Thursday, January 31, 2013

Not to state the obvious or anything, but Tomorrow is February! Can you believe it?  That means today wraps up my Well and Cleanly series.  You guys, I know we were just talking about cleaning, but I had so much fun writing these posts and reading all of your comments.  So thank you for that.  Even though I'm slightly tempted to change my blog name to Well and Cleanly and just blog about cleaning from now on, I'll restrain my self.  But I know I'll come back to the topic now and then because there's so much to say!  In the mean time, click here to see all of the posts from the series, and don't forget to follow the Well and Cleanly Pinterest board which I know I'll keep adding to also.

I thought I'd just give a mini rundown of my week, for the rest of this post since I haven't posted since Monday!  On Tuesday I went to a talk at the Green Space at New York's NPR station, WNYC, and listened to Brooke Gladstone talk to Andy Carvin about tweeting and The Arab Spring.  I went because Alex was live tweeting it for work, but really enjoyed it and felt like I learned a lot about the power of twitter and politics.  It was really interesting.  Afterwards we all had a drink and I got home super late for a Tuesday night (11:00!)

Wednesday I got to leave work early since we didn't have a staff meeting and spent the time reading and commenting on my fellow classmate's essays for my personal essay writing class.  Then I went to class from 7-10.  I think I've decided that writing personal essays is way harder than fiction (although maybe it's just way different).  And while I feel like it's really good that I'm challenging myself, this is tough stuff.  I like the rapport of my class though, and commenting on other people's writing really helps when it comes time for me to look at my own and edit.

And now you're all caught up! In a little bit, I'm meeting my friend Erin for dinner and drinks and we're going to chat and catch up, which I'm excited about, and then tomorrow my friends Shina and Shannon who recently moved to Massachusetts are in town!  They're going to stay the night and I can't wait to cook them dinner and set up the air mattress with clean flannel sheets for them :)

The rest of the weekend will be spent looking forward to Downton!  Um, yeah, I'm barely aware that the super bowl is happening, I'm just not and never will be from a sports family. Thank God. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

What are you guys looking forward to for the rest of the week?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Oh, Sybil. Not enough frowny faces in the world can convey my sadness right now.


Click here and we'll cry it out together.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

For today's installment of the Well and Cleanly Series, I'd like to ask you how you feel about natural cleaning products.  I'll tell you how I feel about them: I have a schizophrenic relationship!  Here is a list of cleaning products in my house right now: Natural laundry detergent, Snuggle Fabric Softener. Natural dish soap and dish-washing detergent, Anti-bacterial Windex as my multipurpose cleaner. Clorox toilet bowl cleaner, Tilex for the tub, Natural wipes to wipe down the bathroom sink.  Pine-sol for the floors.  Bleach to go in the washing machine with my whites.

So, what the heck? Why do I sometimes buy the natural stuff and sometimes buy the traditional, big corporate names that use chemicals to get stuff clean?  I think cleanliness often harks back to childhood memories.  I grew up in a house that was always clean (it could be messy with toys and things like that, but if our food fell on the floor, we could always eat it.) And my laundry and sheets always smelled the same when they were clean.  Clean laundry is a favorite smell for almost anyone, don't you think? It's right up there with fresh cut grass, and chocolate chip cookies in the oven.  It smells like home.

My parents never used, and still don't buy any of those "natural" products.  But as I've started living on my own, and making my own choices, I like the idea behind natural.  Not only is it better for the earth, but my money will go towards smaller companies that somehow seem less evil to me.  Maybe this isn't entirely true, but that's the hippie in me.  I'm not afraid that Windex is going to give me cancer, but I am afraid that it will contribute to pollution or global warming or something like that.

I have to admit though, that my toilet bowl just seems cleaner when I clean it with Clorox  rather than with the natural stuff.  Is it in my head? Is it true? I just don't know!

So, I thought I'd put this out there to see if anyone else is like this.  Or do you always buy the same cleaning products every single time?  Sometimes I'll have natural dish washing soap and the next time I need to buy more, I'll buy Dawn.  I'm not brand loyal, like I said I'm all over the place with this kind of thing.  Any thoughts on this? Can you convince me to always buy the same brands every time? Let's hear about products you swear by and why!  And I'd love to hear if you are strongly for or against natural products.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hello Well and Cleanly readers! It's Thursday evening and I thought I would give you a true status report on the state of my apartment as the working week is thankfully coming to a close. Although I'm still going to have to deal with yet another day of sub zero weather tomorrow!  (I know that has nothing to do with anything, but seriously, it's hard not to talk about this weather.)

Anyway, remember the cleaning schedule idea? I TOTALLY ignored it! Like I wrote that post, was all, "I'm going to try this for the sake of my blog," and now it's Thursday and this is my house:

Yes, I know I have beautiful high ceilings and windows.  But let's look a little closer, shall we? That would be a pair of boot warmers and various other wollen delights on my kitchen table.  Along with mail and a bottle of wine.

Here we have a blender that I put on the dresser because I ran out of room while making dinner on Tuesday.  It's still there.  Along with various piles forming.

Yes those are my pajamas on the bathroom floor.  They've been there since this morning, thank you very much.

Um...yeah.  At least all of those dishes are clean.

Desk situation, actually pretty much always looks like this no matter what.

And the bedroom.  Note the made bed though!  Mainly the issue here is clothes.  I've been avoiding putting my heavy sweater bin back on the top shelf of my closet. Can you blame me?

So to reiterate, Well and Cleanly:

Well and Ugly:

Did anyone of you try and succeed? Please tell me in the comments!  Also, if you tried and failed like me, or more like barely even/didn't even try and failed, tell me in the comments too!

This week has been good, if not chilled to the bone, and I feel like I've been inspired and productive in all areas of my writing (blog, novel, class that I'm taking) which is such a great feeling, and one that I know doesn't last forever.  I'm trying to appreciate it and use it to stay motivated, hence no cleaning.  You know how the saying goes, "a clean house is a sign of a wasted life." Which I obviously don't agree with (duh!) but totally get.  And let's face it, my apartment pretty much always looks like this on a Thursday, if I'm really being honest here.

Welcome to my real life.  Okay, now I have to go and pick up all that shit.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

image via
This post is going to start with a series of confessions.  The first one being that I made it through almost 30 years of my life without ever cleaning my oven.  About a year ago, the burnt stuff stuck to the bottom finally got too bad to ignore.  Having rented shitty apartments my entire adult life, I've always had a shitty oven, so no self cleaning option was available to me.  And after reading the ingredients and precautions list on the back of an oven cleaner product in the supermarket, and almost having a panic attack about it (similar to the time I got a drop of Draino on my hand and freaked out due to the directions telling me not to get it on my hands) I lamented that there had to be a better way.

Thanks to Google, I realized that there was!  It's called the natural way you guys, for those of us that are too high strung to trust that you'll be able to follow the precautions associated with highly chemical products correctly.

Turns out, cleaning you oven with baking soda and water is not only easy and effective, but totally harsh chemical free!  Here's what you do:

1. Remove racks from you cool oven, as in don't try to clean it right after you take that lasagna that bubbled up too high out of the oven.

2.Sprinkle the entire bottom with baking soda adding more to the parts with gunked up burnt stuff.

3. Spray the entire thing with a coat of water (I bought a spray bottle from the dollar store for this specific purpose, and now use it to spritz my plants too)

4. It should start to get bubbly and sizzly in the vein of those volcano science experiments that we all had to do. Let it sit for 30 mintes or so.

5. Wipe that shit down! You can just use a sponge with some warm water and dish soap here.

6. Repeat until your over literally looks brand new- because it totally will.

And that's it! No spending $5 at the store or even having to go to the store because you probably already have baking soda and a spray bottle at home!  And no weird and confusing smells that make you feel dizzy!  This chore that I always ignored has now suddenly become so easy.  No more putting up with the smell of burning every time I use my oven.

Happy Well and Cleanly cooking and baking to you all.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This week's episode inspired me to take a screen shot of Branson (I mean Tom's) cute pajama clad butt and point it out with a bright pink arrow.

Also, who knew spoons could be so confusing?

Click here to read the recap!
While looking up images related to "cleaning" for my Well and Cleanly Pinterest board, I came across a lot of cleaning schedules (I chose the most beautifully graphically designed one to use) and I thought huh, that's a thing that people do? And then I thought of that scene in The Help where Minny uses a cleaning schedule to clean Celia's house and Celia is shocked by this.

