Sunday, June 30, 2013

While I may have mentioned Meet-Up previously, I have yet to dedicate an entire post to this website. It is awesome! I am so glad someone invented this idea. Humans are social animals, so it's normal that we want to be around other people a lot of the time. But, it can be tricky to meet new people, let alone find new friends who share your same interests. Enter Meet-Up. has thousands of groups to choose from, and you can pick one (or several!) that fits in with your proximity, what you're into, what demographic you want to meet, etc. Some are very broad ("Let's Have Fun in DC!" group) to very specific ("Bethesda moms with French poodles"). I am part of a lot of groups (though I have yet to interact with them all), and they each serve their own purpose. The tennis Meet-Up I go to lets me practice my game; the "20's and 30's" social groups I joined let me simply socialize with people my own age over drinks; Bethesda groups allow me to make new friends without traveling far. And it's free to join! And while some activities do have a cost, the majority of them are free and just meant to get you out there. So try it! You might like it!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

AT&T National golf tournament

I had a Living Social deal to see the AT&T National golf tournament today. I bought two tickets so that I could take my dad, who plays golf regularly. Neither of us had been to a tournament in person before, so we thought it would be fun. And fun it was! For one, it was a beautiful day out, with plenty of sunshine and a nice breeze to cool things off. What better way to spend a summer day than taking a long stroll? Also, even though I've watched golf on TV plenty of times, it was interesting to see the game in person, like any sport. The golfers make every stroke look so easy, even though I know golf is actually very complicated! It was also cool to see famous players in the flesh, like Vijay Singh (Tiger Woods wasn't there because he supposedly has a boo boo on his elbow...). It was such a fun, new experience!

If I ever were to go again, I would change a few things. For one, I'd scope the surrounding area out for the cheapest, closest parking spot. Many home owners opened their lawns to parking for $20, which worked out perfectly, but closer is always convenient when you know you're going to be walking outside in the heat for a couple of hours! I would also bring a big tote bag for all of the free goodies you get at the entrance, like tees, golf balls, koozies, etc., since my Vera Bradley bag could barely handle the load. A picnic blanket or sheet would come in handy, too. While it's definitely fun to walk around the course to see all of the different holes, it would also have been pleasant to place a blanket in the shade and just enjoy seeing all of the different players come through at one spot (although since I didn't go to the gym today, the ~5 mile walk today was my exercise). We enjoyed eating our burgers and soda on the grass, but a homemade picnic would have been nice as well (you just have to be sneaky!).

But honestly, the day could not have gone better. My dad and I had wonderful weather, we got in some good golf-watching and got some fresh air, the food, though casual, satisfied our hunger (I love me some frozen lemonade), and we spent a lovely afternoon with one another. A perfect Daddy-daughter day!

Friday, June 28, 2013

I am a Gibson Girl

Until yesterday, I didn't know what a Gibson Girl was. But after reading an article about Gibson's illustrative creation in the Washington Post Express, I can now have a new identifier for myself.

A Gibson Girl has all of the qualities that I possess (or at least I like to think so. I'm working on it!). For one, she's beautiful: she dresses in the latest styles and always looks feminine. But she's not weak. She's athletic (which meant riding bikes in the late 1800's but now means going to the gym regularly, practicing yoga, playing tennis, etc.). She's educated and cultured, having attended college and taking enjoyment in the arts (I became a member of the Kennedy Center this year!). She also knows that when it comes to dating (or I suppose "courting" in those days), she has the upper hand. In the end, she makes the decision of which suitor to choose, and she will not settle.

THIS is my idea of a feminist. Neither Gibson nor I identify a feminist (in a positive way) as a woman who pickets at a rally or dresses like a man or doesn't take care of her body because she's not going to conform to society's idea of beauty. A feminist in my eyes is a woman who makes the choice to be a strong woman. Strong in the body and mind, but feminine in demeanor and looks. Being beautiful and having a body that could be considered the "ideal" for men in America doesn't discount a woman (i.e. me) from being a feminist. Demonstrating her ideas through civil conversation rather than violent or "un-lady-like" behavior also does not mean this woman is not a feminist.

