Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mary McMullen's 2014 Gift Guide


Good things to give. Good things to get. Goods. 

[Hope you enjoy my gift guide this year.]




The goods: The Atlas of Remote Islands. Want to know about where you want to go? It would be cheeky to add a nice beach towel, or pair of swim goggles to this gift. If you are looking for a luxury splurge, pair it with flight tickets to Hawaii or Puerto Rico









Good For: Travelers, Those who Wish To Travel, Wanderlusters


$23 from Barnes and Noble 





The goods: A Fancy Gold/Silver Bocce Ball Set.  The thing about bocce ball is it is fun for damn near anybody. Any body. Also easy to play any where. This one has got style. 



Good For: A good all-family gift, Italian grandparents, anyone really. 

Gold and Silver Petanque Bocce Ball Set- $50 from Brookstone






The goods: Megaminx Dodecahedron Puzzle12 sides! Different Shapes! Oh My! 




Good For: Anyone who likes the rubix cube, smartie-pants, 


$10 from ThinkGeek 






The goods: Camera Remote Shutter for Smartphone. This isn't just for selfies, but also for group shots or whatever. 30 ft clearance, no apps to download, seems easy.







Good For: Self-obsessed, people who travel, parents, bloggers.

Muku Shutter- $39 from Amazon





The Good: Citrus Zinger Water/Drink Bottle. It keeps the fruit and the gross bits out of your water, allows it to steep & flavor your water. Also an opening at the bottom where you can put your ice in but a small opening at the top to drink out of. I saw some lady with one in the parking lot. It looked like the most refreshing drink I'd ever seen. The lime was hanging out at the bottom like it owned the water. 




Good For: Anyone! Especially sports enthusiasts, health junkies, foodies, a co-worker, 

Original Green Zinger Bottle from manufacturer site (Zing Anything), $16

Green, Pink, or Orange colored bottles, $18 from Neiman Marcus




The Good: Zoku Slush & Shake Maker. Another beverage gift, I must be thirsty! My mom bought this for my 9 year old niece; she loves being able to make "slurpees" anytime she wants. Well, not anytime. It works the same as the other zoku products: freeze the base beforehand, and when you want your shake or drink, pour the liquid in and it will freezes in minutes. No other fancy equipment needed, just pour then stir into frozen drink heaven. 




Good For: Kids, Adults in warm climates, drinkers (Cabernet Sorbet, anyone?)


Zoku Slush & Shake Cup, Assorted Colors, $20 from Williams-Sonoma





The goods: Snoozies Sequin House Slippers. 




Good For: Someone you are comfortable with, a girly girl, a niece, a cousin, a sister, a friend (in which case I suggest going full sparkle with a matching set- one for the both of you), a glamorous Grandma, yourself if you are a lady-reader.


Adult Sizes, Jewel-tones

Adult Sizes, Assorted-colors
Kids & Tween Sizes, Assorted-colors


$12-$20 a pair depending on size & color selection at Amazon.




The Good: Sport-brella. It's a tent-umbrella hybrid. Shelter from the sun, the wind, the sand, birds, a sprinkle shower, and other elements. This handy thing sets up easy. 



Good For: Beach Bums, Soccer Moms or Dads, Guys Who Want to Be More Outdoors-y, Picnic People


Original Sport-brella, $60
XL Sport-brella, $80





The Goods: Disney Princess Tiaras. Do you know any Disney Princess's? I know a couple



Good For: Little girls

Costume Tiaras, $10 each from JC Penney




The good: Nameplate Necklace.  Are personalized name necklaces out of style? Not with this one. You can also use a social media handle instead. I am still not over the fact @Real_Darrell is one character too many for their 12 character limit.  



Good For: Girls 12-42 years old. 



The Homemade Good: Cherry Pie. Homemade treats are usually shared of the individual variety around the holidays-- candies, cookies, etc. Why? Impress them with a whole pie! Let them keep the pie pan/dish (hot tip: Home Goods). And the red seems festive. And you can freeze it for a few months until you want it. It just is what I want. 






Good For: Anyone with taste (that is a pun).


My preferred Cherry Pie Recipe: I use this store-bought frozen crust and these jarred morello cherries, both from Trader Joe's. It really easy easy as pie.  





My Gift Guides Through The Years: (Many pictures are now outdated, most links work though--- you can also google the item, might be worth it).


Last Year, 2013

2012
2011
2010

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Best Picture?

This years Oscar Noms for Best Picture blog is going to be a big let down. If you came her looking for something interesting, move along. Which is appropriate, it is the same for the lot of films. Many I did not see. Those I did not see, I noted & are indicated in red

My past nomination commentaries: 2011 | 2012 | 2013

SPOILER ALERT: I will type freely. Might spoil it. 


BEST PICTURE Nominations
  • Nebraska
    Did not see. Too boring. Even the colors are boring. 

   The Wolf of Wall Street
   Did not see. Forgot to include it in the first draft of this post. To which I say: F***!

So, what picture do I think got snubbed? 
Blue Jasmine. It did just as good of a job as the ones nominated. And it was interesting enough for me to even want to see it. Actually, it should win best picture. It was not only really well done, I am having a hard time thinking it had any flaws. 

And finally, not necessarily the "best" but the film I enjoyed watching the most in 2013 was by far "Before Midnight". 

I'd also like to thank the academy for not nominating Mud for anything. I hated it. 

Yours,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mary McMullen's 2013 Gift Guide

It is the moment all you worldly readers have been waiting for. The housing market is in upswing, day traders seem to have a pep in their step, and I still have my bangs. It's a good year.

Behold my gift guide; it is all over the place, so you are going to have to determine who you know would like what. I am confidant someone you know wants one of these treasures. 


(Note: Was also too lazy to list in any sort of order) 

Merry Christmas!



Keep Warm. 

Wool Mittens Fleece Lined Nordic Snowflake Fair Isle Olive Green Copper and Beige
Handmade! crafted in Utah (and they know cold there) out of felted wool &; polar fleece. 
Wool Mittens, $35: Here
Her entire wool shop if you want to browse other styles or wares: Here


PARTRIDGE PLAID
MADE IN THE USA! This wool Stormy Kromer cap has been around 100 years, people love it. 11 colors, all sizes.
Mens Cap, $40: Here
Womens Cap, $40: Here



Keep Memories.



Tiny picture magnets. This is a Do It Yourself project, which means it is fun and cheap and customizable! 

Keep Having Fun.

The SkyBall bounces up to 75 feet in the airSkyBall HyperCharged Ball

The Sky Ball is filled with compressed air & helium, making it bounce like no ones business. Under $10 a ball. Sky Ball in Various Colors: Here

I bought this remote helicopter for my nephew's birthday this year. I don't know if he liked it, but there are 1,940 reviews that are nearly 5 out of 5 stars on amazon, so likely someone you give it to will like it. 
Remote Control Mini Helicopter, $ 21: Here

Size 2XL - Railroad Play Mat T-Shirt : Playtime for Kids, Back Massage for Dad / Fathers Day Gift New Daddy Father Son Train Track Mat
Playtime for them, back "massage" for the wearer. It's labeled a dad shirt, but I am sure anyone could love this. 

Keep It Clean.
100% protection from messy cooks

Designed for the cook in the kitchen, this ipad/tablet sleeve can be useful all over the place- like the beach reading a book, or stowed away in luggage with toiletries, just in case a leek is sprung. 
Set of 25 disposable sleves: Here ($19.95)
Set of 3 disposable sleeves: Here ($5.95)
One reusable waterproof sleeve (not as sleek): Here ($38.05)

Keep Sweet.


MAPLE SYRUP
I've been on a maple syrup kick. 
Love the packaging of this one. From NY, $12: Here
These people look nice, so does their syrup. From Maine, $7 up to $40 a jug: Here




ChristmasLabelPrintables
For whatever edibles you decide to make, here is a collection of FREE printable lables. Designed and ready to use. 

Keep On Groovin'



wood earphones
Guys, think about it, instruments are made from wood for a reason. Deep, smooth sound. Perfect for serious audiophiles.

Keep Creating & Thinking 
Do you know a doodler? Do you ever walk by a blank wall and have the urge to become Lil' Mary & tag it? This book is filled with pages of blank walls, intended to let the owner mark them up. I could see how this would have been useful in any math class I have ever endured. 


The Humans of New York Blog is now a book. 


Some people I know are forgetful and lazy. They could use this notepad. Check check check. They also have a travel packing checklist. 

I like short stories, and I like spooky ones. Boom. 

Butter Keeper
I hate cold butter. But leaving it out in a humid climate doesn't work either. This little ceramic pot creates a water seal that keeps butter cool but spreadable. Genius. 

While on the topic of butter & delicious kitchen things... That is a grill press. You can cook better with it. 

Keep Pretty

Nordstrom Pavé Link Bracelet | Nordstrom
I've seen this beauty in real life, and I want it. So does your mom and your sister and your wife and your babysitter and the girl who you want to be your girlfriend. 


Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Trio - Fresh | Sephora
These little balms with a little color are the best. The best smelling, the best feeling, the best looking. You can gift the set, or break them up and give them individually. 



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

When You're Right, You're Right


This is an excerpt from a blog I wrote during "Snowpocalypse" in 2010... it has proven itself timeless with regards to gov't ceasing operations.
_________________________________________________________________

1.) Soon, the rest of America will begin to wonder if they even need The Feds.

2. ) Just like everyone else, I was excited about these days. Unscheduled leave. Days at home knitting and such. BUT WE GOT IT ALL WRONG. Today I had to sign in to remote access and do a touch of work... and it hit me: oh my, I am going to have to deal with all this when I get back... I will have to work double as hard for double as long to catch up. What a nightmare.

3.) Fun while it is happening, but then nine months later you have a big problem on your hands. Stay safe out there DC.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Just Because"

I don't blog much these days. Get over it, I obviously have. On this I can't stay silent, I need to set somethings straight. Not to have you think the same as me, but to have you think. So, I was one hell of a teenager myself, also I am around teenagers all day in all sorts of situations. I know hundreds currently and have known, really known, thousands. I know them individually, I know them collectively. 

There has been a media blitz recently highlighting these "thrill-kills". Teens killing people for fun. No. 

Unless you believe that these teenagers, who have not lived many years, are truly evil, this makes absolutely no sense.  With each of these stories, there are people and family who claim to love these kids, so I have a hard time accepting any of them have fallen to real wickedness, lacking any morals. It is too hard to love evil. 

So, they are just going to kill people out of boredom? No way. Ironically, what bored teens usually actually do is they have sex (creating a life, not ending one); not motivated by boredom, but because it's free, anyone can do it, it is fun, it feels good, it validates them, and it even has that thrill of doing something they aren't supposed to. (Even if they have been taught it is ok, there are things that are intrinsically right and things that are wrong and if they are wrong, on some level you feel it.) Are they going to tell you all of that? Probably not. Let me tell you the reasons those teenagers would state if caught and asked why they had sex; "I don't know, just because". Or what they'd say if they cheated on a test, "Just 'cus". Or what they'd say if they were caught after stealing, "no reason". There is always a reason. They may be bored. That is not the motive though, that is an auxiliary reason they had the time to carry out the act.

Teenagers often will say limited information if they feel guilty or feel intimidated. Or if they don't trust you. Or for about a million other reasons. They don't want to talk about it. It is uncomfortable. And they are old enough to know that they don't HAVE to tell you what they feel or what is in their minds, but they are not mature enough to openly communicate if it is not to their advantage. They are in a zone that makes many lose patience with them; they have the right to remain silent and they will if not compelled. 

These teens may have killed. These stories share a common ending; someone is dead and teenagers played a part. The motivator is what is so disturbing. It is a sensational story for the media to spin: I don't buy it and more importantly, it shouldn't be sold to us. 

Instead of focusing on this notion that thrill kills are thrilling, start asking the questions. I can only hope some of these teens are being interviewed by actual mental health professionals and not just cops who get the "just because" answer and then accept that at face value and run to the media. That is not going to fix the problem. It does make it easier to sell a news "story".  It is also going to make it easier to hate the kid who did something horrific. The problem is that not only doesn't help prevent it from happening again, it doesn't help the teenager. That's right; I am concerned about helping criminals. Prison reform is for another day though. 

These are the unbelievable stories. Literally, I don't believe them. 

There were three teens in Oaklahoma who took the life of an Australian college student, prompting this to have an international spotlight. Now, not only are we selling this idea of rabid teenagers to ourselves, but to others as well. 

Another sad story out of a WWII Vet beaten to death by a couple of teenagers

And the most horrific of all, a baby dies at the hands of a teen in Georgia. This case is now in the trial phase, where a flimsy motive has been put forth (as has a flimsy defense). The point is that the trial is proving there more to it than these teens just being cold-blooded, malevolent killers. 

We have a social responsibility to hold these accused accountable, not just allowing them to give us some half baked reason so they don't have to deal with the distress of revealing why they took another life. If I am going to read, watch, listen, or consume a news story about these killings, I'd like the authorities to ask the questions that matter. Find the motive. Dig deeper. Then, I'd like the media to report on it. I'd like other teenagers to see what led these kids down a path that ended in death. I'd like to see us detect a pattern that we might be able to prevent. Instead of instilling of lack of hope onto an entire generation, learn more about them. Help them.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Land of the free. Home of the brave.

This is a little rant, but mainly it is a rave. Pro-America. 

While watching the "news"(1) coverage this week, a commentator wanted to remind his viewers that sadly, bombings like the one that struck Boston happen in some parts of the world daily, and with worse outcomes. The insinuation insult was that though horrific here, we were lucky considering.

Um, no. 

We live in the United States. The reason things like this don't happen here (as often) is no accident. It is by design. 

In the immediate aftermath, we all started to talk about it. We have an existing infrastructure of media that anyone can freely communicate on. No censorship. We were able to talk about who those guys might be. Where they might be found. An exchange of information. People were not afraid that if they talked there would be repercussions. The bombers (2) even used outlets of expression themselves that helped give us an idea of who they were, and what they might be capable of. Land of the free. 

It took us a work-week to wrap this thing up. We went out and found those men and started to implement justice. I say we, even though it was the federal and local law enforcement who did it. They were out there, when they knew things were dangerous, searching house to house on a man hunt. Bringing peace to the streets. Home of the brave. 

And that is why we are "lucky" enough to live in a part of the world where this doesn't happen daily. We are not ungrateful, but I am certainly not going to insult this country by comparing it to those nations that can't even come close to offering what our freedoms do. 

(1) The quotes are because until journalism regains some of it's lost integrity, I can't pretend they are to be trusted. 

(2) Stop calling them "suspects" now. They admitted to it themselves. They can be called bombers. That's what they did & who they are. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

State of the Unicorn

President Obama in black text (paraphrased), my response in blue italic text. 

_____________________________________________________________________________

"The State of our Union is strong" um, according to who? I am not saying I don't want it to be true, but I am saying let's not be ridiculous. 

Michelle shouldn't wear sleeveless dresses all the time. It is freezing out side. We get it, you have nice arms. 

Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion ... As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances. That is interesting, seeing as your government has averaged a trillion dollar overspending each year. And you have been here four years. Do that math. 

Our government shouldn’t make promises we cannot keep - but we must keep the promises we’ve already made.  BOTH sides have made promises.

A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. Guys, is it me, or does it not make sense to put money into something that is going to eliminate the need for actual workers? Especially if you are trying to build the middle class. 

Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods—all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science—and act before it’s too late.  Not where I thought this was going. Ok, who is going to tell him? Not science, it's religion. THE LAST DAYS!

I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen. I actually like this idea. Competition; wait, wait, we have that already... it is called a free market based in capitalism. Maybe what we should do is lower energy bills by opening up the market? 

Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and internet; high-tech schools and self-healing power grids. STOP TRYING TO MAKE HIGH SPEED RAIL HAPPEN.

I propose a “Fix-It-First” program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. Wat?! He has been preaching less government, and now wants more government. I am all for infrastructure improvements. But you can't have it both ways. 

Tomorrow, my Administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.  Mark my words, USU will do just fine. 

Immigration Reform: Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away. Here we are, one full year later... This is a quote from my blog last year, Obama: "We should take on illegal immigration... Send me a bill that affords people to stay in this country and I will sign it.  Me: SEND ME A UNICORN & I WILL RIDE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE MOON! " Aaaaand, I am still waiting for that unicorn. So, good luck with that Mr. President. 

And by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation which is with in our reach. THANK YOU GWB. Oh gosh,  President Bush better flip out at President Obama taking credit for one of his greatest world-wide accomplishments. 

Overall,  there were a lot more facts and figures given to us this year. The President amazes me with his public speaking abilities. I had a copy of the speech before it began and read along as he delivered it. There were only minor additions and virtually no omissions. I'd be more impressed if he did that with implementation of work instead of just with rhetoric. My top criticism of the man and his plan is that there has 
been virtually no output comparatively speaking. Initiative: take some; it's free. 

Link to the transcript of the speech.