What this is all about...

A quarter life crisis is a real thing. I know this because myself, and my best girlfriends, are going through it right now. This blog is dedicated to the day to day banalities/craziness of those quarter life crises. For those of you with questions, the qlc is when you realize that you have to be Responsible. It is when the job you accept is the beginning of a Career Path. It is when the guy/girl you date might be The One. It is when you get pushed out of the nest and you have to flap your wings enough to cushion the fall. Perhaps your thirties are when you get to fly?
The question isn't who is going to let me; 
it's who is going to stop me.
-Ayn Rand

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why I Hate New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is overhyped, overrated, and overdone. I get the excitement - a new year, a new beginning, a day off of work. Woohoo. But why, oh why, is there so much pressure for it to be Legen -wait for it - dary.



Every year I get excited for New Year's Eve and every year it is a let down. The problem? Huge expectations. I feel like nearly every movie and every TV show hypes the night up to ridiculous epic proportions. "Friends" has a few good realistic New Year's Eve episodes (not to mention one of the BEST episodes ever....The One With All The Resolutions Season 5, Episode 11) and the "Sex and the City" movie showed less than perfect moments at midnight. I am thankful for those moments because my own New Year's Eves have always seemed to be below par.

December 31, 2008
My first year out of college and I was dating a nice enough guy, but really I should have known this was coming. He was nice, but being nice doesn't translate to making all your dreams come true. My expectations of a New Years in Madison were of epic proportions; I knew the bartenders so I wouldn't have to wait for drinks, I knew the bouncers so I wouldn't have to wait outside in the cold, I even had a new dress to rock on the big night. Unfortunately it snowed, a lot. It's Wisconsin, I should have expected that wrench in the plans. But I braved the weather anyway and wore the open toed shoes that matched the dress with a great going out coat that I usually wouldn't risk on such a big night (drunkies spilling on it is my big fear). The night ended with the group splitting up, someone stealing my coat, getting frost bite on a toe or two, and my date not giving a hoot if I was there or not. I ended up heading home around 1am, then woke up at 5am and decided to rally. I headed down the street to another bar, one that was closing around 8am. Most of the city's bartenders were partying there since they had closed their own establishments a few hours earlier... holy shit show. People were falling over, making out, crying, puking, eating insane amounts of french fries, and above all, spilling drinks. When I finally made it to the bar, the bartenders were too drunk to make a good drink and I ended up with a mimosa made with white wine instead of champagne. Don't try it, it's not good. I finally admitted defeat and headed back to my apartment.

December 31, 2009
Best plans ever! I was going to drive down to Chicago with Kay and her boyfriend. We were going to meet up with my boyfriend and hit up a club downtown. We had the tickets and again, I bought the best dress. I even bought the best shoes. It was going to be epic.
Not. So. Much.
The night started falling apart a few nights earlier. Kay's boyfriend decided he didn't want to go to Chicago and promised that he would take her there some other weekend if she would just give in and stay in Wisconsin for New Year's Eve. She caved. I can't blame her, he's her boyfriend and they are still together. I was a bit unhappy though - I was pretty jazzed to spend New Year's with my best friend! Oh well, I still was going to be with my boyfriend and I would get to wear my new dress. I just had to get through a day of work first.
I woke up earlllly and headed to the stores I had to check before heading down to Chicago. Everything began going wrong immediately. I ripped open my finger around 9am and there was quite a bit of blood. The store manager had to dig up a bandaid and helped me clean it up. Did I let it get to me? No! I chatted with other workers about my exciting plans. The day was moving along and I didn't even mind the grouchy store managers I invariably met. I  realized I was hitting a time crunch and started to pick up the pace. I was down to just a few more stores when I got the phone call - two more stores on my list. Eff. Ok, I can do this! I'll just skip lunch and speed. I was back in good spirits when I got the second call - a rep calling to say I had checked stores on his list. Yep, that's right. Three of the stores that I had spent hours at, hauling beer and listening to angry store owners bitch about the holiday, yep, someone else was also covering them. Our bosses hadn't coordinated anything. I then received a third call; another store I had checked was another rep's. She was confused too. AWESOME. So basically I wasted my time, injured myself, and was about to faint from low blood sugar. I called a friend and had a breakdown. There was absolutely no way I could make it to Chicago in plenty of time now. I would have to battle the rest of the universe entering the city after work, probably have to hire a crane to move a car so that I could steal a parking spot, and then still have no time to look as great as I wanted to. I was angry and exhausted by the time I got home so I took Nyquil and went to sleep around 10pm. I embraced the New Year in the morning.

December 31, 2010
Yeah, you're right. It hasn't happened yet. Here's the thing though; 2010 has been amazing. More than I could ever imagine for myself. There have definitely been tough times, like the death of a close family friend and the breakup with 2009 boyfriend. Overall though, it has been wonderful. New friends, new food, new experiences - can't beat that. Which is why I'm terrified that the amazingly awesome, potentially legendary plans we have for New Year's are all going to go horribly wrong. We are heading to Budapest - an idea I had months ago and finally everyone got on board. I'm meeting up with 6 girlfriends I lived with this summer and the best words to describe them are fun and ridiculous. I'll be in a gorgeous city with great friends. How could that go wrong? WELL. The guys started changing New Year's plans a few days ago. No one wanted to drive so we'd have to take a train. Then no one wanted to go to Budapest/train wasn't an option/I'm not really sure what exactly happened and then they wanted to go to Barcelona. WHAT?! That is not Budapest. My friends are not meeting us in Barcelona. And it is about twice as far, and we'd have to drive through about 18 other awesome cities to get there. I never did figure out why they chose Barcelona. I was getting so mad that I wanted to punch a chicken in the face or take a bat to a tree. Fortunately, I checked Facebook today and apparently the original Budapest plans are back on. I have NO idea what happened that led to this massive, heart attack inducing circle, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed they don't change their minds again.

So what do I do? Do I start setting the bar lower? Tell myself not to expect New Year's to be anything different from a regular Friday night? I guess that just feels like giving up to me. I want New Year's Eve to be legendary. I want an epic evening of drinking and dancing. I want to wear my 2009 New Year's dress and damn it, I want compliments! But I'm tired of being super excited and then being disappointed. Paige has always told me to hold out for the great guys, never to settle for less than perfect love stories. Ok, she didn't say it like that, but that is the life lesson I will take away from my friendship with her. I feel like I should be able to apply that concept to New Year's Eve. I shouldn't have to settle for lame New Year's experiences - but that also means I have to be an active participant. I have to make sure it becomes legendary. Epic nights don't just happen to people, we make them happen for ourselves.

So here is my decision: Whatever happens, this year is going to be LEGEN - wait for it - DARY!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Challenge of the Week

As it is the holiday season, here is a challenge in the spirit of giving:

Donate to a charity.


It can be however much you feel you can part with, and it can be to any charity you want. Drop your spare change in the Salvation Army buckets or donate that coat you never wear to a local shelter. Whatever it is, just do something to help someone else this week.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Oldest At The Bar


This weekend I had the privilege of being the oldest person at the bar. Well, one of the guys I was with is a few months older so I should rephrase – I was the oldest girl at the bar. I’m sure of it. I even checked the corners for creepers to see if maybe I could get lumped into 20 somethings vs. 40 somethings, but nope, there were none. I am 25 – in between early 20s and late 20s: No Man’s Land.

The night started out fine. I went to get drinks at an upscale martini bar where the bartender knows me and makes me the BEST martinis ever. I’m going to use a real name here and say bartender Joe Goldfine has made me some mean cocktails in my day (visit him at Cooper’s Tavern), but since I’m no longer in Wisconsin I had to find a local bartender to concoct something delicious and girly. He did. I would share the cocktail ingredients with you but I don’t know them – I just know there was mango involved at some point. So my friend Kevin and I grabbed some drinks, enjoyed the St. Louis special, toasted ravioli, and talked. We didn’t have to yell, the music volume at the bar was low. We didn’t have to guard drinks, there wasn’t anyone whirling around in a drunk tornado ready to knock drinks out of our hands. I didn’t even have to wait in the restroom for some girl to finish puking before I could pee. We just enjoyed the ambiance and waited for my girlfriends to call with the location of our next stop.

I had given them three areas to choose from. One was the district we were already in, but Cindy didn’t want to dress up that much. The second was a melting pot strip of bars where hippies and hipsters happily mingle. The third was a district somewhat a mesh of the first two – half the bars were upscale, the other half low key, and we could find something in the middle. The best part about these three areas is that my friends all lived near or in them. But did they choose one of the three? Nope. They chose to go to one of the nearby college campus bars. For my Madison friends the bar we ended up at was Bullfeathers meets Madison’s but with the clientele of KK. Yeah, there’s an image. Take all the best aspects of Bullfeathers (mostly that you could play drinking games), the dance floor and d├ęcor of Madison’s, and throw in all the 18 year old jersey chasers and you can imagine the bar that I was heading towards. To all those readers who haven’t had the privilege of drinking in Madison, just imagine 18-20 year olds dressed up like it’s New Years Eve, playing beer pong and flip cup while grinding to the latest American rap music.

I agreed to go there because a) I wanted to see my girlfriends before I left b) I wanted to dance and c) I had a new outfit I wanted to test out before Europe. So Kevin and I headed over there and paid the $2 cover to get into the bar. I didn’t actually believe them when the bouncer asked for the cover (what kind of cover is $2? I figured they were making extra cash on the side) but it turns out that it was Quarter Draft Night. To my international friends, that means you can get a glass of beer for 25 cents. That is 19 Euro cents. I could feel trouble brewing.

My girlfriends arrived with two boys in tow. One was a new kid I hadn’t met and the other was a guy I met last weekend who is very fun and yes, an ultimate frisbee player. You know I can’t say no to that. It was only about 11:00 and the bar was very tame. People mentioned wanting to play Beer Pong. I was ambivalent about this plan...perhaps I’d just stay for a drink or two and go home. Then someone threw in the option to play Flip Cup. My ears perked up, “Flip Cup?” I looked around like a dog that heard the word “walk.” Yes, it was true; we were going to play Flip Cup.

Flip Cup is my absolute favorite game ever. EVER. I am awesome at it and my team hasn’t lost in years. I teach it to people wherever I go and this past summer I was involved in a huge game where we had about 20 people on each team.
Flip Cup at Sunflower Hostel Rimini, Italy
The problem is that it’s a drinking game that forces players to gulp down beer, albeit in small quantities, and race the other team. This is fine and dandy for game day or pregaming, but it was inching towards midnight and it was Thursday. As I entertained these thoughts I realized I was already starting to feel old. Who says no to Thursday drinking? I jumped into the game. This is where the trouble started. A guy who looked about 19 told me I was hot. I told him I was too old for him. When I told him I was 25 he responded, “Oh yeah, you are too old.” Um ok, it is one thing for ME to say it, quite another for him to. I decided to ignore that last comment and file away the hot comment. I’ll take compliments from kids born in the 90s.

BUT THEN the ultimate disaster happened. A guy praised my flip cup skills. With complete pride and zero humility I told him that of course I was amazing, I went to the University of Wisconsin. He looked at me blankly and said something about the Big 10. Wow this kid was slow so I helped him out, “No, no, no, that’s not the big deal. I went to the #1 Party School in America.” His eyes light up, “Indiana is the #1 Party School! My friend goes there and they had a Playboy spread!” My jaw dropped in horror. This kid was so young that he didn’t remember the glorious reign UW Madison enjoyed as the top party school in the country. I personally knew girls who were in our own Playboy article, the photo was even shot at my boyfriend’s frat house. When I decided on Wisconsin for college every person I told immediately said something about how crazy they heard it was. Now the party-ness was in such decline that INDIANA was the Big 10 hotspot? Are you kidding me?!?!?! Wisconsin beat Indiana this year 83-20. How can kids at that school be proud enough to drink? I looked over at Kevin for help – he was old enough to remember when Wisconsin conjured up excitement over Halloween riots and Mifflin Street Block Party keg stands. At that moment I felt extremely old. I might as well have been telling my own kids about my great adventures on campus for all it meant to my fellow Flip Cup players.

I was fed up with my grandma-ness so I headed down to the dance floor. The DJ was spinning America’s Top 40 and not a soul was dancing. I grabbed some people, requested some good old European House Music and pulled out my moves. Everyone started to have a great time; the bar turned on the fog machine, the strobe lights made me yearn for my Life sunglasses, and the music had enough beat for even the worst white guy dancers to attempt to dance. Then BAM! something hit me and brought me back to reality. What hit me was my friend Cindy. Our own drunk girl tornado, once known as Liv, was ping-ponging between friends in her own style of dance and had thrown Cindy right into me. Good thing I had put my drink down by my coat! I looked around and spotted one couple moments away from having sex in a booth nearby, another couple grinding against a pillar on the dance floor, two girls stumbling to the bathroom, and my own friends hurling each other in death spins while the guys attempted to catch them in low dips. To the guys’ credit, they were doing a great job. None of them were very drunk and they were fielding the girls like baseball players during warm up. Catch and throw, catch and throw. Kevin was working over time spinning and dipping girls while trying to keep up with their inebriated rhythms. At one point Liv even punched him in the chest as part of her tornado dance move. Ah yes, college bars. Drunkies let and right, 19 year olds lost in puppy love, and enough booze for the whole bar to think they look hot doing the dance from Beyonce’s latest video.

I’m not going to say I didn’t have a good time, because I actually had an amazing time! I got to see my friends, dance my leggings off and debut my Love Culture dress. (If you don’t know what Love Culture is check out their website now! It’s like Forever 21 but the store is more organized and they have more dresses) I also don’t want to sound hypocritical. I still go out with my friends and think that Jen and I look just as good as Beyonce in “Single Ladies.” Marisa and I start drinking early when the mood strikes and I still rock Bacardi bomb shots at Paul’s and Lava. The difference is that now I get a hangover. I can’t bounce out of bed the next morning and run 3 miles like I did when I was 20. My mornings consist of searching for water and aspirin, sucking down a Pedialyte Popsicle and weighing out the pros and cons of making pancakes drenched with butter. I’m no longer in my early 20s so I guess it’s time to give in and drink a third Cosmo instead of a 5th Jamo shot. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t suppress the 21 year old Pi Phi in me, but I can lead her down a classier, and ultimately happier path of Ketal One instead of rail vodka, one bomb shot instead of five, and a Sapphire Gimlet during Happy Hour instead of an entire pitcher of Natty Light.

For the record, Wisconsin game day will always be an exception. You can not do enough Cooley bombs or drink enough beer to celebrate the awesomeness of being a Badger.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Items In My Purse

My purse seemed to get heavier and heavier these days. It’s one of those largish (but not really big) purses girls carry around and are always digging through because their keys or sunglasses or tampons have disappeared into a black hole. I bought this particular purse in the Wednesday street market in Italy and have been using it ever since. Which is actually kind of sad considering my giant collection of designer bags. Beautiful Coach purses and Marc Jacobs clutches are going unused while my $20 Italian purse gets toted around the city. For the record the majority of my expensive bags are from designer outlets and/or silent auctions – I’m not a millionaire.

So I set about cleaning out this wonderful purse. Shock set in as I looked down at the table. Actually, all the contents didn’t fit on the table – some had spilled to the couch. If any guy has ever wondered how we fill up those huge bags, here is how it happens:

  • 1 pair of socks (I was going to workout but didn’t)
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • Ear warmers
  • 2 tubes of sun block (really not useful anymore….)
  • 1 container of body butter
  • 1 small bottle of face moisturizer
  • 1 spare set of contacts
  • 1 pack of antacids from Thailand
  • 1 peanut peanut butter Kashi granola bar
  • Compact
  • PBR cap
  • Pack of gum
  • Life sunglasses
  • 3 tampons
  • 1 USB memory stick
  • 1 chapstick
  • 3 lip glosses (different colors)
  • 1 top of a stir stick from Sri Lanka
  • iTouch
  • headphones
  • cell phone
  • roll of prewrap
  • 1 small notebook from Thailand
  • 1 mini pencil from IKEA in Italy
  • 3 pens
  • 1 sharpie
  • 1 hair clip
  • 3 bobby pins
  • 1 watch
  • 3 movie ticket stubs
  • 1 ticket stub to Shedd Aquarium
  • 2 business cards
  • 1 headband
  • camera
  • 5 drink tickets for the club I worked at in Italy
  • 1 Shaum Party card for the club I worked at in Italy
  • 1 customs form from a package I shipped to My Husband
  • 1 contact order form from the eye doctor
  • 3 gas receipts
  • 1 smaller purse – ID, money, lip gloss inside that
  • 1 wallet – credit cards, money, business cards, change
  • 10 quarters for parking meters
  • 1 hotel key for “Air Force Inns” in Aviano
  • I visitor pass for Aviano Air Base in Italy
  • 1 library book
As you can see, that's a bit more than an American girl needs to get her through the day. There's not much too this post; I just figured guys would be shocked to know what can go in our purses, and girls would get a laugh because they've all been there. I did a little bit of important cleaning and now walking around with my purse isn't equivalent to working out at the gym. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Need a Laugh? Here's 3!

Three years ago I lived with 3 girls from my sorority. It was everything you are imagining it was - we made cookies, ballroom danced in the living room, brought back firemen, took jumping photos, and recorded "Ellen." Every day. Seriously, every single day. And we had an unspoken rule - you couldn't watch it without Jen there. Well you could, but you would have to watch it again and pretend like you hadn't.

For those of you who have never watched "Ellen" then I hope it is because you live far away and don't have reliable internet access. "Ellen" is one of the funniest shows ever and it will ALWAYS put you in a better mood. That is a promise. She does everything from make dreams come true to embarrass her own crew members for our pleasure.

I bring all of this up because tonight Jen posted this video on Facebook. I watched it and during the first minute I was thinking "ha ha, ok, how is this funny for 5 minutes?" By the end I was actually laughing out loud and I may have snorted. There aren't any witnesses, but it's a possibility. If you time - and sound - you should watch this video. Then, just for good measure, I posted a hilarious video of audience members playing "Aw Snap." Just watch it and try not to pee your pants.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nppdDUbv0gU&feature=player_embedded



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnUq75i9M2U


And just for good measure, in case you were wondering what else the show offers, here is my 2nd favorite game she plays - Blindfolded Musical Chairs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3bvJz7Nl-A

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Joys of Tango

I spent Saturday night having a tango/cooking lesson while the rest of the Midwest braced for a blizzard. I went into the lesson excited to cook, and very unexcited to tango. I would have been more excited to tango had there been cocktails upon arrival, but I made do with a great partner and the sense to laugh at myself. 

First of all I was not dressed up for the lesson. The night before I had rocked a new outfit, including very awesome boots that unfortunately, Satan crafted himself. I was even carried at one point. But trust me, the boots are hot. I think that if I had just had a few more drinks I wouldn’t have noticed that 5 inches is perhaps too high for me. So I just wore regular tennis shoes with jeans and a sweater for the dancing/cooking lesson. One other person wore a similar outfit – everyone else looked liked they would fit in at a fancy restaurant or hotel bar. Oh well, I can tango in tennis shoes, no problem.

Turns out it’s hard to do the sexy, sassy tango in Reebok’s. Physically it is perfectly doable, but mentally I was unprepared. Imagine that you’ve agreed to go out with a guy that you didn’t really care either way if you saw, but then it turned into the most fantastic date ever and you realize that you haven’t shaved your legs and you’re wearing something from the Pink collection, instead of the Very Sexy. As our instructor was teaching us the move where you reach back with a foot, draw a semi-circle with your toe, and then seductively step through your interlocked legs, it dawned on me that Reebok’s were not doing the job. One talented student (who I suspected was a plant…I mean we were beginners here and yet she had questions about the dance and could do all the new moves with ease) was wearing knee high black boots that looked dangerous, yet sexy. Another woman was wearing black stockings with heels, something I would normally wag a finger at, but during the tango it really worked for her. I wondered what famous tango dancers did when they found themselves in impromptu dance sessions? Perhaps if they thought they were going to a self defense seminar but it turned out to be a surprise party celebrating their dancing accomplishments. I decided a real tango dancer wouldn’t allow shoes to hold her back. She’d be sexy and sassy in whatever she was wearing.

Except it’s hard to be sexy and sassy while wearing Reebok’s and being sober. I checked the clock; damn it was 6:30pm. Nobody else seemed to be jonesing for a martini. I mentioned this to my dance partner who kind of laughed but kept his head in the game. Side step, back step, tricky corner turning step….oh no, mind wandering….I could have sworn they said there’d be cocktails at this thing. I went back to thinking about my famous tango dancer who’d been tricked into the surprise dance party – I bet she could be sexy and sassy without alcohol. Side step, rock step, back step, sexy step through step….ah, ok this is it, channel your inner famous tango dancer. Our instructor should have told us that at the beginning. My partner was definitely channeling his inner famous tango dancer.

As I relaxed a bit and allowed my inner famous tango dancer out, I realized one of the best things about the tango is that I can blame almost everything on the guy. The instructor said as much! I was supposed to have complete trust in the lead and let him take me anywhere on the dance floor. Those who know me will not be surprised that I spent the first twenty minutes checking over my shoulder, unwilling to relinquish my independence. Fortunately for my partner, this got in the way of feeling our balance and I had to give in and let him push and pull me around the floor. That pretty much ended my responsibility for anything that went wrong. I was free to dance into people because I could just look at other girl and say in an exasperated voice, “I am so sorry, he led me right into you!” Of course I never did say that because nobody really wanted to talk to the girl in Reebok’s, but the point is that I could have said it.

I also discovered that you do not have to look deeply into your partner’s eyes during the tango. In fact, for a beginner it is actually encouraged to look at their chest. This makes it easier to feel the balance or something. I decided it also makes it incredibly less awkward. I stole a few glances around at one point and discovered that half the couples were completely ignoring this instruction and were smoldering at one another. I looked into my partner’s eyes and started laughing. No, not at him, at myself. I was having a hard time channeling my sexy, sassy, famous inner tango dancer while feeling the balance, giving up my independence, attempting toe circling in sneakers and then making eyes at my partner. I went back to looking at his chest and thinking about martinis.

After an hour it was time to stop dancing and start cooking. But wait! I just started to do the sliding up the leg move! Our instructor turned the music off. I frowned. Sexy, sassy, famous inner tango dancer frowned. I had learned a handful of steps and could actually do it! I had forgotten about my shoes and my jeans and the lack of alcohol - sexy, sassy famous inner tango dancer wanted more! My partner wanted more too; his inner tango dancer was equally crestfallen. Our instructor dismantled the iPod speakers and the chef called us into the kitchen. I thanked our teacher and began mentally preparing outfits for my next tango session. Yes, that’s right – I will definitely be doing it again! Sexy, sassy famous inner tango dancer already Googled it and figured out where to put the new skills to the test next weekend. Best part? It advertises a signature Tango Martini available during the 4-hour dance session.

What I think I can accomplish next weekned:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSdppc6HU84

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Challenge of the Week

I have a fun one for everyone this week. Very easy too:

Visit a new restaurant or bar this week.

It's so easy to get into a routine of visiting your favorite pizza place or the bar where everyone knows your name. Mix it up this week and visit some place new. I know everyone can think of at least one place they've driven by and thought, "I want to go there sometime." It's time to do it! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Can't Get That Out Of My Head

As many of you know, I love almost every kind of music out there. Everything except stuff with screaming. I hate screaming in songs; I don't understand why artists do it and really, it gives me a headache.

In high school I loved pop and punk rock. I went to tons of concerts and was always making CDs. Here's one of my favorite songs from those days, New Found Glory - My Friends Over You (by the way, New Found Glory is still one of the best bands I have ever seen live):



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfcLcDBII78

In college I moved to a part of the country that really liked country music. My friends converted me and now I sing along with Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, and Tim McGraw without a second thought. Here's a fun Carrie Underwood video if you feel like singing along. Plus she's gorgeous:
Carrie Underwood - Cowboy Casanova



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM7NQQ0Lfu4


Last summer my European friends got me completely hooked on house music. Now I'm an addict. House is a pretty large genre so I'll just post two videos if you're interested.
First is Dennis Ferrer - Hey, Hey ... this song was HUGE in Europe last summer:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dgimjMhAIk


Or check out Swedish House Mafia ft. Pharrel - One



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkQ5rEJaTmk


Every once in awhile I hear a song though that I just can not get enough of. I'll be honest, one of those was Cobra Starship ft. Leighton Meester - Good Girls Go Bad:
Cobra Starship ft. Leighton Meester - Good Girls Go Bad Official HQ Music Video (unfortunately I couldn't post the video but check out the link if you are interested. The video is really good and Leighton is super hot)

The most recent song that I can't seem to shake is Lupe Fiasco - The Show Goes On. This song will be on his newest album, "Lasers," which is set to come out in March 2011:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q91LonKd2hs


Enjoy! Feel free to post some of your favorite songs here. Anything but screaming :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What Age Do You Act?

I love Facebook quizzes. It's one of my favorite aspects of Facebook. All those quizzes that tell you all about you - anything from What Disney Princess Are You? (Aerial) to What Movie Love Story Describes Your Life? (Serendipity).

So when this one popped up I had to take it: What Age Do You Act?

Guess what I got? You Act Like You Are 22 Years Old
You are a twenty-something at heart. You feel like an adult, and you're optimistic about life. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences. You're still figuring out your place in the world and how you want your life to shape up. The world is full of possibilities, and you can't wait to explore many of them.


Sometimes Facebook is spooky.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Let's Get A Little Perspective Shall We?


Today I had a mini-QLC breakdown. It was only mini because I had to leave to volunteer before I could full out lose it. It started something like this:

My Husband: What are you going to do once you leave Italy?
Me: Teach English in Turkey, work at a resort in Egypt, volunteer in Kenya, show tourists the beaches of Costa Rica, pick fruit in Australia, cruise the waters with Royal Caribbean, or dodge pirates on a rich person’s yacht.
My Husband: Right, ok….sounds good….
Me: So yeah, no idea. *pause* Ohmigod I have no idea.
*Insert freak out here*

Like I said though, I couldn’t let it become a full-blown panic attack because I had to go downtown and volunteer. Currently I spend my afternoons as a literacy tutor at the International Institute. The International Institute helps refugees and immigrants in the area through a number of great programs. As a literacy tutor I help teach basic reading and writing, while I also help prepare students for the Citizenship Test. This is the test that those refugees/immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens have to pass in order to get citizenship. Let me tell you, there are hard questions on this test. Ones that I probably only knew the answer to while I was taking Mr. Monahan’s 8th grade Civics Class.  

Click here to look at some sample questions if you feel like quizzing yourself (I personally like #72): Sample INS Citizenship Test Questions 

Back to the point though, I was wondering about the not-to-distant-future and had just put “lose weight because can’t afford to eat a whole lot” into the pro column of my mental To Live Abroad list, when I pulled into the parking lot; time to focus on other people and leave my problems in the car. Five minutes later I was sitting at a table with some of my favorite students, reading a book about baby animals. The women were refugees from several African countries, and we got to talking about which of the animals they had in their home countries. I was trying to explain the meaning of the word “mischievous” (which is really difficult when using simple English words) when the women started talking about how naughty raccoons and monkeys were back home. That behavior right there – those animals are “mischievous." Everyone understood the word, wonderful! but when were they going to use it?

I ask if the women had children. I figured I could segue into talking about how children are mischievous, while also getting to know them a bit better. Yes the women have children, in fact, it turns out some also have grandchildren. Ok these women did not look old enough to be grandmothers and I tell them as much. They laugh heartily and ask how old I am. I say, “I’m 25.” The girl next to me says “I’m 24.” One of the grandmothers then asks us how many kids we have. Now it’s my turn to laugh. The women stare at me in confusion. They then ask the 24 year old, who is apparently smarter than I, because she answers “None. They’re too expensive.” Everyone nods in understanding. That only lasts a few seconds though because they start telling us we must start having children right away. We are getting old.

Wait, wait, wait. Getting old? I can’t even decide what country to live in and they want me to start popping out children? Well first I need a guy to help with that and second no thank you. I’m as close to having children as I was when I was 18. Hello, I still am a child! Ooops, I said that part out loud.

“You’re a grown woman! Time to have babies!” That’s a summary of what the growing crowd is telling myself and the 24-year-old. Damn her, why couldn’t I be sitting next to a 30-year-old childless lady? Then they’d pay more attention to her. Oh well, I’m the focus so I’ll roll with it. This is what I’m thinking when they tell me girls start having babies as early as 15 in their countries. I think my jaw dropped. They definitely laughed at some part of my reaction. An Eastern European girl joins in here, telling me her sister has 6 kids and is my age. I almost pass out at the thought of having had 6 children by today. I turn to the lady next to me, “Doesn’t that hurt?!” More laughter. I’m a regular comedian. They all tell me no, it doesn’t hurt, but wait, really they don’t remember. Maybe that can go in the pro column of the Have Children Early list: “No memory of pain.” Too bad the con column has – in bold letters – “Very painful.”

At this point one of the quieter women stands up and takes off her coat. I've never seen her take off that coat. We take notice. Even if she had kept the coat on, the next thing she does would definitely have made everyone look. She grabs my purse - a big one, full of stuff ranging from a book to a full water bottle – puts it on top of her head and starts walking back and forth across the room. It’s National Geographic meets Coach. Then she ties her scarf around her body and imitates carrying a baby (using a cell phone as the child) and makes periodic crying noises where she then takes the phone out of the scarf and puts it in her bra. Women are whooping and laughing hysterically when a male volunteer walks into the room. At this exact moment the woman has the phone baby nestled against her bosom while continuing to walk with the bag on her head; the guy takes one look at this, looks at me and walks out of the room.
“That’s what men in Africa do too!” More riotous laughter. I join in. Apparently men the world over avoid caring for babies, even phone babies.

Eventually everyone calmed down and we got back to the important work of learning national holidays. While they were filling out a worksheet I realized I hadn’t thought about my earlier worries in hours. The only time it came up this afternoon was during the following conversation:

Student: Are you working?
Me: No. I am getting my certification so I can teach English in another country.
Student: Where will you teach?
Me: I don’t know. Maybe Turkey.
Student: Don’t go to Turkey. Everyone is poor. It’s no good there.
Me: Well I like kebabs.
Student: I love kebabs! Turkish food is great!
Me: I know. That’s why I might work in Turkey.
(There are other reasons I am considering living in Turkey. The food is #3, right behind “it’s close to Italy so I can easily afford the plane ticket,” and “it’s not in the EU so I can stay there as long as I want.”)

On my drive home I stopped to pick up a kebab and reflected on my afternoon. At noon I was almost in tears because I had images of myself sitting alone in a bare room in Eastern Europe/cabin on the ocean/hut in Africa being so lonely I would have to resort to conversing with a pet goat/seagull/turtle. At four o’clock I realized several important things:
  • I can find girlfriends anywhere that women can bond over how unhelpful and stupid men are
  • choosing what foreign country to live in is really not a big deal when compared to having a government relocate you because of war, famine, disease, genocide, or all of the above
  • Although I don't want to live in the U.S. at the moment, I am very lucky to have been born an American citizen because no way could I pass the Citizenship Test
As I put my concerns into perspective I came to the most important conclusion of the day:
I would have had a much larger panic attack had I been looking at a positive pregnancy test instead of a list of ridiculous/awesome jobs in faraway/awesome places. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Half Your Age, Plus 7

This weekend I learned the “Divide by 2, Add 7 Rule.” Apparently it’s an accepted and established rule and yep, it’s even in Urban Dictionary. The rule states that you can only date someone half your age, plus seven. At age 25, I am allowed to date a guy who is 20. I argued that technically I could date a 19.5 year old, but my friend informed me you must round up in these situations. So a 20 year old is the youngest guy I can date, and the oldest is 35 (because 35/2 + 7= 24.5).

I decided a long time ago not to date guys who were younger than me. Quickly I will bullet point this argument:
  • girls mature faster than guys, explaining why guys 24 and younger still act like they are 19 most of the time
  • guys out of college are more likely to have a job and therefore be more responsible than a 19 year old
  • the obvious….a few more years gives them more experience, therefore (hopefully, definitely not always) better at the important stuff
  • get your mind out of the gutter, I meant he is more likely to actually call you when he says he will and surprise you with flowers once in awhile
  • ok and yeah, be better at the other important stuff
Let’s take me on 3 hypothetical dates with guys in my age range.

The 20 Year Old
How We Meet
He buys me a shot. He asks for my number. Or hey, let’s be real, he gets my name and Facebooks me from his iPhone right there at the bar. I’m a bit intoxicated so I think that’s a fine idea and accept his request from my Blackberry. Thank you Mark Zuckerberg.

Contact
Friday evening he posts on my wall: Going out tonight? Let’s say that I don’t know he’s 20, or my girlfriends dare me to respond, or I’ve been drinking since Happy Hour and can’t keep the BB out of my hands. I say: Of course! Text me later and give him my number. Around 11:30pm I get a text saying: Where r u?

The Inevitable Break Up
It won’t be a break up. He will stop calling and perform a phase out. Too bad I perfected the phase out while he was at his first high school dance and have already deleted him from my phone. We’re still Facebook friends though – defriending shows that you care.

The 27 Year Old
How We Meet
I’m working at a bar. I have an actual conversation with him and discover we have things in common. But I’m working, so I really can’t talk much. He asks for my number, I say I don’t give it out while working (it’s true!) but that if he wants, he can give me his. He writes it down and I have the decision to make later.

Contact
If I am really interested I text him sooner rather than later. Like Monday. He texts back that same day and possibly we exchange a few texts before getting on with our job filled lives. He calls me Thursday and asks if I want to grab a drink Friday after work. This is a smart move because neither of us commit to dinner – therefore we can escape after a quick drink if it turns out we really aren’t compatible, or decide to grab food if it is just the most fantastic date ever.

The Possible Break Up
There is a build up of fights, awkward phone conversations and a feeling of impending doom. Eventually we sit down and have a somewhat adult conversation and end the relationship. Then I move all the stuff out of his apartment and go out for drinks with my girlfriends.

The 35 Year Old (For the record, I’ve never dated a 35 year old, but some friends have so I’ll use them as an example)
How We Meet
He starts talking to me while I wait for my girlfriend somewhere, most likely a bar. He is funny and charming and is completely polite while I wait on my late friend. When she arrives he buys us a drink and asks for my number. Well this is nice, sure ok. Then I promptly forget him while my girlfriend and I gossip all night.

Contact
He calls me – no texting – around Wednesday. He asks me out to dinner at a nice place Friday. I say I’ll have to make sure I don’t have plans, then hang up and call my friends. They say go for it. Except Kay who says I shouldn’t because that guy seemed like someone her grandma would set her up with. But majority rules so I call him back and agree to the date.

The Break Up
I realize he is a) getting over his first marriage  b) desperate for a first marriage  c) completely normal and just spent his 20s studying to be a doctor/lawyer/pharmacist/inventor and he is just getting around to a social life. If situation a) occurs then I break it off quickly because that’s way too much drama. If situation b) occurs then I try to break it off, fend off phone calls and emails, and eventually have to start dating the 20 year old in front of him to show him I really am not interested. If situation c) occurs then I let him buy me dinner and see if he can fit in with my friends. If not, then a mature break up takes place and everyone moves on with their lives.

I based this off of actual experiences myself and my girlfriends have had. The ones who try to date younger always end up frustrated. The ones who date a lot older always end up in very, very, very strange situations. I'm thinking our age and a few years older sounds the most promising. Someone who is in the same place in their life, maybe even a bit more settled and can be a harbor in the QLC storm.

I should fess up to something here. My Husband is 24, soon to be 25 – yes he is 2 weeks younger than me. I still can’t decide if that really counts as younger. I have this hope that when he turns 25 he will be less inclined to go to strip clubs and do beer bongs. Unfortunately, I don’t think so. Of course I can’t be hypocritical as I drink like I did when I was 22 once in awhile. The difference is that I feel so horrible the next day it keeps me in check for a long time. The exception is Badger Game Day. In Wisconsin everyone drinks like they are 22. 60-somethings are the first at Jordan’s and Lucky’s, sipping Bloody Marys at 9am. And trust me, they’ll be going strong while the 20 year olds are passed out in the bushes. At least as guys get older they learn how to pace themselves. 

Mind out of the gutter again! I meant pace their drinking.

Ok, and during the other important stuff.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Candi Tales & Challenge of the Week

For those of you who were interested in the 25 New Things New Things To Do Before Turning 25, you can keep up with her personal challenges on her blog: Candi Tales


For your challenge of the week (I hope a few of you are doing these!) I have an easy one:
Tell three people this week that you love them.


It can be anyone, a good friend, your mom, your grandfather, a total stranger if you really want. Trust me, you can make someone's day and you'll be pretty happy to hear it back :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Trip to Luzon


As I am deathly hungover, I am too lazy to be creative. So I am going to recycle an email I sent to friends when I was in the Philippines last February. Just sit back and go on vacation with me!

If you ever do make it to Luzon (the main island of the Philippines) then do not miss Sagada. It is a great town with amazing things to see. We took the bus from Baguio to Sagada and I thought the bus was going to fall off the mountain a few times and once we nearly collided with another bus! We safely arrived however and checked into George's Guest House. We had our own little patio, which was nice because I did some laundry and could put it out to dry. I felt domestic. Anyway, we spent one day trekking through Echo Valley where you can see hanging coffins and some beautiful valleys. People in Sagada still hang their dead….the most recent was 2 months ago. 
We also climbed down some rice terraces to the "Small Falls" which turned out to be really, really small. Still, the rice terraces were beautiful but it was kind of strange to walk on the edges of someone's field and climb around in people's backyards. The next morning my friend wanted to go on a sunrise thing where he could take some photos but he had to get up at 4 so I didn't go. He serendipitously met up with this guide named Erwin, who then took us on more adventures later in the day. At 9am we started with an hour long hike down through a valley of rice terraces - beautiful beautiful beautiful - which ended in the "Big Falls." Now this was a real waterfall! We were early so we were the only people there and we jumped off big rocks into the icy water and swam for a bit.
Unfortunately, we then had to spend an hour climbing back up the rice terraces afterwards! We took a break for lunch then headed out to the "Big Cave." We ran into two Filipino girls who wanted to come too so it was the 5 of us in our group. We headed down into this cave and it got crazier and crazier! Erwin took us on the adventure trail (other ppl took a shortcut and missed out on some amazing stuff) and we slowly made our way through the cave. It is millions of years old - there are seashell fossils in the walls and this is all the way up in the mountains, about 4500 feet above sealevel! There were also huge stalagmites and stalactites which apparently grow at an inch every 10,000 years. We squirmed through small passages, slid down rocks, used ropes to get between caverns, waded through corridors (sometimes the water was up to my chest!) and ended at a small lake about 300 feet down in the mountain. Justin and I went swimming for a bit (the two Filipino girls thought we were crazy because they were cold) and then it was time to head back out. That took some time and more crazy climbs. We were soaking wet and muddy when we got out but it was AMAZING and one of the best experiences of my life.
After Sagada we went to Banaue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We decided to do a 2 day hike that took us through Cambulo and into Bataad for the night. We stopped in Cambulo for lunch and it was an amazing place. No roads go down there and everything people need to build structures, use for farming or cooking, etc all had to be hand carried down the terraces and into the village. We continued onto Bataad and when we reached the viewpoint it was one of the most awesome things I have ever seen in my whole life. We took photos but they can never really convey the real scene. It was in the shape of a giant amphitheater and the terraces were so many different colors. It was honestly like sitting on the edge of a postcard.
Bataad, Philippines 
Myself and Jerich walking along the terraces
Another view of Bataad
The view from our guesthouse
We spent the night there, which was great because some other travelers and guides joined us at the guesthouse. Our guide, Jerich, played guitar while we all sang and drank beer deep into the night. In the morning we hiked down to another waterfall and swam there for a long time – and of course took more photos. Unfortunately we had to hike out again (never go down to a waterfall without enough water to climb out!) and then spent about 5 hours on a grueling hike out of Bataad back to Banaue. My friend loves hiking and I had decided to go on this trek pretty much because of the look on his face when the tour guide told us about it - but in the end it was amazing and I am so glad that I did it! I would do it again in a heart beat.
Bataad Falls
So that's the story of Sagada and Banaue. The best part of those two cities was that I did things that I never thought I could do. If you knew me before this trip, you never would have thought I would go cave diving or embark on a 2 day hike. Sure we stayed at a guesthouse but trust me, it was no hotel. After traveling to these two cities I really started to think differently about myself. Yes, I had decided to go to Asia for 6 months, but I still was a very safe person. After doing these things though, I felt like maybe I didn't have to be so scared to go out and try new adventures.




Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

Now everyone knows that I live for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. I DVR it and watch it again and again. When it was blazing hot in Hoi An this summer, I retreated to my hotel room and discovered that the only channel in English was playing the last 5 years of shows on a loop. I flipped on the air conditioning and sat mesmerized in front of the TV. I couldn't get enough of the glitz, the glam, the undies, the stilettos, and of course: the wings!


Last year's show was wonderful - the bit with choosing a girl to walk the runway at the end was amazing since it showed just a bit of what the models go through. Hello, I bought the Brazil Butt Lift workout video because they showed them doing part of the workout. The girls have always been gorgeous and REAL.


This year, not so much. 


I couldn't believe how bony the models were this year. Even Alessandra and Adriana seemed a bit thinner than usual. But at least they still resembled a normal hot person you could see on a beach on a private island or something. As a side note, I would like to give a round of applause to Adriana because she had a baby last year (which is why she missed the 2009 show) and last night she looked incredible. Of course Giselle and Heidi looked stunning after giving birth as well, so I think maybe it's really about having all those trainers. That's what I'm going to tell myself anyway. Getting back on track though - several of the models were so bone thin that I could literally see every one of their ribs, shoulder blades, and their internal organs. I do have to say that Erin Heatherton, the blondie who opened "Game On," is in amazing shape, but I guess I'm just used to the VS models having more curves?

http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/53161078.html
I was completely disappointed that Heidi didn't make some sort of appearance this year, even it was just in the dressing room saying hi to the cameras. I just love her. Congrats to Miranda Kerr (my absolute favorite model ever!) and Doutzen Kroes as they are expecting gorgeous babies soon. I really hope they both return, at least for the 2011 show.
Here is one of my favorite stills of Miranda from last year:
http://film-book.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/miranda-kerr-victorias-secret-fashion-show-december-2009-3.jpg

Since Miranda and Marisa were absent from this year's show - I was forced to pick Behati Prinsloo as my new favorite. She was pretty funny backstage in 2009, and she completely rocked the Soccer Ball outfit they had on her in this year's "Game On" number:
http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/5sQjqrRfusH/2010+Victoria+Secret+Fashion+Show/ZKs9Qz4pg1c/Behati+Prinsloo
All in all, I was not impressed this year. There seem to be mixed reviews online as half the population was staring at the underwear, and not the skeletal bodies marching up and down the runway. Usually I watch the show a second time and flip through the catalog to locate some of my favorite undies. This year I wanted to throw out every carb in my kitchen and start a strict carrot and berry diet. 

Check out lots of stills from the show at: Oh No They Didn't! Victoria's Secret 2010 Fashion Show 
Watch Akon's perform "Angel" during the show: Akon Performing at the 2010 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 


If you're in the States then watch the entire show from CBS here: 2010 Victoria's Secret Video Full Episode