Friday, September 6, 2013

decisions and accomplishments

Yesterday we celebrated our return from vacation by just jumping right back into the thick of things. None of that easing in nonsense for us. Ninety to nothing. Or 'nothing to ninety,' as the case may be.

After a full day of work, we had to hit the grocery store, since our refrigerator didn't magically generate food while we were gone (??? I guess it's broken??). And then, since we were in the 'neighborhood,' Matt suggested we cruise by the construction site of our soon-to-be-opening Ulta...a site I have been relentlessly stalking for the last several months as I urge and cheer on the workers to WORK FASTER. WORK HARDER. WORK SMARTER. Do what you gotta do, gentlemen, cause I NEED THE STORE TO OPEN. Luckily it seems like they took advantage of my week-long absence from their job site and really got their hustle on-- there are actual SHELVES and WALLS inside now! Really it looks like it could open anytime...if there were any PRODUCTS there, that is.

Naturally, my eyes were drawn to this tempting sign in the window. NOW HIRING. Yes.

Now it is true-- I already work full-time. And I love my job. And the people I work with. And pretty much everything about my current employment situation. So I'm not looking to change careers or anything. But come on. How great would it be to get a second job at Ulta? SO GREAT, that's how great it would be. I swear, when I set foot into an Ulta I get this goofy perma-smile on my face. I feel happy! I feel empowered! I feel pretty! I become poor and I don't even care!! I disregard all logic as I snatch up $30 lip gloss! It's like a drug, I tell you. What if I could work there, too?!?! 

Let's look at it scientifically. Pros and Cons of Getting an After-Work Job at Ulta:

-I would be surrounded by temptation all the time. I have a terrible track record of staying strong in this setting. Therefore I would probably go broke quickly.
-My paycheck would probably be immediately 're-invested' back into the store. I probably wouldn't even come out ahead.
-I already work full time and don't really want to work more.
-I don't do my own makeup as fancy as all the other girls that work at Ulta.
-I would not get to spend as much time reading/blogging/exercising/lounging/gardening at home.
-I would have to drive myself to/from work there.

-Extra spending money to put towards infertility treatments/adoption (and shoes, jewelry, clothes, Starbucks, and books)...if there was any left over after I left the store each day.
-I'd get to try ALL THE MAKEUP and get tons of advice and tips and probably samples.
-I would be surrounded by happy people talking about makeup.
-I'd spend less time at home eating on the couch while watching TV/blogging/reading.

See, it's really a tough choice. I think that if I could truly write my own schedule and have it cater to my every whim (like...from 8-10 maybe twice a week, and then a couple mid-afternoon hours on either Saturday or Sunday. If I felt like it.) I might pursue it. But as I recall, retail wasn't exactly the most flexible and worker-catered environment, so that probably wouldn't be possible. So I'll probably just stick with being lazy and being a regular old customer. But still. It's a thought.

See? No post-vacation slacking for me. I'm jumping right back into the thick of Big Decisions!

After the Ulta Debate, I had to figure out what we would have for dinner. Over the past few months I've gotten into a huge habit of NEVER COOKING. It's pretty great, really. I've really perfected my eating out skills. So I'm totally out of the habit of cooking...especially after a week of having my every single need (food and otherwise) catered to at the resort. But last night I felt like I should be super ambitious and like...whip up something in my own kitchen. 

We've had a bumper crop of basil this year. A few months ago I bought a bag of pine nuts on a whim, thinking that somewhere I heard something about basil + pine nuts basically equaling pesto. Then I discovered that I didn't have a food processor. (I really thought I did. Apparently I don't.) So all my pesto dreams died. But then yesterday my friend Diana brought me HER food processor and said go forth and make pesto (or something like that) guess what I did??

That's right, homies. No recipe. No knowledge. I just looked deep in my soul, tried to rally together every lingering strand of DNA passed down from my Italian grandparents, and threw some things in the processor and hoped for the best. And look-- IT TURNED INTO PESTO!!! For the record, here's what I threw in: pine nuts (toasted), a crap ton of basil from the garden (washed), some EVOO, some minced garlic, a tiny bit of grated Parmesan, and S&P. BAM! PESTO! I know. I was pretty amazed with myself.

Then I had to figure out something to do with the pesto. Evidently it's not a meal unto itself. This is where I usually just give up and go out for Mexican. All that...all those dirty dishes...and no actual FOOD to show for it? Please. This is for the birds.

But sometimes, like yesterday, I can rise to the occasion. So look!! A MEAL! Brown rice pasta, some chicken sausage, and tomatoes all tossed in the pesto! It was actually really good! Of course, I could barely concentrate on eating it, I was so busy patting myself on the back...but whatever. It seems like it was probably good. I have some leftovers for lunch today, so maybe I'll get over my own amazingness long enough to taste it this time. I realize that I should not be this impressed by like...putting food on the table at night...but I'm just really out of practice, so I didn't know I had it in me. Hopefully I'll get better about cooking as fall progresses. Maybe. Then again, I'd hate to let my Mexican food-ordering skills get rusty.

I even have some pesto left over, so I'm thinking I'll use it on a pizza this weekend. My other big weekend plan is to go nail polish shopping. Obviously now that it's "fall," (quotation marks very intentional) my hot pink nails are embarrassingly outdated. I'm on the hunt for some perfect fall colors. I know...excruciating plans, but somehow I'll press through. I hope your weekends are full of equally stressful tasks...stay strong! 


  1. That looks so yummy! You go girl! Years ago I worked a very part-time job at Bath & Body Works, in addition to my full-time job that I also loved. It was great to work with the public and sell lotion, make-up, candles and stuff that made you feel and smell pretty. Bottom line, I probably made NO money at all from that second job because all I did was use my discount and buy stuff that made me feel and smell pretty! LOL!!!

  2. You are seriously so funny! I love reading your blog when I'm eating breakfast because it cracks me up and always starts the day off on a good note. :] I think a second job would be awesome but those cons are pretty tough. It would be hard with all of that temptation! i was just talking to my friend last night about Ulta and the $30 lip gloss so it was funny that you mentioned the same thing. You go girl with that pesto! Looks delish!

  3. I totally agree with Jessica! It always starts off my morning with laugh! That dinner looks really delicious - I would be patting myself on the back too. I'm trying to convince Peter to go get Mexican tonight and I'll be crushed if he says no. But I'll probably just go myself if that happens. I found a $20 bill in my jeans this morning and I took it as a sign that I need to spend it on fajitas.

  4. I love home made pesto! I like to make a bunch and freeze it in little baggies so we can have it all winter long. We like this recipe using it: Except I don't use thighs because I never have them and I mix my own ranch seasoning. But it's really easy and yummy!

  5. I've been wondering if you were going to jump on the chance at ULTA. In my retail experience, you're lucky to get 6 hours a week, so it seems totally doable. I like the idea of adding to the adoption/infertility fund, but it would be tough to make it home with a check! I worked at Bath and Body Works one holiday season... not really a place I shop, but the manager told me that they kind of bank on the holiday employees bringing IN revenue to the store... meaning you SPEND more than you MAKE! No wonder they hired like 80 employees!

  6. Your love for Ulta that is apparently strong enough to make you contemplate getting a part-time job there has made me think if there is anywhere like that to me in my own life... but I have decided the answer is no. Even considering my love for Starbucks and the frequency of my visits there, I've still never been tempted to work there. You and Ulta must be in an entirely different league!

  7. Wow! I'm seriously impressed with your culinary creation! We have mastered the art of eating out lately because our dishwasher is still broken. Which means the kitchen still has a ton of water damage, and we're still battling it out with the insurance company. Sighhhh. I don't want to discuss how much weight I've gained as a result. I'm looking forward to putting my new "Cooking Light" subscription (and @melissa's crock pot pesto chicken recipe!) to good use if and when we ever do get our kitchen fixed. But if it means hand-washing all of those dishes, I guarantee you that eating out will continue to win that war every time. Guess I need to invest in more elastic-waisted pants until further notice...

  8. Yum! If my basil isn't all dead when I get home, I may whip up some pesto tonight!

  9. Way back in the day I got a second job at Casual Corner thinking I would get this fabulous discount and save tons while earning extra money...bahahaha!!! I spend every penny plus many dollars on the wonderful discounts I was privy to before the regular customers. There was a fantastic benefit though...a friendship formed with a girl I still call my BFF 15 years later.

  10. mmmm... homemade pesto, wow!! looks so delicioso!

    Every time I go on vacation I spend all my money and forget I need to save some (lots) to restock my fridge when I return.

  11. Yum! That looks delish!! I'm impressed with your ambition coming straight off a vacation!

  12. I've been thinking about making pesto for months. Maybe I will cross that great line from thinking to doing soon. I too have joined the no cooking school. I hate to graduate, but one cannot live on mexican and cereal alone. Well, not without buying some bigger pants.

  13. 1) what exactly constitutes a fall nail color?
    2) when Ulta finally opens I am going to need my fashion tutor (you!) to go with me the first time. I don't think I've entered one since it was still called Ulta3. Help will be necessary.

  14. I had a full-time job and a part-time job at a bookstore "for fun!" I know I shouldn't be encouraging you but you could ask for specific hours. I ended up doing one week night evening and one weekend afternoon shift for a while.

    Also, I am super-impressed by your pesto making and am now thinking I should get some basil from our CSA next week to make some myself. Then I can feel accomplished too!

  15. Getting back into the real world after vacation is the worst, but I like your approach- sort of like ripping a bandaid off. Glad you survived!

  16. I tend to rebel and wear pink all the time haha BUT it is pretty much 90 here in southeast Texas 10 month out of the year it seems.

  17. I hardly cooked at all during August. Sheesh. Thanks for some inspiration. Maybe I will whip up some pesto . . . maybe. :)

  18. I can speak intelligently on this topic! I LOVE when that happens!

    When I was in college, I worked at Coach. I really loved it there and have gone back every year to work as a seasonal employee just for October - early January. This is perfect for several reasons:

    1) Just when you start to get sick of it, it's over
    2) Seasonal employees generally have more flexibility with scheduling because they assume you have another job/a life
    3) You still get the discount! Which, HELLO, was totally missing from your pro list and is definitely the best pro of all!

    At Coach we got 50% off everything. (I'll take a moment to let that sink in....)

    Anyway, while in college and working there as a "real" employee, I basically wasted all my extra money there, at one point even convincing myself I needed a freaking $700 Coach travel duffle bag. I bring this up only to illustrate the intensity of my obsession. But I will tell you that this past holiday season when we were getting ready to do IVF and stuff, I didn't buy one single thing (ok, I bought a wristlet. Don't tell Eric). Maybe I have really good self-control, or maybe I'm just more grown up and realize that I don't need 8 billion Coach bags. Either way... I love being a seasonal employee and would highly recommend it. Plus if you do splurge a little, it's not like it has to be hundreds of dollars. And you brought up the good point of samples! I bet you'd get a lot of those.

    Then if you love it and they love you, you could potentially stay on as a regular employee. Hate it? Wave buh bye in January with all your loot.

    ....that said, I'll still hope you keep up with blog posts :)

  19. You should apply to be food network. That would be a perfect second job. Maybe your tv show could be filmed in your kitchen, then you wouldn't have to leave your house. Those shows are only a half hour long, so how long could it take to film? Like 40 minutes tops. Send in a tape of you making your from scratch pesto. I think you wouldn't be able to say EVOO on your show though. Rachael Ray owns that phrase.

  20. I'm dying over how tasty your dinner looks, and glad for how I was able to contribute. :) NOOO rush on getting it back.

    I've never been in Ulta (always defer to Sephora); I'm pretty excited to check it out! You know, if I can wear makeup again at that point. If not, from the sounds of it there are plenty of other things to get, haha. And I think you'd be a great asset at Ulta but your con list has some serious game changers...maybe compromise with just a couple week holiday stint and stock up?

  21. You crack me up with all your talk of ULTA! I have got to go visit that store! :)

    That dinner looks DELISH!

  22. That looks so yummy! You're so cute, Erika. XOXO


I love comments almost as much as I love Mexican food. Seriously.