Friday Fun: Weddings, Weddings, Weddings

by Louise

Mega-Weddings: Why You Should Say ‘I Don’t’
George Clooney Could Easily Afford a Gala. But for Others, a Big-Ticket Celebration Could Be Hazardous

Totebaggers, this post is all about weddings – your own, the ones you have attended – black tie, hot sauna barn weddings, destination weddings, backyard weddings, celebrity weddings.

What were your favorite things, least favorite ? Was there a cake wreck, bride running away with best man or a good old fist fight ?

Let’s raise our glasses and toast the happy (or unhappy) couples.

Coffee Talk: Halloween Is Next Friday!

by Grace aka costofcollege

It doesn’t get better than having Halloween on a Friday, right?  And then we can look forward to next year when it will be on a Saturday.  Nice.

Party City was already a madhouse last week when I stopped by.  It was fun to check out all the costumes and props, but I decided to order online instead of waiting 30 minutes or more in the long line to pay.  Again this year I’m bemoaning the fact that I’m not invited to a Halloween party, so if I dress up it will only be for the ghosts and goblins who come to my door.  On the other hand, I might just put a bowl of candy at my front door and let trick-or-treaters help themselves.

Day of the Dead has apparently gone more mainstream, as I noticed lots of decorations and costume props related to this Latin American holiday.  In my family we usually remember our dearly departed family and friends on this day, and sometimes I bake pan de muerto, appropriately decorated with bones.

Here’s a link to costume ideas in case you’d like some inspiration:  Halloween Costumes

What are your Halloween plans?  What are the hot costumes this year, for your kids or for you?  Does it annoy you that adults have taken over so much of the fun of Halloween?  What was your favorite costume ever?

Ask The Totebag: What’s For Dinner?

by Guilt Free Mom

I’ve gotten a lot of food inspiration from the Totebag, not the least of which has been creating a plan for dinner each week (thanks, Lark, wherever you are!). We’ve been doing a weekly dinner plan for about 2 years now. The plan guides our grocery shopping, keeps us from eating too much junk and/or from wasting food, makes our weekday evenings run *a little* more smoothly, and allows DH, our sons (2 and 4), and I to sit down to dinner together pretty much every night. I make the plan and grocery list. DH hits the grocery store. If I have time, I’ll prep some things in advance, or make a few freeze-ahead meals, though I don’t always have time or inclination to prep ahead. We try to keep our menu relatively simple, semi-homemade and kid-friendly. On weeknights, DH gets home with the kids before I do, so he makes dinner. On weekends we are home, I usually cook. We have a whiteboard in the laundry room that has the dinners for the week. Here is what it says this week. Asterisk indicates items made ahead:

Sun: Pot roast, salad
Mon: Butterfly salad*, rotisserie chicken
Tue: Meatballs,* marinara (jarred), polenta, zucchini
Wed: Broiled chicken breasts, salad
Thu: Turkey chili*, corn muffins*
Fri: Out (probably sushi)
Sat: Easy sole Meuniere, broccoli

What are you having for dinner this week? Do you plan ahead or make it on the fly? What are your favorite easy weeknight meals or your secret weapons for making food fast? Care to share any make-ahead dishes?

Are You an Abstainer or a Moderator?

by Seattle Soccer Mom

Gretchen Rubin (author of several books and creator of the blog “The Happiness Project”) shared a way of thinking about yourself that I’ve found very helpful: are you an abstainer or a moderator?

From her blog:

When dealing with temptation, I often see the advice, “Be moderate. Don’t have ice cream every night, but if you try to deny yourself altogether, you’ll fall off the wagon. Allow yourself to have the occasional treat, it will help you stick to your plan.”

I’ve come to believe that this is good advice for some people: the “moderators.” They do better when they avoid absolutes and strict rules.

For a long time, I kept trying this strategy of moderation–and failing. Then I read a line from Samuel Johnson, who said, when someone offered him wine: “Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.”

Ah ha! Like Dr. Johnson, I’m an “abstainer.”

I find it far easier to give something up altogether than to indulge moderately. When I admitted to myself that I was eating my favorite frozen yogurt treat very often–two and even three times a day–I gave it up cold turkey. That was far easier for me to do than to eat it twice a week. If I try to be moderate, I exhaust myself debating, “Today, tomorrow?” “Does this time ‘count’?” “Don’t I deserve this?” etc. If I never do something, it requires no self-control for me; if I do something sometimes, it requires enormous self-control.

There’s no right way or wrong way–it’s just a matter of knowing which strategy works better for you. If moderators try to abstain, they feel trapped and rebellious. If abstainers try to be moderate, they spend a lot of precious energy justifying why they should go ahead and indulge.

Like Gretchen Rubin, I fall into the abstainer category.  I wish I was the kind of person who could eat a square or two of chocolate (DH is like this) – but I eat the whole chocolate bar.  Several chocolate bars.  All the chocolate bars.  It’s easier for me to skip chocolate entirely than to be moderate about it.  For the last 2 months, I’ve really tried to eliminate carbs and sugar (except those in fruit/vegetables) from my diet. This has been easier for me than trying to be moderate in my consumption of carbs and sugar.

Fellow totebaggers, are you a moderator or an abstainer?  There’s a quiz you can take at The Happiness Blog to help you think through this question:  Back by Popular Demand: Are You an Abstainer or a Moderator?

Friday Fun: Handmade

by Louise

Hello Totebaggers – do you or does anyone in your family do any arts or crafts? This can include anything from knitting to wood work. A while ago when going through some stressful times, I took up knitting. I had learnt to knit in school and I remembered the basics. Knitting and spending time among knitters brought me great comfort. Do you pursue an arty or crafty hobby? How did you get started? Any gift ideas for beginners (Christmas is coming, looking for ideas for artsy daughter).

Since my day, YouTube videos have made it easier to do crafty projects.

Coffee Talk: Some Harsh Truths About Love, Marriage, and Career

by Grace aka costofcollege

Straight men of all ages tend to have their romantic sights set on women in their mid-twenties, while women prefer men who are about the same age as they are, according to a new study.

A picture is worth a thousand words, or make that two pictures from OKCupid’s data.  (Click images to see details.)

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And we can count on Penelope Trunk to add her unfiltered perspective on how 20-something women should take advantage of their strengths.

… Now it’s pretty well understood by women that it’s easier to get stuff done in the office when everyone wants to have sex with you. There is even science to back up the recommendation that women should flirt at work to get ahead….

What’s your take on these gender differences that affect love, marriage, and career?  Do you disagree?  And what advice would you give your children?