Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Feelin' hot hot hot

WARNING. Put down your fork if you are enjoying a snack break.
Did you put that fork down yet? You were warned. Just reiterating.

Now, I love to make fresh homemade salsa. And inspired by a certain salsa I discovered last summer, I decided to concoct my own Chili de Arbol Salsa which is muy muy bueno. And while it is oh-so-tasty good, perhaps it also bears the tendency to make your mouth exclaim, "Oh my. That's HOT!"

After the first batch, I had all my tricks down to handle the hot Arbol pepper and making a salsa so creamy and dreamy you literally want to eat it by the spoonful. I shared some with my good friends KW and The Rocker to later find out The Rocker liked it so much he talked about it. At his office. In a tone of pure joy and adulation. He is not often overcome in pure joy OR adulation so I took it as a big, big compliment.

The second batch I opted to ante up the heat by adding even more peppers. Not enough to distract from its goodness but just to add another level of en fuego por la boca. (Fire in your mouth. Doesn't that sound like fun?)

This second batch I also shared with KW and The Rocker which we all dove into headfirst. Third batch? More peppers and more heat for the piehole. SO good. Not for weaklings or wimps by any means.  I shared some with two other friends, the male of which claims to love the "hot stuff" and makes statements like "the hotter the better." Days later, I ran into them and asked how they liked it.

"It was great. Hot. But great," he answered.
"Tell her," the wife said with a smirky smirk.
"It was hot," he said again.
"Too hot to eat?" I asked. Because that is not a good salsa to share if so.
"No. I ate it. All of it, actually."
"And?" the wife asked. Her smirky smirk now with a little sassy eye sparkle.
"And it was good." He said nothing more.
Knowing I was clearly missing something, I waited.
"Oh, it was good. And HOT alright," she added.
"And?" I asked
She gives him a long look and stifles some giggles.
He got a little twitch on his face. Clearly, he knew what was coming.
She leaned over to me, "It was HOT. And it caused him to have a little accident."
"Did you burn your mouth or something?" I asked. Naive. BUT hoping for the best.
She responded in a mock whispher,"Actually, it caused him to shat. his. pants."

I laughed so hard I venture to say I dislodged a lung. Sorry friend, but I am laughing AT YOU. And not because you had a little run-in with nature and your intestines but because you love, love love to say things like "the hotter the better."

Wow. Now THAT is some KICK ASS salsa. Literally. 

*Recipe available upon request. Seriously, it is delicious and NO ONE else had that problem. My recommendation: Don't eat a half gallon of it at a time.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Free appetite suppressant

I am having dinner tonight with my fab friend, Bean. Hopefully the following does not occur. She and her Hub, CW, went out to eat recently. She had heard positive word of mouth about a this particular restaurant so in they went. And sat down in anticipation of a great meal and great service. 

When the server put Bean's first course on the table, a bowl of soup, she and CW politely smiled as they watched the server pull her thumbs out of the broth and wipe them on her apron. CW asked her if she wanted to leave to which Bean replied, "No. That's fine. I just won't eat it."

As if they needed additional evidence that they should have immediately fled, a few minutes later after noticing the entire restaurant was nearly empty, Bean caught a glimpse through the swinging kitchen door of the cook. He was busy preparing their order and simultaneously smoking a cigarette.

Ahhh, the nicotine straw that finally broke the wet- thumbed camel's back. inally, the prompt they needed to leave.

There is your free appetite suppressant for the day.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Let's get something straight

I think it long past the time to ask this question but here goes: Why all the sh*t talk about me? It is bad enough I constantly hear how I am the least favorite but do people have to put it on a bumper sticker and slap it on the car? Why point out my flaws (when clearly, no one told you that bumper stickers are not cool anymore!) And why would someone pen a song about me in which the title includes Manic? Good job girls, hope you enjoyed that one album you had that did well in your very short careers.  Am I not a fresh start? Am I not a clean break? An opportunity to begin anew? I think if you consider it for a minute, I am actually the best of the bunch. Let me explain.

First, there is Tuesday. Tuesday is, well, zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry, I fell asleep contemplating Tuesday’s good qualities and there are none. Tuesday rhymes with Snoozeday. It is no coincidence.

And Wednesday? Self proclaimed Hump Day? Really? Hump Day? That is how you elect to be known? Oh no, I get it. You are the proverbial “climbing over the hill” day. But you couldn’t call yourself ClimbingOverHillday could you? No, you had to go with Hump. Because you are dirty. And you wanted to be the favorite day of fraternity boys far and wide. Oh and by the way, why not call yourself FalseAdvertising Day? I have experienced many a Wednesday and trust me, there is no humping.

And Thursday? Well, Thursday thinks it is “Let’s Get This Party Started” day. This has double meaning.  What you call  “Let’s Get This Party Started” day is what bosses worldwide call “Absolutely NO _________ Productivity day. The weekend begins on Saturday NOT Thursday but someone didn’t tell Thursday that. Thursday loves itself because it is full of liquid lunches and evening cocktail parties. Aren’t we just the center of attention, Thursday!

And Friday? Oh, aren’t you everyone’s favorite. Let’s all sing it together THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY. You might as well make it part of the weekend because people come in late and leave early.  Business people love you because they know their work day ends at 4 pm when happy hour begins. Business people also grumble they get more productivity on Thursday when there is ABSOLUTELY NO _________ PRODUCTIVITY that day because Friday makes Thursday look like a work horse.

And the twins: Saturday and Sunday? The precious Weekend. Right. The talk of the town. Everyone can HARDLY WAIT to discuss all their joyous plans for the weekend. What are you doing this weekend? Where are you going this weekend? I can’t wait for this weekend. I love the weekend. Enough already. Let’s break it down:

Saturday? Oh, chock full of breakfast in bed, sporting events, weddings, time to take the boat to the lake, movie matinees, pool parties, housewarming parties, engagement parties, parties to celebrate having parties. Why don’t you call it by its real name. Not Saturday but FATurday. Eat up!!! SOOOO good. And mmmmm, I guess those 12 beers during the game don’t count. Oh, you might have mowed the lawn but guess what!? That doesn’t put a dent in the 2000 calorie liquid libations you enjoyed or the pile of pancakes, hotdogs, ravioli, buttered popcorn, pizza and onion rings you chomped today.

Sunday? Sabbath? Yes. Day of rest? For many.  But let’s be honest. Sunday is split personality. When you are 24 (or hungover) it is CantQuiteGetOfftheCouchday. While you are all cozied up on that couch under your snuggie, let me ask you a question: Plan on doing anything productive today? And answering the door for the pizza man is not productive. Oh, and to that guy on the couch who fell asleep with a chicken soft taco supreme in your hand and dreaming Yo quiero Taco Bell, I have one question for you too: You just had to have that TEQUILA last night, didn't you? Now it hurts to even get up and use the restroom.  Have fun in your underwear all day, you won't move until tomorrow morning. 

When you  are older, Sunday is Choreday. All the things you did not do Saturday because all your fun and play just kept piling up so now you have a list of to do's longer than your hallway.  Grocery store? Its packed but have a good time. Gardening? Weeds don’t pull themselves.  Change the oil? GOOD TIMES.  And errands upon errands? You make it count.  And long drive back from wherever you drove to when you left early on Friday? Have fun on your 9 hour road trip home. Your Sunday just got decimated.

Which leaves me. I know you are mad at me because you have too much to do every Monday because the last time you worked a full day was Wednesday and the weekend left you exhausted.  Here I come like a soothing balm to help you refresh and begin again. And what do I get? Sour faces and saltiness. Don’t blame me that you laid on that snooze button like it was a life raft. I give you fresh opportunity.

So let's get something straight: I am Monday. I promise I will be good to you. Can you please stop saying you hate me?

PS: You know who else doesn't seem to like Mondays? Blogger. I am having trouble posting comments. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Recently I ran a 5K. The morning temp not too sweltering which made for a great race day. After crossing the finish line, I was reminded why I love mornings like this when so much has been accomplished before 8 am. As I took a long drink from the water bottle handed to me, I saw a woman bound across the finish line. I guessed she was in her early 40's, with short cropped hair and a bright pink t-shirt on. Her momentum seemed to steer her directly in my path and I promise you, I have never seen someone this giddy or this enthusiastic after a run: 5K, 10K, or 2 blocks. Her smile never left her face and as she passed me, she said, "Good morning." 

I responded, "You take finishing a race to a whole new level. I love your energy."

"Honey, life is beautiful. I can run! I will celebrate this day. I have beaten cancer that should have taken my life decades ago. And I am 65 years old today."

There are those unpredictable moments when you briefly get caught in the prism of someone else's shimmer and gold. And despite how much you would love to capture that luminosity, you know it is so authentic and rare that you will only witness it as long as your conversation lasts. 

And 65? Amazing. I wanted to hug her. And I was happy enough to be in her path of light even for a minute. If given those circumstances, would I radiate that brightly? Or shouldn't we try to radiate that brightly despite the circumstances? And yes, walking back to my car I certainly reiterated that I loved mornings like this when not only has so much accomplished before 8 am but when an unexpected reminder that life is beautiful greets you with more power than the morning sun.

*for some additional beauty today, come visit my guest post at The Bottom of the Ironing Basket.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Apparently, I will get naked for Prada

Add another thing to my list of experiences in life and make a footnote under the subcategory:  Things I never thought I would do.  Let me share the situation.

1. I have no problem with naked.
2. I am not a big public nudity person. Oh, low cut shirt or some short shorts here and there are no problem. And I frolicked on a few topless beaches while in Europe but really, everyone from Baby Lulu to Grandma Nardelli were too. 
3. HOWEVER: I don't dig naked paraders. You know, the girl on her cell phone in the locker room at the gym? Ms. Freedoms Just Another Word for Nothin' Left to Lose? Like all the most important calls need to take place in that venue while all your Candy Land is on display. Oh, no thank you. And to the one woman who did this last Friday, it's cool that you might be a bit bohemian but goodness, Misses. Your South Park looks a little bit like a cross between Horshack and the Harlem Globetrotters. How do I know? Because you are a naked parader and even Ray Charles would be unable to miss that situation. 

