Mail Call

I am having a really rough day. I haven’t had a second it sit down, check my email, or read my favorite blogs. I spend 2.5 hours with one family this morning and I have a terrible headache (something I have been experiencing for the past month!)

I just got my mail at work and received the best card ever, from the best sister ever. I love gettig mail at work that isn’t applications.

Thank you for putting a much needed smile on my face Abby!

Sneak peak

When I was younger Halloween was a time of stress. I always had costume envy. The worst time was in 4th grade. I was a witch (seriously WHERE was the creativity?) and one oft best friends was a rollarskating waitress. Honestly, it was the coolest costume ever! She got to wear a super cute outfit and she wore rollarskates around school the entire day. Clearly this was before schools understood the idea of liability… Anyway, the idea of coming up with a cool costume, that we could make, that was something I wouldn’t mind wearing for a full day was a huge challenge. I never really felt like I fully came through with the best idea out there.

One year, it was raining during trick-or-treating. I am not sure what my original costume idea was, but Abby came through with a killer idea. I dressed up as a fisherman, which essentially meant wearing my yellow raincoat, carried a fishing pole and bucket for my candy. All in all it was a great idea! Sadly, not my own.

This year is different. I almost got sucked into dressing up as a character from Star Trek. Matt and Kinsella think this is a great idea… And for some reason Kinsella thinks it will make him a chick magnent. Not sure what kind of girls he is looking to attract. Either way, I am branching off from the group and I think I am better offf for it.

Here is a sneak peak of my awesome costume. I just put the finishing touches on it and I am very excited for the big night.

Talent Show

In fourth grade, my school put on a talent show. Auditions were held within each of the classes and the students voted on the top two acts. These acts would then get to participate in the school-wide performance where  audience was made up of the entire 3rd and 4th grade, along with parents and family members. While my true talents ultimately developed in the swimming pool and on the field hockey field, in 4th grade, I still considered myself a pretty well-rounded child. I was a member of the chorus, which entailed participating in the grade-wide musical and was even given a solo my 4th grade year (although, my family still mocks my fast-paced singing of “wild geese that fly with the moon on my wings, these are a few of my favorite things; the main point to focus on here is that I was awarded a solo!). And in my fourth grade class’ performance of A Christmas Carol (wow, we were NOT a PC school at all!) I played the part of the Ghost of Christmas Past, a pretty solid role if I do remember correctly. Anyway, when I decided to audition for the fourth grade talent show, it wasn’t that surprising. However, it was a bit surprising what I decided to showcase as my talent.

At first, I told my mom that I wanted to try out two different acts. Now this was right around the time that my grandparents bought Abby and me a karaoke machine for Christmas. The system had two tape players so that you could play one tape to sing along to, and record your amazing vocals on another blank cassette. Needless to say, I went through a lot of blank tapes during this phase. The machine also came with a sample karaoke tape; it had one side with songs that contained the lyrics and another side that contained the same songs, only minus the lyrics. You could practice the words on the first side, and once you mastered those you could flip the tape over and become a star!

The songs that were on this tape were a bit “off the beaten path” especially for me, who was a child of Rosenshontz and Disney music for FAR too long. One of my favorite songs on the tape was “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About.” I had practiced this song countless times and thought it would be perfect for the talent show; it was far and away my best! While I knew the lyrics by heart, I had no idea what this song was about. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this song, please see below:

While this isn’t the worst song ever written (or even close to the worst song), for a fourth grade talent show, it wasn’t the best idea. Couple that with the fact that my singing abilities weren’t amazing, I am EXTREMELY thankful that my mom talked me out of that idea. I ended up doing a comedy skit (I know, that isn’t much better) from the Free to Be You and Me record. That’s right, I just said record. No, I am not that old, my parents were hippie-ish and just liked living in the past (please reference previous posts about growing up in a cable free household for more evidence of that.) The skit, and pretty much the entire record, broke the mold of traditional gender stereotypes. It was deep for fourth graders and I blame my classmates’ inability to grasp such complex and forward-thinking ideas as the reason why were weren’t voted through to the final performance. Either that, or the fact that I forgot half of my lines. Either way, my musical and theatrical career came to a screeching halt after that experience. Although I continued to lay down some pretty serious tracks on the karaoke machine in our basement.

Thankfully, some children didn’t have their dreams of stardom trounced as easily as I did. The Mickey Mouse Club skyrocketed kids like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera into world-wide stars.

Miley, Hil-Duff and the Jo-Bros have The Disney Channel to thank. And Fergie got her start on the 80’s classic show, Kids Incorporated where she stole the show for 5 years straight.

