Summer Yummy Produce, Magic Serum and Catwoman

Who doesn’t love a ripe rich tomato in the summer. I sliced one up yesterday morning for my omelet and the feeling of joy came over me. It was just so rich and colorful. It tasted out of this world.

I am really lucky to live in a community that has daily farmer markets from April-October. We also subscribe to a weekly produce box from a local farming co-op. Fresh local fruit and vegetables are not a scarce item in our home during that time. This week, we had a yellow watermelon in our produce box. It was the first time we had one, and it was delish. It isn’t as sweet as your traditional watermelon, but my entire family enjoyed it. No fancy preparation; I just cut it up and we devoured it.

Here is a salad recipe that includes yellow watermelon, tomatoes and cucumber. What are some of your favorite summer produce?

Recently I noticed that my skin had lost some of its glow. I felt that my complexion looked very dull. I had really slacked off of my nightly skin regime, which includes face washing, application of various face and eye lotions, and the hope is not enough face serum.

With in about a week of using the serum again, my face’s glow was back. There is something in this sweet little bottle that just works. I am never going to stop using it.  I swear there is magic in there. What product in your beauty regimen can you not live without?

This past weekend my husband and I saw The Dark Knight Rises. We have been waiting for this film for a long time. It really exceeded our high expectations. If you haven’t seen it I urge you to please go see it.  It will not disappoint.  Here is a good Entertainment Weekly article to read before going. It recaps key events of the previous films. It does not contain any spoilers of the new film. It is safe :)!

Two characters really stood out for me. One was that of Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. Anne Hathaway was perfect. She sizzled! Seeing her in the Catwoman jumpsuit definitely has motivated me to spend a little more time at the gym. Here is an article on how Anne got into Catwoman shape.

Can anyone wear red lipstick better than Anne Hathaway? I think not. Absolutely stunning!

John Blake was the other character that left a lasting impression. I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I think he is a great actor. I have enjoyed all his performances that I have seen.   He will likely be holding an Oscar sometime in the future. His character was a breath of fresh air in a city filled with corruption and chaos. He filled the role of an average beat cop with a big heart very well.

I don’t think this is the last we have seen of John Blake. What blockbuster movie have you enjoyed this summer?

I hope you all have a great week! xoxo

A Movie, A Book and A Smoothie….

During the summertime, our TV viewing is cut down dramatically due to the summer hiatus of most of our weekly network shows. We take this time to catch up on our movie viewing. Last night we watched Friends with Kids. 

It is produced, written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt. She is best remembered for the movie Kissing Jessica Stein, and she is also John Hamm’s (swoon) girlfriend. The cast is one of the best ensemble seen all year. Jennifer Westfeldt and Adam Scott are the leads. It has four Bridemaid’s alums, Kristen Wigg, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd (the sexy Irish Cop) and John Hamm (swoon).  Edward Burns and Megan Fox round out the rest of the cast.

The writing is funny and witty. It also takes a frank look at how life does change when you have children. As a parent of young kids I could totally relate to a lot of the dialogue. I really enjoyed how all the characters played off one another. This is the first time I have seen Adam Scott in a lead role and I think he was great! He and Jessica Westfeldt had very good chemistry. Maya Rudolph is a comic genius! Can that women do anything wrong? John Hamm (swoon) has one pretty great scene. Can that man do anything wrong?

The set decor was AMAZING! I loved, loved, loved looking at the interior design of all the characters home. I fell in love with this wall abacus. I believe it is from CB2, but they are currently not selling it. Wouldn’t it look great in a play room or home office?

Here is an Entertainment Weekly behind the scenes article about movie from March. If you see this movie in the Red Box this weekend get it. You will be in for a treat!

What are some good movies on DVD you have seen lately?

The book I finished this week was Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein. I picked this book up at the library a couple weeks ago. I was looking for the latest Jennifer Weiner book, when I stumbled upon a pink covered book. Honestly, the cover made me pick it up. It is so pretty!

 I didn’t know who Wendy Wasserstein was until I read the jacket cover. She is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning playwright. This was her first and unfortunately last novel. She died from lymphoma shortly before the book’s release. Elements of Style is a social comedy about the lives of the NYC social elite in a post 9/11 world. I thought the characters in the book were great. I definitely grew to love some of then and dislike one in particular. The characters experience some highs and with that of course comes the inevitable lows.  The descriptions of their houses and parties are really well done. Click here for the goodreads summary.  This book is perfect for the pool or beach!

What are some good books you all have read this summer?

I made a new smoothie this morning chocolate banana with chia seeds. From now on I am going to drink it after a hard work out. The additional protien in the chia seeds would be great for muscle recovery. This is the first time I have eaten chia seeds. It gave the smoothie a nice crunch. Here are some of the benefits of consuming chia seeds. I am not jumping on any bandwagon. I am going to consume the package I bought and then make my own conclusion. I will let you know if I see or feel any difference in my body.

This is how I made my smoothie: 1) Added 10-12 cubes of ice in blender, 2) Scoop of chocolate protein in blender, 3) Added banana pieces in blender, 4) Added tablespoon of chia seeds, 5) Added 1/2 cup of water BLEND and ENJOY!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!! xoxo

My Favorite Back To School Items Revisited

I posted this post about a year ago detailing my favorite back to school items. I thought I would revisit it, since it is that time again. All the items below are still my go to items. I have included links that take you straight to the store. They are a year old, so I hope they still do.

On a personal note my youngest is going to Kindergarten. I couldn’t be happier with the school he is going to. My oldest (who is going to be 5th and the big kids at the school) has been there since 2nd grade and I am in LOVE with their school. LOVE YOU PINEHURST ELEMENTARY! Regardless of that I feel like I am going to have a breakdown on my youngest first day.  I never had this feeling with my oldest. The crazy neurotic side of me worries that maybe it’s because secretly I love my youngest more, but I know it’s not that. My oldest has always been so independent and very self-confident. A born leader, he is at his element in school.  My youngest has always liked mom around a little more. Always sneaks in for an extra kiss or extra hug when he gets the chance. He is such a sweet boy (not that my oldest isn’t, he is sweet too. Man I am digging myself in a hole!), his confidence and independence shines through differently than it does for my oldest. I think sending the youngest is so much harder, because you know there  won’t be anymore first day’s to Kindergarten. Even though my youngest has been to 3 years of full day preschool there is something about the first day of Kindergarten that is so symbolic. It’s such a big step, I think more for me than for him. SO if you hear some crazy sobs next Monday morning,  they are coming from North Carolina and it’s a mom that is excited for the big world that lies ahead for her sweet, funny and smart 5-year-old, but sad that time goes by so fast (and yes tears are running down my face right now).

I got this pack of labels for both boys about 3 years ago. Yes, the $40 price tag (per pack)was hard to swallow, but I figured they would last for a long time.  We have labeled items for the past 3 years and still have a good amount left. The best thing is that once they are on an item it stays on. I have put it on clothing and it has survived washes (even a bathing suit and it’s still on there).  You can customize the color, the font, and logo (they have professional sports teams, Disney and Marvel options).

My older son used the blue camo lunch box for 3 years. It held up really well and it was very roomy. Now that he is going to 4th grade he has asked for a regular lunch sack. Will let you all know how it holds up. UPDATE: It held up fine until he lost it this summer at camp! And I just bought the above lunch box for my youngest.

My younger son is in preschool (he just missed the age cut and is going to his 3rd year of preschool) and has been using the red lunch box for 2 years now. This type of lunch box is perfect for the preschool years. The size is just right. He did ask me for a new one this year. I told him his lunch box had another year in it.

I ADORE (yes, I can adore plastic containers) these food storage containers. Again, I have had them for about 3 years. They have held up well and are a nice alternative to using sandwich bags (It’s a good thing to be nicer to Mother Earth). I am able to fit the sandwich size one and an additional one or two of the smaller ones in the lunch boxes that I posted above. Since my older son is using a sack this year, I decided to buy the reusable lunch skins. I will let you all know how those hold up too.

You can NEVER go wrong with a LL Bean backpack. This has been my older son’s backpack for 2 years now (his Godmother and my BFF gave it to him as a gift) and it has MANY MANY MANY more years of use ahead of it. It’s not only his school backpack, but also his travel companion. It has gone on every trip we have taken in those 2 years. I am glad he decided on black, because it still looks relatively new! UPDATE: My youngest is now a proud owner of a dark blue one with his name monogrammed in the athletic style.

I got my younger son the above backpack last year. The only difference is that his has dinosaurs on it. It is right for his age right now and for what goes back and forth from school. Once he goes to the “big school”. We will probably buy him a LL Bean backpack as well.

I could not survive the school year without the two bulletin boards we have in our kitchen hallway. I have one for each of my boys. I put everything relevant to their school and current activities on there. Right now they only have camp information, but during the school year they are covered with calendars, game schedules, permission slips, art work and accomplishments. I also have the family dry erase calendar next to them. It is the one stop shop of where we can see what is going on.

What are your favorite back to school items? Are there any that you couldn’t survive without?

Saturday Day Trip

One thing that really makes me happy is a good old fashion family day trip. This past weekend we decide to go to Chapel Hill, NC for the day. Not only is it the home of a great University, but it has a lot what a bigger city can offer but in a small town atmosphere.

We started out our adventure by walking on Franklin Street to our lunch destination. We passed by a great eclectic mix of retail shops, restaurants and even an art gallery. It was hard not to stop in and explore every one, but with a 4 and 9 year old it’s hard to deviate from the intended destination, especially when they are hungry! We had lunch at Top of the Hill.

We sat high above Franklin Street.  My younger son expressed, “We can see our house from here,” as it really was a nice extensive view. They have a great selection of beer. I decided on the Blue Ridge Blue Berry Wheat.

 I decided on a light lunch and their shrimp roasted vegatable. It was delish. It sat on top on arugula and shaved asaigo cheese. It really hit the spot. My boys proclaimed their cheese pizza was the best they ever tasted. Which is a big compliment they are quite the pizza experts.

We continued our adventure by walking up Franklin Street to  Chapel Hill Comics. The boys and my husband were mesmerized by the wall to wall comics. It is a super cool store visually. It has very bright colors and there are so many unique items. There is truly something there for everyone, and the owner was also friendly and helpful. These were our purchases:

We continued to the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

It is located on the UNC campus. I was surprised how much they had to offer. The boys loved the current exhibit and the gift shop was well stocked. Unfortunately for them,  we had just bought them stuff at the comic book store. The real reason we were there was to see a show at the planetarium. We ended up seeing Magic Tree House: Space Mission. It was great, because our older son is a fan of the Magic Tree House book series, and it also held our younger son’s attention. At the end of the program the presenter did a 15 min “tour” of our solar system, and what the current night sky looks like.

We finished off our day by getting gelato at Sugarland.

A really cute bakery, they had so many gelato flavor it was hard to pick. Since it was a hot humid day I went with grapefruit

This was the small portion!  It was really light and felt like I was eating a grapefruit. It wasn’t tart nor too sweet. It was just perfect!

While the boys were contently eating their gelato I made a break for it to a boutique next door called bevello. Even though I didn’t buy anything (felt too rushed to really commit), they have a good selection of clothes, shoes and accessories. This might inspire me to have a mommy’s day out trip there.

We loaded up the boys happy and content over this day trip. It wasn’t extravagant by any means, but we made some nice memories. We also left a lot of stones unturned, so we have excuses to go again!

What are some day trips that you have taken recently?

Emmy Nominations Are In…..

One thing that you will learn about me is that I LOVE TV. I watch all kinds. Anywhere from the depths of reality tv (some that I am ashamed to admit ) to the most critically acclaimed show. I was excited to see the Emmy nominations this morning. If you haven’t seen them click here!

Veep and American Horror Story  are 2 new shows that  my husband and I have throughly enjoyed this past year. I am so happy they got the recognition I thought they deserved. If you haven’t seen them check them out. Veep is so quick-witted and the writing is amazing (I was sadden to see the writing didn’t get a nod). It is Julia Louis Dreyfus at her best! She also has a great supporting cast.  American Horror Story is not for the faint hearted. It is at its core a great ghost story, but it takes so many twisted dark turns along the way that some nights you WILL sleep with the lights on. DO NOT WATCH ALONE! I can’t believe  Ryan Murphy can switch from writing the bubble gum happiness of Glee to the  dark sick twisted sometimes perverse tale of American Horror Story. It boggles my mind!

The Best Drama Series is really tough this year. We watch all of them but one. In my heart I would love Mad Men to win. It is one of my favorite show, but after last years win. I don’t know if they can have back to back wins with this years competition.  Another good show we enjoyed last year was Homeland. I am thinking that might be the dark horse this year.

I am really excited for September 23rd!!! The past few years about 20 of my friends and I have watched all the major award shows through a Facebook thread. It is the best time. Even my husband who is sitting next to me get his computer out and we live “blog” through out! It is a lot of fun.

What are some of your favorites shows? Who do you want to win this year? Please share your thoughts! xoxo

PS: I can’t really write a TV post without noting how EXCITED I am that Project Runway is starting tonight!! Who are some of your favorite Runway designers? I have so many but for talent I would have to say Jeffrey Sebelia and for pure entertainment it’s a tie between Anthony Williams and Austin Scarlet.

Breakfast Smoothie

I am not a very good breakfast eater, never have been. School mornings are crazy. I lucky if I shove a banana in my mouth. After I drop the boys off at their respective schools I go to the gym and most of the times I work out with an empty stomach *gasp*. I know I have probably done a number on my metabolism from years of skipping breakfast. One of my dearest friends Kris mentioned that she makes a smoothie for herself for breakfast. So I decided to follow her example. Since it is the summer I will hopefully have the smoothie making down to a science when the school year starts!

To make things easier I decided to buy the Cuisinart version of the Magic Bullet. I bought mine at Bed Bath and Beyond. It was very reasonable with the 20% off coupon.

Today’s smoothie was a banana blueberry mango. Here are the ingredients.  There is no wrong way to make your smoothie. This is what I did:

1) Put about 6-8 ice cubes in blender 2) Put 3 frozen mango chunks in blender 3) Put banana in (in 3-4 pieces) blender 4) Put in a handful of blueberries 5) 2 tablespoons of greek yogurt 6) Scoop of Whey vanilla protein 7) Added a splash of water  8) Finally blend

…..And Enjoy

You can add more ice, add milk instead of water, add less yogurt or no yogurt. The possibilities are absolutely endless. xoxo