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What I’m giving up for Lent. Again.


Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, marking the start of Lent. Although I don’t officially observe Lent, my father and husband were raised Catholic and I was born and baptized one, so I still feel connected to the tradition.

For the past decade or so, I’ve followed the practice of giving up something I love for the 46 days between Ash Wednesday and the day before Easter (I include the Sundays) — with varying degrees of success.

Most of what I gave up in the early years was food-related — chocolate, sugar, pizza, Diet Coke, potato chips.

Finally it dawned on me that the process was more about preparation and self-denial than a do-over for neglected New Year’s resolutions. That was the year I tried to give up saying negative things and having negative thoughts — 46 very difficult, very long days involving frequent repentance and restarts.

Then in 2008 I hit on the perfect thing.

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Fast fix for tight shoes.


The offenders

I recently bought some black leather pumps on sale for $25. Not anything Carrie Bradshaw-worthy — just good, basic shoes with the perfect heel height for some of my business suits.

Both shoes had those annoying theft control devices in the heels, so I didn’t realize they were a tad small until I got them home. Since they were the only pair in the store, I decided I would just suck it up and endure a little pain while I broke them in.


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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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