Friday, October 28, 2011


A guide on achieving life goals
              to become better people,
                    improve our quality of life                     and enjoy every moment to the fullest.

When? September 22, 2011

Where? Bed, Bath and Beyond

Why I wanted to do this: Below is a picture of what we have been cooking with for the last 7 years (the first and last time we bought pans) we are down to two dinky, gross saucepans. Yes, this is what we have been cooking all our meals in, and yes this is totally pathetic- something only a 21 year old bachelor could get away with. Why have we not replaced our crapola pans whose handles broke? That is seemingly easy enough....for most people but I have 2 philosophies when it comes to making purchases: 

1. I do not buy a new item until the current item has completely failed itself.
2. I only like to spend money on things that I have my heart set on and I know I will have until the day I die. To me it is pointless to spend money on things you don't want that badly and you know you will replace in the future. I would rather go without than spend a dime on something's that "EH".
(and I thought they would be MUCH more expensive) 

Cost: $79 for 5 different pans (with coupons about a $30 savings) and I have been assured that with proper usage and care they will last my lifetime, my children's lifetime and my grandchildren's.

How I paid for it: I had been saving up for a trip next summer (to the Maine Lobster Festival) but I don't think we'll be going now so I just took some from my previous fund now called the 'LIFE LIST FUND'

What I would do differently: Have bought them sooner!

Something I would recommend? For sure!

Would I do it again? Yes! And now I will keep an eye out for good deals on cast iron!

Was it life changing? Sure! When I buy something new that's nice, it just makes me feel better about myself. Not only that, we haven't been cooking all that much because of the lack of cookware so now we can start cooking better meals. I FEEL LIKE A NEW PERSON WITH MY CAST IRON PANS!

Would this make a good gift? Of course! It's something everyone uses and it's something that nobody likes spending money on....go out for drinks? or buy pans? buy new clothes or pans? 

My review of the pans: When I moved from home I didn't know any better and we bought the cheapest cookware we could find, but I had always wanted to get cast iron thinking it would be several hundred dollars I put it on the back burner. I wanted cast iron because I knew it was high quality but until last night I had no idea just how nice it really was. Based on my thorough research it seems that using cast iron cookware is like being a wine aficionado. People really take pride in their cast iron pans and have specific opinions on how to care for them and are certain that their food tastes better with C.I.  - proper maintenance includes....


*Can also be used in the oven, camping and as a weapon.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


             You can easily make the most of life by taking advantage of the talents, knowledge and special skills of those around you.


When? Well October 17th  was my mom's birthday so I thought this would be a perfect day to present it to her, but the research that was found began 6 months ago.

Where? The Internet

Why I wanted to do this? My mom said that someone in our family did a family tree of her father's side but not of her mothers.

Cost: I had looked into having it done professionally once and the cost is around $9,000- it is very expensive and rightfully so- it is VERY time consuming and surely very frustrating. That is why I myself could never commit to doing this, I have my own hobbies that others would have no interest in.

How I paid for it: Free for me! But I will somehow repay my Aunt for all the time she spent doing this, she deserves it!

What I would do differently: Well, if I ever have some extra cash...or rather a lot of extra cash then I would pay someone do dig a little deeper. My Aunt had to stop when she got to our ancestors in Germany whom we would all like to know more about-some of them have an unfortunate last name that we would like to get to the bottom of.

Something I would recommend?  I thought it would be YEARS before I would be able to cross this one off my list! I am only able to because I did not do it- I am very fortunate to have a very dedicated and talented Aunt who has devoted countless hours, days and years of her life to doing the genealogy of my family-she is my Dad's sister so obviously she spends her time working on the paternal side of my family tree. I don't even think I specifically asked her to do this for me, I think I just mentioned that one day I would like to present this to my mother on her birthday one year. If you have a family member who is interested in genealogy and has found information on your family - YOU ARE VERY LUCKY and I would recommend showering them with appreciation!

Would I do it again? Of course- until we go back to the beginning!

Was it life changing? This is such an asset to have someone in our family who has a keen interest in tracing our heritage, it not only benefits me, but I think about the fact that my daughter now has all this information and her kids will have it and so on...just as long as each generation updates it, it will be easy to keep your legacy alive.

