Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mommies, sisters, and an anniversary


I hope you all had a happy Mother's Day! Did anyone do anything special? Mine was particularly emotional, as my mom had gotten news that her mammogram was wonky. She has since seen her surgeon, and the cancer is not back!!!!

Both of my little sisters had their birthdays recently. One turned 25, and the other 23. The younger got engaged, and I got to see her in her wedding gown yesterday. It was a truly amazing experience. I got teary, of course. She isn't sentimental at all, and even wore her pants under the dress while she was trying it on in the shop. It meant a lot to me, though!

This Saturday marks The Jerseymooners' first wedding anniversary. The year flew by! We are going to Washington, DC for the weekend. I will check in with pictures and sentiments when we return.

What did you learn your first year of marriage?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Five Question Friday (5/7)


Five question Friday is hosted by Mama M at My Little Life. Join in!

1. What is your worst memory of your siblings?
I think anytime my siblings were hurt or upset are bad. I can't think of specifics, but as the eldest child, I always felt protective of them, whether they needed or wanted my help or not.

2. What was YOUR naughtiest childhood memory? (Must be something YOU did, no pawning it off on someone else.)
I know you won't believe me, but I really never did anything wrong. I was terrified of breaking rules. Part OCD, part healthy fear of my parents. I do remember covering up that my cat stole a chicken breast that was defrosting on the table. I was 18 at the time, but I hid the chicken in the trash because my dad already barely tolerated the cats. Sorry, mom. I feel bad that I lied by omission.
3. Where do you like to go to relax?
I love the beach, I love reading in the park in the sunshine, and I love drinking tea and reading on my chaise. It was a graduation gift form my mother-in-law, and I love it so much that I slept in it the first few days I had it. lol

4. What was the last thing you won?
During intermission at our dance recital in April, there was a contest to see which of the ladies' men danced the best. I didn't have any men there, as Jeff was working, but I noticed a very out-of-place-for-Philadelphia Cowboy won. The prize was a month of free classes. At the after-party, I chatted him up and found out that he was just passing through town with a friend of a friend, so he didn't "belong" to any of the girls in class. I told him he should give his prize to me. He did. I technically didn't win, I charmed them out of him.

5. If you could be on a game show, what would you choose?
Even just watching Deal or No Deal stresses me out, so I'd pick something a little less intense, like Wheel of Fortune or Cash Cab. Jeopardy is fun but seems boring.

I Still Have It : P


Yesterday I got some bad news, so I was super stressed. My pal Laura convinced me to go to dance class anyway, and like the good friend she is, made sure we got some Ben & Jerry's on the way home. (PS- Try the new Boston Cream Pie flavor- OMG!)

So, I was standing in the aisle with two pints of B&J's in my arms, ratty ponytail, dinosaur t-shirt, and sparkly flip-flops, with circles under my eyes from crying, when a handsome man approached.

"Excuse me, are you single?" asked Handsome.

"Me?" (looked around) "Um, no, haha, I am married."

H: Are you sure? You aren't wearing rings.

S: (looks at fingers) Oh! Um. Crap. I left them at home. I was at dance practice!

Laura: She is married. I can vouch for that.

S: Look, see my wedding ring tan lines?! (I was stressed to the point of hysterical and not expecting human contact)

H: Ok. Well, where do you dance.

S: (blank stare.) Oh. ummmmmm... in Philly?

H: Yeah, but is it jazz? hip hop?

S: Ummmmm.... (looks desparately at Laura. Please save me.)

L: It's... contemporary

H: Ok... Well, are you sure you're not single? You have great legs.

So, that was weird, but hilarious. I guess I should wear my dinosaur tee and look crazy more often.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Five Question Friday


I saw Five Question Friday on Stacie's blog and loved it! It's hosted by My Little Life. Check them both out, and feel free to join in!

1. What was the first car you owned?

I had a '94 Saturn SL2. I loved it! I got it (very) used with 121,00 miles on it. I beat it up, and it never let me down. I had it for 6 years, until Jeff decided it was time for me to get a more updated (read: with OnStar) version because of the long, hilly commute to work I had at that time. My current car is also a Saturn. I am so sad that they are going to stop making them. They're great little cars.

2. What songs are you embarrassed to know the lyrics of?

None! I'm not embarrassed at all. I have the weird ability to remember lyrics for eternity after hearing a song only two or three times. I remember everything. If you want to take it waaaaay back, I remember that the lyrics to the Cabbage Patch Theme Song form the Cabbach Patch Kids album were, "Cabbage Patch Kids, Growing in the garden, Cabbage Patch Kids, Growing in the sun, and the most amazing thing about a Cabbage Patch Kiiiiiid: Each one grown to be a special one." Rainbow Brite? Sure, I remember that, too, "Starlight, Rainbow Brite. A little wish in the moonlght. Sunbeams, sparkle and shine, you'll always be a friend of mine."

I could go on all day. I am like a musical Rain Man.

3. Have you ever had stitches?

I got a mole removed for a total of 2 stitches, plus the stitches from getting my wisdom teeth removed. So, sort of, but nothing that counts.

4. What was your first job?

Besides babysitting, I was a receptionist for a scrap metal recycling company. I was 17. Where my desk was was called "The Meat Locker" because all of the air conditioning would settle there, and it was freezing. Even though it was summer, I would bundle up to go to work. It was a great first job, though.

5. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?

Kermit the Frog. He is my favorite anything character. Yes, he was on Sesame Street. He was the newscaster (one of the only Muppets with a job!). I love him. In fact, I had a Kermit decal in my above-mentioned first car. Think about it. He's the perfect guy if you take away the amphibian thing. Sensitive, caring, smart, talented...

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dancing Queen


Lately, and by lately I mean the last four or five years, I have wanted to be more fit. Not necessarily to lose weight, just to move and feel good again, like I did in my cheerleading days, minus the glitter. I've done yoga, but frankly, I can't afford that right now. My apartment complex has a gym (actually, it's closed for renovations, but theoretically it has a gym), but I hate, HATE, running on an elliptical or a treadmill. It is so boring for me. I feel like a hamster. It also reminds me of my short-lived (read: two-week) track career in high school. I hated running then. I only joined so they'd have enough girls to form a team, and I quit because the school play started.

But I digress.

Anyway, when contemplating fitness recently, I recalled how much I loved my dance team in high school (Go Maroon Jazz!) and my dance classes and swing dance club in college. I am by no means a dancer. I just enjoy dancing. Very different. I searched for dance classes in the area, but was dismayed by the cost. I found one place that seemed like fun and was really inexpensive, so I gathered up all of my moxie and joined in the beginning of March. we even had a recital. Here's me as one of the seven deadly sins (Envy) and as a muse from Xanadu:

(Yes, I realize I did not avoid the glitter. And the white body paint was for glowy effects. Watch Xanadu, you'll get it!)

My dance pals are some of the most fun, supportive, and generally kick-ass women I know. They are so athletic, and the things they are able to do are astounding.

At this point you may be wondering what form of dance I am doing. Don't judge:

Pole dancing!

It's not want you think. There's nothing slutty/dirty/etc about it, and nobody takes off their clothes. Pole Dancing for fitness is a terrific total-body workout. I totally recommend it for anyone looking for a fun way to work out, and if anyone in the area wants to join me for class, check out Poise Dance Studio in Philadelphia.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

11 month check in


I have no idea how the last 11 months have gone by so quickly. Jeff and I have been married almost a year, and it feels like time flew.

I recall that before we got married, several of my (disgruntled? dissatisfied?) friends/coworkers were advising me not to get married. Those who were "happily" married said marriage didn't change anything for them.

I disagree.

Somehow, being married to Jeff makes me feel closer to him, in this cosmic, no-way-to-explain-it kind of way. There's something about knowing that we are forever linked that is comforting, secure, and makes me feel rich all the way down to my soul. Sometimes I look at him and think in disbelief, "Wow, I really get to keep him?"

I still feel like a newlywed, and probably will for a long time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Jeff Fell For Another Girl


I knew it would happen sooner or later.

Jeff is in love with someone else.

Of course, I love her, too. We are honored to have been asked to be godparents to our friends Jackie and Mike's new daughter, Baby L! She was born on 3/3/10, and I have never seen Jeff so in love. It is adorable. He just stares at her with googly eyes. He is a major baby-hog. He talks to her when he feeds and burps her.

He is going to be such a great dad someday!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thanks, Tree!


Tree over at Mother of Pearl It Is, one of my new favorite blogs, was so sweet to give me these awards:

For the "Beautiful Blogger" award you need to:
* Thank & link to the person that gave you the award.
* Pass this award on to 15 fantastic bloggers you’ve recently discovered.
* Contact said Blogs and let them know they’ve won.
* State 7 things about yourself.

For the "One Lovely Blog Award" you need to:
* Thank & link to the person that gave you the award.
* Pass this award on to 15 fantastic bloggers you’ve recently discovered.
* Contact said Blogs and let them know they’ve won.

Now...I am passing the "One Lovely Blog Award" AND the "Beautiful Blogger Award" to 15 of my favorite ladies in Blog world:

Stacie from Simply Stacie: Besides the fantastic giveaways and reviews, Stacie is a pretty amazing woman

Lisa from Lisa Leonard Online: Lisa's jewelry and photography are eye candy, but her sweet stories, kids, and family love tug at the heart just as much.

Shauna from Is it 5 o'clock yet?: She just cracks me up!

Jamie from Being Jamie Lynn: Jamie is fun, sweet, and inspirational.

Kelly from M&K in Sickness and Health: Kelly is always in my heart and smiles through the toughest situations.

Maria from A Mind Lively and at Ease: I found Maria by reading her superb memoir, Ukrainian Vignettes. She's a talented writer with fascinating views on life.

Courtnee from Moments of Whimsy: If only I were as stylish as my pal Courtnee. She is also great for advice, and a fabulous mom.

Katie from Katie the Reader and Writer: I was lucky enough to get the most wonderful in-laws. Katie is my cousin by marriage, and also now one of my closest friends. You'll find book reviews and other musings at her blog.

Jenn at Life with Loaf: Here, Jenn chronicles her pregnancy. Check out her beauty blog, Jenn XOXO's Beauty Blog. This girl is so talented!

Solanah from Vixen Vintage: I want to be her, or at least spend one day with her wardrobe.

Eva from thefourthdoor: A college pal, E can DIY anything!

Bianca from Goodnight Little Spoon: Her mail art is extraordinary.

Alli from Alli's Original's Blog: Alli makes beautiful jewelry and tells her adoption story on her blog.

Monica from Monica Wants It: Monica is the queen of finding good deals at Goodwill and turning them into lovely decor. She's also quite funny and very supportive.

Lily from Adventures of a Military Family of 8: I just don't know how she does it!

Check these blogs out! Ladies, if I did pick your blog, feel free to pass the awards along, or ignore them. : ) If I didn't pick your blog, it doesn't mean I don't love you! Feel free to participate anyway.

And now for the 7 facts about me:

1. I have ridiculous irrational fears, including but not limited to Kevin Bacon and search lights.

2. I can "name that episode" of The Brady Bunch in 3 seconds.

3. I know an endless amount of fun facts/ useless trivia and will randomly spew them out, resulting in my sounding not unlike the Rainman in various social settings. ha!

4. I was the youngest person in NJ to get a boating license, but I can't swim, even though my husband is a swim coach. Fear of drowning (a result of being held under water by a cousin when I was 7) keeps me on the sand or deck, getting a tan.

5. I've never really traveled, but I'd like to. I went to Canada when I was 2 (so I don't really remember it) and to Puerto Rico for a weekend a couple of years ago, but I don't really count that as leaving the country.

6. It was my dream to sing on Broadway, but I don't see that happening. I really miss singing.

7. When I first started dating Jeff, I thought it would be a two-week fling.

Tell me a few fun facts about yourself!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Crock, Indeed


I do not like to cook. (Thank goodness Jeff does.) I just don't enjoy it. It stresses me out, too many things can go wrong, then you end up disappointing people. ugh! Plus, I get so tired of looking at whatever I am cooking, that by the time it is done, I just am not interested any more. I am also terrified of getting burned, so I try to stay out of the kitchen.

Bad wife? Oh well.

Anything I do make has to be really simple and generally idiot-proof. So far, Jeff likes mostly everything I have made him and he hasn't yet been poisoned(although I did set two oven mitts on fire last week). I thought that getting a Crock Pot would make things even more simple in the kitchen, but I have realized that I was wrong.

I guess I had this image in my head that I could throw in some mud, a few rocks, and maybe a dash of salt and pepper into the pot and it would make me a glorious feast...

Here's news if you haven't heard: making food in the Crock Pot is just as much work, it just takes a reallllllly long time!

Who knew?

