Sleeping In Hotels

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This weekend we went on a mini family vacation to Springfield, Massachusetts. We went to the Basketball Hall of Fame, ate at a few restaurants, and visited the waterpark at the hotel we stayed at. It was a nice mini-vacation that we didn’t need to drive very far for, or take time off of work or school to go to. Our hotel was okay. We’ve been very Hampton/Hilton brand-loyal for a while now, only straying when there isn’t a property near where we are staying. This time we didn’t stay at a Hampton or Hilton. Part of the reason was because we wanted Wolverine to have fun with waterslides or at least a great pool.

This isn’t going to be a hotel review, but here are my basic thoughts: The reception area was beautiful. The hallways were cold. The hotel room was small, much smaller than we are used to, but comfortable enough. The room looked nice, but it really appeared as if the “renovation” was just covering over poor conditions of the old room, not a proper renovation. The waterslide are seemed great. My only issue was that we all had to pay for entry. All in all, it was a safe, clean night away from home. I can’t complain abut that.

I didn’t get much sleep. Isn’t sleeping in hotels the strangest experience? In a really great hotel, rooms are pretty soundproof, and generally you can’t hear too much of your surroundings. I don’t know why, but I feel like most of the hotels we’ve stayed at this year we’ve been able to hear guests in neighboring rooms, guests in the hallways, doors slamming shut, conversations through bathroom vents. This experience was somewhat similar. The entire hotel was smoke-free, but after the bathroom got steamy from showers, it smelled mildly of cigarettes. The door slamming from the hallways was so very loud. At one point in the middle of the night I heard two gentlemen in the hallway having a conversation about wearing condoms and how important it was to not catch anything. We also had double beds, and while I am a serious cuddler, I felt as if I couldn’t turn over without waking up Mr. O.

Sleeping in hotels is either one of the greatest experiences or one of the weirdest ones.

Tonight I’ll be happy to sleep in my very own bed and roll around as much as I please without having to worry about walking up Mr. O, slamming doors, cigarette smell, or men chatting about prophylactics outside my door.

This entry was posted in Travel.

My Favorite TV Shows

Ever wonder what your blogger friends are watching on TV? On occasion I’ll mention my favorite TV shows  during my monthly “Currently” series, but I don’t think I’ve ever listed all of them. So here goes in no particular order.

Grey's Anatomy via TVguide.com

Grey’s Anatomy via TVguide.com

via NBC.com

Blacklist via NBC.com

via AMC.com

Hell on Wheels via AMCtv.com

Walking Dead via AMCtv.com

Walking Dead via AMCtv.com

Cutthroat Kitchen via The Food Network

Cutthroat Kitchen via The Food Network

Forensic Files via ForensicFiles.com

Forensic Files via ForensicFiles.com

Louie via Screenrant

Louie via Screenrant

Jeopardy via jeopardy.com

Jeopardy via jeopardy.com

Wheel of Fortune via Huffingtonpost.com

Wheel of Fortune via Huffingtonpost.com

Orange Is the New Black via Netflix

Orange Is the New Black via Netflix

House of Cards via Netflix

House of Cards via Netflix

Six-Month Wedding Picture Grace Period

Is there a grace period for having your wedding picture as your profile picture on Facebook?

Tonight, a colleague of mine mentioned in a post that it makes him sad when he sees women in their wedding gowns past the “six-month grace period.” I had never heard of this. Have  you?

I got my wedding photos about two months after my wedding. I thought that was remarkably fast seeing how long it took some of my friends to get their photos back. If you’d like me to be honest with you, I’m not even sure I’ve seen all of my wedding pictures. There are just so many of them. If you’re looking for an incredible wedding photographer in the Southeastern Massachusetts/Rhode Island area, you definitely want to book with Brittany Adams Photography. I loved working with her, and can give her the highest recommendation. Here is her blog roundup of my wedding. It’s incredible.

But back to Facebook. Is there an expiration date on how long you can keep your wedding photos up? If you’d like me to be honest with you, I planned on keeping my wedding photos online forever. Well, maybe not forever, but certainly for a long time. Am I narcissistic or is this normal?

After the conversation though, I really thought about it. How long is too long to have wedding pictures up. Will I really have me and Mr. O as a profile picture three years from now? Should I put up “normal” pictures of us after we’ve been married for six months? a year? Who makes this timeline, and where can I find out more information about it?

What do you think?  I’m really interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts.

A Few More Writing Links

I hope you guys don’t mind me sharing a few more writing links with you. I promise this is will be my third and final day sharing links I love or links to writing I’ve published.

