On a Jet Plane

I’m leaving tomorrow for a week-long business/pleasure trip to Chicago so not only will posting be light to non-existent for the next week, but now is the time to brag about Shytown. Please share your favorite parts of Chicago. What’s the one (or 10) thing I need to do while I’m there? Thanks!


Free Flicks Friday

Topping my list of best inventions of the last 2000s is the DVD vending machine. Have you heard of RedBox? I first noticed it when I was living in the D.C. suburbs.  For just $1 a night, you can rent new releases with your credit card. It’s easy and economical.

Now DVDs from RedBox are FREE! on Wednesdays. Just sign up and you’ll get a text message weekly with a code you can enter at check out. Dinner and a movie just got a little less expensive and in these increasingly more expensive times, every dollar matters.

Do Good One Sip at a Time

Remember how Yoplait has that “Save Lids to Save Lives” campaign where it donates money to breast cancer research for every yogurt lid returned? Now you can drink beer to help fund research to save the quality of live of those afflicted with muscular dystrophy. Miller Lite has a “Cash for Caps” program.

“Caps for cash” sums up
Miller Brewing fundraiser

Miller Brewing, an MDA national sponsor, has stepped up its support of the battle against muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases. As part of its “Better. Bolder. Summer.” promotion, Miller will donate 10 cents to MDA for every Miller Lite bottle cap collected through Sept. 1.

Miller Lite drinkers can turn in their bottle caps to Miller retailer outlets or send them via mail. Eventually, all caps will wind up in Milwaukee in late August for Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s celebration of its 105th anniversary. Miller is the official beer sponsor of that event, which is especially fitting because Harley-Davidson also is one of MDA’s longtime national sponsors.

Bar Review

Do you remember those commercials from about 20 years ago, warning people not to drink and drive? I remember badgering my father one night because he was drinking a soda or some other beverage as we drove to our friends’ house. Alcohol didn’t play a big part in my formative years (I honestly think my first taste of alcohol was via Jello shots at my childhood BFF’s high school graduation party) and so my young mind interpreted the warnings about drunk driving to be about consuming beverages in general while driving.

My home township is dry. Like Prohibition-era dry. There was a speakeasy near my cousins’ house, but it was raided so many times they finally just ripped off the roof effectively ending the one alcohol outlet in our small farming community.

The next township south isn’t afflicted by the same antiquated laws and it has TWO! alcohol-filled establishments. I saddled up to the bar at the nicer depot a time or two and I drove past the other but never had reason, or the inclination, to stop in. Let’s just say it’s less Denim and more bar from Sweet Home Alabama without the nice glasses and bright lighting.

After a rousing high school graduation party hosted at my parents’ the other weekend, my youngest sister, her boyfriend and I were faced with a Saturday night and no plans. Light bulb! She’s 21 now, let’s go ghetto for the night.

We pull up and quickly find a spot among the other five cars in the lot. The welcoming committee is there to greet us: two women, one with bleached-blonde hair and chipped teeth, the other a 40-something wearing a bright orange tank top proclaiming BITCH.

After climbing a set of concrete stairs with a gaping hole big enough to swallow a small child between two steps, we pause to let our eyes adjust to the movie-theater level lighting and our ears adjust to the sounds of goats in pain. Karaoke night… awesome.

We began this adventure under the assumption that we’d find cheap beer and a few good laughs at the people “clubbing” in the Trails. We failed on the cheap beer; bottles are $3; mozzarella sticks $6 for 5, steaks start at $25. They don’t have no draught. The air condition was either never installed or was broken because my legs quickly stuck to the vinyl bar stool. We could have sat at a table, but the white resin lawn chairs were farther away from the prompt service offered by the bartender who puffed away on cigarettes between passing out poker chips from men buying drinks for the ladies who already had two lined up. I forget what smoke-filled bars are like, and such things make me eternally grateful for Philly’s smoking ban. The crowd started getting bigger, the smoke started getting thicker and the music started getting more unbearable. So we took our party to the other bar in town, about 10 minutes away, where the air worked, beer was on tap and cheaper and I won a free lottery ticket.

Suffice it to say we were the only patrons at bar number one that had all of our teeth.

Congrats to You

I’m alive, my life is just really boring right now. Send entertainment! Fortunately, these people are more exciting than me:

Happy first day of work, Caitlin!

Happy blogiversary, Katie! (Aside, I get these PR leads from around the country and one reporter was looking for sources who have been asked to undergo cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening or Botox, to be a bridesmaid. I thought getting a spray tan was in imposition.)

Cass just had a beautiful baby, Lexi!

Thursday is Lawyerish‘s birthday, Wednesday is Noelle’s. My fingers are crossed that your birthday present is another step in the adoption process.

Miss Doxie‘s back, now with 100 percent more Sasquatch Senator.

It’s been five years for Janet and Will!

Pocklock is commute-free, lucky girl.

Audrey has a new job!

Did I miss an exciting update in your life? Let me know in the comments.

Free Food Friday (Round 2)

Who doesn’t love Cheerios? From toddlers to grandparents, Cheerios are a universally loved breafast food and for good reason: its whole grain oats help remove cholesterol from your body.

Sign up now to take the Cheerios Challenge and you’ll get a free sample of Cheerios along with six $1 coupons.

Have a great weekend!

Cell Phone Calls

Unlike everyone else in my company fortunate enough to have a PDA, I have this dinosaur of a contraption that I have to carry in addition to my cell phone. It receives e-mails, yes, but only when you hit a button and the wind is right and all the stars are aligned. There is a phone function, but no voice plan, hence the need for a supplemental cell phone.

The T-Rex was resting in its nest, er cradle, atop my PC tower, when a chime drew my attention from my Google Reader. A phone call! On my PDA! Hark! Who could it be?

Not wanting my company to incur a huge bill for an unknown caller, I hit ignore and dialed the number from my desk phone.

“Hi! I think someone from this number just tried to call me?”

“It was an inmate at a correctional facility,” the man replied.

“Pardon me?” I’m trying to bring “Pardon” back.

“It was an inmate at a correctional facility,” he said.

The number popped up again and when I picked up the PDA, the battery popped out, ending the call and effectively resetting the device. Hope it wasn’t someone I know calling for bail.

27 so far, in pictures

The Beautiful


The Unusual

The Coolest/Most Appropriate

A Spoonful of Heaven

Today’s post is brought to you via Chop.Stir.Mix., where I contributed my first-ever guest post! Cass and AndreAnna started the food blog a couple months ago, but now they’re both focusing on growing their families and are looking for guest contributors so if you have any culinary ability at all, volunteer!

Want to learn how to make a breakfast dish that will fuel a hard-working Amishman but is gentle on the waistline? Please check out my recipe for Baked Oatmeal.

I have immense respect for food bloggers now. It’s HARD to juggle cooking and taking photos, much less some of these artistic food photos. I couldn’t imagine doing it with an open flame! Snaps to the bloggers participating in RA’s Whip it Up Challenge. I’m looking forward to this week’s vegetarian recipes.

What’s lost in your Vera Bradley?

I just sent the following e-mail to the IT guy at work.

Found the camera card! It was lost deep in the trenches of my Vera Bradley.

After I hit Send, I considered the possibility that he has no idea of what is a Vera Bradley. He’s probably scratching his head or busy jumping to conclusions.

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