So... you chop, mince, dice, slice, and all the prep work that I hate. The house smells amazing all day long, your mouth is watering, and you sit down to eat. And that's it. No confetti or anything. Just waiting. Lots of waiting.

I realize that part of the draw is theoretically being able to set the device and go to work to come back to a hot meal, but let's face it. I can't even leave the house if my toaster or hair dryer is plugged in. If I left a Crock Pot on and left the house for any length of time, I would lose my mind with worry. Plus, I am pretty sure Piper is bold enough to jump up on the counter and break into the pot.

Am I the only person who thought that maybe, just maybe, a Crock Pot would create just a teensy bit of magic?

Does anyone have super simple recipes they'd like to share?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Poor Hair


I have put my hair through hell in the last month. I actually feel bad for it.

My hair is difficult. It's long right now, which is good. The cons are that it is still, as always, weirdly wavy, frizzy, and super soft/fine. Bobby pins even slip right out. Also, my scalp is really oily, so I have to wash it every morning or, ewwww. Plus, I have to alternate products/brands every other day or my hair gets weighed down.

I've always heard that the less you wash hair, the better it is for you and the more it will behave, but could not fathom going any amount of time without shampooing. So, I did some research ('cause that's how I do), and got the idea to go "no-shampoo," and use a baking-powder paste to wash and diluted apple cider vinegar to condition. This was supposed to give my hair time to get into its natural rhythm of oil production and give me easy-to-manage, voluminous waves, as well as prtecting me from evil chemicals (sulfates and silicones). This worked really well the first week, but by the end of the second week, I was jonesing for suds. My waves were great, but I couldn't do anything else with my hair, not even a ponytail. I was caught by my best friend's mother in the shampoo aisle of ShopRite (they day after telling her about my baking soda experiment), with a crazed look in my eye. My husband also did not appreciate the fish-n-chips/salad dressing in the bathroom (the vinegar smell dissipates after you rinse, though). So, I caved and bought shampoo, although a sulfate-free one.

After about a week of the SLS-free shampoo, I was noticing my hair was being weighed down, and still missing the suds in good ol' chemicals (which don't make shampoo work any better, by the way). I checked the label of my new products, and sure enough, it contained evil silicones. Eeeeek! I ran to Target and bought Suave.

That was only Part 1.

This past Tuesday, my mom and I decided it would be fun to go to the local beauty school to get our hair done at a good price. Her hair turned out supercute, but I guess the girl who did mine was in remedial classes. I specifically said, "highlights with color only, no bleach." She bleached. I almost passed out. Then, I picked a deep red-brown (RB5) toner. I don't know WTF she did, but it turned out traffic-cone orange. When she took the towel off, she actually said, "I think it looks great!" I said, "I think it looks like the episode of the Brady Bunch when Greg Brady uses the hair tonic that Cousin Oliver is selling and ends up with flourescent orange hair for graduation. Please fix it!" I pick out another, even darker toner. It turns out okay. No, I do NOT have pictures. It looked damaged and Jersey-shore-esque.

Two washes later, it was back to the stripey orange, now with an ashy twinge. Lovely. I emailed my regular hairstylist, who is allergic to hair color, so she cuts my hair out of her home, but didn't hear back from her in time for my sanity (she has a lovely newborn!). I couldn't even look at myself, so I went to the salon she used to work at for help. I told Al, the owner, to put me down for a 911-SOS treatment.

Luckily, Al and stylist Amy were able to save me with a chocolate brown color with subtle auburn tones.

Thank you, Revelations Salon in Turnersville, NJ.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sew Much Fun


Since I have tons of free time right now, I have been spending a lot of it at my parents' house in my mom's sewing room. I have learned all sorts of fancy tricks from mom. She should go pro. When I was in 2nd grade, she made all of my teacher's bridesmaid's dresses, as well as my prom dress in high school, not to mention a billion costumes for high school dance/cheerleading events and outfits when I was a little girl. She also is pretty handy at whipping stuff up on the fly without patterns, whether it's an outfit for one of my sister's photo shoots, or the time in college when I called my mom and said,"I need a pirate costume. I'll be there in 45 minutes to pick it up!"

A few weeks ago, we made my favorite craft of all time. I have a friend who is going through a battle with breast cancer (my mom is a survivor!), and a bunch of our pals from all over the country each made squares for a quilt to send to her. It was amazing, if I do say so myself.

