And the caravan has all my friends*

Remember when I wanted to go camping in this caravan? I think I found a better one.

Now would you go camping?

(Photos via Sharona Design)

*Know what song these lyrics came from? No Googling allowed!


One Year Ago...

One year ago this past Sunday, we did this:

And what a year it has been since. I will share how we spent our day tomorrow. But for today, I'll leave you with a portion of the poem, "The Eternal Song," that we had our good friend, the half-breed Swede, read at our wedding. My former French teacher translated it for us from Rosemonde Gerard's original French. I find that it holds more and more true as time goes on, and that my love for A.P. really does swell each day. He really is my 80 year old boyfriend for life.

Since I love you more today--
And tomorrow even more than yesterday--
When we're no longer young,
What difference will our wrinkled faces make?
My love will surely be more serious, more serene.
Know that every day builds memories,
Mine will be yours, yours mine.
These shared memories will tightly bind,
Our hearts forevermore entwine.
Yes, we will age and weaken through the years,
But each day I'll press your hand more dearly
So you will know how my love grows, sincerely--
Today even more than yesterday and much less than tomorrow.

To view more pictures of our wedding, look here.

All photos were taken by our photographer, Theresa Scarbrough.


Beat Your Heart Out

I know. Sometimes the punny titles are a bit much, but I love them. I'm a sucker for a stupid pun. Just like I'm a sucker for these amazing necklaces from etsy shop helbent.

What a great just cuz present. Happy Thursday, people! The week is almost over! AND...it's my last day of overtime work! Woo hoo!

(Photo via etsy shop helbent)


The Best Excellent Wife

I started this post a month and a half ago, but was inspired to keep writing after tonight's episode of The Good Wife, quite possibly the best show on TV. Read on...but be aware there are spoilers!!!

I know that I've talked a lot about my love of television and bad reality TV. But I also love good TV, including The Good Wife. I try not to post about movies or television shows that often, but sometimes I can't help it (e.g. Lost, How I Met Your Mother, ahem, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills). Sometimes I like to throw out my love for certain shows on the internet and see who of my (few) readers has that love in common.

Does anyone else love this show? I really feel like the show's second season has been one of the best on TV in general. I love how the whole Lockhart/Gardner & Bond storyline played out with Bond being voted out in what had to be one of the tensest moments on TV this season. I was on the edge of my seat the whole damn time thinking that Julius was going to sell Diane and Will down the river. The whole Bond thing was great, but then it occurred to me that the season isn't over yet. So why did that episode a couple of weeks ago, when I first started this post feel like a season finale. Then it hit me...we haven't seen anything yet. Bond is just a way to make the bigger story happen.

Which of course is why the other storyline that has been rocking my and everyone else's world is Kalinda and Blake, who have repeatedly blown our collective minds. The whole season they've heating up my tiny little screen with their cat and mouse game. However, the one thing that was killing me was that their little game felt so unfair. It felt so wrong that Blake was setting up Kalinda, mysterious, but ultimately good Kalinda. Whatever bad things she had done were in the past, she probably had her reasons, right? It seemed so unnecessary, and I just felt so bad for Kalinda. Up until those final moments in tonight's episode, that is.

That's right. Tonight's episode was a bit of a game changer. Because the secret that really had me shitting my pants, the secret that blew the lid off was that Kalinda and Peter slept together. Oh. My. God. Kalinda, friend of Alicia, totally boned Peter when they were both working at the state attorney's office. Oh. My. God. Kalinda has now made everything worse by making it possible for Blake to have found all this out. Oh. My. God. Kalinda, who slept with Peter and is friends with Alicia, will now probably cost Peter the election. OH. MY. GOD. Which also means that Alicia could end up back in Will Gardner's arms! I've been wondering how they would pull that off! If that isn't an amazing episode to get you pumped about how this whole season will play out, I don't know what is! (Sidebar: If you're ever in the Chicagoland area, go to New Rebozo in Oak Park. The owner walks around and tells everyone the menu and as he explains every dish, he stops to say Oh. My. God. Hilarious...and totally an insider experience to the city/suburbs worth visiting.)

It's funny too, because all these sort of fuzzy moments in the show became sharper than ever tonight. What also became sharper tonight was how good the writing really is on that show. I remembered that last season Kalinda visited Peter in jail, and they had this strange conversation. At the time, though, you as a viewer were supposed to assume that it was about some shady business dealings that they'd had when they worked together. Instead, it's become all too clear that the secret they are really hiding is that they totally did it! That the writers had the foresight to weave together the financial ruin of Lockhart/Gardner in order to introduce Bond so that Blake could come on board only to reveal Kalinda's big secret is only one small reason I love this show! The characters are intriguing, the mixture of politics and law is brilliant, the fact that it's in Chicago and they get it right is amazing, and of course the smarmy Eli Gold (the brilliant Alan Cumming who once again proves how amazing an actor he is) is genius. Heck, even the kids have great storylines!

