Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photo Slacker

When Isabella was a tiny little baby, I'd snap a bazillion pictures of her.  Every outfit needed to be documented.  I'd pose her with props.  We'd have photo sessions all day long.  But as she's gotten older, I've really started slacking with the pictures and with the keeping up with her baby book.

Poor kid is gonna wonder why when she turned two and half the pictures suddenly ceased and desisted.  I need to start taking more pictures and remembering to take my camera with me.  The last 2 birthday parties and 2 day trips I've forgotten my camera.  And you just can't trust people to tag you in pictures or to take good pictures of you kid, kwim?

So here are the most recent pics I have of us on a day trip to the Aquarium.

Making our alligator face

Petting the sting ray

Little surfer girl

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Peace and Happiness and the Children

In January for my Happiness Project I'm focusing on Eternity, trying to hone in what I believe in and practice more of my beliefs.  I'm not a believer of true organized religion, while my beliefs are rooted in Catholicism, I'm becoming OK with the fact that I'm separating a bit from the beliefs of my childhood and focusing on more the spiritual side of religion.

However, the one practice that I've been really focusing on this month is praying.  It's amazing how peaceful praying can be.  In the morning, when I'm in the car and driving I pray.  I can instantly feel a sense of peace spread over me.  It's a wonderful feeling knowing that there is something out there bigger than I am.  It feels good to be grateful and it's comforting to ask for help in times of trouble, regardless of whether the prayer is answered or not.  I did hear a great quote once, "All prayers are answered, but sometimes the answer is 'no'."  This ritual has started my day on a happy and positive note and it really sets the tone to my day.

But now I'm thinking of bigger concerns.  I want Isabella to have something to believe in.  I want her to know about God and Jesus.  I want her to understand the concept of being a good person, not because some old man in the sky will sentence you to burn in a fiery inferno, but because that putting good out there attracts more good to you.  How do I provide that balance to her?  I don't really feel comfortable sending her to Catholic school or religious education because I don't agree with all of those teachings.  So how do I provide that sense of belonging and of being part of something bigger than her while still staying true to my own beliefs?  How do you handle the religious education of your kids, regardless of your beliefs?


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Friday, January 27, 2012

Delta Labs Vitamin Review

I recently had the opportunity to review a Hair, Skin, and Nails supplement from Delta Labs.  Let me tell you a little bit about the product.  The vitamin that I took is a mix of silica, biotin, and rutin (blah blah blah science words) that helps to promote collagen and elasticity in skin, smoother, shinier hair, nail strength, and improved circulation for the quicker repair of skin cells.

Delta Labs is a company that was started by a mother of three who was unsatisfied with the quality of vitamins and supplements available for her and her family, so she created Delta Labs where busy moms could take some time to focus on their health and well being by taking natural, herbal vitamins and supplements.  How cool is that?

The verdict:  I've been using the vitamis for a little over a week now and I have to say that I definitely see a difference.  Most especially in my nails, they are much stronger, seem to be growing faster, and have more of a natural sheen.  The horsetail extract that is in the supplements is something that you'll find in a lot of shampoos that promote hair growth and strength, and I can see that my hair seems fuller.  It's weird because I was blowing out my hair the other day and I'm all like, "Wow my hair looks different" the only thing I've changed is the addition of the vitamin.

My theory is that we spend so much time working on our hair, skin, and nails by applying products to the outside: creams, polishes, goops, goo, shampoos, masks etc.  Why not offer a little inside assistance to help move things along?  Plus if you're not satisfied Delta Labs offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

You can shop the many vitamins at Delta Labs (they have a ton: detoxing ones, pre and post natal vitamins, weight loss, and more) by visiting www.shopdeltalabs.com

**I was given a free sample of the vitamin in order to provide a review of the product.  The opinions expressed in this post are my own**
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Hunger Games

If you want to know why there was no Happiness Project  post this week it's because I've been too busy wrapped up in the fate of Katniss and Panem to even have the time to focus on happiness.  I am obsessed with this trilogy.  Such a great read.  I'm really jazzed up to see the movie too and I'm really hoping they don't butcher it ::cough:: Twilight :: cough::.

I love books that absorb me in another world.  I love characters that are multi-dimensional, that I can relate to, that speak to me, that move me, that inspire me.  I love plots that are thick with twists and turns, that keep me up until 1 in the morning until my eyes are burning and aching for sleep.  Harry Potter did it.  Twilight did it.  A Song of Ice and Fire really really did it.  And The Hunger Games did it.

