Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Fun Game from Angela

self portrait in the bathroom mirror

Here's a fun game from my favorite cousin-in-law, Angela, from Go, Shepards, Go!

The Rules:

1. post the rules
2. post 11 fun facts about yourself
3. answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 11 new questions for the people you tag
4. tag 11 people and link them in your post
5. let them know you’ve “tagged” them

 Fun Facts:
I play sports like a girl who spent a lot of her childhood in ballet classes

I always sing along when Neil Diamond or Journey come on the car radio.

I love reading travel books and cookbooks

I'm focusing on big travel right now. Last year I went to Ireland and Haiti, and this year I plan to do a Mediterranean cruise and visit San Francisco
I don't own a TV, but I do have a mild Internet addiction

I'm a certified scuba diver

I started running this year, and I don't hate it!

I have been a nurse long enough that I often forget what is inappropriate for dinner conversation

I'm left handed

Vodka and I had an ugly breakup in college, and we haven't been okay since then

I recently discovered that I love arugula.

 Questions from Angela:
1. Best first date? A swing dance with a live band
2. What's your go to recipe? Pasta with whatever's hanging out in the fridge. Or scrambled eggs.
3. Dream vacation spot? So many to pick from! Maybe Australia or Hawaii
4. Favorite book and why? Hard to pick that too! The Once and Future King
5. Who would you invite for dinner (historical or famous)? Julia Child
6. Favorite place to shop?
7. Best part about your job? Sometimes helping someone through the worst day of his or her life
8. What's your favorite beauty product? Jergins Original body lotion
9. Where are your ancestors from? Ireland, Lithuania, and England
10. Are you a cat or dog person? Both- love the little furry guys!
11. Favorite look from the 2012 Golden globes? Kate Beckinsale

Questions for the next people:
1. What's your favorite US destination?
2. What's the worst job you ever had?
3. Favorite guilty pleasure?
4. What's the weirdest thing you've ever done to your face or hair?
5. Who inspires you most?
6. Croutons or Bacos?
7. Describe your favorite piece of jewlery.
8. Go to song when you're having a bad day?
9. Most interesting/unusual hobby?
10. Favorite dessert?
11. Ever tried internet dating? Any crazy stories?

All of the people I know with blogs are tagged already, so I'm tagging some readers. Post your response in the comments:

Beth, Joanna, Amber, Carrie, Susie, Kirsten, Brian, Hugo, Becky Ca, Becky Cl, Gladys

Saturday, January 14, 2012

How It Came to This

I have become a person who's willing to spend $22 on a pair of socks.

It's a weird discovery for me, because I used to be pound-wise and penny-foolish: I hesitated to make large purchases, but I didn't think twice about buying little things. That's how my house got packed full of paperback mysteries, 800 colors of nail polish, and lots of clothes I didn't really love.

Now I'm more careful about what I buy. I spent so much time trying to get rid of the clutter that I don't want to bring it back. Also, I kind of hate the mall, so it makes it a little easier to not buy things. The world is full of stuff that you don't know you need until you see it. When you stop shopping, you stop seeing it, and you remain blissfully unaware that you can't live without it.

On the other hand, I learned that it's almost always worth it to spend more on the things I actually want. I blame Isaac Mizrahi and my Marc Jacobs sunglasses for this discovery. When you find something that you love, it's worth it to fork over the cash (notice I didn't say credit card) and skip the two cheaper things you kind of like.

What happened with the socks is that I asked for a pair of Dansko professional clogs for Christmas. These are sort of expensive shoes designed for people who spend long days on their feet. Some of my co-workers swear by them, and there are tons of glowing reviews on Zappos. So when my parents came to visit, my mother and I took a trip over to the Walkabout Shop to pick out a pair.

The store also had a display of Smart Wool socks. Remember when I told you about the little shopping binge I had before my Ireland trip? One of my purchases was some Smart Wool hiking socks. I wore them in Ireland and again in Haiti, and they were awesome!  My feet were never cold, hot, wet, or blistered. Best of all, the wool seems to resist odor, so my post-Haiti laundry bag was just regular smelly, not post-apocalyptic like I expected.

I got my clogs, wore them to work, and I was totally amazed by how much less tired my legs felt at the end of a 12 hour day.  I started thinking, if a better pair of shoes make my legs feel good, will a better pair of socks make them feel great? (YES!) Smart Wool makes a line of socks with padding on the bottom and compression in the calves. They are well designed and well-reviewed, but they come with a 2-figure price tag (remember, these are socks).

I bought one pair in the store and another pair online, and I'm totally hooked. At the end of my 12 hour day, I may be mentally and emotionally exhausted, but my legs and feet feel great. I don't wake up on my day off feeling like my legs are too tired to run or work out. And knee-high compression socks are darn sexy!

 So the lesson is, if you stop spending your money on lots of little things you sort of want, you have enough to buy expensive things you really want. And what I REALLY want is a 10-day European cruise this summer. Wish me lots of luck and willpower to save up for that!

By the way, I did pretty well on my mission to use up the holiday leftovers before they went bad. Here is a picture of the little "finish the ham party" I had with Beth and Joanna on New Years Day.  Pommosas (champagne with pomegranate juice and Cointreau) are delicious! Please don't judge me for serving them in pilsner glasses. I don't have any champagne flutes, and I have other purchasing priorities.

So long for now, KISS (keep it simple stupid), and save your money for what you really want. Even if it means you don't have the appropriate glassware for your dinner party.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Resolution: Say Yes!

You might have guessed this already from the number of posts being published at 9:00 on Friday night, but I'm kind of a homebody. I like that I can stay in and be content in my own company. On the other hand, it seems like staying in begets staying in- once I'm out of the habit of going out, I find myself at home more and more.

Do you have a friend that you've stopped inviting places because she never shows up? I have been in danger of becoming that girl. So my resolution for 2012 is to say yes to invitations as much as possible.

I'm already off to a good start. For New Year's Eve I went to a get together that included some people I hadn't met before. The hostess, my friend Amber, is one of those Malcolm Gladwell connectors- a person who gets involved in tons of diverse activities and knows a wide variety of people. At the party, I met Amber's friend Meg, who is also a connector (Amber is an event planner and Meg is in marketing, go figure). Meg sent me a facebook invitation to a Girl's Night Out group and I am hanging out with them this Saturday. Someone from the Girls Night Out group is talking about a book club, and I want to be involved in that as well.

The idea is to say yes to things, even if I'm not completely sure that I want to do them. For example, I also (reluctantly) said yes to a group that plans to run stadiums 2-3 times a week. Sadly I won't be able to attend every time because of my work schedule and volunteering at the clinic, but I'm going to show up sometimes and see what happens. I have been running for about five months now, so it's probably time to step up my game a little.

The other component of this resolution is to reach out to some of the  people I have drifted apart from. I have often been a person who attends things, but rarely have I been the person who plans things. When I become friends with another attender-not-planner, I find that I don't see her that often. The longer that I go without seeing her, the weirder it seems to call out of the blue and make plans. So we drift apart. Sad and totally unnecessary! And about to change!

So far this has been my most enjoyable resolution ever. My calendar has tons of fun stuff written in it, and so far I had a great time every time (even when I wasn't completely sure I wanted to go). What I haven't said yes to yet is taking down my Christmas decorations, but I didn't resolve to keep my house in perfect condition, so I'm off the hook on that one.  Leo Babauta says we should focus on changing one habit at a time, so the tree will just have to stay up a little longer.

So long for now, and KISS (keep it simple stupid). What are your resolutions for the New Year?

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