Monday, March 31, 2014

TWTW - last in the birthday month

1. A long walk for the dogs on Friday before the deluge on Saturday and Sunday.
2. A friend joined us for dinner Friday night, and MFD cooked since I don't do fish and he does Lent.

3. Leisurely Saturday morning with poptarts and magazines. Nails: Zoya Sweet topped with Essie Magnifico. I picked up the poptart in a single on Friday night at Target.
4. Does anyone else's DD do this? Why are you sticking my receipt to my cup with a sticker? Wasteful. Stop it.
5. Girls' day to close out my birthday month with Marla (Luck Fupus) and Brie (A Breezy Life). We painted pottery at All Fired Up in Collingswood, NJ, and then they treated me to lunch at Tortilla Press. Marla also brought me a birthday goody bag. Thank you ladies, fabulous day! I'm surprised how much I liked painting pottery. It was relaxing.I can't wait to see what my stuff looks like glazed. I painted a set of coasters for the dining room and a D because I have obsessions with initials.
6. Dinner at Nina's Trattoria Saturday night to celebrate Blane's 50th.
7. Hausfrauing Friday night and Sunday. I also got rid of a bunch of clothes. Purging like a boss. I prefer to change my sheets on Sunday so I can start the week out fresh. I would love to be able to change my sheets every day but alas ain't nobody got time for that.
8.  Sunday food prep: egg muffins for breakfasts, PB&J on sandwich thins for lunch, veggies and fruit for snacks.

9. Sunday dinner: salads;  roasted potatoes, carrots, red onion, grape tomato and parsnips; pork tenderloin;  and berry cobbler topped with light vanilla ice cream.
10. Caught up on The Blacklist finally.

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On Mondays I'm doing a picture thing with Kelli at She Crab Soup. If you'd like to participate, here are the prompts. This is my photo for the prompt food.
Tomorrow: pancake bites.

Today is the last day of my birthday month. Thanks for celebrating it with me! Now you don't have to hear about it for almost a year. Unless you want to, then you can go visit Another Clean Slate right now where I'm talking about the art of a month-long birthday celebration.
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Linking up with Kelli for

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Five: Reflections from 37

I tend to get a little reflective in my birthday month. In my early and mid-20s, these reflections were more of the am I on the right path, am I where I should be nature. Now I know I'm on the right path and where I should be, so it's more like what do I want to accomplish this year and where should we go on vacation? Nevertheless, I do still reflect, and I think about how I've been at different stages in my life, what's gotten better, stayed the same, or worsened. As we come to the last Friday in this lovely birthday month, I thought I'd share five things that have improved for me with age.

1.I feel like I settle into myself more every year. Like I'm more authentically me than ever before. It's hard to explain, but I really like the feeling. I also know comparison is the thief of joy. I am me, you are you, we have different bodies, minds, souls, strengths, weaknesses. That's okay.

2.  I've learned to pick my battles. Sometimes no matter what you do you can't win, and when I know that going in I'll spare myself the confrontation. Not everything or everyone is worth speaking up or out for, and I'm better at making that distinction now.

3. I have more perspective. A crisis is treated as such. Everything else is a minor inconvenience. And a lot of shit plain old just doesn't matter. I also know my modus operandi: I'll weather it better if I can make it funny and laugh my way through it. Things I will never laugh myself through: a real or perceived threat of lice or bedbugs. That shit would scar my soul. I know my limits.

4. Never one to be concerned about what others think or say about me, every year I care even less if that's possible. Throughout my life, I've been surrounded by supportive and encouraging framily. What they think matters to me. Doing what I think is right, staying true to myself, and being a good person matters to me. What people standing outside my circle have to say? I have zero fucks left to give about that.
5. No fear about how a meal is going to turn out. If it turns out good, awesome. If it doesn't, pizza delivery works too.

And a bonus for you, since it's Friday and that makes me nicer than normal. I've said this before on this blog but it bears repeating: Comparison is the thief of joy. I am me, you are you, we have different bodies, minds, souls, strengths, weaknesses, opinions, bad traits, good traits. That's okay. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing.

What's improved for you with age?
 photo purple_zpse5f7f916.png Tons of love going out to my friend Gwen in Ohio today! #fightlikeagirl

Linking up with Joy as always, and the Northeast Bloggers

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

1. It's been like two or three weeks since I've seen Dirty Dancing.  That's a long time for me to go without happening upon it, and in my birthday month too! Cue the tiny violins, I feel sad inside. It's not the same when I have to pull the DVD out and work the machine. The thrill is discovering it's on TV and pouncing on it.

2. I have a really busy three months ahead, and by busy I mean more going on than usual. I'm not into the glorification of busy. Busy is a drug people are addicted to. You know those people who always just have so much going on and say it like they are very glamorous, important, and put upon?  I mean, most of us have a lot of stuff going on, am I right? There is no glamour in over scheduling. The trick is to still manage to relax and take care of yourself as life is happening around you. I'm into the glorification of that for sure.
Wow, that was a tangent. Anyway...I'm very disciplined about carving out time for me and what I need to do at home (including doing nothing, see above re: taking care of yourself) and saying no to things that take away from that time. Balance is crucial to me, it's similar to what religion is to other people. Sometimes it can't be helped and weekends away back into each other, etc. That's what's coming at me. While I'm excited about everything coming I'm also feeling the crunch in advance, like my balance is starting to tip.

3. Maxi skirt time is upon us! The time in which I try on all the maxi skirts and dresses and look like a squat turd in each one. But like knee high boots, I try them on every year to no avail. The prints entice me but I hate every one of them.

4. I drink coffee a lot, but this week I am like a coffee machine. I can't get enough.

5. My main hag Kathy Biatchi at Vodka & Soda is great on health and fitness: she's realistic, not pushy, and uses terms like fitness boner. REAL TALK with Kathy Biatchi, you guys. I keep telling her to make it a radio show.

6. Currently reading and enjoying:
7. Do you want to slow your spending roll in a certain area? Join me and Marla from Luck Fupus for the April Wallet Watch. It's not a spending freeze so don't get your knickers in knot about not being able to do it. Click here to read my post on it.

8. Speaking of Marla...homegirl won the Wego Health Hilarious Health Activist Award last week because she fucking rocks. Congratulations friend! I'm heading to paint pottery and be ladies who lunch with Marla and her sister Brie from A Breezy Life on Saturday. Don't laugh when my pottery looks like a serial killer did it. I am not arty.
Straight up pilfered from 
9. My long-time friend Gwen who blogs over at Confessions of a Gila Monster could use some good juju from you this week if you're into that sort of thing. She's crucial to my life, so please check her post out today and give her a shout.
10. I sit on a throne of lies. Yesterday I said I triumphantly gave up on The Following. Last night I watched two episodes On Demand while MFD was sleeping. Because...Kevin Bacon.
11. Ecard of the week, and F U cold temps, you are casting shadows on my soul and making me cranky:

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Linking up with Kristin for Stuff & Things

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March Recommendations

Skimmers, recommendations are in bold. Aside from me, this month you get recs from Gwen at Confessions of a Gila Monster (today is Gwensday after all) and Steph at Insert Classy Here. Links to their blogs and other social media shebangs are under their recommendations. They're both on my daily reads, I hope you check them out. Go forth and enjoy!

1. Keysocks: Ladies, these are the bomb. With spring coming (but taking its sweet time) I have some cute shoes I want to wear. I don’t quite want to go sockless, and footies tend to slip off. Enter Keysocks, which are knee-highs with a cut out so it doesn’t look like you’re wearing socks. I bought some last year and now I see that they have wide-calf options, too!

2. Flats: Speaking of cute shoes, I’m in love with these Me Too flats. I have a super high arch and for years I pretty much only wore heels. Aging and my chiropractor have convinced me to start wearing slightly more practical shoes, but most flats are uncomfortable for me. I bought these in pewter last year and loved them so much that when I saw them again in December at DSW I bought another pair and one in black, too (and since I bought them at DSW I didn’t pay full price).
3. Bad Words, starring and directed by Jason Bateman. First of all, who doesn’t love Jason Bateman? Never mind, I don’t want to know, because I do love him. This, friends, is no Michael Bluth. His character is rude, crude and socially unacceptable, but if you can deal with that, he’s also hilarious. Don’t take your kids; it’s Rated R for good reason. It also stars Allison Janney, and the 10-year-old boy (Rohan Chand) should have quite a future.

4. Curly hair products: Are you a curly girl, like me? I tend to try out a lot of different products and for the most part I stick with drugstore brands. My current favorites are: Not Your Mother’s Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream; Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray; and my number one with a bullet, I would want this on a deserted island as my only product even though no one would see me, Kevin.Murphy Undressed Paste. That last one is a splurge item. I use it after my hair is dry.

 5. These words to live by:

1.  Parenthood.  I just finally caught up on the seasons on Netflix and I can't get enough of that show. Just be prepared to cry big fat tears every episode.

2.  Wine Awesomeness.  This is a subscription service that delivers new wine right to your door.  March was my first month and we found some GREAT new wines.  (click here for more info

3.  Dirty Springwash from Lush.  It smells amazing.  Let's be real, I love everything from Lush.
This is a photo I took when I purchased this after reading Insert Classy Here Steph's recommendations!
4.  Etsy.  I know I'm a little behind, but I finally spent time browsing through so many different shops.  We are updating our gallery wall and I have found some amazing prints to include.  I could get lost for hours.