So let's say I am completely comfortable with the skin I am in but, I won't be first in the pool gate at Mandalay Bay during topless sun splashing. I like a little modesty but apparently, that has its boundaries too. How do I know? Proof in point last week. 

I went to a sample sale. Oh Lawwwwwwwwwd. Do you know this dreamy sensation? I thought really great sample sales were limited really to NYC and LA but no, I got a little whisper of one and opted to make a visit. Upon arriving, there are scads of clothes on temporary racks which I, along with a litany of other women, began to pour through. Escada, Laundry, Nicole Miller, oh my. After bustling up my arms with some fab finds, I asked a woman who appeared to be working there if there was an opportunity to try anything on. She directed me to two double doors. On the other side of those doors was a giant mirror lined room that was soon packed with dozens of other women. Even though every other person present could care less, I didn't really feel like shedding down to my skivs standing in a space similar to an airplane hangar so I turned around as I thought, I will just buy them all and hope for the best. The only other sample sale I went to included this theory and let me assure you it is NOT a good theory. 

As I am almost at the exit, a woman came in and said, "I just heard that everything with a green tag is an additional 75% off." I looked at the tag of the beautiful black Prada halter top nearest my fingers in my bulging pile of goods and the emerald green tag read "$100.00" with a line through it and "$50.00" written underneath. Doing quick math, the result prompted me to exclaim internally ARE YOU F__ KIDDING ME? I will pay $12.50 for this!?!?!? Listen, that might not mean a thing to some, but my heart filled up with butterfly kisses at the mere opportunity to buy a brand new Prada halter top for $12.50. So I sauntered right back to my previous spot because apparently, I will get naked for Prada. And if not entirely naked, than stripped down to one tiny bare essential.

As I scan my pile, I saw several other green tickets and try to contain my enthusiasm. Apparently, I will get naked for Laundry and Versace too. I will still leave the Dirty Vegas Poolside Topless Tango for others, but if I come upon some Dolce and Gabbana in a sample sale, my clothes will come flying off faster than the hookers on Jersey Shore. Fashion made a convert out of me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Never question your parenting credentials again

MiniMac's school hosted a cook out last week for Dad's in celebration of Father's Day. We try to attend almost every school event but last week was even busier than norm for us and JohnnyMac couldn't swing it.  JMac waffled over it again when with giant eyes, MiniMac asked me, "Is my Daddy going to be there?" Which I quickly assuaged with "Daddy has an important meeting" and then added " I think it is about our upcoming trip to the beach!" Yes, not exactly true but I use tactics when I can. JMac later asked me if I thought he would be the only Dad not attending. I saw his countenance fluctuate as he contemplated whether he would be remiss or hurt our son's feelings by not being there. I assured him he would not be the only one and that I had already sidetracked our son with beach chit chat. 

This is relevant in the context that we do spend time readjusting ourselves when necessary so that we are raising our child right. There will be detours ahead, we know but hopefully only Proceed with Caution and not Watch the ____ out, BOULDERS FALLING kind of detours.

I think most parents question their methods at times. Are we doing it right? Well? Consistently? But then the past week happened and I feel redeemed from the one time I had a long talk with MiniMac about not telling me the truth regarding eating cupcakes I sent to school only to discover later he WAS telling the truth and his teachers ate every single one of the cupcakes and did NOT give them to the kids. So for that situation, and the one time you punished your child when you should not have, or snapped at them when they didn't deserve it, go easy on yourself. I am here to prove that you will never need to question your parenting credentials again. Why?

First: At Neiman Marcus the other day, I watched a very impatient woman at the cosmetics counter. She was trying to return something and the Service Associate, all said with a smile, was explaining the product did not come from Neiman's. The customer demanded the manager, of course. As the Service Associate left the counter, the customer's daughter who looked about five asked, "Can that lady not help us, Mommy?" To which the mother replies, "Actually, she is too much of a b*tch to help us, so Mommy needs to speak to someone else."

WOW. And then some WOW on top of that. I have had bad customer service galore but it had not occurred to me to teach my toddler to call women bitches when you don't get your way. I thought that only worked for Eminem. 

Second: As many of you read in the news, Dina Hot Mess Lohan had a terrible run in that prompted her to call the police. What was the scuttlebutt? She tried to use her daughter's Lifetime of Free Carvel Ice Cream card and the store denied her because A.) Despite all your best surgical effort, you won't be mistaken for your daughter. B.) Your daughter has to be present to use the card and she is either in lock up, in Cannes, or in lock up IN Cannes. So Dina called the Police and reported the store. Are you ______ kidding me? First, stop being a dumbass Dina Lohan. Oh wait, what was that? Oh, I am telling you this approximately 36 years too late? Because you are 48 and no one can be a dumbass when they are a baby or toddler so we should have chatted around your 12th birthday? Rats, I was only 3 then.  PS: For (*&^(@ sake, the ice cream cake you wanted for your 14 year old son's birthday, the cake you tried to mooch, was about $20 bones. Just PAY FOR IT. What? You don't have money? It's all in your botox and tata enhancements? Fine, I will loan you $20.00. Or, your 14 year old son will likely loan it to you if he is able to extract an explicit promise from you that you will stop embarrassing him by being such a _______.

