Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Busy Broads Bangin' Buys #1

I'm not sure if anyone is even remotely interested or not, but I'm going to start a new series on the blog highlighting things I deem as bangin" buys







It could be things I've actually bought myself, things I might want to remember for the future, items I think blog readers may find useful,  a good deal, or any combination of the 4! 





First up......



Vidal Sassoon ColorFinity Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair





When I saw this at 99c Only I threw it in my basket because dry shampoo has replaced milk and bread as a staple in my life



I am always looking for a better brand at a cheaper price...and OMG this is the best one yet!!  I've tried at least 7 kinds by now and this one wins for me hands down.  It is light and in both scent and weight.  Your hair does not get weighed down or chalky feeling at all as some have left my hair feeling like a hay bail.  My hair stays silky and grease free without smelling like old lady floral perfume. And because it is specially formulated for dark hair, there is no white residue left behind for me to try and brush out or sleep on and hope it goes away by morning.  I just love it!  I went back and stocked up on 6 more cans just to be safe because you never know how long something will last in the dollar stores.  I looked online for comparison and I got those 7 cans for the price of ONE at regular retail price.  You can't beat that!


Geometric Candle Holder



This candleholder was also at 99c Only (but costs $1.99).  It's a very simple design that could easily be spray painted to fit your décor or crafted into something else (maybe for succulents or something like that)





Massaging Glove





I got this for my mom when I was putting together her Christmas stocking back in December.  I got her a purple one for $1.99 and figured even if it didn't work too well it wasn't that big of a loss.  Just 2 weeks ago I was at her house and tried it out and loved it so much I went back and got one for myself. 

The back side has straps for you to keep it on your hand and you simply glide it over your body and the small balls roll. It works perfectly for my calves that are always tightening up on me and giving me a lot of pain and Charlie horses.  (it also doesn't feel too shabby rolled over your butt either)


Cookie Butters and Chocolate Spreads





I do shop at other places besides 99C Only....promise.....but they've done it again!  I came across these cute little jars of different flavored cookie butters and chocolate spreads.  I've never had cookie butter myself, but I know it has quite the cult following.  I think this would be great for putting together a gift basket or some sort of care package


Cool Birthday Candles


I don't know about you, but when I think of a place to go shopping for birthday candles Sprouts Farmers Market doesn't enter my mind at all.  But apparently it should!  Their impressive birthday candle collection happened to catch my eye.  I'm filing this one away for future reference for sure






Zevia Brand Ginger Beer




This has probably been around a while now and I just didn't know it.  I used to drink Zevia soda quite a bit back in the day, but not so much in the last 3 years or so.  I LOVE Moscow Mules, so it's pretty cool that there is a non sucralose/aspartame/cane sugar option now for all the low carb mule lovers of the world



Bangin' Buys #1 is in the books.  Or I guess on the interwebs....  Any of these items catch your eye too?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

If ONE More Person Asks Me When I Am Going to Have a Baby.....

 The Boy just turned 30. I just turned 28.  We've been married for 6 years, together just under 9. 
 We have reared 2 of those most wonderful felines to ever grace this planet....but none of the human species. So as you can probably imagine with all those little facts combined, we get a lot of   "So when are you having a baby????" 

How many times do you think we (ME, as the woman really gets the brunt of it) have heard that?  Well, take that number you just said and multiply it by 403 and you'll have roughly the right count....and my god does it get OLD!  I know we aren't alone in this, but frankly I'm tired of it and I feel compelled to speak up about it. The thing is, I know not a single person means any harm when they ask the question.  I know they aren't trying to upset me, but what they don't understand is that when you are constantly hearing it from someone from each facet of your life it becomes overwhelmingly annoying.


I have been thinking about writing this for about a year now and how ironic was it that the day after I really started to plan it out in my head this post came up in my Facebook memories




So yea.....I was "that" person who lost their ever lovin mind on Facebook...it happens and I'm not even ashamed of it.  I remember wanting to sit down immediately and write a blog post.  It probably worked out for the best that I didn't.  I've had a chance to calm down from the initial trigger (the passing of a year will do that for ya) and really think about how I would want to explain it without (hopefully) sounding like a lunatic. 







"If you wait until you feel ready, you'll never have kids"
  
or

"No time is the right time"

Duuuude.  Every time someone says this to me it takes everything in my power not to ask them if they think they are the first person to bestow such profound "wisdom" on me  😒  I've heard it a million times people....a million! And the few times I have told them that their response goes a little something like this.....

         "that's because it's true!"  

Same dialogue, different people.  I just think it's so funny that people think I haven't heard it before.  Or that coming from them the 786th time is going to make the little light bulb appear over my head and I'll say "Gosh, you are right!!" and then ask The Boy to meet me in my sisters laundry room and impregnate me right then and there at the family function. 

Ok....so that last line may have been a little much, but really this whole thing is just a little much.

The thing is, I get the point they are trying to make.  I know there is no perfect time.  I get you never feel 100% ready....I'm not a complete idiot believe it or not.(actually, can you just believe it please?) But there's also such thing as not getting yourself into something that you don't feel ready for.  Basically you have to find the middle between those two opposite feelings and finding that middle is for me to worry about and not for you to tell me when to get there.

Finances

 This is another great one that very much still applies to the one above.  When I bring up that I don't feel financially ready I get alot of 

"if people waited to be able to afford kids they would never have them"  

Again, I constantly feel the need to point out that I get the principle behind what they are saying.....but my god....shame on me for wanting to feel like I can properly support my kids. What the hell am I thinking? I've seen people have kids repeatedly that they can't afford and I have no desire to do that to myself or the children.

It's not so much the day to day expenses that scare me.  I feel like you can  move things around, cut back on some things, change a few habitsvto buy the food and diapers etc.  What really scares me is the large expenses like daycare.  You know what....daycare in itself is such a big thing let me just go ahead and give it it's own section......


Daycare

Have you seen the cost of daycare these days? Holy crap!!! I don't know about you, but I am not able to just shit out anywhere between $500-$1,000 a month with just 9 months preparation.  Not unless I hit the lottery big or sell some organs.  It's a HUGE expense that you have to be ready for.  Then there's also the aspect of finding a place/person that you can trust. It's not like picking a restaurant out for dinner (and I struggle to even do that!)  It's a really big deal.

I have had The Boys parents and even my sister that now stays home mention that they could watch the baby....but even that brings me a huge level of stress.  I have seen situations like this with grandparents watching the kids go badly enough times to make it worrisome
  •  One girls in-laws repeatedly said they couldn't wait for her to get pregnant and that as soon as she did, the mother in-law would quit her job to stay home and watch the baby.  About half way through the pregnancy she was still working and then ended up admitting she no longer planned to quit and would not be able to watch the baby.


  • In another instance, the mother of the girl was the one to watch her child while she worked.  Her mom never did complain about it, but when she decided to quit her job and stay home herself after about 9 months her mothers response was "oh GOOD!!!"  So while she had never actually complained about it, she had grown unhappy in the situation and was relieved for it to be ending.  I'm sure the reason she never spoke up about it was because she probably felt guilty because she had offered the babysitting herself.  Imagine though how bad the situation could have potentially gotten 
Basically I think far too often grandparents get caught up in the fantasy of having grandchildren and seem to forget that babies are a lot of damn work.  That watching them day in and day out isn't as magical as it sounds and is very different than just getting to be grandma and grandpa.  It's a HUGE commitment that you have to be completely ready for or it could turn out horribly for everyone involved.


Not to mention that then you are having to work around the schedules of other peoples lives.  The one and ONLY advantage in my eyes of an actual daycare business is that there are very set days and hours and multiple employees for coverage.  When you choose a person in their home you have to work around their schedules too.  If they take off on a week long vacation you have to find someone else in the meantime.  Or if they get sick....whatever it is.  It can have you scrambling to find a Plan B.



The Body Commitment  

One of my big triggers for the above mentioned Facebook rant was that a family member commented to my father inlaw that now that he was retired he needed to sit down that son if his and tell him it's about time he give him some grandchildren. Well The Boy can't give his parents a grandchild on his own, and unless he was insinuating The Boy knock up someone else I'm going to assume he was referring to me.  Let's face it, having a baby is a WAY bigger deal for the woman than the man.  Sorry guys....just is.  We not only have to deal with all the changes to our body and possible misery and possible health issues of being pregnant, then there's the birth and recovery, and lastly breast feeding. I hope to be lucky enough to breast feed as long as makes sense and works, so once you put all of it together you're looking at a year and a half to two year commitment.  Tack on some more time if you need to lose baby weight afterward too.  So while you might think it's my duty to give everyone around me a baby to love on and adore, it's a big commitment that I need to be ready for and won't rush into just to appease those who think it's "time."

Schedules

A year ago when the shit really hit the fan on this topic and revved me up, The Boy was working a horrendous schedule.  He had been working 6-7 days a week for 3 months straight and 12-15 hour days were the average. I specifically remember that just 2 weeks earlier was the first time we had been out in public together at all in that time (and it was meeting up at a Waffle House at 3am after his shift) The Boy himself was making comments about wanting a baby sooner rather than later, but I had to tell him that I didn't see it happening anytime soon.  If he even got to the point of having 2 days off, because of the nature of his job they would be during the week.  I was (and still am) off on the weekend.  When would we ever get to be a family together?  I get doing what you have to do when you're in it and getting by.  I've been there and done that. But I'm not looking to put myself into a situation where going in I know it's bad if I don't have to.  I refuse to feel like a single mom and never get to feel like a family.

A year later his schedule is getting better at his new job.  Over the last few months he has had better days off than he has had in 2 years and we have been seeing each other a lot more....which is great! It is a definite step in the right direction.  I just need some more time put in at this job and proof of stability before I go jumping in.  We have had a terrible two years where he has lost his jobs unexpectedly at 2 different places (another story for another day).  I'm sure you can imagine how this would give me anxiety and for someone whose personality depends on the feeling of security, it has been quite a struggle for me.  I need more time to feel secure and settled before taking such a huge life step.


Work
  
Since were just talking about jobs, let's dive into that topic a little deeper too.  After being at the same job for 7 years, I just started at a new company about 4 months ago.  I'm starting back at square one with vacation time so I will need time to build that back up for any kind of maternity leave.  People don't think about the fact that besides the expenses of bringing a human into the world, you also have to be able to afford to stay home if you don't have paid maternity leave (which I don't know anyone who does)  Most people around me only seem to be able to afford 6-8 weeks before being forced to return to work with no time left in their bank.  Then when their kids get sick they are in a tough spot with trying to stay home with them without having the time, or never being able to really accrue much before needing to use it again. And once you have kids you never know what is going to happen.  I mean I know you NEVER really know what is going to happen, but the more lives you bring into the equation the harder it becomes. You never know when they are going to get sick, hurt, whatever.  How often will you have to leave work early or call in all together.  Worst case scenario I've seen it cost people their jobs.  Best case I've seen it create tension and awkwardness with their employer and/or coworkers.  


The Difference Between "when" and "do"


Like I said in the very first paragraph, I know people don't mean any harm when they ask "When are you going to have a baby?"  but I want them to better understand how it can make someone feel.  It's very presumptuous and borderline rude.  Like asking an unmarried woman "When are going to get married???"  Just don't.

  The better question would be "Do you want to have kids?"  I have NO problem at all when people ask me that.  That feels like just a regular question between two people.  It doesn't have an underlying expectation.  It's simply an honest question with a much better delivery.

So think about this the next time you ask a "when" question and see if there is a better way to phrase it.  It could make all the difference.

You Never Know What Is Going On In Peoples Lives

Another reason you might want to keep your mouth shut when it comes to people having kids is  that you never know what is going on in other peoples lives.  

They could desperately want children but be struggling with a fertility.  Possibly running out of money and/or options to make their dream come true.

They could be completely financially unable to even go down that road to begin with...whether naturally or through IVF.  I'm sure people don't exactly walk around saying "I want kids so badly but I'm broke as hell"

Their relationship could be in a fragile state.  Three years ago The Boy and I were in a bad place and quietly spent an entire year in therapy working to save our marriage. Every time I got the "When are you going to have a baby" question during that time I had to fight back tears.  It was a painful reminder of the state of our relationship and how far we were from that.  Six months out of that year I would call the therapy intense.  With such intense weekly therapy and emotions on our hands as it was, we weren't publicly announcing our struggle as we really didn't need the added pressure and opinions of everyone around us.  The baby question really cut me deep during such an emotional time in my life. (I'm happy to say we are in a much MUCH better place now)

Moral here....we all have struggles that not everyone needs to know about all the time.  Your words could hurt without you even knowing or meaning to.  Just be careful and empathetic towards those around you.



Overall....Can we Just Acknowledge That It's a HUGE Fucking Step

Seriously though....can we just acknowledge that?  It's so easy for the outsiders to romanticize it.  I'm not saying having kids won't be rewarding and amazing.  I'm sure it will be...I have no doubts about that.  I know I'll have them snuggled up on my chest as a newborn and shed a tear in disbelief that this cute, tiny, little human is mine.  I know the sound of their laugh will make me melt and that watching them develop a personality will be one of the most fun things I'll ever get to watch.  I know all this.....  But let's not forget what comes with it.  Long sleepless nights, sickness and injuries, self doubt, fear, guilt, financial hardships, stress,...the list goes on and on.  I'm not trying to make having kids sound like the worst thing on the planet at all.  I just want people to recognize that it is a huge lifelong responsibility.  You are in charge of raising a productive member of society for Christ sake!! That's kind of a big deal.....and the people doing it need to feel ready for all of that.  They sure as hell don't need you pushing YOUR expectations, timelines, or opinions onto them. Be mindful of what you say to others.

That is all.















Saturday, January 6, 2018

My Goals for 2018

Some people are anti new year resolutions. They can get pretty attitud-y about it and be overall negative and unsupportive of the people who make them....but consider this:

I have started,bailed, and failed at things at all times of year...so why be so judgmental of the goals made at the beginning of the year?  Because you think it's too cliche? Maybe it is....but who cares! A goal is a goal and we shouldn't hate on it whether it's made in January or June.  Know what I'm saying?

I never used to set goals at the beginning of the year, but I have the last couples years because I really do like the "fresh start" feeling that comes with the new year.  Something about having 12 months ahead to get them done helps it feel less daunting for whatever reason. And for me the first quarter of the year is overall less hectic and an easier time for me to focus on things than later in the year when the craziness picks up.  The timing just feels right.  So here are my personal goals for the year


1.  I figure I will just start out with the ones that will make you roll your eyes first and get them over with.  Yes.....I want to lose weight.  But instead of setting a goal related to a weight number, I'm calling this one "Fix My Brain When It Comes To Food."  My  weight has been a struggle for years, but for a good chunk of time there, about 3 1/2 years I had it well under control and I was at my healthiest in every sense.  With food, with exercise, with my mindset....I just felt good.  Then I had 3 very taxing years and all that went out the window and I lost the strength and self awareness I once had.  I need to get that back which means more than just a "diet."  I have some serious work to do but I feel more ready than I have in years to do it

2. Feel Good in a Swimsuit by Summer.  Yup.....I'm that girl setting a goal in January that has to do with swimwear.  It might sound cliche, basic, and a little annoying....but notice I left it pretty vague.  I'm not trying to get a hot "bikini body".....that ship has sailed and I'm pretty sure even sunk to the bottom of the ocean somewhere.  I'm over it.  Wearing a bikini isn't something I give two craps about anymore.  In fact I don't have any kind of swimsuit picked out at all as a goal.  All I want is to be able to go swimming at my sisters house and not feel like a pale sausage busting out of it's casing.  That's it.

3. Move My Ass-  Last one regarding weight loss.  I just need to move my ass more.  I know myself well enough to know that if I say "work out 4 times a week" that I will bail quickly because I put too much pressure on myself with a number.(plus I hate working out...like LOATHE it)  The first week that ends that I only worked out once or twice I will plunge deep into "fuck it" mode and never start back up again.  Another part of fixing my brain that I need to work on....SO....I am setting a basic goal of just moving more. My one fear is that it is not specific enough so I think I might have to develop this one a bit more.  I need to find that middle ground of not pushing so hard I give up quickly, but also not leaving it so open ended I never even do it.  Any suggestions?

4. Develop a Better Cleaning & Organization  Plan-  So here's the thing, I have realized I need to create better structure for myself.  I tend to not keep up with things very well and then it becomes this huge, massive, daunting project.  I'm trying to get better at keeping up with organization and house cleaning so that it doesn't always have to turn into a whole freakin day of cleaning where I'm pissed off that an entire day off of work was spent doing chores. Like above, I know that if I make a daily cleaning list that I am likely to bail once I miss a day or 2.  My thoughts to avoid this is to create both a monthly and weekly cleaning list that I can hang for both me and The Boy to work on at any given time.  I need to SEE it because I am super visual and I also respond much better to lists.  I love the feeling of physically marking something off....it gives me a feeling of accomplishment.  So my goal is to have this system set in place by mid February so we can keep up with life better  overall in small chunks of time.

5. Downsize-  This isn't referring to where we live....1,100 sq ft. is small enough as it is..Haha!  I need to get more ruthless and get rid of a bunch of crap.  It isn't easy for a person who likes to craft, thrift shop etc.  I see the potential in almost anything and will hang onto it forever.  The problem is I need to actually do something with it in a reasonable amount of time or just get rid of it.  The next problem is that I'm really sentimental.  I attach memories to things so I will feel guilt in getting rid of things....but some of it has got to go!

