Monday, December 23, 2013

Top Three Blog Posts of 2013

Happy Holidays everyone! I'm about an hour away from heading to the train station so I can ride in to visit my family in Connecticut for Christmas. As soon as Christmas is over New Years will be the next thing on everyone's mind. 2013 is quickly coming to an end. 

I want to thank all of you, new and old, readers who have read and commented and shared my blog this year. Based on page views, here are the posts you liked the most this year: 

1. Sweater Search Fall 2013

I would like to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Blessed New Year!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

YouTube Tuesday: Xmas Jammies

Bad Blogger. I haven't done a YouTube Tuesday since the summer! That's ok, because just in time for the holiday season I present to you #Xmas Jammies... the cutest and funniest family virtual Christmas card I've ever seen lol. 

What are your Christmas/Holiday plans?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Doesn't this just max out your cuteness meter?

There are certain things that just max out my cuteness meter. Certain things almost always engage my "Awwwww" factor:
Animals in Human Clothes

Pitbull Puppies (and all puppies)

Babies with Animals 

Close-up shots of animals

Children in costumes

I guess you can say my cuteness preferences can be boiled down to children and animals lol.

What gets your cuteness meter maxed out?


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stop Being Derailed by E-mail and Get Productive

E-mail is an every day party of life. I don't know many people who go a day without checking their e-mail, and most people check it at least once an hour, even on the go with their smartphones. In most cases, people feel like checking their e-mail when they begin work in the morning is a part of productivity, but it can also completely derail you from your tasks. One click leads to another, and you're working on a project that you meant to work on after a more pressing project, or you've found your way onto social media, shopping websites, or just have gotten completely distracted. 

Yes, there are things in our inbox that need attending to, but I feel like we need to break away from the inbox to actually get more work done. I've decided to STOP checking my e-mail first thing when I get to the office. Instead, I take an index card, write down things that MUST be completed in that day, work on those first, then check e-mail, which will undoubtedly add more items to my to-do list. This way, I know I'm getting things done that I need to get done, before working on whatever needs have sprung up over night. 

I got this index card idea from Rosetta at Happy Black Woman who suggested this technique for being productive every day. Combining the index card list, with not checking e-mail right off, is helping me get more done and stay focused. 

How often do you check your e-mail?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Complete 30 Before 30 List

Alright, I've done it! I have completed the MAKING of my 30 Before 30 List! Now, full speed ahead to crossing things off: 

1. Pick fruit at an orchard  Completed Fall 2016 (if you consider pumpkin a fruit lol)
2. Elaborately decorate a pumpkin for my porch
3. Zip line
4. Horse-back ride
5. Visit my best friend from high school in Massachusetts
6. Grow something edible in my garden
7. Spend 30 days developing a good habit
8. Wear a crop top, in public
9. Host a dress up dinner party
10. Take a graphic design class
11. Meet a blogger I haven't met yet - COMPLETE 11/8/13! I met the lovely Lorelei of Suggestivetongue
12. Get my license COMPLETE 2/25/16
13. Visit a restaurant from Diners Drive-ins and Dives
14. Play a home game of Chopped
15. Make a really decorative cake or cupcakes
16. Go shopping and recreate a whole outfit I found on Pinterest
17. Become a paper towel-less household
18. Play a video game until sunrise then go to sleep
19. Complete a juice cleanse
20. Have a pottery party
21. Make a vision board Completed 1/1/14
22. Have a professional photoshoot with friends
23. Dress my dog up for Halloween
24. Have a Halloween costume with extensive makeup.
25. Journal every day for a month
26. Go to a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York
27. Go to Philly's Thanksgiving Parade
28. Volunteer somewhere
29. Have blowup Christmas decorations in my yard
30. Try a manicure with pointy nails Completed 12/30/13
31. Blog every day for 30 days


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hello December, Thanksgiving Recap

Doesn't it seem like November just started? It feels like Halloween was just a couple weeks ago. December is HERE. Christmas is just around the corner!

Thanksgiving went extremely well. I don't think I could have asked for a better day. I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade while making breakfast. Once the parade was over my mom and I got to cooking. Everything came out GREAT and around the same time thanks to my spreadsheet



Now it's full speed ahead to Christmas, which is very exciting. I'm doing pretty well with my Christmas shopping and looking forward to more food, fun and festivities with the people I love. 

My Tree (thanks Pinterest): 

How was your Thanksgiving?
Are you ready for the Christmas season?


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner in a Spreadsheet

Well, it's three years since my first Thanksgiving and I'm moving into the big leagues. By big leagues I mean cooking Thanksgiving dinner for someone other than just my husband and I. I'm actually REALLY excited about being able to spend the day in the kitchen cooking with my mom and having a nice group of people around the table. 

The menu has been fluctuating all week, but I think we've finalized it. I have this thing about really, really liking my food to be hot/warm, and everything being done around the same time. It's not the same experience when everyone has to heat their food up in the microwave before the feast begins. For the first time, I've needed a SPREADSHEET to help plot out Thanksgiving dinner. Both for the timing, and to take inventory of what serving/cooking dishes we may need. We're good to go on the dishware. When I learned my mom and her husband were coming I invested in this set from Rachael Ray. I'll probably pick up a few of her serving dishes in the same color as well and find a complimenting tablecloth. 

Here's my spreadsheet! I'm pretty proud of it: 

(click to enlarge)

What are your Thanksgiving plans?


Monday, November 25, 2013

That time my grandfather invented the Frisbee

Grandparents always have stories. When we hear them, they are endearing, and we weigh the fact vs. make-believe quality of them. 

My grandfather has always talked about how he and his siblings invented the Frisbee. The way his story goes, there was a pie company in the neighborhood that would sometimes leave empty pie tins around. He and his siblings would take the tins and toss them back and forth to each other as a game. 

One day I decided to do a Google search on the origins of the Frisbee. Wikipedia says: 

The Frisbie Pie Company was founded in 1871 by William Russell Frisbie in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when he bought and renamed a branch of the Olds Baking Company. The company was located on Kossuth Street in Bridgeport's East Side, where nearby schoolchildren tossed the plates around and yelled "Frisbie" so they wouldn't get hit by the spinning tins. The game the children played made its way to nearby college campuses.

So I read that and I'm like: My grandfather and his siblings grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut... near Kossuth Street... on the East End... and they were school children.

So I am now completely convinced that my grandfather and his siblings did indeed invent the Frisbie. 

What's one of your favorite grandparent/parent stories?


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Goodbye Coffee

I've given up coffee. 

For a while now, coffee just hasn't agreed with my body. On any given day it could make my stomach upset, give me a headache, or actually make me more tired than before I drank it. 

I'm really surprised at how easy it's been for me to cut coffee out. I quit right before going to Portland, a total coffee town! I quit before going to a conference, which usually takes multiple cups off coffee to get through the hours of sessions. 

I've been drinking teas, and getting chai or decaf lattes to have that "I'm walking around with a warm cup of something in my hand" feeling. 

I've been wondering why it has been so easy to give up coffee, while other things that I know I shouldn't eat (processed things, fast food, french fries, etc.) take so much willpower not to have, and I fail often. I think in the end I could literally feel coffee hurting my body after I drank it, whereas when I eat bad food, it's not as definitive of a physical response. 

Have you given up eating/drinking something you formerly had often?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

6 Reasons to Choose a Cruise

The stakes are high when you are choosing your vacation. We want vacations way more often than we are able to take them so it's imperative to not squander those coveted days away. My absolutely favorite type of vacation is cruises. Hubs and I have been on three and can't wait for the next one. I'm really looking forward to when BabyCakes is old enough to really enjoy a cruise. 

Here are 6 reasons you should consider a cruise for your next vacation. 

Hassle-less Commute: A cruise offers you the opportunity to go to multiple destinations without having to drive or take a plane to each of them. Between ports you can enjoy food, drink, and activity rather than waiting to get to your next destination. The ship is a destination in itself so it never feels like you're waiting to get to the next thing. 

Sunsets/Sunrises: I personally believe there is no better way to consume a sunrise or sunset than naked, in the middle of the ocean, on the balcony of your stateroom. It's pretty amazing. I also enjoy stargazing at night on a cruise. 

24-7 food: There is so much food on cruises, literally available at any moment of the day. Room service, buffet, fine dining, whatever you are in the mood for. I can't speak for all cruise lines but I know for Carnival Cruise Lines all the food on the ship is included in the cruise cost. 

Maid service: Having a housekeeper is awesome. Someone cleans the room twice a day. It's fabulous. 

Choose your own vacation style: On a cruise you can make your vacation one of three styles, chock full of activities on and off the ship, being lazy and relaxing in your room, pool side, or on the beach, or a combination of the two. If you are into doing lots of activities and being very social you can do that via ship activities and excursions. If you want to keep to yourself and just relax you can also do that. It's all up to you and it's worth the money either way. 

Disconnection: There is no cell phone service or internet at sea unless you pay a pretty hefty premium. That FORCES you to disconnect and not worry about what's happening at work or at home and that is what vacations are for!

Have you been on a cruise? What's your favorite part about the cruise experience?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Technology... how does it work?

I'm sitting here in the airport after hours of conference sessions that talked about social media and mobile device usage. I'm sitting at my gate at a chair that has a pillar featuring USB and power ports to charge devices, because Delta clearly realizes this is now a common necessity. I'm watching planes take off. Planes in which passengers have wifi and can work... Or tweet or Facebook... from thousands of feet in the air.

Technology is amazing. I couldn't have imagined, when I was five years old in my it's computer class my grandmother put me in, that a day like this would come.

I distinctively remember learning how to use a mouse, and just being completely blown away by my ability to move things on the screen with this contraption called a "mouse." That was only 22 years ago. That is not that long at all! Technology advancement is moving at an alarming pace.

What are some of your distinctive tech memories?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Exciting Times Upon Us

I'm about to start a series of events that I've been seeing coming for a few months now. I've been trying hard not to anticipate everything and just live in the moment, but FINALLY, things are about to get rolling!

This weekend I'll be going to Portland, OR for a marketing conference. A few weeks after that I'll be going on a cruise to the Bahamas with Hubs. Following that will be Thanksgiving, the first Thanksgiving in our house that won't just be Hubs and I. My Mom, her husband, my sister and my niece will be coming! That means a little more pressure on the cooking, but I'm looking forward to spending the day in the kitchen with my mom. 

Moving into December, I'll be going to New Orleans for another conference, and then there is Christmas in Connecticut, and then New Years! These next two months are going to fly by, I'm sure of it. 

In other news, our staff did a group Batman costume theme for Halloween and had an awesome time. More pictures on my Instagram (@nesheaholic). 

How's everyone been doing? Any fun holiday plans?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Big Girls and Crop Tops

On my 30 Before 30 list is the item "Wear a crop top in public." One of my thinner friends who wears crop tops often asked "What are you waiting for?"

For me, wearing a crop top is linked to me losing weight. Why?

This weekend at a bar there was a small waisted woman with a video vixen derrière wearing Aztec leggings and a crop top. The women looked at her with accolades and the men with obvious desire. It was pretty clear from the way people looked at her that they found her outfit and physique impressive and attractive. 

This weekend at the bar there was also a heavier woman, with more width in her booty, wearing aztec leggings and a crop top. The men and women both looked at her like a joke, with an air of "she's too big to be wearing that" in their eyes. 

Both of the women were confident in their outfits, out having a good time with their friends. To me, they both looked great. But one received approving looks, while the other received looks of jest. 

That's what I'm waiting for. To have a publicly-accepted-crop-top-wearing-mid-section. Which is sad. 

My self-consciousness wouldn't let me wear a crop top how my stomach is now. Even if I felt 100% confident, I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself seeing stares and hearing whispers. 

But there are women. I don't even want to say brave, because it shouldn't require braveness to wear what you want, but in today's society, it is brave. There are women, bigger women, women who don't have publicly-accepted-crop-top-wearing-mid-sections, who rock them, and are gorgeous:


Friday, October 18, 2013

Be thankful every day, Love every day, etc.

Around Thanksgiving, people proclaim we should be thankful every day, not just on a holiday. The same goes for Love - Valentines Day, and Giving - Christmas. But the reality of life is, the every day hustle and bustle of life can make us forget, or rather, not focus on being loving, giving, or thankful. Holidays are great opportunities to refocus on those things. 

Today is my four year wedding anniversary ::twerks:: and all week leading up to today I've been thinking about how wonderful our lives and marriage is, and how blessed I am to have him. It's a blessing every day, but the way life is set up I don't have the opportunity to celebrate it every day, or think on it every day.

Holidays, anniversaries and occasions offer us the chance to celebrate the things we don't always get to daily. Embrace that! 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

ABC's of Fall: S is for SCARVES

I'm pretty much always cold. My central of coldness is my neck. Even if I have on a short sleeve shirt and a scarf I'll feel warmer than if I was wearing long sleeves with nothing on my neck. I feel like when I catch colds it's always because my neck was exposed in cold weather. I'm not sure how much science actually goes into that lol. 

In Fall, the scarves come back out, and I do love my scarves. I have a lot of them:

1 & 2 I got from my mom during my last trip home. They are thin, so they're nice for the current fall weather but may have to retire until spring when it starts to get colder. 

3 I'm so sad that I can't find. Somewhere between spring and now I lost it. Hopefully I'll find it again. I got it from Target. It's really big, so I also wear it as a head-wrap sometimes. 

4 is one of my favorites. My friend Renita gave it to me, and it's from Costa Rica. You can't see the red in this picture, but it's green, yellow, red, and black. 

5 is one I wear often as well. I got it in Nassau Bahamas during our honeymoon cruise. 

6 I've had for a long time and can't remember where I purchased it from. It's thick so it's really warm, but it's also short. 

7 is my absolute favorite scarf. It's so warm. I can wrap it around myself like 3 times. It's awesome. It was a Christmas present from a friend/former co-worker of mine, Onyx. 

Are you rockin' scarves this fall?


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Rid of Waste

We know how the body works. When we eat right, all the plumbing works accordingly. Our body absorbs what it needs, and gets rid of what it doesn't need via toilet time. When we haven't eaten right, our bodies get...stopped up. We feel horrible, agitated, and eating is less desirable. The same thing applies to life. 

We have to get rid of the waste. 

When we have too much junk in our lives (commitments we don't want to be committed to, people who drain us, baggage from the past we haven't let go of, etc.), life gets stopped up. It isn't fun. There is no room for what we really want and need because all the junk is clogging up our life. 

Get rid of one piece of junk today. Release the waste, and make room or something you've been hoping for. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kmart's Genius Marketing Decision: Nicki Minaj Clothing Line

Today Nicki Minaj showcased some of the clothing what will be a part of her Kmart clothing line debuting this month. My first thought was "What a great marketing decision on the part of Kmart!" It isn't a secret that Nicki Minaj has a huge fan base. This clothing line will bring people into Kmart stores for clothes who would previously have never been caught dead wearing something from Kmart, or even shopping at Kmart. 

I've definitely been noticing Kmart has been actively trying to capture Black patrons, or Urban patrons, if you will. Their back to school campaign featuring the Yo Mama and My Limo commercials were a clear representation of that. 

Strategic partnerships are an essential part of a successful marketing mix, and this is certainly a very strategic partnership on Kmart's part. Nicki Minaj has been retweeting her fans all evening who are exclaiming with happiness about getting down to Kmart and grabbing her clothes. I will not be surprised at all if it sells very well. 

Will you be heading down to Kmart to purchase something from the Nicki Minaj line?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

ABC's of Fall: R is for Roasting things

This year, I'm going to finish this ABCs of Fall series. I am determined!



Pumpkin Seeds

I'm looking forward to trying out the recipes for these here


What are you roasting this fall?

Adventures in Casting Calls

I come across some very interesting casting calls when I'm looking for acting gigs. Sometimes the character descriptions are so absurd they make me laugh. 

Heavyset princess type gym goer
I applied to this one, even though I couldn't for the life of me figure out what a heavyset princess type gym goer would look like. 

Hot model types
Am I hot? Am I a model type? I never apply to these because even though I think I'm hot, I know the main stream version of hot is a few sizes smaller than I am. 

Background with 3-legged mixed breed dog. 
Well, my dog is a mix of pit bull and shar pei, but she has four legs, so I was out for this one. 

African American Female with slender build
I had to double check with my husband whether or not I had a slender build. He assured me that I did not. lol

Male or female same sex couple with kids for a Christmas photo for the Catholic Church.
I thought this was a very interesting one. I don't fit this, obviously, but I'm really interested in whatever campaign the Catholic Church is planning that will include recognizing same sex couples and families. 

Sexy leg double needed. Size 8.5-9. Send photos of legs. 
I looked at my legs and decided they weren't sexy enough. Had I applied, it'd be the first time I'd have to send in a photo of just my legs lol. 

Females needed to portray sexy, curvy, Latina club goers. 
Female? check. Sexy? check. Curvy? check. Latina?....darn lol


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