Monday, November 25, 2013

Chain Mail

I haven't done one of these in a while and you all know how much I like them. I found this meme over on Adventures in Mediocrity. It may be called Adventures in Mediocrity, but it's really about her life as a New Yorker which is anything but mediocre. If you want to participate, consider yourself tagged and let me know that you did so I can go and read your answers. On to the questions.

1. Song you can't get out of your head?  Daylight by Matt and Kim. The Oldest Child was listening to this song when we got home from Christmas shopping today. I've been humming it all evening. I love this song so I don't mind it so much being stuck in my head.

2. Favorite ice cream flavor?  I luuuuurrrve Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. It's so yum.

3. Are you a polka dots, stripes, or sequins kinda girl? Stripes mostly. Then polka dots. I really don't like sequins all that much.

4. Your favorite beauty product or secret? I really love Urban Decay's 24/7 eyeliners. They come in so many different colors and they apply very nicely. As for a beauty secret, you should always pluck your eyebrows right after you shower. Why? Because the heat of the water opens up your pores so it hurts less.

5. Favorite spot in the area (or state) you live in? That's easy. I love the beach. Our beach is absolutely gorgeous with sugar, white sand, blue-green water that's warm in the summer and the tourists bypass us for the more popular tourist-y places like Destin and Gulf Breeze. In all the times we went to the beach this summer, there was always available parking. In all the places I've ever been, Florida's gulf coast has the prettiest beaches in my opinion.

6. Current app/website addiction (besides Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)? Well, since Google had to go and continue their trend of treating their loyal users like asshats, I've switched to using Feedly to read blog posts. I really like it and it's actually more visually appealing than Google Reader was. I also love my Weatherbug app because I'm obsessed with the weather.

7. What's at the very top of your Christmas list this year? Well, it was the box set of Breaking Bad. I've forbidded (TBBT reference, hahaha) the Mister from getting it for me though because it's pretty pricey. There's really not much else on my list this year except for some books that I've been wanting.

8. What is your favorite color? I've really been into the green family lately.

9. What do you order when you go into a coffee shop? I hardly ever get coffee out anywhere besides Starbucks. My go to drink of choice is a mocha frappuccino. During the holiday season, however, I love the peppermint mocha latte. YUM!

10. Favorite place to shop? This is hard to pick just one. Barnes and Noble is one of my faves. I'm also pretty much addicted to Ulta. If we still lived in San Diego, I'd say Nordstrom Rack. OMG!! It's so much fun to shop there. 

11. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? This one has been covered a lot. I'd go to Europe. I don't know how I'd limit myself to just one country, so I go broad and say the entire continent, lol.

12. Go-to nail polish color? Scarlet O'Hara by Essie. It's the best red EVER made. Ever. Hands down.

13. What is your favorite outfit? And I ask: Favorite or go-to? My favorite outfit is my nice pair of jeans, my purple blouse, and my alpaca cardigan. However, more often than not, I'm wearing sloppy jeans and a t-shirt. I'm trying to venture out into scarves though.

14. Do you have any body mods (tattoos, piercings, etc.)? I have my ears pierced but hardly ever wear earrings because my ears are so sensitive. Even gold and silver makes them swell and itch. Other than that, nope.

15. What animal would you be, based on your personality? Probably a sloth because I don't do much other than hang out at home.

16. What is your favorite song? I don't have just one favorite. Off the top of my head though, I'd pick These Days by Foo Fighters. I absolutely love that song.

17. What is one object that you use daily, that you love? I guess I'd have to say my phone. I use it every day for just about everything. I feel disloyal for saying so, but my Samsung Galaxy S3 is 100 times better than any iPhone has ever been. Apple needs to beef up their game in my opinion.

From Meghan Sara:

18. What is one non-holiday thing you're looking forward to over the next few months? Starting grad school in January.

19. How do you take your coffee (or tea)? I take my coffee with flavored creamer. My favorite is International Delight's White Chocolate Mocha. YUM!! As for my tea, depending on what kind it is, I like it with honey and/or lemon. If it's plain oolong, I like it straight.

20. What is your favorite food obsession? Panera Bread. Aside from loving everything that I've ever gotten off of the menu, (Okay. I don't really care for their smoothies.) I really like their hibiscus tea.

21. What do you wear to sleep in? I can only sleep in a t-shirt or tank top and shorts. Long sleeves, pants, and socks in bed drive me nutso and make me hot, no matter what the weather is.

My addons:

What is your favorite holiday cocktail? Feel free to leave a link to the recipe.
What is your favorite holiday scent/air freshener (plug-in, spray, potpourri, etc.)?
Do you do the whole coordinated bedding set or do you put together your own look?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Our northern route to Ohio took us right through the middle of Alabama, up to Nashville, through Louisville, and into Ohio through Cincinnati. We drove straight through since we were in somewhat of a hurry to get there. The drive took about 14 hours and the loss of an hour by transitioning from the Central time zone to the Eastern time zone. Yes. The western part of Florida's panhandle is in the Central time zone. Most people don't realize this.

