The Music In My Ear

Typically, I list all the new music I’m listening to in my Thursday Ten lists each week, but I’ve got some awesome tunes in my ear this week and I thought I would share the songs that are currently occupying my “Recently Added” iTunes playlist.

1. NEW MORNING – Alpha Rev

The press release mentioned that Alpha Rev was being referred to as somewhat “Coldplay-esque” in the press (that’s my word, not theirs. Coldplayesque isn’t a word. Yet. It should be. I was wary when I read that because – don’t hate, y’all – I really don’t like Coldplay. I know, I know. It’s unheard of. But, truly… I don’t dig Coldplay. So I wasn’t sure what I would think of the single “New Morning” – but I really like it. I received a copy of the album download for review* and I’m still listening to that a few more times (I’ll keep you posted of course), but my initial reaction is that I like it. I find the melodies radio friendly, and there are several tunes that are staying with me.

Here’s their first cut, “New Morning”. And, uh, the lead singer is not so bad to look at either.

2. EVENING KITCHEN – Band of Horses

In response to a plea for music recommendations, one of my awesome friends told me to check out this song by BoH. I am drawn to its simplicity – the harmonizing and the lyrics. And it gets bonus points for being acoustic because it’s my list and I can give bonus points for that kind of thing if I want to. I’m not a diehard Band of Horses fan – but this is the second song of theirs that I have fallen in love with.

3. I WANT YOUR SEX – Chris Mann

Sure, I mentioned this last week, but I thought I would drop in the vid this week. The video incorporates elements from the original version by George Michael – but still stands on its own. I give Chris points for rocking that magenta suit jacket and for having better hair than Georgie Boy.  By the way, George Michael’s version was released in 1987. I still remember this video. I still know all the lyrics to the song… and uh, I was ELEVEN when this came out. These are the things I remind myself when Miley Cyrus tries to shed her kid image. When I was young I was watching Madonna writhe on a stage in a wedding gown and George Michael being George.

What are you listening to this week? I love music recommendations always – so let me know what songs I can’t miss.

*I received Alpha Rev’s album to review, but as always – the opinions I express regarding the music featured on that album are my own.

The other songs mentioned were purchased on my own. Chris doesn’t send me free music, but it would be totally okay with me if he did.

TIL Tuesday: My Favorite $8 Tee Shirt

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fashionable girl. Sure, occasionally I’ll drop money on some fancy-schmancy item of clothing, but I’m reasonably practical:

I work from home. Jeans and tees are OKAY.

Not only is casual okay, it’s comfortable. And sure, I could sit down to work in my jammies and bunny slippers with my hair up in a shower cap and no one would be the wiser, I need to start my day just like anyone going to an office would: feeling clean, fresh and (at least moderately) put together.

Enter the boyfriend style tee from Target.

I found this shirt in a desperate hunt to find something to supplement my wardrobe with these bazillion degree days we’ve been having. I wanted a light weight, comfortable tee that gave me a little pop of color to my outfit. I was at Target one day (I’m at Target a lot, really), and stumbled over this shirt. I bought it in orange.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I now have it in sky blue, a lovely green, and a rich pink.

Looks super cute with jeans or when you’re slumming in yoga pants.

And it’s eight bucks.

Granted, this is not one of those “investment pieces” they talk about on “What Not To Wear” (and seriously, I’m surprised I haven’t been reported to Clinton and Stacy yet), but… who cares? If I don’t get more than six months wear out of this shirt, I won’t care much. The price was right.

No affiliate links. This product is something I found and paid for on my own, and the opinions expressed above are, as always, my own.

Things to be happy about this summer

Summer is not my favorite time of year and tends to be the time when I get a little whinier than average (even whinier than winter, I think – which is saying something because cold weather, icy driving conditions, and puffy coats wear on my nerves pretty quick).

Something in me has been telling me all morning to embrace what is good about the season, rather than complain willy-nilly about the stupid humidity (and OH! It’s SO humid).

