Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

1. Pugs in scarves. Dig it.
2. The elevators are mirrored in my office building. It's always nice to see what your outfit looks like...when it's too late to change it. I never look in the mirror before leaving my house. Am I alone? p.s. Do you guys have a Totes Bubble Umbrella? If not, you need one. It's revolutionary in the rain.

3. Does anyone else keep thinking this weekend is Halloweeen? It's not. On a related note, Gus has always hated costumes. He was a bee when he was two and he's hated bees ever since.

4. I need black tights. What's your favorite brand?
5. I have the urge to watch The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. I haven't even finished Sons of Anarchy or The Wire yet and I can't even keep up with more than two current shows. I need to slow my roll.

6. Lady loves, you want a little botox, a little nip? If you do so much that you're unrecognizable as yourself, you should reasonably expect people to comment on it. It's a shock when people have seen you with one face for so long and you turn up with another. Not all commentary is a criticism so people need to simmer down about that too. Personally I'm not considering plastic surgery. I've earned these laugh lines, so I'm going to let them dance. There is a time for everything, and my time to look like a fresh faced young person has gone. I'm not the same person I was when I was 15 - there's a lot of miles between us and some wear and tear as well. Below, this IS the same person and they are both Renee Zellweger. My friend Heather shared a story on this and it was only showing the photo on the right. I had no idea who that was. Zellweger basically attributes her different appearance to a different lifestyle. I know I look better when I eat well, use sunblock, drink a lot of water, get good sleep, exercise, and stress less, but I don't think it makes me look radically different. Anyway, go on with yourself Renee. You do you. I would not dare tell anyone else what to do with their body. Too many people out there trying to tell women what to do with their bodies. Bazinga.
7. MFD and I are considering a trip to France next year as our vacation. I'm trying to let the idea sit and get right with it before making any moves towards it.

8. Fall productivity, you're so short lived. It's dark when I wake up and it's dark soon after I come home. In a little over a week it'll be dark at 5 when I leave work. You know what existing in darkness makes me feel like doing? Absolutely nothing. Well, aside from eating, sleeping, reading, and wearing lounge attire. Not good for the production or the waist line. Not good at all. I spend most weekends cramming activity into daylight hours like I'm a reverse vampire who can't do anything after dark.

9. No, this is not weak iced tea. This is a teaspoon of elderberry extract in some water. It's that time of year where I take a dose daily for some extra immune support. Ain't nobody got time for illness. Thanks to Patricia for turning me onto it last year!

10. Ecard of the week.This made me laugh and laugh.
Tomorrow: my favorite fall nail polishes. And all the men sat and sang, "hallelujah." No?
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Linking up with Kristin and Joey for Stuff & Things

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Things I hate: stores being open on Thanksgiving

This is a re-post from November 2012, with an addition on the bottom.
This is a re-post from November 2012, with some additions on the bottom. I thought it was important to share it again with even more stores opening on Thanksgiving this year.

The last time I checked the Thursday before Black Friday was called THANKSGIVING and has been for almost 400 years since those Pilgrims broke bread with the Indians in 1621. Its symbols are the turkey and the family around the table, not the shopping cart.
I'm livid that stores are open on Thanksgiving. Open at 5 a.m., 3 a.m., whatever, on Black Friday and be done with it. While I'm not a Black Friday shopper and never have been, I know that some people love it and it's part of their tradition to kick off the season. I'm not begrudging any shopper or retailer Black Friday.

Opening stores on Thanksgiving is another story entirely. I think that flat out sucks. The fact that those employees have to leave their family on a relaxing and lovely holiday of thanks to man a cash register so people can get an extra $100 off electronics is ridiculous. And you people leaving your homes to go to stores on Thanksgiving, what are you doing? Stay home! Shop online if you absolutely must shop.

I like shopping as much as the next person. And I love love love a good deal. Do I need the good deal so badly that I'd sacrifice my lazy Thanksgiving night in my pajamas with my family? Not on your life. Even in years when money was tight, I wouldn't consider it - because time with my people is worth more than a material gift. As for those crazy must have kid gifts, they'll live if they don't get it - I did and you did too. I'm sure they'd rather have the memory of a full relaxing day and night with their parents than the gift they'll forget by the time they're 18. And if you're going out after they're in bed, that doesn't mean the lady ringing you up at Toys R Us isn't missing out on a night home with her older kids who are still up.

What's wrong with us as a society? We need to stop being consumers first and humans second. If none of us showed up at the stores, they'd stop opening on Thanksgiving and taking people away from their families.

