31.10.11

Halloween How-To




Hilarious marquee on our chalk-bathroom wall, courtesy of The Hubby.

So, Saturday night marked the "adult" Halloween (not to be confused with the "child" Halloween, which has decidedly more candy and less vodka). I've been working on my costume for a while, adding to it from last year and also helped make some costumes for the rest of my crew. 


Tinkerbell, Snow White, Big Bird (moi), Snufalufagus and The Cookie Monster. 


I added MANY MORE feathers to my own costume and helped out with Snuffy's fur overalls. Okay, so I did more than help but it ended up being a pain because the fun fur kept breaking the needle of my sewing machine. Boo. That meant I basically sewed the whole thing by hand, which you'd think would make things MORE secure...except that I'm not a seamstress.


Not a seamstress.


And that's what this post is REALLY about.


I wanted to title it "Mini-Tutorial: How To Fix A Halloween Costume in a Porta-Potty With A Stapler" but that would've been a tad bit too long...


So, we're all at the big Halloween party downtown and poor Snuffy's strap broke. The velcro was slightly too powerful and I only hand-stiched one side (It made the needle all sticky so I gave up. I'm sure there's some other way but, again, I'm NOT a seamstress).

Luckily, we were on it.


First, make sure that you have enough foresight to actually BRING a stapler with you to the big downtown Halloween Party. Also, make sure that someone has a purse large enough to accommodate the office tool. 

Since the line-ups for the washrooms will be HELLA LONG, simply go outside to the row of porta-potties. All three of you. At the same time. It's cool, you'll fit (barely). 

Always put the soberest person in charge of the stapler. They really are tricky but the REAL trick is not having any of the three purses, various Halloween accessories and/or the stapler fall in.

Sure, it's hard to see because there's no light so there's a small risk of stapling yourself and the person whose costume you're trying to fix, but that's what a camera flash is for, obviously.

Then, file outta the pottty and you're set to take Sesame to the street!

So there you have it: on-the-fly Halloween tailoring, Sesame-street style. I should also mention that when you fall out of the porta-potty in matching theme costumes...well...let's just say you get quite a bit of attention.


ps. If you run into someone in the same costume, also home-made, feel free to judge just how much better yours is.

Clearly, my fascinator is better.
Much, much better.


However, she did have a feather bustier, so that was pretty cool...


but there's no doubt that I was the superior Big Bird.


Happy Halloween!!

27.10.11

Eff, Marry and Kill Linkup




So this is pretty fun (minus the murdering part) and I LOVE fun things!


photobucket




There are just SO many options to choose from that it took me a while to nail things down. So to speak.



Here's what I've decided:


*clears throat*



Eff

Mark Whalberg. If I've said it once, I've said it a THOUSAND TIMES. This is the sexiest actor ad OF ALL TIME. However, I'd like to clarify that I'm referring to Mark when he was hanging with his Funky Bunch. Okay, twist my arm. I'd also eff current Mark.


Marry

John Krasinski. Have you seen his Red Band Trailer interview with Diablo Cody? If not, watch it and you'll get why he's someone I wouldn't mind being tied to. Forever.
He's hilarious, handsome and quick witted. Love!



Kill

Jason Schwartzman, I'm sorry. I cannot stand you. Like, even a little bit. The movies you're in are super cool but then you ruin them by appearing. As such, you're out.  OUT!





26.10.11

Why You Shouldn't Cheat On New Brunswick Ladies




Because THIS might happen...



Actual Kijiji ad from Saint John, New Brunswick (about an hour and a half from where I live):


For sale, 15 lugnuts off of a Chevy Blazer. You can have them for free if you don't ask questions.
 
To my cheating boyfriend:
Good news Sweetums, your nuts are no longer in my purse; they're in a box in the garage.  Also, it turns out I DO know how to change a tire.
xoxoxo
P.S.  Careful driving to your new girl's house!