And now, children around the world have the wonders of YouTube and Ellen to thank. After conducting a search for the most talented children featured on YouTube, Ellen came across the likes of Greyson Chance, a 13-year-old boy from Edmond, Oklahoma. His performance of Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi won him the attention of millions, but most importantly, of Ellen. She featured him live on her show earlier this year, with his unbelievable performance of that song:

Then two weeks later, it was announced that Greyson won the 10,000 dollar prize from the Ellen contest AND the backing of Ellen’s new record label, eleveneleven. Today Greyson released his first single Waiting Outside the Lines.

Man, must be nice to be a YouTube sensation. And talented.

Greyson’s story has inspired me to re-think my career as a performer. Let’s be honest, I missed my chance at the Olympics and I am never going to be a professional crafter (besides Martha, I don’t think there is much money is that field). I am going to devote the next chapter of my life to perfecting my rendition of “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About.” I will then buy a flip camera and record my “unknown” talents and post it to YouTube. I will then received 100,000 hits in a single day and be invited to LA where I will inevitably become a star.

How’s that for a life plan?

Perceived Savings

When I was a freshman in college, I had no idea what I was doing…pretty  much when it came to everything related to college. I thought wearing sweatpants and my swimming parka to class was appropriate. I was fine with the idea that the girls on the swim team would be my only friends.  For some reason, watching Primal Scream seemed like a good idea. And I thought that “Ec 10” sounded like a fun class. I mean, all of my friends were taking it, so I figured I should too.

I had taken economics in high school. The main reason I signed up for this class was because Mr. Leonard, the football coach, taught the class. And while Mr. Leonard can’t really compare with, Mr. Schuester (my new favorite teacher, on Glee) he was a favorite among the ladies (in a non-creepy way!) Unfortunately, his teaching abilities or depth of the class didn’t go much more than how to create a supply and demand graph. For those of you who are familiar with my neat handwriting and anal charting skills, clearly you know I did well in this class. So when it came time to enroll in college classes, I figured I would dominate EC 10. Unfortunately, Economics is about a bit more than graphs.

In this class, I learned that just because a professor is world-renowned in an area, it doesn’t make him a good teacher. Thank you Martin Feldstein for teaching me this invaluable lesson! I also learned that I love Indian accents. My TF (also known as a TA) was from India and I spent most of my time in section trying to hide my laughter as opposed to paying attention. Many of our examples were about the supply and demand of “pizza,” which to this day brings a smile to my face just thinking about the pronunciation.

Other than that I didn’t retain a lot of information from this class. The one term that has stuck with me is Perceived Savings. I remember learning about this, and I believe we used baseball tickets as the example. If I remember correctly, we discuss the following idea:

If you are offered baseball tickets at 50% off, you think “Wow! This is great, I just saved 50% of the cost of the tickets.” However, if you hadn’t been offered that deal, there is a strong possibility that you wouldn’t have purchased the tickets to begin with. So while you think you are saving 50% of the cost, you are actually spending more money (the cost of the tickets) then you would have if you didn’t buy them at all. So while it may seem like a deal, your savings are simply perceived, not realized.

From the moment this theory was introduced, I didn’t like it. Of course you are saving money! You are gaining the value of the tickets (say 100 dollars) and it is only costing you 50 dollars. That is a deal! Who cares that you are out 50 dollars… you now have the experience of attending a baseball game (Go Red Sox!) AND the knowledge that most everyone sitting around you at the game paid twice as much as you did for that same experience. If that isn’t a win-win situation, I don’t know what is.

I experienced actual savings this weekend. Matt and I made a trip to Banana Republic for some new jeans. I left the store with the following:

– Jeans: originally 79.95 – I paid 35.50 (Savings of 44.45)
– Cardigan: originally 69.50, I paid 29.25 (Savings of 40.25)
– Tights: originally 25.00, I paid 18.75 (Savings of 6.25)
– Tee Shirt: originally 20.00, I paid 3.95 (Savings of 16.05)
– Skirt: originally 59.50, I paid 17.95 (Savings of 41.55)
– Black pants: originally 59.50, I paid 30.55 (Savings of 28.95)

So, what should have cost me 313.45 dollars, actually cost me just under 150 dollars (stupid New York taxes). Or in other words, I saved 163 dollars, or 52%. What a deal! And while some (aka Matt) might think that I spent 150 dollars that I didn’t really need to spend. I can assure you, the enjoyment that I will get out of my cute new clothes and the value that I place on getting “good deals” far exceeds the 150 dollar charge that is now residing on my credit card account!

