Monday, October 26, 2020

TWTW - the one with no productivity in sight

Friday I had to drive into my office in Philly to get a few things. More bodies in town, but nowhere near capacity. Given the cars on the streets but not so much in garages, I'd say the people are driving in vs. taking public transit. Not that same energy. I got home, picked up a few slices of pizza from Mario's, picked up books from the library, finished out the work day, and spent the night reading. 
Saturday started with a sign pick up against visible turbines down in the South End and an hour long walk on the beach with the best friends, shelling. They made a lot of friends because Bruce is a creep who stares people down until they come over and introduce themselves. Not my favorite thing.
I was hangry, so I made and horked down a salad when I got home, then I got a manicure and pedicure (used Essie spice it up on both nails and toes, which I never do), picked up some food from Boyar's, ate an early dinner, chilled on the porch, and read and lounged. I had a lot of things to do and did none of them. Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of closing on this old shore house
Sunday I continued to do the wants and not the shoulds, except Ben had a regular good boy check up at the vet - I feel bad sending them in alone but also relieved to not deal with him barking at other dogs LOL - then as promised took the best friends to a wet and windy dog beach for a romp. We helped a butterfly blowing around grab on to the goldenrod bushes and saw a cool piece of driftwood that looked a little like a fish. The rest of the day was spent finishing another book and starting another book, ordered Halloween supplies to individually package, and thinking about what I'm doing this week. It's a packed one. 


How was your weekend? 



Thursday, October 22, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - You can run but you cannot hide this is widely known

1. I don't know about you, but I sure would like to shed some dead ass shit dragging me this year of all years. Soon. Shall we?

2. This week has gotten away from me. Monday was five years long, and everything I had good intentions of doing and writing has fallen by the wayside. I've reached out and grabbed some shit on the fly, like returning insurance papers and feeding myself and dogs but that's about all I've mustered. And Lori celebrated her birthday Monday. And I saw an old friend Morgan who was around doing campaign stuff. Those were the best parts of the day. Oh! And I went to the post office Tuesday to mail a bunch of books and assorted other shit and returns. 

3. I also got the ancient baseboards in this old house replaced with more energy efficient ones. That work was scheduled but I would still like the points. Thank you. And I have intentions of going to the library today to pick up holds and tomorrow I drive into my office in Philly to pick up a few things which will undoubtedly feel like a zombie movie. I'm girding my loins for that. Between being within two weeks of the election, being back and forth between Philly and the shore, and life in corona land where shit keeps getting worse and people DGAF, I am in a weird fugue state this week and I am just trying to hang on until Friday night, using random AF to do lists along with a wing and a prayer to get through until then. 

4. Canine coworkers are not going to the company office. They have started demanding seats at the table and as a woman, I get it. 

5. Speaking of.

6. Can I not overstuff? No. I must. It's what's done. 

7. Signs signs everywhere is signs. I should film my face when I walk past the other signs. LOL. I walked past this house last night and thought, my people.
Then when I was looking through my camera roll pulling photos, I realized I identified with them because in Philly we are those people LOL. 

8. I am a bare feet in the earth type of person. I will be touching the sand in bare feet for as long as possible. It grounds me. I was happy to do that upon returning Tuesday night. The best friend dogs were happy too. I was going to bring the old dogs back, but they are serving as therapy dogs for campaign people working at our house and are in good hands with MFD's campaign manager. I think Bruce was happiest to be back. He did not do well with living in Campaign Headquarters. Neither did Ben. The energy is extremely different  - not bad different, just pace and activity-wise much different - than what they've gotten used to at the shore and they didn't react well. 
9. Reminder: 

10. Ecards...still editing documents at 8:30 on Wednesday night and writing this in between

How's your week going?



What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts posts is the song I'm listening to when I'm writing it - this week is Shower the People You Love by James Taylor. I'm not a huge James Taylor fan. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Practical Yet Thoughtful Christmas Gifts to Get Your Family and Friends This Year

This is a guest post by Maggie Hammond. Proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, the great outdoors and animal welfare.
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When it comes to buying Christmas gifts for your friends and family, the last thing that you want is to end up spending your money on something that the recipient is unlikely to use. Sadly, many of the gift ideas that we see today aren’t actually that useful and while they might be nice, there’s always the risk that the receiver isn’t going to benefit much from the gift you present them with - a common reason why many gifts are saved to repurpose for the next year or sold online. This year, COVID-19 has tightened the purse strings for many people, and there’s even more reason to invest in Christmas gifts that serve a practice purpose while being thoughtful too, of course. Here are some great gift ideas that anybody is sure to appreciate. 

Home Items
If you know somebody who has recently moved into a new home, or anyone who always appreciates new items for their home, then you really can’t go wrong with this Christmas gift idea. And with this Kohl’s shipping code allowing you to get free or discounted delivery when you order home items online, you can give your friends gifts that they’re going to love and find a lot of use for, like bed linen, soft furnishings, essential kitchen items, and more. 

Skincare
Rather than getting the generic skincare sets that tend to come out every single Christmas, if you have a friend or relative that is committed to taking care of their skin, then find out what brand they use and get them some more. Anybody who follows a good skincare routine knows how expensive good toners, cleansers, exfoliators, and moisturizing creams can be - and many people like to stick with the same brands that they’re used to, so buying a product from the range they normally use is always better than one of the nicely packaged sets from the Christmas gift section. 

Food
Everybody needs food and you can certainly find some creative and thoughtful ways to give food as a gift at Christmas. This is an especially good idea if you have a friend or relative that has been hard-hit by the pandemic and you know will struggle to enjoy a nice meal for the holidays this year. Arranging a hamper with some festive staples and other food items is a really thoughtful way to show that you care. 

Gift Cards and Vouchers
Finally, you can never be exactly sure what people really need in their lives when it comes to gifts, so it might be better to simply let them make their own purchases. Gift cards and vouchers for small, local shops help support local if you live close to the person you're giving to, and of course there are always the Target, Amazon, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, or Walmart options that you can never really go wrong with since they cover a wide range of different product ideas, whether your friend or relative needs to stock up on some essentials or treat themselves to something that they’ve been wanting for a while. 

With COVID-19 making huge changes to our lives right now, buying practical, useful yet thoughtful gifts for the holidays is the best way to put a smile on your loved ones’ faces. 

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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? 



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