Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Innovative Vector Cup Holder To The Rescue


John C. (a former co-worker) and I bought Apple laptops at about the same time. Years later I'm still using mine, but John's new computer died after he spilled a cup of coffee all over his keyboard. That was enough to spook me into sitting my beverage cups down on the living room floor, only to absentmindedly kick the liquid over -- too many times to count, staining a wool rug. Sheesh, what is a person to do in our electronic age?!

Well, often necessity is the mother of invention. A new device is on the market to prevent your drink from snuffing out your computer ... or living room rug, whatever the case may be.

Enter the Vector Cup Holder, a clever accessory that is designed to put a stop to these annoying accidents. Created out of 3.5-ounce high-grade anodized aluminum, it is sleek, lightweight and transportable. (Actually, the metal nicely matches that of a Mac Book Pro.) It easily attaches to the side of a table or desk. When in place, the Vector Cup Holder secures your beverage, whether you are drinking from a 16 ounce mug, a 30 ounce cup, or even a small airplane cup. The gadget also folds flat, so you can conveniently take it with you to work on a plane or in a cafe.

Another bonus ... because your drink hangs off the side of a table, it frees up work space. A clamp that attaches to a flat surface is equipped with rubber strips to guard against scratches.

The product has a cute slogan, "Your computer's knight in shining aluminum." No more spills! It's simple, practical and costs a lot less than replacing a computer drenched in coffee or soda.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Creations By Cara Sue: Memory Quilts and Pillowcases


Cara Sue turned a passion for sewing into a thriving business. She started making memory quilts out of old t-shirts and cherished pieces of clothing for friends and neighbors, who wanted to remember life's special events, or loved ones forever. Before she knew it, word grew.

Many of us have a collection of t-shirts from schools attended, races run, sports teams, or cities visited. Creations by Cara Sue turns them into something quite practical and meaningful, a memory quilt that will last for years to come.

Depending on customer choices and the t-shirts provided, the quilts take on many colors and styles ... from traditional to modern. They make very thoughtful birthday, anniversary and graduation gifts, not to mention, Christmas. Each is a customized keepsake that tells a story.

Cara Sue also makes personalized pillowcases with photographs, or artwork. You can see other examples of her work on her Facebook page here. Very affordable, her quilts and pillowcases look even lovelier in the flesh.



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Monday, August 25, 2014

Dr. Frank Lipman's Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

On Sunday night I made a modified version of Dr. Frank Lipman's Blueberry Avocado Smoothie. I often have blueberries and an avocado. When they are on the verge of being too ripe, I can throw them into a blender to make this healthy and delicious drink. 

As Dr. Lipman, the integrative health and medical doctor, says,Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and disease-fighting phytochemicals, ” and “avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids," which are heart healthy. The vitamin B-6 and folic acid in avocados also supports the heart,” according to Dr. Lipman.

Since I like the taste of and don't have a problem digesting milk, I substituted a cup of skim milk in place of the coconut water, which I rarely buy. If you ever find greens powder in my cupboard, you have entered the wrong apartment by mistake. I had frozen spinach  on hand, so threw about 2 ounces of it into the mix to replace the greens powder I never stock. (Once I sampled prepared greens powder at a neighborhood health food store. Frankly, it had an awful taste like consuming liquefied grass or hay. I think my frozen (or fresh) spinach makes a more delicious smoothie!
Dr. Frank Lipman's Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 avocado
1 cup coconut water (As mentioned I will usually substitute skim milk.)
juice of 1/2 lime
1 serving vanilla whey protein powder or non-dairy protein powder
1 serving greens powder (optional)
sweeten to taste with raw honey or stevia or xylitol (not xylitol! Many people can't digest that one.) 
4 ice cubes (Because my blueberries and spinach were frozen, I didn't need the ice. Eyeball it.)
My addition: a dash of ginger, cinnamon, fresh nutmeg and black pepper for a kick of favor, if you like. (I liked!)

Directions:
Throw all ingredients into an electric blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!

This is a refreshing smoothie for the dog days of August, when you don't feel like turning on a stove, yet still need nutrition and energy to sustain you. It's a high protein, slurpy drink, with anti-oxidants and fiber to satisfy your hunger. It tastes great ... bottoms up!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

End Of Summer Skin Care

As much as I try to protect my fair skin from the sun, it gets exposed to plenty of golden rays by virtue of being outdoors. Unless you are in the habit of hiding in the house, it's probably true of your epidermis too. 

So come fall, many of us have more freckles and brown spots, as well as, dryer skin in general.

As much as possible, I try to (1) prevent and (2) undo some of the wear and tear of summer with a few over-the-counter skin products in my arsenal, including:

1. Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum - It moisturizes and has anti-inflammatory properties. When temperatures are boiling outside, the serum calms and soothes the skin. Pricey, yes ... but, worth the splurge. I buy a bottle every year to use, starting in July until the bottle is empty.

2. Herbal Authority Double C (Vitamin C Serum) - I dab a few drops under my sunscreen and makeup each morning. Many skin care experts claim that a good vitamin C serum helps to shield your skin from sun damage, helps your skin produce new collegen, as well as, brightens frickles and brown spots caused by sun exposure. That's all good!

3. Olay Professional PROx Deep Wrinkle Treatment - I use it a few nights per week to encourage "youthful" cell turnover. Hey, can't hurt!

4. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum - On nights I don't use item #3, I alternate with Olay's Rigenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum. It contains concentrated amino-peptities to hydrate and brighten the skin and encourage cell turnover. Ditto, can't hurt!

5. Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15  - Nooo I don't work for Olay, but I do use many of the products in their excellent skin care line. They are budget friendly and readily available at a corner drugstore. So why pay more, when these affordable, good-quality-products work? I use Olay Complete on a clean face every morning before applying makeup. In summers I also use it as a non-sticky body sunscreen. I love one-stop-shopping personal care products! If I can get one multi-tasking product to do several jobs, I'm in!!

Just a final word about sunscreen overall. Skin doctors are mostly in agreement that the benefits of using a sunscreen far outweigh any side effects. So until the scientisfic evidence suggests otherwise, I apply it to exposed skin all year around. I sometimes leave my legs bare for 15-20 minutes a few times per week in order to get the recommended vitamin D doctors now say is vital to good health. Apparently, we are doing such a great job in wearing sunscreen, that many people have become vitamin D deficient. Oh, boy, it's always something!

Also if you read my blog  you already know ... in the best possible world, I adore organic products. I am very mindful of unnecessary chemicals when selecting food and personal care items. Nonetheless, everything in life is a balance: Costs verses science verses known benefits verses possible risks verses practicality. 

Knowledge is always influx. One can never fall asleep at the wheel. Aim to make the best choices within your budget based on the latest scientisfic data we have now. Save your money unless a claim is supported by a credible source. Filter scientific information with what your grandmother did for her skin. That's the best we can do. As Maya Angelou said, when we know better, we will do better. For sure!!

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back To Uniqlo For Fashion And A Steal

I reviewed Uniqlo, the innovative Japanese clothing store for men, women and children several years ago. They are the place to go for inexpensive and ultra practical basics. I love my airism sleeveless tops in many colors. All year around I wear them as camisoles under my dresses, plus pair them with shorts and leggings.

Now Uniqlo has put the same technology into some of their dresses. I am wearing this flared feminine silhouette above for the late summer and early fall. For $29, I received a stylish, easy dress to wear. Called a flared bra dress, it has a built-in bra, is fully-lined and mostly cotton. All I need to add in order to leave the house are comfortable shoes and perhaps a cotton sweater as we move into September.

My only gripe can be applied to many retailers these days. When I walk into a department store lately, I wonder why there are so many racks of black, navy blue and muted colors. Is color passe? I didn't get the memo. It's not that I don't like these colors, but I don't want a closet full of only black dresses. I don't attend that many funerals. Where are the rest of the colors? Why aren't more designers creating collections in beautiful living colors?

Despite following the sans vibrate color trend, I definitely recommend browsing Uniqlo for bargains several times a year. So often, you find a useful steal  ... sold cheaper than you could buy the fabric and tools to make the garment yourself.

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This Belstaff Jacket Is After Me

Sunday, August 10, 2014

An Unexpected Stay At Lenox Hill Hospital


On Wednesday evening, I decided to see Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell perform at Lincoln Center Outdoors. Rodney was once part of Emmylou's Hot Band. The two have sang together for about 40 years. Finally here was my chance to hear them LIVE.

But the night didn't go as planned. Instead I was hit by a speeding bicycle as I crossed Central Park and ended up in Lenox Hill Hospital for several days.

Over the years, I've traveled that same path many times to get to the west side and was so stunned to be struck by a bicyclist. The road beyond the intersection was clear when I stepped off the curb. Out of nowhere came 3 to 4 bikers, peddling with all their might. They caught up with me fast and furiously, and although I had the right-away, I sensed the female cyclist approaching me had no intention of slowing down. At that point there was nothing I could do.

After being hit, I was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. It's amazing how a bike collision can injure a person. I received a nasty gash in the back of my head (the back of my head because I nearly made it across the road. Lord knows, I tried my very best to clear those high flying cyclists!) In the emergency room a doctor put some staples in my scalp. This next part sounds bad, but I am told by my neurosurgeon that I am very lucky ... considering. I have a concussion, some bleeding in the brain, a few head fractures and swelling, with some bruises on limbs and my hip, where I was knocked to the pavement.

As it turns out, Lenox Hill Hospital has the best neurosurgical team in New York City, and the doctors are taking excellent care of me. I was in intensive care for the first night. After three days, the hospital sent me home and told me to take it easy for a couple of weeks. Not hard to do as I am sleeping a lot.

Skilled doctors and nurses are so vital. The medical team took ex-rays and cat scans and told me they will watch me closely; and hopefully after some swelling goes down, I won't have any lingering symptoms. My emergency room doctor will take the staples out of my head in about 10 days, and the neurosurgeon will take another cat scan next week to monitor my progress. I will also be examined by an ear doctor. 

This is all very surreal to me, let me tell you. I haven't stayed overnight in a hospital since the month I was born. I was a little in denial every step of the way. Did I really just get whacked by a speeding bicyclist? Oh man, am I really bleeding all over my new dress and sweater? The paramedics are what, loading me into an ambulance? We're pulling into where, the hospital emergency room? Wow! 

As mentioned, the 30-something-year-old-woman-cyclist who stuck me was very cold. I will never forget the icy, determined look in her eyes as she screamed, "Watch out! Watch out! Watch out! over and over again, knowing full well that she was going to crash into me. She had plenty of time to slow down, or stop and didn't. I have driven a car for many years and know she is clearly in the wrong. There was no way I could have moved any faster. She should be forbidden to peddle a bike in New York City before she kills someone! If she plans to join your family by ... say ... marrying a brother, be sure to run away. Such a chilling, angry sense of entitlement will likely rear its ugly head again one day.

After I was injured, three Good Samaritans, 2 women and a man, helped me and called the ambulance. The man was a medical doctor, who told me that because my head received a hard blow, I had to go to the hospital to be examined thoroughly. It is foolish to simply go home after a head trauma, which someone might do, without knowing the danger. I heard the Good Samaritans explain exactly where we were in the park so the ambulance could find us, and the kind women helped stabilize me and tried to make me more comfortable. I will forever be grateful for the kindness of these three strangers.

I have a few kind friends and co-workers too. Thanks, Rhonda and Carl for getting me home from Lenox Hill Hospital and helping me get my medicine, as well as, Sarah and Michelle for worrying about me and Clorinda for your basket of goodies. I didn't even know I was hungry and thirsty until Clorinda brought me treats and diet Ginger Ale from Fairway. Her visit lifted my spirits.

The world is a cold, unpredictable ... as well as, a lovely place. Accidents bring out the best and the worst in people. At such times, we become aware that, indeed, it does take a village. Random acts happen, and despite our best intentions, life can take a different direction.

Now let's enjoy some beautiful music, guaranteed to make us all feel better.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Savvy Shopper Will Break A few Weeks


I'm doing something I haven't done since I began THE SAVVY SHOPPER over five years ago. Step away from blogging and social media ... for one week, or more. I imagine it will be hard to do. So I'm declaring it publically. No sneaking back on here to write or post anything!

As much as I adore everything the web offers, I'm glad I was out of school before it came into common use because the internet eats up lots of time! Before it, I read more books. I had lenghty phone conversations with friends, and it seems like I had more patience. (Patience for stories that take longer than 30 seconds!)

Just like we did ... not so long ago, I'm going to spend an entire week talking face-to-face with immediate/imminent people ... family, friends, the guy at the supermarket, the mailman and anyone ... when there's a reason.

Don't get me wrong, I'd never want to go back in time, permanently, but it's important not to lose what we had before the internet came along. Time to think and reflect and to live in the present. Time to pause and time to tinker.

While unplugged, I may read a big fat book also. Any suggestions?

Have fun while I'm away. See you soon.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Songs Of Yesteryear

Black Velvet 

Think back in time to a hot August night, when one song seemed to dominate the airwaves. Every time you turned on the radio, the song played in heavy rotation. Whether you went to a shopping mall, ate dinner at a restaurant or met friends at a favorite watering hole, you heard the song. It played so much, the song triggers your memories of the day and how you spent the summer. Perhaps you grew up with classic rock radio, so the song could be from any decade. Or, the song you heard time and again could be off a CD or cassette that a relative or friend played endlessly in the car while on a road trip with you as their hostage ... um passenger. 

Here are a few flashbacks to get the discussion going. (Songs not uploaded, have links; just click to play them.)

1. Eye of the Tiger - Survivor - will always remind me of being let loose in Washington, DC and exploring all that DC, Georgetown and the surrounding area have to offer: art, music, history and amazing food with adventurous, fun-loving partners-in-crime. It was my first trip to Washington, DC. Not that I'm a lush now, but I didn't drink then. 

"Tiger! tiger! buring bright ... In the forest of the night, ...When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the lamb make thee?"

2. Black Velvet (top video) - Alannah Myles - a gorgeous, bluesy tune from a Canadian singer-songwriter with a smokin' voice. Reminds me of weekends spent in Manhattan's East Village over a hot, muggy summer. By the way, Ms. Myles captures the appeal of a hot Southern night, as well as, the slow Southern style to a "t."

3. The Final Countdown - Europe - Bender put the song on a list of "Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever," and I agree. Eurotrash, perhaps? Plus, over the top fun! Another summer with friends checking out the downtown club scene.

4. Superstition - Stevie Wonder - M-o-t-o-w-n, enough said. Last summer (2013) Stevie performed it in Central Park. Envision a dark night, the park lights, a cool breeze ... and families dancing to the beat on the Great Lawn.


5. Magic Man - Heart - I heard Ann and Nancy Wilson sing this for the first time on FM radio in my parents' living room (where I spent many hours over a summer break). And, I took note: Girls sounding heavy metal! They were captivating. Decades later, they were asked to perform Stairway To Heaven for Led Zeppelin at the Kennedy Center Honors (2012). Imagine the pressure to sing such a signiture song! Ann's voice has gotten deeper (as has Robert Plant's), but with her power cords, Jason Bonham's drums, a capable guitarist and two backing choirs, she pulls it off to great excitement! And if you listen very hard, Ann hits all the notes.

6. Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles - Bless classic rock radio where 80s songs never die.


7. The Weight - The Band - My Dad introduced me to The Band, a blend of rock, country and blues. I wonder what summer memories the song held for him? In this Martin Scorsese directed rendition, the Staple Family interject gospel and soul.

8. Space Oddity - David Bowie - My cousin was obsessed with David Bowie (because um ... boys); consequently, I heard this song a lot over a summer. To this day, my Coz is a huge Bowie fan. So I believe his children also know it, note-for-note.

9. Ghostbusters - Ray Parker, Jr. - Remember the movie and later its sequel? The song was popular all summer long. The films are still delightful to watch:

Bill Murray : "I didn't choose anything! ... Did you! ... Did you!"
Harold Ramis: "LOOOK! ... R-a-y, what did you do?"
Dan Aykroyd: "It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man."

STUMP, STUMP, STUMP ...

10. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson - I worked at MTV for awhile, and at every big company party I attended, you could always count on two things: 1) hearing this song and; 2) being served all the sushi you could eat. The song also reminds me of those summer breaks spent listening to FM radio in my parents' living room.

11. Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye (featuring Kimbra) - An indie pop ballad that's been going strong for several summers. The mega hit continues to play on the radio, in stores and at parties.


12. Counting Stars - One Republic - Catchy tune from the band's 2013 album. I'm hearing it plenty this summer. I love when a man sings a few high notes. [The best example of a true falsetto is A-Hah's classic, Take On MeA listener waits for that high note. By the way, isn't A-Hah a chiseled-cheekbone-blessed band?]

When compiling song lists, you inevitably leave off so many possibilities ... like huge hits from the catalogs of Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and rock and roll greats. Each could comprise a solo list. Lynyrd Skynard's Freebird is another candidate.

But now it's your turn: What are your songs of summer?

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Door-To-Door Salesmen ... Nearly All Men

Photo: Tim Bradley (Getty Images)
When I was a child about ten years old, or younger (not so much later on) we had vendors who came to the house to sell their goods. We got to know our egg mana farmer with grey hair and glasses, who owned land outside the city limits. He sold us eggs for several years, and if he came at the right time, sometimes had a cup of coffee or a bite of lunch with us. Sadly, he died in a farm accident. His tractor flipped over as he plowed his fields, crushing him. I was a sensitive city child, so the news haunted me. Still does!

Another hard working farmer, who's name I never knew, didn't actually go door-to-door, he walked the neighborhood, shouting, "Strawberries, strawberries, strawberry man!"

Joe was our potato chip man. Mentally slow, he was friendly, a gentle soul with lovely manners. When we answered our front door even on the hottest day, he was dressed in a suit and tie and said, "Hello, Mrs. (or Mr.) Turner, it's the potato chip man." We offered him cold drinks in the summer. Joe lived in a men's rooming house and supplemented a modest retirement check (of some kind?) by visiting our block once a week ... always on foot, carrying shopping bags full of potato chips. When I think about him, it's with great admiration.

We also had a Fuller Brush manwho went door-to-door, selling household cleaning products, as well as, the tools needed to get rid of grime. And just like in so many American communities, we had an Avon lady. Mrs. McBay.

There are baby pictures of my cousins and I ... because one afternoon my Aunt Ursula, while at home minding us, got a knock on the door from a door-to-door family photographer. He spent the next hour, or so in her living room setting up lights and snapping pictures of us, together and separately. (We were 18 mos, 3 years and 5 years old.) Wow, can you imagine! It was a more innocent era.

All these people were so darn nice, you didn't have the heart to turn them away, so we tried to help them out by using their services, when we could.

What a blessing to live in such a safe world back in the day. Fortunately, these small-time entrepreneurs were, indeed, nice people, most with families to support, who were just trying to make an honest living. Ordinary, dignified, hard workers from bygone days. The neighborhood was kind to them, and they were kind to the neighborhood.

Times change. You don't have to be a sociologist to know nobody could be a door-to-door sales person in the same way today. With good reason, we don't trust people we barely know, and often they don't become part of the milieu of a neighborhood. Too often, good will, doesn't run both ways. But once upon a time, in my old neighborhood, it did.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Smokeless LotusGrill For Healthy Grilling

Many people enjoy an outdoor summer barbecue, but are worried about the cancer risks of eating hydrocarbons, which are chemicals that form on meat (beef, pork, chicken, as well as, on fish) when it is grilled over an open flame. As fat from the meat drips into the open fire, it forms hydrocarbons (PAHs for short). PAHs then rise with the fire to engulf and stick on the surface of the meat.

The portable LotusGrill is designed to fix the problem of chemicals forming and then returning to the meat as it cooks. 

Here's how: The LotusGrill confines charcoal to a covered inside chamber. Grease drips into an inner bowl, but avoids the charcoal, thereby no flames are produced. The result is healthy grilled meat minus the cancer causing hydrocarbons.

At $250, it's pricy, but a no-brainer if you are in the habit of barbecuing. Healthy grilled meat every time. It is better to pay the piper than the Grim Reaper.

Personally, I eat side salads, a variety of fruits and vegetables and many meatless meals. I make a real effort to plan nutrious meatless dinners. However, I haven't been able to give up meat entirely. Nothing satisfies my hearty appetite like a big juicy steak, sirlon burger or pork chops. With potatoes they are stick-to-your-ribs delicious!

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Trendy Body Chains ... And An Everly Brothers Tribute


Oh, look what's trending now. Just as I'm wearing less jewelry, models and A-listers are sporting more. According to TotalBeauty.com, body chains are being spotted on high fashion runways, plus celebs are sunbathing decked out in chains on the world's most exclusive beaches. Really?

