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…

February

This has been such a busy month! Highlights include:

  • I finished the 21 Day Fix – just in time for a Super Bowl party! (Full review of the program will be coming!)
  • Lots of appointments for my side business (I actually prefer these private or small group appointments because I can give more personal attention and build better relationships with customers, and that’s really what this is all about!)
  • GG and I celebrated Valentine’s Day (a day early) at one of our favorite restaurants and site of a previous Valentine’s surprise!
  • I went to my alma mater to celebrate my fraternity’s 100th anniversary. I just thought it would be something neat to do, since I lived relatively close by to national headquarters, and another friend of mine met me there, but apparently we missed the memo that this event was really for fraternity superfans, so we felt a little out of place. It was still neat to take part in, though.

Happy Leap Year! Real life is for March!

21 Day Fix – Thoughts on Day 12

I have a number of friends who’ve had very good results with the Beachbody 21 Day Fix program. Now, you know exercise and physical activity is really not my thing, and my love of bacon and cheese prevents me from dieting, but I’d gotten to the point where I was avoiding wearing some types of clothing, and I only liked being photographed from certain angles, so I figured I would give it a shot. There were lots of impressive before and after photos, so I figured if I lost just 5 lbs. I’d be happy. I’m on day 12 right now, and have already surpassed that goal! Plus, I’ve definitely noticed physical changes already! Like, I put on jeans the other day and they just slid right up and buttoned shut :o)

The program consists of three weeks of healthy eating, plus a daily 30 minute workout. Of course I know what’s good to eat, but the trick is that you get color coded containers in varying sizes that help you control your portions. That visualization is really helpful! You also get a booklet that explains the eating plan and gives lists of what you can eat and recipe ideas, but honestly I was so overwhelmed the first couple days. I actually planned my daily meals a few days before starting the program, but once I started, I ended up shifting things around. Again, being visual, I created a color coded Google Sheet where I could list out my daily meals and snacks, and tally up the number of containers at the end of each day.

The workouts are really not horrible, even for someone like me who does not do stuff like this. All you need for any of them are two sizes of hand weights and a yoga mat. Or you could use a resistance band instead of weights, and they have someone in each video to demonstrate how to do that. Each of the daily workouts focuses on a different area: total body, upper, lower, cardio, pilates (probably my favorite), “Dirty 30” (surprisingly my second favorite), and yoga. There’s also a bonus plyo DVD which makes my knees sore just thinking about it. And an extra 10 minute abs workout you can add on to any of the other days. I just get up and do them first thing in the morning, and then I’m done for the day. There is a lovely woman named Kat who appears in every workout and demonstrates the alternate moves, if you’re not quite ready to go full force with all the moves yet.

For me, the eating really hasn’t been a challenge. I already cook and prepare a lot of our food, and besides my generous use of cheese, I already am making a lot of vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Although we eat out a lot as well, it’s not like we’re having fast food every day (or very often at all). So the difference is really just portion size, and making sure I get the right proportion of veggies and protein vs. fruit, carbs, fat, etc. I’m actually making a lot of the same recipes I would have made before, just the portion is different, or maybe I’m swapping white rice for cauliflower “rice.” So the menu isn’t a problem for me. It’s really all about planning and making sure you have those ingredients prepped and that you know what you’re going to be eating that week. Some people prepare a week’s worth of meals in advance, and I just can’t do that – I don’t want to eat the same thing every day, nor do I want to be eating 5 day old leftovers by Friday. But I will generally prepare enough of a meal to split into 2-3 portions and have for a couple meals.

If you’re going to eat out, there’s even equivalents in the eating plan book for things like pizza, sushi, and burritos. (I haven’t had to do it yet, but the next time I go out to lunch with my coworkers, I have my Qdoba burrito bowl order all planned out!) If you need alcohol to have a good time, you can replace one serving of carbs with one glass of wine three days a week.

Challenges: At the end of week 1, I got hit with a wicked cold. I had to pause the next couple workouts a few times because I couldn’t breathe or had to take a coughing break, but I never missed a day. That same weekend, we got a blizzard with over 2 feet of snow. Everyone on Facebook was posting pictures of the comfort foods they were making while they were snowed in: chili, cookies, etc. I was stuck in the house with my vegetables and didn’t really feel like eating a salad. I did end up making a veggie fried rice with cauliflower rice which actually was pretty good. And the next week I got ingredients to make a 21DF friendly veggie and turkey chili.

