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Smelly Car, Smelly Car, What did they Spill in you?

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Remember Seinfeld?  To be precise, it is Seinfeld Season 4, Episode 21 [Reference: Wikipedia.com].    See the Seinfeld mini-episode here about the “smelly car” here and then keep that in mind as you read the rest of this because most days, I feel like my life is one long, crazy and funny Seinfeld episode.  This is just one example.  And if you did not get my title because you were born after the show, Friends was off the air, here is the smelly cat video from that show too – come on now, it’s an oldie but definitely a goodie.  If you got it, whew!

Two days after I returned from a trip to Colorado Springs where I was for the weekend, a horrid, a nasty smell cropped up in my car.  I can’t even describe it because it was so bad and every time I got out of the car, went to the office, went anywhere, I felt like the smell was an entity and had attached itself to me and others.  I could smell it everywhere even if it wasn’t really there.  I tried everything short of re-detailing the car.  I paid to get it professionally cleaned, spot steam cleaned the area where I thought it was coming from, used a cleaning/scrubbing agent in the car, put Lysol (c) everywhere, and I even paid for a new car smell which smelled so good but then the car smelled like new car plus nasty stink.  Finally, I had had enough.  Short of abandoning the car, I was thinking of everything else I could do.

Sprinkle some baking soda under the floor mat, then cover the mess up with the floor mat. Oh and it does vacuum right up too!

But then, someone in my office who is a genius asked if we had tried baking soda yet.  I responded, “yeah like that’s gonna work when I have tried all this other stuff but hey what the heck, I will try it out.”  She also suggested putting a small amount under the floor mat of the area I believed the stank was originating from.  I initially just cracked open a box of generic baking soda, and left it in the car.  The smell started to dissipate but I could still smell it – for example, we went on a trip for 5 days and the car was parked in an outdoor lot.  When we returned, I could still smell it but it was super faint now and dissipating.  Nonetheless, 5 days in an open, uncovered lot is a lot for a stank-prone car to be sitting so, I decided to go ahead and now sprinkle the baking soda in the area where I believe the smell emanated the strongest and since then … Stank be gone!  Whew… thank you, 58 cent box of baking soda, for saving my relationship with my beautiful car that I love and have gotten attached to.  A fifty-eight cents box of baking soda!

Anyway, this is my daily life- a story about nothing and while my car has had a happier ending (for now), I have to say I did consider Jerry’s option of just losing the car. A bad smell can do that to a person’s brain. Life Lesson:  practical solutions that cost the least are often the best ones.


Growing an Herb Garden- What is your favorite Herb?

Sweet Basil – How I love thee – now, please grow

I have never had a green thumb. Growing up, my dad had a green thumb – the greenest one in town! He grew vegetables, planted flowers, we had red roses in our garden, and he still loves gardening.  It is therapeutic for him and he enjoys it.  I used to despise it because I did not want to get my hands dirty.  Lately though as I pay $2.99 here and $3.25 there for simple herbs that I love to cook with like Basil, Mint, and Oregano, I have opted to try my hand at an herb garden in my bay window that I have available in my kitchen.  It gets good sun exposure in the mornings, and I can peel off a basil leaf and cook right there! Ah, so convenient, ah… all so scary.  I swore a long time to never to bring living things into my home.  I used to kill plants all the time when I lived alone and generally I keep my plants at work but even there they are not doing well.

But recently I grew some marigolds and zinnias and it went alright so I think, why not grow something you can eat and see if it works.  So, I went by a local gardening store and man, the options were endless!  I thought of planting seeds but with herbs it is almost better to start off with a plant – it reduces your chances of screwing things up big time.  I also picked up some potting soil, and some plant food to help things along and hopefully keep them alive.   I am so excited about this new project because if it works, I am tempted to do a vegetable garden and grow tomatoes, ginger, cabbage, lettuce, and other things I can eat.  Of course, I will need a well-covered area with barbed wire for that since the squirrels and wildlife in my backyard are rampant.   Shhh.. don’t tell my husband of this grand plans yet- he just pulled weeds and was not happy.

Up top you can see the Sweet Basil plant.  Everything smells so darn good too! I just want to start cooking already.  To the left is a mint plant because we love to make virgin mojitos, and mint is so yummy in chai tea.  Then, in the 3-planter set you can see to the left Oregano and yes it smells quite good – is it Italian night yet? And, to the right is Sage.  I love sage in Italian food and you can even use it some Indian dishes.

In any case, it is an experiment and one that I hope succeeds.  Only time will tell but all I can do is try right?  I often joked like the character Carrie Bradshaw did in a Sex and the City episode when Aidan brought a plant into her apartment since they moved in together. “The man brought a living thing into my home. I mean – come on!”  That is how I used to be but I am hoping to break the spell of bad luck with house plants by seeing this herb garden flourish.

Oh, and readers, there is room for one more small herb plant in the middle planter- do you have a suggestion?  What herb or plant do you recommend in the middle?  What is your favorite herb of all?  Please do share.  I’d love to plant one more if this works out.



Flames Too Close To Home

*A great website to see amazing photos of the events and the timeline is http://www.5280fire.com

Yesterday when I returned from work a neighbor came over to tell us that a fire was happening behind our houses.  I was thinking to myself “yeah yeah – whatever….  I got stuff to do – we will check it out later.”  Little did I know how close to home the flames were.  I saw my neighbors out and everyone on the trail behind my house standing around looking in one direction – NORTH-  towards the fire.  I went out in the backyard and could hear crackling and unlike when I went camping, this crackling did not give me comfort.  We quickly went to the 2nd floor of our home and from both girls’ windows, as clear as day, we could see the trail, and on the other side of the canal, the brush fire and it was spreading and as of the time we started watching, there had not been any firefighters or police on site yet.

It was a sight to see.  I can see now why people say when you are in danger to yell “Fire!” instead of yelling “help” or something else. Everyone was coming out to see and climbing onto the trail to see the flames and to see our heroes in action, putting it out.  I have never, in my life, seen a fire (other than a controlled camp fire of course) this up close and personal and hope to never have it any closer. I remember my parents had a house fire (kitchen fire) when I was in college and it was devastating- smoke damage, fire damage, and then all the reconstruction.  I remember what havoc it wreaked on their lives and they had to live in an apartment temporarily as well.  All I could think of as I saw this flames about 600 to 1000 feet from my house was, “Oh boy… what do we take if we have to evacuate?”  It was a huge wake-up call for us?  Should we go spray down the backyard?  Should we gather the important stuff and load the car so we are ready to go?  What do we take and where is everything?  Maybe we should make a list so if we have a few minutes, we can gather it and our most valued possession (The kiddos) and jet out.  All these thoughts really freaked me out because I realized for once in a long time, I had never thought of these things.  We all think we are fireproof – “Oh that won’t happen to us.” We think we are flood proof if we live in a flood area. I personally know many in New Orleans who always said growing up, “oh that dam will never break- we will never get a flood like that.”  And I remember folks in Memphis saying “nah – we are not in a tornado zone- we will not be impacted.”

In any case, the firefighters arrived on scene and you can read more about at this site with photos but it was a great effort.  I can see how if they are fighting a giant blaze that stretches miles and miles how difficult it can be and with wind and tough weather conditions, fighting a forest fire can be super tough.  I genuinely have a new respect for firefighters and the work they do and this was what they considered a minor brush fire.  I cannot even imagine a larger scale one where MAFFS are required or aircraft to drop flame retardant.  Additionally, we are all safe and our property is too and from this we have learned it is time to be ready and get organized because you just never know… we have lived here 5 years and never experienced a brush fire in literally, our backyard but here we have it.  ‘Tis better to be prepared and what a better wake up call than a small brush fire to do so.


Independence Car Care- Arvada, CO — Denver Metro’s FINEST car repair shop!

Last week I had some issues with my car and took it to my dealer initially to look at and they discovered that it was a minor repair but one that would cost me $xxx amount of repairs.  I was shocked at the price tag.

My car is 7 years old so while it is under warranty it makes sense to take it to a dealer but for most of us, those warranties do not cover much or after the warranty period runs out, every little thing starts going wrong.  We have been lucky with our Subaru but this time, with this type of repair and the quote I got on the work, it seemed like a lot.  We had heard of a local car place near our house, called Independence Car Care that had a good reputation and did a good job for a friend so my hubby called them for a price comparison for the same work.  We were quoted over the phone almost half the price the dealership was going to charge us so, we decided to give the new place that came recommended by a good friend a try.  And we are quite glad we did!  Call them at 303-431-1114 and ask for Doc and tell them I sent you!

This is my testimonial: In this day and age, it is hard to trust car repair places because sometimes they quote you too much, do more work than you asked for, or “find” other things wrong with your car when you go in for a simple oil change or tire balance/rotation.  In any case, it is really important to be able to trust your car repair shop and the people you trust your car to.   After all, your car is your freedom and it seems we cannot operate without a car in this town.

We took our car in to Independence Car Care and they even gave me a ride back to my house while I waited for the repairs.  They completed the repairs and there was still something wrong with it when we test drove it, so they took it back and found the issue, repaired it, and on the snowiest day of the past five years in Denver, drove it back to our house, repaired and ready.  Like their owners’ card states, Independence Car Care is about “Quality, Honesty, and Integrity.”  Their customer service, communication, and their ability to get the job done right is unsurpassed.  And as a testimonial, my husband and I will never take our cars anywhere else!  He used to take his car all the way to Louisville to a place he had grown accustomed to while he lived there but no more- he was very impressed with everyone at Independence, their honest work, their reliability and their amazing customer service.  In the Denver metro area, if you need a reliable car repair shop, I highly recommend Independence Car Care and definitely let them know that Ratna at Get Clued In sent you!


Lovable Labels- Review & Giveaway

photo courtesy and copyright of Lovable Labels

I was contacted by Label Me Crazy and Lovable Labels to review one of their four new products and was offered a choice between:  Book Worm, Return Address Labels, Wire Tags, and Toddler Toes.  Frankly, it was a tough decision for me because all of these new products look amazing!   The Book Worms are so cool to label their school books but mine are still in preschool and daycare, and the Wire Tags would be so useful around the home especially for our nest of wires, but I wanted to do something for the kiddos that could help them learn as well.  So, I picked Toddler Toes for one of my daughters- the older one, and towards the end of my review, you can have a chance to win your own set of Toddler Toes too!

My older daughter is getting dressed by herself now, and putting her own shoes on and sometimes mixes up left and right so, check out Toddler Toes because they can help your kids learn left and right, and serves the other purpose of labeling shoes because the kids seem to have identical shoes in daycare these days.  The labels can have as much information or as little as you would like.  For mine, I chose my daughter’s name, our street address, and my cell phone number which is why I did not picture them here.

You can pick from a boy set (Red and Blue) or Pink and Green for a girl set.  My daughter has enjoyed these and enjoyed labeling all her shoes.  She even put a set of stickers of her lables in her sister’s shoes.  It has her name in it but the same purpose is served.  The little one can learn colors, left and right, and it helps us with lost shoes as well.  Since a lot of kids in school have the same shoes, it helps the teachers know whose shoes these are.


photo courtesy of Lovable Labels


A little history of this company- it was launched in 2003, started by a mom that found herself in a similar situation all us parents find ourselves in. The daycare or school asks us to label our kids’ jackets, their shoes, their clothes and yet, even so, we still end up getting others kids’ clothes and hats and the other parents end up with our child’s stuff.   Markers are messy and wash off as I have learned, and regular store-bought labels are not waterproof, nor can you iron them on.   I don’t know about you, but I do not have time for embroidery nor am I talented enough to do it.  So, along  came Lovable Labels providing an easy, simple, and cost efficient solution for parents and kids.  More importantly, these labels are very durable and even though they are inside my child’s shoes they stick well, and are not bunching up or tearing.  Lovable Labels are durable- waterproof, dishwasher, microwave, washer and dryer safe; and safe to external factors like sunscreen, temperature and sun.  Lovable labels solves the problem of misplaced, misidentified clothing, shoes, and belongings including books. They are also a great value for the amount of great quality labels you get.   Check out all their great products at:  Lovable Labels – “don’t lose it- label it!”


GIVEAWAY: Lovable Labels has generously supplied us with a pack of “Toddler Toes” for one lucky winner!  (see pictures above) Thanks, Lovable Labels!


To Enter:(mandatory entry) Answer the following in a comment Which of the Lovable Labels NEW products do you like best and why?  (leave a separate entry for each product you loved when checking out their new product website)


OPTIONAL additional entries (leave a separate comment for each one below):
*** Giveaway ends Friday June 17, 10pm MST. Winner will be chosen by the plug-in application “Pick Giveaway Winner” on my website, and will be notified by email.  Winner’s name will also be posted HERE on the morning of June 18.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond to Lovable Label’s notification email before another winner is selected. (please leave your email when commenting)
**This giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents only**

WE HAVE A WINNER— Chosen by the Plug-In “and the Winner Is” – Thank you all for entering!

Your Winner
Author: Brandi (btrew71@hotmail.com)
Comment: permalink
I love the Toddler Toes! What a great idea. My 3-year-old almost always has her shoes on the wrong feet and she would LOVE sticking these in all her shoes.

*Get Clued In’s standard disclaimer applies to this giveaway.  Additionally, Lovable Labels requested that I post the following as well:  This product was provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced by monetary compensation. As indicated above, images and links were used with permission from Lovable Lables. Additionally Get Clued In! is not to be held liable for any issues encountered between the customer and Lovable Labels.  Get Clued In’s endorsement of this product does not imply sponsorship or affiliation with the company. Get Clued In is not responsible for delivery of the winner’s prize.  Any complaints and/or dissatisfaction with the website or products on Lovable Labels should be discussed with them.   Giveaway winners are chosen by Plug-In application randomly and by entering this giveaway, you agree that Get Clued In is no way responsible for the production, delivery, or quality of the product received.