Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Puppy Parenting: Week One in Review

So, as many of you may know DRB and I have become the proud parents of Beauregard's Chocolate Penny aka 'Beau.'  He is a chocolate lab who we got from friends of ours' parents, The Haxthausens.  He is now 10 weeks old and over 15 lbs - and has a clean bill of health from our Dr. at Hockessin Animal Hospital

In the past week, all five of us (Beau, DRB, Lilly (Siamese 16 yo), Darby (Tabby 14 yo), and me) have had some major changes and adaptations, but over all its been a week filled with love, learning, patience and PUPPY!

Here are some of the things we learned/accomplished:
Transporting Pets - A long plane ride (including a lay-over in Houston) from Louisiana to Philadelphia makes for sad, scared puppies. Huge kudos to Continental Airlines for taking good care of him while on the flight.  And thanks to PetRelocation.com for putting me in touch with the right people at PHL to figure out where to pick him up!

Crate-training - not so much.  The first night we put him in the crate we borrowed from Odin's parents.  He howled for 3 hours straight, late into the evening.  My ear plugs worked pretty well to muffle the sound, but DRB had none and between the threat of the neighbors calling the police and the insanity created in your head by puppy barking, caused him to break down and let him out of the crate.  Under some good advice from a long-time dog owner/trainer, we started feeding him in the crate to get him to realize - crates are good!  That's where you get yummy food!

House-breaking is a process! - We thought we had him housebroken and during the week he was!  The weekend hit and as our schedule relaxed and became less rigid and routine, so did Beau's.  That didn't work out so well and resulted in some accidents on the kitchen floor.

Puppies need exercise! - I think we are both going to lose weight with this dog.  We are trying to take him on three long walks a day through our property and give him lots of "outside time" with playing in the yard.  We've started him on retrieving a chew toy after learning that sticks aren't very visible to puppies when they land far away in the grass.  We also took him on about a 3-4 mile hike on Sunday.  It included learning to swim, splashing in the Creek and following his new best friend Odin everywhere! 

Puppies are NEEDY! - Wow, having raised two cats, I didn't realize that little itty bitty baby puppies have lots of insecurities and need lots of love and attention.  Little Beau is quite a snuggle bunny and tries hard to be a lap dog.  Right now, we are letting him get a little lap time and carry time, but we will wean him off that as he gets bigger - which is soooo soon!

Many people have asked how the cats are adjusting to having the new addition in the house.  We took many precautions to be sure that the cats we able to acclimate slowly and didn't feel left out.  We have a puppy gate up separating the first floor from the rest of the house to give the cats "safe space" in their favorite area.  We are coaxing them down to the first floor by feeding them on the steps - where they can see Beau. 
They have quickly learned that the gate protects them.  Darby has ventured down to the landing and been nose-to-nose with Beau.  There was some hissing and Darby put Beau right in his place by smacking him hard right on the nose.  While I am sure it did not hurt and Darby doesn't have claws, it sure scared the little guy!  He yelped as if someone had stepped on his tail and then cowered between my legs for protection.  It was sweet.  Since Darby continues to venture back to observe the new family member, I'm sure each will get enough courage up to eventually become fine friends.  Lilly on the other hand has become completely content to rule the 2nd and 3rd floors and never leave her kingdom.

Well, its time to take him out again.  This week, we are learning to "ring the bells" when he has to go out.  Off to practice!  More next week.  Stay tuned...

Friday, August 14, 2009

But its just a box of rain...

I had a ball taking this quiz. I'm Terrapin Station. And, yes, for those of you who don't know - I am a Dead Head. There is just no other band quite like them.

Take the quiz. What song are you? Post it here!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wuthering Werewolves? Heathcliff - A Vampire?

Given my new fascination with all things Twilight, when I saw this post on the Identity Theory blog (via @ChrisBrogan) I couldn't help but let my mind wonder...was Heathcliff a vampire? Was he Edward Cullen of another era? Was Catherine Earnshaw really just Bella in Victorian garb?

The ages are about right. Heathcliff's brooding nature is certainly a vampiric characteristic. The teen angst is thick enough to cut with a knife within Wuthering Heights if you read it with that in mind. And, I agree with James Warner's theory that Heathcliff's "time away" could explain what happened... just sayin'... Here is Mr. Warner's take on it: "One disturbing thing about Heathcliff is his complete disappearance for a few years, before returning transformed, with “upright carriage” and a manner “quite divested of roughness,” not to mention a sudden facility for cards and the determination to systematically ruin all who have wronged him. If this was a fairy-tale, Heathcliff would appear to have sold his soul to the Devil – instead the explanation we're offered is the speculation that he may have been in the Army, although this seems like something it would have been easy enough for the other characters to check up on, which they never do."

But, Mr. Warner and I are not the only ones who think this... TL Stone has a great essay explaining the possibilites as well. What are your thoughts? Could Heathcliff be the precursor for Edward Cullen? Were vampires alive and well in 19th century Brit Lit?

The photos portraying Heathcliff over the years certainly support the theory, particularly this one:
Ralph Finnes as Heathcliff circa 1995:
Thanks to dancinshoes25 on photobucket.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

RELEASED! Laura Ling and Euna Lee from the Clutches of North Korea

Let me first say, I am, historically, not a fan of Bill Clinton. But today, I am.  Not sure what he did or said to the crazy Kim Jong-il, but he got Laura Ling and Euna Lee released.  I'm so happy for them and their families.  Let's hope that Mr. Clinton did this without risking the already volatile relationship between the US and North Korea, and without jeopardizing the release of other Americans imprisoned in North Korea.

Thanks to The Guardian for the pic!

Laura Ling: The Past 140 Days Have Been The Most Difficult, Heart-wrenching Times of Our Lives
Posted using ShareThis

Monday, July 27, 2009

2009 Top Party Schools List Released by Princeton Review
The yearly Princeton Review list of the top party schools in the nation was released on Monday, showing off the top 20 party schools.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cats Do Control Humans, Study Finds - Yahoo! News

Um, I could have told you this! :)  Lilly has me well-trained...

Cats Do Control Humans, Study Finds - Yahoo! News
Posted using ShareThis

If you've ever wondered who's in control, you or your cat, a new study points to the obvious. It's your cat.  Household cats exercise this control with a certain type of urgent-sounding, high-pitched meow, according to the findings.  This meow is actually a purr mixed with a high-pitched cry. While people usually think of cat purring as a sign of happiness, some cats make this purr-cry sound when they want to be fed. The study showed that humans find these mixed calls annoying and difficult to ignore.

"The embedding of a cry within a call that we normally associate with contentment is quite a subtle means of eliciting a response," said Karen McComb of the University of Sussex. "Solicitation purring is probably more acceptable to humans than overt meowing, which is likely to get cats ejected from the bedroom."

They know us
Previous research has shown similarities between cat cries and human infant cries.
McComb suggests that the purr-cry may subtly take advantage of humans' sensitivity to cries they associate with nurturing offspring. Also, including the cry within the purr could make the sound "less harmonic and thus more difficult to habituate to," she said.
McComb got the idea for the study from her experience with her own cat, who would consistently wake her up in the mornings with a very insistent purr. After speaking with other cat owners, she learned that some of their cats also made the same type of call. As a scientist who studies vocal communication in mammals, she decided to investigate the manipulative meow.

Tough to test
Setting up the experiments wasn't easy. While the felines used purr-cries around their familiar owners, they were not eager to make the same cries in front of strangers. So McComb and her team trained cat owners to record their pets' cries - capturing the sounds made by cats when they were seeking food and when they were not. In all, the team collected recordings from 10 different cats.

The researchers then played the cries back for 50 human participants, not all of whom owned cats. They found that humans, even if they had never had a cat themselves, judged the purrs recorded while cats were actively seeking food - the purrs with an embedded, high-pitched cry - as more urgent and less pleasant than those made in other contexts.
When the team re-synthesised the recorded purrs to remove the embedded cry, leaving all else unchanged, the human subjects' urgency ratings for those calls decreased significantly.

McComb said she thinks this cry occurs at a low level in cats' normal purring, "but we think that cats learn to dramatically exaggerate it when it proves effective in generating a response from humans." In fact, not all cats use this form of purring at all, she said, noting that it seems to most often develop in cats that have a one-on-one relationship with their owners rather than those living in large households, where their purrs might be overlooked.

The results were published in the July 14 issue of the journal Current Biology.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Policy Refresher: Commenting on Blonde's I-View