So overall, my totally unbiased review is that the program is worth it and I am definitely pleased with the results so far. You can do multiple “rounds,” but I think after my 21 days are up I’m going to take a little break at least from doing it 100%. I will probably continue the workouts, and the lessons I’ve learned just about how to visualize portions will definitely stick with me. Stay tuned, because I also want to do an in-depth review of some of my favorite participants in the videos ;o)

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!

November

Busy busy month … As usual …

  • Visited MB and A and R and their new little R (this might get confusing with two Rs!)
  • Continued rocking my new business at a few events
  • I decided against continuing our co-op vegetable shares this season, but I did purchase a fall cheese share (3 locally produced cheeses, every other week), which has led to some surprising new cheese finds!
  • I’m volunteering with a program for high school kids through work, and while these students are all real go-getters and have to be motivated to even get into this thing, I’m sure they’ll eventually get on my nerves.
  • Had a girls night out at The Melting Pot – only two friends ended up making it (there was a huge storm that night, so I understand why some ladies didn’t want to travel too far) – but it was so much fun! And dinner was delicious, of course :o)
  • I was supposed to host Thanksgiving, but then another family member decided to host, so I just had to bring all the food, lol! Turkey was purchased from Honeybaked Ham, but I made all the veggies (carrots, brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes). Other family members helped with other food items :o) It was a really nice day, we had a bigger crowd than usual and it was good to see everyone. Then it was off to my in-laws’ for dinner #2!

Ready for holiday season..?!

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!

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!

Hoopla 2015!

When I joined my second side business last year, I decided, no matter when or where it was, there was no way I would miss this company’s very first conference. Well, it was last weekend and it was amazing! Compared to being with 15,000 women last year, being with just 500 was very different. But it was such a great experience. The speakers and training and product demos could have been anywhere. But the best part was that many of us had been with the company since Day 1, and we knew each other online, and it was so awesome to finally meet these women in person! That was really the main highlight for me, because honestly, by the time conference rolled around, I was questioning whether I wanted to go or to stick with this at all, but having met those women, I am going to make the effort to keep with this as long as I can :o)

I was supposed to fly to Dallas on Thursday with another Designer from my area, but she ended up cancelling at the last minute due to some family issues. So I traveled by myself, and then it turned out my Director arrived at the airport about the same time I did, so I got to meet her for the first time (she’s amazing, more on her later) and we shared an Uber to the hotel. Oh, and Uber! The hotel was really not walking distance to anything, so this is the way we got around town all weekend, and it worked out great! Thursday we mostly hung around the hotel and greeted people as they arrived. A bunch of us went out to this Mexican place for dinner, and I’m sure it would have been really fabulous, but by that point, between traveling and a slight time difference and just the long day I’d had, I really wasn’t feeling well, so I barely touched my food. I just crashed in bed.

Friday was the day most people were arriving, so again we kind of claimed a spot in the hotel and greeted people as they arrived. The co-founder and “Customer Advocate” of Tiny Torch happened to be in town for another conference, and I was able to get him to come by and do a little meet and greet with some of our Designers! Ok, it was mostly with me, but it was great to meet him in person, he’s a super guy, and I think it at least piqued others’ interest in the service – there’s been a lot of interest and questions since I’ve been home, so I will be putting together a little guide to show people how I use TT to organize my businesses and schedule. Check-in opened, and we all got our swag bags full of new product! Plus, we were able to meet home office staff who, again, we’d been interacting with for the past year. Leadership training was during the day Friday, so the rest of us had free time until our first general session that afternoon. That night was our “team party,” which my director hosted in her suite (I got to help set up cupcakes!). Really cool to meet the whole team and celebrate accomplishments within our group.

Saturday started early with lots of training and special announcements. It was a long day of sessions, and then I went out with some other girls from my team for dinner at this cool diner. (Anytime in this story that I’m not mentioning where we ate, it’s probably because I had a meal from one of the food trucks that lined the sidewalk outside the hotel. Again, it was kind of removed from everything, so the trucks were really the only option if you didn’t want expensive hotel food, and didn’t have time to go out somewhere.) After dinner, it was time to get ready for our dance party! This was a really nice event, we had a whole big ballroom in the hotel with DJ and dance floor, photo booth, little sweets and cakes, cash bars featuring a special cocktail just for us, and lots of ladies just going nuts meeting each other and getting pictures. I got to meet a Designer who joined in the very beginning with me, and we actually spoke on the phone when we first were starting because she had never done anything like this before and was nervous. Guess what – she’s now one of the top Designers in the company! I hadn’t had a chance to meet her before because, as a leader, she had been kind of segregated from us, so it was so awesome to meet and congratulate her in person! Also hung out with my roommate (not on my team) and some other local Designers from PA, and we are going to try to hook up back home!



Our last day, Sunday, got off to kind of a slow start – I think some people were partying a little too hard at the dance party! Our “Chief Happiness Officer” serenaded us on his saxophone, then gave a really inspirational speech (which I think had the unintended effect of inspiring me to do something else, but .. at least it was inspirational). Everyone slowly started checking out and making their way home. This time I had a travel companion (my roommie), and our flight wasn’t until later, so we checked out and then hung out in “our” spot in the hotel, saying goodbye to people. (Cool thing that happened: I was there in the lobby and saw a home office person I recognized and hadn’t met yet. Hoopla was officially over, but I just went over and said I wanted to introduce myself and thank her for all she did for us. “I said, “You don’t know me, but my name is [first name],” and she said, “Oh, [first name last name]?” That just made my day – she knew me too!) We got an alert that our flight was delayed, but still headed to the airport at the scheduled time anyway, sharing a shuttle with another girl from my team who we just met there in the lobby! We grabbed dinner at the airport and killed some time before heading to the gate. Somehow, despite being delayed, we made up time in the air, and actually arrived home a little ahead of schedule! GG not only picked me up at the airport, he actually came inside to meet me, which was really sweet :o)

And since there wasn’t a good place in the narrative to include this, I will just add that my director is an amazing woman. The more time I spent with her, the more I learned about her. She’s had such an unbelievable life, and is really an inspiration. She lives every day with a condition that basically feels like she has a permanent migraine, and will probably someday need brain surgery, but still takes care of her family and has had such amazing success in her business. She has experienced heartbreaking losses. Her three children are fabulous, and she has been a surrogate, carrying pregnancies for other families, multiple times! But the main thing I love about her is that she is not like most of the other leaders in this company, all “rah-rah” and sometimes aloof. She’s just a normal person who does not like being in the spotlight, who has achieved great success and knows that we all can, too.

Early Adopter

Originally I had titled this post “Things I’ve been doing since before they were cool,” but that sounds like I’m such a hipster. Although there are lots of things that I’m late getting into (e.g. I didn’t have a smartphone until, like, forever), I feel like there’s a lot of things I’ve been doing that have only recently become very popular.

Greek Yogurt: GG and I were talking the other night about how Greek yogurt has really taken over. At our regular supermarket, Greek yogurt probably fills about 2/3 of the yogurt case, and even the regular brands seem to have a Greek version. But I have been eating it for years! When I started eating Greek yogurt, you couldn’t even get it at the regular supermarket, they only had it at specialty stores like Trader Joe’s. And there was one flavor: Greek! Want honey in it? Add in your own honey! I like that there are so many options and it’s so easy to get now, but I’m sure the trend will die down eventually. (I hope Australian style is the next trend – that stuff is delicious!)

BB Cream: I used to read this makeup/beauty message board and years ago they were all going nuts over BB cream, this lotion/foundation/SPF combo coming out of Korea. It was huge in Korea and there were many brands to choose from, that you could order online. I picked a brand and purchased a sampler pack so I could try out six of their options. The differences were so minimal, I actually made myself a spreadsheet to track what each bottle said and what my impression of each was! Anyway, I ended up choosing a favorite and ordering a full-size bottle, and I’ve been using it ever since! Of course, now every mainstream makeup company has their own version of BB cream (and now there’s “CC cream” and other iterations).

Quinoa: This is another food that I discovered long ago at Trader Joe’s – thank you for helping me be ahead of the curve, TJ’s! I remember cooking quinoa back in college, circa 2003-2004. There are people today who have never heard of or tried quinoa, even though it seems to be in everything lately!