Third:  While reading the Huffington Post this weekend, I saw a video entitled "Most Inappropriate Mom Ever."  I thought it was a joke. Not remotely. And I can't dirty up the blog by even posting the video here. You can go to YouTube and type in those words or find it on Huffington Post. Let me summarize with this: It is a mother doing some dirty stripper dancing while her two small children throw dollar bills, attempt to tuck them in the front and back of her pants, spray canned whip cream on her while she smacks her booty and then pours water down her chest. OR you can save yourself the retina burn I am suffering because that summary encapsulates all of the worst elements of the video. 

Parenting: You don't need a license but sometimes it seems like a VERY, very good idea.

And let's not end on all that is douchy and disgusting, here are two awesome examples of the polar opposite of the three parents above.

First:  While running in San Fran one a.m., I crossed paths with the course and runners for the AT&T Giants Race. While momentarily held at a corner waiting to cross, a little boy stood with his Dad, watching the mass of runners and waiting to hold up his huge sign. 

Little boy to Dad: That's pretty cool that Mom is running this big race.
Dad: Yeah, your Mom is pretty phenomenal. Not only beautiful, but she is a great athlete.

It was not merely what the Dad said, it was the way he said it. Loving his wife and being such a great example to his son about the power and beauty of women. Loved it. 

Second: I recently saw the video of Derek Redmond from the Barcelona Olympics again. If you have not seen it, please do.

Cheers to all of you who are great parents. And thanks Dina Lohan because you make most of us feel eligible to be on the cover of Parents Magazine. Even without giving our children a free ice cream cake.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Tappa Kegga Brew

I didn’t host my first real keg party until my first year of grad school. Having purchased said keg, plenty of ice, and an endless supply of cups, I had a little hiccup. My two male roommates, The Coat, and The Social Chair were not at home and I had one tiny problem.

I didn’t know how to tap the keg.

Who comes to the rescue? My roommates who have years of experience? A burly bartender who lives across the street? Sailors? A fleet of rugby players? No. 

My sweet friend, MarciaGarcia, as she gives “step back, sissy” directive and taps the keg in less than one minute. After of course, she admonished me multiple times because she could NOT believe I didn’t know how to execute this simple act. She who grew up in a small town with limited options. Therefore most options for fun shenanigans almost certainly involved kegs. When I asked her where she learned this handy skill, she told me she learned when she was about 12. NICE. I will be sure to tell your parents. And your children one day.

I am not a beer maven. Even further demonstrated when someone at the party asked, “Keg stand?” And I said, “ummm, the keg seems to be standing up on its own just fine.” Keg stand? I had no idea.

I will freely admit here that we didn’t finish the keg that night. I had another party the next night and another of my beer crimes was discovered. The keg was sitting on my porch ready for round II consumption. Was it iced down? The night before, yes. In my busy haste of the day however, I failed to ice it down at all and instead, left it in the hot Indian Summer sun of Kansas.

With people on their way over soon, I suggest simply filling pitchers and adding ice. Not icing them down but actually filling pitchers with beer AND ice. Even ShaNaNa, our good girl, says, “I don’t think that is a good idea.”

MarciaGarcia says, "I don’t think I can be friends with you the only thing worse than HOT beer is hot watered-down beer."
My response, “You know where you can get delicious, cold beer?
She said, "Anywhere but here?"
"Waltz yourself to the liquor store, betch."
Marcia Garcia’s response? Good point.

When people arrived and were told the state affairs, guess what happened? RIGHT. They all drank it. And MarciaGarcia lead the pack. Proving once again, college students will rarely, if ever, turn down free alcohol. Thankfully, it ultimately reached proper consumption temp as the last few drops were poured.

I might now know how to tap a keg, which actually is not that handy but, once and only once I did agree to attempt a keg stand. I was highly successful.

Don’t tell my parents. Or my child one day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I have long forgiven you for the Irish Spring.

I was a fluke. One of those biological combinations determined to come into the world regardless of all that planning and precaution you used. You were thrilled even after thoroughly explained the risks. You prayed for a pregnancy not nearly as difficult as my older brother provided. Well, you quasi-received your wish. I was a much easier pregnancy but as you brought me home in that sweet yellow number, you were unaware I would be a far sassier child. You knew you were in for a long stretch when at age four I told your mother’s friend she called him  retarded when she actually said he was retired. And for the next decade (or two) there was not much of a break.

But I might have inherited that trait from you. Remember when we played Taboo and the word you were supposed to guess was “ATTORNEY” so when one of your other children gave you the clue “What is JennyMac?” The answer you provided, FLAT, was incorrect.

But I inherited a little bit of no nonsense from you too. Recall when I was about six and told TW to shove it even though, clearly, I had NO IDEA what it meant and only repeated what someone else in our house stated once. You told me to come into the house and get my mouth washed out. NO WAY, LADY. So I took off running. Umm, you started running too. Without even a pause for breath, you basically mocked me as you went running past me and said, “You have to come back sometime.” And I did. And wasn’t the embarrassment you shed upon me having outrun me enough? Did you have to actually put Irish Spring in my yap? NO. And did you have to select the largest green bar of it you could?

