Friday, June 23, 2017

Seasonal Goals - Summer

Life According to Steph

For the past year or more, Sara and I have done a seasonal goals linkup. This is the last of those for us for differing reasons. Me? I am still assimilating to splitting life at the shore and home - yes, nearly two years later, still assimilating.

Outside of this linkup, I've been on the seasonal goals boat for more than a few years. It started to feel tight to me last year, and it was because my goals are no longer seasonal. Instead of forcing myself to march to the same beat I've always marched to, when things stop working for me, I stop doing them. Hence the end of my seasonal goal setting and, by extension, this linkup. Seasonal goals are dunzo for the moment.

So this is not a summer goals list, but I will report in on how I did on my Spring Goals -

1. Shore work: paint third floor rooms at the shore; replace ground floor porch railings and paint concrete on the porch; paint trim on main floor in house; evaluate air conditioner in the efficiency. DONE. With the addition of replacement of carpet on the third floor and painting trim on the second and third floors in the main house too. 

2. Get back to a Monday or Wednesday night zumba class. FAIL. I haven't, and I have no excuse. 

3. 30 days of yoga. Done! I shocked myself with this one. Honestly when I made it it was sort of pie in the sky. 

4. Check out a new Farmers' Market. Done! Ventnor City so far in the spring, more to come in the summer. 

5. Go through clothes and get rid of anything I didn't wear this winter. I did this, but I feel the need to do it again. I don't think I was as heartless as I needed to be. 



This summer, my main goal is to learn how to take a nap without waking up with the attitude of a hellbeast troll. What's on your summer agenda?



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Thoughts - look at my king all dressed in red

1. Iko iko un-day. The other day I spent a legitimate half hour looking up the origin of that song, and towards the end of that half hour I found myself on a freaking Grateful Dead fan site reading the comments section. I don't even like the Dead save for a few songs, and I certainly am not interested in immersing myself in their super fans. I backed the fuck away from the internet and went for a walk outside.

2. When something feels tight on my skin I know I need to make a change. Most summer TWTW posts will be pictures with phrases. I like being able to look back on weekends but I will take the summer off from being verbose about it.

3. If you get to Dunkin Donuts behind this guy in the morning, boy you are fucked. Because it means he's ordering for like 15 people.

4. A few people have asked my thoughts on Hillbilly Elegy. These were my biggest takeaways. I don't think it was the cultural phenomenon it was hyped to be, but I do think this one man's memoir of his family and their experiences with commentary on their culture gave great insight into a group of people I don't know much about. I was also interested in the commentary Vance made on the decline of hard work and how people are bitching up a storm about things they're doing themselves but that they consider themselves the exception to the rule. I always like when a conservative and I agree on things.

5. Newsflash: if you are anti-abortion but also anti- full health coverage for pre-and post-natal care, anti-full (longer than 6 or 8 freaking weeks, that's for sure) and PAID maternity leave, anti-higher minimum wage, anti-equal pay for equal work, anti-public schools, anti-TANF, anti-Medicare, anti-HUD public housing, anti-SNAP, anti-WIC, anti-National School Lunch Program/Breakfast Program/Team Nutrition/Milk Program, anti-head start and early start, etc...then stop calling yourself pro-life. You are pro-birth. You are into controlling women's choices on the front end and blaming them for failing alone on the back end.

The United States is the only country in the developed world where the Maternal Mortality Rate is RISING. Our MMR is on par with Saudi Arabia's - that country we like to wave around like "Hey ladies, stop bitching, you have rights and you have it better than the women in Saudi Arabia." Why, because we can wear makeup? GTFO. 13 white men are cutting women's healthcare behind closed doors as we speak.

From the article Why a Pro-Life World has a Lot of Dead Women in It: "Pretending that women should remain quiet on the topic of their rights because women have it worse in other countries is absurd. We do not live in other countries. This argument should carry all the weight of a C student, who, when told to do better by their parents, replies by shouting, “I could be getting Fs! I could be shooting heroin into my eyeballs!” Which is to say, it should carry no weight at all."

Read it.

6. When an opinion piece on the National Review calls the Philando Castile Verdict a Miscarriage of Justice, you fucking KNOW it was. Of course, in the comments, people are defending it. We are sitting on a powder keg and people still don't know why there is a Black Lives Matter movement. Yesterday was the 53rd anniversary of the Freedom Summer Murders and I don't think a damn thing has changed because people still carry so much hate in their hearts. 53 years is enough time for that to go away except people are teaching it to their children so it is not going away. But enough of that. Let's talk about the murder of Nabra Hassanen, a 17 year old who had just left extra prayers at a Mosque during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Was it because she was Muslim? They seem to think not and it's not being investigated as a hate crime at this time...but man, we've made them pretty easy targets, haven't we? Reminder: hate has no home here, motherfuckers.

