Thursday, August 20, 2009

So Long, Farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Good-bye

So, I've been mulling over what to do with my little blog here. My posts have become few and far between as I spend most of my time writing for my travel blog and my Lexington Herald-Leader blog. The travel blog takes a big chunk of time and, although I used to reserve this blog for more personal information, once I was "outed" as a blogger, I began using the Herald-Leader blog more for personal stories. I just don't have that much to write on here anymore.

I got an email from BlogHer today saying that they were pulling their ads because I haven't written in more than two weeks. I didn't realize it had been that long. Time flies when you are retired. I wonder how I ever had time to work, I stay so busy now.

So. I guess I'm closing up shop here. It makes me a little sad. I have written 663 posts here. Uh. 664 now. I started writing here on January 11, 2007. And I'm stopping on August 20, 2009. That's a lot of writing. And it quite literally changed my life.

I would have never dreamed of becoming a travel writer on January 11, 2007. A travel writer who is traveling the world and writing about it. I would never have dreamed about writing for the newspaper. But that happened too. All because I learned, honed, polished and improved my writing on this blog.

I appreciate you reading. All of you. Your hits, your comments - they all kept me writing. Thanks.

If you want to keep up with my life, you can subscribe to the travel blog. There's no way to subscribe to the newspaper blog, but if you friend me on Facebook (Jan Shepherd Ross), you can keep up with those as well.

Thanks again. Have a good life.

I certainly plan to.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Take A Cruise Or Read About My UnFabulous Hair

One of the amenities we enjoy most on a cruise is a balcony or, at the very least, an ocean view cabin. We like to be able to see the water and we enjoy sitting out on our balcony when we are at sea or even when we are docked, just relishing the fresh air and the views. That said, it's also nice to save money with an inside cabin because you get to enjoy everything the ocean view residents do such as wonderful food and exotic locations at a bargain price. But the best possible situation is when you PAY the inside cabin price but actually get to STAY in an ocean view cabin. And that is an option you can enjoy on Norwegian Cruise Line's cruise from Boston to Bermuda on August 28th. Read more on my travel blog HERE.

So I was just looking over my blog posts for the last few days so I could try to cadge some ideas from them to make sure I didn't bore you with the same information - like that would EVER HAPPEN. Please. I would never write about the same topics like shorts and shorts or purses and purses and I won't even try to link to all the posts about shoes because that would be an EXERCISE IN FUTILITY and, speaking of exercise, I noticed that I wrote a couple of blog posts about exercise class so I won't talk about that again. This has nothing to do with the fact that I haven't actually BEEN to exercise class because that is TOTALLY not my fault because I have been very busy because y'all. Read more at my Herald-Leader blog HERE.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Head To St. Kitts

I'm going to be honest here and tell you that, before researching and writing this post, I had no idea where St. Kitts was located. But now that I know all about it? I am SO ready to head there for vacation. St. Kitts is an Eastern Caribbean island located in the West Indies, about 45 minutes by plane from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Read the rest on my travel blog HERE.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just The Links, Ma'am

Check out my travel blog post today about a great condo or house at the gulf for half price. HERE
And then commiserate with me on my quest to find the perfect exercise class on my Herald-Leader blog HERE.

If you want keep up with all my blogging and other exciting minutiae of my life, add me as a friend in Facebook. It's Jan Shepherd Ross.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You May Still Have Time... fit in a cruise before school starts, depending on where you live and when school starts. Check out information about a great deal on a Disney cruise on my travel blog here:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

News Flash

I have a news flash for you all and I'm sure you are going to be SUPREMELY interested in this.

My butt is KILLING ME.

Read why at my Herald-Leader blog HERE.

Friday, July 24, 2009

For Fun Friday: July 24, 2009

Time travel is a premise that fascinates me. I can't imagine being in this woman's situation, though.

I guess you really can buy anything on the Internet.

And last. A picture that struck so close to home, I had to share.

If you are thinking about a destination wedding, check out my travel blog post about Couples San Souci. Fabulous place!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Want To Be More Gorgeous On Facebook Than I Am In Real Life

I actually started to write about Facebook the other day and then I got distracted by the whole iPhone debacle and my post degenerated into a diatribe about iPhone use and I'm really pleased with the resonance of all those "d" words in this sentence and this is exactly how I got distracted the last time so here I am back to talking about Facebook. Read more about my desire for gorgeous photos of myself HERE on my Herald-Leader blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kids Eat Free In Orlando

There are a lot of special deals available now for kids to get free privileges at a variety of locations but this deal from American Express and The Travel Authority is one of the best I have seen. Many resorts offer a kids eat free option but this deal allows kids 11 and under to eat free at over 100 restaurants in Orlando. Instead of having to choose from a couple of restaurants at a resort, and a reduced menu, families can choose from a huge variety of restaurants and make everyone in the family happy with their meal choice. Read the rest at my travel blog HERE.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Purex 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets

So, now that I have all this free time and I can keep up with my laundry with no problem at all, NOW I find this completely fabulous product to save time when doing laundry. It's these really cool laundry sheets that have the detergent and fabric softener (and anti-static is the 3rd) right in them. All you do is drop the sheet in the washer and then put it in the dryer along with the wet clothes. I couldn't believe it would actually work but it does! The clothes were clean and fresh and had no static.

