Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm the kind of girl who...

  • Always wears sunglasses, even when it's overcast 
  • Would rather be at home than out
  • Is on time
  • Believes that inner strength will see you through everything 
  • Functions best within a routine
  • Tells it like it is
  • Celebrates my birthday for the entire month (March. Get ready)
  • Doesn't care for unnecessary drama (and it's all unnecessary)
  • Is assertive and sure, commonly called "bossy" in women
  • Knows my weaknesses and isn't ashamed to admit them
  • Would eat a steak every day
  • Will get up at the crack of dawn on vacation to see the sun rise
  • Doesn't get people who don't like Dirty Dancing (the movie, not actual dancing dirty)
  • Always carries a book 
  • Goes to the library every week
  • Drinks iced coffee daily, all year 
  • Thinks grammar is important
  • Treats my dogs like royalty
  • Never wants to talk on the phone
  • Has to force myself to exercise
  • Laughs raucously and from my gut
  • Tries to be inclusive of others
  • Loves organizing anything
  • Takes a lot of pictures
  • Lets the F word fly
  • Needs to plan ahead and has issues with being spontaneous
  • Wears flats and not heels
  • Loves flip flops and sneakers
  • Believes in the grandness, benevolence, and karmic nature of the universe
  • Is not religious
  • Wears minimal daily makeup 
  • Can be mean as a snake when provoked
  • Goes into the ocean in my wedding dress
  • Refuses to use a blow dryer or an iron
  • Likes to have a foot sticking out from under the covers
  • Is addicted to having a list for everything
  • Is often mesmerized by the sky
  • Has never cared if people like me - they do or they don't, me caring about it isn't going to change it either way
  • Has a weakness for nail polish and lip products
  • Is a feminist 
  • Doesn't have a glass or wine, beer, or any booze daily and is put off by the alcohol culture in the U.S.
  • Tries to be kind to the environment and sustainable
  • Is reliable
  • Typically avoids the zoo because animals in captivity make me sad
  • Feels like my very best self on the beach, right next to the ocean
  • Will cut people out of my life who only bring me down and not think twice about it
  • Would do anything for a friend 
  • Thinks fart noises are always funny
  • Wakes up grouchy from a nap
  • Can't sit down and relax until everything is crossed off my list
  • Cooks confidently
  • Gets shit done
I've been meaning to make an About Me page for this blog, and I think this post is it.

TGIAF, yo.

Linking up with Running in Stilettos for

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The C word.

Relax! Not that C word. I'm talking about confrontation, a word some also consider a dirty word.
I'm here to tell you it's not a dirty word. It's all in how you go about it and why you go about it. The first thing to ask yourself is what you're looking to get out of confronting someone. Do you want to resolve a conflict and reach an understanding? Or do you want to tell someone all about how much they suck? Because that's telling someone to get bent, which is a different matter entirely. It's not confrontation in the name of conflict resolution. I have lots of tips for telling someone off, see me after class for those. Right now we're talking about confrontation.

Why is confrontation even a thing?  Allowing things build up to an epic crescendo isn't good. Usually letting anger and resentment fester results in a blowup in a time and place that isn't desirable over something that really doesn't matter. If you have something to say, say it plainly and be done with it. Confront the issue.

I know, for some people it's not that easy.

Do you get the confrontation jitters? Does your voice rise in pitch? Do you feel like you might pass out? Take a deep breath. Be calm and share your feelings. You're not a general leading your troops into war, so don't make an offensive charge towards your opponent and don't plan your defenses.

When we get defensive, we put up walls and stop communicating. Keep listening even when it's hard. Some things are hard to say and some are hard to hear. Remember that your truth is not necessarily the truth. If there are two people in a situation, both share some percentage of blame for getting there. Accept your part and work it out.

Talk to whoever you're talking to and not at them. Talking to people encourages give and take discussion. Talking at someone pisses them off and they either tune you out or freak out. If someone starts shouting at you or being aggressive, reflect the negativity back onto them and ask why they're shouting or being aggressive. That should neutralize the situation and enable a productive confrontation to continue.


Of course, not all confrontations will be productive. You will not always reach a balance.

Sometimes the person you're confronting isn't ready to deal with the issue at hand. You can't force someone into addressing something.

Sometimes you're making a big deal out of nothing. The small things usually aren't worth the confrontation, and if you go balls to the wall about every little thing, people will lose their patience for you. Pick your battles.

Sometimes it just isn't worth it. Every once in a great while we're in a no win situation with someone. In that case, I normally step back, adjust my expectations of our relationship, and go on without confrontation. It's not worth my energy.

Sometimes you're not ever going to get the outcome you need. A person's season in your life might be up, and it's best to just let the relationship fade out rather than confront them on something you know in your heart will never change, no matter what you say or do. If that thing is a deal breaker, bid them adieu.

Sometimes nothing will cure a situation except a punch in the face. Just kidding! Actually sometimes nothing will help except a little cooling off and time. Life is long, arguments are short. Give it a breather and some distance.

