Thursday, February 28, 2013

Five Friday Favorites - For Athletes

It's Friday people. Time to sweat it out. Let Sunday be your day of rest. Squeeze in one more workout before you head into the weekend. You know you never regret it, but in case you need some extra motivation - this gear is good. Trust me. Oh and the song at the end - that's just an added bonus.

These pants are made of a nice thick fabric that hides any lumps or bumps. I can never figure out where to stash my iPhone while I run - the small zip pocket on the front panel is ideal. AND the smooth black fabric without patterns means you can easily pull on knee-high boots and a sweater to magically look like you are no longer in gym clothes. Perfect for days when you are cramming it all in.

Some days I can't get to the gym. These are my stay at home frenemies. Love them and hate them at the same time. The smooth side glides on carpets, and the fabric side glides on hard floors. Lunges and squats have never burned so badly... Imagine - you can tighten your tush while standing in your tv-room watching old episodes of Downton Abby? Brilliant. And yes, these would easily fit in your suitcase when you travel. No more excuses.

The Armour39 Module and Chest Strap is high tech. Gadgets are cool. They make you feel hard core. This one is so cutting edge you can't even buy it yet. It's got technology that let's you measure your heart rate, calories burned, and real-time intensity. I'm down. You can pre-order it now and have it by mid-spring. Don't worry about competing against other. Focus on beating your own best time. That's what makes you better.

I have wide-ish feet with flat arches. This shoe has been my running partner ever since I started jogging regularly 2 years ago. It's incredibly lightweight and they are always coming up with fun colors - the shoe is like a little dance party just for your feet.  

And in case you need a little more motivation - my boy Eminem might be able to get you good and amped up before you work out. Ok, maybe he's not "my boy" but I do dig him. Even though it is very out of character - I love his music.  

Eminem, "Lose Yourself"

What's your favorite gear? Let me know in the comment section. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


There was a time in my life when solitude meant loneliness. 

Now it means an opportunity to reflect. I reflect on things I have said, what I have spent my time doing, and what I want to spend my time doing in the days ahead. 

I hope today you too will enjoy silence and reflect.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scout's Honor

It's that glorious time of year. Girl Scout cookie selling season is almost upon us! In their honor I too will be pimping cookies in this post. Since my own Girl Scout days I have been passionate about these sweet treats. Thin mints, samoas, peanut butter patties - I have a serious issue with portion control. I'm not ashamed to admit I have eaten an entire sleeve in one sitting. Sometimes one cookie just isn't enough. 

That's where my "healthy" chocolate chip cookies come in. This is a cookie that comes without guilt. (FYI - This is NOT the monster cookie I spoke of in a previous post. That cookie would be shunned by its sensibly sized Girl Scout relative.)  This one below is petite and some might even call it more of a biscuit than cookie. It isn't buttery, but rather it's a hearty little fellow. I eat them all day long - they have whole wheat flour and no white sugar after all. Breakfast substitute? In a pinch, why not! Just make sure the kids aren't watching... That's a tough one to get out of next time they say "But mommy eats cookies for breakfast?!?" All kidding aside - this is one of my favorite homemade snacks for the minis. Scout's honor - even though they are healthy, your kids will love them! 

The Sous Chef

Bakers Tip: Ditch the bag and box. Keeping brown sugar in a sealed plastic container keeps it soft, and it is also much easier to scoop it out and pack it down. 

The more chips the merrier!

Be sure to flatten cookies slightly after putting them on the tray. The batter doesn't wander...

Is there really a better combo? 

The modern version of a sleeve.

The Sentimentalist's Healthy Cookie
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 tsps baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 stick softened butter
1 egg
1/4 cup milk (skim or whole)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup walnuts (optional)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Combine dry ingredients in small bowl and lightly mix with whisk.
2) Combine egg, milk, brown sugar, and butter in a large bowl and mix with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.
3) Slowly add dry ingredients to wet - 1 cup at a time - and continue to mix on medium speed until wet and dry ingredients are combined.
4) Add nuts and chocolate chips and stir with spoon until evenly mixed.
5) Place small mounds of dough, evenly spaced, on un-greased cookie sheet.
6) Cook at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

*Recipe makes 18 cookies

And if you try these cookies and find you are still hankering for the real thing - click on this link to find out where and when Girl Scout cookies are being sold in your area. Don't forget to ask the sales rep why she is selling the cookies. I love to hear a young scout talk about her goals and aspirations. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dear Sentimentalist

Dear Sentimentalist, 

I am loving your regular updates and so thought that you might be the person to ask some fashion advice. We are off on spring break soon and I would love to treat myself to a new bikini. I remember you were wearing a very groovy bikini last summer and that it was available somewhere locally. Help me please!!

