Wednesday, April 30, 2014



My oh my, what a wonderful day, 
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
See you May 12th, Zip-A-Dee-A.

Anyone else know this song?

I'm flying to LA tomorrow, but guest posts coming next week, stay tuned!

This post was brought to you by the A-Z Challenge, and the letter:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014



    last year or the recent past, especially as nostalgically recalled.
    "return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear"

Tom and I have hit our 11 month anniversary on the 26th, and I've been thinking about some type of wedding week 'recap' when we get closer to the 1 year point next month. Maybe a 'preshow' blooper real (with what went wrong) and ending with the wedding day (and what went right).

Today though, I'm recapping all the preparations and projects that were documented. I was kind of sad the other day to realize that I deleted all the my diy invitation templates and other projects, since I know people would love that sort of thing. Anywhoo.... 

Here goes!

     Trip to pick out my wedding dress and obviously my bridesmaids were a little excited!

Monday, April 28, 2014

XL- Weight Loss... Leg One Complete!

How's that for finding an applicable "X" title? 

Feb 1- April 28th
So, I'm going to go ahead and consider leg one of my personal weight loss challenge complete. I'm still sitting at 195 lbs, and while I'd love to have dropped more since the "I" post with my update, I'm excusing myself. This month was a whirlwind, with somedays not even being able to eat a real meal (until dinner at 8:30pm- the time when I get home). Being able to step away for lunch is a big component to loosing weight, and I'm honestly lucky I haven't gained instead.

May 11 - July 4th
Leg two will continue on after returning from vacation on May 11th, and continue on to July 4th. I hope to reach 185 lbs by July 4th, only 10 pounds from where I am now, which is completely attainable.

July 7th - September 4th
Leg three will go from July 7th through September 4th. and I want to get to 170 lbs by my birthday on September 4th. 15 more pounds to get to my goal weight, discussed in this post from March.

But.... aren't you going on a vacation?
I will be enjoying food on our vacation (only three days!) and won't be only eating salads and broiled chicken. I wrote a whole post dedicated to a hotdog stand we plan on visiting in Vancouver, so I don't expect weight loss to happen. I'm hoping to stay the same, since the hiking, biking and gym on the ship will help.

The articles below offered a few ideas, but most were common sense for anyone who's been on a cruise ship before (we all know how cruises can make us fat). The general gist is that they give you every opportunity to gain weight, but eat smarter and don't lay around like a potato.
6 Tips to Help You Not Gain Weight on a Cruise
17 Ways a Cruise Can Keep You Healthy

Wish me luck (in making good decisions) and hopefully another good report will come in a few months!

So tell me....
Are you attempting to loose weight for the summer?
Are you writing about your progress, or keeping it hidden away?

This post was brought to you by the A-Z Challenge, and the letter:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Was It Worth It? The A-Z Challenge edition

Hm, good question, self.
*pats self on back*

Yes. No. Depends on what you mean by 'worth it'.

This month I really began to throw myself into the 'blogosphere' and make some new acquaintances. I learned that it's really not that difficult to post a few times a week. I taught myself that overcoming writers block and committing to something makes it worth the hassle. And it has shown me that posting regularly does make all the difference, as people are less likely to put a sporadic poster on their RSS or bloglovin' feeds. Like me, they don't like to subscribe willy-nilly. (does anyone else say that?) #countryphrase

I was also able to add a lot of posts in a short amount of time, allowing me to gain a stronger blog, with more than a few posts a month. It's almost 1 year since I started blogging and I really neglected this initially. I finally caught the blogging bug around Nov/Dec, and now I'm making up for a slow few months.

Admittedly, I really didn't use this challenge to connect and network extensively. It was much more about 'retraining' the way I think about blogging. I wish I would've leaned about the A-Z challenge earlier than 1 week before it started. I would've written all my posts ahead of time, and focused on visiting other blogs and gaining some more followers.

