This is not something I’m super interested in. I don’t follow any sports and certainly not college sports, but you can’t exist in PA without constant updates on the Penn State scandal, plus GG was following the whole thing pretty closely (mostly for comedy purposes). If you’re not in this area it may not be as bad, but in PA Penn State is almost like a cult to some people – they are obsessed with the teams, they travel to State College as much as possible for tailgating and games, etc. It’s sort of amusing that on Twitter and Facebook I have a couple extreme hardcore PSU friends who defended everything, and then everyone else I know posts anti-PSU stuff.

If you’re not really familiar with the cult of Penn State, check out the #1 Party School episode of This American Life, which covers the culture from a few different perspectives. Go listen, I’ll wait.

Anyway, I haven’t really read up on what punishment was finally levied against the school, but the PSU fans are up in arms, saying it’s going to destroy the economy of central Pennsylvania. (Is it possible that the central PA economy was artifically inflated due to the insane popularity of PSU sports?) They’re also saying that this is taking away opportunities from current and future students, which I agree is a shame, but look at the result of the popularity of the sports programs there. When the culture of the organization gets to the point where there is all this lying and cover-up in order to protect the program, you need to rework things. So yes, maybe the new student who was planning to go there for its big football and drinking culture is going to be disappointed this fall, but they could just find another school if that’s what they’re really after. But taking attention away from that might allow them to focus on the academic and other cultural offerings PSU has. Maybe they’ll come to be known as a great school for agriculture, business, engineering… Oh wait, they already are! In that case, maybe drawing focus away from football will bring attention to PSU’s other positive attributes.

As for the whole “taking down the Paterno statue” thing, that’s just symbolic and a way to keep troublemakers away. You don’t need a statue in order to remember someone, just like you don’t need to remove a statue in order to forget them. Plus as GG pointed out, the blank wall left behind now looks like the album cover for Rage Against the Machine “The Battle of Los Angeles.”

Beauty Products I Am Liking

Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Moroccan Sleek Oil Treatment: I do not like adding oily things to my hair. But especially when the weather gets this humid, I am desperate to keep the frizzies away. So I had a coupon for a Garnier product and decided to give this a try. I am so happy with it! It has a nice scent (I’m always kind of particular about scents for hair products, because you end up smelling them all day). There is a little silicone in it, so it also acts as a heat protectant for styling. And it’s made a noticeable difference in my frizz level! Today, for example, the humidity level was about 101%, and usually I wouldn’t even want to think about what my hair looks like, but it actually did not look horrible. You can use this on wet or dry hair, I use about a nickel-sized amount while my hair is wet. It says it will last three days, which I don’t know about, but I try not to use it too many consecutive days just so the oiliness doesn’t catch up with me. But I am definitely a fan!

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm: I’ve been hearing more and more about “beauty balm” or “BB cream” lately. I know a lot of dedicated users say the best comes from Korea, where the product was invented, and that they are cheaper, even with shipping, than most of the western brands. But I wouldn’t even know where to begin looking for that and I just wanted to try it out before expending all that effort, so I got the Too Faced version from Sephora. I have sensitive combination skin, and seem to break out at the drop of a hat, sometimes even from products that I’ve used forever with no problems. So I was unsure how this would work out, but it’s really fabulous! I use this in the mornings instead of my usual moisturizer/SPF and liquid foundation. It has a pleasant, kind of powdery scent, and a nice light texture. You do not feel like you’re wearing makeup, it really is more like a tinted moisturizer. So I will actually layer my powder foundation over it if I’m going out (which is something I would do over liquid foundation before, and I think that was like too many layers for my face and I would break out sometimes). I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now and no issues, so I think this is a winner! When I run out, I may try to track down some of the Korean stuff though, just to try it…

Clinique Almost Powder Makeup: While we’re talking about foundation, my new favorite is this Clinique powder. I’d been using a mineral powder made by a girl on Etsy for a few years, but it was getting more expensive every time I needed to restock, and it was also sort of a pain to order from her (lost orders, etc.). Then I tried Bare Minerals, and it made me break out! (I learned that there is an ingredient in it that causes that for some people, even though it’s supposed to be so good and natural.) I’d been wearing just liquid foundation for a while, but in the summer I like a powder. So I asked at Sephora what they recommended, and the girl took me over to the Clinique area. I really like this product! It’s more of a solid, but I apply it with my big brush, which picks up just the right amount. It’s good on its own, or layered over liquid foundation or the BB cream. And my skin likes it! (No picture because it’s just a boring green square, haha!)

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength in Glass Slipper: This is a fun way to jazz up some nail polish you may be getting bored with. It’s in the Diamond Strength line, but to really see how it looks just do a Google image search. It’s got big chunks of silver glitter, which is exactly what I was looking for, I’m sick of delicate little pixie dust glitter polish. And it distributes really evenly across the nail, which is so important – the last glitter polish I tried was like tinsel bits, and you were lucky if you ended up with two on your nail, and of course they weren’t evenly spaced from each other. This stuff works very well. Seriously, check out the image link above for examples of how it looks layered on top of all kinds of colors! (My favorite is to layer it on top of Sally Hansen Speed Dry in Rose Rush, which is sort of a purple-based hot pink; the combo reminds me of something Barbie might wear.)

Body Shop Almond Nail & Cuticle Oil Pen: I’ve never had much luck with cuticle oil pens, because I didn’t use them faithfully. I purchased this on a whim while using up a LivingSocial coupon at the Body Shop. I picked it up and the saleswoman started gushing about how much she liked it. She was right! I noticed a difference after the first use. It has a delicious nutty scent, and it’s not an overly greasy or liquidy texture. The brush is nice and flexible. And the best part, there is a soft rubber cuticle pusher on the cap, so you can push your cuticles back after applying, no excuses for forgetting. I just used mine up and I’m very disappointed – I have a couple other ones I bought to try, but they’re just not the same. So another trip to the Body Shop is in my future…

Linky Thursday – 7/12

Manhattan Shoebox Apartment: On one hand, I appreciate the amount of organization and minimalism people need to be able to live this way. On the other hand, I just can’t get past keeping dishes and sneakers together on the same rack, or storing shampoo and tea on the same shelf.

This Is Why I’m Broke: Get ready to find a million things to buy that you didn’t even know you needed. I started listing some of the funny/interesting things I was noticing, but the list was too long.

The Worst Things for Sale: You may see some things here you saw on the previous site, but basically, Drew (of Toothpaste for Dinner and Married to the Sea) finds weird stuff for sale on Amazon and makes fun of it.

23 Terrifying Movie Adaptations of Children’s Books: Some of these are really hilarious/creepy. There are a couple I’d like to see actually made into movies.

Pintester: This person does projects and recipes from Pinterest, then reports back (hilariously).

Pinterest Recipes

Even though GG doesn’t seem to understand what Pinterest is, he does appreciate that I’m making new stuff for dinner every week, and has a few new favorites. Here’s some winners (and my modifications):

  • Texas Cheese Fries: I would remove the “Skinny” from this title, because I do not make these in a very skinny way. I’m sure I’m using more cheese than the recipe calls for, and I dip in sour cream or regular ranch dressing, not the low-fat stuff. I also omit the pickled jalapeno. The seasoning for the potatoes is delicious, though.

  • Spicy Bean and Rice Burritos: I make these with white rice, not brown, just because I had white rice at home and I wasn’t going to buy special rice for these. Also, I use sour cream, not Greek yogurt (though I’m sure that would be good – again, just using what I have on hand). The last time I did these, I left the salsa out completely, because GG doesn’t like tomatoes or chunky salsa, and wasn’t really into it when I used it the first time around. But I may need to add it back, maybe in a less chunky form, because without it they are a bit dry.
  • Black Beans and Corn: Ignore the salmon part of this recipe – I just make the black bean and corn salad. GG has requested it for dinner almost every week since I first made it. I also took it to a Memorial Day cookout. It’s super easy to make, and tastes just like the corn salad they served at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants that closed years ago. I add cumin and chili powder when I make it, and probably use more than 2 cups of corn (I just dump in the whole bag of frozen corn). A couple times I’ve added chopped roasted red peppers (I just make my own under the broiler). Also, if you throw the corn under the broiler for a few minutes, it gets that nice grilled flavor.
  • Linguine with Garlicky Breadcrumbs: The reviews on this recipe are pretty bad, but we love it. Instead of making breadcrumbs, I use panko (because that’s what I had on hand the first time), and toast it a little in a dry pan on the stove. Last time I made this, I omitted the fresh parsley, and added steamed asparagus (pro tip: cook the asparagus in a steamer basket over the pasta while it boils).
  • Grilled Avocado with Melted Cheese and Hot Sauce: Do not be confused by this weird foreign recipe – when she says “grilled,” she means “broiled.” I would never make this for GG because he hates avocado and anything avocado-related, but I love them, so I made myself one for dinner tonight. For next time, I would probably score/cube the avocado first, rather than poking with a fork, because otherwise it’s hard to cut and eat after it’s topped and cooked. Instead of hot sauce, I used the sauce from a can of chipotle in adobo, which was delicious, but I bet Tabasco or something would be good too. Definitely doing this again (when GG is not around).
  • Popsicle with Greek Yogurt, Raw Honey, and Mixed Berries: When I made these, we actually did have raw honey on hand! GG had gotten a jar of it as a gift a while ago and wasn’t sure what to do with it, so he wasn’t using it. Here’s a tip: if your raw honey contains honeycomb, do not include it in your popsicles. Otherwise, you end up with weird waxy bits that are not pleasant to eat. Other than that, they turned out to be pretty amazing. One container of Greek yogurt and one bag of frozen mixed berries filled up my six popsicle molds with a little extra left over (which I saved in the fridge and froze later after we’d eaten a couple).

  • Crescent Cinnamon Rolls: I’m sure this recipe would be delicious as written, but I just used it as inspiration for this whole “crescent roll as dessert” thing, and made a Nutella version. I brushed melted butter on the unrolled rolls, then spread them with Nutella, rolled them up, and brushed a little more butter on top. They were delicious! My tip for this one: go a little light on the Nutella. When it oozes out of the rolls, it can get a little burnt, which is not a taste I like in my baked goods.

Happy pinning, and happy cooking!

The 4th of July Should Always Fall on a Friday

I’ve read some nightmare stories about people returning items to Target, but I’ve had to return things there numerous times (purchased both in store and online) and have never had a problem. Today I thought I might have my first problem. I went yesterday and bought a number of items, including three bras. One of them didn’t have a tag, so the cashier just scanned one of the other ones twice. When I got home, I realized that not only was the tagless one a different style, it was a totally different size (it must have been hung on the wrong hanger). I took it back today, not sure if I’d be able to return it since it technically wasn’t on my receipt, but the guy at the customer service desk took care of it in seconds. Go Target!

This has been a weird week because of the holiday on Wednesday. Monday was a crazy busy day at work, and Tuesday felt like a Friday. Wednesday felt like a Saturday all day, GG and I went to the mall and had lunch out, then I played a concert that night. It was extremely hot out. Wednesday night felt like a Sunday, because GG had to go to work the next day, but actually I’d taken Thursday and Friday off. I still did have to do a bit of work these couple days, but nothing too strenuous. Yesterday I went out early to do some shopping, then I had an acupuncture appointment (number nine!), then I made dinner and GG and I hung out until bedtime. Today I returned that bra and did my food shopping for next week.

And speaking of Target, while I was there I picked up a bottle of Garnier Fructis Moroccan Oil Treatment. I’ve only used it for one day, but I’m very pleased! It’s extremely hot and humid, but my hair is soft and non-frizzy! (I won’t go so far as to call it “sleek.”) This also does not smell horrible, claims it will last for three days, and a very little bit goes a long way, so the small bottle will last a while.

Bloody Bloody Abraham Lincoln and Beet Steaks

On Friday night, GG and I decided to try something new, and went to the Movie Tavern for dinner and movie. The food was maybe a little expensive, but the tickets were regular theater prices. So you’re really just paying for the convenience of being able to eat a full meal while watching a movie. You get there a little early and order your food before the show starts, so you’re pretty much finished by the time the movie is really on. And the waitstaff is very unobtrusive. They come around about halfway through to bring your check, unless you call them (there is a button at your seat). My only complaint is that he came back right in the middle of a particularly intense fight scene and I missed seeing exactly how it ended and they got out of that situation!

Oh, so the movie we saw was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It’s been getting bad reviews, but I loved it! It’s got horror, action, and history! I know it’s based on a book, and I really liked the way they wove the vampire hunter story into Lincoln’s life story, the Civil War, etc. The special effects are also really great. (Funny part: there is one part where they show the bombing of Fort Sumter and GG and I both looked at each other and were like, “We were just there!”) I really keep wanting to call this film “Bloody Bloody Abraham Lincoln,” though, since Benjamin Walker, who played Lincoln, also had the title role in BBAJ, which you might remember we have seen twice in NYC. (We actually listened to the BBAJ soundtrack on the way home from the theater…)

On Saturday, GG came with me to my acupuncture appointment (but did not watch!), and then we went to the farmers marketm where we got cheese, some fruit, fresh guacamole made in a big bowl right there, and awesome cupcakes. Later, our friend A came out to play guitar with GG. They had just gotten started when my brother called – he’d been in town for a concert the night before and had to leave wherever he’d spent the night, so could he and his friend come over and take showers at our place? Sure! After everyone was cleaned up, GG and A decided to take a break and the five of us went out for lunch. Then I took care of a few things at home before going out for my concert that night. It was very very hot, but luckily cooled down (and there was even a breeze!) as the evening progressed. I’ve been in worse concert situations. We did make a few mistakes, but I don’t think the audience noticed; and this was our first public concert of the summer, so hopefully that won’t happen again.

I did my usual weekend errands and chores on Sunday. Then GG and I went out to dinner to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our first date! GG just searched online for restaurants in Philadelphia that serve beets, and found The Farm and Fisherman, which is known for this “Bloody Beet Steak.” So of course I had that, and it was fabulous! I’ll have to try to make it at home! GG had scallops with pork jowl, which was good, but there were only two scallops on the plate. For dinner, I had the chicken and he had bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. Then for dessert, I had a panna cotta with some fruit, and he had a chocolate Napoleon with layers of salted phyllo dough. It was a very good dinner! But mostly, I was impressed with him being so sweet and thoughtful – he always takes me places he knows I will enjoy!