Thursday, November 19, 2009

A cornucopia of make-ahead recipes

Here's one of the best pre-Thanksgiving stories I've seen from the NYTimes. 101 - count 'em - 101 ways to make your Turkey Day prep go a lot more smoothly.  Bookmark the page to make these delicious dishes all year 'round!

Get rid of "turkeys" in your closet


   It’s almost Thanksgiving and some fashion experts say it’s the perfect time to get rid of those “turkeys” in your closet.
   The top five “turkeys of fashion” on the list are: The Wooly Mammoth vests in lamb fur, alpaca or mohair, Pocohontas headbands or gypsy headgear, Snuggies (see pic above), ornate ballet flats with over-the-top embellishments and liquid black patent-leather, rubber or spandex tights.
  Hey, they won’t get any argument from me (but those Snuggies do hide a plethora of figure flaws!)
  Read more of the list, compliments of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"You want me to what?"


You can lead a dog to water, but you can't make her tink(le).  That's what I've learned since Lucy, the Cocker Spaniel puppy, came into our lives.  Now that it's 30 FREAKING  DEGREES outside, I'm desperate to learn how to make her do her business on command.  (She takes for-EV-er and I know she has to go.)  Any ideas, dog lovers?

My mother, myself? Yes, when it comes to aging.

   There’s a saying for husbands-to-be: “If you want to know what your wife will look like when she’s older, look at her mother.” Now, a recent study has found some truth in the old adage.

Best places to live...if you could sell your house


   I recently ran across a Web site touting the top 20 places for boomers to "thrive." The list looks good, but one has to wonder if anybody's doing much relocating these days.
   The "2009 Best Places to Thrive," according to Best Boomer Towns, are:
   Aiken, South Carolina
   Asheville, North Carolina
   Ashland, Oregon
   Athens, Georgia
   Bend, Oregon
   Camarillo, California
   Chapel Hill, North Carolina
   Charlottesville, Virginia
   Columbia, Missouri
   Danville, Kentucky
   Fort Collins, Colorado
   Las Cruces, New Mexico
   Maryville, Tennessee
   Paso Robles, California
   Pinehurst, North Carolina
   Prescott, Arizona
   Reno, Nevada
   St. George, Utah
   Tuscon, Arizona
   Villages, Florida
   Relocation wasn't in my future even before the recession. I'm content where I am, fortunately. But the "Top 20" offers a lot of nice places to visit, even if you don't want to live there.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My "Mad Men" self is cuter than I am!


   I had to do something to combat "Mad Men" withdrawal.  So, I went to MadMenYourself and created my sleek and stylish, retro self.  I chose hair, eye wear, wardrobe, accessories (martini glass, natch) and - voila! - a blond (gray was not an option) Joan meets June Cleaver circa 1963.  I love the "Mad Men" me.

How to avoid looking like this


   Does the perfect pair of jeans for a shapely woman actually exist? Especially at a price under, say, 70 dollars? Yes, says a helpful story in the Chicago Tribune.
   The article names Rider by Lee (a brand I haven't tried in years), Curvy by Gap and ShapeFX as the best "curvy jeans on a lean budget." Here's why.

Pink Pepper and Anise in your Cucina

   I was a big fan of Fruits & Passion's soap and hand lotion in their original Coriander and Olive Oil fragrance. Now comes a new scent that makes it even more of a pleasure to wash your hands while cooking.

   Described as "delicate, fragrant, sweet and spice aromatic with a hint of citrus zest, sweet berries and anise," the new Pink Pepper & Anise line is designed to compliment the aromas present in the kitchen. I love the pretty rose color and, of course, the ingredients which feature extra virgin olive oil to help moisturize and protect hard-working hands, especially in the winter.

Calories in holiday food revealed. Um, yippee?


   Just in time for Thanksgiving, here's a handy little Holiday Calorie Calculator you can print and carry in your purse.
   I found it on About.com after Google'ing "holiday calories." There it was - a list of all the culinary guilty pleasures we can expect to enjoy through the end of the year.
   The method to my madness? Reality check, I suppose. I had sworn off egg nog (forever?) last year after learning it contains over 300 calories per cup!
   What I didn't know was that those mini-quiches I adore, served at parties everywhere, are 60 per, and the cranberry sauce I ladle onto my turkey? 190 calories per half cup! Half cup!!
   Will my buzz-kill strategies work? That remains to be seen. Of course, after my second cup of nog, my mini-quiche resistance might fly right out the window.
   Oh, well. A girl can still try...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Well, Spanx my Assets!

  I love to wear Spanx tights in the winter, even though the price makes me grimace in pain. Enter a new brand called "Assets" - available at Target for almost half the cost - made by Sara Blakely.

   The gazillionair inventor of Spanx has introduced a less-expensive line of matte-finish tights with the same built-in tummy, hips, thighs and rear "smoothing effect" of the originals. The fabric doesn't have quite the luxe feel as the more expensive line, but the different textures and patterns are great...and so trendy!
   Best of all, they come in six sizes that ought to cover every woman's shape.  I bought three pairs in black and brown yesterday and can't wait to go back and buy the whole line. So comfortable!! This could be the find of the season!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Get fit in your living room


   According to Adventure Sports Weekly, many baby boomers feel a little intimidatied going to the gym. (I don’t know, maybe it’s all that firm, young flesh in Spandex.) But that’s no reason to avoid exercise altogether.
   The website recommends a basic all-purpose workout you can do in your living room in front of the boob tube. It begins with crunches, then progresses to push-ups, bicep curls and squats with dumbbells. No gym membership needed, just motivation.
   Get the whole routine, with tips and suggested workout schedule here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

De-puff those peepers!


   In my never-ending quest to combat puffiness under the eyes - the temporary kind brought on by too little sleep, alcohol consumption, allergy symptoms or all three – I’ve found a new inexpensive remedy that’s worth a try: Spenco 2nd Skin ($8.95) compresses.
    TotalBeauty.com recommends applying them cold (store in the frig) for ten minutes, followed by application of an eye cream containing caffeine to deflate the under-eye area even more.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The bargain lover's bible


  Who says life in an economic downturn can’t be good? Not Annie Korzen, author of Bargain Junkie: Living the Good Life on the Cheap.” The stand-up comedian’s hilarious new release offers serious advice on how to dress well for dimes on the dollar, how to eat yourself sick on free room service food and entertain in style like a true “economista.”
   My favorite chapter is the one in which she reveals the best Web sites for procuring freebies and discounts, especially www.restaurant.com which allows you to buy $25 gift certificates to your favorite restaurants for only $10. That alone justifies the price of the book.
   Thanks, Annie!

Tickling the virtual ivories

   The Internet is always conspiring to waste my time and TheVirtualPiano.com is another case in point. But, this time, time wasted might be time well spent!


   This addictive site allows you to play single notes, chords and melodies in all twelve keys without having to read music! Click numbers, 1 - 7, under the keyboard to play the chords and you'll be writing your own songs in no time! Press "higher" or "lower" to make the chord higher or lower in pitch and sing along!
   Virtual Piano is great for kids (tell your grandkids about it) and adults alike. Give it a try!