Where Fashion and Function Meet and Marry

There’s so much RIGHT with this.

versaceamaretto

…from a marketing standpoint.

…from a branding standpoint.

…a marriage of two MAJOR brands.

…aspirational and inspirational, quenching my thirst on a couple of levels.

Follow along with the way my brain works, OK?

Do you know Lizzi at Considerings?

She very kindly (after I twisted her arm) shared her amazing recipe for Lebkuchen  — a traditional German cookie — that I plan to bake in honor of the homecoming of my esteemed (German) Professor Angel Boy, also known as the boy/man who can eat more food than anyone I’ve ever known — a Guinness World Record contender – which makes baking and cooking for him a total and complete joy.

The frosting calls for Amaretto, something we don’t normally keep stocked in the Enchanted Seashells liquor cabinet.

After a massive shopping excursion at Trader Joe’s, I walked down the sidewalk (in the same shopping center) to BevMo.

I picked up a small bottle of Amaretto (along with a few other items, as long as I was there, ya know.)

In the center of the main aisle, my eye were drawn to a bright blue box — one of those promotional boxes of booze they feature around the holidays usually boasting a value added option like glasses or a shaker.

Wait, hold on a minnie.

This was DeSaronno Amaretto, but a larger bottle than the one I had in hand, and it was packaged with two pretty glasses.

OK, I didn’t really need more glasses that I’d just end up breaking, BUT I do like a bonus.

Chanel notwithstanding, I am a thrifty gal.

Upon closer inspection, the final affirmation of purchasing perfection was my realization (in slo mo) that the amaretto bottle itself was DRESSED IN VERSACE.

DRESSED IN GIANNI VERSACE.  amaretto11

Picture me doing a double take.

Wha?

Yes! Yes! Yes! A DESIGNER CLOTHED BOTTLE OF BOOZE!

(And only a few dollars more than the naked/undressed/unadorned bottle and THAT satiated my price point.)

Oh HELL YES, I said to myself as I grabbed it off the shelf.

SEASHELLS AND CHERUBS.amareatto16

I’m all verklempt, fanning myself with my shopping list.

OY. VEY.

Come to MOMMA.

A perfect marriage, a perfect union of form and function.amaretto10

A truly  brilliant marketing design.

hello kitty

Water bottle and iron on patch.

I haven’t been THIS excited since my son sent me a water bottle from Yale that featured Hello Kitty.

At the time, I thought THAT was the pinnacle of marketing heaven.

Backstory: Versace and I have a sad history.

When tugboat man and I were newly married, his father and stepmother gave me a Christmas present in a beautiful brilliantly white Versace bag with the iconic lion. Read all about my disappointment HERE @
Lesson #1. Never do this to your daughter-in-law. Ever.

The only Versace I own is that white bag.

Up until now, that is.

Now I have a stylishly dressed up bottle of booze.

Life is good, y’all!

P.S. I have the world’s worst in laws — world’s WORST. The Versace bag incident was the tip of the iceberg. It’s been downhill ever since. I have NO IDEA how my tugboat man turned into such a wonderful, loving, caring human with ‘rents like that. Truth.

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Dear Trader Joe’s…

Aside: I’m wondering about the placement of the apostrophe in “Joe’s”. It doesn’t really make sense. Trader Joe’s WHAT? 


I’m feeling all ranty and everything.

Trader Joe’s has been my main food shopping store for as long as I can remember — way before it was the cool place.

Back in the seventies, there weren’t a whole lotta grocery stores that catered to vegetarians. Not every corner boasted a Whole Foods or a Sprouts.

You guys have had a lot of my money over the years.

But I’m really ticked off at you guys right now — and not just for the questionable punctuation.

I’m troubled by the way your “Corn-Rye Bread” is defined on receipts.

It’s referred to as “Corn Rye Jewish Style Bread”.cornryereceipt

Nowhere on the packaging do you read the word “Jewish”. cornryefront

The packaging does refer to its Kosher and Pareve status.cornryeback

That you choose to describe an item by its perceived cultural reference is offensive to me, and quite possibly indirect, oblique subliminal anti-Semitism.

Singling out shoppers who buy this bread as “Jewish” is subtle, insidious, disingenuous, sneakily surreptitious, and as conspicuous as a yellow star.

Where’s the Christian bread or the Buddhist bread or Muslim bread?

It’s not appropriate to characterize a bread as “Jewish” or “Jewish-style”.

I wrote to you last week about my concerns, and have yet to receive a response.

I am again requesting that you (company-wide) immediately delete and discontinue the use of the term “Jewish” from your stock description of this Corn-Rye Bread.

A more accurate description would be “Kosher” and/or “Pareve”.

But not Jewish.

Being Jewish means that you are part of the Jewish people, whether because you were born into a Jewish home and culturally identify as Jewish or because you practice the Jewish religion (or both).

Bread cannot be Jewish-style unless you also describe other products as Hindu-style or Christian-style or Mexican-style or Asian-style.

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt —  maybe you operated until the umbrella-ella-ella of ignorance — but now that you know, in good faith, I expect this to be acted upon immediately.

Again, remove “Jewish-style” from your description of Corn-Rye Bread.

Thank you,
Princess Rosebud
or should I say, Jewish-style Princess Rosebud


From TJ website: Trader Joe’s is an American privately held chain of specialty grocery stores headquartered in Monrovia, California, in Greater Los Angeles. As of 16 May 2014, Trader Joe’s had a total of 418 stores.

From Fortune: the chain is owned by Germany’s ultra-private Albrecht family, the people behind the Aldi Nord supermarket empire. A different branch of the family controls Aldi Süd, parent of the U.S. Aldi grocery chain.

twenty years of conversation: the condensed version

This isn’t an especially sparkly or edible post, no mention of retail therapy —  I thought of this as we were driving home from the gym and running errands.

We’ve had pretty much the same exact conversation fourteen billion times over the last twenty-plus years and now we’re gearing up for a long drive up the coast to San Jose for BlogHer 2014, which means we’ll be spending several hours in the car…here is a condensed version of what a lot of our “car” time sounds like.

(Don’t you think it’d be funny to record it and not have to say a thing for the first twenty miles?)

Tugboat man: “Buckle up.”

Me: “Did you bring water?”

Tugboat man: “No, I thought you were going to get it.”

Me: Did you turn the alarm on?

Tugboat man: “No, I thought you were going to do it.”

Me: “I’m cold. Turn the AC up, OK?”

Me: “But don’t open the window. It’s blowing my hair.”

Tugboat man: “Did you see that guy race through the stop sign?”

Me: “It’s only a suggestion, remember?”

Me: “Look at the car next to us. She’s texting. The light’s green and she doesn’t have a clue.”

Me: (In Trader Joe’s) “Don’t talk to me while I’m thinking. ‘Cos you distract me, and I might forget something that I forgot to put on the list that I forgot and left in the car.”

Me: Can’t you walk faster? You are SO slow!”

Me: “What do you want for dinner?”

Tugboat man: “I don’t know, it’s only 9:00 a.m. How about if you ask me after lunch?”

Me: “You just missed the BEST parking spot.”

Tugboat man: Laughing…”Do you have any idea how annoying you can be?

Me: “It’s not as if this is breaking news. I’m the exact same person I’ve always been.”

Tugboat man: “Yes, and you’ve always been annoying.”

Me: “But you love it, don’t lie.”

Tugboat man: “Well, you got me there. But for the love of all that is holy, can you dial it down just a notch or two? Give a guy a break once in while, OK?”

Me: “Well, since you’ve asked so nicely…all right.”

I AM annoying. It’s one of the words that describes me perfectly.

But don’t worry, I’m not ALWAYS annoying, and I am a good traveling companion!

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Best EVER Green and Fruity Smoothie Recipe

smoothie1Confession: I’m a smoothie freak.

I’ve been torturing my family for years, forcing them to drink the sometimes often dreadful concoctions that I formulate from a deranged aggregate of ingredients — adding a little of this and a little of that — sometimes palatable, sometimes not.

