Saturday, December 28, 2013

Broken BAD

Putting aside all the things I should/could be doing this weekend, I've chosen to watch the Breaking Bad marathon.
Even though I watched this show from the very beginning (I wasn't late to the game like so many of you because I win at choosing TV shows), I couldn't resist the chance to watch the whole series in its entirety. I might have missed a few shows due to sleep and pancakes and such, but I haven't changed the channel while the show has been on.

But that's REALLY hard to do at times.

Not because I've seen these episodes before, but because of the same commercials that keep playing over and over and over.
  1. HEB keeps running an ad showing a post-delivery Santa enjoying a bit of time off. Then it mentions blackberries for less than a dollar. EVERY time I see it, I think, "Wow! Those crappy phones are super cheap!" Then I realize they're literally talking about berries that are black (NOTE: I don't measure my berries by color, I judge them by sweetness because I'm not racist).
  2. There's a promo for a New Year's Eve/Day marathon of The Walking Dead. I love this show, but the promo makes me all shouty. Why? Because it starts with one of my writing peeves: "The year may be almost over..." NO! It IS! There's no MAY BE about it! And since this marathon is actually running on the last day of 2013 and the first day of 2014, I think that makes the scheduling official. 
  3. I love pets. A LOT. I have a cat and a dog and they're both rescues. But every single time those ASPCA ads play, I can't help but reach for the remote/walk out of the room/find my happy place to avoid those spots. I mean, the sad music, the slow pictures of dogs and cats that have been neglected/abused/abandoned - it's just too much! I'm watching a show about a teacher and his flunkie student who make meth and kill people who get in their way. I'm clearly not in a place where I want to see animals these two would probably run over if they saw them in the street.
  4. And on that note, there are a couple of different charities trying to get viewers to donate to feed the children or buy drugs to make them healthy. How about they save those ads for more appropriate shows?
  5. Dating site commercials are on my list. It wasn't until the other day when I saw a commercial on a totally different channel for Black People Meet that I realized these dating sites only show white people looking for love online. I'm now officially tired of seeing white (allegedly) single people talking about how they want to find someone nice (liars). I actually prefer the ads I see late at night on Comedy Central where girls say they're looking for sugar daddies or hookups. At least they're honest.
But I did get to take a bit of time out of watching the marathon to make this:
So there's that.

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013: The Twelfth Day of Christmas

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love sparkly things! I haven't always been this way, but in the last few years if it doesn't sparkle, it has to work REALLY hard to make me want it. It's like I've been addicted to glitter bombing (and I don't even own a glitter cannon - YET)! So this last gift is something that would win be over for years to come.
For $1.85 million, I won't just get a magnificent 25-carat rough cut diamond, I get an adventure (for two, of course)!

This is part of the Forevermark Ultimate Diamond Experience.

The fun starts in London.
Once there, you'll receive your exceptional diamond in its rough and uncut form, name your diamond, learn about the unique inscription it will receive, and meet the master craftsman who will hand-cut and polish it to perfection. 

A private tour of The Crown Jewels and dinner with De Beers CEO Philippe Mellier and Forevermark CEO Stephen Lussier in the Tower of London follow. Your journey continues on a vessel off Namibia's coast, where your diamond was discovered deep within the ocean floor. You'll then explore rough-diamond sorting houses and a children's community project, where the local population benefits from Forevermark's responsible sourcing of diamonds.
Then, it's off to New York to create a setting for that fabulous diamond!

Oh, please SOMEONE buy this for me! It will be the best something sparkly I've ever encountered! LIFE CHANGING!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013: The Eleventh Day of Christmas

I love movies so much it's a little crazy. I might even love them more than TV (with a few exceptions). I just don't have as much time for movies. But I could change that if you bought me this.
It's the Ultimate Outdoor Entertainment System!

That's a 201 inch C SEED waterproof screen. It's $1.5 million (with $10,000 going to charity), but it's not like they just drop this off at your house and run (like my usual deliveries).
A true audio- and video-phile's dream, the system includes technologically advanced speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers that project unparalleled sound, a DirecTV® satellite and DVD management system, and a built-in movie package featuring up to 300 movies and concerts (The American Film Institute's 100 Most Thrilling American Films and 100 Greatest Love Stories, the remaining 100 are your choice). Oh, and that never-ending argument over who controls the remote? Not an issue—two Apple® mini iPads™ serve as the remotes; one for him and one for her. The entire system is delivered at your doorstep and includes installation and programming.
I'll even let you pick at least 50 of those additional movies! See? It's a gift we can both enjoy!

