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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Product Review: KFC Chicken Little Go Cup

I think I've tried (and reviewed) all of the KFC Go Cups now.  This last is for the Chicken Little Go Cup.  For filling out surveys, I've gotten each one free with the price of a drink (and since a medium drink is $1.85 and a Go Cup is $2.69 and drinks don't cost them anything to begin with, they really aren't out anything to offer these free for doing surveys.

ANYHOW.  This is the photo of the Go Cup they advertise.  My Chicken Little sandwich didn't look near so perky.  It was squashed flat, had a smear of may, two pickle round slices and a chicken tender inside.  It looked rather unappetizing.  They could work more on "presentation".   The joe-joe's are super salty, but there aren't very many so they were tasty enough, and the Chicken Little slider tasted fine.  The bread sort of mashed and stuck to your teeth and the roof of your mouth, but otherwise, was fine.  I didn't like it well enough to order it, however.

Yup...mine didn't look all that fantastic.  And it IS small.  That Go Cup was filling enough for a lunch or snack for smaller appetites.  Eye appeal matters, so don't get your hopes up that it will look like the advertising photos.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Star of Bethlehem Flower, Friend or Foe?

I have Star of Bethlehem Flower (Ornithogalum) in my front flower bed along the full length of the front of my house.  It is a bulb flower that apparently isn't well known.  It took me nearly 10 years of asking people to identify it for me before someone did.

It has anywhere from 50-300 different sub-varieties. Some are toxic and some are used medicinally in such formulas as Bach Flower Remedies.  It is mostly native to Europe and Southern Africa.

It was here when I moved in.  My husband lived here first and he's not sure if he planted it or if it was already here.  When the greenery comes up in the spring it resembles chives...sort of pulpy, cylindrical and grass-like.  The flowers are very pretty.  They resemble the more commonly known "Snow Drop" but that is not what they are.

How I eventually found out what they were came about on a visit to my Naturopath's office.  I noticed they had an entire area solid with them.  But alas...they didn't know what they were either.  The secretary sent me out to grab some of the flowers and greenery, and while I was in with the Doctor for my office visit, she set to work on the web to identify them.  And she did.

Star of Bethlehem multiplies like rabbits and is nearly impossible to get rid of if you ever change your mind.  It takes over the space it is in and spills out into the lawn.  Easy enough to mow that which is in the lawn but the flower beds have been a nightmare.  From what I read online, the only way to get rid of them is to be sure you have dug up all the bulbs.  Only some of them are tiny...like the size of a peppercorn...and everywhere.  Some people speak of them like an invasive species that nobody should EVER deliberately grow...and others are happy to sell them with no warning.

I think it may be possible to grow them in containers...probably best to never turn them loose in your flower beds...unless you have a wide open and wild area that you just want some spring beauty in.  And you should really like them.  Because they will be with you until you die...or move out.

I AM making SOME progress with reducing their numbers and here's how.  But this is not a quick fix.  I TEDIOUSLY pull out (which breaks off from the bulb) EVER strand of green that crops up in the flower beds.  Some years it looks like the entire bed is full of grass.  I've been doing this for nearly 10 years.  I believe that I am denying the bulb any ability to grow and thrive and it may be weakening or killing off some of the bulbs.  Maybe.  That's my theory.  I have fewer each year it seems.  There is literally NO way to dig them all out given their multitudes and their size.  Combine that with all of the other plants I WANT that they are next to, and the years of accumulated bark mulch and it simply isn't reasonable or feasible to dig them out.

So I have warned you.  They won't stay where you put them, and it is gonna be hard to change your mind later.  I don't know which subspecies I have but they are hardy devils...hmmm...Star of Bethlehem devils.  Sort of an oxymoron, I guess.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Product Review: Pro Bar Mint Chocolate Nutrition Bar

I was out shopping and was making a stop at my local health food store for some items and realized I was fading...my blood sugar was dropping and I was hungry.  I decided to look for a nutrition bar to eat in the car while I finished the rest of my errands.  I ended up trying the Pro Bar, Base, Mint Chocolate nutrition bar.

It's a small bar, packing 280 calories and 20 grams of protein.  It is Gluetn Free, Vegan, Dairy Free and verified non GMO.  The protein base is soy.  You can use the link above to visit the company page and read the ingredient and nutrition list.

Suffice to say, I found it adequate for dealing with my hunger and not so dense that it took gallons of water to wash it down.  It had a bit of a crunch to it...like a rice crispy sort of crunch and the flavor was pleasant.  At $2.69 for a 2.46 oz bar, it isn't something I could justify purchasing on a regular basis.  A good choice for the situation I found myself in, however.  I could have eaten at McDonald's (not that I'm above that).

So hey, Pro Bar, if you're reading this and you want to send me a combo pack of everything you've got to review on the blog...I'm open.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Movie Review: Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters

Hansel and Gretel; Witch Hunters (2013) is described as an "action-horror-comedy".  It is based loosely (and I do mean loosely) on the Grim fairy tale of the same name.  Starring Jeremy Renner as Hansel and Gemma Arterton as Gretel.

In this version of the fairy tale, once Hansel and Gretel defeat the witch in the candy house, they continue to live alone and grow up as famous witch hunters where their belief is that the only good witch is a dead witch.

There are a few twists as to the true identity and heritage of Hansel and Gretel, but for the most part, the film revolves around their exploits and in particular, of a large job where 12 children have been  abducted and witches from far and wide are gathering for the blood moon celebration where it is their goal to, once and for all, become immune to being burned.

The film is rated R for language and a whole lot of violence...some of which is on the verge of graphic if not over the line of that verge.  Between the witches and the violence, it was about at my limit of what I can tolerate (I'm sort of a horror and violence wuss though).  So, definitely not for kids.  It's a bit on the cornball dopey side (which I think is what they call the comedy part), but it was interesting enough to keep our attention.

We streamed it on Netflix but you can watch it on YouTube also.  Watch the clip below or via this link.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Documentary Series Review: BBC's Nature's Weirdest Events

BBC's Nature's Weirdest Events (2012-present) is a series that covers truly bizarre natural occurrences from weather, to weird animals, to pestilence.  If it's weird, they've got you covered.

2012 had two episodes, 2013 had three episodes.  It looks like 2014 there is a gap, and there is one episode at least for 2015.  You can watch via Netflix streaming and there are many youtube portions available.  Watch a clip below or via this link.

I find it both interesting and gross at times and way over-dramatized.  Still worth a look.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Movie Review: The Manxman (directed by Alfred Hitchcock)

Alfred Hitchcock's The Manxman (1929) is a romantic drama based on the popular 1896 novel.  It is a silent movie.  True to Hitchcock's form, it is also a very racey topic for the era;  premarital sex, out of wedlock baby being passed off as another man's.

Best buddies since childhood, Pete and Phillip are both in love with the same woman...Kate.  Pete declares his love for Kate and enlists the help of Phillip in making his intentions known.  Phillip decides he must keep his own feelings to himself for the sake of his buddy.

Kate's father would prefer Phillip for his daughter's match since Phillip is an attorney campaigning for judge and Pete is just a lowly and penniless fisherman.  Pete decides he will travel to Africa and make his fortune and then return to prove himself and marry Kate.  Fickle Kate thinks Pete's corny declarations are flattering and a bit funny.  In a somewhat non committed way, she agrees to wait for him to return.  Phillip is charged (by Pete) with "looking after" Kate in his absence.

At some point, word gets back that Pete has been lost at sea or killed in his travels.  Phillip and Kate enter into a romance with a very subtle scene indicating they have had sex.  Pete returns and Phillip tells Kate she must honor her promise to Pete and go through with the marriage.

What follows is the obvious repulsion Kate feels for Pete, Pete's utter adoration of Kate, and Phillip and Kate trying to bury their love for each other.

So, add a child to the mix and that's pretty hot stuff for a 1929 silent movie!

As always, I struggle at first with the melodrama, but eventually I always come around and am drawn in to the complex stories that are Hitchcock trademarks.  Since the film is silent, all is communicated with limited written dialogue boxes and a whole lot of very dramatic facial expressions.

This is one of the few films where I don't believe Hitchcock makes a cameo appearance.

We rented it from Netflix but you can watch the entire film on YouTube.  Watch a clip below, or via this link.  In this brief scene, Pete attempts his initial flirtation with Kate while Phillip tries to "talk up Pete" to Kate's father.

I think it's well worth a watch.  When one considers what a stir it must have caused in 1929...yep...worth a watch.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Product Review: Starbucks New S'mores Frappuccino

Photo Courtesy of Time.com
On Facebook, where I get all of my important news flashes, I learned that Starbucks was introducing a new, limited time offer...or seasonal, S'mores Frappuccino.  On the Starbucks website, they describe it as:
Marshmallow-infused whipped cream, milk chocolate sauce, a creamy blend of graham, coffee, milk and ice finished off with more marshmallowy whipped cream and a graham cracker crumble.

Well, what's not to love about a thing like that right?  And in the article in Time, they say that for an additional $.95, or...during the introductory period, for free, you can have a cookie straw.  Again...what's not to love about that?

As some of you know, I gave up my once per week Starbucks habit.  I love Starbucks coffee drinks but the prices are stupid (most high end coffee drinks are) and I decided once I added up what that equaled in a month, I decided to start donating that amount to food banks.  I still visit Starbucks when I travel, or for a special coffee date with a friend.  It's no longer a habit or a routine, but a treat.  So this seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit Starbucks with my bestie, try the new drink and then blog about it.

What mine actually looked like.  This is a Grande.
First off, I'm sad to report, we did not get cookie straws.  Not only was it not present (one day after the launch), but we were not offered one to purchase either.  And, just this once, I would have bought one so I could report to you what it was like.  Que Sera.

Oddly, it wasn't as cold and frosty as I thought it would be and it seemed more whippy, airy than icy.

It's really sweet, so if you're expecting it not to be...think again.  It's more like a frothy milkshake than a coffee drink.  It's been a long time since I've had a frappuccino, but I remembered them as being more slushy-like than whippy-like.  Even still.  Yummy.  I sucked down a Grande with nary a blink.  I would have gotten a Venti...but what if I hated it?

From Starbucks website
It's possible it will be my last.  Time will tell.  I don't find them to be a very good value and typically will opt for an iced or hot Caramel Machiato, but in more recent months when prices rose again, I opt more often (of my nearly never) for an iced or hot vanilla latte.  But...you know...if Starbucks wants to give me a big, fat prepaid coffee card...I'll get some more for me and my bestie.

So in conclusion, both me and the bestie enjoyed our drink.  None of it went to waste.  Due to the price, and the calories, and the sugar content, it is something we will reserve for a special treat if we do it again.  Maybe on one of our road trips.  Don't you think Starbucks should fund us on a "find the Starbucks" travel series?  I mean, I found one of only three in all of Sweden last summer.  Pfft.  Child's play!