 

Vector valentine day greeting card in flat style10 Jewelry Blog Ideas to Dazzle Your Potential Customers

“The business is all about glamorous products aimed at women. For chains with big TV ad budgets, it’s easy to sell beauty, especially when it comes wrapped up in emotion or romance. But for jewelry makers and retailers in a market more crowded than the setting in Kim Kardashian West’s wedding ring, the story is the most important part. It’s one of your few opportunities to separate yourself from the pack.”

 

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Twitter for Bloggers: Define and Grow Your Social Presence

“You’re blogging – wonderful! Content creation can be great for community building, information dissemination, and even regular ol’ personal purging. If you’ve been blogging for some time now, you’ve likely signed up for other social media outlets – such as Twitter –as a way to strengthen and develop your blog.”

 

 

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Twitter Honeymoon Planning for the Recently Engaged

“The one thing I knew I wanted from my honeymoon was to do as little planning as possible. Knowing that I wanted a short engagement meant detailed, organized planning would be of utmost importance for my wedding to go off without a hitch. I didn’t, however, want to put that same effort into my honeymoon. I longed for the days when you could just show up at the airport and request to be put on the next available flight. There’s a sort of serendipity to traveling at a moment’s notice. So what did I do? I took to Twitter. Honeymoon planning no longer felt like a drag when I had a wealth of opinions and advice available, and to be honest, it ended up being fun.”

 

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Have a Suspended Twitter Account? Here’s How to Reactivate Your Twitter

“Suspended Twitter accounts are nothing new. While this has recently come into the spotlight, Twitter has been suspending accounts all along. Here’s an explanation on why an account may be suspended, and how a user should go about reactivating their account.”

 

Vector flat employment infographics elements10 HR Blog Ideas to Keep Your Company Up to Code

“Human resources is an information hub. Employees come to you by way of recruitment, performance evaluation, problems, or termination. Simply put, people have questions. Employees, managers, and even other human resources professionals are looking for answers. Creating an HR blog is a way to disseminate policies and expectations in a clear and comprehensive way.”

Find My Professional Writing Online

After sharing some of my recent favorite links yesterday, I thought I’d show you what I’ve been writing at work lately. I’ve been getting around, and I haven’t really promoted any of it on the blog.

Do you remember me telling you how I’d be writing a collection about storytelling marketing? Well, the first four installments are live, and I hope you’ll follow me for the rest, which should be coming out weekly

TypewriterStorytelling Marketing: Creative Writing in Blogging and Business

“Everyone loves stories. Children beg their parents for just one more before bedtime. Campers lose themselves in spooky campfire yarns. Bars fill up with heavy-drinking fish-tale-tellers.

To know how to market your company or to build a brand, you need to understand how creative engagement plays a role in the sales process.”

 

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What Is Voice in Writing, and How Can You Find Yours?

“Voice is a style; think of it as the personality in your writing. Just as each being’s personality is unique, each writer’s voice is, too.

Anne Lamott, one of my favorite creative nonfiction writers, has a distinct self-deprecating, open-to-all voice. Author Tucker Max’s voice, on the other hand, is boastful and could even be considered arrogant. Both writers have authentic, worthy voices that can easily be identified.”

 

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Persona Writing: How to Identify Your Most Monetizable Blog Readers

“You have a general idea of who’s currently reading your blog and buying your products, but do you know who will be reading in the future? Can you visualize who your ideal readers are? How will you get them to your website? Once your readers are on your website, how do you turn them into customers? It may feel like I’m asking a lot of questions, but they all need answering before you can begin a successful storytelling marketing campaign. To answer these questions, use the information you have on your audience and start doing some persona writing.”

 

Book a pencilStorytelling Tips: Steps to Take Before Publishing

“Where do you start telling your brand’s story? If we were in a college-level, beginner’s writing class, I’d teach you about the arc of a story. There are five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. Each plays its own role in completing a short story. While your blog posts won’t all need to follow the same arc, you should consider creating or following some type of structure to your posts.”

 

I’ve been around the block at a few other places, but I figure I’ll go easy on you and give you a little at a time!

Link Round Up

I used to share my Weekly Internet Finds, but dropped it off because at the time I wasn’t inspired enough weekly to share links with you guys. From time to time I think about resurrecting it, especially lately – I feel as if I’m reading some awesome content. I’m not ready to start this up weekly again, but every time I find a handful of awesome links to share with you, I’ll post them in here.

I’ve always wanted to be that conference attendee who’s notebook was filled with illustrated notes. C’mon, you guys know what I’m talking about. That super creative person who can manage to concentrate well enough to take down relevant information in note form, but still illustrate their work (or at least practice typography). This is a great article from Smashing Magazine about how to get started with sketchnotes.

I’ve always loved quotes or anything motivational to get me feeling inspired. I loved these 15 motivational posters to kickstart your creativity. Realistically, you could even type up a quote and print it out for yourself if you really liked it. We have some quotes like this hanging up in my office, and it just sets a nice vibe.

If you want to be a runner, but are completely terrified of the fact that to do so, you’ll need to start running, this is a great article for you. It’s a practical guide to starting running, using very short distances to get you going. I’m definitely going to try this out. I enjoy walking, but I do not enjoy running. I’m not saying that I need to be a runner, but I’d like to at least try it out, as it’s something I always give up on. If I don’t like it, no big deal – at least I tried!

This is one of the best articles I’ve read lately for personal well being. It gives you practical and easy to initiate advice for how to finish your day – the last ten minutes specifically.

Sometimes super practical advice is the best advice. Here is a great guide for you that teaches you how to chop onions. I don’t know about you, but I cook with onions lets say 99% of the time. I also love to chop vegetables, so I was pumped to watch this video.

Grateful

Today I rested. I woke up, not feeling the greatest, and spent the majority of the day relaxing. It isn’t very often I’m able to rest all day. Today I napped, caught up on some Netflix, and cooked. That is all. I’m very grateful.

Currently in November

Reading: Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (yet again).

Listening: to Podcasts all of the time. I’m hooked on Serial, Elise Gets Crafty, and One Bad Mother.

Excited: for all the great things 30 is bringing into my life. I’m enjoying it all.

Watching:  I’m caught up with all my television shows that are actually on the t.v. We’ve been watching Louis C.K. on Netflix, and I’m so excited that Grey’s Anatomy season 10 just came out on Netflix.

Wearing: Comfortable clothes that keep me warm in this in-between season.

Wishing: that everyone in my family stays healthy or gets healthier.

Drinking: So much water. I am on such a water with lemon kick!

Loving: my little family.

Loathing: The fact that it has snowed twice this season. It’s only fall! Luckily it’s only been a dusting each time, but a dusting is still too much for me!

Admiring: Good storytellers.

 

Check out: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October

30 Creative Projects

I made a decision a few weeks ago to take on a birthday project this year, but I haven’t really told you guys about it yet. Why? Well, I think I felt guilty coming up with a a birthday project a month and a half since my actual birthday. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to create. I wasn’t sure how many projected I wanted to finish over a years time frame. Did I need a project theme? I had more questions than answers, so I just decided to think on it for a little while, and that I would eventually make a decision and let you know about it.

Can you guess what happened?

Well, a few weeks went by, and I still didn’t make a concrete decision about how I wanted to structure this project. I was torn between completing 30 projects (in honor of my 30th birthday) or just 15 (1/2 of my age, but still more than one project a month). I kept trying to give myself a theme, as in: maybe I’ll cook 30 new-to-me recipes or maybe I’ll do 30 scrapbooking projects. Both felt like cop outs because I’m already cooking and already doing Project Life.

So I made a final decision.

I’m just jumping in. From September 5, 2014 until September 5, 2015, I’m going to complete 30 creative projects. My creativity can take me wherever I want to go. If I want to do a photography project, I can. If I want to do something quick for the holidays, I can do that too. I’m not limited to one specific thing, and I really like that freedom.

I’ve already completed one of my creative projects with Wolverine last month, and I have project #2 in the works. My only goal for these projects is to share every attempt on the blog. I’d like to provide you with DIYs if my projects are a success and funny pictures of any failures.

I just want to celebrate and own my creativity.

Better Than Yesterday

Today was better than yesterday, which is a great thing.

I woke up early, got a few important errands done and started my work day on time. Thursday is deadline day which meant all my writing was due. Because we had Tuesday off of work due to Veteran’s Day, and Wednesday was a very difficult day for me to concentrate, I had a lot of work to do.

The incredible part was that I got everything done. Part of my anxiety yesterday (which continued into today) was that I wouldn’t finish on time, and I am a person who needs to make deadlines at work. I get way too upset at the thought of being late with work, especially if someone else needs to approve it before it’s due. But I did it, and I’m so happy with that.

I also talked to both of my best friends on the phone today which is a rare occasion, but wonderful feeling.

November 13, 2014 was a good day for me.

I hope it was for you as well.

A Day to Remember

Today felt never-ending. I couldn’t do anything correct at work. I’d get up from my desk on one side of my office, walk all the way over to the water-cooler to fill up my drink container only to realize that I left it at my desk. No big deal, right? Right. Except when you do it 3-4 times throughout the day! It’s a brand new insulated container, and I really like it. Well, I proceeded to break it after I dropped it when I got home tonight. Goodbye new water container.

My brain has been so cloudy today. I just can’t seem to concentrate, and I also cannot lasso the necessary words into the sentences I wanted them to be. I can’t tell you how many things I rewrote over and over and over again at work today. That happens sometimes when you work in a creative field. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it happens to everyone, but it is never any fun. I just felt so stunted today. Besides the water, I got up searching for pens, only to realize they were on the same table I was working from previously. My computer shut down while I was working because I didn’t notice the low battery note while I was working. It is simply just one of those days.

It also was a pretty bad self-talk day. As you can imagine, with all of my numb-brained forgetfulness, I judged myself pretty harshly. Get it together, Erin! I’d think or worse. If one of my writing friends of clients beat themselves up the way I did today, I’d tell them they need to go easy on themselves. Days like this happen, and sometimes you just need to go with the flow. Be kind to yourself. Beating yourself up won’t help in any way. It will just make things worse.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, it’s life. I tend to share the better parts of my days: fun moments with Wolverine, loving thoughts for Mr. O. I write about celebrations, vacations, achievements, activities. I very seldom write about the tough days. I want to be authentic. Just like my word of the year “be”: I want to be an honest, authentic Erin.

The other reason I’m sharing all of this is because in my rational brain, I know that there is nothing for me to be upset about. Today is any ordinary, normal day. I got through a relatively good amount of work, and I even had a last-minute client meeting with someone I really enjoy talking to. We all have days like this, right? Days when nothing seems to be going right. Days when you can’t seem to do anything correct. They pass. They always do. The best part of all of this is that I kept going. Yes, I beat myself up a little, and that was unnecessary, but I kept trudging through my workday. I finished what I wanted to have completed, and I’m proud of myself.

I ended up coming home and having a great meal with my husband. I’m telling you, pho can make anything and everything better. My evening was great. I was able to relax and just have a wonderful night. I’m so very grateful.

I guess that’s the final reason I decided to share this story today. You might have a horrible, no good, awful day, but still end up having an incredible evening. Life changes quickly. I’ll tell you at one point today, when I was really feeling bad for myself, I thought it was such a waste of a day. I honestly wished that I could just hide in my bed under the covers and not come out until the day was over. And then everything changed. I didn’t think it could,  but it did.

Sometimes, you just need to be kind to yourself, trudge through the hard stuff, and things get better.

Acting Like an Old Lady: Bingo and Shepherd’s Pie

I had a fun day today, even if you might think I was acting like an old lady.

I live a drivable distance to Foxwoods Resort and Casino, so every once and a while, Mr. O and I will take a trip out there to do a little gambling. Less often, but on occasion we’ll make a mini vacation out of the trip and stay at a hotel, which is what we did this time. After we got out of work yesterday, we drove to Connecticut, and checked into our hotel the Hilton Garden Inn. We got ready to go out and made our way over to the casino. Dinner was at High Rollers, and it was really good, though we enjoyed the appetizers better than the meal! We gambled for a tiny bit before getting bored with losing our money and made our way back to the hotel.

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We woke up early and ate breakfast at the hotel. After getting all packed up we headed back to Foxwoods to play BINGO!

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I love playing Bingo. I have such a great time. Today it was packed, which was probably because so many people had it off due to the the holiday.

Before I continue, let me just say thank you to everyone who has served in our military. I know all too well that it isn’t an easy job to do, and I appreciate your service.

So, I didn’t win any money at Bingo, but I did make friends with a couple our parents age and another couple who could have been their parents! It was a blast.

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To continue with my old lady ways, I came home and made a shepherd’s pie for dinner. I’m pretty sure it was the first one I made by my self, and I think it came out pretty good.

Now, if I want to continue acting like an old lady, I should knit a blanket and fall asleep early!

 

 

 

 

Social Media: Are We Friends?

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m participating in NaBloPoMo again this year, and I’m doing pretty well. I’ve written about podcasts, voting with children, and how I finally decided on a career path (that fortunately I’m on) among other topics (like how to bake pumpkin seeds).

