Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Got an Extra Buck? Support a Traveler's 2010 Photo Expedition

Sorry to disappoint but it's not me asking for funds for some outrageous travel expedition - although the thought has crossed my mind. No, this is a call for support of a fellow traveler in my cyber world and whom I've met in the "real" world. Check out my post about his groovy photography expedition for 2010 over on my SoloTravelGirl.com blog.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Eve Dinner 2009

Christmas Eve I enjoyed a Florida-style feast. It was a chance to enjoy the single set of dishes received when I got married. (Was that a sign? Only receiving one set of China?) My dinner consisted of steak, lobster tail, and stone crab claws. Yum!

Dessert - took the organic strawberries from last week's Worden Farm crop share and dipped them in chocolate. Tried to make tuxedo strawberries but think I melted the semi-sweet chocolate too long because it came out lumpy and not very pretty - although tasted mighty good.

I'm now thinking of the next special occasion when I can have stone crab claws. But do I really need a special occasion?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Easy Christmas Sweets

Not sure about anyone else but the holidays ignite a need to make sweets. Luckily I have neighbors and friends to share (and experiment with) so I'm not eating them all by myself. In addition to Nigella Lawson's Rocky Road Bars I baked chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter blossoms, made sugar and spice nuts (as found via Amy Clark's Motherload Blog), peppermint bark and salty almond bark (both pictured).

Following are recipes for peppermint bark and salty almond bark. My note: I modified these from other recipes I found to make them more budget friendly. The recipes I found called for either baker's chocolate or high-end, quality chocolate. My taste buds (and pocketbook) don't mind Hershey's or Nestle's chocolate.

Peppermint Bark
This is my FAVORITE Christmas treat. Chocolate. Mint. Mmm. Mmm.

1, 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1, 12 ounce package white chocolate chips
3/4 cup crushed candy canes
2 tsp vegetable oil
3/4 tsp peppermint extract

  • Crush peppermint candy canes, equal to 3/4 cup. I put them in a sealed freezer bag and whacked away with the hammer (hence the hammer in the photo). Set aside.
  • Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tsp vegetable oil and pour onto aluminum foil, smooth out with spatula to about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Place in refrigerator for about an hour.
  • Melt white chocolate chips with 1 tsp vegetable oil.
  • Once melted, add 3/4 tsp peppermint extract and crushed peppermint candy canes, mix well.
  • Spread white chocolate mixture atop semi-sweet chocolate and refrigerate.
  • Once solid, break into pieces and enjoy!

Salty Almond Bark
Sweet. Salty. Nutty. All in one delish bite. Can you ask for anything more?

1, 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1, 12 ounce package white chocolate chips
1 cup roughly chopped almonds
1 Tbsp Kosher salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Coarsely chop almonds in baking pan until lightly toasted, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Remove toasted almonds from oven, place in bowl and set aside.
  • Reduce oven heat to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line baking pan with aluminum foil and sprinkle rows of chocolate, alternating between white and semi-sweet rows (or just toss them on the pan anyway you like).
  • Place chocolate in oven for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove when chips are soft and use spatula to smooth out chocolate somewhat evenly and thinly, about 1/4 inch.
  • Sprinkle chopped almonds and salt evenly over the chocolate.
  • Using spatula, lightly press almonds and salt into chocolate.
  • Refrigerate until solid.
  • Break into pieces and enjoy!
If you try these or have questions, let me know. If you're in the area, I'll save you some of mine!

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Solo for Christmas 2009

I've baked, mailed Christmas cards (Old School) and shipped out packages. Long story short, looks like I'll be spending Christmas solo. I opted not to fly home to Buffalo because of insanely overpriced airfare and wasn't sure I could take extended time off on the front end - since parents then visit my brother after. I'm not anti-family, I have plans to fly up in January.

I've received an invite from a co-worker (much appreciated) but Christmas is really about family time. Haven't heard from Florida relatives so debating between utilizing my Disney annual pass or just staying home catching up on writing and getting organized for 2010.

Not sure if I'll be posting before Christmas but enjoy this story about "The Worst Christmas Gift I Ever Received," which I wrote in 2007.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

All it Takes is Twitter and a Dream to Win a Sarasota-Area Dining Certificate

Okay, the title of this post is a little dramatic but I'm soooo excited about winning a dining certificate from the Sarasota-Manatee Originals through a Twitter contest they're running. Check out the details over on my Solo Travel Girl blog here and see how you can win. All you need is Twitter, certificates are being given away each weekday and you have until Dec. 24 to enter.

And who said Twitter was a bunch of nonsense? Phooey!

Monday, December 07, 2009

I Met Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat

Friday night was spent at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center watching a Florida Championship Wrestling performance (?) called Christmas Chaos. The event included eight matches and a pre-event meet and greet with Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat - I remember him when growing up, Jillian Beyor - 2008 Playboy Model of the Year and newly signed Diva for the WWE (pictured above), and Justin Angel - Current FCW Heavyweight Champion. (What a cutie! He's pictured below.)

I have lots of thoughts to share about the evening - considering I went alone - and will share my 10 observations another time.

10 People Who Haven't Slept with Tiger Woods?

Women claiming to have had relations with Tiger Woods seem to be crawling out of the woodwork. I've read there are between four and 10 alleged mistresses and have to wonder how many of these women are just trying to gain their 15 minutes of fame. I mean, do they realize they are admitting to having an affair with a knowingly married man with kids?

And how many of these women really had physical relations with the golfer beyond a handshake?

I love the stunt Tampa Bay's MJ Morning Show (radio, WFLZ) pulled off last month. They sent one of their personalities to stand outside Tiger's neighborhood donning a bikini and holding a sign reading, ‘Tiger – They Offered Me $500,000 – I’m Keeping My Mouth Shut!’ She also shouted, "He's not a Tiger, he's a cheetah." Considering I listen to the show daily, I got a good chuckle out of the radio stunt. Good stuff. Have to wonder how many people thought she was a legit mistress.

A caller to Rush Limbaugh's program this afternoon raised an interesting point. None of these women coming forward or being revealed are African American. Does this mean Tiger Woods didn't or isn't having affairs with African American women? Or maybe it's just if he was/is, perhaps they're keeping their mouths shut.

So I have to wonder, when will the list of '10 People Who Haven't Slept with Tiger Woods' start surfacing? Better yet, if you had to create a list, who would you place on it? Queen of England? Adam Lambert? An Orlando Perkins waitress? Oops, she's on the "did" list. So who would make the 10 list of have nots?

Enquiring minds want to know...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

OMG! Nigella Lawson's Rocky Road Bars are Sinfully Delish!

When SELF Magazine arrives I read it cover to cover and Nigella Lawson's Christmas Rocky Road recipe caught my eye this month. While it isn't quite Christmas yet, the recipe sounded so easy and tasty, I had to make them as a Thanksgiving dessert.

You can find the recipe over at SELF Magazine here.

Here are the modifications I made:
  • Rather than bittersweet chocolate chips I used dark chocolate chips.
  • I have no idea what amaretti cookies are so standing in the baking aisle at Wal-mart I Googled and found out an amaretti cookie is a coconut macaroon so found some generic, hard macaroon.
  • Didn't use the confectioner's sugar (didn't have it in my pantry).
You can see the result - yum!

Also made for Thanksgiving were Ina Garten's Cheese Straws (she's also known as the Barefoot Contessa). Well, I really didn't make them, I watched and video taped Stephanie make them (had Thanksgiving dinner with her, her husband and some of other family members). Check out the YouTube here and find the Barefoot Contessa's recipe here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Do Politics and Money Mix?

Politics. The more I try to learn and understand the less it makes sense.

"Government isn't common sense," I've been told when I question why things are done a particular way.

Last week by a 4 to 1 vote our County Commission voted to eliminate at least 20 some jobs in exchange for a lawn maintenance contractor because over two years, this will allegedly save the County 2.5 million dollars.

Wow. 2.5 million dollars is a lotta money especially for taxpayers. But, let's look at this logically. Will eliminating 20 jobs save the government overall? I suspect these 20 workers will be claiming unemployment - where does that money come from? They'll probably qualify for food stamps and the utility bill support program. I wonder, will government money be supporting them? Hmmm, where does the government get their money for these support programs? Perhaps, could it be, the tax payer? (*sarcasm*)

Then, they won't be stimulating the economy because they won't have jobs and extra income to not only buy necessities but also the splurges. These 20 probably won't be dining out in the restaurants or engaging in recreational activities requiring a fee (yes, there are plenty of free things to do). Since they won't be driving to work, they won't be buying as much gas. The reduced and lack of spending means the County tax base will be reduced.