Mom and I made the one with the photo, the birds, the flower with ribbon, the angel with the heart, the holly hobby angel, and the K with the flower, which was made from silk flower petals form a friend's wedding (all the girls who participated planned our weddings together, with the exception of my mom, of course!) Mom and I also put the whole thing together. It was lots of fun and made with lots of love.

In addition to the quilt, I made some pajama pants (flannel with a Kermit pattern) and a baby blanket for a friend's shower. I need some new pattern ideas. I don't know what I'd like to sew next. Hmmm...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Babies on the brain


I love babies. Love. them. Maybe it's because my mom is a baby magnet and ran a daycare when I was little. Maybe it's from being the oldest of four kids and eleven cousins. Maybe it's from working with them when I was running play therapy. Maybe it's because they are so freaking cute and I can't wait to be a mom. Probably it's my ovaries.

Which are screaming at me.

It doesn't help that on Friday I went with Jeff when he was getting a haircut so I could visit with our hairdresser Nicole's four-month-old daughter who is perfect and beautiful. Or that on Saturday I went to a baby shower, prior to which I crocheted a baby hat, sewed a baby blanket, went shopping for pacifiers and other random baby stuff, and browsed Barnes and Noble's baby section for book. (The last of which left me in a tearful, hormonal mess).

My dad (creepily) told my mom that since I am not working, it is the perfect time for me to have a baby. While I wish this were the case, and I certainly have the time, we just don't have the money or space for a tiny baby S right now.

Not to mention that we've only been married for 8 months, and I want to enjoy being a newlywed. It's a little more difficult than you'd think, since hubby works nights.

Here's a not-so-secret: I am terrified. Not terrified in the normal, never-been-a-mom-before way. Terrified because I am already 27.

I don't want to be an "old mom." I want to have enough energy to chase around several kids and play with them and to not have too much of a generation gap between my children and me. I am grateful that I had young parents. My mom and dad were 22 and 23, respectively, when they had me. They had all 4 of their children by ages 29 and 30.

Even more scary, I want to be able to have children. I know so many young, healthy women in their 20's who are having difficulty conceiving and that scared me so, so much. What if I try to have kids, and can't?

Yikes, it is so unhealthy to think of the what-ifs. I know I will be a great mom, given the chance. For now, I will have to be content with borrowing my friends' kids (I'm talking about you, little Lilita, whenever you are born!), and playing mommy to our kitten.

Does anyone need a baby sitter?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Colander of Love


Here is a love story from my life that trumps any Valentine's Day:

Once upon a time, Jeff was very commitment-phobic. My first year of grad school, I was 24 and we had been together for over 4 years. I was ready to make a big change, but he... wasn't. He couldn't imagine any benefit to moving out of his mom's house, where she cooked for him, did his laundry, and bought his underwear.

I was unhappy with this mentality, to say the least. I wanted more. I was ready for marriage, a house, kids.. all that good grown-up stuff. Alas. I was willing to wait a little longer for Jeff to come around, though not much.

At the time, I was living in a house about a block from campus that was filled with 5 18-year-old girls (that's a whole different story) and myself. They were gross, so I kept separate kitchen stuff that I would hide in my attic room until I needed to use it. I was seriously lacking in equipment, and it was a challenge to strain pasta with just a fork. Try it.

Jeff came by one evening with a little mesh colander, but oh so much more. You see, when he gave it to me, he said, "I got this for you, you know, I figured we'd need one anyway when we moved in together."

Angels singing, harps, the heavens parting, all of it! It was better than diamonds! I was so happy!

Of course when I shared this with the only two guys in my class, they thought it was hilarious that I would get so excited over a colander, which they dubbed the Colander of Love. They suggested I wait until I was given the Cheese Grater of Fidelity or the Spatula of Eternity, but I knew what the colander stood for.

The moral of the story is simple: "Love is expressed in many ways, even in colanders, and will come around when the time is right." Also, "don't look a gift colander in the...holes?" If you get a toaster as a gift, it might just mean that special someone wants to make you breakfast forever. : )

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My 2010 Grammy Observations


Until tonight, I hadn't watched an awards show since the nineties, but I could not miss the Michael Jackson tribute, so I tuned in to the Grammy awards. (For those of you that don't know, I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan.) I made a few observations along the way:

~ I am so out of touch with pop culture. I had no idea who most of the presenters were. I didn't even know that Jamie Foxx sang that song! Remember him in this?

