Sharing recipes, crafts and frugal living, the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. Yoga Instructor said goodbye to her nightly glass of Chardonnay to give up habits that were not serving her purpose in life! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.


Gift Exchange

The Jitterbug gals and I exchange gifts each year but we have a rule, well 2 rules. It has to be handmade and it has to cost less than 10 bucks. I look forward to this exchange every year more than any other gift. It's so inspiring to see what everyone comes up with and many ideas are copied the next year. I recently stumbled upon this blog where the blogger asked for ideas for gifts under $20.
These were my personal favorites:
  1. tea
  2. pedometer
  3. knitting or crochet needles, yarn and a cheap instructional book
  4. Road ID- for the runners, cyclist or tri-athletes in your life
  5. The gift of "green"- Fill a cloth grocery bag with compact fluorescent bulbs, earth friendly cleaning supplies and a micro-fiber cloth
  6. Gift Baskets- buy items in bulk and divide into multiple baskets
  7. Magazine subscription
  8. Biking supplies- if you know someone who is interested in a physical activity buy them items for that; ie: socks, gloves etc
  9. yoga mat
  10. beauty in a bag- fill a bag with new fingernail polish, emery boards and cuticle cream


Holiday Clearance

If I've said it once, I'll say it again...Saving money isn't all about budgeting BUT thinking ahead.

There are so many great deals after the holidays but skip the major purchases and go right for the holiday clearance. Even if you don't have an attic or basement these items can be easily stored under a bed, top shelf of a closet, or the area between the refrigerator and the wall...yes you can store stuff there!

  • Buy your wrapping paper (if you use it) right after the holidays when you can get it for 75% off. And this is also what you can store between the wall and your fridge.
  • Holiday packs of cards. If you don't plan on using them for yourself, say you prefer the picture holiday card variety, you can give them as a birthday gift to someone you know that has an October or November birthday with stamps and return address label already affixed. Or use the cards to make holiday crafts. I've also picked up holiday cards that said a generic "wishing you joy this year" and sent them as birthday cards, it has gotten many chuckles from the recipients.
  • Holiday decorations. Now is the time to plan the decor you'd really like to create next year. And it's the perfect time since you are very aware of what you are missing. For me, personally, I'm looking for a holiday wreath for our front door, preferable something that doesn't shed.
  • Holiday parties. If you throw a holiday party every year or an open house, stock up on party supplies now. Napkins, plates, tablecloths. And if you don't throw a party but you have kids who will be having birthday parties buy the solid red and green table cloths and napkins and use them for the birthday party decor. Red tablecloth can go along with = Spiderman decor, Ariel (little mermaid) or even a Valentine's party. Green tablecloth = Pirate themed party and draw a big X in the center of the table cloth, green goblin or even a Saint Patty's Day party. I've even seen shiny gold and silver tablecloths that would be perfect for a princess party.
  • Along with the decor you can also pick up red and green candles for cheap. Create a valentine's themed gift for someone you love using the red candles you bought for 90% off, pair it with a bottle of wine and a romantic movie and also some holiday chocolate that you put in your freezer to keep fresh and then take the wrappers off and place in a decorative bowl or bottle right before delivering it and Wha-la an inexpensive Valentine's gift. Also the candles can be using in many other crafty ways by hot gluing pictures or trinkets to them and giving as gifts throughout the year.
  • Books. I've found some wonderful holiday themed books on clearance that make great gifts for the next year. Whether it be cookbooks or last year I picked up a few crafty holiday gift making books and then gave them to the crafty women in my life. Even if they have an April birthday they will appreciate the book and the motivation to create and start their holiday planning. Cause we all know that the crafty folks who make their gifts start planning or at least thinking about what they will make by September at the latest.
  • Gift boxes. Even if the face of Santa adorns the box it is so easy to use scrap wrapping paper that you have to cover the top of box. Adorn a bow and now the recipient can very easily open the gift and recycle the packaging for his/her next function.
  • Fabric. I am already seeing signs at Joann's for 75% off holiday fabric and it will only get better from there. I always stock up on holiday fabric for many reasons, one being I like to wrap gifts in fabric to the crafty folks in my life. Plan on making napkins and place mats for someone on your gift giving list next year. You know what...a set of Everyday Holiday Napkins would be a great "elephant gift" at your office party next year. Or plan on making those stocking you have been talking about forever..OK that may be just me! :)
Plan ahead and make a stop at your local Target, Michael's or Joann's...wherever you see the 75% off holiday clearance sign blowing in the wind...stock up and save yourself some money!


Hand-Made Magnets

Gretchen and I decide in January 2006 to make these mini-magnet sets as Holiday gifts. So we've both been cutting circles out of magazines for the whole year. Sometimes, I would get to a new magazine too quickly and Greg would have to read a Time that looked like Swiss cheese.

I simply loved making these mini-magnets and hope that everyone that received a set is happy to add them to their refrigerator. In fact, when the day came to take them off my door and hand-pick them into sets I was sad to see them go.

You will need:
*3/4 of an inch circle cutter (look in the scrapbook aisle of a craft store)
*Clear drying jewelry adhesive
* 3/4 inch or 1/2 inch magnets
* Clear Florist marbles (the ones with a flat side)
* Plenty of thumb size pictures from magazines and newspapers

1.) Using a toothpick put a small amount of glue on the picture and place the florist marble on top. Squish the glue around and center the picture while you adhere them together.

2.) Glue the magnet to the back of the picture.

3.) Let dry.

I know the directions are pretty simple because these mini-magnets are the easiest craft I've ever made.

Packaging is such an important part of gifting. It was important for this gift that the magnets be presented in a metal box so that the receiver can see all the magnets at a glance.
At first the plan was to use Altoids tins (which I believe Gretchen did) but I don't like that candy so I search around and found circle tins at a local Herb and Tea shop.

I think these little presents are a perfect gift for just about anyone for Birthdays or Thank Yous. I even think they would make a great party favor at a kids birthday party or baby shower.

Please make a comment if you received magnets from Gretchen or me and let us know if you liked them.

Happy Holidays!!!!


Recycle Holiday Waste #3 Mini Scrapbook

I am so in love with how this turned out that I'm going to be making many more in the new year. I made this one as a quick gift, took me 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. I created this book for my brother and sister in law to capture a moment in their lives for the next year. So each side of a circle is a month. I wouldn't suggest doing anything larger than this, this is borderline too big but is still awesome. The next one I make I'm going to square off the bottom so that when the book is open it can be displayed across a mantel or tabletop.

