Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finding work I it possible?

As you may well know, I work in the IT (information technology) area as far as a job is concerned.  Mostly, I'm on the support end.  Your pc breaks or something doesn't work right, you call in a ticket, if the help desk can't fix it and you are in my department, I get your ticket and I take a stab at it.

Lately, I'm finding that I'm just not happy with this anymore.  OK, scratch that, I haven't been happy with it for awhile.  It's not that I've lost my love of computers and don't enjoy working on them, it's that I've lost the love of support.   It's hard to enjoy going into this job every  morning when chances are the majority of people who visit or call about an issue do nothing but complain about computers.  Or, my personal favorite, you call to see if you can come by to work on their pc or control to their pc and they don't have time.  However they complain about it for 5 min. and repeat over and over how they don't have time for it to be broken or fixed, and I know I could have fixed the problem in 5 min.  Where's the love people?

However because of this, I just don't know what I want to do.  It's so frustrating. I don't want to do anything with support now, even if it means I don't work with normal "users".

I'm sure you are saying..then change professions.  Do something else.  The thing is, I have no idea what I want to do!  I would like to stay in IT, it's a great field and I like it.  But what do I do?  Or if I change area's completely..what do I even go to?  

The other problem is that my b-day is in October and another year has passed and I just feel like I haven't accomplished anything in my life (even though the tiny voice in my head reminds me that I have).

So where to go from here?  How to move forward?

I'm planning to attempt learning a couple of programming languages, which would allow me to stay in IT but get out of the support side of things.  The only problem is that I've tried to learn Java before, it didn't go over very well and I flunked out.  I used to use HTML all the time when I first starting surfing the internet and loved it though.  So the plan for now is to attempt learning HTML5 and then go from there.  Wish me luck..I think I need it.  (and somebody please give me the kick in the butt that I need in order to actually start doing this instead of moping around.)

In the meantime, have any of you been in this same situation?  Were you able to change it?  How did you change it or if you haven't yet, how do you plan to?  Misery loves company, or so the saying goes, so that should mean I'm not the only one in this same situation right?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Green Blog Hop

In an effort to be more green, I've blogged a bit about what I'm doing, and I'm following some green blogs.

Most recently I'm trying a go with the Green Blog Hop as a way to reach out to other green bloggers and see what they are doing to see if it's something I could do as well.

CSN Giveaway coming soon!

I'm going to doing a CSN Stores  giveaway soon!  If you remember from the last time I did this, CSN Stores is an online retailer that has over 200 different stores.  The products range from things such as dining room chairsbookcases, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to review for them this time around, but I can't wait to do it.

I've got my eye on a couple of things for the kitchen.  As you can imagine this has to do with baking since I've been going through a Wilton Cake decorating class this month (last class was last night actually).

(I'll only be doing one giveaway but I'm going to host it on both my blogs to give all my readers/followers a chance of winning)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I recently ordered a RoadID for myself.  The RoadID is geared towards athletes who aren't always able to carry identification with them when they work out.  Of course, it could be used in a bunch of other situations too. I'm thinking when traveling, hiking, etc. You get the idea.

As you know, I'm a runner.  I've recently had a couple of scary incidents at a local park when I've ran.  One day I ran, even though something I ate the night before didn't agree with me and nothing was still in my system when I went running.  I shouldn't have gone, I didn't have the energy I needed.  I then got lost and instead of doing 4 miles, I did a little over 6 miles.  I couldn't run the whole thing. I was weak, I could barely lift my feet.  I had to walk home (the state park is behind my subdivision, and I'm able to run  on a sidewalk until it connects to the which point there is a path in the woods that I can take that connects to the trail I like to run). I had no way to call my husband and ask him to pick me up.  

Another time, similar thing happened although I had the energy I needed, I was just lost and did a lot more mileage than I expected and was super tired.

It got to where if I was going to run at the park I would tell my husband where I was running and if I wasn't home in 2 hours to drive into the park and look for me.   I've also been known to trip (a lot!) when running there since I am running trails and not paved areas.  I've fallen several times and luckily wasn't hurt to the point that I couldn't run but the possibility of hitting my head on a tree or a rock is there.

So, as you can see, the RoadId is something I felt I needed.   When I run in the warmer weather I only have on a tank top and running shorts. I don't have pockets or a way to carry a phone or wallet or ID.   The RoadID will at least give people information about me if something happens.

The RoadID comes in either a bracelet or anklet.  I decided on the anklet.  I'm not sure why, but it kept calling to me.   You get an engraved metal piece with up to 6 lines of information.   Here is what I put on it and I mostly followed what was recommended.  I put my full name and year of birth on the first line.  The second line has the city, state, country I live in.   The third line has my husband's name, our home phone number and then HUS behind it so they know he's my husband.  The 4th line has my sister's name, her cell phone number, and the SIS so they know it's my sister.  (My husband doesn't have a cell phone).  The 5th line has my blood type and a medical allergy I have.  It's recommended that you put any medical conditions or allergies you have on.  The last line I used for a mantra. I didn't have any other info that I felt needed to go on it, so I used the line I repeat over and over in my head when I run uphill.  You want to know what it is don't you? it is: reward the uphill.  Simple...but so true. I hate hills.

(The white was my attempt to keep you from seeing my personal info)

I received the anklet on Friday and have only had the chance to run once since then.  I wore it, in the park mentioned above, and it was great.  It wasn't annoying. I could tell something was on my ankle but not to where it bothered.  I have a feeling I won't even notice it in the future after I get used to wearing it.  It's incredibly soft and light.  I felt much more comfortable knowing that if something happened to me, emergency personal would at least know who I was and have a couple numbers to try and contact somebody.

My only concern is that when I took the anklet off, it was, um...well..rather..uh..wet.  yeah..sweat.  gross.  It did dry, but I could see where it could get rather stinky after awhile.  The good news is that you can buy replacement ankle or wrist pieces, so I can switch it out in the future.  The replacement pieces are in-expensive too.

In fact, the entire thing is inexpensive.  The ankle is only $20 before shipping and I think shipping was only around $2.

I do think this is the perfect thing for runners and cyclist who do run out on the roads or in the park.   If you don't have a need for this but know a runner or cyclist, I think this would make an awesome gift.  I know I would have been thrilled to receive one for Christmas or birthday.

I actually received an email from the company after I ordered it, and it contained a coupon code for me to share with friends.  They had no idea I would review it on my blog or that I even owned a blog, so I can only assume this is something to do for everyone.

If you are interested in purchasing one, here's the coupon code:

Coupon Number: ThanksKris840176                     

This coupon is good for $1 off any Road ID order.

This just shows another view of the item.  The size it is right now is actually about the size used for my ankle (it's super skinny).  However you can see that there is a lot of material there so you can make it a lot bigger to fit a normal size ankle. 

(I bought this product myself, it wasn't offered for review or for free..the company has no idea I'm putting this on my blog)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Eye Make-up Remover

Lately I've been reading more and more about the chemicals found in every-day products that we use and it's rather scary.   So I'm on the trend of getting away from that and moving to more body and earth friendly products.   Don't worry..I'm working on a post as to my findings to share with all of you.  Exciting huh?

This past weekend I stopped at the mall and went to The Body Shop.  I was on the hunt for chemical free eye make-up remover.  I'm about 1/2 way through the bottle of stuff I have at home and wanted to see what was offered.  As you can guess, I walked out of the store with a bag.

I was approached by a sales associate when I walked into the store so I decided to ask her instead of just searching aimlessly.  She directed my attention to a product that was on display right by the door.  Their Camomile Gentle Eye Make-up Remover is actually on sale right now.  The original price is $14.50 but it is on sale for $8.00.  I said..let's do it.  lol!  I knew I would need it when it wasn't on sale, best to buy it while I could save $6.50.

I did use this product yesterday and it works great!  Sometimes I have trouble because of the type of eye-liner I use, but this one did the trick without any problems.    

I also think it's a pretty decent price, for the product.  Sure, $14.50 sounds like a lot. I mean, really $14.50 for a bottle of eye-makeup remover, that's nuts right?  The bottle is 8.4 fl oz, so it comes to $1.73 per oz.   I knew if I had to pay full price for it, I probably wouldn't have bought it that day and would have searched a bit.  However, at $8 for a bottle that is 8.4 fl oz, that's less than $1 per oz.  That I can handle.  Especially when I know I pay roughly $5 or $6 for what I use from a normal store and it doesn't have the added benefit of being chemical free.

I thought I would then see how much stuff is at a normal store, such as Target or Walgreens.  Somewhere that I would normally buy the product.  I new eye-makeup remover was expensive, but this is a bit nuts.    I went online to Target since I don't have plans to do any shopping this week.   I found that a bottle from Neutrogena costs $1.30 per oz.  I found that a bottle from Almay costs $1.89 per oz.  I found that a bottle of Mabelline costs $1.71 per oz.    I'm happily surprised that the product from The Body Shop is actually not expensive.