~ I want a Ringo Starr action figure. He is so adorable and travel-sized.

~ George Clinton is still so very stylish, in his own special way.

~ I would like to thank Beyonce and JLo for making my butt shape popular and sexy. Although every time I see Beyonce perform, I remember we are the same age, and I think, FML.

~Miley Cyrus really does sound like Mike Tevee from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (The idea originally planted in my head by Preston & Steve.)

~ I love T-Payne, but only due to his appearances on SNL.

~ I just don't get Lady Gaga. Someone please explain it to me.

~ Pink is so amazingly talented, and she sounded better spinning and upside down than any Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus talentless pop star does post-studio.

~ Jon Bon Jovi: One of the many wonderful things to come out of New Jersey!

~ Taylor Swift seems like a really nice kid. Even though my ears are really sensitive to these kinds of things, I felt really bad that she and Stevie Nicks were off-key their entire performance. Also, does anyone else think she resembles Renee Zellweger?

~ I can't see Lionel Ritchie without laughing. You see, my mom blasted out the speakers in her car a while back by blasting "Hello." lmao

~Wearing 3-D glasses is fun, even if it makes me feel like the boomerang-fish-tossing guy from the Muppets, Lew Zealand. (He wore them in a movie, duh.)

~ The little girl from Earth Song is so freaking precious.

~ I sobbed like a baby for Prince & Paris.

~ I might be the only person in the world who knows that the three cousins behind Prince & Paris were Tito's sons. They had a group in the 90's called 3T. I have their album.

~ Thank goodness they followed the MJ tribute with Bon Jovi. It cheered me up. Good looking out, Grammy people.

~ Andrea Bocelli + Mary J. Blige = odd, but effective.

~ I wish Dave Matthews would enunciate.

~There you are, Ricky Martin! I've been so worried about you. I haven't seen you since your Puerto Rico travel commercials!

~ My overall reaction was, "I missed the new Duggar special for this?" Thank goodness for DVR!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Waving the Geek Flag


My friends and I are never ashamed to embrace our geekdom. Frequently, this consists of us quoting Harry Potter in public (we're all pushing 30), having board game nights instead of going out, and doing things like Dessert Menu Charades to make restaurants more fun.

My nerdy confession of the day is:

You know how before you can submit comments or internet forms, you get a "captcha," a nonsensical, made-up word used to weed out bots? You know, like, "calmette," or "flerm?"

I like to make up potential meanings to those words.

: P

Friday, January 29, 2010

High School Reunion, the Musical


I recently realized (thanks to a Facebook group invite) that it is time for my 10-year high school reunion. Whhhaaaaattt?

I remember while in high school thinking that those four years were the Most. Important. Ever. While they were formative, for better or for worse, it's not something I necessarily want or need to revisit. Not that it was bad, just because of plain geography.

You see, I grew up in a one square mile town. One. Square. Mile. There was nothing to do, and our school was kindergarten through 12th grade all in one building. You would literally trip over first graders getting to your junior lunch. The school was so small that 80% of the kids were in every club or sport just to have enough people to keep them going. This resulted in getting to school at 7:28am and sometimes not leaving until 10 pm, with me running to my house a block away to grab a snack. (The tuna sandwiches before drama made my partner mad. Sorry, Dom.) The poor cross country team didn't even have a real route to run because the town was so little. The had to run "perimeters," running around the outline of the town just to get a workout. awww.

I loved my little tiny town, even though my entire life was focused on a three-square block area and I never learned how to safely cross streets because my street was always blocked off for school crossings.

It's just that, well, as tiny towns go, even when you grow up and move away, tiny town gossip still prevails. Everyone still knows what everyone else is doing. It's just how it is. Plus, with Facebook, my schoolmates and I have 24-hour access to each others' lives.

I wonder how this will affect the reunion. I imagine it might go something like this:

Mandy: So, what's new?
me: I got married in May!
Mandy: Yeah, I know, I saw the pictures on Facebook.

Me: How's the baby?!
Joanne: She's great! She just took her first step!
Me: I know, I watched the video on Facebook and my sister ran into Kyle uptown, and he showed her pictures.

Lori: My mom moved out of town.
me: I know, my mom saw her at the grocery store. Where's Monica?
Lori: She's coming late, she had to take her daughter to the sitter. Your sister texted me to tell me.

