very quickly. Over the last couple weeks, "I hate Black Friday" posts were rampant in my newsfeed. In all fairness, they were more like "I hate that Black Friday starts on Thanksgiving" posts, but still, the point is the same.
I see a lot of people raging against the retailers for daring to be open on Thanksgiving when people should be with their families.  Here's my thought: So what? Retailers will be open because that's what they do: Sell things. Nobody is forcing anyone to go shopping. If someone wants to go shopping instead of eating with his family, so what? That doesn't have anything to do with you.  Maybe some people don't have families. Maybe some people don't like their families. Maybe some people don't celebrate Thanksgiving.
Maybe not everyone is going just to get "stuff" because we are a greedy culture. Maybe some people are going because money is tight and they want to be able to get gifts for their kids but stay on a budget. 
Maybe some people eat Thanksgiving food (that's what my 3 year old calls it) at 1:00, like we do, so they have the rest of the day to with as they please. Maybe they all go shopping as a family ("Here's your half of the list, I'll take mine and meet you at the Starbucks in an hour! God Speed!")
My only problem with Black Friday is that it seems to turn some people into monsters and I really think that some of these extreme cases they show on the news should be ashamed of themselves..
The point is, I often hear the argument that people go because the retailers are open. I beg to differ. The retailers are open because people go. And everyone needs to get off their "Thanksgiving is magical family time" high horse and let it go if it doesn't affect them.
/rant over

Blog Stalking The Sonia Show

So I randomly stumbled upon this blog called The Sonia Show the other day and that was the end of any sort of hope of productivity at work. I don't know this Sonia person, but her blog is absolutely amazing. I wish I knew her in real life, but not in a "Single White Female" way, I promise. She's hysterical, first of all, but she's also so inspiring. 
Her blog has been around for awhile, so like a crazy blog-stalker person, I went back pretty far (not quite the beginning, but a few years), and started reading from there.
I spend way too much time reading this blog, stifling laughter because I am at work after all. But the thing is, she's telling a great story--her story-- and I'm a sucker for a good story told well (which is something I find lacking these days with the current "50 Shades of Twilight" publishing world).  I feel like I'm watching a captivating TV show or engulfed in a novel I can't put down.  This woman is a wife and a mother (her son is super cute) and a cancer survivor and she talks about all of it.  And posts some pictures of food every once in awhile that are drool-inducing, which is always a plus in my book.
The story of her and her husband's relationship is one of the best love stories I've ever heard. I'm not kidding. I already knew they were married, so when I went back a few years to start reading more, I found myself reading each post with anticipation: "OMG, he proposed!!" "When's the wedding post?" "Oh they went to Paris!" and on and on. She was diagnosed with breast cancer a mere 9 months after they met and the way she describes how he stood by her the whole time... I'm not going to lie, I've shed a few tears.
She's really funny, she's honest, she has a confidence and wit I only wish I could have a fraction of. Occasionally she'll veer off into a political territory I don't necessarily agree with, but hey, I just figure every one has a different opinion and I move on. She has a few posts about a nosy co-worker that I dare you not to laugh out loud about. The comments section on her Charlie Sheen rant is pretty hysterical (oh, yeah, don't forget to read the comments too. Those are usually just as entertaining.).  I commented on her blog post about her late-talking son because my son was also a late-talker. She replied and I felt a little star-struck to be honest.
I promise you will not regret reading this blog, but make sure you set aside time, because like a good book, you'll want to start from the beginning of the story.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Christmas is my favorite time of the year, but a very close 2nd has to be Thanksgiving. I love the idea of getting together with family without gifts. Just yummy food and loving company.

I'm not very good at too many things (my husband hates it when I say that, but my insecurities are what they are) but I will say that I'm really good in the kitchen. I love cooking! I think that's one of the reasons I love Thanksgiving so much. My mom and I usually split the meal preparations and the family meets at my house to spend the afternoon together. 

This year was another great Thanksgiving! I hope it was good for you and your family too! 

Now, on to Christmas!!! :0)

So much food!! And this doesn't even include dessert!

My family (minus a couple)

Baby Girl's first Thanksgiving

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mommy-Daughter Bonding time with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