Standing up for yourself is good. Getting amped up over confrontation to the point where you can't actually make your point or wasting your energy on confrontation that isn't going to do you any good are bad. Know yourself, know what pushes your buttons, know what you want from people and situations, and do what you can to work with someone to get to that place.

Excuse me, I need to get a donut. It is Fat Tuesday.

Friday, February 8, 2013

TGIF! $25 Target Gift card giveaway today!

Five Photos For Friday

1. I love my striped bedroom chair. Just looking at it makes me happy.
2. I organized my makeup brushes on my dresser a la Gwen from Confessions of a Gila Monster. They need a little more work - I have to swap the round jar out for one of my square ones. I'm dying to try the polenta dish in that post too.
3. My happy place: cucumbers and cream cheese on a bagel and an icy cold V8.
4. It's time to change my wallet. I got these on super clearance at Target. Which to choose which to choose.
5. Spare room vignette: Love Makes Life a Beautiful Ride printable, old garage sale tray, candle, Grandmom's ring holder.

I am so so happy it's Friday. Here are this week's happies and crappies. I'm starting with crappies and ending with happies because I like to end on the up.

  • Lots and lots of deadlines with a heaping side of stress and headaches for dessert. 
  • Butthole drivers caused me to miss my train on Tuesday morning. 
  • Then I was stuck on the train for an extra hour on Wednesday. 
  • This impending bastard winter storm has cancelled my weekend with my BFFs, which I could totally use right now. Suck it, winter. 
  • Precipitation makes MFD think he's a weatherman. He's been monitoring this storm and telling me all about the Gulf Stream and the European Model and the flim flam and the shim sham and I don't care we can look out the window and see the weather we don't need to study it. Sweet Brown, save me. Ain't nobody got time fo dat. 
  • In a few short hours, this week will be in the history books. There will be much rejoicing throughout my land.
  • I was rocking my favorite nail polish, Essie Merino Cool.
  • I'm all caught up on Downton Abbey. This is also a crappie, because now I'm like a crackhead jonesing for more Downton Abbey and no dealer in town has any. 
  • Even though I was looking forward to being with my girls this weekend and away from my everyday digs, the truth is I could probably use some major decompression this weekend after the week I've had. 
  • I hausfraued like a champ last night so I can lounge, read, cook, nap, and maybe do some organizational projects this weekend. Or I can find another show to watch obsessively for 14 or 15 hours a day. 
  • I signed up for the Lucky Leprechaun Book & Polish Swap. Visit Fortune Favors the Brave, Lulu & Sweet Pea, or My Three Bittles to sign up! Who doesn't love books and nail polish? If you say ME to both, we maybe can't be friends anymore. I need to decide which of my favorite books I'll be sending. It's safe to say I have my favorite polish picked out already. Someone's getting Essie Merino Cool. Boom.
  • This $25 Target Giftcard Giveaway. Because I love you. 

Thank you so much for reading my blog.  Good luck and have a great weekend! You can enter through the weekend. Spread the word and share the love!

New Englanders, start limbering up for the shoveling now. Stay gold, Pony Boy.

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Linking up with The Sowell Life for The Friday Five and The Vintage Modern Wife and Scissors & a Whisk for Happies & Crappies.

The Vintage Modern Wife: Happies and Crappies Link Up

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard

Anyone who knows me knows I like to be well stocked in the kitchen. I rarely run out of things and my cabinets are always full, for which I'm very thankful. With this stuff on hand, I feel confident I can throw together a meal on the fly without having to go to the store. Things that can always be found in my pantry:

Oils - olive, vegetable, grape
Vinegars - I am a vinegar ho.
Worcestershire sauce
Hot sauce - MFD's. I don't touch the stuff, although I may add some to a recipe if I'm feeling saucy.
Soy Sauce
Heinz Ketchup
Mustards - yellow, spicy brown, dijon.
Hellman's mayo
Ranch and italian dressings. I also use creamy caesar for marinades.

Salts: coarse kosher salt, sea salt, regular salt.
Beyond that, I have a robust collection of spices. The ones I use most often and find necessary on a weekly or daily basis: chili powder, dill, cumin, garlic salt, garlic powder, ground dry mustard, onion powder, paprika, oregano, thyme.

Dry Goods
Pasta - spaghetti, elbows, rigatoni, bowtie, orzo. I like Barilla Plus or Healthy Harvest, but I keep regular on hand so MFD doesn't have a shit fit.
Brown Rice
White rice
Quaker Oats - I love the Quaker Oat man.
Bread - I prefer Sara Lee. I'm also a sucker for rye.
Panko breadcrumbs. If I need regular, I'll make my own.
MFD's requirements: Lipton noodle soup, Kraft Mac & Cheese

Cans and Jars
Beans - pinto, black, and kidney. I make my own black beans from dry and freeze them.
Tomatoes - diced, crushed, and whole peeled plum. I prefer Tuttoroso.
Tomato paste - I use what I need from the can and then freeze the rest in ice cube trays
Peanut Butter - Peter Pan mostly.
Jams and jellies - I love a variety. My least favorite is grape.
Peppers - roasted red, banana, jalapeno, chipotle in adobo sauce
Pickles - always dill, never sweet or bread & butter
Olives - green and black. Sometimes kalamata. Opa!
Chicken broth - I make my own whenever I can and freeze it, but I always have some on hand in the pantry as well.

