30 June 2011

catchy like whoa

This song definitely did not get enough airplay around these parts.  Love love love danceable, catchy songs.

Also, I discovered Grooveshark recently and it's 10 gabillion times better than Playlist.com (which often has the wrong song attached to a title--LAME).  I haven't even made a login and was able to embed that thing above.  Speaking of logins, when I tried to sign up for Playlist.com, someone had used my email to create the login name "Twilightlover266446".  Umm, I read the first two Twilight books and thought they were truly terrible!  (I might lose some followers by saying that, but oh well.)  But I changed the password, so yeah, that's my login now.  Doesn't matter because I'm never going back to that site ever again.

Also on Grooveshark, I was also able to find a song I had been digging and digging for back at Christmas.  Here's a link to that post and the actual cover of Mr. Grinch that I have finally found 8 months later.

29 June 2011

i heart freebies

I'm starting to get known in some circles as a freebie addict. I guess I always was, from all the free t-shirts I amassed in college (my friend bet me that I could go about 3 weeks wearing only free shirts--she was right), and my "free food radar" nose. I seriously can sniff out free pizza from half a mile away!

Now my freebie-hunting is mostly online.  Thanks to sites like Hip2Save (my fave deal site!), I am always finding freebies in the mail.  My favorites are still the food ones.  Here's a glimpse into some of the stuff I've gotten lately:

Suave hair-styling product; Glade air freshener, body wash, various magazines (my favorite is SHAPE!), Orville Redenbacher popcorn, Yoplait yogurt, sample fragrance from Victoria's Secret, some feminine items, Kirkland surface wipes, some snoring control stuff from Brez that I've threatened B with, various shampoo and conditioner samples, a mobile headset from 1saleaday.com, and some fiber powder.  Not pictured are some food samples that were immediately devoured upon receipt, including the incredibly yummy Raisels.

Oh, and since you asked, yes that is a Pilates DVD from Veria!

In addition, I signed up for a lot of birthday-club-thingies, and got a few freebies from that this past month.  Most required an additional purchase, so not all got used.  My favorite, however, was the $10 off $10 that World Market emailed to me.  I decided to get some nice chocolate and candy to satisfy my sweet tooth, and I walked out of there only paying 28¢ for $10 worth of products.  If there's one of these stores near you, I highly recommend signing up for their club.  You don't even need a card--you just punch in your phone number at the register.

I also started messing around on Swagbucks back in February, and have made over $35 in Amazon gift cards!  I cashed in about $6 worth and got this book in mail last week:
Oh yes, my trivia thirst is now being quenched on a daily basis.  I was even reading parts of it during the Jeopardy! commercial breaks, prompting B to chime in, "Wait are you reading trivia while watching trivia?!"  Okay, so maybe I'm a bit obsessed.  Also, I wanted to point out the correct possessive apostrophe use in the title.  Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac.  Everyone, please make a mental note.  Especially if your last name is Jones.

Have you gotten any awesome freebies lately?

p.s. If you've been thinking about joining Swagbucks, feel free to ask me about it!  And please use my referral link!

26 June 2011

summer swap goodies!

I recently participated in the Summer Essentials Swap hosted by Flip Flops & Combat Boots.

My swap partner was Anna from Life to the Full.  I had never been to her blog before, but soon found out that she is 27, moved herself to one place and fell for a dashing submariner there, recently uprooted herself to follow him all the way to Hawaii, got an awesome job as a PA there, and she has a "28 before 28" list.  Half of that sounds like my own life!  I don't think Hawaii will ever be in the cards for me though.  But she did send me some of what I'm missing!

Yes, it took up almost our entire dining table!
She sent me note cards that say "Aloha" and have flowers, some nail polish, a reusable coffee cup, a postcard that has fun Hawaii facts on the back, the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's (love!), a Jamba Juice giftcard (never been to one before so now I have a good reason to), various Hawaiian macadamia nut candies, and some fun tissue-paper flowers (they have wires attached so I can attach them to anything.  I'm sure B would love them on his shoes, right?).  Speaking of B, he's already gotten into the candies, and we both devoured the Caramacs (caramel, macadamias, chocolate--yum!).

Many thanks to Anna for the wonderful package!

