Friday, December 30, 2011

Bytox? Yes, please.

That's not a typo. The BoomerGirl hasn't changed her anti-Botox stance. Bytox is the oh-so cleverly named hangover remedy prevention patch, sent to me for review just in the nick of time by Bytox, Inc. The idea is you apply the patch - containing a cocktail of vitamins (especially the Bs) and lots of folic acid - 45 minutes before consuming alcohol, and continue wearing it 8 hours after your last drink. Voila! Your "morning after"will be pain-free. Or, at least, pain-reduced. I seem to recall feeling not-so great after last year's 5-hour NYE fete. And Lord knows the older I get, the less I can tolerate the drink. It's worth a try. Want to try it, too? Check out Bytox.com.

It's the end of the year: Let's get stewed!

I'm making this 5-Hour Beef Stew for our annual NYE dinner and games party tomorrow night. I've wanted to make it ever since I wrote the story, in my former life as a newspaper reporter.  It's the perfect recipe if you don't like to be cooking after guests arrive. I'm going to use sweet vermouth (instead of red wine) and pearl onions - just to make it fancier - and maybe some fresh tarragon. Heat up a few baguettes, toss a green salad (supplied by a guest) and - voila! - a hearty, satisfying and easy-to-serve meal. (I only hope none of our friends decided to go vegan since last year.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

That's irony, folks. Wocka, wocka!

While looking for something to take a picture of using my new Camera+ app, I found this ticket stub in my purse. This is how my husband and I spent the Monday holiday - as the oldest people (by far) in a theater crowded with little kids (not our own, mind you) watching "The Muppets." (What can I say? We have a thing for Miss Piggy.) Despite some hilarious celebrity cameos, we thought the flick was just okay. But, hey. At least, we got the senior discount.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My first iPhone video!

My husband can't decide which is his favorite Christmas present: those dazzling pajama pants in Jayhawk crimson and blue plaid or his new wine aerating and decanting system. (I know which one I'm drawn to.)

Siri, remind me I need toilet paper.

    That was my first command to the super-efficient and oh-so exclusive personal assistant that lives inside my new iPhone GS. Yeah, yeah. I know Siri isn't exclusively at my beck and call. If my Facebook feed is any indication, lots of good little boys and girls got her under their tree this year. I've been testing Siri's limits all day and she's great at reminding me of things, finding directions and even looking things up on the Internet. But when I asked, "Siri, how old am I?" she replied" "I don't know. I've wondered that myself." So, there you have it. If Siri can forget my age, then so can I.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

And I only sliced my finger a teensy-tiny bit

    It took me until Christmas to use my new mandolin slicer, a birthday present from my sister who works part-time at Williams-Sonoma to support her kitchen gadget habit. Wow! It cut the prep time in half for my rosemary carrots recipe!  I got a little carried away and almost took off a piece of my pointer, but it was nothing a little BandAid couldn't fix.
   The best part? I took the photo with my new iPhone S4. (Imagine that, I buried the lead!) I'm still figuring it out, but I plan to be unstoppable in 2012 thanks to Siri, my new personal assistant.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My wish for you....

   
Peace on Earth. Goodwill to men. And to all a good night.

Dessert in a hurry

I wasn't going to do dessert tonight because I'm off wheat and cutting way back on sugar. Then, I realized how selfish that was since I have three family members who haven't taken such drastic measures. Still, I didn't want to invest a whole lot of time making something I couldn't even nibble on. So, I settled on this - Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Sauce.
I cubed a large loaf of store-bought pumpkin bread and used Splenda "blend" to ease the glycemic load just a tad. It couldn't have been easier but when I poured the sugar, Half & Half and vanilla mixture over the bread, it was clear I needed more. So I made another mixture, halving the ingredients, and added it, so it covered the bread to the top of the pan.
The recipe says you can pop it right in the oven at this point, but I'm putting this baby in the frig to let the goodness soak in all day. (And, yes, I have addressed the possibility that I might have to taste-test my creation while it's warm, right out of the oven with a little caramel rum sauce on top. One little sin. Who cares?! I've already had my audience with the Pope. He assured me I was not and would never be considered for sainthood.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

2 weeks wheat-free and feeling fantastic!

    It's rare that I make it two weeks on any diet. At least, in the strict no-little-cheats-here-or-there kind of way. Especially at holiday time. But, I have done it! I have been 100% wheat-free (OK, I'll be honest and say 97% wheat-free - I've had scotch) since Dec. 9 and I feel like a thousand dollars. My energy level is up, bloating and swelling are way down (my wedding ring actually feels loose in the morning), five pounds are gone, and my face is missing those unsightly puff pockets under the eyes. Even the vague little aches and pains I always attributed to age are AWOL. The best thing about the Wheat Belly diet is how easy it is to simply put down the fork. Without the appetite stimulants in wheat, it's easier to know when to say when. I've turned away or ignored restaurant bread baskets four times in the past 14 days!
   The biggest challenge will be getting through the next three days without falling off the no-wheat wagon, which could be difficult given our traditional Beef Wellington Christmas Eve dinner. But hey, nobody said you have to EAT the flaky golden puff pastry enveloping the beef tenderloin, right?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My baby blues love the "See It Bigger" 2012 planner

Next year (the one that arrives in only 9 days), I'm "super-sizing" my deskwear with this just-what-the-eye-doctor-ordered "See it Bigger" planner.  With nice big spaces to note your appointments in nice big print, it's just the thing for people, like me, who are tired of squinting (causes wrinkles) or popping on the "cheaters" every time you want to check your calendar.
(For the record, I just bit the bullet and set the font size on my Blackberry one size larger, too.  Try it, you'll like it!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm in... but I've no idea what I'm doing

After a week or so of waiting, I have finally been invited to join Pinterest. And, I've already gotten one follower! Trouble is, I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I think it's about "pinning" on my "board" and looking at other people's "boards" and maybe "re-pinning" their stuff.  I'm just not sure. Still, it's a cool site and worth checking out, I think. As long as you can survive another giant time suck!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The next Ethel Merman?

Thanks to my friend, Sue, for passing this along. Oh man, the kid reminds me of someone I know all too well:

A final (formal) remembrance

My column today is a tribute to my mother-in-law and her love of bling. I've been wearing a lot of it lately, especially the rhinestones. I think she would be pleased.
Two glitzy watches we just unearthed last night. (At what point did my hands become my grandmother's?)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

White elephant score!

I was the clear winner at last night's White Elephant gift exchange party with friends. These are my new Foot Chargers by Clairol Research (I'm guessing circa 1975).  Not only do they warm my tootsies, they vibrate, too!  I don't know which is funnier looking - the gold vinyl moon boots - or those legs. Someone once called my skin 'alabaster.' I'm thinking it's closer to lavender.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wheat Belly: I'm a believer!

Dr. William Davis has an extremely hard sell with his book's thesis that wheat - not just gluten - is bad for us. In fact, he says, as the single largest contributor to the obesity epidemic, it may be killing us. Regardless of whether you buy the argument, "Wheat Belly" is well worth reading, if only to examine Davis' provocative expose of "the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as 'wheat.'" Yes, the "wheat" we eat today is nowhere near the wheat we boomers ate as little kids. It is four times more fattening, addicting and sickening than the Wonder Bread of old. The argument was compelling enough to make me give up wheat altogether for the past three days and, I have to admit, I feel really good. Thank goodness I'm no longer working in an office with crazy Christmas cookie-baking colleagues. Can I make it through next weekend's holiday parties? That remains to be seen.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Monster Moisture Machine Steam-off

Today is the annual humidifier round-up, where we bring all moisture-infusing appliances into the kitchen for cleaning and a test run. (And, they say the Kardashias lead exciting lives.) I wish we would have done this a few weeks ago as my sinuses and skin are already showing signs of dry air distress. The good news is, all machines seem to be working after the warm weather hiatus.
Pictured above is the Carefree Humidifier Plus by Hunter. As you can see, it has a nifty nightlight built-in to prevent toe stubs during the night. Unfortunately, the Carefree sounds a lot like Niagara Falls and, thus, isn't the best choice for the BoomerGirl's bedroom. (I wee-wee enough in the wee hours. I don't need extra encouragement.) This one will probably go in the kitchen/family room.
This is the Holmes from Sears, classic and functional with a little gauge that tells you when to change the filter. This one makes a consistent white noise - low on the annoying scale - but doesn't seem to put a lot of moisture into the air.  Holmes will go into the TV room for now, but might not last the season.
This little engine that could is the Robitussin Baby's Breath humidifier. I'm sure it was the least expensive of the bunch, but just look at all that steam! I'll be sleeping next to this little guy from now until spring. I only hope I don't get burned.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A crimson tide?

I didn't think to mention it was my birthday yesterday, mainly because it was just No. 56 and didn't seem much of a landmark. (Besides, it was all over Facebook like white on rice.) Noteworthy, though, was the coincidental confluence of the gifts I received last night before an intimate family dinner celebration:
First, was this cute, funky little dress (Kintamani by Wind River) and scarf that my husband bought me. The fact that he actually purchased something a) all by himself, b) that I love and c) fits me perfectly was strange enough. But, I rarely, if ever wear red. (I'm strictly a blue, black or gray and sometimes brown kind of gal.) Then, my daughter comes up with the red necklace (seen above), not knowing the red dress and scarf had been selected. Mildly weird, right? Then, I open the gift sent from my sister....
 and my mind was officially blown. (Scarf from Gap.) You think they're trying to tell me to put a little pizazz into my wardrobe? Yeah, I think so, too. Point taken, family.

A tree of tomes!

Here's a great idea from an Anthropologie store in New York City. I am so doing this next year! Will someone please remind me?

The hunt for ugly is on

The week's been so hectic, I haven't had time to shop for the ugly Xmas sweater party we're going to tonight. Unfortunately, I bid farewell to my tacky holiday garb (and I had some doozies) years ago. Now, it's time to hit the thrift shops, hoping and praying I can nab a couple of winners like the ones in the photo. And, do some Christmas shopping while I'm at it. Happy Saturday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Closure for the collection

The collection
I've written previously about my mother-in-law's extensive costume jewelry collection, one that I've been storing in our spare bedroom in six storage boxes for over a year.  You can imagine then, how happy I was when the female relatives who came to town for her funeral, divvied everything up and took much of the bling home with them.  (Can you imagine the scene at the airport metal detector?)
Of course, I did keep several dozen pieces for my daughter and me. There's the "formal" stuff in the photo above.

But my favorite part is the box of lapel pins she collected throughout her life, from countless cities and states she visited. I have no idea what we're going to do with them, but they're really fun to look through.

The geometry of sin

I didn't have a column in the paper today but I did find this on Facebook, which seemed somehow fitting for Sunday reading. (I love this kind of stuff. Does that make me weird?)