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Food: Curried Chicken with Rice


There are a few tried-and-true recipes that weasel their way into my menu week after week. This is one of ’em.

Simple to throw together with on-hand ingredients, the original recipe for this family-favorite ‘comfort food’ came from my sister in 1998. I’ve tweaked it a bit over the years, substituting olive oil for butter, reducing the amount of chicken and flour, and increasing the veggies. (See note on vegetarian version, below.)

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The best fake tan for imperfectionists.


After my first self tanner experience went horribly awry, I abandoned it for nearly a decade. But in college I got desperate and hit the bottle again, with somewhat better results.

This was the 80s, when fake tans were still considered taboo; you wouldn’t dare risk telltale stained palms at a sorority rush. It’s only recently (thanks to Hollywood? doctors?) that the whole self tanner thing has become de rigueur.

Or perhaps I just care less now about what people think.

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The hard way to find the best self tanner.


When I was in the sixth grade, I won the school spelling bee. As you might imagine, this brought untold fame and instant popularity.

Allow me to point out (as my mother did) the gracefully crossed ankles and/or legs of the girls on either side of me.

This was also, unfortunately, the year I tried out for the cheerleading squad.

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‘Game Night’ Party on the cheap — and (relatively) easy.


My son turned 18 last week and requested a party.

I was happy to oblige, but a bit stumped as to what to do. While a milestone birthday deserves more fanfare than slapping some take-out pizza on the counter, an overly themed party for high school seniors could well be the kiss of death.

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Super Bowl fan? Not so much? Either way, here’s an app(etizer) for that.


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I’m not much of a Super Bowl fan. Nor — although it pains my inner feminist to admit — much of a football fan in general.

The last time I watched a Super Bowl in its entirety was when the 49ers played the Chargers in 1995. And watching that game had pretty much everything to do with Steve Young (carried over from my college days) and nothing to do with football.

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A Simple Fitness Plan, Part II


My husband is the king of spreadsheets. And not just in our extended family — I’m fairly certain he could hold his own against anyone in a spreadsheet throwdown.

More than a decade ago, he decided he wanted to have a better idea of how he was spending his time to see where he might improve. So naturally, he created spreadsheets to track nearly every area of his life. As a result, he knows exactly how many (and what) books he’s read, how much television he’s watched, how many times he’s exercised, how many words he’s written, and MANY more statistics – dating back to 2000.

Sound nerdy? It’s not. It’s actually very cool. In a Big Bang Theory kind of way.

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A Simple Fitness Plan, Part I


My 2011 goals are all about revising, improving and simplifying my life, and the first area of focus is my fitness plan.

One of the 2010 goals I actually accomplished (more or less) was already simple enough — running at least three days per week. So my initial plan was to revise and improve it for 2011 by upping the frequency of my runs to four days a week.

Then right before hosting 40 people for Thanksgiving, my sister fell, breaking her nose, and injuring her back and knee. She also — unwittingly — revised my fitness plan.

At her follow-up visit, my sister asked her doctor how soon she could resume running. His reply?


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Beginning again.


January smacked me in the head.

Despite all the blah, blah, blah about new beginnings and fresh starts, I simply could not get motivated. Sure, I completed several projects and tasks that gave the impression of productivity, but I pretty much managed to avoid the really important things I wanted to start or keep doing — those that required real effort and commitment.

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This quote — in big, bold type — is front and center on the magnet board above my desk. I purposely placed it there to jar me out of procrastination, but it’s now been around so long I’ve taken to ignoring it.

Until Saturday when I sat down to write out my goals for 2011.  I looked up, hoping to avoid my computer screen, and there it was:

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Misfit ornament advent calendar


I haven’t yet been able to permanently commit to owning a fake tree.

I did buy one from Costco a few years ago, but two days after assembling and decorating it the entire middle section of lights stopped working.

The universe was trying to tell me I wasn’t ready for a fake tree. I listened. Read more…