Would it make a good gift?  A PERFECT GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING! I was so excited to be able to present this to my mom on her Birthday I think it was a lot to take in, It's something she will have to sit down and really put the pieces together from what information she had just from stories she had heard. This was a gift for my entire family now and for future generations..

My review:  My Aunt began working on this about 6 months ago spending a total of 20 hours here and there and this is what she found.....
            -she was able to go as far back as finding info on my mother's great great grandparents
            -handwritten copies of the U.S. census from 1880 and 1900
            -'newspaper' clippings from our relatives marriages and obituaries

Here is a tip on getting started on your genealogy from Roxanne:
" Tracing your family's roots can be fun yet frustrating, sporadically satisfying, intimidating and enticing and all of these things sometimes at the same time. It is nice to be able to look back at census reports and see your ancestors listed, sometimes with siblings and parents all together in one neat little list. Just go to your local library's website and see if they offer Heritage Quest. If so, all you need is your library card and number and a doorway to the past will be open to you!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weigh in Wednesdays: First Day

Well, I said I was going to do 'WEIGH IN WEDNESDAYS' and I have not yet because I wanted to do a video blog, I did video tape the initial weigh in ( so you know I'm not lying) but to do a video blog once/week is a little advanced for me-a goal for 2012-Why am I doing this? Well one of my LIFE LIST items is to REACH MY GOAL WEIGH OF 115 LBS. I have struggled with weight issues since I was 7 years old. I use 7 as a reference point since that is the earliest I remember kids teasing me. Seeing how I have 21 years of experience in weight loss and weight gain I have a lot to say, a lot of tips and a lot of motivation to literally be a 'hot mamma'. I weighed myself last week on October as a starting point for this blog but my weight loss began one year ago the day I gave birth to my daughter. So here it is....on the internet.....

OCTOBER 7 2010   WEIGHT...........................261 LBS
OCTOBER 7 2011   WEIGHT...........................198 LBS


Yea!!! Down 63 pounds and that ain't bad.  It couldn't have been any easier either, I am sure I could have lost much more weight if I had eaten better but I ate WHATEVER I wanted this whole year including a gross amount of sweets and fast food. These days are over. How did I do it? Obviously having the baby is did jump start the weight loss.

1. Breastfeed
2. Not eat carbs AFTER 5 P.M. ( last 4 months only)
3. Walk 5 miles/day ( last 4 months only)

So I will post my weight every Wednesday and discuss my diet plan and we will see what works best! I personally cannot stick with one diet for too long, a week is about my max, so there are a lot of different diets I want to try out. Wish me and join me! I will take a pic each month so hopefully in one year from now I will be able to see the transformation, and I am going to dedicate November to all things weight related...there's just too much to cover in one day/week. I think if you are in any way unhappy with your weight/appearance-then put it on YOUR LIFE LIST! The better you look, the better you will feel and the better quality of life you will have, so START TODAY-there is no reason to wait I do not cut out anything that I want to have, this will be the easiest diet you've ever been on!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


 A guide on achieving life goals
                to become better people, 
                               improve our quality of life
                                        and enjoy every moment to the fullest.


When? October 15, 2011

Why I wanted to do this-I have wanted to get a HOT STONE MASSAGE since I can remember. I have had many massages but never a HOT STONE. My back has been killing me since the day I got pregnant but it's so easy to put something like this aside when you have a baby on the way ( or already here) and there's a million things to buy for the little one. But I really couldn't take it anymore, I have wanted a massage every single day for the past 2 years and I found a place that offered HOT STONE MASSAGE so I knew it was time for this LIFE LIST item!

Cost: $59.00/60 mins

How I paid for it: Why am I telling you this??? Most people don't do the things they want because they think they cannot afford it, our lives revolve around money so of course it is a concern but it shouldn't block you from doing the things you want it should help you do the things you want in life. I am a stay at home mom, my husband makes an average salary, we have bills up the wazoo and we're trying to buy a house. Luxury items, such as massages, are not something that's in the monthly budget but for the past two months I had set aside $5 here and $10 there to do some fun things with. [sidenote: I do not put anything on credit-CREDIT IS FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY] So if there is something you've been really wanting and you don't have the money, just start with setting aside 5 bucks, you'll be amazed at how quickly it all adds up.

