Friday, October 31, 2008

Can These Guys Fix The Economy? The Solution to Sluggish Holiday Sales is Here!

On October 30th, Poker Chick went to buy some Halloween stickers. Sure, she knew it was last-minute, but she still expected the drugstore to be stocked for the holiday.

Apparently, it had already moved on.

Right there, above the picked-over remains of whatever Halloween cards were left, was a Santa hat. A Santa hat, peeps. Did we mention this was October 30th?

She filed away this disturbing observation and it was all-but-forgotten until she read this article in Advertising Age.

K-Mart has announced that it is moving "Black Friday" to November 2nd. That's right, two days after Halloween.

Now it was one thing when retailers could barely wait for turkey to digest before displaying their flashiest new toys. But right after Halloween? Aside from being just wrong, it reeks of desperation. I mean, this is K-Mart, for chrissakes! One of the countries largest retailers! Millions of Americans shop there. It's not like they'd ever be in danger of having to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy or anything...

Oh. Right. Well then.

But still. C'mon, peeps. Buying Santa hats right after Halloween is not going to help. Trust us on this one.

Halloween For Neurotics

This one is for all you parents who were guilty of "going there" at any point in your head tonight.

Ah, Halloween. Candy, and smiles. Costumes and trick-o-treaters. But - uh oh. With candy comes evil ingredients and recalls. With costumes come disguises and thiefs.

Hmmm. It's all good until you start thinking too much:

In a friend's lobby:
Oh look! How cute - it's SpongeBob! Someone's parent went all out. Wait a minute, there's no kid with him....he's just walking around by himself taking pictures with all the kids in the lobby....can someone say "Pedophile"! Walk away, slowly, slowly....

While walking around the neighborhood:
Hey, that building is having a party in the lobby for the little kids! How cute! They even have a clown making balloon animals. Our building should do that next year. Maybe I'll organize it.....Oh, wait. Clowns are creepy. Hmmm.

And now, we refer you back to the SpongeBob sentiment.

While Trick-or-treating in our building:

Ok - Nestle crunch, ok to put in bucket, yellow M&Ms - no. "Take the blue one", "Take the red one..", yikes all I want to do is make sure mini is not putting something overtly peanut (i.e. Reeses, Snickers) into her bucket. Even though she's not eating anything in her bucket. I know, I know....but who knew a little orange square could be so scary?

In truth, we had a great Halloween. Mini understood the concept for the first time ever and had a blast. We trick-or-treated, hung out with our neighbors and brought treats to friends. The best part of not being able to eat your candy? Giving it away at the end of the night. Fun, plus a bonus good deed. Not such a bad lot.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Science is Beautiful. And You Can Be, Too.

Behold, the anti-frump:
Who else here has been living life thinking that the weekend frump was unavoidable. Blotchy, greasy skin is just part of the mommy weekend uniform, no? Turns out, no!

Don'tcha always look at those few moms that always look so put together? Wonder where they had the time to wash their hair? How they got that perfectly dewy skin? You know you secretly hate them for looking so damn good. How do they look so friggin' perfect at 9am on a Saturday morning.

Well, Poker Chick has discovered a secret weapon for you. And it's totally do-able, in about three seconds-flat. Natural beauty, my ass!

Thanks to the brother who watched the mini during a nap, Poker Chick was actually able to set foot in Sephora for more than five minutes (pause for gasp). That store just keeps getting and better. And the "play with me" concept never gets old. Poker Chick came out with softer cheeks, perfume, fun eyecolors - and a bottle of this Smashbox miracle in a bottle. Enough time has passed that she's been able to test this for a while, as an under-makeup primer and even just by itself over moisturizer. Amazing. Redness - gone. Blotches - gone. Shininess - gone. Even with no makeup.

Thanks to this discovery, she'll never have to endure crappy skin again. And neither do you.

Now here's a bonus for readers that are still with us on this post. Ever wonder how other women always look freshly showered, even the ones who claim not to wash their hair every day? Check this out:A swipe. A spray. A shake. It's like magic in a minute. Who knew such lovely products existed?

Yay, science!

*This post was inspired by our friends at We Covet. And, of course, by Sephora. (Who has no prior knowledge of this post but is welcome to bribe PC with free product nonetheless).

Did Anyone Else Have a Bad Day Today?

7:30am. Poker Chick got on a bus, realizing her mistake of leather boots and jacket in 45-degree windy rain with no umbrella. No biggie, she could just hail a cab! Oh, wait, not with $2 in her wallet. Doh! Bus it was. As she watched a cockroach scramble on the seat in front of her, she already knew it was going to be one of those days.

[Insert middle, blah blah blah].

Long story short, the day ended with two pairs of dry socks, sweatpants, a sweatshirt with hood pulled way over her head, a blanket, and a cup of hot tea - and it still took over two hours to defrost Poker Chick and stop her from shivering all over.

How 'bout others? Poker Chick is working a theory that Oct. 28th a bad day for New Yorkers in general. Anyone else find themselves staring at their Marc Jacobs praying those water spots are not permanent while they wait for their extremities to thaw?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lose the Hat or Forego the Milk Duds

"Trick or treat"! What does that mean, exactly? Do a search on the web and you'll come up with many different definitions. Though it depends on the country you live in, for American peeps it means the following:

Trick or Treat, also known as Guising, is an activity for children on Hallowe'en, in which they are dressed up in costumes, often of supposedly malevolent supernatural beings such as ghosts, demons, or witches, and proceed from house to house, asking for sweets with the phrase "trick-or-treat?" with the implied threat that, if their demands for confectionery are not met, they will perform some "trickery".*

Now, what's not to like about Halloween? Dressing up. Candy. Parties. It's all good. But there's one aspect of Halloween that's always bothered us: parents who dress up.

We're not talking about adults going to parties, parades or celebrations where other adults are in costume. This is acceptable with grownups- only when alcohol is served.

We're talking about the parents who go around trick-or-treating with their kids in full costume. I mean really, how, in anyone's mind, is this a good idea? It's great to go with your kids. Be there with them and enjoy the night. That's all you need to do. Now, maybe your kids liked your costumes when they were little. But at some point the kids get old enough to look around and realize that Bernie there, down the street, his mom never dresses up. And in school, Lily's mom never dresses up. And the dad next door has never dressed up...

At what point do they realize it's just kids in costume and look at you in confusion? And if your rationale is trying to make memories, does anyone's fondest Halloween memories ever really involve their mom's rendition of Bunnicula?

Now, in Poker Chick's house, the response to this embarrassing sight is withholding candy. You see, when we opened a door expecting children in costume and also got a grownup in full witches' attire and a painted white face with blood streaks, we'd already been tricked. And horrifically so, might we add. So the "trick or treat" decision was already made. No treat for the grownup. Just a mean trick they played on us. Despite what these people thought, it crossed the line from cool to creepy.

This is of course one opinion. Some grownups clearly support the action of dressing up with your kids, or this would not be the national epidemic that it has become. But something tells us that if you've read this blog before and actually enjoy it, you're not one of those people.

So this Halloween, help us get out this plea to our fellow parental peeps. Please no costumes. If you feel you must, stick the bunny ears in your pocket and put them on only to answer the door.

Or, at the very least, bring a flask with you.

*Quote from the explanation guide here, which according to Poker Chick explains it best

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rotten Eggs

The mini did not pass the cooked egg challenge. Rats. Which is a nicer word for what Poker Chick really wanted to say.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reason Number 57 Not To Frump It Up

Despite her high-fashion fancies, Poker Chick is a dress-down kind of chick. Jeans are the operating word here. And she still wears cutoffs and tees in the summer. You might call her style "sloppy chic", as UK likes to say.

As such, she often has to fight the urge to get lazy. Actually put makeup on for work. Wear the occasional skirt. And dress up the ripped jeans as she did yesterday with a jacket and accessories. And boy is she glad she did.

A lunch meeting turned up a random person she had gone to high school with. Now, this wasn't someone she knew well. Didn't even remember the name. But still. Could you imagine? Would you want this person going back to their friends (who might be people she once knew) and say things like "hey! Remember that girl Poker Chick? I saw her after many years. And guess what? Woof - woof!"

We don't think so, peeps.

So when she can, she'll make the extra effort not to be a slob. You just never know.

We're just saying.

Making Food Allergies Suck Less

Poker Chick has a hard time finding resources online for living with a food-allergic child. Or at least, how to live a semi-normal existence. Info is fragmented and a pain in the @ss to find. So she's thinking others are probably having a similar experience. Which had her wondering whether or not others would find it helpful for her to collate the most useful bits of info she's been able to figure out thus far.

So this post is a kind of experiment. If you're interested in more like this, let a Chick know.

