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New Blog Name

Today has been a long time coming. The last time I updated this blog was back in 2008 (can you believe I started in 2006???), which in blogging time might as well be a century ago.  At the time, I was just writing the weekly menu, recipes and foodie events around the town. I was also figuring out food photography (which is still an ongoing process), social media barely existed, and I had no idea the world I was about to enter…motherhood, divorce, singlehood, etc…

Fast forward to today and that girl back from those days has grown up. She’s evolved, pushed, clawed, and swam through giant swells only to come out on the other side armed and ready for more. I didn’t know it, but for over the past few years, I have been setting the stage. Figuring out what I do and don’t like through more trial and error than I care to admit. But it was in those moments when FauxFoodieGirl came to life and really became “Life With Flavors”. 

I am so excited to launch this today and it just happens to coincide with the other news (more about our move to Aspen coming soon), and hope the new site will be much easier to use and navigate!  I’m still working on cleaning up, organizing and optimizing so bear with me through some bumps. But slow and steady wins the race!

So, with a new blog makeover, I want to re-introduce you to me and what Life With Flavors is all about and why the name change. What you’ll find here going forward is deep, emotional, drool-worthy, curiosity-inspired photography, recipes, life with Kiki, our new life in Aspen, the addition of Mr. Aspen to our dynamic duo, ever growing list of books I am trying to read, dreamy travel bucket list and life’s daily ponderings. 

One thing that will not change, the food… I am head over heels in love with food. My soul is happiest when I am day-dreaming about the latest gnocchi recipe or ways to introduce pizza in a fun, but delicious way. The hours pass so quickly when I am frolicking in a land of poptarts and juicy burgers with the occasional appearance of rabbit food. Life’s about balance, right?

I want your experience here to be adventurous and playful. Life With Flavors is a place where you can get lost in imagination and where no thought or feeling is off limits. I want to spark curiosity and make you feel inspired. Curiosity is my best friend and let me tell you, she’s never let me down.

With that, this new makeover is also about simplicity. I want Life With Flavors to be a place that’s easy to navigate so you can spend more time daydreaming, feeding your curious soul, playing around, and getting inspired in every aspect of your life. I appreciate your patience with me popping in and out and my limited posting.  With this big project behind me, I can finally get back to sharing our everyday adventures! First stop…how to pack your life so it fits into a 26 foot truck! Any and all advice welcomed! Stay tuned!

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Hello February
I hope this week is finding you happy, healthy, nourished and caffeinated.

Me? A little over caffeinated but feeling pretty good about the week I’ve had and I attribute it to last weekend full of relaxation, good sleep, yummy foods, and an extraordinary Sunday prep. I promise, a blog post of Sunday prep is coming…it’s truly crucial in every aspect of my week [read: LIFE]. I took some time last Saturday to sit in my back yard, reading, napping and daydreaming. There’s something rejuvenating about the wind against my face and rays of sunshine warming my skin. And besides all the other to-dos of the weekend which is filled with kid birthday parties, visits with friends, and never ending errands, I am hoping to find five minutes to sit in the back yard and read. I am happy to report, I am onto the third book of the year….falling back into reading has been amazing. It fuels my creativity and brings me much needed relaxation.

Books
Somehow we have found ourselves in February, and the theme for this month is love. Cupid has me feeling a bit mushy, so this month is devoted to everything love. Love can be a slippery slope for some of us and can create powerful and confusing feelings. Love comes in so many forms: love of our family, our partner, our pets, our friends, food, books, music, art, travel and so many more wonderful ways. I couldn’t resist and not to share this cute image of expressions of love…

Food_Valentines

Love is all around us…

Whatcha making for Game Day? How about these nachos?

What Super Bowl is about… Kudos, Budweiser.

I am sleeping so much better!

I can’t wait to see this movie. Girl power.

Food is rich in history and these 10 stories about women and food prove it.

I like my pizza cold, but this is the best trick in my book.

For all my fellow travel junkies…which airline has the healthiest food?

Thanks for hanging out with me…wishing you an amazing weekend, just as you are!

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Coparenting

There is a saying “little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice” and ain’t that the truth. Kiki certainly is all sugar and spice, sweeter than honey, spicier than Carolina pepper. My dear, kind, sweet, gentle, sensitive, smart, caring, loving five year old in a moment of her anger and crankiness (yup she has those too) told me that I am “Ruining Her Life!”. Yes, you read that correctly. Now imagine my jaw on the floor!