See? No surprises in Smalltown, NJ. I am sure it will be a great time, I just can't see it resembling in any way typical reunions.

To increase and maximize fun, I propose incorporating a Slip-n-Slide and kindly request the Class of 2000 to rehearse and perform perfectly choreographed musical numbers. High School Reunion, the Musical. Yessss.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book review: This is Your Brain in Love


I was recently given the opportunity through BookSneeze to review This is Your Brain in Love by Dr. Earl Henslin. The title was very appealing to me, given my psychology background and love of both science and romance. Before reading the book, I was concerned that breaking love down into a series of chemical reactions and firing synapses would suck all the joy and spontaneity out of love, but luckily, I was mistaken!

The first chapter of the book discusses the physical changes that occur in the brain of someone who is in love. I learned that it is almost impossible for a doctor to differentiate between a person who is high on cocaine and a person who is in that honeymoon, fuzzy-brain, obsessive stage of new love. That explains a lot!

I was intrigued by the next part of the book, which connects science, spirituality, and romance in a way I had never before considered, This helped me a lot personally. In my field, it is so easy to dismiss spirituality in favor of scientific evidence, but Dr. Henslin connected them in a way I had never before considered.

The meat of the book was dedicated to “bringing your best brain to a marriage.” The hypothesis is that every person reacts to love in a different way, and a lot of this has to do with their brain chemistry. Dr. Henslin breaks people down into five categories (The Scattered Lover, The Overfocused Lover, The Blue Mood Lover, The Agitated Lover, and The Anxious Lover) and describes what exactly is happening in their brains and what they need in a relationship for love to last. I fit into a few different categories, as many people will, and I felt that Dr. Henslin’s information was sound and his advice was helpful. I laughed out loud when reading the section that described my husband as well as if I had written about him, and found myself reading parts aloud to him.

Dr. Henslin finishes the book with advice on ways to make love last,. The book has other interesting features, including quizzes to see what your love brain type is, a “love diet,” and information on sexual addiction and women’s hormones.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The one criticism I have is the fact that Dr. Henslin’s mento, Dr. Amen, is mentioned so much in the book that it gives an infomercial feel. I understand that Dr. Amen’s work is important to the author’s career and research, but for someone to be cited as often as Dr. Amen was, I think it would have made sense for him to be named a contributing author.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review. It’s a fun way to find new material to read. Check out the button on the right if you’re interested!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

5-cheese pepperoni quiche


This is what I had for dinner tonight, and what I will have for breakfast and lunch tomorrow. It's also a big hit at parties.

This is super easy. You will need:

1 pie crust- I get the refrigerated pillsbury kind
4 eggs
1 cup milk
a handful of sliced pepperoni
1 bag (2 cups) shredded 4-cheese blend (usually says pizza or Italian blend)
shaky cheese (locatelli, romano, or parmesean).
salt, pepper, oregano.

Preheat oven to 425. Unroll your pie crust into a pie pan. Put one layer of pepperoni on the crust. It won't seem like enough pepperoni, but any more makes it greasy. Sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over the pepperoni. Scramble eggs in a bowl. Add milk and a sprinkling of salt, pepper, and oregano. Mix them together and pour evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle some shaky cheese over it and add the rest of the shredded cheese. bake this for about 25 minutes. check it. It should be golden brown on top and shouldn't be too jiggly when you give it a wiggle. You'll know.

Scientific, I know. You can skip the shaky cheese and make it 4-cheese, but 5 sounds way better. It really makes no difference, and sometimes I lie about the 5th cheese.

Fabulous Smells & Cocktails event


Are you looking for a mid-winter pick-me-up? Identity Magazine and Envie Magazine are hosting a fun event on January 28, 2010 at 141 South Restaurant and Bar in Union, NJ from 7-10 pm.

Every guest will be able to work with a professional to create a custom fragrance. there are also gift bags valued at over $200 for the first 50 people at the door, and Identity magazine is giving away their exclusive fragrance. there are also giveaway raffles. What a nice way to relax with friends and a cocktail.

You can get your tickets here (only $15 in advance, $25 at the door)!

I really wanted to attend this event, but Jeff has his big swim meet (he coaches) the same day. So while all of you are relaxed and smelling divine, I will be smelling like chlorine and have frizzy hair.

