Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stitch Fix #4. Womp womp.

*Sigh* I just....Oh, I don't even know, you guys. As I mentioned previously, I knew I was going to be hella disappointed with this fix. I'm bringing hella back, btw. And I was. So very disappointed. I had Sasha again as a stylist and she started off her note telling me that their stock was very low. Great. I feel like that's $20 wasted. I MUCH rather would have gotten an e-mail asking me if I would mind postponing my fix a week or two until my requests could be accommodated. I'd be happy to wait if it meant that I would receive the items I wanted. Anyhoo, I did receive embellished tops, as I'd asked for, so that was cool. I got a repeat top from a previous box in a different color and a maxi skirt instead of the pants I wanted. What I was most bummed about was the price point of the box as a whole, the fact that they could not accommodate a request for pants that are not skinny jeans and that there was only one piece that would really be appropriate for me to wear given the weather we're having right now. It is a whopping 12 degrees fahrenheit right now, you guys. I am chilled to the bone.  They DID respond to my e-mail, however I don't really think that they looked at my account history or really read my request. They thought I had wanted jeans (wrong-o) and also said they couldn't guarantee that every piece would be less than $50 (also, not what I said). I'm debating replying and correcting the things they misunderstood. ANYHOO. On to my box of sadness. I am watching TNG while I write this in an attempt to cheer me up. Maybe I'll also have whiskey. We'll see.

Pardon my hair. I just got back from class and it is matted from my hat. I debated even posting this because it makes me look lumpy. Then I thought, nah, view the lumps. Understand my disappointment with this piece. This is the Lily Bethanie Side-Ruched knit top. It is $78. I can't find this clothing line online at all. No. No to $78 and no lumps. I got this same shirt in black in my last fix. I didn't keep it then because of the price (and the lumps) and I'm not keeping it now.

This is the Collective Concepts Geoffry Geo Print blouse. It is $68. I might have liked this if it hadn't been navy blue and orange. I am repelled by this color combination. I'm also not that big a fan of the print itself. Here it is up close.

Here it is far away. I feel like I'm wearing a bib. I can't find this particular shirt on sale online anywhere else. I think I need that whiskey now.

This is the Katherine Barclay Ziza Chain Detailed Sleeveless Blouse. $28. It's a reasonable price, anyway. Ok. It's friggin freezing. I need sleeves. I can't even think about this. The chain detail feels....odd to me. Maybe it's my OCD, but the fact that it's asymmetrical bugs me.

So, I realize you can see my bra. I thought about changing it and then decided not to because I wanted to illustrate how sheer this blouse is. It's not lined. At all. I probably would have kept it if it was lined. I'm also not a fan of white. I'm going to check that off as a color not to send me. I'm also going to check the color blue. I seem to be getting a lot of it and I have to wear navy blue scrubs every day to work. I'm all blued out. I don't think this looks bad on except for the fact that it isn't lined.

I apologize for the state of my mirror. I didn't realize that it was this dirty until I took this photo. However, I'm too tired to do anything about it now. Next time, kids. This is the Mystree Charlie Mixed Stripe Maxi skirt. I own 2 striped maxi skirts already. I paid less than $30 for each of them. At $68 this was too expensive. Can't find this particular item online either.

This is the one piece I'm considering keeping. This would be the Mystree Abigail Colorblock lace trim top. It is $58. Can't find it online anywhere. It's pretty. I pinned it, in fact as an example of one of their products that I liked. It's thin and sleeveless, but it's classic and timeless and I do have a black cardigan I can pair this with until temperatures improve.

Here's the up close of the lace detail.

I would be annoyed to lose my $20. I also have a $25 credit, so it'd only be another $13. I will keep it. It'll fit in to my wardrobe well, I know I look good in it and I'll get compliments. 

There it is guys. Will I schedule another one? Yeah. I'm a sucker. I REALLY want a box with 5 pieces I love. *sigh* I don't know. This service has been so up and down. I find when they miss the mark, they REALLY miss it. When they get it right, though, it's so great. I guess that's the chance you take. I did tell them at checkout that I would prefer to wait if they can't accommodate me. Maybe they'll add it as an option? What do you guys think? Has anyone out there gotten a fix and felt differently? The same? Do you think I'm being too persnickety? 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Disgruntled and Disappointed.

Hello again world. I've been thinking...

I had a dream last night in which the reciept Stitch Fix sent me for my items was incorrect and when I received the box it was full of stuff I actually liked at reasonable prices. When I woke up I was super disappointed. 

That was kind of weird. I guess I'm more annoyed than I realized. So I made a decision. I decided that instead of waiting for the box of stuff I'm not going to buy to get here that I would ask Stitch Fix directly, what the hell is up? So I sent this message to their customer service department:

A request I had made for this fix and price preferences.: 

I have a couple questions. One, I had requested pants for this most recent fix and I can see by my receipt that there are no pants in my fix. I'm curious as to why, since I don't feel like this is such a specific request that it couldn't be accommodated. I'm a very common size, so it wouldn't be hard to find a pair that fit me.

My second question is this, I have done my research and follow a lot of blogs in which people are consistently getting multiple pieces in each box that are $20 and $30 dollars cheaper than what I'm being sent. I have the cheaper the better selected as my preference for all pieces and yet in this box I'm being sent a $78 shirt. The total with the discount is $225 again. I had this issue with my first box. I complained about the prices then. There's just absolutely no way I would ever pay $78 for a top that isn't a sweater or a jacket. I'm curious as to why my price preferences are not being acknowledged when I know that you stock pieces that are in my preferential price range that I also find attractive. Especially when I see that a significant number of other people are receiving those pieces. Thank you.

The way I see it, I'm paying money for this service no matter what. You get my $20 whether or not I buy something. Why on earth wouldn't you accommodate the items I put forth in my survey? ESPECIALLY the price points. You do want me to buy things, yes? NOW, if I have asked for something ridiculous, like a bejeweled silk blazer for under $40, then fine, tell me I'm crazy. I just feel like it's not too much to ask to send me a pair of dressy pants for under $60. I'm super fucking disappointed that there are no Goddamn pants in this fix. It is what I requested, it is what I wanted. I have a hard time believing that they have none of those in a size 6 or 8. I'm not asking for a miracle here. I am VERY interested in seeing what they have to say in response.

I also decided that I'm going to ask Birchbox why some people got this months "find" and others didn't. They did say once that everyone would get a find. We'll see....the internet is a glorious thing, isn't it? Businesses can't dupe you when other people are sharing their experiences with the world. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Online Subscription Box BONANZA!!!!

Hey there denizens of the interwebs.
How you doin'?

So, I may have an addiction to subscription boxes. Sad, but true. I can't help myself. They're just so SHINY and SURPRISING. And they're mail that isn't bills. I like mail that isn't bills. I thought I'd share my thoughts on the things I signed up for and received and the things I'm anxiously awaiting.

SO much information!!!!

#1 Birchbox
I've been subscribing to Birchbox since March of last year. It's $10 a month. Initially I REALLY liked it. Recently, though, I feel their boxes are sliding downhill. For instance, in my last box the samples were:
1. A sample size organic mascara: Nice! Definitely like this and using it
2. Three bags of tea: Ok....I like tea, but this is supposed to be a beauty box. Also, pretty cheap.
3. A shampoo that is not intended for color treated hair (which I have)
4. and it's matching conditioner ALSO not intended for color treated hair: Hunh. I mean, my profile says I color treat and that my hair is red. ANY beauty professional knows that sulfates and alcohol will strip my insanely expensive dye job from my head in no time flat. Uh....hello?! WTF Birchbox? Stuff I can't use. Grrrreat.
5. The TINIEST little one use pod of body butter. .....o_O......wtf is going on here? I DEFINITELY did not get $10 worth of stuff in this box.
ALSO, SOME people got a Birchbox "find" in their box. I was under the impression that when they find something that's awesome they add it to every box. Or so they said. Apparently this is no longer true. I did not get the find this month. Don't they know that ladies on the internet talk?

I have my profile set to say that I want make-up, make-up and more make-up. I HAVE NOT been getting make up for the most part. I even slimmed down the stuff I want in my box in the hope that saying NO to things I might be okay trying would put more make-up in my box. No dice. Well, I made the decision to futz with my profile ONE MORE TIME and try ONE MORE BOX to see if it makes a difference. If not, Adios Birchbox. After I spend my points and get money off of a purchase in the shop, that is.