If there is one good thing about the recession, it is the amazing sales that you find on a daily basis. My wardrobe has certainly benefited from these troublesome economic times.



Spice It Up

Nearly one year ago, my Aunt (a loyal blog reader) exposed me to the countless varieties of cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon.

We all know the traditional cinnamon spice that we keep, or out mother keep, in their spice cabinets, racks and draws. We use it when we bake cookies, sprinkle on oatmeal, and if you grew up in my house you had it on toast with butter and sugar cut into 3 pieces when you were sick. There was one variety of cinnamon… or so I thought.

One weekend when I was visiting my Aunt, Uncle and Grandparents in the middle of Pennsylvania, my Aunt conducted a taste test using a few different styles of cinnamon. I was shocked to realize that there was a spice that tasted like the cinnamon used in fire balls. From that point on, I knew my life wouldn’t be the same!

My Aunt showed me the catalogue that she bought these spices from and we discovered that they have a location in New York. I was excited to visit and see what other spices I could be exposed to. Well, nearly a year later, I can finally saw that I visited the spice heaven located in Grand Central Station (yes, the train station, I was surprised too!)

So who knew that in the middle of one of the busiest and oldest train stations in the country, there is an alley of specialty and organic food booths. I had no idea. The Grand Central Market houses an artisanal cheese shop, a butcher, organic produce shops, a chocolatiers, speciality coffee shop (no Starbucks here!), a bakery , seafood  and of course, Penzeys Spices.

Penzeys Spices carries over 250 herbs, spices and seasonings. It is the perfect place for bakers, chefs and those who like to organize and categorize! I was overwhelmed by all of the different options, but walked away with a bakers variety box, a pumpkin pie spice (hopefully I can try this out over Thanksgiving) and a small jar of hot chocolate with a hint of mint. (that I proceeded to drop on the floor when I got home. Needless to say, the powdery coco went everywhere. At least my kitchen smelled like delcious chocolate!)

So while it took me months and months to follow my Aunt’s suggestion of visiting Penzeys Spices, I finally did it. And it opened my eyes to the wonderful 100 yard stretch of speciality foods that is the Grand Central Market!

Lazy Weekend

Growing up in a cable free household, I cherished Saturday morning cartoons more than most children. Sunday through Friday, my tv was limited to Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Square One and 3,2,1 Contact! While my peers were watching Rainbow Bright, Jem and Inspector Gadget, I was desperately messing with the rabbit-ear antenna to bring into focus Tiny Toon Adventures and Ducktails. After 5 minutes, I often gave up entirely.

But on Saturday mornings, it was a different story. The channels that normally only contained soap operas, Jeopardy and the news showed hours and hours of child-friendly cartoons. So after Saturday morning swim practice and quick stop at Dunkin Donuts, I would return home and drag my comforter from my bed downstairs and plop myself in front of the tv for hours. I would start off with Garfield and Friends, then Muppet Babies, and Carebears.

 As I grew older, the line up changed to Doug, Pepper Ann, and Recess.

 

I would become so absorbed in these shows, that I wouldn’t even realize that I had spent hours in front of the tv. I would come out of my cartoon coma as soon as coverage of various bowling tournaments started. Sadly, my day was 1/2 over and my brain was fried. I have said it before, but this is what happens when you don’t have cable and have to make up for lost time.

This weekend, I didn’t spend hours in front of the tv watching cartoons, but I did have a very lazy weekend. After 3 weekends in a row of weddings (all requiring travel) I figured I deserved it.

I started my weekend off by taking a 1.5 hour long nap on Friday afternoon. I should preface this by saying that I was pretty sick with a cold and certainly could use the extra sleep. Matt and I then went to see Social Network that evening. It was surprisingly good and I think they depicted two ends of the social scene at Harvard pretty well (a little exaggerated, but not much…)

Saturday morning I worked at the newly named TasteBuds (formerly Cupcake Kids) where I helped teach a Birthday party that had 45 two and three-year olds. Needless to say, even though I had slept for nearly 11 hours the night before, I needed a mid-day nap to recover. Saturday night, we went out for dinner with some friends and I went home early, getting another 10 hours of sleep that night.

Sunday was the pinnacle of laziness. Although I did leave my apartment for a low-key workout, I didn’t leave the apartment building (or go outside) all day. I spend the day relaxing, cleaning and watching a movie (Remember Me). While I don’t think I could do this EVERY weekend, I also don’t feel too ashamed of the quality pj time that I had this weekend.