Thursday, December 17, 2015

White Elephant

[Aside: Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted in a few months! I usually have things I am interested in writing about, but then life happens and I forget to jot down my thoughts.]

It's December, and that means most of you people have already, or are going to, participate(d) in white elephant gift exchanges. As someone who is fairly practical, I prefer to go for useful gifts, rather than gag gifts. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy injecting humor in the presents (which I do), I just prefer useful (but funny) presents rather than useless gag gifts.

The whole reason I bring up white elephant gifts is that Carlos was needing a white elephant gift for work and was asking for suggestions. Thus began my trip down memory lane to my own white elephant gift exchange days. When I was working, I thought I played a pretty good white-elephant-gift game:

Year 1: I brought a Snuggie...along with three other people. That was the year Snuggies were all the rage as novelty gifts, and I thought I was soooo original picking it.

When the first Snuggie was opened, everyone laughed. The second snuggie brought even more laughter. The third Snuggie, everyone thought it was a prank. By the fourth Snuggie, everyone was over it. I sneakily got my own Snuggie back, which I ended up returning.



Year 2: I brought a literal white elephant gift - a white elephant tea pot. I thought it was cool and cute.

If interested, I think Cost Plus World Market sells them (I had purchased mine from Modcloth at the time).

Year 3: I bought an organizer with the word "crap" on it and toilet paper (get it???). I wrote a note saying something like "here are some things to help you with your crap." I put the items in a J. Crew box, and thought I was being cheeky when I wrote "I hope you don't mind the color Cerulean and that you're a size medium!" - because I was pretending that I had picked a clothing item, and J. Crew usually uses fancy color names...ok, it was a lot funnier in my head. Unfortunately the person who first picked out the present didn't even read my witty J. Crew joke-note or my crap note....I so badly wanted to yell, "READ THE NOTES!" Needless to say, the original present opener was not impressed. And I was not impressed with their lack of impress.

Year 4:  I put fifteen $1 bills in one of those cards where you can record a message.

 


The message I recorded was the chorus to Little Scrappy's "Money in the Bank" rap song, which goes:

I got money in the bank (yea)
I got money in the bank (yea)
I got money in the bank (yea)
I got money in the bank (yea)
Shawty what you drank

Unfortunately the volume is not very loud on those cards, and everyone was so loud in the conference room, I think the initial present opener didn't hear the song. At least I thought it was hilarious. 

Hopefully whoever has that card actually kept it, because that ish was NOT cheap.


Year 5: I got lazy and went the gift card route (to Target, because everyone loves Target). However, I cleverly put the gift card in an empty Macbook box (I got a spare empty box from IT), and inside I left a printed image of a Macbook top (to look like a Macbook was in there), and I wrote a note saying something like "I'm sorry I can't get you a real Macbook, so here's the next best thing!"





For Carlos' gift, I suggested that he buy a bottle of Poo Pourri spray and a pack of toilet paper. I also suggested burning a cd with euphemistic song titles (that allude to pooping), like  Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" and Snoop's "Drop It Like It's Hot" and Frou Frou's "Let Go."

I don't think he was too into that idea since he ended up getting a boot shaped mug ("Das Boot").



Thursday, September 17, 2015

Back in Stock!

It's sad when your favorite (processed) food items disappear from store shelves (like Keebler Pizza Chips and Nestle Bon Bons - I miss me my 90s foods!). But it's awesome when brands bring them back! Unless they change the recipe, which then becomes a disappointment (ahem, JENOS).

I do want to preface that while I do love my fresh veggies and fruits, sometimes a factory-made product just hits the spot. Here are two items that have come back in stock.

Trader Joe's Black Bean & Corn Enchilada
Trader Joes has a lot of awesome products. One of my favorite frozen items is the "black bean & corn enchilada" entree. It was off the shelves for a few months (maybe a year?). From what I recall, it had to do with finding a replacement supplier.

I tried one today, and it seems a little different...maybe the sauce is slightly saltier? It's still good, but the taste is note quite the same.


Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip Frosting

 According to its FAQ page,  Rainbow Chip frosting was discontinued in summer 2013. I remember coming back from Jamaica in February 2014 and finding out that Rainbow Chip frosting was no more - I was incredulous! Rainbow Chip frosting was the best! Funfetti frosting was no match (the little candy bits are what make Rainbow Chip so awesome. I can add sprinkles myself).

Through social media, passionate fans (including a tweet from Katy Perry) encouraged Betty Crocker to reconsider their decision, which they did this summer, as it was brought back this past August.

The package has been re-designed to make it easier to ID on store shelves.

I have yet to try it, but I'm hoping to make some Rainbow Chip cupcakes in the near future and will report back on whether or not it truly is the same. 

Moral of the story: social media really does work!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

How to Print Coupons in Black and White

My printer is set to black and white, but whenever I printed coupons from the interwebs, they would still come out in color. The thing with printing coupons online is that you can't set your printing preferences as the coupons are automatically printed.

I Googled a bit, but I must have not been using the correct terms because the search results were not helping me.

However, I was finally able to figure out my issue. I still don't quite understand why I have to go through Terminal (mainly because I really don't know what Terminal does - insert embarrassed emoji), but I followed the directions and saw that the printing preference was still in color.

See here from Coupons.com (also pasted below).

How do I change the print mode of my printer on Macintosh?



Our Coupon Printer uses the default settings set in your printer software. You must make any changes there to affect what tray is used for printing, whether you print in color or grayscale, etc.

In order to have such applications adhere to your default settings, you have to interact with the underlying printing system CUPS. Please follow these steps:


1 You will need to use the Terminal application.


From your desktop, click Go menu and then click Utilities.
Utilities.png
Double click Terminal to open.
  terminal.png

Type and run cupsctl WebInterface=yes cupsctl.png

2 Open your internet browser and type http://localhost:631/

“ title=”

3 Go to Printers.

“ title=”

4 Select the printer to modify.

5 Choose Set Default Options from the second drop-down.

“ title=”

6 Under General, set the necessary settings (the step may be different for your printer).

“ title=”

7 Click Set Default Options button to save your changes.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

At the Tip of My Tongue - Remembering Old Books of My Childhood

One thing I wished I did when I was younger was to keep a log of all the books I read, because now as an adult, I can't remember most of them! For the most part, there is no need to remember them since they were honestly "fluff" books to read, but sometimes I have these random memories of books I used to read pop up in my mind, but I have no idea of the title or author, so it starts to bother me.

You would think that with everything being online now, it would be a lot easier to find them, but it's still difficult. It's easier to search for the popular/award-winning books; it's the smaller, lesser-read books, that have proven to be a challenge. Since most of those books are "fluff" pieces, I doubt people are clamoring to archive them.

Here are some random books that I'm trying to recall - if they sound familiar, let me know!

JUVENILE FICTION BOOK SERIES ABOUT ELEMENTARY-AGED KIDS DEALING WITH VARIOUS ISSUES
Hah, the descriptor sounds so boring! Anyways, here is what I can remember: this was a small (as in maybe 4-5 books) book series that one of my sister's owned. It was written in the late 1980s/early 1990s; this could have been a Little Apples series, but I'm not sure.

* One story in the series is during the winter holidays, and an little boy lives with his grandma/aunt who is a painter. She has some money to fly out his parents home from their job (they work abroad), or fix her leaking roof. She ends up using the money to fix the roof, but a nice older gentleman (a store owner or teacher) offers to buy a painting and the kid's parents are able to fly home. The kids also discuss other holidays, like Kwanzaa and Hanukah.
KEY WORDS: holidays, leaky roof, art

* Another story deals with a little Latina (?) girl who has a best friend (I think named Mary-Kate???) in possibly another class. A new girl moves in and tries to weasel her way in with the BFF. The new girl and Mary-Kate form a soda club (the first letter of their first names has to be the same as a soda brand in order for one to join) - I remember a Mountain Dew...possibly a Shasta and Diet Soda too?? The Latina girl goes on a trip to visit relatives, and she tries to start a soda club with her cousins, and she excludes her littlest cousin who starts crying. She feels bad, and lets her in the club. I forget what else happens, but I think the girls all end up being friends (or someone moves away).
KEY WORDS: soda club, Mountain Dew, Shasta



JUVENILE FICTION/YOUNG ADULT BOOK SERIES ABOUT MIDDLE SCHOOL-AGED GIRLS DEALING WITH VARIOUS ISSUES; THEY MEET DURING THE HOLIDAYS
From what I can remember, this was also a small series; if I recall correctly, the characters in the book had holiday parties (Valentine's, Halloween, Christmas). I think it was written in the early to mid 1990s - I remember reading this between 5-7th grade at the base library. I don't remember details of the particular stories. 
KEY WORDS: middle school, girls, holiday parties, boys



JUVENILE FICTION/YOUNG ADULT BOOK ABOUT MIDDLE SCHOOL-AGED WHITE GIRL WHO MOVES TO CHINA AND BEFRIENDS A CHINESE BOY
From what I can remember, the story centers around a 7th (?)  grade (the token middle school grade level) white girl who moves to China with her family. She starts biking around China and makes a friend with a Chinese boy. I think she ends up liking him. I'm not sure what else happens. I think this book was written in the early 1990s. I think the author's last name started near the middle-to-the-end of the alphabet (I remember getting it from the middle shelves at the library).
KEY WORDS: China, biking, moving


And because there is too much text, I'm throwing in some pictures of old books - most are from Cliquey Pizza (I've referenced them before), but a few are from Google searches.








MEMORIES!!!!! I remember these exact cover images too.

BONUS:
Elizabeth Wakefield looking very Amy Poehler-ish (do you like the 'shopped beret I added on?? SKILLLS!)




Thursday, July 2, 2015

Good Advice

This is a clip from an audition video posted on YouTube for The Office:


video


"...It's better to be at the bottom of a ladder that you want to climb, than halfway up one you don't."


That is such good advice....it's ok to start at the bottom, and to not stick around a job you are unhappy in.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Satirical Songs

 Some Friday Funnies: (Referencing this Reddit post (click here).

Pop songs get a reputation for being unoriginal and formulaic, but that's why they are so popular ("this sounds like that other song"). I don't really consider myself a "pop" (what people typically think of pop music) fan, but I definitely think there are songs that are catchy, and some that I even don't mind listening to. Anywho, I came across this post about this joke pop song, and other people listed other satirical songs, which a few I listed below.


The 2010s Dance Pop Song
Mariana's Trench - Pop 101


 When they sing "Higher-Desire-Fire" I immediately heard Rebecca Black's Friday where she sings "Partying, Partying, Yeah!"


The Sampled-in-a-Commercial Upbeat Song
Jon Lajoie - Please Use This Song

 This is pretty catchy. Also I was super impressed with the production quality of this video - the scenes looked like they could be an actual commercial!


The 90s R&B/Boy Band Love Ballad
Da Vinci's Notebook - Title of the Song



I was getting a Boys II Men/BSB vibe. Also, those are some thesaurus-quality lyrics!


BONUS:  Pops songs are all the same??
Axis of Awesome - 4 Chords

Saturday, May 2, 2015

JENO'S Pizza Back in Stock???

I finally decided to pick up the week's mail, and as I was browsing through the stack of grocery ads, I happened to flip through the 99¢ Store ad and what do I see before my eyes:


JENO'S Pizza!!! WHAT?!?!

For those of you not aware, I had been in search of JENO'S Pizza for a few years, after they mysteriously disappeared from grocery store shelves - I even wrote a blog post about it.

I am pretty excited, but I am still proceeding with caution, as I have not yet checked out any stores. But if they are indeed in stock, you can bet that I will be grabbing at least a dozen (realistically probably just a few because my freezer already is full of ice cream).

Side note: ice is cheap at the 99¢ Store! And if you want to know how to include the ¢ symbol in your own blog post, just use OPTION+4 on a Mac, and ALT+0155 on a PC (supposedly, but I don't have a PC to confirm this).

EDIT (8/29/15):  I meant to post this earlier, but the JENO's pizza I bought seemed a little bland (from my memory, I recall them having a "sweeter" sauce, which I loved). So sad :(

Saturday, April 18, 2015

They're Not Related?

I watched Interstellar recently, and had watched Blended on TV(it was on one of the premium movie channels, but I forget which one) last week, and it struck me that teen actress Bella Thorne (in Blended) looked a lot like Academy-Award nominee Jessica Chastain.
 



(images via Google search).

EDIT: 6/17/15: Adding in Bryce Dallas Howard, who looks more Jessica Chastain-ish.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

What's in a Name?

I recently saw someone post on Facebook the personality characteristics of their name. That got me intrigued, so I searched for a site and came across this one: First Name Meanings.

I searched for my name, and here is what the site had to say about (female) Bettys (I highlighted what I agree with):


Who is she?
Betty   is a sweet-tempered and charming woman once you get to know her, however she can appear introverted, conventional and wary at first. She is highly emotional and extremely sensitive, to the extent where she is vulnerable to the slightest emotional trauma. She tends to protect herself through a certain reserve, although this doesn´t prevent her from being a generous and altruistic soul. Of considerable emotional plasticity, she can easily be hurt or even wounded by life, and Betty   can be known to escape into daydreams and fantasies that are more or less unrealistic or utopic. She is fascinated by all that is weird and wonderful, and could even be tempted by artificial paradises (especially if she was born on the 9th, 18th or 27th day of the month). Because she cares so deeply about her family and takes the corresponding responsibilities seriously, Betty   often forgets her own needs in the process. With such virtues, as a child she makes the perfect big sister who can fill in for her mother if necessary. However beware of the danger in taking advantage of her big heart: she is only too ready to sacrifice herself or to assume the role of the "victim"... Love and affection are necessary for her to bloom and her upbringing doesn´t need to be very firm. Indeed all forms of aggression or guilt-tripping are to be avoided because Betty   is already of scrupulous nature, and it would be preferable that this doesn´t become stifling. And last, but not least, it would be desirable for her to practice an artistic or musical hobby, as well as any form of artistic expression (the theatre for example), which would provide an outlet for her potentially overwhelming emotions.

What does she like?
A humanist, Betty   likes to devote herself to a cause, especially to movements concerned with solidarity and community - even mysticism. Receptive, intuitive and highly imaginative, she loves to dream and romanticize and is therefore interested in art and all forms of expression. In matters of the heart, her challenge will be to establish her limits, because her selflessness can result in situations where her happiness is not necessarily on the menu.


What does she do?
She excels in occupations of a humanitarian or social nature, unless it has a true vocation (art, religion, law, education or health, especially if she was born on the 6th, 9th, 15th, 18th, 24th or 27th day of the month). Anything unusual or unconventional would equally be suitable (healer, parapsychologist, dowser...), commercial occupations or those in connection with food (hotels, bakery, cuisine, dietetics...), occupations in connection with the public and travel.

I'd say this is pretty on point...I'm super-duper sensitive, it's easy to make me feel guilty, I love my family and trying to be helpful.


I decided to look up my sisters too:

EMILY
Who is she?
Discreet and reserved in appearance, Emily   is a sociable and communicative lady. She is wary and quite selective, which means that she doesn´t take friendship lightly and tends to remain on the defensive at first. Rather distant, she nonetheless possesses a certain distinction. Active and resourceful, she feels the need to affirm herself, which is not always an easy task thanks to the presence of the karmic 1. Her efforts can be inconsistent, slowed down by worry, doubt and uncertainty. She is perfectly capable, however, of assuming her responsibilities and can be very brave if necessary. She proves to be particularly efficient when faced with real difficulty, and is able to take charge of a situation with a natural authority that is above all suspicion. She is concerned about her image and wishes to be a living breathing example to others. She is extremely sensitive but a little undisciplined and subject to fluctuations in mood; going through phases of extroversion where, enthusiastic and communicative, she actively seeks the company of others (more pronounced if she was born on a 3rd, 12th, 21st or 30th, or if her life Path Number is 3); followed by periods of introversion, where she is more solemn, internalized and anxious, tending to seek retreat from the world and solitude (especially if she was born on the 2nd, 7th, 11th, 16th, 20th, 25th or 29th day of the month; or if her life Path Number is 2, 7 or 11). Animated by a deep curiosity, she has many interests but is particularly fascinated by anything that is out of the ordinary. As a child, Emily   could have trouble affirming herself, so it would therefore be wise to encourage her autonomy by entrusting her with responsibilities from a tender age and allowing her individuality to blossom. She is capable of making a smooth and sudden transformation from an almost silent, reserved little girl into an incessant chatterbox if one is successful in winning her trust. Encourage her to make the most of her creative and artistic talents, as well as her aptitude for learning other languages, music and singing...

What does she like?
Often young at heart, lively, cheerful, mischievous and spontaneous, Emily   loves chatting with her friends, with whom she likes nothing better than to have a laugh and a good time, and could sometimes be accused of seeking an easy life. She often has a good sense of humour and thoroughly enjoys finding the right words to express herself and communicate with others; to be able to exchange and create is to live her passion, and the rest of her life tends to be arranged around these essential principles. She is into everything, which could lead her to become dissipated or prevent her from fully exploring a topic before something else hijacks her attention. In love, she isn´t quite as simple as she appears to be. Her flexible and open nature is endearing and could give you the impression that nothing bothers her, but this isn´t quite the case. She is extremely tolerant but everyone has their limits, and suddenly and without warning she will make sure that you understand that you have overstepped the mark. She can be very authoritarian and bossy at times, the saying � let he who loves me follow me � could easily have come out of her mouth...


What does she do?
There are several possibilities: Emily   could be attracted to a career in marketing, where mobility and dynamism are prerequisite; or in connection with oral or written expression, teaching or languages..., she could otherwise choose a liberal or independent occupation, in relation to creativity, public relations and the many areas of communication or artistic expression; media, broadcasting or fashion...

 
 
*************************************************************************************





SUSAN
Who is she?
Introverted, discreet and reserved, Susan   tends to protect herself from a world that worries her a little. She is shy and very selective in her personal relationships and Susan   would much prefer to be single than in a bad relationship. A cerebral lady, she is inclined to speculation and is easily anxious and worried, with quite a pessimistic outlook on this world that she finds so troubling. She is pragmatic, rational and instinctively wary and often needs to reassure herself. On the other hand, she is reliable and is definitely somebody who can be counted on. She is attentive to others and is of sound moral character. If she lives her active number at the level of the 2, she will be sensitive, impressionable and seek security above all. Affectionate, tender and receptive to others, self-protection comes naturally to her in the light of the many problems and difficulties that she imagines are possible. She is therefore likely to lead quite a monotonous life which is nonetheless stable and well-organized. If she can live this same active number in harmony with the vibrations of the master number 11, she will experience transformation and develop incredible inner strength as well as an ascendency over others. With the help of her intuition, her understanding of human psychology combined with her inspiration will enable her to accomplish her social and humanitarian goals. She will reap the fruits of her efforts as long as she remains tenacious and perseverant. A high level of nervous tension is a side effect of the vibrations of this master number, so she must learn to channel her energy. As a child, she requires plenty of love and affection, in spite of the fact that she is bashful and doesn´t know how to respond to blatant displays of affection. But the more love, encouragement and stimulation that she receives, the healthier her development will be. Likewise, she will do much better at school if her teacher shows an active interest in her education. She is well-behaved and responsible, even a little too much sometimes; and she isn´t afraid of solitude which is a sanctuary to her. She prefers doing things by herself to group games and activities.

What does she like?
She enjoys peace and quiet, simplicity and all that is natural. She loathes pretentiousness, small talk and gossip; and seeks security and stability more than anything else. With her practical and rational mind she is often interested in the latest technology and enjoys planning and organizing - probably because she worries about being unprepared for unexpected. The master number 22 enables her to achieve great feats in her lifetime, and her large capacity for work will serve her well. In matter of the heart, she is loyal and affectionate, although she isn´t particularly demonstrative because she can have difficulty expressing her emotions. On the other hand, you should know that if she´s in love with you, it´s for life!


What does she do?
Susan   could find her niche in one of the scientific or technical professions, in liaison with modernism and avant-garde technology as well as occupations concerned with the land, nature, science and animals or the social sciences (psychology or parapsychology), she could equally excel in a career requiring precision and thoroughness, such as dressmaking.


*************************************************************************************


Sistas, what do you think? They on the ball, or way off target?

Click on the link mentioned above to see what your name says about you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mini Mid-Century Modern

Earlier this evening, I happened to be browsing mid-century modern decor (think early Mad Men) when my search led me to Etsy. Some Etsy sellers were selling their hand-made furniture, which I thought was pretty cool.

Upon a closer inspection on one of the images on the search page,  it turned out to be a miniature model (i.e. for dollhouses)! This led me down a rabbit-hole of miniature furniture searches on Etsy, because I'm a weirdo like that. I don't own a dollhouse, and I am not planning on buying any such items, but I find it really fascinating and impressive how realistic these items are (all photos are from Etsy seller pages).

This is probably the only time you can find mid-century modern decor in the double-digits (most of the time, it's sold for $$$ or $$$$, especially if it's authentic MCM!). Considering the prices of these items, you're still going to be spending some mad cheddar for these mini replicas!


miniature coffee table (via FashionDollStore )





miniature dining table and chairs (via MiniModels )





miniature credenza (via miniCHAIR )


miniature armchair (via ItsPerfectlyPetite )
 




another miniature credenza, desk, and bed (via minisx2 )



(side note: the doors/drawers OPEN!!)



miniature record player (via MIMOstudio )

 (side note: the record player lid actually opens and closes!)


To reiterate, all the items featured are actually teeny tiny, as in "made for Barbies." Pretty cool, huh?!?

Monday, February 9, 2015

A DIY - Follow Up Post

My mug dreams became a reality this past Christmas! As you may recall, in just a few posts prior I wrote a DIY post about making my own mug designs after I had broken my Anchorman one. My sister helped me print out the stencils, and over the holiday my sisters and I (well more them than me) made the "Rons" designs (Burgundy and Swanson).



To be honest, if my sister hadn't made the stencils, I probably wouldn't be enjoying my coffee in these awesome mugs (because it would have been a pain to make the stencils)...so thank you, sisters!

So, how do you make these bad boys/girls?

1) First, use the tutorial I referenced in my earlier post on how to make your own stenciled mug.

2) Gather your supplies!

    You will need:
      * vinyl
      * a silhouette cameo to cut out the stencils (or find someone who has one because they are $$$)
      * mug shape of your choice (I chose the diner mug style via webrestaurant.com)
      * black acrylic paint
      * small foam brush
      * a safety pin to help remove stray paint/pick out your stencil

 [I have no idea how the silhouette cameo works so we are jumping straight to when you have the stencil already]

3) Get your stencil ready by removing the parts that you want to stencil in (in this case, the hair/facial hair and the actual letters of the sayings I picked). I used a safety pin to help get the letters out:
              

4) Apply both of your stencils on the mug EVER SO CAREFULLY (so make sure that your stencil is placed exactly where you want it to be).

Since you're working on a curved surface, the vinyl won't lay flat - smooth out the edges along the face (where the paint will touch), because you don't want the paint to "leak out." Do both sides before painting so that you don't have to wait for one side to dry (before you can apply the other side's stencil).


[ sorry, no photo of the stencil actually on the mug]


5) Get a little bit of paint on the paint brush and begin to dab along the white space of your stencil (the hair and the letters). Dab and don't use paint strokes because paint strokes will leave the streak imprints.


6) Quickly remove the stencil...rip it off like a band aid (unless you peel them slowly, which in your case, just remove it quickly). You want to remove it right away so that the paint doesn't drip/smear/rub.


7) Use a safety pin to remove any loose paint (also in the photo below the face should also have been removed right away).


8) Step back and admire your handiwork.




9) Then let the mugs air dry (read the directions on the paint bottle) before baking (to keep the paint on the mugs).



10) Enjoy your mugs and be the coolest person in the room.



TIPS:
- use simple silhouettes (i.e. not a lot of detail, like loose hair strands showing, etc.)
- use a thick font for any lettering, and also keep the saying simple.
- find a friend with the silhouette cameo, because those are awesome!