Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November 2022 Reads

I can't believe we're already at the time of year where I consider what I want to clear out of my netgalley backup log before the year ends, or when I start thinking about sinking into several mindless reads during no man's land between Christmas and the New Year.

What I read in November:

Engrossing Reads

Abolitionist Intimacies by El Jones - I've never read a book like this before, and didn't really take too much notice of the title until I got further into it. Plainly, it makes incarceration and all that goes along with it intimate, especially for people with no first hand knowledge of it. I hope it finds its way into the hands of people who are opening their minds to abolition. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. 

The Innocent Wife (Detective Josie Quinn #16) by Lisa Regan - I had to abandon my Sunday to do list to finish this one - so many layers and quite a few players in this case, and the quality of the writing and consistency of characters was the same as the previous 15.  Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. I pre-ordered also but cannot resist reading as soon as I  get my hands on the newest book in the series! Publishes December 12

When She Was Good (Cyrus Haven #2) by Michael Robotham - I totally forgot a #1 (Good Girl, Bad Girl) existed until I saw #3 come up on Netgalley and we all know I will not skip a book in a series so I grabbed this from the library. I like Robotham's writing, and it took me a bit to recall the story but I settled into this quickly. It was also good, and I'm looking forward to reading the third. OCNJ library

The Good Lie by A.R. Torre - I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Intriguing and a good story. This is the second book I've read by this author and I grabbed a third I'm hoping to get to soon. OCNJ library

Passed the Time Just Fine
The Last Party (DC Morgan #1) by Clare Mackintosh - I liked the characters, and if there's a second I'll read it. Lots to unpack with secondary characters which I hope continues in a next novel. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz - This was very promising, I really liked the concept behind how and why it was told but it was not an easy read. This is in no way a feel good book so you have to be in the head place for that. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Prisoner by B.A. Paris - Not everything necessarily connected here, but it kept me reading and I finished it within 24 hours. That still counts for a lot in the Era After Covid. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

Not For Me/Did Not Finish
When They Find Us (Agent Victoria Heslin Thriller #3) by Jenifer Ruff - Not my cup of tea, but I finished and will continue with the series. Paperback, own, NFM

What have you been reading?

how to cook seafood like a pro

If you’re like most people, seafood is something you only order in a restaurant. But cooking seafood at home can be easy and delicious – you just need to know how to do it! In this guide, we will teach you the basics of cooking seafood. We will cover everything from choosing the right ingredients to preparing your dish. So whether you’re a novice cook or just looking to expand your repertoire, read on!

Via Pexels

Choosing the Right Ingredients: 

The key to any great seafood dish is fresh, high-quality ingredients. Start by finding a reputable fish market with a variety of choices. Look for bright eyes, shiny skin, and clear gills on your fish – these are all signs that it’s fresh. When selecting shellfish such as shrimp or clams, make sure the shells are intact, and there’s no discoloration or off odor.

Cleaning and Preparing Your Seafood: 

Once you have your chosen ingredients, you need to prepare them for cooking. Start by rinsing them in cold water and patting them dry with a paper towel. Next, for large pieces of fish like salmon fillets, remove any scales and trim off any bloodlines. For shrimp, remove the shells and devein them by cutting a shallow slit down the back of each one. 

Cooking Your Seafood: 

There are many different ways you can cook your seafood. You can bake, fry, steam, poach, or even grill it! 


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place your seafood in a greased baking dish and season with your favorite herbs and spices. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fish is opaque throughout. 


Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with oil of your choice (olive, vegetable, canola, etc.). Add the seafood to the pan and cook for a few minutes per side. Remove from heat and drain any excess fat on paper towels before serving. 


Place 1 cup of water in a pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the seafood to the pot in one layer (depending on size) and season with herbs of your choice. Cover the pot and steam for a few minutes. 


Poaching is a great way to cook delicate seafood such as scallops or shrimp. Place 2 cups of water in a shallow saucepan over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and add your seafood to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes. 


Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill over high heat and lightly grease with oil prior to cooking. Add your prepared seafood and season with salt, pepper, and other herbs of your choice. Grill each side for a few minutes until cooked through, flipping once during cooking time. This grilled lobster tail recipe is a great example of seafood you can cook on the grill!

Serving Your Seafood: 

Once your seafood is cooked, it’s time to enjoy it! Serve the dish with steamed vegetables, a fresh salad, and some crusty bread. Don’t forget the lemon wedges for extra flavor! If you are short on time, serve it over a bed of cooked grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or farro. 

By following these simple instructions, you can easily create delicious seafood dishes in no time. Experiment with different ingredients and cooking methods to find what works best for you – with practice comes perfection! 

