Office Blues

I’ve come here before to “blog” myself little pep talks.  Here we go again!…zen-office via

For me, perhaps one of the largest transitions to adulthood has been navigating the world of a full time office job.  Getting into the M-F, 9-5 till you die routine is struggle enough, but even moving into my Freshman year dorm didn’t confine me with such a diverse crowd of people than those I have met out in the working world. I never knew that so many intelligent grownups could act like such teenagers – moody, gossipy, resentful, deceitful, cliquey, and just struggling to get through the day. Sometimes just walking into the building feels like walking into highschool – I truly never know what I’m going to get.

When you spend a minimum of 8 of your waking hours with the same people day in and day out, often much more time than you spend with your own spouse, it’s impossible not to let daily emotions slip in and to keep your professional face on all the time.  I think friendships made at work are extremely important, and that work can be a place of positive social interaction.   Recently however, I feel the “drama” that goes on at my place of work (who doesn’t like who, who thinks who will be fired, who is trying to take over so and so’s job, who messed up that client report and isn’t as smart as the rest, who left the milk out in the break room) has reached epic proportions, where people are spending more time discussing the dynamics of the office, rather than working.  The “shit talking” – I promise you, this is absolutely the most accurate, although crass, term to use to describe what has been happening – has gotten so out of control. No one can trust anyone, everyone is discussing things behind other’s backs (including our managers), and I admit it’s extremely hard not to get swept right up in the mix of things and participate.  I catch myself acting just as catty and childish as the rest of them, fearful if I don’t join in and make my voice heard, I will become the subject of conversation behind my back.  The negative social interactions have completely outweighed the positive in my work environment, and I’m just so, so tired of it.

Does this happen in most work environments?  Should I be mentally (and emotionally, and even physically) preparing myself to tolerate this sort of thing no matter where I go?  These are not rhetorical questions.  At 27 years old, I think it best I know the truth now.

I’ve made a promise to myself, that starting tomorrow, I am going to try to remove myself as much as possible from what has become a seriously black hole in my life.  I’m going to forgive myself and my coworkers for past transgressions, stay friendly but also removed and guarded, and just get my work done to the best of my ability.  I am making a promise to myself that I will no longer let work gossip and stress carry into other fun and amazing out-of-work aspects of my life, and will not bring negative feelings and anxieties home from the office.  I have no one to blame but myself for how much I have let it affect my mood and happiness in life, and I’m sure others don’t come home feeling as down in the dumps as I do.

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I am determined to be my own happiness, and to bring as much positivity as I can with me to work. This is something I know I will need to focus on every single day, but I also know it’s necessary so as not to waste away all the wonderful things I have in my life.

Being a grown up is much, much harder than it looks.  Stay tuned, everyone! xo

Clean Living

As I’ve gotten older, creating and maintaining a clean and organized space around me has become one of my top priorities, both for my sanity and happiness.  I’m pretty sure my mother would have never suspected I could keep a home clean, judging solely by the state of my highschool bedroom and her sheer frustration at asking me to pick up my clothing day after day.  Well, it seems I’m the “Mom” now, as I explain to Josh things like how it’s necessary to wipe down the kitchen counters every night after cooking, and that just because the dog will inevitably shed more tomorrow, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t sweep today!  I actually find that the little amount of time I spend on daily cleaning and tidying provides me with a bit of zen each day.

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While I have no problem tackling the day to day, every now and then I take to the internet to find some good at home remedies for the “tough” stains, spots, and grime.  Here are a few of my favorite tried and true cleaning tips:

