Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Things I keep meaning to do

Some things have been on my to do list for a while or I keep meaning to add them to a to do list and they never make it there or I lack discipline

-Calling someone about the screens that have disappeared from two windows at the shore and updating the about the house/town list for the shore 

-Cleaning out my work bag

-Addressing the pores on my face

-Filing receipts electronically

-Digging through MFD’s car for sunglasses missing since November

-Scheduling a Vietnam Vets donation pickup

-Write blog posts on navigating local politics, money in politics, so you want to run for office, taking community action outside of the internet, host commentary on Show Us Your Books (co-writing with Jana), self discipline, and a zillion other things I have not bothered to write down

-Cleaning the inside of my car

-Making a fresh batch of shower spray

-Going to bed earlier

What do you keep meaning to do?

Monday, April 22, 2019

TWTW - the one with the Easter

Thursday I drove to the shore with Bruce & Bender. Mom and Rich were there and my Easter Basket was an awesome cooler bag with sugar cookies, a candle, and all of my preferred candies. MFD got his own candy. I hung out with them until 9, then worked until 11:30 and was up until 12:40.

Friday began with beach time with Bruce and Bender because Bruce got up at 5:40 with zero fucks given about the amount of sleep people need. It was a nice morning, with a big pink moon in the sky next to the big pink hotel. After that I made soaps for upstairs then got an early start to work. At lunch I painted my nails (Zoya Perrie) and went to the library before moving myself upstairs to work for the afternoon. 
Kate and Dan and kids and Swan arrived and after work we went to the Somers Point Brewery - it just opened last weekend. Close to the house and not bad. My mom loved the tour. We came back to relax and eat. MFD arrived around dinner with Gus and Mae and we hung out at night. It was early to bed for me due to lack of sleep the night before. 
Saturday I slept in until 9 which I obviously needed, and perfect on a rainy morning. I hit Asbury Avenue with the girls to peruse the stores. Notice MFD here with a full beard in the morning.
When we got back, MFD had mutton chops. Debbie arrived and everyone headed to Cape May Brewery while MFD and I took the dogs to two beaches. It was my first time on the beach this year with no shoes and it was awesome. Gus went in the ocean twice and Ben still doesn't have dog beach down. We're working on his barking.
I finished a book and started another, bid Swan goodbye, and when MFD next appeared he had weird sideburns and a mustache. We said goodbye to Kate and Dan and the kids after dinner and by 9 pm MFD was facial hair free because we all did sheet masks and laughed. 

Easter sunrise beach time with Bruce and Bender. 
Coffee with the blondes while Rich was out bike riding + reading and relaxing.
MFD's mom arrived and they hung at the house while we went up to the boardwalk. It was my first time walking it this year. Lots of people out and it was a beautiful day. Debbie and I had to get pics with the Easter Bunny because do you know us?
Porch time and grazing and Easter dinner. My mom brought all the food this weekend and it was awesome not to have to think about what to make or running out to get anything.
Mom and Rich left around 6 and Debbie soon after. MFD's mom hung out with us to watch Game of Thrones. I cleaned up a little, packed up, thought about things I could do and decided not to, wrote this blog, and read.

Weekly food prep: breakfast is greek yogurt with granola and mango until that's done, then breakfast burritos. Three lunches needed, they'll be freezer soups. Snacks are bell peppers and mango. Leftover ham and turkey for dinners with macaroni salad or sweet potatoes and veggies. 

Hope you had a nice Passover and/or Easter or simple spring weekend if neither is your bag. 

While every day is Earth Day, today is the designated one. Hope you are being as waste-free as you can be today!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Build a New Life Around Your New Home

Moving to a new city can be equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking. Whether you're moving for a new job or a fresh start or just a change of scenery, the city where you move to might offer you a better quality of life or the general cost of living could be a lot lower than where you are now. Where do you begin when you're looking to move?

Choose the Best Neighborhood for You
The area you move to is very important because duh you'll be living there. In my life, community, diversity, proximity to the library, public transportation, and walk-ability are important. Price, of course as well. Figure out what tops your list and what areas might suit you. When we were looking to buy at the shore walk-ability and price were our top considerations. In Philly proximity to public transportation was at the top of the list. 

Give It Time
Your first few days in your new home might feel very strange. Even when I've moved two blocks the first few months felt weird. Getting settled into a new place takes time, so sit with it and reassess your feelings in six-ish months. Hopefully by then you'll have found some favorite spots, made some friends, gotten more comfortable in a routine and geographically will know the city a lot more, so you should feel settled in.

Join Something
Grounding yourself in your new space is important in order to form attachments. Once you know a few people and start to create a social life, it will feel more like home. Book club, gym, clean up crew, volunteer organization, pool league, whatever...join something and meet some new people using groups that relate to your interests. 

Keep Up To Date With Local
It’s also advisable to keep up to date with local goings-on. You can see what is going on at your local clubs and organizations by checking their sites, such as arlingtonnewsnetwork.com or the zillion facebook neighborhood pages. Of course there's always the local newspaper or local news online. Keeping up to date with current affairs and local news will tie you to your new local area.

Figure Out The Transport System
As soon as you arrive in your new home, you should take a look at the public transport information. Most cities have sites dedicated to this, such as Portland’s travelportland.com  which is superior to the SEPTA site, trust me. This will help you get around when you are exploring, and you won’t be so dependent on your car. I am glad I can use public transportation to get to work in Philly but I love being able to walk or bike most places at the shore. Bottom line if I don't have to use the car, I won't.

Are you coming up on a move? What's important to you when you're looking for a new place to live?

Wishing you a wonderful Easter Weekend, Chag Sameach, or just a good and restful weekend if it's not a holiday for you. Happy happy birthday to Gail today also! 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - I wish I could change the ways of the world make it a nice place

1. My Monday night started this week off better than usual - my BFF Kim was down from Boston visiting her parents so I got to see her and Steve, her mom and dad, and the smartest, cutest, funniest goddaughter Libby on Monday night.

2. And I finally got a pedicure Tuesday so the springing forward world can breathe a sigh of relief. I don't even know what the color is, I'm just glad it's done.

3. Tuesday night was stellar too since my Dad dropped off chocolate peanut butter eggs Carol made for me. A Tuesday sans complaint? Who am I? 

4. Wednesday night was also amazing - MFD and I got to see Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism at the Friends Center in Philly and it was freeeee. 

5. The only personally blah-ish thing about this past week has been books. If you read every day, you can't read something that speaks to you all the time. I had two that I started and stopped and one that was just slow going. I'm on a third and it's okay. I'm pumped to pick up The Silent Patient at the shore on Friday though - I got that within three days of requesting it. I remain #119 on the list at the Philly library.

6. I still can't believe I watch Game of Thrones. I was all who cares forever. Now *I* care. I guess it was bound to happen because this has been our house for the past few years:

7. When I park my car on the other side of the street, the next morning I stand on my steps and think, dude, where’s my car. Even if I have reminded myself inside minutes before that I parked across the street last night. On those days, it only goes up from there. 

8. The fire of Notre Dame is absolutely sad and devastating. Not more sad and devastating than people living in pain and hunger. Similarly painful to pipelines being jammed through sacred lands or black churches in Louisiana being burned to the ground by a white supremacist. Sacred spaces are sacred spaces, even if they’re not ours. Yes, Notre Dame the structure has history and religious significance. So did the indigenous people of this country before white Europeans slaughtered them and stole their lands. So did families in Africa before their people were stolen, enslaved, and treated as less than animals by white land owners an ocean away. We can care about all of these things, and I sure as shit hope we can see the hypocrisy in only caring about one of them and not the others. My mind is totally blown though that billionaires have raised over $600 million in under 24 hours for a sanctuary/holy place/landmark owned by a tax-free organization that has more art/land/etc riches than pretty much any other organization. Wouldn’t it be nice to let them use their riches to pay to rebuild Notre Dame and use that raised money to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and heal the sick? Pipe dreams but I think that's probably what Jesus would do. I’m not interested in telling people what to do with their money but it would be nice if they didn’t need the suggestion.

9. Reminder: Don't sweat it. You're not for everyone and that is more than fine.

10. Ecards.

What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Everything's Just Wonderful by Lily Allen

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Things that make me low-key nervous

Not like vomit all over myself nervous...just passively, low-key nervous.

-Kids who can't swim running around a pool

-Releasing written communications

-Watching other people get embarrassed. Second hand embarrassment is real and I will often blurt something ridiculous or inappropriate to change the subject quickly

-Firing up a gas grill

-Driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

-Stepping onto the down escalator 

-When I get trapped in a piece of clothing trying to get it off, especially in a dressing room

-Long hallways

-People saying, “Can we talk?” instead of just fucking talking

-Taking a public transport route I haven’t taken before

-Rickety carnie rides

-Ice breakers...no one is listening to anyone’s fun fact about themselves because they are too busy thinking of what they’re going to say when it’s their turn 

What makes you low-key nervous?

