Enter to win $150 to Nordstroms!

My blogger friend Kristyn just re-branded her site and I’ve partnered with her to give away a $150 Nordstrom’s gift card enter below or visit her new site Primp & Proper!

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I promise to be back this weekend, next week with updates!

Hello! Are you still out there?

Lordy, lordy. I just signed into Life with Red for the first time in over month, readers are you still out there?

I last posted the Friday before I started my new job, which is pretty much right around the last time I did a lot of things. I finally feel as if I have a handle on my new role and that life has settled down a bit and I can devote the time and energy I originally had when I began Life with Red. I hope your still out there readers because I’m back!

But first, where have I been?

My new job // I started my new role on October 7 handling a the marketing and communications for an organization just outside of Boston. While the tasks and the responsibilities of the role are similar to my last position I am working 100x harder and about 10 hours longer a week (hence the lack of time for LWR!). I am happy to say that after 2 long years of looking for the RIGHT role, I’ve found it. I’m glad I didn’t jump ship just because everyone else was doing it and that I waited for and worked  the right role to come to me. I’m excited to have started this latest journey and I will share what I can on the job here on the blog as it relates to the day-to-day.

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My nana // It saddens me to write that on the afternoon of October 11th my 91 year old nana passed away. I am completely biased because she was mine and I only had one grandparent ever, but my nana was the best grandmother ever. Growing up we did have much of a relationship outside of birthdays, holidays, and the annual back to school shopping trip because my nana was a traveling fool. Every time we saw her she’d be off to another trip- Las Vegas, Bermuda,you name it Nana’s seen it. But when my parents moved to NH almost 8 years ago she became my co-pilot on holiday visits, I think because she hated my uncle’s driving. It was on those hour-long road trips to and from my parents house that nana would tell me stories – stories about her younger years, her trips, my grandfather, my mother, and the latest family gossip – and it was also a time when she reassured me that it was okay to be single and poor as long as I was happy. We held a wonderful service for her that contained more laughter than tears, including my mothers speech which married me off – telling those there to remember her that nan had seen her four grandchildren get married. Uh, mom? My dad leaned over and thanked me for saving him money on the reception. I know she was looking down at us giggling at my mom’s mishap and winking at me wondering who the gentleman seated at the back of the room was.

Nashville Pedal Tavern

Nashville // I spent the weekend of my 30th birthday celebrating with 10 of my friends in Nashville, TN. I drank a lot of angry orchard, shot a lot of fireball, sang a lot of Wagon Wheel, bartended a pedal tavern, nursed a serious hangover, sang on two stages, got ice’d, was serenaded by an entire bar, and ate a lot of hot dogs over the course of four days. I will work on a full recap post for you soon!

 

Now where am I going?

Since returning from Nashville I have put in my first two full weeks of work, almost fully retired from babysitting, attended an inspiring breakfast (hint, hint you’ll be hearing about that soon), had a suite view for the Bruins, and began thinking about the future of Life with Red. I am working on a few product reviews, recaps, 101 in 1,001 updates, and have my fingers crossed to do a collaboration with some bloggers to celebrate one of their recent milestones!

Bruins Game

I hope your still reading and I hope you’ll stick with me as I iron out a new posting schedule and get my groove back!

I’ve missed this…

It’s been a whirlwind last few weeks that left me neglecting Life with Red until normalcy was regained and now I come back to you with a fresh outlook, an announcement, and one less gallbladder…

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Let’s start with “golly” as I like to affectionately call my gallbladder. I can’t remember if I have fully written about the issues I was having with my gallbladder, but it all start back in March when I was in Florida visiting my new-to-me friends Erin and David with my friend Nikki (sidenote: I’ll be writing a little bit more about E&D next week, because not only are they two of the nicest people I have ever met and I felt like I had known them forever after just a few hours with them, they also run a charity, High Socks for Hope and I want to share  all about what they are doing and how you can help while you are online shopping!). We’d gone out to The Moon Under Water in St. Petersburg, FL for British/Indian food – yes I know strange combination, but it really did satisfy everyone’s appetite that night- and I woke up in the middle of the night with this SHARP pain under my breastbone that was traveling all the way into my back. I didn’t know what to do, I tried walking around, I tried laying down, I tried drinking a glass of water, and Nikki and I even contemplated going to the ER and then after almost an hour the pain miraculously passed.

