Monday, October 19, 2020

TWTW - the one with lots of outside time

Friday was rainy and cold, but it halted in time for us to get out for a while at lunch. I made chicken, rice, salmon, and green beans (not pictured) for the weekend. My dogs start crowding me when it's time to finish work. I cleaned my apartment, painted my nails (Zoya Annie), finished a book, and started another, which had me up until 1. 
Saturday started with a 6 am wakeup and an hour long walk and a lovely sunrise. 

After that I read with some coffee, showered, went to order doors for the house, picked something up for Michelle's sister, did some small business shopping, chowed down on a pretzel, hit the porch with the best friend dogs, took a long nap, then an hour walk for a glorious sunset. 
Sunday I slept in because it was Sunday and I do what I want. I packed up because I had to make an overnight trip to Philly. I also went to the vet because I thought Ben's checkup was this Sunday and it's really next Sunday. So we bought pumpkins and hit dog beach, then I came back into the belly of the beast AKA the campaign office. Which is my entire house at this point. MFD had a canvas launch with Andrew Yang and our Congressman and another local state rep, pics from his FB page, and I made a pot roast which I actually hate but never remember until I make it. Laundry out the wazoo and we watched Scream which is about the scariest I can go as far as movies go. 

PA friends, this is the last day to register to vote. If you are already registered, please check your registration. If you need help registering or checking your registration, please comment below or email me at lifeaccordingtosteph@gmail.com.

How was your weekend? 



Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday Five 10.16.2020


1. I try to tire the best friend dogs out at lunch every day so they don't disrupt my afternoon work flow.
2. I love this little decoration that is actually a TP hider Mrs. G dropped off along with a pumpkin and mask chain I am in desperate need of (do you need a mask chain? Check out my friend's shop The Green Room Accessories and Gifts). I missed actually seeing Mrs. G last night as I was out making my bi-monthly trip to Aldi which requires a drive but I plan to see her face before she leaves town tomorrow.
3. One of my favorite snacks: grape tomatoes.
4. The roasted pumpkin marshmallow Huntingdon Home Candle from Aldi is freaking amazing if you can get your hands on it.
5. If you're in the market for a bookish and Philly-ish sweatshirt, Harriett's Bookshop has this jawn but they have others as well. We just passed Prime Day. This is a reminder to support small businesses, and if they are both Black and Women-owned, even better. Amazon does not need most of us to survive. Small shops do. 

FINALLY. Pennsylvania friends, the deadline to register to vote is Monday. Even if you are already registered, please check your registration to make sure your name and address are correct and match what is on your ID. If you need help, please drop a comment or email me at lifeaccordingtosteph@gmail.com

Happy Friday! What's on deck for you this weekend?


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - Now where did you find her among the neon lights

1. I never realized until this year how much I love what I call the silver days. It's overcast but bright, and the sky and water are almost the same color. Sun peeks through and hits the ocean so it appears as glass. When the sun comes through, the water glitters like diamonds in some spots. Despite everything 2020 has thrown at the world, it has allowed me to live here full time without dealing with issues I’d have to address to do that in normal life. People keep asking if I’m still “staying” at the shore. I’m living here and I have since May and we might not close this house up this year. I have bottomless appreciation for that as well as the rest of the unexpected opportunities and joys this year has brought me while simultaneously acknowledging that it has done a number on me mentally and emotionally and wrestling with the frustration, grief, and rage I feel on behalf of those who have not faired well health-wise or financially this year and been left hung out to dry by their government.
2. I have moved my office upstairs this week in an effort to strike a better work/life balance and it's been great. I go up to start work, I leave to walk the beach at lunch or run errands or both, back upstairs to work, and then I go to my apartment after. This is where we are with the best friend dog's attachment to me. 

3. Show Us Your Books prizes still open, and Instagram books still up for grabs (can't get to the post office until Monday anyway). I read this this week, it was great. Thanks to my friend Mush for the recommendation!

4. One of my fall intentions is to make sure I'm out shelling at least three times a week. It's something I absolutely love to do and it doesn't involve screens and my velcro dogs can come this time of year. Shelling has been stellar this week. I'm not after only the perfect ones because how boring is that? After the storms rolled out some of the rocks I found were shorn in half. The power of the ocean is amazing. 
5. I also love seeing weird stuff. 
6. I made breakfast burritos to freeze for the first time since like February. It felt like my old self came knocking. 
7. Just some stuff from around the interwebs. Casual.
8. I have the very en vogue O-Cedar mop made so by GoCleanCo but I need a swiffer like thing upstairs and I'm giving this Promist Max a whirl. You can wash the microfiber mop and you just squeeze so it doesn't need batteries. I'll report back. Links are affiliates.

