Saturday, June 29, 2013

New Blog Design!

A little while back I asked for your input on weather or not I should pay for a blog design.  (Thanks for giving me such awesome and honest feedback.)  Bri from Back to Bliss (and also my "big") recommended Taylor from Confessions of a Busy Busy Bee.  Not only is Taylor a sweet heart, she makes blogs look pretty!!

After stalking her blog for a while, and checking out her portfolio, I was filling out an order form for a new design.  She got back to me quickly, and was really open to hearing my ideas.  She took the colors for my new design from one of my Pinterest finds, and wasn't happy with it until I was.  Seriously, if you want a new design for a super reasonable price, go check her out!

I guess I should say that this is not a sponsored post and Taylor didn't compensate me in anyway for this.  All the opinions are my own... yada yada yada....  Basically I just think Taylor is awesome and I am in love with my super affordable new blog design and I wanted to tell every one about it!

PS - If you noticed I haven't been around this week it's because I haven't.  I got picked for jury duty and frankly, that is exhausting!  Hopefully, I will be back in the game by Tuesday.  Be ready for a post full of my thoughts on the NYS judical system, and how to get out of Jury duty.  It will include stories of people snoring, random outbursts, and hair styles that belong in Whoville.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Thursday: I've got a Crush on You

Today's Throwback Thursday topic is "Elementary school crush"  I was a pro-crusher in Jr. high and a bit of high school.  It was actually hard for me to make guy friends because I would always end up having a crush on them.  I have countless journals full of "but so-and-so is so cute and I can't stop myself from thinking about him all the time"  However, elementary school was a different story.  Only one man had my attention.

He was tall and muscular, pretty popular, really cared about the environment (that was a big deal to me as a kid), and he could totally rock an early 90's mullet.  His name?  Captain Planet.  Yes, I had a huge crush on a cartoon character.  I would kiss my Captain Plant lunch box daily, and had or wedding planned down to the napkin rings.
C'mon!  Who couldn't love this hunk?!
My hopes and dreams were shattered on the bus on the last day of kindergarten.  A much older and wiser second grader informed me that cartoon characters could not marry real life people because there was a force field separating them from the real world that could only be broken if  "Cartoon God" and "Our God" agreed.   Who was I to disagree with the big kids?  I mean, they had been in school a whole two years more than me.  I was devastated.  It was my first taste of heart break.

 The following year, I asked my mom for a new Barbie lunch box, because my little heart just couldn't handle the harsh truth.  Little did I know that real heart break just gets worse.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The time I met Dean's family

I have come across a lot of posts for "Whatever Wednesday" today.  Apparently today's theme is "First time..."  That works out well for me because I had already planned on writing about the unique way I met some of Dean's extended family before I knew that it was a "day of firsts".

As most of you know, Dean and I were friends for much longer that we have been a couple.  Before he left for Malta for a year, I had decided to go down to New Jersey to visit him, just as a friend.  I had met Dean's immediate family a few times before, but other than his grandparents the rest of the family were still strangers.

That was until my second trip to New Jersey.  Dean and I went with his parents and sister to a friends house for games (this is a common Gootee family activity).  The evening seems normal enough until we got in the car to leave.  Then his mother received a phone call from her sister saying that Al (Dean's mother's step-father) had had a heart attack and we needed to go to the hospital right away.  While en route, we received a second call to say that he didn't make it but please still come because Dean's aunt was hysterical.

We walked into the waiting area of the hospital and saw Al.  Just sitting there alive a well. Turns out the person that had the heart attack was actually Bob, Dean's aunt's live in boyfriend of many years.  After all the initial confusion had been cleared, the family's eyes turn to me.  I was doing my best to just sit in the corner and stay unseen and out of the way.  Then some one said "Oh Dean, is this your girlfriend?"  We both quickly replied with a "no no, we are just friends".  This was followed by awkward introductions and my condolences.

And that my friends is how I met my husband's extended family. In a hospital after some one died, before we were even dating.  It took Dean's aunt about four more introductions before she could remember that she knew me.

Dean's parents

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I have a serious question for you guys...

Should I pay for a blog design or not?!  

See, I am a lover of all things pretty and I am a bit of a neat freak just don't look in my car.  So when I see my own "home made" blog design (if you can even venture to call it a design) I cannot help but feel like I am missing something.  

BUT, I am also extremely cheap frugal.  After doing some shopping around I have discovered that I will be spending about $50 plus of my hard earned money.  I have a hard time spending that for a fancy dress let a lone a blog design.  But, I am so unsatisfied with what I have.

So I am torn, I do believe in making good investments.  I will spend more on something if it adds to my life.  What's a girl to do?  I mean in the grand scheme of things $50 isn't that bad.  But then again, that is half our weekly grocery budget.  Dean says "if it makes you happy do it" (he says that about a lot of things, he's a keeper). 

I have made pro-con lists and they always even out.  If I do any more window shopping I will lose my mind.  So friends, tell me what I should do!  And if you have any suggestions on designers, or know of any great deals, I would be your best friend!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A rant about the new job

If you are a regular around here, you know that I started a new job about a month ago.  If you are not a regular, consider yourself informed.  Before you continue reading, I have to inform you that this post may sound like I am being an ungrateful little snot.  Maybe I am, honestly I am not sure how I feel about my attitude yet.  I know that I should be happy that I have a job at all.  Especially in New York at this time.  I have stood in line at the unemployment office before and it is no fun.  So before everyone starts telling me to be thankful for my paycheck, let me just say that I feel like I may have taken a step down with this position.

Formerly, I worked for a cosmetic dental company.  We sold short term cosmetic braces to general dentist and held seminars to teach them how to use our system.  When I first got that job three years ago I loved it!  I loved the people that I worked with, and my personal skills were challenged.  After a while, ownership shifted and the company just wasn't that great to work for anymore.  So I decided to get out before it got too bad.

I took this job that was recommended to me by two of my former co-workers (both of them I highly respect).  I was promised flexible hours, fewer responsibilities and a higher pay.  Sounds awesome right?  Well, it did to me too. But here's the thing.  I literally do ONE thing... answer the phone.  If the phone is not ringing I am sitting in front of the computer reading blogs and playing Candy Crush.  Fun every once in a while, but frankly, I am bored.  Not to mention the girl I work with is sweet but... um... kinda.. slow.  We had training at the same time with the same person and I end up answering most of her questions.  Oh, and she sings to herself.  Annoying much?

Now, on a more positive note, there are things about this job I do enjoy.  In a way I am getting paid to blog, for one.  I also have a bigger paycheck, which is always a bonus.  Not to mention my commute is not even half as long so I save a lot of money on gas.  The best thing I can say about this job is that I have more time to see Dean.  I get to see him every morning now, and that is wonderful.

Overall I think I just need to adjust to a new routine.  I am also going to ask for more thins to do when my boss gets back from vacation at the end of  the week.  I think I have concluded that I am a cry baby and I should just suck it up and not complain about my life as much.

I mean, I work a mile from the mall now.  Life can't be that bad can it?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Father's Love

Sadly, this is the most recent photo of my dad and I.  The last time I saw him was my high school graduation 10 years ago.
Father's Day has never been one of my favorite days.  It was always so hard for me to figure out what I shoudl do with my emotions. I have to admit, I have been pretty confused emotionally lately when I think of my dad. Maybe it's just my time of the month, maybe it's because I am am married now and see the potential Dean has to be a great father, or it might have something to do with the box of journals I have been unpacking... yeah, that seems right.  Whatever the reason may be, it has caused me to be really reflective and I have actually come to a conclusion I never thought I would..... My Dad is my hero! 

If you asked me how I felt about my dad 12 years ago, you would have gotten a completely different response.  But I have been able to see through my personal disappointment and see his heart. He has the attitude about life that I want. People look at him and say he is crazy and that he could never contribute to society, but he is happy. 

When I was a child we lived in CT and my dad lived in MA. Every Friday my dad would pick me up from Ballet class, we would rent a movie buy a bag of popcorn and go to his house and watch a movie while we snuggled in my special RainbowBrite sleeping bag. Then the next morning we would go fishing or play at the park, and we would always stop at the toy store on the way back home. When I was older we moved and I didn't get to see him very much, and he started to realize it took more than a new Barbie to make me smile. That's when I started to get disappointed. I knew that he loved me and I could tell he would attempt to have a relationship with me, but it just didn't happen the way either one of us would have liked.

One thing I could remember him always talking about, was how much he hated being cold. He would tell me all about TX and how warm it was there and how he wanted to live there someday. If he wasn't talking about TX, He was talking about Harley's. When I was 4 he bought a custom built Harley Davidson, when I was 6 he sold it for not even a fraction of its worth. When I was 15, and he realized that my mother and I were not moving back to New England anytime soon. So, he bought a school bus and started turning it into a "camper". During my Freshmen year of college he bought a plot of land in TX and parked his bus there and he still lives there now, still in his bus.

 It's not the bags of popcorn, the fishing tips, or the Barbie's my dad has purchased for me over the years that make him my hero. He is my hero because he goes for what he wants without caring what people think. I honestly cannot think of one thing my father has ever wanted that he hasn't at least attempted to get. He has a boldness about him that I have never seen in anyone else. If he wants something, he will do everything in his power to get it. He may not always succeed  but he is making a bigger effort than most. It doesn't matter to him that people may think he is crazy for living in a school bus, he is happy there.

Don't get me wrong, my father has made a lot of mistakes in his life and there are times I wish he could have done better, but that's all in the past and I have been blessed with one of the most loving father figures I could ever ask for to stand in the gap. I forgave Dad for all of the hurt a long time ago. However, the attitude I have towards my father now is some thing I never thought I would experience.... I am proud of him and I am proud to be his daughter!

Thank you Dad! Even if you have a hard time expressing it, I know you love me with all your heart, and I love you too!

Throwback Thursday: Learning to drive edition.

Bonnie over at The Life of Bon has come up with a fabulous link up that I am happy to take part in.  A summer full of awesome Thursday posts?  I am in!   This week's topic: Learning how to drive.

I was one of those teens that did not get their license until they were almost 18.  There was really no reason for it, I just didn't get around to it.  I was a senior when I could finally drive without an adult in the car so my father wanted to give me an awesome graduation/birthday present.  That is how I acquired Betty, my 1996 Toyota Paseo.

for the record, this is just a Google image search, but my car looked exactly like that
I thought that car was the best thing ever.  It had a CD player AND a sunroof.  Score!  I spent many a summer evening with the windows down, and singing along with Avril Lavigne at the top of my lungs with my friends piles in the back seat. There was only one problem with Betty.  Betty was a stick shift, and I could not drive her when I first got her.

My mother had attempted to teach me stick for a while.  But let's just say we are not the most patient individuals when it comes learning things from each other.  After our first two "lessons" ended with pulling our hair out and tears, we decided that I should learn from some one else.  So I learned from my boyfriend's aunt.  it took maybe 5 lessons with her for me to be completely comfortable driving on my own,  After the second week, I was ready to switch cars with my mom and drive my own car to work.

I worked at a little general store at the top of a mountain the summer before college (yes I grew up in rural Pa). I was able to concur the giant hills in no time.  The real challenge was the slight incline at one of three stop signs on my commute.  The first time I drove home from work was a nightmare.  I got stuck at this stop sign for twenty solid minutes.  No, that is not an exaggeration.  I could not stop rolling back or staling out long enough to go through it when there wasn't any oncoming traffic.  So what did I do?  I put my hazard lights on and walk the one block home, threw my keys at my mom, explain what happen and declared "I am trading it in for a minivan in the morning!"

I had that car for the first three years of college and it served me well.  I am glad I didn't trade it in for a minivan after all.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The 90's are back, dude.

As I was packing for our move last month. I came across this little beauty.

 Yes, that is a mixed tape from 1997.  In '97 I was 11 years old and in the 6th grade.  I dug out the old cassette player that was covered in Lisa Frank and Smiley face stickers, and kept packing while memories of Jr. High kicked in.  The sound of "MMM Bop" and S-Club 7 brought back memories of Tamagotchi's and  Ty Beanie Babies faster than small town gossip, and I was ready to break out my finest pair of stick-on earrings. 