Have fun!

Sigh. Go team!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm with Stacie!


I am very excited to announce that Stacie from Simply Stacie has chosen me as one of her new book reviewers.

Check her blog out- she has AMAZING giveaways and products reviews. There are over 30 active giveaways right now, ranging from jewelry to bath and body to kid items. Have fun, and I'll see you over there.

: )

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why I Want to Move Back in with my Parents


Ahhh. The Shed. In our little twin house growing up, the little room behind the kitchen was referred to as, "The Shed." It was always unheated and un-air-conditioned, and at one time had a non-working window. It went from storage room, to play room filled with kitchen sets and Barbie houses, to storage room, to scary-in-between kitchen and backyard, to don't go-in;it except to clean the cat litter. At the end of its former life, the Shed had barely locking doors, asticking (but really cool)pocket window, useless space, and most importantly, a leaky, nasty, mold-inducing roof with bare sheet rock matching moldy walls. Ick.

I only wish I had "Before" pics, but be glad, as it will protect your eyes.

Fast forward to 2 years ago, when my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. She had always wanted a place to sew in out little house, and when she got sick, my dad, my sister Tina's (ex) boyfriend Ronnie, and my sister Tina's (current/long term) boyfriend Jacob made a sanctuary for her. She took the following pictures on her cell phone.

I have spent the last few days in there working on a to-be-revealed project with my mom, and such a nice space makes me want to move back in with my parents. It was way fun and the room is so cozy and relaxing, with plenty of craft storage. It would make a nice bedroom for me, I think...

The #2 reason I want to move back in with my parents is that my dad would always clean the snow off of my car before he went to work so that I would wake up to a clean, snow-and-ice-free car. The #3 reason is that my dad would sneak into the girls' room in the morning to turn on a space heater so my sisters and I would be toasty-warm when we woke up for school. : )

Monday, January 11, 2010

Inspirational Story


Tonight, my husband and his EMS partner Beth Anne were honored by the township in which they volunteer for winning the NJ State gold medal for EMS services. That was exciting, but I was even more touched by another person being honored this evening.

Mrs. Carmen was born in 1917. She loved school, but had to drop out right before her senior year of high school in 1934 in order to get a job and help her parents and family through The Depression. She raised 4 children and has 9 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren- all of that mothering also kept her away from school. Still, Mrs. Carmen was never deterred from achieving her dream of graduating from high school and she kept education at the top of her priority list. She took classes for seniors little by little, and 75 years after dropping out of high school, she received her high school diploma. She will walk at this year's Lenape High School graduation.

Isn't she amazing?

Never give up on your dreams!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Review: The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall (2007)


Isn't it great when you find a book that you just don't want to put down? Here's a review of the last one that I read that was fabulous:

The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall (fine it here on

t's 1928, and Lydia Ivanova is coming of age in Junchow, a whites-only international settlement in China. Times are tough, and Lydia recalls little of her former life in Russia. Her family was wealthy there, among the Russian elite, until the Bolsheviks stole everything, including her father's life. Her mother, a former concert pianist, saved Lydia's life and escaped with her to Junchow. Now, they barely scrape by in a town torn by political unrest. Lydia now cares for her mother in a place full of thieves, a class system, and oppression. Still, nothing can stop Lydia from living life the way she wants to, especially after she meets and falls in love with Chang An Lo, a Chinese communist.

When reading The Russian Concubine, I was torn between wanting to read it slowly to savor every detail and wanting to finish it quickly to quell the suspense. Kate Furnivall paints vivid, lovely pictures with her story. She has a way of captivating human senses and emotions that make the reader truly experience the novel. The Russian Concubine is part coming-of-age story, part- Romeo and Juliet, and part Russian and Chinese history lesson. Through Lydia's determined eyes and untamed spirit, I could finally understand the motivations of the first Chinese communism movement and the struggles of foreigners in International Settlements. There are several sub-plots and secondary characters, but Furnivall weaves them together gracefully and leaves the reader wanting to learn more about all of the people in Junchow.

What becomes of the love between Lydia and Chang An Lo? Is Lydia able to live the life she dreams of and save her family from dreary, dangerous Junchow? Read the Russian Concubine to find out- you won't be disappointed!

PS- There's a sequel!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How did you ring in the new decade?


To celebrate the first day of 2010, I did what was only right... by hanging out with this guy: