Wow it's been a long time!  Two quick updates before I get into my post:
 - I'm pregnant! With a girl.  Due in May a week after my son turns 3. 
 - Everyone has been asking so: SWF is hitting month 8 with one of the guys she met online and she's super happy.  Perhaps I can persuade her to write a post about it but now between work and a guy she doesn't have much spare time! Maybe she'll let me write it from my point of view! Oh boy!

Back to the post at hand...

Credit.  This is a term we use a lot here at work.  When we say credit, we're talking about credit with each other.  The trust, loyalty and overall relationships we build with each other over time buys us credit.  This allows for disagreements or dropped balls to be more easily overlooked or just not so damaging to our reputation. 

I was in a situation this weekend that made me see that this concept applies everywhere, especially your social life.  We were away on our annual ski weekend (it was sooo much fun!) this past weekend.  While I had an amazing time (danced for hours Saturday night and enjoyed the hell out of the spa and my quality girl time)...as I reflected back I realized that there were parts that were difficult for me.  I was more tired than usual (that happens at 30 wks), definitely more short tempered (also happens at 30 wks and I will fully admit I am not the best sober person dealing with a bunch of buzzed people)... and I was definitely bummed I couldn't fully join in on the festivities. 

Anyway, I've known 8 of the 9 people I was with for 10 - 11 yrs.  I have "credit" with them.  We've been through a lot. We've been in each others weddings etc and they've seen me up AND down and, I think, love me anyway. As I do them.   So if I'm frustrated or sad or whatever, I'm very comfortable to just say whatever and know I'll either get called out or brushed off but never written off.  But as I reflected on the weekend I realized that the 9th person has really only been around me a handful of times.  They owe me nothing, as I have no credit with them.  For all I know that person walked away thinking what a PITA I was. Now it'll take longer to build credit in that relationship because I wasn't thoughtful about it ahead of time.   

The moral of my post is just that this is something to think about.  How much credit have you built with someone before you: upset them, feel you're owed something..etc?  Think about it.


My new favorite snack..

A couple of weeks ago Mom and I brought my son to California for a very short trip to see family.  It was a great trip and deserves it's own post so I won't go on and on but I got a couple of great snack ideas from my Mom and Aunt while we were there. 

The first is great for a healthy snack that you can take on the road.  Snyder's Pretzel Snaps..for some reason I only really like Snyder's pretzels.  The Rold Gold are too salty I think.  Anyway, pretzel snaps and the Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese wedge. You just scoop the cheese with a snap and you're getting a filling snack and adding protein. My mom prefers the French Onion, which I like, but I get the swiss to use for this or to spread on an apple.  These cheese wedges are great for everything and are only 35 calories a wedge! Click here for nutritional info.  And don't worry about keeping them refrigerated..we brought them on the plane and they were still good a few hours later!

Another pretzel snack that my Aunt got me into was Pretzel Crisps and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.  Since I've been home I've tried Cedars and Joseph's which I typically love but for this snack Sabra makes the best Roasted Red Pepper Hummus hands down. The hummus is also great for carrots/veggies too so just keep it around the house.

Do you have an easy, healthy go-to snack to share?


My Love/Hate Relationship with Facebook...

This has been building for awhile so I assume this post will likely resemble a full on rant. But I'll start with what I love..

I love that I've reconnected with so many people from my past - whether I was close to them or not, whether we post back and forth or not..  I love it.  One girl, I can't even remember how friendly we were in high school but she is one of my favorite facebook people.  She posts the funniest quotes from her son and I look forward to them.  When she posts about him being bullied in school I tear up and get so angry for her...or about her youngest making major breakthroughs as he grows up with autism I get soo excited for him, for them. We learned early on that we both love True Blood and message each other about it throughout the season.  I don't ever see her, and with our schedules, probably won't unless there is some big high school event for everyone that brings us back together, but when I took a break from facebook..I missed her!  I know..sounds crazy.  I just I love that facebook keeps me in touch with so many people and lets me know how they're doing and that they're happy, they're married, they have adorable kids etc.  My life is very busy (like everyone elses!) and I'm lucky to have a great group of close friends that I see as much as I can, and facebook helps me stay connected on some level to the people I enjoy but I'm just not so close to.