There was a time, just before my time, when a little cable channel known as Bravo set out to be "the first television service dedicated to film and the performing arts." It's programming line-up consisted of independent, classic and international films. It was as classy as one can be when you share a channel space with an adult-oriented network called "Escapades."
Fast forward 20+ years and the indie films are gone, to be replaced by a plethora of reality shows. (This was also when the channel was purchased by a major network, NBC. Do with that what you will.)
I never really paid much attention to Bravo, to be honest with you. I didn't fall into the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy craze. I don't watch Project Runway (which is on Lifetime now anyway) and the real estate shows with the 20-something douchey agents just bother me. And as much as I like to consider myself a "foodie" I never got into Top Chef either.
But one day, a few years ago, I was home on a Saturday afternoon when I watched something that I couldn't tear myself away from. They were showing a marathon of the first season of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the newest in the franchise at the time. I was hooked from the Kyle's first "I never said that, Camille!"  Who were these women? These wonderfully crazy, completely ridiculous, high-culture-low-scruples women? I had to know more about them. I had to know what Kyle didn't say! So I watched and watched. It is a total train wreck. It is guilty voyeurism at its finest. I quickly developed attachments to the women. I had favorites, I took sides.
The show's fourth season just started a couple weeks ago. There is something about this season that seems different from the others. My guess is it has finally settled in with these women that they are being watched for drama and they feed into it. Sometimes you can get a fresh take on everything when they introduce a new cast member, like when they introduced Yolanda Foster last season (however this is not true with Brandi Glanville, who upped the crazy ante and negated Yolanda's groundedness). This season though, even the newest cast member, Carlton Gebbia, who seems to want nothing to do with any of the high school drama Kyle likes to stir up, still manages to conjure up her own issues with the girls. I used conjure on purpose because she is a witch, but no she's actually Wiccan, but don't ask her about it directly because apparently that's rude. She wants people to get to know her, but not ask her questions about herself. But it was perfectly fine for Brandi to call her a C*** because haha, that's just Brandi!  Joyce Giraud de Ohoven, the other newbie this season, already pointed out that inconsistency in Carlton.  She's going to fit right into the madness because she seems to have hitched her wagon to Kyle's star already. She seems to say whatever the person she's talking to needs her to say. There's going to be a lot of she said/she said this season.
Last night I was watching this show while snuggling with my daughter. Granted she's only 5 months old and has no idea what is going on, but it did cause me to pause and think for a moment. Would I watch this with her when she is old enough to understand? Is this how I want her to view relationships with other women? I hope and pray that she finds a solid group of girls to be friends with growing up and I hope she always has that. I hope she chooses to surround herself by strong, kind women who support each other. It shouldn't be hard to be a woman in this world, but I think we make it that way for ourselves.
I think there's a lot that can be learned from the way these women interact with each other and how they present themselves. I suppose it would be learning by watching what not to do.
Someday I may have to explain the behaviors of some of these women and other like them to my little girl as she will witness it somewhere (even if not on this show), but for now, I'll continue to secretly hate-to-love you, RHOB and all your self-created drama and total silliness.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Driving Confession

Despite my best efforts to try and convince you otherwise--and I usually will try--don't believe me... I am not actually a very good driver. I mean, I'm not a bad driver or even an uncourteous one, I'm just not the best (ask my dad about the infamous "Flashing Red Light" incident. Actually, don't.). I have been in a couple minor accidents (only one fender bender was my fault); I have gotten two speeding tickets for going, well, very fast; and I'm the Queen of the "California Roll". I mean, do they really expect you to come to a complete stop when it's obvious there is no one else coming? I've gotten pulled over twice for this "offense" but I've never gotten a ticket for it. *knock on wood*
I'm also a bit of a nervous driver. Driving in LA with all the crazies, I personally feel this is justified, but still, it does make for some harrowing behind-the-wheel experiences.  I do make sure I'm extra careful with the kids in the car, but not everyone else seems to follow my lead. I've always told my dad that he should be able to "deputize" me so I can pull over all the crazy drivers out there when there aren't any CHPs around. You've heard of a citizen's arrest? It'd be a citizen's traffic stop. Let's figure out how this could work.
So it should come as a bit of shock that I am now driving an SUV. With two kids now in the back seat, we really just needed more room than my little Corolla could provide. My Lola (Lola the Corolla) was a good little car, pretty basic, but she treated me well over the past 10ish years. You'll notice I used the word "little" a lot. That's because she was a compact car. Now, I'm in an SUV. My new Ford Escape, Dory (it makes sense if you pronounce it "Escahpay" and have a 3-year-old that watched Finding Nemo about 100 times a day), isn't big for an SUV, but it is still bigger than my little Lola. I find myself very aware of how much space I now take up. I keep checking to make sure I'm in the right place on the road, and I navigate the parking garage at my office with painful slowness. It's a good thing I'm there so early and don't block all the people with normal driving abilites from making it to work on time.
I know it will just take some getting used to, and I'm already feeling way more comfortable than on my test drive. The bells and whistles of this new car are very nice: automatic windows and locks (Lola was without), power lift gate, Sync, the car connects to my iPhone, rear camera and sensor. It seems like the only thing it doesn't do is park and drive itself. Though, now that I've confessed my little driving secret, maybe I should have gotten one that does.

Out with the old... (Goodbye Lola!) with the new! (Hi Dory!)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Baby food making time!!

It may seem weird, but I actually love making baby food for my kids. I did it with JJ and I'm now starting with Kathryn (already? Where did that time go!?!)

It may or may not be cheaper, I've never done the math including my time (and trust me, as a busy working mama, my time is worth something to me), but I do believe it is better. I know exactly what's going into their little bellies and hopefully foster a like of what fruits and veggies are supposed to taste like (no way pre-made baby food actually tastes like the food we eat). My son is a picky eater now, but he gobbled up every bite of the puréed food I made him. So far, we are 3 for 3 with Kathryn too. I'm praying she keeps up the love, unlike my chicken-nugget-mac-n-cheese-pb-sandwich loving son! 

And the best part of all? It's soooo easy! 
I have this Beaba Baby cook, but you could just as easily use a food processor.

I also use the plastic food storage containers from Babies R Us. They were way cheaper than the Beaba brand and work wonderfully. I keep some in the fridge and some in the freezer. 

They make special labels for the jars, but they were pricey so I just bought a package of file labels and cut them up as needed. This is the same package I bought for JJ 3 years ago!

Just spend an afternoon making as much fruits and veggies as you can. Usually for me it came out to two Saturday afternoons a month and I got a lot of food!
The best part? Watching your baby enjoy your labor of love!