Friday, February 26, 2010

Only The Good Friday - Count Your Blessings

I’m doing things a little bit differently for Only The Good today.

I had a moment yesterday. I learned, quite by accident, that a very casual acquaintance, who I’d only met once or twice, but who played a pretty important role in a friend’s life, passed away. Quite young, and unexpectedly. It shook me.

So today, on Only The Good Friday, I just want to focus on all the things that are indeed so good, but we may possibly take for granted on a daily basis…

Waking up in the cocoon of your own bed,

The feel of warm water hitting your head as you step in the shower

A plush robe

The smell of fresh brewed coffee

Putting on your favorite pair of shoes

Turning the key in the ignition of your new (or old, but beloved) car

Saying good morning to the coworkers you genuinely like

Receiving a text, email, phone call from a friend

That second cup of coffee at your desk

Hearing that song you’d forgotten you love

The satisfaction of completing a project at work

Seeing it is clock out time

Unexpected dinner plans with a friend

Sweating it out at the gym

Taking off your shoes at the end of the day

Comfy pj’s

Lighting your favorite candle

The couch, the television, your snuggie, relax time

A heartfelt prayer of thanks at the end of the night

That moment just before you drift off to sleep, when you realize you’re almost out…

Take a second…count your blessings…Life is SO GOOD…don’t let it pass you by focusing on the trivial details that mire us down.

Monday, February 22, 2010

popinjay - Photochallenge - Clueless

Today's word for the popinjay photo challenge was, indeed, a challenge. The word Michelle gave us was "CLUELESS" and I? was pretty much clueless what to do.

I had an idea, but I never got around to taking the photo, and today, when I went to do it, it (the subject I was going to use for my photo) was gone.

So, once again, I dug into my archives, and came up with this shot I took during a photography class last year:

I love this photo, love the colors, and the artwork, but I am absolutely clueless as to what the "graffiti" says.

I know, I know...sort of a lame interpretation of the clue, but hey, that's all I've got! ;-)

Make sure to stop by Michelle's to see what everyone else was clueless about.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Only The Good Friday – All's Fair in Love and Allergies

It's Only The Good Friday, and even though Shelly has changed the rules a little bit, the game is still the same. On Fridays (or whatever day you choose) we take the time to focus on ONLY GOOD things. No "snarkyness" as she likes to call it. No negativity. Just good old positive stuff.

So, even though I'm battling quite possibly the most sever bout of allergies I've ever encountered (sniffle, sniffle, sneeze, sneeze) I'm going to focus on the good today.

For starters, it's just could be so much worse.

Also, it's FRIDAY! And for some reason, it appears to take even longer to get to Friday on these "short" holiday weeks. But we've made it, we are here!

Tomorrow I have the pleasure of spending the morning and afternoon doing a very GOOD thing, cooking and then serving at a local soup kitchen with your is our Saturday, which we do every 6 weeks, and it is always fun, inspiring, and a blessing to be able to participate.

Then tomorrow night I will be heading out on the town with some friends for a friend's bachelorette party. That should be an interesting event, to say the least. I have no doubt we will have a GOOD time.

And then Sunday will indeed be a "day of rest". OH how GOOD that sounds.

I don't really have a whole lot more to offer you this week, not because I'm not full of GOOD, but because I'm not full of energy to type any longer...

But trust, the mood is up, the heart is full, and life is indeed GOOD.

Count all your little blessings and join us on Only The Good Friday, won't you? Head on over to Shelly's for more information and for the Mr. Linky!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On Lent

If you've read my blog for a while, then you know that I've been exploring my faith for the last few years.

I am a Christian (Catholic), and until recently, I wasn't really sure what that meant. So, in the last year or two, I've been exploring, learning, taking the time to reflect, educate, and really understand what any of this means to me.

I've come a long way, and I have miles and miles to go...

So, at a time such as this, at Lent, I find myself wanting to explore further.

I've never been a fan of the whole "I'm giving up chocolate, soda, coffee, gum for lent" thing. I've never understood how "giving up" something like that meant anything. And then, constantly talking about how you "can't have" this thing, throughout the 40 days, OH THIS HUGE SACRIFICE I sort of misses the point, doesn't it?

