Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The End of Static (and Stasis)

I know I've been gone for a while, lovers. Have you missed me as much as I've missed you?  I've been making excuses about being really busy lately, but, truthfully, I've always been busy, and somehow managed to pump out some marginally interesting posts on a fairly regular basis, anyway. So, now the real truth can be told - I've been taking a little bit of a mental break from the blog because I was suffering from a wicked case of writer's block. That fickle wench Creative Inspiration disappeared, leaving me alone and bereft staring at a blank computer screen. So I buried myself in other projects (so much to tell you about!) and let the old blogerooni simmer for a while, and finally my blogging mojo seems to have sidled it's way back to me. So consider this a bit of a renaissance, if you will.

Now, after that dramatic and confessional intro, you might be expecting a real doozy of a post, that will revolutionize bathroom cleaning, or something, and change your perspective and the whole way you think about things and stuff. That's not going to happen. We're going to start the renaissance with just a little tip- a tiplet, if you will - and ease our way back in. After all, we don't want to scare the muses away, again. So, to thank you for sticking with me, and to apologize for all those times you checked in only to see that "Move It" post was still up, for, like, the the twenty-seventh day in a row, I am going to solve one of life's little annoyances- static cling in your clothes- here and now. Maybe you already know these tips, and this will be super-anti-climactic after weeks of waiting for my (triumphant?) return, but, hey, at least you got a new picture to look at.

How to Get Rid of Static Cling

You know how sometimes, as you go through your work day, your clothes seem to take on a life of their own, and be drawn like magnets to each other and your body? And then your hair starts sort of sticking up on end, and you get that unpleasant electrical-charge feeling all over your body (this especially tends to happen when you are wearing tights or clothes made out of synthetic material)? If you don't know what I'm talking about, congratulations on avoiding this common problem, but you should probably go to a doctor to get checked out because there's a good chance you are an alien.

There are three no-fail methods that will cure you of the cling:

Method #1: Dryer Sheets
Not to put in your dryer, silly (although that might help with the cling, it also leaves a residue on all your clothes and prevents your towels from absorbing as much). Instead, keep a box of dryer sheets handy in your desk at work (or one or two in a Ziplock in your purse), and if the cling attacks, simply rub one of the sheets over your clothes and hair. I don't know why, but it works. I'm pretty sure this is one of those mysteries that science hasn't figured out yet, like what's smaller than a quark or the Loch Ness Monster (that was poorly phrased- most things are smaller than the Loch Ness Monster, probably, but you know what I mean).

 Method #2: Hand Lotion
If you don't happen to have a dryer sheet handy, there's a decent chance you'll at least be able to find some hand lotion. Pour a tiny bit into your hand and work it into your skin underneath where the clothes are clinging. Be very careful not to get it on your clothes in the process, as lotion will leave greasy marks on some fabrics. But for some reason, the lotion will kill the static, and your clothes will start to behave again. Once you have rubbed in all the lotion, gently run your hands over your hair to tame the wildness without looking like you haven't showered in a few days.

Method #3: Hairspray
In a real pinch, you can spray hairspray on your legs or skin to keep the clothes from clinging. But what's worse- static cling, or hairspray on your skin?

photo credit: via jbcurio on flickr

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!

Here's wishing you a wonderful day of food, family, football (if that's your thing), friends, feasting, and way more fun than these people are having. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

photo credit: via Bricolage

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where's Wife-O?

