September Goals

This morning I came across My So-Called Chaos’ monthly goals list while catching up on my bloglovin’ and thought to myself “YOU LOVE LISTS” and you’ve been reading some of your favorite bloggers lists like these for years (my pretty pennies, give me back my five bucks) and figured what better way to get this month started than joining this link up!

My September Goals: 

– Read 2 books (just started If I am Missing or Dead last night!) and write a review of each on the blog
– Workout (gym, track, or 3+ miles walk) at least 15 days this month
– Do one last clean out of closet/stuff that made it from Medford to Dorchester in the move that really should have been sold/donated/tossed
– Keep up with my #100happydays on instagram
– Pay off my loan from my parents ($300)
– Book our pedal tavern in Nashville to celebrate my 30th birthday!
– Send some non-birthday, just because cards
– Cook 1 new recipe
– Do one FALL activity

 

Monthly Goals
Join the link party! 

 

Do you have a book recommendation for my second read for the month?

Have you been to Nashville? Any suggestions on things to see, eat, do? 

#100HappyDays Week Two

Alright, it’s been a week since a last wrote but last week was one of those weeks – we moved, we unpacked, we cleaned two nights after work, I spent the night in the hospital, I spent the next day recovering and I was just feeling plain uninspired. But it’s a new week people and the blog posts ideas are streaming! Up first for the week is my week two recap for the #100happydays project I’m doing on instagram!

Day8 (1)
Day 8// Ice Cream = Happiness. Ice Cream also equaled dinner on the final night at our apartment in Medford.

 

Day9
Day 9 // Moving Day! Nothing made me happier than making that left photo into the that right photo!


Day10
Day 10 // I cut 15 minutes off my commute when moved! Early to work? My boss is VERY HAPPY!

 

Day11
Day 11 // I had to ask my brother a favor last-minute and being the wonderful brother he was he didn’t even flinch. He’s also a pretty great dad to my four adorable nephews (see the bonus section of pics to prove it!)

 

Day12
Day 12 // Tried Franklin Southie with Ado, can’t decide if my favorite part of the night was the women sitting two tables away from us getting up when she overheard us discussing what we wanted to get and offering her opinion  (an opinion we are happy we listened to – order the burger!!!) or the appetizer we had before we left the apartment of cookie dough oreo’s.

 

Day13
Day 13 // Who do you call at 11 o’clock on a Saturday night when you are doubled over in gallstone pain? One of your oldest friends. What is the first question you say through gritted teeth and tears on that phone call? ARE YOU SOBER? and when she rolls up to your house what is the first thing she says to you “You knew the MOM would answer didn’t you?” I don’t think you can define friendship any better! Spent the night 8 hours in the ER, had a CT scan and a ultrasound where not one, not two, but three people told me “Wow, you’ve got a lot of gallstones” #tellmesomethingidontknow #12gallstonesandcounting

 

Day14
Day 14 // Finding a replacement for Farmland/Bob’s Imported Food in our hood = PURE HAPPINESS.

 

 

As I said on Day 11 my brother is a pretty great dad to his four little boys, this weekend he helped to organize a cardboard box boat regatta on the pond where his wife’s grandmother owns a home for all of the cousins. While I couldn’t make it because I’d spent the night in the hospital and had to finish cleaning our apartment in Medford before handing over the keys my parents went and said it was a sight to be seen – 7 kids, 6 cardboard box boats, an not one of them sank!

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All the kids pre-race!

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Charlie (left) and Tommy (right) shared a boat!

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Teddy my independent 3.5 godson paddled his own boat!

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Andrew, the littlest of the bunch is clearly unimpressed with the hoopla.

 

How did you spend your labor day weekend? 

#100HappyDays Week One

Way back last week I wrote about anxiety how even though I do occasionally go into full on all-I-want-is-my-bed-mode that I want to embrace the positives in my life and thus I began the #100happydays project.  I’m posting all of my #100happydays posts to instagram (go follow me!) and will post a recap each Monday here on LWR.

 

Day1
Day One //  My friend Ado just moved back to MA from NJ and we met Monday night to walk the lake in my hometown, as we are getting older (and wiser?) we thought sometimes it’s better to catch up over 3.1 miles rather than 3.1 beers.

 

 

Day2
Day Two // As I was leaving my first job out of school I met my amazing friend Danielle (that’s not her) who begged me to take her with me or at least help her find a better job. Enter Jenn (the one photobombing the margaritas!) and an open position at her company, if I couldn’t take Danielle with me I could at least have her work with my best friend! 6+ years later we still catch up over dinner every few months!

 

 

Day3
Day Three //  The week before moving and no food in the cabinets or the fridge, who wouldn’t hit up Boston Market? Plus all this was under $5!!!

