Friday, January 31, 2020

February Agenda

Friday Friday! The last day in January.

I used to do monthly goals, then I went to quarterly goals, then back to loose monthly goals, then no goals except a few big mamas. I need a visible monthly to do list, so here it is for February:

1. Continue no buy - not no spend, I had to correct the course on that after January - for unnecessary items/mindless buying/consuming. I bought some stuff for the shore house (need not want) and two books (want not need). 
2. New recipes: including some dips for Year of Dip and vegan mac & cheese Steph has shared a few times. Check on the vegan mac & cheese. I made chive/mascarpone/bacon dip, new hot crab dip, a black/bean avocado dip, snickers dip, cherry cheesecake dip.
4. Imbolc. Check.
5. Schedule annual appointments (mammo, gyn, skin check). Scheduled/went to gyn. Still need to schedule mammo & skin check. 
6. Continue daily walks. Doing it.
7. Get a quote on mini split duct for our apartment at the shore. Yes, it was way more than I expected given the small space so I'm getting another or not doing it at this time.
8. Start looking for a shore sectional again, which i do much of the year, for the fourth year in a row. Need to find and buy by March. Bought it, now fingers crossed it fits in delivery
9. Work on shore house website why can't I do this?
10. Drive By Truckers concert So good. 2/27
11. Chiropractor & acupuncturist Missed the chiro. Check on acupuncture. 
12. Rest, relax, recoup. Moderate success

This was January's.
What's on your agenda for the month?

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - Here everybody has a neighbor everybody has a friend

1. Let the record reflect that I got an old cavity fixed up at the dentist Tuesday and I didn't carry on about it like I always do NOR did I reward myself with gifts. I have to go back for the one on the other side on Monday. That might earn me a pedicure but still no stuff gifts. 

2. I loathe how shitty photos get (see above) as planned obsolescence occurs in phones. I've got the 11Pro coming my way and I can't wait.

3. We've reached the time of year where I look washed out AF and contemplate bronzer that I keep long after its expiration date for just such times but ultimately decide to skip all face makeup as always and just look like a ghost of myself until about April. Cheers.

4. It's wrong to eat condiments like they are the actual meal, right?

5. If you're looking to kick the ziploc bag habit but don't want to put out a lot of cash for Stasher bags, check out  Qinline bags. They work great, are easy to clean, much cheaper than the Stasher bags and I actually like them better.
6. The other night in an Instagram story I asked people for their favorite dips and seriously I've been salivating since. Bitches love delicious and easy dips and I love them for it. I am going to go on a dip odyssey this year and make the ones that sound good to me and share them all. I'm starting with chive mascarpone bacon dip and a new jumbo lump crab dip in the crock versus how I usually do it in the oven. The Year of Dip. Get ready. Considering a Dip Birthday party for myself. A dip birthday party...what a wonderful world. 

7. My circadian rhythms are off. I get into bed by 10 and am up until 1. I need to reset.

8. For your consideration: these words from Aja Barber or from ShiShi Rose on why I have not and will not be sharing any OpEds on anything in Kobe Bryant's past written by white women, especially not when Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Brett Kavanaugh, donald trump, and others are out there in celebrityville and about a million Brock Turners, Judges letting Brock Turners go, and white men making laws that hurt women’s autonomy and place women in peril daily are under our noses, traveling somewhere on our circles, sitting at our barbecues unchallenged. We need to get after our own, white ladies, before we say a damn thing about anyone else's. File under know better, do better: I would have written reams about this in the past, waving a big feminist flag. You know who else waves that flag? Black women who have typically had their voices and words drowned out by white women. No, our voice is not needed on Kobe Bryant’s hotel incident from 2003. Better make sure our house is clean before we run a finger across the top of a picture frame in someone else’s. 

9. Reminder: via Women in Illustration

10. Ecards: da da da da daaaaaa da da da da da da da dadadaaaaaaaaa

Hasta la vista, baby. I said that in a Tone Loc voice. 

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 Long Walk Home by Bruce Springsteen

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

How to Bring your Best-Loved Recipes from Travel Home With You

Baia in at Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town

Sun, sea, and some of the best food you ever tasted. It’s the vacation dream, isn’t it? Travel food experiences are so good that they’re a big part of the reason a lot of us travel in the first place. The lure of local dishes is huge for me. Yet, when our trips draw to a close, I typically kiss my favorite dishes I've encountered goodbye and return to the home-cooked favorites we already know so well and eat over and over and over and, you get it.

There’s nothing wrong with the familiar but if a part of your soul stays with that Spanish paella when you head back home, it’s time to figure out how to bring those recipes home with you. Tucked alongside your duty-free, this could be one of the best travel gifts you give yourself. It’s undoubtedly a fantastic way to keep the exotic love alive. 

No one wants to fail at the re-creation of a beloved vacation meal because it sort of ruins the memory of it. It happens to the best of us, but there are some ways to avoid it. 

Ask the experts
No one does pasta dishes as well as the Italians, or octopus like the Greeks. As such, your first port of call should be to chat to the experts while you’re away if you can. Pay your complements to the chef when you enjoy their food. While they aren't likely to tell you their secrets or give you a step by step of their process, they will probably drop a golden ticket of information, like the ideal time to marinate that sauce or the fact that good calamari only takes 15 minutes. It's insights like those that can give you an understanding of the food that moors you to it and proves to be your key to unlocking those recipes at last. 
Focus on flavor
It also pays to focus on flavor. Too often, home-based recreations will contain the same basic ingredients without ever quite capturing the right taste combinations. People stress over getting the exact right ingredients and forget to think about flavor. And, given that flavor is the heart of any dish, that alone can ruin the entire experience. As such, breaking down those flavors and thinking about how you can recreate them is what will really elevate your dishes. In fact, it could see you recreating dishes that put you right back on that sunny beach at any time of year!

Don’t beat yourself up if it isn’t exactly the same
Anyone who’s tried to create a dish from their favorite restaurant will know that it’s near impossible to get everything exactly right. And, that challenge becomes even harder when oceans limit you. It may be that you can’t get the same ingredients, for instance, or that everything’s a little less fresh than it would be if you were there in person. This is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still create a pretty decent replica. Don’t beat yourself up if your dish isn’t 100% like the one you had in Cape Town that time. As long as it tastes halfway decent and takes you back to that happy trip, this could still become a dish you cherish and a creature comfort to turn to whenever you next get itchy travel feet with no fat travel budget to back that up.


Are you a re-creater of vacation food?

Happy birthday to my cousin Tiffany today!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

January 2020 Recommendations

Rest when you need to. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn as an adult. I am a do everything that needs to be done before relaxing person and always have been but as I get older I need to rest more and I have to get myself okay with that. I need this reminder. 

Aldi's salmon. It is fresh as hell, priced really well, and totally delicious. 

Getting your nightly face routine out of the way as soon as you get home. That way you're not stomping your feet like a tired toddler when it's time to do it later and you're exhausted. Just me? I feel like a dirt bag when I don't wash my face but when I'm tired I literally don't care about anything.

Leslie Sansone in home walking for those of you like me who hate exercise and just want to get something done. There are DVDs of course, and some are available via prime, but I just have it on my TV through YouTube. I save what I like to my library and follow her channel also. 

Get outside. I stick to my lunch walk every non precipitating day even when it's cold because I still need fresh air, some outdoor movement, and a different perspective from my desk. 

Get something to look forward to on your calendar. February can suck the life right out of me and make me wish away my days instead of enjoying them. To combat that I try to get some things I want to do happening. If you're the same, try it!

What are you recommending this month?

Monday, January 27, 2020

TWTW - already the last one in January

Friday Not much doing. MFD was out and I ate, did some walking with weights, and finished a book. 
Saturday I did absolutely nothing for the majority of the day aside from a little work, reading a book from start to finish, and napping.
Saturday night Comedy with Aunt Mary Pat at the Ferko clubhouse. She was super funny and very gracious with time and photos. If you have a chance to see her, get your cokes and your smokes from the Wawa and go see her, hon. 
Sunday I spent much of the day working, which is never the ideal way to spend a Sunday when you work M-F already. I did start a new book and saw my MIL off as she headed back to Wildwood again. Also weekly food prep, ran and emptied the dishwasher, and the plan was to finally put away the laundry that has been sitting for over a week and change the sheets but I fell asleep on the couch from 6-9:30 so that plan died.
Weekly food prep: Breakfast is breakfast burritos from the freezer. Lunches are egg salad or PB/bananas on english muffins. Snacks are bell peppers. Dinner is ham and veggie soup and pasta with veggie meat sauce from the freezer.

January has passed in a blink, hasn't it? We're coming up on the end this week and that seems super fast.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - out of the ruins, out from the wreckage

1. Today and every day.

2. Sometimes you have to bust out the strawberry margarita in January to get a glimpse of summer.
3. I've been busting my ass to make sure the dining room table stays clear.
4. I finally picked a vanity and faucet for the shore bathroom that's getting a mini facelift over this winter. I hate particleboard but I'm not paying $500 for a vanity that is going to get warped AF by the humidity and salt air anyway.

5. I worked from home yesterday for the first time since 12/30. I've had a temp in and had to be in and yesterday was the first day I could manage it. Ben was so pleased.
6. Who's the cutest? Yes, this post has mostly been dogs and tables.

7. Adult level expert this week: quick walk with weights and complete nightly skin care routine daily. The only black mark against my name is the laundry sitting all over the house, not put away.

8. For your consideration: this thread by Will Bunch. Also: the impeachment trial is boring, etc etc, but it's important. Act like it. I still can't get over how many people were for impeachment of Clinton for blow jobs and lying but act like trump threatening the Ukraine with the weight of the US behind him to advance himself personally and all the zillions of lies told by him and his motley crew of mafia like fam and fram are now apparently no big deal to people. Weird.

9. Reminder: to do list.

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 We Don't Need Another Hero by Tina Turner

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

5 Practical Methods for Saving Money in 2020

Mid-week, my friends! Handing it over to Dan Cormac today. Dan knows how to make his money go further. A freelance financial journalist, he is passionate about personal finance. Whether you hope to escape the chains of debt, to save for a house, or to retire within a decade, Dan explores the most effective ways you can achieve your financial goals.

Planning a vacation? Looking to avoid living month-to-month? Want to get on the property ladder? There are many reasons why you could be in search of ways to save money. Thankfully, there are also many methods available when it comes to retaining your hard-earned cash.
With that in mind, the following list highlights five practical tips for you to start saving money in 2020: 

1. Reduce prices with coupons
Before you make any purchase, you should always check to see if a coupon is available to reduce the price. From JCPenney coupons to voucher codes reducing transport costs, there are coupons present for most major retailers. Plus with many typically residing on the internet, it’s effortless to search for any available coupons within seconds. 

2. Shop around for the best deal
When possible, you should always be looking for ways to reduce those regular monthly bills. If you have been with an electricity or gas supplier for an extended period of time, you could make a serious saving by switching to another company. Alternatively, simply mention the idea you plan to leave. 

This could give providers the incentive to offer you a better deal than you’re currently receiving. 
This also goes for other purchases. If you see something you want to buy in a shop, don’t be too impulsive. Have a quick check on your smartphone to see if it can be found cheaper at a different retailer. 

3. Reduce your food bill 
If you regularly dine out or have local takeaways on speed dial, cutting these out is an easy start to reducing your food bill

In addition, your weekly shop at the supermarket can also be altered to save money. Rather than opting for your favorite food or drink brands, switch to own brands. In most cases, the taste difference will be negligible – whereas the money you save is the opposite. 

4. Don’t simply go with the cheapest option 
It’s easy to fall into the trap of only going with the cheapest choice on the market. While this might work in certain situations, it can also backfire in others. Remember: it’s important that you plan for the long-term when making purchases. 

For instance, you could purchase a cheap pair of shoes that fall to pieces within a matter of weeks. Then you will need to buy another pair, and then another, and another… In the long run, all of these purchases will end up being more expensive than acquiring some good quality shoes from the start. 

5. Sell any unwanted possessions
Do you have a video game console sitting under your television gathering dust? Perhaps there are pieces of clothing in your wardrobe that have yet to lose their price tags? Or maybe you’ve fully adopted digital music and have no need for your CD’s and vinyl records? Whatever the situation, everyone owns possessions they no longer need. 

Instead of hoarding these items, sell them for extra cash. It’s easy to do this with eBay, but there are other online outlets and local listings available to shift your unwanted possessions. 


Anything to add? 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Chicken pot pie soup

I like when people share recipes in Instagram stories so I can just screenshot them, but then I have to keep finding that when I want the recipe so I end up transcribing it here. This recipe is adapted from one Just Ingredients (blog here) shared and I like following her because she talks about alternatives to all the crap in food/household/personal care products that is terrible for us. And she does it in a way that's not annoying. When available, I used organic of all ingredients as is my typical MO. 

