Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Party Like its's 1999 (and you don't have children)

Back when I was young, well-rested and had perky boobs.
It's hard to believe, my friends, but this is my final post of 2014.  I'm signing off until January 5th in order to spend some quality time with my kids.

Wait, no that's not right.

I'm taking a little break because I'm freaking exhausted and I just need some rest.  Too bad I'll still have to parent my children.  

I'm excited about 2015.  There's no reason for this, seeing that I'm still going to be spending every single day with my children, but a woman can hope that something new and exciting will happen, right?  

I'd like to tell you that I have incredibly exciting plans for ringing in 2015, but let's get real here.  I have two kids and hiring a sitter for New Year's Eve costs more than I made throughout my entire acting career.  I have misty watercolor memories of the days of old when I used to go out on NYE, but I have a sneaking suspicion it's going to be a long, long time before I get to party hearty on the last day of the year again.  

The good news is that I may be a big loser now, but I still have some pretty cool friends from my past life.  Sure, I'm currently a yoga-pant-wearing, unshowered mess, but there was a time when I used to go to the hot clubs and stay up late and was actually cool.  Hard to believe, I know.

My end of the year gift to you is a playlist for your super sexy Stay-at-Home New Year's Eve from DJ Hesta Prynn.  You guys, she's an actual DJ who spins at cool parties for Vogue and Girls and Christian Louboutin(!) and she's my friend.  For reals.  I used my incredible powers of persuasion to get this talented lady to put together a playlist just for fans of the ol' blog.  It's not available anywhere else and it's designed to make your New Year's Eve party-worthy even if it only involves you wearing pjs and eating goldfish crackers on your couch.  

Who cares if you haven't showered in three days?  These tunes are going to get your still-sporting-my-baby-weight ass off of the couch and have you grooving in your living room.  You'll feel like your old, pre-children self.  You'll dance! You'll drink! You'll hook-up (with your spouse)!  

Just remember to take an aspirin before you go to bed, because for some annoying reason even though it's (almost) 2015 no one has managed to figure out a way to get children to sleep past 7am.  

Happy New Year!  See you in 2015.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

We Need a Little (Jewish) Christmas, 2014

One of the greatest mysteries of life is why it is totally impossible to make it through the holiday season without getting sick.  As far as I can tell once you have kids all bets are off and it's pretty much guaranteed that your child will infect you with some sort of antibiotic-resistant playground germ of death that will keep you from being able to enjoy the holiday season.  Last year, we all had bronchitis.  This year, the gift that the Muffin Man keeps on giving is the stomach flu.

On the plus side, it was an excellent way to lose the last of my stubborn baby weight, although in hindsight I think a juice cleanse would've been more enjoyable than twelve hours of vomiting.  That being said, I can now fit into my favorite sequined mini dress!

Too bad getting a babysitter on New Year's Eve is harder than selling a script in this town.

We seem to be on the mend, and thankfully the Little Lady appears to have dodged the stomach virus thus far (knock on wood) so we're now gearing up to enjoy the rest of Hanukkah and get our Christmas celebration on. 

Look, I love Hanukkah; the candles, the food, the story of the oil, and I'm so happy that my kids are being raised in a (mostly) Jewish home.  But I grew up celebrating Christmas, and so did the Hubby, and we really, really like Christmas.  We like the fresh tree.  We like the lights and the presents and Santa Claus and all that crap.  In our defense, we've got menorah lights on our tree, dreidel ornaments, and that Shark Tank favorite the Star of David tree topper, so we're still doing our best to represent for the Chosen People.

Side note: did you know that many of the most popular Christmas Carols were actually written by Jews?

Experiencing the magic of the holidays through our kids is proving to be the best part.  Hearing the Muffin Man say "wow" every morning when he comes downstairs and sees the tree and watching him get excited about opening his Hanukkah presents is wonderful.  It's enough to soften the heart of even the Grinchiest amongst us.

Well that and some delicious mulled wine.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Misadventures in Cooking: Eat Something Fried, It's Hanukkah!