To all my dear readers and followers:
  • First - THANK YOU!  Thank you for following, reading and responding.  It is your voice that keeps me going and keeps Blonde's I-View interesting.
  • Second - This is not an anonymous blog - I tell you who I am - in a pretty detailed 'about me' section for that matter.  I ask that you tell me who you are.  I don't need a bio - just a name.  Doesn't even have to be your real name; it can be your online persona's name.  The more info you are willing to share the better, IMO.  My personal view is that hiding behind the anonymity of the internet is cowardly.  Don't say something on my blog that you wouldn't say to me in real life, looking me in the eye.
  • Third - Not all comments get published.  Comments that cannot curse words, spam, border on or cross the line into defamation, etc or are just plain false will not get published.  It is for these reasons that I have a comment moderation feature in place.
  • Fourth - It is my right to publish or not publish comments - I tend to err on the side of publishing if you are willing to take ownership of your comments; not publishing when you don't.  But I do, as the owner of this blog, reserve the right to not publish a comment for any reason I choose.
  • Fifth - Opposing views to my own do not factor into the decision whether or not to publish comments.
I hope that you will continue to read and interact with Blonde's I-View.   I'd love to hear your thoughts on my policy and about the comment policy you have instituted on your blog!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hayden Christiansen to play 'Sean' Scanlon in Abramoff Scandal Movie

It's not always a great thing when you realize that a movie is being made about people you know (knew) and its going to portray them in a very negative light, despite the fact that that they were involved in major wrong-doing.  But.... when you find out that hottie Hayden Christiansen is going to play them - it sure softens the blow!!!  And, despite his name really being Michael Scanlon most people in these parts called him Sean, so before you criticize me for getting it wrong - I'm giving the caveat as to why I used that name in the post title.

I wonder who will play Brandi?

For more info on the movie: check out IMDB

(Thanks MSNBC.com for a good photo of Sean)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Best Wedding Team EVER!

Just a quick round up of the best wedding team I could have ever imagined.  If you want a wedding to go flawlessly, employ any one of these fabulous people!
Stay tuned for detailed posts on each of these - with interviews!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cat in the Lap!

How am I supposed to get any work done??  So much for blogging from a lap top, I've got a big fat happy cat taking up as much room as possible.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blonde's I-REview: Jimmy Choo comes to H&M

My favorite fashion blogger, The Budget Fashionista, has this in the headlines this morning: Jimmy Choo comes to H&M - The Budget Fashionista

(Thanks to Jimmy Choo for the great pic!)

OMG!!!  Jimmy Choos, while outrageously priced, are worth every cent!  They are extremely well constructed (holding up well while wiping out down a flight of stairs!), are kind to the feet keeping them cool and comfy for long days into longer nights, and just feel seeeeexy on. Any pair of shoes that makes me feel that good when I wear them, are totally worth it, no matter the price.

And, of note, Jimmy Choo Company is actually a woman-owned company.  Tamara Mellon is the genius behind the spectacular shoe line and has worked diligently to develop a cult-like following.  Leave to a working mom to bring to mass market a sexy, slinky shoe that makes you still look and feel hot after an 18 hour day.

Posted using ShareThis

Friday, June 5, 2009

David Carradine: Murder? Suicide?

It is a well-known fact among my friends and families that I have a problem: I am addicted to CSI, L&O, and NCIS, among others.  With that said, I have learned that nothing is ever as it appears - any one of the theories suggested here is plausible.  I just hope that they have a good coroner on the case... Time will tell.

'David Carradine Murdered' is One Theory of Many Possibilities
The speculation over the death of David Carradine is growing, as the explanations range from murder to suicide, to even auto-erotic asphyxiation. The struggle to figure out how Carradine died is starting to overshadow the mourning for his death.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Aruba - The Happy Island! Bon Bini!

Checking in from Aruba. I swore I wasn't going to blog while enjoying my honeymoon, but what's a girl to do when she misses her blog? ;) So a few thoughts on our honeymoon to date:

In the first few days, we spent the days in the sun, surf and sand. We got up and worked out (yes!), took yoga and stretch classes, then to the beach - all of which are just a few feet from each other. Rob taught me to snorkel, which totally messes with your senses. Put your face in the water and breathe?? What's wrong with that idea? But, once I got the hang of it, I was a little fish! I am even now the proud owner of my own set of snorkel gear - fins included!

We also headed off to Rancho Notorious on Wednesday for a guided horseback ride through the desert out to the ocean. My horse, Marlena, was a bit of a fiesty one and quite inquisitive as she was far more interested in going off trail and staying focused and following the horse in front of her - DH claims we were well matched. The ride is nothing I can even begin to describe - although I can say we rode through a catcus forest - yes forest. Catci so thick you couldn't see light through it! A very likely spot for hiding a body... just saying...

DH got PADI-certified and did 4 dives! He's off to another one tomorrow - with a local dive shop - not with a tourist group. Should be amazing. What you can see under the water is unbelievable - and I would know since yesterday, we went on an underwater dive to 130ft in a submarine! Yep - its was so impressive. The colors of the fish that you see - wow! And we saw a moray eel - up close and personal. Ick!

