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.