Monday, February 11, 2013


Photo courtesy of

So, after my travel shenanigans from the past year and a half (Chicago, Barbados, DC, Scotland/England, Napa/San Francisco, New York during Sandy), I decided I kind of wanted to stick around home this year (who am I?). A trip with The Boy, a road trip in New England with my bestie, and that's about it. However, my friend, H, just got a great job in Denver - where my Best Neighbor Ever recently moved as well, so I knew I'd have to make a quick weekend trip at some point. Then, Travelzoo (please tell me you're a member for their Wednesday Top 20 emails! It's awesome, even if just to dream) had a great deal for roundtrip flights (with tax included!!) for $82. Sooold! The only problem was, the last weekend it was available was the weekend of my friend C's birthday. I mean, the other weekends were $120ish, which is still a great deal, but that meant two weekends of stuff;  C lives in Austin and is who I went to Barbados with, and we've been friends for-ev-eeer, so I knew I'd need to drive down and visit her that weekend. Two weekends of having to hit up friends to watch my fierce dog, uuuugh...


She too wanted to go to Denver (and for her birthday!). She'd been hitting me up lately for taking a trip. Granted, Denver is not the Mediterranean or Machu Picchu, is $82. And there might even be snow*!  It's like killing 3 birds with one stone (or 3 pigs with one bird as I say, because I'm, like, really into Angry Birds).

So we're all booked! We have a pub crawl scheduled, and it's restaurant week while we're there (although C is a vegetarian, so....that's probably out. I really don't get vegetarians, btw, but that's a discussion for a later time). I got a cute-enough white puffer coat from American Eagle (guilty pleasure, although I am worried about this happening) for just $30, and I have some warm Pucci snow boots from a million years ago, so I feel set! I'm sure there will be pics to come.

* Spending our whole lives in Texas means that we never (ever) tire of seeing snow. I wonder how long I'd have to live in it myself for me not to get giddy every time anything white fell from the sky. I'd guess about 3 days. ;) Below is a picture I took when I had to travel to Chicago for work in December, which I think just goes to show how much that company sucked. Anyway, I was still a tourist, even in the snow. (It should be noted that this was pre-facebook days, before we knew for certain how horrible self shots are... and people walked in at the last minute, so it's not like I just stopped on a busy sidewalk for a self portrait. Okay, a lot of disclaimers are needed for this photo, but I share it nonetheless.)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Queen of Versailles

I watched this documentary last night, and it was strangely enthralling. The gist is this: Filmmaker meets super wealthy, but very approachable woman who is married to the owner of the largest time share company in the world. Together they are in the process of building the largest house in the US (90,000 sq. ft., because their measly 26,000 sq. ft. property just isn't cutting it anymore). Little do any of them know that the filmmaker just happened to start filming at a pivotal time - the market crash of September 2008. What's strange is that you genuinely feel for these [former] billionaires, when in truth, what he was doing to the average person that he sold these time shares to is not much different than what the banks were doing to him. While the filmmaker still speaks very highly of the Siegels (the wife that you'll strangely love, Jackie, has attended several of the premiers), the husband is currently suing her for defamation.  While I agree that perhaps some of the camera work was shady, I feel like the family was very direct and upfront with her. It kind of reminded me of My Kid Could Paint That, in that the filmmaker started with a different idea for the movie, and then by fate, they were just in the right place at the right time for a whole new story to develop. How could the filmmaker not tell that story. [Sn: It reminds me of the Golden Girls episode where Rose is sent to report on a dog show and a masked gunman comes in. Instead of telling about that situation, she's still asking people about their dogs while they're on the ground. Oh, Rose.]

Anyway, I recommend it if you're looking for a little American Dream, money = success story/nightmare. It received rave reviews at the London Sundance last year, and can now be found on Netflix. It's thought provoking; my grandparents hit their prime in the Great Depression and WWII and always warned me about this kind of thing. They would never miss a chance to tell me about rations (as i was eating a pound of sugar with strawberries, or playing with Barbies, several of which were "identical twins" because Mom would buy me the same thing twice on accident). My grandparents had money, but never spent it, so my mom made up for lost time by buying me everything she would have wanted as a kid. Her motto is "He who dies with the most toys, wins,"  which reminds me of my favorite quotes (though there were several) in the movie. Near the beginning of the movie, Mr. Siegel is asked why he's building the biggest house in America, and he swiftly responds, "Because I can."

Monday, January 28, 2013

The "put a bird on it" craze has gone a little too far.

