Athena Hohenberg, the Nutella Nitwit, Sues Nutella for Not Being Healthy

Athena Hohenberg, you are a twit and everything that is wrong with this country. And shame on you for smearing the name of Nutella; the very delicious spread that myself and fellow Pinterest pinners alike put in just about everything?

If you have not heard by now, Athena Hohenerg, AKA the Nutella Nazi, brought a class-action lawsuit against these chocolate-hazelnut angels because they tricked her delicate dumb-as-bricks mind into believing that Nutella was good for children.

Nutella’s parent company Ferrero USA, Inc. has been ordered to cough-up over $3 million, with over $2 million to be given to consumers who file a claim. According to the New York Daily News:

As part of the settlement, anyone in the U.S. who purchased Nutella between January 1, 2008 and February 3, 2012 (or for Calif. residents between August 1, 2009 and January 23, 2012) can file a claim. People can claim their purchases until July 5, 2012 and expect $4 for a single purchase and up to 5 jars for a maximum award of $20 per household.

Apparently Miss Hohenberg decided on a class-action lawsuit against the Nutella makers because she saw an advertisement that implied that Nutella should be incorporated as part of a healthy breakfast, but then was horrified to learn that, in fact, it was (gasp) a sugary chocolate spread. Unfortunately she found this out after she had been dosing her kid with a daily breakfast consisting of Nutella. Apparently she lacked the intelligence to, uh, I don’t know, turn over the jar and read the ingredients label.

And this twit is parenting a child?

Well this is one Californian who is not only going to decline my right to a Nutella claim, but I will buy MORE! Because I love you Nutella, and all of your chocolatey, hazelnut-y, sugary goodness. You will adorn my cupcakes, grace my pancakes, and when I am PMS’ing, be shoveled into my mouth full-bore like the antidote to aging. VIVA LA NUTELLA! NUTELLA STRONG!

My $640 Million Lotto Ticket

I admit it, CAH and I spent a pretty penny on the big $640Mil lotto. We don’t normally play lotto but we figured, what the heck, let’s give it a try.

We didn’t win.

But I was calmly ok with that. Not because I was expecting that I wouldn’t, but it made me oddly reflective. As I mentioned previously, CAH and I have been on this financial detox plan – essentially part of my whole, “Year to a healthier lifestyle” plan. We’ve been devouring audiobooks by Suze Orman and David Ramsey, and hired a personal financial advisor. I also started watching the Suze Orman podcasts on iTunes and while listening to all of her viewers who call in with financial problems, I realized how lucky CAH and I are. We are by no means rich, but we are doing way better than we thought, and much better than others. And I don’t mean that as a way to gloat, it just put things in perspective for me – I’m a pretty lucky girl. So here is your homework, and it will be fast. I want you to, right now, think of 5 things for which you are grateful. I don’t care how big or small, how silly or vague, just think of them. Here are mine:

1. My husband
2. That I live by the ocean
3. My pets
4. That I have a roof over my head and food in my kitchen
5. That I have a job

Now you’re turn! Let me tell you why this is important – because we so seldom get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, or focus so much on the things we want, that we forget to be grateful for what we have. And I’m not talking being thankful – I mean be grateful. To me, thankful is something you say on Thanksgiving out of obligation. To be grateful for something is like it has tossed you a lifeline, or that you could not do without (or things would suck without it).

As I typed this, CAH was walking by, clearly distracted by something, and I stopped him and told him to name five things for which he was grateful. He stopped and a smile spread across his face as he named them off (me, his job, his dog, our house and his grandmother). See? You can’t help but feel happier when you list the things for which you are grateful. So this is why I was surprisingly ok with not winning the huge lotto; because I am perfectly happy with what I have. And honestly, my husband is all I need in this world to make me happy – anything else would be gravy.

By the way, CAH and I each have a little chalkboard on the wall next to our sides of the bed. We leave each other little love notes on them – the above picture is what I left for him the day after the big lotto drawing 🙂

Views on Your Kid, From a Non-Kid Owner

Truth be told, I actually like kids. Well, some.

The joke amongst my friends is that I am the anti-kid and everyone knows that CAH and I don’t plan on having any. But I am not a kid-hater, in fact there are a few who I positively adore. I learned a valuable lesson long ago when I thought I was a kid-hater: in actuality, I am a parent-hater. Parents are generally the reasons that the kids act like little a-holes. Not all parents, mind you, but there are a few of you out there with whom other non-kid owners and I have a bone to pick.

I will give you an example.

Just this weekend CAH and I were at a birthday party for the kid of a friend, for which I made the birthday cupcakes. As you can imagine there were tons of kids there and I interacted with a few. The first was a little girl whose mom I already know, having worked with her for a few years. Her mom is adorable and hilarious – a fellow wiseass, actually. She has the smart-ass humor I appreciate. This was my first time meeting her daughter, a cherubic little tot in a tiny batman dress. That interaction went like this:

Tiny Batgirl: Jessica?
Me: Yes?
Tiny Batgirl: Thank you for making the cupcakes, they were really good.

Adorable. I have a soft spot for kids who know how to say “please” and “thank you”. If they can talk, they can say those words. In context. Plus, she gets extra “cute points” for her kickass ensemble.

Interaction two was with some snot-nosed, entitled little offspring of around 5 or 6 years old. I didn’t know his parents, so I can only give my best assessment of them based on what I observed of them. They were impeccably dressed, and had odd, wide-eyed smiles plastered on their faces. Their little rugrat was dressed like he had just stepped off the pages of the Ralph Lauren for kids catalogue. They were overly cheerful, almost weirdly so. My best guess is that they regard his tantrums and outbursts as “creative expression.” We encountered this child as we and another couple were trying to leave the party. The main exit was through the gate in the backyard and this child was standing on the gate, barring anyone from leaving.

Us: Excuse us, we just need to sneak past you so we can leave
Snot-nose: No! I am a fireman and this is my fire pole!
Us: We just need you to move for a second so we can go – we are trying to leave
Snot-nose: No! This is MY fire pole

I was enough glasses of wine in that my filter was low, but had not had so many that I forgot that I was at a function at a friends house, so had to be on good behavior. I really wanted to go find Stepford mom and give her a few thoughts on how she is not making the best of her IVF investment (just a guess) by raising a brat, but I was a good girl and simply exited through a different route.

This kid reminded me EXACTLY of this scene from Everybody Loves Raymond:

So here are my top three despised parent-types:

1. The “I don’t believe in discipline” Parent – I don’t know if it’s because you just have a problem with authority, or, as mentioned above, you think that their bad behavior is their creative expression, but discipline your freaking kids! I’m not saying to backhand them, but when they are acting up in a public place, give them a warning. If they don’t follow-through, get them out of the public place. Don’t subject everyone else to your child’s terrible behavior. Yes, that means you may have to miss things because you took your kid out – but that is what you took on as a parent. And don’t give us that crap about, “If I don’t have them in public, I can’t teach them to behave in public.” If they don’t behave at home, they are not going to behave in public. It has gotten to be such an epidemic that restaurants have started banning misbehaving kids because it is ruining the experience of other diners.

2. The “excuse his bad behavior, he has a learning disability” Parent – Is it just me, or is there a recent epidemic of learning disabilities? I had to hold my tongue when one mother recently told me that they are thinking of putting her 6 year old on Ritalin because they think he has ADD. Why did they think that? He doesn’t like to do his homework. Hey, I’m no kid expert and I’m not a child behaviorist, but I’m not new at life and I am gifted with the ability to reason deductively. 1) I just watched your kid scarf down a shit-ton of sugar and/or carbs, 2) I just heard you say for the umpteenth time that your kid missed her nap, yet again, and 3) You seem nothing but stressed, constantly. You don’t need to be an expert to know that kids need healthy foods, routines and a happy environment. So stop force-feeding your kids legal speed and get your shit together.

3. The “OMG I haven’t slept in months, I’m broke, we don’t have sex anymore, I can’t remember the last time I smiled and meant it, but I really love my kids, but no really, I am miserable” Parent – Actually, this is sadly the majority of parents I know. The weird thing is, these parents usually have more than one kid. So luckily for them, I have the answer that will help them. STOP HAVING MORE KIDS. If I put my hand on a hot burner, I am not going to complain that my hand is burnt and then stick it back on there. That would be insanely idiotic, right? If your life sucks now that you have a kid, its not like some sort of rule of negatives, where having another kid will turn it into a positive. If you really thought that, well, you probably should not be passing along your DNA. Stop it. Just stop it.

“Man Radio” tutorial – how to make a man-geared, virtual music scrapbook using an mp3-player and the audio feature on your computer.

As many of you saw with yesterday’s post, I made CAH a man’s bouquet for men’s Valentine’s Day and it included a music scrapbook. What is a music scrapbook, you ask? I essentially gathered every important song from our lives together, or found a song to represent an important time in our lives, put them in chronilogical order and recorded an intro for each one, explaining why the song was important and the memory it held. Needless to say, I started crying a few times while recording them! Especially when I got to the songs that were representative of CAH and I having our long distance relationship while he was in grad school.

Here is a sampling of some of my intros, but a word of CAUTION! They are super-mushy. I put some of the less mushy ones up here to spare you – but consider yourself warned!

Click Here for Some Serious WAW Mushiness

How I did it:

Step 1: Get an mp3 player of some sort – I got a cheap iPod Shuffle for $50 from Amazon (with free shipping because we are Prime members). CAH does have an iPhone and an iPad, but it would be hard to record a playlist on there for him without him noticing. If your honey has an mp3 player that they don’t use daily, you could easily just use theirs to stick in a man’s bouquet. Or you can simply add this playlist on there for them to find as a nice surprise!

Step 2: Make a list of the songs you will use – Gather all of the songs that mean something to you both – your favorite song, songs from your wedding, songs you listened to on a special trip and so on. If there was a particular time or event that was significant to the both of you, but you don’t have a song to represent it, you can take a peak at the billboard charts for that month/year to get some ideas of songs that were popular at that time. Wikipedia offers the billboard charts for each year, broken down by month. Say you want to know what songs were big in 2009, simply type “2009 billboard charts” into the Wikipedia search bar and voila! Make sure you own all of these songs and have them in a spot where they will be easy to add to your mp3 player – in my case they were all in my iTunes library.

Step 3: Record an intro for each song – How you do this will vary by what you are working with. In my case, I have a Macbook, I was using an iPod Shuffle and used the app Garage Band, which comes standard with the Macbook. If you have a PC, here is one possible way you can record audio. If you can’t figure out how to best record audio on your computer, you may want to turn to good ole Google for some help. Here’s how to do it if you have a Mac:

    1. Open “Garage Band” in apps, at the top hit “File”, then “New”.
    2. You will get a pop-up window with options of different project types you can choose – pick “podcast”.
    3. It will then pop-up a window asking you to name this project. For ease of organization, I named each one after the song it will precede, so for example, “Intro to Wonderful Tonight,” and “Intro to Pumped up Kicks.”
    4. Now the recording screen will pop up. You want to make sure that you select either “Male Voice” or “Female Voice” (depending on which is applicable) and that you press the little “record” button immediately to the right of the female voice icon, as shown below:

      You’ll notice the little red dot – that is because I pressed it. Be sure to press this or your recording will not work.

 

    1. Next, look at the bottom of the screen and you will see a bar with the symbols for “play”, “rewind”, “fast forward”, etc. To the left of this bar is a red record button. To begin recording, simply press this button.
    2. When you are done, hit the “play” button to stop recording, then go to the toolbar at the top and click “Share” and then, “Send Podcast to iTunes”. A window will pop-up where you can name the playlist under which it will appear in your iTunes library and any other info you want to add. Because this was only going to be in my iTunes library, and then added to the iPod, I didn’t get too fancy with this part. Click “Share”.
    3. Your iTunes will pop-up and you will see your recording in there!

 

Note: The sound quality will be a lot better if you have an actual mic! I did not, so there is a bit of an echo sound. If you don’t have a mic then you might try recording in a small closet, rather than a cavernous living room with a wood floor, like I did 🙂

You are all set. You can now use it just as you would any other audio file in your iTunes. Drag the songs into the playlist and put them in order with your intros. Once that playlist is done, you can put the whole thing on the iPod.

And that is it, you are all set! Now watch his heart melt! (Note: Guys, this will work just as well coming from you!)

How to Give the Man in Your Life, the Day of His Life – the Man Bouquet

Well men’s Valentine’s Day came and went, and for those of you who remember my previous post about it, we do like to celebrate it in style. I know the concept of the day is pretty simple, but Calm-ass Husband and I are known for going all out for each other so I wanted to add a bit of the “Jess and Wes flare” to the occasion. I surprised CAH with two major things – a man’s bouquet was the first gift, and nestled within it was the second gift, an iPod shuffle with a music scrapbook. Today’s tutorial is going to be about the man bouquet, and my follow-up post will be a tutorial on how I did the music scrapbook!

The Man’s Bouquet:

As is popular with Valentine’s Day, I wanted to give the hubby a bouquet for his special day, but knew he wouldn’t quite appreciate the traditional flower bouquet like I do. CAH prefers gifts that have a purpose or do something – something like flowers are beyond him as they just don’t make much sense. As far as he’d be concerned, they just sit there taking space on his desk. So for his bouquet I knew I had to fill it with a bunch of cool, useful items.

Bouquet filler:

  • CAH’s fave candy, mainly Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Ferrero Rocher
  • Batman Pez – because CAH thinks both Batman and Pez are awesome, so how could I not?
  • Lotto tickets and scratchers
  • Slim Jims (normally I’d discourage him from eating this nastiness, but it was a special occasion)
  • Blow Pops (hee hee, yes I was being cheeky considering what the day was)
  • An iPod shuffle (optional) – tutorial for this to come next
  • Optional: Tiny liquor bottles are also a GREAT idea! I didn’t include them in CAH’s basket because he is a diehard beer fan, and I couldn’t find any tiny bottles of beer (understandably)

Next comes the basket building supplies:

  • A basket or container of some sort, I got CAH a cute blue container from the Dollar Tree
  • A few blocks of green floral arranging foam
  • A package of bamboo skewers
  • Gift bows
  • Rope (I got blue nylon rope from the Dollar Tree)
  • Basket filler (I used brown paper basket filler)
  • A few packs of screwdrivers from the Dollar Tree (optional)
  • You may have noticed that I mentioned a few of the supplies I purchased were from the Dollar Tree – a good 90% of the supplies I got for the man bouquet were from the Dollar Tree, so the basket was economical!

Assembly:

Next comes the fun part! Place your floral foam in the bottom of the basket or container and cover it with the basket filler. To assemble the “flowers”, I stuck the pointy end of the skewers into the Ferrero Rocher and mini-Reese’s cups, then slipped a giftwrapping bow over it to look like a flower, as pictured below.


Stick the other end of the skewers into the foam to stand straight up. For the Slim Jims, Pez and a few other candy items, I tied them to a screw driver with the rope, and stuck them in the foam, as pictured below:


Any leftover or loose candy can just be arranged at the bottom of the basket. After arranging the “flowers” to look visually pleasing, I then attached the lotto tickets and scratchers to the bows with colored paper clips.


I put the iPod shuffle in the middle of the bouquet, having simply clipped it to a skewer. I made sure to put a little note next to it that said, “Wes Radio – For Your Ears Only.” I did this for a few reasons: 1) Because he was getting this at work and I didn’t want his co-workers to hear it since I had some personal things recorded on there, 2) I wanted to call attention to it and 3) I wanted him to know that it already contained audio to which I wanted him to listen, so that he didn’t think the gift was simply the iPod shuffle. He already has an iPhone and an iPad, but it would have been difficult to put a new playlist on those without him noticing 🙂 I got a brand new iPod Shuffle on Amazon for about $50.

I topped the bouquet off with a card for him, and then wrapped it in a clear gift basket bag, which I also found at the Dollar Tree.


Next comes delivery. I specifically wanted him to get this at work so that he had a fun surprise during his day, and so that he could listen to the music scrapbook on his iPod Shuffle. You have a few options here. You can get a courier to deliver it for around $30, depending on the delivery area, you can have a friend deliver it, or you can deliver it personally. In my case, I snuck it into the back seat of his car the night before, knowing he wouldn’t see it on his way to work. When I knew he was at work, sitting at his desk, I told him to go look in the back seat of his car. Needless to say, he absolutely LOVED it. He was so excited about all of the treats, plus he thought tying everything to a screwdriver was so cool. I could tell that he totally appreciated the work I had put into it. And when he started to listen to what I had put on the iPod Shuffle, he was overwhelmed.

So there you go, the man’s bouquet. His treat for dinner that night was a Brazilian steakhouse I found right outside of San Francisco. Not only was CAH in heaven with all-you-can-eat meat, but after hearing that I was a vegetarian (which excluded everything on the menu), the nice cooks kept bringing me plates of fried plantains. Yum!

Financial Detox: the Dots

I’m baaa-a-a-a-ck. I didn’t go far – I’ve had a crazy few weeks. And SO much has happened! I’ve been working on year to physical, mental and emotional health. All seemed to be going great, except one thing. CAH and I were still struggling to figure out how to meet our financial goals. And they are lofty goals. Then it dawned on me, I didn’t figure financial health into my year of to better health. And that is so freaking important!

So CAH and I are taking drastic moves. I’m not kidding – drastic moves. Like, holy crap, I never thought I’d do what I am going to do, type of drastic moves. More of that to come.

First, we decided to incorporate spring cleaning into our financial fitness and hubby came up with this great idea. We bought green dot stickers and are sticking them on anything we could sell in a yard sale or online. Then we are going to go about business as usual, and every time we use a green dotted item, we will take the sticker off of it. After a month, we will see which items still have a green sticker, and then they are getting sold! Wish us luck 🙂