This same incident proceeded to happen once or twice a month until July when at my yearly physical I mentioned it to my doctor, direct orders to get an ultrasound and x-ray within the week were given. What did the find? According to the surgeon at least a dozen gallstones with a few of them measuring in size between a penny and quarter. Surgery was needed. On Sept 12 (two weeks ago) I had my first ever surgery and spent the first night I can ever remember in the hospital to remove my entire gallbladder stones included. Well, let me just tell you. Getting your gallbladder removed isn’t fun.  Luckily, they did my surgery laparoscopicly leaving me with only 4 small incisions (that I haven’t even seen yet because the bandages are still on) but oh-my-lanta was my back in pain for almost a week post-surgery, because of your lack of being able to do #2 (I thought that was the most politically correct way to say it without going too TMI). I stayed at my parents for about half the recovery period (I was out of work for a week) and though they said I was moving around with ease your body just aches. Monday is my post-op appointment and fingers are crossed that everything goes well and we can go back to our regularly scheduled programming. Oh, and added bonus I’m down 12 pounds. Maybe removing “golly” was all I needed to jump-start a healthy lifestyle.

Now what makes getting surgery worth it? My announcement. The night before my surgery I found out that as of October 7 I’ll be able to cross #41 off the list. GET A NEW JOB. I accepted a position at an organization in a nearby town as the AVP, Marketing Communications Coordinator and will be handling their public relations, website, and internal and external communications and I’m sure a whole lot more! I received a nice raise that hopefully will allow me to cross off #13 soon! I’m super excited to start this next chapter in my life, all before I turn 30 next month!

This next week will be spent updating you on my #100happydays, recapping some of my completed 101’s, and working on some fresh ideas for Life with Red.

 

 

My Blog Fail

OMG guys, I had an epic blog fail today.  A few weeks ago I saw that one of my favorite fashion bloggers Kristin Clark of Living in Color Print had updated her Pinterest board cover images and organized her pins and because I’ve been bit by the organization bug and well also the procrastination bug for anything that’s on my ACTUAL to-do list I decided it was time to make this happen. I created images using photoshop and uploaded to my pin boards making it easier for me to see what I am working with and you to navigate my pinterest boards (hint, hint go follow me on Pinterest!). With the transformation completed on Pinterest I decided to see what else I could to avoid doing work, errr I mean to update my blog. Enter my epic fail.

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I’ve been reading more and more blog tutorials like My Style Vita // Blogger Q&A and Venus Trapped in Mars // Saturday Session Blogging Tutorials so that I can make my blog a better place for you the reader and decided it was time to add a signature to the end of each of my blog posts. Enter Sarah’s tutorial on this (note: READ THE ENTIRE TUTORIAL BEFORE DOING IT YOURSELF). I get all the way through step 4 when I realize this tutorial is for blogger not wordpress, womp womp. But then I think, this is the age of google so I find ChiWei’s tutorial on One Dog Woof  which I think will work (AGAIN! READ SOMEONE THE TUTORIAL BEFORE DOING IT YOURSELF). I followed the code for the “Code & Social Media Buttons” and inputted into my functions.php hit save and refresh. Now I had double signatures, one with clickable links to my social media streams and one without.  So then I go into try to finagle it and well someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing should NEVER finagle. I hit save and got the dreaded PARSE SYNTEX ERROR and my site went DOWNNNNNNN. Luckily I was able to find a WordPress tutorial that told me I couldn’t fix it through my dashboard (where I had made updates to the functions.php) that I had to go into the back end, then my computer at work wouldn’t let me into the back end (cue sweat on the forehead — I was worried about you 20 readers I have) and was able to log into the back end on my phone and restore to this mornings backup. Which is where we are right now, back to the same place we were at 7:02 AM this morning thanks to GoDaddy!

