Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Charity Table

We went out for lunch over the weekend, and the restaurant had such a great idea for charity that I had to share.

We were about to be seated when I asked if there was a window seat available. She said there is one table open by the window, but it's the charity table.

The what?

The charity table is a 6 person table by the window. It costs the party $5 to sit there, with the $5 (tax deductible, of course) going towards a local kids' charity. It's also the only window seat they'll take reservations for. We said we'd be quite happy with that, so we got a nice view, a semi-private table (it's slightly walled off, decorated with pictures of the kids it benefits), and gave a little extra. Not bad!

I thought this was such a brilliant idea. $5 sounds like such a small add-on when you're going out to a restaurant, especially if you're at a table with 4-6 people. What an easy, quick way to raise money for charity!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Quick Update on the Oprah Puppy Mill Show

You've caught me watching Oprah again, but it's OK because this time there was a short update on the Puppy Mill Show.

A shelter or rescue (not sure which) in Richmond, VA, reported 330+ spay/neuter appointments were made immediately following the Oprah show. They also adopted out 30+ animals. Oprah said that show got the most feedback of any show in the past 2 years.

Good news! :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Being Happier at Work (and In General)

I watched another Oprah show last week. The episode was about people who hate their jobs, and Marcus Buckingham, a guy who's considered a job guru. This one just happened to catch my eye because it was supposed to help people feel more happy and satisfied with their jobs. I don't hate my job, but I'm always open to finding out how to improve any situation.

Doesn't it always seem like the secrets to all these things are just common sense? And yet we still don't seem to figure it out? A lot of what Marcus Buckingham seemed to talk about was finding your strengths...not just what you're good at, but what makes you feel good when you're doing it. I hope I got that right, anyway. An example he gave was when your kid comes home with a report card with 2 As and 2 Fs, what do you focus on? The answer is the As. You shouldn't ignore the Fs, but you should encourage and focus on the subjects that received As.

So what do you do when you're one of the majority of people who hates their job? Marcus Buckingham had these little notebooks where on each page you wrote what you loathed or what you loved about things that were within your control, not things that you couldn't do anything about. People were able to see ways to take control of their jobs, when they should change jobs, and how to prioritize.

You can participate in Marcus Buckingham's online workshop for free and at your own pace here. Apparently it's also available on iTunes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

heaven under our feet

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
-Henry David Thoreau

I hope everyone had a lovely Earth Day!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Of Course I Did Gardening This Weekend

Due to a cold I was fighting and some weird weather, I didn't do much gardening this weekend, but I still did some. The hubby finished the paver patio we'd be working on with the help of a friend. It looks quite nice! The reason I mention it is because I put some magenta, blue, and white petunias in a nice new planter to frame one side of it. ;P I also added some soil, fertilizer, and grass seed in front of the patio area to fill in some empty patches. I also added some more grass seed to that big empty bed (from moving the roses)...we'd already put some down but I want it to be nice and thick with lawn rather than weeds. ;P Hubby mowed the lawn too! What a nice guy! Now I think 99% of my focus will be that veggie garden. Oh! And my sweet peas are sprouting! :)

I also got another kangaroo paw - this time it's a yellow one. It didn't have a tag, so I'm not sure of the variety. I think there's one called "Bush Gold" - that may be it. They're pretty cool looking plants!

Today we saw a blue jay attacking a squirrel. I don't know what that squirrel did to deserve that! Got to close to a nest, I assume.

How's everybody else's gardening going?

Doctor Who Extravaganza!

This was a Doctor Who weekend! The season finale on BBC America was on Saturday, yet I didn't bother watching it. Why? Because it was on the Sci-Fi channel the week before. What was the Sci-Fi channel airing this week? THE NEW SEASON!! :) Friday night's episode was the Christmas episode for the most recent season (already aired in the UK). The episode was bad, to be honest, but it starred Kylie Minogue in a cute but dorky role and IS THE START OF THE NEW SEASON!! :) For all you Doctor Who fans, it's on Sci-Fi on Friday nights at 9pm Eastern. This Friday, the 25th, is the first "real" episode of the season, and we'll be seeing the return of Donna (Catherine Tate) from the previous Christmas special. I'm really looking forward to this season.

Not only did we have all kinds of Doctor Who goodness, but The Doctor himself, David Tennant, was on The Graham Norton Show on Saturday. He and Jo Brand were hilarious.

But it doesn't end there!

