Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Whole 30 (v. 5.12) Difference

We did it! Yes, that's right, we.

For my third adventure with eating The Whole 30 way, my husband (willingly) and our daughter (kicking and screaming) joined me! What a thrill (or pain-in-the-ass depending on who it is I'm dealing with) it was to have them both on board with the only eating plan designed to jump start good eating habits for life by eliminating processed sugar, grains, vegetable oils, and dairy (my husband's only hold-over from the last time I did it). 

Results - we survived! 

Not only that, we made some very important discoveries along the way.  Here are mine:
  • My daughter's stamina for complaining knows no bounds. 
  • Eating well will not cause an underweight person to lose weight.
  • Well Fed has inspired me to move from mere eater to cook! (No small feat.)
  • Our kitchen is too small.
  • We will never buy mayonnaise again! (We make our own a la Well Fed.)
  • Corn, sugar, and soy derivatives are in almost everything! 
  • You can go to a party, mix the drinks, and have fun without drinking.
  • Ingesting fat does not beget fat people. (Avocado overdose anyone?)
  • I missed chocolate, but not wine, and not dairy as much as I thought. 
  • My love for cinnamon, my favorite versatile food accessory, has only grown deeper. 
  • Scotch Eggs win hands-down: best new meatball-like convenience food.
  • Everybody loves sweet potatoes!
  • There is a quiet satisfaction in knowing your food is just that: food, not filler. 
  • My husband is wonderful (I knew that, but he keeps getting better!)
  • I enjoy working on my own recipes for fun and tasty food. 
  • Life without cookies is dark and cold. I don't plan to live that way.
  • I am working on a crunchy cookie recipe. (Will share if/when perfected.)
  • If given enough opportunity, my sugar/carb-craving daughter will make good food choices.
  • Good food is expensive. 

And I lost about 5 pounds, am sleeping better than when I started, and have improved energy levels throughout the day. 

So with all this good stuff going on, why would I ever go back to eating grains, dairy, vegetable oils, and processed sugar? Because it takes constant vigilance to avoid them and I want to live well in all respects. The very best part of this Whole 30 is that it didn't seem so much like restricting my eating as redirecting it toward the foods that will actually fuel my body over the long haul - and that, with the help of an awesome cook book, has made all the difference. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thoughts of a Thespian

I found this sign on my daughter's door on Opening Night.
She made it for herself.
Could that be any cuter?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Saints Want to Wear (Down) My (Trademarked) Red Soles

Yesterday’s WSJ reported on the continuing legal battle between the well-heeled shoe designers Christian Louboutin (CL) and Yves Saint Lauren (YSL). The battle surrounds the legal use of the trademarked color red on the outsoles of women’s fashion shoes. 

In 2008, CL was able to obtain a trademark registration of this “lacquered red sole on footwear,” as shown in the following picture in the trademark application:

The trademark was granted and so it would appear that he has a case against the use of the same “lacquered red sole” as shown by other designers. Attorneys for CL claimed the use of the same bright red soles by YSL would be the wearing down or dilution of his trademark.

In its complaint, CL showed red shoes with red soles by YSL (like those on the right above) citing that they infringe on his trademark. (The gorgeous pumps on the left are iconic Louboutin). Were you thinking that the clunkers on the right might be CL’s? Can the government grant a trademark to a color used in fashion? Is the color of the sole of a shoe considered part of its function? Why am I asking these questions?

These are the questions that need to be answered in order to determine if CL’s trademark was granted in error (as the federal district court judge implied in his initial decision last year), if CL has a case against YSL and the denial of its injunction, and if the fashion industry is different from other industries in its use of color (i.e. will trademarked colors hinder creativity).

In its October appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, CL states that the district court erred in denying its request for an injunction against YSL on these three counts:
  1. Denying trademark protection on the grounds of aesthetic functionality;
  2. Not applying the strictly limited doctrine of aesthetic functionality to hold that a single color on a fashion item could not act as a trademark;
  3. Abusing discretion because the court’s analysis was legally erroneous.

(Read the whole appeal linked above – it is really fascinating.)

Basically, the federal judge denied the injunction on the grounds that color could not be trademarked in fashion without causing “not only commerce and competition, but art as well” to suffer.  Furthermore, as trademark is supposed to protect a non-functional aspect of the design, it was the opinion of the judge that the color of the sole of the shoe was functional.

“By putting a distinctive red color on the previously ignored bottom portion of the shoe, Louboutin established a strong brand identifier.”

I completely agree with this statement in the appeal. Unfortunately, it goes on to say, “The red outsole has no utility and in fact adds to the cost of manufacture to the economic advantage of competitors.  That the Red Outsole Mark is pleasing to consumers does not impair its ability to act as a trademark.”

This is unfortunate only in that in his denial of the injunction, the judge used Mr. Louboutin’s own words to refute the red outsole’s utility in stating that the red color gives his shoes “energy,” is “engaging,” “sexy,” and “attracts men.”  Where did the judge find Mr. Louboutin saying these things?  In the supporting documents to his trademark application the appeal reports (I couldn't find it in any of the government documents for the trademark). 

So do red soles really reflect sex, or has Louboutin smartly built an empire suggesting it?

I love this case because it is helping me to understand the importance and scope of trademarks through a product that I completely understand and appreciate. (For a decent overview of how patent, copyright, and trademark differ related to the case see here.)

As the owner of what I’m certain now is a rip-off pair of Louboutin’s I’d admit that it’s the glimpse of an unapologetically bright red on the underside of a shoe where there is usually only dirt and scuff marks that makes the item quite a bit more titillating. Having the sole match the uppers as used by YSL is simply matchy-matchy and possibly a boon to CL products.  Taking a functional product like a shoe and making it the desire of many women is a marketing skill of the highest order. But should CL own the trademark to that particular red on the sole of all women's fashion shoes?

I’m not sure where I stand on the validity of the trademark issue, but as it was issued I think the judge needed to uphold the law and YSL needs to question the issuance of the trademark on the sexy red sole.

I’m going to try to stay teetering on top of the issue.

I would like to find and link to Judge Marrero's original ruling, but have been unsuccessful in finding it online so far. Here is the original trademark registration as issued.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

To a Kiss (The Parting Kiss)

by Robert Burns (25 Jan 1759 - 21 July 1796), 

Humid seal of soft affections,
Tend'rest pledge of future bliss,
Dearest tie of young connections,
Love's first snow-drop, virgin kiss.

Speaking silence, dumb confession,
Passion's birth, and infants' play,
Dove-like fondness, chaste concession,
Glowing dawn of brighter day.

Sorrowing joy, adieu's last action,
Ling'ring lips, -- no more to join!
What words can ever speak affection
Thrilling and sincere as thine! 

Happy Robert Burns' Day.

The poem is found under both titles. I prefer the title "To a Kiss" to the other; the first captures the import of the action in different situations -- as does the poem -- rather than concentrate solely on the final parting. 

It's lovely either way. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tunacanoe and Style, Too.

Here is the result of my first foray into paleo kids cuisine (or Life Without Bread as my daughter might dramatically lament).

First, you take the Dean & Deluca tunafish salad recipe - which uses lemon juice, garlic, carrots, red onions, chives, celery, and parsley - take out anything your kid will balk at, use the Well Fed homemade mayo, hollow out a cucumber and voila!

A veritable boatload of good stuff that's fun to eat.

Sometimes, presentation is important. 
If your kid is anything like mine, it'll be gone before you get back to the table with your own lunch!

I'm sure it would work just as well with chicken salad: Chickacanoe.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Monday Table

In search of a bit of clear white space,
Turning off my designer’s eye,
I seek only a breakfast place,
Recounting my weekend with a sigh.

This mess of incongruity is the Monday table:
Fraught with papers, books, and half-eaten fare.
I strain and wonder, How am I able
To finish Sunday night with this mess lying here?

Reading headlines of the papers I pile,
Belongings of other rooms I stack,
Housewares to be washed, I collect and smile,
This effort is my life, it’s not my lack.

As I recount another fruitful weekend,
Filled with activity, joy, and with thought,
It’s not my housekeeping that’s gone off the deep end,
It’s simply my is still approaching my ought

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Far Will They Take All This?

As far as we'll let them.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

If you think more arbitrary government power will not protect intellectual property owners from infringement but will more likely be used to censor the internet, penalize its providers, and crush free content, please let your Congressmen know that you most emphatically do not approve of these horrendous bills.


Read the bills here and here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I CrossFit so I can . . .

make the bed!

Seriously, if there is ever a time where I think to myself thank god I lift weights, it's when I'm changing the sheets on my bed.

Our bed in someone else's way cool room.
As slaves to modern minimalist design tastes, we own this awesome funky clean-line Japanese-style platform-like bed. Sadly we do not have a foam mattress, but a standard innerspring which weighs roughly 7,000 lbs. Even more sadly, instead of an actual platform, we have slats across the base (not sure why). 

The platform around the bed (what I refer to as its running board) and slatted interior adds a level of difficultly to the dressing-the-mattress feat because tucking in the corners to remotely resemble the inspiring clean lines above means reaching to pick up its corners approximately twelve times each change, four times each tidy making. This means holding the top of a 300 lb. dead lift out in front of you while magically maneuvering the corners and lengths of the bedding layers - maintaining vigilance to not knock the papers, books, assorted socks, and various writing implements gathered along the running board into the under-mattress abyss - many times in one ten minute process! 

Really, it is that frustrating for me. 

Which is why I rarely do it.

And why we own a big comfy down cover to throw over the whole mess most days. 

From a foam mattress manufacturer's website featuring the bed above: 

Clearly, I missed something along the way. 

Caught up in our desire to create a Zen-like environment, we have created an opportunity for additional inappropriate horizontal storage (running board clutter), an impromptu workout (making the bed shouldn't require a warm-up), and a major kvetch-session (herein). 


I feel better. 

I think I can put the whole thing to bed now. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Twelve Months in Two Minutes 2011

Compared to previous years, I'm a day late and thousands of dollars short, but I hope you enjoy my little end of year family retrospective in pictures anyway. 

Happy New Year, friends.