Thursday, July 31, 2014

Friday Feats and Fails


Welcome to Friday Feats and Fails!  Our very first Special Guest is the BEAUTIFUL Sophia from Glitter & Bruises.  I've been following Sophia since she had 600 something fans on Facebook and I'll admit my initial attraction was the kick ass name (because I am a pro-Glitter and anything shiny) and her bright red lips.  I started following her because we were in similar places: I was processing a break-up and she was processing her own ending.  The first post I ever read was Doilies And Plastic Covered Furniture and it spoke to me, especially because there was a powerful truth that I needed to hear another woman say:

I can’t control what people think and believe based on what they know and what they think they know. 
- Sophia, Glitter & Bruises

Fast forward to the present day...the tone of the blog changed as her life changed, and watching Sophia transition to the person she affectionately calls "Sophia 2.0" has been amazing.  I am so proud of her and happy that I get the chance to get to know her.  She is engaging, funny, beautiful, and all around awesome and I'm so glad she agreed to be my FIRST Special Guest because if there is anyone who knows anything about Feats & Fails it is a woman who embraces the good stories AND the bad stories: The Glitter & Bruises.

You can find Sophia 2.0 eating meatballs, posting selfies, tattling on herself (like the day she ripped a stick person off a minivan), making the rest of us wish we were Greek, and being an all around Lady Gaga in a world full of Kelly Clarksons on her Facebook Page.  You can also see pictures of lunches and her smiling face on Instagram, and stalk her on Twitter


She is hilarious and has AMAZING energy.  I hope you'll visit her blog and check out her Friday Feats & Fails post, and check her out on Facebook and see what she is all about.


So.... onto the Feats and Fails of my week!


FAILS:
 - I came home from work Friday night to find the screen of my laptop was cracked.  I don't know if it happened Thursday night, or sometime during the day but I don't recall being rough with it or dropping it.  But unfortunately, it is cracked and as tight as things have been financially... I don't know that a fix is in sight anytime soon.  It SUPER sucks.  Do you think I could get money from GoFundMe to write my bullshit on the Internet?  I mean, that Potato Salad guy raised like $46,000 on Kickstarter and all I want is to get my screen fixed.

- I didn't get my Christmas in July cards out until the last day in July.  But let's be honest, it wasn't really about wishing anyone a Merry Christmas.  I didn't send them to everyone, I sent them to people who have made me salty in the last month.  Passive-Aggressive behavior at it's finest.

- My body is a fail this week.  I don't know what I did, but there are pins and needles and they haven't stopped.  Not awesome.

FEATS:
+ Sophia agreed to be my Special Guest this week.  I feel so blessed to put my name next to hers because she's made me laugh and her growing confidence and faith in Sophia 2.0 really bolstered me when I was feeling unsure about my journey.

+ I STILL managed to jam out with my clam out for Sunday Confessions with a broken laptop; It still happened without incident and no one knew the difference.  It didn't have to go that way.  I totally could have opted to lay on the floor and cry about it because...well, my laptop!

+ I probably shouldn't brag about this here, but I had an interview this week.  I know an interview isn't a job offer but... I always feel good about getting there.  I interviewed fairly well, and while I don't think I'm going to take the position because they can't meet my needs... it is kind of nice to feel good about it.

+ I made 162 frickin meatballs for a potluck at work.  Super proud of getting that accomplished even if they weren't my best meatballs ever.  Everyone really liked them... the only fail was the meatballs that didn't get eaten and I will be eating for DAYS.

+ I don't know how to talk about this one so I'm going to wing it.  You know when someone loves you, but there's something you're insecure about and they reassure you but you always kind of write it off as being "words" and never really believe it?  I think a more than words moment happened yesterday.  I'm not sure, but maybe.  And it's kind of awesome.

Anyway... so there's my week.  What about yours?


More Than Cheese and Beer
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Forget

This weeks prompt:
FORGET

One of the most painful experiences of my life was experiencing what it feels like to have someone I love not recognize me on sight, and forget my name.  Not just anyone, but two people who took care of me, taught me things, and helped raise me.  

At the same time, I realize that there is blessing in forgetting.  As someone who struggles hard with change, at the same time I can't help but think that change is such a beautiful thing because many times it helps us to forget the severity of the hurts of the past whether they are physical or emotional.

Sometimes when I look back at things I wrote in the past, I can see the emotion emanating from them and while what I was writing about might seem 100 miles away, when I really stop to look at the events that transpired in my own words, see my emotions and reactions on paper in ink and compare them to my thoughts about the situation now... I can see the beauty that comes with forgetting.  

While I've experienced the pain of forgetting, I've seen the beauty too.  What would life be like if time and change didn't dull the pain, and we never forgot?


Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Feats & Fails


Happy Friday!!! 

Welcome to the FIRST EVER Friday Feats and Fails!

The "Rules"

Write a blog post with the Feats and the Fails from your week, or comment them below

Feats: something you did, accomplished, conquered or triumphed over or something that made you want to brag or celebrate.  It can be as simple or complex as you want.

Fails: something you said or did that wasn't so awesome, something that happened that wasn't so great, a low point in the week, or just something you wish had gone better...share, commiserate, and then LET IT GO because it is Friday for goodness' sake!

Follow your host(s)

Grab a button
(Copy the code below and paste into the HTML portion of your post where you want it to show up)

Check out the other people who linked up, congratulate them, commiserate with them, and giggle with them!

~8~8~8~8~8~8~8~

Fails
I had a bunch of things to do around my house this week, and I barely did anything all week.  

I've neglected DoucheArt... because I've hardly gotten any messages.  Which sucks because it means I'm not getting messages, and because I feel like I'm failing as half of the DoucheArt Duo.  

My coworker told me the sound of my constant typing bothers her.  That doesn't really bother me, but who seriously frickin' complains about the sound of typing in an office where your computer is a necessary component of your job?  Some people even have 2 computers!  What an unnecessary annoyance. 

I've been trying to utilize MyFitnessPal to track my calories.  Even though I've been trying to eat better and move more... I've been over my allotted calories more often than not, and that sucks. 

I had to apologize to Bonehead for having head-up-ass syndrome.  I hate when I have to do that. 

Mayflies hatched in my area.  It's been on the National News.  While I haven't had any encounters, they're still nasty and everything smells. 

The mayfly hatch was caught on radar at the local newstation



Feats
While I didn't manage to do much around the house, I did finally remember to buy guinea pig food and now I can stop feeding them so much of my tasty, fresh produce. 

Speaking of tasty, fresh produce... I wrote a recipe for Honey Garlic Shrimp Stir Fry this week, and tried "Zucchini Boats".  I have a new love for zucchini. 


Click image for recipe for Honey Garlic Shrimp Stir Fry


On the way to work one day, I passed a guy wearing all white and white sunglasses and I managed to pass him without saying anything.  

While out to dinner with my family this week, a lady came bursting in on me in the bathroom at the restaurant.  What I mean by that is...I was sitting there, mid-business, when she walked into the stall.  Apparently, the door lock wasn't so awesome.  Why am I considering this a Feat?  Because years ago a simple, embarrassing thing like this would have left me mortified.  I wasn't, and I'm not.  Yeah, it was awkward and embarrassing... but I laughed about it. I even made jokes about it and while I'm a little disappointed that she couldn't at least pay for my iced tea (har har), it happened and it's fine.  No biggie.  That's a cool feeling for someone who chronically overreacts to embarrassment. 

I got to show my mom the foxes my nephew and I found at the cemetery.

While I haven't been posting much on DoucheArt... I did write an excellent Douche of the Week post.

The FIRST Friday Feats and Fails post... which is AWESOME!


More Than Cheese and Beer
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Online Dating: Your Ex's Profile.


When it comes to online dating, it is inevitable that at some point you're going to encounter the profile of someone you know and every time it happens to me I feel awkward about it.  I won't deny that I've looked, especially if I had been interested in the person at one point or another but for the most part I tend to leave those profiles alone because it feels like looking into someone's medicine cabinet... peering into a corner of themselves they didn't actually invite you into, totally intrusive and a touch rude.  

But... what if it is your ex?

Recently during a conversation among friends, the discussion of exes on dating sites came up.  I chose to share my Claim to Shame: the link to my latest ex's online dating profile that I had stumbled across while browsing profiles in my area.  Then I made the most rookie mistake ever, and I clicked on the link to his profile while I was logged in on other screen.  Anyone who uses the site knows...once you look at a profile, the user can see that you viewed them.  It took him ten days to notice before sending me a message which I turned into DoucheArt.  

The 75 "Likes" and 16 comments told me that I clearly wasn't the first person to have ever made this mistake. So... that was comforting.

It is socially accepted and expected that when it comes to your online dating profile, you should put your best foot forward when looking to meet someone for dating and partnership.  Though, if you saw my post on Dating Profiles it would seem I'm the only person who thinks this or lots of people didn't get the memo, including my ex who decided the best profile picture would be of him looking like he'd been up all night on a bender and wearing his work uniform.  

If there is anything I've learned so far, it is that sometimes you just have to laugh.  And when I came across my ex's profile I could do nothing but, especially when I noticed that one of the few things he was actually honest about on his profile was something he LIED about during our entire relationship... and, oddly enough, it was the one thing men lie about most often on dating sites: Height.  How screwed up is that?

"I Am a single father who loves life. I Am very easy going person who enjoys sitting at home watching a movie over going out drinking. I live to fish and own my own boat. I am looking for someone who likes some of the same things as me so we can do something we both enjoy. I like plays and opera...a couple Ihave seen in person are Rent, Cinderella, and my favorite seen at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago IL. The Phantom of the Opera. If your a Fun woman who would like to hang out and maybe go to a movie hit me up. though I do work a lot and have my daughter every other weekend I will still make tone for fun"

From his declaration of being a "single father" (Yes, he helped create a child and he is single.  But he is not a "single father" in a way that means doing anything to contribute to the growth and development of his child outside of paying child support and picking her up for "visitation" which is basically picking her up from her mother's then proceeding to ignore her and leave her to other people to raise while he plays computer games) to his claim of having his own boat (true, what is being omitted is how much screaming he'll do at you while getting the boat into the water and how it stalls at least twice every time resulting in more screaming) he fudged his way through the entire thing.  He also claims to like plays and opera, though we never went to a single one in our entire relationship because we couldn't go out in public without him making a spectacle of himself in one way or another which may or may not include inappropriate volume or language, piss-poor manners, or issues like sound or smell related to bodily functions.  Bragging about having seen a performance is about as close as he gets to culture.

And that "looking for someone who likes some of the same things as me so we can do something we both enjoy" part could mean a lot of things, but just to clarify: this does not apply to your sex life as eventually he will only want to engage in sexual activities solely enjoyable to him and fall asleep shortly after without reciprocation, and will not be doing anything special or beneficial for you the next night to make up for it, or the night after that, or the night after that.  And he damn sure doesn't want to do anything mutually beneficial or do things in a way that make things mutually beneficial.  If you decide to not engage, you'll be chastised for the lack of activity after which he'll still expect you to initiate the one-way sex and smile about it. (And if you need to know the problems with sexual frustration, read this piece from Megsanity).

Of course he's entitled to present himself in any way he wants, just like I am.  I'm sure if you asked him he would have plenty to say about my profile and the things he believes I left off of it like the fact that he believes I'm a tree thief, all the bitching and nagging I did at him to pick up the garbage he left on the floor when he missed the can every single time (much like the way he couldn't ever manage to hit the bowl) and take the garbage out (his only household chore).  I'm sure he'll tell you how I'm a "cold hearted [sic] calculated waste of space" for not responding to emotionally manipulative tactics at getting back into my life.  He might even tell you that I kept his things which therefore makes me "a hooker and a prostitute", which he told me I was in his last message to me sent two and a half months after I asked for a list of items he believed were owed to him so that I may present it to my lawyer, which he never provided.

Me... Every. Time.

His message to me when he noticed I had looked at his profile was simple: Why are you looking at my profile?  And the answer is easy... because I fucking can, it is a free country, and because I'm trying to figure out why I was ever attracted to you and I wondered if maybe seeing you trying to present yourself as someone attractive might help assuage some of my feelings of self-loathing for being in a relationship with you for so long, as if maybe when you're trying I could see a glimmer of something that might have attracted me to you in the first place and I wouldn't feel like such a fucking idiot.

The moral of the story is... just don't click it.  Don't look at that profile and it wont lead you to making  rookie mistakes when making fun of your ex.  There isn't a whole lot of good that can come from reading your ex's profile.  You might get some laughter out of it, but if you're hoping to see one even remotely attractive thing about them that will make your attraction in the past seem reasonable... you'll fail and end up writing an angry, slightly bitter diatribe about what a pile of shit they are.  And, if you've taken nothing else away from this, be wary of everyone you meet because a seemingly decent, though incredibly poorly written, profile might be another woman's former nightmare.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Honey Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry


It's Farmer's Market season in Wisconsin and the Zucchini are large and very cheap this year...and I can't seem to stop buying them!  This is the first recipe I tried, modifying a Sweet Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry recipe that I had, that wasn't a bread or a casserole.  It is sweet, garlicky and delicious.  I hope you enjoy my Honey Garlic Shrimp Stir Fry.

Sauce:
1 Cup Honey (I use honey purchased from my local farmer’s market, but any kind would probably do)
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, sliced (or 3 tsp minced garlic)
Fresh Lime Juice (I squeezed half a key lime)
Black Pepper, to taste

Stir-fry:
1 Lb Shrimp (I used pre-cooked frozen shrimp, though fresh would be SO much better)
2 Cup Broccoli Florets, blanched
2 Cup Zucchini
1 Can Water Chestnuts (I used the sliced)
2 Tbsp Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
1-2 Tbsp Cornstarch Mix  (2 spoonfuls of cornstarch with cold water and mix until cornstarch is dissolved…stir well prior to using)
Water

Instructions:
Make the sauce first.

Add the olive oil to the pan over medium low heat, add garlic and cook for a few minutes (do not brown).

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  It is best to make this in a deeper pan or wok and do NOT leave unattended as it will get bubbly/frothy and it will boil over.

Simmer for about 5 minutes, then set aside.


For the Stir Fry:
Cut the zucchini and broccoli into bite size pieces.

Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan, and turn on to medium heat.  When the pan is hot, add zucchini in a single layer.  Let the zucchini cook for about a minute or two before adding the broccoli.  Season with pepper.  Add ¼ cup of water and cover for a few minute until the broccoli starts getting soft.

Set aside zucchini and broccoli.

Add the butter and about 1Tbsp of oil to the pan.

Add the shrimp to the pan, season with a sprinkle of salt and lots of pepper (I really loaded it on).  Drain any excess liquid (I had a little because I used frozen shrimp that should have been thawed a little more).  Allow to sear a little on medium-high heat.

Add the can of drained water chestnuts to the pan and let cook for a minute.

Return zucchini and broccoli to the pan.  Toss together for a few minutes until everything is almost cooked through.

Add sauce and let simmer for a few minutes to incorporate all of the flavors.  Add the cornstarch and water mixture to the sauce, continually stirring until it reaches the desire consistency (I personally prefer a slightly thicker sauce).

Serve over rice.

Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6 People

Note:  My vegetable measurements are approximate.  I wish I had used more vegetables because this sauce is very sweet and goes a LONG way (I probably could have added another cup each of the vegetables). This makes 4 very generous sized portions, but could serve more.  I added enough pepper to give this a nice kick, but the addition of red pepper flakes or red chili (maybe chili oil?) would be very tasty.  I plan to try this recipe with tofu in the coming week.






Monday, July 21, 2014

Online Dating: Behind Closed Doors


If you've been following me long, you know that a few months ago I told Facebook I wasn't read to date again.  But in order to tell everyone exactly why, I needed to sign up for Plenty Of Fish.  Since then, I filled out my profile, signed up for a couple of other sites, and started getting messages... and I've learned that online dating is a messy, messy thing and quit frankly, I just don't understand any of it from the profiles, to the content of the first messages people feel it is appropriate to send (which spurred DoucheArt, a blog taking the worst of Internet Messages and turning them into art).

If there is anything I've learned about online dating, it's that there are some things that should just be left behind closed doors for awhile.  While I understand that people have kinks and quirks and some just prefer to put them out on the table before getting to meet someone and feeling all the feels only to find themselves incompatible, I can't help but think that there really should be some things that should be third date conversation.

Do people even make it to third dates anymore?

As sad as it is... I've never really dated.  Not in a way where a man asked me out and we go out to dinner, and continue to do things like that until a relationship develops and we decide to see each other exclusively.  Is that unusual?  Has dating died?  Clearly, I must be doing something wrong.

But I digress.

So I signed up for OkCupid.  I'd be lying if I said that the site didn't leave me feeling a little bit...well, exposed.  Whether or not I'm a prude is still up for debate; I am a fairly open person, and will answer just about any question you ask me once I get to know you on a more personal level.  But the questions portion... asking if you have rape fantasies, like anal sex, and what your thoughts are on people who have slept with x amount of people is pretty invasive.  I keep trying to believe that the site is really trying to find the best match possible, but where is the line between finding a good match and handing out free tickets to your bedroom activities?

But the one thing I can't get past is being asked the most private thing I'm willing to admit.  What is the importance of this section?  What kind of information am I supposed to be gleaning from this about the person who wrote it?  I'm trying to understand that people are at a point where they are just putting it out there and trying to find a mate in an open and honest way but at this rate no one is going to have any horrific "I really liked him but then he told me..." stories in the future.  Is that really any way to live?