After an amazing weekend in the Keys, total girl power bonding, love, and joy, on Monday night just around her bed time, still the witching hour, we got into argument over her listening skills. Like every good taurus and a rebel, her stubbornness always gets the better of me. So in a heat of the moment of me screaming and telling her what to do and if she doesn’t do it, she will be grounded, she screamed at me “YOU ARE RUNING MY LIFE!”. I knew these words are coming my way one day, after all I am pretty sure I said the same to my mom, but I was hoping it would happen sometimes down the road in teenage land, not at five.

So here I am, standing in her room, completely taken and floored by her comment, not sure if I want to cry or laugh at the same time. I miraculously found some inner strength, dropped my voice about three octaves and in my most stern, polite and quiet way told her “You want to see me ruin your life, you haven’t seen anything yet. You are absolutely grounded – no TV, No iPad, no American Girl doll, no legos, no park, no friends for one week.” and walked out of her room. From the kitchen I could hear her crying, weeping, mumbling and who knows what else…Few minutes later, she walked out of her room and said “I will tell daddy everything and how mean you are! He would never do this to me!”

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As a child of divorced parents, I knew these words were most certainly coming my way and always feared them. Again, I was just hoping a little bit later down the road. So here I am and the only question I am asking myself “How did I get here?!?!”  I never thought I was gonna swim in the single parent waters. Now, stop feeling sorry for me, I am sure all parents ask themselves at some point “How did I get here?!!!” Parenting is not an easy task, single parenting…it’s a whole new level of complicated, challenging and difficult, so if you have an opportunity, learn how to co-parent. If possible, child needs both of his or her parents in their lives, so learn how to co-parent successfully, and you will be so much happier!

Divorce can bring out the worst in us. Perhaps there’s lingering hurt because one person left, or someone cheated, or someone fell out of love. But whatever the reason that prompted the end of the relationship, it’s never OK to drag kids through that mud. They didn’t ask for it.

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One thing I have learned in last five years while navigating single parenthood, is that effective co-parenting does not require friendship, but it does require cooperation. Co-parenting requires empathy, patience and open communication for success. Not an easy thing to achieve but absolutely necessary in raising well adjusted and happy child(ren). The biggest lesson of successful co-parenting involves only one thing: loving your child more than you hate your ex.

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Thankfully Kiki’s dad and I get along great. We’ve reached a place of mutual respect and for most part, communicate really well [there are always little things, but in this universe they are completely insignficant]. I can say it with certainty we both have a mindset of cooperation to avoid problems. We’ve adopted the approach of compromise that one of us is asking today, is what the other will need tomorrow. We have an open line of communication about everything and anything that concerns Kiki, and that’s where our “friendship” ends. Sometimes a concept hard to be accepted and understood for those with very different co-parenting situations. We speak positively about each other, despite our differences, and we always stand on the same side of any issue or situation that may arise with Kiki. It’s always a united front, because even a five year old will know how to take advantage of the situation. So when the episode of “You’re ruining my life” occurred, I knew telling him about it, was the right decision.  It was important that he gets on the same page of consequences to her behavior as following day she was staying at his house for a few days, and neither of us practices the divorced parent guilt and letting her get away with all the sassiness.

Both her dad and I spent time talking about how words hurt, how we need to use our words carefully and rather than trying to hurt the other person, express our feelings of frustration, anger, being upset, with the right words. Though it might seem hard to accept that the five year old understands it, I know Kiki does. The apologies ensued and she has “happily” accepted her punishment….but in a Kiki, or as I call her my mini adult fashion, she made a countdown calendar of the week to the end of her being grounded and every day she asks me does she deserve to cross the day off.

To all the parents out there…any advice you have, I am always willing to listen and learn…parenting is a marathon…We are in it for the long distances!

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Friday Chat

Congratulations, we have made it through our second week of 2017! January is usually a very long month, but somehow it’s flying by. I am trying to savor Miami Winter as much as I can and not rush through the season, as I will be doing enough rushing once humid and rainy summer is here. This weekend I will be savoring South Florida winter and getting out of town with Kiki.Her one Christmas gift wish was her very own suitcase and Santa delivered! My five year old has a worse travel itch than I do, and she can’t wait to pack her suitcase for this mini trip. She has asked me to pack herself as she knows exactly what she wants to take.  I am really looking forward to this weekend and it presented itself in a perfect time! After so much of thinking and me time last weekend, I am looking forward to a little bit of a weekend adventure! What are your weekend plans?

