Saturday, April 26, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* a beautiful morning for driving across FL. I dropped John off at the airport around 8:30 and headed to Port St. Lucie. The drive was gorgeousIt was a lot like the country part of our drive from Jacksonville to Ft. Myers. Beautiful open farm land, more cows than you can imagine and no traffic. I listened to my iPod on random (25,000 songs) so I heard a little bit of everything. 
* finding a cute place with an outdoor patio to meet Melany for lunch in Port St. Lucie West. It was pretty incredible to see her after all these years (15)! It felt like no time had passed, and now I regret it took me so long to reach out. We have, and always have had, so much in common. I think it's pretty cool after so much time, we were able to talk about real-life things with each other. We are hoping to get together when she comes to NJ in June. 
* an easy hour and a half drive from Port St. Lucie to Cocoa Beach. It was cute when I got there, the kids didn't know I was coming so they were surprised. 
* drinking wine and hanging out with Jeff & Megan. We had black bean nachos and guacamole for dinner. It was really good and I'll definitely try making the same thing at home. Of course I'm telling myself I have to do a few weeks (at least) of clean eating before summer starts. 
* Jeff being ok when he fell of the top of the car trying to get on the roof "because the view is so cool". I'll pretty much do anything but it didn't seem like a good idea to me. As I was going to check it out he fell and I was really worried he hit his head. He didn't and he was fine---he was very lucky.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* Brooke writing back to me about the "It Works" wraps, I'm thinking about trying them out for the beginning of summer. 
* booking my return flight from FL. I'm excited it works out for me to visit Megan and the kids for a few days. 
* emailing with Jillian about this weekend. We're so excited for them to visit!
* a great phone interview with a company I'm really interested in. It's in a new industry and I really hope it works out. I have another interview next week! 
* beautiful weather today! I ran some errands before yoga and actually enjoyed driving around and getting in and out of the car. Thank God winter is over!
* talking with Kerry for a few minutes before class started. 
* the restorative yoga class I went to tonight at Spirit of Yoga. It was so relaxing and calming, I loved it. I will definitely try to go again. 
* posting some fun pictures on Facebook for TBT and "Siblings Day". I have no idea if it's a real thing or not but all of the pics people were putting up were fun to look at. 
My "TBT" picture- Nursery School Picture Day 1984

* watching Parenthood tonight (without DVR'ing). I couldn't wait to watch until tomorrow. Best show on TV!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* a bagel from Bagels N Cream for breakfast. Still the best bagels I know of!
* talking with Ian for a while on my way to Long Island. It was a pretty easy drive---very little traffic and it was nice to see the sun!
* thinking of Mom-Mom as I passed the exit for Syossett. I wish she was still here. 
* a great lunch with Jenny, Linda, Steven & John at Miller's Ale House. We discovered there are a few locations in PA and I'd definitely like to go back. The desserts were amazing! Steven, John & I talked for a while after the girls left about what's going on with ICORP. I'm just telling myself everything will work itself out. 
* no traffic on the way home from Long Island!
* picking up the table from Pier 1 I ordered last week. I can't wait to put it together and finally have the area in the foyer decorated. 
* getting an email from Jess---she had the baby!
* making myself do the elliptical and then doing some strength exercises. I ate a lot at lunch today and felt lethargic and full when I got home. The workout helped! I've been watching "Minute to Win It" on mute and listening to loud music and I've loved it. The show is fun to keep me occupied and you can watch without listening to the sound. 
* Andy making dinner- tacos and fresh guacamole. By the time I worked out and showered, I was actually hungry. We watched American Idol after the Phillies gave away their game...again. It's going to be a long season!
* chatting with Megan and confirming my visit for the end of the month. Woohoo!

Monday, April 7, 2014


Best Picture Nominees:
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street

Mission Possible?

Last month, during the Academy Awards show, I realized we (I) had not seen one of the best picture nominees. I feel like every year during the awards show I vow to watch all of the movies nominated...and then never do. 

Over the last few years, with DVR and Netflix, we've watched fewer and fewer movies. I don't really enjoy going to the theater (uncomfortable chairs, uncomfortable temperatures, noisy people and their eating of popcorn, wrinkling of candy wrappers, etc.) and we're almost always into watching a show. It takes a lot less commitment to watch an episode or two of a show on Netflix than it does to watch a 2-3 hour movie. 

However, there is something about getting lost in a movie. To me it's not as good as getting lost in a book, but it comes close. Once the movie grabs your attention, time flies by. If the movie is any good, it will leave you with intense feelings and thoughts and you will feel like it was 100% worth your time. 

This year I decided to make an effort to start watching more movies. I thought it would be fun to keep track of my progress here. The plan is to start with 2014 best picture nominees, and work backwards through previous year's nominees.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* getting an email back from Precision Kettlebells saying they would extend my Groupon since there's no way I'll use 18 classes by May 11th.
* getting the house cleaned up this morning before Megan & El got here.
* watching last night's Nashville episode. I guess that show is my guilty pleasure because it's definitely soap opera like, but I love it anyway!
* a great afternoon with Megan & El. We stayed here for a while catching up and shared a bottle champagne. El brought chips and dip and I put out some fresh salsa to go with them. They filled me in on all of the Park Power drama and how bad it's gotten there. It really is crazy to me how quickly things fell apart there, and I am really glad I decided to move on.
* going to lunch at Han Dynasty. I've wanted to try it since Erin mentioned it last week. It was pretty good---not the best I've ever had (they're ranked in CNN's Top 50 Chinese Restaurants) and definitely not as good as YangMing. Nevertheless, we had a good time continuing our conversation about everything that happened at Park Power and had some good laughs too.
* a fun time at the Flyers game with Andy tonight---they lost which was a bummer but we saw Jeff Pilcicki and had some good bad-for-you stadium food.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* working on job search stuff most of the day---there are a lot of positions out there that I think I am qualified for. Now it's just a matter of figuring out what the right one is for me. 
* Jenn L. telling me she'd pass along my resume to her boss at Genex. 
* Phil Phil announcing summer tour dates for this summer with O.A.R. Excited to see him in July!
* talking with Jeff about the comp with the company I've been interviewing for. I am grateful for opportunities that are coming my way.
* going to another class at Precision Kettlebells. Today was a great workout and I liked the instuctor. I'm a little intimidated when I go there because everyone knows each other and I'm the smallest (and probably weakest) person there, but I know I'm getting a lot out of it so I'm going to keep going. 
* picking up Book Yourself Solid & I'd Rather Be In Charge from the library today. I am looking forward to checking both of them out. 
* using the chicken already made from the weekend for chicken quesadillas, and Andy made guac. We watched the Flyers game and American Idol. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* Mom telling me she booked the house for Thanksgiving in Holden Beach. Glad to know we're definitely going this year!
* Martha sending me info on an opening at her company. It took over an hour to apply on-line but hopefully listing her as a referral and reference will help my chances of hearing from them. 
* connecting with BJ on LinkedIn. I haven't talked to her since I left Comcast but she is someone I'd love to catch up with. 
* going for a walk around our neighborhood before dinner. I walked for 45 minutes, looked at all of the different houses, saw some deer and listened to music. It was nice to feel the sun shining and to breathe in the fresh air. When I got home I went in the basement and did some planks and strength training. 
* the sirloin coming out really good. I marinaded it overnight in raspberry wine walnut dressing (or something like that) and then seared it on the stove top and cooked through in the oven. I roasted asparagus and made quinoa as sides. Everything was excellent!
* being able to get DMB tickets through Warehouse Instant Ticketing for Steve.

Monday, March 31, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* talking with John this morning about the magazine and what I can start working on. 
* L'Occitane extending my 20% off coupon and giving me the discount on the products I ordered last night. 
* catching up with Megan this afternoon. I'd really love to get back down there. 
* Andy coming home for lunch---we finished up the lunch meat and rolls from yesterday. 
* going to Pier1 Imports in Paoli to check out the side table for our foyer area I found online last night. Finally, I think I found the one! I really liked it in the store and ordered it. Hopefully it looks great in that space. 
Could this be the one?!?

* making plans with Kerry to watch the HIMYM finale tonight. I've been so excited for the finale and I was happy to be able to watch it with them. I made a chicken taco dip to bring with us. We got there around 8pm and had pizza and the dip for dinner. Around 8:30 we started watching. 

My thoughts on the finale:
"I think it was exactly what it should have been. No cheese, and brought everything together. I loved it and can't think of asking for them to do anything else. For those who "hated" it, what would have made you happy with the ending assuming you can't undo the other episodes this season that were less than stellar? They let Barney be Barney, (the George Clooney analogy was perfect.) They also showed Ted loved his wife fiercely before she got sick and died. He waited 6 years to tell his kids the story, and they saw how much he loved Robin. I can't think of anything I would have wanted them to change. What ever you think about this last season, it was a fantastic show and it will be very hard to replace. I feel the same way I felt when friends ended."
This is a show I am so happy Andy & I started watching a few years ago on Netflix. It gave us many laughs but always managed to pull at your heart strings just a little bit as well. I am glad we were able to watch the last season in real time. I thought they did a great job with the ending, and I've been surprised by all of the backlash. I typically expect to hate the ending of shows after they've been on the air for so long, but I believe they got this one right. I really am sad to say goodbye to this show. 
* the end of March finally arriving. So over this winter, cold weather, dry skin, clouds and being cold all.the.time. I am looking forward to walks outside, outdoor concerts, BBQ's, enjoying our new house, backyard and neighborhood, and not having the heat running constantly. Good riddance March, hello April!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* no problems dropping off Jeff's car at the airport. We tried going to Total Wine in DE but it didn't open until 12. Oh well...We stopped by Andy's mom's house to pick up our mail and ran some errands. 
* Giant carrying Liscio's rolls. They make any sandwich better!
* great NCAA games today. Both MI teams lost which sucked because Andy would have won his pool, but at least they were good games. 
* doing the P90X yoga workout. I was impressed myself that I was able to do it because I've heard it's really hard. It was definitely challenging and a great workout. I'll definitely do it again. 
* making a simple dinner with grilled chicken and sauteed spinach & roasted red peppers. It was so late by the time we finished exercising, I wanted something light. 
* ordering some new products from L'Occitane. I love that brand and look forward to trying the things I ordered. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* a BLT for breakfast to cure my "I drank too much good beer last night and now I have to go out and see a bunch of people I haven't seen in 10 years" situation this morning. 
* getting the house cleaned up before I left for West Chester in case people were coming back here after. Although no one ended up coming over, it was nice to have the house straightened up for when I got home. 
* a really nice time at Timothy's in West Chester. Jenn Forman put it together because she was home from FL. I loved seeing everyone, but seeing Amy Brown was so great. I've always wondered what happened to her, where she lives, etc. Jenn tracked her down and it felt as if no time had passed. Same thing with Melissa. Ali was there with her adorable kids and then some of the girls that I see pretty regularly (Kossler, Beckman, Steph, Abby, Lori). I hope we all do it again soon. I also tried to initiate conversation with A, although she was very clear that she didn't even want to make small talk. It makes me very uncomfortable and I wish things weren't the way they are. It's been three years and my stomach still turns when we end up at the same places. I try to remind myself I've done everything I can do to make things right, and it's just something I have to let go. 
The one lonely picture I have from our Timothy's reunion.
* watching basketball and relaxing for a bit when I got home. I was so tired from staying up late last night! 
* making chicken piccata for dinner, it came out really good!
* the basketball games going Andy's way for the pool, now we just need both Michigan teams to win tomorrow!

Friday, March 28, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* talking with Francine this morning. She really helped me see that it's ok to be going through another transition period, and that I am being a little hard on myself. We talked a lot about the Book Yourself Solid program and the possibilities of me becoming a coach. I really enjoyed me conversation with her.
* catching up with Steven this morning and getting a bunch of stuff done for ICORP.
* Andy picking up a pizza from Rocco's for dinner before we headed out to Ardmore. We took the train to Tired Hands brewery to meet up with Popejoy, Lauren, Becker & Ben. Their beers were awesome! I loved the atmosphere and will definitely go back. It would be a great place to go when we have visitors in town. After Tired Hands we went to McCloskey's for one more beer and music on the jukebox before it was time to catch the train home.
Good times in Ardmore.

* talking with Kelly as we were talking to Tired Hands from the train station. She told me her spring break is in April so we're trying to make plans to maybe visit Vanessa. It was good to catch up with her. 
* listening to music and watching the end of the basketball game wen we got home. It was fun playing DJ and dancing around the living room/kitchen. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* John calling me this morning to tell me that I've impressed him over the years. Everything he said meant a lot to me, especially because I've been feeling kind of crappy lately. I keep telling myself everything will work out, but a sign that's actually true would be nice!
* deciding to send a message to our close group of friends from high school to collect donations and send something to the Mansmann family. I haven't been able to stop thinking about them since I found out the sad news yesterday. 
* Andy coming home for lunch- we did our standard Mexican with fresh guac and chicken quesadillas. 
* Jenn B. sending me some info about open pharma positions. I also found a few positions I would be interested in on LinkedIn and applied to those. 
* talking with John a few times today about ways I can sell for the magazine while I'm figuring everything out. I also got some good work done for ICORP today. 
* having the courage to go to the kettlebell "boot camp" class tonight. Holy shit it was hard! I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest. I was so close to just going to the body pump class at Unique Phyzique, but I told myself I was going to start using my Groupon classes at Precision Kettlebells today. Even at 5:15 (class started at 5:30) I was teetering back and forth. Now I know I can get through it and I will improve as I continue attending the classes. 
* Andy making dinner tonight- steak, salad and sliced potatoes. He made a red wine sauce to go with the steak and I sauteed a bunch of spinach in garlic & olive oil. It was very good and so nice to have someone make dinner for me. I pretty much do all of the cooking so it was a treat. 
* catching up with Tara and Lisa D. It's been so long since I've seen/talked to either of them but it was nice to email back and forth a little today. 
* Andy telling me about the new ride at Great Adventure---now I just have to get my dad to agree to a visit there!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* waking up to an email from Francine asking if there is anything she can do to help me. I found it pretty crazy that I haven't heard from her since Feb. (when I said I'd call her and never did.) Then, the morning after I spend an entire night with Lori, she emails me.Weird!
* spending this morning thinking about a bunch of my high school friends after learning Mr. Mansmann passed away. Although I haven't seen TJ in years, I was so sad to learn of this news and felt so bad for him, Kristin and Mrs. Mansmann. Our group lived at that house during the second half of high school and so many great memories came back to me. I hate knowing news like this will continue for years to come as all of our parents age. :-(
* talking with Dad for a little while when I got home from Lori's. I didn't talk to him this weekend so it had been over two weeks. It was nice to catch up and hear his voice. 
* a really nice experience at Scott Honda today. I took the Infiniti in for an oil change and they were very friendly and there were no issues at all. 
* being able to laugh when I walked up to the SS office and it was closed...again! Last time I went I didn't know they close at 3pm, this time I went I didn't know they close even earlier on Wed. (at noon)! I was annoyed because I though I'd get the oil change and name change stuff done at the same time since they're 3 minutes away form each other. Oh I have all of their hours memorized so I won't screw it up again. 
* going to the Level 3 yoga class at The Spirit of Yoga. I liked it the most out of the classes I've been to there. I'm not really loving "the space" in general, compared to other studios I've been to. I don't know why but I just don't like it. The class at least challenged me so that was good. 
* talking with Kerry (finally) while I made dinner. 
* watching American Idol after the Flyers game tonight. I'm not liking it as much as I thought I was going to in the beginning of the season. I don't think they ended up with the strongest singers in the top 13. I like a few of them a lot, but there's not really a stand out at all. I guess my favorite is Alex because he's the singer-songwriter in the group. He doesn't even come close to Phil Phil though. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* remembering Erin. 17 years, impossible to believe.
I always loved this picture of her. 
* spending time on job stuff this morning. I found a position on that I would love.
* getting a fair estimate for lawn cutting service this spring/summer. Ed B. also volunteered to come out and look at the electrical situation for hanging a TV above the fireplace. He told me we'd pretty much have to cut up the entire wall so I'm guessing we'll have to go with putting it on a stand.
* attempting to make a new dessert, kind of like a knockoff pecan pie. Instead of a pie it is made with a cookie like crust and then a topping made with brown sugar, honey, butter and pecans. It ended up being a little too sweet for me but it looked and smelled awesome!
* going to Lori's for dinner and deciding to sleep over. Every time we get together we always feel like we run out of time. She picked up some chicken and sides from Wegman's, which were awesome! We drank wine and talked and talked and talked. I told her how I've been feeling about all of the job stuff, and my feelings of uncertainty and disappointment. We also talked about Michael Port's books and program, and her experience with giving a speech a few weeks ago. She is certainly a friend I am extremely grateful for.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* hanging out with Megan, Erilin and Lindsay for a little bit this morning. It was nice to talk with Lindsay for a little bit, she is the kids' babysitter and they all love her. 
* going over cleaning stuff with Megan and making a plan for this summer. 
* spending time outside on the iPad working on job stuff/LinkedIn/follow-up. I also caught up on some personal emails. 
* going with Megan this afternoon to pick up with boys. I got to see their adorable school. After we got home I played baseball with Jeffrey in the backyard (was pretty impressed with myself, I was able to hit the ball really well. It brought me back to the days when I played softball.)
* going to baseball practice for Jeffrey. We played with Erilin on the playground while James went to the skate park and Jeffrey went to practice. I really don't think I've ever met a little kid with a personality as big as Erilin. I absolutely love that girl!
* an absolutely amazing yoga class tonight with Catherine. I really like the class last week and wanted to make sure I went again this week. It was a (very) hot yoga class. I think I lost 5 lbs. in water weight tonight. I felt strong and able to do everything she instructed. I even did a headstand (almost on my own). It really inspired me to make sure I keep up with practicing yoga at least 3x a week. Tonight was one of the best classes I've ever been to. 
* making a pretty great dinner for Megan and myself. I made brussels sprouts with onion, garlic, s&p and bacon bacon with quinoa and a salad. I had a little bit of grilled chicken to go with it. 
* talking with Andy for a few minutes tonight, catching up on the blog and watching a few episodes of 'About A Boy'. It's a cute show.

Monday, March 17, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* going to the 9am yoga class with Jill. It was a nice class, not heated, but I got a good workout. I've really loved going to yoga almost every day and plan on keeping up with it when I get home, even if I do it on my own in the basement.
* spending some time outside listening to music and looking on-line for home gym equipment before it started raining. I found two sets of bands for P90X and risers. Still would like kettlebells, medicine balls and a bosu ball. 
* signing up for a new meditation class with Oprah & Deepak Chopra. I signed up for the last two or three but didn't do them. The one starts mid-April and I plan on completing it!
* Counting Crows announcing a summer tour. They are playing at the Borgata in AC!
* they really do have everything! I ordered a couple pairs of yoga shorts and a nail mat. I've read about them for some time, we'll see how I do with it. I also ordered Andy a pizza peel so he can start making homemade pizzas again. 
* taking a walk with Andy on the beach before it was time to take them to the airport. We walked about 2 miles. 
* Tim trying to get the shithead kids that stole my flip-flops to return them to me. They ended up lying to his face, saying they didn't take them, even though they were laughing/yelling at me when they saw I couldn't find them. Tim's wife told me they don't have a mom and their dad is on drugs, so I actually felt bad for them. Obviously they have a tough life and they were just being bratty kids, but I still appreciated that he tried to teach them a lesson. 
* no traffic going to the airport---it was pouring rain but I didn't hit traffic either way so that was good. 
* playing Skateboard Madness with Jeffrey. It was nice to have some one on one time with him. 
* hanging out with Meg for a while, talking and drinking wine, after the kids went to bed. We stayed up til about midnight. I feel like this trip is going by so fast!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* going to the yoga class this morning. I didn't realize it was a yoga nidra (yogic sleep) class. It doesn't really make sense to me to have a nidra class in the morning. I misread the schedule so I was surprised and had been expecting a workout. I decided to make the best of it and was able to relax a bit. The part where I had to cough, knowing it would interrupt the entire class, wasn't so fun, but overall it was a nice class. 
* stopping at the farmers' market on the way back from yoga. I picked up lettuce, Brussels sprouts, peaches and tomatoes. Everything looked amazing, and it's all local. The prices were fair too. I wish we had something like that at home. I love Produce Junction, but none of their stuff is ever local. 
* going for a walk/run when I got back from yoga. I was disappointed because I didn't feel like I had a workout at all. I did 3.2 miles in 45 minutes, in 5 minute intervals of running and walking. Not great, but at least I did it. I haven't ran with any sense of consistency in months. 
* spending some time on the beach this afternoon. I took Erilin down before everyone else came and we played in the sand and built sand castles. The boys went surfing/skinboarding again and we all made the best of a very windy day on the beach. Andy took some great pictures! 
* hanging out in the backyard for a while after the beach. I read a few issues of Shape magazine and the kids played. The weather was beautiful at the house (no wind), but the lovebugs were ridiculously annoying! 
* their flight being cancelled tonight. At first it was delayed until 11pm and then shortly after than notification they found out it was cancelled. Yay for one more day of fun in the sun for my honey. 
* going with Meg to run errands Dollar Tree and Publix. We found some fun stuff at Dollar Tree. 
* having a few Blue Moons and snacking on guacamole and bruschetta while the kids ate pizza. Everyone was happy the flight was cancelled and we had a fun time with them. Eventually we ordered Slow N Low and had dinner while we watched Revenge. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* everyone sleeping until 9am this morning. Megan, Jeff & I were up until after 4am singing, listening to music and drinking wine. We had such a good time but it wouldn't have been fun if the kids got up at 6. 
* going to Jeffrey's baseball game. It was so cute to see him in his uniform and trying so hard when he was up to bat. He is one of the youngest and smallest on his team but he definitely can throw and he didn't get frustrated. It was gorgeous out.
* stopping at Publix on the way home from baseball to pick up groceries and Andy's fried chicken. I don't know how long it's been since I last ate fried chicken (a long time!) but we got some because he kept telling us how great it is. We had some for lunch (it was tasty, although I felt so gross after) and then went to the beach. 
* walking with James to the beach, oh boy. He was so focused on collecting lizards that he was not paying attention at all. When we got to the street I had to scream his name because he was in space land. That kid definitely makes me laugh. 
* playing with Erilin in the sand making castles and drawings. Jeffrey & James surfed and skinboarded.
* watching last week's Parenthood while Jeff & Megan put the kids to bed. Love that show so much!
* grilling burgers for dinner. We all ate at different times and just relaxed---talking and watching TV in the living room. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* spending a lot of the day reading "Gone Girl". I finally finished it! Excellent book, but the ending really annoyed me. It was interesting to me when I googled the book/ending. I found an interview with the author, and she said she never tried to make people mad with the ending, it was the only way she felt it made sense to end it. I thought she was setting it up for a sequel, she said that's not the case. 
* a really great phone interview this afternoon with a company I am becoming more and more interested in working for. 
* going to the Happy Hour warm yoga class at Sundari. I really love that place. The class was more crowded than most others. It was a great class!
* making everyone dinner tonight. I grilled chicken and added it to pasta with tomatoes, garlic and white wine. 
* spending the evening drinking wine and talking about all kinds of stuff. Eventually Megan, Jeff and I ended up in the laundry room (yup, that's what you do when there are three sleeping kids and it's a one story, small house.) We played all of our favorite songs and sang and talked and polished off a couple bottles of wine. I could not believe it when it was 4am! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* finally getting to sleep around 3:30am this morning. What a crazy night last night was with Andy's flight being so messed up! We woke up because of all the commotion early in the morning but moved back to one of the bedrooms and got a few more hours of decent sleep. 
* spending a good part of the day outside reading "Gone Girl". I'm really loving this book! It reminded me I need to read more novels.
* watching the kids while Megan went to pick up Jeff from the airport. They were really good. We did puzzles and played games and watched Dora. It's been so great spending so much time with them!
* Mexican for dinner when they got back from the airport. I made guacamole and tacos. It was a calm night and we just enjoyed talking and hanging out before everyone was tired enough to go to bed. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* going for an awesome six mile walk this morning with Megan while Mom-Mom watched Erilin. We walked the first half on the beach and then walked back on the street. We got caught in some heavy rain but it was no big deal. It's so great being able to be outside!
* going to the beach for a little bit this afternoon. It was much cooler at the beach but I still enjoyed being there. 
* spending time outside in the backyard reading "Gone Girl". 
* taking the kids bowling after school since the weather got crappy and it looked like it was going to rain. We had a fun time. I was the big winner with a 95. Jeffrey bowled without "bunkers" and James did great with them. Erilin roamed around and watched everyone else bowl with Mom-Mom. 
* making a great dinner tonight for the three of us. I sauteed onions, tomatoes, kale, garlic and peppers and served it over quinoa with a salad. It was really good!
* watching some of American Idol and hanging out for a while after dinner. 
* finding out that Andy would actually make it to Cocoa Beach. Because of the bad weather and a mechanical problem we were worried he'd have to skip the trip all together. In the end he will have been delayed 6 hours! He did get a $200 voucher from Southwest, so that's nice. 
* watching Nashville and then Friends. I had to set my alarm and I will try to get some sleep because Andy won't be here until 1:30am now. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* talking with Mom and Dad for a little bit this morning. 
* Jenn F. messaging me asking about trying to set up a fundraiser for our friend who was just diagnosed with cancer. She's reached out to a few people and asked me to help. It's like she read my mind. I feel like it's a blessing that I have the time right now to help out and will do whatever I can!
* meeting the lady at Target who was selling the FoodSaver. She was very friendly and the thing is practically brand new! I got it for $45 and that included two rolls of bags. Woohoo!
* stopping in a few places on our way to the Villanova game to look at furniture. Still haven't found what we're looking for in the foyer but maybe with each stop, we're one step closer?
* a beautiful day today- it was 50 degrees but it felt like summer!
* Villanova having a good game. It's the last one we'll go to unless we somehow end up going to a tournament game. 
* finishing up leftovers for dinner. We were starving when we got home from the game and it was nice having food made already. 
* going to TCBY after dinner, and then renting a movie. I've wanted TCBY since my birthday and finally broke down. It might be dangerous having it so close to our house!
* watching The Butler. I could write a whole post about this movie. It was so powerful, it made my heart hurt, and the ending made me cry. When I watch movies about the Civil Rights Movement era, I always feel the same way. I can not, for the life of me, imagine doing what white people in the south, did to black people. I always wonder if I lived in the South at that time what I would have thought. Would i have had the courage to speak out against these awful acts of hatred? I like to think I would have. Going even deeper, when it comes to things like that, are we a product of our environment? If those same people lived in other parts of the country would they have thought/acted that way? The scene that hit me the hardest was the diner scene. I remembered right away seeing something about that incident at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. I think there was some black and white footage of the news coverage or something, and I remember being appalled by it. This movie is a movie everyone should see. It shows us how far we've come, but also that we have a long ways to go. Things aren't perfect now, not anywhere close, but can at least I can't fathom the things that happened then happening now. I loved how they brought the movie up to 2008 when President Obama won. I know, since I am white, that I will never understand what it felt like to be black and see our nation's first black president elected. Furthermore, it must have been like a dream come true for those who lived through the bigotry and racism during that time. It was something I'm sure they thought would never happen. Uh, I could go on and on, but the point is this movie was spectacular, everyone should see it, and it should have been nominated for an Oscar!

Friday, March 7, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* finding the Kodaline album on iTunes for $6.99. I downloaded it and put it on my phone this morning. 
* an awesome massage at The Face & Body Spa. It was so nice there! I really could go for a massage everyday if money was no object. I loved the oils and hot cloths they used, and the heated bed too! 
* a great meeting with Steve & Lonnie. I learned a lot about their business and think it may be a really good opportunity for me. 
* grabbing a slice of pizza from Tony A's for lunch (at 3:00!) I remembered while I was there I had an email for a "free birthday pizza" so I ordered that to go. 
* chatting with Katie for a while tonight on Gchat. It was so good to catch up with her. Like so many other friends, I wish she lived closer. 
* a new recipe coming out great tonight! I made a braised sirloin with onions, garlic, red wine, mushrooms and beef broth. I also made brussels sprouts with bacon and onions. Oh my God, they were amazing!! To finish off the meal I made mashed potatoes. I love trying out new recipes, especially when I make them up myself and they come out well. 
* watching several episodes of Damages and drinking some wine tonight. It was nice to relax and watch our show. 
* finding a posting on Craigslist for a Food Saver. $45 and it's brand new! I'm supposed to meet the lady tomorrow. 
* Facebook. I know that sounds really weird, but today, through Facebook, I found out a friend of mine from college is really sick. She has brain cancer. She is the mom of two young boys and a wife. I felt heartbroken when I read her post on Facebook telling her whole world this news. I haven't seen her since college, but it doesn't really matter. For whatever the reason, we lost touch. It's impossible to keep in touch with everyone, but it doesn't mean I don't want to do anything I can to help her. She is having surgery on Tuesday. She does not know what is going to happen. I didn't even respond to the post today because I did not know what to write. How do you respond to something like that? I've talked about cancer being one of my greatest fears, and can't imagine how hard this is for her to go through, no matter how much support she has. But you know what, the 150+ people who replied to her post, and I'm sure many others who have sent her a private message (which is what I am going to do), will help her. Those messages will give her support and love and let her know that people close to her, but even people who maybe aren't so close to her, are wanting to help. Uh, I'm tearing up just writing this, I am so, so sad for her. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* talking with Steve R. today about opportunities within the energy industry. 
* grabbing a LivingSocial deal for Philly Mag---2 years for $8! It's one of my favorite beach reads. 
* talking with Megan about FL, so excited to get down there and have fun in the sun with all 3 cuties!
* Andy coming home for lunch. We finished the leftover Mexican chicken from the other night and I made a large batch of fresh guacamole to go with the quesadillas. 
* talking with Lonnie and setting up a time to meet with him and Steve tomorrow to learn more about New America Power. 
* making a massage appointment at The Face & Body Spa in Yardley. I have a gift card and thought it made sense to use it since I'm going to Newtown tomorrow. 
* getting the office cleaned up and organized. 
* having the leftover food from Buca di Beppo for dinner tonight. I made salad and garlic bread to go with it. The spicy chicken dish was really good!
* watching American Idol and Parenthood tonight. Phil Phil was on AI with a new song and it was great. I know he is like Dave #2, but it doesn't bother me at all. It makes me happy that a kid 20+ years younger has a similar style. It will keep that kind of music alive and give me more music to listen to that I really like. I also loved Kodaline, an Irish band that played on AI tonight. I was bummed when I discovered they played at WCL a month ago. :-(