And with that I bring you what people consider the most private things they're willing to admit (and for the record, I admitted that I like being naked under my clothes.  I also shower in the nude and like to do lots of other things in the nude.  I'm so unoriginal.  But... I like to maintain some mystery).


 Well, alrighty then. That's quite a lot to take in. 



 Maybe I should message this guy...I bet he wouldn't hold my Alli Experience against me. 



 I saw all the movies... maybe.  I just don't get it.  But... I hope he finds himself a Hermione of his very own. 



 Well, that's just kind of cute and I'm glad he is open about it from the get-go.  Because I can't imagine dating this guy and catching him in the shower by accident and not thinking maybe I had missed something very important. 


 Honestly, I've never really understood this one.  I know it is a "fetish" or whatever but for all of the people out there who rant and rave about cigarettes and how awful they are and smelly and (insert cliche and overused complaint about smoking/smokers/cigarettes here), I find it hard to believe there is anyone who is actually INTO it. 


I'm scared of squirrels so maybe I should just shut the hell up and not be a judgy mcjudgypants, but... I kind of want to cuff this guy to a bed and force him to watch "Black Swan" with me... because who doesn't love Natalie Portman playing a confused, repressed young ballerina in the midst of a psychotic episode having hot girl-on-girl sex with Mila Kunis?


.
I could go on.  These aren't the worst I've ever seen and some are just funny.  But... it doesn't leave me any less confused about this online dating world.

What is the most private thing YOU would be willing to admit on an online dating site?


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Without

This week's topic: 
WITHOUT

I hurt someone I love very much recently.  I spoke without restraint.  I spoke with anger, suspicion and hurt, but most importantly I spoke without love.  As a result, I am without right now.

I am not so foolish to think that I am truly without them. Ours is not a relationship based or reliant upon physical presence, and being 'without' isn't necessarily a new thing as others might understand it. As such, I believe that I am loved in such a way that I am never truly without them in heart, mind and spirit.  I know that as I write this, even at this late hour, I'm being loved and thought of (even if only in anger).  Nonetheless, I am bereft of the comfort that knowledge usually brings me.

I am without words.  Unfortunately, I am entirely devoid of ideas, intuitive notions, or the knowledge as to how to soothe the hurt I caused and remedy the situation; a simple apology feels inadequate.

It appears after all this time, after everything, I struggle with living a life without fear and suspicion caused by the pain of the past.

It's time I learn to move forward without my baggage.

It appears that I am still learning and growing, I just hope that perhaps I can do so without hurting too many more people.


Friday, July 18, 2014

50,000 Pageviews


Online Dating: What's up with Your Profile?



Remember in October when I wrote a letter to Facebook about not being ready to date again? Dear Facebook...I'm NOT Ready to Date Again

Well, I had to sign up on Plenty Of Fish in order for that to happen, and when I did it I decided I might as well put in a half-assed effort to write a profile and I actually got some messages!  Nothing I was interested in pursuing but I was still flattered.  Then again, I'm also the woman who considers being "hollered" at in the Walgreen's parking lot (conveniently located across the street from community Addiction Support Center) a compliment.

I like reading personal ads.  I read them on Craigslist when I get bored.  I'm still on Plenty of Fish, though I haven't touched it in months.  I recently checked out Tinder so I could figure out what the folks at Down 2 Date are talking about.  And I've learned that I just don't understand it, ANY of it...starting with the Profiles.  I'm not claiming mine is the BEST, but it certainly isn't the worst.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet - unless we're talking about online dating in which case, your profile name matters.  I'm willing to admit it if I'm looking to actually meet someone from a place notorious for weirdos, I'm going to analyze you a bit first and it starts with the name you're going to call yourself.  Your favorite band, even incorporating the number "420" into your username is fine...at least it alludes to your interests and what you might seek in a partner.  Using your full name suggests that perhaps you're unimaginative, or maybe you're ok with me Facebook stalking you, which is commendable I guess unless your online dating profile is something so foul your employer would be ashamed to be giving you a paycheck.  And while I might look at your profile, and browse your photos...but I will never consider contacting or responding to a man who's username is "DonkeyPunch".

Headlines, like the headlines in a newspaper, are important.  While I will pick up a newspaper and read it if it is free, I've never bought one when the headlines sucked.  There's no way around it.  I'll be honest and say that my headline sucks, but it isn't creepy.

I have no words.  I have a quirky sense of humor.  I make Helen Keller jokes, but this?  Just no


Fine, I won't.


I don't, and I don't think I want to. 



Do I LOOK like a clown?  On a serious note, this guy messaged me and asked me if one of the pictures on my profile was taken from a movie.  Umm, no...that's just my face. 


A picture is worth a thousand words.  Shallow as it may be, no one wants to message someone and get to know them only to find out that they're not attracted to them.  I understand that sometimes people just aren't attracted to certain things and you can't really fault someone for what they're into.  So... having a picture is important, but what your choice of photo says about you is equally as important in my opinion.  Maybe I'm picky, but on my list of things that turn me off when it comes to photos:
  • Photos being affectionate with other women.  I get it, you might have female friends, sisters, whatever... but seeing another beautiful girl under your arm doesn't make it easier for me to see myself there.  And those pics with a girl cropped out are even more telling.  It's not that I don't know you have a past, but damn... don't you have any pictures without it?  Shopping for a new special someone with pictures taken with your old special someone just rubs me the wrong way...like recycling sex toys or something.
  • Pictures of kids.  Seeing a man with child does not melt me or make them more likable to me.  And seeing the way people talk to other people on dating sites... I don't know why anyone would want to share pictures of their kids in those forums.  Last but not least... sharing photos of your kids, then sending gross, dirty and unsolicited sexts as your first message sends so many wrong and mixed messages.  If you're looking for a casual hookup... why the hell do you want them to know what your kid looks like?
  • Pictures of Pets.  I mean, your dog is cute but one picture of you and five of your dog don't impress me.
  • Bathroom photos.  I'm so tired of seeing urinals. 
I really like this guy.  He's actually pretty sexy... but he had bathroom pictures from two different bathrooms.  Come on dude...spend some time outside or something. 

Is that a statement or an offer?  Either way... I'm not interested.  Also... that creepy statue next to the toilet you're standing in front of also makes this a "No, Thank You".
  • Your Mom's house.  I totally look at the background of your photos and seeing a pigsty or telltale signs that you live with your mom or grandma don't float my boat (but I'm sure they're wonderful women.) 
  • Douchey Poses.  You know the ones... lifting up half of the shirt, the shirtless guy wearing a stethoscope.
Your "About Me" or "Self Summary" says a lot.  No really, it does.  Because seeing how much effort you put into your profile is really telling about what exactly it is you're looking for and what your intent is.  Write too much and it seems like desperation, but if you can't be bothered to write a few sentences about yourself, what you're looking for, or what you like to do...well, it leads me to believe you might not be able to hold up your end of a conversation over dinner.  If I'm not looking to really get to know someone then that is convenient, but if you're going to claim you want a long-term relationship then perhaps you should start by being someone I can have real conversations with. 


I have no words. 

No questions, and I'm not going to message you either.


I don't even know where to start with this one. 



This guy actually messaged me... after midnight. Nothing good happens after midnight on dating sites.  I wrote a DoucheArt about it


 I want to laugh, but I'm mostly creeped out. 


I really, really wish men in my community would learn the difference between "woman" and "women".  Every time I see one of these, it's an automatic NO


Your Perfect First Date is stupid.  Never have I ever read what someone wrote about what they thought the "perfect" first date was and been like, "Wow, I want to have THAT first date with THAT guy"; The fact that this question is stupid is not your fault and because of that, I'm forgiving of generic answers.  Except walks on the beach. That's bullshit.  Have you ever walked on the beach with someone (walks that came before or after fishing do not count)?  But what never ceases to amaze me are the number of guys who think it is appropriate to say that the first date should be dinner or a movie at home.  Maybe I'm just a paranoid adult, but the last thing I'm going to do is show up at some man's house that I've never met before for dinner and a movie, and I damn sure am not inviting him back to mine.  Maybe not all women feel this way and that's fine, but I will not be eating food prepared by a stranger in his home and I definitely will not be inviting him to mine.

The most private thing you're willing to admit.  I'm new to OkCupid, but I have to say... this is the most intriguing thing and I'll be writing about it in the future.  But... I'd like to remind everyone out there that you're trying to find someone to date, maybe even a life partner.  That being said... perhaps there are just some things you don't want to include on your dating profile.  Like all of the details of your single homosexual experience and how much you enjoyed it and talk about it multiple times... it's not that I'm against that, but if you're bisexual can you just state that you are bisexual?  I didn't need the life story.

"You should message me if"....you're careful not to show your bitterness in this section. The most common thing I see on this part of OKCupid profiles is a long, melodramatic list of everything that ever went wrong in every relationship the person has ever had.  Ever.  Like, including that girl he asked to be his girlfriend when he was 12 in middle school, and they "dated" for like two weeks but never saw each other or called each other.


Not the worst I've seen, but... maybe you could say something nice?  Like "You think I'm interesting" or "You see that we have a lot in common" 


Man... dating is HARD.  I mean, I guess... most of the time, if the profile doesn't kill me... the messages these men send me almost do.  Stay tuned for those!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

About "Real" Women

At this point, I think it's all be said or seen..those memes and commercials and regurgitated quotes about what real women are and what real women have.  There are countless articles about how all women are real women and blogs about how we should stop using the word "real" because everything you see is real.

I think the message got lost along the way, or maybe I just didn't understand it the same way other people did.  There is no reason why I, or anyone else, should be attacked for saying something as simple and unoffensive as "I love that they're using real women in their ads".  I've been told that I don't know what I'm talking about.  I've been told that because I'm curvy/overweight/thick/fat that of course I say that.  I've been told only fat women say things like that.  I've been told that all women are real and fuck off for saying otherwise. 

Am I not a real woman?  Do I not deserve respect as a real woman with an opinion that no one cared to ask for before telling me I was wrong?  Because not one of the people who ever said something nasty to me about my opinion every actually asked me what that opinion was beyond that one statement!


Dove came out with it's "Real Beauty" campaign 10 years ago this year.  When I first saw it I thought it was beautiful.  I was in love with the curves, and the tattoos and the bellies because, admittedly, their bodies were more like mine.  It was nice to finally see bodies like mine being positively portrayed in an advertisement in a way that was sexy, beautiful and confident.  But I never saw it the way other people appeared to see it: as an attack on women who are skinny, who are slim, who are thin, who do not have curves, who are not overweight, who do not have tattoos or have a flat ass and no boobs.  

Of course I realized that the above photo from Dove is photo-shopped.  I see it even more so now than I did years ago.  What I also notice now that I didn't really notice then is the absence of women who are slim/thin, who don't have "curves", who might have smaller breasts or a smaller butt.  At the time, I saw it as a huge statement saying: "We're Beautiful, too" and I didn't stop to think how it could be mistaken as a put down because thinner women already had representation in media and advertising.  Looking at this image now... I can see how people might feel that the image implied that only REAL women have curves because there were no slim, trim, or thin women represented in this image from the "Real Beauty" campaign, as if those women couldn't exemplify "Real Beauty".  

