Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Absolute Best Pink Sugar Cookies (guaranteed to make you feel like you’re celebrating your 6th birthday)

February 28, 2011

I found these recipes on allrecipes.com (cookie recipe by Jill Saunders and frosting by Kathy Brandt) and have become quite passionate about these cookies. While the recipe belongs to those 2 ladies, I have added a few details that I think are crucial to the overall effect. These are great holiday, birthday and baby shower cookies, as well as I’m-Sorry-I-Was-Such-A-Jerk-When-You-Got-Home-Last-Night cookies. I even sent some to work with David and they turned into currency for the computer software engineers black market.

COOKIES:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Cover the dough and chill for at least 1 hour (overnight is great too.)

Preheat oven for 400 degrees and roll out dough on floured surface about ¼-1/2” thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutter. Bake 6-8 min on ungreased cookie sheet and cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING:

4 cups powdered sugar

½ cup butter (room temperature)

5 TBSP milk

1 tsp vanilla

Food coloring and colorful sprinkles—I like pink, green and yellow.

Cream together sugar and butter and gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with electric mixer until frosting becomes smooth and stiff (about 5 minutes). Divide frosting in a few different bowls and color with a few drops of food coloring to create pastel colors. Frost cooled cookies and top with sprinkles.

How to Create a Fool-Proof Master Grocery List

February 25, 2011

David and I had some serious growing pains surrounding grocery shopping.

When I lived alone I shopped at Trader Joe’s several times a week so I could get plenty of fresh, delicious hippy foods. While he lived alone he ate a few boxes of pasta a day, supplemented with weekly trips to a sushi bar. Our eating habits were not a match made in heaven, and we soon had a consistent issue—having spent tons of money grocery shopping for the week, but neither of us being happy with what food was in the house.

I remember once spending about $70 on food, I was in a raw food phase (I go through a lot of phases) and bought a bunch of ridiculous things like coconut oil, bushels of romaine lettuce, and raw goat milk cheese. $70 was a lot of money, and David kept going through the fridge asking “where all the food was.”

So then David had a turn. He went to Costco and came back with 6 restaurant sized jugs of César salad dressing (that we both hated as soon as we tasted it) and a package of steaks. Clearly we needed some sort of plan.

While it took us almost 3 years we do in fact have a plan, which saves us money, allows for “throw together” meals, and rarely has us slamming cupboard doors complaining about having no food in the house.

After being inspired by the Fly Lady (I will definitely need to post about Fly Lady one day) I came up with a master grocery list of things we should always have in our kitchen.

So how do you make a master grocery list? Basically you come up with list of things you always want in your house (your staples), plan for you meals, and allow some extra space for once-in-awhile items. This is how I made and use my list (and you can see my list using the link at the bottom of this post):

1. Came up with grocery shopping categories.

Mine corresponds with how the grocery store is laid out, for easy shopping. They are:
• Produce
• Deli & Meat
• Bread
• Canned Goods
• Cupboard Items
• Freezer
• Dairy
• Snacks
• Drinks
• Condiments and Spices
• Baking Supplies
• Cleaning Supplies
• Toiletries
• Kitchen Paper Products
• Other

2. Decided what constitutes as staples.

This might take a while. These are the items that you always want in your house and mine include everything from vegetables and fruit to snack on, to aluminum foil and ground pepper. These might be things you buy once a week or things you’ll buy once a year. Go through your cupboards, your cookbooks, and think about what you use often, and things you don’t want to be stuck without if you recipe calls for it.

3. Have a weekly grocery shopping team meeting.

Just kidding. What I really do is sit down for 15 minutes every week to go over my list and plan for my upcoming shopping trip. Here’s what I do:

(A.) Decide what meals you’re making for the week.
I generally focus on dinner, but if you make breakfast or fancy lunches on a regular basis then include this in the meal planning portion. Write down the meals you want to make (and stick with a doable number, I only plan for 3 dinners a week) as well as the ingredients you will need. Then check off the items you already have.
(B. ) Check up on your staples.
Look through your cupboards and refrigerator, noting which items you’re getting low on. I like to get new items before the old ones run out so I don’t have to run to the store in the middle of making something.
(C.) Mark which items you need.
I print out a fresh list every week. Items I’m getting low on I keep on the list, things I have plenty of I cross off.
(D.) Write down anything else you need in the “Other” category
For me this week that included nails, light bulbs, and a step stool.

