Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sick? Feel Better with These Tips with Love

I am sick.
I have been home from work for 3 straight days, which for me is a new record.
If I had more than 7 sick days a year, this would not be a big deal, but using close to half on one bug seems a bit unwise and somehow capricious.  What new germs will come my way in March or April?  Will I make it through or have to take a pay cut?  Those are the thoughts I wrestle with when calling off, but it is also my duty to not make others sick when I'm contagious and have a fever, so here I sit, day 3, on the couch.

As I sit, I am not alone.  I could graph how many bowls, mugs, and spoons surround me.  You might be shocked that one woman would own many vessels, but I should remind you these are the tools to getting well.  They convey nutritious foods and liquids.  An anthropologist could use them as a way to estimate how long I've been cooped up (I've been watching Bones episodes).  There are 4 mugs within reach at this very moment.  Clearly, I've been down for awhile.

Typically I have a window of 3-10 hours before being really sick when I know it is coming.  This gives me time to make sure I have food (pizza and soup ingredients), liquids (orange juice and Fresca) , and most importantly Frozen Yogurt.
This bug gave insufficient warning.

The first "warning:"
I went on a date to The Gelateria, ordered a mocha, it tasted like...nothing, which is odd.

And bam!
An hour into said date my throat hurt badly, and upon getting home I was sick with chills and body aches.

It's got me to thinking, since I haven't been able to to much else but think, read, and watch (and take a stab at doing my taxes which I wouldn't recommend when feeling snotty) of creating a sickness tip sheet.

This is not a sickness prevention tip sheet, since the first 2 paragraphs have shot my credibility there, but a What to Do When You're Sick to Get Better list.  Here it is:

1.) Salt

I gargle warm salt water.  I also gag, choke, sputter, and accidentally drink some of it, but the point is I do something gross repeatedly hoping it will help.  It often does.  I don't know why.

2.) Foods

This is tricky.  When I am sick I can taste nothing, so I crave extreme flavors.  This is when I want DiGiorno pizza and Dark Chocolate anything.
But I know that these indulgences while helping give my taste buds some action, doesn't give my body any sort nutrient of fighting power.
Often I make these (due to the 3-10 hour window warning time), but only after I have stocked up on some Ben and Jerry's or Haagen Daz Frozen Yogurt.
Roasted Garlic Soup
Hot and Soup Soup

3.) Humor

I mostly watch t.v. online.  Laughter is supposed to be the best medicine, and I take that seriously.
Sure, I can watch Law and Order, but has that ever left you feeling uplifted and good or just demoralized about sin, crime, and a flawed penal justice system?
I recommend these:

On Hulu Plus:
Community / Brooklyn 99 / Perfect Couples / My Boys (if you can find it) / Ben and Kate  (if you can find it)

On Youtube:
Lizzie Bennet Diaries / Emma Approved

3b.) Learn

If you'd rather learn than laugh, watch TED talks.  Here's a linked list of the 20 most popular.

4.) Confession: I don't wash my hair

Are you my friend and wondering why I won't let you give me soup?  It's because of my dirty hair, or because of my dry-shampooed hair, which is essentially the same thing.
Maybe it's not true, but growing up when we were sick, we didn't bathe till we were in the clear.  No need to get chilly and backslide.
So. My hair is dirty and I wear hats.

I'm looking closely into these.
STORY by Modcloth
A Beautiful Mess

5.) Liquids

I drink tons of liquids.  Tea, water, hot water, Fresca, chocolate soy milk, more water etc.
Prepare yourself this means going to the bathroom a lot.  But it's worth it.  Look at all of the adorable containers I have now to store treasures!

6.) Accepting

 I guess since all my other defenses are down when I'm sick I try and uphold the one thing I can, pride.
And I am full of it.  It doesn't always show up in ways I would expect.  It's not braggadocios nor does it have tell tail swagger.  But my reluctance to let people help me (close friends and family have all reached out to bring me food, drinks, anything) is a clear marker to its presence.  I told these lovelies, them all, "No thank you. I'm fine." when truth be told, I was sitting on my couch with body aches from my toes to my fingertips crying.  But learn from me; let your guard down and accept help.  Let someone love on you.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Loving My "Ride" on the Rack and Clutch Fashion Truck

This weekend I got to try something new to me: hop on a fashion truck.
Now food trucks you know about, but a fashion truck?   

There is only one fashion truck in St. Louis, Rack + Clutch.  
I had heard about it from a friend.  We were attending a clothing swap together and she floated the idea of setting up a Rack + Clutch event.  If we had enough people, perhaps it would drive to us.  I was intrigued. 

Buying food from Food Truck Friday is one of my favorite things, provided I beat the crowd, so it would stand to reason that I would like a mobile clothing store as well.

And I did.  I loved everything about it.  From the concept to the execution to my purchases, I was impressed.  The truck drives to different locations in the city, including outside large businesses and parks to get lunch hour customers.  (As I said, impressive and helpful idea!)

The truck is owned and operated by Emily Ponath.  She started Rack + Clutch in April of 2013.    Clearly, she is a smart business woman, and she couldn't have been more friendly. 

Friendliness is likely one of her survival skills.  You'd have to be friendly in such a small space.  
When the truck had more than 5 shoppers on board (This was a party after all!) it took a little negotiating and movement planning to not bump into people or wares.  But if you came in mentally prepared, that's not a problem; it's a logistical reality.

The amount of items and the layout was ingenious.  
There was a check out area, dressing room with enough space to not run into anything, racks of clothes, and 2 display cases of jewelry.  

As it happens, that day the truck's back rack was on sale.  Everything on it was 5 dollars.  The prices are generally fair (no single item over 100 dollars) but this was rock bottom low.  
I snapped up several dresses (I had a wedding to go to in a few hours and nothing planned to wear) and tried them on.

True to form, I had a difficult time choosing which frock to get, so I purchased all of them for about 16 dollars. 

This isn't completely representative of the pricing you'll experience on the truck when you go, so don't be misled.  Mine was a right time and right place experience.  I got to grab up some Winter items to make room for Spring's collection.

I would absolutely recommend following the Rack + Clutch truck on the website's calendar, Twitter, or Facebook.

Or, if you're looking for a fun get-together with girlfriends, get 15 buddies to commit and do what we did: schedule a private event. 

It's fun to see such a bright truck parked in your driveway! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Can You Come Out and Play? Round 1

This is a new type of post to help generate some dialogue.
Every once in awhile I am going to post a picture clue of a place I've visited.
See if you can guess where it is in the comments.

The answer will be revealed in a timely fashion here: 

clue: come hungry...

Guess away! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kill Two Birds with One...Man Cat

Today is Love Your Pet Day, and so I'd like to introduce you to mine.
I've been waiting awhile before saying it outright, but I own a cat.

It's not that I don't love dogs.  I don't believe there are "only two types of people."  I simply don't have the budget to properly love on a dog.  Instead, I have a cat, and I dog sit any chance I can get.

But what is truly on my mind has been the writing process.

A friend of mine recently asked how I decide what to post on this blog and it's associated Facebook page versus my personal Facebook.

I do have some "branding standards" that I won't bore you with, particularly since they are subtle differences. But it can be a challenge generating ideas at times.
So I will be posting semi-regularly what helps me write.

Writing Tip #1

I recommend running ideas past someone you trust.
This brings us full circle.

I have trained my cat to critique my work. He pitches ideas from time to time, but I didn't find his suggestion on a piece about increased smelliness of Iams Purrfect Delights cat food to be compelling enough.  (Though he has a point.  He won't eat it; it stinks to high Heaven, and it is no longer welcome in this apartment.)

But really.  Find someone you trust to share your ideas with and can help you improve.

A Highly Related Tip #2

Also, figure out if you are the type of writer who can stand abrasive let's start from the ground up help or who needs course correction advice.
If you don't know this about  yourself yet, you need to do some digging.  Establishing what your critique tolerance is will only help preserve your friendships/ relationships and help your writing as well.
And, at least in my experience, you can build up to getting more and more truthful appraisals and feedback, if you aren't equip to do so yet.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Could Love Be Brewing? Percolating Coffee and Money Stuff

Let me tell you about my latest coffee date.

I have noticed that my posts on dating or that have titles that hint at dating perk up your interest readers, so...gotcha.  This has nothing to do with my personal life.  (Boundary maintained.) But it shows how I do attend my analytics.  

I won't be telling you a tale of love; I'm going to save you money instead.

One thing I started to try to tune into when cutting down on my gas bill was weaknesses and consumption habits.  It was a form of S.W.O.T. Analysis.  

If I have a consumption habit, it's one for stove top coffee.  That's right, I brew coffee twice a day.  I make it in my vintage mocha pot that I found at an amazing garage sale.  I think it must have been a wedding present because it hadn't been used and had the original papers with it.  It might be worth something, or it was until I used it lovingly 2 times daily, for years.

Are you wondering if I am twitching as I write this?  I'm not.  Though I did make some more coffee to accompany this post.  Yes, my doctor seems a bit concerned. 

Here is a brief timeline of how I brew coffee.  After moving apartments, I got rid of my old Mr. Coffee pot.  It was a joke, only held 3 cups of water, and just wasn't hacking it.  Mr. Coffee and I split up and now he lives in my parents' basement.
I turned my attentions at this point to my mocha pot.   Unfortunately, and likely because of the thickness of the metal, I noticed it took quite awhile to percolate.  I was paying for those therms, so, I switched over to my tea kettle and french press.  Faster, but could be improved upon.
And then, after the gas bill of December '13, I bought an electric kettle.

The box boasted a lot of positive attributes, and I can tell you, it truly does boil water faster.

And to use "faster" appropriately I conducted a very simplistic experiment.

I put 6 cups of water from the tap (which is frigid) in each kettle, turned on their respective energy sources and let them go.

The electric took just 7 minutes to bring to a full boil and blow the fuse in my kitchen!

And the metal kettle took at least 14 minutes (it still wasn't at a rolling boil) and blew no fuses!  

The lesson here?

There are several, but first: have a flashlight and know where you stored it.

Also, know where the circuit breaker box is and make sure it is not painted shut.

The second is like the first, don't use a microwave and electric kettle at the same time in the same outlet.

The third, you save therms if you use an electric kettle. 
I'm not sure how to compare gas units to electric. It likely requires one of those conversions that I never quite mastered in chemistry class.
(Correction: I have not and will not take the time to convert therms to kwh, but I could because I am smart.) 

Simply put in my head, I converted less gas to more dollars.
I still drink enough coffee to concern my physician and sustain my wit past work hours, so I can convert it to wisdom for you.

Happy Brewing! 

P.S. I am coffee dating myself, and it's going great.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Forgot Valentine's Day? Don't panic; read.

It is entirely possible to forget Valentine's Day.
Difficult, but possible.

These ideas take little time and are good the night before or morning of.

Send a dozen donuts. 
If you're local try: World's Fair Donuts or kick it up a notch with a dozen Strange Donuts.

Who needs cut flowers?  If he or she works in an office, it would be smart for you to be kind to everyone and let your significant other pay it forward.  Sharing only creates a better bond. 

Get out and listen to live music.

If you're local: Burnin' Love on Art Hill is happening from 4:30-10:30 on Valentine's Day.
If you're looking for a way to start the night or to keep things going, bundle up and head out.

Play Cupid. 

Buy a box of blank cards and stamps.  Get glitter and other materials.
And write in them.  Write to people you each love and tell them what you think and feel.  Talk about who you love and why.  
If it's possible, deliver them together.  
If it's not, mail them.

Go to a public place and watch

Watch as people in convenient stores, supermarkets, and mall grab anything red, pink, or with a heart on it in wild desperation.


Why not have a nice breakfast or brunch on Saturday together?  


Monday, February 10, 2014

With My Whole Heart. For My Whole Heart.

I want to open my closet and see possibilities.
I want to feel contentment.
I want to clothe myself in contentment.
I want to cast burdens off and down.

But when I open my closet door, I realize there are hangers I avoid and corners I avert my eyes from.
This awareness took time to realize and even more to pin words onto it.
Yet deep down, I now know the aversion stem from my "reject" clothes, the clothes I wore when being rejected or rejecting someone.

Fine clothing.
Favorite clothing.
Through no fault of their own now each piece has memories woven into the cloth.
Maybe it's imprinted because in those moments I desired to disappear into the folds, pleats, patterns, and hems. Whatever the reason, there is a remaining hurt that can't be washed or ironed out.

I might even wear the clothes still to prove that a memory can't control me.
But why require such defiance in getting dressed? Why keep such a touchstone?  Why wrap myself in it?

People, people other than myself, must also have this closeted issue.  This un-shared thought and gut response to our breakup clothes.

I've decided to cast off burdens and bless.  Why not give these and donate them to someone with a clean slate for their benefit and for mine?

Because blessing others heals.
Because giving heals.
Because giving freely opens up a world of possibilities, a world where less is more.

I will cast off my burdens to bless.
I give these clothes with my whole heart.
I give these for my whole heart.

Looking for a place to give?
I will be donating here:
image from
Opened February 1, 2014
Read about their mission, and donate.

For your whole heart and theirs.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hot Cool Yours: Simple DIY for Saving Money

It seems all to fitting that they Olympics and my heating situation could both have the same slogan.
Hot Cool Yours
Though, I think it more apt written this way:  Hot?  (No.) Cool = Your[s] (home)
This explains how my apartment feels.
At night it is downright cold.  But there are certain pockets of the space that feel hot.
Such is the condition of a place built in 1913.

One aspect of the apartment that I found appealing aesthetically were the radiators.
Beautiful to look at, and functional, but I haven't utilized these as well as I might have.

After TGBD'13 (the gas bill of December 2013), I found a tip that could help my heated pockets spread the wealth.  The radiators can get quite hot to the touch, so I wanted to increase its thermodynamic radius*.

*I made that term up.

The tip suggested using aluminum foil.  The foil, when placed dull side to the wall has the shiny side facing the radiator.  The logic goes like this, since the heat source is next to a reflective surface the heat should bounce off instead of straight into the wall.
I decided to fix the foil to each wall using Washi tape.
Washi tape is growing to be a popular way to decorate apartments, and I've been looking for a reason to use it.  Since it is adhesive but doesn't leave lasting marks that could jeopardize my security deposit it's great for apartment livers like myself.  I found my tape at Target.

It's difficult to capture, since the behind the wall space is so small, but I pre-folded the edges of the foil, measuring and tearing sheets of about 2 feet each.  I found managing tinfoil longer than that was difficult.
I don't like wrestling with tinfoil, it just crumples under pressure.
Be ready for the foil to fly up towards the radiator.  I put the Washi tape on the tinfoil to troubleshoot this.

Then I fixed Washi tape at the top and bottom.  I wanted to ensure I had enough tape to place foil behind every radiator.  But now that I have them up, I will be framing the sheets along all edges to help it look a little more polished.

Essentially the foil serves the same function as it would in an oven.  The shiny side reflects heat off in a more useful direction than the wall.  Because who needs a warm wall?  I need warm toes!

Nerd alert: The science behind this intrigues me.  I hope to place thermometers around my apartment and take readings with the foil in place and without to see if there is a difference, or if this project was just had a placebo effect on me.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


It took awhile, but I finally understand the #nofilter tag.

So much so that today I woke up thinking:

Yes, really.
That was the complete thought, a hash-tag and 2 words pressed together in a pun.

Do you ever have wake up thoughts?  

Dilemma: Barely Dating and it's Valentine's Day 5 Ideas +1

February 14th, like it or hate it, is coming.

One situation I have encountered is the "it's the first week of February and we are only 2 dates in."
It's too soon for so many of the Valentine's Day date ideas.
There is a choice to be made: ignore, avoid, or hit on a sweet but not too saccharine activity.

What are you to do?

Assuming you want to continue these dates, don't hide.

Here are five ideas that are Andrea approved.
And guess what, a guy or girl could suggest these.

1.) Check out a museum.  St. Louis has so many to offer.

2.) Bake your favorite cookies together Bake 2 different kinds so you don't have to agree and have more options.  Or if you can't bake, try Rice Krispie Treats or S'mores and fancify them.

3.) Go to a cozy coffee shop.  Order and pay for each other's favorite drink (a gift they'll really like).  Hand it off to him or her, then find a nook to talk it up.

4.) Bundle up, and go on a walk or hike.  Try Pere Marquette if you like a chance of seeing eagles.

5.) Make a list of trilogy movies and start working your way through it.

Or if you want to nail it, forget everything I just said and buy tickets to see Casablanca at Powell Symphony Hall.