Thursday, December 29, 2005

Does This Mean I'm A Loser?

OK...back to my New Year's dilemma.

We still have no plans.

And while I'm not all that upset about this, I do sort of, kind of wish there was SOMEthing I had in mind to do.

The two gatherings I was invited to sound fun, but I'm not sure how fun they'd be for Boat. I know he'd be willing to go, but I'd rather go somewhere we'd both feel comfortable.

I probably should have suggested going somewhere for dinner, but that also doesn't seem very thrilling. I'd much rather go to a nice restaurant on a non-holiday.

Everyone I know seems to be doing there own thing, or are out of town. Collectively, there's no one place where most of my friends would be anyway.

It's funny how three years ago, this night would have been planned already, whether I decided to throw a last minute bash, or had tickets to some overpriced event.

Maybe I'm just bummed because of something I alluded to in my last post.

Of course I will be perfectly content bringing in 2006 with Boat and Salem, even if it means we eat at home, watch Degrassi, and maybe not even stay up till midnight. Because truthfully, that would make me happy.

Yet there is still a part of me that wishes there was a little bit more going on for the holiday.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Conflicting Feelings

Sometimes I play this game where I'll write up a list of people I'd invite if I had a party tomorrow or if I were having a wedding.

I do it to make myself feel like I have friends.

And that's all bullshit because inviting someone to a party doesn't necessarily mean they are your friend, at least by definition.

There are times when I want to reach out to someone, catch up, see how they're doing, etc., but then I remember the responsibility of what being a friend means, and I put the phone down.

Even if it's their problems that bother me, it's ME that has the real problem. I'M the person who wants things on my terms and can't handle the stress of being just a voice message or email away.

So I'm often left with these mixed feelings of wanting to know what's going on in someone's life, but not wanting to be a part of it.

Now that the circle of friends I've made over the years has whittled away to practically nothing, I wonder if I just wasn't meant to have relationships with people.

It's scary and sometimes lonely, but I can't reach out because of these selfish notions. Especially when I can't promise to be there when I might be needed.

Maybe I'm sugarcoating things, but there are a lot of things I miss about certain people, especially my on again, off again best friend. There is no one else in the world I could call up to go to Olive Garden with or for a Dairy Queen run. There's no one else that would sit, watch and cry over The Notebook with me. There's no one else who's known me since high school and can say they remember those first few times we talked in freshman year biology class.

Is it too late to reach out? Do I WANT it to go back to the way it used to?

I'm not sure.

The deficit

Does anyone else think it's strange that the government has passed budget cuts that reduce funding for students and those on Medicare and Medicaid?

Doesn't it seem weird that they would seemingly punish the neediest of Americans in order to keep Bush's tax cut in place and help maintain our pointless war in Iraq?

Why do things like this happen?

I suppose it's not as black and white as the above observations, but sometimes I wish there was a modern day Robin Hood to set things straight.

While I'm no communist, I am bothered by the extreme differences in lifestyle among our citizens and the out and out inequality.

What do *I* do about it? Not much. But I feel that our governing body should be doing something about it. That's why I vote, supposedly.

Off topic, I just got a bill for my recent doctor visit. They charged my insurance provider $185 to clean out my ears. That's right. $185. I only have to pay $13. But can you believe that?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Back...To Work

It's been a busy morning so far, all self created, since I'm trying to make sure everything's done that I may have overlooked last week when I was being super lazy.

I feel like my bases are covered and luckily, I have the rest of the day to make sure all of my ducks are in a row before the rest of the office returns tomorrow.

That's right, it's just me and the secretary right now.

Christmas was really nice. It was a lot of driving, but that's to be expected when my parents live an hour away and Boat's live three hours away.

I received a lot of nice gifts and hope that everyone liked what we/I got them.

My dad bought me a Coach purse, that he picked out himself(!). I was very surprised. I also got two knitting books I asked for and a bunch of other nice things.

Boat did a great job, buying me things I've wanted throughout the year.

My favorite, not surprisingly so, is the beautiful pearl and diamond ring he gave me.

A close runner up was the $250 check Boat's roommate gave us to put in our savings account toward New York. That was an incredibly thoughtful gift that was unexpected.

I admit, I'm pretty sad that Christmas is over. All of that build up leading to one day and now it's over. I know New Year's is right around the corner, but it's not the same. And January and February tend to drag on, feeling bleak.

I think my resolution for 2006 will be to try and have a more positive attitude.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Friday Musings

I usually hate Fridays in terms of online happenings, since people tend not to post on their blogs or write a lot of emails.

Today is especially this way since I feel like the only person at work, and probably am.

But that's OK.

It's amazing how a few years in the working world change you feelings about time off during the holidays. I'm surprised that three days off is suddenly totally fine with me.

Yesterday, we got out at 2:30 and today we're leaving at noon. It just seemed stupid to take the days off when I'd have to use up 16 hours of PTO instead of showing up for a few hours and not having it count against me when we leave early.

My eating habits have been horrendous as of late. I say this as I finish up my pumpkin muffin from Au Bon Pain. Other things I've eaten in the past 48 hours include: McDonald's, a bacon/cheese/egg bagel, pizza, fried chicken, cookies, guacamole, tacos and chips.

Of course, I'm promising myself that 2006 will start with a diet and yoga, but who am I kidding?

Boat would say I'm being defeatist, so I'll say that I'm going to try. Really hard.

I'm also going to do a little more shopping today after work. I STILL have not been able to find something to wear for the holidays, so instead I'm headed to Express where I'm promising myself I won't leave until I've tried on EVERYTHING and purchase at least TWO new things to wear. This isn't vanity speaking anymore, this is simple NECESSITY, so not to look like a damn hobo. Besides, they're having a big sale.

I haven't really wrapped any gifts yet, so I suppose I should get on that. I've had a revelation about gift cards and how lame they are when you exchange then with someone else. In essence, why don't I just save the $30 I spent on your gift card and use it for something, and you save your $30 for yourself? Seriously, gift cards are kind of stupid! And I've bought a lot of them this year.

I still don't have official New Year's plans, but am completely indifferent to it at this time. Maybe buying something to wear will inspire me to find something to do.

Or not.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I'll be updating much this weekend, given the holiday, so have a good one, enjoy your time off, be merry and all that jazz.

Oh, and take a lot of pictures of your presents so I can see them!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Time of Year, A Time of Cheer

Now that my car is washed, I can breathe. I don't normally care about that kind of thing, but it was getting so bad, I couldn't see out of my windows.

Anyway, as I drove into the parking garage at work today, I noticed people with Christmas presents and food for potlucks and such. Actually, I noticed they were all WOMEN and it made me wonder if this holiday is more a girl thing then a guy thing, even though the birth of Christ isn't really about gender.

Boat is an exception to this rule, which I find very cute and endearing. He set up the Christmas tree and strung up lights. He hung up little stockings and filled them with Christmas themed chocolates. He likes all of the cheesey stuff you find in the holiday isle at Walgreens; mugs, pencils, etc.

I love him for that.

It's just the right amount of enthusiasm to keep the spirit alive. Especially in these seemingly awkward years where I'm far beyond losing sleep on Christmas Eve and just as far from having my own children to have those same sentiments.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Please Tell Me I Wasn't Like That

It's true that I have aged overnight. A mere three years ago, I would probably be hungover right now, running on four or less hours of sleep. I used to drink A LOT more, and in general, didn't have a problem staying out late, no matter what day of the week it was.

It's basically the exact opposite nowadays. I'd rather knit and lie around with the cat then go out. I'm usually in bed by 11, most of the time, 10:30.

Every Tuesday night, a group of people from my bowling league go to practice. It's only a dollar a game after 9:30 or so. I decided since I've been doing pretty badly, I needed to go. I didn't get home until 1 a.m. and feel like I'm paying for it this morning, even though I didn't have an ounce to drink.

But that's not the point of this post. The point is to talk about the kids on college break who bowled on either side of us.

The obnoxious group of guys on our left, all ten of them, wearing stupid athletic pants and ski hats, drinking beer and cheering one another on, LOUDLY. On our right, a smaller group of girls, skinny, smoking and using nicknames like "Xperience" up on the computer scoring screen. They screamed a ton and threw pink, 8 pound balls from about 20 feet behind the approach, encouraging anything that happened to stay on the lane and not fall pathetically into the gutter, 3 inches after throwing it.

I wondered if *I* was like that when I was their age. Maybe I'm glossing over the past, but I really don't think we were quite as obnoxious.

I see how every generation seems to look down on and criticize today's youth because for whatever reason, they always seem so much more immature and rude.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ranting, Raving and Trying to Smile

High blood pressure runs in my family. Along with heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The point is, I'm a huge candidate for having health problems that will increase due to stress.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty much a walking stress ball most of the time, and usually it's for no good reason other than the fact that I get bent out of shape. A lot.

