Monday, November 30, 2015

TWTW - the one with Thanksgiving

Early dismissal on Wednesday made me dance like there were ants in my pants. I came home, made stuffing, roasted my turkey Bruce, hit the Dollar Store for some toiletries for the homeless and glasses for the shore, did my Christmas cards, and was attacked by dogs. 
Thanksgiving was a little different for us this year. We volunteered with my Mom to feed those in need. MFD and Dan ended up taking a bunch of the leftover food down to Kensington to feed people down there. In between our initial volunteering and going back to clean up and take food out for delivery, we stopped by Diane & Mike's for some coffee and I made my favorite sweet potato dish and some pan gravy and we ate.
I went over to see my inlaws after I cleaned up the two bags of rice the wicked dogs got from the pantry and spread all over the main floor, including their bed. We walked in to find Mae napping on a bed of rice. Animals! Other dog things: Snuggly Geege and Mae getting a tick removed. Happy Thanksgiving pugs. 
I headed to the shore, chasing the most beautiful light down 95 towards Center City. At the shore I took the dogs for a long walk, went to see the huge moon over the ocean, read magazines and watched much of season one of 90210. MFD arrived around midnight. A different Thanksgiving but not a bad one!
The Friday morning sunrise was insane. The ocean was roaring. 
It was incredibly nice on Friday. I spent the morning on the porch with the dogs, drinking coffee and giving MFD projects. 
Small projects: I sanded a table from the bathroom that has been painted to within an inch of its life and painted it a little more, then covered it with contact paper. I got the menu/house info thing and chalkboard hung in the kitchen, and my Dad re-hung the stuff by the door which was hung last week and no longer suited me. LOL
Favorite sign and new folding chairs in bright yellow and lavender (I know it looks gray) from my dad & Carol and the Great Boat Debate 2015 happened this weekend. 
We strolled through the downtown district where they were having their Old Fashioned Christmas. There were carolers and some creep in stilts who was everywhere. MFD was in his glory in the thrift shop, buying Christmas decor. He even left early to decorate in peace. 
My Dad, Carol, and I stayed for the rest of the festivities. Ocean City's downtown Christmas was pretty cool. They put Santa on the freaking roof of City Hall and brought him down on a ladder. 
We came home to a house decorated by MFD and played some games of Decor Wars. Well, he and I did. Carol and my Dad just laughed at us.
Saturday sunrise:
After my parents completed their shore chores, I gave them some free time because I am a benevolent boss. We hit the boardwalk for Small Business Saturday. 
We all took an afternoon rest, and then headed to Stone Harbor for their parade since MFD was in it. After we went to Cape May, which was not decked for Christmas like I thought it would be. Congress Hall looked beautiful and had a nice little winter carnival set up on their lawn.
The food at Della's was good as always. They were even playing Dirty Dancing on their TV. They must've known I was coming.
We got home at 10 and were all pooped. Sunday dawned cold and rainy and I was on the road home by 8:30. I did laundry and Christmas'd up the place. It's the same stuff every year, you get the picture. Decorating is exhausting - moving stuff all over and running up and down the stairs eleventy billion times. And outside to the spider house shed. Kill me.
Against my better judgement, I went to the store Sunday. I had to get another valance at Marburn Curtain and I decided to go to Marshalls after. That was the experience straight from hell with a kid tossing a football in the breakables section and taking out three shelves.The shattering glass was deafening. I did get some things I needed and a few Christmas gifts.
Weekly food prep: egg muffins with green onions and mozzarella for breakfast; turkey soup from the carcass for lunch and dinner; roasted multi colored carrots for dinner side; dog stew; and celery/carrots/orange bell pepper and granny smith apples for snacks.

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24 days until Christmas. Gird your loins, my friends. 

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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful for...

Every night of the year before I go to sleep I do a quick five things I'm grateful for list in my head, on good days and bad days...especially on the bad days. I truly believe it is not happy people who are thankful, but rather thankful people who are happy. In my mind there's no other way to explain how I've gotten through some terrible times without losing my soul to them. What happens to us is what happens to us. How we react to it is our choice. I also believe being grateful for what you have, see, experience, etc. - the big things and the small things - brings even more good into your life. 

For more thoughts on gratitude and attitude, check out this NY Times article on choosing to be grateful my friend Jen Z shared on the facespace.

Some things I'm thankful for...
Kohr Bros mint julep ice cream - my wonderful family, most especially my niece Lola Jean this year - the right to vote - Gus, Geege, and Mae - living on the outskirts and working in the center of Philadelphia - Reading and books and the Show Us Your Books linkup (next one is Tuesday, December 8) - a dream realized: owning a shore house - the ability to recognize that letting shit go lets ME be at peace, it doesn't let other people get away with anything - fall - people who protect my freedoms - food on the table every day - lounge attire and flip flops - my delightful coffee mug collection - my framily from all stages and areas of my life, I would truly be nowhere without my tribe. The best thing about my life is the people in it - fresh flowers and inner peace - Magic Hour - America - the ability to travel and see things I've always wanted to see - Totes clear umbrella - technology for enabling me to talk to my best friends every day without having to actually call them - Thanksgiving at Lori & Jack's in the woods, which I'm missing this year for the first time in many. Back next year! - DD - a clean house and our awesome cleaning lady Linda who is a great person and really nice to our dogs - The Boss - MFD and all the shit he says that makes me laugh, his daily commitment to sobriety, his ability to see the big picture, and his pursuit of making dreams a reality.

Not pictured but thought of off hand:
-the opportunity and ability to help those in need
-people who help others
-marriage equality
-heated seats
-Brother's Pizza
-Amazon Prime, Peapod,, and everywhere else with free shipping that makes my life easier. I get a shit ton delivered because time is money.
-Good knives

I'm thankful for those things and a million other things large (job, health, home) and small (nail polish, sunglasses, clean sheets). I'm especially thankful to those of you who spend a few minutes of your day with me in this space.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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Linking up with Kristin and Joey for Stuff & Things

Stuff, Things, etc.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November Recommendations

Skimmers, you know the drill. Recommendations are in bold and if it's a different color, you can click on it. Aside from me, this month you get recs from my long time friend Gwen at Confessions of a Gila Monster - today is Gwensday and she did just celebrate her birthday on Monday. Please check her out at her blog and on her other social media channels.

1. Gingerbread Oreos: I’ve seen some strange limited edition Oreos, but I’m addicted to these! Obviously, if you’re not a gingerbread fan, you won’t like them, but otherwise…OMG. 

2. Perfectly Posh products: The daughter of a friend of mine (and Steph’s) sells these pampering products made of natural ingredients and essential oils. I love the Big Fat Yummy hand creams – thick but non-greasy. My favorite scent is Some Like it Hot. I’m obsessed.

3. Carpool Karaoke on The Late Late Show with James Corden: Don’t get me wrong, I do not stay up late enough to watch this show live, but luckily God made YouTube. Warning: don’t start watching these if you have something else you should be doing. I think the best one is with Stevie Wonder, but there are quite a few that are pretty hilarious!

4. Step outside your comfort zone: Get a funky new haircut (see: my asymmetrical cut that I adore). It’s hair; it will grow back, although I do suggest using a stylist you know and trust. Too drastic? How about a fun piece of clothing? This time of year tunics and leggings are staples for me and I recently acquired some patterned leggings. Still too much? How about a nail color that you thought you’d never try? Totally temporary and inexpensive. Give it a try!


1. Daily gratitude 365 days a year. You don't have to post it anywhere or share it with anyone, but at the very least take a few seconds to reflect on what you're grateful for every day of the year, not just this month.

2. Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch 2x Paint + Primer. The coverage of this stuff is amazing.
3. Rust-Oleum High Performance Comfort Spray Grip Accessory. This is the freaking bomb. At only $7, it saves you from trigger finger and makes large jobs a breeze.
4. Tightvac Coffee Sealed Storage Container. It's $16, holds up to a pound, and has a vacuum seal system that lets coffee beans vent CO2 while keeping oxygen out. Food grade BPA plastic. I bought one for the shore and want one for home too. It comes in a bunch of colors and would be a nice gift for the coffee lover. 

5. African black soap. Heather from My Little HEA kindly sent this to me to try after talking about it in her September Favorites post, and I freaking love it. I've been using it on my face and body. It's amazing. It made me break out at first - it literally drew all the crap out of the skin on my face and chest - but it's been awesome ever since. 

Thanks to Queen Gween for joining me this month. What are you recommending?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Slowing our fat rolls - It's All Greek to Me Salad

Here we sit, poised on the precipice of a big weekend of shoving our faces. I'm already gleefully thinking of succulent turkey and pie pie pie. I figured a salad recipe might be good for today since we might collectively need to slow our rolls after this weekend. So my Mom is here today with this recipe for her It's All Greek to Me Salad.

It's All Greek to Me Salad
We had this salad at a friend's house and I made a few tweaks and made up the name, because of the Feta cheese. It is a salty/sweet combo.You can add chicken, too, if you choose to make it a main course.

Baby Greens (I get these from Sam's Club)
Pecans (could use walnuts)
Sunflower seeds
Feta Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt in a grinder - I love this salt. It tastes great & does not bloat me up like a balloon! A miracle.
The base is baby greens- using the entire container pictured would serve 6 good sized side salads.

I then add the craisins, the nuts and seeds, the feta (use the amounts you desire) and then the EVOO and Balsamic and the salt as desired.

I only use a tiny bit (maybe 3-4 shakes) of the Balsamic and I have my EVOO in a dispenser and use 5-6 drops of EVOO.

I am now toasting my nuts and sunflower seeds in a little saute pan with a few drops of EVOO, since it really brings out the flavor of the nuts.

I used to say now I "toss the salad" but Steph told me never to say that again and then told me why- who makes up this stuff? So "mix" the salad  and enjoy!

Please don't make me explain it.
Google carefully.

