Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Foodie Tuesday

Is Foodie Tuesday a thing? I don't know, but I'm dumping my food stuff here because I was thinking about it last night. Feel free to do the same. I used to post about cooking and recipes so much more. I still have some from like 2019 that I never put up. I might get back into that. 

I know many of you out there are planning out your Christmas cookies. I'm not a baker, but I do accept cookies insert LOL face here. Nevertheless, I am ruminating on holiday foods as one does at this time of year. Mimi's bacon breakfast muffins are always a hit, but I might give the sausage and pancake muffin bites with maple butter by That's What She Eats a go this year too.

My main holiday requirements are easy/can be prepped ahead and put out at a moment's notice. Sometimes things are up in the air and it makes sense to me to have things on hand even if I don't end up using them in December. 

I am big on app spreads around holidays and lean heavily on DiBruno Brothers Prima Donna gouda, pepper shooters, nuts, cold shrimp with cocktail sauce, olives, etc. Veggies and dip - if you ever come to anything I ever have and there's no veggies and dip, you'll know someone is wearing my body as a disguise and it's not really me. I am also a fool for crackers topped with a bit of cream cheese and a delicious jelly. I like to make hot brie bites with jelly/jam/what have you too - Bucks County friends, I highly recommend this from Shady Brook.

Outside of holiday food, I'm trying to introduce variety but not difficulty with year end foods, so checking out posts like casseroles and crock-pots - heavier on the casseroles since I am not a huge fan of the crock-pot. My ideal thing is something easy and heavy on vegetables. Do you have anything you've made recently that would fit the bill?

I'm back into soups. Next week I'll make turkey stock and I'll probably end up doing a take on creamy turkey and wild rice soup with that. Paired with a salad, that's a perfect December meal I can prep ahead of time and just heat and eat. I also adore veggie beef barley - this is a link to that and three of my other top soups.

Food-adjacent: I brushed up on my knife skills with this video. I watch videos like that every once in a while as I'm not a chef by trade and I can get sloppy. I also checked out this post for how to cut a pomegranate. My skills with pomegranates and mangos are very poor and I want them not to be.

What have you made that's good lately? What do you keep on hand in the pantry, freezer, and fridge in advance of the holidays? 

Last day of November...I feel like this year has slipped through my fingers slash blended straight in with 2020. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

TWTW - well, the week that was

Mon - Wed I was off, but not much in the way of rest. Monday I headed back to Philly and got some Christmas stuff happening and errands run and chinese food for dinner. Tuesday the funeral services for my oldest friend's dad, a great man who used to lift me over the fence at three, four, five years old to play as our yards butted up against each other. Jen's family has always been so great to me, and I am sending all the love to them as they are hurting over this huge loss. I hightailed it back to the shore Tuesday to prep for Thanksgiving, running my final errands Wednesday morning to the grocery store and two corner stores to pick up. MFD arrived with Gus and Billy in the afternoon, and my brother and Aub and the kids shortly after. I prepped compound butter, had salad for dinner, and caught the sunset. 

