Friday, October 29, 2010

What Do You Wear With Peep Toe Ankle Boots?

I just bought several pairs of peep toe ankle boots…now what? I was in need (I use the term loosely) of some new shoes and when I went to my trusty favorite online shoe store I kept seeing these peep toe boots! I was so confused but found myself strangely drawn to these unusual accessories. So I bought a couple pairs and decided I would try them on in person and with clothes and see how I liked them. When the box arrived I ripped it open anxious to see what these boots would look like in person. Upon primary inspection I was very pleased and then became even more excited when I tried them on. I love the fit and the look but can I really wear peep toe shoes in the winter? And if so, how?

I “Goggled” my question “what do you wear with peep toe ankle boots” and was overwhelmed by the number of people who recommend wearing them with tights. Basically, the advice is to wear them with solid colored tights and not with panty hose as the idea is to be intentional about it. Also, while it is easy if your boots are black or brown it may not be as easy if they are an unusual color like fuchsia? What do you wear with them then? Well, then you should match your tights to your bottoms. And most people say that you can and in some cases should wear patterned tights. Simple right?

Armed with this info go out and buy yourself a pair of peep toe ankle boots. I really love mine!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

10 No-Sew Halloween Costume Ideas

Written by:
Cristi Driver

There are so many cute Halloween costume ideas for kids that you can make at home – no sewing required! All that is required is some resourcefulness and creativity by using items you already have or buying a few inexpensive items that can be found at most big box stores or second-hand shops.

All of these ideas are cheap, easy, quick and allow for lots of imagination.

Try one of these classic costume ideas this Halloween and your kid won’t be the fifth Spiderman or Disney princess in their classroom or neighborhood.

Black Cat Pair a black leotard or black turtleneck top with black leggings, tights or sweatpants and black shoes. Buy the cat ears and a tail at a costume shop or make your own. Use old black pantyhose to make a tail by cutting out one leg, stuffing the hose with cotton balls to form a long tail, safety pinning the top together and then pinning it to the back top of the pants. Another idea is to get a black feather boa from a costume shop and cut it to the right length to make a furry tail (you can use the leftover fur to wrap around ankles, wrists and waists to make the cat “furry” – the only drawback to this is that it sheds a lot). Use black eyeliner to draw in whiskers and a nose on your little kitty cat’s face.

Pirate You can find pirate accessories at most costume shops that include a pirate hat, eye patch and sometimes other items like a hook or play sword. Instead of a pirate hat you can also tie a bandana around your child’s head. Find a striped shirt or white ruffled top (thrift stores are a good resource), pair it with black pants for boys or for girls, a denim skirt with black or striped tights, and add boots. A cute addition is to find a small stuffed or plastic parrot and attach it to your child’s shoulder. Arrrgh!

Bunny Rabbit Find a white or pink sweatsuit or use a white or pink top or leotard and tights. Purchase bunny ears and a tail at any costume shop or make your own. Make long bunny ears by cutting them out of white and pink construction paper, attaching a bent paperclip to the back of each ear to make them stand up and fastening them to a headband. Make a bunny tail from an old powder puff or with a bunch of large cotton balls glued together and pinned to the seat of the pants. Use pink lip liner to make a bunny nose and brown or black eyeliner to make whiskers on your bunny’s face.

A Bunch of Grapes Buy a bunch of purple latex balloons at party store. Use a purple sweatsuit or purple top or leotard and tights as the base. Blow up all the balloons and then carefully pin them all to your child’s purple clothing. Make a stem out of green felt and bobby pin it to your child’s head.

Gypsy The key to this costume is layers, lots of them. Layer on several flowy, mismatched skirts, scarves and strings of costume jewelry like plastic beaded necklaces and dangly bracelets (if you don’t have these items at home, head to the thrift store). Tie a long scarf around your child’s head and add one big hoop earring. Funky tights with boots are a cute touch. Add bright red lipstick and heavy eye makeup and use brown eye liner to make a signature beauty mark.

Ghost or Charlie Brown Ghost A ghost is the easiest costume ever – white sheet, cut holes, you’re done! You can make it a little more creative and have your child be Charlie Brown from the classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” and cut holes all over the sheet and have him or her carry a bag with a rock in it.

Construction Worker Cut the sleeves off an old plaid flannel shirt and put it over a long-sleeve thermal shirt. Pair it with jeans and strap on a tool belt with play hand tools. Add work boots and work gloves and a few smudges of brown face paint or eye liner on your child’s face. Top it off with a plastic yellow hard hat that you can buy most anywhere.

Scarecrow Use an oversized plaid flannel shirt, jeans (add some patches for a cute touch), a rope for belt and to tie at the cuffs of the jeans and sleeves then stuff the shirt and jeans with plastic grocery bags or paper. Add a little bit of straw to hang out of the jeans and shirt. Use face paint to make a scarecrow face and add a straw hat.

