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Posts from the ‘stuff i like’ Category

cholula, you ain’t no tabasco

Naomi Campbell once threw a phone at her assistant. But she can’t be all bad. After all, she once revealed in an interview that she carries Tabasco in her purse. Assuming she’s not carrying the Tabasco around to splash in her assistant’s eyes, that single fact makes Naomi Campbell bulletproof in my book. Because as far as I’m concerned, Tabasco is the stuff of life.

Unfortunately, around Portland, it’s getting harder and harder to find Tabasco in restaurants. I noticed it happening about a year ago. And now it happens all the time. My friend Patrick says it’s because Cholula reps are always hawking their wares to restaurateurs. Whatever the cause, it’s a real problem. Once, if you asked “Do you have Tabasco,” the response you’d get was “Green or Red?” Nowadays, if you ask “Do you have any Tabasco?” you’re likely to hear “No. [Insert sad hipster waiter face]. But I have Cholula!”


chili lime cholula sounds absolutely disgusting

Who wants your stinking Cholula??  Cholula is fine if you’re putting it on an enchilada or Huevos Rancheros. That’s because if you sprinkle Cholula on something, your food automatically turns into Mexican food. So if you’re trying to go in that direction, it helps to start with Mexican food. Cholula gives off a dull, smoky vibe that falls somewhere between the “Hot” and “Fire” sauces at Taco Bell. I’m not knocking that. There’s definitely a place for Fire sauce, I mean, Cholula, and that place is on a 99 cent bean and cheese burrito.

But you for damn sure can’t put Cholula on a bed of tender, soft-cooked eggs, or sprinkle it in little dots all the way down a slice of crisp bacon. You can’t put Cholula on the crunchy top layer of homemade macaroni and cheese. You can’t put Cholula on pizza, unless it’s taco pizza. Admittedly, that last one is a guess, because I’d never order a taco pizza. That shit is gross.

No, sometimes, Cholula just won’t do. Sometimes, the only thing that will do is that blast of acidic, vinegary heat. That fiery hit of Tabasco.

I told my friend Ethan I was writing this post, and he immediately started in on an irrelevant diatribe against Chipotle guacamole, Hunt’s ketchup, and tomatillo salsas. Which just goes to show that we all have our least favorite condiments. I can’t take Ethan seriously because he hates Tabasco. When I complained that Cholula makes everything taste like Mexican food, Ethan opined that “Mexican food is better than Tabasco food,” which just makes me feel sorry for him.

Anyway, I’m not saying restaurants should ONLY offer Tabasco. I just want them to keep Tabasco in the mix. In case you’re wondering, Tabasco is not paying me to write this post. No, this love is for free.

Until the restaurants awake from their cloudy Cholula haze, I’ll just have to carry my own hot sauce. Which is why, this Christmas, I’m asking for this.

stuff i like: amazon prime

I’ve made peace with the knowledge that Amazon will eventually take over the world, and you should too, because it will make the takeover a lot smoother for Jeff Bezos.  I do a lot of my shopping online, and 9 times out of 10, I can find what I’m looking for on Amazon.  I’ve bought flour on Amazon.  My dryer sheets are from Amazon.  My shoes are often from Amazon, because I guarantee that the shoes you want on Zappos are cheaper on Amazon.  If I’m gifting you, I likely bought your gift on Amazon, unless I am re-gifting.  I’d like to spread my money around, but Amazon just makes it so damn easy.  They pack your stuff in “frustration-free packaging,” vacuum-wrap your books, and deliver everything on time and in one piece.

But the real beauty of Amazon is Amazon Prime.  I think it costs like $80 a year, but what you get is this: free two-day shipping on many (but not all) of the items you’ll be shopping for, including heavy items like this, my new toilet.  Don’t ask me why one toilet is packaged in two boxes.  That is a mystery for my contractor to figure out.  Here’s all I need to know: this sucker cost 40% less than MSRP, nothing to ship, and arrived on my stoop in two days.  Assuming there’s actually a toilet in there when my contractor opens the box(es), that will be approximately my 340th successful shopping experience on Amazon.  How’s that for a track record?

What Amazon knows is that when you have free two-day shipping, you’ll find excuses to do all kinds of stupid shopping on Amazon.  So it is that I once ordered a clip-on webcam for my laptop for $2.40.  It looked like a cheap toy you might pull out of a vending machine with a claw, and worse, did not work, but I don’t hold that against Amazon.  I hold it against the manufacturer, and me, for believing that a webcam that costs less than a Slurpee would be capable of transmitting my image to my brother in Seoul.  Before you start yowling about the environmental impact of shipping such an item, consider that if I hadn’t ordered it from Amazon, I would have driven around to five stores looking for a webcam, so there’s that.  Also, it came in a really tiny box.

But forget all that, because now, there’s Downton Abbey.  I recently started watching the show, two years after everyone else, and discovered that if you have Amazon Prime, you can watch HD episodes of DA through Amazon Prime for free, with no ads.  What?  Yeah, that’s right, Amazon sells streaming video, and if you have Amazon Prime, you can get a lot of it for nothing.  So you can return that DVD of “Just Go With It” that you’ve had molding in your house for the past 8 months–you know, the rental that’s costing you, at $13.99 per month, something like $112.00–and cancel your Netflix subscription.

Hey Amazon!  Take me to your leader.

stuff i like: maybelline mascara

Is there anything as unchanging and reassuring as a magazine article on “beauty steals?”  It’s always the same products: Cetaphil for cleaning, Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream for “anything and everything,” Rosebud Salve, and the perennial pick, Maybelline Great Lash mascara.  I’ve never tried the 8 Hour Cream because apparently I don’t need a cream for “anything and everything.”  Rosebud Salve is fine if you don’t need your lip product to actually adhere to your lips, and you also don’t mind the taste of soap.  As for Cetaphil, it’s just gross.  It’s like washing your face with vichyssoise.  It’s always touted as being gentle, but I’m sorry, I don’t require gentleness from a cleanser.  What I require is something that leaves my skin so clean that it squeaks.  If I could wash my face with a brillo pad, I would.  If you like that feeling too, try this.

As for the mascara, it takes a lot more than Maybelline Great Lash to make something of my Asian eyelashes, which are short, fine, and sparse, like the eyelashes you might find on a 6-pound mini pinscher.  I had to overcome a strong visceral reaction to that particular combo of green and pink in order to purchase a tube of Great Lash, and it turns out I needn’t have bothered, because it sucks.  I mean, if you are Caucasian and/or are already blessed with visible eyelashes, maybe it cuts the mustard.  But if that’s the case, certainly any mascara will work, including those that don’t look like they were conceived for a 12-year old.

There IS a Maybelline mascara that actually works for the eyelash-challenged.  I can’t even type the name here because it’s so terrible, but I’ve provided a photo.  A month ago, this mascara prevented me from killing myself when I learned that Shiseido is no longer selling its Lasting Lift mascara in the states.  Forget Dior Show, forget Lancome, forget the $35 tube of Chanel–all of which I have tried, some twice because I forgot I had tried them before.  If you are Asian, a Shu Uemura curler warmed under a hair dryer + Shiseido Lasting Lift = all-day curl and volume.  But no longer.  I am starting to feel hysterical writing this, because it’s really hitting me that it’s over.  I took my mascara for granted, and now it’s gone.  Those pathetic people who hoard their favorite beauty products?  Sages, every damn one of them.

Anyway, my friend Davia is no slouch with mascara, and she suggested the purple Maybelline, and it works.  It’s no Lasting Lift, but it’ll have to do.  It makes my eyelashes visible, keeps them curled up for a while, and the waterproof version doesn’t smudge too much.  If you like subtlety in a mascara, this one’s not for you.  But for the rest of us: at $7.99, it’s worth a shot.

stuff i like: gap pure tank

I have written before about my struggles with my midsection. It’s not big but it is proportionately bigger than the rest of me. In any event, what my disproportionate middle has made me, over the years, is a master at layering. Not to brag, but I’m so skilled at layering to conceal that I could have a goat under my shirt and you’d never know.