Thursday Banger sunrise to start the day before prep work started. MFD was on stuffing and gravy, I was on turkey and sweet potatoes, Aubrey was on mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, Stephen was on kid games, entertainment, and sommelier. We took a beach walk while the turkey was in the oven and had snacks. Sam the bird (named by Lola) was out by 2:30 and we ate and lolled around for the rest of the day. 
Friday Dad & Carol arrived by about 8, and we set right to the turkey cookie decorating event...after Aubrey figured out how to make them stand up LOL. MFD was a late entry but he did his also during a break in his program. We took a family beach walk but didn't last long due to the wind. I dropped my brother off at Xfinity for the Flyers game and came back to do the art kits Cici got from my friend's studio Shades of Orange - they come pre-drawn with paint, buttons, and instructions you can follow or go on your own. You just need some glue. Christmas-themed and not. They make great gifts and support a small business! Mine is the pug, and Lola added a sweater to it. We bundled up to kick off the holiday season with my favorite tradition - Santa on the top of City Hall. We came back and ate Aubrey's delicious lasagna for dinner with salad and watched Big. 
Saturday Meat-heavy breakfast is how we rolled. Stephen, Aubrey, Dad, & Carol went to the Cape May Zoo with the kids. I cleaned up and read. Carol, Aubrey, Lola and I did some small business Saturday shopping on Asbury Ave. with traditional chocolate covered marshmallows on the way home. I was glad for the mask outside at that point as it was freezing and it's a great face warmer. App and leftover general chaos and Clifford the Big Red Dog movie to close out the day.
Sunday We painted some shells, Aubrey ordered us breakfast from Deadend Bakehouse, and we visited the North Street Tree to leave out shells and admire others. It was beautiful so we lingered a little on the jetty. MFD headed back to Philly with Gus and Billy. After a playground interlude, Aubrey made nachos, I used leftovers for brie bites, and we put out leftover snacks for the Eagles game. Aubrey and my brother left with the kids in late afternoon, I took the dogs to the beach for sunset, and I watched Hallmark movies with Carol and Dad until I threw in the towel a little after 8.

Thankful for another great holiday weekend with the fam at the shore. I hope your weekend was great, however you spent it. 

Happy Hanukkah wishes to my Jewish friends!

Staring down the last two days of November, I'm trying to think about what I want the last month of my year to look like. 

Have a good one! 

Monday, November 22, 2021

TWTW - the one before Thanksgiving

Friday was Adele day to do my morning work to. Not a fan of the first four songs aside from Easy on Me. Loved the rest. Ben and Bruce were still out of it from their shots on Thursday and I was still not 100% after my booster Tuesday. We did get to the beach at lunch, and I had Ben and Mae on their electric blanket in the afternoon. After work I started a new book. My dad & Carol arrived in the late afternoon and we ordered from Red's for dinner. I was in bed early.  
Saturday I had my errands (drop large comforter to cleaner, groceries, bagel pickup) done by 9. Dad made breakfast, and I stuffed some Christmas cards. Carol and I ran into the Grinch & Santa on the way to the thrift store and saw lots of pajama-clad shoppers at the Earlier than the Bird shopping event in town. I painted my nails (OPI It's a Girl! and Princesses Rule!). 
In the afternoon I took the dogs on a long beach walk and they were very tired after which we always like. My admins worked very hard stuffing, sealing, stamping, and stickering my holiday cards. Seriously though they have done so much for us while they’ve been staying with us that when they move into their new house it is going to be a rude awakening. I threw some spare ribs and bratwurst in the crockpot with ginger ale, mustard powder, and sauerkraut. Carol and Dad got sides from Bennie's and it was delicious. Carol put out some of the shore Christmas stuff and I watched my first Hallmark Christmas movie ever. 

Sunday I got a good sleep and eased into the day with some reading before showering and heading out to TJ Maxx, talking to Laura on the way. The trip was moderately successful, some shit is getting returned today. I came home in time for snacks I mean the Eagles game, and did not much else aside from receive real name information on someone who sent violent threats online under a fake name to MFD and figure out where to report those since our local PD would bin them and I want a paper trail of them. 

I'm off today. I'm off all week. Huzzah. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Like Thursday Thoughts but on Friday

1. Yesterday just past 6:30 am I spilled half of my coffee in my lap in the middle of the Walt Whitman bridge. I should have known then that Thursday Thoughts was not happening on Thursday but I held out hope until 11:45 then lunch meeting. So here we are with Thursday Thoughts, Friday-style. It's been a week, and I don't mean that it's been bad, just full. 

