Decade Resolutions

At the beginning of every year I try to make some sort of resolution(s). A lot of the time they are things that I know I am going to accomplish (such as the year I graduated from college, one of my resolutions was "to graduate from college") -- you can't be disappointed or frustrated with yourself if your yearly goals are entirely tangible. There were other years when I proposed the more typical resolutions to myself -- "I resolve to work out more" or "I resolve to not gossip" -- blah blah blah...those stick for an average of a month. By February that's usually all gone to hell.

So this new year's eve, I am not resolving anything. I am going into this new decade resolutionless. Instead, I am going to make a bucket list (of sorts). Things I hope to achieve, accomplish and/or complete by 2020. This is also going to be a living list; I am going to add delete things as I see fit.Wishy washy? Perhaps. And I'm okay with that.

1. Own a home
2. Love my job
3. Get published
4. Attend graduate school
5. Return to Europe...
6. Make a difference
7. Get healthy
8. Learn to cook (and do so on a regular basis)
9. Conquer irrational fears
10. Save more money
11. Expand my wardrobe to include more pieces that are not black or ivory :)

So there it '10-'20 bucket list. Now it's time to celebrate the holiday in style -- Casino Royale here I come!

Top Ten Life Changers in the Decade of Aught. (+1)

(In the order they happened)

1. Drivers' License 
2. Wayland Academy
3. Eureka College (and Ronald Reagan by default)
4. Delta Delta Pi
5. Turn 21
6. Internship in Washington, D.C.
7. Study Abroad in Rome, Italy
8. Road trip with my two greatest allies
9. Move to Washington D.C.
10. Begin career at NAB
11. Marriage

So while Time Magazine is calling it the decade to forget, for me it has encompassed my most formidable years. I began not even knowing how to drive and am leaving with a toast as a married lady.

Another round of Favorite Things

A day late, yes I know. We were held hostage in Ohio by the giant midwestern snowstorm. Sigh...

1. McDonald's Holiday Pie: Okay, first of all these are two for $1 -- you can't even get a candy bar from a vending machine for that price! If you have never had the good fortune of trying one of these, make sure you do soon. It is like Funfetti custard Heaven.

2. Day after Christmas sales: I'm not quite sure why I have been kept in the dark for nearly 25 years, but for some reason I had no idea that the day after Christmas for the retail industry is like black Friday number two!

3. Famous Name Game: Bringing back a classic time killer. Especially when you have 13 of them to pass by. Rachael Ray, reverse. (The instruction on this website do not mention the double letter reverse...but it's the best part!)

Crack v. Red Velvet. Winner Red Velvet

While I am damn near the least domestic lady on the planet -- I know the irony of the title of this blog is shocking, but hey I'm working on it -- there is one thing I have in common with housewives. My love for baking. Well when I have stockpiled patience and have the time to devote, that is. But, when the stars are aligned, there is not much more that makes me happier than watching the magic reaction of ingredients with each other and producing a diet shattering end product. 

My dear husband really didn't make out well in the cooking department; I could eat cereal for every meal and have never really learned to do otherwise. (In my defense, he knew this before he married me.) Don't get me wrong I love a good meal, but for some reason making it myself totally ruins the taste. However, when it comes to dessert...totally another story.

Last night I got a hankering for red velvet -- which as well as Mark, am a self diagnosed addict; some people need crack, I need the velvet cocoa goodness coated with the Heaven that is cream cheese frosting. So, around 10 p.m. I got busy creating my fix. While I'm usually opposed to box mixes, except in time constricted needs for baked goods, we had found a mix at World Market and decided to give a whisk (apologies for the shameless pun). I'm usually a sucker for cupcakes but decided to step out of my box and make a bundt cake; which resulted in a life altering dining experience.

Somehow science, timing and temperature worked in my advantage and produced a moist delicious cake and perfect frosting of the exact balance of sweetness and air. Serious ecstasy.

So check out Mam Papaul's Red Velvet mix at World Market and be prepared for the grin that won't leave your face for days..

Snow Day!

Due to our record breaking snow storm that dumped 14+ inches of snow on our nation's capitol......drum roll please.....I have a SNOW DAY today. Yes, folks, it's true I'm an adult and my office closed the building as a result of the weather. Adult snow days, I'm pretty sure are ore on a phenomena in this little valley of the country. While, obviously I'm not going to complain about wearing my jammies all day long, get a head start on packing the car up for our cross country Christmas trek, and deep condition my hair for hours, I still have to say...sissies!

