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: