Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Tuna Christmas and a Dirty Girlscout

I love plays and musicals and the theatre.  LOVE.  Want to get me something for Christmas?  How about tickets to Wicked with a The Book of Mormon chaser?  Please and thank you.

Because I have kids, I hardly ever get to go these kind of events.  As in it's been a good three years since I last saw anything on a stage other than an elementary school awards ceremony.  However.  Saturday night I went to see A Tuna Christmas at the Circuit Playhouse in midtown  Memphis.  I LOVED IT.

The play is done entirely by only two men -- even though they play more than 20 characters of all ages and both genders.  I Googled the play before I went and wasn't sure how exactly they would pull it off.  But pull it off they did -- and pretty amazingly too.  Maybe it doesn't take much to impress me but I was blown away with how they remembered the little details even though at times they only had 15 or so seconds to change character. 

The play is set in the tiny town of Tuna, Texas (alliteration for the win!) and is a satirical take on small town southern life at Christmastime .  I think it would be enjoyable for anyone, regardless of where from, but as someone who grew up in a small southern town it was just . . . spot on in so many ways.  The play was no A Christmas Carol.  It was just fun and funny and I would totally, completely, 100%-edly go see it again.  If you get a chance, if it comes to your city, check out A Tuna Christmas.

After the play, my friend and I wandered down to the Side Street Grill for a late dinner and drinks.

Total side note here: I've been hanging out in midtown a lot lately and every time I head back to where I live in the 'burbs, I feel so disenfranchised.  Midtown is the true heart of Memphis with all it's arts and culture and bars and non-chain restaurants. 

Ah, yes, the food.  And drinks!

Side Street Grill had a pretty extensive martini menu.  I started with the Tikitini (I THINK that's what it was called -- they don't have a menu online.)  I ordered a small and it was the tiniest, cutest little martini I'd ever seen.  It was also super good and seeing as it was super tiny, it was gone in no time.  For my next round, I ordered the Cootertini because, well, COOTER.  I went for the large with this one so OF COURSE it wasn't quite as good!  It was heavy on the raspberry flavor and I'm not the biggest fan ever of raspberry.  This, people, is why you pay attention to what goes into the drink rather than just ordering it because hahaha it has cooter in it's name.  My final choice was a Dirty Girl Scout martini and sweet baby Jesus was that thing good!  It tasted like a liquid thin mint.  The perfect dessert martini and the perfect one to end things with. 

My friend and I split four appetizers.  We tried the jerk chicken kabobs, flat bread pizza, bacon-wrapped shrimp, and buffalo chicken eggrolls.  Everything was just so good.  The jerk chicken is a local favorite and I can definitely see why.  The bacon wrapped shrimp and buffalo chicken eggrolls were both really, really good.  The highlight, though, was the flat bread.  I kinda gave my friend the stank eye when it was ordered.  Because, really, all the delicious app options and pizza?  But I'm so glad we ordered it because it was AMAZING.  The sauce was just right and the toppings were amazing and I was just sad that I waited until last to try it because I really wanted to be able to eat more but I was just.too.full.

I'll definitely be going back to Side Street Grill.  Mainly because I have to knock more martinis off my list!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Magic Sparkles

When I first found out my third pregnancy was a girl, everyone - EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD - told me the same thing.  "Girls are so much easier!" they said.

I was looking forward to this because, yeah, the two brothers who proceeded her were anything but easy.  Plus, I mean, she was a girl.  Hairbows!  Barbies!  Pink!  (Gender stereotyping since 2010 up in heeeere.)

Y'all.  "They" - EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD - were wrong.  So wrong.  So, so wrong. 

This girl, my girl, she is not easy.  At all.  And we're all hairbows! Barbies! Pink! She refers to herself - and anything princess - as "Magic Sparkles."  She's delightfully funBut she is not an easy child.

For example:

Her school picture:

This picture is precious, right?  She's smiling and her outfit is cute.  And, let's face it, that's just a gorgeous kid. 

But if you look closer you'll notice her fingernails.

Let me re-cap the day pictures were taken. 

I had a super, super busy day.  Super busy.  I was going to drop the boys off at school, deliver Karis to her school, and then I had two job interviews.  I was rushed and stressed that morning.  I was packing lunches and realized I hadn't heard from K2 in a minute.  I went looking for her and found her . . . in the bathroom.  PAINTING HER NAILS.  She'd done this a time or two in the past and did a not bad job one time and a horrible job the other.  This time though?  On the morning that I was OMGSOSTRESSED and OMGSOBUSY?  The previous horrible job looked better.  Their was polish all over her fingers and the toes on one foot.  Oh, and on her forehead too.  I had about *that* much polish remover left.  Seriously, just enough to remove the polish from her forehead and kinda sorta get her nails looking a little better.

When I saw her picture the other day, I just had to laugh when I noticed the pink on her nails.  If nothing else, it's a memory.  Maybe one of these days she'll have a "sooooo not an easy child" daughter that we can show this picture to and share the story with.

Now let's talk clothes.

This girl is very opinionated about her clothing and it's led to many an epic battle in our house.  Choose your battles means sometimes she ends up going out like this:

At least she's happy?  I guess?  And at least her coat covered that tacky stained t-shirt that's at least two sizes too small.

And, finally, let's talk Santa.

K2 does not like strangers or men so I figured it would be . . . an adventure. 

I did not figure, however, that she would KICK SANTA.  MY DAUGHTER KICKED SANTA CLAUS.  I'm pretty sure it was an accident. I hope it was an accident.  But.  MY.KID.KICKED.SANTA.
And refused to sit in his lap.
And took a candy cane anyway.

Oh, Magic Sparkles. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's the Most Important Meal of the Day: Brother Juniper's

I love breakfast.

Who doesn't, right? So many options and, technically, it's a-ok to eat breakfast food any time of the day. And, come on, WAFFLES? Who doesn't like waffles?

So there's a place in Memphis that's kind if an institution around these parts. Brother Juniper's is open exclusively for breakfast and it's locally famous (and has also been featured by Rachael Ray!) A friend and I ate there a couple weeks ago. And y'all? The food was SO AMAAAAZE. I HAD to write about it.

Before we get to the food, though, let's discuss ambience. The restaurant is in a house that's probably close to 100 years old. If you order coffee or hot chocolate, it'll be served in a mug that has "Wolfchase Galleria" or a John Deere tractor or something else random printed on it. No two mugs seemed to be the same and I totally dug it. Just gave it a more personal and homey feel.

I couldn't decide what to order (so many selections!) and the waitress recommended an open face omelet. I went with the "Off the Border" and my friend chose the Mama's Special (I think! Can't remember the name and it's not on the website). I subbed in home fries rather than cheese grits and chose a biscuit over toast.

This omelet. THIS OMELET. I took one bite and was all, "dat omelet, though!" It was salsa and this ahhhhmaze chorizo and a ton of cheese and, y'all? I'd marry it tomorrow. I would. It was a huge portion. I could only eat half and even then felt like I was going to pop. My friend's omelet was topped with salsa, portobellos, and ... smoked salmon. So. I don't really think of salmon or any fish as belonging on an omelet or even in breakfast at all. Kinda sorta put on my judgey face when it was ordered. But I did a little taste test and that salmon? Holy shizz! Seriously rethinking my stance on fish for breakfast. The home fries were so good too! Fried to perfection and seasoned just right. And the biscuit? Think of something your grandma would make ...

We made it to the restaurant before 8:00 on a Saturday and were able to easily find parking and were seated immediately. By the time we left, several people were waiting for a seat. Arriving early is key! But, really, the food would be worth any kind of wait.

Long story short: In Memphis and want breakfast? Brother Juniper's for the win!

Monday, October 14, 2013

You Should Probably Go to the Beach in October

My mom had plumbers at her house on Friday as we were loading up to spend one last day at the beach.  It was cool that morning, around 60 degrees, and the plumber told me, "this isn't weather to go to the beach.  This is weather to go to the mountains."

He was wrong.  Obviously.  I mean, for starters, it's always a good time to go to the beach.  Unless maybe there's a hurricane.  But still, meh, I'm pretty sure I'd rather attend a Hurricane Party than be in the mountains where it's cold.  But that's just me.

Anyway.  October is a FANTASTIC time to go to the beach.  Especially if you're more a bathing suits and flip flops person than a hoodies and boots person.  But even if you're not . . . October.  On the Beach.  It's where it's at.

The Weather
So, yeah, it's not going to be totally gorgeous every beach everywhere in early fall.  But in the southeast USA?  Amazing.  Not too hot but definitely not cold.  (The day we left when it was 60 degrees in the morning?  It ended up being 75 by the time we arrived at the beach and the high that day was something like 82.)

You Have the Place to Yourself
Pretty much anyway.  Hilton Head was more crowded than Tybee but the word "crowded" is a very generous description.  And the first day we went to Tybee, last Monday, there were maybe five other groups of people on the beach when we got there.  Hilton Head was a lot of older people and a lot of people either walking on or riding bikes on the beach.  My kids pretty much had the water to themselves.

The Water is Still Warm.
This obvs doesn't apply to California where all water is always cold.  But in Georgia and South Carolina, it felt great.  Especially when the air temperature heated up a little more.

We saw dolphins this summer at Virginia Beach but didn't see any at Hilton Head or Tybee.  This trip, in October?  We saw them at both places!  And they came really close to the shore in Tybee.  It was definitely a highlight.

There's a Good Chance You'll Have the Best Beach Body.
Seriously.  Just ask the guy in the speedo we saw at Hilton Head on Thursday . . .

Really, though, people.  There aren't many things better than tan lines in October.  Getcha self to a beach!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It Passed.

Yesterday made exactly four years that we've lived in Memphis.

Four years!

Before we moved here, we lived in the Dallas area in a house that I loved. I would walk my boys to our little neighborhood park daily. We had a Whataburger within a mile. My brother and his wife were only a couple hours a way; my sister-in-law and her family just minutes away. We welcomed Kyan while living in Dallas. We got married while living there. It's in my blood to love Texas (believe me, I realize just how corny that sounds but you'd have to know my dad). And I love Dallas. Love. But I look back on the time we were there and can't believe I survived. We were there less than two years and I consider that my "this too shall pass" time. And, yeah, I'm probably being fairly dramatic. But, y'all.  That shit was hard.

J wasn't quite a year old when I found out I was pregnant with K1. He was only 19-months-old, still a baby himself, when K1 was born.  K1 was born the Friday before Mother's Day and the first few weeks I had my husband and my mom and my grandma all around. By Memorial Day, they were all gone. My husband was working in Memphis, coming home on his days off, which meant sometimes I was alone with the boys for as long as a week or more. In hindsight, I realize how ridiculous it is. There are military families that do it alone for more than a year. But, at the time? Living in it?

It was HARD.

I was exhausted.
So true to life of that period of time in our family
J was the toddler who never stopped moving. If he wasn't getting into baby powder, he was covering the couch in maple syrup or the carpet in hair dye. He stopped napping. He climbed in bed with me every night, moving sideways and kicking and taking up way more bed space than a one-year-old should ever be able to. And K1! K1 woke up every two hours and he cried a lot and he only wanted me to hold him. I was exhausted. Most of the time, I had no one to hand the kids off to so that I could fake diarrhea in an attempt to get a five minute cat nap on the toilet. My sister-in-law asked to keep the boys overnight once. I was soaking in the tub, something I hadn't done in months, when she called and said she was bringing them home early. K1 wouldn't stop crying and J dumped dry spaghetti noodles all over the kitchen and "how do you do it?!?"

I've never been the type to let other people know when the going gets rough for me. I'm much more a "fake it till you make it" type person. And, for some reason, I thought a crying baby and a toddler who acted like a ... toddler ... said something about me, as a parent. YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG, BRANDI. So I kept most of it to myself with lots of "K1's a good baby!" and "J sure is energetic!" and took cat naps and lived for the days when my husband was home and could stumble into the kitchen in the middle of the night to make a bottle.

