Thursday, January 20, 2011

A 15-Minute Challenge

I got this idea from the truly KIND and INSPIRING Janet at Slice of Pink. One of her New Year's Resolutions was to spend 10 minutes each day cleaning her home and her husband would also spend 10 minutes. Together that would give them 20 minutes of cleaning per day or 140 minutes per week or 600 minutes per month. You get the picture. Janet's plan is to have her cleaning out of the way so she can spend her Saturdays in a coffee shop reading Vogue. Sounds like a plan!

Well, I decided to also implement this cleaning plan except I read it wrong originally and so I decided to do 15 minutes of cleaning each night and Eric will also do a matching 15 minutes. Together we will get half an hour in each night.

Well, we started this on Monday night and so far I have dusted, cleaned all of the counters and surfaces in the kitchen and both bathrooms, threw away a bunch of beauty products & old lotions, scrubbed the sinks, cleaned the litterboxes, sorted through mail & bills and Christmas cards, did a few loads of laundry, etc., etc. With the exception of the litterboxes, these would have been things I may or may not have gotten around to doing over the weekend.

Eric has cleaned the second bathroom, shredded paperwork, folded towels and sheets, emptied the dishwasher, Swiffered, vacuumed the furniture, etc., etc.

It really doesn't take much of a chunk of time out of my evening to get these tasks done & it is amazing the stuff you can accomplish in 15 minutes. And when the 15 minutes is up, I am done. I can then work out or veg out in front of the TV guilt free and the house looks respectable!

Our townhouse is not really big--I think it is oh, 1,500 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 stories, with a full basement, but we have a multi-cat household with a pug, too, so when you add pets into the mix, it is a constant effort to keep things neat.

I think this could be a good plan to keep things in order during the week though so it is not so overwhelming on the weekend. I would like to start spending either Saturday or Sunday mall walking - that is walking around the mall before it opens to get in some exercise. I will try to get Eric on board for that, too--since it will probably be MARCH before I can walk outside again and I miss my walks!

So what do you think? Do you prefer doing a few things here & there, or spending a couple of hours on the weekend doing your cleaning?

I also blog here and here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Okay, I Refuse ...

Refuse to be a Virgo! In the past few days there has been some hub-bub about all the zodiac signs changing and so everyone's sign is going back to the previous month's sign. So if you are a Libra, you are now supposedly a Virgo. If you thought you were a Virgo, well guess what, you are a Leo. Etc., etc. Something about how the earth has shifted. I am including the link to an article here.

But I think this is bogus! I have been a Libra my whole life (ha ha!) and I fit all the Libra traits. I don't see msyelf as a Virgo at all!

A Libra is fair and just, charming, easy-going, social, indecisive and flirtatious. A Libra appreciates beauty and luxury to the point of being a little self-indulgent.

Whereas here are a few traits I found about Virgo. Critical, conservative, meticulous, modest, purposeful. I don't think that describes me at all!

What do you think? How can we go from thinking we are one sign to being told we are another? Do you believe in astrology? Do you read your horoscope? Have you ever had your chart done? Do you have an attachment to your sign like I do?!!

Read more here and here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ten On Tuesday

I don't always remember to participate in Ten on Tuesday, but sometimes I am inpsired by my friend, Amber!

1. Is there a band/artist that you HATE?
I find the Dave Matthews Band annoying & I am not quite sure why. Their music just grates on me.

Sorry! I know a lot of people really enjoy their music, including my good friend, Will. Who hopefully doesn't read my blog--ha ha!

2. What do you do when you get a gift that you do not like? How do you react?
I act suitably grateful because it is the thought that counts, but in the back of my mind I am considering how I am going to exchange it or re-gift it!

3. How is your work office/cubicle decorated?
With lots of pictures of my pets and a couple of plants. I always like to have a candle or two burning. I have a Kate Spade calendar and lots of colored pens.

4. Do you use all of your vacation every year?
Heck, yeah! I use every last minute. In fact, it is only January 11th, and I have already used up this year’s floating holiday!

5. Did you have a real or fake Christmas tree?

I have several fake trees and would you believe 3 of them stopped working? The lights stopped working. New trees are in my future for next year. I like white trees and purple trees. I do have a small purple tree. I am thinking a big white tree like I had when I was single. Having said that, I do love the way real trees smell but they are not very pet friendly. But I like them—they remind me of childhood when we ALWAYS had a real tree.

6. If you could have anything for dinner tonight, what would it be?
Well, I am probably going to have a Lean Cuisine or a Healthy Choice, but if I could have anything I would say let’s go to the Melting Pot for cheese & chocolate!