And it all seems to always come together so beautifully. Such a great show! So great, in fact, that I joked to A.P. tonight that they should change the name of the show from The Good Wife to The Excellent Wife, whereas a month and a half ago I titled this post The Best Wife. I don't really know how much higher we can go!

Do you watch The Good Wife? Have you been loving this season? Did you see the Kalinda/Peter affair coming? I have to admit I didn't. I really forgot that they even knew each other!

(Photo 1 via here, Photo 2 via here, and Photo 3 via here)


Going Crazy

I'm not sure if I've ever talked about the fact that one of my siblings is bipolar. Well, he's having an episode, and it's stressing me out on top of the giant stacks of work I need to get done this week and next. It's not just him that's stressing me out, it's everyone else. Because, as I told A.P. last night, I can deal with his crazy, it's everyone else's crazy that's unbearable.

Anyway, this is the last week of overtime, and I've decided not to do the next three month stint. I'll resume again in the summer, and I'll still be able to make extra cash then. Thanks again for all your advice! I think many of you were right, in that it's better to save myself and do it every other time. I already can't wait to come home at a reasonable hour again. Oh the Law & Order reruns I'm going to watch!

Anyway, this is a short, but sweet post today. I'm stressed and tired, and some days, this is the best I can do. Have a great Tuesday, people!


I'm Bringing Sexy Back

I read a lot of blogs. A lot. I read about women who are single, and women who are married. I read about women who are having babies, and women who are struggling with infertility. I read about fashion, design, crafts, and oh so much more. One thing very few of these blogs ever discuss is sex. I'm not talking pornographic descriptions of sex lives, I'm just talking intimacy in general and how it changes during a relationship. It's the subject no one ever seems to want to bring up. And I get it, I do.

When I first started dating A.P., I realized that this relationship was different, and so I treated it differently. That meant not really talking to my friends about our sex life. I wanted to be respectful of our love for each other, and for his feelings. I didn't want my friends to know his dirty details, and so I kept my mouth shut.

So when things got stressful, and we got lazy, and it started to not be so great in that area, there was no one to talk to. I thought the blogs I read would address the issue, but they don't. It's like the elephant in the room no one will talk about. That's why I was so happy when I found an article a while back in Redbook which asked four couples to chart their sex lives during their time together. It was interesting to see sex wax and wane over time, with different things affecting their sex life: new babies, affairs, jobs, getting laid off, etc.

I'm happy to report that A.P. and I have worked our issue out, and though it's not perfect, it's better, and getting better all the time. We make it a priority now to be flirty with each other. We used to do that all the time, but when we got busy, we just did the bare minimum to keep going, forgetting about each other in so many ways. We also know that while sex every night is just not possible when I'm working 60-70 hour work weeks, cuddling every night and falling asleep in each other's arms is. And at the very least, we talk about it. We knew from the get go that not communicating about the lack of sex in our lives was worse than the actual lack of sex.

I also have tried to get back to my lingerie roots. I used to like to wear sexy little get ups all the time, sometimes it was formal lingerie, sometimes it was just knee socks, undies and a tank top. Lately, though, I'm on the hunt for feminine pieces that flatter and are light and sexy. I randomly picked this sexy romper up at Target the other day, and am obsessed with it, not just for it's sweet sexiness, but for it's overall comfort. I loved it so much I went back and bought another in a soft peach and gray.

My dilemma is that it's hard to find sexy lingerie for large busted ladies. The bigger your boobs, the more utilitarian the bras become. (I still haven't gotten measured for a titsling, a must on my 2011 list.) So imagine my surprise when I saw these sexy getups over at Greedy Girl:

I'm thinking that I better go get measured for that bra already so that I can purchase some of these sexy pieces.

What do you do to keep the sex going? Do you have a favorite lingerie piece you like to wear?

(Photos via Greedy Girl)


Birthday Girl

Here are some pictures from my 30th as well as how we celebrated!

My actual birthday was on Monday March 7th, but we kicked off the celebration on Saturday. I was supposed to go out to dinner with my friends on Friday night, but it didn't end up working out. I was exhausted, and frankly, annoyed I had to plan anything, so I kind of didn't plan, and turns out, you need to plan. So I canceled those plans.

Anyway, on Saturday, A.P. planned a special dinner. He was surprising me and I was told only to dress up. He also threw in that he asked and I didn't have to wear heels (read: he didn't want me to wear heels), but I did anyway. I debated a lot about what to wear, and thought it would be nice to wear the sexy green dress, but decided instead to play it safe and wear something conservative. So, I chose the black dress I was supposed to wear during cocktail hour before our wedding. It was perfect! Plus, I finally got to wear this dress I'd bought almost a year ago, and wearing it for my 30th birthday felt just as nice as wearing it for my wedding day. Good decision considering where A.P. took me.

