The Ultimate Convenience Food

It’s fast. It’s free. It’s nutritionally superior. And it’s the best kept secret of motherhood.

Breastmilk. Yep, I said it. And here’s why: the last thing I need in my life right now is another bottle to fill and wash. In fact, I don’t want anything else to wash. (My dog can’t believe his luck because he’s escaped a bath for months. But alas, his day is coming.)

And here’s another reason: I need my sleep.

While some moms drag themselves out of bed at 2 a.m., head to the kitchen to fill a bottle, then attend to a baby who’s wide awake—and not to mention, thoroughly pissed—by the time she gets there, I whip it out, latch ‘er on, and go back to dreaming about … snakes … snakes everywhere! But I digress.

Need another reason? I thought you’d never ask.

It’s free. And I could stop there, but I won’t.

Going anywhere with a baby is a big production. And just when I start to feel like a roadie for Christina Aguilara, I thank my lucky stars for the convenience food that sits right on my chest.


Busy Girls Lasagna

Why waste your time making lasagna from scratch, when it's so easy to assemble and serve semi-homemade style. Sandra Lee will be so proud of us!

1 package of oven-ready lasagna noodles
1 big jar or can of marinara (I use Prego Heart Smart because it’s AHA certified)
1 large container of ricotta
1 lb of grated mozzarella
1 package of grated parmesan
1 egg
1 lb ground beef, chicken, turkey or tofu
1 tbs of dried parsley

Brown the ground meat, sprinkle a little black pepper over it. Mix the meat with the marinara.

In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta ¾ of the mozzarella, half of the Parmesan, parsley and beated egg.

Start with the meat/marinara sauce mixture, then noodles (make sure the noodles are covered with sauce), ricotta cheese mixture, a light layer of mozzarella, etc.

Top with another light layer of mozzarella and parmesan. Bake covered at 350 for 50 min. Remove foil and back for another 10 minutes.


Travel Smart

Early on my career I frequently traveled around the country with my boss who was a VP of Marketing at the time.

As a business travel veteran, she insisted that I follow her "School of Travel," and I must admit, it made things easier.

Here are some of her rules and my own tips.

Never bring more luggage than you can carry by yourself in one trip. A woman should be self sufficient. You won't want to rely on the kindness of strangers. leave your luggage unattended, or throw your back out.

If your carrying on all of your luggage, reserve a seat at the back of the plane. The overhead bins near the back are less crowded, and you'll have more chances to find a spot for your luggage.

On a flight home from Boston my seat was in the middle of the plane, but the only available overhead space was in the back. I had to wait for everyone to exit the plane before I could walk back to get my bag.

If you have a lock on your luggage, make sure that code is one that can be read upside down. For example, "6" will look like a "9" upside down.

Go to the bathroom, before the plane boards, and don't leave your friend stuck watching your luggage when the plane is boarding. She might be in a different group that boards sooner than you.

Have a back up for the hotel's wake up call. Whether it's pre-ordering breakfast to arrive or setting the alarm on your cell phone, always have a back up.

Pack your carry on bag as if you will never see your checked luggage again. Because, in fact, you may not. Your luggage could be lost or an unexpected delay may have you sitting in the airport for hours.

For me, this includes, a pashmina wrap, contact solution & case, my glasses, something to read, a snack, a pair of undies, medicine, my iPhone/iPod, phone charger, and toothbrush/paste.

Never put anything in a checked bag, that you think someone might steal. Jewelry, laptop, camera, and other valuables should all go in your carry on.

Carry your passport, even if your flying domestically. Pulling your drivers license out of your wallet at every security checkpoint is a pain. With your passport, you can leave your DL safely in your wallet and keep your passport with your boarding pass.

Plus, it's a back up in case your wallet is stolen or you lose your DL.

Never get on a plane hungry. I made this mistake on the way to Miami one time. My colleague and I were ready for lunch, but thought we'd just eat when we arrived. We didn't expect our plane would be sitting on the runway for hours. We almost died.

Always carry a snack and bottle of water. This will save your life if your stuck on the runway somewhere. According to today's rules, you can't bring your own liquid through security, but just remember to buy one at the airport for your bag.

Stash some cash. Everyone who knows me knows that I NEVER carry cash--except when I travel. If your bank freezes your accounts due to suspected fraud while you're away, you'll be SOL if all you have is plastic. Also, you'll need to tip anyone who carries your luggage for you.

Spread out your cash. If you're carrying a lot of cash, never put it all in your wallet. Spread it out between the pockets in different bags. That way, if one bag is stolen, you will still have some cash stashed in other places.

Let you bank know you'll be traveling. Before the Happy Husband (HH) and I went to Belize, I made sure to call my credit cards to let them know that there would be some unusual activity in a foreign country, so they wouldn't freeze the accounts.


Be a "Pin Up Girl" at the Beach

Sometimes the best fashion inspriation doesn't come from Vogue--it comes from real people.

Over the weekend, Pirate Girl and I ran across another stylish way to jazz up a swimsuit; simply pin on a broach.

Broaches are a smart way to give a regular swimsuit several unique looks simply by changing the pin.

Forget practicality, you can just take the pin off before you get in the water. Or better yet, find a swimsuit that already has a bauble attached like the one in this picture.

Obviously, you'd want to find a broach that's inexpensive and costumey. Any shop that sales vintage jewelry should have tons of broaches, giving you lots of great options for spicing up your swimwear.


DIY Bookmarks


Recycle your old paint chips to make a super cute bookmark!

I found this idea on Care2.com.

I'll be doing this with all of the paint chips I've collected over the years for colors that the HH vetoed, like purple for the living room and lime green for the bedroom.

Maybe he was right about that, but now I can enjoy the colors on a much smaller scale.


Best Dressed: Swimsuits & Accessories

I can always count on Pirate Girl to make a fashion statement at the lake (or the Texas Hamptons, as I like to imagine it).

And this last Memorial Day weekend was no exception.

Arriving at the dock rockin' big, dangly, gold earrings and a couple of bangle bracelets, she immediately reminded me of how great accessories look with swimsuit.

(It didn't hurt that she was also carrying a bottle of champagne.)

Adding some costume jewelry to your swimwear ensemble is such an easy way to look chic when you're sweaty.

Practical? Well, maybe not always, but it looks so great.

I proudly proclaim Pirate Girl Best Dressed Lake Texoma!


Style Icon: Audrey Hepburn

In my world, there is no bigger style icon than Audrey Hepburn. Here are some her looks that I love. Any one of them would still look great today.

- Black dress
- Orange coat
- All black
- Black skinny pants
- Ballet flats
- Big sunglasses

The good news is that all of these looks can easily be replicated on a budget!