Why fruit hypnosis on Facebook might just save the world

If you want to try and understand how I come up with half the weird crap I post on this blog, here is a little peek into my daily world.

I might have actually discovered the cure to obesity in America. Seriously.

Facebook conversation on fruit

I rest my case.

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The Lobsters at Red Lobster Depress Me

For some people, death or a breakup will send them into a fit of depression. For me, it’s lobsters.

And not just any lobsters … the lobsters at Red Lobster.

I mean, have you ever really LOOKED at them? With the giant glass case and the bubbles trickling toward the top.  And their claws bound together, with blue-and-pink-and-yellow rubber bands.

Just sitting there, waiting to be boiled to death.

What kind of way is that to die?

sebastian

If I was a lobster at Red Lobster, I’d probably kill myself, first.

And so, as I sat there that Friday night—waiting for the hostess to call my name—I just became SO DEPRESSED.

I thought about, as a kid, how the lobsters used to excite me. I’d get all ADHD on my parents, screaming about “the lobsters! the lobsters!” But that was before I really knew.

And then, I had probably worst conversation in the HISTORY of conversations, with my mother.

It kinda went something like this:

Me: “Do you think the lobsters know?”

My mom: “Know what?”

Me: “You know.”

My mom: “Shari, I really don’t want to talk about the lobsters.”

lobster_tank

I’m just so glad I don’t like lobster. I ordered chicken that night. And it’s probably a good thing I don’t live in some remote, Yiddish town in Russia.

Because I’d be seriously screwed.

[P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day!]

Dude, My Pillsbury Biscuits Taste like Raspberry Air Freshener

Pillsbury biscuitsDid you know that Pillsbury reduced fat biscuits will absorb the taste AND aroma of Bath and Body Works raspberry oil air freshener?

Well, now you do. Because I accidentally proved this thesis. And ruined my lunch.

(Take that, Einstein!)

This is one of those things where all the stars and planets and supernovas in the universe aligned just right … for me. Or rather, against me. But possibly for humanity, so no one will ever have to suffer through this excruciating ordeal again.

It kinda happened something like this:

Friday: I want tuna fish. Unplug electronic Bath and Body Works Wallflower oil dispenser to plug-in electronic can opener. Place oil dispenser on kitchen counter. Make tuna sandwich, revel in delight, continue with life.

Weekend: Boyfriend time (smile and blush)Wallflower oil plug

Wednesday: Cleaning lady comes over to help neaten house while I work from home. Saves me from myself, does amazing job. I pay her. She leaves.

Thursday: Come home from work, elated by pleasant house smells. “Mmmmm, raspberry.” Advance further into kitchen. Overwhelmed by house smells. “Ehhh, raspberry.” Approach counter. Discover purple puddle of oil. Then notice upside down oil dispenser (courtesy of cleaning lady) … never plugged back in. Holding nose, reluctantly clean and scrub. Aroma lingers.

Weekend: Boyfriend time (smile and blush)

Monday: Craving Pillsbury biscuits with dinner. Pop can, shove into oven, wait 13 minutes. Mouth waters. Eyes cry. Soul bleeds. Finally, oven beeps. Remove Pillsbury biscuits. Eat one, shutter from pleasure. Shove rest into bag, place on counter, go to sleep.

Tuesday: Grab bagged Pillsbury biscuit for lunch. Fight morning traffic, scream obscenities. Race through deadlines. Sit down for lunch—finally a moment’s peace—bite into biscuit. “What’s that TASTE?” Stare at biscuit, mind jarred. Events converge in brain.

CRY.

A World Without Twinkies (NOOOOO!!!)

But alas, ’tis the final season of those yellow sponges filled with a taste of Heaven.

TwinkiesCry, stomp, bawl and threaten all you want. It won’t stop Hostess—the maker of Twinkies—from closing its doors, according to an Associated Press article published in the Arizona Republic today:

“The maker of the iconic snack Twinkies said Friday it is going out of business and laying off all of its 18,500 workers after a national strike crippled its operations.

The company, founded in 1930, was fighting battles beyond labor costs. Competition is increasing in the snack space, and Americans are increasingly conscious about healthy eating.”

F- that! Could you imagine a world without Twinkies?

  • Or Ding Dongs
  • Or Snowballs
  • Or Suzie Qs (that is Hostess, right?)

This situation reminds me strangely of the movie, “Zombieland,” where Twinkies have vanished off the face of the earth. Perhaps we ARE approaching the Zombie Apocalypse after all.

So if I were you, I’d stock up. Because the next time you get a Twinkie craving, you might suffer through the realms of infinity … and beyond.

Are You the Banana in the Purse?

I pulled a banana out of my purse when paying for a Subway sandwich the other day.

Upon digging around the black hole that is my pocketbook, seeking the ever-elusive wallet, my fingers clutched around a solid object. I pulled it out, ready to pay, when I realized I held a banana before the cashier.

He just stared at it, utter confusion protruding from his eyes.

“Oh!” I suddenly said. “Yea, how random is that? I just happened to have a banana in my purse. I guess I don’t need the chips anymore.”

We both broke into hysterical laughter then. I’d completely forgotten I placed the fruit into my purse before leaving for work. And behold, I discovered I’d been lugging that thing around half the day.

As the outrageousness of this incident died down, I began thinking: How many of us are being the hidden bananas in a purse—when we write?

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To understand what in the WORLD bananas have to do with writing, head on over to V.V. Denman’s blog–where I guest posted today. You can read my full post there, and join in the conversation! I’m curious to see if YOU are a hidden banana when you write. 🙂

Perfecting the Chocolate Chip Cookie

I’m a foodie–with an unfortunate addiction to sweets. That’s why I clicked with Leah Singer, the second writer I’m introducing, who’s part of a special networking project (a few weeks ago, you met V.V. Denman).

Leah blogs at “Leah’s Thoughts,” and like me, she loves food, family and words. I’d like you to join me in welcoming Leah as a guest blogger today, where she draws a profound conclusion for writers, from chocolate chip cookies:

Perfecting the Chocolate Chip Cookie

By Guest Blogger Leah Singer

I’ve spent many years of my life obsessed with making (what I believe) is the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I had a picture in my mind of what this perfect cookie looked like – soft, chewy, puffy with texture (not flat!), sweet, but a little savory too. And I’d stop at nothing to get it that way.

I tried everything – changing the oven temperature; more baking powder; less baking soda; hundreds of recipes; Crisco instead of butter; semi-sweet chips; milk chocolate chips; refrigerating the dough; using vanilla pudding; you name it, I tried it. Yet still, nothing I baked came close to what I considered the perfect cookie.

Countless times I’d try a new recipe, pull the tray out of the oven, and … flat cookies – my nemesis. “But they taste great,” my husband would reassure me. But his words meant nothing to me. The cookies were a failure, and I could not fathom eating them.

Interestingly, I realized through this journey that the process of “perfecting” the perfect cookie was how I used to approach writing.

I was one of those people that drafted something and thought, This is it! Perfection. I seemed to be under the illusion that I could write something and it would be immediately perfect. And we writers know that is just simply not true. Rarely do we ever write something that’s perfect. There’s always editing or word-smithing that can be done.

I’ve considered myself a writer all my life. But one reason I never started a blog until somewhat recently was the fear that my posts wouldn’t be perfect. Once I realized and accepted that nothing is perfect – and that the imperfections are what makes thing special – my creative juices started flowing.

During my “day job,” I’m a speechwriter at a large university. I have learned so much about the process of writing in the short time I’ve had this job. I NEVER write a speech and it’s ready to go after the first draft. That’s just the beginning of the speech. I sometimes go through 5 – 10 versions of “perfecting” the remarks. And that’s okay. Because I know what I’ll finish with will be better than what I started with. And what I learn while “perfecting” the speech is exactly what makes the writing good.

For writers (and bakers), it’s not perfection one should strive for; it’s the process of perfecting. That’s where the magic happens, the ingredients come together, and the learning takes place. The perfecting is the beauty of the writing process.

With respect to the chocolate chip cookies, I’ve since eased up on myself and realized there is not the perfect cookie. (Or at least I’m not meant to bake it.) Each cookie I made had its strength and weakness; its perfections and imperfections. I accepted that fact and I’ve learned so much about baking along the way. And, oh yeah, I now bake cookie bars instead.

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By day, Leah Singer is a freelance writer, as well as a speechwriter and communicationsprofessional for the largest university in San Diego, Calif. By night, Leah blogs about family, motherhood, traditions, cooking, her crazy animal family, and other such topics at Leah’s Thoughts. Blogging is a way for Leah to journal, share ideas, essays, musings, frustrations, recipes, funny stories, and – most importantly – exercise her lifelong passion for writing. Read more about Leah at: www.leahsthoughts.com.

Chompie’s for the Writer’s Soul (Special Post)

I’m shocked I’m not a fat tub of lard today–after all the Chompie’s I eat.

This is the first line of my first guest post, as an official blogger (I guess). The topic? The power of comfort food for creativity.

I’ve been published in magazines all over, but I’ve only been blogging about six months. Therefore, when fellow professional writer and blogger, Leah Singer, invited me to post on her site, “Leah’s Thoughts,” I couldn’t resist!

Come and join the fun. Read about how Chompie’s has changed my life as a writer, how comfort food can inspire YOUR creativity, and share which foods relax you. Read my guest post, Chompie’s for the Writer’s Soul.”

Be the Chicken Nugget in a Bag of Vegetables

My boyfriend found a chicken nugget in his bag of frozen vegetables the other day.

And just to make sure it was a chicken nugget, he popped the frozen mound into the microwave. Sure enough, it emerged crispy and delicious. Like McDonald’s.

Concerned that perhaps the workers at the packaging house were rebelling, and some poor vegetarian would end up with the same fate from another bag, my boyfriend called the company.

“Are you sure it wasn’t a carrot?” the manager asked him, after he explained his immaculate discovery.

“Of course I’m sure,” my boyfriend replied. “I think I’d know the difference between a chicken nugget and a carrot.”

Though laughing hysterically, this got me thinking. The odyssey of his chicken nugget was so outrageous, that it became contagious.

So here’s my question to you: When you write, are you being the chicken nugget in a bag of frozen vegetables?

Make Your Writing Stand Out

I struggle with breaking free of clichés, as does every writer. But whether you’re a journalist trying to engage the public, a creative writer encouraging people to buy your book, or a corporate writer building your company’s brand, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t stand out.

Besides writing about the unexpected, consider these tips to transform yourself from a frozen carrot into that chicken nugget:

  • The Curse of Knowledge: A communications coach from my work once fed me this term. Are you so embroiled in your area of expertise, that you forgot what it’s like to be an outsider? Think: what would excite an 8-year-old to read your story?
  • Humor: Of course, this depends on what you’re writing, and for whom. But while making people cry takes talent, making people laugh takes true genius. Ask yourself: am I laughing as I’m writing this?
  • Your Personal Voice: Don’t you want to slap those teenagers who try on new identities as easily as they change outfits? With writing, you need to let your unique voice shine through. Don’t try to be anyone else, except you, even if you’re writing for a company (yes, I said it!).
  • OBSERVE: Admittedly, I’d forgotten this tip lately. My boyfriend had to remind me that the best writers observe the world around them. Are you stepping back and just looking? Seinfeld was insanely successful for a reason.
  • Realism: I don’t care whether you’re writing about a real person, or a character you developed. That person, and his or her story, better be realistic and believable. If people can’t relate, they won’t care. Which leads me to my next point . . .
  • Conflict: We’re all drama kings and queens at heart. Without conflict in a story, we’re bored! Build the tension of conflict, whether for a novel, article, or short story. In the corporate world, you can do this too. Established a new process? Interview an employee and learn how hard their job was before the new process kicked in.

Considering this is probably the longest blog I’ve ever written, I’ll stop here. But make yourself that chicken nugget in the bag of frozen vegetables—and surprise the world!

Like the advice I offer? Subscribe to my free blog (upper righthand corner) for email notifications on new writing tips, short stories, and media lessons. As a professional writer/editor, journalist, media strategist and communications consultant, I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others grow.

Bananagrams: The New Age of American Consumerism

We’ve reached a new height in the age of American consumerism—Scrabble in a banana.

Yes, I found this new gem while stopping at Walgreens the night before Thanksgiving to grab some contact solution. You can purchase this enlightening invention for only $14.99.

Yes, it's true. This is a Bananagram. No, your eyes are not deceiving you.

Here’s the kicker: When I came back to Walgreens to snap a photo, only one remained.

I have no idea what company makes the Bananagram, or why. All I know is that I couldn’t help but stop after glimpsing five oversized, fabric bananas hanging from a hook off the aisle at Walgreens. I had to inspect this specimen further.

Upon removing one fabric banana from its hook, I noticed a zipper down the middle. Intrigued, I gently unzipped the contraption, revealing its hidden surprise. When it opened, a bag full of plastic letters—the kind used in Scrabble—erupted from the banana’s core.

I looked up at my boyfriend, confused. “Scrabble in a banana?”

He broke into a hysterical fit of laughter, as I stood there, stunned, with my shoulders shrugged. “Who would use Scrabble in a banana?”

Then I noticed the invention had a name. There, inscribed onto the side of the banana, it proclaimed, “Bananagram.”

Wow.

Now I know we’ve hit our peak. We have Facebook, and Twitter, and God bless it, we have WordPress. We have cameras on our phones and phones on our computers. But never have we reached the epitome of our capabilities in societal communication—until the Bananagram.

May it bring us peace and solve world hunger.