Thursday, January 31, 2008

Good Mom, Bad Mom

Everyone knows that when it comes to mothering, there is no perfect. Yet, I've found there are days when I deserve an A- and days when I probably should get a D. I love's "Bad Parent" feature, and it got me thinking about the good and bad mom moments in my day (and maybe yours too?):

Good Mom

5:30 a.m.: I don't complain when Carson decides to wake up early. Instead, the second I hear his cry I'm there -- by his crib smiling with a big GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE!

8:00 a.m.: Even though I have email to respond to and other important things to do, I sit next to him and play.

9:30 a.m.: So what if he doesn't want to nap, that's OK. We'll read books for the next hour instead.

11:30: Today we're having homeade soup, and pureed apples and spinach that I made last night.

1:30: While baby is napping, I clean the playroom, do an interview, wipe down the high chair, get dinner rolling, and plan an educational outing for later in the day.

3:00: We head to the zoo, to teach Carson about birds (which he is currently wild about).

4:00: I give him a healthy snack of sliced kiwi and whole grain crackers and cheese.

5:30: Dinner is on the table, the house is clean, and somehow I've finished two articles, too.

7:00: Carson gets a nice bath, storytime, and is happily in bed.

Bad Mom

5:30: I say "not again" when I look at the clock, stumble into Carson's room and hardly wish him a good morning. It's way too early for pleasentries.

8:00: He watches Elmo while I doze off for a few minutes on the couch (hey, he was up three times last night!).

9:30: It's naptime, so why the heck is he resisting? Instead of running to him when he puts up a fight, I let him cry a little, and he falls asleep a while later. I feel bad, but not that bad.

11:30: Lunchtime: I open a can of Annie's stars and cheese soup. Hey, at least it's organic. But he doesn't want to eat it, or anything else, so I cave and feed him more string cheese. All the while, I'm wondering if a child can survive on a diet of only string cheese.

1:30: When he's down for his afternoon nap, I feel like I should wipe down the high chair, tidy the playroom, and get organized for the afternoon, but I'm too tired. I tell myself I need to work on an article, but instead I spend the hour on

3:00: I'm too exhausted to even think about packing up the baby and heading to the zoo, or any other place. So we stay home. The only thing Carson seems to want to do is play with the dog's water bowl. After four "redirects" I finally give in, pretending not to notice him splashing around in there. Later I feel bad, and wash his hands. Eww.

4:00: Snack time: We go to the drive-thru Starbucks and he has bites of my scone.

5:30: Dinner is not on the table. The house is not clean. And my articles are not done.

8:00: After pizza has arrived and been devoured, I decide that bathtime would take too much energy. He's not that dirty, I tell myself. Plus, um, my show is almost on.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Is this normal?

Yesterday, I made a mad dash to Whole Foods in search of dinner. Carson loves grocery shopping with me. He has fun pointing at things that he recognizes, like carrots and oranges and baby food jars.

But, yesterday I discovered something new about Carson -- and let me tell you, my reaction was whoa.

Let me give you some back story first: Sometimes when I'm at Whole Foods around lunchtime, I'll grab a cup of soup from the soup bar, and sit for a bit, giving Carson a few bites. I've done this maybe two or three times.

So, back to yesterday. We passed the soup bar area, and he started pointing and whining and then SCREAMING. Obviously he was trying to tell me something, but what? Big tears were rolling down those chipmunk cheeks like you wouldn't believe. I couldn't figure out what was going on. Did something frighten him?

Then it hit me: He wanted soup, and in a major way!

