Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I feel like I just keep wishing you a happy something this week, but nonetheless, I hope you have a beautiful holiday filled with good friends and loving family.  May your turkey be moist, the pies sweet, and good wine be flowing freely.

I have so much to be thankful for this year, but mostly I'm thankful for my healthy little boy and my prescription for Xanax.  What about you?


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah my Lovelies!  I love the Festival of Lights, mostly because it gives me an excuse to eat fried foods for eight days straight without feeling guilty, but also because the story of the miracle of the oil is inspiring.  I had planned to make latkes tonight, but I'm down with the flu, so I have a feeling we'll be getting take out from Greenblatt's instead.  I promise not to let my illness keep me from posting cute photos of the Muffin Man in his "My First Hanukkah" bib, so be sure and check out my Instagram once the sun goes down.

Do you prefer your latkes with applesauce or sour cream (or both)?

My favorite no-fail gluten free rugelach recipe.

The Maccabeats are like the Chosen People version of Pitch Perfect.

Here's my favorite Hanukkah video to get you in the holiday spirit (NSFW or children or the easily offended).

Have a wonderful night and don't eat too many sufganiyot!


Hanukkah Harry's Hip & Happenin' Gift Guide: Phone Sex(y)

We all have someone on our holiday gift list who is impossible to buy for, right?  He (or she) is the person who already has everything or is richer than Midas and therefore can buy himself anything he desires.  Every year there's at least one of these people on my list.  In holidays past I would often spend months scouring flea markets trying to find that perfect, unique item that would truly "wow" this individual and, as a result, would crown me "the greatest gift giver in the free world".  Well I no longer have the time (or, let's face it, the energy) to drive to flea markets and search every booth for that special something, which is why I'm so glad that I discovered the handcrafted wood and metal CLIC iPhone cases by Native Union.

These cases are absolutely stunning.  Honestly, it's like getting a designer coat for someone's iPhone.  Made from either cherry or walnut wood the CLIC cases have a slash of brushed metal across the corner.  Since each case is cut from a single piece of wood, no two cases have the same grain or look, which means any iPhone wearing this case is sure to stand out from the crowd.  The cases come in four different wood and metal combinations, though I must say that my absolute favorite is the stunning merger of cherry wood and rose gold.

The nicest thing about these cases is the fact that they cost $69.99, but look as though you spent much, much more.  Your friend-who-has-everything will never know that you spent less than a hundred bucks on the coolest gift ever, but you'll also have enough money left over to buy yourself something great this year like, say the case with the walnut and black metal combination.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hanukkah Harry's Hip & Happenin' Gift Guide: I see London, I see France...

I know that I'm not the only parent who has vowed not to purchase toys made of brightly colored plastic this holiday season.  I can only imagine that there are plenty of you out there who are desperate to find toys that do not play annoying jingles or require batteries (seriously, they should give you a jumbo-pack of batteries after giving birth because everything for children requires the stupid things).  Rest assured, parents in search of creative toys, that I've got your back.  

I've discovered an incredible line of Japanese wooden toys that are not only beautifully crafted but also designed to expand your child's imagination through play.  Japanese design studio Kiko+ has created The Machi Town series which features magnetized wooden pieces and chalk boards so that your child can create the cities of his or her imagination.  Made of eco-friendly beechwood and safely embedded with two magnets for use with the magnetized chalk boards, the Machi Town: Paris comes with a wooden Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and a Metro train.  Your little one can have a blast drawing his own street map with the enclosed pieces of chalk.  Who knows?  Maybe your daughter's reimagining of Paris will rival that of Baron Haussman's and lead to a lucrative career as a city planner!  After all, the French really should do something about that roundabout of death at the base of the Arc de Triomphe.  

If you're more of a "Freedom Fries" type, there's also a Machi Town: London, complete with Big Ben, the British Museum, the London Eye and a double-decker bus.  Just be sure that your kid knows they drive on the wrong side of the road, as we wouldn't want any wooden-people fatalities.  Each set costs $37.00, so you can certainly afford to get one for all the kiddos on your gift list.  

