Monday, July 28, 2014

TWTW - how is it already the end of July?

1. Friday night: zucchini taco boats, gelato in the comfort of our own home, relaxing.
Gus works out. Don't all dogs?
2. Saturday morning Farmers' Market haul:
3. We enjoyed a day at the races at Monmouth Park with Chris and Diana. Click here to see yesterday's post on it. 
4. We were going to attempt a pop in at The Stone Pony, but it was insane. We drove through to Belmar to take a little walk along the shore and have dinner. We were home an hour later. It was a really nice day. 
6. Morning coffee Saturday / Sunday:
7. Weekly food prep - egg muffins using leftover base of Friday night tacos for breakfast. Cheesey enchilada quinoa for lunches. A fresh, light, simple cold pasta salad for Sunday and Monday. Baked chicken and veggies for other weeknight dinners.
8. Sunday night I headed up to Whippany, NJ, with my brother Stephen and his friends Jared & BJ to see our brother Sean play in the U-23 NPSL semi-finals for the NY Red Bulls vs Lansing United from Michigan. Sean scored off a corner to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 lead and his teammate scored to make it 2-0. The Red Bulls advance to the NPSL final game next weekend. Laura and Chris brought the boys and it was great to see them on an impromptu visit. Laura and I have watched many many many soccer games together in our time. I got home at around 10:45, late for a Sunday, but I'm glad I was there!
Sean after scoring his goal - Via New York Red Bulls Twitter Acct
Other things, not pictured: hausfrauing, finishing a book, contemplated weeding but decided not to, Geege and Mae losing their shit over Sunday night thunderstorms meaning no sleep for the rest of us.
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Today? I'm surprisingly chipper for a Monday in which no days off loom large. Do tell...How was your weekend?

Are you a fan of Tieks ballet flats? Check out the giveaway on them over at Meet at the Barre!
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Linking up for Weekly Wrap Up
Ameliorer la Vie

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I need to see a man about a horse

We had so much fun yesterday. We left our house at 11 and drove to Monmouth Park on Oceanport Avenue in Oceanport, NJ. MFD and I both marveled at the lack of shore traffic and ease of the drive.
We were invited to a day at the races by Dan at America's Best Racing, who covered our passes, food, drink, and racing programs for free; and treated us to a behind the scenes paddock tour. We even got our photo taken with the winning jockey from the first race (not shown, it's on MFD's phone but I think he tweeted it). He was the happiest little man I've seen in a long time. I liked seeing the horses and jockeys up close. Our friends Chris & Diana met us there. The weather was perfect to spend a day outside meandering the park.
I'd never been to a horse race before, even though I live five minutes from a track. It never would have entered my mind to go. I was surprised that I found it really interesting. Dan gave us a lot of background on the park, how the day plays out and why.

I really liked the ebb and flow of the day - about 15 minutes before race time it got very busy - everyone rushing to get a hotdog or a beer, to go to the bathroom or place a bet before the race started. Then the few minutes the race was run were quiet until the horses rounded the last bend, then the collective excitement of the crowd reached a peak of shouting and cheering.
The people watching and eavesdropping were the best. I feel like there's this whole horse culture I know nothing about and it was cool to observe it for a day. MFD placed one bet for me based on the horse's name (Rogue Lady). I didn't win. We stayed for nine of 11 races. Would I be a track regular? No. I'd definitely consider going once or twice a year - Monmouth Park is relaxed, there was live music, the people were nice, and I like the air of excitement before the race. It's a good day out with friends. You can even bring your own food and drink in, I saw a ton of people doing that.
Thanks to America's Best Racing and Monmouth Park for a great day!
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Five - Best Songs to Listen to in the Summer

TGIF mofos! Today's topic is best songs to listen to in the summer. Not top five favorite summer songs. They're different!

Example: Boys of Summer by Don Henley is a summer song, and it's also a song I like to listen to in the summer. Untouchable Face by Ani DiFranco is not a summer song, but it's one of my favorite songs to listen to in the summer. You see? I'm very seasonal with my music. I love A Long December by The Counting Crows but you won't find me listening to that in July. No way. Sorry. No can dosies.

When I asked one of our BFFs, Frank, to share his list, he asked, "Songs to listen to in the summer or summer songs?" As if I didn't already know he was perfect person for this topic, that cemented it. It's all in the distinction. Frank's birthday is Tuesday, wish him a happy one a bit early! Without further ado...
Frank at a gig/Frank, Amanda and little Miss Eva the Diva/Me & Fronk at Amanda & Fronk's wedding
I love music and I love top five lists so thank you Steph for asking me to combine them.  Here are my top 5 favorite songs to listen to in the summertime.

5. Whoomp There It Is – Tag Team.  This song comes on and you are transported to the 700 level watching the 93 Fighten Phillies. (Assist by Amanda on this one)
Whoomp There It Is by Tag Team on Grooveshark
4. Abracadabra – Steve Miller Band.  This song played on repeat one year at the Sea Side Heights boardwalk and to this day when I hear this song I can smell the ocean.
Abracadabra by Steve Miller Band on Grooveshark
3.  On the Way to Cape May – Bud Nugent (how many Mummers actually knew that?). Every summer since 1997 I have sang the song with Mike Capie playing the banjo with the Uptown StringBand.

2.  (Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding.  If you drank beer with me in a Levittown backyard in the summer you probably heard this song a couple times.
(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding on Grooveshark
1. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.  Obviously.  
Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince on Grooveshark

Thanks to Frank for sharing his top five songs to listen to in the summer. What about you? What's on your list?

Weekenders and Instagram fans, I'm going to be all over it this weekend, especially on Saturday when we'll be out and about with America's Best Racing at Monmouth Park. I'm popping my horse racing cherry. Giddy up.

-Follow me on Instagram
-Follow MFD on Instagram, I asked him to clear the cobwebs from his little used Instagam account and share some pics on Saturday.
-Saturday I will also be carrying the Northeast Baton for the Northeast Bloggers Network - follow them on Instagram

Th-th-th-tha-that-that's all, folks! Have a great weekend!

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Linking up with

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

1. I'm not a person that will take a photo 12 times to get it right. But when MFD and I are involved, picture taking goes a little like this...If MFD is in the picture, the person taking the photo takes three or four because in the first one he's talking, in the next few he's acting a fool (top left and right), and then he will smile or at least make a serious face. He will typically say he prefers one of the acting a fool photos to the final photo. To be fair, they show his engaging personality better than a posed pic. When MFD is TAKING a photo for me, he will take (no lie) 15 in rapid bursts. In between, I'll say Come on just take the photo! (bottom left) and he says Oh, I have. I say WTF and he continues clicking away and laughing (bottom right).  And he will laugh the entire time I'm deleting them.
2. How cute is my Gus when he lays his head on the bottom of the steps and stares up until we come down? Or when he lets me pick him up and hold him?
3. Yesterday I made the much dreaded dentist appointment. I fear bad things ahead, I've let it go too long. Must get xanax or something. I'm a mental patient over the dentist. As a reward for making the appointment (I told you I was insane) I freshened up my pedicure and got a donut. You bet your ass I'll be asking for protective eyewear and spreading the word about Jenn's Vision. Have you liked Jenn's Vision on Facebook and messaged her your sunglass selfie yet?
This picture blows for color but it's Essie Jam - n - Jelly
4. Major haul at the library yesterday! Why do all the books I request come in at once? I picked up The Surgeon by Tess GerritsenThe Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz WilliamsThe Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, and The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman last night. Have you read any of them? The Gerritsen book is the start of the series my beloved Rizzoli & Isles TV show is based on (thanks Amanda of Voyage of the MeeMee for the skinny on that). I started with The Secret Life of Violet Grant hoping to love it as much as A Hundred Summers.
5. Did you catch my top five purging and organizing tips at Helene in Between on Tuesday? Look around the room and make sure you can say yes to at least one of these questions about every item in the room. If you can't, it's time to get rid of it.
6. Melatonin: I took it Thursday night and two nights this week. All times, I felt like I was in a sleep state but not actually asleep. I dreamed, and I rarely dream. I woke up groggy and grouchy the next day. I do not need any assistance in being grouchy in the morning. Done! I'm trying yoga meditation and switching up my night time essential oils. 

