Thursday, December 27, 2012

Try This Thursday

I have a hundred and more ideas for Try This Thursday, and yes, that might be a slight exaggeration. Regardless, I decided today to stop thinking of the ideas and finally write them down. For Christmas dinner this year, we broke our normal tradition and decided to bring Texas eatin' to California. Mom was under the weather so I'm proud to say I did a lot of the cooking. I wanted green beans with bacon cooked alongside, Dad wanted a form of mac 'n cheese and we all wanted mashed potatoes. I found a recipe online for the green beans, the taters would be easy enough, and Mom said "We'll just do pasta shells with some cheese" to which my jaw dropped and a gasp escaped my lips. "What is the point of Pinterest, Mother, if we do not utilize the recipes?" I asked, 93% serious. I then proceeded to show her my board of recipes (yes, 7 whole pins on that bad boy) that contained 3 different mac 'n cheese concoctions. I picked the following and made it.

White Cheddar and Parmesan Mac 'n Cheese

16 oz macaroni pasta (any shape shape you like)
1/2 C butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 C flour
3 1/2 C milk, warmed
1/4 C white wine (or sub w/chicken broth)
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed
1/2 lb cheddar, cubed
1/2 C panko bread crumbs
1 Tbl parsley
2 Tbl butter, melted

Note: the second I opened this recipe, I almost closed it. That's way too many ingredients for this novice chef. Then I thought, in the spirit of Christmas, why not. 
Per the website linked above, I cooked the pasta 2-3 minutes less than normal. While that was going, I focused my efforts on the sauce. Butter, salt and pepper melt, then you add the flour. That mixture was a little grainy and thick, which was the first time I thought I did something wrong (many more to follow). Then, I nuked the milk and added it along with 1/4 cup chicken broth (my Dad isn't a big wine fan) to the flour mixture. At this point, it was thin and I knew I did something wrong. The recipe told me to boil the bad boy and whisk away, so I did just that, and sure enough, it thickened. I did burn the bottom while trying to get the stuff to boil, so keep that heat on a medium to low setting. 
We used velveeta and Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese from the good ol' Trader Joe's down the street. Threw that into the pot and stirred. At some point, I drained the noodles and put them back in their pot, waiting for the sauce to be completely melted and smooth. Finally, that happened and into the pot of noodles it went. This was then put into a glass pan, with the bread crumbs and butter mixture sprinkled on top. Cooked it for 30 and out it came. Staring at the steaming pan of goodness, my first thought was, "I should have halved the recipe." I contemplated at the beginning, but my love for mac 'n cheese won out and I made the whole thing. The three of us ate one row. One row. We now have this heavenly creation coming out of our ears, but I don't mind. 

We ate this with brisket, which was perfect because the macaroni is incredibly rich and the brisket's subtle flavor gave your taste buds a break. The recipe makes a very cheesy macaroni; I'd be hard pressed to find a shell that wasn't loaded down with cheese. So, all in all, an amazing recipe. The preparation took ~20 minutes and was perfect to make first, as it was baking while I worked on the green beans. Keep in mind this makes a lot of mac 'n cheese and, while you think you'll grab seconds, you probably won't. If I can make this, and get happy head nods from my parents while they chewed and grinned, anyone can.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I have this really weird love and obsession with taking pictures of paths. Walking paths, trails in woods, roads left forgotten, all of them. I have absolutely no idea what it is about them that seems so aesthetically pleasing to me, but when I see a good path, I have to take a picture of it. I am sure I have hundreds of pictures of random trails scattered around my computers and extra hard drives, such as the one to the right. I took this in the beautiful Big Bend National Park as my father and I embarked on our hike to Emory's Peak, the tallest point in the park. I remember being so thrilled that the sun had finally come out and loved the shadows in the front with the mountains in the back. It's by no means an exceptional photograph that's going to win me any accolades for my fantastic ability to click a button, but I think it's beautiful and surprisingly comforting. I took the picture to the left in Bois de Vincennes when I studied in Paris. I loved both Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, but I will say I loved the latter more (possibly because there weren't any hookers waiting to pounce from the bushes). It was greener and the trees reminded me of Houston, but I think the key reason boils down to the paths. There was no rhyme or reason, at least not to me, where they were going or where you'd end up if you followed them, but they were beautiful. I can't even tell you how many times I got lost wandering around (longest run to date - 2 and a half hours spent running around, trying to find the metro stop I got there on!) but you better believe I always had my camera on me.
Am I the only one who finds incredible peace in the pictures above? I could be having an awful day and be completely unsure of where my life is going, but for some reason, looking at the pictures above make me think I can do anything (super cheesy, I know). I think it's the fact that, in the pictures, you see a segment of the path, but not the end, just like your life right now. Sure, the part you're walking on might be rough and twisted, with overgrown foliage blocking your view, but around the next bend could be an opening to the most beautiful sight you've seen yet. I knew there had to be some deep reason I take all those pictures....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Unsolicited advice, part II

In just over 2 months, I will hit the quarter of a century mark and enter the second half of my twenties. I'm only looking forward to this because, if you know me at all you know, I love my birthday. I love an entire day about me. Granted, I'm the only one who celebrates it that way and to others, December 6th is simply the day before Pearl Harbor was attacked. So, in honor of the proximity of this special day and the fact that list making is on my mind (birthday lists don't just make themselves, people!), I have decided to share with you the top ten things I have learned from my early twenties and/or advice for your early twenties, in no particular order.

un: Blondes do not have more fun. This is an absolute myth that has been proven wrong by yours truly. All blondes have is the tendency to get bad roots and dried out hair because really, when was the last time you saw a natural blonde in their twenties?

deux: The person you think you are at 20 is not the person you are going to be. At all. Okay, maybe a little bit of you will stay the same (ideals, morals, etc) but your personality will change as you start to come to terms with behaviors you can't stand and people you do (and don't) want to be around. Maybe a breakup will cause you to lose all inhibition, maybe a book will inspire you to learn a new language and move to a new country, but regardless, you will change. It's only 5 years but so much will happen to shape who you are.

trois: Those days of making friends with everyone in the room are long gone, and that's okay. We're not supposed to get along with everyone because we're all so different and the second you stop trying to please everyone, you'll be a much happier person. And remember, people change so if someone you liked three years ago does nothing but annoy you now, cut the cord and move on.

quatre:  While friends are necessary, take time to be alone. This is the time in your life when no one else is completely dependent on you, so if you want to go see that movie, do it. If you want to spend two hours running at the lake, do it. Do not tie your life to someone else just yet, enjoy your independence.

cinq: Get a pet. Cat, dog, fish, I don't care, but get an animal. I had a beta fish in college that I named B. Ausmus and I loved him. He lived for a year until a sneaky parasite got into his stomach and made him look pregnant. I have a dog now and, both pets have made me a better person. More responsible, less selfish. Having someone who depends on you completely and can't talk is a challenge and incredibly rewarding. (Yes, it sounds like it goes against point quatre, but a pet can't talk so essentially you can still be alone.)

six: Live with a roommate at least once. Yes, everyone likes their own space and their own bathroom, but you learn a lot about yourself when you're living with someone else. It also forces you to be cleaner and more understanding, plus it'll help you figure out what compliments you in terms of a housemate/spouse.

sept: Be healthy, but don't obsess. Obsession leads to bad things that make everyone unhappy. You will never be 100% happy with your body (I know no matter what I do, I can't change the length of my second toes) but once you accept that, you can start enjoying being healthy and active for the right reasons. When it's not about losing weight or looking "perfect", it's a lot more fun.

huit: Your parents really did know what they were talking about. Call them, keep in touch; they will be your best source of advice for life and everything it chooses to throw at you. Plus, their ability to lie is limited.

neuf: Mistakes are mandatory. You're going to make them, and you're going to make a lot of them. The question is how are you going to deal with them? Don't be afraid of them, they will teach you more than doing something right the first time, and they will stick with you.

dix: You will never stop learning. The tests, papers, and quizzes may stop but you will learn something everyday. It may be something about you, a historical figure, or even a new word, but regardless, there is always knowledge to be attained and a brain that can soak it up. Enjoy learning, odds are it will make you a better person.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Do you love me?
Are you playing those love games with me?

Old Gregg understands love games; he’s been forced to play them many a time with his kidnapped suitors. Unfortunately, I don’t understand them. Why would anyone play games with someone they’re interested in? The last thing I would ever want to do to someone I could see having a relationship with, is mess with their mind and make them think I’m not interested. So my question for you – what’s the point of playing games?

I was fortunate enough to watch an interaction a few weeks ago that spurred this topic, as well as be a recipient to such silly game playing a few weeks before that, and it really got me wondering why people think playing anything in the beginning stages of dating is a good idea. Exhibit A: playing hard to get. We’ve all heard about it, I’m sure we’ve all done it, but what’s the point? Are there actually people who are only into someone if there’s a chase? If it’s a challenge to be with that person? What possible benefit could there be in being with someone who made you think they weren’t interested at the get go? Frankly, that would just tick me off and send me running the opposite way but maybe that’s just me. Excuse me for thinking I’m worth more than high school juvenility and sticking around long enough to stroke your ego.

Exhibit B: leading someone on. Saying “Let’s hang out!” but never actually doing it. What is the point of you constantly telling me you want to hang out, asking what I’m doing all weekend, to not do anything with the information? On the same note, don’t text me asking how I’m doing or how my weekend was if all you want out of the conversation is a boost to your confidence. What is the point in letting someone believe there is a shot when you know and knew all along, that there wasn’t? Is it some sort of complex that Freud and Jung never picked up on? If you know there is absolutely no potential there, say it. I’ll admit, I’ve had some hard times with this because, yes, it’s a lot easier to go along with something than to tell someone ‘thanks but no thanks’ but man up and call it what it is. Nothing.

What this all boils down to is my utter confusion as to why anyone would want to do any of the above. I guess I'm one of the weird ones in that my interest in you inspires me to hang out with you, get closer to you, get to know you better, not brush you off when you ask to hang out, hoping you'll want me that much more. Even that comparison sounded convoluted! So what do you think about the game playing that seems to be ever present in the dating world? 

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm a girl, a woman, a female, so I'll be frank. I often find myself thinking about love, romance, relationships, the whole ball of wax. The question that's been on my mind as of late - what would you sacrifice for love? Nothing? Everything?

I may be the only person who thinks that love truly is what it's all about, but I do. That with love you can survive just about anything. I'm not saying it will be easy, no siree, but it will be worth it, because in my mind, that's what I've been put on this Earth for. I'm not here to build a company from the ground up and watch it flourish, nor am I here to help govern a city, state or country. I am here to attempt to change people's lives, or heck, a life, with what I've been taught and what I feel in my heart. So what is it about this day and age that has so many people not settling down? Are all twenty-somethings willing to watch a great relationship slip by because they want to be single that badly?

Talking to a girlfriend today made me realize I'm not the only one suffering from this disease. In fact, she shares all of my thoughts and ideals when it comes to this topic. She said, you sacrifice for what you want the most, and when you do, it's worth everything you gave up in the first place. I conclude this post sitting in the Las Vegas airport, having spent 2 hours mulling over this topic in flight. I must admit, I was surprised at the conclusion I reached. Hypothetical question: would I be willing to sacrifice a great job in my dream industry to stay where I know the good guys are?  Would I be willing to move to LA to follow my dreams, knowing the odds of finding a great guy aren't in my favor? Would I be willing to sacrifice my dreams of a great love and incredible relationship to pursue my career dreams? Because if me, a huge advocate for love, isn't willing or ready to sacrifice one dream for the other, I can't expect you to sacrifice yours.

"Love cannot accept what it is. Everywhere on earth it cries out against kindness, compassion, intelligence, everything that leads to compromise. Love demands the impossible, the absolute, the sky on fire, inexhaustible springtime, life after death, and death itself transfigured into eternal life."
--Albert Camus 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Preach, Joseph. 

I've said the above, or something close, many times before and I'm sure I'll say it many more to come (sorry!), but it has become such a prevalent idea in my life, I can't stop repeating it. I used to love planning - outings, social gatherings, my Saturday down to the time slots. Now, I despise it. You ask me to plan a trip, odds are it won't get done. The only reason I have my vacation booked is because I did it the second I thought about it.

I was that girl who had her life planned out to a T and was determined to see it through. Funny thing happened, though - none of it worked out. That job I thought I wanted after college? Didn't get it. The idea that I wanted to be married by 25? Changed completely. The job I did get changed me completely and frankly, I can't even imagine being married right now. Growing up, being in your twenties sounds so old. You assume that you'll have your life and everything in it together by/during that decade, but I'm finding (at least for me) that's nowhere true. I love working at the company I do and living in the state I am, but I know neither of these are permanent, nor would I want them to be.

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life and where I want that to happen and who with. At this point, I've adopted a very laissez-faire attitude towards my life and can only hope I continue that. I went from wanting everything to be right on time, right on schedule to the complete opposite end, accepting that when things have lined up and the time is right, everything will work out. I've truly given up what I planned and put faith in the Big Guy up top to guide me, knowing He will present me with the right opportunities at the right time. 

So my advice to you is to stop living the life you think you want and simply start living your life. The rest will come and you'll be happier than ever.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Yes, the above statement summarizes me pretty well. I am, what I like to believe, a very creative person with an insane imagination (that often times gets me into trouble...oops). I have this theory that the more creative you are, the less athletic you are. Now, before you get huffy and annoyed that I could think you there, reading that book isn't athletic, let me explain.

I like to think of it as a scale:

Creative ------------------------------------------ Athletic

Now, in this scale, obviously you can fall in the middle or closer to one side than the other, but the root of my theory is again, the more you are of one, the less you are of the other. It should also be noted that when I say athletic, I am mostly referring to participating in team sports. I love to run but to be honest, I don't like doing it with other people. I stay away from anything athletic in which my success is tied to another person. At the same time, I would rather sit outside and read a book or play the guitar than go play volleyball or find some friends for a quick game of racquetball. 

I've talked to people about this and used their responses, as well as my memories of others to provide supporting data for my theory and mostly, it holds true. Of course, you have the oddball who loves to play music before playing soccer that night, but most of the time, the theory lives up. Of the guys I spoke to and can remember, there is a very distinct line in the sand. One even stated matter of factly "'I'm not creative at all" and he's the one that goes and plays any team sport he can during lunch. Then, as I'm thinking of my creative male friends, I see another pattern emerge similar to my own - creative most of the time, solo athletic activities some of the time. Biking, running, swimming, they do it all. 

Let me conclude by emphasizing that I think both kinds of people are great - I've often found myself wishing I were on the other end of the spectrum because reading and writing will do nothing for my health in the long run. But I'm not and because of that, you get to read a blog of random ideas and thoughts (you're welcome). 

So, where do you fall on the Creathletic scale?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

We've all been there in one way or another, visiting the infamous Friend Zone, but here's what I don't understand - "they" say the best relationships come after being friends, so how do you avoid the friend zone but still be friends?

I will admit that I've put guys in the friend zone, and I've been put there myself. Sometimes it's the zone of I-like-you-but-not-right-now and other times it's the I-don't-know-how-to-tell-you-I-don't-like-you zone. Part of me thinks the idea of it is simply an excuse, a cop out when you really don't want to have that talk because let's be honest, you're not going to reciprocate feelings for everyone. Sometimes they really are just a friend.

But, let's say you are one of the unlucky few who are in the friend zone because of outside circumstances. Half of the party is kind of seeing someone that isn't you, maybe someone just got out of a relationship and isn't ready to dive back into the dating game. Regardless, it's not the right time and boom, there's the friend zone. Is it possible to hover between a relationship and friends without entering the dreaded friend zone? And if you do get zoned, is it possible to get out of it?

I feel like it's pretty hard to be a Champion of the Friend Zone like Jim Halpert. It's one of those, once you're in Dodge, you're not getting out. But if you do make it out alive, you deserve the person on your arm and a gold medal. And if you don't make it out, you got a great friend out of it, right?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Who doesn't love unsolicited advice? This girl, but I sure love giving it. So, I thought I'd share my list of top things not to do in college. We've all heard that you have to do this and try that, but it's only after the fact when we hear "Oh, you definitely shouldn't have done that."

one: Don't visit your family every weekend, every other weekend or even once a month. You're at college to experience new things, meet new people and become your own person. Going home to mom and dad multiple times will not make that happen, but it will make you that 18 going on 12 year old.

two: Don't go to that frat party alone. Ever. Regardless of who invited you or who you're meeting there. Would you get in a creepy van just because the guy asked you to and offered you candy as a prize?

three: If you plan to go out in a dress and heels, don't do more than one tequila shot. Frankly, a dress + heels = asking for trouble, but when you multiply all that by the devil that is alcohol, you know you're going to be stumbling and most likely falling down on the sidewalk while your dress betrays you and gives everyone something to see.

four: Don't think going to class is the same as studying, and don't think sitting in class playing Words with Friends is the same as learning. Find a favorite spot in the library or the local coffee shop and prepare to feel at home there over the next four+ years.

five: Don't eat dessert at every meal. College meal plans were made to fatten you up and going to the gym once a week is not going to override all those slices of oreo cake. The freshman 15 is not a rumor, people.

six: Don't assume that relationship you just entered is going to end with a ring and a wedding after graduation. Sure, it's your first relationship outside the confines of high school, but that doesn't automatically mean it's "the one". And even if it's not your first college relash (that's relationship abbreviated, cause I roll like that), just because you're together senior year does not mean you'll get married.

seven: Don't put all those pictures on Facebook. Yes, trying to get 1,000 pictures a year seems like a great idea at the time, but one day (as in, when you're trying to get a job) you'll look back and realize no one needs to see those pictures of you shotgunning a beer with a pair of boxers on your head.

eight: Don't be afraid to change your major. It's going to happen, possibly more than once, but believe me, it's better to do something you love then stick with something solely because you have 60 hours towards that degree.

nine: Don't wear Uggs with shorts. Don't wear Nike Tempos with leggings. If it's cold enough for Uggs, you shouldn't be in shorts. If it's cold enough for leggings, put on some pants and leave the Nikes for the gym.

ten: Don't spend all of college studying or obsessing about grades. Sure, a 4.0 sounds great when you tell your friends and family that you got it, but post college? It means nothing. So find a happy medium that allows you to truly experience all that college has to offer while still learning.

Any additions to the list?

Note: this list is for fun, don't be offended by any of the above statements.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

We've all been there - waiting for that guy you've been staring at across the bar to come over and chat you up, or being the guy contemplating if he's going to go for it. So I have to ask, when is it a good idea to ask for that hot girl's number?

I will say that I have not had to do the Can-I-get-your-number dance too often, and frankly, that's fine with me. I can only assume this is why guys are hesitant to ask for a girls number. They know we get annoyed with it and they know there's a good chance we'll give them a phony number. I give kudos to the guy from St. Patty's day who not only asked for my number, but came back and asked me for it again after I gave him the wrong one (oops). So why does it always seem the guys who ask for our numbers are the ones we don't want to give it to?

My roommate walks in yesterday from grocery shopping and shares her adventures in Wal-Mart, which include being asked for her number. Twice. Really guys? In a Wal-Mart? I mean, I get that a bar is probably not the best place to meet someone not looking for a midnight romp, but with that in mind, I would say Wal-Mart is definitely not much higher on the list. After this story, the three of us girls launch into tales of our experiences and I pose the question of leagues. We all know the idea of "leagues" in dating, and while we all say we don't agree with it, we all know we do. So why is it the guys that ask for a girls number always seem to shoot out of their league?

Think of it as baseball, boys. There are the minors and the majors, the triple AAA's and the doubles. Don't ask a girl in the majors for her number if you're still back doing the triple A thing. Or do, just don't expect it to be a good number. If she is into you, she'll come talk to you. Because that's the thing, at a certain point in life, we ladies stop being so shy and end up going after what we want. If the bar is closing soon and you've just been returning my stares all night, you better believe I'll come say hi before the night ends.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

 The incredible delay in updating (which I'm sure had you all anxiously awaiting) is due to the fact that A) my life has been wonderfully busy as of late and B) I was waiting for that inspiration to hit me. Lucky for you, inspiration finally hit and on a day in which I have little to do. Good old ignorance. Is it bliss or is it idiotic?

For purposes of this post, a little background. A friend asked me if I would want to know about something, knowing full well it was upsetting, or would I choose ignorance? Why would anyone turn a blind eye against something? What do you really gain from not knowing? Peace of mind? Temporary happiness? No, you lose time that could be spent doing something else, something more productive.

Example: choosing not to be told that girl you just kissed is your sister, or that the guy you've been crushing on just asked for another girl's number.

In both examples, you're presented with opportunities to change your habits and ways for the better. You would stop kissing your sister and find someone not genetically related to you to further a relationship with. You would stop swooning over a guy who clearly isn't interested and find someone who is. Why would anyone want to be ignorant?

The only example I can think of when ignorance might be bliss is when discussing a dead loved one. You don't want to know the truth but instead, remember them as you knew them. That is literally the only time I could see ignorance being useful. Please, if you have thoughts or conflicting views on the subject matter, enlighten me.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Beach in a bottle

So I've been digging wavy hair recently, especially wavy hair that takes essentially no time to do. That being said, I wanted to find a way to make my hair a wee bit wavier in the mornings without having to shower and wait for it to dry (mama needs her sleep). Of course, the best wavy hair comes after a day at the beach, so I decided to try and capture the beach from my humble abode in a landlocked state.

First, I found a spray bottle and rinsed it out a few times. I have sea salt sitting proudly on top of my fridge so I grabbed that and poured a healthy amount into said bottle. Then, squeezed some moisturizing conditioner for good measure and filled the rest with warm water. A little shake, shake, shake and then I began spritzing. And yes, I went a little overboard because I figured, why not essentially soak my hair for the best results and yes, I'm still waiting on it to dry but I can already see the curls and I am a happy camper.

