Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Conversation With My Cleaning Products

Before kids, I was the "Queen of Clean".  

Once a week, I would religiously clean my floors, dust, vacuum, Clorox, etc.  I was the kind of person who made sure the display towels hung side by side at the same length.  

Some might say I was "Anal Retentive".  I prefer "Highly Organized".  (Eh, To-may-toe, To-mah-toe.)

Anyways, I have spoken before about how it is cleaning your house after kids. Below is a recent conversation between myself and my cleaning products.

Me: Hey, how's it going?

Pledge: *Silence.*

Me: Look, I know it's been a while.

Pledge: A while? Try 2 months.

Me: I have been so busy.

Pledge: Really? Not even a little end table?

Me: I mean it's crazy!  I barely have time for the Clorox wipes -

Pledge: Oh...I see. You have time for the Clorox wipes.

Clorox wipes:  Ha ha!  She loves me more.

Me: (To Clorox wipes.) Be quiet!  (To Pledge.) It's not like that.

Pledge: What is it "like"?

Me: *Sigh.* I'll try to do better.

Pledge: Yeah, yeah.

Sassy cleaning products!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Interview With Vogue

Vogue: Let's talk about what you're wearing today.

Me: I'm wearing skinny jeans, black and white plaid flannel shirt, grey leopard print scarf and motorcycle boots.

Vogue: Trendy. Very nice.

Me: Thanks. It's my one ace-in-the-hole.

Vogue: So tell me a little about your style.

Me: My style?

Vogue: Yes, your style. For example, think of what you would wear on a typical day.

Me: Whatever is clean.

Vogue: And what would those clean clothes look like?

Me: A long sleeved t-shirt and jeans. My typical momiform.

Vogue: *Horrified.* Did you say 'momiform'? As in 'mom uniform'.

Me: Pretty witty, right?

Vogue: That's awful.

Me: Oh, come on. Think of those doctors and nurses in their scrubs. I think they rock those pretty well. And so comfortable. Maybe I should wear scrubs everyday...

Vogue: Okay, switching topics, how about the summertime? What accessories do you wear?

Me: Um, do kids count?

Vogue: *Eyeroll.* How about a long necklace?

Me: So the kids will try to swing on it? No thanks.

Vogue: How about cute, dangly earrings?

Me: So they can be ripped out of my ear lobes? I'll pass.

Vogue: Do you at least have a skin care regime?

Me: Oh, oh! Yes, I do! I use First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream!

Vogue: Now, we are getting somewhere. And what else?

Me: Um, I wash my face in the shower?

Vogue: With?

Me: Soap?

Vogue: *Sighs.* I think that's a wrap.

Me: *Nudges with shoulder.* Hey, but I do look super cute and trendy today, right?

Vogue: I'll give you that.

Okay, that wasn't really an interview with Vogue. But that is how I imagine it would go down.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Nothing Tastes As Good As Thin Feels Except Maybe Some Nachos

Would you like to know what lies in the deepest, darkest corner of my mind? What tries to hide amongst the cobwebs and the dust bunnies?


No, you heard right.

It's no secret that I am not the healthiest eater out there.

If I get to choose between a cheeseburger with fries or grilled chicken with veggies, I'll choose the burger every time.

Growing up, when it was my Dad's weekend, we used to go to McDonald's for A LOT of our meals, so much so, that the lady in the drive-thru asked my dad out. On a date. 

True story.

With my mom being a single mom and working two jobs, our dinners usually consisted of things that were quick like frozen pizza or sandwiches.

So learning to eat a variety of foods and making sure to eat lots of fruits and veggies, well, not so much.

In an effort to loose some weight and eat healthier, I started counting my calories last summer. I started my caloric adventure towards the end of July and am still at it. (Note: I did not want to starve myself so I cut back around 300 calories from the recommended daily caloric intake.)

I'm not gonna lie.

That first month was rough.

Not only had I been eating way too much but I was eating all bad stuff so my body was like, "What the heck is this?! Don't make me cut a b*#@%$!"

But slowly my body began to enjoy the good stuff, like fruits and veggies. And my body didn't even miss the fast food.

Counting my calories really lets me see what I am putting into my body. Even if you just tried it for a week, it is an eye opening experience to really examine what you are eating. A food journal would accomplish the same result.

Before when I would read the nutritional label for the amount of calories, I would consider it, then go ahead and eat my desired portion.

For example, I love mayo. And I always put mayo on my sandwich. But I never measured the amount.

Now, I measure out a serving size (which is a tablespoon) and I use that. Now I know for sure how many calories I am having.

For me, the great thing about counting calories is that I can eat what I want as long as it's within my daily amount. We have also found if we make something at home, like pizza, instead of ordering out, we can control what and how much goes into our food.

I've tried diets and they don't work for me. Whatever they tell you to omit that is what my body craves.

The result is that I have lost weight and am maintaining my lower weight while at the same time eating healthier.

How am I eating healthier?

Really, it's just simple math.

If you are cutting back on your calories in an effort to lose weight, you eat less. Fruits and especially veggies have less calories so you can eat more of them.

Once you lose the weight, you can slowly start to add more to your caloric intake to see how much you can consume to maintain your ideal weight.

Since I am eating healthier, this means my kids are eating healthier too. (Okay maybe they are not eating veggies all the time but I am offering it to them.)

Life is an adventure. And food is part of that adventure. Yes, you want to eat food that is healthy but sometimes you really want that cheeseburger. (If you are like me, then you want that cheeseburger A LOT.)

And you can have that cheeseburger.

Just not everyday.

Everything in moderation, right? (Except hugs and kisses. You can give and take as many of those as you want. Especially from your babies.)

So while getting dressed and putting on my smaller pants size, I decide that nothing tastes as good as thin feels...except maybe some nachos.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Books I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On In 2015

It's no secret that I am a book lover.

A "Bookaholic", if you will.

I just took a look at my "To Read" list on Goodreads and I have 391 listed.

Don't judge me. (Or judge me. Either way.)

Anyway, out of all of these books, there are some that I am just dying to get my hands on.

I mean I would sell little portion of my soul to get these books tomorrow.

I'm kidding! Totally kidding! (Mostly.)


But seriously, I am really excited about some of these books and I CANNOT wait to devour them.

So here is a short list (and by no means extensive) of the books I can't wait to get my hands on in 2015.

End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days, #3)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

This series, you guys. THIS SERIES.
I love this series. No doubt, one of my favorites of all time.
I love how dark and macabre this series is.
It is brutal. It is harsh. It will trample your soul.
It is also beautiful. And hopeful. And moments that take your breath away.
This is a dystopia. (Score.) And it's a series. (Squee!) And it's about angels. (Knocked it out of the park.)
If you have never read Susan Ee's Angelfall series, I challenge you to read the first book.
You will be so glad you did.
This is number one on my "To Read" list.

The Darkest Part of the Forest
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Oh, Holly. How you played with my emotions in "The Coldest Girl In Coldtown".
How you batted me around like a cat plays with a mouse.
But I guess I am a glutton for punishment because I loved it.
I loved the characters. I loved the dystopia. I loved the world you created. And, if I'm honest, I loved the vampires.
I would straight up punt a baby goat through a field goal to read this right now.
Oh look! Just got an email from the library saying this book is on the hold shelf for me.
All baby goats are safe.

Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars, #2)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Veronica Mars. VERONICA MARS.
I really don't think I need to elaborate further.

Polaris (Avalon, #2)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

The first book in the series, Avalon, reminded me a lot of the series, Firefly, and I loved that series.
Nathan Fillion.
Sci-Fi. A bunch of rag tag loners who find themselves thrown together under circumstance to create a semblance of family. All while flying on a worn out ship in outerspace, running from a ruthless crime boss, trying to find their leaders who happen to be their mom and dad.
Count me in.

The Glass Arrow
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I am a huge fan of Kristen's 'Article 5' series so I really excited to see what happens in this one.
There is a lot of positive buzz on this one.

Fall with Me (Wait for You, #4)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Oh, Jennifer. I think we all know that I would read whatever book you decided to write.
It could be named 'Dead Skunk' and I would be like "Oh my goodness! I have to read her new book! I MUST READ IT!"
True story.
Jennifer does romance like no ones business. She knocks it out of the park EVERY TIME.
Looking forward to this one like a fat kid loves cake.

Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Seraphina is the first book in this series. 
I loved it. It was so different from anything I had ever read.
It is about a young woman who is part human and part dragon in a world where the abundant humans loathe and massacre dragons.
This story reminded me of Sophie Jordan's Firelight series (which I loved) but a grown up version.
This is at at the top of my list.

Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, #2)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Rachel Hawkins wrote the 'Hex Hall' series which was a blast to read. I adored it.
I read "Rebel Belle", the first in the Rebel Belle series, and I was hooked.
It is so much fun. It is funny, sweet and touching.
I mean who can't love books that successfully combine teen angest, southern charm, Greek mythology and humor all in one.
Answer: You can't.

Crimson Bound
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Last year, I read 'Cruel Beauty' and I fell in love.
Rosamund recreates epic fairy tales in her own words with her own spin.
I cannot wait to see what ancient fairy tale she tackles in this story and how it all plays out.

Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family, #1)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

The buzz around this book is too much to pass up. Looking forward to seeing if this is as good as the hype.

Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood, #2)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

The first book in the series, Fire and Flood, was one of my favorites of last year. If this books is half as good as that one, I will be content.
Dystopia? Check. Series? Check. Romance? Check.

So what are you guys looking forward to reading this year? I'd love to hear from you.

I am always on the lookout for my next favorite book!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Life Lessons From Special Agent Oso

 Special Agent Oso
Special Agent Oso (Courtesy of Disney Junior)

Some of you with young kids may have had the pleasure (I use the term loosely) of watching Special Agent Oso on Disney Junior.

The other day the boys were watching an episode of Special Agent Oso where he helped some best friends who were moving away from each other.

In cleaning the kitchen, I overheard part of the show. It went something like this:

Kid: We need something special.

Special Agent Oso: Well, if it's special, then it has to be something big.

Kid: Not necessarily, Oso. Special things can be small too.

So this got me to thinking.

When we think about our lives, is it the big things that we remember or is it the little things?

How about the moment your significant other first kissed you?

Or the moment you found out you got the job you wanted?

Or when you stepped on the scale to discover you had lost those last 5 pounds?

Or the instant you found out that you had passed your Master's thesis exam?

Or the moment you were told that your loved one didn't have cancer?

Or when you discovered that you were pregnant?

Or when you held your child for the first time?

Or the instant you received your admission letter into the college of your choice?

Or the moment your child smiled at you for the first time?

Or when you had a horrible car crash only to be able to walk away uninjured?

Or that laugh shared reconnecting with a dear friend over dinner and drinks?

Or when your significant other asked you to marry them and be with them forever?

See, I think we can learn a lot from this Special Agent Oso episode.

Life is made up of a hundred, thousand different moments.

And these moments define us.

That is what life is all about.

It is the little moments that make up our life and make it all worth while.

So Special Agent Oso, I salute you.

Thanks for making me take a moment to really appreciate my life and all of my blessings.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Favorite Books Of 2014

So in checking out Goodreads, I discover I have read 102 books this year.

I know. I know.

*Waves.* "Hi, I'm Michelle. I'm a bookaholic."

I stay up late, huddled under my covers, desperate to find out what happens. I know I should be sleeping but...those amazing books keep me hooked until the wee hours of the morning! I JUST HAVE TO SEE HOW IT ENDS!

Who needs sleep anyway? AMIRITE?!


Sorry. I just get a little passionate when it comes to books and reading.

I have really some really good books, some okay books, a few not-so-good books and a handful of amazing ones.

So, if you are looking for a good book to read when your holed up inside due to winter weather (or just because), then pull up a chair and get comfy. I'm going to give you my two cents.

The Ward

The Ward (The Ward, #1)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

This is the author's debut novel and I think she knocked it out of the park. I liked the main character, Ren. Ren is no nonsense and does what needs to be done. But there is also a sensitive side to her that not many people see because she has to be tough to survive.
Ms. Frankel does a great job describing the world where Ren lives. Awesome! Fast paced, gritty, unique premise. Couldn't put it down. If you like a fast paced dystopian read, this one is for you.

Ignite Me

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Let me first day that this is one of my favorite series of all time. If you have never read this series, start with Shatter Me (book 1).
I love the character of Juliette. I love seeing how she changes from a scared, lonely, insecure girl in book 1 to a strong, confident, determined woman in book 3.
Oh yeah, she does have superpowers too which is pretty much bad ass.
Of course, there is also a love triangle which I am always a sucker for. This one is done quite well and has a lot of surprises.
The prose is beautiful. Ms. Mafi really has a way with words. She really gets to your emotions and makes you feel things. Oh, the feels in this book!
If you like superheroes, romance or dystopia, you will love this series.

White Hot Kiss

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Jennifer L. Armentrout is a master of paranormal romance. She is one of my favorite authors. If you get one of her books, you know you are in for a good read.
The way she develops these characters and their relationship. The way she adds a paranormal element and creates a whole new mythology surrounding it. The way she creates the snarky dialogue and the way she amps up the sexual tension between the main characters. Whew! It is scorchingly hot.
Get this one. Like yesterday.


Ex-Heroes (Ex-Heroes, #1)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

If you are a fan of zombies and/or superheroes, you will love this book. I liked the tone of this book which was no nonsense-simply stating the facts-kind of voice. The book is told in present day but there is some flashing back to events prior to the collapse of civilization. I really liked the character of St. George and seeing all of the different super powers that ordinary people ended up with.
There are kick-butt male and female heroes which I think it awesome. I love me some female superheroes.
And the idea of turning a movie set into a safe haven, brilliant! Love the concept.
I've already got the next book on my library "Read Request" list.

Fire and Flood

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood, #1)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

It's no secret that I enjoy dystopia books and series. So guess what?! This is both! 
This is dystopia done right. It has "America but not really America because there something traumatic has happened to change everyone'e lives". It has characters that we care so much about, Chimeras (Chimeras!), romance, action, adventure and a magical race with thousands of participants with only one winner who will receive the cure for the disease that ails their loved one. Sounds good right?!
The next one in this series is at the top of my "To Read" list.

In A Handful Of Dust

In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink, #2)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

When I read Ms. McGinnis' "Not A Drop To Drink", I was floored. It was unlike anything I had ever read. It was brutal, barren, harsh yet tender and innocent. The characters and the premise were so unique.
I just knew I would have to read any other book she wrote because it would be awesome. And it was was.
This book did not disappoint.
This book could be considered a second book in the series but you could read it as a stand alone.
I highly recommend reading "Not A Drop To Drink" first. And be sure you have lots of time because you won't want to put it down.


Wild (The Ivy Chronicles, #3)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Ah, Sophie. Sophie. Sophie. Sophie. You, my dear, are a delight to read. 
Ms. Jordan has a way with contemporary romance that will pull you in, make you laugh, get your heart racing, reduce you to tears and envelope you in a hug to make everything all right. She is a master at romance. 
This entire series, The Ivy Chronicles, focuses on a group of close female friends who go to college together as well as their romantic relationships.
This book is such a fun read as well as the others in this series. I always enjoy her books.

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars, #1)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

First off, if you do not love Veronica Mars, we cannot be friends.
I mean Veronica Mars! How can you not love her?!
This book is the first book by the brilliant Rob Thomas about Veronica. It picks up where we left off after the movie.
I love Veronica because she is snarky, smart and doesn't take anybody's crap. She has had a rough life but she still is a good person and does the right thing. If you ask her to solve a mystery, there is no doubt she will.
And Veronica and Logan - *swoon* - I love them. It is like they are bad for each other but they feel this pull towards each other and find it hard to stay away.
Looking forward to the next one.

The Falconer

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

It's 1844. Aileana is supposed to be a proper lady during the day and hunt faeries by night. And steampunk! Sounds good, does it not?
I especially loved her relationship with her trainor/mentor Kiaran.
I am not usually a fan of faerie books but this one was awesomesauce.
Really enjoyed this series. Interesting premise and strong female lead. 
And steampunk! Did I mention steampunk?

The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I heard a lot about this book. There was so much hype surrounding this book. Plus the movie that came out last year.
So I finally gave in and read this book. I'll admit this is not my sort of book but I was curious to see if it was really as good as everyone was said.
And let me just tell you that it is. It is a really great read. It's emotional, brutal, sassy, cold and caring. I seriously laughed out loud reading this book and was also reduced to snotty, sobbing hot mess.
For anyone who thinks YA fiction is subpar, I challenge you to read this book.
This book deals with some very serious topics and it is written as good as some of the best adult books out there.
Looking forward to reading other books by Mr. Green.

Have you read any of these books? Did you love them like I did?

Which books were your favorites from last year?