Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Iomoi's done it again.

I have previously confessed that I have a crush on 
or, some would say, an obsession with all things Iomoi

What can I say? 

They simply speak my language. They seem to know exactly what 
I need before I am even aware how desperately I need it.  

Such is indeed the case with their new jute bags with leather handles

Did they know I have a tendency to purchase smart bags in quantity? 

Are they aware of my love for all things jute? 

Or do they simply know I am a sucker for thoughtful details like 
laminating the inside of a bag so it works for the pool and beach? Or making 
sure the handles have an eight inch drop so it fits perfectly over my shoulder. 

How do they do it? 

And which one shall I choose? 



Or Olive?

Oh, of course they knew that would be my problem and offer the perfect solution: 
a three pack {which discounts the price per bag}. 


What new product do you adore this summer? 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day inspiration.

I'm dreaming of a fabulous Memorial Day bar-b-que with friends. 

We will have grilled flank steak sandwiches with blue cheese. 
via My Recipes

Grilled okra with a yummy basil dip. 
via Southern Living

Yummy strawberries filled with whipped cream and topped with blueberries. 
via Inspirations by D

I'll even set a festive table.
via Everything Fabulous

Of course it is more likely that we'll have burgers, hot dogs, 
baked beans and brownies, but a girl can dream!

What are your holiday plans?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Remembering the Brave.

Honoring the brave men and women who served our country and died is the highest tribute we can give these courageous people this Memorial Day weekend. They helped get our country to the pinnacle of the modern world and have protected our democratic values. In times of freedom, we thank and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

For all of you who have had a family member serve and sacrifice, thank you. Our American justice system, based on democratic values, could not exist but for the sacrifices of so many men and women over the history of our country.

God Bless America!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pin it.

I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't share my latest love, Pinterest, with you.

You can find anything on Pinterest. 



It's a lovely amalgamation of ideas and design and
food and fashion and typography and {fill in the blank}.

Simply everything.

And you can create "boards" on which you "pin" whatever you like.

For example, a few of my "pins".

Dinner inspiration. 

We actually had this salad tonight. And it is delish!

Mom of the Year props.

I brought these to school for my duo's birthday {their mascot is an owl - huge hit}.

Source: None via Anette on Pinterest

Crafty inspiration. 

I think this is so darling. I will never in a million years
accomplish this simple task, but just in case . . . . 

Source: etsy.com via AmyEatLiveLaugh on Pinterest

Simple Solutions.

Seriously, why have I never thought of that.
The mess under my desk neither tidy nor labeled.

Brilliant - aloe ice cubes to soothe sunburns.

Source: realsimple.com via katyka on Pinterest

Fashion inspiration. 

Mom uniform 101:
Add sweater and jewelry to jeans and t-shirt.
Instant chic.

Source: polyvore.com via Maddie on Pinterest

As well as humorous anecdotes and quotes galore!

Source: positive-posters.com via AmyEatLiveLaugh on Pinterest

Source: thenextweb.com via Anne Sara on Pinterest


It is a bit overwhelming and intoxicating. 

But in such a lovely picturesque way. 

So, what will you pin first?

And, of course, follow me there too {pinterest.com/AmyEatLiveLaugh
so I can keep up with your newest obsessions!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I was a #SeniorHottie!

Official graduation photo proudly mailed to hundreds of friends and relatives.
The top ten reasons you are insanely jealous of the 1989 Amy:
  1. You never owned a sweater with functional shutters. 
  2. You were not able to find and/or accomodate the x-large clip-onto-your-bra shoulder pads, thus ensuring your stylish and broad shouldered appearance in each and every outfit. 
  3. You did not have the modeling experience required to pull off the "talk on the phone" pose with such style and finesse. 
  4. You never used the small pink sponge rollers to ensure maximum curl retention {hot rollers were for rookies}. 
  5. Your bangs would not do the Texas two step -- half curled under and half standing on end. 
  6. No one has ever pulled out a white folding chair for you and asked you to strike a pose. 
  7. Your bangs did not extend more than four inches about your forehead.
  8. You did not just realize that your "natural" hair color is not near as blonde as you remember it. 
  9. You were never bold enough to be photographed wearing a sweater displaying a pig. With a three dimensional ear.
  10. And clearly, because I was a SENIOR HOTTIE!
Amy and her parents, graduation day 1989
{note the graduation picture above is proudly displayed on the very 1980s mantel.} 

Join the #SeniorHottie link-up by visiting Liz at a Belle, a Bean & a Chicago Dog 
and linking to your best #SeniorHottie photo!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Oh yes I am.

