Tuesday, January 31, 2012

So Fresh So Clean

Let's be honest. The best blog posts are the ones that border on TMI, wouldn't you agree? If you know me in real life, (I'm looking at you, family members) please discontinue reading this immediately.

(Seriously. If you have or have ever had the same last name as me, now is the time to scram!)

Today started out well. I woke up a little before my alarm went off and got an early start on my morning. I ate a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit. I found just the right outfit to wear to work. I even had time to do some online (window) shopping before leaving the house.

It was going to be a great day!

Everything at my office seemed fine. I clocked in and started reviewing insurance claims. It didn't take long, however, to realize that something was not quite right. There was a funky smell.

And, yes, it was coming from me!

I'd had all that extra time before leaving the house. I had showered, washed my hair, brushed my teeth, done my make-up, and all those other morning To Dos. How does someone forget to put on deodorant? HOW?!

And now I was at work. There was no way to leave, even for a quick jaunt to Walgreens or CVS, and I was stinking the place up. In a dental office, you can smell everything!

What would you have done?

Me? I dipped into the restroom, peeled off my shirt, and sprayed on the only thing remotely close to deodorant that I could think of.
Really, Lysol is a kind of deodorant.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not "Baaad" Indeed

In just a few more hours, it will be time to link up your favorite blog posts with LambAround! But first, as promised on my SITS day, I have a spiffy bunch of Best in Show Award nominees.

And, BTW, it killed me to choose just 10 posts out of the 122 that were linked.

Cue the fancy *Duh Nuh Na Nuh* music!

 The Sasse Life has adorable photos to demonstrate their adorable bibs.
(Also, this cutie does nothing to help my Baby Madness!)

Newlyweds & The Old House shared a beautiful kitchen transformation.

Walnut Acre has a terrific post teaching how to make your own bean bag chairs, which are stuffed with plastic bags.

The Llama Momma Blog cooked up some scrumptious Sweet Potato & Peanut Soup. I haven't tried it yet, but I was won over by this colorful drawing that accompanied the recipe.

All About (my) Boys taught me all about lembas, which I had never heard of before. It turns out that they are the perfect treat for your next Amtgard gathring! Who knew?

CraftWhack had some great fun at her dogs' expense. I'm convinced this pup will sleep through anything.

The REAL Housewives of Riverton have an easy to follow tutorial for creating light switch covers that match any decor.

Little Green Bow made a couch. Yes, you read that right. A couch! I can't even make a throw pillow for my (store bough, obviously) couch.

Creative Chaos (which has the best blog header ever. Really, go check it out for yourself!) made this unique and stylish belt.

Project Possessed has a handy guide to making your own glass paperweights.

Awesome job, nominees! Wondering what happens now? Oh, only the most fun part of all! It's time for that battle to the death that I was telling you about. If you take a peek at my right sidebar, you'll see a nifty little poll. Voting will take place through the end of the week (give or take a day - gotta keep you on your toes!) and the blog with the highest number of votes will be awarded the highly coveted and customized Best in Show Award, along with a feature post here on LambAround.

To help you on your quest for votes, I have created some snazzy buttons for you to choose from:








Decisions, decisions. Once you start designing blog buttons, it can be hard to stop!

Good luck, everyone!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Braces: The Horror of Rubber Bands

Ow.

My first braces adjustment was bound to be bad, especially when you factor in that my teeth were still sore from my initial appointment. To really make things fun though, my orthodontist had a new rule for me. I need to squeeze my teeth together as tightly as possible for as much of the day as I can. He has assured me that my teeth will not simply explode from the pressure, but I'm unconvinced.

He's still beating that dead horse that is jaw surgery. Dr. Google seems to side with my orthodontist on this, as my supposedly super-rare open bite can usually only be corrected surgically. But I didn't have an open bite before I got braces!

Oh, and it would really be beneficial if I stopped drinking coffee and green tea. I came home from my appointment with a C on my oral hygiene report. I managed to make the Dean's List at UNM, but apparently cannot handle proper brushing.

The assistant who rewired my braces said that my cheek was too taught and that I needed to loosen it up, all while she was coming at my mouth with giant clippers and pokey things. You loosen up under those conditions.