I accept the fact that I am a woman, I love being a woman, and I will use the fact that I am a woman to my advantage. A feminist who victimizes women as the disadvantaged sex is not a feminist at all. I will play the hand that I have been dealt, and I will win.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Keeping Appointments

Maybe it's because I'm an expert at time management, but I just don't understand why people/offices/businesses cannot keep appointment times. It's already bad enough that my friends can't show up on time, but when it's something really important? I mean, really?

I remember in college setting up office hours meetings with my professors, and frequently the professors would be busy with something/someone else, or not even be there at all! Why did I even bother setting up a specific time to meet with him/her when I was just going to have to sit and wait anyway? The same goes for hair cut appointments: when I say I want an appointment at 9, that doesn't mean I want to sit around for an hour and finally get started at 10. And the other day, I went to get an MRI done on my knee, and the woman at the front desk told me I had missed my appointment, that I was 1.5 hours late. I told her, "I spoke with someone from your office YESTERDAY to confirm my appointment time, and they told me it was at this time." The woman kept giving me the stink eye as if this issue were MY fault.

The fact that I'm in my early 20's and STILL more responsible when it comes to time management than doctors and professors blows my mind. What is the world coming to?!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Yes, this website will spam you with multiple emails a day. However, in general I usually read at least one piece from each email. There is always something on there that piques my interest, whether they are inspirational quotes, tips on de-stressing, or activities to lift your spirits. Even if you aren't a religious person, I still think you can gain something out of these quick slideshows the website puts together.

It's sort of like reading a "Jesus loves you" bumper sticker. Even if you don't believe in Jesus Christ, you still think, "Well, that's a nice sentiment." That's sort of what this website and its emails are like.

"Love with all your brain"

This past weekend, I was chatting with a party bus driver, and I'm not sure how we got on the subject, but he said, "I don't like when people say, 'I love with you all of my heart.' The heart is just an organ to pump blood through your body. You love someone with your brain."

I found this very interesting, and true, too! You really don't love someone with your heart; you love someone with your mind. He brought up the good point that if someone were to become a "vegetable" or to lose his/her memory, just because the heart is still beating, that doesn't mean he/she knows how to love you. How you feel about someone is all in your head. Your brain allows you to feel emotion; your heart just may have physical reactions to that mental emotion (ex. beating really hard and fast when you're nervous or scared).

You never know when or where you may hear some good advice or interesting thoughts! So the next time you really care about someone, tell him/her, "I love you with all of my brain."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Kayaking Preparation

I went kayaking yesterday, and I think it's a great summer activity! But you want to make sure you're ready for it, especially if you're going to be out on the water all day!

1. Footwear: Although you can wear flip-flops or sneakers while kayaking, I do recommend some outdoor shoes especially made for water sports. These shown are Chacos I bought at REI. They are very complicated to get on (all of those straps are really just one loop that goes in and out of the shoe and around your foot!), but that means they are less likely to fall of your feet when kayaking (or if you fall in the water!).

2. Hat: You want to protect your face from the sun when you're on the water. I prefer baseball caps, but a sun hat or visor would do, too.

3. Sunscreen: If it's a sunny day, make sure to put sunscreen on! The sun will be shining on you for several hours, so it's almost like you're sunbathing!

4. Phone Charger: Yes, you can always leave your phone at home, but in our day-and-age, chances are you won't. But when you're in the great outdoors, it can be difficult to charge you phone. Not anymore! I just bought this Evolution on-the-go charger from Groupon. It works wonders! You just charge it using the USB cord it comes with (either connect it to a wall outlet or your computer), and once it's fully charged, you can use it wherever you want to power up your phone! You never have to worry about your phone dying again! That means you can take more photos and videos of your kayaking trip, and then tweet about it, too!

Friday, June 21, 2013

After-work work-outs

I'm a morning work-out person. I think it's a great way to start the day, and it boosts your metabolism, which means you burn more calories throughout the day (bonus!).

But the other day, I got home really late from an event, and I knew I wouldn't be up for going to the gym in the morning. But I had skipped my work-out the day before, so I HAD to exercise at some point. So I went to the gym after work. I realize this is not very strange behavior: plenty of people go to the gym after work, and they probably think I'm crazy for waking up at 6am to hit the gym. But for me it was odd walking to the gym during rush hour traffic.

I did enjoy myself though! I didn't do a very hard work-out, just my usual cardio and an ab circuit. It felt just as good to end my day with a work-out as it does to start the day with one. So, even if you have a normal exercise routine, it's okay to mix it up when your schedule gets a little hectic!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Songs/Movies that reference other songs/movies

I love when songs or movies reference other songs or movies. It sort of feels like an inside joke, as long as you know what they're referring to. Some examples include:

1. Jason Aldean's song "1994" : This song is all about going back in time to 1994, when Joe Diffie was the country singer of choice. Now, if you don't know who Joe Diffie is or haven't heard any of his songs, then "1994" is just another country song to you. But if you DO know who Diffie is, then you get the references in "Your new favorite color is John Deere green" and "So help me girl I'll be your Pick-Up Man." These make the song that much more fun to listen to!

2. Julia Roberts in Valentine's Day: I can't remember if this was actually in the movie or in the deleted scenes, but at one point, Roberts is in a taxi, and the taxi driver mentions that they are on Rodeo Drive, and asks her if she's ever shopped there before. She says, "I did once, actually. But, big mistake. Big. Huge." If you've never seen Pretty Woman, then that means nothing to you. But if you have seen it, then you can't help but laugh out loud when she says that.

3. Star Trek Into Darkness: Since this new Star Trek movie is a prequel, it makes sense that there would be references to the original show/movies. But some of them are so obvious to those who have seen The Wrath of Khan, the second original Star Trek movie. Like when Kirk is stuck in the radioactive area of the ship: that SAME thing happens in the original movie, just with Spock in there instead. The audience won't see those parallels until they've seen the older movie first.

There are a MILLION other examples. Can you name any?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Reel Water Film Festival

Like my post on keeping my social calendar very busy, this past weekend was full of fun stuff. I saw a play on Friday night, and all day Saturday I was at the Reel Water Film Festival.

This film festival has an environmental focus, specifically on the issue of water. Some were very short (just a couple of minutes long) while the last film they showed, Chasing Ice, was over an hour. Some were kind of "artsy-fartsy," others were funny, and some were really touching. I enjoyed seeing all of them, and I'm already looking forward to the 3rd annual event next year!

Another great part of this year's festival was the venue. The films were shown at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club. I had never been in there before, but it is such a cool place! The art-deco style was really neat, and they not only had theater seating but lots of dining tables too in the same area. I'll definitely have to go back to see a real jazz show there, and try the food, too!

And another integral part of the festival is the fact that they encourage green groups to have booths at the event so people can get involved in environmental groups. The list included Bethesda Green, Rock Creek Conservancy, and Amman Imman, along with many others. This way, if you were inspired by the films to take action, you could go directly to one of these groups and learn how you can help!

Hope to see you there next year!

Live Theater

This past weekend, I saw a play at the Round House Theater in Bethesda. I didn't even know the cute little theater was there until a friend asked me if I wanted to see the play Becky Shaw there. The venue is amazing (you can't find a bad seat!), and while the story was about a dysfunctional family, there was plenty of humor and actors were great. I actually ran into one of the actresses the next day on the street, so I was glad I could thank her for her performance in person!

I've never participated in theater myself. Sure, I was part of the "stage crew" in middle school, but that doesn't count. I never acted in any school plays, and honestly had no interest in doing so. However, I could always appreciate how much work the performers put into the shows. Growing up, I would see plays at the Church Hill Theater with my family. We always looked forward to it, especially when you sometimes have little access to live theater out in the country. In college I saw friends perform shows like A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hair. And did you know there is a performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at E Street Cinemas in DC once a month? How cool is that?