Liz at a Belle, a Bean & a Chicago Dog is hosting a 
"I was a Senior Hottie" link-up starting on Wednesday. 

And I cannot resist.  

Come back and check in with the 1989 version of me on Wednesday. 

I promise you will not be disappointed. 

And for those who knew me circa 1989 . . .  zip it!  

You looked just like that too!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thank you for today and tomorrow.

I assume this is a Photoshopped billboard, but I find it quite poignant and humorous. 

Here's to another day and another tomorrow!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday night at my house.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Just call me "Coach."

It's time to come clean about my newest obsession. But first, a little background. 

Those of you who know me in real life or those who have spent any time perusing the pages of my little corner of the blogosphere know that I love to eat. My obsession with all things chocolate is fairly well documented on these pages. 

I make no bones about it: I enjoy food. A lot. 

And I am not one to diet. 

That said, I do generally eat well. I cook. I start with fresh ingredients and make our dinners. Almost every night. I do use real butter and refuse fat free salad dressings. I also love hamburgers and pizza. But, I enjoy these things in moderation. I scarf down pizza only once or twice in a given month. 

So, moderation is my key to staying in shape. Well that, and regular exercise. And, of course, being blessed with exceptional metabolism {I do not discount that for one second}. 

And for years the hubs and I have started our day with a protein breakfast shake. We created our own using flax seed oil, frozen fruit and protein powder. They were yummy, but I was always starving a few hours later. 

{Enter Shakeology}

A month or so ago I was starting to feel sluggish. I may have gained five or so unwanted pounds over the last year {of course blogging is partly to blame}. But more than the weight, I just didn't feel like I had  much energy {and I was starting to just blame my age}. I had read about Shakeology from Lindsay at Designer Wife and decided to be radical and try a 3-day cleanse! As I said, I don't diet, but decided  something quick would give me the jump-start I needed to get back on track. 

Here's what I did:

Breakfast - 1 cup of green tea and 1 Shakeology shake with a handful of fruit added {mixed only with water and ice}.
Snack - 1 piece of fruit
Lunch - 1 cup of green tea and 1 Shakeology shake {mixed only with water and ice}.
Snack - 1  Shakeology shake {mixed only with water and ice}.
Dinner - Loads and loads of veggies and a small portion of chicken {think large salad with a little bit of chicken and homemade salad dressing}.
And TONS of water all day long.

Nothing else -- no dairy, no other meat, no alcohol, and no preservatives.

For three full days.

And amazingly I was not hungry {other than the 1st day when I forgot my second snack - oops!} and I felt great. I was even able to fill Easter eggs and bake cupcakes without giving into my cravings. {an Easter miracle some would say!} 

So after the three days I felt markedly better and knew my body was running more efficiently! Exactly what I wanted!!! As an added bonus: I lost 4 pounds. Truly that should be no surprise -- I was drinking gallons of water ever day and effectively eating only vegetables. And let's just say the plumbing was quite efficient during this time. Quite.

Since that 3-day period I have gone to having only one Shakeology shake per day -- generally for breakfast. They are delicious and very filling. And, as the literature says, "the healthiest meal of the day." That is undoubtedly true in my day. Even when I am eating "healthy" foods.

Here is a short {less than a minute video} about the ingredients:


So clearly, I've become obsessed. I literally crave my shake in the morning. Which is probably my body's way of telling me I needed more veggies in my life.

Is Shakeology for everyone?

Maybe or maybe not. Though, I really can't think of anyone who would not benefit on some level. It is a quick, easy, nutritious breakfast you can drink on your way to work, or in my instance, as I stand at the bus stop.

Do I recommend that everyone starts with a 3-day cleanse?

Of course not! I'm just sharing my story. I needed that immediate feeling of well-being that comes from resetting your system. Drinking just one shake a day still makes a difference in how I feel. A drastic start is certainly not needed to reap the benefits.

{My new obsession is expensive}

The shakes are not cheap -- $3-$4/shake. Of course, I generally spend that much on my morning latte! And it is a full and nutritious meal {much better than anything else I could purchase for $3-$4}. But it does add up quickly.

So, in order to fund my new-expensive-shake habit I became an "Independent Team BeachBody Coach." Now believe me when I say this: I do not have a beach body and have no absolutely no coaching qualifications. I simply wanted a discount on my shakes so I didn't have to give up my morning latte!

So if you are curious about Shakeology click through to my new Shakeology site and read more of the scientific information. If you want more information or would like to ask any personal questions please contact me {see the contact tab above}. I am learning more and more every day and am happy to share that with you.

If you too develop an expensive shake habit, I am happy to walk you through the steps to become a "coach" so you can receive the shakes at a discounted rate. Or you can buy from me forever and start funding my kids' college fund. Either way works.

