Friday, September 29, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #39

Howdy do, y'all!  So it's actually Friday, right?  Not faux Friday where it's Wednesday or Thursday and you think it's Friday.  This week has flown by and several times we've both thought it was Friday when it wasn't so yeah, totally glad for the weekend!

Let's parachute on into...

How Often Should You Really Do HIIT Workouts?  (Nice to know we're right in the sweet spot)

20 Everyday Fixes to Survive Basically Anything the World Throws at You  (From the little things to the big ones)

Building ‘Breaks’ Into Your Diet Could Help You Lose More Weight  (Within reason though, unlike ours have been lately.)

9 Space-Saving Ideas for Anyone With a Small Kitchen  (Hmm, a few decent ideas for my shoebox)

When You Should Cut a Toxic Parent Out of Your Life  (It can be hard but sometimes necessary.)

10 Tips to Start Living Your Best Life  (Some really excellent tips here)

6 Doctor Approved Ways to Stop A Panic Attack and How to Prevent Future Anxiety  (Pretty basic but good reminders)

You Need to Stop Saying These Things If You're Over 40  (By the title I thought "great, some dbag telling me how I need to act my age"  It's not like that.)

6 Things You Should Say to Your Person Every Single Day  (Don't get complacent, you'll wish you had)

It's Officially Stink Bug Season: Here's How to Get Rid of Them  (Hope you have better luck than I did with the dryer sheet)

The Most Pathetic Yet Hilarious Lunches Of All Time  (Cannot stop laughing)

'Money Pit' transformed! Tom Hanks's movie house is on sale for $5.9 million  (What a great guilty pleasure movie!  The house is gorg!)

Tonight we're going apple picking with a friend whose never been before.  I can't wait to bake up a buttload o' apple stuff!  We also have a wedding to go to Sunday afternoon so it'll be another swirlie weekend but a swirlie of good things.

What's on your agenda this weekend?

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Food Review: Cookie Butter Oreos

Yeah, you didn't think I was going to not try these, did you?  These were but a rumor a year ago and now they're hidden in Targets everywhere.  (We found what we thought were the last two packages in with the regular Oreos, not with the Halloween candy like the other special edition Oreos.  Turns out when we went to the paper towel aisle, they had about 100 packages on an end so hunt around if you're, you know, shopping for a friend.)

I do love me some cookie butter on rare occasion and slappin' it in a cookie was like an answer to a fat girl's weak moment prayer.

Cookie butter flavored "creme" (because they're fancy like that) between graham flavored cookies.

Here's the nutritional info which is basically the same as any other Oreo.

Two cookies per serving.  How precious.

Hello lovelies.

For you twist and dunkers, they twist off nicely without sticking to the top.

But how do they taste?

The Mr absolutely loved them.  I thought they were good but honestly, I didn't think they tasted much different from the pumpkin spice ones.  Actually, I may like those more but only because they used what I consider the "right" cookie pairing.  The cookie butter Oreos have a graham flavored cookie and the cookie butter flavor gets completely lost in it for me because the cookie and the filling are too similar.  I think if they'd used the golden Oreo, you would be able to get that classic cookie butter taste much stronger.  We bought two bags with the intent of squirreling them away for sometime next year but I was so unimpressed that I'm gifting them to my friend tomorrow who we turned into a cookie butter fiend as well.  Don't get me wrong, they are good but if you're a cookie butter connoisseur then you may find these a little muted next to expectations.  But you know, you should probably buy a box to take into work or share with the grandkids just to see for yourself.  HA!

I may or may not have made myself a triple decker with the remaining three.  ;-)

Now THAT was good!

Have you tried Cookie Butter Oreos?  What are your favorite Oreos?

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Trouble with the Sweet Stuff

Sigh...tea.  My favorite.  Well, it used to be.  I grew up on sweet tea and I mean sweet tea, I'm talking my aunt made a medium sized Tupperware pitcher full with almost two cups of sugar!  I loved that stuff but it sure explains a lot.  LOL  It was basically the equivalent of drinking simple syrup.  I have to order a sweet tea or two when we're in the South but the taste wears on me quickly.  I just can't handle that much sugar in tea and get the sugar sweats from a beverage.  (A piece of cake, yes but I digress.)

I've grown up with artificial sweeteners because my mom was perpetually on a diet so the "pink stuff" was constantly in our house.  When I picked up on the fact that I was fat too and should think of doing something about it when I was 8 years old, I started putting it in my tea, on my cereal or whatever to reduce my calories from sugar.  (Rice Krispies were never the same because what was better than a big ass bowl of puffed rice cereal with sugar sludge in the bottom as you OD'd on Saturday morning cartoons?)  I didn't notice too much difference though because for all of the sugar I was downing for probably 50-100 calories depending on what I had between cereal, tea or whatever else I put it on, I could put one or two packets of sweetener in/on it and have zero calories!  Fat kid dream come true!  However, baked goods using any kind of artificial sweetener just were not my jam.  But one of my favorite simple pleasures as an adult is a good cup of hot tea.  I love a strong English Breakfast or Earl Grey with two pinks please.  When I was trying to be "better" the past year, I did one pink and one packet of Stevia.

