Friday, December 12, 2008

Dizzy Blonde: A Whole New Meaning

This is just a cute little personal tale about the beginning of my week... so after fighting off a cold the previous week, I finally succumbed to it Sunday.  I was down for the count on Monday.  By Tuesday I was sure I would feel better. 

Well...not exactly.  I jumped out of bed Tuesday morning, anxious to get back to work and tackle the increasing pile of things that was surely growing in my absence.  Then I fell over.  Yes, that's right.  I fell over, righted myself and then had to grab on to the bed to steady myself.  Dear Lord!  What did I drink last night?  And, why am I STILL drunk?  Oh.  Wait.  I'm not.  I didn't drink.  In fact, I haven't imbibed at all since last Thursday at KPT.  UH-OH!  This can mean only one thing!  INNER EAR INFECTION!

And, the reality (read: panic) set in - as I bounced from hallway wall to wall making my way clumsily to the bathroom - that I had VERTIGO.  It's a complete loss of balance - your equilibrium is totally off, rendering you completely helpless.  Without boring you with the rest of the details about my day's stay in the pseudo-ER and my visit iwth the wackiest (read: quackiest) doctor in the DC metro, I will summarize by saying I was given a diagnosis of Meniere's Disease.  It sounds a whole lot worse than it is.  (I promise, Mom!) So, I now have defined dizzy blonde in yet another way!  :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

75 Years and Counting!

Today is the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition - aka the 21st Amendment. How glorious. Why? Because as a capitalist, I believe in less government and free will. I choose to drink, I do so willingly and responsibly - I don't need some nutso, rightwing, AFA-loving extremist in DC telling me whether it's right or wrong. I will make that choice on my own thank you. And, thank you to the Congress of 1933 who had the good sense to repeal this crazy Amendment.

So, now go out and celebrate!! The Washingtonian has a great list of places in the District who are marking this momentous occasion with happy hour specials. Just be sure to remember that drinking is a privilege and treat it accordingly - do it in moderation and with good sense. And, call a sober friend for a ride if you've had a few.

Also note of interest: the 21st Amendment allowed US citizens to imbibe again and our national drinking age is 21...coincidence? I think not....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blondes I-View on BrightKit: The Shiniest Twitter Scheduler and Tracker Yet

BrightKit: The Shiniest Twitter Scheduler and Tracker Yet

Well Mashable has done it again and introduce me to yet another new site that I feel compelled to join. While I love my Twitter account, its a bit disorganized and trying to keep up with it can be challenging for someone as ADD as I am. In comes BrightKit, which allows you to organize and manage your Tweets from all of your Twitter accounts (yes, some of us have more than one, especially those of us who manage our own and some for clients, etc.

I'm planning to test it out over the next few days and will let you know how it works. If you are currently using it, please leave feedback - would love to hear from some early adopters of their experiences with BrightKit.

Good Grades Do Pay!

For years, we've known that good grades and a high GPA will pay off in the end by contributing to landing a good job with a great salary.  But, that's all well and good if you can afford college in the first place.  But now there is an answer!  As reported on Mashable, a new company called GradeFund helps students find "sponsors" willing to pay them for good grades.  Payment can go directly to the student or to the school.  Can you see in a few years from now - signing bonuses (like at law-firms) can be paid in advance to help support the enormous cost of the education??  Interesting concept!!  Let me know if you are taking part/want to take part in this!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Consumer Reports: Please do some research on marketing in the 21st century!

Dear Consumer Reports,
I received your marketing mailer today soliciting me to subscribe to your magazine.  A couple of things I wanted to point out to you that might help you increase your subscription rates.

  1. A four page marketing letter with "typewriter" font and important headlines underlined... Marketing letters of this sort were perhaps effective in the early 1990's, but c'mon that was a looooong time ago.  Attention spans have vastly diminished since then; adjust accordingly.
  2. The post script note - another outdated direct mail marketing technique.  If I haven't read your four pages, I clearly won't see the P.S.  And, with the TWO paragraphs you put in the P.S., you've definitely lost my attention!
  3. All the extra glossy inserts - waste of money.  It cheapens your product because it makes me think of those Val-Pak coupon mailers .
  4. The four page glossy picture insert that visually says all the same things that your letter (that I didn't really read) does - again TOO MUCH INFO.
  5. The little note card that you have inserted from the VP (Jerry Steinbrink ) that says open this if you aren't going to subscribe - what's the point?  Its a waste of paper.  You haven't offered me anything new or compelling that might make me want to change my mind.  And, you've succeeded in making Jamie Darnow, the Director of Publishing, look like an idiot and that you knew he wasn't going to be able to close the deal.  Not too mention that you ASSUME that I am not going to buy a subscription...way to be positive.
  6. The glossy return card - why use all the paper?  You show me the math of my savings - but its all bunk b/c you are giving me 3 free presents anyway, so I don't need to calculate their "value"- I'm not paying for them even if I subscribe and I can't buy them solo, so they really don't have a dollar value that I would be "saving." Then, why are you telling for the FIFTH time what the free gifts are?  I already know, assuming I've taken the time to read your overabundance of repetitive information.  I like the tear off card, but why include the envelope with no postage necessary - why not just print the indicia right on the return card?  

So, in conclusion, here is what I have learned from this exercise:

  • Consumer Reports kills trees.
  • Consumer Reports needs to overhaul their marketing department.
  • Why would I bother to subscribe to the magazine when I already get their RSS feeds for free?
  • Consumer Reports really doesn't do target marketing.  If they did they would know that I have a subscription to ShopSmart - one of their other pubs - on my Christmas list!!!
Oh and by the way, in doing research for this post, you have a misspelling on your staff page - you've spelled Jerry's last name wrong.  Good job.

Thanks Consumer Reports.  Better luck next time.
J-Coll

Blondes I-View on: Top Facebook Marketing Hacks

Top 12 Facebook Marketing Hacks

A great article by Nick O'Neill on his allfacebook blog (the unofficial Facebook blog). I especially like it because it summarizes the most popular ways in which marketers can overuse outreach tactics and annoy consumers on Facebook. Some of these 'hacks' include:
  • Switch Your Relationship Status Regularly
  • Wish Everybody a Happy Birthday!
  • Engage in Many Poke Wars
  • Post Comments on Fast Growing Groups
  • Sync Your Twitter With Facebook
I support his theory of "everything in moderation." There is nothing wrong with marketers (I am one) reaching out to you and me (the consumers) on Facebook (where we live) as long as they do so in a respectful manner - don't inundate me with stuff I don't want; give me good content and let me get to it easily. If you hit me too much, I'm just going to unfriend and block you and then hate on your brand. That's why marketers new to the realm of social media often do more harm then good. Those of us who have been in the field for five years or so understand the golden rule - do unto others as you would want done to you...translated: don't spam unless you want to be spammed... and who wants to be spammed?

Thats your social media marketing lesson for the day.

Posted using ShareThis

US in Recession for a Year!

Filed Under: Um, no shit.  Seriously, these people at the National Bureau of Economic Research get paid to tell us this?  Not only has the American public been acutely aware of this, even the media has been making money selling headlines on this news for months now.  Why is this suddenly breaking news?  These idiots are probably making fat money telling us stuff we already know.  Unbelievable.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Its Thanksgiving! There's a lot to be thankful for...