6. Make a Plan for my School Loan Debt-  I'm not going to get into all the details about my student loan debt.  Not going to talk about how I regret my choice of school every day of my life. How it has financially crippled me for years and years to come.  How it is so far the biggest mistake of my 28 years on this earth....nope.....not gonna go there. We would be here until 2019. But this year I need to work up some sort of plan.  I have put it on the back burner for a while because talking and thinking about it just makes me angry all over again....so I just make the multitude of payments monthly and try to move on for another 30 days.  It's time to finally face it.  By this summer I want to develop some sort of plan. I'm hoping consolidation will help

7.  Moisturize!!-  This one might seem silly, but it's a goal I have that I'm not going to leave out just because it sounds stupid.  I am not super girly and don't keep up with skin regimens at all.  I've never really liked the feeling of lotion either so that's a big reason.  I hate how it lingers on your skin...uck!  I'll take suggestions on the best moisturizer that doesn't leave you feeling sticky and greasy if you have them.  I just know I need to start getting better at this before I get older.  I'm already looking at my hands and legs and thinking "yeesh!" so that's probably not a good sign.  I don't want to look like cheap dollar store crepe paper streamers by 35.   

And coming from a white girl...I think this is hilarious and true. (the truest things are always the funniest)

 
Aging just isn't really on our side and a little extra moisturizer wouldn't hurt me.

8. Read at Least 8 Books- In reality I would like to read much more than 8 but I kept the number low to keep it realistic for the crazy times.  I love to thrift books but I have a pile of them I haven't read yet...13 to be exact! So while I hope I read all of them this year I will be happy to get to 8.  I love to read but have gotten so used to plopping my ass down in front of Netflix or scrolling, scrolling, scrolling on my phone that I have gotten away from it completely. 



9. Make at Least 1k in Side Money- This refers to any money made outside my regular 9-5 job (7-3:30 if you want get all technical and shit)  Whether it be from blogging, selling off old items, reselling good finds, crafts....whatever.  I kept it lower at 1k because I have never kept track before and I have no clue what is realistic.  I figured this would get me to pay attention more and open the door for bigger goals the next year


So I'm going to be a rebel and leave my goals at 9.  I'm not going to round it out to an even 10 just for the sake of it....even thought I'm fighting the urge as I type.  I do have a few more goals but they are more specific to blogging and not personal goals. I don't feel like they fit here so 9 goals it is!

Tell me some of your goals for the year....I would love to hear about some other than my own.  I'm sick of mine already! (kidding....kinda)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Stocking Stuffing 101 (plus adult stocking stuffer ideas)

(This post contains affiliate links, but don't you worry! I only link items that I have actually bought myself or legitimately think are the bees knees.  I'm not here to push a buncha crap)

I love anything and everything about Christmas.  All of it.  But in regards to the actual gift portion of it all, stockings have been my hand down favorite for as long as I can remember. I was happy they came first Christmas morning and always took my sweet time opening it to make it last longer.
 It's a simple joy that I don't think everyone quite understands or appreciates.....but damn it they should!!  

Rockin' the local radio station shirt, PJ style

My broski inlaw  grew up in a religion that didn't celebrate Christmas.  It wasn't until he began dating my sister that he would celebrate it for the first time.  I didn't know this at first, but I specifically remember the moment I found out.  The first words out of my mouth were "So you've NEVER had a stocking before???"  With my mouth gaping open in disbelief.  Not "so you've never had a Christmas tree?" or "what are you most excited about?"  Nope.  My mind went straight to the sock and trying to wrap my head around the thought of living 30 years of my life without one. 

 As you can see this is serious shit in my world.



As much as I love opening them myself , I think I might love putting them together for others even more.  My deep love for stockings can definitely be attributed to (Spoiler alert: it's not Santa) my mom.  She always put so much time and effort into them and I took notice of it.  She wrapped almost everything in them.  Every chapstick, box of candy, toothbrush, even our cotton pads for our face were wrapped tootsie roll style and tied with curly ribbon.  The simple detail of wrapping each individual thing is what has made it so memorable for me.  Now as an adult I stuff a stocking for her every year and will continue to do so forever.  It only seemed right to turn the tables and now let her be on the receiving end of the tradition she created. Admittedly I've gotten a little carried away with them and they now go WAAAAY past just a stocking. I have to hand her a bag that holds the stocking plus the 4,056 things that don't fit inside.  And the bag may possibly weight around 15lbs...give or take.  But I just can't help myself!  I LOOOOVVVEE it!

So what do you put in a stocking anyway?   Glad you asked......




 An orange- growing up the toe of our stocking always contained an orange.  Once I got older and started stuffing them myself, I have gotten a little more creative and sometimes do avocados. But whatever you choose, a fruit in the toe is a must!

Nuts in the shell- the next layer on top of the orange was some form of nut in the shells.  Some years it was just peanuts, other years it was the fancier mixed nuts that you can buy in bulk.  You can even go wild and mix the two....it is Christmas after all!

Individually wrapped candies- this is pretty self explanatory.  I always looked forward the to Reese's bells, or even better, the Reese's Christmas trees. We also always had a few candy canes hung over the edge of the stocking

Gum/Mints

Toiletries- every year as far back as I can remember we got a toothbrush, a travel sized toothpaste, and travel sized mouthwash.  Some years we got shampoo and conditioner but not all the time.  Then as we got older we would get cotton pads for cleaning our face, razors, and shaving cream. Deodorant, body wash, and face soap usually made an appearance too

Writing utensils- we always got new pencils and/or pens and when we were younger we would get fun erasers

Misc items: chapsticks, lotions, loofahs, nail files, emery boards, hair ties, and nail polish 

That about covers the items that I would deem "necessary" and can go across all ages.  In general I think kids stockings are inherently easier to fill.  Small toys, puzzles, coloring books....it's just easier to find stuff .  I think people get sort of stuck though when it comes to adults so let me share some of the things I like to use


Snacks: Beef jerky, small boxes of Cheez Its (dollar tree usually has them. They are so much cuter than the small bags because they are an exact scaled down version of the regular sized box), peanut butter cups (not reeses, actual cups of peanut butter), trail and snack mixes, dried fruits, fun cereal, sunflower seeds, popcorn

Coffee and/or Tea - try to get fun new flavors they have never tried before. Bonus points if you get small bottles of flavored syrups

Small functional tools and gadgets- small flashlights, tool sets, keychains, air fresheners, lens cleaning spray or wipes, lens cleaning cloth, 

Alcohol-  yes please

Makeup and/or makeup removing wipes

Shaving cream brush, after shave, beard wax

Hairspray, gel, dry shampoo

Monkey butt powder

Foot spray

Shoe inserts

Face masks

Pumice stone

Funny socks

Lighters

Sewing kit

Tide stick

Lint rollers

Card games 

Hot sauces



Now that you have been given a decent list to get started, where is the best place to go and get all this stuff?

Dollar Stores-  You can check off a massive amount of your list with one stop at the dollar store.  In fact, be careful or before you know it you'll be like me and be giving someone a $60 stocking...it's easy to do!

Grocery stores/Pharmacy type convenience stores-  these places are great to get the travel size items, but weigh out your options first.  Some items you can get at the dollar store in a full bottle for the same price as the travel.  All just depends on the look you are going for

World Market- they have a great selection of miniature items! I've gotten small coffee syrups, mini bags of coffee, mini bottles of hot sauce, vinegar, and olive oils, mini cheese wheels, as well as various international snacks

Asian/International Markets- if the person you are buying for is a foodie or even just a little adventurous, these markets are a really fun place to shop for stuffers.  You can just browse around and choose the items that jump out at you, or shop the aisles of specific countries that you think they might be interested in.  You may walk away with fun new snacks to try or even some ingredients to cook something new.  I highly suggest it!



Last but not least, I'm going to close this out with some items that are my top picks for this year.  If The Boy is reading this post I"mma need you to exit the page now.

I'll wait.



Go.




Get out of here man!







For reals.




Some of this stuff I bought you for Christmas....so go!!










Thanks.









First up is...... 


The WetBrush- I have crazy thick hair that is super knotty.  I bought this brush about 8 months ago or so and it such a LIFESAVER!! I love not having to rip through my hair anymore...it's seriously the best! (HA! if you are still reading this, I made sure the first one wasn't for you)


 


Metal Straws- The Boy has a weird obsession with straws.  Like he will save them from QT and put them in the dishwasher and pull them out to put in our drawer.  It's weird.  So I decided to get him some metals ones to see how it goes




Frother- I don't know jack nothin about coffee.  I like it and I drink it daily.....but I'm talking Kcup, a squirt of Stevia, and a splash of heavy cream kind of coffee.  I don't go out for coffee and I don't drink anything too fancy.  A few months back when we went on a mini vacation The Boy ordered me a coffee from a nearby cafe.  I was like OMG why is this soooo good?? He said they frothed it....that's it lol  I guess I am easy to please.  So I came home and instantly started looking up frothers.  Since I don't know anything about anything coffee related I didn't want to get anything expensive to start, so I got this.  I have used it everyday since and I absolutely love it!  



