Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To All My Real Housewives Friends and Twitter Friends

Happy Tuesday, LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers!

Yesterday, I declared it "New Product Wednesday on a Monday" and today I am declaring it "New Product Wednesday on a Tuesday!"  You are very lucky ... or I need to get a calendar.

If you are a regular reader of LilyOnTheLam, you will know that many times my posts are pretty much "what you see is what you get and what you get is crazy and wacky!"  I could write about myself in a self-aggrandizing light, but self-deprecating is a wee bit more true to form in a "why do these weird things always happen to me???" way.  

So in other words, why waste my breath or my fingers' typing away by trying to make myself sound better than I am?  It's better to just tell the truth and laugh along with everyone else ... who are laughing at me, hysterically laughing at me.  Sigh!  (LOL!)

In that viewpoint, I will admit to those of you who do not already know that I ... watch ... reality television.  

As in, my TV is permanently tuned to Bravo TV.  

(Side note: Hottie former Marine male Kelley from "Below Deck" favorited one of my tweets, which I think means he is in love with me.  Yep, pretty sure of that.)  

Now in my free time from being perma-glued to the reality TV line up, I also like to shop.  Yes, I am a walking stereotype. I know it.  I own it.

Now the reality TV stars of Bravo really do know that their audience loves to both shop and watch and there are all these side items they are constantly referencing on episodes.  

I feel like it is one part reality TV, one part HSN home shopping informercial.  I've never had a burning desire to buy Nene Leakes' clothing, Ramona Singer's Pinot Grigio, Vicki Gunvalson's vodka or have any of my pets buried and/or eulogized by Phaedra Parks or Sonja Morgan.  (I have tried Bethenny Frankel's Skinny Girl Margarita but found it too sweet.)  However, there is ONE product that has been touted AD NAUSEAM on "Real Housewives of New Jersey" that I was slightly curious about ...

I give you... the Manzo Boys' marketing company promoted BLK water!

It's water.  And it's black.  It is "alkaline fulvic trace mineral infused water" which basically to me sounds like the Swedish Chef talking.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where in most settings appearances count.  I know you should not judge a book by its cover, but I was really having a tough time looking at the BLK water,  When I look at a bottle of black liquid, I don't think "refreshing" or "hydrating."  I think "murky" and "swamp-like."  But I was also curious ...

So when I saw a bottle of BLK water on the shelves of Southern Season in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; I gave out a shriek of reality TV joy!  I may have to work 9000 hours in NC on a business trip, but there would be some BLK-water drinking time squeezed in there too!

I chilled the bottle to icy cold temps.  Not so much on purpose but because the refrigerator in my hotel room was straight outta Antarctica!  I opened the bottle and just stared at it.  Black water.  Hmmm.  I slowly raised the bottle to my lips and took a sip.

It tasted like water with an earthy aftertaste.  

It tasted like water from a really old house's kitchen sink.  

It was ice cold and yet tasted tepid.  How is that possible?

I have been in mud baths and thermal pools in Pamukkale, Turkey and hot springs in Taiwan and Malaysia, so I am not afraid of some minerals in my water.  But BLK water was not in the same vein.  It's hard to explain but I felt like it was anti-hydrating.  One sip and I didn't feel quenched or refreshed.  My mouth actually felt drier.  I have had alkaline waters before (I'm still looking for Shahs of Sunset's Asa Soltan's Diamond Water!) and have not had this sensation.

I forced myself to finish off the bottle.  When the bottle is empty, one sees that there had been black writing on the bottle that is only clearly visible once the bottle is empty.  It said "DEFY EXPECTATIONS" on the bottle.

Did BLK defy my expectations?  Sort of, but not in a good way.  I actually had high expectations for a mineral-infused water.  I was thinking that this might be a "good thing" for my body ... and maybe it was, but it certainly wasn't a treat for my taste buds.  Plus for some reason "DEFY EXPECTATIONS" made me think of "SURRENDER DOROTHY" from "The Wizard of Oz."  

Side note:  My Mother bought me Wizard of Oz bed sheets when I was little, a real life picture of the green Wicked Witch scared me so much that I ripped the sheets off my bed, balled them up and shoved them in the back of a drawer.  The life lesson there is: "Don't go to bed with things that scare you."  Which should be handed out on cards to people leaving bars at 3 a.m. with strangers.  Just sayin'.

Side Note #2:  I am pretty sure I think of "SURRENDER DOROTHY" when I see "Defy Expectations" because of the song "Defying Gravity" from the Wizard of Oz musical wicked.

I'll take Idina Menzel singing over drinking a bottle of BLK water ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.  Ms. Ohio and I saw her both in a one woman concert and in the pre-Broadway showings of her musical "If/Then" in Washington DC with a one Mr. Cardamom Monroe.  While I ADORED Idina Menzel in concert, I found "If/Then" to be rough, lackluster and uneven.  I hope it was polished more before it appeared on Broadway.  

Anyway, I found BLK water to be like my reality TV show watching.  Full of sturm und drang, signifying nothing.  Which also has been an appropriate metaphor for my dating life recently.  I had high hopes for "The Commissioner."  A man who kept telling me how honest, forthright, caring and compassionate he was.  Did I also happen to mention he works in sales?  Lots of words about how wonderful he was and little action to back it up.  You're a bottle of black water that tastes crappy and leaves me dehydrated!  So buh-bye Commissioner and on to the next one!   

Happy Tuesday, LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers - thanks for reading!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Confession: My Name Is Lily and I Like Fancy Sloppy Joes

Hello LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers:

Happy Monday!  To start this week off right, I am declaring today "New Product Wednesday on a Monday."  It's like Christmas in August, people!

I am back from a week in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina where I worked my arse off round the clock for my job and any free time I had was filled with sleep, Southern food and cocktails.  The one week felt like sixteen weeks and I am very glad to be home in Florida.

A few weeks back, Ms. Wrigleyville and I had been shopping at one of my favorite stores in the world: Cost Plus World Market.  We do not have one in Tampa Bay, so I must make a pilgrimage any time I want to go for some low cost "world goods."  On this particular trip, I slipped something into the shopping cart trying to be "discreet."  I might as well have had a Polish tuba band behind me with banners saying "What is Lily doing?" as I tried to be "discreet."  Ms. Wrigleyville caught my not-so-sly, not-so-ninjaesque movements and said "What are you putting in your cart?"  BUSTED!

I threw up my hands and said "OK now listen, DON'T JUDGE ME!"  Which I think is pretty much the international way of saying "I am pathetic, judge away!"

In my cart, I had put a spice/sauce packet for ...

Red Fork Brand "Best Sloppy Joe Skillet Sauce with roasted tomato and garlic."  My name is Lily and I like fancy Sloppy Joes. 

In my defense, I have to say that naming something "Best Sloppy Joe" is really a teaser that no mortal even with superhuman strength could turn down.  I mean, who wouldn't want to see if this truly was the BEST Sloppy Joe ever?  

And my point is proven, because Ms. Wrigleyville didn't judge me.  Instead she asked me which aisle I procured this packet of nirvana and she promptly ran over and grabbed one for herself.  Proving once again why we are friends.

Now let me tell you how I am with sauce packets and spice mixes.  Whether at home or abroad, I love to buy seasonings.  I then put them in my cupboard, forget all about them and then five to ten years from now throw them out in a "ohh I forgot about these" sad moment.

But when something says "BEST Sloppy Joe," you can't just leave it lingering in the back of the pantry!

Side Note:  The unfortunate placement of the "H" key next to the "J" key on the laptop keyboard combined with my devastatingly unfortunate FAT FINGERS means that I keep initially typing "Sloppy Hoe" instead of "Sloppy Joe" which makes me laugh hysterically (I have the maturity of an 8 year old boy) and then I correct the typo and move on.

After a long business trip, I cleared my weekend schedule to do some serious recuperating.  I did make time to see Jamie Kennedy at Sidesplitters Comedy Club with friends and to volunteer at a local theater.  I had been wishing I had cancelled my volunteering because I was so tired and would rather just sit on my butt watching a mini-marathon of season one of Bravo TV's "Below Deck" television show.  

But once I was at the theater, I felt reinvigorated.  There were some local celebs at the show as well as some colorful characters and I enjoyed talking with them all.  Reinvigorating!  I know it is difficult to find time in one's schedule for all the things we need to do, but it was a good reminder to me that volunteering really does fuel my soul.  It is something I need to spend more time doing because not only do I pay forward the opportunities I have been given but it also nurtures me as well.

When I headed home, tired but happy; I remembered that package of Sloppy Joe mix and stopped at the store for ground Chuck, a large yellow onion, a large green bell pepper, a can of fire roasted tomatoes and a pack of Publix French Hamburger buns.  I'm not really sure what makes a hamburger bun "French" other than it has a funky carved, egg-washed top that sorta looks like a slashed baguette.  But I do know that they taste good and tend to hold up better than your typical hamburger bun.

The sauce mix was fragrant.  The ground beef-vegetable mixture smelled heavenly.  

I settled in to eat my "Fancy Sloppy Joe" while watching the new "To Be Takei" George Takei documentary on iTunes, which I highly recommend.  Apparently right now the movie is only in 1 theater in the country -- in Manhattan, so I appreciated being able to watch it on iTunes.  Thank you, Apple!

The Fancy Sloppy Joe was good.  A little on the sweet side.  I added cayenne pepper and alder wood smoked sea salt to balance out the sugary taste.  While I enjoyed the sauce mix, I probably could have replicated the same flavor with less sugar by using some tomato paste and garlic.  But for ease of use, the sauce packet was great.

So Fancy Sloppy Joe:  B+.  The George Takei documentary: A+++++++++++.

Happy Monday!