We took a cab to Les Nomades, a super fancy French restaurant in downtown Chicago. We each had the five course meal, which included a raspberry souffle that was to die for! Here are some photos from that night. The place was so fancy they didn't really allow photos, and we only had A.P.'s point and shoot, so these aren't the best.

On Sunday, A.P. gave me my present (a new MacBook Pro! Sweet!). Other than that, we chilled out and ran some errands. Then I came home and worked all night so I could do absolutely nothing on Monday, which I had off of work (thank you Casimir Pulaski!). A.P. took the day off, too, which was awesome. Our original plan was to go to brunch at The Bongo Room, a brunch place in Wicker Park, but I stayed up so late the night before that I overslept. So instead, we went to Hot Doug's, a famous hot dog joint in Chicago.

After stuffing ourselves full of wieners, we picked up my brother and headed to the movies to see The Adjustment Bureau. We then rounded out the evening by purchasing cupcakes from Sweet Mandy B.'s, and a lemon square for me, since I love all things lemon.

As I've said before, it was the perfect birthday. It was very nice, and low key, and all of that made it seem like less of a big deal. Just another birthday. Probably the sweetest thing was the fact that I got to spend it with A.P. I was just happy to be with him, and not be working. All in all, a great day!


Cupcake Madness

I promise you I'm working on uploading my bday pictures (though many of them are not that hot), but in the mean time I want you all to know how obsessed with cupcakes I've been lately. Obviously, I love cupcakes and I always have, ever since my mother made these awesome cupcakes when I was in the 2nd grade with a pink parfait frosting. It was my one of my first memorable cake experiences, second only to to the time my mom first made lemon cake for me with lemon frosting. That started a life long love affair with lemon cake. Anyway, I heart cupcakes so much, and I'm always on the hunt for a new source of yummy deliciousness.

Since we got married at Lovely, a bakery here in Chicago, most people assume I think that Lovely's cupcakes are the best. They'd be wrong. There's a lot of things I love at Lovely: lemon squares, mini-pies, macarons, and brownies, to name a few. But the cupcakes there are sort of hit or miss, and well, they're just not my favorite. The ones they did for our wedding were awesome, but still, Lovely doesn't compare to my all time favorite cupcake place in town: Sweet Mandy B's bakery in Lincoln Park. This is where I went on my birthday and I had six amazing cupcakes, including lemon!

Anyway, imagine my delight when I saw this picture of these oh so beautiful cupcakes!

It got me in the mood for spring, which has been trying to edge winter out the past couple of weeks. It also gets me in the mood for cupcakes. Go figure.

What dessert can't you pass up?

(Photo via Petunia)



So, I have a dilemma and I don't know what to do. I figured who better to ask than you lovely readers. Here goes...

Currently, I am working overtime twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). I earn pretty good money for doing so. It's almost the equivalent of a third paycheck a month. Then two other days a week, I stay late for purposes related to the grant I won a few months ago. This means that 4 days out of the week, I work late and get home late. In fact, Mondays are my only early days, and typically those days I run errands for the house or for my job.

Here's how a typical work week goes these days:

Monday - Get home @ 4-4:30pm, write, try not to fall asleep, work or do house chores, make/eat dinner, watch TV/surf the net/hang out with A.P., go to bed

Tuesday - Get home @ 8pm, eat dinner, watch TV/surf the net/hang out with A.P., go to bed

Wednesday - Get home @ 5-5:30pm, write, try not to fall asleep, work, make/eat dinner, watch TV/surf the net/hang out with A.P., go to bed

Thursday - Get home @ 8pm, eat dinner, watch TV/surf the net/hang out with A.P., go to bed

Friday - Get home @ 5-5:30pm, write, try not to fall asleep, work, make/eat dinner, watch TV/surf the net/hang out with A.P., go to bed

The overtime I'm doing is in three month chunks. If you sign up to participate, you sign up for three months and it's up to you if you want to do it again the next time around. The deadline for whether or not I want to work another three months of overtime is approaching and I have to decide soon. I go back and forth every day.

Here's a quick pro/con list:

Pros - I make more money which allows me to meet a couple of big financial goals (paying off student loan debt and saving for a house). It looks good to my bosses that I'm willing to pitch in. And if I get better at managing my time I could potentially get all my work done for the week in 5 days (meaning no Sunday work, which is typically a whole Sunday).

Cons - I'm exhausted all the time. I don't get to see A.P. as much these days. I, in some ways, tripled my work load. I also feel that soon my grant project will take up even more time on Wednesdays and Fridays and I will be at work even later those days. My personal life is taking a major hit. I barely have time to clean, cook, or do anything I love: read, write, take photographs, etc. Finally, by the time the weekend rolls around, I become pretty useless. I bum around, take naps, and do nothing on Friday night/Saturday, and I work all day Sunday.

