Google Something Clever 2.0: September 2013

Sep 30, 2013

Drumroll, Please!

It's over! Thank you to everyone who entered to win a signed copy of "You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth." I have picked a winner, and the winner is...

Sep 28, 2013

Here What You Missed This Week 9/22/13 - 9/28/13

Okay, so I guess it's fall now. I've been working on our costumes all week. Well, mostly my husband's costume. There's a certain prop that's over three feet long, and it's taking a lot of time. Any guesses yet?

Sep 26, 2013

How to Watch Fall TV in 16 Easy Steps

It is without one tiny bit of hyperbole that I tell you now: I am a TV-watching expert. Ask anyone. From the people who call me, asking if I still have last week's "Breaking Bad" on the DVR (no, but I can recover it for you), to the ones who Facebook me asking who I think should have won "America's Got Talent" (Taylor was my favorite, but he'll get by; Kenichi needed the win more), to those who text me trivia questions ("'Game of Thrones' actor Dinklage?" Duh, Peter, and I don't even watch that show). Everyone knows that I. Am. The. Best.

So, with that in mind, it should come as no surprise that I have the fall premiere season down to a science. Wondering what you should watch this year? I got you. Let's do this.

Sep 24, 2013

Ode to the Fun Uncle

Fun Uncle, I love what you do for my boy
When you come by and gift him with a brand-new toy.
But please listen closely, and hear what I say,
If it makes any sound, I will throw it away.

Fun Uncle, you've taught my son wonderful things
About Spider-Man, Batman, and Lord of the Rings.
So much pop culture knowledge he's garnered from you,
But please, no more teaching him quotes from Young Guns 2.

You're just like a playmate, but older and wiser,
I'm so glad that my son has you as his advisor.
Thanks to you, he's prepared for the hijinks of school
But seriously, Fun Uncle, the wedgies? Not cool.

He has a small phobia of climbing too high,
And with your help, he'll kick it, I know, by and by.
And I'm sure that you really were trying to help,
But I wish you hadn't put him on his closet shelf.

And, oh! How I love to watch you two at play.
The giggles you incite surely brighten my day.
You're welcome to throw him up high in the air,
Just please know he'll certainly puke in your hair.

You're so fun at parties, a real laugh a minute!
But from now on, I'm sorry, ten beers is your limit.
Fun Uncle, you're welcome anytime at our place
Provided there are no more squirt-gun shots to the face.

Fun Uncle, I hope that you've heard what I said
And you'll stop riling up sonny boy just before bed.
Don't forget that one day, you'll have your own kids, too,
And on that day, Fun Uncle, I'M COMING FOR YOU.

This post originally appeared on In the Powder Room.

Sep 23, 2013

Cosplay and a Giveaway

Have you ever showed up late to a party and missed something awesome? You walked in the door, and everyone was all, "Oh, man, you should have been there! The Spice Girls showed up with Rice Krispie Treats and we all danced and it was amazing!" That just happened to me.

Soon after I was hired as a staff writer for In the Powder Room, they came out with a book. And they were all, "Yeah, we totally just finished this book ten minutes before we hired you." D'oh! I was bummed. That's some seriously bad timing. The book, if you haven't heard, is "You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth," and it's an Amazon best-seller. Editor Leslie Marinelli collected 40 ridiculously talented writers and asked them for their best stories that they'd only share with their girlfriends... wait for it... In the Powder Room. Get it?

Of course I had to do the cover photo cosplay. But I did it Jenn Style. Note the nails.

Sep 21, 2013

Here's What You Missed This Week 9/15/13 - 9/21/13

I have exciting news for you! Well, some of you, anyway. I've decided to become a pimp! Are you a blogger? An Avon lady? Do you make jewelry out of chicken bones and cat fur, and sell it on Etsy? Good for you, you little entrepreneur, you! You should be marketing your wares to my readers, because they are rich and have fabulous taste (obviously). 

Hop on over to my Give Me Your Money page, where you can read all about the ad space and social media marketing I have to offer you. Oh, it's also a great place to give me your money, by the way. Mama needs a new tattoo.

Sep 18, 2013

New York, Part Four

Another cab ride, and it was time for the moment my husband and I had been waiting for. Our number one to-do in New York: Obscura. Do you watch “Oddities” on the Science channel? Dude, you really need to. It’s a show about this antique store, only it’s not your average antique store. They sell stuff like mummified heads and old quack medical machines. Really cool shit. We’ve been fans of the show for a couple of years now. We walked in and my son immediately demanded to leave. Was it the creepy clown mask? The taxidermied two-headed cow? Who knows? The point is, he was ruining everything! Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. But we’ve wanted to visit this store for years, and the boy has seen the show, and god damn it he needed to come inside!

Sep 17, 2013

I'll Stay Home, Thanks.

I am not a traveler.

I've only been to 12 U.S. states. Two of them were for layovers, and five more don't count because I live in New England, which is really one state with six names.

I know a lot of travelers. Every summer, my Facebook feed fills up with pictures of exotic rainforests, opulent palaces, and gourmet cuisine. My friends and family have visited locales that are so abstract to me, they almost seem fictional.

Where the hell is Helsinki, anyway?

Sometimes I get a little jealous. If only we didn't have a small child. Maybe if we had a little more money. Golly, I'd love to, but my cats really need me . . .

And then something happens that reminds me why I really don't travel. Like when my cousin was showing me iPhone pictures of her latest trans-European getaway. Every meal looked like some sort of modern art installation. She was telling me about how the diet in some such Scandinavian country consisted mainly of fish and cream sauces, " . . . and they have reindeer everywhere!"

"Aw, that's so cute!" I replied. "You mean they're just roaming the streets in the town square?"

"No," she corrected me, "on the menus."

Apparently Finland has a slightly different Santa mythology than the U.S.

I'm terribly picky. When I honeymooned in Jamaica, I had my travel agent call ahead to be sure that my minibar would be fully stocked with Mountain Dew. I neglected to mention that I preferred cans, not bottles, and spent a miserable week at Sandals, like a savage, drinking soda that tasted wrong.

Even if I can somehow manage to find acceptable fare, I'm still not satisfied. Hotel cable is weird. They never have the channels I want to watch. There's no DVR, and no sleep timer. How do you expect me to fall asleep without The Golden Girls? Am I just supposed to lie here in the dark and listen to nothing

Who does that?

And what about my fingernails? If I go more than four days without painting them, they're going to chip, and then they'll be weak, and then they'll break, and for goodness sake, what if I get a hangnail? What if it gets infected? Do they even have antibiotics here?

Living out of a suitcase is a nightmare. I never pack the right things, and I'm never sure how to handle my dirty clothes. Has anyone ever figured out a system that works? Please let me know.

I hate hotel air. It's always too dry. And if I wash my face with any water other than my local tap water, it's going to break out. When you can't even stand to be away from two of the four basic elements in your hometown, you know you have a problem.

You can have your Eiffel Towers and your Colosseums. Eat all the octopus and bamboo shoots you want, and don't bother saving a bite for me. No amount of adventure and wonder can compare to the comforts of home. 

This post originally appeared on In the Powder Room.

Sep 16, 2013

New York, Part Three

Day five, we finally went to the city! We got up early, missed the train, discovered an adorable cafĂ©, and almost missed the next train. An hour and a half later, we arrived in Grand Central Terminal. Did you know it’s not called “Grand Central Station”? Remember when you were a kid, and the phone kept ringing, and people were in and out of your house all day, and your mom would make some remark like, “What is this, Grand Central Station?” Well, I have no idea where she got that from, because it’s called Grand Central Terminal. The first thing I did was use the bathroom, and you will not believe what happened: it was clean, and some stranger was polite to me. Everything I've heard about New York is a lie!

When we entered the main lobby, I expected to be overcome with... I don't know, awe or something. I was not. I’ve seen the place in so many movies, it just felt like walking into Target. Like I’d been there a thousand times before. Isn’t that a bummer?

Sep 14, 2013

Here's What You Missed This Week 9/8/13 - 9/14/13

It's coming... Can you feel it? Halloween is just around the corner, and I spent this week preparing for it. My husband and son wore me down until I could protest no longer, and I ordered the boy's costume. Yes, ordered. He is going against the family's moral code and being something completely unoriginal and store-bought.


