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).

January

Highlights this month:

  • GG and I started eating a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) or Ketogenic diet. Basically, very low carbs, moderate protein, and high fat. I’ll write more about this later, but so far, so good!
  • We made our annual visit to the PA Farm Show with our friend L. It was a little different this year because of the aforementioned diet (no milkshakes or donuts!), but there was actually plenty for us to eat and we did great.
  • We saw Hidden Figures, I loved it!
  • I met up with my friend M who lives in NC but was in PA for his kid’s ice skating competition! I got to see some of the skating, and then we hung out and chatted for a while before I headed home (it was a couple hours away – but closer than the 7 hour drive to his place, I’ve done that before too!)
  • We went to our friends’ housewarming party – they used to live somewhere really sketchy and now they are a little closer, in a much nicer place, so yay!
  • Got to go wedding dress shopping with a friend! I’ve never been wedding dress shopping before, and it was so sweet of her to invite me! It wasn’t like it is on Say Yes to the Dress, mostly because she pretty much already had something picked out, and everything else she tried on just served to convince her to go with the one she already liked!

December

Highlights of the last month of the year:

  • Had a very successful holiday party and this year’s entertainment was a ventriloquist! It was really funny when I called to hire him and got to explain that no, there would be no children, he can tell all the dirty jokes he wants ;)
  • Had a bunch of events for my side business.
  • Played a bunch of holiday concerts.
  • Got to celebrate Christmas on two separate days, instead of rushing to cram two Christmasses into one day, which was much more pleasant.
  • Interviewed house cleaners as my Christmas gift to my grandmom (she picked one to start in January!)
  • GG and I took our usual day off to do Christmassy stuff in Philly – this year included the Comcast Holiday Spectacular, followed by the Temple of Awesomeness and Delight at DiBruno Bottle Shop.
  • Celebrated A’s birthday with dinner in NJ followed by a very bad escape room :( When we were done, we didn’t even stay to take funny pictures with their signs or anything (and actually, nobody from the place encouraged us to), we just left.

I was trying to get a few people over for a small New Year’s Eve dinner, but nobody was really available and then I got a really bad cold and decided I probably shouldn’t be handling people’s food, so now our plans include sitting on the couch in our PJs, and making s’mores with my new s’mores machine :)

November

How can I describe November? Disappointing? I fell asleep for a couple hours on election night and woke up to a crazy dystopia. We took 2 kitties to the vet and guess what, there is nothing physically wrong with the crazy one, he’s just crazy – so now he gets drugs :/ I did a big vendor event for my side business that had the most horrible load-in – luckily GG was able to meet me afterward and help me take things back out! Thanksgiving was nice and we had lots of family together, but meanwhile in GG’s family there was a medical emergency (everyone’s ok) and his dad and brother were in charge of making dinner, which actually turned out surprisingly well (we said they’re in charge of stuffing from now on). We went to MB & A’s annual Friendsgiving the week after, which is a little different now that everyone going has tons of kids running around. And I did my Christmas decorating early, since we’re having our holiday party earlier this year.

October

Highlights of this month!

  • I had a booth at our community Fall Fest which was great for meeting local customers, and I got to spend the day with my newest teammate!
  • GG and I joined the new Community Center and committed to working out regularly at the gym.
  • We made our annual trip to the Ren Faire! Got to spend the day with some of my favorite ladies (and GG). I made a flowered headband for my favorite little lady!


  • Did some other events for my side biz, including training in NYC! GG came with me and we went up the night before and spent the night. Then he entertained himself at a photo convention and explored some restaurants in the pouring rain while I was at my training. Afterward, we had a fabulous dinner at Parker and Quinn before driving home.
  • The day after this overnight NYC trip was MU Homecoming! We had another official PSP reunion this year, but it didn’t have the magic of the last one … My friends and I were pretty much the only alumni there. We did get ourselves invited to the Housing reunion so we could go on a tour of one of the new dorms – we’d toured it a couple years ago when it was brand new, and I wanted to see how things were holding up now that kids had been living there for a while (and were responsible for cleaning their own bathrooms, etc.). One story they kept telling us involved a guy who was storing jars of pee in his room…
  • Our Fall Concert for band took place a week early, in October instead of November, so we ended up doing a semi Halloween theme and everyone wore all black (with orange accessories) instead of our traditional black pants and white tops. I accented my outfit with a black cat ear headband.
  • We once again offered full size candy bars to kids on Halloween, and cups of hot apple cider to parents. Our porch was really hopping last year, but this year it felt like there were a lot fewer trick-or-treaters.

September

I always love September – it’s my favorite time of year, and my birthday month! Some highlights this year:

  • I did my very first escape room with my Chicklet when she suggested it as kind of a spur of the moment activity to kick off Labor Day weekend. I was a little nervous because I’m not always great at puzzles and trivia and that kind of stuff, but we rocked it!


  • We got to see Thank You Scientist again (this time I was prepared because I know the band now!), but the singer was super sick, which really just made me sad for him because you could tell he was miserable :( But then we got to meet the trumpet player outside afterward, which was awesome!


