I Bought Something

Nope, not a DJ PaulyD Talking Pen. That was a gift. And it's awesome, although I'm convinced the child in China who made it for me messed up because it clearly says, "Crabs are here!"

And I didn't buy the Sephora gift card, technically. I earned it. Also, it might be a bribe for a friend who NEEDS TO BRANCH OUT AND TRY NEW THINGS.

I did buy keys. A bunch of keys. A whole purse-full of them. They came with my new house, along with my new swimming pool, and my new garage, and my new playhouse (totes have a fort!), and and and I'm a little excited. It was a bit of work to make it all happen, but we did it. Pictures of the awesome will be forthcoming.

Favorite Reads: Cocktails, Photography, Shopping, And Laughs

Alright kids, it's time to stop reading the drivel I post and get your eyes over to some other sites for a bit. Here are a few of my favorites:

When I want to learn about booze, and I mean learn not just tip up the glass, I head over to American Drink. Some people will blog about a cocktail they've whipped up in their makeshift kitchen bar, but these folks have dialed it in. Posts are provided by some of my friends, acquaintances, and occasionally inspired by some random folks I like to laugh at on stage when I get the chance. If you want to impress your friends during the holidays or maybe host a whisky tasting, check out this blog. If you want to learn why tequila isn't the evil shit that made you puke your guts out in college, take a gander at American Drink. Learn about the agave plant and why you don't need to do shots with lime and salt like a frat boy on spring break. Grow up with American Drink.

When I need to get inspired and find ideas for photography, I hit Photojojo. Not always, but frequently enough that I want to share. They have the best gadgets. Like this little doohicky right here: a lens cap holder for your camera strap. How fucking genius is that? They also have a feature called Time Capsule that sends you an email twice a month with photos from a year ago—also, genius. It links to Flickr; poof, done! I love that.

Now, on to my favorite shopping site. I am well and truly addicted to Hautelook. It's a downright embarrassment how often their packages show up on our doorstep, but I have scored some seriously good deals. Want a teaser? If you're into True Religion or Seven jeans, they have them right now for $56. I've found cashmere yoga pants, bamboo kitchen cutting boards, children's books, makeup, and a host of other treats. It's all name brand stuff. It's all deeply discounted. Shoes, furniture, clothing, housewares, toys, Hautelook has it all. The site updates daily and closes out items as they sell out. If Hautelook isn't your thing, head over to my other favorite shopping site, Etsy.

Need to wrap your day up with some shits and giggles? The Bloggess will deliver. My girl can make a chronic disease funny. She can make a sex tour in Japan funny. She can make a dead animal funny. If you have trouble finding your funny, let Jenny help you. She's a professional. I should warn you that you should not attempt her brand of humor at home unless you are wearing safety equipment and a Depends. Plus, sometimes she lets me take her picture in precarious locations, for which I am eternally grateful.

The Bloggess Holding Court in the Pisser

Other times, she wears my shoes and lets me pose WITH her in precarious locations. Again, grateful. (Precarious locations is code for bathrooms, by the way.)


(Photo by the lovely Missdisgrace)







These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things: Stuff I Like

I haven't done one of these in a bit, and short of of telling you what else I've created out of figs this week, I thought I'd share some of my favorite things with you.

This first one is actually related to a fig creation from tonight since it included sliced apples; it's an Apple Peeler, Corer, and Slicer. I got mine from a Pampered Chef party back in the day, but you can find them on Amazon or at a kitchen store of your choosing. You can have a mountain of peeled, sliced, cored apples in minutes. I used mine to make cinnamon sliced apple chips for the Bug and Peanut when they were little, and now that we have an apple tree in the yard, it's getting a work out again. It makes the hardest part of baking an apple pie a piece of cake. (Did you see what I did there? Damn, I'm funny.)


Apple Slice Garnishing Fall Harvest Quesadilla

Kids, pets, and poop stink. I'm not a fan of stink. I have a few products I use to attack the stink (and stains) produced by these three things. Nature's Miracle is a must-have when you live with kids or pets. Nature's Miracle will get ink pen out of carpet, lipstick off of collars (in case you have that problem), or cat puke off your favorite duvet cover (although, I no longer have that problem). There are other products like it, but the price of Nature's Miracle when you buy in bulk is hard to beat. It kills the stain and the stink all in one swoop and without scrubbing. Pour it on; let it work. Second, I like an air freshener that doesn't just mask the smells. Nobody likes the smell of shit and roses. I want something that truly kills the odors, but doesn't smell like grandma's powder puff. That's where my next favorite product comes into play: Fresh Wave All Natural Odor Neutralizing Home Spray. Finally, I like a nice candle to light that lasts a long time, but doesn't cost me $40 a pop. When I'm feeling indulgent, I'll buy myself a Votivo candle, but when I'm buying to defunkify the entire house, I use Vanilla Creme Pet Odor Exterminator Candles. They smell great, aren't overpowering, and last FOREVER. Best of all, they're cheap. I can't always get the Vanilla Creme scent through Amazon, but I can usually find them by doing a search online. I've never paid more than $9/candle. Since they last up to 70 hours, that's a bargain! You Votivo addicts know what I'm talking about.

