Jun 27, 2014

For Sale: Blogger's Dream Machine 2.3GHz quad-core i7

Confession: My husband is a computer hoarder. And the one thing he certainly can't resist? Apple. That said, we are selling a Mint Condition (read: only used for 1 year) Mac Mini. And this little beauty can purrrr. Of course it can. Matt is a Software Engineer so every computer he buys always has plenty of power.

This will be perfect for the blogger who is looking to switch to Mac, without a huge investment. This purchase only comes with the Mini, so you'll need a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Price tag: $800
Specs: 2.3 GHz quad-core i7
250 GB SSD
late 2012 model
small scratch on bottom, not visible when sitting on a desk

If you're interested or have any questions, email me at graceandjosie@gmail.com.

Jun 25, 2014

Supermarket Sweep: How to Achieve the 15 Minute Grocery Shop

Quick Grocery Shopping

How do you feel about grocery shopping? Do you love it? Could you spend hours meandering down the aisles, chatting with neighbors, delicately squeezing each melon before you buy it? Yes? Then this post probably isn't for you.

Me on the other hand? I have a need for speed. Under the right conditions I can actually achieve a 15 minute grocery shop for the week. It isn't pretty, but I can show you how to get it done.

Here are some tips:
Plan, plan, plan
1. Unless you have a photographic memory, do not go in there without a list. Plan out each meal and organize your list by sections in the grocery store/store layout.
2. Leave your husband and kids at home. Seriously, this is key.
3. Select the ideal grocery store. Characteristics include: low traffic, standard layouts found in the larger chain stores, wide aisles, stores that maintain consistency.
4. Keep your 15 minute grocery shop list similar- stick with the classics, same brands, etc. Again, consistency is key and you'll become very familiar with specific locations. A word of caution - when products you're looking for are out, be prepared to make a quick decision.

5. For each 15 minute grocery shop session I will visualize my path through the store, including where I'll pick up most of my items. Luckily, I shop mostly on the outside of the store layout (product, meats, some packaged goods, dairy, frozen). This will help you to eliminate backtracking, a surefire time-killer.

Keep Moving
6. Wear something comfortable if you can. Yoga pants and sneakers aren't a bad idea, afterall, I liken my 15 minute grocery shops to a workout. Last timeI was in work attire, but still made it happen. Don't let that hold you back.
7. Drive your cart at a decent clip. This is the one that embarasses my husband to no end. Also a reason why I have a 'No Husbands Allowed' policy.
8. Limit eye contact and definitely avoid small talk. Visit a grocery store on the outskirts of town if this will be a problem for you.

A few parting notes. 
- Play the first 30 seconds of Eye of the Tiger in your car before heading into the store.
- Getting this done in 15 minutes is not easy, it's going to take some focus and energy. Caffeine helps.
- When I first started my 15 minute grocery shops, I included the checkout process in my time. Unless you want to develop an ulcer or have a panic attack, don't count checkout time as part of your 15 minutes. You'll be foiled every time.
- I save these for special occasions of limited time and/or patience to grocery shop. The rest of the time I'm just like you: no plan, husband and child in tow (I hope you're picturing us in matching Supermarket Sweep sweatshirts), driving around in an oversized kid-pleasing car cart. It takes an hour. I spend way too much money on impulse purchases. Boooo. Everyone loses!

When you get to your car it's ok to do a serious victory dance. You've earned it.

Jun 20, 2014

Jawbone UP24 Review: An Interview with My Husband

My husband, you might remember him from my previous post - or seen below, just got his first wearable tech device (and I'm jealous).
PS that's not really him.

I am a huge data nerd and being a Social Media Manager I guess it's just part of the DNA. When my husband got the Jawbone UP24 I couldn't wait to learn more about it.

So I grilled him:

For the sake of our readers, tell me when you got the Jawbone UP24?
M: For my birthday, about 3 weeks ago

Great, and tell me, what was your first impression of the product?
M: I'd done some research on this type of fitness tracking wearable and remember the Jawbone UP received very high marks in Consumer Reports so this was the device I was hoping to get. I was excited to put it to work. When I first started to use the UP I found it a little difficult to sync it with my phone, and still have intermittent issues with the app, it freezes.

How do you use the Jawbone UP24?
I wear the band all day and night, but keep it out of water (showers, dishes, swimming, etc.). I've set certain goals within the app such as hours of sleep or steps per day and the band tracks those movements. When I've been idle for too long the band gives me a little buzz to let me know to keep moving.

Pros of the Jawbone UP24?
I like the ability to track my activity and sleep. It's also cool that the UP integrates with so many other apps, like IFTTT, although I haven't explored that too much yet.

The app has been the most frustrating part of the Jawbone UP. I've also found the band to be a bit bulkier than I expected. I have a large wrist so the fit isn't perfect. I also wish the band were waterproof because I've already forgotten to put it back on after showering.

Overall Impression?
Overall, I like the product. We'll see if wearing the band becomes more natural over time. As far as the app goes, I'm a Software Developer so user experience and functionality is very important to me. I hope Jawbone is working on the stability of the app, to make it more reliable and less frustrating. Luckily, something like this will just require an update and not an overhaul on the actual band itself.

App Screenshot

Size Chart

Jun 12, 2014

10 Best Things About Dads

 This post may take a little longer to load but I promise it will be worth it.
Dedicated and inspired by Grace's Dad. My ♥

Whether it's sharing your Sports Appreciation with the kids...



General Areobics
(Tony Horton eat your heart out)

Your mad DIY skills.

Your killer Dad-Like reflexes.

And you're saving the day...

Or trying to save your dignity.