With Love, 

The Jetsetter

Dear Jetsetter, 

My mama grew up in Florida and that means in our house we take our swimwear very seriously. There was no "rinsing and drying" one suit day-after-day on vacation in our family. We brought a suit for every occasion and boy did we have fun revealing each one. Most important feature for me at this point in my life is fabric and cut that doesn't "dig in". I also really appreciate some extra "support" since gravity has started to take effect. Trying on bathing suits can be intimidating, but fear not - there are some great options out there. 

My new FAVORITE swimwear line is Letarte. Two years ago my husband surprised me with my first Letarte bikini for Valentine's day. He had picked it out of a magazine and ordered it online. (I know ladies, I have him very well trained.) I wore the heck out of that suit and it is still in great shape. I was thrilled to discover that the brand opened a Greenwich store last year. It is near the bottom of the Avenue on the left hand side. Since they opened I have bought two more from their line and have gotten many a compliment on their fun colors and flattering shapes. 

Go, shop, and flaunt that bod of yours with pride! One tip - zipping your hubby a phone pic of you in the suit you are trying on is a nice way to get those sexy beachy travel juices flowing in advance of your trip. I also must point out that a healthy dose of confidence is almost more important than the suit. Your body is yours. Embrace it and try to love it as it is!

(One of Letarte's Most Recent Designs)

As far as Letarte goes - the line was designed by two sisters, love me a family brand, and they really understand what women need in a bathing suit. I was lucky enough to chat with co-founder, Michele Letarte Ross, and here is what she had to say! 

Q&A with Letarte Cofounder, Michele Letarte Ross:

Why did you start the brand? What was your mission? 

My sister, Lisa, and I started Letarte in 2000. We were frustrated by the lack of bikinis in the marketplace that were both flirty yet functional. Lisa is an ex professional windsurfer so she has lived and breathed that water moment when you get crushed by a huge wave and find your self with sandy pants… :)

What makes your suits unique? 

Letarte is a blend of two lifestyles - both Lisa and I. Lisa lives the island life, while I live the sporty life. We combine these two lifestyles to bring you a brand that is fresh, innovative, and functional.

Different bodies, different swimsuit needs. Any tips on how to find the right style for a few different body types (pear shaped, curvy, curve-less, full bosom)? 

Finding a swim suit that fits your body shape is really a lot of trial and error. We keep many of the same style numbers and silhouettes year after year so that once a customer finds a silhouette that works for them, they can buy it year after year.  For instance, our 1005 Halter is a great full coverage top for a B or C cup gal and this has been a style that we have had in our collection for 12 years! There are a lot of tricks in helping to determine styles that fit you and our Letarte Retail Swim Specialists are very thorough in knowing how to select the best Letarte for your body type.

(The 1005 Halter)

How excited were you when you found out you had landed the SI Cover?  

It was an OMG moment…..

(The 2013 Cover Model in Letarte)

When it comes to cover-ups - to match or to contrast is the question? 

I like cover ups that have some contrast. For instance, if you purchase a print bikini, I would recommend a solid cover up and vice versa… never print on print!

What is next for Letarte? 

Lisa and I are excited about expanding our Retail Store footprint, and expanding some of the categories from our Apres Soleil division.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Five Friday Favorites (For The Boys)

Men, I care about you. I really do. I know up until this point my content has leaned more towards my female audience, but this post is my attempt to redeem myself. This week I've brought you a few of my favorites for men. You all role your eyes and pretend our inclination to shop drives you crazy, but I know that many of you peruse websites at night, shopping behind the scenes when you think we aren't looking. We assume that on Saturday afternoons you are out there doing "manly" things like shovelin' the driveway and grillin' meat. Just admit it - you were waiting for this list. 