Alright, let's talk about my face. It's getting older. I'm still a cheap ho when it comes to makeup, but I have sensitive skin. Most of my favorites are made by E.L.F. What I can't find at Target in the E.L.F. section, I buy from their online site. My favorite items are their mineral eyeshadows, hyper shine gloss (only $1!), and mineral concealer. They have great brushes, too. Their small precision brush ($3) makes a great eyeliner brush. I dip it in a little water, then the mineral shadow. And, I'm not easy to please with brushes. I have MAC brushes I've spent a pretty penny on, yet I will tell you the E.L.F. brushes are just as good at doing the job. Same with the eyeshadows, concealer, and glosses. I've bought more expensive products, but for the $1-5 I spend on these products, they last just as long, are just as nice, and I don't mind experimenting with new colors or products. They even have inexpensive nail polish removal pads that are great for traveling.

Now, what would be super cool was if I got these products for free, but I don't. If you buy any of the Amazon-linked products through my links, I get a small kickback from Amazon, but that's it. Really, I just wanted to blab on about the stuff I like. I do have some products to review, but they'll be going in the review section of my blog since they were comped by the product manufacturers. Now, tell me what sets your kite a flyin'. What products make your world go 'round?



Hunting and Gathering

Normally when I’m stressed, I rearrange the furniture, knock down walls, paint rooms, rip out flooring. You know, small projects like that.

Thanks to my back, I can’t do any of those things. Yesterday, I took Peanut and her cousin to the movies, went grocery shopping, did a load of laundry, and cleaned up the kitchen. Today, I can’t move from a supine position no matter how many handfuls of anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers and pain meds I swallow.

While I await my visit to the Spine Clinic where they better offer Instant Healing because I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS, because we have OTHER MORE IMPORTANT SHIT GOING ON HERE, I’ve been building a little sub-blog to entertain myself and possibly some of you.

It’s called CalifmomFinds. (You can find a permanent link to it up in the navigation bar on Califmom, between Reviews and Examiner, my other gigs.) CalifmomFinds is a place for me to gather all of the treasures I find as I peruse the Interwebs. Some of the items are quirky, some are handmade, some are one-of-a-kind, and some are beyond any budget I’ll ever have.


Even more than hunting for things for myself, I love to hunt for things for other people. If there’s something you’re trying to find, hop over to CalifmomFinds and let me know. I will not, however, be able to help locate the following:

  • your mojo
  • lost minds
  • love
  • the meaning of life (42)
  • happiness (unless material goods bring it for you)
  • the man or woman of your dreams, unless he/she is deliverable via UPS

Just wanted to get that disclaimer out there.

Also, none of the goodies on CalifmomFinds are there because someone compensated me. All that kinda stuff is on CalifmomReviews. Disclosure. I haz it.

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Betwixt My Perpetual Crankiness, I've Been Window Shopping On Your Behalf

Check out the most awesome goodies I’ve unearthed for you to bestow upon your loved ones this holiday season. Or, if your loved ones suck at buying the right gifts for you, feel free to bestow some awesomeness upon yourself.

Some of these lovely items are created by my unicorn friends (those lovely pretend friends who live within the Internets). Many of the items are handmade.

I’ll keep adding things as I wander the web, so check back as you’re doing your holiday shopping if you need fresh ideas. Or, better yet, leave me comment if you’re looking for something specific. I love hunting down special gifts.

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Mom & Dad, Consider Your Stockings Stuffed

Despite ample coaxing, my parents rarely read my blog. Shocking, I know. I can’t imagine why they don’t race over here to see what I’ve strapped to my head this week. Alas, they don’t.


They’ve known me my whole damn life, it seems. So, this shit just doesn’t impress them much. They knew me when I glued cotton balls to my brother’s face in the middle of that cold winter night, climbed upon our snowy rooftop, and jingled those bells to bring about a little Christmas spirit for them. Unimpressed. A little pissed, actually.

They knew me when I shoved my children into oversized flower pots in a wagon and called it a Halloween costume. (Hey, we won that damn contest, and my mother helped make the hats. So, don’t let her tell you otherwise.)

And, they know me now. Now, that I’ll be featured, along with others, in Nick Douglas’ forthcoming book, Twitter Wit, “a compilation of Twitter aphorisms and witticisms, celebrating a medium that has enabled millions of users to broadcast their lives and quips within Twitter's 140-character limit, thus reinventing wordplay in the tradition of Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde.”

In my case, it’s probably a tweet about poop, or sex, or something respectable like that. And, since my parents haven’t read this and aren’t on Twitter, guess what Mom and Dad will be getting in their stockings this year. Thanks, Nick!

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Considering Our Options: Yo Mah Wiggahs

You really have not lived until you've perused the world of artificial hair for men. Even if you limit yourself to just the artificial hair intended for their head, it's a world materials I guarantee you had not considered, looks that will leave you shaking your own head, and descriptions that will make you go WTF?

Since some chemo drugs target the cells that divide rapidly (like skin and hair cells), you get to be a bald mo' fo' while they're killing the good and the bad. If you aren't comfy flying commando nugget, you can get a rug for your nugg. We've done a little exploring for Hubs, even though his chosen to stick with the hats, we just had to share some of our better finds with y'all.

Without further adieu, I give you Wigs for Men:


MonkGiantHermitWig RicoSuave



If you find a superior product, and I'm sure you will, do pass it along to me in the comments. There's no need to hog these fine products to yourself.

Also, for the caregiver with a cold, I highly recommend this surgical mask:


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Chemo Calendars and Golf

ChemoCalendar April is not the month to go looking for a smart-ass wall calendar for your husband to use for recording his projected chemo cycles. (We use google calendar for keeping track of our family's scheduling, but he wants something old school to provide that visual motivation.) Even Office Max was a bust. I couldn't even find some ugly-ass cat calendar at Walmart. Nothing. Nada.

After three hours and one slightly pink In-n-Out double-double, I settled for a DIY calendar from Target where you fill in the months and dates. The up side is that it's made by Real Simple. So, it's all about the anal organizing, and comes with color-coded movable stickies to use for keeping track of your activities. Red seems like the obvious choice for chemo days, but I'm letting Hubs make the call on that one.

While I spent this afternoon deciding how many months to fill in on the DIY Chemo Calendar (Do you fill in more because you're optimistic he'll be done and wanting to use the calendar for other events long after he's done, or do you fill in fewer in hopes he's done sooner, or will that be too depressing if he has to add months if he's not done in the number of months you've filled in?), anyway...while I was having this existential calendar completing crisis, Hubs was out playing golf. Eighteen holes.

Is he amazing or what?

I felt like I had a kid leaving for his first day of school. Do you have sunscreen? Where's your hat? Do you have water? Have you eaten? What about anti-bacterial wipes? For your clubs? What about for your hands? Are you driving? Do you have your phone? Did you go potty? Do you need a wipe?

God help the man, if chemo wasn't going to make his hair fall out, I would. Speaking of, it's starting to go, finally. We have a lovely array of hats lined up thanks to some creative friends and family. We have the "I'm making cancer my bitch" hat from T of SendChocolate. Love that woman. We also have a stunning purple turban, courtesy of my SIL. I've also started perusing the Interwebs lovely offerings, including a rubber crewcut, a mullet hat, and something that looks like a cross between a muppet and a troll. Mostly, I'm just jealous that I'm stuck shaving my legs all summer.

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CalifmomFinds: Rummy Babbits (or bunnies, if you prefer)

Easter is a comin’, and that right there is one cute rummy babbit. If this little felted chocolate dude doesn’t make your socks go up and down, check out the rest of my bunny finds down below. Perhaps you need an Easter goodie, or maybe your just a bunny lover. Plushes, pillows, and paintings below. And, be sure to check out these artists other offerings. I had a tough time choosing favorites.

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CalifmomFinds: BOOB Early Detection Kit

In honor of my bewb and Mr. Lumpy’s departure today, I give you BOOBS Early Detection Kits from Etsy seller, shannongerard. It appears as though shannongerard also offers some dicks. But, we’re focusing on the bewbs. So, here’s what you get when you order a BOOB Early Detection Kit:

  • A plush crocheted breast (your choice of color) that have little lumps sewn inside,
  • A BOOBS booklet explaining the lumps and how to perform your own self-exam,
  • Packaged in a spiffy pastry bag (cuz who doesn’t find bewbs tasty?),
  • And a donation of $5 made to Cottage Dreams (a cancer recovery initiative).
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Finds: Mint-Chocolate Chip Flower Pin and Other Goodies

I’m trying out a new feature on my blog. You’ll have to let me know what you think.

