High Five Friday 8-31

What is “High Five Friday”? It’s a weekly posting I do to remind myself of all the good things that have happened to me during the week, no matter how small they are. Bad things happen in this world. That’s one thing we unfortunately cannot get away from. But these posts keep me focused on all I have to be thankful for in my life, instead of all the chaos and tragedy going on. Reminding myself of the joy and happiness in my life really does have a positive impact on my outlook on life. So I challenge you to try it. Take five minutes and write down five positive things that have happened to you this week. They don’t have to be huge, life-changing events; as you can see from my list below, nothing out of the ordinary really happened to me this week. But once I focus on that small, ordinary event, it becomes extraordinary. I know it’s clich√©, but the power of positive thinking is truly amazing!

I posted nothing all week – and am now bombarding you with two posts in one day! ūüôā

1.Ryan and I went to a Goose Island beer tasting at The Rail earlier this week. Shameless plug for one of our favorite Akron-area restaurants: The Rail is a new burger place at the Summit Mall. The atmosphere is modern, relaxed and fun. And the burgers: AMAZING. They only use locally raised beef, and the toppings are unique (the red onion jam is a must-try). Plus, they have a huge beer selection and old-school-type desserts (think milkshakes and sundaes in a mason jar). I snapped a picture of the Ice Cream Sunday I got while there for dinner a few months ago. Anything served in a mason jar is a-ok in my book:

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Back to the Goose Island tasting: so fun! We added one of their beers to our list of favorites (it’s called Sophie, and we’re told the only place in Akron guaranteed to have it is West Point Market). We sat with two women¬†and really enjoyed getting to know them. One of them is also a CPA in Akron, however, she is going back to school to be a math teacher. I was instantly jealous and still am. Definitely something to think about…

2. I was going through some boxes of old text books (don’t ask me why) when I came across some novels I’d bought at a garage sale years ago. One of those books is Crazy Ladies by Michael Lee West. I’m only half-way through the book, and I can tell it’s going to be one of my favorites. It’s about the relationships of a mother, her daughters and her granddaughters. Anyone with a daughter or sister will definitely be able to relate to this. I’m so happy I found this forgotten treasure.

3. Ryan was home for four nights this week. Even though I didn’t get home before 8:30 pm any night this week, I love it when I come home to him.

4. Last fall, we were asked to join a young married group through our church, St. Hilary. The group of six couples met once a month for a few months, but because of everyone’s busy schedules, we stopped earlier this year. ¬†I was so excited to get an email from one of the couples this week, inviting us all to start this up again.

5. Wedding season starts for us this weekend! I’ve been looking forward to our friends Dan and Nikki’s wedding tomorrow all week. We’ll get to spend the night with friends from college, specifically two of our best friends, Brian and Shannon Lichty. (Shannon is another one of my friends with a blog. For some heart-warming posts about life with her husband and new daughter, check out her blog here.)

Happy Labor Day weekend! Hope everyone’s holiday is safe and fun.

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August 2012 Foodie Penpal Reveal

Foodie Penpals is a program started by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. Each month, participants are assigned a foodie penpal and are responsible for sending them fun foodie-type things. The spending limit is $15 and the package must include something hand-written. If you’re interested in learning more about Foodie Penpals, click the button below:

The Lean Green Bean
 

This is my first month participating in Foodie Penpals, and I don’t think I could have been more excited when I opened the package from Jasmine:

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The first thing I saw was the spatula with Great Brittain’s flag, so I immediately knew this was going to be my kind of foodie stuff. Jasmine’s picks are great: whole wheat pancake mix, 2 bottles of vanilla (one white, one black), a bottle of dulce de leche and a jar of garden pasta sauce.

1. Kodiak pancake mix – I’m surprised I kept my husband away from this long enough to take a picture of it. Before I even had it out of the box it was shipped in, he was asking if we could make it for dinner. I’m looking forward to trying it: Jasmine wrote that it has a very distinct flavor that she loves (plus, it’s whole wheat!).

2. Vanilla – I’ll admit: I didn’t know there was white and black vanilla. I just thought it was “vanilla”. I’m going to have to do some research on these – and I’ll be starting with Jasmine’s blog (http://www.chicachocolatina.blogspot.com/).¬† Wow – I wish I could bake like her!

3. Dulce de leche – I’ve certainly heard of this. I’m a big fan, so I wasted no time putting some on banana muffins I made. Oh.my.goodness.

4. Bongiovi pasta sauce – Jasmine sent this to represent her home state of New Jersey, known as the “Garden State”. We haven’t opened it yet, but Jasmine, I’ll definitely let you know how it is! Random fun fact: Bongiovi’s son is pretty well known – he goes by the name “Bon Jovi”. How cool!

5. That spatula – LOVE it! It’s already been used several times.

Thanks so much, Jasmine! Everything you sent was great. It really made my first month in Foodie Penpals an awesome one!

High Five Friday 8-24

What is “High Five Friday”? It’s a weekly posting I do to remind myself of all the good things that have happened to me during the week, no matter how small they are. Bad things happen in this world. That’s one thing we unfortunately cannot get away from. But these posts keep me focused on all I have to be thankful for in my life, instead of all the chaos and tragedy going on. Reminding myself of the joy and happiness in my life really does have a positive impact on my outlook on life. So I challenge you to try it. Take five minutes and write down five positive things that have happened to you this week. They don’t have to be huge, life-changing events; as you can see from my list below, nothing out of the ordinary really happened to me this week. But once I focus on that small, ordinary event, it becomes extraordinary. I know it’s clich√©, but the power of positive thinking is truly amazing!

I began this week thinking it would never end – which is not a good sign. However, after some “angels” in my life got me through the rough first days, the rest of the week flew by. Hello, weekend!

1. I got my first Foodie Penpal package! I’m so excited to write about all the great stuff I got. Look for all the yummy details here on August 31!

2. Yesterday was a loooong day. I worked late, and by the time I was leaving the office, all motivation to do anything was gone. That run I wanted to take: no thanks. The healthy dinner I wanted to cook: eh, pass. I was so surprised to come home to some take-out sushi and home-made margaritas (a bit of an Asian-Mexican fusion). Do I have a cool husband, or what?

3. I may not love my job, and some days it’s almost unbearable, but I am so lucky to have a handful of co-workers I count as friends and confidants. They make me laugh when I want to cry, and I know they know EXACTLY how I feel, because they are going through it too. (Side note – one of said work friends started a blog recently. She is an awesome writer, and her posts are geared to all the happenings in Akron. My kind of blog! Check it out: http://amytakesakron.blogspot.com/)

4. We have some out-of-town visitors coming to stay with us this weekend: three of my husband’s best friends are coming into town for their fantasy football draft (I know, I know). I can’t wait!

5. My dad and I went to breakfast Monday morning. There is no better way to start off a week than enjoying some time with family. We had such a good time, I’m thinking we should make this a regular thing.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Am I the only one…?

[SPOILER ALERT¬†– If you haven’t seen¬†The¬†Hunger Games¬†and don’t want any part of the movie ruined, do NOT read on.]

After driving around to various Redbox kiosks in Akron last night, we finally got our hands on a copy of The Hunger Games. We heard from a lot of people how AWESOME and AMAZING this movie is, so needless to say, we were expecting a lot.

But¬†maybe we shouldn’t have been.

Am I the only one who didn’t think The Hunger Games¬†was one of the best movies of 2012? Sure, it was entertaining (although very disturbing, sheesh), but it wasn’t THAT great. As typically the case when a book is adapted into a movie,¬†the character development seemed to be lacking. I had so many unanswered questions: Are we supposed to hate Katniss’ mother, or empathize¬†with her? I know times are bad, but why on earth was Katniss¬†sleeping outside in the rain in the Peeta/burnt bread scene? And what the heck was the purpose of those THINGS eating people at the end of the movie? Was that really necessary? I see a resurgence of them in a nightmare in my future…

And I wish the writers would make up their mind about Katniss’ likeability: we’re told multiple times that she struggles with getting others to “like” her, yet she has not one, but two would-be suitors. And let’s not forget that the mother of her fellow District 12¬†competitor¬†predicted¬†Katniss would win (and tells her son this. Yikes). I don’t know, Katniss…you seem pretty darn likeable to me…

All that said, I did like the movie…but it was far from amazing. The¬†storyline was unique, shocking¬†and kept my attention, but¬†from what I hear, the same could be said for an episode of Jersey Shore. For me, it takes more than that for a movie to be one of the best of the year. However, I would like to give a big “Thank you!” to whichever member of the casting group picked Lenny Kravitz to be Cinna. Bravo! Excellent choice.

Anyone else think The Hunger Games was overly hyped? Or do you think I’m totally crazy?

Cleveland: One of the Best Cities for 20-Somethings

I was so excited to see this today: Cleveland was ranked number 7 in the top 20 cities for 20-somethings by Greatlist.com.

