Sunday, July 28, 2013

Reading Now

Reading, slowly:

Superfood Smoothies by Julie Morris

Mad Hungry Cravings by Lucinda Scala Quinn

How to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton

Make-up Secrets: Solutions to Every Woman's Beauty Issues and Make-up Dilemmas by Jemma Kidd

Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd

The Grilling Book by the editors of Bon Appetit

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

cover photos via Barnes and Noble and Goodreads

Monday, July 22, 2013

Blush. It Makes Such a Difference.

Sometimes I wear makeup and I'm reminded of how much better I look with it on.

I went on a little e.l.f. bender at Target, throwing a bunch of items in the basket, and at about $3 apiece, it's ok.  You add some Twizzlers, a caffeine free Diet Coke, and some Biore nose strips and you have yourself a relaxing Friday night.

On Saturday I tried the blush/bronzer duo (just the blush - I've never figured out how to use bronzer without looking like I did a face plant in Georgia red clay) and it must be good because Laura commented on my Instie from that day:

The St Lucia color is a dupe of Nars Orgasm blush/bronzer duos (oo la la)

via e.l.f.
via Sephora
But the e.l.f. is $3 and the Nars $41!  In my recollection the Nars blush has much more shimmer, and is more orange; the e.l.f. wins, hands down.  I am going to track down the bright pink shade, Antigua, on my next Tarzhay run.

I also picked up two Almay liquid shadow + primers in the grocery store due to its NO CREASE promise.  I love cream shadow despite oily skin and oily eyelids (it's ok: it's going to have benefits).  Almay, you impress me!  This pic was snapped after sitting outside for three hours in 98 degrees?  100 degrees?  what does it matter.  It was hot, like SATX always is, and this stuff stayed put and barely creased. I bought the khaki and the purple; they have some shimmer and buildable color, but start out as a just a wash of color.

I didn't like this mascara when I found it at the bottom of my makeup bag that morning, a sample that was nearly dried up, but it looks rather lush in this photo.

What are you using and loving, friends?  Any drugstore gems out there?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Favorite New Thing

Just started reading Orlando Soria's blog Hommemaker.

Favorite new thing!

It's hilarious and so well-written!  Some people can really connect their brain thoughts with your word eyes.

I laughed out loud about his envy for Nate Berkus' house (the lime bit, hysterical).

Adored his birthday cake ("As with everything else in my life, the cake was Joan Didion themed.")

via Hommemaker

Thought, yes, this is how everyone has felt at some point! in this description of his devastation over his recent breakup: "When I go out in public I expect people to notice that something is disastrously wrong with me."

Also, his credo - fantastic, and that name Hommemaker - how great is that?!

It's good reading, my friends!  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

TAW's Guide to the Puerperium

After I issued a Facebook call for make-way-for-baby assistance, many friends responded with must-need items, avoid-this lists, and even spreadsheets for the planning and procurement of baby materiel.  This was prompted by our wandering in to Babies R Us and feeling completely overwhelmed.  After almost six months on the job, here are my list and TMI anecdotes - I overshare because I care, gentle readers.

This is a short list, because I am a minimalist --- meaning I buy a lot of things and hardly use any of it.

For Mama

I was surprised that I needed more stuff than baby.  This is a list of these very important items.  Heed me, mamas to be.

Wipes.  Medicated wipes.  For sore and unhappy perineums.  Get this beforehand so you don't have to send your husband and your father to get them for you (like I did).  I later remarked to Luke about this asspect (ahem), "Well, it's been through a lot" and his reply was

Actually, a lot's been through it.

Touche, baby daddy, touché.

I got terribly engorged, which was horrible.  The lactation consultant recommended cabbage leaves, which are really just a convenient clamshell shape.  I was so uncomfortable and desperate I got past the folkloric nature of this remedy and tried it.  Unfortunately they warm up quickly, so far better are these compresses, which may be frozen or warmed up, depending on your needs at the time.  (Thanks for telling me about these, Brady!)

A sturdy nursing bra.  Something Army Corps of Engineers approved.

A good breast pump if you're into that kind of thing.  One week after I went back to work we ran out of stored milk and had to start supplementing with formula, which I still find distressing and disappointing.  (These feelings, I fear, stem from pride and perfectionism rather than concern).  But with that came the discovery that she had probably needed a few extra ounces of nourishment everyday that I had not been able to provide, and voila, with an extra bottle her grumpiness and apparent insatiability vanished.  Poor thing was hungry, not fussy it turns out.  Shortly after this she refused to nurse, which was fine with me - breast milk feeding as opposed to breastfeeding - works out much better for everyone.  Now I've stopped pumping and have (seemingly) five extra hours in the day. It is grand.