I don't know how this all started or why I'm like this, but maybe it's because I find that the world is a fairly shitty, annoying place to live in. More specifically, people are shitty and annoying. Perhaps they suffer from what I do: an inexplicable low level rage that comes out, provoked by inconveniences.

I can feel the stress, a tightened muscle in my shoulders that never quite relaxes. Sometimes I get an eye twitch. Other times I do this weird thing where I semi ball my hands into a fist and unconsciously dig with my fingernails. It drives my mother crazy.

I'm trying, very hard, to remind myself that we are approaching a happy time, a good time, a nice time. If I could just focus in on my days off and the time I'll be spending with loved ones, maybe I could relax a little.

Even though I'm over having a month off for "winter break" from college, sometimes I think I could use that kind of R & R. Of course, I'd have to stay inside and not deal with the real world or strangers. But still.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Holiday of Letdown

Every couple of months, there's a new holiday that has some meaning attached to it, usually social. Everyone asks "what are you doing for Memorial Day/Labor Day/Fourth of July/Christmas/New Year's/Valentine's Day?". And you have to pull out an answer from your bag of tricks, even if it's nothing.

New Year's is one of the hardest nights to plan. All of the expectation of one of the biggest partying nights in the city leaves you anxious for ideas.

I'm beyond paying $150 for drinks and dj's at a hotel. I'm even fairly opposed to spending half that to go to a local place for open bar. And since my group of friends has thinned out, there aren't many party options.

I've never really thought of it as a night to spend romantically, AKA, candlelight dinner with the boyfriend, either.

So it seems all of my bitching and moaning in years past for not having a boyfriend during this holiday was all for naught. Not that it's NOT great to have someone to kiss at midnight, but it still doesn't fix the all encompassing inquiry of what we'll be doing to celebrate.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tis The Season...

For free food! OK, at least in my line of business.

We have people sending us all sorts of things, from chocolates to buckets of gourmet popcorn to gift baskets filled with cheese, tea and scones.

There are also free lunches. Today we're going to Maggiano's for a three course luncheon that always serves up an awesome selection of Italian fare. And an open bar that our boss lets us partake in.

Next week we have another lunch out on Tuesday and our holiday party on Thursday.

Not to mention all of the eating that will be going on Christmas Eve and New Year's day, where my parents have an open house of sorts. My mom cooks up a bunch of stuff to nibble on like homemade wontons, spare ribs and cucumber salad. Dad busts out his sushi rolling skills.

I love food. I also love having food with people. To me, there is no greater gathering than dinner with friends and/or family.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Trying To Pretend You Don't Care About Something You Probably Shouldn't Care About

I know that the Emmy's and the Grammy's and the Golden Globes and the Oscar's are very important to those affected by it.

Sometimes I love watching award shows because I like to see the expression on the loser's face. You know they worked on it long and hard and stared at the mirror for many hours to perfect a stone cold expression, or look of graceful defeat. But it's still amusing.

In my own small world of celebrity-ism and local fame, I pretend not to care about getting a small blurb in the city news rag. But the truth is, I was pretty excited about it running.

And I act like I don't care about how I'm bowling or if we're winning, but I usually check the standings of our team and more often than not, glare at the only other woman who has a higher average than me.

Back in high school I rigged the voting for senior superlatives so I won "Best Leader" and got my picture in the yearbook. In reality, I lost by 3 votes, but knowing the person who counted them, I "somehow" edged the other girl out.

I can't speak for everyone, but in my heart, I've always wanted to be famous, even on a small scale. It's like a universal sort of popularity contest that I never had a chance of winning at a younger age.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Older

It's still funny to me that when I was younger, all of the things I wished I could do are things that I resent now.

Instead of staying up late, I'd rather get the extra hours of sleep. Mail really is all bills. Driving is more of a nuisance than anything.

Time, in general, is moving way too fast.

Last Saturday, my mom and her sister threw their older sister a surprise 70th birthday dinner. I sat in between my cousin and his wife and toddler, across from my aunt, uncle and parents.

It's odd how these people change in your eyes, through all sorts of life events, as the years go by. Everyone's weaknesses and flaws suddenly come into focus, and the depth of who they are becomes clear.

And I wonder if I met this person in a different context if I'd like them. I figure I probably wouldn't, and would most likely talk shit behind their back.

I struggle with conversation, realizing how much they don't listen, don't absorb; how much they don't know who I am after twenty-six years.

