Archives for 2011

Thursday Ten: A Morning Sunrise Is A Morning Smile Edition

1. I started this morning so distracted by the sunrise while getting my coffee that when I hit the road again, I pulled over and got out of the car (it was 30 degrees outside! Brrr!) to take some pictures. Considering that was the last time I saw the sun today, I’m glad I took a moment to appreciate it.
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2. I got a shellac manicure two weeks ago and it’s so solid and protects my nails so much that they haven’t broken or chipped (yay!) but now my nails are too long to type comfortably (boo!). Who knew this would be a problem?

3. Competitive gymnastics season starts soon for The Princess. When I picked her up from practice the other night, she was doing roundoff back handsprings and it was amazing how much better she’s gotten since the season ended in May. I’m awestruck and so proud.

4. My copy of Lightroom has arrived! Now to open the box and take the plunge…

5. I have been craving sandwiches for days. DAYS, I SAY. Of course, I’m lazy when it comes to packing lunches and  too lazy to go out for lunch. This presents a problem. I spend a good chunk of my days thinking about sandwiches.


7. Brrrr. Baby, it’s cold outside… and it’s only gonna get worse. Yuck. I hate winter. I hate Michigan.

8. Book club last night and our newest selection is… a book I’ve already read. (Don’t worry, I’m used to it). Not only is it a book I’ve read, it’s a book I’ve no desire to read again. Pfft.

9. So, everyone is an uproar about “they’re trying to call pizza a vegetable”. Well, they already do. They say the tomato paste counts as a veggie – so this isn’t new, it’s just the first you’ve heard of it. Does that make it right? Um, no. But none of us think school lunches are health food, do we? I mean, YES, they SHOULD BE healthier – Jamie Oliver showed that it COULD BE done… but government does some stupid stuff, and feeding people is not easy. Know a sure way to know that your kiddo is getting food that you know contains healthy ingredients? Pack his or her lunch. Maybe someday schools will get it together and do right by the kiddos – in the mean time, no one says your child has to eat hot lunch. [I’m not saying to give up fighting for healthier lunches for the kids – but stop acting surprised when you find out it’s garbage – it’s been garbage for a long time.]

10.  Song for the day? Ingrid Michaelson’s “Ghost”.

The Second Annual HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAT! Post

Blissdom '11 Day 2 (Thursday)

One of my favorite people has a birthday today. See that girl up there? No, not that wacky brunette on the right. The other one. The gorgeous girl on the left. Yeah. Her. That’s Kat. And today she is one year older than she was yesterday (sometimes math is really no fun).

But age is completely and totally irrelevant when it comes to Kat. Why? Because she is one of the most free-spirited, amazing people I’ve ever met. Somehow I just know that when Kat is 70, she’s going to be just as awesome as she is now – she’s fun loving, funny, and NO ONE (and I mean NO ONE) is quite as much fun to hit a dance floor with.

Or karaoke with.

Or hang around a bar with (This is Kat’s picture. I stole it. Sorry Kat. And thank you.)

And even without the dancefloor, or the bar, or the karaoke, or the whatever – she’s an amazing person to be around, or… not be around. You see, unfortunately Kat lives in Illinois and while that’s just a few hours from me and not, mission impossible, it means that we don’t get to hang out as much as we would if I moved next door to her (Is the house next door to you for sale, Kat? I think I’d make a lovely neighbor).

But, that doesn’t matter – because when I’ve got something fun to share or I need to vent or I’m sad or frustrated or whatever, she’s there for me. Because she is awesome and technology is awesome, our distance is bridged instantly – and like nothin’, I’m texting her from a Mexican restaurant in Detroit and she’s responding from her house, and we’re having a back and forth dialogue that would be so much more awesome if we were sharing french fries enthusiastically under the same roof – but… it’s nice to know she’s never that far away.

She’s the only person I’ll let get away with calling me “muffin”.

She still is willing to get on planes with me.

She scares me with Buddhas. And I let her live to tell about it.

She gets in the car with her kids and drives one hundred hours to spend the day with me and my kids up here in west Michigan (Okay, it was more like ten hours round trip – but ten hours in a car with kids might as well be one hundred).

She sends me random cards in the mail that make me laugh.

She wears the same size shoe so we can share.

And she’s just one of the most amazing, kindest, most generous, loving friends in my world. If you should be so lucky to have Kat in your life (and I’ll share her with you, I’m not greedy – but just know that I love her best), you should know how truly blessed your life is and how much it would suck if she were not in it. Because she’s pretty awesome. And I adore her.

Happy birthday, Kat. I’m so glad that our worlds collided – I’m grateful for your friendship and your love. You are one of the best friends a girl could ask for. Love you! <3

Photo credit: Casey/Mooshindy
Photo credit: Lotus Carroll

So I packed my car and headed east…

…to see Mat Kearney in concert.

A few months ago, the awesome folks at One2One Network sent me a message asking if I’d like to go see Mat Kearney in concert. I think it took me thirty seconds to respond and say, “Um. Yeah. Absolutely.”

I’d seen Mat perform earlier this year in Nashville at Blissdom and loved his set then (including the cover of “Dancing in the Dark” he performed with Michelle Branch – even though I don’t like that song, otherwise).

I loved his set so much that way back when I was still taking guitar lessons (OH I MISS GUITAR LESSONS), I opted to learn “Nothing Left To Lose” one week (okay, like two weeks) because I really love the song.

AND THEN, I had the opportunity to review Mat’s album, Young Love, back in September and I enjoyed it. A lot. “Learning to Love Again” is still my favorite track from that album, by the way.

In addition to giving “Young Love” several rotations on my iPod (rotations? That’s probably not the right word in the digital age), I was familiar with Mat’s popular singles: “Breathe In Breathe Out” , “Closer To Love” and “Nothing Left To Lose” but not so familiar that I was in rabid-fan-singing-every-word mode (don’t get me wrong – I love rabid fan mode. There’s nothing more awesome that seeing a band you love performing live and singing every word and dancing your face off). It was a different experience for me – I usually only invest in concert tickets when I am a rabid fan, and since One2One gave me these tickets (disclaimer: You can give me free tickets, but my opinion is still my own) it was an entirely different concert experience: I love the artist but there were still many unknowns for me.

Mat Kearney is an energetic performer and he kicked off his set with a high energy song. The concert was at the St. Andrews in Detroit – and the standing room only environment meant that I was on a balcony (I thought a lot about my odds of falling through the railing, though clearly I’m an idiot who has issues with heights – and also, more obviously: I did not fall), and when the music started, that hall got LOUD!

I loved the numbers where Mat played the acoustic rather than electric guitar (what? Like you’re surprised?) and at times wished that last night’s set had been a little more stripped down, a la his performance in Nashville when I first saw him.

My favorite part of the set was when, mid-song, Mat wandered into the crowd, singing, giving hugs and high fives to his fans (Not me, though, I wasn’t on the floor. I was too busy clinging to the railing trying to not fall). I’ve only seen one other performer do this (Michael Franti, I’m lookin’ at you) and I really REALLY love when artists do this – it makes people feel connected to get to touch musician sweat and to not feel that there’s some unbridgeable distance. I wonder if it skeeves the singers out, random people touching ’em – but that’s for them to worry about, not me.

I LOVED when he went into the crowd – and they loved it too.

Mat Kearney is an awesome musician – I love his voice and I love his music. Was it the most exciting concert ever? Well… no. I prefer in concerts for the band to knock a new spin on the favorites we already know – when a song that you’ve committed to memory is performed in a completely new way during a live show, it’s an exhilarating experience (Counting Crows are great at this – I’ve never heard them do a song the same way twice, and I’ve seen them live several times now). I wish there had been a little more variation in this performance – a break from hearing the songs the way I’m used to – but, did it make me love him any less?


If every building falls
If every star fades
We’ll still be singing this song
The one they can’t take away…

Thursday Ten: Gonna Edit Edition

1. I finally decided to take the plunge – I bought Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 today. Editing is not my strong suit when it comes to photography – I try to shoot for the image I want and minimally clean them up – but more and more, I’d like to try some other stuff with my photos, so we’ll see. It was 50% off on Amazon, so… might as well try now.

2. I’m not going to say much about the whole fiasco at Penn State except this: I am devastated for those children who were abused. Absolutely devastated. For those who think JoePa “did enough” or “did what he was supposed to do” – remember, we’re talking about a colleague who was ABUSING CHILDREN not a colleague who was stealing office supplies. There is no “enough” when it comes to the well-being of those children. Additionally, I do feel for the current Penn State football team – I have to imagine that up until this point, there was a certain level of pride in being a member of that team – and their season, through no fault of their own (and solely the fault of the coaches and administrators, some of whom were probably their heroes) is tarnished. The well-being of kids trumps football, no question about it… but the players on that team right now are still kids. It’s awfully young to realize that sometimes your heroes are not worth the worship.

3. ON A LIGHTER NOTE: I met with my sister’s stepmom to further plan her baby shower today. I’m getting very excited about the arrival of my niece. I’m looking forward to celebrating the pregnancy and letting people shower my sis with love (and baby gear).

4. First snow of the season today. Nope, I wasn’t ready. Nope, I’m not happy. Nope, I have no idea why Michigan is so stupid.
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5. Constant earworms this week. Today, was no different. I think that when I have trouble focusing my brain, I’m more prone to ear worms. I’m not sure. Perhaps because I think so much in terms of music it just happens? But, UGH, annoying.

6. Is it possible to have the winter blahs already? On the first day of snow?

7. I bought the cutest winter hat, though. It’s very fun. I still don’t like winter.

8. I saw this posted a few times in the past few days and wanted to post too – because this kid’s positivity in the face of tough experiences is so graceful and made my heart feel brighter. And like she says, if you or someone you know is having trouble or suicidal thoughts… GET HELP.

9. Rolling Stone did a reader survey of the Top Ten Dance Songs. Uh. What do you think? Is your favorite on this list?

10. Parent Teacher Conferences for Pumpkin tonight. They actually went better than I had imagined – Pumpkin is doing fabulously… if only she could slow down and write neater… (I knew the teacher was gonna say that!)

Like Hoarders – only instead of 40 ten-gallon buckets of Elmers paste, I have books.

I am a voracious reader. I should start by stating that – because it makes a difference – because unlike the lady with a basement full of packages of diapers (and no baby), my fascination with acquiring books has to do with actually really loving books and fully intending to read them all. Someday.

A few years ago, I challenged myself to read 250 books in 1,001 days. And if you’re even mediocre at math, you’ll know it averages out to about four days per book. Well, I accomplished the challenge with over a month to spare.

In the past, I would go through spells of reading and then hit a wall – I’d have read every book in the house, I had two weeks until all the magazines came (yeah, I’m hooked on magazines too), and the library wouldn’t have anything I felt like reading.

My gosh, those days I felt like I would climb the walls.

Somehow, I started to catch up with myself. I have a bookshelf full of books I have yet to read. I go to the library at least once per week these days – whether I’m out of reading material or not. I am always picking up books and stockpiling and I feel like one of those freaky couponers, except I’m not really saving any money and I’ll actually use these books.

Reading is solace to me – I can’t fall asleep at night without reading to tire my eyes and slow my brain. I love picking up a new book. I love even more to pick up a new book and find myself engrossed within the first chapter and just wanting more. The weeks when I zip through two or more books make me unbelievably giddy.

Even though I have a Kindle, I still rely mostly on “book-books” – for the smell, the feel, the heft of holding a book in my hands… doesn’t mean I don’t have three unread e-books waiting for my eyes on Kindle.

I find it reassuring to know there are so many books waiting for me, that I won’t run out, that there are pages of new characters to meet and their adventures to discover and hours of comfort and drifting off to sleep, and sigh…

I love books.

Like a big, silly book nerd.


Currently reading: Unsaid: A Novel by Neil Abramson

On deck:

Diagnosis: Earworm

I love music, and think in musical terms, and for me to get a melody, lyric or random bit from a song stuck in my head is not an unusual thing. And today? Today I’ve had Avril Lavigne’s “Wish You Were Here” stuck in my head. ALL. DAY. You know that song? The chorus is basically “Damn, damn, damn…” Anyway – the song itself isn’t rotten – it’s catchy pop. There’s a place for catchy pop. Today, the place was my head.

Nothing could get it out of my head.

Not listening to “The Thong Song.”

Not rick-rolling myself.

I think this may have done the trick, though.

This is kinda viral-ish lately because of the big to-do of the stop-motion and the jelly bean thing. Another catchy melody. (Here’s the link to the “Making Of” video).

So now Kina is stuck in my head.

Are you prone to ear worms? Do you have a go-to method for getting a song out of your head once it’s stuck? Did I just give you two new ear worms? I did? Damn, damn, damn…

Finally I don’t have to order pizza from the place that takes three hours to deliver.

Once upon a time, our family ordered pizza from one of the (oh-so-many) pizza places in town and three hours later, our pie still had not arrived. [Sidenote: I hate the term “pie” as it relates to pizza. Or pretty much everything. Pie is the brussels sprouts of the dessert world. Blech.] Three hours. Apparently the place was busy, but y’know… three hours? Really?

Fortunately, there are several other pizza places in town – but sometimes the decision to have pizza for dinner is born of impulse, of laziness – of not wanting to spend $15 or more and wait for dinner. Before Blissdom last year, I received coupons for Freschetta. Before that, I’d never had it. I’m uh, not really a fan of “freezer pizza” (as my kids call it). It’s never filling, the toppings look like dehydrated imitations of real food and the crust – my favorite part of the pizza – always tended to leave me wanting for more. By more, I mean something that resembled FOOD not cardboard.

In Nashville, I consumed muchas Freschetta. I had the opportunity to participate in a focus group, learn more about the brand, the product and try a lot of it too. And you know what? It’s good.

I’m not just talkin’ it’s good… “for freezer pizza”. It’s actually good.

Especially the crust.

Bonus points for the good crust.

Last month, Freschetta sent me another coupon for a free pizza (they also sent me super cute pink headphones – which was awesome because I had just broken YET ANOTHER PAIR of iPhone earbuds – how are those things not better quality? Don’t ask how many pairs I’ve killed – IT’S A LOT).

A four-cheese medley pizza in the oven after a long day of work? Easy. And not just easy, but yummy. And not just yummy but without whining from the kids that it was “yucky” or “didn’t taste good” or “EW! What did you make? WHAT IS THAT IN THERE?” or any of the normal gripes that normally accompany my putting a meal on the table. Gosh, kids, no wonder I hate cooking.

But, Freschetta is a win – the kids love it, I love it – it’s simple and it tastes good. Now that I’m back in the office, having a reliable back up plan for the days when cooking seems like an overwhelming task, well… that’s definitely a good thing.

The only problem? The kids love Freschetta so much they almost never save their crusts for me to eat.


Thursday Ten: Don’t Look Down Edition

1. Lately, during my lunch break at work I have been venturing out on these mini photowalks. I take my camera and I explore the familiar world around me, seeking what is unfamiliar and looking for the unexpected. I spend a lot of time looking up. That’s where some of the best stuff is.
If you walk around with your eyes on the ground, sometimes you miss the beauty in the world.

2. My mom sent me the first draft of the family Christmas letter. Even though she’s an empty nester, she still writes a holiday letter that includes what everyone is up to. That letter? It’s BORING. It’s PAINFULLY BORING. And yet, she still sends it every year. Every year, I wonder is it depressing that the letter is so boring? That no one had any great adventures? Or is it that we all had a decent year – she just can’t make it sound interesting? Hmmm.

3. My sister’s ultrasound was last week Friday and it’s a…
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4. I was able to do a maternity shoot with my sister this past weekend. I love photographing pregnant women (provided they stay clothed – I’m not super ready to jump into the game of “pregnant nude reclining on a leather sofa wearing a pimp hat” – wish I was kidding, but I’ve actually seen that picture. Oooh, Google search results will be fun now). I really love every opportunity I have to do photo work. Wish I had more time to devote to building that business.

5. I cannot believe it’s November already. Crazy, right?

6. I’ve got a couple of product reviews in the works and they may be in this space soon. Know a few things, mmkay? I’m picky about what I’ll talk about – I don’t make a ton of money promoting brands and their products. If something is awesome I’ll say so. If something is… less than awesome… I’ll say that too. For YOU, I sampled some pizza tonight and have been trying out some new hair care stuff. Both are winners, so far. So, yeah.

7. Yesterday’s weather was gorgeous. Sunny, mild, blue skies. Today? Gray, gloomy, windy, drizzly, BLAH. Guess which day I was in a better mood (HA! Trick question – neither day was fabulous!).

8. As of Tuesday, Starbucks has the red cups back. I wish I could explain what it is about those darn cups that makes me smile – but… they do. I hate snow, I hate cold, but… I love the holidays. They’re coming. And you can tell… because the red cups are back (well, and because every store has their Christmas crap out already).

9. The Project Runway finale was last week and… I wasn’t surprised at the winner. Do I agree? Meh. I don’t know. I only half watched, this season. Since I’ve started working, I spent Project Runway time half watching, half blogging (you know, the ONE POST A WEEK I can manage to write) – but the entire season seemed to lead up to that winner. I’m not surprised.

10. How are y’all today? You’re looking adorable. I love that color on you. Have you lost weight? Been working out? I can tell. You’re lookin’ sassy. Yeah.

Thursday Ten: ALL THE TACOS ARE FOR ME Edition

1. This morning I saw a post on AdRants about an app that uses your phone’s GPS location to find all the taco places near you. Oh yeah, you know I downloaded that. Also thinking I need to arrange a pub crawl but with tacos instead of beer. Apparently there’s really such a thing…for people who ride bikes. But I don’t want to ride bikes. I just want to wear stretchy pants and eat tacos until I pass out in the middle of a sidewalk somewhere.

2. After several days of “Pumped Up Kicks” stuck in my head, I have decided I hate it. I have listened to another song by Foster the People and have decided I hate that, too. So if you didn’t know it, now you know. (And knowing is half the battle…)

3. I went to another seminar about social media the other day for work. Let me say this – I am afraid that there is no such thing as a meaningful seminar about social media that is geared towards business people. Basically, they teach social media as if you have been using smoke signals for communication up until now and you might be able to find Twitter if you can figure out how to start your computer. Now, I’d never call myself a maven (mostly because that word is freaking dumb), but, I’m fairly savvy-ish. So basically… I went to the seminar for the lunch. And the change of scenery.

4. Tomorrow is an exciting day! My sister will have her 20 week ultrasound in the morning – and while it’s a bigger deal for her and my brother-in-law, as a first time aunt, I’m pretty excited too. I’ll be waiting outside for them to come out and immediately taking some pictures afterwards – which is how they’ll announce to family and friends (via pink or blue) the gender of their baby. Can’t wait.

