Monday, April 25, 2011

Terrible gifts

First, let me state that I would consider everything in this post to be a terrible gift. However, different people have different tastes, some more bizarre than others. So let's review, and see what sort of "eccentric" person might like each of the following...

 Half tennis shoe, half flip flop Converse
 While these shoes give the illusion of comfort, just imagine if they would really feel that way. I imagine they could possibly be the most uncomfortable things ever. Just think of how many little rocks and twigs would get stuck in them while you're walking. Plus, I put on flip flops because I'm lazy and I hate tying my shoes.

Ideal recipient: Punk/emo kid who likes wearing skinny jeans to the beach. Or someone who likes to get pedicures and go exercise right afterwards. 

RealTree Stoneware from Bass Pro Shop
I immediately said a little "thank you Jesus that Shane doesn't like hunting" when I saw this. 

 Ideal recipient: Someone who likes to spend their spare time covered in deer urine. Would also make a great gag gift for a bridal shower, or regular wedding gift for someone you hate.

Webkinz Ballerina Husky Dog "collectible figurine"
I don't know what it is, but there is something unsettling about this ballerina husky dog. It bothers me. It's one of those things that you ponder on late at night when you can't fall asleep, but you never figure it out.

Ideal recipient: People who just "gotta catch 'em all!" (Yeah, yeah I know that's Pokémon). Other than obsessed collectors, I probably wouldn't buy this for anyone. The baseball playing turtle and the tennis champ hamster were much cuter.

"Knit Your Own Royal Wedding" Book
Yes, I will probably be awake at 4am to watch the royal wedding. And yes, I do like to knit. And yes, I have always wanted my own little knitted version of Queen Elizabeth II. But let's face it, this book has a limited span of relevancy. I saw it on Sunday. The wedding is this Friday. Even if you do have that sort of attention span and can knit that fast, what are you going to do? Re-enact the whole scene 100 times in your living room? Besides, I think this mug makes a much better souvenir.

Ideal recipient: Person who is obsessed with Prince William and wants to make a Kate Middleton voodoo doll. Anyone else can just wait til Saturday when these will be in the bargain bin for $1.

Flu shot gift card from CVS
Did you know that approximately 87% of Americans are absolutely terrified of needles? (Also, 94% of statistics are made up right on the spot.) This is one of those terrible gifts that no one wants. It's worse than getting sheets, or a package of socks, or underwear. Just imagine opening up that birthday card "Oh wow a gift card...for CVS? is this? A flu shot? Couldn't you have just given me the $30?"

Ideal gift giver: Helicopter mother whose child has finally escaped the house and is off at their first year of college.

Mustachioed, beret-wearing sheep plate, Hobby Lobby
(picture from my sister Hannah)
This isn't even one of those "so ugly it's cute" sort of things. What is even more disturbing is the fact that the little sheep in the bottom right corner looks like a salt/pepper shaker, which means there might be a whole collection of sheep nonsense out there. 

Ideal recipient: Perfect for a new neighbor, because this gift has options: 
#1--if they're cool, play it off as a gag gift. They will enjoy your humor and you will be instant BFFs. #2--if they're annoying, act like you're really into animals with facial hair, especially sheep with mustaches. Tell them how you've always dreamed of owning one, making it wear a beret, and naming it "Pierre." They'll think you're insane and avoid you in the hallways.

Sony Walkman from FYE for the low low price of $49.99

I saved this for last because it is the most absurd. Not only does it show that the music stores at the mall are way overpriced, they're also highly irrelevant. Who wants to go to the trouble of carrying CDs around that play 12-15 songs each when you can buy an iPod Shuffle for $49 that plays like 300 songs? 

Ideal recipient: Someone who got a really late start on their time capsule of the 90s.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

There's a first time for everything (P.S. Happy Easter!)

Living ten hours away from family can be difficult, especially at holidays. This year is the first Easter that Shane and I have spent away from home. Little did I know that would lead to a bunch of other firsts...

1. First time making hard boiled eggs. Since we don't really eat them, I had to consult my roommate John, my mom, my cookbook, and an online recipe to find out the proper technique. 

Lesson learned: You feel pretty dumb when you realize you have made bread from scratch but you don't know how to boil an egg. Then you find out that boiling eggs is pretty simple. It just takes a lot longer than you would have imagined. 

2. First time in 23 years I didn't color eggs with my family. (Don't worry, Shane did help me!)

Lesson learned: While having a set of coloring cups and wax crayon all to yourself might sound like fun, this really is one of those activities that is "the more, the merrier." It's a lot easier to decorate several dozen eggs when you can fall back on your yearly "Mom," "Dad," "Hannah," etc., designs. When you don't have any specific recipient in mind, you run out of ideas pretty quickly.

3. First time I dyed my own yarn. We had tons of egg dye left over, so I decided to grab some of my white yarn and put it to good use.

Lesson learned: Dying yarn is even messier than dying eggs. Also, there is a good chance this yarn will never be used. If it does get used, there is a good chance the colors will turn out really ugly when actually made into something. If by some miracle it turns out pretty, there is a good chance the dye will fade all over me and everything I own at the first drop of water.

4. First time I ever made glazed ham. I would consider myself a somewhat okay chef, but my meals still seem to have a 50-50% chance of being edible.

Lesson learned: Glazed ham is easy. It's like making hot's already cooked, you just have to heat it up (and not burn yourself with the glaze, oops!). You also have to remove the little plastic "remove before cooking" thing from the bone before you cook it, not afterwards (oops #2).

5. First time I have celebrated Easter for approximately two weeks. You see, two weeks ago is when Shane and I received our first shipment (of several) of Easter candy, stuffed animals, plastic eggs, and Easter bunny baskets that are so ugly and crosseyed that they're cute. The picture below represents about 1/2 of the candy we actually received (the other half has already been eaten).

Lesson learned: When your parents miss you, they send you lots and lots and lots of candy. They send so much candy, you get candy you didn't even know existed, like the Peeps pop (thing in the bottom left of the photo). Next year, schedule dentist appointment for the Monday after Easter Sunday.

I hope that everyone else has had a wonderful Easter, whether you got to spend it with your family or not. I'm off to enjoy the rest of my day, but first I think I had better go brush my teeth!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It still amazes me...

...that we live close enough to go down to Washington, DC, just to spend the day! My high school French teacher, Madame Taylor (or just Madame for short) and her sister Teresa came to Washington for the weekend, and we were so glad that they called us up to grab a cup of coffee together! It was nice to get to catch up with them for a little while. I wish I had the picture we took together, maybe Madame will email it to me :)

After a nice breakfast, they had to go back to the hotel to catch the shuttle for the airport, so Shane and I did some exploring in Georgetown...

We found Georgetown Cupcakes, home of the TLC show DC Cupcakes. Although I don't really like that show, I love cupcakes, so I wanted to give them a try...

...unfortunately everyone else and their brother wanted to try them too.
Don't worry, we did get cupcakes! We ended up down the street at Sprinkles Cupcakes, which little did I know is the "original cupcake bakery" and was founded by Candace Nelson from Cupcake Wars. I swear that was the best vanilla cupcake I have ever tasted!

The canal in Georgetown.

Later, we went to downtown DC to walk around and enjoy the nice weather.
Saw this monument (can't remember what it's for)...
...these giant tulips (which were as big as my head I swear)... a better view of the White House than our last visit...

...and marveled at  how far away people have to stand from it nowadays.

Eventually we ended up at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I love the Smithsonian because it's free, and they have some really awesome stuff! (I apologize in advance for any blurry/dark/sucky photos. They have to keep the lighting low in most parts of the museum to protect the pieces on display.)

We saw Stanley, the VW Touraeg that drives itself. Pretty awesome!

This is the Ghost Bike, which also drives itself. I don't really understand why you would need a riderless motorcycle though, unless you just wanted to really freak some people out.

The original Washington Monument, which was deemed too "inappropriate."

Martha Washington's dress. Looks like something an American Girl doll would wear.

Dorothy's ruby red slippers

They claim this to be a television...

Autographed Lou Gehrig baseball, baseball legend and member of Phi Delta Theta (Shane's fraternity).

I don't think I have to tell you who these guys are! But where's Miss Piggy?

The Fonz's leather jacket, Minnie Pearls' hat (complete with $1.98 price tag), and some Phyllis Diller props.

Catwoman costume, which we found to be oddly lumpy in the stomach region, as well as having some long gold fingernails glued on. Weird. (click to make bigger)

+5 points if you know what these chairs are from!
(I'll give you a hint, think 1970s groundbreaking sitcom, several famous spin-offs, anybody?)

From my favorite ride at Disney World :)

The top hat President Lincoln was wearing the night he was shot.

Abe Lincoln's tux and Mary Todd Lincoln's dress

Lincoln campaign banner.

Teddy Roosevelt's leather chaps.

Huey helicopter from the Vietnam War.

And C3PO! Who we almost missed. We spotted him while going out the door. Too bad they didn't have R2-D2 too!

They also have on display the American flag (made by a woman from Baltimore) which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner while at Fort McHenry (also in Baltimore)...but considering the fact that the flag is almost 200 years old and pretty delicate, they don't allow pictures. In fact they barely allow you to see the flag at all, the whole room is black except for a few tiny lights on the ground and the blacklight they use to light up the flag.

Overall, it was a great day! We had a nice time catching up with Madame and Teresa, and we got to see some neat things at the Museum of American History. I think it's pretty interesting to see what we have chosen to represent our country and it's relatively short history. Shane and I plan on making a lot more trips down to DC in the future, we might as well experience it all while we have the chance!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What a weekend!

This weekend, Shane's parents came to Maryland for a visit. We were very excited that they got to come up here, because it has been a while since we last saw them. Our weekend was jam-packed with activities, and I think everybody had a great time.

Pause the video around the 0:28 mark. Look at the signs. Do you think they did that just to see if anyone noticed?

Also, if you click on the link to watch the video on YouTube (which is probably a good idea because these embedded videos are tiny!) an ad pops up and I'm not sure why, or how to make it go away. Just close out of it and everything will be business as usual :)


Monday, April 11, 2011

Strange Pictures #2

This edition of Strange Pictures is all about food. You know there are some crazy/awesome/hilarious things out are a few that I have run across lately!

The new ketchups at Chick-fil-A. I love those things. Smartest idea ever! You can either rip off the top to squirt the ketchup out, or pull back the lid and dip your fries straight in it. 

Only Paula could get away with this... a 1qt. pan just for BUTTER! Yep, you read that right, this is her special Jumbo Butter Warmer.

This one makes me sick even just to look at it. That might look like ice cream on those cookie sandwiches, but it is definitely a big glob of icing. Gross. Shane and I had a cookie from this place, and I can say that it was probably the worst mall cookie I have ever had.

Last but not least, something to get you in the Easter spirit! Even chocolate bunnies love some bling around here. The only thing that could make this better is if his front two teeth were gold or he had a gold carrot or something.

That's it for now, but don't worry. There's always more where that came from!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Also known as my worst feared interview question. If you want to know the truth, I don't know where I see myself a week from now, much less five years into the future. I don't have plans for becoming a CEO for a Fortune 500 company, or being a famous actress, singer, etc., or even plans for hitting the Mega Millions jackpot and starting my own sports bar. In fact, the biggest thing I learned after four different majors and four and a half years in college is that I have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life. My goals are a little more abstract. I want to find a job that makes me happy. I don't need to be a millionaire, just make enough to pay bills and still be able to go on vacation every once in a while. I want to be able to spend nights and weekends with my husband, and sometime way off in the future, my kids. I want a job where I have to use my brain, so my education isn't wasted. Is that so much to ask?

Here are all the things that I have figured out I don't want to be...

Pharmacist: Wanted to be this until I worked in a pharmacy. Then I hated it. You spend all your time on your feet, counting pills. All day, every day. Too boring. Plus the idea of giving people flu shots freaks me out hard core.

Chemical Engineer: This was a split second interest after the pharmacist thing fizzled out. My logic was, I am good at science, if I don't want to count medicine out all day, why not develop it? The downside to any engineering degree is all the physics. I am pretty good at math (as in, getting good grades) but I don't comprehend it well. I feel like my retention of that stuff is almost zero to none.

Party Attendant at a Bounce House: Worked at one of those places over the summer one year. Entertaining the kids is the fun part. Being in your socks all day, not so much. Especially when they have birthday parties, and the kids spill cake and icing all over the floor. Trust me, you eventually step in it, then all your socks are stained blue and pink on the bottom.

French Teacher: This would be a really awesome job. Unfortunately the market for French is getting smaller and smaller. If I could just figure out a way to make it work, I would definitely go for it. I have to work on my accent though, because my luck, I would be the Peggy Hill of French teachers.

United Nations Translator: This interest was sparked by a trip to the UN in New York. This would also be a really awesome job, but I am sure there are tons of French speaking people who are more qualified than me (see Peggy Hill link above). Plus I fell asleep in The Interpreter.

Housing and Design/Interior Designer: the closest thing TTU offers to being an architect. In the end, it just wasn't enough architecture for me. The interior design part was fun, but not my forté.

Boutique Owner: Fun, but it seems like they barely break even, if they're lucky. Plus you spend all your time at the store. Too much stress for not enough return.

Now if I could just figure out something that I do want to do!

ETA: Maybe I could become a breeder for Petite Lap Giraffes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Green thumb? Try black.

I have always wanted to be a good gardener. I don't know if it is because of all of the flowers my dad used to plant in our yard, or if it's from the movie "A Troll in Central Park" which Hannah and I used to watch all the time when we were little. Unfortunately for me (and the plants I try to grow) I suck at gardening. The plant Shane bought me for my birthday, which was supposed to be super easy to grow, is currently dropping dead flowers all over the window sill. My miniature orange tree which I bought in Miami is flourishing and producing tiny oranges, all thanks to my dad, who has taken care of it pretty much since day 2. The terrarium I made three years ago, complete with mini farm animal decor, never sprouted and is still just a jar of dirt on my dresser. The only plant I have successfully kept alive is the peace lily from my Granny Opal's funeral, and that is really only with the help of Aqua Globes, a self-watering pot, and Shane, who waters it every time I forget.

Despite my terrible track record, I can't help but get sucked in by those miniature grow kits they sell at the store. You know the ones I'm talking about, the kind that you can get in the $1 section at Target. If you're lucky, you can find them in Disney Princess or Spongebob flower pots. They come with a tiny little pot, a pellet of dirt, a packet of seeds, and a promise that they will sprout in about a week.

Getting all the little plants ready. This is so exciting!
 From left to right we have: Daisies, grass, a Venus fly trap (even though I sorta have an irrational fear of them), a Spruce tree, and a polka dot plant.

Add a few tablespoons of water to the dirt pellets and they turn into, well, dirt. Looks pretty gross.

What's that you say, instructional packet? You're only supposed to add 5 grass seeds to the pot? That's no fun. Must've been a typo...

This is the aftermath when you try to do some light gardening in your bathroom. 

The manufacturers promise results in less than 5 days, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!