Snaps for Husbands Who Cook (Especially Mine!)

Happy post-Valentine's day! If you are like me and try to snag the half price conversation hearts after the holiday, beware--they were all gone at noon yesterday. There goes my stock pile!

The hubs and I opted to stay in for dinner this year, save a couple of bucks and avoid the tables for two crammed in every square inch of every restaurant across the city. Last year, or maybe it was the year before, we practically sat at a group table with twenty our closest friends we had never met. How romantic. Plus, I think we donate a substantially portion of our income to the restaurant industry, so surely they can excuse one night off.

Here is what a condo dinner date night done right looks like:

I know what you are thinking--I really outdid myself this time, that table looks amazing, doesn't it?! Well, if I do say so myself, my table setting skills are nearly unmatched. Okay, okay, so Chef Dusty's dinner was also pretty phenomenal, nope, it was actually my new favorite meal.

Try this on for size: Salmon rolled up around crab, asparagus baked in olive oil and Parmesan cheese and sweet potato risotto. All that and topped off with two giant cupcakes from my most recent bakery crush, Crumbs.

Oh and I almost forgot--Pinot Grigio Champagne. No, I am not lying; you heard me correctly. Pinot Grigio Champagne. Bliss.

If I could turn my favorite outfit into a meal, it would have been this one.

Calling All Brides-to-Be...

A must add to your registry for those who love entertain at their home! This little *** is featured in this month's issue of Real Simple's "problem solvers."

Please visit the website to purchase one and browse their other inventive items. This "double dish," will run you $18 a piece and comes in three different colors.

No more looking at nasty olive pits covered in saliva or shells smashed in your carpet.

Loving it!

One Way to Ruin a Perfectly Good Holiday

We all have different ideas of what exactly Valentine's Day is, what it should be and how to (or not to) celebrate. I suppose it is a fine make-believe holiday, because what is there not to love about a day centered around chocolate, champagne, gifts and love? A reason to go to a fancy dinner, I'll take that.

There is one thing wrong and it begins and ends with Kay Jeweler, a jewelry store that mocks my very existence. So, celebrate how you may, but steer clear of this molten hot mess. If you need convincing of why please see the bulleted list below:

1. The slogan: "Every kiss begins with Kay." WRONG. Maybe every kick in the ass begins with Kay, because if  I was ever in one of the situations portrayed on any of their various nauseating commercial, my foot would involuntary jerk upward. I'm sure of it. Speaking of commercials....that bring us to:

2. They have the most horrendous television commercials known to the digital airwaves. Please see the below example:

This one may win in a vomit inducing contest. Not only is it just terrible, but it really makes me question the company even more--who is running their marketing department?! Middle schoolers? People who can somehow create that little heart on Facebook posts?

3. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Did anyone really need to know her real name? Furthermore, why is she designing jewelry and not Stetsons? Clearly she doesn't have a clue, because:

4. Open Hearts Collection, by Jane Seymour. This one is so huge, it gets subcategories.
- The jewelry looks like butts.
- "Keep your heart open and love will always find a way in." So will pedophiles, Jane. Keep your guard up and your door locked.
- And, if I received this piece of jewelry, reverting back to point number one, I would have no control over the anger in my feet. Plus, it sort of has a connotation of an "open relationship." If you are receiving this, clearly it's from someone (a. with bad taste or b. is blind) who you are already romantically involved with, so why are they telling you to keep your heart open? Swingers. Maybe this is the international symbol for swingers--no need to drop your keys in a bowl at the door anymore, you can tell by the necklace who you can take home tonight.

5. Leo diamond. Do we even know what that is?

Sorry if I have offended anyone. But think of it as advice--now you know. I'm spreading awareness one reader at a time. Get the word out.

Hello Love, Meet Love

You can see the "Igloo Coola" in the background
Virginia is for lovers and so is Valentine's Day. In regards to worldly possessions, Kate Spade is for lovers. Lovers of pretty things and lovers of good taste. If you, like me now have Saturday Night Live's, "lovas in the hot tub" sketch playing through mental film roll--wouldn't it be awesome if Mrs. Spade designed an Igloo Cooler? I mean, her brother-in-law is David Spade after all. Just food for thought. Or lamb shanks for the cooler.

Kate has outdone herself again with beyond fabulous ecards to send to your sweetie, your bestie or your sister wife (trying to cater to all audiences her). They are a combination of adorable and funny, that somehow are still classy--how does she do it?!

So if is just a little to raunchy to send to a co-worker or well, anyone doesn't appreciate  the humor in inappropriate, politically incorrect, some, errr, almost always offending content that composes the cards on the the site, turn your mouse toward Kate Spade. Side note--I can't get enough of someecards. Simply hilarious. So, keep 'em coming my way, because I thrive on the absence of electronic tact.

Here is a small sampling of the card selection available for you to send for free. Now don't say I never gave you anything, because access to free stuff is worth its weight in gold.

Click to visit:

Is it our age?

Miss Another Twenty Something has caught the baby flu!
Check out her post... "I've Got a Fever: Baby Fever."

All My Rowdy Friends are Settling Down

Lately I feel this immense pressure to bear a child. It's almost become my newest irrational fear -- right next to my shadow, which made me jump in fright twice last week, sigh -- burdening my thoughts of where I should be in life right now. It seems like everyone I know is having a baby this year, and some of them are my age. GASP. We aren't old enough to have babies, right? Turns out, errr, wrong. We are actually in our mid-twenties, about to topple over into the late-twenties age category. Shiver, shudder.

I mean, I am at a point in my life when many people take the plunge into motherhood. Married for going on two years, both the hubs and I have good jobs, our social life consists of more than binge drinking, our finances are in order, and my closet is purged of Hollister. Clearly, the next title I need to add to my resume is mommy. And, our den is the perfect size for a nursery.

My little nephews are the apple of my eye, so much fun and not to mention completely adorable. I could spend my days building blanket forts, no problem. And I think about how much I love leggings and over-sized shirts, and how awesome it would be to wear them ensembled everyday(which by the way, if you are questioning its validity as a word, is not one, but I think it sounds great) everyday. Also, let's not slight the glowing skin that seems to be radiating a halo around all of the pregnant gals I know--I want that with out the assistance of tinted moisturizer!

Babies are so cute and snuggly and smell so good. Who doesn't just fill with warmth at the thought of swaddled babies? Then my thoughts flip-flop, because holding babies turns my thoughts toward that moment when someone is holding a baby and the begin to pass the little bundle off to someone else and that moment when the switch occurs fills me with sheer terror. I'm talking heart stopping, suffocating panic. What are the odds of that baby making it unscathed from one set of arms to the next. AND, how do people just seem to know how to scoop and hold the little head steady? I don't--is this something that comes with time or age, or should it just be inherent?

These thoughts then turn toward finances. We don't have a college fund established, shoot, we don't even have a private school fund set-up. We don't own home yet. Oh my gosh, I just realized we don't own a vehicle right now. And, have you seen the prices of baby accessories? Also, to live in this city, still work and rear a child a nanny would be a necessity--which nearly defeats the purpose of working. And while I'm in graduate school now, enjoying a life loan free, but the minute I am handed my masters degree, I'm also going to be handed a loan receipt asking me to fork over the cash.

Plus, Dusty and I have some serious world traveling to squeeze into our calendar, and we are already booked for this year.

So after some serious neurotic internal debate, I have come to the conclusion that shockingly, I know, I am not ready for motherhood. But, here is the best of both worlds realization, looping back to where we started--if so many ladies I know are preggers...that means I'm going to be surrounded by babies that I can hold and talk gibberish with, but not lose sleep over which shade of pink to paint the walls. (Yes, I'm fully aware that God is going to give me exactly what I have coming to me.) So, girls, if you are looking for a baby-sitter, I'm open for business.

Sound Financial Advice

My fellow comrades in writing, friendship, food, traveling, complaining and well, life in general, Miss Another Twenty Something and formerly known as Miss Apartment 16, now The Bored Carnivore are making an attempt to bring back tandem blogging. Yes, I said attempt; I'm making no promises of regularity. They have not created Activia for daily schedules and I haven't caught wind of it yet--did I miss something? Okay then, since my day-to-day work load is constant turbulence, no promises.

The question at hand: What is the best piece of financial advice you have ever received?

My Grandma Dood--hmmm, or maybe it was my Grandpa Gary who told me first...okay so my grandparents--shared a financial "rule of thumb" with me, before I was cut loose into the scary big world. My Great-Grandfather Russell followed a credit card creed, and never charged anything to a credit card that he would not still have when the bill arrived. Think about it -- who wants to pay for groceries you ate a month ago, fuel that drove you to work and back a week ago, or a manicure that is already chipping?

I know that in today's plastic centric shopping environment, everyone is AmEx crazy to receive their fantastic points. Fine. But, are you paying your entire bill every month? Because you don't get the points until you pay. If you still insist on the convenience of electronic money, see if your bank offers a debit card with rewards--this combines convenience and keeps you on track with your real budget.

That's about all I've got on finances. I think we all know numbers are not my strong point and shopping is. But, I'm getting...better...?

The Best Online Freebies

Quickly climbing my ladder of favorite websites and a sender of daily emails that nearly always survives my inbox guillotine, LearnVest sent a list today too fantastic not to share. This segment needs little introduction, as its title says it all.

It just doesn't get much better than this on a sunny day in May, and on a bleak day in February with a forecast of crippling snow, it's the Kahlua in your coffee. Feel free to indulge and not get fired for intoxication on the job. So with out further ado....

The Best Online Freebies

Caffeinate While You Work
  • Find cafes with free wireless internet, power outlets, and 3G reception.
  • Note that all Starbucks, not always included on the list, now have free wi-fi.
Event Invitations
  • Scalable resource to coordinate events.
  • Helpful tools for cumbersome tasks like selling tickets at different prices.
Laugh Out Loud
  • Online comic strips that tell stories of “romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”
Learn A Language
  • Cool way to listen to or read current news stories while learning words in a different language.
  • Launched to help people learn English but has expanded to Spanish. Plans to add other languages.
Listen To The Radio
  • Aggregates radio stations by genre.

  • Explore and support interesting small radio stations.
Make Photo Slide Shows
  • Create slide show from your photos.
  • Add music and send video in a personalized e-card.
Office Tools
  • Instead of forking over for Microsoft Office, this suite gives you similar access to word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, graphics and databases.
Online Photoshop
  • Edit photos and create logos with this platform that has similar functionality to Photoshop.
  • Extra perk: You can even edit your own audio files.
Receive Tech Support
  • Search for answers to tech questions or post your own to one of the forums. “Bump” your answer to the top of the list if you do not receive an answer after a day or so.
Sample Your Neighborhood
  • 50% off coupons at local businesses (like fancy restaurants)
  • No money or commit up front, unlike Groupon.
Stop Waiting
  • Stop waiting for a customer rep to assist you. Give your numbers to LucyPhone, which will wait on your behalf and call you as soon as the next representative becomes available.
Send Emails In Advance
  • Schedule emails to send at precise times and dates in the future.
  • We like this for thank-you notes after interviews, reminders to roommates to pay their bills, etc.
Time Your Ticket Purchases
  • While you may use StubHub or Ticketmaster to buy tickets, this site helps you to find the best time to buy by forecasting when the prices will rise and fall.
Travel Guide
  • Free travel guides for major cities around the globe.
  • Customize your attractions in the guide.

Coupons & Discounts
  • Coupons & codes for 65,000 stores including Coach, Victoria’s Secret, and Amazon.
  • Even has an extensive grocery coupon list.
Discover New Music
  • Listen to specific songs on demand.
  • Generate a playlist of suggested music you’d also like
  • Send virtual greetings and announcements with the same feel as store bought greeting cards.
  • 25 free cards with free account.
Watch TV And Movies
  • Choose from thousands of primetime TV shows including 30 RockGlee, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia