Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sometimes Frog Legs Taste like Chicken, Other Times Chicken Tastes like Bleach...

Everyone has some erratic and irrational tendencies, right? (Hint: say yes.)

Everyone has a quirky issue or two, or ten, yes? (At least nod your head!)

I mean, sometimes that is what makes one endearing to others, those little idiosyncrasies... (That's what my friends tell me at least!)

You could be the coolest person on the planet, or at least second to me, and we could get along better than chocolate and strawberries on Valentine's Day...but our friendship could spiral down waaaaaaay quick into a chaotic and dismal abyss if you decide you want to cook for me or invite me to your BBQ. If you don't concede to my irrational tendencies and cleaning practices then we will have a huge problem. And by problem I mean problem. See I am no longer polite and silent about my hang-ups; I scream them from the mountain tops.

Actually, some very responsible and safe-food handling friends recently got a first-hand experience with my haz-mat BLEACH THE CRAP OUT OF EVERYTHING approach to cooking, and we all survived and we are still friends and I am still allowed in their house but...

You see, I have a teensy, itty-bitty issue with the potential slight trace of...


on my chicken and salads and...
...lurking in my burger or side dishes.

And, I am convinced that if I do not oversee every moment of your cooking I, or my family, will end up in the hospital.

Summers make me wring my hands gnash my teeth seek biofeedback therapy a little uncomfy; everyone and their grandma is having a BBQ and I'm invited, along with my family, as ground beef, chicken and pork are pulled out to be grilled and served next to home made fruit and potato salads...

Here's a head's up, so you won't get offended. I probably won't eat. And I most definitely won't let my kids eat. Unless we bring our own food. Like hot dogs. And bleach water...

Why? Well, unless I can personally verify that the watermelon's rind, or any fruit rind for that matter, was washed with at LEAST soap and water, and unless I can verify that separate tongs are used for raw and cooked meats, and that all gnasty meat juices have been eradicated with bleach, I just won't be able to try your "secret recipe" or "famous dish". Because to me "secret" is evil and "famous" means I might find it highlighted it in the most current Mayo Clinic book. And that's not Mayo the condiment, that's Mayo the HOSPITAL!

OK OK so, this is a bit harsh. I am not THAT bad...I mean, there are some reasonable bones in this body. I realize that MOST BBQ's and meals go without a hitch and living in fear is about as fun as putting Africanized bees in your mouth, but, when it comes to kids and their underdeveloped immune systems, no risk is worth them getting sick, especially since they get much sicker than adults and sometimes sustain permanent injuries from food poisoning.

And for that reason, let's just lay down 10 simple safety tips for your BBQ parties, so you have a safe summer and I don't visit a room with padded walls or IV drips mmmmmkay??

1. If you are the meat prep person, keep raw meat and juices away from all other foods, never preparing them at the same time you make a fruit salad or potato salad or storing them together. Wear gloves and/or wash hands with warm soap and water immediately after handling raw food, don't forget to clean every surface you touch! Keep meats covered and nice and cold until cooked.

2. If you can, prepare all your other foods before your meats and keep them refrigerated until serving, on the TOP shelf and covered so nothing can drip/fall inside. Bleach out your sink and spigot/handles and clean all surfaces before preparing salads of any kind. Your sink and that nasty sponge/rag you keep around is often dirtier than your bathroom!

3. Don't prepare foods in your bathroom. Kramer was whacked.

4. The person handling the grill should have sanitary wipes handy, and a garbage can for meat packs and/or soiled paper towels. Two sets of tongs and plates should be provided, one set for the raw and one set for the cooked. A big bottle of hand sanitizer is a good idea too, since everyone can take advantage of that. Just keep it away from open flames. IT'S FLAMMABLE LIKE SERIOUSLY, BOOOOOOOM!

5. Have a reliable meat thermometer and make sure all meats reach the correct internal temperature. Hamburgers at least 160 and chicken at least 170.

6. Keep your hot foods hot and your cold foods cold! Don't leave food sitting outside for flies to enjoy and for the sun to sour. It's even hotter in the shade than you think and that pistachio Jello salad thing is already green and chunky so...

7. Wash all your fruits and veggies (yes, even those with a rind!) with a 3 parts to 1 solution of water and vinegar. I mean come on, do you lick doorknobs? Of course not! People do not realize that when you cut the rind of a watermelon or cantaloupe, apple or orange, that the bacteria on the surface (usually from the harvesting hands and grocery store workers) is dragged through the flesh by the knife, and LOTS of hands handle your fruit and veggies before they get to you! Imagine leaving unwashed fruit and veggie salads in the sun for a few hours, with a few flies sampling your talents and your day will become cramptastic! Keep a spray bottle of the vinegar solution handy for last-minute jobs!