  • I had to do this two-day training at work for a system that we inherited from a company that we acquired and is so convoluted, it will make me never complain about any of our other systems again. We had to fly a trainer out to teach three of us, and by the end of day two, between four total people, we had successfully completed the process one time. Not encouraging :/
  • Went to Sunfest in OCMD with my friend L! She has been going for years, but I’d never been, so we both took a few days off work and went for a nice long weekend. Sunfest was so fun, and we also went on the Sand Castle Home Tour, plus played mini golf, hit the boardwalk every night, and ate a lot.


Surprise!

This year was a milestone birthday for GG, and for the past several years I’d been wanting to throw him a big surprise party. It was a little daunting though because he has a lot of different groups of friends (current coworkers, past coworkers, people he went to school with, musicians, comedians, family and childhood friends, etc.), and I was a little overwhelmed trying to figure out how to invite all of them. Finally I decided, for this big birthday, I was going to do it. I got in touch with a “representative” from each group, and asked them to help with invites.

I also wanted the party to be mostly GG and his friends on stage, playing music or telling jokes or whatever, since that’s where he’d be happiest – so then I had to find somewhere with a stage! That was tricky, as these places were pretty expensive to reserve… Then one of my invitation contacts recommended this local music venue where his wife had held a movie screening and her bridal shower before. So I reached out to this place and they were amazing! The venue was very cool, we didn’t really have to decorate; they’re a local music place, so they already had a stage, sound system with sound guys, and even a bunch of instruments (like a drum set and stuff); and they have a kitchen so were able to prepare all the food, we just had to bring our own alcohol! Also, the price was extremely reasonable, and the owner was excited because he’d never done an event like this before.

Leading up to his birthday, GG kept saying he didn’t want to make a big deal about it, etc. etc. Little did he know we had guests coming from all over the east coast to celebrate him! As a ruse, one of his old bandmates invited him to play this private gig the night of his b-day, which was a Friday. I told him to go ahead, because we could just celebrate the next day, it was no big deal, right? This got him to the venue, with his guitar and equipment (because I had no idea what he’d want to pack if I had to sneak and do it for him)!

So the night of the party, I got dressed (GG even caught me on my way out of the house – I don’t think he was suspicious!), picked up the awesome cupcakes I’d ordered, and headed to the venue to set up a little. The owner had put together a great menu of all different types of quesadillas (one of GG’s favorites, and a specialty of this place!) and finger foods. My BIL, who was such a huge help getting things organized, was able to bring a ton of liquor from his job, and other friends brought drinks as well. People started arriving and I was shocked to see how many people there were, and how far some had traveled (like, from Virginia and Connecticut)!

Finally it was time for GG to arrive, so everyone got situated in the main room and turned off the lights. GG and his friend came in with their instruments and stuff, and he started looking around. He looked upstairs where the balcony seating was and saw a friend from work, which I guess is when he started getting suspicious. Then he walked into the main room and we all yelled surprise and his reaction was perfect! He was so shocked to see all the people who were there for him!

So then everyone put on an amazing show – MCed by my super helpful BIL. We started out with a roast/comedy performance by anyone who wanted to participate, including some surprise performers! GG sat on stage and by this point he was pretty drunk. Then there was a magic performance by our magician friend, which transitioned us into the music portion of the evening. Members of past and present bands, as well as other musicians and friends, got up and performed with GG, and it looked like everyone had a blast! When there wasn’t music playing (which, there pretty much was for the rest of the night), the sound guys played my “Party Like It’s 1976” playlist of songs I’d downloaded, which all were either released or at the top of the charts that year.

We had such an amazing night and such great memories. I am so thankful for everyone who helped me pull this off and make the dream a reality – everyone who helped invite, helped me with the venue, everyone who performed, and especially our friend who got him to the party without any suspicion ;)

May

Couple of cool things we did this month:

  • I had my band spring concert, and this time because we had a nautical theme, people were in encouraged to dress in costume! I was a pirate, I sat next to Left Shark (yes, she was wearing a full-on shark costume in which she’d cut slits for her hands so she could play clarinet), and we also had sea captains, SCUBA divers, beach goers, Cap’n Crunch, hula girls, and lots more..!
  • I went to the 50th anniversary of my middle school.. There were only a couple other people from my grade there, but we got to go on a tour of the school and it was neat to see what had changed and what was still the same. 8th grade was about the peak of my life’s greatness ;o)
  • GG and I went to a wedding at the Mütter Museum! It was very cool, they have some really neat spaces upstairs where I’m sure they have awesome weddings all the time. Plus we got to go through the museum, too! (Oh, and they had a guacamole bar during the cocktail hour?!)


  • We went to see Mel Brooks live in Philly: it was a showing of Blazing Saddles (which I’d actually never seen in its entirety), followed by a sort of interview/storytelling by Mel Brooks about the making of the film, and then a little Q&A from the audience. He was really funny!



    But possibly cooler than that, GG took me out for a surprise dinner first! He had actually planned something else, but when I started guessing and he saw I got really excited about going to Sbraga, he switched the reservation and took me there instead! It was an amazing meal!
  • My first college roommate’s daughter was riding in the Devon Horse Show, so I met up with her and her family while they were in the area. I hadn’t been to the Horse Show in a while, so it was like Main Line overload! It was great to see them all, and her kids are so cute!