What I would do differently: Go on Groupon and get an amazing deal.

Something I would recommend? YES! YES! YES! A MUST FOR EVERYONE!

Would I do it again? YES! YES! YES! If I could afford I would do it everyday! The massage therapist that worked on me said my back is so screwed up I should come in twice each month for the next year, do daily stretches and spend 60 minutes/day applying heat to my upper and lower back. Realistically I'll probably be able to go a few times/year.

Was it life changing? Yes! I have been having problems with my back and my hip and the massage therapist explained why I was hurting and I have discovered the power of preventative medicine. I was also informed that my body is full of toxins ( I'm not surprised I eat like crap) and that soaking in a salt bath with help draw them out- I never knew what the heck salt scrubs were for! This is the best I have felt physically in two years! Getting that massage has improved my quality of life which extends to all areas of my life. I feel so good, I noticed I was extra patient with my family today, I am more calm, I ate better, I exercised, I stretched-over all I am in a more peaceful state.

Would this make a good gift? ABSOLUTELY! This is a terrific gift idea for any adult of any age or occupation, or more specifically if you ever want to give me gift this would be perfect. I think all of us need a good rub down  from time to time.  

My review of the establishment: Very clean, nicely decorated, smelled of aromatherapy, very calming, I was referred to as "my friend" which I loved- I'm always a sucker for being schmoozed. The rooms were nice and very private, the bed was so comfortable and the blankets I laid under were even more comfortable. On top of it the entire staff was very professional. Massage Heights was the nicest 'spa' I have been to. Also, you do have the choice between a male or female masseuse. 

My review of the masseuse: Her name is Chrissy, incidentally she is the director at Massage Heights. I thought she was professional, educated, informative, she definitely knew what she was talking about. I normally do not like to talk during a massage but we talked the entire time, it was not in a 'oh God, she won't shut up' way, I had a lot of questions and all of my problems stem from my pregnancy and carrying around my baby which of course led to talking about my little one and I am always up for that! I really liked her and although she is not regularly on the schedule I will try to book my next appointment with her.

My review of the massage: I got a HOT STONE MASSAGE, obviously there are many other types available- I also had asked for deep tissue as I had so many knots. You can request as gentle or hard as you are comfortable with. The hot stones felt so good on my back, at first I didn't even know she was using them, I thought 'wow this must be super heated lotion and feels incredible'! This was by a long shot THE BEST MASSAGE I have ever had!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

That's NOT for Me! : Become Vegan

I tried to be a vegan once in high school because my lab partner was and I wanted to see what it was like....I lasted 15 minutes and I felt lightheaded so I put the kibosh on that. I used to think vegans were nuts but after my recent encounter with food poisoning I decided to go ovo-lacto veggie for a while, except on the holidays of course. I love meat but organic meat is very expensive and I am so grossed out with the idea of preservatives and salmonella I think I'm going to just live off raisin bagels and grilled cheese sandwiches temporarily. I'm 85% serious about going veg, I could never become vegan because I like to eat food that taste good, I think this is a terrific idea for someone who is very dedicated!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Vermont is such a lovely state, I haven't really spent time there but I have driven through several times. Here is my LIST of all the things I want to do in Vermont, these are my collection of activities that I do want to do but didn't make to the LIFE LIST. I think this would be a perfect destination for families with small children or for a romantic getaway best in the fall or winter.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

That's NOT for Me! : Nudest Colony

Going to a nudest colony....can you imagine? Take some time to think about, all I have to say is 1. can you imagine having an argument with some while totally nude and 2. do they walk around passing gas? I just think if they are unruly enough to not wear clothes why bother holding in your farts? Obviously this is not something I am going to sign up to do anytime soon but it might be a good choice for some of you nuts!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I just LOVE Maine! I've been there several times, including on my honeymoon and I cannot wait to go back. I love lobster....and I don't mean just eating it- I actually have a strong interest in lobsters and have read every book about them (there aren't that many) I also have a HUGE Lobster collection so next time I go I'm taking some spending money to add to my 'Crustacean Sensation' ---that's what I call my kitchen!!!! For some reason those silly little buggers fascinate me to no end. I am super excited to tackle this list one day!


Saturday, October 1, 2011


The greatest moments are the ones that bring a smile to your face with a simple thought.


When: August 2008

Where: Patuxent United Methodist Church in Huntingtown Maryland

Why I wanted to do this: I love new experiences, I want to try everything and think it's wonderful to                    expose yourself to others way of life.

Cost: free...but you should put a few bucks in the offering.

How I paid for it:

What I would do differently: Stayed another week so I could have gone back the following Sunday! 

Something I would recommend? A MUST! FOR EVERYONE!

Would I do it again? I WILL visit this church again, hopefully many many more times.

Was it life changing? It was, I will have this incredible memory for the rest of my life, it made me not only conscientious of the way a person feels when they are the minority in a group but empathetic to their feelings. 

Would this make a good gift? Well, maybe not a gift persay but I do think this would be a wonderful experience to share with someone.

My experience at the Gospel Church:
*****A few people who have read this thought this sounded racist....relax IT IS NOT! It is simply my honest point of view and a few desperate attempts to be funny. 

I had always wanted to visit a gospel church, my friends and I would joke about crashing one of the many all black churches in downtown Pontiac Michigan. And why not, could there be a better place for young privileged white kids to hang out than the poverty stricken suburbs of Detroit?  Mind you that when I say that we were privileged I do not mean that we were heirs to the Johnson and Johnson fortune by any means but when we look at the lives of others who have nothing that’s when we realize that we really do have it all.
So this one did kind of begin as a joke, as if we were about to walk into some church and be the only white people in the room when we lived in a town and went to a high school where they’re were no black people. Well, once when I was a junior a mixed kid attended our school for a few months and then as mysteriously as he came, he was gone. Surely it was some sort of social experiment that didn’t take. So when I say that I don’t know any black people, I truly do not, this is not a choice, I just basically have never been around any. With that I said I am very serious when I say that I was out of my element when I attended the Patuxent United Methodist Church in Maryland….by myself. I was in Maryland for two weeks helping my Aunt move and I wanted to go attend church while I was there. The first Sunday I went to a church-all white people- where they criticized you and it was so quiet I am certain that every person in there could hear me breathing heavy after I arrived a little late. It seemed as if no one wanted to be there. I could find no reminiscence of happiness or joy. Within a few moments I knew that I would never in my life return to this church. The church that I chose to go to the next week was in every sense the exact polar opposite.
We were driving home one day and passed a beautifully understated church atop a hill, I said maybe I would go there. Bob piped up from the back seat that he seemed to remember someone telling him that it was primarily black attendees at the PUMC. That was it - I knew I must go-it was time. “I’ve always wanted to attend a gospel church, that’s where I shall go this Sunday” I said without batting an eyelash. And yes I did use the word “shall” for I always use formal speech when I get excited about doing something ridiculous.
It was the morning of, I wanted to make sure I got there early. After all no one wants to be tardy when they are the only white person walking in a room filled with 200 black people they’ve never met. After parting my hair down the middle and buttoning the lower button on my polo shirt I was off. No not yet, I needed something else, I know, a seashell necklace. Now I was ready for my big adventure. I pulled in, parked my car and got out. This was it, it was happening. Immediately an older African gentleman came running over to me and with a thick accent yelled something at me in a frantic tone. O crap, what did he say, am I not allowed to be here?? No crackers? I was very nervous. O, ok, I just have to back my car in because the parking lot gets so full it is too difficult to back out. So I have only been here for three minutes and I feel so stupid. Reverend Tungi must have noticed how awkward I felt and he came over and gave me a hug, my first of many. I felt a little better but now I was on my own as I walked up the cement stairs into the church. Would they be mad that I was there? Maybe no one will notice me. No they notice me, and they keep coming over and giving me things. Pens, a Bible, a Hymnal, a personal info card, a return visit to pick up my info card. It is obvious that I am the only person they are paying special attention to. I feel very strange; I have never in my life been a minority or a spectacle for that matter. Now I totally regretted wearing my polo shirt and seashell necklace. I felt a glare coming from my blondeok- just go with the flow and listen to the message, you’ll be out of there soon. And by soon I mean three hours later. Approximately the first whole hour was devoted to singing. The most beautiful singing I had ever heard. This is what angels must sound like. Their voice graced my ears with probably one hundred songs that day. Everyone and I mean every single person there had such talent-they could all be professionals.
It was everything I had hoped for; it was hot, and loud, and everyone was dancing and jumping around so fervently that I could feel the floor moving beneath my feet, people kept yelling “Praise Jesus” and sometimes they would just walk up front and begin talking- telling a whole story while everyone was singing-this was not on the program- the pastor was riled up and had to take towel breaks as he was working up quite a sweat. It was so magical. I should have been black! All the ladies have on brightly colored dresses with hats! Hats! I love hats! They were loud and happy and having the time of their lives as was I. I couldn’t stop smiling; it was such a wonderful place to be. That came to a screeching halt, it was the part I had dreaded, I knew it was coming, it was the part where they ask if there are any newcomers. I decide to say nothing. I thought maybe I could pass for someone who had been there before. They kept asking…I kept not saying anything. Isn’t it obvious there is a newcomer? I don’t think it really needs to be addressed! And I could just see it now, if I stand up surely they will hand me a microphone and force me to sing them a song. The ladies next to me patted my hand and told me to stand up “no, I’m very shy” I politely say. Will they just get over it already! Oh no, now she’s standing up…”WE GOT A NEW ONE RIGHT HERE!” she bursts out while erratically pointing at me. I was no longer white, I was now the color of a ripe tomato. “stand up child” says the pastor. I stand, everyone turns around. They are clearly waiting for me to say something. I got nothing. I KNOW! “I’m Allison, I’m from Michigan.”  I sit down definitively for that is all the information I am about to give up. Perhaps when I go back in the future, I shall have something more important to say. As if I didn’t feel self-conscious as it was, now I was even more embarrassed.
Three hours later it was over. I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t want it to end! One of the attendants brought me another pamphlet. It was always a different person bringing something to me, like if there was an alien in a restaurant everyone would want to walk by it to see how it look and smelled up close. The ladies next to me hugged me and thanked me for coming- perhaps another method to discretely get a whiff. Then the pastor walked straight towards me to shake my hand and tell me that I am welcome anytime. He then hugged me. I waited in the line to walk out the front doors like everyone else. They were all shaking the pastors’ hand. Now it was my turn…he hugged me again, that wasn’t enough I received a third hug, it was official-they didn’t mind me being there. I was on top of the world, I felt so loved and happy. I’m not gonna lie I half expected someone to invite me to a large home cooked brunch. That didn’t happen, sometimes I think that things that would happen in movies are going to happen to me…they usually do not. Once after a 3 month reprieve from work I expected to return to balloons, smiling faces and everyone singing the song from Hello Dolly when she returns to the restaurant….that didn’t happen either. They just told me what I had to do for the day. It’s always a big let down when these scenarios played out in my head do not happen in real life.
I was so taken with this church that I sent them a thank you note telling them what a magnificent house of worship they have. I truly felt the spirit of the Lord like never before there. This was in 2008 and in October 2009 my dad and step mom went to MD and went to PUMC. My dad told them that I had been there the year before and talked about it so much that they wanted to see it for themselves. Pastor Blackwell said that he remembered “Sister Allison.” Then went on to preach about how happy he was that they had reached people in Michigan.
I learned a lot that day. I now know how black people feel when they walk into a room or town with mostly white people. It was a big step going in there, I almost turned around and left before I walked in, I am so glad I braved stepping out of my box of comfort and went in. I will go to this church again, hopefully many more times in my life. Any time I go out east to visit my aunt and her boyfriend. Or if I ever get my dream job and need to move to the DC area, I think I will become a member. We shall raise our kids in this church.

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