So here is how I got started. I used the box that my son's Spiderman playset came in and taking my creative memories circle shape cutter I traced the circles on the box with a sharpie marker and cut out with scissors. I then cut 2 inch pieces of ribbon to attach each circle. I alternated affixing them to one side of the circle and then the opposite side so that when you fold up the album it folds like an accordion. I first attached them with adhesive and when I knew it was what I wanted I went back and stapled each ribbon to the circle.

I had to play with folding it a bit before I figured out what would be the front and back of the album. These circles need to be 2 circles that are attached together with ribbon so that the ribbon becomes the binding to keep the album closed. Once I had that figure out I labeled each circle. Since my album is to go in order of months once you open it completely. I then attached a longer piece of 5 inch ribbon to the front and back circles opposite the binding ribbon so that the album can be tied closed.
Then I let my creative juices go wild and I designed each month's circle. I only used scrap paper to keep with my recycled theme.
I hope the scrappers reading the blog give this a try, it's a lot of fun and so easy to make. I think the mini albums will make nice gifts throughout the year; birthdays, mother's day etc. Come back and share your creation in the comments section!


Luggage Tags

Yes I am always one of those people filling out my name and address on one of those airline tags and every time I do it I say to myself...Gosh I need to make these. And I finally did. And just in time for our flight to spend the holidays in AZ. I keep all the cards we get for birthdays and holidays, I used the cards left over from my son's b-day to make these cute luggage tags. On the opposite side I used scrap card stock in bright orange that I had and laminated the whole thing, hole punched the top and to attach them to the bags I used 1" binder rings, found at office supply stores. The entire project took less than 30 minutes for 4. So don't put it off another day...make those luggage tags!


Recycle Holiday Waste #2 Box

Make a Custom Box out of a Box!

There is a wonderful article in Craft magazine Vol. 5 giving step by step directions on how to make a box from trash. I think it would be so cool to make smaller boxes out of the large toy boxes that my kids' toys come in. But they say any box will work; cereal box, corrugated boxes etc. In the magazine they show the artist, Phranc, using a Bisquick box. I haven't personally tried it yet but it's on my "things to-do" list after the holidays.

Pick up the magazine this month if you love paper, there are so many wonderful articles to keep your interest instead of eating another holiday cookie.


Reusing the Pretzel Tub

Our Costco stopped selling the gigantic bag of pretzels and replaced it with a large tub of pretzels.

So? Who Cares? Why does this deserve a post?

If you saw how many pretzels my husband consumed in a month or week you'd understand. Looking at these plastic tubs I thought to myself..this can totally be used for something else. And then it hit me....STORAGE!!
Martha always says you should use clear plastic containers for storage so that you can see what you are storing. So I've come up with many storage uses for the pretzel tub.

Toys that are in rotation. Every few months I rotate the kids' toys so that they don't become bored with what they have and also to save space, we don't have the room to have every toy they own out at one time.

Yarn or fabric to store in an attic or basement so that it never takes on the smells of its environments. Also seasonal clothes for the same reason.

Random bits of scrap booking paper. You would think by reading this blog and how often I talk about using scrap items that I am a hoarder and unorganized. I'm actually so far from that. I'm borderline OCD about organizing. And if I set up a container, like the pretzel tub, to be the holder of all scrapbook paper of a certain size (are you seeing the OCD yet?). Then once the tub is full it's time to sit down and create something from the jug. Whether it's making a ton of cards or making personal embellishments for layouts or gift tags for presents.

Holiday decorations, now I can see what holiday each tub is instead of labeling a Rubbermaid box.

And that's where it ends for me. So now I need your suggestions, what would you use the pretzel tub for?


Holiday Cookie Tray Time

It is that time of the Holiday Season when we give sugary goodness to others.
Personally, I love baking cookies - but hate having too many around the house. So making a few Christmas Cookie Tray is a perfect activity for me. I get to eat a few, but give the majority away.

Here are a couple of Quick Tips to improve your cookie trays:

Add some Chocolate Covered-Somethings
It is super easy to make chocolate covered pretzels. They add nice shapes to the tray and salty flavor.

Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper.
Melt some really good dark or milk chocolate
Dip the pretzels and lay them on wax paper to set.

*Try the same technique with dried apricots or other dried fruit.
Or do a few fresh Strawberries!*

Use a real dish, plate or tuperware container.
If you are giving a cookie plate to a close family member use a real dish and save yourself the cost to you and the environment of the plastic or paper holiday plates.

Don't try to over do it.
2-3 cookie varieties are plenty. It is easy to want to make every Christmas cookie you love. But you might feel overwhelmed when you are staring down 6 different recipes. Instead make double batches of 2 or 3 great cookies.

Bar Cookies
I always include a bar cookie, brownie or something that bakes all at once to offset the time
of making drop cookies or cut outs.

Chex Mix
My mom makes the best fresh Chex Mix. And I simply love it around the holidays. The recipe is the one that has always been on the side of the box. CHEX MIX RECIPE. I hate the chemical taste of store bought Chex Mix There are literally dozens of different Chex Mixes you can make. There is such little baking involved with making a mix, you might want to just give out bags of it instead of cookies.

Enjoy the baking and making.
If you are too overwhelmed to have fun while baking don't overextend yourself. There is
plenty of SUGAR everywhere you look during the holidays. If you are going to enjoy making
the cookies right now pass on it this year and make sure to make it a priority next Holiday

The biggest hit this year on my cookie tray was a Black Forest Cookie. I got the recipe from Every Day Food. Please email me and I will send you a copy. There is no link online and the PDF showed up blurry on the blog, but I will happily pass it along to anyone that desire it.


Free Rice Story on NPR

In case you haven't clicked on the link from the Cocktail Moms' page. You really should check it out.

Here's a link to where you can read or listen to more about the fantastic site.

Costco Electronics Recycling Program

Did you know Costco has a recycling program for Electronics? Go to
and click on electronics, towards the bottom of the list on the far left hand side click on Trade-In & Recycle. You can select the item you want to recycle and Costco will give you money in the form of a costco gift card for your trade in value. And get this...Shipping is free!!!


Office Party Update

The Office Party was a success! Quite frankly most people were dreading it, but in the end I think everyone had a good time. Even two of the people I doubted ever had fun, seemed to crack a smile while playing Bingo. This is an office of very competitive numbers-loving-type-A people, I knew they would get involved if there were games. And they did! Completely giving themselves up in the quest to win the Holiday Movie Trivia Quiz.

In order to keep things moving I printed the Christmas Movie Trivia Quiz on Christmas stationary. I placed the snowflake stationary on top of a double sided 4-up Bingo card and finally on top of that was the snowflake themed plate and napkin. As well as silverware, each place setting had a pen for the quiz and to cross out Bingo. Finally, I topped each plate with a candy cane for the "Change" game and "Don't say it" game. Once everyone was seated no one ever had to get up unless they wanted to. The party was all in the place setting.

I kept everything moving and we were completely done with lunch and all games in a little over 90 minutes. Many people commented that it was one of the best Christmas parties they'd ever been to, and I think they meant it.


Milk Jug Bathroom Toy Holder

My milk jug gets a second life. My youngest son goes through milk like you wouldn't believe, I often joke that if we lived in a less urban area I would buy a cow. It's that bad. I recently discovered that we can buy organic dry milk, which would save on waste but I would have to order it online because none of the health food stores in my area carry it.
So we end up with a recycling bin filled with milk jugs. I've turned this gallon jug into a bath toy scoop. I simply cut part of the jug off, opposite the handle. And then I turned it upside down and literally jabbed scissors into the bottom repeatedly to create holes for water to drain out of. Now when my hubby gives the kids a bath he can scoop all of the toys in the jug and allow them to drip dry. At one point in my life of many apartments, this would have come in handy to store my shampoo, conditioner, facial scrub etc. since in our bathtub we didn't have the storage to hold anything in the tub. I've also created one to hold gardening tools.
The possibilities are endless!


Recycle Holiday Waste #1 Mini Book

Every home ends up with a ton of waste around the holidays. Some of us secretly tuck away salvaged pieces of wrapping paper and bows and others turn the holiday cards they receive into gift tags for the following year.
I've been trying to come up with some ideas to recycle the toy boxes that we end up swimming in on Christmas morning. My kids, as most do, love the box as much as the toy and will stare at the pictures on the boxes whether to recreate the perfect Island Of Sodor out of Legos or to learn all the tricks and trap doors of the Spiderman play set. One idea is to make books for homemade coloring books or to-do lists books. This is something your child can do with you.
Measure and cut each piece of the book, front and back, and punch holes along the side. You can use either yarn or string to bind it or use book rings, found at your office supply store in the fasteners section. I used 1 inch book rings so that I can continue to add pages to the book. Fill the book with either blank pages, recycled paper or coloring pages that you print out.
Whether you have kids or not, most people are swimming in cardboard boxes around the holidays. Even adult toys come in cool boxes, for example: apple products and the much loved Tiffany box!
You can make the books out of any box and fill with blank pages to keep track of your to-do list or shopping list. The great thing is you can make it whatever size you want. I made a small one, as shown, to easily fit into my purse whether to make a note to myself or entertain my son during church.



Great American Craft-Off

Unique contest open to all American crafters to submit their homemade, handmade American-themed creations for a chance to win a Grand Prize package valued at over $6000.

Click the image above to learn more about it!

Gift Ideas for the People Who Don't Need Anything

Have a friend or a parent or a boss that doesn't need a damn thing. Then give to someone that does have a genuine need. My favorite tip is to discover a not-for-profit that caterers to the passions of person you are trying to give the donation in honor of.

Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow's Charitable giving guide, the 2007 edition (complete list on Boing Boing) is a great example of finding interesting not-for-profits to donate to this holiday season. He suggests: Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons , Free Software Foundation/Defective By Design , and the The Internet Archive because he obviously loves the the tech/computer charities. Check out his list for the tech geek in your life.

Go to Heifer International to give a gift that is sure to start a conversation. Gifting a cow can do that. is the gift that keeps on giving, as well as, the gift that keeps on letting you give. Give someone $25.00 to invest in pre-screened individuals whose lives can be radically changed by a micro-loan. The most amazing part happens when they pay you back. You can then re-loan your same investment to help another person.

Craft Site Directory has a whole page of Craft Charities.

Without a doubt there is a charity out there that your friend will thank you for donating to in their honor. And the best part is... is that they don't have to find room for it on their shelf.


Advent Box Calendar

I first saw this crafty advent calendar on Ali Edwards, this picture is from her blog. And she wrote that she got the idea from Martha Stewart. I had great intentions of making one and posting it on the blog but I still have so many Christmas presents to make that I can't pull myself away. I am so behind this year in making gifts. Normally I'm done by this time and have time to pursue crafty endeavors like the advent calendar boxes. Oh well...tis life.
What I plan to do with my advent calendar boxes, and why I don't want to rush myself to make it, is to have a family activity for each day and print the activity out and attach to the inside of the box and also to make an ornament for each box that symbolizes the activity. For example each year we watch Charlie Brown's Christmas. So I plan on making an ornament to symbolize that, maybe recreate the tree or felt a little snoopy. I'm really looking forward to starting this tradition in our family. And I may even start them early and give them as gifts for next year! I'll keep you updated.


Shirley Temples and Shirley Temple-Blacks

As we all remember from our childhood Shirley Temples are a the perfect cocktail to make children feel all grown up and part of the party especially around the holidays.

Recently, I had friends over for dinner and drinks. They were bringing their adorable 3 year-old with them so I thought I would make him a Shirley Temple. As it turns out, 3 is still too young to understand the joy that is a Fake Cocktail. Now that I think back to it, I mostly loved Shirley Temples from around age 7-11.

However, it turned out to be a hit cocktail at dinner anyway, because we made Shirley Temple-Blacks. (Black was Shirley's married name). Shirley Temple-Blacks are the same great faux cocktail you remember from your pre-teens spiked with vodka! My friend Jessie told me about spiking Shirley's months ago but this was the first time I tried it. (BTW Jessie has a great blog about crafting etc. check it out at:

There are several different versions of Shirley Temples out there. For a brief history check out the wikipedia entry on the drink.

I fussed around for about a week and find the recipe below to be the recipe that worked for me.

Shirley Temple

8 oz. Ginger Ale
1 splash Grenadine
Garnished with a twist of an orange and a maraschino cherry

Serve over ice

I found that if you squeeze the twist of Orange in the drink before using it as garnish it gave it a nice citrus flavor. Some recipes call for adding O.J. or up to an ounce of grenadine, I found this to make the drink to heavy and syrupy. I remember a Shirley Temple being light and bubbly so add the juice or extra grenadine at your own risk.

Shirley Temple-Black

Same recipe as above just add Vodka to taste!

This Holiday if you're having adults and children over to your party add a Fake Cocktail to your menu for the Cocktail Moms in training.

Dinner Party Questions

It's happened to all of us, you have a group of people over for dinner and you are bored to tears with the talk of politics or TV shows. My Jitterbug girlfriends and I had a MNO (MomsNiteOut) at a hotel before I left Seattle. We each came equipped with 10 questions and we put them in a bowl and each took turns answering the questions. I have sense played the game with my In-laws and my mother and sister while on a long car trip. My friend Corie sent me these questions that I believe were featured in Real Simple magazine.
Print out the questions and place them in a pretty box or jar and take it to your next dinner party with a bottle of wine. Or print out the questions on card stock and wrap a question around each dinner napkin. It is so fascinating to hear the answers and learn more about your friends than you would have imagined, without anyone being embarrassed.

