3 Things I Miss About Pepsi in the ’90s

I’m a Coke girl, but there was awhile there in the ’90s when Pepsi had my heart. As a gawky, poofy haired tween (before “tween” was even a word, they called us pre-teens back in the day), Pepsi had a knack for making me feel like I could be just a wee bit cool(er) if I drank their sodas. I’m such a sucker for a smart ad and good design. Thank god they weren’t selling crack… or butterfly clips.

The “Cool Kids” Commercial. People may have gone gaga over “Pepsi girl” Hallie Eisenberg, but this is my all-time favorite Pepsi commercial. It takes a good ad to make you switch brands, and this was that commercial for me, where I decided to give Pepsi a try. It didn’t last long, but then again neither did Bugle Boy jeans.

Young MC and Pepsi Cool Cans. With entire blogs devoted to drink design like Oh Beautiful Beer, it’s easy to forget that cans weren’t always considered an open canvas. I went bananas for these Pepsi Cool Cans and collected all four in the summer of 1990. Now, a six-pack goes for almost $30 on eBay. Maybe I should’ve kept mine!

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Crystal Pepsi. I feel like if I search really hard, there might be a few cases left in some dark corner of the dark continent along with a crate of Kentucky men’s basketball 1992 NCAA Champs t-shirts and hats that never saw the light of day (that one still hurts). And just now — like just this minute — I learned that Crystal Pepsi was re-released a couple of years ago for a brief time. How did I not know this? Well, I’m not going to miss another Crystal Pepsi promo, because I’ve joined the “Bring Back Crystal Pepsi” Facebook page. And while this page, with more than 7,800 followers is still active as of February 2018, its petition is sadly closed. So I’ve brought it upon myself to start the Bring Back the “Bring Back Crystal Pepsi Petition” Petition. Oh yeah, you heard that right. I’m imploring the original creator of the Bring Back Crystal Pepsi petition to open back up his plea to the masses. You can sign it here: httpschn.ge/2HhhAgv. They say you should pick and choose your battles. For me, the choice is clear.

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6 Snippets of Magazine Inspiration

So much of my mom life is spent in waiting rooms, lobbies, and my mobile waiting room (aka, the car). Yesterday, I found myself waiting my way through a doctor appointment followed by a haircut. Between books and sick of scrolling through Instagram, I picked up a couple of magazines. I LOVE magazines. Whoever says print is dead, is dead to me. I love the feel of the lightweight coated paper between my fingers. And my favorite magazines mean talented editors at the mast who curate inspiring, beautiful, and sometimes surprising content in a layout that’s at once striking and flowing. I. Love. Print. Magazines.

When I find myself playing the waiting game, and I actually have time to read a magazine or two from cover to cover (I read from back to front, does anyone else do that?), I devour them like a pint of Halo Top ice cream.

When I find articles or helpful tidbits, it’s not enough for my scattered brain to make a mental note. I might as well ask my three-year-old to write it down for me. I wouldn’t be so gauche as to steal an entire magazine from a waiting room or tear out a page, rather I take photos. Yesterday’s bounty was reaped mainly from the April 2018 Redbook with the exception of one recipe from a winter edition of Real Simple.  Not as simple as hitting a “share” button, but I want to spread the love. Here are my finds:

  1. What a friend we have in cheeses. I must admit, I borrowed that headline from an editor I worked for years ago in Charlotte. It’s still my favorite of all time. And it suits these beautiful appetizers that I think I could actually make myself. Look how pretty!
    Credit:Redbook

    2. Seedy. I can do so well with my diet, but lack of a good snack in the car or at night always gets me in the end. This spin on sunflower seeds sounds so munch worthy.

    Credit:Redbook

    3. Leaf conquers all. I’m forever in search of a salad that sounds better than pasta or a sandwich. This one fits the lunch bill, plus it makes enough for four days!

    Credit:Redbook

    4. Something in ramen. This recipe for ramen looks way better than the stuff I made in college (and let’s face it, still sometimes make late night), and it sounds like it could actually live up to its “easy” promises.

    Credit:Real Simple

    5. Shake what your mama made ya. They describe this meditation jar for adults, but I want to do this craft with my kids and make one for each of them as well!

    Credit:Redbook

    6. Here comes the sun (screen). And I say, it’s more than all right. All this time I’ve been looking for a daily SPF lotion to wear under my makeup. Why didn’t I think of something like this setting mist? Brilliant!

