Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom. - Theodore Isaac Rubin

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Road Trip!

Who wants to make a road trip to Canada?

These pictures are from Butchart Gardens, Canada.

I have to have some purple trees!

What beautiful colors!

So serene :) It'd be hard to feel stressed out here!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Week of Positive Blogging

I was invited (mass invitation, I'm not that special :) ) to participate in a week of positive blogging. Since this was this idea behind Rainbows and Butterflies, I have to participate. Here are the details if anyone else cares to join in.

"The purpose is to show the world that good things are happening all around us even while bad things are happening. There is also the idea that each of us has a role on this earth, and each of can do something to change the world. Pictures, videos, etc. that help tell a story are good. You have complete freedom to write about what you like."

I joined through Hochmah and Musar. If you decide to do this, let him know on that blog. He will post links of everyone participating.

There is a logo there to use on your blog for that week (pictured above).

Here are the themes for each day that week. You do not have to do every topic if you don't want to or don't have time.

Nov. 4th 2007 (Sunday) Post with discussions of your positive memories, writings, thoughts, and images that you have come across in your life. It could be a place, it could be a photo, it could be a film, it could be anything.

Nov. 5th 2007 (Monday) Posts about a person who inspired you to excel in life or who actually saved your life.

Nov. 6th 2007 (Tuesday) Post about some good news that has taken place in your city, community, etc. that has happened in the last 3 months?

Nov. 7th 2007 (Wednesday) If you had 3 months with which to spend $ 30 Million in order to change the world what would you do?

Nov. 8th 2007 (Thursday) Discuss a time in your life when you helped someone or saved someone's life.

Nov. 9th 2007 (Friday) Before you take your last breath in life, what words of wisdom would you want to impart to the next generation.

Nov. 10th 2007 (Saturday) After blogging about positive things for a week, what affect has it had on you and your life? What blogs that took part did you find the most inspiring? What do you plan to do to inspire the world going forward?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I have FOF

Fear of Flying...

I've never had a phobia that just freaked me out by thinking about it like many people do. Until now - I've never flown before. My boyfriend and I have always said we will take a train and do a cruise for our honeymoon because he is pretty nervous, too. For a Christmas present, his grandparents are booking us a hotel in Florida and the whole family is flying. Yikes. I suggested driving but even the boyfriend overruled me on that, surprisingly. It would take 2 full days of our vacation just being in a car. I have never been so afraid in my life! The vacation isn't until March but when I think about it, I get so nervous.

I always hear planes are safer than cars. But... if your plane goes down your chances of survival are oh... ZERO. In a car you might get banged up, but you're much more likely to live (especially if you drive as slow and cautiously as me).

I also always hear about small ones crashing. Guess what we are on... a small one.

Then I worry about terrorism. I know it's been a long time but I will be profiling people wondering if they're terrorists or not.

I think it was an Alanis Morrisette song (sp?) that said: He waited his whole damn life to take that flight, and as the plane crashed down, he thought, "Well isn't this nice?"

That is my luck, the odds of bad things are tiny, unless I'm involved.

Is anyone else afraid to fly? Does anyone have any advice to calm my fears?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Growing Panda

I got these pictures in an e-mail of a baby panda growing and had to share. They are adorable!

And the full grown ones are cute, too :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Unhappily Hypocritical

So I was very excited to wear my new "Mean People Wear Fur" shirt today. My first "statement." But, as I was putting on my jeans that are now way too big now that I've lost seven pounds since starting this vegetarian diet ( appro. 3 weeks ago), I reached for a belt.

Genuine Leather - Damn! I only have one belt but it's leather. So, I decided to sag today. I ended up rolling down the top :). Then I grab for my White Sox bracelet and what do you know?

Genuine Leather, again! What the!? So I take that off, too.

I go to put shoes on. Every pair of probably seven or eight are all leather.

Then I grab my purse and I'm out the door. But, wait a minute? Is that leather, too? Not sure - it doesn't brag about it anywhere on the purse so I will assume it is imitation, but it is Liz Claiborne so it's highly likely that it is also leather.

I have been paying extra money for leather all my life.. and why? I have got myself into a lot of work now. I have to find animal friendly belts, shoes, and accessories. Does anyone know of any good online stores? What are your favorites? I found a couple but they were both very limited in selection. I will have to put this lovely shirt away until I get rid of my leather... don't want to be a hypocrit and everyone who reads it will probably be looking for other animal products on me. And yes.. my car has leather seats, too :( .

I know it is virtually impossible to avoid all animal products, but doing so when you can is also helping! I'm not going to throw away any of my leather things - that would be pointless since the animal has already died for them. In the future, though I will make sure not to buy more.

A surprising person has joined the PETA fur campaign, see for yourself:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Desktop Tagging

I have been tagged! (which means I'm supposed to show you my desktop?)

I was tagged by
sleeping beauty.
Here is my exciting desktop - showing support of the ASPCA with neatly arranged icons that don't overlap the cute kitten :).

Now I am supposed to tag four more people back. So if your name is on here and you come to my page, you have to post your desktop, too. Well you don't HAVE to, but I want you to :) .

Guitar Keaven

If you do it make sure you comment me so I know to check our ur page and see what it is!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ellen DeGeneres

I just wanted to write something to show my support for Ellen DeGeneres. I have always loved her show and she seems like a great, caring person. She's actually an animal lover and has won a Founder's Award from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). If you look at her website, she has ads for HomeAgain, which keeps you from losing your pet as well as promotions for Susan G. Komen.

She is in trouble with a dog rescue agency called "Mutts for Moms." She adopted a dog from their agency and apparently spent over $3,000 to train the dog to get along with her cats. It was unsuccessful though so she did what most people would think is a good thing, she found it another good home. After giving it to her hairdresser, the agency found out and repossessed the dog from her home like a car. I guess the hairdresser had two kids that were attached to it and now

Ellen feels guilty for causing them that pain. She had a huge display of tears on her TV show to give the dog back. I feel so bad for her and the family that lost the dog.

Do you think they should give the dog back to the family, given it's deemed a safe home for the dog? Or should it just go by the rules? It would be better for the dog to be in a home with a nice family than locked up at the rescue organization, so why not give the hairdresser a chance to adopt it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

We all seem to know someone who has been affected by breast cancer. If you've ever participated in Race for the Cure, you've seen hundreds of people racing in memory of someone they've lost to the disease. It is a horrible thing that affects many women and sometimes even men, too. Remember to always do monthly exams and get mammograms once recommended by your doctor. It is important to remember them, even if you're still young because cases have even been reported in teenagers. Remind family members and those you want to be around for a long time to do them, too. They should be done at the same time every month.

Anybody can get the disease but here are things that increase your risk for breast cancer :

  • Smoking

  • Drinking

  • Family history

  • Poor diet and obesity

  • Being 55 or older

  • Race- white women have the highest risk, then African Americans, then Asians, Hispanics, and Indians.

  • Starting menstruation before twelve also has a correlation, but I would think that would also be a link towards obesity, too.

  • Not having children before age 30
  • Breast feeding slightly lowers the risk, since it decreases the number of periods a woman has.

  • Walking 2 hours per week reduces the risk approximately 18%.
Clicks add up to them giving away free mammograms. You may also register and get a free pink ribbon pin to wear in support of those who have previously experienced or currently have breast cancer. They have informational resources as well as pink ribbon gifts and e-cards.

Another great site to support is They fund things like breast cancer research, prevention, new ways of detection, and new treatments.

Has anybody had to deal with breast cancer either yourself or a loved one? Share your story.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Interspecies Love :)

I'm sure many people have heard this story - since it's on most popular Yahoo! news but I had to include it on here. A guy from Virginia found a kitten inside an old tire and took it home. It refused to drink from a bottle and the family was scared it would die. Somehow their golden retriever, hearing the cat crying from hunger, began producing milk for it. It said she thinks she is a dog now but that's excusable. Here is the picture of them:

How sweet! If only people could learn this kind of kindness for strangers... but then again if you read my other blog on that weirdo, maybe it is a good thing we don't - it'd be nice if we (safely) could though.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Beauty of Fall

I was driving the other day listening to my favorite song of all time - "Sweet Child O'Mine" by Guns 'N' Roses and admiring the scenery. I thought about how much fall depresses me because it means it's about to get really frickin cold outside but it does have it's beauty.

I can't wait to go to Tanner's Orchard, it is basically an apple orchard where you can pick your own apples, pumpkins, buy cider, pies, and all kinds of delicious seasonal items. It is my favorite part of autumn. There's also a petting zoo and all kinds of interesting stuff to do. It's easy to spend way too much money there though.

The next good thing about fall... Halloween. Last year my boyfriend and I dressed up like an 'evil' king and queen and the costumes were amazing. Too bad we fell asleep before the costume contest and missed the whole night! I'm having trouble finding anything to wear this year that isn't too whore-ish.

Well, I just wanted to post some pretty fall pictures to make myself a little more cheerful about the seasons changing. Enjoy. Share some of your own photos or your favorite part of fall if you'd like, too!

Halloween kittens

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Money-Worthy Products

I decided to make a list of products that are environment and animal-friendly. I will probably update this somewhat regularly as I find new and interesting products. If they have websites, I'll leave links so you can check them out on the web. If you have any recommendations that fit into this category, please let me know.

Bath and Body Works: They never test on animals. They are always coming out with new products that smell wonderful. This pumpkin is a nightlight that scents the room with creamy caramel. It lasts up to two months (plenty of time to keep up Halloween decorations.) There are other holiday styles and every day styles as well.

Burt's Bees: "Earth Friendly, Natural Personal Care Company." They had to convince a company to produce recycled plastic for their lip balm, which took years, and now it is widely used. They do not test on animals and produce very high quality products from natural ingredients. I Love this stuff! A great humanitarian company!

Alba Organics Skincare: Just tried the bubble bath and it is wonderful :).
My skin felt so soft and smooth. A bit pricy at $8.00/bottle but worth it.
They have a variety of products from skincare to lipbalm to hair products made from cruelty-free ingredients.

Eco Animal: Adorable products for your pets such as this treat jar that are non-toxic and earth-friendly, too. They also have biodegradable items such as litter liners. (They are part of Eco Choices, which has many divisions - not just pets.) has several sites of which the proceeds go to great charities. They have stores with clothing, gift ideas, jewelry, holiday items, and more. There are separate stores set up to help causes such as the rainforest, literacy, hunger, breast cancer, ecology, and animal rescue. I am ordering the cutest kitten calendar for next year :) . You can switch easily from one store to the other. Great site for Christmas shopping! The Rainforest Site Store

Want something more affordable? I have been using St. Ives products for years. They are made from natural ingredients and do not test on animals. You can find their products everywhere. My favorites are their 24-hour moisture lotion, their regular apricot scrub (exfoliator) for my body, and sensitive skin apricot scrub for my face. It leaves your skin soft and pretty :) . There's an even bigger selection of products online.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My 30 Day Veg-Pledge Diary

I am trying this 30 day vegetarian diet to see just how easy it is to stick to and how expensive it is. If you're curious about doing the same thing you can keep checking this "diary" to see how I am handling it. I'll post everything I eat for the first week, then just the new things I try. If I come across any fantastic veg recipes, I'll post those, too. Hope I am of some help to other aspiring vegetarians!

SECOND UPDATE: It has only been two weeks since I started this but I'm feeling like a pro. I have absorbed so much information on it and enjoy it so much, I have dedicated an additional blog to it. I am reading up on material and trying to present it in a manner convenient for and tailored to vegetarians. Anyone from experienced to beginner veg*n, please take a look!

UPDATE: Okay so I got pretty busy and haven't been able to log in what I've been eating. I have not cheated though! I haven't even found it that difficult :) . My energy level has been just as high as before. I went to Barnes 'n' Noble a few days ago to find some recipes. Two workers there I found out were also vegetarian - I think the estimate is that 7% of people are vegetarian, many for religious reasons. They recommend I read a book called "The Ethics of What We Eat" and said I'll never even think of touching meat again - maybe I'll read that this winter.

I didn't need to lose weight but I have already lost 5 pounds. That is not really what excites me though, I am excited because my stomach is completely flat! I could never do that even when I used to work out all the time.

Most importantly, I have always had stomach aches very frequently. I thought for a while it might be dairy but I noticed I would get them without cheese and milk. I figured my stomach just sucked. I HAVE NOT HAD ONE STOMACH ACHE SINCE I STARTED THIS. Could it be that I just had trouble digesting meat? I didn't want to jump to conclusions already but I just found in my reading that some people do have trouble digesting meat - a new idea to me and another reason doctors recommend people become vegetarian. I used to enjoy meat in things, ground up or cut up. I didn't really like to eat thick hamburgers or whole chicken breasts, no matter what spices or flavor - the texture was just gross to me.

I will leave the first couple of days' menus up but I don't think I'll list things specifically anymore. I also don't want to make this whole blog about vegetarianism. So if anyone wants more information than I've given, just ask. I'll be happy to share my new wisdom :) .
This diet is completely healthy and you can get all of your necessary nutrients without meat, which did surprise me - and the meat substitutes are very close to regular meat tastes.

This is good for you, the environment, world hunger, and animals! I highly recommend trying it out or even just learning more about it to see if it is for you or not. Check out the vegetarian food pyramid at the link below:

Day One

Breakfast: Hashbrowns and orange vitamin water = 2.50
Lunch: Salad Bar and apple juice = 5.00 (had every veggie imaginable but also included cheese, eggs, and sunflower seeds for protein)
All Day: 40 ounces of water
Dinner: Cheese soup and baked potato = 7.50 w/ tax and tip - usually get chicken tender wrap there - :( but I was strong.
Late Night: 1 glass of chocolate milk

Today was not so bad.. not too expensive either. I found out the cheese soup had bacon bits in it after it was brought out.. NOTE: to ask for ingredients next time.

Day Two

Breakfast: Raisin Nut Bran
Morning Snack: Apple cake - it was treat day at work.
Lunch: Healthy Choice macaroni w/broccoli and carrot medley, a pb & j sandwich, and 1/2 of a Mt.Dew - I only have a couple of those a week, they are my weakness!
Afternoon Snack: I was completely starving by five o'clock so I had some cashews
All Day: 40 oz. of water again - a daily thing so I'll stop mentioning it.
Dinner: The free dinner tonight was turkey and mashed potatoes.. so I went to the store.
My first meat-substitute: two veggie corn dogs - to my surprise they were wonderful! I had some of the mashed potatoes and a handful of jalapeno cheetos to fill me up.

Besides the late afternoon hunger, today went well, too. Every time someone finds out I'm doing this 30-day vegetarian thing, they give me a hard time... but Oh well. I can handle that. It hasn't been that difficult to get my recommended protein so far.

Day Three:

Breakfast: Quaker oatmeal-raisin breakfast cookie and a banana.
Lunch: Sugar snap peas and baby carrots with cucumber ranch dip - yummy!, Alfredo pasta - carbs don't bother me, and Calcium goldfish crackers.
Afternoon Snack: South Beach Diet cereal bar - 10 grams of protein!
Dinner: I wasn't even hungry at dinner for some reason, just had a toasted whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and milk.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Love... The Best Invention Ever

Kitten Rescue, Old Lady Rescue, and most importantly, MY RESCUE :)

After going through the worst depression of my life, I now feel better than I ever have. Yesterday I was watching my wonderful boyfriend's softball game and just felt like I came to this new realization of what life is about. The sun was beating down on me but a gentle (but dusty) breeze was blowing and I looked over at him on first base. He has this new hair-do, his first faux-hawk :), which he dyed blue for the Cubs making the playoffs and he is getting so much shit for it. He gave me the cutest smile that just said 'I freaking love you.' It made me so happy even though I knew that game would be the last day of the year that I'm not complaining how cold it is. I love how he is so fun, different, and spontaneous and I completely admire how he doesn't care what anyone thinks about him - something I am slowly learning from. I have never felt anything so powerful before.
There were several people there for me while I was going through this horrible depression. I am so lucky that he was SOOO patient with me every day. Now that I am better, our relationship is actually stronger than before I got so sad (we've been together 4 years). That is real love, for better or worse, without the marriage yet. We even made it through me going away for 2 1/2 years to college and only seeing eachother on weekends - impressive for a man, especially a man his age! So I know he is the one I will marry because I know he will be there no matter what. I would not be the person I am today without him. I used to view life as pretty much a hassle but now it feels like such a gift.
I have thoroughly analyzed life and who I am and have a wonderful 1-year plan that makes me look at my current (personal and financial) situation in a much better light. My life already was the best it had been in a long time but it just took me a while to appreciate that.
Last night, I kissed him good night and we both smiled. I turned over and watched the lightning light up the sky while he ran his fingers along my bare skin (it helps me sleep) and I fell asleep with a smile on my face. I don't remember the last time that that happened but it was a great feeling and from what I can tell a big turning point.
That is what life is about - finding someone that really is your better half.. Someone you can tell anything and never judges you. Jono - I freaking love you and we have a great life ahead of us!