I do need one more thing: this yard. Mine probably isn't big enough for this. Maybe I can just put it in the living room and open the windows to pretend like I'm outside? At least that would keep the bugs away!

I'll start the popcorn!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013: The Tenth Day of Christmas

It's not even a secret, but I really wish I could be James Bond. Not a dude, but fearless. I think this would be a big step for me.
That's the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante.

Just a car to some of you. But it's one of only 10 made. And if you've ever seen a Bond movie, this is THE car he drives (and usually crashes so terribly I cry a little on the inside every time). It's not just pretty. I think some might say it's pretty fantastic.
Handbuilt in Gaydon, England, your Vanquish Volante sports a 100% carbon fiber shell—the first ever in Aston Martin's history—allowing for a much lighter car with greater torsional and structural rigidity, while enhancing safety, performance, and handling. A new, naturally aspirated 6.0-liter, V-12 engine produces some 565 horsepower and is tuned to deliver 457 pound-feet of torque, available and accessible throughout the rev range to deliver an enhanced performance feel. The engine sends the drive strictly to the rear wheels via a six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission, making acceleration smooth, steady, and, above all, responsive. 
Now I don't pretend to understand all of that. I know that it is fast. I know that I will get a ticket when I drive it. I know there is a passenger seat so you could go for a ride with me. Heck, if you're spending $344,500 on me, I'll let you drive it! Bonus: a portion of the sale goes to charity.

Let's take a really fast road trip (without one of those Bond endings)!


Friday, December 20, 2013

2013: The Ninth Day of Christmas

Danger is NOT my middle name. However, your super kind ($750,000) gift could make me reconsider.
I'm not saying I would ride this Indian Larry's "Wild Child" motorcycle, but I'd at the very least stand next to it, maybe even sit on it (carefully). I wouldn't dare take it out for a spin because I haven't taken a spin on a bicycle in years, so this could end terribly for me and - some might say - the bike.

I could take a picture on this and photoshop myself on an open highway so people would think I'm a major badass! If you present me with the proper credentials, I might let you take it out for a ride. Just don't go too fast! This bike is worth more than my house!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013: The Eighth Day of Christmas

I never knew I needed to be a master falconer until today.

This $150,000 gift is not just a chance to get up close to birds that are clearly too cool for the flock. We'd get this:
That trunk is loaded with canvas chairs, a table, those bird perches and this:

Looking at this video of a pretty blonde girl, it appears to be supremely cool to walk with giant birds! So, let's do this!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2013: The Seventh Day of Christmas

I can appreciate a gorgeous home. This is one of them.
The Glass House is in New Canaan, Connecticut. I would definitely NOT throw stones at it! I wouldn't get to keep this house forever, but this is a $30,000 gift we could share!
The Glass House and its bucolic surroundings are yours to explore upon arrival. Get up-close-and-personal access to the life and style of one of the twentieth century's most revered visionaries as you wander among the 14 architectural structures, study his world-class modern painting and sculpture collection, visit the private library, and stroll through the 49 acres of landscaped grounds.
As evening descends, your dinner guests begin to arrive. Up to ten of your nearest and dearest will join you at Philip Johnson's table for a locally sourced, multicourse culinary experience.
The meal comes to a close, you bid adieu to your guests, and retire to the bedroom with a perfect view of the surrounding forest and the manifestation of Philip Johnson's most beautiful dream.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013: The Sixth Day of Christmas

TRUE STORY: I have lived in my house for six years and have two pieces of art on the walls. That's why I could really use this.
Venus Rising by Jeff Koons.

I keep staring at this trying to figure out what the heck she's doing. You guys, this might be the thing that could break my TV habit!!!

It's an ode to Dom Perignon's Rose vintage 2003. I wish this came with at least one bottle! With a $20,000 price tag, they could at least throw in a little bit of bubbly!!!


Monday, December 16, 2013

2013: The Fifth Day of Christmas

As a girl who has only recently come around to the idea that gyms are just places where other people go, I appreciate any bit of activity that can keep me out of the place where guys try to lift more weight than they should, then grunt like they're about to give birth. That's why this little item from the Neiman Marcus fantasy catalog kind of excites me.
This circle-y thing is the coolest looking stationary bike I've ever seen! It's called a Ciclotte.
Approaching the machine, you admire its sleek, sculptural appearance. The large wheel is a nod to the unicycles of the late 1800s, but that's where the design-reminiscing ends. Void of the superfluous bells and whistles that characterize most of today's gym equipment, this piece is a study in the power—and beauty—of simplicity. Good looks aside, its dynamic design is rivaled only by its effortless performance.
Sitting astride your cycle, you adjust the angle of the carbon-fiber handles, choose from one of 12 levels of resistance, engage the pedals, and ride, ride, ride your way to a fitter, healthier you. 
I've always wanted to ride a unicycle, but my lack of coordination would probably lead to death. This is a good runner-up. And it has "effortless performance" which probably means I could learn to juggle while peddling (like circus training) and burn, like, a million calories in 10 minutes. NOTE: If this is not what you Neiman Marcus people mean, you should be more clear in your descriptions.

What's better than all that? $1,000 from the sale of these $11,000 bikes goes to charity. DOUBLE WIN!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013: The Fourth Day of Christmas

Do I need another bag? No. But there's a good reason this one made the wish book (and my ridiculous wish list).
Look at it!

This Valentino tote is made of napa leather, which looks like I could take a nap on it - piping dents in my face be damned!

At just under $5,000, this is no ordinary bag. It's a lifestyle. For a lifetime. Tote-ally worth the fancy price tag. And I'd be buried with it, so don't go thinking you can gift it and take it back if something terrible happens to me.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

2013: The Third Day of Christmas

My love for sparkling things has taken a VERY expensive turn.
This David Yurman bracelet is 18-karat gold with 0.73 total carats of Pave diamonds!

Are ya sitting down? The price tag on this one is $19,500. And I'm worth every penny, carat and karat!

Now, I don't usually wear bracelets, but I would start with this one!


Friday, December 13, 2013

2013: The Second Day of Christmas

I'm a girl who loves my sparkle! This gift is not just pretty, it's also practical.
These crystalized Tweezermans are just $100. The crystals are probably just bumpy enough to make it so that every pluck will make it uncomfortable for my fingers (preventing me from over-plucking). See? You could help me avoid a situation where I have plucked so much I have draw my eyebrows on with a Sharpie!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013: The First Day of Christmas

My new favorite holiday tradition has become going through the Neiman Marcus holiday catalog to find the most ridiculous things I want (you know, in case a billionaire is reading this and wants to make it one VERY merry Christmas for this stranger). The Fantasy Catalog only has eight things, so I'm going to save those for later. For now, I bring to you the things I want from the regular catalog. Here's the first thing:

That's the Baby Quasar.

NEED. NOW. You want proof? YOU GOT IT!
Those forehead wrinkles have made me start to panic a little. I know they're not Grand Canyon caliber, but if I don't act soon, they could be! Then, they'll start taking the rest of my face with them because HOLY GRAVITY you can't fight it!

So why the Baby Quasar? Well, it's a good start! Baby steps! Here's their pitch:
50% stronger than the Baby Quasar PLUS, the Quasar MD PLUS brings you the next generation of innovation in skincare tools. Now including the most powerful wrinkle-reducing technology ever used before in the Quasar family, the Quasar MD PLUS is the perfect device to keep away those unwanted wrinkles. Improved over previous models, the Quasar MD PLUS is easier to use, more powerful, and now includes perioribital wrinkle reduction technology.
We know you lead a busy lifestyle, so why not use a product that will give you faster results and quicker treatment times? With a larger treatment head and more powerful technology, the Quasar MD PLUS allows you to dedicate your time to the things that really matter and look good while doing so.
SOLD! I mean bought for me by a kind person who thinks I'm worth $795 plus tax/shipping.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Turn Around Bright Eyes

Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & KaraokeTurn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke by Rob Sheffield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a 30-something person who grew up with MTV (back when they played music videos and hadn't even started to dabble in reality TV), I am drawn to Rob Sheffield's books every single time. The titles that instantly get an 80s song stuck in my head are like magnets! And this one got me from the very beginning: "Once upon a time I was falling apart. Now I'm always falling in love." Can a book start any better than that?