The Sci-Fi channel has also started airing The Sarah Jane Adventures, a spin off of Doctor Who. This is the first season of the show, and it has already aired in the UK. Sarah Jane Smith was an accomplice of The Doctor in the 70s. She's now an adult and looking after a teenage boy whom she adopted. I missed the first episode, so I don't know much background other than that. After watching Friday's episode, I'll definitely keep watching. The show is pretty tame without being TOO cheesy, focused more on the teenage characters and fighting aliens, so I think it could easily be a family show (though don't hold me to that! ;P). I guess it's a nice break from all the crime dramas and shows like Torchwood that I watch.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lost Ramblings Just Because

I've been blanking a bit when trying to decide what to write about next. I have a few topics in mind, but they would take some effort to write about and I'm sick AGAIN and feeling very meh AGAIN. Just sick enough to be annoying and make me grumpy.

So today I thought I'd just ramble on a bit about Lost. Less than a week till its return! Yay! I've seen some spoilage, and I have to say, I think the next episode will be really good and really exciting. I won't spoil anything for anyone else except to say that there's a SNOW GLOBE involved. Kidding!

I'm dying to learn more about Daniel Faraday, like why he has a caretaker and what his job is for this whole freighter mission. If the people behind the freighter have bad intentions for the island, I think it's interesting that they bring someone along who seems to see what's 'weird' about the island right away - and he doesn't seem to be entirely lacking morally, so who knows what he'll decide to do with what he learns.

Let's see...what else...I'm also looking forward to learning who was in the coffin. It's funny because other mysteries on Lost make me curious and exciting, but for some reason I've been DYING to know who was in the coffin. That's one mystery that just really gets me. I hope we learn more about Libby too - she's way to involved between the sailboat stuff and the mental institution - there's got to be more to her.

I really couldn't care less who Kate chooses. That love triangle is the least interesting thing on the show for me. Not because it's a romance - I like other pairings and romances on the show - but Kate's character annoys me and it seems like all she cares about is Jack or Sawyer, Jack or Sawyer.

I'm curious how much Penny and her father know about each other's searches...and how much Widmore knows about Desmond's whereabouts. (Or if he made that happen!)

Anybody else have anything they're looking forward to or hoping to see?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Done.

I read Gordon Ramsay's autobiography, Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection over the weekend. It's a fairly quick read (I don't read fast) and, well, I wanted to finish it so I could take some books back to the library.

What an interesting life! He's nothing if not 100% committed to hard work and a drive to succeed. He certainly wasn't dealt the easiest hand in life. The comparison between him and his brother is an interesting one. You have two sons from the same family with the same horribly abusive father - one spends his life driven (almost compulsively) to succeed, while the other becomes a heroin addict. Of the two daughters, one (luckily?) gets sent off to a foster family around 16 after being kicked out by their father and seems to come out the better for it, the other ends up pregnant and out of the house at a young age. The girls weren't discussed as much, so I can't remember what else there was to their story. Still, it makes you wonder what it takes to overcome adversity - they all came from the same stock with very different outcomes.

I can't say I really identify with Ramsay, not just because of his family life, but also because I'm just not that driven, type A, aggressive personality. Perhaps that's what made him so fascinating to me though - I love learning about how other people tick. I like how frank he is, too. I know he isn't loved by everyone, but I think his book shows that he's not quite the self-important jerk some people think he is. It seems like one of those instances where the passion and confidence are interpreted as arrogance. He can be pretty funny and self-deprecating at times in his book, though, and I found that endearing. And who doesn't love when he calls people "YOU DONUT!" on TV? :)

My only complaint was that chapters are arranged more by subject matter, so time sometimes jumped around a bit. I'd still recommend the book, though. I don't read many (any) autobiographies, so I don't know how good it is compared to others, but it's a quick read and very interesting.

The Weekend: Torchwood and Gardening

Torchwood was really cool this weekend. It was sort of a flashback episode explaining how Captain Jack Harkness collected or hired the current members of Torchwood (aside from Gwen, whose beginning we saw with the beginning of the show). Owen's background was particularly touching and interesting. I'm excited for the finale! It should be good.

This weekend the hubby gave me a lot of help with the lawn (mowing, spreading fertilizer, seeding). My sweet peas are starting to sprout! :) I cleaned off the patio furniture to get ready for any future warm days. I'll see how the seeding goes with the lawn, but aside from that, I think my last major project is the veggie patch I'm trying to plan. It's exciting when things are coming together! My hubby will soon be doing a lot of work on the patio extension, and I think it'll look great when it's done. Maybe one day we'll be able to just hang out and enjoy it all. ;)

Oh...I still would like to get a mason bee house. I had a bird house hanging in a tree but the twine broke, so I need to get that back up, too. I'd love to have a little bird family in the yard!

Criminal Minds & A Quote

The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.
-Ben Okri

I heard this quote at the end of Criminal Minds and was really touched by it. When I looked it up, I discovered a wiki of Criminal Minds Quotes - a pretty cool link if you're a fan of the show like I am!

Friday, April 11, 2008

how do you make others feel?