Websites we like:
FAAN - TONS of info, resources, even label and ingredient updates
Keep Kids Healthy - good resource and also good basic information for friends and family
Allergic Girl - great resource for where and how to eat in NYC with food allergies
Kids With Food Allergies Blog - fellow mom blogger who lives with this too

Foods that make life easier:

Egg-free Challah - it's a recipe but if you cheat with a breadmaker it's not so hard
Soy nut butter - a little salt, and it's almost as good as the real thing!
Cherrybrook Kitchen- cake, pancake and other great mixes
Divvies - great cookies, cupcakes, and other party treats shipped to your home
Egg Replacer - the best and easiest way to bake normal recipes that call for eggs. It works really well in cookie recipes, like this one below...

1/2 pound margarine or butter, softened (obviously does not work with dairy allergies)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (use 3 tsp. Egg replacer plus 4 tbsp. of water)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups Quaker Oats
1 cup mini chocolate chips (you can use raisins, but trust Poker Chick this is better)

More been there done that advice available if anyone's interested. Meanwhile, Poker Chick is giving the mini a cooked egg challenge tomorrow. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thoughts from the Sanctuary, Part II*

a.k.a. "They flocked like sheep..."

You're supposed to confess on Yom Kippur, holiest day of the year for us members of the tribe. You're supposed to lay it all out on the table, evil thoughts and whatnot, and forgive others so you can move forward in peace and all that blah blah.

Yeah, yeah. Poker chick was guilty of cynicism last year. She'll work on this. Really, she will.

But in the meantime, she's betting that many of you reading this shared similarly sacreligious thoughts. C'mon, 'fess up! You know you'll feel better. Then read this, so you can relax knowing others are even more deranged than you are.

Kol Nidre. It's the service that starts the holiday. Even the once-a-year Jews are there, meaning the temple is more packed during this one service than it will be any other time during the year.

Now as with many other things, the experience is uniquely intensified in New York. If you want to attend a Kol Nidre service, here's what you have to do:

1) Line up with hundreds of other people in suits in the special tents that take over any sidewalk space touching the temple. Walk slowly around the red velvet dividers as if you're waiting to ride Space Mountain. Watch laypeople stare at this sight with amusement. Make growly faces at them.

2) Go through the first set of NYPD officers. Pass.

3) Get to temple volunteers. Show tickets for everyone. Pass.

4) Go through the next round of security. Private security guards with those cool secret service earthingies. Open your pockets, bags, diaper bags for full inspection. Pass.

5) Get your seat. Fidget endlesslessly as there is less legroom than even economy class seats.

Eventually, the service begins - and somehow on time. This is when you're supposed to pay attention. This is also when your mind starts wandering.

"Wow, I wonder how many people are in this room! It's gotta be a thousand or more!"

"What's with the cello? I thought the cantor was supposed to sing this portion?"

(counting heads)
: "One, two, three, four......"

"I can't believe I didn't make the cake yet. 15 people coming for Break the Fast tomorrow and I'm going to have to cook while fasting. Again. Hey G-D, can you help me to plan in advance next year? Hey! That's one thing I can work on! Look at that, I'm already paying attention!"

"Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty....."

Tire of cantor's repitition and flip through the pages to see how much longer is left for tonight.

"Three hundred seventy-eight, three hundred seventy-nine, three hundred eighty...."

"I'm so thirsty. How am I not going to drink until tomorrow night? How did I do this before? How does everyone else look so calm? Aren't they thirsty?"

"Seriously. What's with the cello? What happened to not being allowed to not play this stuff on the Sabbath?"

"My head hurts. Oh cr*p, what if it becomes a bad headache? Do I take tylenol? How much water can I sip with tylenol before feeling guilty? What do the books say on that?"

"What the heck does Superman have to do with Yom Kippur?" (sermon reference)

"What are those people doing? They keep moving around. You're supposed to be paying attention, peeps!"

Pause to note irony of criticizing others in your head while struggling to pay attention yourself. Make mental note to atone for this tomorrow.

"Nine hundred one, Nine hundred two, Nine hundred three"

"Cr*p. I lost count. One, two, three...."

Finally, it's time to go home. As you wade through the NYPD officers blockading the building once more, you try to decide whether this massive police presence is comforting or creepy. After all, NYC is full of Jews. Is this really necessary?

Then you do the math:

1,000 Jews in one room + NYC location = Bin Laden's wet dream.

Guess we'll go with comforting after all. Thanks, NYPD. Keep up the good Jew-herding work!

*Click here to read Part I.