This memoir woven with karaoke tales is about Rob's life as a widower and falling in love with his current wife. While I have not exactly been known to rock a microphone, I do want to rock - right now and always! When I wasn't thinking about song lyrics, there were statements like this that made me go, "Ohhhh yeeeeeaaaaaah!" (a la Yello)

"I am not an and suddenly person. I am a gradually, reluctantly and begrudgingly person...I distrust flashes of light or moments of clarity. Stealth is my jam and guile is my butter."

I get that. I don't always want to be chipper and nice (and I can be nice, dammit). This book isn't just about music. There is some advice in here that we can all use.

"You better watch what you sing, if you don't want to sing it for the rest of your life."

And this might be the most important tip anyone needs. "No man ever plans to turn into Rod Stewart. It just happens. <--- been="" br="" fellas="" warned="" you="">
Sometimes I forget how much a part of our pop culture karaoke has become. Can you imagine some of the best non-musical movie scenes that had a dash of silly/dramatic singing/lip-synching? Rob did.

"If 'Pretty in Pink' had been made a few years later, when he would have enjoyed access to karaoke equipment, Duckie wouldn't have to settle for lip-synching 'Try a Little Tenderness' in the record store for Molly Ringwald. He could have sung his own version." THE HORROR!!!

It's towards the end of the book when Rob writes that he has problems. I DO, TOO! I don't want to live in a world with people who don't respond to me saying a song lyric with singing or completing the song! It is such a simple thing that makes me happy (unless it's that stupid Proclaimers song which makes me punchy - DON'T EVEN START, PEOPLE)!

I'm so happy there are so many great and terrible songs from the 80s and 90s to give Rob inspiration. I hope the next book (and don't even tell me there isn't another one because I can't deal with that) includes more of my favorite songs disguising a few life lessons.

View all my reviews

Monday, November 11, 2013


This driver is in quite a mood. 

It's kind of cute that in Texas at least four other drivers feel the same. 

Unless they're professing their love for the Toyota Camry. 

That's weird. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Help For The Haunted

Help for the HauntedHelp for the Haunted by John Searles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm the kind of person who watches a scary movie with one hand covering my eyes and just enough of a crack between my fingers that I can see what happens - IF I DARE. Reading about ghosts and things that go bump in the night is REALLY hard to do like that!

I tried my hardest to be brave, but starting with the chapter titles, I was creeped out. Then, when I had come to terms with the beginning of the chapter, it was ending. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? I had to look at the clock to determine if I could keep reading (whatever I read/watch before bed often turns up in my dreams).

You don't get to pick your parents, but when they communicate with spirits you can't help but be at least a little odd. Sylvie is the kind of young person I feel sorry for, then cheer for, then scream, "GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE!" when things get more than a little uncomfortable. And her life in this book is almost always uncomfortable. It seems she's not only the kind of kid who doesn't watch TV, she probably hasn't seen a scary movie. How else do you explain the fearlessness of wanting to solve the murder of her parents?

Because this is a mystery novel, I won't spoil anything here. I was reminded of a few things:
1) Dolls are still creepy.
2) I can never live in a home with a basement.
3) I will never hang out with people who can connect with ghosts.

If there was one more chapter, I'd like to think Sylvie was enjoying life with people who were a little more normal. And that the SHHHHH has stopped. For good. A little peace is always nice. She earned it.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Google: Smart AND Funny

I'm definitely not smart enough to figure out how Google knows all. It does and I trust it.

As for the funny part in the title of this post, here goes. I saw something that said to Google "askew" and see what happens. 

So I did. 
At first, I thought I missed something. Then, straightened myself out and realized those Googlers tilted the page. 

See? Smart AND funny. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to QuestloveMo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Questlove

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When one of the blurbs on the back of a book starts with "Attention White Girls: Stop reading about vampires and read what Questlove has to say instead," I know I need to a) listen to Amy Poehler and b) read this book!

I'm glad I did!

I had heard a few stories from this book on podcasts, which was enough to hook me. Reading about little Questlove and his musical history (from his love of the Bee Gees and 'dock rock' to all things The Roots) made me look at what's on my iPod differently.

I also learned a few things that made me think Questlove & I could be great friends. When he writes about Stevie Wonder on The Cosby Show, I squealed! That is my FAVORITE episode of the show! When he writes about his dad tossing out Prince's album every time he found it, I thought, "If only you'd grown up in my house..." TRUE STORY: My mom let me rent Purple Rain for a sleepover (that's what kids did in the 80s). I think she thought it was a musical. Imagine what happened when a group of 6 5th grade girls saw that movie. Yeah. Also, either my mom never listened to me in the car or she thought I had no idea what I was singing when Prince came on the radio. Questlove, I still don't think my mom has a clue about Prince! So can I go to his next rollerskating party? PLEEEEEAAAAASSSSSEEEEEE???

I have read more than a few memoirs. I am putting this up there with some of my favorites. If your only brush with The Roots comes late at night when Jimmy Fallon is making jokey jokes, pick up this book! If you think you know everything about music, you don't know anything until you read this book!

In the words of Amy Poehler, "Read it or rot on your vine."

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Friday, September 6, 2013

A Little Inspiration

While I don't want to swim in shark- or jellyfish-infested waters, I find Diana Nayad's words inspiring. 

Maybe I should stop saying, "I'm too old for..." and just do it (unless that sentence ends with words like miniskirts or tattoos - then I AM too old for those things).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bacon Challenge #1

A few weeks ago, the Bacon Gods looked down and placed this book on my desk.
My love for bacon is no secret. Apparently, there are 125 recipes that I've (mostly) never sampled.

Until now.

I was challenged to cook one of these recipes each day, like Julie & Julia. Because I like my heart and am currently paying a trainer to discourage me from eating poorly, I didn't think that was wise. I also don't cook every day, so taking on the challenge that way would have been wasteful.

I did say I would make a few things from this cookbook. I drew the line at foods I don't like (veal, some seafood), but saw there were plenty of other recipes I was eager to try. Here's my first: Broccoli with Bacon, Orecchiette, and Fresh Lemon.

The ingredients:
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if necessary
  • Salt
  • 8 ounces orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta)
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into 1- to 2-inch florets (about 5 1/2 cups, from 1 1/4 pounds untrimmed broccoli)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
FULL DISCLOSURE: I strayed from the recipe a bit. I used more bacon, broccoli and cheese than the recipe calls for. I like those things and was willing to take the risk that it would turn out fine. SPOILER: it did.

Bring 4 to 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pasta or soup pot.

While waiting for the water to boil, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often and adjusting the heat as necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of bacon fat in the skillet. If necessary, add enough olive oil to the skillet to measure 3 tablespoons. (I had plenty of fat left for my extra broccoli)

Salt the boiling water. Add the orecchiette, stir to separate the pasta, and cook until al dente, following the package instructions.

While the orechiette cooks, cook the broccoli (you want the broccoli to be ready to toss into the pasta as soon as it is drained). Heat the bacon fat in the skillet over medium heat until it begins to shimmer, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring to coat the broccoli with the bacon fat. Increase the heat to  high. Carefully remove about 3/4 cup of boiling water from the pasta pot and add 1/2 cup of the water and the lemon juice to the skillet. Cover the skillet and cook the broccoli until it begins to turn bright green, about 2 minutes. Uncover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the broccoli is crisp-tender and bright green, 3 to 5 minutes longer. If all of the water has evaporated before the broccoli is cooked, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more pasta cooking water to the skillet.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the cooking pot. Add the broccoli, the drained bacon, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lemon zest and pecorino romano cheese to the steaming pasta. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper, if desired. Toss the pasta well to combine and serve immediately.

Ridiculously easy and SUPER good! I think you could cool the pasta and use a little more lemon juice, add the cooked broccoli bacon and cheese and have a cold pasta dish with this. I might try that some other time.

I really do hope to try more of the recipes. I can't commit to a date that I'll try the next dish, but I will do something soon!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fun With Beards

Listen up, Jack!