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
-Maya Angelou

I really like this...keeps us a bit more aware of how we treat others.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wear Orange on April 10 for ASPCA Day

Tomorrow, April 10, is the day to wear orange if you want to show your support for the ASPCA!

Favorite Day of the Week Poll

I need to start keeping track of these little polls I do because now I'm wondering if I already did this one. :/

I've always liked Thursdays because I like the anticipation of the weekend! :D The fact that Lost is on Thursdays only makes me like it more. ;)

Connect and Laugh

Longevity seems to be a hot topic right now - it's all over Martha Stewart, 20/20, the Internet, and I'm sure many other news/talk shows. The qualities that always stand out to me for increasing longevity are connections, humor, and positive outlook. If you don't care about living a longer life, then you probably don't care about these things either! But I think those are all things to live a more fulfilling life, not just a longer life.

I don't think people were meant to live solitary lives. Some people may be more solitary than others, but I don't think that means they should deprive themselves of any connections with others. Staying connected with others (and nature) makes us feel more like we have a place - our place that only WE could occupy. We also need others for support, feedback, enhancing experiences, as well as returning all those favors and giving back.

Mental outlooks greatly affect us physically, and having a positive outlook and the ability to laugh and enjoy life makes it that much easier for our bodies physically. Stress and negativity can manifest itself in aches, pains, illnesses, etc. Laughing just plain makes you feel good (unless your abs are sore from working out as mine have been, in which case it's quite painful to laugh ;P).

What do you think? Does this stuff matter? What else contributes to a long, fulfilling life?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weekend TV

Just a few tidbits from the Idiot Box this weekend.

Hello! Topless guys making out on Torchwood! God I love that show. The episode was kind of lacking though.

The Graham Norton show was hilarious with Dustin and Lisa Hoffman. They're pretty cute together. I'll admit - that Mika song "Love Me" is like a train wreck to me - I can't look away! He was pretty funny on the show too. The hidden camera in the men's bathroom bit was funny AND gross. ;P

Numb3rs is back!! I love that show. And not just because I'm a geek. I love the cheesy little endings it always has and I love Colby.

Hell's Kitchen also returned this week. I like Gordon Ramsay so much more after watching The F Word (not that I didn't like him before). I've also started reading his autobiography Roasting in Hell's Kitchen (more about that later). After reading the first chapter about his dad, I'm quite impressed by what he has accomplished.

Ocean's Twelve was on tv so I caught a few snippets. I like all the Ocean's movies. (Shout out to FB!) This one is pretty funny with Julia Roberts' character pretending to pass as Julia Roberts. I love Matt Damon too. (MATT DAMON!)

Well this was certainly a lame post! Oh well! The weekend's a time to be lazy, right? heh

500 Visits to My Little Corner of the Web

Some one of my visits—one of the reasons I'm visiting here is to ask the question, you know, to people, because if there's moving too slow or people are saying one thing and the other thing is not happening, now's the time to find out.
-President Bush

Thanks for visiting. ;)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Thoughts After Oprah

Armed with a hanky, I watched Oprah's show on puppy mills. The first thing I did when it was over was give my dogs a treat. ;P It was good how it showed not only puppy mills, but also the effect down the road on overpopulation. I'm glad they pointed out towards the end that puppy mills are not just in PA - they're everywhere.

It's easy to help the cause even if you are not interested in getting a pet for yourself. If anyone you know wants to buy a pet, warmly suggest that they go to a shelter or rescue. They were right on the show - I've seen MANY purebred puppies available from rescue groups. To find one, simply google the breed name and "rescue." You can also donate money and/or food to shelters and rescue groups. Or simply show your support by signing the pledge with the HSUS not to support pet stores that sell puppies (by purchasing other supplies as well) or internet breeders.

The AKC made a comment on the show about finding responsible breeders. I agree that responsible breeders are doing it out of care and love of a breed, but people who are looking for breeders must be extremely cautious - forged AKC papers, fake "Kennel Clubs", and false health guarantees are used by irresponsible breeders to promote their puppies. One way to find a reputable breeder is through a rescue group that deals with that breed. Also, like it was said on Oprah, be sure to check out the breeder in person. One person from a local rescue group once told me that reputable breeders don't need to advertise through websites. They often have waiting lists for future litters because they have built a reputation for being quality breeders.

From a newsletter sent out by the HSUS immediately following the show:

  1. If you are thinking of bringing a new dog into the family, or know someone who is, request a free copy of our puppy buyer's guide for information on how to find reputable breeders, shelters, and rescue groups.

  2. Ask your federal legislators to crack down on puppy mills.

  3. Get the word out about puppy mills: write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Visit to educate yourself.

  4. Download one of our Stop Puppy Mills campaign badges or banners to your own MySpace or Facebook page, blog, or website.

  5. Did you adopt your canine companion from a rescue group or shelter? Then order our Proud to Adopt care package.

  6. Download Puppy Mill Cruelty flyers and post them or give them out at your neighborhood dog park, to engage fellow dog owners and help spread the word.

  7. Help us place advertisements and billboards to spread the word about puppy mill cruelty.

For more information:
HSUS site on puppy mills
ASPCA site on puppy mills
Info and links from Oprah about puppy mills

...and I'm spent.

Toilet Drops

Speaking of e.l.f., I just got a newsletter from them. Some of the items in it were topics that were being discussed over at the website. This one struck me as particularly funny:

"Ok this may be a little TMI (too much information) but have you ever had to go #2 in a public place or boyfriends apartment but been mortified about the smell? Well fret no more because I found the perfect solution! Kobayashi toiled deodorizer drops are the perfect purse size tool. Just a few drops in the toilet and your #2 will smell no more! So relax and go when you gotta go! So ladies, what do you think, a must have or a must not?"

If you went to the website and read the description, you'd see that it works like a ninja! :D

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Oprah Show on Puppy Mills

I just received this email from the Humane Society of the United States describing an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that will be airing tomorrow, Friday the 4th, in which Lisa Ling exposes puppy mills. Wayne Pacelle, the President and CEO of the HSUS will also be making an appearance.

I would not recommend watching this with small children, but if you can handle it, I urge everyone to watch it. It's going to be disgusting and horrific, and I'm sure I will be crying my way through it :/ but it worries me that people don't realize how far these despicable people go to produce animals SOLELY TO MAKE MONEY. I find it an absolute shame to the human race that people can treat an animal like a reproduction machine, allowing the animals to exist in a cramped world of nothing but pain and filth. If you are purchasing a pet from a pet store, it likely came from a puppy mill. "Puppy mills" are also not restricted to puppies - I would hesitate before purchasing any species or breed from a pet store.

I once tried contacting a local news station to do a story on puppy mills after seeing some puppies in very poor health conditions at a pet store. Working with a local rescue group, I exchanged numerous emails with a reporter, even giving her directions to a rumored puppy mill, but nothing ever came from it. I am so happy that Oprah, with her fame and influence, is giving a platform to an issue that seems to be "out of sight, out of mind." It is such a needless, pointless, inhumane crime committed by greedy, cruel people.

(see my Thoughts After Oprah post for more info)


For the past couple weeks, I've had the theme song to the Saturday Night Live MacGruber sketch running through my head. I don't know any lyrics other than "MACGRUBER!" because they change with the episode so it's been pretty annoying. ;P It's still a funny sketch though. Watch one with Jonah Hill here. (I'll try to find a version to embed later.)

Look Ma! I'm Famous!

The lovely Fabulously Broke in the City decided to interview me (me!) for her blog. How fun is that? :)

Read the interview here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Beauty This 'n' That

There are a few beauty steals that I have been liking a lot lately, so I thought I'd pass my opinion along because...well...I can. :)

St. Ives Apricot Cleanser/Mask
I got this product at Big Lots for $2. (I think it was 'old' packaging.) I love St. Ives products, so I was excited to try this one for CHEAP. You can give yourself a little scrub and rinse OR apply a thin layer to your face, let the shower steam work some magic, then scrub and rinse. I like having the option to use it both ways, and it seems to be agreeing with my sensitive skin. You can feel like you're pampering yourself even when you're rushed! I think this will become a permanent addition to my beauty arsenal.

There are a few e.l.f. (eyes lips face) products I like. The All Over Color Stick is a nice product for quickly getting ready. I use Pink Lemonade as a blush and Persimmon on my eyelids to make me look more 'awake' when I don't have the time (or desire) to do much else with my makeup. I also really like the Luscious Liquid Lipstick (I think it used to be called the Moisture Care something-or-other). It has a decent flavor and is easy to apply without worrying about doing too much. I have it in Baby Lips, Cherry Tart, and Ruby Slipper. I have a lot of other e.l.f. products that I like (eyes, lips, brushes), so if you want any opinions, feel free to ask.

One of the things that I love about e.l.f. is that each product costs just $1. The quality of the makeup I've tried is fine, packaging is pretty basic, and the quantity is just right for me. It does seem like you get a tiny bit less than other makeup brands (not much less though), but I don't mind because I have NEVER used a makeup product to the end before having to toss it. The cheap cost and great deals that come through if you sign up for their emails make it an affordable way to have some decent makeup and try new looks. Check the website for stores near you that would carry it (it's not readily available everywhere).

Big Lots
I have to give props to Big Lots here because they are an excellent source for cheap beauty products. I was running out of things like moisturizer and face wash, and Big Lots is a good way to try out new products without breaking the bank. I found e.l.f. products there for 10% off (a 2 lip gloss package for $1.80). ;D I'm all about finding deals and bargains! :)