But there's often a sadness for me that comes at the end of a really great book, especially a series.  A sadness that that world has ended and can only be revisited in a way that is old and comfortable, not exciting.  I'm always a little bit sad at the end of a series because I become so wrapped up in it, so involved.

If any of my lovely readers know of another series I can get lost in please recommend something!

I checked out the casting of The Hunger Games and I thought some were spot on:  Woody Harelson for Haymitch and Elizabeth Banks for Effie, but there were some I wanted to recast:


For me there's only one true Peeta Mellark and that's Chord Overstreet from Glee.  He's the only one I pictured in my mind while reading.



Michelle Trachtenburg (I'm not even trying to spell that correctly) would have made a great Katniss I think.  The actress playing her now, looks really good too and Michelle might be a bit too on the "pretty" side.  But I think she could have been fantastic!








Taylor Lautner for Gale anyone?











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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Damned Scale

So I've been using My Fitness Pal as a way to journal what I eat in an attempt to lose the last 10 pounds that I've been gaining and losing for the past, oh I don't know, 2 years.  I like that it's free.  I like that it has a user interface that is similar to facebook.  I like that I can scan the barcode of food that I eat so I don't have to enter it all manually and I like that it lists out not only the calories, but the fat and protein and stuff.  I DO NOT like that I don't get the flexi points that I got when I was on Weight Watchers, but to save myself the $17 a month I'll deal.

Now I've lost about 4lbs so far, saaa-weeet!  But this past week I had a 1lb gain.  Now I know one pound isn't the end of the world, but it shouldn't have happened.  I really stayed within my caloric limit.  I didn't have my period nor was it impending.  I didn't work out as much, only twice instead of 3-4 times.  I don't know what the deal was this week.

I was so super jazzed up to get on the scale on Monday morning and see a loss, a reward for saying, "No beer for me" the night the Giants played or "I'm gonna pass on the chips" at a friends birthday party.  But I wasn't even granted a stagnant number...nope that son-of-a-bitching scale went up.

Was it discouraging?  A bit.  I really worked hard this week.  Will it break me?  Nah.  I don't know what the culprit was this week, but I'll look back over my food journal to see if I can pinpoint something.  And keep on keeping on.
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Comments

Comments are like blogger crack.  I mean I'm sure even the big guy bloggers get that little twitch of excitement when they get a notification that someone took the time out of their busy life to respond to your words.  I mean there's no greater rush right?  Conversely, and I can only speak for myself, that when I write a post that I've put a lot of myself into or that asks a question or advice, goes by without a blip it makes me feel bad.

But honestly, you can only get what you put into the world and I've been a big time slacker responding to blog comments and leaving ones of my own.  So I'm making a point to comment more on blogs I love and on new blogs that I'm just discovering.  Also, I'm going to start responding back in the comment section here instead of e-mailing.  I find it to be more fluid.  So if you leave a comment I promise I will respond back in the comment section of this blog.

I've been a bit lazy when it comes to blogging lately.  I haven't participated in any meme's, I've been dormant on twitter, and I haven't been sitting down to really put time into it.  Therefore I have no one to blame but myself for my lowering stats (even though I swore I was going to give up obsessing over stats).  I do get blog envy for some of those big gun bloggers, but I'm trying to learn from them instead of just wishing a computer virus on them.

So now is the time to pipe up and comment, I promise I'll write back.  No more neglectful blogging here.
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Toddler OCD

I'm only half kidding when I worry about Isabella having some form of OCD.  I get that toddlers are quirky and borderline psychopaths most of the time, but she's definitely on the extreme end of things.  The number one crazy thing that she does is vie to be first.  It's like if she's not first up the stairs, in the bathroom, in the car she completely flips her shit.  I used to just acquiesce her because it was easier than the resulting 15 minute scream fest that was sure to follow, but once it started oozing it's ugly way into play dates and parties and things I completely put the kaibash on it.  Because who wants to hang out with a screaming 2 year old who has to do everything first?  A few time outs and early departures seems to have helped a bit in this department.

But sadly that's not where the anal retentiveness ends.  She loves red.  It's her favorite color.  Every puzzle we have she will only play with the red pieces.  She has decided that my favorite color is purple and I'm only allowed to play with the purple puzzle pieces.

She has a side of the couch, a certain pillow that's hers, and a lot of rules about what food goes where and what it touches.

I swear I can't keep up with her neurosis!  I get that she's probably just maintaining control over what little she can, but man she sure does read like she has some sort of obsessive disorder.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Double Life

This past weekend I got a glimpse into a life I could be living...the single life.  Well not really, but kind of.  On Saturday night my friends and I went out to celebrate our girlfriend's Teresa's birthday.  We had a fabulous dinner and then went to boogie it up to 80's music at Culture Club in manhattan.  Being responsible I knew there was no way that I would be able to drive home so I planned to spend the night at my sister's apartment.  She just moved out on her own and I figured it would be fun to see what the other half lived like.

