Saturday, January 30, 2010

Martha Stewart

It's no secret that Martha Stewart is a huge influence on me. I have loved watching Martha since I was in junior high. How many tweens are obsessed with Martha? But I have good reasons, she is a goddess. Nay, the leader of all domestic goddesses everywhere.

Now, not everything Martha does is practical for everyone, but for basic recipes and tips she's the queen. Her flourless chocolate cake is simple and ANYONE can make it. But this is about her cleaning tips, which anyone can use.

And I know that Martha doesn't do most of this stuff herself and her staff are the real brains behind everything, but her name is stamped on everything.

The other day, via facebook the Martha Stewart Living fan page posted dishwashing secrets. Which lead me to search through all of her homekeeping solutions.

Dude, whether you're single, married, divorced, living with roommates you need to clean, and why not clean like Martha?

And what about Martha and the single girl spirit? She was a model in the '60s, and probably read Sex and the Single Girl with a different book's jacket wrapped around it. And when she got divorced she didn't crumble, she built and empire. She went to prison and is more successful now than before her sentence. Martha Stewart is a single girl at heart, always has been, always will be.

And don't forget that single girls need to clean, too!

Friday, January 29, 2010

An Open Letter To Heidi Montag:

Dear Heidi:

Your new face is scary, as are your new boobs. You look like Jenny Lee, the plastic surgery addict who's been featured on E! and Oprah and the like. She is not pretty, and now, neither are you.

Do you ever watch episodes of The Hills from seasons 1 & 2 and think, damn, I was cute? Because you were. Cute girly personality, a great best friend, you really were the girl next door. You worked from 9 to 6 and were proud of it!

We watched you as you changed from that cute girl with an adorable haircut with school-girl highlights to the bleached-out bimbo who married Spencer, but up to that point most of what you had done was undoable. The first boob job and the nose job were pluses. Not that there was anything wrong with your born nose, but the new nose flattered your face well and your new boobs looked bigger, but natural-ish.

But your recent procedures have gone too far. You don't look like a human anymore. You look like a humanoid creature from another planet. Why why why why why? Do you realize that a) you're only 23 and 2) what has been done can not be undone? Your face will never be the same. Your boobs sans implants will be nothing but saggy empty sacks of stretch-mark stained skin.

Congrats on being the next media freak; I used to like you.

PS: Heidi's behavior does not embody the single-girl spirit. Drastically changing yourself is not empowering.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

quick tip

I hate these commercials. Butter substitutes are some of the worst products for your body. But, they do spread much easier than butter. To make a healthy spreadable butter take equal parts of softened butter and olive oil and blend together. It's healthy and there are no weird plastic-like substances in it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Elliptical Girls

What are elliptical girls, you might ask yourself?

They are the girls who go to the gym solely to use the elliptical machines at ridiculously high speeds that no mere human can maintain.

Think about it, you know you've seen them at the gym. They're usually they type of woman that looks like a model and she's got a huge diamond engagement ring (they all have amazing fianc├ęs) and is dressed in gym clothes that are usually far more expensive than your regular wardrobe.

Sometimes these females are alone, but often they come in groups of twos and threes. They often come prepared with the latest iPod, one no mere human has access to yet, and tabloid magazines. After beginning the gossip session in the locker room they stroll out looking better than you ever could on your best days and saunter with purpose to the row of ellipticals, and that's where the magic begins.

They get themselves set, magazines in place, iPods ready, settings on the machine optimal for whatever it is these goddess-like women think they need and they're off. Legs move so fast you can't figure out how they do it. With speeds that high you expect them to peter out soon, but they just get faster and faster. Your work out ends and you're sweaty and gross and feeling pretty proud that you did two miles in less than 30 minutes and they're still going, full speed and there's not sign of sweat.