    Credit:Redbook

     

    I love websites, but print magazines will always hold a special place in my heart. Do you prefer print magazines or websites, or both?

Shit Happened

Anyone who has made the mistake of innocently asking me, “How’s it going?” in the past couple of months has received an earful of potty training trials and tribulations. For those who’ve become emotionally invested, and for those who are just plain curious to see if I’d actually throw a poo poo party (and what it looked like), I’m thrilled beyond measure to share that the deed is done! My 3-year-old daughter pooped on the potty and I’m pretty sure I was happier than I was the day she was born (mostly because I had a full-blown panic attack that day, and let’s face it: childbirth is a miracle, but it’s no picnic).

Right after the kids and I celebrated with a jumping-up-and-down group hug, I put in the call to the Publix bakery for the cupcakes. I LOVE their bakery. You ask them to make a half-dozen poop emoji cupcakes for you at 4pm for 9am the next morning and they say, “OK!” And only for five dollars! TOTALLY worth it.

poopoocupcakes

It so happens my best friend from growing up and her family were visiting this weekend so we had built-in party guests. She was quite amused, but made it clear that I need to get a hobby, a job, or a life of some sort. Point taken. But here she is humoring me with the poo piñata. Oh, yeah. I ordered it from Amazon.

poopinata

And here’s my big girl, holding up her piñata treasure: unicorn poop, of course! Also from Amazon. (I have a slight Prime problem.)

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We slammed a poop piñata with a Louisville Slugger, and ate Unicorn Poop candy and poop cupcakes. A good time was had by all. Now if I can only get her to poop in the potty a second time…

Instant Pot Paralysis and Getting Out of My Side Dish Rut

I’m part of a large group of impulsive people who bought the Instant Pot a few weeks back when it was on super sale. I’d heard about all of its wonders, from yogurt making to 6-minute chicken, but I’d also seen the price tag. So when it was half-off, I didn’t hesitate. Now, it’s been sitting on my counter for three weeks, intimidating me with all of its buttons, bells, and whistles. It’s a pressure cooker, not a landmine, but I still can’t bring myself to use it for fear of blowing up my kitchen. So I continue to search for the perfect introductory Instant Pot recipe that speaks to me without saying my last rites.

A lot of the recipes I’ve found come from Skinnytaste. While I’m working up the courage to try her chicken taco chili in the pressure cooker, I did take a stab at the zucchini tots, which merely require a grater and good old-fashioned oven cooking. I can only steam veggies so many times, and all of my favorite frozen sides at Trader Joe’s come in servings of “about 3” which might as well read “not enough for your family, Lindsey.”

Gina describes this side as kid-friendly, which of course it is, but you don’t need kids to appreciate a good tot. When my super picky 2-year-old didn’t want hers, I was exasperated on the outside for show, “Fine, I guess I’ll have to eat them so they don’t go to waste,” and all Homer Simpson on the inside:

udbwnde

Abbie doesn’t like pizza — yet — so I’m confident she’ll come around on these zucchini tots with time. For now, they are a hit with the rest of my household. I will say I should’ve added more breadcrumbs to my batch, but they were still delish. I’m no Beatrice Peltre, but this is how my tots turned out. No filter, no photography skills, no nothing:

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Hopefully my next food post will be about my adventures with the Instant Pot…and I won’t be typing it from the burn unit at the hospital.

 

5 Reasons Why Walmart’s Online Grocery Shopping is My New Everything

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I know, right? It’s so big. And boxy. But when you live in rural North Carolina, a trip to “the Walmart” is as much a part of your week as going to the post office… or the ABC Store. It may not be as white and shiny as Target, with its “affordable” lines of clothing from high-end designers. The lighting may be depressing, some of the clientele might be equally depressing, and you can’t find specialty items like hemp hearts…

Wait, I had a point. Oh yes. Their new online grocery shopping! If you like the idea of Walmart’s prices, but the idea of going into Walmart depresses the crap out of you or stresses you out to no end, this is the perfect solution. It has changed my life. Let me count the ways:

  1. It saves time. It takes some time to pick out my items online, but nowhere near as much time as it does to walk through the aisles at the store. Especially considering I usually have a kid or two in tow, which leads me to my second point.
  2. It saves my sanity. My 2-year-old daughter can Houdini her way out of any shopping cart seatbelt, so it’s no surprise that she won’t stand right beside me quietly while I compare prices on pasta. I can pick out my items from the comfort of my couch rather than picking up every item she pulls off the shelves as we go. This reason alone is enough to shop online.
  3. No impulse shopping. I admit it. I’m the one who walks by the displays right before checkout and has to have that Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo DVD for 4.99 (true story). And what’s that? Lip balm in a cute ball-shape container? Yes, please!
  4. Two words: Savings Catcher. This feature of the Walmart app finds out if an item you bought is being sold elsewhere for less and puts the difference on a gift card for you. So if you buy Silk Almond Milk at Walmart for $2.98, but it’s on sale at Harris Teeter for $2.50, the Savings Catcher will “catch” that and pocket the 0.48 for you. All you have to do is enter the TC# from each receipt into the app, and let it do the rest. It’s literally mindless and it adds up. This is something you can use whether you shop online or in-store, but I just discovered it and am pretty obsessed.
  5. It’s free! Yes, I know Publix has free online grocery shopping, too. But the closest Publix to my house is 45 minutes away and it’s not quite budget friendly enough to be the go-to store for my weekly basics.

I admit I was concerned about the produce, but I couldn’t have picked out a better bunch of bananas myself. All of this being said, the one thing that kills me is that I can’t use my own shopping bags. But I’m hanging onto the hope that following this whole hand sanitizer ban, the EPA will find that plastic bags are actually good for the planet. In the meantime, reusing and recycling alleviates my conscience enough (oh, the things you can make with plarn).

If you want to try it, use this link. You’ll save $10, and so will I.

 

 

The ‘Charlie and Lola’ Dinner for Picky Eaters

My son and I both love the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child. He giggles at the silly things that Lola does, while I love the mixed media illustrations (and the excuse to use my bad British accent when reading aloud).

lola-and-charlie

The one that gets reread the most in our house — because it’s the only one we own — is I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato. As you could guess, it’s about being a picky eater, something most every parent faces. (If you’re a parent and you don’t have this problem, keep it to yourself or everyone else will secretly loathe you. No one wants to hear about how your kid prefers edamame to ice cream.)

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In the book, Lola’s older brother Charlie cleverly tricks her into eating the foods she hates most: “Oh this isn’t mashed potato. People often think that but no, this is cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji.”

When we first started reading this book, Jed wasn’t eating half of the foods on Lola’s No Fly List. That’s when I suggested that we have a “Charlie and Lola dinner” one night.

Clockwise from top left: Orange twiglets from Jupiter, moonsquirters,  ocean nibbles from the supermarket under the sea, cloud fluff, and green drops from Greenland (middle).
Clockwise from top left: Orange twiglets from Jupiter, moonsquirters, ocean nibbles from the supermarket under the sea, cloud fluff, and green drops from Greenland (middle).

It was a total hit. For the first time ever, Jed ate all of his moonsquirters, orange twiglets, green drops, and cloud fluff (ocean nibbles are an easy sell in our house, but for the record he ate all of those, too).

There’s no recipe to share for this one — it’s just that easy.

Have you tricked your picky eater into trying (and even liking) new foods? Please share!

23 days of living through friends and food.

In the last month, I have managed to drop the ball on my blog, let it roll down the road and into a ditch where I left it for dead. But I’m reviving it… picking it up and washing it off (a mere brushing won’t cut it). It’s been a challenging time, but I’m a silver lining kind of gal and prefer to count my blessings.

If you were to do one of those time lapses of my life over the past month, it would look something like this (minus a few thousand snapshots):

Visiting with great friends and family… and great friends who are family:

cusenbary visitevelyn

With great friends, comes good wine and good food… too much good food.

Breakfast Bowl at Tupelo Honey, South Asheville.
Breakfast Bowl at Tupelo Honey, South Asheville.

Father's Day Brunch with the in-laws: Bagel with lox and boursin cream cheese at DOUGH.
Father’s Day Brunch with the in-laws: Bagel with lox and boursin cream cheese at DOUGH.

Took my first cooking class today at DOUGH (first cooking class ever, really). Made biscuits and chocolate cherry scones from scratch!

Not embarrassed to put my name on these!
Not embarrassed to put my name on these!

Heading to Louisville next week to visit more good friends and family, which undoubtedly means more food (can’t seem to gather without it). It might mean more trips to the gym upon my return, but in the words of  the almighty JC:

“Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.” ~Julia Child

Amen.