Thursday, October 31, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - I gave you no roses, no romance, no candlelight and no slow dance

1. Happy Halloween from these fruit loops.
I can never share just one.
2. I've got my fuzzy pug witch socks ready but I'll be wearing them for the Christmas holiday because it's still much too warm. Ben got a new coat from Treat Lady too and he is here for it.

3. My BFF Kim officially launched Yunizon late last week with her partner. Check them out for your sunglass needs. Kim has been my personal sunglasses guru for many years and I'm beyond proud of her in this new venture. Yunizon is an alternative pronunciation of unison to capture their core valeus of free expression, unity, and belonging. This is from their What We Stand For section and I am freaking here for it: We believe everyone should have the freedom to express themselves without inhibitions or judgment. We aspire for a united world where everyone is accepted for who they are, and tolerance is prevalent. Creating a sense of belonging is fundamental to human satisfaction. I am also here for the sunglasses, obviously, and my first pair are the Festiv style in milky army green. All the sunglasses are gender neutral and available in three sizes for the core ranges. I've got my eye on the libera next. Give them a follow on Instagram too.
4. My family is walking in the Purple Stride walk this Saturday in memory of my grandmother. She lived nine months from her date of diagnosis with pancreatic cancer. I've done many walks for various cancers, and what strikes me at the Purple Stride walk is how very few survivors are present. We'd like to do what we can to change that and that's what the money we raise goes to. Since 2008, the survival rate past five years has increased by 3% from 6% to 9%. Families out there need it to be higher. We are Madeline's Marchers and you can donate to me here if you're so inclined - I am late fundraising this year. Thank you so much for your consideration. It's a cause very close to my heart.
5. Nails - Now Museum, Now You Don't by OPI. This was on my wishlist forever and I found it for cheap in a store. This has been an episode of Happy Nail Tales. 

6. Last night I put when I dip you dip we dip french dip in the crock. Hark! Magic standing meat. Searing on all sides is where it's at. What's for dinner at your house?

7. What are we saying when we blur our features so we're unrecognizable as ourselves?

8. Me, every day under this corrupt AF administration and everyone in government who enables them:

9. Reminder:

10. Ecards. It's not possible, but give it a go if you're ambitious.

Happy 60th birthday to my uncle Perry today and happy birthday to my long time friend Jimmy who doesn't even internet.  

Trick or m'f'n treat, friends.  

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 a 1981 classic, Try Again by Champaign...also that video with the sing off fight is sort of hilarious. I had never seen it.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Six ingredients in my pantry for chinese-takeout inspired recipes

Chinese food is a popular takeout option for most of us. The savory, aromatic comfort food is certainly one of my favorites to order, but a lot of times I have a problem with the cost of takeout food. It feels wasteful to me. If I'm going to eat food someone else has cooked, I'd rather enjoy it in their home (friends and fam) or have a full out restaurant experience. So I end up making my own version at home.

If you, like me, are looking to make more Chinese-style dishes in your kitchen for your family such as hunan chicken, or teriyaki chicken, fried rice in its various incantations, stir fry protein with vegetables, etc., consider these the staple ingredients:

1. Light soy sauce
As indispensable as ketchup is to me, soy sauce is used as a dipping sauce for a myriad of dishes, as well as using it for the base of stir fries and noodle dishes. If you want to start up your perfect Chinese pantry, light soy sauce should be the first ingredient on the list. It has a distinct saltiness and savory flavor and is always a welcome addition to a dish. I put soy sauce on many things and use it in a lot of marinades I make. I'm partial to Kikkoman, available at 90% of grocery stores.

2. Dark soy sauce
As well as light soy sauce, dark soy sauce is a good addition to your pantry. Dark soy sauce has a deeper and richer flavor than regular or light soy sauce and can be a great way to improve depth of flavor in a dish. It's slightly thicker, less salty and more sweet. I like to use it for braising meat or poultry. I'm partial to Lee Kum Kee premium dark soy sauce.

3. Sesame oil
Sesame has a lot of uses in the culinary world but the only way I use it is to add a savory, nutty flavor to a dish. I cook my vegetables and meat in sesame oil a lot even if I'm not making what I'd consider a Chinese-inspired dish. When searching for a good sesame oil it is important to look for one which is dark amber in color, as this indicates that the seeds were toasted, bringing a much richer flavor. I troll the foodstuffs at Marshalls and HomeGoods for Sesame Oil. Check that aisle out.