"But," you say, "the new contractors will be contributing to the County tax base."


If the County is saving on one end, this means the contractors probably won't be making as much money as the employees meaning they will have less discretionary income to spend in the County which again means, reduced tax base. These contract workers probably won't have medical benefits either which means if they get ill, they'll be congesting the emergency rooms rather than visiting a doctor's office or clinic and the government will be paying their bills.

Will these workers be making enough to put food on the table? Maybe not, perhaps even though they'll be employed they will need government assistance for food or other services.

I could continue with my rant but unemploying 20 people for what seems like cheaper labor doesn't make sense when looking at the big picture. And this, my friends, is coming from a taxpayer.

Photo: Cabbage Key Inn, Nov. 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

'To Japan With Love' - It's Finally Here!

Excited is an understatement. Last week I received my contributor copies of the book which has been a lesson in patience. Check out my post about it over on my Solo Travel Girl travel blog.

Photo: My third-week host family, Hiya and Yoko. Sadly, Hiya passed away two years ago and I will always remember his kindness and generosity.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Whisker Away from Being Crazy Cat Lady

One more. That's all it'll take to push me into the crazy "cat"-egory.

Three cats in the possession of single woman is the definition of a crazy cat lady, at least according to ABC's 20/20 and the story they ran last week called, "The Line Between Cat Fancy and Cat Crazy."

Friday was one of those feeling sorry for myself nights and tuned into 20/20 where domestic violence was the apparent theme. What can be a better ego-booster than watching stories about women in abusive relationships knowing being single, I can do what I want and no one is beating up on me or trying to kill me?

The first story was about teenager who had her jaw blown off by jilted ex-boyfriend in an attempt to kill her. The end segment was a follow up story on Rhianna and the impact her interview the week prior (about Chris Brown beating on her and saying buh-bye to him) had on other women in abusive relationships.

And the middle story? About crazy cat ladies. Watching I realized I'm one cat and one whisker away from being a crazy cat lady! Sure, I joke about it and purposely limited my cat collection to two - although they were unplanned acquisitions - but didn't realize the universe has set parameters into the dynamics of being a crazy cat lady.

I'm pretty certain terms like "pathetic" and "lonely" were used during the piece. Ouch! How insulting to single women with any number of cats. The filmmaker who documented the lives of four cat ladies has apparently deemed herself an expert in determining what makes a crazy cat lady and according to her I'm on the brink!

Yikes! As if I'm not self conscious about living single and all the insecurities associated with that (like people starring at me while dining alone) I now need to worry about others thinking of me as the crazy cat woman on the brink when I'm shopping for gallons of cat litter and Fancy Feast.

So what am I gonna do about it? Not quite sure. I'm definitely going to make an assertive effort to socialize more - with humans, not felines - and post fewer photo of my fur-children, err... my two kitties.

Check out this excellent article by Bella Depaulo called "Whose Really Nuts 20/20 or 'Crazy Cat Ladies'" and her reaction to the segment. Do we have a cat fight on our hands between single gals with kitties and 20/20? Perhaps.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Supberb Saturday in Sarasota

Yesterday can be summed up as "superb." I spent the the day in Sarasota, my old stomping grounds, experiencing some of what's new and enjoying some of my old favorites.

It started with picking up a ticket for Stephen King's talk at the Van Wezel Monday night along with voucher to purchase a signed copy of Under the Dome, which was released Nov. 10. The deal was brokered via eBay and while I should have faith in the credibility of eBay users, I was leery in the deal. Alas, all ended well.
Next was a visit to the Sarasota Farmers Market and an event called Sarasota Naturally with all sorts of tips for living well. A visit to Anna's (128 N. Orange) for lunch was next - my favorite Sarasota sandwich shop. They have delicious signature sandwiches like the "Surfer" (ham, turkey, swiss cheese and cucumber stacked on their unique "Can Bread" and topped with Anna's sauce). It's been about 5 years since having an Anna sandwich and although I craved the Surfer, opted for the Fiesta - liverwurst, salami, swiss cheese and onion on pumpernickel bread. Yum! (Pictured)

Sarasota is the new baseball spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles and yesterday was Orioles Family FanFest for both the residents and Orioles organization to get to know each other. Hall of Famer Jim Palmer was present along with manager Dave Trembley and players Brad Bergesen, Jim Johnson, Adam Jones, and Nolan Reimold.

The afternoon included a free hot dog, soda, ball cap, a fan forum with Q&A, and autograph session. Drawings were held for prizes, too. Getting caught up in the excitement, I gathered autographs, too, and need to figure out who to give them to. Catch video of All-Star Player Adam Jones answering a question regarding off-season training right here on YouTube and pictured above is Jones and Palmer. Additional photos can be viewed over on Flickr right here.

Up next was a trip to the theatre, the movie theatre that is for The Men Who Stare at Goats - loved it! Smart comedy.

And, the evening was topped off with the inaugural roller derby bout for the Sarasota Roller Girls. It was good catching up with friends who also came out to see Sarasota history in the making. Considering the team's been around for three months, losing 182 to 61 to Fort Myers Derby Girls ain't THAT bad. They have plenty of time to train and prepare for 2010. I captured some video and have one posted on YouTube right now, check it out.

I spent most of the day alone although I was constantly around people. I saw former colleagues during FanFest and it was great catching up with them and meet new people. As I write this it's Sunday night (which most of the day was spent preparing for company) and I'm saying goodbye to another weekend. I have the Stephen King lecture to look forward to tomorrow and will have a short work-week before taking on the next adventure.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November Life Stream Update: Not Much

What have I been up to? "This and that" I like to say. That's because I really can't pinpoint what I've been doing lately other than being a slug. *sigh*

It's that time of year - the holidays. I should have been at roller derby practice tonight but wasn't feeling up to it. Not sure if it was because I ate some bad sushi or just the desire to hole up and hide away from the world.

This is the time of year when I'm reminded of singleton status and constantly wonder what's wrong with me. I wonder why I attract guys who...well, suppose I shouldn't proceed with what I'm really thinking. Not sure why this bothers me so much or perhaps, why I'm so deficient in this aspect of life. I seem to excel in everything else except relationships which seems to be the most important part of life.


I have decided to take all my wacky life experiences over the past few years and use it as "research" for a chick lit novel. Will I ever get it finished? I hope so. I found a useful outline to help me accomplish this, I just need to DO IT!

I also received a copy of German Level 1 from Rosetta Stone (FTC Disclosure - this was received as a gift from the Rosetta Stone representative as part of attending TBEX 09) and need to crack that open, too. Would like to hit Europe next year for the 40th birthday especially since 2009 was a year without international travel for me.

Next week company is coming and I need to make reservations for that - Orlando hotel, etc.

Suppose the biggest news is the leather sofa I purchased today. This was a big step for me as I wanted to buy a place first before having "adult" furniture. I'm still renting and the new piece of furniture will arrive sometime in December.

Just wrote a review of AXE Hair products over on my Tallahassee blog - check it out here. (FTC disclosure; received product as a gift from AXE rep).

For now, I'm in slug mode and it may take until Feb. 15, 2010, to snap out of it but for my sanity, (and for my readers) I hope not.

Since sleeping kitties seem to be a happy image, here's a snapshot of Sunny. He's getting big! And my disclaimer: although I joke about it, I'm not the crazy, single cat lady!

Monday, November 09, 2009

MEDIA RELEASE: Bradentucky Bombers Roller Derby League Walking to Raise HIV and AIDS Awareness

CONTACT: Amanda Jesse
Tel: (941) 803-8237


Bradentucky Bombers Roller Derby League Walking to Raise HIV and AIDS Awareness

Local Roller Derby Girls Supporting 4th Annual Sarasota/Manatee AIDS Walk

Bradentucky, Fla. (November 09, 2009) – Members of the Bradentucky Bombers Roller Derby League will join other Southwest Florida residents to raise money to fund local HIV and AIDS awareness efforts and support programs during the 4th Annual Sarasota/Manatee AIDS Walk benefiting Trinity Charities on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV or AIDS. Locally, Trinity Charities offers various support programs for those infected and affected by the virus.

Roller derby fans are encouraged to register and join the Bradentucky Bombers for the two mile walk at the New College campus in Sarasota. Registration is between 8 and 9 a.m. at the Sudakoff Center (5845 General Dougher Place, Sarasota) with the walk following. Food, raffles, music and prizes are included in the morning activities. The walk is co-chaired jointly by Trinity Charities and New College. Online registrations are being accepted at www.trinitycharities.org.

For those unable to walk they can support a walker or a registered team. All they need to do is select “Support a Walker” from the walk registration section of www.trinitycharities.org and choose whether to support an individual walker, a team, or the walk.

About the Bradentucky Bombers
The Bradentucky Bombers is an all-female, full-contact, flat-track roller derby league representing Bradenton, Sarasota, and Venice and pride themselves as strong women rolling for a strong community.

The league is the Las Vegas "love-child" of founder Gigi RaMoan. Conceived in the bathroom of the Double Down Saloon as Gigi admired the "Sin-City Rollers" graffiti on the wall, the league was quite rightfully named "The Bradentucky Bombers" by her husband, Doug, mere minutes after its conception. That was a few years ago — 2006, to be exact. Today, The Bradentucky Bombers are 40+ skaters strong, currently consisting of two teams: The All-Stars (our "A-team") and The Nuclear Bombshells.

They range in age from 18 to 40+. By day, they are working wives, mothers, students, teachers, motorcycle mechanics, administrative assistants, bartenders, web designers, artists, and everything in between. But a few nights a week, just like Cat Woman, alter-egos emerge as they pull up fishnet stockings, strap on skates and transform into Bomber Girls, with names like Busty Bruiser, Mission Mary Position, Vixen Da CrusHer, Snow Wipe U Out, Mia Psycho, Julia Seize-Her, Yakuzza Girl and Signal 20, to name just a few.

Visit www.bradentuckybombers.com for additional information.


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Domestic Diva Sunday! Pot Roast and Banana Muffins

I love lazy weekends and this one was no different. Got in a little cleaning, minimal blogging (check out SoloTravelGirl.com for the latest), zero exercise (with the exception of a walk to CVS) and some cooking today. Today's culinary creations: pot roast, banana muffins, and corn muffins.

I've never made a pot roast and successfully accomplished the task today with my crock pot. Used the locally raised grass-fed beef and followed this recipe on About.com. It was incredibly simple and results are oh, so delish! The beef is so tender it's falling off the bone. Yum!

After putting the goods in the crock pot this morning I made a batch of banana walnut muffins using this recipe on the Cat Can Cook blog. I modified it a bit and used 4 bananas, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and included chopped walnuts in the dough and on top. In the immortal words of Rachael Ray, yummo!

Decided I needed cornbread muffins and since I have four boxes sitting in the pantry, pulled one out. They turned out OK but are the consistency of sedimentary rocks! They aren't hard as granite and don't necessarily crumble but they aren't soft. Cheese I had on hand in the freezer was added and rather than cow milk used vanilla soy milk. Maybe that had something to do with it! But, drenched in honey they taste alright.

Dinners for the week? Check, done!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gone Rogue Island: #2 Scarecrow in Wickford, R.I., is #1 in My Book

This is the best scarecrow I've seen in a long time, "Gone Rogue Island- Miss Sarah Palin." It was entered in the Wickford (R.I.) scarecrow contest this year and like last year's presidential elections, took second place. Ms. Gone Rogue Island is the creation of Ms. Melissa Devine, a friend of my boss. The Headless Horseman, also pictured, took first place and I don't know who's responsible for him.

And since it's Halloween, thought I'd pimp out some of my spooky travel related experiences, such as the evening I spent in a Tallahassee cemetery with paranormal investigators, or a list of my favorite Voodoo haunts in New Orleans. Since I'm one always up for a good ghost tour, here's a review of last year's Savannah midnight ghost tour and finally, a list of ghost hunting hot spots in Northeast Florida.

And speaking of ghost tours, I joined Historic Ghost Tours of Punta Gorda (Florida) this evening for a cemetery walk, stay tuned to SoloTravelGirl.com for a summary of that experience.

Have a spooktacular Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Facebook Fan Page? Yup

For someone who's comfortable behind the scenes making others look good having my own Facebook Fan Page for my roller derby alter ego is a little bit odd. Oh, I'm sure I'll get use to it.

If you're on Facebook, feel free to click this link to become a fan of Yankee Tripper or to just check out photos from last week's photo shoot.

Much appreciated!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Unleashing Creativity with Bisque It in North Port, Florida

Although I should have been in bed Friday night I joined my friend Kathy at Bisque It Studio (14812Tamiami Trail, North Port; Tel: 941/423-5955) a paint your own pottery studio. They supply the raw ceramic items, paints, and paint brushes. For a small fee, visitors paint their masterpieces. It's not quite like paint-by-numbers but simple. The finished product is left to be baked in a kiln and picked up a few days later.

Friday night was "Ladies Night," which is offered every so often. Some gals brought food, wine and friends. I tagged along with Kathy and her friends and found a table in the corner sharing with another group of ladies.

The most difficult decision I had to make that night was WHAT to paint. There were generic items such as pitchers, bowls, and plates along with holiday items. Once my creativity was unleashed, I ended up painting two items and get to pick them up Tuesday.

Stay tuned for images of the final products!

I Don't Have Swine Flu, Really

Wearing a surgical mask so not to spread germs is all fine and good if there are germs to spread but for the one wearing it with breathing issues, it's no fun. I had the pleasure of this experience Friday when at 8:37 a.m. I secured the only appointment at the County health clinic for the day (9 a.m.) and upon arriving, since I was coughing, was instructed to don the unfashionable mask. There was also a sign indicating if patients have flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat) to put them on.

So I sat in the corner of the waiting room trying to breathe through the mask. Already hot from fever, breathing into the mask intensified my uncomfortableness but being a good patient, I suffered until the nurse pulled me in to take my vitals. We both agreed it was most likely a sinus infection that had taken over my head and making my life miserable. She allowed me to toss the mask - yay!

"I don't think you have the flu," the doctor told me.

I knew I didn't but since I was having problems breathing during the week and getting winded while walking up my stairs, thought it'd bring peace of mind.

I left with a Z-Pack and returned to the office although I wanted to head home and bed. I wanted to do that all week but had commitments to keep including a presentation last Thursday. Am I that important? Maybe.

Happy to report I can breathe, am not winded, and have regained my strength but the coughing has intensified and very annoying. As to other things in my life...

Be sure to check out my travel blog SoloTravelGirl.com to see what else I've been up.

Recent writings: Article rounding up the top five holiday gifts for outdoors women.

And with all the talk about Afghanistan these days, I keep thinking about some of Afghanistan's youth I met during my March 2006 trip and wonder where they are and whether they are alive. Morbid, I know, but it's the truth. Meet some of Afghanistan's future in my favorite slide show.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bradenton/Sarasota-Area Roller Derby this Weekend

What are you doing this weekend? How about some slammin' and jammin' roller derby action! This release was distributed to local media today...

"Whip It" with the Bradentucky Bombers Roller Derby Intra-League Bout Sunday, October 18, 2009

Red vs. Black on the Track with Real, Live, and Local Derby

Bradentucky, Fla. (October 13, 2009) – The regular skating season has concluded but the Bradentucky Bombers Roller Derby League is giving fans one last intra-league bout on Sunday, Oct. 18. Coinciding with the October release of the roller derby movie Whip It, directed by Drew Barrymore, and the sport’s growing popularity, the Bombers have dubbed the bout with the movie’s title. The bout will take place at Florida Wheels (3611 3rd Street, W. Bradenton, Fla.) and rolls at 6:15 p.m. Tailgating begins at 5 p.m. with free beer provided by The Distillery Tavern. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

Fans, those curious about the sport, and those who remember roller derby of yesteryear are invited to come see female skaters who are sweet teachers, administrators, and business owners by day and hard-hitting roller derby girls by night. The league is recruiting and looking for a few good women who think they have what it takes to be a roller derby girl. Those who think they have what it takes are invited to the bout, too.

