“It’s not a ‘goodbye’; it’s a ‘see ya later.'”

I lost my grandfather on Sunday.

Or rather, I should say, WE lost our grandfather on Sunday, because he wasn’t just mine. I shared him with 16 other cousins, 17 aunts and uncles, and countless people he influenced over the course of his life, as evidenced by the overwhelming amount of love, support, and condolences our family has received. 

Ever since I received the phone call on Sunday afternoon, I’ve felt like I’ve been in some weird trance, and I keep expecting to wake up any minute. I guess it hasn’t really sunk in yet. None of us saw it coming, and it happened so quickly. The rational side of me says that I’m in denial, and that I need to snap out of it; the irrational side of me wants to slap the rational side and tell it to shut up, and let me prolong my wishful thinking for just a little bit longer. I’m hoping that by writing this, I’ll come to terms with the loss, because I’m flying home in a few hours, and whether I like it or not, I’ll have to face reality. 

I know everyone thinks their grandparents are amazing, and I’m sure they are, but let me relish for a few moments in ways my grandpa was truly extraordinary. 

Much of what he taught us came from his military background, I think.

He taught us to be genuine, generous, and hard working. If you’re going to do something, do it once, and do it right; live your life as though you’re leading by example. He raised us to believe that with the proper work ethic, compassion, and determination, anyone could be a leader, and anyone could make a difference.

He taught us the value of your word– if you say you’re going to do something, be somewhere, you better. On time, too. There is no excuse for tardiness. 

He taught us to be presentable. That, although appearances aren’t everything, it’s important to show others you value their time by making yourself presentable to society. It’s weird to think that much of our society has lost touch with this idea. I mean, I’m guilty of this too– there have been far too many occasions in which I thought it was acceptable to leave the house in leggings or sweats, simply because I was too lazy or comfortable to change. Not my grandpa. Going out meant slacks and a collared shirt at minimum. He was old school dapper like that. Likewise, it’s important for your home and your life to be presentable and organized. There’s a place and purpose for everything– if there isn’t, it doesn’t belong. 

He taught us to find our passion, and commit our whole being to it. He was. by far, the most patriotic person I knew, and he dedicated his entire life to his country. On a lighter note, he showed us that If you enjoy something, you should indulge a little. For reasons beyond my comprehension, my grandpa loved birds. Like, absolutely LOVED them. He has 3 clocks in his tiny home that all make various bird noises. On the hour. Every hour. Whenever I got a chance to call and catch up, he’d always tell me about the birds visiting his garden, where he and my grandma planted a plethora of birdhouses, birdfeeders, and bird baths. That’s probably the one and only thing I’ve ever liked about birds: they made him so happy. 

Even after he turned 80, my grandpa was a force to be reckoned with. He could command the room like he was still a young Colonel in the army. (I wish I had asked him why it’s pronounced “kernal” and not “col-on-el.”) He had a naturally graceful way with words. He was an exceptional writer, and yet an even more extraordinary speaker. He never passed up an opportunity to express how happy it made him to see our family grow to be as strong as we are. 

Growing up, I always thought that all families were like ours. The kind of family that would rather cram 30 people into a house than to spend a night apart in a hotel; the kind of family that eats dinner together every single night, regardless of how busy or stressful or hectic life gets; the kind of family that endures any and all challenges together, no matter how big or small. We are unbreakable. It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized how uncommon this was, and how lucky I am to be a part of it. I realized that our family’s bond is in large part due to the sacrifices my grandparents made, the strength that they have exhibited, and the love they’ve shared and fostered for the past 60 years. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my grandpa, it is this: to be truly happy, you have to build a good home for yourself. Not in a literal or materialistic way, of course. At the end of your life, it won’t matter how much money you made, how big your house was, or how many cars you owned. You’ll only remember whether or not you spent as many days as possible with the people you love; if you had a place that made you feel safe and supported and free to be yourself. I think that’s what we appreciate above all else about my grandpa: he fostered this family– this home– for all of us. He’ll forever be the glue that holds us together. We are his legacy. (And a damn good looking one, at that.)

The night that my grandfather passed, my cousins and I all swiftly changed our Facebook profile pictures like the true Generation XY that we are. One cousin wrote “it’s not a goodbye, it’s a see ya later.” It’ll be weird being all together and not hearing his barreling laughter fill up the room, or his sassy, sarcastic comments when I say something stupidly corny and laugh to myself, but I find great comfort in knowing that he’s in a better place now, and that one day we’ll be together again. 

Until then, I hope he’s happy wherever he is, and that he’s proud of the everlasting legacy he’s left behind. 

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No we didn’t die– we just took a really long nap.

HI AGAIN.

Sorry we’ve been gone for… oh dear, 2 months? That can’t be right, can it?

Well rest assured– neither the Beastie or I sailed off the edge of the Earth.

The truth is, life is tough. Not “I’m a coal miner” tough, but “setting aside time to blog can be difficult when there are so many awesome new shows on television to watch” tough. #themindyproject

But now that we’re here, let’s catch up. The short version of the story is that harvest season has really picked up and I am currently working 6 days a week, roughly 60 hours a week. But I know you didn’t come here for the short version. In true 10-year-old-at-the-dinner-table-rambling-on-and-on-about-her-day form, here’s what I’ve been up to for the past two months:

  1. Bouldering! It’s like rock climbing, except without the ropes. So yes, way more badass, and (relatively) way more panties drop when I casually mention it in everyday small talk.
  2. Ordering my body weight in sushi and then complaining for countless hours about how full I am.
  3. Trying to figure out how to make these dorky safety vests look cool. Regrettably, they’re part of the dress code at work.
  4. Coyly pretending that I’m not dating that boy who just climbed into the watermelon bin at Costco because he insists “it’s the only way to pick the perfect watermelon.”
  5. WHOOPING my sister at fantasy football, despite my terrible, terrible record. SUCK IT, BOOBIES MCBIGBOOBS. You may have the superior rack, but I bring all the boys to the yard with my superior fantasy team. FEEL THE WRATH OF TEAM TOMBRADYSBABYMAMA.
  6. Adding this delicious elixir-paste of the Gods to everything… and I mean EVERYTHING. It tastes like if Jesus was to tuck you into bed at night and kiss you goodnight on your forehead, I swear.
  7. Bookmarking pages of “cute Samsung Galaxy S3 phone covers” even though my upgrade isn’t for another month.
  8. Saving innocent citizens of Gotham City with my no-longer secret superhero identity.
  9. Trying to teach my dog how to use the toilet.
  10. Grilling everything in sight because a) I was a girl scout and I know how to build a fire, b) grilled meats and veggies are effing delicious and c) I can feel my grip on summer slipping away, and grilling is the most “summery” thing to do after “rounding up all your friends to go to the pool but then never actually going because it’s too hot outside.”
  11. Getting lots of imaginary tattoos… and one real one.
  12. Starting pharmacy school, graduating from pharmacy school, and starring in NBC’s “To Catch a Predator,” all in the same day.
  13. Learning key Spanish phrases such as “tiempo de pachanga” and “yo no estoy el capitan– solamente un trabajo aqui” from my coworkers.
  14. Getting suckered into Dietbets. PLEASE JOIN AND KEEP ME COMPANY.
  15. Double-parking slash parking a little too closely to some mystery neighbor that has randomly appeared out of nowhere and started stealing my parking spot.
  16. Making new friends.
  17. Building a time machine so that I can go back to 1912 and make my life identical to Downton Abbey. Good lord, I am obsessed with that show.
  18. Googling what a “freakum dress” is.
  19. Playing Skype-tag with my mama :(
  20. Seducing my roommate with my ability to feed her grapes and then walk away slowly so she can admire my calves.
  21. Watching way, way, WAY too much Honey Boo Boo and Breaking Amish. Does anyone know where a sista can order a “You bettUR redneck-ognize” shirt??
  22. Unsuccessfully infiltrating the P1 class, even though the P2 class will be abandoning me in a year’s time. Those bitches.
  23. Defending my Vietnamese heritage despite disliking Vietnamese sandwiches.
  24. Creating the culinarily genius masterpiece that is the COSTCO TURDUCKEN, “a scrumptious polish sausage stuffed into a piping hot chicken bake, delicately wrapped in 2 slices of pizza, sprinkled with crushed red pepper,” with my brother and roommates. COMING SOON TO A COSTCO NEAR YOU!
  25. Oh, and of course, ruining nice photos with the Beastie, who I got to see for about 5 seconds :)

All this, mind you, have been accomplished– okay, attempted– under the pressure of keeping my excitement for the ever-so-on-the-horizon holiday season, when everyone will be cheery and fabulous be-sweatered, at bay. Do you know how hard it is to get shit done when all you can think about are hideously tasseled Christmas sweaters and peppermint hot chocolate?!

I promise I’ll try to keep better tabs on you from here on out, though.

I caved and bought The Casual Vacancy yesterday, even though I know that I’ll only expect it to magically turn into an 8th Harry Potter book the whole time I’m reading it…

I’ll let you know how it goes :)

How to have a swag-filled weekend.

I don’t want to brag but… let’s be honest, we all know I’m going to: I’ve corresponded emails with the great Go Jules Go. That’s right, more fabulous than Beyonce and more hilarious than those “Mayhem” Allstate Insurance commercials, the Queen of Guilty Pleasures graciously responded to my #fangirl screams a few weeks ago, and I’ve been too starstruck to blog ever since. Sure, the Olympics didn’t help (heeeeeello Nathan Adrian), but for the sake of my desire to flatter her silly, let’s say my absence was all Jules’ fault.

It all started one fateful lunch break.

After I reheat the roasted chicken for my homemade gourmet salad (this body don’t come for free, y’all), I decided it was time to reward that morning’s hard work with a quick gander through my WordPress reader. Naturally, my eyes wandered on over to see what Jules and her second husband were up to. I didn’t get a chance to prepare my body for the excitement that was about to ensue: SHE WAS HOSTING A ‘STACHE-GLASSES GIVEAWAY! I’ve been DYING to have a cute/artsy/faux-hipster Instagram photo with a cool plastic mustache just like my hero…

… so I quickly skimmed the responses and sent in my own to the question “what one famous person, dead or alive, you’d like trapped on a deserted island with you (and why).”

My heart definitely skipped several beats (I nearly DIED, Jules!) when I waddled into work a week later and was surprised with this response! Seriously. That comic strip is probably the greatest thing that will ever happen to me… including the birth of my first born. So naturally, I’ve printed it out and had it bound, ready to read it as a bedtime story to my future children (in between excerpts of Harry Potter, of course).

Faced with a very difficult decision, I turned to my trusty roommate for advice. WHICH PAIR DO I CHOOSE?!

With 100% sass and 0% sympathy, homegirl definitely responded with “guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurl, you’s recently single. You needs some SWAG to make the fellas holla.” Okay. Ouch. But homegirl’s got a point. I gathered up the remains of my self-esteem, dried off the tears, and emailed Jules, letting her know that I’ll be needing some plastic SWAG.

Soon after, I received the most rhinestonalicious ‘stache and it’s become a permanent fixture of my face ever since.

My new ‘stache and I went rockclimbing…

And we went paddleboarding…

It even gave the roomie and me the credibility to look like legitimate forest rangers!

All my friends got super jealous, so obviously, I let them try it on… for a not-so-nominal fee of $10 per photo.



(That last one is a random old man we met at the pizza parlor… not me.)

So I just wanted to say…

THANKS FOR THE SWAG, JULES. AND THANKS FOR THE EXTRA-INCOME!

I’ve never been so complimented in my life.

Word on the street is, she’ll be holding another ‘stache giveaway (there should be a support-group/Ju’stache League type situation where all the winners band together in order to fight evil whilst drinking wine) around the end of August, so be sure to check out her blog and peruse for useful clues on how to flatter your way into her heart before the time comes.

Gambit happily volunteers to be the muscle.

(It’s not considered animal cruelty if he secretly enjoys it.)

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind you wake up excitedly for on a Sunday morning, despite it being Sunday morning. The kind that wakes you from your deepest slumbers like the smell of bacon can. I don’t even like to eat bacon, but I know for damn sure there is no better alarm clock  than the scent of fatty, crispy, greasy bacon. I want the kind of love that lets me know that there’s someone out there who’s taken the time to get to know me– to learn my likes and dislikes, my preferences and exact specifications– the way my dad’s omelette does. No chef on the planet will ever make an omelette as perfect for me as my dad does.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you spend all day looking forward to. The kind that you spend  hours and hours meticulously planning and preparing for. The kind that requires cheese from the nice part of the store. The kind that you break out the nice china and crystal wine glasses for, even though it’s just an average Tuesday night, because being in each other’s company and being in love is as good as any other reason to celebrate. Or the kind that you eat off of paper plates and ripped sheets of paper towels and frisbees that you hastily rinsed off because the food is what matters and you don’t need to dress it up all fancy to know that it’s amazing. In fact, forget about dressing up in general. I want the kind of love where I can be plopped in my chair wearing gym clothes with bits flour dusting my hair and oversized glasses planted on my face and still know you think I’m the prettiest girl you’ve ever seen. Not everything needs to be perfect for it to be perfect.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you’re proud to share with your friends. The kind that your friends push into natural light to Instagram and brag all over Facebook with photos that are captioned “Alexha just made me the best meal ever! Am I in heaven? Can I marry her?” The kind that make starving people studying for their final exams shut their laptops. The kind so gorgeous, you don’t even use those tacky filters.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that fosters non-stop laughter that makes you cry and dab your eyes with your shirt sleeve, and incites loud, passionate conversation where people are yelling over each other– about mortgage rates and settling down and having babies and which *NSYNC member you would’ve dated (JC, obviously) and that one Monday night we all went to the Giant’s game and got drunk– the way dinner parties tend to do. It doesn’t matter what we talk about; there will be ab-strengthening laughter and witty banter, and (most likely) 3 glasses of wine involved, and at the end of the night, we’ll feel like we’re that much closer.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that brings silence to a table when the food comes out because it is freakin’ spectacular and we were all starving and engulfing the meal takes precedence over maintaining small talk. In a world overrun with noise– may it be elevator music or the incessant honking during rush hour or the non-stop clamor of Twitter– I just want to the enjoy the silence with someone and not worry about it being awkward. I just want to look up at you between bites of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and see you smiling back at me like we’re sharing a devious secret, and without having to say a single word, know that we are both incandescently content.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you’ll pack up in neat, plastic containers and continue to enjoy the rest of the week. The kind you don’t get tired or bored of, because you know what? Spaghetti tastes better as leftovers.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that’s like trying a new recipe. No recipe is ever going to come with a guarantee. The author may have different tastes than yours, or you might have accidentally bought regular paprika instead of the Hungarian smoked paprika, or your oven just cooks at a significantly different rate. The recipe might just suck in general. Likewise, you and your love might not love bouldering as much as you thought you would, or you both might really suck at surfing and never stand up on the board (though not likely, because I stood up on my first attempt, nbd), or underwater basket weaving is a lot easier than you anticipated and you got bored 15 minutes into it. Who cares? At least you tried it, and now you have a funny story to tell our friends next time we throw a dinner party. I want the kind of love where we can laugh at our misfortunes and mistakes; where we can toss our catastrophic attempt at making butter chicken and naan in the trash and just order a pizza instead, happy to have spent a few hours together in the kitchen.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes me feel like I’m part of a team. That I’m making a difference. Like I’m part of some higher power’s plan. Every Thanksgiving, my brother and sister and I spend months trying to “top” the dinner we made the previous year. This takes countless phone conversations and recipe-laden email chains and hand-cramping shopping lists, and sure, it can get really stressful. But come the morning of, we morph together into one, spinning and twirling around the kitchen like a culinary dance… or a well oiled machine. I don’t know how you and your siblings are, but in our family, we compliment each other perfectly. I love that feeling. I want to be someone’s “other half.” I want someone to blast Spice Girls and dance around the kitchen with. Sure, it’s pretty fun doing that with my sister and having our brother exasperatedly ask my parents for two new sisters, but frankly, I’m tired of being sighed at, and moreso, I’m tired of sighing at my sister’s dance moves. And I know my siblings and I are not always going to be able to do this, what with life and growing up and jobs and all those superfluous things getting in the way. I need someone I can be that comfortable with. Zig-a-zig-a-zig-ahh. 

