How I learned to stop worrying and get clean

I’m a tidy person (as long as you don’t ask my coworkers).  I take good care of my space and I like getting down and dirty now and then, with the reward of a sparkling house to show for my work.

But since I’ve started living in my current apartment, I never had time to really take on my chores the way they deserved.  There was always something else I needed – or really wanted! – to do.  Going to the gym, trivia with my friends, getting some great project knocked out at work, catching up with my family – there are a million ways I can think of spending a few hours, and they all kept winning over cleaning.

Then I read this amazing book: Happy Money, by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton.   I heard Michael speak at the Boston Book Fest, bought the book on the spot, and think it’s the best purchase I ever made.  Until this week.

Because this week, I finally got a house cleaner.  And now, I’m never looking back.

Coming home and seeing that my stove really CAN get clean, looking at our shiny mirrors and smudge-free floors, kicking off the month with a squeaky-clean start – it made me realize how much I had resigned myself to just be constantly a little bit unhappy with our apartment, our home.  I thought that somehow, if I couldn’t make this work on my own, I deserved to not be satisfied.  But after reading Happy Money, I realized that this simply isn’t true – not when I could spend a few bucks to have some help.  Now, I don’t just have a cleaner house – I have more time to do the things I care about (who would have thought you could buy time!  These authors did!), and I have a house that I want to welcome people into 10x more than before.  And I plan to do just that.

And if it gets dirty again because my friends and I have some fun?  The cleaners are coming back next month, and we can start fresh – together – once more.

OMG life

That’s kind of how I feel right now.  How exactly does one balance all this, you may ask?

  • Training for a half marathon
  • Working my butt off at work (seriously, no butt left)
  • Being a bridesmaid in two weddings this summer, and attending two more, AND helping plan another two for next summer
  • Traveling down the California coast with my sis
  • Spending time with my family, including future in-laws (once Kat and Wes tie the knot)
  • Surviving endless snow storms
  • Hunting down Girl Scout cookies
  • Sharing gossip over wine with best friends
  • Hosting a rockin’ Oscar party (stay tuned for more on that later this week)
  • Doing my taxes

(Would you be surprised if I told you that one thing on that list might be neglected, and it’s the most expensive item possible?)

Anyway, life has been a serious trip lately.  A good one, but an exhausting one too.  More on all that, especially the party and road trip, later this week – scout’s honor!  What’s new in your life as we transition from winter to spring?


What 27 means to me

“Did the world change when you turn 27?”  I asked my best friend when her birthday arrived last week.

“Not yet!” she said.

25 meant I could run for the House (and it spurred me to start this blog!).
At 26, I knew that it would be a little cheaper to rent a car.
But what’s 27 all about?

Here’s how my 27th year is going to be different:

  • The Price is Right will have male models.  It’s groundbreaking for the show, which I’ve loved since I spent all my childhood sick days watching it, and I can’t wait to see if the boys can point at watches, jetskis, and jacuzzis as well as the ladies.  I’ll have to find out the next time I hurt my back and have to stay on the couch all day.
  • I will no longer have a “dumb phone” – I’m getting an iPhone later this month and will no longer need other people to tell me when the next bus is coming or how late the library is open.
  • I will stop burning my mouth on food that is too hot to eat.  Laugh if you want, but I have a terrible tendency to rush into things, including food, with an intensity that leaves me burnt… literally.  I would like to dedicate 27 to slowing down a bit.  Maybe then I can finally learn how to drink a hot chocolate without my tongue going numb after the first sip.
  • I will give back to my community.  I’ve been in Somerville for more than two years – now that I finally vote here, it’s time to up my game and contribute to my neighborhood.  First stop: canvassing for Elizabeth Warren this weekend.  Anyone want to join?
  • I will write even more letters.  Someone has to keep the post office in business!
  • I will finish my first half marathon.  Not sure when or for whom, but watch this space because it’s definitely going to happen.
  • I will leave the country.  (And then come back.)  I had to use my passport to transfer my driver’s license from NH to MA, and it made me realize that it’s been far too long since I went abroad.  Even if it’s just to Canada, I am getting outta here while I’m still young, just so I don’t get stuck in one place too long.
  • I will make each day count.  Seriously.  I know that I won’t be twenty-seven – or twenty-anything – forever, and I want to live it up.  If that means board games, cook-offs, singing kareoke until I’m hoarse, working late on causes that matter, riding buses up and down the Eastern seaboard to see my best friends, waiting in line at crowded bars, or some combination of all of those – I plan to make this year count.  You only get to be 27 once – I plan to make it a life-changing year so I have something to say when people ask “What exactly is being 27 all about?”


Mistakes I made

  • Doubled a recipe before making sure all the ingredients would actually fit in the blender
  • Went to the grocery store super hungry
  • Left my deodorant in my purse, where it got all over my camera case (the old one, thank goodness)
  • Stayed up until 2 AM for no reason
  • Went outside in this heat (is there such a thing as a sun day, as in opposite of a snow day?)

…and that’s just today!


Reasons to smile

Since I’ve written some actual posts this week, it’s time to do a wrap-up of life in general.  Here’s what’s making me happy right now:

  • The coming long weekend
  • Making social plans around “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids” viewings
  • My really healthy shopping list (let’s see if I can follow through!)
  • The fact that I’m going to the happiest place on earth (no, not Disney!) in less than two weeks
  • The balance between my 2 AM nights last week and my evenings in this week
  • Making it to both gym classes this week (my legs are KILLING me!)
  • The fact that the last two random coupons I googled worked, and saved me more than $30, combined (always worth a shot!)
  • The way that my hands smell like basil from tending to my tiny garden
  • My sister’s work successes (go Beanie!)
  • Plans to see my friends, my family, and my fabulous boyfriend all in the near future

And you?


Since I last wrote, I’ve been to California and back, moved offices, helped with a successful fundraiser, and had good times with lots of friends.  Here’s what I learned along the way:

  • The San Francisco airport is awesome – my terminal had a yoga room, vegan food, and only compost and recycling options, they don’t create real trash!
  • Even if the first 5 people at Verizon are kind of nasty to deal with, the last one might be nice and finally install your office’s internet and phone lines.
  • Listening to The OC’s soundtrack while driving to Newport Beach is pretty close to living in a dream.
  • I have some amazing friends, whether they’re coming in from out of town, the last person I say goodnight to, or the ones who left work early to help fundraise for an organization they’re not a part of yet
  • Working out in the morning makes for a great day – and may even leave you ready to return at night!
  • Along those lines, spinning is awesome, as long as you’re wearing padded shorts.  (Ouch ouch)
  • It’s ok – maybe even preferred – to have an educational book to read on the train ride to work and a trashy romance novel for the way home.  It’s a zero-calorie reward for a job well done!

More on everything later, including some great pics from the West Coast, videos I’ve been meaning to post, and a further recap of life’s musings.

What’s up with you?

How do you measure a year of life?

How about love?

Or, measure this last year, my 25th year in:

  • 119 blog posts
  • 2 pairs of Tevas
  • 11 months at a great new job
  • 1 stellar Oscar party
  • 0 sweepstakes won (HGTV Dream Home, I’m coming for you this year!)
  • 1 new family member (yay Lillian!)
  • 50+ books read
  • 3 new places that sell Strongbow
  • 2 new pashminas
  • a unquantifiable number of amazing friends

Thanks for being a part of this adventure – I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Things I love right now

  • The James Taylor station on Pandora
  • Days when the weather never drops below 32 degrees
  • My new sweater that makes me think of spring
  • Baking and cooking things that make my whole house smell amazing (bacon this weekend, scones on Pi day!)
  • Not looking for a new apartment – I am so excited about staying put!
  • Being able to see the ground again and walking down sidewalks that are not covered in snow
  • The ice cream sundae I had for dinner last night – that one was for you, Grandma!
  • My awesome job where I work like a maniac but it pays off in the end
  • The fabulous people in my life who make every day an adventure

Here’s to another day – what’s making your life great right now?

The little things

More than one person in my life says “it’s the little things” when details make them happy.  Here are some of the little things that are making me happy right now:

  • The sunshine. I love not having to wake up and go home in the dark.  Summer is on it’s way, I can see it getting closer every day!
  • My friends and family.
  • My laughable attempts to eat healthy. But let me tell you, the last three meals I had out at restaurants were amazing.
  • Valentine’s Day chocolate.
  • Being able to hit snooze from bed, thanks to my new iHome with a remote.
  • The return of Parks and Recreation.
  • My job. Three months in and I love it here.  More on that later.
  • Getting three Valentines in one day. Now, all I need is a good old GHS candygram!
  • The satisfaction of clearing the sidewalk in front of my apartment. Sure, new ice froze there the next day, but for a while it was perfect because of me!
  • The cute guy who I am lucky to get to enjoy the little things with.

Diner View

On a cold winter evening, life looks brighter from the inside of a diner.  Between the colorful neon lights, the inevitable music or tv murmuring in the background, the plethora of homemade menu items to be had for less than ten dollars, diners always retain an air of festivity and timelessness.

I’ve frequented diners wherever I can find them.  In New Hampshire, my heart belonged to the Red Arrow.  In college, it was either the little diner by the bridge in NoHo or the diner by UMass where the pie never ran out.   In London, I substituted fish and chip shops for diners, but the same principles applied.  Now, my antiquing travels have brought me to all sorts of diners, but the Rosebud is our regular spot, once I finally get over that they only serve breakfast until 2:00, even on weekends.  I think they missed the diner rulebook: be open 24 hours a day, vary your pie selection, offer free refills on coffee, and make killer corn beef hash.  Luckily, the South Street Diner downtown meets all these criteria, plus the added bonus of a photo booth to commemorate the experience.

Some day, I’d like to own a diner, or at least be very good friends with someone who did.  We would decorate it for all the holidays, offer the blue plate specials on real blue plates.  Be the one place open in the middle of a storm, and host rockin’ New Year’s parties.  Name milkshakes and frappes after my best friends, always put extra whipped cream on each and every hot chocolate.  Play records, CDs, radio stations, breaking news – and be the one place where the music never died.