Thursday, January 24, 2013

No bueno

For how blissful the week started (pun intended), it's been a fairly rough one. Work is still incredibly busy, and this morning I was diagnosed with... SHINGLES.

What. The. Hell.

I didn't even realize that someone my age could even GET shingles, but apparently, it's possible. I noticed a week ago that there was a spot on my side that was sort of tender. It wasn't painful, but if you ran your fingers over it, it almost felt like putting pressure on a bruise. It was the strangest thing. This morning I got out of the shower and there was a small patch of little red bumps in the same spot.

I headed to the doctor and they said the fact that I had an upper respiratory infection a few weeks ago coupled with the insanity at work probably created the perfect storm for the virus. Apparently anyone who had the chicken pox growing up has the chance of getting shingles at some point in their life.

The good news is that since I went to the doctor immediately, the $88 worth of pills should kick in quickly and I'll be shingle-free before I know it.

Word to the wise: if you've ever had the chicken pox, try to avoid piling stress on top of being sick. This is not something to mess around with.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go drown my scabby sorrows in the heart-shaped box of chocolates and bottle of red that I picked up with my prescription.  And don't you dare judge unless you have walked a mile in my shingly shoes!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bliss PSA

Happy Monday Tuesday! It definitely feels like a Monday since we took yesterday off for MLK Day. We typically work the MLK Day/President's Day/Kite Days of the world so that made having it off even sweeter.

We have been BUSTING it for the last two weeks due to the NHL coming out of lockout (we represent the Dallas Stars). It's been so crazy that we could barely leave the office for five minutes to go pick up lunch. When I heard we weren't working Monday, I decided some relaxation was definitely in order. 

Which leads me to my PSA... Bliss is running a hell of a promo right now, but it's only good through 1/31 so get yourself to the spa!  

Through the end of the month if you book a spa service for $150 or more (which most of their facials are), they will give you $100 in Bliss products for free. I think you have to show them this email*:
I had a Spafinder giftcard so this was a no brainer for me.  I got a Triple Oxygen Facial and went home with their glycolic peel pads (That's Incredi-Peel) and their Triple Oxygen Energizing Cream. Such a great deal!  

Just wanted to share the love in case anyone else needed a little somethin' somethin' to perk up their mid-winter skin!

*If you decide to book an appointment and would rather have the actual email with you, just in case, let me know and I'll forward it to you!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Joie de Vivre

When I was 15, I spent three weeks in France and fell in love with everything about it. The language was music to my ears and the architecture was stunning. Not to mention the food. Ohhhh, the food. 

All that aside, one of my favorite things I observed while I was there was the attitude of the people. No, I'm not talking about the stereotype that most Americans have about the French. I'm talking about the fact that they just seemed to really enjoy living life down to the simplest pleasures.

I feel as though living the "good life" in the United States is often centered around that "
Keeping Up with the Jones'" mentality. We work crazy hours to buy fancy cars and houses in the right neighborhoods. Working in Corporate America means subscribing to the theory that you should be the first one at the office and the last one to leave in order to prove yourself. Nevermind that you may have finished your work by 4:30 and are sitting at your desk playing Words with Friends on your iPhone… it's 6:00 and you are still at the office, so you MUST be dedicated!

Last summer when I went back to Europe, I was astounded by the number of people drinking wine during the work week at lunch. This may not seem like a big deal, but to me it was symbolic of the differences in our cultures. There are plenty of times where I would LOVE to order one glass of wine at lunch on work day, but I never do. Why not? It's not like one glass of wine is going to impair my abilities to function at work. I wouldn't be ordering it to get drunk or escape my work day.  I would be doing it because I enjoy wine and it would accentuate the meal. But I don't because of appearances. What if I were to run into a vendor or client? What would they think of me and my work ethic? I adore the fact that those thoughts aren't an issue and don't appear to even cross their minds- their clients and vendors are probably doing the same thing!

I recognize the fact that I have a pretty idyllic view of my favorite travel destination. And there could be a decent amount of "Keeping up with Jones'" going on in France that is just not apparent to this starry-eyed foreigner. After all- I couldn't begin to tell you the difference between a Fiat and a Peugeot. One could be the Kia to the other's Bentley. My point is that the things that appear to matter most to them are small pleasures. Good food, good wine, culture, quality time with loved ones. Just simply enjoying life.

Joie de vivre. 

That has always been my favorite phrase in french. So much so that I thought about getting a tattoo of the phrase in cursive on the inside of my wrist. I had planned on doing it in white so it wouldn't be seen easily by anyone but me. I liked the idea of a subtle daily reminder to appreciate the things that really matter. 

I told my parents my plan and you can just image how well that went over. I'm pretty sure there was a lot of bemoaning "where did we go WRONG?!?" along with some dramatic face palming. I decided to let the idea marinate for awhile and luckily for them, Kate Spade came to their rescue before I could bring myself to skip down to the neighborhood tattoo parlor*.  This pretty little bracelet is on its way to my door as we speak:

I am beyond excited. All the sentiment with none of the permanence. And much, much classier.

*I bet good ol' Kate never dreamt her name/brand would be used in the same sentence as "tattoo parlor." Just trying to broaden your reach for ya, Ms. Spade. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2013!

We rang in the New Year with mexican food, wigs, and good friends:

It was a lot of fun, until I pushed Den into a wall of windows and broke one of them out. Luckily our host said that it's not a real party until something gets broken. I appreciated the grace, but still felt like an asshole regardless.

On New Year's day we had brunch at Max's Wine Dive and hung out inside all day watching football and cooking. I tried a new black eyed pea chili recipe this year and loved it! I typically only bust out the black eyed peas on January 1st, but this was so good that I'm saving the recipe to use throughout the year!
  • Black Eyed Pea Chili (Adapted from Southern Living)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. hot italian sausage
  • medium-size sweet onion, chopped
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • (6-oz.) can tomato paste
  • (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes 
  • 2 cans of black eyed peas
  • (12-oz.) bottle dark beer (I used Guinness)
  • (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  1. 1. Cook first 3 ingredients in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.
  2. 2. Cook chili powder and cumin in hot olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. 
  3. 3. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. 
  4. 4. Add diced tomatoes, next 7 ingredients, and beef mixture; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  5. 5. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.

Hope everyone had a great time celebrating the New Year!