  1. Cleaning Your Stove Burners: Take each burner and place it in a large (gallon size should do it) plastic bag.  Add about 1/4 cup of ammonia.  Seal and let sit overnight.  No scrubbing needed! It is the ammonia fumes, not the ammonia, that dissolve away all burned on grime and grease. (Source)
  2. Keeping your Shower Tiles Fresh: Fill a dish wand (the ones with the clear handles you can put soap in 😉 ) with half Dawn dish soap and half vinegar.  Wipe down walls of shower with it before showering, and rinse off during shower. (Source)
  3. For Sparkling Sink Fixtures: Mix Borax with enough lemon juice to create a stiff paste (can be stored in a small container when needed).  Rub it on, then rinse away thoroughly. (Source)
  4. To Remove Food Stains from a Microwave: Fill a microwaveable bowl with 2 cups of water and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Add one toothpick to float on the top of the liquid. Microwave for 5 minutes, let the steam sit with the door closed for another 2 minutes. Remove turntable and wash down in the sink; wipe down sides of the microwave with a sponge or paper towel. (Source)
  5. Tile Floor Grout Cleaner: Add together 7 cups water, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup ammonia (or lemon juice) and 1/4 cup vinegar. Spray on grout, leave for about 1 hour, then scrub vigorously with a scrub brush. (Source)
  6. Carpet Stains: Mix equal parts ammonia and hot water.  Pour mixture over stain and cover with a clean white towel. Iron towel on top of the stain and the stain will lift right off the rug! (Source)
  7. Wrinkle Release Spray: Mix equal parts white vinegar, fabric softener, and water in a spray bottle.  Spray on fabric and pull slightly – wrinkles fall right out. (Source)
  8. Remove Rust Stains from Knives: Soak your knives in lemon juice for 10-15 minutes then scrub with rough side of the sponge. (Source)
  9. Clogged Drains: Pour about 1/2 cup of Baking Soda down the drain. Pour 2 cups Vinegar down the drain and let sit 10-15 minutes. Next, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.  If clog is still not completely broken up, run warm water and use a plunger over the drain a few times. (Source)
  10. Cleaning a Wooden Cutting Board: Combine 2 tbsp vinegar with 1 cup of water and wipe down cutting board using dishtowel dipped in solution.  Slice a lemon in half, dip pulp side in coarse sea salt, and use as a scrubber over board. Wipe down the board with water, pat dry, and finish with a little board or mineral oil. (Source)

Do you have any fantastic cleaning tips you use? I’d love to hear them!

Wishing you a fabulous hump-day.  xo

Dominican Republic

Josh and I were fortunate enough to travel to the Dominican Republic for a long birthday-weekend getaway last week.  We hadn’t been away alone, just the two of us, since our honeymoon.  This was the perfect place to reconnect and take in some rays.  It’s amazing what drinking frozen coconut cocktails oceanside does for one’s psyche. Here are a few favorite shots from the week:

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I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely weekend! xo

Vintage Skin Care for the Modern Gal

Last fall I shared a post about my favorite line of skincare products from Clarins, just in time for the “winter is coming”, dry skin season. (Yes, that was a Game of Thrones reference for those who caught it!)  While I still totally stick by their products, there’s a new favorite jar o’ cream that sits on my bathroom counter – one that’s also affordable and conveniently available at your local drug store.

I admit – I had a very limited knowledge of “cold cream” and what exactly it was used for until recently.  The mention of the product would conjure images of old woman smearing it all over their elbows and feet, or something equally unappealing and dramatic. I don’t remember how I came to purchase my first bottle, but it’s quickly become my nighttime moisturizing ritual.

Sources: Retro Bottle & Modern Bottle

I have wrinkles.  Thin, but deep lines running horizontally across my forehead.  Somewhere my mother is laughing and saying, “I told you that would happen if you rolled your eyes at me too many times during high school.”  Pond’s is the first cream I’ve ever used where my fine lines are barely visible in the morning.  Hand to god, I use it at night and I look like a 13 23 year old in the a.m.

Pond’s creams have three great uses:

  1. It can be used as a makeup remover, as it has a mineral oil base.   Gently wipe off the cream and your makeup will come off easily with it.
  2. It’s the world’s best “1-Minute” moisturizing face mask.  Smear a thick layer of cold cream around your face, being careful not to get it in your eyes or mouth, and let sit for 1-2 minutes.  Wipe off cream with a cotton towelette or makeup pad.
  3. As a daily (or nightly) moisturizer.  I wash my face at night before bed, then spread a thin layer over my face and neck before going to sleep.  I make sure to get lotion under my eyes as well – smooths laugh lines and gets rid of dark circles.