#2 I've decided to try Petit Vour. They are a vegan beauty subscription box for $15 a month. I've read quite a few reviews and they seem to have a tendency to send full size items and large samples. I'd rather be using vegan beauty anyway, so we'll see how this one goes. I'm familiar with some of the brands they stock, so I'm excited to see what they send me. 

#3 I Have Stitch Fix #4 shipped and judging by the receipt, I'm already disappointed. I asked for pants. No pants. 4 tops and a maxi skirt. The research I did shows that the maxi skirt is very similar to one I already own, so forget that. One of the tops is sleeveless. I can't even THINK about sleeveless tops right now.It was a whopping nine degrees out today. Hell to the no. One shirt looks to have a hideous blue and orange geometric pattern of ugliness. Yet another top is $78. Eff that. So, it looks like if I decide to keep anything at all, I have but one option. They will be hearing from me. What REALLY grinds my gears is that I see reviews from people all over the internet getting cute pieces I like that are 20 and 30 dollars cheaper than what I'm being sent. I TELL them this. I pin these things to my Pinterest board so they can see EXACTLY what things I mean. How is it that they don't have any dress pants in my size? I'm a really common size (6/8). Are beautiful wool pants out of fashion? Has the whole world converted to skinny jeans?!?!?!?! I LOATHE skinny jeans. On the subject of skinny jeans I signed up for another service called Cypress and 5th. You pay no money up front and they put a closet together for you. You pick 3 pieces for $75. A top, a bottom and an accessory. OR you can choose a dress and an accessory. When I got my first closet I was WAY bummed. ONE top I liked, I liked zero dresses, I liked zero skirts and there were ONLY SKINNY JEANS for bottoms. WTF?!?!?! When I contacted them about putting together a different selection they told me for pants that THEY ONLY HAD SKINNY JEANS IN STOCK. Dude. What is this world coming to?! I am now vehemently anti-skinny jeans. I won't wear them out of spite. Eff you skinny jeans!!!

4. I am super pleased with Julep. They are mostly nail polishes, but this month they are featuring some LOVELY cream eyeshadows. I chose the make-up box instead of the nail polish boxes and am getting a gel eyeliner and brush as well as an eyeshadow and a polish.  They are $19.99 a month for the basic box and you can add on. Their discounted add-on prices are super great deals. $4.99 for a nail polish instead of the $14 they normally charge. And they LAST.

5. I decided to try Plated. Plated is a fresh food/dinner prep delivery service. They send you everything you need to make an awesome dinner for 2 or more people. The ingredients are all fresh. No chemicals, no instant items. Fresh meat, vegetables, dairy, herbs, spices....you get the idea. They send you the food and instructions. You supply salt, pepper, water and the kitchenware. They have a great deal going on right now where you pay only shipping and get 4 meals for free. You even get the monthly subscription fee waived, which will get me discounts later on if I decided to continue. The menus are AWESOME. They create a menu of 6 dinners a week in the vegetarian, fish and land categories. Some are vegan. Some are gluten free. It tells you exactly what they're sending and what you will need, so you know ahead of time if you'd need to buy anything else or if you'd need to choose a different meal because of food allergies/sensitivities. They tell you the cooking difficulty, how long it will take and the calorie count as well. I'm STOKED that I caught such an awesome deal. I ordered 2 different meals for 2 people. Generally, it's $12 per plate as a member. $15 for non members. Becoming a member is a monthly charge of $10. Of course, if you commit to a year the membership charge is $8 a month. They do the math for you on the website to let you know how much you're saving if you keep up the subscription. You have to order at least 2 meals for 2 people in order for them to ship an order to you. It's not really worth it for them, otherwise. You never HAVE to get an order, but you DO have to specify NO ORDER each week if you decide you don't want one. $12 a plate sounds like kind of a lot and I don't know if I will keep up the subscription. I paid $20 for the 4 meals I ordered this time around, so at $5 a plate, this one order was SUPER worth it. They also have an ongoing %50 off your first order coupon floating around. To give you an idea of what they send you I will outline what I'm getting from one of the meals. It's skirt steak with cilantro chimichurri and carrot-citrus hash. They are sending: the steak, a yellow onion, garlic, honey, cayenne pepper, oranges, carrots, fresh cilantro, apple cider vinegar and a lemon. I'm super intrigued, so we'll see how it goes. If I like it and the roomie is willing to pay for his half of the foods, I may decided to keep it up.

