Friday, March 24, 2017

How difficult is it to switch electricity providers?

This one is for my friends in AUS from Jesse but the last bit about saving on electricity is for all of us. TGIF & happy weekend friends!


How hard is it to change electricity provider?

Many people ask themselves the question, why is electricity so expensive? There are general factors which contribute to electricity costs being high across the board. Even so, it could be that you can find cheaper rates with a different provider. There are also things you can do to reduce your energy costs, no matter which provider you choose.

In this article we are going to explain why electricity costs are so high generally. We are also going to look at how easy it is to switch provider if you wish to, as well as giving you some tips on how to reduce your energy costs, no matter who provides your electricity.

Why is electricity so expensive?

One of the major causes of the rise in energy costs in Australia is the country's commitment to reducing emissions. A large amount of money has been invested in renewable energy production and not all of the systems have been completely successful. Associated costs are being passed on to the customer through increased energy prices.

What if you want to change supplier?

So electricity is expensive across the board. This does not mean that you should not check if you can get a better deal elsewhere. It's worth noting that you are restricted to one provider if you live in Tasmania. The choice is also restricted in certain parts of Perth.

If you want to see if you can get your electricity elsewhere, at a more affordable rate, can help. They can do the research for you and even help you when it comes to making the change, if you need them to. It certainly helps to have someone around who can help you make the right decision for you.

How to save money on electricity, no matter who provides it

Whether or not you decide to change electricity provider, there are actions you should be taking anyway. They can help you reduce the amount of energy you use, and thereby reduce your electricity bills.
  •  Only use air conditioning when necessary. If the temperature is not too high you should consider using fans instead.
  • Always switch electrical devices off at the socket. If you do not do this you end up wasting a significant amount of electricity, over time.
  • When you use the washing machine, make sure that you always use a cool wash. You can still get your clothes clean, while also reducing energy use.

You may not think that these simple tips can save you that much money. The fact is that savings soon add up. However much your savings are; it's better for the money to be in your hands than with the provider. Do not wait to take action. If you want to save money put these processes in place as soon as possible. If you want to change provider as well then do not forget to speak to the experts, so that you have a better chance of making the right decision.


Electric company or alternative provider? 
What steps do you take to save electricity? 

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday Thoughts - sprung from cages out on highway 9

1. I love when I can catch all three dogs in one frame.
2. Hypocrisy.
3. If we're going to start making cuts to get our debt, let's start by cutting from the top with the egregious Mar-a-Lago weekend travel costs and the bills for the first family in NYC and cut the pension of Senators going forward. Let them contribute to a 401k like the rest of us. Let's also cut their wages, because most rank-and-file House and Senate members make $174,000 a year (not getting into any perks) and are not in session for long periods of time. Perhaps if it wasn't so attractive to be in the position, we wouldn't have people camped out there thinking they know better than the constituents that elected them. When will the president introduce those term limits he campaigned on? That was literally the only thing out of his mouth that I supported.
4. I started the 30 days of yoga for beginners this week. I was prepared to hate it as I have every time I've tried yoga previously, but I was surprised to really like it and have a lot of energy after. I think it helped that it's just 16 minutes to ease into it so it's really like lovely stretching. I walk or do weights and tack it on after or do it separately. Picture me like this.
5. I was jazzed to catch up with one of my longtime 25+ year lovelies Melissa over lunch at Marathon Grill on Tuesday. We don't get a ton of face time so it's always much appreciated when we do. I'm really looking forward to our 40th weekend with my junior high and high school girls in June!
6. After much back and forth, MFD and I cancelled our upcoming cruise at the end of April. The timing was awful for us. It's my favorite time at the shore, we have work to do down there, he just started a management position at a new broker, it's his busy season, on and on. Every time I turned around I could come up with another excuse why I didn't want to go and even when I was booking things the thought of going was not exciting me. That's not what vacation is about. I cancelled and felt a million times better. That's how I know it was the right thing to do. We are extending our July vacation to Emerald Isle to include a few days on Ocracoke, so I booked that this week, and I have some extra days for the shore which makes me really happy.

