Monday, August 31, 2015

TWTW - the one on the bay

Friday I left my 9-5 and put in work at home as a cook and hausfrau. My groceries were two hours late arriving so I cleaned out my jewelry and changed my organizational system. When they finally arrived, I made meatballs, which you can see below in this very flattering photo, and MFD browned the sweet and hot sausage.
I packed linens, repacked my clothes which I had over-packed earlier in the week, got the dog stuff together, and ran around like a chicken with my head cut off. And I was still ready before MFD on Saturday. So was Mae. I should be used to this after 13 years together. We set off for Ocean City, NJ...twice. Once from home and once from the Wildwood exit off the Parkway to return a key we forgot to return. Derrr.
We eventually landed at our rental on the bay in the Villas for a mini getaway for MFD's birthday. I won't swim here in the bay, but I definitely love the views from the house (and the purple door, of course), which I found on It is a pain in the ass to find shore rentals that accept dogs. I never care what shore houses look like inside as long as they have a bed, a bath, and are clean. I'm not down there looking for granite counters throughout. I prefer my beach houses a little worn and a little quirky.
I finished the sauce once we got to the house, and we had friends over for dinner. It was a nice night. Other weekend food was very casual. It is the shore, after all.
I took some amateur super moon shots Saturday night. It was pretty cool. Is it just me or are we much more into the moon these days than we've been in the past?
Sunday MFD went fishing with friends and I hung with the dogs all day reading, drinking coffee, and listening to the water hit the shore. It was very enjoyable all around.

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And in case you missed it on the IG, Gussie celebrated his 10th birthday on Saturday. He is very pleased with his recent summer travel.

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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Five: Self Esteem Boot Camp

Why does everyone's life look so much better than mine? People are so fake and only share their perfect moments and other wah wah crap is what I've been hearing lately. Summer is prime time for these weird ass complaints because people travel more, are outside doing more, and they're sharing more on social media.

People, why do you do this to yourselves?
1) Everyone's life looks better than yours because they're out there living it, not concerning themselves with what everyone else is doing and
2) We have not entered into a contract in which we have to show each other everything so we know we're all real. Sharing good stuff is not acting like things are perfect. It's sparing each other from things that are really private or really gross. People don't owe you a front row seat to their problems just because you're friends on facebook.
3) Social media channels are places for to share fleeting thoughts and images, something funny or something you think matters. They're not where you unearth your truths or grow as a person. Your real life takes place outside of those networks.

Your issues with what you see on social media are about one thing and one thing only - YOUR self esteem. Self esteem reflects a person's overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. Even though you're making it about what others are sharing, it's really about you and how you feel about yourself.

When you feel good about your life and are aware of your value, you don't care what others are doing in any way other than oh, how nice, that looks fun or are they totally insane posting that?  You're too busy enjoying life to compare your life to someone else's. You don't have the time or the inclination to sit around and say they're always doing all the things, it's not fair that I'm not/they always look perfect, I'll never look that good. 

Here's a quick Friday Five Self Esteem Boot Camp.

1. Recognize your triggers. What makes you feel bad about yourself? Respect yourself and don't put yourself in that situation or around those people. Before you say, "But I can't do that," think about it. You can. Might someone's feelings get hurt? Yes. But yours won't. If it's seeing the good of others that sets you off, instead of updating your facebook status in a weird passive aggressive manner, get off of facebook and find something to do that will improve your mood. I am astounded by the number of adults acting like five year olds with status updates whining about their lives or making generalizations about people that we all know are aimed at a specific person instead of just getting some balls and saying something to that person. Stop it. Really.

2. Don't take it personal. Everything is not about you, even though it feels like it is. Things other people do and say and how they react to situations are often about them. Not you. It's hard to get to that realization, but it's true.