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

Monday, November 28, 2022

Snippets of the week(end) 11.28.2022

I was off last week and at the shore from Saturday on. Monday I cleaned and organized and fretted all day about the big ass couch being removed through a very small door in our apartment. Sweat and swears and a quite large tip later, the Got Junk guys were taking off with it. I collapsed on the bed in relief mostly because there was nowhere else in the apartment to sit. Ben was very upset, he hates change. I rallied to go to the Dollar Store and ShopRite late.

My Dad and Carol arrived on Tuesday and we all went on beach walks and arrived home to the delivery of the LoveSac couch. I had no idea it would come when it did and we ended up putting it together instead of waiting for MFD to arrive the next day. We celebrated by sharing Motrin and they put my 
Christmas cards together. It was a good day to be me. Stephen, Aubrey, and my niece and nephew arrived Tuesday night. 

Wednesday Carol and I picked up bakery goods and last minute items at ShopRite. I made compound butter. Loungey afternoon that I spent in my apartment with Little Stephen while I did an air fryer turkey using Casa de Crews recipe - highly recommend. 
We took a family beach walk after MFD arrived, hunting for treasures. I got a phone call from a contractor at 4:15 scheduling work for Monday morning at 8 and am so so relieved the couch shit got done when it did so that was all possible. Taco bar dinner using frozen meat from Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving the kids were not feeling great so it was just adults at the table and me & Aub on a post-dinner walk and a few of us up for Jared's arrival at night. My turkey was too dry for my taste. Some years you win, some years you lose. My Instagram caption says it better - thankful for all of my communities.
Friday started rainy and ended up lovely. We did some creating at Glazed Over Pottery on Asbury followed by a trip to the thrift store then World Cup watching (Stephen & Jared in Philly for that and Dad & Stephen to the arcade) followed by Santa on the roof! This kicks off my holiday season every year.
Saturday was small biz shopping on Asbury, with a check in via bike by the Troll of Asbury Avenue AKA Uncle Mike. Little Stephen did more arcading with his army.
We did some shell painting and marshmallow gun shooting in the afternoon followed by a fam beach walk, ice cream tasting (six flavors from Jeni's) and Surviving Christmas. 

Sunday morning MFD and I cleared the porch and moved stuff around in our apartment getting ready for work happening today. He took off with the animals, and Stephen, Aub, Jared, and the kids were gone by early afternoon. Dad, Carol, and I took the shells down to the North Street Tree before the rain came through. The tree is up this year due to beach replenishment work happening now. Couch day with three Hallmark Christmas movies, reading, Boyar's salads and soup and leftovers, and the Eagles. Hashtag superfan made it to half time. I think? 
I was up until 11 packing up my car and finishing a book.

Another great long fam weekend for Thanksgiving despite illness circling. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

snippets of the weekend 11.21.2022

Friday lunch monthly wellness massage with Sarah at Blossom Bodywork. My night was not as glam - I got my flu shot, returned something which took me into a dead mall where I saw a sad and lonely Santa and a notepad that made me laugh, a quick Target trip to get that $10 off $40 of food Circle coupon, a run through Aldi for their supreme pizza (you cannot beat the price), stopped at my brother & Aubrey's to pick up the Thanksgiving turkey aka Phoenix according to my niece the turkey namer. Couched it reading until bed.
Saturday was industrious. I sorted clothes and cleared my room while packing for the shore, then did the same for the dining room table and kitchen area. It feels so good to do this even though I am the one who caused both messes in this case. I ran a few errands to return items and of course perused Marshalls/HomeGoods while doing so. At around 1 MFD and I loaded up my car with things and dogs and I headed back to the shore. After unpacking the car I took the best friend dogs to the beach. Salmon and asparagus for dinner and books all night.

I had plans for an industrious Sunday as well, but most things fell to the wayside while I finished a book and started another. I did make it to The Islander on the boardwalk for its last day in existence. I have loved this store my whole life. I am annoyed at people online acting like this is a world event. These people want to retire and after 40+ years of running this store, let's wish them well and let them get on with it. I also picked up a few items from ACME and a few things from the hardware store. I also painted my nails, did the end of the day beach walk with the best friends, and did a facial at night including gua sha to help with my jaw clenching.

We were home by 9 and I was dead asleep on the couch not moving all night by 10. 

Thanksgiving week. I am thankful and I am off. I celebrated by sleeping 10 hours last night!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Saturday, wait

This week kicked my ass. It started off tired since we had a wedding Sunday night. Tuesday Kim was in town so we did HomeGoods together and stayed up past midnight talking. The title of this post is of course from Friday I'm in Love.

