Thursday, December 31, 2009

525, 600 Minutes...

525,600 minutes, how do you measure a year? I know it’s a line from “Rent” and yes, it’s been overused, but there is some truth to it. This has been a weird year. In some ways it feels like a year of nothingness. My mom says it’s been a year of discovery. I guess I did discover a lot. Maybe this next year is for those discoveries to pay off in some way. So, how can I define 2009?

It was the year…

· that I went to Little Rock, Baton Rouge, Vancouver, Chicago, Phoenix, Memphis, Tunica, New York, Boston(2x), Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Portland (2x), Miami, Colorado Springs, Denver, Oklahoma City, Houston, San Luis Obispo and I’m sure at least one more I’m forgetting

· multiple friends got laid off and all my perks and benefits were taken away.

· The doctors finally figured out why I’m sick all the time. So it was also the year that…

· I had to give up all carbs. ALL.

· that felt a lot like Jr. High at points. Gotta love all the immature people in the world.

· of confusion.

· I became brave, put myself out there, and tried something new.

· that one friend moved away and another passed away.

· where a whole new circle of friends was made!


No matter what, it was a year where I was blessed by the grace of God and really, at the end of the day (or in this case, year) that’s all that matters.

Goal Setting for the New Year

While I'm not a fan of resolutions for the new year, I do think it is good to re-evaluate and set goals.A few years ago I read this book called "Knit Together" on discovering God's purpose for your life. In it there is a great template for setting goals for the year. I've used it the last two years and while I haven't finished everything, it is an excellent way to focus how you want to spend your time and what you want to work on in the year to come.
Goals for the Year
3 New Things You'd Like to Experience this Year:
3 Nonfiction Books You Want to Read this Year:
3 Things About Yourself You Want to Improve:
I. Spiritual Goals
II. Family Goals
III. Physical Goals
IV. Career Goals
V. Recreational Goals
VI. Financial Goals

I will say I think one problem for me with setting goals is I feel like I have to do them all immediately. This year, I'm going to divid them out. For example, my non-fiction book choices are each going to have a four month period in which to read them. So then it keeps me on track. Or certain career goals are going to have a month assigned in which to get them done. Then it's not an "all-at-once" kind of thing. Just a suggestion.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

All my Groceries..

Remember how I said I bought a ton of food. Let me show it to you...

Just so you know, my refrigerator had just that water pitcher in it before the trip to the grocery store. I kid you not.

Now look how pretty all my veggies look on my counter!

Seriously feeling domestic! Now it's time to make that Chicken Stock!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Here's to the New Year!

So, in my world basically everything after Christmas is the New Year. I love these few days in between the two holidays to start gearing up for the new year. Cleaning, organizing, setting goals, etc. Today I did MAJOR grocery shopping as this WILL be the year I learn to legitimately cook. I'm making chicken stock tomorrow for lesson number one and let's just say I'm terrified but excited to try. I also took down all my Christmas decorations which included the 8 ft. tree. That's right, all 5'1" of me put the tree away. Very heavy, but at least it's not taunting me anymore saying Christmas is over! Anyway, I look forward to blogging more in the year to come and will be talking more about all this "New Year, New You" stuff in the days to come.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Heart "Paper Heart"!

At this point I'm halfway through the movie and it is ADORABLE! Oh my gosh! I so heart "Paper Heart"! Netflix it people. Michael Cera is freaking the cutest. Fun to watch all the awkwardness of a new relationship. Fun to hear all the real stories of what love is. I have always been a believer that it's different for each couple and I love that this movie confirms that.

I always watch docs like this and wonder what would happen if they made a documentary of my life. Hmmm.... well let's see, I'm sitting at home alone in my pajamas on a Friday night watching a movie and blogging. Yeah, that would be a riveting documentary. I do still want to make one at some point. About what I'm not quite sure. And yes, I know "Paper Heart" is not a real documentary. Blurry lines, blurry lines.
Paper Heart

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Great Deals in Your City

So I am absolutely LOVING all the websites that have sprung up giving deals in your city! In case you haven't heard of these, here's the deal...

First, and probably the most popular right now, is Groupon. Groupon is a website where you sign up for deals in your city to be e-mailed to you a few times a week. They are normally for locally owned businesses which is awesome. So basically you get an e-mail saying something like, "Luna Park -$40 worth of food for $20." And then you buy your groupon for the $20 and anytime within about 3-5 months you can use your groupon at the restaurant! So the catch is you have to buy the groupon THAT DAY. That deal will not be available again. Just last week I used my groupon to Luna Park and it was great. Other recent Groupons have included pilates class, chocolates, grocery delivery, and manicures. I will say that I'm often shocked by how many groupons are to ultra-trendy, of-the-moment places. For example, last week there was a Groupon to Kiss My Bundt, and in case you haven't heard, bundt cakes are the new cupcake. Get ready! My friend bought a groupon for The Foundry on Melrose ($70 worth of food for $35) and we will be trying it out soon!

Next up is Blackboard Eats. Very similar to Groupon except it is only for food. The cool thing with Blackboard is that you don't have to pay up front. You have the day to order the coupon and if you order it you just get a passcode. Then all you do is simply give your passcode to the host when you arrive at the restaurant. The one thing with Blackboard is you have only 1 month to use your passcode. And just to give you an example of the deals, today's passcode is for Fraiche restaurant in Santa Monica-40% off lunch. I recently got their passcode for Grace restaurant and will be eating a prix fixe dinner for $38. The cool thing with Blackboard is that they keep track of what deals you've signed up for, so if you lose your passcode somehow, you can always log in and find it on their side under "My Blackboard".

Last, but not least, is Big City Deals brought to you by Pat Sajak! This too is one you sign-up for and buy like Groupon, but there is one cool feature with this one-they separate out Orange County and the Valley so the coupons are for your specific area! Nice feature, huh? I haven't actually tried Big City Deals yet, but they do some interesting things like helicopter tours of the city.

So, there it is folks. Go sign-up with each of these sites so you can make the most of our city at an affordable price!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

First Date Tips for Guys...

Since my last entry on dating has lead me to believe I’ll probably never get a date again because I’m now "that outspoken girl”, I figure I might as well keep going to help the rest of you out.

First Date Tips for Guys:

  • Meet her at her door.
  • Open doors for her.
  • Pay for everything.
  • Leave your Blackberry/IPhone at home. At least, don’t use it in front of her. Check it when she’s in the bathroom or something.
  • Compliment her. Tell her she looks nice. I don’t know how this one keeps slipping by, but no girl has ever disliked being told she looks good. Oh, and even if you think she’s gorgeous don’t assume she thinks the same about herself. Odds are she doesn't.
  • Don’t insult her job or job industry. This may sound obvious, but you wouldn’t believe what people have said about my job on dates. My personal favorites are the guy who told me my job is “silly” and the one who told me he thinks my show is “sad” and said television is just a waste of time.
  • Act interested in what she does. Not just her occupation, but other interests as well.
  • Be confident. I can’t even begin to tell you how far confidence can get you with a girl.
  • QUIT EXPECTING FIREWORKS! Seriously, very few first dates are absolutely spectacular and amazing. Were you nervous? Well guess what? So was she. And if your first date was a double date or group date or whatever, that’s fine, but just know she’s probably now more nervous because she feels she’s being watched. The first date is more just to figure out if you want to get to know the person better. Seriously, cut her some slack. She’s probably having to cut you plenty too.
Bottom line, you treat her well and she'll open up a whole new world for you. I know a guy who quit dating a girl because the first date wasn't amazing. Their mutual friend said to me the other day, "Do you think he realizes how different his life could be right now if he'd just tried a little harder?" Sad thing is, I don't think he does.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Art of Manliness

Guys, this is the website for you! Art of Manliness is a site just for men on a HUGE variety of topics-everything from how to tie a tie, to 10 dating rules, to choosing the perfect cigar. Also, there's a whole section about doing manly things like escaping from a sinking car to how to split firewood correctly. My favorite entry is the Brad Pitt rule. Go on, read it. I know you're curious...