I always feel more cultured after seeing a play. I feel like such a grown up. I had so much fun last weekend with my friend. Dinner and a play beats hanging out in a dive bar any day!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I love my body!

I love my body. As a woman, I'm pretty proud of that. In our superficial society, surrounded by stick-thin images of models in magazines and catalogs and television and movies, there are few every-day women who can say they're happy with their bodies. I am confident in the way I look; I even was when I was in college and 20 pounds heavier! I'm looking better than ever, which only makes me work harder to maintain my physique.

I pretty much love every part of my body: The indentation along my spine down my back; the way my shoulder blades protrude when I stand up straight;  my jutting collarbone and noticeable sternum; my flat stomach with the beginnings of a six-pack; my defined biceps and triceps on my arms; and of course my bootylicious backside, my greatest ASS-et. Haha, you see what I did there? Anyway, I always want to show it all off, but then I remember I have to wear clothes.Clothes do an injustice for my body!

I think some people are under the impression that I've always looked good. But I was not born this way. I definitely had my fat, ugly stage in middle school, which I tried to cure by doing Denise Austin workout videos in my bedroom after school (even at a young age a wanted to have a healthier body). In high school I ran track, which was a pretty sad excuse for exercise (seeing as I ran the 100-meter dash, which lasts all of about 16 seconds), and I became a gym rat in college (when your father is paying $50K/year, you better take advantage of the gym!) but ate HUGE portions from the dining hall. After losing a lot of weight after graduation, I was surprised at how good my body looked. I don't know if I had ever looked so slim (and slim, not skinny).

Now I could never go back to my college body. Once you look this way, it gives you a sense of power knowing that you can keep it like this as long as you work at it. I am still a gym rat, yet I try to go at least 5 times a week (including 2-a-days sometimes) instead of every-other day like I did in college. I do cardio, free weights, spinning, yoga, and total body conditioning workout classes. Having a healthy-looking body takes work, but it is so worth it. Every morning you wake up feeling amazing and actually enjoy looking in the mirror at your body. I wish every woman had this same sort of confidence!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Blues Dancing

Last night I went blues dancing for the first time. I was going to get dinner with a friend, and she mentioned that she was going to go to a dancing class afterwards and invited me to come. My first instinct was, "Um, I'd rather just do dinner. Dinner is safe. I'm good at dinner. I know how to do dinner." But then I thought, "No. I'm in my 20's, the prime of my life, and now is the time to try new things and explore new adventures." So I agreed to go with her.

And I am SOOOO glad I did! It was amazing fun, and the night exceeded my expectations by a million miles. I expected there to be eight women in the room, attempting to count while moving their feet back and forth, trying to do something that could be called "dancing." But I was so wrong! First of all, there were more men there than women. WHAT?! I didn't think guys liked doing that kind of thing! Not only that, there were easily 40 people there. Some were newbies like me, others were very experienced, but everyone was friendly and was willing to dance with everyone else. The class part was only about 30 minutes, but it was enough to teach the basic frame, rhythm, and steps. I figured I had the hang of that part, so I felt pretty comfortable.

Then after that, we were off! Song after song, man after man, dance after dance. I enjoyed dancing with so many different people (all more experienced than I was) because they each taught me something new or gave me tips; each had their own style which made it fun to mix things up. I also will admit that usually I am not good at following while dancing or changing up the routine (surprise!). But this experience allowed me to do both: I had no idea what I was doing, so I had to follow the man's lead, and since I only knew the very basics, things got switched up very quickly and I just had to go with the flow. It was so refreshing, and definitely a good feeling to step out of my comfort zone.

