The Wet Brush and Why I’m Obsessed

This Christmas I got my mom and my aunt this amazing hair brush that, originally, I didn’t expect much from. Every time I buy a product other people rave about it seems to always be a dud for me. I read some great reviews and figured I’d get it – after all it was only $9. Worst case it was another crappy hair brush to add to the collection.

For those who know me know I have super long hair now down to my hips. If you don’t know me, well now you know I have hair down to my hips. Long hair, don’t care! My hair is pin straight and knots if you look at it the wrong way. Typically I shower, let my hair air dry and then hack at it with a brush when I actually have to look decent. Brushing my hair is painful for both me and my split ends. Even growing up I always had long hair that knotted easily. Sitting on the floor while my mom brushed my hair as I cried was pretty much a nightly occurrence.

While I was back home for Christmas I figured I’d give my mom’s new brush a shot. Again, not expecting all that much I gave the brush a shot after the shower. Well color me shocked, brushing my hair was actually a pleasant experience for once. I wasn’t wincing in pain or breaking my hair. It was painless and easy on my already traumatized hair.

The brush has incredibly soft bristles and has a lot of give when brushing your hair. It also happens to come in a several different colors, patterns and sizes to match your personality. Here are my favorites:

The “squirt” brush, as they call it, is great to keep in your gym bag, car or pocketbook. They also sell the full size brush and squirt brushes in multi-packs. I HIGHLY recommend this brush to anyone, no matter your hair type. My mom has thin hair, I have long hair and my aunt has super curly hair and the brush works great for all of us. These make awesome gifts, for yourself or the ladies in your life, as they are inexpensive but awesome! Definitely gets five stars and two thumbs up from me.

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Back From My Doctor Who Hiatus

It’s been a couple of months since my last post, but it was for an incredibly important reason. I have been spending 100% of my free time binge watching all seasons of the Doctor Who reboot.

It all started when I took Josh to see the Doctor Who Christmas special in theaters. Knowing he was a diehard Whovian I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to take him to see the special on the big screen. This year’s special starred River Song, a beloved character that Whovians absolutely adore. Of course seeing that episode with River convinced me Doctor Who was awesome and that I needed to go back and watch the entire reboot series from the first episode.

Episodes are usually 45 minutes to an hour long so I knew it was going to take a long time to get through all 117 episodes. What really threw a wrench in the works was that thanks to “Friends” Netflix was going to be nixing the Doctor Who series to pay the bill for a series I can watch on 10 different channels at any given moment. But I digress. I now had one month to watch 117 episodes before Netflix took them away. Challenge accepted.

Well, it is now February 1st and I made it through 104 episodes. I failed my mission. I was able to watch seasons 1-7 in their entirety, but didn’t make it to season 8. I purchased season 9 on Amazon for Josh, so I just have to track down season 8 to get fully caught up.

In the last month I have literally neglected all of my adult responsibilities to try and watch as many episodes as I can. I finally went grocery shopping and did laundry for the first time in a month. I was literally eating, sleeping and watching Doctor Who. Public service announcement: do not neglect your house cleaning duties when living with two guys and a dog because you will regret it. I think I am going to need a little extra disinfectant. Or maybe some gasoline and a match. I’ll let you know later this week.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my friends and family around the world. Be sure to take a moment and step away from the craziness and enjoy your time with the special people in your life.

Christmas Penguins

First Step Indoor Soccer, Next Step Olympics

I’ve never been an athlete. I was a gymnast for a brief period of time and I sucked at it. I was never able to understand the over-competitive nature and the extreme thirst for winning. Everyone has their passion in life and its obvious mine was not sports of any kind. For those who fall into the competitive category, good for you.

Josh competes in an indoor soccer league to stay active and hang out with his rock gym coworkers after hours. It’s a fun thing he does on Sundays and I typically go their games on Sundays to support them. They are an awesome group who have a lot of fun together. Aside from one of the guys on the team they are not overly competitive, but will take a crappy loss to heart. But honestly, who likes to lose? No one.

I’ve watched them play for 3 or 4 seasons now and I have witnessed a lot of unpleasant exchanges among the teams. The one thing that I still cannot wrap my head around is the fact that some of these players treat these games as if their ticket to the Olympics hinges on them. At the end of the tournament the most you could possibly get is a crappy plastic trophy. I just don’t get it. And maybe it’s because I’m not an athlete. I don’t know. But it aggravates the living daylights out of me that I have to watch people try to intentionally hurt one another, talk crap, scream obscenities when their team misses a goal, throw tantrums and kick water bottles on the sidelines and refuse to shake hands at the end of the game because they lost. It is a god damn indoor sports league for crying out loud! You are not being scouted, you are not competing for money, and you are not going to get anything more than a crappy trophy. They’ve won said crappy trophy once before and I promise it’s really nothing super special. Calm down, grow up and get over it.

