Saturday, August 30, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure Challenge for September: Fitness

Happy Saturday friends!

Steph at Not Entirely Perfect hatched an awesome idea - a monthly goal challenge where we all work on one theme in a way that rings true to each of us individually. I'm basically going to copy a lot of this post of Steph's to share some info with you here.

Each month has a different general topic, such as food, relationships, organizing, etc.  Within that general topic, you pick what you want to work on.

If you don't blog, feel free to comment on my blog post on facebook or tweet me, Steph, and Ashley to let us know you're participating and how you're doing.

Bloggers, the link up will be the first Thursday of each month. You have a full month to work on your particular goal and write up a recap post.  The theme for the next month will be announced on the first of the month. I'll be sharing my goal for the next month with you then and hope you'll share yours with me. We'll all get by with a little help from our friends, am I right?

The challenge for September is fitness. You'll link up or report your progress on Thursday, October 2.  It can be as simple or as complicated as you want. You can choose one goal or more. It's entirely up to you to create your own adventure within the general topic of fitness. 

My goals for September's fitness challenge:
1) Walk four times a week 
2) M-F squats 
3) Three days of strength training every week. 

general guidelines:
1) If you want, follow your hosts not entirely perfectlife according to steph, and keeping up with ashley and cody.  
2) Non bloggers report in on your progress and bloggers link up your post about your results for the month - we want to hear all about what you did, how you fared, what resources you used, what you'd recommend to others, etc.
3) Bloggers, please link to your actual post about your results.  Links not having to do with the challenge will be deleted.
4) Feel free to use this button, created by the lovely sarah at venus trapped in mars. You can also copy the image and upload it to Instagram if that's your bag.

Life According to Steph

Are you in? What are you going to work on? Do tell.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Favorites: Why I Like Gus Better than Most People

1 - He's secure with himself. He knows he's the king and doesn't need anyone else to stroke his ego. When he's scolded, he recovers quickly. You can't keep him down.

2 - Gus does what Gus wants. If you don't like it, he does not care.

3 - He will stare you down like no other.

4 - He's independent but always returns to sit or lay next to me. He's my SnuffleupaGus. Get it?

5 - He greets me at the door every day bearing a gift. It's a dirty gross dog toy but still, it's a gift.

Happy 9th birthday to my Gussie, my first dog. Please live until the day I can go a few hours before me. Wouldn't that be something? If our beloved pets could all die at the same time as us? Cheeseburgers for the dog members of our household tonight!

My posting schedule will be a little different next week due to a travel weekend:
Monday: Remember to look out for a special holiday edition of Shit MFD Says - it's his birthday
Tuesday: No blog post
Wednesday: Things I think are worth every cent
Thursday: an overview of the books I read this summer
Friday: Our trip to Chicago. So basically a TWTW post on a Friday - hashtag YOLO.

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Linking up with  Meet @ the Barre

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

1. I'd like to buy every woman in the free world a bottle of the Undercover Colors nail polish that changes colors when exposed to date rape drugs, invented by four male students at North Carolina State University. I hope they get flooded with donations to make this a marketable reality.
2. When you forget your lunch on the counter at home, you get to eat Chipotle. Silver linings.

3. I got my first Stitch Fix shipment last week and I hated every single piece. hahaha. I hope next month is better. You've got one more chance, Stitch Fix. Get your shit together. And maybe read the survey I filled out telling you what I don't like...and don't send me those things. 

4. Have you guys followed Iva at Why I'm Cray? She blogs once a week and I always find it really interesting because it's not something I'd write myself. I always learn something from her and sometimes it's even (gasp) math. Seriously, the title of last week's blog was 0, 1, 1 Reasons The Fibonacci Sequence Kicks Arse. I was intrigued and I read it and understood it even though it was about math. Now that's cray, friends.  I also liked this post on suicide, quite a timely post with good information on the topic. We can't ignore shit because it's unpleasant to think about. Check her out. 

