Monday, October 25, 2010

An Ode to Living Together

It's my two-year wedding anniversary! So in celebration, I thought I would share our living together story. I was reminded of this weighty issue/debate when I saw this article on Shine.

For various reasons, when I met Scott I was adamant that I would never move in with a guy until we’d been together for 6 months. It was arbitrary in some ways, but also based on experience. I was comfortable with the decision right up until I got a notice from my apartment that they were raising my rent. This notice coincided with my third complaint to the management about my neighbors who were European college students obsessed with playing techno and smoking pot at 3 a.m. And about month 4 of our relationship.

It took a lot of convincing and negotiation on Scott’s part to get me to move in with him. And even when I did, I did so on a trial basis. So a month before my apartment lease was up, I moved about half of my stuff into his 700 square food condo.

The trial rules went something like this: if this doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean we break up, it means we don’t live together. That’s it. There’d be no hard feelings on either side, and neither of us felt pressure. I always thought I was kind of weird, putting so many parameters on our relationship and living situation, until I read the Shine article.

I can’t say for sure these things are what led to us getting married, but it’s nice to know that we handled the living together situation in the “right” way according to the experts at Yahoo.

The rules go like this, according to the article.

 
  1. Bite the bullet and define the situation. We didn’t put any expectations on our living together. It wasn’t contingent on “you ask me to marry you in x amount of months” or any long-term arrangement. We both knew that there was nothing keeping us in this arrangement. Maybe there’s some element of fantasy to that. Scott has occasionally joked that the trial period was our “best behavior period,” but we both agreed on what worked for us. 
  2. Have the money talk. There were inklings in my relationship early with Scott that he could be THE ONE. But when he sat me down and asked me to list all my expenses and talk about our credit scores, I knew then and there I was going to marry that man. I had been in a previous relationship for YEARS only to find out when we went to buy a house that he had a credit score of 400. I assumed since he always paid in cash that he had a good money flow, I had no idea he paid in cash because he had no credit.
  3. Consider a cohab agreement. We didn’t do this, it wasn’t necessary for our arrangement because all my stuff was in a storage locker and we didn’t purchase any big items together. But it does make sense.
  4. Assign jobs. This is a continuous work in progress, I will admit. Especially when you have a baby and work at home. When we were in the small condo, we both tried to do a decent job of cleaning up after ourselves. There was an incident where I turned the toaster oven on with bread on top of it and forgot to clean up the mess. And I about crawled out of the window the first time I spilled red wine on the carpet. But he loved me enough to overlook that, and I chose to overlook a few of his shortcomings. Now things are more difficult. There are certain unfair expectations of people who work at home, I think. The bulk of the domestic chores go to me because of timing and accessibility. It seems like it should be easy for me to throw a load of laundry in or plan dinners because I’m home to do so. But I’m also at home for a purpose, and my clients don’t care that the baby is sleeping in jammies a size too small for her because I didn’t get a chance to throw her laundry in the dryer. They want their work done. Now try to explain that to someone who goes out and works with his hands and has a physically demanding job and you’re met with that Bridget Jones discussion of “fannying about with the press releases.” But the important thing is to keep talking about it, and keep setting expectations because there is nothing worse than a big blowup fight that’s ultimately about washing dishes.
  5. Practice the C word. That’s compromise, you dirty rascals. This one was difficult for me in earlier relationships because I am a strong personality and I know what I want. And often times, I know I’m right, too. So to have to sit back and consider someone else’s view is so difficult. But the first argument Scott and I had where we did compromise, I felt this amazing calm and peace. Like “oh that was it? Really?” I expected the world to come tumbling down around me, crushing me under the weight of his sheer wrong-ness, when in fact through give and take, I still got to be right and so did he! Magic.
  6. Keep your space. There’s some weird phenomena with couples, sometimes, where all of a sudden the “we” carries over to every part of their lives. It becomes worse when you have kids. Scott and I decided early on this would not happen. Do we occasionally cancel or say no to plans because we’re doing something for Wee ‘Burb, or because doing something for Wee ‘Burb has exhausted us and made us unfit for public viewing? Yup, sure do. But since we moved in together, neither of us has EVER said no when the other asks for a night out. I love the man, but I totally need my space. And so does he! My parents have been married over 40 years and once I asked my mom the secret and she said “dart night.” Twice a week my dad goes out and plays darts with friends and my mother sits home and reads the paper. The nights that Scott goes out, I usually put Wee ‘Burb down, open a bottle of wine, and watch what I want on Tivo. It’s domestic bliss at it’s best. And yes, I am turning into my mother. Hi, Mom!
  7. Plan for attack. You have to accept there’s going to be fights. This was hard for me because when I moved in with Scott, we hadn’t had THE FIGHT yet. You know what I mean, right? The fight where you all of a sudden figure out who this person is that you think you love? Sometimes what you find out ruins the relationship, and for me more often than not I would hold on 3 months longer so we could keep having that fight. So by the time I was moving in, I was bracing for it. And it came. And it went with a high five. Seriously, I married a man who high-fived me after a fight. But honestly we were both so relieved to have it over and to realize we could agree to disagree without name-calling or pouting or running away. It made me feel solid and cared for in a really weird way.
  8. Don't forget to flirt. Here’s the quote from the article: “After sharing colds and bedbugs, domestic life has a way of luring you back into the friendly old sweats you shuffled around when you were single.” Oh, dear. I am so guilty of this now! When I moved in with Scott and worked in an office, I would redo my makeup in the garage before walking in the door. I would NEVER leave feminine products in his sight or allow him to see my stash of worn-out sports bras. I had cutesy pajamas. Now? Well let’s just say there’s little mystery left, especially after having a baby. I wear my college Red Sox shirt that’s filled with holes to bed. But we still do big things like date night, and little things like setting the coffee pot for him, or getting up with the baby so I can sleep in a little longer. Hey, that’s flirting when you’re married with kids…those of you single young’uns out there enjoy the hell out of what you have now, promise me!

 Have you ever lived with someone before you got hitched? Did you have rules like this, or follow any of these?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: COUPONS!

Do you want to guest blog on Things I Love Thursday? Just submit me your ideas at stephanieinsuburbia@yahoo.com!

So some of you both on and off the blog were amused, and possibly horrified, when I wrote this in my post about losing my mind:

There’s no other way to say this, I am obsessed with coupons. I love them so much I date them. I’m not kidding, I will not cut coupons in a rush or in any atmosphere not conducive to my love for coupons. I light some candles, I settle in with a good TV show, and I tenderly cut at the designated pre-creased spot. I gently place them in my coupon organizer, which coddles them lovingly by expiration date. And said coupon organizer is velcroed everrrr so gently onto the cart so that they are accessible as I check out.

I could not be more serious. The same way I make time to play with Wee ‘Burb and snuggle with my husband and catch up on our day, I make time for coupons.

I think this goes back to when I was a little girl and my mother would sit on Sundays and read the paper. To keep me from bugging the crap out of her, she’d hand over the coupon section and some safety scissors. I don’t think it accomplished what she desired, as I constantly said “Mom, do we need 3 boxes of Cheerios?” until she shouted “NO! Nobody needs 3 boxes of Cheerios!” But it was something I could do with my mom and it always made me feel grown up.

Since then, I’ve always ALWAYS had to have the Sunday paper. And here’s how the ritual has gone since I was old enough to live on my own, and now that I have a family hey, we may legitimately go through 3 boxes of Cheerios!

Step 1: I pull out all the coupons. In our paper, they occasionally sneak some coupons in the front sections of the paper in addition to those wrapped in the Sunday Comics. My philosophy is and always has been “no coupon left behind!”

Step 2: I divide the coupons into piles. I have 3 piles now. There’s the pile I need (these are the store coupons like Target, Kohls, etc. and the generic grocery coupons), the pile my husband rifles through (usually the tool catalogs, Home Depot, stuff like that), and then the toss pile (all the other garbage like the Parade magazine and office supply coupons, etc).

Step 3: Cut first, ask questions later! A lot of people will tell you not to bother cutting coupons that you don’t need because you’ll end up spending money on items that aren’t useful. This is true in some cases. If you don’t use Crest toothpaste, then don’t cut it. But if you use Crest toothpaste, and you just happen to already have a few tubes in your closet (you DO have a closet of extras, don’t you?) it doesn’t hurt to cut them out. I’ll tell you why later. Anyway, I cut out everything we use, or might think about using if the price is right.

Step 4: I keep those coupons handy, and my entire coupon organizer (more on that later, too) around so that I can compare these to the store ads. I’ll compare prices at the different grocery stores and see if anything is on sale.

Know how I know if it’s a good price? I keep a list! I’m not kidding, I have a typed list that I have in my wallet at all times that shows the best prices for products we use all the time.


This allows me to check to see if a deal is really a DEAL or if the store has just marked something up for the sake of marking it down and advertising it. And it also allows me to comparison shop at bulk stores like Costco or Amazon.com to see if I can get a better price (I know it sounds insane, but it took me about 30 minutes and about 3 weeks of receipts to compile a good master list).

THIS is where my hint about cutting first helps. So if a store is advertising a sale on Crest, just because you have a few tubes doesn’t mean it isn’t a deal. If it’s a good sale and you can pick it up for a good price, you’re saving money on a product that has a long shelf life and ultimately you won’t be paying full price when you run out and HAVE to buy it or risk your teeth falling out (am I the only one that has that nightmare?). I typically just go ahead and use a highlighter to highlight the deals on the store ad and use that to make my grocery list later.

Step 5: Organize the coupons. This is an intensely personal choice. Some of you may wish to organize by expiration date, some by product type, some by amount of discount (our grocery stores typically cap a double coupon at $1 and only let you use 5 of them, so if you plan on doing a double coupon day, you may wish to organize them that way). I’m not going to get so political as to tell you how to do it. I choose the expiration date method myself. And I just organize it by month. And this is why I LOVE my new organizer that I bought at Office Max. It actually has 12 different sections and little stickers to organize it by month! And it’s purple, you guys, which is so unintentional, but kind of makes me laugh b/c now my purple purse has my purple Blackberry and purple coupon holder. Look at me all coordinated!

Ok, back to the serious stuff. So that’s how I organize my coupons. I mostly use them from the paper; however there are some great sites out there if you want to download coupons instead. Many require you to download a printer application. In the past I have used http://www.couponmom.com/ and http://www.redplum.com/. You can also just Google “download grocery coupons” and come up with a bazillion sites.

I also recommend that you go to the home pages of products you use often that rarely go on sale. For example, we use a lot of Eucerin and Aveeno for Wee ‘Burb and I have had good luck on those sites occasionally finding coupons. If there’s something you don’t find in your paper, I encourage you to Google the product name and “coupons” and see what you can find (and please share with me!).

So, that is my process. For the first year that I did double coupon days with my coupons, the LEAST I saved in one visit was $13.54 (that’s a combination of in-store deals with coupons, for those of you who were doing the math and recalling I said they cap the double coupons at $10). While honestly I think a lot of what I love is the organization, the savings doesn’t suck, either, especially when that’s about what it costs me for a year of a newspaper!

So, share and share alike! What sites do you like for coupons? What tricks do you have for saving money on groceries?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Workout Wednesday and Call for Guest Bloggers

Well, let’s start out with the fun, shall we? I am planning a huge ode to coupons for this Thursday’s Things I Love Thursday. I’d love some new voices in that little column for the next two weeks, so if you have an idea for a column, e-mail me at stephanieinsuburbia@yahoo.com by Sunday.

The less fun? Guys, I’m puzzled. I’ve been following the 10 Lb Slimdown program since the start of October and I’m getting NOWHERE! I lost a pound this week. I’m starting to get very anxious that I am not even going to lose the 5 pounds I was hoping for by the end of the month!

Intellectually, I understand we all hit plateaus. I’ve experienced this before…in fact, almost always at this exact weight. And in the past, it has discouraged me to a point where I quit whatever program I am on and just move on, which eventually means I stop tracking my food and stop working out as much (because, I think, what’s the point? I’m only getting fatter, may as well get fatter and enjoy life).

I know this is wrong! I know that even slow weight loss is loss. And probably better/more manageable than the quick weight loss I experienced at the beginning when I was shedding baby weight.

So why can’t I grasp this in my heart? I told myself all along that I would be proud and happy when I lost the baby weight. But it took me so long, that when I hit that point, I didn’t really feel like celebrating. Again, my little brain tells me “hey, 9 months isn’t too shabby to lose over 30 pounds of baby weight.” But my heart just screams “you need to lose sooo much more!” And these 1 pound weeks are just killing my motivation!

So, any advice? Have you had a similar plateau experience? Is it about mixing up food or exercise, or just waiting it out?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Arm the Dustbuster: I'm Going In!

We are under attack! You guys, it is all out war in Suburbia.

I think I just saw Wee ‘Burb carrying the portable vacuum cleaner and telling her fellow daycare dwellers “This is my ‘Nam, man, this is my ‘Nam.”

It started innocently enough. Since we bought our house a few years ago, Scott and I made the decision to live upstairs, despite their being a really nice master bedroom downstairs. It was born mostly of not trusting the little ones we planned on having not to burst into flames in the time it would take us to get upstairs. Monitors schmonitors, we went for proximity.

So we had no problem giving the room up to my friend who’s living with us awhile. Really we’d only been using it as a second closet and storage area for a ton of crap. Apparently, so had the bugs. My friend was nice enough not to mention it for a few months, but then she finally broke down and asked for a portable vacuum. Our regular one doesn’t have a hose, you see, and she’d been attempting to kill bugs with an old issue of Food Network Magazine, but it wasn’t cutting it anymore.

She had an invasion. I felt bad, and gross, and kind of dirty. But I just gave her the vacuum and let her loose. And left a few new magazines downstairs…the newer ones have more oomph when you smack the spiders, I hear.

Well, the troops moved North and it ain’t pretty. Internet,  meet my enemy!




Wikipedia will tell you it’s known as Boisea trivittata, but around these parts it’s known as the Box Elder Bug. Wikipedia also says “In late spring and early summer, groups of 50-200+ bugs may gather on house siding or brick, usually in a sunny spot. A month or two later there may be pairs of them mating, connected end to end, also in groups of three and four.”

So, let’s review, shall we? These damn things are having a bug orgy on my house, and the single dateless losers are taking shelter in my house…or, well, my vacuum as the case may be. And it’s OCTOBER! That’s neither spring nor early summer. WTF?

I had read a mixture of soap and water can do the trick, and Wikipedia agrees. But, let’s face, it, the man who took Caddyshack-like measures to kill a freaking gopher that was only TRYING to get into the house was not going to take the actual invasion lightly.

All I know is, he came in with a jug of something yellow and poisonous-looking, nodded and walked out the back door. And I’m informed there have been few sightings since.

All Scott is willing to say is “the price of war is eternal vigilance,” but he looks pretty smug, so something tells me nuclear actions were taken.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Restaurant Week at NorthCoast

I got an e-mail a month or so ago advertising another restaurant week here in MN. I love restaurant week and we missed it earlier in the year. The concept is that restaurants put a limited fixed-price menu out. Dinners are typically $25-$30 a person at high-end restaurants.

We chose NorthCoast in Wayzata because it was relatively close by and because we had never eaten there before. We figured the point was to try something new, including new foods!

To start, we had duck confit egg rolls and pork flautas. The duck egg rolls were amazingly rich in flavor without being greasy. The pork flautas had the best enchilada-style sauce I have had since being in Mexico. It is listed as a roasted pepper and chipotle puree, extremely rich and creamy.

For his entrée, Scott ordered a butternut squash ravioli with a mushroom ragout. The sauce was very light, almost imperceptible, but it added more flavor to the ravioli than a traditional sugary/nutmeg type sauce.

I ordered the veal medallions with a gouda sauce. It was gloriously cheesy, and the veal was perfectly done. It wasn’t a large serving, but I found myself feeling satisfied, and it went beautifully with the Chilean Alamos Malbec we ordered.

Last, but oh so not least, was the pumpkin cheesecake. Now, I can take or leave cheesecake myself. Scott on the other hand craves it all year round. We usually try to find a place that has pumpkin beer for me and pumpkin cheesecake for him to quell both of our thirsts.

When it came out, Scott looked a little disappointed. It was a very light cake, almost like an Angel Food. But then he bit into it and a huge smile spread across his face. Earlier he had wondered if they actually had someone on-site or if they just bought their pastries from a bakery. I think we got our answer. Plus, on top of this heavenly cheesecake were roasted pumpkin seeds! Very unique, and a wonderful combination of salty and sweet.

We already have plans to go back next month for happy hour. We may just pick at a bunch of appetizers and share an entrée since the entrees are a tad pricey for our usual fare. But I highly recommend this suburban sweet spot for anyone in Minnesota.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Workout Wednesday: 10 Pound Slimdown Part Deux

First of all, thanks to everyone who commented on and off the blog about my downward mental spiral. I've never felt so bad about being normal! And those of you who commented/asked about coupons, how my love affair started and where our relationship is now, I shall dedicate a post to them specifically so that you all may learn the way of the coupon.

So the week isn't going any better, unfortunately. I have more to complain about, and really isn't that what blogs are for? Sure, there are miners being pulled from the earth after months underground, but I have problems, PEOPLE! Problem #1 and the topic of this post is the fact that I would tooootally never get out if I were trapped in a mine. Because after a week of INTENSE workouts as part of the 10 Lb Slimdown, Spark People told me I burned 1800 calories. Guess what I lost? HALF A FREAKING POUND. Half a pound!!

I'd so be the person in the mine they accuse of sneaking food and water. "Stephanie, you're not living off a lemon and granola bar like the rest of us, you CAN'T be because you've gained 12 pounds." They'd all end up eating me at the end of month 1.

All joking aside, I'm pretty devastated about this because I really put my heart and soul into this. I've never been this dedicated to a workout plan, and I was also STILL walking Cous Cous and we did a 4-mile walk at the zoo.

I'm struggling to get motivated this week because of the sheer time and energy it took out of me last week. I need more of  a showing to keep me on track! I am still pushing through, even despite the fact that I got a flu shot this week and my arm is painin'!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Disorderly Conduct

You know that lingering sinking feeling you get at points in your life when you’re like “wow, I was in the top of my class, I went to a good college, I should feel a lot smarter than I do right now?” Well last week was a continuous week of that.

It started early in the week when I screwed up our passports. Here’s where I confess I got married two years ago and never bothered to change my name on my passport. Unlike Scott’s suggestion that perhaps I was trying to keep an alias and flee the country, I didn’t have a good reason for not doing the name change. It just wasn’t a priority (and, incidentally, when we refinanced, my maiden name came up under “known aliases,” so the whole fleeing the country thing wouldn’t have panned out, anyway). So when Scott’s was up for renewal, I figured it was as good a time as any to redo mine. The DMV suggested we mail them in to avoid extra processing fees. Since mailing crap is my domain, I took over.

I did two things I knew were stupid, and they both bit me in the ass. The first? I told him to make the check out for what the DMV dude wrote on my sheet when I went to get the info after we were first married. Two years ago. I mean, really, if STAMPS go up like 40 cents a year, you can guess passport fees may have changed in two years. And that nagging thought occurred to me, but I figured, “hey, it’s written on the sheet.” The second thing I did that I knew was stupid, I stuck it in a mailbox outside the post office. After I dropped it in I saw a sticker that CLEARLY said anything over a certain weight needed to be weighed in the post office, but I figured “hey, I put two stamps on it, we’re cool.” Neither were cool and now Scott’s passport expired.

Exhibit B.
When we returned from a recent trip, I thought to myself “I will be organized this time! I will unpack right away and do laundry right away, and put the suitcases away right away.” And I did. For the first time EVER, I actually did it, you guys! And it blew up STRAIGHT IN MY FACE! Because a few days later I discovered I was charged for Wee ‘Burb’s carseat, which is technically an assistive device. Only I can’t prove it because I THREW OUT the receipts in my desire to be organized and apparently they have no record of it.

It took, oh, 5 phone calls and 2 hours (and one very confused banker who was so nice as I told her “yes, I know you wouldn’t possibly have the baggage receipt number in your records from my debit card but customer service told me you would and I have to make the call) to determine I was boned. Friendly skies my ass.

