Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Looking back

It's the last day of the year. At midnight tonight, I will be popping open a bottle of champagne with Steve and toasting to 2012. But before that, I thought I'd take a minute to look back on this year.

The past year wasn't an easy one. Financially, it was one of the hardest ones I've faced in a long time. I've been unemployed for just over a year and the job market for editors, writers, and journalists hasn't gotten any better. I believe I've applied to every job out there at least five times each, and I've revamped my resume countless times.

I've also had to deal with a lack of healthcare and the headaches that seem to be mounting in intensity. While I've been able to remain on my preventative prescriptions because of generally affordable generic drugs, what I need is a solution to the ouchies. Solutions require healthcare.

Fortunately, I'm still collecting unemployment. While it is a lot less than I was making, it is enough to keep me housed and fed. And for the rest, I have Steve. I've already gone on and on about how amazing he is and how much he's done for me. This year would have been much harder if it wasn't for him. I'm a lucky lady.

I've talked about the power of positivity in my blog before. It's something I've struggled with, and this year put it to the test. Faced with financial insecurity, constant pain, and an unsure future, there isn't much room for positivity, but I tried. And for the most part, I succeeded. The trick is to focus on the good. It's cheesy, I know. But it's been working.

Want to know what I've got that's good? It's silly, but I'll share.

When I'm sinking, I think about my adorable nieces and how lucky I am that I live so close to them and I can see them whenever I want. I think about how lucky I am that I have a boyfriend who adores and spoils me. I think about how fluffy Maya is and how great it is when she snuggles with me on cold days and becomes my space heater.

I told you it was cheesy. But it's what I've got.

So that was my year. No money, but lots of love. I can't wait for 2012.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wen Hair Care follow up

It's been way over a month since I've been using the Wen hair care system so it's time for my post mortem.

I didn't love it. The promises it made just didn't come to fruition for me.

Things I liked:

  • It was an all in one. I didn't have to shampoo and condition separately.
  • My hair was initially shinier and fuller.
  • The leave-in conditioner was wonderful. My hair was incredibly soft after one use and definitely made the cost of the starter kit worth it. 

Things I didn't like:

  • My hair was a oilier than I am used to.
  • I had to use a LOT of product. The instructions said 8 pumps or more for long hair and I usually ended up using more. The instructions made a point to say that you can't use too much product, which felt like a self serving instruction. It felt like they were saying "use as much as humanly possible so you can buy MORE!!!" which didn't sit too well with me. 
  • After a few uses, I didn't notice a difference in my hair. I expected softer, fuller hair, but although my hair was softer, it was flat.
  • Ordering the product online or over the phone meant being forced into an automatic shipment plan. Because I wasn't interested in having additional products shipped to me automatically every month, I called as soon as I received my package to cancel the automatic shipments. I had to repeat to the person on the phone over and over again that I had absolutely no interest in the automatic shipments. They were hellbent on keeping me on file. 

Between the intensive leave-in, the styling balm that I gave Steve, the wooden wide tooth comb that I still use daily, and the daily leave in conditioner, it was worth the initial trial. My biggest problems with the Wen Hair Care System were with the way the product was sold and how customer service is handled, not the product. I've heard that people with different hair types from me have had wonderful experiences with Wen, but I wouldn't buy it again.

On to the next product!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A love letter

Warning: sappiness and gooey love within. You have been warned. Read at your own peril.

I am in love. I never thought I would be. I hoped for love. I dreamt of love. I thought I knew what it would be like. I thought I knew what he would be like. I thought I knew what it would feel like. I was so wrong. It's even better than I thought it could be.

When I was younger, I thought that the man I would spend my life with would be my other half. He would be my knight in shining armor. He would sweep in on a white horse and solve all my problems and we would live happily ever after and life would be complete once he was in my life. Now that I'm older, I know that love doesn't solve your problems, but having someone who loves you makes your problems easier to bear.

The man I love brings me joy. He makes me stronger. He makes me laugh. He understands me. He has seen me at my best and my worst. He's my best friend. He's the first person I want to talk to in the morning and the last person I want to talk to at night. He knows me better than anyone else. He sees my weaknesses and doesn't judge me for them, but allows me the room to grow and become a better person.

Babe, I can't give you the world for Christmas. I wish I was rich. I would buy you iPads and mixers and cars and guitars. But I can't. You have been so amazing to me and I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you. I used to hate Christmas. Now I look forward to sharing this season with you. You've turned me into one of those sappy, lovey, gross, happy people! I love you. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nutella cookies

Tonight is the annual cookie party! This is my first year participating. I'm super excited! I'm making a cookie I've never attempted before. There was a toss up between my classic chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate red velvet cookies, or Nutella cookies. Nutella cookies won the popular vote. So Nutella cookies it is! I fricken LOVE Nutella. I could eat Nutella on everything.

Here's the (incredibly easy!) Nutella cookie recipe:

1 cup Nutella
½ cup Sugar
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Blend all ingedients together.
Form into 1 inch balls.
Place on a cookie sheet.
Press down firmly with the bottom of a glass.
Bake 7-8 minutes or until set.

The dough is very dry so I put on gloves and mixed it by hand. The heat from my hands melted the Nutella and helped it come together. The cookies came out a bit thinner than I wanted them to, so next time I'll flatten them less.

I doubled the recipe for the party. I'm also not posting this until 7 pm because the party is at 7:30 so no one can steal my recipe :)


I totally won!!! My cookies took home the "Most Creative Cookie" prize!!! WOOHOO!!!!