21 June 2011

baskets and balloons

I volunteer for the most random and interesting things sometimes!  I blame my years in Girl Scouts.  A bit after we moved here to Pensacola, I volunteered to help with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (read about it here if you haven't yet).  This past weekend, I volunteered with . . .

. . . the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival!

I was digging around online for prices on taking an actual balloon flight (um, super expensive!) and came across a festival that they do every year in Foley, Alabama.  Foley is actually pretty close to us since we live near the state line.  The festival's website had a callout for "balloon crew" volunteers, and I figured it was the closest I would get to riding in a balloon, so why not?

I signed up to do both Friday and Saturday evenings.  I was paired with the pilot for the RE/MAX balloon.  This guy is a full-time balloonist, and he basically just does PR with it for the company.  How cool is that?  So on that first night, he told me that half the pilots fly (before sunset) and the other half "glow."  We were set to glow on Friday and fly on Saturday.

I was so impressed that the whole balloon contraption fit in his van.  All in all, these are actually very simple machines.
The basket is pushed up against that back window.

Also, on that first night, I was the only one to show up for his crew.  Our pilot said that two people could set it up, but since we were out at the festival, among many other balloons, we just borrowed some people from the neighboring crew (which had like 15 people).  A high school-aged girl came over to help, and it was very obvious she knew what she was doing.  She actually is the daughter of a balloon pilot, and her grandfather had owned a balloon also.  Her stories about growing up in a ballooning family were pretty interesting (and funny, too).  She goes around to various festivals and events with her mom all summer, helping out.  That certainly beat out any summer jobs I ever had.

Setting up the balloon really wasn't that hard.  Basically, you just lay the basket on its side, attach the deflated balloon to it, and then fill it with cool air.  Once it's gotten really big on its side, the pilot turned on the burner and got some hot air into it to make it rise.  The basket was attached by a rope to the back of the van so the balloon couldn't go too far.

The entire balloon was contained in this rather small bag.

The balloon being stretched out, attached to the basket.
My task through all of this was to hold some ropes at the mouth so the cold air could blow into it.  The fan looked small, but was very powerful and very loud.  B came with me to help on the second night, so here he is on the opposite side of the mouth while it was being filled with air.

Speaking of that second night, our pilot was supposed to fly and take up a few passengers from the local RE/MAX office and then we were supposed to "chase" him in the van to his landing point.  We drove around a bit trying to find a good place for takeoff, but then the wind picked up too much.  Apparently, they can't fly if the wind is more than 10 knots--which is basically just a bit more than a gentle breeze.  Oh, and they can't fly after sunset since they can't be seen (no lights) and can't see power lines.  Hot air balloons don't have any precise steering, so it's all about catching updrafts and having a good starting place.  Also, to operate one,  you have to have a pilot's license, and yes, balloons are regulated by the FAA.

Adding the hot air to get it off the ground
 If I volunteer with this again next year, I'd probably choose the morning sessions (competition flights--for accuracy, not speed), since the wind is usually very gentle then and all the pilots get to fly.  Downside: have to be there at 5:30am.  So I chose the "glow" this year, and got to do it twice.

One balloon did make it in the air that second night, but he was definitely pushing it on the "sunset" thing.

On the first night I was there, once we got our balloon set up, the pilot invited me to get in the basket with him to give it more weight on the ground.  The basket was pretty small, and was crowded with three 15-gallon propane tanks, so you could only fit three people at most.  We had our other two crew members holding it on the sides.  After a bit, I told him if he let it go a few feet in the air, I could cross it off my bucket list.  He obliged.  Which means . . .

✔ 7. Ride in a hot air balloon

Check!  Okay, so it wasn't what I was expecting, but I can say that I went on a "tethered ride" and got about 6 feet in the air!  We went slightly over the heads of the crew members on the outside of the basket.  It was a pretty cool minute of my life, and now I really do want to go on a full-out balloon ride in the sky.

The second night, the wind was pretty rough, and our basket was definitely tipping back and forth with us in it.  Here's a video I took on my camera while inside the basket on the ground.

Yeah, we started tipping as I said the word "balloon."  Oh, and pardon my obnoxious laugh.

B and me in the basket with the pilot lighting it up behind us
It was really beautiful to see all the balloons lit up.  I actually never got to see ours lit up since I spent almost my whole time in the basket, but it probably looks like their logo.  One thing I learned is that almost all balloons have trading cards, so if you're ever at a festival with tethered balloons, go up to the pilots and ask for a card!

Have you ever been up in a hot air balloon?  Do you think my "tethered ride" should count?

16 June 2011

a true entertainer: billy joel

Link up with Goodnight Moon!
Does anyone else think Billy Joel was a total musical genius?  Umm, I do.  (Not the biggest fan of his personal life, but this is about his music.  Learn the difference.)  I really didn't even know his music very well until I got my mom all his greatest hits CD's a number of years ago.  I somehow ended up with at least one of them in my constant possession, and I love listening to it.  I am always in awe of how he can really tell a story with the song and bring out very honest emotions.  I'll admit I've cried listening to "Piano Man."  On more than one occasion.

But what got me thinking about Billy Joel lately was hearing Bruno Mars sing about throwing his "hand in his pants" in "The Lazy Song,"* which has apparently been playing on loop at the radio stations around here.  No matter what time of day, when I hear that lyric, I will always think of this Billy Joel song:

It's definitely one of my favorites.  I also can never help but laugh when he sings the line, "But if I go cold I won't get sold; I'll get put in the back in the discount rack, like another can of beans" because a few years ago B bought a Billy Joel cassette tape for 50¢ at a thrift shop (yes, he still has a car that plays cassette tapes).  Now, I don't think Billy has really gone cold, but that format certainly has.  And I didn't see any cans of beans around.

*If you haven't seen the video for this one, please click on that link and be ready to laugh.

13 June 2011

miscellany monday

So I did Music Mondays for a while, but then there became a major blog-hop on Thursdays dealing with music, and I started feeling sheepish linking up my Monday posts on Thursdays. And then I got pretty quiet here for a while, so here's what I'm doing today.
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Yep, a link-up for complete randomness of thoughts.  I think that will work for me today, as I can't think of anything coherent.

1.  I lost my glasses at some point when we were traveling over Christmastime.  It's not a huge deal, since they're for distance and just help me drive a bit better (no stipulations on my license).  But B had been bugging me to go to the optometrist and get some new ones though, so I finally went last week.  I went to the Naval Hospital here, and the guy I had was great!  I even told him that I plan to order my glasses online, and he knew of the sites and had nothing bad to say.  He even gave me my pd length.  Maybe I'll even get some prescription sunglasses (never had those before!) if these turn out well.  If not, hey it was only $30.  The pair I lost set me back at least $150.

2. I really want some visitors down here.  I think I've gotten a bit lonely, or at least want a familiar face.  I've also been trying to think of places for us to take weekend trips and am drawing blanks (we've already done New Orleans).  At one point, we had wanted to go camping, but now it just feels to hot and sticky to want to spend all night outside.  I guess we could just go to Destin or Tallahassee.

3.  Adding to my list of picky foods, rosemary just got the official ban.  I made pork chops the other day using this recipe from WikiHow.  Great recipe, but the only major herb was rosemary (dried), and I hated it.  I thought this day might come, since the only time I used it fresh (3 years ago!) it made my nose run in the middle of July, and the smell of the foccacia bread I was making made me gag.  I think I can still add it to things with other spices (like chicken with thyme and oregano and such).  I don't understand my palate sometimes.  Does anyone have an herb suggestion to go with pork chops?

4.  I don't usually talk about B's job, but I just want to mention the difference between "duty" here at this shore command versus back on the sub.  He stood duty every 3-4 days on the sub, and with that he had to get there super-early and then stay overnight.  For most of his sea tour, we weren't married, so I just did my own thing those nights.  Here, his duty lasts an entire week and involves him carrying a Blackberry around and coming home as usual every night.  Oh, and he has to check the locks in the building, too.  It's still pretty ridiculous though, as he ends up having to "play detective" more often than not for issues that have little to do with his actual command.  He calls this "an HR job," and for that industry, the idea of duty is definitely an odd one.  He only has duty a few times a year though, and he's still getting sub pay every month, so no complaints from me. 

5.  Facebook games have been sucking all of my time lately.  I had already been playing Family Feud and The Price Is Right on there, but in the last week I have added Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, and Rummikub.  I was even able to play Rummikub against my mom in live-time.  Technology is awesome.  And I'm so good at Jeopardy! that I haven't even needed my friends' help yet.

06 June 2011

birthday recap

I had a wonderful birthday week! Someone told me it's okay to have a whole birthday month, but I think that's a bit excessive when you're born on the 1st.