What: Whip It Roller Derby Intra-league Bout

Who: Bradentucky Bombers Roller Derby League

When: Sunday, October 18, 2009
5 p.m. Tailgating, Free Beer from The Distillery Tavern
6:15 p.m. Bout Start

How: $12 Tickets available at the door
$10 Tickets in Advance; Available from:
RAWK Shop: 1103 12th Street, Bradenton
Florida Wheels: 3611 3rd Street, Bradenton
A Bradentucky Derby Girl (like ME! Yankee Tripper!)
Children under 10 are free; this bout is rated PG-13.

About the Bradentucky Bombers
The Bradentucky Bombers is an all-female, full-contact, flat-track roller derby league representing Bradenton, Sarasota, and Venice. The league is the Las Vegas "love-child" of founder Gigi RaMoan. Conceived in the bathroom of the Double Down Saloon as Gigi admired the "Sin-City Rollers" graffiti on the wall, the league was quite rightfully named "The Bradentucky Bombers" by her husband, Doug, mere minutes after its conception. That was a few years ago — 2006, to be exact. Today, The Bradentucky Bombers are 30+ skaters strong, currently consisting of two teams: The All-Stars (our "A-team") and The Nuclear Bombshells.

They range in age from 18 to 40+. By day, they are working wives, mothers, students, teachers, motorcycle mechanics, administrative assistants, bartenders, web designers, artists, and everything in between. But a few nights a week, just like Cat Woman, alter-egos emerge as they pull up fishnet stockings, strap on skates and transform into Bomber Girls, with names like Busty Bruiser, Mission Mary Position, Vixen Da CrusHer, Snow Wipe U Out, Mia Psycho, Julia Seize-Her, Yakuzza Girl and Signal 20, to name just a few.

Visit www.bradentuckybombers.com for additional information.

Tel: (941) 803-8237

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MEDIA RELEASE: Bradentucky Bombers Roller Derby League October 2009 Events

Bradentucky Bombers Roller Derby League October 2009 Events; Schedule Includes Derby Bouts, Movie Premier and Doing Good

Bradentucky, Fla. (September 30, 2009) – While the regular skating season is over, each weekend during the month of October has an activity involving Southwest Florida’s favorite roller derby league, the Bradentucky Bombers. Fans have plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with their favorite roller derby girls during an art walk, movie premier of Whip It, fundraising walk, and of course, girl-on-girl action during the Sunday, Oct. 18 roller derby bout. The Bradentucky Bombers’ October 2009 social calendar is as follows:

Friday, Oct. 2
What: League Fundraising Cookout during the First Friday Art Walk at Village of the Arts. Meet and greet members of the Bradentucky Bombers as they grill and serve hotdogs, hamburgers and derby trash talk.

Rawk Shop
1103 12th Street
West Bradenton, FL

When: Friday, Oct. 2, 5 to 8 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 2
What: Opening Night of Whip It, a movie about an indie-rock loving misfit finding a way of dealing with her small-Texas town by joining a roller derby league. The flick is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut and stars Ellen Page. The Bradentucky Bombers roller derby girls will be on hand to show off what they do best.

Regal Oakmont Theater
4801 Cortez Rd.
W. Bradenton, FL 34210 and

Royal Palm 20
5125 26th St. E,
Bradenton, FL 34203

When: Friday, Oct. 2, After 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 3
Bradentucky Bombers are “Strong Women Rolling for a Strong Community” by participating in the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center’s Stepping Out Against Domestic Violence walk at J.D. Hamel Park, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota. Join the Bombers in this 3.5 mile walk to show support for a violence-free future. Advance registration is $5 and includes a t-shirt, refreshments and awards for the most-spirited and largest teams. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the walk at 9 a.m. (www.sparcc.net)

Saturday, Oct. 10
What: "Whip It Good!" Bradentucky Bombers travel to Tampa to take on the Cigar City Mafia in a bonus bout following the Roller Derby Championship Bout between the Black Widows (Tampa) and Switchblade Sisters (Tampa). Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

Skateplex of Temple Terrace
5313 Busch Blvd.
Temple Terrace, FL 33617

When: Saturday, Oct. 10, Doors Open at 7:30 p.m. and Championship Bout starts at 8 p.m. Bradentucky’s Bout to Follow.

Sunday, Oct. 18
What: "Whip It" Intraleague Bout where Bradentucky Bombers and Nuclear Bombshells (Bradentucky’s “B” team) take to the track. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Save $2 with a ticket stub to the Oct. 2 premier of the movie Whip It.

Florida Wheels
3611 3rd St. W.
Bradenton, FL 34205-8947

When: Sunday, Oct. 18, Tailgating with Free Beer from the Distillery Begins at 5 p.m., doors open at 5:30 p.m. and Bout Starts at 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 24
Bradentucky Bombers Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at the Sarasota Polo Club. The roller girls are raising funds to assist in the fight against cancer with a team goal to collect $1,000. Come out and walk with the Bradentucky Bombers or contribute to their fundraiser efforts on the American Cancer Society Web site. Registration for the walk begins at 7:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. start time.

About the Bradentucky Bombers
The Bradentucky Bombers is an all-female, full-contact, flat-track roller derby league representing Bradenton, Sarasota, and Venice. The league is the Las Vegas "love-child" of founder Gigi RaMoan. Conceived in the bathroom of the Double Down Saloon as Gigi admired the "Sin-City Rollers" graffiti on the wall, the league was quite rightfully named "The Bradentucky Bombers" by her husband, Doug, mere minutes after its conception. That was a few years ago — 2006, to be exact. Today, The Bradentucky Bombers are 30+ skaters strong, currently consisting of two teams: The All-Stars (our "A-team") and The Nuclear Bombshells.

They range in age from 18 to 40+. By day, they are working wives, mothers, students, teachers, motorcycle mechanics, administrative assistants, bartenders, web designers, artists, and everything inbetween. But a few nights a week, just like Cat Woman, alter-egos emerge as they pull up fishnet stockings, strap on skates and transform into Bomber Girls, with names like Busty Bruiser, Mission Mary Position, Vixen Da CrusHer, Snow Wipe U Out, Mia Psycho, Julia Seize-Her, Yakuzza Girl and Signal 20, to name just a few.

Visit www.bradentuckybombers.org for additional information.

CONTACT: Amanda Jess (aka: ProseHack for the Bradentucky Bombers)
Tel: (941) 803-8237

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What's Shaking this Week? Derby Flick, Ken Burns National Park Documentary

I admit to being a slug towards my blogs lately, still trying to find my groove - how long does this take? I've also seriously looked at moving forward at writing a book. Know it won't be a best seller but perhaps some enjoyable chick-lit. Stay tuned to see if I can dedicate myself to the task.

Last night I attended a sneak peek of the roller derby movie Whip It directed by Drew Barrymore and starring Juno's Ellen Page. It was cute coming-of-age flick. Not a hardcore roller derby movie but decent, check out my review. Did receive a cool t-shirt - which is pictured.

Also, the much anticipated documentary by Ken Burns called The National Parks: America's Best Idea kicks off tonight on PBS. I received an advanced copy of the 12-hour documentary and have been watching it as much as possible throughout the weekend to review and tie to an upcoming article about camping in the national parks. Stay tuned.

A new post is up on SoloTravelGirl.com about Silver River State Park in Ocala, Florida. Check it out!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kate Walsh Shows Off Affordable, High Style with Suave During 61st Emmy Awards

I usually don't blog about celebrities – unless I'm stalking them (I'm kidding!) – but this post is about Kate Walsh's appearance on the 61st Emmy Awards red carpet last night because I met the stylist who styled her hair! If you didn't catch the star of ABC's "Private Practice" strut the red carpet, take a gander at her photo.

The star was stunning wearing a pale blue gown designed by J. Mendel while carrying an Aldo bag. As Walsh told E!, she wanted to mix high fashion with affordable products. She wanted to demonstrate women can look fabulous no matter what their budget.

What was her secret? Suave Professionals hair care. Yup, you read correctly, Suave. Affordable salon-proven products that work just as well as those fancy, schmancy over-priced salon brands.

Celebrity stylist Luck O'Connor, who I met in Chicago during BlogHer this past July (also pictured; and really wish I had him style my hair!), styled Walsh's hair in the Modern Bob. And how was the style chosen? Suave invited the public to vote on three styles: Glamorous Waves, Sleek Up-Do, but the Modern Bob was the clear winner. Obviously voting is over, but check out additional photos of Walsh and print a coupon to try Suave Professionals yourself.

