Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Greetings for 2014

Holiday Greetings for 2014


This being the first night of Hanukkah (Chanukah? Chanukkah?) and my lack of posts for such a long time, I decided it was time for holiday greetings!!! For those of you who, like me: (1) have yet to mail a single card; (2) feel a little weird about being grown-up and sending cards; and (3) don't like the generic cards available in my price range, you're in luck! I've made a few designs of my own! They're great for me because they're free and funny and I didn't actually print them so I don't have to worry about sending them anywhere. (Somewhere I know my plan is flawed, but here we are anyway.)

1. Real Talk

Y'all, I know you think I'm too old to be broke but you're wrong. It's time for real talk. Send checks. Cash. Money orders. 

I mean, that's selfish and makes me feel guilty because Christmas and all. So send those things to a charity of your choice. Personally, I totally dig St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. And so do Jennifer Aniston and Jon Hamm, so it's gotta be good.

2. The Obligatory "Elf" Card

For those holiday movie purists out there, boo hiss, go watch "It's a Wonderful Life". (Another movie that I love, btw.) Elf is chock full of one-liners and quotes that spread Christmas cheer almost as well as singing loud for all to hear. (See what I did there?)

For legal reasons, I should point out I own nothing that has to do with "Elf" and I'm making no money off of this card so there.

3. Puppy Love

Aw, but adorable little farts they are.

For legal reasons, I should probably point out that I DO own this little Boston, so respect it. Creative commons copyright and all that-- share but refer back! Or may the copyright gods come down on you swiftly and with lots of stinky farts.

4. Stay Golden

What better gift is there than friendship? Nothing.

Enjoy the intro and get ALL the warm fuzzies. You know you want to sing along.
(*I also don't own the Golden Girls, but they do own my heart. Sigh.)

5. The Perfect Card for Other Twenty-Something Single Folks

I know I've limited my audience here. But sometimes to truth is so very real that it's worth it.

Feel free to print these if you feel like paying for that (I can't imagine you would) or using your ink that way (in which case, sorry for the colored backgrounds). I made them as 5x7's so there! If you're awful nice, I'll even send a full res file your way. (Aw, shucks!)

Happy holidays, y'all. I hope you get to spend them with people you love doing things you love and over-indulging in good things. Only good things!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Official Gameplay Guide: SKITTLES

Skittles is a roadtrip game an obsession that my nephews introduced me to a few years ago on a family vacation. (For legal reasons, I suppose I should clarify that, to my knowledge, Skittles and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company have absolutely nothing to do with this game and even less to do with my blog. Also, the website is probably the trippiest thing I've ever seen come from a candy corporation, so click there and enjoy that some other time.) This game is highly addictive, so proceed at your own risk.

I should also say that the rules that I'm about to explain to you are strictly my nephews' rules-- they are my judges and parliamentarians. If ever there is a question regarding gameplay, I text my sister to ask the boys for clarification. (We take skittles very seriously.)

At first glance, the game is very simple.

Who can't do that? Well, my colorblind boyfriend has some trouble with lime green cars, so I guess SOME people can't do that, but you get my point: this game is easy for most people to pick up. (*Don't worry about his colorblindness affecting his score-- my extremely short attention span is my handicap. He kicks my butt. Maybe also because he can pretend he thinks everything is yellow and I know nothing about colorblindness.)

Why is it fun? Well, you don't see many yellow cars on the road-- or at least not as many as you see other cars. Thus the search begins.

There are, however, restrictions:

These rules are mostly to keep people from monopolizing the game-- or from shouting too much. (Really, once you start looking, you'll want to shout "SKITTLES!" at every yellow thing you see. You'll start cursing Waffle House signs and parking dividers and every other unnecessarily yellow thing in society.)

Other clarifying notes from my nephews:

  • Hovercraft, boats, lawnmowers, and motorcycles all are considered skittles.
  • One may choose whether or not Penske moving trucks count at the beginning of a new game.
  • Cars on cinder blocks that have no engine in them do NOT count.
  • Cars that are parked DO count.
  • Yellow-orange is NOT yellow.
  • It is often necessary to denote which skittle one is calling. For example, "SKITTLES! MOTORCYCLE!" This eliminates confusion if more than one skittle is present.
There is a lot of debate in the family as to when the game ends. When someone gets out of the car? The next day? Whenever someone says so? My nephews, being the empowering type, let me know that I can decide for myself whenever I play the game.

So I did.

On the way to the beach one day, my friends and I were in the middle of an intense round of skittles. Being huge Harry Potter nerds, we decided the game should end in a Quidditch-like fashion.

That's right. The Holy Grail of skittles-- a person eating Skittles in a yellow car.

I immediately called my nephews and received their unanimous approval. (To be thorough, that's four (4) yea's and zero (0) nay's.) We had taken skittles to the next level. And now I proudly present it to you.

If you come up with questions while you're playing, let me know. I'll text the boys and have an answer for you soon.

Happy skittle hunting!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Product Improvement: Coffee Mugs

I got some fun (and only somewhat judgmental) feedback from y'all after my last post, I figured I'd follow up with a double whammy of a blog post that covers both Pinterest AND coffee-- two of my favorite things. 

Color change coffee mugs? Now that's just like MAGIC. (My #3 favorite thing!) I love when people send me pins of such things, but they're just so CUTE. And I hate it. My need for coffee isn't CUTE. It isn't adorable. It is REAL, INTENSE, and SOMEWHAT DISTURBING. Get it right.

I mean, really. You're not doing it right. Make me a mug that goes from full-out Walking Dead, three-months in the Atlanta heat zombie to rainbow-farting, I-don't-sweat-I-sparkle Care Bear sweetness and I'm in. All I'm looking for is a coffee mug I can relate to. Is that too much to ask?

Make it for me, pinners. Make it happen.

I do own this mug, which I love and I feel as though comes pretty close-- so thanks for this, internet:
Magical Tired Eyes Wake Up Color Changing Hot Sensitive Porcelain Mug Cup

It took me FOREVER (aka all of 5 minutes... which is like 5 internet years) to find the original source for the mug from Pinterest, so click away and buy it if you're willing to settle for less. And pinners, shame on you for linking to photos and not to original links. You're ruining the point of Pinterest! If I just wanted to look at a bunch of photos, I'd get on Facebook!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Product Improvement: Etsy Wine Glass

I'm an avid pinner-- I'm a huge fan of Pinterest and its ability to introduce me to some pretty fantastic, witty stuff that's floating around the internet. (I visit the "Humor" boards everyday!) The problem is that Pinterest doesn't have a very user-friendly way of responding to those pins. (Comments? Please.) So here I am, blogging. Setting the record straight. Today's pin? This misinformed wine glass.

If I weren't lazy, I'd sell it on my own. But as it is, I am-- so you can visit Sherry's Lane Etsy Shop to see if she's making any more of the glass from the original pin I was sent or visit any of these other shops with similar products. (Yes, each of those words links to a DIFFERENT Etsy shop, and yes, I could have kept going. Copyright these days.)

Maybe someday I'll get my stuff together and open an Etsy shop. Until then, enjoy these crudely drawn comics, spurred on and inspired by good chats with good friends. Til next time!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Words That Mean Something Very Different in NOLA

As a transplant in NOLA (2+ years and going strong!), I'm especially conscious of how much dialect affects what words mean. I've finally stopped asking what people down here are saying-- 1. because I've probably picked up on it by now, 2. because sometimes that's just easier, and/or 3. because if I don't know it by now, it can't be all that common so stop saying that, I don't want to hear it! 

Not to mention people in New Orleans make fun of how I talk all the time (e.g., my hard A's like when I'm wagging around a saggy bag, my occasional "you guys" instead of "y'all," or talking about cheese all the time). 

Welcome to the Midwest! Where words mean exactly what the dictionary says they mean! 

Lessons learned here? For one thing, people in New Orleans are jerks for their weird words and for making fun of ME for being normal. (I mean, seriously. National news anchors base their delivery off of Columbus, OH speech patterns. HELLO. I should cite that, but I won't because you can Google it or assume I'm lying.)

For another, I have to be very conscious of how I'm speaking if I want to fit in, because there is a LOT of room for misunderstanding. 

So here I am, a gal who doesn't talk like she's from New Orleans OR from the Midwest, who will try to explain to all you people exactly what my struggle has been.

Example #1: Snowball

This is a no-brainer in the Midwest. However, it's completely foreign to people in New Orleans. And shut up, you NOLA local who swears you made a snowball once in 2008 and it was glorious. NO. That was pathetic. This is a snowball to you:

The yummier, smoother, fancier version of the Icee of the rest of the world. New Orleans: the one place in the world where eating yellow snowballs is not only appropriate but also encouraged.

2. Example #2: Shotgun

In the Midwest: Your God-given and Constitution-protected right to bear arms and spend a lot of money on ammunition. We have that in NOLA, too, but when you talk "shotgun" here, THIS is the first thing to come to mind:
A New Orleans shotgun is a house. You live in it. You paint it crazy colors. You don't use it to take out targets, animals, or people.

On a related note, example 2b: camelback. In the Midwest: a brand of water bottle or an actual camel's hump. In New Orleans? A shotgun house with a second story added to the back end. I could explain to you why, but I won't.

Example #3: Cold drink
In the Midwest: quite literally and unimaginatively, a drink that is cold. Any drink that is cold.

In New Orleans: quite irrationally and very specifically, a soda or pop or coke or whatever you choose to call a sugary, carbonated beverage. Probably cold. I am sure that I will NEVER understand this.

Example #4: Dressed

In the Midwest: Again, literally it means being dressed. Having clothes on. (We're not creative? Or maybe we just like for our words to MAKE SENSE.) Extra points for dressing in a dress.

In New Orleans: Putting everything on your sandwich. Like your sandwich is getting dressed up? I guess. I guess I can embrace this. When I go home to see the family, I will just ask for my sandwiches with everything on it. Sorry. "Fully dressed" will only get me strange stares at the deli in Ohio.

Example #5: Suck the head, pinch the tail

Um, excuse me? This is a family-friendly blog and I will NOT have the kind of dirty talk.

Oooooooooh, wait. You're in New Orleans, so you're eating crawfish. Yep, this sexually charged phrase is a set of instructions for eating mudbugs. They're delicious, and this is the best way to enjoy them, so cheers, y'all! I'll be suck 'dem heads until dere ain' no more to suck!

And a note to my Midwestern friends: Just don't bother saying this. It's not worth it. #badpickuplines

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bacon: A Love Story

A few weeks (months? I don't know. I'm behind the times.) ago, Oscar Mayer introduced a new app to "Transform Your iPhone into a Bacon Scent Alarm Clock" and a Wake Up & Smell the Bacon Campaign. True to self, I didn't really read the parameters and thought that if I tweeted funny things to @oscarmayer, they'd be so enamored by my wit that they would surely send me the bacon device! (Moot point: I don't own an iPhone and wouldn't be able to use it.) Thus began my portfolio of bacon-related haiku.

Unfortunately, what they REALLY wanted me to do was send their stock tweets from their website so they could instantly tell me that I was a loser. That bored me instantly (and I knew my followers didn't want to read that drivel), so I immediately gave up on that.

My love affair with bacon, however, remains true and untainted by Oscar Mayer's blatant disregard for the passion we share. You may have crushed my dreams, Oscar, but not my love.

To you I present a few samples of smoky, crispy poetry.

Haiku #1: Bacon is the family you choose for yourself.

Haiku #2: Revenge is a great marinade for bacon. (AKA Sometimes I lie take poetic license because I think it's funny.)

Haiku #3: Sometimes it's okay to be clingy in a relationship.

Haiku #4: Pork Heaven - preferable to pork hell.

Haiku #5: Because bacon should know its place.

Haiku #6: True love is timeless.

I officially have written more love poetry to bacon than to any human being (except for maybe Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys back when I was 13... little evidence of that remains, so the comparison is inconclusive). Mark this date in history. And sorry, boo boo, but bacon came first.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Top 10 Things to Know About Mardi Gras

The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Mardi Gras(From Someone Who Isn't From Around Here)*

*Who, by the way, consulted absolutely no one before she made this list and who, incidentally, is completely uninterested in any arguments or corrections. So, there's that.

Disclaimer: I've been here for two Carnival seasons and I'm not really an expert but that isn't stopping me from telling you all about it. Most of y'all aren't from NOLA either, so you don't know any better and I'll gladly impart my knowledge upon you!!

First of all, YES that is Daryl from the Walking Dead on a Mardi Gras float. Zombies, I hope you enjoyed your hey day, because Daryl was too busy tossing beads to kill you. Which brings me to item #10 on my list of things to know:

#10. Celebrities Freaking Love Mardi Gras

It's true. Mardi Gras is as star-studded an event as any awards show. Celebs are always parading as grand marshals or krewe royalty or what have you. This year they include:

  • Norman Reedus ("The Walking Dead")
  • Ian Somerhalder ("Vampire Diaries")
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Hugh Laurie ("House")
  • Will Smith
  • Quentin Tarantino
Whatever. You get it. It's a big deal.

#9. King Cake: It's What's for Dinner

There's no escaping King Cake during Mardi Gras. It's the only time the treat is (*or SHOULD BE) available, so it's literally everywhere. Every office at work, in every store, handed out by strangers in the street. You can try to fight it, but why? IT'S SO GOOD!

If you are what you eat, then for two months of the year I'm purple, green, and gold sugar with a little pastry and cinnamon on the side.

#8. Context Is Everything

For those of you outside of New Orleans this time of year, you probably hand over plastic beads to little kids playing dress up and think of cheap stuffed animals as bad carnival prizes. Don't fret-- we feel that way, too. UNLESS, of course, that cheap trinket is thrown from a float. Suddenly it becomes precious as gold. Context, I tell you, is EVERYTHING.

And the bigger the trinket? Cheap though it may be, there will be BLOOD. Seriously, I almost fought an old man for a medallion. A plastic necklace with a plastic disc attached. And if it lights up? Oh, buddy. I NEED IT. 

#7. It's Good to Be Adorable

Seriously, you want to know who gets all the good stuff? Kids. And, less common but just and popular, nuns and adorable old ladies. As an average parade goer, your only option is to seek out these adorable folks and try to poach their throws. 

What? Don't judge me. I have no shame. The old folks have had their day and kids gotta learn sometime that life is hard.

There is, however, one less seedy option for getting the goods...

#6. Witty People Will Out

The only hope for the average Joe to get some goodies is to sport a witty or outrageous costume or make a witty sign. I want to be clear, I didn't make it to Muses this year (*work) so illustrating cartoon LeeAnne in this bit is just a pipe dream because I am so epically jealous of the woman who made this sign and got not one, not two, but SIX shoes. 

It gets boring up there (or so I'm told-- I've only ridden in a dinky Mardi Gras parade around campus, so I have no idea) so anything that catches a rider's eye, challenges them, or makes them laugh is win-win for all.

#5. Nothing Is Weird Here

I also considered naming #5 "Read carefully" because yes, you read right. If you read this warning in the Midwest, you'd probably be quite alarmed. Not here. It's everyday language.

I've said before that anything goes in NOLA. That goes double for Mardi Gras. 

#4. Plan Ahead

You best plan ahead, y'all, because you ain't getting anything done on Mardi Gras day. Grocery shopping? Nope. Run some errands? No way. Grab a bite to eat? Forget it! The entire city of New Orleans shuts down for Mardi Gras. It's a holiday at work-- the university is closed. But not anywhere else. Because everywhere else, it's Tuesday.

I take that back. Last year, we drove around for an hour or so until we found a little Thai joint that was open. That might not seem like much time, but considering how many restaurants there are per capita around here, that's plenty. Let's just say we passed a lot of "CLOSED" signs and our tummies rumbled for a long time.

#3. Mardi Gras Knows How to Jam

When you turn on the radio each winter, you know it's officially the holiday season by the time the sax solo chimes in to "Last Christmas." Christmas has a soundtrack hundreds of songs deep-- but I'm telling you: the holiday soundtrack doesn't end after that! Mardi Gras has a prolific list of songs itself. 

It's not Carnival without "Mardi Gras Mambo" or Professor Longhair's "Go to the Mardi Gras"-- these songs instill more holiday cheer than any Christmas carol.

Want to listen along? Here's a great Mardi Gras playlist on Spotify: New Orleans / Louisiana (Mardi Gras) music

#2. Master the Vocabulary

Sometimes I'm pretty sure that people here in New Orleans make up words just to see who will go along with it. That educated guess aside, there are a lot of words associated with Mardi Gras that I never used before moving here. Here's an extremely abbreviated list for you foreigners:
  • carnival (or carnivale) - the official term for Mardi Gras season, from Twelfth Night (the twelfth day of Christmas matters here) through Mardi Gras day
  • doubloons - coins some krewes give away; there's much debate as to their worth, but I like them until I inevitably lose them
  • krewe - a group of folks who put on Carnival parades or balls (See also: Micro-krewe and Super Krewe)
  • ladders - not just for home improvement jobs, special ladders with seats and wheels are set up for the little ones to sit on for a good viewing/catching spot
  • Mardi Gras - officially, "Fat Tuesday" (the day before Ash Wednesday and Lent), but unofficially the name for the entire season
  • micro-krewe - a "krewe" that puts on a smaller parade whose floats are often shopping carts, bikes, or small trailers. Chewbacchus is my favorite--it's sci-fi themed and goes right past my old place!
  • riders - those nice masked folks who throw goodies at you
  • super-krewe - a big ol' krewe with thousands of riders and double decker floats. Endymion is my favorite because their Pontchartrain Beach float is a gigantic, sparkly, fiber-optic paradise.
  • throw - the goodies you get from Mardi Gras parades
  • "Throw me something, mister!" - the Mardi Gras creed; may the throws be ever in your favor

#1. Do Whatcha Wanna!

Rebirth says it best: DO WHATCHA WANNA! Mardi Gras is all about having a great time! People are nicer during Mardi Gras than any other time of year. You look parched? Have a beer. You haven't caught anything? Have these glorious beads. You lost your phone? Why, here you are!

I digress to tell you my very own Mardi Gras miracle: On the way back from a parade route, a friend and I came across a track. OBVIOUSLY we had to race back to the car... and apparently fling my phone out of purse along the way. We discovered it was missing when we got back to the car and headed back to search. We called once and a gentleman had it and was waiting for someone to come looking for it.

That's right folks. He didn't steal it, break it, or ignore it. He figured someone would come back for it. 

Mardi Gras blessings upon that man-- may his car never be towed, may his beers always be cold, and may his kids catch the best throws from every parade.

Enough talk: It's Lundi Gras, y'all! HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!