My Life of What Ifs

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hello February

Wow. A week goes by so fast.  I guess that's one thing that happens when you have so many things going on at once.

Last week I actually got to dip my toes back in the advertising talent world and guess what?  I actually liked it.  Shhhh.  Don't tell anyone.

Tomorrow is February 1st, which means I am embarking on an extremely busy month.  We have different events and activities EVERY WEEKEND this month.  And it all culminates with my baby's 7th birthday on the 27th.  Sigh.

Right now we're anticipating the Snowpocalypse here in the midwest.  I'm curious to see what we actually get in snowfall.  Weather forecasters don't have the best record around here, but as usual, peeps are panicking.  There are lines at the gas stations, empty shelves at the stores.  Really?  It's Michigan.  It snows here.  Let's all relax and enjoy it if it does happen.  Because I see these weather conditions as the perfect excuse.  To slow things down.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Music Memory Monday

 I'm running low on Music Memories.  I guess it's time to open up the ole' brain and write some more.

Oh what a night

Of all the songs that stand out from our wedding reception this one takes the top prize. Don't ask me why, it wasn't our first dance, it wasn't our wedding party song, hell I don't even know if anyone requested it, but as anyone can tell you there isn't much time for the bride and groom to dance at their wedding but I danced when this song came on.

December 1963 (Oh What A Night) (Dance Version)I vividly remember hearing it start. It was fairly popular on the bar scene, in this remixed version of course, and the minute it started I knew I needed to dance. I can still see the DJ's lights flashing on the floor and there I was swinging my gown around and changing the words to fit my own scenario. Late September back in '97. Oh what a night.

It summed up the night perfectly and I can honestly say I still get goose bumps every time I hear it.

What a very special time for me, 'cause I remember what a night.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Too much fun makes us lazy

In many ways what we had today could be called a "dry run".  A rehearsal of sorts for that party I told you my husband hosts on Superbowl Sunday.  But regardless of the number of attendees (few) or amount of football watched (too much in the opinion of us girls) we had a great day with great food.  As we say, The Swann parties are the BEST parties.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Did somebody say football?

Football is big in my house.  With my husband.

He has a Superbowl gathering every year.  His dad, brother, my step-dad, and a few others all come over, play poker, eat heartily and watch the game.  My Mom and my friend Molly are usually the only other ladies here and we all sit around playing on our laptops and posting on each other's walls.

This year we are pre-Superbowling it as well.  Tomorrow means good snacks and play off games.  Plus I've entered this contest at  All you have to do is upload some pics or a video telling the world why you host the best parties and you could one of 1,000 prizes including being honored at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and $5,000!!!!!

Chances are good that we will win over here at this house, but if you feel like ruining our chances then you could enter too.  You can also vote for other entries and win daily instant prizes.  It's kind of fun to see what peeps will do for prizes.  Especially prizes associated with football.

So take a look, enter the contest, get some snacks and watch the commercials with me on Superbowl Sunday.  Because I worked in advertising for over 12 years and the commercials are the parts I don't miss.

Disclosure:  I was compensated by Collective Bias for this post.  All opinions of the contest and products involved are mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Redemption keep my covers clean

Redemption keep my covers clean, originally uploaded by 6.5st.
I have fallen for the song Only The Young by Brandon Flowers.

One of my favorite lines is Redemption keep my covers clean, tonight. So, while googling it, as I am apt to do with things I fall for, I found this photo on Flickr.

The pic is amazing and there right below are the lyrics to one of my current faves. How fun.  For me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ridin' the wave

This is me.  I could critique myself until you swore to never read this blog again.  How I wish I was a confident person.  Inside.  I can play confident on the outside, but on the inside I am usually dying.

Three months shy of 39.  Two-and-a-half years into regular therapy and I am still ridin' the wave.  The waves of ups and downs.  Days where I can run though this house and clean, then write, then blog, and by 5 I've done more then I have in the weeks before.  Then there are the days where I'm lucky if I shower.  I try to make sure no one else is affected by my waves, but sometimes they catch on.  I just hope that by laying it all out here again tonight I can put it to rest for tomorrow.  A day with so much promise, and so much to do.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Some things do change...

I admit I had a pretty definite opinion of freezer convenience foods.

After all, I worked full time in an office for over twelve years.  There are days you will not be able to get out at lunch so it was very common to see a stockpile of Lean Cuisines and the like piled high in the office freezer with names scribbled on them with a Sharpie.

But when I left my job in November of 2008, I knew I would never eat one of those things again.  I didn't have to.  I worked at home, where there are many things in the kitchen to choose from, and I don't have to label anything with a Sharpie.

But this month I am taking all 31 days to plan my direction.  I am not resolving anything, I am simply researching my options for exercise, food ideas, vitamins, and other similar topics.

