Monthly Archives: November 2012

Age is Just a Number

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As many of you remember from my less-than-happy post in August, I am now 26.  It’s a weird age.  I’m an adult, there’s no questioning that.  But do I still play Dance Central like I did back in college?  You betcha.  Do I have a stock portfolio and retirement fund outside of my 401K?  Guilty.  Do I know what a 401K is.  Oh, you bet your sweet bottom I do.

So it makes me laugh that so many people I come in contact with have no idea what age I am.  Is it my round face and chubby cheeks that make me look, at times, like I’m still 15?  Is it the fact that I drive, have a little brother who’s in college, and a little sister who’s out of college, and am holding a steady job?  WHAT IS IT?!

Whatever that magic part of me is, people can never seem to guess my age.  I went to the liquor store tonight (don’t worry, it’s for cupcakes, I’m not boozing it up) and the man didn’t believe that I was 21.  He scanned my ID twice, because he was sure it was a fake.  It’s not, sir, I’ve been over 21 for half a decade now.  A few weeks ago, though, I went out with some friends and we all ordered drinks.  Now, let me preface this by saying, I was the youngest person at the table.  Yet somehow, everyone else was carded except for me.  She figured I looked old enough, is the answer the waitress gave me.

What magic spell can I cast to help people figure out how old I am?  I’m not 18, I’m not 33.  I’m 26.  You flatter me when you card me, but not when you scan it twice because you don’t believe it’s real.  And no one flatters me when they ask how old my kids are.  Remember that.

For now, this 26 year old is going to try to act her age a little more.  A little less Dance Central, a little more make up.  Maybe act like I have a booty once in awhile (I do…J. Lo would be proud).  Live it up, white nerdy girl style….

…eh, who am I kidding.  For the rest of my life people are always going to think I’m an age I’m not.  Might as well accept it.

Have a wonderful week!!

Lis

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X is for eXact Change

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Ah, Thanksgiving weekend is almost over, can this really be happening?  Do I have to return to Initech tomorrow?  Any Powerball winners willing to give me some quick cash??  Anyone…anyone…??

Well, while you all decide if you want to give me money for nothing in return (the answer to that is always YES!), let me tell you about my fun weekend supporting small businesses and shopping with the holiday rushes.

For those of you who didn’t see last week’s blog post, I decided to go out on the town this weekend and spend some money in the local community.  My goal was to take $20 down to the Strip and see just how close to the $20 I could spend before leaving.  And, if I played my cards just right, I wouldn’t go over my $20 limit either.

So Saturday morning was a cold morning here in the Burgh.  The temperature sat around 22 degrees, and the wind was gusting at over 20 MPH.  Not really a day for outdoor shopping.  But, let’s be honest, I’m up for anything these days, so I bundled up, grabbed a warm hat, and headed down to Duquesne to pick up my brother Matt.  He’s on Thanksgiving break, but had to stay to work at Apple, so he had some time to kill with his sister.  Tagging along to the strip apparently sounded like the perfect way for him to spend his Saturday morning too.

Before we arrived at the strip, though, we ended up smack dab in the middle of a parade.  Nope, not making that up.  We were driving downtown, made a left at a light, and boom, we found ourselves in the middle of what looked to be a Christmas parade.  Complete with floats, marching bands, and even a surprise visit from Santa.  It was pretty amusing to watch as we drove the opposite way down the same street, except for the moment when the Fred Flintstone balloon started to blow away from his handlers and head straight for my car.  Crisis was adverted, though, and Fred resumed his normal route on the parade street.

We did manage to snag some free parking, which is a blessing in disguise down in the Strip District…why pay $10 to park when I can walk 3 blocks and park for free?  That’s just what we did, which meant my 20 wasn’t broken until I headed into the chocolate store to Christmas shop.  No, this isn’t a candy store: it’s a chocolate store.  They have chocolate from all over the world, and it smells so incredibly heavenly in there.  I’ll be honest, some of it is a bit over priced, but I guess that’s the sacrifice you make for Japanese candy bars not sold in the United States.  I bought a few Christmas presents for people, spending $12.45.

