c'est moi.

c'est moi.
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Come sit down beside me with a dollar and a dime, we'll drink away our fortunes, here's to the meantime. -Grace Potter
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8.30.2011

the balancing act.

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Yesterday was not only a complete whirlwind, but it was also a subtle reminder of what life would be like should I decide to have children someday- about 10 times harder than what I'm living right now. It started at the usual 545am with an hour workout at the gym, followed by a 10.5 hour workday, straight to my first Mary Kay party as a Consultant, then home to tidy up the house, empty the dishwasher, pack lunches for today, fold some laundry and finally crash at 10pm. I couldn't help but think back to my favorite class during my undergraduate studies- "Sex, Marriage & the Family"- a sociology course that looked at how family trends have changed over time. It was extremely intriguing to look back from when women didn't work at all outside of the home and men were the sole breadwinners; to the rise of the 'second shift' when mothers' used to try to juggle a job outside of the home, plus have her usual family duties; to finally, when women started to have actual careers with the possibility of making more money then their male counterparts, divorce became socially acceptable, and kids with 2 working parents became the norm. I was beginning to understand the realities of the world for women in the 21st century. If I was barely standing by the time 930 hit yesterday, how in the world will I manage when it's time for marriage and kids? It gave me a new perspective and sense of respect for just how hard women today have to work to stay afloat- plus, could I even fathom being a single mom? The thought itself gives me anxiety. Friends, family and significant others can provide that extra support that a woman needs when she's pressing through another long day at the office, another school nurse calling them to let them know their kid is sick, the husband who can't get out of work due to a meeting, the soccer practices, the expectations for a clean house and hot meals. The saving grace to daily life is the sense of belonging to a community where everyone is looking out for everyone else, knowing there will be times when sacrifices will need to be made, and an extra hand will need to be lent. A light bulb went off in my head last night- every woman should take the time to express these sorts of concerns to their boyfriends and fiances, prior to tying the knot. In today's age, many couples cohabit prior to marriage so it's easier to get an idea of how household tasks will be divided up- however, it's important to have these conversations sooner rather than later. Time stops for no one and life throws twists and turns at you when you least expect it. A big part of a healthy and functional relationship with a significant other, room mate, or family member is trying to avoid having one person being completely overworked and stressed out when someone else can step in and try to lighten the load- life is about teamwork! I urge you to reach out to a someone in your life who is really stressed out right now and offer to help them out in whatever way possible, even if it's as easy as bringing them a coffee, sharing conversation over dinner, watching their child for an hour so they can go workout, or teaming up to clean out their hall closet- it's amazing what dedicating just a few minutes of your time will do for your own sanity- It is an amazing pick me up knowing you helped out someone you care about! Plus, the next time you are struggling to keep your head above water, they will probably be the first one to throw you a life jacket.

8.29.2011

"there is a saying that goes...

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...you don't know what you have until it's gone. The truth is, you already knew what you had, you just never thought you would lose it."

I heard this quote today and really felt the need to pass it on. Take a moment to consider how good you have it at this very moment- do you have a roof over your head? food on the table? running water? gas for your car? a family? friends? a significant other? a paycheck? How easy it is to forget what a luxury having most of these things truly is. In the wake of Hurricane Irene, the media has exposed people to the destruction that a natural disaster can cause. In 13 days, Americans will remember how many lives were lost on that tragic day in September 2001. I was reminded how precious life was when I woke up on Sunday to news that a friends' brother had been stabbed in the stomach in New Hampshire, escaping a sure death by literally centimeters. We all go through life sweating the small stuff- worrying about a bad hair day, burning dinner, thinking you look 10 pounds heavier after skipping the gym, getting in a tiff with our significant other, getting reprimanded at work, giving the customer service rep attitude because your cell phone service was down for 30 minutes, eating that second brownie, or yelling at your mom for trying to set you up on a date. The truth is, we have entirely more to be thankful about than we do to be complaining about. Unfortunately we don't always realize just how much we have until it's not there anymore- whether it's a something like losing a job, a house, or car insurance coverage; or if it's losing a living thing such as a boyfriend, a close friend, a family pet, or a grandparent. Things can usually be replaced, unless they are those few truly priceless items, but people cannot be replaced. Whether lost for the time being, or lost permanently, individual people are one of a kind. I don't need to remind you just how incredibly influential someone can be in your life, because we've all met someone that we can give credit to for turning us into the person we are today. The most tragic part of losing someone you care about is feeling like you never got the chance to say what you wanted to. Sometimes we don't know how we feel about something until it has already disappeared from our lives, and that's the part that can be hardest. Emotions are hard enough to break down into bite-sized clear thoughts, let alone actual words. What I press you to do today is recognize the great people and things you have in your life, and to give thanks. Be grateful for the people who do and say things "because they care"- even if they say things you don't necessarily want to hear. Even for the little things we need to say thank you; because at the end of the day, those are the tiny blessings that are capable of making the biggest impact. Skip one of your usual Monday night television shows to call an old friend, or take a day trip to see an elderly family member. It's the relationships we develop that make life meaningful- so don't let any of those unforgettable people in your life forget how much they mean to you because tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.

