Beef Rib Roast

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Jon in Albany and his family have an annual beef slaughter. He has some great, informative posts on the whole process. You can see some here. He was generous enough to give me a rib roast in the winter, as the next slaughter was coming up and he didn’t see his family eating it before the next slaughter. I thankfully accepted, and hoarded it until now. It was a gorgeous 4-bone roast of well marbled beef. Man, I’m happy to be friends with Jon in Albany. I get pizza and rib roast delivered to my door.

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Seriously – this is such a nice thing to give to someone. A rib roast from a cow your family raised and slaughtered. This is one of the best cuts of the cow to me, and I’m so lucky Jon thought of me.

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I wanted to treat this roast with the respect it deserved. I generously rubbed it with some kosher salt, pepper, and dry mustard. That’s it.

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Then I let it sit in the fridge for a few days to age just a bit and get some of that seasoning in the meat. And then I forgot to take any more pictures. But I roasted it at 200F (not on convection, just regular bake) for about 3 hours until it came to 120F, then let it keep at 100F on the warm function until it was time to eat it. It was so good – mainly rare to medium rare, with the end 1/4″ being a bit crusted over and seasoned. I was so happy I nailed it. I realized it had been a while since I cooked a beef rib roast and I was so happy to use the slower method. I just feel like slower cooking methods tend to work better for me. I’ll never be a chef, but I can on occasion be a pretty decent meal maker at home.

Christmas 2013

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Merry Christmas! I feel like I’m finally recovering from the holidays and getting back into the swing of things. Albany John and I decorated the house with the few lights we had and my trusty pinky purple mini Christmas tree. I put the cat in a Christmas sweater. My belated cat Lex used to wear it, but The Bean seems to enjoy it as well. Christmas and holidays in general have a way of bringing up memories.

This Christmas I thought about my life, and how people come (and go). People currently in my life, people who used to be in my life. Ways to try and keep people in my life, ways to better communicate with the people in my life.
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We went sparse with the lights because just before Christmas we had the window to the right replaced (post to follow on the company I used to replace the window, etc., but I want to give the window time to wear for a few months before posting a conclusive experience) so we didn’t put up too many decorations this year. (Well, that’s the excuse for this year)

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She enjoys a nice little dress-up. Merry Christmas everyone.

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For Christmas, Albany John and I got to host Xmas eve dinner. Daniel B. gave us this turkey from his freezer before he left for NJ, and Xmas seemed like an appropriate time to break it out.

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Herby butter stuffed everywhere underneath the skin. I was fighting off a cold at the time and feeling pretty icky, so Albany John did the majority of the food handling to keep everyone else healthy.

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Guess what lasts forever? Apples. These are apples from my tree. Still good from the fridge. We tossed some of these small guys in the cavity of the turkey to add some more flavor.

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I was super paranoid about making a mess in the oven, so I bought those Reynolds oven bags. This bird was close to 20 lbs, and didn’t leave much room in the bag. The convection oven cooked it evenly, really digging that setting. There was still some mess on the walls of the oven and the oven floor, but Albany John was sweet to me and cleaned it up even though I made the mess.

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Albany John made pumpkin pie, too! Yummy!

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Pumpkin pie and whipped cream – what could be better?

Oh yes, so for dinner my mom came over and Albany John’s folks came from Amherst. And since we have a house with multiple bedrooms, they stayed over! Hooray! And they brought…

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Miss Lulu! She was so excited to have a present of her own on Christmas morning.

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Sadly, I did not share as much enthusiasm as my random cold ick morphed into stomach bug megatron 5000 and had me within 5 feet of a bathroom at all times. I even napped. Stomach bugs are the worst. I can take sore throats, earaches, headaches, and fevers, but nausea and dizziness put me completely out of what. I even napped. I was out of kaput for a few days. Rough stuff.

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Our cousin in DC sent us some goodies from the DC area. So many nice treats from family and friends. I felt kind of blah humbuggy about gifts this year. I just really wanted to see people. Presents I kind of fell flat on buying.