7. What 10:15 p.m. usually looks like in my house. The dogs are like, are we going to sleep? Cripes. 
8. ATTENTION BLOGGERS! Don't forget to link up with Jana Says on Tuesday, July 29, with your Notes to your Teenage Self. The idea is to write a letter to yourself at any age in your teen years about any topic you want - body image, money, career, friendships, relationships, music, whatever! Jana is going to take the posts that link up and compile them into an eBook. It'll be available for free at first and then a price will be set and proceeds will go to a charity TBD. Please spread the word! Who among us could not have used the benefit of hindsight in any given year from the ages of 13 through 19?

9. A little throw back Thursday to when we were juniors in high school...I'm pretty sure I was wearing Kelly Taylor's signature lipcolor, 90210 fans. I couldn't find my actual pic so a paper pic it is.
10. Ecard of the week. I feel the need to share this every summer and every summer I see women and girls who clearly need to be shown this e-card.

Tomorrow - Frank's back! Last July he did songs he loves to perform live and things he'd tell his jackass high school self. Tomorrow he shares his top songs to listen to in the summer.

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Linking up with Kristin for Stuff & Things

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Cult of Positivity

I can't take Debbie Downers. They suck the air right out of the room, are never happy or satisfied, and they piss me off. But the people who smile so hard they look like their face might crack pain me too. Acting like nothing is ever good and acting like nothing is ever bad are two extremes that don't ring true to me or fit into my worldview.
Today's society is very into applauding the overly positive people. Is it possible to be too positive, to get to the point where you totally disregard anything negative? Are people shoving themselves into that positivity mold at great cost to their emotional well being? I've seen positivity bullies out there too - no one can say a freaking thing that's not shining like a diamond without being called out for being negative. Seriously? Are we so caught up in appearing positive that we're missing learning how to thrive and exist despite the negative? How do you grow if you don't contend with anything hard? The tough one wants them, but they do build character. The dark times put you in a better position to appreciate the light.
For me, the trick is not to never get upset or pissed off, it's to make negativity work for me. To channel negativity and make it my bitch. I don't know about you, but anger fuels me to improve, to hang in. It tests my mettle. Sadness and grief teach me about overcoming obstacles and learning to live with things that will not change. Disappointment shows me how well I deal with failure. Good results can come from bad situations and negative emotions. Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well. You can't ignore problems or become estranged from reality just so you remain a beacon of positivity when shit hits the fan.
To me, accentuating the positive means holding up in the face of adversity, focusing on what I have rather than what I don't, seeing/seeking/finding the good, maintaining serenity when things are falling down around me, rolling with it...all of those are integral to how I live my life.

But when something goes wrong, I don't force a smile onto my face and I don't care about how the outside world views me or my struggle. I feel like some people are afraid to acknowledge hardship for fear of being branded negative. Acknowledging the suck is not negative and doesn't make you a negative person. Daily life has good and bad in it. To pretend it doesn't isn't real life. The cult of positivity leaves no room for reality. There is a place that exists between delusionally positive and Debbie Downer full time negative.

I think like this: There's good. There's bad. In all good things, there is something bad. In all bad things, there is something good. I choose what to look for and I choose where to place the emphasis. Sometimes there is no initial choosing and my choice lies in how I react. I'm responsible for my own balance.
I hate when people  beat themselves up on down days for not being positive. Everyone hits a low once in a while. It's okay. Give yourself the permission to feel what you feel and work through it, the cult of positivity be damned.

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Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions.

 Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Linking up with Liz for The Hump Day Blog Hop
The Hump Day Blog Hop
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