Maybe it's me, but I thought food-related tantrums were for the terrible twos. Carson is 1. In any case, next time I go back to Whole Foods, I'm going to make a detour -- around the soup station.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Interview with Vicki Glembocki

If you're anything like me, the first year of motherhood was an adjustment -- a big one. And if your baby is colicky (like mine), it's that much more of a shock to the system. In the last year, I kept wishing someone would write a no-holds-barred book about new mommyhood -- the ups and the downs, the pretty and the ugly times. And, how thrilled I was to see that a writer friend of mine, Vicki Glembocki had done just that! Her new book, just hitting bookstore shelves now (so go pick up a copy!), The Second Nine Months is receiving lots of praise for being an honest look at life after pregnancy. And if you've ever read Vicki's work (she contributes to Fit Pregnancy and has a new column in Women's Health) you probably know, and love, her frank, laugh-out-loud, tell-it-like-it-is style. Vicki took time out of her busy book-release schedule to answer a few of my questions:

SJ: Finally, someone is willing to give the dirt on motherhood (the stuff we all go through, but don't really talk about)! For a long time, I thought I was the only new mother on earth who felt that the first several months of babyhood were, um I'll be honest, a NIGHTMARE. From the worry to the sleep deprivation and all the crying in between (both by me and my colicky son), I wondered for a long time if I had ruined my life by having a child. When you were going through the hard stuff with your daughter (who you mentioned was colicky), what got you through?

VG: Honestly, I have no idea. Wine didn't help. My husband didn't help. Oprah didn't help. In retrospect, I like to tell myself that what got me through were those brief moments when I actually felt like I'd done something right--figuring out, for example, that she napped well in a swing (where I then put her, like, 24-7). But I didn't feel that way very often. I felt like time had stopped--that I would forever be sitting on THIS couch in THESE stinky sweatpants with THIS screaming baby refusing to latch on to THIS perpetually exposed boob, for the rest of my entire life. I didn't recognize that this stage would pass, because I didn't know what was a stage and what wasn't, what was normal and what was me sucking at it all. I had no frame of reference. I just assumed that I was the only woman on earth who didn't have the maternal instinct gene, so my daughter and I were, basically, screwed.

SJ: I'm sure there are a million funny, and downright hilarious, stories from the trenches of motherhood in your book, which I can't wait to read. Can you share one with us? Maybe one that wasn't so funny at the time, but now gets you chuckling a bit?

VG: Well, there was the time when I was sitting on that couch, with those boobs hanging out, Blair reclining on the "My Brest Friend" nursing pillow hooked around my waist, me trying to coax her to latch on for the 427th time, when the dog started to bark in the backyard. And he wouldn't stop barking. And his barking was freaking Blair out. And it was freaking me out. And he needed to be stopped. So I stood up, walked over to the sliding glass door to the back porch, threw it open, stepped outside, and find the three men from a tree service who were in my yard working on cutting down my neighbor's tree...and now they were all staring up at me. And Blair. And My Brest Friend. And my boobs.

SJ: What do you think about mothers who claim that their babies are "easy"? Do you think there is such thing as an easy baby (I'm praying I get one someday), or do you think they're fibbing a bit?

VG: I know there are easy babies. My second baby, who is eight months now, is the easiest, most laid-back baby on the planet. During the first couple months, though, she was tough--with the sleeping and the crying and the nursing. But she is an easier baby than Blair was. But that doesn't mean that, if I'd had her first, I wouldn't have had a book to write. No way! Yes, Blair was colicky, but the nightmare of the crying wasn't the entire problem. The problem was the transition into motherhood, the sudden identity shift--"Yesterday? No baby. Today? Baby." I went through a legitimate identity crisis, trying to puzzle out who I was now, what parts of the old me I could mesh with the new"mother" me. These are issues that every new mom can relate to, whether your baby is easy or hard or gassy or pukey. But, at the same time, I do think new moms are afraid to talk about anything they're going through that doesn't jive with the expected "I'm loving every minute of it" line, or the "this baby is the best thing that's ever happened to me," line. I was so terrified that someone would think I was a bad mom, I didn't tell anyone...and THAT was what made me feel so alone. That's why I wrote the book, which is a book I hunted desperately for during those second nine months and couldn't find. Now, someone has said it out loud, someone has told her real story from day one so that other women can know that they aren't the only new moms who think they might be maternal mutants.

SJ: When my son was younger, I used to see those commercials for sleep medications like Lunesta and wished I could just pop a few of those and wake up eight hours later. Yeah right! Do you have any advice for dealing with the horrors of sleep deprivation?

VG: If I had the perfect advice for dealing with the horrors of sleep deprivation, I'd be rich enough to buy every woman reading this a nighttime nanny. That sleep thing? That is the hardest part of it ALL. It's no wonder we feel overwhelmed and like time has stopped and like we want to kill our husbands and our dogs and our mailmen. I can't even make it through breakfast without a good night's sleep, much less months. And months. And months. Until we "cried it out" when Blair was 5.5 months old, she was pretty much waking up every hour, on the hour. And I was back to work. But, after we "cried it out," she slept through the night. And still does. My advice, I think, would be this: don't be afraid to let the baby cry a little. (I can practically hear the attachment- parenting devotees huffing and puffing. Oh. They get sooo mad.)

SJ: What's it like having (gulp) two kids? In particular, what's it like being a successful, productive, and ultra-creative writer while being a mom to two kids? Please tell us it gets easier.

VG: It is so. Much. Easier. Why? Because I know what to expect. I know that "this, too, shall pass." I know that a baby WILL eventually stop crying, a baby WILL sleep through the night, a baby WILL smile and giggle and eat mac-n-cheese. Two has it's own set of challenges, of course, but I'm so much less neurotic this time. I actually enjoyed it. I actually think about having another (do NOT tell my husband this). Working and being a mom is always hard--it was with one, and it is still with two--and I work at home four days a week, with the girls at daycare. These days, I'm really struggling with going off the clock at night, with not checking e-mail until they go to bed, with being entirely present with them. It seems like it should be a no brainer, but it isn't. And, this just goes to show that, even though the second nine months are over, the struggle for balance isn't over. I don't think it'll ever be over.

SJ: Finally, do you have any new projects in the works that we can be looking out for?

VG: I'm writing a monthly column for Women's Health magazine that I'm really psyched about, partly because they let me write about whatever weirdo thing is rattling in my head and, partly because they created an illustration of me to go with the column and the illustrated me is VERY thin and stylish. I love her.

New baby food find

I picked up this new cereal for my little guy a few days ago -- the little guy who screams and whines and throws fits at breakfast. Clue: Maybe he hated what I was feeding him? Interestingly, as soon as I switched his old cereal for this new stuff, Multi-Grain Cereal (organic with probiotics) from Happy Baby (endorsed by Dr. Sears, too), the fits have diminished. While I can't say there hasn't been an occasional breakfast-time meltdown, I can say that he's happier and he's EATING breakfast. You can find this stuff at Whole Foods.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Running: Why I need to do more of it.

This morning I decided to go for a jog. I can't even remember the last time this urge struck me. Let's just say, it's been a while. Proof: When I went to go looking for my running shoes, I had to launch a whole-house reconnaissance mission.

But once I found them, and leashed up the dog, it felt good to hit the pavement again -- even if the forecast was calling for snow. I picked up my pace and decided to jog through the ritzier part of the neighborhood -- the streets where nobody cleans their own houses, and I suspect, meals are cooked by personal chefs. Why not check out the lifestyles of the rich and famous while getting some exercise, I reasoned?

The morning was perfect. Just me and the sidewalk -- not another human in sight. I could hear birds singing, trees swaying, and little bits of icy snow pellets hitting the ground. The lavish fountains of my more well-to-do neighbors were frozen solid, as were their front lawns, the ones that look like someone took a cuticle nipper to them.

After a few minutes, my lungs started to feel like they were frozen solid, too, so I slowed down my pace. I could see gratitude in Paisley's eyes (she's my overweight golden retriever). So I just kind of puttered along. And halfway into my morning trek, I realized that I hadn't thought of Carson -- my little boy -- once. I wasn't fretting that his daddy was feeding him inappropriate foods for babies (steak and cupcakes came to mind), nor was I worrying that he was missing me, falling down on the tile floor, or getting into the dog's water. My conscious, for the moment, was worry- and baby-free, and that felt so good.

