Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stale Chips and Forgotten Friendships

Holy Shit!

I am 36 years old! How in the hell did this happen? I swear it was 1990 only 10 years ago. I don't feel 36 at all (or whatever that feels like). I think I am more of a 29..ha ha humor me here.  I just cannot wrap my mind around being over the hill of 35 already!

In my old age (ha ha)  I have realized that I need very little to survive.  I have left so much behind. Things that to this day I have not missed or looked for. I moved from a home of almost 5000 square feet to 1100sq feet. That means I took only what I needed to survive.... yikes,  instantly I am transported to this moment when I say that line....

The morning of my birthday we had a snow day called for school, and the boys and I were trapped in our apartment for the day. Yes, me and a 7 year old and a 5 year old in an apartment - all day! Times 2 days of this, plus the weekend we had already. I needed to find a project to busy myself and to make use of this time before I lost it completely.  Enter my unorganized pantry. It was organized at one point, but now it was a complete disaster.  I struggle to not label myself a hoarder, but I think I may fall into that category. Food goes in - never comes out!  But my apartment is clean people - just don't look in any closets or drawers. SHHHHH!

Begin the great clean out. Ok - so what did I find back here. Oh, let me get really embarrassed now.  Stale raisins, opened and stale Cheerios, a bag of Halloween Oreos, a bag of popcorn dated July 2013 , and GASP an unfinished and stale bag of Doritos - I am ashamed. This is just a few of the highlights. 
my shame

Sorting though all that nonsense on my birthday I came to a "light bulb" moment.

Throwing away shit feels good!

Throwing away shit feels really good!

Throwing away shit feels really fucking good!

All this crap I had in this pantry that I didn't really need anymore was blocking my view of what I needed. The items I use daily, and the staples every pantry needs to function. I had filled this pantry with garbage and it needed to be purged.

Then, hold on, it got even deeper. As I am dragging a bag of stale crap to the trash chute - I think about the people I have in my life. Not about dragging them into a trash chute..literally, but figuratively.  I have a problem with collecting people and never letting them go. They sit around in my life (getting old and stale and useless) but I just can't part with them. They have been negative and downers and don't offer any use other than to piss me off.  There are a few people like that in my life that I need to just be an adult and move on from. They are not a positive force in my life, they are blocking the few of the essentials and I need throw them away.

 Just like when I left my life in 5000 square feel behind - I took only what I needed to survive. Such it is with the people I choose to surround myself with. Yes, have certain relationships fallen to the side - you betcha'! But with those out of the way I see the ones that truly I need to survive. Those other ones were cluttering my view of what I really needed - positive, supportive, loving people who care about me, my kids, and my future - genuinely.

You have no idea how much better this is!
 No more cluttered pantry. No more cluttered mind. No more collecting people who don't care about me and letting them sit around and never leave. I cleaned out this closet bitches!

So, if I haven't given you your pink slip notice yet that you are on your way out with me, you are safe, for now.  I am a blessed girl to be surrounded by such awesome people, and moving forward I see great things ahead. Maintaining swagger by keeping a tidy pantry!? See, and you thought I had no good Mom Life advice!

Ok - phew that was a heavy blog - but I felt compelled to say it. I warned you all , this is a soapbox of random.

Next time - more on the light and fun side - I promise.  I also told you that with the new year I would be putting "feelings all up in your face"! See I deliver!  I love my friends - and know that I am not a rotting bag of Cheetos in your pantry of people. I strive to be there for everyone I care about - everyone.

Goodnight y'all, and don't be a stale chip!

Until next time...
Swag on!
Irishbelle2000 - Twitter
Irishbelle78 - instagram

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

East meets West meets South - in the Midwest

The Mall! In big cities and towns across the country everyone has "the mall".  We all have memories that come to mind when you think of "the mall".
All malls have an actual name but mallrats and mallwalkers alike always will refer to it as -"the mall".  Its part of the experience of growing up in America.  Entire movies have been made in homage to the mall culture.
In my preteen and teen years the mall was where I went to escape from my family and be 'independant' , even for a short time.  Wandering the aisles of Tower Records, trying on and never buying clothes, and just being a un-paying annoyance to the mall employees in general. I had it all, until I had to use my quarter and call my mom. She would then ride up in her Cutlass Cruiser to Lenox Mall and pick me and my friends up. But until that happened we were the queen bees of that mall, and most importantly its Food Court.
 As a teen being able to decide what you wanted to eat , when and where was a BIG FECKIN'  DEAL! The sights, the smells, the choices! It was always overwhelming and I usually went for my old standbys - the always alluring Chinese food stand. Today we are taking a trip back to a mall and reliving my mallrat days of eating Chinese food in the food court. Different state, different mall, but surprisingly felt very familiar to me. 
I live in South Bend, Indiana. This is  at the top center of the state of Indiana. Basically its Michigan, so much so that the area is nicknamed "Michiana" -jealous now?  The mall is not in South Bend. The mall is in Mishawaka which is a suburb of sorts (as much as a town the size of South Bend can have a suburb), and it is called The University Park Mall- because we are also the town that is the home of The University of Notre Dame - so sports and cornfields is all we got out here.  The University Park Mall has a food court and the name of this food court is - DRUMROLL PLEASE>>>>>Tidbits Field Food Hall!
 Welcome to our FOOD HALL!

 So I had my kids with me, and we were ready to make fools of ourselves in the Food Court - ahem, correction - Food Hall.  Here is Alex amidst the tables and chairs in the center of the Hall. All the various food stands surround this eating area in a kind of two semi circles.
He has no idea why he is smiling.   
My kids were thrilled to get out of the house for a bit. We were in the midst of a deep freeze here in Michiana and getting out of our tiny apartment was a BIG adventure during our Christmas vacation. This is also why the mall is practically empty while we were there. We were the entertainment for the Food Hall vendors. They appreciated our antics tremendously - I think.
 The big draw at the Food Hall is the "ride". My kids acted like complete nerds on this ride...I was so proud! My boys shouted "Yeehaw" "Live fast - take chances!" and a made up song called "This Ride is Creepy!" that I am angry I did not video. I was laughing so hard and fantically feeding quarters into the machine to keep this nonsense up longer.
We were mall entertainment for a while that day.

This kid laughs all day long- but riding a big blue dog is pretty funny!
So we settled in to get lunch. I spied two, count them, TWO Chinese stands to choose from. The first was Panda Express - a national chain that I have eaten a dozen times before. Its good, but I wanted to try something different. I scan the semi-circle and I almost had to rub my eyes in disbelief....there is was....
YES! Your eyes do not decieve you! In the middle of Michiana on a snow day in a deserted mall you can have it all! East meets West, meets South in the Midwest! - Chao Cajun! It is the Cajun Asian experience that I never knew I was missing!

Loved the little signs. Kind of wanted to snag the crab rangoon one, but those days are behind me.
So, ordering was already awkward here because the workers had witnessed my kids and I taking photos, singing weird songs on a ride, and generally being goofy in the middle of a deserted food court..ahem hall , sorry...for the better part of 30 minutes.  
I walked up and was instantly overwhelmed. Do I go Cajun or Asian? Or do I mix them? This was a cross culture taste mix I never knew was possible. Well friends, it is possible, here in beautiful Mishawaka, Indiana!

I decided on Sweet and Sour Chicken (my usual), beef with broccoli and udon noodles in a bourbon sauce...all served with a side of dirty rice or fried rice. Well, not being a fan of dirty rice I went for the fried rice - sorry ya'll I lose my Southern Belle card for that one.

The old standby - Chic-fil-A
Food in hand I went back to the table to eat. My children, being lured already by Chic-fil-A, were  3 nuggets deep in thier kids meal and wanted nothing to do with my Cajun Asian experiment.
The food smelled great and I was starving. I worked out that morning and ate nothing till this moment because this was DEFINITELY  not part of my diet and I wanted to enjoy every bite! I had saved up all day for this moment! 
Yep - a big plate of sweet and sour, bourbon glazed noodle goodness! CARB LOAD ME BABY!

 Overall it was not a dissapointment. It tasted like is should have. The chicken was fried in TONS of batter and the sause was more sweet than sour, which I expect.  The beef and broclli was good, but not the best I have ever had. But,  the best part were the bouron glazed noodles. They had awesome flavor and mixed well with the sweet and sour chicken. It was a lot of food for the money. I paid $7.99 for all of this. I will also admit here that I barely was able to finish it.  It was all so heavy and filling that about 10 bites in and I was calling it quits. The owner noticed I had not finished and came out with a to-go box for me. He reminded me that "Mom's need to eat too!" - and sometimes honestly I do forget. 

So the food was good. It was filling. It tasted as advertised, and I am forever grateful that I can now say I had Cajun Asian food! 

Being sly trying to photo the Cajun Asian
It did bring me back to my teen years at first bite. Eating a plate full of carbs on a styrafoam plate, carried on a tray, in a food court filled with other temptations. It made me miss those days when deciding what to eat at the food court with your friends was the biggest decision you had to make that day. The food court/hall will forever trigger those memories - especially when I plate piled high in noodles and sweet and sour chicken is involved.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to the University Park Mall and to Chao Cajun. Hungry for more mall trips and chinese food stand reviews? OF COURSE YOU ARE!!!!! Click on the links of all my wonderful blogging friends who also did the same project as me.  Its like taking a vacation to malls around  America! Enjoy and thanks for reading! These guys are all great and you will love what you read! SO GET READING!

Will/Bill/Billy from VeggieMacabre -

Matt from Dinosaur Dracula -

Brian from Review the World -

Jay from The Sexy

Side note - THIS place has amazing Chinese food in South Bend - Ho Ping House!
Any friends in town - THIS is where we are going!

  I mean look at the badass terracotta warriors defending it. No, seriously its good. It also is even cooler because it used to be a Denny's not so long ago. I think Ho Ping House may translate roughly to "This used to be Denny's". This will be my next project...I will have to stay tuned. 

Until next time! 
Swag on! 
@Irishbelle2000 - Twitter

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Popping pebbles!

Were the spicy Doritos not enough?

Are you not entertained?

Just kidding - we are back! And we are giving you what you asked for - more videos of me and my boys trying strange foods. A new level of swagger is being achieved here I think. But hell, if it entertains you and brings you back - let us keep that camera rolling.

Today I thought I would be clever and switch regular Fruity Pebbles cereal with the new Poppin' Fruity Pebbles and see how the boys reacted. A lot depended on the element of surprise. I switched the boxes so they wouldn't suspect. Sneaky Swagger Mom, so sneaky.
Posing with box of "regular" Pebbles - unaware that the inside contained the Poppin Pebbles

Now I will leave the description of this amazing new cereal to my friend  The Holidaze. He did an amazing review of this product. Click the link here to go to his fantastic page, read more about it, and follow an amazing blog! DO IT!

Ok, so now you know what I am testing on my poor, unsuspecting children. So it all went down like this...

So, there you have it folks - my kids and I tried the Poppin' Pebbles and they want to eat it all the time. But for my money I want a whole box of just the green poppin' balls, and I want to wash it all down with a ice cold Coca-Cola!  THAT would be a "breakfast of champions"! I live on the dangerous side - I know! HAHA

Hope you enjoyed this little Sunday distraction. A lot more swagger coming your way. I promise it won't all be my kids and I eating odd foods. Some great stuff ahead - all random, all real, and all fun. 2014 - so far  I have no complaints, lets keep this up!

Until next time!
Swag on!
Molly - Swagger Mom
@Irishbelle2000 - Twitter
@Irishbelle78 - Instagram

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Spice up your snow day!

Its unbearably cold outside and I am stuck inside going on day 2 of a snow day.

I needed something hot - ASAP!  And since Johnathan Rhys Meyers has not called me back about moving into the vacant apartment across the hall from me ...yet, I needed to get some spice somewhere else.
Ahh, Johnathan Rhys Meyers - yes the apartment is still available - call me! 

Thank goodness there are Doritos! I live above a 7/11 and I found Doritos Flamas there the other day! I have never heard of these so of course I had to try, since - as I have explained before I am a Doritos addict.   So since it was a snow day and I was bored here is a glimpse of me and my boys eating, and I wonder why I am still single! Enjoy! BTW - the whole video is worth it for just the last 5 seconds -watch the little one bottom right - priceless!

I hope you enjoyed our little experiment into video blogging. Who knows we may do it again. Although I hate my voice and my face on film so I will have to get over that first  - I sound crazy and I look bloated - nice right?!  As you can see we are not professionals and we don't edit. We are one take - 3, 2, 1, action over here. If you like that style you are in luck!

 Hope everyone is staying warm - if not add a little spice to your day with some Flamas Doritos - you won't regret it! :)  Although I think my little one will. ;/

Until next time - keep your swagger on!

@Irishbelle2000 - twitter
@irishbelle78 - instagram

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Eve Hell - Lessons Learned for 2014

 This was my "Coming to Jesus!" moment yall! In a locked bedroom with the bass line of terrible house music pumping through the floor. A moment I never saw coming.

I should have known better! I am a well educated woman, but the desire to have a kid free night out on New Years Eve sounded too good to be true and hard to resist.

Originally my plan was to stay home, eat Doritios, make a resolution not to eat Doritios anymore, eat more Doritios, watch Ryan Seacrest count down the year surrounded by bad pop music artists, and go to bed.  Sounds stellar right?? Well, only if it makes me as cool as these kids! OMG is that a VEST AND ACID WASH JEANS!!!!!

 Well, at the last minute I was offered the chance to go out with a girl I went to St. Mary's College with - to of all things a huge house party - complete with DJs and bartenders!  This is kinda what I was envisioning.....

If only the party had been that cool. Anyway, as a single mom of two having a night out without kids is rare and so I jumped at the chance. Also note I have not been out for New Years since 1997. So, there is that too.

So I had my plans and I was ready to have fun with my girlfriend, drink, dance and ring in 2014 - because THIS IS MY YEAR!

Also note - this party is an hour and a half away in Ft. Wayne. I live in South Bend - this was not a simple drive down the street. This took effort. This took time and coordination.  Well, I arrive ready to have a great night. What do I see?

1. House is PACKED full of people.
2. House is SOOOOO loud with what I think they call "music" I can't hear myself think.
3. Bartender is overwhelmed and getting a drink is IMPOSSIBLE!
4. One of the 2 DJs is passed out next to his sound board
5. The ONLY music playing is techno house that was made by these two DJs.
Only photo I caught the whole night - for fear of getting my ass kicked. This is the state of music today. This is the sound board of the passed out DJ.

I recognize my friend and thank God there is someone in this maze that I know. We sit and chat and soon the passed out DJ awakens. He begins talking to us and then all of a sudden he switches into a British accent , and no this is not some clever party game..this shit is REAL! His accent is terrible by the way! My friend and I asked him to stop talking and his reply: "Ladies this is me real voice - bloody right.." - I think he was either high or an idiot, hmmm both.

YEAH, OK, We are going to back away now..slowly.  I so wanted to leave already, but I did manage to get a few drinks so I needed to stay a bit. It was still early. I was a guest of my friend and I didn't want to be rude and leave so early.  I liked seeing my college girl so I figured I would stay till midnight and then leave.

Time passed and I went to find a "Ladies Room"  and a place to hide in peace in this massive home. I get upstairs and I hear a FAKE British accent and panic. OH FUCK its that horrid drunk DJ!!!!!  I hear this terrible cockney accent getting closer behind me "Aren't you that Irish Molly???  Girl, I'm talking to you! You're pretty cute for fuckin Irish."  UGH - go away!!!! I was trying to find a room to just hide in until New Years was over and now this lunatic was following me! Fortunately, I didn't have to make small talk with this weirdo. He leaned against the door frame to try to tell me some story -which I believe was about how he already had a bottle and a half of Kettle One today and then promptly fell over and banged his head on the floor. Then crawled toward the bed in that room and I never saw him again. Yep - the life of a a techno/house DJ yall. FAIL.  Please note, I was laughing hysterically this whole time, but also ready to kick him in the balls if he tried to lay a hand on me.

So, now here I was. Changed into yoga pants and sweatshirt and chilling in a locked bedroom in a home I have never been to, in a town I don't know, surrounded by people I don't really care about Enter Twitter and my text messages to rescue me. Thank you!  It also made instantly clear to me that I (again to quote Clerks) - shouldn't even be here today! I knew exactly where I would much rather have been! UGH - LIFE!


Finally I heard the countdown. Ran downstairs, made the obligatory goodbyes and thanks. Grabbed my bag and headed out the door. I wanted to be home. I didn't care what time. I wanted to be home.  So  as I am running out the back door to get to my car I run into a fight. BAD TIMING. Large group of people, everyone is shoving, I get an elbow to the face and fall into the door frame (just like MR. DJ). It was the back of my head so no marks, but it hurts like hell today. So if you don't hear from me again, well you know what happend.
Less swollen today - fair skin bruises easy.
BUT OH MY GOD!!! I can't get outta here fast enough.

SO, driving home through the cornfields of Northern Indiana in now January and there is a snow storm.  What should have been an hour and a half drive home turned into 3!  SO I had a lot of time to think about my New Years Eve.
Here is what I learned at the House Party from Hell-


Don't wait around for life to happen! - Its not going to be handed to me, I have to actively make it happen. I am done waiting for someone to invite me to "house parties" full of weirdos. I can do better. 

Speak up and say what you want! - All I wanted to do while sitting in this hell was to talk to people I care about. Life is too short to not tell others what you are really thinking - in all types of relationships. Be honest, and tell others you care. If I like you, I will tell you/show you. I am very honest.  I need to speak up more and tell others what I want and how I feel - maybe they don't want to hear it - but life is too short to be quiet.

Don't settle! I settled for this party because I was bored. That was dumb! I should have stayed home.  The people I truly care about were not at this party and it was painfully obvious to me when I locked myself in that bedroom that I should have been somewhere else. I might not have been able to be where I wanted to truly be, but I would not have been wasting my breath in this hell party.

My new motto for 2014 :

I can't wait to start 2014!  I know where I want this year to go, and hopefully the people I want along for the ride are up for it.  That includes all of you - if you are reading this than you must give about my existence a little...LOL.

That night of hell taught me that life is too short to waste around people who don't give a shit about me! And its too short to not tell the people you care about how you feel. So get ready for some "feelings" all up in your faces this year! DEAL WITH IT!

Lets rock 2014! I wish you all the happiest of new years, but please note THIS IS MY YEAR BABY!  LOL JK - we can share the good times ahead.

Here's to US YALL! CHEERS TO 2014!!!! If I could sing this to you all I would!

Until next time.
Swagger on!
@irishbelle2000 - twitter
@irishbelle78 - instagram