My orthodontist wanted to know if I hate him yet. I said no, that I understand it's all for the best, that I am not taking any of this personally, and that I will always think he's a nice guy.

Then I woke up this morning with part of my upper lip wrapped around a band.

They're a sick breed, these orthodontists.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Costa Concordia or Beyonce

*This post is a continuation of yesterday's post, Costa Concordia: Our Experience

The number of missing people has doubled since the first reports of the Costa Concordia accident. Does this mean that Costa originally reported these people as alive and safe to their families in error? How can you take something like that back?

Can someone please explain to me how Yahoo's "Trending Now" list works? I have always thought that it was showing the most searched for keywords, but today the list starts with Beyonce and includes things like "Dwarf tossing" and "Napoleon Dynamite". The Costa Concordia isn't on the list. How can this be?

I just read about a survivor whose husband gave her their only life jacket. He jumped into the freezing water right before her. She never saw him again.

It's all just too terrible for words.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Costa Concordia: Our Experience

The Costa Concordia sinking is just too terrible for words. There are still people trapped on the ship, including a 5 year old girl, and the search is too dangerous to continue. There are reports that this accident occurred because the captain was showing off. I cannot imagine having to jump off of a cruise ship into the water, even to save my life. When I saw the photos of the Costa Concordia on its side, I just stared and cried.



It's no secret that Sexy Nerd and I love to cruise. Of the 4 cruises we have taken, twice on Norwegian, once on Holland America and Costa, the Costa ship was undoubtedly the most beautiful. The Costa Concordia, built at a cost of almost half a billion dollars, was just over 5 years old. It's difficult to imagine all of that - the amazing glass chandeliers, the artwork, the theaters - all sinking to the bottom of the sea.








 
 
Based on our Costa cruise experience, I was not at all surprised to read about the chaos onboard. We cruised on the Costa Atlantica in 2010 and did not enjoy our trip. There were many problems caused by poor management, none of which we have ever witnessed on other cruise lines.


The majority of the passengers on the Costa Atlantica, ourselves included, became sick with Norovirus. The CDC requires cruise lines to notify them of outbreaks on their ship. Costa crew members insisted to me that we were the only people onboard who were sick and that we must have had food poisoning from something we ate when we were not on the ship. The dining rooms were almost deserted because everyone was ill. The crew was constantly cleaning vomit from the hallways and staircases. Costa did not report this to the CDC.

They also refused to quarantine or care for sick passengers, preferring to ignore the problem. They would not send someone to check on us. They would not even bring us food. I do understand that Norovirus is a common cruise ship problem and that perhaps it is not something I should hold Costa responsible for. However, the way Costa chose to handle the outbreak was inexcusable. Everyone we spoke to on the ship was miserable and no one was receiving any compassion from Costa.

It was no wonder that Costa had a Norovirus outbreak. In the buffet, the same utensils were designated for multiple food items - cross contamination. This is Food Safety 101. There was also a small refrigerator that had a sign warning it was out of order, not keeping food at a safe temperature, and should not be used, yet the crew continued to use it. We believe the problem was that the sign was in English, which many of the crew members could not speak.

Our ship spent over an hour attempting to dock in New York. When we returned home, I read posts on the Cruise Critic message boards from people who had been watching our ship from their homes and offices. They wrote that they couldn't figure out what was wrong with the Costa Atlantica and that they had never seen anything like it. Many times, it looked like our ship was going to crash.

On our final day, no one was permitted to disembark the ship while Costa worked out a billing problem with one passenger. This took over an hour. The doors were locked and everyone was forced to wait in line until we were allowed to leave. Because of this, we missed our ferry to New Jersey. I am sure there are guests who missed their flights home.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

BLOG HOP! Super Strange Edition, Part 2

Oh yeah. This blog hop is rolling right into the weekend. Hooray for the Saturday Lazies!
 Super Strange SITS Wednesday Edition...continued!

Not "Baaad" Sundays Blog Hop RULES and Other Fun Info
Because, really, what could be more fun than rules?

1. Smile at the name of the blog hop. LambAround. Not "Baaad". Get it? Yes, smiling is a requirement if you'd like to play (and I know you do.)

2. This Linky is open to all posts that you are proud of. Did you recently post about a great decorating project, craft, or recipe? How about a story or a cute photo? Share the fun!

3. Do you ever find yourself trying not to duplicate posts on blog hops but aren't quite sure what you posted the previous weeks? Problem solved! The Linky from today will be back on a future Sunday, making it easy to see what you've already posted and giving you another chance to visit any great posts you may have missed.
 
4. You don't want to be the grump at the party, so be sure to mingle with your fellow blog hoppers and tell them what a nifty job they have done with their post. You're bound to be the most popular girl at the link up with an attitude like that!

5. Please link directly to your post, not just your general blog, and include a post-related photo.

6. You're not just linking up with your fellow bloggers - you're competing against them in a battle to the death! Well, okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. It sounds exciting, right? Participating in the Not "Baaad" Blog Hop is the only way to snag a coveted Best in Show award nomination. I'll send you a message if you make the cut. Good luck!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Welcome SITS Gals!

*Hee, hee, hee*

Sorry. In the face of social pressure, I become a nervous mess. And who can blame me? All you fabulous SITS ladies peeking and prying into every corner of my little blog. I tidied up for you, but there's always more to be done. I wonder if there's something like Merry Maids for blogs.

Okay, deep breath.
Are you buying my calm and collected act?

Sexy Nerd told me to tackle my SITS day the same as when someone comes to visit our home, which is to kick back and leave everything as is, insisting that no one cares or is going to judge us in any way just because of some unvacuumed carpet or smudges on the light switches. He gets in trouble before every guest and insists he has no idea why, all while eating in front of the TV and spilling crumbs on the couch!

But perhaps Sexy Nerd is right this time. Feel encouraged to snoop through old blog posts and stir up a little (I hope just a little) dust. And share a post (or 2! or 3!) of your own below, in a weekly LambAround tradition I like to call...
 Super Strange SITS Wednesday Edition!

Not "Baaad" Sundays Blog Hop RULES and Other Fun Info
Because, really, what could be more fun than rules?

1. Smile at the name of the blog hop. LambAround. Not "Baaad". Get it? Yes, smiling is a requirement if you'd like to play (and I know you do.)

2. This Linky is open to all posts that you are proud of. Did you recently post about a great decorating project, craft, or recipe? How about a story or a cute photo? Share the fun!

3. Do you ever find yourself trying not to duplicate posts on blog hops but aren't quite sure what you posted the previous weeks? Problem solved! The Linky from today will be back on a future Sunday, making it easy to see what you've already posted and giving you another chance to visit any great posts you may have missed.
 
4. You don't want to be the grump at the party, so be sure to mingle with your fellow blog hoppers and tell them what a nifty job they have done with their post. You're bound to be the most popular girl at the link up with an attitude like that!

5. Please link directly to your post, not just your general blog, and include a post-related photo.

6. You're not just linking up with your fellow bloggers - you're competing against them in a battle to the death! Well, okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. It sounds exciting, right? Participating in the Not "Baaad" Blog Hop is the only way to snag a coveted Best in Show award nomination. I'll send you a message if you make the cut. Good luck!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lowe's Cashier Quote of the Day

Sexy Nerd, who is quite the handyman extraordinaire, purchased a tube of Liquid Nails for one of his many projects (he's currently building a folding boat, of all things!)

The hefty woman scanning his purchase eyed him with suspicion, then said gruffly:

"You'd bettah not be huffin' them nails."

 High as a kite?
(Hmmm...perhaps that's why he didn't notice that his shirt was covered in Pica hair.)

Just imagine if he'd tried to buy spraypaint.

More Quotes of the Day: 





Lamb Quote of the Day - Another Year Wiser (I can admit it!)

Boss Quote of the Day - Waiting to Exhale

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake. Really!

Sometimes blogging can get to be a bit much. Really, is anyone out there even reading this? When a mood like this strikes, there's simply only one thing you can do.

Bake a ridiculously indulgent cake.

Would you care for a slice (or two!) of my Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake?

The frosting is chocolate chip cookie dough. It. Is. AMAZING. Why isn't this stuff used more often?

Oh, and if you answered 'no' to my cake offer, I really don't think LambAround is the right blog for you.

