Dear Kickstarter,

So. Here I am. Asking for money.

Okay, that sounds really bad. That’s not reeaally what I’m doing… Kind of. I’m no charity case. I can take care of myself, and I will always push myself as far as I can possibly go. But sometimes, when it comes to chasing a dream, you need a little help. Especially a musical dream.

Every since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamt of being on stage. Of a world tour. Of back up singers and ripped stockings (okay maybe that part came a little later). I want to be a rockstar! When I got older, I started being a little more proactive about chasing this outrageous goal. I starting writing original music in 8th grade. I’ve come a long way since then, but I still have a long way to go.

So THAT’S why I’m asking for money. I’m not just gonna be like, “Hey, can I have $20? $200? $2,000?!” NO. That’s rude and not how I work. But a little bit of online fundraising and some sweet rewards… I could get on board with that. Actually, I did get on board with that. I just launched my very own Kickstarter project.

My project has a $2,000 goal. And if it’s successfully funded, I plan to record and release my first single, work on my professional press kit and get some promo pics taken, as well as order official Fiona Corinne merchandise! Pretty much, I hope to get the ball rolling for my musical career.

I love music. It’s my passion, my release, my pleasure, my job, my everything. This is all I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember, and the chance to make some of this happen is incredible. So do me a favor, and PLEASE check out my page. It means more to me than I can explain. Even if you can’t donate, a comment or a share would be amazing. Check it out HERE.

If you don’t me or my music, check it out! Either online (at my website or Facebook), or come out to a live show! All my dates for the next few months will be on both my website and Facebook page. Can’t make it that night? Do you not live in Rochester?! NOT A PROBLEM. I’ll be posting recordings of shows on SoundCloud, as well as a ton of links and videos on Twitter and YouTube!

Thank you all for the support you’ve already shown, and hopefully the support I’ll be seeing in the near future!

I’ll see you soon,

Fiona

Dear Megadeth, Sara Bareilles and Aretha Franklin,

I know. Weird combo of musicians. I’ve been to a few concerts in the past few weeks though, and haven’t been keeping up with this whole “concert review” thing. So I’m combining the last few that I’ve missed.

First off was Megadeth. Now, I saw them at an outdoor venue in Lewiston, NY. Normally at this venue it’s old people in lawn chairs sitting on a hill. I had nooo idea what to expect going to see a metal show there. And it was… a lot of old people in lawn chairs. People stood during the show, and the front area where people normally stand was a little bit bigger. But there were only 2 miniature mosh pits (probably ’cause someone would’ve broken a hip… I don’t even think security would’ve known what to do). The first one was four drunk guys shoulder checking each other, and the second one was during their encore and it was still pretty tame for Megadeth. Mosh pits or not, it was a FUN show. Dave Mustaine didn’t fall over or anything, and used words I could understand. They only did one song off of their new album (I’m sure a few people were disappointed), but that meant I got to hear all their classics that I knew. Everyone in the audience was into it, and it was cool to see such a different environment in the same venue I’m so used to. Good show, weird venue, but a very good show.

The day after Megadeth, I saw Sara Bareilles, also at the ArtPark in Lewiston. I knew her hit singles, but nothing much beside that. Two weeks before the show I downloaded her discography and listened to it a few times at work. Now… I’m a singer-songwriter, based around the piano, who likes to swear and have fun and wear pretty dresses. Sara and I might be soul mates. I admire her so much for not only for being her own, but for her songwriting as well. It’s so well done. Listening to her albums and to her concert, I just wanted to go home and write my own music and never stop. Not that it would be anywhere close to hers, but still. Her show was actually one of my favorites that I’ve ever been to. Which is saying a lot, because it rained A LOT the entire time. But even with the rain, she was so grateful to the audience for sticking it out to hear her. It’s nice to hear a famous person humbled like that. I loved her music, her stage presence, the interactions of her band, and how REAL she was. Two giant thumbs up for this show, and I would definitely go again. And again. And probably again after that.

A week after Megadeth, we saw the Queen of Soul herself (again, at the ArtPark), Miss Aretha Franklin. We all know Respect. And her rendition of A Natural Woman. But other than that, I didn’t really follow her. I don’t know, call me young, but I guess it was before my time. I respect the shit out of this woman! And I love soul music! Aretha’s collection was just never on my iPod. Still. There was no way I was going to pass up a chance to see such a legend (for only $17!). She’s 72 now and still going! This tour is her 53RD ANNIVERSARY TOUR. Like, that’s mind blowing. That’s 2.5 times my age. She came out (very slowly) in a fancy white gown, and started right off with a cover of Higher and Higher. Which was super cool. After that, it kind of slowed down… She could still sing, especially for a 72 year old, but she’s lost a little bit of that… crispness. I guess that’s the best word for it. She also left the stage for like 15 minutes, and we all thought it was a costume change but she was getting a cake for her conductor for his birthday (oh yeah, did I mention, she had an orchestra to back her?! Not like, full out, philharmonic orchestra, but still. And all the horn players were local to the Lewiston area. That’s awesome.). So that was a dead spot. And they did an instrumental cover of Happy, that Aretha tried a little bit to sing along to, but I think she forgot the words. And then, in between songs, she did this weird singing/talking thing while the band vamped chords. But it went on forever. And I think the moral of the story was that she had cancer but prayed it away, but the whole thing was so uncomfortable that I’m not fully sure. She did Respect for her encore, OF COURSE, but then kept coming out for bows and then she even did a full second song. And it was a ballad and we didn’t know it so at that point we left so we could maybe beat the traffic. It just was a slow show. She’s awesome, I love her, I won’t ever bad talk HER, but the actual concert… Eh.