While the raw Cauliflower-Brussel Sprouts Smoothie was NOT a winner, I think I’ve finally developed the PERFECT Green and Fruity Smoothie.

  • Tastes delicious…no complaining and no gagging from anyone who drinks it (like the above mentioned Cauliflower-Brussel Sprouts smoothie)
  • Nutritious
  • Helps with digestive/gall bladder issues (me)
  • Provides lots of energy

Some basic ingredients: smoothieingredients

  • Protein Powder; I like Aria whey protein ‘cos it doesn’t taste chalky, but choose whatever you like
  • Slippery Elm powder, great for digestion
  • Flaxseed Meal, full of healthy fiber
  • Chia seeds
  • EmergenC, one or two packets
  • Beets, canned/unsalted or from my garden (good for gall bladder)
  • Powdered wheat grass or Very Green from Trader Joe’s

smoothie2

  •  Super Red Drink, also from Trader Joe’s

smoothie3

  • Juices:  A combo; Rio Red Grapefruit, Apple, Mango, Cranberry
  • Banana (one or two)
  • Any other fresh fruit, this time I used blueberries, but anything you have is yummy —  from peaches to watermelon
  • Nonfat yogurt, regular or Greek for more protein
  • Ginger (to taste, I use about an inch-peeled)
  • Turmeric…great anti-inflammatory (1 teaspoon)
  • Cinammon (1 teaspoon)
  • Ginseng (I use Korean Ginseng tea granules)
    ***Additions: I usually add a handful of kale, chard, spinach, parsley, mint…just about any greens, even dark leafy lettuce

I throw it all in the blender and process until very smooth. You’ll never taste the greens or the beets, but they add a bright undertone to the fruit. If you have a lime or a lemon, add a squeeze or two. I have a friend who tosses in a whole orange, peel and all, from her own organically grown tree. I’ve never done that, but it’s certainly an option.

Whether you try my smoothie as a meal replacement (like I do) or as a healthy between-meal snack, my Green and Fruity Smoothie will provide added energy and lots of nutrition for your busy day.

P.S. Yes, I use a lot of ingredients, but it’s still easy to do and can be made anywhere if you have a blender or even an immersion blender.

chemistThis is how I feel when I’m creating one of my smoothie masterpieces.
Bon appétit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallimaufry. What’s That? Today’s Confused Hodgepodge.

Gal·li·mau·fry  [gal-uhmaw-free]
…a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley.

That’s today’s title and a great descriptor…a little bit of everything ‘cos, well, just because.
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Update on my son...

Staples removed (20+ of them!!) thanks to my good friend’s doctor hub whom we’ve known since our boys were in first grade and we used to go to aerobics classes together…he’s a topnotch internist at North County Internal Medicine.

A while back they added something special to his practice, NCIM Aesthetics — specializing in state-of-the-art laser skin laser technology PLUS my personal favorites: Botox, Juvederm, and Radiesse. Give ’em a call @ 760-726-2302 or email NCIMaesthetics@gmail.com

So far, the only hitch in Angel Boy’s recovery was a by-product of taking Augmentin for an infection he got in the hospital…another really awful stomach bacteria called c. difficile, but with a switch to Flagyl and some high quality probiotics, his fever and the infection disappeared. He’s finishing up his recovery in SF with DIL. Alll he needs to do now is build up his strength and gain back the nearly twenty pounds he lost over the last month.

Me (‘cos it’s always about me, right? I mean, even when it doesn’t seem to be all about me, it’s really ALL ABOUT ME.)

Suffering from writer’s block again, so I’m watching back to back episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, Real Housewives of Orange County (or New York), and Sherlock —  all very successfully helping me NOT create a post — or writing — of any value. There’s no real writing inspiration, just escapism.

Honestly, I don’t know who I’m crushing on more: Randy Fenoli from SYTTD (I’d kill for his eyebrows) or Benedict Cumberbatch as the ultimate Sherlock. I love them both! But not nearly as much as I’m lady boning for Richard Roxburgh as criminal lawyer Cleaver Greene in Rake, (the original Aussie one), not the US version, on Netflix.