I think the challenge was designed to give people an easy way to connect, and I didn't use it as intended. I did visit everyone who stopped over, but I don't think once I went to their list and just clicked willy-nilly randomly. Especially since there are so many people on there who are all about developing their book characters, or focusing on themes I find either completely mind-numbingly or over my head. A biology-themed A-Z challenge..... no thanks. I'll come back for your regular programming in May though.

Other Accomplishments.
I redesigned the site a bit with a new header. I worked on turning photos into more 'pinnable' images. I updated my tabs, and added more people to the NYS Blogger Map. I started promoting my posts on Google+ and am still trying to get used to Bloglovin'.

I'm glad I did get all the way through, and would do another challenge like this in the future. I hope it shows dedication and oomph. But I'd probably wait at least a year before doing another A-Z. Six posts a day is rather draining during your craziest month of the year. Earth month is always a killer for my 9-5, if this was help in say... January or August, I might be more likely to sign up.

So.... yes and no.

Did you participate (or have you ever participated) in the A-Z Challenge?
Did you accomplish all you intended to, stop part way through?
Will you do another in the future?

This post was brought to you by the A-Z Challenge, and the letter:

Friday, April 25, 2014

8 Tips to Prepare for Vacation!

I'm more than ready to leave, with my bags basically packed. But there are a few things to do that shouldn't be overlooked.....

  • Clean your house
    • Clean and empty your refrigerator 
    • Reset your thermostat or automatic A/C unit.
    • Do laundry the day before you go, pack everything, and set out clothes for first day back.
    • Put a hold on your mail, or have someone gather it frequently.
  • Clean your desk and email inbox.
    • Thoroughly clean your desk, after putting everything away.
    • Set up a list of duties if you are delegating tasks to others.
    • Give them 'how-to' lists if the job is technical, or have them sit with you beforehand.
    • Create a dropoff system, so your desk isn't crazy upon return. Because there will be stacks of paperwork put everywhere. Leave post-its showing that they should put timesheets in one place, expense reports in another. 
    • Set up reminders for due dates that you think might be overlooked.
  • Leave instructions for house sitters, baby sitters, pet sitters.
    • Buy extra food and supplies, and set up an area for the sitter to find these things for your child.
    • Same goes for fido or whiskers.
    • If someone is stopping by to keep the house looking 'occupied' (i.e. hanging around for an hour with lights on, car in drive) then leave your WiFi password and emergency numbers on the fridge and put the remote controls out. 
  • Go Shopping! 
    • I tend to shop in cycles, and the main one falls around the month before vacation. Kids get amped up for the new school year with new clothes, and I do around vacation.
    • Get new perfume. Since we tend to go at the beginning of summer, the spring is a 'coming out of hibernation'. Time to get something that awakens the senses, and a personal favorite is Bath and Body Works for their seasonal sprays.
  • Tech and Media.
    • Let all your devices 'die' and then charge them completely. 
    • Put them in a central location to grab as you pack.
    • Load your phone or iPod with roadtrip music, relaxation music (for the flight) or island music.
  • Research your accommodations
    • Especially with cruises, ships have so many facets. Food, rooms and entertainment. There's a reason that sites like cruise critic exist. Oftentimes you will get insider tips, like learn where you can do simple things like leave your bags while you tour San Juan before boarding the ship.
    • TripAdvisor is the best place for researching your trip, especially build-you-own vacations. 
  • Get into Vacation Mode.
    • Youtube your cruise ship, the west coast highway, the excitement of the game your attending. Of course this is what I did, but customize it for your trip highlights!
    • Make a tropical drink at home. I'm a big fan of the Crystal Light mohito mocktails, since we've brought it on the last two vacations with us and it evokes a vacation mindset.
    • Make a themed dinner before leaving. If you're going to the Caribbean, Jerk chicken with pineapple. If you're going to Europe, attempt some homemade French food. Then when you get the real thing, you can compare (and potentially have a laugh and appreciate the meal more!)