Freaking. Hilarious. 


And somewhat terrifying. 



18.10.11

Ghost-Town Groceries


I've had a fairly up-and-down summer in regards to my health and it looks like the fall and winter won't be much different. As such, I've reverted to my "unstable" medical routine, which mostly consists of being a hermit and avoiding contact with germy people. 


That makes things kind of tricky when it comes to grocery shopping, which sucks because I LOVE grocery shopping. 


My favourite regular-sized grocery store is The Superstore (yes, that's the actual name) and apparently they read my mind when, at the beginning of the summer, they changed their hours during the week to 24-hours! 


YAY!


When I up my medications, which is presently happening, I don't sleep well. At all. I know WAY too much about infomercial products and have practically memorized date-hotline numbers. So you can see how 24-hour grocery store hours have benefited my life. 


If not, I've written a small formula to help break it down:


Love of grocery shopping + no sleep + need to live in a bubble + 24-hour grocery shopping =




Now, most urban areas have 24-hour stores, but they're few and far between out here. I remember going shopping at 2am when I lived in downtown Toronto and there would always be people. In fact, sometimes there wasn't even great parking.


Here's what it looks like when you go grocery shopping at 5:28am on a Tuesday morning in Fredericton.

*points*


I got a spot directly next to the accessible parking spots. Score.


Then I was able to pick from the fresh new produce that was being unloaded by an extremely red-eyed teen. Whether it was because it was so early or for other reasons, I can't be sure.


I was literally the only non-employee in the joint. This is what it must be like for Britney Spears when she goes grocery shopping. Or any shopping, for that matter.


I thought this guy was another customer. Then he produced a mop.


So, although I've REALLY ENJOYED being able to grocery shop while sick, I wasn't terribly surprised when I saw this near the check-out. It makes sense that they're reverting back to non-24-hour status. I mean, the place is always deserted when I roll in (which I now have photo evidence of). 


Boo nonetheless though. Boo.


Goodbye grocery shopping. I'll miss you.


*wipes tear*




17.10.11

Twitter: Bringing Sexy Back


Okay, so maybe not "sexy" per say but it makes for a good title.


What I really mean is that Twitter is bringing customer service back. Back in BIG way.


Over the last few years, I've noticed (as I'm sure you have) a sharp decline in the quality of customer service from companies. The automated follow-up calls, the serious wait-times when you need to speak to someone and spammy emails that I don't want to stop getting because sometimes they have coupons - all of these things leave me wanting to sell everything I have and go live in a cave somewhere. 


I'm a slave to consumerism. We all are. We're in a capitalistic society. There's no escaping it.


HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that companies shouldn't be responsible for what they're selling. In fact, I think that with all the technological advancements of the last fifty years, things would be made BETTER for LESS. But, of course, that wouldn't fly because people wouldn't buy as much. 


In the recent economic climate, I think that we've all cut back. I'm back to combing the weekly ads for grocery store sales instead of just throwing whatever into the cart when I get there. I research larger item-purchases to the point of complete ridiculousness. In fact, I research most things pre-purchasing because I HATE spending money and then not getting what I think I'm paying for.


Too bad it happens ALL OF THE TIME!


*shakes fist*


So, I'd boot-up my laptop and write the company an email outlining my disappointment. Sometimes it worked and I was refunded or sent additional items, but sometimes nothing happened at all. It's been a very frustrating experience; feeling like I have no power.


Well that's all over now!


*blows airhorn*


Oh, hello there, Twitter.


*bats eyelashes*


With a simple 140 characters, I now have a place to vent my frustrations. A place where my words have the ability to get from here to Australia in a matter of seconds.


It's a company's worst nightmare. 


Millions of dollars of positive advertising can be obliterated in days - hours even, sometimes.


As terrifying as that is for corporate businesses, it's a consumer's paradise. A paradise with a grotto. And a swim-up bar. And zero-calorie daiquiris. 