I've become kind of addicted to this app:
I like the show. I LOVE THE BEARDS! In fact, sometimes, when I watch it, I pretend like it's only the beards talking (except when the non-bearded ladies are on because that would be weird).

I downloaded the app at work and in no time I was putting beards on my friendly, patient co-workers.
I have to say that these people are so used to me saying, "Let me take your picture!" as I snap before they have a chance to say no that they just roll with it and wait to see the finished product. No one hated it.

Well, SOME people probably hated it: the ones who were annoyed with me posting these pictures. FUN HATERS!

By the next day, I admit, things went too far.

I couldn't help but see a face in that old music machine my neighbor put out on the curb (I later learned it's super cool and probably worth money - it was gone when I got home, so someone else appreciated it first).

I might be finished bearding people for a while. Besides, it's almost time to start using my app that zombies people and pets. Pets make really good zombies.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Interestings

The InterestingsThe Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With a title like "The Interestings," I was hoping for a group of characters who were all, well, INTERESTING. These characters were like people I know - not usually a bad thing in a book. It's just that I thought they'd be better than average or just shy of superheroes or something.

What I was reminded of while reading this book was that the people you meet when you're young aren't always meant to be in your life forever. These friends seemed like they felt they had no choice but to stay in each other's lives even though they didn't really have much in common. Forced. Not fun.

Was this interesting? Yes. Was it the MOST interesting book ever? Far from it.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Chip 3

This license plate seems to break a lot of stereotypes about people named Chip.

First of all, thanks to movies, I always assume they're a little bit like this:


Second, Chip hasn't been a popular name since the 1960s. CHIPS ARE PRACTICALLY EXTINCT! Either this guy is super rare or he's pretty old. It would surprise me if a really old guy felt the need to put his name on his truck's license plate.

Third, I think they're more of a sports car driver.

Catching this guy in his giant truck was a bit of a surprise. I mean, WHERE ARE THE TRUCK NUTS?!?!

I'd also like to see CHIP1 and CHIP2. Isn't that why he had to choose CHIP3?

Monday, August 5, 2013

I'm Not Old Enough For This!

I know I'm not as young as I used to be. I feel it when I get out of bed in the morning. I see it when I look in the mirror. Now, it seems my mailbox is beginning to be assaulted by my not-quite-elderly condition.

Without solicitation, I received a free trial offer for this magazine.


I've always thought of it as the magazine for ladies who were too old for sassier, fashion-heavy magazines. When I say "too old," I mean the menopausal set.

But this was free.

Why not take a peek?
As I flip past all the pages advertising skin care products promising to make a lady stop aging in its tracks, I see things like this.

Tori Spelling is offering crafty tips on these pages.


I know it's been a while since she was on 90210 and that she's into things like this when not busy with her children and her reality show, but come on! If people want to learn to give a chair a makeover, they're on Pinterest. In fact, I've probably pinned something like this knowing I'll NEVER do it. Because I'm not crafty. Yet.

Now this is EXACTLY what I expected to see in this magazine.

This lovely gray-haired lady wrote about not coloring her hair. I've been in a war with pigment-challenged hair for about a decade now. As pretty as her hair is (and my mom has done the same thing so maybe this magazine really IS for people her age), I'm not ditching the dye.

It may be my last stand against aging, but I'm not giving up until every single hair follicle has had the color (dark brown, I think) knocked out of it for good!

And then there's this broad, a model/actress who can afford a trainer (both financially and with hours to dedicate to working out) telling me what 40 will be like.


I'm not afraid to turn 40. I'm just not sure I need someone who pretty much had it going on before the big 4-0 telling me how great things are. If I had millions of dollars and a team of people to make me look as good as Rebecca Romijn, I'd celebrate every day. Naked. In public. NOTE: If I win the lottery, none of you can hold me to this.

So which is it, Redbook? Do you want me to be fit and healthy or do you want me to get crafty in the kitchen with ice cream?

I'm so confused.

I'm also pretty sure NO ONE ever says, "I wish I could find a new way to love ice cream." If they do, they're probably lactose-intolerant and shouldn't try any of these "new and improved" ice cream recipes.

