Saturday, June 29, 2013

Chocolate chip cookie from Le Pain Quotidien

Stopping in at a restaurant just to use the bathroom usually means you buy something out of guilt. For me, it's obviously going to be Giant Cookies!

This one came from Le Pain Quotidien.

And quite appropriately, since eating this cookie was one of the most "pain"ful experiences I've had in my history of Giant Cookie reviewing.

Even though it was still soft in a lot of spots, it was pretty dark brown for a chocolate chip cookie. Like it was overcooked. It was also sort of sour around the edges. Like it was overcooked.

And it was dry. It also had a piece of paper cooked into it.

And it had an almost sticky surface that I found unappetizing.

I'd be willing to give this bakery another chance, because it seems like this cookie was a result of an off day, but as of now, I will have to review it unfavorably.

As is common lately, I ate this cookie away from access to a scale, so I can't judge its value too accurately, but it cost over three dollars, and couldn't have weighed more than around 150 grams, putting it at around 2¢ a gram, or, not cheap.

The Bottom Line:
Taste: 1 star
Texture: 2 stars

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The ABC's of Me

Not too long ago, my fellow blogger Geoff hit the world with an epic alphabetical list of all the traits that make him him, and he said it sounded like something I would do, so I said I'd do it. Well, it took me 2 weeks to think of an adjective that began with Z, but finally it is here! One word for every letter of the alphabet, each describing something about me!

A is for Awesome. That's right. Let's start this already narcissistic post off with a bang!

B is for Bouncy. And I mean that quite literally. My favorite thing to do instead of standing still is to bounce on my toes. My favorite thing to do instead of sitting still is to bounce my legs up and down.

C is for Colorful. The brighter the better. Why do something in beige when you can do it in rainbow instead?

D is for Deliberate. As in the exact opposite of impulsive.  I look before I look before I look before I leap, and think about every decision for at least a few days. Unless I am crossing the road, and then I usually just step out blindly.

E is for Eco-conscious. People call me a hippie because I compost, reuse everything, go out of my way to recycle, never buy things new when I can buy them used, choose walking or biking or public transportation over driving almost all the time, carry mountains of groceries in my arms rather than use a disposable bag, and carry a weight of guilt that is approximately equal to the number of pounds of carbon I release into the atmosphere with all my wasteful activities.

F is for Forgetful. I can't remember what else I was going to say about that.

G is for Gullible. I believe everything I'm told, which means my boss has lots of fun telling me I'm getting fired all the time. Gee, thanks, Boss.

H is for Honest. I don't steal, I don't cheat, and sometimes I think I disappoint people by telling the truth when they ask me my opinion.

I is for Introverted. I am the shyest person I know. And I don't know many.

J is for Jumpy. Just watch me when someone pokes me from behind. Or I almost step on a worm. Or drop a cockroach that I'm trying to carry out of the building on piece of paper. This goes hand in hand with screamy, but that's not a word.

K is for Klutzy. If you looked at my legs, which are covered in scratches, scrapes, and bruises, that would be all you would need to know. But you could look at my left elbow if you weren't sure. I slammed that into a chair 2 weeks ago, and I'm still bitter about it.

L is for Logical. I am swell at following scenarios to their logical conclusions, and one of my favorite phrases is, "That doesn't make sense!"

M is for Moody. When I'm happy, I'm on top of the world. When I'm sad, I'm despondent. And when I'm mad, I'm hysterical. I can switch from one to the other of these moods in as much time as it takes me to open a cupboard door into my skull.

N is for Nice. That's what all the kids in elementary school said when asked to describe themselves, and I'm sticking to it. Besides, I think it's true, if not very sophisticated in the literary sense.

O is for Obsessive-compulsive. Not in the crazy way, just in the way that everything has to be neat and tidy and spelled correctly.

P is for Perfectionistic. Oh, and everything has to be perfect. That too.

Q is for Quick. If I have to move slowly for some reason, I slowly go insane.

R is for Risk-averse. I would rather never try something than take the chance of failing at it.

S is for Smiley. When people who don't know my name are trying to call me by name, they usually choose "Smiley." That or "Blondie," but since right now my hair is aqua, it would have to be "bluey" and that just doesn't have the same ring.

T is for Thrifty. Nothing feels better to me than saving a few bucks.

U is for Unhealthy. When I don't have some minor malady ruining my life, I'm worrying that I do.

V is for Vegetarian. You would not believe what a hot topic of discussion this is among everyone who meets me. Let's not discuss it right here.

W is for Wordy. I love to write, and I love to elaborate. Why say something in a sentence if you can say it in a paragraph?

X is for Xerodermic. Every so often, my lips turn into a mini-Mojave, and then I can think of nothing else.

Y is for Yeller. That's right, I'm skeert of pretty much everything.

Z is for Zany. This is basically a second-rate synonym for "goofy," which I was going to use for G because people have on several occasions called me a goofball and meant it in a complimentary way. But I really wanted to get that "gullible" in there, and how many other words start with a Z?

So what about you? Can you alphabetize your existence? If you're a blogger, too, why not have at it? Or if not, just post the whole thing on Myspace, like old times!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chocolate Walnut Espresso Cookie from Firehook Bakery

Firehook Bakery used to be my main source of 7-layer bars, meaning when I was there, I rarely sampled their wide variety of Giant Cookies, but since I learned I could make 7-layer bars myself, suddenly the game had changed. The last time I was at Firehook, I dove in, and requested a type of cookie I rarely choose: the all-chocolate one. Turns out it was chocolate walnut espresso, but it was too late to back out so I bought in.

Not having a very good sense of smell, I could just barely detect the espresso, but that's fine with me, since I don't much like coffee flavors anyway.

What I did detect was a sharp, almost painful coldness to the cookie, like what you feel when you're eating mint. Which was odd, because I'm pretty sure there was no mint in it. Altogether, I was not too impressed with the flavor.

The texture was nice. It crunched on the outside (causing it to fail the crumble test) but was soft on the inside, which I liked. I would have preferred more soft to crunchy, though.

And as far as price goes, here are the numbers:135 g., 1.87$ = 1.38¢ per g.

The Bottom Line:
Taste: 3 stars
Texture: 4 stars
Price: 3 stars

Friday, June 14, 2013

3 Chocolate chip cookies from Dawson's Market

These cookies just barely squeaked by the 10-cm diameter minimum to qualify as a Giant Cookie.

I ate them away from access to a scale, so I can not speak as to their value, but I don't really think they're worth it. The 3-pack cost me $3.99, which is fairly good as far as Giant Cookies go in general, but they seemed to lack in flavor and wow factor.

The texture was decent, but nothing to write home about either.

The Bottom Line:
Taste: 2 stars
Texture: 3 stars

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Spending Spree

When I start buying a lot of things, I sometimes like to catalog them, just so (1) I can keep track of what I got, (2) so I can keep track of the great deals I snagged, and (3) so I have a reminder of how frivolous I'm being, to encourage me to stop it!

Last week, I made three big purchases on eBay, adding up to almost 50 dollars:

A lot of green clothing (6 pieces),
A lot of 5 dresses, and
A skirt set.

Then I bought a yoga mat on Amazon. In order to get free shipping, I added on an 11-dollar pair of shoes, for a grand total of 30 dollars.

A few days later, a pile of discounts combined in such a way that I was able to order a 54-dollar pair of shoes for just 10 dollars. It is an absolutely awesome pair of shoes, by the way. I really hope it fits and the color is right!

Yesterday, an ad directed me to, where I found a hairbrush that promises to detangle my hair gently. I've been having a lot of trouble with my brush lately, so I had to spend the 14 dollars.

Today, purchased a bundle pack of 10 yoga classes for 29 dollars and unexpectedly got an additional 10-dollar discount. That's really cheap, but when you factor in the cost of riding the Metro to get there, it is not quite so appealing. But I'm doing it anyway, because my boyfriend has 900 dollars on his Metro card and offered to let me help him use it up.

Tomorrow, while said boyfriend is drinking it up at a beer and bourbon festival (we're mostly inseparable, but for beer and bourbon, I'll make an exception), I have every intention of using the 20%-off coupon for Shoppers World that comes in the mail every 2 weeks without fail. I might spend up to 10 dollars! Mama needs some new black shorts!

However, I'm still not the high-roller I might appear to be, because tonight I'm going to trade up my broken sofa for a coworker's cat-scratched one. For free! Now, I just need to do something about that non-functioning TV...Or is it the VCR and the DVD player simultaneously? Or is it the cables?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

No No, Nose

Right before I lost my prescription drug coverage at the end of 2011, I stocked up on nasal steroid spray, pretty much the only product I used at the time that required a prescription.

And then, in typical bring-an-umbrella fashion,* being prepared for the worst made the worst not happen. 2012 was a glorious year in which (except for a few times when I had a cold) I did not suffer from a single blocked nose. 2013 is not. Since January, I've had three upper respiratory infections, each of which have resulted in at least a few days of complete nasal blockage. Today marks the third day in a row that my nose has been extremely congested (but mostly on one side) for no apparent reason.

Earlier in the month, I visited a new doctor, who reinstated my prescription for nasal steroids, even though I told him I didn't really need any just yet. But since CVS kept calling to let me know my prescription was ready, I decided to at least go pick it up for later use. But then I found out it would cost 60 dollars for a 1-month supply.

Curses. Once my fears that I wouldn't be able to afford my prescription any more were confirmed, my nose immediately went into overdrive, hitting me with the worst flare-up of idiopathic rhinitis (I only call it that because I haven't found the cause yet, not because all possible causes have been conclusively ruled out—for example, I have not had an allergy test) in I-don't-know-how-long (but my last blog post on the topic was in 2010).

I've been holding back, but I think I'm finally going to have to start using my steroid spray again. I have one reserved bottle from the Before Times, and then I'll have to suck it up and pay the pharmacist.

In the meantime, though, there is one good thing about this congestion--it keeps me moving. Every hour or so, I try to get up and do a little exercise. With a stuffy nose, I have extra motivation to keep up this routine, since when my heart rate's up is about the only time that I can breathe without chemical assistance.

*You can pretty much guarantee a beautiful sunny day if you just carry an umbrella around with you, because nature is perverse like that. If it can't make you uncomfortable in the rain, it'll make sure you're uncomfortably lugging around more gear than you need. I call this phenomenon "Bring an umbrella syndrome".

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beauty Sleeping

Anyone who knows me knows that I sleep a lot. You might not think so at first. I fool you by rising early – even on the weekends – and avidly avoiding naps, but you start to catch on once you hear my bedtime. "When is it?" Oh, like 10:30. "[Skeptical look] Really? [Pregnant pause for raising of eyebrows] What time do you get up?" Seven o'clock.

So that's like 8 and a half hours a night...and when I get to set my own schedule, I rarely settle for less than 9. Then again, that's from bedtime to wake-up, and it doesn't include the long long minutes I spend trying to fall asleep—I estimate those average out to about a half-hour every night.

I have a love/hate relationship with sleep. On the one hand, sleep is like your body's magical reset button. Frustrated? Confused? Take one night to sleep on it, and you will have an entirely new perspective. I've spent all day grappling with some problem, only to wake up the next day and solve it immediately.

On the other hand, I hate how much I depend on it. If I don't get at least 7 hours, I'm brain-dead the entire next day. No amount of caffeine can counteract my grogginess. I live in seething jealousy of ... well, almost everyone else in the world.

I had a coworker once who consistently got by on 5 hours. I would tell him how sleep is good for you. He would tell me, "We'll sleep when we're dead." I would not tell him, but I would think, "if I don't sleep, I feel dead." I was jealous of him.

It's been hard lately, because my newfound social life requires me to stay up late, but my job still requires me to get up early. My boyfriend manages it easily. He can fall asleep any time, anywhere, and seems unfazed by getting up to face the day after only 5 hours of sleep. I, on the other hand, become a feeble zombie with just enough consciousness to feel jealous of him.

Sometimes I think about all the things I could accomplish if I could just sleep one fewer hour a night. Or if I could just fall asleep immediately instead of burning up the hours tossing and turning. And then I wither in despair.

I am forever doomed, like a certain fairy tale princess, to spend years of my life sleeping. I can only hope that, like her as well, it keeps me looking young.