4. Chinkiang Vinegar
I use this in lieu of Shaoxing wine. Sometimes I just grab a run of the mill rice wine vinegar from the grocery and call it a day but I like to have this black vinegar on hand. It's a good dipper for pot stickers or steamed dumplings. It's awesome to mix with some sesame oil for a salad dressing. I like Gold Plum Chinkiang Vinegar (if you have an Asian market near you, it will likely be cheaper there).

5. Oyster sauce
If you are not a fan of seafood, the idea of oyster sauce might gross you out. In many Chinese dishes oyster sauce is used to provide a rich salty flavor and often doesn't taste fishy at all. Oyster sauce provides the umami flavor that is so important when balancing out sweet and sticky Chinese takeout dish flavors. If you've have created a dish and it feels as if it is missing something, a dash of oyster sauce is often the remedy. I use Lee Kum Kee premium oyster sauce.

6. Cornstarch
So not what you expected, right? LOL. When creating thick sauces and glazes for food, cornstarch is sometimes added to a sauce to thicken it. When creating a sauce such as a thin soy sauce based-hoisin, mixing some cornstarch in water and pouring it into the wok is the ideal way to thicken the sauce, giving it some body and stretch to allow it to coat everything in the pan. 

Do you make Chinese-inspired dishes at home? Do you like copy cat make at home recipes of popular restaurant or takeout items? If so do you have a favorite to share? I'm only mid-way through life and running out of ideas of what to make for lunch and dinner daily. Help a sister out. Right now I'm working off of Omnivore's Cookbook recipes

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Shopping online vs. going in-store

There's a lot to be said about the digital world that we're living in and opinions run the gamut. One thing I think we'd all be able to agree on is that it's making our lives a lot easier. Shopping is just one example that has been changed by the online world, with many of us now shopping online, rather than in-store. Some benefits of that in my life are: 

Saves Time
One of the main perks of online shopping is the amount of time that you save yourself. Many of us have an active lifestyle and don’t have endless opportunities to spend hours shopping, or even the desire to do that in our spare time. Shopping online removes the requirement of having to go into a physical store to try things on and pay for them. With online shopping, you can do all your shopping with just a few clicks of a button. You don’t even need to be at home, you could be on the move and do it via your mobile phone. There’s plenty of opportunity to save yourself time with shopping online vs going in-store and as I've said here a million times, to me time is money. If I'm buying clothes or shoes I typically purchase from somewhere that's free shipping and free returns. I'll buy multiple sizes if necessary and then return what doesn't work. 

Online Exclusives & Inventory
A lot of websites have exclusive items online and that are not available in-store. There are also a lot of online only sales. Target is famous for doing the online sale where you order whatever online and they run a 10-15% discount if you pick up in store. I'm not that into that because then I might as well just do it myself but I know a lot of people like it. In addition to sales, sometimes there's more selection online so you might have more color or size options available. Quantity too. I had to buy a few items in bulk for an event last month and I ordered them in lieu of running from store to store rolling the dice on inventory. 

More Discounts
Given that I grew up in brick & mortar stores, it still shocks me when I go into the LOFT store next to my office and the sale is not the same as the sale online. The online sales are often better and you have a ton of discounts floating around on the world wide web. I know my stepmom, Laura, and Michelle all do the Kohl's coupon stacking, and I can always find ones online like these virtual kohls coupons. Coupon savings add up, and many can only be used online. Now not only are you saving time shopping online, you're saving actual cash too. I've tried to limit my buying a lot this year, but when I am in search of something I'm relentless about looking for ways to save when I get it which is much easier to do online.

Avoid Lines And Crowds
Last but not least, one of my favorites....avoiding the general public. Shopping online does not involve being in line with people who don't understand personal space and that is a gift with no price tag. If you don’t like big crowds or how people sometimes act in them, shop online. Of course there are exceptions where you may have to wait in a queuing system even online, like tickets to a gig or big festival, but not in a personal proximity to strangers who can't act right. And the line you might wait in online is one where you can easily slip out of while going to make yourself a bite to eat or grabbing a coffee. 

If I had more time, I'd talk about how grand it is to avoid parking lots, etc. I like to browse small business stores where there is personality in the shop and things I'm not going to find elsewhere. That is my personal preferred way of shopping. If I need something from a regular store, I prefer to shop online and cut out the BS. 

What about you? How do you prefer to shop for non-grocery items (that's another post entirely). 

Monday, October 28, 2019

TWTW - the last one in October

Friday I was in Philly on a Friday for the first time in a while so I hit the new Trader Joe's near my office and took a little walk. I loaded Gus and Mae in the car and got to the shore around 8:30 and situated myself on the couch like a sloth. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, you need the pancake thing I'm serious. I don't even like pancakes and I'm telling you this.

Saturday I slept in until 8:10 and it was fucking amazing. MFD and I did one of two official Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps we agree to when we adopt our beach, then sat on the porch for a little before he went fishing. I hit the library then took the dogs down there, then brought Gus and Mae home when they had enough (which for Mae is before she even gets there) and went back with Bruce and Ben. When I went back we saw a huge pod of dolphins go by which is always amazing. MFD left with Mae and Gus to go back to Philly to show houses and I rested and read before visiting my mother in law in North Wildwood and picked up a few groceries before heading home to take 50 more dog walks and finish my book.
Sunday I slept in again until 8, equally glorious as Saturday. We went down to the beach before packing up and leaving at 9:45. The ride home in the rain sucked like it did last Sunday. At home I did a face and hair mask, changed sheets, started a new book, did five loads of laundry, and phoned it in on weekly food prep. Some weeks you're into it and some you're not.

Weekly food prep: Breakfasts are greek yogurt and granola. Lunches are cheesey scrambled eggs to which Everything But the Bagel seasoning will be added with bell peppers on the side. Gala apples and pretzels as a snack. Dinners are I need to get rid of some vegetables pasta (spinach, baby bellas, grape tomatoes, garlic, onion, beefed up with canned chopped san marzanos and artichokes + parmesan cheese) and french dip which I'm making Thursday for Halloween. Boo.

Suddenly it's the last week of October. Tomorrow will be Christmas. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - sweep me off my feet singing, ain't this life so sweet?

1. Me, every night this week as we approach 5 pm darkness. This is of course also Bruce after he learned that he's not getting Healthy Chews this week. I don't do rawhides for my dogs, but these are a little different. You can learn more here if you are a person like me who does insane research on all dog things.

2. I am very disappointed in a few of the Pacifica polishes I bought after I got two that were total MVPs: no chipping, last forever. The next ones I got, all they do is chip. They lasted about four days with no chip. Five days some chippage. I don't like it. Polished nails are part of my I've Got My Shit Together armor.

3. Where are hotel industry people? Have any of you used Email me:

4. Our road was milled and repaved a few weeks ago and everyone is bitching because the seaming is off in the middle and they're all WINTER IS COMING and if I had disposable income I'd freak them out even more and buy big ass winter tonka truck snowcats you would never see in this area ( and park them out front with signs that say the end is near.

5. And if the actions of our government are any indication, the end is indeed near. Republican representatives have lost their damn minds. Picking this hill to die on - trying to tell people an impeachment inquiry is illegal when it's outlined IN THE CONSTITUTION they all pretend to hump - is mind blowing. And dangerous. For us. Lawlessness on behalf of the government is dangerous for its citizens. The Constitution exists to protect us. If they blatantly defy it and gaslight people into believing they are right to do so, we are all vulnerable to being infringed on in any way they please. Where are the patriots? At another time in this country, they'd be calling for his resignation regardless of party. Democrats, get some balls and detain people like you'd detain normal citizens who interrupt closed door meetings. No one is above the law. Remove their security clearance and confiscate their phones. If you are unclear about how the impeachment process works, this is a simple, good explanation from Heather Cox Richardson, a political historian and professor at BC.

6. Things that make me feel old: when technology is not immediately apparent to me. Jana and I were discussing this about Venmo this week and I felt it last week researching bitcoins (via Virgo CX). Also...neck wrinklage. And when I walk stiffly after I've been sitting for a while.

7. Not knocking Taylor but this made me laugh. Stevie Nicks is a total badass.

8. Happy official fourth closing day to the shore house. You've made my whole life.

9. Reminder:Sign it.

10. Ecards. Look, it's marriage. 

Do you have any Thursday Thoughts running around your head? 
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 This Year's Love by David Gray

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Things I've been enjoying recently

Evil Queen Candles. I am a candle snoot, and I rage over candles that don't have good "throw" - i.e. I don't want the scent to be faint. I like the philosophy of Evil Queen Candles, as well as their packaging, the way they burn, the fact that they're female owned, non-toxic, etc etc and all that jazz - but I most like the scents they give off and how that scent fills the room. They are about what I expect to pay for a candle that is awesome. If I pay $7 for a candle I usually get $7 of piddly scent and I end up throwing it out before it's done. Those links are referral links - if you buy through them, I get reward points and you get 15% off. I'm impatiently waiting for my winter scents order to arrive.