I made an decision this year to check out every single blog on the NaBloPoMo blogroll. Well, that was when the blogroll was about 500 blogs long. Now that it is 1400+ blogs, I highly doubt I’ll make it through, but that is okay. I’ve already checked out the first 325. Y’all are doing and writing about great stuff. I wanted to find new bloggers who’d inspire me, but may not have made it to my radar yet. I’ve added a bunch of new blogs to my reader, and I can’t wait to get to know you better.

Are we friends? I love developing relationships with other bloggers. If you’ve found me because of NaBloPoMo: welcome! If you have any questions for me, let me know, and I’d be glad to answer them.

If you’re looking to connect off the blog, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I hope you’ll stay and read my words. Please leave comments so that I can find you as well!

How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds

I know I’ve done it before, but I couldn’t quite remember how to bake pumpkin seeds. The O Family bought a huge pumpkin this year, and sadly we did not carve it. Mr. O really loves pumpkin seeds, so we wanted to dig out the seeds and see if we could roast them.

Oh, and before I start, a quote from Mr. O. As we were looking online for a guide to follow, he says this: “Make sure the recipe makes them nice and crispy, or we won’t be friends anymore.” Threats!

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We used the awesome instructions at Oh She Glows as our general guide for how to bake pumpkin seeds, but because I can never ever follow directions, we changed it up a bit.

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First, be sure to clean out your pumpkin and get all the seeds possible. Once you have all the seeds you need, clean them well! Something suggested in the Oh She Glows post (which we didn’t try) was to put the guts and seeds in a bowl of water. As you separate the two, the seeds will float to the top, and you can just scoop them off.

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After the seeds are separated, the next step is boiling them in some salt water. Put them on the stove in a pot of water that has been brought to a boil. After you’ve submerged the seeds (they’ll keep floating to the top), you can reduce the heat to a simmer. After ten minutes, strain the seeds. Pat them dry using paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Now you’ll want to preheat the oven to 325f.

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Now you’re ready to flavor the seeds however you like them. This is wear we strayed from the instructions. First, drizzle olive oil over the seeds. Do not drench them. Basically, you just want the seeds to have a light coating. I think we put a little too much on our seeds, though. They ended up tasting great in the end. We decided to flavor the seeds with garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne powder.

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Then it’s time for some baking! Bake the seeds for 10 minutes, and pull them out to mix them around. Mix everything well. Bake for another ten minutes. The total amount of time you need to cook the pumpkin seeds will depend on your own oven. My oven usually gets real hot, but it took about 25-30 minutes before I felt ready to take them out. Don’t just judge by the color of the shells. I’ve found the best way to test is by cracking the shell. They should be crispy, but the insides should be still a little soft. Having crispy insides means you’ve overcooked the pumpkin seeds.

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Once you’ve taken the seeds out of the oven, you’ll want to remove them from the pan – mine was extremely hot, and I was afraid leaving them there would burn the seeds.

After they’ve cooled down – which will happen super quickly – the pumpkin seeds will be ready to eat. If you still want more flavor, you can add any seasonings you’d like. So there really is no need to wonder how to bake pumpkin seeds any longer. It is a quick, and easy process. Not to mention that clean up is simple as well.

Enjoy!

This entry was posted in Cooking.

Young Friendship and Rollerskating

source: unchanged

source: unchanged

Wolverine and my nephew are about a year-and-a-half apart in age, and they are the bestest of friends. I’m lucky to live so close to my brother that the two boys get to spend a lot of time quality time together. Today we took them to the rollerskating rink. It’s actually where we are now as I type this on my phone. The two are whirling around the rink in circles at this point, but it didn’t so much start off that way.

Wolverine has been rollerskating and rollerblading for years. He also ice skates pretty regularly with his grandfather. He’s very comfortable on wheels. My nephew reports that the only time he’s ever skated has been with the three of us, so that’s maybe a handful (or two) of times. When they both rolled onto the rink, Wolverine was off in super speed, a smile covering his face as he looked back to his cousin. I know them and their hyped-up competition style way to well, so I took that smile to mean “Yeah, I’m in the lead. He’ll never be able to catch me!” And you know what, he couldn’t. He was rusty on those skates. So instead, my nephew skated around slowly, holding on to the walls, and falling down every once in a while. He was determined to catch up to Wolverine no matter how long it took him to feel comfortable on those skates.

And with that determination, he did catch up to Wolverine. They skated together for a while and had fun for a few hours on the rink.

Well, until they both got blisters on both of their feet and whined until we told them we it was time to leave.