#189 (via Bear Lawyer, LLC)

If you don’t know Bear Lawyer, you’re missing out. I don’t make a habit of reblogging much here on WordPress, but this guy earned a coveted reblog spot.

#189

via Bear Lawyer, LLC

Notice anything different about me?

No, I didn’t get a haircut.

No, I haven’t lost weight.

…………..

Yes, it’s the new theme! Ta-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I really like it, like a lot a lot. Others who shall not be named aren’t as keen to it but that’s because some people don’t like change and aren’t female so pink and green aren’t exactly his thing. Okay, we all knew it was Kevin.

I decided to just go for it since changing my theme has been eating at me for quite some time, and then I spent a few hours tweaking this thing like crazy. I’m still waiting for the guy who developed it to tell me what to do about the header but it’ll do for now.

Isn’t she pretty? If I were wearing say, a new dress, I’d be twirling around while I preen.

There are a few options I haven’t exercised yet but overall, the theme is exactly what I wanted. It’s got a few extra bells and whistles and a lot more widget area, so I could spread things out without feeling quite so cramped. The footer looks way better and I think navigation will be infinitely easier, too.

New items are an Archives page in the main menu and social media buttons to the right. And let’s not forget about the font. I’m no longer publishing in the Georgia font. Thanks be to God, I have moved on and can have a nice, easier-to-read font on my blog!

Pretty spiffy, right?

I lurve it.

And for anyone who has questions about upgrading to a Premium Theme on WordPress, they do give you the option of getting a refund if you’re displeased with the theme overall. While I don’t think I’ll be asking for one, it’s nice to have that peace of mind.

Hooray!

Edit: I updated the iPad feature included with this theme, so that for those of you who are lucky ducks and have one, you’ll see a specific launch image when you add Zoe Says to your home screen and open the site from there. (I’d be pretty honored if one of you out there actually added me to an iPad home screen.)

Bagels: A Remembrance

Topped with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion and garlic & salt

Photo courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker on Flickr

This morning, as I munched on my toasted “everything bagel” with butter, I was inexorably drawn back to my years in New York City, one of the bagel capitals of the world.

Prior to moving there, I had certainly had my share of these round wonders. Panera makes a fine bagel, if I do say so myself. However, there really is something to be said for the culture of bagels in New York, something I have experienced nowhere else.

In fact, by the time I had graduated from college, I declared myself to be a person who really didn’t like bagels. And if you just thought to yourself that I must be crazy for holding that opinion, get in line. My friends thought it was incredibly bizarre. I think I just had a natural aversion to them for years. I have never liked using bagels for sandwiches, either. Too thick and chewy for a sandwich, at least from my perspective. The idea of a plain bagel with cream cheese sounded incredibly unappetizing to me (in fact, it still does).

Google "NYC bagels" and this is what you get.

However, something shifted for me when I lived in New York. Not only are bagels everywhere – bodegas, delis, bakeries, cafes – but people line up for them like they’re going out of style. A distinct Sunday Morning Bagel Ritual takes place in hundreds of shops each week in that grand city, where thousands of people slowly gravitate towards their favorite local place to “get on line” and call out their regular order. And no two are the same!

I was in New York for five years but I probably didn’t appreciate the bagels there until the last two. At the last place I worked, they had Bagel/Donut Fridays. Usually there was no stopping me from partaking in a donut or two, but one day, I started noticing a particular bagel staring back at me. I later learned that it was called an “everything” bagel. On top of these round creations are poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, dried onion, and salt.

Craving something salty to go with my sweet donut, I tried one. I loved it.

Everything bagels renewed my palate for this local delicacy. They’re insanely messy to eat and you will spill no less than three thousand pieces of bagel debris on yourself while you eat it, but the mixture of flavors can’t be beat. I became a total convert.

And! I even started frequenting Brooklyn Bagels in my neighborhood (though I lived in Astoria, Queens). There was one on Broadway around the corner from me and they had a great array of things to eat, including French Toast Bagels, which I don’t even have to say were amaaaaaziiiiing. One had to get to this place before 10am on Sundays or there would be at least a fifteen to twenty minute wait. It was worth it, though.

Like the rug in The Big Lebowski that tied the room together, frequenting my local bagel shop for my “usual” really solidified the love I had for my neighborhood, and even living in that enormous metropolis. (Astoria rocks and if I were to move back to New York City, I’d totally live there again.) I have extremely fond memories of getting breakfast at Brooklyn Bagels with Kevin when we were first seeing one another. Can you beat an everything (or French Toast) bagel with a cappuccino? I propose that you can not.

While I now have to settle for buying my everything bagels by the half dozen in a bag from the supermarket, toasting them myself and buttering them, they still bring forth these treasured memories which I hold dear to me.

Bagels are more than just “something to eat” in New York City. They are an experience. They are New York.

A satisfying breakfast to say the least.

Magical sleep powers

Does this happen to anyone else? I won’t be able to solve a problem or find the answer to something, I’ll go to sleep and bam – I’ll have a dream about it or wake up with the knowing answer.

This happened to me just recently over a weekend when I had to go in to the office to do some work. I was reconciling a credit card statement and didn’t have a receipt for one of the transactions. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what on earth it was and why I hadn’t saved the receipt or note of it along with everything else. I ravaged my emails and nary a note was to be found regarding this one receipt. My shoulders hunched in failure and I was dreading having to tell someone that I couldn’t explain the charge (though it seemed familiar and was bugging the hell out of me).

I finished up my work and went home, trying not to think about it. That night, I dreamt about the situation and the answer came to me while I slept: the same person to whom I owed an explanation about the charge had told me verbally a few weeks before that she was putting something on the card and there was no receipt for it. The reason I didn’t remember was because I had never done it in the first place! The relief that flooded through me was immense.

And then I was like, what the hell, brain, how come you couldn’t have figured that out twelve hours ago?

I find the power of the subconscious incredible. When it’s completely relaxed without the stressors of daily life, it becomes my own personal superhero.

I can’t tell you how often this happens to me, though. It could be that I misplace something valuable, that I’m anxiously waiting for something to happen (like a check clearing), and then for whatever reason, I will dream how I want it to get resolved and usually it comes to fruition. Am I psychic? I’m not a god and I didn’t even need twelve years of Catholic school to know that. (Please tell me a few of you get that reference.)

I will say that I only use my powers for good and that for whatever reason that this does happen to me, I like it a lot. It’s not as cool as an invisibility cape, but it’ll do.

Lastly, for your entertainment, I am linking to a particular scene in one of my all-time favorite films. Because you can never have enough Groundhog Day. Amen.

Soapbox

Bath and Body Works Soap

Photo courtesy of danabronsteter on Flickr

A couple of years ago, I made the decision that from then on out, I was going to be a “fancy” soap buyer. I was doing away with the dimestore soap. Does anybody even use the word dimestore anymore? I know nobody says “five and dime,” though I think that is just the cutest name ever for what we now call Dollar Tree. Not knocking on Dollar Tree – you can get some deal$ there.

I have tangential nostalgia issues.

Back to the soap. This morning, we ran out of hand soap in the bathroom. I know, right? Call the newspaper. That is, if you still have one in existence. Anyhow, it wasn’t just the end of the soap, it was the end of the water+soap mixture in the bottom of the bottle, as well. That’s srs bsns. If you don’t know what I just said, that’s internet speak for, “We’re not messing around.” It’s time to get thee more soap when the watery stuff is gone. I will like, freak out if I don’t have something proper cleansing my hands. (For me, bar soap is a last resort, though I will use it.)

Being the internet addicted diva that I am, I promptly sat down at my computer and browsed Bath & Body Works’ array of fine hand soaps for a few minutes and took advantage of their sale. (Do they ever not have a sale?) Five more bottles of hand soap are now on their way to me. Side note: they’re already using words like Spook-tacular and have Halloween-themed bottles of soap. Really?

Back to the point about how I purchased five bottles of soap. You wouldn’t think two people would need so much. We really do go through it faster than you’d think. At least, those of us who frequently hand wash do. Plus, the extra bottles let me decide which scent I feel in the mood for and then I don’t have to get in the car and go somewhere each time I run out. Which, as we’ve established, is at a rapid clip.

Whatever it is about B&BW’s soap, it feels “fancy.” And they know it. They have me in their Target Demographic sights and I have been pulled in. I’ve bought whatever they’re selling and I come right back to the trough for more. Some people prefer to shop at Crabtree & Evelyn or Williams Sonoma for their fancy soaps. All well and good. But I feel comfortable with the bright colors and hundreds of scents that they manage to re-create each year, not to mention the slightly-more-fancy-than-average plastic packaging that B&BW offers.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I think a person is slumming it if s/he doesn’t have fancy soap. Plenty of people are perfectly fine with a bar of Zest adorning their faucet. For a long time, the “aquarium” series from SoftSoap adorned my own sinks. Good smell, decent soap, average price, available just about everywhere. Somewhere along the way, after trying B&BW’s soap, I decided to stick with it. For a Super Smeller Girly Girl like myself, it just seemed the natural thing to do. I get to mix it up with the smells and textures and my hands will come away clean, soft, and amazing smelling. Win win win.

Plus! If I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to trudge up to the mall to face society and consumerism, shopping online in my pajamas affords me the luxury of having the soap brought to me, not to mention the fact that I don’t have to talk to any sales clerks or wait in line behind the woman trying to return used antibacterial hand gel.

All pluses.

All of this having been said….Are we amazed at my ability to discuss something as innocuous as soap yet? Fancy soap on my sink is like Folger’s in your cup. If ya know what I mean, and I think ya do.

Lists for an Anniversary

balloon love

Photo courtesy of raspberrytart on Flickr

Come Monday, Zoe Says turns three! Wheee! August 8, 2008 was the inception of my storytelling via weblog and it’s been a heck of a ride. I began with the intention of seeing if I could blog for a year and the fact that it’s been three and I’m still going strong gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. Thanks to all who have been with me and enjoy reading what comes from my head and heart.

I don’t know if I have spoken very much about my love for lists and stats but I have a secret passion for them. For a creative person, I am “right-brained” enough to have a hard love for numbers. (Or is it left-brained? Anybody know?) I’m not saying I like to solve mathematical equations or anything à la Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, but I enjoy working with numbers/figures as they pertain to money, and statistics as they pertain to blog/website hits.

I don’t have any stats for you today but for those readers who have just recently (and very kindly) subscribed to this petite blog, I decided to put together two “Top Ten” lists. One is very simple and lays out the top blog posts that have gotten the most reads. The second is a batch of my personal favorites. This way, you can catch up if you want over the weekend or just marvel along. It’s kind of cool to note what the public prefers over what my favorites are. Here we go!

Top Ten Twelve Zoe Says posts of all time based on pure stats:

  1. The Obligatory Courtesy Smile (by far – not even a competition)
  2. May: the month of a gazillion birthdays
  3. Let’s focus on what’s important: Britney’s comeback (This one has stayed strong and steady since 2009! The power of Britney.)
  4. Baker’s Dozen: We Know It’s the Holiday Season Because… (My very first Freshly Pressed post!)
  5. Sebastian Maniscalco: stand-up comedian, funny, Italian, metrosexual  (I have no idea what’s going on but this dude is POPULAR. People search for this guy DAILY and find this post.)
  6. The Acceptable Man-Purse: a.k.a. The Messenger Bag  (I get so many searches that end up hitting this post.)
  7. Literally, the most misused word
  8. My one-time experience at the Bloomingdale’s makeup floor
  9. Bottom line, these are awesome  (One of my personal favorites so I love that it has gotten all the way up to the top!)
  10. My Very Personal Relationship with HGTV (This one is in the top merely because another article has a link back to this and people flooded my page once reading about my thing for House Hunters and Mike Holmes.)
  11. Minty the Candy Cane – Obsessed! (Warning: the theme song will get stuck in your head!)
  12. Total Rant: to the people at Xerox who make my copier/printer/scanner/fax machine (People love reading a good old-fashioned rant and this one is no exception. I think it has to do mostly with the photo I put up from Office Space.)

Zoe Says a few of her favorite posts from the past three years in no particular order because she loves them equally:

  1. The Psychology of Tuesday
  2. Those Three Little Words
  3. VERBOTEN! Day 2
  4. Kringley, Jingley, Cookies and Trees, Gluttony, Family Gatherings and Obligatory Gifts: sounds like Christmas!
  5. Onions? Or…B.O.?
  6. If you don’t know what Tremors is, you’re insulting Kevin Bacon
  7. Please Reheat Responsibly
  8. My Stereotypically Midwestern Yet All-American, Comprehensive & Inappropriate Relationship with Ranch Dressing
  9. Signs I’m Over 30
  10. Sick Pen Obsession
  11. My primal, Sunday baking urge
  12. No. You didn’t SEEN anything.