Isn't the Kate Walsh Modern Bob fabulous? Follow these easy steps to get the look:
  • Begin with Vibrant Shine shampoo and conditioner from Suave Professionals to restore shine and luster to dull hair;
  • Next, blow dry hair in sections with a large round brush;
  • For the side-swept bangs, take the front section and blow-dry back with a large round brush, swooping to the side;
  • Finally, apply a dollop of Suave Professionals Sleek Anti-Frizz Cream. Apply first to ends and work your way up to control fly-aways;
  • Finish the look with Suave Professionals Extra Hold Hairspray.
Suppose I know what I'll be doing over the weekend. Or perhaps I'll try it for Sunday's derby bout. Hmm...

Kate Walsh Photo Credit: Suave

Luck O’Connor Photo Credit: Me!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Got Kitsch? Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch Launches Today!

Today's a fabulous day for those of us who appreciate the kitsch side of life. You know, those special treasures from pop culture as original pink lawn flamingos, classic Charlie's Angels lunchbox or the plastic fish coasters I have in my living room (pictured). Today the Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch launched today (www.AWMoK.com) as a 24/7 museum where Willis shows off her amazingly large collection of kitsch. Yup, it's an online museum. How kitsch is that?

Visitors to the Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch can submit digital images of their own kitsch artifacts in what's called Kitschenette – the social space for Akitschionados from around the globe to interact. Several kitsch goodies have been submitted and to date those earning the Allee Willis Certifikitsch of Authenkitschity include: Lady Lipstick, a lipstick holder which has a little ceramic mermaid atop a ceramic bowl (?) to hold tubes of lipstick and Tired Ashtray for Your Butts – an ashtray which looks like a toilet and now being used to hold Q-tips and makeup brush.

So who is Allee Willis? Know the song, "Boogie Wonderland" and "September" sung by Earth, Wind & Fire? Willis wrote those. We must be kindred spirits, I LOVE "September!" Or how about the "Friends" theme song? Yup, another Allee Willis tune. I can go on and on but you get the idea. With more than 50 million records sold, she's a Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Webbie award-winning and nominated songwriter. The Los Angeles Times published a fabulous story about the Queen of Kitsch, appropriately called, "Allee Willis, Queen of Kitsch," check it out!

Not only did the Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch launch today but so did the "What Is Kitsch?" Film Festival on YouTube. Everyday between now and Sept. 21 a new video on the subject of kitsch will be posted so be sure to check out the YouTube channel here. Posted now is an introductory film called "What is Kitsch," think of it as Kitsch 101. Have something kitsch-worthy for the Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch? There's a film called, "Pitch Your Kitsch" with instructions on how to digitally submit that special, groovy item.

So stay tuned and I need to clear some camera memory to get something submitted. And I sure hope I can make a pilgrimage to meet Allee and see her collection of kitsch in person some day!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Could I Have Been a Victim or Did the Dude Have Innocent Intentions?

While traveling I'm alert and aware of my surroundings. My guard us up and using a phrase an Afghanistan security once said to me, I'm always "keeping my head on a swivel."

I rarely think bad things will happen to me while at home especially at 10 o'clock in the morning but the more I think about what happened yesterday the more freaked out I am about the incident.

Here's the deal: I'm walking to gym and just barely outside the apartment complex when a van pulls over and honks his horn at me.

"I need directions to Bank of America...I need gas and need to go to the bank for money...I'm heading to Ft. Myers and ran out of gas on the highway and the police gave me a gallon's worth."

I gave him directions to Bank of America while I stood away from the van. There was a black brief case in the front seat. I had my iPhone and was getting the exact address - which there are two a straight shot from where we were. And, he just passed three banks and numerous
gas stations. If he had a debit card he could've used it at any of those.

"Why don't you get in the van and ride with me to the bank?"

"No," I said, definitely beginning to be a bit freaked. I mean, who in the 21st century gets in a van with a stranger?

"I'm not going to do anything," he replied, "I need money for gas...can you give $5 and I'll repay you?"

"No, don't have any money on me, which was the truth.

"Fine," he said and drove off. As he did I snapped this photo - notice no tag on the van but think there's one in the window.

Do you think this was someone legitimately needing fuel or someone with other intentions?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sweet and Meat: A Most Delish Burger

Last month the spirit - and odd cravings - moved me to try chocolate covered bacon, it wasn't bad. I dipped pan-fried bacon into melted Hershey's Dark Chocolate Chips. Unfortunately, think I put the chocolate on too thick because it overpowered the bacon flavor - I'll learn for next time. And if you're into all things bacon, be sure to check out Baconfest Chicago on Saturday, Oct. 24.

Last weekend's creation was a doughnut hamburger inspired by an entree at Portland, Oregon's Voodoo Doughnut. And no, I haven't tried the real Voodoo burger, I'm kicking myself for not making it to the popular doughnut shop during my trip out there two years ago. Just means I'll have to make another trip to Portland and soon.

So my doughnut creation is pictured, doesn't it look tasty? It's a Publix glazed doughnut split in half with a hamburger made from my grass-fed beef using a Julia Child burger recipe. It's topped with Asiago cheese - left over from the linguine and shrimp dinner - bacon and sauteed spinach. And the taste? Nice combination of sweet, savory and salty yet one flavor doesn't overpower the other. Not sure what I should name it, any suggestions?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Thanks Publix for a Crowd-Pleasing Dinner: Linguine with Shrimp and Pine Nuts

My Publix Grape magazine arrived last week and the cover showing plump shrimp atop linguine with spinach, pine nuts and mushrooms made my mouth drool. The recipe read as though it was easy so I opted to prepare it Friday during my day off then served it to a couple of friends on Saturday night. The verdict - definitely a crowd-pleaser! Although, the shrimp were a bit rubbery probably from being re-heated in the microwave. But, it went unnoticed.

Later this week I'll share what I prepared today - one of the most out-of-the-box entrees I think I've ever made and it was yummy!

Be sure to check out my travel blog to see my latest post called, "6 Self Portrait Tips for the Solo Travel Girl."

Updated Sept. 10, 2009

Okay, I thought maybe the recipe for this would be on the Publix site but wasn't so here goes:

12 ounces fresh or frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used frozen)
8 ounces dried linguine pasta (I used angel hair pasta - it's what I had on hand)
3/4 cup chicken broth (I purchase it in a box so I can freeze the rest for future use)
1/2 cup dry sherry or chicken broth (I didn't use either but used burgundy I had on hand from the Julia Child recipe prepared last month)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I use the juice from the plastic yellow lemon)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (Oops! Had issues with this and accidentally dumped in more than necessary)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (stuff from the bags works well!)
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese (1 ounce)

Step One: Thaw shrimp, rinse and pat dry. In large pot cook pasta.

Step Two: In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup chicken broth, wine (or more broth), lemon juice, crushed red pepper, salt and set aside.

Step Three: Heat olive oil in large skillet, when hot cook shrimp, pine nuts and garlic over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Remove mixture from skillet in another bowl.

Step Four: Heat butter in skillet, when hot add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes or until nearly tender. Add broth mixture to skillet and bring to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently uncovered for 5 minutes. Add shrimp mixture to skillet and heat through.

Step Five: Add shrimp mixture from skillet and spinach to the pasta. Toss well and pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle with Asiago cheese.

Bon appetit!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Hey! I Can Blog from My iPhone

Have I mentioned how much I love my iPhone? For the first time since installing the Google App I've figured how to make a blog post which means for those times I'm traveling or too lazy to pull out the laptop, I can type away wherever and whenever. I realize this isn't a new feature but in previous attempts I haven't been able to pull up the keyboard to input content. Not sure why things are different now but ain't technology grand?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hot Summer Fights Roller Derby Bout Recap: Gainesville Roller Rebels 120, Bradentucky Nuclear Bombshells 78

Author's Note: Okay, here's Yankee Tripper's second go-around at writing a bout recap and found it a bit challenging since the Bombshells lost :( but don't you worry, the Bradentucky girls will be back stronger than ever!

Check out photos by Invertebrat over here on Photo Bucket.

Bradentucky, Fla. (August 27, 2009) – The Hot Summer Fights roller derby bout on August 23 at Bradenton’s Florida Wheels Skate Center was an opportunity for the Bradentucky Nuclear Bombshells to redeem themselves over the Gainesville Roller Rebels. Sadly, the Rebels were victorious over the Bombshells, 120 to 78.