Thanks to my mom for the recipe - how do you slow your holiday eating roll between Thanksgiving and Christmas?
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Martinis & Bikinis

Monday, November 23, 2015

TWTW - the one with the cleaning ladies

I believe your life is only as good as the people in it. Mine is pretty damn good with these people who have been there for over 20 years plus their people we've picked up along the way. Friendsgiving at Zorba's in Fairmount on Friday. Missing: MFD, who was being head boss at the shore.
I drove to the shore from there, fell out around 12:45 and was up for the sunrise. I met Lori down at the beach.
Lori is so good that she folded my sheets and wiped down my baths and vacuumed my house at home before transporting my dogs to the shore with my mom. At the shore, her and my mom were my cleaning ladies and cleaned the whole house. They were also in charge of the dogs all weekend.  I drug them on a mission outside of town to buy a cheap dresser (completed) and pillows for the remaining bedrooms plus some other odds and ends. I was in search of some shore decor so we hit Asbury Avenue and they were having a big small business thing.

I got half priced paperbacks for the house in a discount bookstore I could live in and we ate lunch at Bennie's Bread. SO GOOD.
We even saw Santa. Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving is on my naughty list but one does not pass up the opportunity to get a photo with Santa in a row boat.
I largely struck out in the decor department but Lori bought me a so bright it hurts pink sweatshirt and a tie dye tee because I can't and won't quit tie dye clothing. Back at the house I put shit away and did some kitchen organizing and brought the dogs up to the main house while MFD, Joe, and Dan put the tedious dresser together down in the efficiency. Apparently if you want to score a very cheap dresser the assembly is going to be a bitch.
This weekend was mostly a finishing touch weekend. I hung valances on the main floor and curtains in the powder room - imagine these actually on a rod, which will happen next weekend so they don't look like someone with hair too long. When that's done, the powder room will be done.
Something that has been vexing me: where to store books for our future renters to peruse and take to the beach? Since I was a little girl the beach has been synonymous with worn paperback books. I couldn't own a home there and not have some to share with others. There is no room even for a skinny bookcase anywhere other than the third floor or the bathroom so I'm storing them under the coffee table. Not ideal but better than nothing! And yes, of course I bought a used copy of Jane Eyre. My mom and Lori contributed some books from the discount bookstore too. The rest will be coming from my house. I also happened upon this Jack Vettriano wall tile in the thrift shop. We modeled one of our wedding photos after one of his beach scenes so I had to have it.
The sofas also got new pillows - all of them are washable with cases that unzip and can be swapped out and washed as well because who wants to lay on the spit of hundreds of other people? No one. I got a cushion for the bench from Kohl's and the last two coral boat cleats were hung, one on the stairs and one over the powder room door (hanging sign coming for that).
MFD went down Wednesday night to receive appliance delivery and to pick up and install new bottom cabinets on the one wall in the kitchen. He totally kicked ass down there. The top photo is updated canvas art in one of the bedrooms. As with downstairs, I used my pics and put them on Canvas when I found a sale online. Boom. The bottom is appliances. Counters get measured this Friday. I was initially reluctant to replace the appliances but it is nice to know going into our first rental season that everything is solid and they look nice. So I have to concede that MFD was right on this one. Plus the kitchen is the easiest area to update and in a 115 year old house, a little update is good. The rest can stay old beachy. 
While he was down there alone with no cable or wifi MFD also laid area rugs and pads in the bedrooms and built the remaining nightstand in the blue room. Target storage pieces rock for cheap nightstands. That room got updated canvases too and is now complete. 
I was hot to get out of there on Sunday since we'll be back for an extended time next weekend. I dropped the dogs off at home and hit Marburn Curtain for my missing curtains. Of course one of them was out of stock, so I put it in a bubble, blew it away, and got a mismatched one because I was not driving an hour to another store. I survived Trader Joe's  on a Sunday with a trip for a turkey and some other things. Why are Trader Joe's parking lots always like hell on earth?
No real food prep this week. I rarely do any the weekend before Thanksgiving. Breakfast is breakfast burritos I made last weekend, lunch is a veggie burger over baby spinach, and dinners are scrambled eggs and salmon with steamed veggies. Snacks are granny smith apples, cucumbers, and orange bell peppers.

In lieu of winterizing the yard and raking leaves, I got a manicure/pedicure/brow wax (OPI Bogota Blackberry on the feet and Baguette Me Not on the nails), put a new duvet cover on in the spare room at home since the quilt that's been on that bed for five years is making its way down the shore, and made roasted brussels sprouts that I served with some garlic parmesan bread topped with mozzarella and a side of olives. I also started this book of short stories by Nickolas Butler. His writing is just incredible to me. When I read it I feel it inside.

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I would be remiss in leaving you for the day without wishing my fabulous friend Gwen (Confessions of a Gila Monster) a happy happy birthday today. You'll be seeing more of her here on Wednesday for this month's recommendations. I had to borrow her facebook profile pic for this because I just love it. Happy birthday my friend!

Short week. Hallelujah and amen! Are you working this week or off? 

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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

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