Thursday, February 9, 2012


My friends and misdirected Google users, a wonderful, year-making event has occurred. It has changed me. I am a changed woman.


(Things I am painfully aware that I am still incapable of: basic mental math, eating mushrooms without shuddering and writing a blog post in less than five [5] hours.)

For you see, earlier this week I WON A FREE YEAR'S SUPPLY OF GREAT GRAINS CEREAL.

Imagine this box, but times twenty-four (24).

(Are we all applauding now? Just me? Surely one of you must be clapping now, right? No?)

funny gifs

Okay, there we go. THANK YOU. Someone who gets it.

Now, let me take you behind the scenes and give you a glimpse of how one wins a free year's supply of Great Grains cereal. It hasn't been easy. 

For the past few weeks, Great Grains has been holding a photo competition called "Raise the Seam." To enter, all you had to do was submit a picture of yourself with a cereal flake, making sure that the grain's seam down the middle was clearly displayed.

This thing.

There were two (2) phases to this competition, each running for about a week. You could submit a new photo each day and at the end of the week, the almighty Great Grains judges would select their favorite five (5). It was highly encouraged that you display both creativity and enthusiasm for Great Grains in your submissions.

A Great Grains-themed photo contest? Please. I was born for this. I knew this was a challenge I was going to...accept.


...Kinda. I somehow missed the boat on Phase One (1) of the competition (goddamn you, full-time employment!) and only managed to submit a single photo on the last day. I knew it had to be something special, something eye-catching, and yes, perhaps something fear-provoking.


...and I did not win. I was rejected. I lost. I lost while wearing a blue, shiny bolero jacket. Where is the justice in that?

Oh, sure, Great Grains tried to placate me by saying "Great photo!" but I mean, come on. Actions speak louder than words.  Clearly they HATED it. Phase One (1) was an abysmal bust. 

I only had one more chance. It was time for Phase Two. 

But like any successful project, it must begin with a cereal-themed photo shoot. My talented roommate/photographer Heather and I sat down with a storyboard to create a vision. Tens upon tens of photos were snapped. Stress levels? High. Makeup was applied, including eyeliner (EYELINER. That's major). There were multiple costume changes. Phrases such as "giving good face" and "losing your neck" were tossed about way too freely. Character back stories were created. One had lived several past grain-filled lives. 

Thirteen (13) hours later, we had our shots for the week. The following pictures were submitted to Great Grains, one for each contest day. I included captions whenever I felt it added something. 


Submitted with the keenly observed caption: "You can raise the seam anywhere, really. Even outside."

Submitted with the sadly true caption: "A romantic night at home is not complete without Great Grains I think. You don't even need anyone else."

"Great Grains are great for an active lifestyle."

You don't need a caption when you're wearing a bolero jacket. 

After my final submission, all I could do was sit and wait for an entire weekend while the judges deliberated. I'm not gonna lie. It was a rough weekend. I can finally understand how the contestants on America's Next Top Model feel during the judging panels. I could only hope that the Tyra Banks and Nigel Barker of Great Grains could tell that I really wanted it, for all of the right reasons.

It's also important to note that I didn't enter the Great Grains contest to make friends.

The days dragged. I was tense, maybe a little irritable. It's hard to relax and unwind to a third viewing of "Lovewrecked"  (our current favorite house movie) when you know your entire professional reputation is at stake.  I didn't know if I could take being humiliated by Great Grains yet again. I'm strong, but not THAT strong. 

But still pretty strong. 

On Tuesday morning, on an extended break from work that my boss surely wouldn't care about, I logged onto Facebook. I was hoping for this so hard that I wouldn't even let myself think about the possibility of winning. But in my Newsfeed, which usually serves as a daily reminder that my life is really boring and I don't have an iPhone, I was greeted by a familiar scene. A coyly smiling face cradling a cereal flake much like a mother cat cradles her kitten but with her teeth, or how Samwise the hobbit cradles his goatskin of brandywine after getting wrecked at the Shire. 

You get what I'm saying here, right? Screw it. It was me holding a piece of cereal.

"BIG congrats to Samantha C., Scott S., Connie F., Jennifer S. and April S.! You've won a year's supply of Great Grains for entering our "Raise the Seam" contest! Your photos made us smile and laugh -- we couldn't ask for better fans! We'll be in touch with you soon. Fans, we've got more exciting promotions coming up, so watch this spot!"

I, Samantha Clark, had just won a year's supply of Great Grains.

I didn't even know how to process this news. It was like all of my life's dreams, everything I've worked for in the past five (5) years, had just come true in a single Facebook post. The day was a blur--I completed my release form, filled out my flavor preferences (Crunchy Pecans, duh!) and received congratulations and warm wishes all day long. I felt like I had gotten engaged or given birth to multiple babies. But this news was better because it was free cereal and that will last forever.

You and me, GG. That's all I need...and my young adult book collection. And my cat. And my lava lamp and my bathrobe and that's all I need.

Has winning the Great Grains contest made me a different person? Yes. One hundred percent. It's hard for me to remember a time when I hadn't been a Great Grains contest winner. My roommates say it's difficult to live with me now, that I'm "drunk with power." I say "tell it to my 24 boxes of cereal."

Maniacal laugh...maniacal laugh...

But that's why I'm going to try my best to stay humble and remember my roots. My various missteps. Had I submitted other pictures from our shoot, there's a great chance that I would still be like one of you today. There were plenty of pictures that would have been perfect for "Not-Quite-Great Grains." Or "Women-Prisoners-Enjoy-Cereal-Too-Grains." Or "Is-that-Actually-Sweat-and-is-it-Actually-Dripping-onto-her-Sports-Bra-Grains"?  Or "Is-Cereal-Supposed-to-Make-Me-Feel-So-Uncomfortable-Grains?"


We tried a series where cereal flakes rained down upon me. While we really wanted it to work, ultimately we had to admit defeat. The flakes just made the camera lens look dusty and in several shots it looked like I had huge chunks of dandruff. No go.

"Too intense," said Heather. Well, actually Heather said this one was perfect and that I should definitely submit it (do you ever have that weird feeling that sometimes your friends don't have your best interests at heart?), but I went with my gut which said "too intense."

Too sexy. Way, way, waaaaay too sexy. 

I think there was a rule about no bodily fluids, so this one got the axe. 

This one made me feel vaguely uncomfortable every time I looked at it, so no. 

My plan for the rest of the month is to bask in the glory of this and also update my resume's "Accomplishments" section. I feel like the world just said to me "Hey, your birthday's coming up. Let's give you a gift so magnificent, so wonderful, so perfectly crafted just for you that all of your friend's gifts shall pale in comparison." And I said, "OKAY!"

I'd like to say thank you, thank you, thank you to Great Grains, for bestowing this overwhelming honor upon me. I promise I will not let you down. I'd like to thank my Mom, for always believing in me and telling me never to give up on my dreams of winning a year's supply of my favorite cereal.  And I'd like to thank Heather, for indulging me in yet another Great Grains photoshoot. 

Vintage GG photo shoot, c. 2010. What an amateur. 


  1. Thank you, Anonymous! Won't you give a hint to your true self? Are you a spy from Great Grains? You can trust me...

  2. This blog has become the highlight of my late night internet boredom browsing. Way to go Sam!

  3. I always new you'd make it. Beautiful photos.

  4. Wow, thank you all for the wonderful comments! Anon 1--I'm so glad to be part of your late night boredom ritual. I promise to post more than once (1 time) a month to do my part.

    Anon 2--Thanks so much! Here's hoping that Great Grains has another photo contest so more extravagant pictures can be taken. :)

  5. I'm so happy I was misdirected by Google to your blog! I can't stop laughing,thank you ��

  6. Misdirected Google User, I am so happy, too. Thank you for reading, for laughing and for commenting. May your grains always be great!