Archives for the month of: September, 2012

James is in the shower right now. As I was cleaning up (the three of us rode 14 miles on our bikes tonight, so extreme hygiene tending was necessary… 3 people, 8 gallons of hot water; I don’t think we used it up among us!), I noticed that I have two different shampoos, both of which are intended to be used for people with lots of hair. One is called Strong Lengths. The other is Long Term Relationship. Which one do you think James will elect to use?

Marketing HBA items to females has gotten ridiculous, name-wise. Herbal Essences (which brought us the horrific fake orgasm commercials of the early 2000s – what woman doesn’t ask to use the shower at a filling station when her car breaks down?) has embarrassingly coy names for every one of their shampoo lines: None of Your Frizzness; Honey, I’m Strong; and Tousle Me Softly among them. Someone sits around and gets paid actual money to think of these?

I have some deodorant right now that’s called “Rainkissed Water Lily.” I have no idea whether what it smells like is what the name is or not. I have no frame of reference. That’s not nearly as silly as some of the Teen Speed Stick names, though. “Pink Crush.” Umm… So, does it smell like the Strawberry Crush drink, or is it meant to evoke a kind of innocent lovering? I don’t think I want to smell like either.

Something in my make-up bag right now that I absolutely love is this two-sided lipstick from Cover Girl. It stays on a crazy-long time. Even though some of it comes off at first, the color itself seems to stain my lips for a long time. It’s neat because it’s two colors in one, and the tube is long enough that it’s easy to find in my big purse. But you know what they call it? “Two-sided lipstick”? No. That’d be too straightforward. It’s called “Blast Flipstick.” Wh? This sounds like something that should be sold on the side of the road near July 4 and New Year’s Day!

Marketers: You’re trying too hard to be clever!

If the sweat repellent smells like lavender, you can just say so. Adding an “Ooh La La” in front of the “Lavender” doesn’t make me want to buy it more. It makes me want to punch you in the nubbies. And what *is* a “So Very Summerberry”? Does anyone know?

While we’re nagging marketers, I have one other beef.

This, I realize is totally off-topic, and is something that is likely going to make you despise me and doubt my possession of a soul, but here it is: Using babies to sell stuff? For me, this has the opposite effect.

This? I am motivated to dip myself in the plague just to avoid this and all other babies’ kissing me. I don’t think babies in general are precious, nor do I aspire for them to approve of me in any way.

Is that supposed to make me want to get insurance? It makes me want to write a big old memo to myself to kick my kid out the second she turns 18. In case the caption is too small, it says, “At 18, your angry daughter won’t look this cute.” Um. What? Who is doing the judging here?

Yuck. Anyway, you get it. It doesn’t help on that last one that that kid’s outfit likely cost more than a Kia would. Babies. Pppsh.

 

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Yesterday, I stumbled upon the website for Gourdough’s. Actually, it was pretty straightforward. I searched for “best Austin doughnuts” and that was the first return. Their tagline is “Big. Fat. Doughnuts.”

And they have an offering called Mother Clucker, which is a doughnut with chicken strips and honey butter. It’s like chicken and waffles, but with a DOUGHNUT instead. Oh my goodness, who’d have thought that the chicken and waffle idea could be improved upon?!

Thoughts of these things jammed my brain, creating an obsession I knew would not wane until it was sated. Thus, after my shower this morning (and, yes, before hair-fixing or make-up or anything more than the bare minimum to ensure modesty in public), we headed over to South First.

We knew that these doughnuts were going to be big. We knew we’d be pushing it to eat just one. But there were so many from which to choose that we each picked two, figuring we’d nosh all day.

Daphne picked the Funky Monkey and Black Out. My choices were the Mother Clucker and the PB&J. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any chicken yet (even if they had, this particular doughnut takes 20 minutes to prepare… and I had been more than willing to wait). Given my propensity toward bacon doughnuts, I opted for the Flying Pig.

As we were ordering, the employee gave some people who were waiting their doughnuts, and we kind of giggled at how big they were. So when she asked if we wanted ours to go, I said, “Yes.” There was no way we could tackle those in any meaningful way sitting out there for half an hour or less.

At this point, we realized (my not having thoroughly read the website the night before, honing instead in on the options available to cram in my gullet) that this isn’t a trailer full of doughnuts sitting around in a case waiting to be picked. They are making these things when you order them.

Fifteen minutes later, we left with a small grocery bag stacked with four foam boxes laden with fried sugary goodness, challenged by the drive home without preview-tasting.

Daphne held the doughnuts for a while, then I took a turn. It was then that I noticed how warm the contents of these boxes were. They didn’t just top the doughnuts while we were there. They fried them at that moment. I couldn’t imagine the mess we’d end up with once we got back to the trailer, but I was excited to check it out!

Sure enough, by the time we got home, a lot of the icing had melted. The toppings had shifted somewhat, and everything was dizzyingly heavenly.

If you want to see the official “straight from the kitchen” version of these doughnuts, then you can click on the links above. What follows is the toppings and then a cutaway of each of our choices, warm and drippy and lavishly, knee-weakeningly fabulous.

PB&J – topped with peanut butter icing, peanut butter chips, and jelly stripes…

… also filled with jelly!

Flying Pig – maple icing and bacon!

Lots and lots of bacon.

Black Out! Brownie batter, fudge icing, chocolate-covered brownie bites.

On top of a doughnut. Trust me; there’s a doughnut under all of that.

Funky Monkey – grilled bananas with cream cheese frosting and brown sugar.

Grilling bananas before you throw them on a fried dough bed? Yessir!

I didn’t read anything to this extent, but it feels and tastes like the doughnuts’ bottoms are double fried. Kind of like when you eat frites, how they’re fried like our French fries, but then once they’re fried, they get fried *again* just to be extra crispy? The tops of the doughnuts were tender and soft, and the bottoms were crispier, which was good… it was necessary to be able to get a fork up under the structure and move it in any way that didn’t involve dribbling doughnut goo into one’s lap.

I sampled all of these. I think D only ate the Black Out. How far did we get before we cried “Uncle!” and saved the rest for later?

Not very far!

But since you’re looking at $20 in doughnuts, I’m glad we’ll be able to stretch it out to three or four days’ worth of breakfast!

We will definitely be back. My goal is to try every one of these. Lunch will be the chicken and the Boss Hog, which has pulled pork and potato salad. I even want to try the couple with jalapeno jelly.

I think the lesson here is that if you put it on a doughnut, I will eat it. Happily.

Does this ever happen to you? You see a recipe and think, “Yummy! I should make that!” Except that you don’t have any of the ingredients?

Yeah. That’s a bad thing when you’re baking. For this kind of thing, though, it works.

First of all, Money-Saving Mom had this great recipe earlier this week. It looks delicious!

Thing is, we don’t keep chocolate chips in the house. It’s not that I have anything against them. It’s just that, when we have them, if they’re not used in a recipe posthaste, we eat them.

But I had some other stuff.

So I mixed together 1 cup of chocolate Cheerios and 1.5 cups of banana nut Cheerios.

Then I added a full 2 cups of oatmeal (because I didn’t have any flax seeds; I *wish* I’d had some toasted hemp seeds, but, alas…), a very generous half cup of dried cranberries, and a very generous half cup of cacao nibs.

 

Then I mixed up the brown sugar and honey. I skimped a little on the honey (it’s super expensive local stuff) and added a little more brown sugar (because some of the sweetness in the original recipe would come from the chocolate chips, which I don’t have… even though I did add the nibs for chocolate flavor and some nutty crunchy stuff).

Some day soon, I’m just going to make this sugar/peanut butter slurry by itself, let it set up, and have some super dense protein candy. I might not have scraped this pan very thoroughly when I initially emptied it onto the dry ingredients. Unfortunately, Daphne caught me “cleaning up” and I ended up having to give the spatula to her.

 

Here they are… ready to be cut! We’re supposed to take them to friends’ house tomorrow night. Will they make it? We’ll see! (Fortunately, we still do have popcorn on which to snack, if we were so inclined.)

 

 

 

We finally made it to Cornucopia today! This might not seem like a big deal to you natives, but we’ve been here precisely five weeks, and approaching it the first time from the south during rush hour was a little bit like trying to… do something really impossible. You’ll have to excuse me; I think I have an iron deficiency that is preventing me from any successful attempts to think, much less pen, anything even remotely clever.

Fortunately for everyone, you can order from the Cornucopia website and they’ll deliver their exceptional popcorn to your home, place of business, church, hut, or shopping mall.

If you’re in Austin, though, you can stop by. If you are driving, plan carefully. Go during off-hours. Or park somewhere farther away and take in some of the famous Downtown Austin/University of Texas sites. We could conceivably ride bikes, but we were in the area after volunteering for a bit, anyway, so we stopped by and – yea! – we were able to park right next to the store!

