Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Birthday Month, in Review

My birthday was this month. My mom came out to visit. Her flight was delayed overnight so I picked her up the Saturday morning of labor day weekend. I saw a praying mantis at the airport while waiting to pick her up! We headed up to Freeport for lunch and shopping. We at lunch at one of my absolute favorite places the Mediterranean Grill. As far as I can tell it's the only place where you can get gyros north of Portland and they're absolutely delicious. As to shopping ... We're shopaholics, yet we didn't end up buying anything. (I am still on the look out for a new wallet that will hold my inhaler, some spare antihistamines, and chapstick.) It was quite the accomplishment. Perhaps we are recovered? The kiddos wanted to go to Olive Garden for dinner. (Ugh. But they and my mom like it and there are unlimited breadsticks.)

On Sunday we went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in town and then headed home for cake on the porch. Hubs accidentally bought magic relight candles for his asthmatic wife. I huffed and I puffed then I had to take a puff on my inhaler before we could have cake. It took a long time to blow out the candles AND they generated a lot of smoke so even though we were out side it was as challenge.

Post Candle Fiasco

I got a Kindle and I asked my husband if he got me a cheap one. He did and he was offended by the question. I also got a Chewbacca koozie.

On Labor Day, I dropped my mom off at the airport and hit the mall by myself. It was great! I got a bra fitting, picked up some stuff at Sephora, and found some Fiestaware on sale at Bon Ton.

I had cake for breakfast for a couple of days. I love Hannaford's sheet cakes. They are almost as good as my wedding cake. (Last year Hubs asked the woman who made our wedding cake to make my birthday cake because he is the best and I told him that was a good idea.)

Later we celebrated my birthday with my in-laws. It was a pasta salad extravaganza!

We had five types of boxed pasta salad and two veggie salads, pea salad and a green bean salad. Also, there were hot dogs. But I had just requested pasta salad. I know know that I prefer classic, creamy Italian, and caesar. Parmesan and Bacon Ranch are kind of overwhelming.

And that's about it. I did get ready to start my first round of the 21 Day Fix Extreme! I took before photos, measurements, and I tested my strength. I'm a week in right now, I got sick in the middle of the month, and I'm interested to see what kind of results I'll have. Since, I have a lot of pasta salad and cake to work off.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ponds and Head and Shoulders, Two Product Reviews

So this past winter I had some skin trouble. It was so dry in our new rented house and so dry at work; my skin and hair were in anguish. I tried new makeup and I tried a new leave-in conditioner for my hair. They both gave me rashes since my skin is so sensitive.
Hubs's aunt recommended I try Ponds because that's what his cousin used on her sensitive skin. I was skeptical at first because it had fragrance, a big no for people with sensitive skin, and the fragrance smelled overwhelmingly like a stereotypical grandmother's perfume. It was over powering and my husband noticed. But it went on and it didn't irritate the rash caused by the new tinted moisturizer I tried. So, I kept using it and in about a week I noticed that the dark circles under my eyes weren't quite so bad.

Ponds noticeably improved my dark circles. It's about $5 for a big jar, all the little $20+  eye creams from Sephora that I've tried haven't done so much so fast. I was seriously impressed and I will keep using this until I die so that my grandchildren will come to associate the smell of Ponds with their good looking grandma.

So I ended up with a really, really bad rash on my scalp. I had tried coconut oil on my hair but I found that to hard to manage and too greasy. So I switched to a leave-in conditioner with a lot of fragrance in it that made it smell like a dirty hippy trying to cover up her dirty hippy smell. I got a rash on my scalp. I thought it was just dry scalp so I used more and the rash got worse. Eventually I figured out it was the leave-in conditioner, I'll blame the overwhelming fragrance, I should know better.

I ended up going to the doctor because the rash generated really bad dandruff, I thought my scalp was falling off (it was disgusting), I started to develop a bald spot on the side of my head, and my husband's dandruff shampoo burned when I used it. She recommended head and shoulders but said I had to stick with it. About the same time I read Chioma's review of Head and Shoulders new product line for "textured hair" aka Afros. I think Head and Shoulders must have had a big blogger based advertising push because I read about it other places too.

I was pretty skeptical of the the Head and Shoulders since I had been trying to go no-poo/sulphate free shampoo. But, it made my dandruff better and now I don't have dandruff anymore. And, when I went to get my hair cut last week my hair dresser commented on how soft my hair was! I wash my air with the shampoo about twice a week and I use the "co-wash" (the conditioner) after shampooing and in-between. I am so happy with how my hair is!

I was so pleasantly surprised by both these relatively cheap products that I discovered over the past year and I just had to share about them! It almost made up for the fact that Dove discontinued my favorite, and virtually the only, fragrance free antiperspirant deodorant this past year. I loved that stuff, now the only truly fragrance free antipersperant I can find is a gel. I've been alternating between that and Dove's Go Sleeveless Soothing Chamomile Deodorant (the fragrance is over powering but it hasn't caused a rash so far).