Happy Turkey Day, dear readers.  It's been quite some time since I've blogged and boy have I missed it!  So, today, back blogging again, I'd like to do my top ten list of things that I am thankful for.  I think this is especially pertinent given the level of fear and concern about the economic state in this country...
1.  Unconditional love
2.  Education; an education that taught me to always think "why?"; to question what I see; I'm told; and what I hear from others; to analyze all angles of a situation until I come to a solution
3.  A job that I am passionate about; it's still work and really hard work, but the challenge and continual learning it provides gets me up in the morning
4.  Deer in the backyard; nature all around me and the wonders of it every second
5. Sand between my toes - this is my serenity and my sanity
6. Coupons and the ability to have enough food on the table for all of my friends and family, even when times are tough
7. Family that I actually enjoy spending time with; and friends that I couldn't live without
8. Tolerance
9. A country that has a democratic process that allows for change, significant and dramatic change driven by the people and without violence and unrest
10. Being blonde and all that comes with it
11. Being born with intelligence and raised in an environment that cultivated that at every turn

I hope that each of you take a moment to think about what you are most thankful for - and I encourage you to share that with others - either on this blog or in person!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Joe the Plumber Gets More Tax Breaks Than Me

So, in talking with my favorite tax professional, Dean Brand of Comprehensive Business Services (Delaware), I found out that Joe the Plumber isn't hurting all that much. Did you know that small businesses are eligible for nearly 1600 federal tax deductions, while an individual has less than 100 deductions that they might be able to take? Seems a little unfair to me.

Here's what I found out: you know, that cupcake business you have on the side, or those little crafts you make and sell for some extra spending money? Well, you aren't taking advantage of all that the federal government offers you unless you are incorporated - not operating as a sole proprietor. A sole proprietor has to pay taxes on that extra income - no matter how small it is; and you can only take up to 100 deductions, most of which are related to being a homeowner.

Whereas, if you spend a couple hundred dollars or less to incorporate you can possibly be eligible for hundreds more. Do the math. Makes sense to me, which is why I have already incorporated Bastille Marketing. Not that I am doing much business on a freelance basis, but for even what little I do, I want to be sure that I maximize every penny. Would you walk away from a free $100 or more?? I wouldn't. But if you aren't taking full advantage of the tax deductions out there, then you are.

What's the best part? Dean makes the incorporation process as painless as possible, you get a super organized notebook back with all of your incorporation documentation (I love organization) along with a seal of your company's name (!), straight talk for the average person (not a bunch of tax geek mumbo jumbo, or financial latin that you need to pay a translator to understand) and when its time - Comprehensive Business Services will do your taxes too!!!! That's my favorite part. If you have payroll to deal with or other sorts of book-keeping, they do that as well. Basically, I dig this company because its totally turn-key.

Full disclosure: Dean is also my fiance, although, having had the pleasure of working out of their offices last Friday, I can certify that I didn't get special treatment - this is how they treat all of their clients!! What are you waiting for? The tax year ends in only two months...

Dear Comcast - I'd Like to Unsubscribe from Political Ads...

While I am a marketer at heart, I have to say that the political ads have gotten to me.  They are in heavy rotation which means a substantial ad money = TONS of money being spent to annoy the hell out of me.  What particularly irritates me is the negativity and falsified "facts."  First you see Obama's campaign slamming McCain on taxes.  Within 30-60 seconds you see McCain on the TV talking about Obama's affiliation with Ayers.  Or how we're about to elect the "least experienced person ever" to the Oval Office.  What's a girl to believe?  Not these ads, for sure.  The back and forth is like watching a tennis match and my neck is getting sore!  Unsubscribe please!!

So, in looking for an alternative solution, I've come up with this - political ads should be opt-in.  You notify your cable company whether or not you want these ads and if so, which party or both.  At anytime, you can opt-out.  The political campaigns would only pay for the ads run.  Seems like it would save a TON of money in campaign spending.  Money that could be better served in charitable works or in some way "giving back."  Seems like a good solution to me.

"Hello Comcast?  Please unsubscribe me from the political ads right away.  Yep, ALL of them.  Thanks. See ya, Bye!"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ladies & Gentlemen...We have a winner!! Nostalgia Cupcakes & MollieCakes Win!

Despite a rainy, traffic-laden September evening in the District, the Cupcake Contest was a huge success!  A huge crowd fought the weather and the traffic (which was far worse than the weather) to mingle, meet and make new friends while cocktailing and cupcaking at the Washington Club.  The contestants rose to the occasion and provided the crowd with sweets to delight!  

And, without any further adieu the winners were:

Professional -
It was a tough race between MallowDrama and Nostalgia Cupcakes, but in the end - despite a late arrival... Nostalgia Cupcakes inched out MallowDrama.  I would highly recommend either of them.  Look for Nostalgia to open its storefront soon in Annapolis.  And, MallowDrama is already hard at work in nearby Reston, VA.

Amateur -
Miss Mollie O., of the recently launched Molliecakes, won among the amateur contestants - who went all out to present a tasty and delectable-looking cupcake spread.  A big round of applause to all the amateurs for such a serious competition!

A few more thanks to go around - particularly to the fantastic staff and members at the Washington Club.  The Washington Club is one of the most elegant and regal venues in the city - perfect for hosting DC's 1st Annual Cupcake Contest.  The Club Manager, Mr. Henrotte, and his delightful assistant, Amelia, were terrific to work with - and you can too!  Not only is the Club accepting memberships, but the venue is available for renting if you should want to host your own DC contest, wedding, or charity event.  Two other key players in pulling the event together were Mrs. Zigler and Mrs. Elliot, thanks to you ladies for all of your support!

And, now, please take a moment of silence and reverence to remember our wonderful judges, including our judge-at-large selected from the audience.  I believe each of them has just now begun to emerge from their cupcake coma!  After tasting nearly 30 cupcakes each, these ladies are my true heroes!  They were professional and serious, but also a very fun-loving crew.  You can expect more from them on the cupcake front in the future!
  • Stephanie Aspinwall of Ayr Hill Events (Wedding Planning)
  • Amy Cavanaugh, Food Blogger & Washington Blade contributor
  • Sarah Meyer Walsh, The District Domestic
  • Danielle Buckley of Delleicious DC
  • Tracey Schroeder, Professional Cupcake Taster and Co-founder of Uncorked DC
  • Audience Member Judge, the lovely lady from SOME - So Others Might Eat
To see the additional coverage of this event, please take a moment to peruse these postings:
Delleicious, Death by Cupcake and Pictures!
Ayr Hill Events: Cupcakes, The Day After
Greg's List: Pictures!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Got a Taste for Cupcakes? Need to RSVP??

For all you last-minute commitment-phobic Washingtonians (which is usually me too!) who have finally decided to pull the trigger and attend - rain or shine - 1st Annual DC Cupcake Contest...and haven't yet RSVP'd. NO PROBLEM! Please take a quick moment to RSVP here on the Facebook invitation. I'm tracking closely how many people are coming/not coming to be sure that we have enough alcohol and treats to keep you happy!

Still not ready to commit? That's ok too! Just come on by the Washington Club (15 Dupont Circle) around 6:30ish, in your business attire, make a nominal donation of $5 and enter into the sugary wonderland that the Washington Club will become! Your vote counts too - drop off a business card when you arrive for a chance to become an official judge.

Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Counting Down to Cupcakes! - Updated 9/25/08

The 1st Annual DC Cupcake Contest is nearly underway! The contestants are busy baking, the judges are starving themselves in preparation, and attendees are counting down the minutes!

