March 23, 2011

I'm baaaaack!

I would like to thank everyone who left me a sweet comment ((Sidenote: I LOVE replying directly to the people who leave me blogger comments. Have you added your e-mail address to your blogger profile? If not, I am receiving this ---> "noreply-comment@blogger.com" for your contact info and it makes me sad that I can't reply directly to you!! CHANGE IT pretty please!!!)), tweet or e-mail over the past couple of days. I am going to reply to all of you tomorrow when I have a minute to breathe, think and formulate proper sentences (Oh, and while I'm taking a second to mention my foggy brain, I should also ask ya'll to please excuse this entire rambling-about-nothing blog post, too) 

So, we've officially been on American soil for a little over 24 hours and it feels a-mazing! Today consisted of more cleaning and unpacking (frig, can I get a break already!?!?!?!) and grabbing REAL Subway for lunch, and a large meat lovers pizza and buffalo chicken tenders for dinner with the fubby. (Oh PS - about that 40 day no white diet...I'm restarting tomorrow...Did anyone actually really believe that I would make it for forty days straight - through the end of a hockey season, team parties, girls goodbye nights out, fan parties, and airline food? Week one was a success. This past week = FAILURE!!)

I'm a crazy person and start back at work tomorrow at 10am. It was a good idea at the time when I agreed to start back 36 hours after returning home...but now I'm thinking not so much! I'll be waitressing and bartending at a yummy seafood restaurant through the summer - I've worked there for 10 years and feel very lucky and blessed that they put up with me coming and going all of the time. 

TJ and I decided that Brutus and I will stay home next season until October (mainly because I learned my lesson that European pre-season is BRUTAL), so I'll be able to work for the next six months and save some moolah for the wedding. I honestly cannot wait to be a working part of society again. Sitting around for 7 months on a mini-vacation sounded like a fabulous idea when we left in August -- but I am so ready to be back at it and have a purpose in life and schedule again.

Speaking of schedules, I've been meaning to ask everyone who blogs - How do you schedule blogging into your day? Do you allow yourself certain times, certain days? I really didn't start taking blogging seriously until December so I'm still trying to find and figure out different techniques that work for me in regards to prioritizing my time here in blog'ville. From writing, editing, networking, checking in with favorites, leaving comments, etc - What works for you?
SHARE:

March 21, 2011

My Packing Tips & Tricks

If there is one thing I've gotten really good at since flying around so much, it's scamming the airline baggage system. 

I only have experience flying with JetBlue, Southwest, Lufthansa and Swiss (so I can't speak for all airlines and I apologize in advance if you get stopped at the airport) - but not one of these airlines has ever weighed or measured my 'carry on' bags. 

(Now everyone go knock on a piece of wood before we depart for the airport tomorrow morning!) 

Our four suitcases and hockey bag are packed to the 50 pound max with clothes, shoes, and all the junk one can't carry into the aircraft, but I easily take on an extra 75 pounds of 'stuff' with me in my carry on bags. How? You might be asking yourself ... let me explain.

This may not be the prettiest  'purse' in the airport
but I could honestly care less - look at how wide it is!
I have a 13x9 glass baking dish, a large Yankee Candle, all of my makeup, cell phones, camera, wallet, and 9 books packed in here right now.
This is the appropriate dimensions for a carry on bag, but the little sucker weighs in at 48 pounds. I have more books, small but heavy items, a turkey roasting pan (this was the first time I cooked a turkey, I'm saving the thing ;) ), and three of the containers below filled with my Etsy & personal jewelry.
Yes, I am genius. (insert:: round of applause) I found these containers at WalMart in the fishing department. It's kind of ghetto, but these are fantastic for keeping my jewelry safe and separated during flight and they also served as makeshift jewelry boxes this year.
Besides cleaning, I have also spent a good amount of time this week searching all over Google to find the appropriate documentation to bring Brutus back home. Cross your fingers that I have the right information - I kept saying to myself "Why the hell isn't there one page with all of this information and documentation laid out for me?" and decided I would save a family the aggravation when searching for "traveling with a dog to Germany from the US", or "traveling with a dog to the US from Germany" by laying out the steps that we had to take to bring Brutus here...and hopefully home!* 

