Monday, September 30, 2013

Swag Ho Monday: Scunci Evolution No Slip Grip Hair Elastics From Hell®

When I was handed these Scunci Evolution No Slip Grip hair elastics, my exact reaction was “What is this, some kind of fucking joke?” Have you ever been in a pinch and had to use a rubber band as a hair tie? It sucks. 

According to their website, Scunci Evolution No Slip Grip hair elastics are “gentle to the hair.” (HAHAHA!) They “hold hair securely, gently, all day.” And then they never, ever let go.

The greatst invention since New Coke!
They’re made out of this rubbery silicone-ish material, and just by looking at them I could feel the hairs ripping out of my head. I don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but these things were actually looking at my hair and drooling, just waiting to get their sticky rubber no slip grip on my fragile, innocent ponytail.

I wasn’t even about to try with these stupid things. I’d rather make my own hair tie out of a piece of chewed gum than put these elastics in my hair. I already have so much sad, broken hair around my face that this happens by the end of every day:

I believe I can fly
I’m not sure who would come up with such an evil torture device, but I’m guessing it was a dude. Some MBA turd with a bunch of ridiculous ideas he picked up in B-school. Well, keep your innovative solutions out of my hair, brah! No thank yoooooooou!

Since I’m like a depression era hoarder who can’t ever throw anything away – not even the world’s most ridiculous hair ties that cost me zero dollars – I had to find something to do with these. Since I’m always short on chip clips and I also have a tendency to stockpile bags of chips (seriously, my pantry is stuffed full of half eaten, stale bags of snacks), I figured they might make a good substitute for a rubber band. And guess, what, I was right!

Hair ties for fresh snacks? Ok.
I do not recommend purchasing these hair ties. Unless you know you're about to get into a cat fight in a bar. Then maybe you could wrap your hands in them to tip the hair pulling portion of the battle into your favor.
Oh, like you don't have a drawer like this.
But if for some reason you ever happen to come into possession of Scunci Evolution No Slip Grip hair elastics, just remember, they belong in your junk drawer, not your beauty products drawer.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Swag Ho Monday - This Piece of Wood

I love the beach. No wait, I love the shore. I’ve been to plenty of beaches, including some of the “world’s best,” but for me, nothing holds up to the beach I call home – the Jersey Shore. Or, “down the shore” if you’re a native. On other beaches, the sand just isn’t right. The water’s too clear. You can see all the creepy sea life swimming around you. There’s not enough sea glass. There’s not enough garbage.

Beach condom, anyone?

There are other elements that combine to make the Jersey Shore the place I hope I go when I die. One of those elements is the boardwalk. Specifically, Seaside Heights boardwalk. I know… gross, right? What’s my problem? You don’t get it, do you? You think I'm a weirdo.

I took this picture in Asbury Park last summer. This is also gone now.
 Here’s the best way I can think of to explain it: have you ever been made to watch a beloved movie from someone else’s childhood that you yourself have never seen? Let’s say you’ve never seen The NeverEnding Story, but for me, it was one of those movies I loved and watched over and over again as a child. I say to you, “WHAT?? You’ve never seen this movie? You have to watch it!” And you and I sit down and watch. As I’m watching, I’m reliving my childhood, loving all my favorite parts, quoting my favorite lines. Meanwhile, adult you, experiencing this bizarre movie for the first time, are sitting there thinking, “What the hell is that giant white dog thing flying around? This movie sucks!”

Make sense now? Kinda?

That boardwalk, for better or for worse, is a part of my happy place. It’s a part of me. And if you pay attention to the news, you know that it’s taken quite a beating over the last year.

The first time I was able to get back there after Hurricane Sandy tossed the piers and all the rides into the ocean, I was shocked, but I was also so relieved to find that there was one small piece of it that survived. Including this crappy shooting game, my beloved Carson City.

Kid A "shoots the guns"
I don’t know how long it has been there, but I do know it has been there for my entire life. So much of the place has changed. I had forgotten about it, actually, until a few years ago when I was sitting in a boardwalk bar with my brother kicking off Memorial Day weekend and we decided to seek it out. And there it was, like a time machine, exactly as we remembered it.  I feel like I talk a lot about smells around here. Don’t I? Well that was the part that hit me as we approached. It smelled just like I remembered. 

We stopped here every time. I hope he remembers it!
After the hurricane, pretty much the whole boardwalk had to be rebuilt. As the crowds hit the boardwalk for that first time in May, it smelled like brand new wood.  The new boardwalk is nice. It looks pretty, even though the questionable clientele of Seaside Heights have accelerated its age significantly with cigarette burns and grease stains. Come on, it adds to the charm!

In a blind test, I’m sure I’m the only person who would pick mildewy rot smell over fresh wood.

So the point I’m trying to make here in a rambling way is that I’m sentimental. In a weird, hoarderish way. I take probably 400 pictures and videos a month, I keep things that nobody should keep, all because I have this compulsive need to hoard my memories.

We were there as usual, the weekend before my favorite place - the only remaining piece of boardwalk that wasn’t swept away by the hurricane - burned to the ground. I was at Carson City with my cousin and Kid A. I had a fleeting thought as I looked at the new section of boards that nothing is permanent. That sure, everything pretty much came back, and they can’t take our memories away(!), and jersey strong(!), and all those other nice sayings, but there’s no guarantee that your favorite place won't just disappear tomorrow and you’ll never experience it again. I had that thought and for a second I really felt like taking a piece of Carson City, just in case.

I couldn’t even tell you what I would have taken, had I gone through with it. You obviously can’t just go around taking pieces of things. At the time, the thought didn’t even make sense, and that’s why I didn’t act on it. Because it was a stupid thought. Who steals pieces of arcade games? Not even me.

And now, it makes so much sense. Less than a week after I stood in the same spot with my kid that my parents stood with me so many years before, it has been reduced to a pile of ashes. Seeing it in person was like going to a friend’s funeral, except nobody was saying, “Ohhhh. She looks good.” She doesn’t look good. (Semi-related side note: no corpses look good. I would like to put out a formal request, right here and now: when I die, please nobody feel like you have to pretend that I look good if for whatever reason you end up in a room with my embalmed body. Thanks in advance!)

She looks good, don't she?
The moral of this long and rambling tale is that if you’re ever in a place you really love and you feel compelled to steal a piece of it, just freakin do it. Take it!

There is now only about a 10-ish foot section of old boardwalk left (out of the whole 2.5 miles). I thought it was all gone, and when I saw that tiny, pathetic, splintery section, I wanted to lay down on it and cry. But someone probably threw up on it or bled on it or who knows what else, so I only did it in my mind.

That’s how I ended up with this piece of wood. I stubbed my toe on it walking on the beach that’s right off the boardwalk. I had just paid $5 for this tiny little magnet that is allegedly made from the old boardwalk.

Whatever. Let me believe it's real.

I’m 50% sure it’s not. But who knows? I can’t be alone here, there are pieces of “old boardwalk” selling for close to $50. (No, I did not buy that. I realize I have written an over 1,000 word eulogy for a place that’s pretty much the equivalent of Fat Elvis, but I’m not that nuts! 

This piece of wood I dug out of the sand, however, is part of the old boardwalk. How do I know? I can smell it. What am I going to do with it? I don't know. Put it in a box somewhere. Maybe make something out of it one day.  Maybe I'll forget what it is, and I'll stub my toe on it once again, and ask myself why this old piece of wood is in my basement. But for now, I'm happy I have it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Swag Ho Monday: Bleach Tablets, or How to Sanitize Lovey Blankets

Well, third time’s a charm. I’m late for this post, yet again. There's something you should know about me: I’m late for everything.

Late. Not pregnant.
There. Now that we've cleared that up, I would like to tell you about Clearon bleach tablets. But first, I would like to tell you about "The Guys."

Meet The Guys: Coonie, Smelly Ellie, and Moo
See, Kid A has these three lovey blanket things that he is always chewing on. He chews the corners, so they’re always smelly and brown. They're relatively clean in the photo above. At their worst, they have dark brown, crusty corners. Why is that awkward? Because for some reason, people love to touch these things. I don’t get it. People are constantly going, “Oh! Is this your little friend?” and reaching out to grab at them. And I get to watch them recoil in horror as they realize that it’s strangely wet, and they don’t know what kind of bodily fluid and/or mystery slime they just got all over their hands. Then I say, “It’s slobber. You're touching slobber. He chews on them,” and I laugh.
And MAN, do they smell. I wish I could appropriately convey in words the stink on these things. I guess the best way to describe it would be a dead animal floating in a pot of rotten cabbage soup. Left out in the sun for a week. In the crotch of an old hobo sitting in a subway station in July. The worst is when he leaves one or all three of them in my car on a hot summer day, and I open the car door and get blasted in the face with this thick stench. It’s really horrible, but he stuffs them up his nose and breathes them in. Everybody likes their own brand, eh?
Oh, this is magic! Hmmmm, wafting... wafting
Anyway, he sleeps with these things. They comfort him when he’s freaking out. He’s addicted to them – if you hand one to him when he’s in the middle of a tantrum, he stops, shoves it into his mouth, and you can actually see his eyes roll back. It’s bizarre and awesome to watch, and needless to say, The Guys are not going anywhere if I can help it. I’m so lucky there are three of them.
From L-R: just a day in the life of The Guys; Coonie on the Asbury Park boardwalk; Ellie taking in a show at Sesame Place; Coonie at Spaceship Earth in Epcot Center; Moo getting a good chew after a long day
For over two and a half years, I’ve been tirelessly searching for a better way to clean The Guys. I Google, I read, I experiment. I haven't found a safe way to kill the smell and effectively clean The Guys and keep them that way. I have a sanitizing option on my washing machine, but I’m not about to run it every single day for three small pieces of fabric. I use cloth paper towels, ferchristsake. I love the Earth too much for that shit. I won’t bleach them, because he chews on them. For that same reason, I’m not even really a fan of washing them at all in the washing machine. I just don’t like the thought of him ingesting detergent and fabric softener.
The Guys getting a bath in the sink. Check out that nice foggy water!
This is why, when I saw these Clearon Bleach Tablets, my mind went right to “Oh! Maybe I can wash The Guys with these!” The man who gave these to me was doing some kind of sales pitch, but I wasn’t listening to a word he said because I was running through Guys-washing scenarios in my head. I heard what I wanted to hear from him, which is probably not at all what he was saying. I heard the words “safe” and “everyday use” and that was it.
I was just about to try out my newest Guys-washing technique, when I realized that these are just bleach. In tablet form. Like the name says right on the bottle. If I had listened or maybe even read the package, or… I don’t know… paid attention to the freakin name of the product, I would have known that and I wouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. They just did a pretty good job of cleaning my smelly ass dishwasher, but what's good for your dishwasher is not always good for your child's intestines.
Don’t cry for me, though! I finally found a quick and easy way to disinfect The Guys that I can do every day. I disinfect my dish sponge in the microwave every so often, and it occurred to me as I was doing it one day that I could do the same for The Guys. I know! GENIUS!
I just rinse them really well and scrape off all the dried drool and food particles (the things we do for our kids, amirite?) Sometimes I’ll scrub them with a little baby shampoo if they’re particularly rank. Then I squeeze them out and throw them in the microwave for three minutes each on high.
Kid A says, "Ma, Ellie's for dinner?"
Let them dry outside or put them in the dryer and you are now the proud owner of disinfected lovey blankets! No more dead animal cabbage hobo crotch! Unless you’re like me and you get lazy and don’t do it every day. But that's on you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Swag Ho Monday: DIY T-Shirt Reconstruction (Tutiorial Edition!)

TWO Mondays in a row missed and nobody said a damn thing! You guys are too nice to me. Or you don’t care. I’ll take it.

Since today is Monday on a technicality, and also because yesterday happens to be my second most hated day of the year (first most hated day is the day the clocks turn back) I took the day off. But never fear, hopefully the wait will be worth it – I have a gift for you on this week’s swag ho edition. Because a beach dress is just what you need now that summer is unofficially and depressingly over, I give you...

My first-ever awkward tutorial! 

What makes it awkward? Observe my modeling "skills". Painful.

Let me just say that I love Coppertone. I love the way it smells, I love the girl’s cute little tan-lined butt cheeks. I love how she's all, "Oops! This dog is ripping my bikini bottom off, but who cares? I don't have a top on, anyway! Let's DO THIS!"

Image borrowed from

I distinctly remember, as a child, wanting to be tan just like the little Coppertone girl. And look at me now… sometimes I get so tan that I can actually see a little bit of disgust register on people’s faces when they see me. And it makes me proud! I have a problem! YAY!

It seems the little tan Coppertone girl is tan no more, though. Sadly for me and the rest of us hard core Jersey broads, tanning is going the way of smoking. It’s no longer cool to be tan. It’s apparently gross. And I guess little kids' butt cheeks are out now, too. Thanks a lot, cancer and pedophiles. Way to ruin things for the rest of us.

Check out the Coppertone Girl’s new PC image on this shirt I got:

Just like a Ken doll, this chick has no butt crack.
I don’t typically wear men’s size large t-shirts except to sleep in, and I'm not about to sentence this cute shirt to never see the light of day.

I knew I wanted to make it into a beach dress, so that’s what I did. And you can, too! It’s easy! Here’s how you do it, in four easy steps. Five, if you're feeling ambitious:

Cut the neck and sleeves off.

Fold the shirt in half lengthwise and cut slits about an inch apart going down the sides. You can go as far up and down as you want.This will make loops up both sides of the shirt.

This part looks trickier than it is. Take the second loop from the top and pull it up through the top loop. Now take the next loop down and pull it through the loop you're holding. Then the next one, and so on until you get to the bottom. Cut that slit in half and tie it in a knot to end the chain.

Pull down on the hem of the shirt to make it look like this:

Fold the shirt in half the other way, by pulling the front and the back midpoints away from each other. Then cut strips in the back section. For mine, I made them gradually less wide as they went down the back, so it makes a triangle pointing to my own tan-lined butt cheeks. Don’t go too low, or else you’ll end up with a tangled mess of a shirt that’s annoying to put on.

And that’s it! If you feel like sewing or you want to make it longer (I did) you can cut the bottom off of another t-shirt and just sew it to the bottom of the one you just ruined – I mean… made into a couture, avant garde piece of fashion.

You can cut the hem off the bottom to make it less polished-looking, or you can sew another tshirt to the bottom.
If you try this, let me know how it turns out!