Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “shopping

All Marvel Cinematic Universe Properties, In Order!

If you aren’t into comic books in general or the Marvel Cinematic Universe specifically, this post isn’t for you.

But if you consider yourself an outsized MCU fan and are interested in every single one of their properties, please, join me.

Have you ever asked yourself, “what order should I watch MCU properties in?” Or, “can I get a list of all the MCU properties in order?”

I did something last night. I spent a few hours organizing, in chronological order of release, every MCU property.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Why didn’t you just google it?”

Yeah, I tried. And if you want to watch the MCU (all TV and film) in the order the events happened, I’d suggest you head on over to CNET’s post about it. CNET’s post is mostly up to date, as far as I can tell. And that’s because I’m assuming the first half of Season 5 of Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. is taking place right where Season 4 left off, therefore it would be before the events of the Punisher. Oh, and it’s way more pleasing to the eye than what I’m about to post below.

But if you’re like me and for some crazy reason want to consume everything in the order it was released, I can help. I did a deep dive on Wikipedia, and as long as no trolls managed to edit the locked sections, we’re good. My list is better than Wiki though because I meshed the films, short films, TV shows, and comics together for your consumption. For the comics, the release dates I found online don’t always agree; also I focused on the comic’s (not the graphic novel’s) release date.

Why do I even care about seeing things in the release order? Well, Marvel is very meticulous about release dates. So I want to start from the beginning and take everything in the order they intended.

I warn you, this is a long ass list. I’ll name the property, then the release format, then the release date (for comics/tv episodes with multiple dates just the first release date is mentioned), and I’ll also name (when applicable) a link or release association.

Marvel Properties in Chronological Release Date Order

  • Iron Man, Film, May 2, 2008
  • The Incredible Hulk, Film, June 13, 2008
  • Iron Man: I Am Iron Man! (Issue #1-2), Comic, January 27, 2010.
  • Iron Man 2: Public Identity (Issue #1-2), Comic, April 28, 2010
  • Iron Man 2, Film, May 7, 2010
  • Iron Man 2: Public Identity (Issue #3), Comic, May 12, 2010
  • Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Single Issue), Comic, September 1, 2010
  • ****The MCU Wikia seems to think the following three comics are their own individual part of the MCU. However, the link for Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. includes them all of you just keep going forward (and if you have Marvel Unlimited).
  • Captain America: First Vengeance (Issue #1-4), Comic, May 4, 2011
  • Thor, Movie, May 6, 2011
  • Captain America: First Vengeance (Issue #5-8), Comic, June 8, 2011
  • Captain America: The First Avenger, Movie, July 22, 2011
  • The Consultant, One-Shot, July 22, 2011, associated with released of Thor movie
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer, One-Shot, October 25, 2011, associated with release of Captain America: The First Avenger Movie
  • The Avenger’s Prelude: Fury’s Big Week (Issue #1-8), Comic, March 7, 2012
  • The Avengers, Movie, May 4, 2012
  • The Avengers: Black Widow Strikes (Issue #1-3), Comic, May 12, 2012
  • Item 47, One-Shot, September 25, 2012, associated with the release of The Avengers
  • Iron Man 2 (Issue #1-2), Comic, November 7, 2012
  • Iron Man 3 Prelude (Issue #1-2), Comic, January 2, 2013
  • Thor (Issue #1-2), Comic, January 16, 2013
  • Iron Man 3, Movie, May 3, 2013
  • Thor: The Dark World Prelude (Issue #1-2), Comic, June 5, 2013
  • Agent Carter, One-Shot, September 3, 2013, associated with the release of Iron Man 3
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Ep 1-6, TV (ABC), September 24, 2013
  • Thor: The Dark World, Movie, November 8, 2013
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (Issue #1), Comic, November 6, 2013
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Ep 7-10, TV (ABC), November 12, 2013
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (Issue #2), Comic, December 11, 2013
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Ep 11-12, TV (ABC), January 7, 2014
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier infinite Comic (Single Issue), Comic, January 28, 2014
  • All Hail the King, One-Shot, February 4, 2014, associated with the release of Thor: The Dark World
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Ep 13-16, TV (ABC), February 4, 2014
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite Comic – Dangerous Prey (Single Issue), Comic, April 1, 2014
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, April 2, 2014
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Movie, April 4, 2014
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Ep 17-22, TV  (ABC), April 8, 2014
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, May 28, 2014
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Movie, August 1, 2014
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Ep 1-10, TV (ABC), September 23, 2014
  • The Avengers (Issue #1), Comic, December 24, 2014
  • Agent Carter Season 1, TV (ABC), January 6, 2015 
  • The Avengers (Issue #2), Comic, January 7, 2015
  • Avengers: Ague of Ultron Prelude: This Scepter’d Isle (Single Issue), Comic, February 3, 2015
  • Ant-Man Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, February 4, 2015
  • Ant-Man – Scott Lang: Small Time (Single Issue), Comic, March 3, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Ep 11, TV (ABC), March 3, 2015
  • Ant-Man Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, March 4, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Ep 12-16, TV (ABC), March 10, 2015
  • Daredevil Season 1, TV (Netflix), April 10, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Ep 17-19, TV (ABC), April 14, 2015
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron, Movie, May 1, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Ep 20-22, TV (ABC), May 5, 2015
  • WHIH Newsfront Season 1, Digital Series, July 2, 2015 
  • Ant-Man, Movie, July 17, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep 1-2, TV (ABC), September 29, 2015
  • Jessica Jones (Single Issue), Comic, October 7, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep 3-8, TV (ABC), October 13, 2015
  • Jessica Jones Season 1, TV (Netflix), November 20, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3, Ep 9-10, TV (ABC), December 1, 2015
  • Captain America: Civil War Prelude (Issue #1-3), Comic, December 16, 2015
  • Agent Carter Season 2, TV (ABC), January 19, 2016
  • Captain America: Civil War Prelude (Issue #1-3), Comic, December 16, 2015
  • Captain America: Civil War Prelude (Issue #4), Comic, January 27, 2016
  • Captain America: Civil War Prelude Infinite Comic (Single Issue), Comic, February 10, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep 11-17, TV (ABC), March 8, 2016
  • WHIH Newsfront Season 2, Digital Series, April 22, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep 18-19, TV (ABC), April 26, 2016
  • Captain America: Civil War, Movie, May 6, 2016 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep 20-22, TV (ABC), May 10, 2016
  • Doctor Strange Prelude (Issue #1-2), Comic, July 6, 2016
  • Doctor Strange Prelude Infinite Comic – The Zealot (Single Issue), Comic, September 7, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 1-2, TV (ABC), September 20, 2016
  • Luke Cage Season 1, TV (Netflix), September 30, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 3-6, TV (ABC), October 11, 2016
  • Doctor Strange, Movie, November 4, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 7-8, TV (ABC), November 29, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Slingshot, Digital Series, December 13, 2016
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 Prelude (Issue #1-2), Comic, January 4, 2017
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 9-15, TV (ABC), January 10, 2017
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, March 1, 2017
  • Iron Fist Season 1, TV (Netflix), March 17, 2017
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 16, TV (ABC), April 4, 2017
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, April 5, 2017
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 17-20, TV (ABC), April 11, 2017
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Movie, May 5, 2017
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 21-22, TV (ABC), May 9, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, July 5, 2017
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming, Movie, July 7, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok Prelude (Issue #2-4), Comic, July 19, 2017
  • The Defenders, TV (Netflix), August 18, 2017
  • Inhumans Season 1 Ep 1-7, TV (ABC) September 29, 2017
  • Black Panther Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, October 18, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok, Movie, November 3, 2017
  • Inhumans Season 1 Ep 8, TV (ABC), November 10, 2017
  • Black Panther Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, November 15, 2017
  • The Punisher, TV(Netflix), November 17, 2017
  • Runaways, Season 1 Ep 1-4, TV (Hulu), November 21, 2017
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Ep 1-8, TV (ABC), December 1, 2017
  • Runaways, Season 1 Ep 5-10, TV (Hulu), December 5, 2017
  • Avengers: Infinity War Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, January 24, 2018
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Ep 9-10, TV (ABC), January 26, 2018
  • Black Panther, Movie, February 16, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, February 28, 2018
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Ep 11, TV (ABC), March 2, 2018
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, March, 7, 2018
  • Jessica Jones Season 3, TV (Netflix), March 8, 2018
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Ep 12-14, TV (ABC), March 9, 2018
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, April 2, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Movie, April 27, 2018
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp, Movie, July 6, 2018

I’m stopping here because I don’t have release dates after the first few episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. But I will continue to update this if 1) I remember and 2) I feel like it.

Also, let me know in the comments if something looks wonky, it’s hard to accurately edit a list of 90+ items.


So Says My Husband: “Christmas Is Saved!”

We decorated our tree! We have a pitifully small number of ornaments on it (first world problems, amiright?), but it’s up and lit. Not lit, like a great party, but alight, lol.

I put a picture up on Instagram where it was pointed out that our tree was on a lean. I would like to clarify that it’s NOT leaning. Chris did a great job at getting the tree set up. It’s very much upright… It just didn’t grow evenly on all sides.

I’ve yet to be responsible, at any point in my life, for picking out a Christmas tree. But I imagine if I did, I would walk around the entirety of the tree, checking it out from multiple angles, making sure it was as even as could be.

But like I said, I haven’t ever had to go buy a tree. So what the hell do I know about what tree options are available? A whole bunch of nothing, that’s what.

All I know is I love our tree. This is our 7th Christmas together, but it’s the first time we’ve decorated a tree together. Both of us have memories of decorating the tree with our fathers (parents, but mostly our dads), and it’s nice to make these new memories together.

Weird how one tree can make me feel like Christmas is saved, huh?

After an hour at Target yesterday, we are back on track. A failed trip to Home Depot will henceforth be known as “That Time Chris Almost Ruined Christmas, But He Didn’t, So It’s Fine, So Get Over It, It’s Fine.” That’s all I’m saying about that.

Last night I cooked half a dinner at our friend Corey’s house, the other half provided by leftovers from Merry Black Christmas. Shout out to Allyson for delicious food she’s always cooking. We drank–wait for it–watermelon double IPA beer. That 10% and lovely bitterness and low low price made the watermelon worth it. It was a like a summer-themed Blue Moon. I wouldn’t recommend it.

But we were soon drunk adjacent and happily enjoying roasted chicken breast with mushroom gravy, green beans, butter-dipped artichoke, cornbread, and macaroni & cheese. We flipped back and forth between Last Holiday and whatever football game was on. Chris and I decorated the tree when we got back home. To me, it felt like the official start of our holiday celebrations.