The teams range from kids in their 20’s to people as old as their 60’s (which I realized after the team they played last night). I’ve seen plenty of hot headed kids but I never thought I would see middle aged men get so nasty playing games. I honestly think that sometimes they are the worst. The team last night was talking some real crap and I was truly floored. I just can’t.

The number of people who display such unsportsmanlike conduct kills me. Apparently I missed last week’s game where one of the players on the other team tried to fight one of ours. Seriously? I give up on humanity. I really do. I am the first to admit I have a bad temper and would have no problem laying someone out who tried to hit me on purpose but I wouldn’t do it because I am competitive.

At the end of the day I love my boyfriend just the same whether they win or lose. No, seriously. I really do. Hard to imagine, especially with such a high stakes trophy on the line, but I love him just the same. There is absolutely a time and a place for people to be competitive. Super bowl, World Series, Olympics, World Cup. Not a freakin’ indoor soccer league, people!

Wide World of Indoor Sport Soccer League

2015 Co-ed Champions

-AB

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours. I am always thankful for my family, my friends, the amazing life I live and those that fight for my freedoms everyday. Hope you all have a great holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving Owls

-AB

10 Ways to Irritate Someone Who Actually Works Out at the Gym

This week was the start of my gym adventure. I know I said I was going to start a while back but life happened and the gym didn’t. I went Monday, Wednesday and Thursday so far this week and after three workouts all of the reasons I hate the gym  and the people there came flooding back. There are a few things in particular that people do that just irritate me to no end and I am sure there are plenty of people out there that probably feel the same way.

  1. Texting at the gymTexting on a machine. When I go after work there are about 100 people in the gym and never enough machines. If you are going to sit (or lay) there and text, browse Facebook, Snapchat, take selfies or whatever else you are doing on your phone, get off the machine and let someone else actually use it. I usually browse Facebook or text when I am on the treadmill. I am not counting reps and am actively working out. I am usually only on my phone when I am walking to warm up or cool down, but I have about 7 or 8 minutes where my hands are free. Now with my fit band I am also recording workouts, logging any food I missed and checking my stats. However, I am not occupying a machine I am not actively using.

  2. The gym is not a speed dating venue. Both genders are equally to blame for this one. I watch the women lie around on the equipment trying to catch the attention of the guys, flirting, batting the eyes and giggling. I have also been a target for many guys. There are those who need to let me know that they are happy to “spot me” if I want to use the squat rack, those who compliment the results of my leg and glute workouts (implying they enjoy the view from behind), and the people who just don’t understand that headphones mean leave me alone and try to strike up conversation that usually leads to “how about drinks?” I go to the gym to work out and meet my daily goals. If I wanted to chat or flirt (which I don’t) I’d take it outside the gym when I’m not gross and sweaty. Everyone just needs to do their own thing and focus on their workouts. If you want a date go home a swipe through Tinder.

  3. Wipe down your damn machines. I hate the gym because of all the germs I encounter. I can’t get home quick enough to shower because I just feel so nasty touching other people’s sweat. Most people are nice enough to Wipe down gym equipmentat least use the Lysol/Clorox spray after they use the machines. I always do. Then you have the people who sweat all over everything and then walk away. That’s just disgusting. People are kind enough to clean the machine for you, so the least you can do is return the favor. I don’t know if it’s just me but it always seems like the scabbiest and nastiest people are the ones who don’t wipe their sweat germs off the machine too.

  4. Follow the 30 minute circuit rules. If you are the only one there who cares, but if there are other people in the circuit, please stick to the time frames allotted for each machine. Planet Fitness has the red light, green light to help keep you on track so don’t ignore it. When you’re causing a traffic backup behind you that is a problem. If you want to do your own thing and follow your own rules please use the other machines, don’t hit the circuit and try to do things your way and ruin everyone else’s workout.

  5. Your mom is not here to pick up after you. It’s not going to kill you to re-rack your weights after you’re done. I promise. I don’t want to search for the ones I need and I don’t want to be tripping on random weights lying around under my feet. Just put them back. It’s not a hard concept.

  6. Gym not strip clubWear proper fitness attire that fits correctly. I get that some people only have what they have, but I do not want to see your nipples slipping out, flip-flops are not best for the treadmill, pool cover ups are not for working out and swimsuits cannot double as sports bras. I’ve seen all of those things and it’s not attractive and you can run the risk of hurting yourself. I am waiting for the day I see someone in formal wear doing squats, it’s bound to happen with the stupid things I see people wear at the gym. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and wear something acceptable for the gym. Don’t be like this girl become the next meme on the internet.

  7. Know what you are doing. By no means am I a gym expert, but I know how to use the machines properly. Spending 20 minutes just figuring out how to use the machine is annoying. You are unnecessarily taking up extra time on a machine someone else can be using, plus you could really hurt yourself. There are staff members and trainers available to help anyone who needs it. I’ve asked for help plenty of times and encouraged. The staff and other members will appreciate you using the machines correctly, not hurting yourself and moving on.

  8. The selfie fanatics. Great! The rest of the world couldn’t possibly get on with their days without knowing that you are getting your gym grind on. Thank you for updating us with mirror pics of you flexing. Looking good champ.

  9. Freshening up your makeup. Seriously? I can’t tell you how many girls I’ve seen put on a fresh application of lipstick or eye shadow before getting on the treadmill. Those women that are just going to the gym to pick up a man are usually the ones doing this, but every serious person here is breaking a sweat and not looking to crown the next Miss America. I once saw these two girls with so much body glitter I was convinced they just got finished giving lap dances in the back. Why? No one cares what you look like, or at least they shouldn’t.

  10. Take a quick rest, not a nap. Sometimes when the machine I want is in use I will use a different one and switch up my usual routine a bit. Usually I am keeping an eye on the machine, trying hard not to stare the person down and make them feel uncomfortable. What I often see are people who take an obnoxiously long time to rest in between sets. They just sit there and sit there and sit there. My arms are my weakest part so I tend to rest a little more frequently when working on that part of my body, but no longer than 10 seconds each time. I know there are other people waiting and I don’t want to be rude. If only everyone felt the way I do we wouldn’t have half of these problems.

If everyone could just go to the gym, worry about themselves, do what they are supposed to do and leave, the world would be a wonderful place. All I am asking for is for people to be knowledgeable and not rude. If the gym is not your thing then don’t go. It’s that simple.

-AB

Happy Veterans Day to All Those Who Served

Thank you to all those who have served our country, past and present. Your sacrifices are not forgotten and are appreciated everyday, not just on Veterans Day. These are just a few of my friends and family that have taken an oath to serve and protect our great nation. Thank you veterans!

Military Family Collage

Pictured left to right:

Dennis Patrick Reidy – United States Marine Corps, James W. Beck – United States Navy, Kathy Murphy – United States Navy, Erin (Reidy) Reardon – United States Navy, Salvatore Fink – United States Navy, Albert Fink – United States Army, Michael Patrick Murphy – United Sates Navy, Jonathan Chevalier – United States Army, Joshua Catalano – United States Army, Benjamin Laskowski – United States Navy

Confessions of a Bridal Consultant: I Make Women Cry for a Living

The best part of my job is the fact that I get paid to make women cry. No, I’m not some super sadistic bridal consultant that gets her kicks making bridals feel bad about themselves. I am the one that gets to cause the happy tears that come from finding the wedding dress of your dreams. I get to share in the tears, the hugs and the endless thank yous. This is why I do what I do. Not for the money, but for the warm feeling I get knowing I had a special part in helping them plan the happiest day of their lives. I have had every different type of bride you could imagine. I’ve had the bridezillas, the sweet brides, the vocal brides, the shy brides, the emotional brides and the emotionless brides. Each one has left their own mark on my selling experience for good or bad.

Last weekend I had a wonderful bride who came in with her mom and future mother-in-law. She was a beautiful woman who was there to find the perfect dress. We went over the things she liked and I picked a few gowns while her family and David's Bridal A line Chiffon Split Front Overlay Wedding Dressher picked a few. She had one of the best problems a girl could have. She looked amazing in everything. She had a fantastic figure and as my seamstress said, “you could put a bed sheet on the girl and she would look amazing.” Some brides are blessed and look great in everything. She was loving all of the gowns I put on her but when we got to “her” gown it was different. She came out and took a good look at herself. After she said how much she loved it and watching her body language I decided to put on the veil. After I did she took a look in the mirror and the tears started flowing. She couldn’t believe how much she loved it and how perfect it felt. We tried on the last one or two she had but nothing topped that gown. I got her back into the gown, veil and all, and she gave me the look. The “this is my gown” look. She chose a chiffon A-line dress with a split front overlay. The dress has optional beaded cap sleeves which was actually her favorite part of the dress. My favorite part is the beautiful, long beaded train. I paired it was a beautiful beaded veil that matched the bead work of her gown perfectly. (One of the best parts of it all was that I was able to get the last veil of its kind in white in the entire company. I had to call and get a special authorization code and the woman informed me that I was incredibly lucky and in five more minutes it could have been gone.) There are few things my brides do when they find their dress: 1) they call it theirs; 2) they have this incredible smile on their face; 3) they “pet” the dress; or 4) they cry. If you are lucky they will do them all, and she did. To make everything final we have a special tradition where the bride makes a wish and rings a bell when she finds her dress. When she rang the bell she cried again. The tears were streaming and the tissues were flying. It was perfect. As we were getting everything ordered and paperwork squared away, her and her family thanked me repeatedly for everything I did. I shared the news about the veil, which made them even happier. I was so happy that I was able to pull off the perfect look for her and get her everything she wanted.