I've always loved the idea of running. But sticking to a routine is the thing I have trouble with. Somehow, though, this morning's jog gave me the new found energy to try again.

P.S. Those cupcakes I mentioned were made by my friend Kristine: boston cream cupcake to be exact, and equally as delicious as they were sinful.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Today I ate a teething biscuit

The title of this post kind of describes life right now. Things are a little topsy turvy. The dog is stinky, my office is a little more messy than I'd like to admit, and my son's teeth seem to be all coming in at once. So, we have a lot of teething paraphernalia lying around these days.

This morning I was looking for a treat to dip in my coffee, say a biscotti or maybe a pain au raisin. But no. Sigh. I reached for a vanilla teething biscuit instead. Hey, they're low-cal and organic! What's not to love about that? Only problem was, they also taste a lot like cardboard. Hmph.

Tonight: adult food. We're going out for crepes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Life, according to the list

I love lists. They work for the little things in life like shopping or to-dos for your hubby, and big things like dreams and goals. Right now, there seems to be a lot of things on my current list: Some are stressful, others are frivolous, and there's at least one that's quite frankly driving me crazy.

To Do

*Figure out how to get my 1 year old to eat and not a.) spit his food out, b.) throw it at me, and c.) give it to the dog.

*Interview two more sources for an article that is due on Friday (an article that I'm quite proud of, I might add).

*Determine what in the world is causing my office to smell like -- are you ready for this? -- cabbage soup! Last week, I walked into my office and noticed it, and it's been hanging around ever since. A leaky pipe? A (gulp) dead rodent in the wall -- please God no! -- maybe? A rotten container of goat cheese (I do write about food for a living)? No, nope, and nada! We've called plumbers, checked out the crawl space, bought an air purifying machine, tore the place to pieces -- with no sign of anything. Yet this smell is driving me CRAZY.

*Take Carson to the zoo.

*Plan a meal for a friend who is having a baby soon. Her only requests: no celery, and not too many onions, please.

*Put the finishing touches on my book revisions for my agent. "Finishing touches" makes this sound so light and breezy, when really it's going to take all my free time for the next week and a half or more.

*Send a note to one of my favorite editors who has found herself in the hospital with a scary health situation. Get well soon!

*Vacuum, Swiffer, fold laundry, wipe down counter tops. Repeat.

*Figure out how I'm going to celebrate my 30th birthday (next month). A party? Too much work. A trip to the spa? Now that's more like it.

*Create several recipes for a new food story I'm working on. Anyone want to volunteer to taste test?

P.S. Love this blog entry from an editor I've worked with at Glamour -- had to share. I could almost identify with every word!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Poor teddy

Here is my son, Carson, dangling his beloved teddy bear over his crib. His favorite pastime these days: terrorizing teddy. He threatens to toss teddy over various baby gates, dangles him from his high chair, attempts to feed him to the dog, and chucks him into my office.

Since he can't talk yet, teddy helps him communicate. If he throws his bear in a certain direction, he reasons, we'll get that this is where he wants to go -- sort of like a mountain climber's grappling hook. Carson has the whole thing down to a science: 1.) I want to get out of my crib. 2.) Brilliant idea: I'll throw teddy on the floor, that'll get me out of here. 3.) Hey, why is teddy down there, and why am I still in this crib?! Moooooooooooom?! Get me OUT OF HERE.

But sometimes this throwing-teddy business gets a little, well, inconvenient. Exhibit A: Naps. Exhibit B: Bedtime. You try explaining to a 1 year old that when you fling teddy out of the crib across the room, for the fourth time at 2 a.m., mommy is probably not going to retrieve him for you -- again!

Cast-iron skillet cooking

Today I pulled out a cookbook I've been meaning to spend some time with for a while now. Someone mentioned chicken and dumplings somewhere -- it might have been on TV, at the cafe, on the radio ... I'm not sure where I heard it, but I knew I needed to make this dish, and fast.

With The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook in hand, I got down to business this evening. Mission: To make an old-fashioned Sunday dinner. I know, a little cheesy, but stay with me here.

First, there was a mound of shallots, onion, celery, mushrooms, and celery to be chopped. I got the prep work done, then threw the chicken into the skillet. Ack, it began to stick! But, an extra drizzle of olive oil seemed to do the trick.

After the chicken browned, it was the vegetable mixture's turn for a dip in the pan, this time with a bit of butter (I didn't say anything about this meal being low fat). Next up: some flour, to thicken things up, a splash of sherry, broth, and plenty of heavy cream (sorry dieters, this is strike two, I know). I added a splash of white wine for good measure, too. Why not?

While this simmered on the stove, it was time to tackle the dumplings, which were actually so easy that even a nonbaker, like me, could pull them off: cornmeal, flour, baking powder, butter, salt, and milk. I also threw in a dash of oregano. The recipe called for rosemary, but I didn't have any and the plant I had growing in the garden bit the dust last summer when I was too busy with my colicky infant to water it. Consequences.

Carson and Jason watched as I topped things off with little mounds of dough and sent the ensemble into the oven for about 20 minutes. I had filled the skillet just about to the brim, so I worried the whole time, that there might be an eruption in the oven. Um, it's not like this has, um, happened before ... I'm just saying ...

Fortunately, we didn't have a natural disaster on our hands. Nope -- we had a winner. What a meal! Satisfying? Yes. Comforting? Oh yeah. Just the thing I was looking for on this wintry Sunday evening. More cast-iron skillet cooking is on tap for 2008, I think.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Fueled by chocolate

Chocoholics -- you're going to love this. A group of people from England spent their Christmas holiday driving across the Sahara in a vehicle that was fueled by chocolate (fuel derived from thousands of pounds of discarded chocolate). Just think, next time you head to Chevron your choices may be Unleaded, Premium, Milk, or Dark. Leave it to the Brits!

Haphazard cooking -- and singing

In a semi state of exhaustion this evening, I plopped the baby in the walker and got cooking. I had no idea what I was making. Ever done this? I call it fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants cooking. It's when you just start pulling things out of the fridge, the pantry, the spice jar -- hoping you can pull together something edible and with no road map or recipe to guide you other than hunger.

Luckily, I had some decent ingredients on hand: a pound of Alaskan Sockeye salmon, a bunch of (slightly wilted) basil, garlic, olive oil, fruit, and a package of really good pasta that I dug out from the back of the pantry and suddenly remembered splurging on it at the market a few months ago.

What to make? Pesto. Yes -- definitely, pesto. I got the Cuisinart fired up, then started steaming the salmon while sending the pasta for a dip in the salted boiling water. While tossing a few crackers to the baby, I chopped up some random fruit (hey -- we have to get our five a day!). Fifteen minutes later, dinner was ready. Five minutes after that, dinner was devoured.

I have been under the weather, so putting together a decent (and healthy) meal felt good -- both because it was nourishing and it was an accomplishment.

Which brings me to Part B of this post. Ever found yourself singing a song, and you catch yourself belting out some ridiculous line that's way over the top WRONG? So, I had a jazz CD on, and some vocalist was doing a rendition of "My Favorite Things." I start singing along, and "doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles" somehow turned into "CRISCO with noodles." Now, I wouldn't touch a canister of Crisco with a 10-foot pole, so I have no idea how this slipped in there. I suppose it could have been worse, maybe "DISCO with noodles." But somehow, right now, that sounds kind of fun.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Move over chicken noodle

When I'm sick, like I have been this week (don't worry, I'm not contagious!), I turn to soup (and occasionally spill it all over my couch, as I noted in a recent post). But, chicken noodle might soon have some new competition, according to a new report.