Watching SYTTD and Housewives is something I can ONLY do when my tugboat man is out to sea; it’s one of those pesky non-negotiables when he’s home.

He literally REFUSES — says, “Im outta here” as he leaves the room, so I save them as my guilty pleasures when he’s thousands of miles away.

A successful marriage is all about compromises, right? Do I want to have a fight about a stupid TV show? Nope, not this Princess.

With my very empty nest, it was time to put on my comfortable shoes and flex my weakened shopping muscles. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent the day as a little retail butterfly, flitting from one store to the next, checking out the offerings and laying down the “plastique”; I’m a bit rusty and needed a warm-up before attempting one of the big malls or my own personal mecca, South Coast Plaza.

After a great hour-long boot camp class at 24 Hour Fitness, I checked my watch, 10:00 a.m. and I was off! First to Target for essentials, then Trader Joe’s and a vacuum store for a new powerhead belt, on to Marshalls to test my shoe-spotting and ability to browse both-sides-of-the-aisle-at-the-same-time skills.

After the one hour mark, I was a bit tired and thirsty so I stopped to eat an apple and grab a bottle of water — it’s imperative to stay well-hydrated and nourished whilst shopping.

Revived, I meandered downtown to get my glasses adjusted and stopped at my favorite consignment shop where I’ve previously discovered Valentino and Missoni treasures –not so lucky on this day, but I didn’t leave empty handed; there was a sweet and comfy chartreuse bathing suit coverup  that called out to me.

This practice shopping excursion ended with a visit to Lowe’s for vegetable seeds, a pomegranate tree, and mesh to cover an apple tree that’s being eaten by nasty ground squirrels, presumably cousins of the elusive Spirit Squirrel™.
Click here to read all about it.

Still all about me, but on a serious note…

I was just diagnosed with vitreous detachment in my left eye which is sad because I thought the sparkles I was seeing was once-and-for-all proof positive of my Princess-ness.

However, I was wrong. Here’s the info from NIH (National Institutes of Health) in case you ever see sparkles and it’s not the optical or silent migraine type of lights.

It’s definitely NOT something to ignore…

What is vitreous detachment?
Most of the eye’s interior is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that helps the eye maintain a round shape. There are millions of fine fibers intertwined within the vitreous that are attached to the surface of the retina, the eye’s light-sensitive tissue. As we age, the vitreous slowly shrinks, and these fine fibers pull on the retinal surface. Usually the fibers break, allowing the vitreous to separate and shrink from the retina.

In most cases, a vitreous detachment, also known as a posterior vitreous detachment, is not sight-threatening and requires no treatment.

Who is at risk for vitreous detachment?
A vitreous detachment is a common condition that usually affects people over age 50, and is very common after age 80. People who are nearsighted are also at increased risk. Those who have a vitreous detachment in one eye are likely to have one in the other, although it may not happen until years later.

Symptoms and Detection
As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina that you may notice as floaters, which appear as little “cobwebs” or specks that seem to float about in your field of vision. If you try to look at these shadows they appear to quickly dart out of the way.

One symptom of a vitreous detachment is a small but sudden increase in the number of new floaters. This increase in floaters may be accompanied by flashes of light (lightning streaks) in your peripheral, or side, vision. In most cases, either you will not notice a vitreous detachment, or you will find it merely annoying because of the increase in floaters.

Treatment
How does vitreous detachment affect vision?

Although a vitreous detachment does not threaten sight, once in a while some of the vitreous fibers pull so hard on the retina that they create a macular hole or lead to a retinal detachment.

Both of these conditions are sight-threatening and should be treated immediately.

If left untreated, a macular hole or detached retina can lead to permanent vision loss in the affected eye. Those who experience a sudden increase in floaters or an increase in flashes of light in peripheral vision should have an eye care professional examine their eyes as soon as possible.

But enough of THAT stuff, right?

On that happy note, I’ll wrap up this Wednesday gallimaufry and try to focus on a submission for Erma Bombeck Workshop all because I opened my big mouth on Twitter and kinda sorta got dared to do it. SCARED! Wish me luck, y’all!

ermabombeck

 

 

What I Do is What I Do. A Day in the Life of an Empty Nester.

(With a very obscure tip of the hat to Solzhenitsyn.)

This isn’t typical of when my tugboat man’s here, and most definitely not the fabric of my waking hours when I was a SAHM; rather, this is an especially bland and Seinfeld-ish day. 
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My day commences abruptly at 6:00 a.m.

Sleep to instant wakefulness at the hoarse, screaming kee-eeee-arr of a red-tailed hawk.

Over and over again. Ear-piercing screams.

I get up, find my glasses (I’m extremely myopic, can’t see a thing), locate hub’s extra binoculars, and discover two hawks in the eucalyptus tree. They’re sitting on the same branch and they’re facing each other, having an early morning conversation or a duet, probably courtship time.

6:15 a.m…Grind beans, Trader Joes‘s French Roast, make coffee, simultaneously grab the remote to turn on the news and pop open my laptop. News is depressing. Problems in Syria, fires in Yosemite, a SWAT standoff in La Mesa; time to turn it off. After checking to see if my tugboat man emailed me (he didn’t),  I turn to WordPress.  A few comments necessitate responses (not as many as I’d like), a few likes (not as many as I thought my brilliant post deserved), and then I switch over to Facebook. In the beginning of FB, or at least my experience with FB, it was all about connecting with new and old friends, sarcastic and funny observations, cats, dogs, mainly cute animal pics. Now it’s all about supporting “friends” in their sponsored posts, marketing and promoting for their sponsors. I don’t begrudge anyone who can generate income; it’s just that some blogs start to feel really corporate and inauthentic after they become “affiliates” or “brand ambassadors”. It’s a newer version of Tupperware or jewelry parties where you get all your friends to show up and buy your stuff.

Of course I’d love to monetize — I’ve even had one sponsored post — and I want my book to be published and make a truckload of money so that my tugboat man wouldn’t have to go out to sea anymore, but I don’t think I have the personality to push products or pull people to my site –which is funny ‘cos I have a background in public relations and marketing — but I’m more of a soft sell, not the jackhammer-type.

I’m more like “Hey, I’d love for you to come by if you have the time and no pressure or anything. No worries if you can’t, I understand.”

I check Twitter too, but it’s kinda lost its appeal for me at the moment.

7:00 a.m…Paid a couple of bills online; mortgage and credit card. Checked TMZ but it’s all Kardashian-this, Kardashian-that, and I’m sooo over it. I hear the squawk of our resident scrub jays, throw a few raw nuts on the deck and watch them eat.scrubjay

7:20 a.m….After a couple cups of black coffee (the only way I drink it),  I start to get ready for the gym, but first I make the bed and wash whatever dishes I didn’t do the previous evening. I don’t eat breakfast on a regular basis; sometimes I’ll have a little protein drink, or a couple bites of toast, but I don’t really like to eat in the morning, unlike hub, who’s up and chewing before his eyes are completely open.

7:35 a.m…Check email again. Yay, a brief message from hub. All the last minute work was completed on the tug, they’re underway and are offshore. Everything is going fine, which is good to hear. I write him back and tell him about my boring weekend without him; how I went for a six-mile walk to the beach and back, gardened, washed the windows, boring, boring, boring, oh, but I heard a coyote and an owl, so there’s that.

7:55 a.m…Get dressed; black workout pants, yellow Zella top. Brush teeth, use Clarisonic to wash my face, apply light makeup — just eyebrows, liner, lipstick, spray perfume –Chance by Chanel (of course). Fill a water bottle, grab an apple for after Boot Camp.

8:30 a.m…Publish the post I wrote the previous evening. I try to stay one or two days ahead.

8:35 a.m…Head out. Water a few plants near the front door; take the trash cans out to the street (something else I have to do when hub is gone).

8:45 a.m…The 24-Hour Fitness I go to is about three miles away, but up a huge and long incline or I’d ride my bicycle. Sometimes I get lucky and get all green lights; today was one of those days, yay!

10:10 a.m…Back in my car after a strenuous workout with a zillion tabatas to exhaustion. Squats, lunges, box jumps, weights, jumping jacks. I still can’t do any real weight bearing exercises, so no pushups yet or plank. If I wear my cast/brace, I can lift five pounds in my left hand while I lift ten with my right. Eat the apple, need nourishment for a little retail therapy hee hee. Oh NO! I almost forgot I had an 11:15 a.m. physical therapy appointment for my almost healed broken wrist. No time to shop now, darn. I’ll have to run home and shower.

11:00 a.m…Made a fast smoothie including yogurt, banana, chia seed, wheat grass, protein powder, and frozen loquats and mulberries from the garden. Showered, threw on a maxi dress, and out the door to Encinitas. Hope there’s no traffic or I’ll be late.

12:30 p.m…Where to go after PT? I drive up Encinitas Blvd. to El Camino Real and you know about Speed Dating? This is speed shopping. I stop at HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Pier One Imports, Anthropologie, Victoria’s Secret, White House, Black Market, and even H&M. This was more of a browsing mission. Nothing really caught my eye; nothing I couldn’t live without, so I came away empty. Plus, I’m out of water and thirsty. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow 🙂

3:00 p.m…Back home, and NOW I’m starving. Time for hummus with Ak-Mak crackers and a veggie wrap. (Lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, cucumber, raisins rolled up in a tortilla.) Plus ginger tea and a fat-free fig cookie.

3:30 p.m…Check email, WordPress, FB, Twitter. All pretty quiet. No new Miley Cyrus outrageous behavior. Best news of all, the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is back. Yippee!

4:00 p.m…Work out in the garden since it’s cooled off a bit. Our summer garden was HORRIBLE this year. I’m not sure what caused it, but I pulled everything out and will allow it lay fallow for a bit. I’ll need hub to get more mushroom compost when he returns; in the meantime, I’ll work compost in. Mowed the lawns, front and back. Another job I must do while my tugboat man is away. Take the trash cans back from the street. Had a chat with a nice neighbor who keeps an eye on me while hub’s away.

5:30 p.m…Back in the house, checked email again; this time I discover a message from my tugboat man, letting me know that plans have changed and he won’t be making a port stop in San Diego after all, and he’ll call to explain when he gets in cell range. Oh DARN! I was really looking forward to seeing him, even for only a brief moment. I’m disappointed, but not overly so, things change all the time; I’m inured — accustomed –to fluid situations.
There’s always the possibility things will change back again; I’m a hopeful, glass half full kinda girl.

6:15 p.m…I got so dirty working outside I’ll need to take another shower and wash my hair this time which takes forever — curly hair needs a lot of love…

6:45 p.m…It’s no fun at all preparing and eating food for just me. One really is the loneliest number! I decide to make quinoa and add broccoli so it all cooks together. It’s ready in fifteen minutes, delicious with a dash of Mae Ploy, sweet red chili sauce.

7:30 p.m…Turn on Jeopardy and keep the TV on, mostly not watching it, while I write the next day’s blog and work on my book (yes, I too am writing a novel.)

9:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. – ish…Get ready for bed, slather my face with a few layers of anti-aging creams; Retin-A, glycolic acid, brush teeth, pop in my retainer, read for a bit, and fall asleep. Goodnight, y’all.

2:00 a.m…awakened by the plaintive voice of a coyote. It seems very close; just one lonely howl. As long as I’m awake, I might as well use the bathroom and I’m back to sleep in just a few minutes.

That’s my very empty nest day.

By special request

Cowboys and Crossbones and a few others have requested pix of the new addition to our family: my Grand Shopper Tote Chanel.  I appreciate any opportunity to show off; I’m a proud mama. She went on her first outing today, first to Target, then Trader Joe’s, and up the street to Anthropologie, B/W Market, and Nicole Miller. At each location, I was treated with so much more respect and deference than usual, when I carried my old Louis Vuitton. Peasants! I’m the same girl who wears bleach stained sweats and old Yale shirts with so many holes they wouldn’t even be useful as rags. Please enjoy these pix and thank you for your interest!

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