The New Hellraisinghotsauce.com!

Just a quick post to announce something exciting for DT’s and my little hot sauce endeavor….the launch of Hellraisinghotsauce.com!

We’ve been relying HEAVILY on our Facebook page to promote our business and share updates about what we’re up to. We’ll continue to be active there of course, but this website is going to be an awesome resource. You can learn about our sauces and the peppers we use, see Instagram pics, find recipes and inspiration to use Hellraising Hot Sauce in your cooking, read the HHS blog, and ORDER ONLINE!

Cool, yes?

Many thanks to Rough Ride Creations for bringing this site to life – it will be a tremendous asset to our lil’ biz.

Please go check it out! 🙂


Back in the Saddle

My poor little Life in Spicyland bloggie was neglected for much of 2014. Frown. 😦

I was dwindling a bit earlier in the year, but really fell off the grid in March when DT and I both found ourselves unemployed (or on the verge of being unemployed, in his case).

I think I mentioned this before – it would seem that I’d have all the time in the world, those months not working, but blogging seemed to be particularly difficult. Something mental, I’m sure.

Even after I went back to work I found it hard to focus in this space. It was an extremely busy fall, and then all of the sudden the holidays arrived, then POOF! The end of 2014.

I have photos to edit, posts to write, and ideas rolling around in my head….and still that damn fancy camera to break in after getting it as a gift LAST CHRISTMAS.

Yes, friends, I’ve fallen behind here.

My adage has become “Better late than never” for this blog, for now.

Although it’s been quiet lately from this corner of the interwebs, I hope your 2014 was wonderful and I hope your 2015 is even bigger and better. I’m looking forward to another year of LiS and chatting your ears (eyes?) off a bit more often.

Happy New Year!


Update: Employed!

I have been so terribly absent on this blog most of 2014. Apologies for the neglect here, I do miss the writing and sharing.

Just to follow up on this post from way back in April….DT and I are officially employed again. Wooooeee!

DT found full-time work and started May 12 – I landed another contract where I was before. Same company/similar role/different department. I just started back on Monday.

So….WHEW! When I think about writing that post, and what a strange time it was for both of us, it’s a little hard to believe. It was darker and colder outside – it felt a lot that way inside too. A lot has happened since we each learned our contracts were ending.

And it’s been a tad surreal this week, driving the same commute, entering the same buildings, walking the same halls, seeing many familiar faces (which has been such a bright light!), where nearly five months ago I was spending my last day and in an absolute, panicked daze.

Well, anyway. We made it through and here we are. More to share with you, but in the meantime, that’s what we’re celebrating these days.

Happy weekend!


Unemployed

Hello, reader friends – it’s been a while.  Apologies for my absence.

So, the latest not-so-new news around here is that both DT and I are currently unemployed.  Ya.  Both.  Unemployed.

Both of our contracts ended last month, so we find ourselves in this rather unexpected, transitional, limbo-y place.  It’s the joy of being a contractor.  No matter how much you try to mentally reconcile that the job [probably] isn’t going to last forever, when you find out it’s ending, it’s like UGH.

We both really loved our jobs, our teams, our workplaces – I talked to a lot of people about this.  How there’s not only the panic and “Oh CRAP”-scramble element to losing a job, from a logistics and practicality (and $$) standpoint, but also a kind of grieving that takes place when you felt so invested in something that gets taken away.  Both of us would have stayed on for years if given the chance.

Well, anyway.  That is that and here we are.

Here’s what a typical day for us looks like [outside of something magical like an interview taking place]:

  • Get up, make a pot of coffee
  • Hole up in the basement with our laptops, DT on the chair/ottoman, me on the couch
  • Look/apply for jobs all morning
  • Go for a run
  • Shower/likely put pajamas back on
  • Or put real clothes on (“real clothes” lately means a fleece and yoga pants) and run errands
  • Revisit job sites in the afternoon
  • Catch up on the DVR (it’s still been crummy outside so we haven’t enjoyed the weather much)
  • Oh look, it’s 5:00.  Where oh where has the day gone….

It’s such a strange place to be….DT and I have never, ever been home together this much, for this long.  Sooooooooo much time together.  It’s become kind of a joke (and a song, if we’re being honest), but sometimes I’m shocked we haven’t strangled each other yet.

The cats (and chickens), however, are LOVING that we are around 24/7.  Exhibit 1A at this very moment:  35 pounds of wheezing, comatose felines, curled up at my feet on the couch.  We no longer have to wonder what their days are like.  They’re filled with a whole lotta NOTHING.

Friends have asked if we’re getting a bunch of long-awaited projects done, house-related or otherwise.  Welllllll, no.  Not really.  That’s the funny thing.  We have all the time in the world, but the job hunt is all we can think about, all we can currently plan for – it’s like time just stands still, and we can’t move until we have this figured out.

In other words, the blue tape all over the house where we need to touch up paint (for the past three years) has yet to be addressed.

I have this fancy new camera to learn how to use but I haven’t picked it up once.  I will, but I need to be inspired and I’m just not right now.

I have several blog posts on my mind, but honestly haven’t felt any motivation to do much here with this other big thing to resolve.

We don’t really want to go anywhere, or do anything, because either would most likely require spending money and without any coming in, well….we’re trying to be prudent these days.  With the exception of a few lottery tickets, but you know.  I don’t think I need to explain the rationale there.

However.  I finally got that way-overdue oil change AND our coffee maker received a thorough cleaning with several cycles of vinegar.  See?  We can dig deep!

We’ve also made great strides on the hot sauce front.  If there’s something to be thankful for with this imposed hiatus, it’s given us solid time to navigate the impossibly tangled web of certifications, licenses, applications, and approvals required to start up a business like this.  Gah!  We’re inching closer and closer, though, and it’s been such a wonderful distraction.  Our little silver lining right now.

I kept bugging DT to make a list of “Things We’ll Do to Celebrate New Jobs” with me.  When we went to write down a few things, we just sort of sat there and scratched our heads.  Yes, we could rattle off some restaurants where we’d like to make a toast, or our default something-to-look-forward-to of planning a trip, but really all we hope for is a reason to celebrate.  A return to our version of normal in the foreseeable future.

It’s just such a roller coaster!  One minute everything feels promising and light, the next feels like a heavy dead end.

DT has had some great prospects pop up and we’re waiting to hear back (crossing fingers and ears and eyes and toes).  I have resumes out all over the place, also waiting to hear back.  So we’ll see.

It’ll all be okay!  We are okay.  Totally not trying to be mopey or whiny here.  DT and I are so lucky to have an immense network and support from our family and friends.  This is just a temporary glitch and we’ll be back on our feet soon.

Now, after all this babble….I hope this finds you well and gainfully employed. 🙂


The Inner Workings of My Vacation Brain

Is it obvious from this post that I have travel on the brain?!  Always.  Always.

As I was editing photos and writing about South Beach and our cruise over the past couple of weeks, I relived all the fun, anticipation, and excitement we had.  I loved it, yet felt pangs and yearning in my heart to be transported back immediately.  But as I got to the ports on the latter half of our trip, I also felt the sadness and anxiousness I know I was feeling as the end drew near.

Can you grieve a vacation?  Are there stages one must pass through to finally reach acceptance?  And does one ever really accept that they are not still on vacation?  I began to deconstruct and dissect my mental journey before/during/after our vacations (because this is important stuff, guys 😉 ).  DT and I have talked about this before, but I really started to think in terms of a timeline.

Here’s how my mind works:

Six months out:  Not really even thinking about vacation much, probably because the weather is still decent where we live and we haven’t been sitting in a polar vortex for two months (in the instance of a winter getaway).

Three months out:  Inching closer, starting to become more real.

One month out:  The countdown is officially ON!  Any plans made for dates after we get back seem like an honest eternity away, and frankly, a little incomprehensible.  Life becomes segmented into “Before Vacation” and “After Vacation.”  And I don’t want to think about “After Vacation”!  So it’s kinda like it’s a black hole that’s not even there….

Three weeks out:  Early stages of packing-thoughts begin.  Start to think about leaving the house for a week, who will take care of the critters, what do we need to do before we go?  A checklist is born.

Two weeks out:  !!!!  Two weeks away!  Preparation to be away from work begins, more serious packing consideration unfolds, I’m basically beside myself.

One week out:  !!!!  Holy buckets, one week from now we’ll be THERE!  Crossing things off my checklist, the guest bed has started to become littered with piles, tackling chores around the house so it’s not left in shambles.  But the darker side – I’m already mentally preparing myself for it to be over.  Isn’t that sad and stupid?  I’m already thinking about how excited we’ll be in one week, but in two weeks….it’ll be almost over!  Gosh, I’m sick.

The week before we leave:  !!!!  Out-of-office preemptively set at work, last minute errands, clean up food in the fridge, critter/house care has been arranged and confirmed, piles on the guest bed have grown, suitcases are dragged out (and the cats have done multiple, thorough inspections on these foreign objects).  I’ll be honest, I get a little stressed out before we leave.