Do you have any products that you recommend?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Refrigerator Pickles

I love pickled beets. (Also other types of pickles.) Canned pickled beets (Aunt Nellie's) cost twice as much just plain canned beets so I thought I'd try my hand at making them on my own. I found this recipe and then modified it to my tastes; though I love garlic, I do not love garlic and beets. At the same time I prepared the beets, I made Budget Bytes's Spicy Pickled Carrots, I substituted a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes for the jalapeño.

Refrigerator Pickled Beets

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 15-oz can beets, drained
1 teaspoon black pepper or pickling spice
1 pint sized canning jar or similar heat proof container with lid

Boil the cider vinegar, water, and sugar for 5 minutes. Let cool. Add beets and spices to jar, pour vinegar mixture over the top and put a tight lid on the jar. Put in fridge and let stew for a week, shaking occasionally for fun.

Step By Step Photos


Making the Pickling Vinegar

Filling up the Canning Jar

Adding the Pepper

Adding the Pickling Spice

Topping it off with the Vinegar Mixture

Ready to Chill in the Fridge

Update: I find the black pepper pickled beets to taste better with equal amounts of vinegar, water, and sugar.

PS I apologize for missing my regularly scheduled Thursday post last week; I was sick AND I had a trial to prep for and I completely forgot what day I was in.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Off to Be the Wizard, a Book Review

While driving out to visit my parents I read the best book! I'm going to start all rambling but I promise it gets somewhere...

I have also always loved science fiction and fantasy as genera. Lately I've been reading a lot of speculative fiction which is the umbrella term for science fiction and fantasy and things where the world is just kind of different. In middle school I was obsessed with computers and wanted to be a l33t haX0r. At about the same time I was a kid I used to play SimLife and The Sims all the time and I wondered what if we were sims on some computer somewhere! (I've never seen this particular concept outside of a dense philosophy tome; people aren't sims The Matrix, they're real they're just in a virtual world.)

This book takes that concept, the what if we're all part of a computer simulation, and runs with it to the Middle Ages. It is a crazy wonderful internally consistent mashup of science fiction and fantasy. It is also hilarious and it had me laughing out loud by myself. It's light jovial tone and fantasy setting reminded me so much of Terry Pratchett.

I read it for free during the trial period of KindleUnlimted that I ended up with when I downloaded the Kindle App to my phone. I loved the book so much that I am going to buy digital versions of the sequels (Spell or High Water and An Unwelcome Quest) because the author, Scott Meyer, NEEDS my money because his first book added so much value to my life.

And that is my book review. I loved Off to Be the Wizard and I think you will to if you like computers and speculative fiction or just reading hilarious books.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Levo League and Tieks ran a promotion where by Levo members got $50 off coupon. Having heard wonderful things about Tieks. I ordered a pair! I needed a new pair of navy flats since I've had to repair worn spots the pair I've had with sharpie.

I ordered by pair on Monday, August 4th. They offer two day priority mail shipping so I thought I'd get them before the move. They shipped the next day and the anticipated delivery day was August 7th! But that was not to be as you can see. They arrived after we moved and they had to be forwarded.

I came home looking for a great big box. And I couldn't find it and I was so worried. Hubs had brought in this little tiny box, smaller than a shoe box and they were in there!

The packaging was delightful! And as promised it came with a pouch for the tikes and a foldable reusable tote bag.

On to fit! My feet will suffer no pain. I'm that girl whose worn Birkenstocks constantly since middle school because once you break them in they are the most comfortable shoes. I wear bean boots and Ugg Boots to work in the winter because I cannot let my feet get cold.

But I ultimately decided to return them because my big toe protruded too much! You can see it trying to stick its way up through the top of the shoe. This is one of the things I absolutely can't stand about my body--my assertive big toes. If it weren't for my silly big, big, big toes I would have kept them!

And don't worry! I found a wonderful pair of more professional looking navy flats at Talbots and I've almost retired my well worn pair (I'm saving them for snow days).

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Transformation Tuesday

Like your average American woman, I struggle with my body sometimes. I've talked about it in the past on the blog. (See my thoughts on the Advocare Cleanse, my thoughts on healthy eating, and any of my "healthy" recipe posts.)

Me this winter, as you can see my suit jacket is too tight!

Last winter added a lot of insulation to my body; it didn't help me stay any warmer and you may have noticed that I kept mentioning that my suit jackets weren't buttoning anymore. I knew I needed to do something so that I wouldn't have to buy a whole new closet and that something was exercise. Hubs and I already eat fairly healthy though I do know that my position sizes were sometimes larger than necessary.

I also knew I needed to be more active because my doctor said that exercise was the best way to keep my bad cholesterol down at a healthy level. I used to run in the lead up to my wedding and I had enjoyed that but there was no way this wimpy asthmatic was going to keep running in the dark, in -16º weather, and in 100" of snow so even if I started running in the spring I couldn't keep it going all year round. I has played WiiFit on our Wii and then I transitioned to WiiFitU when Hubs bought a Wii U but I found it dull and it took way more than 30 minutes to get 30 minutes of activity because of the wait between the mini game exercises. So I started looking around and I found the 21 Day Fix and it was amazing. I started in March; I completed one 21 day round of the Fix and I've been using the videos pretty regularly for the past six months!

Me July 4th 2014 and July 4th this year in my Lilly Pulitzer Sparks Fly Shorts.
My blue polo shirt (left) is last July and my pink cardigan (right) is this July.
I may not look much different but I feel different in a good kind of way!

I've been exercising regularly for about half a year now and my legs are so strong and they fit into my shorts so much better! My suits fit perfectly again! My asthma is better as well; I haven't had to use my rescue inhaler all summer. I'm kind of excited to go back to my doctor's office and get blood drawn; my cholesterol levels must be normal, or close to it, now because of all the exercise I've been doing. And, I maybe this winter will be better than last because, while fat insulates, muscles burn energy and that makes you warm! Oh and also I lost about 15 pounds and a few inches from both my hips and my waist.

Because of the really positive experience I've had with the 21 Day Fix, I've decided to become an online health and fitness coach so that I can share the 21 Day Fix with others and help them out with their health and fitness goals! So count this as an invitation to message me about trying 21 Day Fix, Shakeology, and/or joining my next fitness accountability group! If you're interested, comment below, email me at eah081112@gmail.com, or visit my beachcody coach website! Starting next week I'll be working through the 21 Day Fix Extreme with whoever joins my accountability group for the month, I'm still looking for a few more people! I can't wait to see how much stronger my body gets.


PS As a Beachbody coach, I receive commissions when I help Beachbody sell their products. Like someone who sells Scentsy or Mary Kay products. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What have we gotten ourselves into...

This is a pictureless post, you'll soon learn why.

Last August, Hubs and I went to a presentation to learn about becoming foster parents. We signed up for the next training class scheduled for our area. We had our house inspected by the fire marshall! He let us know that our windows were perfect for escaping out of in case of a fire, though he missed our first floor fire alarm and, also, that plastic dryer vents catch on fire easily. We fixed the problems he identified so that our house would be safe. We set up my sister-in-law's old bunk bed in our guest bedroom. A social worker came to interview us separately. In October we started our training classes from 6 to 9 at night on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We had eight training classes. Our case worker told us he hopped we would be licensed before the holidays. We got our licensing certificate in February.

We were so excited and I was kind of terrified. I am not at all a loving and maternal sort of person. I am practical and pragmatic; as my husband says I've got the emotional depth of a shallow puddle. But I knew I could count on Hubs to help with the feelings and emotions and I could knock meeting material needs out of the park and show love by showing concern about favorite foods and things needed for comfort so I knew we'd do all right.

We had a wonderful little girl placed with us in March, on my husband's birthday. She just got dropped off right after school. It has been quite the adventure for us to get used to her and for her to get used to us. In June, we had another kiddo join us. We are so thankful that the two girls get along, better than I got along with my little sisters. I am so happy that we've got to know them.

Anyway, because they're not ours and we hope that they'll go back to living with their moms and dads, I can't talk about them much or share pictures of them. So, that's why there are no pictures in this post. And, I probably won't mention them much except now I'll be able to say my recipes have been kid tested.

I don't know what being a parent to children that you and your partner gave birth to is like. But I now know what it's like to take care of kids and it's really hard and kind of scary sometimes. I think it's worth it, but it's the hardest thing I've ever done and I've taken two Bar Exams. This is legitimately the biggest thing that's happened in my life, let alone in this year I haven't been blogging.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I'm Back...

So it's been awhile but I am back. As I've talked about in the past, I graduated from law school and couldn't find a full time job. I lawyer temp work for a non-profit and contract work for local attorneys. Last year I got offered a position as a law clerk and I jumped at the opportunity! Clerkships are relatively prestigious because you work and learn about how judges think and how the courts work.

Unfortunately for me, because law clerks work so closely with the judges they have to follow the same ethical rules as the judges which can be summed up as: Be impartial and don't do anything thing that makes it look like you might be partial. Law clerks likewise cannot do anything that might seem to make the courts look unfair or undignified. If you're really curious, you can read the American Bar Association's Model Code of Judicial Conduct or this Handout on Judicial Ethics for Law Clerks (this last one has a whole section on social media use which can be summed up with this: "You cannot exercise too much caution with online activities.")

In what may have been an over abundance of caution, I stopped blogging and made my blog private. I did not want to get myself or the courts in trouble because of some silly thing I blogged about. I also deleted my LinkedIn account because I was only connected to other lawyers and I unfriended almost everyone on Facebook that I wasn't actually friends with. (I stayed pretty active on Instagram because I'm a twenty-something and I would go crazy without social media.) My clerkship is now over, I learned a lot, and I have a job practicing law! So I am making full use of my First Amendment Rights, I'm back on LinkedIn, I am friending EVERYONE on Facebook, and I am starting up my blog again! So much has changed in the last year and I can't wait to share everything! You guys, I've missed blogging so much!