I admit that I stared at this page a little longer than usual because I saw it after I returned home from the gym. I just looked at it. I did not rush out and buy any of the things needed to make these dishes.

I did linger here a bit.

I don't like camping because I've had some traumatic bug experiences. It's also very hot and I can't sleep like that. I also fear being attacked by a serial killer - or even just a regular old killer - while snoozing in a tent. It happens. I don't have the stats for it, but just google "murdered while camping" and see what happens. I just did it and saw more than 1.4 million results! See? I'm not making things up! I hope this doesn't get the government's attention. I was just curious and not plotting a crime.

One of the entries that got my attention was a mention of Marfa, Texas. I've wanted to make the trip to see the lights and this quirky little town in the middle of nowhere for a while. They mentioned a place where you can stay in a vintage trailer. I looked it up. They're super cute. They have their own bathrooms and real beds. I'm sure there are other cool places to stay there, I just haven't looked them up. Now I'm seriously considering waiting until the weather is nicer and making the trip. I could still be murdered, but I'm a little less scared of this in a trailer vs. a tent. I think.

So, dear Redbook, you don't have to keep sending me your magazine. I'm out. It makes me feel old. I don't need this from a magazine. I need to feel like I'm not in the same demographic as my mother. Because I'm not.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dan Rather?

I know Dan Rather has ties to Texas, so there's a chance this small SUV belongs to him.

I would be a little surprised if he'd put his name on his license plate. It doesn't seem like he'd want people honking their horns at him or shouting things about the scandal that ended his network career. OOOH! Or shouting, "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" at him! I think that might make him a little less cranky. I don't really know why I think Dan is an old crank. Maybe it's because he's now on some cable channel most people don't know exists (I'm pretty sure it's not listed among the hundreds of channels I get). If he really is cruising around with this license plate, I'm sad for him. So sad, I kind of want to give Dan a hug. Kind of.

I could be wrong.

In fact, the more I look at this, the more I think maybe it doesn't really say RATHER. Maybe it says RAT HER. Like, "I'm going to rat her out." Don't roll your eyes. It's a possibility.

So is the pronunciation. Maybe it's supposed to be read RATE HER. In that case, the guy driving this is a douchebag. You don't rate girls. That's rude and a sure way to not get ladies to ever want to spend time with you - even the 10s. They'll be worried that you will lower their rating and that will send them on a path of self-destruction (eating disorders, plastic surgery, dating more douchebags, etc.).

And just like that, I've gone from being excited about maybe seeing Dan Rather in the home improvement store (I did not) to wanting to punch the owner of this Kia.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

We Need New Names

We Need New Names: A NovelWe Need New Names: A Novel by NoViolet Bulawayo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have always wondered what happens to children removed from harsh lands to America, still seen as the land of dreams and opportunities. Darling's story, while fictional, gives some insight into that dramatic change.

Fleeing Africa with visions of the America she'd seen on TV, Darling winds up in significantly unglamorous Michigan. She is a young girl in need of guidance who never gets it, instead making her way mostly on her own. She lives a life that will be limited because she's not in America legally. Her childhood dreams don't seem that much different as she ages in America. Her family and friends back home don't have the real view of America that Darling lives. Her reality is harsh - she's destined to spend her life working jobs that keep her off the radar of the government. The worst thing that could happen is she could be found out and then sent home to a place and people she wouldn't recognize.

Her life is probably safer in American than it would be in her homeland. Her personal safety is not as threatened as it would be in Africa, but she seems lonely. No matter how "American" Darling becomes, she seems to still miss the things she loved about her African childhood.

This is the kind of story that reminds me how lucky I am to have been born in America. My life has never been run by fear or even the kind of abandonment so many children in this world see as normal. It is a raw story that may make some uncomfortable. It made me grateful.

I could never walk a mile in an immigrant's shoes. This book gives me a chance to walk just a few steps. Darling's dreams aren't all that different from mine or anyone else's - a chance for a good, safe, happy life. If there was one more chapter in this book, I'd like to think Darling gets all of that and more.

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Monday, July 1, 2013


CoolidgeCoolidge by Amity Shlaes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book promised to give me more insight into this President. Instead, it told me all the things I already knew - all learned from history books that got to the point faster.

