ThomJuDong, uncensored.

The Beastie is under this crazy impression that just because she’s a “working woman,” her life is somehow less exciting than mine, and thus she doesn’t have to write as many posts as me. Rest assured, Beastie, my life is far from anything like mTV’s “the Real World” or NBC’S “Chuck.” If they turned my life into a TV show, it would probably be on TLC– that’s how incredibly mediocre it really is. The fact that my life seems to be super awesome to you is merely due to the fact that I choose to use a shitload of adjectives when writing about it on this blog.

Tonight’s entry will attempt to give my cult-like viewership (aka Judy, and whichever of her friends she’s strategically coerced into reading my blog because they’re bored in class) and the Beastie a glimpse into the average night at our apartment. Consequently, this entry will also be significantly shorter than my previous rants, because there aren’t enough words I can make up to make our apartment-life seem that glorious. It goes a little something like this:

  1. Sometime in the afternoon, we will gather in the living room, where we live. Because that’s what you do in a living room.
  2. Something on television will set off a house argument. Usually someone will yell at the other person for doing something so absurdly considerate, like doing all the dishes, or taking out the trash, without the former person’s consent or assistance. Other issues we encounter include: smelling too nice, motorboating each other’s dog, buying too many Girl Scout cookies for the house, etc etc. Typical house drama.
  3. Eventually, the yelling gets very heated and we start lighting tiki torches in a circle in the same living room we were once happily cuddling in.
  4. Dirt appears on the ground out of nowhere and jungle animals start chanting like crazy as two house mates prepare to battle in the tiki-torch ring.
  5. With fierce growls on our faces, we battle to see who gives better hugs.
  6. The animals throw their feces at the winner, and the loser is left with the daunting task of deciding what’s for dinner.

Recently, however, we’ve gotten into the habit of putting blindfolds on, walking across a plank suspended above a pool of snapping hippopotamuses (you would think it would be a pool of crocodiles or something of that sort, but hippopotamuses actually hold the record for killing the most humans every year, despite being vegetarians!), and pulling random stuff out of the fridge (since we have a lot of leftovers from the nights where we drank the strange purple liquid in those pinkie-sized mason jars and turned into house elves and cooked a billion meals). We call this game Hungry Hungry Hippos. One day, Thom “accidentally” fell into the animal pit and was forced to wrestle the wild beasts. Judy and I hastily batarang-ed him back up, but coincidentally missed and retrieved random pieces of papers we had originally dropped into the pit while reading ads to the hippos as their bedtime stories instead. (Don’t worry, Thom eventually climbed back out of the pit by himself… I think.) This proved to be quite serendipitous because the random papers turned out to be KFC and Church’s coupons, expiring the next day! Surely, it was a sign from God, who in my mind looks like Colonel Sanders, that we needed to better the world by deciding once and for all fried their chicken superiorly.

Clip clip clip. 2 coupons and 3 near death encounters driving through the thick of the Vallejo ghetto later, we were finally equipped to build our fried chicken altar.

It was glorious.

So I guess my life is a little glorious after all, because if you’ll notice, we don’t use paper plates. Yeah, we fancy.

I don’t want to brag, but I did use to watch Drake on Degrassi when he was just a goofy kid in a wheelchair, so you can be confident in my opinion that he’s singing this song about me eating fried chicken.

Anyways, back to our prestigious taste test.

After some very thoroughly analysis, we found that Church’s had a better “mashed potato” consistency, but KFC had better gravy. And Church’s had a “spicy chicken” option that was actually somewhat spicy (in a My Trang kind of way), but KFC was by far a better value, considering you get biscuits and coleslaw for the same price.

Oh, and we also decided that FRIED CHICKEN IS EFFIN DELICIOUS. And it should have its own air freshener/candle line. I’d spray that shiet on before heading to the gym. Then NO ONE will ever try to steal a treadmill from me. I’ll waft that fried chicken in your face so fast you’ll die of a heart attack.

BOOM.

See you at the gym.

Life lessons must be earned.

I’ve always been under the impression that it is okay to talk a lot of trash to children half your age if you were there to witness their birth. Correct me if I’m wrong, but one of the greatest joys in life is telling a 10 year old you’re going to dance circles around her until she gets dizzy, actually doing it, and then unshamefully collecting her Girl Scout cookies as a reward.

I spent the day today with my siblings visiting some family friends that I pretty much consider my second family (mostly because we did live with them for awhile, and they continue to feed me like their obese child that they keep in the dungeon whenever I come poking around in their neighborhood). We show up at the delightfully brunch hour of 10am and get socked in the face by the aroma of bacon. My mom’s bff (yes, ladies over 50 years old can have bffs) then proceeds to shove what seemed like 10 courses of breakfast in my elated face while her two adorable children scurry around my siblings and me serving us orange juice that their mom probably had them wake up at the crack of dawn to hitchhike down to central California in order to pick and squeeze themselves with their tiny little hands. That’s how incredibly loving and hospitable this family is.

Eventually, I’m stuffed to the point where the chair is actually sitting on me, and we’re just sitting around talking and laughing (and sipping our OJ with our pinkies up). The older daughter (BH) soon notices the gigantic bling I have hanging from my neck and asks what it is. I tell her and her younger sister (MK) to huddle around to view this magnificent piece of art: it’s a giant silver clock with all the hands pointing to the word “dance.” I  wear it every day to remind myself that no matter what time of day it is, it’s always time to dance… I wear it in honor of the dance legends Mike Chang and Brittany S Pierce. 