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* getting up early and getting work done for ICORP this morning.
* meeting Andy for lunch at Buca di Beppo. Afterwards I walked around Main St. for a while since it was "warm" out; 30 degrees feels warm these days. I picked up some hand soap at Bath & Body Works. I want to start making my own so I need to start collecting the foam dispensers. 
* ordering tickets for the Sarah McLachlan show at The Mann in July. I was disappointed because I pulled Section A the other day and lost them, but we ended up with Section B, Row B---not too bad. 
* going to the Flyers game tonight. I saw on Facebook Kerry & Jim were going too. It was a great game and they ended up winning. We saw Kerry & Jim in between the 2nd and 3rd periods. They ate at the Cadillac Grille and she got me some of their potato soup to-go. I felt funny eating it in our seats (out of a coffee cup!) but it was sooooo good. We had a really fun time tonight, it's been a while since we went to a game that really counts. We typically go to games early in the season and then the playoffs. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* having a really good phone interview/conversation with someone in the insurance services industry today. It was 2 hours long! I learned a lot about the company and the position and I'm interested in seeing what happens from here. 
* talking with Ian this afternoon. 
* watching some Scandal episodes today while I worked. 
* going to the Tone & Sculpt class at UniquePhyzique. I feel a little intimidated because I use such light weights, but I'm kind of starting over since it's been several months since I worked out with Dave. I was proud of myself for going to trying my best. 
* trying out a new Mexican chicken recipe (using lots of spices) in the Crock-Pot. It came out great for chicken quesadillas tonight. 
* White House/Black Market giving me a price adjustment on a dress I bought on-line last week. I got $17 back, not too bad for a 5 minute phone call!
* watching another two episodes of Damages tonight after dinner. This season is so good, I don't want it to end!

Monday, March 3, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* waking up to hardly any snow. Part of me was looking forward to being snowed in and having Andy home. I had big plans for cooking all day and watching our shows. It was better though, that the roads were pretty much fine and we didn't have to pay for more plowing!
* Andy spending time figuring out transportation options to/from the airport for me, his mom, Jeff, and himself. We think we have a system that will work!
* Sarah McLachlan announcing her summer tour. I am really happy that she is playing at The Mann. I love that venue and haven't been there since seeing Damien Rice in 2007. 
* spending most of my day researching companies, applying to open positions and networking. I really appreciate the time I have to search for something that will be a great fit. 
* going to the Level 2 yoga class at The Spirit of Yoga. I really miss some of the old instructors from Aim High and RYAH. I don't know what it is but I haven't really found instructors that I'm crazy about. Even so, I'm glad I'm starting to attend yoga classes again. 
* having the stew I made yesterday for dinner and watching HIMYM, an episode of Damages and some New Girl with Andy. 
* Kerry calling me after I texted her telling her New Girl reminds me of a show she'd love. Of course she already watches it. I'm glad we've been talking more regularly lately. Love that girl!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* Kelly sending a link to her new private blog. I am very happy to see she is writing about everything she has experienced while teaching over the last two years.
* a successful trip to Wegmans before the impending storm (15th of the season)!! I decided if we're going to be snowed in I'm going to spend the next day cooking. I've found tons of recipes I want to try over the last few weeks.
* spending more time organizing the pantry and all of my spices. I found a way (the peanut butter method) to clean off the sticky label from plastic jars. I created labels for the spices I've made myself (like Emeril's Essence) 
* making the braised chicken thigh recipe I found on Pinterest for dinner. It came out incredible! To read more about it click here. I'm officially in love the my braiser.
* talking to Mom & Dad for a little bit tonight before dinner. 
* watching the Oscar's tonight. I really enjoyed them tonight, more than any other year that I can remember. Every year I tell myself we need to start watching more movies. We haven't seen any of the eleven (I think) movies that were nominated for Best Picture. They all look really good and I told Andy we have to make an effort to watch them as they come out on DVD. 
* Pharell's song "Happy". It's hard not to smile and want to dance when you hear that song!

"To Die For" Braised Chicken

So I bought this beauty last weekend...
I went to the store today and bought a bunch of fresh herbs, chicken, beef and pork in preparation for our fifteenth snowstorm this season. I figured if I'm going to be stuck inside why not a cook a ton of food and then we'll have dinner ready to go this week.

I can't take all the credit for this one because it was a Pinterest find. However, if you've tried out your fair share of Pinterest recipes, you many know they do not all turn out as promised. I've come across some loser recipes there, (like the baked "fried" chicken recipe using Greek yogurt) so I was thrilled when this one turned out better than I could have ever expected. Luckily I read some of the comments below the recipe and learned that the recipe linked to Pinterest was incomplete. Even though I was more than halfway through the recipe it didn't cause any harm to the end product. The dish was fantastic

If you're looking for an easy, versatile chicken dish, give this one a try. I served it with mashed potatoes. You could easily serve it over pasta, rice or quinoa as well. I can't wait to make it again the next time we have company.

I'm no food photographer so hopefully the picture does this wonderful dish some justice! 
My recipe notes:
*I used 3 cups water + chicken bouillon instead of canned broth
*I used fresh thyme, not rosemary. 
*If you're not a fan of dark meat, you could easily use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. You might have to increase the cooking time slightly. 


"To Die For" Braised Chicken


  • 6 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), trimmed of any excess skin or fat
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril's Original Essence or Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied in a bundle, or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock or canned, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Season the chicken all over with the Essence and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Place the 1/2 cup flour in a small bowl, and quickly dredge both sides of each thigh in the flour, shaking to remove any excess. Set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a 10-to 12-inch flameproof casserole or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter, and when it has melted, place the chicken, skin side down, in the pan. Brown for 2 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan, and when it has melted, add the onions, garlic, thyme bundle or rosemary sprigs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper. Cook, stirring as needed, until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon flour over the onions and cook for 2 minutes longer. Then whisk in the chicken stock and increase the heat to high. Return the chicken, skin side down, to the pan, and bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a heavy, tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Uncover the pan, stir the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching, and turn the chicken skin side up. Cover the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes longer.

Stir the bottom of the pan a final time, re-cover, and simmer for 20 more minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and discard the herb bundle or rosemary sprigs. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Add the parsley to the sauce, stir to combine, and then spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve with steamed white rice.

Yields 4-6 servings

The recipe can also be found here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* deciding to make Andy his family's sour cream pound cake for his birthday. I sort of regretted saying I'd attempt it once I got started---I really just don't enjoy baking the way I do cooking. I think it's the pressure of everything needing to be exact, and knowing if you mess up one little thing the recipe might not come out right. I gave it a try and was thrilled when Andy told me the cake was as good as his mom's and grandmom's. 
* using a Living Social deal for a body detox treatment and massage at Lansdale Health & Wellness. The detox was pretty cool- it was an organic oil and herb body mask. The massage was pretty good too although no where near the best I've had. 
* a quick stop at Baja Fresh for a late lunch. There isn't one around us and I have gift cards to use there so I tend to stop when I'm near one. 
* Andy cleaning up the kitchen while I was out. He iced the cake and did all of the dishes. We ran out to (our favorite), Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up a cake plate. Then came back and I started getting everything ready for dinner. 
* Laura & Win and Rachel & Rob coming over for a little birthday get together for Andy. I served pulled pork, roasted potatoes, green beans almondine, meatballs and small butter rolls. We had drinks and a really nice dinner. I love our new dining room table (now that the correct model was delivered.)
* singing Happy Birthday to Andy and serving the cake I made this morning. Laura & Win left after cake and Rachel & Rob hung out for a while. It was nice talking with them and catching up by the fire in the family room. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* making plans to have a few friends over Sat. night to celebrate Andy's birthday. 
* Andy coming home for lunch- I made fresh guacamole to go along with chicken tacos. 
* getting the garage cleaned out and all of the packing materials broken down and put in recycling. 
* going to the library and getting a library card. I was able to find Michael Ruhlman's book Ruhlman's Twenty in their catalog so I decided to check it out of the library before I buy it. I also check out two of his other books and Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. I know I've said this before but libraries are really amazing to me. Not enough people take advantage of everything they have to offer!
* finally checking out The Spirit of Yoga in Downingtown. It felt great to go to a class. I was able to feel right away how tight and not flexible I've become since I haven't been practicing on a regular basis. A forward fold was no problem as usual, but overall I felt like I haven't stretched in a long time. I'm looking forward to going there at least 1-2 times/week!
* the awesome steak dinner I made for Andy & me after yoga. The steaks were excellent (from Wegman's). I made roasted potatoes and green bean almondine for sides. Andy made mixed greens salads as well. I really enjoyed dinner tonight, maybe because I hardly ate anything last week. 
* watching last night's episode of HIMYM and starting to read Ruhlman's Twenty. I've already learned a ton and only got to #3!

