Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2 - 6:40 - More Social Pinning Fun

In a recent post, I explained my obsession with Pinterest. Here we are a few days later and yes, I'm still obsessed. To make it even worse, I discovered Polyvore which takes the whole notion of time-sucking to a new level. I always thought I was pretty good at putting outfits together. Now I get to show off how good I am and even get feedback!
I thought I would detail some practical applications of the social pinning sites so that I can use this post for my work blog, as well. Two birds. One stone.

When preparing for a photo shoot, an art director (AD) needs to figure out many essential elements to make the shoot a success. One of the biggest is wardrobe boards. A look for the shoot needs to be established the and AD needs to convey that look to the client as clearly as possible. The client may have a completely different idea than the AD of what "upscale" and "classy" are. Things could get ugly. We're not all working on Mad Men, after all. So it's best to spec out the wardrobe early on in the planning process so all involved are on the same page stylistically.
Before sites like Pinterest and Polyvore, the AD would have to search endlessly for clothing sites, make screen grabs and import the grabs into Photoshop/Word/Acrobat. To say this was tedious and time-consuming is an understatement. Now, styling a photo shoot is way easier with social networking sites.
I've been playing around with Polyvore and I'm afraid it may be more addictive than Pinterest. It's like being a fashion editor at a magazine. I created a look called Every Day and included my wardrobe staples like a black shirt, skinny jeans, red Frye boots and a Kate Spade bag. I scrolled through their many options of tops, jeans, shoes, bags and jewelry and quickly found an abundance of things I love. It took less than five minutes. The links to the items are embedded in their images, including price, so purchasing is simple, too. And the possibilities are seriously endless. You can even include nail polish colors to your board. Yes!
A nice bonus is that if you and someone on your team disagree on something or you change your mind, it's super-easy to switch out the items on your look.
Of course, once your set is complete, you click the handy Pin It button and voila: your outfit is now on Pinterest where you can hope to get more Re-Pins and Likes. Maybe it will even go viral!
It's easy to get started on Polyvore. You set up an account or use your Facebook login info. Then click the top CREATE header and you're ready to go.
You could easily spend all day on Polyvore. I can't wait to have a photo shoot so that I can build the wardrobe boards. I may even find a few cute things for myself, too.

Monday, February 27, 2012

2 - 5:40 - Cure for Your Case of the Mondays

I've decided to do a new feature during 40 Days of Posts: Cure for Your Case of the Mondays. Every Monday, I'll post one of my all-time favorite video clips.
First up, in honor of our "dusting" of snow, here's Pittsburgh Dad.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2 - 4:40 Pin It

I'm obsessed with Pinterest.
If you're not familiar with the pinboard social network, then stop reading this right now. Because if you visit it to "test it out and see what all the fuss is about," you will be sucked in just like I was. You'll suddenly be wasting hours by "pinning" crock-pot dishes "you're dying to try" and a 1000 different ways to make Buffalo Chicken Dip. You'll find DIY painting projects that look amazing but you know you'll never find the time to do them. You'll see you can make bookshelves out of anything. You'll discover that you can make ANY food heart-shaped. And don't even think you'll ever be able to half-ass a holiday again. If you use any of these Easter projects, your holiday is bound to be just like the Pottery Barn catalog.
I have four boards with 145 pins. Of the recipes, I've made two. Of the clothing, I've gotten three things. Yet I continue to peruse the internet just so I can show off Things I Like. Maybe it's an ego thing. If I pin something and someone re-pins it, I feel pretty damn good about myself.
I'm pretty sure I took up sewing just so I could show off my projects with the hope of getting Likes and Repins. Within an hour of posting a pic of my sock-monkey tote bag, I got four Re-Pins and four Likes. I don't know any of the people who are looking at my stuff but I know they think I have good taste and that makes me happy.
The last thing I needed was a new time-suck, but it's nice to have some mindless internet fun. I get to see what some of my childhood friends are into. I can share recipes and even post this blog with the hopes of "expanding my reach." And planning L.E.'s birthday party is more fun and organized by creating a pinboard for it.
It's like the lazy person's virtual vision board.
So check out my boards. If you dare.

Friday, February 24, 2012

2 - 3:40 The Return of Meatless Friday

I love Meatless Friday! OK, I spaced it's Friday during Lent. But that's not going to stop me from sharing my latest obsession: grouper. Today's recipe is for a Blackened Grouper Melt. It is pretty much the greatest thing ever.
A quick note on grouper: it's over-fished and over-farmed. So please make sure you're using sustainable fish. A good place to check is this handy guide from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

4 Grouper Fillets 1” thick
6 Tbsp. butter plus more for bread
1 Baguette (Dutch Crunch works best)
Tartar sauce
2 Tbsp. paprika
4 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. EACH of garlic powder and onion powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. EACH of red pepper flakes and cumin
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. EACH of dried oregano and thyme

1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cups mushrooms, sliced
8 slices of jack cheese

1. Heat grill. Place spices in a bowl and mix well. Divide baguette into four sections the length of a fillet and then split each in half. 

2. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Saute onion until soft and translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until soft and golden. Set aside.