What kind of student were you?

Other than family, who were the most important people in your life?

What were your hobbies as a child?

Who was the first person you ever kissed?

What did you imagine your adult life would be like?

What has been the most amazing part about raising kids?

What has been the most difficult part about raising kids?

What was the best job you ever had? What was the worst?

How did you decide what field to enter?

Was there one person who had a big impact on your working life?

If you had to do it all over again, would you choose the same career path?

What were the best years of your life?

What was the hardest decision you’ve made?

What are the most important things in life?

What do you consider to be your strongest character traits?

What traits or habits do you wish you didn’t have?

Has life made you more hopeful or more cynical?

What do you consider to be the biggest world events of your lifetime?

Do you think life now is harder or easier than when you were young?

What are you most proud of in your life?

What do you hope to be remembered for?



If you can't find the perfect gift for the person on your list who has everything or if you have a retired teacher on your list this is the perfect gift for them. It's actually the best gift you can give to anyone.
This website has all 50 states listed and you can search by your state and read the proposals from teachers on what they need for their classroom. gift certificate enables your recipient to fund project(s) of his/her choice and to receive the classroom acknowledgment. As the giver, you receive the tax deduction and can see the chosen proposals in your account.
Or recognize someone special by funding a project in his/her honor. You get the tax deduction, and your honoree is acknowledged by the classroom!
Spread a little holiday cheer to our classrooms this year and help out the most underpaid workers...our teachers.


Recycled Envelopes

With two last names it doesn't matter how many times I put myself on the no-junk-mail list. Thopse credit card people are sneaky and always around the holidays I end up with 2 credit card offers a day. I came up with a cool idea to recycle those rely envelopes.
On the back of the reply envelope slowly separate the flaps from the back of the envelope. Then turn the entire envelope inside out and tape the flaps to the back of the envelope. If the envelope has a print on it, like mine, you can use labels to handwrite the To and From adresses or simply print the address from your computer on labels and secure.


Pink Eye

Both of my kids have pink eye right now. A first for us. I read online that you should change their pillowcases daily. Well each of my kids only has 2 sets of sheets/pillowcases. One to be on the bed and one to be washed, typically. And since both boys have been climbing into bed with my husband and I at some point in the night, we are changing our pillowcases daily also.
I refuse to allow this pink eye epidemic to make me consume more. In 10 days I won't need a weeks worth of pillowcases for everyone in my household. And I don't have the time to do a load of laundry everyday with 2 sick kids.
My solution---T Shirts! A large t-shirt fits a standard pillowcase. Considering my hubby has more t-shirts than needed for one man I can change everyone's pillowcases...uh...t-shirt pillow covers daily. File this in your mommy brain for the day your child arrives home from school with the highly contagious pink eye.


Holiday Office Party

Currently I work in a 9 person Family Office. Family Office's are businesses that are set up to run the assets, investments, and daily affairs of extremely wealthy families. Essentially, I do personal concierge work for the wife and administrative work for the rest of the office, who are a handful of accounts and investment bankers.

Although I've kept my identity as a Cocktail Mom secret to all but my one alliance at the office, when the opportunity rose to plan the Holiday Office Party I thought that in the spirit of Holidays I'd try to give this grumpy little office a Great Office Party.

There are obstacles of course. The main one being that no one in the office truly likes each other. Sure, sure everyone is nice enough to each other - but this isn't an office full of people that are going to happy hour together every Friday. In fact, when the Boss of the office posed going out to a restaurant after hours for the party there were more than a few grumbles - this is when I took over the project. I started informally polling everyone about what they wanted and didn't want in an Holiday Party. What they wanted was lunch ordered in at around 2:00pm on a Friday AND ABSOLUTELY NO GRAB BAG!

I couldn't agree with them more. I hate an office grab bag. Who needs another $20.00 bath set and or smelly candle. Worse, I always get the person I don't really like something great and always receive something I suspect might have been re-gifted from the office cheapo.

So instead of the grab bag I talked the Boss into giving me $100 to buy prizes for Holiday games, that I will plan, and that we will play at the party. Don't groan. Everyone always groans at Party Games but the right games can make a boring party with people you see every day down right enjoyable.

With the $100 I am going to support local business by buying gift certificates. That's right, instead of the standard $20.00 Amazon gift card, I am going to buy a gift card at the locally own and operated Boulder Bookstore. Instead of a Starbucks gift card, I'm going with Laughing Goat the best local coffee shop.

Keeping with my buy local theme, the husband of one of the accounts in the office owns a local green house so I ordered several white poinsettias to use as decorations instead of buying wasteful paper party decorations.

In order to keep the tradition of White Elephant Christmas present exchanges alive, I am going to establish the following rules for prize winning: The first person to win a party game will be allowed to open one present. The second person to win a prize can steal the present already opened or open their own present/prize. If a person has a present stolen from them, they open another present. This continues until all the prizes are won and presents opened. If a person wins two games they may open or steal another present - but will only keep one prize and give the other away to someone that hasn't won a game yet.

We will be playing four different games.

The Lucky Chance or Random Game

I'm a big fan of the Random/Chance game. Often this is as simple as whoever has the paper plate with the Santa sticker on the bottom wins a prize. I purchased solid colored Gobstopper candy canes in green and red and one in white. I am going to tie the candy canes with ribbon or yarn around napkins and place them at each seat before the party begins to decorate the table. The person who gets the all white candy cane will be our first winner! Let the games begin.

The "Don't Say It" Game

This is my all time favorite party game. I first played it at a baby shower for my friend Colleen.
Versions of this game vary. When we played it at the baby shower each guest was given a cute little duck diaper pin and instructed to pin it to their shirts. We were then instructed that from this point until the end of the party we were not to say the word BABY. If you heard another guest say the word BABY you could steal one of their pins. The person with the most pins at the end of the party won a prize.

For the office party, I intend to play the game in the following manner: Using the candy canes that everyone already has, I am going to instruct everyone that from this point on in the party there will no absolutely no talking about WORK. Using the same concept as above, party guest will steal each others candy canes if they catch a co-worker talking about work. The person with the most candy canes at the end of the party will win the final prize.

The Quiz Game

Many people do not like to participate in group games so I think it is a good idea to have a simple paper quiz. This could be a word search, cross word puzzle, or trivia game.

For this Holiday office party I am going to use a quiz that I found online. It's a Holiday Trivia Movie Quiz. I found it online by google-ing "Holiday Quizes". There are many sites with holiday quizzes but most of them are made for kids and super easy. I liked this one because even I didn't know all the answers.


Virtually everyone in my office has children so I asked around to find out what group games they had at home. It turns out that someone has a Bingo game complete with cards, chips, and a shaker to drop the letter/balls out of. Perfect. Once we are finished eating, we can play two rousing games of Bingo. I chose Bingo because it is an easy game that everyone can play while still holding a conversation (provided that conversation isn't about WORK).

Since I am in charge of taking everyone's lunch order, I have resorted to using the -dreaded by some and loved by others- EVITE. I personally love Evites. For this party it is doing the "taking lunch order job" for me. I embedded links to the menus of the two restaurants that party guests can order their lunches from and then instructed them to include what items they want to order for lunch when they post their reply. It is working out perfectly. My plan is to place the orders with the restaurants very early in the day so there won't be any problem with getting the food to the office in a timely manner. This way I won't be stressing taking people's picky lunch orders on the day of the party, but can instead make sure that my games, gifts, and decorations are all perfectly set up.

Finally, I will be making a huge Christmas Music mega-mix to play from my Ipod throughout the lunch.

Will my grumpy little office have a fun holiday party? I don't know, but I think I've done my best give the office a well-organized Cocktail Mom holiday party.


Sage Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

This recipe can be made either vegetarian or vegan, just by omitting the yogurt. It's low in fat and so yummy for the fall. Will serve 6-8 people.

Sage Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
3 gloves of garlic, minced
1/2 of an onion, diced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup Vegetable Broth
3/4 cup soy milk
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, optional
29 ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 tsp ground sage
salt and pepper to taste, I love pepper so the more the better in my opinion
1 cup chopped walnuts

Saute garlic and onion until cooked. Add the remaining ingredients, except the walnuts. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Add walnuts, stir and simmer for an additional 3 minutes. Serve over any type of pasta you desire. Enjoy!



Just wanted to let you, our readers, know we have been doing some organizing on the blog. We added labels to all of our posts and on the right hand side of the blog you will see a new list of categories. This should make it easier for you to find the topics that you are interested in reading about. Enjoy the weekend!


Raisin Oatmeal Scones

The biggest way to save money in your food budget is to make breakfast. And I'm not talking about popping Eggos in the toaster. Breakfast can be the cheapest meal of the day. Schedule some time over the weekend to make a batch of muffins or these yummy scones. And just so you know I have substituted raisins for dried cranberries and dried blueberries and they always come out fantastic!
And remember....breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup sour milk (milk with 2 teaspoons of vinegar added)
  • 1 egg beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients, cut in butter and raisins. Stir in enough sour milk just to moisten. Divide the dough in half. Flour hands and pat dough into 2 circles on a greased cookie sheet about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into bars or squares. Bake 10 minutes. Brush on egg and then bake until golden brown.
Serve with honey or jam.


Winter Window Draft Stoppers

It's that time again, time to winterize the house. Our house is very old which means DRAFTY!

I've tried the weatherstripping tape sold at Home Depot and Lowe's and was extremely frustrated when I had to take it off the windows and the tape left a sticky residue that took me hours to scrap off with a single razor blade. This year I wanted to make something that I could use year after year. So I created what I call Window Draft Stoppers, much like those draft stoppers for doors that my Grandma use to have in her house and that I later used in the college dorm to keep certain smells from wafting into the hallway. :)

I measured the width of the window and the depth of the area where the draft stopper would sit and cut scrap fabric according to those dimensions. I found the best fabric to use was a flannel. Basically I made a long rectangle, sewing around the 3 sides, leaving one end open. I turned it inside out and then filled each draft stopper with unused, recycled, pine cat litter. Once filled, I hand sewed the opened end shut.
I am amazed on how well they work. These would also be great for renters since most windows are standard sizes you can take them with you when you move.


Sew Green Mentions CocktailMoms

I read this neat blog called Sew Green and one of the writers asked for ideas on how to wrap gifts this year in an environmentally friendly way, so I sent her links to my 2 posts on wrapping gifts and she mentioned them in her blog post.


Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is a great recipe if you feel like switching up the classic pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table this year. I used ready made crusts, who has the time for making crusts? I know I don't. This recipe will make 2 pies. I used a chocolate graham crust for one and a shortbread one for the other. Both are delicious!
  • 2 packages of 8 oz bar cream cheese
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 can of solid-pack pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl except the chocolate. Mix with a hand mixer until smooth. Set aside. Melt the chocolate. We don't have a microwave so I melted the chocolate in a saucepan with a small amount of milk. If you know how to melt chocolate in the microwave...go for it! Add 1 cup of pumpkin mixture to the chocolate and combine. Set aside. Pour the pumpkin mixture into ready made crust pie pans. Then pour chocolate mixture on top. Take a knife and gently swirl it through the 2 mixtures but don't over do it. Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes. Bake until cheesecake is set but jiggles slightly when shaken. Cool in pan. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days).


Yummy Dog Treats

So you have a girlfriend who doesn't have children but treats her precious pups as kids? Instead of buying another toy or trendy collar this Christmas whip up a batch of homemade dog biscuits that are sure to please everyone.

Peanut Butter Biscuits
  1. 2 cups whole wheat flour
  2. 1 cup wheat germ
  3. 1 cup peanut butter
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  6. 1/2 cup water
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine numbers 1, 2 and 7 in a bowl and mix. Then add remaining ingredients. Roll dough out on a floured surface about 1/2" thick. Cut out with cookie cutters. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 1" small cookies for 15-25 minutes. 3" large cookies for 30-35 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Oatmeal Biscuits
  1. 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. 1 cup cornmeal
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  6. 1/2 cup water
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine numbers 1, 2, 3 and 7 in a bowl and mix. Then add remaining ingredients. Roll dough out on a floured surface about 1/2" thick. Cut out with cookie cutters. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 1" small cookies for 15-25 minutes. 3" large cookies for 30-35 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge.


Free Rice and Improved Vocabulary

I LOVE THIS SITE!!!! FREERICE.COM Gretchen introduced it to me over the weekend and I can't stop. I just adore the fact that while I'm improving my vocabulary, as I prepare for the GRE Test, that I am also donating rice to hungry people.

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.
Just go to the site right now and I promise that you will be addicted too.

And now for a blog question and confession.

Confession: Gretchen does most of the upkeep on the blog. She has done a lovely job of making the layout and making the archiving happen as well - as a bunch of other stuff that I don't even know she does to make sure the site runs smoothly. So a great thanks goes out to her!! I mention this because I am stumped with a blog question.

Blog Question: At the bottom of this blog page I have added a picture provided by but I cannot seem to figure out how to make the picture a link. Instead I have added text link above the picture. There must be a way to do this. Please post a comment and enlighten me on how to make this picture/link situation work.

And again, thanks to Gretchen for introducing me to and for keeping this blog up and running!

Pressed Pennies

Our friend Ryan recently introduced us to pressed pennies for collecting while visiting the National Museum of Natural History in DC. His wife actually collects them but for us we immediately thought it would be perfect for our kids. Honestly it would be perfect for any young kid. Now every museum or destination (example rest stops on a road trip) we bring along 51 cents to press a penny. Recently we went to the Baltimore Aquarium and instead of buying an overpriced souvenir in the gift shop both of my kids were thrilled to pick out their picture for their pennies.
If you don't have kids yourself set your nephew or niece up with a penny passport and a pressed penny from the state you live in. Then every time you visit him/her bring a pressed penny to add to their collection. You'll immediately be the favorite aunt, and that's what we all want. Right?!?!


Casual Coasters

I finally mailed out Jessica's b-day gift a month late (sorry again Jabby!) and part of her gift was casual coasters. From her previous posts you know she has been having a dilemma coming up with low cost coasters. I scoured my scrapbook stash and went to work. They key is to use card stock as the backing and embellish each square with paper scraps and flat stickers. I have a Xyron machine that laminates so I used that but you could also use regular clear contact paper that can be found @ craft stores or office supply stores.
Not a scrapbooker? No problem!

Start saving all the cards you get in the mail for holidays and birthdays. It's card stock weight and can easily be cut and laminated. I saved all the cards that my 4 year old got in the mail for his birthday and plan to make coasters out of them. What better way to train a child to use a coaster if the coaster has pictures of Superman on it. This technique may also work on significant others. I thought the days of coasters were over once I had children since most break when thrown or dropped but now I am excited about bringing these into our home. And besides Superman goes with any decor.


Daily Rituals

Recently, I read the nationwide bestseller Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I mostly read non-fiction books on Buddhism or informative semi-manuals like Fast Food Nation. Nationwide bestsellers aren't usually what I prefer cuddle up with, but this book was given to me by a friend who was extremely excited that I should read it. I could tell she had been deeply affected by the book, so I gave it a go.

After just a few pages of reading I thought to myself, "Everybody should be reading this!" As it turns out, everybody was! Everywhere I looked I saw another woman reading the book or if I went into a bookstore it was on the "Staff Recommends" shelf.

Eat, Pray, Love is an exceptionally well written account of one woman's breakdown to breakthrough transformation that I would encourage all women (and men too!) to read. Especially if you are going through a heart wrenching break-up or struggle with the guilt of dealing with depression in an otherwise-seemingly-fantastic life. There are several miracles that take place throughout Ms. Gilbert's journey but the most miraculous part of the book for me is how the author retells her tale without apology.

Thanks to Gretchen's heads-up, I was able to see Elizabeth Gilbert recently on Oprah. It wasn't a choice in Oprah's book club; it was just an interview with Ms. Gilbert about the book and the world's reaction to it. After you read the book, you should definitely go to and watch the fantastic conversation.

My favorite part of the interview is when Elizabeth described the two daily practices that she does to keep herself in balance. I have been practicing these two simple daily rituals for the last few weeks and have found them to be rewarding and informative.

The first happens first this in the morning. Everyday when she wakes up she writes and then completes the following question in a journal:

What do I really, really, really want.....?

She remarked that the three reallys are very important because she wants to record what she really, really, really wants in her life. It is not a list of the things you might like but a list what you deeply desire. I look forward to evaluating the patterns that will emerge from recording this statement over a period of time.

Her second practice is to take that same notebook before she goes to sleep and to record:

The happiest or most joyful moment of my day was...

This helps brings gratitude to the forefront and, for me at least, has made me re-evaluate the activities I am doing on a daily basis. The most interesting part of looking for Joy throughout the day is that, because I have been looking for it, happiness seems to be popping up everywhere.


In Seattle I have 3 girlfriends and we call ourselves the Jitterbugs. We were in the same MOMs Club, we each had a 6 month old kid and long story short we met every week in each other's homes for playgroup for the last 3 years. We experienced everything together, even the births of our 2nd kids. We included the husbands in this circle of friendship by having J-Bug family dinners every other month and Moms Night Out.
And now even though I am across the USA, in Maryland, we still talk via email daily. I honestly couldn't imagine life without them. If a few days go by without an email someone finally hits the send button with an email title "where are you???"
One of my J-bug friends, Wendi, sent this article to all of us and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. It's made me think about how I am approaching possible new friendships. I've found myself comparing women I meet to the J-bugs or else I'm immediately attracted to befriending someone that reminds me or looks like one of the J-bugs. I'm like one of those people you go on a date with and all they talk about is their ex-boyfriend/girlfriend. Sure, it's humorous and I know now that I need to stop and be open to new friendships by letting go of the J-bug comparison chart.
The article also had me thinking about those women in our lives that we have let go of. The friend that knew you before marriage and kids and who you thought was your "Best Friend Forever".
I'm thankful I have the J-bugs and also Jessica, we have withstood the test of time and distance with our friendship. But their are a few women out there that I often think about.
Kisha Howard
Brooke Spradlin Carter
Kelly Riale
Jeanne Hughes
Where are they? What are they doing with themselves?
And then their are friendships like the one I have with Cindy, she reads this blog and I read hers and it makes us feel as though we are still connected to each other. But we barely talk on the phone or email anymore. And I mourn the loss of that.
In short...friendships...they come and they go. Check out the article and then pick up the phone and call your old BFF.


Wrapping Paper

Every year I try and come up with a clever way to wrap gifts for the holidays that is both environmentally friendly and frugal. As I passed a neighbors' house I noticed a box on the front lawn with the word "FREE" on it, I just had to stop and take a look. Not only did I find several hardback books for me and my husband but I also scored 2 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper. I think my family will be shocked this year to see actual wrapping paper on their gifts, I'll leave out the part that it was free. Here is a list of ideas for wrapping your gifts this year.
  1. Children's Art Work: If you have children that are in school I'm sure, like me, you have a stack of artwork sent home from school. After proud placement on the fridge the artwork gets moved to a folder in our house and then when holidays or birthdays arrive I wrap gifts in the kid's art. There is no possible way to keep every masterpiece my sons make so I spread the love to grandparents and other family members.
  2. Old Magazines: I'm not a fan of using newspaper because of the ink transferring to your fingertips. If you have an Oprah fan on your list and you just so happen to subscribe to Oprah magazine, take the time to pull out some cool pages to wrap the gift. This is the key, I think, to make the present look unique and well thought out. Another example is to use pages of recipes from multiple magazines and use it wrap the gift for the "chef" in your family. Take the time to pick and choose the pages and because each wrapping is catered to that individual it won't come across as looking "cheap".
  3. Fabric: I'm a children's clothing designer so I have quite a stash of odd remnants of fabric. But fabric is something you can pick up for cheap or almost free at yard sales. This is a great wrapping for the crafter/quilter/sewer on your list. The wrapping is part of the present!
  4. A Present Within a Present: I can't remember who I did this for but I remember it was a boy gift. I found this awesome vintage t-shirt and wrapped the t-shirt (as if wrapping paper) around a hardcover book, using double sided tape to keep in place and adding a ribbon for the final touch. You could even have a t-shirt wrapping paper theme and wrap all your gifts in t-shirts, I'm sure you would get quite an applause for the creativity of it. I've also used this idea at baby showers and used a cotton baby blanket for the wrapping of the actual gift. A perfect environmentally friendly gift- no waste!
  5. Outdated Manuals: Go through your stash of manuals that have come with every appliance or computer program you purchased and purge the ones for the programs/ appliances you no longer own. Makes a great wrapping for the "geek" on your list. They may get a chuckle out of your original windows 95 manual and the bonus is you also purged random clutter in your life.
  6. For those of you who have adopted my Movie Book Space Saver Idea and don't know what to do with all those DVD sleeves you thought to save, tape a few together and wrap your child's gift in that.
  7. Old Calendar Pages: With the new year ahead the 2007 family calendar will soon be making it's appearance in the recycle bin, give it a detour and use it as wrapping paper and you'll be using something twice before recycling. LOVE THAT!
  8. This idea is for Gift Tags: If you use a photo processing place to print your pictures you may have too many copies of one shot or else what you thought looked awesome on the touch order screen is actually horrible. Or maybe, like me, you have a box hidden deep in a closet of random-not-so-good pictures from back in the day of film processing. Recycle those pictures as gift tags. Cut them to size and write the To and From on the back. You may want to embellish the pictures with funny mustaches and balloon phrases, I'm sure the humor will be much enjoyed.


Finding my Groove Spot

My oldest son is in a special needs preschool and right now he is labeled "Developmentally Delayed". But he is currently being evaluated for Autism. Today when I was picking him up from school he was in the multi-purpose room for rhythms class. This class is for all 4 year olds in the school and it led by an extremely energetic man called Motor Ken. He plays music and gets the kids so excited about doing the hokie pokie, along with other dances. It's exciting to get these glimpses into his world, to see how he reacts in the classroom, who he plays with etc. It's also nourishing to my spirit after being a SAHM for 4 years to know what he experiences everyday without me. As I peer in I search for my blond headed child, I spot him and watch.
He's not dancing.
He's not singing.
He's just standing there.
He has a blank look on his face.
He is staring directly across the room from where he is standing but he's not watching anything.
He is blankly staring at something...nothing.
He has withdrawn into himself.
It's a face I know well.
It scares the shit out of me when it happens and I try to avoid it at all costs. Typically what brings this face on is large gatherings. He can't handle it, it's too much stimulation and so he withdraws. So the urge I have is to go in there and take him out of the situation, but I can't. He's not being harmed and these are the lessons we want him to learn how to cope and deal in. To avoid looking at my withdrawn son, I start to notice the other children in the room and I smile and laugh to myself as they dance and move their little bodies in ways that is so freeing. If only as adults we could get rid of our inhibitions and just dance. Who cares what you look like, you are moving and dancing and damn it feels good!
That is the face I see on many of the children.
I'm struck by this one little girl, she has a walker...the tiniest walker I have ever seen. And she is in her groove spot, enjoying the music as she balances, not so gracefully on the handle bars of her walker. And I think to myself how hard it must be to parent a child with that type of physical disability. How do you go to the grocery store? I thought getting 2 kids out of car seats was hard, I can't imagine adding a wheelchair or walker to the mix.
But then the grass is always greener!
How much easier it must be in social situations to have this physical disability to explain why your child is acting the way he/she is. Sometimes I think it may be easier than having a "normal" looking child who acts differently. Where people are quietly, sometimes not so quietly, asking why my son is laying under the table at the restaurant, is reciting an entire episode of Backyardigans word for word, or better yet is repeating the same line from a show or movie over and over again for a half hour straight.
To Infinity and Beyond!
But I am sure these parents who have physically delayed children wish the walker/wheelchair didn't immediately define the capabilities of their child. This little girl that I observed today and later talked to was clearly intellectually on par for her age. The conversation I had with her I dream of with my own son. Don't get me wrong Logan is extremely bright and can talk...but he can't really have a back and forth conversation without a lot prompts. I hope that every parent is at least thankful for that...that their child can tell them what they did at school today, their thoughts and dreams that are so creative and imaginative at this age.
Logan's school has opened my eyes to the disabled people that I encounter in every day. I've never honestly thought one way or the other about disabilities. I've always just tried to look at the person and not the machine they use. But now seeing these little 4 year olds trying to make a go of this world brings me such joy. And they are a reminder to me to try new things...find my groove spot...and not to care who is watching.
Just dance!


The Microplane Zester

My favorite new kitchen gadget is the Microplane Zester. It must be some kind of recipe trend but it seemed like recently every new recipe I wanted to try required zest. Lemon zest, orange zest, or finely grated ginger.

Not one to want more in my kitchen than absolutely needed, mainly because it is exceptionally small, I didn't believe I needed a microplane zester - until I had one.

After ruining a perfectly good chicken fried rice dinner because the not-finely-enough chopped ginger overwhelmed the entire dish, I decided to spend the $9.99 on the zester to see what all the fuss was about. It was money well spent.

For the first time I am able to properly grate ginger and it is make all of my Asian cooking sing. Not to mention being able to buy cinnamon and nutmeg sticks and zest the spices fresh. It really does make a difference. The fresh spices have a cleaner vibrate flavor in baked goods or just on my morning oatmeal.

Here is my favorite new Zesty Recipe:

Zesty Lemon Yogurt

1/2 cup Plain nonfat yogurt (Preferably Total Greek Yogurt)
1 Tablespoon Honey
4 walnut halves broken into pieces
Zest from 1/2 a lemon

Zest lemon into yogurt and mix well.
Drizzle honey over yogurt, then top with walnut pieces.

Perfect for breakfast, desert, or a snack. It is high in protein and low in refined sugars.


