Sunday, November 29, 2015

EAT SOMETHING LIKE THIS INSTEAD

I'm no fool.

I know good and well that if you had the choice to eat the bowl of Mother Nature-made goodness above, or a plate of peppermint fudge -- or your favorite Christmas cookies, I'm fairly certain I know the one you would pick.

And, hell, I'm not judging.

You'd have to pry the latter from my cold, dead hands.

I mean, we've gotta live and get some enjoyment out of life...right?

The problem, though, comes when we know we shouldn't be inhaling that second plate of fudge.

When we feel as though we can't help ourself.

When we feel like ish -- fraught with guilt -- the moment we look at the empty plate.

Now that's what we all want to avoid.

Go ahead: Eat the damn cookies, try that homemade Chex mix your friend just made, and, for goodness sake, Eat. The. Pie.

But exercise some modicum of control when you can during those times when you're not entertaining.

Here's what you do: Make your snack both sweet and satisfying.

Throw some fresh fruit in a bowl (red and green grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are my faves) and toss in some chopped nuts of your choice -- in the photo above are walnuts and raw almonds.

Another one of my favorite combos that I make as part of my breakfast -- or as a snack by itself -- is chopped banana and sea salted-cashews. (YUM!)

You can get creative and mix whatever you wish!

The point here is that the sweetness of the fruit (either fresh or dried) will satisfy your sweet tooth, while the nuts will fill you up.

Sure, there is sugar in the fruit and fat in the nuts -- but it's the natural, good kind.

And, depending on the fruit (berries) you choose, you'll also benefit from a ton of antioxidants, and the nuts provide an excellent source of protein, particularly if you are a vegan or vegetarian, like I am.

I swear, this hearty fruit/nut combo is my go-to snack with a glass of wine in the evening after I've put the kids to bed.

And the best part?

Because we tend to stock our fridges (and cupboards) with more options during this time of year, chances are good that you'll already have some nuts and fruit on hand.

(Last night, when I ran out of berries, I dipped into the kids' stash of Cuties tangerines and ate a few with the raw walnuts I bought for our Christmas cookies.)

Really, folks, consider this combo this holiday season...and all year long.


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Sunday, November 22, 2015

THE 10 BEST QUOTES IN FOOTBALL

I’m 38 years old now, and it’s been 20 years since I laced up my track spikes, ran down an asphalt runway, and pounded a wooden toe board with all my might before landing in a pit of sand.

Long jumping was my life.

And after much of my youth and most of my adolescence were consumed by the sport, do you know what I remember most?

Not the medals I won or the all-conference lists I topped.

And, frankly, I struggle to recall how much of a nuisance it was to have grains of sand appear in quite literally every bit of clothing I owned.

What I remember most are the words my father, who also served as my coach and my mentor, would utter nearly daily:

How bad do you want it? and You’ve got to have fire in your belly.

I look back on that time in my life, and I can tell you now with complete and total honesty that those words won meets for me.

Words are powerful.

Because they inspire you.

They drive you.

They, somehow, can make you reach deep down inside yourself and eek out that last bit of will you never knew you had.

Here are 10 of the best motivational quotes in football:

1. "Those Who Stay Will Be Champions." Bo Schembechler
Alright, I’m a Michigan grad who bleeds maize and blue. Sue me. But regardless of where you stand as a football fan, you’d be hard-pressed to deny the value of this phrase. Yes, Bo used this as a rallying cry to his players who made the decision to endure the program’s dramatic culture change. But one can interpret these words in a myriad of ways: Those who stay – in the weight room and do those few extra reps – will be champions. Those who stay – after practice and do a few extra laps – will be champions. Those who stay – as in stick it out through the thick and thin – will be champions. After all, perseverence is in every champion’s DNA.

2. “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” Vince Lombardi
As a means to delve further into this quote, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the words my own husband used to replay in his head when he was blocking for Barry Sanders as an offensive lineman for the Detroit Lions in the 90s: I’m tired, but so is the other guy; I’m cold, but so is the other guy; I’m hurting, and so is the other guy. Will does make the difference. Period.

3. “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.” Lou Holtz
I do declare that truer words have never been spoken about football. Or life.

4. “Football is an incredible game. Sometimes it's so incredible, it's unbelievable.” Tom Landry
Need evidence? Check out the final 10 seconds of this year’s contest between Michigan and Michigan State. Remember, it ain’t over until it’s over.

5. “I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it.” Gale Sayers
It bears repeating: You really can reach deep down inside yourself and eek out that last of bit will you never knew you had.

6. “Success is not forever and failure isn't fatal.” Don Shula
You might be down after a loss, but you’re never – ever – out. Move on. What are you going to do the next game?

7. “It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” Archie Griffin
Amen.

8. "I expect to win out there." Drew Brees (pictured above)
It has been said that we don’t get out of life what we want, but we do get what we expect. There is a difference.

9. "If you train hard, you'll not only be hard, you'll be hard to beat." Herschel Walker
Remember that when you’re sucking wind midway through practice and question how much more you can take.

10. "Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” Mike Singletary
Talk about perspective. I love this quote for so many reasons. I mean, really, why do we participate in sports in the first place? Where does that drive come from? For most of us, it comes from a passion to play. And we should be grateful for the chance to do so.

Find this list on USA Football, too!


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Monday, November 16, 2015

CURRENTLY: October 2015

Welcome to Currently, a new monthly feature that includes a round-up of images that I've posted to social media within the last month and will keep you in the loop of what we've been up to.

Here's what our October 2015 looked like...

I'm smiling because my brother's in school, so I have Mommy all to myself and...wait for it...we're at Target!
                               #WeCameForAntibacterialWipesAndEndedUpBuyingTheWorld


Celebrated this crisp, fall morning at Beaumont Health's 25th Annual Red October Run with my babies. Mama's proud of their strong finish in the 1-mile kiddie run. heart emoticon



"Welcome to Westland Applebee's. It's our pleasure to serve you today. Right this way..." smile emoticon -- with Scott Conover and Lomas Brown
                    #HospitalityCrew #DineToDonate#JohnGlennHighSchoolCheer #NFLAlumni#DetroitLions


This party of four thanks EVERYONE for coming out to support JGHS Cheer. Really, THANK YOU!
                                   #DineToDonate #Applebees #DetroitLions #NFLAlumni#GoRockets


MNF:A stick of cocoa butter makes a perfectly acceptable mic. GO LIONS! 💄🎤🎵 #MNF #LionsVsSeahawks#NFL


Our kids have two speeds. Zero...and 60.
                                                      #TBT #Gameday #TwoYearsAgo



"The wheels on Mama's van go round 'n round..." ♪ ♫ ♩
                                          #PreschoolDropOff #GoodMorning #HappyThursday


With my two-month-old Lion cub after our baby massage class. I know, I know: He's huge. 
Have you seen his dad? wink emoticon
                                                              #TBT #NFL #DetroitLions

THEN vs. NOW: (Left) The Hubs (#76) blocking for Barry Sanders (#20) and Detroit Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell (#19). (Right) The Hubs and Mitchell cleaning up neighborhood blight in Detroit with the other Lions alumni yesterday. (Mitchell was also a contestant on Season 16 of The Biggest Loser.) #NFL#DetroitLions #AlumniWeekend


"My Detroit Lions won, so I think I'll have a Shirley Temple and the crab cakes, please." 
(As if she can read the menu; lol)
                                 #TwoGoingOnTwentyTwo #Gameday #OutToDinner#NFL #DetroitLions


From the sidelines of today's Detroit Lions vs, Chicago Bears game. So fun to see him with his football brothers! heart emoticon #Repost from The Hubs: I'm here at the Lions game during Alumni Homecoming, 
with Barry Sanders, Tony Semple, and Larry Tharpe.

The Hubs and me with ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter, who is the keynote speaker at tonight's HAVEN Detroit Lions 22nd Annual Courage House Dinner. 

My date for tonight's HAVEN Detroit Lions 22nd Annual Courage House Dinner. He cleans up real nice. wink emoticon(Photo courtesy of @HAVEN)  #CourageDetroit#NFL #DetroitLions #HAVEN #LiveWithoutFear#EndDomesticViolence



On our way to the first of three Halloween parties this week: Scotty delivers come rain, sleet, or shine...with a ladybug as his sidekick. Happy Trick-or-treating, folks!


K last night at our public library's children's Halloween party in her *second* Halloween costume -- because she is fashionably indecisive. Gee, I wonder where she gets that from? #TrunkOrTreat




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Sunday, November 8, 2015

IF THE LIONS LEFT DETROIT

If you are a Detroit Lions football fan, you are probably tired.

And frustrated, too.

And some of you may be downright angry.

I understand.

Born and raised here in the Great Lakes state, I’ve lived in Michigan – and more specifically, Metro Detroit – most of my life. And I’ve been a die-hard Lions fan since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

Trust me; I’m aware of the proverbial sense of discontent.

And I’ve heard the (unthinkable) proposal that some have made in their fit of rage after yet another game the Lions shouldn’t have lost, but did:

“The Lions should just go. Get outta town. Leave.”

I have to ask, you don’t really mean that…do you?

I mean, do you really want the Lions to go?

I don’t.

Not now, not ever.

“They should just clean house,” people say.

Have you stopped to literally picture what that would look like?

The result would actually be quite dirty, daunting, and messy if cobwebs began growing inside Ford Field and tumbleweeds started rolling down Brush Street.

(Because another abandoned building is exactly what the city of Detroit needs.)

And then there are the people who work inside that house.

After all, when fans start calling for the heads of Lions staff, rarely do they think about the men and women who help keep the stadium – the team’s home – afloat:

The concession worker who serves hot dogs. The custodian who stocks paper towels in the restroom. The usher who ensures that your elderly neighborhood gets to his seat comfortably.

They are part of the Detroit Lions, too, you know.

They don't wear jerseys with their names on the back, and they darn sure don't make millions, but they feed their families, pay taxes, and make rent, mortgage, and car note payments because they have a job.

And let us not forget about the team owners, the Ford family, who bring much more to this city than entertainment.

“But we want to win!” is another rallying cry fans shout from their couches while waving their hands dismissively at their TVs.

But, don’t you see, we have won.

I'm not going to lie, a series of consecutive seasons with more wins than losses would undoubtedly be nice.  

And a super bowl ring would be lovely.

But, folks, here's the cold, hard fact: There are 30 states that would trade with us in a heartbeat.

Because they don't have an NFL franchise to call their own.

The pedestrian act of donning your Sunday best (read: your team’s colors) and heading to a stadium or a nearby tailgate at the start of the week is unavailable to them.

They won't find memorabilia or merchandise from their home-grown NFL team in Walmart, Meijer, or in so much as a gas station convenience store.

They won’t find a community of drinking and eating establishments that come alive when patrons – wearing Honolulu blue face paint and hats that resemble a stuffed animal – cheerfully stroll the streets of downtown on game day.

You won’t find moms of youth football players attending free football clinics at their local NFL stadium, clinics that educate both them and their children on the importance of safety and concussion awareness.

And, sadly, you won’t find invaluable programs like Meet Up & Eat Up, which is a collaborative movement for which the Detroit Lions and United Way partner to ensure that every child has access to nutritious meals 365 days a year, three times a day.

“That’s all fine, but I want to be associated with being the best!” another Lions fan might lament.

And we already are.

Two words: Barry Sanders.

When my husband, who had the privilege of blocking for Barry for nearly seven seasons, regales me and fans alike on what those moments were like, his stories still elicit goosebumps.

And, yes, much of the glory pertained to what happened on the gridiron. But you – the fans – are also an indelible part of the fabric of that time.

They don’t call you the twelfth man for nothing.

And I know, I know, Barry’s era – and that of another number 20, former Lions running back Lem Barney – seem like a long time ago.

But make no mistake, there’s no expiration date on pride.

It is a part of our history – regardless of what happens from here on out – just as the Denver Bronco’s John Elway, the Pittsburgh Steeler’s Terry Bradshaw, and the Cleveland Browns’ Jim Brown are a part of theirs.

There’s no denying that winning is awesome.

But it isn’t everything.

Not when our team’s presence alone gives us so much to cheer about.



This blog post is also featured on USAFootball.com.


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Monday, November 2, 2015

CURRENTLY: September 2015

It occurred to me recently that -- as personal as this blog is -- much of my life hasn't been shared here because while I post new content every week, I post on social media nearly every day.

And although ho-hum happenings like preschool drop-off -- or not-so-ho-hum occurrences like run-ins with celebrities don't always elicit a blog post, I still don't want you -- the reader -- to miss a thing.

So I present to you a new feature entitled Currently that I'll publish here monthly. The series will include a round-up of images that I've posted to social media within the last month and will keep you in the loop of what we've been up to.

The brilliant, the boring, and everything in between.

Here's what our September 2015 looked like... 

My man's got moves! Thank you, Henry Ford Health System for capturing this pic of The Hubs groovin' down the Soul Train line at a recent Henry Ford centennial celebration. FUN!!

Came home to my alma mater to get my stretch on. -- at Yoga in Michigan Stadium. 
(Now where's Coach Harbaugh? lol) And my shirt says Go Blue in Hebrew, by the way. 


"First we had each other, then we had you, now we have everything." Next week this baby boy turns four. heart emoti


Yesterday was Scotty's birthday, and this is his favorite gift. If you're a child of the 70s or 80s, then you know this is a Fisher-Price Children's Hospital, which was only produced from 1976-1978. I knew this would be perfect for him because he loves ambulances, paramedics, etc. So, for months I scoured estate sales EVERYWHERE to find one in pristine condition because nothing like this toy is made anymore. Just another reason why old-school toys still rock. wink emoticon 


Scotty and me leaving our first mommy-son casting for a holiday print ad for Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats. We didn't get it, but I thank our agent for getting us in the door! Next stop: Preschool drop-off. smile emoticon


This morning's breakfast dessert -- Is there even such a thing? -- because we eat, breathe, and live Detroit Lionswink emoticon


The Hubs and me cheering on our boys in Honolulu blue at HAVEN's annual Tackling Domestic & Sexual Violence Tailgate Party at the Birmingham Country Club. GO LIONS!! 


Kennedy (in her pink football hat!) when she was just 17 hours old. If she had waited a mere three days, she would have been born on her father's birthday. But, no, she was raring to go from day one. Our little peanut turns two today! 

About last night...
                                  #MommyDaddyNightOut #NFL #GridironGreatsDinner#DetroitLions


This is how we roll. wink emoticon
                                                     #PlaydateAtTheConovers


And in other news, it's this guy's birthday today. heart emoticon
                       #ProudWifey #Love #ThatFace #Gameday #Intensity#NFL #DetroitLions #Roar


We've been waiting all day for a Sunday night.
                                 #NFL #LionsVsBroncos #FordField#SundayNightFootball #NBC


Legendary Lions running back Lem Barney just paid a visit to our suite!! (Yeah, I'm fanning out.) Always a pleasure to be in his company. How do you spell class? L-E M. 


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