The Liebster

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Originating from Germany (Liebster meaning; adj. favorite, preferred above others; liked or loved above others), the Liebster Blog Award is given by one awesome blogger to another as a token of appreciation for his/her great work, and to introduce new followers to the blog. But you knew that, right? No? Me neither.

Enter Ali, the lovely lady at The Fashionista Affair who has introduced me to this prestigious rite of passage for newbies, with a nomination! Despite being too busy to acknowledge it until now, I can’t say enough great things about Ali’s blog (please check her out!) or how excited I was to learn of this nomination from a reader I didn’t even know I had! Big smooshy hugs!

So here are the rules of engagement for nominees:
1. Each nominee link back to the person who nominated them.
2. Answer 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award that has less than 200 followers.
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Got it? Good. Let’s get started.

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In Style & In Charge: USB Bracelet Charger

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I first became aware of USB bracelets when eBay teamed up with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to launch a limited-edition collection of customized USB bracelets in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, by the time I found out about the holiday collective, the holidays were over. But as someone who routinely finds herself out with a dying phone and no charger, I thought this could be really cool. I really wanted the one designed by Mara Hoffman for eBay, but no luck, so I started looking for alternatives. That’s when I found Mohzy, the company that produced the bracelets. Retailing at $17 + shipping, it seemed like a good enough deal, but when I realized how the bracelet connected (namely that the USB connectors were quite visible and bulky), I started to have doubts about whether I would actually ever wear this thing. And if I wasn’t going to wear it, did I really need to pay for the design?

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After much contemplation, I decided that it was just a phone charger and I didn’t necessarily need an elaborate design (although the oriental collection  from Mohzy is perfection). I found some cheap ones on eBay for $3 all in, selected a simple white and black striped design and felt like I had cheated the system. It took around 3 weeks to arrive from Hong Kong, but eventually it was delivered and it really has come in handy over the last week and a half, at least as a charger. As a bracelet? Not so much.

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I actually like it as a bracelet. I think it’s pretty kitsch and delightfully dorky – totally up my alley. The problem is that the magnet connectors are pretty weak. I couldn’t actually wear it as a bracelet, even if I wanted to, because I’m fairly certain it would disconnect and then I’d be out without a charger – the very thing that I was trying to avoid. I’m not sure I would even trust it hanging on my purse. But it’s easy enough to just carry around in my purse. And the thick, short band prevents it from getting all tangled up (like when I have my iPod headphones, mini USB and iPod charger all making love in my bag). Best of all, it has an Apple connector (the old one) so I can charge both my Android and my iPod.

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While it doesn’t actually store data (it’s a connector, not a drive), in addition to charging your electronics, it’s perfect for data transfer. I’m actually using it right now to upload the pictures for this post. So, all in all, I give it a 3 for functionality, a 4 for fun and a 1 for fashion (what good is a shoe you can’t walk in, right?). I’m curious to try out the Mohzy because I imagine it would be of a higher quality, but I’m scared that I’ll just end up with a prettier cable that I still can’t wear. Has anyone actually worn one of these successfully? Ignoring potential issues with the magnetic connectors, would you?

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A Lil’ Something for Valentine’s: 10 Fun Date Ideas

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Here it is…the obligatory Valentine’s Day list post. I apologize in advance for subjecting you to something so cliché, but I actually find myself perusing Google search results every year for something to do and being overwhelmed by the amount of material out there while equally underwhelmed by the content. I read most of the results wondering “who are the couples that are being targeted here??” A lot of the suggestions are just so lovey-dovey. There’s nothing wrong with that in theory, but romance doesn’t just result from dressing everything up in hearts and flowers – it can’t be manufactured. The other thing that is just wrong, wrong, wrong with most of these articles is that they’re for women and yet they’re all focused on things women appreciate. A man isn’t going to care that you put a heart on a cupcake, wrote him a poem or framed a picture of the two of you. He’ll think it’s nice, yes. He’ll appreciate your effort, yes. But generally, men are just hoping that all the teddy bears and chocolate will lead to a good night. In many cases, so are we. And it actually kills the mood when we go out of our way to be stereotypically “romantic” only to be disappointed by his lack of effort, engagement or enthusiasm.

So, I’ve come up with my own list of 10 date ideas that are designed for your and his pleasure, and that will lead to a fun experience that is very much shared so you can both get the most out of the day. They’re also not especially sappy or so over the top that it puts a lot of pressure on the day to be “special.” Try any one of these and I guarantee that it will heighten the level of connection between you and your valentine and set you up for a happy ending, or a happily ever after…whatever tickles your fancy. Continue reading

The Easiest, Tastiest, Speltiest Pancakes. For One (or two).

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Dear “the gym”, I know it has been a long time since I last checked in. I miss you deeply and hope that you have been keeping well. My body is starting to show signs of your absence from my life and it would appear that life is much better with you around. I long for the days when you would get me all hot and sweaty and routinely push me out of my comfort zone. The only visits I regret are the ones I haven’t made. Until we meet again…xox.

The above is my sad, sad love letter to my partner in living fit. It’s really starting to weigh on me that I haven’t stepped foot in the gym since the year began. And after spending the last week and a half suffering from the weirdest virus, I’ve been inspired to re-commit to living a healthy lifestyle. I actually love working out, I’m just finding it impossible to settle back into my routine. The real threat to my fitness goals is my love-hate relationship with my kitchen. On the one hand, I love good food, but I just don’t particularly enjoy cooking. For one thing, I lack foresight, so I have the tendency to only remember to feed myself when I’m already hungry. This doesn’t bode well for a meal that is going to take 2 hours to prepare. Secondly, it’s just such an easy task to avoid. There are two restaurants on my (residential) street, and a hundred others within a 20 minute walk from home in any direction – many of them have specials or send me coupons that make this a lot less expensive than it sounds. When I work late, I can expense my meal. If I’m meeting up with friends or the beau, well we can’t hang out without food in front of us. That’s crazy talk.

But what these workarounds provide in terms of speed and ease does not compensate for how they fall short in terms of the nutrition and energy I need to get through my never-ending days. I knew that in order for me to follow through with making better choices, I had to be able to create simple meals (usually for one since I live alone) that tasted delicious, and could be made in half an hour or less. Simple because the dishes afterwards is the bane of my existence. Tasty because, well, obviously. And quick to ensure that I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed by the thought of preparation that I’d head downstairs for the fastest thing I could procure.
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Reflection: America the Beautiful? Super Bowl Rundown

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I’m alive! The last couple of weeks have been so rough. I felt like I was being hit with the Ten Plagues – it was just one ailment after another. But I’m finally feeling about 95% and itching to get back into the swing of things.

Bear with me as I roll the clock back a couple of days, but I couldn’t resist a post about the Super Bowl. By now it’s yesterday’s news that the Seahawks destroyed the Broncos in one of the most unexpected, exciting and heartbreaking championship games that I’ve ever seen. Granted, I’ve only been a fan for 4 or 5 years, but trust me, it was awesome.

The beau and I watched at our friends’ place where the second best part of the night was all the food. Even if you’re not a fan of the game, Super Bowl parties always deliver on good company and good eats. But if you’re eating anything packaged, I would suggest that you don’t read the ingredients. This is how we learned that a Pogo may contain mechanically separated chicken, pork and/or beef. What does that even mean?? With that said, I had about 3. And they were amazing. Now I’m on a mission to make homemade corn dogs. Yum.

I was really in the mood for arts and crafts so I decided to bake cupcakes just so that I could decorate them. A few things went awry – I started way too late, the peach icing color that I was hoping I could darken to light orange really did stay true to its peach color and the white icing color tube was way too runny for the 50 yard line design I wanted to go with on some of the green cakes. But just in case anyone didn’t get the whole Broncos (orange) vs. Seahawks (green) thing, the cup liners were football themed and I decided to make a couple little footballs in place of the 50 yard lines. I was really thrilled with how they came out and they tasted delicious.

As for the halftime show, remember when Janet Jackson showed her nipple on prime time thereby ruining the halftime show (and leading to the crazy censorship of network television) for a couple of years? And when Beyoncé used all of the power in the city leading to a power outage that totally changed the momentum of the game? Well Bruno Mars held his own while being perfectly uncontroversial. I was really hoping he’d break into Gorilla and go to town on the stage or something. But that’s ok, because Fox News still exists and its pundits found something even more ludicrous to be upset about. Natch.

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Survival Kit: Under the Weather Wear

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First things first: happy 10th post-iversary to me! I know 10 seems like such a small number to celebrate, but I’ll take any opportunity to relish my achievements, small and large. Or miniscule, in this case. And thank you to everyone who is actually following along as I try to figure out what the heck I’m doing here. It’s insane how excited I get over every visitor and follower. You make me feel much more important than is warranted. But I love you for it!

I apologize for the little dry spell lately. I have just been feeling so physically beat up, between getting next to no sleep last week and now catching some bug that I am working very hard to keep at bay. And by working hard, I mean sleeping lots and moving as little as possible. I’m actually a little feverish as I write this, but my post today is so relevant to my condition that I’m braving it and hoping that I can bring some comfort to anyone else who is feeling a little less than themselves.
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Reflection: Rent. The Other Dirty Four Letter Word.

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I’ve wanted to write this post for a while now, but I feared that it would get some people’s panties in a bunch. But, it’s my blog and I do what I want, so this is definitely happening.

I’ve had a bunch of casual conversations lately that go something like this:
Weirdo: Where do you live?
Me: *insert area here*
Weirdo: Oh, nice. In *really expensive condo building at my nearest intersection*?
Me: No, I rent.
Weirdo: *shock, gasp, guffaw*
Me: *blank stare*
Weirdo: You should probably buy instead of throwing your money away on rent. When I move out (of my parents house), I’m definitely going to buy. OR There are so many great places out there, you should really look into buying.

Mind blown. You mean all this time I could have owned a place? Had not occurred to me. And there are great places for sale? Why isn’t everyone doing this?? Not to mention how much money I have wasted on rent. Because, what could I possibly be getting out of this? A place to live? Continue reading