Today, I had a sweet bride who was quite petite. At 5′ nothing, she was adorable. She was a bubbly girl with such a happy demeanor. She was very excited about trying on dresses again, as today was her 3rd stop in her search for the perfect gown. She originally came in with the idea that she wanted a simple, minimalist gown with a dropped waist. For petite brides, drop waist gowns can be really tough as they tend to make you look shorter. She tried a few simple drop waist gowns and David's Bridal Petite Mermaid Wedding Dress with Side Bow Accentwasn’t impressed. After she realized that what she originally wanted wasn’t going to work out, we explored a few other options. The next type of gown we tried was a gown with an empire waist, which is one of the styles that works for shorter women. She didn’t feel like the style flattered her and drew attention to the areas she was most self-conscious of. My next recommendation was a mermaid style gown. It was a hit! She fell in love with a beautiful satin mermaid dress with a sweetheart neckline, empire waist with beading, bow detail and bubble hem with a chapel train. Although the sample was not in a petite it still looked amazing on her. The best part was how amazing she felt. She was grinning ear to ear. We had 5 more dresses to try and as we put on each of them she just kept saying she liked the other one better. When you start comparing everything you put on to one particular dress, you know that’s the one. We went through everything and ended the appointment back in her favorite. We dolled her up with the veil and the tiara and she was just so excited. She kept petting it and calling it “her dress.” We rang the bell and then she spent another 15 minutes admiring herself in the gown. Her smile was amazing. Her mom and her sister loved the dress too. It was perfect. When we went back into the fitting room she gave me a big hug and thanked me.

I have shared many emotional moments with my brides and their families. Knowing I have been able to help so many women select such an important piece of their wedding really is the greatest feeling in the world. We start out a strangers and over the course of an appointment I become their confidant, their friend, their therapist and a resource for advice and ideas. My job is to make women feel beautiful and special. Who wouldn’t love a job like that?

Our store in Warwick, RI is hiring for our holiday season so if you are interested, fill out an application or let me know if you have any questions!

-AB

Why You Need Amazon Prime and How To Get A Free Trial

I have always been a huge fan of Amazon, especially during my college days where buying textbooks required you to sign away your first-born and a kidney. Anytime I buy something I check the store and then check Amazon. 9 times out of 10 I can get whatever I am looking for much cheaper.

My adopted soldiers often request items that are easier and cheaper to buy online and have mailed directly to them. This week one of my soldier’s buddies was asking for Low-carb Monster Energy Drinks. In the store they sell for around $3 per can individually. For a case of 24 at BJs the cost was about $32, but I would have to pay shipping for this via USPS which would run an extra $27 based on the package dimensions and weight. Sending a case of Monster to my soldier would run almost $60 in total if I were to ship it myself. With Amazon, I paid $35.33 and shipping was free. The other bonus was that fact that I ordered on Monday and it was delivered to Afghanistan last night. I think 4 days is pretty damn good. I know my packages usually take a couple of weeks to get over there. I will definitely use Amazon for more things like this.

I was able to receive the free shipping because I signed up for a free-trial of Amazon Prime. While I was in school I signed up for a free-trial and absolutely loved it! Amazon doesn’t just offer special deals to just college students either. Here are the perks of an Amazon Prime account:

  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items
  • Free Release-Date Delivery on video games and more
  • Unlimited photo storage with anywhere access
  • Exclusive 30-minute early access to select Lightning Deals and events on MyHabit.com
  • Instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows with Prime Video
  • Read free books each month through Kindle First and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
  • Access to over a million songs and hundreds of playlists, ad-free

Amazon Mom – especially for those with little one’s in diapers, Amazon offers a 30-day free trial plus 20% off of diapers. Parents out there know how expensive diapers can be so 20% be incredibly helpful. And no, it’s not open to just moms, but rather anyone with kids.