Interestingly enough I was asked to try out Lean Cuisine and Skinny Cow products.  Ugh.  Really?  Sante Fe Rice and Beans?  Chicken Alfredo?  yay.

What I found when I got to the store was that the section had grown a little.  OK, a lot.  By about five freezer doors.  Comfort cuisine.  Casual cuisine.  Steams Fresh varieties.  Holy Salisbury steak!  (Which I could never eat in the frozen-microwaved form, sorry.)  I grabbed the ones that looked the tastiest and went over to the ice cream aisle.

The Skinny Cow section had not grown at all, but I found that the ice cream sandwiches, my favorite, came in about 6-8 different varieties.  I went with Cookies & Cream and called it a day.

When I prepared and ate these items later in the week I was very pleased with the quality.  The "Steams Fresh" chicken stir fry was very tasty and very filling.  So was the Chicken Alfredo.  The Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches are huge!  And, my family ate five of them before I had one!  I'm really surprised I didn't pull an empty container from the freezer.  Don't laugh, it's happened before.

As far as the Lean Cuisines I did enjoy them.  Will I stockpile them and have them for lunch everyday?  I'm sorry to say- no.  But I will keep one or two around for the days when I need to eat something before I hop on a conference call, or for when I need to eat fast, and I will try many varieties not the same two all the time.

So another learning experience for my 31 days of January.  Thanks to Rebecca for reminding me after my last post that I have a Wii Fit which can provide a great exercise option.  Duh, I can't believe I forgot that!

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Disclosure:  I was compensated by Collective Bias for this shop and post.  All thoughts and opinions of this product are mine and mine alone.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I am not a determined person

If you tell me not to do something, it makes me want to do it.  Will someone please forbid me from exercising?  Please?

I have no willpower.  No gumption.  No determination.  Could it be... gasp!  I'm lazy?

If I gave exercise the time I give Frontierville I'd be on the cover of the freakin' Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.  OK, maybe that's extreme, but if you add in the time I spend on Cityville too well then it's quite possible.

I have the time to be a very dedicated person to many things.  But I am easily distracted, and quite good at talking myself out of things.  I can't resolve.  I can't commit.  I can't declare.  It's all just a recipe for failure.

I am looking for suggestions.  I will be 40 in about 15 months.  I have ideas of how I want to turn 40 and my current shape is not it.  So, what is my problem?  Why am I so easily uninspired?  Do you have pointers for me?  I have some questions....

Should I take advantage of the free months deal at Anytime Fitness?
What is the best kind of bread to buy that my kids will still eat?
If you suspect you have developed a lactose intolerance what do you put in your coffee?
Do you drink coffee?
Do you forget to take care of yourself?
Have you let yourself go?
Are you a disciplined person?  Have you always been?

Give me tips, pointers, and whatever else you have.  I am a sponge.  A sponge who has crops to tend to.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snowy thankfulness and comfort food

Today was a great day.  In fact 2011 has been a great year, all 12 days of it.

And if you know me and my family you would realize how big of a deal it is that I make that statement.

You see, last week my husband lost his job.  Meaning the job he had.  He has another job, at the same place, but it pays much less.  All of this because of a misinterpretation of contract language.

So, he had a choice.  Take severance, collect unemployment, lose our families insurance, and pray he found another job before the insurance ran out in a month.  OR.  Bid on a job in another department with less pay and less hours.  He chose option B.

This week he is on vacation.  It's weird because he can't recall taking a vacation where we didn't have a trip planned.  So he's hanging out, with his work-at-home wife, and getting a few things done including his homework, since he is going to college and all.

Do I feel for him?  Of course I do.  Do I want to go kick some ass on his behalf?  You betcha.  But instead I just keep making jokes and telling him it's all good.  Because that is what he would do for me.

Truthfully, I do think it's all good.  I have had two major clients in the last month for my clearance business.  I am writing for three news entities.  I am getting some major opps through my blog.  Oh and I really like selling a purses, handbags, and organizational devices.  Or two, check me out.  (Book a party, you know you want to!)

So anyway, even though I can't always apply this optimism to my own personal situations, I can do it for my husband, and I do do it for my husband because after 19 years he deserves my optimism and a good pasta meal to comfort his soul. :)

So tonight was Family Italian Night.  Jayden and I did the shopping, and I made the dinner, and it was great.  Penne with meat sauce, bread sticks and salad.  Just like Olive Garden only in our house at our table, while it was very cold and snowy outside.

I'm thankful for the doors that are opening, and I know that my extremely smart husband is a step away from his degree and a dream job.  He deserves the best and I will do everything in my power, and make everything in the pasta aisle, to keep him happy and worry free.  If I can do that then I will be thankful for the snow, my opportunities, and my husband.  Caio.

