Thursday, June 30, 2011

Banana Bread

I eat a lot of bananas.  And I buy them in bulk.  Sometimes I have some leftovers at the end of the week.
I sometimes freeze them and I sometimes make banana bread with them.

I will admit, its not the healthiest recipe, but it tastes great, freezes well and I don't eat a ton at any one time.

So here it is:
3 bananas (over ripe so they are mushy)
2 eggs
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
1/2 cup shortening or shortening substitute
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tea spoon baking soda
1 tea spoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour

Place in loaf pan and cook at 350 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes.

I love to reheat it in the toaster over and crisp up the sides :)

One of my Favorite Things~Starbucks Tumbler

I am always on the go so sometimes eating and drinking on the run becomes a challenge.  We have all heard of and seen hot coffee travel mugs.  However, last year Starbucks came out with iced coffee travel mugs.  They are insulated so your drink stays cold.  They are dual layer walls so there is no condensation that makes it hard to hold or drips all over your clothes.

What I really love about the cups is that the straws are reusable.  Everything is dishwasher safe and can be used over and over again, making them very environmentally friendly.  Even if you recycle your regular Starbucks mugs, these washable mugs are more environmentally friendly.

You can of course have them filled at your local Starbucks, however, you can fill them at home with iced coffee, iced tea, whatever you prefer.  AND you will save a lot of money by making your own, at least once a day or so.  The cups don't cost a lot.  Just making a few beverages at home and taking them in this cup will make up for the cost of it.
The do also come in different sizes so you can be your own barista and make yourself a grande or venti, depending on your mood.

Happy sipping!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Favorite Things

My favorite things change over time and it seems as though summer is always filled with new discoveries and new "trends" in my life.  This summer, I am going to share with you a few of my favorite things.

My new Tom's shoes.  I bought them as a present for myself for big speaking engagement I booked.  I am trying not to wear flip flops to take care of my hip injury and I wasn't sure if they would be comfortable for the "long haul".  Well I've worn them for a 20 hour day walking around NYC, touring around Freeport, Maine shopping and for traveling and I love them for everything.  (Its funny someone else I know who blogs recently had these as one of her favorite things too.  I saw her post after mine were on order so it gave me hope that they were be comfy after all, and they were!)

My second favorite thing is Coffemate.  Its so silly but I'm a big iced coffee fan (which is ironic considering I don't love coffee).  However, I LOVE flavored iced coffee.  I use the Fat Free Coffee mate creamer and coffee I've made and put in the fridge.  I put it all together in a reusable Starbucks mug and I'm good to go!  And although I will always be faithful to Starbucks and need my fix from time to time, this is a MUCH cheaper option on a daily basis.

My third favorite thing right now is sushi.  Not with lots of fish, but the veggie kinds, like the cucumber roll.  I am loving it as an afternoon snack or as a quick dinner.  I may even try my hand at making it to make my newest addiction more cost effective.  My little cousin also introduced me to a spicy beef roll with a little bit of cooked beef inside.  Addictive.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Outward Hound Rain Coat Review

This is a post from my professional blog, but it has a give away so I wanted to give you all a chance to win!

Well I am officially one of those people who make my dog wear clothes.  This rain jacket has converted me.  My dog has never liked going out in the rain (or snow).  However, if she doesn’t get her hike in, she’s CRAZY for the rest of the day so I go out in any weather.
(My dog gets looney when we take out the camera so although she looks heart meltingly adorable in the jacket, I don’t have a picture of it.) Here is a pic from their website:
When the Foul Weather Rain Jacket first arrived I was amazed at how close it looked to something I would wear to be out in the elements.  I put it on my dog and let her walk around the house for a while.  She was comfortable enough that she didn’t try to get it off and she played fetch for a while in the jacket.
It was really easy to put on the off of her.  The jacket has two velcro closures and elastics that go under your dog’s legs.  I had it on her in less than one minute.
The jacket is breathable which was a big concern of mine.  After all, I don’t want to sweat in my rain coat, why should my dog.
So I took my dog out in the rain in the jacket to see how it would go.  She seemed more comfortable in the rain first of all.  She was willing to walk longer.  She seemed comfortable in the jacket the whole time she was wearing it.  And, as an added bonus, she didn’t smell like wet dog when we got back to the car!
Want to get your own Outward Hound rain jacket?  Check them out here:
Want one for free?!  We are giving one away!  (It is red and size small.)
To enter, please visit our website and sign up for our newsletter.  Or like us on Facebook and write on our wall to enter!  (

