Sunday, January 26, 2014

Aspartame... aka a headache in a can

I've been suffering from pretty intense headaches for a couple years now, and I keep blaming different things. Stress from unemployment, stress from the wedding, stress from starting a new job, stress from grad classes. Lack of sleep. Need for an updated eye prescription. Spending too much time on the computer and phone. Grinding my teeth.

But then I settled into the new job, the wedding and the Masters degree were months in the past, I started sleeping better once Penny got older, I talked to my eye doctor and got new glasses and contacts, and I wear a mouthguard at night for my teeth. I cut down the computer and phone time. And the headaches were still going on.

A couple weeks ago, one of my friends posted this on Facebook, and I also found it on Pinterest, and it gave me reason to pause:

Aspartame... found in diet sodas, like Diet Coke, which I have said runs through my veins. I typically was downing one can of Diet Coke a day. So the day I saw that little infographic - even though I usually just ignore things like that - I decided to try giving it up for a few weeks. I was so upset at the store when I was looking at other diet drinks - Coke Zero, diet Sprite, diet root beer, etc etc - and they all have aspartame (don't know why I didn't put that together... duh).

And I haven't had a headache since then.

I think it's worth noting that I haven't given up caffeine - I still have coffee every morning - but all of the diet sodas we had are now sadly sitting in the back of the pantry, waiting for someone to drink them who won't get a debilitating headache later in the day. When I need a carbonated drink fix I just grab a regular root beer or Sprite and don't eat a snack I otherwise would have eaten.

A's sister says I would have had to give them up when we decided to get pregnant anyway, so I might as well get used to it now.


ANYWAY, I am now looking forward to a relaxing Sunday with fondue night later : )
Stay warm everyone!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A snowy day

A snow day! A snow day!

I'm not looking forward to making this up in March, BUT I'm not going to lie and say that I haven't enjoyed being off again today. Since I didn't really have off Saturday, it's like I got a three day weekend after all. I feel like I never see my poor Tuesday orchestra groups though. We're going to have to work extra hard to get up to speed!

The first half of the day was dedicated to Penny: we played inside for a little bit, then took a snow walk, then I gave her a bath. We are both very tired. :-P

Then, I shoveled the driveway (couldn't get the snowblower to work... ugh!) and got a shower of my own. I have barbecue pork in the crock pot and just worked on my grades for a little bit since the marking period ends this week. I took down the remaining Christmas decorations and put up the couple things I have for Valentine's Day - another holiday I don't really buy into, like Halloween - and now I plan on sitting here, playing on the computer and reading "Bossypants" until Arin comes home.

Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to clean my home office- A. took sleepy Penny watch for a while when he got home from work, and now I can see the surfaces of both of my desks. Receipts are sorted into semi-sensible piles, but none are on the floor anymore. I also got a photo box when we were at Target the other day, and sorted the photos I had covered my art desk from college, school, family, bridal showers, the wedding, the honeymoon, etc. etc. It was a mess. I feel better knowing that it doesn't look like a tornado went through that room behind closed doors. 

And lately, I have really been craving Disney... I had a dream the other night that we went to Disney World, and when we woke up and weren't there I was a little sad. I guess the warm weather seems appealing right now, plus we are planning a couple of trips in the near future so I have Disney fever. : ) I've stayed at the Caribbean resort with my family and A and I went to the Port Orleans French Quarter resort for our honeymoon... anyone out there recommend any of the other resorts? I'm sure they're all awesome! Deluxe resorts are unfortunately a bit out of our budget, though.

Until then... I'm stuck with this:

Stay warm, everyone!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fixing laminate scratches with a walnut

I know, I know, I haven't written in a while. I've been dragging lately and I have been so insanely busy with work.


I'm so excited about this functional life hack that I had to immediately get on the blog and share it with the world.

Our new house (we've been in here for almost a year!) has laminate wood flooring in the living room and halls, and we like it. No, it's not real wood, but I don't have a huge problem with that. I'm not extremely picky about my flooring, and actually, our last place had real wood floors - that expanded and shrunk depending on the temperature and humidity, and were not pleasant to walk on in bare feet.

We have a coffee table in the living room, and I don't know if it got nicked or what happened when we moved, but when I tried to push it to clean the floor under it, a huge scratch was left behind on the laminate. Oops.

Then when I tried to move it back it scratched the floor again, in another spot. AHHHH.

So we've been living with these scratches in our floor for a while and it's whatever, but I saw this pin on Pinterest and thought it might be worth a shot:

I didn't know if it would work on my floor since it's laminate and not wood but... IT DID.



You can still see a faint trace of the scratch but it's nowhere near as noticeable as before.

I was so (embarassingly) excited about this that I kept going:

Aaaaaaand after:

Is it perfect? Nope. But it looks so much better. Also, Penny finds the floor very tasty now.

Anyway, there is my excitement for this Sunday: I used walnuts to fix my flooring. I'm such a grown-up now. : )


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Things I fell in love with in 2013

Good morning!

So far I have greatly enjoyed this weekend. My parents and brother came to visit yesterday, and A's parents and nephew came over last night, and we finally all got to watch our wedding video, which my parents got last weekend. It was so worth the wait. The videographers did a phenomenal job and we have a great keepsake of our special day... so many laughs and little moments we didn't notice the day of.