So. In order of “I would see them again” it would be:

1. In a heart beat – Sara Bareilles

2. If they came to the right place for the right cost – Megadeth

3. I’m glad I had the experience but I won’t go again – Aretha Franklin

So there are my concert reviews for the past week! Keep checking back ’cause I have a few more to go this summer!

Lots of love,

Fiona

PS. A song everyone should know… Not the performance I saw, but one of the highlights of the Sara Bareilles show. 

Dear Pat Benatar,

So the other night, I went to see Rick Springfield and Pat Benatar in concert. And to say the least, it is NOT what I was expecting. My older brother works at a radio station and happened to get 2 lawn tickets. I had wanted to go, but $40 for lawn seemed a little silly, so it was a very happy coincidence that my bro got free tickets! Anyways, I just wanted to share my opinion of the show, just in case for some reason you end up at a Rick Springfield/Pat Benatar concert and you’re thinking of me.

 

First off, there was some guy opening for them. William Beckett. He used to be in The Academy Is… but he was doing his solo stuff this time. It was just him and an acoustic guitar. Now, don’t get me wrong, he sounded pretty good! But I ended up leaving halfway through the second song to get food because I was bored. He had a 30-40 minute opening set, and he only played 4 or 5 songs, because he talked so damn much! Come on dude! As an acoustic, solo act, I know better than to do that. You have a very short time to impress the audience as much as possible, and you don’t do that by talking for 10 minutes before each song. Also, another common problem with acoustic guitar playing singer-songwriters: almost all of the songs sounded the same. Not exactly the same, but very very similar. I was unimpressed. If they wanted an acoustic singer-songwriter, I would’ve totally volunteered and blown this guy out of the water. I’m sure he has a wonderful personality though.

 

After Mr. Beckett, Rick Springfield came on but I’m going to save his part of this review for the end (as they should have done with the show).

 

Pat Benatar. I like her a lot. She’s a female rock/pop singer, and I get a lot of inspiration from female rock/pop singers. And really, who hasn’t rocked out to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”? And even though Pat doesn’t know it, we have a lot in common, her and I. She was classically trained before she turned to rock, as was I. She has rocked some pretty short hair, just like me. We also have a common interest in spandex. So yeah, I’m a fan. And even as a fan, I was about ready to leave during her portion of the concert. Which makes me really sad. She can still sing! I mean, I could hear her age in her voice, but she still had all the notes, and at 61, that’s impressive. But she didn’t really move very much. Which is always a buzz kill. And she didn’t have a stage show. At all. She had a full screen and what looked like an elaborate set up, but it just had the logo for the 35th anniversary tour on it the whoooole time. And what may be my biggest concert pet peeve: SHE TALKED TOO MUCH. She was performing with her husband, Neil Giraldo, and between the two of them I was almost talked to death. I didn’t know half of the songs she performed, but I do now know the backstory behind all of them… I should’ve listened to my mom when she told me she fell asleep at a Pat Benatar concert. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, “Heartbreaker” and “Love is a Battlefield” were obviously the highlights, “We Belong” felt a little weird, and I really enjoyed “Hell is for Children”. But still, it was a slow show to say the least.

 

Now Rick Springfield… He completely, 100% stole the evening (as well as my heart). First off, that man is 65 years old and he is RIPPED and he was running around like a 20 year old the entire time. He was running back forth on the stage, he was out in the audience for a while… And I don’t mean, making a quick lap. He was deep into the crowd for at least a full song. He had members of the audience sing the signature line in “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, and he even put a security guard on the spot to sing a little bit. He also brought a little 9 year old girl up on stage with him and danced with her. And the best part of him being so active, was HE was enjoying it. It wasn’t just a show to him, he was having fun. That’s so cool to see. He also did a few covers that totally rocked. He goes “Now, I can appreciate a good girl’s anthem…” and jumps into Katy Perry’s “Roar”. Like, did you see that coming? ‘Cause I didn’t. He also did a little bit of “Wild Thing” and of course everyone loved that. At one point, he picked up his guitar and was like, “I haven’t played this thing in a while” and rips a big fat solo on it! Coming from the guy who did “Jessie’s Girl” I didn’t expect him to be able to shred like that. Damn. He teased us a few times with the intro riff for “Jessie’s Girl, but of course he saved it for his encore. Before they came back out they showed a montage of all the TV shows and movies that have featured “Jessie’s Girl” (which is a lot). He was so much fun and made the evening worth it. Well, I mean free tickets made the evening worth it. But even without that, he was awesome.

 

So. I mean. It was a good show. It was slow at points, but overall I had a really good time and got to see a few classics. Plus I had some pretty decent mac and cheese balls. And it was nice to go to a concert with just my big brother (most of the shows we go to are with the family or a group of friends).

 

How’d I do with my first official concert review? I go to a bunch of shows and I’d love to keep sharing my (usually very strong and judgmental) opinions if you want to keep reading them. And if you aren’t digging the reviews, let me know what you want to read instead!

 

So much love,

Fiona

 

PS. This isn’t from the show I was at, but here’s Rick covering Katy Perry: 

My pre-wedding vows.

I’m not getting married anytime soon. But I would like to make a few promises to the man I love… And I’m not waiting for a white dress for that. There are so many things I wish I could say, but there are no words for. I’d like to at least start with a few things I want my boyfriend to know, and some stuff I need to remind myself of. So here are the vows I can’t wait until my wedding day to make.