4. Keep an eye out for staple items on sale.
One of the best parts of this method is saving money. If I don’t need to buy TP this week but I see it on sale I buy it. That way I’m prepared for next week, and I saved a little moola.

*Click here for: THE GREEN LEMON MASTER GROCERY LIST

How to Tell if the Child You Nanny Hates You

February 20, 2011

I called him Timothy. He called me “not you again.” This is the true story of one autumn spent working as a nanny in NYC.

Being a live-in nanny should have come very naturally to me. First, I was working for family friends Laurie and Kate, two of my favorite people. Second, I was a seasoned babysitter. As the oldest child I was babysitting and changing diapers for my own family by age 9, and by 12 was being payed $6 an hour to babysit neighborhood kids while their parents spent a night out. And these kids liked me. In fact, I thought I had a sort of Mary Poppins charm. Until Timothy.

Timothy was 3 years old when his regular nanny Miriam, who had been with him since birth, took some time off for maternity leave. I was 17 and after graduating a year early from high school, had nothing but spare time. Mom had the great idea that I could be the fill-in nanny, Laurie agreed, and I flew to NYC to begin what I thought would be a successful career.

Timothy was a classy little guy. At 3 he enjoyed eating takeout sushi while I pushed him home in his stroller from preschool. He also enjoyed spending time at Battery Park, Superman ice cream pops, and watching movies on his portable DVD player while eating out at trendy Soho restaurants. What he did not enjoy was having a new woman in his life—me. This became abundantly clear when he began vocalizing his complaints about my care as well as an outspoken hope for my annihilation. Phrases like “I already have a nanny, Jen,” (my name was always spoken with an exaggerated despicability) “and she’s a good nanny. Her name is Miriam.” I found this particular phrase quite well thought out for one so young. He didn’t come out and say “You are a terrible nanny, I like my other one better,” he went the long way, implying that there was a “good nanny” and that good nanny was not me.

Another popular phrase involved his dog Tribley, a small, elderly terrier. “Tribley,” Timothy would command imperiously, “Eat Jenna!” The alarming part was that Timothy always seemed disappointed and surprised when Tribley didn’t obey. After a few disappointing moments had passed, and I still stood there intact, Timothy would say resignedly, “Jen, why won’t you just go home?”

Most of the abuse was hidden from his moms (who were later mortified to hear of Timothy’s treatment of me) except for
one evening when Kate was giving him a bath. “Mama Laurie! Can you get my duck?” Timothy yelled from the bathroom. “Sure, Timothy,” Laurie shouted back. There was a pregnant pause, and for some strange reason I knew what was coming. Sure enough Timothy suddenly yelled in a surprisingly deep voice, “Not you, Jen.” He had mistaken Laurie’s voice for mine.

That I was unfit to be a nanny was not all I learned in NYC. Kate and Laurie felt it their duty to expose me to all things cultural, so I was regularly sent to the theater, the opera, the ballet, and the movies. During one particularly memorable outing, I went to an experimental show that had the whole audience standing while people strapped in harnesses flew around in the air above us spinning around and gyrating sexually. There was also an audience participation segment in which attendees were strapped to performers by pelvic harnesses and taken up into the air. When a cast member grabbed my arm I yanked myself away, hard, and ran.

I also made friends with a lot of people. Mostly construction workers. After so many days alone with just a small child (who hated me) for company, I started responding to their cat calls. “How you doin’?” one guy yelled at me. “Great!” I yelled back. They always seemed slightly alarmed by my response.

I also had a first-hand experience with a little something called “Crazy Nanny Syndrome.” One day at the park a little boy fell backwards from the monkey bars, hitting his head. When the child started wailing, his nanny, a large Russian woman with a heavy accent to match her backside ran to the child, flinging him over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “WHO DID THIS?” she roared, looking at all the children nearby who could have hurt her small charge. “WHO PUSHED YOU?” The child just cried louder in response and nannies began running to retrieve their children. “Not who,” one timid Korean nanny said (New Yorkers love nannies from different countries who can teach their child a second language) “he fall down alone.” By this point Russian Nanny’s face was a deep red color that matched her bright hair and I knew she was after blood. I darted into the battle zone to pick up Timothy and we ran.

On my last day as Timothy’s replacement nanny I tried to get some sort of sign—a confirmation—that I’d done okay, that having me around hadn’t shattered his young life. “Timothy,” I said, kneeling down so we were eye level. “I’m going home now. I’m not going to be your nanny anymore.” Timothy looked at me, and for a brief second I thought I saw a sign of sadness, but then I realized what it was. It was triumph. He had won. I sighed and pulled him in for a squirming hug that he fought against tooth and nail. And that ended my career as a nanny.

I see Timothy and his moms in December when they spend a week skiing in Park City, and Timothy (now 10) and I never tire of reminiscing about all of the terrible things he said to me when he was so young. He has grown into a lovely, talented, sweet little guy, and for all that we went through together, I think it was worth the stories.

New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday & Friday!

February 18, 2011

Hi friends,

I am having such a blast with this blog and am SO excited to hear that there are actually people out there reading it! Thanks to all of you who read, comment and link to me. My blog has had several hundred views now and I’m hoping to keep growing!

In an effort to get things a little more consistent I have decided to publish new posts ever Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so be sure to check in on those days. Upcoming topics are:

Bad Romance Novels, and Why I Aspire to Write One
Baby Shower Games: Good Fun or Hazing?
3 Delicious Egg Breakfasts
Low G.I. Jane: Tales from the Blood Sugar Battlefield
BOOBS: A memoir in vignettes
How to Train for your First 5K (learn from my mistakes)
How to Take the Best Bath of Your Life (complete with bath salts recipe)
How to Tell if The Child You Are Nannying Hates You
The Best Sugar Cookies in the World
Infomercials: Items I Don’t Know How I’m Living Without
Classic Novels You May Actually Enjoy
How to Not Disclose You Are a Facebook Stalker

See you soon…

Puppy Love: An Alternative to Prozac

February 18, 2011

I’m in love.

Like head over heels, let them chew up everything, don’t mind the mess, move to a new apartment, drain my bank account, haven’t had time to blog for days, in love. His name is Giacomo Casanova Puccini, but I like to call him Little Buster. And weighing in at 6 lbs. 3 oz., he has somehow managed to completely rearrange my life.

Little Buster unexpectedly became ours when my mom decided she couldn’t give her new puppy all the time and love he needed and asked if David and I would be his new family. I thought it was very bad timing. I was going through a spat of winter blues (see my last post) and was really having a tough time dealing with regular life. Plus, after being on antidepressants for several years and not getting the results I’d hoped for, I’ve been coming off my meds which always throws me out of whack. Plus, we weren’t financially ready for a pet and lived in a place that didn’t allow them, which would necessitate an (expensive) move.

We spent a few days trying to decide whether or not to take him. One afternoon I decided to see what the puppy thought. I went over to my parents’ house, leaned over his pen and asked him if he wanted to be my baby. He looked up at me with his huge eyes and cocked his head.

I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.

The first week of pet ownership was awful. He peed on everything, chewed up everything, and every time I left him alone for more than a few minutes he would squeal like a piglet going in for slaughter. I also don’t do well with sleep deprivation, and we had to get up with him around 4 A.M. every morning so he wouldn’t pee in his kennel. There was one exhausted afternoon where I considered the logistics of shooting him out of a cannon into the sun.

Then a couple of weeks passed and one day I realized how much better I was starting to feel in general. Yes, my house was still crazy, and I was still spending an inordinate amount of time taking c are of the fur-ball who lives in the kitchen, but something felt different. I felt a little calmer. A little happier. A little more… Prozaced.

I have since developed a theory that puppies can combat depression. Puppies lead to:

1. Time outdoors in the sunshine. Bright light therapy is constantly recommended by therapists for people suffering from depression, and it’s hard to get in the winter in SLC. Whether I want to or not, I am outside with Little Buster probably 10 times a day for potty breaks. That’s a lot more direct sunlight than I’m used to in February.

2. Increased Exercise. If I don’t take Little Buster out for at least a mile walk every day (it seems so far for such a little guy!) he has too much energy to spend any time in his kennel. We all know that even a half hour of daily exercise can dramatically reduce your risk of depression.

3. Unconditional Love. Little Buster seems to think that David and I are the best people in the entire world. He cries when I leave the room. He wags spastically when we come home. He doesn’t care what I look like, accomplish, or believe, he thinks I’m fantastic. And if I screw up, he forgives me instantly.

4. Positive attitude. I love seeing Little Buster rediscover the world every morning. I imagine his narrative is something like this: “Oh my gosh it’s morning! And it’s Jenna! I love her so much! And there’s my food bowl! I love my kibble! How did I get so lucky? And now I get to go outside! When did this snow show up? I have to push my face in it! This is the best day of my whole life!!” It’s hard to be grumpy around that kind of zest for life. (And that is the most exclamation marks you will ever see me use.)

5. The calming effect. Unless you’re petting a rabid ostrich, have you ever noticed how soothing it is to just sit and relax with an animal? Turns out chilling with your pet is a proven way to reduce stress.

6. Responsibility. This little guy depends on me completely. Being responsible gives you structure and meaning to your life. (As I was typing this he began choking on a dryer sheet he found on the floor. You see what I mean?) You have a reason to get up in the morning. And they are a lot of work.

7. Companionship. Humans aren’t meant to be alone, but our modern lifestyles often put us in that very position. A puppy will be waiting for you when you get home at the end of the day.

8. Playing. When’s the last time you played with a toy? I did 20 minutes ago. It was a squeaking dog that I threw to Little Buster as many times as he wanted. Playing is good for us, and chances are we are not having enough fun. Puppies consider fun a must.

9. Social life. If I go anywhere with Little Buster I make new friends. They all want to know if he is a puppy, what kind he is, and what his name is. I have made friends with all of the dog owners in my apartment building. We are on dog-name basis, meaning we know each other’s dog’s names, but not each other’s names. I’m sort of okay with that.

10. Interest. Giacomo is always interested in my life. Taking a bath? Fascinating. Doing dishes? He’ll follow me through the kitchen. Stuff that used to bore me now seems entertaining through his eyes.

I would finish up this post with some kind of clever summation of puppy life, but he’s chewing up the new kitchen rug. Gotta go.

I Just Want a Guilt-Free Tan

February 9, 2011

I once prayed for forgiveness in a tanning bed.

My prayer went something like this: “Please forgive me for the damage I am about to do, but please give me a nice glow and please don’t let me get skin cancer.” And then I pressed the little button to start the tanning bed and began sizzling like a strip of bacon.

This post is coming after a recent, traumatizing trip to the makeup counter. I use mineral makeup, usually in the color Medium-Beige. I knew my makeup was looking a bit Oompa-Loompa-ish lately, so I shouldn’t have been so shocked when the girl behind the counter handed down the news. I have been downgraded from Medium-Beige to Fairly Light.

This information sent me into a downward spiral of increasingly dramatic questions. Why am I so pale? Do I look like a Fairly Light ghost? Where are my ¼ Italian genes? And most importantly, why do I live in a place with such horrific winters?

The truth is, winter is tough for me. Since I was 13 I’ve experienced symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder—basically a severe form of Winter Blues) brought on by overcast days. My love of sun even convinced me to transfer from the University of Utah to Arizona State my junior year, and every morning in Phoenix I got a tiny tear in my eye when I walked out my front door and saw the big, blue open sky…. But I digress. The truth is—we in our human bodies need sunlight. We need it for our moods, our bones, our Vitamin D supplies, and our happiness. It’s natural, it’s healthy, it’s wonderful.

I know you know why you shouldn’t be tanning. Cataracts, wrinkles, and melanoma come to mind. In fact, Google “Is tanning safe?” and you’ll get a horrific list of reasons why you should probably just wrap yourself up like a mummy and stay indoors. Really, the guilt is crushing. It’s like if I don’t slather on sunscreen for a trip to the grocery store that I am doing irreparable damage to my future self. But then I get to thinking about it, and I start to wonder: Could all this sun phobia be a bit overzealous?

Recently, some medical experts have started to admit that they’ve gone a bit overboard with the whole sun is Satan thing, because a giant percent of the world’s population is starting to show signs of too little light (depression, Vitamin D deficiency, etc.). So I’d like to offer a few words of comfort to those who do tan, some that may ease your guilt just a little bit for those days that you’ve just got to hang out in sun—real or artificial.

