Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March Recommendations

The last Tuesday of my birthday month is here and I'm sharing my recommendations with you because I like you. 

And of course I'm linking up with Lauren & Bre for their Add it to my list linkup, which they're doing the last Tuesday of every month. Some things I think you should add to your list, if applicable:

1. Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara - Steph recommended this, and since it's only $5, I got a tube to keep at the shore. Well, I tried it and got a tube to keep at home too. Now hear this: It has made me put down the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara I've been using exclusively for a year. They were BOGO50off at Ulta so I got Lori one and she loves it too. It doesn't hurt that it's $18 cheaper than BTS and cruelty free, which is one of Steph's makeup musts.
2. Beauty Counter Charcoal Cleansing Bar - Detoxifies and absorbs impurities without drying out my face? Sign me up. I use it at night and my face has been looking great. It's $24 and it's worth it. You can also use it on your body, but I don't. Steph from Insert Classy Here is a consultant if you're interested and if you click on her name you'll get her take on Beauty Counter. Beauty Counter's mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. I like it.

3. Avoid VRBO/HomeAway booking fees - This past year, VRBO and Home Away started charging a service fee for people who paid through them. Every person who has used them to pay has paid $120-$155 more to rent our house for the week. Some of them thought it was our fee. Newp. It's not. If you are booking a place through VRBO/HomeAway, contact the owner and see if they accept payments directly. We do and they would have saved $$ if they did that. I tried to tell people but they pushed book through HomeAway and it was too late.

4. Get outside. You know what I forgot about being at the shore? That when I spend so much time outside I just don't care that much about scrolling through anything online. I don't care that much about anything aside from what's right in front of me. Just being is so much easier outside. Check out this video from Nature Valley my friend Kate shared yesterday. Sad times - and while it focuses on kids and technology, I think we all know we are guilty of too much tech.

5. Penzey's - As a cook, I love their spices even though they're pricier than the ones I used to buy. Their Fox Point seasoning is an absolute must for me. As a human being, I love their stance and willingness to take one as a small, private business. I support them and don't buy spices elsewhere anymore. I vote just as much with my dollars as I do with a button in the voting booth.

What have you been using or doing lately that I might want to add to my list?

Linking up with Lauren & Bre

Monday, March 27, 2017

TWTW - the one with the sleep out

Friday I worked from home, which meant cute coworkers, washing out the fruit and veggie bins at lunch, and doing laundry.
Friday night was the Covenant House Sleep Out, our last year doing the young professionals version because alas we are no longer young professionals. We are now older professionals. Gladys was there for the workshops, and again my favorite part was hearing stories from staff and kids. I only teared up once. More on this Wednesday. We fell asleep in our cardboard boxes on the ground around 12 and slept, uh, lightly until 4:30, when we cleaned up our area and took off at 5. My hands were irritated, red, raw meat after ONE night sleeping outside. Note to self: more gloves for the homeless next winter.
After going home and getting the dogs, I was at the shore by 7. As I am wont to do, I cried coming over the bridge because I was so happy to be back. So, opening the house the day after a night of no deep sleep was probably not one of my best decisions to date. I struggled through some outdoor cleanup and put the efficiency back together and took 507 couch breaks sitting among tons of crap while MFD scrubbed the siding on the top and bottom decks and put together new porch furniture (disregard the hideous mess on the ground, the downstairs porch is one of two big spring projects this year including a lot of paint scraping).
We raised the tired white flag and took the dogs down to the beach to wear them out. We had lunch outside at Sunrise Cafe before taking a bike ride on the boardwalk. Things you should not do on no sleep: ride a bike that needs air in its tires on a crowded boardwalk. I almost mowed down many and definitely crashed directly into MFD. Sorry, everyone. We retreated to the beach where we basically just laid the fuck down and assed out. Thriving despite no sleep is not something I do well at this age.
As you can see my bike did not fare well over the winter with the rust, so MFD got a lot of it off with a wire brush drill attachment. It was like magic.
I literally never even went into the main part of the house until 6 pm when I dropped a bag off up there and went right back downstairs. MFD went fishing, I took a bike ride back to the bay, then painted my nails, hung out with the tired dogs, and watched the Godfather saga for hours before falling into a deep, dreamless sleep that was amazing until the dogs got me up at 6 to go for a dark, cold, windy walk. That'll get you going.
Sunday I changed the sheets, cleaned up, and was home by 9:30. We went to a Bucks County Democratic Woman of the Year brunch for Helene, who is the hugest doer and advocate for women and involvement in the democratic process. She is a force. MFD's dad was in the hospital on Election Day, and MFD got in touch with her from Ireland and she arranged for a lawyer to visit him in the hospital so he could vote, which was really important to him. It was nice to see her honored. I love the doers. That's just one small personal story out of so many, and it was nice to hear them in speeches in her honor.
Other Sunday things: I went to Sam's where I encountered an angry crowd waiting for rotisserie chicken so that came right off of my list, work worked from 3-9, did three loads of shore laundry, picked up some trash in the yard from the winter, and just sat around at night. I was tired. I am out of shore shape - we are much more active down there than we are at home!

