SHIVERS, CHILLS & WILLIES

With an exceptionally warm winter in California, it’s immediately noticeable to me when I catch a chill.  In an effort to stay more present, to slow down and pay more attention to visceral cues, I considered the source of and reasons for said chills:

SHIVERS

Nails on a chalkboard – If I do it myself it doesn’t affect me, but when someone else does – instant shivers (and cringing). Runner up: Squeaky dry-erase board pens!

Surprises – Anticipating what’s in the surprise package at my door! Even things I ordered still give me shivers of joy.

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I’m excited for what’s inside, he wants to get inside.

Waking up too fast – When startled awake while my dream reel still plays, I shiver and covers seem ineffective.

CHILLS

Singing – Though music influences my mood and productivity, only pure powerful voices give me chills. This response helps make me the best arm-chair judge on THE VOICE.

Guerilla Marketing – Sucker for synergy – right here! When advertisers get creative and think outside the box, collaborating with other companies or groups – I get a tingle.  Which brings me to…

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Note the blood (orange) stained popsicle stick!

 

Popsicles – Popsicles and ice cream finish any meal on a sweet note.  My kids lit up when we got promotional artisan blood-orange popsicles for the upcoming BLEED film release!  It blew MY mind that these King of Pops popsicles melted less during their cross-country journey than had I driven a box from the local grocery store home.

WILLIES

Superstitions – Overall, my superstitions do not run the gamut, however knocking on wood and not trash talking during sports – for fear of jinxing the outcome – give me willies if I forget.  

Fish – Without beating a dead fish, just know I’m not comfortable with anything besides eating fish fillets.

Horror Films – I love every type of film except slasher films. I love psychological (Se7en) and some supernatural thrillers (Exorcist), but not those with some vengeful angry-as-hell escaped killer from another space-time continuum. BLEED looks like it contains all of the above so I’m postponing watching more than the trailer ’til tomorrow morning so as to recover by bedtime. 

Black Cats – While they don’t give me the willies, dry ice in water gives black cats willies.  

 

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No kitties were harmed, he sat back from sink.

Watch the BLEED trailer – what’d you feel: shivers, chills or willies?

(Hits theatres and itunes 3/25/16)

#BLEEDTheMovie

THE SUPER COOKIE BOWL

The Super Bowl’s over, the puppies and kitties fell asleep in their bowls. Now it’s time to quiet the trash talk, restore familial relations and dive into the most delicious head-to-head competition – The Cookie Bowl! This match brings together a historic franchise against first-year rookies: Girl Scout Thin Mint (GSTM) cookies and Oreo Thins Mint Creme (OTMC)!

Thin Mints fans offer robust sentimental flavor, history, and loyalty. Every year, since 1951, fans line up to celebrate Thin Mints sale season opening day. If rationed properly, they just tossed the last box tucked deep in their freezer from the previous year. If not, true fans wait patiently because the cookies’ scarcity increases its fans’ fervor! Also – no reasonable substitute existed until now.

Oreo, although a 104 year-old brand, developed a thinner cookie with new flavors last year in 2015. Some missed their mark but mint cream hit the bullseye. Though a younger cookie, they came to compete. Change makes some people uncomfortable. How will this translate to their performance today?

TASTE
GSTM – Flavorwise, or as a result of years of conditioning, this mint flavor seems most authentic surrounding the chocolatey tasting cookie.
OTMC – The outside Oreo cookie sandwiches a sweeter mint creme center.

TEXTURE
GSTM – Smooth stiffer chocolate mint surrounds crumbly wafer.
OTMC – Feels like an inside out GSTM with the thin crispy exterior but a soft, smooth center.

VALUE
GSTM – The boxes cost $5 but the sleeves shrank in the last few years
OTMC – The boxes cost $2.50 but their boxes shrank a bit too, from what I recall. However since more of these cookies fit, compared to standard or larger ones, per box, the value feels satisfactory.

True, other chocolate mint cookies exist, though not in the same league. Our three-thumb review actually favors the Oreo Thins Mint Creme on flavor, texture and value!

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Still, when Girl Scout cookie sales are on (like right now!) my sentinental flavor fave remains: Thin Mints. However, now the rest of the year won’t be so bleak.

What cookies should be in the Cookie Bowl next year? Please nominate your favorite brands or copycat recipes to compete for the title. 

For more #ThreeThumbReviews, follow me on yelp (click above)!

Best Dinner in the Universe

If you put your desires out into the universe, sometimes the universe answers.  Turns out, I put out a beacon into the Yelp Universe – just a simple truth, “Honestly, I’d love a gift card from [Bristol Farms] sometime because there are so many fun distracting foods and things I would try.” Their amazing webmaster Nicole heard, made my year and sent me a gift card!!  

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Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I jumped onto their website. Immediately, “New! Blue Bottle Coffee…” [Click!] grabbed my attention. Scooping 5-day old news about the “best iced-coffee drinks in America” now being sold at Bristol Farms revved up the mommy blogger wanna-be in me!

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Something for them for dinner, something for me for cooking!

Until my disastrous kids’ lunch offering brought me back to reality and guilt drove me to do dinner better.  

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Mommy got distracted by Facebook.

Frantically, I reviewed their online recipes!  While I love the idea of cooking complex meals on weekends, I decided on dinner that would taste elaborate, but was simple: Grilled Teriyaki Albacore with Wasabi Butter. Facing my fears directly, the butcher de-skinned the fish fillets (the gal before me did the same, not just me).

Their home brand teriyaki marinade streamlined preparations.

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A domestic goddess took over my body making chive and wasabi butter, briefly wishing for a butter mold.

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Then the wasabi burnt a hole through to my senses returning me to my kitchen.

While the flavors set for an hour, I fed my inner goddess enjoying the (strange) pairing of poke and Blue Bottle Coffee.  

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Half Salmon, Half Spicy Tuna –         All delicious!

George Foreman relieved the outdoor grill (El Niño warning). It felt devilishly rebellious scooping the flavored butter onto the fillets.

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Keeping it simple, I served the fish with rice from last night’s Chinese Dinner and frozen organic kid-friendly peas.  

Dinner’s served! 

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“WTF: Wait THAT fish…I thought you said fish sticks.”

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“I don’t like albacore!”

Turns out, my son loved it.  He even got seconds of the fish (usually he fills up on carbs).  My daughter completely surprised herself by surviving eating that much “chicken.”  (Auntie P, next time we’re down if she asks about albacore chickens – play along.) Best part?!  Inhale… No stinky fish smell!

To cap off the evening – fun hazelnut-filled mini beignets! Too fun to pass up!

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Mini beignets! Dangerously easy to pop in your mouth!

Thank you Nicole! What a deliciously fun close to our holiday season!

Tell me when the universe responded to you!

 

BEST DAY EVER – I WONDER AS I WANDER!

My son gave me a Valentine’s Day certificate for a day to do anything I want!  I carefully considered my plan, sorting events into two days – with or without kids. This reflects Part I of “My Day” (I go by hours, not calendar date).

Best gift ever – power to choose my day!

Picked up before cleaners: The early morning wake up, to chase down my kids’ toys running rampant throughout the house, was worth it when I left for my day of endless opportunities while someone else vacuumed behind my couch.

Grabbed coffee at 7-11: For someone who loves ordering the longest-named drink at Fivebucks, six pots of 7-11 flavored coffees, plus a lazy susan of creamers, thrills me.  I’ve had blueberry+cinnamon+vanilla coffee with caramel creamer. Today I had butter toffee+hazelnut with chocolate.  BONUS: It’s cheaper, faster and less bitter!

Trip to library: I located books from my wish list, strolled through new non-fiction – choosing a few about writers, then drooled over a cookbook Bacon! – a global collection of mouth-watering recipes that happened to use bacon, not just “slap bacon on anything and call it an improvement.”

So many books, so little time!

Napped: Rerouted my plans to home realizing I told the cleaners to not worry about locking the door when leaving. In our neighborhood, nobody’s going to walk in – EXCEPT a sign on my lawn says “For Rent – Apartment Open!” Later, while snoozing on my couch, someone walked smack into my locked door, then knocked asking to see the apartment.

Dinner with TNTers: For me to enjoy a meal with amazing people without thinking about marketing plans, the next event or volunteer roles to recruit them for, was a treat!  I really enjoyed listening to everyone’s stories …and got recruited for a Zombie Run.

Wine: I love red wine with a tiny square of chocolate.  I picked out two richer wines than usual thanks to a 30% off coupon. I did a social media Cheers! asking my Facebook friends to choose which wine to open first, and was invited to an online wine group.

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HANDS-DOWN WINNER: Malbec

I’m hoping Malbec goes well with shiny vampires – I still never made it past the bonus features. While watching I will find a new recipe to try – wanna bet it’ll involve bacon?!

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