5. It was a cold gloomy morning so I decided to go for a walk for some coffee at lunch time. I didn’t realize until I stepped outside that it had started sprinkling. No matter, I didn’t melt. It was nice to get outside. The downside is that the cappuccino I picked up was so awful that I ended up throwing it away, half full. THEN, mid-afternoon, I ended up fishing it out of my trash and walking it down the hall to throw it away (again!) because the smell was grossing me out. #CappuccinoFail

6. Last Thursday night, I busted my fanny to make a video for a project for work. Video production? Not my wheelhouse. I did it, got it done, and it was kinda sorta not horrible… but… when your only production tools are Windows Movie Maker and iPhone Voice Memos (to record audio) – it’s a low tech endeavor that is somewhat painful. Oh well. Live and learn.

7. I am watching the Project Runway finale. The only show I’ve managed to watch lately.

8. Tomorrow the kids celebrate Halloween at school. Not Monday, which is ACTUALLY HALLOWEEN. But tomorrow. When did that start, that celebrating Halloween on Not-Halloween?

9. I am teaching myself DreamWeaver at work – because I need to and because I hadn’t used it in TEN PLUS years. I’m happy to say that in the Sarah vs. DreamWeaver throw down today, I emerged victorious. Thank god.

10. The Princess’s math homework had her in tears tonight. The kid can spell almost anything (her current spelling list includes “lexicographer” – and she picks her own spelling words!) – but occasionally she gets this block with math. Even if she understands the basic principle – the execution trips her up. It’s really awful to see, because things usually come easily to her, and yet she dissolves into tears and is truly miserable. Fortunately a friend had her math whiz kiddo call to walk me through some ways to help The Princess – and we got through the assignment but right now we both really hate prime numbers.

Thursday Ten: A Smattering of Stuff While I Procrastinate Edition

1. October, as you know, is breast cancer awarenness month. It’s a cause that means a lot to me, and one that I pay attention to twelve months out of the year – not just October. But some cool finds this month include the YOUR MAN REMINDER phone app (early detection, y’all, it helps – this video is hilarious). Also, you know I’ll be doing the 39.3 mile walk again. I’ll be in Boston next spring. Want to donate to support me? Click through and donate – every donation helps.

2. New music this week. I was wrong last week, I HAD BOUGHT NEW MUSIC. DUH. New Ryan Adams album. And it’s lovely. This week I’ve also picked up the latest few songs from Chris Mann – which is totally Chris (and I love it all – even the song that’s not in English – no idea what the hell he’s singing, but he sings it so pretty). Also, this song from Lisa Hannigan.

3. I missed book club last week. They picked a book I have tried to read but gave up on because I hated it. So, uh. Yeah. I have to give it another try. I can’t just participate when they pick my choices. Sigh.

4. I’ve been sick for over a week and my one conclusion is: Zicam is stupid. It shortens the life of your cold, they say. HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG YOUR COLD WOULD HAVE LASTED WITHOUT ZICAM? Oh, I’m such an idiot, I fell for it.

5. I picked up the latest Rolling Stone magazine – Steve Jobs is on the cover, and I couldn’t help but morbidly think… how long have they had that article written, just… waiting? It’s sad, right? Blergh.

6. Ever since I got a workspace with a window, the sun hasn’t come out. THE SKY WILL BE GRAY FOREVER.

7. I spell gray with an A. I think it looks better.

8. I survived my 35th birthday. In fact, I feel younger today than I did on Sunday. How can that even be? Dinner with the family involved muchas tacos and a brownie sundae and I felt like I would explode. But so yummy. How can one be angsty while eating a brownie sundae? (You can’t)

9. Oy, the Halloween candy is starting to appear on the desks of co-workers. I am trying so so much to resist. I gave in and had an itty bitty tiny Twix today. It was SO DELISH. I love sugar.

10. Today is spirit day. I didn’t wear purple today (I forgot), but my support is with the cause today and always. Spirit Day is to show support of LGBT youth and to speak out against the bullying. Were you wearing purple today?