4 TBS butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/3C flour (she uses alternative flour, I use regular)

4 garlic cloves
1 small container baby bella mushrooms, sliced
4 medium yukon gold potatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
1 quart chicken bone broth
2 cups milk or heavy whipping cream (I used one of each)
3 cups shredded chicken (I made chicken breasts in the air fryer then shredded them)
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbs Italian seasoning

Put all ingredients from garlic cloves on down into a pot and get that going.

Separately, saute onion, carrots, celery in butter about seven to eight minutes. Add flour to veggies and cook another two minutes.

Then add this to the other ingredient pot. Cook on medium-low until carrots and potatoes are soft.

Happy birthday to my friend AEB today! 

Monday, January 20, 2020

TWTW - the perfect soup weekend

Friday John Bender was waiting for dinner and so was I. MFD made salmon and caesar salad. Then we all assumed our January positions with blankets and pillows and books and Stash peppermint tea. 
Saturday I headed down to the women's march in Philly solo. I saw graffiti under the bridge on the Schuylkill River Trail that said humans is losing their mind and grammar aside, I feel that. I am worn out. Not a lot of pics because I didn't want to take my hands out of my pockets and I didn't make a sign this year, I just showed up. 
Back at home I putzed around with laundry and soup making while MFD bought a new to him car. He was out seeing Vincent's band at night and I hung out with my mother-in-law and did a face mask and decided the book I was reading all day for the Show Us Your Books Readathon was not worthy so I started a new one at 11 pm. 
Sunday Pro-tip: the best time to change the sheets is as soon as you get up so you're already feeling accomplished by 7:30 am on a Sunday and if you end up doing nothing else, you did that. I made scrapple in the air fryer and we watched the Aaron Hernandez documentary on Netflix.
I finally got going with a shower, went to visit my niece and nephew, etc. MFD's uncle brought dinner over in the afternoon and his aunts and cousin and gram and sister were over too and that was nice. I fell asleep on the couch watching Game of Thrones and went up to bed around 2 am, falling asleep close to 3 when MFD was getting home from his Code Blue shift. 

Weekly food prep: Breakfast is breakfast burritos from the freezer. Lunches are leftover soup (recipe tomorrow) or spaghetti squash with chicken and buffalo sauce. Dinners are the spaghetti squash/soup/ chicken breasts in the air fryer with quinoa and steamed veggies.

Any day is a good day to read Dr. King's letter from Birmingham Jail, but especially today and especially if you haven't. May we not only share his words in quotes with his photo on them, but actually live with that spirit of equal rights in our hearts but more importantly, reflected in our actions. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - helpless to the bass and the fading light oh we were bound to get together

1. Let sleeping dogs lie and all that jazz.
2. Yesterday was a perfect day to walk to the library - 53 and sunny on January 15? Don't mind if I do. Speaking of books, have you caught up on all the Show Us Your Books posts? Do you know Jana and I are hosting a readathon this weekend? 8 am Saturday to 8 am Sunday? Hashtag suggestions?
3. Adjusting for population size, England and Wales would have 272 to our 53,290. With private prisons and people getting rich off of incarceration and the prison industrial complex, we have been designed for this. How are we okay with this? Why do we think prison is the answer for everything?

4. Yes, Virginia, I did postpone my cavity dentist appointment this week. Let me live. I am going to the chiropractor today and acupuncture tomorrow. Keeping those appointments.

5. Huge thanks to Vincent for helping us out with priming and painting the spare room in the basement (BEHR Cherubic) just in time for my mother in law to return for another visit today.
6. This year's first foray into Girl Scout Cookies, ordered from our VA family!

7.  Nail talk: Essie Bright Cider stayed on forever and I liked the color much more than I thought I would when I bought it or first applied it. This week's nails have a lot to live up to when I paint them tonight.

8. For your consideration: this take on the Warren/Sanders woman president media and supporter made shitstorm and the open Muslim-hating of your president (who is also tweeting doctored images and not walking back from it) - also, remember when the White House and press secretaries used to have daily pressers because they work for the people of America? Also,  Lev Parnas. I can't do anything else this week, I'm tired.

9. Reminder:
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 Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon
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