There was a time when I thought those days would never end. When I thought motherhood would be a constant string of sleepless nights and toddler antics and bags under my eyes.

But now? I'm four years removed from those days. From the trenches.  Those trenches.

J is impossible when he gets overtired. The other day this led to a colossal argument between the two of us. K1 got mad at me the other day and slammed his door and yelled "oh yeah? I think your fingernails do not look pretty!" K2 is three-is-the-new-two and sometimes throws temper tantrums over things like juice boxes and granola bars. They're attitudes can be extreme and they're more expensive and I'm already cringing in fear of the tween and teen years to come. (I have a stepdaughter; I KNOW).

But right now. Right now. They're almost seven, five, and three. They sleep all night and they're all potty trained and can feed themselves. Two of them are in school. They entertain each other (and, boy, do they fight) and they say funny things and the other day J said, "Mom, some guys probably think you're hot!" They have opinions about movies and music and they're ... fun. We survived the baby years and now they're these cool little people. Admittedly, I think about that Bitch Living My Life at least once (okay, okay ... twice) a day. But I think about where I am now compared to where I was four years ago ... and where I'll be in four more years when we're in the depths of Tweendom. And I know I'm on Easy Street.

This too shall pass. Those days in the trenches, when you're so tired you can't even fall asleep and your DVR is your best friend because there's nothing on at 2:00 (and 4:00 and 6:00) when you're feeding a baby and you constantly smell like spit up and you can't remember the last time you wore something other than sweatpants and you're hair is greasy and dirty because shower? Ha! and the bags under your eyes are so large that a family of four could pack all their stuff for a week long vacation in them ... those days will pass. And you'll be rewarded with pretty cool kids. Kids who say things like, "turn it up! That's my jam!" Kids who consider a $3.50 happy meal the greatest treat ever. Kids who make your heart swell up with pride when they do well in school and their teacher tells you they're a "treat" or "a leader."  Kids who still want to hug you and hold you hand and draw pictures that say "I Love My Mom" to hang on the fridge.

They talk back and sometimes they argue and they can't find their shoes and they develop opinions about clothes and they want to watch annoying TV shows and everything they want to do costs money and they start to call you "Mom" instead of "Mommy" and your Netflix and DVR are both full of Jessie and Dog with a Blog and you can't listen to the unedited version of any song ever.  But, still.  It's the stage where the good outweighs the "OHMYGAWWW I CANNOT DO THIS."  It's worth it.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Best Beach is the Beach you go to Without Your Kids. Hashtag REAL TALK.

The water in California is cold.  Cold, cold. 

I've been to the beach at Santa Monica and Newport and Corona del Mar.  I've dipped my toes in the San Francisco Bay.  I've been in swimming pools in Anaheim and Santa Ana.  All cold.

We went to Corona del Mar when I was in Cali a couple weeks ago.  It was easily the most beautiful California beach I've ever been to.  The fog rolled in before I really took very many pictures so the ones I have aren't all that clear and don't really show the beauty of this beach.  But it was just . . . blue water and cliffs with waves hitting them.  Gorgeous houses.  I could move there.  Like, tomorrow.  Right now.

Surely I'd adjust to the cold, right?

Seriously, could our faces BE anymore "this water is effing FRIGID?"  Doubt it.

My number one thing when it came to going to California was that I wanted to be able to spend a day on the beach with girlfriends, possibly some Mimosas, and NO KIDS. 

We totally accomplished it.  I'm (hopefully) headed to an east coast beach in a little over a week (fall break for the kids).  Brandi in a couple of weeks is already jealous of September 14th Brandi.  September 14th Brandi got kid-free beach time!  And a lot of girlfriend beach time!

Oh!  And Mimosas!

Lemme tell y'all what we did. 

I wanted some kind of vodka.  The store we stopped at didn't have the mango passionfruit sorbet I'd been wanting.  Instead, I picked up some Skyy Infusions dragonfruit flavor.  We poured a shot of that into our mimosas and HOLY VODKA, Y'ALL.  That was some good shizz!  Seriously.  Try it the next time you make a mimosa.  You can go ahead and thank me now.

Monday, September 23, 2013


We decided to go to Hollywood the Friday of my California trip.  Dana, our hostess with the mostest, asked us what we wanted to do and I could only think of one thing.  THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN.  I've been to LA a handful of times and had yet to see the sign.  Wasn't going to southern Cali this time around without seeing that dang sign!  And guess what?  It was one of the first things we saw.  The route we took to get into Hollywood meant we could see the sign right from the highway.  We could've turned around and headed back to the OC right then.  But I'm glad we didn't.

Because Hollywood?

It's pretty awesome.

I was there about five years ago.  I remember walking outside and being told "look down."  I did and realized I wasn't standing on any ordinary sidewalk.  It was the WALK OF FAME.  Guess what?  It was just as neat seeing it the second time around.

Being in Hollywood is a lot like being in Vegas.  In Vegas, you're accosted with "we got the best shows!" and "you ladies want to get into a club?  Pool party?"  In Hollywood it's "you want to see where the stars live?" and "we take you right up to the Hollywood sign!"  We were doing our best to dodge the vultures when one guy lured us in.  "We take you to the Fresh Prince house.  We show you where Tom Cruise lives.  You want to go to the Hollywood sign?"  It wasn't the houses that lured us in (okay, except maybe the Fresh Prince house.  Iiiiiin West Philadelphia born and raised . . . ) but the price.  $15 each.  Fifteen dollars for a Hollywood tour!  How could we refuse?

We paid our money and then loaded up into a . . . van.  With a sawed off top.  I wish I'd taken a picture because I'm not even kidding.  It was so hilariously us because if there's any group of tourists who are going to end up doing a Hollywood tour not in an air conditioned bus but an old Chevy Astro van with the top sawed off, it's me and my girlfriends.  REAL TALK.

