Friday, July 31, 2009

Mutten Dressed as Lamb

I bought my first pair of skinny jeans tonight. They are not in a "skinny" size, though I do think Gap and Old Navy are vanity sizing these days. My friend Jaime was wearing skinny jeans when she came to visit this summer from NYC and she looked so cute in her pair, I wanted to give them a try. While she was here, Jaime also introduced me to Strike Gold, a miracle product. Check it out! I'm a big-time follower so basically, I had to go get me a pair.

When the 16-year-old boy opened my dressing room, he said, "here you go ma'am." Ma'am? It was then that I wondered if I should really be stuffing my trash into skinny jeans. I'm 32. Am I too old? Do I just need to resign myself to a nice pair of bootcut with tummy control?

While we are on the subject of being too old for certain things--What is your take on hair? Is there an age when women should cut their hair? We all know how bad long hair can be on an older woman:

I wouldn't want to go any longer than this:

But is there a magic age when women should move into a graceful bob?

And then it's only a matter of time before we will all end up like this?

Sad to think about.

I digress. Back to the jeans. What do you think?

Oh, and is Luke too old for velcro shoes? Be honest.
Is it time I taught him to tie shoelaces? I did manage to talk him out of the ones that light up!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hooray for Ed!

Tonight was the much anticipated (at least for me) finale of the bachelorette. It was a wild ride and when the show ended, I was emotionally spent.

Let's start at the beginning. I thought both guys did a great job with Jillian's family. Kiptyn came across as more free-spirited and fun, while Ed made his feelings about Jillian perfectly clear to her family--He was in love with her. Glenn obviously liked Ed more and what dad wouldn't? Ed said outright that he loved her and asked for her hand. Kiptyn kept saying "he was falling for her" and he "could see himself with her." I think in the end, that was the difference maker for Jillian too. She knew that Ed was just more in love with her.

Her final date with Kiptyn was a little boring. I have to say that Kiptyn has an amazing body and he knows it. Jillian looked pretty good too. When they were on the beach eating, I was laughing to myself thinking about what I was wearing on the beach--cut off sweats and a hoodie over my swimsuit with a hat. I could tell Jillian was cold but there was no way she was covering up that white bikini.

Her date with Ed was more romantic. I wish someone would have told him to spring for a new pair of trunks. Jillian had a different swimsuit in every shot. This has got to be the fourth time we've seen Ed in those tiny green shorts and ugly tank top. I like Ed though. He is real and most of the time he wears big cargo shorts and manly clothes. One thing I hated about Kiptyn was his little designer jeans and metro tops all the time. Be a man! Finally, I totally had to laugh when they showed the lights go out at the end of Jillian and Ed's date and then the volcano erupted. Did they really have to spell that out for us?

I have to admit, I loved seeing Kiptyn get his heart broken--not because I don't like him, but because he is always so polished and perfect. He has never been dumped until now. Everyone needs to have their heart broken at least once. I really wanted to see a tear but he never gave in. Kiptyn reminded me of Jason Mesnic when he was at the final rose ceremony with Deanna. Just like Jason, Kiptyn looked surprised that it wasn't him. He almost seemed more surprised than hurt. But rumor has it that he is the next bachelor so I'm not crying for him.

Finally, what in the world are the producers doing bringing back Reid in the middle of the final rose ceremony? I know it was done for dramatic effect but it really screwed Reid over. They should have had him come back to her earlier in the show. There was no way she was going to pick him at that point (even though I was shocked at how long she waffled!) I will always have a special place in my heart for Reid but seriously dude--deck shoes with a suit? C'mon. I did love the line where she asked Reid if he knew "what was going on here." And he said something like "yes, but what's going on here shouldn't be happening without me." Personally, I would rather see Reid as the next bachelor.

Let's get to the really important stuff--did you like the ring Ed picked out for Jillian? I'm not really a fan of the pear shaped diamond. There were some other gorgeous choices and I was pleading with Ed through the tv not to choose that one.

So--that's that. Are you watching "After the final rose" tomorrow night? Did you want Jillian to pick Reid? Are you happy with the outcome? Will they last? and did you think the ring was ugly? Please weigh in.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My All-Time Favorite Salad

I love being asked to bring a salad to an event because I know this one will always be a hit. I'm posting it on my blog so I don't have to keep emailing the recipe to people.

Red leaf lettuce and spinach
8 oz pkg slivered or sliced almonds--glaze with 2/3 cup sugar (I'll explain below)
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese cubed small
1 1b bacon cooked in microwave, shredded
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp dried onion

I always prepare the almonds ahead of time. You just put the sugar in a pan on the stove and melt into a glaze. Dump the almonds in and toss around quickly. Pour them onto wax paper to cool. They burn quickly so you have to move fast.

I like to cook the bacon in the microwave on paper towels almost to the point of burning it because who wants to eat soggy bacon in a salad?


*Special thanks to my cousin Liz for hosting us at a yummy BBQ with fireworks yesterday for the 24th of July. My kids were in Heaven. The "white-trash chicken" they grilled was divine. The marinade is one part soy sauce, one part vegetable oil to two parts Sprite. I will be making the chicken this week!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sweet Victory

Gymboree is reborn. Since my last post, I have spoken with the store manager of the Fashion Place Gymboree, the District Manager and someone at Corporate. I have been issued Gymboree and Crazy 8 coupons and received countless apologies and gratitude for my patience. The employee is being reprimanded.

Some of you have expressed interest in what happened. Skip the next two paragraphs if you're bored already. I purchased a swimsuit for Sammie online using gymbucks. I received the swimsuit. It didn't fit. I attempted to exchange it for something else, all within the gymbucks redemption period.

At the register, the salesperson only wanted to give me 11.00 credit toward the new item even though the swimsuit still retails at $22.50. Basically, I wanted to keep the value of my gymbucks and get the full $22.50 toward the new item (a full price pair of pants for Luke.) The salesgirl told me no, I expressed my dissatisfaction with the policy and asked what else I could do. She told me I could return the item without a receipt. So I said, "Okay, I'd like to return the item without a receipt." She then called me dishonest and asked me to return to the store when another employee was working who did not know I had the receipt. I couldn't believe it. She went on to call me dishonest several more times in a store full of customers and more importantly, in front of my children.

My whole beef with the situation was not the store policy--ridiculous as it is--it was with how the employee handled the situation and the name-calling she engaged in. Wanna know the kicker? When I spoke with the district manager, he actually told me I was right about the policy--during gymbucks redemption time, you do get the full price of the item toward something else on an exchange.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Men Tell All

I saw that the "Bachelorette--Men Tell All" was 2 hours and I swore I wouldn't watch. Then I realized I had a ton of laundry to fold, and let's be honest--I've invested this much--of course I'm going to watch it and you did too.

I will not even waste my precious blog space giving you the blow-by-blow. I am so tired of hearing about "man-code" and guys ripping on each other. Dave did himself no favors. He is a creep and I dare say he is worse than Wes.

Speaking of Wes, a dear blogging friend sent me an i-tunes gift certificate for Wes' new song and it is catchy. Hate the game, not the player.

I still cringe every time Jake opens his mouth but I think the guy is sincere and classy. I thought it was funny that the guys were giving him a hard time about "pulling a Mesnick" (crying over the balcony!)

Reid is coming back. We knew it. She doesn't pick him even though I wish she would. I still have feelings for Ed and I'm rooting for him now. What were your thoughts on the "Men Tell All?" Did anyone out there even watch it?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

10 Rules for a Successful Road Trip with Kids

I want to apologize for leaving you with the Bachelorette post for 6 straight days. We just returned from a short road trip to Sun Valley, Idaho. We had a great time and that post is coming but for now, I want to lay down my law for road trips with kids.

1. Pack the car to the gills. You are driving, not flying, so you don't have weight restrictions. Milk it. We had so much shiz this time that we borrowed my in-laws car just to make it all fit. We are talking 5 bikes, a jogging stroller, a regular stroller, a bike trailer, all of our luggage, a pack-in-play, inflatable pool toys (fully inflated) and a partridge in a pear tree. It just so happened that our condo was on the third floor. The husband loved hauling it all up two flights of stairs!

2. Bring a bag of good hooch (non-messy, non-chocolate hooch) and a cooler of drinks. You will be stopping at gas stations along the way to get your fountain diet coke and more hooch but these are your staples.

3. Feed said hooch to fat baby in the back for five hours straight to keep him quiet.

4. Buy DVD system for your vehicle. This is non-negotiable. If you didn't have these rules when you were at the dealership--do not despair. The after-market DVD system is even nicer and larger than one that comes with the car.

5. Put your feet on the dash and admire your pedicure. Crank the tunes and make your kids wear headphones for the DVD in the back.

6. Listen to your husband's best rendition of Kenny Roger's "The Gambler."

7. Pull off to the side of the highway when your 4 year old won't stop crying. Pull her out of the car and threaten to leave her there just like your mom did when you were that age.

8. Don't forget to put her back in the car. When any child falls asleep, put the pedal to the metal and drive like the wind. Don't stop for any reason. This is sacred time.

9. Eat at McDonald's for every meal. Justify the large shake because you are on a roadie. Let your kids play in the play land for 1/2 hour. Pray they don't get AIDS.

10. When you see your friends ahead of you on the highway, yell to your 6 yr old to jump into the front seat and prepare to do a "pressed ham" in the window as you pass your friends. I'm just making this up. Who would really do this? Seriously. Expect your 6 yr old to talk about the incident the rest of the trip.

What are your rules for road-tripping with children?

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Most Unromantic Fantasy Suite in Bachelor History

Man, I'm feeling more pressure than Ed in the fantasy suite to get a post up tonight. I know you all are expecting it.

We might as well address the elephant in the room. Ed=E.D. Isn't it ironic? It's no secret that I really like Ed. I think he is a solid guy and he is giving Jillian everything she wants in terms of telling her he loves her and will propose if he gets the final rose.

The real question is chemistry. She never seemed to be lacking any with Ed in previous episodes. Why now? I think it's because his parents were there and 20 million people were viewing their foreplay. I just made up that number. I have no idea how many people watch the show. When they started massaging each other, I turned to Sam and said "Why are we (the tv audience) still here?" No wonder he couldn't, cough cough, show her how he felt about her...

I still like Ed. He has some questionable taste in swim trunks but I think his parents are decent and kind and grounded. Did anyone else marvel at how someone as beautiful as Ed could have been produced by those two? Okay, that was just rude.

I have to admit I was so hoping that Kiptyn was going to be sent home. He is perfect and polished and says all the right things. Even his little video message sounded perfect but I know he is not crazy in love with Jillian. I felt like Reid was in love with her even if he couldn't say it.

I am sad to see Reid go. He was real. He was cute and I loved them in the bubble bath together. Seriously though, I'd die if Sammie grows up and watches the show and thinks it's okay to sleep with three guys in three days if you "have feelings" for each of them.

The only question now is which guy drops the confession on Jillian. My friend Laura says it is Reid coming back to express his true feelings. I hope so. If not, I'm rooting for E.D.!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Eat More Chiken!

I am shameless. Friday morning, my kids came home from the daycare at my gym with Chic-fil-e "Eat More Chiken" signs they had colored. According to the poster, if you came to any Chic-fil-e restaurant that day "fully dressed as a cow" you could get a free meal. If you came "partially" dressed as a cow, you could get a free entree. Luke and Sammie were determined to dress up like cows and get a free lunch.

Here is the part where I feel like mom of the year. I got on the computer and printed out four cow masks. The kids colored them and I attached ribbon to the back. Luke had the great idea to use kitchen garbage bags and tape black paper spots on the chest. We completed the outfits for Luke and Sammie.

Here is where I completely lose my mind in the name of a free lunch: I put on a black top and a black and white skirt...and a cow mask. Did we go to the local Chic-fil-e where I'm sure half the restaurant were dressed like cows? No. That would have been too easy. I had the brilliant idea to go to the mall Chic-fil-e so I could do some returns after lunch.

Fine, except we were the only people in the mall food court dressed as cows. The low point was when we approached the register and the manager looked us over to determine if we were to receive free meals or just free entrees. I felt like a piece of meat (that was a lame joke.) I even had Ryan wearing a mask--he eats a whole kids meal so he had to pay the piper. We got our entire lunch for free!

Here we are enjoying it. The kids had the good sense to take off their costumes to eat:

They say childhood obesity starts under the age of two:

We are right on track!

ps. Everyone should go look at Sam's comment on my "If I were the Bachelorette" post. It's pretty funny. And thanks to everyone for the advice on my stinky washing machine. We did the affresh cleaners this weekend and I'm using vinegar. This is why I love blogging!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

If I Were The Bachelorette

If I were the bachelorette and assuming I was single, these would be the men I would want on the show:

George Clooney--the given. Everyone loves George because he is funny, talented and of course, drop dead gorgeous. Love the salt and pepper thing he has going.

Luke Wilson--My first born is named after him (I'm not kidding!) He's cute, funny and sweeter than his brother Owen. Loved him in Legally Blonde.

Daniel Craig--I have a sneaking suspicion he is lacking in the personality department but he makes up for it, ahem, in other areas. He'd be great on the Hawaii date.

Darius Rucker--He'd be my Wes. Former singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, now on his own. I wouldn't care that he was only there to promote his latest album. His voice makes me swoon.

Hugh Jackman. You already know how I feel about Hugh. Need I say more?

Mario Lopez. Love the dimples, love a man who can dance. I've loved this guy since his Saved By the Bell days.

Tanner. Wait a minute before you pass judgement. I love foot rubs. He loves feet. I would keep him around for at least a few episodes.

The Husband. He would get the final rose, of course.

Now, who would you want on your show?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Washing Machine Stinks (literally!)

Seven years ago I purchased a Maytag Neptune washer on the recommendation of one of RC Willey's finest piranhas/employees. It has been an okay washer considering how I feel about laundry.

The first red flag came several years ago when I received a class action settlement letter in the mail. Apparently the Neptune front load washing machines have a tendency to grow mold and actually smell like mildew. So what was my piece of the pie? I got a 10% off coupon for my next Maytag washer and dryer. Yippee! whatever.

So fast forward a few years and my washer just flat out stinks. Fresh towels that I have washed on hot and put in the dryer within minutes of the buzzer going off--come out smelling like mildew. Some of my gym clothes stink before I've even worked out in them! There is nothing like getting out of the shower and putting a clean, fresh, warm towel to your face that smells like a dirty gym sock.

I went online and apparently this is a problem with most front-load washing machines. The manufacturers now recommend that you either leave your washing machine door open after every wash to let the inside dry completely, or wipe it out with a towel after every wash. As if.

Am I the only one with this problem? Are your front-loading machines decent? I'm ready to walk into the Willey and lay down 400 bucks for an old school top loader. Is there really any advantage to the front-loader?