Tag Archives: life

Back in my day…

8 Jun

I’m sure by now everyone has seen the “Things that won’t make you feel young” that has been bouncing around the interwebs.

But, I was lucky enough to get ID’d at dinner on Tuesday yessssssssssssss still got it. So, I though I would make my own list of some things that never make me feel young.

  1. My interns don’t know what an “away message” is. And the concept of not communicating via away message after a bad breakup is foreign to them. Did I mention that they were all born after 1990?
  2. My high school presentations involved poster board, not PowerPoint.
  3. I had a cell phone that didn’t vibrate and didn’t receive text messages. Not because I didn’t have a text message plan, but because TEXT MESSAGE DIDN’T EXIST.
  4. I think of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as Clarissa.
  5. Miley Cyrus is old enough to be engaged. I used to have “Achy breaky heart” on cassette. Enough said.

TGIF friends.

Back in my day, that meant a solid two hours of Full House, Family Matters, Boy Meets World and Step by Step. And if you were really lucky, you got to stay up after TGIF to watch Snick…all I have to say about that is, are you afraid of the dark?

I am a YES.

30 May

There is a saying in yoga, “I am a yes.” Not a no, not a maybe, not a possibly, not a perhaps.

Just a firm, definitive yes.

Over the last 40 days, I have been a yes.

And it’s a big deal.

Six weeks ago, I signed on for a 40 Days of Yoga challenge. The commitment was five 75-minute yoga classes a week, plus one 60-minute workshop. Which, when you work full-time and want to have something that resembles a social life, can be challenging.

I was trapped in “maybes” for a good two weeks before signing up. Maybe I’ll do 40 days. Maybe I won’t. 

But I hate grey areas, which means “maybe” doesn’t work for me. So I signed up. I decided to be a YES. If I can commit to shoes, I can commit to yoga.

Being a yes is hard. It meant I went to yoga at 3:30 p.m. on the first nice Sunday of the year. It meant that I went to yoga instead of going out with my friends. It meant that I went to yoga at 5:45 a.m. before work and that I went to yoga on a Saturday with a raging hangover when I would have rather been at home watching (and being) Bridget Jones.

The hardest part of being a yes, of making a commitment and sticking to it, was that I was making a commitment to myself. The only person I would be flaking out on if I dropped out of 40 days would be myself. This time, I needed to STICK TO IT. It’s easy to start out as a yes and then fade into a maybe and then slowly fade into a no, when the only person you report to is you.

For me, 40 Days was not about working out five times a week—it was about the commitment, about being a yes, about prioritizing and avoiding lame excuses like “not enough time” or “I have to do this other less important thing.” Sure, the workouts were great and my yoga practice has improved (bird of paradise anyone?). But more importantly, for the last 40 days, I was a yes.

So I challenge you—what do you need to commit to for 40 days? Where in your life do you need to be a yes?

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read about 40 Days to Personal Revolution, started by Baron Baptiste, here.

And if you think yoga isn’t an amazing workout for mind and body, you’re at the wrong yoga studio.

Miss Ewes

21 May

OCCUPY CAKERYPAPERY’S CRAFT ROOM is closely approaching its second month.

Which leaves me two choices. I can either evict the squatters (multiple pieces of trim, old medicine cabinet, shop vac, extra tiles, joint compound, paint cans), or I can find a way to work around them.

Given my level of laziness (high) on a Thursday evening, I went with the second option. Don’t judge.

Besides, the Cricut doesn’t need much room, right?

I started out with these cutouts.

Have an idea where this is going?

And I ended up with this.

The ‘Miss Ewes’ card was for one of my coworkers, who is leaving to attend medical school.

And since she always talks about how much she wants original stationary, I made her some celery rose cards. In blue, since she’s becoming a doctor.

I make the celery cards a lot—they are ending up as one of my signature projects. I really enjoy the speed at which I can make these, and each set is different than the one before. You can read the instructions on how to make these here.

To make the ‘Miss Ewes’ card, I started with a pre-cut piece of cardstock from a 4 x 6 stack for the background. Sure, you can cut your own, but using pre-cut is much more efficient. The sheep cutouts & ewe font are in the Just Because Cricut cartridge. The ‘ewe’ was cut at 4 inches and the sheep at 3.5 and 4 inches. The tag cut is from Plantain Schoolbook, sized at 1.5 inches. Cut, glue, assemble.

And the occupy craft room protest rages on…

Five True Things I Learned From Mom

13 May

No matter how old I get, I will always believe that my mom has an answer for any question/situation/problem I encounter. Like what temperature you cook baked potatoes at. Or how you even make a baked potato..yeah, never can seem to get that one right.

There are a million things my mom has taught me—but these are my top five.

  1. Relationships are a two-way street. The emotion and the effort to make it successful has to go both ways. No one person is ever totally right or totally wrong, and a lot of times the term “compromise” means suck it up and deal. You will have times when you want the street to go both ways but you can’t force it to. And when you find yourself on the one-way street of a toxic relationship, just take the next right turn out of it.
  2. If you’re asking yourself “is this too short?” the answer is YES. You have to trust yourself enough to follow your instincts. They won’t steer you wrong. You already know the answer to most of the questions you have in your mind, but you might not like what the answers are. Trust yourself. It’s the getting in front of the mirror and looking at the outfit from a few different angles that will help you see what you already know—that dress is too short.
  3. You will not be adored by every person you meet, and that is okay. Because you are not going to like everyone either. You can spend a lot of time and energy trying to make everyone like you, or you can spend that time and energy figuring out how to love the person you already are. It’s better to be an imperfect version of yourself than a perfect version of somebody else.
  4. If you’re trapped in an outfit, just cross your arms and pull the dress off from the bottom up. There’s a solution for every situation and every problem. You might not see it at first, as you’re hyperventilating and sweating and imagining having to buy the dress because you can’t get out of it. But once you take a deep breath and take a few minutes to calm down, you’ll see that the solution was there all along. Go back to what you know, where you’ve been, and how you’ve gotten through. You’ll get out of the dress…eventually.
  5. Don’t eat ice cream flavors that you don’t like. There is a reason my mom keeps five different flavors of Italian Ice in her freezer. Life is too short to do something that you are not totally energized and excited about. Find your passions, and go for them. If its not worth putting 100% of your heart into it, just take yourself out of it. I eat watermelon (duh, it’s pink). Find what your flavor is.

Happy Mother’s Day. Love you Mom. ❤

If Snooki Married Bill Gates: Meet the Brogammers

9 May

Jersey Shore has invaded the last nerd standing: computer programmers.

Yo, brogrammer, two heinekens.

And while I haven’t seen any monitor tans combined with my new haircuts just yet—emphasis on the yet—I have serious concerns. About brogammers.

What exactly is a brogammer? Well, according to Urban Dictionary, a brogammer is:

A programmer who breaks the usual expectations of quiet nerdiness and opts instead for the usual trappings of a frat-boy: popped collars, bad beer, and calling everybody “bro.” Despised by everyone, especially other programmers.

Sweet Jesus, it sounds like we’re at a UVA football game.

And let’s pause while I point out the last line. DESPISED BY EVERYONE.

Brogammers are programmers’ worst enemy. Brogammers sleep with the prom queen and make FORTRAN sexy. I suspect they wear their sunglasses at night and use pick-up lines that reference the Commodore 64.

They sound terrible.

So what’s wrong with a little diversity in the programming field you say? Is it  that I am offended by job postings that say things like “want to bro down and crush some code” or mention that there is a “friendly female staff”?

No, it’s not that. And it’s not instructions on how to become a brogammer either. Or the “are you a brogammer” quiz. Or the fact that you can follow a fictional brogammer on Twitter, @brogammer.

IT’S THAT IT’S FREAKING COMPUTER PROGRAMMING. Computer programming is a sacred space reserved for quiet, nerdy types. Quiet, nerdy types who are hot because they are quiet and nerdy.

Given that I went to college and graduate school for math (yes, even Elle Woods types can do math), I knew a lot of geeky, nerdy kids. And I knew a lot of HOT, GEEKY, NERDY KIDS. The “no game” game? Gets the girl every time. Even me.

Computer programmers don’t need popped collars (vom) and Natty Light (vom plus a bad hangover) to be cool and hip. And no one refers to it as “computer programming” anymore. It’s not like we are back in 1990 and Al Gore is inventing the internet. Programmers already have sexy job titles, like digital art director and web developer and digital designer

And the guy who claims he scored his first job by talking about a calendar of “nudie pics” he made of his college girlfriends? You’re not a brogammer, YOU’RE JUST A TOOL.

So stay away brogammers. Or go work someplace where real programmers can’t be found. Like Microsoft.

Just leave my nerdy programming types alone.

Friday Flavor: Kombucha

27 Apr

If you ever want to drink something that smells like straight vinegar, tastes like the early stages of moonshine, and has something floating in it called “the mother,” than Kombucha was made for you.

I first heard about Kombucha at a fascinating seminar about the small intestines and other various wonders of the human body. And since I just happened to find Kombucha at Wegmans…I figured I would give it a test drive.

Okay…so I didn’t just happen to find it at Wegmans. The description of Kombucha at digestion class (LOLLLLLL digestion class) was so intriguing I immediately careened to the Nature’s Marketplace at Pittsford Wegmans to purchase some.

So why the hell would I want to drink a berry-flavored vinegar water?

Well, for those of you not hippie-dippie enough to have heard of Kombucha before (like me), here’s the 411.

Kombucha is a fermented tea.

And before you get all excited thinking that I’ve discovered a new-age bootleg liquor, it’s not that kind of fermentation. Kombucha is a fermented tea that is full of probiotics.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “I’m down with probiotics. I get those daily when I have my go-gurt.” Yeah…about that…

Yogurt has extremely low-levels of probiotics. And if it’s not organic, then it’s probably made from conventional dairy, which is full of antibiotics. And what if you don’t like yogurt? But those are topics for another time and place.

Back to the Kombucha. It tasted sort of like…wine that wasn’t quite there yet? Juice that was a bit stale? It definitely didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t have that same yum flavor as a raspberry ginger ale. The BAO Kombucha didn’t have as much floaty-mother stuff as other brands, which was a huge plus. And, it was only 80 calories for the entire bottle.

The downside? Almost $4 for one bottle. And it smelled like vinegar. Which was not appetizing.

I don’t know if I’ll add these into my diet on a regular basis, but I might grab one every once in a while. It’s probably better for me than the saccharin-filled Diet Cokes and Vitamin Water Zeros that I usually grab.

If you want to try Kombucha for yourself, look for it in the natural food or organic section of your grocery store.

And don’t worry. I have no plans to stop shaving my armpits and go totally brown rice anytime soon.


The Most Delicious Lasagna. Ever.

22 Apr

Did I mention that it comes with from scratch red sauce? On a creamy bed of from scratch béchamel sauce? And that it also involves eggplant and ricotta and prosciutto? Like I said.

Most. Delicious. Lasagna. Ever.

Step 1 of most delicious lasagna ever is sauce. It’s also step 1 of a variety of other delicious Italian meals.

Start with a chopped onion and some olive oil.

Add in some garlic.

Then Italian seasoning (duh), basil, crushed red pepper and tomato paste.

Stir in the tomatoes and when the sauce bubbles, you’re done.

If at this point you’re saying something like “But I just don’t have time to make sauce” or “Sauce in the jar is just as good” I have two thoughts.

One, it doesn’t take that long to make sauce. You can even do things like make a double batch and then freeze it, ensuring that you’ll always have red sauce on hand, like every good Italian cook does.