8. Do NOT eat that burger or chicken breast that looks slightly undone unless you thoroughly love riding the Porcelain Train. In fact, repeatedly slap the BBQ handler for not reading my list, chuck that e-coli-ridden monstrosity out and get a new one.

9. Do everyone a favor and bleach out that cooler before you dump tons of ice into it and load it full of drinks. We know you used that cooler to bring lake fish home last summer and didn't clean it out! DON'T LIE! I'd go one step further and wipe the cans/bottles down before adding them but that's just me. By 4pm you have melted ice, many hands that dove into the cooler to get a soda, and your drinks miserably swimming in a soup of bacteria. GROSS!

10. And lastly, enjoy yourselves. That might best be accomplished by not inviting me. But I am pretty fun, and have a mean volley ball serve so, weigh that decision carefully.

Have a fun and safe 4th of July y'all!

Monday, June 14, 2010

CLOSED! Fantastic Photos Need Fantastic BUTCH & Harold Sticker Frames From CSN Stores. Wanna Win Some?


Yep, another chance to win something! It's a good day!

CSN Stores contacted me and offered to provide a giveaway for all you readers, and I got to review the item as well!

CSN, as many of you know, is an on-line site which hosts many stores and products. I have worked with them before and find their prices fair and service fair as well. Each product from each store must be rated on its own of course.

I chose from their Allmodern store the BUTCH & Harold Sticker Frame Collection. Check them out!

It's a very nice set of vinyl frames, ranging in different sizes. They look great together as a group, or on their own above a mantle or in the bathroom, as I have chosen to do.

They came quickly and in good shape. When I opened the box the smell was quite like those old Halloween costumes you got as a kid, but I am happy to say there is no lingering smell when you look closely at the frames on the walls. They stick well and do not damage the walls or your pictures, even if you have to reposition them over and over because you didn't use a ruler because sheesh why would you need one?

What I like best is these frames are great for small areas; not having a chunky frame jut out from the wall to be knocked down by your head or elbow is a plus in tight spaces. The black and white really make the pictures stand out, and the multiple sizes are a plus as well.

So wanna win a set of your own? It's simple! Here are the rules!

Just leave me a comment, telling me how you would use these frames; would you group them all together? Make them a focal point of a decorated space? Give them as a gift? Frame your kids artwork? TELL ME!

Yep that's it. Short and sweet.

This giveaway starts Monday, June 14th and ends Monday, June 21st at 12pm EST. At that time I will use the Random Number Generator (RGN) to choose a winner. The winner will have 3 days to contact me, and in the event the winner does not contact me I will run the RGN again.

So have at it ya'all! I sure hope you win and by you I mean you (don't roll your eyes at me because I say that in every giveaway post).

I provide reviews and giveaways as a packaged deal, I do not provide review only or giveaway only posts. This blog requires compensation, and all shipping costs paid, for review/giveaway packages in the form of receiving the review product for me and/or my family, not to be returned. I give exception to any independent business owners of handmade items, as found on Etsy, and I will host giveaways for such business owners without the need for review and/or compensation.

I am not monetarily compensated to provide my opinion on products I review and/or giveaway. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. If I claim or appear to be well-informed and versed on a certain topic or product or service area, I will do so only endorsing products or services that I believe, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

I will always be honest and forthcoming with my readers and the businesses I work with, providing the best review/giveaway posts that I can.

And lastly, I reserve the right to change or amend any part of this disclosure as needed on a case-by-case basis.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'll Take a Padded Room,But Only If It's Color Coordinated...

Have you all seen The Marriage Ref? It's pretty funny. Ya know, summer programming. It's no LOST but hey, I'm not sure I care. Anyway...

So this show, in case you don't know, features 3 different guest celebs each week, who learn about various couples in the midst of martial strife. For example, the husband wants to keep his collection of creepy marionette dolls in the living room, and change their clothes everyday, and the wife wants to burn them. The celebs get to decide who wins (guess who won that one??).

One of the shows in particular was about a formal dining room, and how the husband wanted to use it, and the wife would not even let him enter the area. Eva Longoria spoke up on this issue, stating she too has a formal room, a living room in fact, that is decorated juuuuust so and no one is allowed to go in there. Ever. (She voted for the wife, duh.)

When she said this I was all, huh? Seriously? Who truly has that much money and gall to rope off perfectly good, usable square footage so it can look all pristine and museum-like and never be used? It's not like Eva has kids and needs a place of solace (ya know, like the bathroom, where us normal mothers go to hide and take a nap)! Is her husband inviting all his b-ball teammates over? Are they throwing Gatorade bottles all over the fireplace hearth and couches? Is she constantly falling into their stinky, sweaty, size-18 shoes? Do they carelessly misplace the remote and sit on her dogs? Are jock straps hanging from the chandelier? I mean, what havoc is wreaking in her life that she needs a formal room that no one touches?

Then it hit me...

I want that.

How do I get that?

I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaant it.

Can you imagine? A room, that no matter what time of day you go into it, everything is perfectly in its place. Nary a pillow tassel is tousled, dust is repelled, white fabrics stay white, and it always smells of fresh lavender and vanilla?

Even at 2 am, when you sneak around the corner and jump into the room screaming, "AHA!" there is nothing to pick up, wipe, or move?

I think that would do a lot for my sanity.

It's probably mostly because summer is upon me, but I am losing my ability to accommodate 3 dishwasher loads per day and endless laundry. Legos are breeding like rabbits in every corner of my house, the living room looks like the set of some movie involving ghosts, because the furniture keeps moving around, and I swear my kids' clothes drawers are full of explosives, because their clothes are strewn all over their room, even though they only wear one of two rotating outfits at a time each week. I'll work like a dog only to have the house look just like it did before I cleaned it a mere 24 hours before. AND I AM SO SICK OF CLEANING UP MY HAIR WHY THE WHY DOES IT KEEP FALLING OUT OF MY HEAD AND PILING UP ON MY LINOLEUM ALONG WITH ROGUE COFFEE GROUNDS AND CHERRIOS?!!??!?!?!??!?!?!?!

OK...this is probably the point where this post goes from a blogger sharing a funny anecdote, to a crazy woman venting maniacally and bloodying her fingers while banging out random, nonsensical words on a weary and frightened keyboard.

It's time to go sit in the bathroom, with the lights off...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crusin' for a Brusin'

I was thinking, bruises are often a lot like ninjas...they come out of no where, they are mysterious, not everyone can see them all of the time, they can show up anywhere, they are dark and painful, and as you know if you see one that means there are probably thousands...wait, wrong analogy...anyway...

Yesterday I noticed a 4 inch-long purple bruise on my upper thigh. I was all, "wha? huh?" because I mean really, this bruise is big enough that I should remember how it got there. I mean, it's not like I was training on the uneven parallel bars for the next summer Olympics, I wasn't in any street fights that I know of, and it isn't a result of some strange waxing accident...

So where did it come from? I am most perplexed. It's not easy to keep an eye on either, even though my mild OCD compels me to check it every few hours, which means I have to run into the bathroom to drop trou to check it out. And sure enough it's still there! All I can really do is sit around and wonder, all day, what I did to get such a mark, because as you can imagine house cleaning or driving is out of the question; I can barely think of anything else or move for that matter...

It must be due to my age, either my capillaries are just that delicate, or my memory is shot, but until it's gone I will be most annoyed by its presence and will probably openly complain about it and think about it non-stop, kind of like I did about the LOST finale.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Winning and Vintage; It NEVER Gets Old!

Man! What a fun giveaway this was! And most importantly, we have a winner!

Yahooo!!! Isn't it great to win something??? Thank you to Vintage Umbrella and their gracious prize! Stop by often to find that perfect nostalgic, eclectic or vintage gift! In fact, I KNOW you will, their shop is just that awesome! It was very fun to read through all the comments and see how many of you oooooh-ed and ahhhhh-ed from remembering items from your youth! Awesome!!!

So without further ado, the winner is....RACHEL!

Rachel said...

I love the Flamingo Candle holder. Thanks for the giveaway!

May 27, 2010 10:07 PM

You won! So awesome! Everyone is jealous and claiming that not only are you their new best friend, it's their birthday tomorrow, and they love vintage milk glass compotes! The collective "they" can be pretty convincing...or threatening. Don't worry Rachel, I'll protect you...

As always, the winner has 3 days to collect her prize.

And if you're like me, in that you don't win every giveaway you enter, and you are sobbing/screaming/shaking your fists/eating carpet fibers because you did not win this one, well chin up! Dry your little eyes, dear one! I have another giveaway coming up soon! And this time you just might win!

Come back June 14th when I review and giveaway a lovely set of wall sticker frames courtesy of CSN stores. CSN sells everything from kitchen items to cribs to pet items to health and fitness items! Ya don't want to miss this one! Take a sneak peek here!

Now to go get these pesky carpet fibers out of my teeth...

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