Our tour guide/ driver was Australian - heavily accented and quite awesome.  He was funny without trying too hard and we literally laughed the entire time.  We started our tour in the Hollywood Hills where he showed us various homes of the stars.  I took tons of pictures like this:

I do not, however, remember who any of the houses belong to.  So I have a ton of pictures of crooked houses.  Don't know which star goes with which house.  Awesome.

I do know that we saw the homes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Betty White and Sylvester Stallone and Lisa Kudrow.  We saw where Marilyn Monroe once lived and Brad Pitt's first Hollywood home.  We did not, however, see the Fresh Prince mansion and I'm still a little Bitter Beer Faced about that one.

We went to Beverly Hills and meandered down Rodeo Drive.  We gawked at the stores and the cars and the overly plastic people.  Our guide took us past an elementary school and told us "each of these children has more money than any of you."  Apparently, it was the school Tori Spelling sends her kids to.  Not that I care about Tori Spelling but interesting tidbit.  We went past several restaurants and, at one of them, saw Mel Brooks dining.

I managed to get a picture that shows less than half his face.  SCORE!

So a few interesting things about our Hollywood tour:

1) Mel Brooks was not the only celebrity we saw.

Bradly Cooper, y'all.

Bradley F-WORD Cooper.


2) When we drove past Courteney Cox's house the gate was opening.  We peered in and saw someone dressed as Cinderella greeting guests at the door.  This was a random Friday afternoon, middle of the day.  I want to be Courteney Cox's daughter.  I wonder if she'll adopt me?

3) Our tour guide told us that his son is a bit of an actor.  He played in the RAV-4 commercial with Kaley Cuoco.  Non-speaking part, okay?  Since the commercial went international, the kid has banked over $100K.  How jealous am I?  I need to get a non-speaking part in a RAV-4 commercial.  Kaley Cuoco optional.  Wouldn't mind Johnny Galecki though.  I love that nerd.

The tour wasn't exactly how it was described to us.  We didn't see the Fresh Prince house or where Tom Cruise lays his head.  The tour guide couldn't take us up to the Hollywood sign for fear of getting ticketed.  BUT.  The tour was so worth what we paid for it.  We had a great time, we laughed the entire time we were in that van, and we located the Hollywood location of Crumbs in the first two minutes of the tour.  Wouldn't have paid the $44 per person advertised price but we were more than got our 15 bucks worth.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

There were Cupcakes. And Fish Tacos. And, Ohhhh, There were Enchiladas.

So I do this thing before I go on any trip.  I hit the gym super hard and I eat really healthy.  And it's not so I can be all hot and stuff when I go on a trip.  (Lezzbehonest, when people pick words to describe me "hot and stuff" is very close to the bottom.)  The reason is actually two-fold.  There's the whole "preventative maintenance" aspect.  Meaning, if I lose a few pounds before I go on a trip, then I can eat what I want and come back and be at my happy weight (or, just above it -- and when that happens I'm all "WATER WEIGHT!!!11!!.)  Then there's the fact that you know what happens when you live off vegetables and super healthy food for a while?  The first time you eat bad - and by bad I obviously mean delicious food - again it is AMAZING.  A mouthgasm.  You're all "Oh Em Gee, this McDonald's hamburger is the most ahhhhmazing thing evahhhh."  It works for me. Let's just go with that.

And now, let's talk about the eatin' I done in California!

Two words: fish.tacos.
Really, y'all, is there anything in the world more amazing than fish tacos?  These (~sorry for the absence of picture!~) came from Rubio's and my friend Dana was quick to tell us "it's a chain!" and "it's not authentic!"  But HOLY NOT AUTHENTIC, BATMAN.  These things were so delish.  I had the tilapia - one grilled and one blackened - and sometimes, sometimes, I can still taste them in my sleep.  They may not have been authentic but they were pretty damn awesome by Tennessee standards.

Porto's is a Cuban bakery and it is a must - A GOTDANG MUST - if you're ever in southern California.  This food was just . . . it was amazing.  We knew enough to try the potato balls and cheese pastries and also picked up the empanadas and I had the chorizo omelet as well.  Yeah, I was just a *teensy* bit hungry.  Anyway.  To give you a run-down, the potato balls are a MUST.  I'm not kidding.  These are deep fried balls of potato and seasoned ground beef and - nope, stop it, don't even bother telling me you don't like ground beef - just order them.  They are so, so, so good.  We tried all three varieties of empanadas (chicken, chorizo, and one that was like the beef stuffed in the potato ball).  Full disclosure; I've yet to meet an empanada I didn't want to run away with, marry, and pick out curtains with.  And these were right on up there.  So.Freaking.Good.  The highlight, though?  The guava and cheese strudel.  There really are no words.  That thing was just . . . it was freaking amazing.  It was.  I'll be honest -- I wasn't all that crazy about my omelet, it was served on french loaf which was a little weeeird to me -- and wished I'd just stuck with the pastries and empanadas.  But I'm guarantee - guarandamnteeing - that you will not be disappointed with the bakery.  Not even a little.  Not even at all.

The best food of the entire trip was prepared by my friend Dana.  She's beautiful, she's gorgeous, she's an amazing hostess, and girlfriend can THROW DOWN when it comes to the kitchen!  We were telling her all weekend that she needs to open her own restaurant.  And if she doesn't think she could do it in California, then homegirl should come to Tennessee because this heffer could make millions with the way she cooks. 

So she didn't just stop with enchiladas, either.  The next morning, Dana whipped us up some huevos rancheros.  And, not only that, but she just sort of casually MADE HER OWN SALSA that morning as well.  Are you kidding me?  For real?  I need her to come live in my house and be my sister wife or something.  I'm pretty sure I'd weigh somewhere in the  neighborhood of 600 pounds if that were the case.  But you know what?  Pretty sure it would be worth it.  Pretty sure.

We went to the beach on Saturday.  Our original plan had been to get all dressed up and go out to eat that night.  We ended up at The Boiling Crab on our way home.  Dressed in our bathing suits and with sand in our hair.  Considering that this really cute Hawaiian guy cracked all Dahlia's crabs for her: WORTH IT.  We had oysters and crab legs and sometimes I'm a creature of habit who just.can't.step.away. from the fried shrimp and fries so, yeah, there was some of that too.  Sometimes some seafood delivered in a bag and by the pound just hits the spot.  Believe me, we did not leave The Boiling Crab hungry. 


We had Sunday brunch at El Torito.

Get this, people.  A buffet with UNLIMITED MIMOSAS for $16.99.  $16.99!!  Again: !!!!!!  I had carnitas (I looooove carnitas) and enchiladas and this amazing corn stuff and mimosas out the whazoo and I PAID LESS THAN TWENTY DOLLARS. 

I want to move to California.  Like, yesterday.

I've tried In-n-Out (totally not going to link it cause, well, it's IN-N-OUT) a handful of times and had never been impressed.  Want to know why?  Because no one ever whispered those sweet little words.  Amimal Style.  Animal style is where it's AT, yizzzaall!  I wish I'd known this five years ago when I had my first In-n-Out experience because it would have made all those subsequent trips, like, worth it.  Here's the deal: Five Guys is the best fast food burger you're going to get.  Hands down.  No question.  Don't even argue with me!.  But In-n-Out?  Yeah.  Totally second place.  Daps to you In-n-Out.  Daps.to.you.

And, finally, it's just not a Whore Trip without . . .

We were on a Hollywood tour (which I'll hopefully talk about tomorrow) Friday afternoon.  We'd been in that super klassy van with the sawed off top for approximately two minutes when I looked to my left and "CRUMBS!  OMG!  CRUMBS!  WE HAVE TO GO THERE!"  Were they good?  Delicious?  Out of this world?  Well.  Someone (no names!) fell asleep before they were divvied up and dived into Friday night.  But she had a couple for pre-breakfast Saturday.  And the verdict?  Well, they're Crumbs.  'Nuff said.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

You Can't Take Peanut Butter on an Airplane. Unless You Also Want a TSA Agent to go Through Your Bag in Front of Everyone. And Then You STILL Can't Take Your Peanut Butter on an Airplane.

Okay, so I usually write a few posts about a trip and I'm all "this day we did this and then this day we did that" or "we ate this and this and this."  Then after all those posts I over with, I do a "wrap up" of all the things that just wouldn't fit anywhere else.

I'm doing things backward this time.

Shaking things up a bit.

Rebelling.  Against my own blogging style.

Also, I'm still really tired and if I tried to make a post about our tour of the stars homes (yeah!  We did one of those!) or all the absolutely f-word delicious food we ate, it probably wouldn't make much sense.

So.  Here are a few things about my trip:

1) We do not have Trader Joe's in Memphis, Tennessee.  In fact, the closest is three hours to our north in Nashville and it happens to have a parking lot that's roughly the size of my living room.  And my living room ain't big.  They have TJ's all over the place in southern California, though, and I was so so so so so excited to go.  We went on Sunday and I got a few yummy things.  One of those was a jar of cookie butter that I figured my peanut butter loving children would thank me for.  I then made the mistake of trying to take it in my carry-on bag.  Turns out, peanut butter has the same consistency (according to the TSA) as lotion and cannot be taken on board in quantities larger than three ounces.  The very nice TSA agent let me know this as he rifled through bathing suits and underwear in front of everyone else going through security at the John Wayne International Airport.  It's a good thing I have birthed three children and no longer embarrass easily.

Anyway.  I was basically given the choice of checking my bag ($25 for a $4 jar of cookie butter) or tossing said cookie butter.  It was tossed.  I has a sad.

2) As previously mentioned, we did a tour of the stars homes.  We were given such an incredible deal on the tour that we couldn't pass it up.  While on it, we saw Mel Brooks (Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!).  And.  AND.  Bradley Cooper!  Our tour guide was also pretty sure we saw Kyra Sedgewick but considering he thought Bradley Cooper was Simon Cowell, I'm not convinced.

3) I'll talk all about food in another post.  But I want to go ahead and mention that I tried In-n-Out again and this time went for animal style.  All the difference in the world.  I still don't think they're "OMG BEST BURGERS EVERRRR!" but I will give In-n-Out two thumbs up.  But only animal style.

4) New phrases in our vocabulary: "she even looked like a whore," "sexcellent," "all of the sluten," "Arkansassy," "we're all reasonably attractive females."  Man I love these girls, my friends.

5) Husband always talks about moving to California.  I'm always adamantly "NO."  Couldn't do it.  I'm a southern girl and I belong in the south where I have close proximity to SEC football and fried okra and people who say "interstate" instead of "freeway."  Then every time I go to California I'm all "maybe I could live here."  Unless, of course, I'm actually on the interstate.  Then I realize I'd probably die within six months of moving to the west coast.  But, y'all.  I love California.  I do. 

6) Our trip was really chill - super chill.  A few years ago, any time we got together, it meant we were hitting up at least one club.  Then we all quickly descended into our 30's and beyond it was all "forget THAT."  The club days are behind us but they've been replaced by hot tubs and laughing until our sides hurt and splitting cupcakes and bottles of wine.  And I wouldn't trade it for any club, ever.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Go Home Pinterest. YOU ARE DRUNK.

My girl Jenn introduced me to the greatest Pinterest board in the history of Pinterest the other day.  It's called Mother F*cking Homemaking and it.is.awesome.  This chick who came up with it?  She wins the internet.  SHE WINS THE INTERNET.

Like most people, I have a love/ hate relationship with Pinterest.  On the one hand, there are things like the above mentioned board.  And it's how I found my recipe for twice baked cauliflower, the one I make twice a week.  And I discovered quinoa "mac and cheese" that way.  And it taught me to do things like clean my fans with a pillowcase.

But it's also a treasure trove of WTF. 

A couple weeks ago I started screen shotting some WTF-ness.  Taking screen shots so that I could share with you all and we could laugh together.  But also taking screen shots because no way was I pinning that shit and having it attributed to ME.  Like I was pinning it for any reason other than to make fun of it.

Anyway.  Just a few "Go Home Pinterest.  YOU ARE DRUNK" examples:

OH MY GAHHHHH.  Why didn't I think of this?  Giving my daughter's dolls lingerie so she won't have to see their molded plastic underwear and boobs that don't even have nipples?  THIS IS SO GENIUS, GUYS!  I LOVE the idea of setting my daughter for body issues by promoting the fact that she shouldn't be able to see a "naked" Barbie doll.  (And if I'm thinking about this too much and it's just a way to cover up the dolls after the clothes have been lost -- dude, get over it.  Either go buy new clothes or, I dunno, just accept that naked Barbies are a part of childhood and have been since 1959.)
Wait, whuuut?  We WANT to make burgers that taste EXACTLY like McDonald's? 
Did you know you can buy night lights at Dollar Tree?  As in night lights that only cost a buck?  Seriously, people, you don't need to violate a perfectly good wine bottle by hot gluing glass gems to it and then stuffing Christmas lights into it.  Also -- those Christmas lights?  They're going to have to be PLUGGED IN somewhere.  That's an awesome idea for the bathroom at night!  Trip over a Christmas light cord and break a wine bottle and seventy glass jewels!
This genius idea.  Use an old truck as a bed for a little boy.  Instead of, you know, spending less money and buying an ACTUAL BED that's not a rusted piece of metal.  I don't even want to think of the logistics of getting a truck into a house.  I'm just going to head off to my happy place and assume this was something done on Trading Spaces ten years ago that some poor dumbass pinned and then a bunch of other poor dumbasses repinned because OMGORIGINAL!

I can admit to going a little overboard when it comes to Christmas stuff for my kids.  But this one deserves a WTF and an AYFKM followed with a CTFD.  I mean, mini pancakes for your (generic) Elf on the Shelf?  No.
(If you are going to use this idea as inspiration for your own Elf on the Shelf - generic or not - this Christmas season then please do me a favor and never, ever visit my blog again.)

Not only does this reside on the corner of "butt ugly" and "ain't nobody got time for that," it also proves that the ombre trend needs to just die already.

And, finally, wedding photography always provides a gold mine of drunk Pinterest:
No.  Just no. 

Why?  Why, God, why?  Why would you DO this? 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

She's Got My Life. She Took It.

Do you remember when you were 14 and in love with that guy you thought was way out of your league and were doodling your name plus his name equals luv 4ever on all your notebooks and were dreaming of babies named things like Laynie Jayyde and Madysyn Mykayla?  Then one day, you know, you woke up at age 35 with gray hair and crow's feet and looking like your mom. Laynie and Madysyn have sworn to hate you forever because you saddled them with names they'll never be able to find on wooden keychains at tacky tourist stops. And no one ever listens to you until you completely lose your shit and then they tell you that maybe you should "relax, dude" and "totes look into some Xanax." And Mr. Equals Luv Forever is paunchy and bald and he snores and he farts and he leaves his underwear laying all over the bathroom floor and makes fun of your taste in music and one time he even told his best friend that his mom's spaghetti recipe was way better than yours.   Reality is being a grown up sucks hardcore half the time.  Maybe if we knew that at age 14 we'd have spent more time marveling over our absence of cellulite and less time doodling the name of Mr. Bald and Paunchy.


I'm pretty sure somebody . . . some bitch . . . stole my life.  While I'm living the dream here in Tennessee - godforsaken MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - raising three children, this bitch is living my real life.  In New York City.  The Village, to be exact, in a cute apartment shared with Phil, her fabulously gay roommate.  She has a writing job that she gets paid handsomely for --  in paycheck, experience, and swag that various companies send her (she was comped a Louis Vuitton bag last week) and the parties she gets invited to. And don't even get me started on the fabulous business trips she gets sent on (next week?  Italy!).  She goes to art gallery openings and Phil gets her tickets to all the best shows.  She eats what she wants without getting fat but still does yoga every Saturday morning and one time she saw Robert Downey Jr. at the farmer's market.  The only time she's ever jealous of me - the chick living her ACTUAL life -  is when I'm complaining about traffic on 240 because she - she - knows what traffic REALLY is.  I hate that bitch.  She better hope I never run into her.

Here's a little break down of why it's so unfair, her stealing my life and all.

When I was woke up at 5:00 in the morning, either because I'm getting old and turning into my dad or have some weird form of backwards insomnia that won't allow me to sleep in, Bitch Living My Life (we'll call her BLML for purposes of my grandmother not getting mad at me for using the word "bitch" too many times in a post) was just stumbling home.  She attended an art gallery opening where she met a fabulous guy who was both good looking and had a last name that just screamed "I COME FROM MONEY."  He works on Wall Street and, after the Opening ended, they found a 24-hour diner where they sat and talked until the sun came up.

While I was in the kitchen preparing lunches, one of my boy children - a boy child who has become obsessed with his hair and wanting spikes or a mohawk like the other boys in his class - was in the bathroom applying half a bottle of hair grease to his head.  Hair grease that was not made for his hair texture and succeeded in only making him look like something out of a 50's movie, prompting another shower.  Oh, and BONUS!  He also got said grease all over his only (formerly) clean uniform shirt

MEANWHILE.  BLML?  She was getting dressed for work in some fabulous and expensive outfit, complete with her new Vuitton bag and those Feragamo heels that she couldn't pass up even though they cost more than rent (her share and Phil's put together). 

I was taking the boys to school, complete with incessant whining:  "Why can't I walk by myself?  I'm old enough! It's not fair.  You always treat me like a baby."  I looked over at one of the boys and realized he had magic marker tattoos on his legs.

MEANWHILE.  BLML spent her coffee break scarfing down a donut (okay, two) that won't make her fat and sexting with Art Gallery Opening Guy (his name is Andrew).

I realized, while pulling clothes from the washer to the dryer, that someone left a piece of paper in their pocket. There is now paper lint all over every single thing that was in the washer. Not as bad as a marker or lip gloss or 99 other things but still enough to annoy.

MEANWHILE. BLML learned the piece she recently wrote has been nominated for an award. Oh and in January she's being sent on a business trip. To BORA BORA.