Really, 14 inches of snow on Saturday has shut the city down on Monday? There was a whole day in between to get the situation under control. These folks wouldn't survive five minutes in the midwest.

But, like I said, I'm quite enjoying my adult snow day. Missing my brothers and childhood a bit though; I have absolutely no desire to leave my cozy apartment. Yet, if we would go back about fifteen years, the three of us would have secretly stayed up listening to the radio until all hours of the night after a snowfall. We would be praying  that the next day would be spent building snow forts and sledding until our boots were so filled with snow our toes didn't move for days.

Today I will be lucky to cross our breezeway to get the mail (that would mean I would have to put semi normal clothes on) and I am more than okay with that.

(This photo was taken Saturday morning a few inches in.)

House Cleaning

Yesterday while sending out a mass photo text of the snowfall that shut down my dear fair weathered city, I realized I have contacts in my electronic phone book, that I'm not sure of their origination. While thinking I was sending to a good friend whom I would normally include on such a mass text, I received a response of "Sorry, but I'm not sure who this is." Hmmm, why would she not have my number? I reviewed the text and saw her name there in black and white, then double checked my phone book and low and behold she was listed under her nickname and there was another contact, with her full name that was not her. And not only that this person does not know me.

Scrolling further, I was amazed at the amount of contact that have remained in my phone book through m ownership of a cell phone who A. I haven't talked with in years B. Probably talked to once and for some reason I thought I really needed their phone number or C. Are named and then place marked where I met them (i.e. David D.C.). Thus the purging began.

With my terrible habit of "pocket dialing," I realized it is embarrassing enough to do this to my friends who I speak with on a regular basis, but to people who I haven't seen since college or before, entirely humiliating. So I tasked myself with trimming down my contact list to those I need or want to converse with via telephone. Sorry to those of you who exchanged numbers with me during a great game of beer pong or those of you I met on spring break and those of you who I'm not even Facebook friends with (God forbid). I have deleted you from my cell phone and I suppose my life. And some of you, I'm not sure we even ever met. Not because you aren't wonderful people, I'm sure, but I would hate for you to fall victim of a pocket dial or ridiculous message from a person you don't even know anymore. It's for your own benefit, really.

Included in my newly slim contact list though, a few useless numbers remain; mostly for humorous purposes. I really couldn't delete the Outpost with a clear conscience -- what if I really just need to check in and see who is bellied up to the bar? Obviously a necessity.

So, 2010, bring it on. I am ready with a freshened up phone book.


Two "stars" from the show Jersey Shore were on Conan last night...I was intrigued. Mostly by their ridiculous slang, eye rolling apparel and their self proclaimed appropriate use of the word "Guido," which all intelligent human beings know that it is historically a racial slur and at the very least is considered a derogatory word. However, The Situation and Snooki, the two aforementioned stars, claim that the word is not offensive, but quite the opposite, something most people -- in their neck of the woods -- aspire to. Jenni “J-WOW," a nightclub promoter on the show, who is not of Italian heritage, says that Guido is a cultural phenomenon that transcends race or ethnicity. “There’s no negative connotations,” she says. “It’s how you portray yourself." Another cast member says is just a term for a good looking Italian guy.

I'll let you be the judge. My two sense is no word that originated in a demeaning way of segregating any sort of person by a physical characteristic should have life breathed back into it and given a little make-up to look pretty. It's still not. Perhaps instead of aiming to be tagged with this revamped and neon lit racial slur, these wistful stars should set their sites on being classy. Probably too much to ask, but I thought I would throw it out there.

In the meantime, there is a nickname generator on their website, which transforms your name into what it would be if you were friends with the Jersey Shore crew...Mine is "The Tantrum." Fitting, right?!

Favorite Things Vol. IV

Tada...look at me jumping the gun and blogging before sunset. Wow, what is the world coming to? Here is my latest edition of things that have won my heart:

1. Let's Say Thanks: This is a website that allows you to choose a design and personalize a card that will be printed and sent to a soldier who is deployed abroad. It is sponsored and maintained by Zerox and costs the sender nothing. Regardless of political stance, we can all agree that supporting those who risk their lives for their country and cannot be with their families during the holiday season can use a little cheer.

2. Time for a Walk: Calling all pet owners, this is an all encompassing pet service, from a simple 15 minute walk or visit, to staying over night with your pet or boarding, they will do it all. And for a very reasonable price. To stop by our apartment once a day, feed our two cats and change the litter (and they'll even get your mail!) it is only $13 a day! This is a much more affordable alternative to boarding and less stressful for Elle who is scared of her own shadow and would probably pee on everything for a month if we "abandoned her" with other animals.