A Mary Kay Post from my friend Melissa Martins

Hello Gorgeous!!!
I have EXCITING NEWS! I am very close to finishing my Year End
Seminar Goal of qualifying for my next career car!!!!!
But I Still need your help to finish up this month with a bang! Because I
appreciate your business & friendship ~ I couldn’t achieve this without
you so I want to give you something to thank you for your support!
When you help me ~ I also give you BIG Discounts and Free Gifts! I am SOOOOO excited!
I have BIG Sales incentives for you & Great New Products too!
Here are Ways you can help me! & What’s in it for you!
• Help me achieve Two $1000 days in Sales!!! = 25% OFF those days and FREE gift!
• Book a MK Party = $100 Free & Queen for the Day Contest!
• Help me sell our New Mascara = Earn $100 in Products!
• Join my new Mascara Club! = Get your first set at Half Price!
• Fountain of Youth Set Sale!!!
• Refer a Friend or 2 = $10 Free for each new friend you refer to me!
My $1000 days are set for Monday June 27th & Tuesday June 28th!
There are three easy ways you can order on these days to be a part of the fun!
1. Go to my website at
to place your order there (I will adjust your 25% off discount).
2. E-mail me your order at
3. Call your order in at my home (860)210-1800 or my cell (203)695-2795 or text me :)
If I am on the other line, leave your order on my voice mail and I will call to set up
a time for delivery.
• You will get a 25% discount and FREE gift both Days!
• And, when I reach my goal of $1000 both on Monday & Tuesday, one lucky
customer each day will get their order at 50% off!!!
Your name will be entered into the drawing one time for every $10 you spend,
Ex.. $40 order=4 entries, $100 order=10 entries! I hope YOU WIN!
If you don’t have the most recent Look Book, you can see all of the new products
on my website at
I am tickled pink about this challenge! I thank you in advance for your support. I
love being your consultant and strive to offer you the best possible customer service. I
know you have a choice of where you purchase your skin care and cosmetics and I am so
grateful that you have chosen me. Thank You for your business!
Please feel free to pass this offer on to your friends and family that do not already
have a Mary Kay Consultant. Don’t forget each new referral=$10.00 FREE products!
Thank you so much!
Melissa Martins
Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay
*VISA, MASTERCARD, DISCOVER, Check and Cash Accepted
*Always Free shipping *Free delivery

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Teal Hat Project

PRESS RELEASE                                         
Media contact:
Mary Ciesynski
“Teal Hat Project,
Collecting 100 Homemade Teal Hats for Ovarian Cancer Survivors”
Phoenix, AZ (June 18, 2011) – Announcing the first “Teal Hat Project” independent craft drive to collect 100 home sewn, knit, or crochet teal hats for Ovarian Cancer Survivors to be handed out at the Rhode Island Chapter National Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s 2011 Walk to Break the Silence, Sunday, September 25, 2011. 

Each year the Rhode Island NOCC walk draws hundreds of participants and many Ovarian Cancer survivors. The goal of The Teal Hat Project is to collect 100 homemade teal hats to donate to the walk for each survivor. In addition we will also be accepting other homemade donations for the survivor bags and fundraiser raffles. 

The style of hat is open to interpretation, but all donations must be homemade. Crafters are also invited to donate other homemade items to be raffled off during the walk to raise money for NOCC.  

“Teal Hat Project” was started by Mary Ciesynski of Gothcupcake and her cousin Donna Ricci, President of the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.  Our hope is to create an annual project that can unite survivors, crafters and the community to spread awareness of Ovarian Cancer through the gift of homemade. 

All homemade raffle and hat donations can be sent to 4802 E Ray Road Suite 23-417 Phoenix AZ 85044 before August 1st. Please be sure to include your name and location with your donations upon mailing them. 
For more information, please email
or find us on Facebook

A Little Funny

Chuck Norris doesn’t sleep. He waits.
Chuck Norris is not hung like a horse. Horses are hung like Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris' calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd. No one fools Chuck Norris.
Some kids piss their name in the snow. Chuck Norris can piss his name into concrete.
The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.
Chuck Norris is the only person in the world that can actually email a roundhouse kick.
Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.
Chuck Norris uses ribbed condoms inside out, so he gets the pleasure.
Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
There's no use crying over spilled milk. Unless it's Chuck Norris's milk.
On the evolutionary chart chuck norris looks the same for last 50 million years because he was perfect from day one.
Chuck norris sleeps with a pillow under his uzi
Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.
When Chuck Norris is put in a straight jacket to be contained, he doesn't go insane, the jacket does. NOBODY tries to contain Chuck Norris.
Jesus can walk on water, but Chuck Norris can swim through dry land.
Chuck Norris once shot an enemy plane down with his finger, by yelling, "Bang!"
Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
If Superman and The Flash were to race to the edge of space you know who would win? Chuck Norris.

"I've always found that anything worth achieving will always have obstacles in the way and you've got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles on route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish." - Chuck Norr

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bargain Hunting

I make no secret about it that I like to shop.  However, I don't like to shop full price retail.  I love to bargain shop.

Extreme couponing is all the rage now and although I don't have the time, interest or knowledge to be successful at it, I do love to hunt a bargain in other ways.

I have one email address that I use for offers and sales.  Most stores will ask you for an email address when you cash out.  While some use this for marketing etc and are not useful, others will send you sale notifications and or coupons.  I use one email address for this so that my personal in box isn't filled with offers and things for me to sort through.  I suggest that you only sign up for offers from places you really want to shop at.

I also sign up for mailing lists.  I receive coupons in the mail for places I like to shop. I recently received a coupon for both the J. Crew retail store and the outlet store.

If I'm buying something online I always do a Google search for a coupon code for the store.  You do get a lot of results that you might need to sort through, however more often than not you can at least find a free shipping code.

I also keep track of sample sales.  Stores will offer "samples" before the season begins and these items are often drastically discounted from retail.  For example, I recently visited the sample sale of one of my favorite outdoor clothing stores.  Normally a fleece or climbing pants from this store would be over $100, but at the sample sale every item was $5-$20.  I spent $140 and came out with two bags FULL of clothes.  You do have to settle for the sample sale size though.

Also, even if you are outlet shopping, take a moment and Google coupons.  Many outlet centers offer coupon books that allow you to save money at certain stores.  Joining their loyalty club often means you get the coupon books for free.

So while sales sometimes can convince you to buy too much, they can be helpful in obtaining what you need while spending less!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bill Cosby Approves This Message

I used to LOVE Jello Pudding Pops when I was a kid.  It was one of the sweets that I was allowed to have and in the summer months, we ALWAYS had them in the house.

I'm not sure what happened first, I grew up and eating Pudding Pops was no longer cool, or they disappeared off the shelves.  However, on more than one occasion, my friends and I have lamented the loss of Pudding Pops and the iconic Bill Cosby commercials that went with them.

Pudding Pops are rumored to be sold in some areas of the country and in some stores.  However, I have never seen them.  And so I've taken it upon myself to make a replacement.

I simple made some instant pudding...the type in the box.  Its made with the mix and two cups milk, I used skim.  Once I mixed it up I poured it into frozen pop molds and let it freeze.  Despite a little trouble getting it out of the molds, its darned close to what we remember.  I may try again with 2% or whole milk and see if I can make them even tastier.