So it obviously looks like there are more cons to pros, but that first pro is a big one, and I'm torn about what to do. The ability to pay off my student loan debt way faster than I anticipated is a big draw. But this whole thing is affecting my appearance, too. You all should see the sad, sunken eyes I'm sporting these days! Plus A.P. keeps telling me I should just forget about it, and just pay off the loans eventually. And he's the first to get excited about reducing my debt, but he really sees the toll this is taking on me. I also feel that as long as I can handle these overtime stints, I should take them on. It will help us so much financially, and I still have that poor person mentality that I have to bust my ass for money. Argghhh!!!

What would you guys do? I'm so torn. Every Tuesday/Thursday morning, I wake up and want to kill myself at the thought of another 12-hour day, but then the work day ends and I kind of think I can do it. I really can't make up my mind.



This year, as you know, I've been trying to blog five times a week. I've been pretty successful so far (until recently anyway). In addition to the extra blogging, I've also been re-posting all of my entries here over on BlogHer. I like BlogHer, and it's been a nice way for me to find new blogs to read. So I was so surprised I was getting all these reads on one of my more recent entries (Monday's Dirty Thirties Updated List post). Turns out, my post got picked to be on the home page as a member post. Pretty sweet, huh?

I'm not sure if it's still up there now (you can check here, and scroll down to the member posts section to see), but here's a screenshot:

I'm pretty excited because lately I've been kind of bummed about how my writing was going, and whether or not it's even worth it to keep doing the blog. I felt like I was sort of beating my head against a wall. So this was a nice little nudge from the universe. It's a small thing (a very small thing actually), but it made me happy.

In about a month or so, I will have been blogging here for about two years. I took a break for a while right before and right after the wedding. I really love blogging, and I feel like I've learned a lot. When I first started, I didn't know anything. I still don't know as much as some, but I've learned how to do some basic HTML editing, cutting and pasting in code to customize my page, creating a more customized look, etc. I've gotten better about drafting/pre-publishing posts, and just sort of working smarter not harder (my new favorite corny saying) in general. But I still feel like I lack in the readership department. I feel like I see so many blogs these days that have been around for a hot minute and who have like 20 comments on each post. I can only imagine what their analytics looks like. Mine are sad. A.P. is so cute and supportive when I brag about my teeny tiny increase in my teeny tiny readership, but I still feel a bit pathetic bragging about a whole lot of nothing in the end. So I ask you, what are some ways you increased your readership? Feel free to share your tips in the comments.


Alone Again, (Un)Naturally

A.P. is out of town until Friday night. (He's on business in Las Vegas. I get Kansas, he gets Las Vegas. Ah, well, whatdya gonna do?) He left early this morning. I was so, so sad to see him go. I pick on him a lot. I demand a lot from him. I know I'm not a piece of cake, but I love him. It's times like these I know for sure. He woke me up to say good-bye, and I actually got up on my knees and gave him a big, tight hug and kissed him good-bye. I don't do those things every day. I'm not a touchy feely person. He hasn't been gone that long and I already miss him a lot. It's weird to miss someone you see every day.

I had planned on coming home early tonight, my only early working night this week, and uploading my birthday weekend pictures to share with you guys. I discovered A.P. took his camera with him, so I'm left with nothing to do really in an apartment that suddenly feels larger. I'm also left with a ton more responsibility.

For the rest of this week, I have to take care of our dog, too. Usually, I take care of the cat and the guinea pig, and A.P. takes care of our dog. Now, I get all three. Walking that dog is becoming the bane of my existence since I'm working late the rest of this week. That means I'm scrambling around trying to take care of three pets and work all these crazy hours. I actually thought about coming home tonight and cleaning. Ha! I still got home mega late from work, and have done nothing but work, talk on the phone with family, or figure out what to put in my belly.

Which brings me to my next thought: remember how I said I was getting sick of dealing with dinner all the time? Yeah, that's still a problem. Working late has only made it worse. Last night I went to go cook dinner only to discover half of the ingredients I'd bought had gone bad. It seemed like I'd only bought them a few days before, but it turned out to have been over a week ago! So when I came home tonight, I decided I was going to just make my life easier and grab some fast food. I know it's not healthy, but I figure I'd get over it, and free up some of my time. Why did I decide upon fast food, you ask? After all, we have a car now; I could have gone to the grocery store and bought something there. I didn't want to carry groceries up three flights of stairs. A.P. wasn't here to help me carry them, and I hate doing that by myself. It's such a pain in the ass.

On my way to the fast food joint, I was paranoid about walking by myself late at night. It occurred to me that I don't really do this anymore...walk by myself at night. I don't live in an unsafe neighborhood, really, but there are a lot of drunken vagrants around this one intersection that I would have had to go past to get to the fast food joint. I wasn't scared, but I thought that one might hassle me, which they sometimes do. I missed A.P. because not only does he handle situations like that well, but he is fun to walk with. I like our talks on walks like that. Going to grab some dinner from a neighborhood joint, be it fast food or a restaurant. Or just walking to the convenience store. We talk about silly things, or work, or just make jokes. It's nice when we're not glued to the TV or our laptops or whatever, and we're just walking and talking.

Then it hit me: How did I ever survive without A.P.? Do I not sound like one of those spoiled girls whose man does everything for her? I promise I'm not, it's just that (and I almost hate to say this) I'm used to having someone around. It feels a bit strange to be alone. I thought it'd be fun, but there's nothing on cable, getting food was a pain and no fun, and now it's the end of the night and I'm going to bed alone. I used to revel in A.P. being away. Now I'm bummed and lonely. When did I get to be so lame?

What about you guys? Are you like this? Or do you still love when your boo is away on business? (That's right. I said boo. You love it. It's okay.)


Dirty Thirties: An Updated List for 2011, Prt. 2

Here's the rest of the update to my list for 2011. Enjoy!

23. Walk in A.P.'s shoes. My brother suggested that A.P. and I walk in each other's shoes for a month. He says we bicker too much about how we both contribute more than the other. I don't know if I'll truly be able to do this one, or if I'll be able to convince A.P. to do it, but it might prove interesting, that's for sure.

I don't think we're going to do this, but I have been trying to be more grateful for all that he does. Whether he thinks I'm succeeding or not is another story.

24. Take a photography course. I have a groupon for one, so this should be a cinch.
Waiting until the weather warms up a bit for this one since I know I will have to do part of the shoot outside, and I don't want to freeze my tush off.

25. Take a guitar course. Same as above. I heart groupon.
Need to figure out this class as well. It's definitely got to wait until after I'm done working overtime.
26. Do another picture a day project.
I'm still brainstorming a good one. I've come up with nothing. I thought about doing outfit a day, but I wear such stupid clothes these days. I'm all about being warm and comfortable.

27. Get regular about doctor appointments. Before grad school, I was super, super diligent about going to the lady doctor and to the dentist. Since grad school started, I've been not so diligent. Time to get back into old routines.
I went to the dentist, and now I'm trying to find a lady doctor. I'm not sure if I want to go back to the one I had since I'm now at an age where I'm realizing that my lady doctor might also be the one who delivers my future unborn babies. I want to be with someone I really like and feel comfortable with. I'm not sure I 100% loved my old doctor. Plus, this is really weird, but the woman I used to nanny for coincidentally had the same doctor, and all I can think about now is that that doctor has seen both of our lady parts. Plus I used to refer her to my friends all the time. She's seen too many of our lady parts. She knows too much. It's time to move on. : O )

28. Journal again.
I thought about this the other day. Does that count?

29. Go someplace new in Florida, possibly Disney World. A.P. is a Floridian, born and raised. Every year, at some point, we make the trek to Florida. And I hate it. I'm bored, and all I see are the insides of people's houses. I feel like I've been to Florida three times, but I've never really been to Florida. I told A.P. next time we go, we have to take a day trip somewhere. I voted for either Disney World, or Eatonville, the birthplace of Zora Neale Hurston.
We're going to Disney World. It's been decided. I'll cross this off, though, when we've actually gone.

30. Go on a hot air balloon ride. I bought A.P. a gift certificate for a ride for his groom's gift, but we still haven't used it. It's time to cash that baby in.
Weather has to warm up significantly for me to do this.

31. Get our finances completely in order. I think we finally found a money management software, which is going to be awesome once we figure out how to use it!
This is my responsibility and I've for sure been slacking. A.P. and I have had conversation after conversation about this, and I still just haven't made us sit down and get it done. I'm always working , it seems.

32. Call my parents more. Call my great aunt more. Part of GTD is to schedule things like phone calls. That may sound silly to some, but I'm the sort of person who at 7pm as I'm cooking thinks, "Oh crap, I have to call my mother," but don't because it's inconvenient at the time. Then, at 11:30pm, I remember again and it's too late. The cycle starts all over the next day. So scheduling a phone call wouldn't be the worst thing.
I've been so so about this. It's been harder with my crazy schedule, but I do feel like I'm better about this now. I've called my father more, and made a point to see him more since we have a car. My mother has been trickier, but I've been trying. I'm not crossing this off, because I still think I can do better.

33. Blog five times a week on this blog, and 2-3 times a week on my other blog (that we write for our family only). That's a lot of blogging! But I think if I try hard enough, I can do it.
I don't know, guys, should I cross this off yet? With the exception of two weeks where I missed a fifth day, and this past week where I only blogged once, I've blogged five times a day here and for the most part at BlogHer, too.

34. Prioritize. Family first. Hopes/dreams/personal goals second. Work third. I'd hate to be 40 and still wondering why I haven't done what I wanted to do.
I think I've been better about this, but I've still got a lot of work to do. I'm managing my time better, but I also calculated how much work I've been doing on average the past few weeks, and it adds up to about 63 hours a week. That's exhausting, no? Plus...I miss my husband and being calm around him. I'll wait until the end of the year to asses and possibly cross this one off.

