Having Friends Without Having Money: A Lesson In Spending

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

  • Tuesday: dinner with friends ($0, ate beforehand), La Jolla Shores (free, public beach), 2am fast food stop ($0, ate snack @ home)
  • Wednesday: Starbucks with friend ($0, skipped coffee), dinner with friend (In N Out, $5.17), out with friends after ($0, board game night @ house)
  • Thursday: Tennis with friend ($0, free courts), ice cream after ($0, skipped)
  • Friday: Ocean Beach.  Ice cream ($0, skipped), dinner (Hodad’s, $6), cliffs (free, public entrance)
  • Saturday: shopping ($0, “window” shopping), library (25 cents, pay off fine ).  Asked to go to dinner & downtown to club, skipped ($0)
  • Sunday:  asked to go to Disneyland with friends, skipped.  Asked to dinner with friends, skipped.
  • Monday: library ($0, no fine this time!), gas ($6, all I could afford to put into tank), Panera (soda, free since brother works there)

In a week, I spent $17.42.  Which leaves my bank account at exactly $12.58.

If I had actually purchased at every stop, I would have spent around $120 (not including Disneyland, since that just makes all expenses soar).  It seems a little ridiculous to track expenses like this, but when you’re me—unemployed, running out of back up funds, and savings account is strictly for student loans—it’s necessary.

I wasn’t always unemployed.  I was a lucky graduate, because two weeks after I received my BA in Literary Journalism, I began a full-time job as an Account & Content Manager at a web design and marketing business specializing in working with health care professionals (read: made websites for dentists and plastic surgeons).  The job was literally given to me when a friend had to quit and offered it to me.  It wasn’t quite what I wanted to do, but it was interesting, and honestly, give me $12/hr, and I’ll like a lot of things.

36 days after I began working there, the company downsized.  Last hired, first “fired” (really it was “let go”, but that doesn’t rhyme), and suddenly I was thrust into the good ol’ world of unemployment.  I had to move back in with my parents.

As it was, I was making the least of all my friends anyway.  Most make around $15/hr, a few pull in what comes to $20/hr, and one friend takes the big ol’ fancy schmancy cake by having a starting salary of $70,000/yr (perhaps I should have conceded when my parents asked me to go into engineering.  *Sigh*). Even when I had the income, I was struggling to keep up with my friends.  I still had to skip the coffee sometimes, and almost definitely couldn’t afford to go on the shopping sprees at Bloomingdale’s; but I didn’t constantly have to count the change in my purse and mentally scan my bank account any time a friend asked to go somewhere.

It sucks. I’m not going to lie.  I hate having to turn down so many things, I hate having to plan pre-eating before going out, I hate having to be the one that sits awkwardly at a table while everyone else chows down.  I hate the looks of pity I get, I hate the offers from friends to pick up my tab (though I appreciate it).  It’s frustrating and annoying and even though financial trouble plagues everyone, it’s embarrassing to be the girl who is always dragging everyone else down.

But it’s simply something I have to do if I want to see friends at all.  There was a small period of time right after I was let go from work where I became extremely paranoid about my finances and turned down all offers to go out for fear of spending anything.  I knew my money was going to disappear and I was terrified how fast it may go.  And that put a huge strain on my relationships.  Friends started expecting me to say no, so they simply stopped asking.  The guy I was trying to see ended up saying, “I can never see you. I want you to go, but I know you’re not going to.”  And that’s when it hit me that I was doing something wrong.

Having a small budget means knowing how to prioritize.  Is it really important for me to grab that coffee with my friend?  Do I have to go see that movie?  You learn to cut corners (legally, of course) and find the better deals.  The realization that I don’t have to buy something every time I meet up for a bite to eat was almost as life changing as when I realized what major I wanted to declare.  The internet has become my best friend in trying to find cheap, if not completely free, events.  I mean, I’m not sure I’d have ever known how many parks are around me had I not lost my job!  And the museums offer free entry every few weeks?!  Odd as it may be, being unemployed has led me to some pretty amazing finds around my city.  While I’m not happy about it, there is a brighter side to this dumpy situation.

With this prioritization comes the realization of things I do need to spend on.  Some things are obvious, like when a best friend’s mother passed away; no expense was spared on cards, food, flowers.  Or when the man another best friend was dating had to move back to his home country, I deemed it necessary to splurge on some ice cream, bad chick flicks and the usual girls’ night fodder.  Other things are evaluated and declared worthy or not worthy: ice cream after dinner? As yummy as that would be, pass.  Grab a burrito for lunch?  Not necessary, there are leftovers in the fridge.  Birthday drinks with a close friend?  Special occasion, so I’m for it.  Grad gift for a friend?  Definitely in, how many times will someone receive a Bachelors?!

I still know that my student loan payments and health insurance take a much higher priority than grabbing drinks with friends.  And even though it’s bad that I am 23 and don’t have my own credit card yet, I’m glad the option of charging isn’t there for me.  In an odd way, unemployment really made me face the realities of money, which is why I suspect I can score a 68 on the Charles Schwab Financial Fitness Quiz.  Apparently, I’m middle of the road for my age group.  Not great, but not bad, either.  And I’m ok with that.  I’ve finally figured out how to control my own money and not let others influence my choices.  Friends still try, and I admit to bending to temptation sometimes—but not always, and that counts for something, too.

*Disclaimer: This post is part of the 20SB Blog Carnival: Friends & Money, sponsored by Charles Schwab. Prizes may be awarded to selected posts. The information and opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the views or opinions of Charles Schwab. Details on the event, eligibility, and a complete list of participating bloggers can be found here.


Housekeeping (said in the vane of Tim Curry at the Plaza Hotel in Home Alone 2)

Monday, June 28, 2010

[Obscure, strange movie references FTW!]

So, this isn't going to be a "real" post, per se...it's mostly just taking care of business (and workin' all night NAH NAH NAH NAH).

First, I've finally opened up my Twitter to be public.  I wrote about it here, but to sum up that rambling mess, I am basically "forced" to because of the field I work in (or will hopefully work in).  When you apply for social media jobs, they apparently want to see that you understand social media--who knew?  Therefore, public Twitter.  If any of you didn't want to go through the process of requesting my approval to follow me, it is your damn lucky day!  One-click following, at your service!

Second, I've been wanting to change my layout for a long time now. It just...bothers me to look at now. I still love it, love the design, love the fun little scrollbar as pagemarkers, everything.  I'm just incredibly indecisive and restless and feel a change coming on.  So, bear with me in the coming week or two--there may be some scrambly coding bits going on.  If you do happen to find a problem somewhere on my page, I would very much appreciate it if you let me know! (Tweet me or e-mail me: prickslikethorn[at]gmail[dot]com)

Lastly, and most importantly...I think I'm changing the name of my blog.  NOT the URL, that will remain the same.  So no worries about your Reader feeds or anything of that sort, it won't affect how you follow.  The only thing it will affect is if you were so kind enough to have me on your blogroll--as soon as I launch the new name, I would be incredibly grateful if you could update your blogrolls.  I will keep the fact that I was formerly "You're the Charlie Browniest" on my page for awhile so you'll have some time to do it, but I just wanted to give a heads up.  I should be making the change sometime within the next week or two, when the new layout happens.  I battled for a long while about doing it since I hesitate to make major changes, but I trust my lovely readers can handle it. Plus, it is for the best.

Oh right, reasons why.  Don't get me wrong, I will love Charlie Brown and Peanuts and that line from A Charlie Brown Christmas for always.  There's just been...concerns...about copyrights.  Not actual legal problems, its just that I don't want to take images of Charlie Brown without knowing I'm ok to, or if for some reason I were to end up making money off the blog (I don't think that would happen, but handle the hypothetical with me, ok?), I just don't know what it would mean having the blog name be the ownership of someone else.  Plus, I've found the name to be a bit creatively stifling, so...change is good.  Right?


Anyhow, busy week with the redoing of the website and the applying of jobs and the reworking of some personal things, plus participation in the 20sb Blog Carnival coming up!

Happy Monday, all!


Lots of food talk.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My lovelies, I hope you have wonderful weekends! I am looking forward to a weekend of relaxation and no plans. I may go to the local fair that's in town with the family, which will be fun. The real question is, should I try the deep fried klondike bar?!  And before you say it, HELLZ NO I am not eating the deep friend butter.  This body isn't quite a temple, but it is still sensible.
And now I leave you with a food-centric Fill-in-the-Blank Friday
1.  If I could choose my last meal it would be    margherita pizza, raspberry ice tea and bruschetta.

2.  My favorite person to share a meal with is   my brother_   because    he tells funny stories and doesn't make fun of me for not eating so many things.  He's learned to accept my pickiness by now .

3.  The best meal I've ever had was     my mom's homemade meatballs in a fresh Panera made baguette with fresh provolone cheese and marinara sauce.  SO YUMMY.

4.  The one food that makes me feel instantly better when I'm having a bad day is    cinnamon sugar toast.  My mom used to make it in Belgium for us as dessert and it's just an instant happy to my heart .

5.  My absolute specialty in the kitchen is     anything baking, though mostly cupcakes and cookies. I make a bomb sugar cookie and can frost a cupcake like no other .

6.  The city that has the best food is    Naples, Italy (the origin of pizza!)    and my favorite restaurant there is     I unfortunately do not remember the names of any places we went, but trust that if you go in anywhere, you'll probably like it 

7.  My favorite healthy snack is    low fat Vanilla yogurt with cherry granola .

8.  In my opinion the nationality which has the best food is    Italian  .

9.  If I could learn to cook anything in the world (and be really good at it!) I'd choose    fried rice.  I already know how to sort of make it, but it's never really perfect.  It's so basic, but can go so wrong!

10.  The most outrageous dessert I've ever had was    a brownie at Mimi's Cafe.  It says it's a brownie, but it is literally the size of a brick, with two huge scoops of vanilla ice cream on top and drizzled with chocolate sauce.  It's just incredibly excessive and unnecessary.  Plus, it has the consistency of a firm cake.  It's just....awkward  .


Flowers and sunshine and awards!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Melissa, one of my aaaaabsolute favourites, was incredibly kind to give me another blog award!

....four weeks ago.

Yeah, it's taken me four weeks to formally accept.  I suck, but I acknowledge said suckiness and apologize profusely for it!  I'm supersupersuper grateful to Melissa for thinking of me!  And this is a fun one, because it's got rules!

The Sunshine Blog Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blog world. The rules for accepting the award are:

1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post
2. Pass the award to 5 bloggers
3. Link the nominees within your post
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award
6. Share 5 things about yourself

So, let's get this show on the road!  As per my usual, I'm deferring passing along; but the good news is that I will be passing along my lovely awards in about a week or two! Once I get my blogging life and blog roll set up.  As for #5, I will share this love forever and always, because Melissa is kind of one of the best bloggers ever.  I love reading her posts; she's so funny and interesting and creative with just the perfect splash of nerdy.  Besides, we get the John Mayer love--this stands alone as a reason for unending adoration. I beg you to go check out her blog.

Now, 5 Things About Me.  I tried to do things that you wouldn't be able to figure out through my blog.

When someone onscreen winks directly into the camera, I immediately wink back. I physically cannot keep from doing it. I was almost caught once, but played it off as something in my eye. This applies to pictures of people winking, too.  But it has to be directly into the camera, else I won't do it.

I used to hate telling people what music I listen to because I was afraid they would make fun of me. I still kind of get music anxiety when people find out what I listen to, but I'm slowly learning to get over it because music is personal and if someone can't see that, then they can suck it.  In an effort to help this along, these are the last 6 albums added to my music collection:
Francis and the Lights [It'll Be Better] - Mumford & Sons [Sigh No More] - Christina Aguilera [Bionic]
Drake [Thank Me Later] - Eminem [Recovery] - Promises, Promises Official 2010 Broadway Cast Recording
I get second-hand embarrassment reaaaallly bad.  You know, when you get embarrassed for someone else, usually when that person isn't embarrassed at all but you are for them.  It's pretty bad with TV (which is why I don't watch much reality TV), to the point where I will mute so I can't hear it and/or pull up the Guide on the screen so it makes the picture really small.  It's all very strange, because I'm not easily embarrassed about things I do (even if I probably should be).

I have a slightly addictive personality and a tendency towards escapism (if ever a true Pisces...). These two combined are the main reason behind minimal alcohol consumption, because I fear where it would lead.

Two surefire ways to make me feel all warm 'n squishy inside are to a) kiss me on the forehead, and b) call me "love."  There's just something so fond and heartwarming about both those actions that make my insides all wobbly--even if it's just a friend doing it.  Love love love it.

Secret extra number --06--!
The voice in my head (not psycho schizophrenia voices, mind you) has a British accent.


And yet another strange dream.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm one of those people who dreams often, in color, about every thing in my life.  Now, you may ridicule me if you like, but I firmly believe that dreams mean something.  Too many times have my dreams come up as manifestations of my current life or situation for me to ignore them.  I very much believe that dreams are showing you your life, perhaps in perspectives you would not normally have yourself.  Maybe it's not exact, and maybe sometimes it's just a single element that actually relates to you.

But even I can admit that some dreams are pretty danged far-fetched.  I've shared some strange dreams here before, but one of my recent ones is pretty far out there.  Only boys were in it, for one, which is...weird. I can't even really remember what it was about--all I know is that I was on some sort of scavenger hunt--but the cast of characters was utterly ridiculous.  Ridiculous! Let's try to figure out what they all have in common with each other, shall we?

Pablo: A boy from HS who I have not talked to since June 2005.  I hated him the moment I met him, but we eventually became amazing friends.  His main goal of our entire relationship is to embarrass me, starting with the fact that his nickname for me is "Sexy."  And he actually calls me that, in public, regardless who is around.  He once yelled it down one of the school halls right after the bell rang.

Alex: The only boy I've ever said I was in love with. While I'm not sure how true that was, I definitely felt as though I loved him. He did not return this love, and we settled into the troublesome relationship of best friends with me wanting much, much more.  Complicated and dramatic (mostly on my part), most notably when he started dating several of our friends.  Our friendship ended in 10th grade after an explosive fight, resulting in an incredibly angst-ridden 2 year depression. We're friends now, but I haven't spoken to him in about 3 years.

Anthony Bourdain: Yep.  You read that right.  As in, No Reservations, Kitchen Confidential, occasional Top Chef judge, Chef Anthony Bourdain. I admit to having an irrational love for the man, but...dream-worthy love? I don't know.  But he was there, and we were hangin' out in a bathroom.  He was sitting on the countertop, chatting with me as I washed my hands.

David: I surely hope this is not awkward for you to read David, because...yeah.  A guy whose blog I follow.  One of my favourite bloggers, yes, but I've never met him before, and we've never spoken aside from comments.  Which made it supremely weird in my dream, since he's pretty much a profile picture in my head.  I don't even remember what we were doing, but I was walking with him on a sidewalk.  He was nice, at least!

A2A: Name hidden, since he's the only one in this entire dream cast that I hang out with in real life still.  He's one of my brother's best friends, and he's basically a brother figure to me.  What's funny is that he wasn't even doing anything in the dream.  He was just...standing.  Hanging out.

Ross: Ah, the boy of my dreams since 7th grade.  Except not really anymore, he's just an incredibly attractive, intelligent boy.  He's a guy I'll always kind of like, despite the fact that I wouldn't even be with him if I could.  I'm fairly positive it's all for sentiments sake.

Mystery Boy in a Hat: While MBiaH never spoke or interacted with me, I instinctively knew it was one of two people.  Either Anthony Burrell, an incredible dancer who I've never met and know about only because he auditioned for this season's So You Think You Can Dance (and was wrongfully cut); or, a boy named Derek who was my very best friend my senior year of high school and even though we've grown apart, will always remain to be one of the best memories and relationships in my life.  What's odd is that Anthony is a tall, muscular black man whereas Derek is a skinny, gangly white boy.  How the hat managed to obscure the identity, I will never know.

...so what do these boys all have in common that could lead them into my dream at night?  Here's the answer: NOTHING.  There is literally nothing that ties them all together, except that they all (presumably) possess the same anatomy.  I mean, I haven't even spoken to most of them in the last 5 years, if ever!  I wish I could remember what we were doing, aside from searching for things from a list. I know I had my arm hooked through Ross's arm at one point, but then I left him to go walk with David, who handed me an object I no longer remember.  But that's all I've got--and a bathroom stop with Anthony Bourdain.

He didn't even bring me food.



Ten on Tuesday! Volume 16

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Link up here!
1. If you could trade lives with another blogger for a day, who would it be and why?
One of my British bloggy friends, so that I can be in the UK for a day.

2. Do you prefer receiving handmade or store bought gifts? Be honest!
Honestly, as long as it's a sincere gift, I'll like it.  Regardless if it's a gift card, some store bought dress or a hand-painted picture of my beloved house in Belgium--if you mean it, I will enjoy it.

3. Would you rather camp or stay in a hotel?
Hotel. I am not made for camping, as I've been known to leave the room when a simple ant crawls across a countertop.  I can't help it.

4. What’s your favorite comfort food?
I feel as though I've answered this before, and I said siopoa.  I don't really have that regularly available since my grandma rarely makes it, so I'll just go with bread. Mainly a french baguette.

5. You’re having a really bad day at work. How do you unwind when you come home?
I used to get home, immediately change into my swimsuit, and go to my apartment complex pool.  Swim a few laps, then roast on a chair with my iPod in.  If that's not available to me, I tend to lay on my back on my bed and listen to my iPod.

6. What’s your favorite chore? (Or, the chore you hate the least)
Anything organizing.  I'm a freak for ABC, height, colour order.

7. What got you interested in blogging?
I've been writing since I was 7, and this was a way for me to do it all the time.

8. Are you currently reading a book? What is it?
I have Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, Libba Bray's Rebel Angels, Jonathon Tropper's Everything Changes, Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife, and Sulaiman Addonia's The Consequence of Love.

9. Do you have a favorite artist?
My favourite art period is Renaissance, but I love a good Degas and Monet and am utterly obsessed with MC Escher. I used to have Escher pictures lining my room, and in my Advanced Ceramics class I modeled my relief carving after one of his paintings.

10. Have you ever met someone famous?
[Ready for some name dropping?] I met Maroon 5 once and had a nice chat with them for awhile, hanging out at Barnes & Noble.  My mom dragged me to a signing to meet Donny Osmond.  Thanks to theatre friends and whatnot I've met a few minor theatre-folk, including (if you so count them) the touring cast of Spring Awakening; plus a friend of mine was in the Broadway cast as a Swing and, primarily, the role of Hanschen.  I could have met Joey Fatone from *NSYNC, but he was with his family at BN and I didn't want to interrupt their adorable story time.  A very long time ago before they got all big and stuff I met Brand New.  There was a very ironic day of meeting Chace Crawford from Gossip Girl.  Lou Ferigno and Leonard Nemoy at Comic-con last year.  When I was 7 I met Al Gore and Bill Clinton, but at the time had absolutely zero interest in them or what they would eventually come (hmm...apparently not much has changed).  Without explanation (though trust me when I say this is not in a paparazzi-style), I've chased and semi-met Seth Green.  There's a whole other section of famous people I've been in the same room with but didn't actually meet, so I won't add them to this big pile of name-droppings.  If you wish to see who, you can do so here.


Happy Father's Day

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In this post about an effing awesome day, I mention that there were some not-so-effing-awesome parts. The super not awesome at all part was that my dad was in a car accident while we were in LA.  He's fine, don't worry.  The short story is that he was t-boned by an SUV at an intersection.  Dad never saw the other car coming, which may have saved him from a lot worse of an injury; his body never tensed, and therefore did not resist any of the movement he was forced to endure.  It is a miracle that he escaped with nothing more than a re-aggravated back injury.  The car is totaled, unfortunately, but we recognize it is a small price to pay.

My father is the world to me.  We don't often see eye-to-eye, but it doesn't change how I feel for him.  I recognize what a strong man he is.  Not just a father, but a man.  He's the most responsible man I know, taking care of things the moment they need to be done, regardless if the task is favourable or not.  He's incredibly honest, but still maintains the right amount of sympathy.  He works hard and sacrifices for the family.  My memories of him are dotted with late nights in the NATO office or overnight duty or training to become acting managers or Master Chief.  My father works hard and earns everything he's ever been given.

More than that, my father is my dad.  He kills the spiders on the wall.  He Raids the beehive hanging from our roof.  He tucked me into bed when I was little, kissed the boo-boo on my knee when I fell running down in the courtyard, held the camcorder at every dance recital and awards ceremony I ever had.  He immediately told me I was welcome to move back home when I was laid off my first post-college job.  He taught me to hold strong to my ideals, to be remember who I am, to learn and grow as I need to.  My mom gave me the environment to grow, while my dad provided me with the tools to learn.  He is the backbone to my world, the one who I will always be able to fall back on when I'm wavering.  He isn't perfect, and we fight much more than it probably seems; but he'll always be the man I can look up to and depend on and know that he will open his arms up to me with no questions asked, support me with a faith I work every day to be worthy of.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers, and the mothers who are also fathers, and father figures in our lives.


Movie Review: Toy Story 3.

Friday, June 18, 2010

In the interest of full disclosure, I love Pixar, I love Disney (usually) and the entire Toy Story franchise is rooted deeply into my childhood.  So, suffice to say, I'm a bit biased.  Honestly, I thought that last point might mar the movie--Disney is resurrecting beloved characters after 11 years, there is more than enough room for error and offense here.  Almost everyone has some sort of attachment to the movies.  Toy Story is the first movie I remember seeing in theatres, and I remember that Sid absolutely terrified me.  Toy Story 2 is the first movie where I thought the sequel actually compared to its original (assuming you can get past Jessie's --Joan Cusack's-- voice).  I was so scared they were going to ruin a flawless run.

But scared you need not be, because this movie was absolutely INCREDIBLE.  On the surface, the plot stays true to the time lapse: we find Andy at 17 years old, heading off to college and packing up his room; which, as I'm sure you can guess, means having to pack up his toys and figure out what he's going to do with them.  Donation, trash, attic, college?  Without giving away anything that wasn't in the commercials, through a series of misfortunes, Woody, Buzz and the gang find themselves at a Daycare.  The rest of the movie follows them in their efforts to return to Andy before he leaves that week for college.

The usual toybox of loved characters are all there, though a few of the minor (but still loved!) characters have gone by way of the donation box.  There are several new toys thrown into the mix, though most notably a big pink fuzzy bear named Lotso, a scary baby doll with a wonky eye, the most effing adorable British hedgehog porcupine named Mr. Pricklepants, a larger part for Barbie, and a Ken doll!

What was completely surprising is how unexpected the movie was! So many parts you think you know what will happen, or you're sure something will, but then you are thrown completely off track.  The writers did an amazing job creating an interesting, fun and clever script.  I became completely entranced by the story and could not wait to see what would happen next.  It's nothing like how I thought it would be--it's much, much better.  And true to Disney, the movie was done craftily in that everyone of all ages will enjoy it.  It's entertaining for the children with jokes for the older crowd that will fall by the wayside to younger ears.  It's captivating for everyone, no matter how old you are or your attachment to the movie.  Hell, I'm halfway convinced that even if you didn't see the first two movies you would still enjoy this one!

What I definitely did not expect was how emotional the movie was.  Yes, it pulls at the heartstrings, brings back some of our favourite scenery/set objects (Pizza Port "yo" truck makes a small appearance!); and yes, it is sad to see Andy leaving.  But what the toys go through to get back to Andy, the situations they find themselves in and obstacles they face...it was crazy.  I was holding my breathe.  I was covering my mouth in anxious surprise.  I was gasping for fear, laughing with delight, saying "aww" with overload of cute.  And yes, kids...it's true.

I cried.

I couldn't help it!  There are three specific scenes I can think of where I could not help the tears falling on my face.  And not for nostalgia's sake, for the pure plotline and emotional tug the movie elicits.  I was terrified and in disbelief and touched and so absolutely swept away with it all that I could not stop the tears from coming.  And trust me when I say I was not the only one, and it was definitely not just the girls tearing up.

I could honestly go on and on about how amazing the film is, but we'll keep it to this: go see it.  Now.


Getty Center, Mayer Hawthorne and somehow I talk about using the bathroom twice.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You know what's not fun?  Having to pee preeeetty badly when an earthquake hits.  Let's just say that was not a good situation yesterday, and leave it at that.

So, let's talk about my Saturday and how effing awesome it was!  There were a few not so effing awesome parts, but in general one of the best days I've had in a really long time.  It did not start out well when I only had 3 hours of sleep, and then stuffing 5 cranky people into a car at 8:30am led to some..um...raised voices, if you will.  But by the time we got to the Getty Center around noon (we had a few car mix-ups and delays), myself and 9 of my friends were in considerably better moods.  We set out to find what this famed West Coast museum could offer...and so begins a few pictures (if you would like to see more, find my flickr...OH WAIT JK I don't have one of those.  These will have to do) (and sorry for not posting some of the more interesting ones, I just have a policy against posting pictures of my friends so I could only choose ones where their faces aren't clear) (though they will all be up on my facebook):


The Getty has this thing about fountains. And they all make me need to use the bathroom.

having fun with all the rearview mirrors!

In the interactive "family" part

One of the sculptures outside, which leads to....

...this interactive replication of the sculpture! You can rearrange all the tubing.

part of the gardens

And then the piece de resistance (I can't put in accents right now, so just imagine that phrase as it should be, please): Mayer Hawthorne.  It was pretty tight getting to see him perform at the Getty.  The show was outside in one of the courtyard areas during sunset, so it was a pretty unique experience.  Now, I love Mayer Hawthorne's music.  The first time I heard it, I started to groove within the first three bars.  It's just some sexy stuff, man.  I was hoping to post music of his without showing you who he was because when you hear it, you simply do not picture some scrawny white dude.  Trust when I say if you dig R&B, soul,  hip-hop beats and some deep, old school MoTown...you will love him.
It didn't seem like we were this far away. Also, this pic was achieved by me holding my camera as high as I could above my head.  Ahh, being 5'3" at shows...good times.  Good. Times.
And some video links if you want to hear a few of the performances.  Not the videos I took since I don't use my YouTube account for uploads, but these do the trick.
Just Ain't Gonna Work Out --skip the first half, unless you want to hear him talk about music stuff. And sing Biz Markie's "Just A Friend."

The night was rounded out with this pretty freakin' good sausage place in downtown LA arts district called Wurstküche.  I'd never heard of it, but my brother and his gf had gone before and he was craving it again. I'm not the most adventurous eater in the world, but he promised it would bring me back to our Belgium days, so I trusted him.
And while the bratwurst wasn't quite what I used to eat en Belgique and the fries were most definitely not the kind of my childhood, I was still pretty darn satisfied.  I learned long ago to not hold my upbringing against food I eat in America (else I'd never be satisfied with anything), and so I won't.  But the sausage itself was tasty, the bread roll it came in was all sorts of amazing, and I even found I really liked the onions and sweet peppers I opted for as a topping.  For a more detailed review and breakdown of the restaurant, visit Awkward Eats, the food blog my friend Vivian writes!


A lot of inspiration behind a lot of humor: Zach Anner

Monday, June 14, 2010

Two things to know to understand this post:
1) Oprah is running a contest where people post a few-minutes long video pitching their idea for a talk show. As I gather, the winner will get to host said pitched talk show on, I assume, Oprah's new network.  And no, this is not me asking for your vote--I hardly like hearing myself talk, I don't want to bestow that upon the world.
2) I rarely post videos because I rarely watch videos embedded in blogs, but I absolutely implore you to watch the ones within this post.  It is worth it, I promise. I would even consider begging.

Found through John Mayer's blog (in which it was re-blogged from The Daily What, another site I recommend), please watch Zach Anner's pitch.  I've also copied what tDW wrote to accompany the video.  Don't let any doubts overtake you; just watch.

Zach's oprah deal from Zach Anner on Vimeo.
This Is Hilarious, You Should Watch It of the Day: Zach Anner, a young Austinite with cerebral palsy (the sexiest of the palsies), pitches a travel show “designed to inspire people who never thought they could travel” for Oprah’s Your Own Show competition.
Is this man not one of the most incredible people you've ever seen??  He's so genuinely funny and creative and magnetic.  You watch and you think oh my and you automatically put him in a category of "disabled", but then...suddenly, it all disappears.  He becomes this strong, hilarious man who just happens to be in a wheelchair.  For further proof of how awesome he is, this is his vlog response/thank you for all the support he's received:

If you feel inclined, you can vote for his talk show here.

But I'm not posting this for your vote, I simply want to share one amazing man who offered me a little perspective in my day.

PS. To see John Mayer's vlog response to Zach Anner's vlog response, click here.  For once, I am in full accordance with JM.


Weekend goodness

Friday, June 11, 2010

If all goes to plan, my Saturday will be spent here:

Watching him:

Perform this:

And I am going to love every fucking second.

I hope everyone else has wonderful weekends!  See you on Monday :)


It's been a disappointing day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not for really anything important, just little things.  Which don't really impact life too much, but it's still a bit sad.

First, how long is this week going to be?!  It feels as though I've lived a month in the last two days.  I'm sure it's because I'm anticipating the weekend and the plans I have, but ugh.  It's so very hard to wait it all out.

Second, doesn't it suck when you find out a band you really really really love is playing in your city and you get incredibly excited and you're like fuck yes I'm going to buy tickets right fucking now, and then you find out they're opening for a band you really don't like, a band that attracts a lot of people you don't like and is actually pretty big time so it drives up the ticket prices to juuuuuust above what you think it's worth if you're only there for the opening act. Yeah, it kind of sucks a lot.

Third, my favourite drink at Coffee Bean is the second most unhealthy in its category.  I obviously know an ice blended drink isn't healthy, and it's not like I'm drinking it trying to be healthy.  But it still kind of blows to know your favourite is kinda bad, so you'll have to revert back to Mochas even though they are not as tasty as Hazelnut.

Fourth, my favourite dress that I've worn to pretty much everything because it's cute and comfortable decided it didn't want to stay its actual size as it went through the dryer (and yes, it does say Tumble Dry Low, so it's not like I accidentally ran it through!).  It's not small like a doll's dress, but it's just slightly smaller than what it was so it's slightly not as flattering and now does not like to hold my chesticles in as much as it did.  Luckily, the dress is still at Target (and on sale for $12 now!), so I am hoping to be able to go purchase another--and will not make the mistake of drying it.
Not the best example, but only pic I could find of the dress.

So you see, small disappointments that don't really matter, but still make me go "boo."

As a quick aside, I advise everyone to be cautious while working on their laptops in public places.  Because maybe you'll open up your Google Reader to start crackin' on reading blog posts, and click on one of the blogs you follow and something like this may appear, and you may scar the little children sitting at the table directly behind you--though if they're snooping on my screen, I can't say they didn't deserve it! (NSFW, guys, if that wasn't going to be obvious):


Ten on Tuesday! Volume 15

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Go here to link up if you participate, too!
1. What does your car say about you? If you don’t have a car, what kind of car would be your daily driver?
I drive a pretty common car (charcoal Corolla), so I don't think that can say much about me.  But if you were to peek inside, you'd figure 3 things about me: 1) bit of a neat freak, 2) apparently I drink a lot of water because the only 'trash' in it are water bottles, and 3) why doesn't she label all the CDs she burns?  You might also think I'm a secret fatty because I keep a lot of random snacks (Ritz, granola bars, a tube of chips, etc.) tucked into obscure places (center console, door pockets, under seats, glovebox, etc), but it's actually because I always forget to eat, so I have to have food ready when I inevitably start shaking from not eating.

2. To this point, what has been your purpose on this planet?
I'm still discovering this.

3. If you could trade places with any person for any amount of time, who would it be?
Anna Wintour.  Simply because I'm incredibly curious about her life and the power she has.

4. What is your favorite kind of cake? If you don’t like cake, what is it about it that you don’t like?
Pound cake or carrot cake.

5. Would you have wanted to live in your parents’, grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ generation or only your own?
As interesting as I'm sure it would have been, no, I like my generation.  We take it for granted and we're criticized a lot (which I fully support), but it's a pretty amazing place to be in: we are the bridge to the new technological era, the ones raised in the "old" ways but having to make it and adapt to the "new."  It's difficult, but there's nowhere else I'd rather be.

6. Do you have any home remedies for illnesses, cleaning or otherwise?
Not really, at least none that I can think of.  I know 5 different ways to stop/treat a bloody nose, though (do NOT tip your head back, whatever you do).  Thank you, dry weather and a brother whose sinuses don't know how to function properly.

7. What is your ideal weather situation?
I love love love crisp fall days, where it's just cold enough to make your lungs hurt when you inhale and have to wear a good coat with a scarf and boots, but not freezing enough where all I'm doing is counting the moments until I can find a heater.

8. What is your best attribute (physical or personal)?
Oh dear...I really like my nails?  Odd, I know, but I get compliments on them a lot, and I take care of them.  So...that's nice.  And a personal attribute, I don't know--you'd have to ask someone close to me.

9. Do you text or surf while driving?
Nope.  I will sometimes text when I'm sitting at a stop light, but that's rare.  And I don't get internet on my phone, and I'd rather not; I love my social network, but I don't find it necessary to be connected all the time.

10. How long have you known your best friend?
Which best friend?  The best friend I've had the longest I've known for 12 years now, and my most "recent" best friend I met in 2nd year of college.   I miss them both terribly :(
The last picture of us! We were 11/12 years old.
I don't know what's up with my hair.
And yes, we are in a pumpkin patch, with cardboard cutouts of fruits and veggies.  Jealous?


Well hello again, little blog.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Literally 1 of 2 photos I took the entire past 2 weeks.  Field view (and I swear we're closer than the photo looks).
Scoreboard! Loved it because of the Jack-in-the-Box ads.

In no particular order and almost zero explanation, this is what I've been up to the past 2 weeks:

D&Bs. Disgusting beer. Denny's 2-4-6-8 menu. Estate Sales. Greek food girls night. Sorrows drowned in a brownie cake hybrid dessert a la mode. Documentaries. Coffee Bean. WiiFit and Snowball Fight tournaments. Hiking. Seeing burn areas. Being terrified. Libraries. Windansea Beach in La Jolla. Being annoyed by high school girls trying to prove how tough and awesome they are by regaling everyone with stories of being, like, soooooo drunk.  Mexican food and margaritas and piña coladas.  Christina Aguilera's "Bionic" album. Shopping.  Book sales.  Creative havoc in the La Jolla Brookstone.  Reserved Chik-fil-a meals, because we're baller like that.  Padres vs. NY Mets game (18-6 Pads, wooo!). Fireworks shows. Panera drop-ins and writing sessions. Being amused that people are legitimately sad Panera took away the couch in their café. Downtown walking. Viewing parties. Bacon filled pancake tacos. Encinitas. Late night boba drinks. Summer dresses.  Tans (naturally, not GTL style). Grad school researching.

Hmmm...I'm slightly disturbed at how much food is mentioned there.  No wonder why I've been feeling more and more fat days.

Estate sales are really strange.  Fun, but strange.  A friend who found out I had gone to a few was thoroughly disgusted and said it was disturbing and gross, but...I don't really think so.  It's hardly a difference between thrift store shopping, you just happen to know the owner has passed.  What are they going to do with all that stuff, toss it in a landfill??  I suppose I can see the revulsion in terms of their clothing or bed linens.  But anyway, I found I really liked it mostly because it appealed to the journalistic/anthropological side of me.  (More commonly known as the nosy side.) I mean, one of the guys was a shoe repair cobbler and we got to see his entire workshop and all the tools he used! How cool is that?? You hardly find cobblers these days, at least not around these parts.  If I were a collector searching for antiques or vintage things, estate sales would be a haven.  One of the houses had every issue of Life magazine from 1936-1975!

The hike was fun.  I shouldn't even call it a hike, it was more a "nature walk" because holy geez our guide was going incredibly slow and stopping literally every step to talk about the flora.  I was surprised to learn that the trail we went to is in my suburb, right at the north end by the lake; I had no idea such things existed here.  A lot of it was sad, since you could see the burn areas from Firestorm 2007 still.  I almost almost almost made it to the water stream, but I had a massive freakout before and had to turn back, which is pretty disappointing. I was doing just fine, making it through all the weird plants and poison ivy (not through that, obviously, but you know what I mean), caterpillars, butterflies, flies, even the fire ants and the bees!  But then the guide stopped us to show us a trapdoor spider nest and starts telling us about how they trap their prey and all the other spiders that live out there.  I made it a few more minutes on the trail, but I couldn't get past the creepy crawly feeling and everything was making me jump, so I had to give up and get back to the safety of the parking lot.  Spiders...ugh.

Because a few people have asked, no, I'm not at Panera all the time because I adore it and need it and have their bread running through my veins.  While all that may be true, it's mostly because that's where my brother works.  I know all the people working there and I don't feel awkward going to work/write without buying anything.  And sometimes they even give me free stuff =D

And that is why I have been scarce around here.  And anywhere else.  Reader is backed up again, but I'm getting to it all, slowly but surely.  And getting back slowly but surely to blog comments.  I love you all for your patience!

Oh, in relation to that last post with the wrist pictures, I forget that people haven't always been following my blog, or haven't always read what I post, or things of the sort.  To those who asked, I have "the beginning stages of carpal tunnel" in both my wrists, and computer work aggravates it sometimes.


Crappy webcam photos on the rise!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Through the magic of the internet, no one knew that I was "away" for awhile.  A few of the posts were written the day posted, but most of them were pre-set to be put up.  Why?  Was I on vacation? I freakin' wish.  Did I get a job? Psh.  Did I take a bloggy break? Not willingly.

This is me.  You know me.  Hi, me.

Please excuse the hair, it was a frizzy, puffy kind of day.  And it has since grown out quite a bit from the cut!  So, let's say this scene is that I'm working on my resumé.  Normally, I'd type my name, which uses the left hand.  But--oh! What's this?
Yeeep.  That wrist is wrapped.  Typing is still possible, but...not very efficient.  So, one hand typing!  Let's go, right hand!
Oh.  Well there goes that.
So, that's the reason I've had to resort to scheduled posts, and the reason why posting may be a bit slow around here.  I'm pretty sure my wrists are acting up because I keep my computer significantly lower than I should when I type, but I've still got to let them rest for a bit.  Since taking leave, they are better, which is nice to be able to do things and not think "ouch ouch pain pain pain" constantly.

BUT, I'll do what I can when I can.  And I'm hoping to use this downtime to catch up on my Reader and actually read all the other blogs and comment, since using the mouse and leaving small comments doesn't aggravate anything.

A post coming soon as to what I've been up to, but I hope everyone had lovely long weekends!


About Me

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I'm fairly obsessed with penguins, Peanuts (the comic), and the TV show Friends. Parentheses may or may not be (over)used in this blog, and books will pretty much be the only thing I ever talk about because they are my One True Love.


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Zoe's bookshelf: read

The Dragon's EyeAngelsThe Lightning ThiefThe Man of My DreamsCity of GlassCity of Ashes

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