Johnnie-O's polos are for the days when you want to look polished but still feel laid back. It's surfer dude meets Alex P. Keaton. We all love a good old-fashioned prepster, but sometimes we like a little edge on that prepster too. The long sleeve version is also great. Now if I could only get my husband to wear it untucked without a belt...

You've heard a man say it before, "It doesn't burn my taste buds, it just adds flavor." Well gentlemen, this one really does. Cholula has a slightly smoky, sort of tangy thing going on. It's great in soup, on Mexican food, or slathered on a burger. Anybody ever tried an Afterburner Shot

Is there really anything hotter than a man in aviators? Think Tom Cruise in Top Gun - back when he was feeling the need for speed. These glasses look great, but you can also feel great when you buy them. Toms gives a pair of reading glasses to a child in need or pays for an eye surgery every time someone buys a pair. Giving back is even hotter than aviators.

We log a lot of hours in the car driving back and forth to VT. Car time means snack time. This is no Slim Jim in a bag. It's much much better. Teriyaki flavor is in our top three and of course "Death By Jerky" is our favorite. When your lady tells you she can't stand the smell,  just say "But honey, it's packed with protein." She won't have a leg to stand on...

In our house we prefer the "slim fit". It really just means less fabric to tuck into the suit. They are really good quality and the site always has sales going on. Right now these shirts are selling 5 for $160. Just go ahead and throw out the ones hanging in your closet with the suspect yellow rings under the arms. It's time to buy new ones. You can afford it. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tough As Nails

I almost never get manicures. When I do, I wish I did more. Then I get home, chip it doing dishes, and I am annoyed. It just doesn't seem worth it. I've been known to do the occasional one coat of Essie's "Sugar Daddy" just prior to a big night out, but that really is it. Until now... 

I am a sucker for a well placed item when perusing the products strategically placed in the cosmetics lane at CVS. Yes, I actually did buy a curling iron and a straightening iron on the same visit. Ironic, I know. This handsome package was my latest beauty splurge.

I know what you are thinking - $64.99 seems kind of pricey for an at-home manicure kit. The thing is, it is really worth it. Inside the box I found all sorts of goodies. A precious little LED lamp (no batteries needed because you plug it in), 3 bottles of polish, 10 nail cleanser pads, 1 bottle of remover, 1 cuticle stick, and 1 small nail file.

That is a lot of stuff in one box!

I was eager to give it a try, but I kept my expectations low. I had some time on my hands (pun intended) and decided to set up shop once the girls were in bed. The bright orange LED lamp would have been WAY too tempting for my minis. And besides, if they said it dried instantly I wanted to try the old "right before bed" technique. I, for one, have woken with smudged nails every other time I have gotten a manicure after 5pm. Back to the gel kit - with nails that were cut and filed, I started with a cleanser pad. 

A few swipes on each nail and they were ready for polish. The instructions could not have been more clear. Each step was so quick that I feared I was doing something wrong.

You paint with primer, hit the lamp for 30 seconds, and then move on. During "step 2" you add the color, and once again it is under the light. 

I opted for the subtle nude color called "Shell We Dance". You only get one color with your kit but you can buy single bottles of different colors for $11.99. After the color you are on to the top coat, lights again, and then you are done.

The bottles have colored caps to clearly indicate their differences. 

One more swipe over each nail at the very end with the same cleansing pad you used at the beginning and your nails are smooth, dry, and hard as - well "nails". I kid you not when I say the whole thing took less than 15 minutes and my nails were ready to rumble the minute I was finished. 

Tell me they don't look like they were done in a salon?!?

Since my at-home gel mani I have done 3 loads of dishes and not a chip in sight. The kicker might be when I try to get this shellac off my nails two weeks from now. I've heard it is a little challenging to do - you need more than a cotton ball and some remover. For now I am just enjoying the beauty of polished nails. I'll get back to you in two weeks on the other part.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why Women Matter

Am I a feminist? Yes. What does that mean? It means that I, in all facets of life, believe that women (young and old) deserve the same rights as men. The reason we deserve those rights is because we have just as much to bring to the table. For me, in this day and age, one of the most powerful things about the way many women work is their ability to shake the world and make waves, while carefully ensuring that the most fragile amongst us don't get swallowed up by the storm. I love that women can be strong, yet gentle. Passionate, yet measured. The feminist movement started long ago and many people are still fighting to move things forward. The landscape has changed, but the goal remains the same. I must admit there are days when I feel anything but ready for battle. Those are the days when I am so grateful for the many warriors, past and present, who fearlessly stood and still stand on the field - demanding equality and that their voices be heard.

A few weeks ago my eyes were opened to a powerful documentary that features these warriors that I refer to. As soon as I saw the trailer I knew that this project was right in line with what we like to highlight at The Sentimentalist. This body of work, MAKERS, features women who have changed our world for the better. Some in small ways, many in large, have had the courage to stand up and say "I don't like the way things are going so I am going to change them." Kudos to these groundbreaking "Makers". I admire them and some day I know my young daughters will understand the importance of what these women did. I am glad that their stories now have a home. 

The MAKERS Trailer

A Conversation with Nancy Armstrong, Web Producer, MAKERS - Women Who Make America:

Why make a documentary about this topic right now?
A documentary on this topic is actually long overdue. It is phenomenal how far women have advanced in America over just 50 years, and the comprehensive story of the movement that forever altered the world we live in today has never been told in this way, in the words of the women who lived it.  In terms of women's issues and women's equality, it's important to understand where we've been, in order to chart a course for the way forward.  Gloria Steinem has said that a movement takes 100 years.  We are fifty years into the women's movement, so there is still a long way to go.

MAKERS: Gloria Steinem

Whose interview surprised you most? 
I have been fortunate to interview so many amazing women through the course of this project, from Martha Stewart, Marlo Thomas, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Danica Patrick, to less familiar but equally game-changing women like Muriel Siebert, who was the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, and Barbara Burns, who was one of the first female coalminers. All of the women were fascinating to interview, and all of them made an indelible mark on American history.  

What was one of your more emotional interviews?
My very first interview for MAKERS was with Maria Pepe, the first girl to play little league baseball.  She was a gifted ball player who was chosen to play on a team because of her talent, and unceremoniously removed from the team because of her gender. This is one of the quintessential MAKERS stories in that it clearly illustrates how one girl's courage helped change the rule books on whether or not girls could participate on Little League sports teams. Maria and I both cried during her interview, and her final profile piece on still makes me a little teary. The stories of these women are so powerful.

MAKERS: Maria Pepe

How can we explain the movement and this documentary to the youngest of our communities? 
The easiest way to introduce young girls to the project is through the groundbreaking profile pieces on the Web that are produced in short video clips. These are perfect for introducing smaller children to the project with the gripping three-minute stories that they will marvel at. For example, it was hard for my 7 and 9-year-old daughters to believe that women were not always allowed to compete in marathon races, and after watching Katherine Switzer's incredible story, they were able to understand and recount this piece of history in a meaningful way, and feel gratitude for her courage in opening up that opportunity for women.

MAKERS: Katherine Switzer

Why should men care about this project? 
Men do care about this content. What surprised us most about the traffic on is that 48% of it is male. Groundbreaking accomplishments are interesting on their own, whether they pertain to men or women. Gender discrimination was rampant until women woke up and decided to start aggressively challenging that in the 1960's.  There were also many men who were feminists during that period, who fought alongside women for equal rights. I would imagine that for men living in today's society with daughters of their own, there is a strong measure of gratitude to those groundbreaking women who transformed society into one in which their daughters will be able to pursue their dreams without limitations. As a practical matter, men want this country to be successful just as much as women do, and if the advancement of half of the population, and therefore half of the talent, is stifled in some way, the country is ultimately less successful.

What is next for Makers?
There is no set number for the MAKERS program – this is an evergreen project with limitless bounds. There are so many incredible women that we can celebrate. The collection of MAKERS will continue to grow and evolve beyond the broadcast, as new stories are added to the site on a weekly basis.

Where and when can people see the full documentary?
MAKERS - Women Who Make America debuts as a three-part documentary at 8pm on PBS on February 26, 2013 (check local listings).

The Sentimentalist will be watching on the 26th, and I hope you will too.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I will try.

This week I will channel a little more Mother Teresa in everything I do. 

I will not gossip, and I will give someone an unexpected compliment.

I will fearlessly give love to many people.

I will pray for someone who feels lonely and unwanted.

I will call a friend I haven't spoken to in too long.

I will have patience with my children, especially when I tell them for the third time to put their shoes on. 

I will smile - as I drive, as I run errands, while I work out, and especially at myself when I am looking in the mirror. If you smile enough it is inevitable that you will start to feel happy. 

I will remember that fixing my own flaws is more important than worrying about the flaws of others.

I will try.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Five Friday Favorites

Things I am loving right now... 

Imagine the options. I bought 2 of these for each of my minis earlier this winter, and I threw 2 XL in the basket for me too. (*Secret tip - shopping the girls/teen section can yield major rewards for adults too.) It's great for layering and will be adorable this spring with colored cropped jeans, arm swag, and leopard print smoking loafers. $7.00? Come on now!

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. You ate candy. A lot of candy. Why stop now? At least this entire line is vegetarian, fat-free, meat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, Halal and Kosher certified. I know sugar is bad, but sometimes it tastes so "good". 

Alicia Keys kicks ass. This music makes me want to win a prize. I love how she is soft and hard at the same time... In all her spare time Keys does a ton of non-profit work. Insanely talented and a pure heart? Double bonus!

I'm a bit of a sissy red wine drinker. Pinot or bust. This one is a little bolder than others. Great with chicken marsala, an arugula salad with grilled tomatoes, and berry cobbler for dessert.

Do you remember these? Color, cut, shrink. It's a toss up as to who has more fun watching these modern mysteries get smaller right before your very eyes. Great activity for snowy days when you are trapped inside. Thank you Nemo. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Ooh! Ahh! Warm muffins. What a way to start the day! This recipe is great because it is egg, nut, and dairy free. That makes it the ideal baked good to bring to school when it is your turn to make snack. Wondering how they taste without eggs and dairy? I promise they are moist (an acceptable adjective when baking) and flavorful. You might expect an egg-less muffin to be dense, but these truly are light and airy. It's no secret that I am obsessed with baking. Today it's the healthy banana muffin recipe - and a few weeks from now I might just share my 4-chip 6-ounce SUPERSONIC cookie recipe. I've had parents offer to trade me their child for that recipe... But for now, it's just bananas.

Never forget to preheat.

Simple ingredients, big taste.

These apple sauce snack packs are exactly 1/2 cup each, and they do not need to be refrigerated. I always keep a packet in the pantry.

I love fun-colored paper liners. Much more exciting for little hands to peel.

The final product!

Egg-Free Dairy-Free Nut-Free Banana Muffins 
(adapted from The Divvies Bakery Cookbook)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. 
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. Peel the bananas and place in a separate mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until pureed. Add the apple sauce, oil, water, and sugar and beat until all elements are well-combined.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat at medium speed until well combined.
5. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, testing with a toothpick to make sure they are done.
6. Remove from oven and cool muffins on wire rack.

*Makes 12 muffins

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Look Love Buy

This look below on Karolina Kurkova just rocks. I'd add a pair of opaque black tights and this would be my classic "day into night" outfit. It would be perfect for next time I am in NYC for an afternoon of errands and then meeting John for dinner. A chunky black scarf is one of the best ways to look stylish while staying warm. A wool trench is incredibly current but traditional enough to wear with many different looks. Gray is the new neutral. J'adore. 

Love these Louboutin booties. Instead of the stilettos worn by Kurkova, these wedged heels would make the look a bit more casual. They dress this look down, but the heel height (very high) and color (classic black) make the booties easy to wear with other outfits too. I'd wear them with tights and a colorful tailored dress, or with a wide leg jean and sleek cashmere sweater.

For spring I would swap out Karolina's grey wool trench for a traditional canvas tan one. The booties would have to go too. Instead I would slip into these lovelies. Can you imagine they are from Target?!? The ankle strap is very in right now. If you don't believe me just ask Giuseppe Zanotti or Christian Louboutin.