When I'm disappointingly absent from this blog, you may wonder to yourself what it is I'm doing that is so freaking important. Most of the time, I'm actually in the kitchen whipping up my little concoctions, or cleaning up the inevitable mess created by said whipping. Or I'm lint-rolling my lampshades, organizing the linen closet, tending my mini-garden, cleaning out the fridge, and all the other mundane things I write about. Otherwise, what would I have to write a blog about? Writing a blog? That's so meta, I would bore myself to sleep, and the whole blog would just be a long line of zzzzzz's.
But sometimes, when I'm not here, it's because I'm over blogging at BonAppetit.com.  Like today, when they posted a little story I wrote for them about how to host a cookie swap party. Sounds like fun, right? I know! So be good little girls and boys and hop over there and check it out.  It's like during sweeps when TV networks do crossover episodes and characters from CSI: Miami show up to help solve a crime on CSI: LA, or CSI: Las Vegas, or CSI: The Moon, or whatever.  Only it's me, instead of David Caruso, who's popping up. And there won't be any dead strippers involved in impossibly disgusting deaths. And it's about a cookie party. Actually, okay fine, it's not really like CSI at all. It's better! So go over and check it out, and click on the links and comment (if you feel like it) about how you've never read a better story about cookie swap parties and whatnot, so they think I'm super popular. In the meantime, I'll be here, washing my dog.

How To Throw A Holiday Cookie Swap Party at BonAppetit.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Perfect Blend

New York City is both the best and worst place to live if you are a food lover. On the one hand, there are an endless number of incredible restaurants and gourmet shops, plenty of people to enjoy them with, and even the most obscure ingredients can be found all year round. On the other hand, if you want to use those ingredients, chances are you will be doing so in a kitchen the size of breadbox. Wait, a shoebox. No, a matchbox. 
Because I suffer from tinykitchenitis myself,  I am always on the hunt for kitchen tools that work well for a lot of purposes and don't take up too much space (I love you, citrus juicer, but you have six parts, take up a whole shelf and only do one thing). That's why I have a special (very compact) place in my heart and kitchen cabinet - same thing, really-  for my stick blender. I have the Kitchenaid KHB300 model, $89 at Amazon.com, but there are other good ones out there for as little as $20.
This little sucker has essentially replaced my blender, Cuisinart and hand mixer, and takes up less space than any of them. It's basically the Optimus Prime of kitchen appliances...in that it's a transformer (get it?) The blender blade can do anything a traditional blender can do, only it does it right in the pot/bowl/pitcher, so you end up with fewer dishes. Pureeing a huge batch of soup is a messy pain with a normal blender, but oh-so-easy with a stick blender. Pop on the food processing attachment and you can chop onions in a few seconds, without any mess. Need to whip up some mirangues for dessert? Pop on the whisk attachment and boom, you're in business. Then, the attachments go right into the dishwasher to clean, and then stow away in no space when you're done.  If it sounds like I am doing an infomercial, it's because I actually feel like I am in an infomercial when I'm cooking with this thing.
So much functionality packed into such a tiny package... kind of like my kitchen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Other Half

 I'm back in New York now, baking pear bread and making soup and wearing Ugg boots (only in the privacy of my own home, don't worry) and generally coming to terms with the reality that it is, in fact, fall, and actually almost winter. It was easy to pretend that wasn't true in the 75-degree weather I enjoyed while I was in California, which generally kept me outdoors (and away from my computer- sorry).
But it wasn't all fun and games and Frisbees and swimming pools while I was out there (although there was a fair amount of that, I admit). I also accomplished something on my "Thirty Before Thirty" list! I ran a half marathon! And, what's better, I ran it with my best friend, Chloe!
Chloe and I have been friends (sometimes against our wills) since we were toddlers when our moms, who have been friends since the Kennedy administration (seriously), made us be friends. In the 29 years since then (the Reagan administration, for those keeping track), Chloe and I, both competitive by nature, have been amiably comparing ourselves to each other ever since. It doesn't help that, aside from the fact she's a brunette and I'm blond (Veronica to my Betty) we are so similar by nature: our heights, weights, shoe sizes (big), bra sizes (small), body types, personalities (bossy), and taste in decor and fashion are, and have always been, almost exactly the same. We went to high school together, moved to the East coast for college the same year, were married two weeks apart (and were maids of honor in one another's weddings), and bought our first homes the same year.
Chloe left me in her procreating dust when she and her husband had a baby last summer (not yet, thanks!), and she started running with a jogging stroller this spring.  And when I heard that, I did what any good friend would do: I peer pressured her into training for a half-marathon with me. So, since September, Chloe and I have been running the same training runs, and sending each other text messages with our times and distances, and how we felt. Even though she was in California and I was in NY, and technically, it's three hours earlier there, she usually finished the runs before I even started mine (babies wake up early, it turns out).
Unsurprisingly, when I got to California, and we were actually running our training runs side-by-side, we discovered that we naturally run the same pace. So when the race happened, we stayed together the whole way- each of us sometimes slowing down to accommodate the other, sometimes pushing ourselves to catch up- and 2 hours and 14 minutes later (10 minutes faster than my previous half)- we crossed the finish line. At exactly the same time. And I thought what I've thought a million times before, "I'm so lucky to have someone to do this with". 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Like To Move It, Move It