Exhibit C.
There’s no other way to say this, I am obsessed with coupons. I love them so much I date them. I’m not kidding, I will not cut coupons in a rush or in any atmosphere not conducive to my love for coupons. I light some candles, I settle in with a good TV show, and I tenderly cut at the designated pre-creased spot. I gently place them in my coupon organizer, which coddles them lovingly by expiration date. And said coupon organizer is velcroed everrrr so gently onto the cart so that they are accessible as I check out. In an act of self-sabotage, I did what I always swear I will not do and did the self check-out. Big Mistake. HUGE! I walked out and got into my car a little dazed by how such a quick trip to the store had cost so much more than I anticipated.

Then I realized: I had forgotten to scan my coupons! The entire point of going to this dreaded place instead of Target was double coupon day, and I had failed to use my precious, precious darlings….who were nowhere to be found! And then it hit me, like a horrible punch to the stomach, I had left my coupon holder ON THE CART!! I thought about going back, but I had visions of me frantically searching for the person who DARED abscond with my coupon holder and I felt nothing very flattering or lady-like would come from it. I’m still in mourning. All I can say is thank goodness Wee ‘Burb is almost off formula because I had some awesome coupons in there. I wonder if home insurance covers coupons? Anyone?

Exhibit D.
In an odd way,  it links to both B and C. Scott and I have separate bank accounts, for a lot of reasons that make sense in our relationship. So he had written me a check to cover my ill-fated grocery trip mentioned in Exhibit B, and for the trip I took today to Target to get the rest of the items I hadn’t gone to get on double coupon day.

I lost the check. No idea.

I absolutely know I put it on the edge of the table and my first thought was that Wee ‘Burb had taken off with it. Yeah, because in the midst of my mental meltdown, she thought it’d be a cool idea to learn to crawl. We’ve only been practicing and fretting over this milestone for, oh, 2 months. Since our normally level-headed pediatrician informed us if Little Miss Lazy Pants didn’t get off her fat Huggies and start moving, we’d be forced to take her to a physical therapist. As I mentioned here, we have a high-deductible plan, so while yeah I don’t want to hear my kid is behind, I also don’t want to pay $100 per visit to have them play with her legs and tell me she’s lazy. Is that just me?

Where was I? Right, so I figured she’d made off with the check. Scott was nice and cool about it, but I couldn’t stop beating myself up. Losing coupons is bad enough, losing actual money is just too much.

So I pull into Target today, and to add to my crap mood someone decided after weeks of construction AROUND Target, it’s time to do the entire parking lot, forcing me to park 12 miles from the store on a day where I have a million things to do.

And I pull in and there’s this old dude leaning on the front of a car, his feet halfway in to the spot I want to park and I’m thinking “dude, you BEST not be saving that for someone who’s been circling, because I will run you over” and he just crosses his arms for a second, purses his lips, and then begins DIRECTING me into the spot. WHAH????

As I begin to think about the merits of giving him a piece of my mind (pro: it would release a lot of stress I’ve been building in my week of mental goo; con: I don’t have bail money…there was probably a coupon for that in my lost organizer, now we’ll never know), I pick up my purse and feel something sticky. It’s the tag from one of our suitcases (no, sadly, not the one I needed, wouldn’t that be a happy ending?) and attached to it is the check I thought I lost!

So what’s the diagnosis, Doctor Readers? Am I going insane? Is this the dreaded Mommy Brain I’ve heard so much about and dismissed as myth? Is there coupon insurance??

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: RED!

For most of my early 20s, I wore big black shoes and I owned a black skirt, black pants, and a few nice shirts to go with them. I was the girl who showed up at clubs in Boston with ripped jeans and t-shirts, so to say I was lacking style would be just a wee bit of an understatement.

When I started to earn more money and hang out with more fashionable people, I began to see the need for color. I still kept my black pants, of course. A girl needs her black pants, right? But I started to figure out ways to accessorize.

It all started with a pair of purple shoes (hey, I was ahead of the purple trend) from DSW. After wearing them twice and getting insane compliments, I became obsessed with shoes, and particularly DSW. I relied on DSW to show me what was fashionable until I developed my own style (Um, I’m still working on that).

So I was psyched to see red EVERYWHERE on a recent trip and I splurged (for me, spending more than $30 on shoes is a splurge) on these two shoes.




What do you wear to dress up your staples? Do you use shoes or other accessories to dress something up or down?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Workout Wednesday: 10 Pound Slimdown

I found a new workout plan for October. I moved on from my walking program for two reasons:

1) October is so unpredictable weather-wise in Minnesota that I need a good indoor program as a back-up.

2) Cous Cous loves the fall. I’ll discuss her dislike of winter and accompanying embarrassing accoutrement she needs in another post, but let’s leave it at this: that puppy loves piles of leaves. LOVES! Which makes our walks verrrry time consuming. We lovingly call her a “frolicking lollygagger.” Sometimes we call her less than loving things. The point is, it’s challenging to get a good stable cardio workout with her right now.

So I’ve moved on to Chris Freytag’s 10 Pound Slimdown which is on free with my Comcast On-Demand Exercise TV.

The Pros: I really like Chris’ attitude and moves. She is positive without being annoying and perky, and she doesn’t spend a lot of time doing deep breaths or other things to burn up time. You will get maximum cardio time from these workouts. I also like the Circuit Training because just as your muscles burn out from weights, you move on to cardio, and on and on. Also? This bad boy HURTS! In a good way. You definitely feel like you’re doing something. Lastly, I love that you have the weekends off in the beginning, it gives you a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Cons: The days where you have to do two workouts are KILLER! Especially when Cous Cous still needs her walk. Yesterday I walked her for 20 minutes and then did two workouts, which was over 40 minutes. An hour of cardio is a challenge, and it’s also sometimes difficult to do without getting up early. And I am not looking forward to moving up to the 6 days a week, that feels overwhelming, even if the workouts are only 20 minutes.

Like the last plan, I’m not necessarily focused on the 10 pound loss, although I would love to lose that before Wee ‘Burb’s first birthday, which is coming up next month. Since I’ve officially LOST THE BABY WEIGHT (YAY!) this is more for firming and toning and getting to a better weight than I have been previously. So the bottom line is, I’d be happy with 5 pounds.

So there it is! It’s a free workout so if you want to join me, I’d love to have some support. Or share your favorite workout program with me! What do you do when your workouts have to go indoors?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!

Thanks for those who participated in my first ever give-away. Since it wasn't enough to use the random number generator, the first three who replied get a special code. So, Rachel, Amanda and HungriGyrl, please e-mail me at stephanieinsuburbia@yahoo.com and I will e-mail you your code.

Thanks for playing!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Suburban Soap Opera

First off, just want to announce I am extending my Shutterfly giveaway until Wednesday. So comment on that post if you want a chance to win some free codes from Shutterfly.

After this post on hiding candy in the broiler from LambAround I had to tell you all about a similar domestic disaster experience. Looking back, the outcome was obvious, but at the time it made so much sense!

After years living in Boston with no dishwasher, I made a short list of requirements for my first apartment back here in MN. One of those requirements was a dishwasher! I was so happy when I got my new place, and sweet sweet freedom from dishpan hands.

For the record, my job at home growing up was to empty the dishwasher, I rarely loaded and I definitely never turned it on.

So about a year in to my awesome dishwasher apartment living, I had a big holiday baking session. I threw all my pots and pans in the dishwasher when I realized that I had no detergent. It was after 10 p.m. and there was nowhere convenient to grab detergent around me.

But I didn’t want to leave the dishes unwashed, either, because I was afraid the baking ingredients would cake on and then it would take forever to clean. See? I knew that much! I also knew I definitely didn’t want to hand wash.

And then a lightbulb went off! I’d hand wash it with Palmolive, so I may as well just shove some of that in. Now, I thought this through. I only used about a Tablespoon of the stuff because I figured “it’s probably a little more potent than my normal detergent.”

Yup, just a little.

So I go in to my living room and watch TV and when I hear the dishwasher shut off, I get up to empty it. I’m responsible like that.

Have you ever just had a break from reality when you look at something? Like you’re seeing it, but you’re not seeing it? That’s how I felt when I stared at the floor and saw 3-4 inches of bubbles covering my kitchen floor. I actually thought to myself “how the hell did THOSE get there” and I’m looking around on my CEILING like somehow it rained bubbles in my third floor apartment and I just missed it.

It wasn’t until I saw the dishwasher puking bubbles, and I opened it to find my muffin tins taking a happy little bubble bath that I made the connection.

So in honor of LambAround and I, share your biggest DUH disaster!