2. I am thrilled with the OPI holiday collection this year. I'm not a product photographer but if you want to check these out on the interwebs I got all from beyondpolish.com - the website is a little clunky but they have availability when many others don't - all OPIs...Mylar Dreams, Paint the Tinseltown Red, To All a Good Night, My Color Wheel is Spinning, and Ready, Fete, Go. All sparkly and happy which is good in January and February too. 

3. Speaking of product shoots, Kim was up for a photo shoot at Evan's Evan Leslie Images Studio for her company Yunizon (sunglass folks, check them out, would make a great Christmas gift from a small biz too). She crashed with us and it was nice to see her face to face which happens once a year usually. Michelle stopped by the next morning and that was great too. A nice Tuesday-Wednesday change from the norm. We've all always been the don't sit next to our group in a restaurant type of people. Speaking of Christmas gifts, Evan does portrait work at his studio and beyond. 
4. I know there are a ton of aerie people out there but I haven't been one of them. This weekend henley mockneck sweatshirt thing changed that. Super comfortable, presentable on the zooms. They're 40% off right now and also my new uniform. 

5. As we approach the holidays and hell every day we know the importance of seasoning our food, yes? Yes. Very good, in the words of Tabitha Brown. Loving her Sunshine seasoning on chicken thighs. I also die for Fox Point by Penzey's on fish and veggies but since I was fresh out I subbed with this and it worked. Aside from no food period there is nothing worse than bland, unseasoned food.

6. I got my covid vaccine booster Tuesday. My reaction was similar to my reaction with shot #2 - symptoms arrived at the same time (23-25 hours after the shot) and were the same (chills, fever, general immobility) but were less intense and much shorter in duration. From like 12-15 hours of being totally down to about five. Lingering fatigue and general blah the next day too. As always still absolutely worth it especially as the Delta is still swirling. Bruce and Ben got their shots yesterday too and Bruce was up at 4 am telling me how hurt he was over it. I do not argue with dog vaccine recommendations either. Here's Billy Cat sandwich for good measure.

7. Photos from the week

8. This justice system does not work and is certainly not fair and balanced and I don't need to watch trials for this to be known. Neither do you. Why are you so invested in it? There is no possibility justice will be served in this trial in particular. What matters to me at this point is the lengths people will go to and the absolutely hypocritical mental leaps people will make to defend and excuse people like Kyle Rittenhouse while they puff up their chests and push out their comply or die bullshit in literally 90% of other cases. In trials like these, the defenses are invariably built on a shit scrap pile of white supremacy, patriarchy, and colonialism; and the people whose interests are served by maintaining these systems of oppression will go out among each other and demand they be defended. Guess what. Fuck off with your law and order bullshit when you know damn fucking well law and order only applies to some people and that you like it that way.

9. Reminder all the time but especially as we enter the holiday season (art via Banana Crush)

10. Ecards - 

TGIF. I'm off of work next week and I'm sliding into it with Adele. 30. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Tips for preparing for the holidays


The holidays are supposed to be fun and festive. However, the season doesn’t always feel enjoyable when you start thinking about all that you have to do.

Avoid stressing out by working ahead and knowing what needs to get done and by when. Create to-do lists and timelines and get organized right away so you’re not stuck trying to tackle tasks at the last minute. Learn some tips for preparing for the holidays that will help take some stress and strain off of you.

Shop Ahead

You’re going to want to get gifts for your loved ones, friends, and even teachers this holiday season. Therefore, start looking around and see what’s out there that may be suitable such as these winter teacher tees, or maybe your spouse wants new slippers or snowmobiling gear. Get an idea of what those around you want and then create a budget and start shopping.

Start Getting Out the Decorations

Prepare for the holidays and get into the spirit by decorating your home for the season. Begin getting out the decorations and seeing what you have. Declutter by getting rid of what you no longer want or need. You might discover that you want more and updated items to put out. Therefore, plan time to go shopping and invest in a few new d├ęcor items that you can enjoy this year. Focus on making your home warm and cozy and get it ready now so that you’re prepared for guests to come over at any time.

