Getting Glam

Just wanted to pop in with a quick post to update you guys on some recent changes. You may have noticed some changes in the sidebars of my blog (or maybe not). Either way, I wanted you to know that I’m switching ad networks from Foodbuzz to The Glam Network.

I’ve been with Foodbuzz for almost three wonderful years, and in that time, I’ve seen so much change and growth on my blog. Additionally, since I was a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher, I had the pleasure of attending not one, but two fun-filled Foodbuzz Festivals (in 2010 and 2011). The experience has been great, but, as they say, all great things must come to an end.


I’m happy to announce that I’ve decided to join up with The Glam Network. Oddly enough, Glam was my first ad network, back when I ran Shopaholics Anonymous. I’ve always thought of Glam as one of the premier networks out there, so I’m really excited to join them again, this time with The Chic Life under Bliss.com, which is their healthy living site.

What does this mean for you? I’m hoping to keep the changes as minimal as possible for guys. I’ve implemented a similar ad placement to what I had previously, but I will have additional opportunities to write sponsored posts, change ad types/locations, etc. in the future, all of which I will be very up front about. I will also have more control over ads on TCl, in general, which I value.

I know some people have mixed feelings about ad networks, but I look at them as a positive thing. It’s not free to run a blog. Thanks to ad networks, I’m able to provide all the content on TCL free of charge to you while still covering maintenance costs. Sometimes I even use ad revenue to reinvest back into TCL by upgrading equipment, attending conferences, or doing training to make the TCL experience better and better. I’m going to be trying out some new things, but my focus is still providing quality content. Some things will work, and some inevitably won’t. Please feel free to send me feedback any time – I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you so much for reading and for your continued support!

xo,

Diana

Hallowen In

A week late, but I wanted to share some photos from our Halloween festivities…

Hubby and I love celebrating Halloween. There’s just something fun about the theme that makes me happy – maybe it’s the costumes or the unique way you can theme your eats. Who knows?

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Unfortunately, with things being so hectic lately, I sort of dropped the ball putting any plans together, so we just invited a couple friends over for a casual night in.

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Sis drove in from out of town to hang out for the weekend. She helped me carve pumpkins over BBQ take out from local restaurant Mac’s.

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Friends – (left to right) Sarah, Shamecia, Talicha, me!

We actually stopped by one fun party at another friend’s house to watch them record a music video to YMCA. Oh yea…it was hilarious! They even had fake mustaches for one part…and they were all girls. :lol:

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Anywho, we had some creepy decorations going on back at the Chic house – nothing crazy – just a couple things here and there. I really liked spreading this fake spiders all over the mantel, though. They reminded me of a photo I saw once in a Martha Stewart Halloween magazine.

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For eats we made this slow cooker BBQ chicken again

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…mashed potatoes…

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….slow cooker meatballs

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…steamed veggies.

I was trying to do red, green, and white foods to go with some Halloween colors. I thought about labeling the food to make it sound scarier than it actually was, but “blood and guts”, although entertaining, didn’t exactly sound appetizing.

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We had mocktails with POM, and we also had some vino (moscato).

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The eats were tasty…but I really loved dessert.

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Sis helped me bake up some Depression-style cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and tombstone cookies. She did all the tombstone writing. The cupcakes were baked without any eggs or butter! The trick appears to be the vinegar and baking soda combo, which I think I’m going to play with to make some other baked goodies (I’m thinking cake and muffins).

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I had a great time having a casual Halloween in and enjoying tasty eats. It wasn’t as crazy as last year’s foodie Halloween party, but it was perfect for this year. Who knows how Halloween 2012 will end up!

Reader question: If you celebrate it, how did you spend Halloween?

Meeting Anthony Bourdain & Eric Ripert

As soon as I found out Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert were coming to town, I knew I had to go see them. Since I don’t see concerts or shows very often, I decided to splurge on VIP tickets. Oh yea!

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The show – Good vs Evil: An Evening with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert.

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The show started off with Anthony interrogating Eric.

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Some were serious, but many questions were funny.

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Then, they switched places and Eric questioned Anthony. His turn to sit in the (very tiny) hot seat.

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Then, they got cozy in two big arm chairs. Unfortunately, this was my view. But, I was able to lean over to my friend Erica’s side to catch better views.

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See!

I didn’t think to take notes until near the end of the show, but I learned some interesting things.

Both Anthony and Eric purchase organic for them families. But they agree that people shouldn’t be looked down upon for not getting organic. They think you should just do the best you can.

Anthony really liked Julia Child because she lifted people up in the cooking realm. She inspired people to actually get in the kitchen and cook things.

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They ended the show by taking questions from the audience.

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I learned some interesting things here, too:

Their won’t eat foods:

  • Anthony – doesn’t really like scallops, natto (fermented soybeans), and doesn’t care much for sweets (ok, not “won’t eat” but that was his answer)
  • Eric – brains

Upon being asked if the Sandra Lee pseudo-food phenomenon was related to both parents working, Anthony said it makes you feel like it’s ok to be lazy. Eric mentioned that he was doing a new series called “Get Toasted – Avec Eric” which features videos with easy recipes you can make real time.

Anthony said sometimes the best food is due to context – where you are, the smell of the room, etc.

Their last meal of choice:

  • Anthony – sushi (except he described it much more in depth and I didn’t get all the details of the description – it was really detailed!)
  • Eric – country bread, shaved truffle, and a good bottle of Bordeaux

My favorite line – (I think I got this quote word for word) – “I don’t have to agree with you to respect you”. Well said.

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After the show, we headed to the VIP after party at local restaurant Blue.

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They had a buffet style serving of mini tasting plates.

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My favorite was the braised boar shoulder over black kale farrotto with mustard di Cremona.

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There was also a duck pasta…

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…and pork belly slider. You may recall I had to channel Anthony the first time I had pork belly (recently), and this would actually only be my second time trying it. Not too shabby! I think I’m growing to like it.

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Anthony and Eric actually sat so close to us. They were just one table away from where we were eating!

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And soon enough, Erica and I jumped in line to meet them both.

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I actually got kind of nervous before meeting them. I think I awkwardly said something to Anthony thanking him for inspiring me to try pork belly for the first time. I managed to request their autographs and get one photo. I only wish I had brought their books to be signed!

All in all, a fun time, though!

Do you own any books by Eric or Anthony? Which one is your favorite?

An Ironbaby Shower

Hey guys!

Thank you so much for all your supportive comments on my post about being overwhelmed. You guys rock! I heard from a current friend, a friend from college, a friend from high school, and my childhood BFF. I heard from new readers, new bloggers, long time readers, and old blogging friends. I heard from stay at home moms and 80+ hour a week working women. No matter our backgrounds, we are all feeling overwhelmed now and again. I hope we can all figure out a way to balance our lives better. :) If you have any tips on balance, send em on over (or just leave a comment)!

Anywho, I’m currently sitting with my roomies in our hotel at the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco, CA. I’ve had a couple posts queued up, and I want to post them before I jump into the Foodbuzz-related posts. I have a super-awesome post with the CEO of The Limited that I’ll be sharing soon (oh and did I mention it includes two $50 gift card giveaways!?), but I’m saving those for post-Foodbuzz. So, here we go!

***

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I recently was invited to the very fabulous baby shower for new-mom-to-be Jen of Runner’s Trials.

Isn’t this diaper cake adorable?

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Anywho, Caitlin planned an amazing Ironbaby-themed baby shower since Jen’s husband is an ironman and Jen is a fantastic runner. It was so unique and personalized.

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I brought over a roasted butternut squash quinoa salad with a maple-dijon vinaigrette and fresh parsley. (I’m hoping to post the recipe soon!)

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And check out this yummy pasta salad by Katy. Looove the arugula.

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There was also a yummy cheese ball with crackers, zucchini tart, plus a bunch of awesome dessert.

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Yum!

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There was also a really cool chocolate fountain with fruit and marshmallows.

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And of course we played traditional baby shower games.

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I’m so excited for Jen and can’t wait to meet her little one! Congrats Jen! :)

Reader question: What’s your favorite baby shower game?

Sometimes I Wish…

Warning: (I think) most of you guys read TCL for fun stories, recipes, and (perhaps one of two of you for) outfit posts. This post is random and rambling, so if you’re looking for the usual blog post here, you may want to skip this one.

I apologize for being a little MIA over the last several days. I’ve been feeling…overwhelmed…just with everyday life. I wrote the following when I was having a low moment last Monday morning. You know that feeling you get after spending a long period of time (weeks, even months, if not years) of running yourself into the ground resulting in you feeling so stressed and fatigued that you find yourself wanting to cry for no reason? I’ve hesitated posting this because it always seems to read much more dramatic than it actually is, but maybe I’m thinking about this too much? Hopefully, you don’t think I sound like too much of a drama queen…

Sometimes I wish I weren’t so stressed.
I wish I didn’t blog at midnight or 1 am because that’s the first time I’ve had all day to do it.
I wish I had more days with more than 1 hour of free time. Even when you’re doing mostly fun things, it can be stressful to not have any downtime.
I wish I didn’t leave my laundry in the dryer (or in the laundry basket in my living room) because I desperately need clean clothes but don’t have time to fold it once it’s done.
I wish I were better at saying “no”.
I wish I didn’t run around my house in between getting home and going to my next to-do, tossing things around like a tornado.
I wish my work weren’t so demanding.
I wish I had longer than 15 minutes of break time (yea that includes/is my lunch break) in my average work day.
I wish I didn’t cry at my desk at work.
I wish that I didn’t lay on the couch for just 15 or 30 minutes at the end of the day because it gave me a false sense of relaxing when I really should be heading straight to bed.
I wish there were more hours in the day. More days in the week. Or at least more days in a weekend.

But through all of this, I do my best to level set and reality check. I know there are many people struggling much worse than I am. I know this exhaustion is the sign of a gift because it means I have the ability to do (or at least try to do) all these things. It means I have a husband (and dog) to love, family to visit, friends who want to hang out with me, creative outlets, an exercise that is not a burden but a joy to do, the ability to teach Zumba, and a job…oh a job in this economy (no matter how stressful) is indeed a good thing. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am.

The more straightforward solution to the stress is the one that hubby keeps suggesting – downsizing. But, exhausted as I am, I love everything too much to let anything go (ahh, so stubborn…I know). Some people have suggested that the blog is what’s taking up so much of my time, but I haven’t posted in a few days now and didn’t post a couple days before the poetry post. And you know what…I don’t feel any less stressed. In fact, after I published that poetry post, I actually felt…better. So, looks like the show will go on here on TCL.

Things are a little hectic right now, but I appreciate you coming along for the ride.

Thanks for reading,
Diana

Reader question #1: Do you ever feel overwhelmed by everyday life?
Reader question #2: Have something to get off your chest? Fill in the blank: Sometimes I wish________________.

Azucar Dancing + Macaron Tour

Did you know Friday was National Doughnut day? I found that out on twitter and didn’t bother verifying with a google search. I mean, do I really need a valid reason to enjoy a doughnut? I think not.

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After my lazy-man’s gourmet lunch, hubby and I split this Texas doughnut.

I really wanted to bake some doughnuts, especially considering I’ve now had a doughnut pan ready for baking for a couple months now. Maybe I’ll try it out next weekend?

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Anywho, my friend Sarah came over for dinner.

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Since hubby and I were going out of town, we didn’t do anything crazy – just tacos. But we did use grass-fed beef. And hubby had gotten an assortment of toppings from a salad bar a day or so before, but by the time we were ready to eat the tacos, it looked bad. So, we just enjoyed some fresh pieces of organic red bell pepper for our veg serving.

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And Sarah and I split a banana for a last fruit serving of the day.

Project Veg-Up Score for Day #3:

  • veg: 3
  • fruit: 2

Woot! :)

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Then, she and I headed out to a local Caribbean celebration – Azucar.

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I signed up to do a demo with my Zumba company.

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I had no idea there would be so many people in the audience. I think there were at least a thousand people there?! My stage fright kicked right in, but I was confident I’d be ok to dance on stage with eight other of my fellow Zumba instructors.

I was right. Everything went great, and I had so much fun! We did two of our most popular Zumba dances on stage and the crowd loved us! Maybe I’m getting over my stage fright after all?

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Post demo, we were super hot from dancing under all those hot-hot stage lights!

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We cooled off with mojitos. The mint was perfectly refreshing.

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And then a group of us headed to Amelie’s for some sweets.

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Sarah and I did a macaron tour by eating one of each flavor. We decided to go in order from what we thought would be the “worst” to the best: lemon, orange, mixed berry, and raspberry. The order was spot on. If only they had pistachio!

Macaron cheers! *clink*

Reader Question #1: Did you celebrate doughnut day? What kind of doughnut did you enjoy?

Reader Question #2: Have you ever done a “food or drink tour” like our macaron tour? What did you eat/drink?

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