All posts by Ariel

About Ariel

Freelance Writer and Hot Mess.

I Have A Confession;

This has been brewing for some time now. And it’s Jamaican Me Crazy not being able to share this sooner. I Cannoli imagine how pissed some of you are going to be.

Okay. I’ll stop. I have a thing for super bad puns. The puns Dad Jokes are made of.

ANYWAYS…I kind of have a problem. And by problem I mean it’s a first world problem but a problem none the less. I have a hot beverage problem. It’s such a thing I have an entire drawer full of coffees and teas.

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But the tea is in the back for a reason. My main go to in a month is not the expensive Starbucks, the Fruity bursts, or even the Giant Box of Great Value K-Cups.  It’s the thing dreams are made of.

image4(Please ignore the grossness that is my handle to the Keurig, I only push it down about 11 times a day.)

My Ultra-Caffeinated, Ultra-Natural, Ultra-Badass, LOCAL Utica Coffee.  You guys, you don’t even KNOW.

Their Mission Statement on Their Website states,

Our approach is simple: we use the highest quality coffee available, roast it in small batches for the retail and wholesale market, and adhere to business principles that embrace the culture, history, and vibe of our region. We practice current, sustainable, renewable business practices, hire local, purchase local (everything but our coffee beans, of course), and sell local.

Everyone with any conscience is behind that, but wait until you TASTE THE FREAKING STUFF. Their website has a TON of varieties listed from Flavored, to Origin and the ever-famous Adirondack blend. But I have a special place in my heart for the Wake The Hell Up! K- cups in the flavor Cannoli.

image3(I also have a box in Jamaican Me Crazy. It’s my third box since the 3rd of the month. Stop Judging me.)
image2(I meant to take a picture for you before I tore into the box like a crackhead finding some plastic wrap but I just didn’t have the self control.)

Now the great thing about these coffees is that I am a huge advocate of creamer. If I was not Lactose Intolerant, I would probably just drink that straight. Okay; I’m joking. I had a boyfriend who did that and I questioned what I saw in him badly enough to leave. Straight Diabetes. Be an adult and put booze in it first, call it Kahlua. God Damn…

Sorry. Anyways, I have a creamer problem, and this DOESN’T need creamer. Now I’m no coffee expert (That’s why there is Utica Coffee Roasters…) BUT! I can tell you that Cannoli is smooth but slightly acidic, and flavorful like a sweet vanilla cream without being overpowering.

Now the JMC flavor… I am new to this. I am not a fan of Coconut coffee, however this was again, smooth with slight acidity, and not necessary to be tainted with creamer. Which is a shame, because my creamer problem is almost as bad as my coffee problem. (Don’t even get my started on making my own… what do you think I do when I’m out?)

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So all of this, with Pride as I announce no anxiety fits or heart attack – you may be asking yourself why I’m even going on. Well, I believe in sustainability. I believe in supporting local business. I believe in Good Freaking Coffee.

My friends know I don’t recommend anything I haven’t tried myself or researched thoroughly. My friends know that if I’m drinking coffee at 11:18 PM, it’s going to be Damn Good Coffee. My friends all now also have a coffee problem. So check the links below I left and explore the site. Not only do they have Ultra-Caf, but they have decaf, TEA, and merch. Hopefully get your purchases in before they place a block and alert on me.

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Check me out on My Facebook for more things that are not funny.

They take Most Major Cards/Paypal. And hey! Free Shipping over $50!

You Can Find Their Facebook Here

You Can Trade Your Soul Here (It’s worth it Broseph.)

 

 

 

 

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MAGA Via Your GPS

So, if you felt that America was great, but your navigation was left back in the Obama administration; have no fear! KartaGPS has  come to show you how to obtain GPS Enlightenment.

Featuring a Donald impersonator for your navigation needs via iOS and Android, KartaGPS uses the Donald’s voice to give you great – NO! THE BEST! places to eat, the most TREMENDOUS left turns, and even the reason to maybe appreciate him again. Or not. When in doubt, the company is also offering former President Bill Clinton. I wonder how many Lewinsky jokes before you just hear Hilary clearing her throat in the background?

The voice is free – let me know in the comments if you’ve had it since the release in May, or if you’re looking to try it out now.

Murder As An Inconvenience

The Associated Press published a story today about The Man who killed his wife for laughing at him. Now for those of you too lazy to click the link, it describes a couple who went on a cruise in Alaska and, as predicted, killed his wife for laughing at him. There is little details here, but the ones that made the story are something of quirk. A friend had come into the room after the murder and STOPPED THE HUSBAND FROM THROWING HIS WIFE’S BODY OFF THE BALCONY. On A CRUISE SHIP. Take a minute to appreciate that scene from a bad Netflix Original.

But the part that really made me do a double take – and this should stun you as well – When asked about the compensation of $150 for having to dock the cruise for the Crime Scene, a fellow passenger, Mr. Lloyd ‘Selfish AF’ Barrows, stated, “You feel sorry for the family, but a lot of people had to wait.”

SORRY someone’s MURDER inconvenienced you on A CRUISE IN ALASKA. SORRY someone DIED and you got COMPENSATED for it. What were you late too, THE BEAUTIFUL SCENERY? FUUUUCCCKKKKKKK.

We as people, are disgusting. Who are you to show any disdain? A woman lost her life, but FUCK WE MISSED THE ICE CAP SIGHTING. Woman murdered by her life partner for laughing – literally, she was laughing, and someone’s anger was bad enough to kill her for it. Never mind that he tried to cover it up by throwing her off a balcony until someone stopped it. And when arrested, claimed his life was over.

Was this guy in the right for complaining? Or do you think this was a callous remark?

 

 

FREE Supply Filled Backpacks Today!

WF

Everyone loves Free, right? Well today, from 1PM to 4PM, stop down in one of the participating Verizon Wireless stores with your child and receive a FREE backpack with school supplies! A list of participating locations can be found Here.

They do ask:

“After you get your free backpack, share your photos using #WZGivesBack on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to spread the goodwill! Check out all the fun at http://www.wzgivesback.com

EDIT: Their Facebook seems to have comments about people not being able to receive them due to plans being made for them prior- I would call beforehand if it’s a drive for you!

 

 

Talking With Chester

I’ve stayed quiet about the recent celebrity suicide up until now. Honestly … everyone has such personal, intense conflicting opinions on the subject it’s kind of like politics; I don’t touch on it unless it’s a tasteless meme. Most of my friends are the same. It isn’t that we are sociopaths; it’s that humor cuts the reality we endue and desensitizes us for the next emotional blow.
But I get it.
I get it because I’ve been in so much pain I didn’t see any other options. I’ve tried to commit suicide in the past. I wouldn’t be human if I said I didn’t question occasionally if it would be better to just end it all. I’m an empath by nature, and I recognize if someone is struggling they need all the treading lightly they can receive. That being said, I’m going to say something that’s going to enrage more people than usual. Hear me out on this before you grab your pitchforks and scream “Troll!” from the rafters.
Suicide is a cowardly thing to do.
I get the pain. I get the desperation, the feeling of being too far into your own head you see no other option. I’ve felt that feeling of being no progress in site. I’ve looked at my life and thought, “This isn’t worth the little energy I have left.” I’ve been mentally exhausted for God knows how many years. I’ve seen friends go through the same struggle and spoken with them, only to have them a memory a few days later. I’ve watch the only ember of life flee from my eyes like the wick of the candle at the pool of melted wax. I’ve needed help coming out of my own head from the caring friends; I’ve gone as far as two Psychiatric Hospital stays in the same decade. I’ve seen the fear on my loved one’s faces when I’m so filled with my own contempt and self loathing that if I had emotions left, it would make me feel guilty.
But the real fear … the real fear is getting up the next morning with no knowledge if things will get worse, can they get worse? … Or can they be better.
Can things change rapidly tomorrow? Will something ignite the little spark I have left? Will something catch me off guard and take my breath away, reminding me that I AM, in fact, Still breathing?
Listen. I’m not saying, “Hey don’t kill yourself, you could win the Lotto tomorrow!” That’s more false hope, empty promises, and about as realistic as saying after one yoga class and switching to light beer this weekend that I’m down a dress size. I am saying to you:
If you don’t push through to take a chance on tomorrow, you are letting fear win. You are letting something that will be so insignificant one mood lift from now control you. You made it this far. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for because you’ve already tried to talk yourself out of it without realizing it.
One more time for the people in the back.

YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT FOR.

Shitty, fucked up things are going to happen in your life; it’s beyond inevitable. But at some point “kind of okay” things are going to happen, too. Your life was not always a dumpster fire. Sometimes it was a kindle. TRAIN yourself to remember that. CONVINCE yourself that there is more to you than being a bag of bones and flesh. If not for you, than for the people that you don’t think depend on you for their joy – because there are people out there who do, whether you care to acknowledge it or not. And it sucks sometimes, I get it.  But you know what sucks more? You letting some bullshit stand in your way from experiencing happiness. So reach out. Reach out to a friend, to a doctor, hell – reach out to the number I’ve posted below. But please … don’t take the cowardly way by not living long enough to see what tomorrow brings.
1-800-273-TALK
1-800-273-8255
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a United States–based suicide prevention network of 161 crisis centers that provides a 24/7, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. After dialing 1-800-273-TALK, the caller is routed to their nearest crisis center to receive immediate counseling and local mental health referrals. The Lifeline supports people who call for themselves or someone they care about.

Another Excuse For Coffee? Biscotti!

College has started back up, and with hard work comes caffeine addiction. Or Coke. But I mean I don’t have the money for coke and I’m not looking to ruin my life so…COFFEE IT IS!

So while  procrastinating cramming on day ONE of classes, I realized two cups of coffee in and I was craving a sweet treat. Something to hit the spot that didn’t make me feel like I downed an entire package of Oreo’s, kind of thing. Something crunchy and still light.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Biscotti.

HOMG. I ended up making four batches. Well, to be fair the first one was going great until I forgot about it in the oven on the last round. Kids woke up, coffee cup three needed to be made, I’m pretty sure I was still in my pajamas and knew we had an appointment in 30 minutes…

The next two rounds (which, being said the first round didn’t stop anyone under the age of 6 from devouring it off the plate, despite my eldest proclaiming that he doesn’t like the brown sides-even thought EVERY SIDE WAS BROWN) were true to form biscotti. Crunchy, sweet, coffee dipping, perfectionist-divulging biscotti. Quick, easy, and worth every misguided attempt prior to this.

The last round was just for the kids. They wanted “the hard cookies but not so hard, mom.” Those I took out after the first one and let them cool and set overnight, but you can pretty much dive in whenever on those.

Four batches, and the best picture I have for you guys is burnt ones because out of all four batches I don’t think they made it long enough for pictures!

biscotti

 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Biscotti

3/4c. Sugar

2 Eggs

Splash vanilla extract

1c. AP Flour

3/4c. Whole Wheat Flour

1t. Baking soda

1/2 t. Salt

3/4-1c. Kraft Caramel Bits

3-4-1c. Semi Sweet or Dark Chips (I used SS because I didn’t have dark)

Good  pinch of procrastinating on the first three labs you have

The fear of not having a degree after 10 years

The cat hair of the 13 cats you’ll have in the future, when you’re alone.

Optional: Sea Salt for sprinkling

Optional: Drizzle in melted chocolate

 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Cream sugar, eggs and vanilla. It’s going to look weird from lack of butter but do not be alarmed. It’s all still okay. THE EARTH IS NOT CRASHING DESPITE MY GRADE IN GEOLOGY RIGHT NOW I CAN ASSURE YOU. Keep the mixer on low-medium speed and add flours, salt, and soda. Don’t get too crazy on the speed or it’s going to blow up like my student loan debt. Scrape sides and gently mix in chips/bits/hopes/dreams. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray or use parchment paper and lay the dough into two logs. Or ten. But I mean, two is easier. Slightly round the rectangle logs along the edges so that there is a nice curve, much like the days of No Child Left Behind. Optional: Sprinkle Sea Salt across the tops if you would like.  Place in the oven and bake for around 30 Minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for ten (or twenty…I mean, you get to it when you get to it. Or when Thing One stops biting Thing Two in the Living room and OH MY GOD YOU DON’T HAVE TO WATCH PAW PATROL WE HAVE TWO TV’S JUST GOOOO!) minutes. Carefully slice into 3/4″ slices and turn on their sides all in the pan. Place pan in oven for ten minutes. Remove pan after ten and flip all pieces. Place in the oven again to bake for the final ten minutes. HERE IS THE IMPORTANT KICKER, FOLKS; do NOT forget they are in the oven!

Remove and let cool. If wanted, drizzle with melted chocolate. Dip in Coffee and the tears of realizing you have another 14 weeks of the semester. It’s not that bad. Wipe the blood off your Psychology text book and remember; wine is not acceptable all hours of the day, but coffee is forever.

 

When

When your mouth fails to say what your mind can not comprehend; when the only emotion left is the unexplainable romanticism of what despair has crept in; and when your only form of convalescence is in the power of your soul-

Write.

Bubble Shells

Upon hitting up a great deal on boxed pasta last week at my Tops Market, I am no realizing…I didn’t need 10 boxes. I’m glad I didn’t buy 20, honestly. So I have been spending the last week trying to create various meals where my children will eat it without gagging. Their metabolisms are young, they can handle it. I meanwhile, can only eat a bowl a week as my cheat meal and wanted something I could enjoy as an adult.

Meet our compromise; Bubble Shells.

Rainman has an odd fascination with the fish tank clam shells that bubble when you turn them on. I don’t dare ruin his naive enjoyment by telling him it’s just an air tube. His little four year old wonderment will some day die when he joins the rest of the world, I’m sure. He can’t go more than one mention of clams without getting spastic about the fish tank decoration. When I asked him if he wanted linguine with clams for dinner, I never got an answer because I got an interrogation on why we didn’t have a fish tank with a clam shell aerator.

Anyways, my children (and anyone’s kids under the age of 10) have issues with linguine. I mean it’s basically just for play from point A of the strainer to point B of the plate. My kids can’t twirl the fork, it turns into an angry game of stabbing the table, Mommy needs wine. So to update it for the boys, we used small shells. I assume you can use any pasta, but this is what worked for us.

My picture is terrible; I had to fight the kids for the last 1/2 cup and quickly poor it all into my bowl to have a chance at some!

 


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  • 1 Large Elephant Garlic Clove
  • Can Minced Clams in Juice, DO NOT DRAIN
  • Sea salt, Italian Seasoning, Pepper
  • Splash Lemon Juice
  • 2 OZ Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • Box 1lb. Pasta, cooked al dente and drained

Saute Garlic in small non stick pan with oil until fragrant(I used Garlic oil but not mandatory.) Stir and toss in can of clams and juice. Cook on medium high heat 2-4 minutes. Add a sprinkle each of sea salt, black ground pepper, and Italian seasoning; stir. Add cream cheese and carefully stir with nonstick spatula to disburse and keep from burning. When combined and low rolling boil, add splash of lemon juice and stir. Turn down to simmer and let reduce slightly. Turn off and spoon over cooked pasta-just enough to toss and lightly coat noodles-not as much as in my picture unless you want Clam Soup.

 

The Internet Court

We as society want everything quickly, efficiently, and profound enough that we can only spend as minute a time as possible to judge, assess, and react to a situation. Everything these days is about the convenience of speed-and it is making us shitty people.

The one thing I really dislike about how social media controls us is that everyone is given the option to become a juror and judge, and in turn feel the need to hold others accountable despite not having all the evidence. Media is meant to get ratings and what better way than click bait? But a vast number of social media users will see multiple stories with the same gripping title, do little to no research, and then quickly determine a course of action. While in the best intentions for social justice-this does not mean that course of action is correct.

Ruining someone’s life, getting them fired from their job, claiming racial injustices or police brutality before knowing the facts-all things happening daily. Boycotting companies over one story someone read-

While some of these things DO happen and we SHOULD feel the need to become activists, We as a whole need to learn to do research before condemning innocent people.

For example-right now the news story is that police in FL watched three teenage girls drown and did nothing. This is spreading like wildfire. However, there is much to the story not told in click bait. If people did research before spreading the stories on Facebook, they might have a more informed, changed opinion.

This is not to say that some of these cases need not be brought to light. They should. Without social media an oblivious bubble would still be hovering over many needed justifications. Police brutality has been reformed, breastfeeding advocacy. Racial issues are begging for our attention-and yes they deserve it.

But when was the last time you got the whole, unbiased story on Facebook? Innocent people have been fired, lost their homes and families because the internet took things TOO FAR. Just because someone claims police brutality does not make it so. Not every issue is a race fueled injustice. Do these things happen? YES. I will not deny that. But people-not EVERYTHING is black and white. And not everything can be determined from a 30 second video clip and someone across the country’s opinion on the matter as a caption.

Facebook does not give you the right to be a juror nor does it give you the right to be a judge. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and everyone will gossip and talk about these stories. It has been this way for centuries. But when did the ease and speed of social media give us the power to take things one step further and control the situation?

Not everything you read online, despite even being from Reliable News Sources is correct. In a pressurized haste to get the story out before everyone else, mistakes can be and are made.

Sandy Hook was a shit storm. Everyone was so in a rush with their information that the story did not come out until some time later-ending up creating conspiracy theories, angry families, and people taking things into their own hands-all because we as society couldn’t wait to hear the news as it came.

The local story of Baby Maddox-the missing baby murdered by her father-came out with information in spurts. While time sensitive material can be of the utmost focus for the people actively searching for the missing baby at the time, it did not help when pressured police and news were giving out incorrect or misleading information. Was this done intentionally? No, of course not. But it didn’t stop from confusion and frustration by all parties.

We as society need to slow our roll. Will that happen? I highly doubt that. Impatience and technology’s increase in capacity has brought us to the point where we are going to destroy ourselves. There is a fine line between improving lives and impeding them. Where are we going to draw that line?

Why don’t we start with using common sense. Take the moral high road. Next time you read a new trending outrageous story, take a look at everything. Remind yourself it is better to be unbiased than blinded.

And for God’s Sake, people; stop playing every character of Law and Order online-there is a reason a court consists of many people and not one single person. Keep that in mind.

My Almost Irish Twins.

My eldest, now four, spent the night an hour away at his Aunt’s place with her last night. The first sleepover they had left me weary, anxious; car keys next to the bed waiting for that “Come get me!” call that never came. It was harder on me than anyone.

That is not to say his two year old brother did not have questions. Non-verbal yet intuitive, he had fallen asleep before we dropped off his brother only to wake up in our driveway with his brother no longer in the car. Many whines and pointed fingers to his brother’s car seat trying to urgently express to me that I must have indeed, forgotten his other half somewhere.

Two years ago when I brought Bad Baby home (referred to from here on out at BB;) his brother was just under two. A very angry almost two year old was very upset I left for three days and came home with a loud loaf of bread, occupying all of my new time. And in time he learned BB was not going anywhere, and we grew into normalcy. As normal as having two babies in the house could be. I was worried about having them so close together. I was worried about jealousy and them both not understanding the sharing of my time. I was worried love was not measured in a knowing glance with them, but the time spent individually.

It’s been two years. BB refuses to go to bed without Rainman (my four year old) sleeping next to him. They were in their own rooms and it became such a guess in the middle of the night as to where one of my toddlers were that I finally put both beds in one room. It’s been about 8 months and they now sleep together in the same bed. I’ve tried to separate them to no avail. They are the size of 4 and 7 year olds, in a small twin bed, and they find comfort in each other enough to sleep at opposite ends of the bed, feet touching.

So when Rainman leaves, I’m not the only one who is on edge.

BB enjoys the company this morning waking up to my smiling face, and I his. He enjoys the extra effort he gets in the bath; letting him play until all the bubbles are gone. Mommy is more carefree, easy going. Cuddles on the couch to Doc McStuffins. Constant kissing and hugging all around.

But it’s not without a silent understanding that something is missing here. BB did go to the front door and try to unlock it. When I asked him where he was going he handed me his brother’s shirt and ran back to the door, whining and pointing. Almost to say “let’s go get Brother.” We’ve settled down, but it’s not without the glances to the door every time there is a noise outside. And I think it’s about more than that missing face.

It is eerily quiet. The sound of Doc and my squirming cuddly baby who can not get comfortable on the couch, the coffee maker whining in the background, the keys clacking as I type; all audible and present. But the room still feels empty. BB has caused enough trouble in one hour for the two children combined in a day; and it still is calm beyond reason. There are no puzzle pieces strewn about. There is no toilet paper coming from under the bathroom door in a trail. The couch seems longer than ever before with space.

I am trying to remind myself Rainman needs this time away from home. My BB needs some independent time with me before Baby Unnamed gets here next month. I am fighting the urge to get BB dressed immediately and put him in the car and drive the hour in the snow to get his brother. I am fighting it because I know this is bittersweet time that I should cherish. Only one kid in a household of three? A single mom with full custody of three boys and I want them HERE?!?! Am I insane?

No. The truth is this is all I know. People used to tell me how hard it was with multiple children. And in the beginning-it was rough. But it was never in my mind unfathomable. Once I held BB I never again questioned what “punishment” I was inflicting on my then almost toddler by having to share that time and love. It was a learning process but it was one I accepted with little personal conflict. And people now give me their unsolicited opinion on having the third baby where I can confidently say, “What is one more loved child?”

My children don’t know struggle in this household. They don’t know selfish. They have no concept of loneliness. They are familiar with jealousy; but only in the sense of the last gummy; the difference in TV time. They do not know boredom or resentment at their friends who always have a playmate.

They know companionship. They know friendship. They know sharing. They know love.

They know that I will never love any of them more than the other. A different but equal devotion of my time, energy, resources, and patience. They know family.

I know that they love each other more than they could love another person. And while Baby Unnamed will bring some challenges; his bond with the two older boys will not be the same-I know that my Almost Irish Twins will find comfort in each other during the upcoming time of adjustment. They will find solace in the thought of their dependent brother being there to turn to.

And I will find relief in knowing that I could not live my life any other way than having a full home with three loud, messy, screaming, LOVING boys.

So we will wait another hour or two, and we will scramble in the car to go get my independent four year old. And while they will bicker in the car over the different toys from their happy meals, I will glance in the rear view mirror with a knowing smile on my face. This is how it should be.