Without further adieu (and griping) here are some things to be happy about this summer. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

  1. Popsicles. Lots and lots of popsicles.
  2. Being able to open the window without a foot of snow drifting in from outside
  3. Dipping my feet in a swimming pool while my kids cannonball in and splash me (and the rest of the world!)
  4. The local ice cream shops are open. And there’s a lot of them.
  5. Daylight at 8 p.m. and later.
  6. Flip flops
  7. Getting to show off a fun brightly-hued pedi in a pair of flip flops (OPI’s Ogre-the-top is what currently decorates my toesies)
  8. Tank tops
  9. Working out outside
  10. Letting the kids take a “bath” in the wading pool in the front yard – while wearing swimsuits, of course.
  11. That you can get a sugar free, non fat light frappucino for under 100 calories for the tall size
  12. Annnnnd, since I’m talking Starbucks: Viva la treat receipt!
  13. Carnivals and elephant ears
  14. Seeing the neighbors who have been in hibernation all winter
  15. The perma-ponytail I wear from June through August

Okay… what have you got?

Thursday Ten: Developing Theories About Yogurt Edition

1. So you know my love for Greek yogurt and honey, right? It’s kind of MY THING. Fage 0% drizzled with honey has been my go-to snack for months and suddenly? It makes my stomach feel like it’s being jabbed with a hot stick. Now, I’m not a girl who has ever been even the teesniest bit lactose intolerant – so I thought maybe it was bad honey. So I tried with new honey. And then I thought it was the yogurt itself. So I bought more. And NOW, now I’m developing all these crazy yogurt theories and I’m making myself crazy.

2. I have to keep eating yogurt because it’s one of my healthiest favorite snacks. Beats the hell out of my love for chips. I am more than halfway through my hot-air balloon size bag of PopChips. I cannot be stopped.

3. Thunderstorms again yesterday morning and evening. I’m getting a little tired of this stormy summer weather. Fortunately, after the storms that ripped through Michigan Monday evening, I went to Target and stocked up on glowsticks. I find them easier and more fun than candles when the power goes out.

4. I finally started reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo this week. I am not even halfway through, but I already picked up the second book in the Millenium series to start reading immediately after I finish this one.  And though I have never wanted a Kindle, this book has 600+ pages and kind of makes me wish I was reading this on an e-reader of some sort. {Yes, those are affiliate links. Why? So I can save up to buy a Kindle}

5. World Cup Soccer – ARE YOU WATCHING? Me? No, not so much. But: Go USA!

6. There was an earthquake in Canada and instantly Twitter and Facebook blew up with people in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio who say they felt it. Really? I’m thinking if the quake epicentered in Canada was 5.5, that it would be maybe mere tremors at the most at such a great distance from the epicenter. But maybe I’m just bitter because I didn’t feel it? Maybe my childhood in California has made it so my brain doesn’t register tremors? Anyway. I’ve talked about weather related issues twice in this post, so I expect that next I’ll have my AARP card and I’ll be putting my teeth in a glass before I go to bed at night.

7. I have renewed my summer addiction to Edy’s Lime Fruit Bars. If you live on the west side of the country, these are marked with the Dreyer’s brand name. Here, they’re Edy’s. And I love them. Just a smidge sour, kind of sweet. Pictures of fruit on the box so I can fool myself that they are healthy. No, they didn’t sponsor this or give me anything (but if they wanna send me free popsicles, I’ll take them. Hey Edy’s, call me. *wink*). And while I’m on the Dreyers/Edys love train – the Whole Fruit Lemon Sorbet was the cure to my morning sickness during both of my pregnancies.  That and Hot Tamales candy. And breadsticks from Papa John’s. And no, I really didn’t have the much morning sickness I just liked to eat. Don’t look at me like that.

8. I’m working on another Taylor Swift song on guitar for my kids. So far it seems that if you can play one, you can play them all. But The Princess and Pumpkin are happy, so, go me. Taylor Swift aside, I had a great lesson the other day with lots of praise about my progress from my guitar teacher, and that’s kind of exciting for me. I’ve got a long way to go — but I’ve come a long way – so I’m pretty excited about it.

9. My kids don’t want to see Toy Story 3. I may have to go see it without them.

10. I slept on my arm last night. I woke up this morning with that horrible “can’t feel my arm” feeling and actually had to LOOK AROUND to try to figure out WHERE my arm was because it had no feeling whatsoever. Then there was that fun moment of trying to move my sleeping arm with my other arm to get it out of the way so I could get up. Bodies are weird.

One Camera, One eskimO, and Two Nearly Dead Batteries

I love music.

I am, however, leery of music in the age of AutoTune and wizardy sound engineer gurus. In the studios and remixing stages, magic is worked to make a band or an artist sound amazing — and then you see them live and you realize the wool has been pulled over your eyes. Shucks, with the amount of available technology I could even make a hit record.

