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Monday, December 31, 2012

My Post Apocalyptic Survival Guide

    A good pair of boots to walk the endless wasteland-
     If you have to go on the run, you will be glad you aren't wearing your flip flops.

    Choose your weapon wisely-
    (from what I have seen, an easily reached side-arm and a long range rifle are both  vital.   A gun?  Hell yea.  10 guns?  Even better.  And a huge crossbow wouldn't hurt either.

    Knife, brass knuckles and gun all in one!!!  The apocalypse gift that keeps on giving!

    Some decent grub-
    I'm not a fan of cans normally but at times like these, be sure to scavenge any cans and dried foods you can.  Anything that has to be cooked will only draw the zombies with the fire and smell of decent food.   Another thing that is not well known is that you can grow a survival sprout garden in a mason jar. You can simply continue to sprout beans and eat the sprouts with no light and little water and they have a surprisingly high nutritional content, much higher than the actual beans or seeds themselves.

    Valuable commodities-
    money won't be worth much in the post apocalyptic world but other things will be... like gas, seeds for farming, medicines, luxury food items, maybe even condoms.  Not only will people be fearful of leaving their safe shelter for "date nite" but hell, who wants to reproduce in this new world anyways?!

            Trauma Pak Quik Clot

    VERY high walls for protection-
    Preferably someplace with a good vantage point to see the walking dead as they enter your zone.  A moat around your fortress is a huge plus!!!

    Tarps and Water purification tablets/filtration system- 
     Let's face it, even if you're safe initially, you're going to be on the run soon.  Tarps can be used not only as a temporary shelter but also to collect rainwater.   It's important to stay hydrated at times like these.  You don't want to go through all your tequila on the first day, do you?!

    A bad ass backpack-
    with multiple compartments to separate all your crap.  Because let's face it, it is going to replace what you used to call a "bureau".

    The right tool to help you get stuff done- 
    And who the hell is going to have room to carry a whole toolbox?!  Pick one multifunctional one and find a special place in your badass backpack for it.  God knows you're going to need it.


    A good multi-purpose military quality cord-
    to help with securing equipment & shelters, making restraints, creating fishing nets and anything else you can dream up.

    And who could leave their pets behind as zombiefood?! 
    These will keep your pets comfy while they're on the run with you...

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Training for the Kalalau Trail- an Adventure for the Hardcore

    Close your eyes and picture this…. A rugged coastline with multiple cliffs as high as 4000 feet, 5 gorgeous valleys, the scent of crushed guava, sunning pineapples soaking up the heat & the sea breeze, and of course, the sparkling blue ocean below- that could kill you if you missed a step and hurtled to your death.

    Yep, this place is dangerous as hell- and in some sick part of my mind, that makes me even more excited to return.
    My sister and I meet up in Kauai once a year. I know, it sounds nuts and a maybe a bit pretentious but she lives in L.A. and I live in Boston- so what better place to meet up than in paradise? And our mom has become an expert on exchanging our timeshare weeks to get us ladies to Hawaii every year- for that and so many other reasons, we love her.  Thanks Mom!  An addiction my family shares is our love of the outdoors- we have loved hiking for years. When my sister still lived in Boston, we would even hike the skyline trail at Blue Hills on Easter Morning. I guess you could say it’s something we’ve always enjoyed together- being in the middle of nowhere with only each other. Kauai steps it up a notch- to say the least.

    Ok, I admit- it’s winter here now in Boston and I’ve been really ultra lazy. It’s getting so cold that I don’t even run to the liquor store, I drive. Hey, you gotta have your booze- regardless of the weather. Anyways… I started thinking, "Self, you have less than 6 mos. until your return to the Napali Coast… and this time, you’re STAYING right in the middle of the wettest spot on Earth- there’s gonna be some serious adventures!" Yes, they get 450 inches of rain each year here on this side of the island- give or take. The rain is part of the adventure, sometimes it leaves as quick as it arrives- other times, the emergency broadcast system warns everyone to "get to higher ground". Ahhh Kauai… even thinking of the rain makes me smile.
    Even the rain is beautiful here. Seriously.

