The lifecycle of a photographer.

Is there a photographer out there that ISN’T offering a workshop to other photographers?

Good God.

Here’s the life cycle of a photographer:

Starts out fairly cheap but not so great.
Gets better. Keeps their prices lower. Books a ton. Gets burned out.
Raises their prices. Still books clients but maybe not as many as before. That’s ok because the clients are better. Gets to travel a bit. (Me right now and holding)
Gets some higher end clients, reads too many blogs about “valuing their worth” and jacks up their prices even more.
Prices themselves out of their market. (if you or your friends couldn’t afford you, you’re charging too much.)
Brands themselves as worldwide to find more clients.
Shocked clients don’t want to pay exorbitant prices for them to travel (first class natch) to cities with already great photographers.
Clients diminish.
Starts marketing to photographers about Branding! Social Media!
Starts offering workshops! (only 3k for the weekend! You get to take home a branded pen! You have a name card at your seat. It’s in gold calligraphy!)
Becomes just like the other 100,000 other photogs offering the exact same thing and completely stops creating the art that made them unique in the first place.

The Court Jester.

I spent 30 minutes fighting with Beau tonight about garden edging. I tell him suggesting we do or buy things is like going before the court to plead my case. It doesn’t matter what it is. If it costs a monetary value, Beau will have something to say about it. If I needed a kidney and there was one for sale, he would bitch about the price. And then ask if they give a cash discount.

It drives me insane. I was raised by spenders. The proverbial grasshoppers from Aesop’s fable that never planned for the winter and only sung during the summer. If my mother wanted something she bought it. Or bought it for me. My father, seemingly consumed with the guilt of being a dad I only saw in a few months a year, did the same thing. Private summer camp started at the age of 6. In 4th grade I was handed $500 cash for clothes the weekend before school started. The budget only grew every year. My birthday parties were legendary. The entire grade was invited. Our house was beautiful, every vacation was 5 star, but of course when it came time for college I was SOL. “I just thought your dad was paying for school, dear”, my mom exclaimed as we were writing the invites to my graduation party. My father, of course, had other plans that didn’t involve dropping 40k on a second tier state school and informed me the only way college was happening for me was through student loans. They had literally not scraped one dime together.

You would think that a childhood of feast followed by famine would imprint in me that as an adult my spending and saving could not follow in the family footsteps. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, if anything it made it worse. My childhood of being the Iron Range Veruca Salt only carried moreover into adulthood. “But I want it NOWWWW!” I demanded as I bought myself a brand new SUV with a 9% interest rate at age 24. Clothes, shoes, furniture, it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter of course until I had racked up 5k in credit card debt and had just quit my horrible but well paying job in the summer of 2008. Not exactly the best year in history to try to find a job. Thankfully a friend took pity on me and got me an interview at Target Headquarters. I was now the ripe old age of 26 and had 4 years of managing newsrooms under my belt. I told the reporters what stories they were assigned to. I hobnobbed with the anchors. The Police Chief and I were besties. I was somebody! So of course, I expected to be interviewing for something really exciting. Head of PR maybe? I could just see myself jet-setting around to be interviewed about those crazy Black Friday shoppers. Or maybe head of events? Sitting front row at Fashion Week next to Anna herself. Totally.

Suffice it to say I was less then enthused when I was informed the only position I was going to get an interview for was as a “Team Assistant”. Basically the admin grunt for a team of employees. And the division I was going to work in? Paper. As in the paper the Weekly Ad was printed on. There was a team of 5 people whose job it was to negotiate and buy the paper for it and I was going to do all of their administrative drudgery. I was now Pam from The Office at Target.

It was at this same time that I met Beau. Actually I met him a couple months before this when I was basically jobless except for working very part time for my uncle’s wine distributor. Meeting a man that actually had his financial house in order was terrifying. In addition to actually owning a house, he also had a car with a 0% interest rate, a credit rating in the 800’s and when I “accidentally” saw an ATM receipt with his checking account balance, I had to call my best friend immediately.

“Sarah!” I hissed into the cell phone, crouched in his bathroom with the water and the fan running to cover my voice, “ I just saw how much money Beau has… like money he actually has just chilling in his bank account,” my voice quaked like someone that had just saw Jesus roll away the stone. “it’s like 10 times the amount we have ever had in our checking accounts COMBINED.”

“Daaaam,” she replied “You are so screwed when he realizes how broke you are.”

Seeing how financially together Beau had it made me jump at the job for Target. It didn’t matter if the only thing I was going to sit front row at was a meeting on paper weights. (Literally the weight of paper is a thing. Sadly, something I became an expert at during my time there.) It was a full-time job with benefits during the worst recession in history. The 10% discount didn’t hurt either.

 Thankfully Beau saw beyond my poor credit score and the dust bunnies that filled my savings account. He kept dating me and my job at Target ended up being the financial blessing I desperately needed. Beau has taught me the importance of saving and making sure every payment is made on time. Like every month and not just when I feel like it. But still the urge to consume is great in this one and I struggle with it every day. Having a child of my own has actually helped because I realize that I want to provide for her in a way that I wasn’t. So yes it still drives me nuts when Beau questions every purchase I bring home and gripes about the elaborate vegetable garden I am planning for the summer. But I realize it’s all for my own good. In our personal fable, the grasshopper married the ant and they had a baby that needs a college fund for all seasons.

And I promise you, even when Sloane gets accepted to Harvard, her dad’s first response will be, “What’s the cash discount?”

Unsolicited baby advice

Just wrote an email to a friend expecting and figured I’d post it here too. Take it for what its worth, but these were the items that got us through the last 14 months.

Hi! I hope you are feeling well, you are entering the home stretch, how exciting! I was looking around my nursery and thought of you. I’m not sure if you are doing a registry but I just wanted to give you my 2 cents on a few items. Take it for what’s it worth:)

I found that Nordstrom online has really curated a baby page that is the best of the best for baby gear. You really can’t go wrong with any of the brands they carry.