As mentioned before (homemade Chicken Mayonnaise, anyone?), Sexy Nerd and I aren't squeamish about eating raw eggs. Well, I guess Sexy Nerd might be, but I do the majority of the cooking around here so, yeah. For those of you who are Salmonella-phobes, I have something exciting to tell you. Everything you see in the photos above, from the moist chocolate cake to the ooey gooey cookie dough, is 100% egg-free! You can thank the lousy Albuquerque grocery stores and their exorbitant egg prices for that. $1.25 a dozen? Keep dreaming, Smith's and Albertsons!

The secret to yummy eggless baking is an ingredient that everyone should have in their kitchen - ground flax seed meal. This stuff is perfect mixed into oatmeal or blended into a smoothie. Best of all, if you combine 1 Tbsp of flax seed meal with 3 Tbsp of water, you'll find yourself with a nifty 1 egg substitute in just 2 minutes.

Aren't I so smart? I read that handy egg substitute tidbit right off the Bob's Red Mill package.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

(The raw cookie dough recipe is from Miss Lori Lange, aka Recipe Girl, who knocked my socks off at Camp Blogaway.)
  • Favorite Chocolate Boxed Cake Mix (I'm a Devil's Food and German Chocolate fan, myself.)
  • Whatever Ingredients Fancy Cake Mix Requires (Can you tell that I'm feeling very professional with my recipe writing at the moment?)
  • Cookie Dough Ingredients from Recipe Girl (I used regular chocolate chips instead of mini. You can cram more chocolate into every bite this way.)
  • Love (You know, because I'm so super serious right now. Methinks I've had too much sugar. Thank you, Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake!)
1. Divide your cake batter into two round, 10 inch pans and bake according to the package directions. I only own one of these pans, so it took forever to make this cake. It was worth it.

2. Instead of pacing the kitchen while waiting for your yummy chocolate cakes to bake, use this time to mix up your cookie dough. Wondering if you'll have any extra after you've frosted your cakes? You will have just enough extra to cram several enormous, guilt-free spoonfuls of raw chocolate chip cookie dough into your salivating mouth. Isn't this recipe just the greatest?

3. Do not chill the cookie dough yet. It will be easiest to work with if it's soft.

4. Let your two cakes cool 100% before attempting to remove them from the pans. I was impatient and ended up with a giant cake doughnut the first time. Friends, you cannot spread cookie dough onto the center of a doughnut, no matter how hyper you are. You will just end up with a sticky countertop.

5. Take one of your cooled cakes and, approximately 1/2 an inch from the edge, press gently all the way around the cake to create a raised border. This will result in a well for your cookie dough. We want to keep it safe and sound.

 Why not just spread the cookie dough all the way to the edge? This is a 'Double' Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cake. You only see cake on the sides before it's cut, so the lucky cake recipient is surprised to discover that there is more scrumptious cookie dough inside!

6. After filling your cake groove with cookie dough, plop (such a yummy word, right?) your second cooled cake directly on top. 

7. Frost the top of the second cake with your remaining cookie dough.

Can you tell there's more cookie dough inside?

 Surprise!

8. This is the hardest step. Stick your entire decorated cake into the fridge to cool before you serve it. Technically, you can eat it right this instant, but this cake tastes sooo much better when the cookie dough is chilled. Really, it's a night and day difference.

Hate to wait? Let's pass the time by drooling over my remaining cake photo shoot shots:

When it comes to a cake as decadent as this, who am I to reject any of the photos?

Sexy Nerd loves this cake. He says it tastes like a giant, melty cookie.

 Wowza!

Cake on the patio. Even our fancy stain makeover can't compete with the beauty that is Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake.

*drool*

  This cake was my second time making Recipe Girl's cookie dough recipe. The first batch never made it onto a cake. Sexy Nerd was away on a business trip and I was the only person home. I have absolutely no idea where all that cookie dough went.

This cake lasted about a day. An entire day! Can you believe it?

We grow roses. We pig out on cake.

Suzanne at work said "Out of 100, this cake is 150". Suzanne is a tough nut to crack. That compliment is HUGE!

Kinda running out of smart-alecy things to say. In these photos, the crumbs drove me crazy!

 Mmmm...cake.
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