Friday, July 25, 2008

Makeover Magic (Anybody Want To Go To the Prom?)

Today I bring you another entertaining website, this one courtesy of Mary Kay cosmetics.

Their website offers an online virtual makeover game tool where you can try out product colors and application techniques. I know this is probably very useful to someone who is trying to decide on a new look or color palette...but it also is very useful when one is trying to keep oneself entertained for the afternoon.

While they do limit the overall quantity of makeup a person is allowed to apply to one's virtual face, the program still provides plenty of personalization to paint a powerful picture (pun intended) of product possibilities and personal potential within the privacy of your own home 'puter room.

I know, that was a clumsy sentence, but wasn't it pretty?? See what a little creatively applied pink can do? It can hide your flaws!

Look what a little pink did for me:

Jujyfruit fresh out of bed

Jujyfruit ready for the day!

So, would anybody like to go to the prom with me? Go get yourself ready and send the image to

Monday, July 21, 2008

Voki (Very Ventertaining Virtual Videos)

(Play the video to hear the beginning of this post; if you can't see it, let me know.)

So how do you make a Voki of your own? In a nutshell, this is what you do. First choose a basic character from the Voki library, pick a hair-do, tweak the facial characteristics, and adjust the hair/eye/skin colors to recreate the person you have in mind. Once the face starts to looks right, select clothes, accessories, and a background to add more detail. Then, as a final step, give your Voki something to say. The Voki site provides voices that will read your typed text...but you can also call in and record your very own voice, which is what I did for this clip. Your Voki can then be emailed to a friend (great snarky potential!) or embedded in a site to bring your virtual character to life.

Some faces work better than others, of course, especially if you are trying to make an actual person. I haven't found a really good match for myself yet. This one seems to be the best match so far, using Hilary Clinton as a base...but then I couldn't change the hairstyle to match mine. But I think you get the picture.

I'll show you a few other samples I've made, to get your creative Voki juices flowing.

Here's my husband as a Voki:

And here he is in the flesh:

"I agree -- it's really not that funny."

And here's our neighborhood VIP, Lucy:

The snarky potential is fun, too. Here's part of one I jokingly sent to a friend on Sunday morning:

(Now obviously, I was at home on the computer as well...heh, heh.) Anyhoo.

Get a Voki now!
Click on the link to go make a Voki of your own. I'm telling you, it's a hoot!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dreams for Sale (3 for $4.25)

(Great photo borrowed from here.)
Yesterday I took the older kids to the county fair. Tantalized by the impressive prizes displayed so prominently at each of the gaming booths, my son asked if he could try to win something. I agreed, so we looked around to find The Game -- that is, the one that had good prizes, cost less than $5.00, and offered believable odds. We settled on the Ring Toss.

This ring toss offered a whole bucket of rings for $5, and the grand prize for ringing the center bottle was a brand new Wii! Each bucket had 60 rings -- that's right, folks, 60 chances to win a Wii! I knew the odds at ringing the center bottle were extremely poor, but I also decided we would try. I figured at the very least we could ring ONE bottle and walk home with the smallest prize.

The three of us lined up, grabbed a handful of rings, and starting tossing. Each of us dreamed of being the one to beat the odds and win the family a Wii!

The pile of rings got smaller and smaller...and not a single one had hit its mark. I'm not just talking about the magic center bottle -- I'm talking about ANY bottle.

Before we knew it, all the rings had been tossed. Even with a bucket full of chances, we didn't ring a single bottle. It was so anti-climactic. (Anti-climactic times three, actually!)

We kind of stood there, looking at each other.

Then the barker pointed out some rings on the ground that we had dropped! And just like that, the dream was restored, and we threw those final two stragglers at the bottle grid with a mighty fervor...

...and watched them ricochet down into the cracks.

So did we walk away? NOPE. We looked down at the ground again, hoping to spot just one more ring waiting to help us fulfill our destiny.

There weren't any more rings, but we saw three shiny quarters nestled in the grass!

And the crazy thing is, even though we didn't win that Wii -- or even a tiny pencil topper, for crying out loud!! -- we each still felt kind of lucky.

County Fair Receipt
Parking - Free
Drinks - $9.00
Ring Toss - $5.00
Believing in Our Dreams - Priceless

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Countdown is On!

I had a huge flash of insight this morning -- I realized that the end of suffer summer vacation is only ONE PRESCRIPTION REFILL away!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Carnivore's Dilemma: Which One Tastes the Best?

Yesterday was a big day for the whole Jujyfruit gang -- we participated in a Backyard Grill Competition that was part of our downtown summer festival.

We've been testing recipes, browsing cookbooks, and tweaking sauces for a couple weeks now, and had our game plan ready.

Our game plan did not include this weather, however! Of all the luck, the ONE day...But we forged ahead; there was meat to be grilled! (and after several frantic phone calls, a canopy to be borrowed.)

My husband and son started out early in the morning, setting up and getting the charcoal started. The meats were slowly cooking, and there was just a whole lot of waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
We walked around and checked out the Pro Division. For the first time, our local grill-out included the big dogs, which meant Kansas City Barbecue Circuit certified judges, and lots of rules, and some hard core grill teams around, like these guys...

Guess if we ever do this again, we'll need to come up with a catchy name, eh?

So eventually the waiting was over, and it was time to turn in our entries. First there was Spicy Blackberry-Glazed Barbecue Chicken.
Then came the Plum-Glazed Asian-Style Baby Back Ribs. (I forgot to take the final photo, but picture them cut and glazed with sticky goodness.)

Third was Big Daddy's Big 'Ol Pork(y) Butt Carolina-Style Pulled Pork, which was the kids' favorite entry (and the one I had the most fun naming...although the entire family vetoed my suggestion).
Finally, we had Ben's Braised Barbecue Beef Brisket (aka B-5).
Then came more waiting, while we gave the judges time to tally up the scores...

I am pleased to announce that our little team took 1st Place in the Ribs category! (I will even share our super-secret recipe with all of you, Pioneer Woman style, with detailed directions and photos in an upcoming post...)
We took home a trophy, the sun came out, and we ate some delicious meat. See ya next year, grillers!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fanny Pack News Flash!

I spoke to my daughter on the phone Saturday as she was heading home from camp. As we were talking, she suddenly said, "Hey, Grammy -- did you get my fanny pack from the cabin?" off to the side.

I strained my ears to hear the response from the background on that end...and, of course, it was a mildly surprised negative. That's right -- The Infamous Fanny Pack, highly sought after and debated, the main purpose of which was to keep her things close by and handy -- was itself forgotten!

"Well," I thought to myself, "I guess it really wasn't all that superior to more traditional toting methods after all. Everything was misplaced anyway...and they really do look pretty silly. No wonder they are all but extinct!"

I brought in the mail this morning and saw the cover of the July 2008 American Girl catalog. Un. Be. LIEVable. You can buy matching fanny packs belt bags for girls and their dolls?! "Does this mean they are nostalgic time-period accessories, or generally something the young kids these days are yearning for, like Webkinz, or a Wii??," I wondered.

Well! Imagine my surprise when the following magazine pages caught my eye while in the waiting room of the hospital for Junior's weekly Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy sessions later...

(click to super-size images)

LOOK AT THIS! They may be Stars, but they really are just like us...and some of them even wear fanny packs belt bags!! Ok, so maybe that makes them NOT like us, but I think they might be on to something and we should bring back the pack, too!

Of course, these are candid shots, taken while they are just slumming around. So these photos could just be the equivalent of Stars With Cellulite or Stars Without Makeup or Stars Caught Red-Handed!
But then I kept reading and came to the StyleWatch page. NO WAY!! Stars are wearing them on the red carpet! Stylists are adding them as accessories! Coach sells them for $128.00!!
And LOOK! It's not just Hollywood that's doing it. Fanny packs Belt bags are being worn on the PGA Tour! (Will Tiger Woods start promoting them in commercials??)

And, speaking of commercials, what do you see on the waist of this carefree model? That's right. Another one! Think about it -- you can have ZERO periods (all year long!), and no more bulky, cumbersome purses to carry, either!! (That right there is some SERIOUS freedom, ladies.)

So there you have it, people. It's official. Feel free to strap on those packs and move about with pride!

Turns out you are NOT the only one.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

That's Quite a Belt You've Got There, Mister

Before my daughter left for camp, I mentioned wanting to buy her a fanny pack to take along. Well, let me tell you, that got some laughs. As well as a recommendation to go "look in the 80s".

But I maintained that it would be really fabulous because a)she could carry her camera, sunglasses, chapstick, etc. on hikes, b)keep her hands free, and c)not lose anything! Fanny packs may not be the most fashionable accessory, but I'm sort of admiring the genius of them again. (Shhh! Don't tell anyone.)

I found one, brand spanking new on a store shelf, believe it or not! And if you should decide to purchase such a handy little pouch, here are a few things you should know.

First of all, "Fanny Pack" is no longer in use (the WORD I mean -- quit laughing!). "Belt Bag" is the current politically correct term.

And secondly, less important, but perhaps even more shocking -- You can now buy them with a belt that expands UP TO 60 INCHES! I kid you not.

I guess they figure that if your waist measurement is bigger than that, you're probably not going to be hiking anywhere.

I couldn't picture exactly how big 60 inches is, though, so I googled "60 inch diameter". Let me show you what it looks like. (links provide photo credits)

This table.

The platform on this tower.

Possibly one of these hay bales.

And here's an interesting fact: there aren't even many Santa suits that will fit a 60-inch waist, but I did find this place that carries an XXXL that would just fit.

Remember several weeks ago when Japan issued new rules for waistline measurements of 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women? I don't think we'll be exporting too many of these expandable fanny packs belt bags over there!

But as far as wearing them here, on our average-sized selves, well...if you should decide to buy one, I promise not to laugh!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

21st Century Lemonade Stand

Have I got a deal for you, dear readers!

A little neighborhood friend of mine is running an ebay auction this week, and the clump of dirt that he is offering is definitely a One-Of-A-Kind, Must-See item!

No seriously, it really is a clump of dirt , but you need to go read about it to appreciate the whole story.

As a mother of a child who once sold pillbugs (one per Dixie Cup, only 25 cents each!), drawings (each priced according to her level of pride), dandelion curls!! (remember stripping the ends then dipping them in water?), and most recently, candy (to raise her bunny money), I have to say I am fully supportive of Hewitt's entrepreneurial ebay endeavor.

I have already asked a question and placed 2 bids....wouldn't it be fun to help him get a few more?? (hint, hint!)

I'll even stick a link in my sidebar temporarily, so it's easy to go bid and follow along with the action. See ya on ebay!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Train Me Like Pavlov's Dog

I was out with some friends last night and they were telling me that I should "write some stuff down", and I confessed that I actually have been and told them about this blog. And they were telling me that I have "a voice" that would make what I write different, unique, ME. And then one friend (who has read it all) said that she didn't actually hear "me" -- not the one she knows -- in this blog all that much. And it got me thinking.

Here's the deal. I'm not sure the same side of me that they see will ever make it into the blog format, for a variety of reasons.

1. I am fully aware that everything I put in here is searchable by anyone at anytime for any reason; I don't want to put things in black and white that I will regret later. (Well, ok, I will likely regret much of what I write at some point...but I would like it to be because I found typos or errors or changed my opinion or some other relatively benign reason.) What I don't want is to put something in here that comes back to haunt me. (I don't want to edit myself right out, though, either.)

2. My friends & I generally see each other socially, not in the midst of the daily grit and grime. I am relaxed, free, unencumbered! I love a one-liner and the easy laugh! But the stuff that lingers in my mind is the stuff that is hard or thought-provoking. And it's also the stuff that I haven't already said.

3. When I put my thoughts into written words, they are different. Writing it down forces me to get to the heart of the matter (eventually, anyway -- I do tend to ramble!) and it's therapeutic.

4. I am a processor. I react on the spot, often put my foot in my mouth, give a gut response -- but behind that initial reaction, underneath it all, I continue to think things through. I come to terms with situations; I develop my viewpoints; I re-write my inner dialogue; I chew it around and spit out something new.

5. I'm making a conscious effort to stay positive right now. I'm in a good place and I'm being very mindful about staying there. If that means I reconstrue a bad account into something more hopeful and positive, then I say more power to me! I may have picked up the phone and fussed and moaned and whined and cursed...but as I back up to place it in the grand scheme of things, my perspective shifts.

6. By the time I am able to get on the computer and type, hours have passed. (See Points 2-5!)

7. Perhaps most importantly, I never intended for this blog to be a Mommy Blog, and I had no desire to lay myself out on a table. I just wanted something that would be eclectic and entertaining...but what I've found is that when I sit down at the computer, the post I often want to write is just one about my day. So I guess I'll keep doing that some (but I'll keep the meatier stuff over there), and I will try to bring back the fun and games!

See guys?? We go out for dinner and drinks and laughs...and I end up chewing it over (a 5 minute conversation!) and coming up with a long, reflective, boringly meaningful (to me) blog.

(I rest my case.)

OK, so here's what would help me stay on track: if you read something you like, leave a comment. (Even if it's an old post, I'll see it.) You can train me like Pavlov's dog to post more of the good stuff!