I went along this way my entire life until recently when I kept reading more and more things about how basically no artificial sweetener is safe including stevia because it hasn't been in use by the masses long enough to do sufficient studies on potential side effects.  The last thing I read that kicked me in the butt was that it can change your gut bacteria.  The Mr and I were talking about this and he said "well, look at the difference in waistlines from our grandparents at our age to the waistlines of our generation.  The major thing that changed in that time was convenience foods and the introduction of artificial sweeteners."  Literally the only thing I drink is water, tea and milk.  I don't drink diet soda ever because I think it tastes like crap.  If I'm going to have a soda, it's going to be the real thing once or twice a month, if that.  My artificial sweetener habit is between 2-6 packets per day which is nothing but that's not taking into account where it's being hidden in other food like my bread or something like that.  I figured I'd let the pink stuff run out and then go to Stevia and 1 tsp of sugar.  Yes, I know.  Sugar is evil but it's natural.  As soon as I made the switch, it was awful and eye opening.  It tasted like there was nothing in my hot tea at all.  I've never been a fan of Stevia anyway but thought it would temper things as I weaned off.  It adds very little sweetness and even sugar adds WAY less sweetness than I've been accustomed to my whole life.  Each packet of my preferred sweetener was 300-500x sweeter than sugar.  So if I've been consuming two packets of it since I was 8 years old, that means I've been accustomed to a cup of tea that is 600 to 1000x sweeter than sugar!  No wonder I'm effing miserable drinking my tea now!  My stevia just ran out last night so now I'm down to pure honey or sugar.  The first week I started this, I lost 4 lbs but I think it was a fluke because it crept back up.

As a person who is not a fan of flavored tea, you can imagine my English Breakfast tastes like dirt now and that makes me super sad.  Stuff like Earl Grey and green tea is a little easier to tolerate but it's something I just don't look forward to anymore.  I'm so used to asking "you want a cup of tea" to quell any later evening hunger and looking forward to a perfectly sweetened cuppa and now it's just a big mug of disappointment.  I wish I'd never been introduced to it so I would've never developed that reward trigger for something so sweet.  I suppose I'll have to learn to like flavored tea or I guess cut it out completely and try to avoid crying in the tea aisle in the store.

How do you sweeten your tea/coffee?

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

HIIT me up

That moment you realize you got sucked into a night of Halloween baking shows, it's 11pm and you haven't blogged yet.  Whoops.


I am serious spaghetti arms right now because we did my paddling workout but before that, we did 17 minutes of HIIT.  (High Intensity Interval Training)

For about the past 3 weeks, we've been adding HIIT to the beginning of our strength sessions twice a week.  We tried it 3x the week before last and we were broken and both gained weight because I think our bodies were holding onto water trying to repair our hobbly selves.  We have Turbo Fire and they have three different HIITs on there...15, 20 and 25 minutes worth.  So we tend to rotate between the 15 and 20 minute one but we may throw the 25 minute in on occasion.

For me, strength workouts have always felt like it takes forever to get my heart rate up to something I consider a workout and by the time I do, there are only about 10 minutes left and I feel like I wasted my time.  Since adding HIIT's prior to our strength sessions, our heart rates are already considerably higher and since we consider those our warm up, we go straight into lifting.  My heart rate stays pretty high and we're both sweating like maniacs toweling off between sets.  When we're done, we're basically tanked and the Mr always says what a good workout it was.  It can be so hard to keep up motivation and I have an additional challenge in my crappy blood vessels.  I can pop blood vessels in my fingers using my bare hands with a set of 10 pounders much less the 20 and 25 lbs I usually do.  I want to keep making strides to be able to lift more but even with my gloves and a set of pads to hold the weight, I can burst one and it is a pain that makes it pretty uncomfortable to lift if it's not healed in time for the next session.  I put some new lifting gloves on my wishlist for Christmas so hopefully, those will help.  Some days I swear it's a chore just to do a military press with 15 pounds per hand and I feel so weak despite consistently doing strength 3x week for at least two years.

So I'm hoping this little change up in routine will help melt some goo and maybe even help on the muscle front by having it already warmed up sufficiently before we get into the bulk of things.  Time will tell.

Do you do HIIT?  How many times a week do you strength train?

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Monday, September 25, 2017

How'd that happen?

Seriously Saturday??  What gives.

I realize that we had to go to lunch and a cafe for a gift card..
... and Hobby Lobby
...and Kohls
...and Famous Footwear
...and Payless Shoes
...and a basically abandoned mall
...and DSW
...and Hallmark
...and Pier One Imports
...and Trader Joe's
...and Target
...and grab dinner.

But really, how was it suddenly 8 hours later than when we left the house???  Oy.

I was conked out on the couch by 10 something and woke up at 12:45am with the worst migraine I've had in a while.  It took an hour just to get to sleep as the pain laughed at my migraine meds.  Couldn't sleep past 7am but am still so friggin' tired I could barely function.  Too much to do, no time.  I'll apparently sleep when I'm dead.

Lots of crap to get done Sunday too between work, the last of the grocery shopping, a workout and more work.  Unfortunately we had some returns that needed tending to.  The Kohls purchase from the day before was made without a coupon so he ran up there while I unloaded and put away the groceries and cut cantaloupe.  Then as I was putting away strawberries, I somehow missed 3 moldy ones so I had to send him back with those.  I figured since we had to workout and he still was going to cut my veggies for the week, I should throw him a bone.  I made the lemon pepper light alfredo he requested whilst topping it with some scallops and last week's broccoli that needed used up.

I'm looking to get a ton of stuff done this week because we have a full weekend coming up and I don't want to have a to do list swirling in my head when I should be focusing on having a good time.

A big shout out to my friend Jeff who ran the Berlin Marathon Sunday!  So proud of him!

What did y'all do this weekend?

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Friday, September 22, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #38


Guess what.


Now that I've blinded you with my excitement for the weekend, let's do si do on into...

50 Daily Habits of Naturally Thin People  (I'm taking a cue from a few of these...need to do more.)

If You've Ever Cried About Losing Weight, You Need to Read This Post  (Whose crying?  I'm not crying.  *sniff*)

This Is How Much Cardio You Should Be Doing If You Want to Lose Weight  (Does clean eating include apple donuts?  I'm asking for a friend.)

The Fascinating Link Between Walnuts and Weight Loss  (I don't know about fascinating but a link nonetheless.)