I begged, cajoled, and eventually bribed my three-year-old to eat her lunch while I scarfed down a Lean Pocket and tried not to think of the sodium count.

MEANWHILE. BLML met Phil for lunch and Cosmos and that fabulous new place a couple blocks from her job. They finalized plans for their weekend in the Hamptons.

Was finally able to jump in the shower - with a three-year-old in tow, naturally because I can't even remember the last time I showered alone.

MEANWHILE. BLML saw Derek Jeter while walking back to work. AND HE WINKED AT HER. She spent her first 20 minutes post-lunch updating all her Twitter followers that she and Jetes were totes BFF'd up.

I made it to my little job. Both babies were fussy and clingy. The two-year-old was getting into everything. OMG, how'd he get the baby powder? Is that ... Chapstick? Oh lord.

MEANWHILE. BLML interviewed Johnny Depp for an article. JOHNNY DEPP.

I arrived back home for the grueling hour known as *cue horror music* homework. There was whining, pouting, teeth nashing, tears. And those were just from me.

MEANWHILE. BLML headed out to Happy Hour with a group of coworkers. The cute guy who works in Features paid for all her drinks. 

I cooked dinner for people who did not appreciate it and complained the whole time.  BLML met friends at the newest NYC hot spot for the young, single, and fabulous.  I separated laundry while BLML's assistant dropped off her dry cleaning.  I straightened the kitchen while BLML and Phil haggled over whose turn it was to pay the cleaning lady.  She comes twice a week.  I put three children to bed with "just one more drink" and "I needa go to da bafroom!" and only lost my shit 'OHHHHMAHHHHGAHHHH, GO TO BED RIGHT NOW.  RIGHT THIS INSTANT. NOW. NOW. NOW. I'M NOT JOKING. GET YOUR BUTT IN YOUR BED RIIIIIIIGHT NOW" once.  Okay twice.  BLML had a glass of wine and didn't have to fight with anyone over control of the remote.

You see why I hate that bitch so much?

Just let me run into her ONE time.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kid Free Tuesday: Soul Fish Cafe

It's amazing what you can do when you realize that you have an entire day - all to yourself - stretched out in front of you!  And by "an entire day" I mean five hours.  And by "all to yourself," I obviously mean "Ihavekidsandhaven'tbeeninthishousebymyselfsince2010."  Yesterday morning, blessed Tuesday morning, I popped right out of bed.  It was like a kid with a snow day at school.  I had a day to myself and I was going to waste none -- not one single minute! -- of it on laundry or dishes.  I got up, squeezed in a work out, did a couple loads of laundry, started the dishwasher, and fixed three lunches.  All before the children woke up!  AND!  And!  While watching some reruns of Boy Meets World. 

Doesn't that show make you feel old?

Corey, Topanga, and the gang all graduated the same year I did.  So seeing Corey Matthews as a 12-year-old makes me feel . . . well, not young.  And kinda sad.  Morose.  A little depressed.

I digress.

I got a lot of stuff done early so when a friend texted and asked if I was up for lunch I was all "HELLZZZZ YEEEAH!" 

Y'all.  If you have kids then you arrrdy know this.  But.  Of all the things you can do with kids (fairs!  Parks!  Disney movies!), trying new restaurants is not on that list.  I'm making it my goal to try a new restaurant every Tuesday this semester my kids are in school. 

Yesterday, that meant Soul Fish Cafe.

The ONLY pic I took at Soul Fish.
Dubs Tee Eff is WRONG with ME?

I'd heard good things about this place and I had to try it.  I LOVE southern food.  Love it.  I already know Gus's sorta kinda owns Memphis when it comes to fried okra and corn nuggets but there's nothing wrong with trying a new place, right?  So, Soul Fish it was.

This place.

They have Blue Moon ON TAP!  I love Blue Moon!  LOVE!  Not only that, but perusing their appetizer menu I saw fried pickles.  And fried green tomatoes.  And, y'all!, hush puppies!  Just as their apps!  LOVE.

Kendra and I split an order of fried pickles (and BONUS for Soul Fish: they actually split the app price on our ticket!) and they were so good.  I'm kind of getting all dreamy and goo-goo eyed just thinking about those fried pickles.  I know I've already brought up Gus's this post but lemme do it just one more again: Gus's has fried pickles.  Their fried pickles are KICKED IN THE ASS AND THEN KICKED AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN by the fried pickles at Soul Fish.  They were just.that.good.

We decided to split a couple entrees.  I ordered the crawfish po' boy (no intentions on eating the bread; just wanted the crawfish without paying the entree price) with fried okra and an side of hush puppies.  My friend ordered the Cuban po' boy with the Cajun lettuce on the side. 

Everything was just . . . so good.  Exceptional.  I'm racking my brain trying to come up with the best thing  from the meal and it's just not coming to me because everything was so good.  The crawfish was good, but the sauce that came with it was so exceptional that it made me want to sit on my couch last night and eat it with a spoon (I totes had leftovers.  I may be a ###hashtagFatGirl but even I can't eat all the food we ordered).  The fried okra made me think of my Granny Audie (and then I wanted to cry).  The Cuban po'boy was, like, OMGTHISISONEAMAZINGSAMMICH.  The cabbage made me wonder why I waited so long to decide I liked that veggie as anything other than kraut.  And the hush puppies.  Well, y'all, they were hush puppies.  'Nuff said.

I think I've written enough about this place.  So I'll sum up with this: If ever you are in Memphis, make thou way to Soul Fish Cafe.  There are locations in mid-town and Germantown.  Getcha a Blue Moon or three, some fried okra, and order those damn fried pickles, mmkay?  K.  Thanks.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Toes in the Water

A large majority of our vacation consisted of THE BEACH.  It's pretty much our favorite family vacation thing.  Pretty much my favorite thing ever.  I also apparently gave birth to three water babies because every single time we were at the beach, I could not keep these children from splashing in the waves.

We did a majority of our beaching in two places: Tybee Island, Georgia, and Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Tybee north beach is much less crowded (and has cheaper parking!) and we hung out there every day but one we were on Tybee.