My husband and I finally agreed on our couple costume just a few days ago (that's really late for us), so I've been doing a lot of planning, shopping, and fabricating in the basement. Hot glue gun, how I missed you!

Sep 13, 2013

So You're Stuck Watching Football

It has arrived.

Of course, by "it," I mean American football season, the worst time of the year.

I suppose it could be worse. At least my husband is only interested in our home team. I hear some men will watch four games every Sunday, and spend the rest of their week consumed by "fantasy football," which I believe is some sort of sports version of Dungeons & Dragons.

Now, I've tried to understand football, but there's something in my brain that shuts off any time my husband tries to explain the rules to me. He opens his mouth, and all I hear is the "wah-wah-wah" of Charlie Brown's teacher. The only football rule I can confidently state is that the players try to go from the blue line to the yellow line. Only those lines aren't real. Or something.

Normally, when my husband watches football, I take the opportunity to have a little me time: I write, take a bubble bath, or work on holiday projects. But every now and then, I'm dragged to some sort of social gathering that revolves around football, and I'm expected to actually watch the game. Shudder.

So what happens when a football-hater like me is roped into participating? I've found that the easiest way to 
have fun is to make sure that nobody else does. Perhaps you'd like to try some of my tricks:

  • Wait until the home team is losing big, and ask what the score is.
  • Find a partner who also hates football. Sit on opposite sides of the room. Carry on a long, loud conversation about Meg Ryan's hair, or something cute you saw on Pinterest.
  • Eat all the drumstick-shaped chicken wings, and leave all the annoying double-boned ones for everyone else.
  • Fawn over how cute and charming that player from the rival team is on those Doritos commercials.
  • Wait until everyone is on the edge of their seat, because some guy is doing something important with a ball or whatever. Stand up in front of the TV and helpfully offer to get everyone a beer.
  • Criticize the coach's fashion sense. Seriously, a sweatshirt over a collared shirt? Who is his stylist?
  • Giggle whenever one of the announcers says "ball handling." Trust me, they will say it. A lot.
  • Whenever a player does something particularly good (you can tell because everyone will cheer), ask if he was the one who got arrested recently. It doesn't matter who it is; chances are someone on the home team did, and nobody will want to be reminded of it.
  • Stash the remote control under a couch cushion and wait for someone to sit on it. Watch as hilarity ensues.

I wish you luck in making it through the season, and if you ever need someone to commiserate with, you can find me bitching on Twitter every Sunday, from now through February. Go, team! 

This post originally appeared on In the Powder Room.

Sep 12, 2013

Coming to Terms With Fall

I think I'm finally ready to admit it: fall is coming. It' pretty much here.

Whew, that was hard to type.

I'm a summer person. I love cookouts. I hate wearing anything on my feet. I can't stand being any colder than 76 degrees. That's not a typo; seventy-six degrees Farenheit. So it's hard for me to say goodbye to summer, and consequently, to say hello to Fall.

Sep 10, 2013

I Like Beer and Babies, But Only Boy Babies.

I’m so happy to be guest posting for Julie of I like beer and babies today. I like beer and babies is one of the first blogs I ever read, and I’m pretty sure she was my first reader who didn’t know me in real life. I think I squealed the first time she commented on my blog. I felt like I’d finally broken through.

It’s been almost two years since I started blogging, and a little over a year since she left that first comment, and I was still all, “Who, me?” when she asked me to guest post.

Sep 9, 2013

New York, Part Two

Day three, we went to the best diner ever, The Daily Planet in Lagrangeville. We wanted to throw a chain around the whole place and drag it home. It was decorated in a 50s/60s/70s pop culture theme, with a healthy dose of comic books thrown in. And the menu… They had turkey sausage! Do you know how hard it is to find a breakfast place that serves turkey sausage? Hard. They also had bellinis. Fun fact: day drinking is one of my favorite things about vacation.

Yes, I drank from the tiny stirring straw. It makes it last longer.

