February 1, 2013 The Juice Cleanse

BakmanCondo 1 The Juice Cleanse

No matter how much I think I’m not going to overeat over the holidays, I tend to eat, well, everything.  All the things.   Sweets and savories alike!  And then come January, I feel gross.  And the scale is so angry at me!  I’ve always wanted to try a juice cleanse, and this seemed like as good a day as any to jump right in!   Three days of nothing but juice.  No chewing of any sort for three whole days.   I was prepared to be so hungry that I was going to fail miserably.  I had events to go to all week, and I braced myself to eat entire cheese plates at said events.  But none of that happened and it was AMAZING!

Well, OK, that word may be a teeny bit strong.  It was better than I expected and I will definitely be doing it again!   I feel strong & clear & healthy.  I was never super hungry, but I never felt completely full… and that was a bit annoying.  And on the third day, I was a little bit coocoo.  But the flat tummy and the glowing skin was well worth it!   I used The Real Juice company and was super happy with them!  The juices were delivered early, along with a little cooler and ice packs for taking the juices on the go.  They were all tasty and a few had pretty unique flavors!   And when I had an issue, their customer service was incredible and I even got a follow up email to make sure I was doing just fine.   The only change I would make is that it’s the same six juices everyday.  A little bit of variety would be nice, espeically after the third day of a liquid diet.  But, I hear that it’s in the works and that’s super exciting!

So, if you’re thinking of it, I would highly recommend it!   Good luck!

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9780374192716 Flipping Page: Love Bomb

Love Bomb by Lisa Zeidner

Jordana, as we all know, goes to a ton of weddings. I do not. And I love weddings. They’re really some of the best people watching you can find. Yes, they’re generally a celebration of two lives coming together, two families uniting, and that crazy little thing called love.  But they’re also hotbeds of family disfunction, awkward moments and all the interesting stuff that happens when two families with all their inherent quirks, plus a gaggle of friends and random co-workers, end up all under the same roof…with cocktails in their hands. This is why I love weddings. All the good stuff happens at them. Plus, you get to dress up!

So, now that it’s definitely NOT wedding season, wouldn’t it be fun to attend vicariously? Lisa Zeidner’s Love Bomb fits the bill perfectly, because it’s such a fun read about a wedding you’d be crazy to want to actually attend. We get to see the wedding, which takes place in the bride’s mother’s living room, from its various guests and vendor’s points of view. As the ceremony begins, a terrorist, dressed in a wedding gown, army boots and a gas mask, interrupts and holds everyone hostage. (Let me just pause to say that reading about this sort of situation, in which a small and unlikely group is tossed together for an indeterminate period and must work together in order to survive, is my very favorite. I should probably also pause to think about what this says about me, but let’s not.)

The terrorist is definitely female and she says she’s holding the wedding hostage in order to get a message across to someone who’s wronged her, but she doesn’t say who that person is. All she wants is an apology. After she’s locked the group within the room and taken all of their cell phones, they frantically try to figure out who she is, and who amongst the guests is most likely the person she’s so darn angry with. There are lots of ex’s within those walls, so their feelings about one another provide oodles of hilarity, but my favorite is when all of the therapists, and there are plenty among the hostages, start diagnosing the terrorist. Then, they bicker about the diagnoses and possible treatments. I mean, come on…that’s pure comedy. By the end, you’ll be glad you’ve never been to a wedding quite this exciting, but you’ll also be glad you read about one.

Happy Reading! xo, Jessica

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kp4 1024x576 I Think We All Need A Pep Talk

Such a beautiful and sweet little video from Kid President.  A little inspiration for your Monday morning.


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January 25, 2013 Running for a Cause

I had a really enjoyable first half marathon.  It was fun, exciting and the fact that it was in Paris didn’t hurt.  The first 16km was pretty amazing.  And then I hit 17.  And I thought “why would I ever want to do this again!?”  Technically, the Paris 20KM, is, well, only 20 km.  Just short of the full 13.1 miles.  And I can’t say I’ve run a half marathon if I’ve only run 12.4 miles.  So, here we are, and I’m going to run the whole thing.  All 13.1 miles.  But this time, I’ll be running through the streets of Manhattan!  And running for a cause!  I’ll be running to benefit the Organization for Autism Research and would so appreciate your donations!

 Running for a Cause


You can see all of the amazing things they’re doing here and, should you feel so inclined, make a donation here.   You are amazing and so very much appreciated!

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where d you go Flipping Pages: Whered You Go, Bernadette?

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

My usual steadfast reading habits tend to trail off a bit during the holiday season. You know: parties, shopping, wrapping, tree-trimming, baking up a storm? But this year, I tore it up! And I’ll tell you why. I had my head stuck in some pretty awesome books! (Side Note: I do most of my reading on a Kindle. I know, I was opposed to it at first. Now, I’m completely in love with this little gadget. It fits in my purse, weighs NOTHING and goes absolutely everywhere with me. Have I sung it’s praises before? It’s possible. Jordana is hooked, too. Hardcovers feel like a workout now! All those pages that need ACTUAL TURNING! Sigh.)

So, I’ll admit up-front that I’ve been putting off reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette. One of my many, many quirks is that I turn my nose up at books that get too much hype and this book was everywhere last year. I don’t even know why I finally gave in, but I’m so glad I did. Maria Semple used to write for a ton of TV shows I’ve loved over the years, including Arrested Development, which is possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. I did a bit of digging (ok, a 10-second Google search) and found she was also a writer on Beverly Hills, 90210. Boom! This lady-writer needs to adopt me so we can brush each other’s hair while eating macaroons. (The kind with coconut, not the French ones. Let’s be real.) So how bad could this book really be?! Even the cover is interesting! Why am I such a jerk sometimes? Siri, remind me to find a therapist!

Don’t read this book with Arrested Development specifically in mind, though. Yeah, it’s completely quirky. Its namesake, Bernadette, might be one of the strangest (and most lovable) characters I can think of, which I suppose relates to AD. Also, don’t look for Brenda or Dylan here. They’ve been gone for a long time. Let’s leave them in peace.

So, the book is told from the point of view of Bernadette’s teenage daughter, Bee, after Bernadette has disappeared. It’s comprised of emails, letters and her own accounts of the events leading up to and after her mother vanishes. She’s trying to put it all together to figure out what happened. Sweet, right? It’s really a book about a family whose members have lost touch with one another. Bee’s father works inhuman hours at his big-shot job with Microsoft. Bernadette spends most of her time alone in a trailer she’s placed on the outskirts of the property. She has very little contact with anyone, barely leaves the house and has gone so far as to hire a personal assistant in India to do all of her bidding remotely. The house they live in is an old school for girls, “old” being the operative word here. It’s crumbling state mirrors the state of the family that inhabits it. By the middle of the book, you find yourself rooting so hard for these people to work out whatever they need to in order to function together again. And it’s dead funny the whole way through.

Don’t be a jerk like me. Pick it up!

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Jessica’s Favorite Packed Lunch: Roasted Vegetable Salad with Black Beans and Quinoa

Healthy Salad To Go 0004 Super Healthy Lunch On The Go

Lately, I’ve been whipping up the ingredients for this salad every Sunday night, so there’s no excuse to eat healthy and well when I’m on the go. I keep the salad greens in separate single-serving containers, with the veggies, beans and quinoa in another. When I leave in the morning, the only thing to do is grab two containers from the fridge, add a piece of fruit and go!


Roasted Veggies (change these up as you will…I sometimes use squash or pumpkin. Whatever is on-hand.)

1 head cauliflower, chopped into roughly 1-2 in pieces

3-4 sweet potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces

12 baby carrots, peeled

2-3 garlic cloves, peeled

olive oil to drizzle

salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Toss cauliflower, potatoes and garlic cloves in about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season with roughly 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes. Let cool completely before dividing into individual portion containers. The garlic will add subtle flavor to the rest of the veggies. You can discard it after everything has cooled if you like, but I use it in the beans below.


Black Beans (You can use any bean you prefer. Shake it up! I use canned beans because they’re so simple and taste great.)

1 15oz (or similar) can of black beans

1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped

2-3 roasted garlic cloves (see above), chopped finely

Put everything in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 3-4 minutes. This will cook the onions every so slightly and let the onion and garlic flavor the beans without breaking the beans down. Add cooled beans to individual portions of veggies.


Quinoa (Feel free to substitute another grain. Get crazy!)

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

pinch salt

Add quinoa and water with a pinch of salt to a pot over medium high heat. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Let cool slightly and add to individual portions of veggies and beans. Cover portions and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.



1 bag washed baby greens, or any greens of your choice. Spinach or arugula would be nice, too!

dressing of your choice (I make a simple balsamic vinaigrette or use something store-bought.)

For this salad, I like the greens cold and the rest of the salad warm, so I store individual portions of the greens separate from the rest of the salad components. Before adding greens to each container, I coat the bottom of the container with roughly 1 tbsp of dressing, adding the greens on top of the dressing.


To serve:
Heat one individual portion of veggies, beans and quinoa in a microwave for 1-2 minutes. With lid still sealed, shake container of greens vigorously. Dressing at the bottom of the container will coat the greens uniformly. Place greens on a plate or bowl, followed by the hot ingredients. And enjoy!

Healthy Salad To Go 0001 Super Healthy Lunch On The Go
Healthy Salad To Go 0002 Super Healthy Lunch On The Go
Healthy Salad To Go 0003 Super Healthy Lunch On The Go

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Hazel 599 2 1024x682 On Our Five Year Anniversary

My Love,

Five years.  I’m in shock… where has the time gone?  Although, in the grand scheme of our eighty year marriage, this is small beans.  A drop in the bucket of what I know will be the most amazing adventure of my life.  You are the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me and I am so lucky to have met you so early in my life.  To become an adult, a full fledged real person, with you standing next to me… it’s been remarkable. I will always be there, by your side.  To support, to love, to encourage.  And I have no doubt that you will be there by mine.  I am so proud of you Chris Hazel.  Proud of the things that you are doing and the path you are taking.  You’ve been my rock for so many years.  I am happy to return the favor.

You know that saying at weddings, “May today be the day I loved you the least”? So true.  I love you more today than I could have imagined in 2008.  We’ve exchanged afternoons at the pool for days of renovating and drinks at bars for drinks on the couch.  We’ve become old and boring together.  I promise to encourage you to leave the house more regularly, and I will likely never stop pushing a trip to France on you.  I know you act like you hate these ideas, but I secretly I think you love it.  I am at my best when exploring with you.

These first five years brought us new careers, new homes and new projects.  We dug roots and built these amazing lives for ourselves.  May the next five bring us adventure, excitement and wings.  May we grow more, love deeper and fly together.

I love you more than I can ever express.  With all my heart.


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So, I’ve been a bad blogger.  Clearly, as the beginning of her post indicates, Jess wrote this before the holidays began.   And I forgot about it.  But, let’s look at it this way.  The holidays are a busy time and you probably wouldn’t have seen that post, but now that everyone is back to work, you will see this one, then you will enjoy this AMAZING book and your life will be better.   Enjoy!

The Family Fang Flipping Pages: The Family Fang


The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson

The holiday season is currently breathing (heavily) down my neck and I thought, Hey, let’s read a book about a totally bizarro family to make myself feel better about my own gang of weirdos. That book, my friends, is The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson. I’ve described this book to friends as “weird in the best way possible.” And not to worry, Fang is just the family’s last name. There isn’t a single mention of vampires. Or werewolves, just in case you were wondering.

Annie and Buster are the Fang siblings. Their adult lives are simultaneously in ruins and they’re each forced to return to their childhood home. Their parents, Caleb and Camille, are performance artists who, back in the day, worried that having children would hinder their artistic process. Offspring could mean the end of their careers. But one day, when Buster and Annie are little, Caleb is inspired to incorporate the kids into their performances. They go on to secretly record a series of mall “performances” which basically consist of the kids causing a huge scene, getting everyone’s attention and creating oodles of tension and awkward social interactions. For example, the kids pose as a band and sing (horribly off-key) to their mall audience. Once a big crowd gathers, Caleb and Camille, posing as strangers, begin to heckle the band. Various other members of the audience either defend the kids, or join in the heckling. The only way Annie and Buster manage to dodge these performances, is to grow up and move far away. So, when they return, things get interesting.

See? Your family was never this weird. Or humiliating. You can read this book, enjoy its quirky-ness, laugh and cringe along with the Fangs’ mishaps while (just maybe) feeling a surge of affection and appreciation for your very own crew of oddballs. xo,

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January 14, 2013 Semi-Homemade Pizza


Our new favorite entertaining food is homemade pizza.  Well, semi-homemade pizza.  It’s so good. It’s so easy.  And for some reason, people are excited about it.

We buy all of the ingredients at Monte Carlo Deli in Burbank where the freshest ingredients are so inexpensive you feel like you’re stealing them.  Amazing sausages, delicious sauces, wonderfully salty cheese and fresh dough are basically for free.  Chris puts it all together and the perfect entertaining meal rolls out of the oven every fifteen minutes or so.  Each pizza divides into about 8 small slices, and each pizza is made with different toppings.  My favorite toppings include sausage, thinly sliced fennel or leek and a sprinkling of mozzarella.  But, as pizza goes, you can put anything you want on top and it will be heavenly!  Add a big salad and entertaining has never been easier!

A few tips… use lots of Semolina flour for the surfaces so the dough doesn’t stick.  I’m not culinary master, so I don’t know why, but it’s just better than regular old flour.  You’ll also need a pizza peel and a pizza stone… both are imperative to a perfect crust.   The rest, is easy peasy.


Semi-Homemade Pizza (Makes 2 pizzas)

1 Bag of Pizza dough


Cheese (I always buy twice as much cheese as sauce… we go through the cheese much more quickly.  But, every person is different in this respect!)



1. Heat oven to 500 degrees.  Put the pizza stone in the oven, on the middle rack.

2. Sprinkle your surface with Semolina flour.  Roll out the dough to desired thickness.  We like a thin crust, so we roll it on the thinner side.   You can use a rolling pin, or just pull it out with your hands.

3. Sprinkle the pizza peel with Semolina flour and place dough on top.  Add sauce, then cheese, then toppings.  If you’re adding sausage, we add it raw and let it cook in the oven.  If you’re adding onions/fennel/leeks/etc use a mandolin so they’re all the same size.  Thus, they’ll bake evenly.

4. Slide the dough from the peel onto the stone.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust begins to brown.

5. Cut into pieces, and enjoy!

Homemade Pizza 0001 Semi Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza 0002 Semi Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza 0003 Semi Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza 0004 Semi Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza 0005 Semi Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza 0006 Semi Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza 0007 Semi Homemade Pizza

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January 11, 2013 Workout Classes


I have a little bit of an obsession with workout classes.   And I want to try them all.  It helps me stay somewhat interested in working out, and I workout so that I can eat, and I love food.   So, all in all, a good thing, no?  I especially love when a class is offered on Groupon, such a great way to try new things!  Here are a few of my favorites…

Body Theory, Drenched – If you feel like you need a really good ass-kicking, this is your class. It’s like Tae-Bo, kickboxing and the occasional small weight lifting.  It’s fast, the music is loud, you’ll sweat your face off and burn an enormous amount of calories.  I absolutely love it!  I will say that the room gets quite hot though, and it has carpeting, so the sweaty stench hangs in the air.  The classes are also ENORMOUS and you really have to watch where you throw a kick lest you knock out the person standing next to you.  I forgive it all though because I love the way this class makes me feel!  Definitely bring a towel and a water bottle though, you’ll need both!

Pop Physique – I bought a Groupon for Pop Physique and actually never made it through all six classes.  It’s intense and will definitely change your body!   The rooms are decorated beautifully, the classes are small and it’s on the more luxurious end of small gyms.  Unfortunately, I felt that most of the movements were direct rip-offs of Bar Method and I like Bar Method so much more.

Bar Method – I really do love Bar Method.  The classes are small, the gyms feel inviting, the receptionist knows your name and there’s a locker room to store your things or take a shower.  The workout is a combination of ballet and isometrics to stength and elongate.  And it works, I saw changes in just a few sessions.  Because the classes are so small, there is a lot of one-on-one attention.  My favorite, a little Keurig to make my morning tea when I’m heading out the door.  I will mention that the workouts are quite slow and I found my mind wandering.

Cardio Barre – The workout is similar to Bar Method, but with the addition of cardio, loud music and a much faster pace.  The workout is one of my favorites!   It’s intense, but doable and I always feel great.  Unfortunately, they pack the classes so tightly that you’re basically standing on top of the person in front of you.  The classes back up onto each other so that when I’m spending my five minutes stretching and feeling amazing about myself I have to listen to the women waiting for the next class chat, loudly.  It makes me so angry that I lose that zen you’re supposed to revel in after an amazing workout.  (If you want to try, there’s currently a Living Social deal going on!)


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