Plan Ahead at Work

It’s possible that the holidays are a busy time for you at work. However, you might also want to make holiday travel plans or see friends and family. Therefore, it’s wise to prepare by knowing what needs to get done at your job and what is most important you address before taking any time off. Get a better idea of who’s available to help you and delegate tasks to others if possible. You don’t want to be stuck sending out emails and responding to messages while you’re supposed to be celebrating Christmas with your family.

Carve Out Time for Some Fun

The holidays should be a fun time that you enjoy spending with friends and loved ones. Make sure they’re pleasurable by carving out some time for entertainment and activities you like doing. Prepare for the holidays by finding out what events or happenings are going on in your area and which ones you want to attend. It may be that some weekends you want to get out of the house and have a winter adventure and other nights you want to sit by the fire and play games.


You should now feel more at ease and know what you can be doing to prepare for the holidays so you’re less stressed out. Remember to take good care of yourself so you have a lot of natural energy and don’t become rundown as you get ready for the season. Most importantly, try to relax and enjoy yourself and those around you and not let a few mishaps or forgotten to-dos ruin your holidays.

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

Monday, November 15, 2021

TWTW - the slow and low tempo one

Friday I could not concentrate for shit in the afternoon. I took a walk and got some Johnson’s popcorn and we spent the 4 pm hour on the beach where all dogs were consistent assholes. I finished a book and was asleep by 11.
Saturday it felt good to sleep in until 7:15. I never had a chaffle before this morning. Sold. I painted my nails, took the dogs for a long walk, then set out for the afternoon. I dropped a return off to FedEx, picked up some Thanksgiving wine, replenished items from PetSmart, stopped into Marshalls to replace one of Gus’s stank ass shore beds, and picked up a steak from Aldi for dinner. I encountered many an asshole along the way. Back at home I read, went down to the bay to see the sunset, roasted parsnips and asparagus and threw the steak in the air fryer, and dug around under beds for Thanksgiving and Christmas shit. Ben enjoyed his new electric blanket. He's always cold but will not wear sweaters. I also ordered a tray of stuffing and pumpkin pies from two local places and wrote up the Thanksgiving menu. I read half of a new book throughout the day.

Sunday Kicked off with cleaning, which...no. I cleaned up the main floor in the shore house, then our apartment, changed sheets, showered, packed up the car, took a long walk, and was back in Philly by 1 in time to tell MFD what Christmas shit to take back to the shore with him as he was heading down to pick up a client at the airport for a closing today. I hit Marshalls in Franklin Mills looking for a replacement area rug, which I did not find but I did find fully half of the people not adhering to the Philadelphia mask mandate that remains in place in indoor areas. Which makes it shit for workers and also is weird because many flaunting the mandate are surely comply or die people. Weird. I made a frozen pizza and salad for dinner, did a bunch of laundry, and watched Yellowstone. Dad and Carol got home around 8:30 and I talked to them over tea for a while.

Happy happy birthday to my friend Melissa yesterday!

Land of No Sleep thanks to old dogs and rambunctious cats. Happy Monday!

Friday, November 12, 2021

8 things I learned during 8 years of recovery from alcohol and substance use disorder

Today is MFD's eight sober anniversary. It is impossible to boil down what a life changing impact that has had for us across the board into a few sentences. 

Sobriety isn't something you do and move on from. It is commitment and consistency. It is vulnerability and honesty. It is introspection and service and healing and growth. It requires constant tending. Sometimes it requires an overhaul. It is beautiful. In many ways it is like a relationship. And in our relationship, today is the most important anniversary because without it, we would not celebrate a marriage anniversary at this point. 

Which makes it funny in the 2020-2021 brand of funny that I didn't realize today was November 12 for a number of hours into the day.

Anyway this is something MFD wrote about his journey so far. It is true to what I have seen him live these past eight years. It's good too, I only gave two edits for clarity...after he had posted it everywhere LOL. 

I wanted to share it here in case you need it, or you know someone who might. As always, mental health issues, alcoholism and substance use disorder are nothing to be ashamed of. We are removing the stigma and talking about these things out loud. Please contact me via email if you need to do that and I will share any resources I can with you, including myself. 
8 Things I Learned During 8 Years of Recovery from Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder

1. It takes a village
Find a supportive community to help shape your recovery. 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, Dharma, etc… There are many pathways to recovery but find one, stick with it and find someone who you admire and respect, latch onto them, and do what they say and do. (This can be an ever evolving process, but I recommend sticking to one mode for the first few years before exploring other Recovery Options.

 2. You can only control what is within your “Hula Hoop”
I thought I could magically infect everyone with what I learned, which would remove what probably seemed to them insurmountable problems and change themselves for the better in the process. I learned I can only control the changes I choose to make within the imaginary hula hoop around my body. I can be a model for others, if they choose that, but I can only control me.

3. A higher power was necessary for MY recovery
It may not work for everyone, but for me it was important. It was also very important to learn and understanding that my higher power is what I choose. It isn’t Catholic, Islam, Jewish, Buddhist, etc… It is what I want and need it to be and can be all gendered or no gender or an old man with a beard or a chair. To those struggling with the concept of a higher power, it is what YOU want it to be. The point is that I needed to understand the concept of a higher power to help me learn about humility and vulnerability.

4. Be Honest
Do not lie, cheat, or steal. It sounds easy but for many it was a way of life for so long. Also, I learned that I need to get honest with myself and with another. A sponsor or my therapist, but as long as I got honest and lived in an honest way, I would be fine.

5. Consistent mental health treatment
Following my primary care physician’s suggestion to see a psychologist and seeing that same Doctor for 8 years has been key. Incorporating a psychiatrist at year 2 was also key. Remember, it takes a village and seeking professional outside help was so important. Also, Old and Angry men who are NOT doctors are NOT doctors. Do NOT take their medical advice.

6. Promises will come true if you let them
My favorites are, “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” And “Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.” There are 10 more. Contact me directly if you want to know more about them.

7. Be kind and don’t be a DICK!!!
If the people you are surrounding yourself with in your fellowship seem to be mean, cruel, dickish, unkind, condescending, childish, uncaring, etc… Find a new group of people to join in your recovery journey. Human beings will act like each other in groups, and you will find yourself becoming a mean, angry person if you surround yourself with mean, angry people. Love yourself, your spouse/partner, family, friends, and volunteers. And most importantly, learn to love and pray for those you DO NOT LIKE or have a resentment towards.

8. Recovery is malleable and can evolve
If it takes a village then make sure you are open, available, considerate, kind and loving to everyone seeking a better life. Example, If you are in AA, be open to people in NA, SMART Recovery or people still using.

Happy most important anniversary to MFD. Happy Friday to you. And to anyone who needs to hear it: recovery is possible. 

Are you looking for winter vacation ideas?

Now that winters coming up and the sun is showing itself less and less, people often feel like the fun from the year is harder to come by. Going outside is less desirable, and you’re left feeling like you’re stuck inside. That’s not how it has to be! There’s plenty to be enjoyed about the cold winter weather, and there’s plenty of reason to consider getting out for your very own winter vacation. Sure, you won’t be spending your days sunbathing on the beach, but you will be admiring what winter has to offer you.



One of the most popular winter activities people take part in is snowboarding and skiing, and it might even surprise you. If you’ve never tried it before and feel like it’s not for you, it’s worth considering looking into it. There are slopes dedicated to beginners, and you can often have lessons at the resort. Skiing and snowboarding might be your next favorite winter activity! Of course, the main issue with this option is that you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your equipment prepared beforehand, which can be quite expensive.

Ice climbing

Climbing is not so much a casual vacation activity, but it can be thrilling. For example, this Wasatch mountains ice climbing destination is not for the faint of heart, but it can be a great opportunity if you’re a thrill-seeker. With that said, climbing in warm conditions can be a difficult and exertive sport; ice climbing is even more so. If you like the idea of scaling mountains in the cold, then you should give this one a try! 

You’ll want to make sure you’ve taken the appropriate safety courses beforehand, though, as it can be life-saving! Don’t let yourself be caught in situations that you don’t know how to handle. Being out there in the cold poses a number of threats, so be prepared!


Winter only comes around once a year, and with it are a number of beautiful sites that you won’t see in any other season. Taking up photography for the winter can really help you appreciate what’s around you, and why the winter is such a wonderful season. When it snows, all of the places that you usually visit can look completely different, and your local part can turn into a winter wonderland - just waiting for you to capture it with your camera!

Ice fishing

While it’s not for everyone, fishing can be a relaxing and fun activity. Ice fishing can provide a similar yet unique experience. Those who enjoy fishing without a boat are usually restricted to the shorelines and around lakes, but when winter comes along - you have a little more freedom. Fishing on a thick sheet of ice allows you to get out there and catch a different range of fish. If you’re someone who’s always enjoyed fishing, then ice fishing might be a great way for you to experience something new about the activity you already enjoy.


Happy Friday! This post was written with the Life According to Steph audience in mind.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - it's okay with me if you don't have that much to say

1. I set myself up with a fall back plan: start work earlier because I'm up anyway, get outside for at least a half hour at lunch, and then finish work at 4 and be out walking from 4-5. That lasted for two days before I missed out on the 4-5 but those two days felt super so barring anything major, that is the plan going forward still. I can come back and clean up work stuff from 5-6. Light is everything.  Still out here in bare feet but it takes my feet a while to warm up after that. 

2. We have discussed possibly shutting this house down in January and/or February for a month but I would be hard pressed to leave my outdoor oasis and treasure trunk. I walk at lunch in the city but the 4-5 hour is always inside. Last year was the first year we kept it open all winter because one of us could always be here if the temps got too low. We will be able to do the same this winter so we'll probably just keep it open again. 

3. Officially a carry a pair of readers around person. Between this and yesterday's peri menopause post it's like guess my age around here

4. We watched Ted Lasso season two over two nights this week and can I just say how incredible Sam is and also that I have always hated Nate. Billy was passed out because we took a timer set family holiday card photo this week and that went over as well as you think with four dogs and a cat.

5. How cute are these from World Market? 12.99, I got the tree one. Trees are sort of my thing and I love the holly jolly one but the word vibes bothers me not really on this mat but like in general. Weird, I know.

6. Yo, have you guys tried Wawa's new salads? They have definitely upped their game. I had one for dinner this week. Other things I've been having:

7. Thanks to those who joined us for Show Us Your Books Tuesday. I did one of my standards - committed to clearing up what's due to publish or has recently from my Netgalley list then went to the library and picked something up the first in the Holly Jackson trilogy which I told myself I'd start in January. 

8. Early dark has sucked this week but the temps have not. Cheers to night biking on the boards, blurry pictures and no wind. Also sucking this week: Kyle Rittenhouse acting like a motherfucking victim when he brought a gun he should not have had across state lines to a fucking protest he should not have been at if he was afraid and used it to murder innocent people. People defending Kyle Rittenhouse. White supremacy. Racism. Republicans introducing zero pieces of legislation for the good of everyone. Republicans obstructing everything. Centrist democrats. Oligarchy. Patriarchy. 

9. Reminder: fuck the shoulds, do the wants. The true wants. Art by Eliienkind

10. Ecards - woke up in a mood this morning
Saluting all Veterans today and every day. Hopeful to live in a world with no more wars and no more military occupation for economic interests. 

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Hello by Martin Solveig & Dragonette from Ted Lasso's Coach Beard episode

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