5.27.2015

'90s Drinks

Growing up, my parents rarely took us to restaurants or picked up fast food. I'd like to say it's because we were health conscious back in the '80s, but we were eating Hamburger Helper, Kraft Mac & Cheese, and Chef Boyardee on the regular, so no. It was basically because we were always on a budget.

My mom was really strict about sugary snacks though. We ate ice cream or had popcorn with M&Ms for dessert, but I think that's just because those were my dad's favorite treats. We didn't get much more than that. Occasionally though, after hours of yard work or on report card days, we'd get one dollar each to spend at the nearby mini mart. We'd stretch it out as far as possible, choosing lots of five and ten cent candies. I'm talking about Blow Pops, Now and Laters, Lemonheads, Jolly Ranchers, Laffy Taffy, Jaw Busters, Double Bubble, Airheads, and my all-time favorite, Atomic Fireballs. We'd take home our brown paper bag and make the stash last a week!

Sugary drinks and sodas were only allowed once in a while. We'd sometimes get a Capri Sun if we were hanging out at my dad's softball games all day. And my mom was a Crystal Light fanatic so we always had a pitcher of lemonade in the fridge. We didn't buy Hi-C, Squeez-It, Sunny D, Kool-Aid, or sports drinks. Soda was restricted to camping trips when we picked up a couple six-packs of store brand root beer, orange, or lemon-lime pop.

When I was older, with a little more freedom and an allowance, I'd walk to that same mini mart with friends instead of my parents to pick out some candy and a drink. Plain soda wouldn't do (because I was so sophisticated?), so I always grabbed one of two things: Clearly Canadian or New York Seltzer.



I'd say ninth grade is when my regular soda consumption started. My junior high had pop machines and I'd get a Mr. Pibb just about every day. I'd switch it up with Cherry Coke once in a while, but Mr. Pibb was my jam. I probably paired it with a basket of fries and called it lunch.


In tenth grade, I started drinking OK Soda. I honestly can't tell you what it was meant to taste like. It reminded me of a "suicide." You know, when you mix all the flavors of fountain soda in one cup? It was fruity and I think an orange-ish color, but I can't tell you much more than that. I drank a lot of it because my BFF collected the cans. They really were kinda cool. 


In the fall of my senior year, Surge hit the nation in a big way. Or maybe it was just like that here? It was marketed to teens as a more hardcore version of Mountain Dew and apparently made deals with high schools. One day a lime green truck pulled up, passed out hats, t-shirts, and cans of soda, then installed a Surge pop machine next to the Coke and Pepsi ones. It wasn't great tasting, but I sometimes drank it because it was a quarter rather than fifty cents. 


These days I only have soda once or twice a month. I lived off Coke in college for the caffeine and got three cavities upon graduation! That scared me forever and I gave it up. We don't have it in the house and we only buy it when we host parties. My kids have never tasted a single drop of soda, though I might introduce them to root beer floats this summer.

It's crazy to think that all my favorite drinks were completely discontinued. How did I get so old? Surge stopped production 2003, but because of a Facebook fanpage, the drink was re-released and can be bought on Amazon. I vaguely remember hearing about this, but it wasn't until I visited my brother in San Diego last year that I realized it actually happened. He had a case on top of his fridge! I had to taste one, but then gave it to Jacob because it was exactly how I remembered...gross. 


I heard about a Clearly Canadian revival last year, but it isn't in production yet. Last month I saw the Original New York Seltzer comeback on Facebook and had to order a case. Root Beer and Vanilla Cream were my favorite, so I went with Root Beer. My 12-pack arrived in just four days and I cracked one open while watching the kids play in the backyard. It is delicious.


What were your favorite drinks growing up?
Which discontinued treat would you like to taste now?


5.25.2015

Latest NetGalley Reads

Besides going out with my sister to see comedian Hannibal Buress (whom I LOVE!), I didn't do anything exciting over the three-day weekend and I'm not mad about it. It was nice to not have any plans. We did chores around the house, let the kids destroy the playroom, I watched a few Lifetime movies and read a ton of books. Check out what I finished from my NetGalley shelf. 


Hausfrau: A Novel by Jill Alexander Essbaum This story follows depressed American housewife, Anna, living with her Swiss husband and three kids in Zurich. To try to bring some happiness, excitement, or purpose to her life she takes classes, sees a therapist, and has a bunch of affairs. It took me a long time to get into the book and I almost stopped reading it twice. I didn't really like anything about Anna, though I imagine living in a foreign country without any friends would definitely take a toll on me, so I tried to sympathize. I thought it was well written, but could have done without the constant flashbacks, mundane details, and most of the therapy sessions. I felt a lot at the end, which is how the book redeemed itself for me. 


Inside the O'Briens: A Novel by Lisa Genova The O'Briens are an Irish Catholic family living in Boston, who are devastated by the news that their patriarch, Joe, has been diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. His four children, all in their twenties, have a fifty percent chance of inheriting the fatal neurodegenerative disease. This books starts with Joe, dealing with his symptoms and finally figuring out what's causing them, then switches focus to his daughter, Katie, to show how she and her siblings cope with the news and the impact the disease will have on their lives if they test positive. I enjoyed the family (though the characters seemed a little stereotypical) and thought it was a quick read (I finished it in one day). I didn't know anything about HD beforehand, so it was nice to read about it, but after a while the information was repetitive. 


Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread by Chuck Palahniuk I've read a handful of Palahniuk's books and though transgressive fiction is always a little uncomfortable for me, I've enjoyed them. That being said, with this collection of short stories, I was more disturbed than intrigued. I flat out skipped over some stories after just a few paragraphs. And while reading others, I was so confused by the writing style and incorrect word usage, I gave up on those too. Thankfully, the book lightened up as it went on and there were some pretty great topics. My favorite stories were Zombies, Loser, and Cold Calling. 

I received these books from NetGalley for review purposes.

5.19.2015

Ten Questions From Jana

A few weeks ago, Jana was given a blog award, answered some questions, then wrote her own questions for her readers to answer. I'm feeling uninspired lately and I really liked her questions, so this is what you get today. 


1. What websites or blog do you read every single day?
I read The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Vulture, Jezebel, Huffington Post, BBC News, Seattle PI, and the online version of our local newspaper every day. Did you notice I listed entertainment sites first? Just being honest! I also typically check in on Breathe Heavy, Tom & Lorenzo,  Homorazzi, Entertainment Weekly, and Upworthy. I don't read blogs every day. I should, but I don't always have the time, which is why you may get five comments in a row from me after being silent for a week. 

2. If you could attend one awards show, which one would it be?
The Oscars. The Grammys would be fun too because it's a giant concert and a lot more laid back, but I still think I'd choose the Oscars for the movies, A-list stars, and fashion!

3. What is one thing you are deathly afraid of?
Hmmm... I worry about my immediately family dying, but I think that's normal. I don't like change, but I'm not deathly afraid of it. I don't get scared of clowns, heights, the dark, blood, flying, public speaking, small spaces, animals or insects. I mean, I don't want snakes and spiders crawling all over my body in a small box suspended over the Grand Canyon or anything! But I don't have one big phobia. I have some irrational fears, like sinkholes, murderers hiding in my house and car, driving behind a log truck, and being stuck in elevators, but they aren't debilitating. I'll have to write another post about that soon!

4. What book do you always recommend to people?
To Kill A Mockingbird. I know that's a cliché answer, but it's such an amazing book and there are still so many people who haven't read it. I know, because I read it for the first time when I was 24! I think it's much more than a story about racism and inequality. It's also about love, childhood, family, dignity, moral code, compassion, loneliness, etc. After all these years, it still deeply affects people.

5. Open a playlist on any device you have. Hit shuffle. What are the first five songs that come up?
This isn't from a particular playlist, just my iTunes library:
Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Toxic (Cestladore Remix) by Melanie Martinez 
Buzzcut Season by Lorde
Novocaine For The Soul by The Eels
I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me) by Jay-Z

6. When and where do you blog (as in, at what time of day and in what location)?
I used to read, comment, blog, and schedule posts every Saturday morning, but Jacob's been working weekends so I get it done whenever I can now. Sometimes while Milo watches a movie in the middle of the day, but usually once or twice a week after the kids are in bed and Jacob's playing video games. I always blog at my desktop computer in my office area of the playroom (check it out here, now without the baby gates).

7. What song is your personal anthem?
It used to be Simple Kind of Life by No Doubt, but then I got married and had kids and it wasn't my story anymore. I don't have a certain song I listen to that pumps me up or anything. The latest song I really related to was Life For Me by Lily Allen. 

8. If you were selected to give a TED Talk, what would be your topic?
Tough question! I have zero talent, I'm not a genius, and I don't have an amazing career, so I think it would just be about kindness. I want more people to pull their heads out of their asses be compassionate and empathetic and nice. 

9. What’s your favorite quote or saying?
Similar to my answer above: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

10. What is a song, movie, book, or TV show that always makes you cry?
Oh man, everything makes me cry! I feel like the older I get the more emotional I am and I'm completely unapologetic about it. Let's get into it, shall we?

SONGS This is cheesy, but Taylor Swift's Never Grow Up makes me cry every single time. I sometimes tear up when Wonderwall by Oasis comes on because I love it so, so much and it's so nostalgic for me. Same with You Were Meant For Me by Jewel, because I listened to it on repeat while going through my first breakup. I've also cried over No Doubt's Don't Speak, Hole's Dying, Dixie Chicks' You Were Mine, The Beatles' In My Life, Third Eye Blind's How's It Gonna Be, Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars, Coldplay's The Scientist, and Band of Horses' No One's Gonna Love You

MOVIES The only heartbreaking movies I watch every year are Lars and The Real Girl and The Family Stone. In my twenties I used to rewatch Sweet November, Romeo + Juliet, Titanic, A Walk To Remember, Stepmom, and My Girl and bawl my eyes out.

BOOKS So far, I've never reread a book that made me cry, but some of the stories that broke my heart were A Little Life, The Fault in our Stars, The Kite Runner, Eleanor & Park, One Day, Me Before You, All The Bright Places, and Of Mice and Men.  

TV SHOWS It's safe to say I cried during every episode of Parenthood. I was pregnant and hormonal and cried a ton while binge watching Veronica Mars. I cried a lot when I used to watch Grey's Anatomy. Freaks and Geeks got to me every once in a while and I was a moody teen who related to My So-Called Life and some aspects of Beverly Hills, 90210 so I cried during those shows sometimes too. I also cry at every series finale of a show I love. 

- - - - -

Well, crap. Who's depressed with me now?! I'm not going to write my own questions because I loved Jana's so much, so you should answer them too! Let me know if you do so I can stop by and read them.

5.14.2015

Upfronts - CW

And finally, the news from The CW. Click on the title of each new show to see a clip and get more information.
** denotes a show I'll probably check out.

CANCELLED/ENDED
Hart of Dixie, The Messengers

RETURNING DRAMAS
The 100, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, The Flash, iZombie, Jane The Virgin, The Originals, Reign, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries

NEW COMEDY
**Crazy Ex-Girlfriend This upcoming musical comedy series was developed for Showtime, but will find it's home here this fall. Rachel Bloom stars as a woman who gives up her partnership at a New York law firm and her upscale Manhattan apartment in a desperate search for love and happiness in California. (I'll give it a few episodes. I'm a sucker for a musical.)

NEW DRAMAS
**Containment (midseason) David Gyasi and Christina Moses star in this Belgian based series that revolves around an epidemic that quickly leads to an enforced urban quarantine in Atlanta. Those inside must fight for their lives while local and federal officials keep the peace and search for a cure. (Creepy!)

Legends of Tomorrow (midseason) This superhero series pulls from Arrow and The Flash. The Atom (Brandon Routh) teams up with a motley crew of heroes and villains, including Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) and Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), to stop a seemingly unstoppable threat. Also starring Caity Lotz, Victor Garber, Arthur Darvill, and Ciara Renee.


Here's the new fall schedule!

Monday
8:00 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
9:00 Jane the Virgin

Tuesday
8:00 The Flash
9:00 iZombie

Wednesday
8:00 Arrow
9:00 Supernatural

Thursday
8:00 The Vampire Diaries
9:00 The Originals

Friday
8:00 Reign
9:00 America's Next Top Model

What will you be watching?

5.13.2015

Upfronts - CBS

Here is the news from CBS. Click on the title of each new show to see a clip and get more information.
** denotes a show I'll probably check out, which is absolutely nothing from this network.

CANCELLED/ENDED
Battle Creek, The McCarthys, The Mentalist, The Millers, Reckless, Stalker, Two and a Half Men, Unforgettable (moved to A&E)

RETURNING COMEDIES
2 Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, Mom, Odd Couple

RETURNING DRAMAS
Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, CSI: Cyber, Elementary, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five-0, Madam Secretary, NCIS, NCIS: LA, NCIS: New Orleans, Person of Interest, Scorpion

NEW COMEDIES
Angel From Hell In this single-camera comedy, Amy (Jane Lynch) comes into Allison's (Maggie Lawson) life and claims to be her guardian angel. Is she really an angel or just crazy?

Life in Pieces Justin Adler runs the show on this family comedy starring Dianne Wiest and James Brolin, where the story is told from the perspectives of the various family members. Colin Hanks, Betsy Brandt, and Thomas Sadoski play the kids.

NEW DRAMAS
Code Black Based on the documentary of the same name. The cast includes Marcia Gay Harden, Bonnie Somerville, Raza Jaffrey, and Luis Guzmán as medical professionals in one of the busiest ERs in the country.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (midseason) This is the second Criminal Minds spinoff (after the short-lived CM: Suspect Behavior), with Gary Sinise starring as an FBI agent in charge of helping American citizens who find themselves in danger abroad. Daniel Henney also stars.

Limitless Again, based on the movie of the same name. The show follows Jake McDorman as Brian Finch as he uses an ability-enhancing drug called NZT and has to use his new superpowers to solve cases for the FBI.

Supergirl Melissa Benoist plays Kara Zor-El, who was born on Krypton, but has been hiding the powers she shares with her famous cousin since arriving on Earth. But now at age 24, she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.

Rush Hour (midseason) Justin Hires plays the cocky black cop and Jon Foo plays the straitlaced Hong Kong cop in this reboot of the classic buddy comedy from the '90s.


Here's the new fall schedule!

Sunday
8:00 Madam Secretary
9:00 The Good Wife
10:00 CSI: Cyber

Monday
8:00 Supergirl
9:00 Scorpion
10:00 NCIS: LA

Tuesday
8:00 NCIS
9:00 NCIS: New Orleans
10:00 Limitless

Wednesday
8:00 Survivor
9:00 Criminal Minds
10:00 Code Black

Thursday (After Thursday night football)
8:00 The Big Bang Theory
8:30 Life in Pieces
9:00 Mom
9:30 Angel From Hell
10:00 Elementary

Friday
8:00 The Amazing Race
9:00 Hawaii Five-0
10:00 Blue Bloods

What will you be watching?