Next it was on to the Yinzer store, for 1,000 rounds of Gangnam Style and more Hines Ward jerseys than you could possibly hope to ever wear in a life time.  Sorry Steeler fans, I still don’t own ANY Steeler apparel, and I didn’t buy any yesterday either.  Contact me if you’d like to donate something to my hopeless cause.

I did go to the Asian supermarket, though, and buy some yummy food, because Matt wouldn’t go into the fish market with me.  They had salmon and mango sushi, and still that wasn’t enough to convince the boy!  So we headed into the Asian market instead.  We were the only people in there who spoke English as our first language, but I’m kind of OK with that.  I love Asian markets, and bought some cookies before I left.  3 boxes, $1.97, bringing my total for the day up to $14.92.

So now what to do?  I have $5 left to spend, and want to spend it all.  I could buy a $5 purse the man swears to me is real Coach, but I have a sneaking suspicion he’s just trying to make the sale.  I could buy some fresh pineapple, $1 each, that look and smell so delicious.  Or, I could fight traffic, and humans, and head to the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company.  Guess which option I chose 🙂

Now, let me be honest with you, I did go over my $20 limit there.  However, I bought two bags of popcorn, one of which I’m giving away to a friend as a gift.  The one bag was $3.85, the other bag was $3.75, so if you only count the one bag I bought for myself, my total for the day comes to $19.27.  Not too shabby when you look at my $20 limit!!  Only 73 cents off!  Now, again, I know I went slightly over with my second bag purchase, but it’s the holiday season, the time of giving more than you should, and helping others to be happy.  Apparently I really like to give by buying extra bags of chocolate peanut butter kettle corn!

Over all, the challenge I set for myself this week was wildly successful.  I managed to snag a few small gifts for friends and family, treat myself to some delicious Asian cookies, and stuff myself full of Spicy Cheddar and Bacon popcorn (It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten!)  Plus I got to hang out with my brother, something I don’t do nearly enough.  I’d say this was a weekend, and a $20 bill well spent.

Off to relax for these final few hours before I return to work tomorrow.  Christmas break cannot get here soon enough.  What am I talking about, though, I have so much vacation time over this coming month it’s not even funny.  I am busy in the coming weeks setting off to see friends and family all over.  Not to mention I have several dozen cupcakes to bake for customers.  So much to do!!

Have a wonderful week!  I’ll be back next week with my next Alphabet Adventure!!

Lis

Thankful

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It’s been a roller coaster of a few months for me.  Let’s be honest, these past few months my life has take a turn on its head.  I started and successfully ran/run a Quidditch League.  I decided to open a bakery.  I’ve sat for state health exams, decorating classes, and business law courses.  I’ve gain new friends, and lost old ones.  I’ve started not one, but two blogs, and have sold several hundreds of dollars of baked goods.  I’m evolving.

Through these ups and downs of the past few months, though, it’s easy for me to lose sight of all that I do have.  Sometimes it’s easier to sit and sulk about what I don’t have, starting with a million dollars and ending with a better nail file (seriously, am I destined to always purchase crappy nail files??)  I think that’s the whole “American Dream” curse, where I look at all the things others around me have, and forget to be thankful what I do have.  Am I rich, and debt free, and working my dream job, and married to Kris Letang, and the mother of 12 Asian babies?  No, I’m not.  And sometimes it’s easy to look at that and say, enough, my life sucks, and give up. But that’s not fair.  It’s not right.  And today, of all days, it’s not something I want to do.

Instead, I sit here tonight thankful for all I do have.  I could make a list, but I’m sure you’ve heard most of it, friends, family, health, etc.  I’m thankful I have the chance to voice my thankfulness in a blog that so many of you, for reasons unknown to me, still want to read.  I’m thankful that tomorrow I will spend Thanksgiving Day with some of my family and friends who are as near and dear to me as family.  I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to give thanks.

This blog has been about me growing, about me learning more about myself.  Over these past 5 months, I have learned a lot about myself.  I’ve learned I like to be crazy, and sometimes I blurt out the first thing that comes to my mind.  I’ve learned I’m stronger than I give myself credit for, and am bound and determined to meet goals that I set for myself.  I’ve learned to let my hair down, kick off my shoes, relax, and simply be me.