To answer your question ("Where ARE you?"), I'm back in California this week. The purpose of this trip is multi-fold: I'm visiting my parents before the holidays (as we will be spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas with JM's family this year), I attended a family milestone birthday party, I'm checking up on my baby brother-in-law who recently moved to L.A., and I'm running a half-marathon on Saturday. Here's the thing: Whenever I'm out here, I am struck by how active my days are. And without my even trying (half-marathon aside, of course)! It seems like all the fun things I do- swimming in the pool, going to the beach, playing croquet, volleyball or Frisbee (if you can, in fact, call my efforts "playing Frisbee"- I might be the only person in the universe incapable of putting spin on a Frisbee), hiking, yoga, chasing after my friend's baby- are all inherently active and athletic pursuits. In fact, the only thing I do that isn't exercise is sun-bathing, and even then, I break a serious sweat. It's like the exercise just happens without my even thinking about it.
Which, now that I think about it, is probably why my parents, who are senior citizens, actually look more like seniors in college (okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea). It seems like instead of allocating an hour at the gym every day, you can achieve similar, or better, health results just by keeping moving all the time. So my new motto for life (I have a few of them), is "Just Keep Moving".
Here are just a few healthy habits for things you can do in your real life to keep your body in shape, without setting foot in a gym. Admittedly, these aren't as much fun as beach volleyball, but they sure beat the treadmill.

-Walk It: Instead of taking the car, walk your errands (or even better, run them). Carry your laundry to the cleaners and pick up your dinner as take-out, instead of having it delivered. Take the stairs instead of the elevator (or better yet, move into a 5th-floor walk-up, like us). If you have to drive, park on the far side of the parking lot and walk across, like my dad does.

-Bike It: Put the new bike lanes in New York City to use, and bike to work and around the city. Just please wear a helmet- if the pedaling doesn't get your heart pounding, near accidents with taxis certainly will. It's just like Spinning class, but without that hamster-on-a-wheel feeling.

-Carry It: Instead of getting a cart at the grocery store, grab a basket. You'll work your biceps carrying it around, and you'll be less likely to buy junk you don't need. And while you're at it, bring your own bags to the store and carry your groceries home yourself (this is especially good exercise if you live in a walk-up, see?)

-Build It: Earlier this week, I assembled my parents' new grill. At one point, I was in a crunch position for about ten minutes attaching two parts, and I realized that even that is pretty decent exercise. So next time you make a run to Ikea, load the car and assemble it yourself. And since you'll have to deal with sorting out all those screws and washers and deciphering those directions, this one will be a good exercise for your brain, too.

-Fix It: Anyone who has ever tried to move a toilet, or held a 50-lb lighting fixture while someone else screwed it in to the ceiling, knows that DIY is as good for your bod as it is for your house. And it's so rewarding!

-Clean It: Next time you have to clean your place, put on your workout gear and some pump-up tunes (I recommend Sean Paul), and treat it like it's exercise. It'll be a better workout than a jazzercise tape, and you'll get so much more done.

-Grow It: If you have the space (and green thumb) for it, start a garden. Shoveling, weeding, mowing, hoeing, mulching and watering are all great exercise, and you'll have pretty flowers or tasty veggies to show for it (in addition to your rock-hard abs).

Here's hoping this moves you!