Recipe: Breakfast Salad

I don’t post a lot of recipes.  Mostly because I don’t consider myself a gourmet.  I do love to cook and I convince myself that I am creative in the kitchen.  But after watching Master Chef Jr. with my 10-year-old, I am, in no way, a chef.

This recipe has gotten a lot of buzz.  Salad for breakfast.  Sounds pretty disgusting even as I type it out.  Romaine, chicken, evoo, and balsamic?  No.  Thank goodness. This breakfast salad has exactly what you would eat in an omelette, just cold and in a bowl.

breakfastsalad

I like a good hearty salad.  So this one had to have a lot of texture to it.  I started with two handfuls of organic spinach.  I prefer organic spinach to non-organic because I think the flavor is stronger, kind of as it was meant to be.  I added 4 hardboiled organic egg whites.  Again, I always eat organic or free range eggs for the same reason.  They just taste better.  I also just use the whites since they are chock full of protein, contain no fat and no cholesterol.  Then I threw in about 1/8 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to add a bit more protein.  You don’t want to add too much cheese because it increases your fat and calories of the day, but add enough to taste.  The only other thing that I would’ve added would be some diced crispy bacon. I don’t buy bacon bits, but only use fresh bacon on my salads and didn’t have any on hand first thing in the morning. Top with the same ratio as the cheese.

For the dressing I use a simple honey mustard that I made from scratch:

1 part mustard

1/5 parts honey

2 parts evoo

1 part lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

It’s sweet and savory.  Perfect for first thing in the morning or for an early lunch.

I hope you enjoy your breakfast salad as much as I did!

Advertisements

Oscars 2016 – Style Watch

The Academy Awards is one of my favorite nights of the year.  The glitz and glamour.  Star gazing and day dreaming.  There are a lot of dynamics that go into the Oscars each year, but one thing I look forward to the most is the fashion.

Oscars fashion can usually predict on trend styles for the rest of the year.  This year, however, there was not one particular style that went above and beyond what we can foresee for the rest of the season. There were a lot of different styles from plunging necklines to tiered skirts. Colors varied and jewels were almost non-existent. So, what were some of the favorite fashions this year?

I’ve done a bit of researching to see what us fashion junkies love and I’ve compiled my list of top 10 favorites.  If you don’t agree or have a different preference, let me know!  Here we go!

10. Cate Blanchett.  As much as I love her, this dress was not my favorite.  However, I love how this Armani Prive’ looked like something right from a fairy tale and reminded me of her role in Disney’s Cinderella.  This sea foam green dress was studded with Swarovski crystals.

cate-blanchett-221574f0-c5c7-4412-8b79-9d60ef21e0bb

Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

9.  Saoirse Ronan.  Although the beaded pattern of this Calvin Klein Collection is not my favorite, I loved how tightly this emerald green dress fit this Irish actress.  My favorite addition to this look is the intentionally mismatched Chopard earrings.

saoirse-ronan-14845fb1-4f6d-49ba-b4c3-86cadf9fdd32

Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

8.  Brie Larson.  The Academy Award winning actress wore a regal blue ball gown style Gucci dress which she said was an organic fit to how she wanted to feel on her big night.  I love this dress, I was lost, however, at the pearl encrusted belt.

brie_larson_dress_main-xlarge_trans++0RdiKtGowIF7J2y7fARsKj2QhhrWjd5XWBwgLj7gQio

Credit: REX

7. Tina Fey and Reese Witherspoon.  I had trouble choosing between these two because, well, it’s pretty obvious.  The purple dresses are nearly identical.  Reese’s custom silk Oscar de la Renta was accessorized  with Tiffany and Co. diamonds.  Tina’s completed the look of her fishtail gown with Bulgari jewels. I guess the biggest question is, who wore it better?

tina-fey-reese-witherspoon-zoom-8ea35548-2d61-4622-9aa4-a520915164a9

Credit:  Jason Merritt/Getty Images (2)

6. Jennifer Lawrence. I expected something a little more fun from the Academy Award winning actress, but she still looked gorgeous.  Her sheer black silk gown from Dior Haute Couture looked great and paired beautifully with her Chopard jewels.  Perfectly simple and sexy.

jennifer-lawerence-2fcf2cc6-0916-4c3e-a3bb-e80b7b78ecaf

Credit: George Pimentel/WireImage

5. Rachel McAdams.  The best actress nominee wore a backless halter-neck dress by August Getty Atelier.  I thought she looked amazing.  She would’ve been higher on my list, but the fabric of this dress was not great.  Just look at how it wrinkled on the red carpet. I’m sure by the end of the night she needed to have someone with a steamer follow her around.

rachel-mcadams-4f90f72e-1950-4eb8-ab73-7bea8598fdf3

Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

4. Olivia Munn. I’m not normally a fan or orange, but if you can pull it off, go for it!  I think she looked amazing in the Stella McCartney gown with the one shoulder caped neckline.  So minimalist.

oliviamunn

Credit: Getty Images

3.  Jennifer Garner. The Oscar presenter wore a black Atelier Versace dress which featured an asymmetrical neckline, half embellished bodice, and draped skirt.  This look was flattering and perfect for the 43 year old actress.  Eat your heart out, Ben!

jennifer-garner-02e69895-cd4d-44a3-b918-8c4e045ec73e

Credit: Todd Williamson/Getty

2.  Alicia Vikander.  The Award winning actress said of her butter yellow Louis Vuitton dress “I think if you would’ve asked 5-year-old Alicia what her biggest dream was, it was probably to be Belle in Beauty and the Beast.”  I couldn’t agree more!  And besides, if you can pull off a butter  yellow ball gown, you deserve to be treated like a princess.

aliciavikander

Credit: Dan MacMedan, Dan MacMedan/USA TODAY NETWORK

1. Charlize Theron.  Few people can pull off a plunging neckline like this.  The Oscar winning actress stunned in her red Dior Haute Couture, but I think the nearly $4 million Harry Winston diamonds completed the ensemble.

charlize-theron-64de29a2-49bd-4b69-a365-af1706f1992b

Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

 

 

 

 

 

Airport Style

Who knew this was a thing?  Until very recently, I tried to avoid airports at all costs.  Not airports necessarily, but flying.  I’m a nervous flyer.  I have new-found coping skills, however, that make flying just a little more bearable.  And discovering new fashion trends via airport style has made it a bit more fun.  With my recent job transition, I will be spending some time at airports, so I’ve compiled a list of fashion trends that will make my escapades and escapes more like a fashion runway than an airport runway.

1. There’s no need to sacrifice fashion for comfort.  The perfect go to staple for airplane travel is skinny jeans.  I want to be able to move once I leave the plane and hit the airport, so I prefer the stretchy kind.  Another new favorite of  mine are “fancy” sweatpants, although I’m pretty sure that’s not what they’re actually called.  Both skinny jeans and “fancy” sweats can be paired with either a cute flat or, my favorite, a wedge heel.

the-fancy-pants-report-forever-21-sweatpants-outfit-san-francisco-style-blog-7

2. Which brings me to my next point, SHOES!  For airport style, it’s important to be able to get those beauties off at a moment’s notice thanks to the TSA.  I find flats and wedges to be the most effective and either type of shoe can go with almost anything from jeans to maxi skirts.  To avoid having to pack too many pairs of shoes, though this is truly a hazard for me, try to find a pair that goes with just about anything in your suitcase.

miranda-kerr-nobody

3. Layers are crucial when traveling.  I live in Seattle, so it’s, more often than not, raining anytime I leave to travel somewhere.  I adjust for the change in climates by wearing layers, but avoiding coats.  It’s usually a t-shirt, sweater or lightweight jacket and a scarf.  This also helps me to keep warm on my flight and I can usually stow a layer in my small bag when I land, if I need to.

75ceabf974c1a4a9d0837f8e645a5273

4. Sunglasses.  I learned this the hard way.  I always like to wear minimal makeup when traveling.  I think planes are dirty and being around so many people at once is dirtier, so traveling with light makeup is key since I know I’ll be cleaning up after I land.  But when I stumbled upon Chris Evans, aka Captain America, last week sans makeup, I decided that minimal makeup isn’t always the best idea.  My solution?  Travel with sunglasses at the ready.  This way I can still go eau natural, but hide my face with my cute aviators if I need to!

megan-fox.net

5.  Let your bags work for you.  You’re carrying around a portion of your closet, so why not make it a cute closet?  With keeping your wardrobe minimal, you can do it up bold with your bag!

tumblr_mzkuwy8eDz1qkv30do1_1280

Have fun traveling in style!  And watch for some favorite looks of your own whilst traveling.  If you have feedback or favorites, let me know!

My baby is getting married!

OK, not really.  When I say “baby,” I’m referring to my youngest kiddo. And when I say “getting married,” I mean he’s pretending.  For a time when Gus was in preschool, he would frequently include in his day his plans for marriage.  Yes, he had outside time on the big toy, circle time in the classroom, and yet he still had time when he met with a wedding planner.  He would tell me about his future brides.  Yes, brides.  It was usually a different lucky lady each time he would tell me about his plans.  He even let me know that he was willing to take down any other suitors who stood in his way of future happiness. A friend of mine recently told me that her preschool son was involved in a similar situation at preschool, which led me to wonder, why do our preschoolers want to get married? With my experience in early childhood education and 16 years of parenting, I’ve come up with a list of why I think wedding bells are in our babies’ heads.

1.  Role-play.  One huge way that preschoolers learn is through role-play.  Listening, negotiating, and compromising are challenging for 4- and 5-year-olds. Though children at this age are still egocentric, or unable to think beyond their own needs, working with others helps them develop an awareness of differences in people around them. These experiences in preschool provide a foundation for learning how to solve problems and communicate with peers. Play also helps build positive leadership qualities for children who are naturally inclined to direct but must learn how to control their impulses.* Simply said, if your child loves to role-play, CONGRATULATIONS!  This is a great leadership quality and your kiddo knows how to communicate and problem solve!  All things needed to learn and grow.

2. Your baby wants to get married because he sees what a great partnership you have with your significant other.  You’ve built-in him a role model and leader that he strives to be.  So, pat yourself on the back!  Your marriage has had an effect on your baby that you should be proud of!

3.  Your child wants to include all of his friends in this process, leading to the need to “marry” several different kids.  When Gus first told me about his plans to marry a new girl each day, I was concerned that my sweet little boy was turning into a “player.” But after looking at the situation more carefully, he is concerned with involving all of his friends.  This basically means, he doesn’t want anyone to feel left out.  Especially once I found out that this is a common occurrence in his preschool classroom.  Everyone was included in this game in some way or another.

The marrying game was such a passing phase in his early childhood years.  Now that he is a big kindergartener, girls are still cute, but kissing and marrying is yucky.  So, enjoy the lovey-dovey phase because the next time it comes around, it won’t be a game.  But I’ll leave that to another post. My teenagers are just about there. *sigh*

*http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/social-skills/1180-play-in-preschool.gs

5 Things I Learned From Russell Wilson

In the past few years, I’ve learned a lot about finding my passion.  Figuring out who God created me to be.  And what that means to my life. Things did not happen the way I thought they would.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t be happier with where I am and where God has placed me, in the right moments at the right time. Unfortunately for me, I learned this later in my life than some.  At 40 years old, I know my purpose.  I wish I had known back in my 20’s what I was doing.  But again, that was all part of God’s plan for me.

There is someone I admire who, I’m sure, doesn’t have it all figured out, but has let God take control of his life.  At the young age of 26, Russell Wilson knows what he wants and how to get it.  So, I’ve taken some cues from him, and applied it to some of my own life experiences and want to share some of his words, with mine.  I hope you can find some things that you can add to your own life.

rw

1.  How do you promote positive self talk?  This is a big one for me because, as a woman, my negative voice is usually louder than my positive voice.  I hear things from back in my childhood and teenage years.  Usually from myself, but still things that resonate.  Why are my jeans too tight?  Why can’t I get that promotion?  So, how do you overcome these things?  Speaking positive thoughts to yourself, sometimes audibly.  Russell (because I’m on a first name basis with him now) continues to publicly promote positive self talk.  I didn’t get that play?  Well, next year I will. I wasn’t a first round draft pick?  I’m going to make other teams regret that.  Russell has said publicly, “What you say, will change what you see.”  This doesn’t mean you will always get what you want.  But speaking positively will change how you view yourself and your situations.

2.  How do you ignore the noise?  This one kind of goes hand in hand, with my previous point.  Promoting a positive self-image, while ignoring the negative public image.  Few people know what it is like to be viewed publicly and then hear people from all over the world giving their 2 cents about you.  Imagine having the worst day of your career and then knowing the entire country saw what you did.  How do you ignore that?  One of my favorite speakers, Eileen Hunter Wolf , used Philippians 3:2 as a reference, “Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil.” Ignore the barking noise.  Those people who yap and bark.  Do they even really know you, anyway?  NO!  So ignore them.

3.  How do you recover from a loss?  In RW’s (yeah, I call him that sometimes, too) case, the loss is public.  In our cases, it’s usually not. But how do you recover from wanting something so badly, and then having it taken away in the blink of an eye?  This is something I continually learn from my daughter.  She is a budding actress and has had more losses than wins.  She goes on countless auditions, just hoping to gain one role, just a tiny bit of exposure.  She has experienced more loss in her young 15 years than I have in my entire life.  Yet she presses on.  How? Because she knows that the win is so much sweeter when you  have had the failures.  When your end goal is something that few people achieve and you’ve worked as hard as you can to get it, you keep pushing.  Even when it hurts and you feel like you have nothing left, you keep pushing.

4.  Who do you have in your life that’s pushing you toward greatness?  We all need a cheerleader.  For me and Russ (because I have nicknames for him, too), our cheerleaders have gone onto eternity.  My mom, my cheerleader, is not here anymore.  So who else do I have?  My husband.  My sister.  My kids.  My mentor.  Surround yourself with people who only want the best for you.  I have let go of anyone that does not support me, and some of them hurt to let go of.  But by surrounding yourself with like-minded people, who will make you a better person, you will become better and greater.  The bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Be around people who will sharpen you, not make you dull. Or as Russell says, “Eagles never fly with pigeons.”

5.  What are your next steps?  You have your goal, but do you have your plan?  I’m a visual learner, so I like to write my goals down then mark them off when I’ve achieved them.  Prepare for what steps you are willing to take. “The separation is in the preparation.  Chances are what you make of them.” Philippians 3:12 says, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.  But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.”  Find YOUR perfection.  And prepare for it. You were given a dream.  Figure out and plan for your dream.

#thankful

Today is Thanksgiving.  A day to remember what and, more importantly, who we’re thankful for.  A day to watch Santa welcome in Christmas alongside giant balloons and Broadway dancers in New York city. A day to gorge ourselves into a turkey-induced sleep coma.  All of which I will take part in.

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is how my kids have started to make their own memories. Audrey loves to wake up early and watch the parade with me.  She never eats breakfast because she wants to have that much more room in her belly for turkey and mashed potatoes.  Austen will sleep in, but will be 100% focused on family and potatoes once he is awake.  Autumn has already placed her hot chocolate order so she can sip along with me on the couch before everyone else is up.

My kids have great relationships and friendships with each other.  Of course they have their moments where they fight, disagree, argue.  In fact, sometimes it feels like that’s the norm.  It’s not, but when they’re all at each other, because they out number us parents 2 to 1, it’s a lot.  But at the end of the day they love each other and know how to show it.  In fact, they have started telling each other “I love you.”

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I NEVER said that to my siblings.  Of course I loved them.  I still do.  But the fighting between me and my younger sister was more present than it wasn’t.  I remember my mom sometimes crying over us because we fought so much.  I never would’ve imagined how my relationship with my sister would turn out as it has.

Michelle, my two-year younger sister, is now one of my best friends.  She loves my kids the way I love my kids.  She supports me, loves me, and is always available if I need her.  Michelle has a lot going on in her own life.  She is a single mom of two kids and works in the legal department for one of the countries largest companies.  She is strong, courageous, brave, and someone I would put on a pedestal.  Yes, my sister IS better than your sister.

Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006

Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006

But what I love most about my sister is that she is my sister.  We will always have each other and for that I am thankful.  We’ve gone through a lot together in the last few years, but we have a stronger relationship, friendship, than I could have ever dreamed.  Michelle, I want you to know just how much I love you and how much I cherish our friendship.  This year at Thanksgiving I am thankful for you!

How to not be a Stage Mom. (This is for me, too)

A little background about my younger self.  When I was about 18, I told my mom that I wanted to act.  Yes, I was scared about what to expect, but that’s normal, right?  After several conversations, my mom, bless her heart, decided that I probably shouldn’t pursue acting.  Nerves, cost, failure were all reasons for her decisions.  And being the obedient daughter that I was, I concurred.  After all, my mom knew what was best for me.  So, I put my dreams on hold.

Fast forward 6 years.

At 24, I married my husband.  Not only did he encourage me to pursue my dreams, but pushed me onstage.  Although only performing in church productions for 3 years (OK, they were huge church productions involving audiences of nearly a thousand per show), I decided to take the plunge into community theatre.  GASP!  Yes, I was nervous.  “But if I didn’t do it now, when would I?  I mean, I’m already 28 years old!  I’m getting up there!”  (Now, at almost 40, this makes me chuckle.)  After several workshops, auditions, and call backs, I decided that acting wasn’t really my thing.  Yes, I loved it, but it was more work and less glamour than I thought.  My dreams of acting turned into merely day dreams.  But I was OK with it!  I tried.  I liked it for a minute.  Moving on.

Fast forward 8 years.

My oldest daughter, Audrey, was cast in her school’s production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as Charlie Bucket.  We were so excited for her!  Audrey had tried out for a few things at her new Jr. High and had not yet been successful.  But Audrey has a never-give up attitude.  Don’t ask me where she gets it.  People say it’s because of good parenting, but I’m not so sure.  I typically want to hide under my down comforter in my dark room if someone looks at me the wrong way at the gym.  But Audrey doesn’t stop.  She auditioned for this play hoping to get just a few minutes of stage time.  Her director saw something in her that, as of yet, no one had.

Of course, Audrey was a natural on stage.  She has a petite figure and a voice that hits the back of the theatre.  She was born BIG!  The stage is where Audrey wanted to be.  Forever. So, my husband and I decided that if this is what she wanted, we would support her.  A short 9 months later, she was on her way!

We did everything right.  We got head shots for her, an agent, and drove her to countless auditions, call backs, and performances.  Yes, we were the perfect stage parents!

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  What you don’t know is that because I had a desire to once perform at a young age, I carry a lot of regret.  Yes, I did say that I was ready to move on from acting.  But what if I had started when I was only 12, like Audrey?  What if my mom let me get head shots and an agent.  Where would I be today?  Probably exactly where I am.  You see, Audrey has something that I didn’t have.

She carries a desire to perform.  She loves her craft.  The head shots and agent bookings are fun. But Audrey really doesn’t care about that.  She loves stepping into a role.  Becoming something that she isn’t.  Creating a whole world for a character.  Me?  I like the red carpet.  The cheers and flowers during final bows.  The glamour.

So, how do I not become a stage mom?  By being a mom.  By letting my daughter be what she was created to be.  If she decided to be a veterinarian, a gardener, or a lawyer, would I treat her any different?  My job is to support her, her dreams, and her goals.  Not mine.

I’m certainly not a perfect parent.  No one is.  But by being her mom, and not trying to live vicariously through her, Audrey can do whatever she wants.  It’s my job to love her, support her, keep believing in her, even when she doesn’t believe in herself.  That’s what moms do.

Image

My beautiful daughter, Audrey Montague

I just like to remind her that she promised me that first guest spot when she makes it to the Academy Awards.  Yes, I still like the glamour.