What do I hate about facebook?  Or, I should say, about how facebook is used? First the obvious..I hate the constant complainers..  "It's soo hot." "Why is it so cold out?" "Great it's raining again!" "I hate the snow."  Really? They're called seasons and YOU LIVE IN NEW ENGLAND! Has it ever been any different?  And I get it...I do..but goodness shut up! So then I hide those people from my newsfeed and move on.

But the biggest thing is that I think people become lazy in their (myself included) friendships and I think facebook makes that worse.  When a friend is really sick or even has a baby..and a CLOSE friends simply writes, "how are you?" or "Congratulations" on their wall. I think, was that for the person or for everyone to see it?  Cause you could have called, emailed or text them. It takes away that personal touch and creates space in the relationship.  Maybe this is just me going through changes in friendships and not liking it... or maybe it is just me resisting that everything is moving to facebook..  I even hated when friends started messaging through facebook instead of the gmail account they had used for me for years..  I guess maybe I'm just not ready for facebook to be the center of things.. but I probably never thought texting could replace a long conversation with a friend and, in this busy time, it certainly has.

Am I the only one that feels this way? 


Artimus Art Review - Guest Blogger Johanna

During the school year my boys bring home tons and tons of artwork.  Of course, I think they are mini Picassos and I have a rotating gallery on my fridge but at the end of the year I am faced with the “what the heck should I do with all this paper?”  I feel guilty throwing it out, and of course the ones I try to sneak into the recycling are always found and met with the “Mom, you don’t like my butterfly, car, etc?”, which breaks my heart and ups the Mommy guilt meter. 
So, with the basket on my kitchen counter overflowing (yes, that's my actual basket)

I set out to find a storage solution for my kid’s art.  Originally, I was looking for some sort of file or flat storage box.  But, I found something even better, a custom book of my children’s artwork from Artimus Art.  Here’s how it works.  You go to Artimus Art’s web site (www.artimusart.com) and create an account.  You choose your book (24, 50 or 80 pages) and pay the fee.  A few days later the big art box is delivered to your home. 

You put your child’s artwork in the box and mail it back.  Then the team at Artimus Art photographs your child’s artwork and uploads it to an online gallery.  Once the art is in the gallery you can arrange it the way you want, add titles, pick your cover art, book color and create a dedication page.  The whole process is very easy and the turn around time is quick.

I ordered a 24 page book and sent 12 pieces of art from each of my children.  I admit, it is pricey, but the hard cover book is durable and the photos are printed on professional quality photo paper.  You may be wondering if you could do this yourself using one of the many online photo services, and you probably could.  I don’t have a good quality digital camera or scanner and I don’t have a creative bone in my body so this option was best for me.  I involved the kids in the whole process so they were so excited when the book arrived! Another thing I love about Artimus Art is it is a local company run by a mom.  


Keratin Treatment Review

I've been talking a lot about the Keratin Treatment and here it is, my review and pictures.

First the stylist washed my hair then blew it completely dry.  After that she painted on the treatment and covered my head in it completely.  I had to sit with the treatment on, wearing a plastic cap for 20 min. When the 20 min was up she blew dry my hair again and then flat ironed really small sections, going over each section 8 to 10 times.  

In total it took 3 hours.  My butt was KILLING me. 

Ugh.  No washing, no wetting, no elastics, headbands, bobby pins, tucking behind the ears...nothing.  It felt so greasy and heavy.  When day 4 ended and was so happy to wash finally.

I HATED the first 4 days, hated them.  And at first, even after washing, I still wasn't sure.  First, I thought this was a smoothing treatment.  I thought that my hair would dry with it's natural curl/wave but just softer..NOPE.  Pin straight.  I have to blow dry just to add some body to it.  AND, I used to be able to go 4 to 5 days without washing it - now 2 days tops, maaaybe 3 with a ponytail on the last day. I don't like that.  What do I like?  I like that its supposed to last 4-6 months. I like that my hair dries really quick.  When it rains, my hair stays.   When it's humid, my hair stays.  When I sweat, my hair stays!  I love it.  Check out the pictures below.
One more thing..  no need to buy the keratin shampoo and conditioner.  I use L'Oreal EverPure Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner. They're about $6.99 each at CVS or Stop and Shop. 
$175 + $70 tip = $245
My biggest tip...subscribe to all the Groupons... Groupon, BuyWithMe, Eversave etc.. and then jump on one that is in driving distance.  Other tips:
 - when you see the coupon..check the salon on yelp first, then call the salon and see when they have appts.  I bought my BuyWithMe and then called the salon and had to wait a month for my appt.

The keratin is a little like childbirth....a painful process but then you love the result so much you forget about how bad the process was.  ;-)


Lookin' for advice - Guest blogger: SWF

So, one of the unintended consequences of this whole adventure in online dating is that it’s quite a shock to the system to go from a complete and utter lack of romantic potential to winks, emails, and multiple dates over the span of one short week.  But, this is what I wanted, right?  Now, I’ve never been a serial dater, even in my younger, wilder, social-butterfly days.  Most of my previous relationships started slowly and blossomed from friendships - we were already buddies and one day realized we both kind of wanted to see the other person naked.  Sure, there were times where either the gentleman or I attempted (sometimes successfully, sometimes painfully not) to court the other in the traditional dating sense, but those were the exception. 

I distinctly remember a conversation with an old (male, non-romantic) friend of mine about how he was actively dating 2 or 3 women and how strange that was to me.  He was by no means cheating on any of them; he was legitimately dating them, by which I mean he asked them out for a specific activity, made arrangements, provided transportation, paid, and behaved like a true gentleman.  He eventually went on to marry one of those women, so I guess it worked.  That sort of experience is pretty foreign to me, so I’m struggling a bit with how to manage dates with multiple guys.  I mean, on the one hand, I have this mild fear I’ll end up in a Jack Tripper situation juggling two different dates on the same night – constantly excusing myself from one date to the other as I maneuver secretly from one end of the Regal Beagle to another. 

And on the other, more serious, hand, what if I really like someone?  Do I continue to go on other dates?  What if I go out with someone and the date isn’t spectacular, but we have a decent time and the source of our lackluster experience is probably due more to first date awkwardness than any fundamental mismatch?  Do I go out with that guy again?  What if he thinks I’m leading him on?  I’m not sure I’m ready to handle rejecting someone.  And I haven’t even begun to think about being rejected by someone. 

“Oh, SWF”, you’re probably thinking, “you’re getting way ahead of yourself, just enjoy this for what it is – getting yourself out there and meeting people”.  And you’re right, gentle reader, I am getting ahead of myself, but I wouldn’t be my charmingly neurotic self if I didn’t entertain these thoughts.  I just need to keep a level head, temper my atrophied romantic muscles from over-exertion, and, above all, enjoy myself.  But still, I ask you, dear internet, those of you with more experience in dating (online or otherwise), what advice can you give to this gal who has plunged herself headfirst into this new world?



Slowing down...

That's been my goal lately...as you can see from the lack of blog posts.  We're constantly booked due to work, social obligations or..well...me..  I'm a "planaholic".  If there is an open weekend coming up you can bet I'll have us booked everyday of that weekend in no time.  If we start talking about my "girl's nights"..well let's just say I've cut myself back to one a week and it's been tough!  I sound like a jerk when a friend asks to meet for a drink and I try to book them 3 weeks out. 

I realized I was never present.  I had filled my life so much that I could never concentrate on what I was doing, I was always planning in my head.  In meetings I was thinking about what blog topics I could write about that week, making me less effective at work.  At home, I was constantly interacting with people via text or facebook, just being in touch or booking up my nights.  This resulted in my husband staring at me with a "helllooo?" look on his face and sometimes me missing some of the short time we get to spend with our son before bed during the week.  Then, once the little one was sleeping, I'd sit on the couch and write blog posts or, again, interact with friends, making plans or just keeping in touch. 

I realized I was really missing out on life by never just being in the moment.  I had to prioritize first.  What matters most to me in the world?  My husband and child.  Having the best family we can and enjoying every second of each other. Not booking our whole weekend so that we actually have time, just the 3 of us.  Then, our family and friends...but I realized I put so much time and energy into, even just thinking about some friends.. and not that they did anything wrong by not being that way back, but I think I realized I just don't need to do that.  Our close friends are our close friends..  they love us for us and don't let small things get in the way of our friendship.. we're all busy and see each other when we can and be in touch when we can.  This is a big one for me that will just have to be another post because it'll get long.  Next was work.. It's important for me to be successful in my job.  I needed to start really focusing at work.  Oh, and exercise and eating right are sprinkled in there too.

So now what used to be 3 - 5 blog posts a week will likely be 1 - 3.  And my typical immediate response to texts or emails may not come for awhile.  When I'm with my family, I'm WITH them..not with my phone or my laptop.  This is a learning process for me..to slow down.. but I'm trying.