When we first walked in, I thought that the inventory looked pretty paltry… Then I realized that we were, in fact, viewing walls packed with SAMPLES. Oh, my goodness! We tried a couple, and I ordered from the very nice gentleman behind the counter.

As he left to prepare my bags, we tried a couple more samples, and I already know what I’m going to order the next time we visit!

While we waited, I noticed that the “cafe” area has two of the Ikea tables that I would have bought had our apartment thing in Sherman worked out. (And, by the way, how awesome is it that it didn’t?! I’d still be in the throes of a lease somewhere north of Dallas!)

Nutella Delight! (and no, I didn’t)

Chocolate-Covered Cherry!

We’re trying to pace ourselves with our haul, but it’s not easy! You’ll find our bring-homes below the beautiful cherry popcorn pic…

Birthday Cake

Peanut Butter Chocolate

And my *favorite*: a mix of smoky sweet bbq with caramel cheddar.

Allow me to wax poetic for a moment, if I might. The Smoky Sweet BBQ (cringe; it *should* say “barbecue,” but I digress) is amazing. It starts of sugary on your tongue, then gets savory, then ends with on a slightly spicy note. It’s very yummy, and, to me (Daphne disagrees), the crisp bite of the also sweet/savory cheddar caramel corn makes for a perfect handful of goodness (she thinks they are better separately).

Two great tastes that taste great together, right?

I can’t be the only one who thinks that might be possible? Am I?

Okay, here’s how the stream of consciousness goes:

1) H-E-B had an in-store coupon for buy two/get one free of different candies.
2) Having these things is danger in my house, so I decided to try to use one in a recipe. And I love cookies. So I found this recipe on the Hershey’s site. Looks yummy, right?
3) I start getting stuff out of the refrigerator to get all room-temperature-y, and, lo, I behold an avocado.
4) I’ve baked with them before and verify here that I can replace half of the fat in a recipe with avocado. Oh, and the cookies will be softer than with other fats? Hello! I’m there!

Now you’re cookin’ with… avocado.

Unfortunately, as I start to make this, I realize that I only have about 2/3 of the peanut butter I need. Oh well. I used mayo to make up for the rest of it. Don’t judge me. Anyway, if you’re going by the recipe to which I linked up there, I followed it except that I replaced the butter with avocado (1/2 cup) and I used 2/3 of 1/2 of a cup of peanut butter and 1/3 of 1/2 of a cup of mayonnaise. I’m sure there’s an easier, or more precise, way to put that, but I was a theater major. So sue me.

The fats-only mixture resembled baby food just a bit.

The final dough looked very tasty, though!

 

Here they are, ready to go into my tiny RV oven. When they were done… well, you have to see the miraculous transformation. You almost wouldn’t believe it’s even the same batch of cookies. They were like butterflies from caterpillars!

 

Umm. Right. No change except that they dried out and browned a bit. They didn’t spread. At all. But you know how we can fix that?

 

Pink cup smash!

Daphne was horrified and wanted me to save one round cookie for her, but I didn’t. It’s the principle of the thing. They’re cookies, not giant malt balls. Mmm… giant malt balls.


Anyhoo, we ended up with a big old plate of delicious-looking (and smelling) peanut butter avocado candy cookies. But I’m such a good mother, I didnt’ let Daphne have any this late. We’re saving them for breakfast.

 

 

I know what you’re thinking: There’s no way she’s ever going to top that female product review, so she might as well just hang it up now, right?

Well, I have some good news! A couple of pieces, actually.

The first is that I *will* continue to update this blog. Yea! You can all rest easy.

The second is that my teammate and I (Team Dave’s!) have soft-launched a joint blog (not about smoking weed, man; it’s about relationships and we’re producing it together!) that I’d love for you all to check out!

It’s at DumbAssGuide.com, and if you want to know why it’s thusly-named, I highly suggest that you scroll to the bottom to read the prologue first.

Leave comments to let us know what you think! And tell your friends (if you think it’s good… well, or if you think it’s bad. In media, I suppose it’s true that any publicity is good publicity, right?). Thanks, lovers!

Warning: If you are a female who is past child-bearing age, or at all squeamish, you might want to stop reading right now. If you’re a male, you definitely want to stop reading. Seriously, this post is not for you. Go over here and get a few chuckles, and then enjoy the rest of the internet. (Editor’s note: “doghousediaries.com” is NOT the same thing as “thedoghousediaries.com.” Too. much. cute.) Except for this post. It is not for you. I’m not kidding. If you continue, you’ll be very grossed out and ticked off, and I will not entertain your angry comments or emails asking me what I was thinking concocting such a post.

Just to clear up the adjective modification of this post’s title, the “revolutionary” refers to the product, not to my review.

Lest you believe I am overstating, may we take a stroll down a shady path I like to call Memory Lane?

Basically, throughout history, women have used some kind of padding or sponge to collect their cyclic evacuations. You may recall a story from the Old Testament in which Jacob (of the Jacob/Esau brotherhood) was returning to his estranged family with his new wife, Rebecca, who had stolen her father’s house gods. This was a big deal, and Daddy had tracked them down to reclaim what was rightfully his. Rebecca, lady genius that she was, placed the trinkets underneath a blanket and sat on them. When Dad came to ransack the room, she declared with feminine deception that she couldn’t get up because she was having her monthlies.

Well, women can’t just sit down three (if you’re my sister) to twelve (if you’re me) days out of thirty-ish, so someone wisely invented a belt device to hold the pad snug up against the offending orifice. Additionally, women have been using variants of tampons pretty much forever. Then there were adhesive pads that stick to the between-leg parts of the underpants, unless you’re wearing snug jeans, in which case the pad will migrate throughout a day of walking the halls in high school, and by the end of the day, you’ll have some flattering duck-wing action going on at either your slight left or slight right (depending on your footedness) cheek.

The downfall of pads is manifold:
1) They move around. At night, gravity and your unconscious flailings conspire against tidiness. During P.E., the constant movement threatens a complete dislodging and perhaps even a loss of adhesion. With those athletic shorts, what’s to keep it from just falling out? (My heart races at the very thought of this, some 22 years beyond high school, and 20 years beyond pad usage.)
2) They are bulky. Even the “thin” ones are bulky. You have to be aware that they’re there. Walking around with the equivalent of a carry-along tissue pack in your ‘twixt leg britches area is just not natural.
3) You can’t swim. Or do gymnastics. Or engage in any activity that calls for anything less than sweat pants or overalls.
4) If the adhesive is really good, you can get it stuck to YOU, and when this happens, especially in the middle of the day (after the aforementioned shifting and whatnot) it can be tricky finding a time or place to readjust. Or the adhesive can stick to itself, folding over, and creating twice the bulk. Fun!
5) Gross warning, okay? I’m telling you… skip it if you need to. This is going to be way too much information, but I’m trying to make a point. Remember my 12-day thing? Yeah. It should go without saying that I apparently get rid of a LOT of excess material. And, frankly, having to look at that, not to mention other senses at play… It’s. Just. Nasty.
6) Leaks! Oh my gosh, the leaks. No. No. No. Ruined sheets, ruined clothes, ruined reputations. It’s not worth it.

(P.S. If you’re one of those women who’s tempted to say, “No, it’s not nasty! It’s a natural part of life! It’s beautiful! Embrace it!” you don’t need to message me. I get that. But there’s a reason people don’t walk around with open wounds. Blood may be natural, but it’s also disconcerting. And there is move involved here that just blood, as you ladies well know. So perhaps it’s not entirely barf-inducing in and of itself, but you lug that stuff around in a very enclosed, potentially sweaty space for a few hours, and it gets there really fast.)

Tampons, I think, represent a slight improvement over pads in that the leak factor is lower, though not eliminated. There used to be a whole toxic shock thing that might still exist, but I guess women have learned to better tend themselves so we aren’t all just dropping like flies.

Actually, tampons represent a huge improvement over pads. You don’t have to worry about your kid making a bunny costume out of them and hopping into the living room when you have friends over for dinner. They are more compact, easier to carry, more comfortable, you can move around more easily and with less insecurity.

However, tampons have their drawbacks, too:
1) Swimming. Although technically you CAN swim, if you try to do this for too long, it gets all water-logged and swollen. Yuck.
2) Learning curve. Tampons have various patterns of “opening,” or “blooming,” if you will. Some expand in all directions outward pretty evenly. Others lengthen as they widen. There are more flowering-shaped ones. If you happen to try to use a public dispenser and they have a different version than the one you use, you could regret this later.
3) Unforgiving at first. When you first put in a tampon, if you sneeze too hard or jump around too much before it’s softened up a little bit, it can shoot out of its home like freaking Nerf ammunition from an air gun.

There is another option, one that has been in use for centuries, as well. Previously, however it was made of rubber, and this is an allergy risk. NOW, there are silicone products available. I have used precisely one of these, and that is the one I’ll review now… (drum roll)

THE DIVA CUP!

I cannot even begin to tell you how long I have wanted to share an enthusiastic endorsement of this product, but haven’t been able to figure out how. I considered splitting my Facebook friends list into “male” and “female” and posting a status update only to the women.

However, since I have a few product reviews under my belt, I decided that the time was right for this. Without further ado…

Basically, this is a silicone cup that goes the same place as a tampon, and “disappears” the same way. In fact, I think it’s less noticeable for several reasons: 1) It’s softer, 2) it’s shorter, 3) it moves with you, 4) it genuinely conforms to your shape.

Besides the official website, there are tons of sites that explain how to use this product, how to clean it, have diagrams about how to fold it, hints for insertion and removal. It boils down to whatever works for you, and the time it takes you to figure these things out.

When I was 15, I got contacts. I cried every morning for two weeks as I spent the better part of an hour in front of the mirror, eyes red and tears flowing, trying to figure out how to put those tiny lenses onto my eyeball and make them stay. This product has the same kind of introduction, but it took me less than three days (perhaps because it was more than a once-a-day proposition).

The stuff you’re thinking about how it might be gross, how you’re not comfortable messing around down there looking for something, what happens if you lose it, etc… All of that is absolutely nothing about which to be worried. I will say that when I first got mine, I had fingernails, and that made removal considerably simpler.

It’s funny: the cup comes with a carrying pouch (I need a new one; mine’s pretty torn up) and a lapel pin (which I’ve never worn). The pin cracked me up. It just says “diva” and has a flower on it, but for those in the know, I knew that donning it would be tantamount to screaming, “I’m ridding my body of superfluous inner-uterine lining and whatnot!” No, thanks.

I made this purchase in January 2010, and it’s recommended that you replace this yearly. The price is $24, and within about three months (remember the 12-day thing?) it had paid for itself. I actually still use the one I bought more than two and a half years ago. Don’t judge me. It works just fine.

Here are the benefits, in no particular order:
1) I’m never caught by surprise. Have you ever had one of those moments (if you’re irregular like I am; sometimes I really despise my sister) when you go to the restroom and realize, “Dang it! Already?!” or “Dang it! I’d assumed I was pregnant!” and you’re product-poor at that moment? Have you ever created a temporary pad out of toilet paper? Yeah. That hasn’t happened to me in over two years. I am *always* ready. It is *always* in my purse.
2) Prorated out, this has cost me less than one dollar per month.
3) Swimming! I can swim! It doesn’t move! It doesn’t swell up like some bloated caterpillar that fell into the pool two days ago!
4) Virtually leak-proof. There have been times when I’ve pushed time-length because of having been super busy, but even that was negligible and probably wouldn’t be a problem if you’re irritatingly “normal”
5) No trash! You don’t have to worry about filling up landfills, or feel guilty because someone has to empty your hazardous waste from that little rectangular tin bin in the ladies’. Speaking of which, why do they have red bags for used shots but not for this?
6) Don’t have to carry your purse to the restroom during “that time of the month.” I never do that otherwise; do you?

Ownership and use of this product has made my life so much simpler and freer, it eliminates waste, and I can do so much more! I jumped on a trampoline for nearly two hours once before I even thought about the fact that I was wearing this thing.

I have a male friend who, earlier this year, said to me, “I’ve always considered myself savvy when it comes to women’s menstruation…” (Yes, this is how my friends talk. We’re all kind of geeky.) He proceeded to explain that he figured there were two choices when it came to dealing with periods. When I realized where he was going, I started squealing, “I’m so glad you know about this! I would never have told you about it myself, but now that you’ve opened the door, I feel like you know me so much better!”

I don’t know that this greatly improved our friendship, but it made me giddy to know that this wasn’t a totally hidden product anymore, even to the male portion of the population. If you’ve never thought about it, you should. It’s cheaper, it’s more comfortable, and ultimately, it’s cleaner. Try it! Try it! You will never go back!

This is so I’ll have a picture to show when I post this to Facebook. 🙂 I don’t want the other two pictures on my wall!