It all started once upon a time - well, May 17, 2009, to be exact – when the Bradentucky Nuclear Bombshells caravanned to Gator Country with a mission of taking on the Gainesville Roller Rebels on their home track. The result was a Rebels victory and their first-ever win. On a quest for a vengeance, the Bombshells trained their skates off for the past three months in anticipation of a rumble rematch to defend their home winning streak. Unfortunately for the Bombshells, the Rebels had been training for Hot Summer Fights, too.

Although the Bombshells put up an incredible fight, they were outskated by the Rebels. Lead jammer positions during the first three jams were captured by the Bombshells, Nikki Strick-9 and Yakuza Girl, yet the Rebels outscored the Bombshells thanks in part to the incredible Gainesville walls. The first half saw 18 jams while the second half had 17.

Gainesville’s lineup consisted of blockers Black-Out Brady, Handi J, Hershall Stalker, Laura Ingles Piledriver, Lethal Dose, Matriarch, Patsy Close Line, and PocaHotAss. Serving double-duty as blockers and jammers, as proper roller derby girls do, were Suzie Bonebreaker, Brawlin Brat - a Fort Myers Palm City Punishers skater making a special appearance - and Demonimia. Also making a special appearance from Fort Myers in the Gainesville line up was blocker AliSkater.

Bradentucky Nuclear Bombshells’ blocker lineup consisted of Co-Captain Prosehack, Blaque Jac, Dita Von Cheats, Malice in Rollerland, Shitz N. Giggles, Suicidoll Hotline. Alternating between jammer and blocker positions for the Bombshells were Diva Does Derby, Ester Gin N’Juice, LuLu LaRue, Nikki Strick-9, Signal 20, Toxic DeMeaner, and Yakuza Girl. Making her first ever roller derby bout appearance was a true terror on the track, Ariel Nightmare. Co-Captain Mia Psycho, Vixen de CrusHer and Head Coach Bryan Wilkes kept the Bombshells in check.

To say Hot Summer Fights was a physical bout is an understatement. Both teams demonstrated they could hit and girls frequently ended up in the suicide seating zone. The Gainesville Roller Rebels’ win can be attributed to the cohesive game-play. Although most times their jammer was left to fend for herself, the Rebels’ solid wall and angle blocks limited the Nuclear Bombshells scoring efforts and kept many of the girls falling within the track.

Unfortunately, the Bombshells’ Malice in Rollerland and Blaque Jac didn’t finish the bout due to injuries sustained on the track but they went down fighting. Indeed, Aug. 23 was a sad day for the Bradentucky Nuclear Bombshells, especially on the home track, but a learning experience to move forward in kicking more roller derby butt.

First Half Highlights:

Twenty seconds into the bout’s first jam, the Bombshells’ Nikki Strick-9 captured the lead jammer star yet the Rebels demonstrated some fancy skate work and moves when Matriarch slung Suzie Bonebreaker to advance her to the front of the pack leaving the score Bradentucky 2, Gainesville 5;

The third jam was a power one for Gainesville as Nuclear Bombshells’ Yakuza Girl was serving time in the penalty box for bad behavior during jam #2. The Bombshells prevented the Rebels’ Demonimia from breaking through the pack and once Yakuza Girl was released, she showed off her stealth ninja skills and with blocking assistance by Nikki Strick-9, easily captured the lead jammer position;

Diva Does Derby demonstrated sassy diva blocking on the track during the sixth jam as she helped push Nikki Strict-9 through the pack with Signal 20 and Ditea Von Cheats executing a barrage of hits against the Rebels;

Suzie Bonebreaker captured lead jam status for the Rebels during the seventh jam with the Bombshells’ Shitz N. Giggles and Arial Nightmare sitting in the penalty box. Prosehack and Suicidoll Hotline executed tag-team blocking to slow Suzie;

Jam 11 was a boondoggle of mayhem with derby girls hitting the floor every which way. Ester Gin N’Juice battled for lead jammer status against Suzie Bonebreaker with Suzie capturing the lead star. Diva Does Derby placed a solid block on Matriarch which allowed Ester to break through the pack.

Yakuza Girl showed off her karate concentration and agility by weaving in and around the Gainesville pack to capture the lead jammer status during jam 13;

Brawlin Brat was the queen jammer during jam 14 while PocaHotAss stuck to Bradentucky’s jammer Toxic DeMeaner like fly paper until Poca “accidently” tripped the Bratt;

Bradentucky had the power during jam 17 with Nikki Strict-9 jamming alongside blockers Suicidoll, Prosehack, Diva and Signal 20. Gainesville was on the defensive yet Signal surprised Hershall Stalker with a hit that vibrated throughout the rink.

Second Half Highlights:

Angels could be heard singing as Bradentucky took the lead during jam 3 thanks to Signal 20 as lead jammer and solid hits from Shitz, Arial and Nikki. Jam ended Bradentucky 60, Gainesville 58;

Two Bombshells were in the penalty box during jam 5 yet Signal 20 was the lead jammer relying on LuLu LaRue and Nikki Strict-9 to slow the Gainesville derby girls;

Suzie Bonebreaker secured lead jammer status during jam 7 with the Bombshells highlight coming from Esther Gin N’Juice’s defensive moves to slow Suzie. Unfortunately for the Bombshells, following this jam they would no longer lead the game;

Ester Gin N’Juice captured the lead jammer star over Brawlin Brat but her run was rudely disrupted when Gainesville’s Hershall Stalker illegally pushed her off the track;

The century mark was met during jam 13 for Gainesville with Suzie Bonebreaker as lead jammer and the jam ended Bradentucky 74, Gainesville 100.

It’s not very often sports announcers receive recognition but the ones at Hot Summer Fights deserve it. Side of Bacon with Bradentucky and Glyph from Gainesville definitely earn gold stars for their entertaining banter throughout the bout. Commentary covered everything from roller derby strategy to spa treatments to karaoke. Where else but roller derby can this kind of entertainment be enjoyed?

Before the Bombshells skated in their last bout of the season, roller derby fans kicked back cold ones during a lively tailgating party in the rink’s parking lot compliments of Bradenton’s The Distillery Tavern. Prior to the game’s 6 p.m. start, Johnny SxFk infused the rink with a rockin’ beat.

See the Bradentucky Bombers and Nuclear Bombshells on Sunday, October 18 at 6 p.m. at Florida Wheels in Bradenton. This will be an interleague bout associated with the upcoming movie release of Whip It, which is about an indie-rock loving misfit finds a way of dealing with her small-Texas town by joining a roller derby league. The movie is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut.

Visit www.bradentuckybombers.org for additional information.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cooking Up a Frenzy with Julia Child

Not since I was a kid and obsessed with "Star Wars" has there been a movie that's inspired me. While "Stars Wars" inspired me to ... well... not sure what it sparked in me other than collect action figures, cards and write faux scripts...the flick "Julie and Julia" has inspired me to cook.

Days after seeing the movie I ran out to the local Books-A-Million for Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (1) (Vol 1). Now, I was almost CERTAIN my Grandma had this book and thought perhaps I now inherited it but checking my book shelf, couldn't find it so it was off to BAM where the cooking aisle was overwhelming with pomp and flash from young gun chefs on the Food Network. There were tons of Rachel Ray cookbooks and Guy Fieri's book was prominently on display but I couldn't find the Julia Child cookbook.

After seeing "Julie & Julia" I have a new appreciation and fondness of Julia Child. She seemed to be an ordinary woman head over heels in love with her husband and vice versa. Now, the celebrity chefs don't seem important. They seem superficial with their easy, quick, 30-minute meals because the message behind the cookbooks seemed to be profit versus good food.

Disappointed I couldn't find Art of French Cooking, I wandered throughout the store and returned to the same aisle just in case I missed something. And then I heard the sound of angels - smack dab in the middle of a shelf standing upright was the cookbook! Not sure if it had been there all along or if staff just stocked it but in either case, I snatched it up.

Next was the hunt for a vintage apron and being impulsive, I forwent the Internet and headed straight to Goodwill where I found a suitable culinary garment.

Off to the grocery store because I didn't have all the ingredients or the cookware. I picked up a nice Paula Deen 3.5 Quart Cast Iron Covered Round Casserole which will come in handy. My cooking frenzy to make Boeuf Bourguignon (beef stew in red wine, with bacon, onions and mushrooms) began at 10 p.m. and either I was channeling Julia Child or was working on late-night adrenaline because I felt like a master chef sauteing and flipping mushrooms, browning pearl onions and cubing my grass-fed beef. By 3:30 a.m., the dish was complete and the aromas infused the apartment in a good way.

