My Vow To Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen, someday I will meet you, it’s my destiny. My other destiny is to see a taping of SNL, but that’s getting off track. OK Andy, here’s the scenario: the blog has made me rich and famous and you invite me to come onto WWHL (Watch What Happens Live) as the bartender. Duh, it’s not like I’m famous enough to be one of the guests on your show, but the bartender, that’s within my reach. Until then, I will enjoy you on WWHL.

If you don’t watch WWHL (and didn’t know what it stood for), then you obviously don’t watch Bravo, one of my reasons for existence on this earth. I am a Bravo superfan, I watch most of the Housewives, Tabatha, Million Dollar Listing, etc, etc, etc. What I have really come to love is Andy Cohen’s nightly talk show at 11pm, Watch What Happens Live. It’s just 30 minutes and it is delightful. Plus, he gets some legit guests and choice Bravo-lebrities.

Andy Cohen is Bravo. He’s the EVP of Programming & Talent, he’s the host of all of the reunions, he’s basically so fabulous, they had to give him his own show. He’s tansome (tan + handsome), starstruck over his guests (he made Connie Britton read a scene from FNL with him – he was Coach, she was Tammy Taylor – amazing), adorable, funny, Jewish (I am too, it makes me love him more), all around the best gay ever. Check out his bio here. I just know we would love each other!

Dylan deanLast night on WWHL, the guests were Christina Hendricks (Joan from Mad Men) and Dylan McDermott (we all know who that is), kind of a random duo, but it was fantastic, I was smiling the entire time. Andy always plays a clever little game, last night it was “Dylan Dean McDermott Mulroney” (click to watch the clip). He showed a picture of someone’s ear/hair/chin and the guests had to guess if it was Dean McDermott, Dylan McDermott, or Dermot Mulroney. Awesome, right?

Drinking is a theme on the show, hence the bartender, there’s the drinking alert word, the shotski (literally shot glasses on a ski). People get a ‘lil tipsy and it makes for a real good time. If you haven’t checked it out, do it! If you can’t stay up that late, DVR it! Neil Patrick Harris is on tonight, my TV may spontaneously combust from all of the handsome gayness.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    FYI – I am leaving for Mexico tomorrow with my parents and Oliver and will be back in a week! There may be a guest blogger if we can pull it together. Adios Amigos!!

Chili Con Carne Con Amigos

Cooking with a friend is something I don’t get to experience much these days, but I have to say it is one of my favorite things, such a treat. Let me back up – my friend Jen (Eating & Drinking in Ptown) and her boyfriend Nick came for a visit this weekend and we had such a blast. We got dressed up for a Halloween party on Saturday night and whooped it up with a big group of friends. There was some karaoke, some dancing, lots of laughing, cocktails galore and awesome costumes.

The next morning wasn’t pretty. I never go to bed with a messy kitchen, but above pic is how it stayed until Nick cleaned it up at around 3pm (thanks Nick!). Dim Sum and a slice at Pagliacci helped us get it together and then we had to tackle the dinner menu as we were having our other best friend Farrah and her family over for dinner. Cold fall day, nursing a little bit of a hangover, nothing better than a big ‘ole pot of chili. We wanted to make enough for the nine of us (5 adults & 4 kiddos) and have leftovers, so that meant a huge batch!  I love to cook, but cooking with my best friend along side me in the kitchen with me was such a delight. BONUS – she has some awesome cooking tips I want to share (she went to the French Culinary Institute in NYC and is a pretty amazing cook).

Chili Con Carne Con Amigos – serves 8 with leftovers

Ingredients

  • 3lbs lean ground beef (85%/15% – a little fat is good for chili)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, chopped
  • 4 cans kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 16oz bottle of beer (something hoppy)
  • 1 can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes with juice
  • Cumin to taste
  • Chili Powder to taste
  • Cholula (or other hot sauce) to taste
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  1. In a very large pot, brown ground beef in enough oil to coat the pan, seasoning the meat with salt & pepper
  2. Once beef is no longer pink, transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon and drain the fat drippings, but leave enough to sautee the onions and garlic
  3. Sautee onions until soft, then add in the garlic – make sure there is enough liquid so nothing burns, we had to add in some of the tomato juice from the whole tomatoes after a bit
  4. Stir in cumin (at least 4T) and chili powder to taste (at least 2T)
  5. Add tomatoes, breaking up the whole tomatoes with your hands (but careful not to let them squirt all over your shirt, like I did, grrrrr)
  6. Add meat back in, pour in the beer, and shake in a healthy dose of Cholula
  7. Stir together and cook on low for at least one hour, tasting along the way and finding your balance of cumin, chili powder, Cholula, salt & pepper
  8. Garnish with avocado, sliced radishes, grated cheese and sour cream

We served with cornbread and a simple arugula and shaved pecorino salad with an olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt & pepper dressing. Deeeeeeelicious. That was pretty much the perfect weekend in my book, full of friends, food, wine and laughing!

I miss my houseguests already, but at least I get to go home to some really good leftovers. And stay tuned for my first guest blogger – Jen will be stepping in for a post or two while I’m on vacation in Mexico next week!