However, this is a winner in my house hold and its a low calorie, cold summer treat that can be enjoyed quickly and made easily.  Yay!

Monday, June 20, 2011


When I opened my company about five years ago I started reading everything I could on how to be successful and how to grow my business. I also devoured any book I could get my hands on about organizing.  Then, when I started grad school about 18 months ago I was too busy reading textbooks to read anything else.

However, after my recent graduation all of that changed.  Although I haven't had time to read books for pleasure in some time, I didn't stop buying them like I did.  I also accepted many offers to borrow books.  And so I ended up with a stock pile of books, both fiction and nonfiction that I wanted to read.

After graduation I started in on reading these books. I started with a running book, proceeded to a book about knowing your worth as a woman and then moved on to Water for Elephants.  (I tried to read Room, but didn't love it.)  I've now moved on to reading Walking Wisdom and after that I intend to read Three Cups of Tea and Eat, Pray, Love.

I forgot how wonderful it was to get involved in the lives of characters and to steal a few minutes away here and there to become part of another world.  I forgot how often I would think about books and getting away to find out what happened next in the saga I was reading.

I read much more quickly than I remember reading before and the best feeling is knowing that I don't have to remember the content of the material I'm reading and there will be no test at the end.

I am loving reading again and its a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to finish a book and to become part of the lives of richly written characters even for a short period of time.  I love chatting about books with friends and family, my mom in particular and I haven't been able to do that in quite some time.
I can also catch up on cultural references, books that became movies and best sellers.  I feel as if I'm rejoining part of society again!

I'm very much looking forward to a summer of reading!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

As we recently did on Mother's Day, its time to take a step back and reflect on your father, or father figures and the importance they have had in your life.

Celebrating the holiday isn't about a gift or a card, its about saying thank you for being there, making you laugh, picking you back up and making the person you are today.

My dad and I had a special relationship.  I won't go so far as to say I was a tom boy or I was treated like a boy.  More simply, I was told I could do anything, even things that only boys traditionally did.

I was always in the workshop with my dad.  If we weren't there we were working around the house, on the cars in the garage, outside on the yard, or (my favorite) hiking and climbing mountains.

I was never told that I should "be careful" or I couldn't because I was a girl.  I was simply taught everything my dad had to teach.

We have always been silly together and in some ways, like two kids and my mom has always been the serious parent.  We have a lot of fun, but when times get tough my dad is there to give me some serious advice.

Like everyone else, we've had our rough patches..and I had my teenage moments.  However, I know that my dad and I share a special relationship, as hiking buddies, training partners, family, and friends.
So today, tell your dad how much you love him and take a moment to remember all of the times you've been lucky enough to have together.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June Race Review

I recently ran my longest race ever.  I know its not a long distance compared to those my friends run all the time, but I'm proud of it.  Five miles.

The race took place after a HUGE storm hit Brookfield.  Lots of people didn't show up because they were still without power etc.  The course went through a development in the area and was mostly flat.  The biggest obstacle was the trees, branches and other debris that was still in the road from the storm.  The entire complex didn't have power yet, driveways were blocked, fences destroyed and roofs had holes in them.  It was not the type of scenic I like.  The scariest part was that in addition to the race volunteers showing us which way to go, there were lots of light crews helping runners avoid live wires.

I started off strong and keeping a solid steady pace.  I drove the course once but I was unfamiliar with it for the most part.  My iPod kept me occupied and before I knew it I was at the half way point.

I had some issues with my IT band in my knee tightening up but I stopped and rubbed it out like my physical therapist had showed me how to do and I was off again.

The course doubled back on itself so you see the people who are MUCH faster than you heading back towards the finish line when you are not even halfway done.

It was a very small race and mostly men so I came in towards the back of the pack.  However, I finished strong and with a time I'm happy with.  I need to leave a little bit more out on the course and I need to learn to not hold back so much, but other than that, I'm happy with my performance, getting out there to race, and I'm happy with my racing clothing/shoes choices thus far.