5. I have a time honored ritual of watching the Emmys with naughty snacks and writing down snarky things about what everyone is wearing and saying. I was working Monday and could not prepare my naughty snacks and since I was away this weekend I could not sit around on my ass watching them and crafting snarky live posts about them. Can we go back to a Sunday in September? For the love...

6. My Emmys best dressed - Lizzy Caplan, Amy Poehler, January Jones (I usually hate what she wears), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
7. My Emmys worst dressed - Allison Janney (Whyyy with the 80s bow? The color is great and you are so cool, I'm disappointed), Kate Walsh (are you stoned?), Katherine Heigl (a dull dress that ages you...never good), Lena Dunham (your bad attire schtick is getting old), Kerry Washington (I don't care who loved it, I hated it, it looks like a Gym Night costume with sparkles hot glued on it), Laura Prepon (you're better than this), Blossom (this is not a period piece, dress your age), Kate Mara (EMO), Julie Bowen (this is your best?), Sarah Paulson (I'm not even sure what to say)
8. Yesterday Philly threw the Taney Dragons a parade for their performance in the Little League World Series. It seems odd, a parade on a weekday for kids who didn't win it all, given that Philly has $0 to fix schools, roads, etc. the recognition at the Phillies game probably would've sufficed. Still, I started crying, of course. I don't really cry when I'm sad, but I do cry when I'm frustrated and when I'm really proud for someone or something. Like in situations like this or whenever the National Anthem is played. LOL
9. I know now that summer's winding down, you're all up for a challenge. I know it. Luckily for you, one is presenting itself right here. Join the Create Your Own Adventure monthly goal setting challenge - click here to read the particulars on Steph at Not Entirely Perfect's blog post. There will be a theme for each month and you'll set goals around that theme and if you blog, link up with your progress the first Thursday of the following month. The theme for September is Fitness. So come up with a goal(s) on that theme, do your thing, and link up with us on Thursday, October 2, to report in on how you did. Personally, I know it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so I'm going to be using these months to do some habit making and breaking. My fitness goals for September are 1) Walk four times a week 2) M-F squats 3) Three days of strength training every week. I can't wait to see what yours are! Grab the button code below and prep your 10/2 post - no excuses! You got this. 
Life According to Steph
10. Ecard of the week:

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Linking up with Kristin for Stuff & Things

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

TWTW - scenes from the weekend

I typically prep Monday's blog throughout the weekend. This weekend, I relaxed, read, did a ton of walking, and enjoyed the shore with MFD, my BFF Laura, her husband, and the boys. Since this is tardy, this is basically a photo highlight reel of the past weekend. Sorry if any are repeats of photos you've already seen on social media.
Saturday was overcast  and I got burnt. RAAAAAAGE / Sunday was an exceptional beach day especially under the umbrella / Where is Chris in these photos? / I read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and The Arsonist by Sue Miller. 
Is it wrong to share a zillion sunrise photos? They're unedited, good thing they don't need it.
I had a fresh hot donut with maple glaze and bacon Saturday morning and I've been thinking of it ever since. Otherwise, my standards: pizza from the NY Pizza place in the Promenade and mint julep from Kohr Bros.
Boardwalk chicanery including funny t-shirts, MFD's birthday present to himself - buying back his childhood via vintage Star Wars toys (prompting Chris's youngest son to ask if he was in a nerd club, hahahhaah), backpacks circa 1992, blacklight room where all the acid trip stuff is still on display in the Surf Mall, MFD and the boys made friends with Frankie the Pug in a store, and Kohr Bros poses.
I also forced the family into the flip flop pose. And Laura and I did the prom pose as usual. Sorry not sorry about either.
Is it a weekend without flag photos?
I really love being on the beach. But what I love the most is when everyone around me leaves, even the people I love, to just sit and be alone for a little while, eye to eye with the ocean. Usually by that time I'm wrapped in my towel with my long sleeves on, I've finished my book, I'm thirsty and I have to pee, but I still stay and breathe in and out for a few. It soothes me and makes me happy.
Friday we had dinner with Debbie, her dad, and her aunt and uncle at Three Monkeys. Shockingly, I have no photos of the crew but it was great to see Debbie's dad again after so many years and to meet her aunt and uncle.