We've toured both Palm Beach and Oranjestad extensively and have eaten out every night. I have to endorse Yemanche. While we've been to many recommended places - both by locals and our concierege - this restaurant is the only one worthy of five out of five blondes. It was outstanding and we plan to return before we leave!!

Oh, did I mention that gouda must be the national cheese, since they use it on EVERYTHING! I am a bit suspicious that in one meal where we ordered a caprese salad - we got what I will affectionately refer to as "gouda-rella" which was quite good! Not mozzarella, but a surprisingly nice twist on the traditional.

Lots of other things to write about and pictures to post, but that will have to wait til the next post! Off to snorkel and initiate my new gear!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Hi All,
I will not be blogging from May 18 - June 1, as I am on my honeymoon!!!   When I get back, there will be lots to blog about from my island getaway.  Check back then for all the tales!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mark Landon, Son Of Late Actor Michael Landon, Dead - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

Mark Landon, Son Of Late Actor Michael Landon, Dead - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

Wow.  While this is tragic and sad, one of the things that struck me is that Michael Landon (Little Joe from Bonanza and Laura's father from Little House on the Prairie) has a son that is 60!!!  Wow.  Having grown-up with Little Joe and Charles Ingalls, and his early passing, it just doesn't seem possible that he could have been old enough to have a child that is a card carrying member of AARP.  Wow - time flys.

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FBAction.net Link in Facebook is a Scam

 As reported on Mashable:

Facebook (Facebook reviews) is falling prey to a widespread phishing attack today that tries to steal your login and spam your friends.

I’ve got a number of messages in my Facebook inbox with links to “FBAction.net”, a site that displays a fake Facebook login. Enter your details there, and it will spam all your friends with the same message and link. More worrying: you might get locked out of your account for a time until Facebook sorts out this mess.

There is no malicious payload with the attack, it seems: no virus is downloaded or any other nasties: it’s simply a huge nuisance for Facebook users.

As always, don’t enter your Facebook password if the URL is not Facebook.com, and contact Facebook if you’re no longer able to access your account.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dream a little dream...

We all have dreams and with those come the challenges associated in trying to make those dreams come true. I have the lucky privilege of being on the verge of making one of my life-long dreams come true because of one person who believes in me enough to take a chance on me. But what do you do when it feels like the whole world is against you, standing in between you and your dream? Here's a little inspiration to help you pick yourself up by your bootstraps:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Your Brand's Social Media Infrastructure or How to Grow A Social Media Garden

Here is the presentation that my colleague and social media bombshell, Leslie Bradshaw, gave at Google this week. We spoke to a packed house of social media practicioners (and soon-to-be practicioners) in the non-profit and government agency world at a best practices seminar series hosted by The Advertising Council. The topic was "creating content that catches fire."

This event was also where I debuted my "how does your garden grow?" analogy which is already catching fire. Want to know what it is? Ask me!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dear Mr. Mayor Fenty: Stop the Key Bridge Keystone Kops!

Dear Mr. Mayor Fen-Fen,
You know how much I love you and think you are the bestest mayor DC has had ever ever, but....I have a bone to pick with you.

As we've talked about in the past, my morning commute is quite an annoyance. The intersection of 34th & M - right at the Key Bridge - is a disaster of terrific proportions. You've got three lanes coming from M, heading toward the bridge and up Canal. Two of these lanes shift to the left once they cross the stop light - except it's not marked, so unless a driver just inherently 'knows' to, they don't slide over into the correct lane. This is especially evident when the Virginia drivers (who are racing back to the Commonwealth having likely given up on ever learning to master the morning commute in the District) in the left lane, cluelessly ignore the lane shift and end up in the right lane, nearly crashing into the cars in the right lane who are shifting like they are supposed to!

Then you've got the people who know there is a third lane that just magically appears at that particular intersection and use it appropriately. These poor people consistently get cut-off by those who think the third lane is just "empty space" and decide its ok to hang over from the right lane, blocking and clogging traffic, preventing people from getting where they need to go and wondering while everyone is beeping at them.

BUT, aside from all of that, let's talk about me. And my neighbors. Those loyal G'town & Glover Park residents who come down 34th & 35th Streets through the neighborhoods and just want to make it to work on time. As it is, making a right hand turn from 34th onto M and then a quick left to the bridge is a highly-orchestrated move. Then, you throw in a light that isn't timed right, a bunch of idiot Maryland drivers who think they have found a short cut to avoid Wisconsin Avenue but who have not be taught the finer driving move of right turn on red, the Virginia idiots who nearly run people off the road from the middle lane and force them to block the third lane which delays the poor people who just wanna go straight up M/Canal to Foxhall and mind their own damn business...