9. Reminder

10. ecards

Any thoughts to share from your corner of the world? 



The words following the hyphen are the song I am listening to when I start the Thursday Thoughts post. This week is Beautiful Girl by INXS

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Show Us Your Books October 2020: Sixth Anniversary



Happy Tuesday, Happy Show Us Your Books Day, Happy Six Year Anniversary to this linkup and all of us that participate in it. 

We're giving away two prizes here to two winners: the first gets two books of their choice from Harriett's Bookshop out of Philly and the second gets a book from The Lit. Bar out of the Bronx (direct if they are shipping direct or via Bookshop.org). The choice of stores to benefit is intentional in support of Black, women-owned bookstores. Where the books come from is non-negotiable. Everyone can enter as long as you're down with that. Prize entry is below all the way at the bottom, hopefully you enter after you click through to see what everyone's been reading this month.

We are also giving away some used books over on Instagram to spread more book love, so hopefully you're following Jana and me there and can get in on that too. 

E-reader people, Amazon prime day is today and tomorrow and I think the Kindle paperwhites are $50 off. Now's the time if you're going to buy one (affiliate link). 


Here's what I've been reading since the last linkup. 
For those of you trying to expand your authors into Black or POC and not being aware of many outside of the nonfiction we're here to talk about race books, I'm going to note that in my origin of book going forward. 

Engrossing Reads

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter - Another great book from Emily Carpenter. I loved Burying the Honeysuckle Girls and Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters did not disappoint. Carpenter writes interesting female characters. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book comes out on October 20

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight - This is all over the place for a reason. I know a lot of people are out there pooh poohing this like the expectation is that it is Shakespeare when it clearly is not, nor is it meant to be. What it is is quick and interesting. Quick and interesting are my gold standard this year. OCNJ library hard cover

Betty by Tiffany McDaniel - The first sentence of this is well out there so I have no issues sharing it here: A girl comes of age against the knife." I mean, can you even. But the entire first paragraph sold me. The writing is searing throughout - this is not shelf candy, nor is it a feel good book, and I am annoyed in advance of people going into it only wanting those things and declaring it meh because it's a hard read. All of life's hard things are in here. But hard does not mean ugly - on the contrary, it's quite beautiful. But don't go into this expecting light and whimsy. It's not that book. OCNJ hard cover

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley - I rated this a three on Goodreads, but if you know me you know my star ratings are pretty arbitrary - but it appears here because engrossing reads are not always four or five star reads in my world, especially this year. They are what keep me reading through and despite. Lucy Foley's books are problematic in many ways but they are absolutely readable for me even as the world burns around me. OCNJ hard cover


Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall - Now this is a five star and engrossing reads book. I initially got this from the library this summer, then immediately returned it, ordered it, and waiting for it to come in because I felt the need to highlight it and write in it. No regrets. If you consider yourself a feminist, you should read this. Especially if you are white. This is the book I've been looking for since 2016 when I realized most of my feminist follows were white and began to seek out perspectives different from my own. Hard cover, own, written by a Black woman and purchased from a Black, Woman-owned bookstore (Harriett's via Bookshop)

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi - Gyasi's Homegoing has sat in my stomach like a stone since I read it in 2017. Her writing is superb, and the complete difference in this book and that is a mark of that. Fans of Homegoing, do not expect another one of those. This is a good book in its own right, and the writing on addiction from a family member is spot on. Hard cover, own, written by a Black woman and pre-ordered from a Black, Woman-owned bookstore (Harriett's via Bookshop)

Passed the Time Just Fine

An Inconvenient Woman by Stephanie Buelens - I didn’t know what to believe through much of this, and that always keeps me moving quickly through a book. I liked the character of Sloane, I would've liked to see a deeper dig into her. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Day I Disappeared by Brandi Reeds - I could not put this down, which has not been the case through much of this global pandemic. This was interesting and quick moving. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Hollywood Park: A Memoir by Mikel Jollett - I was not in the mood for a memoir until I was in the mood for a memoir. The writing surprised me here - it was good. Very good. The author's origins in a cult did not hurt either, as I am always zoned in on cult books. OCNJ library hard cover

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell - A slow burn book. The two characters I thought is like the least I ended up liking them most. It took me a week to read this, which is super slow for me. Half to blame is a packed week. Half to blame is a pretty okay book. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, releases today

Not Worth It

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover - I know she has a formula, but writing dramatic and isolating female characters with no friends can grate. It grated here. OCNJ library paperback even though I've had it on my kindle for an eternity

Did Not Finish
The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea - Maybe in another year, but the first two pages had me saying not this year. I knew straight off from the writing that I would lose steam and let it sit for too long. OCNJ library hard cover

Linkup Guidelines:
This link up is the second Tuesday of every month. The next linkup is Tuesday, November 10, 2020 
1. Visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me, and check in with as many in our reading circle as you can - give some love to the later linker uppers! 
2. Link back to us in your blog post - if you want the button you can get it from that link

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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Monday, October 12, 2020

TWTW - the long one

Friday sunrise trip to the beach with the best friend dogs, then a quick nail painting (OPI Berlin there done that), and I made hard boiled eggs, salmon, and potatoes in the air fryer before spending the day watching my niece and nephew while Aubrey worked. We had fun even though we did basically nothing. We did see some sights on our walks, tired out the dogs, hit the beach when Aubrey was done, and ordered dinner from Angelo's so Ben could have his birthday cheeseburger. My brother arrived around 8.
Saturday we did a bike ride, I got OPC from Local's Coffee (the best), they got Drip N' Scoop donuts, and then we hit the beach. The monarch butterflies have started their yearly fall visits to the dunes. I took a nap in the afternoon, Aubrey made a great dinner, and we did another bike ride to get pumpkin ice cream. Aubrey and I stopped in The Islander and SURF Mall on the way home. SURF Mall visits are always like time warps. 

Sunday I took an early walk to see the progress on the house being taken down a block over. It was probably as old and almost as tall as mine. We took another bike ride with a stop at the playground and a walk on the beach, Aubrey made breakfast, and my brother has a skullet now, FYI. They headed home around 1. I love spending time with them all. When they left I went to the grocery store and picked up Gus’s CBD oil in town, did some cleaning up in my apartment, moved some stuff up into the house, read, and napped. Two naps this weekend. Who am I? I am a person who had a really packed week last week and one who is learning to rest, that’s who. I took the best friends down to the beach just as the rain was moving in, then finished a book, started another, and made lots of list for the week.


How was your weekend? 



Saturday, October 10, 2020

Top 10 Sights to See in Boston

pexels


Boston city is the capital of Massachusetts, found in the northeast of America. It’s a historically rich place that was founded by English Puritans in 1630. There are so many things to enjoy in Boston, whether you’re a local, a tourist, or a traveler. To help you plan your next trip let’s take a look at the top ten sights to see in Boston.


1 . The Museum Of Fine Arts Boston


The Museum of Fine Arts Boston was founded back in 1870. It’s now one of the largest art museums in the whole world, home to almost 500,000 pieces of art. Each year the museum welcomes over a million visitors, here; you’ll find a wide variety of exhibitions including Contemporary, Egyptian Art, Murals, Black History, and more. There’s been much expansion of the museum in recent years, and new collections are often added. As well as the collections and exhibitions, there are various programs in performance art, film, and music. Events are subject to change throughout the year, and more details of the current programs are available on the museum website.


2. The Freedom Trail 


The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile trail that leads to 16 different historical sites. The trail was dedicated by the Boston people back in 1951; it’s a collection of meeting houses, burying grounds, historical markers, parks, and museums. Together these authentic sites tell enthralling stories about American history. The Walk Into History tour is one of the most popular experiences on the trail; the tour is mostly themed on revolutionary history. You’ll walk through Boston Common, just opposite the famous Suffolk University. Along the tour you’ll also see Massachusetts State House, King’s Chapel, and more! 


3. Faneuil Hall 


Faneuil Hall is a bustling marketplace, here there are 70 + retailers, with a wide range of unique and beautiful shops. You can also sample delicious food at the pubs, restaurants, or the renowned Quincy Market Colonnade. Faneuil Hall has a unique and delightful atmosphere, with street performers and music that fills that promenade. The marketplace comprises four areas: the South Market, the North Market, Quincy Market, and Faneuil Hall. The hall was constructed in 1742 by Peter Faneuil, the wealthiest merchant in Boston. To get yourself some beautiful souvenirs from Boston, Faneuil Hall is the perfect place!


4. The Museum Of Science Boston 


At The Museum Of Science Boston, you can explore exhibits in astronomy, ecology, biology, chemistry, and more. One of the most famous exhibits includes a fossil from the Dakota Badlands (that’s over 65 million years old)! There’s also a planetarium with daily star and laser shows. The museum offers a huge range of exhibitions that are suitable for all ages. Recent exhibitions include ‘Wicked Smart,’ a showcase of local inventions that changed life as we know it. The ‘Hall Of Human Life’ exhibition is a fantastic one to gain a deeper understanding of biology. At The Museum of Science Boston, you’ll learn plenty of new things and have yourself a leisurely day out.


5. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum


The Museum was built in memory of JFK, the thirty-fifth president of America. The site includes historical exhibits, three theatres, photographs, and memorabilia, all documenting John.F Kennedy's life, including his time in the presidency. These exhibits cover a wide range of themes, including the Kennedy family, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, the Oval Office, and the presidential campaign trail. The museum and library was designed and built by I.M.Pei & Partners. It took over 225 laborers to construct I.M. Pei’s architectural vision. Pei was a fairly new architect who was yet to attempt monumental projects. Nevertheless, the building turned out a real architectural gem.


6. Boston Greenway 


The Boston Greenway is a mile of lush green parks and outdoor hang out spots. Take a leisurely stroll from Chinatown Gate down to the iconic Zakim Bridge. It’s the perfect place for walking, taking in the atmosphere, or having a bite to eat at the street food stalls. The Greenway links the Italian North End district, to Chinatown, with Faneuil Marketplace along the way. Tourists will likely enjoy the Boston Greenway walking tour, it starts at the North End Parks, just opposite the Boston Public Market. There’s a large steel pergola that runs across both parks, framing the skyline of the city. For a relaxing day soaking up the Boston atmosphere, a walk down the Boston Greenway is just what you need.


7. Crane Beach 


Perhaps you fancy a break from all that sightseeing? If so, head on down to Crane Beach. The beach stretches along either side of Castle Neck; it’s one of the most beautiful beaches for swimming in the whole of New England. The beach has been voted the best beach in Boston several times; locals and tourists come from all over to enjoy the gentle surf and the gorgeous white sands. Wildlife fans will love Crane Beach; the salt marshes attract everything from otters to myriad birds and deer. Experiencing beautiful beaches and relaxing away from work is exactly why we travel!


8. Fenway Park 


Baseball fans won’t want to miss catching a glimpse of Fenway Park; it’s the oldest park in Major League Baseball. Here you can check out a Red Sox game or grab a drink at one of the pubs along Lansdowne Street. The ballpark has been the home of the Boston Red Sox since back in 1912. In 1934 the stadium was rebuilt, and the park has undergone many small renovations throughout the years. The facility has been host to the World Series several times, and the Red Sox have won a total of six WW games. The site has also hosted other sporting events, including hockey games, football games, and political campaigns.


9. New England Aquarium 


The New England Aquarium is one of the global leaders in marine conservation and ocean exploration, welcoming over 1.3 million people each year. Animal lovers and families will have an amazing time exploring here; there’s a huge circular tank where you can view marine life as you stroll. The aquarium has penguins, green turtles, the giant Pacific octopus, seals, balloon fish, and so much more! You can also take part in whale-watching excursions at the aquarium or check out the IMAX theatre. There are plenty of exhibitions too, depending on what time of year you visit.


10. Food Tours 


Boston has plenty of delicious food tours to offer, including the famous ‘Boston Foodie Tours.’ The tour takes visitors through Back Bay and Beacon Hill, two of Boston's most charming areas. You’ll get to sample foods from highly regarded restaurants, tasting delicious pastas, gourmet desserts, street foods, and more. The tour company is owned locally by a culinary school grad and Boston native. The tour has a focus on culinary education, award-winning food spots, and the foodie history of the city. 

The tour begins with a light lunch, courtesy of award winner Lydia Shire. More often than not, Lydia serves her legendary lobster pizza. At your next foodie stop, you’ll get to sample some of the most delicious cheese and wine, followed by a taste of the famous ‘Beat Bobby Flay’ sandwich. Doesn’t sound like your sort of thing? There are plenty of other food tours in Boston, so you’re bound to find something that takes your fancy.

When you’re planning your trip, try creating an itinerary so that you can get organized and make the most of your time in Boston. It’s best to check opening times and policies beforehand. Many leisure facilities have had to adapt their trade due to the coronavirus.


***********

This post was written with the Life According to Steph audience in mind


Friday, October 9, 2020

Friday Five 10-9-20


1. Happy third birthday John Bender. Sorry about the crap life you had before you got to us. You are amazing except when you spite pee. Let's work on that.
2. New slippers, can you even. I love TOMs slippers. They are not $15 slippers but they are durable AF and can walk outside etc. 
3. Accidentally double Ruthed myself this morning.
4. I voted yesterday! Anyone considering going to an early absentee location in Philly who has questions, please comment below or email me at lifeaccordingtosteph@gmail.com. I voted for this guy for state rep. I happened to be wearing that shirt, but intentionally wore my dissent pin as I have for every election since 2016, and my Fuck trump lipstick by Lip Slut. 50% of all earnings from F*ck trump go towards helping a civil rights organization targeted by the trump administration. This organization is chosen by the people.
5. This morning on the beach. It's weird when there's a sandbar and the water near the shore is so dead. I hope you find some pockets of peace today!

I'm off today and spending the day with my niece and nephew. Hope you have a good one! 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - The less I say the more my work gets done

Starting the week off right. Mark and Sarah came down Sunday night and Monday at break time we hit Dog Beach so they could all run. Look at my dog nephew Harry enjoying his first trip there. 

Checking out the glorious skies Monday night after work, and eating a freaking delicious meal Mark & Sarah treated us to from the Crab Trap

Having my hair done by the fabulous Kristi. I went a little redder. Sensational Scissors out there killing it in the post-Covid safety department.

Getting my monthly acupuncture for wellness

Scheduling my tattoo appointment for the same day as acupuncture, my neck took a freaking beating. This is fresh fresh, not healed at all. Stacey at JayBird's is awesome! That's where I got my first tattoo when I was 19, when it was still owned by Jay. Now it's women-owned and run. Also extremely safe to Covid-world standards.
Missing the art in the city. 

Feeling it in Philly.

Asking if I could have a t-shirt and hearing "I didn't know if you liked Mike" in reply from MFD. LOL forever. He's having an in-person and virtual event Sunday if you are local or not local but interested in supporting: click here. Masks required and time set up for distancing - in other words not a super spreader event like the White House held. 

Doing a bunch of other things like you know, work, and laundry and flower bed clean up and not having spare time to read this week. I have been going going going and exhausted. 

Heading back to the shore today. In 2018 I lost October down there, one of my favorite months, for campaign season. Things are different now. 

Sharing this from thesquashedstories on Instagram about the top three things they learned this year. Great realizations for all of us.

Pointing out the disconnect, always
Sharing dog pics because it's a requirement
Listening to Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John (it's the lyric after the hyphen in the title)

Watching the VP debate and again asserting you cannot debate these people. Pence did not adhere to the agreed upon rules, talked over two women a million times, was a question behind the entire time, and fucking lied. Yeah, you've been following the science my fucking ass. Meanwhile your president tweeted "Mike Pence is doing great! She is a gaffe machine" at one point. Not even using her fucking name let alone her title. So empowering to women, much presidential. Kamala Harris was as good as one can be when "debating" soulless, unscrupulous, rule breaking, lying fucks. Everyone needs to stop expecting women in politics to set the world on fire effortlessly with no mistakes while tacitly accepting the mediocrity of men in politics. Be better. 

Reading the newest Lisa Jewell coming out this month. Well, I started it Sunday and haven't really read it since. I'll finish it soon. Show Us Your Books is Tuesday - sixth anniversary. There will be prizes and bonus used book giveaways. 

Taking off tomorrow for real. Hallelujah!

Reminding you - and reminding you that sometimes when other people do or do not do things they are minding their well being. Don't push on them. Or yourself to do things that don't jive with that. 

Ecarding

What's new with you?




Linking up with Kristen

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