7. Tuesday was a lovely day. Wednesday was in the teens by the evening. This morning it was in the 20s. I saw people in hoodies this morning clearly just like fuck it we're doing what we want.

8. Thanks for our friends Stacey & Joe for dropping off our sign under cover of darkness last night. This is something we can all get behind, regardless of party affiliation, right?
9. Reminder:
10. E-card of the week: 

Linking up with Kristin & Joey 

Stuff, Things, etc.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

40 before 40 Report

Over two years ago I posted my 40 before 40 list. It quickly became apparent to me that I wouldn't check everything off...some would not be feasible, and some I just didn't have the desire to do anymore. I also did some things I never imagined I'd even have the opportunity to do when I made this list - like travel to South Africa, or buy a shore house, or meet Bruce Springsteen - which were awesome before 40 bonuses. Some of my 40 wishes did come true though. I think I liked making this list more than anything - and I won't be making a 50 list because 50 things is a lot. 

  1. See a play on Broadway done March 4
  2. Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge done March 4
  3. Skydive so I still sort of want to do this, but I'm not sure if that's because I think I want to or because I actually want to
  4. Go tubing on a river done August 13
  5. Volunteer at a soup kitchen - not technically, although we did volunteer on Thanksgiving day to serve and clean up food in 2015
  6. Eat a lobster roll in Maine  done July 18, 2015
  7. Stay in a Falls View room at Niagara Falls - done March 14-16, 2015
  8. Write a novella done December 2015. This will not see the light of day.
  9. Tip 100% of the bill at a restaurant - at the Tuckahoe Inn on September 24, 2016
  10. Go whale watching - in Cape May, September 24, 2016
  11. See Mt. Rushmore - done September 2015
  12. Take a spontaneous weekend trip – deciding to go and leaving that same day done July 24, 2015
  13.  Watch Old Faithful blow - done September 2015
  14.  Stroll along the Seine went to Scotland instead
  15.  Go to high tea. In Scotland. 
  16.  Learn conversational French Abandoned when Paris was abandoned
  17.  Adopt a family in need at Christmas Christmas 2015
  18. Witness the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace Never made it to England
  19. Go to a college football game I gave away tickets in a bigger stadium to go to the shore
  20. Eat at a farm to table restaurant (stole this one from Jana, thanks friend!) Talula's Garden on June 19, 2015, and many more after that. 
  21. Read two Agatha Christie novels – a Marple and a Poirot I hated the Marple (attempted in May 2015) but liked the Poirot (read in June 2015)
  22. Participate in a walk to raise money for pancreatic cancer November 2015
  23. Get the tattoo on my back touched up March 2017 (see pic on the bottom)
  24. Stand on the Cliffs of Moher November 2, 2016
  25. Buy a pair of Frye boots I've hated every pair I've tried on so far. I bought Pikolinos instead and I fucking love them. 
  26. Go to the opera Opera on the Mall was cancelled due to weather and rescheduled to when I couldn't go
  27.  See the Mississippi River - February 2016
  28.  Beignets at CafĂ© du Monde - February 2016
  29.  Conquer my fear of the grill Summer 2015 - I made myself grill once a week. 
  30.  See the Chincoteague Ponies - newp. But I will see the ponies on Ocracoke this summer. 
  31.  Have dinner at Vetri - September 3, 2015
  32. Cheesesteak tour in Philly - I did the cheesesteak festival and I'm calling it done
  33.  Visit the Morris Arboretum - this was my backup plan for my birthday since we couldn't be at the shore. We also couldn't de-ice my car in a timely manner, so, no.
  34.  Go to the Mutter Museum 
  35.  Attend an author event at the Philadelphia Free Library - Toni Morrison book signing April 29, 2015. I also saw Jodi Picoult there with Jana in October 2016. 
  36.  Get something published on HuffPost I never even tried
  37. Take a cooking or baking class Stopped looking
  38.  Learn how to use a drill Shore house work spring 2016
  39.  Pick strawberries and make a strawberry pie from them abandoned, not interested
  40.  Bake French bread - I am literally never allowed to put this on a to do list ever again in my life. 
Local friends, if you're in search of a tattoo place, check out Outta Sight Studios in Fairless Hills.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What I look forward to in spring

Do you also find the use or absence of an apostrophe in farmers market a contentious subject? I'm following AP here in which the apostrophe is left out because it's descriptive - farmers is acting as an adjective because the farmers typically use and populate the market but don't necessarily own it. Chicago calls for an apostrophe. Grammar nerds, unite. This is why personal and company style guides exist.

You? What's on your favorite things about spring list?

Monday, March 20, 2017

TWTW - the one after my birthday

Friday night wedding at the Ballroom at the Ben. Congratulations Brittany & Thomas! It was nice to catch up with friends we haven't seen in a while while celebrating the newlyweds. The food, band, and bonus Whoa Phat brass band were awesome; and all the details were gorgeous. The pics of the bride and groom leading the party on the dance floor say it all. We did do an Irish goodbye at midnight in honor of St. Paddy's day.
A relaxing Saturday morning with los perros + nail painting (OPI Pamplona Purple from MFD in my birthday bag).
Saturday afternoon surprise lunch at Las Margaritas with my crew, followed by strawberry cake made by my mom and coffee at home. It was so nice to spend an afternoon whiling away time with people I am exceptionally comfortable with and deeply love who really get me. Except no one told me there was no hand towel in the basement bathroom. Come on people! It was in the dryer! Regardless, when I was initially planning to be down the shore they were all going to drive down there just to have lunch with me to celebrate my birthday, and when we decided we weren't opening the house it was a scramble for them to regroup and come up with a new plan. I'm surrounded by the best people and that has truly made all the difference in my life. It is a huge thing to have people you know you can count on for anything at all.
Most of the crew left around 6. Mom and Lori stayed over and Debbie hung out with us for a while. Sunday morning Mom, Lori, and I went to Ulta and Target and Mom bought us pretzel pork roll sandwiches that were freaking delicious. My mother plays spray and get away in Ulta and it was like walking around with the entire perfume section in my nose hairs. I am trying out a bunch of new dry shampoos because it's been a while since I've switched it up. I will report back.
I got some friendly blogger mail this weekend from Pam of Oceanstategirl Photos and Books and Erin of TexErin-in-Sydneyland and finally activated the very generous DD card Steph from Not Entirely Perfect sent me and then re-sent me this morning since I accidentally deleted it last night. She gets me.
Sunday more time with my people catching up with Dad & Carol over birthday dinner #1; #2 is in April when we'll be down the shore. I'm maxing this 40th birthday out. We talked about our upcoming summer vacation, which is one of my favorite topics.
Weekly food prep: breakfast is scrambled eggs topped with broccoli; lunch is chili  from the freezer (only need three days of lunch); snacks are almonds, snap peas; and bananas; and dinners are salmon and broccoli - I'm out three nights this week so I only have to make one and that will cover two nights. 

This was a weekend for the books, and I have all the good feelings from it. It's the first day of spring and the snow is melting. Hallelujah and amen. Let's make it a great week!

Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring Goals 2017

Life According to Steph
Top o' the morning to you. Happy Saint Patrick's Day. And happy birthday to my Grandmom, who is no longer with us. I miss celebrating our birthdays together!

Today is spring goals day since spring starts on Monday even though there are massive piles of frozen snow and many streets down a lane or two still here in Philly. I'm not a winter hater, but I prefer my winter in January and February. March, not so much.

I've been doing seasonal goals for a few years. The past two seasons I am feeling a little blah with this system, so I'm going to see how it goes and if I need to change it up.

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.

2. Get back to a Monday or Wednesday night zumba class.

3. 30 days of yoga.

4. Check out a new Farmers' Market.

5. Go through clothes and get rid of anything I didn't wear this winter.

Any goals for spring?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday Thoughts - the Ides of March plus one

1. Tuesday I worked from home because of Stelllaaaaaaaa and yesterday I was off for my birthday because I don't work on my birthday. It took MFD over three hours to dig out my car yesterday from the plows encasing it in ice after it was dug out initially on Tuesday. Birthday celebrations will continue well into spring due to this March winter fuckery. Is spring ever arriving?
2. So basically I didn't have to commute for two days, only wore lounge attire, and never left my house. Oh, and ate. We ate a lot. Birthday eve dinner was crab legs and pizza rolls because we fancy. MFD got petit fours and my favorite cookies from a local bakery. I went traditional Irish for my birthday dinner with roasted corned beef and colcannon and followed that up with the Edible Arrangement Dad & Carol sent. Sing it with me: these are a few of my favorite things.
3. For my birthday every year I basically just want to hang with MFD and my dogs, and even though I like to spend some of it outside and couldn't do that yesterday without freezing my ass off, that's what I did. If there was one being in our house that was more annoyed with the cold and snow than I was, it was certainly Maisel, who spent most of her time being hateful Hazel. MFD made this banner but unknowingly taped it together backwards so that gave us a good laugh to start the morning. He went out of his way to make my birthday great given that we weren't doing anything close to what we originally planned to do. We were together and that's what matters. Thanks to everyone who called, sent a text, emailed, tweeted, messaged, facebooked, etc. Your wishes made a great day even better!
4. The same day I was opening 40th cards, I got a pack of stickers from Teen Vogue. Things that make you go hmm. I also opened my new pin. Tra la la. If you watched Rachel Maddow's 3/14 tax show and were disappointed by it, let me know if you want me to pass along something I read that stated why it was important that she set it up like she did. My birthday activism included nearly killing myself on ice to mail my postcards to the White House and faxing my representatives through ResistBot asking them to demand that the president release his taxes.
5. New dog art hung.

6. I tried LipSense - pink champagne - and I like it. I put it on before bed one night and it stayed on all night. Then I put it on in the morning and it stayed on most of the day. It's not unusual for me to spend $24 on a lip product - I typically use Fresh Sugar Ruby - so the price of LipSense doesn't bother me. It didn't dry my lips out. The only thing I don't like is that I have to use the gloss it comes from or it doesn't stay on. I'm famous for reaching in my bag and using whatever moisturizing product is in there, regardless of what I already have on my lips. I was looking for a neutral color and pink champagne is good for me.

7. Thanks to the awesome people I know (some of you guys here), I raised $1000 and MFD raised $1220 for the for Covenant House Pennsylvania Sleep Out we're doing on March 24 to raise $$ and awareness for homeless kids. Covenant House provides an immediate safe harbor for homeless kids under 21 who don't fit the regular shelter qualifications but also works to help these kids become self sufficient going forward and go on to live successful lives. Read about last year's sleep out here. Want to sleep out? Join our team! If this cause touches your heart, please consider joining us or donating to our team. You all rock and these kids need all the support they can get. Thank you thank you thank you. And thanks to Joe & Catie for introducing us to this event last year.

8. Tomorrow is the spring goal linkup with me & Sara!
Life According to Steph
9. Reminder: Every month is women's history month, but especially this month. This week I have to feature the Queen since we share a birthday.

10. E-card of the week: I had to, right?

Sorry for you, but not for me, this is not the last you will hear of me turning 40. 

Linking up with Kristin & Joey 

Stuff, Things, etc.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On my 40th: My Top 10 Rules for Living

Today I turn 40. I am a rule maker and follower, a mantra lover, a quote sharer. Today I forced myself to whittle it down to share only my top 10 rules for living.

1. Never work on your birthday, even if it falls in the middle of the week. I don't care what's going on, take the day off and spend it doing exactly what you want. It doesn't have to be glamorous or exciting, just what you want to do. That can be nothing at all. But for me, doing exactly what I want to do always includes not working for someone.

2. Cultivate your mental toughness. Bad things will happen to you and around you. You can't fall apart at the drop of a hat.

3. Do not rely on others to make you happy or center you. Know how to get to those places yourself.

4. Work first, play later. You'll be more free in play because there's nothing left to get done. Along those lines, know the difference between "must do" and "bonus do."

5. Protect and nurture your circle. Not everyone is going to want, accept, or know how to receive your energy. We are not designed for everyone to like us. Don't get butt hurt over it and don't obsess about it. The people who don't get you don't matter. Make your emotional investment in the people who do get you. Those are your people. They are your family, regardless of blood relation.

6. Maintain an attitude of gratitude. Even when things are bad, there's always a silver lining. Find it even when you have to look hard.

7. Spend a little time outside every day. Get out of your own head.

8. Stand up for what you believe in even if people tell you to sit down or if it means you're standing alone. Live in accordance with your values, serve your conscience, make sure your integrity cannot be bought, and fuck what everyone else thinks.

9. Practice self-care, and not just when someone reminds you to. Putting everyone else before yourself is not noble or admirable. It's foolish. You're worth the time and effort. If you don't do it, you run out of gas and aren't any good to yourself or anyone else.

10. Go into situations with no expectations. If it's awesome, it'll be a bonus. If it sucks, you were prepared for that. Hope for the best, expect the worst. And whenever there's a worst, let that shit go.

My original 40th birthday plans included bumming around at the shore and being carefree and not wearing a huge down jacket. March storm Stelllllaaaaaa had other plans, so I'll roll with it. I can spend MFD's 40th birthday doing what I planned to do for mine. I can stretch this birthday celebration to September, right?

What else? Oh yes, beware the Ides of March, of course. Always.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Show Us Your Books: Birthday Eve book talk

Is there a better way to spend my birthday eve than talking books? No, there is not. Well, I could be talking books from a warm, sunny beach chair under the sheltering shade of a colorful umbrella, but other than that, no. 

Linkup Guidelines:
This link up happens the second Tuesday of every month. The next is  Tuesday, April 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

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough - I sped through this book, totally engrossed. Then something that sort of crossed the line into another genre that I don't typically read happened, and I was like hmmm...then the end came and I had no idea that was where it was going. It was unusual, so on that alone I'd recommend it. BOTM hardback, owned/passed along for someone else to read

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens - Sometimes it feels like I've wanted to read a book forever - and that is this book. It was much different than I thought it would be, and the focus was even different than I thought it would be, but I really liked it. More towards a four than a three, maybe. Library paperback

The Seven Husbands of Eveyln Hugo by Taylor Jenkins ReidI loved this book from start to finish - complicated, interesting, and I loved the story within a story, which I typically don't like. I want to meet Evelyn Hugo and at times I wanted to be Evelyn Hugo because she just storms through her life and that is powerful, even when it leaves earthquakes around her. ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Passed the Time Just Fine
Lucky You by Erika Carter - Really weird. I'm still not sure of what the whole point of this book was, but I liked the writing a lot and given that it was short, it took me almost no time at all to get through. BOTM hardback, owned/passed along for someone else to read

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser - I liked this book, but it definitely required suspension of belief. I loved the Grandma relationship but the husband and wife relationships were bizarre to be kind. Free ARC e-book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Widower's Wife by Cate Holahan - I spent a lot of time confused here. Which is actually not a bad thing in this sort of book. A very quick read. Amazon e-book

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin - I had this figured out early, but it didn't stop me from rushing through it to figure out how it ended. I liked the writing. Amazon e-book

Perfectly Undone by Jamie Raintree - This was a three for a while but it blossomed into a four. It shook off some things that annoyed me in the beginning. The characters seemed to settle into themselves and that's when the story gelled. More of a love story than I usually read, but I didn't mind it. Free copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler - Shotgun Lovesongs is one of my favorite books of all time. I also enjoyed the short stories collected in Beneath the Bonfire. The raw grittiness mixed with searing beauty of those is missing from this: the narration is more detached, and that made me as a reader feel more removed. Does that mean it's not an accomplished novel? No. The writing is good, and the story, nuances, and language show his range as an author. It spans 60 years and feels like an epic in some ways. I didn't connect with it like I did the aforementioned works, but honestly? Nothing he could have written would have surpassed Shotgun Lovesongs for me. Hardback, own

Not Worth It
Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson - This book was trying earnestly to be literary. The way it's written, packaged, marketed, even the title and cover seem more about a vehicle to sell it than something to sink into. The story could have been great, because the premise is interesting. On goodreads I have it as a three but it's actually probably a 2.5. It ended up feeling pretty surface. BOTM hardback, owned/passed along for someone else to read

The Loving Husband by Christobel KentThis book was a mess both in how it was told and the actual story line, which I felt like I had to keep running after and grabbing only to have it fly off again. There were zero characters I could get behind. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Did Not Finish
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta - I loved Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son from jump. The writing and story got me both times. This one, I got about 20 pages in with no click. It could be a great book, but it's not for me and I won't go back to it.

What are you reading?

Monday, March 13, 2017

TWTW - the one before my birthday

Friday MFD was in DC for the Native Nations Rise March so it was my job to get the dogs up, which he usually does. They were not pleased.
Friday night I organized going to the shore stuff (heart emojis for sea horse outdoor ottomans) and fell asleep on the couch watching the Golden Girls after food prep (see bottom of post for what I made).
MFD got home late and I ended up sleeping in, but by 10 am Saturday we were on the way to the shore. We did some stuff in the house and removed old porch furniture before having lunch at at Jon & Patty's.
We also hit the beach. It was so beautiful it hurt...or maybe that was the cold air on my face. Excuse me, I am being petty and ungrateful and battling a bad attitude about not being able to open the house this weekend and not spending my birthday there as planned due to stupid impending Snowstorm Stelllllaaaaaaa.
We were home by 3:30, and by 6 I was watching my niece Lola Jean, which is the next best thing if I can't be at the shore. MFD came over and we got Jay's cheesesteaks. The pretzel roll is clutch and Jay gives back to the community a lot, which we love.
The best time to go to the grocery store before an impending snowstorm is 10:30 on a Saturday night. Seriously. I got home and unpacked and went to bed around 11:30, but I could not go to sleep to save my life and I was still up when MFD got up at 1:30 to do his overnight Code Blue volunteering for the homeless with AHTN. Mae thinking she was a people and should share my pillow didn't help. 
Sunday morning I got a pedicure and perused the aisles of Ross. Now you know my toes had to be in bad shape for me to run errands with flip flops when temps were below freezing.
I also got flowers because if it's not going to act like spring outside damnit it will look like spring inside. I supplemented birthday flowers from Kim that arrived last week (top left pic). 
Sunday afternoon Mom & Rich took us out to Carlucci's to celebrate my birthday and Pop's 86th, which was Saturday. The seafood canneloni was amazing. I love their veggies and potatoes too.
After that I pulled the birthday card and made MFD go to HomeGoods. He was not amused but he did humor me and stand next to the letters someone made say ass
Weekly food prep: Breakfast is whole grain english muffins with PB and bananas; lunch is this one pan chicken and veggie meal over quinoa (I didn't love how this came out, I will likely prepare separately in the future);  snacks are blackberries, bell peppers, and yogurt; and dinner is chili and corned beef/cabbage/potatoes (not made yet). Some of that chili will go in the freezer for future lunches, and I made breakfast burritos to freeze too. I will be eating breakfast burritos from the freezer a lot because a) I love them, b) I don't mind eating the same thing daily, and c) they're the easiest to make ahead and freeze when I'm at the shore. 

Favorite day tomorrow! Show Us Your Books + Birthday Eve!

Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

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