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30 June 2010

Product Placement

I've recently been turned on to a few different products that really make me happy. I figured that I would share them with you all as my "insider tip" and good deed of the day. I'm not really one to post this kind of thing on my blog, but I think that maybe if it works for me, it may also work for you!

The first and most important is Loreal's Sublime Bronzer. Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a sun worshipper. I am often closer to "pasty" than I am to "tan." There are multiple reasons for this. First, I have the attention span of a gnat and can't stand just laying out on the beach or poolside waiting for the sun to alter my pigmentation. Second, I don't sweat like a normal person. Seriously. Whenever I work out or get hot, I just get a little moist and VERY uncomfortable. I just don't sweat. My aunt in Indiana is the same way. No matter how hard we work out, we just don't sweat. Third, I try to avoid activities that I know will cause cancer. There are enough ways in this world to get cancer that we aren't aware of, so I try to skip the things that we know cause cancer. (And, yes, I'm aware that some sun doesn't cause cancer, but I also know people who have been exposed to little sun and still had melanomas. I'm just trying to take every precaution.) Despite all of this, it is nice to have a little color. So when we were shopping in Target the other day, we happened upon this stuff and figured we'd give it a try. I went home that night, read the directions, and applied it to my legs as directed. I didn't do the whole body thing because I'm mostly concerned about the lack of color on my legs and I wanted to make sure I didn't turn into an oompa loompa. It was a bit tacky to the touch for about an hour afterwards, but it didn't transfer onto any clothing or anything (as the label predicted!). I went to bed with the lotion on and woke up with massive streaks everywhere. I was pist! I jumped in the shower to see if I could scrub it off and the heavy streaks rinsed off without any scrubbing, leaving behind a nice tint on my legs. Yeah! The directions say to reapply daily until you get the shade you want and then reapply 1-2 times a week to maintain. I applied daily for three days and the color is really nice. Not orangey or heavy. Very natural and covering. I've learned to apply immediately after my shower, let it soak in for a few hours, and then rinse off the extra. It works nicely. However, during the few hours when it is "soaking in," I do have to run around in panties because it is still tacky. But it doesn't transfer to clothing so one could in theory wear pants or something. You know me ... :)

I've also recently discovered "toner." Not the kind that goes into the copier. The kind that goes on your face after washing it clean. I tried Proactive about six months ago and it came with toner which was the first time I had ever used toner. I really liked it. However, I didn't like the Proactive system so I stopped ordering it. I again returned to Target (who doesn't love Target? Seriously?) and searched for an alcohol-free toner. (Alcohol is very drying, and my skin in sensitive enough!) The only alcohol-free toner I could find was by Neutrogena. Luckily, I like Neutrogena products so I gave it a try. I actually liked it! It is refreshing after a hot shower. I even think it makes my skin look and feel better. I'm not really all that sure what toner really does, but I like it. :)

28 June 2010

The New Harry Potter Preview!

My Birthday Wish List

30th birthdays only come around once (which is true for pretty much every birthday, but, since I'm on my way to 30, it's the only one I really care about.), so it is important to make the most out of the big day. The parents are planning a little party for my in NY when I get there, and I'm well aware that 30 does not equal presents. It's not the same as when you are 10 and get a bazillion presents and a pony ride.

Sidenote: I've never actually had a pony ride for my birthday. I'm not complaining or anything. Just stating a fact. Although a pony ride at my 30th party would certainly make things memorable!

Another sidenote: My favorite part about birthdays as a kid was that I was the youngest, and my grandmother never wanted me to feel left out of the celebration on my sister's birthday. That meant that I always got presents on her birthday as well as my own. She never got anything on mine. And they weren't lame consolation gift presents. They were real presents. LOVED it.

Anyway, I digress. There are quite a few gifties that I would love to receive all wrapped up in bows and shiny paper (yes, shiny paper is a bit of a requirement and it makes me infinitely happy) on July 20th this year. Of course, I don't expect to see any of these items given their price points, but still ... I'll share!

1.) The Mad Men DVD Collection - This show, if you haven't been watching, is pretty much amazing in every way. The plot lines are solid, the characters are dynamic and engaging, and, well, let's be honest, Sterling is H-O-T! All joking aside, it's a great series and has been recognized as such. Since I don't expect to receive this for my birthday, at least the new season is premiering on my birthday weekend!

2.) The iPad - I think the rationale behind this one is obvious, but it is still worth mentioning. In all honesty, I don't want the first generation iPad. I want the iPad that comes out in the next 12-18 months and has all the kinks and bugs worked out of it. Then I'll be desperate for it!

3.) A Barrel Composter - Gross, right? Yeah, not so much. I've been dying for one of these for about two years now. I have really cut down on my trash output, and the vast majority of my trash is food stuffs. I would LOVE to be able to compost all of my vegetable peels and egg shells and things of that sort and produce wonderful, rich soil to use in the coming planting season. Of course, I'm not even sure if my apartment complex would let me have one, but I would love one of these bad boys.

4.) A big ol' gift card to Barnes and Noble -  I love books. I love buying them. I love reading them. I love looking at them on my bookshelves after I've read them. While creating a book wish list would take way too long, a gift card to aid in my obsession might come in handy.

5.) A summer photography class at Wolf Camera - I'm really getting into my photography hobby, and I would love to take one of their classes to REALLY learn how to use my amazing new camera. It has so many functions and options; I know I'm not making the most of them yet.

So, there you have it. My 30th birthday "in my wildest dreams" wish list.

27 June 2010

Too much pink?

I changed my blog layout. The old one was boring me. Is this one too much pink? I really like the watercolory background ...

Because I completely lack internal motivation

I've recently been turned on to a website that promotes daily writing. It's an internet-based project that rewards you for writing 750 words a day. And, by reward, I mean self-gratification for completing a task. :) They run monthly challenges, and I've entered my first one for July. This may prove challenging given that I have two week-long vacations nestled nicely in the month of July, but I'm going to give it a go anyway!

I've been using the 750words for the month of June, and, while I've only written ten days this month, nine of them met the 750 goal! Of course, by the end of the month, I plan to have three more completed days under my belt. A sort of warm-up for July's competition. I started using the site to get (and keep) me motivated to work on my diss. Well, that hasn't happened yet (mainly because I have been too busy to even get to the library!), but I have been using it to compose my blog posts. Posting on my teaching and personal blog takes time and energy, and I figure that I might as well work towards my daily 750 while posting to the blog. I plan to work on my diss hard core this week (we'll see ... keep your fingers crossed!), so my 750 will be mainly alloted to serious academic work.

The thing that I really like about 750words, is that it is a personal accountability thing. You can write about anything and everything, and no one sees what you write (unless, of course, you are like me and post it to your blog). It also does this cool little metadata tracking thing that is totally random but fun nonetheless. If you've got writing to do and need to stay motivated, this may be a good idea for you. I know that I've been enjoying it!

Going public

I've recently been having an internal intellectual struggle about blogging. I love it. That is clear through my THREE different blogs. I have this blog, a teaching blog, and a classroom blog. I love keeping connected to all of my distant people through blogging. It is fun and makes me feel like they haven't all moved off into different worlds and lives. Our blogs keep us connected. That's the whole point, right? Well, being a teacher, I am very cautious as to what I publish on my blog. In fact, about a year ago, I privatized my personal blog as to protect my private life and to create a stronger division between my private and my public life. (You can read more about this whole dilemma here.)

Well, for the past two days, I have been sorting through my personal blog, deleting any posts that don't necessarily show me in the most positive light. This doesn't mean that all of my many faults and mistakes and mishaps have been deleted. That would mean the entire blog would be gone! No. I've deleted any posts with excessive cursing (which I don't need to be doing anyway!) as well as posts that complain about work. I'm making my private and personal blog public once again, and I want to make sure that there is nothing questionable that could get me into "hot water." I also think that knowing my blog is public again will help me to be more thoughtful in the things that I choose to share with the world. I fully intend to share my failures and successes, my highlights and lowlights , but do I really need to openly complain about the people in my life? No.

Today in mass, the inspirational passage that comes at the start of the day's reading was about gossiping and talking about others. Any one who knows me knows that I struggle with this. Let me share with you a quotation: "A fellow once resolved that for three months, he would speak only of those who were present. Two results of the experiment: compassion for others went way up, while conversation went way down." Well, in many ways, my blog is a one-sided conversation so I don't need to worry about conversation drying up ... hopefully. I would like to think that I can find plenty of things to post about that don't involve gossiping about other people. Anyway, my point is that this blog shouldn't be about the many injustices that I feel a victim of (please read the sarcasm here!). It should be a chronicle of my life and times ... good and bad. I'm hoping that by refraining from posting complaints about others, the blog will become more introspective and thoughtful about how my actions affect the world. We'll see. Either way, this blog is now public! I hope you all continue to enjoy it.

