Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Something Special Tuesday

Time for another edition of Something Special Tuesday.  Enjoy!

Something yummy:  I think these Instant Oatmeal Packets are a great idea and I hope to make these in the very near future.

Something crafty:  Find inspiration for Rosh Hashana and Sukkot crafts here.  You won't believe the creativity of this lady!

Something spiritual:  Think you can never turn your life around?  Think again.  Remember this young man's story, thanks to Aish.com for another moving article.

Something financial:  With Rosh Hashana approaching, it's a good time to take stock of your finances.  This article provides advice and inspiration.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Zumba class experience

I attended a free Zumba class yesterday and I made a few observations. For those who don't know, Zumba "fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness program that will blow you away." It looked like a party from the outside and who wouldn't want to party at the gym?

My observations:

1. Do you know why most workout pants are black? Because it's hard to find yourself in the mirror when you're in a Zumba class in black pants. I was wearing hot pink pants (the black ones were in the laundry!) so I was easy to spot, unfortunately.

2. For a good portion of the time, I wasn't exactly dancing, but I looked like I was being electrocuted.

3. I actually had to laugh out loud during several of the moves. My chest just does not move that way, nor will it ever.

4a. So during the class, I thought that it would be just GREAT to have a similar class set to Zumba-style Jewish music, you know, really upbeat, because I certainly do put in a workout at weddings, and that's in heels and dressed nicely. Surely we can have an exercise class that's with Jewish/Israeli music.

4b. Thank G-d someone had the same idea I had because we actually did a dance to Hava Nagilah Zumba-style, and let me tell you, it was awful (and I don't mean the exercising or the hot pink pants, although the pants may have had something to do with it). Listening to the music and trying to follow the steps actually made say out loud "OY VAY" unintentionally. So glad I did not take this idea and run with it.

5. My brain got a workout too as I was trying to figure out why I always had the wrong arm up (or down) or was stepping with the left (or right) leg when it should have been the opposite. I was having such a hard time following the leader and I prayed really hard that the windows looking out onto the treadmill area were really only one-way.

All in all, it was great, and my body feels like a wet noodle today. It did live up to its promise and it was a lot of fun. I have no idea how many calories I burned, but I would recommend the class if you are interested. Just leave your dignity at the door...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Having a bad day?

Having a bad today? Here's what I do:

1. Wear a bright color. You can't feel down if you're wearing something lime, fuschia, or turqoise. It instantly lifts your spirits.

2. Wear some luminescent eye shadow. You know, to make yourself look awake and happier than you really are.

3. Read something funny or listen to a joke. Make yourself laugh.

4. Pack some chocolate in your lunch.

5. Treat yourself and buy a fancy cup of coffee or yummy espesso drink. Sip it slowly and enjoy the frothiness of the milk.

6. End work emails with Have a great day!

7. At the end of your rope and can't get away from the kids? Go to the bookstore or the fancy grocery store or pet store and let the location do the entertaining for you. And feed them ice cream for snack. Ice cream solves a lot of problems.

8. Your day is not nearly as bad as the doctor who was just named in a lawsuit. No, really: I just walked to my office and overheard a doctor's phone conversation. Presto - my day instantly looked better.
9.  Count down: it's always "T minus" the days until Shabbat!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Something Special Tuesday

Wow, I can't believe it's been a whole week since my last Tuesday post and I haven't added another post.  Bummer.  Where does the time go.

Sorry this is late but here is today's edition of Something Special Tuesday:

Something yummy:  The ladies over at Gourmet Kosher Cooking have posted their best Rosh Hashana recipes.  If you are feeling daring in the epicurean sense, try one of the chefs' posted recipes.  Time to start the meal planning!

Something crafty:  I found this blog that has a bunch of activities geared towards toddlers, the age group of my children, and if you're like me, you're always looking for creative ways to occupy the kiddos.  I haven't perused the entire site yet but I like what I've seen so far.  Of course, crafts are included...

Something spiritual:  As Rosh Hashana approaches, we need to remember that it is never too late to turn towards Hashem, no matter what your background may be.  Read Rebbetzin Heller's inspiring Rosh Hashana article.

Something financial:  I wrote a post about this topic a long time ago, and it's nice to see it repeated by someone else.  Speaking of ethnic, two nights ago I made rice and beans for dinner (with leftover chicken).  I was surprised at how tasty it turned out, and it was very filling.  Not to mention an inexpensive dinner!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something Special Tuesday: 8/17

Welcome to Something Special Tuesday!

Something yummy: I stumbled onto a blog that has fantastic recipes and gorgeous photography - the best of both worlds!  I made this summer veggie soup last week and I can't wait to make more; trust me, this soup will make you love veggies. 

Something crafty: Rosh Hashana is right around the corner and I love to enhance my holidays with some sort of craft, and this centerpiece from Creative Jewish Mom doesn't seem too difficult to do.

Something spiritual: Need inspiration?  Find it in a 23-year old martyr.  May his memory be a blessing forever more. 

Something financial: For those of you who have always inspired to something greater (monetarily speaking), consider this blog I found and after about 3 months, let me know if you've followed any of the author's tips and how it's worked out for you.