A few changes and reminders - due to the overwhelming response (over 200 RSVPs!) we do need to now collect a small charge to help us defray the costs of hosting this lovely event. ($5)

For attendees - we are featuring an opportunity for you to judge too! Please be sure that when you arrive, and check in that you place a business card in the dish - we'll be doing a drawing for one audience member to join the judging process.

Reminder - The Washington Club has graciously offered to open their doors to us. Please be sure to check out their website and take a tour! Membership in this exclusive club offers many great opportunities for young professionals. Please be sure to take or find a Club member to speak to a member on-site. Additionally, please respect the dress code of professional attire.

Now is the time to make the announcement of the final contestants:

We have FIVE cupcakeries competing to determine who is the best in the DC area:
There are EIGHT on the verge of greatness...
  • Juli-Anne Whitney
  • Erin Murtha
  • Sarah Bruton
  • Tiffany Rose Goodyear & Marla Hersthkowitz
  • Melissa Westervelt
  • Mollie Ohlhaut
  • Liz Kurtz
Our esteemed judges are:
Get your tastebuds ready and see you all tomorrow - rain or shine!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lo-Cal indulgences

Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles - ain't bad for 180 calories.  And, lets not forget the new thirst-quenching G2 at only 40 calories per 10oz bottle.  Big fan!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cupcake Contest Update: Rules for Entering

Things are progressing nicely for DC's 1st Annual Cupcake Contest.  We've had tremendous response from both contestants as well as attendees - should be a great event!  Here is a full list of the rules for entering and competing in the contest.  As well as a reminder for when/where the event will be held.

When: Thursday, September 25 6:30 - 8:30 pm (contestants will have prior access)
Where: The Washington Club - 15 Dupont Circle


Contest entry and submission rules
1.     3 categories for entry – Professional; Amateur; Out of Town
2.     No entry fees.  No monetary or collateral winnings.
3.     Each contestant will enter three submissions.     
§  Chocolate cupcake with white icing
§  Yellow cupcake with chocolate icing
§  Wildcard
4.     Icing style and flavor is not limited although it is highly encouraged to adhere to traditional expectations (i.e. if a customer ordered a chocolate cupcake with white icing, they would not be expecting to receive a bittersweet chocolate cupcake with hazelnut flavored icing).
5.     The ‘wildcard’ submission is not limited to flavor or style – show your best work.  What would put your cupcakes on the map?
6.     All cupcakes must be homemade and made from scratch (no boxed submissions – i.e. Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines).  All contestants certify their submissions adhere to these rules.
7.     Cupcakes will be judged on flavor, taste, and texture, not on decorating.  While creatively decorated submissions are allowed and encouraged, this will not be taken into consideration.
8.     The size of the cupcake is not limited although traditional (not mini or oversized) is recommended.
9.     Each contestant should provide at least ½ dozen cupcakes for each of the three submissions for judging purposes.
10.  It is also encouraged that contestants offer sampling opportunities for attendees.  This is your chance to get your product in front of numerous people for honest feedback and suggestions. 
§  Sample sizing is not limited – minis are suggested.
§  Any products or materials needed for sampling are the responsibility of the contestant (i.e. napkins, small disposable plates etc.)
11.  Contestants will be provided space to set up.  All other materials necessary are the responsibility of the contestants.
12.  All signage or other promotional collateral is allowed; although it should be of limited size and tastefully respectful.  The Club reserves the right to refuse signage.
13.  No onsite sales are allowed.  Information exchange for future orders is allowed.
14.  Any use of nuts must be indicated upfront prior to any tasting or judging. 
§       Samples containing nuts must have signage at the contestant’s table alerting attendees.
§       Any other questionable ingredients that may cause allergies must be disclosed to all parties.
15.  Trash receptacles will be provided for contestants’ use.
16.  Beverages (both alcoholic and non) will be provided.  Beer, wine, and spirits will have a charge.  Contestants may also provide their own non-alcoholic beverages for sampling purposes only (i.e. milk, hot chocolate, etc.)
Any other questions or clarifications, please post here!  These rules were developed and crafted from all of the great input and questions asked by contestants to date.  Any changes or amendments to these rules will be posted here prior to the event.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Friendster: The End of an Era

Well, all good things must come to an end. Or so the saying goes. Today, after 6 (yes, SIX) years of membership, I canceled my Friendster account. It was the first social network I joined waaaaay back in the day - probably before they were even called social networks. It was a blast - being able to "connect" and "communicate" with your friends about social events, funny stories from the night before - all virtually. Pretty cool technology. And to think I was a beta adopter. How far things have come.... (cue the funeral knell) Good night and good bye, old friend-ster.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bush Bringing Troops Home: Too Little, Too Late

So the latest headlines from the AP announce that Bush plans to bring 8,000 troops home from Iraq.  "Great!" was my first thought, but then "only 8,000?"  And, not until February?  Bush won't even be President then.  Why not now?  Why not look like someone trying to be a hero* and bring them home at the holidays?  What about the other 138,000?  Seems like a lot of hype in the press for not a lot of real substantive action.  Someone has a serious case of lame duck-itis, sounds like to me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wondering Why Blonde's I-View Has Been Quieter than Normal??

Because I've been blogging wedding details over at DC Nearlyweds! Check me out - I'm Miss Rehoboth. I just did a lengthy post on which silver pattern to choose. Please weigh in with your opinions - I need advice!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Baked & Wired is in!!!! Georgetown Cupcake is silent...still

Yum, my personal favorite cupcakery has committed to the First Annual DC Cupcake Contest.  Where's Georgetown Cupcake?  After two attempted contacts...nothing.  Wow.  Wonder if they are afraid....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The 8 People Who Can Ruin A Party

Passed on to me by a co-worker form Holy Taco, this is absolutely HILARIOUS. And, I "know" everyone single one of these people - and they are NOT invited to the Cupcake Contest. :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

8/8 Update: Cupcake Contest Competitors

To date, the first Annual DC Cupcake Contest is generating quite a bit of interest. Here are the competitors as of now:

Professionals:
The Baltimore Cupcake Company
52 Cupcakes
Baked & Wired

Amateurs:
Amanda Gregory
Catie Woolley
Tiffany Rose Goodyear

Out of Towners:
PattiCakes (Bryn Mawr, PA)
Sweet N Sassy Cupcakes (Newark, DE)
Nostalgia Cupcakes (Annapolis, MD)

Dog Shooting Drama Continues

In a follow-up post on my other blog, PetKnows, I detailed the latest in the debacle in Berwyn Heights, MD dog slaying incident. The Washington Post reports that the SWAT team was acting without a proper warrant when they barged into Mayor Calvo's home, shooting to death two family pets in the wake of their entry. I'm still outraged over this. As Tim Maloney - the attorney for Calvo said, “There’s nothing in the four corners of the warrant saying anything about the Calvos being a threat to law enforcement…This was a lawless act by law enforcement.” I concur.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cupcake Contest Coverage!

The contest is off and running.  Check out this post on Absurdities! by Blonde's I-View's dear friend, Human Folly.  Also, there is a Facebook invitation for this event already....  Woohoo!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Cupcake Contest - Call for Entries!

It's on!! Yes, I've finally secured a date and a location. Thursday, September 25th at the elegant Washington Club, located in the heart of DC at 15 Dupont Circle. The time is TBD, but will be held after normal work hours. Entries will be accepted in three categories:
  • Professional
  • Amateur
  • Out-of-Town
There will be 3 entries allowed within each category:
  • Vanilla with Chocolate Icing
  • Chocolate with Vanilla Icing
  • Wildcard - where creativity counts
Space is limited, so don't wait to sign up. Samples for the audience are encouraged in addition to the official entries.

More details will follow, please stay tuned. If you are interested in signing up to participate, please contact me at jmcollins71@yahoo.com.

A Tale of 2 Cases: Animal Cruelty in PG County & Legislation to Protect Pets in Frederick County

For anyone who knows me well, they know I am a true animal lover. I slam my brakes on not to hit a squirrel, I drag home lost/homeless animals, I've volunteered at pet hospitals and I was even banned from watching Animal Kingdom and Lassie when I was little because they made me cry too much. Yes, I am a sap.

But, in this case, I am not a sap - I am outraged by a case of animal cruelty in Prince George's County - inflicted by local law enforcement and heartened by Frederick County Commissioners taking steps to ban the practice of chaining dogs outside for long periods of time. Please read my posts on them at my other blog, PetKnows. I post there as J-Coll. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

J. Crew's Mea Culpa

It's highly unusual that a corporate retailer apologizes. With that said, I've always thought of J. Crew as an extraordinary retailer. I love them - full disclosure. So, imagine my delight when I received this in both my office and my personal inboxes:
JCrew.com

Wow, I'll remain a loyal customer. This issue did not affect me in anyway, but I like to know that a company not only recognizes its mistakes and takes measures to correct them, but that they also acknowledge those mistakes with an apology. Keep up the good work J. Crew!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JABFEST: Tuesday Time-Waster

I'm having waaaay too much fun participating in JabFest today on Facebook. Check it out! You can insult anyone with the craziest most insane slurs! My personal favorite is "crusty eared mouthy pirate!" I highly recommend taking 30 seconds to stop what you are doing and hurl some insults. You know you want to. Take out your aggression in a safe and fun way that won't get you arrested for assault or harrassment. While you are at it - add Muttonhead as your friend on Facebook as well - I have a feeling he's got more tricks hidden in those chops of his!

And for those of you not on Facebook - you can play too! Check it out: http://www.muttonheadsays.com/

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Riblet! Riblet!

Not RIBBIT like a toad..."Riblet" like a cat - a cat that tweets! Not a bird, a cat! A cat on Twitter!! Can you believe it? Check it out: www.twitter.com/riblet or read Aragonesque's post on about a cat taking over Twitter. PetKnows also covered the story. Morris ain't got nothin' on Riblet!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cupcakes v. Wedding Cakes


I've been getting many inquiries about the status of the Cupcake-off Contest. It's still on. In fact, I nailed down the venue and was in the process of confirming the date when I unexpectedly got engaged!!! So, of late, the focus has shifted from cupcakes to wedding cakes, dresses, locations, etc! Stay tuned for more on the Cupcake Contest - I will resume work on that shortly.

Duke Wins It!

DC has announced the "winner" of the image to be presented on the District's personalized quarter. After a fierce competition with Frederick Douglass and Benjamin Banneker, the Washington Post reports, that Duke Ellington will be the new face of DC. Go Duke! Hats off to the man!

Ice Cream Always Helps!

Well, as I crawl back to my desk to start up the blogging hill again, I think a little ice cream might offer some inspiration.... particularly if you can put it in a PINK huggy!! Check this out from Slashfood:
And you can buy it for a mere $7.95 investment (free shipping if you have Amazon Prime)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blogger's Block!

I have Blogger's Block.  I have lost my blogging voice.  I have lots to tell my readers - I've been busy for sure, but just can't seem to find the words to say it.  As the BF chided me, "You just need to think outside the blog."  Well, in the absence of having a compelling blog post, please do stay tuned to J-Coll's Tidbits as I do update those frequent.  I read nearly 250 blogs daily (thanks to the genius of Google Reader), so you'll get a microblog post there that you can usually count on.

Oh, and I have a solid lead on a fantastic location to host the cupcake-off.  Will update more once its secured.

And, I had PattiCakes (my fav Philly cupcaker) two weeks ago.  They wow'd me as usual.  Chocolate with Peppermint Icing.  Yummy!

Ok, over and out.  Hopefully, I will be super-inspired to blog tomorrow.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Buh-bye HilBil! Hillary Needs to Hang It Up!

It's time, Hillary.  Say good bye.  You lost.  Make us all look good by gracefully bowing out.  Nuff said.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Cupcake-off: Event Status & Call for entries!

The upcoming cupcake contest aka the First Annual DC Cupcake-off is really starting to gain some momentum.   Here's the latest details I can share with you:

1. Location, location, location - we have a couple of embers in the fire, just need to nail down the details and confirm the date.

2. Sponsors needed!  To cover the incidental costs...  Interested?  Please contact me!

3. Call for entries - its now official...  Think your cakes are best best?  Well, prove it!  There are 3 categories - Local, Out-of-Town, and Amateur - with only 3 contestants in each.  So far, I have 1 amateur, 2 out-of-towners, and some serious interest from 2 local cupcakeries.  Please send all requests for entry to me directly at blondesiview(at)yahoo(dot)com or comment below.  I will forward the contestant rules to you directly.

Please forward this to friends, family, fellow bloggers, your boss, whomever!

Stay tuned - more contest details to follow...

A Cupcake Coma!

As I lay here dying... I thought I would share the details of the cupcake-induced coma in which I find myself. On a whim, a co-worker of mine and I ventured into Georgetown in search of a sweet treat to satisfy our mid-afternoon slump. Somehow she convinced me to give Georgetown Cupcake a second chance (to which I reluctantly agreed?!?!) After trying to navigate down narrow Potomac Street and being very frustrated by delivery trucks taking up all the parking spots, I was mildly encouraged because the line was the smallest I'd ever seen - only extending out to the front step. It was all good til I saw the last guy in line - leave. Never a good sign. So, I rolled down my car window and asked how long he'd been waiting. He responded, "Not long, but I hate lines!" As a long-line-hater myself, I took off and headed straight to Baked & Wired, secured parking easily, waited in a minimal line of 3 people and ordered my cupcakes. How easy was that? Super easy! So, I trekked back to the office and devour the chocolate birthday cupcake with vanilla icing. The cake itself (which I cut the bottom off so as to give the cake itself a fair evaluation sans the sweetness of the icing) was nothing short of delectable. Really. Moist but not flaky - it stood up nicely to my knife. Very chocolately, but not overpowering. I would have been happy with the cupcake bottom by itself, but the white icing was a like a little cloud of heaven. I'm in love and in a coma right now.

And, I told the lady waiting on me about the Cupcake-Off - she was really excited and told me who to get in touch with to set it up. Yay!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

CupCake Controversy: A Cupcake-Off! Who has the Best Cupcakes?

The Cupcake controversy in DC may soon come to an end.  I'm pleased to announce the 1st Annual DC Cupcake-Off!  It's like a bake-off but with cupcakes!  Here are the details:
There will be 3 DC entries from local cupcake stores (hopefully the ones I've been covering); 3 out-of-state cupcakes (will magnolia take the cake?!); and 3 amateur cupcake bakers.  Each cupcakery will be able to enter up to four recipes.  A panel of independent judges will select the winners in each category.  There will be bloggers, Twitterers, cupcake connoisseurs, paparazzi, food critics and more hoopla than a circus!  Stay tuned for the details.  Its tentatively scheduled for May 29, pending location confirmation.  If you are interested in participating in one of the cupcake categories, please email me directly at blondesiview@yahoo.com or leave a comment.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

James Bond: A Conspiracy in Real Life?

Hmmmm - two serious car accidents in just four days while filming the new James Bond film in Italy - Quantum of Solace. The first, James' famed Aston Martin is accidentally driven off a cliff crashing into a lake below while being transported to the set for filming the next day. Allegedly due to rain-slicked road. The driver was ok. Then, just yesterday, two stunt drivers in an Alfa Romeo filming on what is likely the same windy Italian road, crash into a wall. One is seriously injured and airlifted (by a helicopter that happens to be on standby...) to the hospital; the other less seriously hurt. Neither of the stunt men's names are being released to the press. A bizarre coincidence? A trumped-up serious of 'accidents' to build buzz for the film? You decide. It reminds me of the series of accidents on the set of the Crow back in the day that ultimately led to Brandon Lee's death (son of Bruce Lee.) Ladies - Daniel Craig is just fine...for now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cupcake Controversy: A New Contender

Hot off the presses and straight from Apples and Bananas, the news has hit the blogosphere that another cupcake bakery is going to throw its muffin tin in the ring and compete in the cutthroat competition for best cupcake in DC.  Georgetown Cupcake - watch out!  Cakelove - pay attention!  Baked & Wired - listen up!  There's gonna be a new cupcake in town!  As reported on Apples and Bananas from discussion in the Don Rockwell forum - Hello Cupcake! is coming to town.  You'll have to wait for summer, but this newest contender will be strategically located in Dupont Circle.  

Post Script:  Summer in DC = humidity.  I wonder what the humidity will do to cupcakes???

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cupcake Controversy Continued: NBC4 Gets in the Game

If you haven't already read (or tasted) there is a DC debate over cupcakes being cooked up.  Now, NBC4 has thrown their hat into the ring by conducting a cupcake taste-test.  The four cupcake contestants - Cakelove, Betty Crocker (homemade), Safeway (store-bought) and the over-priced Georgetown Cupcake.  First, let me say this unscientific test is skewed in that there is not an apples to apples comparison - IMO, you can't compare Safeway to Cakelove.  Please.  One is mass produced, one is gourmet.  That's like comparing a shopping experience at 7-11 to Whole Foods.  But, nevertheless, they went about it.  The results can be found here.  The fun part - no one seemed to think that Georgetown Cupcake is worth the price!  Um - duh!!!  What I would have rather seen them do is a cupcake to cupcake comparison - only bakery cupcakes.  Or, let's pit G'town CC against Magnolia and see which city wins cupcake honors...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Kemble Park Tavern: Blonde's I-REview - The Restaurant Edition

The BF and I had dinner last night at Kemble Park Tavern in the Palisades - formerly the Starland Cafe, a personal favorite of mine.  I've been really looking forward to eating dinner here as the reviews were pretty good and with it's theme of an English pub, it's right up my alley.  Let's just say the decor is great, very cozy, and the service is stellar.  We were off to a good start.  They had a nice selection of wines by the glass - nothing crazy, nothing extravagant, just all the stuff I like.  The BF ordered the tomato and onion salad to start.  I don't like tomatoes or onions, but thought I'd be adventurous and try them.  The tomato was great - clearly a beefsteak tomato - it was large, crunchy, with good texture and flavor.  The onion - quite spicy - I'd have much preferred a vidalia onion.  That would have made me order my own salad.  Moving on - I ordered the shrimp over grits, BF order a cheeseburger with real Vermont cheddar!, and we split an order of the housemade bacon.  We voted on the bacon based on the  housemade bacon at Jay Caputo's Espuma in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  Guess there is a reason why Jay is semi-finalist for the James Beard award and Kemble Park Tavern is not.  The bacon was white?? and mushy.  The flavor was good, but after a half of a strip, I was done.  Disappointing.  The shrimp - which I believe were actually prawns (yes there is a difference) - and came head-on despite my request to have them removed and were at best mealy.  The grits were chunky - not creamy - and the sauce my dinner was drown in was flavorless.  All in all, I was pretty disappointed.  It was decent enough to eat - I didn't send it back - but that is the best I can say about it.  The BF's cheeseburger was quite tasty though - now I will know for future reference, although I am not anxious to return there anytime soon.  So, we decided to end the night with a treat of apple and strawberry cobbler, topped with strawberry ice cream, with a complimentary strawberry puree, rum, and champagne apertif.  Sign me up!  I was thinking that perhaps the night could be revived!  The dessert arrived - burning hot - literally I had to spit my first bite out because it was beyond scalding.  The cobbler topping was burned and the apertif was unimpressive.  It tasted like a smoothie with just strawberry and ice - nothing sweet about it.  You couldn't taste the rum and I'd argue if there was actually champagne in it.  Once the cobbler cooled, it was pretty good, but all in all the whole meal was off.  My advice?  Save your pennies on Kemble Park Tavern - with all the good choices for cuisine in this town, they'd be better spent elsewhere.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

DC Drivers: Today is Disrespectful Driver Day!

How hard is it to be a respectful, while still driving defensively and assertively? In my relatively short commute to work today (less than 3 miles) I encountered SEVERAL disrespectful people. It started off with the bitch on the bike in a too-short summer dress, a backpack & blazer, and winter gloves (um - what? Fashion Police!! Make an arrest!), holding up her gloved pointer finger at me signaling for me to wait for her AFTER I had already come to a full stop to let her cross the intersection before me. Since when do bikes rule the road? Too bad a bus wasn't around to hit her. She subsequently kept trying to race me to intersections (um, I'm a car. You are on a bike. I hit you, you die. You hit me, I sue you. Either way, you lose) and then cut off a bunch of other cars as she crossed against the RED light on Reservoir Rd. Damn, that class at Georgetown that you are late for must be really really important.

Then, on 35th, there was the woman in the Range Rover who clearly had nowhere important to be. I had fully stopped to allow a nanny to cross the street with her two cutie charges, when the RR was already at the intersection. According to the drivers' ed class I took (not sure if DC drivers forget the rules of the road when driving in the District), it would be her turn to go. She was at the intersection first.
Me: Lady, it's your turn - go!
Her: lalalalalalala, oh! I should go? Its my turn?
Me: Yes lady and in the amount of time you've taken to realize that, I could have been at work already!!!
She represents an example of a not-so-smart blonde or at least one who had no respect for other drivers and that they might need to be somewhere in a timely manner. On a day that the papal appearance is already clogging traffic, can't people just have a little respect and pay attention? Is that too much to ask?

The morning culminated with arriving in the parking lot to have a very large black SUV up my butt. I turned toward my parking spot, which is typically reserved with an orange cone, and she turned right behind me, slamming her brakes on so as not to rear-end me (what happened to the rule about leaving at least ONE car-length between you and other cars??). I jumped out and asked her if she were going to be parking in the spot next to me, thinking I would save her time also - even though I was late - by moving the other spot's cone out of the way so she would not have to get out of her car too. What did I get in response? An angry wave and a "No! I'm parking over there!" which btw, would have been much easier for her to get to if she had gone around - where there were no other cars in her way.

So as a way to let go of my anger and turn the rest of my day into a productive one - I'm declaring today "Disrespectful Driver Day." And, I'd recommend everyone stay out of my way on the commute home.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ann Taylor LOFT: A Blonde Moment!

Just because I have vehemently asserted that REAL blondes are SMART blondes, that doesn't mean that you can't experience "blonde moments"! (Note to others: you can only make fun of being "blonde" if you are a blonde, otherwise its offensive to the blonde.)

I was super excited as a colleague had passed only an Ann Taylor LOFT Friends & Family discount coupon for 25%. They are already having a significant %off sale, so coupled with this coupon, I could really super-size my savings. So, I printed off several copies of the coupon to share with my own friends and family and headed off to my local Ann Taylor LOFT (Rehoboth Beach, DE) with the BF. After circling the store several times and dragging dear BF along to hold my growing mountain of things, I searched out the dressing room, tried on several items, showed them off to the BF, and returned what I didn't want to the lady running the dressing room.

In an instant moment of kindness and sharing, I whipped out the extra coupons I had with me and passed them out to another cute blonde and her friend who were in the dressing room. Then, I gave a few to the random husbands and boyfriends milling about the door, fretting over their money being spent without their control. After feeling really good about having shared my discount with nearly everyone in the store, BF & I marched up to the counter and checked out. In another moment of kindness and compassion, the BF offered to pay!!! (And, this is why he is the best BF EVER! - among the many reasons...)

As I watched all of my sale items ring up, I proudly handed over my coupon and announced how I had received it. The clerk smiled and continued ringing my items. I turned and smiled at all the other Ann Taylor LOFT devotees standing in line behind me with my coupons in their hands, thinking how much I had helped them to save too. They all smiled back or nodded in appreciation. Man, was I feeling good!

Then the clerk showed me that I had saved over $77 and handed me back my coupon. I was beaming, the BF was thrilled too. Then, I explained sweetly to the clerk that she could throw my coupon out since today was the last day to use it and I wasn't planning on making any more purchases. Without skipping a beat, she sweetly explained right back to me that the coupon is good for NEXT THURSDAY - SUNDAY (4/17-20).

Doh!!! OMG! A blonde moment! And, everyone in line was going to realize within seconds how blonde I am!! Oh dear! The BF and I hightailed it out of there! I'm STILL embarrassed.

Have fun with that one - any nasty blonde comments from you my dear readers will be immediately DELETED!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Georgetown Cupcake: A Blonde's I-REview REdux

So, just to follow up with you, my dear readers, about my opinions regarding Georgetown Cupcake. Recently, my co-worker, Claudia, after observing my disappointment in GC's red velvet cupcake baked her own version of red velvet mini-cupcakes - which, thankfully restored my faith in cupcakes - especially red velvet ones. Hers were not dry like GC's and had delicious vanilla icing with just the right amount of sweetness - and no tart taste like the one I had from GC. And delivered right to my desk - no waiting in an hour long line!

Apparently, this may have sparked an inside-NMS bake-off because today, James brought in red velvet cupcakes with white icing that were also quite spectacular. Incredibly moist, deliciously delectable, and made at home (2 dozen cupcakes!) for not much more than the cost of just 1 at Georgetown Cupcake.

Hmmm - I love capitalism so I applaud Georgetown Cupcake for getting the high prices they do for lousy cupcakes, but I will stick with the ones made a home.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Political Celebrity Sighting!


As I raced into to work this morning, I decided a full stop at P & 35th Streets would be a good idea. Good thing too - since Madeline Albright was hobbling across the street headed to Georgetown University - right in front of my car!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Celebrity Sightings! Fresh From Milan!


The BF is in Milan on business and just sent me these photos from some big swanky party he went to! I have few other details than this, but will post more scoop as soon as I can! This sure tops my Russell Crowe stalking!

Better Blonde

I've updated my profile picture.  The other one is one of my favorites of myself - which is odd for me to say at all b/c I tend to hate all pics of me, but nevertheless, I digress... So, the other one is really good in the actual picture, but when it uploads it makes it too small and I thought I looked cross-eyed.  Which is sometimes how I feel.  So, this is the new one - I think its a bit better and I don't look crazy.  What do you think?  Keep this pic or keep trying?  

Safeway v. Peapod - A Blonde's I-REview of Grocery Delivery Service Sites

Being lazy all day, I thought I would have my groceries delivered to me - a quick and simple solution so I didn't have to get up off the couch today.  What a great idea!  After spending some time on mygrocerydeals.com to get organized and comparison shop the items I needed at the local store, I selected Safeway - they had the best deals on the things I needed or the coupons I had.  And off I went to the land of cyber-grocery shopping.  Much to my chagrin, the Safeway.com website was not so user-friendly.  I could have shopped the Social Safeway, waited in its horrendous lines, and been back on the couch faster than just trying to get my list loaded and matching my products to those instore.  What a PITA!  So, I resorted back to Peapod.com  What a delightful experience!  I cut the list that I had painstaking loaded into the Safeway site and pasted it right into the Peapod express shop list and was done my shopping in no time!  And, I am getting it tomorrow evening for a delivery fee of only $6.95 compared to having to wait until Tuesday and pay $12.95 for Safeway - forget about it!!!  In addition, with some savvy shopping and couponing, I saved $14 at Peapod - more than enough to cover my $6.95 investment of the delivery fee.  That included signing up for their direct check (debits right from your checking account) which saved me $5 on this trip and another $1 on this order as well as all subsequent orders.  All in all - skip Safeway, stick with Peapod!

Smart Blondes Series


I've decided to start an ongoing series featuring various blondes who I find to be intelligent and exemplifying a true blonde - attractive, smart, witty.  While you will mostly see women featured in this series, the occasional smart blonde man will show up.  I am also very interested in finding out who you all think are smart blondes - I'd love your suggestions for future profiles.  Please submit.  The only requirement is that they must be a real blonde as far as you can tell - for example, Hillary Clinton, despite her horrible blonded frosting, will never be a REAL BLONDE.  Thanks!  Stay tuned for the inaugural post in the series...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cupcake Controversy: Don't Believe the Hype about Georgetown Cupcake

After much discussion, debate, and dreaming of cupcakes, two colleagues and I decided to finally suck it up and wander over to the much-hyped Georgetown Cupcake, wait in the ridiculous line, just for a personal experience with the cupcakes to beat all cupcakes.  The cupcakes that make Magnolia hang its head in shame, the cupcakes that make Cakelove cringe, the cupcakes that will make my mom hang up her apron from cupcake-baking forever!  Man, I couldn't wait for these cupcakes.  And, then - the client called and I had to bail from my much-dreamed about trip to the soon-to-be world famous Georgetown Cupcake!  I was devastated.  But, all was not lost.  My favorite co-worker, Tracey (did you like the shout-out Trace?!?), brought back a dozen in the prettiest PINK box.  And then she offered me one - my choice!!!!  We ripped open the box and... there were the little tiniest mini-muffins I've ever seen.  Like the kind third-graders bring to school on their birthday to share with the class.  But, ok, so they were small, but I was sure, convinced, I believe these were going to be an eating ecstasy, so I carefully selected a red velvet cupcake with white cream cheese icing (I mean, really - how could you go wrong with that?) and took a giant bite!  I threw all caution to the wind and chomped down, without a thought of having red velvet cupcake all stuck up in my braces.  And, then - I was crestfallen.  A slightly dry mini-cupcake with unpleasantly tangy tart cream cheese icing is what I ended  up with, mushing it around in my mouth.  Trying to recover from my first bite, I shoved the rest of it in my mouth with one fell swoop.  That just confirmed that a nearly $3, over celebrated cupcake, is exactly that - a too expensive, not tasty enough, too much talked about piece of cake.  Well if nothing less, as a marketer myself, I respect how successful their Word-of-Mouth marketing efforts have been.  But that is it.  Skip the trip and head over to Baked & Wired on Thomas Jefferson St. (just three short blocks from Georgetown Cupcake) and try theirs.  I hear they are expensive, but well worth it!  Now that's what I am talking about!
For others' views on the cupcake controversy, check out:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Russell Crowe is Stalking Me!

Dear Russ,
I think its kind of cute that you camped out just within eyesight of my office building today and pretended to be "filming" a new movie just so you could try to get a glimpse of me.  It's cute for now...don't get all creepy on me though.  And for what it is worth - I never leave the building for lunch...
Love,
J-Coll

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Crowe & Cherry Blossoms: A Great Weekend in Georgetown

A bit late to post this, but I couldn't help recapping my weekend.  The BF's mom was in town, so in typical fashion, I had planned a full weekend of events - the culmination of which was a scenic cruise on the Potomac to view the Cherry Blossoms without the torrents of tourists.  I was very excited and all-in-all it was a huge success.  What I had not planned, and truly could not have planned it better myself, was our accidental run-in with Russell Crowe

No lie!  Really! And he is WAY hotter in real life than on the big screen.  Even despite his scruffy attempt at being incognito.  He's taller than expected and exudes the intensity of blue eyes staring directly at the sun with no sunglasses on!  He kind of made me squint - in a good way.  I've recently seen American Gangster and 3:10 to Yuma - both of which he is stellar in!  I'm now officially a fan...

Out of deference and respect I restrained myself from approaching him (we were 10 feet away from each other at the most!) and introducing myself - but it was hard.  Look out Russ - next time, I will quickly remind you of our chance encounter on the streets of Georgetown!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

YouTube Used in WMATA's Peep Show

Yep, even the DC Metro is getting into the Social Media/Video Sharing arena. Unbelievable. Its bizarrely intriguing though that the WMATA spokesperson just thought it might be a fun idea to use Peeps (an easter candy favorite) to encourage Nationals fans to take the metro to the new stadium because of already limited parking. I saw this first on WJLA (thanks Leon Harris!) and found the "Peep Show" by MetroOpensDoors on DCist. Check it out - not only is it amusing, but its consumer generated content leveraged by business at its finest. A shining example of what I wish agencies and clients dabbling in the social media world would get - a viral video doesn't have to have a lot of creativity and $$ behind it - just some originality.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

DC Gun Ban No Good, Says U.S. Supreme Court - Go Arm Yourself!

Oh, wait - that was just me wishful thinking...  But, the good news is that the Supreme Court is doing a thorough review of the stupidest law ever written = DC's ban on guns, thanks to the Cato Institute.  Having read every line of the legislation, I feel I am empowered to call it stupid - and poorly written for that matter, regardless of what side you support.  I personally support my Second Amendment rights  I hope that the Supreme Beings use common sense... more on that later...

Obama On Race, Bear Sterns Collapses - I missed it all!

My poor neglected blog! I am completely immersed in 3 GIANT client deliverables and two new projects and thus, haven't had a moment to read news or do any searching online. I'm so out of it! I was last to find out the Bear Sterns went bust, apparently Obama made some speech on race and I missed it all (check out huffpost for full text)!! I promise to come back and post interesting, thought-provoking content just as soon as get these out the door!

One final thought to ponder in my absence: is Obama becoming the next Martin Luther King, Jr.? An icon of equality for generations to come?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blonde's I-REview: Today's Favorite Sites

Just a few of my favorite sites from today's blogosphere review:

MyGroceryDeals - load in your grocery list and find the best deals for each item based on your local stores weekly deals!!  Thanks to BeCentsable for doing the original review!

MyPyramid.gov - forget all that meal planning - low-cal, low-carb, high-protein - its all too much to try to plan a healthy balanced diet.  Now Uncle Sam will do it for you!  Featuring a menu planner, a eating tracker, tons of resources all wrapped up in an easy-to-use format...

AllTop.com - a new way to keep up with all the most popular bloggers in any given category.  Great for viewing who is covering breaking stories or to gather quick links to certain bloggers.  Also a great time waster. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Legal Driving Age Made 21!!

As a follow up to my previous post on texting while driving and that the MD Legislature, having lost that battle, will now be going after just teen drivers to ban them from texting while driving. I've now learned that Virginia is going after teen drivers making stronger penalties for drunk driving offenses - just for teens.
What's up with the assault on teen drivers?! I totally understand pinching them for speeding or seatbelt wearing. But how is drunk driving or texting while driving any different for a teen than an adult? Its not, IMO. So, if this continues, why don't they just move the driving age to 21 or 25 for that matter?! And, who is representing teens' rights in these situations?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Texting While Driving - Legal in MD!

I just have to post a quick comment on this article posted on WTOP.  Proposed legislation banning text messaging while driving was shot down because MD lawmakers felt that texting didn't warrant its own law...  

Ok, so first, let me say, I sometimes text while driving, so I'm not a huge proponent of banning it, but if it happens I won't be outraged.  Its like seatbelts, I don't really love wearing them, but I do it because the consequences are far worse than the mild annoyance of the belt itself.  Ok, disclaimer over.  

So, the main point here is that MD lawmakers - had they known the first thing about technology, specifically, the multiple features and uses of cell phones, would have written the law to incorporate all uses of cell phones while driving in the first place!  But, no... they had to jump in reaction to constituent pressure and get a law on the books right away without doing the proper research.... So, the proposed ban that would incorporate texting gets shot down.  

So, their response is that they are now going to try to get it passed just for younger drivers.  Um - what?  Ok, so if I am looking down at my phone, texting while driving, am I any less dangerous than a 16 year old just because I've been driving longer?!?!  NO!  I still see can't see the road, regardless of my age!  God, I think you need to be certifiably stupid to write laws in Maryland.  And - I won't even go on about my opinions of the skills of Maryland drivers...that's a whole other post!!!  

Link It & Track It: DwarfURL Review

Saw this review of DwarfURL on one of my favorite sites, Mashable.  Very cool application that I can see myself using in multiple ways.  Its basically TinyURL with stats so you can see how effective your link is and its nice for your readers because, like TinyURL, it shortens those obnoxiously length URLs.  

While reading through the comments in reaction to Mashable's "TinyURL + Stats = DwarfURL" article, several readers shared other similar services, including ones that allow the ability to select the label of the URL after the back slash.  I love that!  Here is a quick compilation of the other services mentioned.  

Which do you use and why do you like it?





Obama Girl Ain't Got Nothin' on OBAMARAMA

I discovered the site, SenatorObamas, from a Twitter post by @Rystique. It is ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS! All the fun ways to hack up Obama's name. Obamarama is my personal favorite. With Unabama and GI Joebama rounding out the top three. What's yours?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Movie Review: Vantage Point

The BF & I went to see Vantage Point over the weekend. Both being big fans of thrillers, I fully expected that we would love this movie. Forrest Whittaker is always amazing and Dennis Quaid tends to deliver a solid performance. I was also looking forward to seeing that cute Matthew Fox in a big screen performance. Expecting a Bourne Identity type suspense thriller, what I ended up with was much more of a Die Hard type experience. The BF was happy with Vantage Point. I, sadly, was not. It was predictable, too unrealistic (I mean really, Dennis Quaid is way too old to be bouncing back from bomb explosions, car accidents, etc.) and generally left me wishing I had my hour and a half back.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sale!! 2 Days Only! Cutest Gift Site - EVER!

I absolutely LOVE this site and all of her things on here. CCC Gifts is my first stop when I am looking for a unique, memorable, and cute gift. And, she's got a great sale going on right now. What better time to try it out? Sale ends 2/22/08, so don't wait! Order now!

To take advantage of the 10% off, please be sure to enter the coupon code "newproducts" at check out.

Food Prices Go Up, CPA Blogger Has Crazy, Unrealistic Solutions

I have to say I am a bit offended by Tracy Coenen's article on WalletPop about ways to cut back financially to offset the recent increase in the cost of food. Her suggestions are ridiculous. And, I typically consider myself to be frugal-minded (that doesn't always translate to my spending habits), as I certainly know how to squeeze the most out of a dollar. Tracy cites a study from the US DOL detailing a recent sharp rise in the cost of consumer goods/food. She goes on to state that she feels its not a big deal - that parents/families should start cutting back, saying "First, mom and dad can still save money by cutting out unnecessary things like eating out, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, entertainment outside the home, and making unnecessary trips in the car." Unnecessary things? Clearly this woman has never tried giving up cigarettes or cutting out alcohol. Sometimes after a long day a nice glass of wine is the most cost-effective way to treat yourself. And, just go cold turkey on ciggies? Has this woman ever realized that cigarettes are an ADDICTION?!?

This is my favorite part, "Grocery shoppers should be looking for alternatives that are less expensive that what they've been eating, plain and simple. Families can stretch their food dollars by being creative with leftovers and using less expensive ingredients to bulk up recipes."

Oh, ok Ms. Coenen - that makes sense. Let's replace all the healthy foods that we are trying to give our kids/families that might cost more like fruits, veggies, various meats, whole grains, etc. and find the cheap foods (read: processed, full of trans fats, sugar, sodium, etc.) to save a penny. Why don't you just advocate supporting obesity??

She does go on to point out some smart shopping habits like coupons and planning ahead, but I would still challenge that by saying - if you are so strapped for cash, you've probably canceled your newspaper subscription (forget the coupons!) and rely on your work computer for internet access so, forget having enough time to research online sales & coupons - you need to keep that job, not goofing off!

And, finally, let's talk about time. It takes time, lady. Time to do all this planning, shopping, coupon snipping, walking instead of taking "unnecessary trips in the car," most parents I know don't have that kind of time with jobs, caring for the kids, keeping a house and paying bills. While I think its a good idea, its just not realistic in most people's worlds.

I think there are multiple ways to save $ that can offset the increase in food costs without these suggestions. One way that makes a big impact and doesn't take much time at all is to turn off lights, set the heat back a few degrees, unplug appliances when not in use. For those of you looking for ways to save (for whatever reason) that won't take a chunk of time and really will have an impact on your wallet and possibly the environment, there are tons of Frugal Living blogs out there - read those. They are written by people who know how to "stretch a dollar." They aren't CPAs that is spouting off textbook ways to save $$. They are people who live frugally day in and day out and are willing to share their tried and tested ways. Some of my favorite sites and blogs are these:

Five Cent Nickel
Frugal Living by Frugal Guy
Thrifty Fun
Bargainist
Thrift Store Whore
Money Saving Mom
Mighty Bargain Hunter
Saving Advice
Wise Bread
Bargain Queens

Phillipinos Giving The Irish a Run for their Money?

Being the good Irish girl that I am, I am quite proud of my heritage - and of being on the Varsity Team of Beer Drinkers. So, as you can imagine, I was a little surprised when I saw this article straight from the Phillipine Inquirer. Apparently, Phillipino natives are quite the big drinkers. Who knew? Apparently, their love of drinking has inspired this gentleman to develop VITAMIN BEER. As if all of the vitamin-enhanced waters out there, just aren't good enough. Hmmm. I fully expected to see this as a staple of 30-something partiers at the world-famous Starboard in coming summers. And, since its fortified with Vitamin-B, I wonder if that will reduce the effects of a hangover??

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

JINXED!!!!

It figures. I'd post about someone else's misfortunes and the toe illness that befell them and damn if I don't go and get sick myself! I think I was jinxed by Fate herself. I acquired what I affectionately like to refer to as "The Funk." It's that mysterious, highly-contagious illness that presents every symptom known to man - somewhat of a hybrid, morphed, cold-flu-respiratory infection with a dash of migraine thrown in for good measure. Never the less, I got it. I fought it. It won. I was down for the count for four days. It was the quietest four days in recent history. I will never again make fun of others' creative call-outs.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Best Sick Day Call - EVER!


This is quoted verbatim from one of our staff members who will be working from home today. Absolutely hilarious. If all employees could be this creative....

"Today I will not be able to make in into the office. An unfortunate big toe condition has left said toe very swollen and tender, and its not really an option to walk on it today. Tomorrow will (hopefully) be better, even if I show up in flip flops or something. I apologize for such late notice, as I wanted to see how it felt in the morning before I made this decision. I tried calling you @ 8:20, but I spose you were not at your desk. If you would like to reach me, XXX-XXX-XXXX, also MSN. I do volunteer to work from home today, as I am not sick, I just have a flat toe-tire."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Product Review: Flat Earth Apple Cinnamon Chips

Outrageous. Fantabulous. Extraordinary. Addictive. Let's just say that I LOVE these things. The new Flat Earth chips - fantastically good and only 130 calories for 14 (FOURTEEN) chips. It's my new favorite indulgence.

Try it now with a coupon for a free bag! (FYI - its redeemable at the store - no mail ins required!)

Steal Your Face Right Off Obama's Head!


I've been trying to avoid offering too much commentary on the current primaries, particularly since I am leaning toward a candidate that is not of the party I typically vote for...but I couldn't help myself when I saw this. A Grateful Dead reunion to benefit Obama - is it 1968 or 2008? Wow. As a lifelong Dead Head, I am proud to see that Bobby, Mickey, and Phil have found their roots and are getting into the political game! I think I might just fall in line.

And, check out the set list - it may well be one of my favorite mash-ups of Dead songs...

"Let the words be yours, I am done with mine..."
-Cassidy

Friday, February 1, 2008

Breaking News: Natalee Holloway Case Solved?

Dutch reporter, Peter deVries, is reporting that he has solved the case of the mysterious death of Natalee Holloway while vacationing in Aruba, after a lenghty "undercover" investigation he conducted. He's turned over his evidence to the Dutch authorities. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

http://www.radionetherlands.nl/news/international/5624378/Holloway-case-solved

New Power Couple: Hillary Dumps Bill For Obama

After last night's love fest between HIllary and Barack, I think the new power couple is Hillary and Barack, not Hillary and Bill. They conceivably could storm the White House together - instead of one or the other. Can you imagine? If they team up - one as President and the other as VP - I feel they would be unstoppable. Talk about change agents! The first woman and the first black man in tbe White House! John McCain doesn't even stand a chance.... Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Schadenfreude? schadenfreude: A Visual Definiton of a $3 Word of the Day

So, I've heard this word frequently around the office as it is one of my co-workers "favorite" words. I have absolutely no clue what it means despite her various attempts to explain it to me. So, I thought I would share it with all of you -

scha·den·freu·de [shahd-n-froi-duh] – noun: satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune. [Origin: 1890–95; < G, equiv. to Schaden harm + Freude joy] Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) :

n. Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others."malicious joy in the misfortunes of others," 1922, from Ger., lit. "damage-joy," from schaden "damage, harm, injury" (see scathe) + freude, from O.H.G. frewida "joy," from fro "happy," lit. "hopping for joy," from P.Gmc. *frawa- (see frolic).

For a much better real-life example, see her video posting, complete with performance by Justin Timberlake!
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