For layering, you need a grip of tanks. But not just any tank. It’s gotta be long enough to cover the top of the skinny jeans. Loose enough to drape nicely over the chest, without getting caught on the belly. Slim enough to flatter. The neckline has to be a low enough to show the collarbone and some decolletage. The armholes have to be generous enough to give it that offhanded mens’ tank feel, but not so generous that you are showing sideboob. With white, things get even trickier, because sometimes you can get an otherwise-ideal tank that happens to be the wrong shade of white. You notice the problem in the store, but you ignore it, buy it, and hope for the best. And then, you don’t wear it. It sounds crazy, but if it’s happened to you, you know I speak truth.

So difficult is it to find a perfect tank that my otherwise rational friends will pay more than $100 bucks in the pursuit. I get it. I do. The perfect tank is a workhorse, and you’ll wear it every day. But it’s so much better when you can get something great for cheap. Which is where the Gap comes in.

the haggard late-night iphone blog photo in all its glory. but at least my cactus bloomed

At lunch today, my friend Mo started talking about the Gap, and before she could finish her sentence, I knew exactly where she was going. The Gap has launched a new line called Pure, and it is essentially a capsule collection of t-shirts, tanks, and long sleeve tops in a limited range of colors. Imagine Vince and James Perse, at 1/4 the price. The racerback tank I’m wearing above is as close to tank perfection as I have been in a very long time. The neck is deep, the length is long, and it has a fishtail hem, which I appreciate because it gives me more butt coverage while keeping things neat in front. It’s 100% rayon and skims the body with perfect drape, but does not cling. It’s got a couple interesting details, like the bound hems on the neck and armholes. Forget all that though, because there’s this: I washed and tumble dried it and it did not shrink. DID NOT SHRINK. The holy grail.

It’s $24. What are you waiting for?

*Check me out on Pinterest for more perfect tanks

stuff i like: finesse hairspray

Have fun stockpiling food and water for the apocalypse.  I’ll be busy stockpiling Finesse hairspray.

I have hair that works better the less I touch it.  I shower, towel dry my hair, rub in a dollop of my proprietary blend of smoothing cream (3/4 parts Garnier Fructis Surf Paste + 1/4 part Kiehl’s Creme with Silk Groom*), and then blow dry the roots for one minute.  The crucial part of the process is in the freezing of the hairdo at the end, because I need that puppy to last until 6:00 PM.  And for this, I need liberal quantities of Finesse Unscented Maximum Hold Hairspray.

The hairspray holds my hair in place and gives me volume at the crown, but does not turn it into a helmet.  It’s also not gummy or sticky.  I’ve tried other hairsprays, mostly the ones available for free in the restroom at the office.  Most of them don’t last the day, or freeze the hair to such a degree that I’d be scared that my hair would chip off upon contact.

I’m sure there are higher end hairsprays that achieve what Finesse has achieved (like L’Oreal Elnett), but here’s the thing: no one should be paying that much for hair products.  You WASH IT OUT.  I use whatever shampoo is on sale at Walgreens, and if I feel like splurging, I’m going for something luxurious like Pantene or Aveeno.  A can of Finesse hairspray costs a reasonable $3.99.

I use the stuff like it’s going out of style, which it is.  Over the last few years, I’ve seen the Finesse line of shampoos and styling aids slowly disappear from stores.  One day, it will be gone completely, and then it’ll just be me and the 17 cans that I have stored in my bathroom drawers.  And the zombies will have to pry each one from my dead, lifeless hands.

*Kiehl’s Silk Groom is not cheap.  But you only use a pea sized amount, and I can make a small bottle last 8 months.