The night before we leave:  DT and I have a tradition of happy hour after we leave work on the eve of a vacation.  A kickoff, if you will.  By now he’s printed out all our documents and confirmations, we’ll go home and fill our suitcases, set the timer on the living room lamp, one last-ditch effort to eat leftovers or any other perishables in the fridge.  No fewer than two alarm clocks set, cab called if needed.  We probably won’t go to bed early, who can sleep at a time like this?!

Vacation day is here!  It’s likely been a wake-up-get-dressed frenzy, tend to the animals once more, load the car/cab, a final house walk-through.  I will fret all the way to the airport whether a light was left on, the door was locked, a faucet was left dripping, I forgot to do or pack something.  I’m so excited….and yet I’m a basketcase.  DT can only shake his head.  The plane ride(s) is/are usually a blur – usually because we’re on such an early flight.  But then, we arrive!  To me, in those moments of the first day, it honestly feels like how could this ever end?  Oh no, it will NEVER end!

The first few days:  It takes me/us a while to become fully immersed in our time away right off the bat.  It’s hard to get into that “We’re on vacation and we literally have zero accountability and can do pretty much whatever the heck we want for the next __ days” mindset.  And when I say “hard” I don’t mean as in hardship, or “poor me/us.”  I mean it really is a mental shift to pull away from real life obligations, schedules, routines, and responsibilities.  We’ll look at the time (even though we have nowhere at all to be) and say, “Omigosh!  It’s only __ o’clock!”  Time kind of stands still when we slow down to the groove of vacation.

The midway point:  Then time begins to not stand still.  We’re having fun, and time flies when you’re having fun, man.  When the days we’ve been gone begin to outnumber the days left….sad.  It’s definitely a mental turning point in the vacation.  That I do not like.  But we press on, we must make the most of our time!

The last couple of days:  Bummer.  Big, big bummer.  Vacation depression has set in and the trip we thought would never, could never end….is ending very soon.  In our desperation to keep the spirit alive, we turn to plans for the next vacation.  It’s the best defense!

The last day:  DT and I always try to go out with a bang and we’re usually successful.  It’s part denial, part savoring, part saving the best for last.  Or something like that.

The trip home:  Sigh.  We must plan another vacation pronto.  On a positive note, it is always nice to be home.  Nice to be back in a routine, back in our own bed, back with the critters, back to normal eating and drinking schedules (i.e. not total and complete gluttony).

The first week back:  I do the thing where I think “A week ago we were….”  At first it’s a painful exercise until I get to the end of the week and realize the trip was coming to a close and I’m probably mentally a way lot better now.  Oh, and we’re plotting the next getaway seriously.

That’s pretty much my journey, thank you for coming along with the crazy.  I must absolutely declare how fortunate DT and I have been for the travels we have experienced.  I never want to sound ungrateful or minimize the opportunities we’ve had.  Every one has been a-MAY-zing and we’re very lucky to be able to spend a week here and there every now and again.

It’s just that we LOVE IT SO MUCH!

But as much as we love and look forward to these trips, and as much anguish as I may talk myself into having when it’s over, I know in my heart of hearts, there is no place like home and we are every bit as lucky to have that.

Now, if our home was on a tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean….

Hmmm. 😉


Merry Christmas!

We wish you a Merry Christmas,

We wish you a Merry Christmas,

We WISH you a Merry Christmas,

And a happy New Year!

2013 Christmas tree

Here’s hoping this holiday finds you filled with cheer, happy and healthy, and surrounded by loved ones.

I hope Santa is good to you too. 🙂

2013 Christmas stockings


Feline Fridays

Yo yo it’s Friday!

I’ve been catching up on Breaking Bad so “Yo yo” is becoming more common in DT’s and my vernacular.  Oh, Jesse.

Milo window 1

DT watched the show and I kept hearing from him and the rest of the world how awesome and amazing and WOW and best show EVER it was.  I stayed away as long as I could, then AMC ran the entire series leading up to the finale and what do you know, there it is on our DVR.  We started watching last weekend and now we’re just plowing through.

I’m not completely in love with it….I’m not raving and obsessing like all of the super fans.  Okay, maybe I’m obsessing a little bit, but it’s like a train wreck and I have to keep watching to see what happens next.  I’m conflicted by the plot, and the characters are really hard to root for, and yet you want to.  I’m so torn!

Milo window 2

We’re a couple of episodes into season three, so we’ll see.  I must confess that I was sitting in the room when DT and his sister watched the finale, so I know how it ends.  :-\  I obviously had zero context leading up to the last episode and I honestly don’t think about it as we’re watching now.

Anyway….that’s something we’ve been up to lately!

And you?

Milo window 3

The weekend has DT running around quite a bit with the kids and I have some things too, mostly around-the-house stuff I’ve been looking to make time for.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s terrific! 🙂