Working My Ass Off (or at least that’s the goal)

It’s Saturday morning. One of my favorite times of the week, the key word is “leisure”. There are a few perks to being a single parent, one of them being I get to enjoy from Friday at 4pm until Saturday at 4pm to myself. I got up at 10, enjoyed my coffee and egg and avocado toast, and am currently on the couch luxuriating in  my Parenthood marathon (I know, where have I been. If you’re not watching, start immediately). Normally, I exercise on Saturdays, but I got the day off as class was cancelled and I already got my workouts in this week. So I get to lay here and not feel guilty!

Up until about three years ago, I was a runner. Running was a mixed bag for me, it was never easy, I never found myself in that zone where time just passes and all of a sudden you’ve been running for an hour. But it made me feel so good afterward and the sense of accomplishment was top notch. My running career ended with a torn meniscus and my doctor telling me that my knee cartilage was not suited to running as a main form of exercise. After I had recovered from my surgery, I started going to this little studio by my house, Inspire Pilates & SPX. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Working out at Inspire was a pretty big departure for me, I ran at the gym most of the time. My first gym membership was at 24 Hour Fitness over 15 years ago during my San Francisco days and my last membership was the ProClub, a mega gym, and one of my Microsoft perks. Going to the gym was a two hour ordeal with the commuting, workout, showering, etc, so the experience of a boutique studio was new and totally refreshing. At Inspire, the classes were 40 minutes long and I could be door to door in one hour!

SPX is like this souped up Pilates, created by Sebastian Lagree. He turned a Pilates reformer into a Proformer, and the his fitness method “is an innovative workout specifically designed to strengthen, tighten, and tone the body quickly and safely. This workout is largely based on the holistic principles of Pilates, but also emphasizes the strength training and cardio elements not inherent to Pilates to achieve muscle definition faster than traditional Pilates and/or weight training alone.” The 40 minute classes are on the machine, with great music and an instructor leading you through an always changing series of challenging moves.

Rebekah, my amazing instructor, has also brought a Barre class to Inspire, which is 45 minutes of brutal cardio, weights, and her barre workout. It is a complete ass-kicker, one of the hardest workouts I’ve done, but I love it! My winning combo is SPX two days a week and Barre three days a week and I’ve actually been able to keep up this commitment. I regularly get sore, feel strong, my arms have honestly never looked better, but I still have that elusive 5lbs I’d like to lose. I like food and am not willing to stop eating, so I guess I’ll have to live with them.

Overall, my workout routine is working for me! And BONUS – the women I’ve met in my little community at Inspire has been such a blessing. I love you ladies!! There are so many fantastic options for working out these days if you want to get out of the traditional gym experience – CrossFit, Cycling, PIlates, Yoga, Barre, etc. It’s never easy to carve out the time with work or kids or life, but if you can fit it in, it feels fantastic, and it’s not terrible for your ass either.

LBWP (Little Black Workout Pant)

You know what isn’t a super practical item in my closet? A little black dress. I guess my cocktail party circuit is a bit sparse these days. What I do wear just about every day, however, are black workout pants. For the past two years, my workout regime has been exclusively Pilates and Barre and I go 4-5 days a week. After the approximate 500 sessions I’ve been to in those two years, I feel that I have become an expert on workout pants. I’ve tried many, but I always come back to my favorite pair, the Lululemon Wunder Under Crop ($72).

There has been a hot debate on Lululemon pants since they got recalled earlier this year for being see-through (seriously, Lululemon got sued). My latest pairs are the new batch and I will have you know I checked myself out, bending over, in the mirror and couldn’t see anything that shouldn’t be seen. I read the reviews, there are 1,537 on their site, and they are mixed. But I love ’em. I wear my normal size, they keep me snugged and hugged, they are flattering, minimize the old muffin top, I’m happy. And most importantly, they don’t make me have “crotch sag”.

If you aren’t familiar, “crotch sag” is an epidemic affecting millions of workout pants each year. You know that feeling where you keep having to hike your pants up during a workout, so they’re like up to your real waist? Yeah, that’s crotch sag. It sucks. I never have crotch sag with my Wunder Unders.

I prefer 5 pairs of pants in my rotation so I just have to wash one load a week (and obv line dry). Right now it’s two pairs of Wunder Unders, two pairs of Athleta’s and a pair of Zella’s.

Athleta – these are my runner-up faves. I have one pair of the Revelation Tights and one of the Revelation Capris, both $79. They are more expensive than the WU’s and they just don’t fit me quite as well. I had to return the capris and get them in a smaller size as they gapped out in the waist and had major crotch sag, but the smaller size is better and I’m happy. There are also a few colors/prints to choose from. One huge Athleta plus, their return policy rules. You can return any pant, at any time, for a refund or exchange. Sweet sauce. (I think Lululemon needs to seriously consider updating their very strict return policy, especially with the debacle they’ve had this year)

Zella – This is Nordstrom’s in-house label and they really have some great stuff, especially on the Anniversary sale when it is 33% off. I have the Live In Legging ($52) and the Live In Capri Legging ($44) – those are pretty great prices for a totally decent product. The Live In Legging I mostly use as a legging and love, and they are a backup if I’m out of my other workout pants. The Live In Capri isn’t they most flattering length on me, and they’ve stretched out a bit, but for the price, I’d get another pair for sure. They also come in fun colors/prints.

When you’re working your ass off, it’s awesome to find stuff that makes you look and feel good. And just say NO to crotch sag!