35. See Spring Awakening. If A.P. won't buy the tickets, I will. I've wanted to see this for a long, long time.
Tickets just went on sale, and I think I'm going to buy them this week when I get paid on Friday. So you can check back on my list page later this week to see this bad boy crossed off!

36. Learn to sew. More on this later.
I've still not really talked about this. I feel a post coming on...

37. Eat out less. Eat fruit more. Eat candy less. Eat dairy more.
Working on this, and getting somewhat better. But those 12 hour days are killing me. And frequently the last thing I want to do is come home and cook. I am trying to do some crock pot cooking. That's tough, too, though.

38. Play with our guinea pig, Henry, more. Yes, we have a guinea pig. It's a long story.
I haven't been playing with him more, but I've been buying him more treats and petting him more. It's hard to find any time to play with any of the animals. Pretty much all of the playing we do these days revolves around falling asleep on the couch while watching TV.

39. Find a good pair of gym shoes.
I looked again today. I'm hoping to buy these soon. My knee is longing for comfortable shoes!

40. Digitize all of our photos.
I was getting really good at this and I was super on top of it for a while. Alas, I got behind. I'm hoping to get started again soon.

41. Record my father talking about the Olympics. My father was an Olympian. He didn't win or anything, but he won a lot of awards in the Asian Olympics. It would be so cool to record him looking at photos and discussing both. How cool would that be to show to our kids one day?
I haven't done this at all. I talked to my father about his next hang out session with us being at my house. Perhaps I shall set up our video camera to do that.

42. Visit my sister and her husband in India. I wish I could have traveled to India before I met A.P., by myself. I think it would have been amazing. I've always wanted to go, see where my father was born and raised, and I'll be excited to do that. But the thought of traveling to such an exotic place with my picky eater husband, and staying with my sister kind of makes me dread the whole thing. Maybe that's a good thing, though. Maybe if we do go, the trip will be awesome because I had such low expectations.
A.P. and I have talked a lot about this. I don't think this is going to happen. A.P. has only been at his job for a year, and I don't have the time off yet, either. And while we might have the money for the plane ticket, we probably couldn't afford the plane ticket, the visa, the medical, etc. That's the kind of thing that requires a lot of planning and frankly, we can't even plan for a trip to Florida. So needless to say this is on the way back burner right now.

43. Get A.P. to put his keys and wallet in the same damn place every day. This won't happen, but wouldn't it be awesome if it did? And I didn't have to hear, "Have you seen my [insert keys, wallet, glasses, headphones, bag, etc. here]?"
Yeah, still on progress on that shit.

44. Throw at least one party. Back in the day, I threw awesome parties. I would cram up to 30 people into my one bedroom apartment throughout the night. It sounds crowded, but it never felt like it. It always felt awesome. The last party we threw was our housewarming party when I first moved in. Instead, we've been focusing on hosting holidays for our family. I'd like to throw a kickass party again. It's a lot of work, but always so much fun.
I didn't end up throwing myself a 30th birthday party at all. I decided I didn't want to throw it myself and nobody really was offering to throw it for me, so I skipped it altogether. I was going to do something small with some close friends and family and that didn't work out either. So instead this has been all about hanging out with my best friend, A.P. And that's been okay with me. But we will throw a party soon. When things die down.

45. Clear my skin. This is the year, I've decided, that I'm done with acne. It sucks to have adult acne. And what's worse is I can never seem to find a product that clears my skin. This is the year I find a dermatologist, and start to look like a grownup, not a teenager!
I'm on it! I found this amazing blackhead/whitehead cleaner and I started using the Zeno system on some of my more stubborn cystic bastards on my chin. It's been good so far. My skin is much clearer. So we'll see how it goes. I may still go to the dermatologist.

And that's it. I feel like I haven't made much progress yet, but so many of these things seem to be time or weather dependent, and I hate to say it, but me having more time off closer to summer is going to be key in me crushing out a bunch of these things. Still, it's good for me to go through this list every quarter or so. How is everybody else doing with their New Year's to do lists/resolutions? Any progress? Or have we all given up?


Dirty Thirties: An Updated List for 2011, Prt. 1

Today, I turn 30 years old. It's really not that big of a deal. You think it's going to be a big deal, but it's not. Getting old is pretty much something you get used to after 21, and you realize that every birthday after that is just about getting older.

I'm trying to get back on track with blogging this week. I've pumped enough hours into work lately, that I'm a bit ahead of the game. I'm also happy to report that even though I stayed up until, like 3 in the morning last night doing work, today I'm celebrating with A.P. (I have the day off of work, and he took the day off) and I'm not doing a lick of work. Yay!

So, with 30 still feeling fresh and new, I figured it's a good week to check in with my list for 2011.

1. Lose the rest of the weight I've gained since I started dating A.P. four and a half years ago. Do it at my own pace, and without headache or self-loathing.
I've actually gained weight. It's not a lot, but it's not the direction I was hoping to go in either. Oh well. I'm getting used to my curvier body, too. I can't decide if that's a good or a bad thing.

2. Do my knee exercises more often. I have a bum knee. It's sad and true that I have a bum knee and I'm not even 30. Supposedly if I did these exercises 3-5 times a week, it'd be less of a bum knee (but still technically a bum knee).
This has become especially important lately because, as I lamely told A.P., the cold makes my knee hurt. Lately, we've had this damp, icky cold weather, and it's been making my knee hurt even more. I know. I sound so old. Ugh. Anyway, I did some exercises the other night, and it felt really nice. So I'm going to try to do them 3x a week. I've moved the gear into the room, and I figure before bed is a good time to do some monster walking.

3. Wear this sexy green dress I bought several years ago that I, for whatever reason, have never worn.
Still haven't done this one. It's got no sleeves, so I'm thinking when the weather warms up.

4. Find a bra to wear with the sexy green dress.
Still haven't done this one either. What can I say, when one hasn't been the priority, the other falls to the wayside, too.

5. Get measured for a bra. It seems like every time I gain weight, my boobs get bigger. But then when I lose weight, my boobs stay the same size. I've been guestimating for too long what size bra I am. It's time to bite the bullet and let some old lady at the department store grope me a bit.
I haven't been measured for a bra, but I did find some that fit pretty nicely the other day. They're probably way off, but I just haven't had time lately to go to a department store. And frankly for now, I'll settle for a good bra that fits and isn't ugly as hell.
6. Make A.P. take me out on a fancy date so that I can wear the damn green dress!
So, technically, A.P. took me out on a fancy date for my birthday. But I didn't wear the green dress. It wasn't really appropriate. I did wear the black cocktail dress I was supposed to wear on our wedding day, though. So that was kind of a big deal.
7. Take our engagement photos. Yes, that's right. We still haven't done that. Oops.
Gotta do #1 first. Plus we're waiting for warmer weather? I don't know. We just never think about it.

8. After we take our engagement photos, chop off my hair. I found this old picture of my grandmother and am thinking about whacking off my hair so it looks like hers (in a slightly more updated way, though I do sort of appreciate the vintage charm of this cut).
See above.

9. Travel somewhere exotic...again. We went to Belize on our honeymoon and it was my first time really visiting an exotic location. I see what the fuss is about.
We were going to try to do a mini-cruise to the Bahamas interwoven in our trip to Florida, but I think that's a bust. So, now, well, we're just working on it. Maybe when summer gets a bit closer?

10. Join a team sport of some kind. Possibly rope A.P. into joining, too. I want to be a part of a kickball team. Or maybe a good badminton foursome? I just want to exercise in a way that isn't in a gym, with my headphones on, ignoring everyone.
We're not joining a team, but I'm trying to get A.P. to take a badminton class with me at the local park district. I think I'm this close to getting him to let me sign us up. It's $10! How can you go wrong? If you hate it, you just don't go back. After all, you've spent less than a night at the movies!

11. Scrapbook. That's right. I said it. Scrapbook.
I really don't want to talk about this one, because it involves what I was hoping to work on for our wedding anniversary, and I've been so busy with work, I haven't done it at all. Lame, lame, lame.

12. Pay off my credit card before my 30th birthday. When I was 21 years old, I studied abroad in Italy. In order to get myself there, I had to put my airfare on a credit card. I've had credit card debt ever since. What's funny about that is how little I actually use my credit card and how totally not reckless with money I am. For almost a year, I carried an expired credit card in my wallet because I forgot to change it out. That's how little I use my credit card. I've just never been in a position to pay it off completely. This goal is almost completed. On my 30th birthday, I will make my last payment, and the balance will be $0!
Did this yesterday! Scheduled my last payment for today, and I am officially credit card debt free. I'm excited to have a ton of money freed up each month. And on to the next chunk of debt: school loans. Fun, fun, fun!
13. Get my life organized and keep my apartment clean.
The place is a mess. This so isn't happening. Though I'm hoping to work on it a bit today. Something about turning 30 makes me want to clean this joint up.

14. Find a way to get my life organized and keep my apartment clean.
Uh, obviously haven't done it if number 13 is still a hot mess.

15. Try out the GTD system. (Not GTL...that joke never gets old with me.)
I tried. I failed. It's complicated. Some things about it though have gotten me thinking, like the premise of doing things if they take 2 minutes or less. That's just good sense.

16. Get new glasses. My prescription hasn't really changed much, but the last time I bought glasses was an embarrassingly long time ago. I want some new, rad glasses I can sport around town.
A.P. just got his prescription updated, and we went to go pick up his new lenses yesterday. I tried on a bunch of glasses and it inspired me to get some new lenses. I think that with my freed up income and my additional overtime, I will splurge on a nice pair of frames in a couple of months.
17. Go camping in Michigan again. For a while, I did this trip annually, but A.P. and I have taken other trips the last two summers (Smoky Mountains, where we got engaged, and our wedding present trip to Montreal), and so didn't end up going camping. I miss it, and it's always fun to take the dog on a trip.
Wait until simmer.
18. Write random, lovely letters. When was the last time you wrote someone a handwritten letter? Not a birthday card or a thank you card, but a real hello, how are you letter? I want to write at least five random hello, how are you letters. Email is overrated.
I've had this lovely set of stationary that I bought for this purpose laying on my coffee table for the past month or so. I can't think of one person I want to write a letter to. What a bummer, huh?

19. Play badminton more. We registered for, and awesomely got a badminton set for our wedding. We only got to play once last summer, but it was so much fun! I want to make it a point to go to the park, set up the net, and bat around the shuttlecock (love that it's called a shuttlecock, btw).
If I can get A.P. to take that class, I can cross this off my list. Keep your fingers crossed ladies!

20. Read more. If only you knew what I did for a living. If only you knew how little I read. You'd be as embarrassed for me as I am for me. I read magazines all the time, but I need to find some new authors/books that I can enjoy. (Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments).
I hate to admit it, but that Kindle has been a huge boost for me in terms of how much I've been reading. I read the following since January (and you can judge me all you want for that first choice, but we ALL have guilty pleasures, and one of mine is Tori Spelling, so suck it)
  • Uncharted TerriTORI by Tori Spelling (which I read in like a week, which seems like a long time, but I only read before bed for about 10-20 minutes)
  • Easily Amused by Karen McQuestion (good, but the ending felt like a let down, and there were some annoying grammatical/usage mistakes that annoyed me)
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua (I've already commented on how this book is going)
I've also wish listed Wendy Kopp's new book, A Chance to Make History, as well as some others. Kindle, despite it's boring display, lack of features, and frustratingly high price for a digital file, has transformed my reading life.

21. Rotate in some new old shows. I watch a lot of TV shows. So many, in fact, that sometimes I have to stop watching shows for a while, and rotate in other ones, which means I can get a few seasons behind. Right now I'm super behind on Mad Men, Dexter, Rescue Me, and Big Love. I aim to get caught up before new seasons start up again (particularly Rescue Me and Big Love, which both end this year).
I've been working too hard to watch anything but mindless reality TV while I work. I'm thinking about joining Hulu Plus, though. That might get me caught up. Not sure if it's worth the 7.99/mo price, though.

22. Buy a home. This might trickle over to the beginning of 2012 (hopefully before the apocalypse), but we've been talking about it a lot lately, and think that we can start looking for a place by the end of the year.
Still working on this.

To be continued tomorrow...

Check back to see what the hell else I've been putting off.


All Work and No Play Makes Marty a Dull Sick Girl

Wow. I can't even describe how much energy it is taking to write this post. I have been in such a work whirlwind the past week and a half that I can't even believe it. I've gone completely MIA, and not just here. My mom was going on a cruise, and I got so busy with work I never got to call her before she left. I thought it would be better with the recent three day weekend (President's Day), alas it was not meant to be. I worked all day Monday on various stuff I could do from home. Then my four day work week saw me working three twelve hour days! It was all I could do to come home and crash. Plus, I've been so run down that I think I'm getting sick. I haven't been sick with a cold since October of 2009. Geesh.

Next Monday is my 30th birthday, and luckily it falls on Casimir Pulaski Day, which means I have the day off! Woo-hoo! What better gift? In the mean time, between twelve hour days, and struggling to keep my eyes open, I've managed to watch some bad TV and start a new book.

Over President's Day weekend, I'm not proud to admit that I watched four seasons of Keeping Up with the Kardashians/Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami. I did a lot of work while I watched the bulk of the episodes, but, yeah, that's in my brain now. You can't take that shit out.

To balance out that useless knowledge, I also started reading a controversial new book on my Kindle. That's right, ladies, I'm finally getting around to reading all about "Chinese Mothers." I first read about Amy Chua's book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in Entertainment Weekly, and decided I would read it. Then, one of my favorite blogs, Avoision, posted about the article that she wrote for the Wall Street Journal a little while back discussing the premise of the book. It's an interesting concept. Basically, she acted like a dictator and claims that her kids turned out awesome as a result. She then further claims this is how all "Chinese mothers" are and that is why "Chinese" children are more successful than Western children in many respects (I'm putting Chinese in quotes because early on she claims that it's just a descriptor she uses to describe a type of parent...the dictator kind). It's an interesting theory, and I'm learning more about myself as I read it. Especially when I find myself thinking, "Why is this weird? Sounds good to me!" Uh-oh. Looks like I'm a future dictator, er, I mean "Chinese mother."
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