Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall To-Do

I think I’m finally starting to get back into the swing of things just in time for fall. 

Life According to Steph

I kept my summer goals pretty lean because I didn’t want to overdo it. Here’s how they went:

  • Buy a fireproof safefail I’m not sure why I didn’t do this, but I haven’t. I’m going to take a look on Amazon around holiday time and see if I can find a good deal. Otherwise, I’ll just use the Walmart card. 
  • Hit the beach at least 5x pass This was kind of a cheat. I knew I’d be at the beach for a week this summer but I wanted to be sure I went more than just that trip. I did. 

  • Pay off remaining NJ taxfail Again with procrastination. See, this will automatically get paid when I file my 2016 taxes. Knowing that I’ve been lazy about taking care of this. However, if I do, more refund for me… 
  • Get through the magazines - pass I'm giving myself a pass on this because I tossed more than half the pile. As of right now I only have 12 to get through! Seriously progress!
  • Lose 5 lbs - fail I'm pretty sure I've gained weight since I made the post outlining these goals but who knows. I haven't stepped on a scale in months.

Now that fall is officially here (today!) I’m no longer guiltily thinking about all the fall things I plan to do. 

  • Attend NYC Planners meet in November – yup. 
  • Go to the Bloomsburg Fair – This was on my list last year and the weather failed us so we never went. I’m going this weekend. 
  • Halloween parties – I have a few invites this year and I’d like to hit as many as possible, you know, to get my money’s worth from my costume an all.
  • Finish the donut – This is a game we play at the party I go to every year. You have to eat a dry, powdered donut hanging from a string as fast as possible. Last year I had one bite left and someone beat me. 
  • Make something from scratch – Last year I made apple pie from scratch and it was delicious. This year I’m going to try something new. 
  • Seasonal ‘No spend’ – this one kind of worries me but I’m going to really effing try this time. I went overboard on stickers in August, then I was in Mexico and spent way to much in September so that means I need to rein it in. Winter solstice will be here before I know it! 
  • Closet purge – I’m a hoarder of hoodies, coats, and scarves. And we all know I rarely where most of them. I’m going to do a fall/winter closet purge to get ready for the rest of the year. 

Those are my plans for the fall season. I’d say drink cider, eat a candy apple, carve a pumpkin but we all know I do those things every year – it’s tradition!

What are your plans for this fall?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What I Read Vol. 2

August was a bit rough on the reading front. I got through a few but not as many as I would have liked. Goodreads has gone from being 13 books ahead of schedule to being only one ahead. Looks like I better get on it if I plan to make my 60 book goal this year!

Here's what I got into in August...

The Things We Wish Were TrueThe Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought this was a perfect summer read, especially since that's when it takes place. I LOVED this book. I felt all the feels and the story flowed beautifully.

Sycamore Glen seems like an idyllic place to live with a neighborhood pool and friendly neighbors. Although bound by proximity, they're also bound by long-kept secrets. After a pool accident at the beginning of the summer starts the waves of change, it may be time for everyone to come clean.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader GinsburgNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know when you first meet someone and you want to know every little detail about them? That's kind of how I feel right now. I want to sit down with RBG and ask her opinion and point of view on anything and everything I can think of. I truly don't even have words. So many times while listening to this I wanted to cry. RBG is inspiring, considerate, dedicated, funny...

This woman is a ROCKSTAR! She has done so much for women's rights AND this country as a whole, and I have so much respect for her. Aside from my fangirling, it was a well-written biography of her life and work. I feel so behind about all the amazing things she’s said.

Every Frenchman Has One  by Olivia de Havilland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this was a lighthearted, fun read. Detailing some of her encounters while first living in Paris, Olivia easily creates a rapport that you're friends having a chat over tea. I loved the way she stays classy throughout the book while still letting her sense of humor shine through.

Currently Reading: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I've said it before and I will continue to say it - book day is my favorite. I love seeing what everyone is reading. The different genres, the authors. I really enjoy finding new books that I think I'll enjoy and adding them to my ever-growing TBR list. 

So... what was your favorite read this month?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Is It Too Late to Change Professions

I'm not sure when it happened but several years ago I fell in love with cooking.

I suppose it's a natural thing. I'm a big fan of food. Smelling it, looking at it... Eating it. The thing is, I had no idea how much I'd enjoy it. I always say I should have gone to culinary school. 

For now, I teach myself. I save recipes from magazines or play around in the kitchen, mixing things I know I like to create my own dishes. Lately, I've had a little help. 