The easiest thing to bring to a holiday party...


So ho, ho, ho and Merry Christmas! Sure, it's 75 degrees outside, but it's still December which means the time for holiday get-togethers is upon us. This also means needing to bring an item to many of these holiday parties. Here is my FAVORITE item that is easy to bring, yet looks like you made effort:

The Carnation Famous Fudge Kit is so simple! It comes with everything, look:

The only thing you need to add is 3 tablespoons butter. You just melt it all together and then put it in the pan they give you and refrigerate for a few hours. Before the party, simply cut it into bite-size pieces and put it on a pretty Christmas plate. Voila! You have a lovely sweet to bring with you!

Oh and FYI, I slaved last year over delicious, made-from-scratch gingerbread cookies for a party and at the last minute decided to make this fudge too. I had leftover gingerbread cookies for days, but the fudge was gone way before the party ended!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Life in Transition

I feel like my life is constantly in a state of transition. Right when I think I have it together, BAM! something else comes up and I'm confused all over again. I'm just confused at the moment with what to do in a variety of situations. Ugh, not being in control sucks doesn't it? I constantly question what I am to do with my life, where I should live, even how I spend my money. Is this just me or does anyone else feel this way?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Overspending Allowed

So there are only two times I advise overspending. One, when something is an emergency, like when you spill water all over your laptop and the Mac guy says the only thing you can do is buy a new one. Reason number two is when you are in a store like Loehmann’s or Nordstrom Rack and you find that pair of shoes you’ve been dieing for because guess what? If you wait the few weeks until you have the money, those shoes will be gone.

A new Nordstrom Rack opened in my area lately and I happened to be going to Old Navy (Mecca of basics), which is right next door, so I thought I’d stop in and look around. I found not one but two pairs of shoes I had been looking for. First were Cole Haan black heels with the Nike Air technology. I’ve been curious about these shoes for years but could never buy them full price. The second pair was brown booties made by Sofft. I have a pair of Sofft boots that I love because I can last in them for a full 12-hour tape day and still go to dinner afterwards. So the fact that here were cute booties, made by a great company at discount was a sign from God that I was to have them. Yes, they were still more than the amount of cash I had on me, but I have wanted the one pair FOR YEARS and the other I have searched stores for the perfect ones and these seemed to fit the bill. Oh, and in all fairness, I did set down the two pairs of jeans I was going to try on, so something was sacrificed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Okay, time to be BOLD

So here it is, my rant on male/female relationships in L.A. (and well, basically anywhere single people are) ... Guys, start dating. I'm not saying "hang out" with girls. I'm not saying wait until you are 100% positive you want a relationship with her. I'm saying you see a girl you think is attractive, you have a conversation here or there in groups, you've become Facebook friends, and now you want to get to know her better...well ASK HER ON A DATE. Be honest. Actually say the words "I'd like to get to know you better." Make it clear it's a date. Newsflash: she's not going to automatically assume this means popping the question is next. It's perfectly fine to try and get to know somebody, find out you don't click, and move on. At least you found out.

Just so you know, there are some of us you are not going to learn a whole lot about in a group setting. I don't share tons of info about myself in groups. I also can come off loud, and boisterous, and a little too in control or independent for most guys when I'm in groups. But if you got me to yourself you'd see that I would fully let you have control. Most girls are this way. We all have a side that you won't see in this group setting. No matter how much you learn about us amongst friends, we will be different when you get us alone.

As for the matter of the "good friend". This is merely a relationship without the title or the physical side. Either suck it up, realize you like the girl, and tell her so or face the fact that it's never going to become a full-blown relationship and give each other some space. Rent "When Harry Met Sally". If Harry's words to Sally at the ending New Year's Eve party don't ring true in your "good friend" scenario then it's time to let each other go. If they do ring true, well then get moving and ask her out! By the way, if you are in one of these "my best friend is of the opposite sex" relationships, just an FYI that when one of you does get into a real relationship it's going to make this one very messy and complicated. And it will probably end. Seriously.