Coolidge liked numbers more than he liked people. It's why he enjoyed the budget process and finding ways to cut taxes without actually having to see people face-to-face. When the country was in crisis, he hunkered down with numbers instead of consoling people. He hated big government, but that was his comfort zone.

The best part of his story is his struggle to make something of himself - even if it was something he didn't really seem to want. Why doesn't Coolidge get respect for the things he accomplished in office? Probably because he didn't allow the people who voted him into office to get to know him. Career suicide for a politician.

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cooking Up Trouble

I keep seeing something on Facebook that bothers me. It shouldn't just bother me. It should bother Rachael Ray.

These ads are ALL OVER my home page. In fact, in one day, four of them showed up on the right side of the page.

I've seen Rachael Ray lately (on TV, not in real life) and she does look like she's lost a little bit of weight. Not too much, though, because then no one would want to try her yum-o recipes. There's that old rule: don't trust a skinny cook.

But here's why Rachael should be mad: THAT'S NOT HER IN THE PICTURES!

They're showing some ridiculously thin woman who looks like her diet strategy consists of coffee, cigarettes, a piece of fruit and eight hours of exercise daily. NOTE: I might be a bit extreme in my speculation, but if I can see your collarbone, you're not eating enough and someone needs to stage an intervention with you.

If you're foolish to believe you can lose four dress sizes fast without a "crazy diet," you should send me your bank account information STAT so I can help you achieve this goal. Wait. Don't do that. It would make me just as bad as the scammers flooding Facebook with these ads.

If you don't believe me when I say that's NOT Rachael Ray, take a look at this:
Original image can be found here.
That's a recent picture of her. She looks pretty good. Not sickly thin. Healthy.

I'm such a good Internet sleuth (AKA I read USMagazine and know how to Google) that I believe I have identified the poor sap who's being called an insanely skinny Rachael Ray.
Original image can be found here.
That's British pop star Cheryl Cole. If you had something in your eye and tried to focus on that picture, you might think it's Rachael Ray. But it's not. You most definitely should not be online thinking you've found the magical weight loss cure. You need to see an eye doctor right away. And hide your credit cards. You can thank me later.

This isn't the first time I've busted a Facebook ad with misleading pictures. Anderson Cooper never thanked me for this. It's OK. I still love him.

Celebrities may not surf Facebook regularly, but I bet the person(s) tasked with managing their official pages do. They need to contact Mark Zuckerberg and get the site to put a stop to it. It's bad for their image. It's also bad for Facebook. It's the kind of thing that makes me think all the ads - even the ones from brands I know - aren't legit. I know that I shouldn't whine about a site that's free and not a requirement for life, but I hate seeing people and their good names/faces damaged.

So, Rachael, if you're out there, make a call. You don't have to thank me.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked

Give Me Everything You Have: On Being StalkedGive Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked by James Lasdun

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I expected so much more from this book. A writer who is stalked and harassed by a woman with mental illness should have a great story to tell. Instead, this was an unorganized account of the events. I wouldn't wish this on anyone (the stalking and, to a certain extent, the book). I didn't hate this, but I wish this had been easier to read. It had potential. It just didn't deliver.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Morning Confusion

Every morning that I remember to take my multi-vitamin, I am so proud of myself! But today, the bottle was turned around and I saw this:
Instant disappointment.

Why? Because I foolishly thought the front of the bottle was all the instruction I needed.
It says it right there in the title!

ONE A DAY! For more than a year, I have been popping one of these orange vitamins daily (mostly). Now, I learn I'm supposed to take TWO!

This kind of deceptive labeling is something the government needs to drop everything and fix. Who do these One A Day people think they are? Here I was thinking I have been doing a good thing by following the large print on the front of the bottle and the fine print on the back is telling me I'm supposed to double down! It's not like there's not room to print Two A Day on the label. Or they could give me one giant pill to take so that it's truly just one a day. Instead, the label lies. How do I even trust the vitamin counts on the back?

What else is lying to me? I feel like I need to go around my house and interrogate everything. That's what not taking your vitamins at the proper dosage does - it makes you crazy. I am no longer responsible for my behavior. If anyone questions me, I'm blaming the lying One A Day vitamins.