6. And I hope you made it this far because I am OVER THE MOON about The Honest Company. They provide organic products for home, body and baby. I received a 40% off coupon when I signed up and didn't order anything, so I decided to use it to purchase one of their "Essentials" bundles. The great thing about this is that you can choose whatever 5 products you want in your bundle. You can add on 3 more products at %25 off each AND you can change the products in your bundle from month to month if you want. I ordered laundry detergent, dish soap, all purpose cleaning spray, Healing balm and body oil for my first bundle. I used the body oil after a shower last night and it is AMAZING. I wasn't at all greasy and my skin just soaked it all up. It had virtually no scent. All that's in it is sunflower seed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba, avocado oil, grapefruit peel oil, chamomile oil, tamanu oil, and two flower oils, calendula and matricaria. I understood every ingredient. They're all certified organic. It's made in the USA and they donate a portion of every purchase to needy families. Everything is free of petrochemicals, mineral oil, gluten, parabens, pthalates, fragrances and dyes. I am VERY allergic to dyes and fragrances. I can't use any laundry detergent or dryer sheet with fragrances or dyes. My skin turns into a giant itchy rash. I am SO PLEASED with all the products I bought from them and I would encourage anyone to check them out. I would up paying $27 and change for this bundle. Quite an excellent price. I also like the variety of home cleaning things and bath and body items that they sell. I have a box of different items set to be delivered next month. I may need more healing balm, though. I am addicted. My poor hands are chapped beyond recognition.

I will include my referral links in case anything I said has inspired you. I'm really taking a liking to the whole subscription box world. There are new deals popping up all the time, so it can be incredibly cheap to try something new and 98% of the boxes give you products that add up to much more value than you paid for them. And you don't have to deal with crowds or obnoxious people like you do when you venture out of your house. That is major bonus points to me.

Plated (yummy food stuffs)
Apparently you have to e-mail Petit Vour and tell them I'm great if you want to use a referral: contact@petitvour.com
Stitch Fix
The Honest Company

I should probably get to reading my O Chem....

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Honest Company

Ordered some stuff from  The Honest Company. This is Jessica Alba's line for home, body and baby. When she became a mother she became irritated by the lack of all natural/organic/chemical free products out there for her to use on her children, so she partnered with a friend and started a company that sells the kinds of products she could feel safe using. I got a 40% off coupon after having signed up and not ordering anything, so I decided to order an essentials bundle. I wound up buying the healing balm, body oil, dish soap, laundry detergent and all purpose cleaning spray. I'll report on my thoughts when the items arrive. They wound up costing me $27 and change for all five, which I thought was a pretty great deal for organic products. I'm pretty excited about this, actually. The price, even without the coupon, for the bundle is still only $36 for 5 products. I really hope I like it because I'd like to use stuff like this all the time and it can get really expensive. Cross your fingers kids. 

If you want to check out the website here's my link: Bam!!!

P.S. The next Stitch Fix is due on the 28th. YAY!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Things That Really Piss Me Off: Victim Shaming/Blaming

As a warning to victims of assault or abuse who might be reading this: This could be a trigger. I hope it isn't, but I understand how it works, so here's your warning. I'm going to talk about what happened to me and how angry this whole situation makes me. What happened to me will probably be very triggering for some.

Some things really grind my gears. Seriously. As if violence against women wasn't bad enough, there seems to be is a culture of victim shaming/blaming that goes on in perpetuity unless the victim decides to join the witness protection program and start a whole new life. This has been brought to my attention recently by a small number of friends who have had issues in their social circles with people disbelieving/publicly blowing off their attack. As if the first attack wasn't violation enough.

A friend pointed me toward This Article which left me both livid and extraordinarily depressed. Are you kidding me? Because a man presents himself well he couldn't possibly have assaulted anyone? Because he's charismatic it's the woman's fault? Dude. FUCK THAT.

I was assaulted too. More emotionally than physically, but in a sense I was VERY lucky. I'll explain. I was in between boyfriends and a guy whom I knew from the theatre group I was in expressed interest in grabbing dinner one night. We'd never spent any amount of time together, but we had mutual friends and although he wasn't my usual type, he seemed like a nice guy, so I said yes. We went out to dinner. We came back to my apartment. I was expecting that we'd make out, nothing more. Well, it went a bit further than that and when I was down to underwear and a t-shirt I decided I was finished. So I said I'd like to stop. I expected he would try to convince me to go further, he did, and I said, no really, I'm done now. I spent the next 30 minutes trying to crawl out from underneath him, repeating NO over and over again. He wouldn't let me out from under him and kept grinding his pelvis into mine as if that would somehow change my mind. He NEVER got the idea that I was serious. It was all a game. The game being that I was playing hard to get and at some point I'd cave. Eventually he relented. I was in serious pain from all his stupid grinding against me and exhausted from the fight. At that point I felt like he understood that there would be no sex that night, so I didn't feel like I was still in danger. I was too damn tired to process any of it and I fell asleep. So did he. He left the next morning and it wasn't until then that everything started to sink in and I became really upset. I wasn't sure, but I thought I had been assaulted. It could have been MUCH worse, so I didn't know if it actually WAS an assault. Did I even have the right to complain? What constitutes an assault? When I look back on it, I find what he did insidious. I was left so confused that I couldn't figure out if I had brought this on myself or what the hell had happened. All I knew was that I felt sick. And I never wanted to be alone in a room with him EVER AGAIN. He called me later that day to schedule another date and I expressed that I was considerably agitated by what had happened the night before and that I didn't think I wanted to see him again. He sounded mystified. To this day I don't know if it was all a ruse or if he was in fact, SO FREAKING CLUELESS that he thought that the previous evening was all fun and games. I don't remember a whole lot about the conversation except that I'd gotten my point across. I can't remember if he apologized. I can't remember if he argued. I put it out of my mind. I didn't want to think about it anymore. Ever.

About a month or so later the show at the theatre group I did shows with was having their big end of the show party. A couple ex boyfriends were there, one from out of town, who was staying with me. Everything was going fine until I was talking with a girl I knew in the bathroom and she informed me that assault guy had told everyone that we had slept together. For me, THIS was the ultimate violation. I had said NO. A lot. And now he was bragging about our night of "hot sex" with me to all his friends. I lost it. The girl I had been talking to was visibly surprised by my reaction and she went and got some of my closer friends as well as my ex-boyfriend who was staying with me, and another Ex that I was on good terms with. I would have to explain everything, which was mortifying. I sure as hell didn't want anyone to know. I just wanted to forget it. I wasn't just upset because he lied. I was upset because I had to fend him off for as long as I did and THEN he lied. So basically, I'm a whore on top of being violated. I sincerely felt in that moment like I was going to lose my mind. I had no idea what I was going to do. Here's the part where I got lucky. All those friends were furious on my behalf. Some of them were beyond that. Half a dozen or so men went out to find this guy, who was also attending the party by the way. There was a pretty frightening verbal confrontation, that I could only sort of see from indoors, but I could hear it. He denied saying anything, of course, but my friends knew that I would not publicly lose my shit so completely for no reason. I was hysterically crying in public, which I hate, but I couldn't help myself. Everything that had happened had built up and boiled over when I found out what he had said. They basically threatened him with physical harm if he ever came near me or the theatre again. He left and I never saw him again.

I cannot even begin to fathom what I would have done if my friends hadn't believed me and sent him away. I probably would have hurt myself if they had made excuses for him or said I was overreacting. I know it surprised a lot of people because he seemed so unassuming, passive, quiet and reasonable. I'm sure there are some of his friends that don't believe my story to this day, fortunately the insane fury of my friends shut their mouths forever. At least, in the presence of people who know me.

 I become FURIOUS when I hear of other women who are shamed by ignorant assholes (men and women) who would rather believe in a man's shiny exterior than the word of the woman he abused. I mean, REALLY? Come ON. Charisma counts for that much? Bullshit. What is WRONG with society? I wish I could wrap my brain around it and come up with a definitive way to shut up the Blamers and Shamers forever. Sadly, I've got nothing. All I can do is shut it down when I see/hear/read it and let the victims out there know that they're not alone.

Telling my story has been pretty cathartic, I mean shit, anyone can read this, right? I've put my story on the internet and I can't take it back. There will be a record of this somewhere forever. I hope it does somebody some good. It felt really good to be completely honest and leave it all out there. Like I said, I was lucky. It could have been much worse. I can't say how much it affects me. It probably does more than I realize, less so I think because of the friends who stood up for me. I am so grateful for that.