A few items we love, that you might want to look into:

Uppa Baby Vista is the stroller we have. It is expensive but worth every damn dollar. That is what I have learned about baby stuff. The expensive stuff is worth the price. It doesn’t break and it has really good functionality. It’s being discontinued because they are now making you buy the bassinet separately. Sloane slept in it every night for the first two months right next to the bed.
http://www.amazon.com/UPPAbaby-Vista-Stroller-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B0077J2KB4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413317805&sr=8-2&keywords=uppa+baby+vista

uppababy-vista-stroller-jake-black-with-graphite-frame-1

Peg Perego carseat (Heavy, but made in Italy and exceeds American safety standards.) Goes until 30 pounds. Sloane is still in hers at 14 months. That’s another thing about the cheaper baby items. They say they are rated to a certain size but they aren’t. My friend just had to move her daughter out of a cheaper brand at 6 months and she is not a big baby.
http://www.amazon.com/Peg-Perego-Convertible-Premium-Toddler/dp/B005WH3R9M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413317912&sr=8-1&keywords=peg+perego+car+seat

peg

4 Moms Bouncer Seat/Swing (AMAZING. 5 different types of swinging and sounds. You can also plug your iPhone into it to play music as well! Make sure to get newborn insert.
http://www.amazon.com/4moms-MamaRoo-2014-Classic-Grey/dp/B007UK1CF0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413317971&sr=8-1&keywords=4moms+bouncer

mamaRoo-Infant-Seat---Classic--pTRU1-12927855dt

4 Moms Pack and Play. It literally opens with one button. Amazing. Now used as a toy coral and a place to watch Peg + Cat while mommy showers.
http://www.amazon.com/4moms-4M-009-01-4Moms-Breeze-Playard/dp/B0088JRAFI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413318017&sr=8-1&keywords=4moms+breeze

4moms_breeze

Prince Lionheart Wipe warmer (a weird thing I didn’t even know about until my shower, but incredible. She hated getting her diapers changed in the hospital but as soon as we got home and had warm wipes she hasn’t made a peep since.) Make sure to buy ever fresh pillow inserts for it. They keep the wipes from not drying out.
http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Lionheart-Ultimate-Wipes-Warmer/dp/B00008ODBG/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1413318087&sr=8-4&keywords=prince+lionheart

princelionheart-wipes-warmer-3557338-01

Speaking of diapers…HONEST COMPANY HONEST COMPANY HONEST COMPANY!
Cannot say enough about their diapers and wipes. The wipes leave no soapy residue like all the others we tried. Plus really cute patterns. Ships monthly, so no late right runs to the grocery store.
www.honest.com

freebies2deals-honest-diapers

Boppy newborn lounger ( a boppy with a center to it. Great for when they just want to chill and your arms are tired:)
http://www.amazon.com/Boppy-4300113K-2PK-Newborn-Lounger/dp/B00AIVNBN4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413318152&sr=8-1&keywords=boppy+newborn

boppy

Mittens ( they scratch the sh*t out of their faces. Their nails are short but sharp!)
http://www.amazon.com/TL-Care-Organic-Mittens-Natural/dp/B004H36ZZA/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1413318203&sr=8-10&keywords=baby+mittens

mittens

I only did pacifiers until 3 months, so I’m no expert but these seemed to do the trick for the short time we used them

http://www.amazon.com/Philips-Soothie-Pacifier-Months-2-Pack/dp/B0045I6IA4/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1413319877&sr=1-1&keywords=pacifier

pacifier

These blue pads (I know weird and OCD, but you don’t want to have wash the changing pad cover every time. And they will pee on you. A lot.)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FD2AX2/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i03?ie=UTF8&psc=1

chux

This mirror (something you don’t realize you need until the first time they are in the carseat and you have no idea what they are doing.)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007HS6W6Y/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

index

Swaddles. Blankets don’t work. The only thing that does is velcro. Swaddle every night. EVERY NIGHT.
http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Infant-SwaddleMe-Adjustable-Woodland/dp/B007XL658K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413318246&sr=8-1&keywords=swaddle+me

73985_sum_mi_swaddleme_3pk_who_loves_you_product

Aden and Anais Bamboo Blankets. Great for nursing covers, cleaning up breast milk, and for using in strollers. We have 9 and used them every day for a year.
http://www.amazon.com/aden-anais-Bamboo-Swaddle-Blanket/dp/B0085DJ71M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413318306&sr=8-1&keywords=aden+and+anais+bamboo

Aden-full-color-line

I made my husband into a metrosexual.

I know today’s post was supposed to be about raising children so they aren’t serial killers, but something happened last night that I feel like has to be addressed. My husband and I were deep into the most recent episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills(more on that later) and a commercial came on for the new season of the Rachel Zoe Project. Beau had just got up to grab something from the kitchen so he was walking back to the couch when it came on. After watching the commercial for about 10 seconds, I looked over at him and he was doing a weird excitable shimmy type dance. He looked at me and sheepishly asked, “What? Rachel Zoe is coming back.”

That’s who I’ve turned my husband into. A man who dances at the thought of Rachel Zoe.

He was not always like this. I take full blame for his change in behavior. Let’s rewind 4 years so you know what I started with and the Frankenstein I’ve created.

On our first date, I went to Beau’s house. ( I know, it’s how every episode of Dateline starts.) When I walked in I was stunned at how empty it was.

“Have you just moved in?” I asked.

“No,  I’ve owned the house for 6 years. Why?” he replied.

“Um, no reason…”

I looked around. The man owned 4 pieces of furniture. FOR THE ENTIRE HOUSE. There was a 30-year-old loveseat in the den, the typical bachelor huge-sized flat screen television on the wall in front of it, a kitchen table, and a full size mattress on the floor in his bedroom. That’s it. What he lacked in furniture, he apparently tried to make up for it in picking paint colors. His bedroom was bright yellow, but where the mattress on the floor in the corner had rubbed up against the paint, there was red showing through. ” I painted over it one night after the bar. I didn’t think to use any primer.”  he said sheepishly. The den with the lone loveseat was painted the blue color of Superman’s cape, the empty living room was painted in what I can only affectionately call Calamine Lotion, and the kitchen was neon green. Neon green with dark brown cabinets. Oh, and I forgot to add the best part. The entire house wall-to-wall was still the blue shag carpeting the previous elderly couple had installed. The man didn’t have a stylish bone in his body.

After dating a few weeks, I started on any girl’s favorite rite of passage in a new relationship.

I started dissecting his closet.

The man was 29, but his closet was that of a 74 year old retiree living in Del Boca Vista. Nothing but over sized Tommy Bahama button-down shirts and XL sized Ralph Lauren polo’s.

Beau's spirit animal.
                                    Beau’s spirit animal.

“Are you in some kind of hobo costume contest I’m not aware of?” I asked politely.

“What? No. Why?” he replied a little too defensively

“Because all of these clothes are 3 sizes too large and about 50 years too old for you.”

“Is they were on sale a good enough answer?’

Here is where I made my first mistake, internet. I took him to Nordstrom Rack. He wandered around that place like a detainee experiencing fresh air for the first time. $500 worth of Faconnable later and my little monster was well on his way.

Months passed and we moved into together. He bought us a king sized bed with a proper frame. We re-painted every room in a neutral. (I acquiesced and let him keep the living room Calamine Lotion.) I toned it down with furnishings so it only looked vaguely peach colored. We ripped up all the carpet and replaced it with wood. I painted the cabinets white and he sprung for granite. The house was transformed top to bottom.The one place left was the garage. One day I started digging around in it. Taking up one whole wall were about 6 giant Rubbermaid bins.

“What are those honey?” I asked sweetly, silently sending a prayer that they were disposable since that space would be perfect to house my extensive holiday decoration stash.

“Oh, those? That’s my baseball card collection.”

If this were a book, this is what you would call “foreshadowing.” Because after that exchange I realized quickly I was living with the Rain Man of sports. Not only was ESPN basically the only channel on in the house those first few months, but I started realizing Beau could answer anything related to sports. He could tell you every player on the starting line-up of the 1983 NY Giants or who was the manager of  the 1976 Padres. He could recite every major Tiger Woods has ever won.  This was the summer of the World Cup and Beau casually decided to become a soccer fan. I started waking up in the middle of the night to find the bed empty. I would pad downstairs and catch him yelling “GOAL!” enthusiastically at the TV while our geriatric dalmatian tried to sleep through the excitement.

Fall came, and every Sunday he started seeming to be really upset with me. After a few weekends of this I had finally had enough.

“Are you sick of me already? Did we move into together too soon?” I yelled at him

“What are you talking about? he asked incredulously

“Every Sunday you are in such a bad mood. Am I annoying you more now that we live together?”

“Oh, no baby. I just think I started the wrong guy on my Fantasy team.”

I started going crazy. Between two Fantasy football teams and the MLB playoffs, sports was taking over my life.  While I played a lot of sports in my youth, watching them on TV was a kin to paint drying for me. I explained to Beau that when you move into together you have to start compromising on things. One of these was what we watched on TV. During the commercial breaks of the baseball games I started switching it over to Bravo.

“What is this crap?”

“It’s the Real Housewives of Orange County.”

“What are they fighting about?”

“Shh..honey, just watch. It’s only for a couple of minutes.”

You know how when watching the movie Titanic and the part comes on with the two iceberg lookout men and they are just kind of chilling while the boat heads right for the iceberg? You yell at the TV “Iceberg! ” about 10 seconds before those idiot’s catch on and you wonder if only had they been paying attention earlier, maybe disaster could have been averted?

It all started off so innocently.

Watching Housewives on commercial breaks turned into him letting me watch it through the whole inning. He started asking questions about the ladies and their backgrounds. When commercials for the Real Housewives of Atlanta came on, he started laughing. “I assume your going to make me watch this crap too?” he asked one day. “No we don’t have to, they can be pretty annoying.” I replied. “Well, I wouldn’t mind…” he trailed off.

I'm the idiot that let the boat hit the iceberg because I wasn't paying attention.

This is the point where you spot the iceberg but it’s too late to steer the ship around it.

A year went by and I realized he was now watching every franchise of the Housewives with me. I would come home late and he would greet me at the door excitedly. “Don’t worry. I DVR’d it!”  We got engaged and I guess in the spirit of marriage equality, or just the comfort that comes with the decision to spend the rest of your life with someone, he started leaving Bravo on basically all week. Sundays during the Football season were still off-limits but most nights after work he was getting sucked into the Bravo universe. It quickly progressed past the Housewives.

Flipping Out, Million Dollar Decorators, Most Eligible Dallas, The Millionaire Matchmaker, Bethenny Ever After, Gallery Girls, Million Dollar Listing, Pregnant in Heels, Tabatha Takes Over, It’s a Brad Brad World, and the aforementioned Rachel Zoe Project.

You guys. He’s seen every single episode of these shows. My Frankenstein loves them all.

I know usually when you think of a Metrosexual you think of a man with highly religious grooming habits. Beau couldn’t be further from that. I shave his head for him once every few weeks. He refuses to go to a salon. Getting him to let me tweeze his eyebrows is an art in negotiation with the number of plucks being set before I can even pick up the tweezers. He goes to the gym only a few days a week and if I didn’t buy him facial care products he would wash his entire body with shampoo. So yes, even though his clothes fit him and are age appropriate now, you would never know looking at him that he has these hidden viewing habits.

Well at least one person understands.

Over Christmas, on the flight back from Minneapolis, I could tell Beau was bored. He had finished his book and was fidgeting. “Would you like to watch Sex and the City with me on my iphone?” I asked.  He scoffed at me and closed his eyes. As I made my way through Season Two, I could sense another set of eyes peaking over my shoulder. I handed him an ear bud. He tossed it back in my lap. “I’m not watching that horse face.” he said indignantly. “Babe, we’ve got two hours left on this flight. Shut up and watch.” I responded tersely. He took it reluctantly and put it in his ear. “This show is so stupid…”  An hour passed and in the middle of watching Steve meet Miranda for the first time, the stewardess interrupted.

“Can I get you something to drink? Oh look how cute you both are sharing ear buds! What are you watching? I looked at Beau. I figured honesty was the best policy since we’d never see her again.

“Sex in the City.” I responded ashamedly.

“Oh really?” she replied, “My husband loves that show.”

My birth plan: Don’t die

When the OB at my last appointment brought up making a birth plan, I quickly cut her off.

” I don’t need one. Just don’t let me die. And if you could not let the baby die either, that would be cool too.”

She looked at me, laughed, and said “I think I can do that.”

Yep that’s my entire birth plan. In this day of home births, placenta eating, and pulling the baby out with your own two hands, I think I’m quite the anomaly to my OB. I just don’t want any part of planning “my birth”. Why? Because most times it goes the exact opposite way you think it will. And honestly? I know ZERO about birthing babies. You know who does? My OB. She went to 14 years of school, birthed 4 of her own, and has delivered countless others. Who the hell am I to tell her the proper amount of time to let the cord to pulsate? What’s that you say? Did I just say “let the cord pulsate?” Why, yes I did. It’s a thing now. Didn’t you hear?  For all of you not pushing a watermelon out your whoo-haa in 6 months I’ll enlighten you to all the new birthing trends. Try not to puke. (But if you do, go in the sink.)

Just say yes to drugs.