While a cleaning schedule seems very practical, it's never been something I'v ever even considered trying.  My cleaning pretty much always takes place on the weekends.  Usually Alex and I will end up cleaning the apartment on Saturday.  This Saturday it was Alex sweeping and mopping the floors and cleaning the bathroom and me doing laundry, putting away all of the piles that have accumulated throughout the week and dusting and vacuuming the couches.

Sunday will literally consist of me sitting on my couch at least once during the day, and looking around at my clean apartment and feeling happy.  I'm feeling happy just because my apartment is super clean.  It actually makes me feel happy.

Monday the house will look pretty similar to Sunday, and since I go to work late on Tuesday, I usually have time to keep piles from accumulating in the morning.  I'd say by about Wednesday, the cats have probably puked somewhere at least once and dirt's been tracked in from shoes.  I'll probably sweep on Wednesday and ignore the clothes piled up next to my bed and the film starting to form on the bathroom sink.

Thursday is a repeat of Wednesday with a little bit more grime everywhere, and by this time the hamper is probably starting to get full.  Friday rolls around and the house is a mess.  Hello Saturday morning, let's clean this place up.

It seems to be that the beauty of the cleaning schedule makes it so that you don't have to spend a good 4 hours of your Saturday cleaning the shit out of everything.  Floors, bathroom, dusting, clutter, vacuuming and laundry is kind of a tall order, that could technically be spread out along the week.  But I guess even though I'm a clean person and really a clean apartment is one of my favorite things in the world (I'm not kidding when I tell you that just sitting and looking around makes me feel genuinely happy when things are clean.  And genuinely stressed when they're not) I think I can't really bring myself to clean things up until they are visibly messy.  Why wipe down the sink every morning if there's not hair sticking to it yet? Why sweep the floor if you don't have kitty litter sticking to the bottom of your feet?

In the spirit of the Well and Cleanly series, I think I am going to try a cleaning schedule this week and then report back.  I'm really curious, how do you clean up? 4 hour stints of your Saturday or do you spread it all out with a very specific schedule?  I found the pdf of my customized schedule above here. Let me know if you end up trying it out too!

Monday, January 21, 2013

This month I've noticed that I'm having a more difficult time than usual keeping up with consistently posting on my blog.  I know a big part of it is because my personal essay class and Downton Abbey recaps are taking up a lot of writing energy, but my blog is really important to me! And I want to keep posting regularly.

So, I thought that doing a series for a bit might help with blogging inspiration.  Welcome to the Well and Cleanly Series!  For the rest of January, I'm going to focus on getting clean.  Things I'm hoping to write about include: why I sometimes love cleaning and sometimes hate it, memories associated with cleaning (ah yes the cleaning in college wake up call) and most importantly, my favorite cleaning tips!

The more I thought about it closely, the more I was able to think of posts connected to this topic which can usually seem dull and like a big time sucking pain.  So let's get clean shall we?  Stay tuned for my first post tomorrow, and follow my Well and Cleanly Pinterest board in the mean time.  As I blog, I'll be adding more to the pin board.

If you have any cleaning questions or thoughts on cleaning, let me know in the comments and I'll work it into the series!

Hey everyone, guess what?  My little sister is getting married! We are all so excited for her and her fiance Tristan and while Emily's wedding planning is going really smoothly (fingers crossed that it stays this way) I'm enjoying being able to give advice as her older married sister whose been through it all already!

Over two years into being married, and I still think about our wedding day as one of the happiest days of my life.  I know it sounds cliche, but it really was.  I know that it would be easy to say that it was all so perfect because of the food or the flowers or my dress or the music, but really I think it was so perfect because Alex and I are just meant to be married.  As the saying goes it's about the marriage not the wedding, (or something like that) and oh that is so true, but having a wedding day to look back on often makes our marriage feel even more sweet.

In the spirit of weddings and since I'm taking my bridesmaid duties seriously and have weddings on the brain, I thought I'd talk about what I remember and what mattered on my wedding day.

It seems like the first thing anyone else remembers was the heat.  We had an outdoor wedding in July and it was the start of the crazy heat wave that we had in 2010.  However, I barely remember the heat!   I guess that's good when you're the bride.  My dress was breezy and our programs which doubled as fans were working just fine for me.  Although I've gotten the distinct feeling over the past years, that apparently I was the only one not bothered by the heat.  Haha.  I guess my adrenaline canceled it out.

I remember two things going wrong.  The first was our shuttle bus for the guests showing up late and causing us not to start on time and the second was not being happy with my hair.  I still think about my hair thing sometimes and how I should have planned it better.  Isn't that ridiculous?  Even though I know it didn't matter one bit, and that other people probably thought my hair looked great, it's the one thing I think about as wishing I could go back and change, even though it totally doesn't matter at all.  That's vanity for you, I guess.  It doesn't make any sense but sometimes it's hard to ignore.

But I know my hair didn't matter.  What mattered was writing our own vows and keeping them a secret from each other until the ceremony.  I knew in my heart when I was planning the wedding that this was really important to me, and it turned out being more meaningful than I could have ever imagined.  That and having our parents involved in the ceremony.  Both of our moms read something and Alex's dad officiated the wedding.

What also mattered was the speeches I made our family and friends give us.  Alex and I still quote my sisters saying "I'm so happy your so happy!" All the time.  And I'm so happy that I did a "father daughter dance." That was the one dance that we did officially (Alex and I didn't do an official first dance) and it was really memorable for me.

When it comes to the party, I remember there not being enough Boilo- the homemade whiskey that our family makes, and I wish we had thought to make more.  I remember the cake being so, so, so simple and perfect and delicious, and of course the dancing, especially the world's most epic conga line ever.

And then there were so many non wedding wedding moments that I think about all the time! Like getting ready with my sisters, family and friends before, the BBQ we had at my parents house the night before for traveling family and the fun I had doing the flowers ourselves.  We ordered them online and then assembled everything the day before.  And then the amazing after party back at the hotel, where they kept the bar, pool and hot tub open late for us, and everyone just let loose for party number two.  I remember waking up the next day crazy hung over but getting to have breakfast with all of my family and friends in the hotel lobby. I remember the eggs being delicious.

So did my hair matter? No, not one bit. Neither did not starting on time, but I'll still think of those things from time to time.  Luckily, I have a million other beautiful and amazing memories form that one day (can so many good things really happen in one day?) to keep that warm and fuzzy memory fresh and shiny in my mind.

I can't wait for Emily's wedding! I'm so excited for her to get to experience the exact same types of memories for the rest of her life.

What about you guys? I'd love to hear wedding memories in the comments!  Please share.  And is anyone planning a wedding right now too? Let's get girly and talk about tying the knot.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Yesterday morning, when my breakfast was looking particularly picturesque, I decided right there, standing in my bathrobe in the kitchen, that I would do one of those blog posts where I take a picture every hour of my day and talk about it with you!  Because it was Monday and because I'm finally feeling healthy and my day did not exclusively consist of couch sitting, tv watching and sleeping.  So let's do this, shall we?  A day in the life of moi.

6:00 AM I woke up an hour early to work on my essay that is due for my personal essay writing class on Wednesday.  After showering and reading blogs over a tall glass of water, I re-read what I have already written, cringed and decided it was too early.  Cut to me reading about parenting on the NY Times.  Now if that's not procrastination, I don't know what is. (Remember, I am not a parent.)

7:00 AM Now I am hungry and needing caffeine   Thankfully I have a Fresh Direct stocked fridge and left over fritata!  Look at that! The idea for this blog post is born.  Eat while browsing XO Jane and following a new funny person on Twitter. (@bridgenoone)

8:00 AM I'm out the door! I took this selfie of myself on the Subway platform before it was overflowing with people and we were told there was a stalled train in the tunnel.  Hello Monday are you tyring to get me down?  We'll it's not going to work because I'm not sick today! Health is so freeing, I am not even being dramatic here.

9:00AM A bus to  different train later, I'm on the last stretch of my commute walking to work.  There are dead Christmas trees everywhere.  Such is January in New York I guess.  "Christmas is over, get the fuck over it," is what New York is saying to me every step I take. I'm only 15 minutes late!

10:00 AM 6 and 7 year old library class.  I read these two books aloud: The Elevator Man and 5A and 7B.

11:00 AM 5 and 6 year old library class.  I read these two books aloud: Sun Bread and Over and Under The Snow

12:00 PM Lunch hour!  The lunch program at our school is free to staff and it is good.  On the menu today: Pork chops, sautéed escarole, bulgar wheat pilaf, red beet and goat cheese salad.  And I snagged a little bowl of potato salad from the salad bar. Nom, nom nom.

1:00 PM Oh afternoon work time, it's just so much harder to be productive! I'm not going to lie, I spent this hour working on a "Save the Date" card for my sister Emily's wedding!  She's getting married July 27th and I'm so, so, so excited about it.  Based on her less than savvy internet skills my other sister Rachel and I decided to both submit design ideas (from websites we didn't create them ourselves) and have her choose the best one.  I made mine through Wedding Paper Divas.

2:00 PM I got distracted once again because my Downton Abbey Recap was posted to xoJane! I spent the better part of this hour reading and participating in the comments.  So much fun.

3:00 PM For my last hour of work I started a new tween book that I've been dying to read.  The Boy on Cinnamon Street.  Isn't the cover adorbs?

4:00 PM Time to tackle that essay.  My plan was to camp out in a coffee shop and write before going home.  But two places that I tried were too full and uninviting.  I decided to go home to write

5:00 PM Me, my bed, my laptop and my fancy Christmas chocolate for encouragement.

6:00 PM Still at it!

7:00 PM Time to make dinner! We had scallops with spice oil over salad and roasted broccoli.  This is what cooking dinner in a tiny NYC kitchen looks like.  Luckily, it's Alex's job to clean up :) I try to keep it as neat as I can though!

8:00 PM I decide to check out the Carrie Diaries since I loved the YA novels and LOVED Sex and the City.  A friend and I texted our thoughts to each other for the whole episode.  Our final verdict? We wished "she was older and less like baby Lindsay  Lohan."  It was dumb, but we kinda liked it.

9:00 PM More TV! I'm finally watching the season premiere of Girls!

10:00 PM Alex and I hung around the apartment and talked while he cleaned up the kitchen.  We laid around for awhile until I was out like a light at 11 PM

And that was my Monday! How was your day? If you feel inspired to do a photo an hour post, let me know in the comments!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Whatever I had, (a mini flu?) knocked me out!  Me first week back at work after our 2 week winter break and I spent three of them at home on the couch, suffering.  Although yesterday morning for a brief 10 minutes I thought I was better and emailed school to be like "I'm better but going to be a little late!" And then literally like 15 minutes later I was like, "as the morning has progressed, I've realized that I'm not better."  I blame the fever for my ditziness.  I was just in total denial because I can't remember the last time I was this sick! So here's my public service announcement: wash your hands and get your flu shots people, for the love of actual fun sick days where you have the sniffles so you stay home to catch up on sleep (or TV shows)  and eat soup and the next day you feel super duper healthy!  (that was not what happened to me.)

Anyway, I was able to re-watch the entire first season of Girls in my feverish stupor and Funy Face with Audrey Hepburn on Netflix.  Will her hair ever stop being an inspiration to me?  This time, it's before she cuts it all off.  Hello side part and short bangs!  Let's chat.

And now I'm even more excited for the Girls Season premiere.  What about you? Anyway, I'm laying low this weekend in the hopes to un-plagueify myself for good.  Just thought I'd pop in and say hi, because after I saw that Spongebob gif on #What Should We Call Me, and was like "that is totally me right now!" I figured I should share it all with you.  Hugs and kisses of the least germiest variety to you all.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This is the view from my bed right now. I got up briefly to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and read the Internet, but now I'm back down. I hope Murdock doesn't catch my cold!

Dreaming of chicken soup being magically delivered to my door...

How are you all feeling? Anyone else under the weather? Let's be babies about it together in the comments.

Ps- this is the first time I've ever written a blog post on my phone! Weird.

