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Friday, March 29, 2013

The Best Bloody Mary

The bloody mary really has a lot going for it- vitamin A, vitamin C, it goes beautifully with almost any food and is a completely acceptable alcoholic beverage to drink before noon. The challenge of the bloody mary though is that most store bought mixes taste like plastic. Not this one. If vodka had a rendezvous in the juice aisle at Whole Foods, this would be their love child. Simple, satisfying and refreshing- the perfect way to start or end the day. Prepare to enjoy brunch (actual food at brunch is optional).

The Players:

  • Absolut Peppar (or your favorite vodka)
  • 365 Organic Vital Veggie Juice (or your preferred tomato based vegetable juice)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Crushed ice
  • Celery for garnish (optional)
The Game:
  • Fill glass halfway with crushed ice. Pour a three count shot of vodka (I prefer a slow count for a stronger beverage; feel free to add as many Mississippis in your count as you like). Fill the rest of the glass (based on a 16 oz. glass) with vegetable juice, leaving about half an inch at the top for garnish. Add a pinch of worcestershire sauce, stir and top with old bay to taste. Garnish with celery, if using. Pretend you are on vacation. Cheers... 

The rendezvous. This is how rumors get started.

So happy that it is happy hour. The joy of the bloody mary is that it is always happy hour.

Almost too pretty to drink. Almost.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Momma Who is Rocking It: Laura Currey

Introducing my new segment, Mommas Who Are Rocking It. I will interview inspiring women who balance their busy lives with children with seemingly effortless style, compassion and grace. The women who make it all look easy. You could almost be agitated by their perfection but these are the type of women you really want to laugh over a latte with. They are wonderfully human, happy and full of moments of failing at parenthood and moments of pure, sweet success. These are the girls next door that we can all learn from. I will get to know how they do it all, what they hope their children learn from them and every parents fantasy, what they would do if they won the lottery.

Momma Who is Rocking It: Meet Laura Currey

You may have seen Laura Currey at the gym. Or running. Or biking. Or swimming or volunteering or substitute teaching or at girl scouts or cheering at basketball games... and the list grows daily. She is a mother of four, a triathlete and she is even more friendly than she is fit. Here is a glimpse of her life, her intense workouts and how she stays so extraordinarily motivated. Brace yourself, you may want to sign up for a marathon after you hear what she has to say...

Her stats: 45-year old mother to Katie (5 years old), Mia "Peanut" (8 years), Maddie (11 years) and Michael (13 years); married to Mike Currey for 15 years; part time substitute teacher and triathlete

  • You have been married for fifteen years. What is your best tip for making it work?
    • Above all else, we genuinely like each other. We respect each other. We let each person have their own identity and let each other do what they feel passionate about. We try not to be the squashers of each others dreams. We are secure, not jealous or petty or to harp on any little thing. I think when you are happy in yourself, you can be happier as a couple. We also like hanging out with our kids and having fun as a family.
  • Describe your triathlete training and weekly workouts.
    • I like to train for ten hours a week, rotating between kettlebell class, the elliptical machine, spinning class in winter, biking when it's nice out, crosstraining and swimming. Because of arthritis in my knees, my knees are much older than my chronological age, I minimize running and can only do it once every two weeks which is why I crosstrain. I would love to do a half-iron or a full-iron but I can't because of my knees. I don't want to get them replaced- I'm only 45! I'm no baby but I am in the land of knee replacement.

Those knees held up beautifully at the Annapolis TriRock last May.