Plus, it was quite an ego-booster. I was in a cute dress, one of the few women wearing high heels (I actually find it easier to dance in heels. They give me better posture, and just make me feel sexier!), and there were so many men asking me to dance that I didn't sit out during any of the songs. And I usually think of myself to be a good dancer in general, but it was nice to have that reaffirmed with all of these guys telling me I'm a good dancer, especially for my first time blues dancing. And this isn't meant to be creepy at all, but it also feels good just to touch someone. You know what I mean? I remember one summer living with my grandmother (who is not a touchy-feely person), and just feeling deprived of that social contact, even hugs! So dancing let me feel that human connection again, just having someone hold you next to them. We're social animals, so it was a good feeling.

So, I am obviously doing this again. Like, every week if I can manage it. People are always telling me I need a new hobby. Well, I may just have found it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Vegetarians/Vegans/Picky Eaters/etc.

Besides my MSG allergy (read more here), I pretty much can eat anything. Growing up, there was no room to be a picky eater. You either ate what Mom made for dinner, or you were going to bed hungry. But she wasn't one of those parents who made you eat everything on your plate (I always hated my friends' parents who were like that), but you had to eat a little bit of everything (it was called the "3 bites rule" which meant taking three bites of everything, and then you didn't have to eat anymore if you didn't want to). This ensured that I would not be a picky eater.

And I could never restrict myself from food like vegetarians and vegans do. For one, I like meat, eggs, cheese, etc. And all of those things are good for you in moderation. I like my calcium and iron, thank you very much! And of course everyone has different reasons for limiting their food options. The reason doesn't matter to me: it's the way you handle yourself about your diet. For one, don't brag about it. No one cares. Secondly, do not ruin everyone else's good time. If all of your friends want to go to a certain restaurant, and you're the only one who has an issue with it because you'll have to eat a boring salad, suck it up. It's simply rude to put your needs before the group's. Besides, most likely you put these restrictions upon yourself; you chose this lifestyle, so you're doing to have to deal with the fact that most people (in America at least) are not like you. And if you do agree to eat at the restaurant with your friends, do NOT make a face at them when they order burgers and say, "Ew, how can you eat that?" If you behave in this manner, I guarantee you will begin to lose friends, and quickly. And all of this goes for picky eaters: either grow up and expand your food horizons, or pack a PB&J sandwich with you at all times just in case. Don't make me listen to you complain about how you don't like vegetables because they're "icky." Really? Did you never leave the elementary school cafeteria?

Part of being an adult is taking care of yourself. I think the only way I'd be considered a picky eater is that I mainly eat healthy things (okay, besides dessert). Fried chicken is not my food of choice. But if someone wants to go to KFC, you know I'll be there tasting all of their sides (the sides are so good! Best coleslaw ever!). So eat a healthy diet, but don't push it on other people. We don't like it!

Social calendar

In college, it was very easy to be social. Everyone around you was your age, and you were with them 24/7, whether it was in class, study groups, meals, parties, sorority meetings, etc. But once you graduate, making plans to hang out gets more complicated.

For one, people have to work. So unless you work with your friends, already 8 hours are gone from the day when you cannot be with them. And although a lot of people work 9 to 5, that's not true for everyone. Some people work longer hours after the work day, and some have completely different work shifts. So that throws a wrench into things.

Then, you don't all live in the same place. In college, pretty much everyone lived on campus, and you could get anywhere walking in less than 20 minutes. Now of course we're spread out all over the country (world!), and even those living in the same city with you cannot be reached without a long metro ride. Trying to calculate travel time into your social activities can be exhausting in and of itself.

And now you have more than just your college friends. At school you hung out with the same people (your team mates from whatever sport you played, or your Greek house, etc.), but now everyone has made new friends in the "real world," so there's more competition to see your favorite people.

This is all very frustrating. I became very used to the social life of college, and I find it hard to be alone. Nothing is worse for me than coming home after work and having to eat dinner and watch a Netflix movie by myself: these nights are signs that tell me I have no friends and no one likes me. I know this isn't true, but that's how I feel. So I try to keep my calendar jam-packed with social activities, ideally for 5 nights a week (I have done 7 nights a week and it's too much. So 2 nights alone for me is okay, as long as I'm not watching TV. Yoga classes and reading usually fill my time then).  I have dinner with friends, go to happy hours with co-workers, see a show at the Kennedy Center with someone, ANYTHING to get me out of the house so I'm not stuck there alone.

