Cooking/Recipes, Product Reviews, Uncategorized

It’s my Hundred and Elleventieth Birthday!!

No, it’s really just my 35th birthday.  And actually it was on Thursday.  But at my current place of employment, you get your birthday off, or at least a day off relatively close to your birthday.  So I took yesterday off.

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a day off without some specific reason such as, one of my brothers is in town, we’re going to Chicago, Tim has the day off, etc.  I forgot how nice it can be to just spend the day by yourself to do whatever you want.  And I did.

I made myself a delicious breakfast of sautéed kale & red peppers, topped with avocado (10 for $10 at HyVee this week!) and two fried eggs.  Then I did a little online shopping.  At Sephora, you get a free gift when you place an order during your birthday month.  You can also always find extra promo codes to get even more free stuff when you order.  Plus I had over 100 bonus points, so I got to upgrade a sample.  So, I got a ton of stuff for $50.  Way more stuff than I need, especially considering I got one of the Sephora sampler kits.  They are always so fun – so many different things to try.  With makeup, I am definitely on a pendulum, I will go for months, trying to pare down my makeup kit to the bare essentials, trying to minimalize and simplify my daily routine and life.  I will start to feel suffocated by all the little bottles and tubes and cases clogging up my bathroom shelf.  So I will purge the stuff I don’t love – giving it away or tossing it.  Then, eventually, I will swing back the other way, buying way more makeup than I can use before it gets bad.  Maybe this swing is because I turned 35.  I think it probably has more to do with me working in an office that is predominantly women, so there is A LOT of estrogen floating around, making me extra girly.  Also, since I’m trying to eat primally, I fully expect to lose 5 more pounds at least, which means it’s silly to buy any new clothes right now because I will likely need new stuff in a month or two.  So my shopping outlet (since I just bought a new purse) is forced in the makeup direction.  Enough about that.

What else did I do?  I tried to order some pork from Geest Farms, a local farm that raises non-CAFO pigs.  They are out of pretty much everything, so I have to wait until they kill some more pigs in a couple of weeks.  Poor pigs.  Poor, delicious pigs.

I did some tech maintenance – figured how to listen to the iTunes radio stations on my iPhone. Just copy the URL from the iTunes station to a text document in Dropbox, open Dropbox on your phone, click the link, and you are listening to All 90s All The Time in seconds flat.  Of course to get that to work, I had to install Dropbox on both sides of my laptop (the Windows side and the Linux side).  I also found out about East Village Radio from my bro, so I downloaded that on my phone and got to listen to some cool tunes from NYC.

I sifted through pictures on my phone that I want to try painting in watercolor and ordered them online from Walgreens.  I love their 5 X 7 prints, but they are pricey.  I found a coupon online (SITE40) and saved 40% on the prints!

Finally I rounded out the morning by doing a little eye-glass frame shopping at  This is a website where you can pick out up to 5 frames, the company will ship them to you for free, you can try them out for 5 days, and then ship them back for free. If you like any of the frames, the frames plus lenses are only $95!! Well, since I have such a strong prescription, mine would be an extra $30, so $125.  That is SOOOOO cheap for fashionable glasses.  I have 5 frames coming my way to try out.

I did a quick PEM workout (plank, pushups, and pullups), hopped in the shower, and then headed out for an 11:15 at Lillee Leighton Salon for my shellac polish. The shellac polish is is made out of polymers that harden (almost like acrylic) under a special light.  The polish stays on for at least 2 weeks.  The application process is a little time-consuming because there are 3 or 4 coats that need to be put on.  Also Kristin, the girl who did my polish, is very fastidious about not getting polish on my skin, which is hard to do because my nails are pretty short.  She did a great job, and she only charges $20.  Plus, with the first visit, you get cuticle/nail oil which you are supposed to apply 2 times per day.  Supposedly it soaks through the polish and moisturizes and strengthens the nail underneath. Kristin even told me how to remove the polish myself.  While she only charges $5 for removal (other salons charge up to $15), she said you can do it at home the “ghetto” way.  Soak cotton balls in pure acetone, and leave them on the nail for 10 minutes.  She said you can wrap tin foil around the nail to keep the cotton ball sealed on there.  When you pull the ball off, the polish should come with it.  Anyway, the polish looks great.  You can see a picture in my Instagram feed to the right.  Next time I have it done, however, I will be more careful about doing a pre-manicure at home.  I didn’t do a great job filing my nails, and I didn’t have my cuticles pushed back to where I wanted them.  So, that’s my advice.  If you’re going to get this done – prep your nails first (or get the full manicure with the shellac polish).  Also, it sounds as if a lot of places don’t do the whole process correctly (I think there was a basecoat, a very light buff, a removal of the buffed materials with an alcohol swab, two coats of polish, then a removal of “stickiness” with another alcohol swab, then the cuticle oil.  And between each coat, the nails went into the “oven” to bake), so be sure to go to a place that is doing it correctly.

After the polish I had lunch with a friend at Bent River (burger, no bun for me, of course).  Then I headed to Target.  I spent some time in the optical shop, looking at frames.  I found two I liked, but just the frames alone were $150 +.  I went home and found them online for 1/2 that.  I’ll have to see how the WarbyParkers do and then decide what to do.

I also transferred my generic Ortho Tri-Cyclen script from Walgreens to Target.  FYI, anyone who is on that script, Walgreen’s generic is $27/month, but Target’s is NINE DOLLARS!!  Tim and I are very frustrated with Walgreens right now because they delayed in getting doctor’s approval for Tim’s asthma inhaler, which led to a frenzied Friday night while we tried to track down a doctor to fill his prescription (which we had filled at CVS where the pharmacy staff was super nice).

I also shopped for some summer stuff (for our trip to Ocracoke).  I know it’s not for 5 months, but I’m super excited already.  I got a sun hat and a sun dress.  The hat is a keeper (so says Tim), but the sun dress makes me look preggers, so it’s going back.  Hopefully I can find something better in the next 5 months…

I got home around 3:30 and started to pull out the ingredients for Corned Beef and Cabbage, only to realize that we bought a beef brisket, not a corned beef brisket (I had to Google it to see if there was a difference).  I searched online for a good beef brisket recipe, but I just found tons of them that wanted a lot of sugar and/or whole bottles of chili sauce.  I finally hit upon this Paula Deen recipe.  I left out the sugar and instead rubbed the brisket with some honey.  I didn’t have any beef broth, so I used chicken broth.  The brisket wasn’t ready in time for supper last night, but we did try a little slice when it finished up.  It was spicy and delicious.  I can’t wait to eat it today.

Then I opened a bottle of wine and started watching Beautiful Girls.  It was a very laid-back movie, which totally fit my mood.

Thanks to my employer for giving me the day off.  I had a wonderful, enjoyable day.