Sep 7, 2013

Here's What You Missed This Week 9/1/13 - 9/7/13

Happy Saturday! How was your week? I'm still trying to get back on track after my vacation. The good news is, I've finally finished typing up my New York story- all 3500 words of it- and it's all broken up in easy-to-digest morsels, complete with pictures. So have fun with that in the upcoming weeks.

My week started out pretty rad. I was featured on HuffPost Parents' Best Parenting Tweets! I was in good company, too. Three of my In the Powder Room colleagues were also featured, along with Jason Good and Ana Gasteyer. What? I'm in the same league as an SNL alum? (Shh, let me have this.) The best part about it is that, for whatever reason, when the page is shared on Twitter or Facebook, my picture is the one that happens to show up!

Sep 6, 2013

New York, Part One

If you didn’t know, my family just spent a week in New York. My husband has two cousins who live upstate with their wives and babies (two separate houses; they’re not weirdos), so we drove out there and stayed with Cousin 1.

Day one was when we arrived, around lunch time. We did a lot of talking and planning, and then had a cookout and made s’mores. Fun for us, but not so entertaining for you. Moving on!

Day two, we went to a renaissance fair. I’d been to one as a kid, and my husband and son had never been. My husband’s always wanted to go to one, but the fair (faire?) in Massachusetts has animal acts, which I have a problem with, so we don’t go.

Sep 3, 2013

Facebook Sharing: Put a Rubber on That!

Have you heard the latest?

It seems that vaccines are now causing celiac disease, President Obama is outlawing public breastfeeding, and McDonald's has contracted with the USDA to become the exclusive lunch provider for all public schools.

It's true. I saw it on Facebook.

I also learned that all non-GMO vegetables are being banned across North America, and corn syrup causes cancer in lab rats. My friend forwarded me an email that was written by a doctor from Johns Hopkins, so you know it's for real.

Sounds crazy, right? But why would I lie to you? What possible motive would I have (other the obvious, world domination)? None. And of course my friends wouldn't knowingly feed me false information, would they?

And therein lies the problem. When the average person sees an outrageous story come across their computer screen, their first impulse is to plaster it all over the Internet—not so much to fact-check first. They trust that their friends aren't posting bullshit. But what about their friends' friends?

Let's look at it this way. Perhaps you're a swinging single, or if not, perhaps you can recall a time back when you were. You met someone you thought was cute. You got along, and they didn't seem too skanky, so you took them home for a roll in the hay. Did you use a condom?

Yes, of course you did, because we had this lesson drilled into our heads: "When you sleep with someone, it's like sleeping with everyone they've ever slept with." Sure, Johnny Last Call isn't sporting any obvious sores, but who knows what he might have picked up from last week's hookup?

Listen, I get that you trust your friends, and you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. But believing everything that they post is like believing everything that all their friends post. And all their old school chums, their ex-coworkers, their slightly batty great-aunts . . . Think about it; some people's Facebook profiles are pretty promiscuous.

So the next time you hear a story that sounds too preposterous to be true, do the world a favor and take a moment to research it before clicking "Share." Think of as a digital condom. And please, stop spreading your hoax-herpes all over the web. 

This post originally appeared on In the Powder Room.

Sep 2, 2013

The Annual Fried Stuff Experience (Otherwise Known as The Iowa State Fair)

Well, friends, New York was indeed a hell of a town. I'm back home, but I have a ton of crap to catch up on. If you're a parent who's ever left the house for more than, oh, say two hours, you know what I'm talking about.

So today, I'm leaning on one more fellow blogger to do my work for me while I get back to normal. It's Sarah from The Sadder But Wiser Girl. You remember her; she co-hosted the trendiest, most happening Twitter party on the planet with me: #HomeCon13. And guess what. We'll be hosting another Twitter party soon! I'll keep you posted. In the mean time, get to know her a little better: 

Since Jenn is a cool person she actually gets to (occasionally) do things like go cool places and see cool things. Sometimes she even takes this thing known as a vacation. I don’t know what that thing is, but I thought since she is off and doing stuff I got to come over and take over her blog for a day. I thought that I should make this a learning opportunity. Got your pencils ready? There might or might not be a quiz afterwards so make sure to take lots of notes.