Under Pressure

I’ve always been afraid of pressure cookers. Okay, I’ve been afraid of pressure cookers since I discovered their existence when Brian and I first moved into our apartment two years ago. He had one and tried to get me to use it. I laughed it off…in fear.

A few months later around St. Patrick’s Day, I used his mom’s, under the supervision of his mom and uncle to make a bacon roast thing (basically, bacon in hunk form). I made Brian deal with the pressure release.

About a month ago, we got this fancy pants Cuisinart electric pressure cooker. I was pretty excited about it, because it seemed much less scary than a traditional pressure cooker…but not as excited as Brian. Which is weird since he doesn’t cook anything besides frozen dinners, frozen pizza, cans of soup and grill food.

Except that the pressure cooker can create all his favorite things in half the time. So he went into this venture ready to tackle a new device. Me? I was planning on throwing stuff in the pot and hoping it turned out.

So we each gave it a go.

While I was sick a few weeks back, Brian prepared a tasty meal as I watched on with amusement…and my camera.

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He made a pork roast with parsnips, tri-colored carrots, potatoes and onions, which he seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper and fresh thyme.

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As he was cooking, he showed me how to operate the machine (you know, since he had read up on it and read through the directions and such.)  It was surprisingly easier than I expected.
1. Select mode from low pressure, high pressure, brown, saute, simmer, and keep warm.
2. Add food. And water.
3. Close and seal lid (unless you’re browning – then you can keep it open)
4. Set the timer and press start.
5. Release pressure/steam (Brian did the quick release by turning the pressure knob dealie, and I did the slow release by not doing anything.)
6. Remove lid.

That’s seriously all.

So his pork (which he cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes) turned out pretty well, though I suspect we added too much water (we used a cup of water & opened it up to find a little more than 4 cups of liquid). The flavors were nice and it cooked wicked fast. To be honest, we probably over cooked it too, out of fear of under cooking. The browning feature was awesome as we browned it right in the pot without needing another pan.

So when it was my turn to try it out, I was ready. But not really at all. We still haven’t moved into the new house, but I thought I’d cook there one night with the pressure cooker.

I stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up the ingredients for pot roast and made sure I wouldn’t have to cut anything. I literally threw it all in the cooker (after browning the pot roast) and went on with my day. I cooked at low pressure for 30 minutes, and I think I over cooked this one. I guess I can’t fault Brian, huh? I also used less water and still ended up with about 3 cups of liquid, so there’s that.

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Is it as easy to get right as I hoped it would be? Not really…BUT this is a girl who failed on slow cooker usage waaaay more (to the point of inedible). So, we’ll keep trying until we perect it, and once we have this system DOWN, I’ll be back with an update. Because the cook timing of this contraption is exactly what we need for home-cooked meals in our busy commuter schedules. Plus it’s WAY less scary than the other kind of pressure cooker.

Have you used a pressure cooker? Would you? Do you love roasts as much as my Irish boyfriend?

This is not a sponsored post. I was supplied with a Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker in order to review it and give my honest opinion, but I was not financially compensated.

I did use affiliate links in this post, so if you make a purchase, I might get a bitty commission.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Gettin’ Geeky With It Throughout the ‘Verse

I am a sucker for all things geeky, nerdy, and surprisy.

I flippin’ LOVE surprises. Which is why subscription boxes appeal to me. So when I found Loot Crate, I was all, “OMG! Geeky! Nerdy! Surprisy!” Yes. With that many exclamation points. And yes, I kind of hate exclamation points.

But I love Captain Mal.

Especially this version of Captain Mal

Especially this version of Captain Mal

And so when I found out the September Loot Crate was full of top secret Firefly exclusives and all things galactic, I was all in with all the chips.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Loot Crate Review

As a grown-up collector (we’ve gone over this: “hoarder” isn’t a very nice-sounding word, but “collector” totally is), I love toys and games and things. The Loot Crate is full of toys and games and things for grown ups who play like kids. So it’s kind of perfect for me.

September Galactic Loot Crate

Here’s what the September box included:

Captain Mal Funko Mystery Mini – A mini Mal just for me. Can I keep him?

Firefly currency – Can I just say how pretty Firefly money is? I love the money in my Firefly game, and I love this too.

Firefly money

Star Trek Tribble – Isn’t my cute little Tribble buddy precious? I just want to snuggle it.

Han Solo Poster – Trapped forever in carbonite ON MY WALL.

Star Wars magnet – I love magnets. Especially now that I’ve got a house with a fridge coming soon.

Pop Rocks candy – They’re going to sugar me up, too?

Funko Alien figure – If I told you I’ve never seen Alien, would you take away my geek card? (This is going in Brian’s stocking. Hopefully, he opts not to read this post. I’m going to count on the fact that he’s super busy with all the things that are work and house and not Chrissy’s little ole blog.)

Loot Crate button – I love buttons. I don’t know why… coughcollectorcough

Halo Escalation #1 Halo Comic Book Digital Redemption Voucher – Fancy code for more things! (Okay, I’m not a HALO person, but my I’m pretty sure this is something that would fall into the godsons would enjoy this camp.)

All in all, I would say that Loot Crate could very well be worth $19.37 (including S/H) depending on the month and your geeky preferences. In this box, there were some serious wins for me (Cap’t Mal and the Tribble) and a couple meh’s (Alien and Halo), but I’ve got some Christmas presents out of those, so it worked out well for me.

The October box (FEAR) sounds tempting what with an issue of The Walking Dead comic book, a mystery t-shirt and the promise of FEAR (we all know how much I love Halloween…).  So it looks like I may be adding another monthly subscription to my life, though I think I’d keep it at a per month subscription in order to make sure it’s a theme that interests me.  A lot of the past crates look awesome (Villains, Dragons, Heroes), but there are a couple that wouldn’t have interested me at all (Adventure, Transformer).

While this is not a sponsored post, I did receive a complimentary Loot Crate for honest review purposes. I was not compensated for my thoughts, and I really did want all the galactic things…and I really did get multi-exclamation excited about geeky, nerdy, surprisy goodness.  

What do you think, Blog Friends? Is this box up your alley? Would you be as excited for play money as I was? Which of these items would be highest on your yes-please list?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

In Which Petaluma, California Stole a Little Piece of my Heart #PetalumaMade

Words cannot express my gratitude for one of the booziest vacations I’ve ever had. And I’ve been to New Orleans. Twice.

Adobe Road Wines

We began our trip in San Francisco, made our way up to wine country and then down around the bay to San Jose for BlogHer14. (Do I know the way to San Jose? Yes. Yes, I do.)

Of course, I’m planning on going about the details of this ‘cation in a disorderly fashion. I’ve already told you about traveling from Chicago to California, our delayed flight from San Jose to LA, BlogHer14 and shared some beautiful and fun pictures of our Petaluma day trips. But I think the beauty of Petaluma is worth so much more than the thousand+ words from those pictures.

The lovely blogger, Kristi Trimmer, and Petaluma winemaker, Cecilia Enriquez, collaborated to create this stunning tour of Petaluma and the surrounding wineries in the Petaluma Gap. Brian played the part of the token guy and you can see what he really enjoyed by following his Twitter feed.

We started the day at Roast and Vine, the coffee shop next to Hotel Petaluma, where many of the bloggers had stayed or were planning to stay. We had our own accommodations already lined up (and don’t fret, you’ll hear all about those too soon enough) so we drove in that morning from our own little corner of wine country. The lovely Trisha Lyn made adorable wine charms for us to mark our beverages (which of course, I managed to lose mine in the first 5 minutes of the trip.)

Terrific Tours and Azari Wines

Jason from Terrific Tours giving a presentation with the Azari wine maker.

Jason from Terrific Tours picked us up in a large van and played the part of our ‘scape goat, driver, tour guide and overall awesome partner in winery crime (but not really crime. Because this trip was awesome). His knowledge and tidbits of information throughout the trip made it even more educational and interesting. He had a lot to say and he was great company to have on such a fantastic tour. I loved that the website has a “snobbish attitudes not included” comment on their website. And it was true.

Saltonstall Estate Olive Oil and Wine

Saltonstall Estate Olive Oil and Wine

Our first stop was Saltonstall Estate where we sampled a few different wines, olive oils and olives. I couldn’t leave without olives because they were, quite simply, the best olives I have ever had.  Seriously. This certified organic olive orchard produced some incredible olives and olive oils. The wine was equally as delicious.

Azari Vineyards and Corkscrew Wines

The patio and wood-fire oven at Azari Vineyards and Corkscrew Wines

Our next stop was Azari Vineyards, home to Azari and Corkscrew Wines. We toured the beautiful location with the winemaker, enjoyed wood-fire oven pizza, and several amazing wines. Brian and I bought a shiner (a bottle of wine without a label) of Luma Blanc to take home and consume and I can’t wait to drink it with him!

Petaluma grapes

Cheese Pairing at Sonoma Portworkds

Gratuitous cheese and chocolate photo: Pairing at Sonoma Portworks

For our next stop, we made our way back into town to visit Sonoma Portworks, where we were delighted with cheese, chocolate truffles, port, and this amazing sonomic (which resembles a really high-quality balsamic vinegar but SO. MUCH. BETTER).

Sonoma Portworks

We then made our way to Cecilia’s Enriquez Estates, where she welcomed us into her home, shared her wines and brought an amazing cheese monger to pair more cheese with the wine. I was pretty much in heaven.

Enriquez Estates

Enriquez Estates: I think we drank it all…

Enriquez Estates

The view from Enriquez Estates

After tasting the various wines from Enriquez (and picking up a bottle of her tempernillo) and the delicious cheese from Achadinha Creamery (and picking up a large chunk of cheese), we relaxed in Cecilia’s backyard and stared out at the vineyard and the hills.

Achadinha Cheese

This might be my happy place…

Our final stop on the Petaluma tour of the day was Seared for a paired dinner with the winemakers and sponsors. Representatives  from the Petaluma Gap spoke about Petaluma, and the part it plays in Sonoma county wine. Because of the fog and the wind, wines from Petaluma have a distinction all their own. I’ll have an entire post about the delight and treat this dinner was, but for now, I’ll leave you with a wine selfie.

Wine Selfie

The next day we started our trip at Adobe Road Vineyards, where we had a few photo shoots with wine and fast cars, as Adobe Road also houses a great deal of racing cars, including a few Aston Martins.

Aston Martins

Aston Martin at Adobe Road

The Kristas, Kristi and Chrissy

The Kristas, Kristi and Chrissy: All you had to do was say, “Kris or Chris” and someone or four someones would answer.

Adobe Road

The last winery and vineyard that we visited was Keller Estates, which was a surprise addition to our tour after dining with owner, Anna, the previous evening. I was lucky enough to sit beside her at dinner, and she was absolutely wonderful. Her wines and stunning property were also fantastic. For my Chicago area friends, you can find Keller wines at Standard Market!

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The beautiful tasting room at Keller Estates was impressive and comfortable. I could have stayed here for hours!IMG_0924

Alas, our tour had to come to an end, but I can’t wait to visit again and check out the rest of the wines, spirits, beers, cheese and olive oils that Petaluma has to offer!

Have you been to wine country? What would be your favorite part of visiting this beautiful region in California? Are you more of a beer, wine or cheese person?

Full disclosure: The tour and wine tastings were complimentary to our little group, but I received no compensation to write this post. We also received a discount on our meal at Seared. All opinions are very much my own. 

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Maleficent Has Always Been My Favorite Villainess

While no one paid me to say nice things about this movie, I did have the opportunity to check it out earlier this week at no cost to me. All promotional pictures are used with permission from Disney to write about this film.

maleficent533ef68db974e (1)I’ve told you about my Maleficent obsession right? How I was this close to “meeting” the Disney World character version of her at the Halloween party, but we got in line too late? Or how I hunted down Maleficent pins when we were at Disney like nobody’s business?

Shop Maleficent Costumes, 2014's Favorite Villainess - Girls & Womens Costumes via Trendyhalloween.com

Well since the day they announced the Maleficent movie, I’ve been obsessing. Especially because it was scheduled to come out TODAY. My birthday. It’s like someone at Disney knew this movie was made for me. And because today is quite a busy day, I was lucky enough to go see it on Wednesday night for a pre-screening where they handed out Maleficent horns and offered photo ops. Because Disney is awesome and somehow I managed to make it on their list of movie-goers.

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Brian and I both really enjoyed Maleficent for what it was, a lighthearted, yet dark, re-telling of a classic tale. I read some of the critic’s reviews last night, which I thought were kind of laughable. No, this is not a “grown-up movie,” but grown-ups who like fantasy and adventure stories will love it.

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I haven’t been an Angelina fan for the majority of her career (I’ll admit, I totally dug Tomb Raider), but she rocked this character like no one else could. She was frightening, vulnerable, and lovable all at the same time. Even as a less-evil Maleficent, the character is still my favorite villain.

maleficent531f6917afb22Brad and Angelina’s tiny human, Vivienne Jolie Pitt, was absolutely adorable in her first role. I read a really lovely article in People the other day about how they didn’t want to get the kids into acting, but it was really hard to find a toddler who wasn’t terrified of Maleficent (note: if you have tiny humans, and cartoon Maleficent scares them…this may not be the movie for them. I’d go for date night, if I were you) so they brought in Vivi, who did a lovely job.

maleficent531f691a69a55Elle Fanning’s Aurora complemented Jolie well with her bright smile and curious nature. I especially enjoyed her interaction with the creatures of the Moor.

maleficent53487af5e016fI was less a fan of the three fairies and their purpose in this version than anything else. Their visibility in the movie was brief and seemed more comical and nonsensical than purposeful. The head fairy was played by Imelda Staunton (Delores Umbridge to Harry Potter fans), which was seemingly fitting…if they hadn’t completely overhauled the fairies’ involvement in the tale. They even changed the names, which baffled me.

maleficent536acd1fc2c53The plot also changes from the original telling, and definitely changes from the Disney animation, but the idea truly resonates with the direction that Disney seems to be heading and I enjoyed that a lot. Brian noted that it was a definite female-centric movie and he couldn’t find a male character to identify with, but that he still really liked it.

Disney's "Maleficent"..Ph: Film Still..?Disney 2014The scenery and sets were stunning. I wanted to be there, and thanks to the 3D glasses, it felt like I almost was. The critics will tell you that the 3D isn’t great, but I thought it was pretty decent. I hate the swoop-de-doo that most 3D movies start with, and this movie kept it on a level ground. I liked that a lot.

So if you’re into Disney, villains, action, adventure, princesses and fairies? Go see this movie. There really is something for everyone (over the age of 8-ish). With dragons, epic battles led by a FIERCE Maleficent, magic and adventure, you’re going to love it.

Of course I wore the horns on the 20 minute walk back to the train...and the 40 minute train ride.

Of course I wore the horns on the 20 minute walk back to the train…and the 40 minute train ride.

Are you planning to go see Maleficent? What other movies are coming out this summer that make your heart go pitter-patter?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

How GE Lighting Brightened My Reading Spot

I was offered the opportunity to give a room in my home a mini-makeover with lighting from GE, and I thought to myself, self, this sounds like a great excuse to clean your apartment.

And then it took me several weeks to clean my apartment.

Are you surprised? Me neither.

The One Change I Made to Brighten Our Family Room.

So when GE sent me free light bulbs to test out the difference between soft white light and GE Reveal bulbs, and when I finally cleaned the disaster of an apartment (and put away the Christmas village), I took it upon myself to spruce up my favorite spot in the apartment (aside from my cozy squishy bed…), my reading chair.

GE Lighting
The bulbs looked pretty sweet to me. Brian was just excited to have acquired more free things we need for our home (or maybe I was excited. One of those.). I’m sure he can’t wait to see what happens when we get a house later this year…Then again, neither can I…well, whatever. This is the Chrissy Show anyways. But for now, we’ll have to settle with lighting up the apartment.

I love this chair. I learned to read in this chair. I remember being a tiny little (FINE) chubby little girl who could sit in the chair with her entire collection of Barbie dolls and read a book or put together a puzzle of the United State while watching Faerie Tale Theater’s Sleeping Beauty or Rainbow Bright on laser disc. (Yeah, I had a sweet childhood.) Anyways, I figured it was the perfect place to add a little bright lighting. And I was most certainly right.

 

Below, I’ve taken a few pictures of my reading chair to showcase the difference with before and after shots of the lighting.

Please forgive the barren nature of my walls. With Christmas just recently departed and plans to move soon, I never got around to adding a splash of color to the giant wall behind my reading chair.

And actually…One of the things that I think is really cool about lighting is that it not only brightens up a room, but it can also add depth and texture to your walls. Sure, I don’t have fancy art on the wall above my chair, but look at the way the lamp shadows behind itself when the light is directly on the area. It looks awesome, right?

Before:

When the light is indirectly shining on my reading chair

When the soft white light is indirectly shining on my reading chair

After:

When the light isn't directly aimed at the spot, it's still brighter and more natural

When the GE Reveal light isn’t directly aimed at the spot, it’s still brighter and more natural

Before:

This is what soft white lighting looks like on my book chair.

This is what soft white lighting looks like on my book chair.

After:

Shining the GE Reveal Light on my favorite spot

Shining the GE Reveal Light on my favorite spot

So you can see that it doesn’t look bad with the soft white lighting, but the GE Reveal is actually super bright and makes it feel like natural lighting. I’m a huge fan of the new lighting. And so is Staley the Bear.  We’ve been using the new lighting for a few days now, and it’s really picking up the mood around here, too. Winter may be long and depressing, but spring will be here soon, amiright?!

If you’re interested in learning more about GE Reveal, you can visit GE’s website at www.gelighting.com/reveal.

*These opinions are all my own. Other than the complimentary light bulbs, I was not compensated in any other way to write nice things in this post. I truly love the way the Reveal lighting looks in our home.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Rumpelstiltskin Problem: What Problem?

Woah!

(If you, too heard Joey Lawrence in your head and thought, you know…Matthew Lawrence was always the more attractive brother, then we should be friends.)

Anyways, I’ve got another book review for the wonderful Project Fairy Tale hosted by The Cheap Reader. And it was flippin’ awesome. Finally a fairy tale rewrite I can get behind. And in front of. And all over, because I thought it was that fun.

 

Project Fairy Tale

So Katie at Words for Worms recently reviewed Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde and after reading her positive review I was stoked, because I was waiting for my paper copy (yes, a real live book) of The Rumpelstiltskin Problem, also by Vivian Vande Velde, to arrive in the mail. Of course, I’m not used to waiting this long for a freakin’ book…so I was a little antsy.

I got the book on a really great day for me and the US Postal Service. I received 2 packages, a letter (OK invitation to a baby shower), and I got my very own PO box, so that I have an address that isn’t my home in my contact information! Not only all of this exciting stuff, but also our mail carrier, who is patient and wonderful even though I stalk her asking about packages (because they won’t leave them outside our door…and then I have to wait until 8am the next day, and it’s very annoying) had already brought the packages inside with the help of our neighbors. It was very nice of everyone involved. </ramble>

ANYWAYS! Opening the package to find this adorable little hard cover that I paid like $2 for was incredibly exciting for me. (The other package was 4 boxes of K-cups for my Keurig of JOY) A little over 100 pages of pure joy, this book was an absolute delight.

Sure, it was most definitely written for a younger audience, but hey…SO WAS TOY STORY! And we laughed. We cried.  We loved it. And there were jokes that we totally got.  Same goes for The Rumpelstiltskin Problem. Funny. Smart. CLEVER. This book was a great quick distraction this weekend, when I had 5-10 minutes to spare. Each of the short Rumpelstiltskin takes in this book were short, sweet, and awesome. A female Rumpel? Yep. A vodka drinking Miller? Yep. A fat little gnome who reminds me of a happier house elf? Yep.

Triple V aims to answer all of the questions that the original Rumpelstiltskin leaves out. Why is the king such a douche? Why does Rumpel want a baby? Why is the Miller such a bad father? What else is going on behind the music? This lady has the answers and she’s good at it.

In total, this one took me about an hour, maybe less to read. But it was worth every minute. If I thought she had a paper copy, I’d ask Katie to borrow Cloaked in Red…because I just know it’s got to be good.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Tastefully Simple Recipe Ideas – Dips and Desserts!

Good morning, Blog Friends!

Tastefully Simple Products

I spent a brief period selling Tastefully Simple products (and was terrible at it, mostly because I only wanted the discount and didn’t really focus on the selling part), so I’m quite familiar with them. And they rock.