3. The Spoon Sisters: This web store has a unique gift for everyone on your list, no doubt. From drumstick spoons to designer dish gloves to a to do list hand stamper, you are sure to find a creative gift here. Check it out; the website itself is pur entertainment.

Is it just me or...

 is the worst journalism this world has ever seen taking place at Tiger Woods expense? And is this telling is what is to come of our news reporting?

Now, I'm not defending adultery, but the media has complete ransacked this man's life. When will this purging of gossip end? The other side of the story that these beasts seem to forget is that there is a wife in this picture too. So while no one is concerned with Tiger's feelings or well being, since he is the perpetrator in this case, they also seem to forget that this laundry that is being aired out is hers too.

I expect this malicious style of reporting from the likes of TMZ, E Entertainment, US, and I'm not going to fib, I watch them and eat it up. Though those outlets are most definitely taken with a grain of salt and while their stories may be true some of the time, they are not usually taken as a trusted news source. Simply Hollywood gossip at it's finest. However, when the NIGHTLY NEWS is "reporting" on speculation as truth, this is a whole new can of worms. When Brian Williams, who is apparently America's favorite evening news anchor, begins a segment with "Apparently..." or "It's being said that," why doesn't he just cut the bullshit and say, "hey guys, didya hear?!" Come on.

What exactly is the goal here? If network news has tossed it's element of reliability to the wayside, what is left, why not just watch the more animated version later on with Jay or Conan? At least we know that is satire, with the "real" reporting that's been happening lately, we can't be sure of what's true, what's gossip and and what is simply word vomit to raise ratings.

Is this the future of our network news? We expect the panty raids from the gossip columns. Yet, when trusted news sources are clawing through Tiger's closet hoping another another mistress pops out carrying a scandalous story with her, something needs to be done. For now, I'm blaming on the recession and hoping that the need to stay in the green has driven the networks to stop at nothing to grab the higher rating.

Here's to hoping that news becomes news again and the carefully camouflaged gossip takes a hike. And we stop caring about Tiger Woods' personal life.

Favorite Things Vol. III

So I may have missed a week, but this week's selection is extra superb. Check 'em out!

1. Curbside Cupcakes: This is only accessible to Washingtonians (or those of you who come to visit!) It's a traveling cupcake van that moves around the city through out the day, parks along the side of the road and delivers little slices of heaven to its patrons right from the van! To find out where they are parked, click on the link; it's updated in real time. And their red velvet, in my opinion, tops the other cupcakeries around town. And with my cupcake tasting experience, that's saying something.

2. The Biggest Loser: In honor of tomorrow's season finale, this show is topping my list this week. If you don't watch it on a regular basis, at least catch the finale -- the transformations are amazing. And it it inspiring after a visit to this week's favorite number one! Start tomorrow at 8 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. CST.

3. Spanxx tights: This season they have even more styles/colors/patterns available, and they still offer the same confidence that you are "line free." As Martha Stewart would say, "and that's a very good thing."

Dear Facebook friends,

(ahem, acquaintances)
Okay, so I know how this take a quiz to "find out what year you will meet your true love," or "what your mood color is," or "If you were a plant, what would you be?" And I know you are just dying to know the answers to such pressing questions that really will affect how your life continues moving forward. I also know, because maybe I have wanted to know "what my old lady name is," that you are led to believe that in order to here the life altering results of such a monumental quiz you must invite 15 others to take it also. 

Now, it so happens that when it comes time to invite friends to participate in these ground breaking quizzes that the checklist of names is in alphabetical order. And my name -- beginning with the first two letters of the alphabet -- also happens to be at the top of most of your lists. And if you happen to be friends with an "Aaron" or two, I may not be at the top, but with a name like "Abbi," I am definitely in the top 15.

That being said, a little exercise of discretion when selecting from the list of names to invite would be most appreciated. For one, as surprising as this may, it should come as no surprise that just because we are Facebook friends does not mean we are real friends. Come on. So do you really want me to know that you are spending your free time taking these absurd quizzes to find out what color your unborn children's favorite colors will be? Because yes, I will judge. At this point I think being invited to participate in over 30 of theses quizzes per day has earned me that right.

Another bit of advice -- you can actually "skip this step," and go straight to the results of your quiz, without ever inviting anyone at all. Gasp. Yes, it's true. So  next time you have the urge to simple click the box next to the first 15 friends on your alpha organized list, scroll all the way down and move on. Or if you really feel the need to share, please choose your real friends.

If I never see the words "Mafia Wars," in succession again, I'll be a happy person.