Dove recently contacted to me to see if I'd be interested in blogging about their new deodorant. At first I thought, Meh, but then I read that it's supposed to reduce stubble! Wha?! And just so we're clear, no, Dove is not paying me to blog about them, I'm doing this of my own volition.
They sent me some deodorant and I'm going to blog about whether or not it actually works. I already use Dove, so it's not really much of a stretch to switch to a different line of their products. I started using their new Visibly Smooth line last week and I'm going to revisit this topic in a month. And I promise, no pictures of my armpits. But I have a feeling it's going to be hard to tell if it really does reduce the appearance of stubble. For most deodorants, when they don't work, you know. And so does everyone around you. For this though, the results will have to be dramatic to even be visible. My armpits and I eagerly await the results.
This 10-year-old girl from Toronto has the most incredible, soulful voice I've ever heard. It's kind of mind blowing! She just signed a record deal with Simon Cowell. But I almost feel sorry for her – she's going to get crazy famous, and undoubtedly lead a pretty messed up life because of her fame. Because let's be honest, what young celebrity ever turns out normal?
I'm fortunate to have a husband who indulges my frequent bouts of nostalgia. I can always go for a good reminisce, and he's always right there with me. He's recently been working on a project for our patio: Building a wooden planter from scratch. He finished it this weekend. And he named it "Yew Street" after our old apartment's address. Coincidentally (or not), the bushes that he planted are yews. A nostalgic pun—this man truly holds the key to my heart.
I haven't had many baking exploits in my life—mostly just seasonal impulses to make cookies shaped like things. But last night I wanted to bring a snack to a gathering of friends, so I whipped out the apron and got domestic. Not wanting to alienate the sweet-lovers or the savoury peeps, I found a diplomatic solution: salted chocolate chip cookies. You can believe me when I say the cookies are good, because technically this a third-generation recipe, pinched from two bloggers before me (Kyla Roma and the originator, Sweet Savory Life). It's like survival of the fittest; the shitty recipes fall to the wayside and the good ones get passed on and morph into even better versions of themselves. Speaking of better versions, I might try this next time with peanut butter chocolate chips.
Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 oz all-purpose flour (if you don't have a scale, it's roughly 2 and 3/4 cups)
1 tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt (table salt is a no-go, the sea salt is what gives the cookies their unique flavour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
16 oz (2 1/4 cups) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Parchment paper for the pan (only use wax paper if you want your cookies to suck and the paper to burn)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy, light, and fluffy – approximately 3 to 5 minutes on medium speed. Check out the pictures on Sweet Savory Life.
3. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
4. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour until cookie batter is fully incorporated.
5. Finally, add chocolate chips until well distributed. The cookie batter should be somewhat thick.
6. Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough or use a medium cookie scoop and plop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown.
7. Remove from heat and allow the cookies to stay on the cookie sheet for an additional 2 minutes. Pick up the parchment paper with the cookies still on top and transfer to a cool non-porous surface. Allow the cookies to cool on the paper for at least 3 minutes before serving.
Don't waste your time putting them on a platter like I did, you're going to eat them really quickly!
In 2008 Vanity Fair published an article called Who Says Women Aren't Funny? It's about the new generation of comediennes who are writing as much of the material as they are performing it. While giving it a re-read this evening, one line in particular caught my attention—it had a tinge of irony.
Only last week, I learned that Lorne Michaels offered Jennifer Aniston a spot on SNL at the same time as she was contemplating playing Rachel on Friends. Both comedic gigs, but very different types. SNL isn't the most subversive humour in America (well, maybe?), but it certainly pushes the boundaries more than Friends. But the main difference is that the players on SNL are expected to come up with original characters and sketches, and contribute to the show as writers. And Friends, of course, is a standard sitcom with its own set of writers separate from the cast members.
In the article, the writer is making the distinction between the great comediennes of the past and the new group of women blazing their own trail in comedy—women like Tina Fey who write the material, not just perform it. And in creating this distinction, the writer says the actresses in the past "were great comic actresses on-screen, but they had about as much to do with the joke writing as Jennifer Aniston or Courtney Cox did on Friends."
Funny that she singles out Jennifer Aniston, when Aniston herself very well could have been one of those trail-blazing women. It makes me wonder what kind of comedic chops she's been hiding that Lorne Michaels offered her a job. And it made me think even more about how different the world would be if Aniston had taken the SNL gig. Seriously. Think about it.
Would Friends have been same? How would it have shaped SNL? Aniston would have been around for Adam Sandler's time in the sun. What would that collaboration have looked like?
And what about the "cool" Rachel bob that defined a generation of women's hairstyles? What about the influence she had on Brad Pitt, and subsequently, Angelina Jolie? Those are three pretty powerful people—in the real world and in Hollywood. It's unsettling (and fascinating) to think about how much a 20-something actress's decision could shape so much of pop culture and the world.
We really want to get a puppy, but we can't decide which kind. We've come to terms with the idea of our furniture and belongings being permanently covered in a thick, impenetrable layer of fur, and narrowed it down to two very hairy breeds. Both are active without being hyperactive—they definitely need their exercise but wouldn't be upset with condo living for the first few years of their life. They're both mid-sized—neither large nor small. The only kind of petite dog Luc likes is a puppy, and a big dog is just too much to handle.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Rumour has it these little buggers are pretty big shedders. Moreso than most. We've fallen in love with fluffy dogs, but we're concerned that this guy might be pushing it? The other concern: a shorter lifespan of about 6-8 years and more health problems than the average dog.
Duck Tolling Retriever
Every puppy has his quirks, but apparently duck tollers do this strange thing where they scream when they're excited. A dog screaming. We might actually get one of these just to hear what that sounds like. Our secondary concern is the duck toller's energy levels and general inquisitive nature. He might get a little bored without a backyard and start destroying our furniture.
What say you, Internet friends? Should we get a bernese mountain dog or a duck tolling retriever? Any dog recommendations or advice?
I got this recipe from Jennifer at Sweet on Veg—she tweeted it and I made it the next afternoon for lunch. It's called the Avocado Dream Sandwich, and it's magnificent. I made a few small changes to suit my tastes, and here's how it looks:
1 Avocado (that's enough for 2 people)
Chips (I favour Miss Vickie's Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar)
2 slices of bread or a ciabatta bun
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
(and tomato slices if that's your thing—it's not mine!)
Spread a thin layer of mayo on one piece of bread (or both) so your spinach has something to cling to.
Mash your avocado in a bowl with the olive oil and salt. I like to add some balsamic as well.
Spread your avocado mixture on one side of the bread.
Sprinkle your spinach leaves on the other side.
Drizzle the avocado mixture with balsamic and top with chips.
I've been doing some digital publishing research for school, and I came across some troubling magazine covers from ELLE magazine.
Are these actresses actually this thin? Or were they photoshopped to look like this? Either way, I find this very disturbing. I used to read ELLE in high school and university, and these are three consecutive months of unrealistic body images. I can't imagine being confronted with these cover models (ahem, actresses...) when I was a teenager. Even now, with more healthy body-image campaigns out there and having more acceptance of my own body, I have a hard time looking at these.
And if anyone is tempted to tell me that I shouldn't be condemning people for being thin, that's not at all my angle. There are plenty of naturally thin, naturally petite women out there..but I dare anyone to call these three women natural looking.
How's this for a good old fashioned rant? I hate people who don't pay attention in the elevator. This afternoon I took the garbage out (to P1) and had to go back up to the 2nd floor (where there's a street-level exit). As the elevator arrived at P1 (it had come up from P2), the man inside tried to push past me to get out, only to realize that it wasn't his floor...and he pushed past me once again to get inside the elevator. It was just the two of us.
Out of curiosity, I looked at the buttons in the elevator, figuring he was just going up to the lobby. Do you know which button was lit up? Floor 27. He thought that in the two seconds it took to go from P2 to P1 that the elevator had magically rocketed up 29 floors. I don't get that. And what's with the pushing? That's my rant.
Among my 6 must-see sitcoms each week is How I Met Your Mother —hilarious, kitschy at times, slapstick in all the right ways, and two words: Barney Stinson. Neil Patrick Harris is a ridiculous comedian: timing, physical humour, inflection...he cracks me up every time.
But tonight's episode had a curious twist: a countdown. In the background of several scenes, numbers appeared on various props—a beer can, an apartment door, a medical folder, a news channel, and 46 other random things. I was over-thinking it (as per usual) and figured that the items on which the numbers appeared could be combined to convey some kind of message. I was wrong. I followed the countdown eagerly from 50 down to 1 only to discover that the episode was counting down to the death of Marshall's father.
It seems sinister for a sitcom to run an episode-long countdown only to reveal the death of a cursory (yet beloved) character. There must be something more to this. Maybe it's a tribute to something that happened off-screen, like the loss of a set-dresser's loved one? Or a writer's family member? I can't accept that the How I Met Your Mother countdown was solely devoted to counting down the final minutes of Mr. Erikson.
Does anyone else who watches the show have any thoughts? I'm assuming they're going for the "with death comes new life" thing—Marshall's dad dies, but now he and Lily get pregnant with a son of their own. But what of the countdown? What else was the show trying to say?
I didn't make any resolutions this year—I'm buying into the whole "new year, new me" less and less as I get older. I think I'm just becoming more cynical. No, actually, I know I'm becoming more cynical. And I'm not resolving to change that. Nor am I resolving to lose weight, or cook a new recipe each week, or stop swearing when people cut me off.
I'm too stubborn to let 2011-Kristen start some stupid diet or join a cooking class just because 2010-Kristen thought it would make her a better person. New Year's Eve alone taught me that past-Kristen can't be trusted. Yeah, just one more drink and I'll still be fine the next morning. Thanks 2010-Kristen, you're super.
However, despite my stubbornness and determination to do things on my own terms without the New Year giving me the all-important cue, there are a few things I have to accomplish in 2011—like completing the move-in process, which includes setting up the second bedroom and finding out what that mystery light switch in the living room does. I also need to finish writing my thesis so that I can officially get my Masters degree.
We got a head start on the second bedroom thing this afternoon by going out and buying a bed. Last night our best friends were reduced to sleeping on piles of blankets stacked on the floor. I awoke this morning with a deep sense of shame, and Luc and I immediately left the house to purchase a bed.
As for the mystery switch, we hit a brick wall after twenty minutes of plug testing and cursing.
But the year's off to a good start: I actually got my blog banner up in time (unlike hectic December), we've already snowshoed to the top of Cypress mountain, and compared to my stress levels at the beginning of 2010, I'm doing juuuust fiiiine!
So, Happy New Year, blog readers! Thanks for sticking around I promise to do plenty of ill-advised things in 2011 and document them all. First up: sliding down a snowshoe trail on a garbage bag and crashing into a tree. Stay tuned...