I am obsessed with podcasts, and on Monday on my way to the office I was listening to a podcast about goal setting and this one tip “Focus on getting better, rather than being good!” really struck a cord with me. I am sure I am not the only one out there, but so often the process can be overwhelming.  Changes don’t happen overnight and we don’t immediately arrive at our ideal self. It’s the journey, patience and grit that are required to reach the better. If you’re interested, here is the full article on “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently.

I’ve done lots of productivity, kid, and food related reading in the last week, and here are the few articles that caught my attention and are a great share…even if you read one or two of them, I am sure you will get a lot out of them!

Productivity Hacks

I am really trying hard to change this about me, learn how to finally break your habit of always being late.

5 financial habits to adopt when you start budgeting in 2017.

16 little things you can do to make every day better

I love reading and I love a good glass of wine, what better way to relax after a hard day’s work than a good book and a glass of wine?

Just in time for the mini trip with Kiki – How Children Benefit from Travel

This avocado toast..welcome to my fave breakfast for 2017

There’s a new restaurant in Amsterdam that’s devoted entirely to the avocado. Good thing we have the avocado emoji now!

I found my ultimate breakfast…no surprise, it involves avocado!

Every food trend of 2017 all in one place.

What chefs buy at Trader Joe’s.

Happiness Jar — especially as a project for the kids to take on.

and if you are still looking for a perfect 2017 challenge, I highly recommend this one…as “Trolls” have taught us “happiness comes from within”!

To all my working moms, single moms, stay at home moms…add this recipe to your family’s school night menu. Its hearty vegetables and penne pasta are comforting winterish dish that can be on your table in 25 minutes, and you won’t even feel you were cooking! This is a true quick-and-easy recipe. You can prepare all the ingredients while the pasta is cooking! It also makes a delicious lunch next day! Never doubt Martha Stewartshe always delivers!

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mom blog

[photo credit]

Oh, hi.  Remember me?  I used to make food, photograph it and post it here, and then…  Did anyone else feel like this week was extra-long? I am so happy to welcome the weekend. I have decided to relax all weekend long, with not one.single.plan. Well, maybe a few little things here and there, but mostly staying around the house and enjoying my white Christmas tree and lights! What are you up to this weekend? Anything fun?

I started reading this book last night…if you’re looking for me, I am mostly like curled up on my couch and indulging, of course with a glass of bubbles…it would only be appropriate!

from-bubbles-to-boardrooms

This fall has been crazy [I don’t know how is it possibly 15 days to Christmas?!!] When life gets busy, you just ride the wave, right?  Take it all in, one day at a time; and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I really dislike using the word “busy” because I think our society has an inflated view of what busy really means.  So, we will just say that my hands have been full.

As I am sure you’ve noticed when you popped in today, there is a new look to The Faux Foodie Girl! The new look and direction is something that I have been thinking about for a very long time and this change was long time coming, well overdue…but like everything in life, when the time is right, the opportunity will present itself… Thanks to this great team, I officially introduce you to the NEW The Faux Foodie Girl, website for a modern woman where I will continue sharing my adventures in motherhood, cooking, fashion, love of books, travels, and living! I’m super excited about it and all that I have in store (big things will be happening in 2017! Of course, there are some updates on where I am in #life today, and new things I am loving! So, stay tuned for all that’s coming as I also have some new characters to introduce you to, and a whole lot more…

In a mean time, here are few things that I read this week that caught my eye….

“I think balance is highly overrated,” adding that “if you find your life is out of control, it’s probably a sign of being very alive and in the game.”  This event recap of Martha Stewart’s American Made Summit honoring inspiring entrepreneurs who’ve made it is, well, totally inspiring. A little old, but not outdated and definitely a must read!

A well planned morning…and a few other tips

The One Surprising Thing You Need To Be Successful

My favorite read of the week –  Julia Child’s Fascinating marriage

I’ve never met a pesto I didn’t like, and this recipe is looking mighty enticing.

Bookmark this! 50 amazing wines under $15

The prices of avocado are on decline, so this tip might be needed if you’re like me and sitting with five avocados waiting to ripen!

How to keep my sanity during the holiday season, but should be practicing every day

Have a lovely weekend, friends. Love, coffee and giggles!

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Everyday Routine

Oh, hello, Friday! Hello, Weekend! Darn, today totally snuck up on me!

This week was a complete blur for me. It was my first full week home in a very long time, so I came home and hit the ground running. Even though I wasn’t thrilled to be back from what seemed like a dream vacation…I was happy to be back to my everyday routine (if something like that exists). Coming home to Kiki, the sous-chef, being in my home, the smell of my favorite candle…ah, it makes my heart dance a little dance of warmth and content. I think I am still a bit shocked I am not traveling for awhile. I may find cobwebs around my suitcase…

And so here we are…with a weekend in a site, what do you have planned? Me…NOTHING….
Due to some travel/work/weekend changes and balanced custody schedules, I will be home this weekend, alone with no plans…I don’t even know what that feels like. I think it will include some lazy reading by the pool, yoga, early morning runs, and a date with my DVR.

In a meantime, here are some interesting reads I’ve come across in the last few weeks while hanging out in the airports.

Commonalities of parents of successful kids.

How successful women live healthy.

Would you have a decluttering party?

It feels like summer in Miami, so perfect wine and food pairings I will be testing out this weekend

15 chefs share their favorite knives

Everyone is talking about it…everyone is doing it…

10 Healthy foods that should always be on your grocery list

I am still laughing…did you know that baby elephants throw tantrums and toss themselves into the mud when they’re upset….

I’ve introduced these to my life…I never knew I needed something so much and reap instant benefits…have you tried? any favorites?

I’ve printed this list as a daily reminder.

I am changing my morning routine…cuddling is definitely my favorite!

Book obsession continues in our house, but book organization even more.

and with that, I am off to order a few of the books that have been on my list for awhile now…coming back with reviews…one, two, three… have you read them?

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Wonderful Weekend
[photo credit]

Hey, hey, hey!
Friday – I made it! It was a long and big week, but I made it and feeling pretty good about it… Is anyone else looking at their calendar just absolutely amazed that we are well into November?!! How did this happen? Oh well, it’s here…I have to say I wish I was raking the leaves, instead I am “enjoy” the sweltering heat of Florida! I am absolutely ecstatic about this weekend. I am just happy to be home and have a chance to play catch-up before the holiday season commences. We will be busy with weekend activities, celebrating the sous-chef’s 15th birthday, catching up friends, time at the playground, movie nights and Christmas cards, yikes…that was scary to say out loud!
What are your plans this weekend?
Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It’s safe to say that this week’s “Interesting” reads were dear and near to me…any interesting reads you’d like to share?

Wine NOT: If you are new to wine, check out this great article on 10 essential tips for learning to drink wine. Actually, even if you’re not new to wine, it’s a good read.
Wine on a budget, why not?

I know, rosé  season is “over”, but since I like to break the rules, rosé  s still “THE” wine in my house…my summer obsession continues.. but is my rosé  habit ruining my teeth?? Say it ain’t so!

Weird wine pairing? yes, please…bring it on! If not for you, they at least make a good conversation piece.

If you ever want to know if someone is telling you the truth, watch what their body is saying versus the words they are giving you…99% of the time, go with the body language…I was reminded of that lesson, yet again…

#whostheboss No one, if you work at Zappos. Would you or could you like and do your job better without a boss?

Though I have my very strong opinion of the ending of “The Intern”, I love all Nancy Meyers’ movies and this interview proves how cool she really is…

While on the topic of Nancy Meyers…she’s known not only for her irresistible chick flicks but also (possibly even more so) for her idyllic sets. It’s fascinating to see the real cost of the dreamy homes in “Something’s Gotta Give”, “It’s Complicated” and her latest…”The Intern”
Interesting Reads

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Let's Chat - Our Summer Days

Happy Friday! This summer is sailing along and it’s hard to believe that September is around the corner! We’ve been in a full summer swing…. Our summer days have been filling themselves up at a rapid pace, which means we are having a lot of fun and definitely making the most of our time together. I, for one, want to savor every minute of it. Kiki is a great little traveler and she loves “adventures”! We’ve done a fair share of traveling, backyard adventures, but there are a few more things left on our summer fun list.

This week I am finally home, off the plane, out of the airports and back to the office business and spending tons of time with Kiki.  We’ve been spending most of our time at the pool. This has been a breakthrough summer for Kiki and her swimming…she has become my little mermaid, no fear, no tears, just a lot of blue lips! This weekend will be very different for me because I am home for the first time in a very long time and Kiki is with her dad, so my list of things to-do and getting our home life in order is my priority…and strangely, I am looking forward it!