  • How many triathlons do in a year?
    • 3-5, from May through October, depending on the year. The most I've done is 6. I love it.
  • What does the triathlon include?
    •  Swimming varies anywhere between 500 meters to 1000 meters, biking is 12-15 miles and the running is always a 5K (3.1 miles). I usually do an olympic distance too so the swim is close to a mile, the bike is 24 miles and the run is a 10K but that is a lot harder on my knees so that's why I only do one a year. 
  • How do you stay motivated?
    • It makes me sane. I'm a happier person. It is so mental health for me. I would need an anti-depressant if I was not exercising. After Katie, my fourth child, I had a moment of giving her a bath and telling my husband half-jokingly, that "I'm this close to losing it; I need some way to exercise" so he got me an elliptical machine. I need to sweat. I push myself so it is hard and I am happy. It is not just for my body, it is for my head. The day that I can not exercise is upsetting to me. When I work out, I have much more patience for my family and the world.
  • What do you feel hottest wearing?
    • In a fitted dress and heels. That is not something I wear very often... that is not my regular uniform.
  • Your four children range in ages from Kindergarten to Middle School. Does it get easier or more challenging?
    • When they are little they are sad about things that you have more control over and you can change it for them. As they get older, with their emotional needs it is more out of your control to be able to change it and make it better for them. You want to make things better but you can't always fix things. When they are younger, you can control their friends and their teachers. As they age they learn more life lessons but as a parent you feel more helpless. Little kids are more accepting, as they get older kids become more judgmental and you can't always control it... you just want them to be happy. But you can't guarantee it. I tell them to go exercise and find their happy.
  • Describe the best family vacation.
    • We like beach vacations- everyone at the beach together, family dinners, away from other influences, your family just hanging out together. We go to Emerald Isle, North Carolina with Mike's family and Montauk, New York with my family. 
  • Last time one of your children made you smile.
    • This morning. Everyday. All the time. 
  • What is the most challenging part of being a parent?
    • When they are little the challenges are the physical of just being exhausted. If you sit back and think about it it is overwhelming that you are such a great influence on this child. And you're thinking, I know some of the stuff I'm doing is going to put you in therapy but I'm just hoping that the good outweighs the bad. Every parent overall just tries to do their best but we are all human- no one is going to be 100% perfect so you just hope that your personality meshes enough with your kids' and you're making them happy that they will find their way. And not screwing them up really. I hate confrontation with them, I don't want to be the bad guy, I want to have fun.
  • Last time that you feel like you failed as a parent.
    • Well, I do swear a lot. I do work on having more patience. And sometimes I feel like that you do so many nice things for your kids and then they can't put their clothes away? Or I take them shopping and they can't take the time to put away their new things? It makes me feel I've been too indulgent. I do wish too that they had better eating habits... and more driven to exercise, they aren't finding their happiness right now doing that.
  • Last time that you feel like you rocked as a parent.
    • I like my kids and I like being around them. I'm more happy with how our days are going than not. At the end of the day, I'm not wishing I had done anything different. If they are all happy and getting along, that's a good day.
  • What is your best time management tip?
    • Realizing what you can accomplish. I realized in the past I used to have more of a Superwoman complex even before I had kids, of what I wanted to get done in the day. Now I don't need things to be neat before we get out of the door in the morning; I have no problem leaving my kitchen a hot mess. For my mental health, I can leave a bowl of cereal on the counter if it helps us leave on time. My kids also do better in being prepped ahead of time.
  • What is your standby recipe when you don't have the time or energy to cook?
    • My go-to meal that is easy and everyone likes is homemade pizza made with Trader Joe's crust. I can make cheese for the kids and veggie for me and Mike. It's nothing fancy but it works for us.
  • If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you would do?
    • Book a trip to Hawaii. 
  • What lesson or lessons do you hope your children are truly listening to you about?
    • Don't judge people. Own the decisions you make in life. Don't be deceitful. Find your passion. You have one self... one life. Don't be afraid to make a change.
  • If you could create more hours in a day, what do you wish that you had more time for?
    • If I had more time I think I could be more on top of things. I could be the person with the more organized closet... I think I could find more time to do the things I push way down on the pile. With an extra hour I could be more channeled to be more organized.
  • Do you have a mantra or words that you live by?
    • You are in charge of your own happiness. Make your own your choices, own them. and why you chose it. Do what makes you happy. 

Laura with her wonderfully supportive (and happy) family- Mike, Michael, Katie, Maddie and Mia.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Local Love: Introducing Twisted Sisters

Never underestimate the potential of a girl with a dream and a mitre saw. Meet Annapolis's own Shannon Haddaway and her boundless ideas, talent and her mantra that when life gives you hands, you should make handmade. What she can create with reclaimed lumber is nothing short of extraordinary. Lucky for locals, she packed her paint and potential and teamed up with her sister Christine (the design genius) and dear friend Tricia (the talent seeker) to open the bay area's newest destination of all things handcrafted, Twisted Sisters.

They had me at the wooden sign outside: all you need is love. Open the freshly painted door and you instantly feel the love and joy that radiates through every thoughtful inch of the shop. Every item they sell is handmade in the United States, with the majority being made in Maryland or directly from their workshop in the back by Shannon herself.

Walking into the shop is like going to a (stylish) best friend's home, you feel instantly welcome and all of your senses warmed. Not to mention that you may never want to leave, but not without picking out a great find or two for everyone you adore (just follow the rule of one for me, one for you). The shop features local art, pottery made in basements, jewelry made from wine bottles, vintage furniture, custom made signs, all natural creams and lotions, just to name a few with more items arriving daily.

Please hop into my Easter basket...
One for you, one for me...
The frame that started it all.

After having her third baby girl, Shannon was in search of her niche. She thought deeply about not only what her dream was but why she wasn't chasing it. "I was in a shop and saw a frame and thought, I can do that." And that is where her hopes came into reality, with a saw in her backyard, that was upgraded soon after and several more tools and vibrant paint cans followed. Shannon states, "It hit me like a ton of bricks that this is what I am supposed to do."

Twisted Sisters is a celebration of all things beautiful, handmade by incredible, gracious talent. My three-year old's favorite is a felt pink owl perfect for Easter baskets made by Gentry Night Studios in nearby Landover ( It is too difficult for me to pick just one favorite from the hanging pom-poms to the hand towels to the coat hangers; it is more than enough to make you want to pour a glass of locally made wine and stay awhile.

You are welcome to swing by and do just that at the grand opening on March 23rd. The happy door opens at 10 a.m. with festivities all day. Muffins and coffee in the morning, Great Frog (you guessed it- a local Annapolis winery) will be doing a wine tasting at 1 p.m. and from 1:30-3:30 delicious appetizers by Michelle Sapp will be served. Twisted Sisters will also be open this Sunday at 10 a.m. and the normal business hours will be Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and the occasional Sunday trunk show to feature new artists. You can find them online at by phone 410-279-3558 or in person at 21 B Riverview Annapolis, Maryland. Feel free to e-mail for custom orders or if you are an artist that would like to showcase your work at their store.

What are Shannon's tips for everyone out there with a similar dream? "Go with your gut. Go with your heart. If you aren't going to do it now, then when?"

With her own two hands...

the dreamer dreamed in bright beautiful color

with a sister, a friend, imagination, a mitre saw and a whole lot of soul.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


This is a recipe from a girlfriend of mine (sidenote: she's a mother of five, vegetarian, genuinely lovely and president of her own company- yes she makes me feel inadequate in the life department as well but she's really fun to drink wine with so I will keep her anyway). They are called Energy Bites but I like to refer to them as amazeballs because that is exactly what they are. Delicious, simple, omega-3's included and no oven required. Sign me up baby...

Amazeballs/Energy Bites:

  • 1 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients, refrigerate for 30 minutes and roll into balls of desired shape and size. Share with friends...or not... 

They were also gone our house too quickly and I completely forgot to take a picture- blast! I'll post one next time, first thing, I promise. Do you have a gloriously easy recipe to share? Please be a doll and post it below or on my facebook page ( Don't you just love the simplest recipes?

*Slightly adapted from my friend Debbie then my friend Carrie and also All are amazing resources. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Shamrock Special

Top of the (healthy) morning to you! I hope your Irish (or Irish for the weekend) eyes are smiling. And if they aren't yet, they will be after this drink.
Kale is somewhat of an acquired taste, I was not a fan at first, but now I often crave it. So if at first you too are not a fan, give it time and more tastings and before long you will be toasting your health with this greenalicious smoothie...

