Summer Sampler

Summer Fun!

We have quite the summer planned over here. Some awesome trips coming up, fun camps for the Beanie when we are in town, and lots of time with friends (and cocktails) along the way.  Our big family vacation is an upcoming trip to California. I’ve never been so I am super excited. We are starting up in San Francisco and trekking our way down to LA before heading home. I hear its chilly in northern CA and then will warm up as we travel down to southern LA so I’m a little concerned about what clothes to take. Packing lite is not a strong suit of mine. Also – we are headed to the beach with family this weekend and then to Baltimore to see friends in August. Lucky Ducks we are!

San Francisco_Top 10







Some things I am enjoying lately:


New Pita Bread!

New Pita Bread!

Great Reading

Great Reading

K Cups - Chocolate Glazed Doughnut - so yummy

K Cups – Chocolate Glazed Doughnut – so yummy








And this little lady turns 9 next week. CANNOT BELIEVE IT. LOVE HER SO MUCH!


I got the move like Jagger!

I got the moves like Jagger!


Me and my Beanie

Me and my Beanie












And in honor of Father’s Day let me introduce you to my Father In Law. This is a man who has lived with more integrity, generosity, love, hard work, loyalty, dedication to family and friends and positive attitude than any other man I know. I’m so grateful to have him in my life and thankful he is the example my husband follows. Truly a great, great man who I love and admire so very much.

What a guy!

What a guy!

Call for feedback:

If you have some great recommendations for our California trip I would love to hear them! Packing tips, great spots to eat, must see sites along the Pacific Coast, awesome yoga studios… Please send them my way. Thanks!

Are you being manipulated?

I hope many of you out there are already familiar with the Nutrition Action Healthletter published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). CSPI is a fantastic resource for well researched (yet easy to understand) information about health and nutrition. They are generally very on top of the latest food/nutrition trends and provide reliable recommendations about healthy living.  A monthly subscription to their newsletter is $20.00 and well worth it in my opinion. If you’d like to check them out go to

This month they published an article entitled “Fooled by Food” that I thought was very insightful. It discusses the ways in which our food choices and levels of consumption are affected by packaging, labeling, positioning, even lighting. Brian Wansink, Professor of Marketing in the Applied Economics and Management Department at Cornell University ,is head of the Food and Brand Lab and the article summarizes an interview with him regarding his upcoming book Slim By Design. Professor Wansink explains that many things can affect how much we eat and what food choices we make. Inherently, I believe we already know this but you might be surprised at some of the industry “tricks” used to manipulate your choices. Some of the more interesting findings include:

1. Choices are more affected by height than width. Studies show people assume a taller package contains more than a wider package. So, if you offer a child a box/bag of candy they will almost always choose the taller package even if the wider one contains more.

2. Larger utensils and serveware equate to more eating. This one is failry well known – but the studies that Professor Wansink conducted showed A LOT more  - up to 53% more calories were ingested when utensils and serveware were larger.

3. Medium is king. Turns out buyers naturally gravitate toward the “medium” size. But medium is determined based on the other sizes offered. So – if a small is already 8 oz, the medium is 10 oz and the large is 12oz – we pick the medium. But if the small is 4 oz, medium is 6 oz and the large is 8 oz – we still pick the medium ( 6 oz this time) and eat/drink 4 fewer ounces. Seems we think the middle of the road is the safest bet without much consideration as to its actual size relative to others offered.

4. This one was really interesting and geared specifically towards women. Research shows that we tend to follow examples set by others. When women went through a buffet line they were more likely to serve themselves larger portions if the woman in front of them did the same. If the woman ahead of us eats more from the buffet studies show we will too! Sort of like nutrition peer pressure – I’m sure many of us have ordered a salad at lunch because our girlfriend did. If she had “splurged” on a burger we would have too. Women are like pack animals – we go the to the bathroom in groups and we over/under eat together too :-)

5. What is described as the “health halo” was also discussed. This is the idea that when foods are labeled organic, low fat or pesticide free most consumers assume that also means lower calories. So, they tend to eat more of that food. Sort of like when we assume all the expensive foods sold at Whole Foods are healthy – when in reality they may not be.

6. Slim by Design also highlights the best places to SIT in restaurants. Turns out that when we are relaxed we eat less and make better choices. So sit in a relaxing space, enjoy some nice music, chew slowly- by now you should know the drill. Sitting at the bar, watching the TV, chatting with the bartender all result in greater intake.

Other tips that you may or may not have heard include – don’t keep a candy jar on your desk at work, beware of dishes with really fancy names as they tend to have more butter/sauce/oil, dont save the good china – eating off your expensive dinnerware causes most people to eat less overall, if you grocery shop when hungry you dont necessarily buy more food – but you do tend to buy more packaged and processed food that can be eaten quickly, and (this one is sort of gross) if you order chicken wings you’ll eat more if the server takes away those nasty bones. If they leave the plate of bones in front of you – you’ll eat less wings overall. yuk…


But lets end on a high note shall we – this week I got to see one of my very dearest friends in the Whole Wide World. Laura and I go WAY back and she lives in Baltimore now but she was in Orlando with her hubby (also a bestie from way, way back) and their two perfect children and we all got together for a short dinner and visit last night. So wonderful to see her – makes my heart just sing! Here’s a couple of pictures to share.


Me and Laura - happiness!

Me and Laura – happiness!

Can they stay this age forever?!

Can they stay this age forever?!


Tear and Save

Recently a good friend of mine asked me to help her with some healthy lunch ideas. You know – easy and healthy options she could pack and bring to work without a ton of hassle. List most of you, she works long hours in a stressful environment and rarely has time to go out and enjoy a leisurely meal. If she doesn’t plan ahead she either starves all day or grazes throughout and still does not feel satisfied or nourished by her food choices. So, off to my files I went.

Before I make a segway to my “files” – I did answer my friends question in detail. Part of what I sent to her is included here. A pdf version of some magazine articles I routinely save. They are from Women’s Health. The magazine does a monthly (I think its monthly) series called “Your Flat Belly Day” that I think is great. It’s a day’s worth of healthy and easy meal suggestions. I think the food ideas are really great (Nutritious, easy and appealing) and I love the format of the page and find it really fun to look at. I’m sure many of you will recognize these pages. I like them so much I save them for myself and for reference on occasions just like the one I described above.
I’m attaching here a Pdf of several months worth of columns in case you want to take a glance.

Flat Belly Days Menu Ideas

Now… on to that Segway…

You see, I have this “tear and save” thing I do. When I see an article in a magazine that I really like, want to read later, or perhaps save for future reference I tear it out and save it in my files. Files would be a term I use loosely since my method of organizing and saving is actually not very organized at all. Generally, I keep a small file folder going at all times. This is nice for me because when we travel I take my small file on the plane and can catch up on reading all the things I saved. It makes wise use of my time and eliminates me from schlepping around a bunch of big, heavy magazines. You see I’ve already gone through the magazines and ripped out anything of real interest to me – then recycled the magazines by passing them along to friends or coworkers. (If they are reading now they know why sometimes pages are missing!) ☺
Then, every 3 months or so – I go back through the file and purge anything I’ve lost interest in and categorize and file into my bigger binders anything I definitely want to save long term. A while back I started trying to scan these items in rather than save them in hard copy format but, truthfully, I like to look at the paper. I find it very relaxing to peruse my files. Somehow, viewing them on my computer just isn’t very fulfilling? Anyone else feel that way?


Image 3

My bigger binders are generally sorted by tabs as you can see from some of the photos I’ve included. I like tabs for food/recipes, shopping (things I want!), travel, entertaining, gardening, healthy living, etc. Actually – the binders serve as sort of my pinterest boards long before I actually started using pinterest. Thing is – they don’t stay updated/organized all the time. And they get BIG because I “tear and save” so much!

I hate to throw all these little saved treasures away. But I highly doubt I will be scanning them all in anytime soon either. So – what to do? I guess I need to go back through and organize it all again and then moving forward scan stuff in so that at least I’m not adding to my outdated paper system. Or, if I ultimately determine that scanning is just not something I’m drawn to, find a way to carry on with my binders in a more regular fashion.

I have seen lots of organizers and systems out there for corralling this type of information. Perhaps I should search around a bit for better solution? I’d love to hear any ideas for how you all handle this type of information overload. Please share!