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A day late and a dollar short, but there's the weekend doings. We had a great time at the shore with Laura, Chris, and the boys. Thanks a ton to Michelle for dogsitting and to our neighbor Jamie for letting them out Sunday night before we got home.

Since Labor Day is MFD's birthday, I'm toying with an extra addition of Shit MFD Said for that day because 1) We'll be in Chicago so there is no weekend update 2) Since it's a holiday the weekend will still be going on 3) I seriously already have an entire post's worth and I typically wouldn't put it up for another two weeks.
Can we handle it?
Two Shit MFD Said posts? 
Or is two too much?
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Chasing Silver Linings

Hello friends! I'm unprepared for TWTW today so I'm switching it up this week. 
Check back tomorrow for weekend things.

The off weeks...whether it's one large life altering thing or a series of small things that occur closely together to create a unique shit storm, we've all been there. They suck. You feel like you've been put through the wringer and even if you're not a whiner (and I hope you're not because I cannot stand whiners) you feel like whining.

When I look around and everything seems wrong, I remind myself that it will get better. It always does. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but there's an inevitable upswing to every low time.

One of my favorite things to do is chasing silver linings. When I get bad news or have a shitty week, I start looking for the silver lining - it's almost like a game I challenge myself with to improve my mood. I truly believe there is balance in every situation. Sometimes it's very apparent (I have good news and I have bad news, which one do you want first?) and sometimes you have to really dig in and search for it. 

Those times? When the silver lining isn't immediately apparent, when you have to think hard, work around some mental roadblocks, and really look for it? That's when it brings the biggest reward: in addition to the silver lining itself, you get the gift of the journey and the lessons you learned about yourself along the way.
What about you? Sulker, silver linings chaser, or hybrid?

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Favorites: Face products

For most of my life I was a big lazy dirtball who never washed her face at night. Gross. In the past year I've changed that, and about six months ago I switched some stuff up in my product arsenal and it's been aces.

I used to think people were freaking insane for using so much face stuff. Then I got older. I find it needs a little extra these days. Thanks to my motley crew of products, my skin has been pretty good. Here's what I'm using:
1 - Face wipes. These are the holy grail found at Marshalls or TJ Maxx. If I can't find these I use Yes to Cucumbers. And on the nights I'm still a lazy dirtball, I'm only using these.
2 or 3 - After I use the face wipe, I wash with either Trader Joe's All-in-One Facial Cleanser or freaking old school Noxzema. Throwback, right? I let it sink it for a few minutes while I wipe down the toilet and put away anything on top of my dresser.
4 - Swipe the face with a witch hazel soaked cotton ball.
5- Swipe the face with Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid then wipe down the sink to give it time to sink in. This product makes my face quite smooth.
6 - Apply Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Night. Wipe down mirrors as that's sinking in.
7 - Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream. I got this for free in an Influenster Voxbox so I've only been using it for about 1.5-2 months, but let me tell you - it's magic. Really. It's faded a lot of my dark and age spots and my skin feels great after using it. It doesn't clog my pores either.
8 - I remove eye makeup with Camomile eye makeup remover from The Body Shop. I actually do this after I use the face wipe but the photo is out of order. This is gentle and not greasy. Thanks to Emily at Martinis & Bikinis for this recommendation.
9 - I've been using Origins Plantscription eye cream for a long time. I'm finally at the end and have replaced it with Olay Total Effects Eye Cream.
10 - Also out of order (and dark, sorry, my brush is not gray, really) - I use this when I do the face washing portion.
1 or 2 - In the shower I either wash with this or St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub. I like this exfoliator because it's smooth and doesn't feel harsh or leave my skin raw.
3 - Witch hazel when I get out of the shower
4 - Yes to Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer (actually applied after #5)
5 - Coppertone Clearly Sheer SPF 30 for Sunny Days
6 - Not pictured - eye cream. I was previously using Garnier but when it was finished switched to the Olay Total Effects. I just made the switch this week so I can't weigh in on it.