3. Melt remaining butter and turn off heat. Place fillet in pan just long enough to coat with butter. Remove fillets and set aside. Do the same with the inside face of the baguettes. Liberally sprinkle the spice mixture on all sides of fish to coat.
4. Grill fish 3-4 min. on each side until fish flakes easily. Grill bread until just golden. Place fillet on one side of bread and top with onions, mushrooms and cheese. You can choose to broil at this point.
Place tarter sauce on baguette and enjoy! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2 - 2:40 Cross-Country Solo Flight

I know what she's thinking: Flying is fun!
Today, I flew with L.E. from South Carolina to Reno. Alone. Without Dr. T. It was equal parts stressful, hilarious and exhausting.
Our journey started at 3 am east-coast time as we left my folks' house to get to the airport 100 miles away for a 6 am flight. After I bruised my thumbs and fingers getting my suitcase closed, I woke up the only-asleep-for-four-hours baby girl. L.E. was fussy at first but she managed to muster smiles for her grandparents during the drive.
The odds were in our favor early on when the ticket agent told us both flights weren't full. This gave me hope of L.E.'s own seat or even our own row!
The Charleston airport is small. Instead of a whole store full of magazines and candy, they have a kiosk. The M&Ms are at toddler-level but she didn't notice. Instead, L.E. begged for a $5 bag of trail mix which I happily obliged because the whole mantra while traveling is "Give her whatever she wants so she doesn't freak out." I regretted it the instant we sat on the plane (in our own row!) when I scarfed down the nuts she rejected and my crown popped off my back tooth. (I blame L.E. Why ask for nuts when you're only going to eat the raisins out of it?)
I feel as though I need to point out a very important part of the story: my mom packed over 40 diapers left over from the case she bought for our visit. They were in the suitcase she'd loaned me so I could take L.E.'s 20 new outfits home. (No exaggeration). I had four diapers in the diaper bag. Usually that's enough to get through the day. Usually. I'm sure you can see where this was going.
She drank like a fish the whole day. A bottle of milk, a sippy cup of water, a cup of was inevitable the diapers would fill like water balloons.
I have an unwritten rule (now written) about not sharing L.E. poop stories on the internet. So let's just say we went through all four diapers before we were halfway through the second, longer flight. Fortunately, the lavatory was nicely stocked with maxi-pads. The kind of maxi-pads nobody would ever wear unless they desperately needed them. The kind of maxi-pads that look like you're wearing diapers if you happen to need one while wearing skinny jeans. So I MacGyver'd  two pads together under her onesie and prayed it would hold. (It did)
Overall, the trip was a success. She fussed a little bit just out of sheer boredom. But after some cookie bribery (again, give her whatever she wants so she doesn't freak out) she and i were both able to take a little nap.
Here are some tips to make traveling with a not-quite-two-year-old on a plane.
1. Get an iPad. Seriously. It was a lifesaver.
2. Load said iPad with seasons of the child's favorite show. We only did one season of Yo Gabba Gabba and i feel like we could have used more. And maybe some Elmo thrown in.
3. Take some books, preferably small board books that aren't heavy.
4. Let them peruse the Sky Mall. There are lots of photos of animals in them, surprisingly. But I was disappointed that this issue did not feature the yeti statue.
5. Seriously, give them whatever they want so they don't freak out. Even if you don't normally dish out juice, candy and cookies, you need to make an exception for the safety and comfort of those around you. Hell hath no fury like a pissed-off traveler awakened by a screaming toddler.
6. If your child throws a fit in the airport between connections and someone makes a snide comment, make sure you sit right behind them. This works best when flying on Southwest.
I've been awake for 24 hours straight. I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2 - 1:40 Typing on an iPad is hard

I decided to do this again. 40 days of posts for Lent. I don't see it being as easy as last year because I have a much busier job this time around. But I made a committment to myself to do it so here it goes.
As I type this, I'm sitting on my parents' couch while L.E. cries in her rented crib. Dr. T left us here the other day so we've been enjoying some bonding time with the family. I'll get into more details later this week because typing this on an iPad really is hard. I know, first-world problem.
Traveling tomorrow. Hopefully it's painless. I promise I will post about that too.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 1st

One month into 2012, I’ve actually kept a few resolutions! I’m shocked because when I say I’m going to do something, let alone 14 things, I’m not the best one for follow-through. So here’s where I stand on February 1st:

In 2012, I resolve to live more simply and remember what's most important: L.E., T, family, friends and being happy with what I have.
I haven’t cleaned off the bookshelf yet, which is what inspired the whole “living simply” mantra.

I resolve to make things easier for myself.
I bought a sewing machine. How is learning a new and complicated hobby “making things easier for myself?

I resolve to not be jealous of what others have. I have a pretty good life, despite bouts of depression and feeling overwhelmed.
Not one bout of jealousy yet

I resolve to wear more dresses.
I’m wearing a fabulous dress today.

I resolve to cook more without putting undue pressure on myself. (Last night's risotto didn't turn out great and I cried; it was still 2011)
I’ve cooked like once since I wrote this.

I resolve to write more.
I’m doing ok on this. My company is launching a new website soon and I’ve been put on the blog editorial team. It should be fun, despite my idea for a post being the ONLY ONE that got shot down in our planning meeting.

I resolve to maintain my journal. 

I resolve to run more.
Check check (as long as I stay healthy and the weather is nice)

I resolve to drink less.
I’m shocked by how well I’ve kept this one. Now when I have two glasses of wine, I feel like death the next day.

I resolve to only eat french fries once a week.
I really should have said once a day.

I resolve to be a hard worker at my job and keep a positive attitude.
They’re lucky to have me. I’m a damn good worker.

I resolve that no matter what happens with L.E.'s next hip appointment, I will remain positive for her sake.
Two more months…

I resolve to give more hugs.
L.E. gets most of them.

I resolve to keep at least 2 of these.
Check check check.

Your turn: how are you doing on your resolutions?