chocolate and shopping therapy

If you're near the Toronto Williams-Sonoma, the Molten Chocolate lava cake mixes are on sale for $4.99... prompting the question... who pays the regular suggested retail price of $38.99? For a cake mix? We brought one for Kelly on our way to Windsor.

Kelly and I were shopping bags today and put one through the test kitchen when we got home from shopping here. What did we think?

1. Kelly needs a new stove, even more than Saucy does.

2. The fire alarms at Rick and Kelly's house are in good working order.

3. Overall grade... A-. Not too sweet. The molten lava was buttery and gooey but it spilled out of the nice little ramekins we picked up at Crate and Barrel and all over the oven floor. Divide the mix in half and use six ramekins. That's what we say.

Also reported during our big shopping day:

1. The sales right now are outrageous. Still, nobody was walking through the mall schlepping bags. You must all be waiting for your economic stimulus cheques.

2. We drove past Krispy Kreme, in deference for the upcoming Mexico trip. We must protect the thighs.

3. PF Cheng's serves up scandalous amounts of food. Between the two of us, we didn't finish one order of wonton soup and one lettuce wrap.

4. Target will never come to Canada because everybody crosses the border to shop there. We ran into neighbours from the hometown there.

5. Cupcake caddies must be hot items because they were sold out at Target, Michaels, Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma.

6. Scientific experiments are underway regarding the efficacy of certain Sephora-purchased cellulite creams and lotions. Report will be published here in six to eight weeks.

i can build a better blog and you can too

My brother sent me a link to a valuable article about building a better blog. I'm sharing it with you, click here.
My posts may be sporadic for the next little while. I'm traveling to Toronto to meet with my doctors to discuss the results of my MRI in January.

As I have mentioned here before, I have a pituitary microadenoma. This is a very, tiny (nano) growth on the pituitary gland. Do you know of anyone else who has this? You may think you don't, but the statistics say that as many as three in ten women have this disorder, which often goes undetected. Three in ten! Since I mentioned before that I'm good at math, that's thirty percent!

The symptoms of pituitary disorders can include: weight gain, loss of memory, hot flashes (particularly at night), vision disturbances, high blood pressure, lethargy, inability to sleep, muscle weakness and joint pain. The pituitary gland is "command central" of so many things in your body. You can read more about it here, here or here.

The good news is, pituitary tumours are rarely life-threatening and very treatable. In reality, I've had mine for several years... I was diagnosed in 2001 and we've been watching it very carefully for this entire time. It may be time to change my course of treatment, but I won't know that until I talk to the busy professionals in expensive suits. That's what I'm off to do. I tried to leave yesterday, but my flight was cancelled due to weather. I'm rebooked to fly this afternoon.

I will try to post any news here while I'm away. We'll be spending the weekend with Veto's family in Ontario. Wish me luck!

nano oranges

Just how tiny can an orange be? Here is a tiny honey orange, in comparison to the new iPod nano Veto presented to me at dinner on Friday night. It was the anniversary of our first date, five years ago. Old nano was starting to cough and sputter. New nano is lighter, cuter, more powerful! Tiny orange is adorably cute and miniature. Check out that wedge on the tip of my finger. And sweet! Incredibly cute and sweet. Has rendered me incapable of a complete sentence.
My exam mark from two weeks ago? I know you're about dying of curiosity, aren't you? Yes. 121/125. I did the math myself. In my head. Apparently, I'm pretty good with numbers too.

My Valentine swap is in the mail for Sarah. I really don't think it's going to reach her in time for Thursday, so here's a peek inside that crazy little cigar box I filled for her.

I made the banner using the old method of paper punch, using a pin to add the detail. You can vary the size and intensity of the punched holes by punching through both sides of the paper into different backing surfaces such as felt, cutting boards and tea towels. Each glove is slightly different. The letters are K and Co. Twinkle Type glitter letters. I sprinkled a few other little girly things into the package... you know, just because.

party like its 1986

Disclaimer: this post is filled with 80's phrases, like, totally.

We invited six chicks to the party but two of them couldn't make it. We had four chicks.
Last night we had the amazing, radical, awesome party for Loopy's 13th birthday. I was 13 in the 80's. How much fun was our 13 going on 30 theme event? Party on with us to find out....

In the morning, I put together the goodie bags with all the loot I brought back from Arizona in December for the elegant brouhaha. The bags were from Bath and Body Works. The purchase of gift bags in December dictated the hot pink, red, and lime green colour scheme. The socks are from Target and so are the candy-striped sticky notes, gel pens and striped tissue papers. I found the pinwheel candy erasers at the Dollarama before Christmas. Nerd shopper! Each bag also contained either a Twizzler, Bubble Yum or Sweet Tart bath product brought back from Marshall's in Chicago.

How about that cute lipgloss that looks like a chocolate bon bon? Claires.

Loopy started the DVD on the screen before everybody arrived so we were all theme-y. Her iPod was playing songs from the soundtrack.

The table was set up for "makeovers for four". I found those sweet mirrors and Dollarama and decorated them with a bow. Individual sponges and shadow applicators were put out along with individual mascara, eyeliner pencil, blush and lipgloss for hygenic reasons. Everybody took home their own makeup. I sprinkled Bare Minerals foundation powder onto everyone's plate so we could colour match for each skin tone.

The lipgloss is Dessert by Jessica Simpson. The rest of the makeup is Bonne Bell and Aziza. I remember when those brands were haute couture makeup. I had an Aziza lipgloss that my mother brought me home from New York in 1984 that was soooo coooool. It was swirled pink, mauve, and purple. I was really somethin' in that gloss. Did you ever rock the Bonne Belle Lipsmacker on a lanyard around your neck?

Pepper brought her modeling portfolio out for the occasion last night. It is a major blast from the past to look at. She borrowed some of my totally radical wardrobe for her photo shoots back then. The girls loved looking through it. Totally 80's hair on Pepper! She sported the big earrings in a few shots but still looked so glam. She was a finalist for the Teen Great Model Search in 1983 and her page from the magazine got the girls so excited!

Yes, the flower arrangement stuff is from Christmas. I couldn't resist. Did I ever tell you about decorating an entire mall with candies and M&M's? Someday, I am sure you would love to hear how I turned 4000 paper bowls into hard chocolate candies. Some other day.

The girls loved playing with their makeup. It was pretty clear who had experience putting on makeup already! Loopy is at a disadvantage here, because she only wears it for special occasions, and then only if I put it on her. She's a Carmex girl.

Someone had the bright idea to put makeup on Pepper and I too! We declined. Although at this point in the evening we decided that if any one of them was going to put makeup on us, it would be Alexandra. She's got mad makeup skills.

I set up The Secret Weapon's photography lights in the living room. The girls finished their makeup and lounged eating candies while we readied the photo shoot. Pepper gave everyone instructions on how to pose for the camera.

Loopy's American Girl magazine cover is out for a decoration, too... so are the Tootsie Roll blankets and pillow!

Candy bonanza! Also, little paper games and quizzes downloaded from the 13 going on 30 website.

Lots of the candy, including the jelly bellies, the wax bottles and the starlight swirls were brought back from Walgreens in Arizona. If you haven't thought it already, you can say "heavy luggage"... Veto sure did.

Umm... by the way, there's still lots of candy left. How much candy can four teenage girls eat in one sitting? Lots. I still had too much, of course.

Razzles! We had to have Razzles! First it's candy, then it's gum. The Fan ran out and found Razzles before the party. Everyone tried to get a "razzle red" mouth.

After we snapped the shots, Pepper and The Fan and I retreated to the office to PhotoShop them. In a moment of perfect timing, the pizza arrived just as we wrapped up the photo shoot. The girls started the movie, giving us a running time of 98 minutes to decide which shots to use. As you can see... we had lots to pick from!

My goodness, we were thrilled with these shots! We were especially digging the hat shots, for our cover shot purposes. The lights were pretty hot so everyone got lots of turns in front of the camera. This also let everybody switch out hats and accessories, of which I had many scattered out.

Thank God Pepper was there! The girls were really relaxed that Macy's mom was a professional model. They took her suggestions very seriously.

We easily had two or three seriously great shots of each girl. Here are the finished covers:

Alexandra looks great in her glasses and this hat. She looks so much like her mother in this picture. We went to high school together, we were both cheerleaders. Just another way this party took us all back in time!

Okay... how cute and funny is this? Alexis is the most shy girl of the group and easily she was the most comfortable in front of the camera! Pepper and I were like, "you are a natural!" She totally worked it! Check out her intese gaze!

Like her mother before her, Macy is a natural too. We had loads to pick from. She also had a brown hat picture we should have used. I'm totally printing it for her. Our goal was to have a different hat on each cover but we got mixed up. I thought Alexis had the brown hat... but her brown hat pictures were awesome, too!

The birthday girl was the only one who required a PhotoShop touch-up to her makeup. She is a real Flinchy Flincherson when she tries to use mascara. But a little flick of the mouse, and voila!

Pepper and I still had time to run to WalMart in -40 weather in Sarge's sticker van to print the pictures. Nobody's out in this weather on a Saturday night, so we won't wait too long! The WalMart girls are super helpful and print the 8x10's ASAP. They even help us put them into these totally, like, awesome frames on sale for four dollars! We cannot resist framing them, too.

By the way, "the reveal" was totally the best part of the night! Each girl was just shocked when we presented their framed picture. We loved seeing each face!

Also, let me tell you how unfailingly generous, kind, and encouraging each girl was with each other. When they saw the photos, they were like, "you look amazing" and "ohmygod, you're so beautiful" they said to each other. They passed each other's photos around admiringly.

Time for cake! Cupcakes, that is. With hot pink frosting and lime green sprinkles, of course. Did I ever tell you how much I love the Wilton cupcake tree?

No room for candles on cupcakes, but I remembered that I had cupcake candles from IKEA in the cabinet... and little bon bon candles from the Very Saucy Giveaway leftover, too. Loopy blows out the candles on the bed of Necco hearts.

We serve the cupcakes and cotton candy ice cream on heart-candy plates. The girls drink milk out of peppermint candy glasses. The milk gets minty. They are starting to overload on sweets and at this point they ask for vegetables. I am not making this part up. We give them carrot sticks.

Present time! Loopy opens Teen Vogue and a gift certificate for MAC Cosmetics from Alexandra. She is thrilled. How perfect for our theme! You did know that MAC is a Canadian company, didn't you?

From Alexis, Loopy gets a gift card at Lululemon. The girls are all mad for Lulu. It's a Canadian company too, by the way. She still has some gift cards from Christmas so she's ready to do some serious shopping.

Ooooh, cozy! Macy brings soft, cuddly Ugg booties with pompoms on them. We need them in this weather! Pepper has hers on all the time, so does Macy.

Time to go home, loaded down with loot bags, photos and frames, makeup, mirrors... and tummy aches. At thirteen, this is the sure sign of a good party. And although I say it every year, I think this was the best one, like, totally, for sure.

the birthday girl

Born at 3 lbs, 7 oz. Here I am at 8 days old in the "plastic house". I came home at a mere 4 lbs and no monitor at night, having already defied the odds.

Fromt the moment we first laid eyes on each other... I adored Buddy Budderson and he adored me right back!

But I will torment you every day and night! We will argue and fight like cats and dogs sometimes! Nya-nya, I cannot hear you! Other times, we are inseperable. I will cry for ten days straight when Buddy goes to Italy in sophomore year.

But if you put a hat on me, I look adorable. And I calm right down, too. They won't know for another eleven years that I have multiple disabilities. Right now, at twelve months, I am having some problems sitting up. I won't walk on my own for another full year.
This photo wins the WalMart baby beauty contest! Free diapers, so I am already earning my keep!

I become the official mascot of mommy's cheerleading team. She sews me a tiny matching uniform and everybody carries me around. They lift me up on their shoulders and I love it. I squeal with delight when they dance their dances. I am their lucky token, like a gnome. If I am there watching, they will win.

I work hard at physiotherapy. Here I am on the wobbler. I'm great on the wobbler. My balance is improving by leaps and bounds. I'm going to be a cheerleader too one day!

Mom will host elaborate birthday parties to celebrate the day I was born, when the doctors said I would never make it. They will get bigger and crazier every year. One year, she will bake six cheesecakes... each one a different flavour! I adore cheesecake.

Here I am with The Fan, looking glamorous at Mom and Dad's wedding. I could have danced all night! Oh, wait. I did dance all night. Before The Fan took me home, I ran to find Veto and call him Dad for the first time. It was the best wedding gift he got, he says.

And now! Teenager. 13 years old. Life isn't easy all the time like it is for other kids. I'm a math genius, though. I get very good report cards. Instead of physical education, which my mother insists is a "colossal waste of good energy" I volunteer with the preschoolers. It's a better use of my time and the the preschool teacher loves having me there to help. She tells mom all the time how wonderful I am.

My other challenges include Asperger's Syndrome and being too cute for my own good. Okay, Loopy didn't write this, Saucy did. But it's all true. Every word of it. Happy Birthday to my scrappy little girl. I love you.