Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How To Get In the Holiday Spirit

I'll be honest. The last couple of years, I haven't even remotely been in the holiday spirit. I don't have kids and haven't been around kids on Christmas, so that take some of the fun out of it. It's not cold or snowing at all in SoCal (which is fine by me, but when you grow up with a cold Christmas it makes for a very Pavlovian response--or lack thereof).  And frankly, my mother hearted Christmas so hard that it really made the holiday exciting. It hasn't been the same since she died (obviously). I tried for several years to fill her cheerful shoes, but it got old. So I let things go, one by one and then got down to doing nearly nothing.

So I decided this year was going to be different. I made a list of things that I'm going to do between December 1-25th to try and get into the spirit. I'll either end up cheery or wanting to poke my eyes out with a candy cane, but either way I'm gonna do it. This is my initial list and I'm gonna give updates on what's happening. I have some other ideas waiting in the wings in case any of these falls through, but here goes:
  1. Learn to appreciate a Christmas carol that I hate.
  2. Listen to nothing but Christmas music on one commute home.
  3. Give a gift to a stranger.
  4. Go ice skating.
  5. Make a Gingerbread house.
  6. Resurrect one holiday tradition from my past. 
  7. Put out at least one holiday decoration.
  8. Buy something tacky just because its seasonal.
  9. Watch a Christmas movie.
  10. Bake Christmas cookies.
  11. Send holiday cards.
  12. Send all our Christmas presents to arrive on time.
  13. Give a gift to someone without expecting one in return.
  14. Stuff a stocking (or two).
  15. Read The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris.
  16. Attend a Holiday Party.
  17. Watch a Lifetime or Hallmark Holiday movie (counts separately from one above).
  18. Write a Christmas list of both practical and completely unreasonable wishes.
  19. Write a letter to Santa like I did as a kid.
  20. Go looking at Christmas lights and decorations. 
  21. Make puppy chow (and give most of it away).
  22. Make chocolate covered pretzels (and give most of them away too)
  23. Buy something that smells like Christmas. 
  24. Write a short story about my favorite Christmas memory. 
  25. Have all my presents bought before December 15th. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One Simple Rule for Talking to Me About Your Pregnancy

Over Thanksgiving I had like three friends who announced their (or their spouse's) pregnancy. I'm super happy for them and for the plethora of other friends who are having (or had) babies this year. I actually do love hearing about the trials and tribulations of having to squat out a watermelon that you've had sitting on your bladder for months. But there is one simple rule for anyone (coworkers, friends, neighbors, weird people standing in line at the grocery store) who wants to talk to me about your pregnancy. If you're going to tell me something intimate or gross, think twice about this rule.

If you would be embarrassed talking to me about the details about how the baby got in there, then I don't want to hear about the gross details of getting it out.

I don't want to hear the word episiotomy, horror stories about head size or anything of the sort unless you want to divulge details on the iddy diddy that got you into your predicament. I'm not your mother or even a mother, so I can gladly admit that I'm relatively stupid when it comes to pregnancy and don't want to imagine things about relative strangers.

I don't want someone talking about postpartum pooping at the water cooler or after delivery stretching in line at the grocery store (both of which are topics that relative strangers felt it necessary to educate me on).

If, however, you are one of my close friends for whom I would go or throw a baby shower for with fewer than 10 snarky comments or that I've talked about sex with or with whom I've had to use a plunger at their parents house (or in company of at the aforementioned parental visit), then all bets are off. There are no limits to which you can talk about the oddities of baby birthing to me. You are in the minority on the other side of the rule and I actually welcome your wisdom. (Although frankly may never need it for my own practice).


Monday, November 28, 2011

I Can't Believe It's Been A Year

The Office at the end of Moving Day
last year
I know that I've started a few blog entries this way, but I think this one really does warrant some reflection. A year ago today Chef and I FINALLY made it to Los Angeles and our new apartment after a week long journey by Penske truck and Sentra (with the cats) across the country. 

Can you believe we've lived here for a year already? I have a hard time looking at these pictures of a clean, uncluttered apartment and feeling like our apartment isn't the only thing bursting at the seams now--life kinda is too (in a good way). In our year in LA, we've found jobs, adjusted (or rather put up with) traffic and commuting, discovered a few new dining favorites, gotten new furniture, found doctors and a vet, traveled across country (and in my case back a few times), learned our way around (Thanks Garmin!) and, oh yeah, gotten married. 
Back when the kitchen was organized.
This year has been crazy nuts in a good way and I think I can speak for us both when we say that we're so glad that we made the leap. I miss my friends in Nashville and I being so close to my family, but I've loved the adventure we've had so far in California. I think everyone should move far away at least once in their life, but that's just me. I'm thinking maybe next time we need to move out of the country. Of course, California is a lot different and it's kind of like moving out of the country, but not quite.It's how I imagine Canada would feel. Except warmer and with some diversity.

I said it before and I'll say it again: I love LA. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Making Use of Extra Time

My babies, all lined up for my viewing
pleasure.
I've spent a good portion of my holiday time off doing what a girl should: watching football, eating, shopping and lounging. Throw in some Chef time and a plethora of old chick flicks and BAM! You've got a nice time.

You might wonder how I'm able to watch so much football with Chef around, as he's not so much of a football fan. We've worked this out. When I'm itching to watch some pigskin, I ask him "Do you want to play Skyrim (an elaborate Xbox game)?" He shrugs as I'm sure he'd rather us hang out together, but he knows this is a cue and goodnaturedly says "Sure, I could play some."

Still stuffed, but at least organized.
And because he's nice to do this, I give him the big TV and watch in the bedroom. Because I can't just sit here and watch TV (I have to multi-task),  I've been really productive. Cleaned out my closet, organized my shoes, and in the process fell back in love with some of my clothes. I've got a lot (see the picture) and because of my weight loss this last year (I've lost about 26 pounds since moving to LA) and my adapting my style a little to the laid back LA scene, there's some things I didn't love any more. Large oxfords that I used to wear over leggings and with boots, blousey shirts that have no shape, pants that are way too big.

Cheering on the Colts while
doing my hair. For no real
reason.
So what do you do when you're in between sizes? I invested in some belts to cinch in the shirts and provide some shape. I also got some form-fitting tank tops to wear underneath jackets. I subscribe (right or wrong) to the one tight, one loose school of fashion. Meaning that if my top is tight, my pants or skirt it loose and if my pants are skinny, then my shirt is looser. Mostly because I have flabby stomach and where the top and bottom meets needs to have some ability for camouflage. What's your style philosophy? I kind of wish I could just post pictures of my clothes, shoes and accessories, and then have some someone make new outfits for me. Is there a service out there like it?

Anyway, here are some pictures of my toiling. Clean(ish) closet, organized shoes and check out orange check jacket and blue sweater I got yesterday at Goodwill. (Another way to expand the wardrobe between sizes!). What's the best consignment store/Goodwill find you've ever had?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had steak instead of turkey. Drank red wine. Took a bath with pumpkin pie bubbles. Watched football and chick flicks by switching inputs. Cuddled with my husband and kitties. Ate mac and cheese, stuffing and broccoli. Will eat candy and pie and watch American Horror Story. Not too bad a day.

It started with this conversation with Chef.

Me: I want to eat cookies and drink egg nog.

Chef: do it.

Me: I feel guilty.

Chef: Don't let it being only 10:30 in the morning stop you. It's Thanksgiving!

And that's another reason why I love him.

Hope your day was just as a awesome.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Work Inappropriate Shoes (Is there such a thing?)

My booties--left side.
It's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving which means that it's basically a dead day at work. We are all joyous to have an extra long weekend and I'm ready myself to get my relaxin' on. One of the great things about Thanksgiving is the casual Wednesday. Nothing says "I'm mentally already gone" like jeans and an early release on Hump Day. And in honor of that kind of thinking, I also added in some killer shoes.

Top view
Now, I don't like playing favorites with my shoes, because it's kind of a Sophie's Choice moment, but the ones I wore today hold a special place in my heart. And even though the 4 inch spike heel is a little work inappropriate, I still decided to rock these bad boys like there was no tomorrow. And there isn't. At least no tomorrow in my office which is welcome break from the commute.

Here's my weekly goal update:

Right side

  • Pages of fiction read: 26% of a 432 page book (World War Z) and 22% of a 320 page book (Confessions of a Prairie Bitch). That's 182 pages.
  • Fiction read: World War Z by Max Brooks and Confessions of a Prairie Bitch (which is AWESOME!! Thanks, Anne)
  • Fiction listened to via audiobook: Finished The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larrson yesterday. It was unsatisfying. 
  • Five pages written: yes.
  • Calorie tracking: Check. 
  • Exercise: 150 minutes of exercise in the last week. 
  • Current 5K best (on elliptical): 23 minutes, 44 seconds (from previous week-- came close but couldn't break that this week)
  • Friends and family: Yup. Two calls and one more email.
  • Weight Loss: 0 lb.I still suck and with little Thanksgiving hope.
  • One revised section of novel per week:  Taking a new approach and actually reading what I've written thus far to fill in the gaps. So, no.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's Your "Go To" Office Greeting?

The hallways are long where I work and sometimes you get caught in that awkward situation where you and someone else are on the opposite ends and forced to make eye contact for an abnormal amount of time. It's like the world's most mundane runway show. I've noticed a few things:
  • People will look at nearly anything else to avoid making eye contact on most occasions. This is not a slight or does not mean they don't like you. Typically it means that they are on a mission that got them up from their desk (like a bathroom break, more coffee or actual work) and they would like to accomplish that mission as soon as possible. 
  • Having a TV on the wall of the hallway is a great way to give people something to look at without having to look at each other. I've caught so many glimpses of stories on my way back from the bathroom that it's ridiculous.
  • It seems a little anti-social to not give SOME sort of a greeting in the hall, so I've come to rely on a few which are demonstrated in the video below. 
    • The double gun: because sometimes one gun isn't enough.
    • The double (or single) gun and wink: if you're really special, I'll throw in that click sound for good measure.
    • The half-ass salute: I honestly don't know where or when this started making its way into my greetings, but it's there and without conscious effort, it will stay there. Anyway, isn't an acknowledgement okay without being conscious?
  • The talk and run: If for some reason, I've made eye contact, acknowledged someone and still feel the need to have a conversation, this conversation typically happens on the run. And I used to think it was just me being rude and say "How're you this morning?" while not breaking stride to stop and listen to the answer, but then I realized that people weren't breaking stride to give their answer. "Fine, thanks, and you?" would be uttered as the two of us walked in opposite directions. I was happy that I wasn't the only offender on this one.
I don't know why I do these things as I would like to think that outside the office, I wouldn't do them, right? What annoying work habits have you picked up? Do you have a "go to" greeting?

Monday, November 21, 2011

When is it Fat and When is it Empowering?

I'm doing my usual blog perusal today and the talk seems to mostly be about what people were wearing or J. Lo humping one of her dancers. Or both. And while that isn't all that unusual, what killed me is that varying reactions to Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera.

Both are bootylicious right now, but one is being heralded as a brave, sultry "Jessica Rabbit" figure and the other is a bandage-dress wearing fat drag queen. So, why is it that two women (and they're both adults) are getting such vastly different reactions for being roughly the same size? Is it because Kelly Clarkson said "fuck it" a long time ago and just admitted that her weight would go up and down so deal with it? Or is it because we got used to seeing Christina Aguilera as a skinny chick even after she was preggers? Or is it because Clarkson is nice and Aguilera is a known bitch?

I wish I had answers. Frankly, I think Aguilera looks bad in the dress. The Genie went out of her bottle a long time ago and there's no amount of Spanx or hair gel that's going to change that. She's 30. She should dress like she's 30 and not the 16 year old we all met when she first burst on to the scene. And that's okay. We like pop stars that age gracefully (note to J. Lo: That does not mean wearing booty shorts and leotards and dancing around Fiats). Also, I find the whole look wreaking of Snooki.

Who do you think looked better? Or maybe the better question in all of this isn't at all about who looked better, but who sounded better?



Or (she comes in at 2:16)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Deja Vu: Flooding Edition

Where my car would've been
parked.
It was a similar Sunday last winter in LA that we first experienced the flooding issue. And here it is another Sunday with flash flooding. The city,  for some reason, hasn't caught on to the fact that the drains that are supposed to go to ocean are just going to the street. Our poor maintenance man has done the city's job on at least two occasions and unclogged the drain. Mostly because the clogged drains hurt our run off system in the complex which means that our sidewalks INSIDE the complex are now flooded as well.

I am really glad that I didn't park on the street last night--which I would've if there had been spots. And if I would've my car would've had water up to the bumper.

So, basically it's a good day to do nothing but watch cars run through the flooding at full speed. Check it out below:


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Because I don't want things to escalate. . .

Took my usual shopping trips today and aside from spotting Gingerbread Marshmallows (which made my day and clearly came home with me), there were two incidents that pissed me off.

First, I was at Walgreens to pick my prescription refill up and was told that I couldn't take it I needed to wait. I had to wait for the pharmacist to talk to me AGAIN about the ExpressScripts scenario. REALLY!?!?! I have already heard about this and now I've got to wait 10 more minutes every time my prescriptions refilled? No thanks. I'm officially transferring my prescriptions now. Bye-Bye Walgreens.

I hit Ralph's next and had no problem, but then I went to Trader Joe's. I got my two items and headed to the two express lanes. Both had two ladies in each line, so I got behind a lady with a small rolling cart full of more than 15 items. The other line moved faster and just as the lady was going to be able to go to either line, so put her cart in the empty line and left. She went back into the store to find another item. One of the lines got empty and the cashier looked up.

Cashier: Is that your cart?

Me: No, it's some lady that went back to shop.

Cashier: Oh, well, I'm sorry. I gotta wait for her. I don't want things to escalate further.

Me: Giving pissed off look to cashier.


What the hell? I don't recall doing anything to "start" things to a point that would escalate it. Plus, what's this bullshit about being able to leave your cart in line whenever you want to dash for more shopping and I'm supposed to wait? The lady was gone a full 4 minutes before getting back to her cart. I think next time I'm at Trader Joe's, I'm just going to put an empty cart in line and then run around the store and put items in the cart until I'm at the front and it's my turn. I hope the cashier keeps my spot as to not risk escalating the situation among others.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Hero: Chef's Adventure

Chef's hand and the little
dog's snout.
You know when you get a text or voicemail that is only part of a story, and you're like "What?". That's what I got today when I got a message from Chef that read "On way to vet with a dog that was hit by a car." I read that little gem and thought "What the what?".

He sent me the picture posted and then called me back later. That's when I got the whole story. Chef was walking to the mailbox on the corner when he witnessed a car hit a small dog and then the car drove off. The dog stumbled around in traffic and finally a few cars stopped. Chef got in there and scooped up the little guy while a lady who had stopped tried to find a service to come get the dog.

They weren't able to find any and the lady (who didn't hit the dog, but just stopped) was getting hysterical, so Chef offered up our vet down the street. He took the dog there, but since neither would claim responsibility financially and the dog wasn't in iminent danger of dying, the vet just offered up a list of places that would take the dog. Apparently it had a chip, but the owners hadn't registered it so that wasn't helpful.

The place that could take the dog was going to close in 30 minutes and was a ways away. The lady had already told Chef about her busy day and was complaining, so he offered to walk back to our place so the lady had no excuses.

So for the sake of a dog's health, my husband did what others didn't. He stopped and helped and then walked about 2 miles back so that the dog could get help. I love that about Chef. It's one of many reasons that I married him. He often does what others won't and he's very caring--be it people or animals. He's planning on making a flyer so that any owner knows that the dog is now at a place about 10 miles away.

I'm a lucky girl. That was a lucky dog.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Blame my Lack of Goals on my Time in Traffic


What I was doing about
a year ago.

I don't know if it's the change from Daylight Saving Time or what, but traffic has been nuts the last two weeks. I've been averaging about 90 minutes for the trip home when it would typically take me 60 to 65. It's driving me insane. And the nearly 3 hour drive last Thursday about put me over the edge and at least had me considering drastic changes.

Until then, I'll just use the commute to have something to raise my fist up to the heavens and an excuse for my lack of productivity.
  • Pages of fiction read: 20% of a 432 page book (World War Z) So, that's technically 87 pages. 
  • Fiction read: World War Z by Max Brooks. I might be over zombies. Or just need a break.
  • Fiction listened to via audiobook: 13 hours into The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larrson. 
  • Five pages written: Nope. 
  • Calorie tracking: Check. Could still do better but at least I'm being honest on my calorie intake. 
  • Exercise: 221 minutes of exercise in the last week. 
  • Current 5K best (on elliptical): 23 minutes, 44 seconds
  • Friends and family: Yup. Two calls and one more email.
  • Weight Loss: 0 lb.I suck.
  • One revised section of novel per week:  Check! Still working it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cats and Advertising: Dueling Videos

Thank you to The Bloggess for posting the john st video which made me cry with laughter and immediately want to shoot some cat videos. It's not as a easy as it looks.



In the comments for this video, there was a link to this video. Also about cats and films. Also funny.



Which is funnier? You decide.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Breaking Dawn Dilemma

I also spontaneously break
out in songs about what I'm
doing at the moment. 
Fine. I'll begrudgingly admit that I have seen and read all the Twilight series iterations. I read them all and they were pretty bad. The story was fairly interesting, but the details and the characters bugged the shit out of me. Mostly it is Bella. The whiny, "I'm not good enough for Edward" routine is pretty tired. Could we not have a heroine that had some balls? Perhaps that explains my preference for The Hunger Games series. I hope the movies don't suck.

But I digress. For some reason, lately I've been enjoying watching Twilight. Fx has been playing it and I've got it on the bedroom DVR. I start it out before I doze off and enjoy it. Mostly the cheesy puppy love stuff. I don't know if I'm more romantic or less as I've gotten older, but I enjoy a good doze of cheesiness now more than I did before.  And now you know my secret shame. Not so secret any more.

Chef volunteered to go see Breaking Dawn with me. I'm debating whether or not to take him up on the offer. People here are going nuts for the movie. There's a whole camping area outside of the venue of the premiere. Yesterday morning I saw a news piece where the reporter interviewed two people who had come from Florida to camp out for nearly a week to get a glimpse of Robert Patinson and Kristen Stewart as they walk the red carpet. That seems like a drastic measure.

Anyway, how much would I owe Chef if I make him endure Breaking Dawn in the theaters? What's the proper amount of payback for a movie like that? I like to know what I'm going to owe going in.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"My I Don't Have to Run-Day"

Mila hanging out before falling asleep.
Sundays are pretty awesome in general, but I have a feeling that this one is going to be super awesome--borderline double awesome. Here are some brief notes and some pictures to explain why this Sunday will rock:

  • Had my best elliptical 5K time ever at 23 minutes, 44 seconds. Not too shabby.
  • I'm an optimist, and while I'm in the bedroom watching football on mute (Bills vs. Cowboys and Falcons vs. Saints), I'm also listening to the Colts game. I think this might be the Colts week. (Chef is in the living room playing Skyrim).
  • After the game is over, Chef and I will begin our Harry Potter extravaganza. All 8 movies are lined up and ready to go. We've got Carne Asada cooking in the crock pot and a plethora of candy waiting for us to consume in a Potter-craze.
  • Genghis before leaving to hang
    with Chef.
  • Being in the bedroom means that I get to hang out on the bed with some cats. Genghis even makes an appearance every once in a while before scurrying back to Chef.
Just was I was finishing up this list, Chef yelled to me "I guess you're having to listen to the game? It's not on?". "No, it's not on, but I'm listening to it and watching two others." He waited a beat and then said "Not too shabby a life, is it?"

That's it indeed. It's a great life.

Candy (from left to right): White chocolate macadamia cookies, candy corn, chewy Sweet Tarts, Cherry Twizzler Nibs,
Grape Nerds. (not pictured: skinny cow chocolate clusters, chocolate chunk cookies and sugar cookies with icing)
Pretzel M & Ms
Carne Asada filling the apartment with the savory smell of deliciousness.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LA Shopping: Bra Hunt Edition

The street outside the mall
I have to admit that there were several times this past week when I was wondering why the hell I live so far away from my work. Mainly on Thursday night when for no apparent reason (other than it was a holiday the next day) traffic was out of control. And by out of control, I mean that a trip that takes about 48 minutes without traffic took me 2 hours and 54 minutes door to door (with a bathroom break and a fill up along the way). Those are nights that suck.

Today's bounty
But then I go out today to make sure that I'm taking advantage of living in the city that it takes me so long to get to on weeknights. I decided to test it by going bra-shopping. During my time in Nashville, I never found a place that I could easily buy bras (remember the last time?). It's a fairly big city, but even so I had the same problems that I had in Evansville. Not a lot of selection and the people fitting me were all giving me different sizes.

So, today I went to a place that was listed in an article in the LA Times highlighting specialty bra-fitting. Typically, I go in, get measured, and then the salesperson brings a bunch of bras. None look good and they discover that my boobs are bigger than they thought and have to bring me some things that look like ACE bandage wrapped around chicken wire and feels about as nice. I typically am lucky to find ONE bra that fits and they never have any additional colors or matching anything.

The exasperation in hour
two of my Thursday
commute.
Today's experience was the same, but completely different. Instead of measuring me, she made me take a questionaire about why I was in, my bra needs, etc. Then we looked at my current fit and then she brought in some bras for me to try on. The first round didn't fit. She had me in the second one before saying "Wow. You're bigger than I thought." I just looked at her and said "I get that a lot."

She came back with another armload in various colors and styles. The difference was that they all fit. I had to actually narrow down the choices to find the right ones. It was amazing! I left with three bras and a new love. The fitting specialist put me in the system so that what I bought and my size are now available at the store. "If you want to just call me on your way in, I can pull some styles and sizes for you and have them waiting next time." HELLO?!?! That is amazing.

The place is called {intimacy} and is a chain, but not widely available. If you're hard or even easy to fit, but want a good bra experience, check them out. I know I'll be going back. Not only that, it is at one of three malls that are within 10 minutes of my house. If you want to spend money in LA, there are plenty of places that will take it from you.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Trying to Challenge Myself. . .Still

Happiness is an empty gym at 5 a.m.
I'm getting complacent in my exercise so I started challenging myself to do a 5K on the elliptical every morning before work.I also try and beat my time from the day before. I'll keep a best record here because, well, I can and I have no where else to put it.
  • Pages of fiction read: 23% of a 432 page book (World War Z) So, that's technically 99.63 pages, but I'm rounding up to 100 for my goal's sake. 
  • Fiction read: World War Z by Max Brooks. Pretty good so far.
  • Fiction listened to via audiobook: Eight hours into The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larrson. 
  • Five pages written: Yup.Yay me!
  • Calorie tracking: Check. Ate very well, but not very healthily. But got better since I've been back. 
  • Exercise: 144 minutes of exercise in the last week. Not so hot.
  • Current 5K best (on elliptical): 31 minutes, 32 seconds
  • Friends and family: Yup. Called two friends and returned another call. 
  • Weight Loss: 0 lb. I'm determined to change that this week. 
  • One revised section of novel per week:  Check! Revise. revise. Revise. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My Take On Southern Race Relations

I love that there's a magazine named
"Garden & Gun" that comes
out of the South. 
I've had some time to digest my trip back to the south after being in the West for almost a year now (can you believe it??). And there's something I noticed a lot this trip that I hadn't noticed before: in the South, there are only two races-black and white. And one major religion: Christian.

I wouldn't say that I'm naive, but having been exposed to this the majority of my life, it causes me to not think about things fully. I'm not going to say I'm ignorant because I don't think I am. I'm just forgetful. For example, Yom Kippur wasn't even on my radar this year. Didn't think about it because I've never had to think about it before. Clearly there are all types of people, races, ethnicities and religions here in LA. I'd never really been in a place in the US where all the signs were written in Korean. It feels odd, but kinda nice to be next to that much diversity.

And going back to the south, there were things that I missed there too about being in a two-race town, so to speak. I like being called "child" by strong black women. I don't know why, but I find it reassuring. It feels like a verbal hug. I like that there are multiple options for fast food chicken, including a gas station. I feel guilty when I see an older black man in a service uniform like a bell hop or a waiter in a white coat. I love being called "ma'am" by people much older than I am because it's a courtesy and not a slight. It feels nice to be able to get a decent biscuit nearly anywhere I went. I like that butter is treated as a nearly religious condiment--almost the accoutrement to the wafers or wine.

I feel like race relations get so much attention in the South for a variety of reasons: history, of course, but also it was one of the few places that only two races or ethnicities really interacted. I feel like when there are a multitude of people who are "different", then everyone is different. When there are only two, one's getting the short end of the stick.

But maybe that's just me.

Monday, November 07, 2011

It's Time for A Style Update

Not a perfect dress, but I
love the color and
the matching coat behind it.
As I was walking around Charleston and surrounded by librarians, I came to the realization that my style needs an update. At the very least some new pieces to add. What prompted this?

It was evident that walking around Charleston I felt pretty up to date, but also a little formal. And formality certainly fits in in the South, the East and the Midwest. It is a little out of place, however, in LA. I remember how I resisted changing my style in the past. When I went from a support position to a manager's position, I was loathe to buy suits and proper "work" wardrobe. But when I did, I was taken more seriously. When I moved to the south, I hesitated on adding some girly touches to my attire, the pearls, scarves, etc. But then again, when I did, I fit in more.

So, I think it's time to stop bucking the style and update what I'm wearing to more readily match Southern California. It's pretty easy to understand: people like hanging out with people who seem like them. And wardrobe is the quickest way to make that connection--even quicker than race or ethnicity.

So, I think I wanna get a little more feminine and a little more vintage-y. I LOVE Zooey Deschanel's clothes (for the most part) and she's cute as a button on New Girl. I've found a few web sites that have this kind of clothing (shopruche.com, style.ly, modcloth, Anthropologie, etc). Now I want to lose a few more pounds to feel secure in sizing fitting me properly and I'm going to use that as a goal.

Got any fun fashion ideas or web sites for me?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again (and by Saddle I mean my own home)

The Visitor's Center in Charleston
across from my Hotel.
I had a few short hours in Charleston yesterday morning before I was hopping back on planes (yes, multiple) to get back home. Even with the gain of three hours on the trip back, I still didn't get home until about 7 p.m. And I was happy to be back.

Cute shopping on King Street.
Hung out with Chef and watched the end of the Alabama-LSU game. Sad to see Alabama crumble in overtime after a pretty damn strong game. But then I'm used to watching my teams much earlier than overtime this year. Ended up going to bed at about 10 p.m. but I had already turned my clocks back so it looked like I was going to bed at 9. Which made me feel old.

The back and forth between Eastern and Pacific time zones finally took its toll on my sleep. I work up at 4 a.m. and had trouble getting back to sleep, so I threw on Twilight from the DVR (yes, it's my go to movie for sleep). I ended up watching the whole thing and an episode of Law & Order before I drifted back to sleep.

Khubla doesn't think this game is
very interesting. But I do.
Got up this morning and was a little pissed. It was raining and chilly in LA. HELLO?!?! I just left cold and dreary and was very much looking forward to returning back to my 72 degrees and sunny. Chef reminded me this morning that it's the LA winter. Patchy rain for weeks. Oh well. I guess it's time to bust out my cute "winter" clothes.

And now I'm blogging while listening to the Colts game. As you can see from the picture, Khubla has lost interest in the game and cheering on the Colts. He's a typical bandwagon hopper, and he's hopping off. But not me. I'm in it through the joys and pain. And this season is my penance for years of success.
At least there's chili simmering on the stove to console me.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Charleston Love

Can you hear me over
this shirt?
I adore this place. It is super cute, has great shopping and a plethora of local restaurants. What's not to love?

I was up super early for a 7 am breakfast meeting, hit the conference at 8, had 9:30 and noon meetings and then about collapsed. But instead of collapsing, I went to the local AHA office and dropped in on a former business friend who got a job at the AHA in Charleston. It was fun to surprise her. I then spent my lunch hour wandering around downtown. There's something very cool about shopping in local boutiques. The neat thing was seeing a lot of cute stuff. Sadly living in LA now means that I actually have access to a lot of those brands.

I did fall in love twice but both were winter coats. I don't know if it was a subconscious nod to being cold or if I really liked them. Either way, I have a winter coat that I never took out of the closet last year so I'm not investing in another one until absolutely necessary. I also saw the ugliest shirt in existence which is pictured.

Hit the same place for dinner tonight that i went to on Wednesday. I probably should've hung out with coworkers but I've been sneezing for the last three hours so I'm afraid I'm either getting sick or having a fall In the south allergy attack (which I did not miss).

And now my hotel Internet isn't working so I'm relegated to blogging on my phone and watching football on a fuzzy ESPN. The only channel I want to watch is the one with snow. Oh well! Back in LA tomorrow!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Day Two: Charleston

The intersection that my hotel is near.
I walked about a mile in heels, which to me should count for double the calories, right? I think so. Today was my first day of the conference. It was actually fairly interesting and one of the great benefits was that I had some breaks in between sessions to get some work done. My hotel was about three  blocks away from the conference site, so I could easily run back and forth. It makes me feel so much less overwhelmed if I'm able to clean out the inbox of stuff and get a few easy things done while I'm away.

The decal that caught my eye.
As I was walking back and forth, I noticed a red dress. It was daylight and the sticker caught my eye. It was a Go Red For Women decal from my AHA days. I didn't pay much attention to the building, but moved along. Going back tonight I noticed that the building had the AHA office in it. And I was reminded that a friend from Murfreesboro is now the AHA Communications Director for the Charleston office (I gave her a recommendation which I hope didn't hurt her in getting the job). I might pop my head in tomorrow to see if she's in. Memories.

I had a nice day. Learned a lot and had some good food. Not too shabby. This place is super cute. I may have to come back again without a work excuse!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Day One: Charleston

Coast Restaurant
--very French Quarter feel,
except less smelly
I'm travelling to Charleston, SC for work and although I've only been here a few hours, I have to say the place is pretty darn cute. And there are a plethora of little local restaurants and shops within walking distance of my hotel. If I can successfully navigate a business trip so that I don't have to drive once while being there, it's a good thing. 


Hit a restaurant called Coast tonight that was just a block down the way. Seafood which is awesome. I had a lobster and crab gratin with blue cheese mashed potatoes and green beans (pictured). They helped make up for the calorie gap since I ate two Fiber One bars while travelling today. Calorie gap and belly successfully filled. Delicious. If I didn't already have dinner plans, I'd probably go back tomorrow night. YUM!!


 Hopefully I'll have a few more pictures to post tomorrow after the conference, but in the mean time, here's my weekly update:
Lobster and Crab gratin.
Was much better than it looks.
Bad lighting.
  • Pages of fiction read: 33% of a 432 page book (World War Z) So, that's technically 143 pages. 
  • Fiction read: World War Z by Max Brooks. Pretty good so far.
  • Fiction listened to via audiobook: Six hours into The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larrson. Maybe I can do via audio what I couldn't do reading--finish it!
  • Five pages written: Yup. Had 6 on the plane trip alone last week.
  • Calorie tracking: Check.Crappy road, world series eating.
  • Exercise: 225 minutes of exercise in the last week. 
  • Friends and family: Yup. Called a friend to chat and tell her that I was missing her lots!
  • Weight Loss:0 lb
  • One revised section of novel per week:  Check! Have bridged the beginning to what I've previously written, so now it's just revise, revise, revise.I will get a rough draft done by my Birthday. I keep chanting that.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

On The Road Again

I will definitely miss the palm trees and beautiful sunsets as I head from LA once again to Charleston, SC. I'm actually excited because there seems to be no snow in the forecast for Charleston which puts it a leg up on DC last week.

Off again, racking up some frequent flier miles so hopefully I can use them for a trip home. I'm missing my friends and family a lot the last couple of weeks and am mildly rejuvenated by the potential to have authentic southern cuisine this week. I saw grits on the menu and it nearly brought a tear to my eye. Add a few "y'alls" in there and I'm sure I'm gonna be a goner.

But for every minute of missing things, there are two of new experiences and discovery. I'll look to my left on the ride home and see a beautiful sunset backing the palm trees and have a peaceful moment in the middle of rush hour traffic. Not too shabby.

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