Since it's just me, I've been feasting on my homemade creation since Thursday night, not a bad thing. I'm now plotting my next dish, perhaps an nice chicken dinner.

Bon appetite!

And don't forget to check out my new travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Big Brother 11: Ice Cream Sandwiches Almost Like Lydia's

Once again I'm sucked into another season of Big Brother. Although the CBS reality show isn't commonly associated with cooking, a Big Brother After Dark episode inspired me to make ice cream sandwiches almost like the ones house guest Lydia - the tattooed special effects makeup artist - made.

Lydia's Ice Cream Sandwiches:
Chocolate Chip Cookies - looked as though she baked them in a pan then cut them into squares.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

My Jazzed Up Version:
Chocolate Chip Cookies - I used the Hershey chocolate chip recipe on the bag and used dark chocolate chips.
Blue Bunny Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
My Secret Ingredient:
  • Version 1: melted chocolate chips and spread the chocolate on the flat side of each cookie then plopped the ice cream;
  • Version 2: Hershey's chocolate syrup spread on the flat side of each cookie then dropped the ice cream.
Chocolate Sprinkles

Viola! The Big Brother 11 ice cream sandwich is pictured up top. Look close to see the melted chocolate. And the taste? Definitely a crowd-pleaser. A friend who's a big fan of Lydia was my taste tester and he said both varieties were winners. I realize I have an upper hand over Lydia since the only secret ingredient she probably has is Big Brother slop and maybe an anchovy or two.

Fix yourself a batch for Thursday's eviction, should be another heated episode.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I Can't Tell You About Woodstock, But Mexican Trailrunner Can

Travel is about experiences and meeting new people. When I journeyed to Mexico last November to visit barb, she introduced me to a friend of her's who now has a blog called Mexican Trailrunner. And guess what? She was at Woodstock so in celebration of the momentus 40th anniversary, check out her post called, "I Came Upon a Child of God." (And bookmark her blog about her travels and adventures in Mexico, trust me.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sarasota: Celebrate Woodstock's 40th Anniversary with Yesterdayze, Aug. 28, 2009

Okay all you groovy Sarasota peeps, find the flower-power love to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock with the band Yesterdayze during Friday Fest on the Bay at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Friday, Aug. 28, 2009, between 5 and 9 p.m.

Spread the blanket out on the lawn, kick off those sandals and move and groove in your bare feet as blades of grass tickle your toes - almost like the original Woodstock - on the Van Wezel's lawn.

Yesterdayze, a six-person band (including one of my uncles!), will play the favorites from the 60s. Check out the band's site for more info about them and can you guess who's my uncle? And Mom, sorry, you can't reply!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Woodstock Party in Walmauma, Florida: Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009

Hey, Man. There's like this funky Woodstock Party shakin' in Walmauma, Florida, on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009. Dig out those bell bottom jeans, flower-power shirts and groovalicious peace symbols to join the fun at Valencia Lakes Community Center and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock with the band Yesterdayze, promising rock & roll for the soul.

Here's the deal:
Where: Valencia Lakes Community Center, 16003 Valencia Club Dr., Walmauma, Florida (on Hwy. 301 north of Sun City)
When: Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009; 6 to 10 p.m.
What: Costume Party with Contest, includes food and drink. Cost is $10 at the door, $8 in advance.

For more info, contact 813-634-6800

Disclaimer: An uncle is a band member of Yesterdayze.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Three Questions for Tim Gunn

My exclusive interview with Tim Gunn is now available to view over on my new travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com. Yes, I'm being slightly sarcastic and humorous in that statement.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

BlogHer '09 Day 1: Soaking it In

Note: I originally wrote this past midnight last night (this morning) yet didn't get around to doing so. Apologies for the delay...

It’s just past midnight here in Chicago and day 1 of the BlogHer experience is settling in. There are about 1,400 attendees, all with the same passion. I’m wrapping my head around all that was discussed during the informational sessions but one immediate thought I had about the experience so far is: I’m so far behind in blogging. Four years ago when I started this blog, I had no idea how far ahead of the curve I was. And, that wasn't even my first go-around at blogging, I had another site before before blogs were widespread.

Just after one day, BlogHer has been a validation and inspiration. Met a woman who read and complimented my Tallahassee blog which validated why I started it. I've been inspired by the creativity in blog topics and how specific women have been able to turn a hobby into an income stream. It's also been fun seeing and meeting other bloggers/Twitterers I read and interact with.

But, while I was ahead of the curve four years ago by beginning this blog, somehow I’m behind the times. Most of the bloggers I met started their blogs within the past 18 months and have major sponsors supporting them. Granted, most are running mommy blogs and/or frugal blogs, which with the current economic conditions, makes sense, but on the flip side, what have I been doing wrong to be stuck in a rut? Perhaps the attendance skews more towards new bloggers than seasoned? Who knows. But here are thoughts as to why I haven't been successful and ways I can get back on the right blogging track:

Inconsistency. There, I said it. I've been inconsistent since about April or so and I'll be working on that by creating a schedule to carve blogging and posting time.

Marketing, or Lack Of. Which seems silly since my career is marketing yet, I haven’t elevated myself with my blogs. That’s changing because I invested in business cards and actually handed them out here. I now have a promise to potentially new readers.

Hate Rejection. One gal I spoke to this afternoon said she’s been blogging for less than a year and had a sponsor who gave a computer to giveaway. She said she also receives free vacations because she contacts loads of PR people to ask. She said for every 10, she receives nine “no’s” and one “yes.” I need to be proactive in soliciting sponsors and advertisers.

Been Throwing Spaghetti Against the Wall. QuirkyKitschGirl.com has been all over the board with topics ranging from living single to emotional feelings and travel to roller derby. QKGTallahassee.com was successful because it was a targeted niche, a micro-travel site encouraging things to see and do in Tallahassee and encourage travel to the destination. Seems as though niche blogs do better than across-the-board ones. Hence, SoloTravelGirl.com was launched. Let’s see where that flies in the next six months.

I've Under-valued My Skills. My jaw dropped when I heard what bloggers are being compensated per post. Wow. I've under-valued myself for both sponsored posts and writing/blogging for others. That'll change for future ventures.

As the conference wraps up, I'm sure to have other thoughts and ideas on moving forward.

In the meantime, check out the my YouTube channel here for a couple of videos of Carson Kressley from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “How to Look Good Naked.” I've also started a BlogHer09 Flickr set on my account here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Am I Unreliable?

No, just over-extended. As usual, my 'in-box' is full, quite full. I'm embarrassed that I've hardly had time to reply to emails, Facebook emails/notifications and Twitter since the weekend. I have loads of photos to upload on Flickr, need to write8 articles by the end of August with two of those August weekends consumed with business conferences, need to keep up with blogging for the client and really, really need to get www.SoloTravelGirl.com off the ground. Was hoping to hold a launch party in conjunction with the release of To Japan with Love: A Travel Guide for the Connoisseur (To Asia with Love) because I have at least two stories in it, but, the release date continues to be pushed back. Amazon is saying it's available Aug. 1. We'll see but if that's the case, I should've received my advanced copies by now.

Happy news, I'm heading to the BlogHer conference in Chicago this weekend, read about some of the celebs who'll be in attendance in 'Tide, Nikon Bringing Big Names to BlogHer '09.' Sunday is the Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX), a room full of the who's-who of travel bloggers. Can't wait!

I'll be live tweeting for both events so stay tuned (@jenniferhuber). And, thanks to some Facebook friends, I have some pretty cool questions to ask Mr. Tim Gunn. No, I didn't win the personal style consultation with him but I'm usually pretty good at working my way to the front of something and should be able to get within ear-shot and ask him a question or two.

Back to reliability. I'll tell ya what's unreliable, the apartment I'm paying nearly a grand a month to live in. Now the air conditioning is out. *sigh* At least I'll be in cooler elements but hope the fur children don't roast too much and hope the complex will actually fix it while I'm gone.

Gotta run. It's after 10 p.m. and I still have packing to do. Flight's at 7:30 a.m. which means, need to leave home by 5 a.m. Maybe I'll get 3 hours of sleep tonight.