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Disclosure:  I was compensated by Collective Bias for this shop.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back to Basics - Some Like it Hot

Sometimes I laugh at myself because I think the olden days must have rocked.  This from someone who makes her entire living working on a computer.

I like it when I can do things I call "traditional".  I realize that many things new and old, can be traditional.  But these are the things that seem so basic to me, and they are things I don't recall doing as a child.  Camping.  Strawberry Picking.  Canning your own hot sauce.

OK, so that's really my husband's tradition and it's something he did last summer for the first time.  People LOVE his homemade hot sauce.  We take it camping and it gets rave reviews.  We put it on the table at gatherings people love it.  And now it's almost gone.

For Christmas my Mom and Step-Dad got Cory a Ninja.  A Ninja is this super-powered blender/food processor thingy and he can't wait to pulverize some peppers in it.  I went shopping today to see if I could find some canning-bottles, if you will, so we didn't have to re-purpose old, empty bottles of Frank's for him to make his creation.  The section was less than full.  But that's OK, I found a great Ball Freezer container, so at the very least he can freeze his excess hot sauce and refill the old Frank's bottle as needed.

I think tomorrow is the the designated hot sauce making day.  He's on vacation and I'm going to vacate the house.  The last time he made this stuff I cried every time I walked in the kitchen.  But I will allow him this time, because that's just the awesome kind of wife I am.  Do you have any tissues?

More check-ins at Walmart Supercenter #4584
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Disclosure:  I was compensated my Collective Bias for this shop.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Glasses SALE! -

When was the last time you decided to buy glasses? Many people are lax on the idea because the thought of shelling out $500 for frames is simply out of the question. Fear not! With thanks to the Internet, you can buy glasses online - for less! is having a sale! Looking for designer glasses or looking to buy glasses frames that cost under $50? There are three ways to save when looking for glasses frames online:

1) Take $10 off all orders of glasses online over $100 with the code: FS10

2) Buy fashion glasses over $150 and take $15 off with the code: FS15

3) Take 15% off any order with the code: WhatIfs

Even if you’re looking for prescription sunglasses online or reading glasses online - you can save a lot! You can also win a free pair of eyeglasses from GlassesUSA! They are giving away four free pairs of glasses in January. Just try glasses online using their Try-It! Virtual Mirror and then send your choices of frames using the form provided! How easy is that?? Check out their Facebook page for more details:

Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The meaning of things

I have recurring dreams.

Not the same dream over and over, but dreams with a solid recurring theme.

A few times a month I have a dream where I am going about my day in a very ordinary fashion when across the room, outside the revolving door, or through a window I see someone who played a significant role in my past.

It's very cinematic.  I see them, I look away, I double take.  They mouth "sorry" to me with an expression of regret and then it's over.  The dream that is.  Or at least that's the last bit I usually remember.

I don't really understand it.  This person, to the best of my knowledge, is very much alive.  They really don't need to apologize to me, or maybe they do?  Or maybe I owe them the apology?   I don't know.  Is it a closure issue?  Maybe, but I thought I had that.  Unanswerable.

I also dream about the flower shop where I used to work.  I have not been back in there since I quit nine months ago.  My lack of patronage is not for any specific reason but due to the dreams I am starting to wonder if I don't have closure there for some unknown reason.  It's all very speculative.

It's dark outside.  I hate this time of year.  The minute the sun sets my mood shifts.  I know that many others are affected the same way, but still.  No matter how much caffeine I have poured into my system I shut down every day at 5 p.m.  But then, come bedtime I don't sleep well, and maybe that is why my dreams are so broken.  And cryptic. 

It's all a learning process.  Thank God for psychotherapy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The settling of the dust

It's all getting back to normal.  I have a renewed sense of direction and dedication.

Plus, I have moved my home office upstairs to the Living Room.  The Living Room is at the front of our house and aside from an upright player piano and a curio cabinet it has been a functionless room since we moved in nine years ago.

Now I have an office with sunlight.  It's much more inspiring than the space in the basement I really hoped would be my little escape for work.

In the meantime, while you're waiting for whatever, here is a video of Hubby and I making Chicken Chili with Frank's Red Hot (#FranksRedHot and our new Hamilton Beach Crock Pot. It came out great!  The recipe is below.  Holla!

My Life of What Ifs Spicy Chicken Chili

3 cans Great Northern Beans
2 cans Chicken Broth
Rotisserie Chicken
1 diced onion
1 can diced tomatoes with peppers
2/3 cup Franks Red Hot
1 clove garlic
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano

Top with tortilla Strips, sour cream and shredded cheese.  Yum.

Disclosure:  I was given this Hamilton Beach slow cooker by Collective Bias in exchange for my recipe.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.