Baking things
Flour - all purpose and whole wheat
Sugar - white, brown, confectioner's
Cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder
Vanilla extract
Chocolate chips and Baker's chocolate
Pudding - vanilla and chocolate, instant

Dunkin Donuts coffee, green tea bags and black tea bags.
CranGrape juice
Assorted sodas

Milk - skim for me, 2% for MFD
FF half & half
Greek yogurt - I substitue it for sour cream often.
Sour cream
Cheese - feta, blue, parmesan, extra sharp cheddar, some type of jack. Block over pre-shedded. Nine times out of 10, I grate my own.

Homemade marinara sauce, frozen flat in ziploc bags
Veggies: I always have chopped onions, chopped spinach, broccoli crows
Shredded cheese
Shredded chicken bagged and frozen in one and two cup portions
Homemade soup - either leftovers or made specifically to freeze.
Ellio's pizza
Chicken breasts and thighs
Garlic bread

I always have celery, carrots, and potatoes
I usually have cucumbers, peppers, and another veggie.
Fruit I buy the most: naval oranges, granny smith apples, berries, grapes, bananas, stone fruits

Tortilla and regular chips, Utz special dark pretzels, Ritz crackers. I keep all of those on hand in case an impromptu party arises that we are either hosting or attending. If MFD has his way we also have Oreos, gummy bears, Nutty bars, and other assorted processed bad stuff.

What's in your pantry?  Big Hungry Shelby posted on this topic a few weeks back. Check out what she stocks here.

Tomorrow, tommorow, I love ya, TOMORROW!
Tomorrow I'm giving away a Target gift card because I love you.

Kiss kiss.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

My Kitchen Essentials

I enjoy cooking. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, usually trying at least one new recipe a week. Pinterest has been a godsend, you guys. Anyway, being in the kitchen so much, I have some things I consider essential.

1. No paper napkins except at parties.
2. No paper towels - I use washable rags.
3. Mickey Mouse pot holders.

4. Trivets. One of mine hangs on the wall. I bought it because I am not handy or crafty enough to make it.
5. Food processor. I use this mostly for hoagie dip, pesto, making my own breadcrumbs.
6. Mr. Coffee iced tea maker.

7. Pampered Chef one cup prep bowls and Pyrex glass containers.
8. Nordic baking pans.
9. An eclectic collection of coffee mugs in no particular order. I like reaching in and pulling out whatever I find without looking. I do most of my cooking on the weekends, and I like to drink coffee while doing it.
10. Mixing bowls. Colorful mixing bowls.

11. Good knives and my most used spices in a rack on the counter.
12. Lock top containers that keep crackers and such fresh.
13. My trusty mandolin. It's a dream for scalloped potatoes and my cucumber salad that I make weekly in the summer.

14. I've gotta keep the dog food fresh. They are demanding little tyrants.
15. Plenty of casserole dishes, many handed down from my grandmother. Varied in size, shape, and color. For cheap colorful ones, check Homegoods, Marshalls, or TJ Maxx.
16. Spoon rests so I don't muck up the counters.

17. I'm a crock pot whore. This is my smallest, and I use it for dips. I also have a four quart, six quart, and seven quart. They are perfect for entertaining. I keep the two I don't use often in the basement utility closet.
18. Cheese grater. I avoid buying shredded cheese 99% of the time, so I grate blocks on my own.
19. I only like Palmolive dish liquid. And Eucalyptus Spearmint soap - it's the scent of this house.
20. I love utensils. Metal and plastic in one, wooden spoons and spatulas in another. My favorite most recent purchase is a flat whisk. I got it earlier this year and it's been indispensable in making sauces. I also keep a cruet of oil by the stove for quick flashes in the pan.

Not pictured, but integral:
21. Both non-stick and stainless steel pans. And a cast iron skillet.
22. Three different sized colanders.
23. Two large stock pots.
24. Pans: covered 9x13 and 8x8 cake pans, regular and mini muffin tins, and two loaf pans.
25. A warming tray for entertaining.
26. Measuring cups, dry and liquid, and measuring spoons. I have doubles of each so I'm not always stopping and rinsing/washing when I'm preparing a large meal or multiple meals at once.
27. A roasting pan with a rack.
28. A rolling pin.
29. Wire cooling racks.
30. A hand mixer. I'm lacking in the Kitchenaid department, and so far I've been okay with that.
31. An immersion blender. I am not the person who will pour soup in a blender, blend it in batches, and put it back in the pot. I use my handy immersion blender and do it right in the pot.
32. Serving pieces - bowls and platters.

What are your kitchen essentials? Check back here on Thursday to see what's always in my pantry.


Linking up with Helene and Emily for the final Tell Me About it Tuesday. It's been fun ladies!

Helene in Between
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