Guitar Pick

What do you do with those plastic fake credit cards that you get with all the credit card offers you get in the mail? I use to give them to my kids to play with as pretend credit cards but then after thinking about the financial problems many Americans have with credit cards I thought I better stop. Don't want to create credit card issues in a 2 and 4 year old. :)
I get so many of these fake credit cards and I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what crafty thing I can do with them.
This is the first thing I made: Guitar Picks!All I did was trace a guitar pick on the plastic credit card. Cut it out and sand down all the sides till they are smooth.
Send a bunch to your environmental, guitar strumming pal for the holidays.


Damn Blogger and their picture Problems

Ok I just had to post a rant about Blogger because I have posts ready to share with you but I can't freakin' get the pictures to upload to them. Blogger is apparently having problems. Anyway I just wanted to let you know to stay tuned.


My $5 closet makeover

My son's closet was in desperate need of attention. I happened to pick up some odd pieces of a Closetmaid wire closet organizing system off of Freecycle, which was free as all things are on Freecycle. I then bought the wall brackets at Home Depot for 5 bucks and went to work. I installed a shelf on opposite sides of his closet.

And then I reached a "problem", I need some sort of bin or storage basket to hold all of pajamas on top of the shelf. Immediately I thought like most people : I'll just run out to Target and pick one up. But then I stopped myself...wait i can use what I have and make it work.
So I took the hanging canvas closet organizer that I already had and cut off the bottom 3 bins.
It fits perfectly on top of the shelf and now his pajamas can be organized by season, fuzzy footed jammies in one bin, long sleeve jammies in another and summer sets in the third. And yes for those of you that don't know me, all of my closets are this OCD organized.

Then I took the rest of the hanging organizer and put diapers and wipes in it so that it can live over the opposite shelf.

Here is the finished closet. Not bad for 5 bucks, eh?


I am not a Weekend Warrior

I've been in Colorado for about five months now. I knew when I moved here that the transition would be a learning experience but I had no idea what I would learn. So far, I have discovered that I very much like living with my boyfriend, that riding a bike isn't terrifying but fun and that I am not "A Weekend Warrior."

My definition of Weekend Warriors are the people who work jobs they have little on no feelings about week after week after week. These individuals live only for evenings and weekends when they do the things that bring passion into their lives. Of course, there are all kinds of weekend warriors from sport nuts to ballroom dancing fanatics. Most of them see their jobs as a means to an end - the end being the weekend. I am not judging these people; most of this country's work force would probably consider themselves weekend warriors. The reason I bring it up is that I am failing miserably at it.

In New York City, I worked as a Box Office Manager at various Broadway Theatres. For the first four or five years it was a dream job. I loved it. Now don't get me wrong, it was still work and I definitely didn't want to go some days, but I enjoyed that I was playing an important (albeit offstage) role in the production of high quality theatre. As the years moved along, I knew that I would not be able to do it forever because it was rote, boring, and I didn't feel like I was moving myself forward in any spiritual, emotional, or educational way. The job was what it was and it would always be exactly that.

One of the reasons I was so willing to move to Boulder, in addition to getting to live with my super-cute boyfriend, was that I would be forced to leave my comfortable job in Ticketing and do some other kind of work. But what? I thought that with 8 years of managerial experience in NYC I would easily find some type of administrative work that would pay the bills and then I would be able to become a Weekend Warrior. I didn't think about it that way at the time but that's how I imagined it would all work out. I would get some job as an administrative assistant at some hip, edgy Boulder software company or maybe work in the offices of Yoga Journal or even Crocs (both have headquarters near Boulder) and then on the weekend I would write, craft, cook, or bike ride. This I imagined would be a refreshing change to the hectic pace of NYC where you are what you do.

Boulder, CO as it turns out has the highest rate of under-employment in the United States which means that there are more people here with P.h.d.s working at Whole Foods than anywhere in the country. The employment agencies call it the 'Rocky Mountain Tax' which basically means that because it is so freakin' beautiful to live here (and it is possibly the prettiest place on earth with perfect weather to boot) that people are willing to work here for less. Way less. The good news is is that because of this people do not care at all what you do for a job; they only care what you do on the weekend. No one here is judging me because I am just a personal assistant. They are mostly concerned that I am not totally psyched about the upcoming Ski Season.

I initially overcame the Rocky Mt. Tax by landing a decent paying job as the 2nd personal assistant to a millionaire's wife. At $5.00 more an hour than the standard going rate for administrative assistants in this town, I thought that things were going to be alright. But they weren't. I am not happy at this job. And it's not because the woman I am assisting is a crazy, mean, unhappy woman that wants to control all people on her payroll. Sure that sucks, but I knew that she was a bitch when I took the job. The headhunter that hired me told me as much. When I asked her why this job was paying much higher than the other jobs in this area, she calmly told me it was a Bitch Tax. Meaning that because the person I would be working for was such a bitch they have to pay people more so that they are willing to stay. Fine. I saw myself as a mercenary. I would work this crappy office job and become - a Weekend Warrior. I would live for the weekends like so many other happy people residing in Boulder.

Unfortunately, I am failing. I feel bad at this job. It does nothing for my heart, soul, or mind. And having 48 hours on the weekend to do whatever I want isn't making up for it. How do all these people do it? I can't. It won't work. And sure, yes, by all means I can get another job. In fact, I have to. Mrs. Millionaire has fired her main assistant and wants to hire a professional personal assistant that has attened the Starkely Services Academy, which is one of the places in this country where one can train to be various types of servants to the rich. And so, I will move on to another office job which I fear will be similar in personal fulfillment for me but pay even less.

Why can't I do it? Here I am in this beautiful place with a fantastic partner and yet I am fairly unhappy. What I have learned in my first five months is Boulder is something I knew for about the last 3 years at my Box Office job - I need a career - not a job because I am not now and don't think I will ever be able to be a Weekend Warrior. My hats off to you, Weekend Warriors, you are noble people who have found a balance that works for you and brings you joy. This, however, is not my path.

I need a career not another job. If I am going to be somewhere 40+ hours a week it is going to have to be somewhere I feel useful and hopefully appreciated. I need to have a job that is important to me and that I care about. Unlike, my current place of employment where I have carefully hung a post-it note in my cubical that says, "Remember - You Don't Care."

So where am I? I know that I am going to have to take another 'job' soon as I know that I am not made of money but I hope it will be one of the last 'jobs' I will work. As the What Jessica is Reading window on the blog indicates I am currently studying to take the GRE and have to decided to go to Graduate School. For what? I am not exactly sure. I am in the middle of researching that right now. There are several great careers that I am currently exploring - all of which would make the 40 hours a week I will be working for the rest of my life more enjoyable.

So for now, I guess, I will be a Weekend Studier.


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