Saturday, August 6, 2011

Channeling Cherie Currie

Taylor Momsen, aka Jenny or "Little J" on Gossip Girl, thinks she's all grown up.  She went from being a typical pretty blond girl to channeling Cherie Currie from the Runaways.  Taylor is now the lead singer for a band called The Pretty Reckless which I didn't take seriously until I saw that they played at the Montreux jazz festival this year, not that her band has anything to do with jazz though.  I've always liked girls who can rock and Taylor definitely can!  I think she's an idiot away from the stage with her attitude and thinking she's so grown up, but I checked out her music on You Tube and actually like some of it.

Note that they are both 16 or 17 in these pictures.  The Runaways crashed and burned after being together only 3 years.  Let's hope Taylor doesn't have the same fate.

Taylor Momsen

Cherie Currie

Who Says You Can't Go Home

Jon Bon Jovi got it right when he sang Who Says You Can't Go Home.  My husband and I left California seven years ago for a lower cost of living.  True, we now have a nice house, good jobs and an easy commute, but we've come to learn that those aren't the things that really matter in life.  We are thinking about quitting our jobs, selling the house we love and heading back to the Golden State.  For him, it's to be closer to his parents.  For me, it's just home and where I feel like I belong.  In California we'll have a horrible commute, a smaller more expensive house and who knows what kinds of jobs (if any) given the state of the California economy, but it's what we want. 

I don't think we are alone in this thinking either.  Right now two of my acquaintances are driving across the country with all their belongings and dogs in a truck to go back home.  One couple is going from California back to Tennessee and another couple is going from Minnesota to California.  Both just want to be home.  This just goes to show that no state is better than another, it's home that matters.

Wish I Was Here

My trip to Jamaica with my friend Jenn seems so long ago.  I badly need another vacation!

Monday, July 18, 2011

My New Business!!!

It's official...I'm a small business owner!  There's not much to it yet, but Palm Paradise Travel is all mine and it will be whatever I make it.  I'm in the process of getting everything set up and then I'll be open for business.  This isn't like all my other ideas where I just talk about them.  I'm doing my best to not overwhelm myself to the point where I do nothing.  I'm taking it one step at a time.  I have the LLC set up and a tax ID number and a few other things are in the works like the logo and web site.   It might take another month or so to get it all up and running, but very soon, I will be a travel consultant for my very own company.  I will be focusing on the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii and cruises, but will be able to book other places as well.  Oh, and I'm not quitting a my day job.  This will be an at home business on nights and weekends.  More details to come!

So...anyone want to book a vacation???

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Travel Bucket List

Continuing on my posts about bucket lists...since my passion in life is travel, here are places I want to go.  I work my #$%^ off these days at work so most involve a lot of relaxation.
  1. Lizard Island, Australia
  2. Over water bungalow in Bora Bora
  3. Champagne region of France
  4. Cook Islands
  5. Jalousie Plantation, St. Lucia
  6. Peter Island, BVI
  7. Palm Island, St. Vincent & The Grendadines
  8. Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos
  9. Costa Rica
  10. Spend an extended period of time in Paris
  11. Take a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon and then go river rafting on the Colorado river
Should I ever become fabulously wealthy and want more adventure, here are some more places.
  1. Pyramids of  Giza
  2. Safari in Africa
  3. Machu Picchu
  4. Hike the Appalachian Trail
  5. Drive across the country
Here are some the more interesting things I've already done.
  1. Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  2. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
  3. Saw an opera at the Sydney Opera House
  4. Climbed the harbor bridge in Sydney
  5. Hiked the Na'Pali coast in Kauai
  6. Climbed Uluru (walking around it was better!)
  7. Watched the sunrise and sunset over Uluru
  8. Went to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  9. Went to the top of the Empire State building
  10. Had a drink at the top of the World Trade Center in New York
  11. Took a bus tour thru Europe
  12. Mountain biked thru the Alps
  13. White water rafted thru the Alps
  14. Swam under a waterfall in Hawaii
  15. Visited the beach bars of the BVI, including the Soggy Dollar Bar
  16. Had a picnic in the French country side
  17. Christmas in New York
What's on your list?  What have been some of your favorite place you have visited?

Friday, July 8, 2011


My last post got some interesting feedback.  One person actually reminded me of something that absolutely belongs on my bucket list...owning my own business.   This has always interested me, even when I was a kid.   I not only wanted to be a chef...I wanted to be a chef in my own restaurant.  In college I took a class on entrepreneurship and interned at a non-profit that helped women start their own businesses.  In grad school I took another class on entrepreneurship and interned at an incubator that helped international companies get a presence in the US.  I have the passion, but am too risk averse.  I scrapped the idea of the dog bakery because I just didn't stick with it.  I didn't have a passion for it and I had to admit that to myself.  Also, many of the online dog bakeries I was tracking went out of business. 

I have something else in the works right now that I do have a passion for, but there is very little money in it.  Since my day job pays the bills, I'm going to give it a go in a side business that I do have a passion for, even though it won't pay the bills, but could make me happy. 

Any guesses???

Friday, June 10, 2011

No Bucket No List

My husband and I were talking about bucket lists the other night and things he'd put on his if he knew the world was about to end. These aren't things he'd actually do (because most are illegal) unless he knew the entire world was about to get hit by a meteor or something equally catastrophic. It got me thinking and I couldn't think of one thing I would do. Does that mean I've led a full life or that I don't aspire to much?  Of course there are places I want to travel to, but I don't think those really count as I've been to the places in the world that I always wanted to see. 

Today I read about a teenage girl dying from cancer who started a blog with her bucket list.  She is going to write about it as she ticks things off, although she's not well enough to complete them all now. 

I still can't think of anything I would do and this bothers me.

What's on your bucket list?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why We Love Pippa

I admit it, I think Pippa looked great at her sister's wedding and I'm curious about her.  But what makes her so different than Paris Hilton?  Nothing.  The American public is drawn to pretty charismatic women and these two have a lot in common.

1. Grew up in a life of privilege
2. Never needed to work
3. Primarily supported by their parents, even as adults
4. Sense of fashion style
5. Close with her sister
6. Likes media attention
7. Unique name
8. Never held a real full time job
9. Life of the party
10. Famous for no good reason

I'm sure the royal family is keeping tabs on her to make sure she doesn't do anything to embarrass them.  Hopefully there won't be a mug shot in her future.  I wish her the best with her new found celebrity...I'll be watching!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Things I Will NEVER Do

What is exhilarating to one person is frightening to another.  I don't find being scared as something I enjoy doing.  I don't like scary movies or roller coasters.  I only do these things because someone else wants to.  I also get motion sickness very easily so a roller coaster can ruin a day for me.

Here are a few things I will never do, no matter who asks.

Hot air balloon
No way. Never.  The idea of floating around in something that a person cannot really control is so frightening to me that I will never do it and it would not be fun.  Not to mention that there is fire involved.  I made it clear to my husband long ago to never surprise me with a hot air balloon ride (since some think it's romantic) because I will not go.  He likes to joke with me about doing this saying it's something he's always wanted to do (which is a lie) and every time I see a news story about a balloon ride gone wrong, I make sure he knows about it.

Bungee jumping
Motion sickness and fear in one?  No thanks.  I really don't understand why anyone would do this.  Those bungees do break...

Sky diving
Yea right.  How many movies have we all seen where the chute won't open?  Plus my brother did this and said some people in his group felt sick for days.  Apparently after it was over the operator told him that about 80% of people get sick.

Ferris Wheels
Ok, I have been on a few ferris wheels, but I never liked it.  I have visions of the basket tipping too much and falling out or the entire wheel coming off and rolling away.  There was just a report today of an 11 year of girl falling out to her death.

Have you done any of these?  What things WON'T you do???