Here's my hair after, in all its sea sprayed glory

I should put out there that my hair was slightly wavy before but no where near what it is now. And it was slightly dirty, as in rinsed last night after washing yesterday. I wanted to put those both out there so if you try this and it doesn't work, at all, you don't blame me. And if I try this on Monday morning and just get crunchy hair before work, well, sorry co-workers!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate."
--Carrie Bradshaw

Life is great and frankly, has never been better. It makes me realize that everything really does happen for a reason and coming to that happy conclusion is the best feeling. I've always told myself (and you readers) that the low points will lead to another high, you just have to get there. And if you're in a low point right now, keep going. The past 10 months of my life felt like running the obstacle course on Wipeout. I'd get through one hurdle only to be presented with another. After it beat me up a few times, I'd clear that one and have to jump on the big, red balls. But I did it. And I'm so much better for it.

Like I've written before, I love looking back and thinking, 'Had this not happened, that wouldn't have come to pass, then I wouldn't have met that person,' so on and so forth. So all the crud you're going through right now is for a reason. Maybe it's teaching you a skill you didn't realize would be beneficial, maybe it's to introduce you to someone who will end up changing your life in a way you never thought. Regardless, there is a reason for it and if you don't know it now, you will eventually. Just keep reminding yourself that when you're questioning everything.

The new job is amazing, the people and place are incredible and I'm so happy. I go to sleep excited to go to work, which is something I've never experienced. I know people don't like to call past experiences mistakes but I think the biggest thing is to not regret these mistakes. You make 'em, you live, you learn. Each mistake is another piece that helps define the puzzle and put it all together, so I say make that life altering decision and go for it. If anything, it'll be an experience that helps define you and your future.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The First Date Paradox

We've all been on those dates with someone that don't turn out like you're expecting. Maybe the restaurant is a mecca for vegetarians but all you want it is a hunk of steak, maybe your date expects you do to all the talking. Regardless, the date is awkwardly uncomfortable and the end can't come fast enough. Then there are times when the date ends and all you can think is, Where did the time go? That being said, I decided to dive into the minds and experiences of my friends and myself and uncover what it is that makes (or breaks) a first date.

Let me start by pointing out that I'm a girl. I have never asked anyone on a date nor have I had to plan one for myself. Sure, I've been incredibly forward (especially so this past year) and practically asked guys out, but luckily they've caught on before I ask and do it themselves. And, being a girl, I can only offer one view on an activity that involves two. Of course, I am only one girl so don't take my word as the end all be all (because I know you do already) and blame me later if your date goes poorly. Clear? And we're off.

The perfect first date, especially when I don't know the other guy that well, is to go somewhere casual and talk. A nice bar with good food (I promise, they exist) where I can get a beer instead of wine and be comfortable chatting. Where there might be a TV on the wall to offer some topics for conversation should it ever lag. After talking with friends, I find I might be alone in this opinion. Sure, if we continue to date I'll want you to take me somewhere nice, but not from the get go. First dates are nerve wracking enough, let's not add a super classy dinner to the list of things to think about. For me, first dates are about getting to know you and vice versa and I will never really be myself in a restaurant where appetizers cost more than I would normally spend on a meal.

I asked some guy friends why a fancy dinner has become the norm and they said they want to impress the girl. I countered with, "Sure it's nice but I'd be more impressed if you were comfortable enough with me to go to a casual place." Of course, a bar yields a potential problem - what if your date doesn't drink? A sporting event seemed to be a preferred date by the guys which raised the issue that your date might not like the sport you're watching. This led to more discussion and I began to realize that yes, planning a first date is indeed difficult. But if you don't know if you're date likes to drink or if s/he hates baseball, you should probably hang out with her more in a group setting before diving into the date. Am I alone in this opinion? Probably, but I'm the kind of person who wants to know more than your name before we're alone together.

All this post and its research did was encourage my curiosity about first dates. I can't really be the only person who wants a chill first date, right? And if I'm not, when did the fancy first date become the norm? If it's expected for guys to spend a ton of money on a girl who may or may not lead to anything, I'm surprised guys still ask girls out.

So I ask you - what is your perfect first date?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Try This Thursday

Homemade Alfredo Pizza

So my best friends and roommates in college made this pizza when I was studying abroad, introduced it (and basil and orgegano) to me when I got back, and ever since I've made this at least once a week. Because I'm cheap, I buy generic brand ingredients and still find the end result to be incredibly delicious. That being said, here's an easy/cheap/yummy recipe for Try This Thursday. Ready?

1) Preheat oven to 475. Pour pizza crust mix (Walmart brand, 47 cents) into bowl and add 1/2 cup hot water. Mix until dough forms a ball, cover with a towel and let sit for 5 minutes.

2)After spraying the pan you are going to use with some Pam or non-stick spray, throw that ball of dough on the pan and start spreading it out, Mario style. I have found that the ball of dough is pretty sticky, so I put a little vegetable oil over the top of it to make it easier (you can also use flour).

3) Once the dough is spread out to the thickness and size that you want, time to add the sauce. I use Great Value: Alfredo Sauce ($1.23). Spread around the pizza until you get as little or as much as you want, before adding the mozzarella cheese.

4) This is where it gets fun. My usual toppings consist of basil, oregano and garlic salt (so not really toppings but spices) and sometimes pieces of chicken if I'm feeling crazy. You can add whatever you want (or whatever you have) before sliding the bad boy into the oven.

5) Cook it for 8-10 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the crust to be and bazinga! You've got yourself a pretty darn easy meal that takes approximately 25 minutes to put together (including waiting/cook time).

Ingredient breakdown
- 1 package pizza crust mix
- Alfredo sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Basil
- Oregano
- Any other topping your heart desires

I highly encourage you to try making this. I'm not a big fan of cooking and if I can do this, so can you. If you make it, lemme know your thoughts!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why do guys wear their pants like this? At first I thought it was a phase, something every male felt the need to do during their prepubescent years of junior high. As if their "cool" factor in school rose for every inch their pants were down from their hips. Initially, just a little bit of the boxers (or briefs, if that's your style) peeked out from under those jeans. But, as time went on and guys began to feel even more compelled to reveal their backside, the pants got lower. And lower. And lower still.

Then, as I got older and the guys around me did too, something magical happened. The pants suddenly covered more, or they finally found shirts that didn't end at their belt buckle. I was now confronted with the challenge of guessing if you were a boxers or briefs guy and I loved every second of it. Some people would say it's a style choice. Some guys want to wear their pants around their knees and struggle to walk. And you know what? That's fine. Just don't be surprised when I, or anyone who shares this opinion, cock my head to the side and look at you through squinted, confused eyes.

I hate not wearing a belt, even if I don't need one, mainly because I hate when my pants slink down. No one wants to see the view that a trendy top (see here is made to cover. You don't want to see granny panties riding up to cover my bum and you don't want to see just what those pants are covering. So why do I have to see your underwear or suffer the experience of seeing that dividing line?

Take my advice, pull up your pants. You can be a "thug" or "teen heartthrob" (I'm looking at you, Justin Bieber) just the same with your pants up. And you know what? You'll be better for it. You can run (heck, even walk) faster or dance around that stage better. So please, do all the women of America (and the world) over the age of seventeen a favor and pull up your pants.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Cuddling Conundrum

Happy Sunday (or whatever day of the week you are reading this on) to you, dear reader. I woke up this morning from dream in which it was Monday. I was incredibly excited as I am eager to hear if I got the job I interviewed for on Friday, which I will hopefully find out tomorrow (did that make sense?). Needless to say, I was disappointed it was Sunday and I chuckled; that was the first, and probably the last, time I wished it was the workweek.

Moving on, this blog post is dedicated to cuddling. Or spooning. Or laying there holding your significant other in a way that is not comfortable for either party while growing increasingly hot. Whatever you like to call it. I was thinking about this act the other day as I was laying on the couch holding my dog. What is it about cuddling that we enjoy so much? And why is it females prefer it so much more than males? To address the first question, I started thinking scientifically (maybe?) and going back to the time when we were all the same (sort of). Yes, back when we were fetuses nesting in our mother's womb. I thought, surely this is why we enjoy spooning so much. We are essentially in the fetal position, with the warmth of another person's body combined with the placement of their arms cocooning us.

But this answer only increased my curiosity to the second question - why do women like it so much more than men? I'm not saying guys don't enjoy holding that special someone in their arms, but let's be real. Guys can have one session of cuddling and be good for the month. Women (not all, grant you but a lot of us) want to cuddle every night before bed. A friend said it's because women want to be protected, that they want to feel safe but let me tell you, I feel pretty darn safe on my bed with the front door locked. And when I'm in a situation that threatens my safety, my immediate thought isn't going to be 'Quick! Hold me!' but exactly how I'm going to kick ass and take names.

I've thought long and hard (not really, that's a lie) about this and could not come up with an answer. Sure I could have googled it to see what scientists and researchers say about this (surely they want to know too) but that's no fun. What I do know is this: I like to cuddle less than the "typical woman" but more than the "typical man" and I like to cuddle because it's freezing in my apartment, I'm too cheap to turn the heat on and I want to steal your warmth. What I don't know is: why is it human nature to cuddle? Why do guys dislike cuddling so much?

Soon to be added to the "things I don't know list" with its own blog post, why do we enjoy kissing so much? It's just two people swapping spit, which, when you think about it, is really disgusting...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Here's the thing...I can't (with regards to the above picture). I have a very steady, back and forth relationship with texting. I like it, then I get really annoyed with it, then we fall in love, have a huge fight and break up, only to get back together again because everyone else in this world won't phone, they'll text.

Keep in mind, this is the girl who didn't have text messaging until spring semester of her freshman year. At college. I never really saw the point - I could call you on the same phone, get all of my questions answered and go back to my business in less than a minute. With texting, there is/was all that 'hey' 'hey' 'what's up' 'not much you?'. Come on, this isn't AIM for your phones (and don't get me started on the 'what's up' question...what kind of question is that, anyways? Is there even a real response besides 'not much'? I don't think so). Plus, texting has this unwritten rule that when you say something saracastic or slightly mean, you have to add 'haha' or 'lol' because without it, you just look like an ass. Then, after a conversation you look like an idiot because every single one of your texts has one, or both, of those (or is that just me and my very sarcastic nature?).

Regardless, texting has this insane ability to annoy me more than most people, so to all those people who have texted me and not gotten a timely, or any, response, now you know why. And frankly, if it was really important, you would have called me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience." --Henry Miller

I officially think the decade between 18 and 28 is the most challenging one in a person's life, filled with so many changes and new experiences it's terrifying. Then again, considering I'm over the middle hump of said decade, I'm a little biased and have no experience to state otherwise. But think about it - you graduate high school and move on to higher learning, and if you don't pursue a college degree you enter the real world. You are given the right to vote, to purchase and consume alcohol and defend your country. You graduate college and are suddenly thrust into the working world of 8-5 jobs and living for the weekend, thinking about long term leases and even marriage. It's a turbulent decade, filled with more firsts than I can count, which makes it incredibly daunting.

I found the quote from Henry Miller after searching for 'leap of faith' and chose his because it really rang true to me. We all have those moments when we know the decision will have a huge, and I mean huge, affect on life as you know it and you become paralyzed, terrified of making the wrong choice. I just went through this and made a life altering decision, and the more I think about it, the more I know I made the right choice. I think those leap of faith moments are the best ones. They make you think and come to grips with who you are and what's important to you. Those are the moments when the most growth occurs, when you don't know what's going to happen and you have to throw caution to the wind.

I've realized that the only way to step over the edge and take that leap is to go with your gut. Your head will always over think but your heart will tell you what is best for you, and in those situations, I can guarantee your heart will be sitting in the pit of your stomach, surrounded by anxiety and fear. But go for it. You'll be happier and a lot better off than you were before.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Maybe this world is another planet's Hell."
--Aldous Huxley

Let me start this post by saying, I don't find the above quote to be true (all the time), I just find it entertaining. Wouldn't it be interesting, though, if Earth really was another planet's hell? Wrap your mind around that one.

I found the above quote after searching for 'funny quotes about working' and found that there essentially was no such thing. I suppose philosophers and savants are similar to myself in that there is no funny way to describe working. It's either "Work hard and you'll prosper" or "Find a job that makes you happy." Trust me, I get that - it's the getting part of the equation that's proving to be the most difficult.

And yes, I understand that it's a terrible economy right now and unemployment is at its highest. But I hear reports all the time about how many thousand more jobs are being created daily or how this and that is going to boost the job market (clearly I pay attention). So why is it that the unemployed are remaining unemployed? The infamous Catch 22. We've all heard the phrase and I'm sure most of my fellow college graduates have used it multiple times in this same context. Apparently, companies don't want to hire someone with zero experience. And how does one get said experience? Bazinga! By getting a job (or an internship). It stings a little, doesn't it?

It appears to me that those being hired are the ones who have already have a job or who have been unemployed for a brief period of time, while the true unemployed just sink deeper and deeper into the hiring pool. Will this trend only continue as more and more people pursue higher degrees of education? Will a PHD become the new norm? I loved college but I sincerely hope that isn't the case...

Let me end this post by saying I had no means for this to get so preachy, it just seems that, without the right connections doing everything they can to get you a job, the odds of getting into most companies are slim to none. And if you did so on your own, job well done! Tell me all about your job search and hiring experience so I can take notes. Otherwise, have a cookie for getting through this and have a wonderful weekend.