A Few Reasons Why the Sun Loves You

Viva la Vitamin D! Vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) is completely essential to a healthy body and a lack of vitamin D has been found to cause giant health problems. And guess how you get Vitamin D? (Hint: Sunny D) UV Rays provide you with a lovely supply of Vitamin D. Drink it in.

Relaxation. People, we need more of this. And is there anything more relaxing than lying in the sun? No, there isn’t. But I find a nice tanning bed session to be a close second. And I’ll bet more people die of stress than sun. (I know. Not my strongest argument, but I think I have a point here…)

Look like a movie star. Tans make your teeth look whiter, your body thinner, and your legs longer. (Okay, I made that last one up, but I have what David calls “chicken walkers” so a girl can dream.)

Cheerful Moods. Sunshine brightens your mood by boosting feel-good chemicals in your brain that help you combat depression.

Please note that I am writing this with a very itchy red sunburn on my stomach from my tanning session today, but I have to say, it made me feel a lot better about living in Salt Lake City in February, and talk to me in 20 years, but that may just be worth an extra wrinkle.

Just remember to say your tanning bed prayers.

How to Pretend to Know What’s Going on While Watching Football

February 7, 2011

Me not getting football has been a recurring theme in my life.

Exhibit A: Me standing in the stands of the U Stadium with the MUSS, wearing a bright red sweatshirt, sometime forgetting why I was even there.

Exhibit B: Me playing Powder Puff football in high school. In my school there was a yearly girls’ flag football competition, Freshmen vs. Sophomores vs. Juniors vs. Seniors. I was always playing defense because 1. I could not throw the ball. 2. I could not catch the ball. 3. I had no idea what was going on when we planned out our plays. However, I was excellent at pulling people’s flags without pantsing them.

Exhibit C: Dad taking me to play Thanksgiving football with the guys when I was 13. I was immediately deemed worthless when I attempted to tackle a man who was about 20 years older than me and on my own team.

This complete lack of understanding is not entirely my fault. In my defense, I have tried to get with it.

Attempt A: In fourth grade when I realized playing the pink Power Ranger with the boy I liked wasn’t getting me as far as I’d hoped, I checked out a book that claimed it could teach a girl to throw a football and make it spiral. I felt this would be an excellent way to really get things going. Turns out checking out books from library on how to do cool things is not the best way to get a guy into you.

Attempt B: I asked for a tutorial from my football loving cousins. We were at a diner and they used condiment bottles and salt and pepper shakers as visual aids. All I saw was ketchup.

Attempt C: Dating the high school quarterback my senior year. I knew he was excellent choice when he picked me up and did bicep curls with me. I faithfully attended every game, but all I remember is checking out he and his teammates butts in their football pants and taking sweaty pictures.

Now, I consider myself an intelligent person, who is in fact excellent at many things, but football comprehension is not one of them (I have a similar argument for my remote, for the first 6 months of our new TV I would yell “I am an intelligent, college graduate, why the $#%^ can I not work this thing!” One day a written list of instructions (in my husband’s handwriting) appeared on the coffee table and I’ve been much calmer ever since, but back to football–) The fact is, if you live in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving, pursue secondary education, or live anywhere near a man (even if he is a computer software engineer), you are probably going to be exposed to regular doses of football and you are going to have to come up with ways to combat your social ineptitude. Learn from my methods:

1. Always know the bare minimum: what sport, what teams, and which color you’re supposed to be cheering for (but don’t refer to a team as being a “color.” This gives you away instantly.)

2. Blend in. When the crowd cheers, you cheer. When they boo, boo along with them.

3. Develop a disgusted head shake. When someone yells something at the TV or field that involves some sort of comprehension, something like: “They should totally challenge that call!” simply shake your head slowly and disgustedly, as if you are saying “I would get riled up, but I know it’s not worth it”

If you feel you need more than these cover-up techniques refer to the NFL’s Beginner’s Guide to Football. It might help.

How to Be On Time (Lessons from a Stress Junkie)

February 4, 2011

I might unwillingly be something of a stress junkie, because regardless of the hours of yoga, meditation and reflective writing I like to put myself through, whenever I have to be somewhere I am inevitably running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Let’s take a recent lunch date. I have plans to meet up with a friend on her lunch break and at quarter to I look up and realize that if I’m going to be on time I’ve got to leave right away. No problem. I save my word document, shut off my computer, find my shoes and take a quick look in the mirror. Oops. Forgot to put on makeup this morning. Also forgot to wash off yesterday’s black eyeliner experiment and I look like a young hungover Madonna. No problem. A quick face scrub and I’m looking presentable. Now I just need my purse. Which one was I using? The one I can’t find. After a few minutes I find purse under pile of clothes. Realize my keys are not in it and completely rip the house apart looking for them. Found them! They were in the couch cushion. Look at clock. I am officially supposed to be there. Okay, I’ll just send friend a text that I’ll be late. But wait, where is phone? The house is already torn apart from the key search so I just toss things around for a few minutes. Then a few minutes more. Start feeling desperate and hope that friend will call so I will hear my phone. No such luck. I could just leave without my phone but I only know her office building and not her actual office. Plus I’m so late I’ve got to call her to let her know. This feels like a vicious circle. Ten minutes later breathe a sigh of relief when I hear my phone’s low battery beep and see it on see phone on top of ledge over stairs. I race full speed out the door, hoping no one will see my house before I am able to disguise the craziness of the last half hour.

Get in car and drive like a maniac. When I arrive I call friend to triumphantly annouce I’ve made it. Because I was late she ended up getting on a sales call and needs to put me on hold for a few. I look down and realize I have no gas. None. Like I must have driven here on fumes. I do have a few minutes I peel out of the parking lot look for a gas station. Find one. Turn up the music really loud so I don’t have to listen to that worrying screeching noise coming from my brakes. Arrive at lunch date with a blood pressure of 160/80. Not good.

So why does this happen, over and over? I knew what time I needed to be there. I kept an eye on the clock so I wouldn’t be late. But still, the chaos. Over the past few weeks I’ve done some serious work on my personal timeliness and here are the things that have helped me:

1. Always have a half tank of gas and $20 in cash.

Always. These seem to be the 2 things that cause the most panicked delays for me. How many times have you been late and realized you had to stop at the gas station or go to an ATM? Fill up your car when the tank is half full, and stash $20 in your glove box.

This habit can also help you save money, because if you’re filling up your car when you want to then you can fill up at the station with the best prices. Also, my husband thinks my full gas tank is sexy. It might work for you.

2. Create a nightly routine of checking tomorrow’s schedule.

Every night before I go to bed I check my planner to make sure I know where I need to go the next day and what time I have to be there. This of course requires me to write things down–but this is necesary I have no brain without my day planner

3. Always know where your keys, purse and (charged) phone are.

Every night I put my purse and keys by the door and make sure I plug in my phone. I also keep a phone charger in my car for emergencies.

4. Calculate “getting ready time” in real time.

How long does it take you to get out the door? In theory, 30 seconds. In reality, about 15 minutes. Remember, it’s all the little things that make you late–finding your shoes, taking the dog out, checking your voice mails, looking up directions, making sure you have on two of the same earring (I have to do regular checks of this, as I have a bad habit of wearing one dangly earring and one stud. I once even went to a yoga class wearing 2 different shoes, but we’ll save this for a different post).

Need to be somewhere at 1:30? Calculate how long it will take you to get there (without endangering anyone’s life with stressed driving) then add an extra 15 minutes to that.

5. Put a clock in your bathroom.

I can’t believe what a difference this has made for me, but I guess it makes sense, because the bathroom is where I usually am when I’m making myself late: trying to decide if I can get away with one more day of unwashed hair, plucking eyebrows, putting on eyeshadow…

6. Reward yourself for being on time.

I have a giant purse so that I can always keep a book with me. When I get somewhere early I pull out mybook and read for a few leisurely minutes.

7. Take care of your transportation.

If you drive, you know how bad it sucks to have car problems–you have to drop everything to go haggle with an annoying mechanic. And besides the few freak accidents you can usually prevent problems if you take in your car immediately when it needs service.

If you take some kind of public transport make sure you have your pass/tickets/change, whatever you need as well as a back up plan if necessary.

8. Be happy about being on time.

You will be considered more trustworthy, dependable and pleasant when you are on time and not stressed out of your mind whenever you arrive somewhere.

Now if I could just find my phone…