And on a side note, for the first time, we were able to let Roxy (our doggie) socialize at the start of the race and she did AMAZING!  Its been months in the works but she is become quite the people person!  I'm so proud of her!  Soon, we will be racing together!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my Father In Law, a man who can fix ANYTHING!

We love you! xoxo

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Time is Precious

Recently I've been struck by the need to grab a hold of every minute of life and live it to its fullest.  I of all people, know how easy it is to get caught up in the details of things and to get wound up over an unfinished to do list.  

However, lately I've realized how important it is to grab a hold of the minutes you have and live them to the fullest.  So many times I've had an hour to myself and can't enjoy it because my chores aren't done or there are emails waiting to be returned.  I'm always waiting for the fun and relaxation to start.  I need to grab a hold of these moments, where ever I can find them and use them to their fullest.  The alternative is that I work constantly and never take a break and consequently never feel relaxed or rested.

While I haven't had one big event happen to encourage me to learn to stop and smell the roses I've had a series of small events occur lately to make me realize that rushing through life isn't any way to live.  

Last week I was in such a hurry to complete my to do list and I was compelled to finish everything no matter how late it got at night, that I found myself putting luggage away in the attic at ten pm.  I didn't pay attention to what I was doing and before I knew it I was cracked in the head by the attic stairs.  It was pretty serious (I'm okay now.) and I realized that if I had just waiting another day it probably wouldn't have happened.  

This was just one of about four events that occurred in the past two weeks.  While its made for a crazy hectic two weeks, the time I've spent in the car, traveling etc has been spent thinking about those I have in my life and how thankful I am to have them in my life.  How our busy lives get in the way of making a phone call, having a sit down dinner together or even sending an email to someone.  

Sometimes it doesn't take illness or death to take someone out of your life.  Anger and stubborn behavior are sometimes to blame.  In my opinion those situations are worse because we are choosing to walk away.  However, you can change the way you think and you can do it today.

So, if you are reading this, take a moment to tell your mother, father, cousin, friend, co-worker just what they mean to you.  So often we are afraid to tell people because we feel embarrassed or we run the risk of getting hurt.  However, life is about connections and so many times we lose someone before we are able to tell them how important they are to us.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

They Walk Among Us

They Walk Among Us 
Many Work  Retail

I was at the checkout of a K-Mart.  The cashier rang up $46.64 charges. I gave her a fifty dollar bill.  She gave me back $46.64. I gave the money back to her and told her that she had made a mistake in MY favor.
She became indignant and informed me she was educated and knew what she was doing, and returned the money again.  I gave her the money back - same scenario!
I departed the store with the $46.64.

They Walk Among Us
and Many Work Retail

I walked into a Starbucks with a buy-one-get- one-free coupon for a Grande Latte.  I handed it to the girl and she looked over at a little chalkboard that said 'buy one-get one free.'  'They're already buy-one- get-one-free, ' she said, 'so I guess they're both free'. She handed me my free Lattes and I walked out the door.

They Walk Among Us!

One day I was walking down the beach with some friends when one of them shouted, 'Look at that dead bird!' Someone looked up at the sky and said, 'Where?'

They Walk Among Us!

While looking at a house, my brother asked the real estate agent which direction was north because, he explained, he didn't want the sun waking him up every morning.  She asked, 'Does the sun rise in the North?.   When my brother explained that the sun rises in the East, and has for sometime, she shook her head and said, 'Oh I don't keep up with all that stuff.'

They Walk Among Us!!

I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call center. One day I got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call center was open. I told him, 'The number you dialed is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.' He responded, 'Is that Eastern or Pacific time?' Wanting to end the call quickly, I said, 'Uh, Pacific.'

They Walk Among Us!

My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car designed to cut through a seat belt if she gets trapped. She keeps it in the trunk.

They Walk Among Us!

My friends and I went out to buy beer and noticed that the cases were discounted 10%.  Since it was a big party, we bought 2 cases.  The cashier multiplied 2 times 10% and gave us a 20% discount.

They Walk Among Us!

I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area, so I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up.  She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands.  'Now,' she asked me, has your plane arrived yet?'

They Walk Among Us!

While working at a pizza place I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6. He thought about it for some time before responding. 'Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces.'

Yep, They Walk Among Us!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Healthy Snacks

As I've discussed before I have to work really hard to keep my protein intake up and stop myself from eating lots of sugar snacks.  Like most people I love them.

However, I find that keeping healthy and healthier options on hand really helps me stay on track.  If I eat a really healthy meal and then have cookies in the house, chances are I will eat too many.

So I like to eat a lot of the following snacks and in many cases, I don't worry about the portion size.

Popcorn-I actually buy the corn still on the cob and pop it in a brown paper bag in the microwave.  I then sprinkle some chili powder on it or some kettle corn powder.

Edamame-I've talked about this before but I love it.  I buy it in bulk when Costco has it in stock.

Greek Yogurt-This is a tough one because it has a lot of sugar, but I like it as a sweet treat.

Pretzels-These are revolutionary by any means.  However, I love to dip them in hummus to make them healthier.  (Carrots in hummus are also awesome.)

Celery and peanut butter-This is a child hood throw back for me.  I love it.  Add raisons for a fun twist.  I used to call these "ants on a log" when I was growing up.

Smoothies-You can beat a smoothie on a hot day. My current favorite is OJ with frozen strawberries.  I add spirulina to everything to get some added health benefits.

Sushi-Its low cal, fun to eat and yummy.  I get a few orders of simple things after I grocery shop or for an afternoon snack.

Latte-Everyone makes fun of all of the Starbuck's adjectives.  However, a skinny latte has 16 grams of protein.  Yum

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Got Tupperware?

The following is a guest post from someone I know personally:

Hello! My name is Lauren Goudreault and I recently became a Tupperware Consultant!  I am so excited about this new venture and want to share all of the exciting products and opportunities with everyone! 

Tupperware is not the same product that most of us remember from our younger years.  Think back to your parents and grandparents Tupperware.  It was durable and an excellent product but the look we could have done without.  Welcome the new Tupperware, which has a line called Chic Dining that is perfect for summer parties.  There is no doubt that Tupperware can significantly reduce clutter, cut down on grocery bills, and save time all while creating products that are environmentally friendly!!

Tupperware offers a line called Modular Mates that will convert your cabinets allowing you to store the most food or items in the smallest space.  The containers are see-through which allows you to scan your cabinets before heading out to the grocery store, preventing the unwanted double item!  Modular Mates are perfect for the summer when people love to go camping and travel to the beach.  They will help preserve your cereal and other products while protecting them from unwanted critters and ocean air.

Looking to save money and time?  Freezer Mates are the perfect solution.  People can make food ahead of time and freeze extras in these durable containers.  There are plenty of sizes available so that you can portion out food appropriately. 

Working moms and dads find that the most difficult time of the day is preparing meals.  Tupperware has many solutions to that problem.  First, Tupperware offers CrystalWave Meal Solutions which allows you to take leftovers and preserve them for the next day.  Kids will love the Lunch sets and tumblers which are environmentally friendly because there are no paper bags or plastic bags! The Tupperware Stack Cooker is an amazing product that allows people to cook complete healthy meals in a short amount of time.  Perfect for the family on the go!

The last product that I want to share is the Vent’ N Serve.  It is amazing!  Plan your meals ahead of time and just place in the microwave and heat! There are many different sizes perfect for storing leftovers from summer parties and even holiday dinners!

Tip: Non-Tupperware products are not supposed to be put in the microwave.  Did you ever wonder why the dishes are stained and become flimsy?  They are strictly made for storage.  Tupperware has created microwave friendly products that allow heat to escape and the plastic does not stain!

If you have any questions or are looking to place an order, please visit my website at to place an online order or email me at for help or information on online orders, hosting a party, or fundraising!