Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Holidays: Food, Drink, and Diet HELL

The holidays are rapidly approaching- already here if you count Halloween, and I am preparing myself for the inevitable temptation to eat, drink, and be merry. The question is: can one enjoy the Holiday Season without indulging in no-good-for-you food and drink?

Thanksgiving will be spent with my in-laws at a potluck dinner party. I will be bringing candied yams (an old family recipe that calls for yams to be slowly cooked in brown sugar and butter...AMAZING) and my "famous" pumpkin trifle (three layers x's two: pound cake, pumpkin filling, heavy whipping cream, repeat). Not only are both of my dishes AMAZING, but there will be plenty of other appetizers and dinner dishes that will be pleasing to the mouth, but not to scale.

My advice to myself (and anyone else who wants it) is.....PORTION CONTROL. I have mastered the art of small portions in the last year, and I will utilize this skill on Thanksgiving. A plate that is filled with vegetables has little room for much else. So my plan is simple. Find the least fattening thing on the dinner table (usually veggies) pile up my plate with that, and choose one or two items that are not so healthy (but really yummy) and eat half as much as I would want to eat. Eating a small amount of Thanksgiving fixings will satisfy my holiday hunger, but not put me over the top in my calorie count for the day or greatly effect next morning's scale reading.

It is also important to note, food does NOT a good Holiday make. Holidays are about spending time with family and friends, enjoying the feeling of gratitude for life's many blessings, and spending time in reflection of those who have gone before us. Food is merely a catalyst to bring about family discussion and laughter. Eating on Thanksgiving or any other day of the year has to be about nourishment and nutrition. Once I open myself up to seeing food any differently, I can always find the excuse to eat in order to satisfy my cravings and not for the nutritional value it brings to my body.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lanvin For H&M Collection

For some time now, H&M has been collaborating with high-end designers to create limited edition pieces of fashion that are both chic and affordable. Lanvin, (pronounced Lahn-Vaan) is the newest fashion house to jump on the H&M bandwagon. The collection Alber Elbaz has created for the fashion-forward, mass-market store will be seen in (selected) H&M locations in late November.

H&M has famously partnered with some of the world's greatest fashion minds. Consumers have had the chance to buy H&M Collections designed by Roberto Cavalli, Karl Lagerfeld (Coco Chanel designer), Stella McCartney, Madonna, Viktor&Rolf, and Comme Des Garcons. I have been on the receiving end of H&M's designer looks, (Lisa, my dear friend and H&M Manager gave me an amazing Jimmy Choo bracelet for Christmas last year) and I can tell you- the merchandise is well made and carefully designed to excite any fashionista.

I can predict one thing, however. The lines to buy the new Lavin Collection at H&M will be discouraging. It will be almost impossible to get the size and item that you have looked forward to placing in your closet, BUT if you do find that dress, purse, or jacket that you have been coveting since the debut of Lanvin's collection- you will own a piece of history. Ebay will be stocked with inflated priced Lanvin for H&M items, and you might even be tempted to place your own for sale. But this is a mistake. My advice for anyone who purchases a Lanvin design from H&M...KEEP IT. LOVE IT. ENJOY owning a rare collaboration between high-end couture and fashion affordable chic.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

No Cable Equals Great Entertainment

Tony and I have gone without TV-cable since July. I have to admit, it has been a little challenging. I defiantly feel out of the loop when it comes to local and national news, Tony is mourning the loss of Saturday and Sunday morning football, and if I'm totally honest... I absolutely miss the Real Housewives series; with all that said...NOT having TV has been a greater blessing than I ever could have imagined. For starters, Tony and I spend much more quality time together in the evening: cooking and going for long walks after work. We have one less bill to pay each month, which is fabulous, and we don't waste countless hours (and if I'm completely honest, it is HOURS) watching TV programs that have little or no educational or cultural enriching value.

We have, however, become members of NetFlix! Our Disq Queue has become quite important- each of us sneaking into the Queue, moving up his movie choices and moving down hers' in hopes that his picks will get here sooner. Getting our DVDs in the mail is the ultimate cheer up after a long day of work and school. Our movie choices are quite different; Tony always choosing action and horror, and me- well I love documentaries and indie films, best.

I have to say, the best part of my week is the few nights that Tony and I curl up in our den with our snoring dogs at our feet, and put on one of the highly anticipated NetFlix films. All in all, I believe that we have had richer and more authentic entertainment by watching some magnificent films, then we ever had flipping through TV channels in the hopes of catching something worth watching. With all the reality shows, negative news, and sub-par sit-coms on cable these days; its no wonder that we are enjoying life a little more without cable.

Here are some of our past film favorites!

1. The Stoning of Soraya M.

2. The Cove

3. City Island

4. Invictus

5. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (I loved the book as well)

6. Goodbye Solo

7. Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens

8. The Hurt Locker

9. Into the Wild

10. Crazy Heart

Not having cable has given Tony and I the opportunity to make movie-watching an event, a special time for just the two of us. We have become more present with each other, talking over dinner and while cooking without the background noise of the TV to distract our conversation. I love spending more quality time with my husband, and I think that limiting the amount of "entertainment" has been a great step in growing our emotional and spiritual connectedness. While distracting oneself with TV can be a useful tool (I did this a whole lot while I was recovering from my ankle surgery last year) it is important to be aware that TV time takes away from family time. Setting up a DVD, making popcorn, and settling in for a movie night has become a treat for us- not just another part of the daily routine.

Happy MOVIE watching!!
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