Wednesday I was in the city for a full day in which I got very little computer work done, but did have meetings and lunch with coworkers and walked over three miles. I was dead on my feet when I got home and zoned out watching The Goldbergs. 

All the trees are up in Center City, which prompted me to ask about our tree at home and thankfully we discovered that last year was the end year of our tree, it went to the curb with lights out. Whew. I got another ordered for a good deal so I was happy.

I also had a heinous dentist appointment Wednesday and after over a week of excruciating tooth pain, I was expecting the worst. No tooth crack. No root canal. No cavity. Intense clenching of my jaw from subconscious stress is causing insane inflammation in the connective tissue around my teeth. Fucking tooth fibers! Have you ever. I’ve been going to her since 2010 and this is the first time she’s seen it in me. All the shit we’ve been through personally since 2010 and this never happened…I blame the fucking government and Brett Kavanaugh. Seriously though not sure why this is happening now. To mitigate, I’m trying Plackers to start, motrin, indica gummies before bed, stretching, and massage. Otherwise overall sort of puzzled as to how to combat it  - I don’t feel personally stressed daily, haven’t stopped any wellness practice I have in place to combat normal stress, and had no idea I was even doing this. My dentist said at least it’s not your heart or stomach.  A good reminder that the body does keep the score.

I went for my monthly wellness massage yesterday and it is always one of my favorite days of the month. I was especially glad to go after I knew what was happening with my face and jaw so she could focus on that. It's fantastic to walk in, tell someone what is wrong, and they work through that with you and you leave feeling relief. Go see Sarah at Blossom Bodywork - I'm sure she will arrange a gift notification if you want to give a massage as a gift this holiday season.

Speaking of holiday season, I am pumped for Thanksgiving. I am heading back to the shore today after I run 498 errands. This week has been chock full of errands. I’ve been everywhere and twice. No, seriously, some places I have purchased things and returned in the same week and they are mostly dog jackets and I feel fine about that. 

One of those errands was for a new shore apartment couch. We are having a door installed in place of a window and a window added and our furniture cannot stay as it is now for that to happen. So the current couch which is just over two years old must go, and since the doorways are a nightmare, we got a modular. I’m really excited for this reconfiguration but was worried we wouldn't find something that worked for us. We went to Lovesac, caught their Black Friday event, and got 0% financing which sealed the deal. We got a dark amethyst fabric because the one I wanted was too much extra but maybe in the future because you can order additional cushion covers.  It's a light blue but I also love the light peach. We did not get the large sac chair MFD wanted.

Also. Who made Black Friday like a month long event? What is happening?

Nancy Pelosi does not exactly align with me, but I appreciate her leadership and service through some big, de-stabilizing events over the past 20 years. I am sorry she was and is a target for extremism and violence. Thanks for holding the line, Madame Speaker. I look forward to a younger crew of leaders in the House. Let's go.

Speaking of Houses, PA democrats won control of the state house for the first time in 12 years. There was a measure in place for state GOP leaders to ram a ballot measure through for an abortion ban in the state constitution. Every single election counts, every single fucking vote counts and the people of Pennsylvania stopped that. 

I struggled through a book most of this week, flew through another, and hope to settle in with some favorite authors this week. I'm off, allegedly.

donald trump running for anything. Biden running for re-election. Fox News. Twitter. elon. Billionaires. Racist dog whistles and owning the libs over legislation and actual work. When I run out of coffee. People who ran on inflation making investigating a non-government official named Hunter Biden the first order of business instead of combatting inflation, which they were never planning to do but a lot of you fell for anyway
Pets. And a visit from my mom and nephew. 

Have a good weekend, miei amici.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Common mistakes people make with their dogs

Living with and taking care of a dog can be an eye-opening and rewarding experience. Having a companion around that really shows you love can be something extraordinary, and there are many positives and benefits of living with a canine friend. However, most people know that owning a dog doesn’t mean that everything is going to go well the first time around. Having a dog comes with a lot of responsibilities and you need to be considerate toward their needs and preferences.

But no matter how much care we take when looking after our dogs, we’re bound to make a few mistakes here and there. So in order to help prevent you from experiencing the same problems, here are a couple of the most common mistakes that dog owners make.

Forgetting or dismissing the importance of training
Every dog should have some kind of training. Some dogs are just a little rowdier than other dogs, so it’s not something that you can easily quantify. Instead, it’s just something that you’ll have to get a feel for. Do you think that your dog refuses to listen to you much of the time when you’re taking a walk? Is your dog perhaps failing to pick up good habits, such as choosing the right time and location to go to the toilet? If you believe that your dog isn’t really following your voice, then it’s a good idea to consider retraining them.

However, there are many ways to train your dog. You can use positive reinforcement training from services like Puppy Trained Right, or you could pick up some training books and try to do it yourself. Bonding together with your dog like this can be beneficial to your future relationship, but it does take a lot of work and can be time-consuming.

A good sign that tells you that your dog is well-trained is how they act around other dogs, especially in public places like a park. If they’re calm and curious when they see other dogs, then that’s a sign that you’re training them well or that they’ve been well-trained in the past. However, if your dog gets a little too excited in public spaces when they see other dogs, then you may want to give them a few more training courses.

Not taking your dog to a veterinarian more often
You should never wait until your dog is sick before you take them to a veterinarian. There are lots of diseases and conditions that a dog can avoid before they develop into a serious issue. Prevention is the key here to stopping them from progressing. However, knowledge can also be a great way to start keeping your dog in good health. Knowing the signs of when your dog is feeling uncomfortable or sick can be a good start. Every dog reacts a little differently, but you can generally tell from their behavior that they’re not feeling food.

As such, you should be a bit more diligent about taking them to a veterinarian. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and going to a veterinarian doesn’t take very long, especially if you live near one. You may want to make it a routine, especially if your dog has suffered from some kind of illness or condition in the past. Routine checkups and examinations can help reveal conditions and issues before they have a chance to get worse. It’s also a good idea to help your dog get used to your veterinarian’s face. After all, the last thing you want is for your dog to be extremely uncooperative if they ever catch a serious illness or develop a worrying condition.

Failing to look out for the signs of a sick dog
If you haven’t owned your dog for a while or aren’t experienced in looking after dogs, then you may be unaware of the signs of a sick dog. Some seemingly innocent things can turn out to be a dog’s cry for help, so here are some of the most common things to look out for to tell if your dog is sick.

If your dog goes to the toilet at a different frequency than before, then it could be a sign that they’re sick. Whether they go to the toilet more often or less often, these are both concerns that you should bring to your veterinarian.

Has your dog stopped eating or are they unable to finish their food? Much like humans, dogs can start losing their appetite if they have some kind of illness or condition. If they’re completely unresponsive to their favorite treats, then it’s a good idea to speak with your veterinarian.

Drastic changes in your dog’s personality are usually caused by health-related issues. If they suddenly stop being active when they’re on a walk, or if they seem to be angry when you inspect their body, then it could be a sign that they’re sick or have developed some kind of condition that you aren’t aware of.

When taking your dog to a veterinarian, make sure you bring with you any kind of documents that detail your dog’s medical history. You’ll also want to bring any current medications they’re taking and also keep a list of symptoms that you suspect your dog is facing.

Neglecting to take care of your dog’s dental health
Much like humans, dogs need to take care of their teeth. Bacteria can get into their mouth just like we experience, and their teeth can also develop tartar which eventually leads to periodontal disease. This can ultimately cause tooth loss and even failures in other parts of the body. Good dental care is the key to preventing these issues, but many dog owners don’t realize just how much attention they should be paying to their dog’s dental health.

The most basic way to take care of your dog’s teeth is by brushing it. This is usually a part of a routine. There are many different dental products that you can give to your dog, but you could always speak to your veterinarian if you think you’ll have trouble brushing your dog’s teeth. Thankfully, you don’t need to visit a special dental veterinarian. You can simply contact your regular veterinarian and they’ll be happy to help your dog clean their teeth. You can expect to visit your veterinarian about your dog’s teeth a few times a year, but you can lower this number by learning to brush your dog’s teeth at home.

Not feeding your dog properly
Lastly, it’s a good idea to pay a little more attention to how you feed your dog. More specifically, it’s worth looking at what you’re actually feeding your dog. Many people simply buy the most common dog food they can in the supermarket. They’ll buy whatever brand they think looks the best or the brand that they’ve heard of the most. They’ll serve a portion of food to their dog a few times a day and that’s it.

While this isn’t the worst way to feed your dog, it pays to put a little more effort into feeding your dog properly. This usually means avoiding any overfeeding and also being more selective about treats. Look carefully at the nutritional content of your dog’s diet, and take note of any health-related issues that might be caused by a change in your dog’s diet. It’s also a good idea to speak with your veterinarian about your dog’s diet to avoid any potential overfeeding.

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

Monday, November 14, 2022

Snippets of the weekend 11.14.2022

Friday I finished a book before work, checked out bathroom hanging progress a la MFD, hit the grocery store, took a very wet walk on the beach with the best friend dogs, and had a netflix & chill for real night with MFD & Chris. We ordered pizza, watched Killer Sally and The Office and some weird ass Check it Out show, and I made a zillion pounds of taco meat.

Saturday I hit Target, painted my nails, made mexican stuffed shells, slaw for shrimp tacos, and shrimp for shrimp tacos, and spent a few on the beach until Ben wriggled out of his harness and made an ass of himself. Ruiners! Friendsgiving commenced soon after with taco bar, White House hoagies, and laughs as always. Good friends & good times. Please teach your kids the value of forever friends that grow with you - you don't need to see each other every day or talk every day as adults, but they are always there, and they have known you through all of your formative years and all the people you have been. It's irreplaceable. 
Slide into Sunday with the Leslies and Sannellis was rudely halted when I realized the wedding we were attending started at 4 and not 5 as I thought. Hauled ass out of the shore, home to Philly to change and scrounge a card, and off to Washington Crossing for our sixth and final wedding celebration of 2022. Congratulations Billy & Kristina! Food was delicious, our table company was great, and everything was beautiful. 
We were home by 9 and I was dead asleep on the couch not moving all night by 10. 

Busy week ahead for work & personal - let's goooooooo

Happy happy birthday to my good friend Melissa today!

Friday, November 11, 2022

Friday Catch Up

The passage of time is unfathomable to a 45 year old woman who can still remember being a child, thinking days and summer and winter break lasted forever. 

No Thursday Thoughts last week or this, and this is where I keep my shit so it feels somehow untethered, and I'll dump it in here with no transitional sentences, let alone paragraphs. Basically it's just some random thoughts at the end. Let us begin.

A lax Halloween last week - all eyes were on the Phillies, would the game be played? - then the rains came, and the Phillies were rained out and so was a lot of our Halloween. MFD couldn't find his costume. It was still nice to spend time with my Dad & Carol who were up for a few days. My neighbors' costumes on both sides were great (The Incredibles not pictured) and I always love seeing people out for Halloween. MFD also added a jumping spider this year and I was so not okay with this and kept warning people much to Carol's chagrin LOL. We also got to celebrate my Dad's birthday, but that was in a weekend post which I actually have been keeping up with.

Throughout the summer, I was insistent on closing this shore house up for the winter this year - it is expensive to heat it, it feels like it needs to be managed, and I need to get a lot of stuff sorted and cleaned out in Philly - but it is hard for me to think of being stuck in my house up there, where I know I won't go out every day like I do here. How can I not go out here? I think I would also miss the isolation that I've quickly gotten used to the past two winters. 
I still have time to decide. For now, I'm happy to still be standing in the ocean. 
The moon has been putting on a show and I'm here for it. 

I was in Easton this week for work and it's pretty up there. 

Mom delivered pumpkin muffins to my hair appointment and they're already gone. 

Cut & color with Kristi at Salon Harmony this week has me back to looking right.

I'm trying a new to me facial product from The Ordinary  - L asorbic acid powder - I like it so far.

I have not been in the mood to read jack shit on my kindle, so I've been librarying it up. 

I am not surprised bodily autonomy won on every ballot initiative. Overturning Roe is vindictive and out of touch and I am furious white women in many places chose to vote for proximity to power over bodily autonomy for all. Otherwise I'm generally happy with the midterm results, especially given what typically happens in midterms in this scenario. I am unhappy with democrats not playing offense in defense of democracy over fascism and bodily autonomy. Those are things worth being aggressive over. Fight for regular people and stop being small. Also get rid of corporate dems. Let's fucking go. I am burnt from all of this and the goddamn commercials and billboards. 

I think I have a tooth infection/need a root canal. Dentist Wednesday, I just need to hold out until then, and my telehealth doc prescribed an antibiotic so hopefully that helps. Teeth, man.

MFD is upstairs hanging stuff in the big shore bathroom as we speak. I am going to do a separate bathrooms post. I'm really happy to have that project done. Just waiting on the remaining house windows and a new door and window installed in the apartment. Still waiting on doors in Philly too. Everything currently in motion should be wrapped up by the end of the year, then on to the next projects. At the shore that is couches and floors. In Philly it's windows. 

The Shared Family Thanksgiving Note has been created. Holiday cards were ordered. LOVE stamps secured, because at the end that is what should be under every holiday. I have a decent amount of Christmas gifts bought. Mom set her Christmas gathering. Working on setting MFD's family Christmas. 

Time slips through my fingers like sand.

Friendsgiving this weekend at the shore. 

Sunday is our sixth and final wedding of 2022. It's been a year of love. 

Happy Friday!

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