The Shamrock Special (serves two):

  • Half of a banana
  • One peeled orange, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. Flaxseed (I used golden roasted flax here, but you can use regular- both work great)
  • 2 Pineapple slices (I topped this with frozen pineapple as well so if you do not have any fresh pineapple on hand, you can just throw in a few extra frozen pieces)
  • 5 cups of Kale (I used rainbow kale here but regular kale will absolutely work wonderfully too)
  • 1/4 cup of frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup of water
Put the ingredients in the order listed into your vitamix or blender. Blend for 45 seconds or until desired consistency is reached (feel free to add more water if it is too thick for your liking). 

You can find the gratifying ingredients at your local health store, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.

Beautiful glassware once again provided by Courtney Cochrane (she really outdid herself this past Christmas; not that I'm complaining).
The eyes have a great role on the mind. Make them smile by serving it in a lovely way.

Cheers to you and have the sweetest and greenest St. Patrick's day (this also works well to help recover the morning after your St. Patty's shenanigans)...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Advice for a Teenager I Adore

I can deny it all I want but the frightening fact is that one day my four children will be teenagers. Fiesty, hopefully not wearing their pajamas to the mall, snarky 13-19 year olds. Everyone says enjoy the time when they are young because one day, not far from now, you will be waiting  pacing for your child to come home. I sometimes receive texts from my husband's cousin, a 14-year old seeking advice on every teenage issue imaginable. I appreciate that she confides in me and I hope that every teenager has an adult to be open with. I also feel grateful that I do not have to relive those years but it also makes me cringe at the thought that one soon day, I will be riding shot gun on the emotional roller coaster that will come from living in the same house as my future middle and high school students (I know Mom, I know- those days will be payback time).
There is no denying that it is a different day and age then we, as parents, were growing up. My eight-year old knows how to do more on a computer than I did at the age of eighteen. There was no internet, cell phones or social media. Bullying was contained during school hours. It now has no boundaries.  We, as adults, need to do our part to listen, advise and most importantly, be there. Here is the advice that I give to the teenagers that I adore now and will continue to give (with the hope that any single part of it is listened to):

  • Put down your phone.
  • Log-off of Facebook.
  • Texting should not replace face-to-face conversations.
  • Listen to your parents.
  • Listen to your grandparents.
  • You are loved by so many.
  • You are strong, smart and beautiful.
  • Speak with respect.
  • The internet is written in ink.
  • Think before sending.
  • Learn to say sorry, please and thank you.
  • Forgive.
  • Letting go is essential to your future happiness.
  • Doing well in school is essential to your future.
  • Saying no to what everyone else is doing is empowering.
  • Think before piercing.
  • Or tattooing.
  • Use spellcheck.
  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • Dream big.
  • Appreciate it all.
  • Life is colorful. Try not to be beige.
  • Perfection is overrated.
  • Get a job.
  • Do your chores.
  • Ask how you can help.
  • Dance. 
  • Happy people attract happy people. 
  • You can guess what negativity attracts.
  • Try yoga.
  • Try out for a team.
  • Eat foods grown from the ground.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Read books that you love.
  • You have permission to complain about something three times before creating a positive solution for it.
  • Laugh with your friends.
  • Boys do not think with their minds at this age.
  • If someone is hurtful, they are not worth your time.
  • Don't smoke. 
  • Wear your seatbelt.
  • Learn to play an instrument.
  • Have slumber parties.
  • Recycle.
  • Be grateful.
  • Be you.
  • Last but not at all least, hug your momma.

I would love for this to be a growing list. Please comment below or on my facebook page with your favorite tips for teens. I would absolutely love to hear them and in the meantime, I'm going to go play with blocks with my three-year olds...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Naked Momma: Fifty Shades of Granola

The Naked Momma: Fifty Shades of Granola: That title got you craving something deliciously satisfying, now didn't it? In the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy that you jus...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fifty Shades of Granola

That title got you craving something deliciously satisfying, now didn't it? In the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy that you just might possibly have read (all three books, cover to cover, in one sitting), Anastasia often eats granola for breakfast. Who could blame her? It gives her energy and well, stamina, for her very active days. It's also wonderfully easy to make. Prepare your taste buds for 50 shades of joy and what to do afterward? Well, I'll let you read the book for yourself for some suggestions...

The Recipe Your Inner Goddess will do Backflips for:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup unsalted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas 
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Optional ingredients: dried blueberries (1/2 cup), flaxseed (2 T.), brown sugar (1/4 cup), depending on what you have on hand and personal taste preference.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or a fancy glass jar (see below). "Raising the ordinary to extraordinary."

Hello beautiful... try not to bite your lip.

Anastasia Steele's subconscious would approve.

After it is blended and baked, it will be golden and crunchy like this:
Christian Grey would be jealous. We will happily share if he's wearing ripped jeans.

Store in a glass jar to add to its good looks. Isn't this one made by friend, Courtney Cochrane, just the best? It's almost too pretty to use with the glass etching but I feel this sexy granola is worthy of the jar.

See how scandously simple that was? We aim to please...

Laters baby.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March Comes In Like a Lioness

Forget coming in like a lion... I feel like when March begins it is the lionesses that reign, loud and proud. Remember those new years resolutions set oh so long before the superbowl, Valentine's Day and winter hibernation? Oh yes, I made about 37.

I'm calling for a new beginning of a new season with all of the motivation of March that we can muster. Want to run a 5K? Now is the time to release those legs in the fresh air and sign up for one. Want to organize? Now is the time to donate to a worthy cause with your unused clothes, housewares and toys or make an appointment with a consignment shop and clean out those closets. Want to start eating healthier? Now is the time to start planting the seeds to grow your own garden. You can also kill two resolutions at once by doing some spring cleaning of your pantry; if you do not want something in your body (or your children's bodies) than it is time to let it go.

I love the thought of spring cleaning our bodies and spirits. The change of season is nature's way of giving us new goals and appointments with the outdoors. No one wants to waste a perfect weather day. So don't. Take advantage of a snow day by making slow-cooked vegetable soup, seize a rainy day by clearing out any area of your home that ails you and take advantage of the sun by going out and letting it move you. Any weather can be perfect if you seize the productivity within it.

My goals for March? Saving more green and living more green. Here is my (hopeful) plan:

  • More homemade, less store-bought.
  • Plan meals in advance & head to the store with a list (Kris Carr has a wonderfully crazy sexy meal planner here:
  • Only buy what we need (this is my downfall; I'm attracted to all things shiny and on sale).
  • Take a look at your receipts and see how it breaks down to how much you spend in various categories: fruits and vegetables, dairy, grains, the dollar section in Target, etc. This sounds tedious but it is shocking to see how much the olive bar can add up as well as all of those things that you may not actually want your family to consume but they still find a way into your cart. See what doesn't really deserve to be purchased by your hard-working self.
  • Support the smaller guys- local markets, independently owned shops and local farmers & wineries (it's amazing what you find when you google farms in your area- I just did and found a fabulous winery that I never knew even existed about 5 minutes away that offers tastings and sells it by the bottle at local wine stores- what?! Reducing our carbon footprint and supporting local grapes, yes please- Other nearby fantastic finds- and
  • Shop with more thought and intention. Yes that is hard to do with children in tow. But it is a lesson for all of us in what we say yes and no to in our bodies and in our homes.
  • Shop and sell to consignment shops. I just read that Americans throw out, on average, 68 pounds of clothing each year. This a stylish way to recycle and reuse.
  • Start composting (please forgive me that I have not yet started doing this; I'm smacking my own hand right now). Truth be told: I have been more afraid that I won't get it right instead of just trying and learning through the process. Let me get out of my own way.
Now it is your turn. Any green tried and true tips that have worked for you? Please share them by commenting below (composting tips are extra welcome). Happy March to you dear lionesses. Go out there and let yourself roar...