22 June 2010

Back from vacation ... begrudgingly

The remainder of our New England get-away was quite nice. Happily the Sox won another game (and swept the series against the Dodgers as well!), but, sadly, the Celtics lost their championship bid. We watched a ton of World Cup soccer but it was all on Spanish TV since the in-laws don't have ESPN. Ispwich was pretty cool despite rather dismal weather. I'll post pics once I get resettled into life. It's taking a while despite already being back at work. Friday was a distillery tour and a beer fest in the city. That was a very good time. Five hundred beers in 3 and a half hours. We didn't drink all of them of course (or we would be DEAD!), but we tasted quite a few very yummy ones! Saturday morning, bright and early, we headed back home. We got stuck in wicked traffic on the DC beltway. Not fun at all. But we made it home safely and that is the important thing. It took longer than usual, but we made it safely. And now I have to be a real grownup again for a few weeks before the next vacation. Boo!

16 June 2010

Summer Vacation - Trip #1

Here I am, stealing internet from the Peabody Public Library. Why? Because the in-laws neighbors have locked down their internet so I can no longer steal from them. Now I actually need to go to the library to use the internet. Boo!! (Actually, this is just a testament to my insane laziness.) Boston has been fun this week. We arrived on Friday evening after 14 hours. The trip should have taken only 12 but it seems that every person in Connecticut decided to leave for their weekend at the exact same time. We were stuck on the highway in bumper-to-bumper traffic for over an hour. That, my friends, equals no fun! But we got here safe and sound and that's all that matters. Saturday was an extended visit to Salem. We've been there a bazillion times, but this is the first time we've been here without the dog so we actually have time to explore and check things out. We visited the House of Seven Gables (you know, Hawthorne and all) as well as the Peabody Essex Museum. Both were a lot of fun. I've been meaning to make my "Literary Tour of New England" for some time now, but it just never really happens. So now I can at least check off the Hawthorne portion of my trip. The PEM was pretty cool as well. There was an old Chinese house that they had transported, brick by brick, to the museum that was over 200 years old. It was pretty insightful to see the way a Chinese family lived and cooked and went about their day-to-day activities. There were even authentic Mao posters on the walls. I REALLY wanted to take pics for my kids (they have a rather extensive unit on China and the Cultural Revolution), but, alas, no photography was allowed. On Sunday, we went to mass with The Boy's Pop and then ventured off to the North Shore. We drove through Rockport (quaint little town but a total tourist trap) and then headed to New Hampshire to Portsmouth. In Portsmouth we ate a really late lunch and had a few beers at the Portsmouth Brewing Company. Very tasty brews! We even brought a growler home to enjoy later. As it turns out, yes, we drove to New Hampshire to drink beer. That sounds really bad until you realize that Portsmouth is only 45 minutes away. So we aren't total booze hounds. ;) Monday was a nice low-key day. We helped Pop trim some trees (I'm the only member of the family over 5'10" so they like to take advantage of my height) and then The Boy watched the Italy match in the World Cup. My nephew was driving in from NY with a friend to attend a Sox game with us, so we were also waiting patiently for his safe arrival. After the Italy match, we drank our Portsmouth growler and played bocci in the back yard. The sun had finally come out. It had been drizzly and cool ever since we arrived and Monday was the first nice day we had. After my nephew arrived safely we had a little cook out and then took the kids into the city to see the lights. Tuesday was Game Day. After a huge Italian breakfast, we took the train into the city around 10am. We caught a tour of Fenway around noon and then set the boys off free to explore the city on their own. They had a Charlie Card and a map, so good luck to them! The Boy and I headed up to Newbury Street to grab lunch at Thai Basil and then headed further up to finally visit the U.S.S. Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument. The Boy has lived here his entire life and has never visited either. LAME! So we fixed that. The Constitution was pretty cool. It is over 200 years old and still afloat in Boston Harbor. It has the best battle record of any other ship to this day. Bunker Hill, on the other hand, was less thrilling (read sarcasm here). After a loooooooong day of walking, we wound our way up to the Bunker Hill neighborhood and my legs were tired. We got to the monument and discovered that it is 294 steps up a tight spiral staircase to the top. Gulp. Not so much fun. But we did it. As I type this, my legs still ache from the climb. But it was pretty cool and now I can say that I did it. With Jell-O legs, we made our way back to the North End for dinner and then to Fenway (thankfully by train!). The nephew and his pal were already in our seats, watching batting practice. We sat down and three hours later, the Sox pulled off a win. Yeah!!! Of course, the Celtics lost. Boo!!! I got some great pics of the game with my camera. That zoom is AMAZING!! It gets up so close that could see the pitch hit the catcher's glove! I'll post pics later! Tonight is another Sox game and then Thursday we are heading to Ipswich for some more touristy fun. Summer is off to a good start!


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