It's 2013.  Why doesn't Cher's wardrobe computer from Clueless exist yet?? #21stcenturyletdowns.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Don't you love when you feel like you're reading the perfect book for right now?  As a children's librarian, I obviously love children's literature but my moods often change.  Am I in the mood for historical, YA, funny books or classics?  Sometimes it's really hard to figure it out and I'll start several books and not finish them.  Some times I'm just in the mood to read literature for adults.  But for whatever reason yesterday I realized I was in the mood for a classic children's book and I started the perfect one.  Have you read The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit? It was first published in 1907 and I'm thinking that maybe with all the Downton madness on the brain, it could be a reason I was drawn towards something written at the turn of the 20th century.

The best part about it is that it keeps heading in directions I never predicted!  Sometimes children's books can feel predictable, but not this one.  I highly recommend if you're looking for something fun to read.  Added bonus: the Crawley sisters probably read it when they were children!

The back of my book has some information about author E. Nesbit (who people often assumed was a man) and my favorite was this line from a letter from H.G. Wells.  He wrote: "Every self respecting family will buy (your books)...and I knock my forehead on the ground at your feet in the vigour of my admiration of your easy artistry."

Now that's a compliment!  Have you read any children's or YA books lately? What are some of your favorites?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Read my recap here!
Did you watch M'ladies? What did you think? My play by play opinions are posted up on XoJane today and will be a weekly feature that I'll be writing over there.  Please stop by so we can argue over whose being more stupid: Matthew or Mary?

Also, Edith with googly eyes  You're welcome.

PS- My new blog design is up and running! So if you're viewing this post in a reader, click here to see my "Mustard Special" design by Dana of Envye.  Dana was amazing to work with.  If you're thinking of having someone design your blog or buying one of her pre-made templates, I highly recommend working with her.  She went above and beyond for me.

PPS- Don't forget to follow my Downton Abbey Pinterest board.  I'm the queen of the screen shot y'all.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

You guys, all of your comments on my last post have made me feel so great!  You are all the best and I am so lucky to have you.  I'd like to express my gratitude the best way I know how, with two specific Gilmore Girls Gifs.

Every time I read a new comment, I'm like:


And then I want to reach my arms through the internet and be like:


PS- This is probably going to be me trying to write personal essays:


Thursday, January 3, 2013


So this September, which honestly feels like years ago at this point, I signed up for a personal essay writing class to take with Media Bistro and it starts next week. Gulps.  I knew myself back then.  I remember saying, "I'm going to sign up for this now and be stuck with it, otherwise I'm going to chicken out and not actually sign up for the class when the time comes."

Oh me, outsmarting myself, why'd you have to do that?  The class starts on Wednesday and I'm scared, you guys! I'm totally anxious that I will have nothing to write about and that what I do end up writing about will be trivial and silly and dumb compared to what everyone else is writing about.  I'm also really worried that it will be A LOT of hard work and that I won't be able to handle it.

Now, I know how I sound.  I'm not writing this post to have people tell me that I'm a good writer in the comments.  I get those comments sometimes without even asking and they totally make my day. I'm not joking, they make me have the best day ever.  But I guess I wanted to write this post to show other's my vulnerability, because I know that I'm not the only writer who feels this way, and to just tell you all about what I'm going to be doing!  My goal is to try and get these essays that I have yet to write published somewhere.  I will keep you posted as much as I can, because maybe talking about it a lot will make it a lot less scary.

In the mean time, I know a lot of you are writers too, so I thought I'd post the exercise the teacher asked us to do before the first class:
Bring three short ideas, no more than two or three sentences, describing personal essays you would like to write. Bring three other short ideas, same length, describing personal essays you would never, ever, ever consider writing in a million years, because they’re too shameful, would hurt too many people, would destroy your career or for any other reason. IMPORTANT: Don’t worry too much about whether any of these ideas are sell-able.
Pretty intriguing  huh?  I'm not going to share my answer here because of all those reasons listed above, but I think it's a great exercise.  I have a feeling those never ever in a million years ideas are going to be the ones we're encouraged to write about, don't you think?  If you're interested in writing personal essays too, you should try this exercise!

In other writing news, I'm going to be writing weekly recaps of Downton Abbey Season 3 episodes for XOJane!!  I will post the links here, but they will be scheduled to go up on Mondays after each episode.  I know a bunch of you are fans of the show, so I hope you follow along with me over on XOJane, I can't wait to talk about every single ridiculous, hilarious heart breaking and beautiful thing ad nauseam!