And when in high school, I had a gaggle of friends over and you asked me to do something or else. I asked, “OR WHAT?” You promptly raced in that room and with a swing kick to the back of my legs, took me down and then pinned me and said, "THAT IS WHAT." Damn woman, I had no idea such a powerhouse was hiding in your tiny 5’4 body.  I should have learned my lesson with the soaping incident. 

And after moving away to college and then grad school, coming home was still a favorite. To our crazy nights out with your girlfriends as we tore up that dance floor at the dirty blues bar, to chatting at Cutter’s over cocktails, the history of our memories are an awesome string of technicolor vignettes.

We have laughed so hard we have cried. And I have cried so hard at times, there was nothing left to do but laugh. Anytime something has truly been disjointed in my life, you were the person to call. The instant I heard your voice, I could hide nothing. And in that narrow space of time, you knew before I uttered a sentence that I needed you.   

As a freshman, a girl I had known my entire life was killed on the way to school. My Father said, “People die, Jen.” TRUE but no offense, DP, not exactly from the Institute of HALLMARK. But you knew I would be overwhelmed and likely incapable of processing something so big and raw. This was pre-cell phone era so instinctively, you left your office, and called my StepDad. The two of you made haste driving to my school to search the faces of 1500 kids until you found the one that belonged to you. With vivid clarity, I can remember not only exactly where I was when I looked up and saw you both but also, the tremendous sense of belief that you could help me make sense of it. And if not make sense, you would alleviate the level of awfulness surrounding and choking everything that day. 

I am not the only one who knows that you often leave people better than you found them.

But, in addition to that, it was every time you colored the sugar on holidays, or made us pancakes for dinner (which we loved.) It was being in the first row for every concert, every game, every talent show, every speech, and every event. Making whale pillows with us at my elementary school (in retrospect, you should have helped me more, mine was quite scary) to making every birthday feel like a national holiday.  All examples of how easily you demonstrated our importance to you.

Growing up, I had everything I needed (except a bigger chest) and as an adult, we discovered it is ok to have differences of opinion. I know I have made you laugh, made you cry, made you proud, and likely have provoked you to wonder if we are, in fact, related.

But your support and belief in my ability to achieve anything will cling to me for life. Everyone needs someone to champion them along, and I have no bigger champion of me than you.  You once asked me in a moment of your own personal entanglement, how I became a stronger person than you. I am not necessarily stronger but if I had to answer it is because I had a Mom like you, and you did not. But those window panes of adversity you burned through with tenacity. And a vow to ensure your children knew they are incredibly loved. I promise you, we know. And no one loves us more than you do.

And I have long forgiven you for the Irish Spring. As you have forgiven me for "borrowing" your black pearl necklace and losing it. Wait, you knew that right?

Everyone whose life you touch is lucky. For your wide generosity, that lowdown sass you predominantly keep under wraps, to your ability to decide after age 55 to take up Equestrianism as a new hobby, you make being over 60 years old look better than I have ever seen it. I am certain Cher will ring you for some tips. This picture from my wedding is a perfect example and you were the most beautiful person there.

Today is a great day to be celebrating you. And what began as a fluke for you, turned into incredible serendipity for me. Happy Birthday Mom. Both internally and externally, you are more gorgeous than ever.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A lesson or two in anatomy

There are certain stories my family loves to hear and laugh in my face over. Less for their comical value (which is solid) but more so because these things can leave me momentarily speechless which my brothers in particular thought as rare as seeing a unicorn. While the jestFest is taking place, I certainly reiterate they will get their due when they have children of their own. 

Last week, MiniMac was in our room while I dressed for work. Watching me put my bra on, he pats his own chest and says, " I know what those are called. "

We are all about teachable moments in this house (and using correct terminology) so I smiled at my son.  Then he said, "Those are called your NIBBLES."
"Nipples not nibbles, buddy," I reply. 

"NO, Mommy, those are called your NIBBLES. Daddy told me."

I am not certain who laughed louder (or longer) me or JohnnyMac. I almost asked JohnnyMac DID you tell him that? But of course he wouldn't tell him such things. The ears of 3 year olds are not quite acute. 

This conversation preceded this one several days later. One evening, drying off from the shower with MiniMac, he pointed to my ladybits and said, "Is that your penis?"

As I have explained already, I don't have a penis. I told him it was my vagina. He shouts with vigor, "I LOVE YOUR VAGINA." I hear my Hub laugh out loud from the other room. 

Later, at bedtime, he tells Daddy, "Mommy doesn't have a penis."  (Because apparently when you have a toddler, this is going to be a recurring dialogue.) Daddy said he knew.  

MiniMac then says, "But she has a vaGIANT!"
Because apparently vagina sounds like va-Giant. Again, TIME FOR A HEARING TEST!

Later that night he asked if he could see my vaGIANT. I am all for body awareness and being open, but NO, you can not see my vaGIANT. Nor did I feel it appropriate to tell him that if he keeps calling it a vaGIANT he will likely never, EVER get to see one in his adult life. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Traveling in style

A story in two parts:

My little brother, HP, travels extensively for work. While chatting in San Fran, he shared a story with me regarding traveling in style.

After a lavish dinner and cocktails galore, he spearheaded some fun with some of his company's biggest customers. He is one of the most fun and charming people I know and  his clients (and colleagues) love him. As they are leaving one location, the gaggle of friends/customers walked out the door while suggesting they take their party to yet another location. One of them lamented that cabs would be scarce at that hour. HP, one who always gets things done, assures the flock he will have no issue hailing a taxi to take them to their next destination. He walks out of the building, points to a cab sitting at the curb, opens the door, hops in and says, "HOTEL MONACO!"

The man in the front seat pauses, slowly turns around and responds, "I can't do that."

HP responds in a jovial fashion, "Of course you can, it's not far. Start that meter."

The man replies, "Actually. I can't. I work for CPD."

"CPD?" My brother asks.

"Chicago Police Department. You are sitting in the back of my police car."

Nevermind the lights or the cage-lined interior. I think vodka tonic makes your eyes fuzzy. My little brother has never sat in that ride for a split second and after likely saying OHSH*T to before referenced officer of CPD, he flew out of that car to the laughing ovation of his entire group. How not to travel in style. But OH I wish I would have been part of that laughing ovation.

How to travel in style? Carry one of these.

And these five lucky beach-loving bag ladies are going to be carrying one of these for their next poolside rendezvous. Congratulations to:

Zizette @ Chez Zizi
Carol Monroe (via email.)

Pricilla @ The Maaaaaa of Pricilla
Myya @ Myya Says
Jules @ Mean Girl Garage ( YOU DID IT!!!!!)

Please email me and I will put you in touch with V. You can also select the color of your choice.  Enjoy the bags and enjoy your summer relaxation be it on the sand, at the pool, or in your own backyard.  And remember, a police car is NOT a proper mode of transportation. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Temporary delay on the field

Happy Monday Guys and Dolls. Someone enjoyed themselves on vacation quite a bit. So much in fact, I am just getting in. My sides hurt from laughing so much the past five days. Luckily I was kept so refreshed from one or two cocktails. The weather was perfect and the trip was fantastic.  But, we will have a temporary delay on the field while I face my full work agenda on limited hours of sleep. The good news, I am picking the winners of the Bubble Beach Bag giveaway today and will post them first thing in the am.

Have a gorgeous day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stylin', profilin', growlin' and smilin'

Bags in the car, iPod packed, Blackberry in hand, I shower kisses over JohnnyMac and MiniMac.

Why? Because just like LL Cool J, I am going back to Cali.

I am flying here:

to spend the next five days with my little brother at his fabulous new place. I can't wait to see him and visit one of my top five favorite cities.

There will be a lot of this:and this:

As well as many minutes of this:

And five days of this:

OH, and we are also driving here: 

MMMMMM. Tres bien. I can't wait to visit some of my favorite vineyards, and by all means, if you have some favorites too, share them with us. So in addition to wining, shopping, dancing, laughing, and Napa'ing, we will also be dining, socializing, and exercising (to make up for 1/2 of those other things.) And unlike LL Cool J., I like to add the letter "g" to my words.

Have a fabulous rest of your week. Don't forget about the beach bag giveaway. I will see you Monday.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Whatcha got in the bag, baby?

I am not afraid to admit I miss the beach a little. Sun, rinse, sun, cocktail, repeat. Who hates that schedule? I also forgot to tell you about my fabulous new poolside treat. One day whilst lounging in my sun frock, I spied a fabulous tote on a woman's arm as she strolled by. The women next to me pointed it out to her friend, and said, "Look, she has the Bubble Beach Bag."

I thought: Bubble Beach Bag? Oh, do tell me more.

The on site boutique was closed that sells the bags was closed that night but once back in Atlanta, I knew that bag would look smashing at my own pool. One click off Google later, and I was on the phone with V., the owner of Bubble Beach Bags.

How pretty are they? This pretty:
And they come in multiple fabulous colors and two sizes. Whether I have my iPod and towel, or a bag full of Buzz Lightyear pool toys (umm, not for me silly, for MiniMac) this bubble bag is perfect for poolside faire and super easy to keep clean. It also deflates which means it is perfect to pack for your upcoming trip. Lightweight and pretty? Of course I had to have one. The small one is fantastic too and perfect for a book, keys, BB, and your sunblock.

Now, I am not here to flaunt my lovely bag in front of you. After I got bag in hand, I chatted with V. again. In the 10 signs you know you had a great vacation post, many of you shared that you have beach/pool/cruise vacations ahead as well. Don't you need a new bag on your arm? V. and I think so, so we have partnered for the  

Whatcha Got in the Bag, Baby? Giveaway. 

Oh, I am sorry, I meant Whatcha Got in the Bags, Baby? Giveaway. Shall I clarify? Bubble Beach Bags is five star so we are giving away not one but FIVE of these fab totes. 
That is right. We are giving away three large and two small Bubble Beach Bags so you can have some new sparkle this summer. Keep it for yourself or give it to your favorite person. OR just keep it for yourself. You know you deserve it.

How can you win? First entry: You must be a public follower of my blog and leave a comment.
(BUT wait: if you are one of my non blogging readers, say for example, one of my Mom's (or brothers) fabulous friends who pay me visits because my beforesaid Mom or brother emails you a link EVERYday, you just want to join us for a cocktail and a giggle, you are not excluded my friend. Just send me an email to my blog email address located in my profile.)