Weekly food prep: breakfast is breakfast burritos from the freezer and a banana; lunch is chicken salad and tomatoes over spinach; snacks are mango, and celery and PB; and dinners are pick & peel shrimp with macaroni salad (made with some Christmas tree pasta, eh), and baked chicken breasts with roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips, and red onions. I also made a batch of power breakfast muffins to freeze. 

March recommendations tomorrow. See you then, homies. 

Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, March 24, 2017

How difficult is it to switch electricity providers?

This one is for my friends in AUS from Jesse but the last bit about saving on electricity is for all of us. TGIF & happy weekend friends!


How hard is it to change electricity provider?

Many people ask themselves the question, why is electricity so expensive? There are general factors which contribute to electricity costs being high across the board. Even so, it could be that you can find cheaper rates with a different provider. There are also things you can do to reduce your energy costs, no matter which provider you choose.

In this article we are going to explain why electricity costs are so high generally. We are also going to look at how easy it is to switch provider if you wish to, as well as giving you some tips on how to reduce your energy costs, no matter who provides your electricity.

Why is electricity so expensive?

One of the major causes of the rise in energy costs in Australia is the country's commitment to reducing emissions. A large amount of money has been invested in renewable energy production and not all of the systems have been completely successful. Associated costs are being passed on to the customer through increased energy prices.

What if you want to change supplier?

So electricity is expensive across the board. This does not mean that you should not check if you can get a better deal elsewhere. It's worth noting that you are restricted to one provider if you live in Tasmania. The choice is also restricted in certain parts of Perth.

If you want to see if you can get your electricity elsewhere, at a more affordable rate, makeitcheaper.com.au can help. They can do the research for you and even help you when it comes to making the change, if you need them to. It certainly helps to have someone around who can help you make the right decision for you.

How to save money on electricity, no matter who provides it

Whether or not you decide to change electricity provider, there are actions you should be taking anyway. They can help you reduce the amount of energy you use, and thereby reduce your electricity bills.
  •  Only use air conditioning when necessary. If the temperature is not too high you should consider using fans instead.
  • Always switch electrical devices off at the socket. If you do not do this you end up wasting a significant amount of electricity, over time.
  • When you use the washing machine, make sure that you always use a cool wash. You can still get your clothes clean, while also reducing energy use.

You may not think that these simple tips can save you that much money. The fact is that savings soon add up. However much your savings are; it's better for the money to be in your hands than with the provider. Do not wait to take action. If you want to save money put these processes in place as soon as possible. If you want to change provider as well then do not forget to speak to the experts, so that you have a better chance of making the right decision.


Electric company or alternative provider? 
What steps do you take to save electricity? 

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday Thoughts - sprung from cages out on highway 9

1. I love when I can catch all three dogs in one frame.
2. Hypocrisy.
3. If we're going to start making cuts to get our debt, let's start by cutting from the top with the egregious Mar-a-Lago weekend travel costs and the bills for the first family in NYC and cut the pension of Senators going forward. Let them contribute to a 401k like the rest of us. Let's also cut their wages, because most rank-and-file House and Senate members make $174,000 a year (not getting into any perks) and are not in session for long periods of time. Perhaps if it wasn't so attractive to be in the position, we wouldn't have people camped out there thinking they know better than the constituents that elected them. When will the president introduce those term limits he campaigned on? That was literally the only thing out of his mouth that I supported.
4. I started the 30 days of yoga for beginners this week. I was prepared to hate it as I have every time I've tried yoga previously, but I was surprised to really like it and have a lot of energy after. I think it helped that it's just 16 minutes to ease into it so it's really like lovely stretching. I walk or do weights and tack it on after or do it separately. Picture me like this.
5. I was jazzed to catch up with one of my longtime 25+ year lovelies Melissa over lunch at Marathon Grill on Tuesday. We don't get a ton of face time so it's always much appreciated when we do. I'm really looking forward to our 40th weekend with my junior high and high school girls in June!
6. After much back and forth, MFD and I cancelled our upcoming cruise at the end of April. The timing was awful for us. It's my favorite time at the shore, we have work to do down there, he just started a management position at a new broker, it's his busy season, on and on. Every time I turned around I could come up with another excuse why I didn't want to go and even when I was booking things the thought of going was not exciting me. That's not what vacation is about. I cancelled and felt a million times better. That's how I know it was the right thing to do. We are extending our July vacation to Emerald Isle to include a few days on Ocracoke, so I booked that this week, and I have some extra days for the shore which makes me really happy.