Dear Mr. Mayor Fen-Fen, do you see where I am coming from?? This delicately coreographed dance is not the beautiful ballet that the idiot who designed this intersection intended it to be. Its in fact a great big giant CF! Yep, I said it. And, here's what else I have to say, "DON'T BLOCK THE BOX!"

I know we've talked for hours about this. And, its quite encouraging that you took to heart my suggestion to have a traffic cop there in the mornings. Couple things about that though. First, I was thinking that this 'traffic cop' might actually be somewhat competent, much like my favorite Officer Joe Pozell, God rest his soul. I don't think it's a lot to ask that the person directing one of the busiest intersections in the city, holding the employemnt fate of hundreds of workers just trying to make it in on time in their hands, kinda understands what he/she is doing. Seems like a reasonable request to me.

So, as you can imagine, I was delighted early this week when I saw TWO, not one, but TWO uniformed traffic officers controlling the morning commute through Georgetown. Finally! Praise to you Mayor Fen-Fen!! You finally heard and granted my wish! Oh, the high hopes I had. And, then I was late for work. Why? Not because I left late (for once!) or dilly-dallied on my drive, nope. That wasn't why I was late. It was because the two dopes with the yellow traffic guard vests are IDIOTS! Not to mention that they completely ignored the lights that allowed us neighborhood people (the ones who pay taxes here!!) to venture onto M Street, and instead held US UP, in favor of allowing additional people from Wisconsin Avenue to go through red lights!!! That is CRAP!

And, what was the result?!?! Well, rather than being backed up for a block or so and having to wait through 2-3 traffic light cycles like normal mornings, instead I've been able to enjoy the pleasure all week of having traffic backed up for at least three blocks and adding a good ten extra minutes to my commute. So now it takes me MORE than thirty minutes to drive three miles because of the Key Bridge Keystone Kops controlling my commute. Jesus, I could probably walk to work faster. And, I might have to.

Listen, I really appreciate that you listened and acted on my suggestion, but please make it better and not worse. Ok, still love ya - for now - thanks, k bye, mwah!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blog Abandonment

Just a quick post to let my dear beloved Blonde's I-View that I have not abandoned you! Between work, commuting between two states, family obligations, and trying to plan a wedding, I've been a little busy.... I will try to be better. Promise! Promise!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Better Than Flowers for Valentine's Day - A New Gift Idea

This is a repost from the pet blog, Pet Knows, where I am a contributing blogger.  But, I am so excited about it I had to post it here....

Show Your Love with A Pet For Valentine's Day

Here is a unique take on the typical flowers and chocolates that St. Valentine is known for. The Washington Animal Rescue League, here in DC, is sponsoring a Compassion for Passion event. You can SPONSOR (or adopt) a pet in their shelter in the name of your sweetie. What a terrific idea - you can help save a pet!

For a small donation (substantially less than a dozen roses!) you can select the pet from their website and they will notify your loved one about your generous gift and give the pet extra treats and love on your loved one's behalf.

So what are you waiting for?!!? Sign-up now! You must take advantage of this by February 12 (today!!) at 4pm in order to have your sweetie notified by Valentine's Day.

I LOVE this program - enough to put my money where my mouth is. I just sponsored "Chrissie" the dog for my sweetie. Looking forward to his surprise when he gets an email from WARL alerting him that he is the proud sponsor of a dog!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Rules of Blonde's I-View: Say It & Stand Behind It

A word to my readers - while I don't have set 'rules' about this blog or your interactions on it, here's something you should know about commenting. Stand behind your words. It's that simple. If you leave a comment, you need to leave a name or I may not publish it.

I recently had a lengthy (multiple paragraphs) comment left by "Anonymous" on my "Barack Obama is NOT African-American" post. I have chosen not to publish it. Some of its content my be considered inflammatory or at least controversial. And, I welcome that. But not if the commenter isn't willing to stand behind his or her views.

The anonymity of the internet allows for free-flowing words and opinions, but please remember that if you are too afraid to put your name behind it, then maybe you shouldn't be saying it at all.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Blondes I-REview: New Media Strategies' Relaunched Website

New Media Strategies, my current employer, has relaunched its website to commemorate 10 years as the industry leader in Word-of-Marketing and Online PR.

With the help of Jess3, the web design firm hired for this project, they have a very interesting and unique site that is a great example of how to do it "right." While there is a comprehensive press release about the relaunch, I wanted to point out a few features not often found on corporate websites:
  • An interactive timeline focusing on major events in the 10 year history
  • Profiles for all employees (check me out!)
  • Recent & Relevant Case Studies
  • A Blog with nearly all employees contributing
  • A Photo Gallery hosted on Flickr, showing day-to-day office life of the employees
  • Capabilities & Expertise
What do I like about this site? (Disclosure: Despite being an employee, this is the first time I have seen it, as it was just revealed today so these are my initial thoughts and reactions). What I think is most interesting about this site is how incredibly employee-focused it is. Clients don't often get to see the front lines, or for that matter, our team members who toil endlessly to produce high-quality deliverables. So much is done online and via email, these days, that the "human analysis" side of NMS (which makes us unique in the industry) is often lost in translation. Now, you can see each person, what their office space is like, and begin to envision what goes into the final product we deliver. As well, you can link to their own blogs or the blog entries they've written for the NMS blog. Through their own words, clients and others can begin to more fully understand how NMSers are thought-leaders in the industry and in their specific areas of expertise.

As a company, NMS is represented both in the written word as well as the visual manifestation of this new site as the sum of its parts (the people). There is a plethora of information on what NMS has delivered in its 10 year history - how its revolutionized the marketplace in offering services and expertise that others do not and cannot.

Overall, this site gets three out of four blondes from Blonde's I-View on how to do a corporate website right. I am biased, but never the less, it is a great example.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blondes I-REview: Kitchen: The Newest Addition to the Growing Glover Park Restaurant Scene

Last night, I ventured out with some gal pals to try out Kitchen, the newest sibling in the Latin Concepts family. It opened last week on the "strip" aka Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park. Upon entering, the crowd was a bit sparse with only a few patrons at the bar. Ok, so it was still kind of early....we selected a table and seated ourselves. Here we go, I thought....
The Waiter &; The Wine:
So, our cheery waiter pops by the table to take our drink order. I request the standard Sauvignon Blanc only to find out they don't have any. HUH?!?! It was explained to me that they are using up their inventory left over from Ceviche and haven't received a new shipment yet. (Uh-oh, I think. This is not the right way to start off the evening.) Waiter Boy offers two Chardonnay choices, quickly returning to our table with bottles in hand. Our choices are Jerry Garcia Chardonnay or Bad Dog. (Ok, things are looking up!!) I have never tried Jerry Garcia, but since I am a die-hard (not tie-dyed!) Deadhead, I signed up for the band leader's brand. And, what a tasty choice! Did Jerry ever do anything that wasn't outstanding??
The Menu &; Dinner Selections:
I fussed and fussed over the menu as nothing jumped out at me. It's a menu full of southern comfort food with flair. There were several options that caught my eye, but none that seemed right - all had some sort of ingredient that I didn't care for. So, gal pal #1 decided that we should each get an entree that she likes (and coincidentally appealed to me, but were far too much food for me to eat on my own) and we'll split them. Ok! Sign us up for the lobster mac n cheese and the country fried steak with sausage gravy and biscuits! Waiter Boy pushed hard on mama's meatloaf, but that just wasn't where my head was - mark that down for next time. And, as all good servers do, Waiter Boy suggested an app for the three of us to share. The fried pickles looked intriguing, but since I don't actually like pickles this is not necessarily the best choice for me...yet somehow I keep thinking about them.... Gal pal #1 again takes the reins (she manages me so well!) and orders us the BBQ Shrimp & Grits. (Um, ew - it has thyme, which I hate and will likely ruin a perfectly good plate of shrimp & grits. damn, damn, damn. And then it arrives....) While I was thinking this app would be marginal at best, having been ruined by the damn thyme, I was super surprised at the tasty goodness that this dish was. I could have had that for dinner all by itself. YUM, YUM, YUM. I totally enjoyed my country fried steak, although I could have left the steak and just devoured the biscuits and gravy. O.M.G. I could feel them coagulating right on my hips, but damn those biscuits were well worth it! The lobster mac n cheese was good, but not fab. All of the lobster was concentrated in giant chunks on top, but a suggested improvement would be for the chunks of lobster meat to be mixed throughout the mac n cheese. Still a yummy dish.
The Encore - Dessert:
Um, let me just say - I have never eaten a Twinkie in my life. I hate yellow cake with white icing, so this all-American treat just doesn't appeal to me. Unless its FRIED! Holy Crap! We got this delightful dessert and it took all of my will power not to stab the gal pals with my fork to horde more for myself. I will NEVER share this again. I will need my own order. O.M.G.

In addition to the great experience we had I'd like to say the service was terrific - cheerful, sweet and GOOD. Waiter Boy had the whole downstairs and handled all the tables and diners with ease. It should also be noted that they serve a full brunch on both SATURDAY and Sunday. Not bad!!!

Rating: 3 1/2 Blondes out of 4 Blondes - its a definite spot to check out.

Post your reviews and experiences at Kitchen here on Blondes I-View.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A SWIFFER-RIFIC contest brought to you by PetKnows

I write for another blog, PetKnows, and we are hosting a terrific...actually a SWIFFER-RIFIC contest. Here's a repost with all the info:

"As I previously posted about Cat Essentials - what you absolutely need to have as a successful cat owner - a Swiffer is a must-have for taming pet hair and dust that inevitably haunts the corners of your home. Well, I am pleased to announce that Swiffer has provided PetKnows with three (3!) Swiffer Starter Kits to bestow on our loyal readers.

Here are the rules:

In order to enter:

1. Follow us on Twitter @PetKnows

2. Fan our Facebook page. And then leave your Twitter handle in the discussion section of our Facebook page.

3. Leave your best pet-hair challenge story in the comments section of this post.

All three criteria must be met in order to be eligible and winners will be selected at random, but a good story helps!

This is open to all current and former pet-owners (cats, dogs, etc.).

Winners will be announced on February 11 here on PetKnows!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BlogHer Made Me Rich!

I got my first check from BlogHer!  It was for a minimal amount - enough to keep me Starbucked for the week, but not enough to finance a trip to Aruba.  But, the amount doesn't matter. What matters is - I get it now! 

I knew the power of blog ads, I understood and accepted it (in my business you have to in order to advise clients), but I've never lived it.  Well, now I have.  And the motivation to get another check - bigger and quicker - is driving my blogging. 

If you are reading this and have a blog that you've neglected of late...get on the stick! You are just throwing money away if you aren't actively updating your blog, writing compelling content (or just funny stuff), and driving traffic to it - which ultimately leads to ad clicks (read: dollars in your pocket). 

There are tons of ad networks out there, like BlogHer - just find the one that works best for you and your blog and sign up and reap the rewards - literally.  You can choose a blog ad network based on the sheer size and influence of it like Google AdSense, Technorati or Feedburner.  You can choose it based on similarity to you or your content, like Women's networks, such as BlogHer or Women's Blog Ad Network or based on a passion that you have, like the fashion based Glam or Men's Sports focused SportsBlog Nation. Whatever your passion, whatever your blog content, just be sure that you're monetizing it by having blog ads running in an unobtrusive area of your blog (typically a right hand column.)

In this economy, every penny counts, so why not get paid to talk (write)?  Seems easy enough to me!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hey, I know you read - why don't you speak up?

Dear Friends, Family, and a few loyal reader strangers,

I know you read Blonde's I-View. I see it in my stats (thanks Google Analytics). I even know where you come from (Virginia, Philly, Cali, and those London readers?). But, you are a silent group.

Maybe its that you can't get a word in edgewise? Maybe its that my posts are so compelling that I've covered all points and you totally agree? Somehow I doubt it. So....I can only assuming that you are either afraid to post (I promise I won't respond mean or snarky) or you don't know how. Two reasonable assumptions (because it is, of course, not the content that bores you into silence...right? right?).

So, I am going to give you a Blonde's I-View tutorial. See below this post - where it says "Posted by J-Coll on 1/17/09" - to the right of that, you will see "0 comments" (which pains me.) If you take your little mousey and scroll over it you will see it is actually a link. CLICK IT! Yay!

Now you have a form that will ask for your name, email, and website if you have one. Fill it in. You do not need to leave your real name. Promise. Your email doesn't show. If you have a website - it will hyperlink your name to it (nice little way to drive traffic to your site). Then add your comment, thoughts, outrage - whatever. I'm desperate for some feedback here, people. Please! It will likely ask you to put in a serious of nonsensical words - that is to verify that you are not a computer spammer. Its ok, do it. It won't hack your system, promise. And that is it!! Its that easy. And, I will respond - promise, promise! So, try it out....I'm waiting, although not holding my breath. Blue's not my color...

Friday, January 16, 2009

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog...

Please take a quick moment to pray, meditate, count your lucky stars, kiss your cat,...whatever...to acknowledge the herosim of "Capt. Sully" who successfully landed and Airbus320 full of 155 people in the narrow Hudson River yesterday.  His actions led to something that was nothing short of a miracle. 

Lives were saved - how often does that happen when there is a plane crash of this magnitude?  Commuter ferries became first responders and water rescuers.  How lucky was it that they happened to be there.  What a touching example of human compassion among strangers. 

Just a reminder from Blonde's I-View of how precious life is - you cannot take one moment for granted.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shop More, Spend Less!

I am a confessed shopaholic. So I regularly read the Budget Fashionista blog. I just love it! Its all about affordable style without sacificing quality and how to do it on a budget. When I saw this recent post, I bookmarked it right away. BF details the top online auctions sites. What, you say, there's more than eBay? Who knew! Its was news to this pro-shopper too, so I thought I'd share. I've checked out a few of these sites and they are pretty great. I've listed a few below.

1. eBay (obvi)
2. Shop Goodwill (you'd be surprised at what great stuff they have)
3. Upper Bid (the eBay for luxury brands)

One thing to remember - many of these sites sell NEW brands with the tags, so its not all used clothing. Happy Bargain Hunting!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Am I seeing double? Twins Separated at Birth?

Have you ever had that experience where you are absolutely sure that you keep running into or seeing the same person, only to find out that there are two people that your brain recognizes as one in the same? This happens to me quite frequently. The similarities between two people are astonishingly similar in my memory, but when shown pictures of each side by side - well, not so much.

This happened recently when I was promptly informed that a character on CSI was NOT in fact making guest appearances on CSI: Miami as I had believed. Well, you don't tell me I'm wrong unless you've got some credible facts to back it up, bucko. Off I went to imdb - the wikipedia of all things celebrity. And much to my surprise, it was true! Greg from CSI (played by Eric Szmanda) and Ryan from CSI: Miami (Jonathan Togo) are not the same person! Take a look at these photos from their imdb profiles and you be the judge!

Got any great mistaken identity stories of your own? Post them here!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Obama Inauguration Poorly Planned

While I will be out of town for the actual festivities, thank god, as a citizen of the District who works across the bridge, I have a NUMBER of questions for the Inaugural Planning team responsible for street closures.  I will for the sake of this blog post assume that is being handle jointly between DC law enforcement and the Secret Service. 

I heard on the news today that all Potomac bridges will be closed to personal traffic/cars.  So... here are a few scenarios that I have thought of quickly off of the top of my head that might pose a problem.  I'm wondering if the planning committee has considered these.  Or if they have an have decided security is more important.  That would send quite a message at the beginning of the new administration. Obama's security is far more important that your emergency.  Sorry.  So much for "change."  Welcome to DC, the new police state - until further notice.
  •  What about people who need emergency transport - like to get to a hospital or visit ill family members in an ICU? 
  • What about Meals on Wheels? 
  • What about if your dog gets hit by a car and you have to rush to a animal hospital?  
  • How will people who live in VA get into DC to attend the Inaugural Balls.  Surely, each person won't have a private car or taxi at their immediate disposal and will want to drive their own car.  Not everyone lives near a metro... 

There are several cases where you need to take a major road or bridge to accommodate an unforeseen emergency.  These very roads are going to be closed.  Will the police let you through or turn you away? 

I would love to hear your thoughts or other possible situations that you can think of that should be on this list.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mystery of Life Solved! NatGeo Explains Why Puppies & Kitties are So Cute!

I recently was contacted by the National Geographic Channel to review an upcoming documentary called "In the Womb." Its part of an ongoing series. In this latest version, there are two episodes - one with puppies; one with kittens - documenting their evolution from conception to shortly after birth. At first I was a little put off - still scarred from those videos of human births I had to suffer through in high school. As soon as I received the advanced copy, my tune changed. The pictures on the DVD cover were adorable! Who would have imagined that kitten & puppy fetuses could be cute - and much much more adorable than human fetuses!

As expected from a NatGeo documentary, they've done an intriguing job of following simultaneous conceptions - domestic cats compared to lions; and common puppy breeds compared to wolves. I learned a lot from this documentary - especially how similar our pets are at conception to their wild relatives. NatGeo details the similarities and also the point at which they diverge, one becoming a domesticated, cuddly pet - the other a fearsome predator. Super cute factor: 10+, especially when the fetuses begin to "practice" their skills and you watch them running, grooming and stretching - all inside the womb! Poor mama cat!

IMO, this is a must-see presentation. Its on TONIGHT, Sunday, January, 4 on the NatGeo Channel. Puppies can be previewed at 8pm and kitties at 9pm (EST.) Whether you have a pet or not, this is an interesting and quick-paced watch. If you catch it, please be sure to stop back here at PetKnows - we'd love to hear what you think!

Puppies v. Wolf Pups

Full disclosure: This is a repost from the pet blog to which I contribute: PetKnows. The original post can be found here.