One of my favorite Bible verses that I had to memorize when I was young is Psalm 107:1 — Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever. (How many of you are signing that song right now?  Giiiiiiive thaaaaaaaaaaaaanks, give thaaaaaaaaaaanks)  Today I give thanks not only to Him, but to the blessings He has bestowed upon me, the big ones I think about every day, down to the littlest of blessing I probably don’t even notice.  Maybe that nail file is simply a blessing in disguise.  Positive spin!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Blessings and safe travels for you and your families.  Take a minute this weekend, during the holiday madness, and think about the smallest blessing you have in your life.  Be thankful even for that!

Lis

Next Week: X is for eXact Change

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Word to the wise: remember to take your eye makeup off before crawling into bed.  No matter how tired you are, you will regret it in the morning when your pillowcase looks like a shoe shiner’s rag, and your eyes are red and watery.

I’m back!!  A fantastic weekend is in the books (almost), and Turkey Day is quickly approaching.  I feel the retail Christmas pull a little more this year…there’s this huge urge to get my Christmas decorations out RIGHT NOW and set everything up.  Patience, young grasshopper, the holiday season will soon be upon us.  For now, I will merely enjoy the sparse Thanksgiving decorations I have up, until it’s time to bust out my themed Christmas decorations.

I’m excited about next week’s adventure, because it involves careful planning, traveling, and a general exploring, three things I love.  Since my launch of this website, a lot of people have asked me about X is for eXact Change, mainly because they have no idea what it meant.  I haven’t told too many people, because I wanted to keep it a surprise, so now that the moment’s finally here, I want to shout it from the rooftop: NEXT WEEK I’M GOING ON AN ADVENTURE!!

So I got the idea for X is for eXact Change from all of those Food Network shows, $40 a Day, and stuff like that.  If you’re not a Food Network fan, the premise of these shows is simple: a host is dropped into a city, given a set amount of money ($25, $40, etc.) and must eat 3 meals in one day for that amount of money.  Sounds pretty easy until you remember how expensive eating out is…plus you have to factor in tipping, and all that fun stuff.  It’s actually a bit more challenging than one might think.

I decided I wanted to try it, though, but I wanted to put a twist on it: I want to see just how much I can do in downtown Pittsburgh for $20.  And I want to see how close I can get to spending all of it in one setting.  Am I helping the economy or what?!?!

Next week, then I’ll be heading down to the Strip District for a fun afternoon.  For those of you out-of-towners, the Pittsburgh Strip District is NOT the Red Light District, a common mistake. 😛  It’s more like a cultural district, not in the sense that the theater and opera are there (there’s an ACTUAL Cultural District where those are located), but because there are a million different mom and pop stores that you can shop in for real, homemade, fresh foods.  Homemade pierogies in the Polish deli; hand rolled pasta in the Italian market; rice in bags as big as me in the Asian market; homemade tamales at the Mexican store and restaurant.

On top of that, there are all kinds of great places to eat, such as a Vietnamese restaurant, a chocolate store (yes, those things do exist!), an Italian bar that loves dem Stillers, and a fanciful 1950s diner.  There’s also a Pittsburgh Sports appearal store, a used bookstore, some art shops, one of those “fell off the back of the China truck” stores where you can get Nike and Apple knockoffs for $20, and more.  It’s such a cultural melting pot, and such a fun place to visit.

So visit I will.  With $20.  The first test will be to try to snag some of the available but limited free parking…fingers crossed!!  And then we’ll take my money, and see just how much I can buy with it.  Should be a fabulous time.

If you’d like to join me on an adventure down to the Strip District, let me know.  If not, stop back next week to see exactly how well I did with my spending!

See you soon!!

Lis

 

Best Week Ever?

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Let’s be honest, a lot of times I use this blog to vent about things.  My frustrations at Initech, problems with friends, lack of a boyfriend.  You, my faithful readers, bless your heart, have stuck with me through thick and thin, why I’ll never understand.  But my blog averages 10 hits a day, which means someone, somewhere, finds these ramblings entertaining.