Edamame: I found this in high school (around 1999-2000?) from – guess where – Trader Joe’s! I used to get the bags of frozen edamame, cook it all up at once, and store it in a container in the fridge, to snack on with a little salt. I specifically remember one time I went to the movies with a friend and we sneaked in our own little containers of edamame in a backpack for a snack. I was just talking to someone recently who had never tried edamame (or quinoa)!

Etsy: Per Wikipedia, Etsy launched on June 18, 2005. Looking at my profile on the site, I joined on Dec. 15, 2005. I actually did a bit of selling back in the olden days – first little things that I had sewn, then I got into knitting adult and baby hats, and I also started sewing cloth pads. Someone asked me to knit a red and white Where’s Waldo had for a costume one year, and that led to my selling thirty-three more (I just counted) over the next couple Halloweens. I probably could still sell a bunch at Halloween time, just through people searching for them, but the site has changed a ton since it started. You used to be able to launch and promote your business solely through the site; now you really need to establish and market yourself outside Etsy, and just use the site as your shopping cart application. I still do shop there frequently for gifts and and for myself!

The Busiest Month

Didn’t I say June was going to be crazy? Besides our anniversary/wedding weekend, here’s some highlights so far:

  • GG and I have been going to this weekly free outdoor yoga thing our town is offering for the summer (the weeks that we can both make it, and it doesn’t get rained out).
  • I went to Fall Product Premier in NJ (again). We didn’t have a big team there this time, just me and E (who happened to pull into the parking lot right behind me, so we didn’t even have to work on meeting up). I love everything that’s coming out for fall – this may be a problem (for my bank account)!
  • I’ve been busy with summer band concerts (the ones I can make, that aren’t rained out [actually none have been rained out, but last week’s was cancelled because power at the venue was out after a big storm the day before, and wasn’t restored until the following day]).
  • GG and I had a free Sunday, so we decided to knock a couple things off this list of “free stuff to do in Philly” that I’d put together. First we went to the Elfreth’s Alley Museum – we’d been to the street before, but hadn’t been through the museum. It was just us and one lone guy touring around with a grumpy guide. (Pro tip: the museum is not really free, there is a $5 “suggested donation.” I don’t know what she would have been like, had we chosen not to donate, since a lot of her complaints were money-related.) She cheered up once she got going, and it was an interesting tour. I’d love to come back sometime and see some of the houses that people live in today! It was pretty hot and humid by this point, so we decided to go get some lunch and cool off before making our next stop, so we went to Molly Malloy’s at the Reading Terminal. Finally, we went to the Fabric Workshop and Museum, which is totally free to tour. I’d heard of it, but didn’t really know what this place was, other than that it wasn’t just about cloth “fabric,” it was art “fabricated” from all different types of materials. They had an exhibition from the prolific and varied artist Richard Tuttle who neither of us had ever heard of. I don’t like to make fun of art, but let’s just say, some of his pieces were things I could easily make myself. (Photography was allowed for almost all the pieces, but there were a couple where photos were restricted. One was a short rope nailed to the wall at each end. I told GG, “Don’t worry, I’ll make you one when we get home.”) I checked out some reviews of the exhibit when we got home, and it looks like even the art critics were a little confused, so I didn’t feel so bad…
  • We went to see a live comedy talk show where Sasheer Zamata was appearing as a guest. We’d never been to this show before, but in honor of their second anniversary, they did some special activities, including: having a live pony (which promptly peed on stage); making waffles on stage for any audience member who asked for one; lots of games; and as a grand finale, destroying the coffee table that has appeared on set for all their episodes to that point.
  • I finally joined a CSA! Because I came in late in the season, I paid a pro-rated amount for a “small” share. Even this size share is a bit much for just the two of us (I’d be happier with more variety and less quantity), but since GG had been trying to eat healthier and more vegetables, we’ll definitely get our money’s worth. The pick-up location is really convenient, which has been one of the biggest deterrents to me joining a CSA previously. Very excited for what the summer will bring! (My first week featured candycane beets!)
  • Last weekend featured two birthday parties, each for two people, so that’s four birthdays if you’re keeping count. One of them was a one year-old, and he is adorable and did great, considering all the noise, activity, and different people passing him around! (His b-day cake was also amazing: a lemon blueberry cake!)

After the Independence Day holiday, my calendar is looking a lot more empty… At least for a few weeks!