I am a big fan of western medicine. BIG FAN. I’m so glad we live in a country with readily available access to pharmaceuticals, CT scans, and laser hair removal. When it comes to birth, I am just as thankful for epidurals. Having to hear my own mother’s story of back labor for 36 hours with no drugs available on the tiny island she lived on, made me want to find an anesthesiologist in college and marry him, just so I knew I wouldn’t have to wait when the time comes. That didn’t happen, and instead I married a man that keeps me in supply of another type of liquid pain reliever, but one that is unfortunately heavily frowned upon for preggos. (see my last post), so you will be sure the second I get to that nurses station to check in my first words after, “No, I am not wearing that hideous gown.” will be “and I want the drugs as soon as possible.”

Here’s how I look at it.

More power to the women who want to go it alone, but personally, I wouldn’t ask to go sans drugs for open heart surgery, so explain to me again why I would want to go through one of nature’s most painful experiences without assistance? I know, I know, women for centuries have been bearing down in rice paddies, delivering, and going right back to work. But guess what? If they could have strung up an IV on one of those water buffalo standing nearby, she would have GLADLY taken it.

Ugh. Enough with the moaning.

Ugh. Enough with the moaning.

It’s like why I can’t stand Downtown Abbey. Why do I have to spend my Sunday’s watching people suffering without antibiotics and electricity? I love living in the 21st century, and I will take full advantage of everything available to me.

You know who coined the term  “natural childbirth” ? An obstetrician named Grantly Dick-Read.

Enough said.

Breastfeeding

I totally plan on trying to breastfeed. Note the use of the word plan. If it works it works, if it doesn’t, no sweat. I’m not going to have my nipples detach (Yes. That happens.) just so this baby can get fed. That’s what they make formula for. I’ll even spring for the organic kind!

I once dated a guy that was breastfed until he was 4.  After he told me that, it explained A LOT about him and his weird co-dependent relationship with his mom. That’s not happening in this house. If breastfeeding works, I’ll hopefully give it a year or until I start getting bit. I feel like teeth are nature’s way of saying, “OK, we’re done here.”

Placenta

My mother-in-law is a sheep breeder. 4 months a year she is elbow deep in sheep uterus and for the other 8 months she’s taking care of pregnant sheep or babies. On top of that, she also birthed three of her own. This woman knows mammalian labor and delivery. When I explained to her that eating placenta is a new trend in birth, she looked at me like she was seriously questioning her son’s decision-making skills.

MIL: “What is the reasoning for this?”

Me: “Well, animals in nature do it for the nutrients.”

MIL: “Are you serious? No, they don’t. They eat it so the hungry pack of lions doesn’t smell it.”

Me: “Really? I have to go inform like half of the internet.”

What to wear

Have you ever google imaged “giving birth”? Don’t. It’s not as gross as you would think, but the one thing that stood out for me is that everyone is naked. I never realized giving birth in the nude is an option. Listen, I love nudity. I’m a boudoir photographer, for gods sakes. But personally? I’m like Tobias on Arrested Development.  I’m basically a never-nude. I just like the feeling of clothing. Sleeping nude, using the bathroom nude, swimming nude all creep me out. So when it comes to giving birth IN FRONT OF A BUNCH OF PEOPLE there is no way I’m going nude. I even asked a fellow mom if they make you wear the hospital gown, because with that open in the back business, I feel like it’s not going to give me enough coverage. Basically if I could, I’d wear a snowsuit with a whole cut in the bottom.

She knows what I'm talking about.

She knows what I’m talking about.

Water birth

In THEORY, I love the idea of giving the birth in water. It’s very Brooke Shields, circa The Blue Lagoon. Relaxing, warm, etc.

I was all about it until about 6 weeks ago.

The worst kept secret of childbirth is that some women, ahem, “poo” on the table while pushing.  I then started connecting the dots. If that is a natural occurrence, then what happens when you are giving birth in a bathtub?

This. THIS is what happens.

This. THIS is what happens.

Tomorrow…

Once the baby comes out, how do you not totally screw it up for 18 years?

If you have to puke in an airplane, puke in the sink.

Since the electronic test blinked “PREGNANT” at me 12 weeks ago (note: don’t take preggo tests at 6 am. You will seriously think you are still dreaming, get back into bed, and then exorcist style rise up out of the covers screaming “HOLY SHIT, WE ARE HAVING A BABY!”) I have been inundated with books and blogs on all of the options there are when it comes to pregnancy, giving birth, and child rearing. I’m going to be addressing these in order over the next week. Let’s start with my current delicate condition.

Pregnancy:

If you need someone to talk about puking with, I’m your girl. I puke just about every day. In the shower, in my bathroom sink, in my kitchen sink and when I’m feeling especially pissy, in my husband’s bathroom sink. I’ve puked on the side of the highway, I’ve puked while driving, I’ve puked in an airplane bathroom(in the sink natch), I’ve even puked in my best friend’s yard.( I kicked some snow over it and prayed her dog would find it first.) Basically the only place I haven’t puked is in a toilet. I find toilets disgusting and thinking about that fact while I’m puking actually makes me puke more so I avoid them like the plague carriers they are.

When the puking first started, I got loads of advice.

” Eat saltines before you even get out of bed in the morning! ”

“Drink ginger tea and eat ginger candies!”

“Take Unisom!”

“Give more BJ’s!”  (Google it, it’s actually a remedy.)

Guess what?

Shockingly and much to my hubby’s chagrin, none of these worked.

Here’s what works for me. I simply don’t eat until noon. That way when I puke it’s liquid. Puking just liquid is much easier and less gross than the alternative. Trust me on this. I heard the nausea was supposed to go away at 12 weeks. We are two weeks past that and now I only puke about once every other day. I will take that as a win. At least the crazy food aversions have subsided.

Oh. My. God.

The food aversions.

Eating during pregnancy is dodging landmines everyday.  And looking way less cute than her.

Are those Toms?

Are those Toms?

Everywhere you look there are people telling you what you should and shouldn’t be eating quite forcefully and condescendingly. “The baby eats everything you eat, so make mindful, healthy choices.” I imagine the baby in my stomach just with a huge open mouth, a la Jaws, facing up at my stomach gulping down all of my poor choices. But here’s the thing they don’t mention in most preggo books… the first 2 months of pregnancy…EVERYTHING SOUNDS REVOLTING. My hormones revved up right around Thanksgiving, so that basically ruined the holiday for me forever. Everything in that bountiful feast makes me disgusted now. My wonderful MIL made the mistake of making stuffing for Christmas. She then had THE NERVE to put the bowl next to me at the table. I actually had to get up and leave the room. Even typing the word stuffing right now makes me have to breath deeply and swallow down the bile. Progesterone is a cruel bitch.

