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Monday Musings

February 23, 2015
Yoshis

It’s the last week of February! Bring on the nicer weather! I’m over the cold and grey days. There are some okay ones in the mix though. Yesterday was warmer than it has been, so Adrian and I played “monkey in the middle” with Archer in the snow. It was adorable to see him hop-running between us because the snow was deep for his little legs!

  • On Saturday, we went to a surprise 30th birthday party for a friend of ours. His wife set up a Mario Kart themed get together, where we were asked to dress as a character from the game. The best part was the Wii Mario Kart tournament. I used to be a pro at it on Nintendo 64 and didn’t do so bad, but sadly didn’t come out a champ.  I blame the booze! Adrian and I both went as Yoshi, using this easy and cute tutorial I found online. We made them last minute, as we do most things, but I thought they still turned out pretty great!
  • Do you have a tattoo you regret from your earlier years? Getting it removed may end up being an easy fix soon! The science behind this is pretty interesting too. I have one of my own that I never quite finished and though I don’t love it anymore, I’m not sure if I would rid of it or not. I guess it’s because it’s a part of me now and part of who I was then. I suppose we’ll see how I feel about it if/when the cream comes out!
  • About two weeks ago my left eye started twitching randomly throughout the day. It has started getting less frequent and even stopped over the weekend, but when I was making my coffee this morning, it came back again. I have a feeling it’s stress during the week, so I’ve been looking at different techniques to relax more. I saw these five yoga moves for stress and can’t wait to get started this evening. They seem really simple and I’m just looking for something to help me decompress each night, so I thinking this is a good start for me. The Legs Up the Wall pose looks super comfortable. I’m half-tempted to try it out in the office!
  • Currently Watching: Have you seen Togetherness on HBO? I caught a preview for it before Girls one night and watched an episode shortly after. One episode turned into 5! I really love the cast, with Mark Duplass (definitely one of my crushes), Amanda Peet, Melanie Lynskey, and Steve Zissis. It’s just real and I enjoy and appreciate the humor they find in long term relationships and every day life.
  • Currently Reading: I finished up Still Alice and cried a lot throughout it. Last night, Julianne Moore won the Oscar for best actress in the film, so now I have to watch the movie this week sometime! I highly recomment reading the novel though. Now, I am on to Maude by Donna Mabry. I am close to finishing this one because we didn’t have any plans yesterday and I’ve really enjoyed it so far.
What are some of your highlights from last week?
Monday Musings

Monday Musings

February 16, 2015
Betty White and Bradley Cooper

Hello, Monday! I wasn’t hoping to see you so soon, but let’s make the best of it now that you’re here!

  • Omg, can I just say it is COLD out? I’m sure it is everywhere, but I really wish we could hike up the temps a bit. This morning when I went to warm my car up, it was so cold my radio said “CODE,” which is a security measure, and only happens when my battery dies or someone tries to steal my stereo. Now I have to figure out what that code is because it’s one quiet ride without it. Anyway, I really shouldn’t complain because New England has it bad right now. I wonder what the work snow day policies are for storms like these?!
  • Did you guys watch SNL 40 last night? I’m not gonna lie, I actually didn’t know the special was happening, but when I saw it on Facebook and Twitter, I switched it on immediately and it really made my Sunday night all the better. I have the last half hour to catch yet, but I just loved Bradley Cooper and Betty White’s make out session. She really is someone to look up to, with so much energy and life in her 93 years and I thought it was awesome that Bradley Cooper took part!
  • In case you missed it, sushi burritos exist! I posted on Twitter and Facebook about this because I was that enthusiastic about the match made in heaven and I even found a spot in Philly to try out sometime soon!
  • I really admire this military wife’s point about the difference in feeling afraid and acting afraid, as she takes a brave stance against possible ISIS threats.
  • On the menu: Yesterday at Whole Foods, I came across purple and orange cauliflower and got super excited. I picked up a  head of the purple and can’t wait to mash it up tonight with tandoori  mango chicken sausage.
  • Currently Reading: Still Alice. I really want to see the movie, but I am big on reading the book before seeing the film, so I just picked myself up a copy.
What were you up to this weekend? I hope week is off to a wonderful start!
Recently, Well-Being

Be Somebody Who Makes Everybody Feel Like A Somebody

February 6, 2015
Be Somebody Who Makes Everybody Feel Like A Somebody

Happy Friday! I just wanted to share this quote because I’ve seen this more than once and it’s always resonated with me. (Kid President popped up when I googled the source, so he’s a pretty cool kid if he is indeed.)

You know that woman who looks beyond stressed behind you in line at the grocery store? Or your elderly neighbor you only catch a glimpse of when they’re collecting their mail? Take a minute to say hello to them, or happy Friday, or just smile! We’re all busy, but it’s equally rewarding for you to make someone else feel special by simply acknowledging them, complimenting them, or starting up small talk, as it is for them.  Think about when something like a simple “hey” or an “I like your dress” turned your otherwise crappy day around.

This is something I’ve been working on over the last few years. I’m easily affected by seeing others who seem lonely and worry about people who may not feel as loved as they should. It doesn’t mean I try to become best friends with these individuals, but I firmly believe that a small gesture is worth twice its weight in gold. You never know what someone else is going through and how much of a difference you might really make for them.

I chat with my coworker who has a bit of a language barrier and is super shy because she came over from Russia in her adult years. In doing so, I found out she loves cats just as much as I do and obtained two degrees when she got here because education is extremely important to her and her college credits weren’t worth anything in the US. She’s pretty funny too and now when I see her in the hall, it brings a smile to both of our faces.

Without some small talk, we wouldn’t get to hear all the wonderful stories and experiences others have to share. It makes you more well-rounded and makes them feel like somebody pretty special too. Plus, you might end up with you making some pretty great friends in unexpected places and it only costs a minute or two of your time.

be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody_1

How are you somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody?
Recently, Well-Being

21 DSD: Weeks 1 and 2- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

February 2, 2015
21 DSD Weeks 1 and 2- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Happy Groundhog Day! Well, maybe not so happy. Good old Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today and we all know what that means… 6 more weeks of winter. I don’t know how that’s even possible because all we have in my part of PA today is clouds and rain, but it is what it is!

Now, on to the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Week one went really well and all of my prepping paid off. I was super excited to begin the program and kick butt. I even started feeling more clear-headed and despite some (major) irritabilty, I was able to resist any urges for sugar, mostly chocolate…all the chocolate.

Adrian had decided to give up alcohol, fast food, and soda for these three weeks, which was very bold of him. After the first week, he allowed having a beer or two back into his mix, but has successfully stayed away from the McDonald’s and Coca Cola. I think that still makes a huge impact on his health and am very proud. Yay for him!

When week two rolled around, days 8 and 9 passed by okay, then on day 10, I was making Adrian a peanut butter sundae and I. Licked. The. Spoon. Peanut butter got me. I somehow resisted a huge chocolate cake at my mom’s in the first week, but an innocent bit of peanut butter got me… What a letdown. To top it off, on day 11, I woke up grumpy, having had less sleep than usual and not wanting to go to work. When I made my coffee, I reached for some of Adrian’s heath bar creamer instead of my half and half. I don’t know what got into me. I just don’t enjoy my favorite start to the day as much when it’s just the cream. So I messed up again there, continued on with a healthy day, and then slipped again after work with a gluten free granola bar. Sigh.

The guilt set in then and I was really disappointed in myself. Part of me feels like the first week was a major eye-opener for decreasing sugar consumption and that should be enough, but the other part of me knows I set out to do this for a reason, and I need to continue despite my setbacks.

So here’s what the last two weeks looked like:

21 DSD Weeks 1 & 2

This obviously isn’t all 42 or so meals, but I often ate the same things for breakfast and lunch each week and more than once forgot about taking a photo of each meal or it was just pretty awkward to snap a pic of my packed lunch with a bunch of coworkers around.

I made different batches of “noatmeal” and will probably continue making them after this is over. The way I make it is super easy: just an egg or two, a tablespoon of almond butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and any other mix-ins you desire, all scrambled up in a skillet or sauce pan and topped with almond milk. I mixed in a granny smith apple and shredded coconut or some chopped walnuts. It would taste even better with maple syrup, but it was honestly quite tasty on it’s own.

Salads were one of the easiest options as well and I used whatever I was in the mood for that fit the plan. Usually chicken, bleu cheese crumbles, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and then olive oil and lemon for dressing. Chipotle is a great option for a salad out and Panera Bread has some awesome Power Bowls that fit the bill too! Easy breakfasts each week were a batch of egg muffins or a large frittata for Adrian and I. When I ran out of eggs, I had full fat yogurt and a green-tipped banana, or an avocado and some a grapefruit.

Twice, I opted to have breakfast for dinner, making almond flour pancakes (plain, but savory) to go on the side one night.

I found a recipe for an awesome pizza crust that I’ll share with you because it’s too good not to. I admittedly made pizza with it three nights last week. Adrian loved it too, which is a win for sure and there were enough leftovers to have it for lunch as well.

Overall, it’s been a fun experiment so far. Despite my failures, I have managed to stay away from alcohol, soy, and gluten still. I was majorly tested with a gigantic chocolate cake for a post-birthday dinner at my mom’s and I stood my ground. I even blew out a candle from the center of my grapefruit instead. If she reads this, I’m sure she’ll be furious I went for the granola bar over this cake, because I wouldn’t restart the detox in favor of having a slice, but she did freeze some of it for me to have a taste some other time.

All American Chocolate Cake

Have you tested your willpower lately? How do you move forward after a setback when you had higher hopes?
Recently

On Being 28

January 16, 2015
On-Being-28-featured

According to my 11 year old self, back in fifth grade, I should have three children, with one on the way by now. 22 was the perfect year to start having kids and I planned on having five, with two years between each.  I should also be married to my middle school or high school sweetheart. Oh and  I’d of course would have cookie jars filled with Cookie Crisp cereal because I had never had them then and thought they were actually boxes full of mini cookies.

On Being 28

So, yesterday was my 28th birthday and man, do things turn out different than we thought when we had no idea what the years could bring. My lunch table predictions are far from reality… that is unless you count our three cats and our puppy as the fruit of my loins. I didn’t marry my high school sweetheart and it turns out I don’t even like Cookie Crisp. That was a major letdown!

On Being 28

We do plan to have two or three children, but are waiting a couple of years yet. It’s been quite a journey so far, and while I’ll admit this year hit me kinda hard in the getting old department, I am quite content with how far I’ve come. Setting goals are always a great idea, but also coming to terms with the fact that your path may change and your goals may change in the process is humbling. We live, we learn, and grow, every day and every year.

On Being 28

How we celebrated was up to me and I went with my low-key favorite: Sushi, beers, and This is Where I Leave You, cuddled on the couch, under a pile of blankets, with a rambunctious puppy bouncing around and dropping his toys off the edge for us to retrieve every ten minutes. It was perfect.

 Where did your eleven year old self think you’d be by now? Was it close or way off? I’d love to hear!
Reading Challenge, Recently

2015 Reading Challenge

January 9, 2015
2015 Reading Challenge

In my early twenties, my most favorite ways to unwind were late night drives to nowhere listening to music, writing, and solo trips to the book store. I hardly ever went with a book in mind and even when I did, I loved walking through Borders’ or Barnes and Noble’s literature section. I would choose a book that caught my eye off the shelf, read the back or inside cover, then if that made the cut, I read one random page from the middle of the book. I spent way more money on books than clothes or shoes, and I wouldn’t really have it any other way.

When I got into the “real world,” my love for reading got pushed to the back burner, my late night drives weren’t an option, and my writing inspiration was hit or miss. I missed the calm of the book store evenings, instead opting to use my Kindle app on my tablet for new reading selections. With the surge of resolutions floating around online recently, I was inspired by PopSugar’s and Goodread’s challenges to pick a number of books I would like to read by the end of the year and then certain categories these books should meet. I do still read a fair amount, so I didn’t include this on my own list of resolutions, but this still steps back up my book worm game, by specifying what it is I’ll be reading, and will allow me more book store visits again.

Book Tower

I want to read 26 books in 2015. Two per month seems like a decent goal, since I don’t often have the time to sit and read them straight through like I did in high school and college. Hopefully, I’ll exceed this goal, but since it’s more for me-time and relaxation, I don’t want to set the bar too high. Here’s how I’ll break what my selections will be into categories:

  • 3 works translated to English: It’s always good to have a new perspective
  • 3 non-fiction: I tend to read works of fiction, so I’ll broaden my horizons
  • 3 books I’ve started, but never finished: I think I only have 3 books I’ve left unfinished for one reason or another, so I plan to revisit those from the beginning
  • 3 memoirs: They are much more fun now than they used to seem when I was a kid
  • 2 with over 500 pages: A small challenge within a challenge
  • 3 banned or challenged classics: I have read quite a few, but I’m sure there are many that I have not yet gotten to
  • 1 sci-Fi: I like to get outside my comfort zone from time to time
  • 3 philosophical: I’m always interested in other ways of thinking and expanding my knowledge of theories
  • 5 recommended by friends: Any suggestions?

That covers my 26 reads. If a book falls into more than one category, I will only count it for one to make sure I reach my goal.

UHGDE

 

To start my 2015 reading challenge, I am going to go with one of the books I’ve started, but never finished. The first will be The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy  by Douglas Adams. This one is sentimental to me, which may be why I put it off. Back when I was 23, I packed up my station wagon and moved to Nashville. I wanted to “find myself” and it didn’t feel like I’d be able to do that in PA. I was very confident about my decision to move, but as the date drew closer, I began to second guess myself and thought about backing out. At the time, Adrian and I were at a cross-road in our relationship. I was sad to leave him, as we were always close friends, but we weren’t exactly ready to settle down at the time. Before I left, he gave me this book and wrote “Don’t Panic” in the cover. It gave me the last little push that I needed. I still really believe if you want to try a new city, you definitely should. The world is vast and just because you were born somewhere doesn’t mean you were meant to stay. I would suggest making sure it’s for the right reasons, but even though Nashville may not have been for me at that time, I learned more from that trip than any other, which is worth its weight in gold. I hope reading this brings back a reminder of the appreciation for what I have and maybe a bit of wanderlust as well.

Do you have any reading goals this year? If you have any suggestions for books to meet one of my categories, I’d love to hear them! Or even better, join me in my challenge and up your book worm status!

 

 

 

Recently, Well-Being

2015 Resolutions: Bring On the New Year

January 2, 2015
2015 Resolutions

Does it feel like 2015? I can’t get over how fast the time passes the older and busier I get. I’m sure I feel this way every year, but it’s just not something I am ready to accept! It scares me really, but I like to think of that fear as fuel.

I’m starting off the year with a cold. I was so excited for the new year and now this head cold is sucking the motivation out of me. Never fear, I’m stocked up on meds and tissues, so I am pushing through. I really do feel good about this year’s open floor plan and I can’t wait to turn it into something great. I have my husband, our home, our fur babies, a huge and supportive family, and me!

This year I want to put more emphasis on me. Not in a selfish, I-don’t-care-about-anyone-else sort of way, but a need-to-fix-and-make-me-the-best-I-can-be way! I’m turning 28 in less than two weeks and I am not waiting around until I’m 30 to jump on the bandwagon of change. If it sounds cliché that I am putting these resolutions out there now, I’m sorry, but I’m actually not sorry. People find motivations in all different places and if this January start is where my inspiration lies, then so be it! I’m working on a solid approach with a follow through plan to help these stick because this year, it’s about the why not the what.