Jarritos Cola

This post brought to you by Jarritos & Albany John. Partially ’cause it was taking me forever and a day to actually get around to opening the promo bottle of Jarritos’ new Mexican Cola, but also because the man loves his sodas.

There is nothing quite like a nice cold soda on a hot day in august.

That being said, the allure of a soda is lost on one albany jane.

Albany Jane is not one who has “guest posters” on her blog. That being

said she knows I embrace beverages with a vigor most men reserve for

sports teams, poker, dogs, or old cars.

Jarritos. This is what a sody pop is supposed to be. There was one

Jarritos mexican cola sitting in the back of the fridge. Beverages are

meant to be drank but apparently this soda belonged to the internets,

and could not be consumed without an accompanying blow by blow

account of its faults and glories.

Some soda is too carbonated for me. I have been accused in the past of

leaving bottles of carbonated beverages uncapped slightly in the

fridge. This particular soda still has enough fizz in it to make the

satisfying “pssshhht” when the cap is opened, but not enough to induce

belches.

The flavor is somewhat less like a coke or pepsi cola, more like what

you’d imagine an old time soda from a soda jerk would be. Think like

a sarsaparilla or a cream soda without the sarsaparilla or cream soda

flavor. The bottle advertises 100% natural sugar. I like sugar.

Nothing wrong with that. I’m not going to get into the whole “whether

hfcs is bad for you” issue, I’m on the side that you should eat what

you like if you can deal with the politics. I like sugar. I wish maple

sugar tasted good in soda, but unfortunately I’ve never seen a

beverage containing it to test the theory. I also think that sodas

feel different when you drink them if they have sugar rather than

hfcs, less syrupy/less viscous.

If you grew up on coke or pepsi, and that’s what you think a cola

should taste like then you might not be a big fan of Jarritos. I mean

expectations of nostalgia rank up there pretty high when it comes to

food or drinks. I was raised in a household of hydrox cookies and rc

cola, so I’m not really bound to a nostalgia for a particular kind of

soda. We made our own root beer and sarsaparilla as a kid. My

brother’s favorite flavor was birch beer.

Sincerely,

Albany John



Albany Jane here: I thought it was okay, but a little heavy on the warmer flavors. Then again, I’m a Coke Zero kind of gal. Also, how can anything top Jarrito’s guava soda??

Red Pack Tomatoes Review & Giveaway!

When the people at Red Pack Tomatoes contacted me and asked me if I would like to try a sample of their product, I was all on board. I like trying new things. So I was expecting a shipment in the mail. But I was not expecting this! It was a large tin filled with Red Pack shwag!

The container is so cute! I plan on using it as some kind of a decoration for my house. Maybe like a mini table or something. Too cute to get rid of.

I decided to try out their tomatoes in a sauce. I made tomato sauce with anchovies, fresh basil, and some milk (no cream). Their tomatoes are bright without being tart. I bought some other tomatoes recently that had the organic label slapped on them, but I much preferred my usual non-organic canned tomatoes. The organic ones were really tart and lemony – hard to mask and not very good for making tomato sauce (my favorite application of canned tomatoes).

But any way – these crushed Red Pack tomatoes were fine for sauce. Not crushed into oblivion – some chunks here and there. I’ve seen them for about $1.49 in stores locally for large cans (either 28 oz or 32 oz), so they aren’t priced outrageously.

Here is what is in the can. A ton of red confetti and two cans of tomatoes – crushed and whole.

More shwag! A can opener I haven’t been able to figure out how to use (but it looks really cool), a spatula, a pasta spoon, and some magnets. The pasta spoon is pretty ergonomic, too. It’s got nubbins where you place your thumb on the handle.

So, do you live in the US and would you like to win a cute sampler tin of Red Pack tomatoes?
Of course you do!
Leave a comment! Maybe win!
(Please have an email either in your profile, or just popped in the comment so I can contact ya!)

Gulf Shrimp

My dad brought some gulf shrimp he got at Stew Leonard’s when he came up for Christmas. I didn’t get to eat them until recently. Two pounds of gulf shrimp were sitting in my freezer, and I didn’t eat them. They were so good. Fresh and sweet. So sweet and fresh. So much fresh shrimp flavor. I liked them best boiled, peel, dip in a little butter maybe, consume. They pop a little and taste very minimally processed.

I also tried making some low-fat-ish coconut shrimp. More out of laziness and not wanting to fry them than trying to save calories. They were okay. Used whipped egg white as the coating, and dipped them in some dried coconut. Meh. Needed more fat, heheh.

Just reinforces the idea that I should stick with the tried and true method – a short boil or steam to shrimp heaven. Yum. Thanks, Dad.

677 Prime

I had an excellent evening at 677 Prime (677 Broadway, Albany, NY). Albany John and I were guests of some generous benefactors, and the night marks one of the highlights of my dining experience.
I’d never managed my way over to the Prime before this trip. The interior was very warm and open, with cozy and personal seating arrangements. A few chandeliers here and there, and warm lighting throughout.
Coat checking is done by the hostesses upon checking in, and one can sip a few cocktails at the bar. If a party is small enough and feeling casual, one can dine entirely at the bar.
Once seated, service was very friendly and accomodating. Seats were comfortable enough to sit in for several hours, and far enough to feel like there was a bit of breathing room while still being cozy.

On to the food.

Our party ordered some seafood platters ($28 per person) to start. A large bowl filled with pellets of ice and topped with a variety of seafood: Lobster claws and tails (half-tail per person ordered), crab claws, crab meat, raw oysters (one per person), raw clams(one per person), shrimp, and a lemony granita of some sort. There was also a trio of seafood sauces – remoulade, a pineapple-sriracha kind that Albany John really enjoyed, and cocktail.

I showed remarkable restraint in not wolfing down just about everything in front of me. The shrimp were very large, but I find chilled shrimp to be a little muted in flavor, so this wasn’t the highlight of the array for me.
The clams that night were a bit pungent for me- I wonder if they were cherry stones?
The crab claws were sweet, and I could have eaten several hundred of the tiny delights.

The crab meat was sitting in a dish, and – yum. Might have been better than the claws because they were a bit warmer than the crab claws that were sitting directly on the ice, or because it was very easy to pluck a large chunk of sweet crab meat out of the bowl.

The lobster tails were halved, and a tasty specimen of lobster tail. No complaints at all . The only complaint to have about lobsters is when they’re brutally overcooked and inedible. These tails were more than edible.
Lobster claws are probably my favorite part of the lobster, and the meat was perfectly cooked and sweet. If you can’t tell, I usually eat most of my seafood hot, and I still think I prefer lobster hot over lobster cold, but that is like saying “Oh, I like my caviar with creme fraiche” or “Oh, I like my caviar with blinis”. Is either preparation going to be a deal breaker? No way.
The highlight of the platter were the oysters, though! I’ve had raw oysters a few times and have never been a big fan of them. A bit too intense and slimy for me. Albany John is okay with them on occasion, but never really goes out of his way for them. But these oysters. They were lightly sweet, delicately sized, and now I’m a raw oyster convert. Oh, Prime, how could you?
The only minor flaw with the platter was that the raw oysters and clams each had several small bits of shell fragments in them. I could understand it happening once, but nearly all of the oysters and clams had tiny bits of shell in them, which was unexpected for a restaurant of this caliber. It was a bit awkward at times to be dining and have to fish little fragments of shell out of my mouth after chomping down on it. But that said, I’d order oysters at the Prime again without hesitation.

We also got an order of Bacon “Steak” ($9). Two thick slices of bacon with caramelized apples and cornbread. I had a nibble of the bacon. It was fine – tasted like thick ham to me.

Albany John got the Heirloom Beet salad ($12), which means I had a few bites, too. It was adorably plated. There were some arugala greens on the side. A few of them were wilted, but they seemed like more of a decorative afterthought to the main attraction – Yellow and red beets with soft feta cheese and pistachio brittle. Great combination overall. The beet side was tossed lightly in a tangy vinaigrette, while the greens were naked. Interesting, but it worked.

At this point, I think you can tell that I forgot to bring my camera. I was a bit sad, but trust me, the food and company more than made up for it, and has me looking for a reason to return for an equally decadent dinner.