I also wanted to share this with you because it is on sale right now, but I don't know for how long.  I don't know if it's just this month or longer.  If you are interested in this product, I would get it while it's only $8.

The Body Shop is actually a great company, I love what they stand for.

While at the store I also decided to sign up for their rewards program or whatever it is. It costs $10 to join, but you get $10 off during your birthday month.  Mine happens to be in October so I knew I would remember to shop and get that $10 back.  You also receive 10% off of your purchase and you earn a point for every $20 spent or something like that.    For me, since I'm going the route of non-chemical products, I thought this was worth signing up for for 1 year.  If I don't like it, I don't have to renew.

(I was not offered this product for review, I did purchase it with my own money.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Red Velvet Cake and Cream Cheese Icing

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

If you are anything like me, you are/were nervous about making a red velvet cake for the first time.  I kept hearing from people how hard it was, how it never turned out right, etc.   I finally decided to make one because the husband loves red velvet cake and it was for a special occasion, maybe his birthday, I can't really remember.  So I went searching online, I read several different recipes.  I read some from unknown people, I read some from famous people (such as Paula Dean and Martha Stewart).  There were always raving reviews and bad reviews.   I finally picked one from an unknown person on for one reason.  The directions.  The directions to make the cake were different from all the others.  The reviews were all positive, although there weren't very many.   I figured, all good reviews, this person does something different, it's worth a try.  I tell you was easy peasy and came out great!  I will never fear making the red velvet cake again.  In fact, I made it again today for my husband. (I needed a cake for my cake decorating class and he got a new job, so I let him pick since it's a celebratory cake). 

Red Velvet Cake

1/2 cup butter
2 whole eggs **
2 tbsp (heaping) cocoa
2 1/4 cup cake flour **
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 oz red food coloring **
1 cup buttermilk **
1 tsp vanilla 
1 tsp baking soda

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs.  Make a paste of food coloring and cocoa, then add to the creamed mixture.  Combine flour and salt.  Add buttermilk and the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating.  Add vanilla.  Add the baking soda to the vinegar, HOLD OVER THE BOWL BECAUSE IT FOAMS.  Then add the soda and vinegar to the mixture, blending instead of beating.

Bake 25-30 minutes in 2 8-inch round cake pans, greased.   Cool on racks.

** - If possible, use eggs that are room temperature.  I used normal flour.  I only use one container of red food coloring.  I use a powdered buttermilk.   You can buy it in the baking aisle and then keep in fridge once open.  It lasts a long time. There are directions on the container on how to get the correct amount of buttermilk for your recipe.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
8 cups (about 2 lbs) confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp milk

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar and milk.  Beat on high until smooth. 

**This makes a ton of icing.  I had enough to ice the cake and a lot left over.  I am ok with that since I have to make it stiffer and use it to decorate the cake for class on Tuesday.  Normally, it would be a waste though. Today is the first time I have made cream cheese icing and it does taste good, but thinking there has to be another recipe out there that doesn't make as much.  This recipe came from Wilton's website.

( I was starting to ice the cake I remembered I wanted to share a picture of how red it looks with just one thing of red food coloring.  As you can see, there really isn't a need for 2 of my recommendation is to save your money and only use 1).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coupons and Frugality

As some of you might know, I'm a huge supporter of coupons and just getting a good deal period.   I'm the person you see who has a coupon binder out in the store.  I'm the one you stand behind at checkout that hands the cashier a handful of coupons for their purchase.  You might think it's not worth it or a pain in the butt to be that organized, but it can really ad up.

About 1.5 years ago I got fed up with being made fun of for using coupons. I won't lie, the people who did it the most were my husband his parents.  I kept telling them that I saved a lot of money but I don't think they believed me.  I was getting rather annoyed by this because Husband the FIL believe in saving and not spending money, yet, they made fun of me for shopping for deals and using coupons..which saves money.  It just didn't make sense to me.    I decided to show them up and last year I kept track of how much was saved via coupons.  

Are you ready?  I ended up saving $2,274.17!  That amazed me!  I let them know how much I saved and while the teasing has gone down some, it hasn't gone down completely.  Again..I just don't get it.

This year I've only saved $1,438.75 so far.  I don't think I'll end up doing as well as last year but I'm ok with that.  Why?  I've changed my eating habits.  I eat healthier now, I try to eat more from scratch, and I don't buy as much processed foods.  In doing this, I have found that the coupons for food items I'll now buy are far and few between (except for cereal and granola bars that is).

One of the things I also started doing towards the end of last year was to keep track of how much I spent on groceries and healthy/beauty and household items (cleaners, detergent, etc).  I've done that for all of this year so far.  While I am not using as many coupons, my monthly spending has gone down a lot since last year.  Eating healthier really does have it's benefits!

Since I do keep track of this info, one of the things I'll share at the end of each month is how I did with savings and how I did trying to keep on track with my budget for the month (which is $330 or less on the categories listed above). 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DeSoto 5k

This past Saturday I ran in the DeSoto 5k.   It's the first year I've participated but chances are I'll run in it from now on.  One of my friend's runs in it, her parents both grew up in DeSoto and most of her family still lives there.  The reason she runs this each year with her Dad is because her Uncle actually organizes the race.  

This year, not only did I run it, but so did my friend's sister.   I had planned to run with my friend, right now she's at a slower pace than me but she's also pushing a running stroller and just had her baby 4 months ago.  I can't expect her to be back in perfect running condition right away now can I?   However, when we got there her sister asked me what my pace was.  I told her around 9:06/mile the last time I ran.   She then wanted to  pace herself with me, saying she's been running about 8:30/mile.  I said sure, why not.  It might make me run a bit faster and it gives her sister somebody to run with.

Now, I should mention that this was a very small race.  I normally run 2 per year that are rather huge, so this was different for me.    Anyway, her sister and I had a good pace and felt good the first half.  Then the second half we realized we didn't see many other females ahead of us.  Hmm...   we could see 2 ahead of us.  We decided to pick them off.  We increased our speed and soon passed one girl.  We could see the other one and we were gaining but not by much.  The finish was getting close so I said "you see it?" and increased my speed.   My friend's sister increased hers as well and we were able to pass the other girl.   Then we got to the finish and my friend's sister started to sprint.  I soon followed but couldn't reach her.  However, the last girl we passed had also started to sprint and neither of us realized it.  She passed me right at the finish line!  Oh it was so frustrating!!!!!  Yet, I congratulated her because she did awesome and really kicked it in to gain on us.

We got our numbers and realized that my friend's sister came it at 16, the other girl came in at 17, and I was 18.   Then we got our times and we couldn't believe it!  My friend's sister came in at 26:28, the other girl came in at 26:29, and I was 26:30.  We were all so freaking close!   Plus, the best news is that the pace for me was 8:48/mile, the fastest I have ran since I competed in High School!!  I couldn't believe it and was giddy!     I'm also happy to report that my friend came in just under 30 minutes, although I can't remember the exact time.  That's awesome!  Especially when you factor in that her daughter is only 4 months old and she was pushing a running stroller.

I am also happy to report that while we weren't the top girls to come in, I did place 3rd for my age devision.  I got lucky and the runner who passed me was a bit older and in the next age devision.

(I'm #18)

Seriously, I had a runners high all freaking day on Saturday.  In fact..I still have a bit of a runner's high.  If you have never experienced a runner's high, you are really missing out. It's the best feeling in the world.  I've played soccer and while I love to win and it feels good to win a game, it's nothing in comparison to a runner's high.

I'm thinking of doing a 10 mile race in November.  It's the longest mileage I'll have done.  I haven't completely convinced myself I can do it but I did run 5 miles this morning instead of my normal 4.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bucket List: Easter Island

One of the places I would love to visit is Easter Island.  Why?  Come on, who wouldn't want to see these giant stone heads first hand.  It's the mystery behind it.  The why?  The how? The "cool".  It's not like I could see one of these in any other place.  I imagine that upon seeing one of these I would just stand there and stare at it for awhile and marvel at it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Do the Reuse Challenge - I am

I first read about this challenge when I was reading The Nutritionist Reviews blog. 

The Do The Reuse Challenge is bing hosted by Aladdin.  There are three different challenges and the goal of each is to challenge people to not waste as much and save money at the same time.  Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

Challenge one: Coffee Cups.  The goal here is:
Those coffeehouse stops can be satisfying, but having your own mug and making coffee at home can feel pretty good too. You'll save money, cut calories, and help keep some of the 23 billion cups Americans are projected to toss this year from reaching landfills.
Challenge two: Water Bottles.  The goal here is:
Getting 64 oz of water a day is good for you, but using four disposable bottles to do it? Not so much. Grab a reusable water bottle, and you'll be on your way to a healthy body and a healthy planet. Not to mention the money you'll save!