Are You Taking Probiotics the Wrong Way? A Dietitian Weighs In  (I will say this, I took it according to this article and (TMI alert) I thought about Facetiming a doctor after my void to ask if the volume should scare me.)

Can You Really Lose Fat and Gain Muscle Simultaneously?  (Always kind of makes me giggle when someone is nice enough to try to say my scale gain was probably muscle.  I'm benching 50, not 250.)

The 9 Most Toxic Items In Your Kitchen  (I think some are a little over the top but still enough to consider.)

The Negative Effect Binge Watching Has on Your Health  (Pay attention Netflixers!)

Research Shows Eliminating Meat From Your Diet Can Help You Lose Weight Twice as Fast  (Oy, I'm not giving up my cluckers and oinks on occasion but I can throw a few extra meatless meals in there)

Pink's Empowering Message to Her Daughter Is One Everyone Needs to Hear  (So sad she even had to say it in the first place.)

What a Foo Believes: The Sweet Life and Rock & Roll Faith of America's Biggest Band  (Excellent article with Dave Grohl.  Could I love him even more?  Their new album Concrete and Gold  (affiliate link) just dropped last week.  I listened to some samples and it sounds solid. it.)

It’s Electric! Dave Grohl meets Lars Ulrich on Beats 1 [Full Interview] (Apparently yes, I can love him more!  GREAT interview even if you think Lars is a gum flapper...he actually lets Dave talk. NSFW for language)

We were supposed to go apple picking tonight but the gross hot temps have turned us off to that.  So much for the first day of autumn.  Pffft.  We're going next Friday when it's supposed to be much cooler.  In the meantime, I've got to grab a wedding gift for a friend getting married next weekend. Since our own, we've only been to two other weddings.  Are people just not getting married anymore or are we just not invited?  LOL

What are you guys up to this weekend?

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

I feel it my duty as a self-designated Fall freak to get you all well prepared for the arrival of Autumn tomorrow afternoon with this bowl of deliciousness to start off your day.

What you'll need:
Oats (or plain quinoa if you prefer but it should be pre-cooked)
Pumpkin Butter
Cardamom or Pumpkin Spice

Measure out one serving of rolled oats.

Add 4 ounces of milk.

Give it a spin around the turntable in the microwave for 1 minute.

Add 2 tbsp of pumpkin butter.

Give it a mix, add a pinch of cardamom or your favorite Fall spice and stir.

Top it with half a serving of walnuts or pecans (15g) and pair it with a cup of salted caramel tea and you are officially ready to usher in the new season!

Now bring on the sweatshirts, fuzzy socks, cuddling under a blankie on a crisp night and blazing red, yellow and orange on the trees!

What's your favorite thing about Fall?

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bringin' It

Happy Hump Day all!

Yesterday morning we got to start the day with a visit from the cable company.  A final $40/mo upcharge with a caveat of signing our lives away for a year to get it reversed was enough for the Mr to call and tell them we were cutting the cord after 21 years since they don't give a crap about their customers.  While this dude at least feigned empathy, he said he could actually get us to the price we were paying with some digital service.  So yesterday morning we had a technician out to switch stuff out.  The Mr works around computers and electronics and it always amuses us the things these guys try to blame on things that are obviously not the problem.  Do we appear to be 90 years old to you?  But you just shake your head and move on.  Now we get to re-learn a whole new system, attempt to get the shows we had taping before set in the DVR and hope that the price really is what they told us come this time next month.  It's like they want you to cut the cord.

I got some work done though not as much as I wanted to.  I need to whip my task pad back out.  I picked one up and last week it really helped me to have things written down to keep me on track.  Speaking of the track, I feel like I'm teetering on that edge of hopping the rails.  I have not tracked this week and after a gain last week when I really felt like I worked hard, I'm just irritated and feel like saying "eff it."  Sunday was basically another high cal day between brunch and going to the movies.  When we walked the historic district, we stopped and got ice cream and it wasn't even worth it because they changed the flavor of one of the ice creams.  I should've just thrown out the one scoop but I justified because it was expensive I shouldn't even though I've thrown away crap that cost more when I was in a better mindset.  Sigh.

Yesterday I decided to really concentrate on slowing down my eating and I wanted to throw some intensity into the workout.  We were doing Powerstrike and because we've done it so many years, it's one of those ones that can be very easy to go through the motions on.  Matter of fact, the thought was "it's cardio night, let's do something a little easier."  Screw easy.  The first combo, I felt myself going through the motions and I thought "you're never going to get out of this set of numbers if you keep doing what's easy."  "Well, you did what was hard last week and all you got was a gain."  "Shut up and put in some effort.  You DID just sample something you're sending to the workplace tomorrow so you've got some extra to work off now DO IT."

Yep, I sat there arguing with myself.  *smh*

But as I was rolling and stretching afterward and feeling good about the effort I just gave, I felt like I need to just get my shizz together.  We've got some down time coming up but getting there is going to be like JoBeth Williams running down the never ending hallway in Poltergeist.


I am ready to be in a better mental place where I feel like I can tackle being productive in every aspect of my life.  Does that exist?  I feel like everyone else has a handle on life and being together and I'm kind of this jalopy puttering along that may or may not get to their destination.  Pffft.

Do you feel like you're bringin' it?  (Whatever "it" is for you...and not the clown.)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What price might they pay?

About 2 years ago, I was looking for Hawaii videos on YouTube.  I saw that this family was there and they were on vacation.  Their kids were adorable, the parents were tolerable and they were apparently daily family vloggers.  I watched probably five or six videos and then of course, like potato chips, you start blowing through them.  (Video wise.)  Before I knew it, they just became part of my daily watching along with one other makeup guru that I'd been following since she was about 24 (she's 30 now).