These are the elliptical girls. There's nothing wrong with them, I'm sure they're lovely people, but they fascinate me. How do they do it? Will they ever share their secret?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Natural Food

I'm impatiently waiting for "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan to get to my local library branch so I can finally read it. I've seen Pollan interviewed on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and I can't wait to dive into it. The basis of the book and Pollan's new book "Food Rules" is that we don't really eat food anymore, and instead we consume food-like products. Dr. Oz basically says the same thing. Your body doesn't know what to do margarine (which is like, three molecules away from being plastic... or something like that) but it does know what to do with butter, which is the fat from cream which is the heaviest part of milk which comes from a cow which eats grass which grows in the ground...

Which got me thinking, you really shouldn't eat anything unless you know the basic story behind it. Like, mayo is a blend of oil and eggs, oil is pressed from olives and eggs are laid by a chicken. Miracle Whip is...????

Try it with your lunch today. I'm having sweet potato fries and spinach salad. Sweet potatoes grow from the ground and spinach does too! Feta is a cheese that is made from milk which comes from a cow. Raspberry vinaigrette is made from raspberry vinegar which is fermented from raspberry juice which is pressed from raspberries which grow on a bush.

I think you get the picture.

For bread and other products that you don't completely make at home, do the same thing for each ingredient. If you get to something you don't recognize, put the item down and find a version that all the ingredients are recognizable.

happy hunting!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Sex and the Single Girl:" why you should read this book

In the 1960s Helen Gurley Brown made it cool to be a single girl. Living by yourself, dating men, having sex before marriage... all thanks to Mrs. Brown. Have you heard of a little magazine called Cosmopolitan? She was the editor-in-chief for YEARS and turned the magazine from a failing family magazine to the premier women's magazine.

If this book was written in the '60s, why should we pay attention to it 50 years later? Because I think that we've lost the single girl spirit. With shows like "The Bachelor" and "Rock of Love with Bret Michaels" the strong, empowered female has gone by the wayside to the husband obsessed skank. Those girls are not looking for love, they're looking for a husband, someone to pamper them and f*ck them, but not someone to love and to care for.

Mrs. Brown rocked the world when she said that it was alright to have sex outside of marriage. She also said it was okay to have sex with a married man. These things were happening (it was the "Mad Men" era) and she spoke out, said yes, we do this, everyone does and ITS OKAY.

I've been looking this book over again and realize that while I was reading "He's Just Not that Into You" I really should have saved myself $15 and read a book I already owned.. Mrs. Brown is blunt, says you're ugly, and then says it doesn't matter, because beauty comes from the inside. The book is written like she's speaking to her best friend who trusts her opinion the most and she's not afraid of hurting you feelings.

Do yourself a favor, visit the library or go to your favorite bookstore, get this book and read it cover to cover. It might be going on 50 years old, but it still holds true, despite a few outdated references.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frozen Food

and I'm not talking about Lean Cuisine or Nutrisystem or any of those shitty frozen meals. Ugh, Lean Cuisine is alright, but having them for most of my lunches for a while has totally put me off them. And they only taste like pepper. I like pepper, but I don't want it to be the only spice in my meal. They smell good when they're in the microwave, but all I get is pepper. But I digress...

I'm talking about other offerings in the frozen food aisle, specifically frozen bagged veggies. These gems are often overlooked as being unhealthy, but the only preservative is the cold, and frozen veggies are fresher than what you'd find in the produce section, as the are frozen within days or even hours of picking. Fresh vegetables have a few days to even weeks journey to your grocer and are often picked before they are ripe, and are then chemically ripened as they travel.

One of my favorite grocery products are the bagged mixed veggies. California blend (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) is probably my favorite because it's so basic and versatile and goes with everything, but I will buy anything without celery. (I don't like celery) Best things about bagged frozen veggies: they're cheap, easy to prepare, super healthy and very low calorie.

My favorite way to prepare veggies is with a microwave steamer. I put any liquid seasonings (Worcestershire, soy sauce, hot sauce) in the water in the bottom, place the center tray down, dump the veggies and top with any dry seasonings. Place the lid on and throw the thing in the microwave for 10 to 15 minutes. When it's done you have a great side dish or even a meal. A little cheese garnish is welcome, too. But only REAL cheese... please stay away from the mom favorites of Velveeta or Cheese Whiz, they are not food!

If you don't want to purchase a steamer, the same principle can be used in the oven. Drizzle some olive oil along with seasoning over the veggies in a 9*13 pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the veggies are hot. Or use the stove and cook in boiling water.

The next time you're at the grocery store contemplating another frozen pizza (if there's spinach on a pizza, it's healthier, right?) take a few steps and visit the frozen vegetable section and do your body and your wallet a favor.

Sophia Petrillo: The Ultimate Guidette

While waiting for it to warm up a bit before I go to the gym this afternoon, I got caught up in a Jersey Shore mini-marathon. I blame Sunday morning/afternoon's lack of decent TV. I've resisted thus far, but I admit, I got a little hooked.

But, the Italian guidos and guidettes got me thinking of one of my favorite television Italians, or Sicilian, rather: Sophia Petrillo, portrayed by the lovely Estelle Getty on the 80s classic, Golden Girls.

She's got the big hair, the attitude, the accent, the tough Brooklyn New York background and the mob connections. She's the inspiration for the hit MTV reality show, whether they want to admit it or not. Women like that have to be tough to give birth to boys with such spikey hair. (that stuff has got to hurt coming out).

Sophia Petrillo is a goddess, and the girls of Jersey Shore would be so lucky to be her and the boys would be lucky to marry a girl like her. Next time you watch Jersey Shore, check out Golden Girls afterward to fast forward the picture 50 years.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Preventative measures

Like most people, I hate cleaning. Unlike most people who hate cleaning, I enjoy having a clean apartment. I am not a fan of sh*t covered toilets or stoves with old crusty pancake batter glued to the surface (surprise!)

When a mess presents itself, it's best to clean them up immediately. Earlier today I had a pot of tomato sauce burp up all over my stove and the surrounding walls and a little bit on me, too. Grabbing a wet dishcloth and wiping it up immediately saved me a lot of scrubbing and possibly repainting later (hey, tomato sauce can stain!). Taking a few seconds to clean up in the moment saves a lot of work later on.


George Carlin did a great bit about stuff, and about how we have to much of it.

Getting rid of clutter makes cleaning much easier, I promise. I'm not a Tchotchke type of person I have enough stuff that I actually use to keep on the tops of my bookshelves and dressers that I don't need useless stuff sitting around and looking cute. All this stuff does is create a place for dust to collect, seriously.

I'm a big fan of organized chaos. As in, all the plastic containers go on this shelf, but not in any real order. It's quick, it's easy, and most important, I still know where everything is and where everything goes.

While nothing takes away the need for a good deep cleaning here and there, a few good preventative measures increases the amount of time between such cleanings and makes them less invasive.

Happy scrubbing!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cooking for One

It sounds so sad, cooking for one. But, it's a lot less sad than McDonald's for one. (Not exactly knocking the golden arches, but I know I'm not exactly in the best mood when I sit down to a giant bag of Mickey Dees.) But I know I feel best when I sit down to a home cooked meal and a favorite show. If I have enough energy left I might even do the dishes, but that's a pretty big might.

When you live alone, food can be a big problem. You either have to make a recipe that serves 4 to 6 people or microwave a Lean Cuisine... again. Left overs aren't so bad, but it sucks when you have to eat the same thing for a week just because you're alone.

Fresh veggies are a great place to start with single-serve portions because you can buy the just the amount you need and prepare them as desired. Bagged frozen veggies are next best option.
The Hungry Girl cookbooks have great single serve recipes for everything from breakfast to dessert, but they use a lot of processed products in their recipes to cut down the calorie count. Real eggs and be used in place of the fake egg and so on, but that will increase the calories that are listed for each recipe.

Breakfast food is a great option for single-serve cooking, but they are often carb and fat heavy. Which is why cooking it single-serve is great, because you have the treat one day and aren't left with it sitting around.

Cooking for yourself can be hard, but it's one of the best things you can do for your body. Having complete control of everything that you ingest is step one to becoming a healthier person.