Challenge three: Food Containers.  The goal for this one is:
Food for thought: We each spend about $2,350 a year on takeout lunches. That's a lot of cash, and a lot of trash. Packing your lunch puts the dough back in your pocket and keeps 1.8 million tons of packaging out of landfills. Plus, you're more likely to make healthier food choices!

Now, let me explain why I signed up f or the Food Container challenge.
1) I don't drink coffee...ever.   Neither does Husband.  This means we can, technically, already say we have 100% achieved the first goal.

2)I'm too cheap to buy water when I can get it out of my tap at home.  For those of you who don't think tap water is good enough, let me just say that we finally bought a new fridge that has an ice maker/water filter and I'm now able to fill up my bottles using filtered water. Yay!   I can't say I never buy water bottles, but it's pretty darn rare and when I do, I almost always take the bottle home to recycle.  Oh..and regarding traveling, no worries, I bring my own bottles with me.  Did you know you can bring an empty bottle through airport security and then fill it once you past security?  Cheaper and eco-friendly.

3) I'm too cheap to buy lunch everyday. I usually say I can't afford it, because in my mind I can't (even though I suppose technically I could).  So this one won't be much of a challenge for me either since I never bring anything in a disposable bags, it all comes in Tupperware.  However, I selected this challenge for one reason.  Restaurant leftovers.  Oh yes...I'm one of those individuals who rarely eats their entire meal when at a restaurant.   So what happens?  I need the restaurant to provide me a container to take my food home in, I did pay for it afterall.  Now while I don't have official numbers, I would guess that 95% of the restaurants I've taken home leftovers from provide me with containers that are not recyclable.  What a waste!  My goal is to start bringing my own containers when I go out to eat.

I know, some of you will think I'm crazy.  I've done this twice and let me tell you that the waiters think I'm crazy right along with you.  I even had one, as I was putting the food into my container, ask if I wanted a disposable container. would defeat the whole purpose wouldn't it?   I normally carry purses large enough to fit a couple of smallish containers.  I try to bring two, one for me and one for Husband.  I also bring my own reusable bag to put the containers in once I fill them so the place doesn't try to give me a plastic bag.   The two times I did this, I was able to save 3 disposable containers from ending up in a landfill.    Fingers crossed I continue to remember my own containers. 

Topics and things to come

I'm working on creating a list of topics that I hope to have regular posts about on this blog. I hope this sparks some interest for you.

Coupons and Frugality - Why? I'm an avid coupon user and I'm a frugal shopper. It just seems fitting that I would talk about it here. I actually keep track of the amount saved using coupons each month, so one thing you can expect to see is a monthly update with how well (or bad!) I did that month. I don't plan on posting weekly deals though because there are already so many blogs that do that. Now, if I have an especially awesome trip..I might just have to blog about that.

Bucket List – I haven't officially created a bucket list nor do I feel the need or desire too. However, I was thinking about this one day and realized that so far if I was to make a list, the only things on it would be places I would like to travel to. Haha!

EcoFriendly – For those who know me in real life, then you know what an avid recycler I am. I'm also slowly working on replacing disposable items with re-usable items. So sometimes I'll talk about what I'm doing and sometimes I'll talk about a new product I've been using. I'm also trying to use homemade cleaning solutions around the house, so when I find some I like I'll share.

Workouts – I'm an avid runner. I think most of you know that already. What you might not know is that this year I've been working on eating healthier as well. I'll probably have some posts about my running, maybe what workouts I'm doing, what healthy foods I'm finding I like or don't like etc. I won't be preaching though, no worries there.

Misc – I'm sure there will be a lot of misc stuff too! You just never know what I'll post.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010's me again....Hello..anybody out there?

Yes..once again I'm going to try a blog that doesn't relate to reading.  A blog that relates to, well, me.

Hello?  Are you still there?   Oh good!

Here's the thing. I had this blog awhile ago, but didn't update it much and didn't really have any followers.  So I cancelled it and decided one blog was good enough for me.

However, here's the problem, now I'm finding that there are things I want to talk about and list but they have nothing to do with books!   I don't want the book blog followers to be inundated with those posts if they are only there for the books.  So I've not been posting them.

I finally decided that once again I would attempt to write another blog that doesn't really follow a specific topic.  Unless you want to assume that I'm the topic.  This blog will be about me.  Things that make me happy.  Things that are going on right now in my life.  Things that matter to me.     Never fear, I still will create my Friday Smile posts for my book blog.  I do get comments on that one and I think people like it.

So please sit back and enjoy the ride!