The other day the dad on the family channel casually commented about how he's noticing that his son will sit and "stare at himself in the mirror all the time, even when he's crying- is that weird?"  Um, yes.  For a normal kid that has a shot at growing up with normal social cues but you guys have shoved a camera in his face for half of his life and he's three.  He's been trained that everything he does is observed and given some of the over the top stuff they do for views (which totally turns us off now), I'm sure he's overheard conversations about how they need to be more this or that for views.  For him, his reflection is what is always there as he communicates with his parents and so now he's hyper-aware of everything he says and does and has even started addressing the camera as "hey viewers, watch this"...again, he's three.  The oldest is in elementary and there has been a recent conversation that she may be getting ostracized by her peers because she's "famous."  This is only going to get worse for her as she gets older and especially as parents feed info about them to their kids with a nice, unhealthy bias against her because of things her parents do and say.  (You know how parents can be.  We've all learned behavior from our parents and it's not always the healthiest of attitudes.)  They have another child that has literally been filmed out of the womb and whenever the camera is out, it begins to dance and perform to some degree.

The other vlogger that I've followed is the sweetest girl and she had a baby three years ago and he is also very aware of the camera.  He is adorable and I love watching him but I get so disturbed when I see him fighting for screen time on the vlog when she's doing something.  He likes to look at himself on the screen and talks to it.  Obviously, he has no real concept of what he's talking to other than himself because she makes sure he's not aware that there are "people" on the other end of it.  She rarely does beauty vlogs anymore and I surely don't expect her to because her children are her life now and that's totally understandable.  I still enjoy watching her family.

But now I'm starting to feel like I'm contributing to a problem.  As I see these kids are becoming so absorbed in themselves to varying degrees, I start to really cringe thinking about how much therapy they may need as they transition into teens and adulthood.  I mean, think of how embarrassing it was as a kid when you had your graduation party and they brought out the nekkid bathtub pics.  Well, just your close family and friends saw that and that was bad enough.  Now think about social media.  So many people have hundreds of friends on Facebook or Instagram and parents think nothing about posting some seriously private or embarrassing stuff because "oh isn't that funny?" or "oh, I'm so going to remind them of this when they're older."  Those things are out there forever.  For-ever.  No one is asking the kid if they wanted the picture of them taking a wee against a tree (yep, seen it) or the "cute" video of them throwing a tantrum when they were having a bad day.  If they don't have their profile locked down, then not only can their friends see this stuff but friends of friends.  Now we're talking thousands of potential people seeing it.

Now put it on YouTube where your kid's bad behavior or awkward moment can be scrutinized and commented on by potentially millions if it goes viral not just on the video but I'm sure even in person.  A lot of these family vloggers go to conferences or meet and greets with fans and people will talk about a video they loved or were appalled by or whatever.  Can you imagine your childhood being up for anyone to comment on?  I'm not judging these parents for their decision to share their families, that's their right.  But as I'm starting to notice these social issues coming up in videos, it makes me feel weird watching it now.  I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking things but I think kids are picked apart enough as is but you add internet fame on top of it and we may be looking at some real problems on so many levels in the years to come.

A few searches have shown that there is concern about these kids having general anxiety disorder and then there's stuff like this that truly makes me think that yes, there is a problem.

Do you watch family vloggers?  Do you think kids appearances should be limited until they can choose for themselves?

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Four's Company weekend

Yet another weekend where it seemed to swirl by much too fast.

We had company coming on Sunday and we got most of the house cleaned Friday which was a miracle in itself.  Saturday we went out to lunch at an old-school diner and then shopped our way back up the freeway system to pick up stuff I justified for brunch.  I've wanted a Fall scheme for company since that tends to be when I entertain most and I really only have Christmas placemats and the like.  So when I was done, I had this combo...

I tried to do as much as possible Saturday night so that all I'd have to do is pour and stuff like that. Unfortunately, this is the only pic I got of brunch...

Pumpkin Toffee Scones pre-drizzle mah shizzle of cookie butter glaze.  Those things are SOOO good and I was more than happy to send the remaining four with them for their road trip back home otherwise the Mr and I would've had to step in the octagon for them.  I will definitely be making these again this pumpkin season.  I'm thinking they'd be perfect for an upcoming trip so I might be making and freezing them sooner than I think.

I made Croque Madam with Gordon Ramsay eggs and a homemade bechamel sauce and a sweet potato hash with bacon date jam and walnuts.  I do wish the friggin oven kept it hotter though since it was all "holding" in there while I made the eggs and bechamel at 220 degrees.  Anything hotter and it starts cooking.  Maybe I'll have to tent everything with foil next time.  Sorry...thinking out loud.  It was a wonderful visit and our first time meeting his girlfriend and it's always nice to see a couple that compliments each other.  They're going overseas so he can run a marathon (mad props yo!) and spending a little over a week there and chill at another destination for a few days.  She is really well traveled too which they have in common so that's good.  I know a couple where the woman really wants to travel but the man refuses and it makes me so sad for her so it's nice to see when a couple is on the same page with life goals.

When they left, we started checking email and the food coma kicked in.  I contorted into an uncomfortable position on the couch and we napped for two hours!  Hey, it's Sunday.  Then it was time for a 3 miler in the historic district, a grocery produce refuel, saw It at the movies and that about put a fork in the weekend for us.

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, September 15, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #37

It has been a WEEK.  I'm ready for the weekend!

Let's shimmy on into...

33 Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Literally Anywhere  (I don't know about literally because if you start busting out a bridge on the floor at Aunt Cindy's funeral, you'll get dragged out by your ear.  Let's stop stripping words of their meaning please.)