Additional entry love. You can do any, all or none of these options to ante up your chances. Please leave me a separate comment for each.

1. "Like" Let's have a cocktail on Facebook. This easy  (1 entry)
2. Twitterella much? You can tweet about le beachy giveaway and send me the link. You can do this daily for one entry per day.
3. "Like" Bubble Beach Bag on Facebook here. (1 entry)
4. Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to me. Leave me your link to show the post. (2 entries)
Contest ends Sunday, June 13 at midnight.  Winners will be chosen at random and announced Monday, June 14.

Good luck and cheers to your new pool couture.

Large bag measures: 15"L x 8.5"W x 21"H
Small bag measures: 12"L x 4"W x 11" H
Shipping for US, Canada, and PR only. Sorry gorgeous friends abroad!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sometimes 2 more inches isn't that significant

Prior to my Locks of Love donation in March, I paid a visit to my stylist guru at my salon for his wise counsel. As you know, Locks of Love is a nonprofit that provides wigs for children suffering from any medical condition that causes hair loss.  

In lobby of salon, my maestro comes to check the entire length of my hair. Most programs require 10 inches of hair from the shortest layer. He casually suggested Pantene as an option because they require an 8 inch minimum donation. 

His comment, “And sometimes 2 more inches isn't that significant but if you can get away with eight inches, you don’t need ten.”

From one of the leather sofas in the lobby, an immaculate woman, not even glancing up from the magazine she is reading,  says very clearly with a dry, dry sense of humor, “I think that depends on who you ask.” 

It is completely silent. For several seconds. And I had a choice. Snicker like a 9th grade boy OR tip my head in curiosity as if I personally didn't understand what she meant. Of course I did what any accomplished grown up woman would do: I snickered like a 9th grade boy. So did the women behind the counter. OH the juvenile hilarity. And other women seated in the lobby laugh as well. My stylist, only tilts his head slightly, and says, “Girls.”

To which I reply, “I didn’t say it.”

He replies, “Of course. Don’t let me step on your angel wings.”

Apparently two inches might not be significant to the people at Pantene, but for the ladies in the salon, 2 inches were the source of much childish entendre.

And this is the rare scenario in which philanthropic ideals and girls acting like 9th grade boys in the back of the bus can co-exist.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Take A Bite Of: Baked Artichokes with Gorgonzola and Herbs

Since some of you are mad at me for the Sea Salt Caramel Brownie Mayhem I laid on you, here is something in the other direction.  I made this fabulous treat earlier this week. I applaud by friend Wen for introducing me to this one night as we dined al fresco at her mountain house. Need a little appetizer to add to your dinner fare? Ta da. Now, at first glance, you may feel like there are quite a few steps. Read closely, they are easy. And not a fan of gorgonzola? Me either! But this creamy stuffing sensation will melt in le mouth. Trust. This is from the Italian kitchen maven's cookbook, Giada's Kitchen. And I hope it is a new favorite for you too. From my kitchen to yours, enjoy every bite.

Baked Artichokes with Gorgonzola and Herbs

4 artichokes
3 lemons, plus 1 lemon
10 ounces mild Gorgonzola cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus 1 tablespoon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Trim the artichokes by cutting off the top 1-inch or so.

Cut the stem close to the base of the artichoke so the artichoke can sit up straight, and remove some of the bottom leaves. Using kitchen shears, trim the sharp points off of any remaining outer leaves. (If you turn the artichoke over to trim, you will avoid the trouble of fishing pieces of leaves out.)

Add the artichokes to the boiling water. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice into the boiling water. Toss in the lemons. Cook the artichokes until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the Gorgonzola, cream, thyme, 2 teaspoons parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. In another small bowl stir together the bread crumbs and remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the center choke of the artichokes using a small spoon. Stuff the cheese mixture into the center of the artichokes.

Place the artichokes into a baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the artichokes. Drizzle the tops of the artichokes with olive oil.

Bake until the artichokes are heated through, the cheese is melted, and the bread crumbs are crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer the artichokes to a serving dish and serve.

Try not to shout out with glee: OHMYG____thisisamazing when you take your first bite.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Clearly, I am not ready for Baywatch....

Our beach trip reminded me of many previous beachy engagements. 

Hawaii is a lush and stunning paradise. Admittedly, traveling to Hawaii was much faster when I lived in Seattle. I conveniently let geography become meaningless until I went with friends and about 4 hours into the flight from Atlanta, we were reminded we only had 5 more hours until we landed. 9 hours on any flight is not good for my mojo. However, the destination would far outweigh the journey so I kept that frown upside down and couldn’t wait to spend a gorgeous week in such a lush and vibrant location. 

And it would be my first surfing attempt. Laird Hamilton makes it looks so easy but I knew I was a beginner. And what better place to learn?

Or, what I should say, what better place to attempt repeatedly in vain to master yet never, ever do so?

Friends and I stand close to shore to get comfortable. We then practice paddling and jumping on the board. There is a method to it. I know this instinctively, but it is also reinforced when I hear a voice behind me claim, “You are doing it wrong.” I turn to face the most darling combination of blue eyes and blond hair…and a little sprite not a day over 10 years old.