8.27.2011

quotes to live by.

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For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others;
For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness;
And for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
-Audrey Hepburn

8.26.2011

fav product alert.

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Summer may be on its way out, but that doesn't mean your exfoliating cleanser should be stored away for a long winter's nap. Regardless of the season, it's especially important to exfoliate your face on a regular basis because it aids in removing the dead skin, dirt, and oil that can cause not only breakouts, but dull looking skin! Every woman deserves to glow and my clean little secret is a product I picked up after my last facial. I have had great success with the Mary Kay products for my regular regimen, but adding Keyano Aromatics' Alpha Beta Exfoliating Cleanser was the final piece to my skin care puzzle. It's important to keep in mind that our skin is constantly changing based on our diet, age, sun exposure, pollution, and personal habits so just because a certain product didn't work a couple years ago, doesn't mean it won't work now. We can thank recent scientific innovations and technological advancements for allowing dermatologists to gain an understanding of how the skin ages and what we can do to keep ourselves looking younger longer. Most skin care companies now have anti-aging products for women in their 20's, 30's, 40's, and 50's plus- but exfoliation is something to make sure you are doing at every age. The wonderful thing about the Keyano Aromatics Exfoliating Cleanser is that it's gentle. I know what you're thinking- exfoliation is too rough, dries out your skin, and irritates any blemishes you may have. Trust me,  I've tried several exfoliating cleansers and yes, there are some out there that only made my skin peely, red, and miserable. This particular product however, has the right balance of essential acids, which help to improve your skin's tone and texture, and jojoba beads, which are the little beads that actually scrub the bacteria and dead skin away. Depending on your own skin's needs, along with your climate, you can use this product anywhere from once/day to once/month. In the sweet summertime when I'm outside sweating, swimming, and running around, my skin could use the rejuvenation every other day. Through the fall and winter months however, I'll tone it down to just once/week because Vermont's frigid temperatures have a terrible drying effect on my skin. Whether you opt for the Keyano Aromatics' version or not, it's important to cleanse and/or exfoliate your skin each and everyday- it will not only pay off today, but certainly in years to come.

8.25.2011

songs to live by.

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Stacie Orrico- More to Life.

8.24.2011

walking tall.

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Whether you are walking into a crowded dinner party, a serious job interview, or if you are simply taking a stroll down the sidewalk, radiating a sense of confidence is the absolute key to getting ahead in life. How often did we hear our parents bother us about our manners while we were growing up- chew with your mouth closed, sit up straight, make good eye contact and flash your pearly whites. At the time, we just assumed they were being the nagging parents that we loved to defy, yet in reality they were just trying to prepare us for life in the real world. You have just minutes to make a first and lasting impression on someone, so being prepared for whatever is thrown your way is non negotiable. You should consider confidence an undergarment to be worn daily. We can follow a strict schedule on a given day, but what actually occurs is often times out of our control. What if you run into an old high school crush while you are grabbing your morning coffee? Or are approached in the grocery store with a date offer? What if you are introduced to a big wig CEO who is visiting your office from out of town? Or asked to make a last minute presentation at your monthly department meeting? Life is messy! We have to be prepared for anything; the people we might meet and the potential connections we could make. We constantly need to be prepared to nail that first impression because you never know how that person could help you get you ahead in life. When we boil all this chatter down, one word comes to mind- Confidence. It can be hard to achieve, challenging to maintain, gone in just seconds, but it always pays off. Everyone is instantly attracted to the outgoing girls- the ones who can smile and just light up a room. The ones that make strangers feel good about themselves and the ones that are comfortable in their own skin. You can be that girl! It doesn't mean you have to wear a size zero, have a perfectly straight set of chompers, have long luscious locks, or be dressed in the latest fashion. Whether you look like the blonde bombshell straight out of this month's Vogue magazine or not, you have got to internalize the fact that you are beautiful because, well, you are! Are you going to be that frowning and drabby looking brunette hiding in the corner of the party? Or are you going to be that smiling face everyone loves to see when they get to the office in the morning? Life is too short to not push yourself to be great. Why not work hard to accomplish everything your heart desires? Why not show people you are confident in who you are? Start today! Make a list of all the things holding you back from reaching your fullest potential. Then one by one create a no-fail plan for achievement. You want to be able to rock a pair of size twenty-nine '7 for All Mankind' jeans? Well get that butt of the couch and go for a run. Want your skin to glow? Save up for a facial or spa day where you can be pampered from head to toe. Want to get over your fear of public speaking? Go check the self-improvement section at your local bookstore or ask your girlfriends if you could practice a speech in front of them. Want to climb the latter at your job? Approach your boss and come up with a plan to make it happen. Want to be more confident? Be more confident! There is nothing standing in your way except yourself. You can have everything you want and be whoever you want to be. All you have to do is walk tall and believe!

8.23.2011

a personal story; my best friend's engaged.

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So very excited to announce that my oldest and closest lady friend, Shila, is engaged! Her wonderful fiancee dropped a knee a mere year after meeting her and it's a match made for the long run! I am so incredibly ecstatic for them. We had dinner last night and she was glowing, meanwhile, I honestly don't think I could wipe the plastered smile off my face if I tried. We reminisced of all the great memories we shared of high school, college, and beyond. She's one of those people that I could go several months without speaking to, call her up, and it's like we had just talked the day before. We've survived our rebel streaks of high school, midnight swimming, camping out, early afternoon trips to the mall, road trips to NYC, summer's spent sunbathing on my parents roof, "boys, boys, boys" (as Lady Gaga would say), bonfires, losing an emotional state championship softball game (her sporting #6 and I, #9), watching her pack up and move away for college, the months it would take her to come home, the friends we've shared that have come and gone- and yet, here we are nearly a decade later still standing strong. Friendships like this come about once in a lifetime- she is truly that person I could call anytime day or night and she would drive across the country to bail me out of whatever trouble I'd found myself in. If I ever needed a place to stay, she would answer her door at 3am and her fiancee would volunteer to sleep on the couch, so I could snuggle up in bed with her- he's a saint! Life has gotten away from us- it seems like just yesterday we were 16 and trying to figure out where we fit in. And now, life consists of rings, houses, careers and family. There has been an unspoken understanding since the beginning that one day we'd serve as each others maid of honor. It finally all became a reality last night. I'm excited, honored and absolutely terrified! I haven't been to a wedding since I was 16, so my work is cut out for me. Thankfully, Shila is already on top of her game since she knew 2 months after meeting her future hubby that he was the one- so you can imagine she's already started pulling ideas for her dream wedding. In the meantime, I need to hit the books as I try to get a list together of things to do. With just under 13 months to go before the big day, I am going to make my rookie debut one for the record books, because I can't think of anyone more deserving of her wildest fantasies being made into reality than my red headed other half.

8.19.2011

songs to live by.

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The Script- Fall for Anything.

8.18.2011

the virtue of patience.

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The past several months have reiterated to me just how important it is to have faith that everything happens for a reason. Events happen when they are supposed to. People walk in-or walk-out of your life exactly when they are meant to. Regardless of your faith or spirituality, it is important to hold close to your heart just how important being patient truly is. Be patient with others, but most importantly, be patient with yourself. No one is perfect- including you. Everyone makes mistakes, but it's what you do once those mistakes have been made that matters. Take responsibility for every action and every word you speak. Be accountable. One of the biggest compliments I have ever received was from my current boss- He said (and this is the tough guy CEO of over 10 companies all over the US, and has been in the business world since he was 18) that I am one of few people he has ever known that takes accountibility when I screw up. As difficult as the daily grind at a job can be and as painful as making mistakes may be, if you are able to pick yourself off, dust yourself off, and try again- it moves mountains with people. At the end of the day, whether you live in the slums of the city or a gated community in the Hollywood Hills you are still human. Everyone has strengths, and everyone has weaknesses. It's what we do when we realize that our weaknesses are holding us back that matters. It brings me back to the importance of pushing yourself- get inspired, make goals, and don't just reach them; surpass them. It's difficult to understand why things happen the way they do; or why things just don't happen at all. At the end of the day, just remember that life works out in mysterious ways. Even barely surviving the worst day of your life or dealing with losing someone you love changes you in a big way- It frees you from the chains that have held you back. Gives you a new beginning and a blank chapter. It allows you to move forward and be a better person for the experience you triumphed over. Whatever you do, don't give up. Know that tomorrow will bring a new day and you should treat it as a gift. In fact, you have the luxury of even having internet access to read this post- while most people don't. The earth is a vast land, comprised of people of all walks of life each living by their cultural beliefs. But the one thing that we all have in common is that we are human- and being human means understanding that sometimes the biggest rewards require the biggest risks- but that striking at the right time means being patient enough to wait for that time to show itself.

8.17.2011

when all else fails remember this.

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8.16.2011

songs to live by.

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Chances- Five for Fighting.

8.15.2011

modivational monday.

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As we all know, Mondays are probably the worst day of the week. Mix Monday with pouring rain, and it's a recipe for barely peeling yourself out of bed in time to make it to work on time, a missed AM workout, and a post-work couch surfing session. The point is, whether it's Monday or Saturday, there is no better time to get on the bandwagon towards achieving that small or large feat that's been in the back of your mind for several months. We all have goals and aspirations, but it's the actual effort that it requires to achieve those dreams that tend to have us all running for cover. And why is that? Because we're lazy and complacent far too often in life. I'm just as guilty as the next girl for simply going through the motions of daily life and never really pushing myself to actually being happy, but simply being content. Whether it's your love life, career, friendships or health, life is too short to simply accept the conditions you are in if you are not truly excited on a daily basis. This is not to say we are not all entitled to having bad days. We won't love waking up every morning and going to work, we won't love going to the gym instead of cracking a bottle of vino after a long day, and we won't love having the tough conversations with our significant other. Nothing in life is handed to us. It's about pushing yourself to achieve your deepest desires because they aren't just going to come knocking on your door- well, maybe if you are truly that lucky. But don't bet on it. How often do we see the stories on VH1 or ESPN about the singers or athletes who came from nothing to achieve their dream profession? If these people went from the projects to Hollywood, then there is no reason that you cannot make some of your wildest dreams a reality.
The first thing to do is make a list. Write down the things you want in life- start small. Think achievements like making it to the gym 3 days this week, only having one glass of wine after work (verses your usual two plus) or having that hard conversation with your friend about her sketchy weekend activities. Then go big! Achievements like landing a promotion at work, running a marathon, or saving to buy a new vehicle by the end of 2011. The most important step; PLAN. I can't stress this enough. How often do we look at a goal and think of the hundreds of things we have to accomplish, get overweilmed and give up? Case and Point: "Yeah I want to go back to school at some point, but that would mean signing up for the GRE's, actually studying, taking the exam, applying to schools, acquiring letters of recommendation, and about one hundred other things I don't feel like doing. So instead I'll just stick with my crappy job- it isn't THAT bad." Of course getting into grad school isn't going to be a walk in the park- that's probably why they give you a laundry list of things you have to do before they'll accept you. It weeds out the lazy people who just aren't 100% committed to making it happen. Whether it's grad school or nailing the interview to get you a new job, you have to actually visualize how you are going to make it happen. It means going through the "busy work", practicing, and paying your dues- and I don't mean just financially. I mean putting in the time and energy to getting what you want. Whip up your recipe for success by listing the steps that lay between you and your goal. Break it down into bite size pieces and start munching away. Reward yourself for each step and share your ideas with friends and family- there is nothing better than encouragement during the process from the people you love. They can pick you up when you wander off track and can help in keeping you accountable for reaching that dream. Just remember it isn't always going to be easy, but it will be worth it.

8.12.2011

quotes to live by.

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We've all heard about people who've exploded beyond the limitations of their conditions to become examples of the unlimited power of the human spirit. You and I can make our lives one of these legendary inspirations, as well, simply by having courage and the awareness that we can control whatever happens in our lives. Although we cannot always control the events in our lives, we can always control our response to them, and the actions we take as a result. If there's anything you're not happy about--in your relationships, in your health, in your career--make a decision right now about how you're going to change it immediately.
 -Anthony Robbins.

8.11.2011

an apple a day...

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We've heard the sayings about how important it is to stay ahead of the game in regards to keeping healthy. In the summertime, we often forget to log 7+ hour nights of sleep, drink even more water than usual, exfoliate and moisturize our skin...daily, keep up the gym routine, keep it under control at happy hour, steer clear of the fatty backyard-BBQ grub, and slather on the sunscreen. There is nothing worse than being sick during the summer when everyone wants you to come play and you wish you had an endless supply of energy- the reality is, you don't. We all get worn down and the key is thinking "prevent" verses thinking "heal" - in other words, take the actions to prevent yourself from getting sick rather than actually getting sick and then having to deal with riding the pine pony for several days. Needless to say, this girl is currently benched in the top of the 9th with the bases loaded. So much on tap for this weekend and I'm now paying the price for not keeping tabs on myself. Thankfully I was able to leave work a couple hours early yesterday, caught some afternoon ZZZ's, laid low all evening, and crushed a solid 8 hour sleep session. I can't say I'm 100% but I am feeling a heck of a lot better than I was yesterday. The unfortunate thing is I will need to probably keep the same lazy routine all weekend if I really want to "get better"- and there are going to be lots of opportunities this weekend to booze, eat junk food, stay up late, wake up early, and roast myself in the sunshine. At the end of the day, you get from yourself what you put in- so making a few sacrifices now will save you a big headache- literally- down the road.
 
1. Hydrate! The summertime means long days on the beach and late nights at the bar. Alcohol and caffeine are known for their dehydrating effects- and of course, Mr. Sunshine does us no favors in that department either. Water is obviously the best beverage, but it can get totally boring after awhile. Spice it up with a slice of lemon, lime, or cucumber. Try adding 1 freshly squeezed lemon + 1 teaspoon maple syrup + a couple shakes of cayenne pepper (I got this recipe from a liver cleanses diet I read about a couple years ago, but it's still a tasty treat for regular use). If you really can't stand water, try a decaffeinated tea, watered down lemonade or OJ. Most "premixed" drinks are loaded with sugar and ingredients you can't pronounce- If you must opt for one of these options, drink it out of a glass and mix it with 1-2 cups of water. That will dilute the flavor of course, but it also means you will end up drinking more. I actually can't drink regular orange juice by the glass anymore- I have to add water because it's too sweet and strong for my taste buds. It's all about training yourself to create good habits. Try to avoid iced coffee (read: caffeine, sugar, creamer) when you can, but I'm the first to admit it's my favorite afternoon treat on a hot day. Same with soda and energy drinks- processed, unnatural blah blah is not good for your body! When it come's to booze on the beach; you may want to think again. Being out in the sunshine all day sucks the energy right out of you, not to mention how dehydrating it is to be sweating for several hours straight. If you do opt for an afternoon booze cruise, make sure you drink enough water to offset the alcohol's dehydrating effects.

2. ZZZZ- It's often difficult in the summer to log the same type of sleep that you get during a long winters night. Either the AC is blaring or your bedroom feels like a sauna. Plus the sunshine creeps in your windows much earlier in the morning and keeps you awake later in the evening. Keep in mind the importance of good slumber- 7 to 8 hours a night is a good aim, knowing full well you won't hit those all week long. Summer usually means hot summah nights out on the town which can easily catch up to you during the bluesy workweek. The important thing is just to keep yourself in check- if you were out hard 3 nights in a row it may be time for a couple detox nights. Being smart is the most important part- be in tune with how you feel and what your body is saying.

3. Exercise- Keep.Your.Routine! It's so easy to slip up on your usual AM run because you can't peel yourself out of bed, or pass up your post-work gym session because you want to meet your friends for drinks downtown. It's hard to say no, which is why I have kept myself on track by opting for a morning workout routine, and refusing to skip! Work hard, play hard. I luckily have a couple lady friends who belong to the same gym as me, and the thought of leaving one of them high and dry when I said I'd be there isn't worth the extra hour of shut eye. If I'm really that exhausted then it means I haven't been getting the proper sleep that my body needs!

4. Your Outer Shell- It's the first thing people see when you walk into a room. It's what you wake up to every morning when you look in the mirror. It should be your sanctuary- you should treat it with respect and take care of it. Being lazy now is only going to slow you down down the road. Load on the sunscreen! Slacking on your SPF is the easiest way to be in serious pain later on. Save yourself the hassle of peeling, itchy, and painful skin and prepare yourself in the morning to be ready for whatever the day may bring- how many times does going to the beach for an hour turn into several plus a ride on a friends boat or stroll on the bike path. Things come up so it's better to have all your supplies applied prior to take-off. Keep in mind the sweat and grime that gets into your facial pores when you are out in the sun or at the gym. Make facial appointments every other month if you have it in the budget to do so, and if not, make sure you invest in a good exfoliate to use weekly to wash away the dead skin, dirt, and oil that infests your pores.

Sickness doesn't care what season it is or what your big plans for the weekend are. The only way to truly insure you aren't going to get sick at the most inopportune time is to listen to your body and take the appropriate preventative measures before sickness strikes. Just because your best friend can booze 6 days straight and still look and feel like a rock star or your boyfriend can spend hours in the sun without getting burned doesn't mean you can. Pride yourself on your individuality and learn to know the ins and outs of keeping yourself healthy and happy.

8.10.2011

songs to live by.

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Frou Frou- Let Go

8.09.2011

kicking the addiction.

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We all have habits we aren't proud of- biting your nails until they bleed, tanning until you're "Snooki" orange, crushing a non-fat no-whip cinnamon dolce latte every weekday morning via Starbucks, hitting your favorite store's sale every month because "you can't afford to save that much money", checking your ex-boyfriend's-new girlfriend's (whom you have obviously never met) Facebook page daily, having the inability to keep happy hour to just one drink (impossible I swear!)...and oh how we all know the list could go on and on. The truth of the matter is this- admitting that the habit needs to be kicked is the first step. Is there actual documentation out there saying that your habit is harmful to your health or the health of others? Are you unable to keep up with your finances as a result of your addiction? Is it impacting your relationships with friends, family or your significant other? When push comes to shove, we all have things that we do that we know aren't ideal for our well-being- but the real question is, do you want to change? Step One: Identify the problem and explain why it's a problem in the first place. For the sake of this article, I'm going to share with you an addiction I am currently trying to kick- tanning beds. I know, I know...awful for you. But in Vermont the winters are harsh- cold, dark, and long! It's tough to go months without an adequate supply of Vit-D, but tanning in "cancer beds" is not the answer. Just about a year ago there was even a 10% tax tacked on individuals at tanning salons; referred to as "Botax."
The American Academy of Dermatology, which strongly opposed the Botax, applauded the inclusion of the tanning tax as a replacement because of the significant health risks associated with indoor tanning. According to the Academy, indoor tanning before the age of 35 is linked to a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, which has also become more common in young females. Meanwhile, nearly 30 million Americans hit the tanning beds each year and about 2.3 million of these people are teenagers. An indoor tanning tax will therefore "serve as a signal from the federal government to young people that indoor tanning is dangerous and should be avoided," said Dr. William James, president of the academy. (CNN.com)
Step one complete- habit identified and research complete on why I need to kick it. I am not about to become a statistic for melanoma. Step Two: Make a plan. Change your daily routine so it's harder for your habit to rear its ugly head. Change your route to work so you don't pass Starbucks and start a change bin for all the money you would have used- it's insane the studies done on how much you could save. Switch your weekly happy hour meeting to every other week (and substitute meeting your lady friends for a post-work walk instead). Schedule a nail appointment, and let your manicurist give your nails a little TLC- once you see how nice they look when they're all cleaned up, you may change your mind about gnawing on them. Take inventory on your closet- do you really need more clothes? If you do, make a rule that for every new shirt you buy, you need to donate an old one from the way-back-of-your-closet-that-you-probably-totally-forgot-about-because-the-sales-tag-is-still-intact to charity. Step Three: Reward yourself! Off to a great start? Made it through Thursday without your coffee stop? Go on Friday and savor every drop. Skipped the store sale for two months in a row and donated 3 trash bags full of clothes? Limit yourself to $70 bucks and go find something chic for the dinner party you have on Saturday night. You don't need to be unreasonable with yourself. Kicking your favorite guilty habit isn't easy- and going cold turkey usually results in obscene amounts of crankiness. So make reasonable goals and make sure you give yourself a pat on the back for your hard work. Remember you are likely kicking your bad habit to make yourself healthier physically, emotionally, or financially- it'll pay in the long run even if it doesn't seem fair now. Oh! And you are probably wondering how my tanning addiction is going-- Upside? I'm 2+ weeks strong and have saved myself over thirty bucks. Downside? I haven't seen myself this pale in months and now I know why it's so difficult to let go- tan is sexy; pale is not. Not to mention it's still summer. Let's see what happens once November rolls around- it may be back to the drawing board. 

