2011: You Know What They Say About Pictures & Words

Saturday, December 31, 2011

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The Return of the KTP: Hunt Like a Mainer!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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*Photo heavy. Also, awesomeness heavy.

Remember this place? It's baaaack!

That's right. I returned to the famed Kittery Trading Post yesterday, this time with my city-dwelling BFF in tow, at her eager request. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by KTP's standard decor: taxidermy. This moose met us at the entrance, & we had a good chuckle at the sign accompanying him. Please don't feed the dead moose.
How was this visit unlike all other visits? This time we branched out by venturing up to the second floor, which is home to all of KTP's camping & hunting gear. I don't know what I was expecting, but I think it's safe to say that I was shocked. I shouldn't have been, as I regularly see guys toting their rifles around the store, but nothing could've prepared me for the rows & rows of guns for sale in this place.

Luckily, they had this sign posted up & down the gun aisles to remind shoppers to practice safe firearms shopping habits. Whew.

"How many people on this floor do you think are Republicans?" I asked Rachel. "Um, all of them." Like good little pro-gun control liberals, we actually sort of freaked out & scurried away from the gun section, trying to shake off the willies. Nearby, we found the Bragging Board, sponsored by a local taxidermy company (naturally!) & featuring a 12-year-old girl who felled some massive animal.

Want to shoot some wildlife of your own? Well, you're gonna need some gear - and not just guns! Let me outline for you a few of the accoutrements you may want to acquire, all available at your my local trading post. First, you'll need to brush up on yer huntin' skillz with some aptly titled magazines.

And books about very cute hunting dogs, uncomfortably positioned next to a book about sharpening your knives. Please note: You should not use these knives on your very cute hunting dog(s).

And now, onto the actual tools. But... oh, no! The wall of Bear Grylls hunting tools is wiped clean! That crazy Brit sure is popular &, well, crazy.

But wait! What's that on the other side? Bear Grylls machetes? Oh, scorrre.

You may also want some plastic animal decoys, which will put the actual animals (i.e. your furry victims) at ease by making them think they're amongst friends rather than amongst hunters who wants to turn them into tasty venison chili.

While you're in the habit of tricking your prey, you might want to make sure you have access to things like doe urine, which will, again, encourage your furry friends to come out of hiding in search of others Bambi buddies. Mmm, doe urine.

Of course, deer urine only works on deer. If you're hunting up here in the hinterlands, yer gonna wanna be able to mimic moose. And I've got just the trick!

Not comfy with a gun? You could always take up archery. Of course, then you have to carry around this bow case, which distinctly & rather awkwardly resembles a southern region of the male anatomy. Manly indeed!

Of course, if you're going to become a hunter, you've got to have the proper attire. I understand this mossy Yeti get-up to the right, if you need to look like a tree while you're trying to stalk your prey (though that doesn't negate how ridiculously funny it looks). But can someone tell me how a neon orange fedora is a legitimate hunting accessory? Again, I understand part of this: The color ensures that hunters don't become the hunted. But a fedora? Listen, if you want to dress like Sinatra on acid, the forest is probably not the right stage.

For the parents of budding young outdoors(wo)men, we've got old-fashioned sling-shots, camoflaged malt balls ("I know I bought malt balls, but I can't find them anywhere!") & hunting action figures with ominous named like "The Bone Collector." KTP's kiddie pop-guns even come in light pink so you can uphold artificial gender constructs while teaching your little lady to cock a rifle.

If you're not in the mood for hunting, though, never fear: The Kittery Trading Post still has something for you. On the left, a contraption that claims to make ice cream anywhere. It is ostensibly designed to allow campers in the boonies to indulge in creamy dairy goodness, but Rachel commented that she'd like to use it in her living room. You could also read Ted Nugent's patrioticly/vainly named bestseller or take up basket-weaving with this easy beginners kit.

Or you could take up ice-fishing.

Yep. There's always ice-fishing.

*Disclaimer: I freaking love this place. I'm also not anti-hunting, for the most part. I once even shot a porcupine. When I was 8, with a real gun. I shot it dead, then cried liked a baby. And I still own a .22.
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Proving Mitch Hedberg Wrong

Monday, December 26, 2011

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Escalator temporary stairs.

Sorry for the convenience.
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The Political Equivalant of "Wearing Your Heart On Your Sleeve"

Friday, December 23, 2011

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It's not clear to me who this guy supports. Can anyone clear things up for me?
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Eat a Little, Eat a Latke

Thursday, December 22, 2011

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Chanukah is here, Chanukah is here! While I've grown out of the must-give-gifts-for-Chanukah phase (perhaps because I'm celebrating Christmas this year...), there are two things Adult Me really loves about the holiday: the soft light of the chanukiah & splendid taste of fried foods. This year, as previously discussed, I committed to making latkes for our holiday party guests, but because I'd never made them before, I did a test run last night for dinner.

I plan(ned?) to make the Real Kind on Friday, the kind that require you to grate so many potatoes that you can't bend your fingers for a week, but for the sake of ease, my test run was with the boxed kind:

I mixed up the batter...

...and promptly realized I had no idea how to make latkes. Enter my good friend Daphne, coworker & food editor of ChallahCrumbs.com, who served as my Yiddishe mama & explained how the whole hot oil aspect of latke-making works. Heat it on medium, she told me, & spritz it with some water from your fingers. If it spits at you, it's hot enough. And so I did:

But oil is scary, & I am accident-prone, so I located my prescription-less hipster specs, the only "goggles" I could think of, to protect my beloved eyeballs:

Uh, deck the halls with jowls & chins. Anyway, at first it sort of worked:

And then it sort of didn't:

 And then it did again!

The first few came out of the oil mushy or in clumps, but when I finally plucked out these crispy little beauties, I knew it was all gonna be OK:

And then dinner happened, because what are latkes for if not to devour? My preferred condiment is applesauce, & if you doubt the deliciousness of this combo, I encourage you to reconsider.

When dinner was over, I made these:

Yes, I do believe it was a good day.
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Party in the USA (Specifically at My Home in New Hampshire)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

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My scanner broke, so sue me
It's no secret that I really, really like the holidays: Chanukah, Christmas, Festivus, whatever. Though I have approximately exactly three friends here in Portsmouth, I somehow thought it would be a good idea to throw a holiday party this year, & Nathan agreed. We decided upon December 23rd as the big day & began the planning.

I'm not convinced that Nate's Coastie friends won't spend 10 minutes at our get-together before deciding they'd have more fun at the bars, thus dashing my dreams of a quaint gathering complete with mulled wine, a decorate-your own cookie station, a few rounds of Apples to Apples, &, of course, tacky holiday sweaters. Still, I'm planning this party as though a dozen burly military dudes will share in this dream with me.

Let's talk about key elements of a successful Christmas party (which I've never before hosted):

  • Holiday attire: Because aforementioned tacky sweaters are a rare commodity these days, we've asked our guests to somehow display their holiday spirit in their attire, which leaves the door open to everything from tacky to classy. I, for one, will be wearing my reindeer necklace.

  • A supply of alcohol: We're asking everyone to BTOB, but we'll provide mixers & either store-bought eggnog or homemade mulled wine, depending upon my level of boozy enthusiasm. (It should be noted that I don't like either of these beverages.)

  • Snacks a'plenty: Nathan is dead-set on making pigs in a blanket using hot dogs & crescent rolls (yeah, he's in charge of this one), while I'm planning on buffalo chicken dip, French bread & brie, & a crudite plate, if I'm feelin' healthy. Which is unlikely.

  • A little bit o' Judaism: Though I will likely be the only Member of the Tribe in attendance, I'M MAKING LATKES, which I've never done before. I'll be using The Perfect Latkes Recipe & trying my best not to douse myself in hot oil, which seems like something I would do.

And finally, what is arguably the most important part of any holiday festivity:

  • LOTS OF DESSERTS: I am operating under the impression that the deliciousness of my provided desserts will be a key ingredient in convincing people to stay at this party. After all, aren't desserts an essential aspect of holiday celebration? Therefore, I've given lots of thought to my dessert-making options, & as of right now, I am currently planning to make:
    • Chocolate chunks cookies
    • Sugar cookies (to be decorated either by me or our guests - not yet clear)
    • Ritz peanut butter sandwiches covered in chocolate

If you have additional suggestions, I'd love to hear them, especially as they relate to desserts that will encourage people not to leave my party early. I thank you in advance for your assistance in helping me make this party a success. I hope. Cross your fingers.

Images: iced cookies , chocolate chunk cookies, Ritz "cookies"

Remember to check out Duncan Hines' website www.duncanhines.com to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.
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Christmukkah Came Early! (And a Giveaway)

Monday, December 19, 2011

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*There's a giveaway at the bottom, if you hate reading my wonderful words & want to skip to the potential for free stuff.

Call me nerdy, but after eight days out of town, I was looking forward to coming home for a great many reasons, among them cat cuddles, sleeping in my own bed, and going through a week's worth of mail - especially at the holiday season!

Today didn't let me down. I picked up my letters & packages & was thrilled to feel like Christmukkah had come early! My mama sent me this amazing slipper boots, straight off my wishlist:
And speaking of my wishlist, my wonderful friend (& fellow Ohioan) Cara sent me the Mandipidy print I'd long been coveting. Funnily enough, I'd bought Cara a gift, too, which I gave to her at the convention we both worked last week.

The next one was more a gift to myself, or a disgusting sign of corporatism. After ordering 20 Starbucks drinks on my registered gift card, I finally received my Gold Card, complete with my name on it. Should I be excited or ashamed?

I also came home to about 30 holiday cards. Feeling pretty loved right about now! I've displayed just a few of them on our hall closet door using good, old-fashioned string - in mustard, very festive. I'm still trying to figure out how to display the rest!

Heather from Just Lovely Things sent me a package for the Cold Hands, Warm Hearts swap that is, indeed, just lovely. Soft black gloves with detachable fingers, a shiny black ring that looks like a little disco ball, two of Heather's favorite magazines, a homemade flower headband & a black sequined one, two nail polishes, a lip gloss, & a postcard from Oregon, where Heather lives. I'm delighted, & I hope she likes the goodies I sent her just as much. See, sometimes I participate in activities with other bloggers! I'm not a total online hermit.

I recently won two giveaways, one for this flowery, funky homemade pouch from Glow Kouture from Caroline's blog, & the other for a Shabby Apple bracelet from Christina's blog. The bracelet I won was out of stock (is it just me, or is that weird...?), so I got to pick something else, which is how I ended up with this clock necklace that I like even more. Score!

And finally, my Birchbox arrived. For reasons unknown, I received two Birchboxes this month, each containing the same samples. Coincidentally, this is how I found Birchbox in the first place - awhile back, I won a giveaway from the blog Capitol Hill Style, whose writer had mysteriously received two boxes & opted to give one away. I loved it so much that I signed up to be a member myself.

In the spirit of paying it forward, I'm giving away my extra Birchbox to one free-stuff-loving reader who's interested in checking out this fun service. For $10 a month, Birchbox sends you a surprise package full of three to five high-end beauty samples.There are six ways to enter using the Rafflecopter widget below, & I'll choose a winner on Dec. 27th. Go forth & enter!

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My Life is Really Cool (Featuring a Guest Appearance by President Barack Obama, Among Others)

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Tonight I returned home from nearly nine days in Washington, D.C., and National Harbor, MD, where I had the great honor of live-tweeting President Barak Obama's address to the 6,000 attendees of the Union for Reform Judaism's 71st Biennial Convention.

If that's not the pinnacle of my social media experience thus far, I don't know what is.

Oh, yeah, & I got see all of these people, too:

In case you're not sure, these are some of the people I love most in the world - my coworkers-turned-friends, all past & present employees of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Once you've worked there, you become family. It's like a fraternity, really, without the scandals & hazing & booze, & I feel so fortunate to be an alumna of such an incredible place alongside such an incredible group of people.

In my humble opinion, seeing them was every bit as good as seeing the president.

Cheesy? My bad. My sense of humor & I will return once I awaken from my post-convention coma. And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go sleep for 48 hours or so.
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All I Want for Christmas, Round II*

Thursday, December 8, 2011

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Nathan has already done his Christmas shopping, but in case Santa is real, here's what's on my wish list this holiday season:

  1. Fisheye, Macro, Wide Angle & Telephoto Phone Lenses: So I can feel like a real photographer without shlepping around a gigantron DSLR or learning how to use it (Photojojo, $20-$25 each)
  2. Amazon gift cards: Because my Kindle app makes it that much easier for me to indulge in my love of book-buying
  3. Laura Geller Spackle Tinted Under Make-up Primer in Bronze: I've been making my Birchbox sample last. This stuff makes my life a better place to be. (Macy's, $25) 
  4. Mophie juice pack air™: iOS 5 has murdered my iPhone battery, & because I am entirely co-dependent on my phone, I require a case that will charge it on the go. (Mophie, $79.95)
  5. LUSH bath bombs: These would be a good excuse to take baths. I actually dreamed of them the other night. A sign? (LUSH, $4.70-$7.75 each)
  6. A flight back to Ohio: Because damn it, it's been six months, which is the longest I've ever been away
  7. Cable-knit slipper booties: Cozy, warm, cute, functional. I approve. (GAP, $39.95) 
  8. Seasons 6 - 11 of Seventh Heaven: This is the most embarrassing thing I have ever put on a public wishlist. (Amazon, prices vary)
  9. An external hard drive: Which I can't link to because I don't know anything about them except that I should have one
  10. Lancome Juicy Tubes: Because I have become the sort of cheap bastard who only purchases Carmex (Lancome, $18 each)
  11. KIND bars: The most delicious breakfast bars ever, & Men's Health tells me they're the healthiest, too. (KIND, prices vary) 
  12. Blinc Mascara in Dark Brown: Again, I'm livin' on a dwindling Birchbox sample, but I can't bring myself to spend $25 on mascara, no matter how much I love it. Which is a lot. (Blinc, $25)
  13. Bumble & Bumble Creme De Coco Shampoo: Best shampoo in the world? Yes. Too expensive for me to afford regularly? That, too. (Amazon, $18.90-$40)
  14. For Nathan to be restationed to Boston this spring: He submitted a request for his top five billets, & Boston is the only available place we have any real interest in going. I don't know when we learn where we're headed next, but I freak out about it every day.
  15. Ohio "The Heart of It All" Place I Love Print: This is self-explanatory, right? You know me. (Mandipidy, $18)
  16. World peace: Still. Because I may be materialistic, but I'm not shallow.
*Round I, published last year, can be found here. Yes, I have asked for shampoo two years in a row.
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What Your Favorite Christmas Song Says About You

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  1. "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (from the movie)
    Though you're too old for both of them, you like rhymes & cartoons (but hopefully not the version where Jim Carrey is green & furry). Despite your rhyming genius, you have a limited vocabulary, rhyming "nasty" with "wasty," & you likely believe that "arsenic sauce" is a spicier version of Tabasco. 

  2. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (by Brenda Lee)
    You are inventive & dancy, & you long to host boisterous holiday parties attended by cardboard cut-outs of Michael Jordan.

  3. "Blue Christmas" (by Elvis Presley)
    You are depressing. No, seriously. I mean, maybe you also just really like classic rock, but, dude, this song is a bummer. My apologies to you & the King.

  4. "Frosty the Snowman" (by Gene Autry)
    Slightly delusional, you're known for muttering to yourself & carrying on conversations with stray cats & trying to get Parson Brown to marry you before he melts. Errr, "while he's in town."

  5. "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" (by Elmo and Patsy)
    You enjoy whoopee cushions & plastic poop &, look, I'm just going to give it to you straight: You're the relative everyone wishes they didn't have to invite to Christmas dinner.

  6. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (by Band Aid)
    You like to think of yourself as a big-hearted philanthropist, but face it: You are also religiously intolerant. This song is possibly the most ignorant display of multi-religious denominationalism on holiday rotation, masked by lyrics of hope & help. No, they don't know it's Christmas because they're not Christian.

  7. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (by any duo ever)
    "Say what's in this drink?" GHB. You assault women in your spare time, but only under the cover of poor weather conditions.

  8. "Carol of the Bells"(by people who hate me)
    A Christmas purist, you may also be a cast member of Home Alone and/or a criminal. This song sounds like mayhem & evil & Manheim Steamroller & sometimes appears in my most dramatic of nightmares.

  9. "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (by Mariah Carey)
    The other kind of Christmas purist, you are likely a former teenybopper now in your mid- to late-20s who feels strongly that Mariah Carey's Christmas classic is the reigning holiday pop song - heck, the only holiday pop song. Jessica Simpson who? If, however, your favorite is the newly released Mariah Carey-hitting-on-underage-Justin-Bieber version, there are two other options: A) You're 12, or B) You're a pervert.

  10. "Last Christmas" (by Wham!)
    You're me.*

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    Even in Australia

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

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    This week hasn't been good to me so far, & it's only Tuesday. I recognize that a majority of these are #firstworldproblems, but they're still affecting my life & my mood. I'm trying to keep it all together & stay upbeat (see also: soy chai, "Next Iron Chef," a little bit of shopping), but sometimes a girl just needs to rant.

    • Last night my computer began sending me threatening messages like, "SECURITY BREACH!" & "STEALTH INTRUSION!" No joke. It was like my laptop wanted to play Battleship with me. Today, it wouldn't let me do a damn thing - red alerts all over the place. Our IT guy couldn't fix it remotely, so I paid $66 to overnight it to him in New York in the hopes he can fix it before our major conference next week - for which I need it.

    • I am sick. Not, like, I've-got-a-cold sick, but that lethargic, feeling-like-crap, headachey, body-achey sick. It's probably a result of stress, but it doesn't feel good.

    • Yesterday morning I learned that a high school peer died in October after a car accident. I didn't really know him, but he had just graduated from seminary & was doing great things with his life, especially with his passion for making houses of worship accessible to people with disabilities. What a tragic loss.

    • I went to bed at 9pm last night (seriously, I was in bed by 8:37), & I woke up at 11:30, 2:30 & 4:30, each time totally awake & ready for the day to begin. Of course, when my alarm went off at 8am, I thought I was going to die of exhaustion - a feeling that's continued throughout the day.

    • I've been struggling to hit the 10-lb. weight loss mark. I actually hit it last week, but the numbers on the scale have gone up again, & I'm not pleased about it. I'm so tired of paying attention to every single thing I consume & worrying about how many calories it has. I want Chinese food and looser-fitting jeans. Is that not how this works?

    • I went to the Post Office yesterday, where I dropped a ton of duckets on mailing holidays cards. I had to wait in line twice because I didn't get enough stamps the first time & forgot to pick up international stamps for cards to Spain, Canada & Israel. In the time it took me to complete this holiday goodness, a meter maid was writing me a $10 parking ticket for going over my allotted 15 minutes. Bah humbug.

    • You may have been following along with my occasional tweets about a loved one who was recently discovered to have a rare lung tumor. I won't get into it here, but today we learned that this loved one faces chemotherapy and/or radiation before the possibility of surgery. My heart, it hurts so badly...

    • To top it off, there's some evangelical self-help dude talking a woman through her life problems at the table behind me in this Starbucks. SERIOUSLY, UNIVERSE?
    I guess some days weeks are like that, even in Australia.


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      Christmas Can Be Creepy

      Sunday, December 4, 2011

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      For starters, can anyone explain to me why these weird wooden creatures are $12 at Joann's? If I wanted ugly crafty ornaments made of pinecones, I'd make them myself. They'd probably look about this good.

      I suppose I cannot say for certain whether these are Christmas ornaments. Perhaps they're year-round home decor - alas, that prospect is too scary for me to consider. I can imagine the sale pitch now: "Is there a doctor, psychic or all-around sexy blonde dude in your life? Buy him or her a glittery mermaid representing his or her personal style! This works extra-well if he or she is uber-ripped & has scaly flippers." Merman, pop!

      I don't know what this thing is, but it's like the Christmas version of a Chucky doll. For a mere $24.99, you can facilitate your own nightmare before and/or during Christmas!

      One of my BFFs, Sammi, texted this photo to me & her mom with the caption "creepiest thing i have evvverrr seen."

      It just so happens I'd take quite a similar photo as my original inspiration for this post. SMALL DOG ARMY!
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      IT'S BACK!

      Friday, December 2, 2011

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