Food, Just For Fun, Uncategorized

For My Brother: Turning Guiltless Pleasures Into Guilty Ones

He may or may not be enjoying the goodie bags I provided to attendees of my...27th birthday Medieval Times.

Today is my brother’s birthday. I don’t think he reads this blog, but I guess I love him anyway. (He did comment once! Back in July, to let me know he was uncomfortable learning we both want to make-out with Emma Watson.)

My brother’s IQ hovers roughly above the 1.5 billion mark, or more accurately, around the place where he posts pictures like this on his Facebook wall just to confuse me:

Right now he’s wrapping up the last semester of law school, where he’s on a free ride thanks to his disgusting ability to earn perfect scores on all standardized tests, including the LSATs. Though it sounds like we don’t have much in common, whenever I think back on my comedic influences, my brother is there.

Four years my senior, he introduced me to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and DuckTales, which morphed into an Animaniacs obsession. After that, it was repeat viewings of Spaceballs and The Princess Bride (which he could recite in its entirety, with the voices, by the way). We spent countless hours watching Mystery Science Theater 3000, Whose Line is it Anyway? and Amazing Johnathan (who later helped execute my marriage proposal – as part of his show!).

When my brother sent an email to the family saying he wanted “chimichangas and sh*t” for his birthday dinner, my chipmunk heart rejoiced. But just when I thought we were kindred spirits, he sent another email asking us to make donations in his name to WNYC, in lieu of birthday presents.

Because I’d already started gathering gifts Because this guiltless -though typical of him- gesture threw my birthday-loving world off-kilter, I decided to make the donation and then get to work.

In order to make a good balance-restoring gift basket of Guilty Pleasure Wonder for a selfless sibling, you will need:

  • Peanut Butter & Company Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • Candy, e.g., caramel coffee-flavored Werther’s
  • Chocolate-covered potato chips

In order to make a magical balance-restoring gift basket of Guilty Pleasure Wonder for a selfless sibling, you must add:

  • Shamelessness


  • Chocolate-Covered Bacon!!!

Yes, this is a real thing, and yes, it is worth every penny of its somewhat alarming price tag. Vosges makes Mo’s Bacon Bar, which many learned about a few years ago thanks to the all-knowing Oprah. My wise, caring husband bought me a couple of bars a while back, and my life has never been the same. There are tiny bits of crunchy, salty, melt-in-your-mouth bacony goodness ensconced in some of the creamiest, most delicious milk chocolate I’ve ever tasted. It’s euphoric. Go buy some. Now. I’ll wait. (And if Vosges would like to send me any free chocolate for this endorsement, I guess that would be okay with me.)

My brother claims he’s married to Chocolate-Covered Bacon on Facebook (though lately “it’s complicated”). Chocolate-Covered Bacon even has its own Facebook page:

It seemed only fitting that I present him with a tangible representation of his beloved this birthday season:

I do. Oh-hoh yes, I so do.

And just to be sure the guilty pleasure stars were realigned, I made a guilt-ridden family favorite for dessert (double the cream cheese frosting, thank you very much). Guess what kind of cake it is?

Happy birthday, Bryan! May you accept this post as a staggering donation to the Awesomest Sisters of The Universe Foundation.

What’s the coolest birthday present you’ve ever given/gotten?

30 thoughts on “For My Brother: Turning Guiltless Pleasures Into Guilty Ones”

  1. my birthday is november….i’m just sayin’…

    for my 21st birthday all my ‘friends’ took all my belongings out of my dorm room except for the small refrigerator which they packed with whipped cream filled condoms. then they presented me with a sheet cake that read “Happy Birthday Queer”

    i don’t go to college reunions….

    1. I don’t know if all the gift baskets in the world would make up for the emotional scars your college roommates left behind. But I could try? 😉

  2. Um, my b’day is in November too! And I think you are the best gift giver ever. I’m terrible at giving gifts. I’m not kidding. I’m a bad shopper. You have mad skills and themes! Wow! Do you want to plan the rest of Cal’s bar mitzvah? Please? We can change the theme to chipmunks! Do you think the boys will go for pink slap bracelets? 😉

    1. I refuse to believe you are a bad shopper, Renee. I heard about the coat you wore and shopping you did in New Orleans.

      Turns out big bro didn’t give a shiz about the gift basket, and didn’t even get the chocolate-bacon bride joke, LOL Maybe I should turn to Bar Mitzvahs to save my reputation??

        1. Thanks, Renee! 🙂 I was feeling less-than-chipmunky after his reaction! (He was mad anyone got him presents, and didn’t even want to open it!!!)

  3. The guy on the left is Alan Alda, right? Nailed it!

    Actually, I can’t see a picture of Carl Sagan without muttering something about the cosmos containing “biiiiilleyuns and biiiiilleyuns” of stars, or something to that effect. Then I giggle to myself and wonder why no one gets me.

    1. I ALSO execute the billllions and billlions line upon any sighting of Carl Sagan, Mr. Byronic – it’s practically required. If she had gifted a beloved brother with a heapin’ dose of Alan Alda’s preachy pontification, which is what the once-excellent MASH morphed into at the end, she would be a lousy sister indeed.

  4. What does it say about me that I know who both people are in that picture?

    About the chocolate bacon….I love chocolate. I love bacon, but for some reason the two together just doesn’t sound very appetizing. Guess I have to go out and buy a couple pounds to test my theory.

    1. It says you’re a SMARTY, Darla, but we knew that already! 🙂

      I thought the same thing about the chocolate-covered bacon, but I promise you, it is DIVINE! It’s sort of like chocolate-covered nuts or pretzels. Like salty, crunchy goodness, and the quality of the chocolate really puts it over the top!

  5. It looks like you’ve done your all to make him happy — what a fantastic sister!

    My family didn’t celebrate my birthday, really (I am a living Cinderella, sans prince–damn it) but when I first started working at the place I’ve been for almost 16 years, I couldn’t BELIEVE the lengths people went to, the decorations, I think I had 3 cakes presents…just so much. It was amazing to be thought of, let alone by people who only knew me a few months. Incredible!

    1. Your office is obviously in an alternate universe from mine. My colleagues have steadfastly forgotten my birthday for 10 years running. Can we trade?

    2. Apparently not, madtante, since he was mad people got him presents!!! It actually didn’t go over well at all [with him] – can you believe that shiz?! LOL

      That is awesome about your co-workers. It’s always amazing when things like that happen unexpectedly. When I turned 21, one of the patients at the doctor’s office where my mom works brought a (REALLY nice, good) cake in so she could give it to me! I’ve never even MET this woman! Wild, right??

  6. It occurs to me that you have a fab career opportunity here in Jules Guilty Pleasures gift baskets – you’re a genius! My birthday is in August.

  7. Mmm…carrot cake.

    I’m what’s wrong with the world. Craaaap. And I miss Duck Tales…and Animaniacs. Since I don’t have a gift basket (ahem, June, ahem), I’ll have to drown my sorrows in graham crackers and my own dark chocolate PB. Le sigh.

    1. It was gooood, too, I gotta say! Everyone took a slice and then my brother just started eating the rest (over half a cake) with a fork, LOL

      We’ll be what’s wrong with the world together 😉 We can not care while we eat cake and watch Animaniacs!

      Speaking of carrot cake and graham crackers, have you ever tried cream cheese icing on graham crackers? It’s kinda like Dunkaroos. YUM.

  8. Wait a minute!! My birthday just passed . . . I didn’t see a special gojulesgo gift basket delivered to my front porch!! What gives?? 🙂

    You are like the best sister ever! That is a truly inspired present. Bravo!

    1. Why thank ya! Right about now, I’m REALLY regretting not hanging onto one of those bacon-chocolate bars. He would have never known the difference…

  9. A little late, I know, but in the future you might consider adding some award-winning bacon vodka to the mix — the better to compliment your chocolate-covered bacon, don’t you know.

    Bacon vodka is selling like hotcakes at my work.

    I enjoy your writing.

    1. Ohhh yesss. I love vodka, and I love bacon, so…I think I need to take the plunge. I can’t even begin to imagine what it tastes like. Do people mix it with anything? Maybe..tomato juice?

      Thank you so much! Just left you a comment over on your (very impressive!) blog!

  10. This will teach me for reading late and in reverse, because Carl Sagan saying “billions and billions” is now drowning out Ross the Interns charming giggle in my head! Dang-it!

    And, you are the rock star of gift-giving! If, (as you disclosed in the comment thread with Renée) your bro didn’t get the thoughtfulness behind those gifts, you have discovered the one test he would not get a perfect score on.

    As for the coolest birthday present I’ve ever gotten…I’l a November baby,too, so I’d have to say it’s the one I enjoy every year…the crisp, pre-snow, fall days. Followed closely of course by the new Chevy Blazer my husband gave me one year. 🙂 I think a Jules basket would trump them all though!

    1. LOL You may just have to watch the Ross video again! I actually did watch it multiple times before and after putting up that post. It is just so delightful in every way.

      Thanks so much for your support of the gift basket! I think I need to do a guilty pleasure gift basket giveaway this year…Oooh. Yes. It will happen. Although I don’t know if it can trump a NEW CAR! 😉

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