The perks of Tastefully Simple

  • Tastefully Simple products are great for people who love good food and don’t have a lot of time to spend cooking. All of the products can be easily made using 1-2 ingredients within an hour.
  • The possibilities are endless. I’ve included some of the recipes that I created with TS products on my own, but the website also offers a HUGE recipe bank of ideas.
  • They offer standard and seasonal products, so the product list is always changing, but they always offer fan favorites.
  • The products will ship to your door quickly and easily by purchasing items through their online shop.

Here are 3 recipes of my own creation that I absolutely LOVE:

Light Spinach and Bacon Dip

Bacon Bacon

  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup light mayo
  • 2 Tbs Tastefully Simple Bacon Bacon™
  • 1 Tbs Tastefully Simple Spinach & Herb Dip Mix

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and serve with raw veggies, pretzels, or reduced guilt potato chips (I like Trader Joe’s the best). Brian and I may or may not have consumed an entire bag of chips and the whole damn dip during one weekend Dr. Who marathon…

Absolutely Almond Pound Cake™ French Toast with Strawberry Rhubarb Syrup

Absolutely Almond Pound Cake

This is NOT a light recipe. But it’s certainly a delicious one.

Pound Cake recipe:

  • 1 box Tastefully Simple Absolutely Almond Pound Cake Mix™
  • 3/4 cup butter (I use whipped butter)
  • 1 cup water

Mix ingredients, pour into a greased loaf pan, and bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

French toast  and syrup recipe:

  • 4 slices of Tastefully Simple Absolutely Almond Pound Cake™
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs Tastefully Simple Rhubarb Strawberry Fruit Spread

Combine egg and milk-stir well. Coat each slice of pound cake lightly in the egg mixture. Heat a greased pan to medium heat, and place the coated slices in the pan. Cook each side until golden brown. Combine maple syrup and fruit spread, stirring well. (Optional: warm syrup in the microwave). Serve.

Key Lime Coconut Yogurt Fruit Dip

Tastefully Simple Key Lime Cheese Ball

  • 1 box Tastefully Simple Key Lime Cheese Ball Mix
  • 1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbs Tropical Coconut Balsamic de Modena (or any coconut flavored white balsamic vinegar)
  • Tropical fruit (I used mango, papaya, and pineapple) cut in cubes

Combine the first 3 ingredients (discard the graham cracker crumbs from the cheese ball mix or save for another recipe). Serve chilled with tropical fruit.

 

What do you think? Have you ever used Tastefully Simple products? Did you create any of your own recipes? Tell me in the comments below.

*I was not compensated for the nice things that I have said about Tastefully Simple, nor was I contacted by anyone affiliated with the company to write this post. I just enjoy the products and decided to share them with you.
Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Crimson Thread or How Rumpelstiltskin Became the Good Guy

Project Fairy Tale

As a part of Project Fairytale, hosted by The Cheap Reader, I’m supposed to do some book reviews of Rumpelstiltskin re-tellings. I picked up this young adult novel for my Nook. The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn. In a premature excitement, I may or may not have collected several of the tales from this “Once Upon a Time” series. Not to be confused by the ABC TV show of the same name.

The Crimson Thread

Maybe I got a little ahead of myself, because I was not inspired to read the rest of the books in the series. It’s not that it was a bad novel. It just wasn’t delicious enough to warrant another serving.

The Crimson Thread takes us back to 1880, where an Irish princess is introduced to us by some royal fairies or something. It wasn’t very clear. But apparently she always thought she was a princess, and it turns out that she was, but it never really did anything for her. It was a side plot that didn’t add, rather detracted from the tale.

Back to the Irish princess, Bridget, who upon coming to America changes her name to Bertie Miller (Bertrille Miller, from Wales, like the fire red hair and Irish accent wouldn’t give her away…) She is helped by Ray Stalls, who turns out to be Rudy Stilchen from Germany or something-it’s never really clarified. He used gold packing material and this stunning thread to embroider dresses and help her get the young millionaire’s son. Of course, he does it because he loves her and not because he ACTUALLY wants her first born child.

********************************SPOILER ALERT*********************************

Eventually the millionaire’s son turns out to be a douche, leaves her stranded and broke…then Ray shows up somehow and “kidnaps” her little sister while she passes out from starvation. But he was only trying to help. They fall in love and live happily ever after, running a clothing business with their business partner with the last name Rumpole. Get it? Rumpole Stilchen. Ugh.

******************************** END SPOILER **********************************

So it had an okay plot, but with so many holes and weird transitions, I found myself mostly annoyed. I get that it was written for young adults. The language was too trite. While Weyn has an excellent vocabulary, or uses a whole lot of shift+F7, the conversational tone of the book was far too formal, and I didn’t find myself relating to the characters at all.

Additionally, it seemed that the historical fiction aspect of this novel was way the F off. It’s like she just threw a bunch of ideas out there and didn’t really think about the details fitting in. Katie at Words for Worms recently spoke about accuracy in the research before publishing, and it really feels like Ms. Weyn left that part out. It didn’t feel real.

So I’m off to attempt another re-telling and hopefully the next gets me a little more hyped, because so far, I’m a little disappointed. But it only makes me want to write more fairy tales.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Power of a Name

Project Fairy Tale

Remember way back when, a few months ago, when I was having a complete jealousy complex toward Katie at Words for Worms and I signed up to read some fairy tales and write about them as if I were a book blogger or something? No? Here, you can go back and read about why I chose Rumpelstiltskin…then come right back.

So obviously, my chosen fairytale was based on my obsession with Once Upon a Time (Stop judging me. Stop it.) Brian and I *almost* went as Rumpel and Belle for Halloween which would have been fucking fantastic. I would have even dyed my hair brown for the occasion. As you know, we ended up going as Jack and Sally so that I could keep my ginger color and have a bad ass costume to boot…

Do you want to know WHHYYYY Brian vetoed this plan? I’ll bet you can guess after checking out this picture:

Rumpelstiltskin

Yep, sparkles. shimmers. shine. Brian didn’t want a sparkle face. He has no problem with makeup, but sparkles are a disease. Infectious. It’s sad really…Because I miss my sparkle lip gloss.

That being said, I don’t have awesome pictures of my boyfriend as Rumpelstiltskin, but you know what? After reading the original fairytale, I’m not as impressed with Rumpel.

Granted, I know…He wasn’t all that great in Faerie Tale Theatre (and really, to be quite honest, neither was Shelley DuVall [If you are unsure of who or what I’m talking about, you definitely missed out on an excellent childhood experience: The joy of Faerie Tale Theater.]

When I was growing up, I was obsessed with Faerie Tale Theater. OB-SESSED. Whenever I was sick, Mom would go to Blockbuster [blah-k-bus-ter: proper noun: a place where one borrows movies for a set time at a nominal fee] and rent several episodes of Faerie Tale Theater. I would watch them over and over and over again. We had to get our money’s worth of viewing from Blockbuster.

My favorites–the ones Mom would rent repeatedly–were The Snow Queen, Rapunzel, and Rumpelstiltskin. My grandpa had Sleeping Beauty on Laserdisc for me, and I had Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella [Oh, God Matthew Broderick/Prince Charming I love you!] so I didn’t worry about renting those. Yes I know I’m still in parentheses)…but I was hoping for a little something more…

Rumpelstiltskin: A Fairytale Book Review

OK, it’s not a book, so much as a short (operative word here) story. You can read it easily enough by clicking the heading above. Fairy-tales are fables. They’re stories to teach. To entertain. And at one time they were verbal. SO…they’re short. Which is totally okay.

But you know what is not okay? Turning into a whiny little bitch because someone knows your name. OK OK it’s more than that. The miller’s daughter is SUCH a victim, it’s not even funny. Her dad pawns her off to the king for riches. The king demands riches before he will love her. The little man promises her riches in exchange for everything she owns including her unborn child. But she’s clever. And sneaky. And manages to survive her father, the king, AND the little man. So shit, girl…get the hell away from these crazy men and go find some elf in the woods or something…

Legolas

Like him, perhaps?

In all seriousness, though, I think that there is something to be said about the power of a name. How often do you speak the name of your children, your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend? Your friends? How often do you hear your own name? If you really think about it, it isn’t always that often. You hear your name more when you’re being talked about than spoken to.

Take a minute. Think back to the last time someone said your name. Was it gossip? Was it directed at you? Was it sweet or harsh? A name is a powerful thing to know. Google your name. See what pops up. What does the world know about your name? Do you want the world to know or do you hide behind a pseudonym? When you write about your family, your friends, your children…do you share their names?

Rumpelstiltskin may be just a short fairytale in the world of literature, but it certainly speaks volumes about power. And names.

Blog Friends, I want to know your thoughts…what is the power of a name?

Also…click the Fence to vote for me!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

In Which I Annoyed the Crap Out of 138 Souls, 6 Flight Attendants, a Pilot, Plus 4 Lap Children on a Small-ish Aircraft

I remember the day that The Bloggess starting following me on Twitter like it was yesterday. I was stoked. I mean, she’s the freakin’ BLOGGESS! And she’s funny. And her blog makes me laugh. But it took me a while to read her book. In the end, I couldn’t put it down. I finally finished.

Flight to Florida

Last week, Brian and I made our way back to Florida for another fun-filled vacation of joy in which I did a whole lot of awesome things when Brian wanted to be sleeping. But this post isn’t about our trip. This post is about airplanes. And The Bloggess (Jenny Lawson). And her book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened.

On our flight down, I was reading a book that I was less than impressed with (and will not name) because I wanted to finish it before getting back to laughing hysterically at the one and only Jenny Lawson. I was stuck in the middle seat next to a larger older lady who took up her seat, half of my seat and some of the aisle. Needless to say I was not pleasantly seated for the 3 hour flight.

Not only did Bitchy McBitch feel the need to take up half of my seat, she also glared at me. Like I was spewing poison from my left cheek or something. Sure I was sitting up, leaning on my tray, but that was only because I needed somewhere to rest my arthritic, carpal tunneled wrist and she was in my way.

I feel that it’s important to say here that people who are stuck in the middle seat should be granted BOTH fucking arm rests. Also, people who recline their seats on airplanes are ass hats.

But we landed safely.

On our flight back, on the other hand, I had an excellent seat. I went in with a plan. My seating on Southwest was about 60 people before Brian, so I got on, and made my way to the very back of the plane, where the flight attendants informed me that there were 175 seats and 139 purchased. (I also overheard them say that there were 4 lap children. I’m not making shit up, people.) I sat down, and reserved the two other seats in our row.

When Brian arrived, I took the aisle, and he took the window. No one was going to come all the way to the back to sit in a middle seat. It was a brilliant plan. Once we were in the air, I scooted over and snuggled up against a sleeping Brian. Then I started to read.

Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Book Review

When I told the world that I was going to read this book, the world responded with a resounding “OMFG this book is amazing!”

I’m not going to lie, though. It took me a few chapters to get into it. I totally get that the strange happenings in Lawson’s life made her the brilliant and funny writer that she is, I just couldn’t really get into the Wall, Texas thing. I didn’t totally relate. I had heard there was laugh out loud humor…but I longed for a little Chelsea Handler…until…

Jenny Lawson grew up (sort of). And found Victor. And started making me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants. Twice.

Once the Bloggess grew up, I found that I wanted her to be my new best friend (Don’t worry Katie–you’re irreplaceable). I would be reading in bed and Brian would tell me to quiet down, for fear of waking our neighbors (like seriously, not jokingly.)

So there we were on the plane with 142 other souls ( I think it’s entertaining to say souls instead of people. Does anyone know why they did/do that? Please enlighten me!) and I was reading. And laughing. And reading. And laughing more. And every time I laughed, I looked at Brian and if he was awake, I made him read the paragraph that made me laugh. Or I would wake him up to tell him. Or I would just look to see if my laughter woke him up. And then I looked around to see if anyone was silently judging me. Which they were. But I didn’t care because Jenny Lawson is hilarious.

She talks about being weird and kind of an outsider (which I can TOTALLY relate to). She talks about being a writer and a blogger and a daughter and a woman in a relationship with her person and a mom. Minus the mom part, I totally get it. And I feel like she’s one of my people.

I love that she interjects with comments about her editor. I love the randomness that the book is created out of. I love it all. And I bet if I went back and read that first part, I would love that too.

And the whole time, Brian would wake up and comment that I needed to be quiet because the captain at the front of the plane could hear me laughing.

Jenny Lawson, welcome to my hero club. You have 142 “souls” to apologize to, because I was all up in their business during that 3 hour flight with my echoing laughter. They really should just read your book, and then they would totally get it.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!