I’ve created my signature and the links using imaging-mapping.com but now I am at a stand-still until I find another tutorial that will work for me. I’ll be spending the weekend trying to figure that one out and seeing what else I can implement based to make this blog a place you want to visit!

Anyone have any ideas?

Anxiety & #100HappyDays

Monday morning, boss is on vacation, I’ve got a bagel in one hand, tea in the other and I log into Facebook to see a friend has posted the following:

“For all my family and friends, whether close or casual. Everyone will go through some hard times at some point. Life isn’t easy. Just something to think about..did you know the people that are the strongest are usually the most sensitive? Did you know the people who exhibit the most kindness are the first to get mistreated? Did you know the ones who take care of others all the time are usually the ones who need it the most? Did you know the three hardest things to say are I love you, I’m sorry, and help me? Sometimes just because a person looks happy, you have to look past their smile to see how much pain they may be in. To all my friends who are going through some issues right now–let’s start an intention avalanche. We all need positive intentions right now. If I don’t see your name, I’ll understand. May I ask my friends wherever you might be, to kindly copy and paste this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all of those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just needs to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune. I hope to see this on the walls of all my friends just for moral support. I know some will!!! I did it for a friend and you can to. You have to copy and paste this one, NO SHARING… If need be, I can send this status to you in a message for you to copy and paste to your status.”

I’m no stranger to anxiety (I’ve written about it a little bit here) and while my levels have never reached a point of real concern most of  my anxiety stems from feeling mistreated by someone or someones or not understood which generally makes me feel lonely. We’ve ALL felt it, we’ve ALL experienced it. Dealing with my anxiety has caused me to not only lash out at my relationships, but reevaluate my friendships and learn when its important to step inside yourself and make a change before anxiety becomes depression.

And while I wholeheartedly believe its not one’s decision to be depressed, I do believe someone has can make a conscious choice to be happy which is why I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon to prompt happiness and document what makes me #happy over the next 100 days. There’s a lot bad ish in the world right now, it’s time to just focus on the good.

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(Source)

 

Coughie & Joe’s Thoughts on the Ebola Virus

Before you think I spelled my morning beverage of choice wrong let me explain that Coughie is actually one of my nicknames and I blame my mother. You see Babs, she has chronic bronchitis and coughs and coughs and coughs all year long. It annoys the sh*t out of my father, it helps us locate her in stores (if you wait long enough you can hear her cough two aisles over in Target), and I swear its the reason that whenever I get a cough I GET A COUGH. Like a hack up a lung, restless sleep, annoy the crap out of my co-workers cough. Back in the 6th grade during a particularly bad coughing session my friend Margaret proclaimed in my spanish class that my new name was Coughie (or Coffee) and proceeded to write it on the envelope of all my birthday cards for the next 15 years .

Me & Margaret at a time where I wasn't coughing.

Me & Margaret at a time where I wasn’t coughing.

A little over a week ago it started with a tickle in my throat and by the weekend it was a full blown cough, on Tuesday people at work were demanding I go get myself checked out. Being as I get this cough EVERY YEAR if not more than once EVERY YEAR, I proceeded to treat it as I normally would – ignoring it and buying a week supply of Ricola and then got a little fancy and enlisted some Vick’s Vapor Rub for that pungent menthol smell to clear my chest. I’m happy to report that a week later its nearrrrrly gone and I am only mildly annoying my co-workers with the occasional cough.

 

Why did I spend all of this time telling you about my cough? Well its because my cough is to blame for why I hadn’t posted Joe’s thought on the Ebola Virus that he wrote last week, so without further ado it’s Joe’s second blog post:

 

If, on your  W-2 tax form, you list as your primary residence, the bloodstream of an African Zuzu monkey – by that fact alone, you could be ID’ed as the Ebola Virus  – Dana Carvey Saturday Night Live

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Alright, I’m assuming everyone by now has seen the news about the Ebola Virus outbreak in Africa and the two infected Americans that our government brought back to the states for treatment. If you haven’t, WHAT ROCK ARE YOU LIVING UNDER! If you do know what I am talking about,  I’d like you to know I recognize my post is a little late, but I was avoiding Kath like the plague because of that cough she mentioned above so I couldn’t force her arm in publishing this thing. Am I alone in wondering why in the hell did they allow these people back on our soil? I mean c’mon, can’t the government put these people on  some kind of ship or something in the middle of the ocean where they can be treated without putting the rest of the population at risk? Does the government really have to fly them to a hospital in a major U.S. city for treatment? When is Cuba Gooding, Jr. going to get off his ass and help us? And where the hell is Dustin Hoffman in all of this? We all know he’s the only one who can save us. You can’t sit here and honestly tell me that these politicians have never seen the movie Outbreak, or Contagion even. Maybe that’s the problem, these politicians have no idea who Dustin Hoffman even is…. if this is the case then we are in deep shit my friends. Quick, someone send a DVD of Hook to the White House ASAP.

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Anyways, this is some serious shit we’re talking about and all I hear on the news is “We (America) have the best containment facilities in the world to deal with this disease” and blah blah blah .. Then in the same sentence that same “expert” says “but we have never tested these containment facilities against the Ebola Virus”…dude are you serious?? Listen, I realize these people can be considered “heroes” for trying to save lives and help the infected, but that doesn’t mean you have to put MY life in danger by bringing them home, right? Why did that lady have to volunteer to go over to Africa and try to help the infected people in the first place? Can’t she just donate $1 to the Jimmy Fund like I did at burger King last week and call it even? – Disclaimer, I’m not making fun of the Jimmy Fund so stop rolling your eyes at me.

I’m just gonna make a few general assumptions about this lady based on her recent activities and the picture below: her and her husband live in Utah, they have 8 kids and 15 grandkids (and they live next door), and in her spare time she rides horses, volunteers at her local church, and is the stunt double for that guy on the E-Harmony commercials- if not she should be, the resemblance is uncanny-

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We as a country have been through too much shit already these past few years with a continuing recession, stagnant economy, war, and the list goes on. We don’t need to add a f-ing pandemic to the mix, right? I mean, if I want to bleed out of my mouth, eyes, and ass and die a horrible death I’ll just eat lunch at Chipotle for a week.

So, if nobody sees or hears from me for a few weeks it’s most likely because at least one of these scenarios has happened;

1)     I’m fortifying my apartment and turning it into a military-style bunker

2)     Stocking up on hand sanitizer and latex gloves at CVS

3)     Practicing my doomsday prepping skills with a crazy hillbilly family from Alabama

4)     I died from the Ebola Virus…

 

Are you as worried about the Ebola Virus as Joe?   (I’m not!) 

Would you read Joe’s rants on a weekly basis if he started his own blog? (Leave him some encouraging comments if the answer is yes!) 

Just call me “Ginger” Rogers

Remember when Wesley Snipes told Woody Harrelson that white men can’t jump?

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Well, this white girl can’t dance. Think Albert (Kevin James) in Hitch.


Growing up I was a tom-boy who would rather play scram ball or electronic survivor shot with my brother and the boy across the street than play pretend or take a dance lesson with the girls down the street.

Probably my favorite game ever!

Probably my favorite game ever!

Since I played softball and soccer my mom never made me take a dance class and up until two weeks ago, I didn’t blame her one bit.  Since starting at my company 6 months ago my co-worker Elaine has been trying to get our friend Katy and I to come to her dance class, she teaches a Broadway Jazz Adult Dance class conveniently located across the street from her house a few towns away from our office. Katy and I  had a week off from our bootcamp class and decide to give it a whirl (or a twirl as it would so happen…) because her house is also conveniently located a mere 2 miles from Smashburger. Well let me just tell you I’m a natural (insert eye roll, cough, eye roll, laughter).