Miss America Recycle that old bridesmaid or prom dress and add a pair of long white gloves, a tiara and high heels. Make a banner using a long piece of white satin ribbon and use glitter paint to write in “Miss America.”

Deviled Egg Use a white sweatsuit or white t-shirt and white pants. Use yellow felt or a huge yellow marker and make a circle in the center of the top. Buy or make a pair of red devil horns, a red spiked tail and a pitchfork and voila, a deviled egg!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month 2010

September marks the start of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the US. In reading about the month and all of the different festivities what jumped out at me was the phrase "silent killer." There is so much emphasis put on the fact that this type of cancer most often goes completely undetected until it is too late. The reason is simply that the symptoms can be so confusing because they are typical symptoms of a myriad of other illnesses. What is important to me is that you familiar yourself with the symptoms and with the risk factors of ovarian cancer in hopes that you will be even a little more educated about your own body.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yellow Mustard Can Help Fight Cancer?

It seems like I have always been aware of the health benefits of many of the Indian spices that are used in my favorite Indian dishes. Recently it came to my attention that yellow mustard may not only be healthy for you but may also have some cancer fighting properties. Almost as far back as history goes mustard has been know as an anti-inflammatory agent whose main health benefits come from the ingredient that gives mustard its yellow color, turmeric.

Although the anti-inflammatory effects of mustard (turmeric) go way back only recently has it come about that this same agent could have anti-cancer effects. Some even claim that they have seen tumors shrink as a result of the curcumin in turmeric which is thought to be its primary pharmacological component. The low rates of certain cancers in India are seen by some as evidence of this.

In addition, it is now believed that curcumin also has strong anti-oxidant effects and that it destroys free radicals which we all know the physical benefits of…

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

3 Healthy Eating Tips for Today

1. Have you seen that the Skinny Cow now makes ice cream bars?? They do and they are awesome! Not only do they satisfy me but my girls adore them too! They come in white chocolate truffle, caramel and chocolate and are only 100 calories each! I bought mine at Food Lion on sale at $3.99 for 6 nbut they are only $4.99 regularly anyway. Totally worth it!

2. I love guacamole but I don't love the calories and my friends feel the same way. In my Shape magazine this month I found a recipe for guacamole made with edamame! Brilliant! Here it is:

1 12-ounce package frozen organic shelled edamame, thawed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 /2 teaspoon sea salt
1 /4 cup water
1 /3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Place edamame in a food processor. Add the oil, vinegar, salt, and water and pulse until smooth. The mixture should look like a thin hummus; if it’s too thick, add more water. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Add parsley and pulse briefly to blend (flecks of parsley should still be visible).

Transfer to a bowl; garnish with more parsley, if desired, and serve with pita wedges and/or crudités.

Nutrition Score per serving:
(1/2 cup): 184 calories, 12 g fat (58% of calories), 2 g saturated fat, 9 g carbs, 10 g protein, 3 g fiber, 108 mg calcium, 2 mg iron, 259 mg sodium

3. Switch to whole wheat pasta. I have always heard it is better for you but when I am pasta shopping and reading the labels that is not evident so I decided to do a little research into just what is so much better about it. I found this info from WebMD very helpful:

Pasta (2 ounces dry) Calories Fiber Protein Fat
Barilla Plus Spaghetti* 210 4 g 10 g 2 g
Westbrae Natural Organic Whole Wheat Lasagna 210 6 g 8 g 1.5 g
365 Organic Whole Wheat Shells (from Whole Foods) 210 5 g 7 g 1 g
Lifestream Organic Whole Grain & Flax Linguini* 208 8 g 9 g 3.5 g
Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Rotelle Pasta 210 5 g 8 g 1.5 g
* Barilla Plus Spaghetti contains 0.2 g plant omega-3s. Lifestream Organic Whole Grain & Flax Linguini contains 0.7 g plant omega-3s.

More About Healthier Pasta Brands

Here are more details about these whole-grain or higher-fiber pastas:

Barilla Plus Penne: While this enriched multigrain pasta isn't 100% whole wheat, it contains a grain and legume flour blend, along with semolina. This blend generally includes lentils, chickpeas, oats, spelt, barley, egg whites, ground flaxseed and wheat or oat fiber. What this means is that the pasta is high in protein (from the legume flour and the egg whites,) contains some plant omega-3s (from the ground flaxseed,) and will boost your fiber significantly (thanks to the legumes, whole grains, ground flaxseed.) Cooking time for the penne variety is 11-12 minutes.