5.  This link up - I love the whole concept and a little self love is fantastic.

1. Night Film by Marisha Pessl: What a totally weird yet engrossing book. I was just on the edge of being frightened. I stayed up late to read it. That's like the best seal of approval I can give on a book.
2. Slashing your TV shows. I cut The Originals, Reign, and The Following without a second thought this month. One minute they were there, the next they were erased from my DVR forever. Fickle dee dee, that's me. I'll probably pick The Following back up On Demand at some point because...Kevin Bacon.

3. March Madness. I'm not a sports lover but I love the madness and mostly I love the fact that anyone can win. I love the upsets more than I care about my busted brackets.

4. Coach outlet emails. Sign up to receive invites to sales, you can't just go on and purchase. I love the quality of Coach and they truly do last, but I've never bought a full price bag and I never will. I don't even go to the outlet anymore, I just cherry pick sales. Visit Recent acquisitions using birthday month cash:
5. Mr. Clean with Gain. I make a lot of my own cleaning products, but I haven't been able to make the scent of Gain, which I find strangely intoxicating for my laundry and home. Lori introduced me to this on our last Target trip and if it wasn't poisonous I'd drink it, I love it so much.

Thanks to Gwen & Steph for playing my reindeer games. I love the monthly recommendations posts.

What do you recommend this month?

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Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions.
 Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

April Wallet Watch - a spending challenge

I know, I know. You have things to do in April. You can't possibly participate in a spending freeze of any sort. Thank you and Good Day.

I'm here to tell you that you can, because in this April Wallet Watch, you make the rules. Where would you like to spend less? Do you spend $25 a week at Starbucks and would like to try spending $10? This is the challenge for you.

Watching your wallet doesn't mean you can't spend any money unless that's what you want it to mean. If you want to cut spending totally, do that. You're the boss with the hot sauce.

I'm coming in hot from a spendful birthday month, so my goal in April is no clothes, accessories, or beauty products. You might need clothes or lotion but have been eating out every day for breakfast or lunch and would like to cut back on that. Make this work to suit you and your life - we each have our own wallets to watch. But if you're feeling uninspired, feel free to use my rules.

My Five Wallet Watch Rules
1. Wallet watch lasts from April 1 - 30.
2. No buying clothes, shoes, other accessories, or beauty products except the weekend of April 11-13, when money has been budgeted for some shopping during a weekend away.
3. Only one DD coffee per week except for weekends away (April 4-6 and April 11-13).
4. Cook out of the pantry and freezer and really use what I have before food shopping.
5. Stay within budget for all outings, including weekends away.

Whatever goals you set for yourself, be realistic. Make changes to your spending habits for the next month that can work for you so you don't hate me and yourself by April 30.

Once you set your rules, live by them. Write down any expenditures that aren't in your budget, grab the button below and report in on your experience on Tuesday, May 6. Bloggers, link up your posts. Non-bloggers, prepare to share your list of wallet watch victories, failures, and reflections in the comments here or on Facebook or twitter.
Life According to Steph

What do you say? Are you down for an April Wallet Watch with me & Marla from Luck Fupus?
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Previous no spend check ins:
My Dirty Book of Shame - Spending Freeze Diary Violations and Realizations
Spending Freeze Book of Sin - I Veruca'd Myself)
Sinful Admissions of a No Spend September
Coming Clean on the January Spending Freeze

Heyohhh Queso

I love all cheese. This includes the Tostitos melty cheese, full of 498 trillion preservatives. This weekend I made queso blanco, and it was good, a nice change from dips I typically make. Quick and easy too.

1 pound sharp American cheese from the deli (you can use regular American too)
4 ounces pepperjack cheese (I used a block and cut it in half)
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 large jalapeno pepper, diced fine, seeds removed
1 TBS olive oil
1 can Rotel with diced green chiles, drained
1 4 oz can diced green chiles
3/4 cup fat free half & half (more if you want it to be thinner)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Shred cheeses - I use a food processor to do this and it's done in seconds. If you don't have a food processor, you can cut them. Do that and set aside.

Drain Rotel with green chiles and separate green chile cans in a collander.

Saute onion and pepper in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add cheeses and stir until about 3/4 melted. Add tomatoes and diced green chiles and stir to incorporate. Add spices and half and half, stir continually until fully melted.

Transfer to a mini crock pot to keep warm. Serve with tortilla chops, on top of nachos, or drink it alone. Whatever floats your cheese boat.

The cheese stands alone...
Until you introduce chips.
Then the party starts.
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Martinis & Bikinis
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