Wednesday, December 11, 2013

This is Why I Need to Get Ready Alone

Scene: My bedroom. 7am. My vanity.

I'm braiding my hair in a cool Pinterest-y style. I'm placing in the final pin when L.E. comes in.
"Mommy, why is your hair like that?"
"I'm trying something new. Do you like it?"
"Noooooooo. I like your hair straight like this." She shakes out her perfectly smooth, curls-in-the-right-place, shiny, silky hair.
"Oh sweetie. My hair will never look like yours." I go back to pinning. The whimpering starts. I see in the mirror her lower lip is starting to stick out.
"What's wrong?" I ask her, "You really don't like my hair?"
"I don't!"
I take out the pins, one by one. I shake out my frizz.
"Now you look more like you, Mommy!"
So much for trying something different.
I thought little girls were supposed to sit behind their mommies getting ready and commented on how beautiful they are?
Oh well, at least she didn't get into my Stila palette like last time...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hitting a Wall

This post originally appeared on Austin Moms Blog.

Do you ever feel like you’ve spent all of your energy going a million miles an hour, taking care of family, jobs, housework, out-of-town guests, etc? Then you find yourself hitting a wall and not knowing how to move on? Come on, ladies, I can’t be the only one!
I don’t know if it’s the changing of the seasons, knowing that the holidays – and my annual bout of seasonal affective disorder – are just around the corner or what but lately I feel so out of sorts. I lost my mojo, my energy, my willingness to go above and beyond. I don’t know what happened. I’m drained.
My apologies to friends, bosses, blogging cohorts and co-workers for leaving you to deal with my slack.
I’ve tried writing so many times but I end up staring at an empty screen. The ”Drafts” folder on my Blogger profile is kind of pathetic. I don’t know why. I’ve dealt with a lot of emotional things but nothing so earth shattering that all I want to do is curl up on the couch and watch Scandal all day. But all I want to do is curl up on the couch and watch Scandal all day.
Why do I feel so listless? What happened to the creative drive and ambition I used to have? I used to be able to work 10 hours straight, go to happy hour with girlfriends and be home in time for a good conversation with Todd before getting a good night’s sleep. I know that life is in the past  but even after I became a mom, I still had a nicely balanced existence. Now, I’m lucky to make it through a day without pissing anybody off due to my apathy. I don’t even have the passion for writing that I used to have.
Here’s the worst part: I know there are things I can try to do to get better. Like exercise, eat healthy, avoid alcohol, etc. I just don’t do them. I don’t have the energy for a big change but a big change is going to be what makes the difference. Is this my depression rearing its ugly head or is it something that will go away once I find the right outlet?
So I’m asking for help. How do I get my mojo back? More sex? Therapy? Spa treatments? Weekend retreat? Moms Night Out?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Yum Yum: Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

It's no secret that I love Buffalo Wings. I love Buffalo Chicken Dip. I love Buffalo Shrimp Sliders.
I also love Macaroni and Cheese. So when I found myself with only a bag of noodles, chicken, wing sauce and cheese earlier this week, I did something I pretty much never do in the kitchen: I cooked. On the fly. I made it up as I went. And it was awesome!

4 boneless chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs (any will work)
Salt & Pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
1 package of elbow macaroni (or flat egg noodles)
1 onion, chopped
2 cups Frank's Red Hot
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon sour cream
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oil in pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in egg mixture and coat in bread crumbs. Saute onion in pan until translucent. Send Fry chicken till cooked the whole way through, approx four minutes a side. Chop when cool. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions and drain. Do not rinse. Mix noodles, sour cream, onion, cheeses (save some for sprinkling on top), Red Hot, butter, and chicken. Pour into greased baking dish. Top with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

House Rules

I made this in Word. Just like your friend did. Only she used Comic Sans.
There seems to be a trend that I'll blame on Pinterest. That is creating framed "Rules of the House" artwork that says things like, "Be kind," "Hug each other" and "Dream big." None of these are even remotely realistic in our house. So if I were to post some House Rules this is what they would say:

  • No spitting on the floor, no matter how funny it is when Marty does it in Madagascar
  • The first thing you should say in the morning is, "Good morning." Not, "Get up!" "I WANT SOME MILK" or "Where are my socks?"
  • If you blow out the bathroom, light a match or use the spray
  • Rinse your plate
  • Don't kick the dog
  • Say you love the meal that was cooked for you no matter how bad it may taste
  • Know the answer to "Wanna watch House Hunters?" is always yes
  • If you're here to watch a sporting event and you choose not to root for the same team we are, you know where the door is
  • The pills in the medicine cabinet are yours for the taking. I hide the good ones elsewhere
  • "Look how young you were in this picture!" is never an acceptable way to look at displayed photos
  • Wipe your feet on the doormat
  • Don't drink the bathwater
  • No, our scale isn't broken
  • Don't be embarrassed if you need the plunger
  • Always bring beer
  • A naked child running through the house is perfectly normal
  • Never use the words "candy" "M&Ms" or "ice cream" around L.E. unless you have one of the three
  • Don't ask why there's a bottle of vodka in the toilet tank
  • We have a mouse. His name is Ginger. He lives on the roof. Leave him alone
  • If you're hot, here's a tank top. If you're cold, here's a blanket
  • Laugh a lot. We do.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My First Year as a Texan

Yep. Ate a lot of this.
We've been in Austin for a year. So crazy. Seems like just yesterday I said good-bye to Reno.
I want to write about the emotional roller coaster that this last year has been. But that would take a lot of thought so give me a few days. Instead, I'll sum up the last year in food.

Tacos tacos tacos burgers bbq pizza tacos fried chicken queso bbq bbq burgers macaroni & cheese corn casserole pinto beans tacos bbq queso doughnuts pizza chicken wings ribs bbq brisket beef ribs banana pudding tacos pizza green chile queso tacos bacon donuts fried chicken pork tacos bbq burgers tacos chicken fried steak tacos bbq queso tacos ribs salad.

And I work for a chocolate company. Good thing chocolate is good for me!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Leaky Mind Syndrome

Every day I start a post in my head. I never actually make it to my lappy to write it.
It could be about L.E.'s sudden desire to dress herself and what the hilarious results are.
It could be about the recent dressing-down I got from my physical therapist about my lack of core strength and ab muscles.
It could be about having to go to physical therapy for an injury that happened well over a decade ago.
It could be about the latest trends in wedding cakes, dog training, lice treatments, chocolate, or skin care, all of which I have Google alerts set for because of my client-base.
It could be about the fact that I have a client base.
It could be an independent poll about whether or not to use the Oxford comma.
It could be a segue into the song Oxford Comma by Vampire Weekend.
It could be about not sleeping but I just did that.
It could be about how my dog doesn't seem to like anyone else as much as he likes me and that makes me feel good in a way because I'm never number 1.
It could be about run-on sentences.
It could be about the new motivational poster I want to make that says "I Run So That I Don't Die."
It could be about the ridiculous wake-up call I've gotten from my doctor that essentially means buh-bye queso.
It could be about not having a babysitter to call on or someone to watch the dog while we go on a trip in a few weeks.
It could be about how a simple day planner is keeping me back on track.
It could be about how much I hate SEO, metatags, and search descriptions.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Insomniac Part 2: The Electric Boogaloo

Yeah, I have a lot going on. And I can't sleep. Again.
I went from no job to three jobs in a pretty quick timeframe. It's all requiring a ton of self-management, of which I'm struggling with yet still able to maintain.
Obviously, Hip-Baby Mama has been the biggest thing to suffer.
I love my blog. I love having the freedom to ramble about pretty much anything. Apparently enough people read it to justify keeping it up.
If there's nothing else I've learned in the last few months, it's that maintaining a blog is hard work.
Maintaining my life is hard work.
Some days, I come home from the office and all I want to do is sleep.
And sometimes I do.
My mid-afternoon naps have become the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. My dirty little secret that's even worse than the fact that I wax my face.
Why do I do this? Why do I do things that make me feel horribly guilty and like a horrible person because there are a gazillion other things I should be doing?
I can place blame.
I just had a cold.
I pulled my rhomboid muscle and had to take a ton of muscle relaxers, which my mom says I need to get off of or I'll become a junkie.
They make me tired.
I can't sleep at night because of these little naps.
But that doesn't explain why I'm awake right now.
I actually had a ridiculously productive day.
All deadlines were met.
All clients are happy.
But I can't sleep and I have heartburn.
My printer broke.
L.E. needs a haircut.
I left a bathing suit and two of our three beach towels out in the rain.
Sometimes I think my husband doesn't like me.
Other times I think nobody likes me.
G-man is snoring.
I didn't check my office email sooner.
We need groceries.
One of my best friends is having her baby today.
I bet she can't sleep either.
After being around her and another one of my best friends who is also pregnant, I still have zero desire for another baby.
My mom thinks that's weird.
Dr. T. is grateful.
Our lives – and food bills – have deeply changed since L.E. developed speaking skills, eating habits and free will.
I always think I have this perfectly-coiffed, well-manicured little lady like this one.
L.E. usually looks more like this.
Did I mention she needs a haircut?
I better try to go back to bed.
It's almost time to wake up.
Oh...Ikea pillows suck.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What Kind of Mom Are You?