Amazon Student – this is where I got my first taste of Amazon Prime. Amazon student offers a 6 month free trial and then a 50% discount on the usual cost of an Amazon Prime membership if you continue after the free trial. Anyone with a .edu email address can sign up, so I did it with my grad account.

Amazon Prime Trial – this is just a regular Amazon Prime free trial opportunity for anyone to sign up. You get a 30 days free with no special perks beyond that. Honestly, it’s better than nothing. My advice is to sign up now and just do all of your holiday shopping in one shot.

There is also a new part of Amazon called Prime Pantry, which allows you to do your grocery shopping. I have started using that to avoid a trip to the store. I actually find I spend less on Amazon than in the store because I don’t get to wander the store and put the things I don’t need in the cart.

I highly recommend using Amazon to save money, especially on the things you buy anyway. Before buying something st the brick and mortar stores be sure to check Amazon first because you may be surprised how much money you can save.

-AB

Doggie Academia: Week 6 Recap – Graduation Day

So this week was the last training class. Mara did okay in the beginning but really did awesome at the end. She worked better with me yesterday than she did with Josh. We just reviewed some of the same exercises we learned in the previous classes and the trainer gave us tips on how to perform them better.

We’ve been giving Mara hot dogs for the last 3 classes, but this time the trainer broke out the Kong Aerosol treats in a can. They are meant to fill the Kong toys, but the trainer was just squirting in right into her mouth. Mara got the pepperoni flavored one, which she went nuts over. The other dog in the class got the cheese and bacon flavored one. Mara did get a taste of both and immediately perked up and started listening again knowing she was going to get better treats than the hot dogs. The trainer also gave us some peanut butter which is always a win for her.  I definitely recommend trying the Kong treats for anyone who has a dog that has a little ADD. Josh kept calling it a gateway treat. First is was the kibble, then hot dogs, then cheddar cheese, onto peanut butter and then spray treats in a can. She honestly was running around like a crack addict when she got the spray.

Our friend Pippa with the Cain and Able were there, except mom couldn’t come so dad was filling in. Since dad has never really been to the class and didn’t know what he was doing, he tried to learn quick which meant not paying attention to his rotten kids running around the place. I could see the trainer was getting really, really annoyed, which he admitted to almost throwing them out after the class was over and they left. We were trying to do the sit, stay exercise where you would get your dog into a sit and have someone else approach the dog. As soon as the dog broke the sit the person would walk away. If the person approached and the dog didn’t break until they were told they could they got pets and treats. Of course when I tried to approach Pippa, the kids kept jumping on her while she was sitting so I just stopped trying to help. On several occasions the trainer told the dad that the kids needed to sit. They sort of listened for 5 minutes and then were back to running around. I really should have recommended they go to a child training class instead of a dog class because the dog was 10 times more well behaved than the kids.

At the end of the class the trainer made his recommendations and said that all of the dogs except for one could move on to intermediate, although he said a better recommendation for Mara would be to re-do basic. He said she could handle intermediate but would struggle a bit. The one other dog that was not recommended to move on was Salty, a sweet dog that was just terrified of everything and everyone. The poor thing covered in the corner during every class, but the owners were able to take a lot away to work with him.

Spring Forth Academy  Basic Dog Manners Certificate of Completion

Mara and I got our certificate of completion and Josh joked that he wasn’t on there because he failed. The trainer said the certificates are written for the dog and the person that actually signed up (me) so that’s why his name wasn’t on there. He did tell Josh that he needs to be patient with Mara and not get so frustrated with her. Mara also got a little bag of treats which she immediately wanted to break into. I am debating on whether or not to take another class, I might just wait until it’s not a class with Cain and Able. Not sure I could handle another 6 weeks with those little brats.

My overall impression of the class

Overall I enjoyed the class. The trainer was very friendly and knowledgeable of how best to help each different type of dog personality. The facility was nice, probably a bit small for any more than 4 dogs at a time. Once one of the 5 dogs moved to private lessons it was easier to perform the exercises. They train with the aid of a clicker, which at first I didn’t like but Mara really responds well to it. Mara learned a lot and Josh and I definitely got some good takeaways that we will continue to work on with her. The cost for the 6 weeks was $160, which works out to about $26 per class. I felt that was pretty fair. I would definitely consider another class with Spring Forth Academy. Of course you never know who will be in a class so you either win or lose with the other people around you. Unfortunately that is not something anyone can really control. If any one is interested in classes with Spring Forth Academy you can check out their website here.