I was a hardcore salad girl pre-pregnancy. After my eggo got preggo, every single vegetable made me gag. Pre-preggo I ate fish a couple times a week. After baby, Finding Nemo makes me dry heave.  The foods that didn’t make me want to run to the sink those first 10 weeks?

McDonald’s french fries,

Spaghettios,

Kraft Mac and Cheese ,

frozen pizza,

and the occasional bowl of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch.

This is me. I imagine the baby is where the Happy Meal box is.

This is me. I imagine the baby is where the Happy Meal box is.

If this kid isn’t born a Cyclops, it will be a miracle.

Those are the foods I ate while my baby was developing it’s most important body parts. If it’s not so good at math, I think we can blame the Red Baron. The weirdest part of it is that they aren’t foods I ever really ate before pregnancy. They are the foods I ate when I was 8. Growing a baby, actually made me regress back to my own childhood. (I at least resisted the urge to watch old Jem episodes on YouTube.) The guilt I felt when cramming those delicious McDonalds fries down my mouth instead of kale was truly crushing, but you have to believe me when I tell you that even seeing a bag of kale in the produce section actually made me have to leave the store dry-heaving to compose myself in the parking lot. Thankfully, since hitting the 2nd trimester my beloved salads have made a comeback and the processed foods have been relinquished to the back of the pantry. Sadly, I think fish won’t be making a comeback until TuPac comes out of hiding , but that’s what gummy fish oil supplements are for, right?

As for all the foods you are strictly told to avoid during pregnancy I pretty much never looked at that  list until last week. I don’t eat meat, so the deli slices don’t apply. Fish we’ve already covered. I’m French and love cheese so that isn’t going anywhere. I just buy the pasteurized kind at the grocery store and not the Brie that just came off the boat at our local overpriced fancy food shop.

Imagine him wearing a beret, smoking a cigarette, and complaining about the trip.

Imagine him wearing a beret, smoking a cigarette, and complaining about the trip.

I’ve never been a big coffee drinker, but I will indulge in the occasional iced tea or small coffee. I figure if I’m not going to get sleep after the baby comes, it can see how that feels now. Alcohol has been the biggest pain in the ass.

Ah likes my wines.

Blame it on my hubby working for a GODDAMNED WINERY.

I posted an article on Facebook about studies now showing that wine during pregnancy isn’t harmful. You’d think I had posted a video of me swinging my Chihuahua around by the tail.  The vitriol!  People have way strong opinions about this. I thought everyone now had the occasional sippy sip when the OB’s back was turned.  Hells no. There were plenty of women like,  “I did not have ONE SIP OF THAT POISON JUICE during my pregnancy, how could you???”

Honestly?

I had to have a glass just to get through all the comments.

Tomorrow…my birth plan!

Get your dehydrators ready.

We be eating some placenta.

The Original – My love of Alexis Carrington

After hearing about the passing of famed costume designer Nolan Miller it got me thinking about my love of 80’s television icons. Growing up there were only two women that I ever wanted to be. Alexis Carrington or Suzanne Sugarbaker. While most girls my age were obsessed with dressing like the sisters on Full House, I was putting on my mom’s ballgowns and practicing my most menacing Joan Collins stare in the guest bedroom mirror. The fact that these two characters were strong, ballsy brunettes is not lost on me. Suzanne’s costumes were really nothing to write home about since the costumers on Designing Women had no idea how to dress a woman that had curves but Dynasty was another universe. Mr. Miller had a profound talent and dressed all the women on the show in only the best and latest of 80’s fashion. Currently, late 1980’s – early 1990’s fashion is on every runway. Nothing but neon and color-blocking are clogging the runways. What I hope shows up at 2012 Fall Fashion week is early to mid 80’s fashion. Before the neon and acid wash, women dressed UP. Ballgowns, matching suits, grand hats and luxurious furs were de rigueur for powerful women of the 1980’s. No one exemplified the power, wealth, and luxury of the decade more than Alexis Carrington on Dynasty. The scheming ex-wife of wealthy oilman Blake Carrington, Alexis’s main fun in life was to get in knock down, drag out cat-fights with his new plain jane wife, Krystle (played by Linda Evans) Alexis steals every scene simply by her fabulous outfits and outlandish antics.

The first thing you need to know about Alexis, is that she loved anything fur and since Dynasty was based in Denver she got a lot of opportunity to wear it. As a borderline vegan, I want to hate her choices, but good God can she pull off a muffler.

I think this is the outfit that would come from a dalliance between Luke Skywalker and an Ewok, but she still pulls it off. I wish we could see the full length of the sleeves. I need to see how far down that fur goes.

I am totally stealing this look for winter. I already own those earrings so I’m halfway there. I found the faux alternative, now I just need to add some winter white and I’m set.

Love the matching scarf and hat dear. Combining black and yellow not so much.

She’s positively gleeful! Must have been after another catfight with Krystle. Hot rollers need to make a comeback in my bathroom.

Cruella de Carrington. How awesome is the structural art deco jewelry? I miss lip liner.

A hat with matching sleeve cuffs? Where does one procure such items?? Our first encounter with the red nails. Or as my friend Mary calls them, steal-your-man red. Won’t be the last.

How jaunty! Where did pins go? Did they call before they left? If Navajo is the house guest that just won’t leave, pins are your cool friend from childhood that left town one summer and never returned, but when you found them on Facebook they write Twilight fanfic and love Toby Keith so you’re deeply confused. Were they cool or did you just think they were? THOSE are what we call deep thoughts, Carl Sagen. Take note.

Alexis didn’t just sport fur hats. She was a fan of all large head pieces. I am such a fan of the netting and color-coordinated to boot! I need more netting in my life. Also that blush. Is it called rouge or is it called blush? All of this blush talk has me reciting Steel Magnolias lines to my dog. There should be a whole post about that movie and my love for Olympia Dukakis. Another time.

Ooh! A petite chapeau! She looks like if Coco Chanel was hard up and started designing uniforms for nurses.  Love that lapel. How Art deco.

Nobody makes a funeral more chic than Ms. Carrington. The black netting is beyond. A little bit of skin and a large rhinestone earring complete the sexy mourner look. Rawr.

I told you we hadn’t seen the last of the red nails. I assume this is her “Are you there God? It’s me Alexis.” look, but for all we know she’s lunching with the ladies and dressing down some poor waiter for not putting dressing on the side. I think we’ve seen these earrings now about 5 times. Look at you Alexis, wearing things again! How green of you dear.

Oh how I love a phone in a car. And it matches. Of course it does.

Again with the netting Alexis? I feel like is her testifying in court look. Does she ever lower the netting? Is it a sun protector?  Do things get stuck in it? Is she constantly having to adjust it or is it static? I need answers…

Look how cute she is in her little headband! The hot rollers are in full-effect here. I’m not liking the appearance of those forehead lines though. Your eyebrows shouldn’t be able to move after the age of 35.

Oh how I pray this isn’t a flapper costume and just what she wears to the grocery store on a Tuesday morning.

A turban. A f’ing turban. And she still looks totally glamorous.

A rather sexy look for prime time television. I miss green satin. I also miss breasts without a gap in between them.

I also miss powersuits. I truly love how she outshines Linda Evans in every. single. photo. Red stockings with a purple suit? Daring Ms. Collins! Linda, that jacket looks less like Chanel and more like a flotation device. Scooch over dear. You’re blocking Joanie’s lighting.

A rare mis-step in the annals of Dynasty’s costuming. On top of everything else wrong with it, is it also quilted? Good lord. I’m not a fan of that hair either. She’s got the mom chop going on.

Her sexy secretary look. A little too Victor/Victoria for my taste.

This has got to be her female prisoner look. Was she locked up for pushing Krystal one too many times in the pool? This photo scares me. Where are the earrings? The scarf? She doesn’t even have her purple eyeshadow on!

Aww… there’s my girl. Much better.

The best part about Dynasty were the GOWNS. I would wear either of these in a hot minute. Linda, your bangs are positively awful.

Alexis created the original side-eye. Linda, Linda? Over here dear. We really do need to adjust that Klonopin dosage.

Another shot of the gold dress. I need to buy more coffee filters. Thanks for reminding me, love.

Not really a gown, but we’ll let it slide.  What do we think she drinks? Is she a Chardonnay or Sauv blanc girl? That better not be white zin. She might as well just be drinking straight out of the box then.

I feel like this could double for a brothel ad on the back of a Reno phonebook. Has Linda ever shown a forearm? Wouldn’t hurt girl.

The fuschia and the sleeves combined with that striped mirror makes me want to start blaring the Miami Vice theme. Is that a BOW in the back??? Perfection.

My favorite gown. She’s so f’ing fancy I can’t stand it.

I need this lipstick. And again with the rollers. I’m getting twitchy with the Amazon.com buy button. Do they still work as well as they did back then? Will I have to sleep in them? I need that volume!

Again with that side eye. I’m getting turned on Ms. Carrington.

A shoulder pad with a jersey knit. Knock me over with a feather! Do those little clips hold it on her bra-strap? Promise me they do. I need those in my life.

Mother of the bride look. What ever happened to peach? Everything ugly is coming back, but I’m still being made to wait for the 1985 Triple Crown of Peach, Mauve, and Teal??? I would totally rock some mauve skinny jeans. I would also rock that sweater. I’ve never met a dolman sleeve I didn’t like.

I’ll leave you with my favorite image. I just can’t stand the hauteness.

This is my call to arms. Let’s bring back the hats, the gloves, the fur, the gowns. We need more glamour and less sweatpants as perfectly acceptable leaving the house attire. When did America get so sloppy? Let’s wear matching outfits, costume jewelry, and coordinate our phones to our turbans. Come on ladies!

Au Naturel Nut Job.

I’m kind of nutty. And obsessive. And prone to weird fits of anxiety. My husband calls me kooky. Which I guess I’ll take as a term of endearment? Since moving across the country to a place I’ve never been and with no one to hang out with during the day besides my dog, my kookiness has only increased. I think he’s onto something with that word. That makes me sound like a Zooey Deschanel type with fun glasses instead of Mia Farrow with a bad haircut circa Rosemary’s Baby.

One thing I’ve been especially focused on since the move is making sure to use healthy beauty and cleaning products in my home and on my body. Our home is brand new and with new construction the materials used are not so friendly. I was relieved to find out that all of our paint is low VOC and our cabinets were made with green materials, but our carpet(eww..I know..we rent.) is cheap builders grade and the framing and insulation is as well. To make myself feel better about breathing in potential harmful fumes day after day I started looking at all of the products around us that we use daily and trying to find the greenest and lowest chemical alternatives. It will probably make no difference since my mother recently informed me the granite countertops we installed in our last home released major levels of radon ensuring our future children will be born with three eyes, but they’re not going to be conceived anyway because the computer I place on my lap every day has fried all of my remaining eggs and P.S. you’ve probably got dust mites crawling all over you because you don’t swap out your pillows every 6 months so Beau will surely leave you when he spots them crawling all over your scalp and then you’ll be a childless spinster.

Thanks mom.

In an effort to not become more Liz Lemon than I already am, here are some products I use in our home daily that make me sleep better at night.

When I’m not scratching at invisible mites.

So aluminum may or may not cause breast cancer. Studies are inconclusive, but let’s just always err on the side of no breast cancer if we can help it and if there are products that are as good as their chemical containing counterparts. Let me be clear here though, THIS is the only natural deodorant I’ve found that works. I’ve tried many others, Crystal Rock, Tom’s etc… I swear to God they make you smell even worse as if you  hadn’t used anything at all. This works magically. It rolls on like an antiperspirant and leaves absolutely no white marks. Plus no one changes treadmills away from me while I do intervals, so it must be working.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is EVERYWHERE. And in things I’d never imagine, like toothpaste. Something you put in your mouth twice a day! No thank you. This is another chemical that studies have all different answers on. Some say it’s fine and plant derived (7th Gen.’s stance) others say it leaches estrogen and causes lady cancers. I looked at Tom’s but guess what? They even use it as an ingredient. But not my lovely Kiss My Face. Gosh I love that company. This toothpaste tastes great, is a gel so it doesn’t stain your sink or clothes, and doesn’t contain those nasty chemicals.

Alright lets move on to the body. I am in LOVE with my Clarisonic but fell even harder when I learned their cleansers contain no parabens. I use it daily in the shower, it has made my skin silky smooth, and I no longer break out during hormonal fluctuations. Put it on your Christmas list.

If you’re looking for a full line to use so you don’t have to go all over town or the internet to find things, I can’t recommend Say Yes to Carrots enough. I use their shampoo, conditioner, day lotion and SPF body lotion daily. Another great paraben free line that smells nice and won’t break the bank.

Chemical free makeup is something I didn’t start to think about until recently. I happily used my Chanel powder and mascara happily. But then I started thinking about if household products and body cleansers contain them, makeup must as well. Yep, yep they totally do. So I’m gradually switching over to Origins. Basically when one of my makeup products runs out now I buy the Origins alternative. My latest find is their Automagically Eye Liner. Works just as well as my Chanel Stylo Yeaux and HALF the price.  Done and done.

 

Lipstick is something I don’t want to risk buying online, but Walla Walla is severely limited when it comes to makeup alternatives. Honestly though, I haven’t really worried about it since I found Burts Bees Lip Shimmer at Walgreens. It does the job and and when I pair it with Say Yes lip balm and gloss it looks just as good as my old Nars stuff and once again HALF the price.

 

Whenever I would buy shaving cream growing up, my mama would yell  “You do NOT want those chemicals in sensitive places.” I should have listened to her. Shave cream is LOADED with toxic stuff. Throw it out today. I now only use  Aveda Rosemary Mint Body Wash. It works just as well, much better for you, and it smells lovely.

 

On the topic of shaving, use these please. I too was enticed by the Venus Breeze cartridges with their handy creme bars attached to the razor. Once again, FILLED with chemicals. Go back to basics with just a plain razor like the original Venus. (Side note: When on God’s green earth will Target make an Up&Up alternative to Venus razors? Those things are pricy!)

 

You didn’t think Beau was immune to my green obsession did you? No way. All of his products I make sure are Burts Bees for Men.

 

The mask is a little pricy but worth it if you have noticeable pores. Combined with the Clarisonic, my skin has seriously never looked better.

 

 

I make Beau use this too:) It’s so cute. I also put cucumber slices on his eyes and we giggle over romantic comedies while playing Truth or Dare. Marriage is fantastic.

 

Finishing up the bath and body category I have to include the most natural product of all. Plain old glycerin soap.  Get rid of the white bars and especially toss the shower gels. Those are HORRIBLE for you and your hoo-ha. When in doubt go the most natural way possible. Besides making your own with animal fat and lye (umm… I leave that to the original settlers.) This is the next best thing, and you don’t have to bust out a bonnet and hoop skirt to churn it.

 

 

I used to be an addict for Soft Scrub. Poured it over my stainless steel sink and rubbed my hands all in it. Gross. I recently found this little gem. It smells fabulous and is super natural.

 

I thought I was so cool. Dropping $9 a bottle on Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent. So what if I went through it weekly? It was super healthy and not covering all of our clothes in harmful chemicals. Yep not so much. While perusing the ingredients I was surprised to see it contains SLS. Once again I’m voting for the product that doesn’t include it just to be on the safe side. This stuff is magical. CHEAP. Buy it on auto ship on Amazon. You only have to use 1tbs a load although I’ve been known to sneak in another when I feel like the clothes are especially dirty.

The most pesky thing to find with little to now chemicals are dryers sheets. Your typical variety is extremely toxic and made from animal fat. Seriously. And they can poison your pets.  If a product can kill fluffy, It’s probably best to avoid it as well. Except for chocolate because then I will lose the will to live.  These squeaky green dryer cloths from Method are the only ones I’ve found that I feel like are the real deal. they’re water based so it’s like putting a a wet wipe in with your clothes, but I promise they work.

 

Ammonia is no joke and it’s in a ton of household cleaning agents.It may be a naturally occurring chemical, but so is arsenic. Use this instead of Windex, pretty please?

 

As long as we’re on the topic of cleaning products, lets talk dishes. These are the holy trifecta of my dishwashing routine. Dish soap, dish detergent, and rinse aid.

 

While I hesitate to use 7th generation for laundry soap because of the SLS, these two products don’t contain it and the Mrs. Myers Lavender  just smells lovely:)

Speaking of dishes, you need to throw out all of your rubbermaid, tupperware, etc… Do it now. I’ll wait. You’re going to click on this link and replace them all with glass.

My grandmother was a college chemistry professor. 40 years ago she warned my mom and her siblings about the dangers of cooking in plastic. Within the last 10 years people are finally coming around to realize the same thing. We only use glass in our home. They’re easier to clean(no red stains after marinara sauce) they don’t warp in the dishwasher and you can’t get more natural than glass. Yes I know all about the BPA debate, but why not just never have to worry about it all? When you use glass there is no worry about leaching. Sand and fire make glass. Can’t get more natural than that. Excuse me now while I head to the shore of Alabama with Josh Lucas to hang out on the beach in the middle of a thunderstorm.

 

Ignore my blonde hair and toned upper arms.

Actually I dumped him for Ryan. I really have a thing for making out in torrential downpours.

Hey girl.

 

Whew. I gotta cool down. With my fancy pants stainless steel ice cube tray!  Hands up for people with ice makers in their freezers that don’t work because no water line was run! Love you landlord. Plastic ice cube trays are yucky. Use these.

 

Also use this is you’re addicted to Iced Tea. Pouring hot water into plastic containers is a no go. Mine came with a pretty lime green lid.

 

 

 

Let’s wrap up with another beverage I’m an addict for. Protein Shakes! It’s super hard to find shake mixes that don’t contain soy. Sun Warrior is the most natural I could find. It can a be a little chalky if not properly blended, but add a dash of malt powder and cocoa powder and it tastes EXACTLY like a chocolate malt. Another tip: use frozen almond milk ice cubes. LIFE changing.

 

 

 

What green substitutes do you make? Did I miss anything? I’m still trying to justify the cost to switch over to recycled paper towels and toilet paper from my usual bulk buys. Costco is a tricky temptress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes you have to try

Last week the half a bag of coconut and two half used bags of butterscotch and chocolate chips were calling my name from the pantry. Seriously. I was trying to write a blog post and they would not shut up. They needed to be consumed. They were lonely in there with all the boring flax seeds and garbanzo beans. I had to oblige them.

When I googled butterscotch, chocolate and coconut these came up. The oven was set to 350 in less than 5 seconds.

I am such a sucker for a gooey bar. Way better than a cookie or cake. Bars are the way to go. They keep longer, you can decide the portion and they are harder to screw up baking wise. The recipe is here. I changed a few things though:

I subbed all of the butter for applesauce. (Fine if you don’t mind an apple taste, but if not, just sub half of the butter or not at all if you can wear a bikini with pride.)

I used flax eggs instead of real. I usually always do this in baked goods now. It’s just one T. flax meal to 3T. almond milk or water. I started doing this so Beau could eat raw cookie dough to his hearts content, but now it’s just became habit.

I subbed a cup of the flour with whole wheat. I have no idea if its any healthier but it makes me feel like it is. I also feel like its healthier to consume dessert standing over the counter in a dark kitchen around midnight with my only light coming from under the microwave. My thighs say differently.

I think I’ve gotten us onto a slippery slope. Let’s just keep going with the health theme here.