Drop me a line and let me know what you think!  Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Synagogue Bake Sale!

Live in Houston?  Enjoy tasty chocolate chip cookies, mandelbread, or homemade challah?  Then please support my synagogue's bake sale by purchasing one or more of these items!  All products will be packaged beautifully and freeze great, and they are perfect as hostess gifts or as-is!  Make the upcoming holidays just a tad easier on yourself and buy some yummy delights today!  Distribution will be right before Rosh Hashana.

Click here for an online order form (which you would need to print out and submit).  Questions?  Details are on the order form.  Thanks in advance!

Friday, August 13, 2010

What is a widget?

Anyone who has been to business school - either graduate or undergraduate - has heard this line many times before:
"Lets say you own a factory that produces, oh, I don't know, it produces widgets..."

Back in the day, widgets were the stuff of imaginations in the minds of countless business professors, a handy imaginary product, the production of which was most educational to students of business.  Widgets were endlessly marketed and endlessly analyzed, and I remember sitting in class thinking, "I absolutely must look up the etymology of the word because I cannot possibly fathom where it came from."

Going online to search for the word's etymology, the all-knowing Wikipedia offers this:
The widget is a placeholder for an object, or more specifically, a mechanical or other manufactured device.

Apparently, the word goes back to 1924 and may be a derivation of the word gadget.

A Princeton University website offers synonyms for widget:
doodad, gizmo, thingamabob, whatchamacallit are my top favorites.

Nowadays, the term is used to describe a "mini application" used online, like the LIKE button on Facebook.  All of those little doodads and thingamabobs that enhance your online experience are known as widgets.

It's interesting how the word went from referring to something unspecified, to something actually very specific and technical.

I guess business school professors now need to find some other word to describe an imaginary object, and business school students will probably spend much of their time utilizing little widgets.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Something Special Tuesday

Welcome to Something Special Tuesday!

Something Special Tuesday is devoted to 4 subject areas: yummy, crafty, spiritual, and financial.  Whether or not I add more to the list is yet to be seen.  I will present to you my favorite posts from the blogosphere related to these subject areas and I hope you enjoy the posts as much as I do, and perhaps even get inspired from them.

Caveat:  since I do have a full-time job and 2 little ones under the age of 3 at home, I cannot absolutely promise that I will stick to this schedule every single week, but I will certainly try.

Of course - I would love to hear suggestions!  So here are my picks for this week:

Something yummy:  I made homemade yogurt last Thursday in my crockpot!  Yes, it can be done!  The result is a very creamy plain yogurt with a fresh, tangy taste.  I made it with 1% milk (my first attempt was with whole milk and that got rave reviews).  Now I need to make some homemade granola to go with it...

Something crafty:  Even though I moved in to my office about 6 months ago, I really haven't decorated it much (and the addition of a dry-erase white board last week got me very excited).  I saw this gorgeous mirror and I really plan on making it, especially since it looks super-easy, so even though I totally don't sew, I just love the idea of the colorful rainbow.  And it will really brighten up my office.

Something spiritual:  I get a lot of my inspiration online - there are so very, very many beautiful stories out there - and since we are now starting the month of Elul and the countdown to Rosh Hashana, when this essay landed in my inbox yesterday I knew I had to share it with everyone.

Something financial:  When it comes to saving money, I can't think of anything easier than clipping coupons.  You don't have to be all obsessive about it, and you don't need to spend a lot of time on it, and there are lots of blogs that do all of the work for you so you can just print the coupon or grocery list and go.  Those few minutes spent gathering those coupons, those several dollars saved with each trip to the grocery store, all of that can really add up.  Right now I am averaging a savings of about 30% on my grocery bill.  NOT BAD AT ALL.  This site is a great place to start for coupons and terrific deals.

Let me know what you think!  Have a great Tuesday!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Your comments please!

Since I installed Sitemeter which tracks how many people have viewed this site, I'm interested to know who is reading, but I can only guess at the data Sitemeter gives me.  You know what's the best way to know that someone is actually reading my posts?  If you post a comment.  I would so very much appreciate it if you would comment on a post, if you are so inclined.  I just want to be sure that no one out there is shy...

And I do very much appreciate all of the readership out there...I am enjoying writing the blog!


The upper limit of productivity?

Earlier this week I had another one of those days - a day when I literally had nothing to do at work.  Which is ironic, given that I have several projects in different stages that I am working on simultaneously, but it just so happened that all of the projects converged at a single point where I could go no further with them.

No further, that is, unless someone else did something first.

See, I made a to-do list for myself and noted what the next action was for each project.  Amazingly, beside each task was someone else's name along with the specific task they had to do, without which I could not do my part.

And so - I reached the upper limit of productivity.  I was extremely productive in creating my list - I have that down to a science - but ultimately I was stopped because I was at the point where I was dependent on other people.

After all of the emails and phone calls I left with those other people, there was nothing left for me to do but wait for responses.  And so, this begs the question: is one's productivity relative to the productivity of others?  At what point does one call oneself "productive"?  How is the "productive" standard set?  Is productivity a state of mind?  What if a person considers himself productive, and then meets someone else whom he deems to be more productive than he - does that negate his previous productivity?

And with that, my friends, I leave you to discuss...