7. This guy is my America. Watch this ad for Randy Bryce who is running against Paul Ryan in 2018. "If someone falls behind, we are so much stronger if we carry them with us. That's the way I was raised." Made me cry at my desk, no shame.  The cherry on top...his twitter handle is IronStache. Can you even?

8. Things that take me from zero to murderous rage in under three seconds:

9. Tomorrow is the seasonal goals linkup with me & Sara if you're interested! Graphic grab:
Life According to Steph

10. Reminder:

11. E-card of the week. 




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer is...



Early morning bird chatter

Grilled chicken all the time

Walking barefoot

Tomato sandwiches

A sea breeze saving an afternoon

Hanger having two meanings: hungry and angry& hot and angry

Woodsmoke on the wind on cool nights

Shore traffic
Realizing bugs are coming back

Shedding dogs / Panting dogs

Peaches, plums, watermelon, cantaloupe

Fucking fireworks

Eau de city: hot pee and hot trash

Flowers in bloom

Throwing on a dress and going

Thrum of cicadas

Soft serve ice cream

Saying fuck it a lot more

Farmstands

Losing track of time

Graduations and the feeling of in between that follows you even into adulthood

Skies on fire morning and night

Many hours on the beach

Open windows


Huge hair that humidity has turned into a planet with plenty of Uncle Larrys curling around it in the swampy steam

Lawnmower chorus producing a freshly mowed neighborhood cologne

Clicks of roller coasters and excited screams

Bike rides

Flags waving

Bug spray

The scent of Coppertone riding the back of seaspray

Sand everywhere

Reading outside


What is summer to you? 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Daily Shower Spray


One million different people use my shower at the shore, so I decided to make a variation of Crunchy Betty's Daily Sparkly Shower Spray. Since I was making it for there, I thought fuck it I'll make it for the shower in the shore apartment (even though we typically shower outside in the summer) and the shower at home

I use 16 oz glass bottles from Amazon for this type of stuff - this is the blue and these are the brown (set of three). 

Ingredients
1 cup rubbing alcohol
1 cup hydrogen peroxide
4 tsp Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap
30 drops peppermint essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil

Directions
Add ingredients to bottle. Shake well every time before using. Use in shower daily after you're finished in there. 

I love the smell. I ended up adding 10 drops of lemon essential oil to each bottle a week later and it's a keeper. 

***********
Haikuesday is back. 
Dirty shower? Clean it up.
George Parliament funk. 
***********




Monday, June 19, 2017

TWTW - the one in shore season

Signs of the season: hell traffic. I went to the shore earlier than normal Friday and returned Sunday midday which are the times I usually avoid.  No sunrises this weekend either - rainy Saturday and I needed the sleep Sunday.

Friday night I met Melissa, Alex, and the Stephanies. My name twins are in from CA and I didn't want to miss them! I rode the Ferris Wheel with Melissa and Alex, which I never do and it wasn't as terrible as my last Ferris wheel experience.
After laying my book down at midnight, I put my sleep mask on and exhaled into a long I'm going to sleep in sleep. Only I woke up at 6, but I did go back to sleep until 7:30 when someone was trying to open my door. Alas it was my mother, I forgot she was arriving early after dropping Rich off to do an ALS fundraising bike ride. We walked to breakfast at Yianni's followed by coffee and donuts at Drip N' Scoop. Then she helped me strip the beds and check the house upstairs. When she took off, I did some outside chores then headed to the beach. I timed it perfectly - I was on the last three pages of my book when it started to rain.
After Rich's bike ride, we all went to the Deauville to have a late lunch outside and celebrate Father's Day and my mom's birthday, which is today. Happy birthday Mom! #poophawk We celebrated them even though they did not let me pay, LOL.
MFD arrived with the dogs close to 8 and promptly left for mummery in Margate. When he got back we got ice cream and paid the beach a visit at 11 pm.
Sunday morning was a slow start after a 6 am dog walk. Porch time, bike ride, beach visit, breakfast at a terrible new place, and I was on the road for home before 12:30.
After some rapid fire hausfrauing, I headed to Aubrey's parents' house for a Father's Day celebration and enjoyed my first burger and hotdog from the grill of the season, topped off with ice cream sundaes. 
Weekly food prep: breakfast is egg muffins with baby bellas, green onions, and cheese; snacks are peaches and carrots; lunch is a combo of chicken with rice and broccoli and Greek pasta salad; dinners are chicken thighs owith roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli and lemon roasted asparagus and shrimp. I also made spinach dip for our Father's Day gathering.



Today is also my cousin Ashley's birthday. Happy birthday Ash!

Well that went quickly, didn't it?




Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, June 16, 2017

Personal Finance Tips to Save Money Today for Summer Travel Ahead

Happy Friday friends! Lauren Davidson, a senior at a prestigious university here in Philadelphia, contacted me about sharing an article to build her writing portfolio. I am not one to give space for free, but sometimes the Grinch's heart grows three sizes in one day, and it did this time, so here it is. 

********************

With the economy finally picking up steam, many families are looking ahead to their first real family vacation in years, or ever. As the summer season approaches and plans are finalized, now is the time to get your finances in order so you can enjoy the time away without worrying about those post-vacation blues. While there are a number of things you can be doing to get financially prepared for a great vacation, here are three essential personal finance tips.

Create a Budget and Saving Plan

Trying to plan and execute a vacation without a full scale budget and savings plan is certain to lead to disaster – or, at least disappointment. Any financial endeavor worth pursuing must have a plan in place if you want to realize your vision. A successful family vacation requires a plan consisting of three steps:

Establish a goal. Any type of vacation plan is going to have a cost. You need to determine what that cost is and whether it is reasonable in light of your capacity to save for it. That means creating a detailed vacation spending plan, complete with time line and expenses, leaving room for a splurge or two and the unexpected. The last thing you want is to have to turn to your credit cards to cover your expenses.

Establish a savings goal. Based on the amount need to fund your complete vacation, you need to establish a goal for how much money you will need to have in your vacation fund. If your savings time frame is less than a year, you should expect to earn zero interest on your savings. So, if your vacation expenses will run $3,000, you need to calculate how much needs to be saved weekly between now and the start of your vacation. If your vacation is planned for 25 weeks out, you will need to save $120 a week.

Find the savings in your household budget. Saving $120 a week, or around $550 a month can be a tall order for some families. That is why you need a household budget. If the goal is important enough, you should be able to reprioritize spending for a short period of time. Comb through every single expense in your budget – both essential and non-essential expenses – to see what can be redirected to savings. You will be surprised with what you can find. The important thing is to then make your savings contribution the first expenditure in your budget.

Budgeting and saving, especially for a short-term goal, can be difficult to manage for some families, which is why it is recommended that you employ technology to help you. There are two apps that can be particularly helpful. Mint from Inuit and You Need a Budget are personal finance apps available on iOS and Android that let you track and manage your spending and saving in real time. They can also be instrumental in helping you to pay down debt, which is the next essential tip to follow.


Pay Down or Refinance Debt

If you have a large amount of debt, you should consider whether now is a good time to take a family vacation. Paying off high interest debt should be a top priority for any family. However, if your debt is manageable and, more importantly, there is a chance to pay it off or, at the very least, refinance it to lower your monthly expenses, now would be a good time to put that strategy into action. Here are some steps to take with your debt right now.

Credit card debt: See if you can find a 0% introductory rate credit card to transfer any high interest credit card debt. Ideally, you can find a card with at least a 12 month promotional period.

Student debt: While it’s not possible to pay down student debt in a short period of time, you may have available some options for lower its cost, either through student loan consolidation or refinancing.

Mortgage refinancing: With the likelihood of higher mortgage rates in the near future, this may be your last chance to lock in low rates. If you have been considering it, doing so now could lower your monthly expenses to allow for more savings.


Make it a Family Endeavor


By making it a family endeavor, one in which everyone contributes by finding new ways to save and make money, the vacation will turn out to be a rewarding experience and much more enjoyable for all. Enlist the kids to organize a yard sale, or help with selling items on eBay or Craigslist. Putting the kids in charge of tracking the savings goal will keep them involved and active in holding everyone accountable. 

                                                  ********************
What do you do to save money for travel? 









Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thursday Thoughts - Same as the wind blows

1. Sometimes I have to walk past my dining room table and say FUCK IT! I'll do it tomorrow. This is a combination of stuff that came home from the shore, stuff that needs to go to the shore, stuff that was bought and needs to be returned, mail I went through, work bag, and empty clothes bag.

2. Have I mentioned how terrible pugs are with heat? Exhibit Geege.
3. Happy birthday to one of my BFFs today! Michelle is someone I'd call to help me bury a body and I'd expect the same call from her. Then we'd go out for Mexican after. I trust her implicitly, with anything and everything. Love you so much Michelle, have the best birthday!
4. Stamp options rock right now.

5. Do you guys wear Athleta? Pieces cost one million dollars each but good lord it is worth every blessed penny. It's comfortable and doesn't look like you're walking around town wearing a schlumpy bag of dicks. The metro line at least, of which I have shorts, capris, and skorts. Be honest. My description has enticed you, hasn't it?

6. From the never say never category: I have always been all I will never do my own toes, I hate it and I refuse. Cut to me dialing that shit back. I've realized I might need to give up getting pedicures for the summer at least. I know, I know, the time to get them IS in the summer. But I get one, I go to the shore, and it's destroyed in five minutes from the sand/sun/water/walking barefoot. It's basically like flushing $40 down the drain. I freaking hate doing my own toes but I'm going to give it a go. I do my own nails so it's not like I don't have the stuff.

7. Check these out:
Seth Abramson's twitter thread on what happens if trump attempts to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and Rick Wilson's twitter thread on similar
Eric Garland's twitter thread on what's gone on and The Resistance, which made me laugh and cry
How a major crisis could redraw the political map overnight video or article - really important in light of the shooting at the congressional baseball game practice field yesterday. I sincerely hope that was not our Reichstag Fire.

8. My eyes are on an Attorney General who can't recall a damn thing - do we want someone like that in charge of the Justice Department? - and Senators working in secrecy on a healthcare bill. Why so secretive, Senators? Show us the bill.

9. There's still time! I am still hosting a KEEP Collective fundraiser for 350.org - an organization working in more than 180 countries to keep carbon in the ground, help build a low-carbon economy, and pressuring the government to limit emissions. If you'd like the link to peruse with no pressure to buy, it's in the comments below. If you'd like to be added to the FB group, please let me know. This photo is some of my favorite keep stuff - bracelets and charms shown here, interchangeable and you can essentially wear something new daily. They also have necklaces and keychains. 50% of commissions will be donated to 350.org. If you'd like to peruse, click here to shop my link.  A few of my personal totems from Keep: 

10. E-card of the week. 
Your thoughts? 








Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Things I don't ever feel like doing

Waiting for a train

Cleaning the shower

Putting laundry away

Talking on the phone

Sticking my head in the sand about current events

Sitting in traffic

Listening to bullshit

Talking about where I see myself in five or 10 years

Going to the grocery store

Weeding

Leaving the shore

Self evaluations

Putting up with assholes

Going out more than one night in a row

Being out after 9 pm

Picking up dog poop

Getting out of bed when the weather is perfect for sleeping

Finishing a book that doesn't speak to me

Staying up late

Seeing a movie in the theater

Refraining from punching people who tell me to smile

Being patient

Putting off until tomorrow what I can do today

 Making pie crust

Anything when it's hot and humid

What don't you ever feel like doing?


 photo green_zpsc25796d6.png








Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Show us your Books: June 2017


Can you freaking believe we're at the halfway point of the reading year? Wasn't it just New Year's Day yesterday? I'm drowing in e-books right now, so I suspect I'll be on overload of those for a little. Hell I'm also drowning in physical books. What a glorious predicament. 


Linkup Guidelines:
This link up happens the second Tuesday of every month. The next is  Tuesday, July 11, 2017 
1. Please visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me
2. Please display the button (need it? let me know) or link back to us on your blog post
2. Please visit a few other blogs who've linked up and get some book talk going!

Here's what I've read from the last linkup.

Engrossing Reads


My Sister's Grave (Tracy Crosswhite #1) by Robert Dugoni - I love finding a new series. I'll be settling in for the next of these. Amazon kindle e-book

Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder #3) by Linda Castillo - More more more of this series. I love it and am motoring through it. library hardback

Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder #4) by Linda Castillo - Can't stop won't stop. I could consume these. library hardback

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine - I was annoyed with this at first: lots of repetition like yes yes we freaking get it she's careful. Then I got into it and was propelled forward in a nice finish in 24 hours type of way. Amazon Kindle First for June

Passed the Time Just Fine

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti - I like books set in one horse towns. This one had a lot going on, some of which felt extraneous, and I think if a side story or two were dropped it would have been sharper and more impactful. Still not a bad read. Not a great one either. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Savage Rising: A Backwoods Justice Novel by C. Hoyt Caldwell - This book made me laugh out loud numerous times thanks to the colorful language and the author's turn of phrase. Even so there are some serious threads running through it. It's like the show Justified in book form. I liked Dani Savage a lot, as well as her crew. I was in a slug reading period with this one and still made it through. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg - It's been quite a while since I've read an Elizabeth Berg novel. This one reminded me of why I enjoy her so much and why it shouldn't be so long in between next time. I liked all of these characters. Free e-copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany - It's hard to really rate this book. I actually didn't like the pace and I didn't love the characters. I thought some of the events were told in too much of a chick lit manner for such a serious topic. All that being said, I think it does make some statements that need to be made and examine some things that need to be talked about. library hardback