Anyway, on my actual birthday, I got lots of awesome phone calls, emails, facebook messages, etc.  And while I was on the phone with my dad, I got a knock on my door.

An Edible Arrangement from my in-laws!
 I've given these to people before, but I've actually never even seen one in person.  I was ecstatic!  B came home and brought me a "balloon on a stick," so we added it in there.

Then we immediately moved it to the fridge because of the Florida heat.
For my birthday night, I wanted to go do Trivia Night at Mellow Mushroom once again.  The first time we went to this, we came in third place!  And it had been downhill since then.  But somehow last week we pulled out second place!!  This is awesome because coming in first or second is actually on my 101 List.  They also gave me a free dessert, so I was a very happy camper.
Our 2nd-place prize: $25 gift card to come back!
On Friday night, I had a party.  Or, well, a "get-together."  We don't actually know a lot of people here, and apparently my birthday falls at a really inconvenient time or something, so we had 5 guests (and a baby).  It was a "Hurricane Party"--I bought some hurricane mix and some rum, and we mixed up some frozen hurricanes!  It kinda just tastes like red Kool-Aid, if you're wondering.  I also made some cupcakes and B put a candle in one.
I find it really awkward to be sung to, so I did a little dance along with it.
I also got some birthday goodies in the mail from my family.  The card made me laugh because of how my 7-year-old nephew signed his super-long name:
Also, it looks like my Dad signed as "Nad" -- my whole family has pretty terrible penmanship

All in all, I'd say that 27 is starting off on the right foot.

03 June 2011

find me elsewhere

Today, you can find a post by me over at New Girl on Post.  It's all about being prepared for an emergency, and it's quite timely for where we live since hurricane season just officially started on Wednesday.  This was my first time ever guest-posting, so I hope I did alright.  Thanks to Melissa for the opportunity.  And if you came over here from her site, welcome!  I promise I know how to use paragraph breaks . . .

 . . . See?  For some reason, they didn't translate well over on her site.

01 June 2011

twenty seven

Yup, today is my 27th birthday.
The day is known better in these parts as the "official start of hurricane season."  And also when your rent is probably due.

Maybe I'm weird, but I thought 26 was a "dumb age."  I know it's just a number, but nobody is impressed when you say you are 26.  Characters in books and movies are never 26 years old.  I read a lot of chick-lit novels, and I think the characters are usually 27-29.  So I'm excited that I won't be a "dumb age" again until probably 32.  However, I know I look young, and I don't think I ever will be a "sophisticated woman."  (Is 27 the age where you officially become a woman?  If so, yikes!)

I know a lot of people like to reflect on where they thought they would be by xx age.  I hear 24-year-olds whining that they thought they would be married and/or have kids by now, and I hear 42-year-olds wondering what happened to their career goals.  I actually never had a real "plan" for myself.  My big goal was to go to college, graduate, get a job.  (For being a straight-A student, you'd think I would have had loftier ambitions, right?)  Well, I did all of those things.  Although my job never turned into a career (or even something I remotely enjoyed), but I'm not sure if that was in the cards anyway.

I think a lot of plans we set for ourselves are based on what our parents did.  My parents are an anomaly.  They didn't meet until their 30's.  Neither had been married before.  Mom was a true pioneer for women, working her butt off in her 20's to put herself through college and then working even harder to break through barriers and glass ceilings in a man's field (accounting/bank examining).   For me, getting married at age 25 was sort of weird (even though it's right around the average age for a bride in America) because it pre-dated my mom by 9 years.  At one point in my youth, I might have told you I didn't think I'd ever get married or have kids.  I was always an oddball anyway.  So, I can't really say much about what I thought I would be by the time I was 27 because, in all honesty, I never gave it much thought.

But I can say that I like myself.  I don't think I got married too early.  I don't think I'll be having children too early or too late.  It sorta bothers me that I haven't really figured out what I want actually do for a paycheck, but if I'm just a wife and mother, I'll be happy with that.  (A happy family is a very nice paycheck.)  I'm self-assured and comfortable in my own skin.  I have a wonderful husband who supports me in many ways.  I'm happy with the knowledge and skills I have, but I also am aware of all that I don't know.  I have few regrets, and even without big plans and ambitions, I think my life has turned out pretty darn well.  And it's only getting better!