For a while I've tossed around the idea of trying Blue Apron, Home Fresh, or any one of the food delivery services that have popped up. I finally decided to give Blue Apron a try. 

The way it works is you sign up by filling out the short questionnaire (how many people, vegetarian, etc.), pick your delivery date and then wait for your food to arrive. I opted for the personal box since I was cooking for me. Each week you're given 3 meals and all the ingredients to prepare them. Everything is fresh (no frozen foods) as if you went to the store and bought it yourself, and comes in a refrigerated box. 

In the first box, I was tasked with making Basil Fettuccine with sautéed cherry tomatoes and zucchini. It was very good! 

I also made Corn and Green Bean Empanadas with Cucumber Salad and Creamy Ajo dipping sauce. 

Everything has turned out so well. The dishes are things I never would have thought to make. 

I've made Brown Butter Cod with Corn, Shishito Peppers and Purple Potatoes.

What I enjoy the most is that all of the recipes I've had don't require any special ingredients. Everything can be bought at your local grocer or it's stuff you already buy regularly. To me, there's nothing more annoying than wanting to make something only to find that I need to go to three different stores to buy what I need. 

Lemongrass Chicken Burgers with Hoison Mayo and Roasted Potato Wedges

My only real complaint about Blue Apron is the cost. The personal box delivery is just under $60/month, which breaks down to about $10/meal. Not bad, but I can buy more at the store for $60 and make food for all 7 days. You can skip weeks when you don't want a delivery but then you need to remember to skip. Ultimately, I ended up cancelling as this was simply to test it out but I'd recommend it to anyone who hates grocery shopping but loves to cook and try new dishes. 

Have you ever used one of these services? 

Friday, September 9, 2016

TGIF to Infinity and Beyond

It's been a while since I've done an open letters post. And it's Friday so let's get to it shall we?

Dear summer, I'm ready for you to go. I'd tell you it's not you, it's me, but we both know at this point it would be a lie. What is with the September humidity? You do this to me every year and although I suppose I should expect it, I don't. And I don't like it.

Dear football, I love you. Never leave me. Although I'm sitting out for our fantasy trysts this year, you can believe I'll still be joining you on the pick 'me field.

Dear Little Miss, you are my sun, moon, and stars. And yet you've officially made me feel old. I can't believe we started pre-k this week. I'm so proud of the strong-willed, sassy, independent little human you are. Do me a favor though? Listen and do what you're told.

Dear movie challenge, we're off to a rocky start but I know we can do it. Let's get 'r done!

Dear iPhone 7, who let you out of R&D lookin' like that!  You're looking good. So much that I think I'm gonna have to make you mine. Sorry not sorry I did a background check on you. That 12MP camera with wide zoom is hot. And where did you get that extra battery life? I'll swipe right if you do.

Dear self, I just wanted to write you a little note and tell you I'm proud of you. You're starting to slay this faulting thing. I see you over there with your. Ew life insurance policy. Way to go, boo! Keep doing the damn thing!

Dear Mexico, I'm so excited to call you home for a little while. I know they're saying it's going to rain but I know you wouldn't do that to me on our first meeting.

Dear bank account, I feed you as often as I can but you're still looking a little lean. What can we do to fatten you up? We need to get our fat pants on - the holidays are coming.

Dear exercise (and your BFF the gym), I'm so sorry I've been neglecting you guys. I've been busy and out of sorts. No... I'm not "just saying that". I really have been all over the place. I promise we'll get together this weekend and do something fun.

Dear planner community, you make me the happiest clam in the sea! You always have something new and exciting to look at and make me smile. Part of me wishes I never met you (you're kind of expensive to maintain) and the other part wonders how I lived so long without you. Let's be BFFs for F!

Dear readers, thanks for sticking with me. This space has been operating on a skeleton crew lately and I want you to know I appreciate the continued reads and comments.

And on that note,

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

6 x 6

I'm not sure when or how it happened but yesterday was a BIG deal for this space. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

The 411: August

I'm so glad I'm finally able to keep up with something! I really enjoy this link up because it gives me a chance to look back on the month and really pick out the highlights, even if they weren't a "major" happening.

HA!  I had to leave that in there. Obviously this post isn't on time since this link up took place last Thursday. Some day I'll get my blogging act together. Until then, let's discuss August!

+ I spent way too much on stickers at the beginning of the month. But they're pretty and I regret nothing!

+ I celebrated my BWBs 29th birthday. I sent her these in celebration. 

+ That same week I gave my notice at the studio. Getting home after 11 pm after being up at 5 am? Going from one desk straight to another? I just couldn't do it. Not to mention, I know me. Not even free yoga is not going to get me to stay in the city after work.

+ The following weekend I went on my shopping trip. Still happy about all I bought. The only regret I'm feeling is from buying a small Longchamp bag... for my lunch. I had a sale high and my judgment was impaired. Now I'm trying to rehome it. Any takers? 

+ On the last day of the month my alarm went off and for some reason I didn't immediately hit snooze. To my listening happiness I have now discovered Sam Hunt (love!) and Chase Rice (hot!)

And then all of a sudden it was September. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Purge: A Recap

Way back at the end of June - I say this as if it were a lifetime ago - I decided to give a Pinterest idea a try. 60 Things to Toss Out in the Next 60 Days. Truth be told, I completely forgot about the list after that post went live because I never printed it out. 

As I looked over the list I was reminded that hell yes I needed to complete these tasks. For brevity, I'm only going to discuss the things that were big for me since some didn't apply. 

No. 3| out of date magazines 
This was a HUGE one for me. I had unread magazines dating back to March. Originally I organized them all into piles by month and planned to systematically read/skim through them. The thing is, I did that back in May and still hadn’t made any progress. Mid-July I said fuck it and tossed everything that was before June. That alone made a large dent in the pile. Although I swear, for every one I skim through and toss, a new one comes in the mail. 

I’m still working on the pile so I'll just say that this is in progress.

No. 10, 11, 12| out of date makeup, hair, skincare products
No. 52| product samples
It has come to my attention that I am a hoarder of products (and samples) as I always intend to use them and then never do. I still had unopened makeup from when I was an Ipsy subscriber. I cancelled that membership almost 2 years ago. I did keep the face mask and Biore samples but the rest went in the trash. Grade: Pass

No. 25| actual purses you never use 
I went through bags in the spring but it really just resulted in my organizing them.  I'm too simple for fancy bags. It needs to hold all the things and be functional and most don't cut it. Yet they continue to sit on their shelf...  Grade: Fail 

No. 29| boxes 
I actually took care of this at the beginning of August. I wish I had taken a picture of box mountain because it was ridiculous. I had been hoarding boxes from Stitch Fix, Amazon… pretty much any time I received a package with the idea that if use them for Christmas or moving. Nice try... They were taking up a lot of storage space and realistically I had no use for them. All but 2 boxes are gone and those are because I am condensing Christmas decor. Grade: Pass

No. 36| old school books 
I paid for them so I feel I need to keep them. Some of them are useful for work, but really, they’ve never come off the shelf since I put them there. I just don’t know if I can part with them. There are only 3 left now and they're still practical for my field so I'm keeping them. Grade: Pass

No. 38| candles that have burned out  
I keep candle jars with the year-to-year intent to make my own candles. Can we just come to terms with the fact that I will never do this? It’s a lofty goal but it won’t happen. Three or more jars went to the recycling bin. Grade: Pass

No. 45| promo t-shirts you never wear 
I tell myself I’ll wear them to bed, or to the gym, and then I decide that they’re lame and I want relatively “cute” clothes, so then they just sit at the bottom of the drawer taking up space. Needless to say, I didn't get to this. Grade: Fail

No. 46| jeans that don’t fit just right
I'm still working on this one. It's been so humid I just couldn't bring myself to put on jeans, even with the AC. Grade: Fail

No. 53|  old paperwork 
I’m not sure why I was hanging on to college papers from 2012+ but they serve no purpose now. And if a job wants a “writing sample” it’s clearly not the job for me. Grade: Pass

No. 57| delete bad pics, screenshots, and duplicates 
This one isn’t done because it’s too time consuming. Instead I’ve realized I take less pictures of things. Not because I’m trying to be more present – although I am – but because I know that after that picture finds its way into my phone, it will be lost there forever. Never to be printed, rarely to be looked at. Grade: continuously in progress

No. 58| delete apps you don’t use from your phone 
I like my phone to be simple. It has plenty of apps but they’re ones I actually use. I’m pretty good about this but made a point to do a scan anyway and ended up removing 6 apps. Grade: Pass

No. 59| delete old texts and contacts 
This is one I stay up to date with for the most part. Having lots of old texts slows down your phone so mine is set to delete anything older than 30 days. As far as contacts, it’s a never-ending work in progress. Grade: Pass

Overall, I think I did pretty good. Purging is a constant habit of mine so I know I don't accumulate too much, but it's nice to have a guided list every now and then. I never would have gone through all the makeup and samples otherwise because, you know, I'll use them....