Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blockbuster Vs Netflix Round 1

By request I have started a free trial with Blockbuster to compare with Netflix. Here are my findings as of today. 

Customer Service

Blockbuster- Answered my call within 30 seconds, Took his time explaining he services to me, offered me the 30 day free trial, pronounced my name correctly. 

Netflix-Answered my call in 7mins 20 seconds, listened to my questions, answered them in a concise matter, tried to be personal with me ("i'm excited about that too", "I can't wait"), pronounced my name incorrectly and left off part of my last name immediately after I said it for him, told me a price that conflicted with the website.

DVD only service

Blockbuster- 2 DVD's at one time, unlimited rentals, new releases before Netflix, able to exchange my movies in the store rather than wait on them in the mail, video games and Blue-Ray are included at no extra charge. 


Netflix- 2 DVD's at one time, unlimited rentals, wait on new releases, cannot exchange in the store, video games not available for another 3-6 weeks, there will be an extra charge for approximately $3.00 more per month, Blue-Ray is an extra $3.00 a month.

$17.99/month in theory with Blue-Ray and video game options

Streaming only service

Blockbuster-Currently not available, offers On Demand Pay Per View, cannot stream through video game console, On Demand only available on limited devices, movie is only available 24 hours.

$1.99 to $9.99 depending on the movie.

Netflix-Streaming is unlimited, one flat rate, streams through video game consoles and more devices than Blockbuster, no time limit on movies. 


My conclusion, as it stands, my plan is to use Blockbuster for their DVD only option and Netflix for their streaming only option. If Blockbuster offers streaming I will drop Netflix immediately. Until then this will be my proposed method. It's no different than using to websites and have two charges from Nteflix and Qwikster anyway.

Round 1-Tie

Netflix Apology

If you are a Netflix subscriber you no doubt have received or will receive a lengthy email from CEO and Co-Founder Reed Hastings. You can go to the Netflix blog to read it if you are not a subscriber. But in summation, it apologizes for the delivery method of the rate increases rather than the rate increases themselves. After some lengthy, apologetic rambling about not choosing a better way to notify us, it was announced in the very same manner that he was apologizing for, that Netflix is dividing its company. Here's the situation...

The rate increases will remain because supposedly they need more revenue to support the dvd mailers. (in reality they just don't want us to order DVD's anymore because the industry has given priority to Blockbuster).

There will now be a video game option available for those who choose the DVD only option. Of course this comes at an extra charge. I have not investigated the charge yet but I suspect it may be cheaper than having Netflix and Gamefly together. 

The name of the DVD only option is now Qwikster. 

There will be two charges to your account now if you are a streaming and DVD option subscriber. 

The Qwikster website isn't up yet but you will not be able to manage both your streaming and DVD options on one website anymore. 

In short, this letter makes everything worse!!

Why would I pay more for games with Netflix when I could just go to Redbox or Blockbuster and pay one flat rate for streaming, DVD, and games? Why should I have to go to two different websites to manage the same services? So, not only has Netflix increased their rates but they separate the services thus making everything more complicated. They don't even bother to make all DVD movies available for streaming only subscribers nor do they make an effort to make new releases available sooner. 

They can take that rambling, condescending letter and...well, you know.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Red Alchemy: The Power of Lavender

Most of us know that lavender is a calming scent and color. But there is so much more to this quaint flower than is realized. 

Stop Gossip

Add lavender to a bucket of water and mop your floors with it. Gossip will stop. 

Light a purple candle anointed with lavender oil to stop all gossip. With a purple pen (preferably with lavender ink, ingredients not color) write the name of the gossipers on a piece of paper and place it under the candle. Allow the wax to seal the paper. 

Write the names of those who gossip about you on paper and seal it in an envelope with purple wax. 

Weight Loss 

You will need the following:
  • 1 purple candle
  • 1 amazonite stone
  • 1 small dish
  • A few drops of lavender oil
  • 1 small handful of dried lavender
  • 1 pair of old nylon stockings
  • 1 piece of ribbon or an elastic band
Light the purple candle and place it directly in front of you. Purple is really a great color to use in a weight loss spell, as it signifies control, ambition, and power. Take the amazonite stone in your power hand (the hand that you write with) and hold it above your head. Inhale and exhale slowly five times, then gradually bring your hand down to your side. This particular move infuses the amazonite stone with your personal strength and power. As you hold the stone, ponder of your ideal body. Do you wish to have a taut abdomen, toned arms, or perhaps firmer thighs? Once you have envisioned the bodily attributes you want most, bring the stone up and place it to your forehead, directly in line with your nose. This spot is said to be the “third eye.” Hold it there and say your chosen attributes out loud. For example, if it is indeed a taut abdomen that you are yearning for, then say, “taut abdomen.” Next, place the stone into the small dish and drip the wax of the candle onto the stone until it is completely covered. Once the wax has hardened, pick up the stone and slowly peel off the wax. This is a significant exercise that is meant to be likened to peeling the pounds off your frame. After you have removed all of the wax, anoint the stone in lavender oil and repeat the following:
I give thee new life; I give thee new breath; I give thee a new body.
Once the stone has been well-anointed, take the old pair of stockings and cut off one foot, into which you will place the dried lavender and the amazonite stone. Tie the top with the ribbon or elastic band, making a sachet. To fully empower the weight loss spell, place the sachet under your pillow and sleep on it for seven days.

 Lavender Oil

Apply to the temples, to a scent oil warmer or add a few drops to a purple candle and it can soothe a headache, depression and anxiety.

Add to steamy water and lean over it with a towel over your head. This will help clear spots on your skin as well as balance your skin's oil production.

Lavender compresses can help in the cases of bruises, sunburn, sprains, soreheads, burns, rashes and even eczema.

A few drops of lavender oil in your bath can help soothe sunburn or dry skin. or it can even be added to your shower gel.

lavender is also useful for period pains and to help with your emotions.

Sexy Pumpkins

I was staring at a pair of ruined fishnets, wondering what I could do with them. That's when my husband came home with a pumpkin...in the middle of September. I didn't want to carve it because it's just too early even for me. I thought of ways to prolong the life of the pumpkin to no avail. I tried to wrap it and put it in the fridge, (total blond moment) when I realized that my fishnets would look cool on the pumpkin (another blond moment). So I cut the foot off of the fishnets and made this little two second craft. I forgot to take a picture but lucky for me, someone else had a blond moment and did the same craft. They actually remembered to take pictures. Use different colors for some real fun.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Netflix Pix

Back by request is my weekly Netflix Pix. I stopped doing these because of the backlash of the price increase of Netflix monthly dues. But since the pricing is pretty much uniform across the board now, I might as well go back to furnishing a list of the stuff I watch. 

But I'm A Cheerleader stars Natasha Lyonne, one of my favorite actress. You may remember her from The Slums of Beverly Hills. I swore that movie was a ripoff of my diary entries when I was a teenager. This move is definitely one that will wind up in my "Don't Even Think About Borrowing This" collection. 

Megan (Lyonne) is a cheerleader who doesn't like kissing her boyfriend. She only has picture of girls inside of her school locker. Her parents conclude that she "must" be gay and therefore must be "fixed." She is sent to a gay and lesbian rehab camp to be corrected, where a very satirical comedy takes place. With the help of RuPaul, Clea DuVall, Eddie Cibrian, Kathy Moriarty, Mink Stole and Michelle Williams, this movie is a great comedy that belongs in the same league with The Slums of Beverly Hills, Saved, and Little Miss Sunshine.

Saw 3D The Final Chapter successfully redeems the downfall of arguably one of the best horror film series since Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. We all remember how the last two Saw movies left us shouting obscenities and mumbling disgruntled comments. The Final Chapter leaves the horror film fan feeling satisfied, which is not what we felt having spent an extra $14 just to see this movie in 3D. I can honestly say there was no need to see this movie in 3D at all. There were a total of 4 scenes where it was obvious that the flying intestines or weaponry was intended for 3D but I can't say I felt a loss. The mystery is still enjoyable and the traps will have you cringing, turning away and shouting, "Oh my God, I can't watch!" The ending is such a sweet release you may want to have a cigarette or a chocolate bar to help savor the moment.

I began watching Mad Men because of Joan's gorgeous style on the promos. I am a fan of the 50's housewife fashions. I get my fill watching the first two seasons of Mad Men. Netflix has all four seasons available to watch instantly. There is nothing more annoying than starting to watch a series on Netflix after it's a few seasons along  and finding that you won't be able to understand what's happening on the new episodes because the most recent season isn't available. That happened with Weeds. It took so long for Weeds to become available I was completely incapable of enjoying the most recent season available on DVD. With Mad Men you can completely catch up. As far as the show goes, I have to say that absolutely nothing happens on this show but I guarantee you won't be able to stop watching it. There is the excitement of the advertising account managements and the wonder of whether or not Don Draper will have another affair. But honestly, nothing eventful takes place. Still, I enjoyed every minute of every season and can't wait to watch season 5 on AMC.                                                                                                                                         

Chili's Margarita Chicken Copycat Recipe

Chili's Margarita Grilled Chicken Copycat Recipe

Chili's Margarita Grilled Chicken Recipe Clone - Serves 4
You will surprised at how easy and quick this Chili's recipe is to make.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup margarita mix
1/4 cup of Tequila
1 tbsp of minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Black beans
Pico de Gallo
Brown rice

Pound chicken breasts flat so that they are no more than 1 inch thick. Next, let them marinate in the margarita mix in the refrigerator. Overnight is best, but let marinate for at least two hours.

Remove chicken breasts from marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper, your preference.

For the best flavor, use a grill to cook the chicken breasts. If not, try to cook the chicken in a cast iron skillet or on a George Foreman grill. Cook on medium high heat. Lightly spray the skillet with a cooking spray before adding the chicken.

After chicken breasts are nice and brown, serve over black beans. Add Mexican brown rice and pico de gallo on the side.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lysteria and Cantelopes

What is Lysteria?

Listeria monocytogenes is commonly found in soil, stream water, sewage, plants, and food. Listeriosis is a serious illness, and the disease may manifest as meningitis, or affect newborns due to its ability to penetrate the endothelial layer of the placenta. Vegetables can become contaminated from the soil, and animals can also be carriers. Listeria has been found in uncooked meats, uncooked vegetables, unpasteurized milk, foods made from unpasteurized milk, and processed foods. Pasteurization and sufficient cooking kill Listeria; however, contamination may occur after cooking and before packaging. For example, meat-processing plants producing ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs and deli meats, must follow extensive sanitation policies and procedures to prevent Listeria contamination

From the FDA Website:

Jensen Farms Recalls Cantaloupe Due to Possible Health Risk

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 14, 2011 - Jensen Farms, of Holly, CO is voluntarily recalling their shipments of Rocky Ford whole cantaloupe because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria. The company is working with the State of Colorado and the FDA to inform consumers of this recall. L. monocytogenes is a bacterium that can contaminate foods and cause a mild non-invasive illness (called listerial gastroenteritis) or a severe, sometimes life-threatening, illness (called invasive listeriosis). Persons who have the greatest risk of experiencing listeriosis after consuming foods contaminated with L. monocytogenes are fetuses and neonates who are infected after the mother is exposed to L. monocytogenes during pregnancy, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.
The whole cantaloupes in question were shipped between July 29th, 2011 and September 10th 2011, and distributed to the following states: IL, WY, TN, UT, TX, CO, MN, KS, NM, NC, MO, NE, OK, AZ, NJ, NY, PA. The whole cantaloupes have a green and white sticker that reads: Product of USA- Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe or a gray, yellow, and green sticker that reads: Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords. If the whole cantaloupe is unlabeled, please contact your retail store for sourcing information. Jensen Farms is requesting any consumer that many have one of these cantaloupes to please destroy the products.
The recall involves only whole cantaloupe shipped by Jensen Farms, and no other commodities are involved. Jensen Farms feels it is prudent to participate in the recall as the State of Colorado has stated (in their September 12th, 2011 press release) that people at a high risk for infection should not eat whole cantaloupe from the Rocky Ford growing region.
“Jensen Farms continues to stay committed to the highest levels of food safety and maintains many third party safety audits, as we have for many years. We continually look for ways to enhance our protocol,” said Ryan Jensen, partner at Jensen Farms. Jensen Farms is a 3rd generation family farm of the Holly, Colorado community.
Consumers with questions may contact Jensen Farms via email at recall@rfordcantaloupe.com or phone 1-800-267-4561 between the hours of 9am and 4pm MST.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

DIY Kitchen Racks

If you you're like me you may have two to three sets of pots and pans and no place to put them all. I posted some nails on the wall and hung my pots but found that there still wasn't enough room. One day I was in Anna's Linens and I saw a really nice curtain rod. I had absolutely no need for it but I really liked it. Then I noticed that there was a weight specification on the side of the package. Apparently this curtain rod was meant to hold a very heavy amount of fabric thus allowing the owner to hang long heavy drapery. I went home and weighed a set of pots and pans I just bought in the box and they were well withing the weight limit. I bought the rod and hung it in my kitchen, using metal curtain hooks, (squeezed closed) to hang the pots and pans. I felt special that I had come up with a money saving idea. Immediately I went online to share my idea with all of you and found that I was certainly not the first to come up with this idea. You can use towel racks or curtain rods to store your lids or pots in your kitchen and still have plenty of space. 

In the above picture, Martha Stewart used a regular towel rod she got from a garage sale. She painted it and used hooks to hold her utensils. 

Here's one that can be added on the inside of a cabinet door so that your wall space is not overflowing with utensils. 

If towel racks are not your thing, you can recycle and old crib and make an overhead rack like this one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fit Me Maybelline Foundation Review

I am well overdue for this review but I wanted to finish the bottle before I reviewed it. 

The Promise

This foundation does not have a new concept. It is the same as all of the other makeups that promise to blend perfectly into your skin. The only difference between this makeup and the others is the others will cover your blemishes and this one will not. It promises to make you look great without hiding your skin.

The delivery

Being a woman of color I have an issue with my skin known as hyperpigmentation. It means that when a blemish appears on my skin it leaves behind a black mark, dark brown marks on lighter skinned women of color. Fit Me does not cover these blemishes but it does make them less noticeable. It finds the balance between the highs and lows in the color of your skin. So you aren't being covered up but your skin tone is being evened out. If you have decent skin with the occasional hiccup then this foundation is for you. It makes you look naturally beautiful. My husband couldn't tell that I was wearing makeup until he noticed my eyeshadow. 

It matches my skin perfectly. I am a 320, Honey Beige and it matched my skin when I bought right before summer and it matched my skin in the dead of summer.  It's light enough to wear daily and all year.


Use a sponge to apply it not your fingers or a foundation brush. Use natural light to see if you have applied it evenly. Apply more foundation for a smoother look. Don't use heave eyeshadow colors with this look because it will look like you made up your eyes and nothing else.


It was $7.59 a bottle at RiteAid without the sale. That price was the average price of the foundation at Target and at Walgreens. I recommend looking online at Walgreens, RiteAid, and  Target at the same time to see which one has it on sale. It's usually on sale for $4.59 a bottle. If it's not on sale at one store it will be at the other. I would not buy this item when it is not on sale.

Halloween Jars

I know that it is too early for Halloween but it's one of my favorite holidays and I like to prepare early. One of my annual crafts are Halloween jars. There are many different versions and uses for this craft making it the perfect family craft. 

Halloween Ghosts

You will need mason, sauce, or condiment jars and acrylic paint with brushes. You will also need tea light candles or a line of white, green or orange lights (Christmas lights).

Carefully peel the label off of the jars making the stickiest part the back of the jar. Paint your jar completely on the outside whatever color you want. If it's a ghost paint it white. If it's Frankenstein paint it green. Make sure the layer of paint is thin enough for the light to show through. I like to light the candle first and drop into the jar before I paint so I can see if the light shines through. Leave the lid off. 

Icky Jars

You will need green jello, hard boiled eggs, gummy worms or spaghetti and vienna sausage. Paint is optional.

This is a game I played when I went to Halloween parties when I was younger. Fill the jars with jello and drop an egg in one, worms in the other, and 3 to 5 sausages in the other. If your haunted house is dark then you won't need to wrap or paint the jars. Have each kid stick their hand in the jar with their eyes closed and have them guess what's in it or tell them what you want them to believe is in it. The egg is the eyeball, the sausage is the finger etc. 

Wiccan Herbal Gift
Halloween is New Years to the Wiccans of the world. Give them the gift of the harvest or new beginnings. Halloween is a harvest holiday. You can fill the jars with harvested herbs like Mandrake for healing, chamomile for relaxation, basil for success etc. Be sure to label them. If you want to give the gift of new beginnings plant herb seeds in the jars with soil and label them. They will have their own herb garden.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Jambalaya Recipe

The base of this recipe is the jambalaya recipe from Better Homes and Garden. It's the big cookbook that looks like a picnic blanket. My book has the recipe on page 498. My husband loved the recipe but my son couldn't get passed the spicy sausage or the red pepper flakes. Now I have a 12 month old daughter who likes to eat off of my plate. Spice is a no no, at least for now. Here is the recipe with my alterations noted.


Makes: about 7 cups (6 main-dish servings)
Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 20 minutes
  • 1pound fresh or frozen peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 ounces andouille or kielbasa sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3/4cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/2teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup cubed cooked ham
Alterations: My onion was the size of a small, bagged apple. I used 3 stalks of celery with the white end cut off. I used one whole green pepper the same size as the onion with the white membrane removed. I used extra virgin olive oil to cook with and freshly chopped tomatoes. I used mild links for the sausage and instant long grain rice. I completely omitted the ground red pepper. 
Directions 1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Set shrimp aside. In a 12-inch skillet cook onion, celery, sweet pepper, and garlic in hot oil until tender. Stir in chicken broth, undrained tomatoes, sausage, rice, thyme, basil, black pepper, red pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

2. Stir in shrimp. Return to boiling. Simmer, covered, about 5 minutes more or until shrimp turn opaque and rice is tender. Stir in ham; heat through. Discard bay leaf. Makes about 7 cups (6 main-dish servings).
nutrition facts
  • Servings Per Recipe about 7 cups (6 main-dish servings)
  • Calories416
  • Total Fat (g)20
  • Saturated Fat (g)6,
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g)9,
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g)4,
  • Cholesterol (mg)154,
  • Sodium (mg)1199,
  • Carbohydrate (g)27,
  • Total Sugar (g)4,
  • Fiber (g)1,
  • Protein (g)30,
  • Vitamin A (DV%)0,
  • Vitamin C (DV%)29,
  • Calcium (DV%)9,
  • Iron (DV%)22,
  • Starch (d.e.)1.5,
  • Vegetables (d.e.)1,
  • Medium-fat Meat (d.e.)3.5,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back To School Night: 10 Questions You Should Ask

Back to school night typically occurs twice in any given school year. The first is usually during the first three months of school. The point of back to school night is to brag about the amenities of the school as well as the qualifications of the teachers. The children are able to show what they have done so far and parents are able to ask any questions about their child's development that weren't addressed before. With all of the activities that go on during this school function, it's easy to lose track of what you really want or should know about your child's school and education. Here are ten questions you should ask to get you started. You will find it easy to add to it as you consider your specific situation. 

1. What are the teacher's credentials?

2. What is her teaching style?

3. What is the teacher's lesson plan for the quarter, semester, year?

4. What assignments and subjects are the most challenging / easy for your child and why?

5. What methods of discipline does the teacher use?

6. What is the best way to support her learning plan?

7. Which children does your child get along with best / worst?

8. How would the teacher describe your child's personality and behavior?

9. What ranking does your school have in the No Child Left Behind testing?

10. What is being done to effect that ranking?