You've got moves Dad. ♥

These moves?

And we love you!

Especially when you're rocking the fairy wings.

Jun 11, 2014

Pastels for Summer

Casual Summer Chic: Pastels

Casual Summer Chic: Pastels by jemstaa featuring pink jewelry

I can't stop buying J. Crew chino shorts in anticipation of summer. It's probably Pinterest's fault, or J. Crew sales. What's even more peculiar is that I basically swore off shorts a few years ago in favor of either dresses, skirts, or capri length but something swayed me back over to the short side. Now that I think of it... it could have even been Instagram with all the new preppy accounts I've been following... hmmm.

What's your summer staple?

Jun 10, 2014

Saturday Rambles: Newport, Rhode Island

Have you had those days? Of course you have, that quote should begin with Jane Austen's famous line "It is a truth universally acknowledged that...". 
Well anyway, let's get to it. 
The Plan: 
On Saturday we had grand plans of heading into Newport for the day to attend the Great Chowder Cook Off, a Rhode Island institution for as long as I can remember. It was my husband and father-in-law's birthday weekend, not to mention one of the first stunning pre-summer weekends of the year, so we were all excited to have an event to attend. First stop was Portsmouth to assist in the construction of a patio pagoda. 

For illustrative purposes I've provided a look at what we were working with in terms of geography. Not too bad right? After all, our house and Matt's parents' house are exactly across from each other. If only the great state of Rhode Island would consider a bridge.

The one thing this particular map doesn't adequately consider is the ugly amount of traffic that occurs between these three points from about Memorial Day to Labor Day. To be fair, the drive wasn't terrible, but my husband, like most Aquidneck Island natives, feels compelled to drive zigzags zags all over the island just to avoid East and West Main Roads. So we zigged and we zagged up to Portsmouth, and then back down to Newport where parking was at first challenging, but then by a stroke of good fortune- amazing- and then we joined the exodus down the hill and over the cobblestones toward the Newport Yachting Center. 

Now for The Reality:
The Great Chowder Festival was sold out. Sold. Out. An hour into the event and tickets were not available. So what were the quick thinking Carriers to do? Let's go get a damn cocktail and raw bar at The Mooring. DONE. You know what? It was awesome. We got a table that was just on the edge of being outside, but still inside which was perfect for a weather finicky toddler, we ate chowder and delicious raw oysters and cherrystones, and I ordered a Lobster Croissant. I can't complain. It was actually quite perfect and we didn't have to drive a giant stroller through a herd of people for tiny shot cups of chowder. 

On the docks by The Mooring

A rare complete family photo op
 So there you have it. Plans gone awry, but in the end we probably fared better. We even caught one of those perfect sunsets over the Newport Bridge on our way home.
Goodnight Newport, back over the bridges to East Greenwich

Jun 5, 2014

I want this outfit + Tutu Inspired Looks

Rain boots + polka dot leggings + fabulous Tutu skirt = One happy little fashionista this morning

via Instagram http://ift.tt/1nllB17

Tutu Inspired

Jun 4, 2014

Jun 3, 2014

Always Late? What Kind of Late Are You and 5 Steps to Being on Time

Are you always late? This is something that has plagued me for as long as I can remember, although I have gotten slightly better after becoming a Mom.

I came across this article today: Always Late? How To Be On Time - For Real.

Most interesting was the "What Kind of Late are you?"
The Deadliner enjoys the rush of the last minute. She thrives on urgency and often claims to work best under pressure. Sometimes it’s difficult for Deadliners to motivate unless there’s a crisis (even if that means creating crises of their own). Rushing from here to there serves as a way to relieve boredom. 

The Producer needs to get as much done in as little time as possible. She feels better about herself when she’s checking things off a massive to-do list. Producers tend to engage in “magical thinking,” consistently underestimating the amount of time their tasks will take. They hate wasting time, so they schedule themselves to make use of every minute of the day. 

The Absent-Minded Professor is easily distracted. Distractibility is thought to have a genetic basis and can range from full-blown attention deficit disorder to innocent flakiness. Absent-Minded Professors often lose track of time, misplace car keys and forget appointments. 

People typically identify with more than one lateness personality. The other four are: the Rationalizer, who never fully admits to her lateness (many late people are at least one part Rationalizer); the Indulger, who generally lacks self-control; the Evader, who tries to control feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem by being late; and the Rebel, who arrives late to assert power (Rebels are usually men).

I identify with a solid mix of the top two and a little dash of the third. What has always bothered me is that people say late people are trying to assert power and control  by being late. Maybe some people are, but it's not my cup of tea.

In the name of Self Help, what the heck am I going to do about it?

While I think becoming a parent has helped me understand the beauty of organization, I can see that I still fall into the trap of, "Just one more thing before I leave" + an unrealistic view of how long things take + an aversion to leaving the house.

Considering what I have to gain personally from eliminating (or at least reducing) my lateness: less guilt, less stress, instilling promptness in my daughter - I'd say it's time to give these 5 steps a try. Here's my game plan for Being On Time.

1. Get (or stay) Organized: make sure that they essentials are part of a system (e.g. do I leave my car keys in the same, easy to access place every day?).
2. Prepare the Night Before: it's much easier to get ready when toddlers aren't demanding your attention!
3. Give Yourself a Realistic Amount of Time to Get Ready: this may take some practice, but also make room for unanticipated circumstances.
4. Be Determined to Arrive 15 Minutes Early: this will go a long way to reduce that traffic jam stress.
5. Utilize the "It Can Wait" Mantra: do I really need to fold this basket of laundry right now?

So what kind of late are you?
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