We had some fun over at Austin Moms Blog today. Each contributor took on a different Mom-type based on their personality and overall parenting strategy, if there is one. I'm, of course, the Shortcut Mom. I brush my teeth while I brush L.E.'s teeth while she's going potty. If a recipe requires more than three steps, it's either up to Dr. T. to make dinner or I'm making my famous trip to Torchy's.
I didn't put my kid in the accompanying photo because that would have required more effort. But then again, Shortcuts are not to be confused with Laziness. Usually.
Read more here and tell me, what kind of mom are you? Don't forget to vote in the poll!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm Still Not Used To Life In Texas (Or Maybe I'm Not an Alcoholic After All)

Exchange between Dr. T. and me at the grocery store.

Me: We should get some rum and make mojitos

T: We should. Can you run over to Spec's and get some?

Me: We're in a grocery store. The liquor aisle is right over there

T: Don't you remember where you live? You can't buy liquor in grocery stores in Texas. That's why there's LIQUOR STORES.

Me: {Long pause.} But you can buy mixers. Why would they make you go to another store for liquor?

T: It's just the way it is here

Me: Fine. I'll go to Spec's. But I'm playing video poker on the way out.

T: {Face palm, eye roll, head shake}

L.E.: I get to spin the wheel, right? {There is a gambling-type game for kids in the grocery store. Think Price is Right's big wheel}

And that's when it took me almost a year to go into a liquor store.

On another note, I'm over on Austin Moms Blog today talking about getting organized. {Pause for laughter} No, really. If I can do it, you can do it.

And scene.

Friday, June 14, 2013

BlogHer Food 2013

BFFs: Bloggy Friends Forever!
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be a volunteer for the BlogHer Food conference here in Austin. It was my first blogging conference; usually it takes a lot for me to commit to something, let alone three days of something. I always want to know if food will be served. Well guess what? BlogHer Food has food right in the title! I was set!
I got lucky in that my only official volunteer duties were working registration and mic wrangling. But some of my fellow volunteers were in charge of live-blogging, which is commendable because they had the responsibility of blogging the sessions. If I had to live-blog the sessions, there would have been at least five different times that I would have typed "section omitted...I was thinking about cheese..."
In between sessions, there was an expo set up with tons of swag and samples. All of the brands were clamoring to get me to blog for them. I had to smile and say no; my empire is doing just fine on its own. OK, that's a lie but I did learn about some blogging opportunities that I may eventually have time for in 2017.
Overall, the experience was amazing. I never went hungry or thirsty and met some pretty amazing people.
Here are the live blogs from the sessions I attended:
Write to Be Read
Video Bootcamp # 3: Editing
Food Stories Through Visuals
Making Mobile Photographs That Are Print and Cover-Worthy

Food Blogging for the Next Generation - Finding Solutions at the Intersection of Childhood Obesity and Food Insecurity in the USA

And here are the amazing people I met who made the weekend so extraordinary. If you get a chance, please visit their blogs.
Hill Country Cook
Redd Party – I took them to meet Dr. T and L.E. at my favorite Rainey St. place, Banger's. What I love about Lee and Winter is that they weren't afraid to try the antelope and boar.
Being Cheap Is Easy – She did not judge me when I wanted a beer before the open bar was open.
Mile Hi Mama
The Chatty Momma – Our fearless volunteer-wrangler and all-around awesome chick.
Local Belle
Spritti Bee
Charm and Sass – She did not judge me when I ate an entire bowl of queso fundido by myself
Pan Fusine
The Cooking Mom
AvengerOfSexiness – This site is way more fun than her food blog but you can check that out, too.
San Jose Food Blog
Blog Con Queso – She's my Facebook friend despite having never met in-person until I almost tackled her when I saw her in-between sessions.
They're Not All Gems – another friend who led our taco tour and fortunately missed seeing me face-down in queso funded

The big food celebrity was Ree Drummond – aka the Pioneer Woman. She is very tall. I never saw her up-close except for when she was surrounded by a gaggle of admiring bloggers and that's how I know how tall she is. Her husband The Marlboro Man was there, too. Winter from Redd Party told me a funny story about how the Marlboro Man went up to her husband because he was the only guy there at that particular time. Also, I had to explain to Dr. T that The Marlboro Man really wasn't a Marlboro man – "They're all dead, aren't they?" – Funny stuff.

I know I'm missing a bunch of people and for that, I apologize.
Even though I didn't win any of the huge prizes, I walked away with a HUGE bag of swag. I don't have to buy sugar for a while and I discovered Keurig Pour-Over-Ice K cups.
The best part about BlogHer Food was being around other people who truly love food as much as I do. We get so caught up in dieting and fads and nutrition that we forget the basic tenants of food: it's delicious and what brings us together.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

For My Pregnant Friends

I've mentioned wanting to write a parenting book.
I rarely finish what I start.
But I have a lot of pregnant friends who genuinely seemed interested in my parenting expertise, you know, because I have one child and that automatically makes me an expert in all things baby and toddler.
When I was a new mom, anyone who'd been a mom even a day longer than me was a trove of information that I couldn't wait to glom onto. So to my first-time-mommy-to-be buddies, this is for you.

  • Bring your pets a present home from the hospital so they adjust a little bit easier.
  • Fix your hair and makeup before the first post-birth photos. They're going to be around a lot longer than that blissful moment of having just produced a person.
  • Make sure your chest is covered up during said photos. 
  • Everything doesn't have to be organic. Sure, there's better packaging and you feel like it will make a difference, but chances are you'll be wasting money on organic washcloths when normal cotton ones are just fine.
  • Despite the above statement, these are the best burp cloths. You will use them a ton.
  • Observe other moms. If you see a stroller you like, ask them what kind it is and if you can try it out. It's a big investment and you want to know first-hand if it's a good one. Or just listen to me and get a Graco baby carrier with the stroller frame. Once they're out of the carrier, either get a Bob jogger – if you plan on jogging or hiking – or a Chicco Capri.
  • If you want your husband to carry the baby more, get a Bjorn.
  • Pampers Swaddlers are the best newborn diapers. When they're older, just get what they have at Costco.
  • Always carry spare clothes for you and the baby.
  • You don't need wipe warmers, a shopping cart cover, or baby mittens.
  • Tell your parents not to visit the first month, unless they live nearby.
  • Breastfeeding is hard. Study up on it now before you realize it's not the natural thing you expect it to be.
  • Prenatal yoga didn't help me with delivery but it was nice to hang out with other pregnant ladies and you can have snacks the whole time.
  • Get an iPad.
  • The same rules apply to parenting that apply to home repairs: everything will cost twice as much and take twice as long as you think.
  • People in public may not go ape-shit over how cute your baby is. It's ok. They just don't get it, but other moms do. We all know who the cutest baby in the world is.
  • This one.
  • Shit happens. Literally. Soap and water exists for a reason and your Facebook friends don't ever need to know about it. 
  • If you ever find yourself typing the words poop, fart, pee, vomit, barf, puke, boogers, moist, chunky, snot, anal, rash, breast infection or scabies on social media, you may want to think twice about hitting the "Update Status" button. Although Blair Koenig is my Twitter friend, I still don't really want people I know to end up on STFU Parents.
  • I know giving your kid a kooky-spelling name is the thing to do to make them yoo-neek, but think about who actually has to spell it the rest of their lives. Give them a break and let's take the "y"s and extra consonants out. Little Kattnyss will thank you for it.
  • There is nothing wrong with cloth diapering or making your own baby food. There's nothing wrong with Huggies and Gerber. My point? What works for some may not for others and there's nothing wrong either way. We're all in this together, people. Don't judge.
  • Except for vaccines...seriously, vaccinate your kids. We don't need to reintroduce polio, for crying out loud!
  • Make sure your pediatrician checks for hip dysplasia.
  • There is a such thing as being overly sanitary. Did you see this study that just came out about moms who suck the dirt off of binkies that fell on the floor? Those are the kids who don't have asthma. I'm not one to brag, I'm just someone who's always out of wipes. So L.E. has had one ear infection and two fevers in three years. It could be because I sucked the dirt off of her pacifier instead of washing it off. Score one for the lazys!
  • You will always need wipes. Buy them in bulk and keep them in every room of the house.
  • A leather diaper bag is stupid because it's heavy. Canvas is the way to go. Everyone says to get one that doesn't look like a diaper bag but guess what? That baby you're holding is pretty much a dead giveaway that you're packing bottles and wipes in that Kate Spade Stevie.
  • Yes, you need a glider. No, you don't need the ottoman.
  • An inflatable exercise ball is necessary for those days when you can't get the baby to stop crying so you just bounce. It also doubles as an ottoman.
  • The Arm & Hammer diaper pail is the worst. Ours has been broken for two years. I should have gotten another one but I had potty-training delusionment.
  • What do you mean delusionment isn't a word?
  • People will give you unsolicited advice – not that I know anything about that. You asked me for this, remember? But take it with a grain of salt. Or come up with a trove of witty retorts about domestic abuse and people will leave you alone.
  • Don't get rid of your maternity clothes. Even though I never plan on being pregnant again, I really miss some of those dresses. 
  • Yoga pants are real pants.
  • Your feet may never return to their pre-baby size. But your ass will.
  • Hold your husband accountable for his share. I can't tell you how shocked I am to hear that "Daddy isn't ready to handle the baby on his own yet." That's bullshit. Mommy needs to get out or perhaps Daddy will end up with a shovel blade impaled in his skull.
  • Remember that you're not quite the same person you were before you became a mom and that's ok. You now have an amazing little person that will be your best friend and your worst enemy. It's ok to be all over the place and a little bit crazy for a while. You'll bounce back but you'll be slightly different. Wiser, more sensitive, more tired and with a way better sense of humor. You'll need it for all of the times you leave the house with spit-up on your shirt and forgetting to wear pants.
Tell me: what piece of advice was priceless for you when you became a new mom?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sweating Season Has Begun

Triple digits aren't too far off.
I've never been one to obsess about the weather. I've been lucky to live in climates with four distinct seasons. I've seen plenty of snow and 100+ degree temperatures and I've been OK with that.
The difference between then and now is humidity.
I grew up in Pittsburgh which is pretty humid.
Texas humid is a completely different beast. It was 77 degrees out this morning but it felt like you were in a swamp.
Because I've spent the last 15 years in an arid high desert, my body is still adjusting. That's a polite way of saying that if I spend more than five minutes outside, I start to sweat buckets.
Not bullets, buckets.
Sweat drips off of my forehead and into my eyes, which is like touching my contacts after peeling green chiles.
I get sweaty pits, a sweaty back, sweaty arms, sweaty knees...did you know your knees can sweat? Mine do.
Everyone keeps telling me to spend more time outside and I'll get used to it. Yes because sitting in the shvitz that is my yard seems super-enticing.
I walked three blocks yesterday after a rainstorm. I felt like i was swimming in soup. When you're someone like me, reasonably fashion-forward with a hatred of the outdoors, REI is not the beacon of shining hope it becomes when you realize it's air-conditioned. I almost tried on a pair of those zip-off-leg pants just so I could enjoy the A/C a little longer.
But then I remembered how much sweat conjures when I do something simple like try on clothes.
Fitting room attendants look horrified when I come out and hand them the five things that didn't fit.
I need to carry around a towel.
The worst part is that it doesn't cool off.
And it's not even really summer yet.
I'm sorry to bitch about this. I guess it's the small price to pay for delicious tacos and bbq. At least I can sweat them out and maybe lose a few pounds.
Stay tuned for my next bitch-session which I've tentatively titled: Why Am I the Only One Being Attacked By Mosquitos?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

More Changes Afoot

My to-do list from mid-February. The birthday gifts finally got bought. The baby gift hasn't.
Today starts another new beginning. As you may know, I've been fun-employed since February. That means I got to quit my design job and "find myself." My intention was to grow this blog, get discovered and commissioned to write a book.
I even started the book. Still at one-and-a-half chapters.
After two weeks, I started actively and desperately looking for work. I applied for writing jobs as much as I could. I even looked at design jobs.
I got no response.
I curled up on the couch in a depression, watching Arrested Development re-runs.
I cried all the time. I felt as though I wasn't contributing to the household except for half-assed cleaning before Dr. T came home from work.
I did a lot of laundry. I got the kitchen sink sparkling but I'm still struggling with the bathtub.
I started to get a little more desperate.
I contemplated working anywhere I went from the drugstore to Torchy's Tacos to Target to the grocery store to cleaning houses. I looked at the panhandlers at the on-ramps with envy. They at least were bringing home some change.
Dr. T was very supportive, but I could tell he was getting nervous about our financial situation.
But then in mid-March, I got two random and completely different jobs. One is a PR intern; I've never directly worked in PR before but I've been involved in plenty of events. This "internship" has me making a lot of phone calls, which is good for getting over my phone-anxiety.
The other gig is as a blogger and designer for a local chocolate company. I've regained my passion for design because I'm finally working for a client with a truly great product.
Plus, free chocolate.
I can honestly say that I truly love both jobs. Both present their own unique challenges. Both are flexible. And both women who run the companies are really awesome people who inspire me.
I'm happy to be on their teams.
But I needed something a little more steady.
Good things come to those who wait.
My newest job is as an admin for an architecture firm. Again, something completely different from anything else I've done. I'll learn an entirely new set of skills, along with being challenged to keep an office organized. I'm happy to dive in with both feet and use my brain in a totally different way.
For the first time in months, I feel relief.
But now I'm realizing all of the things I didn't do while I was off. I didn't go to the art museum or go for runs along the Town Lake trail. I didn't go to the coffee shop down the street and write while sipping lattes.
I didn't call my friends as much as I should have.
I didn't go to Franklin BBQ.
My to-do list remains mostly unchecked.
But I did find a therapist...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Guest Post: Easy to Make Natural Skin Scrub

Today, I'm handing over the Hip-Baby Mama reins to Michelle Pino of Skana Spa. She has a great DIY scrub that will get your skin glowing. I've tried it twice, and I have to say that my skin looks amazing and I can finally use up all of the honey I keep buying!

I used to have dry, dull skin, especially after a long winter spent mostly indoors. Several years ago, I happened on a few combinations of natural ingredients that did wonders for my skin. I didn’t have time or money to find “the best” skin cream, and it can be tough to schedule a spa day while running a household. I started researching natural ingredients that held the same benefits as pricey skin lotions, and that would be fast and easy to concoct.

I discovered that in ancient cultures, women used natural products to take care of their skin. I figured if it was good enough for Cleopatra, it was good enough for me. After research and experimentation, I settled on four ingredients that do wonders for the skin. They are also ingredients I always have on hand, so making my own facial scrubs and masks was that much easier.

Two of the best ways to have beautiful skin are to exfoliate (remove dead and dried skin cells) and to moisturize. The fabulous four ingredients that do both of those things and make my skin glow are:

Olive Oil: Lots of good-for-your-skin Vitamin E (and a common ingredient in commercial products)

Honey: Nature’s perfect food turns out to be your skin’s best friend—it’s brimming with anti-aging anti-oxidants and it is a humectant, which means it hydrates your skin
Lemon: The juice acts like an astringent and tightens pores and lightens age spots, which gives your complexion a nice even tone
Sugar: Eating sugar hurts your skin, but slathering it on your face and body is beneficial because it is a perfect exfoliant

Easy Skin Scrub Recipe

In a medium bowl, combine:
The juice from ½ a lemon
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Whisk in 1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 cup of sugar (white or brown)

Mix until desired consistency—thick enough to apply to your skin without dripping.
Gently apply to your face using small, circular movements, and leave it on for 10 minutes, then gently rinse it off with warm water. Your face will feel so smooth; you won’t need to add additional skin cream. This concoction works well as a full body scrub, too. Use it in the shower, paying extra attention to your elbows, knees and feet.This recipe makes enough scrub for two to three facials and showers a week. Put a lid or a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl to keep the ingredients moist.

For a quick facial mask, clean your face thoroughly and then smooth a few teaspoons of honey on your skin. Rinse off after ten minutes. Some women like to mix a bit of plain yogurt or milk with the honey before applying. The choice is yours, but just plain honey works very well.

Michelle Pino, is a Spa Manager at Skana, a spa in upstate New York at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY.  She enjoys DIY projects, healthy recipes, exercise, and all things related to skin care. If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact Michelle via email at

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

You Had to Ask, Didn't You?

My new dog G-man. Don't ask him if he wants to go outside.
Yesterday I heard an interview with John Densmore, drummer for The Doors. The interviewer asked him, "How bad it suck when Jim Morrison died right at the height of The Doors' success?"
If I'd been drinking something at the time, I would have snarfed it like a cartoon. Of all the questions to ask this guy, you chose the one that he's probably answered millions of times over the last 40+ years.
I felt badly for Mr. Densmore but he answered it with dignity and though he'd answered it a million times over the last 40+ years.
This got me thinking about all of the questions people have to hate answering.
I have quite a few, namely "When are you having another baby?" "When are you finding a real job?" and "How's the book coming along?"
Then I thought of different people, famous and not, who get asked the same questions over and over again.
So here is a list of questions I think these people are tired of answering. So we should stop asking them. Except L.E. She needs to brush her teeth.

To Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson: "How much weight have you gained and how quickly will you lose it post-baby?"

To Tim Tebow: "How does it feel being an NFL failure?"

To L.E.: "Do you want to brush your teeth?"

To any pregnant woman: "When are you due? What are you having? What's the name? How much weight have you gained? Are you going to breastfeed?"

To any new mom: "Is he/she sleeping through the night? No? My perfect little angel was sleeping for 10 hours a stretch since he was 2 days old...."

To Mante' T'eo: "How could you be so stupid?"

To Kristen Stewart: "Are you ever happy?"

To Sofia Vergara: "Are they real?"

To Bruce Jenner/Joan Collins/Meg Ryan: "What happened to your face?"

To L.E.'s teacher: "What's that kid's name again?"

To Dr. T: "What do you do for a living, again?"

To a co-worker every Monday morning: "How was your weekend?"

To your vet: "Aren't you going to take him out for drinks before putting that in there?"

To my new dog, G-man: "Do you even know your name?"

To Ryan Lochte: "Why do you exist? No seriously, WHY?"

To Lindsay Vonn: "What are you thinking?"

To any Real Housewife: "Can we trade lives?"

I could go on.

What are the most annoying questions you get asked?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Yum Yum: Grilled Jalapeño Poppers

Serve with your favorite margarita.
We have a fail-safe appetizer in the Hip-Baby Mama household: Grilled Jalapeño Poppers. We've made them for countless BBQs, birthday parties, dinners with friends and even just a random night with the two (or three) of us. I wish I could remember where I first had them but it didn't take much to take ownership of them.
The best part: they are so easy to make! All you need is fresh, whole jalapeños and cream cheese.

  1. Halve the jalapeños.
  2. Scoop out the seeds.
  3. Spread on the cream cheese. (I like to add a little sprinkle of paprika or New Mexico red chili powder to give them some color)
  4. Grill for 5-10 minutes. 
  5. Devour them like there's no tomorrow.
We made them last night for Cinco de Mayo. I want to eat them again.
There are variations; you can add different blends of cheese or sausage or bacon. Personally, I think simple is best. Otherwise, they become complicated and you have more pans to clean.

Tell me: do you have a fail-safe, go-to appetizer recipe? Share the link in the comments!

Friday, May 3, 2013


Which ones would YOU wear?
Yes, you read that title right.
This post is a bit more rant-y than my other posts so be forewarned. I don't normally get all riled up about things like gender bias. Until now.
L.E. is potty-trained. It went much better than I could have dreamed and that's all I really want to say about it so I don't jinx her to where she poops in her carseat tomorrow.
She's been in Pull-Ups for the last year. And that's when I first realized there were different undergarments for little boys and little girls. Little boys get Cars; little girls get Disney Princesses. My little girl is not into princesses so I would buy her the Cars ones. Who doesn't love having Lightning McQueen on their butt?
Pull-Ups are the same shape for both girls and boys so I had no problem with L.E. wanting to wear Cars ones.
Same with PJs; she always picks robots and trucks instead of butterflies and fairies.
Or animals; animals are always her number one.
So now she can wear underwear.
This is a pretty big milestone.
I'd gotten her a big package of Hello Kitty underwear last year so I would have them on-hand. Hello Kitty is perfect for her; just girly enough without venturing too far into princess territory. The only pink on them is hot pink.
I needed to get her some more so I went to the same place, Costco, and scoped out the options.
For the boys: Cars, Nemo, Toy Story, Monsters Inc.
For the girls: Princesses
I had the boys' underwear in my hands. No way is my little girl, who can quote Nemo verbatim, going to miss out on the underpants that she prefers.
But I stopped.
The boys' underwear have the dreaded weenie-flap. And I'm not ready to explain the difference between boys and girls to my 3-year-old.
See, to a 3-year-old people are people.
We're all the same.
We all have people who love us and we all love to sing and make art and hug our friends.
It doesn't matter what color we are, where we live or who our parents are.
It's a time for innocence that I'm just not ready to shatter.
I don't want it in her head that boys are different than girls.
I didn't want to explain why Buzz Lightyear underpants have a hole in them but her Daisy Duck ones don't.
I like to think that when the time comes, I'll be frank and upfront when it comes to talking about body parts and sex.
But for now, just let her believe that everybody is on equal footing.
She's going to face enough gender bias in her life; why does it have to start now?
I ended up with some Hanes underwear with a cute gingham print that are only slightly girly.
They have the days of the week on them. I promise myself I won't freak out if she has on Tuesday when it's actually Friday.
So I tell myself.
I need to find her more Hello Kitty.
Or write angry letters to Disney begging for girls' underwear that have Nemo and Buzz on them.
Sans weenie-flap.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dr. T. Sounds Off

Everyone loves a wiener.
Today on Austin Moms Blog, you can get to know a little more about Dr. T. and his thoughts on parenthood. Among the questions I omitted were, "Are you having any more kids?" A: NO and "What was your first reaction when you found out you were having a girl?" A: Oh shit.
I give him lots of credit for suggesting I want another bathroom but after thinking about it a lot more, I'd take a bigger kitchen, too.
So hop on over to AMB and get to know the man behind the mama a little better.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Nothing in Particular

It's been a busy week in Hip-Baby Land. I have two freelance clients and they both were nice enough to pile on the work. Despite the fact that it really takes me a while to get going on a project, I relish the opportunity to work.
I may actually be able to afford a haircut soon.
I also had a root canal, which was a nice day of a hot endodontist, throbbing pain quelled by delicious pain pills and some banana pudding. I can't complain too much about it, but root canals suck.
That day I got hooked on Hemlock Grove. It's cheesy but surprisingly addicting and well-acted.
I have a big day tomorrow. It's the second annual Austin Food & Wine Festival and I am attending to help the Delysia Chocolatier team. I'm so excited to spend more time with Delysia and sample some more of their amazing and unique truffles. Chocolate, yay!
I had a weird nostalgia moment when I discovered that my childhood home is for sale. It was nice to see the photos of what used to be my room, which looks even smaller than I remember. But the paneling...gah, it's still there!
If these walls could talk...(they'd probably say, "This kid needs therapy.")
My brother-in-law wants to buy it.
L.E. and I had a girls' night out last night. We went to dinner at an Italian market and L.E. ooohed an aaahed over everything from the clear class lemonade dispenser to the huge selection of gelatos. I'm so happy that she's become so well-behaved in a restaurant. Dining out is one of my favorite things and if she wasn't cooperative, I would probably resent her and leave her in the car with the windows cracked. *kidding*
That's my faux wrap-up of the week. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Yum Yum: Banana Bread

Delicious and golden-brown
While reading Ladybug Girl and her Mama, L.E. decided she wanted to do all of the same things Lulu does when spending the day with her mom. That included making banana bread. Daniel Tiger also recently made banana bread, so it has been at the forefront of our minds.
It's certainly not hard to find a decent recipe for it. I borrowed this one from Food

Banana Bread
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

(This is the part where L.E. was a big help!) In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dream Jobs

It's been three months since I quit my full-time job to strike out on my own.
It's been a challenge.
I have some clients and I'm extremely grateful for them. I love the work that I'm doing; it's different and fun.
But I think I need the peace of mind that a steady job provides, even if it's just a few hours a week.
Here is a list of my dream jobs.

  • Bestselling author. I've already written a chapter and a half of Hip-Baby Mama's Guide to Parenting in the Real World. Real original, I know. But it's fun to give unsolicited advice in an already saturated market. So where is my 6-figure advance?
  • Publicist. As of right now, I'm dabbling in PR as a 36-year old intern. I love it! Writing press releases has come pretty easy to me. I've written two of them so I'm totally ready to be the next Liz Rosenberg
  • Life Coach. But I think I would be terrible at it.
  • Preschool Teacher. Who wouldn't love to spend days outside with intermittent breaks to fingerpaint and read stories? It's like parenting but you get paid!
  • The person who names nail polish colors. The perfect shade of bumblebee yellow would be Steeltown Gold. A beautiful shade of light blue? Azul, The Gatekeeper. Do you hear me OPI? You need to hire me. 
  • Professional Cheese Taster.
  • Professional Wine Taster.
  • Copywriter for ModCloth. They have the best descriptions and names for their clothing. I would call a black dress Mourning Glory and it would be perfect to wear to the funeral of a friend's obscure relative.
  • Zombie Extra. I should live where they film The Walking Dead. It would be so fun to be a zombie without all of the disgusting parts of it like eating brains and rotting flesh. Are there any zombie movies filming in Austin this year?
  • Pageant Mom. Let's face it: L.E. is ADORABLE! I just need to teach her some ridiculous self-absorption and she would be the best Little Miss Daffodil ever. I would look amazing in tight bedazzled jeans with hair extensions and fake nails. I can teach her my old cheerleading moves. Next stop, Toddlers and Tiaras!
  • Sleep Study Candidate. I can be the one in the control group who sleeps uninterrupted so they can set the baseline to my patterns.
  • Fashion Stylist or Personal Shopper. I love fashion but can't afford it. This would be awesome to live vicariously through my job and look fabulous.
  • Paid Blogger. I don't get paid to write Hip-Baby Mama, but I do have a few fun paid gigs. So in essence, I'm doing one of my dream jobs!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Top Ten Signs You Didn't Get Any Sleep Last Night

10. You pour salt in your coffee but drink it anyway

9. You forget to lift the kid-potty-seat on the toilet

8. You call your husband "Bob." His name is not Bob

7. You don't even bother sorting the lights and darks before throwing them in the washer. You may have forgotten to use soap

6. While trying to blog, you rub your eyes and stare off into space for 20 minutes

5. You tell your husband that so-and-so told you about a great place that's kid-friendly. He snaps back that you just told him the exact thing ten minutes ago. This happens three times

4. You can't find your phone so you call it. Your daughter's teacher answers because you packed it in her lunch

3. A spider dangles down in front of your face. You try to pet it

2. You wander into the same room of the house looking for something but by the time you get there, you can't remember what it is. This happens three times

1. Your daughter, who was up all night screaming and crying, is perfectly happy and pleasant