Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tutoring Mandarin

I got a text the other day from my previous boss at Wegmans saying that there was a woman looking for a Mandarin tutor for her son and word of mouth at Wegmans was that I might be able to help.  Jumping on the chance, I got the woman's phone number and gave her a call.  Thank you, Katie!

We have a tentative date of October 4rth to meet and start.

I'M SO EXCITED!  Trust me, I have the same expression on my face now as I did 6 years ago in this picture.  :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Theme: Simplify

I've been on this simplifying and organizational kick for over a year now.  Sometimes, I find my efforts only complicate my life but I figure, I'll get it right someday as long as I keep trying.  :)

To help simplify my blog specifically, I'm dividing it into two.  The family blog, which is this one, will be about everyday things, places we travel, and things we do.  The second blog is where I put all my ideas and research into play with homemade products, natural cooking, and - depending on all your support - a place to swap ideas and strategies.

Without further ado, please check out my new blog,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Forced to be more Green

I've known for a couple of years that I have an intolerance to artificial ingredients in my food.  I've done elimination challenges and have discovered some main culprits: artificial sweeteners, artificial vanilla (vanillan), Estevia (Truvia), cheap cheeses (ie. Kraft Singles), artificially flavored sodas (Pepsi, Coke, and Sierra Mist is fine), and Sodium tripolyphosphates.  As long as I'm not eating those, my system runs well and I rarely feel nauseated.

In the last two months, however, I'm discovering that the problem is bigger.  It's including topical intolerances as well!  I've been sensitive "down there" for years now and just figured there was nothing to do about it.  Nothing worked.  Some things that were prescribed made it worse.  And I kept getting multiple back-to-back infections.  I'd given up.  Until I was sitting down with my doctor and we traced some of my flare ups with laundry detergent changes.  With nothing left to try, I went ahead and rewashed all my clothes, sheets, towels, 2X with a hypoallergenic wash.  I noticed a difference.

I took it a step further and switched to hypoallergenic body washes, shaving cream, and a more naturally based shampoo/conditioner.  I'm noticing a big difference in over all skin health.

Yes: I'm being forced by Mother Nature herself to be more Green.  It makes sense though.  If I'm intolerant of artificial stuff INSIDE, why not OUTSIDE, too?

Going more natural with food was a BIG step for me.  Going more natural with beauty and cleansing products feel like a GIANT step.  I'm taking my journey slowly as I find solutions one at a time.  Feel free to give me links, recipes, or tips that you've found and I'll incorporate them one at a time.  For now, I'm browsing through books, search engines, and blogs.  And, to lower costs, I'll slowly replace my current products as they run out with all natural and/or hypoallergenic ones without breaking my budget and buying it all at once.  This slow process will also allow me time to explore different options, focusing on one area at a time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New York Renaissance Fair

One of the perks about being full time at a job that is 24/7 is that it is a bit easier to get a Saturday off every now and then without loosing hours or feeling guilty about leaving your work short staffed to go have fun. (Yes, I have a guilt complex that definitely cuts into my personal life.)  I am being trained to administer medications (A really long and tedious, several days of training spread out through September) and had enough hours for the week to get yesterday off without having to use any vacation days.  And, someone covered my shift.  :)

Therefore,  Xan and I jumped on the opportunity to spend a rare Saturday together.  We decided to head up to the Renaissance Fair happening over in Tuxedo, NY.   We got up at 5am (Already a perfect start to a Saturday morning, right?) and drove a little over 3 hours to get there.  

This was taken 3 minutes away from our apartment and is on the road that I take to work.  There are some mornings I'm a bit late clocking in because I couldn't help but stop and admire the view.  Here's the sun rise we past.  The picture above shows the fog and the picture below shows the colors of the sky better.  

Amazing, right?  Always makes me start humming hymns.

There was a lot to see at the fair, including taking lots of trips over the kissing bridge.  The fair was a conglomeration of over-priced but fun to browse shops, tempting hair braiding stations, stages and fields for shows and demo's, carnival games and rides (each ride being powered by muscled men, of course.), and people decked out in costumes ranging from really cool to ridiculous to scandalous.  And, of course, only 10% being anywhere close to accurate.

Xan's been taking a lot of chances to practice his photography this summer.  He's worked with a lot of aspiring models taking some really cools shots outdoors, especially by the waterfalls.  One of the women he's worked with is Heidi.  She volunteered to work at the fair this summer and was cast as one of the fairies.  There was a Queen fairy and then a fairy for each element.  She was chosen as the Water Fairy.

We saw some archery, jousting, a bird's of prey show, knife throwing, chainsaw juggling (Eek!), Shakespearean play staging, medieval courts, lots of pubs, fortune telling, belly dancing, sword fighting, dancing, musical performances, AND a stunt man lighting off firecrackers taped to his chest:

All the Water balloons you are seeing are kids and adults lined up to the sides of the stage ready to help drench him in water.  And yes, he is balancing on a ladder at the same time.  Amazing!

After all the riveting excitement of the shows were over and the sun had finally set below the tree line, we stole the Water Fairy away while she had some free time and chilled out.  One of the benefits to not drinking alcohol is that while everyone was out to the pubs drinking with the Queen, we had the whole park pretty much to ourselves.  We ended up by the fairy throne and stole a few chances to get some pictures.  Here I am waiting for Xan to get the camera settings right and still too chicken to go under the rope to sit on the throne.

I was finally convinced.  :)

And needed some some subjects to join me.

Then we went to the Chess Field where an actual giant chess board was painted with white paint on the grass.  Queen Elizabeth had her own throne up there to watch the proceedings and since she wasn't there... we decided to keep it warm for her.  ;)  

Working out our facial hair options.

And then we headed home around 7:30 pm.  Unfortunately, I found myself weakened by dehydration, too much sun exposure (but thankfully only slightly sunburned) and nausea on the ride home.  I'll leave the lovely details out, but it was one of the most miserable rides home.  We finally made it in one piece and an empty stomach on my end at exactly 12am.  Regardless, it was a really fun day and a much needed escape for Xan and I to spend an entire day together.