From my personal Twitter experiences, I've been successful three times out of four with my beefs about three different companies. In all three instances, I had someone from customer service DM (direct message - not public) me within HOURS. The longest it took for a resolution was TWO DAYS! In red-tape terms, that might as well be instantaneous. 


I'd also like to mention that I Twittered my witty yet scathing complaints AFTER dealing with the company's customer service representatives and being left in the lurch. Yet, mere minutes after Tweeting, I'm suddenly in contact with someone higher up in the customer service food chain and then - BAM - my problem's solved. 


So what does that really mean?


Well, it means that I'm a happy bunny. I no longer feel like companies can take advantage of me and the feeling is AMAZING! It means that when I feel like a company isn't putting their money where their mouth is and standing by their products, I can publicly shame them a little. Funny how when I'm wonderful and charming on the phone or in an email, I'm left with nothing.


Shoot off a few choice Tweets though, and suddenly I'm a valuable customer. The upside from the company's point of view is that I ALWAYS Tweet a favourable phrase or two once my problem has been taken care of. After all, fair is fair. 


Hm...Now that I think about it, Twitter's a little bit of a super-hero - bursting through the door of  previously-unavailable offices on the corporate ladder. Maybe my blog title wasn't that off. After all, super-heros are really quite sexy.


So go NOW and sign up for an account. Get your power back, people! It's great over here!


*sips zero-calorie daiquiri*


Mmmm...vindication is delicious. 


16.10.11

Brown Butter Waffles



I was up super early this morning and decided to use the time productively.


Did I clean the house? 

Walk the dogs?

Take out the trash?


Nope.


I made brown butter waffles. From scratch. 


*snaps*


Here's the recipe (from Williams Sonoma: Comfort Food):

4 tbs. unsalted butter
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

optional:
2 cups cherries
3 tbs orange blossom or other mild honey.


You'll also need three mixing bowls and a whisk. 


So, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. I also added a tablespoon of malted milk powder because it makes the batter taste more diner-ish.



Melt the butter over low/medium heat.



Until the bottom starts to brown. Things starting to make sense? ;)


When the butter has cooled slightly, add the egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Whisk together until well blended.


Then add it to the pre-sifted flour mixture. Don't over mix.



In another bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form.



Then fold the fluff into the rest of the batter.



Pour it in your pre-heated waffle-grill (with the latch expertly fixed with a toothpick...it may be time for a new one..)



And voila! They tasted freaking delicious!


So there you have it - homemade brown butter waffles.


Pretty easy to make and the house smells ah-mazing afterwards. Definitely a recipe to try on a chilly autumn morning. A Sunday morning, specifically. These babies take a little time! They're SO worth the investment, though.


Mmmmmmmm





15.10.11

Dear Lender's Bagels:



It's been so long, dear Lender's bagels.




Too long.


Not since I was in high school, about a zillion years ago, have I had the pleasure of chowing down on you. I have distinct memories of my mother travelling downtown to pick you up. She didn't complain, but would get VERY annoyed when she'd wake up the next morning and my Baby Brother and I had eaten a whole sleeve.


"These are too expensive to go through so fast," she'd muse.


Baby Brother and I would nod...and then polish off another few.


When I graduated and went off to university, your delicious soft insides and thin crunchy exterior were something that I missed. 


Terribly.


I'd come home and ask if we had bagels, only to be directed to the bread drawer. Sacrilege, as Lender's Bagels are kept in the fridge. Apparently my mother was too busy to drive the 45 minutes to get her daughter's favourite breakfast food. It's cool. I got over it. 


Okay, I didn't.


Well, a whopping TWELVE years later - as in, last Friday - my mother-in-law and I traveled to the American Wal-Mart in Houlton, Maine. We were wandering around the store, looking at the amazing selection of calorie-reduced bread when I said:


"Hey, have you ever heard of Lender's Bagels? They're really the best. It's been forever since I've had one. I miss them."


My mother in law responded with:


"Do you mean these here?"


Then she opened up a refrigerator door, picked up a package and handed it to me.


Lo and behold, it was YOU, dear Lender's Bagels! In all of your tiny glory. And not just in one flavour, but two!


TWO FLAVOURS!


Granted, your other flavour choice was onion (*gags*) but it's cool. I forgive you. 


The best part? A sleeve of six of your delectable delights cost ONE DOLLAR AND FIFTY FOUR CENTS!


Naturally I filled my cart like an extreme couponer I bought two, for a whopping total of just over three bucks.


So thank you, Lender's Bagels. Not only for coming back into my life in such a funny way but for being in a Wal-Mart that's less than an hour away and, most importantly, so freaking cheap! 


Bagels for everyone!!


*throws bagels*


And now it's time for breakfast - bacon and egg sandwiches, baby!!


*wipes drool*


*skips off to kitchen*


14.10.11

Book Club Friday: Making Waves

Well thank goodness for Book Club Friday or my blog wouldn't have any content! Haha, but not really. I need to get back into the swing of things, but aren't super sure when that's going to be. Haha, but not really (again).


Moving on...


Yay! Book Club Friday!




This week, I'm reviewing Tawna Fenske's DEBUT novel, Making Waves.




Oh Em Gee, guys....this book was FREAKING HILARIOUS!


Like the kind of hilarity that would result if Tina Fey's off-the-wall descriptions of life joined forces with Chelsea Handler's awkward sexuality and the two wrote a book about white-collar-employees turning into a band of pirates.


Sounds too good to be true? Well it isn't.


The female MC is named Juli and she's a thirty-seven year old woman who's had more careers than my entire graduating class - combined. Her family thinks she needs to settle down with one thing, but they don't seem to be too hard on her. When Juli's uncle Frank dies, he requests that Juli spread his ashes in a specific spot in the caribbean ocean. Being that Juli is terrified of water, it doesn't really sound like a great idea, but she decides to cart the ugliest urn ever (seriously, it sported copulating dolphin decorations)  down south. 


Oh, and Juli has a secret. And, frankly, it's a pretty great one. I swear that you'll never guess. Well, I didn't anyway (so don't go all "I did," on me, okay?).


Meanwhile, in another part of America, a band of four corporate employees find themselves without jobs and pension plans - all because their douche-bag boss let them go two months before retirement. 


So what do they do? 


Hack into the company's computer systems, see that their boss has an illegal shipment of diamonds being shipped through the Caribbean and decide to rob it...obviously. 


Ah. Mazing.


The makeshift pirates include Alex - the ringleader, Cody (aka Cookie) - a former NFL player turned gourmet chef with a slight obession with his red spatula, Phyllis - a former steeplechase Olympian who's a little rough around the edges and Jake - a cranky albeit entertaining guy. 


I'm sure you're starting to see why this book was so funny. 


So, Juli takes her trip down south and finds out that she's allergic to anti-seasick medication. How? Well, she kind of ends up hallucinating and falls asleep in what she thinks is her tour boat but SURPRISE, it isn't. Instead, she breaks into the pirate ship but nobody finds her until they're hours and hours from shore.


And that's when the story really gets going. The best part is that the talented Ms. Fenske was able to get through all of the relevant backstory in the first two chapters and then the plot took off faster than a high-powered speed boat, which is coincidentally the white-collar-pirate's boat of choice for diamond heists. All I want to do is give you a play-by-play of what happens because there are SO many twists and turns that the pace of the book was more like a 100m sprint than a marathon. I won't do that, though. 


You're welcome.


Plus, not only is the plotline awesome, but this is also a ROMANCE novel, so there's a whole lotta sex between Juli and Alex. The build-ups are tantalizing. Oh so tantalizing. In fact, by the middle, they move from tantalizing to down right titillating. Oh yes. All puns intended (and justified).


If I had to rank Making Waves, I'd give it a dozen peanut-butter-filled chocolate cupcakes because just when I thought it couldn't get any more delicious, it did. So, RUN to your nearest bookstore (or Kindle-thingy, if you're into that) and BUY THIS BOOK!


Then, find yourself a hidden corner in your house and sink your teeth into the funniest romance novel that I've ever read. 


Trust me, you'll be giggling from the second page straight through to the end, with bits of choking laughter in between (so maybe tell someone where you're hiding...just in case).





7.10.11

Book Club Friday: Vanishing Acts


I'm a little late....but it's still Friday, which means it's time for BOOK CLUB





This week, I'm reviewing (yet another) Jodi Picoult.



*pulls back curtain*



Vanishing Acts


So, it was bound to happen. 


I knew it would, eventually...


I've been inhaling Ms. Picoult's books at a rapid pace, so it was just a matter of time until I read one that I didn't fall in love with.


Unfortunately, Vanishing Acts was the one.


Delia Hopkins works in search-and-rescue with her trusty bloodhound Greta. She has a young daughter, an alcoholic fiancee and a best friend who's in love with her. It's fitting that she finds lost people because we find out in the first few chapters that her father kidnapped her when she was a child, her name isn't Delia and her mother isn't dead (as her father had told her).


Seems like a great read, right?


Well it would have been if there weren't about a zillion other side-plots. The combination of EVERY character having MAJOR issues meant that the primary storyline, of what happens after her father's arrest, gets lost in the mix. The alcoholism and love triangle between Delia, Eric (fiancee) and Fitz (bff) tries too hard to justify Delia's feelings regarding her father's actions. It felt both forced and superficial. Yes, there were reasons why Delia reacted like she did, but I think they would've been just as relatable without the intense amount of backstory.


Intense.Amount.Of.Backstory.


In fact, the majority of this book was backstory...and a glossed-over introduction to Mexican folklore. Like, surprise - here's a history lesson that doesn't really have any connection to the plot. I appreciated the character who brought Mexican folklore to life, but again, I didn't really see how it related to the story. 


I've read on literary agent's websites that authors sometimes shove too many things into a book and unfortunately, I found that Vanishing Acts fell into this trap. Hard. 


Just off the top of my head, I remembered seven plot-lines. SEVEN! Because so much was happening, it was impossible for me to connect with Dahlia as she spent the majority of her time reacting to new events around her, rather than focusing on her relationship with her father. 


And don't even get me started on the prison scenes. They legit gave me the heebie-jeebies. Like, millions and millions of them. 


*shudder*


Then, at the end, there's a "shocking discovery," which didn't have as much impact as Ms. Picoult would have wanted because, frankly, I was exhausted by the time I got there. 


So, I'm sad to say that I think this one's a pass. If you haven't read a Jodi Picoult before, don't start with this one. I'm still a fan, but this one wasn't one of her best. 


4.10.11

Marc and the Massive Peanut Butter Cup


The other day, I was grocery shopping and found the largest peanut butter cup of all time.


ALL TIME.


Since Marc freaking LOVES peanut butter cups, I picked one up for him and wrapped it up with a big shiny bow.


To say he was delighted would be an understatement as his eyes lit up like a guy who'd just been presented with an insanely large version of his favourite treat....oh wait...



Here it is.




Marc almost needed two hands to hold it. I dared him to finish it in one sitting. He smiled.




He was off to a pretty good start. Slow and steady. He said the ratio was pretty much like the normal sized cups.




A few minutes later, Marc lost. This was what was left after round one. It really doesn't seem like much was eaten, but it felt like he'd been at it forever.




Round two was a valiant effort. 



Round three. Marc was really dedicated to finishing it but just couldn't.


A small break later, the peanut butter cup was done-zo.


Total eating time: Just under an hour.


Marc didn't eat supper.