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What I Learned This Week – 11/3/13

This week I learned that a crunchy peanut butter and Nutella sandwich is delicious. It tastes almost like a Reese’s peanut butter cup.

But in sandwich form!

You can call it lunch!

Crunchy Peanut Butter and Nutella Sandwich

Crunchy Peanut Butter and Nutella Sandwich

And you actually need to spread on very little Nutella to get a big complimentary taste. I am not a big peanut butter fan, but we have accumulated a lot of it in our house. I feel a need to eat it up. I find I prefer crunchy to regular.

This might sound like an odd combination, but you have to realize you are listening to a person who had never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in her life. Peanut butter sandwich-yes. Jelly on toast-yes. The two substances together? That just strikes me as completely disgusting.

This week I also got to wear my Halloween costume that I have been planning for a year, and made a large portion of myself.

Curious? I will give you 3 clues.

1. She is a female.
2. Born in 1976.
3. She is three apples high (but my costume is much bigger).

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty costume

Hello Kitty costume

I saw a Hello Kitty outfit at a costume store last year, and that gave me the idea. But the costume looked cheap and flimsy and had like a tutu on it. I was like “I can totally make something better than that!”

Commercial Hello Kitty Costume Photo: SpiritHalloween.com

Commercial Hello Kitty Costume
Photo: SpiritHalloween.com

You should know one of my rules for a Halloween costume is that it be reusable. (I am a Capricorn, I like to get my money’s worth.) One year I invested in a short skirt, short black jacket, and gray velvet tank top. I wore them for YEARS in numerous costumes:

Slutty Witch
Pirate Wench
Slutty Fairy
Juno (I wore the skirt over jeans–I was pregnant that year)

As you might remember, last year I was Jem from Jem & the Holograms. Instead of paying big money for a slutty plastic dress made in China, I bought a pink wrap dress I could reuse on other occasions (also probably made in China). Notice I said “could” reuse. I am anti-dress for most occasions, so I have probably only worn it once since last Halloween.

Now, as you can probably guess I froze my ass off with a lot of these past costumes running around on the streets on October 31 in Michigan. Sometimes I had uncomfortable shoes on as well.

So, this new Hello Kitty costume needed to be both warm and comfortable, in addition to reusable.

I searched online and found the cutest (and reasonably cheap) Hello Kitty winter hat. The face is the most important part, and it is important that it look good. Plus, it was reusable, warm, and comfy.

Hello Kitty wears many different clothes for her many personalities, but the most iconic are her red overalls. I decided to make the overalls out of red fleece, as it does not unravel and would require less sewing. I used some denim overalls I already had as a make-shift pattern. I pinned it up and had my asbestos friend sew up the long leg seams for me. I own a sewing machine, but can’t manage to work it. Then I hand-sewed on the buttons, the button holes, the tail, and the pockets. (The Hello Kitty material I used for the pockets is supposed to help clue in those who may still have trouble figuring out my costume.) It is very warm, very comfy, but resusable? Hell ya! I am planning to use it as pajama pants.

Nice Tail!

Nice Tail!

The only people who really seemed to love it were the little girls, but that is alright. I got to wear it to Trick or Treating at the mall and around town on Halloween. Unfortunately, the weather on Halloween was windy and rainy, and the annual parade and bonfire where canceled. So, I don’t feel like I got as much mileage out of my costume as I would have liked.

Maybe I will not turn it into pajamas so quickly. Maybe I will wash it up and wear it again next year.

…It was just so dang warm!

What I Learned This Week – 3/10/13

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First, I learned that croup can be an awful, scary little sickness. Luckily, I learned this second-hand. My asbestos friend (who I think of like a sister)’s son (who I think of as…a nephew, then?) was in the emergency room last night with it. As of last report, he was much improved. Send your wishes for a speedy recovery over to lazyhippiemama.

The second thing I learned this week was that crafting with duct tape can be immensely enjoyable.

BEFORE (Saturday at noon)

BEFORE (Saturday at noon)


I spent all day yesterday turning a Cheerios box into a “writer-on-the-go” bag. It took me almost three rolls of duct tape to make and only one unscheduled trip to Walmart to purchase more. I put a pocket on the front. I was going to put a cell phone pocket on the side, but then I got lazy.
AFTER (Saturday night)

AFTER (Saturday night)


I have 2 full rolls of white and blue duct tape left and a slightly smaller cereal box. I have the urge to make another bag. But if I bring (or create) one more tote bag into my house, my husband might go crazy. So, if I make it under the plan of donating it to the church craft show, he can’t get mad, right?

If I don’t use the duct tape, it will just get old and gross and go to waste anyway. So I might as well craft with it, right?

Right?

(Wait, am I the only one who worries about duct tape going bad?)

Army Man Uproar

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I wasn’t planning to post today, but dang, this got me fired up.

Last week a 9 year-old boy’s parents in Caro, Michigan sent him to school with decorated birthday cupcakes for the whole class. The decoration? A green plastic toy army soldier on each cupcake.

Photo: Facebook/WTOL11

The Offending Cupcake            Photo: Facebook/WTOL11

My first reaction? “What a great fast and easy and cheap way to decorate cupcakes for a birthday! You can get a whole bag of those soldiers at the dollar store for, like, a buck!”

Apparently, the teacher and principal didn’t see it that way. They removed the soldiers before giving the cupcakes out to the students. For the complete story, click here: http://www.toledonewsnow.com/story/21547930/student-causes-cupcake-controversy-at-caro-school

The story states that the principal felt it was “‘insensitive’ considering recent gun-related tragedies”, including the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

WTF?

What does a green plastic toy of a WWII (or maybe even WWI?) army soldier with a gun presumably protecting our country have to do with mentally unstable people breaking laws with guns?

I first saw this on a local news station’s Facebook newsfeed. This was my comment:

I think I would expect the school to over-react to these. But I would probably take them in anyway just to p*ss off the school. And since when is an image of a soldier defending our country offensive!

We don’t want guns in schools–Totally Agree.

We don’t want mentally unstable kids planning to bring guns into schools–Agree.

We need to teach younger kids that talking about bringing guns to school isn’t a funny joke–Agree.

We need to discipline kids who talk about playing with Hello Kitty bubble guns, eat their Pop-Tarts into gun-shapes, and remove toy army men?–That is going too far.

Photo: DailyCaller.com

Photo: DailyCaller.com

We have to teach our kids what is acceptable and what is not. We have to teach them context and satire and parody. Even the FCC has problems with these concepts sometimes. I am still trying to teach my husband not to make bomb jokes at airport security or drug jokes at the Canadian border.

If these were my son’s birthday treats, I would be very angry. I would have to make a point that both M’s grandfathers were both in the Army (one in WWII and one in Vietnam) and fought proudly for this great country we live in. By the way, a country where we have freedom of speech. And the freedom to bear arms.

And, another point I would make, is that the military, guns and all, is a necessary and noble career choice. Would these cupcakes be allowed on career day?

And don’t anyone try to turn this into a political debate. (Remember, this is my blog and I have ultimate veto power over comments!) Sure, the President has brought banning assault rifles into the forefront of the media. But Sandy Hook happened, and people in his party concerned about this issue rightfully told him now was the time to approach it. I get that. Just like when 9-11 happened, George W. Bush used it as an excuse to finish a war his father started (whoops, I am being overly preachy now). But I got that too. You have to strike while the iron is hot, so they would say.

I would be offended if someone brought in cupcakes with Spongebob on them. I hate that guy! But I wouldn’t remove him.

So, in conclusion, enjoy America, learn that sometimes a toy is just a toy, and don’t judge cupcakes so harshly that were probably made by a very tired mom at 11PM at night after a long day of work, who didn’t have the time or energy to put little eyes and cookie mouths on the cupcakes to turn them into politically correct teddy bears.

I Love Cheap Jewelry, But It Doesn’t Love Me

You would be correct to assume that a great number of these items are non-compliant.

I love cheap jewelry. You know, the stuff 12 year old girls buy featuring rainbows and sunshines and Hello Kitty. Bracelets, rings, earrings, especially necklaces. I love them all.

And life was all fine and dandy until I was in 10th grade. Then I got oozy ears.

Earrings I had worn on many occasions, for extended periods of time, were suddenly causing my ears to ooze yellow puss. It was gross. My mom took me to the doctor. I always remember that the doctor had a giant red bulbous nose (whose daughter incidentally has been my anesthesiologist on two occasions since then). I got the dreaded diagnosis: I had a nickel allergy.

Now, if you haven’t experienced this yourself or know anyone who has, you are probably just thinking of the U.S. currency coin in the amount of 5 cents, commonly known as a nickel. But nickel is in a surprising amount of items. Not surprising, if you realize that it is a cheap metal to add to other metals as filler. And for those who are allergic, it is an itchy nightmare.

The scientific name for nickel allergy is allergic contact dermatitis. I am guessing the cream the doctor gave me that day was some sort of corticosteroid, because it cleared that particular episode right up. Of course, I had to change my earrings. And overnight 95% of my earring collection I could no longer wear for fear of reaction. You can’t tell, but in my first drivers’ license picture I had oozy ear. The puss would literally drip off my earlobe, so I sat there dabbing at it as I took my written test at the DMV.

For a while (maybe a year?), I had had odd incidents that infrequently occurred of my upper lip being swelled up when I woke up in the morning. I figured it must be some sort of allergy, but I didn’t know what. I tried to trace it to some food I had eaten the day before, but no pattern emerged. After I found out about my nickel allergy, I realized that is what was wrong with my lip as well. I had one necklace, a souvenir from my gramma from Garden of the Gods. Every time I wore it, I sucked on the charm. Which was apparently made of my enemy nickel. Other women have to put collagen in their lips for the full look. All I need to so is rub some cheap jewelery on mine.

My Garden of the Gods Colorado necklace that triggered my first nickel allergy.

Then I noticed as I wore necklaces, the back and sides of my neck (where the chain touched my skin) would get irritated and itchy. I could no longer wear watches. Not because of the metal on the back of the face, but because of the metal in the buckle. One day I took a bike ride and I put my house keys in my sock as I usually would. By the time I got to my friends house, my ankle was already red and itchy and developing a rash.

Probably the worst time was when my glasses started to bother my face. I had metal frame glasses that sat on my nose. So, where they touched on either side of my nose, my face just turned to red itchy ooze. I learned I could put baby powder on it, and that would not only soak up the ooze, but also turn my bright red skin to a more normal pink. Imagine trying to study in college and all you want to do is claw your face off. I got to where if I was at home and wanted to watch TV, I would remove my glasses and just sit very close to screen. Someone suggested putting clear nail polish on the frames, maybe a layer between the metal and my face would stop it.

NOPE.

It did not stop the reaction and then where I had put the nail polish on the glasses it reacted and turned green. No wonder I never had any dates in college. I was quite the catch. Not.

When I went to get new glasses, I expressed this concern to the eye care professional helping me to pick out frames. Ones without nickel were so expensive that I let her talk me into ones with nickel, but she said the nose pads would keep them up off my face. Even though it looked as though there would be no direct contact, that pair irritated me as well. Now I go titanium all the way. It is worth whatever I have to pay for it.

You would be shocked at how tiny events in your day could lead to a rash. One afternoon I had like an hour between when I got home from college classes and when I needed to be at work. So, I pretty much took my winter coat off and fell over on the couch to sleep, using the coat as my pillow.

I go to work later, and someone asks me why I have a circle on the side of my head. I crawled up on the stainless steel sink to try to look at the side of my head in the mirror on the reusable fabric towel holder that hung above the sink. There it was. A perfect bright red circle with a pink hole in the center, roughly the size of a quarter. Like a rash donut (Yum?). I was befuddled, until I remembered the nap.

My coat had metal snaps with a plastic center.

At least it was on the side of my head, where it could be slightly obscured by my hair. It could have been worse. The bright red donut could have been in the middle of my forehead!

When I started my first real adult job, I went from standing for 8hrs a day to sitting for about 9 1/2hrs. Ya, it sucked. The good thing was, it was a casual work environment, so I got to wear jeans every day.

And then a new issue surfaced.

The metal snaps or buttons that make up jeans? Yep, you guessed it. Made with nickel. I would get a rash on my stomach right never my belly button (I ❤ Mom Jeans, remember?) I suffered that way for a while, before I got my BRILLIANT idea to put electrical tape over the metal buttons. It is sturdy, you can continue to use the button with only minimal addition of bulk, and it survives multiple washings (but not dryings:).

My husband bought me real diamond earrings from an actual jewelry store and I can’t wear them because they contain nickel. Boo to you Kay Jewelers.

Then I got a patent leather bracelet I loved. How to cover the back of the snaps? Electrical tape. I got a very awesomely goth dog collar at Hot Topic. I was careful to get one that snapped instead of buckled. The electrical tape trick was slightly less effective on that, as there were other metal studs on the outside. But it helped.

An Edward Cullen bookmark/bracelet purchased at a bookstore? Oh, that doesn’t give me any irritation at all. Seriously.  Go figure.

I was at a Good Charlotte concert on Halloween in Toledo, Ohio several years ago. I was trying to bounce with the kids around me who were like 10 years younger. My dog tag kept flying up and hitting me in the face. So I tucked it between my breasts (I was wearing a tank top). I even stopped to think,”This won’t give me a rash. It is my dad’s official WWII dog tag. They wouldn’t put nickel in that.” Oh, Uncle Sam, you did. I truly hope that is no longer the case, for the sake of all the poor soldiers with sensitive skin.

As bad as that rash was, the worst was a concert at an outdoor theater where it rained on my green-haired friend and I. If I was with anyone else, I probably would have sought out some rain-free shelter. But she wanted to walk around, so we did. In the pouring rain. And I had change in my front jeans pocket. I learned that night that, when that white lining of my pocket gets wet, I can get a nickel rash right through the pocket onto my thigh:( (Have I mentioned that quarters and dimes contain nickel as well?) *sigh*

So, that is my story. For anyone who has suddenly found out that they are allergic to nickel, here are a few tips:

1. Avoid nickel at all costs.

2. When you can’t avoid it, electrical tape makes a great barrier. It comes in a variety of colors.  Clear nail polish does not.

3. If you have an outbreak of rash, you can try to manage it with over the counter hydrocortizone cream and antihistamine.

4. Wikipedia says you can try cleaning the area directly after it comes in contact with nickel with soap and water and lemon juice or vinegar. [I have not tried this. I would love to know if it actually helps.]

5. Avon claims that all of their jewelry is nickel-free. In my limited experience, I have found this to be the case. (And sometimes they have Hello Kitty jewelry:)

6. Stop looking at the jewelery tables at craft shows (usually about 50% of the total booths) because you will never be able to wear that stuff again.

7. Transfer charms from chains that contain nickel to nickel-free chains or black rope.

8. If you wear glasses, buy titanium frames. Titanium is your best friend.

I Totally Need One of These For My Dog

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This picture was part of an email that popped into my inbox from Sanrio. I totally think I need the dog carrier for my dog, what do you think?

Do you think my sweet little furry girl will fit?

My baby Dave.


I think she only weighs about 55 pounds. HAHAHA.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

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