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10/21/14

So, what's in a face?

There's much to be said in a face, apparently, especially if you're a celebrity. But this is nothing new, right? I mean, it's no surprise to anyone with a smartphone in their pocket (and even to some without) that A through D list celebrities are scrutinized at even turn.

What are they wearing? What aren't they wearing?

Who are they dating? Who aren't they dating now?

She's had what work done? (Notice it's usually the SHE'S of the celebrity world who are quickly paraded around the gossip columns about botched jobs and Botox shots though men get just as many collagen shots as women.)

The most recent photo circulating around the Interwebz is Renee Zellweger at the recent 2014 Elle event, look remarkably different than in past photos.

Renee Zellweger, 2013
(Photo courtesy of Urbansplatter.com)

Renee Zellweger, 2014
(Photo courtesy of Dailymail.co.uk)

Yes, there is a difference, especially if you go back in years even further but why shouldn't there be? The woman is 45 years old and *gasp* is starting to show signs of aging (we'll pretend, for a moment here, that signs of aging only begin to start in a woman's 40's). As a society, are we so detached from reality that as soon as a woman, who as been in the limelight for most of her adult life, differs ever so slightly from a former image that we cry out in horror and shame her in disgust?
I suppose the real question begs: is SHE satisfied with how she looks?

Hollywood is an interesting beast. While some starlets like Mischa Barton are criticized for having a bit of cellulite, others like Meryl Streep are praised for aging naturally and gracefully. Granted, I will recognize the latter for her acting talent which plays a general role regarding how a person is perceived as "classy" but the fact remains that appearance still is one of the most critiqued features of any Hollywood actress.

So, in the face of all the articles and blogs who are criticizing Renee Zellweger's face (whether she has had work or not), I say she looks fine, changed or not. If she WANTS to look altered of different, then I hope she does so for her own satisfaction and not to please any outside criticisms.

10/19/14

(Non-Dairy) "Cheesy" Potato Soup

It's mid-October and finally starting to feel like Fall! The temperatures have been well into the 90's for as long as I can remember and I wouldn't be such a complainer about this, as I don't really mind the heat too much, if all the water parks and swimming holes weren't closed or dried by Labor Day (first weekend in September)! This leaves at us at least a month -- the way this year has been, a month and a half! -- of sweltering, mostly-100 degree temperatures with no way of relieving it. Granted, in the worst of times, we can always run through the sprinklers but for a fish family like ours, there's nothing like being fully submerged to really inspire ultimate relaxation!
That being said, as much as I love my hot summers and living in the nearest natural or manufactured body of water, I am an October baby through and through so when Fall finally decided to show, away went the thoughts of Tropicália and in came soups, stews, and everything Pumpkin Spice!
As many of those who know me are already aware, our household cannot tolerate milk so everything we make must have a base in milk-free items or we must find alternatives. It doesn't seem to go as far as an allergy as once in a while a little cheddar cheese is ok but we run and hide when hearing words like "cream". There's a-many Fall soups that have milk bases (like butternuts and potatoes) so I really like to post the recipes, like the one you see below, for other families who want to enjoy these same type of recipes (the type that have already been TRIED by children too) and get the gold star of approval! It was so good, I didn't even get a picture, as my 1 1/2-year-old scarfed this soup down!


(Non-dairy) "Cheesy" Potato Soup
  • 8-10 small/medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy Cheddar cheese alternative (like Daiya Cheddar Shreds or Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheddar Shreds)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Chef Paul Magic Seasoning Blend (or similar seasoning to taste)
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin coconut oil
  1. In a large sauce pot, sauté the celery, carrots, and onions on medium in the coconut oil until slightly softened. Add the potatoes to the pot and pour in the stock and water in with the other ingredients.
  2. Boil all ingredients for approximately 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender but not falling apart.
  3. Reduce heat to low and remove half of the soup (equal ingredients and liquid) to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
  4. Carefully add blended soup back into pot and stir together until fully incorporated.
  5. Add salt, pepper, and seasoning blend, and taste!
  6. Turn off heat and add cheese, stirring slowly until fully melted.
  7. Let slightly cool and enjoy!

10/6/14

Learning to Run

Correction: I know HOW to run, I just don't do it very gracefully, efficiently, or without a lot of heavy breathing. But recently I've been focused on my health and the desire to relabel myself as something other than 'sedentary' on random surveys I receive and have taken up running (more like jogging/walking intervals) because nothing pushes my comfort levels more than the very exercise that I loath.

So I did the "hey I'm getting fit and running" thing and got up before the sun, and took the bigger dog for a jog. (She can keep up and makes me look less kidnappy... yes, kidnappy...)

It was certainly more like a sputtering jog.

Have you ever seen an old car that is running out of gas or has some sort of engine problem, and it surges forward at an alarmingly quick speed (shouldn't be going that quicl for what ails it) then immediately begins to putter out and crawl along slowly again? That was me. This morning. I realize now why beginning runners like the early morning runs because they can putter out without looking like a total spaz in front of passing vehicles.
My feet and legs ached because I have crappy $10 Walmart shoes but I REFUSE to let that be my crutch for not doing this. In the end, despite the fact that my runs don't equal much of a caloric burn, I feel a sense of pride, like I've done something EPIC, something worth celebrating for! And I have slowly began to overcome the urge to celebrate with cake. Celebrating with chili cheese dogs? Now that totally happened.

But, like any beachcomber who suddenly decides to join the triathlon they're witnessing, I was fatigued. I dutifully drank my water but I needed rest, after all..... FIVE THIRTY IN THE MORNING.

(Did I mention that's when I woke up? Am I crazy? Do I like chili cheese dogs? Answer at your own risk.)

After Damien was picked up by the school bus and Evelyn went back down for her mid-morning infantile/toddler necessity nap, I decided to myself, "I guess it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a little rest myself... I have so much studying and other important domestic things I need to do that it would be an absolute shame to feel exhausted & cranky whilst doing them all."
(I, personally, needed no convincing. One might say, "I had me at hello." Once the baby was down for a nap I gravitated to my own bed like those alien abduction movies you see when the dude is getting lifted from the ground into the spaceship. Yep, that was me, except my comforter and pillow abducted me. They do that often.)

And this nap felt great. It was exactly what I needed. I may have had a stress dream or two about the state of my living room and kitchen (two of the items on the domestic 'to-do' list) but I woke feeling really rested. But do you ever wake up and KNOW you're in a different part of the day, like, completely? It must be that innate circadian rhythm because when I woke up, it didn't even feel like MORNING anymore.

I looked over at my phone, clicked the power button..... ONE THIRTY IN THE AFTERNOON!

Honestly... I just... how did this... I blame the growth spurting baby, as she's still asleep as well. As for me? I have no excuse. I haven't grown since I ate that Philly Cheese Steak two weeks ago but that's not the same type of growth. That thing was delicious too but I know it was a "live it up" type sandwich, one I had rarely eaten before and one I would probably never see again unless I ever travel to Philadelphia. Or go on a cruise. (NOW I understand why people use the cruise's gym. Floating buffets require a way to burn off the massive caloric intake, gotcha.)

Needless to say, I am quarreling with this productive/unproductive feeling. On one hand: 5:30am. On the other hand: 1:30pm.
Even as I type this, I can feel my body sinking into that tell-tale "aren't you feeling sleeeepyyyy" mode of relaxation.
Yes, ladies & perhaps the one gentlemen that may read this from time to time, I want to sleep MORE.

Tell me, new fangled fitness friends, is this always a side effect of strenuous exercise?

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