Sphere Ice Mold- Great for drinky dranks


Poop Book- I'm on a mission to bring back the bathroom readers.  Let's not forget where we came from before phones. Will you please join me in my cause?

 


Phase 10- I had completely forgotten about this game until recently, but I REALLY want it again!  My friends and I went through a real serious phase (merp!) with this game while on a houseboat trip in 8th grade. We were OBSESSED!  I have probably only played it twice since then and it was at least 12 years ago, so I'm ready to get hooked all over again!




   
 

 Well I hope this post was helpful.  If I helped one person in this world discover the love that is the Christmas Stocking, then it was all worth it (did that sound convincing?)






 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cabbage Patch Stew

If you're looking for a nice comforting bowl of stew to get you through the cold winter months, I've got you covered.

OR...

If you're like me and live in Arizona and you're looking for a  nice stew recipe to help you PRETEND that  it's winter when in actuality it's close to 80 degrees everyday well into December, then crank the AC and look no further because I've got that covered too.

This recipe takes me straight back to my childhood and is a family favorite.  Except maybe for my sister that threw it up once...maybe not her.....but the rest of us it give it a big thumbs up.




I had been telling The Boy about this recipe for years but had never made it for him.  I figured you can only rave about something for so long without making it before it just kinda gets awkward and kinda starts to sound like a big lie.  Seemed good a time as any to getting around to finally making a pot of it.  After pulling out my grandmas old school typer writer typed bright yellow recipe card, I decided to Google it just to see if other people make it too. 

I was surprised at how many results came up!  But then I started opening them up and one after another they were just all WRONG!

1. Some used kindey beans.....  Nope.
2.I saw lots that used tomato sauce or just canned diced tomatoes.... Hecks to the no!
3.And not a single one mentioned being served with mashed potatoes.  This is just sad

So basically, it's a good thing I'm here to correct such a travesty.  You're welcome.

1.You need to use ranch beans. Yes the ones with the black label that have that tasty sauce
2.Tomato soup is where it's at.  It adds a real richness and silky texture.  Just do it.
3.Serving them with mashed potatoes is a MUST.  Because....
      A.  Mashed potatoes.   Nuff  said
      B. There's just something about the two together that is just amazing.  The key is to make your potatoes true old school "mashed" and not whipped.  I'm not going to include mashed potatoes in the recipe because I (hope) know you can handle that on your own...right?
You want them buttery and on the thicker side....and personally I don't even mind a lump or two.  I like the contrast of the stew with the thick and almost a little dense mashed potato (from not whipping them full of air)  Serve a big scoop of it in the center of your bowl and put a little of each on your spoon and eat them together like so....


And for the love of god, PUH-LEASE do not mix it all together in one giant swirly mess like my cousins used to.  You'll ruin the magic



Cabbage Patch Stew

2lbs. ground beef
1 large onion, sliced
1/2c. diced celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small head cabbage, shredded (looking for about 6 cups)
1 26oz can Ranch beans
2 14oz cans condensed tomato soup
2 14oz cans green beans
Mashed potatoes for serving

Brown ground beef.  Sauté the onions, celery, and cabbage in the fat until softened. Drain off excess fat before adding minced garlic and let cook for one minute.  Pour in soup, beans, and enough water to cover.  Simmer on low for a minimum of 40 minutes, but the longer the better.  Salt to taste and pour in green beans just long enough to warm through as not to break them up into the stew.  Serve with mashed potatoes
















Saturday, October 7, 2017

27 Acts of Kindness for My 27th Birthday

It's pretty typical of me to just now be getting around to writing a blog post about my 27th birthday.....when my 28th birthday is only 60ish days away.  But I figured as long as I wrote it at some point within the year it was all good in da hood.

Last fall I was really struggling with what I felt was negativity all around me.  At my job, at The Boys' job, and just in the world in general.  Feeling so smothered by the ick really lit a fire in me to try and be as positive as I could.  I made a deliberate effort to try and appreciate the little things around me and in turn wanted to find a way to put some good out in the world.


Several times over the years I've come across posts on Pinterest about people doing good deeds in honor of their birthday and I LOVED the idea!  I jumped on the bandwagon and started planning.  A lot of people I saw got all of them done on the single day of their birthday.  Kudos to them.....but homegirl ain't got that kind of time....or maybe I'm just a lazy ass?  I'll let you decide on that one.... but being accepting of my own lazy tendencies I decided I was content with getting it done in the month leading up to my birthday. That's how us lazy girls roll.  I'm a big fan of a grace period. 

Anywho....I did a bunch of them on my own, but included my nieces in on a handful of them as well.  I have a Christmas time sleepover tradition with them at my house and decided to weave the two together. We did a few random acts of kindness before going out to see Christmas lights and made a  night out of it.


Here goes!




1. Donated money to a local cat rescue

2. FINALLY....after years of wanting to, I registered to become an organ donor. Now I gotta take good care of these organs so people can get good use out of them someday :)




3.  Brought donuts to the staff at my vet clinic.  I love and appreciate them so much with all they have done for my MoMo over the years that I wanted them to know how much they mean to our family




4. I took a few hours (really!) to sit down and write good reviews for all the businesses and restaurants I could think of that I have gotten good service from.  It may sound small and silly but I feel strongly that far to often people are super vocal when they are unhappy, but don't speak up near enough to give praise.  You never know what it could do for a business just by sharing your good experience.  I was especially happy I had done it when I got this reply on one of my reviews.







It was a pleasure to know that his daughter read this and could feel such pride in her father at that moment.


5. I left money on a vending machine at work for someone to find




6. Picked up garbage around my neighborhood

7. An old neighbor of mine was not a particularly nice person to be quite honest. She was pretty rude for no apparent reason but I couldn't help but notice that she rarely left her house and never seemed to have anyone over.  I worried she might be lonely or unhappy so I drove back to my old neighborhood and left her a little treat and note




8. Donated canned food to the humane society




9. On a particularly hectic day, I bought a coffee for my coworker

10.  Left a snack and thank you note for the mailman.






The funny part is that I never have the mailman bring items to my door, but the very next day we got a big Christmas gift package in the mail so he came to the door and thanked us for what we had left him.  My nieces were at my house still so it was cool for them to be able to hear it from him themselves

11. Left a free coffee card on the mirror of the bathroom at work for someone to find




12.  Did the same with a $5 gift card to buy food in the cafeteria




13, 14, 15.  We had fun leaving lottery tickets in random places for people to find.  We cracked up that we taped one to a bench and stood back and watched a number of people sit right down next to it and not notice it.  We even came back 15 minutes later and it was still there with 3 people sitting on the bench! lol  I wonder how long it took to be found






16. We made Rudolph brownies and left them on the windshields of all the cars on my street along with mini candy canes




17. Went to the movie theater and gave a free popcorn and drink coupon to a family

18. I would round up straggler carts in the parking lot and take them to the "cart corral" to help the employees out

19.  I donated towels, toys, brushes, and treats to Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds

20. When a  new neighbor moved in across the street, I left her cupcakes and a welcome note







21. I left popcorn on a Redbox for someone to enjoy



22. A coworker of mine....actually....technically the manager of the department I worked in seemed particularly stressed.  She had a big project put on her that I knew she had little to no guidance on it and I felt bad for her.  I bought some good chocolates from the gift shop and left them on her desk.  It was small but I was hoping that for just a moment she would feel a little better



23, 24.  On two different occasions when I had great customer service in a retail situation, I made a point to get their name and later called the store to share it with the manager

25.  Totally random....but I came across some library books left out in public (I know right....how does that even happen? lol) and I drove them to the library they belonged to and returned them

26.  I donated snacks to a backpack program for kids (they send less fortunate kids home with non perishable food for the weekend) at the food bank associated with my job

27.  Aaaannnnd I'll be quite honest.  I was one short so I was kinda stretching toward the end there.  But I took 3 days off work to stay with my sister after she had her baby and her husband had to go out of town for work.  I'm counting it! lol


Well there ya have it...27 acts of kindness for my 27th birthday.  I really enjoyed the experience and I think it would be something really great to have kids do.  Instead of their birthday being all about receiving things for themselves, it is a great way to teach them how good it feels to do things for others.  Letting them plan some of the items will really engage them through the process.  Not to mention the prep work for it can be super fun!