The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills…a REVIEW!

I know, I know, the show is vapid, a waste of brain cells and is single handedly destroying the values that my mother instilled in me from her bra burning days, one collagen injection at a time. It is because these women-bots are caricatures of actual people that I am able to rationalize my viewership. I firmly believe that Taylor’s meltdowns and Kim’s pathetic attempts to let everyone know she is NOT strung out are worth every depleted brain cell I have sacrificed to the show.

From the sky-high pumps worn to garden parties, to the twenty-five thousand dollar sunglasses (barf), right down to the double kiss “how are you Daalings”, these women have completely isolated themselves from the real world and thank God for that. (Especially since I live a hop, skip and a jump away from those Restylane junkies) That said, they are truly fascinating and this season was a total explosion of grotesque behavior. It was EPIC!

I’ll be honest, I mainly tuned in to the show to see the unraveling of Taylor’s life. Yes, it’s gross since the ending was tragic, but come on. However, E! tread lightly on the topic of Russell’s death. I also tuned in to see Camille’s bad attitude. Unfortunately, I was a tad disappointed, if only for a fleeting second, that Camille was behaving herself. I expected less of her. I got over it quick since NO ONE followed suit. The women behaved like crazed, wild animals (Ms. Vanderpump excluded).

It all began (for me at least) with Game Night. This was the first time in the history of my mindless show experience (and it’s pretty expansive) that I actually wanted to drive to a cast members house and show them what real people do when they are treated like second class citizens. That episode made me so mad I actually watched it again. However, the following episodes focused less on their distaste for Brandy’s foul mouth and more on Taylors crying (I think she was crying. I saw tears, but no facial movements, so I can only assume.) As the season moved on I was also moved to tears many times, except my tears were joyful. Is that wrong?

Here is my season recap: Kyle started seeing Kim less because of Kim’s creepy, mongrel boyfriend. Kim also stayed away because that’s what people do when they are addicted to hillbilly heroine. Taylor and her robot husband Russell were on again/off again and in the interim of their marriage volley, they threw their ungrateful daughter a hillbilly party (Kim fit right in). As a parting gift, Russell gave Taylor a black eye and threatened to sue everyone who spoke about it. Lisa’s daughter Pandora (please no Pandora’s Box jokes) got married to her finance in the season finale, which cost her parents (or E!) a million bucks. Adrianne, well Adrianne she got richer.

If you were expecting some grand reveal of Russell’s suicide then you were obviously disappointed. This show is classy…remember? Instead, the network focused on Pandora in the finale (box not included). E! ethically chose not to exploit Russell’s death, instead they highlighted his life by airing his marital counseling sessions, allowing his angry notes to be read aloud and covering up Taylors black eye just enough so it was still visible for the camera. Good lookin’ out. That being, I can’t wait for next season, although I don’t think it will ever live up to this one.

Keep it up BH 90210, because my Monday nights will never be the same if you don’t.

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Kids Bedroom for $400? – a Rave!

This past December my darling three-year old turned four. This was a big occasion because she was venturing out of toddler-dom and into big(ish) girl-dom and we needed to adjust her little girl room in accordance. We decided to get her a big girl bed! However, replacing the bed turned out to be a very slippery slope.

Little did we know that replacing the bed, meant getting rid of the dresser, yet we still needed that drawer space. We also had to find shelving and of course it wouldn’t be a big girl room without a desk. Our budget was small…really small, but we figured it could be done.

Furniture shopping for children is NOTHING like it is for adults. First, stores generally don’t carry youth collections in store except for a few like Ikea, which only has a few twin size styles. Second, stores like Sears only have furniture online and with no tactile experience so you never know what you are purchasing. Eek! Finally, there is the boutique option, but those shops charge $3,000 for the headboard and $1000 for the bitchy salesperson that ignores you. No thanks.

After three weeks of intense footwork and online research I found a line that I thought looked like good quality. It also appeared reasonably priced and as it turns out, Lazyboy had samples in store! Victory! The lovely customer service rep sat me down in front of catalogs and showed me pieces that I absolutely loved. Modern with good storage. I excitedly pointed to what I wanted and she came back with a price…$980.00 for a twin bed – no mattress. WHAT!?! Turns out they charge you separately for every piece of not-really-wood. Ugh! Back to square one.

I felt defeated. My daughter’s birthday was 3 weeks away and I had nothing. So I changed my thinking – if the stores couldn’t give me a bed in my budget…I would make one. No, not literally.

This is what I bought.

  • Metal Platform bed frame with 14 inches of under bed storage. ($75 –approx)
  • A Wood(ish) headboard (really cute) and has shelving ($85)
  • 6” Dorel Twin Mattress ($90) not the best, so I bought the topper and now it is heaven

Extras for the room: Cost is approx..

  • 4” memory foam mattress topper (Costco – extra $75)
  • Trofast Shelving – Ikea ($55)
  • Metal shelving in closet – Ikea ($19)
  • Desk (actually a side table) – Ikea ($7.99)

Total for the new room = $407.00

 

Body Theory – North Hollywood Workout…A Rave!

BOTTOM LINE: Great time, great workout, wonderful staff

COST: $15 a class (packages are available)

LOCATION: North Hollywood, CA

My alarm rang out at 7am reminding me that I had quite possibly had a date with death. For months I had been hearing about the amazing workout program called Drenched at Body Theory in North Hollywood. Like many, the older I get the bigger my backside grows…and the child didn’t help. In an attempt to turn back time I have suffered through ridiculous fitness programs that promise to shrink my tush in just 5 minutes. I fall for it every time. To be trite, if it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is.

However, my dear, darling, fantastic workout guru of a friend insisted that this was different and it was actually gonna be fun! I was skeptical because she LOVES to exercise (yes they do exist). I was also completely terrified that I would not know how to do the moves and everyone would point and laugh, so I began running a mental list of excuses, but I came up dry. There really wasn’t one. So I sucked it up and did it. I had to try it out. If not for my large posterior, then for the few people who read this blog and are considering trying this program or one similar to it.

The class is called Drenched and it isn’t aquatic so expect to be covered in sweat by the end; not just your sweat, but also everyone else in the room with you. It is pure cardio and the instructor/owner who I worked out with is Billy Blanks’ (Tae Bow) brother Michael.

PROS:

  1. It was FUN!
  2. I was never pushed to do better, but instead encouraged
  3. Michael walks the room talking to people and not at them through a headset
  4. He knows peoples names
  5. The workout was fun and fast.
  6. I didn’t need to check my watch to see how much longer I had to endure it.
  7. The music was great and not those horrendous fitness mixes I find so excruciating at gyms.
  8. From the front desk to the other exercisers, everyone was kind.

CONS:

  1. A little more space to move, but it wasn’t that bad.
  2. My muscles were worked, so I walked around like an 80 year old the next day. (not really a con, but I had to put something in this section.)

Overall, I loved it! The experience was great and I would definitely do it again. If you are in the North Hollywood area, check it out.

Chuck-E-Cheese – a RANT!!!

BOTTOM LINE: Disgusting new pizza that I wouldn’t take home to feed to my neighbors cat…and I don’t like cats. (sorry cat lovers, but they shed and my husband risks anaphylaxis just sitting in a room that once had a cat walk near it.)

COST: $45 too much (Pizza, Salad bar, 40 tokens)

ESTABLISHMENT LOCATION: Burbank

Okay I know all you non-parents are rolling your eyes and saying to yourselves, “Duh…I could have told you it sucked” and yeah, I knew what I was getting into, but this last trip was different. For two years now my husband and I have been carting our darling daughter to the rodents restaurant for heartburn, induced by a combo of pizza and germ covered token games, approximately twice a month. We knew how overpriced the experience was, but we also knew it wore our daughter out and she absolutely LOVED the eraser and Smarties she won from playing $40 worth of skee ball. Money well spent (insert obligatory eye roll). So we went willingly. Until now my only complaint was being forced to endure an hour of screaming monsters who have mysteriously absent parents (some with swastika tattoos on their scalps that are as big as my hand – true story). Truthfully, even the pizza was edible. However, this last time I entered the establishment that promotes a Rat/Mouse as their mascot (what marketing reject thought of that for a restaurant) and was grossly disappointed (pun intended).

