Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day three: otherwise known as that time I got sucked into the world of American Girl and Legos.

Day three was an expensive day, let's just say that. But oh do I have fun stuff for you.

We started Sunday off with walking one last time down the Magnificent Mile in search of this candy store where our bus passes got us a free bag of candy. But it was such an awesome day and almost nobody on the streets, so I got a couple of pictures over the river.

 Even Matt looked like he was trying to participate.
We never did get to the candy store because we got sucked into the American Girl store. On Friday I joked with Jen and Jon that they couldn't get their daughter Haylie the ghetto $24 mini doll because she would roll up to a play date where everyone else would have a real one and here she is clutching the ghetto cheap ass version with tears in her eyes.

It's hard out here for a pimp and all.

So here's Olivia and she has wanted an American Girl for YEARS and in Kindergarten she came home to tell me several times that all of her friends had one and she'd like one. Well Santa didn't bring it, Easter Bunny didn't, not even Grandma's, so the poor girl had all but given up. So I ended up getting her the mid-rate ghetto bitty baby, and an outfit. For a whopping $87.
 But look at her face. Completely worth it. And she carries the damn thing around all of the time and I have to hear about all of the accessories she can get because you know she grabbed a catalog before we left.
 So after that, we parted ways with our friends and got into the van to head off to Legoland, which was supposed to be the Matt/Jackson stop of awesome.

On the way there we encounter stop and go, bumper to bumper traffic on the Kennedy Expressway. Out of nowhere, I totally get rear ended by a Lexus and I hit this piece of shit Blazer in front of me. Have I mentioned that it was pouring rain? Because it was. So the Blazer and I make our way to the side of the road, not easy in 5 lanes of traffic, and I see the Lexus fly past us. Super. Thankfully, everyone was OK, no damage to my back bumper and my front only has a scrape. The guy in the Blazer didn't seem concerned because his vehicle was a piece of shit as it was and he says this happens all of the time. But what made the situation completely awkward was I had my Ludacris song "Everyone is Drunk as Fuck" playing. Something you shouldn't have playing when you know, you get into an accident on the freeway.

Finally we get back on the road and Maggie the GPS gets us completely fucking lost and apparently has no idea where she is. We end up finding LegoLand on our own and Jackson literally squealed when we went in. Let me tell you- it was fun, but not for the price we paid.
We saw a very cool, miniature version of downtown Chicago made of Legos. Jackson told me, loudly, that he could so totally make that.
 Then he jumped up and down and squealed when we saw R2D2 and hugged it. Seriously. How god damn cute is this kid.
 Then Matt took a ton of pictures of Darth Vader because he is a dork and totally embarrassing. So I made the kids stand next to dad so he didn't look like a loser getting his picture taken next to a make believe character.
 The highlight was when Jackson found Batman and wanted to show me his superhero moves, properly documented here.

Overall it was fun- they went on a laser beam ride, saw how Lego's are made and walked out of there with a cool one that says LegoLand for their sets. Then we obviously let Jackson get his own big set of Legos. He chose the Bat Cave from Batman (obviously) and held the bag/box the entire eight hour drive home.
 On the way home we stopped off in the Wisconsin Dells to get gas, pee, and have dinner. I decided that we would go to Buffalo Phil's because apparently, your food comes to you on a train. The kids love trains and this would be fun so off we went.

And your food legit comes on a train. It was pretty decent food but holy fucking expensive. We're talking just under $100 for 4 people. Sure, we had dessert, but I have never paid that much at a restaurant for 4 people EVER.
 As we were leaving, I noticed the really terrifying Buffalo Mobile and then made the kids stand there so I could get their picture.
Overall? Awesome weekend. It was a perfect trip to end a kind of lame-o summer and the kids finally got to see Chicago. They've been asking me for years to go and now they got to go. Plus I really enjoy Jen and Jon  and their kids are really awesome and I'd probably steal them if they would go willingly. Jackson already thinks Haylie is coming to 4K with him and to Disney with us next June so we obviously need to start planning a wedding.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The bus, the lamest aquatic show, the bean, and how to start a riot.

It almost sounds like a fantastical book or at least the beginning of a really great joke to tell when you're drunk but in fact, it sums up our Saturday in Chicago.

The first thing we did was buy our tickets for the double decker bus that Olivia REALLY wanted to ride. Ever since she saw them tooling around London during the Olympics she has been set on riding on one and yay me for being an awesome mom and making it happen.
 How hilarious is this picture of her? First off, I love her old lady sunglasses. Then she just looks so big girl and all loving the big city and seriously. To effing cute for her own good.
 Jackson wasn't loving the bus as much and decided that after banging his head on the railing he was better off on Matt's lap.
 Totally unrelated, but someday I'll see a show here. It's pretty much a must.
 Anyways. So the big thing on our itinerary was going to the Shedd Aquarium. I'm a Pisces so I like fish and shit, and we always like aquarium things wherever we go, and I figured this one would probably be bad ass. Because you'd think a place in Chicago could afford some really cool stuff.
 You'd be wrong, but more on that in a bit. We ended up having to wait outside in the sun for quite a bit. I wish I had the picture of Jen and I when she chased down Ironman and Hulk so we could get our pictures. Only after we had to tip them. Which, I maybe could have gotten away with not, but these people made solid looking costumes out of cardboard and duct tape- they were resourceful and could probably beat my ass. So I gave them $3 and called it good. But the kids got to take their picture next to cardboard things too.
 So once we got in we bought the "Total Experience" pass which let you into the aquarium, the 4D Ice Age movie, the Aquatic Show and then the special Jellies exhibit. Which all sounds amazing. First up we decided to get food and it was decent food, outrageously priced. Then we all go over to the 4D movie which only lasts about 15 minutes but holy man. My kids have never been in a 4D, which basically means you'll get water sprayed at you and something will poke you hard in the back. Neither of them were loving the whole 4D experience but at least they weren't like the kids in the way front screaming to get them out of there. Poor Jackson was more upset that he thought a dinosaur really blew boogers at him and I had to explain it was just water. I seriously don't think he believes me even still.

After the movie we went over to the aquatic show and sat for 50 minutes before it started. Which, actually went faster than I thought it would. And I got all excited because I love me some dolphins and I have decided I would like one of those weird white beluga whales. Jackson agrees.
 Matt not so much. Dream killer.
 But the show was hands down, the worst aquatic show I have ever seen. First off, the woman doing all the talking sounds like a god damn dolphin herself. Her voice goes high enough that only dogs can hear it, I'm sure. Then the dolphins didn't really do any tricks. They jumped once or twice, swam fast, and we heard about how they like a good tongue tickle which Matt thinks is hilarious. He now asks me if I want a tongue tickle and thinks he's a fucking riot.
 The whales were cute and weird looking, but kind of lame. The one clearly wanted no part in it's training and the woman announced that she's feisty and resistant. Which, obviously. Then they start talking about this sea otter that was rescued by Washington state or something and how the Shedd Aquarium really loves the otter and it's doing super great. It's a two minute clip on the Today show about how they care for it, etc. Do you think we get to see the otter?

No.

No fucking otter to be had. Not in it's exhibit, not in the show, nothing. Basically, they wasted two minutes of my life hyping the prodigal otter and give us nothing.

Oh wait- I'm wrong. They bring us something.

A blind hawk.

I know. I KNOW. First off, the hawk flies from one end of the pool to the other and everyone claps. I'm sorry- but it's a god damn bird. It's supposed to fly- this is nothing out of the ordinary or outrageous. Then they tell us this hawk is blind in one eye and I'm confused. Like, who cares? It still has one good eye to see- what's the big deal? I can't see shit in the dark but nobody claps for me when I make it to the bathroom without taking everything out in my path.

Whatever. It was disappointing to say the least. Then we wandered around the rest of the aquarium which was lame. I would show you pictures but I have none. Why? Because people are rude as hell, that's why. I had one Asian woman practically following Olivia and I around and literally stepping in front of me to take pictures of every single fish. We couldn't even see the fish and she's trying to be all photographer with everything. I wanted to punch her in a family facility. That's how serious this was.

So we left and I basically feel like the Shedd Aquarium stole my money. Seriously. The aquarium in Duluth was better and that tells you how craptastic this was.

After the aquarium everyone went to their hotels, medicated for headaches, took naps, whatever. We ended up walking down to Millennium Park so the kids could see the Bean and we did the obligatory family photo.
 Olivia wanted her own.
 Then Jackson wanted his. Right after this he turned around and slammed his face right into the bean. Then that was the end of our adventures there. Poor kid.
 So we decided to wait for the bus to catch up with Jen and her crew so while waiting I made them take their picture in front of a fountain.
 Oh, and no trip to Chicago is complete without getting a picture of the Crazy of the Week.
 So we all meet up and head to Navy Pier. On the weekends in the summer Navy Pier has fireworks and it's just a good time. We planned to eat dinner down there and honestly- when I went to Navy Pier for the first time I saw this restaurant called the Billy Goat Tavern. I have a love of goats even though the only real ones I've ever seen have been the cute baby ones at the zoo that all loved me. Anyways. So we ended up eating here on Saturday and what a god damn experience.
 First up, they have this goat head on the wall that is smiling at you. I kind of want this. I mean, who wouldn't want this in their home? How does this not scream "Home Sweet Home"? Anyways. So Jen points out that this basically looks like an old VFW inside and I take her word for it since I've never seen that. So we get food and I ended up ordering a cheezeborger. I have to be honest, I can't say with 100% certainty that what I ate was beef. I hope it wasn't goat because that would make me kind of sad. But it left a weird aftertaste in my mouth so who fucking knows. It could have been the no-name brand of chips they gave you as well. I mean, we just won't ever know.

After dinner we head down the Pier with the intentions of going to the Ferris Wheel.
 Oh, and Matt was a mermaid too.
 So, we're waiting in line and in front of us there is this group of 8 or so. We already have our tickets, they do not. They kind of debate about the tickets and one guy wanders off. The lines moves ahead a lot, and they kind of just stand there. So I ask the one woman if they have tickets, and she gets this "caught me" look on her face and says no. So I say, "Well then we're going ahead of you" because hello- we have tickets. All I hear is someone say, "How do they know we don't have tickets?!" and someone from our group let them know that we heard their entire we-don't-have-tickets conversation. Idiots.
 But the wheel was pretty.
Completely love this picture of these three.

And nobody puked on the wheel! I was afraid because my kids don't like rides in general but they did super well.
So afterwards they had this really great fireworks show and they had a radio station blasting music and there were so many people down there, it was just really great. I would definitely do that again.

The buses weren't running anymore at that time, but these free trolleys were. So we all walk down to where the trolleys pick you up and seriously, we're like the second and third families in line. We wait there for almost 20 minutes by the time the trolley comes and as we stand up to get in line, like EVERYONE cuts in front of us. So I do what any over exhausted, hungry, dehydrated mom does: make a complete scene. Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with people? If it were just Matt and I and I see a group of people with small kids I would absolutely let them go ahead of me because hello- those kids probably need to get to bed.  They've probably had a long day. But no. These assholes don't do that, they just cut in line.

We ended up walking for what seemed like forever through questionable neighborhoods to the hotel. We had to split from Jen and her crew when we got to Michigan Avenue because our hotels were in opposite directions and yikes. Poor Jackson had to pee but won't pee outside, Olivia had stomach cramps (probably from not pooping for two days..yay), I have to pee and we're dodging homeless and drunk people. THEN we get to our hotel and end up having to go around the block to the other side because a bunch of people were getting arrested and we couldn't get through.

Needless to say, I was pretty god damn tired when we got back. I gave the kids showers and got outfits ready for the morning and most of our stuff packed since we were leaving the next day. I don't think I got to bed until around 1 am. *yawn*

But on Sunday... we had even MORE adventures.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weight update? Not on your life. Instead, CHICAGO!

I have a little love affair with a certain whore named Chicago. I can't help myself but continue to go back for more even though I come back feeling exhausted and used every single time. But this time we met up with my hot bitch counterpart in Michigan and her family and it was a great time. But for you to understand how much I love Chicago, you have to push play to this so you can get the full effect.

(Yes, I realize Ludacris is not from Chicago. But it's become a tradition except for that one time I forgot, that I play Ludacris when I roll in. Seriously.)


(And this turns out to be funny because when I got into a car accident on the way home, more on that tomorrow, this was playing. HAHA... not as hilarious as you think it would be. It's just embarrassing.)

ANYWAYS. 

Let's talk Chicago and how going as a family versus on your own will rape you of everything you have. 

We left our house at 5:30 in the morning on Friday and started our eight hour drive. It's a seriously long, boring haul. Every time I plan a trip to Chicago it's like I forget how much I hate the drive, I'm just too excited to get there and have fun. Same thing this time. We ended up stopping in Janesville for lunch, gas, and to return a call from my work. Matt called into his work because he had a few bizarre messages from them and it was crazy. It was good to sit for an hour because I was tired to say the least. 

 So before we hit the road, the kids posed for a picture for me and then did "exercises" before hopping back into the van.

Finally.... we got into Chicago right at 3 as schedule. (Go me!) We ended up staying at the Hyatt Regency (same place I stayed for my birthday) and the kids were super excited and kept saying it was all fancy. AND they loved the fact we were on the top floor at the end of the hallway so they could look out and see all kinds of stuff. Plus, they have never been to Chicago, and have never seen such tall buildings so this was a big deal for them.
 Here are them getting their tourist on in front of the NBC building.
While waiting for Jen and her crew to meet us for dinner at Giordano's, we played in the fountain. Unfortunately for Jen and her crew, I am absolute shit with directions and they ended up going to the wrong Giordano's, and then caught a cab to where we were. I felt bad because honestly- how was I supposed to know there was more than one? This is the only one I've ever seen. So lesson learned- assume there are multiples of everything in downtown Chicago.

But dinner was super good. I think it's kind of weird that the Italian restaurant apparently only hires Hispanic people. Not that I have anything against Hispanic people, it's just kind of weird.

After dinner David really wanted to go to Sprinkles and frankly- who am I to turn down baked goods? MyFitnessPal and I are not speaking and so I decided that hell yes- cupcakes were to be had.
 And guess what Sprinkles has? A cupcake ATM. I'm not even kidding. I have a picture on my phone somewhere, but trust me- it's cool. The store also plays the most annoying jingle EVER on a loop 24/7. And because you know you want to judge this, go HERE and tell me what you think. But the place was kind of tricky to find, the cupcakes are EXPENSIVE too. I think for three I paid almost $16? Insane. And they also weren't awesome. I mean, they were good but they weren't the best I've ever had. I make a pretty mean cupcake courtesy of my friend, Betty Crocker.
But I got the kids cupcakes that were like smores. They only ate the frosting so I clearly got ripped off. I got a little present for my friend from there and we headed back to our hotel. Saturday was going to be a LONG day and we had driven for so long that we were kind of beat. 

So that was day one. Pretty uneventful with awesomeness, but we made up for that on Saturday and Sunday. Trust. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Gloom

So, another book review tonight! A few months ago I was approached by this author to review her trilogy and so here is the review for the first book. Books two and three and following in the next couple of weeks. I'm going to tell you that if you love to read trilogies but don't like how long it sometimes takes, you are going  to love these because the first one is only 165 pages. I got through the first book in one sitting so you can too.

The Gloom by Piper Kelley
The Gloom (The Gloom Trilogy)
As a lazy summer evening comes to a close, Poppy finds herself out by the hollowed out tree in her backyard, avoiding the ire of her stepmother for an incident that occurred while Poppy was babysitting her little sister.    All her life Poppy has had questions about her real mother, who disappeared when she was an infant. She gets an unexpected answer when an ill-tempered pixie captures her and takes her through the tree and into Winsome, a magical kingdom that is suffering from a powerful and evil force known as the Gloom.

So clearly from the description you can tell this is a young adult novel and it's perfectly appropriate for young adult. Some YA novels (in my opinion) are kind of borderline with their appropriateness but this one is totally fine. 

I got sucked into this book almost immediately because I really liked Poppy. The poor girl is essentially motherless, has a dad who tries but is pretty much at a loss, and feels set to the side by her step mom when her new sister comes along. I mean, that would be a lot for a teenager. And just when she feels the most on the outside, she gets essentially kidnapped by a Pixie and forced into a world she never knew existed. From there the story moves fast as she makes a friend after entering the Gloom and is on the search for her real mother so she can supposedly rid Winsome of the Gloom. 

I love that it sucks you in, I love that you meet interesting characters along the way, and it's a fast read. I will say that so far, it really reminds me of Amanda Hockings Trylle Trilogy and that isn't such a bad thing. It does have significant differences but I was immediately reminded of that other trilogy. Which I haven't yet finished, so this should be interesting. 

I'm going to read book two called The Doldrums while I'm in Chicago this weekend so come back next week to see that review! 

Sharp.

Do you suffer from depression? Mental health issues? Know someone who currently is struggling with either? Then you should pick this book up for them.

Sharp by David Fitzpatrick


Sharp is the story of a young man who began his life with a loving family and great promise for the future. But in his early twenties, David Fitzpatrick became so consumed by mental illness it sent him into a frenzy of cutting himself with razor blades. In this shocking and often moving book, he vividly describes the rush this act gave him, the fleeting euphoric high that seemed to fill the spaces in the rest of his life. It started a difficult battle from which he would later emerge triumphant and spiritually renewed. Fitzpatrick’s youth seemed ideal. He was athletic, handsome, and intelligent. However, he lived in fear of an older brother who taunted and belittled him; and in college, his roommates teased and humiliated him, further damaging what sense of self-esteem he still carried with him. As he shares these experiences, Fitzpatrick also recounts the lessons learned from the broken people he encountered during his journey—knowledge that led to his own emotional resurrection. Sharp also demonstrates the awakening of a writer’s instinctive voice. With prose that is tough and gritty, profound and insightful, Fitzpatrick takes us inside his head while he manically cuts himself, but these episodes are presented with a dignity and insight that has never been seen before. His writing also possesses a lightness of touch that brings humor to a subject that doesn’t naturally provide it. Above all else, Sharp is a tale of hope, a soul-baring quest of a lost man who returns to himself, overcomes his demons, and reclaims his life. It is destined to become a classic memoir.
First off I'm going to tell you that I suffer from depression. I have for years and it's an ongoing struggle. I choose to medicate myself in ways other than using an anti-depressant and so does Matt. Except I'm much better at it than he is. 
I've read quite a few memoirs and I really like memoirs- I love getting a glimpse into someone else's life and seeing how I can relate to them. David is a really terrific writer and this story flows from his young adult self to his fully adult self and you get to see the complete wave of mental illness play out. To be honest, I felt absolutely terrible for him. From obvious bullying in college to his struggle with mental illness and all that includes is enough to make a normal person feel down on life. And even in the lowest moments of his life, he still kept plugging along. Ultimately he slowly climbs out of it and it's an incredibly story of how a person can fall so low and still come back. It's obviously not easy, not at all, but he did it. And it's really a great story of hope. It really is one of the best memoirs I have ever read because it really pulls it all together. 
I absolutely recommend this book for anyone who struggles with mental illness because it really is a great piece of writing that they can use to get themselves through it. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why my vagina got angry this week.


Honestly, everybody has heard about Todd Akin's really unfortunate point of view about women in general, but more importantly how the birds and the bees work. 

I actually didn't see the original comment until some morning news show at my mom's were talking about it on Monday morning. When I first saw the female anchor with an appalled face and her hand to her mouth in shock, I knew I had to pay more attention. And so they played the comment again. “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.” And then there was an Akin supporter who said something along the lines of he has never heard of a baby being conceived through rape. Really? Do you think maybe that's because a woman would be ashamed to report that? Rapes are under reported as it is, I'd think a woman would be less likely to tell people her child was a product of rape. Think of how the child would grow up knowing they weren't conceived out of love but rather, a disgusting violation and act of violence. 

I know, all of you with a vagina know exactly how I felt at that exact moment. First off, any women who has been pregnant, planned or not, knows that if the sperm has made it to the egg, whether you're ready or not or if you want that baby or not, you are pregnant. That my friends, is how the birds and the bees work. Your sperm and your eggs don't care if you were a willing participant in sex. 

Honestly I feel like this highlights everything that is wrong with Republicans. I mean, I get that some people are pro-life. And in most circumstances I understand that. Abortion shouldn't be used just because you made a bad choice in the heat of the moment. Now, if the woman was alone and wouldn't have a support system to help her, I get it. not everybody has the support system that a lot of us have. If you have a baby full of health defects, it's a choice some families have had to make and that's a difficult decision. But if you are a victim of rape and become pregnant as a product of that rape? How dare anyone, let alone a man, tell a woman that she needs to just have that baby and learn to love it? Really? Ironically, these are the same people who will often shun their children because they have the audacity to be gay. Because, how dare you be gay, just pray that shit away. 

I don't feel anyone has the right to make such a major decision on behalf of anyone. Raising a child is HARD even under the best circumstances, let alone if you were a single parent, have no support system, an inadequate job, no education, and nowhere to turn. I get so angry when I hear these people say all you need is love for your child. Sure, that's a big deal and you absolutely should have that. But you need money. You need resources, and some people just can't do it. So the Republicans want to ban this choice for women, set us back decades, and then what? Are we going to have an increase in abandoned babies? Dumpster babies? Is that worth it? 

But at the same time, they are against free birth control under ObamaCare. So, we won't give women the birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but we'll also give them no recourse should they get pregnant. Awesome. Sounds legit.

And to top it all off, they want to effectively end welfare and make insane cuts and/or end Medicare. Um, ok. First off, if we have a bunch of pregnant teenage girls or women in whatever circumstance that they are not capable of raising a child well, and we get rid of the resources that would allow the child to grow up with food and shelter.... what do you think will happen? I can't imagine anything good is going to come of it. Then you want to get rid of Medicare? OK, so what are all of the old people supposed to do when they get old if they have no retirement from either working low paying jobs their entire life or losing it all in the stock market because banks are greedy and don't care about anyone other than themselves? Are we supposed to just let them starve? On the streets? That's not very Christian like. Aren't you supposed to help your fellow man?

I absolutely agree the entire welfare system needs to be looked at. I absolutely have a problem with women who have kids without participating baby daddies who carry Coach purses, their kids are dressed in expensive toddler clothes, they have big SUV's with expensive rims on it and they hand over their food stamp card.Yeah, there is absolutely something wrong with that. I feel like welfare should be a temporary help to people who absolutely need it. Maybe only allow it for a year with a year in between being able to receive it again. Something. I know of people who get welfare in Minnesota, then move to Wisconsin for awhile, and then basically hop around so they never run out. Hello- completely wrong and quite frankly, you should be charged with theft because that's basically what it is. You are stealing from taxpayers.

My problem with Republicans is that they make these sweeping ideas of how they think it should be without ever knowing what it's like to be dirt fucking poor and not knowing how you are going to feed your kids because your husband lost his job. None of these people have to worry about not having Medicare or Social Security available to them in the future because they are millionaires. Me? I would absolutely LOVE to not rely on either of those when I get older but guess what? My eight years of plugging away in my retirement fund is absolutely gone. My last statement said I have less than $500. It went from $25,000 to less than $500. Can the market re-surge and I re-coup? Maybe. I'm not hopeful, but at age 30 I'd by lying if I said I wasn't freaking the fuck out about this. If Matt were to get seriously injured or god forbid, die? I'd be fucked. I'd have to sell my house (hopefully) and move in with someone. These are the things I think about when I hear these people, and not just the politicians but actual citizens out in the world, rant about this stuff.

Thank god my birth control is free because paying for it is really difficult. Do you think I want to take a pill that makes me feel like the spawn of Satan for an entire week? Do you think I want to take a pill that adds a good 20 pounds to my ass because my hormones are jacked up? Um, no. Do you think if I had the $1500 just laying around (because insurance doesn't pay for it) to get Matt's vasectomy that I wouldn't hesitate to drop his off there tomorrow morning to snip his balls? Because I absolutely would and if I win the lottery that is the first thing we will do. Snip Matt's balls.

You may not love Obama. You may be a Bible banging, pew humping religious fanatic. You may be as pro-life, anti-welfare as they come but just remember this: just as we Democrats can't force you to love your fellow gay, abort a baby or apply for food stamps, you can't force us to conform to your way of doing. America is a democracy based on freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom of free thinking, and independent beliefs. I don't want you to believe in what I believe in just because it really is more Christian like to help your fellow man, but respect that others aren't as fortunate as you. Not all of us believe in your Jesus so don't force your Jesus rules on us. Not all of us have the opportunities that you have had. And I really hope you never have to know what it's like to worry about feeding your babies, paying your mortgage, or fear having to work when you're 85 to stay in your subsidized senior apartment. I don't wish that on anyone, but be respectful to the rest of us who face that reality every day and even those of us who have been there and worked steadily out of it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kohl's rocks, and I'm a grocery shopping superstar

OK, so you remember the other day I posted a picture of me in these really kick ass pants I am now completely in love that I would like to wear all of the time? Well some of you have asked me where I got them and while I've emailed as many of you back as I could, I got an email from Kohl's.

Yeah, because me and Kohl's are kind of like that. We're undercover besties. Let's face it- my purchases there is probably keeping at least one person fully employed.

But Kohl's wanted me to share with you the link to their Pants Shop AND give you all a 10% discount that you can stack with other discounts. Because Kohl's loves you but never more than I love you. Remember who loves you more. More specifically... THESE are the pants I have. Trust me when I tell you they are awesome and I love them a lot. But if you use UBLOGTEN between now and August 24 online you can get 10% off. Happy shopping lovers.

But then I have had a few more people email me to ask if I would start sharing my menu planning again and my shopping. Which, I know I have slacked off but I had done that assuming people don't really care? But now that I have gotten a few more request.. I'll start up. Because if nothing else, money is a little more tight at our house because we have two kids in school this year and we have some more home improvement projects we'd like to get done and yeah. This crap costs money. And to be honest, I have had a few people either email me or tell me on Facebook that by me being frugal with grocery shopping I'm obviously serving crap food to my kids, to which I say kiss my ass, loser. I present to you, my food menu for August 18-August 31.

Saturday: Spaghetti
Sunday: BBQ Pulled Chicken sandwiches (crockpot), garden salad
Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: Crockpot Pork Chops with gravy and apples, brown rice, corn
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken, pasta salad
Thursday: Gulash
Friday-Sunday: Chicago. I plan to eat like shit.
Monday: Home made chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese
Tuesday: Crockpot Sloppy Joes, baked chips
Wednesday: Chicken fajitas
Thursday: Build-your-own sandwich on whole wheat buns, minestrone soup, salad
Friday: Home made pizza
Saturday: spaghetti

Breakfasts consist of either cereal, pancakes, waffles, etc. Lunch is primarily sandwiches or leftovers.

So I went grocery shopping for all of these AND got 15 bottles of Powerade for Matt and a few extra boxes of noodles and soup because they were on a good sale. My total? $76.04 after saving $37.24 with coupons.

So it's possible. My grocery limit for two weeks is always $100 unless there is a buy one/get one deal on pork or chicken. Obviously this week there was a buy one/get one on chicken so we're having a lot of chicken. I'd rather to have a ton of chicken than pork, let's be real. I'm not a fan of pork but that just means I won't eat as much, right?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

City of Vengeance

I was kind of flattered when I was asked by the author to review this book because you know I'm kind of a book whore and who wouldn't love a book right around 100 pages? That's one night of reading for me and it's nice to break up my reading schedule with something quick. 

City of Vengeance

Marcus Leoni is in the wrong place at the wrong time. When he witnesses an execution-style mob hit, and is discovered hiding behind a dumpster, he is shot and left for dead. Not even Marcus’ family knows the truth. Miraculously, he survived. Marcus was secretly treated, and put into a federal witness protection program. While the police continue to develop a plan to take down the crime families, Marcus begins a new life in the Canadian Rockies. In Alberta, Marcus ends up finding something totally unexpected—the love of his life, Paige. But at the very moment Marcus comes to terms with his new life, news from back home in New York City sets him on a path to exact revenge.

To be honest, the description pretty well covers what this book is about. Things I really appreciated about this book is that it is an extremely fast read, the story progresses quickly, it has things that are unexpected, and it has a big bang (literally) for an ending. I will also say that one of my pet peeves for books is that their is unbalanced character development. You know those books where half of it is just trying to explain every nuance about a character- it drives me crazy. I really could have hugged Lisa for not being overwhelming with character development. You learn just enough about the main players in the story without getting too much. Which helps the story move quickly. 

I actually think Lisa could have made this book even longer and added some interesting elements into the story, but it works just as well as a short novel. I think over time Lisa is going to get better and better with her writing and I am going to be interested to see what her future works are. I will say that this does feel like it's a first novel and I don't feel like that's a bad thing- I have a lot of respect for people who put their work out there like this and good for her. It was a good story, simple story line that doesn't make you think too hard, reads fast, and written well enough that you want to see how it ends. 

This is another book out of Beachfront Press and you know I love to support authors who aren't under the wing of big name publishers and I encourage you all to support them as well! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fashion, Plungers, Date, and Bubble Butt update.

You know how I love to pull a whole bunch of random ass stuff into one post because of it's efficiency? Well we're going to do that again because I'm nothing if not efficient.

First up, I can't believe I didn't give you this picture sooner, but I just found it in my Blog file so here you go.
 This was at the Hair Ball concert in early July that I went to with my friend Tammy. This chick was clearly strung out on something, but Tammy really liked her outfit. I thought it paired well with the mohawk. I'm just sad I couldn't show you what she looked like head on because it was really... special.

THEN, we had gone out to dinner at Grandma's Restaurant down in Canal Park and they had, hands down, the smallest plunger ever. Honestly, this thing came to mid-calf? If that? I mean, if you had to get it and plunge the toilet, your hands would be in the water with this thing. So gross.
 OK, so some people asked if Matt and I went on a date or did anything when our kids were gone and we did. I had refused to cook for the entire week so we ate out a lot. Then we saw TWO movies over the week so it was kind of great. But here's us in Canal Park- I had to pick up some gifts for a few of my friends but I figured we'd get a quick pic of us.
 And then Matt didn't even get jealous when I posed with my other husband, Robert. And you'll notice I got the smallest popcorn bucket- and believe me when I wanted to get more. I fucking love popcorn.
So, with the whole weight loss thing I've noticed two things: my boobs are getting bigger- I'm officially a DD now and I think that is some terrible shit, and my bubble butt is not going down.
What the fuck is up with that? But how cute are those pants, right? I completely love those pants. If it were socially acceptable, I would wear them every day. Kohl's doesn't have any other pairs in my size otherwise I would just buy more and make it OK. But why are my boobs getting bigger and my butt going nowhere? It's not like I want a pancake ass, but I'd like a butt that wasn't so out there. If I wear some of my other pants it's like DANG, that bitch has a huge ass. My fear was always to end up with secretary's ass and that fear remains. You know what I'm talking about- the butt that you could put your coffee cup on and know it'd be alright.

So now none of my bras fit and having to buy a DD bra just makes me angry. It almost makes me want to break out the Shake Weight but then Matt would expect me to use his "Shake Weight" and I'm just not doing that. Quite frankly, if that's what he wants he can just borrow my lotion and have a good time on his own. He doesn't need me. But the Shake Weight is still under my bed because honestly, it's too embarrassing to put into a yard sale. I envision questionable members of society trying it out all day in front of me and it's not a vision anyone should have in their mind.

Anyways. So that's the random update for tonight. Tomorrow is a book review and and maybe some hilarity. Who knows.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mama Drama.

Oh silly bitches, I'm not talking about legit drama with my mama. My mama and I are awesome and just fine and lord knows we'd never appear on this show.

Instead, have you seen the VH1 show Mama Drama? Oh god I love you, VH1. No matter how terrible I feel about myself or how down on life I am, VH1 reality TV can always make me feel so much better. And I'm going to just come out and say that one of my blogger friends, Carrie, is the light of my life. If it were not for her I would not have DVR'd every episode of this and watched it during the week I was without kids. I even subjected Matt to it and he is not happy about that, but honestly- it was heavenly.

Basically the premise of the show is they pair mother/daughter duo's together in a loft in Las Vegas a la Real World style, and mayhem ensues. Oh, does it ensue. I'm going to just talk about each character because I got heated with some of these. I even yelled at Matt because I couldn't yell at them.

Loren (mom), twins Whitney and Britney

Holy crap. First off, the mom comes off as if she's this awesome mom and takes her job seriously. The girls? Hot messes. Oh my word. They just scream and get offended at EVERYTHING. They are screaming at somebody in literally every episode over ridiculous stuff. They especially rail on Gina and Marcella (see them below) and I understand that they are weird- but leave them be. M&G aren't big drinkers, but this trio get very angry that M&G don't want to drink and literally start screaming. In almost every episode. Honestly. The best part? Is that the trashy twin (in gray) is a mom herself. I'm sure your toddler is proud to see her mom act like a whore on TV. They basically epitomize every stereotype that you think of when you think of young, African American female. They may be college educated and have done great things in their lives, but it's totally overshadowed when they basically act ghetto and scream at everybody and threaten to kick everyone's ass over stupid stuff.

Gina (mom), Marcella

Basically... this is an extreme example of what can happen if you don't cut the umbilical cord. Really, cutting that cord should not be as difficult as these two make it. They dress alike, they live together, they do everything together, no decision is made without the other, etc. I mean, this mom rocked daisy dukes and giant flowers on her head all season. I swear to god, if my mom wore daisy dukes we would have an intervention. Absolutely not. I'm close to my mom but lord knows we are nowhere near this. It's sad and terrifying to watch because you know that if Gina dies? Marcella would probably die within days. Not even joking.

Debbie (mom), Gina

Let me just say, that when Carrie told me that she could go her whole life and never see Debbie rub her large body, squeezed into a tiny bathing suit, over a wet car again and be OK. That right there is what sold me on this show. Honestly, these two seem like fun but kind of trashy. They are from New Jersey so this is the very white girl version of Jersey Shore. It's a train wreck. And bless Debbie, she wants to be an Oreo cookie with Loren (see above) and Sharon (see below) and she almost got her ass kicked by suggesting it.

Sharon (mom), Ashley

OK, so I kind of hated this group as much as the first trio. Talk about bitchy and rude. It's unbelievable. I'm seeing a trend that every show that features African American women that they are either portrayed to be overly ghetto or they are in fact, the most ghetto women they can find in America. I mean, these people are screaming, fighting, talking over each other, throwing shit, etc. You can't even watch them when there is an argument because they just scream over each other and result to screaming that they are going to kick the other's ass.

Jay (mom), Vanessa

Let me break these two down: the daughter is dumb as hell who hardly bathes and seemed confused that bathing daily is kind of a social norm. The mom doesn't like public restrooms so she pees in a diaper. And leaves them around. I am not kidding.
******

When I see shows about young women who act like this I first wonder how do so many girls end up this way? Is it because the parents became friends instead of a parent? Is it a lack of discipline and guidance? Media influence? I don't know, but as a parent of a daughter it's terrifying.

The other thing that floors me is these women don't see anything wrong with their behavior. If I was just out of control, flashing my vagina, getting drunk, table dancing, threatening to beat people up, whatever- I would be totally ashamed of myself. I would also be afraid of the wrath of my own mom because I know for a damn fact she would never tolerate that.

Has anyone else seen this show? Am I missing any reality TV that I should absolutely be watching? Don't worry, I'm already watching the Gypsy shows. Holy crap, I love the gypsies.