Don't listen to anyone about breastfeeding or formula or anything else.  Just do what works for you and baby.  (But do read that Hannah Rosin article, it's genius).

Pads and pantiliners.  Lochia is real and it happens for a very long time.  Wikipedia tells me it passes through three stages, rubra, serosa, and alba, and that's real too.

Entertainment.  You'll spend a lot of time semi-conscious and it's a good time to catch up on quality television.

Meals-ready-to-eat.  If ever there were a time to tuck into a Stouffer's lasagna sans guilt, it's now.

For Baby

Velcro swaddle.  Clementine spent her first two months as a burrito.

Desitin.  Diapers of your choice.  I like the Costco brand - I tried to go greener and use Seventh Generation, but then my green choice turned very mustardy brown, along with the shirt I was wearing.

Some people are very motivated and put newborns in little outfits with cardigans.  These women probably also thought about shaving their legs prior to delivery.   I'm not that kind of person.  Like her mother, when Clementine is at home she is wearing pajamas regardless of time of day.

Mittens.  To prevent face scratches.

Swing.  Clementine spent her first two months as a flying burrito.

Burp cloths.  These are so much more absorbent that smaller cute ones with designs.

Little crib/crib sheets.  (Creating a safe sleeping environment: click here).

Maybe a little tub.  Baby shampoo.

And that's pretty much it.  Keep baby safe, yourself sane, and wait for things to get fun after the two month mark!


Clem and her coach on the bunny slope of the Tempurpedic:




All anybody wants is a little affirmation. -- my dad
I can live for two months on a good compliment.  -- Mark Twain
Work is not featured heavily on the blog, but yesterday the patient's family told me 'I did a great job explaining everything' and my chief, who dropped in to observe for a time, said he was 'very impressed [with my rapport and procedural comfort level]' and 'why did I go into pathology?  You are so good with patients.'
Both just so nice to hear in a job that is always intellectually fulfilling but only rarely emotionally so.
Hash tag proud, hash tag little pat on the back, hash tag happy to help. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rancho Loma

We had a great weekend, y'all.  On Friday Luke played a gig in Austin and returned home around 4:30 am... right in time for me to get up at 5 to get ready for my Team in Training practice at 5:45am.  We ran 6 miles - I am fairly certain that I've never run more than 5 - 5.5 before, so that was a personal milestone and a great way to start the day.  I drove home and picked up Clementine so Luke could sleep, and we went to Central Market for a breakfast taco, to the Botanical Garden for a little snooze in the shade, Nativa for $10 blouses, and HEB/Twin Liquors for road trip supplies.  [Aside: the new sandwich station at HEB has become such a favorite of mine - even requested during early labor .  I love the goat cheese/pesto/arugula and serrano ham/manchego.]
We left for Rancho Loma around 1 pm; this was a little trip I planned weeks before as an anniversary/birthday getaway.  I had heard of it through Brady, who got married there, and then it was featured here in Southern Living.  I really enjoy places off the beaten path... especially when luxury accommodations await!
Rancho Loma is in the middle of NOWHERE.  It's a destination restaurant on a ranch with five rooms, open Friday and Saturday.  The room was just beautiful, cool and bright and spare and welcoming, with wonderful linens.  No phone. No tv.  No chintzy alarm clock.  It was fabulous.  Dinner was served at 7 (bay scallops, sundried tomatoes with mozzarella, housemade pasta with pepper, steak, and salted caramel pot de crème/milk chocolate semifreddo - all exquisite.)  Afterward we put C in the pack and play, where the little champ fell right sleep, and we drank moscato on the deck and enjoyed the stillness, the silence, and the starry sky.
(The proprietor, Robert, designed this building and built it himself - and all of the wall art is his photography. His wife Laurie is the chef.  We were so awed by their craftsmanship and vision).
In the morning we enjoyed a slice of zucchini bread and honey-drizzled yogurt with kiwi and blueberries... something about the yogurt was extra-special scrumptious.
Reading over this it sounds like terrible hyperbole - with overused tired phrases like 'uh-mazing' and 'blown away' coming to mind, but we were so impressed by every detail.  This was the most luxurious and relaxing lodging experience I've ever had.
And now, the photos!



My favorite photo of the trip, titled Sleeping In


On the return trip we had lunch in Fredericksburg and stopped in Boerne to visit a children's clothing consignment shop - there was a tiny learn-by-color piano in the window, which naturally came home with us.

Favorite New Thing #1


Welcome to the first installment of Favorite New Thing, featuring an item or other innovation that I find pretty cool.

FNT #1: Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Papaya Mango Salsa.  Let's say it costs $2.99.  Maybe $3.99.  Almost doesn't matter because it wouldn't be cheaper to make it myself, especially with the time at the ER for the mango-prepping injury I would surely sustain.

It is a key component to my second six-minute dinner.

Step 1: Thaw tilapia fillets in fridge. (Thanks Costco!)

Step 2: Dry and dredge in flour.  (The flour may be unnecessary).

Step 3: Sear with a little oil in medium-hot pan for three minutes on each side in the awesome All-Clad skillet you were given.  (Thanks, Mom!) Meanwhile, microwave bag of green beans.

Step 4: Place fillet on plate, artfully spoon Papaya Mango Salsa over fish.

Step 5: Arrange green beans on plate, sprinkle with Maldon salt because Maldon salt is just fancier and better than table salt. (Thanks, Ken Bensch!)

The salsa is sweet and quite spicy and is zero points (ah yes, points. If you know about points, you know what's going on at our house.  Fruit -- is --- free ).  It has singlehandedly jump started my We Should Eat More Fish Initiative because now we are actually eating fish.  Thanks, TJs!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

In Others' Words

'Last forever!' Who hasn't prayed that prayer? You were lucky to get it in the first place. The present is a freely given canvas. That it is constantly being ripped apart and washed downstream goes without saying.

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek 

photo by Doris, sitter extraordinaire!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Paula's Choice

OK I've given up on trying to make this blog well-written... I'd rather have something written than none at all, so here goes!
thanks for understanding,
The Mgmt


 I'd been looking for a skin care system to replace, temporarily, my Cetaphil- retinoid - sunscreen routine while pregnant/nursing [a time when retinoids are verboten.]  I was familiar with Paula Begoun from her books and narrowed in on her skin care line as a a return-to-pre-pregnancy-weight treat/incentive.  That goal met, and after chatting with the online representative (who sent me free samples!), I bought the skin-balancing system, sent the retinol-containing serum to my mom, and swapped in the retinol-free Resist Ultra-Light Antioxidant Serum.  I used it for a few weeks and


Touch my cheek - it is so smooth.

Press my cheek - it is so firm.


I love it!  I am firmly against any feeling of Stuff On My Face which is why I am very picky about sunscreens.  And despite the application of toner/exfoliant/serum/sunscreen (day) or toner/exfoliant/serum/moisturizer (night), my skin feels treated but not gloppy, greasy, or squeaky-clean and parched.

The gel moisturizer and liquid exfoliant

Made in USA; no animal testing; no dyes or fragrances (big plus plus plus next to this); detailed product descriptions including customer ratings, product details, research with references, ingredient list, how to apply, and FAQs (how is [x] different than [y]? safe for use around eyes? ok to combine with another product? and so on); excellent customer service including online chat availability and quick shipping; Beautypedia reviews you can cross-reference by product and your skin type.

Retinol body-smoothing treatment (shoulders and chest, I'm coming for you!); the only fragrance-free all-in-one body and hair shampoo I've ever seen (if I ever figure out how to get to the gym occasionally during the workday, this would be a gym bag staple); fragrance-free body lotion; another sunscreen (I like the skin-balancing formulation but it is a bit runny)

I'm a Paula's Choice convert!  Click on over and see if anything strikes your fancy - I think you will be pleased.

Dear Few and Cherished Readers,
It goes without saying this is NOT a sponsored post.  But wouldn't it be great if it were?! 
I love you, PC!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Last of the Womb-hairs

This blog has been languishing! Not for lack of content but for lack of time. So many things I want to record here in my little Internet cache of keepsakes, so before another one slips away in the tide of tomorrow's busy-ness, phone-blogged here is a picture of the Last of the Womb-hairs.

Clementine had several very long hairs on the crown of her head, much longer than the rest, that must surely have been there since she was born 5 months and 1 week ago (monthly photo delayed by a bout of mild conjunctivitis). Luke dubbed them the womb-hairs. And now they are gone.