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you can just feel when you walk into the room, like when I would come home from school and the whole house would smell like my mom’s pho. I want the kind of love that makes me nostalgic and crazy and giddy like my mom’s pho. The kind that can never be replicated by restaurants people like to eat at just because they have punny names like “What the Pho” and “Pho King.” If the love that I end up loving turns out to be half as ineffably amazing as my mom’s pho, I will never, ever complain about anything again. This includes: having a case of the Mondays, Twilight, feeling fat after eating 3 donuts, and not dating Joseph Gordon-Levitt even though we’re perfect for each other.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes you take small bites and shuffle your ravioli around on your plate because you don’t want the night to end. The kind that, before you know it, it’s already 11pm and you missed that finale of the Bachelorette that you meant to watch, but it’s ok because the evening was perfect, and everything else can wait until tomorrow. I want a hug or a kiss that lingers the way my family used to linger around the dinner table well after we finished having tea and dessert because we’re too enraptured in discussing things like how my grandparents fell in love at the age of 15 or how my sister did on her AP Chem exam or the places we want to visit on our intracontinental road trip next month. I want the kind of love where family dinners together are the highlight of the day; where TV’s get turned off and cell phones get put away; where we genuinely care to hear about each other’s day.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes me feel the way cooking makes me feel. Nothing makes me happier than cooking for people I care about. Nothing. I feel like a goddess, creating something from nothing. I feel like I can disregard rules and recipes and just trust my gut instinct and improvise. I feel confident in myself and passionate for the first time, every time. I feel tested and successful and squeamish with ideas flooding my mind. An extra pinch here, omit that dash there, and minor substitution here and there. There are no games here: I don’t have to wait 3 days for him to call me back, or pretend I haven’t already stalked his Facebook profile before our first date, or lie and say I’ve only read Harry Potter once in my life because I’m afraid you’ll think I’m lame. No, there are no games here (and to be honest, if you’ve only read Harry Potter once in your life, there’s a 99% chance we’re not going to work out anyway)– it’s just me being me and you being you. I want a love that makes me feel these things. I want a love that makes me unequivocally happy just being me.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind I can pour my heart and soul into (sorry for the cliche; I guess I want a love that makes me write in cliches). The kind of love I can share my family recipes with.

Honestly, I just want a love I can cook for. And when I do, I want you to tell me that that is the best goddamn baked ziti you’ve ever had. Because it will be.

Don’t mind me as I check myself for wrinkles.

For the past two months or so, my Facebook has been on drugs. The Adderall kind of drug. All my news feed could think about was graduating and getting married. Well, I guess it’s more of a Ted-Mosby-if-he-was-a-high-school-girl kind of drug. But you get what I mean… super tunnel visioned!

I tried to remind myself that I’m not that old. I’m only 24, after all.

Just a few years ago, I was posting those cap & gown photos!

Oh god. I’m 24.

24 is pretty much 25.

Which rounds to 30.

And everyone knows that the 30’s just blend in with the 40’s.

So pretty much I’m 24 going on 50.

I tried to remind myself that just 6 short years ago, my Facebook was full of statuses like “____ IS dreading the AP Calculus exam tomorrow. Meet me at Starbucks beforehand so we can 1) seem like sophisticated high schoolers that drink coffee and 2) squeal together about the test.”

(remember when FB forced you to begin your status with “___ is _________?” It was so much harder to be whiny and witty back then.)

And just two years before that, we were all outstretching our backs, taking pictures of ourselves at super awkward angles in the dirty bathroom mirror to post onto MySpace!

So when did I get to this point in my social-media life that screams “EVERYONE ELSE AROUND YOU IS AN ADULT! HURRY AND GROW THE HELL UP!”

(Beastie, I’m sure you can relate to this given how often I complain about it how often we talk about it.)

Then it occurred to me that simply complaining about feeling old meant that I had already begun to grow up! VICTORY! Between doing a back-breaking number of crunches (bikini season always has a way of sneaking up on me like Simba on Zazu) and eating slices of Cookies ‘N Cream ice cream cake (I deserve to splurge after those 20 situps), I sat down and made a list of ways in which current me is more mature/older than “Alexha is currently waiting for the OC series finale to air and wishing it didn’t have to end. My life is over.” me.

If you’re ready to be wow-ed by my personal growth, read on.

Ways in which I now act like an adult:

  1. Weekends mean doing chores, not sitting around the house watching TV while your mom tells you to clean your room, because you no longer live with your “laundry fairy” (my affectionate nickname for my mother) and if you don’t wash your undies, water the plants, and clean out the fridge, no one will. And you will die of excessive mold inhalation.
  2. I listen to classical music during my commute, because today’s pop music is “too much noise.”
  3. When I go out to dinner with my friends, we are all civil until the bill comes out. At that point, all hell breaks loose. Everyone claims “I’m a working man/woman! I’ll pick up the tab!” This is also a good indication that not only are my friends and I adults, but also Asian.
  4. Taking shots is suddenly child’s play. If your cocktail wasn’t muddled, foamed, fizzed, imported from some European country, include some sort of obscure herb, served in a martini or high ball glass, AND cost less than $12 per sip, then you might as well go back to drinking your juice box at recess. Bartenders are barbarians– I only trust my libations with my mixologist.
  5. During my lunch breaks, I’m either looking up recipes to cook for dinner, perusing wedding registries, or working. Because there’s that much work to be done.
  6. As an extension of the last bullet, I also worry about work-related projects after work and on the weekends. And when I run into friends, we ask each other how work’s going, not “what did you get for the 3rd question on yesterday’s midterm?” and then secretly hate each other for getting the tricky question right.
  7. Calendars are my new best friend. There are too many things to do, and 90% of the time I forget unless I write it down. I’ve started penciling everything into a compact but dense schedule. My only glimmer of adolescence is the cute colors and stickers I put on my calendar.
  8. Seeing baby shoes makes my uterus quiver with a strange mix of fear and excitement. Similarly, I have also made a mental note of “baby names that I think are cute.” I will not elaborate on this, however, for fear that my bf is reading this.
  9. Going out or “getting away for the weekend” means finding a sitter for my baby or finding canine-friendly activities/venues.
  10. My fridge is a mural of take-out menus and coupons instead of crayon artwork and “A+” science quizzes.
  11. The movies I’m most excited to see this summer are NOT typical superhero-summer movies (though I am pretty excited for Dark Knight Rises). Instead, I am looking forward to seeing two of my favorite books made into movies: Anna Karenina and Perks of Being a Wallflower. I also plan on pitching a tent and camping out in the IMAX-3D theater on opening weekend of Magic Mike, but that’s another story.
  12. I take a multi-vitamin, glucosamine, calcium + Vitamin D, and fish oil pill every day. And have flirted with the idea of investing in a pill box. Do they make them in pink with pictures of unicorns? Is there such a thing as a mini-pill vending “machine?” Like those M&M dispensers you buy in NYC or Vegas! Ooh, I’d take all my vitamins if I had one of those.
  13. Mornings without coffee mean mornings with headaches; nights without a whiskey nightcap are unprecedented.
  14. Every conversation with my parents end with an “I love you” because, well, you just never know.
  15. I pay my bills… on time!
  16. I have to be careful while watching the Olympic trials because some of the male athletes I think are cute are younger than me– or God forbid, under 18. (Is there such a thing as being an seasonally Olympic cougar?)

Despite all this maturity, however, I still feel like a braces-having, training-bra-wearing, insecure and curious little 15 year old girl. Most days, I still find myself feeling like Jennifer Garner’s character in “13 Going on 30” and wondering how I got here.

I’m not really in a rush to grow up. I just thought I’d feel differently, especially now that I’ve graduated college and work full time and live on my own. I still feel like a little kid inside.

Oh well.

Now that my rant is over, please excuse me while I go check my face in the mirror for wrinkles and browse the interweb for deals on Spanx.

(Do me) Good Night

Alternatively named “(Kissed you) In the Moonlight.”

For weeks and weeks I’ve been trying to figure out why Gloriana’s single, “(Kissed you) Good Night,” sounds so freakin’ familiar. It finally hit me the other day… in a dream.

Am I the only one that thinks the chorus of this song:

sounds EXACTLY like the chorus of this song?

I especially love the Gloriana video because it just goes to prove that good things can happen if you star in One Tree Hill or Secret Life of the American Teenager. And moreso, good things can happen if you date a boy like Dylan.

Happy hump day, everyday :)

If my sister was a dinosaur…

Did anyone outside the Northern California central valley experience a heatwave this past Father’s Day weekend? I swear, it was the only topic of discussion on my FB newsfeed (which was a welcome change from all of the Lebron James malarkey).

Naturally, due to the profuse sweating going on in my apartment, Judy and I decided to slaughter what little self-esteem we have and peruse the Victoria’s Secret website for swimsuits. The experience reminded me a lot of going to a haunted insane asylum: at first it’s all fun and games as you’re running around with your friends, laughing and playing flashlight tag, when suddenly a door closes by itself and an impending doom rushes down everyone’s spines as you realize you’re locked in here forever. And by that I mean, at first it was super exciting to look at swimsuits that we’d “look awesome in after a summer full of eating right and working out,” only to realize that 1) unless we somehow figured out a way to survive off of low-calorie tap water, we’d never look like this, 2) we had just thrown back half a tube of thin mints* while swearing to each other that we were never eating again, and 3) all of our favorite colors and cuts were only available 2 sizes too small or 2 sizes too big…

DAMN MY PERFECTLY AVERAGE BODY!

This morning I was arguing with the boy about which gender has it worse when it comes to societal pressures to be physically perfect. Obviously, I think women have it way worse because there are 10 ScarJos, Padmas, Cindys, Heidis, and fucking “Gisele Bundchen”‘s for every 1 Ryan Gosling to be dealt with.

First of all, if you’re a boy, you’re either buff, not buff, or somewhere in-between, and that’s about all there is to it. When you’re given a female body, you are frantically running around like the SOLO maintenance guy at Disneyworld trying to ensure that everything is working and in tip-top shape (which, as you can imagine, is quite impossible). You might have nice legs but overly broad shoulders; a nice butt but no boobs; nice abs but a weird fuzzy mustache you can’t get rid of. Don’t even get me started on backne and love handles! The potential “problems” are agonizingly endless!

After about 24 years, you start to really grow comfortable– more like you give up wishing you looked different– with your body and are just content that you don’t look like an alien. That’s pretty much where I’m at now, and this self-appreciation slash self-reverence is where my unparalleled self-esteem comes from. Just when my ego has gotten the best of me, however, my little sister likes to remind me that my itty-bitties are ant holes compared to her Mount Everests.

If my sister was a dinosaur, she’d be a Voluptusaurus Rex.

I will not grace this blog with a comparative photo between in my sister because this is my ego’s sanctuary, but I will say this: poo on you, little sister. 

Secondly, there’s a reason why there are more make-up brands for women than entries in Charlie Sheen’s little black book, yet the only advertisement I can find for “makeup for men” is this:

Henceforth, society is much more okay with men looking “natural,” but expect women to change their face… daily. Think of all the time you spend putting makeup on. Is it really necessary?! What does mascara even do, anyway? And that creepy eyelash-curling torture device? How closely are people looking at your eyelashes?!

Third, I’ve always found it strange that men “read” “magazines” such as Maxim that feature super hot women on them… and women read magazines such as Cosmo that ALSO feature super hot women on them. WHY DON’T CHANNING OR ANY OF THE HEMSWORTH BROTHERS DROP TROU FOR OUR MAGAZINES?!

Ladies, we’ve been fighting for over 92 years for equal rights. This may be the final frontier. Get some hot men on our magazine covers, please.

Or, instead, impose some sort of regulation for how “skinny” (I’d prefer to call them skeletonly) women in the media can be. If I had to be “this tall” to ride Space Mountain, you sure as hell should be “this heavy” to be featured in this fashion spread, don’t you think? Is it crazy for me to think that a model should weigh more than the camera+lens they’re being photographed with? Or at least a suckling pig. I mean c’mon. As I stated many months ago, I can BENCH AND CARRY A SUCKLING PIG. How long do you honestly think you’ll last in the Hunger Games if all you eat are ice cubes?! That alone should motivate you to scarf down a burger or two.

And since I’m already complaining: why is it that you need at least 120IQ points to understand the female clothes-sizing system?! Why do we make life so much more difficult for ourselves? Don’t even get me started on accessorizing. That’s a whole ‘nother monster to sigh at.

Anyway, in the case that you still think men “have it worse” than girls, let me know, and I’ll give you a play-by-play explanation of childbirth. With accompanying videos. And if that’s not enough, you can sign up for my podcast about my monthly period. Get ready for lots of details– I own several thesauruses.

Boy or girl, you have to agree that our idea of “the perfect” body has gotten pretty out of hand. If the simple act of online shopping can throw such a giant wrench in the gears of my self confidence, I can only imagine what it’s like for those who don’t think nearly as highly of themselves.

But enough about that! All this talk about “never eating again” makes me hungry, and I realize it’s been awhile since I’ve posted any sort of culinary magic for you to try, so here’s a super simple pork chop recipe that’s easy enough to make while you’re skimming through your Reader’s Digest, Wired Magazine, or National Geographic.

Alexha’s “Pork chops for Fat Dinosaurs trying to lose weight” pork chops:

(I combined and tweaked two recipes to make this one: 1 & 2)

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless pork chops, fat trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp very finely minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmasean
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Throw on that sexy apron and let’s get to work!

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the garlic, parmasean, breadcrumbs, rosemary, parsley, salt, and pepper. This will be your “dredge.”
  2. Gently rub mustard on pork chops until both sides are evenly covered.
  3. Dip pork chops into the dredge bowl and generously coat both sides.
  4. On a skillet or nonstick pan, heat some olive oil on medium high heat. Once ready, add the pork chops and saute both sides until the panko coating is a nice golden brown color.
  5. Place pork chops on a foil covered baking sheet in the oven (or, if you’re fancy, put your cast iron skillet in the oven) and bake for about 5-8 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees F.
  6. Enjoy! Apparently half of this recipe is from a “healthy eating-weight loss” recipe blog, so it’s half healthy!
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Happy hunting, fellow VS-shoppers :)

*yes, I still have Thin Mints laying around the house. I’ll be featured in the next episode of Hoarders as the girl who hoards Girl Scout cookies. Stay tuned…

musically confused.

Is it just me, or does someone ALWAYS yell “they just don’t make music like this anymore!” when either:

  • a Beatles song
  • Don’t Stop Believing
  • a MoTown song
  • an ABBA song
  • a BSB/NSYNC/98 Degrees/ 90’s love ballad
  • More Than Words
  • a disco song
  • the National Anthem
  • a Michael Jackson / Prince song
  • a pre-cougar Madonna song
  • Sweet Caroline
  • a “classic rock” song that anyone born after 1995 only knows from playing Rock Band

comes on?

You’ve noticed it too, right?

Have you also noticed how nobody says that about songs that came out 5 years ago? Yeah? That’s because NO ONE MISSES circa-2007 pop songs! It’s been awhile, so let me remind of you hit songs from that year. In 2007,we  let songs such as:

  1. Glamorous” by Fergie ft. Ludacris
  2. This Is Why I’m Hot” by MIMS
  3. Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne
  4. Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston
  5. (the death of Daft Punk genius) “Stronger” by Kanye West
all grace the NUMBER ONE SPOT on Billboards. As a society, we should be ashamed.
The worst part of it is that we even let “What Time is it,” the song from HSM2 (aka the WORST HSM. C’mon, you know you secretly liked 1 or 3) break into the top 10.

I did a lot of soul-searching with my iPOD during my last road trip, and think I’ve stumbled upon the answer: music is confusing these days.

Remember when Mariah Carey and Enrique Iglesias would sing beautiful love poems? Remember “Sweet Fantasy” and “Hero?” Whatever happened to that? How the hell did they, 10 years later, regress in maturity and crank out lame lyrics about soft porn being on Youtube? How is yelling “baby, I LIKE IT!” 250x in a song considered music? THEY ARE THE BENJAMIN BUTTONS OF MUSIC. 

This all dawned on me when I was jammin’ to Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” (which, IMO is one of the greatest songs of all time) with Lindsay and Judy, when I accidentally asked out loud “do you think this is Jay-Z’s idea of romance? Is this a love song for Beyonce?”

Okay, think about it. The whole song he talks about how difficult, demeaning, and frustrating (ARGH! Couldn’t get one more d-word in for ultimate alliteration!) it is to be a victim of racial profiling and discrimination, but in the chorus, he pretty much says that even though he faces all these struggles on a daily basis, he feels bad for anyone who has “girl problems” because he doesn’t have to experience that pain. So pretty much, he’s saying that Beyonce is awesome, and he never has to worry about his relationship with her because they’re so committed to each other, and that he’ll go buy ice cream and tampons for her at 2am if she ever needs or even wants it.

Oh Jay-Z, you’re such a romantic!

(never mind that he calls her a BITCH… I’m sure it’s his cute wife-nickname for her.)

(We are also ignoring the fact that “99 Problems” was originally written by Ice-T in 1993 about his sexual conquests. Let me swoon over Jay-Z, damnit!)

Fast forward 7 years and we get things on the radio like Jason Derulo’s “It Girl,” where he does things like compare the love of his life to this oversized paperweight:

Oh, you love me more than THAT broken mini record player? Gee, thanks.

And what do you mean by “you could be my it girl / this is it girl / give me 25  to life” ?!?!

AM I A LIFETIME PRISON SENTENCE?! 

So you can see my confusion with today’s lyrics. I can never tell if a song is about him loving a girl, him ironically loving a girl, him satirically loving a girl, or if all these mentions of a “girl” are actually code for something else… like the secret treasure my mom told me I had to guard until the end of time… or a super fancy hot pastrami sandwich.

Take a love song writing lesson from Jay-Z, Jason Derulo. I’d rather you just lovingly call me a bitch.