Don't give me the whole "they knew what they were getting into when they took a job in retail" noise either. Stores never used to open on Thanksgiving. It wasn't a given. It's corporate greed and it's bullshit. So even if you hate your family and can't wait to get away from them, think of the person working in the store that might really want to be home with their loved ones.

It's out of control. Vote with your wallet! Stay home on Thanksgiving and enjoy your family and some late night turkey to fortify yourself for the Black Friday shopping you may or may not do. Start shopping now to spread out your spending so you don't need to be out on Thanksgiving doing it. If you need an activity or are alone that night, visit friends, take a walk, binge watch a show you've been wanting to see, or consider volunteering to help those in need. I'd rather vacuum my furniture to give me something to do over going to a store where my presence takes someone away from their family and friends. "So I want to go shopping, so what?" So stop thinking of only yourself.

I'll be shopping for gifts in these stores this holiday season, because they aren't open on Thanksgiving:
DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
Pier 1 Imports
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
BJ's Wholesale Club
Crate and Barrel
Barnes & Noble

Not these stores, because they are open on Thanksgiving:
Target - you are now relegated to being the place where I buy my socks and toilet paper, friend. No gifts for you.
Toys ''R'' Us
Best Buy
Big Lots
Shoe Carnival
Michaels Stores

(source of stores open/closed on Thanksgiving - Boycott Black Thursday page on Facebook)

Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions but you should.

 Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Linking up with Liz for Fitness Blondie's Blog Hop:
The Hump Day Blog Hop

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunday Soup: Shrimp & Corn Chowder

As I've said eleventy billion times, I make soup on Sundays. Hence the title of most of my soup posts beginning with Sunday Soup. A durr. I make it on some other days too, but mainly on Sundays. Soup says love to me and has ever since I stood on a chair while Mom Mom wrapped my little hand around a wooden spoon, dipped it into the veggie beef barley on the stove, and taught me how to stir.

As a bonus, soup is usually pretty good for you. Sometimes, it's not so good for you. Those creamy, cheesey, salty soups we love can contribute to a case of plump buttocks. I subscribe to Cooking Light magazine, but I often find their recipes a little under-seasoned. I appreciate them doing the legwork on lightening them up though.

This Sunday I took Cooking Light's Shrimp & Corn Chowder and jazzed it up a little. I doubled the original recipe, desiring leftovers. This was more than enough to feed six people. So if you are solo or just want one meal, feel free to halve the recipe!

10 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
2 bunches of green onions, sliced thin (white and green parts)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tbs minced garlic
Just shy of a 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups 2%  milk
2.5 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (black okay)
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 bags large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used the 41-50 count bags from Target and thawed them first)
5 cups frozen corn kernels (if you have fresh, use that! I used fresh corn that I had frozen and it was the bomb dot com)

Cook bacon in a large pot over medium heat 6 minutes or until crisp.

Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in there.

Add green onions, thyme, and garlic to pan. Saute two minutes.

Sprinkle flour over and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in milk and turn heat up, continually scraping the bottom of the pot to get all the browned goodness up as flavor. After about three minutes, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium.

Add kosher salt, white or black pepper, crushed red pepper, dry mustard and onion powder. Stir well and let cook two minutes. Add corn, wait four minutes and add shrimp. Cook four minutes or until shrimp are done.

I served with a spinach salad and some french bread with butter. Perfect.

So, buttery bread...
Does it negate the light soup?
Let us not discuss.

What's your favorite soup?
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Linking up for
Martinis & Bikinis

Monday, October 20, 2014

TWTW - it was a good one

1. Last week was another butt kicker. Friday night I pulled flowers up in the dark (hence no photo), went hard on processed food with Stouffer's French Bread Pizza, watched the horrible Hangover 3, and was in bed by 8:30 reading. Hell yes. I got nine hours of solid sleep and it was amazing.
2. Saturday morning: spruced up the joint with new flowers, washed/prepped/stored this week's produce, and made spinach/green onion/cheese egg muffins for the week. Lunches are PB&J on whole wheat and veggies. Dinners from the freezer: honey soy chicken with sweet potatoes and steamed veggies and blackened salmon with steamed veggies and rice.
3. I checked out the Harvest Festival at Reading Terminal Market. So hilarious to see a "hayride" in Center City - basically you are riding on hay for less than a block, then you're just jammed in a wagon on a city street.
4. A nice long lunch with my knottie girls at El Vez. I had the blood orange margaritas and the sea bass tacos. We shared guacamole and salsa. It was a lovely afternoon.
5. After dropping caramel apples from the Harvest Fest at home, I hit Homegoods for a new coat for Mae and got a massage at Hand & Stone. I signed up for a monthly package - an investment in wellness I've been meaning to make for a long time. I was rewarded with amazing skies on the way home.
Relaxation happened here
6. MFD brought home a bunch of Polish goodies from an appointment, and he made pierogies for dinner. He also got water in my dishwashing gloves, so I dried them out by making them give the finger. He wasn't feeling well so we spent the rest of the night lounging and watching an SVU marathon and the Notre Dame game.
7. Up and at 'em Sunday morning, washing sheets and doing work work. Then I headed out to do yard work. Hiss. I winterized the flower beds aside from mulching...I'm still considering planting spring bulbs. I also cleaned up the back yard, packed up cushions, picked up dog poop, and all that really fun stuff. MFD brought me my favorite bagel from Wawa, a greasy fat ass pepperoni and provolone.
What I got rid of this week from the yard / I don't think those women would eat this sandwich
8. Sunday dinner: my riff on Cooking Light's shrimp and corn chowder (I changed it up and will be sharing the recipe), salad, crusty french bread with butter. It was perfect for the first chilly fall day.
9. Sunday dogs: Sleepy Geege. Me and Gus - one of us slept all day and one of us busted their ass in the yard. Guess who is who? Hazel guarding her bone with her life even as she snoozes.
10. Sunday dessert. Thank God fall is sweater season. Hashtag YOLO. This was accompanied with a side of the movie Delivery Man, some magazines, a book, and DVR'd stuff including How to Get Away With Murder.

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On Mondays I'm doing a picture linkup called Picture Practice with Kelli at Just Beachy. If you'd like to participate, here are the prompts through December. Share on your blog, or if you don't blog on Twitter or Instagram every Monday with the hashtag #PicturePractice. This is my photo for the prompt out the window. It's Philly on the way in on the train.
Happy happy birthday to my aunts and uncle, the triplets today - Lori, Dawn & David. I'm excited to hang out with Lori, one of my favorite people ever, this coming weekend to celebrate!
This was a really good weekend here at our house. I hope yours was too! What was your favorite thing you did?
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Linking up with Kelli for

Linking up with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tales from the Commuting Crypt: Shuttle Bus Shenanigans

Disclaimer: Nothing was harmed in the writing of this blog post except my pride. 

Most weekday mornings I'm like the girl in The Exorcist and if you even glance at me my head spins around. MFD actually has a great imitation of this that is hilarious and spot on. Wednesday morning, MFD tells me five minutes before I had to leave that he needs to switch cars with me. I react as well to last minute plan changes as most people react to the flu, which is not very fucking well. Make those changes in the morning and you are entering demon territory at your own risk, sir.

I huff and puff out to his car, throw it in reverse, and feel something weird going on. I'm already late because I had to pause to throw a toddler-era hissy fit inside, so whatever's going on, I don't have time for it. I get out and touch the front passenger tire and it's low. In the words of the late great Whitney Houston on the short lived reality series Being Bobby Brown, hellll to the no. I drive slowly to the train station, comforting myself by composing overly dramatic, bitchy texts to MFD in my head.

I arrive 45 seconds before the train. Goody! There's still a shuttle bus in the parking lot. I sprint to it like an Olympian. There's only room for me on the stairs, but I ignore all safety first practices (sorry Laura) and get on anyway, as does a man running behind me who everyone is yelling at for being slow. As soon as Slow Man steps on, the shuttle driver takes off like a shot, careening around corners in the parking lot. I don't even have time to feel smug about being a fast runner for the first time in my life before shit hits the fan.

One second I'm standing upright and the next I'm against the doors, which are now cracked letting a humid breeze in. It takes a second for my brain to realize I've fallen and there are some old ass doors keeping me from falling again. My fingers are uncurling from the railing and my feet are sliding in my flip flops. Slow Man is death gripping me with one hand and pushing the lady who fell on top of me back upright with the other. I need to get my shit together.

I pull myself up and away from the doors with Slow Man's help, thanking him profusely. In a day that has a pedicure, new books awaiting pickup at the library, and a hair appointment on its agenda, I did not think my high point would be not falling out of a shuttle bus and that it would come before 7:35 a.m. Because seriously what kind of fool falls out of a shuttle bus? Nearly this one. You do not want to have to tell people you broke your face falling out of a shuttle bus. That's not a cool injury at all.

Just before we screech up to the curb and exit, Slow Man states quite proudly and clearly, "I guess I'm not so slow after all. " No sir, you are not. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Commuting is hazardous to my health some days, but at least there's usually a good WTF story in its wake. TGIF!

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