Hence why I plan ahead. ALL the time. God forbid I get stuck when a friend cancels on me and I'm lonely in my apartment. This also explains why I visit my parents so much: at least I usually know where they are at all times, and they'll always want to see me. I'd rather be bored with my parents than bored alone!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

1950's Housewife

It's very difficult to discuss my views on marriage with a Feminazi (i.e. a rude Feminist). I believe in women's rights, equal pay, freedom of choice, etc., but my ideas on marriage are quite traditional.

1. Cooking: Although I definitely love a man who can cook, I assume that I will do the majority of the cooking once I'm married. And that doesn't bother me! I think it would be rewarding to have my husband come home and dinner is on the table, ready to go. And it might be kind if fun to pack him a lunch every day before work. Now I'm not saying that I would cook EVERY meal EVERY day (I refuse to let leftovers go to waste!), but after a man has been slaving away at the office for 8 (maybe more hours), I think he deserves a nice, home-cooked meal.

2. Cleaning: Since living on my own, I have become a neat-freak (see here). I take pride in making my living space look presentable, not only for guests but for myself. And when I am married, I plan on doing the same thing. Of course I don't enjoy dusting or cleaning the bathtub, but the end result is very rewarding. If I would already clean my own place regularly, why wouldn't I do the same for the home my husband and I live in? And the same argument stands: after working all day, my husband shouldn't have to walk in the door and be handed a mop and rag with me telling him, "Get to work."

I realize that the fact that I only list these two items does give the impression that this is all women are good for, and that's certainly not how I feel. But I can't list "raising children" since I myself do not want them. And maybe this is a cynical view, but I really do think these are two of the main reasons men get married. Of course he loves you and you're his best friend and blah blah blah, but I bet he gets off on the idea of not having to eat Ramen noodles or run a vacuum cleaner again.

And of course you're thinking, "Well, are you going to stop working once you get married?" Probably not. I know what it feels like to be unemployed, and it is BORING. There are too many hours in the day to be able to fill them all without some sort of work. But ideally I'd like to work part-time so that I do have more time to be at home. Even working 9-3 would give me two extra hours at night to cook, clean, run errands, etc.

Also, there are certainly benefits that women reap from marriage as well. It's nice having someone else unclog the drain (even though it's my hair that's clogging it up), take care of the car, and figure out how to file our taxes (yay, tax benefits for married couples!). It's give-and-take on what men and women get out of marriage (besides happiness and love of course [insert sarcastic smirk here]).

And if you're one of those women saying, "Well, I'd make my husband cook and clean for ME!" here's my response: Unless you're a very high-powered woman (CEO, attorney, etc.), no man is going to want to marry you. End of discussion.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Beyonce's song "Yes"

I was listening to Beyonce's Dangerously in Love album (old school!), and came across this gem:

Here's the chorus:

I said yes to your number
And yes to you dating me
Yes we can be together
But you gotta wait for me
The first time I said no
Its like I never said yes

I said yes we can be together
Yes you can stay with me
But when I say no not tonight
You actin so ungratefully
The first time I said no
Its like I never said yes

Although I'd rather not generalize about men, I can't help it. I can't tell you how many times I myself have been in this same situation. I like someone, he likes me, we talk and go out for a little while, and then *poof*! He vanishes as soon as I say I won't have sex with him. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but should I really have to sleep with a guy on the third date to keep him interested? I realize humans are indeed animals and therefore (biologically) our number one goal in life is to procreate. But we ARE humans, and therefore can consciously make decisions that may go against our instinctual nature. I feel like many women have made this leap: how about it, Gentlemen? Are you ready to stop playing the "missing link" and become full-grown Homo sapiens?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Speed Dating

As a single woman in the city, I have tried speed dating since it seems to be the next best thing to online dating (Sorry, OkCupid. Maybe one day I'll come back to you.). I've done it twice, and here's what I think: though it's an entertaining way to spend an evening, it's not the way to meet "The One." I prefer to have a busy schedule, planning something for at least 5 nights a week. Therefore, I would rather go speed dating than sit alone at home. It's fun because you have the chance to get dressed up, you meet some new people, and you can tell yourself you have a social life. BUT, there are downsides. For one, the women are much cuter than the men. Most of the men are guys you would never talk to at a bar, and now you're forced to attempt to hold a conversation with each of them for 4 minutes. You're more likely to leave a speed dating event with new girl friends than a potential date. Also, the age range can be quite large: I ended up talking with someone who had been in the Army for 25 years, and he said, "I bet that's longer than you've been alive." Yep. And the one time I did meet someone who was rather attractive, he never got back to me, so there ya go. If you're bored, I say do it, but don't expect to meet the man of your dreams.

Urban White Trash

*WARNING: This post is offensive. If you have sensitive sensibilities, please stop reading.

I'm from the country, but I am not white trash. Probably the only thing country about me is my taste in music. When I got to college, people always assumed I came from the city, probably because I'm so fashionable and sophisticated (insert silly emoticon).

But last weekend I got to experience a mixture of the rural and urban sides of life. I visited a suburb of Baltimore (already you should know this is not a good area), where just driving down the street makes you feel unsafe. The road is in terrible shape and lined with dollar stores, the sad houses have overgrown lawns and rusty metal fences, and the whole time you're thinking, "Why would people live here?" Mix that with the company I was spending my afternoon with: a couple of people from the ghetto (and, no, not the Jewish kind), some from where I grew up (who use curse words in front of their children and smoke in the backyard in clothes that look like pajamas), and kids who are so clueless you're surprised to hear they actually do attend school. And our activities of choice for the day? Watching country music videos on TV (sadly, this was the highlight of my afternoon), playing rummy with two decks of cards (clearly these people don't understand why games have rules), or stuffing our faces with ice cream cake (most people had two ginormous slices. Just watching these gluttons made me sick.).

Needless to say, it was not a good day, and I cut the afternoon short as quickly as I could. Why did I even bother making potato salad and driving an hour away to subject myself to such First World torture?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Psalms 40:1-3

Now, I don't read the Bible. I mean, I took a course on the Old Testament in college, but I've only read excerpts of the most famous book in the world. And the only part I remember is Genesis. But through Twitter and different websites, I sometimes come across quotes from the Bible that speak to me. Here's one:

I waited patiently for God to help me; then He listened and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God...        Psalms 40:1-3

After I graduated from college, I was a complete mess. I was heartbroken, unemployed, and living with my parents in the middle of nowhere. It was the lowest point of my life...

I had always been the one who had my s*** together, the one who always followed the path of success. I was the kind of person who couldn't possibly answer the college application essay with the topic "Write about a time when you faced adversity and how you overcame it." I thought, "Adversity? What's that?" I won't say things came easily to me: I worked hard in school for good grades and busted my butt looking for internships during college. But all in all, I was very blessed while growing up: I had a family who supported me emotionally and monetarily, and who always wanted the best for me. And that's what I had. The best of everything for their little girl.

And then the time came when they couldn't give me everything I wanted. They couldn't give me my dream job. They couldn't cure my broken heart. I'm sure they felt just as helpless as I did, seeing me cry every single day and having to hear me say that I wished I could fall asleep and never wake up. There was nothing they could do, and nothing I could do either. I sent out over one hundred cover letters and resumes; I interviewed for who knows how many jobs. And nothing was happening. I've always been a believer of taking destiny into your own hands, but as hard as I was trying, nothing was coming my way.

