Beautiful Reminder


By Amy Hackworth. Image by Leah Flores. As seen on Design Mom.


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The Little Things

Once in awhile, you just have to pause and think about the little, yet wonderful, things we have in our lives.  

I woke up this morning feeling extremely loved and cared for.  Why?  In the middle of the night last night, I was briefly woken because my husband was pulling a comforter up over me.  The temperature had dropped in the night, and with the fan blowing on us, it got a bit chilly.  He didn’t know I was awake, and he could have easily, and sleepily, just pulled the blanket up over him.  But he carefully and gently pulled it up over me.

That’s a wonderful little thing.


Any little thing making you feel loved and special lately?

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Green Body Scrub

I was contacted by Michelle Pino right around St. Patrick’s Day last month.  She reached out to me about sharing her ideas on easy and inexpensive ways to live “greener.”  Obviously, her timing was great around St. Patrick’s Day, when green is everywhere…quite literally.  Unfortunately, I’ve been ridiculously crazed at work and didn’t have the opportunity to share her article with you then.  However, living green is something we can think about doing any time of year, and as spring is finally coming through here in Upstate New York, this body scrub will definitely come in handy.  Can’t wait to try it myself.  Let me know if you make it and what you think.  Can’t wait to hear what you think.

Here’s Michelle’s recipe:


Green is The Way to Go

It’s common these days to hear the word “green” in reference to cleaning products and tactics for sustainable living, but have you ever considered applying the philosophy to your beauty routine? There’s no better time to try, and it’s easy to whip up a great natural body scrub that’s green as well.

If you fear that green beauty creams will turn you the color of Kermit the Frog, then worry no longer: They won’t. In fact, since they contain no chemicals, they’ll treat you as kindly as they do the environment.

Here’s a simple, all-natural body scrub to get you started. It will soothe your winter-dried skin while letting you go green just in time for spring in the most natural way. You may already have a few of the ingredients sitting on your kitchen shelf. If not, any health food store should be able to help you out at very little cost. When making these products at home, you can leave that pot of gold to the leprechauns, for you’ll have little need of its contents.


Servings: 1
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
1 cup sea salt
Several drops mint essential oil

Pour the almond oil into a small bowl and stir in the sea salt. Add a few drops of mint essential oil. Mix well. Use immediately or store in a small jar.

Unless you have someone with whom to share the scrub, do not prepare too much at once, for the mixture will not keep longer than a week.

To use your body scrub, apply in the shower with a circular motion. The salt will perform a good exfoliation, sending the dry flakes down the drain while exposing the younger skin beneath to the moisturizing balm of the almond oil. While the scrub works to rejuvenate your skin, the energizing scent of mint will refresh and invigorate you.

Of course, you don’t have to be Irish to know that once March 17 has arrived, spring will surely follow four days later. The two go practically hand in hand, and there’s no better time to start getting your skin in shape for warmer weather. By doing it the green way, you’ll keep the planet happy at the same time. St. Patrick would probably thank you.



“Thank you for letting me share this easy, do-it-yourself, GREEN recipe! Working at an upscale spa in central new york has allowed me the privilege of knowing the ins-and-outs of beauty, skin and health products alike. At Skana, we pride ourselves in using the most natural and fresh ingredients. It is my pleasure to pass on simple recipes for women to try at home. I also enjoy cooking, baking and leading a healthy lifestyle!” Michelle Pino

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30 Before 30 Updates

I’ve accomplished some tasks on my 30 Before 30 list, which you can find here:

I would love to blog about every single one of them, but I know it’s not going to happen.  What I can update you on so far: 50 Shades of Grey is a totally ridiculous book, but I still would recommend someone read it.  Also, the Stuffed Buffalo Chicken recipe works just as well with turkey cutlets and broccoli slaw, if you don’t feel like doing any grating.

One of my bestest friends is coming to visit this weekend and I’m dying with the anticipation.  What are your plans this weekend?

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Sick Day Brain Dump

I’m home sick today with some sort of stomach bug. At least it’s not the flu, huh? Things could definitely be worse! I started to feel better at one point this afternoon, then just tried to eat a regular dinner and am immediately regretting it. Ahh, recovering from a stomach bug. It’s a wonderful thing, huh?
Since I haven’t blogged in awhile, I thought I’d give you some brain dump style life updates:

Mile a Day Challenge
I’ve been fairly strong since January 5th when it started…that was, until yesterday. We’re having some cold weather here, VERY cold. As in the weatherman said we’d be struggling to make it into the mid-teens. All week. So with some 9 degree weather yesterday and some sore muscles in my ankle, I decided I could take one day off. And then today, stomach bug. Not great running conditions. So I’ve missed two days. But I’ve run 19 in a row. So you can’t really be disappointed in that. As long as I still beat Yvonne!

Babies, Babies, Everywhere
Seriously, it’s been baby month! Close friends, blog friends, co-workers, there are new babies everywhere! It definitely gives me baby fever. I know the time is not right for Chris and I, and it won’t be for awhile, we have lots of other things on our life lists to accomplish before we welcome a baby into our family, but that doesn’t prevent me from starting to look at baby blogs and make secret Pinterest baby boards. I figured I started reading wedding stuff online in 2009, a year before I was engaged and two years before I was married. So if we look at my track record…I just like to be over prepared.

Winter Fun
Chris and I have had lots of fun so far in 2013, including two holiday parties for his job. One of the parties was actually a “ball” and was a black-tie affair. I think it may be the first black-tie event I’ve been to that wasn’t a prom! It felt very grown up and elegant (and yes, I am aware, I’m definitely on the cose-to-30-side of my twenties), and being a doctor’s wife, I imagine many such events in my future. Maybe it will get old after awhile, but it was fun!

Awards Season
I seriously love the Golden Globes and the Oscars and I’m pumped for awards season. I didn’t actually get to watch most of the Golden Globes, but who needs to when there is Twitter and Buzzfeed? I felt like I had basically seen the show, and was spared the boring parts. We have plans with friends to go to a viewing of the Oscars at a local theater with champagne and snacks, which is going to make it even more fun! Now, I just need to getting around to seeing all the Best Picture nominees. I say I’m going to do it every year, but never have managed to.

So what’s new with you, pussy cat? Anyone else home sick?

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Valentine’s Day Running Challenge

I live in Upstate New York. It’s cold. It snows a lot. I really don’t look forward to spending ANY time outside, even the time it takes to get from my car to my office. It can really get cold! But unfortunately, I don’t have a gym membership at my disposal, and although there are tons of activities I know I could be doing from the comfort of my own home, I often find excuses to not be doing them. And the only exercise I ever seem to stay somewhat dedicated to is running. I’m not sure why, but for some reason it sticks with me.

But running in January? In Upstate New York? How was I going to force myself to get out there? Maybe I could tap into my competitve self and drag myself outside in order to win something…

And that’s exactly what I did. I’d read on a few other blogs about a 30 day challenge people had done: run 1 mile every day for 30 days. Not 10 miles, not 4 miles: ONE. About 10 minutes (or so…I’m closer to 11 or 12) outside, running. That’s all! When reading that, it made a lot of sense. 10 minutes! I can spend 10 minutes outside! But how was I going to REALLY make myself want to do this?

Easy: competition. I enlisted Yvonne (and probably used some good competitive language to get her competitive blood running) and here are our terms:
1) 1 mile a day
2) From January 5 to Valentine’s Day
3) Whoever makes it gets a $20 gift card from the store of their choosing to the other
4) If both of us fail to run 1 mile a day, the next option is whoever hit closest to 7 miles a week (or higher if we both go over)

Pretty good, huh? And I’m updating because I’ve gone running for one mile for seven straight days. I’ve done the first week! And it wasn’t bad…in fact, I really enjoyed it! I loved that I could go outside for 15 minutes and feel like I’ve truly accomplished something. I haven’t run much more than one mile each day, some days, I hit that one mile marker and headed straight for home. But it doesn’t matter, I’ve done it! Having someone to compete against helps (thanks, Von :)), but I hope that it’s more my own drive that’s pushing me, not just my competitive spirit.

Have you ever had an exercise challenge with a friend? Do you think you could run a mile a day from now until Valentine’s Day? Join us! It really is fun 🙂

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New year, new hopes, new plans

2013 is welcome in our household.  2012 ended with lots of guests and lots of fun.  Although I wish family lived closer and we got to see them more often, hosting is exhausting and I’m looking forward to get back into a routine.  Routines are good – they make me feel like a functioning human being who has her shit under control.  I have NOT had my shit under control for the end of December.  Granted, I’d do it all again to get to spend that time with family.  And have that much fun 🙂

I didn’t really set any TRUE new year resolutions – I’d like to focus more on doing good for others.  The #26acts movement really affected me and I’d like to keep it up year round.  I’m also going to focus on personal health and financial health – Chris and I have some big plans for the next year or so, so getting health and money in order is the first step to move ahead with our plans.

I also want to focus more on work, study to continue to be the absolute best at my job.  I’ve had some really frustrating days at work, so after getting better and focusing more, I’ll be better able to assess where I see my career heading. 

2013 is going to be a good year…I mean, I can’t tell you that I’ve EVER had a “bad” year.  The year is what you make of it, right?  I plan to make it a GREAT year. 

Do you have plans for 2013?

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Guns and Violence and Most of All…Change.

What happened yesterday in Newtown, CT is unimaginable. I spent as much of the day as I could praying for those families, shedding tears over their loss and their ache, and desperately wishing I could get home to hug my small family and call the ones who were too far for me to give hugs to, too. I understand the arguments that today isn’t about politics, it is about these families. And I agree. But I also believe that in today being about the families, we also have to consider how these things happen.

I believe in gun control. I have my entire life. I hated when kids played guns as a child, and as I grew older and learned more about the world, my take on this has only been affirmed. If you believe differently, I respect that. I respect your right to have an opinion and that your beliefs are different than mine. Maybe you came from a different place, from a different background, or maybe it’s just because none of us are able to predict the future and we don’t know WHAT will help. And what I believe will help is gun control. Specifically, I think ALL guns should be banned. Guns of every kind, for any reason, anywhere. No. Guns.

I realize this is an extreme point of view, but honestly, nothing anyone ever says would change my mind on this. I’ve believed it since I was little enough to have beliefs that went beyond Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. I do, however, recognize that it’s an unpopular opinion, and even beyond that, the least likely thing to happen. We got legal marijuana before we got rid of guns.

Nevertheless, I wrote some letters yesterday – I sent it to my senators, the senators of my home state, and today I plan to send it to even more politicians. It’s a plea. A plea for that politician to rise above and to take a stand against guns. I don’t know if any of them will agree with me; I don’t know if any of them will actually do anything, but I had to do something. For Newtown. And whatever “Newtown” may be next.

Thanks for letting me use this place as a safe zone to air my opinions. They probably aren’t popular opinions, but I firmly believe them. Plus, no one’s reading anyway, right?

To all politicians,

As I’m sure you will now read and receive countless letters about, today was another day of senseless violence when dozens of lives were lost.

Political arguments can be made, legal arguments can be made, but as the arguments rage on, children are dying. People are dying because someone, whether legally or illegally, was able to get their hands on some kind of gun. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hand gun or an automatic weapon, it is still a killing machine. And it’s being used as such.

Please be the voice of reason that comes out against guns. I truly believe in my heart that there is not one legitimate reason that anyone in this country needs a gun. Recreation, sport, protection, they are all excuses. Without guns, there would be NO gun violence. If there is access to guns, no matter how limited, gun violence will continue.

Please do something. Anything. The people of New York State, the people of Connecticut, and people all across the United States are now desperately searching for someone who will be above the politics, above the NRA, above whatever it is that has delayed gun control for so long. I’m asking you to be that person.

Please, for the love of those innocent children in Newtown today, for the love of the people of Oregon, the people in Colorado, for everyone who has been in anyway impacted by gun violence, please, take a stand against guns.

Thank you.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

The best part about December is that the Christmas spirit seems to last all month and between everyone you come across!  Chris and I are trying to enjoy as much of the Christmas joy and fun earlier than normal this month since he’ll be working like crazy starting tomorrow.

Here are some of the things we’ve done to feel extra Christmas-y:

I participated in an ornament swap!  I was paired with Haley of A Day In The Life Of….  We sent a few emails, I read her blog, and followed her on Twitter to get to know her a little better.  I sent Haley a little package that I think she liked (you can read about it here!) and I soon got an awesome package in the mail.

Haley sent me three different ornaments: a purple sparkley ornament, a fun and funky orange ornament, and adorable stuffed reindeer.  She also was kind enough to include a pack of Christmas cards and a Christmas pen!  It was a great experience and I’ll be happy to join a swap again!  The best part of it all, I got a new friend out of the deal!




Chris and I also got our Christmas tree and spent Monday night decorating.  It’s always fun to relive all the moments that the ornaments came from as we pull them out and hang them on the tree.  Even Lilly got in on the fun!



Tonight was spent decorating sugar cookies.  Things got a little crazy at the end (imagine a “tie-dyed” reindeer and an Italian/Mexican themed bell), but I thought the prettiest cookie of all was this snowflake


Are you experiencing the Christmas spirit around you?  Do you try and celebrate all month long?

Cheers to December

I can’t believe December is already here.  But I’m grateful for the first substantial snowfall we received last night; it made me feel like the holiday season is truly upon us!  Not a bad way to start the month of December.

For now, I’m getting things done with a cup of coffee: paying bills, ordering Christmas cards, and day dreaming about the crafts I’ll try to accomplish today…after I’ve dragged Chris to Hobby Lobby.

Although December is usually one of the happiest months of the year, I think December is going to be a trying month in our household – Chris will be working for about 10 days straight…straight through Christmas.  It’s hard to think about a holiday without him, a holiday with me walking the dog and watching TV like it’s any regular old day.  But still, these hard few years with his schedule will lead to only better things!  And hey, maybe I’ll take that time to catch up on my own work too…at least the office would be quiet.

But some really wonderful things are happening in December, too!  Next weekend we’re going back to NYC to see some of our closest friends and the city that I miss very much.  And who doesn’t love the City during Christmas?  Even the New Yorkers walking in Times Square or Rockefeller Center seem happier…despite the loads and loads of tourists walking too slow.

After Christmas, I’m going to host my siblings and my niece for a post-Christmas-sibling-get-together.  I can’t wait to show them Rochester, celebrate Baby J’s second birthday, and have the opportunity to celebrate the holiday with them…no matter what the date is!

Cheers to December, I think it’s going to be grand.

family photo

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