2015 Resolutions: Bring On the New Year

Be more mindful and present

I’m a very reflective person. I spend a lot of time thinking about the past or what others are going through. This isn’t all bad because I have learned many lessons this way from past mistakes or positive changes and my concern for others helps me grow my relationships and understanding of others in general. In addition to the past, I also tend to look forward to upcoming happenings, which can be nice because it’s good to be excited about what you’re working towards or what’s going to bring a smile to your face. As the years go by, I have stopped countdowns for major events and this became especially last year with the house and wedding because I know the time is going to pass faster than it should anyway, but I still let my mind wander forward to those events from time to time. I’m a big day dreamer and always have been.

The downside to my past and future fixations is sometimes I forget about the here and now. I want and plan to soak up more of the day to day joys. I remember as a kid, stopping to stare at a sunset on vacation, and hoping if I looked just long enough, I’d be able to come back to those moments like a catalog in my brain. I want to add more of those moments to my catalog because these day to day, minute to minute occurrences are just as important as the big things. We just need to pay a bit more attention.

Improve my health

It is so easy to let our health fall (or get pushed) off the radar. I will strive to lose some weight to get more energy, confidence, and boost my overall mood. To do this, I have some sub-goals to reach the big goal:

  • 21-Day Sugar Detox: I’m going to ease into healthier eating over the next couple of weeks, then begin the 21-Day Sugar Detox after my birthday. It’s no secret I have a major sweet tooth, so I want to kick start things by getting that issue under control. I ordered the book off Amazon and it will be here Monday, so I will do some major planning then. If you are interested in doing this with me, let me know! (It would help keep things even more accountable.) After the detox is over, I will be cutting back on alcoholic beverages (there will be zero consumed on the detox), working on eliminating refined sugars and incorporating them in my recipes instead, and following the 80/20 rule to keep me on track without having a small slip up derail my efforts.
  • Get back in shape: There was a time where I got into running, participated in some 5k’s and 5-milers and really felt good about myself and my achievements. I’d like to bring those feelings back by getting back to running, beginning with 3 workouts per week. I also really want to try yoga to improve my flexibility and use it to assist my first resolution of mindfulness and being present more.
  • Meal planning: I partially do this now to make things a bit easier, but there are some weeks where I have no plan for meals and then we tend to order out or go out. To improve this in our home and to help me reach my goals, I will work out a system that works for me to pack daily lunches for work, without scrambling before I run out the door. I also want to have at least 4 dinners at home decided before Monday each week. This will have to be flexible, with our ever changing evening schedules, but I’m hopeful we will manage well once a system is in place.
Blog On

I just started out in the blogging world about two months ago and I’m still every excited about my little corner of the internet. That being said, there is a lot of improvement to be made here and I’m ready for the work ahead.

  • Create a schedule and post consistently: I am learning to juggle working full time and having a social life while blogging. Since this is something I chose to do because I love the creative outlet and connecting with readers like you, I plan to carve out some designated time to write and engage each week to achieve a balanced lifestyle. I would like to get myself on a schedule where I post three times each week as well.
  • Become part of the community: I am happily overwhelmed with the community bloggers live and work in. It’s so wonderful seeing relationships between people from all over the world with common interests and goals. I would really like to immerse myself more in this community and open myself up to making new connections.
  • Improve photography: I have become interested in pursuing photography as a hobby and enhancing the images for my posts in the process. A picture tells a story on its own and I want mine to really speak to you throughout my posts. I put a lot of effort into my recipes and having photos that match that effort would give me an especially warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
Budget

Budgeting is something that I adjust every year, as spending requirements never tend to stay the same. We have our old home to fix and rent out and are currently covering both mortgages in the process, so there is definitely always room for improvement. Adrian and I will sit to down discuss our budget as a newly married couple and I will reevaluate my personal spending to allow for extra savings to purchase things on my wish list and rainy days.

Home Improvement

This one I am excited for! We put any home changes on hold because of the wedding and then the holidays, so now I am ready to get into things! I plan to start working on each room of the house, one by one, until our lovely house is truly our home! I also want to establish a cleaning schedule, so there are no more big cleans necessary when we are having company over. Plus, a clean space is so nice to come home to and really takes the unnecessary stress out of daily life.

Marital Bliss

A happy marriage doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s something that always requires effort from both individuals in order to really succeed. We signed up for this, so it isn’t really a chore, but still falls into an ongoing resolution for me. Adrian and I plan to:

  • Establish date nights: Adrian is incredibly ambitious and it’s something I always loved about him, but between his ongoing projects and goals and my own, we sometimes forget to make time for each other. A date night will allow for serious quality time and a break from our current gigs to enjoy one another. It might not happen each week, but the goal is at least twice a month.
  • Communicate: Everyone has heard that communication is key in a relationship and I couldn’t agree more. This is another one for us that can always improve in some small way, so I will be working on this year round as well.

2015 Resolutions: Bring On the New Year

Phew. I seriously feel better, even with this awful cold, just by writing all of this out. I hope this will motivate you to consider your own goals, if you haven’t already. It will take work, but everything worth having does!

What are your 2015 resolutions? Do you have any tips for achieving your goals?

 

Dinner, DIY, Monday Musings, Recently

Monday Musings: Fancy (Without the Fuss) Gift Wrapping Ideas

December 22, 2014
Countdown to Christmas

Two and a half days until Christmas! Yippee! I’ve been keeping track with this nifty Christmas Countdown. The Christmas gifts have been bought, the decorating is done, the cookies have been baked. Ahh, feels nice to be in a good spot. The only things left to do are spot clean the house, prepare for our Christmas guests, and wrap, wrap, wrap! I’ve collected a bunch of fancy gift wrapping ideas to keep things interesting before ripping the presents apart!

  • First is a gift wrapping tutorial by Apartment Therapy to show off your awesome skills. This is one thing I have never quite gotten down, but I’ve always hoped my gift receivers would think my extra folded paper in the creases under tons of tape was charming. Gift bag anyone?
  • Speaking of bagging those presents, I thought Paper and Stitch’s super easy Ink Blot Gift Bags were the perfect flare to add along with the tissue paper and bows.
  • Looking to use up all those last inches of paper left from last year? A Beautiful Mess came up with wonderful ways to use scraps for creative gift wrapping!
  • DIY Acrylic Gift Tags from Design Sponge are a great way to personalize your presents with style.
  • Mashable has 25 ways to hand-personalize all your goodies! The first one uses washi tape… See, I told you it was amazing!
In other news
  • I tried this trick for falling asleep faster, and though I don’t know if I beat the minute mark, it definitely had me snoozing way sooner than usual!
  • Happy Winter Soltstice! The shorter and shorter days cut into my productivity, so I am welcoming the longer days to come! Here’s a bit of science behind our seasons.
On the menu

And just for fun, I spruced up one of Archer’s latest photos because we’re both nuts about Christmas!

Archer Santa

 

 

I hope you have the happiest of holidays! Do you have any neat wrapping ideas or embarrassing Christmas photos of your pets to share?
DIY, Organize, Recently

His and Hers Holiday Survival Kits + Man Crates

December 21, 2014
His and Hers Holiday Survival Kits + Man Crates

I’m so excited because Adrian took some time out to join me in today’s post! (I’m hoping he’ll start stopping by more often. 🙂 ) Not only did Adrian work on this with me, but Man Crates reached out to us to share their awesome and unique gift offerings for the men in your life! We are down to the wire, with Christmas just a few days left, so we wanted to share with you our holiday essentials and give you a peek at what Man Crates has to offer!

(We were not at all compensated for this post and all ideas are our own. We just think Man Crates is really onto something with their mission to provide dudes with perfect gifts!)

His

 

His and Hers Holiday Survival Kits + Man Crates

Hey! Jaclyn usually asks me to proof-read her posts, but this is the first one I get to help write!

I always forget about my vacation days until the end of the year, and I have to use them or lose them. This year, I used a bunch for our honeymoon, and now I’m using the rest of them for a sanity break. I figure I’ll finally get to unpack from our recent move and put all of my things away in my “man cave”, play some video games, and write some songs.