And oh yeah, if you are in your 30's (and this includes those of you who are literally 30 years old), please remember that you are merely years away from being that creepy single guy. At least when I'm older and single people will feel sorry for me. When you're single and old people will just wonder what's wrong with you.

Okay, that's it for the guys. Now for the girls...

First off, don't lose hope. The more you lose hope, the less likely you are to find someone. Guys smell bitterness from miles away. For reals.

Second, make him treat you like a girl! Quit being the best friend. It's tempting, I know. I've been there. It is a false relationship. Quit texting him, quit calling him, and for the love of God, don't hang out alone! Wait for him to text you, to call you, to ask you out. If he asks and you're not sure it's a date or just hanging out be bold and ask. Scary, I know, but it will be worth it to not be confused or to have the awkward "So what are we.." conversation later. Yes, this may mean more Saturday nights alone or just hanging with the girls, but at least when you do get that text message or phone call you know he did it because he wanted to, not because he was just calling you back. I will be honest and say this doesn't solve all problems, but it eliminates a lot of them. Also, if you are best friends with a guy you aren't interested in well, #1 he's probably interested in you and #2 all other guys probably think you're off limits because they are assuming you like your best friend. Don't think for a second that I think ending one of these types of relationships is easy. I literally had to pray to God to get me out of the last one because I couldn't do it.

Last, don't be hyper-critical, but don't settle. I think it's totally fine to know what you want in somebody, but just because he doesn't dress the way you always dreamed your boyfriend would dress doesn't mean he's not worth dating. Guess what? You can buy him new clothes. I'm not saying you should deal with whatever. Everyone has their Seinfeld idiosyncrasies they can't stand. For example, I'm 5'1". I thought I could date a guy 5'5" and it wouldn't bother me. Turns out it does. Just try to find a balance between being too picky and not being picky enough. Remember that if he bothers you somewhat now, imagine how much he'll bug you after 20 years of marriage. Think it through.

Okay, that's it. Those are my thoughts on the whole relationship thing. At least, part of my thoughts. I could go on, but I won't. I'm sure you won't all agree. Feel free to comment and argue, etc. Just thought I'd put my feelings out there.

Sunset Thai

Tried Sunset Thai today in Hollywood, and I must say, really good. Nice Thai decor, not over-the-top and the food was really good. I order Chicken Sate, and yes, I know that's very "white girl" of me and boring, but I'm on a no-carb kick at the moment and it was a safe order. Normally Chicken Sate is dry and flavorless, but here it was juicy, moist and had a slight curry flavor. My friend ordered the red curry with chicken and she loved hers too and said it too was better than most. The prices were about $1-2 more expensive than other Thai places, but I thought it was worth it for the quality of food. I'm ready to go back and try something more adventurous.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Flash Forward

About to watch the second episode of the new show Flash Forward. It is amazing! If you're not watching get online and catch up! It's Lost-ish in the best ways. Oh, and isn't that guy that's on tonight the guy from Ferris Bueller?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Square One

I meet with three friends every Saturday morning to catch up, talk about a book we're all reading through, and keep each other accountable. It's honestly one of my favorite times of the week. This week we decided to meet up at Square One in Hollywood. It's located on Edgemont, but I don't recommend it. My omelet was kind of runny and flavorless. The grits congealed. And to top it off my pathetic meal cost $10. Oh, and I've never seen a bigger eye roll than the one the waitress gave us for all ordering waters to drink. Lovely girl, really. So there you have it, don't go to Square One. Not worth it. I don't know why everyone says this is one of the best breakfasts in Hollywood. Home is so much better. Blu Jam Cafe is better. Plenty of places are better! Go somewhere else and save some cash.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Downtown L.A. Art Walk

Last night I headed to downtown L.A. for the monthly Art Walk. My friend Koury was showing some of his photography at LoftSEVEN. Very cool place to be as it was on the roof of the loft building. I don' t get to downtown that often so it was fun to hang out and see such a different scene of L.A. Totally hipster crowd by the way. Very weird hair and everyone looks like they came out of an Urban Outfitters catalog. I definitely want to go back and explore more of the galleries. We just stopped at his show and ended up hanging out there the whole time. Oh, and a bunch of those "all the rage right now" food trucks were in the area too. I know Kogi, Border Grill, and CoolHaus all set up shop on the streets during Art Walk every month. I have to hit one of them next time too! But seriously, fun way to spend a Thursday night and being that it's free and there's open bar, the only money spent was on the $7 for parking. And in downtown, that's a steal!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Perfectly Folded Sheets

I will never fold properly. Today I was trying to fold my bed sheets and I failed miserably. I’m not talking about the fitted sheet that no one can fold correctly, I’m talking about the plain, old, full-sized sheet. I could care less about doing this the right way. I don’t understand the people who iron their sheets either. What is the point to this? Anyway, I know nicely folded sheets in the cupboard or linen closet or wherever you store your sheets is supposed to be one of those proper things we should all know to do, but I also know that there are better things I can do with my time then layout my sheet on the floor and try to fold it perfectly. Don’t worry, it’s not like I wad it in a ball and throw it in the closet. It is folded, just not nicely or correctly.

The sheet folding incident just got me thinking about those things in life that we all think should be done a certain way and if they are all really worth it. I’m normally all for proper behavior and the socially acceptable way to do things, but there are some that just aren’t worth it. For me, it is perfectly folded sheets. What is it for you?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Chick-Fil-A

Just took a Labor Day field trip to the Del Amo mall for Chick-Fil-A. If you wore a sports team t-shirt you received a free sandwich. I have friends from Alabama who were craving the stuff, so 6 of us took a little trip south today for some yummy southern fast food. I didn't wear a team shirt since I'm not a sports fan and wanted the nuggets. Chick-Fil-A is freaking fantastic! Their nuggets are THE best! Just excellent stuff. And such nice service with the free drink refills that they get for you! If you live in So-Cal, there are a few locations that are worth the drive. It was my friend Jay's first time and he said the drive was definitely worth it. Go. Now.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easy, Healthy Dinner for 1-All From the Microwave!

Last night I made the easiest dinner and it all came from my microwave! I took a small sweet potato and microwaved it 10 minutes. Then I discovered that's how long you microwave a large sweet potato and had to start over. The new sweet potato was only microwaved 5-6 min. Next, I got out a bag of Trader Joe's Balsamic Roasted Vegetables from the freezer. You put the whole bags worth of vegetables on a plate and microwave for 6 min. Once they were done cooking I separated them into individual serving sizes, so now I have vegeatbles pre-portioned for the next few days! Last, I took out two frozen turkey meatballs from Trader Joe's and microwaved them for 1 min. I put 2 tablespoons pesto on top of them and put it back in the microwave for 30 sec. It probably could have been 20, but they came out fine.
And that's it! So simple, and I could do other things while each was in the microwave. Those vegetables by the way are amazing! I am not a veggie girl, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to start eating these veggies everynight! If you have any easy meal ideas please send them my way!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Apartment Building

I realized today that I should be grateful for my apartment building. I have a friendly building, something of a rarity in L.A. My neighbors actually wave to me when I'm walking to my car as they are driving out of the building. Our pool is quite the social place during the summer. I have actually seen jello shots passed on a tray in the pool. While I am not part of the "inner circle" who hang out all the time, I like knowing they are around and together. We chat by the pool and say hi when we pass in the hall. I walked around Los Feliz last week and passed many people. No one makes eye contact, let alone says "Hi". I find it sad. I'm glad I have friendly neighbors. 
I actually feel very blessed to have my apartment. It's 900 square feet and, while my upstairs neighbors are far too loud at times, it is a great building. There is a pool, a gym, sauna, it's gated, and I have covered parking. Plus, I have friends in Hollywood who pay the same for a place 1/2 my size with none of the above listed amenities. Oh, and I have an excellent manager. I practically moved here just because she seemed so great. After my last roommate/landlord nightmare I was only going to move somewhere with someone qualified to manage. 
Bottom line, find a great apartment. Be picky. Don't just take what you can get. Look around. Find a manager who will get things done. Oh, and I'll tell the nightmare story of my past landlord at another time, but trust me it's a good one. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Prince at Mama Juana's

