The year I was 36 was pretty fantastic in a lot of ways. I grew so much in the last year. I finally got a handle on my past in a way that has allowed me to successfully move on for the first time ever. I started anti-anxiety medication that has changed my normal into a more normal normal. I feel confident, capable, and deserving of all of it.
My kid was great this year. He was so conversational and fun and has all these independent thoughts and creative ideas. We’ve had so many laughs in the last year!
My marriage is in one of its best years, too, despite the pressure my husband is feeling right now as he is working on his dissertation. We have a nice balance of friendship, partnership, and romance. I’m in love with and feel more connected to PT than ever before.
The year I was 36 was also one of my most devastating. After miscarrying in February, we have had a string of unsuccessful conception attempts. While, yes, it is fun trying, facing the heartbreak of infertility month after month is starting to take its toll on my soul. I’ve cried so many tears this year for the babies that never were. I’ve cried so, so many tears for the baby that was but never will be. And I’ve cried more than my share of tears for the uncertainty of the future of our family.
So, as the year I was thirty-six winds down to a peaceful conclusion with me writing in a warm, quiet house while my loves dream in the next rooms, I can’t help but hope for an even better year next year. I hope we finally find out how many people will be in our family. I hope I continue on this beautiful journey of self-discovery and forgiveness. And I hope the year I spend being 37 is ever so much more kind.Read More
Over the weekend, my husband and I went on a pretty low-key date. We went to dinner, then we walked around the bookstore for a few hours. We mostly just looked at stuff, pointed at titles and laughed, looked through the books we couldn’t afford. Of course, we got a book about thankfulness for Mango – we are still parents, even when we’re on a date, and we can’t turn our brains away from the little guy for too long. But this time, Pop Tart tossed me a book, and I decided to buy it. It’s a book of writing prompts. He thought it might help me rev up my creativity here on the ol’ bloggarooni, and I’m hoping it will help me focus on the reason I started writing in the first place: because I love to write.
There won’t be any rhyme or reason to these posts. I’ll do them as frequently or infrequently as I feel like. I hope you read them and enjoy them, but even if you don’t or think they’re stupid, I’m still doing them. Because I love to write.
So, here’s the first one:
Write yesterday’s fortune cookie. It got everything wrong.
Ok, great. Short and sweet. Got it.
Do not let your anger get the best of you. Combine it with your high energy level to accomplish feats of productivity never before seen.
Yep. Tooooootally wrong!Read More
Disclaimer: I received a gift certificate from Schwan’s ™ in order to facilitate my review. I did buy a bunch of extra stuff, though.
Growing up, I loved that my grandmother ordered food from Schwan’s. She would let me look through the catalogue with a pen and circle all the treats and snacks I wanted. The feeling of conspiring with my Grandma to order things my mom would consider an unattainable splurge was intoxicating. It was a really exciting day when that big yellow truck would pull up in front of the house, bringing with it all the yummy ice cream and pizzas for which I waited so impatiently.
When I got the opportunity to review Schwan’s service, I jumped at the chance. Just the name evoked all those feelings of excitement and delight. I spent maybe too much time perusing the items on Schwans.com with the same glee I used to feel flipping through the pages of the Schwan’s catalogue, tapping a blue Bic while trying to choose. I decided to order a number of different items from different categories to really evaluate the quality of the food. I ordered:
- Corn dogs – These were, no joke, some of the best corn dogs I’ve ever had. Mango has these for a quick and easy lunch sometimes, but more often than not, it’s me on the other side of 50 seconds, waiting for my tasty lunch. There were 16 dogs in the package, so I found this to be a great value. We’ll definitely be ordering these again.
- Cinnamon rolls – YUM. These were ultra-easy to make, since you put them into a cool oven. I just popped them onto a baking sheet while they were still frozen and my eyes were barely open. It was easy enough to do pre-coffee, and they were sooooo good. There were little icing packets included, and I found the icing to be more than enough for the rolls. Mango chose to have a giant puddle of icing on his plate and dip each piece of his cinammon roll into it, and there was still plenty.
- Pot stickers – Look, I love pot stickers, okay? I liked that these were easy to make, either way you choose to cook them. You can either microwave them or microwave then toss into a pan, which I found to be the superior method. It gave it that crispy bottom that is so delicious. There was a dipping sauce that came with it, but it was a little too sweet for my taste. I added some soy sauce to it to make it more salty, and then it was just right.
- Chicken lo mein skillet meal - This was the only item about which I felt just lukewarm. It was, like the other items, very easy to make, but I thought the finished product was just okay. It wasn’t any better or worse than the pre-prepared frozen skillet meals you’d find in your grocery store.
- Chicken pot pie – One of my son’s favorite meals! He actually made up a chicken pot pie song, he loves it so much. And while these weren’t quite as good as homemade, for the convenience, you just can’t beat them. Mango loved having his own little pie, and these were surprisingly quick to heat in the microwave. I enjoyed this item, and will order again!
Overall, I was very pleased with both the quality and the value of the Schwan’s products. The delivery person showed up just 10 minutes into the delivery window, which was great. He was polite and friendly and made an effort to go out of his way to walk just on my sidewalk and not through my grass, which was not necessary but appreciated.