Here are a few things I need to keep me from going nuts!

  1. Amazon Prime: This isn’t just for the holidays, but Amazon Prime really comes in handy for last-minute gifts! $99/year for two-day shipping of purchases, and tons of shows and movies I can watch to keep myself sane while I holiday shop at home.
  2. A New Guitar: I love to play guitar! Every guitar sounds and feels different based on how it’s put together, and a diverse sonic palette inspires creativity, so I always like to add to my collection. I have been looking at four or five different guitars to gift myself this season. The most unique model I’m looking at is the Kenny Hickey (of Type O Negative fame) signature model Schecter C-1 EX S. Its most unique feature is a “Sustaniac” pickup in the neck position, which is used to create an electromagnetic feedback loop — you can create feedback without going deaf standing in front of a cranked amplifier!
  3. Event Tickets: The holidays can be festive and social, but sometimes I feel “stuck” at home. Winter is cold, it’s dark, there’s snow and ice on the ground, and it’s hard to find the motivation to do anything. Tickets to a concert, a sporting event, or a show are opportunities (and because they cost money, obligations!) to go out and have fun. Every year, Jaclyn surprises me and takes me out to something fun: rock concerts, basketball games, professional wrestling, the list goes on!
  4. Guitar Strings: If you play guitar, you always need a good supply of strings on hand. I usually tune down to CGCFAD or DGCFAD, so I need a thicker string with good tone, but I don’t want them to feel like power cables. My string preference is Ernie Ball Coated Electric Titanium RPS Power Slinky — the coating keeps them sounding good for a long while!
  5. Guitar Picks: I go through picks like crazy. I like Jim Dunlop Gator Grip picks at .96mm, sufficiently heavy while able to provide some nuance.
  6. Beer: I am a craft beer enthusiast — not a beer snob! — so I enjoy drinking different styles and brands in my search for “the perfect beer”. (I also like getting Jaclyn to try them with me!) My palate changes with the seasons, so I’m not sure I will ever find “the perfect beer”… but it sure is fun to try! An annual favorite of mine is the Sly Fox Christmas Ale.  It’s a “winter warmer” type of beer, slightly heavy, a touch of malt, spicy and flavorful, and delightful for cold weather and relaxation.
  7. A Christmas Story: It’s just not Christmas without this classic movie! It has a special place in my heart, because I watch this every chance I get with my father, and we still laugh like idiots every time. “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”
Hers

 

His and Hers Holiday Survival Kits + Man Crates

Here are some of my favorite things during the holidays, along with other things I couldn’t get by without!

  1. Coffee All the Time: This is a must year round, but I have to have my holiday specialty drinks this time of year.
  2. Cookies: I am a sucker for sweets always, but it’s 10x as bad during Christmas.
  3. Bottles of Wine: Wine is a perfect gift for neighbors, coworkers, stocking stuffers, you name it. I always have extras for anyone on my list I may have forgotten last minute, but I also like to have extra for planned (and sometimes unplanned) guests.
  4. Comfy Pajamas: When I come home from work, if we don’t have anywhere to go, I immediately change into my pajamas. It’s the best feeling in the winter!
  5. Target Boots (and Moccasins): I have to admit, I’ve never actually owned a pair of Uggs. I prefer to get boots and moccasins at Target each year instead. I’m notorious for stepping in unexpected puddles or wearing them in the snow, so I don’t have to stress when they get a bit beat up.
  6. Mad Elf: #6 and #11 go together here. They are my favorite holiday beers! I always get super excited to see them on the shelf at Wegmans!
  7. Repairing Lotion: My skin gets way too dry in the winter. I started using Vaseline’s intensive care lotion this year and it’s been wonderful. I never get cracked or dry skin now. (Tip: Leaving it by your hand soap in the bathroom reminds you to apply after hand-washing.)
  8. Jane Iredale’s Lip Drink: When I went for my wedding makeup trial, my awesome makeup artist took one look at my lips and knew I am not always the best at staying as hydrated as I should. She gave me a sample of this and I’ve been hooked ever since. I usually put in on first thing when I’m doing my makeup in the morning. You can add whatever you want over top.
  9. ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas: Whenever Adrian isn’t watching Football, I have this channel on. It keeps the Christmas spirit up in the house. My favorite Christmas movies are Elf, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (both the original and live action), and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (the 1964 version.)
  10. Amazon Prime: I started using Amazon Prime about two years ago because we learned you can share your account with another member in your household (so I of course jumped on Adrian’s) and it’s THE BEST THING EVER. Seriously. Last minute shopping is super-easy. I found a couple Minecraft items on my little brother’s Christmas list that I couldn’t find in stores and they arrived two days after ordering with free shipping. Sorry I’m so excited, I just don’t get how everyone doesn’t use this as much as I do.
  11. Southern Tier’s 2XMAS: This goes with #6 and although I thought it couldn’t be true, I actually prefer this over the Mad Elf if I was forced to choose. So good!
  12. Address Book: I procrastinate on writing out the holiday cards each year, so I have to have an address book to keep me organized and make the process of getting them out the door that much faster.
  13. Ugly Sweater Kit: We go to an annual ugly sweater party each year. The past few years, Adrian and I went scavenging at local thrift shops to find our beauties. This year we found these awesome Ugly Sweater kits with everything we’d need to create our own. So much fun! AND we won best couple at the party with them this year!

 

Man Crates

In addition to sharing our holiday survival kits with you, as I said before, Adrian and I teamed up with Man Crates to bring you great gift ideas for your guy! If you haven’t heard of the before, they design crates full of themed presents, that you open with mini crowbars! There is a fit for any of the men in your life! Adrian loves Man Crates’ style and I love that they take the guess work out of buying and deliver gifts your guy will actually want. Too good not to share this time of year!

They have lots of awesome choices, including gadgets, gear, and video games. Here are Adrian’s favorites to give you a glimpse of what they have to offer:

The High Roller

This is classy and coordinated. Great for poker, drinks, and stogies with friends!

His and Hers Holiday Survival Kits + Man Crates

Original ‘Honor Guard’ Playing Cards Printed exclusively for Man Crates by the USPCC, Original ‘Generalissimo’ Playing Cards Printed exclusively for Man Crates by the USPCC, 2 Evil Genius Sphinx Glasses, 2 oversized whiskey soapstone rocks, 2 felt and slate coasters Stainless steel cigar cases, Evil Genius Sphinx black matte flask

 The Snack Pack

This has a ton of variety, and it’s not just candy, it’s substantial snacking!

His and Hers Holiday Survival Kits + Man Crates

Oreos, Nutter Butter cookies, Chips Ahoy cookies, Theater Box of Starbursts, Peanuts in the Shell, Pringles Potato Chips, Nature Valley Granola Bar, Premium Popcorn, Corn Nuts, Rice Krispy Treats bar, Sunflower seeds, Hot Tamales spicy cinnamon candies, Cracker Jack box, Huge box of Crunch & Munch

 Super Retro Gamer Crate

… And there goes an entire weekend!

His and Hers Holiday Survival Kits + Man Crates

 

We definitely recommend checking them out for Christmas. If your guy’s already covered, they’d be the best just-because gifts or birthday presents too!

What would you include in your holiday survival kit? Which Man Crate do you think is the coolest?
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The Best Songs of 2014

December 18, 2014
The Best Songs Of 2014

I don’t usually post twice in a day, but I saw Helene’s link up and just couldn’t resist! I spent a ton of time going through all of my favorite songs for our wedding soundtrack a few months back, but now it’s time to showcase my top four best songs of 2014!


I probably listened to this song about 200 times since it came out.


A sweet little tune to just hang out with.


This song is truly captivating and that voice. So dreamy.


Had to include the obvious perky favorite from Taylor. Super catchy!

Did you love any of these too? What are some of your favorites from 2014?