I like the look, sort of, but probably won't follow it, because I don't want to get all tangled up in hardware. Common sense points to the possibility that dressing could get complicated. There's a reason I don't commit crimes. With chains criss-crossing my torso, I might feel like a prisoner.

My favorite (of the above examples) is the chain dangling off the heels. Hmm, I wonder if it makes an annoying sound as you walk? There's a reason jails put heavy metal on an inmate's feet when he leaves his cell. I'd rather not announce I'm walking across the floor. But who knows, maybe that's one of the effects a chain fashionista desires?: "Here I come world!"

A dazzling look for the rich and famous, but how practical for main street? Are you the type of gal or guy who will try a body chain? If so, what do you like about the trend?

Meanwhile ... enjoy a catchy tune about chains from our favorite duo. 

Some exciting news: A special tribute concert for the Everly Brothers will take place on October 25th at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. According to the Associated Press, the list of performers are being finalized, and Don Everly will come out of retirement to make an appearance. (Thank you, Angie for the article!!!)

video

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Shredded Brussels Sprout Becames Shredded Cabbage Salad

Photo: What's Gabby Cooking
Summers are for light, easy fare. Doesn't this shredded brussels sprout salad look mouthwatering? I love avocados and different textures in a dish. The recipe was created by "What's Gabby Cooking." It came to me via Facebook. However, I have simplified a step by substituting a 14 oz bag of classic coleslaw for the shredded brussels sprout. Frankly, I wouldn't have the patience to shred little heads of brussels sprout. Tedious! Cabbage and brussels sprout are in the same family and have the same crunch and health benefits (namely vitamin C and fiber). A bag of shredded cabbage is inexpensive, and there's some vitamin A from shredded carrots.

Here's my tweaked-lazy-chef recipe:

For the salad

Ingredients:
14 oz bag coleslaw
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 ripe avocado, cubed
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

For The Lemon Vinaigrette dressing

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Dump the salad ingredients into a big serving bowl.
2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and drizzle on the salad. Toss and eat!

I might substitute different vinegars in place of lemon juice occasionally. I can also see adding a can of beans, or cubed soy or chicken for more protein, depending on the rest of your dinner. Leftovers become a healthy snack you keep in the refrigerator. 

Finally, here's a link to watch Gabby making her salad her way. All versions, delish! (Books on salad here.)

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Gorgeous Sunglasses At Old Navy

Often I'm pleasantly surprised by the cute clothes and accessories available at Old Navy. This summer I'm wearing three of Old Navy's adorable, cotton dresses. Each is machine washable and $15 on sale. Look for a promotion. They run frequently.

Another find is a soft cotton scarf, which I like to fold up to carry in a purse, then pull it out to use as a shawl in order to protect my bare arms and shoulders from the damaging heat of the sun, or Arctic cold of an air conditioner. I paid $9 for my pretty textured-and-smooth scarf, then walked across the street to see a similar Eileen Fisher scarf selling for $138. There wasn't a significant, deal-breaker-difference in quality. The comparison was a real eye-opener. Perhaps, that's when I became an Old Navy fan.

In addition to the summer dresses, I bought active wear yoga pants, leggings and just this weekend, a gorgeous pair of sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. The price points are always fabulously cheap. Using a 20% store wide discount, I paid about $12. What a steal! They are light-weight, sturdy, an excellent fit and ultra stylish. Already, I've gotten compliments!

At Saks Fifth Avenue, I tried on a pair of Chanel sunglasses. The cost? A cool $550. I didn't buy 'em, but let me tell you, I looked gooood in those shades! These Old Navy sunglasses remind me of the Chanel style. (They also remind me of Tom Ford's current sunglasses.) Unlike the scarves comparison, the Old Navy sunglasses don't quite measure up to Chanel, but they are durable and look expensive. The O.N. store selection is huge. 

Everyone is different. Personally, when I think of where to splurge, it isn't going to be on sunglasses. A sharp kitchen knife, bed pillows, comfortable shoes, an education ... yes, yes, yes and yes. Travel ... maybe. Sunglasses, no. However, never buy a pair without sun protection for your eyes.

For the price, you can splurge by buying a few pairs from Old Navy. If you break or leave them in a restaurant, it will hurt less. Plus, you can change your sunglasses like you change shoes and outfits. It's well worth a trip and a browse.

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