Stay tuned for some design changes around these parts as well! And please be patient if things look a little incomplete for a bit.  Here's to doing totally scary things in 2013 that you know are totally good for you.  Do you have a scary thing? Let's talk about it in the comments and try to make it less scary.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

We spent this New Year's Eve with friends in LA, but in the days leading up to the big night I started to get that feeling that maybe we should just stay in and have a quiet New Years.  I'm pretty sure that every New Year's Eve for the past 12 year's at least have been a fun big partying night. (I'm not sure if I remember them all lol.) And while I have so many good memories from New Year's past there also seems to be that inevitable pressure to make it the best night ever and sometimes it just isn't.  Being that I've never really had that stay in type of New Years (since I was a kid) I thought maybe this year, now that I'm thirty, now that staying out till 3AM is a very rare occurrence, might be that year.

Turns out, it wasn't and I'm so very glad I got out into the world this New Year's Eve.  Let me tell you why.

We arrived in LA at around 2 in the afternoon and met up with our pals Adrian and Chris.  Over tacos and tamales right down the street from their place, we still weren't sure what the night was going to bring.  We joked about spending it staying in and watching a Bones marathon while drinking chamomile tea, but at that point I think Alex and I were only half joking.  I offered to cook dinner for everyone instead of going to a restaurant.  And after convincing Adrian and Chris that I actually really enjoy cooking and that it would not feel like a chore, and was something I really wanted to do on New Year's Eve, we headed over to Whole Foods for a fresh chicken to roast, some brussels sprouts and potatoes and of course good wine and even better cheese.  After a lovely Whole Foods experience (OMG seriously NYC Whole Foods are just the worst!) we headed back to the apartment, and sat around catching up and gossiping before we started dinner at around 6ish.

By 10:30 we were full yet excited to go out and celebrate.  This is the part where on any other day of the year, leaving the house at 10:30 at night after just having finished a long and delicious dinner would seem insane.  But it can actually be a really good idea sometimes, especially on New Year's Eve. I think it's something I should try and remember in 2013.

At around 11 we ended up at a bar that wasn't too crowded at all but just crowded enough to feel energized.  We were told by Adrian's friend that there would be a DJ spinning soul music and we were ready to dance.  Instead, we found a live punk band, it's members probably 20 years old and younger playing that really very bad that oh-my-god-it's-so-good music.  It was loud, it was fun and it was young.  Suddenly the four of us were right there in the middle of the audience jumping and bouncing and dancing and laughing to this music with a bunch of strangers.  I felt very alive.  I think we all felt very happy.  We counted down the New Year with these people and then hung around for a while dancing to what the DJ played afterwards on the sidewalk outside.

After that we ended up at a diner, and I might need to consider making 2AM french toast a New Year's Eve a tradition.  By 3AM I was in bed exhausted but satisfied.  I wasn't hung over the next day, I pretty much stopped drinking after we'd finished dinner.  All of our fun came from music and people and fresh air and the night time.  I was so happy I didn't stay in this year.  Not yet.

For New Year's day we went back to Alex's Dad's house and spent the day with the Goldman clan.  Eating brisket and homemade smoked salmon, and sitting around talking and laughing and telling stories.  We had four generations of Goldmans and four dogs in the mix.  Sitting around, feeling so comfortable I felt so lucky for the second family that you get when you are married, to feel that family type of love from a whole new group of people.  All the while I was checking my phone like crazy and keeping all the Goldman's updated on news of my cousin who had been in labor since New Year's eve!  Jenny was the first of the O'Holla clan to start a new generation with her baby girl that came into this world late last night.  (We're still waiting for a name! I'm dying to find out!!)

So, besides telling you about my past couple of days, I guess the bigger point of this post is my thankfulness. I'm thankful for my big funny family that has 93 year olds and 1 day olds in it, and I'm happy and thankful for my big and funny life that lets me go out and yell and scream and jump and dance to loud live music whenever the spirit moves me, surround by friends that I love.  All of these things make me feel so alive and so ready and excited for life.  

Here's to a new year everyone!  How have the past two days been for you? Let's talk in the comments! xo