This morning I took a good meander through Target (love those) and came home to a new crock-pot recipe that I had put in this morning - Hawaiian Chicken. Sooooooo yummy.

I've been wanting to write for a while about some things I discovered in 2013 that I am still very much enjoying and wanted to share with blog world. So, here goes!

1. Dr. Scholl's For Her "Miracle Shield" or "Rub Relief" stick

The day of my wedding, my bff and bridesmaid C brought this along with her and insisted that I use it. I am forever grateful. I rubbed this miracle concoction on my heels and other parts of my feet that were danger zones for my wedding shoes.

I did not have take my shoes off ALL DAY. It was fabulous. I did take them off at the end of the night to dance with more ease, but not because I was in pain. I cannot recommend this product any higher. I've used it for school shoes, as well... but I feel like the wedding example speaks volumes. 

2. Cosmetic Corner shelf organizer

I bought this product from Amazon in October... I was sick of all of the clutter on my bathroom vanity, especially because "my" bathroom is the one that guests in our house also use. I love it so much.

3. Jimmy Fallon

I've always enjoyed Jimmy but once I started DVRing his show last fall, our love affair really took off. A understands, he's cool with it.


I started watching the show "Who do you think you are?" on TLC this summer, and it made me really curious about my family tree. I had to do a family tree project in 5th grade, and at my family reunion for my dad's maternal side of the family this summer we got a genealogy book, but I wanted to see what I could find. It's pretty cool. With my grandparents' help, I've gotten back to my 4th-great grandparents on my mom's side; I've found census reports and draft cards and other documents. I find it very interesting. : )

5. Disney's dining plan

I wrote so many posts about our honeymoon to Disney, but A and I are still talking about the awesome food we had there- a lot of which we probably wouldn't have tried without our dining plan. We are looking forward to our trip to Disneyland (1st time for both of us!) in California this summer.

And of course

Most importantly

6. My little darling Penny : )

She's asleep next to me right now. Sometimes she drives me bonkers, but I love having a puppy!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone! I have a crazy week ahead... I'm not really looking forward to it. I have a band festival this weekend so it's not really a weekend-- although since we have off on Monday for MLKJr Day, at least I still get two days off! Phew!

Take it easy--

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Jolly Vox Box

Recently, I became the happy owner of a Jolly Vox Box from Influenster.

Influenster sent me a fun box of holiday treats! In return for testing the products and reviewing them, I receive them one hundred percent FREE. Love it.

The first two products were Puffs To Go tissues and a "Mini Ducklings" roll of duct tape, which is bright pink and zebra striped:

I like the tissues - I always have a pack like these in my purse, though admittedly they are usually Kleenex tissues. When I am shopping, especially in the winter, going in and out of stores in the cold always gives me a runny nose. Gross. I like these tissues because of the lotion - my skin is already dry and sensitive and they aren't scratchy or "weak." My only thing with these packs of tissues - and Kleenex has this problem too - is that the adhesive always attracts the lint and crumbs in my purse, and then doesn't stick, and then the tissues all fall out. Wahhhh. 

The duct tape is cute, but I haven't really used it, because I don't have a reason to. If it was purple, maybe. Some other pattern. But I am not a pink zebra striped kind of gal. : ) It might go in the prize box for school.

I was also excited to see make-up in my bag! YAY! Especially this eyeshadow trio from NYC:

I love NYC eyeshadows and I swear by their black liquid eyeliner. This trio is actually very similar to the eyeshadow that I normally wear - and it was nice to have a new pack of it for holiday travel that wasn't all used and crumbly. It is now becoming used and crumbly as you will see in the picture above because I love it so much. : ) 

The packaging recommends that the top color is for highlighting, the middle is for the lid, and the bottom is for the crease. I like that look, but what I usually do is flip the bottom two - I put the darker brown in my eyelid crease to give it some more definition. Here is a picture of me modeling the eyeshadow : )

My only complaint about this product is the size of the applicator. SERIOUSLY. It's the size of my pinky nail... I can barely hold it to apply the eyeshadow. More often than not I use one of my own applicators that's easier to hold. Maybe it's just my big fat fingers... sheesh :-P

The other beauty product in the Vox Box was Rimmel Lip Shine in the color "Stargazer." This product, for me, was a total dud.

In the top frame, I'm not wearing the lip product. In the bottom I am. My lips are slightly shinier... but that's it. When I saw the product in the box I thought it was more eyeshadow, or something... but not lip gloss. If I had this product in a different shade, like a pink, red, or coral, I might be happier about it. I generally don't wear much lip product anyway (years of playing the clarinet killed that) but seriously - my Burt's Bees chapstick gives my lips more pop than this product does. Fin.

And finally.....

Skinny Cow Divine-filled Chocolates. O.M.G.

I got a whole BOX of these. Not a coupon, not an individual package. A BOX. Eeeeee!!!

This particular variety is the peanut butter creme filled milk chocolate. I. Love. Them. They are so delicious. I am a total chocoholic, and knowing that eating a package of these isn't murdering my daily diet is a nice bonus. You should definitely try them. 

In conclusion:
Puffs To Go Tissues: A
Mini Ducklings duct tape: B
NYC Eyeshadow Trio: A
Rimmel Lip Shine: D
Skinny Cow Divine-filled Chocolates: A+++

So, that's my Vox Box! It was fun to get this package of products to try, and I'm excited for my next one. : ) Thanks, Influenster!