Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Too Much Food, Not Enough Information

If you didn't see the Weight Watchers Superbowl ad, take a look. It really drives home the point that there is entirely too much deliciously oozy, buttery, sugary, tempting food available out there!


Talking about diets is boring, so I'm won't go into how I'm back on Weight Watchers, the only weight loss program that has ever worked for me. But tracking every bite I put in my mouth has made me realize that the portion sizes and calories being served up in restaurants and coffee shops and kiosks are really absurd. No wonder a third of all Americans are obese.

I don't think we're suffering from a lack of willpower; the problem is a lack of knowledge. Luckily, most restaurants post nutritional information on their websites.

Have you ever looked up the nutritional information of some of your favorite restaurant dishes? Our family loves California Pizza Kitchen, where I regularly order the fish tacos, which seems like a light and healthy dish, right? Nope, it has 1040 calories, as much as a BBQ Chicken Pizza.  But knowing that doesn't mean I have to stop dining there. Instead, I can order something lighter or split an entree with my husband. I'm in control!

Look, no food is bad - I eat everything and I know there's a Big Mac (550 calories) in my near future - but we owe it to ourselves to understand what we're putting in our bodies. And whether it's tracking points with Weight Watchers or just keeping a food journal, writing down what you eat is a powerful tool for better health. ( PS - I've lost six pounds!)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Marjie's Holiday Gift Guide, Just Indulge Me

 I'm indulging myself by sharing what's on my Christmas list this year. The Holiday season is the one time of year when you can consider what gifts you'd really love to receive, which is a true pleasure. Stop thinking about everyone else in your family for a brief half hour and consider what objects would delight YOU. Making a list of your desires is as much fun as getting the actual gifts!

1. A yoga mat - I've been taking yoga for six months and loving it. I think it's time I owned my own mat.

2. Jonathan Adler pottery, candles, decorative objects. I don't care which, just surprise me! Here are some shots from his store in Newport Beach where we visited over Spring Break, but you can shop via his colorful website. So whimsical/sexy/ fun.

Ha!



















3. Plaid flannel shirts. I'm feeling the men's lumberjack trend this season and am enamored with plaid shirts. Worn over a fitted tank they are comfy and look and feel cooler than sweaters. I have a couple cute shirts I picked up at Old Navy, but I want more. Here's one from J. Crew I like.




4. Upside down hoop earrings. These pictured below are the ultimate by Lana for $445, but I've seen less expensive versions all over. A surprising twist for your lobes.




5. Netflix. Will someone in my family please set this up and explain it to me? I know I'm woefully out of it and missing some of the best TV programming out there.



6. Ray Ban Aviators. They are classic and cool. I want to get matching pairs with my husband so I can pretend we're movie stars.



7. Jo Malone's new Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne. Smells divine!



8. Vans leather slip ons. I think these are the winter equivalent of flip flops. Cute, practical, easy to step into when running out, and they cover your whole foot!


Other items on my wish list are lip gloss, gloves, scented candles, champagne, family harmony, a good night's sleep, and some cuddle time in front of the tree with my husband - hopefully while we wear our matching Ran Bans!

What are you longing for in the gift department? I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

7 Ways Yoga Makes You Sexy!

I discovered yoga this summer at Heaven Meets Earth in Evanston, and I'm a mid-life convert. It simply makes me feel delicious from head to toe. Here's a version of a column I wrote a few months ago for MakeitBetter.net. Namaste!

1. Yoga is a sensual experience.
For women to experience pleasure in bed, they need a steady diet of pleasure in other areas of their lives. Yoga is great exercise, but it also engages all the senses. In class we enjoy beautiful music, low lighting, and comfy props like cushions, blankets, and lavender eye pillows. Sometimes our teacher will sound a gong, or anoint us with fragrant essential oils – a valuable reminder that there are many ways for a body to feel good.

2. Yoga gets you out of your head.
Image from Prevention.com - Yoga Poses for Better Sex
One of the biggest barriers for women to feel desire is the incessant chatter filling our minds. Yoga shuts off that multi-tasking noise. “When I get into my yoga practice,” my girlfriend Ivy* tells me, “ I only focus on my breathing - the inhale and the exhale. My mind is very quiet after a practice.” Ivy uses that technique when it comes to intimacy with her husband; it allows her to relax and fully appreciate the experience.

3. It connects you to your femininity.
Sports and workouts are healthy and fun but, according to Lisa Faremouth Weber, the founder of Heaven Meets Earth, competition and comparison come from a masculine, ego-based mindset. Yoga is individual, inward exploration. The practice can be challenging, but is infused with gratitude, artful movement, and intention – a more feminine approach that balances all the goal oriented achieving we do. “Feminine exercise gives you joy,” says Lisa. “Women need to experience ravishing abandonment daily.”

4. You’ll feel great about your body.  Women are often incredibly critical about their bodies. I’ve only been taking yoga for a few weeks, but I’m already surprised by the new things I can do. Ivy puts it this way, “When I’m doing yoga, I like myself more - I feel the most happy, proud and content.” It’s not about how you look, it’s about what you can do and how you feel. Making that positive connection with your body feels awesome.

5. It gets you in shape for the sack.
With the deep lunges, down dogs and bridge poses it’s no stretch to see how yoga makes women more physically fit for lovemaking. Yoga improves strength and flexibility in all areas of the body, but is especially helpful in opening up the oft-neglected muscles surrounding the hips and pelvis –which one of my teachers calls the “bowl of the soul.” More flexibility means less pain, more options and more fun when it comes to sex.

6.  Yoga makes you look hot.
Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow rave about the benefits of yoga. Not only does it tone your body and give you great posture, it improves your circulation and makes your skin look more radiant too. Ivy started doing yoga for the peace of mind, but she was delighted by the changes in her body. “Once I started seeing the results, I liked the way I looked, and I felt more interested in being sexual.”