Tonight, we’ve got a birthday hang that will span a bar I’ve never been to and a jazz club I go to all the time. It’s our friend Deadria’s farewell to her twenties. Corey has his regular jam session he leads at Smalls Jazz Club, and as usual, if we’re out, that’s where we’re ending the night.

Tomorrow, hopefully I’ll get some packing done for our upcoming trip, then we have a Christmas Eve party to go to being thrown by my friend Michael from college who lives nearby in Brooklyn.

Christmas will be a quiet day with just me and Chris (for now, lol). We’re going to see Fences in theaters. It’s not a movie unless Viola Davis is crying out her nose. I’m cooking us a tasty simple meal.

On Boxing Day, I’ll be at work, and when I get home, I’m going to watch the Sense8 Holiday Special on Netflix with my best friend David. It’s one of the shows we try and watch together even though we don’t live in the same state. Go technology. We both love Christmas, and it’s really cool that the first episode of season two is doubling as a Christmas special. I’m also working on the 27th. But I’m leaving work early on Tuesday, heading home to get my packed bag and my husband, then we’re headed to the airport.

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago I was over everything. But now I’m back on track. I’m excited for the next two weeks, like really excited. Not sure-to-be-disappointed-because-reality-can’t-live-up excited. More like who-knows-what-each-day-will-bring-so-bring-it-on excited.

Now for your visual enjoyment, my Tannenbaum and other Christmas accoutrement (when it’s singular, it’s without the s, right?):

I know it looks like it's leaning, but I swear it's not!

I know it looks like it’s leaning, but I swear it’s not! The more I look at this tree, I’m thinking, “is it really that great?” But then I’m like, “of course it is, that tree is adorable, and anyone who disagrees is blind to the truth.” So dramatic, I know, whatever.

Our cat Jazz simply had to inspect the tree. Chris chose that fabric hangy ball thing for them. Fingers crossed they don't use it to pull down the tree.

Our cat Jazz simply had to inspect the tree. Chris chose that fabric hangy ball thing for them. Fingers crossed they don’t use it to pull down the tree.

Our older cat Belle, being creepy as fuck as usual, also inspecting the tree, and judging the rest of us for our mirth.

Our older cat Belle, being creepy as fuck as usual, also inspecting the tree, and judging the rest of us for our mirth. Also, we clearly need to sweep up the needles that got sacrificed on the altar of artificial lights.

So... this was a random Etsy purchase that I love and am choosing not to justify. The inside writing is the only reason I'd pay money for White Santa. I just really love this mug. #sorrynotsorry

So… this was a random Etsy purchase that I love and am choosing not to justify. The inside writing is the only reason I’d pay money for White Santa. I just really love this mug. #sorrynotsorry

You’re welcome. 😉


Still Got Time To Get The Holidays Right, Or At Least Better Than What I’ve Been Doing So Far

There’s a medium sized chance that I’m getting Christmas, and life, back on track.

We actually got a tree yesterday. And by we, I mean, my husband went and got one before he had to be at school while I was at work. That poor little tree is still undecorated.

We still have a couple of days to make it happen though.

The cats are once again welcoming of the tree. They play with each other around it, drink from the tree water (which leads to vomiting, but you try and stop them), and pose in very photogenic ways around it.

The plan is to somehow magically find time to go buy lights for the tree, and maybe a couple of ornaments. We have a few. I bought Starbucks cup ornaments on a whim a couple of years ago, and there’s something made of glass that I don’t remember getting, so Chris must be responsible for those.

I think that will be the full extent of the Christmas decorating. If we’re in New York for Christmas next year, maybe we’ll build on that.

The main reason not to do too much is that we’re going to Paris for New Year’s! I’m super excited. I finally finalized our travel arrangements and accommodations today. I know, I know, cutting it kinda close there. But it’s done.

I’m hoping to change up our travel style a bit. We have a habit of doing a whole bunch of nothing when we travel. To be clear, I say that with extreme prejudicial fondness. My favorite thing to do on a day off is nothing. Chilling out, making sure I don’t tire myself out, and making grand efforts only to eat.

But I’ve been inspired by the travels of those close to me. They leave their rooms each day, exploring everything they can walk or ride or boat to, taking amazing pictures every step of the way. I’ve decided I wanna be more like that.

With any luck, our days will be spent exploring the city on foot, stopping at museums, shops, galleries, pubs, and cafes. Our evenings will be filled with good food and live music. And then we’ll do it all again the next day.

The leisurely nature of exploring and being spontaneous appeals to me more than making an itinerary just to see all I want to see it. I’m gonna have this attitude: If I see it, great. If I don’t, then that’s just a reason to come back again one day.

Wish me luck that when it’s time to put on pants, I actually get off my ass and seize the day.

And wish me luck that the French speakers in Paris and the French and Dutch speakers in Brussels are kind to us. Did I mention we’re going to Brussels too? Only took me 32 years to take a trip to Europe, trying to squeeze as much out of it as I can.

Same Day Delivery Anxiety

I don’t know why I did it y’all. I looked on the Amazon forums to check the reliability of the company Amazon uses for same day delivery. Why did I do that?

Up until today, I never used the Amazon Prime same day delivery. I do a lot of online shopping. A LOT.

The strong need for headphones that work coupled with an inability to take a real break at work while the stores are still open on a Sunday will make you do strange things.

Because my job is in an office building, I had my doubts as to whether this was a good idea, but decided to take the risk. The purchase on the Amazon website is always painless. This time was no different.

Item purchased, tracking number generated, then… nothing.

I was confused as to why there weren’t quicker updates, I guess I’m UPS spoiled.

I found the LaserShip company’s website and started tracking the package there. Then, for some reason I cannot explain, I googled LaserShip tracking for Amazon packages.

Welp… Google sent me to a page on the Amazon Carrier Feedback forum. It was not pretty. Since May 25, 2010, there have been 5604 posts from 2636 individual participants, with the most recent post being 2 days ago.

I read back several pages from the most recent, and only 2 statements were mildly positive.


  1. When LaserShip invariably fucks up, ask Amazon for a free month of Prime rather than a price reduction on your purchased item
  2. Deal with Amazon first rather than LaserShip
  3. LaserShip sucks
  4. LaserShip really sucks
  5. If you ever want to see your package… TOO BAD

Yeah, if I were a person with uncontrollable anxiety or outward physiological responses to my emotions, I’d be covered in hives and hyperventilating right now.

It’s not even that big of a deal, it’s just some dumb headphones.

But I hate when things don’t work the way they’re supposed to. Amazon is quite often touting their One Day Delivery in the NYC area. I felt like this was a low stakes way to take advantage of a new service. I think I was wrong.


Fingers crossed that this goes well, and I don’t end up sending a tip to the News12 Consumer Investigations line tonight.


When Easter Gets Cancelled, I Bake & I Bike

One of the best things about living in New York City is that everything can be delivered or outsourced.

Laundry? We drop off our clothes and our laundry lady hooks them up.

Cleaning Supplies? or are happy to help.

Need a babysitter? has you

Groceries? For my neighborhood, it’s either a co-op or FreshDirect.

Chris and I dislike grocery shopping so much that even a co-op is asking too much of us. So we use FreshDirect. And since this is New York, eventually the delivery and customer service was going to let me all the way down.

Back around Thanksgiving, I made the mistake of not submitting my order by the time deadline. Chris and I ended up in a grocery store at 10pm the night before Thanksgiving, buying all the stuff that wasn’t delivered. I wasn’t happy about that, but that was my fault.

This past weekend however, is totally on FreshDirect. When I woke up on Saturday, I saw an e-mail from them saying they were trying to reach me by phone.

I called them and they said the driver came by at 9am, but no one was home. My angry black woman almost came out right then y’all. I informed the lady on the phone that my husband and I had been home all morning, and we have the worlds loudest doorbell, so there’s no way they rang our doorbell and missed us.

She said they tried to call, and they “always call”, and why didn’t I answer the phone? I explained to her, that “always” doesn’t apply in my case because in almost 2 years of deliveries, I’ve never received a phone call from any driver ever because we only request the delivery when we’re home, and it’s “never” been an issue until today.

She said she’d reschedule the delivery and they would swing back by our house before ending their route, around 2p.

Of course, 2p came and went, with no delivery. I called back around 4p to find out what happened. This time I got a man who told me this:

-it does say it was scheduled for re-delivery

-they didn’t re-deliver my groceries

-they have gone back to the warehouse and dismantled my assembled groceries

-their shift is over and they’ve gone home

-he doesn’t know why my groceries weren’t delivered

-is there anything else he can do for me


So I tell him:

-you haven’t actually done anything for me

-Just confirming, that my Easter dinner is cancelled, and there’s nothing you can do about that?

-Who do I speak with to file an official complaint?


He took $25 of my next order. He rescheduled my delivery for Wednesday.

While waiting for the food to arrive, Easter was over, and that meant carbs!

I couldn’t decide what to make, but I knew it was going to include bread or potatoes or rice. I ended up modifying a recipe for apple muffins and made and apple-blueberry-pear loaf in a bundt pan. It was delicious.

For good measure, I also made red onion-garlic-baby bella mini frittatas. Breakfast-on-the-go was what I was going for, and it worked pretty well.

I also considered making butter cookies, but decided against that. I have quite the list of carb-y goodness that I’ve just been waiting to eat, but I don’t want to overdo it. So I’m pacing myself and only eating one thing at a time.

Sunday: that apple loaf thingee

Monday: pasta

Tuesday-Friday: I ate a bag of potato chips. I split the bag into portions so that I stayed under my daily carb limit. I’m seriously impressed that I managed to stay within the limit

And today, I had french toast. And it was so damn good. Definitely over the carb limit, so maybe no carbs tomorrow.

I fell into the trap y’all. I did a little bit of exercising, so I thought it was okay to go overboard.

In my defense, I really did a lot of exercising. I went to yoga yesterday, and it felt really good.

I love my yoga studio in Brooklyn. I go to Sacred Yoga, and the teachers are so great there. This class was a foundations class, and it was so beneficial because I got to press reset on some on my yoga poses. Reinforcing all the things I’m supposed to be focusing on in each pose was great.

Since I bought my new bike on Easter, I was happy to ride it to yoga. I love this new bike. The only thing wrong with it is it doesn’t have that step through thing that makes it easy to wear a skirt with, but just look at it.

I had to add a basket, a kickstand, head & tail lights, a water bottle holder, and tire locks. But totally worth it if I stay safe and my bike stays un-stolen. Image from Fulton Bikes

Riding it makes me feel so exhilarated. It goes pretty fast without much effort on my part and the gear shifts making riding the mild elevation changes in my neighborhood much easier than on my other bike.