Westbrae Natural Organic Lasagna: The first and only ingredient is organic whole durum wheat flour. Hard to argue with that, isn't it? I love lasagna, so I've noticed over the years that it is definitely difficult to find a higher fiber lasagna noodle. So I was happy to have found this choice at Whole Foods. Yes, it's definitely whole-wheat pasta, but this fact seems to be less noticeable when it is layered in lasagna. Cooking time: 10 minutes for the lasagna.

Lifestream Organic Whole Grain & Flax Linguini: This pasta has the highest amount of plant omega-3s in a serving of the brands I checked out. The fiber ain't too shabby, either (8 grams per 2 ounce serving). The brand is distributed through Nature's Path Foods Inc. in Washington, and has just two ingredients: organic wheat durum flour and organic brown flax meal. Cooking time for the linguine is 7-9 minutes.

365 Organic Whole Wheat Shells: Even the Whole Foods store brand is jumping on the whole-wheat pasta bandwagon. The pasta contains just organic whole durum wheat flour and water. You'll find it in assorted shapes including long narrow tubes (also known as penne). Cooking time for the shells is 14-16 minutes.

Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Pasta Rotelle: You can find a few different shapes of whole-wheat pasta in the Trader Joe's brand, including rotelle, penne, and spaghetti. The only ingredient in this pasta is organic durum whole wheat. Cooking time is 9-11 minutes for the rotelle.

All found at

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

“3 Slimming Tricks you can Use Today” found in the August 2010 issue of Shape Magazine:

This is something I came across in my last issue of Shape that I thought was pretty helpful stuff. I know I am guilty of violating some of these suggestions myself! I hope these tips help you out!

“3 Slimming Tricks you can Use Today” found in the August 2010 issue of Shape Magazine:

Tip from the foodie:
“Cut out the distractions! I never eat in front of the TV, at the computer or while reading the newspaper.” - Dominique Crenn, chef de cuisine, Luce at the Inter-Continental, San Francisco

Tip from the nutritionist:
“Take small bites, chew your food thoroughly, and put down your fork between mouthfuls.” – Lilian Cheung, Ph.D., co-author of the book Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

And from the Yogi:
“Immerse yourself in the details by being mindful of texture, aroma, and taste.” – Joni Dittrich, Ph.D., Instructor Ubunu Restaurant & Yoga Studio, Napa, California

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to Clean Organic Broccoli - Weekly Tip

Do you buy organic food as often as possible? I do. Now, I am not claiming to only buy organic or to make sure that my kids only eat organically but when I have a choice I usually choose the organic option when it comes to what my girls eat. So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the broccoli that they so love to eat can also easily be found in the organic variety. I immediately began buying, steaming and feeding my girls the healthy treat!

Have you ever looked closely at organic broccoli? I thought I was looking closely at and giving a thorough cleansing to the florets that I was encouraging my girls to eat and I guess since we can’t go back and look it is possible that I was but I think that possibility is pretty small…The last time I bought organic broccoli I bought it from Wal-Mart since it is less expensive there than the usual Harris Teeter price. I make a point of telling you this because this was the time that I noticed that after I steamed the florets there were hundreds (literally) of little bugs that were all over the florets and that had fallen off into the water! I was shocked and disgusted! I promptly threw all the perfectly steamed florets away and like I usually do when I buy bad food from Wal-Mart I blamed the source and vowed not to ever buy broccoli from there again. The next day I went to Harris Teeter and bought organic broccoli. I brought it home and began to inspect it and low and behold it too was covered in bugs! I looked up the phone number for the store where I bought the produce and intended to get my money back when my more level headed other half (Tyler) said “why don’t you just look on line and see what it says?” Hesitantly I did what he suggested and found that I was certainly not alone.

As it turns out pretty much every bunch of organic broccoli you buy will have these bugs (some call them aphids but I don’t care what they are called) on it. I had been missing them because they look just like broccoli and because they borough so deeply into the florets that they can easily be missed. From what I can tell these bugs exist on the organic variety of broccoli because of the very fact that it is “organic” meaning they do not use pesticides which means that pests can live on the vegetables. Duh. So if I want organic broccoli I need to find a way to clean it thoroughly.

Ok, so I have been experimenting and think I have a solution to getting these tiny bugs off of my broccoli for good! Here is what worked for my step by step:
1. Cut the florets off of the stems and soak them in cold water in the fridge overnight
2. Bring some water to a rolling boil and scoop the florets out of the water and put them into the pot of boiling water
3. Boil for 5 min, scoop (I emphasize scooping because that way you will leave the largest number of bugs behind in the water) them back into cold water and proceed to rinse several times.
4. Put the broccoli back into cold water and into the fridge for when you want to cook it.
5. Get broccoli out, rinse it a couple of times making sure no new bugs are falling out and then steam or cook as usual.

Whew, it is a lot of work but if you want bug-less organic broccoli this is what you are going to have to do.