Here’s what caught my attention this week…

Fulfilling my wanderlust!
I can not wait to see this movie…Bradley Cooper, cooking, sizzle, and all that heat!
Who would you like to have dinner with from this list of culinary celebrities?
What 30 well-known healthy people eat for breakfast every morning?
I am LOVING this memoir/cookbook from this family of food bloggers. I am totally obsessed with their gifted writing, storytelling and honesty of their rocky road.
How to create magazine worthy photos with your iPhone.
Yes, it takes a village to “have it all” – how do we achieve balance?!!
Tips on how to prioritize your to do list for the day.

No wonder I am so tired…I am doing too much multi-tasking. Four ways to retrain your brain when consumed with information overload.

Falling asleep might not be my problem, but staying asleep is a struggle.

How to raise caring kids.

I am not gonna lie, I am thinking of my next one

What are you up to this weekend?
Whatever you end up doing, hope it’s a great one!!!!

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Let's Chat - "Interesting" Reads

Hip, Hip Hooray, it’s Friday!  Another crazy week behind us.  But I’m starting to wonder if maybe crazy weeks are just becoming our norm? I always look forward to things slowing down in summer, but for some reason this summer has been full speed onward…perhaps it’s my inability to say “NO”. Maybe my summer task should be learning to say no, slowing down, recharging and renewing.  Earlier this week I made a commitment to go to sleep at a reasonable hour one night a week [regardless of all the things that needed attention!] and it was blissful. Definitely improved my day. Tuesday: you’re now my “prioritize sleep” night. Let’s see how long I can make this last(!). But I have faith!

And on those sleepless nights I scoured the net and now sharing some of the more “interesting” reads! Hope you have an amazing weekend!

1. How to focus, even when summertime distractions strike.

2. Wonder how our days would change if we started every morning with these 10 things? my favorite “SMILE”!

3. In search of perfection…you should watch this!

4. I want to meditate, I really do! Maybe this is the secret?

5. This makes me want to vacation in Morocco this summer.

6. Hope this makes you feel really good, working mom…

7. As a chronic over-apologizer, I really enjoyed this essay.  But now, let’s stop apologizing so much, shall we!

8. I am doing something new…I’ve decided to make Sundays my most productive night of the week.

9. Pure genius – Watermelon ice cubes…why have I never thought of this?

10. 10 Foodies who’ve made it happen on Instagram….Are you following?

11. My hero Ina shares her tips on how to run a business and do what you love. Oh, Barefoot Contessa, you can do no wrong!!! and have I mention how much I’d love to attend the Forbes Women’s Summit?!! one day…

..have you read something lately that caught your attention?…Share your weekly reads in comments!

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Lat's Chat - Interesting Thoughts

Happy Friday my friends!  I feel like a broken record when I say that life is crazy and we’re in the middle of a storm every week- but it’s true! Around Tuesday, I felt like I was in the middle of a cyclone!  Yup, one of those!  Do you know what I’m talking about- the days where you feel like you’re just spinning and getting tossed about and wondering where you’re going to land?  Well, that’s me over here – or over there, WHO KNOWS?!  HA! Anyway, I intend to forget about the cyclone this weekend and soak in my time with Kiki. Originally we had no plans, just kind of go with the flow, but last night she announced her plans for us and a few things came up…so we will be doing some BBQ with friends, a little bit of shopping [Kiki needs new shoes. I feel like she needs new shoes every other week, she’s worse than me, but she keeps growing them out] a movie party and  hopefully practicing our swimming skills. What are you all up to this weekend?

A little round up of the “interesting” things I’ve come across this week and thought I’d share….

1. I am beyond intrigued by this man!!!! To hear him speak in person only once…that’s all I want!

2. Recently someone asked me about my political orientation…and I had to quote Elon… “I’m somewhere in the middle, socially liberal and fiscally conservative.”

3. Six things the most productive people do every day. “Winging it” isn’t one of them.

4. Ten tricks to appear smarter in meetings…oh yes, I am funny!

5. Patience is not my virtue…and now there is a proof that I am just efficient!

6. I never felt guilty about choosing to work…then again, I don’t feel guilty about much at all.

7. Sure, I live where others vacation, but I am in a desperate need of a beach vacation.

8. A good read and reminder that this is what happens when you sloooow down.

9. Moms, this one is for you!

10. This recipe combines two of my favorite things – Brussels sprouts and marcona almonds.  (Random, I know.  But I love them both.)

11. She’s just like us! Even Ina gets nervous 15 minutes before a party. These are her best party tips. 

12. It’s time to pass the whisk with great tips of how to get your mini-me to help cook in the kitchen.

@lifewithflavors

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