Mint Oreo Cupcakes. Don’t be fooled by the lone Oreo on top. There is also one BAKED IN THE BOTTOM. Like I said, healthy.  To be honest, the two Oreo’s are kind of overkill but just go with it. I made these for the winery employees. You wouldn’t have to do mint. You could run with any flavor Oreo you find and adjust your frosting accordingly. I didn’t really substitute anything expect for making the cake from scratch instead of the box. Too many preservatives in those things. Wow, I just totally judged you using cake mix from a box while also telling you to put two Oreo’s in one cupcake. The irony. It’s killing me softly. Use whatever you want. Just promise me, you will eat some kale while you make these. You need to be able to fit through your front door without the jaws of life. Remember this when you reach for seconds.

When you have delusions that you are a chef(that would be me) but your repertoire consists of Beouf Bourginon, gooey bars, and a bad-ass vinaigrette dressing sometimes you ask yourself in a Nathan Lane singsong voice “Is that all there is?

If I think I’m some great chef maybe I should be able to make something other than Italian? Maybe something daring like Asian or Indian? I already make a mean fry-bread taco, so obviously I’ve got Mexican covered. In my Asian recipe searching I went back to Ole Faithful, The Pioneer Woman.

TPW_1355

Oh, a rancher from Oklahoma wasn’t your first choice for Asian cuisine??? Yes me neither, but my Nobu Cookbook was stuck in customs and I had green onions spoiling. Her Sesame Noodles were beckoning me. I’m not going to lie though…I have some issues with this recipe.

First, that she uses spaghetti noodles. I’m sorry but my brain can’t compute using what I think of as Italian ingredients in Asian.  I just can’t. I stick things into compartmentalized boxes and that is where they stay. I could write a whole post about why Rory Gilmore does not belong on Mad Men, but then I’ll be up all evening. Just know that I see things very black and white. Gray is not in my color wheel. Unless it’s on walls, then it’s dreamy.  I had to sub Spelt pasta. I needed the dark color and texture. To each his own, but I think the rougher texture of the noodles make the sauce cling better.

Second, I subbed brown raw sugar for white sugar. I have no idea really why, but I generally prefer using brown sugar in cooking. I delude myself into thinking it deepens the flavors of the dish. Whatevs, you could probably add Sweet N’ Low and I’d ask for seconds.

Third and lastly, Sesame Seeds! What are cold sesame noodles without sesame seeds??? Admittedly I’m a sesame seed addict. I buy them in bulk and have been known to bring them in my purse when dining out. Since most of you that read this blog know me, my weirdness shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. (Hi mom.) I have now made these like 5 times in the last month. You should do the same.

Let’s continue this journey on the Orient Express. I’ve been a strict vegetarian for 7 years. No chicken broth,  no jello, no marshmallows. Nothing. I also don’t eat eggs or drink milk so I was far down the road to militant Veganism. Until I read The End of Illness. In short,  Omega 3 supplements are BS and the only real way to get them is from Fish or flax but even flax is a little suspect. Of course Salmon is like the hot popular blond hippie in the fish kingdom so I started there.

(This photo is awful. I apologize.)

I’m not the biggest fish fan so starting out I need recipes that drown the taste out enough for me to be able to imagine it’s tofu. With scales and bones.  This recipe does just that. It’s awesome and Asian and easy. That sentence sounds like a video I found on my ex’s computer.

I really didn’t tweak this recipe except to add WAY more brown sugar.  I feel like I can’t have a recipe without sugar in this post. I like octupled the sugar. I added 1/4 C. instead of the measly 1 1/2 teaspoon the recipe calls for. Don’t judge me. It makes it better. Trust. I also subbed olive oil for the peanut oil because I’m lazy and didn’t  feel like spending 8 dollars on organic peanut oil. Add a teaspoon of peanut butter to the marinade and it will taste the same.  My last tip for the recipe is to not use all of it for the marinade. Save some for serving and drizzle it on top. Magical. Almost doesn’t taste like fish. Almost.

I promise I  don’t only make recipes with sugar. Here’s a delightful pot pie I made two weeks ago.

Mushroom Potpie

(Totally did not look this and that fork is ugly)

What’s that you say? Puff Pastry contains sugar? You can leave my blog right now and go click back over to http://www.healthyrecipesthattastehorribly.com This recipe may or may not contain a form of what may or may not be sugar. I at least didn’t add any more.

In summation, this recipe is delicious and I didn’t change a thing! Except for one of course. It has you make it in an 8 in square baking dish. Wha-wha-what??? No, no, no. Pot pie is served in individual ramekins. There is no square pot pie. You DO NOT CUT pot pie into squares and serve. While I admire the food styling in the photo above,  the pot pie is rapidly oozing away from the crust  and will devour that lettuce in a matter of seconds. I don’t like warm runny salads and I assume you don’t either. Make it the way it’s supposed to be. In bowls. Individually. So with every spoonful you get a piece of crust. What is wrong with you Real Simple? Do you not even know your own name????

Let’s leave on a high note.  And by high I mean what your cholesterol will be after eating this. Or what you should eat if you have a case of the munchies.

martha's creamy mac

Oh hi there Martha. I usually think your recipes are a hot mess and wonder if the test cooks in your kitchens are actually high, because they never ever turn out correctly. But with this one you proved me wrong. The photo and recipe I’m linking to are from Smitten Kitchen because I like her photos more, and Deb needs more clicks than silly old Martha but the recipe is the exact same. Here’s the thing….The croutons are what makes this dish. MAKES. THIS. DISH. The base is everything you want in Mac and Cheese. Elbow noodles? Check. Although cavatappi would make a perfectly fine choice if you were trying to impress fancy people. Cheddar cheese? Check. Butter, milk, blah blah blah. Your traditional components are all here. The roux is a solid foundation that stops it from becoming a liquid style mac and cheese. Boston Market, I’m looking at you. Whatever, the base is fine. It’s better than fine even, it’s good. What makes this dish excellent though, is something as simple as TOSSING MELTED BUTTER WITCH CUT UP WHITE BREAD and baking them on top.  Oh. My. God or .Gawd depending on your proximity to Long Island. This dish becomes transcendental with the addition of  adding what are basically croutons. Because they’re soft. And Buttery. And crunchy. And the perfect complement to the strong tasting cheese beneath. It’s other worldly. The first time I made it I added a touch of blue cheese to the crust. Ridonkulous good. I know it’s summer now and comfort food has been put on the back burner but sometime in mid-August when you’re sick of tomatoes and cucumbers(that day will come, promise) and it’s raining and you’re starting to long for fall, pull this recipe out and make it.  I swear to you it’s worth heating up that oven.