What are some of your old school beauty tricks? Do you have a “go-to” product that your mother used? I’d love to hear! xo

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It’s My Birthday!!!

Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me! (Yes, I’m singing to myself!)  I’m also celebrating the birth of my blog, officially one year old tomorrow! I’m so excited! As in, Jessie Spano excited that one episode of Saved By the Bell when she gets addicted to Caffeine Pills.  You know the one – “I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so… so… scared.”  OK, I’m not really scared, but I am a little scared.  I’m officially on the wrong side of 25 with just a hop, skip and a jump to 30.  Wow!

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As I turn the page to the age of 26, I’d love to take a moment to reflect on where I am and all that happened this past year.  So here it is, the “Top 25 of 25” – including the good, the bad, the ugly, and the absolutely amazing:

  1. I graduated law school. BOOM.
  2. I passed the bar exam. DOUBLE BOOM.
  3. I got to see some incredible music, including but not limited to: Adele, Steely Dan, Toro Y Moi, The Mountain Goats, Phish, Animal Collective, and Bon Iver.
  4. I had a double breast lumpectomy, and the biopsy for both was clean.  I am a very lucky girl.
  5. We lost my grandfather in June.  He was an amazing man who led an incredible life and will be missed very much.
  6. There were other graduations to be celebrated – most notably my brother from Hunter College (who is now getting his Masters at Columbia), my brother-in-law from the CIA (who now works at Colicchio and Sons as a chef), and my dear friends who graduated from Columbia’s Master of Social Work program and inspire me with their endless pursuit of helping others.
  7. My step mother Emily with the help of some dear friends threw me the most gorgeous bridal shower in history!
  8. My friends and sister threw me an awesome Bachelorette party, complete with a party bus through NYC, naked blow-up dolls, and penis accessories (as required!).  A night I’ll never truly remember, nor will ever forget!
  9. My cousin Lauren had a baby girl, who is both beautiful and healthy! Our family is blessed with one amazing child after another!
  10. My father started a new business dedicated to curing opiate addiction through medically-assisted detox.  Not only is the business thriving, but he’s doing something he’s passionate about.  I couldn’t be more proud.
  11. There were new pet additions to the family – 2 pugs on my dad’s side, and a new yorkie for my mother.  Yep, we’re dog people. Maybe 26 will be the year when Dimona gets a brother or sister 😉
  12. I got to read A LOT.  Thank you, unemployment. On a related note, I got a Nook! (Shallow, but it has been life changing!)
  13. Oh hey, I GOT A JOB! My career as an esquire is just beginning…
  14. I think I got married?
  15. But seriously, Josh and I had the most amazing reunion with all of our friends and family for an entire magical weekend – the memories of which bring us infinite amounts of joy every day!
  16. THE HONEYMOON aka “Sussmans Do Sonoma.” My heart is in California.
  17. This little blog here, started the day after my birthday last year.  I could never have imagined the happiness and comfort this blog could give back to me, the connections I’ve made and the support that you all have shown me.  I’m so happy I did this!
  18. The New York Giants won the Superbowl!
  19. The day I found my wedding dress!!! (last wedding one, I swear)
  20. I went on a fabulous girls’ trip to Cancun in February with my step mom and two of my sisters.  It was a wonderful bonding (and tanning) experience!
  21. Josh and I left our teensy tiny little studio apartment in Brooklyn to stretch our legs in the suburbs for a bit.  We think Queens might be calling our name in the near future.
  22. I hit and knocked down a piñata last weekend with some pretty amazing friends cheering me on, proving you can be young at heart forever!
  23. Are you bored yet?
  24. I got more dog-slobbery kisses than a girl can count!
  25. I lived, and loved, each and every single day of this entire past year, and thank God for all of my family and friends who have joined me for the ride!

So what will 26 bring? Well, I know today will include birthday sex and cake (kids don’t read this blog, right?), so I’m already starting this year off with two of the best things in life! Wishing you all a happy hump day – no pun intended!  xoxo