February

Highlights of this busy, busy month:

  • Went with my friend C for a Sephora makeover/makeup lesson. We had so much fun and I really learned a lot!
  • GG and I went to see Artie Lange do stand-up. The opening act was really good. Artie, not so impressive. Also, we saw him do literally all the same jokes later on a TV interview.
  • Watched the Superbowl with GG’s family at my BIL’s house – lots of food was had, and we stuck to our way of eating (I made buffalo chicken dip and there was also veggies and guacamole and some other things we could enjoy). So far no problems sticking to the plan!
  • We went to The Farmer’s Daughter for our Valentine’s dinner (and used a gift card GG had gotten for his birthday). We just had to make a couple substitutions to accommodate our new WOE :)
  • GG and I saw Split – we’re big M. Night Shyamalan fans so of course we loved it, but the end was awesomeeeeeee!! (No spoilers!) Also, we love trying to guess where in Philadelphia things are taking place. And the funniest part was that we were watching it in a town that was mentioned in the film! When they said it, everyone in the theater was like, “That’s where we are!”
  • On our day off for Presidents’ Day, my friends L, J, J’s sons, and I went to New York for the day. We visited the 9/11 memorial and museum (and I didn’t cry! Almost, but kept it together), then went to Brooklyn to eat at a Harry Potter themed pasta restaurant, then tried going to that restaurant that serves cookie dough in ice cream cones but they were closed, then went to the Nintendo store (child’s request), and then took the train back home. Oh also, L had come out the night before and spent the night, which is fun :)
  • GG and I went to see a live taping of Ask Me Another, which was fun and really interesting! I’d never been to a live taping of an NPR (or any other) show before. GG had been to a Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me taping a couple years ago, so he had already seen them do things like record pick-ups after the show.
  • We also went to see a high school production of Rent that one of my JA kids was in. Besides some technical issues with microphones and a couple tone-deaf singers, it was surprisingly good!
  • We went to a friend’s birthday party and stuck to our WOE! The friend who hosted it is a baker and made a beautiful peanut butter chocolate cake, which I knew would be amazing. So GG and I each tried exactly one bite and… meh. I mean, I’m sure it was an amazing cake. But we didn’t feel tempted to eat a whole slice! We stuck to veggies, the buffalo chicken dip I’d brought (that’s been my go-to party food), and hot dogs (without buns).

Magical Weekend!

I just had the type of weekend that a couple years ago I would have been like, “I can’t wait to sit down and blog about this!” but now with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, writing a whole blog post seems like so much hassle, haha!

On Thursday night, I made dinner and GG and I were going to try to go see Krampus, but at the last minute I was like, “Hey, we don’t have to go tonight, maybe we could squeeze it in this weekend, so we ended up staying home and watching The Imitation Game instead.

This weekend was our third annual holiday party, so I took Friday off work so I could have a full day to clean and prep food and stuff, without having to rush or stress. It was really an all day event, but I got a lot done around the house, did some last minute food shopping and errands, etc. Our party is a dip contest, so I prepped one of the two dips I was making (I was worried not a lot of people would be coming, so figured I’d better do two).

Saturday was the day of the party and I kind of timed things out so everything would be totally ready by party time, and I have to say my timing was excellent. GG and I even had time to go out for lunch – there’s a new grilled cheese place in our town, and it is great!

There were not a ton of guests coming, but they all arrived right on time, and everything was going well – photo booth pictures were being taken, drinks imbibed, dips sampled… Then the surprise entertainment arrived! I got a magician! I’d been trying to find an entertainer for this year and nothing was really working out, so I just put out an ad on Craigslist and actually got a ton of responses! Even then, things just weren’t working out. So I ended up getting a hold of this magician, and we talked about how I wanted him to show up and surprise everyone, and he was totally cool with it, so we went ahead and confirmed. So he arrived in the middle of the party and because I ended up having to go outside and help him with a couple set up things, everyone knew something was up. He did a full half hour show in my living room, and it was amazing! There was a little bit of everything: fire (yes, in the house), juggling, card tricks, sight gags, razor swallowing… Anyway, he was really cool and when he was done I was like, “Hey, want to stay and hang out?” and he did. So we’re besties now. (Also, he did more magic! Like, if you hand him three of anything, he will juggle them.) Everyone agreed this was the best party entertainment yet. Oh and the results of the dip contest: despite splitting my talent between two entries, they came in first and second place. I took myself out of the running for my own contest, though, and there were only 3 other entries, so they were first, second, and third place ;o)

On Sunday I went to this freezer cooking workshop that I’d invited myself to! I saw on Facebook that a friend of mine was going, and I just commented that it sounded cool, and got myself invited :o) The hostess is a Pampered Chef consultant and it was at her home, which was overrun with her four rambunctious children. It got a lot calmer once they all headed out with her husband for a birthday party! We made seven meals total, using Pampered Chef spice blends that we had ordered in advance, and our own groceries that we brought with us. They all look amazing, so I’m super excited to get cooking! You end up with seven meals, but I think we’ll only be able to get through 1-2 a week, because they each make 6-8 servings, so we’ll have leftovers coming out our ears! They should be good leftovers though! I think the workshop was a really neat idea, so I’d like to host one myself sometime maybe in the new year. I already have a lot of people who are interested in coming!

And then… We finally saw Krampus! It was pretty good and funnier than I expected (I thought it might be a more serious horror … which it also was … but it’s hard to be too horrified when it’s cookies and toys attacking people). The ending seemed like it was going to be disappointing, but it had a nice twist!

Birthday Weekend Extravaganza/Disaster

My birthday was this past Saturday, and I had so many plans for the weekend! Everyone was asking me what I was doing for my birthday, and of course I happily shared the whole run-down of events. I should have known not to plan ahead!

Thursday:
What was supposed to happen – work, have lunch with friends, go to a Phillies game with GG and his parents.
What actually happened – My day at work was nice, I was greeted with some cards and gifts from coworkers, which was really thoughtful, we don’t always do that :o) Went out to lunch with a couple of friends. One of my good friends, who I’ve worked with forever, found out she was getting laid off :o( It’s actually not a horrible thing, she’s been miserable in her current position, the commute is horrible, and she has two young kids. She will easily find another job that’s closer to home and/or more flexible. And she’s getting a great package from our company. Anyway. It was pouring rain by evening, and since I’d said I would go to the baseball game if it was nice out, I wasn’t going. Nobody else wanted to use my ticket, either. I stopped by GG’s parents’ house to drop off a phone charger for him, then he went to the game with his parents (which was rained out) while I went to visit my grandmom. (My in-laws had a little disaster of their own – their power had gone out for a couple days and all the food in their freezer melted and then re-froze while they were away. They sat things on top of their stove while cleaning out the fridge, and then almost started a fire when the stove was accidentally turned on! Then there was something about a hole in a bottle of hot sauce and sauce spraying everywhere.) I went home and actually got a lot of stuff done while GG went to the baseball game, had dinner, game was rained out, he came home. While he was outside getting ready to take the trash out, he slipped and fell, twisting his ankle pretty badly.

Friday:
What was supposed to happen – I was going to make dinner at home, then we were going to go see The Visit.
What actually happened – GG’s ankle was swollen really badly and he couldn’t put any weight on it, so I took him to urgent care. Luckily we were the first people there when it opened and we got in right away. They did an x-ray, and nothing is broken or fractured, hooray! They gave him a giant plastic boot to stabilize his ankle so he could walk on it, but of course it’s his driving foot and he can’t drive with that thing on (or with his ankle so sore). So I drove him to work, came back to work from home, picked him up, made dinner, friend came over just as I was pulling it out of the oven, let GG eat while I was with her, ate my dinner cold.

Saturday:
What was supposed to happen – spend the day in New Hope, have a nice b-day dinner at Hearth.
What actually happened – We stayed home so GG could rest his foot, then went out to dinner at the Melting Pot, which was nice (and they gave me a special card and a piece of cake with a candle), and then we went to see The Visit. We got a good spot on the end of a row where GG could put his foot up on a railing. Of course the theater was all the way at the end of the hall, but on the plus side, it was near the exit door, so GG just stepped outside and I came to pick him up in the car. Oh and the movie was very good, nice return for M. Night Shyamalan. I recognized the town they filmed in, which is always cool. Very suspenseful, and good twist – not what I had predicted!

Sunday:
What was supposed to happen – go to the Oddball Comedy Fest in Camden with a friend (and possibly meet up with some other friends there.
What actually happened – Well, we had tickets, and our one friend was counting on us for a ride, so we still did go. GG actually did pretty well hobbling all the way from the parking lot to the venue; walking around during the opening acts on the side stage, sponsor booths, and getting dinner from a food truck; and getting up a giant staircase to watch the headliners from the giant sloping lawn. By the time we walked all the way back to the car, though, I could tell he was really in pain. Hopefully all that walking around didn’t set him back too far in his recovery. In general, the show was good, though we were sitting so far away I could barely see the giant video screens, let alone the actual comedians standing on stage. We got cheesesteaks from Philly’s Finest Sambonis, which were pretty good, but their management of the crowd and keeping track of orders was just ridiculous. Unless there was nobody else around, I would not eat there again. We missed an entire act of the show, and if I’d paid any more for those lawn seats than I had, I would not have been happy. Also, I feel like some of the comedians were playing it really safe with material. My imaginary boyfriend John Mulaney, for the first time that I’ve seen him live, did all material I’ve seen before. He also apparently forgot that he’d been back in Philly since he’d been married. He seemed very excited to pull out his Donald Trump bit again, though!

February

Between snow and sickness, I was home a couple extra days each week this month. I actually never made it to the office for a full week (or my usual 3 days) all month! Some highlights:

  • More of a low-light, but I got food poisoning from wonton soup and/or egg rolls from our favorite Chinese restaurant, the night of the Super Bowl. I felt bad immediately after eating, and was up all night throwing up and whatnot. Then it continued for the next couple days. On the plus side, I lost 5 pounds!
  • Just when I got over this illness, I got a mega cold. Then GG got sick (and he is never sick)!
  • I finally got my shelves hung in my office! And then found the perfect desk (which is actually two kitchen tables from Ikea, but trust me, they look and work great). Now I just need to finish getting things organized, I really need a free weekend to work on this…
  • We went to see Birdman, just in time for the Oscars…
  • Went to what was actually a student music recital at Drexel, but GG knew the director/teacher of the group. Also discovered Zavino, which had great food, good prices, and the most generous cheese and charcuterie board we have ever had (seriously, we couldn’t finish all that meat).
  • Had a really neat opportunity to meet and have dinner with the founder of Ruby Ribbon, thanks to my Director from my side biz!
  • We celebrated Valentine’s Day a day early by going out to dinner Friday night at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. The food was good, but for those prices, I’d like to be spoiled a little more (e.g. Capital Grille). The whole meal and situation was kind of weird – for instance, they apparently cleared out the regular tables from one room and replaced them with rinky-dink folding tables for all the couples out celebrating, which looked really junky.
  • On Valentine’s Day, we went to see Thank You Scientist. I’d never even heard their music until the week before, but they are amazing. Really incredibly skillful musicians, and they put on a great show! Such a shame they were the opening act, but on the other hand, we left right after their set and got home nice and early! (Also, District N9ne is a great venue, I’d go to another show there, although it’s kind of in a weird location.)
  • Went to the Philadelphia Tattoo Convention (not my usual scene, but I knew someone working there) – no, I still do not like anything enough that I need it tattooed on my body forever.
  • I tried Colour Pop, and I am hooked! The eyeshadow is amazing – goes on creamy, blends nicely, and lasts really well all day without creasing. I can’t say the same for the lipsticks, which are a mess, but I have a couple of those, too.
  • I continued working my second side business and had an amazing month!

November

  • Went to a Halloween party with GG and some friends – we dressed as a cat and a ball of yarn! One of my other favorite couple costumes there was Miss Frizzle and the Magic School Bus!
  • Celebrated my BIL’s b-day with a decadent dinner at the Capital Grille.
  • Took Ivan back to the vet because he pulled his stitches open and kept licking his incision :o( So he got antibiotics, and ointment, and a cone! (But he hates the cone.)
  • My work BFF J had her breast cancer surgery and she is already doing amazing! She asked everyone to wear pink for her, so I organized a bunch of people at work to wear pink and take a group photo to send her.
  • Had a fun girls night out (first one in like 2 years)!
  • We had a house guest for a week, which was actually really nice.
  • Did some Socials and events for my second side biz! It’s definitely keeping me busy… Making lots of great connections, though!
  • Had a crazy Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws.
  • We saw Foxcatcher. It was mega creepy. Channing Tatum and especially Mark Ruffalo were great and really dead-on accurate.
  • Went to Friendsgiving at MB and A’s – now an annual tradition the Saturday after Thanksgiving :o)

October

  • Added a new member to my team for my second side biz, and helped her launch!
  • Also did a bunch of activities and events for both of my side jobs… Very busy!
  • Went to my first Miche party (very dangerous for a purse addict such as myself…)
  • We found a little bump under the skin on Ivan’s tummy, right in his favorite spot for scratching – it felt like a little marble. The vet thought it might be a tumor, and if it was, it would be fast-growing, so we had it removed. Good news – it was a benign hemangioma! They removed it all, and it will not grow back :o)
  • Saw Gone Girl with my grandmom and my friend J, both of whom I’d gotten to read the book. The movie was great! Just as good (and frustrating) as the novel…
  • Had a beautiful, warm day for Homecoming at MU! It’s always nice to hang out with my college friends (mostly L and S, who we meet there every year), and fun to see how things change from year to year. This year we were able to get a tour of one of the fancy new dorms they’ve built! (Soon all our old dorms will be torn down and replaced by these things.) Private bathrooms! (I still don’t understand how they expect college kids to be responsible for keeping these things clean, but whatever…) And they have a late-night campus food truck now?!
  • Went to the Ren Faire with L and S! Another lovely day! We did our usual activities (pickle on a stick, the falconer, the Circus Stella acrobats…), and some new things (glassblowing demo, paraffin wax hand treatment…). And our friend J works there, so it’s fun to get to visit with her, too!
  • When I got home from the Ren Faire, there was an amazing gift waiting for me! A magical fairy had stopped by and left me a KitchenAid mixer! (The exact one I wanted!) …Ok, it was my mom, and it was sort of a thank-you gift for helping out with some stuff the previous week, and we’d been talking (for years!) about how I wanted one, but that was still extremely generous of her!
  • As usual, we gave out full-sized candy bars for Halloween this year. We sat out on our porch, but for some reason, some kids were scared to even come up to the house…?



February

OMG, another month went by without any other blogging! I know February is the shortest month, but seriously it feels like it went by in a flash!

The main theme of February I guess was the nonstop crazy snowstorms that affected everyone! Luckily, our power never went out, but lots of our friends had outages. The power was off at my grandmom’s house for a few days, so she came to stay with us for a little while, which actually was kind of fun. The snow also meant we stayed in more than usual, so I got to watch the Nye/Hamm debate live online over dinner, and we didn’t go out for Valentines Day. Instead, I attempted to make us a really nice dinner at home. It was good, but… did not go as planned. I made steaks with this chocolate/chili crust on them, and I found directions for starting steaks in a pan and finishing in the oven. Unfortunately, these types of recipes do not account for chocolate/chili crusts, so it turned out to be a horrible mess. (It was delicious in the end, though.) Thanks to the snow and power outages and whatnot, GG had several comedy shows cancelled (even one that I went to see!). And, because of the snow and holidays and various days off, I think it wasn’t until the last week of the month that I actually worked five consecutive days from the locations I was expected to work from!

We’d planned this out a while ago, but finally on Presidents’ Day weekend, we went to Ikea and got stuff to clean up and organize GG’s office/studio like he’s wanted. We added a tall bookcase, and swapped out his old desk for one that aligns with his existing desk, so it’s like one continuous surface. Next up: my office!

Speaking of my office, not that anyone really cares, but we just got “upgraded” to new laptops at work with Windows 8, and I hate it. For being the resident “techie” person, I’m kind of a curmudgeon when it comes to major changes like this. The computer itself is nice. It’s a touch-screen, which is annoying, but whatever. The Office 2010 software is an improvement over Office 2007. But Windows 8 is really not for the business environment.

We saw Wolf of Wall Street on Presidents’ Day (had wanted to go a couple weeks earlier, but even the movie theater lost power in the snowstorm!). It was so good. Much better and funnier than I’d expected, and I was pretty proud of myself for catching the references to The Graduate.

I’ve been continuing my yoga class at the gym, and I really wish they had yoga more than once a week! I tried a special class they offered called ABsession, which nearly killed me. The yoga is so much more my speed :o)

The month ended with the first of a string of important work events. This was a multi-site meeting that I helped to run at our site. Despite a few technical difficulties, everything went well here and we got lots of good feedback from the senior leaders who attended. Learning Week 2014 Part 1 here we come…

My Best-Of 2013

Keeping up with tradition, here is my best-of list for 2013. While thinking about what to include, I felt like I hadn’t really partaken of as much media as I usually do, but I think I have enough to put something together.

Movie: The Great Gatsby
This was pretty much a no-brainer – I was excited for this movie since the first time I heard it was happening. I love Baz Luhrmann, and this film did not disappoint. Even if the rest of it were terrible, I would have still given Gatsby my #1 spot just for the Rhapsody in Blue sequence at the party, which was so perfectly done. Really, a gorgeous film.
Runner Up: The Help – Remember, this is about movies I saw this year, not necessarily that came out this year. I read this book a couple years ago, and it was coming up for discussion at my book club, so GG and I rented this DVD as a little refresher. I was impressed with how well it stuck to the original story (a couple plot points were left out, but nothing was really changed), and it was really cute and well done – even GG liked it!

TV Show: The Office
After having gone downhill the last few seasons, they really turned things around leading up to the finale. I loved the way the show ended. I believe I shed a tear while watching, which is the mark of a good show, if it gets me that emotionally invested.
Runner Up: 30 Rock – Another finale that made me cry. I didn’t actually feel it so much the first time around, but re-watching the episode, I realized that the things the characters were saying were kind of like the actors saying goodbye to each other in real life, and that’s what got me.

Album: The Lonely Island, The Wack Album
The Lonelly Island’s third album is awesome and hilarious, but unfortunately, contains more cursing than the previous ones, which means I can sing along less. I wanted it so badly, though, in preparation for a long car trip, that this became my first digital-only album purchase!
Runner Up: Janelle Monae, The Electric Lady – Yet another excellent production from Janelle Monae, and it advances the whole “Archandroid” story, but I didn’t love every song on the album… I actually only love a couple of them.

Restaurant: Tria
This was another no-brainer. Early in the year, we went to a Cheese 101 class they gave, and then this summer we were finally able to get to the restaurant to have a meal there. I don’t like the fact that they don’t take reservations (especially if you have to plan a special trip into the city to get there), but the food is amazing and the people who work there are great (as they should be, considering they are required to take food training every week)! For Christmas, GG’s gift to me was a Tria gift card, so we went back again before the end of the year (and it was enough for more than one meal, so we’ll be going again soon).
Runner Up: Oh man, I don’t know, probably Garces Trading Company or Amada again. They are both amazing and I went to both of them this year :o)

Vacation: Atlanta, GA
I didn’t really travel too much this year, and barely traveled with GG at all. I don’t even know if this should be considered a “vacation” sine it was to go to a conference for my side job, but I had a great time (despite many issues with the event), and before we even left I already knew I would be going to next year’s. Also, I flew on a plane for the first time since 2000, and by myself for the first time ever!
Runner Up: Raleigh, NC – Made a super long drive by myself to visit friends, had a great time, and once again ended up feeling kind of empowered that I can transport myself when necessary :o) Also, Raleigh is a very cool town.

“You must’ve got one of them combustible heads”

I couldn’t let a full month go by without an update, that would be redonkulous. The thing is, most of the people I care about who read this blog (or used to read it), I’m friends with on Facebook, or at least Twitter, and that’s how we keep up with each others’ lives now. It’s kind of the lazy way out, but it’s much easier to dash off a tweet than to compose a whole blog post.

Awesome things I’ve done lately:

  • Went to a wedding for people I’d never met before
  • More parties!
  • Hosted an open house (besides the other girls doing it with me, guests were my mom, grandmom, and a friend from band – but we all had fun!)
  • Watched The Office series finale (ok, that one is not awesome … it was very good though – I cried watching it, then watched again and cried again)
  • Watched the SNL finale (may have also cried at Stefon’s wedding)
  • Saw my chicklet and her chicklet for their birthdays (thank you, MB, for having your child so conveniently close to your own birthday)
  • Became BFFs with this little girl on Bring Your Kid to Work Day after I showed her how to photocopy her hand in an attempt to keep her quiet in the office


  • Played in a semi-Mexican themed band concert riddled with cringe-inducing unintentional cultural insensitivities and many awkward moments


  • Had the very unique and special opportunity to test drive a Tesla!


  • Took my grandmom to see The Great Gatsby, after explaining that rap music today is like jazz was in the 20s (My review: if you are a Baz Luhrmann fan, you will love it. The story was pretty much tailor-made for him to tell anyway – for example, Luhrmann uses a billboard in his films [L’Amour in both Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, I believe], and in Gatsby he uses the Dr. T.J. Eckelburg billboard. I think the music was also very tastefully done, as with Moulin Rouge and R+J, it just made it easier for a modern audience to relate to the period piece, by using familiar music. And it’s not all Jay-Z. I loved the use of Rhapsody in Blue, that whole sequence was perfect.)
  • Spent a long weekend as an ice cream widow, to be followed by a week of craziness at work… and then besides a day here or there, I really have zero free time until August!
  • As usually happens over Memorial Day weekend, immersed myself in a new band or TV show – this year it was Arrested Development (and now I’m ticked I don’t have Netflix so can’t watch the new season)

“I’m sick like Chuckie was sick”

So it’s been another couple of moderately exciting weeks around here. GG contracted and then recovered from what I originally thought was a Man Cold, but when I actually took his temperature and it was almost 103, we decided maybe it was the flu. With the power of orange juice, Emergen-C, Tylenol, and a lot of couch time, he was totally back to his normal self within a couple of days. I felt like I might have started coming down with something (you know that feeling you get in the back of your throat, when you know you’re getting sick?), but luckily it didn’t pan out. Clearly, I have the stronger immune system.

Since she wasn’t able to get out much over the holidays, I took my grandmom to see “Les Mis” at the movies. This was the first movie she’d seen in a theater since I took her to see “Moulin Rouge” (and when was that? 1999?!). I took her to the one theater around us where it was still playing, and she got all confused because 1) there are 24 theaters, and 2) the screen is bewilderingly huge. But, she loved the movie, and was still talking about it when I went to see her the other day. I told her I’m taking her to see “The Great Gatsby” when it comes out, too – that’s one of her favorite books!

I did our taxes, finally… Usually I have everything done in February, but I was really dragging my feet this year.

As usual, I feel like there were a bunch of other things I actually wanted to write about, but once I sit down to write, I forget them all. I probably wanted to say something about how I read a book about saving on groceries written by “America’s cheapest family,” and either it was really dumb and common-sense, or I am a grocery genius, because I am already doing most of the things they recommend that it makes sense for us to do (as a family of two). I’m doing okay with my book-reading goal for this year, I think I should definitely be able to hit 25, especially if I read more books that interest me. If I’m just not into it, I drag my feet finishing a book, and that takes too long. I was hoping to be able to get more eBooks via my library, but they have kind of a limited selection, so it’s tough. But a friend just added me to her Amazon Prime account, so maybe I can get some good books from the Amazon Lending Library! Yay, technology!

Speaking of Amazon, I reluctantly ordered Nanobots… even though you can stream the whole thing online and I already heard it and wasn’t so impressed. But maybe it’ll grow on me. TMBG, what has happened to you?