3. Don't compare. Be too busy cultivating your life to concentrate on what your neighbor is doing. If someone can inspire you to be more and do more, that's awesome. If you can't gain inspiration without comparing, that's not so awesome. Seriously, you guys. Stop comparing yourself to others. When I see perfectly posed vignettes on Instagram, I think man they spent some time here I'm not into that not my life will never look this good. Recognizing differences is human nature. Comparing yourself to others is self-torture. Everyone is different and everyone's circumstances are different. Just be on your own journey. And good Lord, enjoy it. It's short.
4. Practice self-care. Feed your mind, take care of your body, make time for the things you want to do, let go of the small stuff, know your strengths and weaknesses and work on both, do things that make you feel good. If you treat yourself like the treasure that you are, you'll be less likely to be careless with yourself or to beat yourself up.

5. Love yourself. If you are okay with yourself, it doesn't matter if anyone else is okay with you. This requires total self-honestly - you need to be able to tell what you do well and what you don't do well, and to admit when you do wrong. You have to be fierce with yourself so that if other people are, they're not saying anything you don't know. Your worth and value have to come from YOU - no one else. People can tell you up and down the street all day long how good you are, but unless you tell yourself you're good, you'll still feel bad. People you thought would never leave you can and will - either by choice or by death - and if your entire sense of worth is tied up in others, you'll be sunk when that happens. It feels good when other people love you, but the foundation for accepting that love is loving yourself.
Help me down off of my soapbox, would you? Thanks. In all seriousness though, if you can't work through any self esteem issues on your own, find a good therapist who can help you. You're worth it.

Anything to add while we're on the topic?

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August Recommendations

Hello hello friends! You know the drill. Skimmers, recommendations are in bold (and typically clickable). Debbie and MFD are joining me this month as we're a mere six days away from their birthday - both of them are September 1 babies. 

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1. Be nice. Don’t be an asshole.  Life is too short and precious. Spend your time productively and be nice to people.  Karma is a bitch!

2. Be grateful for what you have. There are so many people who have less than you do.  

3. Be courageous and confident. Don’t let obstacles or nay-sayers stand in your way of getting what you want. Go get it!

4. Walk more. I have been walking up and down 5 flights of stairs at work every day during the week. I find it relaxing, I feel better and gets me away from my desk. I also think it’s fun when co-workers are trying to find me!!  LOL

5. If you can, travel. Get out and visit places you’ve never been. Whether it’s by planes, trains, or automobiles, traveling and discovering new places is wonderful!!  I’ve learned so much through my travels!

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1. Voltage RB12 Series hand painted fishing lure. Bought it at Dicks. The interwebs and fishing chatrooms all have success with this bait. Happy fishing!

2. Sugar-free Cherry Red Bull. It is great. It is sugar free. It is like, a really good thing!!! Enjoy it! 

3. Langhorne Settlement Services. For all your title needs. I started a Title company. Now I need to promote and advertise. Might as well start here.

4. Light & Fit Greek Yogurt. It is good. Doesn't have that gross, Greek yogurt taste thing going on. I really don't like Greek yogurt, but this is good.... Nice and smooth.
5. Beta Max Video Machines. No, sike... I am kidding. Beta Max sucks. VHS only. Can you believe someone is trying to get $900 for a Beta Max player???


1. I Love Your Dress from Modcloth. Really, that's what it's called. I have this dress in two colors - olive and plum - and I'm not above buying more. When I find something I really like, I will buy it in many colors (see also: more than 10 variations of pixie pants from Old Navy). This dress is comfortable and if you throw a cardigan over it boom, it's winter worthy.

2. - I have purchased a lot of shit from here. Hint: mugs and t-shirts. It's a dangerous place for me to visit. For all of your not really needs needs. 
One of the mugs I got. 
3. Sink Caddy Large Tidy Station - A sink caddy? Lame! Come on. Hush. I don't care. I hate a messy sink area. 

4. Dryer sheets for baseboards - Hated chore, I know. For me too. Snap a dryer sheet onto a broom and use it to clean your baseboards. No bending down and the anti-static in the sheet helps repel dust & dog hair from the baseboards. 

5. Cucumber and potato chip sandwiches - I have loved this combination since I was a child. Try it. 

Lay it on me - what are you recommending this month?