We Northeast Ohioans may joke about our losing sports teams, and we may reminisce not-so-fondly about our river that caught on fire, but I think the vast majority of us love it here. Northeast Ohio is a great place to live (especially if you’re a 20-something, apparently).

Yes, there are poor neighborhoods and good people lost their jobs as a result of the Recession, but what big city doesn’t have that? Chicago or New York City we are not, but I doubt people around here truly want that. Traffic in those cities make an Interstate 77 traffic jam¬†feel like a vacation. And with rent and housing costs so high, is there any money left to enjoy everything these cities have to offer?

As one of my co-workers who recently transferred to Akron from our NYC office put it: “New York is a great city to visit, not so great to live in.” I know there are quite literally millions of people who would disagree with me on that, and that’s ok. Truthfully, if I had oodles and oodles of money, I would move to New York City tomorrow. But right now, I’m more than content in Northeast Ohio. In fact, I’m very happy here.

So to everyone out there who makes fun of Cleveland: don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

And to all you NEO inhabitants who complain about our hometown: enough. The weather is really not that bad (just ask anyone in Wisconsin or Maine) and the local economy could really be a lot worse (just ask anyone in Detroit). And if you can’t find anything to do around here, whose fault is that? It might be time to consider the possibility that maybe you aren’t bored…maybe you’re just boring. The problem is not Northeast Ohio.

I heart AKR & CLE

High Five Friday 8-17

What is “High Five Friday”? It’s a weekly posting I do to remind myself of all the good things that have happened to me during the week, no matter how small they are. Bad things happen in this world. That’s one thing we unfortunately cannot get away from. But these posts keep me focused on all I have to be thankful for in my life, instead of all the chaos and tragedy going on. Reminding myself of the joy and happiness in my life really does have a positive impact on my outlook on life. So I challenge you to try it. Take five minutes and write down five positive things that have happened to you this week. They don’t have to be huge, life-changing events; as you can see from my list below, nothing out of the ordinary really happened to me this week. But once I focus on that small, ordinary event, it becomes extraordinary. I know it’s clich√©, but the power of positive thinking is truly amazing!

1. The weather has cooled down significantly, even getting to fall-like degrees. We took full advantage of the lower temperatures, taking Sarge for plenty of walks. Now, if the rain would stop sneaking in, the weather would be perfect!

2. Another successful ballroom dancing lesson! We focused on swing this time, which taught me that swing dance is not my strong suit. More practice is needed, but still fun!

3. The Browns posted a victory on Thursday night, beating the Green Bay Packers 35-10.

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The Browns will always be number one in the NFL section of my heart, but I also have room for the Packers. We have friends in the Green Bay area (we met them while on vacation in Mexico a few years ago), and they are such nice, wonderful people. And man,¬†they sure know how to tailgate. Go Pack! (As long as you’re not playing the Browns)

4. I finally caught up on the RHONYC. Those women are nuts, but I love them. They make me realize just how normal my life, husband, family and friends are. Stay crazy, ladies!

5. I went to visit Baby Ullman! That little boy is such a cutie, and so sweet!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

August 2012 Birchbox

August’s Birchbox is celebrating the time of year that always made me crazy excited and crazy nervous at the same time: back to school. That’s right, summer is almost officially over. Is anyone else shaking their heads in disbelief?

The theme of this month’s Birchbox is “Beauty School”:

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The box included some beauty tips, including “5 Tips to a Better Shave”, “Make-up Quick Fixes” and “Tools of the Trade”. I’ll certainly be keeping this.

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Wow – great Birchbox this month! Here’s what I got:

– whish Three Wishes Body Butter: pomegranate scented and capable of making skin unbelievably soft
– Juicy Couture “Viva la Juicy”: this perfume is a winner. I put the scent on before our ballroom dancing lesson this week; Ryan loved it.
– Miss Jessie’s Original Pillow Soft Curl Lotion: Birchbox, how did you know I have curly hair? I cannot wait to try this
– DDF Brightening Cleanser: this is supposed to even out skin-tone, which is something I could sure use. At 2 ounces, it’s a pretty big size, too.
– Schick Hydro Slick razor with one cartridge: it might be the end of summer, but that doesn’t mean I won’t need to shave my legs through the fall! I have used this razor before and loved it. Bonus: it includes a $4 off coupon for a cartridge refill.

Another successful Birchbox – and again, definitely worth the $10.