    Ok, so back to my mission- training for the Kalalau trail. 11 Miles one way is a long hike- no matter who you are. I give people credit who don’t even do the whole trail. Hell, at least they came, they saw- they stepped out of their comfort zone. Me- I’m not much of a camper so I’ve never been inclined to camp at the beach at the end. After miles and miles of terrain, this girl wants to head back to the condo with mixed plate take-out, soak in a hot shower and sleep in a BED. Even the 8 mile round trip hike to the falls keeps me beachfront the next day. In fact, my knee is still clicking from my last trip- but isn’t that just the sign of a really good time?!
    This time around, I actually belong to a gym. Me- yep, I was always against such establishments but hell, it’s too cold in new england now to do much outdoors. So it’s indoors I go. My mantra has become "Napali Coast, Napali Coast, Napali Coast"- and it works. After a hectic day at work, I’d much rather go home and throw on "Two and a Half Men" reruns but the mantra reminds me of the adventure to come. It magically makes me turn right into the gym parking lot with no arguments in my mind about what I’d rather do. I find it much easier to motivate myself, reminding myself that the more stamina I build, the easier time I will have on the trail. Sometimes, I even catch myself breaking into a huge smile on the treadmill just thinking about it. The people at Planet Fitness probably think I’m a nut job- if only they knew.
    I also started taking Schiff Move-Free Triple Strength tablets.  They have ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin that work together to strengthen and protect sore joints.  The supplement also contains hyaluronic acid and when taken orally, it is absorbed directly into your joints!  This stuff came highly recommended from my doctor (who also takes it!)- it works!  I have found that the clicking in my knee is subsiding and call me crazy, I even FEEL better.  Maybe that's just the 500% of Vitamin D3 that is also in it- who knows!  If you like to hike - I strongly suggest taking this!!!!  They aren't cheap- but if you can grab them somewhere with a "Buy 1 get 1 Free" deal, they're worth every penny!


    Monday, April 30, 2012

    Cougar or Kitten?

    So the current trend seems to be for women to date younger men. Guys like that whole "cougar" image when they date an older, experienced woman and those same women like the boost of self esteem & excitement a younger man can provide. Young guys can be really impressed with our knowledge and the old double standard where a woman loses points for sexual experience is wiped away- in fact, it becomes an asset. I once knew a guy named Maurino- a hot young college guy who was 12 yrs younger than me. So hot that he was model material. He was Greek for chrissake. I was at a time in my life when I was fresh out of a long relationship, had relocated to a different state and I admit, he was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. Someone young, fun and handsome to rebound with- friggin’ perfect! However, it turned stale like old toast really fast. It was tough to relate to someone when my day consisted of working 9-6 in a hectic, demanding wall-street paced office and he was going to class with 20-somethings and playing basketball every day. I would say to people "can’t hang out tonite, seeing young guy tonite after his basketball game" and they would beg for a chance to meet his friends. My sister and her friends saw him at the gym and high-fived me when they realized he was my latest conquest. Most of my friends were in long relationships or married- and the idea of me dating someone out of my age group really intrigued them. People even compared me to Demi Moore at the time- but we all know how well her relationship ended. She's probably still doing whippets while en route to her plastic surgeon's office.  After awhile, the shallowness of it all overshadowed the initial excitement and when he moved back home to Virginia after college, neither of us kept in touch. I guess we both knew inside that it had run it’s course and had fun while it lasted. You can only play so much minigolf…

    Older guys are a whole different ballgame! Older guys have "been there", "done that"- where younger guys "will do that someday". With older guys you get more of the full package in my opinion- and who doesn’t want the full package?! The downfall is the age difference can backfire if the older person advises too much on life. Being irresponsible (hey, I’m a Saggitarius- it’s not my fault!), the last thing you want to hear is a reminder on what you should be doing or how to do it. If an older guy conjures up images of your dad reminding you to be responsible- the younger woman will rebel and do the exact opposite or completely lose interest. However, unlike young guys- older guys tend to have their lives more "together". You go into their bathrooms and find nice towels vs a dirty beach towel hanging up. They actually have more groceries in their fridge than beer.  They know how to hold a job so you aren’t always counseling them like you would with a young guy who has no idea what they want in life (aside from the best basketball score in tonite’s game of course). Older guys know cool stuff you never heard of- older music, films, secret outdoor spots he’s found and wants to share with you - anything to broaden your own horizons. Let’s face it, young guys are exhausting- you can only teach someone so much without feeling like their mother or older sister. Older guys have a career established already and other women they have been with have taught them how NOT to treat women. They’ve already learned the hard way what happens when you blow a woman off. Or not to forget a woman’s pet’s birthday. If they say they are free saturday, they are free Saturday- no ifs ands or buts about it.  Women like the chivalry that older men often show and they like the fact that older men tend to have more respect for them.  Women like men who know how to be men. He’s not out on the prowl at bars every nite looking for a fresh piece, he just wants to hang with you, the hot younger woman he’s been thinking of all day. Some people lose their lust for life at a certain age but if you’re seeing an older guy who has still "got it", you know in another 20 yrs, he will still be enjoying life as much as you are- time does not slow him down. Older guys also usually have had their kids by now- kids who are old enough that they have kids of their own… leaving plenty of time for  YOU. And last but certainly not least... older guys are the best in the sack- because they have done it all and mastered their skills.

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

    Things That Drive Me Nuts (AKA Nice Girls Can Go Postal Too)

    People that constantly complain…

    You know what? A lot of people these days are overworked, underpaid, tired- too many things to list. The only person that can change your life is yourself… and people are tired of you bitching.    Complaining endlessly also makes you sound like an ungrateful moron.  You have your health, people who love you despite yourself- think about that.   Do something positive to change your life… go to the gym, send out some resumes, end your miserable relationship- whatever it takes. Life is too short to settle.

    Bad drivers…

    Ok, I’m born and raised in Boston- need I say more?! My grandfather was a Boston cop- in the rough section… for 30 yrs. And HE taught me how to drive. Well, I DID take some half-assed ghetto driving class which saved my parents more money on my insurance than the class cost… but my grandfather was the man who has definitely saved my life more than once with the defensive tips he taught me. In Hawaii, people actually stop and allow others to pass on one lane bridges- talk about island courtesy. People live life slower, people are nicer and after a few days there, I find I hate rushing about too. Of course, it’s all good when you’re in Kauia – but when I get back to Boston, I have no choice but to quickly readjust. Those people that cut you off, only to drive like a stoned snail make me absolutely insane. Yes, I admit, I DO drive a bit fast and yes, maybe even aggressive- but don’t pull in front of me, slam on your brakes and throw on your right turn signal. My middle finger can’t help but go up- it has a mind of it’s own.

    People that ask me "Now, why do you have a blog"?

    You know, I’m a big fan of Facebook and other random internet ridiculousness that isn’t necessary for life- but whatever happened to the written word? Ok, this blog, may be internet based but it’s still ME- saying what I feel. Don’t people like to write anymore? And this whole Kindle thing…. I just can’t go there (shudder).   I’m sorry, I know it has the internet and everything but I want a REAL book in my hands at the beach. I want to greeeeze up that page with my suntan oil as I turn it. There’s something so soothing, even productive about turning the pages. I’m that chick who packs 6 books in her bag, buys 4 magazines on the way to hawaii and can’t see myself any other way. If there’s a little help yourself "library" in the laundry room of the resort, I always like to leave something for another beach addict to enjoy. "Why do I have a blog you ask?" Because it’s a more productive way to spend my time than wasting it on the Kardashians or the morons on Jersey Shore

    People that Tell Me "Ohhhh, you’ll change your mind about wanting kids when you meet the right guy!"

    Ok- so at 41, I still don’t know myself and what makes me happy?!" ironically enough, the same people who utter that phrase ask about my weekend exploits and their eyes seem to glaze over with envy when I mention late nite rides on a harley, long lazy days at the beach and no one to answer to but myself. If you are a parent, or want to be a parent, good for you. But a comment like that is completely condescending and close minded. I like my friends and relatives kids just fine but could never raise them full time. Even when I was a kid, I tended to hang out with the elders in the group- I didn’t even like kids when I was a kid. I love my life and don’t want to spend the next 18 years of my life with no privacy, less money than I have now (if possible) and my 2 cats are enough responsibility for me. At parties, other women my age are talking about their kids and when they hear I don’t have any and I’m single, they tend to migrate towards the new mom and break out the baby pictures. I’m thinking of putting a picture of Gino in my wallet and show them my one year old "son" the next time someone asks me about my kids. As Chelsea Handler once said, "I would rather sit next to a transgender person and discuss why every one I’ve met smells like a bar in the daytime than listen to people tell me why I want to have childen and just don’t know it yet. I DO know, because I’m me and the feelings are the ones in my head." Everyone’s different ladies, don’t try to convince me to come over to "your side". Children are a TON of work and I give big props to those who have them – but better you than me.

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    Birds Nests- Easter Fun for the Whole Family!

    My Nana always loved Easter- it was one of those holidays we always looked forward to when we were kids.  Granted, that may have had something to do with the random $5 easter egg we competed to find- but her easter treats are something I will always remember fondly.  I make these every year- and they make me think of her and smile.

    Bird's Nests

    * 3 c. mini marshmallows
    * 3 TBSP unsalted butter
    * 1/2 tsp vanilla
    * 4 c. dry chow mein noodles
    * small candies, jelly beans, m & m's, etc. (i like to use colored "eggs" that look like robins eggs)
    * shortening for hands (optional but better than butter- keeps mix from sticking to your hands!)

    Easy Instructions

    1) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

    2) Over low heat, melt the marshmallows and butter in a large saucepan.

    3) Once melted, stir in the vanilla, then the chow mein noodles.

    4) Coat your hands with shortening, (butter doesn't work as well) and have some nearby for re-coating.

    5) Grab a clump of noodles smaller than a tennis ball and larger than a golf ball. Form into a ball while pressed your thumbs into the middle, forming a nest and place in greased muffin tin, then refrigerate.

    6) After a few hours, remove them from pan and place on parchment paper for final drying

    7) Allow the nests to cool,  then fill with with the candy of your choice....

    7) Sometimes, she even added a mama bird  to watch over her nest (see- those peeps DO have a use!)

    In memory of Claire Dominick.....

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    So Insanely Delicious, You'll Never Buy a Can Again!

    Homemade French Onion Soup

    Want to impress your dinner guests, friends or even a random character?  Make this an hour or so before your guest(s) arrive, then add the toast and cheese and broil - and manga!

    Approximate time from start to finish- 1 hour, 10 min
    • 6-8 vidalia onions (i used 8- I love onions!)
    • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
    • olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 containers of beef broth (I don't like canned broth, seems like it has a metallic taste- also, I like to use the lower-sodium beef broth)
    • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
    • Salt and pepper
    • 8 slices of toasted French bread
    • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese (or provolone is good too- but Gruyere puts it over the top!)
    * In a large pan, saute the onions in some olive oil on low- to medium heat until browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer).  Personally, I like the "slow and low" concept in cooking and keep my flame low and just keep stirring.  Once those onions stick, you have to start again- who wants to chance that?!  Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the caramelization.  Pour a glass of wine, turn some tunes on, hang out by the stove and watch over those precious morsels.

    * When onions are caramelized, add garlic and saute for 1 minute.

    Your onions should look like this:

     * Add the stock, wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes.  Now add a little salt and pepper and discard the bay leaf .

    * To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish.  Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish.  Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately with more wine! 

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Succulent Pet Treats For Our Furry Children

    So I got this recipe in the mail from the vet... looks so simple, I had to share before I actually made it myself.

    Homemade Pet Treats (for cats AND dogs)

    ½ cup dry or powdered milk
    ½ cup wheat germ
    1 teaspoon honey
    ¼ lb lean ground beef
    Mix dry ingredients together, then stir in honey and ground beef until well combined.
    Form ¾ inch to 1- inch balls and bake on greased cookie sheet at 350 F for 10-15 min. or until cooked through. They might cook fast so check frequently!
    Cool completely and serve! Break up into larger pieces for tiny cat and dog mouths!

    Will post pictures when I make - will let you know how they like them!  Or if you beat me to it, let me know what your furry guys think of them!