 

 

Day4
Day Four // Two weeks ago I started a twice weekly workout with my trainer. Day 4 was all about legs and back, woof.

 


Day5
Day 5 // On day 5 I woke up to a text from my boss saying she wouldn’t be in #happyfriday

 

 

Day6
Day 6 // As a project for an art show my senior year of college I create a piece to commemorate the house I grew up in (I will post it to instagram this week) and as we prepare to move (tomorrow!) I borrowed my dad’s camera and took about 200 photos to eventually work their magic in photoshop.

 

Day7

 

Day 7 // Mother D (my Nana’s rap name) is celebrating her 91st birthday this week! Her entire family including her seven great grandchildren got together on Sunday for “shiny food” (what my nephews call Chinese food) and cake!

Have you done the #100happy days project? If you’d like me to feature it on LWR leave a comment! 

 

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?

Read with Red 8.21.14

We move in less than week and after a friend introduced me to “Facebook Yard Sales” I’ve sold off two lamps, our beloved teal green 1990’s leather couch, 2 sets of end tables,  multiple handbags and designer wristlets and while I don’t think I will miss any of it reading this article on Real Simple I want to be sure I’m selling/giving these things away for the right reasons, not just to earn a buck!

Watch and more importantly listen to what the coach said to his players after they lost in the Little League World Series Monday night.

 

Since starting Life with Red a few months ago I’ve been reading probably tripled the amount of people I am following on my feedly, but more importantly have been reading about ways to make my blog better for YOU the reader. This article on My Style Vita has answered all my questions about sizing photos for your blog to make it more pleasing to the eye!

My-Style-Vita

You’ve all read about my love affair with ThredUp and how easy they make it to sell your clothes!  They shared their advice on what to buy/what to sell on FabSugar this week, check it out if you have ever been considering online resellers. (Note: I sent articles from Loft, Gap, JCrew, Tahari, London Times and made a profit of $68.35!)

ThredUp

After Let it Be Beautiful posted her findings for affordable Fall Handbags for 2014 I am now coveting this Ann Taylor Mini Pebbled Signature Tote and have added it to my wishlist!

Ann-Taylor-Pebble-Tote

 

What good stuff have you read about in the blogosphere/interwebs? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

outbreak-original

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?

White_men_cant_jump

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….

The Look // Sole Society

If you read last week’s post you know that I cleared out 7 pairs of shoes as well as 2 stragglers from my closet as part of my 45 Days of Organizing, so of course the minute I hit publish I checked the promotions tab of my gmail account and low behold there is a Sole Society email

I first heard of Sole Society on Julianne Hough’s Instagram account (an avid DWTS fan, I heart the Houghs, and their holiday dance off challenges with Maria Menounos) and have been smitten with Sole Society ever since, occasionally checking their site for shoes and accessories but I have yet to actually pull the trigger on anything. I think those 7 pairs of shoes were mentally holding me back from indulging in a shopping spree.

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These shoes remind me of my dad’s dessert boots (that he and my mom searched high and low for last fall – who knew my dad was so styleish) and are casual with a hint of style.   As much as I like the army and navy (that wasn’t a military or a football reference) colors I would purchase the neutral, taupe (shown below), allowing me to wear them with a just about any color skinny pant out there (please skinny jeans/pants don’t go out of style, please!). I’m already adding navy colored jeans to my wishlist for the fall, wouldn’t these be cute with them?

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Sole Society // Elena Suede Loafer // $59.95

 

I also love these Anastassi d’Orsay flats (http://www.solesociety.com/anastassi-black.html) in both black & chili and think they would be the perfect fall shoe – that is until the first snow fall!

dorsay flat antastassi blackDorsay flat chili red

Sole Society // Anastassi D’Orsay Flat in Black and Chili Red // $64.95

While I am typically not animal print clothing type of gal, I love it on my shoes – I have a pair of leopard loafers from the Gap Winter ’14 line that I probably squeezed into my rotation once a week so it’s no surprise that this pair of Lucky fold-able ballet flats are on my wishlist!

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Sole Society // Lucky Brand Emmie Foldable Ballet Flat in Nigori // $58.95

We can’t end this love affair with sole society without talking about their accessories:

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Sole Society // Sia Large Satchel in Cognac // $69.95 

Sole Society ABSTRACT FLORAL INFINITY SCARF

Sole Society // Abstract Floral Infinity Scarf // $24.95

Sole Society LONG METAL BAR NECKLACE

Sole Society // Long Metal Bar Necklace // $29.95

 

If you haven’t seen the aforementioned Hough vs. Menounos dance off here’s a snippet for your viewing pleasure:

 

 

 

#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.

 

Danny ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
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!