Last December a PR firm offered me a Jawbone headset. I said "Sure," and then made Chief "pick" the style, because I was positive he would want to use it to talk to me when he's driving home from work.
It arrived, and he ignored it for eleven months.
Then one night we were watching my new second-favorite show, Hawaii 5-0*, and both noticed that Intelligence Officer Cathy a.k.a. Steve McGarrett's badass brunette girlfriend, was wearing the same one.
Me: See? Cool Navy chick is wearing that headset. It's cool.
Chief silently cocks an eyebrow at me
Me: You're never going to use that headset, are you?
Chief continues to look at me sceptically
Me: Fine. I'll use it, and be Officer Cathy, and get to have hot sex on the beach with McGarrett and his awesome cargo pants.
It took me another two weeks to finally charge up the damn thing, and then use it. But now I love it! And not just because when I wear it I get to have exchanges like:
Me: Does my headset make you want to "McGarrett" me?
Chief: No, it makes you want to get "McGarretted."
Me: Tomato-tomahto, just use an Aussie accent when you call me Cathy.
Me: Oh, I have to take this call, it might be McGarret asking me to re-route a top secret satellite to help capture an escaped prisoner.
Chief: That's a waste of time. It's an island. There's nowhere for a prisoner to escape to.
In addition to Alex O'Loughlin's evocative characterization of McGarrett, we're thoroughly enjoying the new Hawaii 5-0. The characters are (surprisingly) awesome and loveable, given the sophomoric level of the scriptwriting. We even, briefly, wondered if the local high school kids were literally writing the scripts, but then decided that was a mean thing to say about the nice students.
And Alex O'Loughlin is rapidly edging out Nathan Fillion as my favorite Monday night crime solver. He can call me Cathy anytime, with or without his Aussie accent.
*Castle, starring Nathan Fillion, is my current favorite detective show on Monday nights, but Alex is of the Hugh Jackman "leggy-yet-burly Australian" mold of physical perfection. Nate? Well, lately his Man Weight Threshold has crossed into what I sincerely hope is a temporary visit to "Happy in a New Relationship Husky-ville." Let's just say Captain Tight Pants probably didn't squeeze into his Firefly uniform this Halloween.
Getting mail rocks. Real mail, meaning letters, postcards or thank you notes. The very best mail comes in pretty envelopes, and holiday cards are the prettiest of them all.
Even though I love to receive cards, for the past couple of years December has come and gone without me sending any. But this year, thanks to our new Clever Girls Collective client, Shutterfly, I'll be sending out fabulous holiday photo cards, and I'm getting them done early!
The first step in picking a holiday card design is selecting your photo. But Chief and I had so much fun this year, I had trouble deciding. Since it's so easy to "design" your card, I was able to quickly try out several different photos and designs.
I love the elegant simplicity of the Pretty Packages design, which complements a black and white photo, like this one of us at my brother's wedding:
For a more subtle photo (or at least one where the colors are a bit muted) this Winter Woods Sky design is perfect! (If you're new here, yes, I'm wearing a Star Trek uniform, and yes, that's William Shatner.)
A more bold, graphic design balances a photo with a field of bright, solid color, like this one. I like the curvy but clean lines of Retro Red Diamonds, and as a bonus, proceeds from this card also benefit the American Lung Association. (Uh, Manilow. I told you it was a big year!)
I think a photo with a bit of action -- whether it's patterns on your dress, or strangers in the background -- stands up well to a card with intricate detail, like Swirl Damask Noir.
Are you feeling inspired? Get over to Shutterfly and start designing your own card! And if you're a blogger, click here to go to Shutterfly for information on how you can get 50 free cards this holiday season, and make sure to select Clever 1000 as the referral source.
This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly, a Clever Girls Collective (my company's) client. Participating bloggers are reviewing the new Shutterfly cards and sharing their faves, and have been compensated with coupon codes for 100 free cards. Clever Girls Collective endorses Blog with Integrity, blog transparency and full disclosure, as I do.
Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine, Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.
I love to travel, so I'm always happy to pack my bags, whether it's for work, play or family obligation. And I'm always planning the next trip!
My favorite family vacations involve multiple generations, with lots of people coming and going, and possibly a pet or two. In thinking about my ideal family vacation, I realized that it's actually multiple trips. And it's not just being a travel-lover, it's because I want to include everyone!
Although we don't have children, my husband (Chief) and I are lucky to have a lot of family. Both sets of our parents are divorced, with three out of the four remarried to our wonderful step-parents. Combined we have six siblings, three of whom have spouses and children. With nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and my very active 94 year old grandfather (look out ladies, he pinches, no really), we're well into double digits when tabulating how many bedrooms the rental house needs to have!
With so many people, it's impossible to find a one-size fits all solution, but since this is a fantasty I'm going to plan enough vacation to satisfy everyone! Here are a few vacations that Chief and I would love to host, with open invitations to our families to join us:
August on Cape Cod A giant house on the beach in Falmouth, with weathered shingles and dormer windows. Six or eight bedrooms, including a dorm style room in the attic where the pre-teen cousins all sleep. There's also a partially enclosed porch, for sunset and fireworks watching.
The back yard has a crooked clothesline, covered with faded red and white striped towels that are perpetually damp, plus mismatched, sandy bathing suits.
Every night the grownups sip icy white wine spritzers and light beers, while the kids play tag and get bitten by mosquitos. We eat lobster so often that we (almost) get tired of it.
September in Sicily with a side trip to Lepcis Magna I'm half Sicilian on my dad's side. A few years ago he, my stepmom and brother went to Sicily, and it was a magical trip. (Well, magic and terrifying, if you factor in the part about Italians driving on steep mountain roads!)
Their pictures and stories, plus the lure of seeing my "heritage" put this island on my Must See list. Then I did some research and found out that you can rent a villa, on a cliff, with a pool overlooking the Mediterranean. Count me in!
Activities on this trip to Sicily include taking photos, visits to archeological sites, and incessant imbibing of:
We also charter a disturbingly rickety, but ultimately safe, private plane, and visit the Roman ruins of Lepcis Magna in Libya, because heck, we're practically there anyway. The return trip is made possibly the by the pilot distracting handsomeness, and a well-appreciated flask of Limoncello.
Who's with us on this trip? It's a grown up excersion that definitely includes the extended Italian side of my family, including all of the aunts, uncles and cousins -- but probably not the nieces and nephews. You don't have to be old enough to drink in Italy, but it helps.
October in Hawaii If you're sensing a sea-side theme, you're right. And what's not to love? Soft ocean breezes, delicious seafood, relaxing beaches -- all things that Hawaii does better than almost anywhere else, because it's all done with Aloha and umbrella drinks. *Sigh.
Chief and I start this trip with just the two of us in Honolulu for a week, enjoying the uniquely Waikiki combination of a city vacation at the beach. We stay at our favorite boutique hotel, the New Otani, and eat as much ahi poke as we can stuff into our heads.
From there we island hop to Kauai, and rent a villa on a beach of silky, white sand, where we are joined by the West Coast part of the family (mainly Chief's people). In a show of unity, we all take surf lessons in the relative seclusion of our private beach, and are put to shame by the quickly acquired skills of my youngest brother-in-law.
Your Turn! I could keep going for all 12 months of the year, but you get the idea. If you are also a travel dreamer, remember to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.
Chief always makes fun of my Dad and me, saying that we worry about too many things. He once joked that my Dad would take a snake bite kit to the beach on Cape Cod. I very earnestly replied, "Yes! I know! He's so prepared, it's awesome!"
It's the kind of thing Chief and my Stepmom, Rosanne, laugh about when they think my Dad and I can't hear them.
When we were in Calistoga, we drove by the Petrified Forest, so of course I insisted that we check it out. And then I insisted that Chief pose for this picture scoffing at the rattlesnake warning sign, so I could send it to Rosanne (Hi Rosanne! This is totally for you!)
About 100 feet later, we came across this sign:
You see why I married him, right? He's so dangerous!
*Note: he didn't light that cigarette, and no fossilized trees or rattlesnakes were endangered during the shooting of these photos.
And there's our shadow again, seemingly way far away.
Our awesome pilot, Jim. He had that classic pilot mellowness, nothing seemed to rattle him...or maybe it was classic Nor-Cal mellowness, we were close to Mendocino.
The view from the basket. Are you getting vertigo?
There was a second Calistoga Balloons balloon up that day. Yes, all of those people got in that basket -- it's huge!
Chief and me up in the balloon. He seems like he's having a fun birthday, right?
If you're thinking of going on a Napa Valley area balloon ride, I highly recommend Calistoga Balloons. They were super-organized, and have been in business for 30 years. You appreciate both of these things when you're 2,000 feet up, with only some hot air and a flimsy silk balloon keeping you from plummeting to the Earth below. A nice part of their package is that you get brunch afterwards, which is good because you have to get up at the crack of dawn. By the time you get down you're ravenous!
You can't bring a bag or anything extra with you into the balloon, except for your camera. So pack light! Also, you will be hot up there. Remember that the blazing fire that inflates the balloon? It's burning while you're in the air, which keeps you toasty. In fact, the top of your head gets pretty hot, so a hat is a good idea.
Not quite celebrities, but their Irish Superpowers are strong!
As I mentioned earlier, Chief and his brother, The Creative One, took their Irish Superpowers to NYC for a weekend of fun. I explained Irish Superpowers to those who aren't lucky enough to live stumbling-home-from-a-bar distance from Boston, New York, New Orleans or San Francisco.
But sometimes the best way to explain is to give you examples. Celebrity examples!
Identifying Those Who Possess Irish Superpowers
Irish Superpower Brothers travel in family packs, and can be quickly identified by their hair, which is where the majority of their Irish Superpower is stored. Often the eyebrows are also a tell tale sign.
Chief is packing Bonus Irish Superpowers in his white "Harvey Keitel Does Daly City" slip ons
The Lincoln Opinion Show Goes on the Road!
Chief and his brother "The Creative One" are off to New York this weekend. They're spreading the Lincoln Brother Magic, in the form of strong opinions about everything from the color of the sky, to the Barry Gibb song book, to how hard, and how long, Manchester United sucks.
Look for them in Times Square and the East Village/LES, as well as various boroughs, including Brooklyn and Queens.
As you can see, in the grand tradition of Irish brothers, both Chief
TCO have excellent Man Hair, and share a brotherly resemblance -- look
how they stand the same way!
This family essence is even more
pronounced (and nearly unbearable because of the sheer volume) when all four Lincoln boys are together with their Dad. Also, their grandmother, Peg (her people are from County Cork), looks exactly like Chief, if he were to wear an iron grey wig and house dress.
We do "Large Family Holidays" back East. On Christmas there were 40 people at my parents' house. For a sit down dinner!
Rather than go broke and crazy trying to buy gifts for everyone, we do a major Yankee Swap. You can spend a maximum of $50, and can go kooky, e.g. a selection of "As Seen on TV" gifts, including a ShamWow and a Snuggie, or nice, like iPod speakers.
This being my practical-joke-loving family, I was tricky and wrapped the iPod speakers in the box from this glowing tea pot: