Lulabelle (Begrudgingly) Reviews: Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Contender: New York Reuben…..

I really didn’t want to do this one. But I did three out of the four, so it only made sense. I really hate sauerkraut that much. The funny thing is I used to LOVE reuben sandwiches in college. Then it happened. I found out they contained sauerkraut. From that day on, I saw them in a different light. They became the thing that had the thing that I didn’t like. So I haven’t had them since. So when I saw that Reuben sandwich was one of the flavors, I thought, “well, that’s the one I’ll avoid.” And then I started reviewing the flavors on my blog and I was stuck. So, let’s get into it so I can finish and deplete some of our emergency chocolate stash that I just located.

Ok, opening the bag (I didn’t wanna do this…but the sooner I do, the sooner I can eat chocolate), the only smell I can decipher is, Lord help me, sauerkraut. Maybe it’s my heavily slanted bias going in, but I’m midway through the bag and I’m not able to pick up any other flavor. And I’m really trying. The only other flavor that I can detect, and I may have made this one up to try to cover the sauerkraut flavor, is a slightly sweet barbecue sauce. But the after-taste is definitely stinky kraut. I even accidentally dropped a¬†tiny crumb on the floor and our oldest cat curiously stuck it in her mouth, and immediately spit it out. Considering what else she licks on a regular basis, this spoke volumes. Let that sink in for a moment. ūüėÄ

So, this flavor I have to give a failing grade. Not only because I hate the main ingredient, but that is the only ingredient I can taste. Maybe I can smell a bit of rye-ness, but it’s overpowered by the sauerkraut.

So there you have it. If I had to pick my favorite of the 4, I’d probably go with Southern Biscuits and Gravy. And yes, I’m as surprised as you are. Have you tried any of the new flavors? What was your favorite?? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Eating!

Photo on 2015-08-31 at 16.48

A Hair Story; Or What Princess Leia Would Look Like After She Sneezed……

For the last two years I’ve worked pretty hard at growing my hair out. Ok, that was a lie as I didn’t really “do” anything different. Essentially I just went for fewer haircuts. And the money I saved on haircuts went directly into the cat’s college fund. This week I hit a few milestones, hair-wise.

I have practiced off and on for a few months and my skills have finally caught up to my hair length and I attempted, for the first time, a style called “Milk Maid Braids.” This is what they are supposed to look like:¬†

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This was my result-yes, I did wear them out in public: 

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I know what you are thinking,¬†I should be a hair model!! I mean, why not? Especially when I go out in public with my hair like this and get compliments like, “Wow! Your hair is very entertaining!” Seriously guys, I can see this version of Milkmaid Braids-complete with mismatched hair ties and Beeker-esque fly-aways, on the runway this fall. But when I took it out, things got even better! My husband calls this one “What Princess Leia Would Look Like After She Sneezed”:¬†

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But guys, last night I attempted another sought-after style–the Top Knot……However, things went awry. Just take a look:¬†

This is what I was going for: 

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but THIS is what happened. I call it the Drunk Pebbles Flinstone: 

Photo on 2015-08-27 at 22.56

So that’s it. I’ll keep working on improving my technique.
Enjoy your weekend-try to get that last image of my hair erased from your memory (good luck), and I’ll see you back here on Monday!!¬†

Cheers! 

*Images that don’t feature my beautiful face appear courtesy: www.cutegirlshairstyles.com and www.thefashionablewife.com¬†

Lulabelle Reviews: Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Contender: Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries…..(What the Duck??)

Hey guys! Before we begin today, I have an apology to make. I am sorry that yesterday’s entry contained several glaring grammatical errors. There really is no excuse for this, but here is mine; my in-house editor was delayed in coming home. I would have asked our¬†oldest cat to proof-read my post, but the last time that happened, her fees were so high, we had to remortgage our house. Lesson learned. ūüėĬ†

Now, today’s flavor has me in a bit of a quandary. See, being a midwest girl, I’ve never actually tasted truffles (truffles are a type of fungus related to mushrooms), and have no idea really what they are supposed to taste like. However, I have had mushrooms, so I’ll be basing my review on truffle’s close relative.

This chip is wavy, which is a style I enjoy. Upon opening the bag, my husband and I both agreed that the overall aroma of these chips reminded us of sour cream and onion potato chips. Savory with a hint of something else. These also at first taste like sour cream and onion chips, but there is a fungally, meaty quality to them in the after-taste. Which leads me to my next point; Although these chips don’t claim to contain any source of meat on the front, a quick perusal of the ingredient list led me to realize they contain chicken and, no kidding, duck fat. DUCK. FAT. So if you are vegetarian or vegan and are a potato chip connoisseur, you should pass on this bag of chips. **Sidenote: Dear PETA, please don’t blacklist this blog, I’m just the messenger!** ūüėõ¬†

Another factor of note; these chips contain a hint of parmesan cheese.¬†However, the taste is expertly hidden in the overall taste of the chip. If you aren’t a fan of parmesan but want to try these chips, taste away. But you may want to introduce the chips to the parmesan adverse without mentioning the presence of parmesan, unless of course there is a dairy allergy. I go through this anytime I find a snack that I think my husband (parmesan adverse) would enjoy, but the offending cheese is listed as an¬†ingredient. Only after the food is eaten and thoroughly enjoyed do I mention the parmesan. As a result, he’s begrudgingly included several new foods into his eating routine. ūüėȬ†

So, three flavors down, one to go. So far I’ve enjoyed them all for different reasons. On Monday I’ll try the last flavor: New York Reuben. I used to love Reuben sandwiches until I learned they had sauerkraut in them. I hate sauerkraut. May God have mercy on my soul! ūüėõ

Happy Eating!

Photo on 2015-08-27 at 17.10

**PS, I’ve been assured that the Aflac duck was not injured¬†in the making of these chips. Although, if he had been, that would have been a great excuse for that insurance! ūüėÄ

*FTC Disclaimer: Chips of delciousness were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

 

This One Time At Summer Camp…..

The following blog post is dedicated to my late Grandma B who asked me for years to write down this story. ‚ô•


Every summer for as long as I can remember my family has gathered in Michigan once a year for a week-long reunion at a family camp. This year was extra special because my 6 year-old nephew was able to come along. For the first time I got to experience camp through the eyes of a child. There were fantastic climbing trees, a huge sandbox (beach) and of course, a giant¬†pool (lake). At the end of the week, there is also a Kid Olympics, put on by the camp counselors. The events included are a sailboat race (the kids construct small boats out of any item and then they race in a small creek), a frog jumping contest (the kids catch frogs in the creek then race them on the basketball court. Fastest frog wins), and the watermelon race (all the kids get into the lake with a greased up watermelon and try to get it up on the beach-you’re right, this one doesn’t make much sense, but it is safer than it sounds-the watermelon is then eaten later at dinner).

Many moons ago, this blogger participated in the frog-jumping contest when she was about the same age as her nephew is now. Her older siblings and cousins went about collecting potential winning jumpers to cheer and cajole across the finish line. They put them in a large bucket, and let the younger cousins pick their frogs first.

When the bucket came across to me, I looked inside and saw frogs of varying sizes and shapes. One in particular caught my eye. About as large as a saucer, with stripes down his back, this particular frog caught my eye because he almost flung himself right into it.  Instead, I panicked and flung my head back, just in time for the amphibian behemoth to land squarely on my chest. I let out a scream and the frog jumped back into the bucket. I recovered, picked a more docile specimen then waited for the contest to begin.

Now, the way I remember it, the contestants and their human handlers sat in a line on the tennis courts. The handlers sat with their hands firmly grasped around their frogs. When the whistle blew, the frogs were released. The hope was the frogs would hop, in a straight line, over the finish line, and onto victory. But anyone that is familiar with frogs at all knows that they are pretty unpredictable. So, expecting them to jump in a straight line is a pretty lofty goal.

Another rule of the contest was that the handlers were not allowed to touch their frogs after they were released. If they needed “help” to jump, the handlers were told to simply smack their hands beside and behind the frog to startle them into jumping. One could also yell if need be.

And so the contest began. All around me, kids yelled, smacked the ground and their frogs jumped straight into the air. My frog, the one that I picked after the saucer sized behemoth scared the crap outta me, just sat on the hot asphalt and blinked his beady little, lazy eyes. When I did convince him to jump, the prize was being awarded to the winning frog. Adding insult to injury, the winning frog was as large as a saucer. With stripes down his back. ¬†I’m pretty sure when I approached him after his win,¬†I saw a smile on his little punk froggy face.

My sweet Grandma B tried to cheer me up after the race, saying that we’d go back to their cabin and make s’mores. I guess s’mores cured anything that ailed you back then.

Later that night, after the s’mores had been made and devoured, I lay¬†awake in bed. Remembering the events of the day. Mentally kicking myself for letting fear overtake me and thus making me lose a contest. Seriously, the stakes of the contest couldn’t have been higher–the winner got free ice cream.¬†Our entire family stayed over at my grandparents cabin for the night and the walls were pretty thin. Finally my anger from the day just boiled over and I yelled loudly, “I could have KILLED that thing!!” Apparently my pacifistic world-view¬†didn’t extend to lazy frogs that refused to¬†perform on cue.

Fast forward to this past week at camp with my nephew. The time for the frog jumping contest was nearing, and I didn’t want him to go through the same torment that I had. So I took him through a couple exercises that helped hone his handler skills. We practiced slapping the pavement. And having positive thoughts. But the biggest change from my story to his, is that he was not afraid of a large frog. Well, he was in the sense that he refused to touch it, but he wanted to race with a big one, so he went down to the creek with his grandparents, pointed to the largest one he could find, and watched as his grandpa¬†retrieved the specimen.

The contest set up was a bit different from when I raced, in fact¬†the kids didn’t actually have to get on the ground with the frogs. First of all, the contest was moved from the tennis court to the basketball court. All the frogs were set inside the middle circle. At the whistle, the frogs were released and the first frog to jump out of the circle won. And yes, it still counts if the child handler stands next to his grandpa who’s really the only one that can control the frog, watches grandpa set the frog on the ground, and then take a few steps back and watches the frog leap to victory. The child handler then celebrates his victory by eating the awarded banana flavored Laffy-Taffy, and the frog is¬†quickly escorted back to where he had been¬†retrieved.

Two similar stories with two completely different endings. One ended in victory, the other in defeat. The lesson in all this is to do your best, and be gracious when things don’t go your way. At least in public. ūüėČ

Cheers!

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And here we all are, surrounding the winning frog as he basks in the glow of victory. If you look closely, you’ll see a teeny-tiny medal around his neck. ūüėÄ

 

Lulabelle Reviews: Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Contender: Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro Potato Chips

Who else woke up this morning and was so tired they accidentally sat in a hairball? Happy Tuesday!!
ūüėĬ†

Now that I’ve completely ruined your appetite, let’s talk about potato chips! I went to Subway this weekend, hoping I’d be able to purchase the last three flavors to review for this post. Alas, only one flavor was available, so I’ll have to do a few more entries. Let’s get into it:

Gyros are Greek open-faced sandwiches consisting of a thinly sliced meat, in this case beef with onion blended together, tomato, and a special tangy sauce made with yogurt. The bread of choice is pita.

First off, these gyro chips don’t smell like anything in particular. They just smell like regular potato chips, unlike the first flavor I tried. They are also extra crunchy as they are kettle cooked, which happens to be my favorite kind of chip.

The flavor is pretty great. Simultaneously meaty with a noticeable refreshing taste of cucumber. And a hint of feta. Overall a great tasting experience. I even paired it with a BLT with guacamole and the combination was pleasant.

Happy Eating!!

Photo on 2015-08-23 at 23.15

FTC Disclaimer: Chips that I wish they’d bring back were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

RE: Cat Superpowers….The Answer That You Seek….

Friday on my blog I posed the following question about our oldest cat. Can she A. Lick Carpets B. Open Doors or C. Scale 10 ft. Mattresses and Climb Down Backwards??

The answer: Trick question because she can do ALL THREE!! 

That’s right!¬†

The carpet licking started quite recently. Whether there are¬†some residual crumbs on the carpet left over from a random snack, or out of sheer boredom, she’ll randomly start licking the carpet. Maybe the fibers feel good on her tongue. Maybe she has PICA-who knows. Cat logic is not something that follows any rhyme or reason. Case in point, when I started writing this, I got cold and went into the bedroom to retrieve a sweatshirt. Our oldest was sitting on the bed and I went up and scratched her head. She stretched out her legs and her claw became caught on my ring and WOULD NOT COME OUT!! She took this as an invasion of privacy and bit me. Twice. I tried explaining that she needed to help mommy unhook her claw from my ring, but that just made her madder. Finally after a bit of careful wiggling, my hand broke free and I immediately swabbed the back of my hand with rubbing alcohol. I swear, our oldest is so angsty that I wouldn’t be surprised if Diary of a Mad Black Woman” was loosely based on her life. Seriously.

Moving on….Our angsty cat also has a penchant for opening doors. When she first arrived at my husband’s old apartment it didn’t take long for this trick to manifest itself. At first my husband thought he was forgetting to close the french style doors in his apartment. But then one day, he observed our cat walk up to the closed-door, lie down parallel to the door and perform a move that looks across between a somersault and a ninja kick. It’s pretty impressive to see, but unfortunately, the only video I have is pretty dark and on my old phone that no longer works. ūüė¶¬†

Lastly is her patented mattress trick. The first time I realized she could scale up tall objects was a few weeks before my husband and I got married.  Long story short, we had to fumigate our house overnight, so the cats had to stay with me in the apartment I was renting. I was also in the midst of packing up the apartment to prepare for moving in with my husband after we got married, so there was a fair bit of chaos in my apartment. I tried to keep tabs of both cats, but at one point, I could not find our oldest. I looked in every room. I finally went into the bedroom, and found this: 

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She was casually resting herself on the top of my old mattress!! She did whine when it was time to come down because she couldn’t figure out HOW to get down-but after a few minutes she figured it out. A few months after we were married, We had stored a similar mattress in a similar way in a spare room of our house. One day I saw her again sitting casually on the top, not a care in the world. Then I saw her get down and her technique greatly impressed me. At first she started down headfirst, but about a 4th of the way down, she decided that wasn’t the safest option and, while still at a 90 degree angle, she maneuvered¬†around so she was now booty first and climbed the rest of the way down. Again you’ll just have to take my word for it as the only video evidence we have is on my old phone that is DOA.¬†

Do you have a cat that can do tricks? Comment below! 

Cheers! 

Name That Super Power!! Featuring Our Furry Penguin…..

Today I thought we’d play a game where I ask you a question and you answer it in the comments below. Here is my cat:

Photo on 2015-08-21 at 21.10

She may look ordinary, but she is kinda amazing. She even does tricks. Can you guess what she can do?? Can she:

A. Lick Carpets

B. Open Doors

C. Scale 10 ft. Mattresses and Climb Down Backwards

I’ll post the answer in my blog on Monday. Happy guessing!! ūüėÄ

The Do’s and Donts of Cat Communication….

Who is ready for a lighter topic today on the blog? I thought we’d go through some techniques for effective communication with your cat. Yeah I know, cats are notorious for ignoring anything you ask them to do, especially our oldest who’s currently plopped square in the middle of the walk-way through the kitchen. So now if you want to get to the sink, you literally have to step over her, being careful not to touch her at all or she’ll swat at you with her claws of death.

So let’s get into it:¬†

1. The Slow Blink: This form of communication lets your cat know that you love them and it helps to calm them down, in most cases. With a little practice, the Slow Blink can be a useful tool. So, when doing the Slow Blink: 

Do: void your face of all expression-making it neutral. Then, look into your cat’s eyes and blink your eyes for a count of 3 or the time it takes for you to mentally say, “I love you.” On the word, “you”, open your eyes. You may have to repeat this a few times until your cat, and they most likely will, blinks back at you.

Do NOT: look at your cat and blink your eyes in rapid succession. If you do this, your cat will think they are at a Rave and start jonesing for PCP laced cat nip.

2. Meeting A New Cat Friend: Introducing yourself to a new cat can be a bit tricky.

Do: approach the cat slowly and hold out your hand, palm side down for the cat to sniff. Cats learn the most about the world around them through scent and need to sniff new things.

Do NOT: aggressively march up to a new cat and immediately start roughly petting them. If you do this you are more than likely going to get bit or scratched. The cat will also pass along how you treated them to the rest of their cat friends, along with a description of your house and whenever their cat friends walk passed your house, they’ll lift their little feline legs or squat in your begonias and let loose. If you don’t have begonias, don’t worry, they’ll bring their own.

and finally:

3. Punishing Your Cat Like You Would a Tiny Human: We’ve all been there. Especially if you live in a multi-cat household and one is a bully. Our latest “incident” occurred when our oldest tried to hug the youngest one. With her teeth. ¬†While keeping the youngest one in a half-nelson. Now, if these were tiny humans, you’d yell and tell them to stop and maybe take away a privilege. We also have a habit of reprimanding our fur-babies in the same way. This is not as effective on fur-babies so:

Do: Try to redirect your cat’s attention from the bad bully behavior. Grab their favorite toy or a laser pointer and use them to distract your cat away from the bully behavior. Use a calm voice.

Do NOT: smack your hands together and yell loudly. This will just scare the cat and make them afraid of you. Now of course I’ve actually done this when our cats have been in danger and it has worked, but doing this repeatedly over time can break your cat’s spirit. Cats are pretty sensitive to noise. That’s¬†why your cat scatters when you vacuum or crinkle a plastic bag. Besides¬†after a while, your cat will get sick of all the noise and enact the ultimate revenge. On a random night when you are fast asleep, your cat – – having earlier purchased a trumpet on Ebay¬†– – will creep into your bedroom, stand on your head, and play a raucous version of the PEANUTS theme song.

Interacting with cats can be confusing. Using these tips can help you and your cat sustain a better relationship.

Cheers!

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*When your cat says they want to be an owl, let them be an owl: Image courtesy of Pinterest

 

A Heartfelt Rebuttal From A Childless Aunt: Dear Brit Tashjian…….

This blog post is in response to the article posted by Brit Tashjian from yourtango.com. You may read the article here.

Dear Brit:

As a woman who is childless by choice I’d like to say thank you for perpetuating the stereotype that I am indeed selfish. Bravo to you for helping to pressure young women who don’t want to be mothers to make the choice anyway, and then realize down the road that their God-given instincts were correct after-all and mothering is not for them. At least they won’t be labeled as “selfish.”

I guess if I really do think about it, in a way I am selfish. I do sleep in and sometimes sleep all day. On those days my anxiety and depression-that runs in my family-has gotten the better of me and I need to give my body a chance to recharge. 

See, my husband and I made the conscious choice to remain childless after much soul-searching and prayer. There was a number of factors that played into our decision really; such as our age, collective energy levels, and multiple physical/mental concerns that would very possibly short change the care of our child. 

It wasn’t¬†a choice, really. It was the responsible, right thing to do.¬†

Oh, I forgot to tell you what I do for a living. I’m actually in child-care. That’s right, I step in when those who apparently made the “right” choice to become parents need a well deserved night out. Or a nap. I know I’m probably a poor substitute for the “real thing” since I don’t have children of my own and therefore probably lack the skills necessary to care for children that range in age from preschool to elementary. Sure when I started I may have put on a few diapers backwards, but I eventually got the hang of it. And in all my years of caring for children, I haven’t lost one yet, so I must be doing something right. ūüėČ

Looking back over the article you wrote, there is that question of happiness and fulfillment that you don’t think one can have outside of children. Funny you should mention this because I find tremendous joy and fulfillment in seeing the faces of refreshed parents at the end of my shift. I also find joy in reading to my niece and nephews, playing Lego’s and talking in silly voices over mountains of crayons and reams of paper.¬†

And at the end of the day, I can rest my head on my pillow, in my childless house-only scattered with the toys of my cats-and know in my heart that I’m going down the right path with my life.¬†

Cheers! 

Lulabelle Reviews: Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Contender: Southern Biscuits and Gravy Potato Chips…..

It could have been an episode of Fear Factor. My husband and I were on our way to Michigan for vacation when we stopped into a Subway restaurant to get some dinner. If you live in the states, you are quite familiar with Subway–a sandwich shop that lets you customize your sandwich with a plethora of ingredient options. I normally order a sandwich and add avocado to it. Doesn’t matter what kind.

In addition to sandwiches your way, Subway also offers potato chips, specifically Lay’s. Now, Lay’s recently started a nationwide contest to invent the newest flavor of chip. The contest lasted a few months and just recently the 4 finalists were announced and available in stores. The best thing about getting these chips at Subway is that they come in a small size, so if you can’t stand the flavor you selected, your commitment is minimal.

This year the flavor finalists are: West Coast Truffle Fries, New York Reuben, Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro, and, the most disturbing flavor to me when I first saw it; Southern Biscuits and Gravy. Being the most disturbing flavor, the moment I saw it in Subway, I had to try it. In no other aspect of my life am I a dare-devil except when it comes to food. I grew up eating macaroni and cheese with BBQ sauce on top, and I tried deep-fried squid for the first time in college on a dare.

11873904_10155943352635300_1365867001_n yep, that really is me. Terrified of a bag of chips.

Opening the bag of chips and sniffing them, I was really impressed. They smelled EXACTLY like biscuits and gravy! A food which I LOVE. But I was still a bit reluctant to taste them as I just couldn’t wrap my head around a chip tasting like my favorite breakfast fare. But being the adventurous eater I am, I soldiered on. Besides, taking one for the team is sometimes¬†a good thing, especially if it produces a good blog later.¬†ūüėČ

The taste was surprisingly spot on to how biscuits and gravy taste. Being made from potatos, there¬†was a¬†hashbrown-y vibe infused in each chip which was quite delightful. I’m really curious now if they’d be good paired with catsup. The flavor of black pepper was also present; reminiscent of the real thing.

So all in all, I’d give these chips a big thumbs up, but they should be enjoyed responsibly. That being said, here is a word of warning…..make sure to carefully select the food you eat after tasting these chips as the resulting after taste can be a bit unsettling. The only food I had after eating these chips was a regular chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s. I can’t quite describe the after taste, I just know it left me confused and unsettled. I recommend eating these chips with a sandwich, but not a sweet dessert. If you have to eat something sweet after consuming these chips, make sure to wash them down with water beforehand.

Happy Eating!! ūüôā

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“Hey, Mikey! She likes it!!”

*FTC Disclaimer: Chips were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. (Along with the opinion that Lay’s needs to bring these back)