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Archive for the category “Food”

One Artist Pays Homage to Exes Though Shoes, My Exes Make Great Sandwiches

It’s no secret that I love creative pursuits.

I also love shoes.

I also love love and have tried to become a student of relationships.

So when an artist made shoes based on his exes, I totally perked up. I had to see it and it’s so freaking awesome.

Check the link: http://shine.yahoo.com/photos/12-shoes-for-12-lovers-1386699601-slideshow/the-jet-setter-photo-1386704733985.html

So that made me think of my exes. Then I wondered what could I make that would represent our relationship or qualities each man had?

Then my mind wandered to sandwiches.

So here we go. I’m going to describe my exes/relationships through sandwiches.

The high school ex. PB and J with potato chips. It was simplistic and childish, and you can grow tired of eating it.

College ex #1 Bacon, lettuce and tomato. This relationship managed to be light, but still gave me everything I needed. It wasn’t excessive and when it was over, it didn’t leave a mess.

College ex #2 Tuna tar tar sandwich. This guy was pretentious and unnecessarily complicated. It’s tuna folks. Nothing more. If you got to do so much to it to make it taste good, it ain’t right. When it came down to it this dude was fishy from start to finish and started to stink after awhile.

Ex #3 Philly Cheesesteak. This guy was like your favorite college sweater. You could burp and fart and exchange rude jokes, he got along with everybody and was fun to be around. Not the most sophisticated person in the room, but the realest person in the room. Hard worker, manly, crazy about sports, big on family. All American guy.

Ex #4 Sloppy Joe with ground chicken. A hot mess. A hastily thrown together meal with basic ingredients. No one gets out without getting dirty. One false move, your outfit is ruined. And you can’t avoid it. But think you want it so bad you accept the consequences. It’s not the best choice, but when you’re really hungry it looks really, really good. And I chose chicken for obvious reasons. Punk ass. It seems sensible and safe, but if you have a more sophisticated pallate it won’t satisfy you. It takes longer to get the stain out of your favorite shirt than it did to eat it. And your favorite shirt may have a faint mark no matter how many times you spot cleaned and washed it. Yeah. Yeah I said it. LOL. ūüôā

Me, Commitment and Furniture

As someone who has lived in various parts of the country, and moved for work, making a house a home would tend to be the last thing on my mind.

I’ve mentioned in other blogs that after being in my place for about six– going on seven years now, I’ve said screw it, this is my home.

Transition seemed to always keep me from settling in, and it was a crutch really that allowed me not to commit.

I don’t know if that ties into my penchant for long distance relationships and why seeing someone local still makes me feel so nervous and with one foot in the door.

As a non-traditional, traditional woman word up. There are times where I have been apprehensive about really settling into my home and buying real grown up furniture because it meant I was really investing in living there. Like, for real.

And it was saying, no, you aren’t going to be bouncing around for a while.

If we drill down a bit deeper, when I was in a very serious relationship about to get married, I was thinking, I’m going to buy new stuff when I move in with my husband. I’m going to be moving and I don’t want to take a bunch of crap with me, and we want to build our lives together and develop our own style.

So two weekends ago, I broke down and purchased a new dining room set and I lovvvve it. I’ve mentioned having a desire to host more and it just makes sense.

I love my old dinette set, but it’s nearly 20 years old (but in awesome condition and I’m willing to give it away for free to a person who will love and appreciate it as much as I did. Tall white table with two tall white chairs and I’ll throw in my hot pink Ikea seat cushions that I bought like a month ago, if you know someone in the DC, MD, VA area. Wink, wink.) and was in my sister’s bachelorette pad and she’s been married for like 12 years. She passed it to me for my apartment when I was living in the South, and I’ve had it ever since.

It’s time to retire our (my sister and my) set.

As I was making room for the new set, that arrives today, I felt excited, and actually a little anxious. Like, for me, this is a big deal.

I made a choice to buy furniture and I didn’t NOT buy the furniture because I’m waiting to move in with my future husband in my future home. And sadly, that was something that has been in the back of my mind. Even though I’ve stayed in my current home for awhile now, I just still feel like my life could shift at any moment and I need to pack light so I can pick up and go.

Oh, well. Those things will take care of themselves. And maybe my future husband will love my furniture and will decide we should keep it and merge it with the new. (Actually he needs to. When I spend my hard-earned money on something, or as you see if someone gives me something, I want to get optimal use out of it.)

There is nothing wrong with making my place as fabulous as it can be while I am by my lonesome, and while I share it with my family and friends who visit. That’s the take home message of the day.

I’m thrilled about my new dining room set and I will be breaking it in, making a sexy Valentine’s dinner for boo thang tomorrow night.

I can’t wait for the countless dinners, lunches, breakfasts and brunches, girl talk chats, and moments I’ll have sitting at that table with the people I love sharing a meal. And that ain’t nothing to be afraid of.

 

 

OMG it’s here!! The truck!!!

Good Things Come to Those Who WORK!

I’m pumped up today.

Not just because it’s Thursday and there’s a new Scandal coming on T.V. tonight.

I’m in great spirits because I had a great, challenging workout with my blog world-turned-real world friend.

She is a hard worker in the gym and in life and I totally respect that.

I was thinking in general of how I have really hard-working friends who inspire me, just off of their ability to set their minds to doing something and just doing it.

2013, I’ve decided is the year of “doing something.”

Sometimes, just doing something can be awfully hard to do, especially if you’ve failed before, or are in a funk, or diagnosed as depressed. As I always say, “Mental health is real.” You can quote me.

I have one dear friend who is unemployed.

She job hunts as if it is her job. Job hunting IS her job right now. Nine-to-five, everyday she is sending out resumes, revising her resume, custom tailoring-cover letters. I’ve seen her do it. She is constantly trying to figure out new ways to stand out and connect to the types of jobs she wants.

By happenstance, I recommended to her that maybe she should look into a condensed version of a particular program that may help her chances.

Not only did this friend find an online certificate program, she started it the same day and hardly a week later, she’s on her way to completing it and will add it to her resume.

Now, I don’t know if my hard-working friends work so hard out of fear, or an intense hunger or necessity, or because they are innately this way, or if it is a combination of all of the above, but it’s inspirational to me regardless.

The other friend, who is a killer in the gym–can’t state this enough– worked hard and lost a significant amount of weight. She doesn’t only inspire people by working hard and being an example, she helps others too. She smiles and cheers people on in classes, she gives them high-fives and her energy is contagious. When she jumps higher, others will follow and instead of grunt, they’ll smile. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

I do hope that one day she creates some major fitness franchise. She’s off to a great start with her Facebook fitness group, where she shares tips on eating and exercise along with inspirational sayings with an emphasis on Bible scripture. I honestly think she should get with Heather Lindsay and do a health and fitness workshop at her next Pinky Promise convention. 2014! Do it, girl… I know you’re reading. ūüôā

I often mention how my friends inspire me to be a better person. They each have talents and gifts that are unique to them, and I’m thankful I can see it and try to apply my own variation of it to my life and if I get off track, I have their example to show me how it’s done.

My unemployed friend is going to get a job, and a great one, because she’s working on it. Day after day. It has to happen, because you can’t put that much energy out there and not get a return.

My fitness diva friend is going to accomplish whatever goal she is seeking in the fitness world, professionally, and in her spiritual walk, because she works at all of those things, EVERYDAY.

These chicks taught me in a very real way that you can’t let up. You have to do something toward whatever your goal is EVERY DAY.

EVERY FRIGGIN DAY.

Because I’m tired of looking at all the extra I have around my waist and thighs, I’m going to do something EVERYDAY. It also did not help that one of my friends posted an uber sexy photo of me from South Beach in a bikini from 2003 recently, for “throwback Thursday.”

When I think about negative eating, and not working out, and gaining 30 pounds, I was great at it. Why? Because I was doing it EVERYDAY.

There were some days where I almost ate McDonald’s everyday, and maybe even twice a day.

Sweet tea? Always.

TV on the couch as soon as I got home from work? I had to watch my hour of Divorce Court to unwind!

EVERYDAY.

Missing breakfast?

I would do that EVERYDAY.

So from the way I see it, it takes a certain level of commitment, even if subconsciously, to even do negative things EVERYDAY.

Let’s take smokers shivering outside in the winter for example.

COMMITMENT.

Eating an entire pizza by yourself. (Which I have done) Couldn’t just stop at three slices. Oh no.

COMMITMENT.

Killing a family sized bag of chips during a one hour t.v. drama. Just not satisfied until it’s all gone.

COMMITMENT.

Staying in bed an extra hour instead of getting up to work out in the morning.

That takes commitment. It does.

Hell, I’m about to make a list of all of the negative things I have been committing myself to and next to it, I’m going to put a positive thing that I’m going to replace that habit with. At least five. I’m almost kinda perfect as you all know, but I think I can come up with five.

I think that I want to do all of the positive things for just one week to start and see how my life changes. Let me know if you try it out too! I’d love to hear your thoughts and feed back, especially if good things started to “magically” happen during or after your week.

WORK.

Because I am ridiculous and silly and an 80s baby, I bring you, Hot Sundae, from Saved By the Bell. Hmmm. I’m listening to the words. This song ain’t got a damn to do with working out. The hook ain’t got a damn to do with the rest of the song either… Enjoy anyway.

Never Satisfied

There are loads upon loads of things on my mind.

First, exercise, weight-loss and food. Lately, all I can think about is my weight, wanting to lose weight, and will I finally get a flat stomach again, and fit into my size 8 pants comfortably?

The answer to that last question is yes. Probably two months from now if I keep going the way I have been.

In comparison to other fitness kicks I’ve been on, I have been pretty consistent for almost two weeks,¬† doing some kind of physical activity in the morning and a few times a week, adding a physical activity in the evening.

I have been watching what I eat very carefully, and been mainly on a pescatarian diet. Today, I finally did introduce a small sausage and egg white wrap into my diet. I was a bit disappointed, but I needed protein and a good friend told me it was unrealistic to cut out meat altogether. As soon as I start to eat meat again, the weight will in fact return. So, now I’m aiming for common sense and moderation. And I’m going to have to stay away from fast food, period, point-blank.

The other thing on my mind has been my pseudo-non-relationship, relationship.

A few weeks ago, I was in quite the funk. I was in my shut down mode, so New Guy was getting agitated that my phone conversations weren’t very long and not as fun or engaging per the usual.

He said the best solution to the problem was for me to just call him and that he wouldn’t call me any longer, because he can’t anticipate when I’m going to be in a bad mood. He also said he didn’t want to pull teeth to have a discussion.

Issue one. He likes to call me when I’m working.

Issue two. As a veteran, long-distance relationship person, I understand that everyday phone convos are the life blood of the relationship.

He lives 40 mins away. Take me out during the week. And I don’t want to have to come up with ideas all of the time.

And when I did say in a text, “Gee, I’d love to blow off some steam, how about we go to Dave and Busters?” I get no real response on when to go.

After a few annoying and difficult conversations, we managed to go see a movie Sunday night, and we had a nice time. But the problem with relationships with no label is, neither party feels obligated to really pull for the relationship you both claim you are taking your time to head to and make sure it’s right.

I’m starting to believe that’s gar-baughe.

I already feel like we each have one foot out of the door.

He doesn’t want to be in a relationship right now because of his baggage.

I’m not rushing to be in a relationship right now because of my baggage, but for whatever it is we’re doing, I don’t want to be the one making sacrifices, or going the extra mile for someone who is waiting for the right time to decide they want to make sacrifices or go the extra mile for me, because that’s what people in relationships do.

Part of me feels like this situation is naturally headed into platonic friends territory, which would be fine by me. I’ve chased men, men have chased me. There has been intense mutual wanting to be in the oppostite person’s world, but this situation has become, meh.

So what am I doing folks?

It seems that if this nebulous situation continues, I may soon be discussing dating other people. Maybe I should have kept dating other people anyway to begin with.

To be frank, I don’t feel like I’m being courted, bad mood aside.

He wants to kiss me and do public displays of affection, but he’s completely shut down the courting. The same guy who brought me flowers for a lunch date at Panera a month ago, won’t take me to Dave and Buster’s when I clearly stated, I’m having a suckie time right now and maybe playing a little air hockey with you will brighten my day.

The one thing that saved him was the fact that he said it bothered him that I had been so down lately and that basically he really wanted to talk to me so he could make me smile and make me feel better and keep my mind off of the things bothering me.

From that exchange, I realized that I have higher expectations from local men than I do long distance. I need the face time, I need to be taken out and treated. I need hugs and snuggles and tickles and kisses. I need for the person in my life to take charge and if they see I’m down, they call me, then show up at my door and say hey woman, let’s go play indoor mini golf, or let’s see this show, or let me cook you dinner or bring my favorite food with a dvd or bottle of wine I’d like. Or I got nosebleed seats to our terrible basketball team. Let’s just get you happy.

I know one shouldn’t compare people, or situations. But we do naturally.

Am I high maintenance? For a local guy, I just might be. For a long distance guy, I’m probably not. Do I need to give local men a break?

Am I crazy? Or do I have some commitment issues myself?

For some reason, this old, old school song came to mind. It appears as of late, I’m “Never Satisfied.”¬† LOL. Please enjoy. Where are these chicks now??? Ahh, before there was Envyi of K.P. and Envyi–and even before them, Teena Marie (RIP)– there was Good 2 Go. These chicks were like the white TLC. God bless em! They jammed!

Happy New Year!!!

We made it folks! It’s 2013.

Most of us have been enjoying the holiday, spending time with family and friends, making memories, making resolutions, breaking out our gym shoes and renewing or starting health club memberships.

We cleaned out or closets and we gave stuff away for donations (and a tax receipt). We spent time reflecting on what we did wrong and hopefully what we did right this year.

Me, I did a lot of that and I have a larger list of things to do. I did some praying, I did some cooking.

Actually, a Lot of cooking. I had this feeling when I got back from visiting my family and friends in NY that for New Year’s weekend, I would cook.

So I made my pork barbecue, homemade potato salad, mac and cheese and I was determined to defeat an old foe.

Sweet potato pie.

There were times I’ve nailed it, and other times, where I had to throw them away, they were just that bad. I’m so proud to say I made two awesome pies this weekend thanks to a little of patience, love and an awesome Sharper Image hand mixer!

I enjoyed sharing my food with my friends who may have been away from loved ones for New Year’s too.

Lately, my close friends have indulged me in just straight taking time out to play. I mean literally.

I spent time with some friends touring my local brand new boys and girls club and it’s an amazing, beautiful facility, one me and my friends would have never left if we had such a place growing up. Seriously, these kids have an amazing opportunity in front of them with a great staff, there is no excuse not to be excellent! I was so proud to visit and show my support.

The night before Christmas Eve, I spent the evening with my best friend, exchanging our gifts, laughing our heads off and wrapping gifts. I taught her some of my tricks for the perfect wrap. Then after finding a defective roll with a gaping hole in it, we proceeded to play in the paper, wearing it and having sword fights with the cardboard roll. We covered ourselves with bows and posted them online. Our friends started to comment and we were even challenged to build a fort! So that’s what we did! Old school.

Blankets, chairs, sofa cushions and two grown, well-accomplished, well-traveled, degreed women, 30-years-old, were building and taking pictures in a fort! We were giggling and laughing and rolling on the floor and I asked if it was crazy that I enjoyed doing that at 1 a.m. rather than being in someone’s night club.

Another wonderful friend joined me this weekend, who I invited to eat my massive amount of food. She brought over paints, brushes and paper.

We painted, drank wine and cackled. I loved every moment.

So, if nothing less, I learned that for 2013, I need to have a moment to play. Just play, have a good time, do something that seems immature and silly, like build a fort or draw a picture or paint with watercolors on your living room floor.

I have to write another post to describe New Year’s Night with New guy/aka boo thang. It was fabulous!!!

My hair was pretty awesome!

Happy New Year folks, go out and play!

Confession Wednesday: I Kinda Like Planning Parties and Butterflies?

Hey folks.

What a week. I ran my first 5k ever, I seem to have lost 5 pounds, might have met someone who makes me feel all fuzzy, like may have the potential to put some fertilizer around my Grinch heart to make it grow again, and there was Hurricane Sandy.


GIFSoup

Oh boy.

I’ve been itchin to write the 5k post, but I need to take my time on that one, because I have some interesting thoughts and feelings on the whole experience, and this post may rival the infamous first Zumba class post that I wrote that actually led to me being Freshly Pressed, which still amazes me.

Even if I don’t get the same kind of love, I just want it to be good, because it was a great moment for me, and I can’t find the video clip of this car commercial that features audio texts that a woman gets after she ran a marathon and was limping back to her car. And I need that clip to really illustrate how crazy I was looking after the race when the adrenaline left the building.

So back to the confessions.

A good, good friend who I admire and love, her birthday is today. Halloween.

Since she’s taking her little one trick or treating, she has expressed that she’d rather celebrate over the weekend with a little get together at my home featuring our favorite “bad” movies and a little food and some sweets.

I’m all about it.

I instantly started looking up recipes for appetizers and have been in plan mode. It’s easy to get this way because, I love this person, but more and more I think I’m starting to realize that I do enjoy hosting and making sure folks have a damn good time.

I don’t do it often.

I don’t.

But when I do, I’m serious about it. And there is something about Fall and Halloween that make certain intimate gatherings even more fun and more intimate and you can have foods and drinks that warm you up and there’s just something about the hearth and home feeling you get. I really love Thanksgiving too. I secretly enjoy cooking when I don’t feel rushed and feeding people and having people like what I make. Oh so there’s another confession.

I have a feeling I’ll be shopping for goodies and surprises for my friend even though she said, not to make a big fuss.

So, she reads this blog.

Hunny, I’m going to go to the Dollar Store (the place where I go to stock up for all of my parties).¬† So see? No trouble at all!

Next confession.

This came out of no where as it often does.

I’m crushing on someone.

He’s younger. I’m usually anti younger, but he’s 28, that doesn’t count. Two years, ok. I can work with it.

The online wasteland actually coughed up something of interest.

He sends texts, but wait!

He actually calls, like we have conversations. Last night we talked from 9 p.m. til about 12:30 a.m. He even said, “Take your butt to bed, we gotta go to work tomorrow, but I don’t want to get off the phone.”

To which I replied, “Awww. I feel special.” I started singing that reggae song, “I’m so special.” I could feel him shaking his head through the phone as he kept saying, “Really?” “Really?”

I spared him from me doing this….

We have interesting conversations and we can even crack jokes. He gets my sense of humor and I think he’s pretty funny, which is crucial.

He seems smart, well-adjusted and has gone on enough of his share of bad dates too. We like the same types of music and he grew up in a religious family too.

He’s educated, seems to have a pretty good job, but he doesn’t lead with that.

Lives alone.

I actually like seeing his name in my phone. That’s a super good, good sign.

We have not set up a date yet, although he tried to convince me to ditch working online yesterday (while the rest of the east coast was off work, ahem) to join him at IHOP. Oh, I was tempted.

But I look forward to whenever we do actually hang out. I’m really hoping the chemistry is just as good in person.

This is refreshing, because I just never gave younger guys a chance. I did once, last year, he was 22. I was being absurd.

I gave him some and he wouldn’t leave me alone. Calling my house all times of night (typical college hours, but not grown employed folk hours).

So, I decided if months ago I could go 17 years older, what in the world is the harm of going two years younger?

I don’t want to get my hopes up. I don’t. But I can’t help but think, something is different about this one, which kind of by default is getting my hopes up.

Down hopes, down.

These are my confessions. Shhh. Don’t tell noooobody.

I leave you with some vintage Floetry. “Butterflies” Live!!!

I Don’t Care If It’s A Deal, Keep The Extra Food/Sugar

piyato/freedigitalphotos.net
Sugary devil, it’s all your fault.

I call it “movie food syndrome”. You know, where you order the large drink or tub of popcorn because well, there’s only a four cent difference between that and the small versions.

Movie food has trained us to say yes to the upgrade so we can feel like we are getting full value, and well, marketing folks in our restaurants peeped game and have followed suit.

As I’ve been trying to eat better more often and make better decisions (I’ve become a Mediterranean food junkie lately, but it’s paying off.), I’ve been having to politely say no, when these restaurant employees attempt to sell me on the upgrades for “just a few cents more” for extra food and drinks I just don’t need.

Have you seen the coupons in the mail for the fast food restaurants? You can get really excited off of the buy one sandwich get one free or buy one value meal get another for $1 coupons really quick. Then I realize, it’s just me and I won’t want to eat the second sandwich later, because we all know if you don’t consume your fast food within five minutes of ordering it, it tastes gross.

That is quite telling. If you can’t heat it up later and enjoy it, it’s not worth eating. I think that’s going to be my new rule. I can always heat up my Mediterranean leftovers, and it tastes just as good as when I got it.

Whenever I go to Dunkin Donuts, I like ordering an iced vanilla coffee or a sweet tea. But I always get the small.

Every time, the person taking my order will say, but you can get a large tea for the same price 99 cents. And I say, “No thanks, I want the small.” They look at me like I’m crazy for passing up such a deal of the century.

I already know the small sweet tea has more than enough sugar and when I need my fix, I need it. Unsweetened ain’t gonna do. The medium is huge, and large is just stupid. I stick to the small. I don’t care if I can get 4 times the amount for the same price. I like fitting into my short, shorts.

When I go to 711 to have my one glazed donut, the woman at the register always reminds me I can get a second donut for the price of one. I smile and I say, “No, no thanks. One is enough.” She smiles, and she should know me by now, because I’m probably the only person who sticks to getting just one, but she still reminds me I’m missing out on a free donut anyway.

Really, there’s nothing wrong with me people!!! Dang.

When I do breakdown and get fast food, I get grilled chicken sandwiches. Or burgers with no cheese and I don’t order fries (unless it’s the waffle fries at Chick-fil-a. I can’t resist.). I’ve even started to order water with my food, or just have a bottle of my own. I tried the diet lemonade at Chick-fil-a yesterday and I refuse to believe it’s diet, so I’m going to stay away until I get confirmation that I wasn’t slipped the sweet stuff.

So it seems I’m not completely crazy about downsizing in the food area.

In my home state of New York, in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on large, sugary beverages larger than 16 fluid ounces. He’s opened up a can of worms, but I have a feeling other cities and states are going to take notice and follow suit.

I personally think it’s a good move. While some folks are up in arms, saying the government shouldn’t tell us what we can and can’t have. I happily say goodbye to the large, or impose a higher tax on those super-sized drinks if you want it that badly.

I’m sorry, but it’s a serious health issue and obesity, diabetes and heart disease are reeking havoc on people of all ages in this country, coupled with a horrible medical system where everyone runs to the emergency room. Folks who are against this, YOU ARE PAYING MORE OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS TO TREAT ALL OF THIS SICK PEOPLE (A staggering number of which are uninsured). It is all connected. Fast food restaurants are always in areas where poor people live. Not saying they don’t have a brain to make their own choices, but they are more inclined to feel like they need to get the maximum bang for their buck.

And if you are that pressed, or you feel your rights are being infringed upon because large isn’t an option anymore, just buy two medium drinks! No one is saying you can’t have it, but really think about it.

No one is going to want to buy two medium drinks because, oops, you look like a glutton. Large allows you to lull yourself into a sense of complacency and think nothing is wrong with it. Buying two drinks will remind you that you just might be out of control and we all for know folks with food problems, or any addiction, denial is the cornerstone.

I think the government has a right to make these kinds of regulations. They regulate our food (sometimes poorly) anyway, and if you don’t like it, you can always grow or make your own food. You have a right to do that. Just ask any farmer or person with a garden.

When I was a kid, going to a fast food restaurant was a treat. Not an every day, regular event. When I was a kid, people had birthday parties at McDonald’s like they now do at Chuckie Cheese.

We are so lazy, that seriously there will be lines and lines of cars waiting for the drive thru, when no one is inside (and the service can actually be faster). My dad has always hated drive thrus and now I totally get where he’s coming from.

To your deal, thanks, but no thanks. Team moderation all the way.

Go get em Bloomie!

Weekend Wonders

Hello campers!

I’ve missed you folks, but I’ve been busy this weekend taking a break from everything even blogging– and having a blast.

The brief hiatus has actually been fruitful because I’m brimming with things to discuss.

First things first.

Shout out to all of the veterans, all of the service people who fight for the freedom of Americans and other global citizens everywhere, and let us remember those who lost their lives in service to our nation. That, after all is what Memorial Day is all about. So while I’m glad I had a three-day weekend where I got to get blasted off of wine as early as 10:30 a.m. or saw the Avengers or got to kick it on a beach, I got to do all of those things without fear, because folks take great care to protect our beautiful country.

Now back to my weekend. I decided to check out a Caribbean wine festival at a local vineyard with some homies, and I was impressed. Thankfully, we arrived early because folks weren’t playing. We simply had blankets, snacks and a cooler filled with water and Gatorade because it was H-O-T. I had to learn the hard way that not eating breakfast, sampling wine, having friendly neighbors who liked to share the bottles and bottles of wine they purchased, while sitting in the hot sun can leave one, well dehydrated and eventually nauseous.

The grounds were packed. So much so, you could not see a blade of grass on the whole place by noon (the event started at 10 a.m.). Folks were so prepared, there was even a designated area for tents and those folks were bringing large platters of food and made a day of it for real. There was live music and a great dj. A large dancing area and places for folks to hula hoop. I did want to eventually dance, but me getting sick didn’t help the cause.

I’m partially ashamed and partially proud of myself for finding a place to vomit discreetly amongst the sea of humanity (around the side of a building where there was lovely landscaping and wood chips to kick over the evidence when I was done. Nasty, yes, but efficient and non-offensive to other revelers.)

I had to recover for the rest of the night after I showered.

Sunday, I met up with my friend and we headed to the beach, and so did everyone else so much so, the beach was closed to more folks and we were told we could return hours later, which ended up working out better for us. So we went to a nearby mall, saw The Avengers which was awesome!!! I’m in love with Robert Downey Jr. ever since Iron Man I and I think the guy who played Captain America was super hot too. But Bob is my boy. Swagger for days and days and days. That dark hair, that beard. I LOVE MEN WITH FACIAL HAIR.

We also spent that time learning that red velvet cake ice cream does indeed exist and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

So after all of that, we were able to return to a far less crowded beach, and the sand did not burn our feet and the water felt awesome. We were out there for about an hour and a half, and I’m totally glad we weren’t out there in the peak craziness of the day and in the blistering heat. It worked out. I am ridiculously proud of myself for just going with the flow and wherever the day took me.

I’m also proud of me because I didn’t eat like a fool. All this progress and an upcoming wedding in California is keeping me honest. I wore a two-piece swimsuit yesterday that I wore like five years ago in Mexico. I’m a rockstar. I wore some plaid short shorts today, that I know I couldn’t button months ago. It’s an American holiday weekend. I deserved a real burger, so I had one, but I didn’t have fries with it, I didn’t put cheese on it and I drank water with it and I didn’t feel all bloated and nasty after.

I’m also ridiculously proud of me because this weekend marks the second anniversary of my proposal. I don’t remember last year because I was simply trying to get through it and get over the fact that it all imploded on me. This year, I didn’t cry, and I actually didn’t remember because I was too busy having so much fun.

This was a great Memorial Day weekend, and I have a feeling this is going to be the last year I refer to it as the anniversary of my proposal.

Old news girlfriend. You made it. Patting myself on the back.

Oh yeah, and life is awesome because I’m going to California for the first time ever in like two weeks. I’m thrilled. I’ve never technically been to the West Coast, except if you consider Vegas the west. But I’m going to be chillin in lovely Catalina with some of my favorite family members and it’s going to be epic. What’s even better is my cousin said the wedding is super low-key and beachy that I can get away with a gorgeous flowy dress I just purchased for $14. It’s a long turquoise dress, that has a low v-cut in the back. I’m going to rock some gladiator sandals and an awesome statement necklace and it’s on and poppin. I’m just struggling with the gift for the bride and groom. The groom, my cousin has been married, well a couple of times and he’s older and can afford whatever he pleases. I don’t want to bring anything cheap, but I’m clearly not rolling like he is. So I’m down for thoughtful, budget-friendly suggestions.

Summer is officially here. Let’s get it.

Pickles: The Duck Sauce of Sandwich Shops

This post is going to be short and sweet.

Some of you will feel me, some of you will just shake your head. But bear with me.

You read the headline.

There is a very accurate stereotype that if you go to a Chinese food restaurant– practically anyone, there is an unspoken rule to all employees to give take out orders only TWO packets of duck sauce, but an unlimited number of soy sauce packets.

It’s annoying, because everyone loves duck sauce and wants to slather it over everything.

I like one packet for just one egg roll. How am I going to possibly get the flavor I desire on the rest of my pork fried rice (a pint or quart worth?).

Somebody enlighten me.

But to the defense of many Chinese food restaurants, you will usually get additional duck sauce if you ask for it specifically. In some instances, holding fast to stringent inventory rules and skyrocketing prices (I presume), or the impending extinction of ducks from which the sauce is made, you may still only get two more packets after you’ve asked nicely. And then you’ll get the¬† “you better not ask me for more or this will come out of my paycheck” look.

Anyway, I feel that sandwich shops have implemented this same unjust rule against the public, specifically regarding pickles.

That’s damn right, I said it.

I’ve been to a couple of sandwich places, and almost started a riot after ordering a sandwich and not getting my obligatory pickle spear.

I’ve even walked back into a spot and demanded it.

I love the way some places will wrap the pickle separately, but also inside the same wrapping as the actual sandwich. It’s like a lovely little present. When I’m working all hard and ready to have my midday sustenance, I want my lovely green gem of a pickle.

Pickles must be important. Some restaurants sell them separately out of massive jars, in case you have a hankering and that’s all you wanted. My mom tells me of the days of her youth when even the neighborhood ice cream/candy man would sell whole, large pickles.

I even just sent a tweet to one of my favorite restaurants who serve really great sandwiches, soups and most importantly pickles. And they wrap them up just the way I like it.

29tolifeblog: @panerabread I know I ordered 1/2 sand, 1/2 soup, but I can’t still get a pickle too? I’m hurt by this… I really like the pickle.

I’m still waiting for an apology and a minimum of a $10 gift card for pain and suffering.

One day I did seek justice and got my sweet revenge when I got the offensive sleight of no pickle spear with my deli sandwich.

The price-gauging restaurant in my office building (which also serves Chinese food) did this to me a few times. One time I was so irate, and I had had enough.

I went back, demanded my pickles, then with rebellious triumph, snatched a fist full of duck sauce on my way out.

Now we’re even…

Cooking: Just Do It

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By the age of 30, I strongly believe that everyone, male and female needs to have at least ONE signature dish. They also need to make one good breakfast food.

Man and woman¬†cannot live on takeout alone. Besides, you are going to be broke and you’ll still be hungry.

I won’t lie. I didn’t always know how to get down in the kitchen. My mom was a working mother and even when I wanted to help her, she’d take a deep breath and say, “baby, I’m so sorry, but I just want to get this done.”¬† As a working woman myself now, I totally¬†get it.¬†So don’t think my mom is some horrible person who didn’t have time for me. She had to feed us and then move on to the next thing. It’s ok. I have never held that against her. In fact, I admire her even more.

However, it did push me to work harder when I was learning and making mistakes.

There is something about a home-cooked meal and there is a certain level of satisfaction I get from cooking a meal, it being really good and others enjoying it. I am one of those people who¬†believes cooking for people¬†is a way of showing love. Including when you cook for yourself. If I make some fish in the middle of a work week, I sit there and say, hot damn this is good. I didn’t get it from a drive thru, this came from me.

In my last relationship, we cooked for each other and cooked together very often. His jambalaya was amazing, and he couldn’t wait for me to make some homemade salsa or my pulled pork (family recipe). Being in the kitchen together, we’d talk about our day, we’d play music and even dance together and share glasses of wine. We’d brush up against one another, trying to maneuver around the kitchen and flirt. Those were among my fondest memories.

We even combined both our mothers’ recipes for mac and cheese and it was soooo delicious. I can’t bring myself to make it that way anymore, since we aren’t together. It just doesn’t feel right. But see how powerful food is to our memories and our senses? It’s deep.

Either way, like many women of our generation, when I was younger, I thought cooking was counter to being an intelligent, successful, professional woman.¬† In our early twenties we¬†seemed to fight against cooking for whatever reason because it seemed like it was what we were supposed to do for men, and it didn’t sit well with us.¬† It seemed like the girls our age who cooked, were always doing it for some dude and that’s all they cared about. Pleasing some dude.

Now that I think about it, was just plain stupid.

When you get older, you realize both kinds of girls were on to something, and the women who can balance both concepts were the ones who got it. Those women had great careers and seemingly happy relationships. Eureka!

The women in my life, like my mother who were the ultimate multitaskers, cooked awesome stuff that just made you feel good that you know you couldn’t have anyplace else.¬†They certainly weren’t mindless¬†Stepford¬†wives, kowtowing to their men.

I tried cooking during my college years, and frankly, I sucked. I just couldn’t get it right. My friends make fun of me to this day for such failures as the pot roast (also called the ‘not roast’), the raw fried chicken and the burnt pancakes.

Eventually, I got it together and I was not only making edible food, but it was starting to taste good!

As I get older, there is also a very emotional aspect to it. I cook certain things to preserve family traditions that I don’t want to be lost forever when the people who started them pass. I have an aunt that passed away almost two years ago. I remember calling her up to learn how to cook pulled pork and she talked me through it the whole way. The same friends who dissed my not roast, raved and continue to ask me when I’m going to make the pulled pork again. (A six-hour labor of love, sauce made from scratch)

When she died,¬†those of us who really enjoyed cooking wanted her recipes because even though she was gone tasting that food would be a physical way to still feel her. I’m sure she felt that way too when she got those recipes from her mother. My grandmother died before I was born, but because Aunt Mae still cooked the homemade soup, and because she, my mother and my Aunt Margaret, (both of whom married into the family) learned the pulled pork (what we call chopped bbq) and the strawberry roll (my mom pulled ahead of the pack on that¬†one) and homemade ice cream (Aunt Margaret¬†is the leader on that one),¬†we all shared in my grandmother Laura’s legacy.

So ladies,¬†if you are about to be 30 and you are still¬†against cooking because you think it’s about pleasing a man, it’s so much more than that.

It helps, I won’t front. Because a lot of women these days¬†don’t want to cook or they can’t, these men are hungry. I plan to write about all of the men being at Boston Market, lol.

I’ll leave you with this tidbit to chew on:

I asked a male friend what¬†comes to mind faster, a mind-blowing sexual encounter you had¬†or your mom’s best dish?

He said his¬†mother’s best dish.

Case closed.

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