7. Do you bite your fingernails?

No, but my husband does & it drives me bananas. I am not a nail biter.

8. How many cups of coffee do you drink each day?Too many! One when I get up in the morning. Two or three when I get to work. Another one in the afternoon as a pick me up.

9. Do you have a nervous tick?

If I am nervous, I play with my hair.

10. How often do you vacuum?I don’t vacuum. My husband does. We used to have a cleaning lady, now I have Eric! But we don’t have carpet anywhere in our house, so mainly we Swiffer. I do like the furniture to be vacuumed—pet hair!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Not The Ballerina of My Jewelry Box

I went to see "Black Swan" on Thursday afternoon. I had been wanting to see this movie and I was really curious because it had so many mixed reviews. Now that I have seen the movie I understand the MIXED reviews. It was dark, disturbing, depressing, artistic, beautiful, thought provoking, and depressing - did I mention depressing? I left the theater definitely not feeling happy or bubbly.

In fact, my vet even sent me a message on Facebook that if she had known I was going to see Black Swan on this particular day, she would have tried to stop me. She thought the movie was too anxiety inducing and I was already having an anxious day since my vet was performing surgery on my cat, Trista!

I would not discourage anyone from seeing this movie & everyone has to form their own opinions. While I absolutely appreciate the artistic merit of the movie and appreciate the acting of Natalie Portman, it is not a movie I would ever want to see again. But having said that, I am not sorry that I saw it - it was a worthwhile way to spend two hours on a Thursday afternoon and it is one of those movies that everyone is talking about. It is also the kind of movie where you go home and two hours later, you are still thinking about it.

What was real and what was Natalie Portmann's character only imagining? The message I took away from the film is not to DIE trying to be perfect. Oh, and don't ever let anyone put anything in your drink!

I am almost positive that this movie will pick up a lot of awards and nominations, but I am also just as sure that I am more of the chick flick kind of movie-goer and I freely admit that. I don't NEED my movies to be dark or thought-provoking. I would just as soon look at a pretty set design and laugh at a romantic comedy. But this movie was a psychological thriller so I didn't go to it expecting to laugh or feel good.

So having said that, I am probably not the target audience for a movie like Black Swan. The costumes in the final scenes of "Swan Lake" were magical. That is what I prefer to remember -- not the blood and gore.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book Nook - My First Book Review of 2011

I just finished reading "Unbearable Lightness; A Story of Loss and Gain", Portia De Rossi's memoir of her life with an eating disorder. I think of Portia De Rossi as the beautiful Nelle Porter on "Ally McBeal" and, of course, as Ellen DeGeneres' partner and now wife. But this book gave me a totally different perspective on her.

I found her whole account of developing and living with an eating disorder endlessly fascinating. It seems that her eating disorder went all the way back to when she was 12 years old and had begun modeling but could never be skinny enough and then it followed her when she became an actress on "Ally McBeal" and as a spokesperson for L'Oreal for hair products.

Of course, it wasn't all about being as skinny as she could be. As she pointed out herself, it was partly a way to rebel against her mom for not accepting her gayness and also she just seemed to loathe herself - she could never be happy or free as long as she kept the fact that she was a lesbian hidden. She was living a lie.

It was interesting to read about how she obsessively weighed and measured all of her food, counted calories religiously and exercised rigorously. At one point, she was only consuming 300 calories a day--oatmeal with Splenda & spray butter for breakfast, a third cup of tuna with spray butter for lunch, a small portion of ground up turkey with spray butter for dinner, and sometimes for dessert Jell-o with, yes, you guessed it, more spray butter.

She ran on the treadmill in the morning, on her lunch hour and again at night. She sprinted up and down the steps of her apartment. She got out of her car on her way to work just to run.

Of course, she overcame her eating disorder and she attributed part of it to the healing relationship she developed with her horse and being out in nature. It was good to read at the end how happy she is with Ellen and her animals and their life together and how she finally has peace and acceptance with her family knowing she is gay and loving her no matter what her sexuality.

Now she is at the weight her body is meant to be at--she doesn't diet anymore or count calories or obsessively study the labels on cans of food or drive all over town looking for a certain fat-free yogurt. She doesn't work out at gyms. She does things she loves for exercise like walking her dogs, riding her horse and playing tennis.

I would recommend this book as a very fascintating look inside the life of a TV star and her struggle with self image. I found it to be very well written and felt like I was there with her experiencing everything. I really liked the way she wrote - it was heart wrenching and beautifully, honestly written.