Respectful comments/conversations are welcome.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year! Commitments and Changes Abound.

Hello all!
With the hubbub of the holidays behind me and an all too sad return to work, I figured I'd share what I've been up to, including a few recipes I yoinked from other bloggers that turned out GREAT.

I have joined a workout program (movement) called Tone it up. Tone it up was created by two awesome, goofy, and motivated ladies who wanted to inspire other women to be healthy and be proud of their bodies. Right now they're doing the 6 week #loveyourbody program, which promises to get you super sexy in time for Valentine's Day. I have been mostly following the plan since January 1, which is a lot better than the nothing I was doing before. I like that the workouts require hand weights or nothing to complete them and that there are thousands of other ladies following it and lending their support to each other. It's sort of lovely to see so many women supporting each other instead of dragging each other down. If you're interested, it's totally free. You just sign up and get started. There are recipes and nutrition advice too.

In that vein I made no bake energy balls and granola the other day. They both turned out AMAZING.  The energy balls can be found over at Gimme Some Oven. I used maple syrup and milled flaxseed. They taste just like oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough! Except you don't have to worry about potentially getting salmonella from the uncooked egg! Yay! My only complaint is that the flaxseed sticks to the roof of my mouth. Totally worth it. The granola recipe is over at Bless This Mess Please. I did heat up the honey a little so that it mixed in better. I added slivered almonds and dried superfruits! OH! Also, I used gluten free flour. The beany mix from Bob's Red Mill that doesn't taste beany at all in this granola. Others who tried it said it tasted just like store bought, which I take as a compliment.

And now for something COMPLETELY different:

Finally, I've been actively working on becoming a more spiritual person in my religion of choice. I feel called to Paganism. I feel very strongly about reverence for the earth and it's creatures. I feel a very female spiritual presence and I don't relate to the notion that there is one male God, somewhere far far away, watching us and judging our deeds.  My Gods(esses) are much closer to me. Through the little research I've done so far, I feel an initial call from Druantia. She's the Goddess associated with Beltane and trees. She influences fertility, knowledge, creativity, passion and sex. She is also referred to as The Queen of the Druids, which you probably gathered from her name. I know this kind of thing may seem strange to some, but I've been searching for a spiritual path for a long time. I was raised Catholic, which I rejected as a teenager because my particular church was not.....friendly to people of different backgrounds. I sought out other denominations of Christianity for awhile, but nothing ever felt like it fit. Not that I don't like Jesus, I very much agree with his teachings and his philosophies, but many of the tenets of the Christian church do not jive with what I believe is morally correct. I don't believe one person is better than another for any reason. I don't believe the Bible is the Word of God. Men wrote the Bible and I find it hard to believe that they weren't at all influenced by their own prejudices while they were writing it. I don't presume that any human can interpret to ANY degree of certainty what God wants or desires. I'm also not keen on the idea that there is, in fact, one God. I feel like people, in many cases, have turned religion into a vehicle to oppress people who are different from them. I'm not down with judgment, or shaming, or tearing people down. I'm not down with forcing people to agree with me. And I'm not down with hate. Up until recently, I hadn't found any kind of spirituality that made me feel closer to the divine. I just felt lost and discouraged. I felt like I was potentially missing out on lifting myself up out of the muck, but I didn't know how to get there. I'd always been a bit interested in Paganism, due to my Irish heritage, but, like others, I had a skewed perception on what it meant to be Pagan. Many people think it means you sit at home in a robe and cast spells and sacrifice goats in your backyard or something. None of which I do, by the way. Nor do any other Pagans I know. Initially I was reluctant to come to Paganism because of the stereotypes. I'm a little sad about that because I missed out on feeling better about my heart, soul and environment for quite some time. It's about time I finally sat down at the table and owned what I believe. So, I continue to read and learn and feel better about the state of my heart and mind. Isn't that what religion is supposed to be for anyway? I don't expect (or care if) others agree with what I've said or believe, but I wanted to put myself out there. I think I'm done now.

What has everyone else been up to? Any resolutions? Changes? Thoughts? Respectful/witty banter is always welcome.