MK, the 10 year old, is astounded she’s in the presence of true greatness, but BH, the cool 7th grader that she is, tries to play it off that she isn’t impressed and mentions that she sometimes likes to dance too, when she’s playing Dance Central. I say something like

OH WHAT, YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE? IT’S ON, BEACHES.

and we hurriedly wipe the homemade cookie crumbs off our faces and scamper upstairs to the dance floor slash family room. They turn the system on and set it up as I’m stretching out my arms and legs. Quickly, I notice that they have all the characters, venues, and outfits unlocked. Uh oh, they must’ve logged some serious dance session hours in. Not to worry, my roommate and I have gotten a few “5 star” rounds…

I ain’t scared of no kids.

I give my Flava Flav pendant a quick 28 kisses and IT. IS. ON.

Fast forward 10 minutes and I am suddenly the angry American Idol contestant yelling at the judge for not “appreciating my talent.” Who is the Kinect to tell me that this 13 year old kid scored 2.2MILLION points more than me?! LIES. IT WAS RIGGED I TELL YOU.

So then I call out the snickering 10 year old baby sister, figuring that she couldn’t nearly be as swaggtastic as her big sis.

Boy, was I wrong.

This little girl– who’s half my size, age, and pimp status– kicked my ass. With a disgustingly adorable smile on her face the entire time.

At the risk of making you shat your pants, here’s a video of us going head to head with Sir Mix A Lot’s BABY GOT BACK:

The worst part is, I know for a FACT that she doesn’t even know what he MEANS when he says baby got back. And she most definitely thinks he’s talking about his real pet snake, the anaconda. And that this Becky girl be workin’ in a bakery and that’s why she got buns, hun.

So today I (l)earned this valuable life lesson:

Don’t assume you’re a good dancer just because your mom looked up from her game of Bejeweled one time while you were playing Dance Central and said “oh hey, you don’t look like you’re having a seizure.”

TENESMUS… is not an STI.

The weather has been really weird lately. I don’t regularly (or ever) complain about 80-degree, flaunting my legs in shorts type of weather, but seriously weather gods? It’s FEBRUARY. How am I supposed to go snowboarding next week if you keep this up?!

Mostly I’m upset because I have SCD (Seasonal Cravings Disorder) and my body is having difficulty determining what my cravings are. It feels like summer outside and all I can think about is sipping on watermelon margaritas, chicken curry sandwiches on croissants, and fresh salads with lots of charred corn. You know… SUMMER FOOD. I feel like I got robbed of hearty stews and excessively cheesy casseroles  because the last thing I feel like doing is snuggling up with some warm comfort/winter foods.

So I woke up this morning, groggy and confused about what to make for family dinner with my housemates. I also had no idea what to write about today, since I’ve pretty much gotten all the important wine rambles out of the way already. I gchatted my roommate who was probably on her lunch break at Pharm school because I’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping in until noon and asked for suggestions. Without missing a beat, she insisted I dedicate this post to “tenesmus.” This is definitely a testament to how well she knows me– I LOVE LEARNING ABOUT THE GI TRACT! So obviously, I googled tenesmus right away and this is what I got:

Tenesmus is the feeling that you constantly need to pass stools, even though your bowels are already empty. It may involve straining, pain, and cramping.

Awesome, right? I FINALLY KNOW THE WORD FOR THIS FEELING. I swear, living with a pharmacist is the shit. (pun) You can most definitely depend on me to pass along nuggets of medical information I’m privy to through this blog.

Anyways, finding out what tenesmus meant got me thinking… damn, chili sounds hella good right now. Am I the only one to come to this conclusion after this intellectual adventure? I responded to my roommate by asking if it’s too hot of a day to eat chili? She said yes. I asked if a cold beer would negate this opinion? She said yes. (Although I know she was really thinking OH HELL YES.) So it was decided: I’m going to make chili today!

Now, don’t be too intimidated, but I was a member of the winning team at this year’s Annual Chili Cookoff at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, so I ain’t no amateur. You don’t believe me? Well then fine, skeptical Harry, here’s some photographic proof:


That’s award-winnin’ chili in that pot!

The trick to winning a chili cookoff is having a 7-foot-tall pirate.

But back to the point! CHILI. IT’S SO EFFIN DELICIOUS.

As someone who has just come out of the pescatarian shell and finally resubmerged in the world of meat-eating (well, except for beef. I’ve never cared much for beef. If you cooked me a steak, I’d probably blush and thank you endlessly, then cause some sort of diversion with my years of secretly trying to learn how to throw my voice and swiftly donate the steak to my dog. Make me a lamb steak and you’ve got instant access to my pan– uhh, heart– however), I was really excited to make a carnivorous chili!

I decided that I’d cause a bit of global warming myself with this chili if the weather gods were going insist on being so ridiculous, so instead of the typical ground beef or turkey, I used hot italian sausage. I should probably preface this with the fact that I am obsessed with putting hot italian sausage in everything (that’s what she said), and also that I like my food spicy enough to make me cry. It’s probably why I have both such excellent sinuses and an ulcer. You have to pick your battles in life, I guess. I also threw in a bunch of cayenne pepper, fresh jalapenos, and red chili flakes that you can omit if you like having a full lined stomach. But seriously, what’s life without a few gaping holes in your intestines?


ALEXHA’S TENESMUS-INDUCING CHILI:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1  bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 fresh jalapenos
  • 2 lbs hot Italian sausage
  • 3 tablespoons hot Mexican chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 70 oz. canned stewed tomatoes with juices*
  • 2 15 oz. cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 can cooked chipotle peppers
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 bottle of beer (I used Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo extra IPA)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*this was my first time using “stewed tomatoes” and I didn’t know which kind to pick, so I grabbed 1 of each kind: plain, Mexican style, Italian style, roasted with Italian spices, and roasted with garlic. When in doubt, just dump a bunch of crap together and it’ll turn out great!

Instructions

  1. Warm extra virgin olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Once the oil starts shimmering, add the chopped onion, jalapenos, and bell pepper. Cook until slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add the garlic and hot Italian sausage and cook until it browns
  3. Add chili powder, paprika and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine. Cook the spices for a few minutes, stirring often.
  4. To the pot add stewed tomatoes with juices, kidney beans, corn, tomato paste, chicken stock, beer, oregano, tarragon, bay leaves, cloves, celery salt, garlic salt, freshly ground black pepper and chipotle peppers. Bring the mixture to a simmer then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. While waiting, drink the rest of your ice cold beer and throw on a few episodes of Psych.
  6. To serve, spoon chili into soup bowls and top with shredded cheese, chopped red onion, sour cream, and some Kleenex… it’s going to make you sweat!

In case you’re a visual learner like me, here are a few pictures I took during the cooking process. Sorry they’re not very good; I decided to photographically document my culinary genius about a third of the way into the makeshift recipe, and also my kitchen has the most horrific lighting situation. (My kitchen is too dark for me to take cool tastespotting-worthy photos #firstworldproblems) I must go invest in an external flash ASAP. But hey, I tried. Next recipe will be better, I promise!

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:

Step 5:

Finale:

Is it customary to chefs to gloat about how awesome their recipe is? No? Well too late. I’m not one for formalities anyway…

THIS CHILI IS THE SHIT. Its aroma is a smokey chili, thanks to all those chipotles. It’s definitely got heat, but not to the point where it scorches all your tongue and you have absolutely no sense of taste anymore. It’s got that perfect kick in the throat that lets you know you could probably breathe fire if you wanted to, but there’s so much going on that you forget about morphing into a dragon. Instead, you focus on the complex layers of flavors: there’s the obvious spicy, and the savory that comes from the awesome Italian sausage, plus a hint of earthiness from the cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon, and lastly, there’s the sweet that waits until the very end to flash its sweet smile and win over your heart. Toss in some sour cream and Mexican shredded cheese and you might as well forget about dessert– you’re going to be having seconds and thirds.

I’d like to dedicate this chili to my brother, who bought me the dutch oven I’d been dreaming of for years this last Christmas. If my chili becomes famous enough, I’d also consider donating some proceeds to the Tenesmus Research Foundation. Lastly, I’d like to thank Beer, for being my inspiration– I never would’ve been able to do this without you.

I’m a creep; I’m a weirdo.

One of my favorite hobbies is people watching (creeping), and that’s pretty much the #1 reason why I love Vegas so much. It’s not the gambling, or the strip clubs / night clubs, or even the buffets (though that’s probably #2): it’s the fact that I can see  and experience a relatively decent population sample of the world in one place. With this many people, you are bound to run into a wide array of couples. 24 years of experience has taught me that fashion, fads, and foreign currencies may change, but signs of love remain consistent and universal.

It’s time for some real talk, people. Let’s get serious. In my first post since the slutty paradise that is Vegas, I want to talk about love. How do you know if you are in love?

Cheesy, I know. One day, my coworker was facesurfing (facebook surfing, obviously) on her phone when she suddenly snorted. I asked her, “what’s up?” and she replied, “my 13-year-old cousin posted as her status ‘how do you know if you’re in love?’ … what a wanker.” My coworker then proceeded to do a bunch of inappropriate hand gestures while I smirked at how incredibly Australian she is. But then it got me thinking: how do you know?! SHIT, DO I EVEN KNOW?! I always figured that once you meet the right person, it would just hit you, like a bus in Mean Girls or the original Final Destination (or maybe even SPEED. I don’t have a lot of faith in a frantic Sandra Bullock driving a city bus). Or maybe I’d be skipping down the street and birds would suddenly start dancing around me and the Darkness would suddenly start serenading me…

Yes, I have a lot of fantasies where my every day life turns into a musical. Except that I actually have a very deep-seeded hatred for birds, so I’d actually be skipping around and then freaking the eff out / hyperventilating on the ground as soon as the cartoon blue jays even try to start dancing around my head. But the point is this: you don’t just magically know. You figure it out. How? Gather your other 13-year-old friends who are also posting eyeball-roll-inducing facebook statuses and criss-cross applesauce around me. I will read you “Alexha’s Love for Dummies” book. It’s sure to be a best selling “____ for Dummies” book– just give it a few years. (The alternate title was “He’s Just Not That Into You… Yet: How to Make Him Fall in Love with You Using Night Vision Goggles and a Fake Pregnancy,” but the publicist said there isn’t enough space on the cover for all the words plus a giant photo of my face, so I knew I had to shorten it.)

First things first, let’s clear up the difference between  romance and  love. Romance is all that mushy shit in the movies that girls go crazy for, boys secretly like, and vampires symbolize in some pop cultures that I refuse to acknowledge. It’s the candlelit dinners, horse drawn carriage rides around Central Park, and Freddie Prinze Jr. movies. My very first encounter with the notion of romance was from the critically acclaimed movie IT TAKES TWO, starring Steven Guttenberg, Kirstie Ally, and YES, the Olson twins, when they Diane Barrows (Alley) says you know that you’re with the right person when you experience the “can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over- the-fence, World Series kind of stuff.” I remember this super confused me because I ran to my mom asking how she can eat and sleep if she loves my dad and she quizzically told me to go clean my bathroom because my weird questions meant I have too much free time on my hands to think about stupid stuff. As I went to go to reluctantly Windex the bathroom mirror (one of my favorite chores), I remember thinking that I never want to be in love if it meant that I couldn’t eat or sleep.

Now, even as an 8 year old, I never had any doubt that my parents are the epitome of “being in love,” so that’s when I cleverly figured it out that this Kirstie Alley chick is crazy. Later on, I realized that she was really talking about romance, not love. Romance is everything that happens during the movie, and love is what happens after the credits roll. From a runner’s perspective (yeah, I’m a runner. I ran a half marathon once, nbd.) romance is the race, and love is the orange slices and teeny-tiny water bottles waiting for you at the finish line; everyone focuses on the race itself, but aftermath is what actually matters to you. Albeit, it may not be as intense as the run or glorious as crossing the finish line (which is obviously the wedding in this metaphor. HOLY CRAP, I JUST MADE THIS ALL UP 2 SECONDS AGO BUT IT WORKS SO WELL. JUST GO WITH IT, PEOPLE.), but it’s the “happily ever after.”

In my humbly expert (or expertly humble) opinion, love is enthusiastic coexistence. What do these big words mean, Dr. of Love? (You can call me D.o.L for short… doll. hahahahha) Enthusiastic means to do something happily. Coexistence is to exist along-side someone else. That’s exactly what love is to me. To happily spend your days with someone. FOOOOOOR. EV. VER.

So when you posted that fb status about knowing whether or not you’re in love, I’m pretty sure you mean infatuated, or romantically attached, because as a 13 year old kid, you should definitely NOT be thinking about spending the rest of your life with someone. Trust me. Your prepubescent crush is NOT going to be the same person in 2, 5, 10, or 20 years. And neither will you. Also, they won’t look the same. What if they’re genetically cursed with early onset baldness? All your hard-earned burger-flipping money is going to be swallowed up by the toupee, oversized hats, and Rogaine industries. If I had married the boy I so hopelessly thought I was in love with when I was a tween, I probably never would have been able to accomplish everything I’ve done in the past 10 years (hold the record for longest beer pong winning streak at Garrett’s and Pierce’s, adopt a dog and name him Gambit, memorize all the lyrics to every single Ingrid Michaelson song, finally look non-lame in a fedora, etc) and he probably wouldn’t have either. So the point is, you meant to ask about romance, not love.

But since you did ask about love, I’ll elaborate on that, since the Beastie can attest to the fact that I am somehow missing the “romance” chip when they programmed me. Now that I’m nearly 2 dozen years old, I’ve become much wiser, and have compiled a check list of things to look for when someone is genuinely in love:

  • You’re always thinking about that person, and consequently, you’re always talking about that person. To the point in which people around you get bored of hearing about your significant other. “Yes, Mom. You already told us about how you packed Dad a PB&J sandwich for lunch, and then at lunch time, he called you tell you that he was eating said sandwich. Oh, you put strawberry jam instead of grape jelly this time? Awesome.” This rule actually doesn’t just apply to people, but anything you love in general. “Hey everybody, check out my new phone! The voice activated Angry Birds app has totally revolutionized my life!” “Your skin is very pink from all this sunlight. Speaking of pink, my new water bottle is pink! Isn’t it awesome? My old, lame one could only hold 32 oz., but this one holds 36!” Need I go on? I’ll admit that I am guilty of this fault, especially when it comes to my job. I’m sure people are sick of hearing it by now, but I will never stop talking about it. If you love me, you’ll deal with it. Which brings me to my next bullet…
  • You pretty much put up with any annoying quirks about someone because you suddenly find it “endearing” (even though you’re probably the only one with that opinion). For example: snoring. My dad is one of the loudest snorers I’ve ever had the pleasure of having a room down the hall from. This started long before noise-canceling headphones were invented, so my only two explanations as to why my mom hasn’t suffocated him at night yet is either because she’s deaf or she loves him that much. I’m pretty sure she’s called his brick-breaking snores a “sweet lullaby” at one point or another.
  • You also put up with things you find embarrassing. Apparently it is embarrassing for boys to be seen in a car that’s blasting old school Britney Spears jams? First of all, I find it preposterous that they don’t consider it to be a real honor. Secondly, the windows are rolled up, so if the car next to us can hear it, it’s because they rolled down their own windows because they CRAVE Britney, so relax and go put your Hogwarts robes on, we’re about to be late to the midnight screening of Harry Potter series compilation 18-hour movie.
  • You’re willing to share things that you hold very dear to your heart, such as that brownie sundae you always order at the end of the meal. Unlike Joey. JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!
  • Thinking about them always makes you smile, even if it’s just on the inside. AWWWWWWWWWW.

Still confused? Fine. I’ll give you the short cut. If you can fart in front of your significant other without either person feeling grossed out / awkward, you’re in love. Got it? Great. I need to catch some sleep. All this wisdom makes me tired. Don’t wake me up unless you’ve cooked me breakfast and you’re making a German flag out of m&m’s on my pancakes.

#firstworldproblems

I have a knack for complaining about stupid things.

If you follow my twitter, you already know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t… well, WTF man?! I’m hilarious. Go follow me NOW. Oh, you don’t know how to use the “tweety bird?” Alright, I guess I can help you out. First, think of a hilarious/punny/cute username. Anything but “chimiDONGHA,” because 1) it’s already taken and 2) YOUR NAME ISN’T DONGHA. Next, start writing. Anything. Whatever comes across your mind. THAT’S IT! Now in case you need some inspiration, here are a few of my tweets that have to do with #firstworldproblems:

  • Freakin Comcast can’t fix our cable so I’m stuck watching Jersey Shore instead of the new 30 Rock. RAGE!! #firstworldproblems
  • Boo, I miss my puppy! It’s the one downside to vacations.#firstworldproblems
  • I’m so bored, I tried to download Pocket Potions but couldn’t find it for Droid, so now I have to play Restaurant Story. #firstworldproblems
  • My spicy chicken nugget 5-piece had a normal one in it.#firstworldpains
  • I can’t decide if I want a Big Mac or Chipotle for dinner. #firstworldproblems
  • I can’t sleep with my engagement ring on because it’s too big and scratches me. #firstworldpains
  • My white strips make my teeth hurt. #firstworldpains
  • I eat too much and poop too often. #firstworldpains
  • No one noticed I correctly answered the Final Jeopardy question.#firstworldpains

Okay, so you get the picture. Twitter is more than just complaining about dumb shit, but I always seem to find the #firstworldproblems ones the most hilarious. Anyways, my most recent complaintweet was that I will be celebrating my friend’s birthday in Vegas this weekend and my clothes are NOT nearly skanky enough for Vegas.

In fact, I’m not skanky enough for Vegas. I’m the type of the girl that likes to go to microbreweries, hole-in-the-wall taquerias where nothing is written in English, and last but not least, COSTCO. Guess what! My jeans and t-shirts are sufficient in all of these situations.

I have A LOT of clothes. Enough to easily go more than a month without doing laundry. Is that TMI? Who cares, we’re all friends now. Unfortunately for me, I have a single tracked mind when I go shopping. After ripping through my closet, hunting down anything remotely Vegas-appropriate, I’ve come to realize that all of my articles all fall within 4 categories:

  1. Jeans
  2. Gym clothes
  3. Cardigans
  4. Flannel shirts

I’ve been clubbing maybe 5 times tops, and all I remember about them is a lot of sweating. I certainly don’t know how to channel my inner Snooki, and if “the Situation” flashes his abs at me in the unlit club, I’d probably freak out because I find his face to resemble a super creepy chipmunk.

So… what’s a girl to do? Should I just cut holes in all my clothes? Is that what other non-clubbing girls do when they go to Vegas?

HELP. ME.

If you have any suggestions, please send me an email ASAP. Until then, I’m going to immerse myself in lots of “the Hangover” and “Las Vegas” (the Josh Duhamel TV series) research.

UNLESS! This is actually more of an “Ocean’s 11” type of trip…

we fell in love in this club like a love song.

*Title inspired by this morning’s all-love-song playlist in spin :)

Happy Valentine’s Day! The Bestie can be such a Debbie Downer sometimes (love you!). Here is a little peak into what my Valentine’s Day festivities will consist of this year :)

Truth be told I think I only like Valentine’s Day because it gives me an excuse to bake, craft, and think up of little surprises for the boy. Three things I enjoy very much. I’ve never much cared for the fancy dinners out or the elaborate displays of love, all good and cute in romcoms but not exactly realistic in real life (not to say this isn’t nice every once in awhile, am I right ladies? :)).  And I agree with the Bestie, receiving a present just because the other person feels obligated is just awkward and uncomfortable. I’d much rather enjoy a quiet night in, sans expensive gifts, with a home cooked meal, some candles, and some good wine.

Which is exactly what I will be doing. What can I say, it is Valentine’s Day, and a girl should get her wish :)

I’M DATING RYAN GOSLING?!

So by now you’re probably wondering if the Beastie and I are twins; we are both so gorgeous, we must share some DNA. Well sorry to blow your mind so early in the post, but I must now reveal that we are NOT twins, though I’ve always wanted a twin sister, and I imagine hanging out with Karina is a lot like what it’d be like if I did have a genetic clone. Other than our dashing good looks (do girls have dashing good looks?) and our insane dance moves that make Beyonce jealous, we share an epicurious thirst, a retrospective crush on Chad Michael Murray, and fear of one day giving birth to socially awkward kids who become messiahs in the high school cafeteria (an irrational fear, I know). However, our opinions diverge when it comes to titillating topics such as whether or not risotto should have onions in it, when it is situationally appropriate to squeal like middle school girls receiving their first winky face emoticon texts from a boy, and the “coolness” of playing fantasy football. To this list of differences, I must now add this: I HATE VALENTINE’S DAY.

Now before I divulge into the typical anti-VDay rant, let me disperse any assumptions you might have just made about me in the last 15 seconds:

  1. It’s not because I’m single… because I’m not. (Poor guy)
  2. Yes, I have a heart somewhere… underneath all those bulging muscles… and layers of cholesterol. THANKS, KFC COUPONS!
  3. It’s also not because I’m a penny pincher. When I go to McDonald’s, I spring for the SUPER SIZE!

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of nice things about Valentine’s Day… especially when you’re in 2nd grade. Free candy?! Oh hell yes. Class party with Cheet-ohs and ice cream?! Gimme. The best part was when that cute boy I never had the courage to talk to HAD to give me a card (because otherwise, the teacher would give him an “F” in the Valentine’s Day party segment of the curriculum) even though I was that awkward pudgy kid who tucked her shirts into her sweatpants. I didn’t even care if he didn’t spell my name right. WHO COULD?! Half the time my teacher didn’t even know what to call me since my name has a weird hyphen situation (my Vietnamese name is Dong-Ha).

Anyways, back to the cynicism. I am on the anti-VDay train because I hate the pressure of finding something materialistically representative of how much I love someone. Don’t get me wrong, I AM AN EXCELLENT GIFT GIVER. In fact, I am the reason that the Olympic committee decided against a gift-giving series of events. I’m too good. It’d be just like America and women’s softball. But I’ve always been with the opinion that gifts should spawn from organic thoughtfulness. If I come across something I think you will love, you can bet your mom’s apple pie that I will be getting it for you, no occasion necessary. I hate dragging myself to the mall, desperate to find a gift. Though I generally thrive under pressure *ahem, realizing I have a midterm the next day and frantically cramming in as much info as possible in 6 hrs*, the desperation for “the perfect gift” blinds my ability to be both thoughtful and logical. Especially when it comes to shopping for my boyfriend, I start to lose it and my mind digresses into a mush, like this:

What’s his favorite color again? Green? Would he like a green shirt? Does he even wear shirts? Oh god, what does he look like again? OMG, DO I EVEN HAVE A BOYFRIEND?! Or is he another imaginary boyfriend? Am I dreaming right now? Brilliant brain of mine, if I am dreaming right now, give me a sign; send Ryan Gosling out here. Why are my ovaries tingling? Are they trying to tell me I’m dating Ryan Gosling? Does Ryan Gosling like green shirts? Why hasn’t he proposed to me yet?

Eventually I forget why I’m at the mall and run home to plan my wedding. At this point, my future spouse is interchangeable, as long as I’m saying my vows in a vineyard with a piano-cello duo playing in the background and the priest of The Princess Bride officiating the whole thing. So yes, I hate hunting for a gift.

The other reason I don’t particularly love Valentine’s Day (har har, pun) is because I don’t want my boyfriend to do something nice for me just because he has an obligation to social convention. Similar to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and National Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day, I think it’s lame that there’s a specific day set aside for dwelling on how awesome someone or something is. YOU SHOULD BE DOING THIS EVERY DAY. I’d prefer it if my boyfriend walked by Victoria’s Secret and thought “my girlfriend is way hotter than these chicks, I’m going to cook her dinner tonight!” or watched a highlights reel of Michael Jordan and thought “my girlfriend really needs to be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame, she deserves some chocolate” or opened a bottle of ’07 cab and thought “the only thing that could make this better is some classical music. Speaking of music, my girlfriend is such an amazing singer. I’m going to encourage her to record a few songs and then I’m going to buy a million copies, because she’s a platinum artist in my heart.” The day of the year in which the thoughtfulness occurs shouldn’t matter.

But anyways… whether I like it or not, today is Valentine’s Day, and I do love you all, so here’s a video my friend made. You may or may not know her– her name is Jennifer Allison Tran. Yes, I am shamelessly namedropping this Touro-A-List celebrity, which when you convert it into real life, is about a T-List celebrity. Enjoy!

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10100855158826683

*This video will actually be posted tomorrow when I can figure out how to read Facebook’s source page. SORRY YOU HAVE TO CLICK ON A LINK!

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY <3

How Merlot Can You Go? … pt 3

Gimme a few seconds with Dia Frampton’s DON’T KICK THE CHAIR to pump myself up for this last post. I’ve been shamelessly obsessed with this song for months, and it still hasn’t let up. In case you haven’t heard it, it’s this song here:

I wish I could buy floating speakers that follow me around playing this song. I’d walk down the street or through narrow hallways in the library with my posse behind me and out of nowhere, papers will go flying everywhere and we’d break into song/dance. The rap will start to play and we’re suddenly out splashing through puddles in the rain… Oh, how glorious my life would be. I’d also be perfectly happy if my life turned out like this:

But anyways, what we were talking about? Oh yes, Napa. First things first: they LOVE it when you drop it like it’s hot in Napa. But here are a few things they DON’T LOVE:

  1. Drunkards. There is a thin line between buzzed and drunk, and the people in Napa are very good at distinguishing one from another. If you’re drunk, ask for water. Get some carbs in you. And never, EVER drive. Napa Valley cops are pretty much the offspring of the Justice League and the Avengers, with a little bit of X-Men mixed in when it comes to cracking down on DUI’s. KNOW YOUR LIMIT!
  2. People dancing on their tables. I’ve also been lucky enough to witness this. Unfortunately, it was not the same lady who whipped out her Ta-Tas for the winery, but I wouldn’t be surprised if  it’s already on her rap sheet.
  3. W(h)iners. HAHA, I’m punny. Anyways, yes, it gets busy and crowded sometimes, and you may need to wait a few minutes to get the attention of your server. Relax! Go outside and soak in the scenery. Have a conversation with that cute and friendly girl standing next to you… I think her name is Alexha? This is not a sweaty nightclub where you need to barge into the bar, slam 4 shots, and then go grind on random girls in the corner. First of all, I’m pretty sure that lady is someone’s grandma. Secondly…. well, I just can’t get that image of you and Betty White out of my head now. I’m always astounded by how impatient people can be when winetasting. What’s the rush? It’s not like there’s a limited supply of the stuff.
  4. Overly couply couples. You know who I’m talking about. Those hormonal middle schoolers trapped inside grown ass adults’ bodies. It’s called wine country, not wine-in-the-privacy-of-your-own-room, so put your clothes back on and quit making all those awkward makeout noises. You’re going to make me throw up. This is what plays in my head whenever I see excessive PDA:
    Also, there are PLENTY of chairs in Napa. You do NOT need to be sitting on each other’s laps. Now, in the case that you think I’m just a bitter old spinster, rest assured that I am not. I don’t own any cats, so I’m pretty sure I’m in the clear. It just makes me super uneasy when people are overly affectionate. Call me old fashioned, but I think the only reason someone’s mouth should be touching someone else’s mouth that often in public is if one of those someone’s was drowning, and the other is CPR certified. I’m going to assume I’m not the only one on this naive wagon.

Alrighty! Onto things that ARE encouraged in wine country!

  1. Dumping your wine. No one expects you to finish every single pour you get. If you don’t like it, or if you’re trying to pace yourself, dump it into the bucket they have in front of you! Don’t worry about it going to waste. At night, a fairy goes around and collects all the wine that’s been collected in the buckets and feeds her unicorn with it, so you’re actually doing them a favor.
  2. Asking lots of questions. Wine tasting is about the experience. The more questions you ask, the better the conversation is going to be between you and whoever is presenting the wine to you. I’ll be honest, wine country is like a cult, and we try to suck in as many people as possible. This is done in two ways: we either intrigue you with all of our fascinating wine talk, facilitated by the questions that you ask, or we send our enological vampires after you. If you’re like me, you’d probably prefer the former, because my neck is too perfect looking to have any holes in it. If you want to know anything, ask. The more you understand, the better the experience.
  3. Taking lots of pictures. You’re (most likely) spending time with people you like, (hopefully) having a fantastic time, and smack dab in the one of the most beautiful places in the world. Why not whip out your DSLR and snap a million photos? Besides, you look HAWT, and you haven’t posted pictures onto your Facebook for over a week! CARPE DIEM!
  4. Clinking glasses. There are few sounds that resonate cheerfulness better than a bunch of glasses clinking together. There’s so much to celebrate, every single day. I try to make a point of making toasts and clinking as often as possible, even if it’s something stupid like “to healthier bowel movements!” Or, at the very least, a CHEERS! will do. Here’s how to say it in a bunch of different languages, in case you get bored of our stale American way: CLICK ME.

AWESOME. WordPress has a “word count” feature so conveniently located right in front of my left eyeball. Seeing as how I’m about to hit 1000 words, I should probably wrap it up, out of fear that I’ve rambled far too much these past 3 posts and I’ve lost your patronage forever. Also, I stopped mid-way through an episode of Pretty Little Liars and I’m dying to find out what’s about to happen. Say what you will about the show, it is way too intriguing. I will be the first to admit that I am sometimes afraid of watching it by myself with the lights off. And before you scoff at me, I’ll have you know that I am a huge fan of horror movies. There’s just something about this show!

Whoops, there goes the rambling again.

It’s almost the weekend, so go pick out a sundress– I’ll see you in Napa!

How Merlot Can You Go? … pt 2

Ok, unbunch your panties. I’m back.

So you want to go winetasting, eh? No? But I’m coercing you to? Cool. I don’t care what it takes, as long as I get you there.

Watch your step as you hop onto the FUN TRAIN, we’re about to journey through my guidelines for visiting wine country! *toot toot* ALLLLL ABOARD!

The first thing people always ask me is “what do I wear?” This makes me very happy because for the first time in my life, I’m revered as a fashion guru. This is probably no one’s intention because, understandably, no one would ever put “Alexha” and “fashion” together in a sentence (unless if it’s something along the lines as “Alexha, that is such a fashionably chocolate ice cream cone you’re eating!” Wait– can chocolate be fashionable? SEE? I AM A LOST CAUSE). But again, I don’t care. Just give me one, okay? I’ve come a long way from wearing my older brother’s hand-me-downs, though this sweater of his is pretty BAMF.

Anyways, I no longer dress like a total dork, so you can trust me now. Napa Valley, like all valleys in California, is subject to the infinite awesomeness that is Californian weather. We really only have 2 seasons: chilly and sunny. It’s easy to dress when it’s chilly because all you have to do is watch people scurrying around Union Square. Those San Franciscans deal with chilly weather year round! Through some very thorough research, I’ve deducted two algorithms. The first is for a female: just put together some sort of combination of boots, skinny jeans, sweater, jacket. BOOM. You look the part. The second algorithm is for the fellas, and it goes like this: just pretend it’s casual Friday at work. (Wait, how casual is casual Friday? Business casual, right?) Here is a photo of the Beastie doin’ it right. (Thanks for letting me use it… even though I didn’t ask. SURPRISE!)

Winter is a breeze (pun intended). The sunnier months, however, is when people start veering from decency. For some reason, girls start to forget about the “classy” and “reserved” aspects and start focusing on the “slutty” and “drunk” aspects. I am by no means ultra conservative, but I most definitely do not want to be seeing an eyeful of cleavage while I’m chugging down my Syrah! Firstly, coming from a small Asian girl, I do not need to see you flaunting what my ancient culture has not blessed me with. Secondly, they are distracting, and I don’t want to look like a perv just because I don’t know where else to look when I’m talking to you– you’re setting me up for failure! In the morning when you’re getting dressed, if you’re having doubts that your boobs are totally and completely secure in that top, please change. No joke, I have seen a boob pop out at a winery. And it was not pleasant for any of us… except maybe the winery dog, who suddenly wasn’t at the center of attention for being adorably overweight and frighteningly asthmatic.

Fellas, I don’t have many rules for you. I know it’s summer, but please don’t confuse winetasting with houseboating. If you can wear it onto a golf course that costs more than $10 to play a round, you’re probably safe. Above all else, if you’re going to wear sandals, please commit to it 100%, and for the love of God, do NOT wear socks underneath.

So here, study these two photos of people (okay, I admit it, they’re pictures of ME) doing it right, and one that’s all wrong. I won’t label them so you can figure out which picture falls into which category… think of it as a pop quiz!


Wow, this was a lot longer than I expected (that’s what she said), so I think I will take a break and go at it again in a few hours. (TWSS. I CAN’T HELP IT, GUYS. THEY WRITE THEMSELVES.) Go stretch your legs and your mind. The next portion is going to be a marathon of knowledge.

How Merlot Can You Go? … pt 1

Alrighty ladies and gents. Now that we’ve gotten the nitty gritty formalities out of the way, it’s time for date number 2. (I swear I won’t try to date you this entire blog, but this is a good tie-in!) In my mind, the perfect setting for a second date is winetasting in the (world famous) Napa Valley. Okay, winetasting in general. But Napa has the best wine. How do I know this? I work in Napa. SO AWESOME, right? RIGHT?! Yes. And no. The best thing about working in Napa is that I get to go winetasting for free whenever I want. The worst part about working in Napa is finding people my age to go winetasting with. [Full disclosure, I’m 23.75 years old.] There aren’t a whole lot of recent college graduates who have a palate for wine, much less mild excitement about wine.

For this, I blame cheap beer brands and their clever drinking games. Seriously, beer pong?! A quiet evening with your closest friends blind-tasting wine and nibbling on cheeses you can’t pronounce doesn’t stand a chance against the possibility of taking home the highly coveted PONG-CHAMP belt. I also blame the fact that more companies haven’t popularized plastic wine glasses. C’mon, no one wants to bring breakable glasses to a barrel-er (the wine equivalent of a kegger) if they can rinse out the red Solo cups they used last weekend. But mostly I blame the misconception that Napa winetasting is super snobby and “sophisticated.” It’s really not. If I can do it, the Beast (prior to his Cogsworth and Lumiere makeover) can do it… which means YOU can do it. Not that you’re the Beast.

But seriously gentlemen, here are my top 5 reasons as to why a trip to Napa Valley makes the perfect second date:

  1. She’s going to think you are super classy, and super into sophisticated things like art, literature, and blah blah blah, all those other things girls like. ALL BECAUSE YOU’VE PRETENDED TO LIKE WINE. This way, you’ll never have to take her to a museum, poetry reading, etc.
  2. It’s pretty much the only way to get a nice day-buzz going without being judged.
  3. Everyone else around you is going to be, on average, 65 years old. AIN’T NO OTHA PLAYA GON’ BE STEALIN’ YO’ GIRL.
  4. The people who pour you wine are incredibly friendly and talkative, meaning there’s way less pressure on you to keep the conversation going. Just chime in every once in awhile. Seriously, those pourers are PAID TO TALK TO THE TWO OF YOU. Just let them do the work.
  5. Kind of cheesy, but Napa is INCREDIBLY GORGEOUS. Even if she turns out to be kind of a dud, there’s plenty of other beautiful things to look at.

Check out these photos I google-imaged while I take a sip of my wine.

What girl in her right mind is going to suddenly make up plans to get out of spending a day with you getting drunk amongst that scenery? NO GIRL. If she bails on you after you mention Napa because she suddenly remembered she has to go to a seminar on menopause or needs to take her brother’s girlfriend’s aunt to the airport or has a UTI, SHE IS LYING. First of all, menopause, like global warming, is a myth. The female body only gets more awesome as time goes on. And secondly, if she mentions anything about a UTI, just drop her like a bar of soap in the shower. You do NOT want to be dating a girl who believes in aliens.*

Aaaaand yeah. That last one’s a real, momo-effin castle. Took 30 years and $14million to build; all the materials were shipped from Europe and they only used 18th and 19th century technology to build it, NBD. Did I mention there’s a torture chamber?

Okay, I can tell you’re getting excited, so like the writers of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, I’m going to leave you, unsympathetically, at a cliff hanger until tomorrow for my guidelines on how to impress said date in Napa. Until then, practice swirling those glasses of wine! Nothing more painful than a wrist injury from overswirling wine.

*okay, this is only the second time we’ve ever contacted, so I feel like I need to clarify that I don’t actually get UTI and UFO mixed up. I’m listening to HIMYM in the background and it just seems like something Barney would say. So yes, I am channeling NPH’s fictional character and yes, I am equally as awesome.