I think that everyone gets a little nostalgic when they think about the time period in which they grew up.
"Times were so much simpler then," baby boomers exclaim when reminiscing. Hippie children from the 60s feel a little misty eyed when they see a peace sign, and kids of the 80s may still be asking, "where's the beef?".
I grew up in the 1990s, a loud time of neon colors, stirrup leggings, and boy bands. And okay, I guess some other things were happening too, like the explosion of the Internet and a slightly better economy (not that I really cared about the economy back then).
It looks like the time period has actually been making some under-the-radar appearances.@90sgirlproblem and @90sboyproblems tweet multiple pop-culture references to their combined half a million followers. Tia and Tamera have made a television comeback, a popular Pandora station plays "Summer Hits of the 1990s", and you can still catch up with the Bayside High and John Adams High gangs on cable stations daily.
Much like a brightly colored Lisa Frank trapper keeper, the resurgence of a decade gone by is right in our faces. You can't miss it. The popularity can be traced to two main factors. First, Generation Y practically rolled out of the womb with the Internet (or at least a Tamagotchi). Being fortunate to grow up in the technology age, it's second nature for us to spread information via the Internet. Of course, when we want to reminisce about building the perfect Lunchable pizza or playing a solid game of 7-Up in elementary school, we turn to the web. Strength in numbers quickly applies, and faster than Jessie Spano moved while singing "I'm So Excited", 90s trends become worldwide trends. In fact, it was that strong online fan base that urged Nickeloden to bring back some of its popular shows from the time period.

It's easy to pinpoint why the 90s are making a comeback. It was just great entertainment. Perhaps I'm a little biased, but the shows had some substance and the music was catchy. Things were much simpler. We didn't have over the top animations, yet we were able to be amused for hours by watching our 2-D friends like Doug Funny, Pepper Ann, and Arnold. C'mon, it doesn't get much more basic than our favorite popsicle -- Stick Stickly. We rooted for the Blue Barracudas, threw our thumbs up with Mary Kate and Ashley, plotted our future with games of MASH, turned green with envy over Cher's closet in Clueless, found our favorite new books with Reading Rainbow, and poured over our collection of Pogs.

Life lessons via pop culture were abundant in the 90s. It was easy to start new friendships by trading BFF heart necklaces and Pogs slammers. We learned that differences, even when it came to the firm line that separated Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC fans, were okay. Our brains were strengthened by learning every single word to the Fresh Prince theme song. Lengthy AIM buddy lists showed us the importance of keeping in touch (and also, not to make your friends too angry -- they can warn you, after all). Competition, whether exhibited in a fierce game of Sonic the Hedgehog or Pretty Pretty Princess, was a healthy emotion we cultivated over time.
I, for one, am happy to see even the smallest glimpses of my childhood reappear. In my current reality of worrying about medical bills, trying to unpack a house while training a new puppy, and just dealing with the current state of the world, it's a welcome release to enjoy brief flashback moments to when life was a little more fun.
Now pass me my scrunchie and turn up my boom box. After all, I just really, really, really, wanna, zig-a-zag, ahh.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I knew better....

Than to think that I could go to the animal shelter and not adopt a dog!  

I recently found a local pet shelter on Facebook. As expected, have been stocking the page daily looking for a dog.  Thursday, I spotted a Bull Terrier named Mona, and my heart melted. She had been used as a bait dog and was still healing from her injuries.  I asked Dean if we could just stop in on our way to New Jersey and meet her.  He said yes and I tried not to get my hopes up. 

When we got to the shelter one other dog caught my eye on the way to meet Mona, but I dismissed it because we were there got her.  After spending a few minutes with  her, we knew she wasn't a good fit.  Our adoption specialist told us we could look around and play with who ever we liked.  