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Diet # 463

I'm pretty good at losing weight.  I'm pretty awful at keeping it off.  It's almost like a game to see how much I can get away with and not gain weight.  It's a game I always lose.  So here I am now up 15 pounds from this time last year.  I started a new diet today and also started another Biggest Loser contest at my work to help stay motivated. 

On the bright side, I have learned to accept myself in a bathing suit...even a bikini.  No more old lady bathing suits for me!  No offense meant to anyone, of course.  A year ago I went out in public in a bikini for the first time as an adult.  Luckily the strings on the side make it "adjustable".  Even though I am up 15 pounds from this time last year, I still wore my bikini on the beach a couple weeks ago. 

So, here we go again...I want to fit into my clothes again.  Stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kate & Michelle: Real or Wax Figures?

When I saw this picture online, I thought it was from a wax museum!  I can't believe how tiny Kate is!!!

And why do the Royal women always carry a purse?  You'd think Kate and the Queen could have someone hold it for them. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Royal Good Time

Thank you to Will, Kate and the Royal Family for putting on a great show!  This world seems to be filled with sadness lately with one horrible thing happening after another.  The wedding gave us something happy to focus on, if only for a little while.  I thought Kate looked so beautiful...and it had nothing to do with her dress.  Her smile and radiance is what made her beautiful.  She looked truly truly happy and I wish them the best! 

When I woke up that morning, the first thing I did was look at my phone to see a picture of her dress (my phone is my alarm clock so it is by the bed). I taped the wedding on two channels in case one had better coverage than the other.  I watched in on BBC America which seemed more appropriate than having Matt Lauer tell me about it.  I thought her dress was a little demure, but I know there are rules about what a bride can wear in Westminster Abbey (no bare arms!).  I loved Pippa's dresses, both day and night version.  I was shocked to see her in white but it all looked very elegant.  I also loved Kate's evening dress.  I obviously do not know her, but the idea of a "middle class" woman marrying a prince made me so happy for her. 

What did you think about the royal wedding???

Mother's Day Downer

Ads for flowers, jewelry and brunch are all around us right now.  After all, Mother's Day is right around the corner.  For me, it's just a reminder that I'm not a mother and I don't have a mother.  This is the saddest time of the year for me.  I've learned to deal with not having my mom at Christmas.  Her birthday and anniversary of her death, which used to make me sad, now pass each year without a thought or a tear.  But Mother's Day is impossible to ignore because it is everywhere right now. 

To anyone reading who still has their mom, cherish her.  Nobody is perfect and believe me, you'll miss her when she's gone.  I have a few friends who have issues with their moms.  I just don't understand how they can get so upset to not want their mom to be a part of their lives.  I'd put up with a lot of typical mom annoyances to have my mom back for even a day. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kate's Royal Fruit Cake

Kate and William's wedding cake is going to be a fruit cake.  Instead of finding this odd, I find it redeeming. I too had a fruit cake for my wedding cake.  Apparently it is a British tradition.  True, I am not British, but I did get married in Australia so maybe it is a tradition there too. 

I thought my wedding was perfect...except for the cake.  Every year as our anniversary comes up I think about going to a bakery and getting my dream wedding cake made.  I planned my wedding over the internet and when the wedding planner told me the standard cake that came with the package was fruit cake, for some reason in my mind I thought this meant a white cake with fruit filling...which would have been delicious.  Not only was it fruit cake, it was covered in royal icing which is impossible to cut through because it sets rock hard.  We eventually hacked our way through it, but the cutting of the cake was not the highlight of wedding.  I don't like fruit cake, but I did eat a piece since I was starving because I did not eat or drink anything before the wedding. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I just had my first official "de-friending" on Facebook by someone I actually interacted with.  We were "virtual" friends who met by reading each other blogs. I've had other people de-friend me which I didn't even notice when they happened because they were people who were just acquaintances from high school and I never communicated with them at all on Facebook.  I wonder what I did???  This person also blocked me from her blog.  The only thing I can think of is maybe she didn't like a comment I wrote on her wall today?  Hmm, oh well.

Have you been de-friended by anyone?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

P's Purse

What do the contents of a woman's purse say about her?  Let's check out what's in mine and see...

1. iPhone
2. iPhone charger
3. Blackberry
4. Blackberry charger
5. Wallet
6. Ibuprofen
7. Tylenol
8. Badge for work
9. Umbrella
10. Lots of random folded up pieces of paper
11. Ear planes
12. Nose spray
13. Migraine medicine
14. Gum
15. iPod
16. Altoids
17. Kleenex
18. Gas-X
19. Travel sickness medicine
20. DayQuil
21. Pen
22. Photocopy of my passport
23. Sudafed

Hmmm...I'm afraid to say that this portrays me as a gadget junkie and pharmacist.  Reality is that I haven't cleaned out my purse since my trip to Jamaica last month.  I'm even still using the straw bag that doubled as my beach bag.  What does that say about me???

Anything interesting in your purse or pockets???

Mail Order Chicks

Who knew there was such a thing as mail order chickens???  I get it that people buy chickens, but I had no idea that they could be shipped in the mail!  One site I looked at said if the box is not full enough they will include extra male chicks to keep the others warm.  I can't imagine how awful it would be to be put in a box and shipped in the mail.  I've been obsessed with this for two days now.  My husband tells me I need to be able to separate the idea of livestock and pets.  If this bothers me, he suggests I become a vegetarian.  I have thought about it, maybe it's time to stop talking and give it a try.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Teenage Dream Covers

If imitation is the best form of flattery then Katy Perry should be very flattered.  I've already written about how much I love her Teenage Dream song and video.  Here are a couple videos with completely different interpretations, but equally entertaining!


The kid who does the funny videos

And the original...

Which is your favorite???

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Glee for Me

I think it's time for me to try watching Glee.  I admit I may have thought some negative things about the show based on the premise, but I've recently been watching some of the performances on You Tube and like those so I'm going to give the show a shot.  Hopefully all the parts in between the singing is as entertaining as the songs.

Here are some of my favorites:

Need You Now

Forget You (by Gwyneth Paltrow)

What's your favorite Glee performance?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Who are They Protecting?

Something about a cover over a magazine in the grocery store makes me want to look to see what someone thought was soooo offending.   

When I looked behind the black cover, I saw this.

Why does this need to be covered?  Epecially when you look back at the first picture and the magazine below it that is not covered.  It's also has a woman with a very low cut shirt.  I just don't get it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Vitamin D Dilemma

I can't remember that last time I had a sun burn since I am vigilant about wearing sunscreen or staying in the shade.  As a kid I got sun burned at the beginning of each summer then would just be tan.  I don't really remember wearing sunscreen back then, but we also didn't wear seat belts.  Now that I have to work at a real job, I spend most of my time under fluorescent lighting and my skin burns quite easily in the sun.  I have a regimen where I can spend days baking myself, like I recently did in Jamaica, and not get burned.  The outcome of all this diligence?  I recently learned I have a severe vitamin D deficiency.  The best source of vitamin D is sun light.  If I take too many vitamin D supplements, it could be toxic.  What's a girl to do??? 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How NOT to Run a Small Business

I would love to have my own business.  I've been thinking about for years, but just don't have a good idea yet.  If I did have my own business I think I would treat my customers like royalty to try to get referrals and repeat business.  Apparently not all small business owners feel this way as I feel I've been treated bad by a few lately. 

For example....

1. Wine tour
I've used a company a few times for wine tours.  We pay them one price per person and in return we get transportation, lunch and our tasting fees paid for.  This makes for an easy going day where we get driven around and just need to eat and drink all day.  My dad is coming to visit again a few weeks and he wants to go again so I contacted the owner with a reservation request.  Three days later she told me they weren't doing "small tours" because it was Easter weekend.  This makes no sense to me as we want to go on Saturday and not Sunday...and their small vehicles will then be idle.  Oh well, I'll try to find somewhere else I thought.

2. Wine tour attempt # 2
I found a limo company that does wine tours as well.  They charge by the hour instead of by the person and can also provide lunch.  I emailed with them to get the details but was told I had to call to make a reservation, which annoyed me because I'd really rather just type my information in instead of telling someone everything over the phone.  They were very responsive over email, but when I called nobody was available to talk to me and nobody ever called back.  Now we still have no wine tour...ugh.

3. Blog design
I want to have my blog re-designed.  The designer who did Postcards from Patrice was not available so I tried another place that had a portfolio that I liked.  I paid the deposit, which was actually the entire amount, and was given an estimated due date.  I waited a week after this date and then contacted the designer...she said I'd have a draft by the end of the week.  End of the week comes and still I have nothing.  Two more weeks we do this where I ask about it and am told "by the end of the week".  After the third week, I gave up and asked for my money back.

4. Bathroom remodel
We were trying to get quotes from 3 companies to remodel our master bathroom and 2 additional bathrooms, but we ended up with only 1 quote because the other two companies apparently were not interested in us.  One place didn't return my phone call (after I called and left my info and then they called and left me a message) so I gave up on them.  The second place came out to our house and we spent 2 hours discussing what we wanted and they took measurements.  I really liked their portfolio, but they never got back to us with designs and estimate!  This really annoyed me because we went in to work 2 hours late one day to accommodate their schedule and then they never gave us anything.  I did ask at one point and was told a date, but then nothing came. 

I think I'm nice and polite to people and want to use their services, but I'm not going to beg someone to let me give them my money.   In this economy you'd think they would be more receptive to me wanting to use their services.

Are you a small business owner or have you been treated badly as a customer?  Tell me your stories!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Biggest Loser Letdown

I've been a loyal Biggest Loser watcher for years even though the show hasn't changed much at all.  I love watching people make these huge transformations and changing their lives.  This season the contestants are annoying the heck out of me with all the intentional weight gains.  Two people did it in a row to go home (and they were my favorites because of their sad stories) and then this week people gained to try to send themselves home since they were trying to protect others.  Come on.  Just follow the program, cry every now and then and lose weight and you won't get sent home.  Forget all the game play.  You are a fool to want to give up the opportunity of being able to focus on your weight and health 24/7.  I wish I had that kind of time to devote.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

California a Boy

Check out James Blunt's version of Katy Perry's California Gurls

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Netflix for Books? Hardley.

My "summer of reading" that I started about 4 years ago has lived on and I continue to read every I have read a lot of books.  They just stack up in my house and then I give them away to charity.  I'm also have a hard time finding books I want to read.  I buy them all from Amazon and they usually arrive the next day so it's very convenient.  I've been stopping books half way through though and giving up on some lately since I wasn't enjoying them.  If I'm falling asleep after reading two pages, it's not the book for me and I gave up on the Kindle a while ago since I didn't like reading on it

Then I thought, I wonder if there is Netflix for books?  That way I would save money and space in my house as well as not feeling like I've wasted anything if I got a book I didn't like.  So I searched the internet and there were two places that provided this service.

1. has plans starting at $10.99 per month and deals only in paperbacks

2. has plans starting at $23.95 and has paperback and hardbacks

I chose because they were cheaper (I chose the $13.99/month plan to have 2 books at a time) with the downside being that only has paperbacks so I would still need to buy new releases I really wanted, or just wait.  Excitedly, I started putting items in my queue and they were processed for shipment right away. 

Here are my thoughts on the service so far:

1. Selection: Pretty good.  Some of the random stuff I read is not on their list, but they claim a customer can put in a request and they will buy it.  I knew when I signed up that new hardbacks were not available, so I don't hold this against them.  All the books have links to Amazon with descriptions and reviews

2. Shipping speed:  Pretty bad.  I realize the site says it will take 5 to 10 days for books to arrive, but I live only 7 miles away from where the books are shipped from and it took 8 to 10 days for the books to arrive.  I don't know exactly how long because I did not check my mail box during or after the snow storm last week (my mail box is on the street and I didn't want to walk down the long driveway to get to it in the snow).  This is where I think they need improvement to be compared to Netflix.  Netflix accommodates people's desire to get things quickly.  Amazon quotes 2 day shipping, but books usually arrive in 1 day.  I don't like having to wait once I decide I want something.

3. Book condition: Could be better  I received 2 books.  One called French by Heart that is relatively unknown and not many people read it probably.  It is in decent condition, but has that old book odor to it like it's been packed in a box for way too long.  The second book was Twilight which, of course, everyone has heard of and probably read before me.  This book is in horrible condition (see photo above).  This book can be replaced for $6.59 on Amazon.  They should consider replacing highly requested books so that they stay in good condition.  I'm used to reading new books from Amazon so this will be an adjustment.

 I'm not sure if I will remain a customer or not.  I will give it one go around with sending books back and getting more, but this is definitely not a "Netflix for Books".

Where do you get your books from?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Adventures in Remodeling - The Bathroom

Here we go again!  The pain of the kitchen remodel has subsided and now we are ready to enter the adventures of remodeling again.  We want to remodel the master bathroom and are considering doing the other two bathrooms on the top floor as well if the price is right.  It's kind of like when I had my deviated septum repaired at the same time as the sinus surgery since "they would already be in there".  That was a bad decision, but hopefully doing 3 bathrooms at the same time will save us money and inconvenience.  We've met with 2 contractors and are going to get the first proposal tomorrow.  I'm hoping they can make the numbers work so that we can do all three.  There are trade offs of course and I'll have to put all my spending on hold for the rest of the year...including travel.  I already have a short trip to Jamaica planned for next month so I still get to do that, but nothing else. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Gridlock

Finally  Home!
The DC metro area's "snow force field" was finally broken yesterday and it snowed like mad...and right at rush hour.  It was a complete mess with people being on the roads for hours (up to 13 hours!).  It took me 2 hours to get home and it was frightening.  My usual commute takes 20 minutes.  The roads had not been treated because it rained earlier in the day and it seems everyone left work at the same time.  Federal workers were let out at 3pm and most people at my work left right as the snow started at about 3:15pm, as did I.  I got home at 5:30 and seriously thought about having a drink.  When the snow started, it was heavy and with all the cars on the roads, the plows supposedly couldn't get the streets cleared.  I eventually changed my course to the path less taken where there were only a few cars on the road and there were still no plows (on a snow emergency route!).  I saw many many cars stuck and people abandoning them.  It was nice though to see people helping each other...but then got their cars stuck because they tried to help someone else.  One car slid out of control in circles and backward before finally coming to a stop facing the wrong way.  At one point I was on a more deserted road and everything was so white that I didn't even know where I was or where the road ended and a ditch/sidewalk/curb started.  I had no idea if I had missed my turn or not.  Visibility was less than 100 yards at times.  I'm so happy I have 4WD and next time they say it's going to snow during rush hour I am going to work from home. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Stayed Up for This???

The choices for New Year's Eve shows last night were awful!!!  

Things I witnessed, unfortunately:

1. Ryan Seacrest doing just about nothing and making oodles of cash for it.  I'm sure Brian Dunkleman gets a stabbing feeling in his stomach every time he sees this guy.

2. Jenny McCarthy asking people on the street lames questions, such as their name.

3. Dick Clark.  He is a legend, but watching him was really sad.

4. NKOTBSB "practicing" their "dance" moves before their performance in Times Square.

5. What I think was the Jersey Shore cast talking about their resolutions. 

6. Snookie getting ready to be dropped about 10 feet in the NJ ball.  I didn't see the actual ball drop...did she ever put down that classy drink in the red plastic cup that was in her hand?

7. After midnight each station had a performer and I had no idea who these people were.  Oh wait, one had some weird pre-taped Mariah Carey video.  I couldn't watch that either.

Next year I'm going to have my own show for grown-ups. 

While we are on the long after January 1 do you think it's acceptable to say "Happy New Year" to someone? 

Happy New Year!