I also decided I would ride the bike to the train station going to and from work to get in a little bit more exercise. The first day, I just went to the nearest station, but today I decided to go much further. I got almost all the way to downtown Brooklyn before I got tired.

I hopped off the bike, locked it up with my super high duty lock, and headed down the subway steps. I reached into my purse to grab my Metrocard.

And nothing.

I didn’t have my Metrocard. I didn’t have my backup Metrocard. I didn’t have my debit or credit cards. I didn’t even have my ID or the singles I keep just in case. I only had about $1.38 in change floating in the bottom of my purse.

Everything I needed was in my yoga bag. So I walked my tired butt back up to the bike, called work to tell them I’d be late, and biked back home.

By the time I got to my house, My legs were feeling very jelly-like. Mind you, this was hardly any distance at all, only a few miles. But for me, who has done next to no biking or serious exercising in months, I was done.

I took the bike back inside, grabbed my money and ID, and went to the bus stop.

The good news is that I got in my full exercise on the bike for the day. I’m thinking I should keep it up and do my Tracy Anderson DVD when I get home. I unfortunately can’t do yoga everyday because of working in Manhattan and the studio not being open early or late enough. We’ll see how I feel when I get home.

I’m trying to ramp up the exercise, and go with what feels good. But I’m also feeling like I should set some sort of schedule that I can make myself stick to. It’s a fine line to walk.

I’ve started and stopped this “attempt to get healthy” thing so many times. I just really want it to stick this time.

I’ve got good motivation though.

I just got plane tickets for Chris and I to go to the Dominican Republic this August for that family vacation. If that’s not motivation to get my body right, I don’t know what is.

I also got my ticket to go visit my parents next month. I’m going during the week, right before Mother’s Day. Should be a fun couple of days. It’s going to feel so weird going to their new house and that being their home. But I’m excited for it.

I’m excited for a lot right now: the sandwich I’m going to get from Potbelly one day this week, riding my bike more (NOT today), shopping for a swimsuit this summer). All these damn endorphins have got me going. Cross your fingers that the feeling lasts!

Just The Icing, Still No Cake

Easter is on Sunday, and I’m so excited! Part of me wishes I could say it was religious reasons, but it’s not. It’s for food and shopping reasons.

Lent ends real soon. And I gave up carbs and shopping for Lent, as you know. So all of you can go from being mini cupcakes back to being regular human people. You can keep your whipped cream frosting if you’d like.

One of my friends, the lawyer has a plan for the end of her Lent. Our girl is having a birthday dinner in Chicago on Saturday night. And of course there will be a cake. So my friend the lawyer is planning on getting a piece (or three) of this birthday cake and keeping it until midnight. After dinner, and likely dancing, there will be birthday cake.

When she said her plan for ending Lent, I knew I had to come up with one of my own. I thought about making one of the amazing recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest recently, just go full carb.

But that didn’t seem appropriate. I certainly haven’t lost any real weight since I’ve cut out carbs, but I feel a bit like I’ve cut an addiction. So I think I’ll just make some roasted red potatoes to go with my Easter dinner, and leave the carbs at that.

Speaking of Pinterest, I’ve been told by a few people how amazing it is, I’ve even been called a walking Pinterest, which I wasn’t sure was a compliment. But I love Pinterest!

All the hair ideas, clothing ideas, food ideas, drink ideas, design ideas. And I’m sure that’s just tip of the iceberg. I probably has one million and one cute cat pictures, I just haven’t stumbled across those boards yet.

I’m only using it (right now) to have a board for my Stitch Fix stylist and to get great accessory ideas. I got an idea I got for how to wear a head scarf, and I tried it out on Tuesday.

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But back to the end of Lent. If I’m not going to go all carb, all day, I have to do something, and that something is going to be shopping.

It’s not going to be just shopping for the sake of shopping though. I’m going to be useful shopping. I’m going to take some of the money I’ve saved not shopping during Lent and buy a bicycle.

Every single bike I’ve ever owned has been stolen. I guess that’s the price of living in the hood (or hood-adjacent) all my life.

So while priority #1 for this bike will be the usual: it must be super cute, priority #2 is that it must must be lightweight.

The reason my last bike was stolen is because I had a cheap lock on it and kept it locked up outside. It was just so heavy to carry in and out of the brownstone where I live.

So this new bike that I will hopefully purchase on Sunday will:

1) be cute

2) be very lightweight

3) be turquoise

4) have some sort of basket for carrying things, and some other way to carry stuff on it

5) be old-style looking

6) be a relatively reasonable price

7) help me get my ass back to yoga

I’d like it to look something like this:

I just really want to get back to yoga. I always feel my best when I go regularly, I still have my monthly membership, and with a bike I can easily get back and forth to the studio.

Perhaps I’ll ride the bike even more now that Spring has truly come to NYC. With a real lock this time, I’ll have less worries of it being stolen. Then perhaps the bike can provide useful transportation as well as exercise.

Exercise is something I need in my life. Not just because I’m 30 and my body is already responding differently (ie, worse) to the lack of exercise. And not just because my family is going on vacation to the Dominican Republic this August and I’m trying get that beach body right. But because I want to feel like myself again.

I want the increased energy, I want the better sleep at night, and I want the confidence.

I want to be able to grab anything out of my closet and not have to hope it’ll zip up today. I want to wake up refreshed, not be so lethargic.

And the fact that the key to all of this seems to be shopping, well that’s just the whipped cream icing on the cake. Well, still no cake. I’m going to try and stay low carb even after Lent is over.

You Are All Mini Cupcakes to Me

Twenty-six days since my last post. As horrible as that sounds, it is an improvement over the months between the last two posts. Sometimes life is like that, you know?

I checked the weather forecast today, and for the first in months (months!), the forecast says it will not drop below freezing again. Ever again. Well, at least not for the next 10 days. God willing, it will stay above freezing all day every day for the next 7 1/2 months. Fingers crossed New Yorkers.

Checking the weather made me feel hopeful. It’s funny how my outlook on life can be tied to the weather. Not my mood necessarily, but how optimistic and productive I’ll be in a given day.

Even though it was super cold on my walk to work from the subway, I felt happy. I knew it was the last 24 degree morning I’d have to walk through for a long time, so I was feeling full of energy.

Consequently, I had a very productive day at work. I’m talking a cross-everything-off-your-to-do-list, come-up-with-new-tasks-cause-you’re-in-the-mood level of productiveness.

And not feeling completely drained from the combination of “work and not completing said work” has led me to writing this post.

I want to talk about shopping. I gave up shopping for Lent. Shopping and carbs.

Shit, it’s been hard. I may or may not have fallen off the wagon a couple of times. For carbs, falling off the wagon includes eating 4 french fries or sweet potatoe fries or a bowl of cereal here or there. Otherwise, I keep my carb intake to less than 15g per serving.

It’s really impressive that I haven’t made myself a big batch of mashed potatoes. I miss potatoes. And breadsticks. And cake.

For shopping, falling off the wagon looks like this:

While I’m still trying to figure out my own home-made shampoo, Carol’s daughter has some amazing new products I’m trying, even though I should’ve waited until after Easter.

And also like this:

This is my current “everyday” bag for the beginning of Spring. Technically neutral, so cute, holds everything I need. Now I definitely should NOT have bought it, but I love it so.

And… also like this:

This I bought the day I bought all those Carol’s Daughter products… I needed something to carry them home in! When I was at the airport, everyone that looked remotely my age was carrying these super stylish and fun backpacks, so I joined the trend. I have nothing to say for myself.

But other those lovely finds, I only purchased what was pre-ordered (meaning, I never had to click “checkout”), and food, which was allowed, as long as it didn’t have carbs.

Most of my favorite places to eat have very little carb-free options. Everything is fried or in sandwich form or served over pasts. I miss sandwiches. The willpower it took to avoid Potbelly’s during lunch one day is what led to the pink bag pictured above. It was either that or walking to Penn Station to buy a Cinnabon.

I miss Cinnabon. I haven’t had one in literally years. But still…

I’ve been coping with what I gave up for Lent by living vicariously through others. When I went to Indianapolis to visit my friend who just had a baby, we went grocery shopping, bought the baby a dress, and had her take pictures with the Easter bunny. That was good money spending, it scratched the itch a bit, you know?

She looks like a doll. A little doll nestled in an Easter basket. Her daddy picked that dress for, and he did well, if I do say so myself.

She looks like a doll. A little doll nestled in an Easter basket. Her daddy picked that dress for her, and he did well, if I do say so myself.

When it comes to carbs, I’ve gotten quite creative. I’ve been eating meals that are basically exactly what I’d eat if I turned vegetarian, mixed with a whole bunch of meat.

For example, I made a dish with quinoa, black beans, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, basil, and sauteed kale. It was a hearty, delicious, low-carb dish. It was still low carb because I only had a 1/3 cup cooked quinoa in one serving of it.

But because I’m me, I added bacon to it and ate it alongside siracha, worchester & white balsamic glazed chicken wings. I’d be such a good vegetarian, but I don’t wanna, and you can’t make me.

And another way I cope with carbs is to imagine those around me as carbs. Like in a cartoon where the hungry character imagines their friend as a turkey leg.

I’ve been imagining my co-workers as all sorts of things. They get a kick out of me figuring out what each person is. I have a buttermilk biscuit, a single breadstick from Olive Garden, fried zucchini, a blondie, fettuccine alfredo, and squid ink gnocchi just to name a few. Drool.

And those of you who are reading this, in my mind you are all mini cupcakes.

This image comes from

This image comes from The Cupcake Blog. If you  bake, seriously check out this blog.

Perhaps you are 24 assorted flavors, like you get in the grocery store, but a good grocery store. Like Publix. With whipped cream frosting and no artificial colors.

I miss Publix. They’re down in Florida and they made the best sweet tea. And fresh hoagie rolls. And breaded chicken tenders. And store-brand cookies. Simply the best.

Okay. Moving on. Staying strong.

There are benefits to all of this deprivation. Saving money is nice. And not gaining weight is also nice.

I’d like to switch from “not gaining” to “actually losing”. I have a plan for that. I’m back down to only the one job because working 14 out of every 15 days was B-A-N-A-N-A-S. After a few days off with absolutely nothing, I’m planning on taking my ass back to yoga.

Even though my bike was stolen, I’m thinking I’ll just walk there because driving then finding parking is ridiculous.

Which brings me back to the weather. It’s feeling so spring-ish that I feel like walking 20+ minutes to my yoga studio.

Or maybe I’ll take the money I’ve saved the last 5 weeks and buy myself another bike next Sunday.

This is the best part of spring. Feeling like the possibilities are endless is one of my favorite ways to feel.

Potential is my drug.

I’m off to do bit of window shopping. Cupcakes and bicycles.

June’s Wine School: Dry Riesling

As I mentioned when I discussed May’s wine choice, I purchased this bottle from a place in California and had to have it shipped to Missouri, where one of my best friends then physically brought it to me in New York.

Totally worth it though because I really wanted to try the exact wine Eric Asimov suggested, and I simply don’t have it in me to visit multiple different wine shops locally.

Not when it can be found online.

What can I say?

I’m a millennial, don’t judge me.

So, I haven’t been blogging with the consistency I would like, but five posts in four weeks is an improvement over recent history. Plus, I’ve been busy.

I went back to yoga! Hot yoga is the best! I’ve been so busy with this departmental transition at work. if you follow me on Instagram, you saw me post one of my last “goodnight Empire State Building” posts meaning I’m moving to the day shift. I’m still trying out the video blogging thing. A few logistics are tripping me up, but I’m almost there.

And sleep, sleep takes up a bunch of my time.

Anyway, back to this wine.

I tried June’s wine the day after I tried the Sancerre from May.

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice how much I love Riesling. It’s my favorite white wine. I was already moving more towards drier Rieslings even before I fell in love with Bordeaux. But since my love affair with Bordeaux began, I pretty much have to drink a dry Riesling if I’m going to drink Riesling at all.

Expecting to love this bottle of wine, I eagerly opened it. And I was not disappointed. I was everything I already love about Riesling: sweet-but-not-too-sweet, acidic tartness somewhere far in the back, feels like 100% juice in the mouth, always inviting me to take another sip.

Let’s talk about sweet-but-not-too-sweet. If you don’t like sweet wines at all, you won’t like this. But Riesling has always been my go-to wine for super newbies to try. People who swear wine is too bitter for them can usually find something to like about Riesling. The wine I usually have them try is now too sweet for me to drink with any regularity, but this Riesling was great, not too sweet.

Now about this acidic tartness. The best comparison is the feeling you get in your mouth when you’re eating sauteed cabbage that’s been finished with vinegar. In my mouth, it has that same tartness. If you don’t like cabbage, ignore that comparison. But seriously, sauteed cabbage with bacon and finished with white wine vinegar? So good. That’s what I should have made to go with this wine!

No time for regrets though. We’re on to the mouth feel. When I say it felt like 100% juice, I mean it didn’t feel heavy. Unless you shop exclusively organic, you’ve at some point bought juice that wasn’t quite all “juice”. That syrupy mouth-coating feeling you get from Hawaiian Punch, Sunny D, or juice cocktail is the feeling I’m saying this wine didn’t have. It just felt clean and clear, if that makes sense.

Last is the inviting nature. I’ve never had trouble finishing a bottle of Riesling, and this bottle was no different. Unlike the Beaujolais, which I had to put in effort to finish the bottle of, the Riesling was gone. And missed. It surprised me when I discovered the bottle was empty. It wasn’t a happy moment.

The bottle I tried was Donnhoff Nahe Riesling Trocken. I found it online, and I think I paid ~$20 for it, not including shipping.

May's bottle of Sancerre and June's bottle of Riesling. Riesling is on the left.

May’s bottle of Sancerre and June’s bottle of Riesling. Riesling is on the left.

Because of the time I took off from blogging, I ended up purchasing the next five months of wine school bottles all at once, which was nice because I saved on the shipping.

If you’d like to see what Eric Asimov from the New York Times has to say about Dry Riesling, click here.

On Attending Wine School in March: Bordeaux

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Last month, I started talking about the series of articles in the New York Times they are calling Wine School. I was pretty excited about participating, and so far it’s been amazing.

Last month was Bordeaux. This month is Beaujolais, which is currently en route to my house for much more than I wanted to pay in shipping. I’m hoping next month’s wine is found locally. Cross your fingers for me.

Before I even get to April’s wine, I have to talk about what an experience March was.

Bordeaux is tannin-ful wine. A quick trip to Wikipedia will tell you about tannins. The short version is drinking something with tannins in it feels like your mouth is dry.

Then they pour sand into your dry mouth.

Then swallowing feels difficult.

Then they add more sand.

Then they let your tongue bake in the sun until it feel like a raisin. Not a juicy raisin though.

Then they add more sand.

At least that’s how I felt with my very first sip of the wine.

But Eric Asimov is a genius and thought to warn lesser-than wine drinkers such as myself to prepare for that reaction.

So I let it happen, and leaned into the feeling. After the sandy moment passed, I felt thirsty, so I took another sip. And another, and another.

At this point, I felt like a character in The Phantom Tollbooth, you know, the one eating subtraction soup, so I stopped drinking and started eating.

I prepared pretty much the exact meal I wanted to prepare to go with this wine. Delicious and mouth-watering red meat really is the perfect accompaniment to this wine.

I used a recipe, also found in the New York Times, for a great skirt steak recipe. I’ve used it again since that first night, and the steak is always flavored perfectly.

Image via

Easy and I had a delicious dinner that night, but honestly, I only liked the wine, I didn’t love it.

When I got home from work the next night, I poured myself another glass.

Things had improved. I went from feeling only dry and nothing else to feeling good.

The wine was now fruity, though I couldn’t tell you which fruit I tasted. It was still dry, but now enjoyably so. I suddenly wanted a hunk of cheese to enjoy with it.

I’m not sure how much wine you should pour into one glass while drinking at home, but we never get more than 4 glasses of wine out of a bottle. That meant with dinner the first night, and my glass the second night, there was one left.

I decided to leave it for the third day.

It was even better the third day. The tannins I was cursing on day one were now good friends. They encouraged me to eat mouth-watering foods that were rich and full of flavor.

And when I finally finished the bottle, it was with regret. I missed it already. There was no way I was buying another bottle of this same wine, the cost was prohibitive for me.

So instead, I dreamed about the wine like a summer-only boyfriend from camp. Wondering if he’d think of me like I would think of him once we were forcibly parted.

I went the next day to my Midtown Manhattan wine guy and had him select another Bordeaux for me to try. I had to try to move on. I was hoping recommended Bordeaux wines were as interchangeable as summer flings

Luckily, the second Bordeaux was also good. Actually it was great. And it confirmed for me that I’m now a Bordeaux drinker, like officially.

So now I’m a Bordeaux drinker. I think it is my favorite red wine for now.

But April is almost over, and I will have to see if this month’s Beaujolais can take the place of Bordeaux. It’s low in tannins though, so the frenemy-turned-best-friend wine ingredient that I have come to love won’t get to play a role in this month’s food drama. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Wine School?? Hell Yeah, Challenge Accepted

Did you ever have that moment where you’re reading something on Wikipedia and you look up 7 hours later wondering how you got from Batman comic books to a historical exploration of homosexuality in Greece to the population demographics of African countries in 1900s to Reese Witherspoon’s filmography?

I know it is not just me.

This type of thing happens to me more than I’d care to admit. And it is not just Wikipedia. It happens when I Google something and then jump from website to website reading randomly connected articles all linking to one another. Last night, I was berating myself for somehow missing that Fred Armisen and Elisabeth Moss have divorced and they met when Jon Hamm hosted SNL. How did I miss that?

Anyway, this type of internet browsing happens to me often enough where I’m officially frustrated that I don’t have a wonderfully pithy catchphrase to describe it.

Last night my browsing took me to the New York Times online. It started where it always does, at the Opinion pages. Then The Gun Report. By the way, ten people got shot in Chicago on Monday. The first day over 50 degrees. Really, Chicago?!

After hopping from article to article, somehow I ended up trying to decide if I would beg Easy to try a new recipe for polenta or quinoa. My gut says polenta because he’s weird about texture, but somehow that sent me to a string of articles about which wines to pair with which meals.

Then I had that moment, where I’m all like, “my people!”

Then I mentioned this concept to a co-worker and she called it pretentious.

Then I was sad. She didn’t mean it as an official insult, just as an observation, but still.

Then I remembered I don’t really care what people think, which is why I don’t mind that even writing this blog post is furthering me being labelled by my entire family of in-laws as bourgie (is that how you spell the hood way of saying bourgeois? I never knew for sure).

Anyway, back to my point.

The man recommended champagne as the perfect wine pairing to fried chicken. I think I just met my best friend y’all. Eric Asimov used to write in Chicago, now he writes in New York. I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss all the wonderful things he has to say.

I’ll forgive myself for not seeing the man before today. It’s like the nerdy guy in high school that no one noticed was hot the whole time until he returns for Thanksgiving break freshman year of college.

Yesterday was the perfect day to notice Mr. Asimov because today he started Wine School.

Here’s how it will work: Each month I will pick a type of wine we will explore together. I will suggest three representative examples of that wine, and if you want to join me, I hope you will be able to find at least one of those bottles. If they are not at your wine shop, which is always frustrating, consider asking your merchant to find them, searching for them in other wine stores or ordering them online. You have time to hunt them down.

I was in when he told me to get out my corkscrew. Just reading pas articles of his about wine pairings let me know I have so much to learn. Right now, I’m all Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. In every single article of his I read, there were at least three wines mentioned I didn’t even know existed.

So, I’m getting out my corkscrew and signing up for wine school. I’m so excited!

The first wine type is Bordeax. It just so happens that I have a bottle of white Bordeax at home. My favorite wine shop in the West Village recommended it to me the last time I was in retail therapy mode. But I’m going to stick with his list of recommendations.

His best suggestion for wine school? This is not wine tasting, it’s wine drinking. Wine tasting is how professionals learn a lot about a variety of wines quickly. But he wants his pupils to learn about the wine and really dive in, get to know the wines, drink the entire bottle over more than one meal, if you can.

If all school were like this, I’d have 5 degrees.

Here are the three wines Eric Asimov wants me to try one or two of:

CHÂTEAU BERNADOTTE HAUT-MÉDOC 2009 $32 (Sherry-Lehmann Selections/Le Reine Importing, New York)
CHÂTEAU CANTEMERLE HAUT-MÉDOC 2009 $53 (Frederick Wildman & Sons, New York)
CHÂTEAU SOCIANDO-MALLET HAUT-MÉDOC 2009 $62 (Frederick Wildman & Sons)

I wish they cost less money, but advanced education is hardly ever cheap. Eric Asimov says there’s no need to buy all three wines. Just pick one, pair it with simply prepared lamb or beef, and don’t forget to take notes.

Like I said, challenge accepted.