Swan Creek Candles - A few dollars cheaper (a literal few - $3) but the scents definitely fill a room. Non of the non-toxicity here either. I bought this one in person because I smelled it burning in the shop and needed to have it. I never buy vanilla anything so if that's off putting to you, don't let it be. Check these out if you come across them. I didn't know they existed before this month.

Coffee. It's fair to say coffee would make this list on any given day in any month and year. My office got some coffee in from and I've quite enjoyed it, this is my first time trying it. I brew it hot and put it in the freezer for a while. It's the perfect dilution for an afternoon cuppa. I am also making iced coffee in a new way at home, so I have to write a post on that and update my recipes section.

Moving fantasies. It's no secret my goal is to move to the shore full-time and I think about it in some way every day for a lot of the day. I've even looked at moving sites like from a previous post even though they don't operate in the area I'm going to. Tomorrow is the four year anniversary of buying the shore house. What I've wanted from it has changed every year. I went back and read the posts I've written - that first one I linked above, and year one, year two. Year three, nary a everything else two weeks away from Election Day 2018, the shore house anniversary fell victim to MFD's state rep campaign. I'm not writing a dedicated post this year - my head and heart already live there and sometimes I am surprised to look around on a Wednesday night and find myself in Philadelphia instead of there. Soon. Soon.

Red wine - I am not a big drinker period - I might have a drink or two a month most months - and I don't typically even mention alcohol because I am married to an alcoholic and I don't want to contribute to the glorification of the very weird booze culture this country is obsessed with (need wine you don't, girlfriend), but I do like a glass of red wine here and there in the fall. I found myself reading best red wine facts and had to laugh at "there's something about red wine that makes you feel so classy and refined AF, even if you're relaxing in your favorite comfy PJs with a glass of Pinot Noir and a tube of potato chips."

Kleem Organics Vitamin C Serum (affiliate link) - In case you're new here, this is the real MVP of my face. And it's less than $20. I started using it twice a day in April 2018 and in between bottles have tried others and there's no going elsewhere, people. Trust me. I've decided that every time I re-order, I will re-share, in case you missed it one of the other times I've mentioned it.

Seeing more people post about voting on social media. YES, queens. And kings. Vote, and TALK ABOUT VOTING. Voting and talking about voting should be the norm instead of 30% turnout of voters being considered good. Disinterest and disenfranchisement don't help any of us. They've gotten us the shitshow we have right now.

I am going to count this as October's recommendations post because this is my blog and I can.

What are you enjoying recently?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Why I would never tell anyone to run for office


You should run for office.

We throw that suggestion out to the people we think would make a tremendous difference in leadership roles in our government. I used to carelessly toss that out to people. Then my husband ran for office - a state representative office, lower level on the political ladder  - and I don't carelessly urge others to run for office any more because I know "you should run for office" is akin to "you should throw a bomb into the middle of your own life and not care if it blows the entire thing apart."

In a system that is designed, like all systems, to be navigated most easily and successfully by people with money, the political system in America is a field of landmines to the average citizen candidate.

There are other reasons but that, in a nutshell, is why I would not tell anyone they should run for office unless they have disposable dollars. A lot of them.

There are a million run for office organizations out there right now, as there should be. My voice of dissent is a small dose of reality.

Last year taught me a lot about politics. It is inconceivably dirty on both sides, even dirtier than you imagine it to be. If you are a candidate who will not bow to the establishment - regardless of which side of the establishment you're on - you're going to get screwed by your own party. It’s you, and you are on your own with the people who join you to build a team outside of party operations. I saw it happen in my own home, and I've seen it happen to numerous acquaintances who ran/are running for political office as democrats or independents.

If the party can't control you, they are not going to throw their support behind you monetarily or bodily with feet on the ground to get your message out. If you don't have a lot of disposable dollars of your own (I’m not kidding, the state democratic party people suggested raising $300,000-500,000 for ONE small state race...multiply that by all those races across the country then choke back your own vomit on the absolute monetary waste) and are raising money from people you know, you are less likely to be what they refer to as a viable candidate with a viable campaign. You also won't get help from Establishment people up the ballot from you unless someone deems you viable. Basically do not count on anyone. Just because someone is on the same "side" as you does not mean they will help you while you're campaigning. There are of course people who will because they like you and believe in what you believe in, but don't count on it from  everyone.

Some other things you might not know...Incumbents will almost always get endorsements from organizations because incumbents usually win...they're backed by the machine which has the money and the reach and everything you don't. Some unions are absolutely not only contributing to democratic candidates who uphold the ideals of the Labor Movement. They are also donating to incumbents from a party that supports right to work in many places and they’ll tell you it’s to keep their support but it’s just a payout. There are a lot of back room deals. People at all rungs of the political ladder are grappling for power and candidates get caught in that crossfire. I have seen democrats have democratic candidates removed from the ballot if they think they are too powerful or their opportunity is too great. They will torpedo something you busted your ass to build for months simply to hold their own place. You have to run the first time to see who will put a knife in your back, where the roadblocks are, and who the players are. And that’s just in your own party, not what’s coming at you from across the aisle.

The layers of bullshit are so deep we could talk about it forever. So when people say politicians suck, I get it. I do. I haven't even gotten into attack mailers - in a low level office, to give you an example - friends in the district received more than six (that we actually saw/have proof of) anti-MFD mailers that we estimate were sent to over 10,000 people per mailing. Even if you are squeaky clean, please disabuse yourself of the notion that people need a photo of you with JS Dolls  (NSFW) to put together a campaign attacking your character. If it doesn't exist, something will be made out of nothing. Do not attempt to run for office if you have thin skin. Or limited funds and time - during the last two months on the campaign trail for state rep offices and above you'll be pushed to campaign like it's your job even though there is $0 salary and you probably have an actual job you need to do to pay bills and live.

I could write an entire book on this but it’s late and I need to go to sleep. The problem is a million fold but much of it boils down to two things: money and corruption.

Unfortunately in order to root out both, average citizen candidates without millions in disposable income who are outsiders to the system and not corrupted by power or influence MUST run for office. So I write this knowing there must be sacrificial lambs among us. Citizens United must be overturned on the federal level, dark money must be extracted from the equation, and we must support candidates who refuse to take money from corporations.

In an ideal world, I'd like every candidate to have the same amount of money to spend (varying based on level/office) and for them to actually have to get out and meet people where they are in order to campaign. I’d like no corporations, lobbyists, unions, or the FOP to be able to fund campaigns. Then no one could afford ads on TV that we all freaking hate or to waste money on attack mailers and they'd have to rely on themselves, their beliefs and plans. And real people without economic privilege would have more than a fighting chance against the Machine. The amount of money spent on campaigning is completely gross given the poverty in this country. Combine that with the fact that people from lower economic classes and marginalized communities who have the best real life experience with problems and areas where innovation is needed are almost impossible to get elected and our class system is on proud display for all to see. It’s disgusting. Don’t even get me started on the trash women running deal with.

Despite the cesspool to swim through, there are people out there committed to running the gauntlet to actually serve people, and maybe you're one of them. And I support the hell out of that despite the title of this post.

Where do we go from here? If you are not a candidate, please do NOT give money blanketly to a party organization (DNC or RNC) or a PAC that engages in shitty activities. Please tell incumbents and prospective candidates not to take money from those PACs. Please donate directly to candidates who inspire you and help make them viable. When they say your $15 or $25 matters, they really mean it. If you don't have $$ but have time, volunteer to knock doors or make phone calls or work the polls on Election Day as a friendly face to everyone coming out to vote. If you are a candidate, gird your loins.

We can change the wretched system. But it's going to take all of us, and those of us who get in need to keep promises to do away with the crap and provide a government that is for the people, not for the people in power.

Monday, October 21, 2019

TWTW - the one of rest

Friday was a good day - I got a lot of work done, walked the beach at lunch and again at dusk, saw an engagement at dusk, washed my hair, and finished a book I was totally into.

Saturday I saw a pod of dolphins passing quite close to shore as soon as I hit the waterline and that wide grin stayed with me most of the day. I started and finished a book, showered, and did some writing. I was committed to rest this weekend so I fought myself on knowing but ignoring all the things that needed to be done around the house and I won. No zillions of to dos done. We hit the South End for a walk and shelling and to check out the erosion at the end of the day. A cheese & pepperoni plate and a new book at night then goodnight irene.
Sunday I slept in until 7:30, took a walk, did some reading, and did the requirements - pulled couch covers to be taken home to wash, secured porch furniture on two levels, did a walk through of the upstairs, and cleaned the bath/vacuumed our apartment. We took a beach walk in the rain and Bruce & Ben were not happy with me. Too bad dogs, we are an every day is a beach day family. I loaded up the car, made a pit stop at the grocery store as I headed out of town, and was back in Philly by 2:30. MFD made dinner and we watched seasons one and two of Fleabag before catching the end of the shiteous Eagles game.
Weekly food prep: Breakfasts are greek yogurt and granola since I didn't end up eating that last week. Lunches are PB&J on Dave's killer bread with baby carrots on the side. Bananas and pretzels for a snack. Dinners are pasta with veggie meat sauce, salad, fresh bread, and krauty chicken with a side of brussels. No pics because I didn't feel like dragging my computer back out. I had a Chuck's Roadhouse link in the Canadian vacation post last week and for some reason salted garlic bread caught my eye and I cannot stop thinking about it so yesterday's dinner in which MFD replicated it totally hit the spot.

Also since the Canadian vacation post google is showing me and Heat-Line freeze protection so winter is coming and there will be food. While the prospect of freezing is not my favorite, I do love that companies like Heat-Line exist to make life easier when outside feels like the frozen tundra. Also come to think of it, I'm not sure if I got the ad from the Canadian post or from someone in my neighborhood facebook group talking about hunting deer in a densely populated area and getting the kaibosh from neighbors.

Sunday was also Lori's birthday, one of those people who has impacted my life in a million positive ways and words don't do it justice. 

I hope you got some rest in this weekend. Peace as you begin your week. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Take the stress one day at a time

Alternate title: let's talk about stress, baby sung to the tune of Salt-N-Pepa's classic released in 1990. Everything's coming up 90s these days.


Despite our best efforts, stress is always bubbling under the surface, threatening to pop off and take you down like that invisible sidewalk curl we all trip over at some point. We've all seen some variation of the meme me trying to excel in my career, drink enough water, exercise, stay sane, text everyone back, survive, and be happy and at some point in most weeks we relate.

The problem with stress is that it very easily compounds, and if you’re stressed about one thing and you're not careful to contain that, it does a reach around and latches onto other aspects of your life. Even small things can feel stressful and compared with the bigger stressors, that's too much.

Sleepless Newborn Stress
Nobody ever said having a newborn wouldn’t be stressful, but no one realizes how much stress you’ll be under until it happens. There are so many things to think about after having a kid, including keeping them healthy and happy while still maintaining your sanity. 

Sleepless nights are one of the most significant contributors to stress, and if your baby struggles to settle down during the night, it can wreak havoc on the rest of your day. My mamas out there with poorly sleeping kids have all my sympathy. I know a few have looked into a baby sleep schedule to figure out the best way to deal with it and it's been helpful. Others...nothing helped. You know who you are. I see you and am sending you coffee and water. 

Financial Stress
Bills are an inescapable part of life, which sucks, let's be clear.  Getting the bill for your rent, mortgage, gas, phone, cable, electric, credit card is something you dread on those unexpected expenses months. Absolutely everything is more expensive than it used to be, including/especially food. 

Addressing areas of financial stress usually involve stopping something, or truly examining want vs. need, or changing how you do something.  Making changes to your lifestyle can give you a buffer and help you live a little more comfortably. You can buy discounted food, stop eating out, and be more cautious with the heating. The change will be gradual, but soon you’ll notice you have more money to spare to squirrel away or put toward bills. Pro tip: none of the cutbacks matter if you treat yourself to things you don't need. Discipline is key. 

Work Stress
The idea that some jobs are more stressful than others is a load of bull. Each role brings different challenges that demand your full attention. Every person's life is different. No, you are not better than the cashier because you have a lofty title. When you feel wrung out from work, it's good to take a step back and consider how your job helps you and what is rewarding about it. Like, it enables you to live and pay your bills are huge ones, but what else? Do you have flexibility, awesome coworkers, a beautiful route to work, kind superiors who understand the stresses of work/life balance attempt (I say attempt because there is no true balance). 

Focusing on the positives over the negatives make it easier to deal with the fact that yes, we all must work because we are not millionaires. Examining your position might even make you appreciate it more. Most of us work to live instead of live to work, and in a capitalist society that can feel really draining because we are part of a machine. We are not alone.

No Time For You Stress
We need downtime to relax ourselves so we can deal with the stresses of everyday life. Most people need alone time to do this. Most people also have a lot going on and give other people time before themselves, leaving them feeling like they don't have a minute to spare. 

With work, collecting the kids from school, making dinner, and ensuring the house is in order, it’s a struggle to find the time. While you can’t magically summon more hours in a day, you can work out a routine that gives you time to dedicate solely to you. When I say can I mean you really must. Especially you moms out there trying to do it all and be it all. 

Just giving yourself an hour a day either by taking a soak in the tub, reading, painting your nails, or watching mindless TV helps you unwind feel better prepared for anything coming your way in any area of life. 

The Stress of the Future
The uncertainty of the future is basically the only thing that is 100% certain, but we worry about it like there's no tomorrow. Which, of course, wastes today. You can’t do anything to change the unforeseen events of the future. No matter how much you worry, that time and energy you expend has ZERO impact on what is or isn't coming down the pike. You can prepare yourself but you never truly know what will happen. It makes more sense to what you can in the present to make each day a good one. 

Worrying too much about the future means you miss out on what’s in front of you, and without going crazy with spending sprees or living an extravagant lifestyle, you can still experience what’s right in front of you. 

Take a walk. Sit outside. Breathe deeply. Recognize beauty around you even in ugly spaces. Make connections with people. Give your animals a lot of pets. Drink enough water. Be sensible with your money and your time. Be comfortable alone. Recognize that rest is necessary. Put down what you're carrying. Distance yourself from potentially harmful influences and energies - in person and on social media. Give yourself permission to not worry or stress. And don't be so freaking hard on yourself or hold yourself to an impossible standard. 

Please take a few hours for yourself this weekend, regardless of what other people need from you. Ladies, I'm looking at you in particular.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - Excuse me, but can I be you for a while my dog won't bite if you sit real still

1. My main plans for this weekend are to peace the fuck out and spend the entire thing alone with no schedule or must dos/must be at/must attend/must get done. The last few weekends have been peopley and schedule/event oriented and while I love my people and have enjoyed my events, I am so looking forward to doing absolutely nothing that's been planned in advance.

2. I would like to end the year less frazzled feeling so I think I'll likely dedicate some weekend time brainstorming and making lists. These are a few of my favorite things.

3. Tuesday was National Pug Day, which Bruce Springsteen would have you know is every day, okay.

4. Yesterday we pulled the winners of the Show Us Your Books 5th Anniversary giveaway. Three Megans (well two Megans and one Meghan to be concise) were winners plus a Shawn and an Audrey. As Jana said, it was a good day to be a Megan.

5. I finished The Testaments by Margaret Atwood this week and started this book right after. From what I gather, at least the backdrop of the story will be the book women of KY, which I haven't heard more than a shout about in my life then I read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson in May and now this book. I liked Book Woman and I feel bad that it will be overshadowed by Stars given the larger name recognition of Jojo Moyes. There's apparently a buzz about these two books and I'm sort of shocked by the pull comparisons in this article someone shared on The Tumbling Nomads IG yesterday! The Moyes is dragging for me and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m anticipating a book similar to one I’ve already read, because I don’t like one of the main characters, or because I’ve been put off by the similarities pointed out in the article or what.

6. My nail polish did not hold up well this week. I look to get a solid six days out of it and that was absolutely not the case given that I painted them on Friday morning and they were chipped beyond repair by Wednesday night. I'm hoping for some more staying power this week. Pacifica Luxe Interior.

7. I put the moon pendant Lori got me last weekend on my Grandmom's long necklace and I'm quite pleased with it.

8. Last night’s weather was hell. There were no shuttles at the train station so I walked 3/4 of a mile in the pouring rain and took a direct wall of water hit from a passing car to the pants. I decided it was a good night for monkey bread, which never fails to bring my Home Ec teacher, Ms. Paxson, to mind.

9. Reminder: It's the little things that build the life.

10. Ecards. 

I couldn't even get into your president's nonsensical idiot letter to Turkey today because I just fucking can't. His irresponsible actions put American soldiers and allies in danger and they're releasing fucking ISIS prisoners which seems weird for the Muslim Ban supporters to be okay with. So foreign policy, much presidential. One hundred million eyerolls he is unfit for office fight me on this. 

Rest in peace, Elijah Cummings. A true patriot and public servant. 

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 Silent All These Years by Tori Amos
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