Tybee also has no open container laws.  I repeat: no open container laws.  You can walk around with your can of Miller Lite or your straw-ber-rita and not even bother having to try to hide it!  Point: Tybee.
Hilton Head, on the other hand, has prettier beaches with smoother sand.  You do, however, have to conceal the goods.  Oh, that in this non-descript-can't-see-through-it tumbler?  Totally Coke Zero.  Not at all half a bottle of wine.  Swear it.
We really had a great time at both beaches.
Even though the waves were a little crazy our first day at Hilton Head.  And even though my bathing suit top BROKE one day at Tybee.  And even though it was crazy crowded our last two beach days (the 4th and 5th of July).
Seriously, though, I'm pretty much of the opinion that there's no such thing as a bad day at the beach.
Our last day, we went out to Hilton Head.  There was construction all through South Carolina.  The traffic was crazy.  I couldn't find a Subway to pick up lunch so I ended up getting McDonald's.  The parking lot of the first beach we went to was completely full.  I was in a foul mood.  Awful.  Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad.  Then we got there . . . walked out on the sand . . . smelled the sea air.  Insta-mood lifter.  Instant better mood (until we got in the car to head home).
Seriously.  We're in love with the beach.
And, for the rest of their lives, if there's anything I hope my children remember about this trip . . . it's standing in the ocean off the coast of Georgia, splashing around, the boys singing "rock me Mama like a wagon wheel" while K2 holds on - and holds on HARD - to me, yelling "that way!," urging me to go further out.  I really hope "Wagon Wheel" takes them back, every time they hear it, to the summer of 2013 and the Georgia coast and the smell of sea and salt.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Virginia Beach

My friend Rella lives in Virginia Beach and, until a couple months ago, actually liked right ON the beach. 

Lucky bitch.

She's been trying to get some of us to visit for yeeeears now.  Of course, we go when she's moved away from right ON the beach.  (For the record, she still lives close enough that I can call her a lucky bitch without feeling any real guilt).

Since the kids and I were already on the east coast, we decided to head north and visit her and her fun family and see Virginia Beach for the first time.  I got lost on the way there (ended up taking a detour through downtown Norfolk), the weather did not cooperate AT ALL, and my daughter wanted to spend the entire time we were there in the bathroom.  But we still had a really good time!

Our first full day there was a Saturday and we headed down to the Bay for a beach day.  Rella has a son who is just a few months older than J and all three boys hit it off really well.  They had so much fun splashing in the water and playing in the sand.  J drifted out too far in the inner tube no less than 390249 times.

It rained on us a little bit and the water was OMGSOCOLD.  We had a really good time though.  Seriously, my favorite thing in the world is sitting on the sand with a straw-ber-rita in my hand and a friend right beside me.  Does life get any better?

After dinner that night, we headed out for some Italian ice and I got to try Rita's for the first time.  Can you believe we don't have Rita's in Memphis?  That stuff was ahhhhmazing.  So yummy!

The next day we made our way down to the ocean front.  Virginia Beach has a neat little stretch of boardwalk -- tons of souvenir shops and restaurants (and, man, they love their pizza!) and frozen yogurt and rides and fun stuff.  We couldn't get in the water because there was a red flag but we found a playground right on the beach.  This was like Heaven for J.

The weather once AGAIN chose not to cooperate (Virginia hates me) and we had to leave the ocean front area before riding any rides or anything like that.  I want to go back sometime because even though they have open container laws (BOO HISS BOO), the area seemed like a lot of fun.  Just hold on, VA Beach, I'll be back!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Because BUTTER

I made reservations to eat lunch at The Lady and Sons weeks before any of the Paula Deen controversy hit the fan.  As things happened, our reservations fell right smack dab when all this was going on.  Like, just a few days after the Food Network and Wal-mart, et al, jumped on the "Let's Burn This Woman at the Stake" train.  Even with the controversy, there was never any question as to whether we would keep our reservation.  Honestly, the only real concern we had was whether or not the restaurant would be crazy packed with people.

I'm a Paula Deen fan and I think the way the media has treated her is incredibly shameful.  The woman admitted to using a racial slur in the past but everything else is merely alleged at this point.  And alleged from a former employee who both wrote a letter profusely offering thanks for her employment AND promised a smear campaign if her initial demands weren't met.  Sorry, y'all, I'm just not buying it. 

Anyhow.  Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about some hoecakes, fried chicken, and greens!

I initially wrote what was basically a Yelp review about our lunch with P-Dizzle.  (Side note: I kept telling the kids we were going to "have lunch with Paula Deen."  About halfway through our meal, K1 asked, "Where's Paula?"  He totally thought we were really going to eat lunch with her and then was upset that she wasn't there).  You don't need to know anything beyond the fact that this food?  It.was.good.
When we were first seated, a lady brought along a hoecake and garlic cheddar biscuit for each of us.  I didn't get to so much as touch my biscuit (thanks, K2 the carb-i-tarian!) but the hoecake.  SWEET BABY JESUS AND THE BLESSED VIRGIN MOTHER.  It was a mouthgasm and a party in my tummy.  I want another one.  Like, right now.
We opted for the buffet because duh we wanted to taste a little bit of everything.  The fried chicken was good (not quite on par with my buddy Gus but still very good).  Everything was really good (I think I tried everything except the green beans and the lima beans) but my favorites were the mac and cheese and the greens.
Dessert was banana pudding that I didn't get but a bite or two of thanks to one of my children (K1, maybe?).  My mom and J both really liked the Gooey Butter Cake (I'm not a cream cheese fan) and the peach cobbler was tasty too.
It was $15.99 for the lunch buffet and, in my opinion, worth it.  Would've been more worth it if all the media hooplah hadn't been going on and Jamie Deen himself was working the room.  But I guess you can't always have hoecakes AND Jamie Deen, right?
Damn, this STILL ended up sounding like a Yelp review!  I'll end by saying if you're ever in Savannah, dine with The Lady.  And bring me back some hoecakes . . .