Celebrating A Cross-Country Anniversary

As I mentioned in my last post, the husband is in Chicago, so we weren’t together for our anniversary. But in honor of our anniversary, I’m giving him a request he probably doesn’t even know I paid attention to. The husband doesn’t want the name “the husband” anymore on this blog.

I previously called him Easy (which was a random ass reference to a book by the author of Gossip Girl), and he wants to go back to that. I apologize for the future confusion, but he is now Easy.

You’re welcome Easy.

We couldn’t do dinner or sex or a carriage ride or anything else celebratory for our anniversary, but we could exchange gifts. Seeing as how gift giving is my love language, I was all for this cross-country gift exchange.

Our anniversaries are Feb 8th and Feb 11th (married one day, wedding the other day). I wanted to do something for Easy for both, but I also wanted to get gifts that are the traditional 2nd anniversary gift category.

There just aren’t a lot of options for cotton anniversary gifts.

I settled on getting him a pair of jeans and something else that I can’t reveal yet because for some reason, it has yet to arrive in the mail. But the jeans were a good purchase if I do say so myself. I got the size wrong because I suck.

Easy was nice enough to tell me the jeans weren’t that far off and he even wore them out to his gigs last night. All we’ll have to do is get them shortened when he gets back. I have a pair of pants bought for me as a birthday gift by my mother last year that still need to go to the tailor.

This is a perfect opportunity to finally get a tailor!

Easy says my gift is in the mail. But he said that days ago, so I assume he meant it and I will just have to get a lovely delivery soon. I don’t think he meant, “the gift is in the mail” like an overdue bill. We’ll see.

Just kidding, if he says he sent me something, I know it’s coming.

But enough about yesterday. Let’s back up to Saturday, as that was our first second anniversary.

Originally I wasn’t going to get him anything because like I said, there aren’t a lot of great cotton gift options.

But we spoke on the phone Saturday afternoon and I felt a surge of gift-giving love towards Easy, and I wanted to make it happen.

Plus, when I was at the soup kitchen earlier, my friends told me I should send him something like flowers to one of his gigs for Valentine’s Day. I’m certainly not going to do that, but it did plant the seed for sending something for our anniversary.

After we got off the phone, I checked with Google (who knows my life and loves me) and found a couple of bakeries near where his gig was that were still open.

I picked the one with the best yelp reviews and called them up. They don’t take same day orders and it was past their delivery window, but the girl on the phone worked with me once I told her what I wanted.

They had cupcakes in-house already prepared fresh that day. She said if I could get someone to their location in the next 70 minutes, she would let me pay over the phone and they could pickup the cupcakes of my choice.

I made some calls to some of the hundreds of members of our wedding party. I finally found a friend who came the closest to what I needed (doing nothing, in the city, has a car, wearing pants), and asked if she would do me this huge favor.

She didn’t have on pants, but she quickly rectified that and hopped in her car to race against the clock and the snow to make it to the bakery before closing.

I called back to the bakery, placed my order, paid over the phone and crossed my fingers.

In the meantime, I called our friend who works at the place where the gig was, pleaded her help to get in the outside surprise anniversary food, and secured her assistance.

The whole thing felt like a covert op that could fall apart if you pulled on errant string.

My friend managed to make it to the bakery right on time, and got the cupcakes delivered before Easy arrived for his gig. If she wasn’t already (which I suspect she was), she is now Easy’s favorite of all my friends.

But it worked out!

chris eat cupcakes chris with cupcakes

As Easy was making some sort of speech near the end of the night about how awesome the club was and how happy he was that he was back at a place that always felt like home, our friend brought out the cupcakes.

He got so excited thinking they bought him cupcakes. When she clarified they were from me, he got even more excited. That’s me he’s on the phone with while he’s eating one of the cupcakes.

All I could think when I saw those pictures was how much I wanted a cupcake.

But no cupcakes for me because I’m trying to get healthier. Which is what I’ll discuss in my next post.

Easy liked his anniversary presents, so I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. Now I just have to figure out Valentine’s Day. I’m sure Google has a good idea for me.

Signing On the Dotted Line

After we saw the fake one bed-room that’s perfect for a single girl’s first NYC apartment, we moved on. The assistant’s assistant broker pulled out his phone and sets up a walking GPS to direct us to the next apartment.

He should’ve given us the rundown of where we were going so we could mentally prepare. But instead, he gave us step by step instructions. When he said, “it’s just around the corner,” that translated to “many many more steps after we turn this corner, the first of which is pure hell.”

After walking from 190th to 188th, we turn the corner and see the tallest hill I’ve ever been forced to climb. The incline was so steep, so damn steep, that I could hold my head level and see the ground ahead of me only a few yards away.

My best friend and I were pissed.

So the three of us are walking up this awful hill, sweating and cursing under our breath. After about 100 steps, we were only halfway there. At this point, the cursing starts being out loud.

I wanted to maintain a professional  demeanor so I would come off like a serious potential renter. But by the time we got to the top of the hill, that demeanor was gone. Everything out my mouth was, “what the hell?!” and “am I being hazed?!”

My two dads were in a nice air conditioned car meeting us there. They didn’t get to see the first apartment, but since it a was a definite no, that was fine. They got the second apartment right after we did.

My father-in-law walked into the apartment building while my dad was looking for parking. He passed my best friend who was posted on a window ledge inside the building foyer. She let him know that the assistant’s assistant broker and I were up on the fourth floor.

As soon as he made it up the steps, he let me know that there was no way his son was going to be okay with staying in a fourth floor walkup. Then he looked out the window and saw the clotheslines strung between the walls. The building was setup with a faux-courtyard in the center, and the residents had set it up for laundry purposes.

My dad arrived just as we were taking a good look at the kitchen. He told me I broke my best friend. Then he took a look around the apartment and didn’t say much else. He took some pictures, but mostly just looked concerned. Then I called him into the kitchen.

I pointed out how there seemed to be a lot of cabinet space. But there was an issue with the cabinets over the kitchen sink. They seemed to slope downward towards the window. The shelves themselves has a slight downward slope.

My dad thought maybe I wasn’t seeing it right. So I closed the cabinet doors and he immediately saw I was correct because the cabinet doors looked like steps. Each door from the left to the right was about an inch lower than the previous one. That meant the left door of each cabinet didn’t cover the bottom and the right door didn’t cover the top. It was terrible.

We moved on.

I’ll skip the next couple of apartments. Just know they were varying versions of bad. They were also several blocks away. There was no way I was walking, so my dad just offered to take us all. So me, my best friend, my two dads, and the assistant’s assistant broker squeezed into the car for another hour and a half.

My best friend sat in the car, in the air conditioning, for the next couple of apartments. It was great for her because she got to feel better after the hell of climbing that hill. It was great for us because we didn’t have to find parking on any of these busy streets.

She joined us for the last apartment. And it was awful.

This apartment was the only one all four of us saw, so of course it had to be the worst by far.

The walls were red. And not like Big’s-bedroom-wall-in-Sex-and-the-City red. It was more like a-virgin-sacrifice-just-happened-here-and-this-was-the-color-of-her-blood red. The floors were jacked.

The windows had layers of dust on it. The closets were nonexistent. The bathroom was no more than 30 square feet.

I walked into the kitchen to check things out. Or rather, I tried to walk into the kitchen. I stepped on something that was blending into the floor and went sliding across the floor on one foot until I could stop myself.

I had stepped on a rack that was supposed to be in the refrigerator. I didn’t even bother looking at the rest of the kitchen. In my memory, I don’t really remember this place being that awful.

That’s probably why the next thing out of my mouth was, “I think we could make this one work!”

Everyone looked at me in disbelief, even the assistant’s assistant broker.

It was probably a combination of heat exhaustion, tiredness, and hunger that made me say that. Or maybe it was the virgin sacrifice apartment beginning to possess my mind and body.

Either way, we cleared out of there pretty quickly and were back in the car, headed toward midtown to drop of the assistant’s assistant broker.

We drove less than a block. Then the cops pulled us over.

None of the five of us in the car on seatbelts. I swear I always wear my seatbelt. I guess now I have to change that to almost always.

My father got a ticket for driving without a seatbelt. When he told them we were there from out of town looking for an apartment for me and we had the broker in the car, they asked who the broker was.

My dad pointed him out and the cop opened the door next to his seat. He said, “we’re going to have to take you in. The rent prices are waay to high!”

The cops laughed. My dads laughed. The broker laughed.

I didn’t fucking laugh.

Maybe I’m just not a fan of cops.

There’s no maybe. I’m not a fan.

I didn’t laugh the last time a cop made a fake arrest joke in front of me either.

Cops seem to only show up when I don’t need them. Where are the cops when people are getting robbed and gunned down in the street? I know where they are. They’re off yelling at people for double parking and giving out seatbelt tickets to a car that hadn’t traveled 500 feet yet.

I got out with the broker for what he called an “exit interview.” It was really just the assistant broker giving me the hard sell.

I sat there, wondering if I should tell him to go suck an egg. I decided to play his game and told him I like the second apartment best. This is the apartment my father-in-law proclaimed the husband wouldn’t be okay living in.

That’s when he told me the apartment was $1450/month. I was furious because I thought I pretty clearly stated there was a $1400 ceiling. I let him know I had to check with my husband and then left. I was so over Manhattan.

When we got back to Staten Island, we had our debriefing. All the things my family thought were bad about the Brooklyn broker applied to the Manhattan people, but I was the only one who witnessed it.

I was just glad to be past it and glad I was certain I was getting the best available apartment for the time I’d spent searching.

Somehow, I managed to get to New York and find a great apartment, sign the lease, and move in with time to get settled before I had to start work.

Literally, I arrived late Sunday night, and I moved into my new apartment on Thursday evening. When the moving was done, I just wanted to chill with a glass of wine and relax.

But I’m not really done yet.

The husband is coming next Thursday with our stuff.

Yup, I’m living with the basics right now. I have clothes, shoes, toiletries, and a very comfortable air mattress.

I can’t wait until next Thursday. I’m over the pitying looks from waiters when they realize I’m dining alone.

And I really miss the husband.

Is Manhattan Better For Me Than Brooklyn?

In my post on Friday, I left off with the phone ringing. My broker was calling me back. It was my attempt at a cliffhanger. Did it work? No? Oh well.

When we left the broker’s office, we were expecting to hear from her at some point in the next day. My father had a plan for this. He wanted us to go start seeing the other apartments, and hopefully find one I could live in.

Then, when the broker called, I was supposed to let it go to voicemail. When she called back to say whether or not I’d gotten the apartment, I would take that information; compare it to the potential new place. And then we’d make a decision on where I was going to live.

