April Fools’ Pranks

While I’m definitely not into April Fools’ Day trickery, I got a kick out of these collections of pranks (here, here and here).

These food-related ones are pretty funny:

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As a kid, I was on the receiving end of something similar to this:


Except instead of mashed potatoes subbing for vanilla ice cream, my dad crafted a sundae out of two scoops of chocolate ice cream and one big meatball, then smothered the whole thing in hot fudge and whipped cream.

Four years ago at work, I also walked into my office looking something like this:


There were more than four hundred balloons and they were everywhere. I’m still laughing to think about it.

Happy Fooling!


Homemade Dollhouse

Trixie and I spent yesterday afternoon crafting a dollhouse out of an old cardboard box.


Ahhh, the old cardboard box. Still a classic plaything.

I loved doing this when I was a kid!

She needed quite a bit of help with fabricating the doors and windows, but then together we cut out pictures of interior shots from a home decorating catalog to fancy up the inside.

The outside of the box also got quite a bit of attention by drawing in trees, grass and plants.

We also crafted a few pieces of cardboard furniture, like this oven:


This new resident found the house to be quite satisfactory:


They’re not homemade, but check out this cool line of modern dollhouses that double as furniture from British company Qubis.

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P.S. Here is a story about a great DIY dollhouse makeover. This project is out of my league, but I admired the effort.



Gift for a Baby

One of my dear friends at work is having a baby any day now, and naturally, I want to get her a cool gift.

The only tricky thing is that this is her third baby, and by now she already has a lot of the major stuff that babies require.

My usual strategy in situations like this is to get something that will be used up and not make more clutter. A huge bonus would be to get things that make life easier, too.

This is my plan:

  • Gift cards to a few local restaurants, preferably ones that deliver. Will print menus and include with the cards.
  • A bottle of champagne. Cheers to the new baby!
  • Special baby care items that are unique and non toxic, like Honest Company products. Check out this baby arrival gift set:


  • Something interesting for her two older kids, like the fun toys like these from Land of Nod:

 land of nod2 land of nod5 land of nod3 land of nod4

  • A month of free babysitting. Just kidding! I can barely take care of my own two kids.

Other ideas to consider:

  • Hire someone to cook a meal (or a week’s worth of meals) in her home. And clean up the mess! This is so much better than just dropping off, say, a frozen meal that needs re-heating and assembly of sides, etc. Don’t get me wrong; bringing frozen meals is still a great gesture, but what’s even better would be to have someone else shop, cook and serve the meal at her home, then clean up, leave the kitchen spotless and get out the door. I know I could do this  myself, but of course I do not cook.  Many decent-sized cities have personal chefs who will be happy to do this. You can also do a quick search for local caterers, as many boutique operations would find this right up their alley.


  • Spa treatments at home. While I personally think a gift certificate to a day spa would be an awesome gift, it’s not easy to make the time to use it with a newborn. Having someone come to your home for a massage, pedicure or facial is better suited to a newborn’s schedule (and by that, I mostly mean “non-schedule“). Finding someone legit to do this is actually not as hard as it sounds. Even though our city isn’t that big, I know that my usual esthetician (she does great facials and also massages) and at least one other massage therapist I have used have their own tables and sometimes work out of their homes or on the side. Since I know them well enough (and know they are not sleazy), I could probably ask for a favor this one time and tip generously on top of their usual fee.


P.S. While I promised myself that I would not succumb to anything ordinary, I did fall for a lot of the adorable baby outfits at J. Crew. Seriously, this little gray bunny outfit and the “hi” onesie are too cute for words.

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And what about these tiny swim trunks? So European man at the beach.


More baby stripes I could not resist:

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Staying Motivated

Staying motivated to be healthy is an ongoing process for me, and as such, I’m always looking for new inspiration.

Fortunately, I love to run so I usually don’t need this type of motivation to exercise:


 This list of 20 motivation hacks was helpful to me, particularly numbers 6 (never skip two days in a row) and 2 (make a big public commitment to achieve a wellness goal, like signing up for a marathon).

I also really enjoy reading transformation stories about real people who’ve made life-changing progress toward wellness. Women’s Running magazine has some great portrayals in the sections entitled “Why I Run” and “Women Who Move.”

[A weirder but intriguing set of transformation stories I stumbled upon while researching this post is located here].

Another thing that’s been really helpful to me is to be a member of a group of like-minded individuals. In my case, it’s an online group headed by my friend A, whom I have mentioned here before and is a real inspiration to me. The posts of the other members keep me in line and give me great ideas. Spouse also has a looser competition going on among his buddies from the crew team in college; they’re running a half-marathon in May in the town of our alma mater and it’s a (mostly) friendly race to the finish line. With pride on the line, game’s on!

And I keep a mini-library of inspirational pins, like this one:


Cute workout clothes also go pretty far in my world!

How do you stay motivated to be healthy?