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Today's gratitudes:
1. The ability to go to sleep early if I choose.
2. Finding a series of books with a character I like
3. People who will go along with my blog requests

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

...the moment your sandwich has an egg, boom, it's a breakfast sandwich.

Anyone recognize that title from The Fault in our Stars by John Green? Anyone? Bueller? A marriage of two of my favorite things: recipes and books. Excuse me while I have a moment.

For those of you who like to do food prep and make ahead meals, these are for you. I made 18 of these bad boys last week and froze them. They're also good to make for company so you're not being head chef while entertaining for breakfast or brunch.

6 large eggs
salt & pepper
Cooked ham from the deli, probably about 1/4 pound (any other thinly sliced meat will do)
Cooper sharp cheese from the deli, probably about 1/4 pound (any other sliced cheese will do)
Multi-grain english muffins

Preheat oven to 350. Grease the heck out of standard muffin tins or individual ceramic ramekins. Crack egg into each. Top with salt and pepper.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, turning pan halfway through to ensure even cooking. If you are making a bunch of these, it is still best to bake your eggs in batches of six. When I tried to do 12, it took forever and a day to get them to set, so ignore the photo where you see more than six. When I did six, it took 13 minutes and they were perfect. Chalk it up as a mystery of the universe.

Remove from oven and let sit for 30 minutes.

Split english muffins. Layer ham, cheese, egg, and another piece of cheese. The eggs are going to be a little smaller than the rest of the sandwich. Anticipate this, relax, and let that shit go, homie. They're still good. I promise.

Press down and serve, or press down, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze. When you're ready to eat them, remove from freezer, remove plastic wrap, wrap in paper towel, and microwave for 45 seconds. Flip and microwave another 45 seconds to 1 minute. It might be a little wet. Don't freak out. Just dry it off with a paper towel and let it sit for 30 seconds before you start eating it.

No worry morning - 
think hakuna matata - 
starts with these sammies.
Do you have a favorite make ahead breakfast?

Last day to enter to win $50 to the non-profit charity of your choice! Click here. 

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Martinis & Bikinis

Monday, August 24, 2015

TWTW - the one with the peace and quiet

There's something about being by the water, something that slows the churning in your brain and replaces it with serenity and lollygagging.
There's also something about arriving at your aunt's lake house after midnight on a Friday with two adults and three dogs making a ruckus and being greeted with open arms.
There's something about spending time in a beautiful place with people you love, whether you're doing things together or just doing things separately in the same space.
There's something about a meal outside, where the steaks are reminiscent of the Old 96er and the grilled corn makes you want to eat it off the cob even though you never do that.
There's definitely something about taking eleventy billion photos of your dogs without anyone judging you. They take them for you instead.
Not to mention the reading of books and magazines, the snack spreads, the gelato, the swimming, the lounging, and the sitting by the water, the breeze skimming over limbs heavy and full of a drowsy summer afternoon...there is indeed something glorious about all of those things.
Then there is Sunday night, when you arrive home after battling traffic on the Northeast extension, and your husband goes to work and your dogs pass out snoring and you're left alone with the Sunday night blues and the brownies you brought home, which you eat for dinner instead of the buffalo chicken pasta salad you whipped together at 7 p.m.
There's also being grateful in hindsight that you left after 9 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. on Friday, because you got to do your weights, change your sheets, wash your towels, write a few blog posts, process your iced coffee in bulk, and paint your nails in Essie Madison Ave-hue, which Lori also did that night, three hours north. Kismet, no?

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It was weird to write this blog post without using the first person. Try it. It's weird.

I can't sign off without wishing my great friend Jill a fabulous 30th birthday today. Cheers girlfriend! xoxo
What about you? Did you get any peace and quiet?

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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, August 21, 2015

Freshen Up Your Back to School Photos

Lots of our southern and midwestern friends are back to school already. Left coasters, what about you? Those of us in the northeast still have a few weeks to go, but it's staring everyone down - back to school is coming for you if it hasn't already.

