Saturday, July 31, 2010

State Fairs

Oprah and Gayle visited the Texas State Fair last year.  They started their adventure by shopping for cowboy hats and boots.  I've been thinking about going to the Missouri State Fair this year if time allows.  I remember going to the State Fair in Pennsylvania when I was a kid.  I loved riding all of the carnival rides, looking at all of the animals, and eating funnel cakes.  At that time they didn't have the plethora of fried foods they do now.  If you fry it they will come.  A sampling of the Texas State Fair fried foods included: guacamole, butter, chicken fried bacon, deep fried lattes, moon pies, twinkies, peanut butter jelly & banana sandwiches, and peaches and cream. I have tried to eat less fried foods over the years with the exception of french fries.  Last year I tried a fried Oreo and couldn't eat more than a bite.  A state fair is one of those things you have to experience at least once in your lifetime.   I feel a little guilty that one of my kids has yet to visit a state fair and the one that did was to young to remember it.  Part of the problem is the Missouri Sate Fair takes place in mid August.  Of course the experience wouldn't be the same without a little heat, humidity and the smell of grease and stinky animals.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Women Food & God Part II

Oprah had a follow up interview with author, Geneen Roth, on the philosophies in her book Women, Food & God.  I still haven't purchased the book, but plan on looking through my friends copy this weekend.  I think it would be a good tool to help explore your relationship with food.  I thought one viewer's question said it best, "Can you simply just like food?"  Geneen's response was, "When you really like something you pay attention to it and you take time with it."  For example, you don't eat standing up, on the phone, in front of the computer or while your watching television.  According to Geneen, if you pay attention to your body you will get to your natural weight.   Another viewer asked, "Why don't I stop eating?"  Geneen says, if you are a compulsive eater you need to listen to your body and stop when you've had enough food.  I don't know of anyone who hasn't overeaten at some point in their life.  I'm thinking of my many lunch/dinners at Jose Peppers with the never ending chips and salsa.  Geneen says, you need to listen to your body and stop when you've had enough food.  Ask yourself why you want to continue eating.

Oprah said that one of the things that has helped her has been to not eat unless she's hungry.  She talked about how the slightest irritations can cause her to eat.  I can relate to that. Whenever I feel on edge I have a habit of opening my pantry doors or the refrigerator as if they have all the answers.  Oprah now asks herself, "What am I hungry for?"  Am I hungry for food or something else like validation or to be heard.  One woman brought up the fact she eats when she's tired.  That is a huge one for me.  I hate being tired in the middle of the day.  I can drink coffee or Diet Coke and I'm still tired.  I often turn to some sugary snack which only makes me more tired.  Just last night I was tired from running errands with my daughter and picked up a package of snickerdoodle cookies at the check out lane in Target.

Geneen says, "When you're hungry food actually is satisfying.  If you're not hungry no matter how much food you eat you're never going to be satisfied."  I agree with that statement.  I think some people use  food just like they do drugs or alcohol.  It is easier to eat your feelings away then confront them.  According to Oprah, Women Food & God is about getting back to the core of you so that you understand your own truth and gifts in the world.  It all boils down to your relationship with the source.  For me and a lot of other people that source is God.  I get the feeling this isn't a quick fix book.  There is a lot of soul searching involved, but sometimes that's what it takes to make a lasting life change.  It is an individual journey which only you have the map to.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Breathing Space

O Magazine used to dedicate a page to a peaceful photo which often depicted something in nature.  I recently resubscribed to O, but have not come across the page which used to be titled "Breathing Space."  I am a very visual person and have always enjoyed photography.  One of my dream jobs was to be a photographer for National Geographic.  As a kid I would flip through my Dad's National Geographic and marvel at the photos of Eskimos, African tribes, majestic mountains and wild animals.  They were pictures of things you don't encounter in every day suburbia life.  I have been restless lately and wanting to travel.  Since I took a very nice vacation at the beginning of the summer I am spending the rest of the summer months in Kansas and Missouri.  I have been reading other photography blogs lately and have realized that you can sometimes find the extraordinary in the ordinary if you look for it.  Sometimes it's the simplest photos that can produce a feeling of peace and contentment.  Enjoy the view.

Muir Woods, California

Freeman, Missouri

Turks & Caicos

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What is Beautiful

Oprah recently had Jessica Simpson on her show to discuss beauty around the world. On a past Oprah show journalist, Mara Schiavocampo,  also toured the world to report about what is considered beautiful around the globe.   I have always found it very interesting to learn about other cultures and was surprised by some of Mara's revelations.  In Japan, skin is extremely important.  The ideal skin is porcelain and smooth.  Women drink collagen and eat collagen-infused food and some even go to the extent of using a powder made of bird droppings on their skin.  On the border of Berma & Thailand, there is a tribe that wears shiny brass rings high on their necks.  Beginning at age 5 they have rings added to their necks each year.  As a child, I remember seeing photos in National Geographic Magazine of these women.  To have a giraffe like neck is considered beautiful.  Iran is considered the nose job capital of the world.  According to Mara, they perform 60,000 a year and it is considered a status symbol.  They wear bandages on their noses with pride.  In the west African country of Mauritani the men are expected to be skinny and women are overweight.  Men love stretch marks and big butts.  Women are also the boss in the household.  I have a feeling Mauritania's population has increased ten fold since this show aired back in 2009.

In my opinion, a lot of Americans feel that tall, thin, blonde and big breasts is beautiful.  I think I just described Barbie.  Companies like Dove and Hanes are attempting to use real women who are just as beautiful and come in all shapes and sizes in their advertising.  Like most people I tend to notice a persons outward beauty first.  It could be their shiny black hair, the perfect pearly white smile, or the beautiful color of their eyes that catches my attention.  However,  at the end of the day if there is nothing appealing on the inside of that person it doesn't matter how handsome or beautiful they are.  I feel beauty can be an advantage to opening doors in life when it comes to jobs and relationships, but it takes a certain amount of inward beauty to sustain them.   There are people I wouldn't necessarily consider physically attractive but, their inner beauty makes them attractive.  Qualities like charm, a sense of humor and kindness make them appealing.

One of the great things about America is that we are a melting pot of people who come in different shapes, sizes and colors.  We all need to decide for ourselves what is beautiful and not let society dictate it for us.

"Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.  It is what we tell ourselves it is." - Oprah

Saturday, July 3, 2010


In my opinion, one thing Oprah knows how to do well is celebrate.  She recognizes not just your typical celebrations like anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. She also celebrates people, books, films and accomplishments.  She has the means to entertain well and has used party planning expert Colin Cowie.  I tend to want everything to be party perfect like it came out of the pages of Martha Stewart Living, but what I've learned over the years is that people just enjoy being together.  Two good friends of mine have beautiful pools and they frequently share them with their friends and family.  When they entertain they don't feel the need to make everything from scratch which alleviates a lot of stress.  One of them is so good at doctoring up store bought food that it looks homemade.

One of the most memorable parties I have been to was a neighbors  70's party where everyone dressed like the decade.  My good friend has an adult Halloween party every year which for those of us who love costumes look forward to every year.   Other party ideas which I love are a recipe exchange, ugly sweater contest, movie premiers, and mystery dinner parties.  The internet has a plethora of tips, ideas, blogs and recipes for planning parties. You can even send your invitations out easily with EVITE.  Even though I still love an old-fashioned handwritten invitation I have come to love the convenience of EVITE.

Entertaining can be a lot of work and expensive, but it doesn't always have to be.  It's just as important to celebrate the little things in life.  Sometimes last minute gatherings are the most fun because they don't require any planning.

"Entertaining is not about making an impression.  Instead, it's about being welcoming and calm and making your guests feel comfortable."  Colin Cowie