So, a few years ago, I began "giving" instead of "giving up". I began making an effort to go above and beyond, do good deeds, give of myself, focus on others more during this time.

I always try to live my life this way anyway, but during the time of Lent, I make it a conscious effort, I pay closer attention.

I will be doing that again this year. Quietly. After this post, I will not be commenting on my efforts any further, I will keep this one between me and "my God".

This year, I'm adding another thing I'll be doing for Lent as well. This one under the "sacrificing" something to take time to reflect some more.

I spend A LOT of time online, and in front of the television in the evenings during the week. And due to that, I go to bed later and later each night.

And I find myself not dedicating the time I need to sleep, and to prayer.

I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of it.

So, for Lent, I'm packing it in earlier. I'm shutting all electronics off at 10:30PM (trust me, that's early for me), and taking that extra time to pray, and to sleep.

I'm hoping to even dial it back to 10PM as the month moves on.

Who knows, maybe I can even create a bedtime habit that I can keep up for the long term.

Monday, February 15, 2010

popinjay - Photochallenge - FREE

Today's popinjay word is FREE.

I had a few different ideas of what I wanted to use for this challenge, but once again, time got away from me and I just didn't get around to photographing any of the stuff I meant to. So once again I sort of cheated and dug into my files for something I knew would fit perfectly.

When I think of the word FREE, I think of so many things. Birds flying, music blasting in a car radio as you drive down the road with the windows open, dancing with wild abandon in your living room, in

And then I realize that all these things, the appreciation of these things, are blessings I'm able to enjoy because of where I live. Not everyone has these same freedoms.

As an immigrant, who's family moved us to the United States for a better life, for a chance at at brighter future, and as a naturalized citizen, proud to be an American, even during these tough times of struggle and conflict...when I think of the word FREE, I always see the American Flag, waving in the wind...

Okay, not exactly a flag blowing in the wind there...this was a cake my mom made for the Fourth of July last year...

But still, the message remains.

Make sure to stop by Michelle's to see what else is FREE.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Only The Good Friday - Will I Be My Valentine Edition

It’s Friday, and time for another edition of Only The Good Friday, because…well because we REALLY need to spread some positivity out there these days.

I was going to call this the “anti-valentine’s day edition” but…well, that’s not very positive is it? So, instead you get the “talking to myself” edition.

Valentine’s Day is mere days away, and single people everyone are bemoaning the hallmark holiday designed solely to part lovers from their hard earned cash and singletons with their self respect. All across the nation pink puffy hearts and red roses invade every available store window, and television screen, and we, the single folk are left to fend for ourselves.

But I? I will not be victim to the notion that simply because I am without significant other, I’m any less significant. No siree. I will celebrate Valentine’s day in true single girl style. By choosing to not bemoan the holiday, and instead celebrating the benefits of not needing to participate.

Look at all the benefits: I don’t have to struggle to find the perfect gift, I don’t have to battle the masses for a table at a restaurant, I don’t even have to shave my legs if I don’t want to. BEAT THAT!

Besides focusing on only the good aspects of being single on Valentine’s day, on this Only The Good Friday, I’d like to share with you a few other “good” things that are on my mind.

I’m having dinner with two of my college girlfriends tomorrow night. As much as we attempt to do it more often, with our busy schedules we usually manage only one, sometimes two dinners per year. Because of their infrequency, these dinners are something I look forward to so very much. With a few “facebook only” exceptions, these girls are pretty much the only friends from college I still speak with, and I adore them both. We will eat, we will drink, and we will chat for hours and hours…it will be so GOOD.

Monday is a holiday. I have no work. That is all. GOOD right?

I mentioned my new phone in my post last week.

I told you I would tell you more about it as I used it more. I still plan on doing a more in-depth review after I’ve played with it just a little bit longer. But for now, I tell you that I LOVE IT. Love the android platform. Love the touch screen. LOVE the additional keyboard (because I don’t much love typing on a
touch screen keyboard AT ALL). Love the apps.

And it is one of these apps that I want to focus on for OTGF.

I’m not sure if this app is available for blackberry, iphone or any of the other platforms out there, but I urge you to investigate.

Causeworld is a free app which you download to your phone, and it works with the GPS in your phone to find your location, and stores, restaurants, business where you are. Then as you enter these places of business, you “check in”. Those of you familiar with Foursquare know how it works already.

But here’s the really great piece. As you check in to these locations, you collect “Karma” points. And these Karma points can then be used to give donations to a variety of charitable causes. How fantastic is that?

The program is currently sponsored by CITI and Kraft, and they are the ones who put up the donations.

What a great, free, and easy way to donate money to a cause. Isn’t that so GOOD?

So, there you have it, my OTGF for today. Be sure to stop by Shelly’s to see what she’s got up her sleeve this week.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why in the World Am I defending John Mayer?

Parental Discretion Advised, there is some (not a lot, I promise) strong language in this post.

So, I'm a bit of a celebrity nut. It's not a big secret, I'll admit it openly that I am certainly fascinated by celebrity and pop culture. It is a world I would NOT EVER want to be a part of, but thoroughly enjoy reading and hearing about.

In short, it entertains me, and I'm all about being entertained.

That being said, because I love to learn about the personalities behind the actors, musician and others in the industry, there have certainly been times when a celebrity's behavior has completely turned me off their work (ahem, Kanye West anyone?)

There have also been times, especially now in the age of Twitter, when the personality of someone has actually turned me onto their work.

One such celebrity is John Mayer.

I've always liked every John Mayer song I've heard on the radio, but I had bought into the media casting him as "a cad and a douchebag" (the media's words, not mine).

So, I'd always been a little bit turned off his music.

And then, I saw one of his tweets retweeted by someone else, and it absolutely cracked me up so I started following him. What I learned then is that he is witty, sarcastic, self-deprecating, and not at all the way the media portrays him.

The thing is, he very much has a sense of humor that reminds me of my ex, Cognac (
click here if you're curious about that particular bit of my history, but not until you finish this post, ok?)

See, Cognac had a lethally sarcastic sense of humor. He had a way of saying things that were biting, and hilarious, but went over most people's heads. If taken at face value, out of context, or at all seriously, he came across as a bit of an a$$hole. I have vivid memories of smacking him in the arm and saying "shut up, they'll take you seriously" oh, so many times.

John Mayer strikes me that way.

So, today, when the world was all a-twitter about his supposedly racist remarks, and his incendiary comments about Jessica Simpson, I was intrigued, and a little amused. I tweeted something to the effect of: " I believe John Mayer is laughing it up that everyone is taking him so seriously".

But like everyone else, I hadn't yet read the full Playboy interview which sparked all the controversy, so I was reserving full judgment until I did.

Well, I just did. And if you have not, I hope you will. Here's a link, but keep in mind, this is an interview for Playboy magazine, so the language, and subject matter is not rated G: John Mayer Interview.

Here's what I have to say: First of all, people really LOVE to get all worked up about every little thing, don't they?

Secondly, yes, John Mayer made a huge mistake using the N word in that interview. By no means do I believe him to be racist or that his remarks were racist, but that word? I don't believe it should ever be uttered. By anyone. At any time. White or black.

John addressed his decision to use that word in his twitter stream today: Re: using the 'N word' in an interview: I am sorry that I used the word. And it's such a shame that I did because the point I was trying to make was in the exact opposite spirit of the word itself. It was arrogant of me to think I could intellectualize using it,because I realize that there's no intellectualizing a word that is so emotionally charged.

Regarding his comments about dating black women and his racist genitals...that was just an idiotic comment but again, not racist...if you really dissect it and look at it, the complete opposite of that.

And then there are the comments he made about Jessica Simpson. He said she was "crack cocaine" to him, and that she was sexual napalm. Okay, so perhaps (not perhaps, definitely) it was inappropriate for him to talk about their private sexual life in an interview (even if it was a playboy interview), but you know what? I don't know that I'd be offended if someone said I was sexual napalm, and as addictive as crack cocaine...offended that he was publicly laying out there, yes, but...come on, he just said the intellectual equivalent of "that girl is the bomb".

Read the rest of the interview, which is LENGTHY and you'll see he addresses his insecurities, his "douchebaggery", his immaturity, his love for Jen Aniston, and so many other things.

Taken out of context, yes, those comments can be seen as ignorant, rude, inappropriate, and all kinds of incendiary. But in the content of the full article, he made some dumb statements, he spoke out of turn about some of his sexual conquests, but man, did the media pick apart an interview and ignore 90% of it to focus on just a few words.

It's been said that John Mayer is the most hated celebrity in Hollywood. I'm not sure how true that is, but he is certainly the one everyone loves to hate.

I'm not entirely sure why this particular issue spoke to me so much, and why I felt I had to defend John Mayer. He certainly doesn't need my stepping up to protect him. I'm a fan of his music, I think he's super talented, but he's not even one of my celebrity crushes. I am not one of those girls who goes gaga over celebrities (Donnie Wahlberg excluded, of course).

But I am also not a fan of witch hunts. And I hate ignorance. And I despise when folks all jump on the lets hate someone bandwagon without knowing all the facts.

I don't know John Mayer personally. I have no idea if deep down he is a good guy, or a complete a$$hole.

But I read the interview. And I don't think he deserved the beat down he got for it.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know, I'd love to hear your thoughts, and am certainly willing to consider your viewpoint.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

If I Had a Boyfriend - The Relationship Dress

In case you missed, I explain the “If I Had a Boyfriend” series here.

I attended a “Gala” Fundraising event. It was a very prom like evening in that everyone was all decked out, dressed up to the nines. The party was a great time, and it was fun to have an excuse to actually wear a bridesmaid dress again.

I KNOW! I really did though, and you know what? It was perfect. The dress, a strapless, corset back, poufy skirt, black and white number was exactly the right little number to wear for this event.

This dress:

And yes, I was having a lovely time (and no, i'm not in love with this photo AT ALL but it was the only one that showed the whole dress).

But here’s the thing, this dress is what those in the know in the fashion world call a “relationship dress”.

What is a relationship dress, you ask? Let me remind you again that I said “corset back”. As in, lace up the back, in that intricate manner that requires not only looping through the various holes, but also tightening as you go along, not unlike laces on a pair of sneakers. But you know…at the back. That area you can’t reach on your own.

THIS back:

Also, if you’ve ever watched any Jane Austen movies, or Gone with the Wind, you probably remember a scene or two where the damsel is holding onto a bedpost as her maid servant laces up her corset. A task that not only requires precision, but also, to be brutally honest, force.

So yeah, a relationship dress, because in today’s society, where most of us don’t have our very own maid servants (or as they are called inHollywood today, personal stylists), you need to be in a relationship in order to get INTO the dress. It is not possible to do it on your own.

And I? I am not in a relationship.

If I had a boyfriend, my brother’s fiancĂ© wouldn’t have had to come over early to help me get into my dress, before we headed out for the evening.

If I had a boyfriend, getting out of that same dress that night, especially after the handful of espresso martinis I enjoyed that evening, would probably have been a lot more “fun” and a lot less “funny”.

Let it be noted, however, that I did not need help undressing, and managed just fine on my own.

That being said…no more relationship dresses for me until I have either A) a boyfriend or B) a personal stylist.

Monday, February 08, 2010

popinjay - Photochallenge - BOLD

This week's popinjay word is BOLD.

I have to tell you, I had a really great time with this particular challenge. Saturday evening my friends and I attended a Fundraiser Gala Event to raise money for a local children's hospital. The theme of the evening was a masquerade ball. So we all wore masks. It was a lot of fun to see everyone's masks and to see everyone all dressed up.

And this morning I really enjoyed a different look at the BOLD colors , shapes and materials of one of these masks (and the macro setting on my camera):

Make sure you stop by Michelle's to see what other BOLD moves the rest of the participants made.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Only The Good Friday – It's Been Awhile

I haven't done an Only The Good Friday (OTGF) post in a while, and well...that's just not right, is it?

So, here we go, helping Shelly from This Eclectic Life spread the Optimism Virus. My understanding is that poor Shelly is actually suffering a serious bout of the flu or some such other mean illness, so the LEAST I can do is help to spread some positivity, you think?

In case you are unfamiliar with OTGF, the general idea is to have one day a week where we post ONLY GOOD THINGS. No sarcasm, no complaining, no whining, no woe is me...just good stuff.

Some times, the good stuff is the kind of "Good" that uplifts the world, inspirational, charitable, motivating. Other times, it's a little more personal, a little less altruistic, and like today, a little more..."here are the small, silly blessings that make me smile".