Two is that jar sauce does not taste the same. It tastes like jar sauce. If you do have a good reason for buying jar sauce (although the only two I can think of are sudden loss of blood or death), make sure you check the ingredients–whole tomatoes should be listed first. And whatever you do, don’t ever buy sauce that costs less than a dollar for the entire jar, or has a name like ‘ragu,’ ‘prego,’ or ‘franscico rinaldi.’

Moving on from my jar-sauce-hating rant…

Once you’ve got the sauce going, start on the lasagna part. Slice an eggplant lengthwise and lightly brush each side of the slices with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper and bake at 450 for 12 minutes. The eggplant goes in looking like this.

And comes out looking like this.

While the eggplant is cooking, start the bechamel sauce. Bechamel is just a fancy name for white cream sauce. You don’t need to make it for this recipe…but I think it’s really what tips this dish towards delicious.

Start by melting butter.

Whisk in some flour and then whole milk. Continue to whisk over medium heat until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Add in a pinch of nutmeg and you’re done. Use a generous layer to coat the bottom of your lasagna pan.

Next you need to make the filling. Ricotta, eggs, parmesan, and spinach. Just mix it all up together. No fancy technique needed.

The rest is easy. Layer a slice of prosciutto, some filling, and grated mozzarella on top of the eggplant slices.

Roll up each eggplant slice, and arrange in your bechamel-coated pan. Top with the red sauce, and more grated mozz.

One more thing. Do yourself a favor and not use mozzarella that comes in a plastic bag. Go to the cheese department, buy some good whole milk mozz, and grate it by hand. You’ll thank me for this later.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let set for five minutes.

Then victoriously enjoy the most delicious lasagna ever.

I’d also highly recommend getting a sweet baking timer like this one.

Not only is it super cute and way sexier than using your microwave kitchen timer feature, it’s mobile. So you can do fun things like bring the timer outside and drink wine on the porch.

And yes, I did just describe my kitchen timer as sexy.

What is this, 1990?

19 Apr

Do you ever have those moments when someone says, “Yeah, it was like 10 years ago” and you think they mean the 90’s, when really they are referring to 2002?

THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES.

I received the following at my parents’ house last week.

At this point, you’re probably saying, “BFD. Someone mailed you a letter. You’re just soooooooo  popular.”

But this is not an ordinary letter. It is a gramatically incorrect, poorly punctuated, neatly typed, blast-from-the-past, super creepy LOVE LETTER.

Don’t believe me? I’ve gleefully accurately transcribed it below. Names have been changed to protect the…innocent.

RXXX,

Hey how are things going? I came across your address on something a little bit back and thought I’d write you and say hi. Well right after that I was out for a jog and was hit by a F150 Pick-up truck. Broke 10 ribs puntured lung few other things, Nothing really physically noticeable, incredibly lucky for getting struck at what the driver said he was going 50MPH and threw me into a tree. Going back to work today for a couple weeks then surgery on my ribs.

Anyways, how have things been? What are you doing these days? I’m still doing the police ting and own a few houses. Starting a new business I think soon. Think I’m going to build a house soon, Have a lot of plans for it just have to find the location I want it.

What is new with you? I think the last time I saw you was at Nathanial’s the summer you were working at red wings stadium. You still living in NYS. Sent this to your parents hoping they could forward it to you. How is your family? Lol I remember being over your house after class a couple times and your dad came home and I was all intimidated lol. We were young then eh?

Well Anyway If you want you should get a hold of me, still have the same #…585-XXX-XXX. Maybe we can meet up for a bit or something and catch up. Hope everything is well, and Happy Easter. : )

Okay, I know what you are all thinking. Give this guy a break, he’s just trying to be nice, etc etc.

But let’s be reasonable.

First, a letter to my parents’ house? A letter? What is this, 1990? And ten years later? There are MANY MANY ways to find my contact info…LIKE GOOGLE. Or LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter…the list goes on.

And the fact that he still has my address memorized is just…creepy.