So I prayed. I prayed every day (sometimes multiple times a day). Sometimes I prayed so hard I had tears streaming down my face sobbing that God would answer my prayers. And you know what? He did? After months of job searching, I landed the perfect job. It was in a city, it was for an organization I admired, it was a fun job, it paid well...It was everything I could ask for. And in just a few weeks everything fell into place: my mother and aunt found me a cute apartment, we moved all my stuff in, and I started my job. I was back on track.

I know that God was the reason for this. He "heard my cry" and in turn led me back to the right path, the path that I had wavered from for the first time in my life. And I have Faith that He is with me at all times, guiding me on that road to my destiny. While I do have some control over my life (I'm sure God doesn't care what I eat for breakfast), I know that as I move forward, all of the events that have an impact on my life are due to Him and His will. This experience of loss was horrible to go through, but it brought me closer to God, and for that, I am so thankful.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Brand names*

I'm not a complete label whore, but there are brands that I prefer over others. Here are some examples:

1. Skippy Peanut Butter: It's what I grew up with, and it's what I always buy. I've eaten Jif and Peter Pan before, and they're fine, but Skippy is the brand I count on. I love it so much that I actually refuse to date anyone who is allergic to peanuts. I can't have someone dyin' on me just because I enjoy a PB&J sandwich every once in a while!

2. Victoria's Secret: Other than Aerie (the lingerie line from American Eagle), all of my undergarments are from VS.I've been shopping there since I was in middle school, and I know I can find something I like there. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

3. CVS: CVS is my drug store of choice. I know I have many options (Walgreens, Rite Aid, DuaneReade, etc.), but in Hanover CVS was the only one in town. After shopping there exclusively for four years, I couldn't just switch!

*I should mention that the idea for this blog post came from my mother. Since I'm supposed to write 365 of these, I welcome any suggestions for future posts!

Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan is easily my favorite comedian. I first saw him on Comedy Central Presents and thought he was funny, but he stole my heart in Beyond the Pale with his "Hot Pocket" routine. I saw him perform Mr. Universe in Washington, DC at the Warner Theater in March 2012, and this week I got to see him do a Q&A with Scott Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. Although this wasn't a stand-up routine, he was just as hilarious. The best part was when he took questions from the audience. Kids were brave enough to ask questions, and they were so cute and genuine, asking things like, "How do you celebrate your birthday?" There was a book signing at the end, so I got him to inscribe "Enjoy your Hot Pocket!" in my new copy of Dad is Fat. Now I just need to read it!

I suggest you go to YouTube and watch every clip you can find of Gaffigan's routines. SO FUNNY!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Back Yard Barbeque

Barbeques are my second-most favorite activity in the summertime (sunbathing is #1). Last weekend I went home to visit my parents for a get-away weekend in the country, and it was lovely. It's so quiet there, the air smells sweeter, and the pace is much slower. So for a Sunday lunch, my dad cooked out on the grill, and we enjoyed our lunch on the back porch, picnic table included.

Of course we had a smorgasbord of food, from cheeseburgers to grilled chicken with barbeque sauce. Sides included Five Bean Salad, pasta salad (the cute little shells!), and pretzels with honey mustard. I honestly cannot think of a better meal for the summertime! And my mother made delicious daiquiris: she just threw strawberries, blueberries, POM, mango nectar, and rum into a blender, and voila, a nice berry cocktail. After such a yummy meal, you may want to go into a food coma, like my dad in his hammock (one of my favorite summer images!). Try to beat that for the perfect summer weekend!


Tennis is one of those sports that I think everyone should be able to play. In the age of an obesity epidemic, anything that gets people active (especially kids) is a good thing. And tennis is a form of exercise that's fun, gets people outside, and doesn't take much equipment (unlike ice hockey, etc.). I didn't start playing tennis until high school, and even then I would just play with my dad for fun on weekends. I took some PE classes in college, and that's probably when I was at my best, since I was playing two times a week. I played with my dad this weekend (the first time since last summer), but it's a sport that comes right back to you. You may not be as good, but you remember the different grips of the racket, how high to toss the ball for your serve, etc. It's a fun sport, and all you need is a friend to come play with you! So get out there this summer and hit the courts!