All that sounded really complicated to me. I just wanted the nice 1 bedroom apartment in the Brooklyn brownstone. I wanted the place I had put a deposit down for.

But I also wanted to make sure I was getting the right place for me. And I wanted to be sure I would prefer Brooklyn over Manhattan. So we kept the appointment to go look at apartments in Manhattan.

Before we could keep this appointment though, the Brooklyn broker called me. I decided just to answer the phone since it was still the same day. She let me know the landlord had accepted my application. I didn’t know it was even possible for them to assess my financial status that quickly, but I really didn’t care.

No one except me cared for the broker. But everyone got a good vibe from the landlord, so it was nice to know the place was mine if I wanted it. As I was sitting there confused about how to proceed, she let know that the lease signing was going to be Wednesday at 4pm. It was still Monday at this point, so that worked just fine for me.

We would have time to look at the Manhattan apartments and make a firm decision before I’d have to sign the lease. So off we went to Manhattan. Driving from Staten Island to Manhattan is no simple task. Especially when there is constant construction everywhere.

So we took the Verrazano Bridge to Brooklyn, then took the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. I don’t even want to think about how much all of that back and forth cost. The one good thing is the total distance traveled isn’t that much, so we only filled up on gas once that I know of.

The Manhattan broker’s office is in Midtown (think: Times Square), so there was nowhere to park. My dads dropped me and my best friend off and we headed upstairs to find out what apartments we were going to see that day.

When we got upstairs, there was a lot of waiting. I filled out the paperwork so they could get me in the system, then they proceeded to tell me that my broker was running late. This was after leaving me sitting there for ten minutes saying she would be right with me.

When they finally me back, there was this oil slick (but rather good-looking) man who said he was her assistant and would help me because she was running late.

It was just so weird the way everyone described her lateness. It wasn’t like she was out showing apartments to someone else. Their tone, facial expressions, and demeanor had me writing a backstory for this woman who was quite awful.

In my head, she was on her way to work, but then got a “you busy?” text from her drug dealer/f*^k buddy. She immediately hopped off the subway and went to his place downtown. They thought she was on her way to work but she took and 8-ball detour.

I know that’s crazy, but their tone was crazy. They made it seem like she just dipped off before they could come up with a good cover story why she wasn’t there and no one could be bothered to give any of the reasonable excuses: something came up, she’s showing apartments, she got called into and impromptu meeting. Something, you know?

Either way, I’m there and I’m giving the guy my information about what type of apartment I’m looking for. Information that I’d already given to the lady broker I was there to see. I give him my price point, which is painfully low for Manhattan (no more than $1400/month).

He asks if it’s negotiable, and I tell him no. The husband has a firm ceiling on what type of rent we’ll pay. When a woman looking for apartments mentions a husband that’s not there who has a firm ceiling, I would think that would make them stick to the ceiling. He didn’t question it anymore and we moved on.

He calls over this other man and hands him a list he’s just printed off. The list has several apartments available in my price range. They are pretty much all in Washington Heights, which sucked because I at least wanted to see some part of Harlem. But that day, there wasn’t anything in Harlem I could afford.

He lets me know we’re going to hop on the train and go look at the first place. It was all the way by the 191st Street exit. I called my dads to let them know we were getting on the train and gave them the address to meet us there.

We missed the train because these tourists were occupying all the metro card purchasing machines. When we finally get to the platform, the train that’s supposed to come every 10 minutes didn’t come for over 20 minutes. And it was so hot!

Did I mention there was a serious heat wave this whole week? It was pretty much all over the country so you all know how crazy it was with the heat. Imagine a heat index of 100 degrees. Now put that heat underground with trains generating more heat. Now turn off the air conditioning. Yeah, it was like that.

So the train finally comes, and we’re sitting there hot as hell. No AC on this train car. After about two minutes, we move to the next car. No AC there either.

Both my best friend and the broker man are telling me that they’ve both only ever encountered a train with no AC once before in NYC. We got off at the next stop and waited for the next train which came almost immediately. Thankfully, this one was well conditioned, and practically empty since it was so close behind another train.

The ride up to 191st was quite far, but we made it there. Then we had a lot of walking to do. At this point, it basically high noon, and we’re walking back and forth up the street looking for this address that doesn’t properly correspond to the addresses around it.

We found the apartment building entrance and head up to the apartment on the elevator. We walked in and the place was pretty nice. There are a ton of cabinets in the kitchen and the appliances are all brand new. The bedroom is huge and the bathroom is pretty spacious as well.

As I looked around, I realized I was planning for how I would live in this space. It seemed really nice and a place I could really make a home in. I was trying to figure out if I could really pick this place over my already-beloved Brooklyn brownstone.

Then it hit. This apartment was a glorified studio. The reason the bedroom was so large is because there was basically only the bedroom. The living area, actually, the “living area” was basically a foyer. I’d have to go to Ikea to get one of those funky pieced together seating things. But realistically, the only thing that could fit in there is a coat rack and an umbrella rack.

After that, I didn’t have to worry. It was easy to say no to an apartment with no separate spaces. I’m going to be working nights once I’m off training and I’m married to a musician. I need to be in a separate space so I can sleep while he practices during the day.

If they cut the bedroom in half, they could’ve made a reasonable sized living room. But they didn’t. So we moved on.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the rest of the Manhattan apartments. There was the apartment with the clothesline, the one with the crooked cabinets, the one where the lady yelled at us the second we walked in, the one that screamed please-rob-me. Oh, and the one we couldn’t even get into.

My apartment hunt was intense y’all. But we’re almost through it.

So You Think You Wanna Live Here

I know I’m jumping back and forth here, but as I’ve said many times, I do what I want.

Now that I’ve covered the details of how I put myself in a position of having only three weeks to move to NYC, I’d like to talk about actually getting here.

The initial plan was to have my last day of work in Chicago on July 12th or 13th. Then I would head to New York around the 15th and have a week to find an apartment to start work on July 22nd. Quite the ambitious plan, no?

Before you assume I’m a crazy person, let me tell you that I had it on good authority that it’s an awful idea to rent a New York City apartment sight unseen. There are all types of shitholes and scams that will take all your money and leave you with little or nothing in return.

As I mentioned previously, I had my best friend with me. She lived in New York, so she was a great resource. I also wrangled my father and the husband’s father. The three of us got in the car and drove to New York on Sunday July 14th.

A benefit of marrying into a large family is that these people live everywhere. Some cousins of the husband agreed to let us stay in one of their apartments while we looked for a place.

They live in Staten Island, so we had the additional task of getting back and forth across all the bridges. Those tolls are freaking ridiculous. I know my dads spent at least $100 just getting us from Staten Island to Brooklyn to Manhattan and back again the three days there were here.

Side note. What does the phrase “my dads” mean to you? When you see it, do you think a father and a father-in-law? Do you think a biological father and a stepfather? What about a biological father and an adoptive father?

Maybe your two dads are married to each other (unless you live down south, then they’re still “life partners”). I guess it all depends. I have three grandfathers. One is my dad’s dad. The other two are the biological dad and adoptive/step-dad of my mom.

Blended families really do make for some interesting family trees. The family tree for the husband’s family is really something. Or it would be if someone wrote it down.

Okay, we’re back from the side note. So at this point in the story, I’m in Staten Island with my best friend and my two dads. I was hoping (and my mother was really hoping that I could bring the cats with us. But the cousin giving us a place to stay for free is allergic.

Once we settled in on Sunday night, we relaxed and ate ox tails, salmon, and rice and beans before heading to bed. The plan was to get up Monday morning and go look at apartments in Brooklyn.

Originally, I wanted to live in Manhattan. The husband wanted Brooklyn. After the hatred I felt towards our Hyde Park apartment in Chicago, we agreed that my preference would win for New York. But after looking at apartments on line and really assessing what we could afford, I narrowed down our search to Harlem and Washington Heights in Manhattan and to Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights in Brooklyn.

I’d seen all sorts of apartments online in the weeks preceding the move. The good ones were posted and removed the same day. Apparently that’s now NYC works. I was convinced that I could find a great 1 bedroom apartment in the upper edge of Harlem for less than $1400/month.

Then I stumbled across this wonderful apartment. 1 bedroom, 1 bath, exposed brick, north-facing windows, newly renovated apartment. And it was in a brownstone building. A gorgeous brownstone.

My whole thinking changed. All of a sudden, it was all about Brooklyn. Perhaps it’s because I grew up watching the Cosby Show and feeling like I could totally be one of their kids. But either way, I had a plan.

I spoke with a few brokers and picked two, one for Manhattan and one for Brooklyn. After I saw that amazing apartment, I set the Brooklyn broker appointment for Monday and the Manhattan broker appointment for Tuesday.

The apartment the broker showed us first was pretty good. Turned out she only had the one apartment to show, which sucked. My dads were pissed about that. After she showed us the apartment, she gave me the hard sell. Very aggressive, very put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is-or-else-and-else-means-this-apartment-will-be-gone-in-the-morning.

My dads didn’t like that one bit. They wanted me to keep looking. They wanted to look in Manhattan and maybe find a new broker to keep looking in Brooklyn as well. My best friend asked me how I would feel if the apartment was gone and I missed it. I told her I’d be pissed.

After hearing that, she encouraged me to go ahead and do what I needed to do to take this apartment off the market. That meant filling out the complete application for my husband and myself.

That also meant handing over all of the financial paperwork to prove I could afford the apartment. They require all you information to approve you. You need lots of money, proof of more money, a blood sample, a voucher for your firstborn, and a reference from your priest.

Even if you have all that, it still doesn’t guarantee you the apartment. If you turn in an application, but you don’t put down a deposit to take it off the market, someone else can apply too. Then the landlord can pick which tenant (s)he’d prefer, which is what happened to a friend of mine just last week.

I put down a deposit to take the apartment off the market, which really pissed off my father-in-law. I think it was because the money was going toward the broker fee instead of toward rent or deposit. I didn’t care, I just wanted the apartment.

After the application was complete, then it was time to wait. Normally it takes a couple of days to find out if your application is approved. The broker and landlord knew I was what counts as a “motivated renter.” That basically meant I had the money in hand ready to take the first apartment I loved.

The broker promised to get a quick response from the landlord. I think she pushed it even harder once my father announced we were headed to Manhattan the next day to keep looking. We left her office around 4:30 pm or so to head back to Staten Island.

About an hour later, the phone rang. It was the broker calling back. We were expecting a call from her the next day, certainly not so soon. In my next post, I’ll let you know what she said.

Trying To Enter Trader Joe’s

The husband and I went to brunch yesterday. It was after hours of work getting our main bedroom together. It was note to take some time out of the day top just hang out and try a new place. The brunch was just so-so, but it happened to be across the street from a Trader Joe’s. Just Google it if you’ve never heard of this store. Because of how literally close it was to our brunch spot, we decided to pop in. I really wanted to get some citrus fruit so I could make fresh-squeezed orange juice, lemonade, and limeade. But that place was hard to get into if you are walking up to the building as opposed to driving. This South Loop store was right on the corner, so I assumed the entrance could be found on the corner. I was extra wrong. We got to the corner to see no door. Three was an awning, so we tried that, but it just had an apartment buzzer, and no entrance to the store. So we walked back to and around the corner. We finally found a door–with a sign on it explainingthe store’s entrance was on the north side. At that moment, we were on the south side. Not wanting to re-trace my steps, we went around the other way through a kind of sketchy parking lot. When we finally rounded around to the north side of the building, there was an entire parking lot dedicated to just Trader Joe’s. And there was a big ass grocery store entrance. How we managed to miss that is still a mystery. Our brunch place was directly across the street from this store and we were parked to the north. You may ask why we went through so much trouble. Well, once the husband and I are in a car, it’s just hard as hell to get us to a grocery store. I’m a Peapod kind of lady. He’s an only-go-to-the-store-when-my-dinner-is-at-risk kind of man. And the store was just right there, so convenient. And I was really craving fresh-squeezed. If you’ve never squeezed your own orange juice, you’ve got to try it. The taste is just so fresh and good. I can’t even drink the store bought juice anymore. So, we finally get into the store and get my fruit. And two bottles of wine. The wine only made me feel partly better, so we went to our favorite place for chocolate based desserts. We stopped on the way at this place called t-shirt deli. I got an I ♡ bacon sweatshirt made. That plus a glass of prosecco made me feel a lot better about my idiotic moment earlier. Seriously, how did I not see that entire parking lot? I think I’m going to have a glass of wine to go with my fresh orange juice.

Getting A Phone And A Growing Heart

I love my new smartphone. I finally ditched blackberry. My phone stopped working properly. When I went to the Sprint store, they had nothing for me.

The newest available blackberry was the one I already own. I thought maybe I’d want the new Samsung galaxy s3, but I wasn’t eligible for an upgrade.

That’s how I knew it was time to consider moving on. I’ve been a Sprint customer for 15 years, which is a lot when I’m only 28. My dad put me on his plan when I started at a middle school that was in downtown Chicago.

Over the years, I’ve considered getting on my own plan. I have brand loyalty like a motherf-er though, and Sprint is just more affordable with a family plan.

It just so happens I’m also a sucker for effective marketing. After an hour in that store, plus all the commercials I’ve been subject to, and it was a done deal. The new galaxy would be mine.

But it wasn’t going to be mine at Sprint. Luckily, ah-hah, I had a plan b. I called the husband and my dad for a quick consultation. Well really it was me saying, “this is my plan. Veto it or get out  of my way.” Is it nweird that both the husbandand my dad have veto power over major and semi-major decisions?

In Illinois, I’m my husbands property. The legislature has never gotten around to changing that law, at least that’s what the husband says. And I’m a daddy’s girl. So I do what I want, unless one of them think it’s a bad idea.

Both men heard my idea. Neither one vetoed it. So off to the AT&T store I went. I didn’t go to get my own plan. I went to join the husband’s plan. I just truly prefer the affordability of a family plan.

The husband and my dad gathered the info I needed for AT&T to”port my phone number” or whatever that means. When it was time to get the information from my dad, we totally had a moment.

He asked me was I sure I was ready to leave his plan. He told me he’d miss me. It was the kind of conversation my dad and I never have. We’re not very emotionally expressive people. I felt like we were having the talk we should’ve had on my wedding day while making that long ass walk from the second floor of the Patrick Haley Mansion to get me does to the altar.

The husband, who is very mature and emotionally expressive, had a chuckle at my dad’s and my expense. But however it happened, this daddy’s girl and her dad finally had the goodbye chat.

And I have the new awesome Samsung phone from the commercials.

And I have AT&T service which is way better than Sprint almost every where I need it.

And I’m one tiny step closer to being the emotionally mature adult the husband needs wants me to be.

Spending Up All The Money For A Good Cause

I feel like the husband and I have had way more money leaving our bank accounts than coming in recently. It’s not even a matter of my feelings, it’s just a fact. As much as I would like to turn off the faucet, it’s just not possible. We have laid plans that cost money and so now the money must be spent.

When I got a catalog in the mail, I knew now was the time to finally finish the front room. What catalog did I see?

This is just an advertisement, since I forgot to take a picture of my actual catalog.

I never though the day would come when I would be so damn excited about shelves. But I am. I know we will be making that move to a tiny tin can in NYC, and I want to be prepared. We are buying another 4’×8′ of shelf space. With this addition, we’ll be able to get rid of three bookcases, 2 DVD racks, a CD rack, and our entire TV stand. I’m so excited.

The plan went into effect last Thursday. I got off work, went home to do my workout, then we headed to The Container Store. I had already planned out all the shelves, drawers, and baskets we needed. We put down the money and went home so I could start putting it together. If anything could make me stay up when I would prefer to be sleep, it would be putting together a new piece of furniture. Places like Ikea and The Container Store were made with people like me in mind.

The other thing our money is going toward is the husband’s CD release party. We have been spending money left and right on copyrighting, ASCAP, fliers, card swiping machines, money boxes, hand stamps, etc. All of these things are an investment for the future. The fliers are the only things we won’t be using again. It’s a big front-end investment, but it’s totally worth it.

I want this party to go off without a hitch. With all the plans we have in place and the help coming from different directions, we should be fine.

We have been saving for months for all of this. It’s been nice to watch the bank accounts grow. Now that it’s time to watch the bank accounts decrease, I’ll be honest and say this shit hurts. I will be okay though because I know it’s an investment. Now excuse me while I get the rest of my whimpering out in private.

A Saturday To Remember

I’ve got a story. A story about a girl who went too far. At first, she just wanted to replace the ice cream her husband ate. So they went for ice cream.

Instead of replacing the ice cream, they went to Oberweis. She didn’t just get some ice cream though. She got a hot fudge brownie sundae in a waffle cone bowl dipped in chocolate and nuts.

Then it was lunch time. She wanted to go to a fried chicken place by her parents’ house. When she saw the menu, she had to have this one combo meal. It had 2 wings, a pizza puff, and fries.

This girl hadn’t officially fallen off the wagon, she just jumped off and ran along side for a few hours.

Yes, that girl is me. From 1-3 pm Saturday, I lost my damn mind. It didn’t hit me until I was so full I literally had trouble breathing. I had to sit still for 15 min just to keep from throwing up.

I guess after a week of eating more meals, but less food each day had my stomach totally unprepared for the food I threw at it. It will be a long time before I do that shit again.

After I recovered from the catastrophe that was my lunch, things improved. The husband and I got some good work done on his website that we continued last night. My dad helped too.
Then the husband left for his gig and I went with my parents to Ikea. I had apprehension about it because of things I’d heard both good and bad. But it was amazing.

After making a plan not to buy anything, we bought these candle holders that were the very first things we laid eyes on. We then proceeded to drool over kitchens, counter tops, living rooms, closets, lighting fixtures and everything else.

Ikea is a magical land where the perfect setup that would work for your space exists. You may have seen a TV stand similar to what you really need/want, but not quite right before. But at Ikea, you find the perfect stand. And the prices are so low.

I’m in love with our shelving system in our apartment, and I didn’t see anything at Ikea that could top it. I did see something comparable that was a little more permanent and quite ideal for when we have a house. But the shelves we have right now are perfectly portable for all the moving around we’ll be doing the next handful of years.

After we left Ikea, my parents dropped me off at home where I quickly got ready to go out with my co-worker. Her friends house party was a real house party. Juke music all night long, a pan of chicken, rounds of shots, and a robust game of flippy cup.

The things that stood out most to me at this party was that these were grown ass folks. Most were married or engaged. They were professionals. All this I knew before I got there, but it was just right there in front of me. The only other room I’d ever been in with so many wedding bands was at church events.

It’s nice to see married people who know how to have fun. They weren’t dry or boring, they were intelligent, funny, and knew how to have a food time. I could definitely hang out with them again. And I’d bring the husband of course.

I finally got my butt home and in bed a little before 4 am. The day didn’t turn out like I expected at all.

But it was great. I finally saw Ikea for myself. I got to meet some great new people. I spent time with the husband and the family.

And maybe I ate too much bad food. I got back on track on Sunday, didn’t gain any weight, and kept on exercising. I could definitely have more Saturdays like that.

You Better Work It, Girl

I’ve realized that my off-the-cuff cleverness that keeps my friends and family cracking up doesn’t seem to function when it’s time to come up with blog post titles. I’ll work on that for the future.

In the meantime, I’m gonna work on my body. When I look in the mirror, I like what I see. But I do wish there were a few changes. The perfect example of this is the extra weight that has built up that you can only see when I’m wearing a certain type of top. You know, it looks like a roll of fat, about mid-back, just below your bra strap?

I refuse to get used to that roll of fat. I like the way I feel when I’m healthier. I have more energy when I’m carrying less weight. I also have several skin tight dresses in the closet I haven’t worn since the back roll made it’s appearance. I want to wear those dresses again.

I used to go to yoga. But now that I have a job and a husband, I honestly don’t know where all the time goes. Taking extra hours out of my week and gas out of my tank to go to yoga studio isn’t a viable option.

I hate running. Going jogging was never an option.

Going biking is a better option, but I often don’t have time to make it happen if I work three days in a row at work. Twelve hours shifts with a 90 minute drive both ways reduces my ability to get in a good bike ride that’s more than just a leisurely trip to the lake and back.

That leaves the option of working out at home. I’m not motivated enough (and I accept that) to just do whatever comes to mind, so I decided I’d try a workout tape.

There was just one problem: I find most of the people who do workout tapes so painfully annoying. To me, they all come off like the Sham-wow guy.


While we were in Wisconsin at the Dells, an informercial came on. It was 4 am or so and so I was feeling extra impressionable.

This bubbly happy woman with an endorsement from Gwyneth Paltrow was trying to get me to buy a DVD made especially for my body type.

I began thinking things like,

“Hey, I would like to tone my tummy.” And,

“She doesn’t remind me of Jillian Michaels at all. I don’t even want to slap her face.” And,

“I should buy this. I think I’m omnicentric.”

So I decided if I could remember the name of the product the next night at work, I would sign up and try it. If it doesn’t work, I’m out the same amount of money I’d pay for one month of yoga classes I never have time to attend.