Not that it takes all that much time to pour in laundry detergent and throw in a dryer sheet but I am all about less time for chores because that just means I have a lot more time for naps. Which is always a necessity.

So try these and let me know what you think.

And check out my Herald-Leader blog today about my aversion to iPhones. And mock me endlessly.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Punta Cana Princess

I will eventually get back to writing over here but I've been busy wrangling a wild little blonde pony at my house all week while day care was closed and was lucky to keep the travel posts coming. And now that I have written that and looked back, I realize I described him the EXACT SAME WAY last week. Things must have been just like the wild west around here. And so they were. Check out the one for today and it may make you think about visiting Punta Cana.

A few years ago, my daughter and I wanted an inexpensive, all-inclusive getaway. We decided that an all-inclusive trip to Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic was the best possible deal for our money as well as having the benefit of being a gorgeous, tropical location. Punta Cana has beautiful white sand beaches which face the calm and lovely Caribbean ocean, where the temperatures stay fairly constant all year long with an average of 80 degrees. We were traveling alone so we wanted a tour company that was reliable and where one payment would cover everything from food, lodgings, airfare and transfers. So we decided on Vacation Express and The Travel Authority. And were very glad we did. Read the rest on my travel blog here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

For Fun Friday: July 17, 2009

I am kind of liking Ricky Gervais. He's growing on me.

Some truly strange duvet covers.

Check out this youtube video - it's really incredible. I can't believe how they make it sound like a thunderstorm with their hands! (Thanks, Barb!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Travel to Paris, Anyone?

Seems like all I'm doing lately is writing on my travel blog. That and corraling a wild young pony with blonde hair who is visiting us this week while day care is closed. Now I know why they say you should have your kids while you are young. Although the kisses and hugs make all the strenuous exercise well worth it. In lieu of a fascinating and humorous post, just link over to my travel post about a two-for-one river cruise deal in Europe. This is on our after-retirement list. I hope we get to go soon...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Vaseline Daily Body Gel

I saw an ad for this stuff in a magazine and I was kind of intriqued with the idea of using a gel to moisturize in the summer, instead of lotion. It just sounded cool and refreshing, especially since I'm spending a lot of time outside and at the pool. Well, I have to tell you that I LOVE this stuff. I thought it might be greasy or would just sit on my skin but it's not greasy at all; it's light and clean-smelling and it blends right in. I also like it does not have a heavy smell and I can wear perfume when I use this. The lotions are great but they smell so strong that I can't wear any of my perfume. If you go here, you can get a dollar off coupon. So, check this stuff out and let me know what you think.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm Not Sure What Is More Interesting About This Picture

That I was so intrigued by the fact that crackers in Mexico have Spanish writing on them. (Duh.)

Or. That I was taking a picture of my crackers at an oceanside cafe with a lovely beach and turquoise water. And showing myself to be the wide-eyed tourist I totally was.

Friday, July 10, 2009

For Fun Friday July 10, 2009

This looks hilarious. I think I recognize that beach!

This list includes some of our FAVORITE movies. "But of course"! (said with a faux French accent)

Whether you are traveling or not this summer, here's a great list of books to read.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Retirement Is Great But It's Making Me Tired

Seriously. I love retirement but I think I am busier now than I was when I was working. Of course, I am in summertime mode which means I must frantically clean my house from top to bottom and this even includes such once a week once a month OK once every six months jobs as mopping all the floors. Thank God I bought that lovely kitchen linoleum that hides the dirt so well. Who knew it was TOTALLY a different color when it was clean. Huh.

Tom was lying on the couch the other day as I dusted the downstairs (changing the dust rag often because they were getting so filthy - God, who cleans this house? Oh. That would be me.) and I said "I bet you think I'm going nuts cleaning so much" and he managed to drag his attention away from Jerry Springer long enough to nod. What he doesn't realize is that I do this every summer - he is just usually at work. Now that we are both home, he can truly witness my obsessive cleanliness.

It's this way every summer. I never have time to clean the whole house at one time during the school year. It's the bathrooms/laundry one Saturday and dusting/vacuuming/laundry the next Saturday and if I skip a Saturday because of a social event or shoe shopping, it's almost impossible to catch up. And I can't imagine how I got anything at all done when I had kids to take care of. It's a wonder mothers ever get anything done.

So. My house is pretty clean now. But I have been taking my little Moose to swim lessons in the morning and I'm not sure how a 1/2 hour swim lesson can consume the entire day but it seems to do just that. Of course, the afternoon naps consume part of my day. But I am not willing to negotiate on that. Summer naps are absolutely fabulous. Turn on the fan, get a light quilt to put over you, no set time to get up or to get anything done, and just sleep. FABULOUS.

And then there's reading. I finally have time to go to the library, check out books and sit and read them. I am loving this. I devour one book, throw it down and begin another. I'm like a person who has staggered out of the desert after being lost for days and you just handed me a pitcher of clear, cool water.

I got an email from my replacement the other day, asking about some techie stuff and how to do this and that and I thought "She is probably sending this from my desk. In my library. On my computer". Huh. I felt a little pang of sadness. A tiny little pang.

And then I took a nap.

And felt much better.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Fresca

OK, this is not a new product but one I have rediscovered, thanks to my mom. She offered me a Fresca a while back and when I took one sip, I remembered what I had forgotten over the years. Namely, that Fresca is FABULOUS. Citrusy, grapefruity, clean tasting and refreshing. All other diet drinks, even my beloved Diet Mountain Dew, now taste too sweet. I am living on this stuff.

And I was astonished to find out while looking for a picture for this post that it now comes in Black Cherry and Peach, which I WILL be trying to find somewhere. If you are looking for a crisp and refreshing diet drink that has no caffeine, check this stuff out and let me know what you think.

Friday, July 3, 2009

For Fun Friday: July 3, 2009

All the new movies seem to be either about zombies or vampires. Here's the latest vampire offering.

44 Travel Rules - and I'm still learning new ones.

I have often thought about how easy it would be to walk from one movie showing to another without paying but have never actually done it and would probably never do it. But here's exactly HOW to do it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Pillsbury Perfect Portions

So I have spent a lot of these Try It Tuesday posts on healthy, low-fat alternatives lately so I think it is high time I talked about a something delicious that is not quite so healthy.

So only eat one.

Because you must try these Pillsbury Perfect Portions biscuits. We occasionally like some bread with our dinner - luckily, this is not an obsession with me and I can usually take or leave bread especially since my hips scream LEAVEIT - but, with just the two of us, it doesn't make sense to fix a whole can of biscuits.

These are great because you can just take out how many you want and heat them up. And they taste delicious.

Check them out and let me know what you think.

Monday, June 29, 2009

You Know You're Really Retired When They Give Your Mailbox To The New Girl

So I left work on Friday at 2:30 and walked out the door and I was retired.

It was little anticlimactic, I must say.

Everyone else had already left for the summer so it was just me and a bunch of construction guys in the back of the school who were jack hammering up the floor. And they really didn't care if I was retiring.

I had already been wined and dined and feted by all my friends and coworkers so it was just me there at the end.

But the end had actually come a little sooner than that.

When I had gone in the office to check and see if I had any last-minute mail I should take care of before I left.

And realized I no longer had a mailbox.

And the new girl had one.

It was an odd feeling.

Not bad. Not sad.

Just. Odd.

Friday, June 26, 2009

For Fun Friday: June 26, 2009

My favorite line? "Anyone want some Purel"?

This site is pretty cool. You can put together clothes and accessories from a variety of sites and see how they look.

I may pay too much for makeup, but at least I don't participate in any of these beauty rituals.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Costa Rica Travel Destination = FAIL

So I was just writing a blog post for my travel blog about a trip to Costa Rica one of the travel agents had taken. I'm just writing away, editing and rephrasing and adding photographs and thinking about what a great trip this was and how fabulous Costa Rica seems and how I would totally like to go there and then.


After breakfast the next day, we explored the canal, visited the local school and town of Tortuguero and then just relaxed by the pool. Lizards and five – six foot iguanas are a common sight around the pool area.

Y'all. Have you READ this post?

Then you know that Costa Rica was just dropped off the list of possible vacation destinations.

Well. At least the jungle part.

I mean. They have beaches, right? And cities? Those would be OK.

But if I see a six foot iguana?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Weight Watcher Cream Cheese

I love bagels and cream cheese for breakfast but it's really difficult to determine how much cream cheese you are slathering on your bagel - and the non-fat kind has a weird consistency.

So I was THRILLED to find these darling little individual cream cheeses from Weight Watcher. Not only do they taste good, you can figure out exactly how much you are using - and they are are only 1 point for the whole container. They are low fat but I think the consistency and taste are just like regular cream cheese.

Try them and let me know what you think!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Here, lizard, lizard

So Cancun was TOTALLY fabulous. As you can imagine. White sandy beaches. Turquoise and jade green water. Marvelous food.

Well. When you eat HERE, all your food tastes good.

Oceanside restaurant a Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, Riveria Maya

And when you wake up to a view like this?

View from a suite at Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach, Punta Cancun

Every morning is filled with endless joy.

And when you have your own PRIVATE POOL to swim in?

Plunge pool outside suite at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, Riveria Maya

Please. Could life GET any better?

There was just one TINY problem. Actually. Not so tiny.

Lizards. Iguanas to be exact.

When we first arrived at our resort in Riviera Maya, my new best friend, Debbie, and I were strolling down the path to our rooms. Surrounded by lush jungle vegetation and huge, bright colored flowers. The twitter and caw of the jungle birds. The warm Caribbean sun bathed our faces and the purr of the surf filled the air and CRAP! What was that? Something just ran across the path in front of us. There may have been some profanities uttered. There may have been some dancing around. In fact. There may have been some actual shrieking.

It disappeared into the jungle. And we calmed down. One lizard. Not that big. How bad could this be? It would be FINE. Then I came out of the room to go to lunch and saw him.

As you can see, he was very arrogant. If he could have spoken, it would have been something like "Hey, beyotch. You EYEBALLING ME? Who LIVES HERE? I do. That's who. Don't you be EYEBALLING ME. Because you know what. I know HOW TO GET IN YOUR ROOM. And I can run ACROSS YOUR FEET when you get up at night to go to the bathroom".

Not that this ever happened. However. It was my worst nightmare. As you can see, I paused long enough to take his picture and I kept reassuring myself that he's not that big. There's probably not that many of them.

And then.

I was walking back to the room. And I saw him. He was not in a windowsill. Because he would not have FIT IN A WINDOWSILL. He was stretched across the sidewalk. Now, I am here to tell you that I do not have a picture of him. Because it is difficult to take a picture when you are frantically backing up, sweating and loudly screaming. But I managed to find a picture online just to give you an idea of how big he was.

He did not look at me. He did not need to look at me. Because he knew the power that was him. And he knew that I was backing up. And I would not bother him.

Then we were lolling out by the pool one morning. And really? I think "lolling" is a great word. Don't you? Everyone should loll on their vacations. So we were lolling in our lounge chairs and we heard a rustle in the grass and we turned around and we saw this.

That? Oh, that's an iguana TEARING INTO A BABY BIRD. Which luckily was already dead. I think. He whipped his head back and forth and gave us the evil eye the whole time he was gulping that thing down. And we all went EEEEEEWWWWWWWWW!!

The worst story I heard all week was when the person in charge of catering found out how skeeved I was by the iguanas and laughingly told us that they would not hurt you (theoretically, I knew this but it did not help) and shared a story about how she was meeting with a group in the oceanside restaurant and felt something scratch her leg (wait for it) and looked down and an iguana was walking by, brushing her leg. AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

You better believe I kept my eyes open in that restaurant the rest of the week. It did not keep me from eating. Not REMOTELY. But I kept my eyes open.

The very last morning after breakfast, I headed back to my room to finish packing and get ready to leave. On the path away from the restaurant sat a huge iguana, lazing in the sun. He filled the entire sidewalk. He glanced up at me knowingly and gave me a lazy, smart ass grin. OK. Maybe that was my imagination.

But I still found another route to my room.

Wouldn't you?

Friday, June 12, 2009

I Got Nothing. Again.

Those of you who read ALL my many blogs know I used the same post title this week when writing a post for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Although it's technically true that I got nothing today because I didn't have time to round up some fun Friday stuff for you, it's not because I have been doing nothing but because I have been doing so much.

Working long hours at school to finish up my final year, doing a complete inventory and trying to leave things ship-shape for the new librarian. Getting ready for my trip, shopping, packing, planning, organizing. This weekend is packed with last-minute errands on Saturday, lunch with my best girlfriends - my daughter, nieces and sister-in-law - and then a day with Thomas the tank engine on Sunday with the most perfect grandson in the world. I leave at the crack of dawn on Monday for Cancun so I need to have everything ready before then.

I'm taking my laptop and my Blackberry and hope to do some tweeting and possibly some live blogging but I'm not going to stop lazing on the beach or getting a massage or drinking a mojito to go inside and type on my computer. I know you understand.

So. You may not hear from me for a week. But I will be back in just a few days to share all my experiences and will be sharing more specific travel posts on the travel blog.

I wish you were going. I would like to have some friends along. But this may be an opportunity to make some new friends. I'm going to be out of my comfort zone and that's a good thing sometimes. It's just a little scary.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Packing For Cancun Or The Post Where You Find Out How Truly Anal I Really Am

So, I wrote about my Cancun trip here but I had also mentioned that I was going to share with you what I packed for the trip after I meandered onto another topic here. I got everything laundered, organized and mostly packed this past weekend even though I am not leaving for another week because.


Because I am a tad OCD. And I admit it. One of my friends at school was leaving on a trip to the beach the day after school was out and she had not packed a thing. The day before the trip. I got all a-flutter just thinking about the situation. If I was not completely packed and organized the day before a trip? The world would COME TO AN END. So. All packed and organized. And here is what I am taking.

This is what I'm wearing to the airport. White capris, bright turquoise racer-back top and a thin, white blouse open on top. I always like to have something I can slip on or off, depending on how cold the airport or airplane might be. When I arrive in Cancun, I'll just slip that sheer top into my bag and with my white pants and light top, I will be ready for the hot weather. And the pool. And the beach. And OMG I think I am having an excitement attack. Is there such a thing? There TOTALLY should be.

I have flat white sandals I am wearing which will go with other outfits as well. The turquoise top could also match the black capris I am taking, as well as the khaki shorts. And the sheer white blouse can go over the black and white sundress I am wearing one night in case it is chilly.

We will have dinner out four nights and I'm not sure if they will be dressy or not so I am taking two dresses and tops to dress up my black or white capris. Here's the two dresses. I'm taking dressy black sandals which will match either dress and will also match either pair of capris.

I figure out everything I am going to wear with an outfit, from jewelry to underwear and put that in the suitcase with the outfit. Because it would be a catastrophe BEYOND PROPORTION to not have the right earrings for the outfit.

I'm taking two pairs of capris - black and white.

If I wear a dressy top and sandals with them, they will be fine for dinner out.

Or I can dress them down to wear during the day.

All of the tops I am taking can be worn with either black or white.

I'm only taking one pair of casual shorts, since I want to look a little more professional when we are touring properties. I chose khaki because I can wear any of my tops with them. I'm packing three bright colored tank tops which will match the shorts or the capris. They can be worn singly or layered and I could even wear the black one over my bathing suit if I need to.

Bathing suit, coverup, cute black straw hat. Ready for the beach!

Silky short nightgown and matching robe. I would not have been quite so well coordinated but I thought I was sharing a room with a stranger and did not want to shock them with my hot flash-induced nudity. I think the robe will come in handy to throw on while I do my hair, etc.

And finally. Because I will NEVER be caught without food while traveling again like the time Tom and I cockily thought we would eat at the airport on the way home from Puerto Vallarta and just about starved when we were hustled through the conncting airport because our flight was late. We literally went 12 hours without food. When we got to the airport in Lexington, we fell on a chocolate bar from the vending machine like a pack of ravening coyotes. Never again.

And there you have it. I'm ready to go. You can read all about the trip on my travel blog when I return or check Twitter for some live tweeting. Hopefully.

If I can get my new Blackberry Storm to cooperate. Because she does think I'm rather an idiot.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Blue Bunny Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches

I really thought I had found the perfect ice cream sandwich with the Skinny Cow products. And they really are completely fabulous. I even tried some mint ice cream sandwiches the other day from Weight Watchers and they could not BEGIN to compare. And seriously. Weight Watchers needs to fire the person who keeps telling them their ice cream is good because really. It is NOT. Have you tried those little ice cream cups? Uh. How can I put this?

GAG. They taste like frozen cardboard.

But back to Skinny Cow. They are indeed wonderful but I now have a new ice cream sandwich that I will be stocking in my freezer right next to them. Blue Bunny Frozen Yogurt Granola Sandwiches. The ice cream is creamy and delicious and I LOVE the cookie part. It's not really sweet and it doesn't get all over your fingers like the Skinny Cow sandwiches do. They do have more points than Skinny Cow with 4 but they are worth it.

Try them and let me know what you think. I found them at Walmart.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

For Fun Friday: June 5, 2009

I could save a whole lot of money if all my dresses were made like this.

A snake on my deck was quite close enough for me, thank you.

My favorite part is when he says "Ooooh, swish"! - oh, and they actually got everyone carrying a phone right!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Well. At Least I Know What I'm Wearing To The Airport

Seriously. Does anyone else spend hours figuring out what they are going to wear to the airport when they go on a trip?

I read on one of my travel blogs how the blogger has given up on dressing nice for trips and now just wears sweat pants and a t-shirt to travel. SWEAT PANTS AND A T-SHIRT. Honestly. Can you see ME wearing sweat pants and t-shirt to...well...pretty much anywhere?

Well. There was that one time when I wore sleeping pants to the grocery. But that was a fluke. Would a person who has over 50 pairs of shoes wear sweat pants to travel?

Uh. Yeah. I now have a SHOE CLOSET. I got tired of rooting for my shoes and having them in a couple different locations so I went to Tarjay and bought several hanging shoe bags, then moved things around until voila! a closet just for shoes. It's just a good thing my children have moved out because, otherwise, their clothes would be, like, in a box somewhere. Because I have a SHOE CLOSET! And no room for any of their clothes.

And after I got them all hung up with my shoes tucked in them (arranged by color because I am totally anal) that I actually counted them and realized there were 50 pockets and they were all filled with shoes and I had a few pairs left over. And. That's just my summer shoes.

Oh! And. Remember when I said I really, totally needed dark purple shoes? Well, it turns out I HAVE dark purple shoes. I just didn't know it. And I am just a trifle embarrassed to tell you how many shoes I found that had NEVER BEEN WORN. So it's almost like I had a little mini shopping trip just by rearranging my shoes. And what is better than a shopping trip? Well. NOTHING, actually.

So my trip. And what to wear to the airport. The last couple of times I have traveled, I have actually gotten pretty good at packing and just taking a minimal amount of clothing. And shoes. IT'S TRUE! I'll never forget our first cruise where I took every color of shoe I owned and we stepped over that pile of shoes for a week. So I have learned to take, at most, two pairs. I know this is VERY DIFFICULT to believe but it is true. I have also learned to pare down my clothing until I have just a very few outfits that I can mix and match, usually just a few colors so they will go with the shoes I take.

It is at this point that I was going to lay out all my clothes, mix and match them and take pictures to show you. But since I got side tracked writing about the SHOE CLOSET, I have lost my impetus to finish this post and also because I might need some time to (heart-breakingly) take back my fabulous new purse because, even though I love it? When I put some stuff in it this morning and then picked it up, it weighed approximately 6,921 pounds. And that's without any snacks, books or magazines for the plane. Because GOD FORBID I should get hungry or not have any reading material on my trip to Cancun. So the purse has to go. And I'm back to a carry-on that I can drag on wheels. Where the amount of candy bar and cookies granola bars and fruit I pack will not matter.

So I'll have to write the packing post another day. With pictures. And annotations about each article of clothing.

I know you can't wait. Especially you, Tom.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Hellman's Lowfat Mayonnaise Dressing

For a while, I tried not to use mayonnaise on my sandwiches. Or just a teensy bit. Or maybe mustard, which has no Weight Watcher points. And that worked. For a while.

Then I discovered this MIRACULOUS mayonnaise and I will never again use anything else. Hellman's Lowfat Mayonnaise Dressing has NO POINTS.

Yes. I said it. NO POINTS. Now, that is for 1 tablespoon, so if you go crazy and add more than that, it would be one point for each extra tablespoon. Still not bad. But 1 tablespoon can go pretty far on a sandwich. Especially if you are chanting "no points! no points!" as you spread it. And the best thing? It is creamy and quite delicious. You will never know you are not using full-fat mayonnaise.

So, get out those Arnold Sandwich Thins, put some low-fat turkey on it and this mayonnaise and you have a sandwich that is maybe 2-3 points. And the most important thing? It actually tastes good.

Now, try this and let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Perfect Lipstick

When I was writing this post in my head on the way home from the mall the other day (luckily, I didn't forget it which all too often happens to those posts-in-my-head) some of it sounded kind of familiar so I went back and searched through my old posts and, sure enough, I had written about finding the perfect lipstick before. But it was two years ago so I'm not even going to link to it because you have probably forgotten all about it so this is like a TOTALLY new topic for you. At least, this is what I am telling myself.

I have been searching for the perfect lipstick for approximately 26 years. No, I am absolutely not kidding. It was 26 years ago that I was working in Public Relations for McDonald's. And by Public Relations I mean that I was the person who threw the birthday parties and gave the store tours. But I also worked with the advertising company on promotions, helped design coupons, etc. Also, I knew Ronald McDonald personally and even appeared in parades with him. God. The good old days. So I liked to pretend I was in Public Relations. I was actually the STAR for several stores back then and I just thought for a minute that Google would disappoint me but no. I was able to find information about the STAR's from the 80's. It was an acronym for the Store Activity Representative and, at one time, there were quite a few of us.

One of the STARs for some other stores in another town actually was in Public Relations. She did a lot more than I ever did as far as promotions and other cool stuff. But she was just generally cool. Her name was Sundae and she was absolutely the epitome of cool. Not only did she have a cool name - really, who else is named Sundae? - she had cool clothes and absolutely cool, long curly hair. But the coolest thing about her was her lipstick. It was a pinky/mauvey/browny color that matched her lips perfectly and was always perfectly applied, glossy and quite fabulous. I coveted that lipstick. But I was always too shy to ask her about it.

I thought I had found the perfect color a while back (the post I found was written in 2007 for God's sake) but it disappointed me. I have a new color from Clarins called...and I just went to check and it doesn't have a name. It is #02. This is probably the actual lipstick Sundae used because really? How cool do you have to be to NOT EVEN HAVE A NAME?

Pretty darn cool.

So we will see. If this lipstick can meet the test of time. Or disappear into the mists of old blog posts which I just vaguely remember. And you have probably long since forgotten.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Couldn't Be More Proud

My daughter made this comment on one of my posts the other day:

I channeled you the other day. I found some cute little (cotton) Liz Claiborne tops at Gabriel Bros for $3.99 so I bought them in every color in my size. Feeling good about that purchase:)

Have I raised her right OR WHAT?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Flat Earth Chips

I honestly didn't know that these chips were made by Frito-Lay until I searched for information and pictures of them, so apparently Frito-Lay is really getting into making some healthier foods.

Although I guess I totally should probably be eating something like carrots instead of chips with my sandwich. And I do sometimes. I was surprised to find from my research that these chips actually provide you with half a serving of a vegetable, so at least I'm getting half my carrot supply when I eat them!

But I really like chips. And at least these are somewhat healthy.

The Flat Earth chips are baked veggie crisps and I actually like them much better than potato chips. They come in several flavors, but my favorite is the Tangy Tomato Ranch Flavor. A big handful of chips is 3 points and they really liven up your lunchtime. They make some fruit chips also but I have not seen them at my groceries yet.

Try them and let me know what you think!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Am SO OVER Cotton

I realize I wrote about pants on Tuesday but pants seem to be the central issue in my life right now.

And, yes. I do indeed realized how shallow I am. The only thing that would be worse is if I wrote about SHOES all the time.


I need some Polyester shorts. There. I said it. Now, just hand me my cane and my Metamucil and be done with it. And I don't even CARE. I still want them.

Read the rest HERE at my Herald-Leader blog.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time Is Like Ketchup. Bear With Me Here.

Have you ever tried to get the last little bit of ketchup out of a bottle? When that is all the ketchup there is and you really, truly want that last little bit for your fries because you NEED that last little bit but it drips.out.soooooo.slowly.


That's how time has been for me for the last couple of weeks.

We have been participating in state-wide testing at our school and, even though I'm sure it's very hard on the students who have to read and write and do math and, like, work really hard? It's even harder on ME.

For the last few years, I have been a proctor for the tests which basically involved walking around the room while the students took the test to make sure they didn't go on to Part B when they were on Part A - no! alarms ringing! the end of the world! - and counting down every single minute which lasted approximately 4,921 seconds in testing world.

Because the wooooorrrrllldddd sloooooowwwwssss dooooowwwwnnnn when you are doing nothing but making sure the students don't go on to Part B. Seriously. Each minute lasts that long. You can look at the clock, look away for about 15 minutes, look back and it is STILL ON THE SAME MINUTE. It's horrifying.

But this year? Was even worse. I had to help a darling and sweet little girl for whom English is a second language. I was supposed to paraphrase for her whenever she had a problem understanding something in English on the test. Which is quite simply great that our kids get help when they need it. Only. She didn't really need much help. So I sat there a lot and tried not to look at the clock.

Have you ever tried not to look at the clock when you know time is going really, really slowly? It's impossible, let me tell you.

And then you start playing games with yourself. You are like "When the clock goes to 9:17, I'll go to the bathroom. That will take up maybe 10 minutes." Only. It takes up like 4. Because remember? We are in TEST TIME. When each minute lasts fooorrrreeevvveeeerrr and drags like that last little drip from the ketchup bottle.

Then you put a mint in front of you and you say "In 10 minutes I will eat that mint. In 9 minutes. In 8 minutes." Because by this time? You have actually gone insane with the time slowing down thing.

I'm sure the kids are very relieved that testing is over.

But they can't POSSIBLY be more relieved than me.

And now.

I think I need some fries.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Smartfood Popcorn Clusters

I already have a serious love for low-fat kettle corn, so when I saw this product advertised, which was basically kettle corn with extra sweet and delicious stuff added to it, I was hooked and immediately bought the chocolate cookie caramel pecan flavor. And could you get any more flavors in that package? I don't think so. I opened one of the small, 100 calorie Smartfood packages, ate a piece and seriously considered buying some stock in Frito-Lay because seriously?

These are GREAT.

Each package is 2 points and makes a great snack or dessert. I will definitely be buying the other flavors to try. Kettle corn is good but adding chocolate to it?


Try it and let me know what you think.

After I wrote this post, I found the other two flavors - Cranberry Almond and Honey Multi grain. Both are also great. I especially like the Honey one because it is a lot like caramel corn.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Knew I Would Have To Write This Post Sooner Or Later


I'm just a teeny, tiny bit. Overwhelmed.

The Travel Blog is going famously and we are getting ready to share it with the 20,000 customers of the company which is quite marvelous but just a little. Overwhelming. The Herald-Leader blog is great and I love when they occasionally pluck a blog post from obscurity and put it in the print newspaper and I am totally FAMOUS for a few days but that is also. A little overwhelming. And this personal blog keeps me sane and lets me share all of my shoe shopping escapades and helps me remember that I am not the only shoe addict in the world or the only doting grandmother. But. Overwhelming. And I love my Google Reader and all my blogs and I love to read them every single day and keep up with them. But. Again. Overwhelming.

So I may have to back it up a bit. Get over my anal-retentive type A personality and learn that I don't have to write on this blog every. single. day. Even though those were the constraints I put myself under when I started. You can count on Tuesday and Friday because those are easy. And I'll do as many other days as I can when I am inspired. But maybe not. Every. Single. Day.

I'm sure you don't read every single thing I write on every single blog because you are probably overwhelmed too.

So what about this?

I'll write as much as I can. You read as much as you can.

And neither of us will be overwhelmed.

Sound good?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Curves Bars

By now, you have figured out my love for the bar - so handy! so easy! so quick in the morning! and I really thought I had found the best bar for the least number of points with that Chex bar.


I was wrong. It is actually possible to find a bar that is chewy, chocolaty, delicious AND. Only 1 point.

Yes, I thought it was an urban legend also.

Not possible! But, my friends. It is possible. It's the Curves Chocolate Peanut bar. They have a couple other flavors which I will also be trying as soon as I can get to the grocery store and buy every box on the shelf. Because really? ONE POINT ?? I would not steer you wrong. These are not dry, hard and tasteless bars. These are like eating a candy bar. And they may be part of the reason I have lost EIGHT POUNDS so far.

Try them. Let me know what you think.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Now Have All The Shoes I Need. Except Purple. I Still Need Purple.

So, the other day I was leafing through one of my magazines and saw this ad for Payless.

And I set down the magazine, grabbed my purse and flew out the door.

OK. Not really. Because I already had on my sleeping pants and, really, once that happens you can forget about me leaving the house. Unless it is on fire. And even then I would have to actually see flames.

However. I did go the next day. Because I absolutely wanted needed these shoes. Desperately.

Because even though I have 5,291 a few pairs of shoes,

I do NOT HAVE YELLOW! And I am just a little embarrassed to admit that this photo is old and I might possibly have bought more shoes since I took it. But still no yellow! So, as you can see. This was practically a SHOE EMERGENCY.

So. Payless.

And, oh, Payless. How you disappointed me. Those shoes were so much cuter in the picture. In real life they were. Chunky. And sort of. Fat-making. And whatever we do, we do not want shoes that are fat-making. Because no matter how much we might weigh from the ankle up, we want our feet to look quite lovely and slim. So I was disappointed. Crushed. I managed to assuage my disappointment by buying one two OK THREE other pairs of shoes, but still. No yellow.

But. On Saturday I went to Danville to visit with my mom for Mother's Day and I popped in Shoe Sensation and there they were. And I have to stop at this point to tell you that I am EXTREMELY disappointed with my BFF Google because I could not find a picture of my completely fabulous little yellow sandals which were so fabulous I had to buy my daughter a pair as well to show you. EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED. And I could take a picture myself but I have on my sleeping pants and did you read above where it is hard to get things done once they are on?

So you will just have to close your eyes and visualize. Bright yellow. Kitten heel. DARLING. I am very happy.


This just made me realize I don't actually have a dark purple pair. Light purple, yes. But no dark purple.

The quest continues.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

There's No Such Thing As Too Much Chocolate

A few months ago.

Just the other day.

This might just possibly be why he never wants to leave.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Fabulousness Is All About The Dress

I look good today. Really. GOOD. Part of it is the fact that I have lost SEVEN POUNDS which, really? Does not sound like that much until you consider seven pounds of butter piled up and then you think that maybe, just maybe, that's why your thighs are not rubbing together quite so badly when you walk. But it's mostly THE DRESS.

I am so into dresses lately. For years, there was nothing but total hideousness hanging on the dress racks in stores. HIDEOUSNESS. But, sometime last summer, dresses started getting downright cute. I was into visiting and writing about restaurant patios last summer and was actively searching for cute sundresses because I am ALL ABOUT wearing the perfect outfit for the occasion - like you didn't know that if you had been reading this blog for any time at all. And that was when I began to notice the cuteness. I probably bought 8-10 dresses last summer. All extremely cute. And when I began looking for a dress for a shower recently, I discovered the latest phenomenon in dress world - stretchy jersey dresses.

These dresses are the ultimate in fabulousness. They are very flattering, especially if you have some Spanx on under them to hide the little tummy bulge which will surely disappear with the next seven pounds lost, they are comfortable and stretchy, and completely darling. Jones New York makes some beautiful ones and the first royal blue one I bought was made by them. It's very similar to this one.

I loved it SO MUCH that, when I found another, similar one at T. J. Maxx, I snapped it up even though it was a royal blue print and a little similar. This only meant I could wear the royal blue slides I found with both dresses. And did you doubt that I found the perfect color shoes? Of course you didn't. It looks very similar to this one, although it has a little black in the print.

Jones New York may be packaging up some dresses for me, if I can't find them at my local Macy's, because really? This purple?

And hot pink? I LOVE THEM.

And I even found one with long sleeves. For fall. I can see this one with dressy black boots, can't you?

So. Even though Jones New York is not paying me for this post - although, I am totally OPEN to the idea of free dresses. I CAN be bought. Dresses and shoes would be a good start. Even though they are not paying me, I still recommend these dresses. I think they will wash well and travel well. Also important features for a travel blogger/writer/journalist.

Because? I will not be that person on the airplane with cut-off blue jeans shorts on.

You can pretty much count on it.