As though January and February aren't depressing enough with the cold, short days,* we also get an influx of black birds (called grackles) in the area. It's like straight of Hitchcock. Usually they're only around for a few weeks, but it's enough to make you consider carrying around an umbrella and bb gun for awhile. Please note below that they're on all the near cars/trucks too, and they make a horrible, frightening cackle noise.

*Okay, confession: It's actually been a lovely January this year with many days (like, almost the entire past week) in the 70's, so I can't really complain... but I choose to anyway. ;) I mean, for one thing, the sun still doens't stick around for long. Also, it means there are still insects around to bite me when I'm sitting on the patio. *shakes fist in the air* Why can't global warming be more fu-uuuuun. Serious question though: Exactly how bad would it throw off nature if we completely killed of mosquitoes? I can hardly think they're thaaaat useful. Of course, that's probably what these people thought too.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lunch in the Office

I hate the idea of spending a perfectly good lunch hour to eat (unless I'm meeting with friends, of course, but even then, I'd prefer to make it a happy hour). If I'm going to waste the gas to leave the office, it's going to be to go to the mall or take care of errands (true story: I have done grocery shopping while at lunch; sometimes you just have to use whatever time you have). Anyway, the point is, I usually eat at my desk.

The problem with this is that I am not a particularly healthy eater, and I've discovered that one of my biggest pet peeves in the entire world is when people comment on my food. Here's just a snippet of the multitude of reactions I've heard while chowing down at my desk:

"How can you eat that?!" [leftover pasta for breakfast]

"Was that a solid clump when you heated it up? Well, it's going to turn back into that while it's in your stomach too." [that same pasta breakfast, by a superior]

"That looks disgusting! I would never eat that!" [nigiri sushi]

"Someone's a little piggy today!" [leftover casserole for lunch, this time by a female *boss, who was also in HR* who I ever only saw consume EITHER one grapefruit OR one can of chicken noodle soup per 10 hour workday.]  

I digress.

Anyway, now if I am going to eat something really zany (like, say, McDonalds *scandalous*), I will go out and sit down and eat because it's not worth it, but I've also made it quite clear to my coworkers that I really don't appreciate their unsolicited opinions about my food, unless they want to tell me how jealous they are of my meal (which occasionally happens too, like my infamous pizza breakfasts). I have caught a few stares > open mouth > think > close mouth moments though. It makes me proud. 

Then something crazy has been happening. I've been....craving...vegetables. Don't get me wrong, this has happened before, but it's usually just during that one week of the month and then it goes away (it's like my body is slowly dying and screaming out, "IRON!!! GIVE ME IRON! And a few nutrients for god's sake!"). But this has been going on for a few weeks now -- and don't think it's some new year's resolution or anything -- it's not like I'm eating healthy, low cal salads here, but it's salads nonetheless.

My problem with eating salads has mostly been this: (1) they're usually not that much healthier than other things that somehow seem more satisfying, and (2) not every place offers spinach. I hate iceberg lettuce. Romaine/Spring mix is okay, but what's with all the hard chunks (we call them "lettuce bones" in our fam) left in the salad?! My mom always cut those out (of course, the salads we had growing up were for the beginning of the meal; never, ever did I ever see anyone eat a salad as a meal)! Oddly enough, I have actually met women that like the lettuce bones. 

Today I was eating my salad thinking about what lunatics these women must be ( ;) ), when BAM! WTF is this?! 

I'm pretty sure my mom had me picking these things out of her flower bed when I was a child. 

Anyway, I'm still trying to get used to this new craving I'm having. Who knows, maybe one day I'll buy me some fixin's and make my own.

(Juuust kidding, that will never happen.)   

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Go-To Websites

I know, I know, I feel like Urban Dictionary has been around since dial up, but it can be such a mood lifter for me.

I have a particular religious zealot that's about to drive me nuts on facebook, eg:
"Curse words literally hurt my ears. I'm so thankful my mom raised me better than that!"
"I know what I'm eating today #chickfila #familyvalues"
"Do you drink? Why or why not?"

I won't even get started on all the souls she's praying for.

Anyway, after I sent my mom a thank you note for not making me a fundamentalist Southern Baptist and raising me to be a level-headed human being [I really did send her a thank you note], I went to urban dictionary to clear my head. It's here that I saw this and wanted desperately to post it on said zealot's page. But my momma taught me better than that. ;)


What websites cheer you up? My aaaabsolute favorites are Happy Place and Jezebel (although that one sometimes riles me up!) as well.  Also, do you ever feel bad for not being... I don't know.... like society expects you to be? I'm a female from the Bible belt, but I like some raunchy humor and booze, dammit!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Like every other sane human being in the northern hemisphere, I too hate January and February. It's dreary (we don't get snow, so it's just....dead), there's no holiday to look forward to, and we just had that New Year's mental breakdown of "my life has no meaning." Okay, maybe that last one is just me, but you understand; we realize that we're about to get another year older and that time is racing past us.

image of ABS from Ideeli

Soooo, to cheer myself up, I saw this little number on Ideeli yesterday and before I even knew what was happening, I had bought it (the internet sometimes has that effect on me). I'm certain I'll look just like that when I put it on. :| I figure I need the motivation/something to look forward to, and I know I'll get good use out of a bandeau top. I had to restrict myself after '08 and I'm only allowed one swimsuit a year. It's a hard life, I tell you. I do typically end up buying *the one* in January or February though.

Where are your favorite places to buy swimsuits? I finally swore off Target and Victoria's Secret. Target, because they're sometimes ill-fitting and I get tired of seeing every 22 year-old in the same bathing suit. Victoria's Secret has the same issue, and on top of that, one time the $40 swim top I was wearing straight up came unseamed in the front while I was sunbathing on my raft. I like to think I just put too much pressure on the poor top. *coughIwishcough* We'll see how this one turns asked for actual sizes (like 2, 4, 6, 8) rather than bra or generic SML sizing. I mean... it was rather impulsive. Also, can I just rant a bit about women's sizing? The description said it was "true to size." Uuuuhm... I have clothes in about 4 different numerical sizes that all fit. That really doesn't help me, bro. Are we talking true to Gap size or Theory size or what? And dress size is sometimes different than pant size, so where does bathing suit sizing fall into all this?!?! Can we get a liiiittle consistency? And, why do women get all caught up in the number? Whether I'm a 4 or an 8, I know I didn't just lose or gain 30 lbs overnight. Who. cares. I have friends who INSIST they're always an XS, and honestly, if they'd just put on a Small (the horror!), they'd look more put together. Wear your size, folks, wear your size.

Ah, it feels good to get that off my chest. Wait, the rant, I'm not talking about the swim top again. Calm down.

Am I the only one dreaming of a tropical vacation? I really hope I can squeeze in a beach vacation this year, but....I kind of outdid myself on travelling the past two years. If I do plan something though, I plan on saving this swimsuit for then.

And now, here's some token pictures from Barbados to keep our beachin (baha! :\) inspiration:

One of many awesome beaches

Our cheap hotel, which had a great view, but apparently the "noise" that some complained about in reviews was actually an open air nightclub directly across the small road. Elaborate, reviewers, c'mon!

I petted (is that a word?) some sea turtles! Best scuba diving trip yet!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy MLK Day!

Mel and I fist bumpin for freedom.

I woke up late this morning. Late, as in I should have left the house 5 minutes before I actually woke up kind of late. Normally, I wouldn't mind - it happens - but last week I did the SAME THING. However, the morning last week was what I call an Alanis Morissette morning: a traffic jam when I'm already late. I did not want that to happen again. I was so relieved that I only ended up being 10 minutes late because I practically flew into work! I thought, "Wow! Everyone who's late this morning must be in a hurry too, and that's why we're all going 80!" Theeeen, I remembered: I'm the only chump who had to work today.

I haven't had MLK Day off at my last two jobs (so, going on a decade), which of course leads me to believe that the companies I work for are racists and don't believe in civil rights. (Totally kidding, but I like to tease them.)  Growing up, I always liked learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. I went to schools that were exactly 49% white, 49% black, so it hit home that I wouldn't know half of my classmates had I been my parents age (it took Texas a taaaad longer to integrate than other places). Don't get me wrong, there were definitely some tense moments too, especially in the high school years; I definitely remember some "cracker" name calling and "Kill Whitey" chanting, that we crackers would pay no mind to.

Often times I've wished that I grew up in a quaint New England town where education was valued rather than having to teach myself most of what I know (like when I signed up for my first college classes and they asked how many hours I wanted to take. "Uhm...40?" Oy.), but I do value the life and social skills that school in rural east Texas taught me. I think Dr. King would be pretty proud of what we've accomplished as a nation, even if it has taken way too long to get there and there is still improvement to be made.

Side notes:
  • Am I the only one that sings "Pride" by U2 in my head when they see a picture of MLK?
  • In perhaps my favorite book of all time, it's mentioned that it was a Spanish priest that had the bright idea of bringing slaves over to the Americas when the poor Native Americans started dying off. I like to remind my Catholic friends of this. ;)