Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Spirit: The New Avatars

You may have noticed my social media profiles have a new look. I decided to be festive this year and give a little nod to my namesake (or, at least that's what I tell everyone. My mom swears there's no specific reason she named me Mandi other than, "I just liked that name.").


Here's the (fake) story behind my name:

Christmas just isn't really happening until I watch this film. Which is why it's currently NOT Christmas season. It will be after this weekend. Mark your calendars.

*Sigh* Bing Crosby. I was SO born in the wrong decade...

And, yes, I have 3 versions of this film's soundtrack.

And, yes, when I get married this song will be playing at some point.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Coolest Thing Happened to Me Last Night

Last night I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and it wasn’t until I was in my car that I remembered an email I forgot to send at work that needed to get out ASAP. I hadn’t yet made or eaten dinner, so shelving my recipe until tomorrow I debated on where I could go for some food that also had free WiFi available (I don’t have Internet access at home).

Usually Alterra is my go-to, but the one near my house has very little seating and even less parking space. Instead I decided to try the local McDonald’s. My friend’s dad owns it, and, while I try not to eat fast food too often, I love stopping at this location because the workers are always cheerful, fast, and generally awesome.

Plus, I can just say “I visited Elysse’s dad,” instead of, “I had dinner at McDonald’s.”

To be quick…and cheap…I ordered a happy meal and sat down with my laptop.

Sidenote: free WiFi means nothing to me if your business doesn’t also have outlets. My dinosaur of a laptop needs to be plugged in at all times.

I finished my business online while I munched on my fries and chicken nuggets. I always check the bag for stray fries, but tonight I found something different.

Now, I don’t want to get any workers in trouble, and, because I know Elysse’s dad is a pretty cool guy I know he won’t mind me saying this, but I found an extra package of apple dippers in my happy meal. Apples that I didn’t order.

Bonus, right?

For some reason, I had this weird thought, “I wish there was someone I could give these to.”

On my usual commute I pass a particular intersection on my way home where there’s always someone asking for money from people stopped at the light. This is what came to mind, but this intersection was now out of my way and I wouldn’t be passing it when I ventured the rest of the way home.

So I figured I’d just save the apples for a late-night snack, I packed up my laptop, and I headed out to my car.

I was getting into my car before I heard, “Excuse me, ma’am?”

Ugh. I hate being called ma’am.

I looked to find where the inquiry had come from and saw a woman standing near the bus stop not 10 feet from where I was parked.

“I’m not asking for any money,” she said, “but I just came from the church down the street and they had to turn me away for their meal program.” “I’m not asking for money, but would you mind buying me a dollar sandwich?” she asked.

I had just used the last of my cash to pay for my happy meal, but now understood why, by divine design, I had been given some extra apples. I gladly handed them over to her and she tucked them away in her pocket.

I truly, truly wish I could’ve given her more. It wasn’t until I was home that it dawned on me I could’ve given her some of my groceries too. Because she pocketed the food I can only imagine she’s in need of something more substantial to share with a family. That could just be my overactive imagination, but I hope I didn’t just let an opportunity to feed a mom and her children pass me by.

The entire incident, however, made me realize just how important it is to listen. Take notice of what’s going on around you. When a stranger asks you for help it’s far too easy to be cynical in assuming their motivations.

I wish I was more courageous to stop and help the motorist on the side of the road. I wish I was less cynical when someone asks me for spare change. But every day there are opportunities to give and make someone’s life a little bit easier. You just have to listen.

As a Christian I believe these opportunities are heaven sent. Hebrews 13:2 states “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” There have been a few of these instances in my life and I've come to believe that the more you listen the more God speaks.

Giving is relative. Someone will always have more than you, but then someone also will always have less than you. It’s within your power to ignore the former and, instead, serve the latter.

Your Christmas Challenge:
All this being said, I’d like to give you a challenge.

Every Christmas season, once the Salvation Army kettles come out, I make it my mission to drop a quarter in every kettle I see when I’m shopping and bustling about town. Kettles with a bell ringer get 50 cents and kettles where the bell ringer is awesomely singing Christmas Carols (Pick ‘N Save on State St. in Wauwatosa) get bumped up to a dollar.

I’ve done this now for about 5 years. I have no idea how much I end up giving each year, but I hardly miss it.

Please join me in this campaign – give whatever you can afford – a penny per kettle, dollar per kettle, etc. Every. Day. YOU can make a difference.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving season was looking pretty bleak, and then I realized that "bleak" on the Mandi Scale is still "quite okay" on everyone else's scale. I then put on my big girl pants and forced myself to be thankful for the blessings in my life, because, quite frankly, I'm very blessed.

And so are you.

And that's why we should give thanks.

I mean, what would happen if you woke up every morning only with those things you had thanked God for the night before?

Positivity is a conscious choice. That's something I learned this year; you can choose to be positive which then, given enough time and repetition, can actually make you positive.

So with that I'm introducing...
Giving Thanks: 2011 Blessings, Mandi Style

1. The Packers are 10-0 - *discount double check*

2. Girl's Gotta Brand New Job - and I get to go zip lining this weekend for it

3. Family - Yeah, I got 'em, but they're also awesome. So there.

4. Friends - My friends increased by one this year when baby Gabby was born. I should probably file this under "family"

5. New Perspective - I just finished reading "Heaven is for Real" which gave me a different perspective on life. I highly recommend it.

6. Health - I'm healthy. I'm not yet due for my obligatory "once every 5 years" flu, so that's good

7. Marathons - Did my first half in July and doing my first marathon in January. "Avoid the Lap" - Jimmy Dugan

8. Hybrids - It's a good thing I've got that Prius seeing as how I'll be commuting every morning now

9. Tweeps - I had the chance to meet dozens of new Twitter friends at #ThrowbackWeekend this year, which was the bomb. diggity.

10. Using "Bomb diggity" in a sentence

11. The League - That stuff makes me laugh until I cry

12. Lakefront Brewery - If it weren't for Lakefront, we wouldn't have Lakefront Pumpkin Lager and then where would we be?

13. Kittehs - By investing in a small, living, white, furry space heater early last year I've been able to save on heating. However, all savings have been nullified by lint roller costs.

14. Hot water - 'nuff said

I may add more stuff over the Thanksgiving holiday as I think of it, but that's what I'm most thankful for at the moment.

What will you be giving thanks for tomorrow?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let's all #hangwithtom...

If I get a day to #hangwithtom, I want ALL of you to join me.

Here's what I propose:

Are YOU in?

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Today, I opened my Spam Mail folder and found this message:
Re: Your Payment Directive..

Attention: Beneficiary,

This is to inform you that the United Nations auditors are presently in Nigeria suppervising all contract payments, inherited and winning funds that originated from Africa.

Your names/email address appeared in the central computer among the unpaid beneficiaries that have not received their payment due to one reason or the other.
After the United Nations meeting with the Nigerian government, a part payment of US$1.5million was approved to all fund beneficiaries which you are among. The United Nations have instructed the Nigerian government to release your approved US$1.5million via ATM card for easy delivery to you. The only fee you shall pay to receive your US$1.5million ATM card in your possession is the courier fee of US$98.00 only.

Your ATM card authorization documents has been handed over to Mrs. Laura George of the United Nations, she shall facilitate the delivery of your ATM card payment to you but before she can release the $1.5million ATM card payment to you, you have to reconfirm the following information's to her so as to ensure her that she is dealing with the right person:

1. Your Full Names, 2. Residential Address,3. Age, 4. Occupation, and 5. Direct Telephone Numbers.

After her verification of the information with what she have on file, she shall contact you with information's on how to send the courier fee for the delivery of your US$1.5million ATM card to you.

You are to forward the requested information's to Mrs. Laura George with her below contact.

Here is Mrs. Laura's contact info:

Contact person: Mrs. Laura George (United Nations Oversight Agent)
His email: ( )

Do let us know once you receive your US$1.5million inheritance payment from Mrs. Laura for the updating of our record.

Yours faithfully .

Jenet Michael.
Payment Coordinator.


The "suppervisor" has my "names" as a beneficiary?!?!

But why, if the money is going to be sent to my ATM card, is there a courier fee? There's no courier-ing involved. It doesn't cost $98.00 to move money through digital space.

Hm, maybe this is a scam.

I see they want me to send the "information's" to them via Mrs. Laura George at the United Nations.

Hm, I never trust anyone with two first names...

They want my full names, and, after I give them the "information's" they will match it to what Laura "have" on file.

Know what's funny? Mrs. Laura George, who works for the United Nations, doesn't have a United Nations email address.

I didn't know the United Nations was so strapped for cash that they couldn't set up their own server and URL.

These government austerity measures are really wreaking havoc on Nigerian money scams...

Friday, November 4, 2011

To the Biker Who Told me to F*** Off

I believe your words were, "F*** off! You're supposed to stop!"

My reply, in short, is "STFU, asshat."

You don't know me. If you did you would know I am in favor of cars sharing the road with bikes.

I don't know you. If I did I'm sure I'd be more concerned about you a) not wearing a helmet and b) biking in the dark with no lights or reflective clothing.

I see that you, sir, were making a left turn on a red light into congested, oncoming traffic.

I can't imagine that's smart.

Or legal.

You, my rebellious friend, also happened to be using the sidewalk and seemed upset that I didn't treat you with the deference given a law abiding pedestrian.

However you, my earth loving (license-revoked?) fellow citizen are not a pedestrian. Yes, you are allowed the use of the sidewalk if traffic prohibits use of the street and the sidewalk is not otherwise occupied, however, as I mentioned above, this does not allow you to cross 8 lanes of traffic - from the sidewalk - to make a left turn when you, in fact, had a red light.

Don't you tell me to f*** off you jackwagon. I wholly approve of the use of bicycles and, in fact, often lament (and loudly) how our city is so unfriendly to those such as you. But you, dear sir, do little to further your cause by your inability to abide by even the smallest margin of etiquette on your two-wheeled fancy flyer.

That is all.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Inside Story at @MKEPublicMuseum

Hey folks, long time no blogging, right?

Wrong. I've been blogging over here as my life has been consumed with training and fundraising for a half marathon I'm completing in July to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Head over there and read why and stay up to date.

For now, I'd like to talk about what I'm doing this evening and why I'm so excited for it.

Milwaukee Public Museum's Inside Story
From the MPM website:
The Inside Story is a series of three evening events designed to give insight into the creation of the Museum’s most beloved exhibits. Exhibit artists and curators will peel away your surface perceptions to let you in on some behind-the-scenes secrets of the museum world, as well as share some of the inevitable snafus that occur in creating a total-habitat diorama.

Seriously. Seriously??? Seriously.

How awesome. You know what a glutton I am for anything learning-related, and this is totally a feather in that tam. Get it? Though, I don't think tams have any place to stick a feather.

Tonight's gluttonous activities center around the museum's Rainforest Exhibit, otherwise known as, the section where we enjoyed cocktails at Maggie and Randy's wedding.

Again, from the museum's website:
The year is 1983, and the Museum is starting plans to build a new biology hall. Fast forward five years, and the completed hall is like none ever seen. Learn how and why the Museum decided to build a two-story, total habitat rain forest – complete with a waterfall and an elevated walkway through the canopy -- and the monumental effort it took to make it happen. From working within the parameters of collecting under the then-new concept of environmental sensitivity, to dealing with frogs under the toilet seat of a Costa Rican outhouse, you’ll hear “the Inside Story” of the creation of MPM’s Rain Forest from those who made it happen. Speakers and presenters include Jim Kelly, Director of Exhibits & Graphics; Susan Borkin, Director, Puelicher Butterfly Garden and Curator of Insects; and Craig Yanek, Biological Sculptor and Exhibit Fabrication Artist.

Su-weet. I was barely even born with this exhibit came to life and now I get to hear all the gory dirty details. And eat cupcakes. Mustn't forget the cupcakes.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Baby!

Picture 001
Originally uploaded by MsQuarter

Or, at least let me sit no more than 100 feet away from Prince Fielder and first base.

And Bratwurst, though I may not like to eat you I certainly always enjoy seeing you win the Sausage Race.

Happy Opening Day Brewers fans!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I haven't lived with a roommate for over 4 years.

Finally I buckled down and let someone move in with me.

It's a big step in grown-up responsibility, you know...compromise and all that.

She doesn't contribute to the monthly rent payment.

She commandeers the best seats for TV viewing.

I sometimes find her trying to steal my food.

But she's adorable.

Kitteh + Sunspot = BFF

She just has this rather unfortunate habit of waking me up at 5:30 AM.

It's not the time so much as the way in which she goes about her self-assigned task.

This morning, for example, she jumped on my stomach and started purring in my face.

She even went so far as to bat her little paw on my nose.


Before I gently pushed her off me and rolled over for more Z's.

Nothing doing.

She simply pounced on my back and started flapping her tail on my shoulder.

I thought only dogs wagged their tails.

Sweetness can be deceiving.

Needless to say, she's better than that other alarm clock that required me to solve math problems before I could turn it off.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Blimey! That's a brilliant job opportunity!

Have seen this job opportunity for Choc Star Van???

Do you think they'd hire an American?

Across the pond
Somewhat related...Escape from Fitzwalkerstan
Summer in England - festivals, weddings, parties, oh my!
24/7 with the C word - CHOCOLATE
Have you seen my cooking blog?
Have you seen my future career aspiration?

You're telling me a gal like me - past festival planner and hospitality worker, current (part) event planner and public relations pro - wouldn't be great for this opportunity???

Driving on the left side of the road would take some getting used to

Yep, that's it for Cons, because, quite frankly, there aren't any.

I'm salivating.

I mean, check out the Choc Star site.

Now you're salivating.

Where do I sign up?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Belated Accountability

I don't always give something up for Lent. I talked about this a bit last year when I gave up unpronouncable chemicals.

It was less an effort to "look like a good, religious person for 40 days" and more an attempt to "honor my God by fueling the body He gave me with healthy things."

It was hard.

Do you know how many foods in the grocery store include chemicals we have no business eating?

If I had to guess I'd say 80-90%.

But it was great. I felt better, had more energy, and became aware of the fuel I was putting into my body.

As a result of 40 days last year, I hardly ever drink soda anymore, I rarely eat chips, I can't remember the last time I wanted to eat a packaged snack food, and I never, ever buy food without looking at the label.

Yes, still. If there are too many unpronouncable chemicals on the package label I won't buy it. It grosses me out just thinking about the cumulative results of decades of eating that crap on a daily basis.

Think about it.

Anyway, that's not the purpose of this post.

This post is actually meant for a bit of accountability, because I forgot to post it last week at the beginning of Lent.

I'm taking last year's campaign to the next level. In addition to being more aware of the nutrition I put into my body - as an effort to honor God's gift - I'm looking to honor God in other areas of my life as well. Three main areas, actually, all meant to help strengthen my relationship with Him.

1. Again, I will use 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 for inspiration:

19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

I'm striving to eat fresh food as much as possible, and also get a bit of daily exercise into the mix. Basically, treating my body in a way that recognizes that it is a temple of God.

2. I am also striving to honor God in my daily life.

And though I can't promise big gains on this one, today's Bible verse actually sums it up quite nicely. From Colossians 3:12:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

If you know me, then you know I'm not the most patient person. Sometimes it's also hard to be gentle and kind - especially when faced with Milwaukee drivers, for example. But I'm hoping that, with a little practice these 40 days, I can begin to start at a place of understanding and compassion when I am frustrated, angered, or annoyed. "Clothing" myself in these positive attributes in an effort to stifle the more negative instincts. Hopefully this conscience decision, chosen day after day, will soon become second nature.

I find that spending time daily with God in prayer, in devotion, and in contemplation seems to work best for me. With that in mind, rather than sleeping in that extra 30 minutes, I am waking up to greet the day with a devotion and a prayer. Reconnecting my spiritual life with my physical one in the hopes the fruits of my faith shine through.

I can't promise success for any of this. I can only promise I'll try. And with God's grace I will see improvements in my life that work to glorify Him.

That is what Lent means to me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why I Won't Be Attending the Twin Cities Food & Wine Show

Ever since I turned 21 I have enjoyed the truly epic experience that is Minnesota Monthly's Food & Wine Experience.

I've devoted kitchen cupboards to it (hey, the Stella Artois booth gives away free barware with their samples).

I've loyally made my annual pilgrimage to Minneapolis, and even managed to be the first in line every year.

I've likened the mythically-proportioned Wisconsin cheese booth to the legend of Brigadoon.

Last year, I wrote an Epiphany-inspired countdown to it.

So if I love it so much, if I'm such a loyalist, why am I not going this year?

First, a bit of history.

When I first started attending the Food & Wine Show, tickets were $50 and doors were open from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM (with a 30 minute pouring break). That's 7 and a half hours of all you can eat and drink. Really made every other food and wine tasting event pale in comparison.

Furthermore, the show would always have one keynote sponsor, usually Byerly's (Minneapolis Sendiks), who would set the theme and host a gargantuan booth of gourmet food related to that theme.

A few years later, Byerlys stopped sponsoring the event (at least, to the level it did before), and ticket prices jumped from $50 to $65.

Fair enough. Events get more expensive to plan over the course of 6 years, and I'm willing to pay a bit more for the, still, incredible value.

Each year my friends and I would make our pilgrimage from Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Chicago to meet at the Minneapolis Hilton for a weekend of shopping, eating, and drinking. We'd bravely set out at 9 AM to ensure our first place in line, stopping at Dunn Bros. for coffee in the skywalk and passing innumerable teenage girls in cheerleading uniforms (the Food & Wine Show is always, always held on the same weekend as some crazy state cheerleading competition).

We'd anxiously wait in line for the doors to open, keeping one ear open for that one, butterfingered individual who has the misfortune of breaking his/her wine glass before the show even starts (cue 100 people groaning "Aw, man!" in unison).

During our 7 and half hours of hedonism, we courageously stuff ourselves silly, and only occasionally retreat back through the skyways from whence we came to deliver yet another round of trade show trash to our hotel room.

Every single year we make plans for that evening, but when 5 PM rolls around, it's all we can do to awake from our food coma and turn on the hotel room TV.

The next morning we head back home, possibly stopping for breakfast and/or a few hours of shopping at the Mall of America.

Now, a bit of present.

The Twin Cities Food & Wine Experience was a tradition I treasured. A short vacation to look forward to during the bleakest stretch of winter.

However, this year I won't be making my annual pilgrimage.


It's not because the venue moved from the Minneapolis Convention Center to Target Field. Though the MCC was convenient, Target Field is beautiful and, I'm sure, connected to the downtown skyway system.

It's because the event's value has taken a disturbing nosedive.

My friends and I used to spend 6 hours (12 hours roundtrip) driving across WI, hundreds of dollars for a 2-night hotel stay, $65 ticket price, and the cost of incidentals and still believed we were getting a great deal out of it.

This year, show organizers increased the ticket price to $75 and also decreased show time from 7.5 hours to 4 hours. That's a 15% increase in price combined with a 53% decrease in hours of operation.

Not exactly a convincing reason to travel 6 hours (12 hours roundtrip) and spend 2 nights in a hotel anymore.

Why it hurts me to say this...

The Food & Wine Show introduced me to Bell's Brewery, Peace Coffee, Crispin Cider, and many, many others, including family-owned wineries throughout the Midwest of whom I normally wouldn't have heard.

The Food & Wine Show also gave me some of my fondest memories. Like the time we lost one of our friends 30 minutes into the event, thought he had wandered down to the Guns & Ammo Show, only to find him 4 hours later back at the apartment (we all lived in Minneapolis at the time).

Or the year we went to Hell's Kitchen for breakfast the next morning, and had a smorgasboard of the most delicious, unique food served to us by waiters clad in pajamas.

The "experience" of the Food & Wine Experience was more than just the event itself, and, this year, I'm sorry to miss it. Lately I've been bombarded with solicitations for tickets, and, frankly, am shocked they haven't sold out yet as they always do. But perhaps I'm not so shocked after all, and can only hope they realize their mistake this year in alienating their out-of-state attendees.

Adieu, old friend. Perhaps we will meet again in the future.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Big BUT...

I have a hard confession to make.

I don't know that I'm much of a union gal.

Feel free to change my mind, because the truth is, I just don't know that much about it. Do unions have too much power? Do they increase the cost of doing business?

I don't know. I don't own a business.

However, workers should have the right to organize and collectively bargain for living wages and better benefits if corporations begin to abuse their power. We've seen this happen before, America. I think we'd be naive to think it won't happen again.

Fun Fact: Did you know total compensation - which includes those "awesome" benes - for the public sector is still less than that for private sector?

Regardless, what I do know is that unions represent people.

And I'm 100% sure that those people (and thereby the unions) are more than willing to negotiate benefit and retirement contributions.

The problem is they were never asked to negotiate.

They know it's a tough economic time. They know there's a budget deficit to be accounted for, and everyone must do their part. They have been doing their part.

Or did you think furlough days were the same as paid vacations?

Now, I do criticize those folks who think paying 12% toward their healthcare premium is too much. Especially when that healthcare is a Cadillac compared to my, well, Vespa.

I won't go into detail, but lemme just say I'm paying almost $200 per month as a single, healthy person for a high deductible healthcare plan. No dental. No vision. I would kill to have, for example, $20 co-pays and less money taken out of my paycheck per month.

All of this being said, I will say this...

It's wrong to strip workers of their rights. It may even be unconstitutional...I'm sure we'll find out if this bill passes.

Walker is effectively trying to all but disband unions. Read this if you think that won't have consequences for you. Or this.

You don't have to be a public employee to feel the effects of this legislation.

You want educated, trained teachers for your children? Want educated, trained, and caring individuals to take care of your baby while you return to work after maternity leave?

Sorry. Those educated, trained workers had to leave their jobs for ones that will pay them a living wage.

For folks who think this issue is simply about paying more toward healthcare and pensions, you're, well, put it bluntly and lightly.

It's about our governor, without first trying to negotiate and bring all players to the table, enacting a piece of legislation that strips people of their rights.

That this legislation excludes unionized public safety employees - whose unions contributed heavily to our governor's campaign coffers - is entirely another matter for another post.

Fun Fact: By including public safety employee unions (i.e. police, firefighters) in his bill, Walker would save the state another $19 million - from the city of Milwaukee alone - to the already estimated $30 million in savings. That's almost double what the current bill saves in union "concessions" through the end of June.

Feel free to educate me on your position. I welcome comments. As I said in the beginning of my post; I simply am not the expert and don't know all of the facts from every facet of this issue. Though I've tried to read as much about it as I can, I think knowing everything would be impossible. What I do know is despotism when I see it (though if you compare Walker, or any American politician for that matter, to Stalin or Hitler, I will seriously question your intellect).

Thank you for listening.

PS - I'm sorry if Blogger is eating your comments. It ate my response to Gregg and I've been getting some messages on Facebook. So, first off, thank you for your comments, and second, I'm sorry Blogger eats them here.

PPS - This article, though opinion-based, has the numbers breakdown on WI's budget. On 1/31/11 the Legislative Fiscal Bureau - a nonpartisan group - sent a memo to newly elected Governor Walker outlining the state of WI's budget. He, in fact, did NOT inherit a budget that required a repair bill. In other words, yes, WI's long-term budget needs some work and difficult decisions, however, there is time to try negotiations first. There's no reason to rush this through in less than a week.

PPPS - This is my personal sticking point, but I just want to say...Walker ok'd $140 million in special interest spending in January and now claims $137 million shortfall in February. What's up with that? Anyone know?

Friday, February 11, 2011

VD "Dislike"

Here I thought I was doing so well.

What with the Packers winning the Super Bowl last week.

And the Iron Cupcake Challenge this weekend.

I just didn't have time to hate VD (Valentine's Day) as much as I used to...or, really, as early as I used to.

Until I saw this.

And this.

You should be ashamed of yourselves, MSN Glo. First, for copy-catting Yahoo Shine. Second, for giving the okay to use the word "boo" in reference to a significant other in that article's intro.


And you, Today're not off the hook. While you have nothing to be ashamed of, per se, adding "-licious" to the end of a word is, oh, so 2002. Also, I certainly don't appreciate you bringing it to my attention that some people on Facebook make profiles for their coupledom.

I think we can all agree that the shame, in this instance, goes to those couples.

Seriously? You want to make a fan page for your relationship? Sure, you "have" to go the fan page route because FB doesn't let you create an actual profile for two people, but you then have the audacity to join an actual Facebook group to encourage the Powers that Be to allow this?


I do give the MSN article credit for at least, in some small way, discouraging folks from doing this, but c'mon.

Fan pages for relationships. Asking your friends to 'Like' your relationship. Posting on your relationship's wall. Creating events for your relationship.

You've gone too far.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Eat My Cupcakes!! #nomnomnom

So...I don't really consider myself a baker.

Yes, I love to cook. But that's more experimentation of flavors that, if disastrous, can usually be fixed mid-recipe.

Baking, on the other hand, is like a chemistry experiment.

Use softened butter for your pie crust and say "Goodbye" to flakes.

Use hardened butter for your cookies and say "Hello" to a crumbled, unmixed mess.

Why you gotta be so tempermental, butter?

But it's not really butter's fault.

No, that's just incredibly detailed orchestration of tempurature, measurement, and time.

And I don't do it all that often.

But I am this weekend. To the tune of approximately 750 cupcakes.

Part launch of my future food business, part Duff Goldman allure, the Iron Cupcake: Milwaukee Pro/Am Cupcake Clash seemed like a good idea at the time.

Like that sophomore prom we tried carpooling to Green Bay for dinner and ended up stranded on the highway for 2 hours with a broken-down car. Hindsight.

Now I'm staring down the face of hundreds of cupcakes, 10 pounds of powdered sugar, and 750 of the most damnable little toothpick flags you will ever see.

I do this for you.

So you can taste my delightful cupcakes.

Hope to see you there on Sunday, February 13th (10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, MSOE Kern Center). Tickets are selling out fast and today's the last day to buy 'em online.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My goal in life is to be Jenny from The League

I came across this article today: Introducing the "Mom Cave."

A place for moms to hang out by themselves? Sure, sounds like a good idea.

Decorated in hot pink and shabby chic ruffles? Puh-lease.

Can we BE anymore stereotypical, Homegoods?

I'm reminded of a time when I went to a week-long national conference for my college church group. It was in the same city where I went to university, so it seemed like a good idea. I had fun. I met a lot of folks. It was great. And then they mentioned the plans for men's and women's groups.

I think the exact words were something like, "Men! We have the Metrodome confirmed for our event...the freakin' METRODOME!!!!!!!!!!!!"


" yeah...ladies we have something fun planned for you too."

That "something fun" was a do-it-yourself spa night.

A freakin' spa night. Do-it-yourself.

By this time, I was sick of it being assumed that all women at church wanted to do when we got together was have a spa night. Seriously. That's all we ever did. Spa nights.

I, myself, would've - to use the parlance of our times - freakin' loved playing a pick-up game of tag football on the Metrodome field, or, heck, even just being on the field.

But, nope. Men only.

And now, well, I give Homegoods credit for adapting the whole "Man Cave" phenomenon for women, but c'mon. Some of us girly girls still have a tomboy side.

In fact, it's my fondest ambition to be the kind of wife and mother that Jenny is on The League. And not just because I'd have an awesome brother-in-law named Taco.

No, it's more that I would relish being a pretty easy-going mother who can kick her husband's butt in Fantasy Football (that this would require me to understand and care about Fantasy Football is not the topic of today's discussion).

Ultimately, I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's more to women than pink ruffly things, especially THIS woman.

Just check my Twitter feed from this week. (Seriously? The ESPN Sports Center talking heads all picked the Bears on Monday and now they're all picking the Packers? What gives, Flip Floppers?)

With that, I leave you with the man my future brother-in-law must live up (or down) to...depending on how you view it (sorry, the Birthday Song doesn't allow embedding):

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Baby Boom

Lately I've had quite a few friends announce new additions to their families.

This is great.

I love babies.

However, it makes me wonder just what the heck was going on 9 months ago that so many of my nearest and dearest are now parents.

I did a bit of digging and found this.

Ah, that explains it then.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Burgeoning Cook for Hire

What can you do with a few days off from work?

Cook the crap outta your kitchen that's what.

Here's the roster of our players, currently "on deck" in my freezer...

1. Lamb Curry

The recipe was your typical Midwestern "I don't do spice or anything crazy" curry recipe.

In other words: Bogus.

A tweak here, some coconut milk there, and I made Curry Magic.

2. Beef Bourguignon

The wine from France's Burgundy region makes it "Bourguignon."

It was damn hard to find red wine from France's Burgundy region.

I managed to find a nice Pinot Noir, and the dish came out so scrumptious that I'd offer you a bite, but a) you can eat over the Internet and b) I don't want to share.

Next time I'll use a local red and call it Beef Wisconsgnon.

3. Meatballs

Famous in 4 countries and at least 3 states.

The recipe is not for sale, but you will be able to buy them in the near future.

4. Spaghetti Sauce

I tweeted that I was making homemade spaghetti sauce.

A woman who blogs for Hunts asked which recipe I was using.

I laughed and replied that I wasn't.

This, too, will be for sale to the general public in the near future.

Stay tuned.

5. Shepherd's Pie with Lamb

My new favorite is cooking with lamb.

Little Bo Peep can sue me.

Lamb is succulent, tender, mouth-watering, and useful in, oh, so many recipes.

I first fell in love with lamb when I had the most delicious lamb chops in Italy.

I then furthered my love affair in New Orleans with a roasted lamb loin.

I now will try to incorporate lamb stew meat and ground lamb in delightful dishes, this Shepherd's Pie and the above Lamb Curry being the start.

6. Cinnamon Streusel Cake

Start with a layer of cake, add a layer of cinnamon sugar, add another layer of cake, and then top with a layer of streusel.


Drizzle with a thick vanilla glaze when cool.

Die happy.