But when I say it was nice to finally see real women, what I meant was that it was nice to see deviation from unequal representation of body types that had been gracing the covers of magazines and advertisements my entire life.  Growing up, it was easy to feel like I wasn't the size or shape I was supposed to be or should strive to be because I was looking at women who had bodies that I could never hope to achieve, bodies that looked nothing like mine at my skinniest and most fit because that was the example I had been given about what women were supposed to be my entire life.  It's not that I didn't have beautiful women around me, I just thought that in order to be truly beautiful in a way other people would recognize meant thin.  It wasn't about saying those women weren't real women, it was about being happy to see that women of all body types were being represented because real women come in all sizes.  It wasn't about cutting anyone down, it was about feeling like I finally got to see a body like mine and like many of the women I know represented on billboards and in magazines just like the women I know who are slimmer get  to see women with bodies like theirs represented.  

It meant that I was happy to see women who look confident, and beautiful and some even totally average but still rocking it.  I meant that I'm happy to see a women that looks like a mother I know.  I'm happy to see a woman that looks like we could be friends.  I'm happy to see women who actually remind me of  my friends.  It meant that I'm happy to see healthy, happy women of any size...women that represent or remind me of all of the beautiful women I see every day.  I'm so happy to see how our definition of beauty is shifting with the times, and I'm glad it now encompasses so many different kinds of beauty.  It was never meant as a put down to anyone when I said it.

I think the threat to all real women right now really ought to be the fact that we are being forced to validate ourselves.  As if we aren't real in all of our physical forms, or as if photo-shopped images are somehow more real than we are.  While I realize that the image above was also photo-shopped, I like to think that perhaps it isn't as extreme as some of the photo-shop jobs that have been released lately.  Particularly, the Mariah Carey photo-shoot for Wonderland magazine's summer issue as revealed by Jezebel last week.  Mariah is a beautiful woman, but I can't help but feel saddened at the fact that any beautiful woman needed to be photo-shopped so radically and I wonder if that is how she wanted to look, or if that made her feel good.  Granted, perhaps the issue is more that Terry Richardson is not only a creepy creeper but a fauxtographer as well.  I'm not sure but for the most part I'm unimpressed with his work.


Photo courtesy of Flavorwire.com


I'm not so silly as to think that photo-shop and digital models are a new thing and this hasn't been going on for years and years.  I guess I just find myself incredibly saddened by the fact that drastically photo-shopping images as if a woman isn't good enough or beautiful enough is the trend right now.  What happened to having a talented photographer taking a beautiful photograph of a beautiful woman who is real no matter her size, age or color?  Perhaps instead of arguing over who is a real woman and who isn't, we could all take a stand against people, businesses and corporations who insist that we change and mold photos of beautiful women as if what is there isn't good enough to be called beautiful.  Perhaps if we accept that we're all Real Women and stop trying to constantly validate it, we can work on being treat like Real People (I'm fucking talking to you, Hobby Lobby).

The Truth about Real Women is this (and this is my truth as I see it)

A Real Woman is/can do/can be/can handle/does/doesn't do/thinks/says/doesn't say whatever the hell she wants.

A Real Woman is more than what some meme on Facebook says, unless that's what it means to be a real woman to her.

Real women have curvesboobsbellieslong legsstretch markswrinkleskrinkleslaugh linesflat chestsbig buttsdimplespimplescankleshair in weird placesshort legsflat tummiessmall bumsscars...two x-chromosomes, and some don't even have those.




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Product Junkie Review: Caloric Cuvee Wine Glasses

I love wine.  I really, really do.  I never thought I would be a wine drinker but the older I get the more I enjoy wine in all of it's various forms.

If you follow me at all, you also know that I'm trying to be healthier (Seriously, I DO try...don't judge me and don't remind me about all the cheese I ate last night please).

So you can only imagine my glee when I was asked to review a Caloric Cuvee Wineglass.  I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was because I just got another reason to drink wine and because I could finally stop guesstimating how much wine I was drinking and have a fairly accurate calorie count for once.


Photo courtesy of Caloric Cuvee


Last week, I received my beautiful Classic Caloric Cuvee in the mail (yes, I waited a week to share this with you).  I went with the Classic because the ounces and calories are clearly marked, and it has a "Who Cares?" line which is definitely a necessity.  It came in a custom box, was well packed and arrived 2 days earlier than anticipated!




The first thing I noticed was that these glasses have a little bit of weight to them.  I hate wineglasses that are so thin/light that I'm afraid I'm going to drop it.  The etching is beautiful.  And if you never noticed, an attractive wineglass makes wine taste even better.  I love this glass because it is attractive AND smart (just like me) because it can tell me how many calories I'm consuming which is great for days when I'm actually being good and days when it's pretty obvious that I don't care.




The best part about these glasses? "The Caloric Cuvee product line is hand-etched, lead-free, and dishwasher-safe. All materials are made in the U.S.A. and etched in Washington state. Our etching is guaranteed for the life of the product."  That is from their website.  It's a family business, made in the United States, and DISHWASHER SAFE!  I just love it!

And... the wonderful Caloric Cuvee people are offering one lucky Cheese Nip a chance to win a glass of your own!  If you're interested in winning, enter below.  The winner will be chosen randomly on July 31st at 12:00 PM  CST and announced on Facebook and emailed.  Please be sure you use an email you check often, as a new winner will be chosen if I do not receive a response from the winner within 48 hours.

Until then, you should definitely head over to their website and check out all of their great products at http://caloriccuvee.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Product Junkie Review: The Honest Company


I initially checked out The Honest Company at the recommendation of one of my readers.  They weren't completely new to me, as I had received their Honest Healing Balm in a Birchbox shortly before Winter, but I didn't know anything about the company and the other products they offer. 

If you haven't heard about The Honest Company, I'll give you just a quick background.  The company was founded by actress Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan (Chief Products Officer and nationally recognized environmental health leader, author, and Chief Advisor to the Green Product Innovation Institute) in an attempt to make it easier to find products that are, according to Alba, "safe, eco-friendly, affordable, and effective, as well as designed beautifully and delivered to my doorstep".

I admit, I was hesitant to check them out.  Last year my house helper decided it was time to get eco-friendly.  What ended up happening was a lot of trial and error with things like essential oils, baking soda, Dr. Bronner's soaps, and vinegar.   It was an interesting year during which I tried to embrace essential oils not just in home cleaning but also in body care and learned just how powerful they can be after I experienced what can only described as a burn earned by ignorance.  It was hard for me to even consider buying some of the more popular eco-friendly brands because of the cost and the fact that I believed I could create great eco-friendly products at home at a tenth of the cost...I just needed to find the right recipes.  Unfortunately, there were a lot of sticky floors.

I came to believe that perhaps when you clean like I do (rarely, and with all of the available elbow grease as someone with chronic pain can muster for as long as it can be mustered, which isn't much) that you either need to clean a little every day, or eco-friendly products are just not for you because everything I tried seemed to lack the power to deal with a neglected mess.  In the end, I just ended up going back to the chemical cleaners and to make myself feel better I returned to cleaning my house with vodka where applicable (which, for the record, is awesome because it is eco-friendly, antimicrobial, unscented and leaves everything sparkling).

But I digress. 

I was also hesitant to try The Honest Company because it is another subscription program and those always make me nervous.  I went to the site and checked out the Free Trial which included 5 trial size products and all I had to pay was $5.95 shipping.  I figured I would give it a try because if nothing else, I was only out $6 shipping. 

This is what is currently included in the Free Trial (pic courtesy of The Honest Company website).  




The Five products I received in my Free Trial.  From Left to Right:  Lemongrass Handsoap, Face + Body Lotion, Healing Balm, Shampoo + Body Wash, and Laundry Detergent. (You may notice that my Free Trial included Laundry Detergent instead of Multi-Surface Cleaner).



The contents of my first order from The Honest Company showing the total cost for my bundle including shipping and handling. 



Honest Hand Soap (12 oz/$4.95).  Natural, Hypoallergenic, Non-Toxic, Biodegradable and pH Balanced. Available in Lavender, Lemongrass & Mandarin.   I am very much a fan of the Lemongrass. This has a nice, soft lather and while I haven't attempted to tackle things like marker, ink and craft glue it does seem to hold up and wash away dirt, makeup grime, and hair product residue incredibly well.  The scent isn't overpowering but pleasant and strong enough to definitely take notice of.  While I don't know that it makes my hands softer, I definitely noticed that I didn't feel dry or "stripped" the way some hand soaps leave skin feeling. 



Honest Face + Body Lotion (8.5 oz/$9.95). Hypoallergenic, Vegan, Plant-Based, Biodegradable, pH Balanced, Naturally Non-Toxic.  Made with Organic olive, shea, jojoba and safflower oils as well as chamomile, calendula and aloe.  I wanted to love this lotion as someone who needs good unscented products (not for any reason other than sometimes I just feel bombarded with scent), but I really didn't.  The texture was a little different than most lotions, not in a bad way but I can definitely tell this product contains aloe.  While this is unscented, I did notice a little bit of a smell as did the people I asked to try the product with me; it isn't overpowering or unnatural but as one person said, "Not a pleasant after-smell".  Overall, I don't feel like this lotion is really helpful for someone like me who often has very dry hands and rarely felt like using it made any difference in my skin.  I do, however, like the way this feels on my face but I have yet to determine any results or possible benefits of that.  



Honest Healing Balm (3 oz/$12.95)  Made with organic sunflower, olive and coconut oils work with  shea butter, tamanu oil, chamomile, calendula and beeswax.  I originally got the Honest Healing Balm in a Birchbox last December and instantly fell in love.  This stuff is amazing.  I use it on my feet instead of the Julep Mint Condition Pedi Creme sometimes.  This saved me from a lot of dry ski and hangnails over the winter and it is all around one of my favorite products EVER.  I've asked other people to try it, some people find it to be a little too greasy for their tastes and it is a little bit greasy but I noticed it seems to soak up fairly quickly.  I mostly use it on my hands, but I've used it on my feet, chaffed skin, incredibly dry skin, and on rashes with positive results. 


Honest Shampoo + Body Wash  (8.5 oz/$9.95)  Made with natural and organic ingredients including jojoba and quinoa proteins, coconut oil, chamomile, calendula and aloe.  The shampoo seemed to work and it got my hair clean.  However, because I got a bottle of shampoo and no conditioner, I don't feel comfortable commenting on the use of it for hair care because I never like shampoo by itself.  As a body wash, it has a light pleasant scent that fades fast and doesn't interfere with other scents you might be using.  I didn't notice that it left me cleaner or more/less moisturized.  It didn't seem to do much as far as body odor; I didn't feel like it necessarily washed away "body funk" quite as good as I would have liked which is a huge thing for me because I cannot stand climbing out of the shower only to find that I still smell.  



Honest Laundry Detergent (70 fl. oz/$12.95).  I got enough for one load in my Free Trial.  There was no scent.  The clothes looked clean enough but I'm really quite comfortable using my regular product without paying shipping and handling.












Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95).  White Grapefruit scent.  This is my FAVORITE cleaning product from The Honest Company so far.  It's AWESOME.  I lost all hesitancy about using green/eco-friendly products after trying this.  I used it to clean the Crayola Window Crayon drawings off of my bathroom mirror and it took it off with ease leaving it clean and shiny, unlike another name brand cleaner that forced me to wash the window three times and still left streaks.  It leaves things shiny and without residue.  I even used it on my incredible messy stove top after making tomato based sauce the night before and it came almost entirely clean in one swipe (like those commercials for chemical based products claim, but never actually do).  I love the White Grapefruit scent... it's refreshing but doesn't linger for hours.  I really, really love it and will be using this in my home from now on.



Honest Fruit + Veggie Wash (8 fl. oz/$6.95).  Claims to "cut through chemical residues & wax to leave fruits & vegetables truly clean!" with no taste or odor left behind while being a 100% non-toxic, plant-based formula that safely and effectively removes unwanted: toxic pesticide & chemical residues,pathogens, waxes, dirt, handling oils & bacteria surface contaminants (found on both conventional & organically grown produce).  It also allegedly inhibits browning and helps food last 200% longer according to The Honest Company's website.  This product was easy to use, just spray on and let sit then rinse off.  This was, admittedly, my first time using a product to wash my produce.  While I didn't exactly run an official "study", I did try it a few times on a couple of different types of produce.  While it says there is no taste or odor left behind, I felt like no matter how many times I rinsed I could still smell it.  As far as helping the food last longer... I didn't notice any difference with the cherries I used it on, and in fact I thought the cherries tasted kind of bad the very next day.  It might just be me.  I plan to use to on some apples and carrots tonight, but overall I'm not thrilled with this product, the scent, or the price. 



Honest Toothpaste (6 oz/$5.95).  Contains calcium to help protect and strengthen tooth enamel as well as baking soda and natural silica to gently polish & brighten teeth.  Organic aloe, organic ginger, and bisabolol help soothe oral and gum irritation as well as antioxidants from Green Tea.  I LOVE this toothpaste.  I was using a name brand sensitive whitening toothpaste, but I really like the flavor and the results from this.  I don't have the sensitivity issues I was having before, my teeth look really good, and this stuff tastes pretty good.  Though I admit that I can somewhat taste the baking soda.  



Because I ordered my box in May, The Honest Company included a Mother's Day card that included this Lip Shimmer in Pomegranate.  It is a pretty color and smells ok.  It doesn't have a flavor.  The stick itself feels very dry and goes on kind of hard, but once on has a very nice feel and definitely moisturizes my lips.  The color is very light, which is excellent because I hate tinted shimmers that look like lipstick.  Overall, it isn't my favorite tinted lip product and it actually reminds me of a similar product I own by Burt's Bees.  But... it was included free with my May box so I honestly can't complain. 



When it comes to value, I struggle to say whether or not The Honest Company is worth it because I really feel like a lot of the value is based on individual needs.  If I were talking about cost alone... $5.95 for a bottle of Multi-purpose spray is steep for my budget, but I'm also used to cheap chemical cleaners.  The Honest Company seems fairly affordable when compared to other eco-friendly cleaners I looked up.  I really felt like the Multi-Purpose spray worked better than many of the brand-name chemical products I was using that cost half as much (or less).  So... the value of the products for me is really based on effectiveness and how much value one puts on using non-toxic, eco-friendly products in their home.  If you can find a way to make the products fit your budget, they're definitely worth it if you're willing to pay a little extra for the comfort of knowing you're using non-toxic products that work well. 

About the individual prices and the shipping...this is a subscription service.  The cost per shipment is $35.95 plus shipping (total of about $42).  The Honest Company allows you to customize your subscription preferences including when your Bundle ships, how frequently & which products you receive each month.  You get 5 items per month at a 35% savings, and you save 25% on additional products.  

The Honest Company products are now supposed to be carried in Targets Nationwide as of June 2014.  I was really thrilled to see that the products would be carried there because then I could pick up products I needed and wanted to try as I ran out versus ordering every couple of  months.  I'm not that good at anticipating my needs, and then I wouldn't be paying $42 every single time I wanted cleaning supplies (after shipping).  Unfortunately, a friend recently went to Target and was only able to find The Honest Company's Baby supplies, not any of their other products.  I have not been able to verify this yet.  However, I did email The Honest Company to ask them what the specific benefits of continuing to be an online member were as it seemed that their products were being offered at Target.com for the same price as they were being offered on The Honest Company's website.  This is their response... 




Now, I'm not good at math, but I did a little of it just for you (please keep in mind that I really suck at math and you should do your own, not just take me at my word). What you need to know is that in order to make this a value you need an average price of about $6.95 per item, but if you're going to take advantage of the "deal" the answer is NOT to buy five $5.95 products because it won't be saving you money.  And, unfortunately, someone should tell Bryan to stop telling people they won't be taxed because I'm required to report online purchases so that I may be taxed on them when I do my taxes (though it might just be my state that requires this).  And while I would probably save shipping costs for gas money, you can't really put a price on avoiding people, even if it IS Target and not Wal-Mart.
 
Overall, I am incredibly satisfied with The Honest Company.  All of the products arrived as shown, and I really love the design of all of the packaging - simple, clean, fun.   What I really liked was that everything that was scented was natural, light and unoffensive, and while the unscented products still had a little bit of a scent (you can't really avoid that) it wasn't anything that someone would notice if they didn't deliberately sniff the product.  There were some things I didn't like and I probably wont be purchasing the Fruit + Veggie Wash again.  But for the most part I was pleasantly surprised at how incredibly effective and really great the products were.  I know that I will definitely be purchasing The Honest Company products in the future, and I hope you'll try them!

The Honest Company also offers a $20 bonus credit to your account for each friend who signs up and makes a shop or a subscription order.  That being said, I DO earn a $20 credit towards my next purchase if you use the link posted, just as you would if you shared your link with your friends after becoming a member.

If you are interesting in ordering a Free Trial, or trying The Honest Company Products, please use my link: http://www.honest.com/accept_invitation/472160


**I did not receive any monetary compensation to review these products; All products were purchased and tested by me (with the exception of the Free Trial which is available to everyone).  The Honest Company offers a $20 bonus credit to your account for each friend who signs up and makes a shop or a subscription order using your link; I DO earn a $20 credit towards my next purchase if any of the links posted above are used, just like anyone else would.  All products were purchased at the price stated in the above review (if I were to receive a sweet deal, trust me...I'd tell you how to take advantage of that sweet deal for yourself).  I pick and choose what products appear on MoreThanCheesandBeer.com based on products I use or would consider using in my own home.  Receiving product samples does not influence the final review.  Period.  All opinions and experiences are my own and there is no guarantee with my review and I will not be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and you are dissatisfied with it.  My opinion is just that... my opinion.**