All this said, I'm off to bake a batch of my legendary chocolate chip cookies

Balance, folks. 


I promise I will never turn into a complete health nut.   

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Achilles' Heel of Parenting.

A few weekends ago we spent a leisurely weekend with another family. It was low-key and not at all stressful. No competition, no agendas, no stress, just good old fashion family fun. 

And it was just that. 

Despite that, my friend and I both displayed our parenting, or shall I just be honest and say "mothering" Achilles' heel. You know what I mean? That part of our children about which we are horribly insecure or uncertain or just a frazzled mothering mess. 

For some mothers it is sleeping. "Oh, Johnny was never a good sleeper.  He just cannot calm himself down without me laying with him each night." 

For another it may be a personality trait. "I really wish Jason was willing to try new experiences. He is scared of everything and rarely wants to engage in any new or different activities."

For others it is academic. "Suzy has the hardest time with math. She is only doing 2nd grade math skills in the 2nd grade! And she was five before she could read." 

Still others wish for a more outgoing child. "Sweet Billy just prefers to play alone. He is not comfortable playing in large groups despite all we've done to encourage him."

For me, it's food. My kids are incredibly picky eaters. I swear they eat healthy meals, but it is not mainstream and it is always awkward eating with other families. And they eat plenty -- it's just not what you'd guess. For example, Little Miss Thang eats an entire raw red pepper every day. No ranch for dipping. She doesn't do condiments {yes, also no syrup or ketchup though she devours pancakes and hot dogs}. 

Raw spinach on the side for dinner, no problem. 

Mashed potatoes, no thank you.  

Grilled chicken, yes please. 

Fried chicken on a bone, no thank  you. 

You get the picture -- they are picky, but in our own quirky, picky way. And I don't mean to make them sound uber-healthy. That is not the case. There are plenty of Goldfish crackers and ice cream sandwiches in our repertoire. But only for Little Miss Thang. For My Little Guy it is Ritz Crackers and pudding. See  -- they are even picky about junk food!?!?

My excuses or justifications or explanations often range from: 
  1. I swear they just came out this way, to
  2. I ruined them back when the hubs was often gone for weeks at a time {come to think of it, he still is} and I just let them eat whatever they wanted for dinner {and sometimes still do}, to 
  3. Who cares. They eat just fine and will certainly eventually eat sushi with me. Or any fish for that matter.  Right?
I've generally come to terms with this issue on my own. But when I'm with others I'm not nearly as confident or self-assured. I make excuses. I try to hide the issue. I do all I can to hide the pain caused by my Achilles' heel.

And during that weekend I did just that. And so did my friend, with respect to her own Achilles' heel. 

We both offered our excuses. 

Demonstrated our resolve. 

And shared our disappointment. 

Our issues were different but the result the same: we worry that we are doing a good job. 

And sometimes we, as a mothering community, are quite judgmental. I don't think we mean to be. Well, maybe some do. I thought my friend's Achilles' heel issue was innate in her children and there was nothing she could do about it. My kids don't have that particular issue, but I certainly don't think it is from something I've done particularly well. They just arrived this way. I think.

Or maybe it's not innate at all. The fact that both our respective children shared the same set of issues does lend itself to the argument that these issues are likely of our own creation. 

Or maybe the issue which made her uncomfortable is one she also shared with them, although she has certainly outgrown it now {if only you could have seen her on the rope swing}! And maybe, just maybe, my kids own eating issues stem from my own childhood resistance to new foods. I certainly was not always willing to order the sashimi platter at an authentic sushi bar. I am certain of that. 

But, in the end, who cares whether we created it or not?!?

We all do the best we can. 

Our kids are little works in process. And we all devote our time, talents and energy towards their growth. As much as we have to give at that particular moment in time. Maybe one day, week or month, we weren't able to keep our eye on the prize and we slack off a bit. Or maybe our child's inherent nature {which they share with us} leads to a sensitivity towards certain foods or experiences or a particular temperament. Is this really surprising or worrisome?  


Do we sometimes set our sights too high?


Are we too hard on ourselves and each other? 

Most definitely.

What is your mothering Achilles' heel and do you think it is innate or created?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mindless Monday.

Yes, Mindless Monday.  

It may be a new feature.  

Because it is indeed Monday morning as I type and I feel as I have indeed lost my mind.  

This is the kids' penultimate week of school. 
And I cannot wait for the lazy days of summer. 

I need a day to lounge, perhaps read a book or just marvel at a chair covered in balloons.  
I kid you not. 

via Hip Lip
"There is a joy that happens when people meet familiar materials like a balloon used in a different way. The intellectual barrier melts and emotions come forward." 