7. Yoga blisses you out.
Ivy regularly experiences joy while practicing yoga. “There are moments in class when I feel like I can look at my inner mirror and my heart is singing. I wonder - can everybody see what’s happening to me here? It’s like my heart is just bursting forth from my body!”

“In yoga we have flashes of bliss,” explains Lisa. “The Sanskrit name for them is Samadhi. This is when we stop, pause, breathe, plug in and open to the sea of love within ourselves. We can’t experience that when we’re constricted.” The good news, Lisa tells me, is that once you’ve been awakened to these flashes, you can experience them in everyday life.


*Not her real name.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Butt Really Kim?

Is Kim Kardashian simply a beautiful woman celebrating her sensuality, or a shameless fame monger using the assets (pun intended) that gained her attention in the first place to perpetuate her celebrity?

Or is this just a big, bawdy joke?

I have to say, this cover of Paper Magazine made me laugh and laugh. I've never read Paper before (probably not cool enough) but I think we all got mooned.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sex & the Suburbs on WGN Radio

Yesterday I had the opportunity to bring my Sex & the Suburbs column to WGN Radio on Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano's afternoon radio show. Bob (Marianne's husband) had jury duty, so Steve Bertrand filled in for him. The three of us had a most stimulating discussion about what men and women want for the holidays. I think Steve felt a bit outnumbered, but he was a great sport and very funny. Thanks for having me on your show Marianne, it was a blast!

You can listen to our segment on WGN Radio's website. Let's be generous to our mates this holiday season!


Photo courtesy of wgnradio.com

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Who's Your Celebrity Look Alike? Mine is....

Do people tell you that you resemble someone famous? Of course they do. You look just like Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Garner, or Audrey Hepburn don't you? People tell you that all the time.

No one ever tells me I look like anyone.

At various points in my life, usually over a few margaritas, my girlfriends and I have played the celebrity doppelganger game.  I'd sit eagerly while my pals gushingly dubbed each other Cameron Diaz or Courtney Cox or Mary-Louise Parker. But when it was my turn, everyone would fall silent. "Hmm, I don't know....," they'd trail off. "Who wants another drink?" And the game would be over.

But surely there was someone famous who looked like me! In search, I visited a website where you upload a picture of yourself and - based on similarity of features - it gives you your celebrity match. My closet match? Martin Short. I admit, I can see the resemblance.



In an acting class, my instructor Doug said we all have archetypes - relatable celebrity personas - we can use in our own work. While my classmate Stephanie's archetypes included diverse beauties like Stevie Nicks, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Meryl Streep, mine were harder to come by.

After great thought and consideration, Doug came up with just one - Katey Sagal.




But today, completely unsolicited, my Aunt Mary (who is never wrong) reached out to tell me me I look like a famous person - Zoe Kazan! Apparently, the  star of the current movie "What If" looks just like me. Well okay, she has blue eyes and is 20 years younger, but I'm celebrating anyway - at last, a famous actor who kind of, sort of looks like me. She's even a girl!



And the movie looks cute too. Here's the trailer:






So tell me, who's your celebrity look-alike? Would love to hear.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Our Empty Nest Test - Home Alone!

Liam and spent I this past holiday long weekend home alone and it was strange. For the first time since we became parents - almost 21 years ago - we had extended time together in our house without kids. Sure, we've taken romantic vacations and getaways. But never have we had this much time and privacy while hanging out in our own abode.

For long-time couples,
being home alone can be scary!
You'd think it would have been our long-awaited chance to go wild. At last, we could unleash all the decadent desires and hedonistic habits we've been bottling up in the name of good parenting for the last two decades. Tequila shots from each other's navel! Naked disco dancing with glow sticks and lollipops! Firecrackers lit under our neighbors' windows! A double dose of Ambien and 12 hours uninterrupted sleep!

Alas, none of those options occurred to us. Our first weekend of uninterrupted coupledom didn't feel like a cause for celebration; it felt like an adjustment. 

Here's the thing I've realized about being empty nesters: you've got to make plans. Because without all the busy-ness your kids create - games, carpools,  meals,  friends, exams, noise and mess - things can get kind of quiet at the old homestead.

If this is sounding depressingly over the hill, take heart. Liam and I aren't ready to pull out the rocking chairs and slurp cream o' chicken soup yet. As the weekend progressed, we got the hang of things. We went to the beach and caught some rays. We watched World Cup soccer at World of Beer in Evanston. We walked into town for dinner. We played our traditional annual round of best ball golf in Winnetka. We saw friends. We cooked breakfast. We took time apart to do our own stuff too, cause who really needs to hang out with anyone - even your beloved - for three days straight? And yes, indeedy (Nick and Emma you might want to stop reading now) we found time for some intimate connection.  

Our daughter still has another year of high school, but it's a good thing we're figuring this empty nest stuff out now. According to the New York Times, "gray divorce" (divorce among people over 50) is on the rise, the majority of which are initiated by women.
"While divorce rates over all have stabilized and even inched downward, the divorce rate among people 50 and older has doubled since 1990, according to an analysis of census data by professors at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. That’s especially significant because half the married population is older than 50. "  Full article at NYTimes.com
My takeaway from this "Empty Nest Test" is this:

1. Be proactive, make plans to do fun things together, try something new!
2. Don't freak out if things get a little quiet.
3. Have your own interests and encourage your mate to pursue his.
4. View the changes positively, for both you and your kids. You might as well embrace this stage of life, 'cause there's no going back!

Do you have any tips to negotiate your relationship after the kids leave home? If so, I'd love to hear them.