If you live in LA, you can pick up these and many other fantastic gifts at A + R.  They have wonderful kid stuff as well as goodies for pretty much all of your gift recipients.  They have locations on both the Eastside and the Westside, so you really can't complain too much about having to drive a long distance in holiday traffic.  You can also order on their website, and if you buy enough (which I'm sure you will when you see the selection) shipping is free over $100.00.  Go ahead and grab one of these fantastic sets while they're still in stock, because every child should have the chance to redesign the confusing streets of a major European city.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hanukkah Harry's Hip & Happenin' Gift Guide: Give Good Hair

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, my lovelies.  We're in the final stretch and you only have three shopping days left before Hanukkah begins, which means I have three more fabulous gift ideas for you to bestow upon your loved ones!

Being a Momma is hard work.  Whether you're a stay-at-home Mom or a working Mom, there really is no rest for the wicked.  So often I feel like just getting out the door with all of the required accoutrements (diapers, wipes, bottle, change of clothes, snacks, etc.) is more than I can handle.  I do my best to groom myself on a daily basis, but more often than not I end up running around without having showered, not wearing makeup and with greasy hair.  I would absolutely LOVE to look put together and fabulous every time I leave the house, but until I can clone myself and therefore have enough of me to go around, I have to settle for looking one step above homeless most days.

Several months ago I received a batch of gift certificates to Drybar.  I can't tell you what an amazing gift this was for a new Momma, not only because I rarely have time to wash and style my hair at home, but because using the gift certificates means that I get some time to myself to be pampered, and I look fantastic afterwards.  Yes, it's often difficult to find childcare to watch the Muffin Man while I get my hair done and, yes, once and a while I feel guilty for fobbing him off on someone else while I have a blow dry, but somedays Momma just needs to escape and recapture a teensy tiny bit of her old glamorous, well-groomed life.

I'm guessing that there are quite a few Mommas (and non-Mommas) in your life who would far prefer a gift certificate to Drybar over yet another t-shirt or a silver-plated dreidel.  I already have too much stuff that I don't have room to store, but I can always find a place in my wallet for a free blow dry!  Here's the beautiful thing: you don't even have to leave the comfort of your desk to purchase free blow outs for your friends and loved ones.  You can go to the Drybar website and either order a gift certificate the you print right now (who doesn't love immediate gratification?) or order a batch to be shipped to everyone on your holiday gift list.  There's a Drybar in most major metropolitan areas, a single blow out is only $40, and they give you champagne and cookies during your appointment, so this really is the perfect choice for every lady on your list.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hanukkah Harry's Hip & Happenin' Gift Guide: Jewels for Jesus

When I lived in New York I used to walk up Prince Street to catch the train for work every morning.  While on the one had I wasn't always a fan of this trek when the wind chill factor dropped to a tropical ten degrees, I often found myself distracted by the street vendors selling their wares, and there were many occasions when I spent my freshly-cashed paycheck on a piece of cool jewelry that I'd spotted on my morning walk.  We don't really have this sidewalk commerce thing here in Los Angeles.  The Venice Beach Boardwalk is about as close an approximation as I've found, but unless you're in the market for incense, a Bob Marley fleece blanket or a henna tattoo, you'll be sorely disappointed with the choices.  Due to the lack of street artisans here in the City of Angels, my jewelry selection has really suffered.  I'm not really a fine jewelry kind of lady - for the most part I prefer interesting, eye-catching pieces made by folks more artistic and crafty than myself - which is why I was so excited when a friend introduced me to Tamar Pelzig of Jan Joon Jewelry.

Tamar makes every single piece of jewelry by hand, and the results are incredible.  She essentially creates her pieces by knitting the metals as one would with yarn, and the results are these delicate, almost breathless, items of jewelry.  I'm completely obsessed with this bracelet and I'm hoping that's what Hanukkah Harry brings me this year.  

If you're looking for a unique gift sure to impress your sister or sister-in-law or a close friend, you should absolutely look no further than Jan Joon.  Tamar will even create custom pieces so that you can give a one-of-a-kind gift to that special lady on your gift list.  

As a treat just for my readers, Tamar has set up a Secret Santa Page where you'll find lots of beautiful choices at 20-30% off!  Simply enter the password surprise when prompted, and go crazy choosing bracelets/necklaces/rings for all of your loved ones.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hanukkah Harry's Hip & Happenin' Gift Guide: It's Caffeine O'clock

One of the truly disturbing side effects of becoming a parent is that you no longer sleep well or deeply.  I suppose that one's body becomes accustomed to waking up every couple of hours and, after months (if not years) of never sleeping through the night, you become unable to sleep normally again.  I often find myself wide awake at 2AM for no discernible reason while my son slumbers peacefully down the hall.  As a result of my nocturnal restlessness and newfound propensity towards insomnia, I rarely wake up feeling rested and refreshed.  Thankfully, there is always a pot of freshly brewed Aloha Island Coffee on my kitchen counter.

I know that some (many?) of you may think that all coffee tastes alike, but I promise you that is not the case. Just as Two Buck Chuck doesn't hold a candle to Chateau Neuf du Pape, Folgers is in no way equal to a cup of Aloha Island.  Aloha's coffee is grown on the Big Island of Hawaii, picked by hand, and roasted in small batches. This means that when you order a bag of coffee you're getting beans that were most likely roasted just a few days before you receive it, as opposed to weeks or months before as the case may be with other companies.  Aloha offers 100% pure Kona Coffee and Hawaiian Blends, both of which are smooth, low in acid, and a delicious way to start your morning.  If you're looking for a truly special, unique gift for yourself or someone else, I urge you to spring for the 100% Kona; you won't regret it. 

I'm guessing there is probably someone on your holiday gift list who would really enjoy receiving some truly exceptional coffee. At the very least it's quite likely that you have a very tired new parent on that list who will be thankful to you for providing her with the caffeine-fueled strength to survive another day.  

Aloha is offering a special discount code just for my readers!  To receive $1.00 off every bag of King's Reserve Diamond or a box of 18 pods designed for use with your Keurig brewer, simply  enter discount code GWT9KKW7 at checkout.

In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that this is my family's company, but I figured that in the spirit of the holidays it was only appropriate to pimp out the family products.  The coffee is ridiculously delicious, so definitely treat yourself or a loved one.  If you want to see more about where the coffee comes from, click here.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hanukkah Harry's Hip & Happening Gift Guide: This Mug's For You

I admit that I often give Los Angeles a bad rap, but I must not hate it with every fiber of my being, or I wouldn't have made it my home for going on a decade.  There are some wonderful things about this fair city of ours including the weather, the weather and, well, the weather.  I happen to know quite a few people who love LA;  interestingly enough many of these folks happen to be former Manhattanites (I'm looking at you here, Hubby).  Perhaps it's that life is just so dramatically different here than in New York, or perhaps it is, once again, the weather, but whatever the case may be, for a number of my friends and family their love for Los Angeles knows no bounds.  While I don't particularly relate to their adoration for this city of concrete and broken dreams, I still have to buy holiday gifts for these people.  The good news is that I've finally found the perfect item that will enable my friends and loved ones to showcase their love for LA but also fits my budgetary restrictions.

SoLA, or Sisters of Los Angeles, offers a selection of mugs appropriate for the LA-lover in everyone's life.  I personally think these graphic mugs capture the essence of the City of Angels perfectly with their pop-art colors and whimsical design.  At just $15.00 a piece, the mugs are practical, affordable and would definitely be a better choice for your office gift exchange than yet another Starbucks gift card.

The "Echo Park" model is a wonderful choice for all of your hipster friends who like gallery openings, avant garde films, and parties in empty warehouses.  Grab a couple "Malibu" mugs for your sister who has a perm-tan, snacks on seaweed, and likes to smoke out at Zuma.  There's even a "Valley" version for those friends you've lost to the cheaper home prices on the other side of the hill (which I guess is just our version of New Jersey).

If you live in Los Angeles you can check out the SoLA pop-up cart at The Grove, where they'll have all of their awesome products on display.  If you're a far-flung Los Angeles-lover (or you prefer online shopping like yours truly) head on over to their website and stock up on LA-centric products without leaving the comfort of your ergonomic desk chair.  SoLA also has a great selection of products for other cities as well, so I'm sure it won't surprise you that I'm eyeing a set of the New York & Boroughs rocks glasses.  Hey, you can take a girl out of New York...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hanukkah Harry's Hip & Happenin' Gift Guide: Give Good Reads

I currently have four hideously ugly plastic toys cruising around my living room playing the most annoying songs in the universe.  I've actually seriously considered suggesting to the CIA that they could discontinue the use of waterboarding as a torture tactic and simply play the Follow Me Fred theme song on repeat to get suspected terrorists to spill the beans.  I know the lengths I'll go to in order to avoid having to hear one more round of the Animal Train song, and I can't help but think even the most hardened international criminal would share my sentiment.  In order to keep what's left of my sanity, I've vowed not to purchase any primary-hued plastic toys that make noise this holiday season.  Not only because we already have two baskets full of them, but also because the Muffin Man often forgoes playing with them in favor of a wooden spoon and a piece of tupperware.  However I did want to give Noah something other than kitchen utensils for Hanukkah, which is why I was absolutely thrilled to discover Zoobean.

No loud plastic toys at Zoobean, just good old fashioned books hand picked based on your child's age, favorite interests and reading level.  They offer three, six, and twelve month gift subscriptions, and each book that your child receives will be carefully selected based on the information you provide when ordering.  Do you have a son who is six and loves adventure and mysteries?  They have you covered!  How about a daughter who's a bit of a tomboy?  Zoobean is perfect for her, too!  For Noah I selected a three month subscription of board books on any subject.  Oh, and Noah's little girlfriend who's Daddy is Spanish is getting a six month bilingual batch with both English and Spanish books.  Now that's pretty cool.

I suppose you could go to your local toy store and fight someone over the last Rainbow Loom, but why not give a book subscription instead?  Eventually your kiddo will get tired of making friendship bracelets and you'll end up donating the loom that you practically came to blows over to the Salvation Army, but the gift of a good book never gets old.  Plus, it's never too early to start reading to your little one - we've been doing it since Noah was a week old - and there's no danger of going insane listening to a stupid song over and over again.  Unless, of course, it's one you make up from the book.

Zoobean has kindly offered all of my readers a $5.00 discount off of any six, twelve, or monthly auto-renew subscription!  Enter code AnnaMom.  

Seriously, go over there and give your kid the gift of books this Hanukkah, if for no other reason than your own sanity.

The family behind Zoobean.  How gorgeous are they?!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hanukkah Harry's Hip & Happenin' Gift Guide: Let a Blind Man See

Perfect for the blind man in your life.
The saying, "with age comes wisdom" may be true, but unfortunately another thing that comes with age is the loss of one's eyesight.  While yours truly is still able to see without intervention, the Hubby is not so lucky.  He's been wearing reading glasses for years, and I admit that there's been more than one occasion on which I've had to read a restaurant menu out loud because he went off without his glasses.  We've been buying Chris's readers in six packs at our local Costco, but while they may be functional, they certainly aren't stylish.  This year, I aim to change that by gifting the Hubby with a cool pair of Warby Parker reading glasses.

Warby Parker offers stylish and affordable glasses for $95.00.  Here's the best part: when you buy a pair of their glasses, they donate a pair to someone in need.  I've known about this company for a while, and I've seen how great their frames are, but I assumed they only sold prescription glasses.  Oh how wrong I was!  For an extra $2.50 they will turn any of their fantastic frames into reading glasses, and shipping is free!

Warby Parker offers three super awesome ways to select your glasses.  If you live in Los Angeles, New York or Boston you can head over to one of their boutiques and browse the frame styles in person.  You can also take advantage of their home try-on program (it's free!) and they'll send you five frames of your choice to try on in the comfort of your bathroom/bedroom/dressing room/car.  If you want to keep your gift a surprise, use their virtual try on service: just upload a photo of your super adorable boyfriend and see which pair make him look the hippest!

I ordered "the Welty" for the Hubs!
This Hanukkah, why not gift your blind significant other with a pair of Warby Parker specs?  Because there's really no excuse for your over-forty friends or lovers to have to wear dorky glasses when they can be blind and fashion forward.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Give Good Gift

Hanukkah is only 10 days away, my friends!  Don't panic, though, because starting tomorrow I'll be bringing you eight days of fabulous gift ideas perfect for everyone on your gift list.  I've come up with some pretty fantastic ideas this year and I've even finagled some discount codes just for my readers, so be sure not to check in daily for the newest item on Hanukkah Harry's Hip & Happenin' Gift Guide.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Have a Lovely Weekend!

Happy Friday, my lovelies!  It's grey and (slightly) chilly here in the City of Angels, so it looks like we're finally, finally getting some semblance of autumnal weather.  It just seems inappropriate to have 90 degree weather in mid-November.  We have no exciting plans this weekend, and I admit that I'm ridiculously excited to not have to wear makeup, blow dry my hair or squeeze myself into something fashionable.

The holidays will be here before we know it, so next week I'll be debuting my annual Hanukkah Harry's Hip and Happenin' Gift Guide.  I've got eight miraculous goodies, each one perfect for someone on your Festival of Light's gift list!  So be sure and check-in beginning on Monday, November 18th for great gift ideas and a discount code or two.

In the meantime, here are some interesting items from the world of the interwebs:

Good news; my BFA in theater doesn't necessarily mean that I'm doomed to a life of food stamps and failure!

Parents bring their child's dinosaurs to life in Dinovember.

Thanksgivukkah has spawned the Menurkey.  I think I need one.

On my Hanukkah wish list: an adorable winter hat, stacked rings, and lust-worthy shoes.

Fred Flare is shutting down.  Snap up some discounts while you grieve.

Grown-up jello shots appropriate for Thanksgiving; perfect for taking the sting out of your Mother-in-Laws criticism of your cooking!

Does becoming a parent mean that you should deactivate your Facebook account?

How stylish design and children can live together without disastrous results.

A good article regarding making disaster relief donations (please help if you can, but do your homework so you know how your money will be spent).

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Preschool Panic: School Days Edition

I've put up a shiny new post today over at Laughing My Vag Off, so swing on over there and take a gander.  I discuss at length what I'm looking for in a preschool, and I can tell you that it mostly has to do with the amount of Mommy time I'll be gaining once the Muffin Man is enrolled in an institution of pre-kindergarten learning.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

One Day in the Life

Today I'm Instagram-hanging with Hollywood Housewife for her One Day project.  I'll be snapping random photos of my day, so stop on by and check out what the glamorous life of a stay-at-home Momma looks like.  So far you've missed a picture of my messy bedroom and me in my pajamas, so obviously it's going to be an exciting photo tour.


Motherhood FAIL of the Week: Up to Nose Good

The Muffin Man absolutely hates having his nose cleaned.  I'm pretty sure his dislike of having his nose cleaned is equal to the hatred I feel for some of my ex-boyfriends.  Unfortunately, cleaning my kiddo's nose is a necessary evil, especially as it appears that he has inherited his Father's allergies to pretty much anything with scent (the man can't even walk down the laundry soap aisle at the supermarket.  It's an affliction).  As a result, Noah often has dirty nasal cavities.  We're talking crusty, gross, sometimes kinda bloody, dried gunk up in there that really has to be taken care of, both because it's a health issue and because the kid can't breathe.  He crawls around making a terrible whistling noise as the air struggles to make it's way past the barrier of nose dirt.  I can't imagine that this is a pleasant sensation, but apparently my child prefers slow suffocation to having his nose wiped.  Now before all of you leave comments or send me emails suggesting that I purchase the oh-so-fabulous Nosefrida, I already own this little gadget.  It certainly seems like a wonderful invention, and perhaps if I had a different child I would be singing its praises, but Noah is not a fan.  In fact, every time I've tried to use the Nose Freida I have been rewarded with him grabbing it out of my hand and swinging it with such force that I thought at one point that he actually broke my nose.  It's amazing how much damage a piece of plastic can do when wielded by an incredibly strong and very angry ten month old.  In fact, I'm sporting a sexy bruise on my eye right now from the aforementioned object that makes it appear as though I am a victim of domestic abuse, so I would say that qualifies as an epic Nosefrida Fail.

Anywho, I do have to fight the good fight and clean Noah's nose at least once per day.  I often do this in the bath, as he's sometimes so distracted by squirting me with his eco-friendly bath toys that he often doesn't notice that I'm digging around in his nose until it's too late.  Unfortunately, last night was not one of those times.  The kiddo had been walking around all day with a disgustingly clogged nose, so of course I'd been looking forward to giving him a bath and remedying the situation post haste.  I scrubbed him down, handed him a toy to play with, and moved in for the kill, only to have my hand rudely batted out of the way.  I tried several more times, to no avail.  Finally, in utter desperation, I figured I would give it a shot after bath time while Noah was enjoying his nighttime bottle.  I got him dressed in his pjs, handed him over to the Hubby, and stealthily planned my attack.  With a lightly-oiled cotton swab in hand, I pounced: I stuck that swab into my son's nostril while he was distracted by warm milk and Goodnight Moon.  He was so taken aback, so shocked at this unwelcome invasion into his sacred nasal cavities, that he jerked forward with a force that caused the swab to jab violently into his nose, which resulted in a gush of blood pouring forth from the molested nostril.  He started wailing uncontrollably, blood poured out of his nose at an alarming rate, and I felt like the Wicked Mother of the West.  Thankfully, we got the bleeding under control quickly, and another round of warm milk and Goodnight Moon soothed the savage ten month old.  It doesn't appear that I've caused him any permanent physical damage, but I suppose if I did mess up his nose somehow I can comfort myself with knowing that we live in the right town to find a doctor to fix it.  I still feel bad about giving my kiddo a bloody nose, but the good news is that his nasal hemorrhage appears to have cleaned out any lingering dirt, so Noah is safe from my ministrations for at least one day.  But I just may revisit using the Nosefrida tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Got Tested

Chillin' at the lab.
Friends, I can't adequately explain to you how horrible the Muffin Man's blood test was yesterday.  Imagine, if you will, your ten month old child being held down by two strangers while he screams bloody murder and has tears running down his face.  They took five vials of blood from his sweet little baby arm, which actually went pretty quickly, but it took the phlebotomist forever to find the vein and insert the needle.  I don't even think it was the needle stick that bothered Noah the most, but rather the tourniquet being around his arm for ten minutes (I don't blame the kid, that's always been my least favorite part too).  While rationally I grasped that this was a necessary evil to ensure that Noah is healthy, I honestly felt like I was torturing the poor child.  I never understood this until I became a parent, but I don't think there is anything worse than seeing your child in pain.  Even my six foot tall, 190 pound, manly Hubby was damaged from the experience.  I really think that Quest Diagnostics should offer Vodka shots to traumatized parents or, at the very least, give out directions to the closest bar.  While Noah recovered quickly and was back to his old self within an hour, his parents spent the balance of yesterday walking around in shock.  Needless to say I poured myself a very large glass of wine last night after the kiddo went to bed, and we both fell asleep before 10PM.

For now we're just biding our time until we hear from our pediatrician about the results of the tests.  I've been doing my utmost to get Noah to consume more calories.  The good news is that we've discovered the secret to getting the kiddo to eat: he wants to feed himself.  Instead of calling him the Muffin Man, I should be calling him Mr. Independent, because my ten month old child absolutely refuses to eat anything that he does not feed himself.  I should've realized this earlier, considering he has been this way practically since birth.  After all, he's been holding his own bottle since six months, so I suppose he just prefers to rely on himself for everything instead of others.  I have a feeling we're really going to be in trouble when he's a teenager and that lethal combination of independence and invincibility kicks in.   Turns out the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as I have vague, drug-clouded memories of being this way myself.  God help me.

****On a somewhat related note: Plum Organics has recalled a huge number of their baby food pouches.  Click here to find out if the products you purchased were affected.****

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day

This handsome guy is my step-dad!
The post today is short and sweet, because I'm rushing off to take my underweight kiddo to have some blood tests done.  I'm still out of Xanax, so my anxiety is off the charts.  Hopefully it won't be too torturous for the Muffin Man, though I have a sneaking suspicion that I may cry more than he does.

We had a great time at the Baby2Baby Gala.  I managed to squeeze myself into one of my fancy dresses, the hubby rocked a tux, and we drank heavily for a good cause.  Definitely a departure from our usual Saturday nights spent wearing pajamas and watching Netflix.

"Blondes" do have more fun! (AKA my sis-in-law is a hottie)
Everything is more romantic in formal wear.

The dessert buffet is my nemesis.
Have a wonderful Veteran's Day, my friends.  Enjoy your day off and remember it's all thanks to those who have served our country that I have the freedom to make an ass of myself.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Hey, hey it's the Weekend

No Bao Burger for me.  Sigh.
Give it up for yourselves for surviving another week!  The weather has been amazing here in the City of Angels, though I'm always nostalgic at this time of year for the changing leaves and the crisp air of New England.  We were supposed to head over to our friend's pop-up restaurant at Alfred tonight, but lack of childcare has foiled our plans for a romantic dinner.  If you happen to live in LA and are lucky enough to not have children and therefore still have the freedom go where you like when you like, go check it out.  I'll have to live vicariously through you.  Tomorrow night we're headed to the black tie Baby2Baby event, which should be fun.  I love this charity and support them as much as I can, so assuming I can squeeze my post-baby figure into one of my fancy frocks, it should be a good time for a great cause.

Here are a few things that caught my eye on the interwebs this week:

The perfect Asian salad dressing 

Cheap lipstick that will rock your pout.

Gluten free fluffy dinner rolls.  Just in time for Thanksgiving!

Further adventures with the Moscow Mule.

Have a wonderful weekend my lovelies!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Motherhood FAIL of the Week: Starvation Diet

Yesterday, at the Muffin Man's ten month checkup, he received a "failure to thrive" diagnosis, so I now have far more serious worries to keep me awake at night than what preschool Noah will be attending.  My ten month old, who should weight about 20-24 pounds, weighs in at the astonishingly low weight of 16 pounds, 8 ounces.  I promise that I'm not starving him; while I'm certainly not a perfect parent, I do offer Noah three meals a day full of protein and fat and delicious things like sweet potato and butter.  Here's the problem: the only thing Noah wants to eat is crackers or the Plum Organics baby food pouches.  Last night I made him mashed potatoes and he wanted prunes instead.  Seriously?  Who chooses prunes over a bowl of butter, yogurt and chicken stock-filled whipped tubers?  I was so distraught by his refusal to eat this bowl of deliciousness that I ended up sitting on the couch eating the potatoes with a baby spoon while sobbing uncontrollably.  In other words, yesterday was not one of my better days.

My friends, I'm at a loss.  I just don't know how I'm expected to force my child to eat when he flat out refuses to do so.  Am I supposed to hold him down, pry his mouth open, and shove the food down his throat?  Because that I'm just not capable of doing.  I offer him lots of choices at every meal - this morning it was egg yolk and oatmeal and yogurt and toast - and he simply nibbles a little bit before throwing everything on the ground and refusing to take one more bite.  Once and a while we'll find something that he loves, and he'll eat with gusto.  Sunday night it was black beans, and after successfully feeding him a large portion, I danced around the dining room in victory.  I was more than happy to give Noah black beans at every meal if that turned out to be the key to fattening the kid up, (gas be damned - I can certainly handle a stinky child who weighs in at 20 pounds) but low and behold, on Monday he once again refused to take even a single bite of frijoles negros, so we were back at square one.  So now it's come to the point where I actually dread mealtimes.  I don't like how frustrated I get when Noah locks his jaw, shakes his head, and throws spoonfuls of food at me.  I can't stand the battle it is to get him to take one single bite of whatever it is that's on the menu that day.  But I man up, put on a plastic apron to protect myself from flying food, and I do my best to get my child to eat something, anything, that has more nutritional value than a cracker, because sometimes (a lot of times) being a parent means playing the bad guy.

The positive side is that Noah is perfectly healthy in all other ways.  He's hitting his developmental milestones, he shows no signs of being on the Autism spectrum, and he's extremely intelligent, so it looks like my gene pool hasn't done too much damage.  We're taking him for blood tests next week to make sure that he's not anemic and that he doesn't have any food allergies, but I suspect the poor kid just inherited his Momma's body type.  I guess I can look forward to 18 years of strangers accusing me of starving him and well-intentioned people suggesting I feed him a stick of butter between two Oreos.  It's too bad, as I was really hoping the Hubby's genes wold be dominant and that my child would be spared an adolescence of toothpick-inspired name calling, but it looks like he drew the short straw on that one.  Oh well, at least he'll have yet another thing to blame me for in his therapy sessions.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Preschool Panic: This School's For You

This is my preschool tour look
I think I'm finally recovered enough from the time change to give the as-promised preschool tour review.  As I mentioned yesterday, we went on three preschool tours last week.  Thankfully, my anxiety about taking these tours has subsided now that I've been on five of them, so I'm no longer losing sleep over my skunk roots or my wardrobe.

The school that gave me the wrong time frame for the tour turned out to be really charming.  It has the best outdoor space by far, but the Director was less than inspiring and the other parents on the tour were  either not very "hip" or, worse, totally overprotective and psycho.  There seem to be a couple of the security freaks on every school tour, and I suppose it's impossible to avoid them given that we live in a huge city, but folks, they really get my goat.  I just can't handle the endless questions about gate codes, and security guards, and background checks of other parents.  Maybe the problem is with me and a lifetime spent living in large urban areas, but if you're expecting a school in the middle of Los Angeles to resemble something in a small town in Iowa, you're really barking up the wrong tree.  Anyway, setting aside the parents that I wanted to punch in the face, I really loved the energy of the second school we visited.  The Founder of the school was inspiring and artistic and warm and charming and just seemed fun.  The classrooms reflected this, and I loved that the kids have the same two teachers for all three years.  The other parents on this tour were hip and cool and totally my people (except for the token overprotective weirdos), but the outside space is meh.  So far, this place is in second position to the school we saw a few weeks back, only because the Hubby and I both like the idea of Noah staying at the same place for more than just preschool.

I mentioned this in yesterday's post, but the third school we looked at has been crossed off our list.  We loved that it looks like something from the East Coast, but the classrooms were cold, the teachers uninspiring, and the kids have to attend chapel once a week.  Supposedly this jaunt to the affiliated church is non-denominational, but that just didn't sit right with us.  Sure, we're a couple of Jews who celebrate Christmas, but that doesn't mean we want Noah being forced to learn The Lord's Prayer.  I'm all about freedom of religion except when it might be confusing for my son.  The other parents on the tour at this school were definitely Eastside parents, which I loved.  Lots of vintage clothes, tattoos and same sex parents - all the hipster stuff we're looking for in a preschool.  We did have a private laugh though, because one set of security freaks from earlier in the week were in our tour group.  Their raison d'etre on Sunday happened to be the lunch program, so we were treated to a never ending list of questions regarding the calorie count, the origin, and the preparation of all the food served to the preschoolers.  I finally reminded these nutritional Nazis that they are welcome to pack a lunch for their child, therefore negating any concerns they might have about the spinach in next week's quiche not being organic.  I'm sure they think I'm a real pain in the ass because I shut down their questioning, but Momma had a hangover and I didn't want to be stuck there all day hearing about how the grilled cheese is prepared. 

We're currently taking a hiatus from preschool tours until sometime next year, so I'm afraid you'll just have to wait with baited breath for further tales of freaky parents.  

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