Monday, December 30, 2013

Blog Reader Appreciation Series Part 11: The One with All the Answers

When I'm home, I like to be home.  I love meeting my friends for dinner or drinks but my main objective is to spend as much time as I can with my family in the house that I spent the first 18 years of my life.

When my dad is home (and awake), that means a lot of time watching football.  But once my dad has inevitably fallen asleep on the living room chair (or when, God forbid, there's no football on), things start taking a turn.

One road that I find our family on way too often is the one that leads to my mom, sister, and me sitting on the couch, taking online quizzes.  You know, the ones that enlighten you on the complex inner truths of your personality based on your favorite color.

These quizzes have helped me discover who I truly am (for example, I now know that my animal soulmate is a "cute owl") so I would feel guilty not sharing them with those who aren't in our living room on Thursday nights.  So this one, this is for all of you.

No matter what you're hoping to learn about yourself, I've got you covered.  So grab a cup of tea and remember: if the internet says that you're an owl, you're a cute baby owl.  No use trying to fight it.

This one totally nailed my dad's Baltimorian accent.  However, it also told my mom (from Colorado) that she was from Albuquerque.  And evidently I am simultaneously from Providence, New Jersey, and San Francisco.

And all this time I thought I was from Maryland.

What does the way you speak say about where you’re from?

This one lets you know the animal most representative of your Myers-Briggs personality type.  I give it 5 stars for accuracy; I always suspected I was raised by wolves.

Derrick, on the other hand, has yet to accept that he is the beaver of my wolf pack.

What’s Your Animal Personality Type?

... You know, as in which side of your head should you use to break a face-plant?

It turns out that I am right-brained.  So next time I find myself taking a nosedive into the concrete, you can bet I'm turning my head to the left.

Left-Brain/Right-Brain Test

Just in case you get quizzed on this in the future, the answer is: make me one (or all) of the things below.

But seriously... those doughnuts.

#1. Homemade Baked Churro Caramel Doughnuts via Create-Celebrate-Explore
#2. Soft-Pretzel “Dunkers” with Honey Mustard via Lemon Sugar
#3. Blackberry Skillet Cobbler via Big Bear's Wife

Luckily, I don't look the 42 years of my mental age.  And it turns out that I'm also only two years younger than my mom, whose mental age is 44.

My Mental Age

The only question I had after this one is where is Derrick keeping my other glass slipper?

Which Classic Disney Movie Is Most Like Your Life?

You might think you don't need to take this one.  After all, you know that I went to brunch this weekend so there can't be anything left to know, right?

Well, actually no.  So before you think that you have me all figured out, make sure you really do.

Are you a Not Before my Tea Expert?
The Quiz

Question 1: How many life changing experiences did I witness last week?

Answer 1: Two.  This isn't a joke.  Last week, I witnessed my mom get her very first pedicure.  Honest to God.  Talk about a low maintenance woman.

I also witnessed Derrick's brother, Jordan, try his first Chicago deep dish pizza.  And I gotta tell you, Little Caesars's got nothing on Gino's East.

Question 2: What was the most useful Christmas present I received last week?

Answer 2: A sheepskin hat.

Not only do the ear flaps keep my ears extremely warm, I'm also all set in case I need to play a game of 1920's style football.

Question 3: Are the only pictures I have from home last week Christmas pictures?

Answer 3: Absolutely not.  I also have a slightly creepy picture I took of my sister's unique sleeping habits...

... an unforgivably cliche, grainy bar pic...

... and three pictures of my dog.

If you got all three questions right, I give you permission to never read my blog again.  If you got at least one wrong though, I suggest that you continue reading my weekly posts

I'm thinking of your needs, after all.

Happy Monday.
Hold on... we're almost back to normal.

Still don't feel appreciated?  There's more.
Blog Reader Appreciation Series
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas is Forever Changed

Some things from your childhood, you're happy to see go.  Like the braces and acne combo.  Or your unfortunate preference for metallic blue eye-shadow.

But this Christmas was the end of an era that I'm taking a bit hard.  This year, we officially laid Old Dog Productions to rest.

You have absolutely no idea what that is so I’ll try to explain this without making my family sound totally nuts (which in this case, might be hard).  Put simply, “Old Dog Productions” is a home-movie producing organization, directed by my dad...

...that holds an annual showing once (and only once) a year on Christmas Eve.

Before you go thinking that my dad is some below-the-radar Steven Spielberg, let me clear a few things up: the cast for this yearly production is limited to me, my siblings, my mom, and occasionally either my grandmother or grandfather visiting from Colorado for Christmas.  The editing for the movie is executed solely by Windows Live Movie Maker, and filming is limited to the day before Christmas Eve.

Although every year’s film is different, they all have one thing in common: they’re a collection of every stupid thing anyone in my family did that year.

(One year that really stands out was when my sweet, little old grandmother got in a fight with a Polish nun in Europe.  Another was when my aunt put a plastic dish of porkchops in the oven.)

The tradition started before I can even remember, when my dad was a young 30-something.  Back in the day, Old Dog Productions consisted only of my dad and a script that he performed live on Christmas Eve.

All I remember of those times are flashbacks of my dad in a women’s sun hat, imitating my great aunt with an impressive likeness.

Over the years, he started casting the rest of my family.  And after one disastrous year when my brother refused to perform (due either to cold feet or a brand new Game Boy, I don’t know), my dad decided to go professional and film the skit the day before.

Once we were old enough, the kids started to contribute more to the production.  My all-time favorite year was when we executed some impressive amateur special effects.  These effects included my sister dressed like a genie riding down the street in the back of my dad’s pickup (we got the camera angle just right to make it looks like she was flying) and a “pen that makes you disappear” (i.e. a pen hanging from the ceiling by fishing string).

The movies got much less elaborate over the years. (With the kids growing up and moving all over the US, it’s hard to put out a quality film.)  Recently, they had evolved to just a slideshow of pictures from that year, set to a few Siberian Orchestra songs.

It’s the most my dad could do with what he had to work with though (my dog, Jazz, just doesn't have the comedic timing necessary to pull off my dad’s witty scripts).

But this year, the show did not go on.  The Era of Old Dog Productions has officially come to a close, and it's a hard truth to swallow.

It's not that I particularly enjoyed dressing up in a turban like I did for our somewhat (okay, entirely) politically incorrect edition one year.  It's a hard truth to swallow because it signifies a major shift in my life.

As much as I try to ignore it, I'm an adult now.  My grandparents are getting older.  My parents are getting older.  Hell, I'm getting older.  The comfort of childhood is gone, whether I want to let go or not.  I'm excited and looking forward to what life as an adult will bring... but that doesn't mean it's not scary.

It's going to happen whether I want it to or not though, so I guess all I can do is hold on for the ride and embrace it.  And who knows, maybe in ten years, I'll be directing my own little clan of minions on screen.

And now that I've broken the golden rule of blogging (use more pictures than words), I'm going to make up for it by overloading you with holiday pictures.  Because this is a blog and that's what we do here.

Happy Friday! 
This holiday season, I hope you remember what's important...

... and that's loved ones and wine.  In that order.

And Ke$ha.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

From Our Nuthouse to Yours

I wanted to stay up and write a nice, long post to celebrate the most wonderful day of the year... but I didn't want to risk Santa finding out.  So with that:

With regards from my sister's creepy Nutcracker collection,
Merry Christmas!

See you all Friday!

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Blog Reader Appreciation Series: Part 10

As I write this from the middle seat of row 4 on a flight that left 40 minutes late, I’m thinking that I need a better way of dealing with stress.

Because sighing loudly didn't make the flight attendants get through their oxygen mask spiel any faster.  And I don't think that all the muttering in the world would have kept Justin, the feisty seven year old across from me, from poking his sister.

Repeatedly.  To her extreme annoyance, which she didn't attempt to hide.

But I'm not the only one on this highway of holiday travel hell.  So this one is for all of you out there, the ones feeling a bit more sympathetic toward the Grinch as you fight outrageous security lines and bumper to bumper traffic.

I salute you.

With two days until Christmas, we're all feeling the stress.  So grab a cup of tea and maybe a shot of Bailey's (do people do that?) and stay a while... because no matter how you handle your holiday woes,  I've got something here for you.

Good for you.  Let's see if you can wrap your head around these "out of the box" answers.

39 Test Answers That Are 100% Wrong But Totally Genius At The Same Time

Just stop... because I've got them all right here.