His Hanukkah cookie house decorating skillz are off the hook.
Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, so naturally I spent this morning barreling down the aisles of my local Target store in an attempt to both start and finish my holiday shopping all at once.  It's been so long since I've actually left my couch to go shopping that I'd forgotten how horrible it is out in the real world during "the most wonderful time of year".  Honestly, it's like every single crazy person in the city of Los Angeles decided to do their holiday shopping this morning.

I thought it might be fun to get you into the holiday spirit by writing a little Hanukkah ditty about all the sites I saw during my expedition this morning...

On the first day of Hanukkah my Target gave to me: 
a drunk guy in the toy section feeling up Rockstar Barbie.

On the second day of Hanukkah my Target gave to me: 
two women coming to blows over the last set of Star of David dish towels.

On the third day of Hanukkah my Target gave to me: 
a kid with the stomach flu throwing up in aisle 12.

On the fourth day of Hanukkah my Target gave to me:
a homeless man sleeping on the blow-up mattress display. 

On the fifth day of Hanukkah my Target gave to me: 
a toddler pooping in his training potty while riding in a cart. 

On the sixth day of Hanukkah my Target gave to me: 
a near death parking lot experience in which I was almost run down by Kia Spectra.  

On the seventh day of Hanukkah my Target gave to me: 
some truly excellent makeup tips from the Transvestite prostitute shopping in the Cover Girl aisle.

On the eighth (and final) day of Hanukkah my Target gave to me: 
proof that there's a reason I only shop online;
 if I'm going to put up with this sh*t, I better be drinking wine. 

If you're celebrating the Festival of Lights, I hope you have a wonderful Hanukkah.  As a special gift to you this year, I'm sharing my no-fail, gluten free latke recipe.  Remember, the secret to crispy latkes is to make sure the oil is really hot.

Crispy Latkes 

2 lbs. russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
1 medium onion
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup superfine brown rice flour
salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying (I use Trader Joe's canola oil)

Peel the potatoes and put into cold water.  Using a grater or a food processor coarsely grate the potatoes and onions.  Place the grated veggies in a fine-mesh strainer or tea towel and squeeze out all the water over a bowl.  The potato starch will settle to the bottom; carefully pour off the water and save the starch.

Mix the grated potato and onion with the potato starch.  Add the eggs, flour, and salt and pepper.

Pour about three inches of vegetable oil into a deep frying pan.  Be sure and heat the oil until it's really hot (test it by throwing one string of potato into the oil - when it sizzles fast and furiously, it's ready).  Take 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture in the palm of your hand and flatten as best you can.  Once flat, use a spoon to drop into the oil.  The latkes cook quickly, so keep an eye on them and turn them over after two to three minutes.  When pancakes are finished, remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.  Serve immediately with applesauce and sour cream.

Here's a helpful tip for kitchen morons like myself: don't overfill your frying pan with pancakes, because then the oil will overflow and catch fire.  If you do inadvertently start a latke fire, remember to only use salt to put out an oil fire, not water.

Have a happy and safe Hanukkah, my lovelies.  May your latkes be crisp, your brisket tender, and your wine glass never empty!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fix My Wardrobe: December Edition

what you get in a stitch fix box
Stitch Fix: because nobody should walk around looking like this.
Just a reminder, my friends, that Hanukkah is only five days away and Christmas will be coming down your chimney in 14 days.  You still have time to snap up some of the great gifts from my Holiday Gift Guide, but if you're not enthralled with the idea of ombre tights or perfume for the lady love in your life, another option is to get her a gift certificate for Stitch Fix.  Because really, what's better than the gift of good fashion?!

My December fix came last week, which means that I not only have some new clothing in my wardrobe, but that I was forced to take a shower and put on makeup for the sake of reporting back to you, dear readers, on the winners and losers in this month's box.

One of my favorite things about Stitch Fix, other than the fact that it keeps me from having to actually go shopping, is that every box includes a personal note from your stylist as well as a nifty guide on how to style each of the pieces in your box; complete with photos.  I love this feature because I'm a total fashion idiot and it makes it so much easier to figure out what I can wear with the goodies in my box.  I'm actually thinking about adding some corkboard to the back of my closet door so I can refer to my style cards whenever I get dressed - keep your eyes out for that home decor hack in a post coming early 2015.

Here's what I got in my December Box:
FYI: The cute black pants I'm wearing in all of the photos are the ones I got in my first box.  You know, the box that I didn't get around to photographing for you guys.  Yes, you can converse at length with my Mother about how often I disappoint you.  I promise, it will be a lengthy discussion.  

Skies are Blue Embroidered Top $68.00
I actually think this top looks pretty cute on me, but I just can't get past the fact that it reminds me too much of my childhood spent in Berkeley and it makes me feel like I need to stop shaving my legs and start wearing patchouli.  I'm sure that if I'd had a normal upbringing I probably would've kept it, but I'm scarred from spending my formative years drinking aloe nectar and burning sage.  RETURNED.

LA Made Tatum 3/4 Sleeve Striped Tee $48.00
I LOVE this shirt.  It's insanely comfortable, looks pretty cute on, and is loose enough to disguise my post-baby belly.  If my stylist sent me a box full of only different versions of this shirt I would buy every single one.  In fact, I've worn this shirt for the last three days in a row; I'm still trying to decide if that's something of which I should be proud or ashamed. KEPT!

Moon Collection Knit Drape Front Cardigan $68.00
I was really feeling this sweater when I put it on, but then the Hubby said that he hated the print and that I looked like an old lady living at the Shalom Retirement Hotel.  Since I'm going more for "hip, urban Mom" than "geriatric bubbe", I (reluctantly) sent it back.  RETURNED.

Mavi Gold Ruxin Distressed Boyfriend Jean $128.00
First of all, I think we can all agree that based on the look on my face in the second photo it's pretty obvious why my modeling career never took off.  This pair of boyfriend jeans was super cute and quite a bit longer than the ones from last month's box.  Unfortunately, they were ginormous.  This is a size zero and they were totally falling off of me. I'm sure I could've had them taken in by my trusty tailor (every woman should have a great tailor), but that would add to the cost of the pants and by the time I actually got a chance to go to the tailor distressed boyfriend jeans would probably be out of fashion.  I'm beginning to despair of every finding a flattering boyfriend jean that fits.  Sigh. RETURNED.

Splendid Maggie Cut-Out Scoop Neck Tank $68.00
If you follow me on Instagram then you're all too familiar with my love for Splendid.  I'm pretty much obsessed with their incredibly soft clothes both for me and for the kiddos.  This shirt was one of the few pieces of Splendid apparel that did not ring my bell, so to speak.  I love the way it looks in the back, but I just don't think it really did anything for me in the front.  Plus the fabric wrinkled really easily, which is not a selling point when you have two children and most of your clothes spend more time on your floor than in your closet.  RETURNED.  

A trend seems to be emerging of my keeping one item and sending the rest back, but I am holding out hope that one of these months every single item in the box will look amazing on me and I'll have five new items to add to my wardrobe.  Plus I really want to take advantage of that 25% you get when you keep everything that comes in your box.  What can I say, I'm a sucker for a sale.

Look, it's almost a new year, which means it's time for a new you - why not sign up for Stitch Fix and get some clothes that look fantastic with your new outlook on life?  I promise you'll regret it a whole lot less than you regret sleeping with that one sleazy frat guy in college.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Preschool Panic: Talk to Me

The preschool applications are done!  Finished.  Fin. Finito.

Personally I think we look good on paper. Sure, Rose looks like a withered, drooling prune in our family photo, but at least the rest of us look cute. Besides, who would be crazy enough to reject a kid who can rock a pair of suspenders? No one in their right mind, that's who.  

Now the waiting begins. Sometime in January or February we will find out which schools are interested in us and then we have to schedule interviews with the Heads of those schools. That's right, friends, we're only half way through this whole process. We've toured schools. We've applied to schools. We've filled out financial aid forms and yet we still have to pass muster with the big cheeses at these institutes of lower learning. It's never ending, I'm telling you. 

I'm actually really nervous about the interview portion of the preschool show.  I can write any amount of BS about how building popsicle stick castles is going to expand my kid's horizons, but talking to people face to face is not my strong suit.  I suppose I could throw back a cocktail or two to loosen up before we go in for the interview, but I suspect that it might not reflect too well on my family if I show up smelling like the bottom of a liquor bottle.

I guess I'll have to save my stress drinking until after our interviews.  

Look, I'm the text book case of a funny person: completely neurotic, socially inept, and a total train wreck. I can only hope that our first choice preschool hasn't filled their quota of those particular parental traits already.  Thankfully, I'm married to someone who is able to sell sand to a Bedouin, so I'm counting on Chris to make up for my lack of interpersonal communication skills.  If only I could get the questions beforehand I could write some pithy answers and have them memorized prior to our meet and greet, but I guess it wouldn't look too good if I cheated on the admissions interview, would it?

I just try to remind myself that the Muffin Man will be fine no matter where he ends up going to preschool.  Ultimately he's not really going to care whether he's eating paste at Temple Day School or the Neighborhood Coop; I'm just not sure my ego can handle being rejected by the hottest nursery school in town.

Plus I'm already planning on using all the connected Hollywood parents I meet through the PTA to further my career.  I've got to get something more for my $14,000 tuition than a few construction paper collages and a loaf or two of challah.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Breakfast, with Children

Have you seen the new book You Have to F****** Eat?  I was already a fan of Adam Mansbach's based on his first tome, Go the F*** to Sleep, but this new literary canon is running a close second.  Why?  Because it's not until one has children that she truly appreciates the beauty of a hot, freshly prepared meal enjoyed at a leisurely speed.  Once you're saddled with a kid, all mealtime bets are off.  You want a piping hot plate of scrambled eggs and some fresh toast with jam?  I suggest you hire a babysitter, go out to eat, and enjoy the most expensive breakfast of your life.  Because the next time you get to enjoy some sort of hot breakfast will be when your kids are in college.

Breakfast pre-kids:
You pour yourself a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee and enjoy it from the comfort of your bed while catching up on world events.

After showering and pouring yourself a second cup of delicious java, you make yourself a mouthwatering breakfast of farm fresh eggs, smoked salmon on toast, and an organic fruit salad.  You catch up on email while eating your breakfast at a relaxed pace.

After breakfast you take the time to wash your plate before heading off to work.

Breakfast, with children:
You pour yourself a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee and enjoy one sip before your child starts demanding to be fed.  

You prepare your child a beautiful plate of scrambled eggs, seasoned with a touch of sea salt.  When you present this meal to your child, he screams "no" at the top of his lungs and either throws the plate on the floor or at you.  You cry actual tears because you would kill for a hot breakfast.  Served on a plate.

You microwave your now cold coffee.

You offer your child yogurt instead.  Initially, he says yes.  When presented with a bowl of yogurt with a touch of honey and some fresh, organic berries, your child screams "no berry!" and then he empties the bowl of yogurt onto the table and proceeds to smear it around with his hands.  You cry actual tears because that was the last of the yogurt and now you'll have to spend some of your precious free time going food shopping.

You spend five minutes looking for your coffee before finally remembering you never took it out of the microwave.

You throw a frozen waffle in the toaster and hope that you can convince your kid it tastes delicious without syrup.  When presented with the waffle your kid immediately demands syrup.  You cave in and allow your child to have some syrup to buy yourself enough time to reheat your coffee.

You microwave your coffee.  Again.

While you are in the kitchen microwaving your coffee, your child decides he doesn't need no stinkin' waffle and starts drinking syrup directly from the bottle.  When you catch him doing this and you take the syrup away from him he throws a fit and refuses to eat any more breakfast.  You take him out of his highchair and attempt to wipe the syrup off of his hands before he uses your couch as a napkin.

You have a headache.  Maybe because you've been unable to ingest more than three sips of coffee.  Your coffee is cold again, but you can't let your child play in the other room unattended while you microwave the same stale cup of java.  You throw a few ice cubes in the cup and decide iced coffee is better than no coffee.

After five minutes of playing your kid tells you he's hungry.  Probably because he didn't eat any f*** breakfast.  You follow your kid to the kitchen.  When he gets there, he opens the refrigerator door, pulls out the meatballs from last night's dinner and says he "wants that".  You can't understand why someone would want meatballs at 7:30am, but you're just glad he picked something with protein.  You microwave a meatball for him.  You also throw a slice of toast in the toaster for yourself.

You spend another two minutes looking for your coffee before remembering it's in the other room.

Your kid sits down at the table and you give him his meatball.  You spread butter and jam on your toast before going to retrieve your coffee.

All the ice in your coffee has melted and it's now coffee water.  You pray there's still enough caffeine in there to get rid of your headache.

You sit down at the table where your child is eating his meatball.  You bite into your toast.  It's no longer very warm, but you're just happy to be sitting down and eating something.  Your child notices that you are eating toast and now that is all he wants.  He says "I want that!" several times before you hand over your toast just to get him to shut up.  You cry actual tears because you are drinking cold, watery coffee and you only got one bite of your breakfast.  You reassure yourself that you will be able to enjoy a quiet meal and a hot cup of coffee when your kid goes down for his nap.

You just have to survive lunch time first.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Misadventures in Gifting: Holiday Gift Guide 2014

The good news is that I survived Thanksgiving and a weekend away at an isolated cabin in the woods with my family and no internet.  No, I did not commit homicide or even attempt to throw myself into the frozen lake, for which I would like to thank Xanax and wine.

The bad news is that it's December 2nd, which means that Hanukkah starts in only 14 days, and that there are only 23 days before Christmas.

Commence panicking.

As I'm sure you've probably already surmised, I'm not one of those super organized, plan ahead type of Moms who have all of their holiday gifts purchased and wrapped before Halloween.  I'm more of what could be described as a "thank goodness for Amazon Prime because I can't tell my kids that Santa Claus forgot to stop by here'" type of Moms.  While I can never seem to manage to get my gifts purchased before the very last minute, I somehow find plenty of time to cruise the interwebs searching for great things to give my loved ones.  This year I've found some pretty groovy items of which, if you follow me on Pinterest, you already got a sneak peek.

In the hopes that I can help you, dear readers, become the organized, planned ahead person I aspire to be, I've put together a gift guide that's sure to have something perfect for almost everyone on your list.

For the Mommy who dreams of wearing something other than yoga pants:

For the Renaissance Man in your life (AKA "Daddy"):
 5) Retro Brand Baseball T (so he can represent his hometown) 6) Hipster iPhone Case 7) Plenty More

For when "naturally beautiful" no longer looks good enough for your social media account:

8) By Terry Blush Glace gives a natural flush to the cheeks 9) John Freida Hot Air Brush 10) Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate is amazing for tired, stressed out skin 10) Keiko Mecheri Peau de Peche Perfume

For whoever is hosting that Hannukkah (or Christmas) dinner you're crashing:
12) Vintage barware is always chic 13) Gold zig zag tray, made to order 14) Geode soap rock

For the Mommy who aspires to have a beautiful home despite having children who like using markers.  On furniture:

For the little man in your life:
18) Thief and Bandit leggings 19) Dino crayons! 20) Bedhead pjs are the cuddliest

For the little woman in your life:

21) Every kid deserves her own teepee 22) A gold print for her bedroom 23) Little Hip Squeaks headbands (so people stop asking if it's a boy or a girl)

For your fashion-forward Sister, and your Mom who loves to garden and who keeps suggesting you move to the suburbs:

Now go out there and get shopping!  
Or you can wait until Christmas Eve and meet me at the mall for a cocktail.  

P.S. - Last year's Holiday Gift Guide was pretty great, too.  Check it out here.

This site was made with love by Angie Makes