Given that my intellectual barrier does seem to have melted away, 
I think this the perfect piece for me. 

Can someone do a DIY video tutorial for this?  
When my mind returns I think I would give it a whirl! 

By Pini Lebovich. Part of the "Happy Material" series 
displayed at the Cooper Hewitt Museum NYC.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sweet Summer Sip.

This is the perfect almost-summer drink to remind you of the simple pleasures that await.
1 oz. black cherry rum
1/2 oz. Limoncello
1/2 oz. pure cane syrup
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Fill a pint glass with ice. In a separate shaker, combine the first 4 ingredients, cap and shake for 5 seconds. Strain into your pint glass. Top with Luccio Moscato d’Asti. Garnish with a lemon twist and a straw. Go sip by the pool.
Don't mind if I do!
Photo and recipe via Neiman Marcus blog

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekend Words of Wisdom.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Amy ~ Behind the Screen.

Last week Emily, of Work Hard. Love Harder.
interviewed me for a Behind the Screens spot.  

Today that interview is featured!  

And for the record: I do not claim to be either fabulous or inspirational. 

But Emily is absolutely adorable 
{please don't hate her simply because she is young, 
beautiful and lives in gorgeous San Diego, California}. 

And her site is not only aesthetically pleasing 
{she's also a graphic designer} 
but also a wonderful resource for 
inspiration and motivation in business, 
life, relationships and personal growth.

Need I say more?

Click on over and get a little insight into me

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring it on!

I love Spring. I love the smell of cut grass. I love the crisp evening breeze {"breeze" being a euphemism for crazy coastal wind}. I love how my kids seem to relish in spending time outside jumping rope, riding bikes, playing ball or swimming in the pool. 

I luxuriate in such days. 

And there are simply too few. 

Soon there will be no breeze or wind. Nothing will be described as crisp. And none of us will be willing to get out of the pool except to grab a cool drink. 

So this is the time for alfresco dining. Our family enjoyed an alfresco meal on Saturday, but just burgers and hot dogs. We cleaned the table. Put the cushions on the chairs and lit a few candles. It was lovely.

And it got me thinking: I believe it is officially time to start the {adult} outdoor entertaining season. Hot dogs and burgers for the kids, fine, but I think I need to elevate the rest of my game a bit.   

Here's my plan!

2.  Blood orange margarita
3. Peach, Basil and Lemon Thyme Sorbet
4. Pear, Brie, and Pesto Panini

So who's ready to put on a sundress, flip flops and join me?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers who love so deeply and give so much!

Enjoy your day! 

 I hope you are pampered silly!

Source: None via AmyEatLiveLaugh on Pinterest

Friday, May 6, 2011

News for kids.

My kids love computer time. 

Maybe {a little} too much. 

And while I do limit their time; I also encourage it. Computers are our future. And in some sense, being computer literate is like being fluent in another language. A mandatory language in my estimation. 

So I encourage them to explore. I monitor their activities. And their MacBook keeps track of, and will shut down if they exceed, their allotted screen time. 

All that said, I am constantly looking for websites I want them to visit. Websites with relevant content. They think YouTube is the end-all, be-all. It is not unusual for me to find them watching a video demonstration of a magic trick or how a how-to make an origami dragon demonstration. And that's all well and good. But I feel the need to encourage them beyond YouTube and the inevitable visits to Disney.com. 

And today I discovered what will become a mandatory pit stop in their computer lives:  Here There Everywhere.  Claudia Heitler, before becoming a mom, spent her days working at NBC Network News’ Today show. When she became a mom she left her job but not her interest in the news. She explains the site best:
"Here There Everywhere is a news website/blog designed for elementary school-aged children. Its purpose is to show kids how they are connected to their world and introduce them to the people and events shaping it. It credits children with being interested in and being able to understand some of the more newsy topics (though there will be lots of the fun stuff, too!). HTE can be read with a caregiver or without. "
"Knowing what’s in the news is a way to be connected to our community, nation and world; it can give us important information about something we may need to know, or information to help us make the best possible choices. It can inspire us, and it’s a way to share ideas and help form opinions – especially when all sides of a story are heard. It helps us understand each other better (and that’s important these days). Knowing what’s going on in the world around us also teaches us the importance of staying curious and asking questions."
The stories are both interesting and relevant. And, surprisingly, are not written in a condescending let-me-say-this-so-you'll-understand way.

I've now emailed my kids and asked that they each bookmark this site and visit it every day they have computer time {which is not every day}. I cannot wait to begin discussing current events at the dinner table!! I'm nearly giddy dreaming of our intellectual dinner conversations.

Do not burst my bubble.

Do you let your kids roam about online and, if so, what sites do you love?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Motherless Day.

This was written last May and posted on my private blog. I didn't think this year would be as hard as last. And it's not. 

As hard. 

But shopping for Mother's Day Cards for my mother-in-law caused a bit of a lump in my throat. Reading all the sappy-sweet sentiments. It just all came flooding back. Again.

I may or may not have been crabby ever since {hubs - you have never commented before, now would not be a good time to start}.  

- May 7, 2010 -

It’s almost here. I can feel it coming. And I am dreading it already — my first Mother’s Day without my mother.

There is no way around it.

 I must face it head-on.

 Or, at least face it. 

It hit me yesterday like a ton of bricks. It had not previously even occurred to me as something I would dread. But the grocery store with the flowers and cards and flowers and cakes and flowers and gift suggestions. It felt like the world was slapping me in the face over and over again to constantly and annoyingly remind me: you don't have a mother.

And it was just all too much.

Funny the way grief surprises you like that, like a child popping from behind a door: ”BOO!” If you asked me two days ago how I was dealing with my grief, I would have said: ”Fine. I feel like I’m out of the woods.” Wrong. Now I cannot even see the woods through the tears.

But Mother’s Day is a day to simply honor mothers and the institution of motherhood. I can still do that. I too am a mother. And I had a wonderful, caring mother. I grieve the loss of her in my daily life, but it does not diminish her lasting impact on me.

Her impact on my life.

Her very being is so intertwined with mine that I cannot see where one stops and the other begins. I may not have always wanted to admit this, but how can it not be true? Just as I am with my children, she too was with me — marveling at first words, steps, heartbreaks, upsets, successes and, of course, the ordinary daily-ness of life.

Motherhood is a privilege and a miracle. It can bring you to your knees and provide limitless joy.

Sometimes within a few seconds of each other.

That is what I will celebrate on Sunday. Not my loss, but what we share forever after — the bond of motherhood.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cinco de Mayo!

Thursday is Cinco de Mayo! 

Or, for those who require translation: Spanish for 5th of May. 

"Why celebrate Mexican heritage and pride on May 5th?" you ask.

"Why not!?" I say while sipping my margarita.

Besides, these blogs inspired me to think outside the 
traditional Cinco de Mayo sombrero! 

Or if you want to include the niƱos in the Fiesta! 

4. Mini Pinata Favors from One Charming Party

Es muy bueno!

So, do you partake in any Cinco de Mayo festivities
or will I be drinking my margarita alone? 

And while you're here, why don't you

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Online invitations. Or not.

I'm a bit of a stationary snob. 


I said it. 

I have drawers full of personalized note cards. For me. The hubs. And my duo. Yes, my duo has personalized note cards. They have since birth. That's just how I roll. And I insist they write thank you notes. I do not always like what the write (e.g., "Thank you for the presents" seems a little lacking), but we have a few years to perfect this craft. The point is that they are in the habit of writing notes.

Even with my old-fashioned tendencies, however, I believe there is a time a place for online invitations and notes. Many events do not require a formal invitation or response. {And yes, I realize I sound like a grandma when I say that.}

I suppose I'm simply trying to justify sharing a new great site with you without also contributing to the death of the paper invitation and note. 

I have a reputation to protect. 

But here's the thing, Cocodot both prints invitations and allows you to send online invitations -- win - win!

Additionally, you can:
Efficiently manage responses & communicate with guests;
Post invitations, greetings and comments to social networks;
Add your own music; and
Upload logos and photos.

And the selection is darling and quite diverse.

And if all that were not enough, they recently added a voice feature, so you can have your child sing “Happy Birthday” to their grandparent … or whomever is deserving of a special treat!  

Cue sobbing grandparent now.

Happy Birthday card with voice

I can only imagine the possibilities!

And for those of us who have not yet purchased Mother's Day cards, this could not come at a better time!! 

Enjoy! And please, do not feel obliged to send me a thank you note.  A comment is thank you enough!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A step back in time.

This weekend our family stepped back in time. 

To a place that is still and quiet. 

Where electronics seem completely out of place. 

And phones simply do not ring.

Where trees tower high into the sky - just begging to be climbed. 

Where the water is calm and cool. 

And you spend long days talking and playing. 

Not arguing or crying.

 Where children run free. 

And spend their childhood days being children. 

Crazy, dirty, mud-covered children who may or 
may not have brushed their teeth. 

But darling, loving, well-mannered children.


This weekend we stepped back in time.  

And part of me really, really wished we could stay.

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