Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stop Me Before I Shop Again

I am about thisclose to being a true compulsive shopper. If it weren't for the tiny scrap of self-control I manage to retain, I would be that woman on Oprah who has boxes of mail-order crap she hasn't even opened. I LOOOOOOVE me some shopping. Nothing really makes me quite as happy as buying stuff. Which I get is really shallow and pathetic. I just look at it as my little part in "stimulating the economy."

I am that target consumer that marketing groups fantasize about when they do things like set up displays by the cash register. I scan them while I'm waiting my turn to pay for my stuff and think, "Why, yes, I DO need a teeny little flashlight that clips on my car visor! How thoughtful of them to put it up here where I'd see it! And I'd certainly better snag that package of Q-Tips while I'm at it." Pathetic. And yet oddly satisfying.

My real indulgences, when I have some fun money to throw around, are definitely clothes and makeup. I'm pretty much incapable of going into a department store and coming out with some little tidbit: a great pair of trouser jeans, a new brand of mascara, or a darling little sweater for one of my daughters.

Lately, though - lately, not so much. Suddenly, we're feeling the effects of the unstable economy. Business has fallen off at my husband's law firm, and that means unpredictable salaries. Last month we missed a whole week of pay, and it hurt a hell of a lot more than I ever would have guessed. I'm reining in my indulgences and trying to plan (totally unnatural for me) my shopping trips. I'm making lists for Christmas shopping and actually sticking to them. Yeah, it's taking some of the fun out of it, but I'm trying to embrace the satisfaction of making the money go farther. It's a learning curve for me, but I'll get there.

Let's make small talk...

Get yourself a nice cup of coffee and let's hang out...
Tell me, what are you doing for Thanksgiving?
My family is going to make the 4 hour (God willing) trip down the NJ Turnpike to my little sister's house in Highland, MD.
We will be joined by middle sister and her family. All together there will be 6 adults, 8 children and 3 dogs. I'm sure a good time will be had by all and we'll all be absolutely spent on Sunday.
My Mom and Dad are spending a mellow holiday in Florida, sans grandchildren where they will spend their time playing golf and having quiet adult conversation.
I'm psyched to see my sister's but I'm torn over whether I'd rather drive 4-6 hours (depending on traffic) or do all the cooking myself. That's a toughie.
I've said enough. Now it's your turn....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hello, My name is the Chic Chauffeur, and I am a purse-aholic

If there were a self help group for women who have too many handbags, I would have to join. Actually, my dear hubs would probably stage an intervention, and force me to join.

Here's how things go... I will be shopping for something reasonable, and just make a pass through the handbag department at Nordstrom. And (please start humming the theme from Love Story here) THERE IT IS. A black handbag I have not seen before! I think to myself, sane still for a moment.. "why would I buy that purse? I have a perfectly fabulous black (insert name here...Kate Spade, Coach, Lamb, Betsy Johnson, Marc Jacobs....really, I could go on) purse at home." But it beguiles me. Perhaps a cell phone pocket that is different than the one in my stable. Whatever it is, it's got what it takes to knock the current black favorite out of rotation... Home it comes!

I must have been purse-challenged in my youth, and am going overboard now as an adult, to make up for whatever I think I missed out on in my teens.

And parting with one of my beloved bags. Ain't no way! I have tried to sell them on ebay, and actually cancelled an auction because I just couldn't go through with it. It felt as though I were auctioning off one of the kids (well, sort of.....)

So anyway, this post might brand me as shallow. To even things out: yes, we have 4 kids and a dog, and I love all of them (and the purse-anon hubs) way way way more than any material possession. But if and when I get a little pocket change, I always seem to stumble upon the MOST INCREDIBLE BAG in the world. And then, woops, there goes my willpower.

PS: Have you seen the darling Quilted Patent Leather Quincy bag at JCrew. The navy one is ON SALE!!! Sadly, I do NOT have any spare change at this time... But that purse is sweet!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cha Ching!

My poor little Collage Project. So neglected!

Hopefully we can get this thing up and running again.

If you read my other blog, Caffeine Court you have probably read that I purchased a Pug puppy for my daughters last week. Puppies are expensive little creatures. First there's the cost of buying one. (Yes, I went to a pet store, just to LOOK and I got weak.) Then there's the shots, food, grooming, boarding. You know the drill. The fact that we already have 2 dogs and a cat means we spend ALOT on our pets.

I started thinking about all the other things I could have bought with the money I spend on my animals. My daughter needs a new bedroom set. I need window treatments all over the house. My car is 5 years old. I would love some cool new clothes.

But I chose the dogs. They make us very, very happy.

How about you? What do you like to spend your extra cash on? Is it a great pair of boots? Are you a gal who loves to spruce up your house? Or do you like to take a couple of fancy vacations a year?

Let's talk "fun money."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Snap, Crackle, Pop...and I'm not talking about cereal

I am an unapologetic knuckle-cracker. It started innocently back in my piano playing days, but has evolved into a fairly obsessive personal habit. I can't stand the slight stiffness in my fingers when they need to be popped, and frankly, I think the sound is really cool and quite satisfying.

I list it under "personal talent" as well as "things I do that repulse others." I can crack (from the top-down, follow me here): my jaw, neck, elbows, wrists, fingers, back, knees, ankles, and every individual toe. So there's always that Sideshow Freak thing to fall back on if the economy continues tanking... plus it entertains the hell out of seven-year-old boys, as I found out the other day while watching my friend's son.

However, since about everyone I know (husband, BF, mother...the list goes on) is driven batshit crazy by the sound, I do try to keep it under wraps when others are around. Try being the operative word there. I limit myself to fingers and the occasional toe in public. I can see where it would be a little weird to start popping kneecaps and wrists at a cocktail soiree, but what's the odd finger joint crackle between friends?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Monday, November 10, 2008

My Nasty Habit

Oh gosh, I have a few...the most nasty to me is that I bite my nails and my cuticles when I'm stressed or bored. I used to get the nails done, primarily because it kept me from doing that, but when my mom got sick, even that didn't stop me. I got so tired of paying for a new set every couple of weeks, I just stopped. My nails and cuticles are in lousy shape and I've tried to give myself manicures, rub solar oil into my cuticles, but nothing works. I really need to do something, but just haven't gotten around to doint it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Bad Personal Habits Of The O'Kara Family.

(My family will kill me if they ever read this...)

My husband is like most guys...not as discreet about some body functions. He will burp, fart, and scratch at just about any time or place. He has promised to work on changing these behaviors and while he has shown great success, there are still times when I look for the nearest escape route.

My five year old just learned that she can do things to embarrass her parents, most especially me. Besides her love of doing the same three bad habits of her father's, she also love to dig for "nose goblins". Completely grosses me out every time I see it. I have learned that she does it even more when I ask her to stop...so I try to turn a blind eye to this behavior.

My soon-to-be one year old is just learning her bad habits. Right now, the biggest one is for her to throw herself down on the floor, kick her feet, throw her arms around, and scream hysterically if she doesn't get her way...a classic hissy-fit.

And now for me...well, I am a recovering blemish picker...but have been working really hard to over come that addiction. My secret weapon is a trusty tube of triple antibiotic ointment. Other than that nasty habit, I also unknowingly scratch my scalp...almost like I have fleas...isn't that lovely. It must be a family habit because both of my sisters also do the same thing. Wonder if this is a subconscious thing due to our huge fear of spiders and constantly feeling like they are crawling on us?

Pores and Pimples

I am a recovering pore pusher/zit popper. It's inherited. My dad is worse than I am. I know it's gross. I can't stand to see someone else popping a zit. And I would never pop someone elses. But I can't leave my own blemishes alone!

Ever since I discovered my first pimple, I obsessed over every flaw and blemish. If it looked "ready" to pop, I'd push, squeeze, and press over and over until I made some sort of progress. Many times I'd do it before the blemish was "ready enough", thus making a bad situation much worse. They'd swell and turn ghastly shades of red and purple. I probably would have half the acne I have if I would just have a hands off policy.

I try to just not inspect my pores anymore. If I see a clogged pore I just want to mess with it. Then I end up creating a pimple where none probably ever would've been.

I have learned that when it is a "deep" zit, to just LEAVE IT ALONE!! I once poked and prodded an especially deeply embedded one where my cheek meets my nose and it swelled up so much that my eye was half shut. I looked like Quasimodo for about 4 days. It was horrible.

Maybe one of these days I will be acne free and this habit will be history. Then I can worry about my occasional nail biting.

Let's try another subject!!

Do you have any nasty personal habits?  I am a hair puller.  When I'm stressed or bored I sit and twirl and pull the same piece of hair above my left ear over, and over and over.  It drives people NUTS and makes that one piece of hair look like a dry frazzled mess.

My husband is a nail biter.  CHRONIC.  His nails are really painful to look at.  I get completely stressed when I watch him do it.  I try to get him to go to a psychologist or a hypnotist to no avail.

How about you?  Nail biter?  Hair puller?  Zit picker?

What's YOUR nasty habit!!!?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I've been neglecting my baby!

I've been so bad about Collage lately.  So sorry.

Those of you who read my other blog know I've been sucked into a PTO fundraising project and I'm in WAY OVER MY HEAD!  I've been stooped over the sewing machine sewing belts to sell at a vendor night and I'm kind of freaking out!!

I'm so scared that all my time and effort will be for nothing.  I haven't even been able to play tennis, which I need desperately for my body and my sanity.

Have you ever been convinced to participate in, or head up a committee or an event that has really taken over your life?

If so, please share!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What will we talk about now?

Although it's not official. It looks like the election is over and Barack Obama will be our 44th President.

Now that this election is over-what the heck are we going to talk about?!

Hmmm. Let's see. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Ummmm.

Did you see High School Musical 3 yet?

How 'bout those Phillies?

Need some Bloggy help!!!

Okay, I am going to somehow spin this as a post about how unorganized I am ... and then I'll get to why I need the help!

I am soooo unorganized, that I can't even find my recipe books from when we moved 2 years ago. They are in one of the many unopened boxes sitting in the unfinished side of the basement I was going to organize 1 year ago. Out of sight, out of mind... I have got to get going, or my poor children will be sooo mad when they finally have to put me in the old folks home, and need to spend days sorting thru all my accumulated junk!

Here's my panic! A group of my girlfriends thought it would be great fun to form a dinner-making group. You know, you make the same dinner 8 times, and then everyone trades. Voila, you have 8 different dinners, life becomes less chaotic, and you have time to clean your basement.

Well, I have nothing. NO IDEAS! Nada! HELP! If you happen to have a favorite awesome EASY recipe that serves 5-6, and is somewhat inexpensive to make (no steak casseroles please! I have to make 8 of them...) and would like to share the recipe with cooking-challenged me, would you go to my regular blog and post it? As an example, one girl is making Mexican Beef tips (which can be served in taco shells/tortillas, over rice or in hoagie buns). I will be forever grateful, and will name one of my clean shelves in the basement in your honor!

The Chic Chauffeur

I Interrupt This Topic Of Conversation To Bring You...

a Voter Freebie in honor of Election Day.

After you perform your civic duty by voting, stop by your local Starbucks Coffee Shop and see if they are participating in the Free Tall Brewed Coffee To All Voters Promotion. (I gave them a call...You can also get a Tall Hot Tea if you are not a coffee drinker...)

So glad that I waited until Election Day to vote instead of standing in line for over 3 1/2 hours (like my husband) to participate in Early Vote. All he got was a sunburn and sore feet while I get a Free Tall Brewed Coffee!!! Guess it does pay to vote, doesn't it!

And just to let you all know out there...it only took me 10 minutes to vote! Ten minutes from the time I walked in the door to the time I stepped back out into the fresh Sunny, FL air.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I am a recovering 'Felix Freak"!! I have really backed off the NEED OF PERFECTION... it is unobtainable!! I was stressed, my kids were stressed and Dr walked on egg shells. What really hit me was the time my parent were coming here to stay for a week-to watch Bird. They came the day before to get all the needed information....all seemed to be fine. When we got back everything seemed to be great. Talked to my brother a couple of days later to find out my parents were a wreak!!!! OMG!!! "Did Bird wear them out?" No-My Mom was a nervous wreak trying to keep my house "The Way I Like It"... She drew diagrams on how I arranged the pillows on the sofa & beds. My stainless steel appliances pushed her over the edge, finger prints etc... In my defence I never expected my dear Mother to even worry about one of these things, I SWEAR! But I must of somehow displayed my freakism for perfection. I felt terrible. A couple things have happened since then. A- I had a hysterectomy(hormones were not my friends),and B- Had a "Come to Jesus Meeting" with my husband. Don't get me wrong I still like my house picked up- trying not to Stress the Small Stuff.

Sleeping With the Enemy

I originally come from the land of disorganization and ADD. Although, I thrive when I am organized which is probably why my best friend and husband are both type A. It is hard work to stay organized and I have learned a lot from them, but still have a long way to go! (please don't look in my closet or my daughters). Sometimes you just have to throw your SHIT around and have some FUN!!!!!