On to the main courses! Albany John got the 14 oz Certified Angus Beef All Natural Never Ever Steak ($48). A bit of a mouthful, but quite enjoyable. No hormones, grass fed – happy beef. He ordered it Au Poivre, and true to its name, it came out coated in black pepper. He ordered medium rare, and it came out about medium. We’re thinking it sat for a bit of time while waiting for other dishes in our party, since our waiter had originally advised us that steaks come out rarer than expected. Still, quite enjoyable. The “au poivre” sauce was wonderfully rich and flavorful, and the beef quite tender for a strip steak, especially one that was grass fed.

I got the 22 oz USDA Prime Cowboy Steak ($45), which is a bone-in ribeye. I’m a huge fan of ribeyes, and this was quite a treat. I ordered it rare, and it came out beautifully cool on the outside. If I ever want a black and blue steak, I’m coming back here. The char was great on the outside, if a bit heavy on the blackening seasoning (just a touch overwhelming for the beautiful steak – next time I’d ask them to only season one side, or only char it half as much). I expected the steak to be rare only in the deep center given the dark exterior, but it was rare almost entirely throughout. Outstanding. For an extra $10, I added shaved truffles on top of the steak. The combination was deliciously deep and rich. Lightly cooked beef + truffles? Meaty intensity. I was pretty much in heaven. And there was plenty of fat on the outside of the steak. It was lovely.

We also got some sides to share. The mashed potato trio ($15) was made of lobster, truffle/wild mushroom, and another one I didn’t really manage to try. Heh. I didn’t pull much flavor out of the mashed potatoes, but I was also eating a wildly flavorful main dish, which could have been why.
Creamed spinach ($9), was true to its name and creamy, and the spinach greens were still intact. Yummy – no overcooked mush here!
Grilled asparagus with pecorino ($9) was a very dainty serving. It could have easily served as a side for one. But they were cooked just the right amount and were tender without being too firm or too soft.
We also had a few bottles of red wine. I’d meant only to have a glass to be polite, but my very generous hosts were, well, very generous. I had a few glasses of a Cape May red and a 1995 Ridge. At least I think it was called Cape May. I’m not really sure. We had the Cape May when we were first seated through appetizers and dinner, and once we started our entrees we switched to the ’95 Ridge. I think the Ridge was called “Monte Bello”.
Okay, I’m terrible with wine names and years and such, but these were amazing. The first wine was jammy and pretty darned sweet for a red. It went surprisingly well with our seafood appetizers and I’m pretty sure it goes well with anything.
But that Ridge… oh my gosh. It was a bit richer, thicker, and was even sweeter than the Cape May. I am probably doing them a disservice in continuing to describe either of these fine wines, but jammy smooth barely even cuts it. It’s like it lightly stuck a little bit to my tongue to linger around and be delicious.
I found both wines to be even more enjoyable on their own, as opposed to sipped right after having a bite of food, so I tended to have water after a bite of food, followed by wine. They were just phenomenal that way!

We finished up dinner with a tasting of liquor and dessert. We got a tasting trio of … I think it was cognac. They were really tasty. I think it was Remy Martin – VSOP, XO, and 1738. One was a 17something (it was a date – like I said, I’m terrible with names) and I really liked that one out of all three. Tons of vanilla and caramel notes, and went down really smooth. Albany John got one of them on the rocks, and bleck – way too many rocks for me! Albany John usually has one or two cubes to open up the flavors when he has a whiskey or scotch, but only mentioned “rocks”, so on the rocks it came. I think whatever it was we drank would be great with a bit of water to open the flavor up a touch more, but on the rocks really muted the flavors. It was really fun to have it neat and on the rocks to compare – such a huge difference in flavor!

For dessert we split some carrot cake ($12) and trio of chocolates. The carrot cake was huge! I think it was about 7 or more layers! It rivals Jo Jo’s carrot cake, that’s how awesome it is (although I’d have to eat a slice of each of them side-by-side to tell for sure, hee hee). Soft yet rich frosting, fluffy and moist cake studded with raisins and nuts. Great ending to the meal.

The trio of chocolates was comprised of a flourless chocolate cake, mousse, and swiss roll. I’m not a big chocolate fan, but these were impossible to resist. The flourless chocolate cake was just dense enough, the mousse ephemerally light, and the swiss roll pleasantly creamy. A lovely way to end our meals, and they were all the perfect temperature. Just a hair cooler than room temp – not chilled to death in a refrigerator or anything.
Dinner at The Prime was definitely one of the best meals I’ve had out in 2010, and Albany John and I were quite happy were were invited out as guests of our hosts. It was a lovely evening overall – the pacing was drawn out enough to allow plenty of conversation, and completely unrushed.
But you guys know that if I ate dessert, it means I wasn’t able to finish all of my entree…

I found my battery at home and couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures of the leftovers I brought home. Don’t those truffles look great?


Beautiful beef, fabulous fat, terrific truffles. I don’t think I could ever have enough truffles.

CSN Stores – Product Review

I’m going to be a greedy blogger. I hope you don’t mind. CSN Stores sells a bunch of different items, like bar tables and stools, but I still harbor a fodness for their cookware. They have offered me some gift certificates or products to give away to you, my incredibly good looking readers, in the past.

But this time, well, I am feeling just a wee bit ton greedy. This time I will be keeping the $75 gift certificate and using it myself. I really do enjoy my give aways, but here is where you come in: Wanna suggest something I need to try? I already have a surprising amount of kitchen stuff, but there is always the urge for more. Or maybe silverware or new plates. I have no idea. This is where you guys come in.

Cholula Hot Sauces


For someone who doesn’t have much of a heat tolerance, I have a surprising amount of spicy condiments in my fridge. Some get used quicker than others, but I love the searing kick of something hot and spicy. When I was offered the chance to try out four of Cholula‘s hot sauces, I jumped at it.


I pretty much said “OH HECK YES!! I LOOOOVE CHOLULA!” and then ran to Albany John to be like “Oh my gosh! I’m getting free Cholula to try!! They make flavors we’ve never had before!” and “I swear to God, if you open that package before I do and try them, I. Will. Cut. You.” So great is my love of Cholula.




I’ve had the original a bunch of times to know that it’s good stuff. It straddles the border between spicy and painful, adding flavor and heat to whatever you slather it on. The original is good stuff, and a nice combination of piquin and arbol chiles that add a warm heat to dishes. I’ve also gotta say it is wildly easy to eat in large batches. I’ve seen them at Hannaford for about $2.89 per bottle. Not bad, but the way I can go through it, yikes, that could add up quickly.



I’ve never seen the chili garlic Cholula hot sauce, and holy moly, if you love the original, get the chili garlic! I love it! Sadly it is unavailable at Hananford, so I’ll see if I can’t order it online. Just the right amount of garlic flavor. I think I like it better than the original.

If the original and chili garlic Cholulas are the warm flavors, I’d classify the chipole and chili lime Cholulas as the cooler/tarter flavors. They had more of a vinegar note than the originals. The chipotle was good, but oh man, it had nothing on that chili garlic. Hannaford also sells the Chipotle Cholula, which might be better than the Tabasco Chipotle. I will have to try them both to compare, since Tabasco Chipotle has been one of my fave hot sauces for the past few years now.

The chili lime had tons of lime flavor. I thought it would be more of a back note. Out of all of them, this was probably my least favorite, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Albany John loved it, and we’ve pretty much found out that we have opposing heat preferences. I tend to like the heat that is slower to build up and lingers, while he loves the quick and punchy hot sauces. Lemme put it this way, if you like Sriracha, you’ll like the chipotle and chili lime Cholula hot sauces.

I sampled the Cholula hot sauces with some homemade fish tacos, but dudes, Cholula goes well on just about everything. They’re great with eggs, with meat, beans… I haven’t really found a savory dish I don’t like it with.

Don’t let the restaurants Cholula advertises as being at fool you (I’m looking at you, IHOP and TGI Friday’s), they’re the real deal when it comes to flavor and balance.

I hope you will love them too, and then you can hang out with me and we can eat foods slathered in Cholula, but you should probably BYOB of Cholula, because if you use the last of my Cholula I. Will. Cut. You.

Snow Beverages

So I don’t know if you guys know this, but I love free stuff. If someone says “Hey, would you like something for free?” I will always say “yes”. This is why I have a skirt two sizes too small, a silicone crocodile cake mold, and two electric sandwich makers.

But it’s also why I have a glass cover that perfectly fits a pan that didn’t have a top. I love it when things work out so well, and when free stuff is actually good.

Well folks, strap on your schwag belts, because we’re in for a ride on something both free (for some of you) and good.

Lemme introduce you to Snow Beverages. They’re the new kid on the block, offering up some naturally made sodas, made by a former Indie rocker from the band Channeling Owen. Well, pshh, sign me up for some indie hipster sodas. I like the back story already.

Well, here’s the deal. They use natural flavorings and colors, toss in some vitamins, and their sodas are lightly carbonated. They have Cranberry Pom Raz, Lemon-Lime, and Cola. They are in the process of making some low-cal sodas, but these 12 oz sodas hang out in the 110-120 calorie range.

And they use REAL SUGAR (“natural cane sugar” per their ingredient list), not high fructose corn syrup. I’m more of a diet kind of gal because I don’t like the viscosity or density of most regular sodas. But the light carbonation and lack of HFCS makes this a regular soda I can get down with.

Another thing I like is that they’re all caffeine free. Sometimes I can get a little sensitive to caffeine, so it’s nice to have an uncaffeinated option.

Cola tastes kind of like a light Coke with lime thing going on, which I am guessing is from the ascorbic acid added for vitamin C. Most uncaffeinated colas tend to suck, but I didn’t notice any off flavors here.
The Lemon-Lime was like Sierra Mist, only a little lighter and less bubbly. I guess the best way to describe it would be to be kind of like a combo of super-flavored seltzer, and lightly flavored regular soda. Albany John liked how refreshing the Lemon-Lime flavor was.

However, my hands down favorite flavor was the Cranberry Pom Raz. Oh man, talk about tasty, tart, and juicy. There were noticeable flavors of cranberry (the main flavor), and kicks of pomegranate and raspberry in the background. This also made one awesome mixer for instant suped up cape codders. Vodka + Cranberry Pom Raz = tart cocktail-y goodness.

Now, on to the free stuff. As you can tell, I got a free T-Shirt. I don’t usually like the free shirts companies include with free stuff. Well, scratch that, I like them, but I don’t usually end up wearing them because they’re a guy’s large and only good as a sleeping shirt for me. Either that, or my husbear takes them since they fit him better than me. But Snow’s shirt has a cute snow flake design on them, and they actually sent me not one, but TWO women’s medium shirts. And you can have one of them! From my Myspace style self-pics and crappy editing (minus the exposed boobage), you can see how cute it looks.

They also sent me some cute “free kiss” coupons, which you can hand out to your friends if you want to kiss them for coupons. Kitchy, but cute, ya know?

AND they also packed in some buy one get one free coupons to boot. And some buttons. But way more coupons than buttons.

I am very refreshilicious. And you can be too.

Which brings me to the giveaway part. Likely, if you comment, you will get something. But maybe you will win the big prize. A free 12 pack of snow sodas (4 of each flavor) shipped to you from Snow Beverages. They are tasty. You want to try these sodas. Especially for free.

The medium prize will be the women’s medium t-shirt (unused, but if you really want my dirty t-shirt…), buy-one-get-one coupons, a button, and kiss coupons. The medium shirt fits like a snug junior’s large. If you wear a medium/large top, it’ll probably fit you.

Smaller prizes will be some buy-one-get-one coupons, kiss coupons, or buttons. They are smaller, but if you like getting a little something in the mail, you’ll like one of these.

Okay, so to win, you should live in the US, have a valid email address in the post, and say what you’re posting for, like this:

“Big PRIZZEEEE!!”

“Omg, Albany Jane, this is so awesome, I want them all, but okay, I’ll go for a small prize”

Hopefully you get the idea. If you win, I’ll send you an email asking for your home address, pin number, and mother’s maiden name.

Contest closes on Thursday evening!! Get to commenting!