I honestly have found dickall about flying back to the US from Germany. We had to get three different papers filled out to come to Germany, so it's hard to believe that "The CDC does not require general certificates of health for pets for entry into the United States. However, health certificates may be required for entry into some states, or may be required by airlines for pets. You should check with officials in your state of destination and with your airline prior to your travel date." I did call and they told me to look on their website which just led me to a pissed off process. I hope that I did this right otherwise ya'll are gonna have to team together and pool funds to bail me out of jail for assaulting someone at customs for detaining poor Bruts.

To travel with a dog from the US to Germany you will need:
  • A Bilingual Vet Certificate filled out by a Federally Accredited Vet. The form can be printed here
  • A 15 digit (standard: ISO 11784 or ISO 11785) microchip
  • Proof of Rabies Vaccination
  • Proof of your dog being on a tick and echinococcus (deworming) treatment program
  • A Carbon 7001 form filled out by a Federally Accredited Vet. The vet will have this form, it cannot be printed online.
  • All of this information (Bilingual Certificate, Proof of Microchip, Proof of Rabies Vaccination, Proof of tick and deworking program, and 7001 form) must be taken to a USDA Office for an official endorsement stamp. They will send the appropriate carbon form to the German Embassy, keep a form, and give you the remainder. 
  • MAKE COPIES OF ALL FORMS If for some reason the information attached to the crate goes missing mid-flight you are basically screwed unless you have a copy of all papers on hand.
  • Put all forms in a see-through plastic folder duck taped to the dogs crate.

To travel with a dog from Germany to the US you will need:


*Please note that this is based on our personal experience flying to and from Germany and Massachusetts. Rules and regulations may be different depending on your state in the United States as well as your country in Europe or abroad.

Okay friends, our internet is being shut off today so the next time I post it'll be from the home-front! I want to thank you all for your kind words and support during my catastrophic meltdowns this year. It's funny to look back on them and laugh now - this was a scary, frustrating, exciting, fun, amazing, and memorable ride and I'm glad great friends came along with us for the ride!  Massachusetts here we come!!!!!
SHARE:

March 20, 2011

Guest Post with TJ

I don't like going for more than a couple of days without publishing a blog post, however I simply can't find the time to sit down and write. We leave on Tuesday and this place is a freaking disaster. While one would think that cleaning and packing would become easier and easier each season, being forced to sort through and pick out only the most important and essential items while still staying within a 4 suitcase/1 hockey bag/50 pound luggage restriction is simply becoming painful, difficult and stressful.

With that being said, I've decided to let TJ try his hand at this whole blogging thing. Maybe now he'll understand why I have spent countless hours at the computer this year racking my brain for different topics to write about. Plus, I am OCD about cleaning so he's actually really helping me out by publishing a post for me today :)

I hope you find him entertaining. Here ya go ladies and gents:


Was ist Los! Like Kym said the place is a complete disaster...that's why I am taking some time on the computer to try out my first blog post. I can't tell you how excited I have been for this moment to come. There is so much I could talk about I don't know where to begin. Let's talk about our time here in Germany. We have had our ups and downs but I think overall it has been very enjoyable. The language barrier was hard at the beginning but I am basically fluent in Deutsch now. We would have liked to have seen more while we were here but we didn't have a vehicle for the first three months...because we don't know how to drive stick! haha

Ok lets talk about hockey since that is what brought us to Germany. This season for me was a train ride. It was a very different style than what I was used to playing so it took a month or two to get settled in. Hannover was a great city for us to begin our European journey, the fans were very supportive even though our team underachieved this year. I could talk about this for days but I don't want to get into specific detail :) Im looking forward to the offseason to see my family and friends, and also to work on my golf swing. The one downfall of playing in Europe is not seeing your family for 7 to 8 months. The good thing is we had an early exit and I will get to see plenty of them this summer!

I want to thank all of you for taking the time out of your day to read my first ever blog post...and maybe last!

TJ


PS from Kym - He is absolutely lying about being fluent in Deutsch. thatisallbye!
SHARE:

March 15, 2011

Warning: This is a bottle of wine typing.

I'm not sure if it's the vino, the handful of "Are we really going home?" phone calls that have been placed and received today, watching Texa's husbands win on the Liveticker tonight (yes, I was creeping you Linds - wooohooo!), or the fact that 85% of our apartment is empty....but tonight I'm sad. 

I'd be lying if I said I haven't been doing little leprechaun bell kicks for the past couple of days, but I'm honestly not ready for the season to be over yet and I don't want to part ways with great friends. I guess we were blessed this year and maybe I took it all for granted - TJ has three college roommates and one teammate from last year playing here, and I've developed beautiful friendships with a couple of the girls - I feel like I've known them for 17 years rather than 7 months. When you're 5,000 miles from home these people become your family and it's going to be very difficult for me to say goodbye to them. All of our contracts and futures are up in the air right now, so I'm not sure if there will be a "see you later"....such is (hockey) life, I guess.

I found this video on a fans Facebook page today. There are quite a few shots of TJ [he's #84, the Fox =) ]. I'm glad I found this to wrap up the season - it's a nice keepsake of TJ and our friends, and hopefully it'll give you a little glimpse of what European hockey games are like.
SHARE:

March 14, 2011

A boring post about my (hockey) life this week.

TJ's team is officially out of the playoffs and we could be back in the good old US of A as early as Saturday! When management called us this morning to see what day we preferred to fly out I jumped out of bed and did a twirling and singing happy dance in the hallway "I'm going hooooome, la la la la laaaaaa" is my song of choice - and you better believe that I threw in some totally 80s hip thrusts, too.

This time of the year is always so bittersweet for us. I am literally giddy over the fact that I get to go home and be a working part of society again, TJ is looking forward to trading in his hockey sticks for golf clubs, and Brutus can't wait to chase my moms cats and lay freely in the sunshine all day. Yes, he tells me these things. 

I don't feel like writing a sentimental post just yet because hot damn I'm ready to get on out of here, but I'm also very sad to be leaving some wonderful friends, the little guys that I'm 'Auntie' to, and the life that we've adapted to and created here in Germany.

This whole European contract signing beginning in January is new to me and I've been stressing for a couple of weeks now. We have no idea where we will be packing up and moving off to again in a few short months, but TJs agent has been shopping him around so hopefully I have exciting news to share very soon! 

This week is going to consist mainly of cleaning, packing and saying goodbyes, so I apologize in advance for the lack of posts here. I think that a few days away from the blogosphere will be good for me, though - it'll give me a chance to come back refreshed and inspired.

I hope everyone has a Happy Monday and a super productive week =)
SHARE:

March 12, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Brutus!

It's my little nuggets birthday today! I can't believe two whole years have already flown by since the cute guy entered our life. Cliché, but this truly feels like just yesterday:


To answer your question - Yes, I am obsessed with my dog.

No birthday would be complete without a Pupcake!

Pupcake Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/8 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

Icing Ingredients:
4oz cream cheese
1 tablespoon honey

Decorations:
All natural peanut butter
Crumbled dog treat

Recipe:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Lightly grease cupcake or cake pan and pour mixture in.

2. Bake for 30-40 minutes (until knife inserted in center comes out clean) Remove from oven and let cool completely.

3. In a separate bowl combine icing ingredients. Once cake is completely cooled, decorate with icing, peanut butter and crumbled dog treat.
SHARE:

March 5, 2011

This is a Saturday night Public Service Announcement:

Tumblr_l5rob5iwmk1qzi0ofo1_500_large
 }


SHARE:

What is your skincare routine?

I have most skin care basics down, but when it comes to actual product use I am one of those quick and easy kind of girls (get your minds out of the gutter people) - Every few weeks I'll run into Wal-Mart or Target (or Rossman's here in Germany) and replace my Clearasil wash and moisturizer.

In preparation for our big wedding shin dig, to cross some thing off of my 30 before 30 list and out of fear that this will be me on the left in ten years:

{}
I am ready to put on my big girl panties and delve into a big girl skin care routine. 

I have pretty decent skin - I get a couple of monthly inevitable pimples on my chin and forehead - but I (think?) I'm beginning to see some lines and discoloration developing, too. Is this possible at 25? I still pull all nighters and baked in my first tanning bed when I was a freshman in high school, so yes, it probably is.

I'm on a mission to find some type of program with a cleanser, toner, exfoliant, and a SPF day time moisturizer - maybe an under eye something or another, too. I want that glow back! I've googled and received 'information overload' so I would love some real life suggestions from my readers. What works for you? What hasn't worked in the past? What was a waste of money or is an amazing deal?  I'm partial to going the Clinique route, but I am open to any and all suggestions that you have. 

In exchange for product suggestions, I'm going to 'pay it forward' and leave some easy skin care tips that I follow for the girls out there who have no idea where to start:

WATER:
No brainer, right? But many of us, myself included, don't drink enough water throughout the day. Pure water is instead replaced with fancy coffee in the morning, soda and smoothies in the afternoon, and alcohol at night. Water is the first and foremost essential part of having radiant skin so DRINK UP!

TANNING:
'Nuff said. I'm guilty and you are too. Make an investment in yourself and purchase a moisturizer with SPF in it. I cut back on my tanning sessions over the years, but I'm also a huge believer in the necessity of getting some Vitamin D - it's just important to limit yourself. We all know that the sun is the leading cause of skin damage and melanoma even though its 90someodd million miles away, so stop to think about what kind of damage those UV lights are doing just inches away from your skin the next time you want to tan five days in a row.

NIGHT CREAM:
You know it's a huge 'no no' to sleep with your makeup on, so why wash off your face just to replace your foundation with cream? Your skin is hard at work and fully capable of regenerating itself on its own while you sleep - plus, "Regular application of night creams interferes with these essential tasks, and over time skin becomes less able to care for itself. Use of nighttime moisturizers signals the sebaceous glands to cut down on moisture production, resulting in even drier skin. Over time, skin becomes dependent on moisturizing products just to appear "normal." - Dr. Hauschka

PILLOWCASES AND BEDSHEETS:
Brutus is constantly in our bed (we're bad fur parents, I know), TJ uses my pillow for his pre-game naps, and I have my own weirdo body oils, dirt picked up from the apartment or other random things that just feast while I sleep. Clean your bedsheets in hot water at least once a week. Or be OCD like me and do it twice. Your skin will thank you.

CELL PHONES:
I clean my cell phone every day with baby wipes. It's a bacterial breeding ground. Think about the time you split between checking Facebook and texting with your fingers to then have your phone glued to the side of your face. I guarantee if you look in the little crevices around your screen and numbers you will find all kinds of makeup, dirt, and who knows what else. Yuck.
WASH CLOTHS:
I just started doing this two days ago. It's a no brainer really, so sorry if I bore you with my newfound enlightenment. Scenario: You wash all kinds of dirt, makeup and grime off of your face at night, place the wash cloth on the towel rack or end of the sink to dry, and wake up in the morning to repeat the same routine --- only this time you're reapplying all of that nasty bacteria (and then some) back onto your face. It sounds annoying, but use a new wash cloth every time you wash your face. They have cheap-o wash cloths at the dollar store, so you have no excuses!
SHARE:
MINIMAL BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig