Monday, December 31, 2007

Favorite Things 2007

It's that time of year again! I – and a group of fellow bloggers – have composed my list of favorite beauty finds of 2007. I hope you enjoy my list, and that you check out those of the other gals (whose blogs are listed, with links, at the end of this post)!

I'm always looking for new and fabulous beauty items, and in 2007 I actually found some! A lot, really! An advance word: a large number of my product links will take you to Not because I'm affiliated or they're paying me or anything (don't I wish!), but because I am a lazy hermit. This is where I've bought the stuff I'm linking – because why go out when I can buy from my couch and have it shipped free? – and I really don't feel like looking up every manufacturer website. If you bargain hunters want to find better/cheaper places to buy these things, please do! And send me a message where you found them :~D

I feel I should explain my own "beauty perspective" so folks reading this can see where I'm coming from and take from my post that which is relevant to them. I am a cool-toned olive-skinned gal, age (for now!) 29. I have hyper-combination skin – super oily in some spots, super dry in others – that is prone to breakouts of both acne and mild eczema. I also have seborrheic dermatitis that mostly keeps to my scalp and behind my ears. Yucky, I know, but very influential in my skincare choices! I tend to stick to things that are fragrance-free and colorant-free whenever possible, and I avoid potential irritants at all costs. This narrows my "potential finds" field considerably, but probably helps me save money! Also, my genetics make me (so far, anyway! *knocks wood*) wrinkle-resistant; so although I do some prevention, aging is not as yet something I focus too much on. So that's that. On to the list!

Eye Cream
Paula's Choice Hydrating Treatment Cream – I have been on a quest for *years* to find the right eye cream! They were all either too heavy/greasy, not moisturizing enough, or inexplicably irritating (stinging and/or setting off eczema outbreaks). This one is fabulously moisturizing, yet it absorbs instantly and doesn't leave behind even the barest suggestion of grease! And ever since I began using it a few months ago, I haven't had a single eczema episode around my eyes. This is officially a Holy Grail!

Face Wash
Eucerin Redness Relief Soothing Cleanser – I love this stuff! I went back and forth between Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser and Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Cleanser for *years*. Those are both very good, but this is better. I was already used to non-foaming cleansers, so that wasn't an issue for me. The Licochalcone (a licorice extract) feels cooling and soothing, while – unlike most "cooling" ingredients – actually acting as an anti-inflammatory. My skin feels clean and soft, never dried/stripped/squeaky. Yay!

Nail Treatment
Barielle Nail Strengthener Cream – ok, this one does leave my fingertips feeling greasy for a little while after application. But it's totally worth it! When I remember to use this regularly, my nails are infinitely more flexible and resistant to breaking. My nails have always been "hard" and "strong", but they are brittle – if I bang them into things, they either weather the blow or snap right off. Usually it's the latter. Not anymore! And with Dolly (bless her little birdy heart!) preventing me from using my other strengthening method - multiple layers of polish - as often as I used to, this is more useful than ever! It also has the nice effect of keeping my cuticles moisturized :~D

Lip Treatment
Blistex Gentle Sense Lip Moisturizer (aka chapstick/lip balm) – this is perfect! Fragrance-free (*and* odorless!), no flavor, no "medications" that actually irritate the lips. Just a nice, smooth, non-greasy balm that leaves my lips feeling wonderful! I keep 2 backups on hand at all times.

Specialty Skin Treatment
Aveeno Maximum Strength Anti-Itch Cream, 1% Hydrocortisone – remember that dermatitis and eczema I mentioned? This stuff kicks their asses! I don't know if the oatmeal in it contributes significantly, but I know that this stuff is fast! Faster than any other hydrocortisone cream I've tried. Before I switched to the eye cream I mentioned above, I had to use this a few times on my upper eyelids and eyebrow area, and it performed beautifully – the itching went away immediately, and the redness was gone within a day or two. *And* it absorbs quickly, without leaving that dreaded (by me) greasy feeling.

Elbow Treatment(s)
There are several winners in this category, all of which I love and use regularly. I have to admit to a slight preoccupation with my elbow skin, thanks to my father – he has said for as long as I can remember that you can tell a woman's true age by her elbows. And for as long as I can remember, I've had horribly dry, rough elbows. Nothing helped. Now, thanks mostly to the AHA Soufflé (the first winner in this mini-list) they are soft and smooth! I use these on my knees and ankles too, sometimes.

  • Alpha Hydrox AHA Soufflé 12 % Glycolic AHA – fragrance-free, absorbs quickly and without greasiness, exfoliates and softens like a champ! I can't say how it would perform on one's face, but on my elbows it works like a dream. My elbows are smooth and soft, thanks to this stuff!

  • Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Concentrated Cream with Vitamin E – I usually put this on at night before I go to bed. It is *very* thick and heavy but somehow not super greasy. It smells fantastic (like cocoa) and softens pretty well. Mostly, I use it to give my skin a break from the AHAs, smell yummy, and feel nice for the hour or so before I fall asleep.

  • Bathed & Infused Body Fluff – ok, this one goes on greasy for me. Lots of their customers say it melts right into their skin and is totally grease-free. Not me. BUT it is the most moisturizing thing I found this year. When I put it on at night, my skin is super-soft the next morning. And when my elbows are starting to feel dry and irritated and potentially eczema-y and I think it might be from overusing the AHA Soufflé, this stuff soothes them instantly. I use it on my lower legs sometimes too, when they're feeling itchy and uncomfortable post-epilation. I use this stuff unscented, but B&I has a *monster* range of fragrances that this can be scented with! I bought it scented with their Turkish Delight (which I adore – like SL Rahat Loukoum but better on me), but it’s too strongly fragranced for me to use it as a moisturizer. YMMV in that regard, of course!

Nature's Bounty Biotin 5000 mcg Super Potency Capsules – I know, I know: "A supplement? Does this really count?" In a word, yes, when that supplement is biotin! I'm not a huge vitamin/supplement gal, and I've never found any specific correlation between a particular supplement and a desired response, but I'm a convert in this case! I'm not positive (I found this stuff towards the beginning of the year) but I'm pretty sure I founds recs for this on the oh-so-fabulous nail board at MUA. Biotin purportedly makes your nails and hair grow faster and better, and boy does it ever! I wanted my nails to be better, and I also wanted help growing out my hair, so I checked it out. Mine always grew pretty quickly, but now it's ridiculous!

A word of caution – this stuff works on all your hair. My eyebrows need plucking more than ever, my legs need to be deforested (I epilate and occasionally shave), etc. So that might be a deterrent for some. That being said, the unexpected and exciting benefit was to my eyelashes! You know how sharks have rows of teeth? This stuff has given me an extra row or two of lashes! Not only that, but although the length is the same (they were always long), they are thicker and fuller and just all-around making me very happy! Biotin is now a regular part of my health and beauty regimen!

Les Néréides – Impérial Opoponax – this stuff has been available for a while, but I didn't get around to trying it until this year. I didn't know what I was missing! It's a warm and soft incense scent, not too sweet, not too strong. On me, none of the notes are especially prominent – it's very well-blended. I can (and do) wear this in any weather, any mood. And for extra fun, I layer it with their Patchouli Antique, which I also discovered this year! MUA-er potionsandlotions recommended the combo, and it is divine!

Returning Champions

These are "older" HGs that managed to hang onto their titles, despite the many fights I put them through over the course of the year. What can I say? I love what I love, but I'm still always looking for the next best thing!

Hand Cream
Vaseline Intensive Care Healthy Hand & Nail Revitalizing Hand Lotion – this category is always up for grabs. I've tried many, both before and after finding this one, and none can compare. I need a good bit of moisture, but most hand creams are too greasy for me. This one moisturizes pretty well, absorbs instantly, and isn't the least bit greasy. I'm always looking for something a bit more emollient than this one that performs and feels the same, or at least similar, but nothing comes close as of yet. That being said, I've decided to add an honorable mention for this category:

  • Bathed & Infused Honey Dream Hand Cream – this one applies as "too greasy" on me, but in 30 minutes the greasiness is gone, and I'll be the first to admit that its moisturizing benefits exceed those of my "winner". I just personally have a hard time getting past the initial application. All that aside, I have to mention that the "original" scent for this – Spun Honey – is to die for! It reminds me a lot of PG Un Crime Exotique – it's sweet and softly spicy, in a very "holiday" (to my nose and sentiments) way. And for those fragrance-free folks (of whom I am usually one), the unscented version is quite nice too! No overwhelming smells from the ingredients, same "feel", and all that.

Zit Zappers
I go back and forth between these two fantastic products. They are both well-formulated benzoyl peroxide lotions/creams that absorb nicely, have no fragrance, and keep my skin clearer than anything else!

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Moisture Gel – I have never found a moisturizer to compare with this. Never. I don't wear "skin makeup" (foundation or powder) so this is my finishing touch and I love it! It moisturizes amazingly, absorbs completely (without grease), and leaves a soft, almost powdery finish thanks to the silicone.

LORAC Gloss Stick in Sheer Berry – this is my HG lippie! Many have tried to unseat it, but none succeeded. It applies (and feels) like a lip balm, has a fantastic creamsicle scent, and is the perfect cool-toned sheer red/brown. My lower lip isn't well-defined, thanks to a tricycle accident at age 2 (I landed face-first on some concrete stairs and bit right through my lip) so creams and mattes are tricky to apply. Sheers are more forgiving, and this is a fantastic sheer. And did I mention the color? My prior HG was very similar in color - it was Deluxe Beauty's Tintstik in Dot, before they added SPF and totally ruined the formula. There are other lippies that give this one a run for its money – Neutrogena has several shades of their MoistureShine Tinted Lip Balm that I like (Nude and Pure come to mind), Clinique has the ever-popular Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, and Benefit's Silky Finish Lipstick comes in at least 3 shades (Ruby Vibes, Fruit Cocktail, and Raisin' Cane) that are to-die-for! I could expound for paragraphs – I'm a bit of a lippie fiend – but the end result would be the same: nothing is as all-around perfect as my Gloss Stick!

So that's my 2007 list! Be sure to check out the lists my fellow bloggers (links follow) have put together! It's a great bunch of people who have all kinds of fabulous things to share! I've found many a wonderful thing through past lists, and I'm sure they have a bunch of new things for you – and me – to check out!

  • 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic

  • Afrobella

  • All About The Pretty

  • All Lacquered Up

  • Beauty 411

  • Beauty Blogging Junkie

  • Beauty Talk

  • Beautiful Makeup Search

  • Beauty Hatchery

  • Beauty Jones

  • Blogdorf Goodman

  • Canadian Beauty

  • C'est Chic

  • Coquette

  • eBeautyDaily

  • For The Love of Beauty

  • Give Me Your Eyes I Need Sunshine

  • Getting Amped

  • Grayburn

  • HauteMommaStuff

  • Koneko's Beauty Diary

  • Makeup Bag

  • The Makeup Girl

  • Miss Whoever You Are

  • My Life,My Words,My Mind

  • Legerdenez

  • Perfumista

  • Periodic Style

  • Platinum Blonde Life

  • Product Girl

  • Shop Diary

  • Slap of the Day

  • Steeping Beauty

  • The Beauty Alchemist

  • The Daily Obsession

  • The Life Of A Ladybug

  • The Non-Blonde

  • Urbane Girl

  • Victoria's Own

  • We Love Beauty
  • Saturday, December 29, 2007

    A Considered Opinion

    Parents of overweight children who bitch and moan in consternation about the size of said progeny while refusing to get rid of the junk food in their homes ought to be shot.

    "Regular" soda, items sold in the snacks/candy aisle, and fast food have nothing to do with pediatric health. And if you don't give enough of a shit to adjust your dietary habits to help your offspring, then perhaps you shouldn't have reproduced.

    Vegetables are just as easy to pop into the microwave as chicken nuggets, assholes!

    The end.

    Wednesday, December 05, 2007

    Hello, Dolly!

    A belated introduction...

    This is the most recent addition to our family:

    Isn't she adorable?!? Her name (which I finally chose within the last 2 weeks) is Dolly, though mostly we just call her Little Bird, which was her "interim" name that I chose when we weren't sure if she would be staying with us.

    As tends to be the case in my life, she is a rescue. My mother found her by the side of the road back in September, and since she and dad couldn't take her (quarantine issues with their own birds) I offered to. I needed/wanted something to distract and console me after losing Doe, and - as usual - the universe delivered! Mom ran a "found" ad in the paper, and a few people responded, but none turned out to be her owners. And as she settled in and I got to know her, I became (and remain) convinced that she was never hand-tamed and was probably never anyone's "pet". She's fine with people in terms of proximity (I can stand right next to her and put my face right up to her and she's totally cool with it), but she does *not* like hands. Even now if she flies around and lands somewhere she shouldn't, she'd rather step up on my arm than my hand. She was also almost completely bald (we figure due to the stress of outdoor living, or possibly other birds picking on her either out there or in her original home), and we have no clue how old she is or how long she was in the wild.

    Because of all that, I'm taking things especially slowly with Dolly. As I said, she's fine with people being near her - she just doesn't trust hands. She definitely likes having us around and listening to us talk. And she chirps her head off on the weekends if Chris gets her up and I don't make an appearance quickly! I get up earlier on the weekends now than weekdays because Chris gets up before I do, and she's a highly effective alarm clock! Thanksgiving day was great, because she flew and landed on the little table next to where I sit on the sofa. I guided her over and she climbed onto my leg, and then sat there happily for a good 30 minutes! I was tickled pink! And the next day she sat on my arm for 10 - 15 minutes, though we were right in front of her cage and she could have gone back to it at any time. So we're making some slow progress. I'd rather she make the decision to come see me than force her to move faster than she wants. She's calm and happy, and that's enough for me. If she wants to be my friend at some point, so much the better!

    As you can see in the picture, her head feathers have grown back in almost completely. She has put on weight and gone from "starvation mode" (eating everything) to flinging out that in her food bowls which does not please her! For the first few weeks she was here, she also didn't seem to understand what toys were, or what they were for. I tried a bunch of different ones, and she eventually discovered the fun of playing, and shows a definite preference for hanging toys with little plastic chains for her to fiddle with and balsa to chomp. This is her current setup of cage and playgym, which she really seems to like:

    She also likes to play with her ladders (read: disconnect them and fling them to the floor), regardless of whether she is currently standing on them or not! She's taken a couple spills that way.

    The best part about her (*knock on wood*) in terms of joining our household is that she is quiet! She chirps a bit when she gets up - especially if I'm not there and her "flock" is therefore incomplete - but for the most part, she's almost totally silent. Just a chirp or a whistle every once in a while. For a bird this is almost unheard-of. I'd be worried, if she wasn't so active and clearly happy and secure. But all her body language says she feels safe and calm and relaxed, and she does lots of climbing (and a little flying, despite her clipped wings) and playing and eating. So apparently we just lucked out that she's not very vocal! And I guess I could say that she did too - goodness knows we spoil our critters rotten, and if she was noisy we would have had to find her a new home so she would have missed out on the good life :~D

    I finally chose her name after poking around baby name websites for the past few months. I don't remember how I came across "Dolly", but I saw that it is a variant of "Dorothy", which means "gift of God". And since I really feel like she was a gift, at a time when I absolutely needed one, I went with it. So that's our new baby!

    Monday, October 08, 2007

    Another goodbye

    It's past time I wrote this, but (as with all difficult things) I've been putting it off. Just over a month ago, we lost another of our ferrets, Doe.

    Doe was one of two females (the other being Harriet, her sister) who we sort of adopted from a friend. The friend had decided to start raising and showing pomeranians, and while her male ferrets adapted to the newcomers just fine, the females did not. Doe and Harriet would hide behind things, and when the dogs walked by they would jump out and bite them in the butt or the back of the leg. Funny to imagine in your head, but not so much so for the poor pups, and not a behavior to tolerate or encourage.

    So Chris and I have been caring for the girls for the past couple years, and I don't think I could have given them back to their original mom if she *could* have taken them back. I fell for them both, and they felt like they were ours very shortly after they moved in. And growing up having "play dates" with our crew, they fit in immediately.

    Doe was always so tiny and dainty. She was the smallest of them all, and such a pretty little thing. As feisty as any ferret, and more so than many, and for a little while she still was a bit of a biter. Once she realized there were no dogs to resent, the habit went away and she was just my frisky, precious little Doe baby.

    In January, we found out she had insulinoma. It's pretty common in ferrets, and we had already gone through it before. She had the surgery and recovered well. After a few months, though, her blood sugar started dropping again and we had to put her back on the steroids. Something happened once she was on them for a while, and her condition pretty much reversed itself and turned into diabetes. Ferret diabetes is almost nonexistent, and once we had stopped the steroids and run a workup, it became clear we would have to put her on insulin. As this is beyond rare, we had to check her into the vet to have her monitored while therapy was initiated. Unfortunately, either there was something else wrong with her or she had a very bad reaction to the insulin, because she passed away suddenly her second day in the clinic.

    Although we knew she wasn't doing well, her passing was completely unexpected. I still can't believe she's actually gone, and I miss her every day. She was my Little Miss, and there will never be another like her.

    Friday, August 24, 2007

    Another person to hate


    Really, Jamie? "... give him the benefit of the doubt"?? "... he really didn't know the extent of it"???

    In his plea, he admitted to at least "participating in" the killing of "approximately" 8 dogs (i.e. that was the number of dogs they had evidence of execution, so that's what they admitted to. God knows how many really died at their hands). That's not bad enough for you?

    He bankrolled the freaking operation! In other words, Bad Newz Kennels wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for him. And although he managed to refrain from making his own side bets (gee, Mike, how moral of you) he also bankrolled the gambling. Still acceptable behavior?

    Oh. Right. He didn't know any better. People have to be told that abusing and killing animals is the wrong thing to do. And that financing illegal gambling is akin to placing those illegal bets yourself. My bad.

    Foxx is officially on my Fuck Off And Die list.

    And in case you were wondering, Jamie, paying someone to kill someone else is also a crime and a bad thing to do. Just so you know. Tempting (especially with Vick soon to be in a shank-friendly environment), but a bad thing to do.

    Monday, August 06, 2007

    An open letter...

    to writers, editors, and publishers across the globe:

    If a person is overcome by pain - be it physical, emotional, psychic, etc. - or fever or doubt, said person is "wracked". They are NOT "racked". Yes, these feelings might be excruciating, but they aren't actually taking the person in question, placing them on a medieval torture device, and stretching them by their limbs. Nor are they taking said person and placing him/her on a green felt table in a triangular pen with a bunch of balls in preparation for a game of billiards. Feelings can't do these things. They are feelings.

    I am so unbelievably sick of seeing this [typo? poor word choice? I don't know what to call it] in books. Granted, it's not exactly high-minded literature (I see it most often in romance novels), but still. Get it together, people!

    A Disgruntled Reader

    P.S. I am aware that certain dictionaries disagree with me on this matter (I'm looking at you, American Heritage Dictionary). They are assholes. The same assholes who added "ain't" to their lexicon(s), despite years of teachers everywhere telling students that, "Ain't ain't a word."

    Friday, July 13, 2007

    Random Stuff

    Because I need to write *something*, if only to get something less depressing at the top of my blog, here are a few random facts/thoughts from me:

    • I peel chicken nuggets for my cats. I don't eat McDonalds often anymore, but when I do, I get McNuggets. These things transform Tito and Garlic into vultures, mainly because for as long as I can remember I've saved the last nugget for them. I peel it because despite the fact that I *know* the inside is no more "meat" than the breading, I still feel like feeding them the breading is a bad idea.

    • I think if I shaved my head, my hair would grow in curly. I have no intention of ever doing it, but the thought persists.

    • I'm pretty sure my nail polish preoccupation is now on par with my perfume and lipstick obsessions. Thankfully, nail polish is *way* cheaper than frags and lippies.

    • The little twerp who totaled my car is *actually* fighting the tickets he incurred while smashing up my poor Accord! I got a notice in the mail the other day that I have to go to court as a witness for the police officer. Grrr! I hope that asshole loses on every ticket. I will do my best to make it so.

    • This past saw the 6th anniversary of Lore collective! We didn't feel much like celebrating last year, despite it being a milestone, but this year was nice. Nothing exciting, just dinner at Sullivan's. But that's all we need, really. Just feed us some kickass steaks and soufflés and we're good to go.

    That's all for now. I'll end on a positive note. Hope all is right in the world for the rest of you!

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    It Never Gets Easier

    It hurts, killing something you love. I mean *actually* doing it yourself. Not necessarily more than arranging for someone else to do it, sitting there while someone else presses on the plunger. In a way, that's harder. Because not only do you have to admit that everything is out of your control beforehand, but then you have to give up that last little bit. Give someone else that last, final authority.

    But to physically do it yourself? That takes something different. Because after you give up everything, every last hope and wish, you have to do the unthinkable. You have to set up whatever is involved in the method you choose. That's after doing research, of course, to find the best, most humane method. And after you set everything up, you have to gather him up, which in and of itself may be difficult, if he's a fighter and uncooperative. You have to gather him up and say that last goodbye. Maybe try to explain why it is you're doing what you're doing. Maybe explain why you waited so long to take this necessary step. Maybe pray for that sign that never comes, that you made a mistake and everything is going to be ok after all.

    And once you've done these things, these terribe, horrible, excruciating things, you have to do that last thing. That thing which will take him away from you forever.

    That last, final motion is the hardest thing you will ever do. Because you know, as he will and can never know, exactly what it means. What you are doing and why. Taking his last decision away from him, his last feeling, his last everything. And he is gone.

    And now his tanks sit in silent reproach on the bookshelves where they still remain, half full. Half full because in his final months, he was too weak to swim to the surface for breath easily, so you lowered the height of the water in order to make the journey shorter and easier. And it was what he needed. The tank on the right, which he never went back into, with sand on the bottom because you thought that might be gentler than pebbles on his ragged, tattered fins that had seen so much time for one of his kind, and survived disease you were sure would kill him. But he was a fighter. And you can't yet bring yourself to clean them out, empty them, because it will be the last thing you do for him. And you've already done so much, so many painful things, and you're not sure you can bear one more.

    And you feel silly, feeling so much, so strongly, for one who was with you for such a short period of time. Who most people wouldn't think twice about losing, or if they did it wouldn't hurt them this way. You feel, somehow, like you failed again. Though you know with every bit of reason available to you that you didn't, you still feel like you did.

    It never gets easier. And it shouldn't.

    Saturday, May 19, 2007

    A loss

    I just read that Lloyd Alexander, one of my favorite childhood authors, passed away on Thursday. I credit him and Tolkein with my love of fantasy fiction, and am sad to hear of his passing.

    Friday, May 11, 2007

    Look how freaking prolific I am!

    *Another* post! In less than 2 weeks! And I still haven't shared jack shit that's actually personally relevant!

    That would be because I'm procrastinating, and because I hate whining. And so much crap has gone on in the past couple weeks that I'm avoiding writing about it, and am instead writing about other stuff to distract myself. Because I can't figure out how to write about my own stuff *without* sounding like I'm whining, and I'm not ready to focus any more of my "free" energy on thinking about it enough to write. I'd rather spend said energy on fun things. Like this awesome survey I linked to from gofugyourself: (Yes, same link as above. I'm thorough.)

    It was a fun and comprehensive survey about what I (the survey-taker) like and what I do. As I'm sure I've said a bajillion times, I'm a compulsive self-analyzer. This poll was perfect. Detailed, but not laboriously so. Exhaustive, but not excessively (IMO) intrusive for an online questionnaire.

    If you, dear reader, also wish to waste a good 10 - 20 minutes on something interesting and not too onerous, check it out! Fill it out! You might just enjoy it :~D

    Tuesday, May 08, 2007


    I know I belong to too many yahoo groups. I join a bunch, stick around for a while, then leave. It's what I do. It's why I shouldn't make "real" friends (different settings, similar behavior on my part). But I do, and now I'm being punished. I belong to a couple Weight Watchers Core groups that have been quite helpful, and I don't want to leave them. But staying with these groups has exposed me to one of the horrors of the internet: Incredimail.

    This is some of THE tackiest shit I have ever seen. Chris and I have joked about decorating a guest room for unwelcome visitors in an overwhelming lighthouse theme, and now thanks to this "service", I have received multiple lighthouse-themed emails. "Cute" country mice getting into peoples' food. Peoples' names animated (or still) with penguins. Flowers. Stars. Rainbows. Stuffed bunnies. Precious Moments. Need I say more? It's like a bunch of 11-year-old girls got ahold of my computer and reprogrammed it.

    Seriously, I'm glad any- and everyone can get on the internet. My WWII-era farmer-stock grandparents are online, bless them, and getting a lot done! But they're not wasting their time or mine with cutesy smarmy nauseating graphics in their emails. And honestly, I wish the rest of the world was on the same page. I feel my IQ (and the collective quotient of every group involved) dropping with every Incredipuke message. WTF motivates people to inflict this sort of thing on others?

    Seriously, this must be stopped.

    Saturday, April 28, 2007


    I know it's been ages, but procrastination is just part of who I am. Sorry!

    Something has me fired up though, and in case you haven't heard about it anywhere else, allow me to bring to your attention a consumer issue near and dear to my heart: chocolate.

    Chocolate manufacturers and various other food industry groups/companies, have petitioned the FDA to change the definition of "chocolate" to include cocoa powder with vegetable fats other than cocoa butter. On the surface, this seems benign. And maybe a silly thing to get worked up about. It's just chocolate, right? But there are larger implications here.

    Imagine *any* ingredient on your food packaging being able to be redefined by petitioning the FDA to change what qualifies. What if your "chicken" is now "any land-dwelling avian fowl"? If "pork" becomes "any quadrupedal land-dwelling mammal weighing less than 200 pounds"? Think of the money the food manufacturers could save (and the profits they could make) broadening definitions as they see fit! And try to imagine what you might *really* be eating.

    The standards for organic labeling are already being weakened. Recently, it was determined that foods can be labeled organic if they contain non-organic ingredients, so long as the company can "prove" that organic alternatives were unavailable or priced into what they deem exclusivity. So that organic veggie soup you're eating might well contain non-organic corn. And peas. And carrots. And you, as the consumer, have no way of knowing if any of the ingredients you just paid a premium for are actually what you expected your money to buy.

    I'm well aware that none of this is new. The reason I'm bringing it up is that the chocolate issue *is* important to me, AND there is still time to do something about it. The FDA just extended the comment period on the chocolate petition until June 25th. So if you want to save chocolate as we know it here in the U.S., or if you want to send a message to the FDA that ingredient labeling is important and shouldn't be subject to industry wishes, or for any other reason you don't like this proposal, please go here:

    If you click on "Register Your Comments", they have links to the FDA site as well as a letter you can copy and paste into the FDA comment section, edited to suit your viewpoint or "as is" if you're lazy like me and/or agree with the things the letter says.

    To arms! To arms!

    Thursday, January 25, 2007

    Easily Amused

    Something I started doing last year was collecting spam subject lines. I wish I had started sooner because I know I got some doozies in the past that are now lost forever. Some of them are so bizarre that I've been tempted to open them just to see what was inside (don't worry - I'm not that impulsive). It's easy to just click "empty" on that Junk Mail folder after you've sorted out what shouldn't have been sent there, but have you ever actually read those little messages? The ones they think will somehow trick you into opening something you really shouldn't? It's worth it, every once in a while.

    My criteria aren't especially rigorous, but still there aren't too many that qualify. I don't go for the easy laughs, so all the porn and "body part enhancement" messages are out. Besides, they're really not that funny, after you've seen the same one 20 times. I used to save the ones that strung together a bunch of random religious/biblical-looking words because some of the combinations were so strange while *almost* making sense that they made me laugh. But they don't stand the test of time: re-reading them a few weeks or months later just doesn't work. So those, for the most part, are deleted immediately.

    After Christmas there was a serious dearth of funny spam subjects, and I despaired that everyone reprogrammed their bots or something. But this morning I awoke to find several giggle-inducing titles, and hope was restored! I decided it was time to share the wealth.

    So for those of you who are also easily amused, I present:

    My Funny Spam Collection

    smuggle ruffle



    Re: do cluster

    It's not about slogans this time.

    antler silence

    them, money to fail: not be baldness upon your food month, Zif,

    makes squishy noises when running.

    in the land wherein we grope in him, I brought

    Are molehill no sheriff

    Or my wham

    Which watchband so death

    out of a naughty person, of their hooks were persuaded, that

    gibe processor

    Is my rhino

    treacherous dahlia

    Fred tried to change subjects to get Howard to do something else. [best part – the sender was "continental breakfast"]

    watertight communist

    impromptu pork chop

    slovenly lover

    my orange

    And today's most shining gem:

    it be semantic

    Sunday, January 07, 2007


    My fellow snark-meistress, katiedid over at Seldom Nice Nowadays tagged me for this one. I always start out these things thinking "I don't think I even have x # of what-have-yous," only to find that I have far too many in every category. So then I have to agonize about which ones get left out, and how I can explain it to them without hurting their feelings, and why I'm keeping the ones I am… So here are my over-thought answers:

    FOUR jobs I have had

    The two worst – each hellacious in their own way:

    1) Sunroc – I spent two summers working in their bottled water cooler factory. There was no air conditioning. I had to be there at 7 am (I was a teenager in the summer!). And I'm 99% positive that I was the only female there with all her teeth. I got hit on a LOT. Also, I am ridiculously clumsy – a factory is NO place for someone like me. I banged my shins on the line and cut myself on sheet metal more times than I can recall. So to recap: numerous undesirable advances; bluejeans in 100-degree weather (safety regs); *ungodly* hours; and frequent injuries, a number of which I still bear the scars from. A real hoot.

    2) MBNA – 9 months telemarketing. Need I say more?

    And the two best – each lovely in its own way:

    3) Fox Theater – this was the movie theater I worked at my senior year of high school. I got to see movies for free (me plus 1), got all the popcorn and soda I wanted while working, made lots of friends, and met a large number of boys. All in all, the perfect high school job!

    4) DNREC – my last, and probably best job (for me) overall. I was reorganizing the paper files of large solid waste facilities into a new system that was set up before I got there. I got to work at my own pace, read all the dirt (heh. I crack myself up.) on the local landfills, learn new stuff all the time, and hide in a cubicle where I didn't have to talk to anyone. Plus, my boss and her boss were *amazing*. Also, I had that tv-movie moment where I won over the curmudgeon (who didn't want me there and griped that I would ruin the files, with reason – the gal before me was a total incompetent) with my intelligence and understanding of the files and what actually goes on with the various processes in permitting, inspections, etc. Hey. I'm not cool, but I'm pretty smart and I learn fast. And I love making people happy, and I definitely did in his case. He actually contributed to some lovely writings that earned me a commendation. Cinematic gold, I tell ya!

    FOUR movies I could watch over and over

    I rarely watch movies more than once – there are always others out there I haven't seen yet, and I'd rather watch something new. So I thought this category was going to be painfully difficult. And it was, but only because I wound up with more than 10 contenders, none of which I wanted to cut. The final selection:

    1) Spirited Away – this movie is so magical and whimsical, with such wonderful character development (I couldn't stand Chihiro at the beginning of the movie), and such cute little anime critters… I could go on and on. It's a great fairytale/myth-type story that most children over 5 should love. Most Miyazaki films fall into that category (I really wanted to put Howl's Moving Castle on this list), but Spirited Away is the one I've watched the most, and probably love the most.

    2) Galaxy Quest – this movie never fails to crack me up. Tony Shaloub is brilliant in it, and as a sci-fi geek there are countless things for me to laugh hysterically over. And it never gets old, somehow.

    3) Grosse Pointe Blank – tied for first place as my favorite John Cusack movie. He's slightly less angsty and more wry/funny in this one, and the supporting cast is great. This only slightly edged out Better Off Dead because sometimes some of the jokes in that one wear thin for me. Only a few. GPB has yet to do that to me.

    4) Monty Python and the Holy Grail – do I really need to explain? Didn't think so.

    FOUR places I have lived apart from where I live now

    I don't have 4 places. I don't know if that's sad, or proof that I'm doing the right thing…

    1) Milford (Delaware)
    2) Dover (Delaware)
    3) Philly

    FOUR TV shows that I love

    This was difficult because I'm pathetically enamored of television. I love many many things on tv, and thank God for my tivo on a sadly regular basis.

    1) Battlestar Galactica – as mentioned above, I am a sci-fi geek. And this is a phenomenal show, all sci-fi aside.

    2) The OC – yes, I know it's nearly over, and is getting horrible ratings, and is trashy tv. But I love it. I love the trash, the silliness, and the odd family the Cohens have made for themselves. And I love that Marissa is finally gone, and with her dead weight (heh. I need to stop.) removed from Ryan's neck, he finally has a sense of humor! He was always sarcastic, but now he's intentionally funny! And happy! If only she'd died back in Mexico… I'll shut up now.

    3) House – this character is my hero, and this show is my salvation in a sea of medically inept programs. I'd rather have a doctor like House any day over some touchy-feely jerk. And I love that, unlike shows like CSI, I'm not screaming at the tv from halfway through the show because characters who are supposedly experts in their fields can't figure out something simple and obvious. Like the freaking CSI where it took Grissom and the ME (a *doctor* for fox ache!) half the episode to figure out that fruity breath = diabetes. Grrr!!! I could see if maybe they had heard the description and forgotten it till later, but nooooo. They jumped right on it and pulled out their medical books looking up obscure shit for 20 minutes while I shrieked, "It's fucking diabetes you assholes!" I have never had a moment like that with House. All shows involving science and/or medicine should be required to consult with people on the level of those talking to the House people. Seriously.

    And, because the genre should be represented and Katie snubbed them all…

    4) Judge Judy – I love almost all the "judge shows" (as I call them), but this/she is my favorite. I really do wish she would develop her own fragrance. She could call it "Beauty Fades, But You Can Smell Nice Forever!"

    FOUR places I have been on holiday

    1) NYC – only for weekends, which is the only way I can tolerate it. I love the city, I just don't travel well and really don't do people or crowds or noise well, let alone all together! The shopping is divine, though, and the food is better!

    2) Atlanta – if I had to live in a city, this would be the one. It doesn't feel like a city, and the food there is on par with NYC. Love the churrascarias!

    3) Florida – we did Orlando for our honeymoon.

    4) The Delaware beaches, more times than I can count.

    FOUR websites I visit daily

    1) – more specifically, the fragrance board. I'm an addict, and the people rock!


    3) ebay

    4) – I said I love tv. Did you think I was kidding?

    FOUR favorite foods

    Unsurprisingly, none of these are healthy.

    1) A *good* cannoli

    2) A good caesar salad (Houston's makes my favorite)

    3) My white chicken chili. I got the recipe somewhere and modified it to my tastes (not very "hot", but lots of flavor). My version has won at least one chili cookoff! And while I have made healthy versions (you'll see where easy substitutions can be made) this one is the tastiest:

    Creamy White Chili
    1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½" cubes
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 ½ tsp garlic powder
    1 tb vegetable oil
    2 cans (15.5 oz each) great northern beans, rinsed & drained
    1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp paprika
    ½ tsp pepper
    dash cayenne pepper
    1 c sour cream
    ½ c whipping cream

    In large saucepan, sauté chicken, onion and garlic powders in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and cream. Serve immediately.

    4) And, last but not least, this cheese soup:

    Savory Cheese Soup
    4 tb butter or margarine
    ¼ c flour
    ¼ tsp salt
    1/8 tsp pepper
    ½ tsp onion powder
    1/8 tsp garlic powder
    2 c milk
    1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
    2 c shredded cheddar
    ½ c shredded mozzarella

    Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir till smooth. Add milk, cook and stir over med heat till thickened and bubbly. Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to boil in a small saucepan. Add to milk mixture and stir till blended. Add cheeses; cook and stir till melted (do not boil). I omit the mozzarella if I don't have it, or I substitute asiago or parmesan in its place for an even more strongly cheesy flavor! Any blend of cheeses is delicious!

    FOUR places I would rather be right now

    Nowhere, really. I'm a hermit, and I love being here in my house with my husband and my critters and my computer and my tv! Most people don't get this, but I'm well past the point of caring. I'm happy just the way I am :~D

    FOUR books I enjoy reading over and over again

    1) Good Omens – this gets funnier every time I read it! Both authors were in fine form for this collabo!

    2) Wishes – this is one of my all-time favorite romance novels. It's sweet and funny, not overwrought or sappy. Not as racy as some that I love, but it just makes me feel good when I read this one!

    3) The Stand – This book only just edges out The Talisman, and I think it's mostly because King has so many more amazing characters in the former than the latter. He is a genius at creating characters that interest me and draw me in, and he's a master at killing them! Plus his imagination is nearly limitless. I think The Stand is one of his best works, and I could probably read it annually.

    4) A Medicine For Melancholy and Other Stories – while this book belongs on this little list on its own merits, it is also here to represent every book of short fiction Ray Bradbury has written. Because I can reread them *all* into infinity. I think I've just read this one more because it's the only one I have a handy copy of. They're all phenomenal, though.

    There are a bajillion books that deserve honorable mentions, but I'm pretty sure my yapping is starting to wear thin by now (assuming anyone has even made it this far).

    FOUR CDs that never leave my regular rotation

    Lateralus – all Tool albums also belong to this list, but this is my favorite (very closely followed by Aenima)

    Gumby – I stole this cd from my brother years ago, and I love it. LOVE. It's funny, of course, but there's also some good music on it. And I smile whenever any of the songs pop up on my ipod.

    Hair – most people know I adore this album. But I must praise it some more while I have this opportunity. The music is awesome. The sentiment is as much, if not more so. Most songs bring a smile to my face when they come on, and if I listen to the album from start to finish I cry. Every time. It moves me.

    Violator – DM makes great music. Period. This is my favorite album, but runners-up include: Songs of Faith and Devotion, Music For the Masses, Black Celebration, and Some Great Reward.

    FOUR people I am tagging (no pressure, guys)

    The Oh-So-Fine M