Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Invisalign Straight Talk

I had heard of Invisalign. Having worn braces in 7th grade and still having the results "hold" plus, having kids who are too young for braces didn't cause me to pay much attention to Invisalign. Actually, I was fairly skeptical and figured they were some sort of fad that would soon be proven "not to work." I blissfully led my parallel life to Invisalign. I was invited to an event in 2009 but was unable to attend. Finally, I was able to attend an event last month in Laguna Beach and was told to invite my friends. Yay! So, I rounded up 4 of my good buddies and we went for girls night. Some great food and drinks and an amazing presentation later...I am a believer.

Invisalign is totally legitimate. It works for teens (some pre-teens are even able to use the aligners) and adults. Even people in retirement have benefited from Invisalign. I learned that the treatment typically takes a year. That you are given your treatment plan at the beginning and switch out your "aligners" (invisible trays that are molded to your teeth) every two weeks or so. You take the trays out to eat and brush your teeth. For those moms who remembers themselves or others fishing out retainers from the trash can at school...Invisalign Teen comes with 6 free replacements! If you think you would like to learn more about Invisalign, visit Invisalign and you can also search for a local provider. If you would like to see some of the photos from the Straight Talk event, visit my Facebook page: and click on the photos. For moms who want to get more info on teeth straightening from other moms, I'd like to recommend

Here is an overview on the product: Invisalign takes a modern approach to straightening teeth,using a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligners are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you simply wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your dentist or orthodontist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You simply pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete and you achieve the confident smile that you’ve always wanted. The best part about the whole process is that most people won’t even know you’re straightening your teeth.

Disclosure: I attended at Straight Talk event hosted by Invisalign and received a gift bag and prizes. The thoughts and opinions expressed about the product in this post are my own. Invisalign Disclosure Statement

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 - Recipe

I’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving meal. I’ve reheated meals I’ve bought from gourmet markets and I’ve helped by making a side dish and bringing it to a dinner someone ELSE cooked. I’m on track to avoid cooking again this year…But we’ll see. I was recently inspired to get a grip on Thanksgiving early by attending an interesting cooking class that taught us some great tips on cooking the big meal as well, allowed us to eat it and sent us off with leftovers and recipes! One of my best blogging buddies, Debbie of Manhattan Beach Momma arranged for a bunch of us LA area bloggers to attend a Thanksgiving Cooking Class at Simple Gourmet.

I learned some useful tips: 1) Get a fresh turkey. Frozen birds tend to dry out quicker during cooking. 2) Don’t cook a turkey over 18 lbs because it takes too long. If you need more turkey buy additional breasts and you can even cook them the day before and refrigerate them. On Thanksgiving, carve the breast and put in a pan with some turkey stock and cover with foil. Reheat at 350 degrees for 30 min.

I like stuffing. I never understood why it was sometimes, by some people, called “dressing”. I learned that night that stuffing is what is INSIDE the bird and dressing is cooked outside the bird. What remains a puzzle to me is…What if you have the exact same thing inside the bird and you have more of the same on the side in a dish baking in the oven? See? Thus, I prefer to use the word “stuffing” and to use “dressing” when I eat salads. That said, I will share with you a particularly intriguing side dish that was my favorite. It is a stuffing (dressing if you must) that has NO bread. Shake things up with your in-laws this Turkey Day and this out. Score extra points if someone needs to eat gluten-free.

Caramelized Parsnip and Farro Dressing with Sage Browned ButterPhoto courtesy of
Serves 10

3 tbl butter
1 white onion, finely diced
4 cups finely diced parsnips
1 cup finely diced celery
1 tbl fresh chopped thyme
salt and pepper
6 cups cooked farro (to cook: add 3 cups to rapidly boiling water or stock. Cook until tender and drain)
2 tbl poultry seasoning (I recommend Bell’s Seasoning if you can find it)
1 egg
1/3 cup turkey or chicken stock
1/2 cup grated parmesan
6 tbl butter
2 tbl chopped fresh sage
Heat a large skillet and add the 3 tbl of butter. Add the onions, parsnips, celery and thyme. Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium-high heat until veggies are soft and beginning to caramelize. Remove and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss together the farro, vegetable mixture and poultry (Bell’s) seasoning. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
In another small bowl, whisk together the egg, stock and parmesan. Pour this mixture and the parsley into the farro and toss to combine.
Place a small pan with the 6 tbl of butter and sage over medium-high heat and cook until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Butter a 9×13 casserole dish and fill with the farro mixture and drizzle with the browned butter. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes until golden on top. Serve warm with extra gravy from the turkey.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Our America with Lisa Ling on OWN

I recently had the opportunity to visit the OWN headquarters here in LA and have lunch with Lisa Ling along with a small group of bloggers. The opportunity to meet Lisa was something I definitely did not want to pass up. I have been a fan of Lisa’s since she was on The View and have watched her career as she moved on to The National Geographic Channel, making many appearances on Oprah and then to her new show on OWN. OWN is Oprah Winfrey’s network and it launched New Year’s Day 2011. I had the opportunity to attend the Television Critic’s Association events this past January where I was able to see Lisa speak about her forthcoming series, “Our America”. But, until you actually see the show, it’s difficult to really “know”. The first season was intriguing and successful. As I learned, the first season enabled Lisa and her team to secure even more fascinating people willing to be subjects in the second season. In “Our America”, Lisa goes deep inside the worlds of people who truly are “one of us” save that their lives have taken a different path.

This season Lisa covers the worlds of Amateur Porn, Polygamy, Sex Trafficking of American Girls, Veterans suffering from Invisible Wounds, The Lives of Twins, The cycle of Incarceration, and Extreme Parenting. Each topic, may on the surface, seem extremely foreign to you. But, as you watch each episode unfold, you will find yourself relating—as a human and as an American. You might even find yourself thinking, “I could be friends with that person” or “But for the grace of god….”

Speaking of relating, I felt very strongly that I could relate to Lisa and her quest to cover these stories. I’ve always been intrigued by people and who they are and what they do. I think it figures into my having made a point of living all over the world and learning several foreign languages. I want to know more people and understand them. I may not agree, but at least I can try to understand. Try to find the truth. Listening to Lisa talk about her series, I could tell how genuine her passion is for storytelling. To watch the episodes shows Lisa truly respecting her subjects. Regardless of how much she may disagree or not share their views, she is doing her job with grace. The shows are really works of art themselves with a cinematic feel. Even if you think you wouldn’t watch this show, I assure you, you would.

The episode that aired tonight is particularly important to me. The heroes of our overseas conflicts who are returning home with invisible wounds—PTSD. Lisa goes inside families to show us the raw humanity of these soldiers and those who love them. With Veteran’s Day coming up this Friday 11/11/11, be sure to watch the encore of Invisible Wounds of War at 5pm ET/PT. You can catch Our America at its regular time, Sundays, 10pm ET/PT. I highly recommend you pay a visit OWN’s website and the Our America pages where you can learn much more about the show and the topics as well as view deleted scenes from the shows.