Seriously, my skin has never looked better. Perhaps it's the chemicals of the old school Noxzema preserving me for thousands of dollars less than Botox? I don't know. This combination is working.

What face products are you loving?

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Linking up with  Meet @ the Barre

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Thoughts...Interrupted

I had Thursday Thoughts all laid out and scheduled like usual. A bit of good, a bit of bad, a bit of snark, and an ecard to top it off. Yesterday as I was standing in line on my lunch hour, I thought fuck it. There is too much bad to proceed as usual. And here we are. If you're not in the mood for serious, just close out of here and come back tomorrow to read about face products.

For the past two weeks, the news has been the news. Bleak and bullshit everywhere with some humanitarian good peppered in. I can usually just compartmentalize the bad and move on with my day. Not this time. The reaction of people to recent events - both people I know and people I don't know in comments I've read under articles or under the statuses of those I do know on facebook - has just sort of devastated me. Who are these people? Are we all part of the same community?

The Ferguson Situation: I'm waiting to pass judgement on either the cop or Michael Brown since, you know, I wasn't there. Automatically assuming either party is right or wrong because of  position or skin color is dangerous. There are things out there in the media that make the cop look bad and things that make Brown look bad. That's why we don't try cases in the media. Oh wait, yes we do. 

In the aftermath, I am most concerned about people lumping vandals in with those peacefully protesting against what they believe to be abuse and misuse of authority. Everyone in America has the right to peacefully assemble against what they feel is unjust. This community has the right to gather, grieve, and have their voices heard. The assholes in the community do not have the right to loot, vandalize, or attack police who are on the scene to diffuse the situation but those of us watching should not allow them the spotlight and attention. Anyone who thinks the peaceful and the assholes are all the same is an idiot. Main stream media is feeding you what they want you to see. 

The media is setting this up so anyone who thinks it could have been excessive is anti-cop. Let me tell you - I am not anti-cop. I am not a cop, will never be a cop, and will never know what it's like to have to make a split second decision with my life possibly on the line. I am grateful for the service and protection of cops and I know some really good ones. Does that mean every cop has a pure heart and service on his mind? No. 

Can we stop pretending racism and white privilege don't exist? I'm white and I will tell you things have been easier for me. I'm a woman and I will tell you things have been harder for me than they've been for my male counterparts. I am sick of people dismissing these feelings, as if to tell me oh no, that's not right dear - everyone has the same opportunities. Bullshit! Can we stop acting like black men aren't treated differently than white men?  Look into your heart and be really honest with yourself about this. Who among us of any color has not said and thought things we shouldn't have based on gross generalizations and preconceived notions? Most of us won't admit it because it's shameful. We know better than to generalize. 

Racially charged situations still erupt like they did in the 1960s, and we all have a part in fixing that. All of us, white or black.

My Pollyanna wishes...I don't want to point the finger at black or white people for perpetuating anything. I want everyone to stop having such hate in their heart that's been passed down through generations and is based on fear. I want people to stop judging an entire race based on a few encounters or what they see on the news. I want us to approach each other as individuals and if the time comes I want us to be judged as individuals. I want little kids growing up right now to not hear flippant racist remarks that are only "jokes." I don't want anyone of any color to fear mistreatment from police. There are good and bad black people. There are good and bad white people. There are good and bad police officers. There is racism on all sides. 

Ferguson needs some peace and some answers. I hope they get some. I hope everyone gets some. I have a lump in my throat when I think about this. I keep thinking things should not be this way. I feel despair like this will just keep blowing up and never stop and we'll be so busy pointing the finger and drawing race lines that we forget that we're all responsible to repair this community.  

Ice Bucket Challenge: I don't care if you love or hate the ice bucket challenge for ALS (actually I do, but moving on)...the numbers (both the amount raised and the number of new donors) are absolutely incredible. From the ALS website As of Wednesday, August 20, The ALS Association has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 20). These donations have come from existing donors and 637,527 new donors to The Association. People are shaming each other for doing it the challenge and shaming each other for not doing it. I myself shamed both group of shamers. No one can win. Except ALS who's taking that money all the way to the research rooms. 

Suicide: I'm still sick over the ignorant comments about suicide and depression in the aftermath of Robin William's death. I pray to God people who have so much wisdom to impart on how to pull yourself up from this never have a child or loved one who is so depressed that they kill themselves because then they'll have to eat their words. 

I'm not even going to go into ISIS beheading or anything else related to the Middle East. We don't have all day here. 

Some days I can't decide if I want to be on any social media site and I don't often feel that way. Being in marketing, I know these sites are a huge part of how we communicate and I'm not one to cut myself off from communication but seeing the derisive commentary on all three topics has made my heart actually hurt in my chest. What people are saying, good God! The vitriol and hate on all sides. There is so much fucking hate out there right now. So much arrogance and expertism and know it all-ness. So much talking at and very little talking amongst or talking to. 

Since when did we make such a thing about which side we're on? We love to tell each other how wrong we are. We care more about making our point, criticizing the hell out of everyone and everything, and being right than we do about having important conversations and talking things through. Discourse and idea sharing are what changes the world. We can't do that if we've stopped talking to each other. It's normal for our views to expand and change as we grow as people. We can't grow if we're stubbornly holding on to what we've always thought and thought we've known.

I've said very little about any of these things on my blog. Why is that? Am I afraid to offend people who are cops/black/ice bucket challengers/ice bucket challenge haters/think depression is something you get over after a few days? Do I want to avoid overburdening people who like happy little blog posts with lots of pictures and little text? 

None of the above. I've not written anything because I simply don't know what to say. I don't know how to put what I'm seeing, thinking, and feeling about all of these things in writing. I don't know how to connect the dots, to make a point concisely, to hit it home. To do my part to help people stop spewing hate. To look inside myself and see what unfounded fears I may have conditioned into me. To see where I'm speaking or acting from a place of fear and to work on that. 

I don't like to write from a place of hurt because my thoughts come too quickly and when translated to print tend to be repetitive, circular, and contain mistakes. I'm not editing this because I don't want to overthink. I also don't like to write from a negative place because once you put it out there, you can't get it back. I wish people would not write statuses or tweets from a negative place. That would be something, huh? 

The real world feels heavy and ill fitting right now, like it's too tight on my skin. I don't want to stick my head in the sand over it or go on like it's not happening. I don't want to avoid talking about things that matter because they're too hard to confront. 

If you saw this through, thanks. I just had to put it out there. Keeping it in felt untrue to myself. Tomorrow: face products. Come on now, I wouldn't bring you down two days in a row.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Things I think are dangerous

The situation in Ferguson, MO

Trying to please everyone

Counting other people's money


Acting like a judgy little focker

Not realizing or appreciating what you have

Weaving in and out of traffic

Measuring academic worth by standardized tests

Shopping at Target without a list or budget

Living for the weekends

Using a mandolin slicer without a thumb guard

War (duh)

Driving under the influence and texting while driving

Putting yourself last

Underestimating or overestimating  someone based on age, gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, or the amount of money in their pocket

Having no original thoughts

Going against the crowd for the sole reason of going against the crowd

Letting your kids run the show

Gross generalizations

Walking alone at night

Believing everything you hear

Being unable to stand up for yourself

Carrying a lot of cash

Thinking someone's life is perfect because you can't see evidence of problems

Staying silent about things that matter

Leaving your drink unattended at a bar

There are, of course, a zillion more dangerous things in this world. 
What are some things you think are dangerous?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Salads: Macaroni Salad

This is a very basic salad with no hard and fast measurements, but the next in the summer salads series nonetheless. I'm sharing this because it's a good thing to make to cultivate your taste method of creating good food. Too many people are out there cooking and not tasting as they go. Adding a bunch of crap at the end isn't going to save something. Taste as you go so when you arrive at the end, the dish is to your liking.

1 box elbow macaroni
4 stalks celery, chopped small
1 bell pepper (I typically use orange, yellow, or red), chopped small
1 can crab or 1 cup fresh cooked and picked (optional)
1 can shrimp or 1 cup fresh shrimp, cooked and chopped (optional)
Yellow mustard
Spicy brown mustard
Hellman's Mayo
Sea salt, white pepper (black okay), onion powder, garlic powder, celery salt, garlic salt
Boil macaroni in salted water according to directions. Drain and store covered in fridge for at least two hours, but overnight is okay.

When you're ready to assemble the salad, put the macaroni in a large bowl with room to move and mix. Add your veggies, crab, and shrimp, then start by adding a cup of mayo and a tablespoon of each mustard. Then the spices - I'd start with about 1/2 tsp of each. Mix well, then taste it. What do you want to taste more of? I typically add more mayo - nothing worse than a dry salad, and let's be honest, macaroni salad is not the place to cut calories - and spices, but not all the spices. I do it by taste, and so should you.

It's a great easy salad to bring to a party or to make on Sunday for the week as a side.

What do you put in your macaroni salad?

Condiments: discuss.
Mayo means Hellman's only.
Mustard, up for grabs. 
 photo orange_zps7f2fb71b.png See Asparagus & corn salad here, See Greek Orzo salad here

Martinis & Bikinis

Monday, August 18, 2014

the weekend that was...

1. Afternoon stroll in Rittenhouse Square on Friday. I also perused LOVE Park but no Philly Jesus sighting.
2. Despite a 30+ minute late train and being crowded by a bunch of jackals standing in the aisles so they could rush out the door first, I was full of glee because Friday night held no plans. I read, picked up a bit around the house, and relaxed until MFD got home from the Neshaminy Soccer Alumni golf outing. We watched some OITNB and vegged.
3. Lori came over Saturday morning and we hit Bed, Bath, & Beyond and Marshalls. I got a few new towels and some fall stuff. It's crazy when you have to buy fall decor in August to make sure the good shit's not gone. Lori also brought me a sweet Christmas sign.
4. We picked up Trevose Pizza and visited Gamma and Pop. Look how much bigger Pop's pants are than they need to be.
Nobody puts Gamma in a corner
5. We took the dogs for a walk, and Geege got a lift on the way home. My Geege is getting old!
6. We hit Target and had a late lunch at Red Robin. Stephen & Aubrey came over and we ordered in.

7. Weekly food prep. Breakfasts - hard boiled eggs, banana, and raw green peppers. Lunches: PB&J on whole wheat or salad with veggies and tuna. Snacks: peaches, plums, cucumber slices, Chobani mango greek yogurt. Dinners: baked chicken/caprese salad/green salad/steamed veggies/pasta salad with veggies.

8. Sunday we were supposed to head to the shore early to get a day in at the beach but it was overcast and rainy. I did some purging, organizing, and hausfrauing. MFD did some work and the lawn, then we headed down the shore for the afternoon.
My hair makes me laugh sometimes.
9. Joseph A. Ferko String Band concert Sunday night in Wildwood. We made it home by 11:10. Holler.
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How was your weekend? Tell me all about it.
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Linking up for Weekly Wrap Up
Ameliorer la Vie

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