Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life

Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life
Things through a different light...

Sunday, June 30, 2013

And It Happened Again

I wrote this really detailed and long rant against celebrity worship and how we spend way too much time focusing on the behaviors and lives of people we don't know and should not really care about... and then thought it would be giving them more attention and did not publish it.

Instead, I am going to go check on my garden, eat some breakfast and stop worrying about people who waste their time on people they don't know.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I am so glad they struck down DOMA today.  Allowing for people to have the same rights across the board is the right thing to do, it does not change anyone's personal opinions or endanger the sanctity of anyone's marriage.
I have been married 13 years to an amazing and loving person, two persons of the same gender marrying does not change that at all.

OK, that is my only political statement of the day, as I continue to skillfully avoid the celebrity scandal of the moment that I loathe.

I'm continuing my work in becoming more healthy!
Aiden and I walk every morning and carrying around an 18 lb baby on your belly really does help out in the burning calories department!

Bathroom Project

So I loathe my bathroom.  It was the one room in the house when we bought it that I wanted to burn down and start from the bottom up, but as I do not have that type of funding... I went small.  

I don't have any photos of the before because it was hideous, just take my word for it.  There was this awful wallpaper across the bottom that was beige and red and had ugly designs and there are still some HUGE problems, like the back of the sink where the previous owners put a different type of backing on the wall (we are going to save up and hopefully put in a sink with a cabinet under it so you wont see that unsightly crap behind it now.  I also hate my bathtub, but at least now it is a lot cleaner and the entire room is brighter... 

Let me see if I have ANY photos of the old way the bathroom looked....
nope... I did a search and I have kept no records LOL.

But this is how it looks now, it is still in progress, but I am pretty stoked seeing as I've only spent about 50 dollars.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Keeping Positive

I've continually worked on keeping healthy and to be fair, it is not an easy ride all the time.  Yesterday I had cupcakes and I realize that for the past few weeks I've been so focused on keeping under a certain amount of calories that even trying to eat healthy was stressing me out.  So, while I have turned up the exercise a bit (yesterday I walked over two miles), I am going to be a bit less stressy on my calorie intake and not freak out if I think I am over a bit during a meal.  We eat pretty healthy, so it is not overly  hard, I think I am just overly hard on myself.  I have a friend who kind of takes weekends off from dieting and I can see the point of that or having one day where they eat whatever and I also can see that, but I would rather eat what I wanted smartly if that makes sense.  It is acceptable to have a cupcake if I make sure that I do not lazy out and skip my walk for a day... which I haven't done in a while.  My clothes are fitting a bit better, I wore shorts the other day for the first time in a LONG time and didn't wear a shirt that was 2 sizes too big, baby steps right.  

Weekends usually entail Adam, Aiden, and I getting out and doing some pretty active things as well...and thankfully, most of the cupcakes are gone.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Distractions, hobbies, whatever they are....

My newest distraction as of late involves fixing up our entire yard.  We have a pretty big yard (even though I pretend we don't in order to hold off Adam's requests for a riding lawn mower), and some of it is slightly overrun with growth and trees (we actually have a fence inside our fence that looks like the congo).  I have started slow, with one project, which was to take the little area in front of our home and transform it into something pleasing to the eye.  

This is the house prior to any work being done....

As you can see, there is a lopsided shrub thing that is actually made up of two bushes and a tree behind it that we've cut down multiple times, but it keeps coming back like a villain in a bad horror film.  

Now, starting this spring I sought to destroy said bushes, forever kill the unsightly tree, and reclaim my yard.  After a few misses (the first flowers we bought for the front died within a few days... I have actually created a lovely little space that is also practical.  

We have: Heather (for looks)  Ivy (for groundcover), tomatoes, basil (two kinds), oregano, cilantro, rosemary, and habanero peppers.  I also have lavender growing in a giant pot.  We've done some solar lights as well and I am pretty pleased. 

Now on to bigger things....

THE REST OF THE YARD... coming soon.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Offenders Podcast (Warning Adult Content, do not listen if you are easily offended)

My best friend and some of his friends get together and do The Offenders Podcast.  I am supporting their work  :D

Listen Here

Friday, June 14, 2013

More Girly Beauty Stuff

Now that I have received the beauty boxes for three months, there are a few products I really enjoyed.  One was this lemongrass sugar scrub that left my face so smooth it is amazing and I wanted it badly, but at thirty-two dollars a jar, the price is a bit over my splurge budget (5 month old baby costs a lot lol) and I thought about alternatives that would bring similar results.
Lately, I have looked at products I really like (the philosophy cleanser that is 30 dollars a bottle) and attempted to find things that are less expensive but bring about similar outcomes.  For the Philosophy, I found a neutrogena natural cleanser that is really nice, smells good, has the same consistency and feel and is around 8 dollars for the same amount.  After a few days with it, I am pretty pleased.

Now...back to the sugar scrub....

Suki Lemongrass Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser  -This stuff is wonderful, it is better than wonderful.  It smells so fresh and the sugar scrub does foam up to produce a really clean face and soft result, but again... thirty-two dollars.

When I was a teenager a family lived beside my nana and they had a teenage daughter who was a senior in high school when I was a freshman.  I thought she was soooo cool then, she was kind of hippieish and used things like witch hazel and natural things to take care of her skin, her parents dried herbs in their kitchen and loved art and culture, man I thought these people were awesome (I was 15, give me a break).  The daughter used apricot scrub on her face before cleaning it every day and after using the sugar scrub until it ran out and feeling sad, I decided to pick up some apricot scrub at Target.  
It has worked REALLY well and while it does not smell as wonderful as the lemongrass scrub and it takes a few extra seconds to make sure you get all of the scrub off of your face, it has produced the same soft skin and I am pretty impressed with the results because the apricot scrub is only two dollars.

So if you are looking for an inexpensive scrub that works pretty well... try this out, I really like the results.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Should Change the Name of this Blog....

I often feel like changing the name of this blog to reference the fact that I am one of the most anxious and nervous people on earth...

If there is nothing to worry about, I will FIND something to worry about and while it can be comical, it can also be pretty stressful.  

I worry about money, grades, the house, my family, my child, the dogs, the yard, the future, dinner, laundry, what is going on in the world... you name it, I bite my nails about it.

Sometimes I have legitimate things to worry about, but when it is something like that, the anxiety is x10000000 and stress is not the word I would use to describe the emotions I feel.

I think becoming a mom has compounded this anxiety issue a bit and I am attempting to work through it, but oh man on some days it just feels like I cannot possibly do anything correctly and I worry that everyone thinks I do it wrong.

For example, I forgot the diaper bag ONCE... and now I get constant jokes about did I remember it, and it makes me highly self conscious.  I know people are joking, but I guess there is a little part of me thinking everyone is evaluating if I am an acceptable mother or not and because I forgot the diaper bag once, I failed.  

We will not even venture into how I behave about academics and my grades, my quality of work, and what my peers think of me... 

Work in progress I know, I have started taking a moment and calming down in my head whenever I feel the worry coming on, but some days are better than others.  
lately I have worried that I am not doing enough because I have the summer off from classes... 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Do I Thrive in Chaos?

This is the first Summer in as long as I can remember that I have little to do.  That being said, taking care of a five month old would not be considered a vacation by any means, but I have no classes (took the Summer off), I am not working (for the first time since 1996) and I have actual free time to do other things.  To be perfectly honest it kind of makes me crazy, I always try to find something of substance to do and I feel like I am more comfortable with the chaos... oddly.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Beauty Boxes Update

I have received three months worth of beauty box subscriptions now and I have to say from my experience the Birchbox subscription is by far the best.  There is always a theme involved and they give you at least one full sized item each box, which some of the others kind of skimp on it.  Now Beauty Army and Ipsy are both great and I really have no complaints, but the Birchbox is consistently really good and I would recommend it for anyone who wanted to get into beauty boxes.  I like them because I can get an idea of a product before I dish out tons of money for it.

So This Month, My Birchbox was this...

In June, the Birchbox included a self tanning towel (I don't know how that will work but, hey!), Some really useful mini nail files, a sample of a facial cleanser, some very bright pink lip color, and a muted pink nail polish.  The box also contained some really cute "travel" postcards that if you were crafty and theme heavy, you could frame and make some really neat wall art.    Again like I said, Beauty Army... this month was all skincare, but you get to choose from a list of samples, so you know what is coming.  Unfortunately, sometimes the Beauty Army samples have a tendency to repeat themselves so I have received the same "Mark" brand mascara twice (but I do like the mascara so I cannot complain).  With Ipsy, the bonus is of course you get a cute little bag each month... but I have not received my Ipsy bag for June yet... they give previews of what they are sending, but I do not want to judge until I see it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Not surprised

Perhaps it's studying history or the overreach of governments over centuries, but I am not the least bit shocked that the NSA has pretty much every phone call, purchase, and status update I have made. Over the past seven years.  Is it  Is it legal... I can imagine somewhere in the ominous vague language of the patriot act they can easily prove legality.  Does it stand against the principles of the freedom we as Americans tout at having in abundance...yes.  Am I highly annoyed, I have been for a while when it comes to this stuff.  We fear the next 9/11 and I get it because people do not realize that terrorist acts happen on more regular intervals in other places, and have for a really really long time and we are lucky because that method of activism isn't as common in the US.  But... Overreaching security and giving up freedoms in the name of security is the exact opposite of the democratic ideal.  That sort of behavior is exactly what terrorists is why after 9/11 Bin Laden celebrated in videos that they had success.  I may have voted for Obama, but he doesn't get a pass for keeping this stuff up on his watch. I am mad about the privacy stuff, but a lot of the population has let it happen and now it's kind of out of control...perhaps as long as people like Skahill and Greenwald publish this stuff, we will at least have an active voice against it...but a lot of people truly do not mind.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Power of the Interwebs!

Back in 2011, as a gift for graduating with my B.A. in History, my husband took me to England.  We stayed in London and visited places like Bath and Salisbury having a lovely time.  I think I took five million photographs while I was in England and most of them get lost in my giant online photo albums, but one particular photograph stood out...
it is not of Stonehenge or Westminster Abbey (though both were pretty cool and I have tons of photographs from each), but of a statue I found on a side road near Buckingham Palace.

It is a beautiful statue that I knew absolutely nothing about.
Because I love the photo so much, I have it as the background of my desktop and I also have a blown up version that I will be decorating my bedroom with (project this summer is to redo my bedroom... I am highly excited x1000... the little things get me).

Today, a close friend of mine Zoe came to visit and as we were sitting and talking, she remarked on how much she loved the photograph and asked about it.  After a few minutes we began to search the internet and thanks to google image search, I found out that this is The Queen Alexandra Monument which was sculpted by Sir Alfred Gilbert.

I have often wondered what it was and through mine and Zoe's powers of internet research (we are both historians so you know...we delight in this stuff), we discovered the history behind the monument SEEN HERE.

If you ever get to London and are in the area around Buckingham Palace, visit this beautiful monument, it is amazing.

I also have to give a shoutout to Zoe for bringing me a Royal England Wallchart that will be going up in my study post haste.

I think though first I will read my first copy of The Historian I received in the mail, (it is a quarterly journal for being a member of Phi Alpha Theta) there is an article about the West and Latin America that looks pretty neat.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Too Much!

A little over five months after the birth of my son and I can be honest and say that I am not exactly happy with my body and that discomfort, along with some serious concern over health and the habits we want to pass on to Aiden... has led to some diet changes and more exercise in the Wilson household.  These are good changes and I am glad that we are eating healthier and taking care of ourselves, but I had a small moment tonight when someone I know on a social media site basically posted a link to a blog that called anyone who struggled with weight lazy and "shitty" eaters.  

The top picture is of me in 2010 during a trip to NYC, it is what I would consider my normal weight, around 110 lbs, and honestly when I was most comfortable with my body, the bottom picture is a few days ago on a trip to Florida.  I am only 11 pounds heavier in the bottom photograph than I am in the top, and only after 5 months of pregnancy... I thought I was on the road to getting back to where I am comfortable  (note: I said comfortable... I do not believe everyone has to weigh 100 lbs and look like a stick to be healthy, much the opposite, but I do think its important to be Healthy and comfortable and while some may think that I am fine the way I am... I am not comfortable, and that is important too).  Another bit of honesty, although every ounce of weight I gained during my pregnancy is worth it 100%, this bottom photograph upset me SOOO Much when I saw how I looked in it.  I won't lie and pretend I was happy when that is not the case... It is just not how I want to be... although that little man is ADORABLE is he not?

So I am struggling to get back to that top picture, and it will happen, I know it will happen, but it does not happen over night and it is not easy, at times...its rather distressing.  
I will not buy myself clothes, I do not like ANY clothes I own right now... I refuse to wear anything form fitting because its embarrassing...and I have never in my life had as much of a problem with the way I look as I do now... so tonight... when someone posted something pretty nasty about anyone who did not look like a bikini model, it just really hurt my feelings.
I found myself in tears over a stupid blog post calling people who were overweight lazy.
I felt as if this person was pointing a finger at me and calling me lazy for being that bottom picture, when I already felt like crap about it.

Then I realized, while it is just fine to want to be healthy, fit into your old jeans, and pass on healthy eating habits to your child... it is not OK to feel like crap because someone who feels it is necessary to berate anyone bigger than they are....

I am going to keep working towards being comfortable.  I will eat healthy, exercise, and be happy with my little family and try really hard not to think ill of a person who feels like it is OK to put down people who are overweight or lash out at the Abercrombie & Fitch Scandal with faux disdain because she cannot shot at Lane Bryant....
I am going to try really hard to keep a positive attitude and not break down because someone was being insensitive... but it doesn't mean I won't occasionally slip up and get upset.  Tonight was a slip-up and warranted or not... I just want to remind people that the people you criticize for being "lazy" or "shitty eaters" just because they do not weigh 98 lbs and compete in bikini competitions ... are people, and they have hangups, priorities, and their own crap to deal with and sometimes that stuff gets in the way.  I think its about being comfortable with who you are... and while I believe it is important, vitally important to be healthy... that does not always mean being a rail.  

I feel better after a soak and calming down, but I cannot pretend that the sort of criticism didn't hit me personally or hurt quite a bit and while a part of me wants to say it does not matter if I am the top picture anymore... it is important to be comfortable with who you are... and I can work towards that and not be miserable.