I asked about the little fella that had caught my eye on the way in just as Dean had wondered over to him.  His name is mouse, an 11 week old Feist mix. He was rejected by his mother and litter mates, and had had a bacterial skin infection when they first got him. Because if this he had no hair at the time, so they named him mouse (because. He looked like one) 

A few moments later we were in love and Dean said we could keep him if we kept his name. So here he is on the way to New Jersey with us (yup, we are that crazy) 

As it turns out, he is the sweetest puppy I have ever encountered.   He is so well behaved and easy to train.  I am so happy he is ours now. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

30 by 30 items 1-10

A while back I mention that I started a 30 by 30 list.  At the time I just listed what I was planning on doing and never really explained why I chose my list the way I did.  I have decided that I should share little more detail with you.  Truthfully, this is more to motivate myself than anything else.  I don't want this to become another list that was fun to write and forget about.  It's time to actually start doing things for me.

I will be three separate posts, with ten items from the list explained in each post.  Because really, all 30 items in one post would just be crazy!

 So here we go, items 1-10:

1. Get paid for a photo shoot
This is something that I have wanted to o for a while now.  I have dabbled a bit here and there with photography ever since I started working a retail chain studio.  I have since left that horrible job and have really missed photographing.  I received a DSLR as a wedding present and have done a few free sessions for friends.  I would like to broaden my horizons and see if I can earn enough money to be home with my babies when the time comes. 

2. Complete a 10K
As most of you know I have gimpy lungs.  My doctor encouraged me to slowly start getting back into working out.  Running is something that I always assumed I couldn't do, but I am ready to prove myself wrong.  I have completed two 5Ks in my life, but I would love to be able to say that I have run a 10K.  Now that I have the doctor's permission, I am ready to start training!

3. Become a mother (at least once)
Being a mother has always been the desire of my heart.  I would like to have my first before I reach 30.  It will happen, maybe even more than once by then. 

4. Adopt a dog
I miss having a dog SO much!  The apartment I had was simply too small for my pitt-mix, and the city I live in is very anti-pitbull (which is a shame because with proper training they are the sweetest most loyal dogs you will ever find!).  Now that we are moving to a lager place, I can start looking for a new fur baby!

5. Watch a sunrise and sunset on the same day
I will openly admit that this was inspired by an episode of The Bachelor.  Truthfully, it's not so much about watching the sun on both sides of the horizon.  It's more about having a day that is full of fun and being able to look back and say "that was a great day". Is that cheesy?  Well, sue me. 

6. Watch 10 of AFI's top 100 films
I love classic movies, but there are a lot of them that I haven't seen.  I haven't decided on all ten movies yes, but I know for sure that Casablanca and Singing in the Rain are on there.  (yes I know, I am missing out).

7. Take more photos and start making an annual Family Yearbook
When I was in high school I was so good at taking photos and scrap booking them right away.  College life kinda got me out of the habit and I have missed not having a way to look back on the years I have lived.  Now that I have a fancy camera, there is no reason for me to not take photos regularly.  And with all the great sites like Snapfish, making a digital book is actually easier that I thought.  I just have to keep up with it.  Better for me to get in the habit now, so that when I have children I won't be overwhelmed.

8. Loose 50 pounds and maintain it (making adjustment for number 3, of course)
I need to do this for my health.  It's time to quit with the excuses and laziness.  My doctor has given me the ok, and I no longer consider myself "sick".  Let's suck it up cupcake.

9. Read 5 books from Penguin's "you must read before you die" list
Once upon a time, I loved to read.  Now, I cannot tell you the last time I picked up and book.  Frankly that makes me sad.  Especially being married to an English major (who dies not read my blog because of my horrible grammar... and other reasons).  I may just change this to "read five books", cause that would be an accomplishment for me right now.  We'll see.  Baby steps.

10. Take a real vacation with Dean (one that gives me a sunburn)
We kinda got cheated out of a honeymoon do to my illness.  We did take a trip to Niagara Falls in February to make up for it.  But to be honest with you, when you live 2 hours from the border, the Falls are really not that big of a deal.  Not to mention the fact that everything is shut down in February.  Dean has been dying to go back to Malta since he came home almost three years ago.  I would love to go see the country he fell in love with.  If I can't go there, i am happy to just go to the beach for a few days.

And there you have it.  My first ten goals.   This is so much more doable than my last list!