Anyway, on the way home, we decided to break the trip up into two days. The halfway point was in Nowhere, Alabama. Or maybe it was Nowhere, Tennessee. Either way, it was in the middle of nowhere. I'm pretty much a genius when it comes to maps. I'm directionally challenged, but I can read a map. Figure it out. So, I mapped us out an alternate route that took us through the eastern part of Tennessee, with a quick jog through the very northeast corner of Georgia, and back into Alabama. It only added 30 minutes to the drive and allowed us to stop in Chattanooga which is just about, smack dab halfway between Huber Heights, Ohio and Navarre, Florida.

We stayed at a pretty decent hotel in Chattanooga that was downtown. Ok. I have to tell you. I was pretty much unimpressed with the city itself. It was very blue collar and seemed run down. The surrounding area is beautiful with mountains and fall color and the Tennessee River. We checked out a local restaurant for dinner, the Terminal Brew House. We wanted something non-chain and having a selection of craft brews, as well as being close to our hotel, it seemed to be a winner. The Mister said that the beer was excellent. I had the house pinot noir and it was pretty good. We had to specifically ask the waiter if the girls could have soft drinks since he didn't bother to take their drink orders or even give them a glass of water. The food was so-so. Not horrible, but for the prices, nothing special. We opted to have the "seasonal steamed veggies" as our side dish and was served BEETS. Who in the holy heck serves beets? Who likes beets?!?! What kind of side is that? It was an unsatisfying meal, excellent selection of beers aside.

Overall, I didn't have the best impression of Chattanooga. I know. We were there for less than 24 hours, but from what we saw, it wasn't compelling enough for us to plan our next family vacation there. It's nice to know that it's a good halfway stop for the next time we drive to Ohio and we'd stay at the same hotel again too. They had a really good breakfast.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lip Factory Inc. November Beauty Box

Package insert with product descriptions. Included in every beauty box.
I've been a subscriber to Lip Factory Inc. for several months now. I am a very satisfied customer. Despite what the name might suggest, the beauty box includes more than just lip products, most months. November is the first month that it's been all lip products. Either way, I am a happy subscriber. The monthly subscription cost is $22.00 but the contents of each box is worth twice if not three times as much. And I LOVE trying new products. Here's what came in my November box.

1. Palladio Herbal Lipstick in Wine Shine. Retail price:  $6.99. I love the color. It has just a bit of shimmer and it smells pleasant without being overwhelming. I really hate lipsticks that smell so much that they taste perfume-y.

2. Model Co. Lip Couture Lipstick in Luella. Retail price:  $17.00. It's a great fall color, feels very moisturizing and has a satin finish. I love the built-in mirror that's on the tube cap too.

3. Designer Skin Fall Lip Shimmer in Hottie Tottie. Retail price:  $7.30. It's a pretty color with a nice shimmer. It has a pleasant minty smell that's not too much and it doesn't have a taste at all. It even feels tingly when you put it on which will be nice for the cooler months when lips start drying out. The only thing about it is that it takes forever to click it up the tube to the brush applicator. Stila lipglosses are like that too and it isn't my favorite delivery method but the product is usually worth it.

4. Medusa's Makeup Lipstick in Red Square. Retail price:  $12.00. I have to tell you, red lipsticks scare me. I've never had one before now. The color, once applied, doesn't really match the tube, if you can tell in my picture. It's almost a fushia rather than a bright red. It also has a candy-like smell too it but it's not overwhelming. I love the unique tube that it comes in but I wish the pigment were more true to the tube.

5. Medusa's Makeup Lipgloss in Temptation. Retail price:  $8.00. It's a very sheer lipgloss with a candy scent to it. I love the gold shimmer to this wine-like color. This will make a great fall color.

6. Retractable Lip Brush. Retail price:  $3.88. Honestly, I don't use a lip brush to apply lipstick or gloss. I'm a straight from the tube kinda gal.

So, the total value of my November box is $55.17 which is a great deal for having paid only $22.00. Amiright?? Plus, it's totally fun to get stuff in the mail and it's also great fun to try out new products. Before getting my beauty box, I had never heard of these makeup brands. If you're tempted to join me, I would love and appreciate a referral #385105.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Where the Hell Am I??

It's COLD here. Maybe it's not Vermont cold, but it's freaking cold nonetheless. We've had freeze warnings the past two nights. Our daytime highs have been pretty chilly too. I knew, logically, that it gets pretty cold in northern Florida and it's even been known to snow from time to time, but I think I was hoping that people were exaggerating. I don't have enough winter clothes for this place. Seriously.

What's more, our heat doesn't seem to be working. We, supposedly, have central air and heat but when I switched the thermostat over from "cool" to "heat" three days ago, the heat never kicked on. The current temperature in my house is 63. Do you know how hard it is to make yourself get out of bed in the morning when you know it's that cold and there's no heat coming? Considering that our forecast high for today is only 55, I don't see the house warming up all that much today.

When we first moved into this house, we had a very respectable-sized woodpile in the backyard. In the last three days, we've seriously depleted our supply of wood due to the fact that the fireplace has been our only source of heat. Having an open concept living room/dining room/kitchen, it really doesn't heat much though. It raises the temp about three or four degrees. As a result, we've been sitting and/or laying on the floor in front of the fireplace, lol. Even Bailey is cold. She wears a sweater all day with her bone blanket draped over her back plus an extra blanket at night to sleep.

Three good things come from having your house uncomfortably cold: 

1.) It's cold enough to put my pretty comforter on my bed and I sleep really well.
2.) The water in the glass next to my bed stays nice and cold all night.
3.) I should have a nice decrease in my electric bill with it not being hot enough for the ac and no heat.

I'm calling the rental management place as soon as I post this. I'm hoping they open at 8 am.

Friday, November 08, 2013

I'm Right. That's All.

While we were in Ohio, something occurred to me. Over the entire course of the trip, we stayed in three different hotels. You know what all three of them had in common? The most available sheet of toilet paper in all the bathrooms was folded into a neat little triangle. Do you know what this means? The correct way to put toilet paper onto the holder is with the sheets rolling out from above not below. If you have your toilet paper with the roll coming out from below, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!! You can't fold a sheet into a nifty triangle if the toilet paper is coming from the underneath.

I. Have. Solved. This. Debate.

You man now continue on with your life, all the richer for this most important, life-altering revelation.

You're welcome.

Monday, November 04, 2013


You know the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding? There's this part where Nia Vardalos' character is going on and on about how big and crazy her family is and how many first cousins she has, 27. I have something like 25. Add in myself and my siblings, and there's 28 grandkids altogether. I have first cousins that I've never met. The way my family likes to give people up for adoption, I probably have more that I don't even know about. Our trip to Ohio afforded me the opportunity to see some of my cousins again. On my dad's side of the family anyway.

It was almost a surreal experience for a group of us to get together and go out for drinks. The majority of my memories and interactions with my cousins are from family get togethers while we were growing up. Being the second oldest grandchild, I have cousins who are still teenagers which is weird. It's hard for me to even think of them as first cousins. They're more like nieces and nephews.

Still, while in Ohio, we were able to get a group of us together and go out for drinks. There was my cousin J and his wife, my cousin D, my cousin K and her husband, and my cousin M and the Mister. Between the five of us cousins, we live in three different states. Going out was so much fun that I wish we lived closer so that it's something we could do more often. We reminisced about family holidays and summer vacations spent at my grandparent's house as well as catching up on our current lives. For being so closely related, we are a diverse bunch.

I wish I had thought to get pictures. Who knows the next time that I will see any of them. I can hope that it won't be another 13 years and that it won't be because of a funeral.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Falling Back

Autumn in Rural Ohio

So far, fall has been quite eventful for us. First of all, it certainly doesn't feel like fall in Florida. We had a couple cool'ish days in October, but they were only a few days and overnight lows didn't get out of the 50s. Having lived the majority of the past 16 years in states with moderate climates, the one thing I miss about living somewhere with definitive seasons is the autumn.

My grandmother passed away last week. She had a history of diabetes, the childhood kind, not the fat people kind, and heart disease and had been on a steady decline for a while now. For some, the release of death is a kindness and not a devastating loss. For my grandma, who had been shocked back to life by a defibrillator several times in the past several weeks, knowing that she was finally at peace was a relief. Added to that, when my grandparents sold their house back in 2009, I had said goodbye to what was. We didn't make it back to Ohio between that last visit and my grandma's passing. Yes, I'm sad that my grandma is no longer with us, but I've come to terms with her passing and I'm okay.

We took the girls and Bailey and drove to Ohio for her funeral. The trip north was quite picturesque. Once we got into Tennessee, fall colors started showing themselves on the trees. As we made our way further north and into Ohio, the colors were more vibrant, varied, and plentiful. The last time we had been able to enjoy fall like that was when in the fall of 2006 when we were still living in Vermont. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I was in the middle of it once again. Still, you'll never, ever hear me say that I miss the snow and winters, lol.

The trip north wasn't all about my grandma. We also took time to visit what family that we could, carving out special time with my dad. Recently, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He actually got his third round of chemotherapy while we were there. I hadn't seen my dad since 2010 when I was in Ohio for his last open heart surgery. You might get the idea here, that my dad isn't always in the best of health. Seeing him and the drastic physical changes he has undergone was the most difficult part of the trip for me. As you could probably guess, he's lost a lot of weight. According to my sister, his hair has started to thin, but from the way he's wearing it (in a hippie ponytail, lol) I didn't notice a difference. The most startling difference was that he now looks older than his 62 years. It was hard to see. My dad has already had surgery for the cancer and the chemo is to, hopefully, ensure that the doctors got everything and that it doesn't come back. We are optimistically hopeful. Despite the circumstances, I was glad that my girls got to spend this time with their papa and that he was well enough to go to Chuck E. Cheese (I have an 8 year old nephew) with his grandkids.

After spending a week in hotels, we are more than thrilled to be home. I missed my cats terribly. We hired our 14 year old neighbor to look after them and she did an excellent job. We are back in the land of summer though. It was 80 degrees when we got home and it's in the 80s today as well. Time to put the winter clothes back in the closet for a few more weeks. Fall is all about change. Change comes a little later for Floridians. We'll have to wait and see what it'll bring.