Second, can we discuss the punctuation? And grammar? I work in communications for a living. Good grammar is like breakfast cereal to me. I’d just like to say, the capitals after the commas…SO CONFUSED. And no question mark after the question about living in NYS is just…wrong.

Third, the phrase “LOL” should never be used outside of text message. And the “eh?” I’m all for celebrating my Canadian heritage, but wtf. And he was hit by a pickup truck??? And owns a “few” houses? Are you sh*tting me life?

Don’t even get me started on the ones who say they plan to “start a new business.” UGH times TEN.

AND BEFORE YOU CALL ME JUDGY MCJUDGERSON…which I might be…I’D LIKE TO POINT OUT THE STAMP.

What grown man has a stash of “Love” stamps just hanging around the house? Flag stamps, Liberty Bell stamps, even leftover Christmas or a wedding stamp would have been better. But a “LOVE” stamp? I’m pretty sure this stamp was…intentional. And therefore creepy. VOMS.

Overall, the only redeeming facet of the letter is its choice of font. A sans serif. Thank goodness for the little things in life.

A for effort. And A+ for creep factor.

Make it Live for 32.

15 Apr

It’s been five years, and I wish I knew what to say. I want to say something deep and meaningful and poetic. But I’m not good at that, so I will just write something that is true.

Five years ago, 32 members of the Virginia Tech community were killed. And they are missed every day.

There are two phrases that everyone who was part of the VT community on April 16, 2007 has had their lives shaped by.

We will prevail.

Live for 32.

The first kept us going in the days that followed April 16. The second keeps our lives moving now.

Because what people often forget, what they don’t understand –it’s the living that is the hard part. The getting by, the getting through, the getting over things.

No one ever wants to know about the living. About what happened in the days and months and years after. I always get asked about the dying pieces. Where were you when it happened, was it nearby, did you know anyone, what was it like.

In class, next building over, yes, and it was the worst day of my entire life.

And even though it’s been five years, it hasn’t gone away. It’s there in the times I’m scared that I might miss something really memorable, so I try to do everything. I feel it when I know that I can’t do everything, and when I know that I’m going to miss something. It screams loudly at me when the realization that tomorrow is not guaranteed sets in. It’s there in the moments where I freak out. And it’s there when I find myself becoming angry at stop lights for taking too long to change, because life is short, and that red light is keeping me from the people who I love.

Like I said, sometimes it’s the living that is the hard part.

But live for 32 is not sadness, it is celebration. And it’s there when I cross things off my bucket list. It’s in the back of my mind when I play games with my niece. It cheers me on when I am in impossibly tough situations, and it is the finish line we all race towards. It has been there as I have fallen in love, out of love, and everything in between.

Live for 32 is about living life as much as you can. Because there are 32 people with a view from heaven that don’t have that luxury any longer.

I know today is Monday. And no one likes Mondays. But if you do only one thing today, make it something amazing, memorable, and impactful. Make it Live for 32.

Good Friday Finds

6 Apr

It’s Good Friday. And these finds are really good. Get it? These are good Friday finds…and it’s Good Friday. LOLLLLLL.

(I should probably file this in the “funnier in my head than out loud” folder…)

My latest share-worthy good find is Of a Kind: Know and Own.

So what exactly is Of a Kind? Each week, the site features a different designer and his or her work. There are photos and stories and interviews and how-tos and the like. Plus the site has a great blog with style ideas, cool places to check out in different cities, and other interesting things to think about.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL…there’s more.

In addition to showcasing fabulous up-and-comers, the featured designer creates a limited-edition piece to be sold on the site. Like these bracelets. Thirty of a kind.

You don’t need a special invitation or anything like that to shop on Of a Kind. And the editions stay up until they are sold out, with a new edition released every few days. Did someone say New Edition?

If you love uniquely beautiful things, good finds, or just like owning pieces that are limited edition, you’ll really enjoy browsing the site. You can few current and past editions here.

Okay, I’m going to cool it now.