Archive for December, 2010

eyes & ears
December 29, 2010

What I’m currently reading…

Run To Overcome (by Meb Keflezighi)
I actually finished this book about a month ago, but it was so good, I have to share it here.  Meb is one of my favorite marathoners.   He has an amazing story, from fleeing war-torn Eritrea to becoming one of the first US runners to win the New  York Marathon in years.  He has incredible faith and amazing talent.  But his life hasn’t always been easy and his courage and determination to stay positive always help him through.  It’s also an amazing insight into the world of professional runners.  I had no idea just what is involved in a sparsely publicized sport at the professional level.  Any runner, no matter how recreational, will be inspired after reading this story.

What I’m currently watching…

Bitchin’ Kitchen
I discovered this show when I was visiting friends in Boston earlier this month.  Now this is my type of cooking show!  Meet Nadia G, a pinup looking doll with an attitude (and accent) to match.  Don’t let the ridiculous hot pink and animal print kitchen fool you, she’s comes from a long line of authentic Italian cooks.  Not only are her recipes doable by most any cook, they look fantastic.  I wish my TV has smell-o-vision and takeout!  Each show has a specific theme that will take you through an entire meal, but not just any theme like Italian or vegetarian….think break-up meals, meeting the in-laws, and hangover food!  And don’t miss her cast of hilarious characters, Hans the oily bohunk, Panos the greek fishmonger, and the spice agent, who give really helpful tips.  Well, ok, not Hans, but he’s hilarious anyway.  I love me some Nadia G, bitches!

Holiday Helpful Hints
December 23, 2010

Sally is back from a brief hiatus, following Turkey day and a fun-filled birthday trip to Boston.  Happy belated birthday Sally!

In the midst of the holiday season, I thought a few helpful hints might be in order, whether it’s with your decorating, holiday baking, or preparing for and fixing emergencies at a party.  Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

Pets & Holiday Decorations
Do you have trouble keeping your pets out of the Christmas tree?  If you have a live tree, make sure you completely cover the tree water, it’s very bad for animals to drink.  I know it may seem like common sense, but do not put any tempting or breakable ornaments on the bottom branches within reach of the furry destroyers loved ones. (e.g., anything glass, shiny, dangly, feathery…yeah just don’t put anything on the bottom branches at all)  But you still want to keep them out?  You can keep them away with your own anti-pet ornaments.  Take OLD PANTYHOSE and fill with crushed red pepper flakes or anything that has a unpleasant taste or smell and hang it on the bottom branches of the tree.  I find that most cats and dogs don’t like strong mint smells, like toothpaste.  It’s usually the alcohol in minty things that they don’t like, but unfortunately alcohol burns off in the air.  It may work initially to keep them out the first couple nights.  But as any pet owner knows, if a cat or puppy is determined enough, they are going to get around any kind of pet-proofing you do.  Instead just get a Festivus Pole and be done with it.

Candle Wax
Those holiday scented candles can be wonderful…evergreens, apple cinnamon, sugar cookies.  But what happens when the candle burns out and you’re stuck with wax at the bottom of your votive holder?  Don’t throw it out, FREEZE it!  Turn the votive holder upside down in the freezer overnight.  Then take it out and gently bang it on the counter while upside down and eventually the wax will pop out in one piece, and the votive is ready for a new candle!  Sometimes the wax will fall out on its own after freezing.  Please be careful when banging on the counter or other hard surface, if you hit hard enough or the glass is weak enough, it will break.   I have only had one glass holder break on me in all the times I’ve done this.  This trick works about 99% of the time, and only rarely will you get a really stubborn type of wax that won’t pop out.

Scuff Marks On The Floor
Company is coming over in a couple minutes and those lovely boots you got for winter have left scuffs all over your linoleum floor.  Quick, what do you do?  Take an PENCIL ERASER and erase away those ugly black scuff marks.  It’s really that easy!

Dipping Candy in Chocolate
Ah the holidays, a time to gain 10 pounds on homemade candies and treats.  Get revenge by Making your own chocolate dipped treats for others?  Give yourself a couple extra days to make the treats, by FREEZING the holiday goodness first before dipping it in the chocolate.  This retains any moisture in the treat and keeps it from going stale, but it also keeps the goody from melting or leaching into the chocolate.  This will keep the chocolate from taking on additional unintended flavors, but will also prevent extra moisture from getting into the chocolate and causing it to streak.  (Stay tuned for Sally’s recipes for her chocolate dipped treats in an upcoming post!)

Party Makeup
When you’re getting all dolled up for a holiday party, the last thing you need is giant mascara clumps in your eyelashes right?  The next time you finish a tube of mascara, don’t throw it out.  Keep it in your makeup bag along with your new mascara.  You can use the OLD MASCARA BRUSH (or just buy a new replacement brush at the store) to brush out the clumps and separate your lashes immediately after your apply the new mascara.  I recommend applying mascara to one eye at a time so you can get out the clumps before it dries, then move on to the next eye.

I hate pantyhose with a fury of seven hells.  But occasionally you have you to wear them, or at least you get to wear cute patterned tights.  One reason I hate pantyhose is because I grew up figure skating and I was used to the heavy duty tights we wore.  So, I’m pretty rough on pantyhose when trying to put them on; always one second away from poking a finger through and making a run in my stockings.  I have figured out an easy way to pull them up once I have them on.  WET HANDS applied to the tights will grab them just enough without having to use your fingers.  Put on the stockings, lightly wet your hands under a faucet, place your hands palm-side down on both sides of your leg, and move your hands up your leg bit by bit.  Don’t grab at the tights, just use your palms.   The water sticks to the tights and they travel up your leg with your hands.  This is also useful for pregnant women who may have trouble bending over and reaching their legs to pull up, or have trouble keeping their stockings from falling down.

Too Much Partying
Have one too many holiday cocktails at last night’s party?  Celebrating National Hangover Day on January 1st?  One way to fix that headache is to hydrate!  Drink a large bottle of Gatorade or other SPORTS DRINK to replace the electrolytes you’ve lost.  Another great hangover cure is drinking a glass of V-8.  It may sound gross, but I swear it works.  Sodium and Vitamin C are excellent hangover cures (and easily depleted from too much reveling) and V-8 kills those two birds with one swig!