 

8.05.2011

quotes to live by.

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Time is free, but it's priceless.
You can't own it, but you can use it.
You can't keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you've lost it, you can never get it back.
-Harvey MacKay

frugal friday.

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We made it! I logged a solid treadmill workout at the gym this AM (and worked in some interval action too, which is the best way to maximize your workout). This weekend should be low-key and trust me, I need it after the bender of last weekend. I'm really excited to go check out the Vermont Lake Monsters game on Sunday (funday) as seeing live baseball, having a couple drinks and getting your fingers salty from "peanuts & cracker jacks" is pretty much the epitome of summer. We ended up getting our hands on some free tickets to the game, but general admission is under $10 a pop. My bank account always seems to take a beating during the summer months because there is just so much to do. Winter on the other hand, especially because VT snow season is so long and harsh, results in a lot of brunches out, movies in, some snowshoeing action (free!) and quality lazy-time- wicked key to rebuilding the wallet. But as summer comes to a close, I'm going to offer five fun weekend activities that can be done on a budget.

1. Sporting Events- If you live close to a local university, you've probably began to notice that the college kids are starting to trickle back into town. Early-August is when athletes usually return to campus for preseason workouts and team bonding-and just because you graduated years ago, doesn't mean you can't take advantage. Most teams play a preseason schedule that fans can attend for far less than the regular season ticket value. Of course, you are likely not going to see players performing ballz to the wall, but it's a fabulous opportunity to watch up-and-coming athletes show off some of their skills and get a taste of what their regular season will be like- plus if the boys have been hitting the gym like they should have been all summer, then you are in for an extra delectable treat. Grab the girls, the boyfriend, or the family and head to the athletic fields. Double bonus if they allow you to carry in coolers as you can stuff it chalk full of snacks and drinks (especially since snack bars aren't typically in full swing during preseason).

2. Wine Tastings/Beer Tours- Find a DD and go check out your local vineyards or breweries. Most offer free tours and tastings, fun gift shops, and beautiful landscapes. Plus you can pick up a bottle or case to go! Some of my local vineyards actually allow you to bring in munchies to eat on their patio with a bottle of their wine (this allows you to throw together a collection of  sliced cheese, crackers or french baguette, and fresh fruit...all time favorite combo) while you check out the views.

3. Park Picnic- If your area is anything like mine, then you are always within a couple miles of a bike path, walking path, or park- all completely free to use. Lace up the sneakers and cram your backpack full of goodies to enjoy after a relaxing stroll. Perfect opportunity to get some exercise on the weekend without feeling like you are overdoing your "day off" from the gym.

4. Bake-Off!- Grab your significant other or BFF and heat up the kitchen. Hit the grocery store first and grab some supplies. Hold yourself to only spending $10/each and whip up something tasty. Pick a meal category first- try breakfast or dessert. Both offer a bunch of options for cheap (READ: carbomb cupcakes or fruit tarts). Try foodnetwork.com or epicurious.com for fun recipe ideas. Both offer entire sections about "cheap" and "quick & easy". Voila!

5. Classic Game Night- Randy and I play games all the time. In fact, I just spent $40 stocking up on a bunch of fun new games. There is a bar in our area that actually has games available for customers to play when they come in. A lot of coffee shops do this as well. We have been busted playing Sorry!, War, Yahtzee, Apples to Apples, Scrabble and Frog Juice. Play best 2 of 3 games and the loser has to pay for drinks next time you go. Make it into a bi-weekly or monthly tradition.