These Are the Hip Stretches Your Body Needs Stat  (I can definitely vouch for a few of these)

6 Darn Good Reasons to Eat Sugar and Not Apologize for It  (Good reasons for sure)

6 Ways To Maximize Your Single-Leg Deadlift  (Started implementing this week)

If You've Ever Cried About Losing Weight, You Need to Read This Post   (An uplifting read)

10 Beginner Workouts that you can do at home for free  (You guys know we highly recommend this site!)

Sitting All Day Is Definitely Bad, But Does Getting Up Once in a While Help?  (Courtesy of the Mr.  Better set those timers...note to self.)

CNN anchor Don Lemon's body-positive remarks to 'chunky' reporter go viral  (I don't know if this dude has a spouse or not but he's about to get a lot of date requests.  Go Don!!!)

Why Parents Today Aren't Strict Enough  (Oh my Lord, this!  I want to give a shout out to the parents raising the two different girls who happily opened the door for the Mr and I at two different places.  Kind of gave me hope for the future.)

20 Naturally Beautiful Ways to Decorate With Wood Slices  (Some cute stuff!)

Maltin on Movies #143: Patricia Ward Kelly  (EXCELLENT podcast for you Gene Kelly fans!)

I'm glad this week is over but I've got a crap load of cleaning ahead of me.  If there are any cleaning fairies who would like to do it for me, I'm down.  We've got company coming Sunday from out of town and I'm so glad I confirmed which weekend it was because I thought it was next weekend.  We're brunching and meeting his new girlfriend so I want to make a good first impression food wise.  I've got some shopping and cooking to do!

What are you guys into this weekend?

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hard Times

Yesterday was a day.  I believe I uttered the phrase "THIS DAY IS A FLAMING TAINT!!!"  I wasn't even halfway through it.  I threw an egg at the wall and crushed one (both hard boiled) in my hand.  It was just irritation after irritation and I'm gonna admit, I stress ate.

I was making a rustic apple pie and cut a small piece to take pics...and then I ate it.  I don't regret it a bit because it was so good and gave me the only thing that worked to bring my rage down.  I don't recommend it, it's not going to be my go to method for dealing with the poop swirl around me but it's not like I busted open a bag of Oreos and blew through them.  I'm just glad that even though I knew I was going to indulge in a small piece I didn't spend the rest of the day beating myself up.  I tracked it and it fit into my calories.

The next few days will be a hard few days for me anyway.  It was 10 years ago today that we had to put our dog to sleep.  We actually chose the day because it was two days before the anniversary of the passing of my father in law, which will be 13 years Saturday.  We figured why not just have one big crapfest of emotions at the same time instead of spreading it throughout the year.  I still remember the day like it was yesterday though I don't like to think about it.  I'm sure any of you who have had to choose to let go of your pet know what I'm talking about.  It haunts you.  Time doesn't erase those final moments, the ones you don't allow yourself to think about or you will spiral.  Instead, you have to think of the moment as the ultimate final act of love.  It's hard because of the second guessing but there does come a point where you can look back objectively and know you did the right thing.

Wanna see something pathetic?

Can't bring myself to throw them out.  They're kind of part of the cabinetry at this point.  Every time I get a plate, I don't look at it and think of the dog, it's like wallpaper now.  Honestly, I probably won't throw them out for another four years which will be the point when she's been gone as long as she was here.  Dad is always bittersweet because we obviously miss him but his amazing spirit is so strong, sometimes it feels like he's still here.  Actually, I know he is because the Mr is just like him and is the epitome of who Dad was...down to the occasional cheesy joke or coming off like he knows what he's talking about instead of just saying I don't know.  ;-)

How do you recover from a bad day?

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Food Review: Organic Soft Baked Salted Caramel Brownies

When we were doing our grocery re-stock last weekend, I came upon these in the organic section and thought they looked pretty good so we decided to give them a go.

Especially once I saw the nutritional info and read the ingredients...

(NOTE:  There are TWO SERVINGS per sleeve so you're not having a 60 calorie treat, you're having a 120 calorie one.)

Here's their schtick.

They kind of reminded me of fig newtons size wise.

Hmm, they look a little bigger than fig newtons on the box and I'm also not seeing the squishy goodness the front and back of their boxes promised.

So that didn't get off to a good start but how did they taste?

Despite feeling like the size, contents and the way the nutritional info was presented weren't representative of what was on the box, I admit, they were pretty good.  It would've been better of course if it had the chocolate, squishy goodness I was promised.  Also, I'm not really sure I taste salted caramel but  I suppose I'd need to compare them to the regular chocolate ones to see if there's much difference taste wise.  (Darn.)

You won't mistake this for a Ghirardelli brownie but if you need a chocolate fix, this could be just the thing to scratch that itch.  The cocoa powder gives a nice, deep chocolate flavor.  I could've sworn there were figs in there but there is date paste.  You know how you have that bit of fibrous texture with that stuff?  It was there but not overly so or enough to turn you off.  In the end, if you want a 120 calorie chocolate snack that's pretty healthy overall, this could be your new go to.  We'll likely get the original chocolate version to compare and then decide if they're something they'd get on the regular. Thumbs up from us...even if I'm jaded about the lack of squish.  ;-)

What's your favorite healthier chocolate snack?

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Comfort from an unlikely source

I don't know if I'm the only one obsessed with medium shows but...there you have it.  I used to love Celebrity Ghost Stories and there were some serious actors spilling their experiences with the paranormal.  There's an off shoot of that show called "The Haunting Of" and they take people's celebrity ghost story and medium Kim Russo and the celeb go back to the place of the haunting to get answers as to why they were there.   Every time, people who have passed that are related to or friends of the person always make an appearance.  I'd been waiting for one rerun that I'd missed to come up and it finally did...The Haunting of Anthony Michael Hall.

As the Mr and I were watching, Kim asked Michael about his grandma.  She referred to his grandma by name and as passed.  He said no.  
She said, "when I feel them as passed, does she have dementia?"  
He answered "I hope not but it's a concern of ours in my family.  We think she may."
She replied, "to me, as a medium, when they have or start to have dementia I will actually feel part of their energy on the other side.  There's a sense of her in between worlds."

When she said that, the Mr and I both gasped and turned to each other.  The hair on my arms stood up and I got goosebumps.  We reacted this way because in the past two years, I would have dreams about my grandma and I only have dreams about loved ones who have passed.  I've had it all my life.  I'm not talking about some psychic ability or anything but I'm very sensitive to energy.  (Stop rolling your eyes.  LOL)  Like if the Mr is anxious about something in bed, I can feel his bad mojo.  (The odds of me getting any sleep the night before a road trip, especially a big one is basically nil because of Mr. Anxious Overalls.)  There have been times I've had to say, "stop worrying about X, I can feel your juju" or I've just gotten up and left the room until he goes to sleep because I can't rest when I can feel his anxiousness or stress pointed my direction.  I know, weird.  

When I would dream about grandma, I was always able to talk with her and we would laugh and have a good time.  At some point in the dream, I always remembered that "OMG, I'm talking to her.  She has dementia and I'm able to talk to her."  The second there was a realization of her situation, she would leave without me.  Like one time we were talking on her husband's old boat that he had when they got together.  We were laughing and talking and when I had that thought about the dementia, I stayed still over the water and she went in the boat without me.  It happened every single time.  The second the reality hit, she'd leave.  I felt so comforted being able to talk to her but so sad at the thought of my realization making her leave.  One day I asked the Mr if he thought souls of people with dementia could leave their bodies like when someone dies.  He said, at the time, he didn't really think so but hadn't actually given any thought to it.  Then he began researching and a few days later said the recurring theme he kept seeing with reputable mediums was that their soul actually could leave the body even though they were still alive.  One medium discussed talking with family members and their dad showed up and suddenly the mother started talking and kind of arguing about something that the family had wondered about.  Thing is, mom wasn't dead...she was in a facility across town with dementia for the past 2 years.  You can imagine the family's surprise and relief.

So to hear that the souls of those with dementia are in between worlds, to us, was somehow comforting.  It meant that maybe she isn't continually trapped in herself and there is some part of her that can communicate with those she loves even though her body can't.  It's been too long since I've had one of those dreams and it's not something I can will myself to do.  I have never dreamt about someone who has passed because I was thinking about them or said: "hey, it'd be nice if you came to visit." That basically guarantees nothing will happen.  Even in times of great need when their solace would be such a comfort, I get nothing.  When I do get them, it is at times when everything is fine for the moment and I wake up remembering they were there even if I don't remember everything that happened.  It happens at a time they deem I need it and just enough to keep me faithful.

Look, I know that to many people this is a bunch of, as my paternal grandpa would say, horse sh*t. It's totally fine if you laughed or rolled your eyes through this post or uttered "whatever helps you sleep at night, sister."  I get it.  Some people need to see something or have something happen to them that is just so major there is no other explanation.  But for those of us who have had different experiences and find comfort in the unexplained, who does it hurt to believe?  I feel like I was meant to see that episode of The Haunting Of and I'd sought it out because I only caught the end of it once.  I believe there's a reason for that too.  Maybe at the time, I saw it originally I had no questions and the lack of "activity" on the dream front lately lead me to wonder if I was wrong.  I think sometimes the universe, God or whatever you believe in puts things in your path to answer your questions but it's up to you to be open to hearing/seeing the answers.  It's nice to get comfort from an unlikely source.

What unlikely sources do you get comfort from?  Or if you prefer- Believer or non-believer in the afterlife?  

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Worrisome weekend

How is it Monday again?  Pfft.

Friday was spent dropping off my baby gift to a friend.  She is my massage therapist and she asked me during a massage if she paid me, would I be able to cook her some meals.  She told me to get back to her as it got closer.  I decided that after pricing some stuff out that I could make it my gift to her.  So she was ALL over that.  I didn't know she had a side by side when the Mr and I brought the two coolers over but because I'm a master packer, I was able to make it all fit!

So here's the rundown of what $50 in food (plus the cost of containers and Food Saver bags and some Press n' Seal) got her.


10 Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins
5 pre-made bowls of oatmeal (Sugar Cookie, Pumpkin Walnut, Banana Pecan, Pumpkin Walnut Raisin and Maple Brown Sugar)
Pancakes (3 Nutella Stuffed, 3 Banana and a family batch of pumpkin (6) )
Pre-roasted garlic herb home fries.

Lunches- (6 total in containers)
Main Dishes include meatloaf and chicken (BBQ and cider glazed) with side dishes of mashed or roasted potatoes or butternut squash casserole and blanched veggies.

Chicken and Quinoa

Homemade Cheese Soup

Pre-cooked chicken breasts, Meatloaf, Beef Roast and grandma's homemade noodles, Chicken and homemade herb dumplings, two batches of chili.

Sides of roasted garlic mashed potatoes, butternut squash casserole, homemade glazed veggies.

Manicotti dinner ready to be baked.

Baked apple dessert

Of course, because I'm a nerd, I did detailed reheating instructions.

Saturday and Sunday were basically spent watching some ball games then doing grocery refuels and worrying about my best friend who lives right in the crosshairs of Hurricane Irma.  So a lot of Weather Channel was watched.  I got her (and everyone in my family) a weather radio  (affiliate link) one Christmas and several of them say they still keep it plugged in.  She said it woke her up Saturday morning to tornadoes in the area proving its worth over and over again even being 10 years old!  She took it with her to the house she was riding out the storm in because it has battery backup and if power and cell service go out, they would still be informed.  I am so glad I got them the practical gift!  I shed quite a few tears worrying because you feel so helpless.  I'm hoping all is well since the worst won't hit until overnight and I don't trust her building won't sustain some damage.

We did our HIIT/strength session and had some dinner while still monitoring things.