Yes, expect some unusual flavors to cross your palate this year, according to trend watchers. For instance, how about a bowl of watermelon bisque? Or maybe pork belly stew? Oh, or surely you're in the mood for some piping hot rhubarb-blood-orange soup (actually, this kind of sounds good).

What unusual blend of soup have you been cooking up lately?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The incredible stain remover you've never heard of

Our poor couch. This year it has seen many calamities of the baby and non-baby variety. And today, the poor thing got doused by a bowl of vegetable soup. Note to self: Don't hold bowl of soup in one hand while your toddler is playing nearby.

So, I scoured the Web this afternoon, trying to find a magic potion to zap the stain, which had left several horrible spots -- and I found one. Cream of tartar. Yeah, I was a little skeptical too. The stuff that gives your souffles that extra bounce apparently is a stain fighter. Skeptically, I mixed two tablespoons with a bit of water and slathered it on the stains. Two minutes later, voila -- stains gone.

Which brings me to my question of the day: Does anyone know what the heck cream of tartar is?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Interview with writer Ali Basye

Meet Ali Basye: prolific freelance writer, author of a fab new book "The Long and Short of It: The Madcap History of the Skirt" and wedding guru (she's the editor of Seattle Bride magazine). Hear what she has to say about writing, weddings, time management, and oh yeah, skirts! (I don't know about you, but I'm going to find myself a Gary Graham skirt -- and fast. See below.)

SJ: What a fun concept for a book! Where did you get the idea for it? (There must be some wonderful backstory here!). And, for those of us who haven't yet bought a copy yet (going to the bookstore today!), give us a plump and juicy fact from your pages, please!

AB: The inspiration for the book comes from the fact that I have a background in the arts—I studied Textile Design at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia—and I love history (I even worked my way through college as one of those old time tour guides!) I wanted to do a fashion history book and several ideas were bandied about but the skirt story was the best. For one thing, it's the world's oldest garment. Secondly, no one had done a history book specifically focusing on skirts, which really surprised me.

But my absolute favorite chapter to research was the Hobble Skirt (the skin-tight skirt from the early 20th century that flared mid-calf). This skirt completely underscores the idea of Fashion Victim. Because the skirt only had a four or five inch stride, it all but eliminated high stairs and broad steps. Newspapers had a field day mocking the skirt when it debuted, and crowds would literally gather on street corners to laugh at women mincing along in their tight skirts. Women actually died wearing this skirt, either because they couldn't get out of traffic's way or from a particularly hard fall. Hobbles were banned from the court of England (because you couldn't properly curtsy the Queen in a hobble) and many schools wouldn't allow their students to wear them.

This is all so fascinating to me because the hobble came on the scene at the same time that women were fighting for men to take them seriously in order to earn the right to vote. This quote from the New York Times in 1912 sums it up: "If women want to be able to run for governor, they ought to be able to run for a car…If they want to be legally free they shouldn't be sartorially shackled. There are some so unkind to suggest that trousers would have been better—far better—and much more comfortable [than the hobble skirt]."

SJ: On the subject of skirts, do you wear them often? Because I try, and just feel so darn awkward. I love the thought of wearing a skirt, but pulling it off well is another story. What is your favorite way to wear a skirt -- long, short, with boots, with leggings, over pants?

AB: People always ask me this question now that I've written a book about skirts! The answer is, yes, I love skirts and I have my favorites: Gary Graham makes absolutely fetching skirts that always stop people in their tracks. I've never worn a Gary Graham and not been bombarded with compliments. I’m also a big champion of locally made, natural-fiber clothing—but it has to be stylish! I like Anna Cohen a lot and Carol Young of Undesigned. But my figure is challenging: I have a tiny waist and a bigger butt, so more forgiving styles, like A-line, is always best. I always love a tall, sleek boot or somewhat pointy-toed shoe with a low vamp to make my legs look longer. Also, I live in Seattle where it's damp nine months of the year and I get too cold to wear skirts in the winter. But I ride a bike everywhere and I always pull a stretchy A-line black mini skirt over my pants as a sort of mud guard. It actually looks really chic and keeps me clean if I'm headed somewhere important.