 

I promise to stop saying I’m done (about you or this relationship… No promises about work or school or my family).
I promise to keep trying, and to recognize how hard you try.
I promise to try to understand how you work, and to accept how different it is from the way I work.
I promise to take blame.
I promise to show you how much I love and need you, every day.
I promise to laugh at your jokes. Even the lame ones.
I promise to give you full body scratches, especially after long days.
I promise to stop and breathe every now and then.
I promise to stop saying things in anger.
I promise to keep in mind, even when you piss me off, how much better you make my life.
I promise to prove, even when I make mistakes, that I am trying my hardest.
I promise to give you what you deserve, which is the very best.
I promise to give you space when you need it.
I promise to be there even when you think you need space.
I promise to respect how hard you work, and how much you have on your plate.
I promise not to not tickle you right before bed when you have class or work in the morning.
I promise to refuse to let go.
I promise to treat you like the amazing, special, funny, smart, hardworking, handsome, kind and understanding man that you are.
I promise to not only tell you that I love you, but to show you in every way I know how.
I promise to remember that we have a lot to work on, and to remember that we have a lifetime to figure it out.
I promise to limit my teasing you for being old (er than I am…).
I promise to not take advantage of the awesome thing I found.
I promise to keep in mind all of the bullshit that we got through, and even though it seemed like the end of world at the time, we always make it out stronger.
I promise to always kiss you goodbye.
I promise to limit my use of “douche” “dick” and “asshole” when you make me mad.
I promise to love you endlessly.
I promise to never stop teaming up with you to make people uncomfortable and weirded out, especially my sister.
I promise to try my hardest to work things out with you before bed, so we don’t go to bed mad.
That being said, I promise to never underestimate the power of trying again in the morning.
I promise to be the best I can be to you.
I promise to never give up on the realest thing I know.
I promise to keep writing love songs about you.
I promise to never get lazy, or comfortable in our relationship (and I’m not talking about sweats, take out and Netflix).
I promise to always respect you.
I promise to treat you the way I would want to be treated myself.
I promise to try harder than I ever have to stay true to every single one of these vows. Because that’s what you deserve. Because I need you in my life.

Dear creamy, cheesy, white chicken chili,

Uh hi. You’re delicious.

Now, I’m not much of a cook. I can bake cookies and brownies all day. If there’s meat involved though, I’m out. My boyfriend handles that part. On the other hand, I am borderline obsessed with Pinterest. And I’ve tried making a new goal for myself. The time I would normally spend looking at cool stuff I would probably never do on Pinterest, is now time that I spend doing said stuff I never thought I would do. Makes sense right? I thought it was silly how much stuff I had on my boards that I wasn’t doing, and instead of being active and working on projects and crafts and food, I was just finding MORE stuff. So this new mantra led me to cooking dinner for my family. I had just gotten a pretty hefty tip at a show (check out all of my concert dates at FionaCorinne.com and maybe you can help feed my family!) so I decided to do something nice for my parents (and I guess my siblings). After narrowing it down by A LOT, I figured out I really needed to do something in the crockpot. Not only would it be nice to be able to do other things on my only day off, but I also didn’t want to break my mom’s stove top somehow. It came down to these delicious looking ribs and chili. Chili won, only because it is FREEZING in upstate New York right. I needed something hearty.

Now, like I have mentioned (repeatedly), I’m not much of a cook. But I also found like 12 different delicious looking recipes and I couldn’t decide. So I made up my own recipe. I took my favorite parts out of some, and used the average base to go off of. And not to toot my own horn (ha, who am I kidding), it was came out FREAKING PHENOMENAL. I’d eat that stuff all day. Except it was almost all gone that night. Because my family really likes food.

I figured I would go all out, so in addition to the chili, I made fresh strawberry lime-ade and churro cheesecake bars (I’ll post links, don’t worry). I also made Jiffy corn muffins (I was gonna make corn bread from scratch, but we’ve had those mixes sitting around forever and I did in fact have other things to do).

So… are you ready for the recipe? Mine fed 7 of us with maybe 2 bowls of leftovers. We like to eat though, so use your best judgement. 

1. 2 lb of frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I honestly found the smallest package I could and went for that… it was 3 breasts and it was a perfect amount). Throw those in the bottom of a crockpot.

2. Add the produce right on top of the chicken. The nice thing with this, if you don’t like something, leave it out! I used:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cans of beans (if you like bean heavy chili, use more, if you like it light on the beans, use less. I used great northern beans, black beans and kidney beans)
  • 2 cans of corn (I rinsed them because I didn’t want it to taste like a corn chowder or something)
  • 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes
  • 1/2 can of chopped green chiles (I was going to use a whole can, but Rotel tomatoes have some chiles in them so I didn’t think it was necessary)

3. Add seasonings! This was honestly whatever I could find in my spice cupboard, so feel free to experiment.

  • 2 tsp cumin (I didn’t have any, and left it out completely. It came out fine)
  • 1/2-1 tsp oregano
  • 2 cloves of fresh, crushed garlic
  • 3 TBS ranch dressing mix (pretty much a whole packet)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (you can use more, I don’t like too much kick)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • cilantro, salt and pepper to taste

4. Throw 16 oz of cream cheese (in manageable little hunks) on there and you’re almost done!

5. Stir it all together, and throw that sucker on low heat for 6-8 hours. I got started later than I planned, so I started it on high and turned it down later, just so I knew it would be done.

6. Stir it occasionally. I think because I had mine on high, I got a lot of gunk up at the edges so I was kind of watching out for it (to save myself from some intense dishes later). If the chicken doesn’t shred when you stir it (mine started to, but I was still worried it wasn’t going to be done it time) you can take it out and do it with a fork. I scooped the breasts out on a plate and tore them up with two forks. It took just a few extra minutes and I had peace of mind.

7. About an hour before you plan to serve dinner, you will have to use the stove top. I know, I know, I wasn’t happy about it either. But it’s not hard, I promise! Mix these together to make a basic roux:

  • 3 TBS butter
  • 3 TBS flour
  • SLOWLY add about 1 cup of milk (or cream, whatever you feel like using)
  • I added a chicken bouillon cube just for some extra chicken flavor.

8. Once that has been simmering for a few minutes, add it to the crockpot. Stir it around. It didn’t make a HUGE difference, but I would rather have thick chili than soupy chili.

9. Once the roux has been mixed in, I added some extra creaminess.

  • 1/2-1 cup of sour cream
  • 12 slices of American cheese (a few recipes called for 24 white slices, but I used yellow, and I used less. I didn’t want the finished product to taste like American cheese)

10. We topped ours off with sour cream and grated Colby Jack cheese. Freaking yum.

So. For a musician who lives on cookies instead of real food, what do you think? Let me know what you did differently, and how yours came out! This was the perfect cold weather meal, and it was so nice to sit with my family at the table and hang out over something I actually made (and didn’t burn).

Enjoy,

Fiona

PS. Here’s a link to the strawberry lime-ade (it’s for cherries, but I used frozen strawberries and it came out awesome… but be prepared to take some time. Maybe I just have an awful strainer, or a crappy blender, but it took FOREVER to strain it) and to the churro cheesecake bars!

PPS. My kitchen is for dancing. What’s your favorite dinner prep song? Do you have a kitchen playlist? Let me know in comments!

Dear “Kathleen Richard”,

Hey all. Long time no talk. I’ve been stupid busy, working, and trying to get even more jobs. I joined Care.com, which is 99% awesome. If you don’t know, it’s an online community for babysitters, and people in need of babysitters. You can post ads if you need someone, or you can post a profile if you’re looking for a job. It’s nice. Very good idea. EXCEPT. I was recently scammed, by someone using the website.

THIS IS IN NO WAY TALKING POORLY ABOUT CARE.COM. I love the site, and I have no problems with it. There are just terrible people in the world. So I’m here to tell you what happened to me, and to hopefully help prevent it from happening to you.

So this woman named “Kathleen Richard” sent me an email, saying she was coming to Rochester for 2 months for a business trip, and needed someone to watch her 3 year old son during the week. At about $10 an hour, I was going to be making $1800 for the two months. I mean, sounds pretty sweet right? WRONG. That saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.” is so ridiculously true. At least about this. (I always say my boyfriend’s too good to be true, but he is in fact true… And every now and then he shows me that, by getting grumpy when I hog the blankets at night.)

Now, I am a naturally trusting person. Give her the benefit of the doubt, right? My boyfriend on the other hand, is not. First day I was talking to this woman, he was searching for babysitting scams. And we found a few. More than a few. Many detailed accounts of fraud, that related almost directly back to what was happening to me. BUT STILL! I didn’t want to totally screw this lady over if she really needed a babysitter. So I was careful, but I kept talking to her.

Today though (a few weeks after it all started), I went to the bank, reported a fake check, and got myself out of this terrible situation. Turns out there was an alert on her (if it’s even a woman) account and that there had been several fake checks issued from it. Soooo that’s cute. And since I’m pretty much Sherlock Holmes over here, I’m going to share the clues I used to figure out that Kathleen is not a real person.

  1. She said she was coming up for a business trip. Except, she spelled business ‘bizness’. Uhhhh? Look, I know sometimes spelling can be tricky. But spelling does count. RED FLAG.
  2. She texted me from a few different numbers. The first time she contacted me on my phone, I saved her contact. I mean, if I was going to be babysitting for her, I’d need it. But then I got another text from her, from a completely different number. Different area code and everything. Not normal.
  3. She sent me pictures of her and her son. And at first, that gave me hope that they were real. Google has this nifty tool though, that allowed you to reverse image search pictures. So my suspicious boyfriend and I went for it. And found the same picture she sent me on a site about a dating site scam. Well, at least it’s not just innocent babysitters like me.
  4. She told me she was going to pay $500 of the $1800 up front. She’s never met me, I hadn’t done anything yet, and $500 is A LOT of money. At least for a 21 year old college student. When I went to the bank, the guy there told me that no one does that. And I don’t blame them. If I wasn’t such an outstanding citizen, I could’ve just taken that and ran. Well, hypothetically. If the check was real.
  5. She also told me, in addition to the $500, she was going to send extra money for me to forward to a “store manager” to get toys and supplies for her son while he was here. Didn’t say a name, a store, a location, anything. Of course, the store manager, right! Sounds definitely real and totally not fake!
  6.  About that store manager thing. Why would she send me the money? Why couldn’t she just send another check to them? Or get it online? Or I don’t know, do anything a normal person would do? Well, here’s their trick. They sent me a check for $2750. I was supposed to transfer $1500 of that to a “store manager” in Ohio. So say I deposited the check, transferred the money, and then the check bounced… I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t have $1500 to be throwing around. I woulda been SOL.
  7. She said she was coming from Arkansas. Except the check was from Minnesota. And the envelope (which didn’t have a return address) was postmarked in Cleveland. MAKE UP YOUR MIND. That is so sketchy! Bitch, I know you don’t live in all those places. Keep your story straight.
  8. In addition to her VERY poor English (I mean very poor. I was having a hard time understanding her sentences), which was a sure fire sign, she also spelled her name incorrectly on the check. Her name was Kathleen Richard, and she wrote Kathleen Rich. Like, that’s not even lack of knowing the language. That’s just being a total idiot.
  9. She never wanted to meet me. I can’t forget to leave that out of this list. If someone was going to spend 5 hours a day, every week, for two months, with your kid, you’d want to kind of know them, right? Well, not Kathleen! I could be a rapist for all she knows. Like, Skype? A phone call? Anything?
  10. The “store manager” she wanted me to send $1500 to was located in Ohio. If you live in Arkansas, bank in Minnesota, and you’re coming to upstate New York, why the hell do you need to go to a store in Ohio? YOU DON’T. I made sure to include this info in my email to the Fraud center at Chase… Postmarked in Ohio, and you want me to send money back there, you’re not covering your tracks very well. I can put two and two together, and my common sense tells me you’re staying in Ohio. Less than 6 hours from me, might I add… If I was the crazy type, I could hunt you down myself. Ha! But I won’t. I trust the authorities on this one. Also, I don’t think my car could make a trip that long. Heh. Just kidding! I would never do that. Really.

So all these sketch ball signs. Honestly, by the time that check arrived at my house, I wanted to be done and get this over with. The day after I got it, I took it to Chase (not my personal bank, but it was the bank the check was issued from, so I figured they’d be able to help). The man that helped me was super understanding, agreed with every point I made, and didn’t make me feel like a gullible little girl for almost falling for it. So thank you, kind banker.

I’m so glad I caught on. Everyone I told about the situation agreed with me on all accounts, so if you ever think something is off, tell someone! Honestly, if I had fallen for this, I would be well, fucked. To put it frankly. Sites like Craigslist, Care.com and even dating sites can be wonderful! Just be careful. If you feel like something is weird, it probably is. Take it from me, I know. And after all the bullshit she put me through, I would never wish it on someone else. I’m trying to fight crime here! I’m like… the Spiderman of babysitters. Oh yeah. Moral of the story, never trust anyone named Kathleen. JUST KIDDING. The real moral of the story is to be careful as all get out. Even though my scammer was a complete idiot and could barely keep her story straight, from what I’ve read, a few can be pretty convincing. So just be safe about it. The internet is marvelous, but it opens a whole new door to crazy.

Be good,

Fiona

PS. This woman has been blowing up my phone. I let her know when I got the check (she asked me to, still trying to be a good person) and she said “Okay contact me as soon as the check is deposited in to your account so i can instruct on what to do next” And I didn’t answer. ‘Cause I went to the bank, and knew 100% that it was fraud. She continued to text me… “Good morning Fiona have you deposited the check in to your account yet ?” “ARE YOU THERE ?” “ARE YOU THERE ?” “Is the check deposited in to your account yet ?” And I’m over here like, wtf do I do, I don’t want to tell her I know it’s fake and ruin any scheme to catch her, but I also don’t want her blowing up my phone… So I said “It’s processing.” and she said “I will like you to go ahead and send some money to the store manager now so that she can make arrangement for Ben’s stuff without any delay” (Ben is the name of her son) she proceeded to give me the information for the store manager I was supposed to forward money to. Then she said “Fiona have you transfer the money to the store manager yet ?” “ARE YOU THERE ?” And at this point, I’m getting pissed off and annoyed and I’m not just gonna sit there and be a little bitch about it. So here’s the next bit of the conversation…

Me: Why am I transferring money to Ohio?

Kathleen: That’s where the store is located and i have been dealing with them for some time and i trust them.. The store manager will be sending you Ben’s items via fedex via express delivery. Have you transfer the money to [store manager] yet ?

Me: Do you have an arrival date yet? Because I thought you were supposed to be here for February.

Kathleen: Yes February 7th and i already booked for the hotel… Which is why I want My Son’s items to be deliver to you on Monday.

Me: What am I supposed to do with the rest of the money?

Kathleen: Deduct 500 as your upfront payment as agreed and keep the rest for My Son’s upkeep during his time of stay with you… Go ahead and send the money to the store manager now so that you can have Son’s items deliver to you on monday

Kathleen: Have you transfer the money to the store manager yet ?

Kathleen: Is this how you are going to take care of my Son not doing what is right when I go to work.. Are you telling me you are not capable of taking of Son is that what you mean now. The store manager is About 50 years of age and we kept her waiting all thru yesterday.. I have respect for this woman and i wish to keep that

Me: [so freaking pissed off] Are you kidding me? Look, don’t be questioning my morals. I’m done with this “babysitting job”. If you even HAVE a son, I would suggest getting a real job instead of sending fake checks to people who only want to help. You’re not even a good scammer. Don’t ever contact me again, or the police will become involved. Also, learn to spell or you will never be able to trick anyone. Business does not have a Z in it.

And she hasn’t texted me back. I have a tendency to act on my feelings, and I was so annoyed… I just couldn’t resist telling this bitch off. Not my smartest move, I know. But she can suck a dick, I’m done with it! I forwarded all of her emails and information to Chase and I’m praying she gets caught.

PPS. An awesome article about babysitting scams from Care.com… check it out HERE!

How to Throw a Kick-Ass Zombie Party for Less than $100 in 6 (Kind of) Easy Steps.

I’m going to start this post off by saying that Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s always been close, but this year, it definitely pushed to the top. So when I go all out, and get a little weird about October 31st, that’s why. I also want to let everyone know that I work at a party store. So I do get a discount on supplies and I do get paid to think about Halloween for the entire month of October. Actually, my party has been almost fully planned since August, when we started setting Halloween up. And I don’t even care if that’s weird.

So. You want to throw a zombie party. I’m sure there are people out there who think they can throw on some ripped clothes and a lil bit of fake blood and be good to go. NOT ME. I go all out. I love planning themed parties, and Halloween is probably the best excuse ever to do that. With zombies getting so popular (I refuse to ever have a vampire themed party, so we’re going to ignore their growing popularity), I thought what better a theme than zombie apocalypse?! There’s seriously so much you can do with it. This post is gonna be long, because there’s a lot that went into it. You can definitely choose not to do all of it if you’re not as invested in the holiday as I am. Okay. Here we go.

1. INVITATIONS. In this day and age, actual invitations are hard to come by. With texts and Facebook and all these new fangled apps, you just don’t see them. But I wanted to be as realistic as possible. And that means, when the zombies come, there aren’t gonna be Facebook invites to a safe house. I tried to hand out as many invitations as possible, but the people I don’t see regularly DID get an e-copy… I know it’s kind of cheating, but they got the idea. Here’s what I used as my invitation:

“URGENT

Dear anyone,

If you’re reading this, that means you’ve made it through the zombie apocalypse. Almost everyone I know is gone, and we are lucky to have made it this far. In hopes that someone is reading this: Please meet me and any other survivors at a secure location, November 1st around 7:00pm. I have found a safe house at [your address]. There is some food and water here, but we never know how long any of that will last.

A few basic rules of survival:

  1. Come in costume, either disguised as a zombie or dressed in a traditional Halloween costume.
  2. Double tap.
  3. Please bring a snack to share, we are running low on provisions.
  4. Anyone you have joined on your journey is welcome, but DO NOT bring anyone who has been infected to this meeting.

If anyone finds this, I beg you to consider combining our forces. We are already outnumbered by zombies, and I desperately need your help. After listening to the dial tone of the phone, the static on the radio, and the sound of the undead moaning, this is my last attempt to reach out to anyone still alive. If you plan on meeting me and anyone else out there who has found this letter, please respond. My quiet phone is waiting for your message, at [your phone number]

Be safe,

    Fiona”

And that’s how it’s done. I used an old fashioned type writer-esque font, and found a picture of a blood splatter that I put in the background. It has everything you need in an invite, just way more creative than the norm. If you don’t want to use a survivor letter, I always just try to include the date, the time, the location, and an RSVP/more information number. I also try to include a few extras in all my invites, like (for Halloween), come in costume, please bring a snack to share, and that friends are welcome. You can definitely tweak this to fit your needs. This cost me almost nothing to print and hand out, but even if you have to go to a place like Kinkos (if that even exists still), it’s not going to be very expensive.

2. MUSIC AND MOVIES. My next step was to do the small stuff first. Decorations and food are serious commitments, so I wanted to get the music and movies out of the way. There is a ton of options for music. You can just put on a Halloween Pandora station. You could put on the radio or dance music. I wanted to make this is realistic as possible, so I opted for zombie movie soundtracks. The best ones I found were 28 Days Later, Night of the Living Dead, and The Walking Dead soundtrack. I also put a few songs on from movies like Zombieland, Warm Bodies, Shaun of the Dead and House of 1000 Corpses. 28 Days Later, Night of the Living Dead, and Walking Dead were awesome, because they were just creepy sounding songs, with a zombie theme. I included the other movies because they had lyrics and were a little more recognizable, and you always want diversity. Plus it was very amusing to see a few guys singing the Ghostbusters theme at the top of their lungs. I hooked my laptop up to my surround sound system and put it on shuffle. Aaand music, check. As for movies, I didn’t make plans to make everyone sit down and watch a zombie movie. At a party, you never know what people are going to want to do. Through my experience though, I’ve learned to set a few pre-selected (always pre-selected. You never want that awkward half an hour of people debating over what movie to watch. Plus, this way you get to still call the shots, make sure it’s appropriate for everyone, and avoid any disagreements on what counts as a “zombie movie”) movies out on the table, just in case when it dies down, people just want to crash on the couch. I chose Zombieland and Warm Bodies as comedies, Dawn of the Dead as borderline scary (not everyone agrees on super scary movies, so be careful when you’re choosing your films. I put on a scary movie at one of my first parties and there was a kid here who had panic attacks when he watched scary movies so he sat in the kitchen alone. Needless to say, after this, I tried to choose more universal movies), and a Zombie Classic box set for the traditional zombie movies (it included Night of the Living Dead, Revenge of the Zombies, Oasis of the Living Dead, and White Zombie). I had all of these movies on hand, and found free downloads for the movie soundtracks, so music and movies was free for me. If you don’t have the movies, chances are you can find them online to either stream or download.

3. GAMES. Now, this is the first part that I get a little crazy. Some people host parties and just let people mingle and hang out. I love to mingle! Really, I do! But I also get a little bossy and make people play games that I planned. And even if people grumble and bitch about not wanting to get out of their seats, they ALWAYS have fun. Full participation required, and my friends have started to learn not to come if you’re not gonna join in. Through the years, I’ve found a ton of games to play. Traditional Halloween games, and just general games you can tweak to almost any theme. Anyways, I had a ton of game ideas and narrowed them down to just a few. Here’s my list.

  • Zombie Charades. I found this online. Give someone a celebrity, and they have to act out how they think that person would act if they became a zombie. It’s a fun idea, but I didn’t use this, just because even with distinct features, a lot of zombies act the same. It would be hard to differentiate. Plus, getting a large group to quiet down enough for a full game of charades is hard.
  • Guess Who. This is an awesome ice breaker, but at this point, almost everyone who comes to my house for parties is practically family with the rest of the guests. I put monsters, scary movie characters, and any other Halloween themed person I can think of on index cards. You tape them on the back of each guest when they come in, and they have to ask yes or no questions to figure out who they are. I make a rule like, “You can only ask each person 2 questions” ’cause kids kept asking their best friends questions and not talking to anyone else. This game is super universal. I’ve used it during Halloween, at an 80s party, and any theme that has people associated with it really. Super easy.
  • Bobbing for Donuts. It’s not as soggy as it sounds. I tie white powdered donuts on a string and hang them in a doorway. Guests need to either stand or kneel (depending on height) and get the full donut off the string, without dropping any! The trick is, tying the donuts just a little above their mouth, and making sure they don’t use hands. This game has been a huge success, but I found some other games I wanted to do instead, so it didn’t make the cut this year.
  • Zombie Musical Chairs. I’m so proud of this creation… It’s not exactly musical chairs. There’s no music, and it’s a game played throughout the evening. I downloaded an air raid siren sound, and made ‘Safe Zone’ signs to put on chairs. The game worked like this: Every time the air raid siren was played, it meant the zombies were coming. Everyone had to be in a chair labeled ‘Safe Zone’ or they would become zombies. Every time the siren played, there was a mad scramble to get a chair. As the night went on, I added the rule if you’re already sitting, you need to switch rooms. People kept sliding one seat over and it was not the exact effect I was going for. After that rule went into effect though, the game was awesome. People were screaming and diving and sitting on each other and all the fun parts of musical chairs, zombie style. As the night got later, I removed the safe zone signs, so there became more and more zombies. Another way you could play is have the people who became zombies earlier in the game just take up a seat. It was easy and it was a blast.
  • Candy Corn Guess. This is pretty simple. I put candy corn in a jar, wrote a sign that said “Please write your name and # guess and put your slip in the cup.” I left blank pieces of paper and a pen out, and let them at it. Towards the end of the night, I checked their guesses and whoever was the closest got to take the candy corn home. I’m sure you could do it with another, less gross, candy, but candy corn IS a pretty big symbol of Halloween. Plus, Wegmans sells unusual flavors of candy corn, like Blackberry Cobbler. And that is definitely not gross.
  • Scavenger Hunt. Also pretty simple. I wrote clues on index cards, hid them, had a prize, and split everyone into 3 teams. Being the nerd/songwriter that I am, all of my clues rhymed, but that’s not necessary. I had 13 hints for each team, and they were hidden all over the main level of my house. Places like the stove, the stereo speakers, under the rug in the front hall… I made sure they all led to the same place, so only one team could win. In the final place I hid enough boxes of pumpkin shaped Peeps for each team member. I had so much fun sitting back (finally) and watching everyone run all over trying to figure out my clues.
  • Zombie Apocalypse Situation cards. This one was easy and it was good when the first few people were getting there and we were waiting for people to get out of work, or get there “fashionably late” (PS, that’s lame, no one does that, and as a party host, I hate it). I wrote out different situations of where you were when the zombie apocalypse happened, and each team of partners had to say exactly what they would do to save themselves or their family. I had things like “It’s the middle of a wintery night, and you can’t stay in your neighborhood. You have a husband/wife, an 8 year old, a 3 year old and the family dog. What do you do?” or “You are on a family vacation in Disney World when your family back home calls with news of zombies. Where do you go?” or even “You’re on a business trip halfway across the country when you see zombies on the news. Your husband/wife isn’t answering calls. What do you do?” Coming up with the situations was fun, but did require a lot of creativity. My mom and dad judged who had the best answer, and the team that won got a head start in one of the later games.
  • Balloon Pop. This is an easy game that’s good for laughs. I blow up a bunch of balloons with slips of paper on them, and then have everyone partner up. Each pair has to pop balloons between their backs by linking arms and squeezing. Sometimes it scares people, or sometimes the balloons won’t pop, and it’s very fun to watch (and participate in). Normally I put numbers on the slips in each balloon, and then that’s how many pieces of candy they get. To go with the zombie theme this year, I put “SAFE” and “INFECTED” on the slips of paper. Instead of it being a race like usual, I had everyone go one balloon at a time. And each round, a team got out because they were ‘infected’. Last pair standing won.
  • Bobbing for Apples. Classic. It’s not a Halloween party without it. Since it’s usually cold and rainy on Halloween in Rochester, I do it inside. It’s a big risk, especially if you knew my friends. I put down a cheap plastic table cloth, a fuck ton of beach towels, and just go for it. Water does get a splashed a bit, but I’ve never had an disasters. I used to go by whoever had the fastest time won, but I have one friend who is a beast (like seriously, he must practice in his spare time or something. It’s ridiculous), so that didn’t work. This year I went by who had the biggest apple. It worked because the bigger ones are harder to get, and once you’re in that cold water with your eyes closed, there’s no knowing what apple you’re gonna get.
  • Just normal ol’ party games. Just in case it gets a little slow, I always have traditional party games set out. For Halloween I put a Ouija board on my coffee table for people to goof off with. I also have things like Apples to Apples, Uno, a deck of cards, and Catchphrase ready in case it slows down or people are feeling awkward. No one played them this year, which I think means I did a good job keeping them busy.
  • Costume contest! I mean, really. It has to happen. My parents were the judge, but you could also make everyone vote. I got skull shaped cups ($1 each), filled them with candy and labeled them for each category. I did Funniest, Scariest, Sexiest, Most Original, Best Tradition Halloween Costume, and Best Zombie. We all got a few laughs and it was fun to see what everyone came up with.
  • Coloring Station. This isn’t really a game, but it was kinda fun. When things were slow, people sat down at the table, chatted and colored a few zombie themed coloring pages. I had a bunch of crayons, and it cost about $6 to get a bunch of the sheets printed.

So those are a few games. If you don’t like them, I hope I gave you a few ideas for something you can use. Also, you have no reason not to like them because they’re pretty much awesome. And cheap! A pack of pre-packaged donuts is only a few bucks, I spent a few more dollars on scavenger hunt prize candy and on the candy corn, I spent 2.99 on a package of balloons (plus I used leftovers from past parties), my bobbing for apples tub was 9.99 (but I did manage to find a coupon) and I got apples from a local farm stand.

4. FOOD. No party is a good party unless it has food. I know this. I asked people to bring a snack to share, so I planned on having bags of chips on the table. But I also had a few cool zombie ideas as well. I got fake bloody fingers at my party store and threw those in the potato chip bowl, just to freak people out. I had corn chips and salsa, to please the masses. I also had a few boxes of donut holes (Halloween tradition!). I got a bunch of mini M&Ms and put them in a bowl. With the bowl though, I got some old prescription bottles (ran them through the dishwasher, I didn’t want to drug anyone) and labeled them “Vaccine.” People still got candy but it went with the zombie theme.  I also served popcorn, but put red food coloring in the butter to make it look bloody. One of my best friends make mummy hot dogs (hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls with little mustard eyes. Adorable and delicious). I made a veggie platter with dip, baby carrots, celery and cauliflower. I made the cauliflower look like a brain though, which was cool. I got a full head, and cut out a middle section to put the dip bowl in. I was going to use food coloring to make it look even creepier, but I just didn’t have the time. I put random Halloween candy all over the table for people to pick at. I also made “Emergency Rations” signs for the food table. Because you don’t do half ass a zombie party. For drinks I got a few 2 liters, some cold cider, and some mulled hot cider, as well as punch that I made. I was nervous to try a new punch recipe, but it was so popular that I ran out. It also was a dark red which was awesome for a blood look. The recipe is 1 can of frozen lemonade, 2 cans of water, 1 packet of cherry Kool-Aid (I used black cherry cause it was what I had at home), 1/2 cup of sugar, 3/4 of a 2-liter of ginger ale, and a lot of ice. It was delicious. Overall, I spent about $50 at the grocery store. I did have some stuff on hand, but not a lot. You really just have to decide what you NEED and what you think would just be cool. Plus, I always recruit my friends to help.

5. DECORATIONS. This was hands down my favorite part. Working at Party City, I get A LOT of ideas. So I go all out. My family has a lot of their homemade decorations from when my siblings and I were kids, plus just things my parents have collected over the past 34 years together (Happy early Anniversary, by the way!). And as a Halloween enthusiast, I have a ton of stuff myself as well. What I did with our tradition Halloween stuff, is just made it crooked and falling down so it looked abandoned. I put dead flowers in a vase like no one has been here for a while. I even made sure no one raked my front yard (zombies don’t rake!). I found some old boards and boarded up our windows (with packing tape… My mom would’ve actually killed me if I used nails). I put white sheets over my couch and chairs, even a few of them had blood splatters and handprints on them. My boyfriend and I took pieces of plastic wrap, put red paint on it all creepy like and hung it on our windows. I got a bunch of fifty cent candles at the thrift store, and tried to make it look like our power was out. It got really hot once everyone was here and we were all moving, but the idea was pretty sweet. I blew up balloons way in advance so they looked all old and partially deflated. I have an old cosmetology school mannequin head, so I put creepy face paint on it and fake blood and stuck that in the cooler to startle a few people. I used old mason jars and put old nasty stuff in them to look like spoiled food and specimens. I used stuff like ripped up paper towels, food coloring, old leaves and chocolate sauce. I set up a strobe light to flash really slow, just to make it look like flickering lights and just to add to the creepy Halloween-y feel. I put black garbage bags on windows to make them look broken. I used an Expo marker to draw cracks on the bathroom mirror. I hung a beware sign on my mailbox, and put a lantern on our front walk as a beacon. We put those obnoxious to clean spiderwebs on everything, and even brought in a pile of dead leaves from the front. I even hung a dirty, fake bloodified baby doll on the front door. That was creepy AF. I also busted my balls to find a fake blood recipe that didn’t stain walls. My house is very lived in. And my mom accepts that parties cause a bit of a mess. But she was very worried that I would smear fake blood on our white walls and cupboards, and it wouldn’t come off. I mean, it would be a good conversation starter at Thanksgiving… Anyways, I looked everyone online for something, but everything had food coloring and I wasn’t about to risk it. I ended up coming up with my own recipe, which worked super well. I tested a spot on the inside of a cupboard a few days before the party, just to be sure, and it actually cleaned the cupboard. Like, cleaner than before there was fake blood. So that works. My recipe is dish soap (I used blue to had a little depth to the red), corn syrup, washable red poster paint, and sugar free chocolate syrup. I don’t have measurements, I just kind of messed with it until it looked like blood. It was super fun to dip my hands in it and just stumble around. I did buy a few decorations, but you really don’t have to. Just make the place look abandoned and creepy and that’s all you need.

6. COSTUME. The final touch to the perfect zombie party. I did give my guests the option of coming in a traditional Halloween costume, but you don’t have to leave that open. I mean really, a zombie party could happen any time of the year, not just Halloween. The best thing about a zombie theme is though, you can be literally ANY kind of zombie you want. You can take any normal costume, throw on some make up and fake blood and you’re good to go. Instead of just being lame old jean wearing ripped hoodie zombie, my boyfriend and I went as 80s rockstar zombies. My friend went as a zombie flapper. It’s kinda fun just to get dead. I mixed some chocolate syrup, red food coloring and corn syrup to make fake blood for my face. I did a blood splatter manicure (red nail polish and a straw. A bit messy but awesome results). I ripped my tights and messed my hair up. It was SO much fun to get ready. Even though I still have some spirit gum in my arm hair as I’m typing this…

So this is my guide book (guide blog?) to my zombie party. I found a lot online, I made a bunch of stuff up, I twisted a few things to fit the theme, but there weren’t any blogs or sites with just how to do it, one go. I was all over the internet and it was a pain. So hopefully this blog helps you. This party was one of the best I’ve had, and I got a TON of compliments on how well put together it was. Hopefully I gave you a few ideas, and I hope if you have a zombie party you have as much fun as I did!

Lots of love,

Fiona

PS. If you guys like this, I have SO MANY party planning tips and ideas and themes for you. Let me know what theme you’re thinking about and I’ll either throw my own or write a few ideas for you!
PPS. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from last night!

 

Image

^ My boyfriend and I in our 80s rockstar zombie get up!

Image

^ My friend Jess as a zombie flapper!

Image

^ My older sister, younger brother (he went as Tommy Pickles) and I!

Image

^ Our buddy Aaron bobbing for apples!