I hope all of my readers that are/were in the path or had family or loved ones affected are safe.

It has been 14 years since beloved actor and comic John Ritter passed away from Aortic Dissection. This condition is often mistaken as a heart attack and if you should ever think you or someone you love is suffering a heart attack, INSIST they check the Ritter Rules so they know if you/they are suffering an aortic dissection. This condition is often hereditary and because of John's fate, his brother was tested and had this defect as well and they were able to do surgery and save his life.  We miss you, John.

What did y'all do this weekend?

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Friday, September 8, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #36

Howdy, Y'all!  It's finally Friday!  I'm ready for the weekend as I'm sure you are too!

So let's slip n' slide into...

Stock Your Kitchen With These 6 Healthy Cooking Staples For Fall  (Gotta restock my pun'kin supply!)

These are all the diets I tried — and gladly broke up with    (That's quite a list!)

10 Natural Ways to Help Detoxify the Body  (Got most of these in the kitchen anyway.)

The One Thing Women Need To Stop Eating  ('s not what you think)

The 5 Worst Fast Food Chains for Antibiotics Use & the 5 Best  (There are some shockers on there)

I Hate My Body and Think I Always Will  (I so get it)

The Best Workout for Bad Knees  (This is practically my PT!)

Report Shows It's Time To Change The Picture Of Obesity  (I find it interesting that I see more people that are pictured in these databases way more than I see the airbrushed, thigh gapped waif on the cover of magazines that is supposed to convince us "this is how everyone else looks!")

A 90-Year-Old Woman Summed Up How to Live Your Best Life In Just 75 Words  (Get it, girl!)

Abandoned States: Places In Idyllic 1960s Postcards Have Transformed Into Scenes Of Abandonment  (Courtesy of the depress you as well.  So sad)

23 Unexpected Romantic Gestures That Your Partner Will Love  (I know I do!)

85+ Cool New Ways to Decorate Your Halloween Pumpkins  (I'm ready!)

Bucket list: 50 things to do in the U.S. this Fall  (Ready...set...go!)

I mentioned last night that the Harvest Festival was going on in Sharon Springs, NY this weekend to the Mr and asked if he wanted to go.  Got a look of horror, then an "if you want to."  I really do. Probably not.  Maybe next year?

Whatch'all into this weekend?

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Thursday, September 7, 2017


Guess what I forgot to do yesterday?  HA!

It was 2 am the night before when it popped into my head that I forgot to do a blog.  Because I wasn't in the mood to adrenalize when I was already having trouble going to sleep, I thought y'all could survive a day without me.  ;-)


The previous night we had a frustrating evening with someone and ended up talking for 90 minutes upon our return before hitting the hay.  Don't you love when you have someone you can just yammer on and on with and know they "get it?"  I digress.  I've said it before, I'll say it again...if you have people in your life whether friends, co-workers or family that you have been having the same negative conversation about but different decades...distance yourself or cut them off.  Seriously.

I know if it's family that is much more difficult than friends or coworkers but it shouldn't be.  If you have people committing the same emotional crimes against you over and over, you say you're done and then you constantly either have them in your life or engage in conversations about them- keeping them in your life by default, it is the same as going back to an emotionally abusive relationship.  You would tell your friend to get out of that hot mess and they deserve better.  If they continually go back to the person, you reach a point where you're like "look, sh*t or get off the pot.  I'm not listening to it anymore."  I have a range of people in my life whom I love dearly but we're still having the same conversation about crap they've chosen to put up with for decades and the only action they take is griping to others or getting other people stressed out or riled up.  Who has time for that??  People need to take responsibility for the crap they choose to put up with and you can't fault others who don't have as hard of a time saying "nope, not gonna listen to/deal with it anymore."

I have had a diagnosed stress disorder for almost 20 years and it's been NO picnic.  I have chosen to go holistic in my approach which means no meds.  My body will revolt on me in various ways to let me know "sorry, can't deal...shutting down."  The one positive side effect it's had is it forces me to listen to my body and to cut out unnecessary BS...doctors orders.  I admit, it has meant distancing myself from people I love dearly but it has made me take stock of those relationships as well.  How good is a relationship when you end up bitching about them for several hours after each visit?  How are they enriching your life if they make you feel like your opinion isn't valued or refuse to even hear your point of view?  We all like to think we're right and I was the worst in my early life.  I got it honestly from both parents but as I got older, I stopped worrying about being right and worried more about being compassionate to those whom I respected.  That is one of the biggest things I miss about my grandma is that even though we were on opposite sides of the political spectrum if God forbid her hubby brought up something political that we knew for a fact he was misinformed on, then we'd speak up.  (I'm not talking a difference of opinion, I mean if someone told you with absolute certainty that the sky is bright green.)  He would usually disagree or mumble but my grandma would say "I never thought of it like that" or "I didn't know that."  It's not that we'd change her mind and that wasn't the goal anyway, it's that she respected us enough to say that we made her think in a new way or may have taught her something.  When she respected someone's opinion, she was open to receiving information even if that meant she may have been wrong.  To me, that is the kind of relationship that feeds your soul.

I found myself in bed, thinking about the night and things that were said that upset me and my heart raced.  So I listened to my body.  I took in a deep breath of my new essential oil diffuser  (affiliate link) (thanks, SK!) with my "worry free" oil blend  (affiliate link) and slowed my breathing.  I told myself "you are not responsible for the lack of action of other people.  Worrying about what other people should do is only going to keep you awake with a racing heart and mind.  Give it over to God, you are not in control."  Almost instantly my heart stopped beating out of my chest, my facial muscles relaxed a bit and I was easily able to divert my attention. Of course, it didn't help me to get to sleep because then I obsessed over everything from my to do list to why hasn't that stray cat come back to visit, so I didn't get solid sleep again.  I'm hoping knocking a few things off the list today and tomorrow will allow me to get some sleep...eventually.