Here's my good stuff this week:

I'm getting a new phone. Actually, by the time you read this, because I'm pre-writing it (shh don't tell), I may already have my new phone. I'd better already have my new phone...or else...oh, never mind, optimism...good...happy...

I'm getting THIS phone:

It's the Samsung Moment for Sprint, the new Android platform phone. I am so excited. I love new tech toys, I'm such a geek girl.

I'll tell you all about the phone once I've had a chance to play around with it.

By the way, also, anyone want a slightly used blackberry curve for sprint? I'll sell it to you cheap!

More good stuff:

I am going to see Daughtry/Lifehouse in concert in June. Not only that, but I'm going to do so in Pittsburgh, which means I get to visit my friend WEST Virginia (who does, indeed, live in West Virginia). Since we both wanted to go to this concert, and I wanted to go visit her, we decided to combine the two things, and there you go! Very excited.

Even more good stuff:

Tomorrow night I am attending a "Masquerade Ball" fundraiser for a local children's hospital. My friends and I will get all dressed up (and don masks) and eat, drink, dance, and raise money for a good cause.

Now THAT's all kinds of good, don't you think?

I hope you have a WONDERFUL Friday and a wonderful weekend. Don't forget to drop by Shelly's to see all the other GOOD out there.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

If I Had a Boyfriend - This Post Wouldn't Exist

It’s no longer a secret (to me as well as to others) that I’m ready to meet a guy. I’ve been single for a long time, and although being single certainly has had its advantages, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am indeed ready for a relationship again.

The prospects are, however, few and far between, and I find myself at a crossroads of a sort. Finally having let down my guard enough to realize the reasons I want a partner in life, to allow those feelings in, but unable to share them with anyone just yet.

But the beauty of this situation is that I am beginning to be able to visualize the next chapter in my life. I can now see how things will be, why it will be good for me, how it will be different, what it will offer me.

In much the way of “The Secret”, I’m allowing myself to project into the world what it is that I want, and expecting the universe to deliver. At some point…whenever that should happen to be…are you listening universe?

Michael Buble says it well in his new song “Wherever You Are, Whenever It’s Right, You’ll come out of nowhere and into my life, and I know that we can be so amazing, and baby your love is gonna change me, and now I can see every possibility…I just haven’t met you yet”.

In the meantime, I allow myself to do something I haven’t done in a long long time. I indulge in the silly fantasies of the things I look forward to sharing with my future guy. And because I’m a blogger, you, my dear readers, get to indulge with me.

Welcome to my new blog series “If I had a boyfriend”. There’s no anticipated schedule for these posts, they’ll be as random as my realizations that certain things are meant to be done as part of a couple.

These will not be “woe is me, life as a single girl sucks” whine fests, they will be fun, silly, and sometimes serious reflections of life as a single woman ready for a change.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

31 Day Fitness Challenge - Make that the 12 day challenge...

And here we are, February 2nd. So, Amber's 31 Day Fitness Challenge has come to an end. I obviously don't need to tell you that I didn't complete this challenge, as my last post on this very topic already made that plenty obvious.

That being said, I'd like to focus on the positives here.

I kicked off the year with a fitness plan in mind. I worked out EVERY DAY for nearly 2 weeks.

I was in the gym with all the "New Year's Resolution" babies, and I didn't kill anyone.

I discovered a step-aerobics class I really enjoy.

I lost 2 lbs.

And yesterday, February 1st, I kicked off my next fitness challenge. I'm calling this one "Work out whenever I can, try to keep a routine, don't beat myself up when I miss a day here and there".

Yep...overall, I think I did pretty well.

Amber, thanks for hosting the challenge, and bring on the next one...I'm ready!

Monday, February 01, 2010

popinjay - Photochallenge - GUILTY

The word this week is GUILTY. I knew right away what I wanted to do with this prompt, and it was the first time since I started this challenge that I actually "staged" my photo, and used the macro feature on my camera for this one.

I had a few other ideas for this prompt, but in the end, a guilty pleasure won out:

And yes, I did indeed have a bit of that was for the sake of art folks. And then, well, you know, once you've taken a bit, you can't just let it go to waste, can you?

The word next week is: BOLD.

Also, be sure to stop by MICHELLE'S to see what everyone else posted!