Ordering from Shwan’s was a wonderful, nostalgic experience, but it was really exciting to see how well the company has changed and adapted through the years. Seeing the yellow truck pull up was just as exciting as it was all those years ago, and it was, in some way, a relief to learn that their service and products were just as great today as they were then.Read More
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links
Did you know I used to be a licensed nail technician? It’s true. After attending classes, performing a required amount of hours of hands-on work, and passing a stressful licensing exam, I did nails for several years. It’s been a long time since I’ve been licensed, but I’ve kept up my skills pretty well, so I thought I’d share some of my best manicure tips with my readers. I’ll walk you step by step through the process I use to do my own nails, as well as offer PRO TIP! ideas along the way.
Gather your supplies
- Nail file
- bowl of soapy water
- coconut oil or cuticle cream
- cuticle pusher
- cuticle nipper
- nail buffer
- hand cream
- rubbing alcohol
- base coat
- colored lacquer
- top coat
MANICURE TIPS AND INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1: Shape the nails
Using a nail file or emery board file your nails into the desired shape. Rounded and pointed nails are very on trend right now, or you can choose a more blunt shape if you are concerned about breakage.
PRO TIP! For a universally flattering, timeless shape, use the shape of your cuticle as a guide. Mimic that shape at the end of the nail, and your nails will always look natural.
Step 2: Soak in soapy water
PRO TIP! Take it from Madge, the world’s most famous manicurist, and just use dish soap here. Don’t overthink it.
Step 3: Take care of those cuticles
Dab on some cuticle cream or use my favorite product, coconut oil. Rub it in. Using an orangewood stick or your favorite cuticle pusher, gently but thoroughly push back your cuticles. Using a pair of nippers (my favorite are Tweezerman, because they offer free lifetime sharpening), or cuticle scissors, trim off just any parts that are ragged or sticking up. Be certain to never nip live skin! Better to underdo it than overdo it with the nipping.
PRO TIP! Don’t use the cuticle trimmers that have a little V at the end! Those make it wayyyyyy too easy to apply the tiniest bit too much pressure and dig into your live skin. Ow!
Step 4: Buff
Use the dullest side of the dullest buffer you have and buff that coconut into each nail, paying careful attention to smooth the rough patches on the sides and near the cuticle.
Step 5: Massage
This is a step that most people skip when doing their own nails. Don’t! It feels great to have your hands massaged, even if it’s your own self doing the massage.
Step 6: Clean and dehydrate nails
Remember all the coconut oil and hand cream you just used? Those are sworn enemies of nail polish. Wipe each nail thoroughly with rubbing alcohol. Use a Q-Tip soaked in alcohol to really clean out the groove along the sides and cuticle, as well as under the nails.
PRO TIP! For added degreasing, you can scrub all parts of the nails, including underneath, with dishwashing liquid on a nail brush and dry thoroughly before wiping with alcohol.
Step 7: Base coat
Apply a thin, even coat of your chosen base coat.
Step 8: Apply two coats of color
Unless I’m going for a really sheer look with a light color that lends itself to it, I use two coats of colored nail polish. I’ve used all kinds of nail polish, and it really doesn’t matter what brand you use. Choose a bottle lid that feels good in your hand with a brush you can work with. Cheap or expensive, it truly doesn’t matter, but…
PRO TIP! You can have long-wearing nail polish or quick-drying nail polish, but not both. If you choose a quick-drying nail polish (as I did here), it will start chipping within days. If you choose a great long-wearing nail polish like Essie or OPI, that shit is going to take forever to dry. You just have to evaluate what you’re hoping to achieve with your manicure.
PRO TIP! Allow each coat to dry for a few minutes before applying the next. When I worked in a salon, we used hair dryers on low heat between each coat.
Step 9: Top coat
This is arguably the most important step. This will seal the polish and help your polish wear longer and look glossier. Apply it liberally.
PRO TIP! If your top coat gets thick or gloopy, thin it with polish thinner. Polish thinner and nail polish remover are NOT the same thing and do NOT work interchangeably!
PRO TIP! For maintenance and strength purposes, I like to add a thin coat of Nailtiques every other or every third day. This adds days to the wear of the polish as well as penetrating the polish to strengthen the nails.
Add a dab of coconut oil or cuticle oil, and you’re done! I hope you’ve enjoyed these manicure tips and that they help you have salon-perfect results.Read More
If you’re looking for a treat that is quick, easy, cheap, and clever to give to your child’s classmates or for a Halloween party, I’ve got your hookup. Mango made a lollipop ghost recently at his “party” at my husband’s university. The party is actually a Parents’ Night Out, but he loves it so much that he calls it a party. He thinks it’s for him! Haaaahaaaaa…anyway. He wanted to take his lollipop ghost for show and tell, and I thought I’d help make it interactive and fun for everyone by sending each kid home with a kit to make their own.
Admittedly, the shape of the lollipops we used isn’t ideal, like a Blow Pop or a Tootsie Pop, but these have NO artificial dyes, and um, we already had a million of them on hand. Trust me, they are plenty cute. The rest of the kit is a plain white napkin (also already had those), a few inches of fun colored ribbon (also already had), and an instruction sheet. I tucked it all into a treat bag from the dollar store ($1 for 24), but truth be told, I was planning on putting it into a snack bag if we didn’t make it to the dollar store. Just as good!
Hope your kids love them!Read More