Monday, April 21, 2014

A Blast From The Past

I hadn't been on Pinterest for a while so when I decided to take a few minutes out of my day to see what I was missing, I saw quite a few posts from people of things from their childhood that they miss today.  "OOH what a great idea for a blog post" I thought to myself - and thus today's blog post was born.

Who remembers these little gems??  Mojo's ... they were common in the 70's and 80's then kinda vanished ...

I used to love eating this on Ritz crackers ... yeah I know it probably wasn't any good for me LOL ... and no, I never did like the stuff that came in the can (the Kraft Easy Cheese)

These were always a pain in the butt to use, but neat ... 

Who remembers the Liddle Kiddies???  They were originally marketed by Mattel - I think I still have one or two of these somewhere

I still have my Crissy Doll in it's box somewhere too ...

In case you don't know what the big deal with Crissy was, here's the commercial :)

These are still one of my favorite snacks to this day ... I always pick up a package when I find them (usually in random gas stations or 7-11)

And while we're on the topic of food ... this was one of my favorite treats that my Grandma used to make for me when I came home from school

And yet, more food ... these were so yummy ... 

Loved all these too ...

Does anyone remember their Grandma or Mother displaying one of these beauties for Christmas?? I actually still have the one my Grandma used to display ... I put it out every Christmas in honor of her :)

Who had some of these???  Who whacked their knuckles trying to perfect them??? 

What about food that you loved as a kid but is now discontinued??

Great ... now I want some cheese balls and magic middles ... *sigh*

Oh, by the way, did you know that there is a website where you can get some of your old time favorite candies - Old Time Candy has a ton of the wonderful treats you remember eating as a kid. Go check it out!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cheese and White Whine

Have you ever noticed social media has given us a voice we never could have imagined 20 years ago. We can easily share content online, free - from inspiring images to our grandest hopes for the world.

We can also use the social platform to whine like the spoiled brats we sometimes are.  One of my favorite websites is the Tumblr blog - White Whine ...  a user-generated collection of "first world problems," in which the spoiled brats are called out for complaining about "issues" many around the world would love to have to endure.

Here are some of my most favorites:



Here's a tidbit of info for you ... Did you know the earliest known reference to “first world problems” can be found in the lyrics of Canadian alt rock band Matthew Good Band’s 1995 song titled “Omissions of the Omen,” which was included as a bonus track on their full-length debut album Last of the Ghetto Astronauts: “And somewhere around the world / Someone would love to have my first world problems / Kill the moon and turn out the sun / Lock your door and load your gun / Free at last now the time has come to choose.”

You're welcome ;)

If you have any favorites, post them in the comments below - I'd love to see them!

Friday, April 18, 2014

It's Not All About Disney

When we first looked at taking a trip down to Florida and visiting Disney, we didn't even think of not taking in Universal or Cape Kennedy/NASA.   However, it soon became very clear that after spending any time on some of the planning travel forums, there were two distinct types of people who travel to Orlando.

... those that are all about Disney

... those that are more open-minded and enjoy both Disney and Universal (and other options in the Orlando area)

But wait ... there are other things to do in Orlando besides Disney?  No, there can't be!!

I blame Disney - they have perfected a very good mechanism for keeping you on their property and thus you not needing to venture away from the "Disney bubble".  They provide a handy transportation service (Magical Express) that picks you and your luggage up from the airport and takes you directly to your Disney hotel on Disney property and delivers your bags right to your room.

Did I mention that this service is complimentary??

When you check into your Disney resort, you receive your "key to the world" - or now what they have replaced with the "MagicBand" - an all-in-one device that you can use to enter Disney theme parks, unlock your Disney Resort hotel room, use the FastPass+ entrance for attractions and entertainment experiences you selected, charge purchases (and dining in the parks) to your room, and link Disney PhotoPass photos to your Disney account. These cool and colorful wristbands can even be personalized for every member of your family — and you can even select your favorite color. You never have to take a wallet with cash or cards anywhere with you on property if you don't want to.

And it gets better.  If you've ever stayed at a Disney resort, you know each and every resort has either a food court or sit down restaurant (or both), a shop where you can pick up things you've forgotten at home (like those bandaids, tylenol, etc) and at least one pool for swimming.  Disney also offers free onsite transportation to the parks, Downtown Disney and the 2 water parks right from your resort, plus they've recently introduced free wi-fi at all their resorts.  So there's no need to rent a car - ever - if you are staying on Disney property.

Now, a lot of people will say "what's wrong with that?" ... I say absolutely nothing, however, what I've learned is a lot of those people who choose to do this are the same people who feel that Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure is the red headed step child of Orlando.  They would never think of even venturing a few miles down I-4 to Universal to see what they offered.  It's simply not an option.

These are the same people put down the cast members at Universal not knowing that there are probably 50%, if not more, that work for both Disney and Universal, and put down the type of people who go to Universal like they are inferior than those who are staying at Disney.  It literally blows my mind how they think.

These are the same people who say a one day ticket to Universal is way too overpriced (1 day, 1 park is $96, 1 day 2 park is $136) - but yet would pay $350 for a base 5 day ticket to Disney - more if you add on park hopping and water park options plus the Disney Dining Plan. Incidentally a one day adult ticket to Magic Kingdom is $99 and a one day adult ticket to the other parks is $94.

However, now that the Harry Potter area at Universal is growing, along with new additions like Despicable Me, Transformers and now the new value resort at Universal - Cabana Bay opening up, I think a lot of the diehard Disney people are now taking notice of the red headed step child and may be rethinking their sole allegiance to Disney.  

I'll step off my soapbox now and leave you with the second part of the Universal Orlando walkthrough of Islands of Adventure ... enjoy! (if you missed the first part you can view it here)

... oh, and if you would like more information on a Universal or Disney vacation, just give me a shout as I am the Canadian Agent for Candy Cain Travel and would be happy to help you plan a most awesome vacation for you and your family!

Life Sometimes Gets in the Way

Normally at this time of year, we are a few weeks away from our annual May pilgrimage to Orlando, FL and we are excitedly looking forward to spending some quality time with our "dysfunctional Florida family"

... unfortunately this year, we won't be taking that trip because, sometimes, life just gets in the way.

... so today I decided to go through some of my old pictures/videos from our previous trips and came across this little gem ... A walk through of Universal Studios Orlando from 2011 - this was before the new Despicable Me, Transformers and Springfield additions - and bonus, it still has the old Amity area/Jaws ride as well ... enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

We're Going to Jamaica!

Thanks to my wonderful friend, who I love dearly - Candy Cain (yes that is her real name) who owns Candy Cain Travel - my hubby and I will be taking our first ever vacation to Jamaica next month.  Not only will we be going to Jamaica, but we are lucky enough to be staying at the all inclusive Sandals Whitehouse resort

Sandals Whitehouse is the only resort in Jamaica that is an all-beachfront tropical resort situated within a 500-acre nature preserve. There are three distinctive European Villages - French, Italian and Dutch - which are set along a two-mile stretch of beach where you can watch both the sunrise and sunset each day.   That sounds just heavenly doesn't it? *sigh*

Neither of us has been to a Sandals resort before (or Jamaica) so we are both extremely excited for our upcoming trip ... Hubby is especially excited about the Scuba Diving he'll be able to do. I'm especially excited to be able to walk in the gorgeous crystal blue water and try out the unlimited land and water sports along with unlimited dining at the 7 different restaurants (yes I know my diet will be out the door for the time we are gone but it's worth it!)  And who knows, maybe I'll even splurge and give myself a spa treatment too while we are there.

The resort apparently has 3 different pools and 4 hot tubs (not that you'd need them with the beach being right there), plus 2 swim up pool bars, and, did I, mention unlimited alcoholic drinks =)  (there are apparently 6 different bars too)

My next task is to find a bathing suit ... scary stuff as I haven't had to buy a bathing suit for probably over 10 years ... eeeek O.o

Thank you once again Candice, from the bottom of our hearts, for giving us this opportunity.  I truly do love you and am grateful to call you a friend!

Jamaica here we come!!!