7. Tuesday was a lovely day. Wednesday was in the teens by the evening. This morning it was in the 20s. I saw people in hoodies this morning clearly just like fuck it we're doing what we want.

8. Thanks for our friends Stacey & Joe for dropping off our sign under cover of darkness last night. This is something we can all get behind, regardless of party affiliation, right?
9. Reminder:
10. E-card of the week: 

Linking up with Kristin & Joey 

Stuff, Things, etc.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

40 before 40 Report

Over two years ago I posted my 40 before 40 list. It quickly became apparent to me that I wouldn't check everything off...some would not be feasible, and some I just didn't have the desire to do anymore. I also did some things I never imagined I'd even have the opportunity to do when I made this list - like travel to South Africa, or buy a shore house, or meet Bruce Springsteen - which were awesome before 40 bonuses. Some of my 40 wishes did come true though. I think I liked making this list more than anything - and I won't be making a 50 list because 50 things is a lot. 

  1. See a play on Broadway done March 4
  2. Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge done March 4
  3. Skydive so I still sort of want to do this, but I'm not sure if that's because I think I want to or because I actually want to
  4. Go tubing on a river done August 13
  5. Volunteer at a soup kitchen - not technically, although we did volunteer on Thanksgiving day to serve and clean up food in 2015
  6. Eat a lobster roll in Maine  done July 18, 2015
  7. Stay in a Falls View room at Niagara Falls - done March 14-16, 2015
  8. Write a novella done December 2015. This will not see the light of day.
  9. Tip 100% of the bill at a restaurant - at the Tuckahoe Inn on September 24, 2016
  10. Go whale watching - in Cape May, September 24, 2016
  11. See Mt. Rushmore - done September 2015
  12. Take a spontaneous weekend trip – deciding to go and leaving that same day done July 24, 2015
  13.  Watch Old Faithful blow - done September 2015
  14.  Stroll along the Seine went to Scotland instead
  15.  Go to high tea. In Scotland. 
  16.  Learn conversational French Abandoned when Paris was abandoned
  17.  Adopt a family in need at Christmas Christmas 2015
  18. Witness the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace Never made it to England
  19. Go to a college football game I gave away tickets in a bigger stadium to go to the shore
  20. Eat at a farm to table restaurant (stole this one from Jana, thanks friend!) Talula's Garden on June 19, 2015, and many more after that. 
  21. Read two Agatha Christie novels – a Marple and a Poirot I hated the Marple (attempted in May 2015) but liked the Poirot (read in June 2015)
  22. Participate in a walk to raise money for pancreatic cancer November 2015
  23. Get the tattoo on my back touched up March 2017 (see pic on the bottom)
  24. Stand on the Cliffs of Moher November 2, 2016
  25. Buy a pair of Frye boots I've hated every pair I've tried on so far. I bought Pikolinos instead and I fucking love them. 
  26. Go to the opera Opera on the Mall was cancelled due to weather and rescheduled to when I couldn't go
  27.  See the Mississippi River - February 2016
  28.  Beignets at CafĂ© du Monde - February 2016
  29.  Conquer my fear of the grill Summer 2015 - I made myself grill once a week. 
  30.  See the Chincoteague Ponies - newp. But I will see the ponies on Ocracoke this summer. 
  31.  Have dinner at Vetri - September 3, 2015
  32. Cheesesteak tour in Philly - I did the cheesesteak festival and I'm calling it done
  33.  Visit the Morris Arboretum - this was my backup plan for my birthday since we couldn't be at the shore. We also couldn't de-ice my car in a timely manner, so, no.
  34.  Go to the Mutter Museum 
  35.  Attend an author event at the Philadelphia Free Library - Toni Morrison book signing April 29, 2015. I also saw Jodi Picoult there with Jana in October 2016. 
  36.  Get something published on HuffPost I never even tried
  37. Take a cooking or baking class Stopped looking
  38.  Learn how to use a drill Shore house work spring 2016
  39.  Pick strawberries and make a strawberry pie from them abandoned, not interested
  40.  Bake French bread - I am literally never allowed to put this on a to do list ever again in my life. 
Local friends, if you're in search of a tattoo place, check out Outta Sight Studios in Fairless Hills.

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