Category Archives: life

My House is a Mess

And it’s freaking me out. Seriously.


I’m currently working on the holiday gift guides for ConstantChatter.  That means, I have a LOT of boxes, envelopes, folders, papers and packing peanuts coming into this house.  And like last year, it seems that I’m just stacking the sample products on top of other sample products.  Which really means I just have boxes filled with other boxes and envelopes and papers and stray packaging peanuts.

Add to that my husbands standard mess (socks, ticket stubs, guitars and guitar paraphernalia, CDs, magazines, work crap that I’m afraid to touch in case it’s important, etc.) and well, we’ve got ourselves a bit of a giant mess.

It might not have been too bad if the landlords hadn’t also decided that this is the perfect time to manure the yard.  And just the right time for that cat to do some massive shedding.

Yes, we’re a mess I tell ya!  And I’m still working on the gift guides, so I’m still a few days away from being able to do anything about it.

The sad part is that we decided that this semester, a portion of my UCLA money would go towards getting a cleaning lady.  Thing is, before I can even consider getting a cleaning lady, I need to actually clear the piles of clutter (or in the bedroom, clothes) off of everything or I’ll just be wasting the money.

Next year I’m starting those damn gift guides in September!

Share & Tell: My Ringtones

I’ll admit it, I’m kind of running out of things to say on a daily basis.  Between teaching and working and setting up the upcoming gift guides, I don’t seem to have much time or energy left.  So, I think I’ll hit up my stockpile of blogging drafts and see what I can come up with.

I started writing this post a long time ago.  I mean, long enough ago that I actually still used songs with lyrics for my ring tones.  Long enough that Push It actually WAS my ringtone.  But hey, I’ll still share and tell if that’s okay.

But first, the original post (as I see fit to edit)…

I was trying to get some new ringtones to upload into my phone but for some reason,  I couldn’t get the damn downloads to work right.  So I’ll just have to share what I have on the phone right now…

I’ve got Trisha Yearwood’s That’s What I Like About You for hubby* (a Trisha concert was our first date).

I have Rilo Kiley’s Portions for Foxes** for my unknown callers (so I know when it’s not worth running into the other room to dig through my purse to answer the phone.

Trouble by Pink for my old roommate and closest friend.  I just think it’s cute, you know, her being a bad influence (ha!) and all that.

The heavy guitar intro to U2’s New Year’s Day for our good friend (though she rarely calls from an unblocked call most times).

I’ve always wanted my default ringer to be Salt &  Peppa’s Push It, but since my phone always went with me to client meetings, I didn’t think it was appropriate.  Once these other two expire, I’ll upload Push It. Yeah, that’s totally old news.

Currently, I have the musical intro to Kirsty MacColl’s US Amazonians (you can give a listen below).  It’s fun, it’s loud enough, it has no lyrics attached to it (perfect for when the phone rings when I’m teaching or with clients) and I know it well enough that it makes me smile and hum along when I hear it.

Now it’s your turn…what is your current ringtone? Something with lyrics or without?

* I still do since he rarely calls my cell when I’m out with clients.

** I don’t use anything for unknown/blocked numbers any more.  Then again, since I can see who calls and listen to their message online these days, I don’t rush to answer the phone anymore either.

Congratulations! You Won A Buttload of Money!!


Okay, you really didn’t win anything (but have no fear, you are indeed a winner!). Instead, I wanted to play a little game of what if.

Imagine if you will, that you just won a lottery of sorts and you walk away with $10,000 free and clear. Or if you’re not comfortable with the money for nothing sort of thing, then let’s say it’s work bonus after taxes.

So my question is, what do you do with your winnings?

Do you invest?
Pay off bills?
Go shopping?
How about going on a fantastic vacation?
Pay down your student loans?
Enjoy a little spa time?
Buy a car? A boat?
Put it towards your kids’ college fund?
A new surround sound system?

What do you do with your prize money?

What if it was $100,000 free and clear?  Would it make a difference? Would you use it towards your down payment on a house? Buy something nice for your parents? Donate to charity?

Now let’s say that you’ve won $500,000 or a million free and clear.  Do you do the same thing?  Maybe buy or start a business? Or do you have a little more fun with it since there’s more?

When do you decide to share a little of your new found wealth?

I don’t really have a point with any of this.  I just noticed today that when I entered an online giveaway they asked a similar question.  In their case, they only gave 4 options and then an other. So it got me thinking…

While I’d love a super fantastic vacation or a new car, I also can’t seem to look beyond the fact that I have some massive student loan debt and we’d love to get into a house of our own.  In which case, I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t be spending it on something frivolous like a vacation, spa time, electronic toys or a new car.  As much as it might pain me to do so, I think I’d have to save it or apply it towards my student loan debt or to our house savings.

And well, while that seems like quite the responsible thing to do, it also seems a little sad.  I mean what’s the use of winning a big’ol lump sum of cash if you don’t have a little fun with it, right?

So I guess if there is a point to this post (outside of being curious about how others might handle the situation), I think it could very well be that it’s made me realize I might have a couple issues yet to deal with around money.

Guess I know what sort of work is on my plate to deal with before the end of the year…

OMG! I Think I Want to Take These Classes!


I first noticed these baking classes back in May or so.  At that time, I couldn’t even consider baking in our apartment (or any time between April and October due to the crazy heat and lousy air conditioning). But i kept their info close by because it all just all sounds SO DARN GOOD!

Bread Baking Classes at Gourmandise Desserts

An intensive bread series that would include sweets, savories and breakfast favorites. The three-part series can be broken up, but we would love to see you master all three!

Bread Series 1: Yeast Breads
Yeast breads are simple once you learn how to make a quick starter! You will make Sticky Buns, Quick Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls from one dough and both Sweet and Chocolate Brioches from another. Quick Yeast Bread Base, Brioches Dough, Apple Pecan Sticky Bun Filling, Caramel Glaze, Cinnamon Raisin Filling, Cream Cheese Glaze, Buttery Brioches- and more!

Bread Series 2: Quick Breads and Muffins
Warm muffins and tea loaves are such a special treat- but so often turn out dense or dry. Well fear no more! You’ll not only learn how to perfect your muffin batter, but you’ll make recipes that are easy to make in just a few minutes. Tea loaves and quick breads are great for any meal; we love them both sweet and savory, and always make a few more than we need! (And who doesn’t love eating veggies for breakfast)??!

Bread Series 3: Savory Breads
The Bread Series ends with a savory note; this class is sure to please! You will make three very different bases and work with many delicious combinations of herbs, spices and cheeses to make these delicacies pop. Vegetarian Gougere, Cured Ham and Cheese Gougere, Fresh and Easy Pizza Dough Tomato Foccacia Bread, OliveBread, Parmesan-crusted Rolls

Classes take place at Gourmandise at the St Joseph Center 204 Hampton Drive, Venice CA 90291

If you want to learn more, check out their site and maybe I’ll see you there!!

Being Sick Sucks


I’ve been noticing some (seeming) breathing challenges the past week or so.  You know the kind, where it feels like you’re back in middle school in Jersey (pick any cold location here) in the dead of winter having to run outside for PE.  My chest has been feeling like that these past couple days. Just walking from the car to the front door leaves me achey and feeling winded.

Then late last night, before bed, I notice the ginormous purple bags under my eyes.  Beautiful I’m sure.

I’m kinda bummed.  I’ve been taking some amazing homeopathic meds for my sinus issues and I’ve been crazy impressed by how well it was working.  Of course, just the other day I bragged to my husband how this is the longest I’ve gone in a year or so without a sinus infection.  And blamo, the chest aches started up *grr*

I’m still crazy impressed with the homeopathic meds I’ve been taking for a couple months now (check it out if you have ANY kind of sinus crap going on –  Sinus Wars –  I can’t recommend it enough) and will continue to take those little pellets.  But, I think my chest might need some old school antibiotics.

If I wasn’t teaching, I’d wait it out and just go with the natural stuff.  But I don’t have that extra time right now.

All I want now is soup.  I wonder if I can convince the hubs to head out for some soup for dinner. Wonton soup would be perfect.

In the meantime, back to arranging for the upcoming gift guides.  Tons of works, but also lots of fun.

You Can Rent the Strangest Stuff


I’ve mentioned recently about my experience working towards going green in my day to day life.  As such, I love to read books and blogs on the topic (speaking of, I love Sophie Uliano’s book, Gorgeously Green).

The other day I came across a list of the 18 different things you can rent instead of buying.  I knew about some of them, such as the Flex Car, large equipment, party supplies and designer purses.  But pets?  Textbooks? Caskets?  A wife???

Wow, I guess you really can rent just about anything these days.  The good news, in some cases, you’re not only saving money, but you’re also saving the environment.

NaBloPoMo: What Was I Thinking???


I’ll admit it, I’m not thinking clearly.

Once again I’ve decided to participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).  Basically, I commit to blog daily for the full month.  This should be interesting since I’ve noticed that when I’m teaching, I can’t seem to find the time to post.  So this year, more than with any of my past NaBloPoMo times, this should be a challenge.

I didn’t do it last year because we were in Ireland. I seems I even did it last year while we were in Ireland.  Looking over everything, it looks like I skipped a couple days at the end of the month*.  Then again, I had multiple days where I posted more than once.  And of course, things got totally wonky in Ireland since we were half a day apart from where I was posting in Ireland and when it said I was posting in LA.  Very wonky indeed.

I’m hoping I can do this.  I can’t say that there’s a helluva lot going on right now that’s not school related.  But we will have our mini-vacation soon.  Strangely enough, it seems we tend to do mini-vacations in November (looking over past NaBlPoMo posts).  Very strange indeed.

If you’d like to know a little more about me, feel free to hop on over to my About page.  Otherwise, welcome to this mess I call NaBloPoMo!!

Wish me luck!


PS: If you’re an LA local gal, be sure to sign up for your chance to win a spa treatment at Dermalogica in Santa Monica

*just looked closer, seems I threw in the towel with only 8 days to go.

It’s Mid-Terms Week Here in LA Blogger Gal Land

Let’s start with the obvious…I haven’t yet written up my review of the U2 show. I have a video to upload (complete with Collin Farrell sighting), but I you know how crazy long it takes for upload into YouTube. I’ll get around to it.

The second and somewhat obvious…man it’s cold here! Mind you, when Southern Californians say it’s “cold” it means it’s dipped into the mid 60’s or so during the day and the chilly 50’s at night. We’re crazy like that, I know. But we’ve actually had to turn the heat on these past couple nights and pull out the comforter. Next up, sweaters. Woohoo! My friends back in NM and CO are experiencing snow. Lucky them.

I gave my first mid-term (I think my first mid-term ever) this week. Overall, the kids did great. Since we’re a computer class, they basically just had to copy and format a document from scratch including uploading and sizing an image. It sounds easy I know, but it took them the full hour and a half to get it done. But they did it and did it well. Which means they got it and that feels good.

Next week we’re working on searching the web for info. So if you can think of any wacky or relevant things that the kids can search for in their scavenger hunt, feel free to leave suggestions in the comment section. I figure it’s a fun way to learn how to use the Internet beyond just Facebook and email.

Today I had them search for all sorts of discounts that they can get with their student ID. They were thrilled when they got to the page that talked about the restaurants that give discounts locally. Then they got even more excited when they realized that they can get travel discounts as well.

Like my TA pointed out, you really do forget that sometimes the stuff you know, isn’t the same sort of stuff that someone else might know. I mean it seems so obvious to us, yet so many people still have no idea about so many of the useful things you can find on the web.

And totally unrelated, as I sit here watching Ghost Whisperer while typing this out…why would they put JLH in such a beautiful grey backless dress if they’re just going to show her purple bra. It just looks tacky as all get out.

Oh yeah…local gals…don’t forget to register for your chance to win aFREE microZone Treatment at Dermologica in Santa Monica

It’s Just a Concert…Right?

We’ll be heading out to the Rosebowl for the U2 360º show shortly and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve stressed out (or possibly feared) a concert as much as this one.

You see, there will be roughly 96,000 people (yes, I said ninety-six THOUSAND) at this show.  They’re anticipating MAJOR traffic jams up and down the 210.  Knowing how crazy the Rosebowl traffic can be just for a USC game where there’s usually only 30,000 or so people in attendance, you can imagine what a traffic nightmare this could be.  They know that there won’t be enough parking, so of course they’re suggesting mass transit (how we’ll be getting in) and car pooling.

They’re also suggesting that folks get there 3-4 hours before the show even starts…to either sit in traffic, walk in from where you parked, or tailgate in the parking lot.  Of course, I’m still trying to figure out how if I didn’t drive, and I can’t bring a hibachi and alcohol into the Rosebowl, how can I expect to actually tailgate..without an actual tailgate??  No worries, we know people (ha!) and will hopefully be spending a little time at one of the hospitality tents enjoying martinis.  If all goes well, that is.

On top of all that, I can’t help but wonder what to wear.  I mean right now it’s 75 or so.  Later tonight though, for the walk back to the Metro, it will probably be in the low 60’s.  So I’m thinking a t-shirt for now with a sweater in the backpack.  I’m also bringing along extra sunscreen and a baseball hat.  I mean, we’ll be standing in the sun for at least 2-3 hours.  I figure once the sun goes down, I have about 60,000 of my closest friends nearby to help keep me warm.

I can’t recall the last time I put such an effort into attending a show.  Maybe back when I saw the Police doing their big Synchronicity tour back in ’83.  And well, let’s face it…I was a LOT younger then – a wee 14 and living for the moment.

That said, it’s time to  finish getting ready and to head on out.  I’ve set up my Cinch account for audio updates on my twitter feed (if you care to hear what’s going on).  And I’ll post photos some time tomorrow or so.

If you’re at the Bowl, feel free to send me a Tweet and maybe we can enjoy a frosty beverage or two while we scream along with the band.

Don’t forget, even if you’re not at the show, you can watch the concert live tonight on YouTube starting at 8:30 Pacific…

Working On This Green Thing


On the one hand, I’m totally on the bandwagon and have been for years.  I was raised recycling and making our own household products.  I’ve been refusing bags or bringing my own bags places long before it was all sorts of trendy and cool (I love my mini-Rume bag and keep one in my purse at all times – at the grocery store I just use my SXSW cloth bags).

But sometimes, I’ll admit it, I just can’t get into it.

Sometimes, the mere scent of a new bath or body product is just too tempting to walk away from because it’s not organic.  Or the killer laundry product that I can’t even begin to imagine walking away from – like the new Spray ‘n Wash Bright & White that gets my clothes amazingly white for the first time in I don’t know how long (but I do know it’s been years since I’ve not done my laundry at a laundromat).

I’ll admit it though, Kermit was right…it’s not easy being green.

Now that weather is cooler, I’m not going to have a window sill to rest my drying bottles and cans in (and I’ve learned the hard way, if I’m storing my bottles and cans inside, they MUST be rinsed out). I’m going to have to come up with a plan B here.

And while I have no problem spending a little extra for my organic health and beauty supplies, I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed in how they’ve been working.  So far, I think I’ve wasted more money and more products on things I didn’t like or that didn’t live up to the hype.  And I have to wonder, is it worth it?

I will say, there are some products that I’m trying that I love (keep in mind, they’re not all 100% organic or environmentally safe)…

  • Cargo’s Plant Love Organic Loose Powder – I’m pretty much a die hard Bare Minerals kind of gal, but I have to say, I love this stuff.  There aren’t as many colors to choose from, so it’s more challenging to find that perfect shade.  But…not having to deal with the BE/BM burn is awfully nice.
  • Mrs Meyer’s cleaning supplies – I’ve switched over to her cleaning products a couple years ago. While I know I can just as easily make my own cleaning supplies, I have to say, I’m addicted to the aromas.  I love that I can hop into my shower, close those icky doors, and start scrubbing off the soap scum without having to worry about fainting from the cleaning agents.  Always a good thing.
  • Dessert Essence Natural Roll-On Deodorant – who knew finding a natural deodorant that works would be so difficult.  My girlfriend actually picked this one up for me when she was perusing her co-op website.  So far I love it.  Since I also use their tea tree oil, I had a place an order for me so I could try some more of their products.
  • The Green Beauty Guide – Like I said, I’m having some challenges here, so I could use all the help I can get finding those new products to try.
  • Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm – I was given this as a giftie by a friend that works for Burt’s Bees.  Lip balm addict that I am (with a gazillion and one lip balms lying about), I stuck it in a purse that I rarely use and never gave it much thought.  I was using that purse the other day and whipped it out. Wow, I love this!  It’s got just enough color and it’s minty.  Very cool.
  • Josie Maran Lip Gloss – this baby sits in my concert bag (yes, I have a small purse just for when I go to shows – holds close to nothing, but it’s also easy to hold on to).  I keep this bag stocked and ready to go – toss in the ID and the Blackberry and all is good.  While I can’t attest to the color – I’m usually in the dark – I do love the scent, the taste and the last power.  It’s not too goopy and stays on through most of the show.
  • Laundry Tree Soap Nuts – I love, love, love these babies.  We were given samples in our BlogHer swag bag two years ago.  I loved them so much, I arranged to do a giveaway on ConstantChatter.  Basically, instead of using detergent, you just toss the nuts into the wash and let them work their magic.  I’d use them more often if I didn’t have to use a laundromat (feel like I’m wasting them since more than likely, the machine is already filled with enough soap residue to wash with water alone).
  • Dryer Balls – I also love to use dryer balls instead of fabric softener.  The roll around and beat up the clothes so they get soft and fluffy without the chemicals.  I will say, they don’t completely cut down on the static, but you can deal with it.

I can’t say I’m doing perfect here in my quest to go green.  But it’s not such a bad start.  I tell myself that once we move into our own place (and I no longer have to use the laundromat) or fight to get the recyclables taken care of, it will be much easier.

What are you doing to go green[er]?  What are some of your favorite products?