They don't get my jokes, my sarcasm. They can't remember what I do for a living or that I graduated college years ago. And so the same questions are asked at each gathering, every few months when we congregate for birthdays and holidays.

I suppose deep, deep down, I love them all. But I think it's mostly from a love that was created as a child, when they were near perfect. I love out of habit, a knee jerk reaction.

I miss that naive kind of feeling. Why are we all in such a hurry to grow up?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Self...ish

Besides buying shoes, one of my favorite things to do (which I don't do enough), is getting my haircut.

It is so much fun to get in that chair and explain what you want done, and have it look just the way you asked. Sure, it only lasts that one day, but it's still great.

My hairdresser, Anne, is awesome and only charges me $35.

I think getting a haircut is the closest thing I'll ever come to any kind of makeover.

On the otherhand, when no one even NOTICES you got it cut, or they do notice and don't say anything about it, that kind of sucks.

You begin to wonder if a) it's totally unnoticeable, or b) it's not a good style.

That is kind of a bummer.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Shopping Woes

I hit State street in full stride last night, despite the huge ass snow storm.

I went to:

Nordtrom's Rack
Filene's Basement
TJ Maxx
Carson Pirie Scott
Forever 21
Marshall Field's.

And bought a total of 0 things.

Fine, perhaps it was selfish of me to shop for myself and NOT for others, but I am in "desperate" need of a couple of outfits for upcoming gatherings.

Nothing kills the soul like a failed shopping trip when you have money to burn.

It's sad how money becomes an object when you have it to spend, where as if I were broke, a $90 cardigan/top combo would have seem fine.

My other HUGE complaint is that I still seem to be in some weird limbo where no department or store seems right for me.

Carson's had an amazing sale. Lots of their stuff was 50, 60% off, and most of it nice, like Nine West and DKNY. But none of it fit.

Don't even get me started on the lack of imagination or style in the petite's section. Do these places think anyone under 5'5" is over the age of 50? Bah!

I found myself in a dizzying whirl of confusion by store three. Either stores had way, way too much to sort through, sections I couldn't quite pin down (casual, dressy, sporty?), or didn't offer anything that caught my eye. Shit, I couldn't even decide what department to shop in.

So I'm outfit-less and I still have no idea where I can go to find something that I'll actually like.

More To Look Forward To

1) Renga Tei
2) Agami
3) Maggiano Feast
4) N. in town
5) Last full week of work for three weeks (next week)
6) Half Days
7) Wrapping presents
8) The weekend!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Paradise In Less Than 3 Months

My cousin and I booked our vacation to Mexico and will be here in the semi-near future.

I reminded myself of this this morning as I contemplated getting a scone and skipped it for my low sugar oatmeal instead.

There is no way I can get into shape by the time we leave, mostly because I know I won't stay motivated. But the least I could do is not get fatter.

It's funny, but sometimes I'll have these moments before I get into the shower where I'll look in the mirror and think it's not so bad. This is mainly due to the fact that I don't have my contacts in, so it's just a blurry figure staring back at me, that somehow has a flatter stomach.

In the past ten years, I've worn a two piece twice. Once, the summer before my junior year, swimming in a gross pond to impress my crush Jack and a couple of years ago when I was on a cruise with my family and didn't care how I looked in it.

But the truth is, I haven't looked GOOD in a two piece since I was 9.

I yearn for my fifteen year old body, when I was a perfectly average weight, with nice perky boobs and a smaller waist. And of course, back then I still felt fat.

It's weird how I've slowly gained weight over the years. It's not super noticeable. I haven't had any significant changes in pant size. But the number is still staggering sometimes. Upsetting.

Anyway, the point of this post was not to whine about my body, but to feel excited about our trip. Unfortunately, the thought of the beach and the sounds of the ocean lead me right back to those sentiments.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Gone

As depressed as I can be sometimes, it's sort of interesting how much I DON'T think about death.

I think the hardest death I've ever had to deal with was the passing of my cousin, who succumbed to cancer in 1994.

Since then, I've lost an uncle and my grandmother.

Today I found out that someone I worked with died last night of a sudden heart attack.

Everything I want to say sounds dramatic, but it's all true, at least in the sense of thoughts that have crossed my mind since hearing the news.

Dr. W was a really great person, someone you could have a conversation with about anything. He was like a lively grandfather figure. He and his wife had just bought property in Florida to spend time in during the year and eventually retire to. He seemed really excited about the area that boasted some of Florida's fine arts and theaters. He had gone out to New York recently to see his grandson for the first time. He was the final say in my promotion and came by to congratulate me.

I feel extremely bad for his family. A family I never met, but heard about here and there. A family that was probably not expecting this sudden heart attack who have now been robbed of his life.

For the most part, I can't stand people. But the people I do like affect me in all sorts of ways, big and small, because they are who they are. The best experiences you'll ever have in your life are because of someone else, someone who loved you and supported you and brought you happiness. Someone who made you laugh, or gave you advice, or was just there to be a friend, a person to count on.

It's so hard for me to wrap my head around death, how for a certain amount of time we're here, experiencing all sorts of things, places and people and how nothing is permanent about that. Maybe that sounds like simpleton talk, or "no duh!", but when someone dies, it brings reality that much closer.

I probably won't appreciate today anymore now that Dr. W is gone. But maybe I'll be reminded to hold on to those I love that much closer, that much tighter.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Questions of the Day

1) Bird Flu-How do you "ready" for something you have no vaccination or cure for?
2) Tardiness of Others-Why, and why so often?
3) Brad Pitt-It's fine if you don't want to tell us that you're with Angelina Jolie, but why the openness to becoming the father of her children?
4) Hunger-Why, and why so often?
5) The Bulls-Do you know what a defensive rebound is?
6) The weather-Why, and why so cold?
7) The cafeteria-Deluxe nachos? Are you trying to make me fat?
8) Salem-Are you actually using the $40 "warming" cat pad I bought you?
9) CD-ROM-Why won't you play my CD's at work?
10) Telephone ringing-Why, and why so often?

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Black Hole That Is Credit Debt

Personally, my credit woes aren't too bad. Yes, I have a credit card. Yes, it has a balance. Yes, that balance has existed for more than a year or two. Yes, my interest rate is not that hot. Yes, I pay more than the minimum, but have made very few attempts at paying off large chunks.

HOWEVER.

My balance is less than $5,000. I don't have student loans. I don't have a car payment. My rent is less than 20% of my salary. Etc., etc. etc.

No, I'm no saint. Besides my joint savings account with Boat, I have nothing put away for a rainy day...or an emergency.

But some of the credit balances and damage I've come across from other people is astounding.

I can't imagine doling out over $1,000 a month to pay off debt.

I know people who have gone through consolidation or those "Debt Stopper" type places. Still others who have been sent to collections numerous times or can't secure any kind of credit line.

The sad thing is how uneducated most of us are in the way of credit. We apply for a credit card in college and it's all downhill from there.

I wish my parents would have taught me how to manage my money better. I've learned some things along the way, but I know I'm pretty far from being the conscientious person I should be.

If I Could Have an "Extreme" Makeover

I would:

1) Love to have one of those wavy, long hairstyles with bangs.
2) Want my wardrobe to include lots of layering pieces.
3) Learn how to walk in high heels.
4) Be a little taller, maybe 5'6", or 5"7".
5) Have my teeth straightened (again) and whitened.
6) Learn to speak Spanish, Japanese and Chinese fluently. And maybe French.
7) Get permanent "fake" eyelashes.
8) Wear all new make-up, with more exciting eye shadows and lip color.
9) Have a flat stomach (duh).
10) Get manicures, pedicures and facials, regularly.

The Bulls, The Bears and Michigan Avenue Shopping, Oh My!

The good thing about this new position, is that I'm so much busier, I don't have a lot of time to sit around and think about how hungry I am and what sounds good.

Instead, I squeeze in time for a banana and oatmeal and push myself to 1 before I eat lunch (I get in at 8). It's been a good routine lately. If only I could keep on the straight and narrow for dinner and weekends, I'd have lost 10 pounds easily by now.

Tonight is the Bulls Vs. the Mavs. I'm excited! My co-worker who's going with me has a hook up at the United Center, so we're going to be able to hang out in the Stadium Club and possibly SEE some of the players UP CLOSE. This probably means nothing to most of you, but I have a small crush on number 9, Luol Deng. I doubt very highly that I would be able to even look in his direction if he were there, but still, maybe I could sneak a picture of the back of his head.

Saturday I spent the day with Boat and his whole family (minus his brother-in-law) on Michigan Avenue, shopping with them on their annual trip to the city. Actually, we hit up Southport first to browse the boutiques. None of us could really afford anything, but it was kind of fun to look. I suppose if I had somewhere to wear that stuff too, I'd think about shopping there.

Michigan Avenue wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But GAP was hell on Earth. I just kept thinking about how no one actually WANTS something from that store, at least not in the sense of "all I want for Christmas is a GAP sweater", but it somehow fits into just about anyone's needs. I did pick out a cute cable knit sweater in brown that I think his mom ended up buying for me.

My one purchase was at Banana Republic and was NOT a present. It was actually a semi-pricey pair of jeans I thought was on sale, but ended up buying anyway because finding pants that fit my 5'3" size 8 frame is hard. While other people have no problem spending $100-200 for jeans, I felt a little guilty handing over my credit card for the $74 total. Oh well, they do fit like a glove.

And yesterday I spent the afternoon on the couch watching the Bears beat the Green Bay Packers. I admit that football is an obnoxious sport to watch, especially with all of the showboating going on on the field and especially in the end zone. But for whatever reason, I find it entertaining. Plus, the Bears are doing well this season, even though the only touchdown scored was by the defense.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Synapse To Synapse

Things I'm thinking about:

- I wish I could find a Luol Deng jersey before Monday night's game.
- What am I going to wear for the shopping excursion tomorrow?
- Should I buy a new winter coat?
- Will my rent check make it on time?
- I like the taste of ginger.
- What should I be trying to get done today at work?
- When am I going to get all of my Christmas shopping done?
- It was really nice catching up with R. last night.
- I'm looking forward to bowling tonight.
- I hate super low rise pants.
- I've heard that something may be wrong with your cat if he's meowing a lot. I can't tell if his increased meowing is bad, or if he's just begging for food.
- Do I want to take any days off this month?
- Shit, I have a meeting in half an hour.
- How much money do I have in my checking account?
- Philadelphia roll is awesome.
- I'm enjoying two CD's at the moment: Tahiti 80 and Maria Taylor.
- I'd kind of like not eating peanut butter & jelly and pretzels for lunch today.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bittersweet's Favorite Things

Unfortunately, I'm not Oprah and will not bring you on to my show and give you all of the great things. The truth is, you may not even like this stuff or find any use for it, but it's not about you, is it? Just kidding...sort of.

No really, this is a list of things I think are great, or useful, or whatever.

1) Hanes Hipster Panties-OK, so Hanes is rather lowbrow. But seriously, these fit great, are low rise, and best of all: cheap.

2) Spray N' Wash Stain Stick-This thing is amazing. It's even gotten out old stains.

3) Puffs Plus w/ Lotion-If you have allergies or a cold and need to blow your nose every other 30 seconds, this THE ONLY tissue to use, unless of course you really like that dry, flakey nose look.

4) Beauticontrol Skin Care-I'll be honest. My friend who was having some financial difficulties started selling this stuff. I wanted to be supportive, so I bought some of the face wash, since I hadn't been able to find anything that worked for years. Amazingly, the skin scrub and toner work. I have not had a breakout in over a year. It could be my birth control pill, but I'm sold on this stuff. Also, their green tea mask leaves my skin glowing. I love it.

5) Heated Mattress Pad-I never thought I'd want something like this, but that was before paying my own heating bill. This thing is great, especially when Boat is hogging the covers.

6) Sweet Mole Chips from Trader Joe's-There's not a lot of bad things I could say about Trader Joe's. These chips are no exception. Sure, I love the addictive goodness of Doritos and Cheetos, but these are irresistable. Plus, it's just fun to say "sweet mole".

7) Adidas running shoes-I've worn my share of running shoes over the years, and Adidas has never let me down. Now, I don't "run", per se, but I've worked out and walked quite a bit in a pair of these. They fit my foot like a dream.

8) Body by Victoria Secret Bras-My old best friend used to tell me that I didn't have a good fitting bra. It took over five years to listen to her, but I finally got measured and fitted at Victoria Secret and have been pretty happy with their Body collection. At least I don't have to wear those hideous full coverage, five clasp numbers just because I'm a 38 C.

9) Jergen's Ultra Healing Lotion-For dry skin like mine, I need some hardcore moisturizing. This stuff pretty much does the trick. Even 24 hours later, I'm still feeling its effects when I shave.

10) Tilex Mold and Mildew-I never thought I'd boast about a bathroom cleaner, but I have to mention this because it really does work. Our shower is all tile and even when the grossest brown/black mildew builds up in the cracks, a few sprays of this takes care of it, without scrubbing! Hook yourself up.