There are certain things I'll never cover on this blog, including most things involving children since I don't have them. But I know a lot of you do and that you might like to read about that sometimes. I rely on you, dear readers, to bring me the goods on subjects outside of my purview. I like to share new ideas and causes, products and services I like, and things that work for me on this blog with you. I also really like when you share cool ideas and causes, products and services you like, and things that work for you with me. If you ever have something you'd like to contribute - especially if it's in an area I don't post about often - please email me at

If you're like me, when you hit upon something that makes your life better or easier, you want to tell the world. If you don't have something to share that merits a whole post, don't worry! Send me what you have and I'll either do a collective Reader Tip/Favorite post or I'll put them into my monthly recommendations or a Thursday Thoughts post.

Thanks to Meredith Braunstein for contacting me about putting a fresh face on back to school photos. She had a good idea and wanted to share it, which I love. Sharing is caring, is it not? Here it is:
Every year before throwing my kids in the truck on the first day of school, I prop them up against the same old tree in my front yard. This year I said, "I'm over it, I want to try something different." My kids have not even started school yet. Yes, you heard me, they still have two weeks to go. I was tired of the rushing, the complaining, the same old photo year after year. So I grabbed my camera (you can use any phone, iPad, etc.) and headed to my porch. BOOM! Grab some books, find an apple, a little bribery if need be, and there you go. Have fun!! Be creative, be silly, go to a field, anywhere near you and have the kids be kids. Feel free to email me @ if you'd like ideas, or even to say, HEY, good job. I'm not a photographer, never was, but I had ideas, that's all you need. I did it, you can too!! - Meredith Braunstein
This one is my favorite - SMD

Are you impressed? I am. Thank you, Meredith, for taking a chance and contacting me, and for being willing to share your ideas. I hope it inspires some others to do the same!

Did you enter to win $50 to your non-profit charity of choice?

In the words of Bill Watterson, "Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless." So I hope you get a little of that in this weekend.


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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Three Reasons to do more for Charity

This post was written by Jesse Hughes, but as you know, I'm a big charity pusher (see here and here). Giveaway at the end courtesy of moi so you know I put my money where my mouth is.

Many of us have that one friend (or perhaps more than one of them!) who always seems to be doing something for a good cause. Preparing to run a marathon, organizing a fundraiser, asking for sponsorship to do a bungee jump for charity, or shaving their head to donate their hair for wigs for cancer patients, there seems to be no end to their energy for spreading the word and collecting money to help those less fortunate. Of course, knowing someone like that can make you feel a bit guilty for not making as much of a difference yourself, but it can also be pretty inspiring – after all, if they can raise money or do something that makes a real difference to people who need it, so can you!

If you've been thinking about doing more for charity but need some other reasons beyond simply making the world a better place, here are three reasons you may not have thought of to help motivate you!

It Is Good for Your Public Image
This may mostly apply to public figures, entertainers, athletes and business leaders, but the impact being seen as a philanthropic person can have on how you are viewed by people is huge. Consider well known businessmen who have become philanthropists, like Bill Gates or Aubrey Chernick, or celebrities we know do a lot of work for good causes like Angelina Jolie. Their kind acts make them good role models and more well liked in the public eye. This may not seem like it would make a difference to you, however acts of philanthropy can help on your resume in the same way when applying to jobs or schools.

You Can Make New Friends
By their very nature, acts intended to raise donations mean you have to meet with and talk to lots of different people, and spread the word about what you are doing on the internet. This can help you make lots of new contacts and friends who share an interest in the same cause. Additionally, if you do something that is also an experience, like entering a race on behalf of a charity, you will almost certainly bond with others who are rising to the same challenge.

You Can Use it as an Added Incentive to Meet Your Own Goals
Do you really want to get in shape or lose weight, or conquer a fear, but always seem to back out or quit? If so, then adding a charity into the mix can help keep you on course to meet your goals. Get sponsorship to train for that long race or take that skydive for a charity, and you not only will have to confess your failure to all of your sponsors if you don't do it, but you'll also be letting down the needy – so you almost certainly won't fail!

These are just three of the reasons to get up and organize or do something to help a good cause, so why not start coming up with ideas today!


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