RAVE: My Water Cup

I just LOVE my new water cup and I think everyone else I know should buy one too. Here's why:

1. It has a straw.
I'm not sure about you, but I tend to drink way more water with a straw than without one. Drinking more water is always a good thing.

2. It's reusable.
So obviously, it's better for the environment than most alternatives. You know me, Ms. Super Green-and-all.

3. The lid screws on.
Which means it's fairly secure and mostly spill free (except when cats knock it on the floor and some dribbles out of the straw)

4. It has a built-in thermal holder (the brown thing in the middle).
This keeps my hand nice and warm even when my drink is super chilly. I don't have to touch condensation. And in general, I think it gives me a better grip so I'm less likely to drop my water.

5. It's BPA-free.
I didn't know this when I bought it. And I can't even tell you what BPA is. But my guess is it's a good thing that this cup is free of it.

6. It's dishwasher friendly.
So many special drink-holders these days need to be hand-washed. In my book, that's a reason not to buy something.

What more could you really ask? Buy yours here.

RANDOM: A Feast for Kings & Queens

After a fun weekend with mom, I fell a little behind on the usual upkeep of life. You know, the really fun stuff, like grocery shopping and laundry. Which isn't really that big of a deal...I definitely have enough clothes to last me a solid 3 weeks without doing laundry and I am more than willing to eat out (though I should probably get creative with the contents of my freezer).
But here's where the problem came in:

My cats ran out of food!!!

Now granted, they still had dry food, but their beloved meow-til-they're-blue-in-the-face-til-you-feed-them-some-wet-food was gone!

I was a bit perplexed on how to handle this. Do I trek out to the grocery store in rush hour? Do I put up with their incessant meowing and pathetic little faces? If you have cats, you know that the second one really wasn't an option. And then I had a brilliant idea! Having dragged us out to eat for every meal over the weekend just so we could eat outside produced A LOT of leftovers.
One of them being filet mignon!

That's right folks, my cats ate like a King & Queen tonight.

And for those of you who think I am beyond ridiculous for doing so should really come over and listen to these meows. You can almost hear them saying "I will hate you if you don't feed me NOW." After hearing those meows and taking a glimpse of their pathetic, sad little eyes, even you doubters would feed them hot-off-the grill filet mignon every night for the rest of their lives!

And for the record, I realize that pulling this kind of behavior with kids would make me an overindulgent (or really bad) parent.
But what can I say? I have a heart.

RAVE: Spring!

My mom visited this past weekend on probably one of the most beautiful weekends we've had in Philadelphia since we've moved here. Since we don't have an outdoor space to hang out in at our place, I spent the whole weekend taking her (and sometimes Mike) around town anywhere where we could be outside. While it wasn't always the most ideal conditions (thanks again all you cigar smokers) - I felt the need to soak it all in!

Once again, I've forgotten to take pics when my friends and family visit, so I have no pics to show from our time together. But, I do have a lovely pic of the daffodils that are sprouting up all around the city...

Spring- you've been missed and I'm happy you're finally here!
Stay as long as you want.

RANT: Growing OUT of my Fat Pants

Fat Pants.
We all have them.
They're supposed to be trustworthy.
They're supposed to fit loosely.
They're supposed to make you feel like the skinniest girl in the world.
Well, I got a little too comfortable in my fat pants. In fact, I bought a few pairs of them telling myself I'll get back to my "normal" pants after Christmas.
And now...
I've started to grow out of most of them!

I wish I could tell you it was the stress of the move or the lack of gym membership...but it's not. I've knowingly ate too much and exercised too little for way too long. So in an effort to get my butt into gear, I share with you my fat pants journey:

Left to Right: Notice the black pants still have their tags on. These are my "dream" pants, they've never actually been fat pants, but I still consider them part of "the journey." They're high quality lined-black pants from Banana Republic purchased over three years ago (for $20!). I was so close to actually being able to wear them at the time of purchase and thought buying them would give me the extra motivation. I guess it didn't work. The gray pants in the middle are my old fat pants. They used to be so loose they'd slide down my hips when I walked. I should have known something was up when they started to actually fit, and then when they started to give me the oh-so-hated muffin top. And now, the light gray pants have taken over the coveted fat-pants spot. Notice how the pockets are protruding and they are wrinkled in the thigh area? Ladies, for the record, that is the first sign your pants are too tight! Do something about it before it's too late and you have to add a 4th pair to your fat-pants story!

So, here's to growing out of the light gray pants (in the good kind of way), getting the dark-gray pants back to fat-pants status...and maybe one day just plain fitting into the black ones! I'll keep you posted.

p.s. I dare you to google image "fat pants." I would have loved to post it here but feared my blog would be shut down :) Instead, this one seemed safer...

RAVE: Lucky Dog

Tonight we went to the Lucky Dog Saloon & Grille for the first time. Cute, huh? As imagined, lots of ceramic and stuffed dogs were used to create their eclectic decor. It was a fun atmosphere with good people and good food. We'll definitely go back again!

I especially loved this sign they had hanging in the bar:

Hopefully we made them happy when we arrived, and not when we left!

RAVE: Jillian

If you're like me, you'd much rather be outside exercising than being cooped up inside doing a work-out DVD. Well, when you get home at o'dark thirty every night, it makes exercising outside a little challenging...and the cold and snow doesn't help either!

After trying a few DVDs, I have found a favorite! Jillian Michaels 30-Day shred. The DVD is broken into 3 levels of workouts 20-minutes each. I don't know about you, but it's a lot easier to convince myself to do a 20-minute workout than 45 minutes like most at-home workouts.

For those skeptics out there thinking, "Can a 20-minute work-out really be that effective?" I say, ABSOLUTELY! Now, it's not because I've seen the results (that would require consistency). Had I been a bit more faithful (and ate a few less brownies), I have no doubt that I would be looking like Jillian today. She kicks your butt.

But I must admit, as quick and effective as the workout is, the boredom factor is still there (thus the lack of consistency). But last week, I had a brilliant idea! I'll play the DVD on my laptop while watching whatever show on tv that will keep my mind off of my burning muscles and heavy breathing. It worked beautifully! I've been able to convince myself to work-out much more consistently. If you have a laptop - I highly recommend this method of exercise.

I'll keep you posted on the "results." And trust me, there's work to do. I'm starting to grow out of my fat-pants (more on that later!). But with Jillian's help, I'm sure I'll get there in no-time. She's crazy tough. She even freaks out Izzy!

RAVE: Whole Foods

I stepped foot in this store for the first time last Sunday (to buy the beets). Let me just say, it was BEAUTIFUL. Every fruit or vegetable I have ever looked for could be found here. And not only could it be found, but it looked healthy!

But what really got me was that it was the first mainstream grocery store to carry a fully ripe plaintain. I was in heaven. I went home and fried-me-up some plaintain. It had been way too long since I'd had some. So good...so, so, good.

(For those of you who haven't yet been introduced to the wonderful world of plaintains, the pic below shows you what it looks like before it's peeled, sliced, and fried...and the last pic is the final delicious product!)

The marketing team over at Whole Foods did a great job putting that store together. The entire experience got me and I can't WAIT to shop there again!

RAVE: Puppies!

Last year, my co-worker sent me one of the best links ever. It was of a group of puppies who had a constant camera on them. I think the story was so that the owners could keep an eye on them even when they were at work. Well, it took off like wild fire and soon more than just the owners were watching. Perhaps you even saw them? If not, no need to worry. There is a new litter!

How cute are they?

They're starting to look more like this...

Watch the puppies here.

I tend to keep the link open in a browser when I'm at work. When I feel myself getting a little stressed or frustrated, I look at the puppies and it makes me smile every time. Hope they do the same for you!

RAVE: Peppermint Tea

Have you tried peppermint tea before? If you haven't, you're missing out! It is fabulous. It's not quite as good as restaurant-brewed Original Good Earth tea...but it definitely beats brewed-at-home Original Good Earth tea.

I had been drinking peppermint tea for the last few years each time I went to the hair salon, but every time I asked what I was drinking they told me it was "special aveda" tea made from black licorice. I HATE black licorice, but I loved the tea.

Clearly, I should have prodded more, because I recently visited a new salon here in Philly and they offered me tea, and of the options given, I chose peppermint. Imagine my surprise when it tasted just like the "special aveda" tea! Which by the way, Aveda sells on their website for a hefty $14 for 20 tea bags.

You're not fooling me anymore. I'm sticking to my $2 grocery store peppermint tea that tastes just as delightul.

RANDOM: Signs in Work Bathrooms

Okay, so I should start this post by saying that when I started this blog, it was my plan to never write about ANYTHING involving my work. I've learned from fellow bloggers that have gone before me. Blogging about work = no good. But, hopefully this is a safe exception?

I could just claim that I stumbled upon this sign in any old bathroom. But, I didn't. It's in the bathroom at my work, and I LOVE it. I have no clue who put it up. But it's hilarious. What gets me about this sign isn't so much the overall message, but the obvious haste and frustration with which it was put up. And I should admit...I've been there, who hasn't? It's the worst sitting down on the seat and getting a surprise from the person who's been there before you. That would make anyone want to put up a sign. I fear I wouldn't have been nearly as clever as this person though... "Really, what else is there to say!"

What do you think, is it worth submitting to passiveaggressivenotes.com?