Iceman Jr.


A perfect day for sledding.




Homemade pizza


This past MLK Jr. Day, we spent the morning at the dentist getting cleanings and the afternoon at my sister’s house making pizza.

I made the dough the night before using Gwyneth Paltrow’s pizza dough recipe.  Click here to see it reprinted in her GOOP newsletter.

A couple things about pizza dough:

  • It’s really easy to make
  • It’s a fun activity for kids when it’s the dead of winter or for slumber parties
  • It’s hard to get crispy without a wood-fired oven so just know that going in
  • There are a million recipes and the measurements vary wildly

Again, Gwynnie came through with a foolproof recipe.



Here’s what the yeast, water mixture looks like: chocolate milky.







The dough sits on the counter or goes in the fridge overnight to rise.



It always amazes me when dough rises. It’s fun for kids and 40-year-olds to punch it down into submission.



Awww… Mag’s first dental cleaning ever!



Both of Greta’s top-front teeth are wiggly! This ought to be good.



With dental check-ups behind us, we set up pizza shop on Bran’s enviable marble counters and divided the dough into six balls – one for everyone.



Mag’s pizza came out first. Not too shabby.






Satisfied customers.



Bran had some slow-roasted tomatoes left over from Gwyneth’s slow-roasted tomato & smoked mozzarella crostini recipe, so we put those on our pizza. So, so good.

It was great spending the afternoon with my sister.

Wurst und Bier


Wurst und Bier is an odd little sports bar / bier haus hybrid in a forgotten strip mall by the Crosswoods movie theater. The sudsy ‘WuB’ sign out front doesn’t inspire confidence. Inside, it feels like you’ve discovered a great secret. They serve German street food like currywurst and traditional dishes like schnitzel.

We went there because Greta had a birthday party at Super Games, about 5 minutes away, and we wanted to catch a little bit of the Denver vs Patriots playoff game. It was one of only a few times that Magnus has had us all to himself. It was fun. I told Barrak that it will happen again when Greta goes off to college. Magnus will be around 16. I said I could not wait for the three of us to go to the movies together on a Saturday night. Are you on crack? Barrak asked me. He won’t want to do that. We’ll see…

What I loved about Wurst und Bier is they serve their Gaffel Kolsch beer in small glasses that are just the perfect size for me. The Germans believe that’s the right way to serve beer – so every pour stays fresh. I agree!

Mexican getaway


Victoria’s Secret ruffle push-up bandeau top and cheeky hipkini bottom


Victoria’s Secret linen cover-up in Sunset Glow


Victoria’s Secret drop-waist cover-up sweater in Black


Ray-Ban Thick Cat-Eye way-farers in Honey Havana

So a couple things have happened

I fell off the no-shopping wagon. Just a little bit.

In my defense, I knew the bikini would probably go back to the store — and I was right. When I came out of the bathroom wearing my new online purchase (with protective crotch tape still affixed) to get Barrak’s thoughts, I felt about as comfortable as I would with empty toilet paper rolls strategically taped to my body.

“Wait, you haven’t seen the back!” I said.

Your tail lights totally hang out of VS’s cheeky hipkini. I took the idea from highly revered style blogger Marlien Rentmeester of Le Catch. She saw them on L.A.’s young, hip beach girls, and promised it will do any butt a million favors. Unfortunately, mine is an exception.

The truth is, I really didn’t need a new swimsuit. But I do need some cover-ups and I really like the two I got. VS is actually pretty affordable and cute cover-ups are surprisingly elusive. The sunglasses, another idea I got from Le Catch, and I’m keeping those too. A girl can always use an extra pair.

The purpose of the shopping cleanse was to halt the mindless, emotional accumulating of cardigans, shoes, J. Crew jewelry and whatever else caught my fancy, pause… and go shopping in my own closet for a while to re-discover what I truly needed.

The last couple weeks, I’m feel I’m being tested. Like an alcoholic who craves a tumbler of whiskey, I am obsessed right now with buying a new, oversized Patagonia Better Sweater jacket like the one I saw Kate Hudson wearing a few weeks ago in People magazine. Or something snuggly and sporty like that.

Anyway, we’re excited about Mexico. It will be good to get away for a few days, just the two of us (and Barrak’s bosses and co-workers of course). So I got a little too excited and bought a few things. So sue me.

Can I just say that I appreciated it a little bit more when I saw the packages on the dining room table? It was a sight for sore eyes.

First day of preschool? No problem!






Magnus was a little shaky on the drop-off but he muscled through. Mrs. Million kept him occupied with painting. When we picked him up, he was all smiles. “And I didn’t even pee in my pants,” he said triumphantly. He also made a new friend, a girl named Charlotte. His teacher told us how impressed she was with his coloring and handwriting skills. Barrak and I were beaming like headlights.

Chia seed pudding


{Those bubbles are the chia seeds after they’ve soaked overnight}

In the new Food Network magazine, Giada de Laurentiis shares some of her recipes for good health, things she eats to stay in good shape. And believe you me, it’s not pasta carbonara.

I’ve noticed a lot of celebs start their day by getting up at 4:45 a.m., drinking a glass of warm water with lemon (or in Giada’s case, two) and doing hours of yoga. What is it about the warm water? I need my purple Le Creuset mug of high-octane coffee every morning before I can even make conversation with Barrak.

Giada follows up her yoga with this chia seed pudding. Normally I would move on. Chia seeds? No thanks. But we happen to have a bag of chia seeds in our pantry. Barrak bought them because they’re a popular  snack among endurance runners. You can find them at the Vitamin Shop and in the healthy foods section at Kroger. They’re naturally rich in Omega-3s, fiber, antioxidants, protein and amino acids. An ancient Aztec superfood. So what the heck? Let’s give it a try.



{Chia seeds in the raw}

When you soak the seeds in a mixture of almond milk, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla and a pinch of salt, they turn into little bubbles, like tapioca. The pudding has to sit overnight — so it’s ready for you when you’re done with your morning yoga session. Or your oversize mug of Starbucks.

Like Giada, I topped mine with toasted almonds. She adds strawberries. I went for blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

It was pretty good. I think I’m just not good at cold breakfasts. After waking from what seems like a coma most mornings, unless I’m on a balcony overlooking the ocean, I need to be eased back into the land of the living with something like toast, oatmeal, eggs, even a hot Pop-Tart.

It’s a good one when you’re going for healthy, like I am. And if you happen to have chia seeds.

Preschool prep


The Invisible Man? No, it’s just Magnus, getting a hot towel treatment before his big day.


Barrak took Magnus to get a haircut at Rooster’s, a new Aveda barber shop on Maxtown Road in Westerville.  Barrak tells me there’s nothing like a haircut from a professional barber who’s been doing it for decades, and I’m inclined to believe him. This haircut is better than any Mag’s ever gotten at Sports Clips or Cookie Cutters.

They also have a father-son deal where you can both get haircuts and hot towel treatments for $43. Cute.

Anyway. Big day tomorrow. First days at preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade, 9th grade and college — all big school milestones in my book. I’m a little worried he’ll get upset when it’s time for us to leave him in his new classroom with the wonderfully named Mrs. Million, his teacher. But he needs to get out of the house, make some friends, learn a few tricks.

As Rebecca DeMornay told Tom Cruise in Risky Business, “Joel, go to school. Go learn something.”