This post was brought to you by the A-Z Challenge, and the letter:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Unable. National Infertility Awareness Week

"National Infertility Awareness Week" runs from April 20th- April 26th. 
I was interviewed for Beauty and the Bump's "Resolve to Know" campaign. Read my interview here:

Recently, in talking with others about what makes a woman infertile, it's not surprising that the answer is (almost) always "they can't get pregnant".  I also used to think of infertility as a term earned by those who couldn't conceive.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tour de Tom

This post is dedicated to Tom, and his renewed love affair with biking. When we met, he was biking regularly (having done so since he was in highschool). He biked every year in the Century Tour, Tour de Cure, and the Five Boro Bike Tour. When we started dating, things started slipping by the wayside, and he biked less and less. 

But that's all changed. He has been biking to work and home for 2 months, instead of buying his monthly Metrocard. He joined a 'Biggest Loser' type of challenge with his company, and last night he hit his personal goal of shedding 30 lbs. He's hoping he can win the challenge, but even if he doesn't it has been well worth entering since the incentive has reawakened his love of biking. He has so much energy and sleeps better, and he keeps saying how he feels healthier. 

Today marks his 50th ride in to work, and I couldn't be more proud of him.

Since February 25th....  
   Ridden 556 miles (roughly NYC to Cleveland)
   Been on his bike for 50 hours.
   He's burned 51,000 calories

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Small Bathroom Problems

Before moving to the city I came to visit Tom one weekend. We were out getting some food, and while we waited I went to wash my hands in the bathroom. Tom had just returned from it and told me to 'brace myself' since I was about to encounter my first true NYC bathroom. This definitely unnerved me, but I continued on my way, not really sure what he meant and unwilling to show that he freaked me out. 

He meant a bathroom you could barely fit into. Like, the walls were all touching you at once, as you turned around to wash your hands in the sink mounted above the toilet. Teeny tiny.

Well, little did I know I would move into an apartment with a bathroom that was almost identical.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rest and Relaxation Day

Today I am calling out sick from blogging, since I seem to have the flu or something a fellow commuter coughed in my general direction.

I'm taking an R&R day instead. Here, for you amusement (since I am not feeling amusing at all today- so you're welcome), are 5 links to click on and enjoy instead.

1. Two-Ingredient Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Recipes for the rest of us, can we all agree that this is awesome?

2. Castles that Cost Less than apartments in NYC
Won't have to split the rent with roomies, but the heating bill must be a killer.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quitting Easter

Firstly, know that I do not hate the bunny, candy or eggs. When we have kids, I'll most likely hide colorful eggs and have candy available over the course of April. My dinning table is currently decorated for spring.

And Easter will be synonymous with the arrival of beautiful weather, and of flowers and baby animals being born. Not with Jesus rising again.

Because Easter is not when Jesus rose from the dead to save the souls of the lost. It's a pagan holiday.

According to Wikipedia, Easter is "a Christian festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament." Wiki continues on to state that the origin of the word Easter is "generally held to have originally referred to the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Ēostre, a form of the widely attested Indo-European dawn goddess."

Obviously, there's a problem here. I refuse to call the most important day in history Easter.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Preparing Your Heart

Good Friday.... when I was small I couldn't understand why it was good. I remember confusing it with Black Friday since it seemed like it must have been a dark, sad day that Jesus was crucified.

When I grew up a little it was explained to me, and I knew the answer. But I still wasn't feeling it. I had to repent and put my trust in his act on that day to truly see it's significance. Something had to change in me to change my focus from self to God.

But what happened on this day, about 1,980 years ago? Jesus made me whole by paying my debt (in full and in advance) and therefore I long to obey His teachings.

I am aware that many who stop by here don't want to read the truth about what happened over Holy Week. But I would encourage you to at least read up on the recaps below that can be found in the Bible. It's only a few chapters, and you'll be able to understand why today is Good, and not black.

It makes sense that today I at the very least put a (very) rough summary of what happened up to this point. From when Jesus arrives on a colt on the palm branches to how he leaves carrying his cross up to Calvary.

I long to feel more connected, since work and life and laundry and dinner and bills and (and and and) all distract so easily.

Image courtesy of bela_kiefer /
Sunday- Palm Sunday
     When it is hear that Jesus is coming into Jerusalem, a crowd starts gathering, and tearing palms from trees to cover the ground. The Pharisees did not want to hear people calling Jesus their Savior, since that would be blasphemy. And when they asked Jesus to tell them to stop, he said that if the people stopped saying he was the Messiah, then the rocks themselves would cry out. AKA.... I am the Messiah. The Pharisees were not happy. John 12:13; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:9-19

Thursday, April 17, 2014


5:55am- Boil some water.
5:58am- Turn on the coffee
6:00am- Clear kitchen table
6:01am- Check email and weather forecast
6:05am- Wake Tom.
6:10am- Peel eggs. Breakfast served.
6:15am- Make bed. Gather laundry for later.

Finding joy in the ordinary. We are blessed to have ordinary available to us. When we have a long, stressing day- there is an ordinary we can retreat to. And when we are just tired of the hustle, the ordinary has routine to comfort us.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Never going to be a chef...

I will never be a chef. It requires an ease around the kitchen, and confidence with all the tools, which I honestly do not have. And I've learned to deal with that fact. Everyone has their 'thing' they hate. Something that just gives chills up the spine. Mine is poor knife handling.

This isn't a sponsored for the Billy May's whatchamacallit. I'm not going to sell you a safety knife.
Image courtesy of Apolonia /
Blades. I can handle them, but I just cannot handle you handling them. 
Make sense? Probably not. I hate blades but would rather handle them than see you handling them poorly.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Moving to NYC... for a boy

This is not just a story about how I moved on a whim to NYC to be with my long distance boyfriend (of only 10 months). This is a thank you to my mother, and Tom's parents.

Girl Meets Boy
I left the comfort of my mothers home in rural Pennsylvania to be with a boy in the big city. I had graduated from college in May 2009, and started dating Tom in October. In January he moved back to NYC because of school and family issues, and we dated long distance for 7 months.

Dating Long Distance
There was rarely a point that 2 weeks would pass without my driving to NYC for at least 1 day, or him taking the bus from Port Authority to come visit me for a week. Rinse and repeat for 7 months. There were speeding tickets, massive traffic jams, and I would travel hours to NYC just to spend less than a day with Tom before returning home.

On July 30th, there was a traffic accident/pileup that turned my reasonable 4 hour drive to one that took over 7 hours to get home. I was surrounded on all sides by tractor trailers, nearly running out of gas and probably driving high off the fumes. This photo was taken that day, the day I decided to move.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lottery Winnings

Recently, someone in my office asked me what I would do if I won the lottery. So I guess, since everyone and everyone's office is entering into a lottery pool, why not make a few questions out of this.

Image courtesy of stockimages /
You just won $1,000,000.

Here's what I would do if I won, say, $1,000,000. This is from the perspective of a Dink (dual income no kids) couple. After taxes, we'd get approx $650,000 in our bank accounts.

How would we spend it?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Keeping Amused on Long Trips and Flights

I LOVE travelling. The anticipation of the 'getting there' is almost more than the trip itself (depending on where we're going, of course).

Friday, April 11, 2014


Do you like hot dogs? I used to have them way too much as a kid, and am kind of repulsed by the idea of standard ones from the supermarket. I did make pigs in a blanket for the Superbowl... but even then they were just kind of blah. Even with condiments or onions, etc- they were just BORING.

But I found a hotdog cart that changed that for me. Granted, I haven't eaten there yet, but I am intrigued. And, for a moment there seems to be a only a few.... along the west coast (LA, Hollywood) and at their main Vancouver location.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

3 Ways Intermittent Fasting (IF) Taught Me to Eat

If you remember back to this post, I started my weight loss 'journey' at 215. While I'm not yet at the 170 goal I set for myself to reach by September, I'm already 20 lbs lighter, 20 lbs closer. Here I'll explain how I did this without any significant change in activity level.

FASTING!? Yep. And its something everyone does, to one degree or another. When you sleep in and wake for lunch, when you run out of the house without breakfast. When you are asleep. While fasting can sound scary, but done the right way it can work wonderfully.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hairstyles for a Pear Shaped Face

The great mystery.

I cannot tell you how many hours I've spent trying to determine the shape of my face. What a dumb problem to have. Who doesn't know what shape their face is?

THIS GIRL. The one with the wide jaw, and the not-wide hairline. What on Earth is that?
Square? Oval? Round? Pear?
Pear? Seriously, my face is pear shaped?

It is pear shaped, right? Is there another shape (fruit, vegetable, trapazoid) that it is instead?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Goals in Blogging

I'm just starting to tell people that I blog, and I know that for most people it's kind of something you raise your eyebrows at.

They might think:
Blog? I haven't written in it since 2007 but I have a blog too. Why does she bring it up?

Then they ask what is it for, at which point I explain that right now it's more of an online journal, with the aim of gaining a foothold online. Eyebrows go up even more.

Which basically tells me that I need a way to describe blogging without sounding crazy or undervaluing what it is.

Monday, April 7, 2014


When Tom and I were dating for about 2 months, he asked his parents if his girlfriend from Pennsylvania could come for a visit and stay over the New Years 2010 weekend.

Up to that point heard about a girl who their son met online. But never caught her name every-time it was mentioned. So they asked, "what's her name?" and Tom said "Farin". And then they said this gem "Oh, like Farina?"

Yup, just like the cereal. And they said I could visit for New Years.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Entertaining Guests

I have always admired people who throw extravagant dinner parties. Creating a beautiful menu, with the plates matching the tablecloth, and everyone having a grand old time.

Not always reality, am I right?
Image courtesy of marin /
More often than not, good intentions fly out the window when the main dish burns, the guests arrive early or the babysitter cancels. We always have such lofty expectations, yet they always seem to fall short. 

Can we please be done with the Pinterest-pressure? It's just not practical, and leaves the host disappointed in that they couldn't make a simple hot chocolate bar or host an epic game night.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dream Vacation

Recently, my co-workers created one of their office lottery pools. They were having a conversion about what they would do if they won the lottery, and although I never opt in with them, someone asked me what I would do. While that question is actually my letter L entry later this month, taking a vacation obviously came up.
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

I would probably choose Greece, or a (long) Mediterranean cruise. Which works out perfect, considering Tom would most likely answer by saying he would visit Israel and Turkey. See some of the places mentioned in the Bible. So this trip would make the most sense.

But, I also dream about going somewhere that makes no sense at all.


Image courtesy of Tom Curtis /

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Candid Camera- NYC Subway

Some people travel to and from work and never look up from their iPhone. Today I'm posting all the photos I've taken on the NYC Subway, that you might've missed otherwise.

I have a long commute, so grab a coffee and get comfy.
Also, Tom kind of photobombed one of the below photos. Do you see him?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bad Habits

The way I see it, everyone has something they'd like to be rid of. For me, I have a few.

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 /
I have an unconscious habit of biting my lip, which Tom hates. When nervous, I pick at my cuticles. When falling asleep, I tend to fidget and move around (which Tom also hates, not surprisingly). I play with my face- hence my inability to leave pimples alone- but also just resting my chin on my hand. Which is a really bad thing to do if your trying to get rid of breakouts.

Some habits, like the above, can be unlearned. I can give myself a manicure to remind me to leave my cuticles alone. To wear lip gloss/lipstick to keep me from messing with my lips. I am constantly putting lotion or sanitizer on my hands, since the smell when brought to my chin snaps me out of the mindlessness. And I now drunk sleepytime tea (try Celestial Vanilla) to combat restlessness.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fools

Growing up, I was basically an only child. My parents were both married before each other, and had kids with their first spouses. When they got married and had me, I was the only kid I knew for a large chunk of my childhood.

My brothers and sisters came to visit and all lived with us at one point it another, but they were at least 8 years older. I was the annoying little kid. I was the kid who played Mario and Duck Hunt with you but only for 10 seconds. Then I ran into a turtle or flying hammer and got to watch my sister or brothers play forever. They were just so cool and awesome. And never died while playing Mario.

As a result, especially when I didn't have an cool older sibling to follow around, I learned how to entertain myself. And that sometime involved pranks.

Image courtesy of Pixomar /
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