SJ: You have so much going on -- from your work with Seattle Bride to your freelance gigs -- what are your time management tricks?

AB: Lists and highlighters! I make or check my list every morning and I never have more than one list going at a time. So I make sure that doing my laundry is on the same list as making a deadline. So much of being a successful and balanced freelancer is in understanding that balancing my checkbook is as important as interviewing a source or researching a topic. Things I would normally hoard for the evenings or weekends are done during the day at a normal pace so that my downtime is relaxed and uncluttered. Also, I covet highlighters and use them to cross things off my lists, rather than a pen, because it feels more celebratory and finalized!

SJ: Speaking of brides, I know several people who are heading to the alter soon. Any interesting wedding trends that you're excited about for 2008?

AB: There are so many exciting trends for brides these days, mainly because they have more and more freedom to step outside the box. The best weddings are always the most personalized ones, in which couples strive to share their lives with their friends and family in an authentic and stylish way. I'd have to say the trend I'm most excited about is the enthusiasm that couples have for eating seasonally and locally. In the Northwest we are truly blessed with a year-round bounty of options, including wine and spirits and organic or vegetarian meals. Northwest couples can have entire gourmet meals culled from a 50-mile radius of their wedding! Couples also seem to be scaling back a bit, too, which I think is smart. I always remind my brides that they are planning a marriage first and a wedding second. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that.

SJ: Since it's January, I have to ask: What do you think of New Year's resolutions? Love em, hate em? And, do you have any interesting ones this year?

AB: New Year's Resolutions—bah! I try and resolve to do good things for myself all through the year. But I do have one tradition: Every year around the first of December I make an Annual List of my favorite things from that year. I list the year's highlights (a dear friend got married, I had a book published, my uncle survived cancer) as well as low-lights (this year my beloved aunt passed away) so that I can look back and remember what events marked that year. Then I write down what I'm doing at that point and what my goals are for the future. Finally, I list all my favorite things of that moment: Films, books, artists, authors, things to do, foods, people, friends and anything else I can think of. I've been doing this list since I was about 12 and it's so much fun to look back and see what I was reaching toward and what I loved at each year of my life. This year my goals were more conservative: to continue to grow my business, take a trip with my high-school friend Jen with whom I recently reunited, and (finally) learn Spanish.

The new eco IT bag

Someone sent me a link to the site where I found this swanky bag that can be folded up and stashed in your purse. I'm declaring this the new eco it bag.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New fave song

I became a mother late last year. Well, it was actually on December 20, 2006 (which seems weird, because it means my 1 year old has lived in three years ... hmm). But this post isn't about motherhood. It's about music. I'm getting to that. But here's my point: 2007 for me was this crazy whirlwind of all-things-baby, and while I like to think I stayed up on things (trends, style, news, celebrity gossip), some things slipped by. Music was one of them.

I'm pretty certain that I'm the last person on the universe to discover Brandi Carlile's song "The Story." I heard it a few weeks ago on the radio and then again the other day. And I'm now, officially, obsessed with it. Obsessed! I have no idea if all the other songs on the record stink, but I want to buy it and put this song on repeat.

This song obsession made me think of others over the years. Here, join me for an embarrassing walk down memory lane:

Third grade: Bon Jovi, "You Give Love a Bad Name" (is that the name of it?)
Sixth grade: Bryan Adams, "Everything I Do"
Eighth grade: Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
10th grade: Smashing Pumpkins, "Today"
2 weeks ago: The CVS Pharmacy Theme Song "Ordinary Miracle."

Don't laugh.

My new web site is live!

Hi everyone! It's time for the big reveal. My dear friend Wendi has been working tirelessly on my new Web site -- while juggling a photography business, a 1 and half year old, and a million other more important things than this -- these past few months, and it's now LIVE! I couldn't be happier with the site, or more thankful to Wendi. (Learn more about her work here.)