I never had the opportunity to live on my own or with a friend as a roommate and I have to say that's the one thing I always feel like I missed out on.  To have a place of your own where you're free to come and go as you please.  So I went in a little bit early to hang out and finish up getting ready at her place (her roommate was out of town for the weekend).  And I really liked it, we watched some bad TV, swapped jewelry and chatted until the limo came to get us (we don't usually splurge for such fancy traveling, but the birthday girl's father footed the bill).

That part was fun.  But waking up in an apartment that wasn't mine, that smelled like cigarettes, booze, and regret wasn't as glamorous as I thought it would be.  It felt kind of empty.  My life may not be perfect, but it's warm and filled with love.  I may fall closer to the adjective of "boring" than "wild" (I'm not completely boring I did stay out until 4 am!) but I'm ok with that.  Nights spent out with the girls, getting dressed up and dancing, are the exception rather than the norm and I'm in a place where I'm no longer pining for my wild child days, but I'm accepting of my place in the ebb and flow of life.

So that single life has it's perks: freedom, friends, excitement, and about as much sleep on the weekends as you can take.  But it's not a life I'm missing and if I had to choose between the two temper tantrums, 7 am wakeup calls, and a 9 pm bedtime my cozy family life will win out every time.
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Praying

Despite the fact that I'm not overly religious and tend to trend more on the spiritual side of things, I have to say that one of my Happiness Project resolutions for Eternity this month is to pray more.  I like to pray in my car on the way to work and I can't describe it except that it fills me with a sense of peace.  A deep peace that goes down way deep inside.

I forget who said it, but I heard recently someone say or mention the following quote, "Imagine if you woke up tomorrow with only what you thanked God for today."  So instead of only asking God to help me sell my house (I'm sure He's up to date on his real estate license anyway) and help me get a parking spot, I've been trying to thank Him and show gratitude for the multiple blessings in my life.

I like praying.  It gives me a form of comfort in a world that is really uncertain.

How do you pray?
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Taking a Bath

I'm not talking about the fun kind with bubbles and a trashy magazine, I'm talking about a financial bath that Andy and I are about to take.  Remember yesterday when I waxed nostalgic over the warm and fuzzies I get from my townhouse.  Yeah, that was sweet huh?  Well today I talk about the money suck this house will be when we sell it.

I'm talking in dollars and cents here so if that makes you uncomfortable read with caution.  We bought this house in 2006 at the height of the real estate market, not long before the bubble burst and the bottom dropped right out.  We paid $277K for our two bedroom, 2.5 bath, townhouse with access to a full swimming pool and a tennis court.  We then proceeded to build a deck, replace the windows and the central AC unit, as well as put in ceiling fans, and new blinds.

I've been tooling around on realestate.com, just looking at new houses and dreaming of the future, when I decide, ya know, for shits and giggles to see how much houses in our area were going for.  Well houses identical to ours, in the same complex, were going for between $210K - $230K.  Wah wah wah.

That's a serious bath right there.  But above all we want to move the house and move it quickly.  We're doing some fixing up right now to "stage the house", you know decluttering, removing unnecessary furniture, freshening up the paint, deep cleaning etc before we bring a realtor in the next few weeks to tell us, officially, that we're going to take a bath.  We're fortunate enough to have a nice savings account and my dad is willing to lend us some money if we need it for closing costs etc, but selling this house and buying another one will deplete us financially.  But it's something we're willing to do to get into our forever home.

I would really like it if you could let me know your house selling/buying stories.  I'd like to hear the good and the bad.  Comment or e-mail me please with any and all stories and tips!
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Growing Pains

So apparently the hip thing in 2012 is forgoing the resolutions and focusing on a word that is supposed to be the theme for your year.  I like it.  Although, I did make resolutions but they are basically be healthy and don't be too fat.  Not really much different from the rest of you I'm sure.  Except my cousin Christie who wants to gain 10 lbs, but to each their own body issues right?

Anyway my word for 2012 is Grow.

I love my little townhouse.  I love how cozy it is.  I love the window seat in my bedroom.  I love how when I walk through the door it feels like relief and warmth and home.  I remember the memory of when we bought this place.  It was about a month before the wedding and we were clamoring to get things situated and put together and how the thought of making memories in this house got me through the wedding planning craziness.  I remember lazy days before baby just lounging around on the couch and watching TV.  I remember burning my first dinner here and the first time I had a dinner party.  But mostly this place is flooded with memories of Isabella.  The first time we brought her home.  Of sitting up at 2 am nursing her while watching reruns of The Cosby Show.  Of rocking her in her chair on the brink of tears due to sheer exhaustion at 3 in the morning.  I can hear the sound of her play gym as she happily giggled under there.  I remember her first steps, first crawl, first dip in the pool.  This place is filled with happiness and love, but we are outgrowing it.  Bigger kid, bigger stuff.

So in 2012 we would really like to sell this place and move into something bigger.  I'm dreaming of a formal dining room, a big back yard, a basement that can become a play room, and a cozy kitchen.  A place where we can put down roots and grow as a family.

Speaking of that, I'm also hoping that 2012 will bring a sibling or an impending sibling for Isabella.  I feel ready in every area, except maybe the financials, but that's another post for another day.

If I can achieve those two things this year 2012 will be most kind to me.

If you have a word post for the year, link it in the comment section so I can read all about it.
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Monday, January 9, 2012

January Happiness Theme is Eternity....and a quick recap

So I've been a bit MIA as of late to finish up the finals I had to complete for my two courses.  All is finished and I just registered for my last class so by May I will be saying goodbye to the "and student" from my list of particulars and saying hello to a pretty hefty pay raise.  Other than that I've been soaking up the promise of a new year with my family, sans to do list and it's been great.

So back to our regularly scheduled program...The Happiness Project.  This month I'm focusing on Eternity, as in God and religion and all that jazz that people caution you not to talk about during cocktail parties (that and politics) because no matter what your view someone probably feels vehemently opposed.  But this is not a cocktail party, this is my personal blog and we're all big girls (and maybe a boy or two) here so I think we can discuss this topic as such.  I'm sure I'll get my fair share of e-mails calling me a heathen, but I've been called worse.  So let's dive in and try to be respectful.  I don't mind if someone disagrees with me, wants to make a different point, or wants to point out an error on my part.  I'm always up for a debate just so long as it remains in good taste.


Religion is a tricky thing for me.  I went to a Catholic grammar school, a Catholic high school, and even a Catholic college.  My mother was quasi involved with the Church while I was growing up.  So I have a strong Roman Catholic background, however, I find that my own beliefs differ very much from what I was taught and, to be honest, had a lot of reservations about getting Isabella baptized.  So here's the bulleted list of what I believe and don't believe.

I do believe...

  • in God.  A greater power.  The universal force of God.
  • in Jesus.  
  • in Mary.  Mary is my homegirl.  I've often thought about Mary, not the Mother of God Mary, but just the mother Mary.  Did she ever get frustrated with Jesus as a child?  Was it ever all too overwhelming for her?  Did she have someone she could vent with?  Whenever I'm really down I always pray to Mary.  I feel where God can be all fire and brimstone, I find her to be much more comforting.  
  • in being good to people and finding the good in people
  • more in the metaphysical act of spirituality than I do in organized religion.        
  • that thoughts have weight and that you can attract good things to you by positive thinking, and the reverse is true for negative thinking. 
I don't believe...
  • that Mary was a virgin. I know that's a big sticking point in the Catholic faith, I just don't believe in it.
  • that there's an old, bearded man in Heaven judging our every movement and making plans for us to go to Heaven or Hell or Purgatory
  • in the fact that the Catholic Church has become a big business.  $500 mandatory donation to get married in the Church.  We almost couldn't get Isabella baptized because we hadn't made $700 in donations to the Church during mass.  It infuriates me!  You also can't be considered a parishioner unless you donate xxx amount of dollars a year.  
  • in covering up the molestation of young children by priests
  • that priests shouldn't be allowed to be married.  If you look up the reasoning behind that little gem you'll realize that it is once again financial.  
  • that any one religion or belief system is better than another
I'm unsure about...
  • what happens after we die.  But I'd love to hear your beliefs on that.
  • whether or not Jesus was the Son of God or was he just a prophet.  
  • if I want Isabella to receive Communion/Religious education as she grows older.  I'm not sure how much religion I want crammed down her throat.  I want her to believe in something, I just don't know how much Catholicism I can take.  How are you all handling the religious instruction of your children?
So my ultimate resolutions for this month is to find out more about the beliefs of other religions, practice more of what I believe in, and research some more about the gray areas.  

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Smooches!

I haven't fallen off the blogosphere.  I'm taking this week off to finish up the courses I'm taking towards my next salary step.  But I'll be writing about some good stuff when I get back.

Miss you!
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