Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Life: Happy holidays!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
I'm taking a small holiday break from R&W to enjoy the holiday with my family.
Don't cry, everyone, I'm sure you all will be doing the same.  Besides, I'll be back Monday.


We'll start by going to my Aunt's for our Sicilian tradition of eating a feast with seven fishes.
We'll eat for hours and then end the night exchanging a few small gifts under their tree.
This is my favorite of all the holidays, mainly because the food is just beyond amazing!

We'll come home, put the baby girl to bed, and play Santa Claus!
All of her gifts have been wrapped with Olaf paper and written in a disguised hand writing.
We'll half eat the cookies and leave a trail of crumbs for her to follow the next morning.
We'll also leave a gnawed carrot on the stoop and blame Rudolph for the crime!

Christmas morning we'll have the camcorder ready and the Christmas music playing.
We hope to record every smile and gasp that my gorgeous little girl will make.
Then we'll clean up, eat, and dress up in our finest clothes.
We'll make our way to my in law's house for a delicious Cuban meal and Santa's leftover gifts.
And, let's not forget about the best part of the meal, the wine and my red velvet cheesecake brownies!

Even though these next few days will be filled with all these activities.
the best part will be sharing it with my family!

What are your holiday traditions?

Monday, December 21, 2015

List: Ten things to remember when moving.

As I've probably mentioned way too many times, we're closing on our new home Tuesday.
I'm so stressed and anxious about every piece of this, that it's hard to even be happy!  Sigh...
Closing seems pretty straight forward.  All we really need is a good lawyer and our check book.
What's not straight forward is getting ready to move.
I've done this so many times that I should be a professional, but I always seem to forget something.
I'm really hoping that this list will help myself as much as it helps all of you!

Ten things to remember when moving.

1.  Make a moving plan weeks before the actual move.
We decided to save some money and not hire movers.  I'm lucky enough to have lots of people to help.
Plan:  Pack, rent a truck, recruit help, pick a day, and move everything from one place to the other.  Done!

2.  Rent or hire all moving necessities at least a week before.
I just rented a 26' Uhaul truck this morning.  If you wait too long, they can't guarantee the truck you need.
Let's all hope that my amazing husband is amazing at driving a 26' truck.

3.  Collect enough boxes and newspapers to do the job.
We went to local stores and they happily donated the necessary supplies.
If you wait until near closing time, card stores will usually give you all the prior days newspapers.

4.  Gather lots of sheets and blankets.
You'll need these to protect your furniture while cramming them into a truck.
I always seem to forget this part.  This will hopefully be the first time that I remember!

5.  But a bottle or two of your favorite wine.
Packing is a stressful and daunting task.  You'll need a few glasses of wine to get through it!
I already bought two bottles of my favorite; La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir.  Yum!

6.  Eliminate what you don't need prior to moving.
Don't haul crap from one place to another.  Get rid of it because it takes up precious moving supplies!
I've got rid of many things I don't need anymore through Mercari!  I love this app!

7.  Label the boxes with breakables.
Write FRAGILE in large, red letters on appropriate boxes.  All other labels should be in black.
Remember no one is going to take the time to read what's in each and every box!

8.  Call utility companies ahead of time.
You'll need the lights on to move and live!  Don't wait until the day of to do this.
I'll never forget the last time I moved we didn't have electric for 24 hours.  We moved in the dark!

9.  Save a large suitcase for the very end.
You'll need some things to live just for the morning of the move.  An empty suitcase is the perfect solution!
Here's another thing I always forget to do and end up rocking old Target bags!

10.  Shop around for locksmiths.
The first things you should do the second you're ready to move, is hire someone to change all of the locks.
I mean, you never know who has a key to the original locks.  Better safe than sorry!

What are your moving tips?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Life: Friday Ramblings


I'm currently FREAKING the hell out about...
The fact that we are closing on our new home on Tuesday and moving in that weekend!
Between $20K in closing costs, making the biggest financial commitment ever, and moving, I'm totally done.
Normal people would freak out about this so you could only imagine what's going on in MY brain!

I'm currently ecstatic about...
The holidays being next week!  I live to see my baby girl's face on Christmas morning.
This is my first year really playing Santa Claus and I have to say that I LOVE it!

I'm currently procrastinating...
With the whole moving thing.  I really, really hate packing!
Not to mention, I hate living amongst the clutter of boxes that comes with moving.  Ug.

I'm currently shocked that...
Blogger does not know that the word "amongst" is in fact a word.
For the love of God, remove that silly red squiggly line from under that word.  It's real, I swear!

I'm currently relaxing by...
Watching my favorite TV show, Supernatural, from the very first episode.
What can I say?  Jared Padalecki helps calm my anxiety... Yum!

What are you Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

List: Ten holiday gift ideas for the entire family.

Christmas is swiftly approaching.
Oh, how I don't want the season to end!
I'm always ecstatic to see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and window shop at Macy's on 34th st.
I live for the cheesy Life Time movies, the yummy fig cookies, and the mugs of hot chocolate.
I get happy when I wake up to a decorated tree and a house filled with red and gold.
Not to mention all those extra days off from work...
This is just overall the best time of year.

The hardest part of the holiday is picking out all the clever and tasteful, yet inexpensive gifts.
Luckily for me, I started early.  Like 3 months ago early.  Go me!
Mushy will wake up to an obnoxious amount of toys and clothes with all things Frozen and Minnie Mouse.
My God son will get some awesome man toys and clothes.
Well, the kids are easy...They don't have everything yet, like us adults.

***********
Christmas Gift Ideas for the Family

1.  Mother
Bicycle planter for her beloved garden.
Bought from here.


2.  Mother-In-Law
Glade wax warmer with scented waxes.
Bought from here.


3.  Father
Cigar humidor set with a cigar ash tray.


Bought from here.


4.  Father-In-Law
Festive sweater from the Gap.


Bought from here.


5.  Grandfather
Houdini wine opener set in silver.

Bought from here.


6.  Grandmother
Lenox holiday candle holders.

Bought from here.


7.  Cousin
Fun waffle sleep tank tops.

Bought from here.


8.  Brother
Reverse charades party game.

Bought from here.


9.  Mushy's School Teachers
Soup mug and mix set.

Bought from here.


10.  My Husband
A Shutterfly photo book depicting the past year together as family.


Purchased from here.

***********

What are your holiday gift ideas for the family?

Monday, December 14, 2015

List: Ten phrases that you should never EVER say to a co-worker.

I like to think of this list as an organized rant.
A co-worker recently approached me with some very inappropriate comments that pissed me OFF!

Work is supposed to be a place that is comfortable and safe.
To keep everyone happy, companies usually set certain ethical guidelines for employees to follow.
One would think these guidelines are common sense, but apparently some people need a reminder.
No worries, people.  I have absolutely no problem reminding you!

Ten phrases that you should never EVER say to a co-worker.

1.  Are you shaved or unshaved?*
I figured that I'd start with a bang!  And, yes, someone did actually ask me this last week...

2.  Tell me something hot.*
Unless you're referring to the pea soup I made the other night, go away.  Like, now.

3.  Is your child retarded?
Did you seriously just ask this mama bear such an offensive question?  I will kick you.

4.  Are you getting enough protein?
I didn't think this was such a big deal until I realized what protein he was referring to.  Bleh, gag, barf.

5.  What color underwear are you wearing?
This went along with a perverted app.  A naive, 19 year old Jax may have answered this question...

6.  Did you get a boob job?
No, it's called my period.  Oh, you don't like that answer?  Then why did you ask?!

7.  Are you pregnant?
You wouldn't believe how many times I get asked this RUDE question!!!

8.  When you get married, do you plan on getting pregnant right away?
As my manager, I'm pretty sure that you legally can't ask me that question.  Just sayin...

9.  What do you do when you're alone?*
I am so NOT even entertaining this conversation right now, pervert!

10.  What do you do in the shower?*
Do not EVER speak to me again unless it's strictly, 100% regarding work you nasty, disgusting man.

While I've been asked all of these terrible questions, the ones with the "*" were the icing on the cake.
I politely told this sad, pathetic person that if he ever speaks to me again, I'm going straight to HR.
If I had huevos, I'd go right now.  Unfortunately, I blush even saying half of those things out loud.

What inappropriate phrases have you endured at work?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Recipe: Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

In the spirit of the holidays, I figured that I'd share my favorite holiday recipe.
I make these each and every year to bring with me on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
They're a perfect take along treat because they're real yummy and super festive!
I mean, what's not to love?!  It's a mix of brownies, cheesecake, and red velvet.  Three amazing things!


Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Preheat the oven to 350*.

Brownie
(1) Stick salted butter
(1) Cup sugar
(1) Teaspoon vanilla
(1/4) Cup cocoa powder
(1) Tablespoon red food coloring
(1) Teaspoon apple cider vinegar
(2) Eggs
(3/4) Cup flour
Pinch of salt

Cheesecake
(8) Ounces cream cheese-Softened
(1/4) Cup sugar
(1) Egg
(1/8) Teaspoon vanilla

Butter (1) 8x8" baking pan and set aside.

Melt the butter in the microwave and pour into a large mixing bowl.  Add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, food coloring, salt, and vinegar into the bowl.  Using an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients.  Whisk the eggs and then add it into the brownie mixture.  In small doses, add the flour and mix until completely combined.  Pour the batter into the buttered baking pan and set aside.

In a separate large bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Use a hand mixer and blend completely.  Cautiously pour the cream cheese mixture over the brownie mixture into the buttered pan.  Make sure the top layer is as even as possible.  Using a knife, scrape the remaining brownie mixture and swirl it through the cheesecake for a nice design.

Bake for 30 minutes.  After fully cooked through, place the brownies on a cooling rack.  Do not attempt to cut these until they are completely cooled down.

***************************

I promise that you'll absolutely adore these brownies.
They are as delicious as they look!
The recipe I printed out years ago came from The Food Network.  Although I made a few minor changes.

Have you, or will you, make these red velvet cheesecake brownies?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

List: My Christmas wish list.

Last year I had so much fun making this list that I just had to do it again.
Side Note:  My hubby has referenced last years list several times this year already!  I'll keep that in mind!
Hopefully my wish list will help some of you brainstorm ideas for your loved ones.
If anyone could help me out by forwarding this post to Carlos, that would be lovely...  hah!

My Christmas Wish List.

1.  Ralph Sunglasses
Can be bought here.

2.  Gold Dot Infuser Mug
Can be bought here.

3.   Over-sized Banana Republic Sweater
Can be bought here.

4.  Anne Klein Snow Boots
Can be bought here.

5.  Rachael Ray 365:  No Repeats
Can be bought here.



6.  Gap Cashmere Scarf
Can be bought here.



7.  Calvin Klein Euphoria Perfume

Can be bought here.



8.  Maybelline Eyeshadow

Can be bought here.
9.  Photo Collage
Can be bought here.
10.  Indoor Planter
Can be bought here.

What's on your holiday wish list?


Monday, December 7, 2015

Bloghop: Question of the Month.

The very entertaining and talented Mike from A Life Examined has graciously decided to host a party.
Well, it might not be a party exactly, but it’s at least considered a gathering!
He has initiated a bloghop called Question of the Month and I’m honored to a part of it.
It was open to the world, but Jax can pretend that it’s an exclusive “gathering”, right? RIGHT?!


Which one social convention would you get rid of?

Ladies and gentlemen, I feel the need to answer this question in the form of a list.
I'll start off with the less obnoxious social conventions and end with the grand finale.
I mean, how else did you expect me to answer this simple question?  Totally Jax style!

1.  Men shouldn't show emotions.
I'm not saying that men should be all balls of mush, but they can say how they feel.
It's refreshing for a man to open up, but it's awful when they cry and moan over everything.

2.  The three day rule.
The whole concept of waiting three days to contact someone you like after a date is ridiculous.
If we liked each other, why must we torture ourselves by not communicating for THREE days?!

3.  A full work day being 8am-5pm.
Why can't it be flexible as long as we work our full 8 hours?!
I would be all for working 6:00am-3:00pm.  I mean, I'd have the whole day left.  Heyy!

4.  Leaving a tip.
The customer dreads figuring out the tip and the receiver dreads getting an inappropriate one.
Establishments should pay their employees a little more, raise the price, and take away the stress.

5.  Leaving someone a voicemail.
I personally never leave a voicemail and I never listen to ones left for me.  I simply return their call.
I mean, my voice mail box is currently full so you can't leave me a message anyways!

6.  Women should do the cooking.
It's completely ridiculous that women are typically expected to do all of the cooking.  It isn't hard!
Luckily, my man doesn't follow the male/female roles.  Unfortunately, he's an awful cook.

7.  Men should make more money than their woman.
I honestly think this old school way of thinking is backwards.  It's not emasculating, it's impressive.
Just as how I'd be proud of my husband for making a higher salary, he should be proud of me.

8.  Mothers should never have a night out.
Just because I have a child does not mean that I should stop living life.
The nights out should not be excessive or become a financial burden on your family.

9.  Finishing your plate when you don't like something.
There's nothing worse than having to force food you don't like down your throat.
I mean, if someone didn't like something I made, I would totally not take offense to it!

10.  Go to college right after high school.
Very few teenagers know what they want to do right after high school and it's REAL expensive.
Society forces us to dump hundreds of thousands of dollars on college that takes a lifetime to see a return on.

What social convention do you want to get rid of?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Life: Friday Ramblings

Happy Friday, love bugs!
It's time for your favorite bi-weekly series.
I didn't think I'd grow to look forward to this series, but here I am loving it!
Here's to a fantastic weekend filled with lots of smiles, laughter, and fun.


Currently smiling about...
Watching my baby girl and her favorite man's reunion after a weeks vacation!
They lit up, ran to each other, and hugged so hard that they fell on the floor.  *tear*

Currently stressing over...
After the vision in my left eye got blurry, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with fluid behind my retina.
Stress isn't even the word for this.  My anxiety is making me think real horrible things.

Currently fuming over...
The university I go to putting me on registration hold due to a mystery balance.
I have paperwork saying that I was paid in full.  How do you randomly charge me an extra $500?!

Currently happy about...
The three new HOT outfits I bought from Bebe to add to my professional wardrobe!
We're talking straight trousers and flattering peplum blouses.  Love, love, love!

Currently frustrated with...
The mortgage company.  We were supposed to close Dec 1st and they're still asking me for stuff!
Two months into the mortgage application and NOW they decide they want a cess pool inspection?!  Smh...

Currently craving...
A gel manicure!  Due to lack of time and financials, I've been manicure free for almost TWO months.
According to my doctor, the eye condition is due to stress.  A gel mani probably would help with that...

Currently ecstatic that...
The Walking Dead FINALLY revealed that Glenn is alive and well!
Although, I am disappointed that Daryl was absent during the mid-season finale.   Womp womp.

Currently looking forward to...
A brunch and gingerbread house party with my awesome in laws Sunday morning.
It's crazy how these simple things are the ones I look forward to the most.

What are some of your Friday ramblings?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

List: Ten rules of proper company party etiquette.

This weekend is my company's holiday party.
It's going to be a great event complete with passing au'derves, a DJ, and expensive raffle prizes.
We may not get holiday bonuses, but at least we get a real hot partAY!
While I'm looking forward to the festivities, I can't help but reminisce on some past disasters.
In an attempt to help save some people a little face, here's a few corporate tips!
Not that I have any doubt that you'd all rock the party appropriately, but you never know!

Ten rules of proper company party etiquette.

1.  Dress appropriately.
Ask the person in charge or HR for the dress code and follow suit with it.
It should go without saying that NOTHING, and I repeat, NOTHING should be hanging out.

2.  Make sure you have some cash.
You may need to tip the valet guy, buy a drink, or participate in a raffle.  Either way, have it!
I was mortified a few years back when I had to borrow singles for the valet guy.  Sigh...

3.  Limit your drinks.
I like to follow the two drink rule, but for others it may be one or none.  Bottom line:  Don't get silly.
Just because it's a party, doesn't mean you should forget your company.  Keep it professional.

4.  Be social.
Management loves crew unity and team work.  Mingle and show off your social skills!
Don't be TOO social and then say that Jaclyn told you to...

5.  Refrain from dirty dancing.
If there is dancing at the party, that means dancing, not getting it on on the dance floor.
Please, for the love of all things holy, do NOT grind on your boss.!

6.  Participate in planned activities.
I've been told by my manager directly that it's a slap in the face when people refuse to participate.
I mean, it makes sense.  Imagine you cooked a meal for someone and they didn't eat it!

7.  Avoid social media.
Be conscious of the fact that not everyone wants to be plastered on social media.
If you MUST post something, at least clear it with all involved parties beforehand.  Better safe than sorry!

8.  Don't leave early for no reason.
If you have to leave early, let people know ahead of time.  It's rude to just sneak out.
Remember that you and your guest's dishes were paid for ahead of time.  Don't be that person.

9.  Plan your ride home ahead of time.
Even with a two drink maximum, your driving will be impaired.  Plan ahead.
You'll be mortified if your boss needs to call you a cab so you're not a company liability.

10.  Thank your host.
Make sure you extend your appreciation to the people who funded the party and those who planned it!
Just because corporate dishes out the cash, doesn't mean that the money didn't come out of  a local budget.

What are your company party etiquette rules?

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