Monday, April 15, 2019

TWTW - the wedding, the work, and the watch party

Friday began with a walk on the beach with Bruce before work. Lunch was a pork belly reuben from The Grilled Cheese and Crab Cake Company (seen on Diners Drive-in’s and Dives). Nails are Mint Convertible by CND - loved the color but it chipped by Saturday and I was pissed. After work we headed to Cape May for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner at Harbor View Restaurant. The food was great, we had a good laugh over the plating, and it was a fun night. 

Saturday I took MFD over to Cape May for groomsman things, and ran errands on the way back: Cape May Wicker, the nicest gas station ever (Exit Zero), Warehouse Wicker in Wildwood, the library, and CVS. I put hardware on upstairs in the house and did a few other things before walking the dogs and getting ready. 
I headed back to Cape May for the wedding. Lovely setting at the Lobster House, and all of Catie's touches were awesome as I knew they would be. The La Columbe coffee bar was a huge hit as evidenced by Dan and MFD hoarding it. Everyone looked fabulous, especially the bride, and it was a really nice time. 

Slow start. Lounging, coffee, reading, then I went up to put contact paper on the vanity, sort through linens, made a list of mattress encasements and protectors needed, checked all the lamps (surprise! need replacements), and other shit. MFD finished cleaning the house and drug the two twin bunk bed mattresses down four floors, swapped rugs and shower rods out, etc. I packed up downstairs and walked the dogs 50 times. We headed out around 2:30. 

We got home at 4 and I ran to Giant, made spinach dip, threw this together, started laundry, changed the sheets, and showered. 

Mark and Sarah hosted a Game of Thrones watch party with snacks - lemon cakes for Sansa, Theon in a blanket, dinosaur eggs. I loved it. Sarah killed it on the theme. 

Weekly food prep: breakfast is greek yogurt with granola and mango. Three lunches needed, they'll be leftovers. Snacks are bell peppers and red grapes. Three dinners needed, they'll be spinach salad/sweet potato fries/grilled pork chops and something out of the freezer, probably a soup.

Let's make this week a good one!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

6 Home Improvements To Make This Summer And How To Ensure They Run As Smoothly As Possible

Not my house...Peace Valley Lavender Farm in Doylestown, PA

Now that warmer weather is starting to make an appearance and summer is creeping up on us, it's time to start thinking about home improvements. Whether it's getting your home ready for grilling and BBQs and gatherings or just setting up your place to make the most out of the warm weather - summer is the perfect time for home renovations. Less rain, more light at night to work, and the perfect weather...let's do this.

6 Home Improvements You Can Make This Summer
- Give Your Yard and Garden a Summer Makeover

The first and most obvious place in which to work is your garden and yard because you're outside so much more in the summer season. Whether you're out in the yard with the kids or hosting a BBQ for fam and friends, the yard and garden must be prepared. Is it safe? Is it an enjoyable place to spend time?

If you look out and see too much work, it might be worth bringing someone in to do the heavy lifting and get rid of overgrowth and hanging trees. Although landscaping is a lot more expensive in comparison doing it yourself, it could give your outdoor space the boost you need to fall in love with it all over again. If you're going to do a straight up renovation and need tips and tricks, check out this site here. Maybe it's just adding new rocks or mulch or switching out your cushions. That took us years because they're so pricey but it was so worth it to freshen everything up. 

- Create a Communal Space for Gatherings and Parties

If you're planning on hosting a lot of summer gatherings, consider making the communal area closest to your outdoor entry more people friendly. Mats to save your floors, a place to store your citronella candles and bug spray, etc.

- Change Up Your Accessories for a Sunnier Feel

If you're on a budget but you still want to give your home a fresh feel for summer, change up your accessories to reflect the season. One of the best ways to refresh your home without the cost is to swap accessories every time the season arrives. Whether it's swapped wall art, fresh pillow covers, candles with seasonally appropriate scents, bright dish towels, or different sets of flowers, it's amazing how much difference small changes actually make. I always shop my house and switch wall decor out between rooms to save money. I also move to lighter quilts that I move between rooms too. For more inspiration on how to create summer decor, check out this pinterest board

- Renovate Your Kitchen or Bathroom 

If you're ready to bring out the big guns on the renovation front, you may want to consider a kitchen or bathroom renovation. This is infinitely more work and money than most other home improvements, it will definitely be worth it both in use of spaces and in resale value down the line. With a kitchen or bathroom renovation, you must think about a number of different things before you get started. Do you need to hire help? Will you need a plumber? What design and features do you want to include? How long will the renovation take? How will you function without these vital spaces while they're under construction?

- Bring the Outside in With Some of the Season's Best Flowers

Another inexpensive way to improve your home during the summer months is to bring some of the outside in. This means looking at what some of the season's best flowers are and incorporating them into your home in a way that suits you. Whether that means looking after your first ever houseplants or buying a fresh bouquet every week (if you're near a Produce Junction, you can get gorgeous flowers under $5) , you will love the difference it can make. If you have flowers you can snip and bring in, then free is even cheaper. I do that with my hydrangeas a lot. 

- Upcycle Your Old Furniture to Bring it Back to Life

One of the best ways to give your home an entirely new look and feel without the cost is to upcycle any unwanted furniture you have. Give it a fresh coat of paint or completely renovate it for a new purpose. Upcycling is incredibly affordable and so easy to do. I've done it with a lot of furniture at the shore. I love when everything old is new again. 

How To Ensure Your Home Improvements Run Smoothly 

- Make Sure You're Setting Yourself A Budget You Can Stick To

One of the most important aspects of home renovations is setting a budget. This means not only thinking about what your overall budget is going to be but thinking about how much each individual aspect is going to cost you. Think about hiring help, materials and any extras you may need. Need advice when it comes to setting a budget?  

- Plan Everything Out Well In Advance

If you’re going to be carrying out home improvements it’s important you’re planning everything out in advance. There are so many different things you need to consider before you get started, so writing things down and creating a detailed plan will help ensure you don’t run into any errors.

- Don't Be Afraid To Ask A Professional For Help

While it's nice to feel as though you can do absolutely anything, the reality is you can’t. Whether it’s hiring an electrician or plumber or even an interior designer -if it's not in your wheelhouse, hire some help. 

- Shop Around When it Comes To Buying Materials And Equipment 

If you’re going to buying all of your materials and equipment personally, you must shop around for the best possible prices. Go to different stores and price things out online. You want quality items that will last. 

- Don't Rush Into Things 

When it comes to making home improvements it’s easy to get carried away and think you can do everything. The best thing to do to ensure you don’t make any mistakes in your excitement is to leave it for a couple of days before you start anything. Please note, that is not the way I do things. I jump in and don't look back. But not rushing into it is probably the way to go. I do schedule out improvements especially at the shore because we have to be doing something every weekend in order to be ready for rental season. 

At home we've changed out the outdoor cushions and gotten rid of our rusted out grill. The yard is mostly cleaned up but still needs work, and planting of the front garden will happen in mid-May. At the shore my dad is going to change out the faucet in the bathroom and fix the outdoor shower door. I need to finish contact papering the bathroom and changing out bedding and MFD has to power wash in May and paint the ceiling in the main house.

What's on your home improvement agenda this summer? 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Expat Life: Here's How to Make it Happen

TGIF! I am working from the shore today as is my current schedule. Two things: 
1. I hope you're following The Tumbling Nomads on IG and via their blog - it's Steph from Insert Classy Here and her husband Justin and they are  traveling the world for a year and it is awesome to watch and read about and please follow their adventures. 
2. On a related-ish note, here's an article on expat life written for this audience


Living abroad for good may seem like a dramatic life change but if it’s something you’ve been dreaming about, it’s doable. Yes, you need to figure out how to make money while living there, sort out the visa process, and find a suitable place to live - but that’s also all you need to do.
Image from: Pexels

After those things are settled, you can legally stay and work in the country of your choice. These three tasks can be overwhelming, though, and particularly to those who have never done it before.

Here are a handful of excellent tips on how to make your expat dreams come true so that you can take one step at a time, finding your feet and settling in, without feeling that the process of moving is getting the best of you.

That way, you’ll have the time and the energy to make the right kind of decisions and can feel completely confident once the time to move abroad has come.

First: Where and how are you going to live?

Every expat’s situation is different, and it’s impossible to provide you with a one-size-fits-all solution to how you’re going to find a place to live. To most people, this is the first challenge they encounter when considering if they should become an expat: how do we find a place to live when we’re not actually living in the country yet?

Moving to an entirely new country without having a set roof over your head when you land is  daunting. But again, doable. You could check in at an Airbnb, and look for apartments for the first week or two while staying there.

The key to everything, as usual, is cash. Make sure that you have quite a bit of money saved up so  you’re able to rent a place on short notice. Money talksand most landlords will welcome you with open arms if you’re able to pay a few months up front. Bring a bulk sum, in other words, and you won’t really feel too scared when boarding that plane.

You do have many other options, though, and you certainly don’t have to go without having any other preparations than your savings account. If you already know someone living there, you can always ask them to look at a few apartments for you.

Ask them to take some pictures or even a video of the place, and you can rent it without actually seeing it yourself.

You could also hit the world wide web and look for a place to live right away. Check out the site of tanah dijual murah for some great places at affordable prices.

Next: Which type of visa are you going to get?
You need to consider the type of visa you need and keep in mind that many countries require a different type of visa depending on your nationality. Maybe you’re planning on moving somewhere you don’t need a visa at all - or maybe you’re going to a country where you’d be deported rather quickly if you attempted to work without permission.

Start by figuring out what kind of visa you actually need; if you’re going together with your partner, it may be enough for them to get a work visa and you can apply for a spousal visa.

This means that you’re going to have to prove your relationship, though, so be prepared to have both pictures and proof  ready. It may feel weird if you’ve been married for a decade already but it’s all a part of the application process.

You may have to get a work visa instead, however, and this means that you should have a job offer before you apply. This is where a lot of people meet the first few bumps in the road of their dream to become an expat. How are you supposed to have a job offer if you’re not actively looking for work in the country?

You can check out this site for some great visa advice as well so that you’re completely up to date on all of your options.

How are you going to make money abroad?
This brings us over to our next point which is how you’re going to make money while you live abroad. This may solve your visa conundrum as well, though, and it’s a good idea to think about this before you start to look for a visa - or you could just start off on a tourist visa, to begin with, until you have a job in the country you’ve set your eyes on.

Image from: Pexels
Look for jobs online, chat with your current employer about work opportunities in the country you’d like to move to, or talk to people you know who already live there. It’s not going to be easy but job hunting rarely is.

When you don’t have a job offer or a partner who is able to stay there legally, you still have a few other alternatives. One is to simply continue working remotely for your company at home or get a position as a freelancer; now you are able to make money in your home country’s currency while also staying overseas.

There are many jobs you could do from your laptop too and technology has made it really easy for people to become an expat. You could continue doing what you’re already doing, for example, as long as your company allows for it; there are many options out there in terms of video conferences and sessions through Skype. If they don’t allow this, you could consider setting up your own company. Offer counselling sessions or classes through video calls, make your own professional website, and use social media to market yourself. As long as you put some thought and effort into it, you will be able to find a solution.

Working remotely for your company at home or freelancing in your own currency means that you don’t have a visa that allows you to stay as long as you want to though, and you certainly don’t have a visa that allows you to work in the country. As long as you adhere to the limit on the number of days you can stay there and go home once in a while, you’ll still be alright - although that is definitely more of a hassle.

Many freelancers enjoy this kind of lifestyle, though, as they can increase their standard of living while also staying in a comfortable climate. Maybe you want to spend some time travelling when your visa expires - or maybe you just want to make a quick trip back home.

Other options are working for the web, in general, by doing copywriting, web design, programming, or anything else that the online world requires these days. It may not be as easy as it sounds but it will definitely ensure that you’re able to make a living - and live anywhere in the world.


I know some of you out there are living that expat life. Any tips to add?

If you're not, have you ever considered it?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - You look like a photograph from yourself taken from far far away

1. I’m still thinking about Tuesday's sunset.

2. In addition to my favorite tree above, my spring flowers are blooming...what the squirrels haven’t eaten, that is. 

3. Center City blooming.

4. Love this new art outside of Elixir coffee. 

5. After five months of living here, Bender finally sat on my lap Tuesday night and didn't move. I think people get crazy when dogs that are not puppies don't fully settle right away. It takes time. He has not stopped dragging my shoes around in that time period so I guess he's fully settled into that habit. 
6. In other dog news, they love outdoor cushions. Except for Gus. He prefers his sphinx style sitting on the cement.
7. Everything seems to be taking an incredible amount of effort this week. It hasn’t helped that I've thought this week was next week all week. 

8. I need a pedicure like nobody’s business. 

9. Reminder: If you're struggling, you're also making progress. Sometimes it's hard to see it when you're in it but this is a reminder that you're doing great. Keep going. 

10. Ecards.

What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Untouchable Face by Ani DiFranco - I'm deep into my 90s self the past two weeks
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