Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures: The “My Nerd is Showing” Edition

by Shawnda on March 8, 2014

in Guilty Pleasures

The guy/gal who invented the barcode-scan feature of the Goodreads app is on my list of technological heroes, right up there with the inventors of deposit-a-check-by-phone and the electric citrus juicer.

Because I can hit up my To-Read list after depositing a check from my little brother while sipping a not-from-a-bottled-mix margarita. NONE OF WHICH REQUIRE PANTS.

And speaking of Goodreads…


My inner 8-year-old is a pretty awesome kid but she still is not nearly as awesome as my outer 4-year-old kid – that girl. She is completely dinosaur obsessed. (Guilty!)

I might have sat next to her bed, after she fell asleep, and read ahead a few pages of our bedtime story, The Mystery of a Dinosaur Named Jane. Because I needed to know if the fossil that the research team left hidden the year before was still in tact. (No spoilers from me!)

Speaking of spoilers – did you know that the brontosaurus technically didn’t even exist? It was briefly, but incorrectly, identified with mixed fossils from apatosaurus and camarasaurus. My Beloved Brontosaurus was the first of 4 “big kid” dinosaur books I’ve read this year. And this “big kid” will be taking her little kid to central Texas to hunt for fossils this summer.

More from the science front…

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert is a fascinating (and nonpolitical) look at a historical rarity – real-time, scientific observation of a mass extinction in-progress. Who’d have ever guessed that I’d be completely glued to a chapter dedicated to the disappearance of a yellow frog. Or another chapter on a health crisis in the bat community.

Oh wait. Me.

Who else has a major astrophysicist crush on Neil deGrasse Tyson? You are not alone, my friend! He is bringing Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey to Fox starting this Sunday. DVR is set! So. Stinkin’. Excited.


And after the Bill Nye-Ken Ham debate last month (show of hands – who else watched?), I took a renewed interest in the subject of evolution and how people believe (or don’t) in it. I am totally and completely fascinated – captivated – by how and why people think the way they do regarding the age of the earth and universe. It’s both plainly scientific and deeply personal. So I dove into Monkey Girl and am almost finished with Only a Theory, both centered around the Intelligent Design/Creationism vs Evolution debate.

So there you go. Big nerd. Probably no spoilers there!


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Troublemaker Wine

Troublemaker Wine & Burger Blend
The wine is a beautiful fruity red blend from Hope Family Wines in Paso Robles designed with a juicy, flame-kissed burger or steak in mind. And it’s one of our favorite new reds to have tried this summer.

Troublemaker Wine and Beef Blend

The burger is a beautiful blend of prime chuck, wagyu short rib, prime hanger steak, and prime rib designed to pair with the wine. The two together, with a little help from some Troublemaker-glazed onions, a match made in summer-dinner-on-the-patio heaven.

You can snag a bottle from your favorite wine source for ~$20 or directly from the winery. And then you can adore it as much as we do.

Anker Mobile Flash Charger

Anker Mobile Flash Charger
I hope that the person who thought sliced bread was the benchmark by which to compare all things awesome lived long enough to see the technology boom. If not, then she (or he) had never had a freshly-charged iPhone battery drain to nothing inside 2 hours. Seriously, between Twitter, Instagram, and using my camera as a phone and trying to find the least-pathetic connection between the Texas Capitol’s wifi and AT&Ts network in Austin? Womp womp wommmmp.

It was like that every day at Disney World, too. I chose not to lug the big camera around so I could unleash my inner 12 year old and “just” use my iPhone. But when 2pm rolled around? My phone’s Spinning Wheel of Disappointment was quickly followed by the Black Screen of Rage.

But I found a completely amazing solution. A small mobile charger that you can simply plug into your phone and charge on the go. It’s a battery-charger-on-the-go that you use to charge your phone without having to stand guard next to a stray outlet in a crowded Disney World food court. It also comes with 4 different adapters so if you’re an iHater like my husband, it still works for your non-iPhone.

And It. Is. Awesome. Truly, truly is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Retreat Hill Riesling

Retreat Hill Riesling
My current favorite white is the off-dry Riesling from Texas-based Retreat Hill Winery. I bought the first bottle for the label and then bought the others because it was so fabulous.

Garnier BB Cream

Garnier BB Cream
My favorite beauty product at the moment is the BB cream from Garnier. It’s lighter than my old foundation, it gives great coverage, and keeps The Shinies under control for most of the day – a battle I usually lose in the Texas heat.


Candy Crush
Wow! Splendid days!

I totally &^%$#@# hate this game and have deleted it from my phone twice in the last week. But somehow, it keeps coming back within a few hours :oops:

I am ashamed.



All My Children | One Life to Live
YOU should have stayed DEAD! [KAPOW]

I have been a life-long watcher of All My Children and One Life to Live. And then ABC went and replaced them with, what – that show that was already cancelled and The Chew?

The Chew. Really, ABC?

But last week, they both returned on Hulu. I wasn’t overly excited at first but now? Bring on the fake pregnancies! The tampered-with paternity tests! The rapidly aged children who left for kindergarten and then came home as college drop-out owners of their own software companies! And those good ol’ Viki/Niki & Bessica/Tessica/Jessica multiple personality showdowns!

And the amnesia. Because no storyline is complete without someone not remembering who she’s married to… and then falling in love with that guy’s stepson.

And I won’t spoil it for you… but there’s already a mystery can’t-see-their-face patient and a kidnapping!

[Calm down, Shawnda…]

And speaking of other childhood favorites…

Books I read in the 5th Grade… and again last month
Next to the original Babysitters Club series, those were my absolute favorite books growing up. I have no idea how many times I’ve read them, but that number went up by 1 last month (thank you, library card + Kindle app). Spooky ghosts, a punky orphan, cats without shadows. Seriously, what 10 year old didn’t love a good Mary Downing Hahn ghost story?

And what 34 year old doesn’t cry her face into a nearly unrecognizable puffy mess at the end of Bridge to Terabithia.

(I’m *this* close to searching for old episodes of Swan’s Crossing and the Alyssa Milano’s The Canterbury Ghost.)

Stolen Kisses by OPI
My current favorite color for flip flop weather. (And it’s super popular with the 3-year-old crowd, too – hot pink toenails are the new sharpie-on-the-wall!)

Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwich

The Chicken Cheesesteak
It rivals a good burger… and some days, it’s even better. Like when someone else cooks it and you get to watch your favorite football players play softball on a picnic blanket from the outfield. Or you can just make it yourself at home… two nights in a row.

Jalapeno Mustard

Texas Pepper Works Jalapeno Mustard
GUYS. You know how to make a cheesesteak more awesome than you ever thought possible? Jalapeno Mustard. (And really, it just makes everything more awesome.) Yellow mustard studded with bites of sweet – and fiery – candied jalapenos. And if you don’t have access to it, it’s easily DIYable. They’re really easy to make, but if you don’t have a surplus of serranos & jalapenos from your garden yet, Texas Pepper Works also makes a mean jar of candied jalapenos.



DC_Album Instagram

The Dixie Chicks. She needed… wide open spaaaacessss. This month’s Texas Monthly ran with the cover Who Killed The Dixie Chicks? And did they really have to die?” (It also has a pretty awesome looking onion ring recipe!) (Another good piece from CNN is here.)

For the record, I know the answer to both of those questions. And I won’t get all preachy here about it (I save that for Margarita Tuesdays and for Facebook on days when the Supreme Court is hearing muy grande significant cases) so I’ll just leave it like this:

What happened to them – that was a [radio edit] shame.

I remember forcing my grandpa to stop and flip back to Austin City Limits to watch The Chicks. He was probably expecting something more like the Spice Girl torture that my girl-cousins (like I have to tell you they were girls) subjected him to. Instead, The Chicks managed to win that old, dusty cowboy over inside 30 seconds: “That little lady plays a mighty fine fiddle.” Do you know how hard it is to impress a deep-East-Texas 60-something with music not written & performed by other 60-somethings named Merle or Waylon? Yeah.

Their 4 albums rank in my all-time top 10. If you ever see me jamming at a stoplight like I’m the only person in the entire world, you now know for sure that it’s not to Taylor Swift.

Matching With Friends

Matching with Friends.
Hi. My username is shawndah and I’m a “With Friends” addict. (^ Best score ever, by the way!). I’m also a fierce scrambler (my husband called me a freak of nature when he watched me play a round, use no bonuses, spot him 60 seconds, and still beat him).

(He also stopped playing me after that.) (But somehow we’re still married.)

I frequently hit the “Sorry, you have to finish your current games before you can bog down our server with another. Why don’t you put your phone down for a few minutes and mop that kitchen floor, m’kay?” limit.

That limit is 30 games, by the way :oops:

HEB Barracho Beans

HEB Barracho Beans. Many of my friends and family still seem to think that I’m some food snob that won’t eat anything I didn’t grow, harvest, and cook myself. Totally wrong – I eat store-brand boxed mac & cheese just like all the normal people who don’t take a photograph of their every meal. That said, I am completely a margarita snob. And completely in love with HEBs new Barracho Beans.

And not just because they’re made with Shiner Bock. (But in large part because they’re made with Shiner.) They taste almost like my mom’s beans, but spicier and just a hint of beer. The Little and I nearly had a cage fight for the leftovers the first night I “cooked” them. I gave in.

It just felt like the right thing to do.

Dogfish Head Tweason'ale Lip Balm

Dogfish Head Brewery Tweason’Ale Strawberry Lip Balm. My good beer friend Laura sent me a couple of lip balms in her last goodie package, one for me and one for The Little. One of those lip balms now has teeth marks in it. And that’s how we know which one isn’t mine.

But it tastes like strawberry and for some reason that immediately reminds me of the 3rd grade when my all-time favorite teacher Ms. Hooker (I swear!) would bring in her NASA boyfriend to talk to us about shuttle launches and astronaut training. Just one of the many perks to growing up in Texas.


Supernatural. “Dammit Sammy!” Think X-files, with more apocalyptic/biblical overtones. And hotter lead actors. Ghosts, goblins, angels, and leviathans. That’s Supernatural. We frequently joke that we should drink everytime Dean drops a “Dammit Sam,” but let’s be honest here. We have a little one to think of and we’re not that young anymore.

Also, do you know how hard it is to pull off Drinking-Game-TV on a Wednesday night? (Hint: it’s exactly as hard to do as it was on Fridays before the show moved.)

I’m pretty sure that there are a few episodes where we wouldn’t make it out alive. But we’ve watched for 8 seasons now – which completely blows my mind because we’ve actually known each other longer than that.


Violette Field Threads Emmaline Dress. Speaking of getting old… I’m going to try to sew that dress! (Stop laughing.) Partly because I’m no-carbing it through April which means alcohol is off limits and what else left is there to do besides make clothes for my daughter.

But mostly because there is no part of me that could ever ever ever spend $88 for an everyday dress for a 3 year old. My stain-removing skills are just not advanced enough to support that kind of investment. And for the price of one pre-made dress, tonight I downloaded the pattern and ordered enough fabric for 3 chevron maxi dresses! It only took my mom like 7 hours to teach me how to thread the old sewing machine that she gave me so I’m confident that this will turn out well.

(It’s hard to tell through the load of sarcasm there, but I am super excited about this.)

(That was not more sarcasm.)