Roses of May (The Collector #2) by Dot Hutchison - I really liked The Butterfly, as much as you can like a book that is creepy as fuck. This one was a lot different. I didn't mind it, but since it's #2, I thought it would be more of a continuation of #1 and it really wasn't. I liked the fierce females in this book and the FBI agents as family. Free e-copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Her Final Breath (Tracy Crosswhite #2) by Robert Dugoni - I didn't love it like the first, but it was serviceable. library hardback

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn - This is exactly why the short story is not my preferred genre. I always want more. I read this in 20 minutes, for shit's sake, and I need to know what happened. Amazon e-book

The Sun in Your Eyes by Deborah Shapiro - I liked the writing a lot, the story less so. It's clear this author has a way with words, but I don't know if she has the breadth and depth of the story telling. I picked through a little - do I need this? do I need this? No. No. Lots of stuff hanging out in the ether without a tie to the present. I think an editor could have helped a lot here. Amazon e-book

Firefly Summer by Nan Rossiter - This is the kind of book that typically makes me roll my eyes because it's too something...predictable? perfect? Americana? contrived? I don't know. But while I did do a little eye rolling, I also liked it. I read a shit ton of books with bad guys. It's nice to read a sweet and boring little book where everything works out in the end and is wrapped up pretty every once in a while. I've had it on my kindle forever. e-book

Not Worth It



Did Not Finish

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris - I came to the end much, much quicker than he did. library hardback

What are you reading?






Monday, June 12, 2017

TWTW - the one with the 40th celebration

My welcome to the shore moment Thursday night was a full moon over the water. I saw the moon again at 5:30 am Friday, along with a lovely pink and yellow sunrise. The moon was also lovely Friday night, and the strawberry moon Saturday night was amazing. I am a child of the moon.
After sunrise Friday I organized stuff in our apartment with my trusty label maker like the dork I am and hit the Ventnor City Farmers Market for some knish, berries, local honey, soap, and a sweet bracelet.
Six friends with over 25 years of history living in four different states with full lives and responsibilities plus very different schedules means picking a date months in advance and praying it still works for everyone when it arrives. It did, and it was great. At various times with these women I feel 12, 16, 18, 22, 30, 35, 40. They've been there through it all, and Lord do we have a ton to reminisce over and laugh about, past and present, while we ruminate on the future together.

After Laura and I picked Kim up at the AC Airport, we met Melissa and Angie at the house and spent the day on the beach. KVSR arrived early Saturday and aside from the kayakers' foray into the bay, we spent Saturday on the beach as well, simultaneously entertaining and repelling people around us with our always ridiculous conversations. Laura and I walked the boards Friday and Saturday night like we did when we were 13 except instead of dressing up to troll for boys like we did then, we went as we were trolling for old lady flip flops and candy. We had lights and a mic thanks to Melissa. We hung out on the porch and couches, walked for coffee in the mornings, and covered conversational topics that ran the gamut from topical to unsuitable for public. Kim and I stopped for a Kohr Bros on her way out of town. I truly love these women and had a great time.
#respectthegun #Ifeellikeyoudo #wattawattawatta #thekayakers

You cannot put a price on time together with people who know you like that, or the love and acceptance of people who love you, warts and all. Our goal is to reconvene here annually.

After cleaning up and clearing out, Laura hit the road first. Kim, Kim, Angie, Melissa, and I had lunch at Frankie's on the Bay, then KVSR, Angie, and Melissa hit the road too. Kim and I had a rest and got some Kohr Bros. I took her to the AC Airport, then headed back home to make three batches of shower spray, do a final house walk through, paint my nails (wet n wild Megalast in Bite the Bullet), clean up our apartment, load up my car, take the first outdoor shower of the summer season, and chill with MFD and the dogs before making a late trip to the beach. MFD came down to get a new grill (they don't last long in the salt air) and fix a leak in one of the upstairs bathrooms. And go fishing and get sunburnt like a fool. Dinner was a calzone and salad from Piccini.

Weekly food prep, happening tonight: breakfast is breakfast burritos from the freezer; snacks are power breakfast muffins and yogurt; lunch is salads with chicken (making tonight, I don't need lunch Monday), and dinners are chicken breasts marinated in pineapple/hot sauce thanks to My Shitty Kitchen over mashed potatoes as well as enchilada pasta.


 I did manage to finish a book on the beach on Saturday and start a new one Sunday night. Tomorrow is Show Us Your Books with me & Jana! See you back here for that.




Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending


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