The first thing I saw was a sign promoting their new pizza! YES! It promises a cheesier, crispier pizza that will please the whole family. WRONG. I felt like I was eating a loaf of dry Weber’s white bread with some ketchup and meat on top. The crust was so disgusting and thick (not Chicago style so don’t get excited)  I needed three sodas to push a swallow of that junk halfway down my throat pipe. Those Totino’s pizza bites that are filled with mysterious meat products are better.

Normally, I would promote any establishment that keeps little ones occupied and then sends them home as sleepy as a baby on Benadryl, however parents, I am pleading with you to skip the meal and spend your hard earned dollars elsewhere. Perhaps eating at home and going there just for the games would be a better option.

Good luck!

Homeland – a rave review!

**WARNING: Kind of…well not really…maybe if you read between the lines…spoiler? So the BOTTOM LINE is go rent it!

I was hesitant to begin a journey with this show since I am committed to SO many others.

CSI: Las Vegas; Once Upon a Time; Revenge; Criminal Minds; RHoBevHills; Teen Mom (Yeah yeah yeah); RHoNewJersey (just sayin’); Person of Interest; Dexter; Walking Dead…and so on and so on.

The thought of clogging up my DVR with one more episodic nail-biter gave me faux ulcers. Then I got sick. Not deathbed eyeballs bleeding sick, but icky, time to veg out and eat tons of crunchy things that come in greasy bags sick. So, I was moping about my house and wondering how to occupy my time with something other than things I had to do when it occurred to me…Homeland On Demand! I spent the next 12 hours glued to the television.

I am so glad I did! This show is amazing and the performances are stellar. I have long loved Mandy Patinkin,, but Claire Danes…meh. I always thought she was lukewarm good, but WOW did she flip my switch with this one. Her thespian abilities surpassed all previous expectations.The girl is a natural crazy crier.

As a bi-polar CIA agent that has to closet her disability in exchange for a security clearance, Carrie (Claire) must prove that intelligence she received about a recently found POW is real. In her struggle, she beautifully weaves in and out of hot water situations while trying to conceal growing feelings for her target. Nicholas, the POW in question, who is then not in question and then in question again is played by Brit, Damien Lewis of Band of Brothers fame. I love to hate him and then love him and then hate him again. He is truly convincing and his  acting chops just brings the whole show full circle.

The rest of the cast is equally good, but Mandy P. is at the top of his game. He depicts Saul, Carries brooding confidante willing to risk it all (well almost) for his protege Carrie, while struggling to keep his own life together. As a reluctant team they try to uncover a mole, a terrorist and hide their Patriot Act violations, while making it all look so crazy sexy.

If you haven’t thought about watching this show, please do. It is powerful, edge of your seat, beautiful and frightening all rolled into one deceptive little package.

Keurig® Platinum B70…A review!

     The Keurig Platinum B70

BOTTOM LINE: Penny pinch one coffee pod at a time. With the flick of your wrist you can have fantastic coffee, tea, hot chocolate and much much more. The large water reservoir is perfect for those who don’t want any fuss in the morning and it is fully programmable.

COST: $149.00

STORE: Costco

This coffee system is King! This is the life saver of all life savers. I bought my first one a week before I started my first year of law school. I knew that I would be leaving early in the morning and did not want to wait in endless lines to pay astronomical prices for a bitter up of famous coffee. Trust me, when you are in law school, the last thing you want to do is stand in line with a bunch of complainers…you can save that for class.

Because of modern engineering, I wake up, walk into my kitchen, pick up and pop in a k-cup, put some sugary bliss in my cup press brew, wait 10 seconds then drink. Gone is a morning filled with unnecessary questions like whether I spell my name with or without an “H”, or “Will that be for here to to go?”. I don’t worry about making it out of Coffee Bean unscathed because of the aggressive lawyery guy with an obnoxious Bluetooth pushing me toward the register because his life is more important that anyone else’s. I no longer have uncomfortable mornings diverting my eyes from the tip jars staring me, asking for a gratuity because Starbucks doesn’t want to pay a living wage. Carpe Diem!

There are some down sides, but they are minuscule in comparison to the benefits. I have to clean it with a vinegar mixture and I have to buy to go cups if I want to take my coffee outside of my abode. Boohoo! I think I will survive. Now, because these wonderful contraptions are sold all over town, I am giving you a breakdown on the buying process and the advantage to your wallet. *I am only reviewing the model I own since I have no experience with any others.

(Please note, I am HORRIBLE at math, so what I have produced for you below is a near miracle)

I bought mine at Costco. I wouldn’t send you anywhere else to spend your money for this kind of purchase. I did have an issue with the first one I bought. It broke after a year and 3 months of solid use. I walked the machine into Costco, explained my situation and they sent me into the store to grab my replacement. I didn’t even have a receipt!

Costco Deal – $129.00 – 159.00 (price changes in store, on sale or online)

Keurig® Platinum B70
Gourmet Single Cup Coffee & Tea Brewing System

Added Value: 60 K-Cups &
My K-Cup Reusable Filter

Everywhere else for exactly the same items:

$179.00 Keurig system only

$17.99   Reusable filter

$43.00   Four K-cup packs (4 x 10.99)

TOTAL = 239.99

Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter…a review!

     This book is phenomenal! Seriously, if you want a great page turner, while learning about one of the greatest orators in history, then please, please, please purchase, borrow, or if you must, buy a coffee and sit in B&N to read this novel.

Seth Grahame-Smith sifts through the history of Abe while beautifully and violently adding a gruesome twist. There are no long winded battle tales from the civil war, but instead a look at his youth, his family struggles, the tremendous losses he dealt with and of course his political strife. I now believe that Abe Lincoln saved the country from vampire rule with an ax and a gift with words (well not really).

Smiths’s melding of historical fact and vampire myth is brilliantly subtle. The tragedies of Abe’s life are tweaked and his passion to end slavery harbors a new motive. He makes you a believer. However, it is extremely gruesome and if you are easily scared or have a true distaste for gore, then I would say read it with the lights on, or stay away. This is not for the faint of hearts.

Read it soon, because the movie is being edited as we speak…I can’t wait!

TOY PACKAGING…A RANT!!!

**WARNING: This is an angrier rant that requires lots and lots of exclamation points!!

I am now bruised, cut, scraped and scratched all because the toy brain trust decided they wanted to hogtie toys into cardboard cages. I don’t understand why a toy needs to be strapped down with plastic ties that must be cut by garden shears, then rubber band strapped to every other item in the box, toggled to the cardboard, then put in a hard plastic case that is wrapped in…yes…more plastic. Confused? You should be.

Very environ-friendly indeed.

Now, If it is Barbie then it also has a plastic tag tie inserted into the cranium that needs to be surgically removed through the hair. Once this is done, you MUST push the remaining pieces into the head otherwise you risk a gash in your child’s hands.This is so angering on so many levels that I have been tempted to tell my daughter it is Nuclear Plant Barbie and she must stay in the bubble otherwise she risks contamination.

This madness needs to stop! It isn’t to prevent theft, because if someone was going to steal the toy, they would take the whole damn thing. Does it protect the toy from damage on the long voyage from China? Come on! Maybe the toy companies could save some money if they skipped the plastic shackles and then they could give the job of manufacturing back to hard working Americans!

IF YOU, OR ANYONE YOU KNOW HAS A REASONABLE EXPLANATION FOR WHY THIS IS CUSTOMARY…PLEASE LET ME AND OTHER CONCERNED IN ON THE SECRET.

*When I get some new toys I will photo the messy packaging and post for your displeasure.

Barbie DreamHouse: Great intentions; poor execution – REVIEW

BOTTOM LINE:GREAT ATTENTION TO DETAILS; TOO MANY SMALL PIECES TO GET LOST; PLASTIC IS SHODDY AND POORLY PUT TOGETHER; DESIGN IS FUNCTIONAL AND EASY FOR ALL AGES, BUT PIECES WILL GET LOST QUICKLY. DECENT PURCHASE, BUT DON’T EXPECT DOLLHOUSE QUALITY.

COST: $149

STORE: Amazon

Several months before Christmas arrived (“The holidays” in our family since we celebrate Hanukkah AND Christmas) my daughter spoke of nothing other than her deep seeded desire to own a Barbie Dream house. We explained it was too expensive and she would have to ask Jolly Olde St. Nick for it (BTW: this is a great tool for keeping her on the “nice” list). Since we knew how desperate she was to own Mattel property, my husband and I ventured into every toy store and perused all the online sites that catered to Barbie-files. The best deal, hands down was amazon.com. They don’t charge shipping (*prime members get free two day) and it was tax free.

Fast forward to Christmas eve. My daughter is laying peacefully in bed (with one eye open I am sure) while my husband and I hurriedly pull the gigantic box out from its transient home under the bed. Twas time to put the monster together. BEWARE IT IS NO SIMPLE TASK…the directions were mostly worthless, as is the case with most toys and there were so many little pieces. Really, really little pieces. Foresight showed me that they were small enough to imbed in your baby toe if you happen to step on one. Accordingly, they now reside in some trash dump for eternity. Good riddance.

Anyhoo, it took us two hours to put the 3-story Townhouse together. It came with an elevator that you manually lift via a pulley, a large screen television that rises out of the fireplace (Adults do not try that at home!), an occasionally working chandelier that falls out of the ceiling when anything touches the townhouse and a fireplace that should have made noise/light up (???) but NEVER worked…oh yeah and furniture. DOLLS NOT INCLUDED for those of you who can’t read the bold writing on the box, but CAN read a blog.

My biggest observation after stepping back to view the home that we built for our daughter and her gang of Pepto pink barbies was that Mattel took a lot of time and consideration in the details of this toy. They included cell phones and foot baths; a bed with a working canopy and itsy-bitsy soap dispensers, but the quality of the product is junk. The lights don’t work, the door gets stuck, the rugs are made of paper (literally) and the whole thing creaks like the house in Psycho. I guess that is what you get when American designers work tirelessly to design great products only to have the bigwigs send their vision to China to be manufactured for $1.00.

The truth is Mattel knows that once you put the plastic palace together, you aren’t going to dismantle it and schlepp/ship it back to the store (or cyber store) for a refund. They know that once you have spent 2 hours snapping the 3 story plastic castle together, you are going to force your darling daughter (or son – I don’t judge) to play with it even if it means gluing them to it. Mattel is betting on the wants of a child to keep the parents at the cash register spending their hard earned money on something they know is sub par quality.

Stocking Stuffers – A RANT…

Are you sitting under a pile of post holiday junk that is collecting in your living room? Don’t know where to put that little tiny plastic doll with even tinier shoes that you thought would fit perfectly in your 4 year old’s stocking? Does it feel like you wasted tons of money on a bunch of those one dollar items from the bins at Target? Well I do (insert eye roll).

Perhaps it is nostalgia that pushed me to purchase oodles of unnecessary trinkets that end up behind the couch or lodged in my dogs throat, or maybe it was just plain old stupidity. Like a magnet, I am drawn to those items perfectly placed in the front of stores, or in the check out lines. I am a marketing companies wet dream. The minute I see that useless pack of pens, or that ten pack of tissues, I get sucked into a thought process that has absolutely no rationale.

ME: “Wow those nose napkins would be great to have if I got a really bad runny nose in the bank while depositing a check to Target for the pens I bought on credit. Plus, I get 5 percent off for using my charge card.”

TARGET: “See, there is one born everyday!”

It’s even worse during the holiday’s because I  think back to the days of old when I would run to my stocking and get so excited over whatever goodies my mother thought I HAD to have. However, I think this will be my final year of whim purchases. It isn’t good for my shrinking wallet and it isn’t good for my mini schnauzers health.