In the sidebar of CalifmomReviews I feature my online finds. These range from fashion to tech gadgets. I may be the only one who thinks they’re cool, but maybe not.

Therefore, I’ve decided to share a few of them here. I’ll be posting a few in this post, but will probably just post a few each week, as I stumble upon them.

I’d love to have your feedback.

I switched our family off of the plastic goods awhile ago, and we no longer have babies in the house, but this thinkbaby set was just too cool to pass up. If you know someone expecting, or have little ones yourself, this would be a great feeding set.

These Alpaca Celestial Scarf sets are so fun. I love the shape of the hats. Not your average beanie. I mean, I’m all for looking like a pinhead in the name of warmth…but you know. The circles, so cool. Makes me think of squid tentacles. In a good way. I love me some sea creatures.

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Protecting Our Children or Going Overboard: What CPSIA means to you

Economy of American SamoaImage via Wikipedia

If you want to read my opinions on how the CPSIA will impact our family and homeschoolers, in general, click here.

If you aren't yet familiar with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, keep reading. If you think it won't effect you, keep reading. If you are worried about our economy or your job, keep reading.

The post below is part of the CPSIA Blog-In and was provided to bloggers for this purpose. Feel free to use it on your own blog.

As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.

The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.
Article from the American Library Association http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=1322

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123189645948879745.html

To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.

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Valentine's Gift Ideas - My Finds

Wishpot calls this my Wish List, but it's not. It's my list of Valentine's Day gift ideas. I'm just too lazy to figure out another widget to display these cool puppies.

I have ideas for Him and Her.

Their are ideas for every price point, from under $10 up to $100, featuring lots of indie crafters in the mix.

As always, if I find more goodies, I'll add them to the list. So, check back if you don't find just what you're looking for. Better yet, leave me a comment. I love finding things. It's my version of The Olympics. For realsies.

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I Am A Shopping (in my jammies) Fool

Since the recipients of these gifts don’t regularly read my blog, I’m going to tell you all about the awesomeness of my finds. Check out these cool goodies—all purchased sans pants (on my part).

Probably someone was wearing pants in the process. It just wasn't me, or maybe even the person I ordered them from, but certainly the UPS guy had on pants or at least a pair of those brown shorts, right?

For Baby Jack (who’s more a dude than a baby now, but I like the name):


Traveling fun from Lil B Designs for the little guy; a roll up chalk board with chalk holder.

For Peanut (a major bookworm):


We checked out Everybody is Different from the library, and she only got a chance to read a bit, but loved what she read. It struck me as the kind of book you’d want to read and re-read, pass around the family, that kind of thing.


Peanut LOVED the other Gaia Girls book (Way of the Water) we got in Hopland. We read it together, and it is incredibly well-written, with a strong girl character, and enough fantasy intertwined to really draw you into the story. I have high hopes that Gaia Girls Enter the Earth will be equally as good.

For Bug (birthday or Xmas, I haven’t decided yet):


A t-shirt from JamJamTees that captures his personality.



Two prints from Poor Dog Farm for his room that capture his special interests: kiwi birds, chocolate labs, and vintage hats.

For the house:


Reed diffuser oil in Christmas Cookie scent. It arrived today and YUM! Smells so much better than dog. Like, a thousand times better.

For the family:


I got a sample of SoapNuts from The Laundry Tree at BlogHer and they rock! A natural way to wash your laundry, super easy to use, and unscented (unless you choose to add scent—I like the Energy Essential Oil). I ordered the Daily Grommet Soapnut Package.

For the grandparents:

HeadsetMicrophone MicrosoftLifecam

A webcam and headset for “visiting” with the grandkids. I ordered one for our family, as well. Love Amazon for the gadgetry. I’m not providing links though, as there are a gazillion choices that really need to be narrowed by your specific tech requirements.

That’s all for now, and I guarantee now that I’ve posted this stuff, my parents will start reading my blog (other than when I specifically send them a link to a post). Isn’t that how this works?

Up next, I’ll let you all have a peak at my Xmas wish list. I make one for Hubs each year, complete with clickable ordering links. So far, it’s been a great way to avoid him shopping on the 24th and being utterly shocked when things are sold out. It also prevents me hating him on the 24th. Win win.

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