So, my yardstick to measure an artist’s talent has always been the live performance. If I love the disc, awesome — but if they can BRING IT in a live show? I’m sold.

One eskimO? They brought it.

I would show you pictures of how they they looked on stage, but I was limited to a point and shoot. Stern signs warned that SLRs would be taken away (and shoot, I only just got my Canon, and ain’t nobody taking my baby away from me!). Okay, fine fine. I’ll use my point and shoot.

But wait.

What’s this?

I forgot to change my camera’s batteries?


One eskimO has a very layered, mellow atmospheric sound. These guys were playing their own instruments – none of that pre-recorded track nonsense. Not only were they playing their instruments they were playing them phenomenally. The drummer? He was awesome – and played like nothin’ I’d ever seen. Here. I’ll show you.

Um. We could blame my camera and its low batteries and the low light setting — or you could just believe me when I say that he NEVER stopped moving. He had this percussion set up like nothing I’ve ever seen before and it was really hypnotizing to watch him do his thing (he brought it back out later when he headliner helped Michael Franti & Spearhead close their set).

The lead singer was kind of adorable – and his sound was consistent with the album, which made me happy. I loved seeing the guitarist with a guitar in one hand and a trumpet in the other – and being able to play both. A band that plays their own instruments – and plays them well? Bonus.

And while I’d originally found the CD to be fairly average, I find myself enjoying it more after having seen the band live. The album, One Eskimo, can be found on Amazon or iTunes. While I would have loved more interaction with the crowd, I think that’s something they’ll easily pick up with time. If they happen to swing by your neck of the woods, give them a listen.

I received complimentary tickets to this concert through my (unpaid) partnership with One 2 One Network.

Making it work at Fabric Care University

This Monday, I had the opportunity to fly to Cincinnati to attend the Tide/Downy Fabric Care University and visit some friends and make some new ones as part of an event sponsored by Proctor & Gamble. Over the course of the two days in Cincinnati, we got to see the Proctor & Gamble archives (including John Wayne’s HAIR, y’all!), and learn about the history of many of the P&G brands.

One of the things I had been looking forward to with the event Monday evening – and when we arrived, we were assigned to teams and challenged to take a plain white tee-shirt and a bag of extra doodads (think: paint, zippers, glue, buttons, and the like) and create an “innvative design”  a la Project Runway. Oh, and uh… Tim Gunn was one of the judges.

Challenging us and encouraging us to “make it work” as we scrambled for a half hour, he provided feedback just as he does on the show (including tell our group at one point, “You don’t HAVE to use everything in the bag!” Okay, guess we’ll edit!). In the end we didn’t win, but our shirt exhibited our style philosophy of “Playground Elegance”. This challenge was definitely a difficult one – though I’m in love with Project Runway, I’m sort of not very fashionable.

That shirt features a lovely zippered v-neck which allows you to take the shirt from day to night with just a swipe of your zipper, revealing an elegant peek of lace just beneath. Gosh. I don’t know why we didn’t win (Except the winning team’s shirt? WAY awesome).

We then got to mingle with each other and with Mr Gunn (or TG, as Jenny calls him) – including getting our picture snapped with him.

I, of course, am NOT looking in the right direction, which I assure you is totally par for the course with me. Oh well! This event was amazingly well thought-out, the space was gorgeous (it took place in a downtown Cinci art gallery), the hors d’oeuvres were fab (BTW – I spelled “hors d’oeuvres” right on the first try – can I get a whoohoo?!), and the desserts were phenomenal. I had a lot of dessert. Lots. Yum.

After an evening I can only describe as surreal (in the BEST possible way), we returned to our hotel.

The next day? Fabric Care University!

The Proctor & Gamble peeps are awesome and taught us a lot of amazing things – mostly that I have been doing laundry ALL WRONG for the past 15 years or so.  Whoopsie? Also interesting to note is that while I felt like I was one of the last people on the planet with one of those archaic top loading washing machines… I’M NOT! (Brief survey – what kind do you have? Please don’t tell me that you all have those fancy front loading machines that I want so badly!).

I finally learned what the difference is between all those different bottles of Tide on the shelf are. I’ll be checking out the Tide with Bleach alternative – my current laundry pet peeve is whites that look yucky. “Yucky” is not the technical term, mind you. Also hadn’t realized that there are formulations for the special materials used in modern day workout clothes especially tailored for those special designed fibers.

We were all shocked to learn about all the… uh… “matter” that remains on your clothes after a day of wear (and be oh so grateful that I’m leaving it as matter, because the actual terminology of all that stuff your body produces that ends up on your clothes is enough to turn almost anyone into a germophobe!). I’m going to blame that “matter” for why I weigh so much more when the day is over. I’m not heavy, I’m just carrying around dead skin cells.

It was an incredibly informative AND FUN event, and I look forward to sharing more of what I learned in the future. Yeah! I’m gonna talk laundry with you. And maybe I’ll try doing my wash the right way and see how it works. And, I may just go to the store and do a Tide smell test (yes, I pick detergent based largely on its scent. I’m weird).

Disclosure: I was provided with airfare and hotel accomodation for this trip, but the opinions expressed are my 0wn, as always.

Every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.

I am currently in the home stretch of preparing for the two day, marathon and a half walkathon to raise money for breast cancer research and programs. I guess you probably know by now – it’s one of those causes that I’m passionate about, and I go beyond sending money to the cause, but giving my time as well. It still doesn’t feel like enough sometimes – but I’m happy to do what I can.

I think it’s important that people are aware of the statistics – just last night, as I opened a bag of Tostitos (I was craving chips and cheese SO BADLY, y’all!), I was faced with the stat: EVERY THREE MINUTES, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. That sucks. That’s too much. That’s gotta stop.

As a female and mother of daughters, I hope to see the day in my lifetime when there’s a cure… or that no one receives a diagnosis of breast cancer again ever.

Because of my support for organizations that put money towards finding cures, when Hanes approached me about their PINK line of clothing, I was happy to participate in spreading the word. Hanes has teamed with the Susan B Komen organization to become the official tee of the Race for the Cure series – and will provide t-shirts and socks to its participants (awesome, because I know from experience you definitely need cozy socks while you’re out and about doing these events!). These PINK items are available on and the socks can be purchased at Walmart. In addition to these efforts to raise awareness, Hanes is making a pretty hefty donation to the Susan B. Komen foundation – and that is definitely a good thing for a good cause.

They also let me know that Melina Kanakaredes (whose name I cannot pronounce but whose hair I have lusted after since I first saw her on the series “Providence”) is teaming up with them and she’s designed a few tshirts for the cause.

And I know the t-shirts are awesome, because Hanes sent me one. Mine is bright pink and lovely and says HOPE,which is so important – and hope is something I have quite a bit of. Not only does this t-shirt have a message I completely stand behind, it’s super soft, comfortable and I just love the design. And they are letting me give away one of these awesome shirts to one of you. To enter, just leave a comment below either telling me why  you’d like to win, or cheering me on in my quest to walk 39.3 miles in two days for this cause. The deadline will be Wednesday, May 26 at noon eastern.


In the interest of full disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I did receive a t-shirt which I plan to wear proudly and often, but because this is one of those causes I believe in, I was happy to write this post because I appreciate efforts to raise awareness of this disease.

Life Is Just Better When There’s Cheesecake.

Heath Bar Cheesecake. OH YEAH.

I think it’s safe to say that most of you who have stumbled around this blog before know that I am less-than-skilled in the whole “preparing meals” department. There are some things I cook really well (seriously, I make some pulled pork tacos that actually make me look forward to the next several days – because it’s so good I’ll even eat leftovers!), but for the most part I don’t find much joy in the cooking process.

Baking, on the other hand…

I’m pretty good at baking.

For our family mother’s day gathering yesterday, my cousin sent an email requesting our presence with a note: Hey Sarah, could you bring dessert? *wink wink*


I brought this Heath Bar Cheesecake, and the recipe can be found here. It’s totally fabulous – and this is the second time I’ve made it and the family DEVOURED it. And that made me tremendously happy. Cheesecake is definitely best if you let your cream cheese sit out to soften before mixing. I used neufchatel instead of full-fat cream cheese, and couldn’t discern a difference – though with cheesecake, really? Go big or go home.


TIL Tuesday: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Are you watching this show yet?

I mentioned Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution last week – I saw the premiere episode Sunday evening and watched that same episode AGAIN Friday night, followed by a new hour of the series. And yeah, I’m pretty much hooked.

I love the idea – the concept – and I love thinking of what the end result could be if he is successful in revolutionizing the way we eat – even if only at the school level. I’ve watched in awe as Jamie has made efforts to make positive changes in the menu of this West Virginia elementary school, only to be met with steely-faced mean-spirited opposition from the lunch lady crew. Those same people, of course, are afraid they’re going to look bad on television – yet seem to revel in smug glee whenever Jamie hits a stumbling block in his challenge.

Why are they so resistant? Set in their ways? They just don’t like this stranger butting in? The cooks were so giddy when Jamie’s menu doesn’t meet the “two starch” requirement and I was boggled – TWO starches? Because we’re concerned that our kids don’t consume QUITE ENOUGH carbs?

I realize there are other factors in play – that there are government regulations on the nutrition content of school meals (and I don’t have stats or specifics on it – mainly because I’m just too lazy to Google it). I know those nutrition guidelines are based in some sort of reason – a common theory I’ve heard is that for many kids, that may be their only real meal they get each day. But there is a difference between having a real NOURISHING meal and having miscellaneous chicken parts all ground up together and squashed into a deep fried nugget and served to children (and when I saw Jamie do this on Friday night’s show, I literally cringed).

Jamie Oliver could easily be condescending – to the employees of the school, to the children and to the families he works with – but yet, he remains focused on the goal to promote better eating. HEALTHIER eating.

Are you watching this? Have you gotten sucked in too? What are school lunches like in your neck of the woods? Have you signed Jamie’s petition?

No one asked me or paid me to talk about this show. Just a fan. A very enthusiastic, nerdy fan.

Thursday Ten: Whoa Nelly It’s Busy Edition

1. Work is busy this week. My daughters’ schedules are busy this week. This means that I’m pretty close to pulling my hair out. Me, I’m just trying to get stuff done and remember which day is “Crazy Hair Day” at which kid’s school.

2. Also? I’m sick. I have some sort of respiratory bug that finally kicked my butt on Tuesday. Doc took one listen to my breathing, said it didn’t sound so great and gave me some antibiotics. So, along with chaotic schedules I also have a fever and a cough (the cough is pretty near gone, though, so YAY FOR Z PACK!).

3. I’m adjusting to the hair cut. I’ve worn it curly a few times now, and I think my general feeling is, it’s okay, but I like it better blown out straight. The problem is that I think the stylist did too much razor cutting to my hair to thin it out — so I don’t like the way the ends feel. I don’t think there is a fix really aside from just letting it grow and making sure to ix-nay on the razor cutting next time.

4. Sooooo, USA/Canada hockey – Did you watch? Admittedly, I’m not an avid-Olympic-watcher, but I watched this game and it was AH-MAZE-ING. I love hockey, though. I’ve heard talk from people saying they hope that this spurns people’s interest in the sport beyond the Olympics – and while that would be AWESOME, I don’t see that happening (Then again, in Michigan, people are already fairly interested in hockey… be curious to know what it’s like in states that don’t have the Red Wings).

5. This morning when I was driving I had a strange random craving for a grilled chicken sandwich on one of those greasy buttery crispy kaiser rolls with lettuce and spicy mustard and red onion slices and a plate of french fries, and why yes, I might have PMS, why are you asking?

6. I finished reading “Still Alice” and I loved it – was SO moved and also, learned a lot about Alzheimers. What a truly horrifying progressively debilitating illness. Part of me always figured it was – but, to see the book lay it out – the early onset of the disease in the main character. Whoa. I really enjoyed the book. You might wanna check it out.

7. Pumpkin has been asking every ten minutes when her big sister will be getting home from school. I am SO ready for her to be able to tell time.

8. Project Runway night. Okay, I kinda liked the kiddo challenge last week. I know the designers freak out a bit when they’re not working with their runway-perfect models, but I loved seeing the kid fashions on the runway. Having a kid in that age group, I kind of knew what would and wouldn’t fly. I may not always understand the judges’ feedback on the fashions for adults – but I got it for the kids. There’s somethin’, I guess.

9. When I’m sick, I want sweets and comfort food and mass quantities of saltines. Wandering through the store on Tuesday, I picked up some of the Jell-O Mousse Temptations. They were pretty good. Pretty rich and knocked the edge off my sweet-tooth, thank goodness. They’re pretty low in calories so if you wanted to eat all of them in the package, it wouldn’t do TOO much damage.

10. In desperate need of comfort food, I’m making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner tonight. Now, that doesn’t mean dinner is going to be GOOD, mind you, just that I need an excuse for shoveling a plate of carbs into my face. What is your go-to comfort food when you’re feeling “blah”?