December

Somehow, for having a full two weeks off this month, I did not really get a chance to relax at all! In the beginning of the month I had my weekly volunteer thing, plus 1-2 holiday band concerts each week, and seriously two weeks of holiday parties at work – every different group I’m part of had their own celebration, luncheon, white elephant, etc. Then I borrowed a child for a night and a day, which was fun but also crazy. That four year-old wiped me out!

My time off started with car trouble that kept me grounded for two days and really cut into my last minute Christmas prep plans! Luckily, the repair was covered under my warranty, and seems to have been a quick fix. Then I was able to finish up my shopping for gifts and Christmas dinner!

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day with GG’s family – it was nice not to have to fit two Christmasses in one day! Then, due to scheduling issues, we hosted my family the following day. All celebrations were nice :o) The day after that, we made our traditional trip into Philly to do “all the most Christmassy things.” Usually we do this before the holiday, but actually it was nice to go after: fewer crowds, good deals from vendors who were closing up shop, and everything was still open (we went to Comcast, Macy’s [Dickens Village], Love Park, and Dilworth Park. Plus a snack from DiBruno Bros. and lunch at El Vez before catching our train home.

GG and I started watching Netflix! So far I watched my imaginary boyfriend‘s latest stand-up special, and the entire series of “Master of None,” which was cute. We need to watch “Black Mirror” next!

And now we are spending a relaxing NYE on the couch – my favorite place to celebrate!

PS: Yes of course I watched “Jill and Jessa: Counting On [a Paycheck from TLC],” and if you want to know what I thought of it, you should really follow me on Twitter!

August

OMG we have been so busy this month! I can’t even look at my calendar page because it’s so packed.

  • Both GG and I worked on getting our new businesses set up. I’m off to a super successful start and am so glad I took the plunge on this!
  • Also helped support a couple other friends as they launch their own new businesses! One is a newbie to the world of DS and I love seeing how excited she is and how she’s really throwing herself into this. The other is a DS veteran (that’s actually how I met her) who joined another company because she loves the products (typical story), and she’s rocking her business, too!
  • For the first time in a couple years, the dermatologist decided to slice a mole off of me. It was actually one she commented on every time, but I’d had it since I was a little girl and figured it was fine. This time, the edges were starting to get a little uneven and I pointed it out. Don’t worry, everything was benign, and the site is healing up really nicely. (The worst part is that the bandage adhesive makes me itch so much!)
  • I got to meet my longtime blog friend, JL! We actually met through another mutual blogging friend, D, who you might remember I met in person for the first time last summer. JL and her fiance met up with GG and me and we had a really nice dinner in Philly, where they live, so there is really no excuse for us not to have met! Everyone got along great and we’re all BFFs now :o)
  • Also got to meet Dr. Jennifer Arnold from “The Little Couple” when she came to speak at my office and sign copies of her book! She is just a nice in person as she is on her show. One of my favorite TLC celebrities!
  • Last month, I won a pair of tickets to a local comedy show from an Instagram contest. The show was this month, and GG and I had dinner at an adjacent restaurant first. Before we left, the waitress came and told us someone else in the restaurant had anonymously paid our bill, and to pay it forward! So actually, the whole evening out was free (except the tip for dinner and our drinks at the show). And when we met the organizer of the show, as the contest winners, he and GG got started talking and I think he’s going to give him a spot to perform at an upcoming show!
  • Speaking of GG performing, he also had his performance at our local farmers market, which was met with mixed reviews. We did not realize ahead of time, but he got paid for his performance! Plus he got tips!
  • We went to a dramatic reading of the musical Urinetown at a local theater. It was a fundraiser, so you paid what you want for tickets, and they used a combination of local and Broadway performers. I’d never seen Urinetown before, but I knew it was good, and people have been telling GG for a long time that he would like it. The show was really great! They did all the singing, some minimal acting where it made sense, there were sort of costumes to differentiate the characters, and there was a little scenery/props (chairs and a ladder, mostly). Having now seen video of some other full performances, I think I actually prefer the minimalist version we saw! It was really very well done.
  • Celebrated GG’s birthday by taking him out to the sushi buffet with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. Celebrated my grandmom’s birthday by taking her to lunch with my mom at a nice new restaurant, then made her walk 100 yards to a tea store and probably almost killed her :o/ Then by the time we left there, she was totally fine again, lol!
  • We took a Philadelphia “vampires, sex, and ghosts” tour. For locals, we sure do take a lot of tours of Philadelphia! You can learn stuff on the good ones, though – we learned a lot on this tour! And then we tried Sassafras for the first time and discovered a new place we love.
  • Spent a Saturday in NJ visiting MB, A, and R. GG and A stayed in and played guitar all afternoon, while MB, R, and I went to a paint-your-own pottery place. It was such a nice day! R is hilarious, and so outgoing and talkative! Then of course they made us an amazing dinner – this time it was a smoked brisket from A’s new smoker, and creme brulee for dessert (made with a welding torch)!

Will things slow down now that we’re getting into fall? Hahahahah! We’re just getting started!

Josh Duggar, You Messed Up… Again!

Just as the Duggars were creeping out of hiding and back onto Instagram and YouTube, Josh was named in the Ashley Madison hack. And then he came right out and apologized.

What I most wanted (and still want) to hear is Anna’s reaction. She sure stood by him after the kid-touching thing came out, and praised how honest and forthcoming he’d been with her. What could she possibly say about this now?

Then the porn star shared her story of how Josh tracked her down (at two strip clubs that are local to me, by the way!), told her he’d been following her career “from before [her] boob job until recently,” and then paid her for “terrifying” sex. And now he has checked himself into another one of those labor camp type rehabs, since that worked so well for him as a teen, I guess. I love their passive-aggressive rules:

“The room assigned to you, as everything else on our property, belongs to God. It must be treated as such. A violating student shall be held financially responsible for all damage done to God’s property.”

“Negative remarks about food will not be tolerated. Prayer and fasting are a profitable substitute.”

Oh BTW, this treatment center has connections to other sexual abuse cover-ups – the founder is an accused sex offender, which makes him about as qualified to run a rehab as the mastermind behind Josh’s first treatment center, Anna’s brother is saying what everyone has probably been thinking – she should get out of that crazy family! At this point, I bet she could have a great career counseling women who’ve been in her position or something (or she could even leave the cult and then help rehab others who want out). But Josh is falling fast, and he’s just going to drag her down with him if she stays.

TLC Summer Block Party

Weeks ago, a friend alerted me to the fact that a TLC Summer Block Party was going to be held in Philadelphia, featuring appearances by a number of their reality stars, including the Duggar family. I talked GG into taking me and put it on the calendar, canceling all my other plans for the day. I didn’t know what it was going to be like, if they were going to perform or if we’d have a chance to meet them or what, but on the off chance that I had the opportunity to speak to them, and I had to limit myself to just one question, I had it ready to go: if they were so confident that they’d trained and educated their children the “right” way according to their beliefs, why keep them so isolated? Shouldn’t they be out interacting and sharing their beliefs with others? That’s sort of the question that all other questions would be based on.

Well, then it came out that Josh had molested his sisters, and the Duggars were obviously taken off the bill for this event.

I had my schedule cleared for the day, and GG was interested in seeing some of the little people families who were scheduled to be there. The weather was beautiful, so we still went! The event started at 12, and there was already a long line of people outside the gate when we got to Penn’s Landing around 11:30. It moved pretty quickly once the gates opened, though, and when we got inside, it was pretty empty.

We made our way down to the main stage, where the guy who was the host/MC for the day was calling for volunteers for the first trivia game of the day. GG for some reason thought I would want to participate? So the guy started interviewing us (and some other couples), asking what TLC shows we liked to watch. For some reason, besides the Duggars, I wasn’t even thinking of other shows beyond those that were represented at the event, so I was just like, “I don’t know, midgets?” Thinking back on it, I should have said My 600 Lb. Life, Sex Sent Me to the ER, I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, My Strange Addiction, etc. Oh well. Anyway, I couldn’t get through an answer without saying “midget,” and I didn’t want to be on stage (and potentially on TV) anyway, so we passed on playing the game (with the married Roloff kids and their wives). Watching the game play later, I was glad not to be participating!

We didn’t really do a lot of the activities, but there was a lot going on. Kate Gosselin, Cara, and Mady from Kate Plus 8; Buddy from Cake Boss; Randy from Say Yes to the Dress; Monty and Lori from SYTTD Atlanta; Whitney from My Big Fat Fabulous Life; the Hamill family from Our Little Family; and the entire Roloff family from Little People Big World were on site. They all participated in games on stage, and were available for photos and autographs at various times. (It was probably actually a good thing the Duggars weren’t there – it was a hot day and there was a lot of “Nike” going on, plus if they’d done some game on stage they would be interacting with heathens and the host made jokes that would have gone over their heads.) There were also different games and activities (like face painting, balloon animals, or decorating cupcakes from the new Carlo’s Bakery that opened in Philly the same day). One neat thing they did was if you posted a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #TLCBlockParty, they would print it out and you could pick it up later.

After an hour or so, we were ready for lunch, but the food cart options were limited and expensive. So since we learned we could leave and come back, we walked a few blocks over to The Continental for brunch. Then we checked out Shane Confectionery, which we’d wanted to visit for a while, and got a frozen chocolate drink to go. We finished it as we walked back to the TLC event. It was a nice little break, and by the time we got back, the crowd had thinned significantly.

There was a tent up on a high terrace with a big “VIP” sign, and I just commented to GG that I wondered what VIP entailed, because it looked like just regular people up there. He went over and started chatting with the guy at the entrance, and next thing I knew, he was waving me over! Apparently, the tent was for the stars of the shows and the media (people from the local paper, etc.), but they actually had free reign to let anyone into the area, as long as they were cool about it! So GG and I got wristbands and went in! I got to see up-close the SYTTD Atlanta people, the Gosselins, and all the Roloffs! I didn’t talk to them to try to get pictures because I didn’t want to bother them in this area, but it was neat to see them all up close. (Kate Gosselin and Audrey Roloff are both gorgeous in person! So are Cara and Mady.) There was also a buffet of food, free drinks, and at one point they brought in some pastries from Carlo’s Bakery (we split one, they were amazing). And free t-shirts we picked up. Honestly, it was worth getting in just for the nice breeze we got up there!

The event went until 5PM, but we left just before the finale, a band coming on at 4. I think that was just long enough to be out in the heat and sun. It was a crazy experience!

Josh Duggar, You Messed Up

I guess I need to write about this, because for years, “Josh Duggar sex offender” has been one of the top search results for my blog, due to a comment someone left here in 2008. (And wow, is this site blowing up today!) As an avid and somewhat vocal Duggar watcher, I’ve been inundated for the last couple days with people sending me the articles about Josh’s alleged molestation charges, which have come back up in the news for some reason. But I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt because a) the story originated years ago from some very dubious sources and couldn’t really cite any hard facts or details, and b) in the Duggars’ world, “inappropriate touching” could be as innocent as holding hands before you’re engaged!

But now that Josh has come out and admitted it, I guess it’s true! (The one good thing to come from this may be that he’s resigned from his job with that hate group!)

Everything in the police report lines up with the rumors we’ve been hearing for years: Josh touching girls while they slept; the timing of the whole thing related to Jim Holt’s campaigns (“sin in the camp”); being sent away to ALERT (a “Christian program” that “consisted of hard physical work and counseling”); the part about how they were supposed to go on Oprah in 2006 but then didn’t. [Edit: 5/22] If you don’t have time to read all 33 pages of the police report, here’s a short summary and timeline. Here’s an even more detailed article that puts the events into a timeline with the Duggars’ TV shows, and asks the question we’re probably all wondering: how did Oprah, the police, the internet, and others know about these accusations, yet TLC didn’t seem to find out until this week? [/Edit]

I have been saying for years that I didn’t understand how other celebrities could say or do one wrong thing (e.g. Paula Deen’s racist remarks, Mama June’s pedophile boyfriend) and lose their shows, endorsements, etc., yet the Duggars went on and on despite all the controversial stuff they were mixed up in (politics, ATI, blanket training, etc.). Well, now here is a real scandal that really affects them (not tangentially, like the allegations against Bill Gothard). I’m very curious to see what this means for the rest of the family and the 19 Kids and Counting show. Will the Josh and Anna family just not be featured anymore? Or will the whole thing go off the air? As of the season finale two days ago, they were planning for and showing clips of what would be coming up in the “next season.” (Good thing Derick Dillard has his day job to fall back on; Ben and Jessa Seewald are kind of screwed, though!)

Also, I will note the ironic fact that the Duggars have been campaigning against measures that would support LGBT people, saying they are pedophiles and predators, and yet here their own kid is a predator…

Side note: I bet that within their own Christian circles, this not only doesn’t disgrace Josh, but in fact makes him look better. The way Josh, Anna, and his parents described it, it sounds like this great trial that he’s gone through and been strengthened by.

[Edit: 6/3] I wanted to document this – check out the hits to this blog since the story broke! [/Edit]

August

  • We saw The Book of Mormon! When I heard it was coming to Philly, I suggested that we go – then my friend J told me she had tickets (they subscribe for the year), but correctly predicted that she would have just given birth before the date of the show, so I bought hers! It was a matinee show, so GG and I had brunch first at Garces Trading Company, then walked over to the theater. By a couple songs in, our mouths were hanging open in disbelief! We loved it! It was hilarious! And really, it was not mean-spirited toward Mormons or any other religion, it was just a sweet story. (I told J that if it came back to town, I would babysit so she and B could go.)
  • Saw Cynic in Philly! Disappointingly, Paul never stopped to talk about auras or do yoga on stage or anything…
  • GG and I had a really crazy Saturday where we spent the morning at this Pennhurst Asylum “open house” thing with a bunch of ghost hunters and ghost photographers. I don’t watch any of those ghost hunting shows, otherwise maybe I would’ve been more impressed with the special guests there. Pennhurst is generally closed to the public, so I guess it was a neat opportunity to see certain parts of it. But we left early to go to the Goshenhoppen Festival. My mom used to take me and my brother to this when we were kids. It was a little smaller than I remembered, but neat, and I think GG had a good, wholesome time :o)


  • We went to Shady Maple for GG’s birthday – my treat! (You get in free on your b-day…) It’s been a while since we’ve been there for a birthday, they now give you a birthday stack of coupons for their various shops. My favorite one was for the quilt store, it was for 20% off anything, excluding quilts. We also discovered that the Farm Market (really a supermarket) is amazing – almost worth driving out there just to do our grocery shopping!


  • I started a new business!!! I know I already have one side business but this was an amazing opportunity I could not pass up – joining from Day 1 with a new company is actually the sister of an established one (so they know what they’re doing as far as manufacturing, shipping, technology, etc. – it’s not just some lady in her basement going, “I’m going to sell some jewelry”). And most importantly, I love the product and what it’s about!
  • MB and A came to visit and we went to the zoo! I was last there when baby R was just a brand new baby, so it was fun seeing her there now that she’s a little girl!
  • Spending Labor Day weekend alone (as usual) but I have Every Simpsons Ever!

January

So what else did I do this month, besides trying on clothes and putting cats to sleep?

Well, the month (and year) started out awkwardly, at a really weird New Year’s Eve party at which GG was supposed to perform comedy. It was a “black and white” party, so we had to dress in just black and white (I cheated and wore gray boots). The event promoter who organized it did kind of a terrible job, so while it was a beautiful venue with lots of food, a bar, a band, and comedians at the ready, nobody actually showed up until about 11 PM, when just a few people started trickling in. We thought we’d be done well before midnight, so after waiting around for hours, all of a sudden it was time to hurry up and tell jokes (which did not go well), and then we took the other comedian home, and then it was midnight, and then we went home.

As has become our annual tradition, GG and I took a day off work and went to the Farm Show in Harrisburg with our friends L and S. We hit up the food hall first for an invigorating morning milkshake, then toured around the whole complex (we even found a new spot we hadn’t known about before, which was full of vendors!), then went back to the food hall for lunch before heading out. I think we ended up buying more “stuff” this year than we have in the past – GG got some wine, I bought some cheese, GG has these meat sticks and things he likes and has to pick up every year now, they’re now selling nuts so GG got a big bag of black walnuts, I bought some kind of hair accessory… Oh, and the new hot item of the show this year, the bacon? I was a little disappointed.

I got a bad cold (my first one in over a year, maybe?) just in time for this all-day training thing I had to be in at work. I just chugged tea all day and was miserable. I just couldn’t shake it, but luckily we also had plenty of snow days from work so I could get some extra recovery time at home.

I started going to a yoga class that I really like. It’s like regular yoga, except sometimes we hold hand weights.

American Horror Story ended, meh. I mean, I guess the right people lived and died, so that’s good. But it was barely “horror,” and there was nothing really that shocking. I hear the next series will be about communism in the 1950s, so I’m curious to see how that goes. I also binge watched the first two seasons of Girls one weekend while I was sick, and we have HBO for free until April for some reason, so I’ve been watching season 3 as it’s airing now.

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.

October

Things that happened this month:

  • GG and I went to the Ren Faire with L and S. After a couple chilly days, it was suddenly hot and humid again, but otherwise a really nice day. We got there when it opened (J met us with discount tickets!), and easily stayed almost until closing time. Favorite events were the acrobats, magician (who GG met later as a wandering minstrel, and filmed a music video), Circa Paleo, and of course the Falconer, the coolest guy working at the Ren Faire.



  • I got a bad cold which knocked me out for close to a week, but I was kind of overdue since I don’t think I got sick at all last year. And it allowed me to skip band practice and be home to watch the American Horror Story premier. (We’ve since been DVRing the episodes and catching up when I get home from band, or the next day, depending on how late it is.)
  • We went to a Philly Food Fest thing, discovered a couple cool new products like dukkah and Jin-Ja, and aate a lot of samples. It was a fun way to spend a couple hours, though I always get kind of sad for the people at events like this who are eagerly starting a business and really pushing their products on people. (I always try not to be like that at my own vendor events.)
  • We went out for kind of spur-of-the-moment dinners at a sushi place we like and the Melting Pot, just because we can. I also made us a nice dinner at home one night featuring olives, cheese, bread, olive oil, and charcuterie (as one of my friends said, “Very Euro!”). And we visited the new Shake Shack in town on their opening day!


  • I was very pleased with the outcome of Project Runway – I totally called it for Dom after the bowtie challenge, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s from Philly :o)
  • We killed two birds with one stone and took at overnight trip to Lancaster. Friday night was GG’s debut performance at a comedy club out there, and a few of our friends were able to come out and see the show! We went out to Denny’s for a snack afterward.



    We spent the night there, and then Saturday was spent at my alma matter for Homecoming. I had a fun day with friends and had a great time reminiscing about college and seeing all the changes that have happened in the last ten years! The recently remodeled library is now open, and since L and S used to work there (that’s where they met!), we got to go on a tour. We also talked our way into some of the new dorm rooms to see how the kids are living these days (they get their own bathrooms! not to mention carpet and air conditioning! spoiled!). And I got a new MU sweatshirt :o) The nicest thing was that, since we’d spent the night before out there, I hadn’t had to get up insanely early to drive there in time for the parade. So I wasn’t overtired by the end of the afternoon, and was even able to drive us home without requiring caffeine (can’t say the same for GG, though, he slept most of the way ;o) )


  • I got a copy of Janelle Monae‘s “Electric Lady” (her performance on SNL reminded me that it had been released!), and while I was at it, went back and got “Metropolis,” too. The first track of “Metropolis” explains everything. I kind of had a handle on the story, but if I’d just heard that in the first place, it would have all made so much more sense! Anyway, “Electric Lady” is another great album, though more laid back, for the most part, than “ArchAndroid.”
  • Stay tuned for a post on what we did for Halloween night!

“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)