April

Besides our impromptu trip to New Hope, we did some other exciting things this month:

  • We had OWNIT day at work and it was probably the craziest one yet, in terms of fun and activities! Since I’m on all these site committees I actually had the opportunity to get really involved in planning and running it, but I decided to sit this one out (I’m doing another event later in the year) and just enjoy it from a participant’s POV.
  • I added a new product to the offerings at my side biz and had a big launch party to celebrate!
  • We finished our taxes!
  • I attended my fourteenth (!!) TMBG concert (with GG, and J and K). Also, while we were all driving down South Street, GG saw this guy getting into a car and kept going, “That’s Redman! That’s Redman!” Then he rolled down the window when we got close and said, “Yo, Redman,” and the guy was like, “I’m Method Man!” But it was ok because even though he mixed up the names, GG knew the right rap lyrics and rapped out the car window at him while people on the sidewalk laughed and cheered.
  • My volunteer program I did through work wrapped up with a regional competition. I spent the whole day there with some of the kids from my team and one other volunteer. They did well and were very confident with their showing, but in the end didn’t win any of the awards. Hopefully the fact they didn’t take home any trophies doesn’t cloud their opinion of the day, because I thought they did great!
  • GG and I checked out the Philadelphia Ren Faire, which isn’t quite as robust as the PA Ren Faire and actually this was only the second year they’ve done it, but it was nice and seemed well-run. Plus we got to see “our” magician perform!
  • To celebrate MB and R’s birthdays, GG and I went to the Academy of Natural Sciences with MB, A, R, and R. It was a super fun day, and R is so smart! They had this spider exhibit and we caught a presentation from museum staff. All the kids were giving dumb answers to questions and asking dumb questions. Then R raises her hand and out of nowhere says something like, “Spiders also molt!” I forget exactly what she said, but it was so smart and we were all just like, “What? Where’d that spider fact come from?!”
  • I went with GG to his alumni weekend for the first time ever. (That’s because this was the first year they offered a “family” activity with food and bands.) It was nice, and was cool to meet a lot of his high school friends I hadn’t met before!
  • I registered with a political party just so I could vote in the PA primary, yay!

Easter Miracles

I don’t want to jinx anything, but… I just had some really lucky days, after a string of terrible ones!

Our sewer line clogged last week, I had someone snake it, and they found tree roots in the line. After lots of phone calls and plumber visits over the next few days, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do – most plumbers wouldn’t do the job, and the one estimate I got was way higher than I expected. But then I learned I live in one of the few municipalities in which the township is responsible for the sewer line past the curb. They re-checked with a camera, and found all the roots were under the street! So the township is coming this week to give us a whole new sewer line, at no cost to us (I mean, we pay taxes, so…)

Earlier this month, a customer paid for a huge purchase with a check. I usually don’t accept checks, but something had happened to her credit card so she was waiting on a new one, she had shopped with me before online, and our mutual friend vouched for her. I deposited it as soon as I got home. Well, last weekend the check came back to me in the mail, returned due to insufficient funds. I tried contacting her via e-mail, phone, and text, plus our mutual friend tried to get in touch with her. She did reply at one point, but then stopped responding again. When our mutual friend sent me a photo she’d shared on Snapchat with one of her new items that she hadn’t paid for, that was the last straw. Friday was her payday, I knew the money was in her account, and first thing Saturday I took the check back to the bank and had it cashed again – this time for real!!

GG and I have been planning our summer vacation, and because rates at the hotel we wanted to stay at had gotten so high, we ended up finding a 2 bedroom condo on Airbnb for the about same price as the original hotel rate. Saturday morning I woke to a message on my phone saying the reservation had been cancelled by the host. I sent him a message asking if this was a mistake, and he said one of the hotels in their town was suing all the Airbnb hosts, and the site recommended that they cancel all their pending reservations until it was resolved. So GG and I started looking for another place to stay, and ended up finding a much better rate on the hotel we originally wanted, so we were able to book it after all!

I went to a Norwex party my friend hosted on Saturday. I love these demos because they do crazy stuff like rubbing butter all over windows, slathering raw chicken on countertops, and breaking raw eggs everywhere – then they clean it all up! This consultant actually was really good, she had a special pen that would change color in the presence of protein, so she could prove that all the chicken juice had been removed ;o) She did a game where everyone could choose a plastic Easter egg from a basket, knowing that there was a possibility your “prize” would be to commit to hosting your own party; other prizes were free shipping, or a little giveaway item. I won the big prize – a free EnviroWand! (I’m so excited because I really need to dust better! I also ordered the Dusting Mitt, which is supposed to be great for blinds..!)

In addition, GG and I had a nice weekend together – Friday night I saw him play with the (awesome!) band he formed with some of his friends and coworkers; Saturday we went out for a nice dinner at Seasons 52 to celebrate all the lucky things that happened (even the dinner was lucky: it was mostly paid for with a gift card I got for free with my expiring Marriott points); and Easter was nice on Sunday, we saw both of our families and ate some amazing food :o)



Typical rockstar pose…