For once, though, I’m not here to ramble and complain about my life…I know, happy dance!  For once, I am here to celebrate this week, and name it the Best Week Ever!!!*

I think it’s the best week ever because it was so unexpected.  Vacation weeks, and birthday weeks, they’re amazing weeks, but you know they’re coming, so the excitement level is already ratcheted to HIGH ALERT before the week even kicks off.  No, I think the best weeks are the weeks where you don’t expect anything to happen, and then a million things do.

To start my week off, I won a $100 Ikea gift card in a monthly sweepstakes.  For those of you who have never met me, or know very little about me, Ikea is my mecca.  I love that store maybe more than life itself.  All of my bedroom, living room, dinning room, and kitchen ware have been purchased at that store.  I love the style, the functionality, and the additional storage space all of their pieces provide.  I love (ok, hate) the wordless instructions that accompany every purchase, and the swearing, broken nails, sweat, and exhaustion that accompanies each box.  I love that they sell Swedish meatballs, that they have ice cream for $1, and you can have free coffee any time you want with your Ikea family card.  If I could get married in Ikea, I would (and, let’s be honest, I will probably try).  Simply put, I. Love. Ikea.

And they offered me a $100 gift card.  Me!!  ME!!!!  I’ve already spent it, fyi, at least in my head.  I know exactly what I’m getting, to replace my old Ikea furniture.  If anyone wants a fu-chair let me know, a very reasonable asking price has been sent (Fu-chair…??  Don’t worry, most people don’t know.  It’s a chair that unfolds into a single bed.  Great for dorms.  I’ve had ppl sleep on it all with surprisingly positive reviews.  It’s an amazing investment).

So that was the first good thing that happened to me.  The next was an unexpected surprise that was thoughtful all the same.  As many of you know, I’m taking decorating classes right now, trying to become a better pastry decorator.  I have to practice, though, which means finding reasons to bake people cakes.  I have a co-worker who has a daughter with a birthday party this weekend.  I made her a deal–I’ll bake her cake for free, no strings attached.  You’d have to be an idiot to not accept, and she’s not an idiot, so she said yes.  One princess cake coming up!  Today, though, she came in with a Visa gift card for me, since I offered to make the cake for her daughter.  It’s nice to know that there is still some unexpected kindness in the human race.  I was completely fine with making this cake for free, since I need the practice it will provide, and out of no where I’m rewarded with a wonderful new gift card.  That’s two in 24 hours.  I am striking it big this week!

My final surprise this week came from Macy’s.  Who doesn’t love that store??  Apparently they’re having a huge sale this weekend, and guess what they’ve marked down to their lowest prices of the year??  Kitchen Aide mixers.  Oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah!!  Again, I love baking, but I’ve never been able to afford a Kitchen Aide.  The Rolls Royce of mixers.  I’ve been saving, though, and have several bazillion gift cards lying around my house (sense a theme here??).  So this weekend, I’m taking myself down to McKnight road and buying myself a Kitchen Aide mixer!

I love weeks like this.  Even a stressful day at Initech can’t bring me down!  I have new gift cards to shop with, a cake baking in the oven that’s Barbie pink, a new mixer on the way, and Friday off.  Life’s looking up for ole Lis here!!

I hope you’re having as fabulous of a week as I am!  For real.  And if not, let’s hang out, and I’ll brighten your mood.

See you soon!

Lis

*Within the past 26 week cycle.  Excludes birthday celebrations.

J is for Junk Food Junkie

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Ah, another glorious Initech weekend.  Things have been much better there of recent, and I’m actually, gasp, not dreading returning tomorrow.  It probably doesn’t hurt that I found out two weeks ago I have 62 hours of vacation time to use by the end of the year.  I’m going crazy with my vacation days! 🙂

Next week might be E is for Exercise, because I need to work off all of the calories I ate this weekend.  I can’t complain, though, sometimes indulging yourself in ridiculous fun weekends like this one is what life is all about.