Summer Slam Jam Roller Derby Bout Recap: Bradentucky Bombers 150, Ft. Myers Palm City Punishers 80

Here's my first go around at writing a roller derby bout recap. I've passed this along to Gigi RaMoan, Mia Pyscho and ProseHack for their input but wanted to get something out on the net about the Bradentucky Bombers' July 19 victory. Congrats, ladies!


~ Yankee Tripper

Summer Slam Jam was an opportunity for the visiting Fort Myers Palm City Punishers to redeem themselves after the Bradentucky Bombers defeated them 95 to 74 on their home rink during the June 28 Shove Her Solstice. While Fort Myers utilized the three weeks leading up to the bout for training, Coach Bryan Wilkes and his Bombers were doing the same and added not one but two secret weapons into Bradentucky’s arsenal, Poison Apple and Nikki Strick-9, both returning from maternity leave. These two roller derby girls combined with the team’s talented skaters resulted in a 150 to 80 Bradentucky Bombers victory during the Bombers’ last bout of the season at Bradenton’s Florida Wheels Skate Center on Sunday, July 19.

The first lap of the first jam was an indication on how the bout would end when the Bradentucky Bombers acted as proper hosts and kindly introduced the visiting Palm City Punishers to the track with blow after blow. The Bombers were in sync and getting the party started with the first jam Busty Bruiser whipped Signal 20 ahead of the pack into lead jammer status to capture 8 points compared to 4 the Punishers earned. From the Bomber’s perspective, speed and defensive blocking were the names of the game. Sixteen more jams later to the end of the first half, the home team roller derby girls were up 92 to 40.

The second half’s first jam set the pace for the rest of the bout and for the Punishers, it sure wasn’t pretty. The Bombers were up by two skaters because Heinz and the Ft. Myers jammer started in the penalty box. Heinz was serving time for hitting Bradentucky’s Kimical Warfare into a penalty box chair and into the rink’s back wall during the last jam of the first half. Without missing a step, Kimical quickly sucked it up and returned to the rink.

Signal 20 earned 5 points for the Bombers during the second half’s first jam which ignited a Ft. Myers mini-rally in the second jam when Jamsterella was lead jammer and racked up 4 points. This didn’t please the Bombers and from that point, the Bombers and particularly Julia Siezeher, Poison Apple and Snow Wipe U Out executed consistent hard-hitting blows on Ft. Myers skaters that were felt by spectators. Many jams left the Punishers scoreless thanks to the Bradentucky defensive wall.

Thanks to skillful Bradentucky Bomber blocking and lightning-speed jammers, the Punishers only claimed lead jammer status in six jams during the first half and five during the second. Heinz, Jamsterella, Lil’ Miss Slam Bags, Kannibal Kate and Klymaxxx. The 23 other jams went to Bradentucky with Gigi RaMoan, M.F. On Wheels, Signal 20, Ten Acious –C- and Yakuza Girl as lead jammers. Strategic blocking assistance from teammates Busty Bruiser, Esther Gin N’Juice, Heartbreaker Hilton, Julia Seizeher, Kimical Warfare, Mission Mary Position, Nikki Strick-9, Poison Apple, Snow Wipe U Out, and from the sidelines, captain Vixen da CrusHer, resulted in the Bradentucky Bombers victory.

Both teams competed with fierce determination but Bradentucky Bombers’ experience and fan support gave the home team an advantage. The Ft. Myers Best Blocker Award was given to Heinz 57 and Best Jammer to Lil’ Miss Slam Bags. The Bradentucky Bombers Best Blocker Award was presented to Poison Apple and Best Jammer to Signal 20.

The Nuclear Bombshells will take on the Gainesville on Sunday, Aug. 23, at Florida Wheels Skate Center. Visit www.bradentuckybombers.org for additional information.

Highlights of the First Half:

Just shy of 45 seconds into the second jam, Yakuza Girl quickly captured lead jammer status and scored 8 points for the Bombers;

It was as if Ten Acious-C- was wearing an invisibility cloak during the 4th jam because this little powerhouse jammer skated to lead status without any of the Punishers noticing, meanwhile Te Kill Ya Sunshine was welcomed to Bradentucky in Bomber-style with a little love tap into the center rink and into Bomber’s referee Viki Van Go;

The sixth jam belonged to Signal 20 since Klymaxxx was in the penalty box for 20 seconds due to bad behavior during the previous run yet, when she returned to the game, Bradentucky was in full jammer-hater mode and prevented her from scoring;

During the eighth jam, Mission Mary Position slowed Ft. Myers down with a powerful hit knocking a knee pad protector off an opponent while Gigi RaMoan demonstrated her cat-like agility and evaded a hit from the Punishers’ Flyin’ Da Brie who ended up gliding off the track;

Ft. Myers tried to derail M.F. On Wheels but she pushed and breezed through the pack making the sport look oh so easy during the 10th jam;

Highlights of the Second Half:

Making jamming look easy with her long strides, Gigi RaMoan surpassed the century mark in points for Bradentucky as she captured 4 points as lead jammer during the third jam (102/46);

Jamsterella was the sole jammer with M.F. On Wheels serving almost half the jam time in the penalty box for an infraction. With Poison Apple leading the blocking, Jamsterella never broke through the pack and the sixth jam was scoreless;

The eighth jam started with Snow Wipe U Out followed by Nikki Strick-9 in the penalty box and Ft. Myers was handed a power jam but didn’t know what to do with it. Gigi RaMoan fought her way through the pack and despite being bounced around like a pinball, Ft. Myers couldn’t stop her and she captured 8 points for Bradentucky;

Ten Acious – C- earned her lead jammer status with low blocking moves and prevented Ft. Myers jammer Kannibal Kate from earning it. In tag-team effort, Heartbreaker Hilton proved she was a jammer-hater and knocked the Ft. Myers jammer down. Ten Acious –C- was sent to the penalty box and Ester Gin N’ Juice showed Kannibal Kate the track belonged to Bradentucky during the ninth jam;

The 10th jam didn’t look good for Bradentucky with Nikki Strick-9, Heartbreaker Hilton and Ten Acious –C- all sitting in the penalty box. Jamsterella was the lead jammer but the Bombers returned by one back into defensive play. Snow Wipe U Out’s love tap sent Flyin’ Da Brie into the Ft. Myers’s bench and Busty Bruiser slowed Jamsterella to hold her to 8 points during a Punishers power jam.

Signal 20 began jam 12 in the penalty box which should have made it easy for Heinz to gain lead jammer status but Heartbreaker Hilton and Ten Acious –C- were on the track who took care of hitting and slowing the 57 sauce down. With 50 seconds left into the jam and Heinz still unable to break the pack, Signal 20 was dismissed from the penalty box and with what seemed as if it was with the greatest ease, she skated right into the lead jammer status.

Gigi RaMoan and Kannibal Kate battled for lead jammer status during the 13th jam. Snow Wipe U Out and Signal 20 orchestrated a series of beautiful hits on the Punishers’ jammer while Gigi skated to lead status;

Mission Mary Position made the night’s debut as the Bradentucky jammer during the 14th jam and although Jamsterella captured lead jammer status, Nikki Strick-9 cleared the way for Mary to advance through the pack and capture 4 points for the team;

M.F. On Wheels won the race for lead jammer in the 15th jam thanks to Poison Apple and Heartbreaker Hilton diligently playing their jammer-hater roles against Lil’ Miss Slam Bags;

With 30 seconds left in the game, the 17th jam set in motion with Yakuza Girl and Klymaxxx battling for the lead star position of the night. Ft. Myers threw blocks and hits in attempts to throw her out of the track, Yakuza displayed her amazing balancing and skating skills as she skated on one skate in order to stay within track boundaries and capture the last 2 points of the night.

Between jams 7 and 8 of the second half, Ft. Myers called a time out and the dance bug bit most of the skaters when “That’s Not My Name” by the Ting Tings infused the air. Even Coach Wilkes was infected with the groove bug and shimmied his hips with moves most haven’t seen.

Before the Bombers skated in their last bout of the season, roller derby fans kicked back cold ones during a lively tailgating party in the rink’s parking lot compliments of Bradenton’s The Distillery Tavern. Prior to the game’s 6 p.m. start, Nomads of the Nook infused the rink with its mix of avant-garde meets funk music.

Visit www.bradentuckybombers.org for additional information about the league.