Monday, February 24, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* meeting with Ed to discuss the possibility of me becoming the sales manager of the Suburban Life team. I think it would be a great challenge for me and would make things a little more exciting than just plain old selling. At the same time, the drive would be over an hour each way and I'd be required to spend most of my time in the office. The pressure would be crazy in the beginning because of the immense amount of improvement needed, and most of my compensation would be based on year over year sales. Deep down I think I already know it's not what I am looking for, but it did mean a lot to me that Ed even considered me for the job. 
* the lady helping me out at Philly Pretzel Factory with putting a tray together for my AmTrust drop off visit today. I didn't know you are supposed to call 24 hrs. in advance for trays. 
* a quick slice of pizza at Tony A's for lunch. We don't have Tony A's near us in Exton. 
* spending the afternoon at Princeton Market Fair after dropping off the pretzel tray to AmTrust. I spent time in Barnes & Noble and Starbucks doing work for ICORP. I treated myself to a skinny vanilla latte and browsed around the cookbooks too. I had to stop in Williams-Sonoma to look around and picked up herb containers for the freezer. Not sure if they'll work any better than freezing herbs in ice cube trays but I'll give it a shot. 
* Jenn B. sending me feedback on my resume and helping me with formatting, content, etc. 
* going to Nay's dad's viewing tonight. As soon as I found at about his passing I started thinking about when Andy's dad died. I was reminded of how much it meant to see friends' faces, even if it was just for a few minutes. I decided I wasn't going to stay the whole time because I did not know him and felt there would be a lot of people there trying to talk to her. It's overwhelming especially when people are introducing themselves to you and saying things like "I haven't seen you since you were a baby". I just wanted her to know I was thinking about her and shower her my love and friendship. It makes me so sad to think there will be many more of these as we get older. 
* stopping by Kerry's on my way home. We ended up just staying at her house talking, had a glass of wine, and she cooked up some brussels sprouts for me since I hadn't eaten dinner. I do wish she lived closer, I love how we can talk about anything and everything and it never feels like we have enough time together. She is going to help me find a piece of furniture for the foyer. She amazes me how she has such vision and knowledge about painting furniture!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* spending the day with Andy shopping and looking at furniture. It was so beautiful out again today. We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought a bunch of little things for the kitchen (dishtowels, pot holders) as well as place mats for the dining room table. Then we went hunting for a chest or table for the foyer area, as well as a coffee table and end tables for the living room. Even though we went to Raymour & Flanigan, Mealey's, American Signature Furniture, IKEA, Bob's Discount Furniture, Ashley Furniture and The Dump---we had no luck. It was still fun (kind of) to look around but I don't know how many more days of going all over the universe I want to spend not knowing if we'll find what we're looking for. We did find a cute lamp for one of the spare bedrooms at IKEA, so yay for that. 
* making an easy dinner- chicken sausage and pasta. I sauteed spinach, garlic and tomatoes too and it came out great. 
* starting the last season of Damages. I can't believe how great that show is! Sad we're on the last season already. 
* trying out my new Julep nail polish, I love it!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I have gratitude today for...
* Mom cleaning up some of the dishes from last night when she got up. The kitchen was in pretty good shape considering what a mess I made making dinner. I love cooking but I hate how many pots/pans/dishes you need to make most meals. 
* a nice drive to the outlets. GPS took us on back roads---it was pretty to see the snow with the sun shining on open fields. 
* a fun day at the outlets with Mom & Kelly. Kelly was able to use a $50 gift card at the Coach store on a gorgeous bag on clearance. She ended up walking out with a $400+ bag for $33 out of pocket. That = outlet success! We went in and out of most of the stores and had the teriyaki place for lunch. I found I wasn't even really that interested in buying clothes. By the time Mom & Kelly left I had only bought a few camis from Forever 21. 
* deciding to stay at the outlets after they left. I went to Express and found an adorable sweater dress for $6 (originally $59.99). I also got a work tank top and another tank top all for $13, woo hoo. Then I decided to go to Steve Madden to look for boots. I had my heart set on a pair of Cole Haan boots that I saw before Christmas when I was there with Viki, but they no longer had them in my size. All boots at Steve Madden were 70% off already marked-down prices! I was lucky to find a whole bunch of styles in my size, and ended up with four new pairs for $63!!! When looking for the images on-line I noticed even on sites like Zappos or they are anywhere from $59-79/pair! 
My pretty new Steve Madden collection!
* the Le Creuset outlet. Oh my God I am in love with this stuff and I wish I could buy every piece! When I was there last time the guy working there was French. He was telling Viki & me about the braiser and how amazing it is. The seed was planted and I've wanted to one ever since. I decided to go for it today and ended up getting a $250 piece for $145! It's gorgeous and I spent an hour tonight pinning braising recipes. I also bought the large utensil crock and a few silicone utensils. Next on my list are the teapot and butter dish!
Aren't they pretty?
* finding tons of recipes I'd like to try on Pinterest tonight that use the braising technique. I also came across Chef Michael Ruhlman's website, and now want his book! 
This needs to be on my bookshelf!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My New Year

I think establishing goals in the beginning of the year, otherwise known as New Year's Resolutions, makes them very hard to stick with. I tend to still be in "holiday" mode on New Year's Day. We're still eating, drinking and being merry. We still have company lingering and a messy house. For me, it's not a time to commit to change. I need to ease into the New Year---think about new beginnings, goals and what I'd like to change moving forward. 

I tend to think of my birthday as my very own "New Year". My birthday is February 12th, so it's still pretty early in the year. By then, things have had a chance to settle down from the holidays and the social calendar tends to be on the lighter side. For me, it's a good time to focus on my goals for the next year. A lot of these goals carry over from year to year because I have trouble sticking with things like exercise and eating right. 

This year, my goal list is lengthy. I know they say pick a few things and focus on them and then find new ones to work towards. I decided to list them all out here, and will work on reaching a couple each month. Some are general, some are specific. I know if I work towards these goals throughout the year, I will be a better wife, friend, sister and daughter.  I will be a happier, healthier and more fit person. I will enjoy more success when it comes to work and business. Those are areas in which I think we can all improve, and I look forward to seeing how I grow over the next year. 

2014 Goals:

Nutrition/Eating Habits
Drink a minimum of 60oz of water every day
Start juicing 3-4 times/week
Plan weekly meals on Sundays
Keep a daily food journal
Try 3 new vegetarian recipes/month
Take vitamins/probiotics every day 
Use Vita-Mix at least 1x/week
Make one day/week meatless (Feb.)

Meditate/Quiet Time 10 minutes/day
Get up by 6:30am 5x a week
Be active everyday, even if it's only 10 min
Start wearing my Invisalign again

Read at least 1 book per month 
5-10 min on blog every day
Write one long post per week- (Feb.)
Spend 1 hour a week learning how to use the camera
Organize clothes- figure out what to get rid of 

Send 1 card each week
Spend more quality time with Andy, less computer/iPad time at night
Call one friend each week, stop relying on texting so much