This past weekend my friends and I went salsa dancing at Mama Juana's in Studio City. it was a very fun night full of laughter and some excellent dancing. (It helps when your friend used to be a dance instructor.) After dancing for hours around 11 I decided to head home. I know, I know, that's early, but I had to be awake and aware for something the next day and I can never sleep in, so leaving early it was.
Sunday morning I get up and check Facebook and guess what I see? My friend Jessica's status update reads as follows: "Had fun salsa dancing. Best part was when Prince showed up!" Ummm WHAT??????????
Apparently minutes after I left Prince and his entourage showed up. Prince showed up at our little salsa club in Studio City. How crazy is that? I know I missed something huge. Never has the phrase, "You snooze, you lose" been more appropriate, but I still just think it's cool I was there the same night!

I'll have a post soon about my last two weekends and the incidents that occurred. I've written them, they just need to be uploaded. Let's just say there were two other celebrity sightings that I was present and accounted for. I'll get those on here soon!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Money, money, money

I'm watching a heartbreaking Oprah about people who have been hit so hard by the recession they are homeless. Some are living in shelters, some in tent cities and one couple is even living in their office. One woman who has been out of work for 2 years said, "Oh if only to have that paycheck back! The things I would have done differently." Recently there have been lay-offs at my company and I have friends who have been laid off as well. This all has gotten me thinking about what I can do to protect myself. I've tried to be better lately with utilities for one thing. I notoriously leave my lights on all over my apartment and have been better at turning them off. For a while I was looking at a gym membership-ridiculous because my company has a gym, as does my apartment building, so I have totally nixed that idea. I just really think it is time for us all to take a good, hard look at what we can cut back on. And to save that money! Put it in a savings account. Heck, I'd even say put it in the stock market. If it's going to stay in for over 5 years it has to go up at some point!

I think some people in their twenties are really thrifty with their cash. These are the people who are in their twenties and have jobs waitressing or working retail. The people who are bad at it are those who have salary jobs and have "extra" cash to spend. I know of plenty young adults who spend money on designer jeans and dinners and drinks out. Now I'm not against these things. I have designer jeans-4 pairs which is plenty. I know others in their twenties who have 10 or more pairs. Who needs that many jeans? And drinks. That's a killer in your twenties. Especially in L.A. I am not a big drinker, but I have friends who go out for drinks multiple times a week. Even if it's happy hour it's at least $20 on drinks, let alone food. These are just a couple of things I think we all really need to think about.

My dad always talked about how guys will graduate, get a good job, and then buy a new car. Do they need a new car? No. But they feel they've earned it. Right now, I would kill for a new car, but I know it's one expense I don't need to pay. I have a fully paid off car. Why would I add new expenses. Basically just think before you spend. Even saving an extra $5 a week is an extra $260 a year.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Welcome!

     Life after college. I think my first year out was just one huge transition and I’ll be honest, it sucked. Its been four years since I graduated and while I’ve made a lot of progress I think I’m still figuring out what it means to be an “adult”. There are a lot of new experiences after graduation; getting a “real” job, moving into your own place, setting a budget, investing in a 401K. Ugh. But there is great freedom in this whole adult thing. You never have to write a term paper again, when you are done with work there is no need to study, and your time is your own (other than work, obviously).

        I remember 22-23 being especially difficult because while I was ready to move into adulthood my friends were not. Half of them still worked at Starbucks and ate dinner at Baja Fresh. They lived in apartments with four people and just wanted to hang out for a while. I on the other hand had a real job with a salary and benefits and was ready to move to L.A. So, in March of 2005 that’s what I did. I moved to Los Angeles. The city I love. I basically started all over.

      So, four years later I think I’ve figured some of it out, but I definitely have a ways to go. This blog is about what’s going on in my life at the moment along with some tips and tricks I’ve discovered along the way.

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