I found it a little ironic that at one point when I found empathy for the object of the ire of the person we were talking with that I said the point of life was to learn from your mistakes, get better with age and find peace.  They whole heartedly agreed and said they didn't know why that person couldn't do that.  I wanted to turn to them and say "maybe for the same reason you can't?"  Nope...let it go.

How do you find ways to let go of things and situations you can't change?

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Birthday weekend recap

Can we do this weekend again?  It was my birthday weekend and boy did I feel the love.  It started Friday when the Mr took a half a day off and told me to plan a lighter breakfast and dinner because we were going out to lunch.

We pulled up at a local piano cafe and we went in for an afternoon tea.  Squee!

Mini scones, a few different canapes and a few bites of dessert.  It was a nice way to spend a few hours and when you look at what would normally be half a meal in bites, it sure fills you up when you put a couple of pots of hot tea with it!  Afterward, I really wanted to walk for our workout despite my legs already being a total mess from the previous day's activity so we just grabbed our umbrellas and hoped for the best.

Thankfully, we didn't have a problem but it was a little breezy, overcast and the perfect Fall feeling afternoon so it was nice to enjoy little things along the way like sassy succulents...

Pac Man ghost sidewalk bricks...

...and even a few overzealous leaves getting in on some early Fall action!

For my birthday, I got a delightful box from my delightful friend who went SO overboard I shall virtually smack her around a bit.

I loved it all and she also emailed me a gift certificate to our favorite restaurant so that'll be nice to enjoy!

Then I opened gifts from my honey...another one who went overboard this year.

I got a few gifts from my friend in another state of some sheets and a gift card I asked for and I even got flowers on my doorstep from my massage therapist and chiro with a birthday card and a free chiro visit.

To finish it off a gift card from my Physical Therapist office which I'm totally saving for when they start making gingerbread donuts in December.  The only time I go there.  Got some moolah from my MIL, so I'll hoard it through Christmas to see what I get and put it toward something bigger in the future.

My favorite comfort food dish is one that the Cheesecake Factory hasn't made in years...Mile High Meatloaf sandwich.  So when they don't make something anymore, you've just gotta make it yourself.

(Slice of meatloaf on brioche with a scoop of mashed taters and bbq cider "gravy")

I even made crispy fried shallots for the top which I NEVER fry anything so it was quite a departure for me...worth it.  You bet your sweet bippy that when we were done, I turned on some random college football game and we both settled in for the best food coma nap ever!

It was a rainy day but I didn't care because with the weather there was no pressure to get out and enjoy it or do something.  It was nice to just open presents, eat cake, watch the rain cling to the branches and do nothing especially since I'd run myself absolutely ragged to the point of pain in the days leading up to it.  The Mr was kind enough to massage my feet and ankles Saturday and Sunday.  He hit a few spots that really sent me to the ceiling but needed to be worked out.  Oochie owie!  He even indulged me and watched one of my favorite movies, Mermaids (affiliate link)  (Jake Ryan...swoon.)

Sunday he offered to make breakfast for me.

I made the fruit salad but he made everything else.  (Well, I had the potatoes pre-made but he warmed them up.)  He showed me some mad respect on how I am able to juggle getting everything together, ready and warm at the same time for our Sunday brunches.  ;-)   We threw in a quick session on the Total Trainer so we could have our workout done for the day.  We met my mom and aunt midday for some froyo and hung out for 2 1/2 hours.  Then it was time to grab some produce for the week and wind down for the night.

What did you do this weekend?

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day all!  I hope you're one of the lucky ones who get to take a break from labor today and just chill n' grill!  That's what I'm going to do here today.

Be back tomorrow with a weekend recap!

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Friday, September 1, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #35

It is SEPTEMBER y'all!  Can you believe that shizz!?  (Squeeing on the inside)

It's been quite a busy week and I'm more than happy to attempt to reel things in this weekend. Though I know college football starts up so that'll mean I'll need to make sure the DVR is freed up on space.  Yay. {Period emphasizing sarcasm for those who didn't catch it.}

Let's pooch kick right into...

12 Reasons to Start Training with Kettlebells  (Just did some this week!)

What to Eat to Boost Immunity  (I'm sure we could all use a boost!)

Why You Need Better Ankle Mobility   (Trust me when I tell you it's better to maintain it than to have to build it back up.)

36 Everyday Habits That Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s  (Putting 'em into action)

The Ugly Side of Health and Fitness ("How does it feel knowing you’ll never be able to accept a compliment? Your loved one or friend will say, “Wow, you look great today!” and you’ll shrug it off thinking they’re just trying to be nice. You won’t believe them. It couldn’t be true because you still have so much work to do on yourself."  A 1000x yes.  So much of this article hit home. I'll address some of it next week.)

This Is How Much Amazon Has Cut Whole Foods Prices  (Yeah but they still have a ways to go)

If You Have This One Specific Mark on Your Fingernail, You Should Get Checked for Cancer—Immediately  (Definitely remember this!)

10 Dusting Hacks That Will Make Your Home Sparkle  (I always use the ones for the blinds but cover the microfiber with a dryer sheet, it cleans AND repels dust.  You're welcome!)

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?  (Courtesy of the Mr and the answer is pretty clear.)

14 Quote Cards For People Who Hate Inspirational Quotes  (A few humorous ones)

Give your dining table a fall makeover with these stunning ideas  (Yes please!)

Experts Say Fall Foliage Is Going to Be Extra Stunning This Year  (YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!)

Well today the Mr has a birthday surprise up his sleeve for me.  I was told I was not allowed to work this afternoon and to dress up a little.  Hmm, he doesn't do surprises often so I'm intrigued and excited!  Guess I should change out of my Hello Kitty PJ's.  ;-)

What do you guys have planned for the weekend?

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