32 People Who Absolutely Nailed It In 2013

In your defense, stress doesn't stand a chance against these lovelies.

#1. Christmas Crack via I Heart Nap Time
#2. White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge (Raw & Vegan) via The Detoxinista
#3. Chocolate Caramel and Pecan Turtle Clusters via Red Sky Food

I'm not a crier.  Derrick's been convinced of my stone heart ever since I finished My Sister's Keeper and (even more inexplicably) Marley and Me with completely dry eyes.

But this one literally had me crying before work one morning.  Just a warning.

This Lip Dub Of Katy Perry’s “Roar” Shot At A Children’s Hospital Is Too Beautiful To Deal With

I'm not judging, unless it's another "I Support Phil" Freedom of Speech tirade.  Then I am.

Let Me Explain Freedom of Speech to all the Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty Supporters

And if you don't, maybe you should.

A Must-Watch For Anyone Frustrated With Growing Up

These Are The 31 Worst Puns Ever But You Can't Stop Laughing!

That's what I do, anyway.  Then again, that's how I handle every emotion.

And apparently everyone knows it.  The first thing Laura said to me when we met at Miss Shirley's on Sunday to celebrate Erika's engagement was: "So are you going to review this on your blog?"

I'm not sure if I should be proud or ashamed.  Regardless, I don't want to let anyone down or leave anyone miserably heartbroken (unlike the Ravens).  So before you hop in an orange Honda Element with four blondes and head down to Towson, Maryland, to check out some of Shirley's chicken and waffles, do your research.

And remember, you read it here first.


We all know that this is your primary concern, because some things even the Lo-Fi Instragram filter can't fix. And obviously, if you don't document your brunch... well, you know.


Unfortunately, Shirley only pulled a three out of five Old Bays for this one.  Although the lighting was just above the threshold of "presentable after Photoshop," it definitely didn't do our mimosas any favors.

The lack of natural light and awkward shadows made every Instagram snap look a bit... off.  I think Hannah summed it up best with her analysis of our group photo: "Why does my face look all lumpy?"

The Drinks

I'm not proud to say it, but I'm a cheater.  Specifically, I cheated on Mary (Bloody, that is) with Shirley's Crush.  She just looked so refreshing and delightful with her strawberry garnish and sugar rimmed cup.

But at least I got to try the Bloody Mary (aka the Spicy Shirley).  After Laura dumped a few more shakes of Old Bay on hers (in true Maryland fashion), I got a sip of hers.  I also had a sip of the Miss Mimosa (Andrea's) and the Southern Ruby Crush (Erika's).

I guess if you're going to cheat, why hold back?


Don't get me wrong, the drinks were fantastic.  But the one down side of becoming a Bloody Mary connoisseur is, well, now you're a Bloody Mary connoisseur.  Which means you're very hard to impress.

Miss Shirley may have gotten a five out of five if anyone had tried the crab meat lump on her Bloody, though.  But the addition was "Market Price" (read: butt ton of money), so I guess we'll never know.


The best thing about going out to eat with six other girls?  You get six other dishes.  As soon as our meals came out, we played a game of musical chairs... only with forks and without anyone ending up awkwardly on someone else's lap.

Chicken and waffles, Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict, Grilled Salmon Florentine Benedict... I had been looking for a way to gain the rest of that holiday weight, and I found it.

As for the dish I actually paid for?  I ordered Amy's bagel (Triple-Sliced Bagel with Ducktrap River Smoked Salmon, Red & Yellow Tomatoes, Cucumber, Bermuda Onion, Mixed Greens, Swiss Cheese, Cream Cheese & Capers).

I don't know who Amy is but I sure hope she doesn't ask for her bagel back... because that baby's gone.


The only reason Shirley missed that extra half an Old Bay is because she doesn't have an "order everything" option.  Because really, who can pick just one?

Next Door Neighbor

Wait, this isn't a standard restaurant review category?

I don't see why not.  Because if you're not going to take a group shot in front of Thomson Remodeling next door... where are you going to take it?

But have it your way; I won't review Miss Shirley's irrelevant building mate.  Instead, I'll grade the company:

Were you expecting any less?

Happy Monday!  Everybody panic... it's almost here!
And just for a second of something completely un-Christmas, not covered in gold glitter and twinkling lights...

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