So junk food…it is my kryptonite.  If I could eat nothing but junk food, and be happy and healthy, I would.  But, then again, who wouldn’t. This weekend, I decided to indulge in all of my favorites, all of those things you usually say to yourself, “That sounds delicious, but I know I shouldn’t have it,” before sticking to your celery and beet salad.  Not this weekend.  This weekend I thought “That sounds delicious, and I ate it!!  Mwahahaha.

First up, Friday night, I had a Sweet 16 party.  My first Sweet 16 party in a decade.  Man, that made me feel super old.  It’s been 10 years since I had my own Sweet 16.  Where has life gone?  It was a fun party, though. There was junk food EVERYWHERE!!!!  Pizza, chips, cheese balls, cake, cupcakes, soda, it was a fat kid’s paradise!  Which I guess makes me a fat kid, because it was delicious!!!

One question to ponder, though, as you relax on your Sunday off…when hosting a party, why does everyone only buy ONE kind of Doritos?  I’d say 75% of the time they buy the Nacho Cheese Doritos, and forget about the Cool Ranch.  I LOVE COOL RANCH DORITOS!!!!!  Maybe people don’t understand how deep my love really is, but I swear, next party I host, there will be two types of Doritos there for guests to chose from.  I do not discriminate!!

On Saturday, I had the ultimate sugar overload in the morning, because I am currently taking cake decorating classes.  Yes, me, owner of a small bakery, does not know how to properly decorate a cake.  It’s OK, though, I’m learning.  The class is super early on Saturday mornings, though, so I usually roll out of bed, shower, and hit some sort of breakfast stand on my way to the class.  Usually Panera, or Starbucks, something that tries to give me healthier options.  Not yesterday, though.  I turned up my radio, rolled down the window, and cruised into McDonalds.  I still knew my order from memory: A number 2, orange juice, extra ketchup.  Gosh, how long has it been since I had McDonalds breakfast?  I wish I could tell you it’s disgusting, full of fat and salt and cholesterol, and I never want to eat another bite of it.  But McDonalds breakfast may be the best high-calorie, fatty, fried, awful for your body breakfast out there.  It’s so delicious.  I wish I could eat it every day!!

After that, it was two hours in cake decorating class, where I made a chocolate raspberry cake with vanilla icing, and then home to enjoy my afternoon.  Except, wait for it, my junk food love did not end there!!  I went over to a friends house for dinner, where we had salad.  I know, salad on my junk food weekend.  Don’t worry, though, for dessert I had homemade apple pie.  Then, after a quick run down the PA Turnpike, I met my brother for James Bond in IMAX.  That means….movie theater popcorn!!!!!   AHHHHHHHH!!!!  That’s a treat I never indulge in.  Never ever.  This weekend, though, there are no limits.

Today is detox day.  Don’t laugh, I’m being serious.  After all of the sugar, starch, salt, fat, and calories I’ve ingested in the past 36 hours, today is all about getting it out of my system.  Lots of water, lots of body-friendly food, lots of enjoying the fact that healthy foods can be wonderful too!!  I’m thinking wheat germ and bananas for lunch…Yummy!!!  (and no, that’s not a sarcastic yummy, I actually love those two foods together!  If you have any good detox ideas or suggestions, though let me know.

All in all, a very good weekend.  I don’t think I’d want to make this a weekly adventure, but once in awhile it’s nice to eat that cupcake you know you shouldn’t eat, or bite into a delicious Sausage Egg McMuffin and not feel guilty about it.

Long live the junk food!!  Long live my poor stomach!!!

Have a wonderful week.  See you all next week.

Lis

So Many Cupcakes

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I have almost 200 cupcakes in my fridge…

If anyone decides to rob me tonight, they will get the added bonus of some sweet treats to go along with the TV, washing machine, and Ikea furniture.

Lucky you!!

On a side note…what does one wear to a hoe down?  Being a Northern gal with roots to New Jersey, I can perfect a Snooki hair poof better than Western/Southern apparel.  I like Gap and H&M…I don’t think I’m going to have a lot of “country” clothing in my closet.

This might be a long night of trying to figure out what to wear…Maybe if I stand in front of my closet long enough inspiration will come to me. 🙂

Lis