So I did. I’m going to try Tracy Anderson’s workout plan. Once the first DVDs arrive next week, I’ll take a before picture of myself so we can see how the transformation works.

I don’t know if I’ll even like it or stick with it. But I’m willing to try. I want a flat stomach, and there’s no way in hell I’m dieting to get it. Exercise is my only option

What do you do when you want to get in shape?

Too Much Online Shopping

Do you do too much online shopping?

Well, it’s official that I do too much online shopping. You know how I know?

I was leaving for work the other day. I had on my phone a test message from Amazon telling me I had a package coming by 8:00 pm. I knew it was the Season 4 DVD of Leverage, which I pre-ordered the day I found out when it was coming it. But I had to leave for work by 6:00 pm.

As I was heading outside to my car, I saw the UPS truck up the street. My car was parked near it. As I approached my van, the UPS man was coming out of a building. He saw me and flagged me down.

He spoke to me, by my full name, and told me to hold on a second. Fifteen seconds later, he emerged from his truck with my package. He had me sign for it right there and wished me a good evening.

I was glad to have my DVD, which I had been wanting for months. But I felt like perhaps I do too much shopping. Wedding gift deliveries aside, this man knew my name. He recognized my face and grabbed my package out of the truck.

Does your UPS man know your face? Your full name? If he does, you do too much online shopping. Because of my own experiences, I’ve come up with a list to help you realize you’ve gone too far.

Disclaimer: I don’t have any solutions to the problem. I don’t intend to stop my online shopping, it’s so convenient since I’m usually sleep during business hours.

Signs You Shop Online Too Much

  1. Your UPS man knows your face.
  2. Your UPS man knows your full name without looking at the package.
  3. You get a delivery at least 4 times a month.
  4. You know your debit/credit card number by heart
  5. Your computer has all your purchase information saved.
  6. You get at least 5 e-mails each morning at 6:00 from stores advertising sales for their special customers.
  7. Your husband/parents/roommate has stopped asking what’s in the package unless you bring up that it’s a gift.

Once you’ve realized you do too much shopping online, I have no idea what you should do next. Consult your budget I guess. But if you stay in the lines and don’t overspend. I don’t see the harm.

Getting A Mini-Me For Belle

The husband and I have been talking about getting a new cat for a while. I’ve been known to impulse shop, but the husband still wasn’t prepared for the day I came home with groceries, a new dress, and a new kitten.

He wanted us to go together to pick one out, but I was near a pet store while shopping for our Mother’s Day dinner (we did surf and turf for our mothers and grandmother). These things just happen. You wander into a store, see an adorable kitten, find it’s well within your price range, and walk out the door with it. What? That never happened to you?

Our little furball is full of personality, just like Belle. I can’t do lack of personality in any living thing. That includes plants (if they don’t reach for the sun, they have no place in my house). I tried to avoid even thinking of names for the kitten as I drove home because I wanted the husband to do it.

He decided to stick with the Disney princesses them and name the kitten Jasmine. So now we have Belle and Jasmine. I read that it’s better for animals who can learn to recognize their name (like cats) to have a name that’s only one syllable. The husband, who is sometimes so amazing with words, is also a musician, so he decided the kitten’s nickname would be Jazz.

Jazz is an adorable baby cat so she alternates between sleeping all the time and bursts of energy where she can’t sit still. She’s finally learned how to jump down from high heights, so she spends a lot of time climbing all over everything. Belle is kind of a jerk, so it’s taken her a bit of time to get used to jazz.

The weekend we went to St. Louis for my friend’s graduation, we finally left them unseparated. They were alone for four days. By the time we got back, they had worked out their differences and were living together in peace. Jazz still gets molly whopped when she pounces one time to many on Belle’s tail, but we’re one big happy family.

We wanted two cats so they could play together and we could get some peace from Belle’s constant attention seeking. They do play together a lot. But there are moments where their attention is turned full force on the husband and I. That’s the worst because there are demanding meows and unending requests to be petted. I’m happy to have cats that like people, but I wish I could get through one nap without Jazz curled up against my neck purring loudly enough to wake me and Belle making a spot down by my feet and pushing my feet around.

And of course, I’m not going to tell all these kitty stories without pictures. Enjoy!

In my next post, I’ll post a pic of Jazz with Belle so you can see what a difference in size they are.

Project UnPack: Now This Is Living (Room)!

So far, we’ve done the bathroom, the kitchen, and the foyer. Don’t even ask about the bedrooms. I guess I’m saving those for last. Or avoiding them like the plague. Either way.

The husband and I had discussed going to The Container Store to get proper storage for all the stuff we need to keep in our living room space. Finally, we went in early May. Or maybe it was late April, I can’t remember. We walked into the store and every nesting urge I’ve ever had smiled inside me.

We found a very helpful salesman who I gave an elaborate backstory to in my head. I decided he was gay and living with his partner and that one weekend we’d run into them at brunch at one of my favorite spots in Chicago for brunch. Then we’d go antiquing. Then rock climbing. They also own a poodle and an iguana. But back to his helpfulness in real life.

He pointed us toward the right shelving for our needs and managed to keep us from spending too much over budget. We saved money by agreeing to put it together ourselves. And bonus! The shelving dissembles easily and takes up hardly no space, so it will be travelling with us to NYC. I may buy the connector set and make that a bookcase/TV stand so all we’ll need for our entire living room storage is 8-10 feet of open wall.

The husband and I never seem to gel on these projects where things have to be put together. Eventually we called it a night, and when he left for work in the morning, I got back to work. It’s really a two-person job, but I managed. I got so energized from seeing the shelves come together that I spread my efforts to the rest of the living room area. I was so excited for the husband to see it when he got home.

I’ll have to dig a “before” picture out from somewhere so you can see how far it’s come.

I had to take down the birthday banner to accommodate the shelving. It looks slightly cluttered, but it looked way worse on closer inspection. now everything has somewhere to go.

Now our entire common area is complete and it’s amazing. Well, the bookcases could be better, but I will fix that with another set of shelves. And then it will be perfect!

Our living room space looks so cozy now!

This is our shelving with space for all our instruments, Wii add-ons, and my beloved record player.

We have streamlined our TV stand and found room for extra Wii accessories on the wall.

Here’s a better view of the whole room. You can see we still have the orange banner up from my birthday last year. I love orange.

In case you’re wondering, we used the adjustable shelving by Elfa. They are amazing and indispensable if you’ve got a couple hundred dollars to spare. I can see my future with Elfa shelving in my closet, my pantry, my garage, my office, hell even my bathroom. Home ownership will reflect my love for Caboodles as a child.

How do you get your home organized and streamlined?

A Lipstick Comparison

I care a lot about makeup. I care enough that I wear it almost everyday and I spend a good amount of money on it. Every now and then, I go on a search for a specific thing, be it mascara or lipstick or eyeshadow. I figure since I’m a versatile blogger, I can blog about my journey. My oh-so-important makeup journey.

I was looking for a lipstick I could wear everyday. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go neutral or have a big punch of color. So I bought four tubes.

What do you think?

I tried purple first. It’s my go-to color when I’m going light on the eyes, which isn’t often.

Then I tried a neutral color. I always have trouble finding neutral colors because my skin has strong yellow and red undertones even though my skin is dark brown. Add to that the fact that my lips are darker than my skin, and we have lots of issues. I finally focused on matching my skin instead of my lips, and I did pretty good.

I switched t a darker bown. Browns always look red or orange on my lip. This was just another attempt at finding the right shade of darker brown for me. I’d love to find something that looks like Nia Long in Love Jones. No luck yet.

Last, I tried red. I’ve struggled to find the right shade of red. Not too dark, not too bright. I liked this one a lot, though I felt it could use a little shine. A touch of lipgloss would make this work. Who knew a more pink red would be the ticket?

So what do you think of my four colors? Are any of these good enough for daily use?

Having An Equitable Marriage

This is not some insightful post guaranteed to bring peace in your marriage. If you’ve ever read any previous post, you know I don’t go that deep. I would never give advice to the masses like that.

Nope, this post is just a story about the husband and I trying to help each other out. Give and take is kind of our thing. We keep things equal. not 50/50, but equal in terms of our efforts and what we try to give to each other.

Cleaning the kitchen is mostly his responsibility. But the cooking is mine. When I woke up for work Wednesday, I realized the kitchen was in a special place of disarray.

I could only imagine the husband coming home for the evening, ready to clean the kitchen, and finally taking in just how bad it looked. I couldn’t do that to him. So I loaded up the dishwasher, cleaned the counters, swept and mopped the floor, and took out the garbage. Well, I took the garbage to the back porch, but at least it was out of the kitchen.

I was so proud of myself for getting off my ass and helping out with something that was actually his job. I waited to tell him about though. The husband was off being amazing and running errands so I’d have a car to drive back and forth to work. To top it off, after those errands, he was going to go grocery shopping. The husband hates grocery shopping.

I had pretty much decided that grocery shopping should just be my job since I could do it quicker, more efficiently, and hated it less than he did. I had my special menu and shopping list template that I’d setup for myself. But the husband insisted that I let him go, so I did.

I handed over my special list that covered some staples we needed to replenish and some menu items for the rest of the week. When I was going to let him know about how I helped him out, he beat me to the punch to tell me how on top of things he was with his errands for the day.

While we were patting ourselves on the back, the husband arrived at the grocery store. He realized he didn’t have my list I’d given him the day before. He said he had it, but he’d lost it. Well, he didn’t lose it. He knew exactly where it was, it was just no longer accessible to him.

So what happened to that grocery list? It went something like this:

“I knew when I got in the car, I needed to keep it close, so I stuck it in the cup holder. I knew that probably wasn’t the best place to put it, but I figured it would be okay. But then it fell behind the cup holder. You know the cup holder in the front of the car, like right under the radio? Yeah, so I can see it, but I can’t reach it.”

I decided to not help him. I was driving and couldn’t exactly write out a new list for him right then. And the husband seems to do careless things a lot when it comes to things that someone else can step in and save him. So I gave him advice. I told him to get a bendy straw and gum and retrieve the list he already had. He was already at the store, so I figured it was a good a plan as any.

I sat there while he thought aloud about how to make it work. Then I got off the phone because I didn’t want to help. Somehow he retrieved the list and completed the shopping. I’m not sure how he did it, but he did. I like it when he solves his self-inflicted problems for himself. That may be a given with some people, but not my husband. So that afternoon was a good one.

Every time he fixes one of these situations, I get less concerned about leaving him alone with our future children. And to thank him, I’ll make him a great dinner before I go to work tomorrow. I’m thinking baked chicken, homemade biscuits, rice and gravy, and roasted broccoli.