And if you'd love to learn more about the Sandals resorts, just give me a shout as I am the Canadian Agent for Candy Cain Travel 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Does This Thing Really Work? Hair Drying Gloves

I'm not sure why, but I'm always a sucker for gimmicky things ... usually cheap gimmicky things ... and my recent purchase was no exception.  They were such a pretty pink color ... they were so soft .... I just had to have them.
So what are they?  Hair drying gloves ...

... yep hair drying gloves

... that supposedly dry your hair in half the time while not removing any styling products.  Apparently you hair will be softer, fuller, and left with a brilliant shine with less blow-drying.  HMMM

OK, let's give it a whirl ...
After my shower tonight I gave them a shot ... I put them on and while my hands definitely looked like fluffy pink Mickey Mouse hands ("Hey Pal" LOL), I do have to say the gloves were oh so very soft.  I started running my hands through my hair (and actually felt kind of silly doing it) and after a couple of minutes didn't really think they were doing a lot.  I took off one glove and checked my hair ... maybe it did seem a bit drier ... maybe not ... but at least the gloves felt a bit damp. HMMM

They are definitely very silly.  The gloves might be great for a child to try and get them to want to dry their hair after a bath/shower,  However, for the average Jane, or someone wanting to dry their hair quickly, a towel works just as well ... if not probably better.

So, do these things really work?  (or should I say do I really need these?)

At $17 CDN I think a towel would accomplish the same thing so save your money, unless you are like me and are drawn to gimmicky things and need to have them just because ... and they really are such a pretty shade of pink  =)

Stop That! It's Driving Me Insane

When I was younger, I never really wondered why certain sounds were like nails on a chalkboard to me. They just bugged me. It was just that simple. One of the first sounds that I remember really irking me was one that, is no doubt a pet peeve of many others, people chewing with their mouths open.

As I got older, I soon realized it wasn't only that noise that irritated me, but also things like people crunching their popcorn in movie theatres. It got so bad that in order to fully enjoy myself at the movies, I had to bring and wear earplugs to drown out the crunching. It was either that or turn around and give them an icy stare mumbling under my breath for them to quit making so much noise. Slurping was also something that bugged me, and people who had runny noses and chose to "sniff" away the snot rather than blow their nose.

I soon found that these noises drove me absolutely insane and if the noises kept up, I would get angry and even more irritated - it was almost rage, panic, fear, terror and anger, all mixed together. I found if I didn't say anything, the rage would just build.

I soon found other sounds that irritated the heck out of me as well ... most harmless or just part of every day to day life to the “normal” person, but with me, it was like nails down a chalk board:
~ gum chewing & popping
~ silverware scraping teeth
~ loud breathing
~ snoring
~ people dragging their feet
~ repetitive foot or body movements (leg jiggling)
~ gulping of drinks

One day whilst reading the interwebs, I came across an article that someone posted, and it was like a lightbulb went on ... it was an article on Misophonia. I soon learned I really wasn't nutty like a fruitcake for feeling the way I did.

The term Misophonia was developed by an American neuroscientists Pawel Jastreboff and Margaret Jastreboff, during this period Dr. Marsha Johnson labeled this condition “Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome” to address the sub class of individuals that did not hate all sound but only particular sounds. She started an online support group which originally had 3,500+ members, and membership continues to grow. The condition has been called many things – Soft Sound Sensitivity Syndrome, SSSS, SSS, 4S, Hyperacusis, Phonophobia, Misophonia - but for those who suffer, the name is not important. Far more important is the knowledge that those who suffer are not alone – that an entire support network does exist and that research for a cure is being conducted.

The condition almost always begins in late childhood or early adolescence and worsens over time, often expanding to include more trigger sounds - yep sounded like me.

And now I know when I find myself gnashing my teeth, clenching my hands, wanting – needing – to scream with rage for what seems like no reason, except that someone nearby is popping their gum, dragging their feet when walking or gulping their drinks, I know nothing is “wrong” with me just because I feel such strong emotional responses to sounds others don’t even seem to hear.

And thankfully, I'm not alone =)

If you are interested, you can learn more about Misophonia here ... below I've listed just some of the triggers but I'm sure there are probably more that aren't listed as well.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pros and Cons of Working from Home

This coming October, I'll have been working from home for 8 years and after a few days like I've had (the flu really kicked my butt), I'm very grateful and lucky to be able to work from home. I love working from home.

The thing I should mention is that you either have to love what you do for work, or be driven enough by money to keep distractions to a minimum.   You definitely have to be self motivated (or at least a self starter).

When I tell someone I work from home, I always get the raised eyebrows then ultimately, one of these gems (and yes, I've heard them all at least once):
~ What do you DO all day?
~ Why do you stay up so late?
~ Can’t you just do that tomorrow?
~ If I were home all the time like you, my house would be immaculate!
~ I wish I got to sleep as late as I wanted!
~ I wish I got paid to sit at home all day!
~ Must be nice to get to work in your pajamas!

Yes, my schedule is flexible. Yes, I set my own hours and no, I don’t get in trouble with the boss when I can’t make it to work that day. But, I still have deadlines to meet, responsibilities to maintain and obligations to manage. Because I work from home does not make my job less important or more dispensable than anyone else’s job.

But, there really is no such thing as working at home.

Really. It doesn't exist. It's not possible. And who are you kidding anyway?

Says who?, you ask?? Just Everybody.

You know in "Everybody says..."

Everybody knows you watch game shows and soap operas all day.

Everybody's sure you can handle this errand. After all,what are you doing that's so important?

Everybody gets a good laugh at this "work-at-home" thing, because Everybody will tell you that Everybody has to work for a living. (By the way, when are you getting a *real* job?)

Nosirree, no such thing...

Who gets the grocery list, picks up and drops off the dry cleaning, goes to the bank, and prepares a sumptuous meal replete with exquisite delicacies, a breathtaking sensual delight?

Oh, okay...but who opens those cans???

And all at the same time, you have those annoying, trivial "work-at-home" details...

Scheduling appointments, answering e-mails, doing billings, filing, typing, faxing, toting barges, lifting bales... (ok maybe not the last 2)

No, my friend, this "work-at-home" fantasy is only a dream. How, in reality, can someone rise in the morning and *not* jet off to a forced enclosure where you are carefully guarded and scrutinized by "bosses" and "superiors" who zealously hoard the money you earn and pay a position (not you!) what they determine it to be worth.

How, in reality, can someone enjoy a moment of reflection, introspection or distraction that is *not* rigidly scheduled and officially ordained, where your "co-workers" hurriedly gulp, gobble and gossip before returning to the tasks/projects/assembly work arbitrarily assigned without regard to their interests or desires?

How, in reality, can someone enjoy the comforts of their own home in a place uniquely theirs and a destiny they create and *not* embark on a crowded, frustrating, lengthy and perilous trek to and from this foreign place where, despite their diligence and loyalty, they can find themselves cast out by authorities unseen and unknown through no fault of their own?

(Oops! Fell off my soapbox...Insert your favorite dream here.)

Nosirree, working at home is a liberating, self-actualizing, creatively fulfilling, ultimately challenging and supremely rewarding dream. But, you know...dreams aren't for Everybody.

With a husband, a elderly mother, three dogs, three cats and and a household to keep together to boot ...

In my opinion, there are only really two things bad about working from home:

1) It can get somewhat lonesome, especially if you’re single or are at an age where seeing friends just doesn’t happen at the frequency it used to. Personally, I’m a bit older than 29, married and my friends are all getting to a stage in life where other priorities get in the way to hanging out. Luckily, I’m also a fairly independent gal so it isn’t too bad… but I could see this isolation being a big negative for some people.

2) There is a stigma with some people, as if you must not work as hard as they do. I work a fairly healthy amount of hours during the day, but the thing is that people see my ability to go for a walk on a sunny afternoon, or the fact I can get together with a friend or a coffee on a random weekday that I must just be lazy or don't work.  And I'm pretty sure, my mother thinks I play video games all day or something lol.

Other than two things, I love it. I get to do what I love to do, on my own terms, and during the hours I please. I only wish everyone could be given this same blessing.

... and on that note, tomorrow is Monday =)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Back on the Wagon

Wow ... the flu bug I caught from my hubby really kicked my ass big time.

I don't remember ever being that sick.

It came on so suddenly - around 10:30 pm on Thursday night.  I started feeling generally yucky and then about a half an hour later I was worshiping Ralph at the great porcelain throne.

Vomiting is awful. There's no denying it. There aren't many illnesses that make you feel worse than when you have some sort of stomach virus; you just want to know how to make it stop.

So today is day 2 - I am no longer throwing up, but am utterly and totally exhausted.  I was able to keep down a half bowl of chicken noodle soup, and I am forever grateful for that wonderful liquid they call Gatorade.  Hopefully this is a good sign and I'll be back on the blogging wagon ...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fell Off the Wagon Already

Well, my intentions were good ... however, yesterday was only day 5 and yep, I fell off the wagon already ... *sigh*

Granted, my hubby has been feeling a bit under the weather with the flu ... and we all know how serious "man flu" is ...

... and now it seems I have caught the same bug :(

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Let's Do This!

I admit, over the past couple of years I've been in an on again, off again relationship with losing weight. Unfortunately I've found that as I have been getting older, I am truly having a much tougher time losing weight.

This is probably a good time to mention that I'm 5'3" and when I decided that I would seriously try to lose some weight, I weighed 155 lbs - not really a big deal but I knew I needed to lose a few pounds.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love my Coke/Pepsi and it wasn't uncommon for me to drink 3-4 cans of pop/soda day if not more. So, a year or so ago, the first thing I did was cut out any pop/soda from my diet, and I admit, this first step was hard ... very hard.  However, I was determined and as I struggled I replaced my daily Coke habit with green tea.

My beloved Keurig!
Thankfully my hubby bought me a Keurig coffee maker ... which is funny because I don't drink coffee. But one good thing about the Keurig is you can buy a reusable filter basket that allows you to make your own K-cups with whatever you want. Since the Keurig is so fast at brewing, I can have my green tea (either warm or iced) in less than 1 minute. Awesome!!! That's one thing I always hated about having to use a kettle for tea - took too darn long to boil the water. The Keurig was a perfect solution!!

About a month or so after cutting out Coke and replacing it with green tea, I decided to weigh myself ... and to my surprise I had lost 15 pounds ... Wow!! Now I really didn't think I looked much different, but in mid-May we headed down to Orlando for our annual
May getaway and friends that had just seen us in October asked
if I had lost weight. Awesome!!!!

Heading home from our vacation, I wasn't sure what to expect when I stepped on the scale. We do like to eat well and tend to enjoy a few adult beverages when we are on vacation, and this trip was no exception, however, one thing I did not do was drink any pop/soda whatsoever during our trip (that was truly a test of my willpower by the way). Once again I was surprised ... I had not gained any weight at all ... now, I didn't lose any weight either, but I didn't gain any so it was totally a win in my books!!
Awesome Infuser

Since that time, I have been actively trying to lose the last 15 lbs by exercising more regularly (usually walking a couple times of week) and continued with my green tea.  Most recently I purchased a $10 fruit infuser pitcher at Wal-Mart and have been enjoying some nice cold flavored water throughout the day.  This is huge for me as I haven't been known to drink a lot of water during the day.

Unfortunately I'm finding that I still seem to be craving junk food later in the evening - which is really something I need to curb. It's definitely not helping my weight loss.

Now that Spring has arrived, I know getting out for our daily walks will help.  I also ordered the 21 Day Fix plan from Beachbody.  I had heard so many good things about this plan. Basically here's no counting, no guessing, and no wondering. Just easy-to-follow portion control and one 30-minute workout per day. That's all. You commit to it, and you can lose up to 15 pounds in just 21 days.

There are seven color-coded containers and a Shakeology shaker with a meal plan that you follow - so you never eat too much or too little. Fill them up with as much food as you want—if it fits, you can eat it! Plus I can continue to use my Shakeology on this plan which is something that I don't want to give up (I've been using the vegan Tropical Strawberry Shakeology for over 2 years now).
21 Day Fix kit
OK, seems simple enough, so why am I hesitant to get started on it???  Basically I like food ... I like food A LOT =)

I should also mention that we are taking a trip to Jamaica at the end of next month, and I want NEED to lose those last 15-20 lbs.  I went bathing suit shopping the other day and it was not a pleasant experience to say the least - so let's say that was the motivation I needed.

So ... Let's do this!!!  Wish me luck!!  I'll keep you posted :)