I laughed because of the abundance of obvious truth in his statement. And then he offers to show us. Perfect. I am not too sassy to refuse cues from whatever source is available. So this little bean sprout proceeds to show me the appropriate way to jump up on the board. And it worked. Getting up = easy. Staying up? Well, a bit more challenging. And by challenging I am implying I don't really know the answer but  I do know it's fun to get douched in the face multiple times to the squealing laughter of your 10 year old proctor. 

But because I am competitive, and have played sports my entire life, I want to prevail. I opt to continue my attempts which result in a face off. With the OCEAN. Excellent choice for a battle opponent. And one that will quash you, in all your eager and giddy surfboard medalist dreams. Time and again. Without mercy. After multiple dismal attempts to actually travel on the board, his little sister and Mom join the coaching pool. I eventually traverse across about twenty feet of water and in my jubilance of small victories, I do not maintain my pose but instead stand upright shouting “This is *&$#!$@ fantastic!” which causes me to lose balance, and topple into the water. To have my tiny teacher say, "You aren't supposed to do that."

Really? I can't hear you because my ears are full of water.

If I am flummoxed by lightly rippling water, than I shall never graduate to actually waves or a "cool" surfboard. And going near swells, well, its out of the question. And racing down the beach in my red bikini saving lives? Not quite. 

I fought the ocean, and the ocean won.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How to become a perfect man

I hope my son grows up to be a perfect gentleman. He seems on the right path but here is how I know he will at least become a perfect man:

1. When I cut off all my hair, the first thing my tiny son said when he saw me was, “You look really pretty, Mommy.”

2. Leaving a building, he stood in front of me struggling with the giant door. When I asked if he needed help he said, “No, I am trying to open the door for you.”

3. I put on a new dress last weekend and he said, “You look really great in that dress, Mommy.”

4. When talking about his day yesterday and what was his favorite part, he put on his sunglasses and said, “Please don’t talk anymore, Mommy.”

A gentleman in many ways and yet …I thought the mere sound of a woman’s voice did not begin to grate on the auditory nerve of males until they were much, much older. How clearly unwise I am.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

You know it was a great vacation when...

Freshly back from the beach, I feel refreshed, relaxed, and a little goldeny sunned. Despite my slathering of sunblock, that FL sun is tenacious. But I could have easily stayed five more days.

I used to love the beach vacations when it included 800 other options as well: surfing, sailing, windsurfing, boating, hiking, running, etc. I think my vacations were enough to wear people out and leave them needing more vacation. JohnnyMac is a 100% lover of the beach vacation and his list of vacations wants is narrow: sleeping in, eating great food, lounging by pool or surf, drinking. Repeat.

As much as I am a true Type A, here are ten signs you know it was a great vacation:

1. JohnnyMac asked me one morning where my Blackberry was and I didn't know.

2. I not only didn't wear a watch, I didn't even pack one. (Do you know what a hurdle this is for Type A people???)

3. I could go almost an entire day without shoes on. And when I did put them on, hello fabulous flip flops.  And spent most of everyday in my swimsuit, beach hat, and sunglasses.

4. When the pool boy comes over at 12:30 and inquires if you would like a cocktail, your only answer is, "Of course I would."

5. You spend over 1 entire hour in the exact same spot in the pool because your son is having the best time jumping from the edge into the water and into your arms. You do it not only because of his megawatt smile every time he does it, or his bright-eyed plea "can we do that one more time?" but also because you remember a time when the simple act of jumping in the pool was enough to make your entire day.

6. You stand on the beach at night and just listen to the waves. Listen as in really listen. 

7. You do not get caught "exercising" by your toddler. 

8. You turn your BB on once and see 50+ work emails and don't even read ONE because you are not at WORK. You are on VACATION. I feel like I should get some kind of BB rehab coin.

9. We met very interesting and very fun people from all over the world. And MiniMac made a new friend named Sophia from Chile who looked like a tiny Penelope Cruz.

10.  You are forced to witness a woman totally berate one of the pool staff because she doesn't have a chair OR an umbrella. She yells at this kid loud enough where you can practically see tonsils. She wants to know WHY she can't get an umbrella at 1 pm. 1 pm on the kick off of holiday travel season at a beach resort.  She asks WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? The employee says nothing and JohnnyMac, taking a long sip of his beverage says, "Plan better?"
BUT, that is not the best part. She throws enough of a fit to get the staff to bring her a chair and an umbrella like Queen Ankhesenamon came to Florida. After listening to her rant, I thought my ear canal could use a long cold rinse of vodka, and then curl up and take  a catnap. By had I napped, I would have missed her finally sitting down and spilling an entire bright pink frozen concoction on herself. A bright pink frozen concoction that had it been a person, would have earned a standing ovation from about 50 people at the pool. Even at the beach, Karma is a betch. 
Thank you to all 300+ entries. Who won the fab giveaway from Modern Bird Studios?  Lucky be a lady tonight because the winner is Kiki from Kiki's Thoughts and Escapades. Congratulations. Email me Kiki and I will put you in touch with MBS.