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Pre-class Elaine is showing me some moves!

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Please note the sequins hat was just a prop and quickly ditched when other people showed up.

 

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During one of breaks, I believe after we practiced the Legally Blond bend & snap.

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Well deserved dinner of champions! (not photographed – the milkshake we split!)

The class was a GREAT workout! I give props to people who dance for a living or well who can dance in general. Katy and I are contemplating a return. We’ll see…

Have you ever taken a class for something you should have learned as child? Dance? Swim? 

 

 

And for those who don’t know who Ginger Rogers is….

#IceBucketChallenge

On August 4, 2014 I accepted the #icebucketchallenge to #strikeoutALS and it caused quite the controversy with those I challenged and around the social media universe  prompting me to sit down and think about why I did it and what I think social media has done to raise awareness for various diseases and life events of those around me.

So why’d I do it? These days I am trying to live more of a yes life, to accept challenges, to break out of my comfort zone, to do things that I didn’t think I could. Now it’s not that I don’t think I couldn’t throw a bowl of water over my head – it’s that I was accepting a challenge from a friend, I was saying yes to becoming part of a community to spread awareness about ALS  and I was stepping out of my own personal comfort zone filming a video of my overweight self soaking wet. #adorable

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Someone asked if I felt that social media was helping spread awareness and raise money or was simply satisfying people’s ego?  I think it’s better for me share with you my experience.  When I first saw this Post by Danny Zambrano about the #quinnforthewin #icebucketchallenge I knew deep down this would somehow be linked to Pete Frates as well and likely somewhere down the line I’d be nominated.

 

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Danny representing for #QuinnfortheWin

 

I’d heard about Pete and his battle with ALS through my friend Nikki who had told me about his story when we saw him out somewhere in Boston shortly after he’d made his disease public. I knew his name and I knew he had ALS, but that’s all I knew at that point. It took a week and my nomination arrived. During that week I probably read 25 articles  about Pete and ALS, about the signs and symptoms, about his diagnosis, about his family, about his wife, and their baby arriving this Fall (like this one from the bleacher report, this boston.com one,  and this one from mlb.com but what moved me the most was this video from Pete’s website).

 

If you’ve read my blog before you know that I am currently working my through 101 challenges over 1001 days and one those challenges to make a donation to a charity of choice after I complete every task and so for me personally this viral challenge raised awareness to me for all that Pete and his family are going through at this time and they will be on the receiving end of  some of those donations going forward.

 

Pete Frates

To donate to Pete’s fund visit www.PeteFrates.com 

To speak a little bit more on how social media has affected my awareness and willingness to donate to individuals in need – if it wasn’t for social media I know I wouldn’t know as much about  ALS as I do now, I probably wouldn’t have been made aware that a classmate of mine who had brain surgery a month ago or heard about the little boy from Foxboro who wanted cards for his birthday or been able to make donations in their names to the Boston Brain Tumor Walk or I might not have known that my former boss lost her home and all her belongings to an arsonist a two week ago and been able to reach out and show my support. If it hadn’t been for an advertisement on Facebook last year for Boston Christmas Ornaments I might not have  donated again to the One Fund.   So today as I watched the below interview with Pete’s parents on NECN I was excited to hear that local ALS foundations are reporting that donations are up anywhere from four to ten times more than this time frame last year which they think can only be attributed to the viral nature of the challenge!

So for me social media has helped spread awareness of diseases and misfortunes in peoples lives and has allowed me to make contributions (though I’ll admit small) where I can and I happy to have been a very teeny tiny part of this campaign. The friends and family of Pete and Pat have helped educate so many of us on a disease that most people knew nothing about and for that they should congratulated – their mission was a success!

I think everyone has their right to an opinion on this (and well everything else in life for that matter!) but I also cringe when reading people calling people “dumb/stupid/idiots” for participating. So while I want you to share your opinion below on the #icebucketchallenge please be respectful!