Sunday, December 29, 2013

To the New Year- What, What

Every year I like to think that things will be different than the prior year. That this year will be my year. Often, I get disappointed. Then again, I have to remind myself that things can only change if I do things differently. A simple feeling that 2014 will be an awesome year for me isn't enough. I must put actions into place that will make the difference. In other words, I need a game plan and I need to follow it. So in 2014 what do I want to happen? Whats my game plan?
  • Publish my novel- I have two novels I completed and  I want to start with one and get it out there as an ebook (for now). I have my publishing/editing/marketing plan already written out. I have the money saved. I will start with sending my work to an editing group I found in January. I will have my book epublished in 2014 then paperback
  • Run a 5k straight through- I am always close but no cigar. Right now I had to take a break because my knee joints are killing me but if I-
  • Lose 10-15 pounds- perhaps the lighter weight will make it easier on my joints when I jog. I will reduce my calorie intake and increase my weight usage to get toned up and speed up my metabolism
  • Move- I already put my notice in. I've been in my apartment for almost three years. Not to fond of it any more. Ready to move on. Maybe even to getting my first property. I have an agent in mind and I set a date for when I will make the decision to buy or just move on to another rental. Of course this is all affected by the fact that I also must-
  • Get a new car- my old reliable, barely over 6 years old keeps costing me money. My latest estimate for repairs is 1400. *insert curse word* I've already had to pay $1000 in repairs and $500 when my car was broken in to this year alone and now to end off the year folks want more! I've known people who have had cars for 10-20 years and I can't believe they are paying this kind of money back to back. So far I am underwhelmed with Nissans so I'll be looking for a new make of car for 2014.
  • Travel- I can't go a year without traveling even if it's local. I already have my Jamaica trip set now I am trying to decide between Essence Music Festival or Caribana but as I have just said above, traveling more maybe an extra goal because getting a car, moving and publishing my book are first but if there is any cash left, I'm going somewhere else in 2014 even if its another road trip to NYC.

Monday, December 23, 2013

My Year in Pictures

Well the good, fun part of my year in pictures. This has actually been a less than stellar year for me but I am trying not to focus on that and instead present a recap of the fun things I did this year. Here we go, in no order at all (#lazygal):
I went to Brussels!

 and Amsterdam

 I finally saw the Cherry Blossoms
 Got some new glasses cause my vision is trying to act out

Hung out with my closest pals for my bday

Joined Instagram and have become a selfie addict

Rung in the new year with my gals

 went to Miami

 with my sissy!

 got furloughed (yeah this isn't so good but we got our money back so in the end it was a nice time off)
 cooked and baked a lot (gingerbread iced cookies)

 finally got to dress as Lt. Uhura for Halloween

Met new friends this year and am having a blast out in DC

 Saw Jesse Jackson speak

hung out with pals for my sissy's bday

went to NYC (again, love it)

made a great seafood pasta

 and candied pecans

 and fried scallops and spinach

 out for a thanksgiving party feeling fabulous.
 
I had some bad times this year but 2013 wasn't too bad. Nice to have some memories in pictures!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tis the Season...Dang it!

Not sure why but this gal is not as in the Christmas spirit as she usually is (perhaps its because I am talking about myself in the third person- let's stop that). I have some suspicions regarding why I am feeling more Grinch than Whovian but I will fight it and get myself together. I have only a few days and I will think of the things that put me in the sprit so I have a list (yes, another list). Follow me now:
  1. Fruitcake- yes most folk don't care for this dessert but I actually really love it. I haven't had any this year  so perhaps this is why my spirit hasn't hit yet
  2. Christmas lights- they set a special mood for me and I'm like a kid again
  3. Baking- nuff said, let me add- and eating what I bake
  4. Giving- Around Christmas I am like the Godfather on the day of his daughter's wedding and will pretty much say yes to anything you ask for (within reason) with regard to a charity. So if someone is asking for money to help those in need, I'm like okay! I have given to St. Judes so many times this past month that I lost count
  5. Getting sparkly- I love all the holiday parties and gatherings with friends. And I love getting fancied up (yes I made it into a verb) to get out and about, sip cute drinks and take an annoying amount of selfies
  6. Going to the movies- every year I go see a movie on Christmas day with some of my family. I so want to see the new Hobbit movie but I can't trick anyone into going with me this year like I did in previous years with the Lord of the Rings movies. Le sigh
  7. Christmas music- It just gives me the warm and fuzzies all over. Especially Donny Hathaway's This Christmas and Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas
  8. Mac and Cheese- (the baked kind) yes I know I can eat it any time but my mom only makes it during the holiday and that's the best kind, period. She has told me that she will not be making it this Christmas because she made it for Thanksgiving. The sadness of it all.
  9. Snow-  I love it. As long as I don't have to drive in it. Then I hate it.
  10. Gifts- No list would be right without it. Now that I am an adult I am not as huge on receiving gifts (let me clarify- I want gifts but I'm not picky on what it is, just something thoughtful). I no longer have a Christmas list. What I do like now, and have always liked really ever since I would go shopping to Rite Aid as a 10 year old to get my parents their gifts with my little piece of allowance, is shopping for others. I love getting family, friends and charity gifts. I really just love shopping- for myself, for others. In another life I could be a personal shopper/stylist.
Okay good people. I hope you're in the Christmas spirit and I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tis the season for holiday movies

So when it comes to the Christmas spirit outside of the all important religious story/message, the holiday lights (oh how I love me some Christmas lights), the warm drinks and food, songs and of course presents what else does a gal like to do to put her in the holiday spirit? Watch holiday movies of course! I love em even the corny Hallmark/Lifetime/ABCfamily ones. I also love the cartoons, especially the old stop motion ones. Here is my list of m favorite holiday movies/cartoons that I must watch each and every Christmas to put me in the spirit:
  • Love Actually- Although it seems move like a Valentine movie, it is set around Christmas. I found the intertwining love stories realistic and touching. And a gal loves a British accent. It's also fun seeing some of the stars in it before they made it big (check out dudes from Walking Dead and Twelve years a Slave)
  • The Grinch Who Stole Christmas- the cartoon, not the movie, sorry, I love Dr. Seuss and I love the message it gives- it's not about the decorations and presents, it's about being together and celebrating the bigger message.
  • Scrooged- I could watch a Christmas Carol told in 10, 000 different ways but somehow this version always entertains me the most. Bill Murray is a hoot and the future ghost is the scariest one I've ever seen which feeds my horror fan need.
  • Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer/Santa Claus is Coming to Town/The Year Without a Santa Claus- Pretty much any stop motion cartoon (except Nestor the Christmas donkey- that was just unnecessary)
  • Scrooge- I am referring to the 1970s musical version. This is one of my fav songs from the movie.  Granted they are singing this in the future version at Scrooge's death while they dance and sing on his coffin but the song is too catchy!

Monday, December 9, 2013

So not Top 40

Inspired by deep honey's blog post I decided to do a list of my own of songs that I really like (not just out this year) that you just don't hear on your top 40 radios. Hey, alternative, neo soul and so forth need love too!
  1. K-OS- He's one of those rap artist/singers that you've heard in the background of commercials and tv shows/movies but didn't know who it was. Some of my favs from him are Crabbuckit, Sunday Morning, Man I Used to Be
  2. Lykki Li- It's hard to describe her music, it can be random. Sometimes Pop, RnBish. Some of my favorites are,  I Follow Rivers, Little Bit (with Drake), Get Some
  3. The Heavy- How You Like Me Now- You have heard this song everywhere except the radio. Why? This song is awesome! Feel like doing a James Brown dance to this...but I won't.
  4. Santigold- This girl right chere, she is crazy and by crazy I mean good. Alternative pop artist. Love it! My favs- L.e.s ArtistesLights Out, Go
  5. Goldfrapp- Best way to describe her- alternative, pop, dance and another artist you hear in commercials- favs-O0h La La, Strict Machine
  6. Frou Frou- cool breezy, alternative/adult contemporary type- my favs- Breathe In, Let Go
  7. Noisettes- Rock/Pop, usually upbeat and fast- Favs- Don't Upset the Rhythm, Sister Rosetta
  8. Ray Lamontange- Soulful/Folk, old school- Best Thing and Trouble
  9. VV Brown- Pop/RnB sound with a little retro to it. Favs- Shark in the Water, L.O.V.E
  10. ZZ Ward- RnB/Pop- Put the Gun Down, Till the Casket Drops
I think I have a pattern in that I am appreciating foreign artist more (especially British and the old school/retro sound). I think I am rebelling against the factory sound coming out of America lately. Radio, artists and record companies are too afraid to take chances. I was excited to finally hear Fitz and the Tantrums out now (although my fav is Moneygrabber) get some attention, maybe a change will happen. Till then, main radio- ZZZ

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Song for the Furloughed: Part Two

Le sigh, so I really was hoping I wouldn't have to do a part two to this post because, uh, I don't know, I thought Congress would have gotten itself together by now. Crazy me. So here I go again with some more songs that I believe really speak to my situation (outside of Good Times the verse "temporary layoffs" never rang so true):

 
Hometown Glory- a lesser known Adele song but it always feels like a song about home (which in my case is the DMV area) regarding the good and the bad of it all.

Scream- Michael and Janet Jackson- because, yes, this whole thing kinda makes me want to scream

Power- Kanye West- I just really thing that Congress has too much power and because they are subject to the same rules as other government workers they make decisions without really being concerned with the outcomes.

Change- by Joy Denalane w/ Lupe Fiasco- this is a lesser known artist but I think this song is spot on. After this event, we have to really start changing the way we vote and hold our politicians accountable.

Just Fine (remix cause I likes old school) by Mary J. Blige- because I think we need to stay positive in all this and know that we will make it through. Knowing that we will be getting back pay helps with keeping spirits up.
 


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Random things that really piss a girl off

I'm pissed and mind you my problem is strictly a girl problem but it's a problem none the less. Which made me decide to do, yes another, list of things that are girl issues that piss us off. Let's start with what led me to write this post:
  1. Hair color not taking- Here you go all excited about making a change and going all Beyoncé or something on your hair. You put the color in imagining you in a dance video shaking your now bright color or mysterious dark color all around. You wash your hair, get a little squinty eyed cause you can't quite see a difference, then blow dry it and...nothing. Not a darn change at tall! This happened to me. I call myself coloring my hair lightest brown and it didn't do a dang nabbit thang. Not a hint of change. How long I gotta wait to try again? *crosses arms angrily*
  2. Working out hard and not losing a thang- All a guy has to do is think about losing weight and he's ten pounds lighter. I have to run a marathon and yet still my weight won't change. I have to eat twigs and berries to lose it all but after running all day who wants that? Grumble grumble.
  3. Rom Coms- Yes romantic comedies are made for women but don't you just get pissed off when you realize at some point in the movie, perhaps the scene where he professes his undying love to her, in the rain or something, that this crap ain't real? What guy talks like that? This script was written by a woman. Then of course this happened in real life. Who was that guy? Where are others like him?
  4. Bloating- So not only do we have to deal with cramps, inconvenient aunt flo and irritability once a month but I have to tear through my closet and find clothes that don't give me a muffin top because I'm retaining so much water I look like I'm pregnant. I'm already trying to lose weight then I have to put on a mui mui to get comfortable! I have been late or missed a good time because I can't close my jeans over my bloated belly. I can't take it!
  5. A good sale but not my size- So you are at a fabulous shoe or clothing sale and you see the item you want. You again are envisioning yourself looking like a star working the red carpet when much to your displeasure you can't find your size. Why is everyone your SIZE!? You try to squeeze into the smaller size or get in the larger size but it's not the same. Bubble bursted.
  6. Making a dish- and then it turns out like crap. I mean I was all set to do my Julia Childs thing and working the kitchen like I'm on the food network. I bite into the dish and...akkk who the heck is going to eat this? My cat ran knocked the bowl over when I tried to feed it to her. Maybe I'll just freeze it and let it get freezer burn. Well guess my dinner gonna turn into popeyes chicken n biscuits!
I got more but let's just leave it here. Gotta go get that popeyes and hair dye!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Songs for the furloughed

So in more tales from a furloughed gal as I have been on my exercise everyday (well at least six times a week) till we get back to work (and then I will still exercise...just not as much) I listen to a lot of music as I go jogging/walking. This lead to me think of some songs that really spoke to me about the situation I found myself in. Here are some from my own music collection that spoke to me. I'm sure there are many ones you can think of but here is something to start ya off:

  • Aloe Blacc- I Need a Dollar- Because if they don't end this foolishness soon I'm sure many of us will be.
 
 
  • Michael Jackson- Smooth Criminal- Because that's how I feel about our Congress right now.
  •  
  • Common- The People- Because despite this all we will make it out and to remind Congress that they need to remember us
  •  
  • Jay Z, Rhianna, Kanye West- Run This Town- just feels militant and protesty
  •  
  • Fugees- Ready or Not- Because I want to find these Congressman and make them...pay me! darnit
  •  
That's just five for now but I have more, stay tuned. But please share your furlough playlist if you have one!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Things you can get on discount for being furloughed

In more Tales From a Furloughed Girl, I woke up this morning early as I normally do to watch the news before going to work (dumb alarm, I didn't cut you off) and before sad realization hit me I caught a segment showing a link to all things discounted for furloughed workers. Also on facebook caught a posting where a fitness center was offering a free workout class to furlough workers  today. This got me thinking, what exactly are they offering to us temporarily laid off due to Congress' hillbilly foolishness. I thought this as I was getting ready to go jogging. But decided to delay that because I'd much rather write this blog. At first I was bothered by the idea of going jogging on a weekday after 8am. Would passerbyers be thinking, okay this girl isn't retired, how does she have time to go jogging at 10am? Is she unemployed? Oh for shame! But then I thought, heck I'm in good company, screw what they think, maybe they'll feel sorry for me because they'll think I'm one of the furloughed, aka the unchosen ones. Which lead my self diagnosed ADD mind back to why I wrote this post in the first place, ah yes, free/discounted stuff for the unchosen ones:

If you live in the DC area like me, there are loads of government workers so imagine all the places getting hit because we are shut down. Gyms located in or near federal buildings, lunch cafes, transportation services...

Here's some stuff I found that are giving us a break for being furloughed (disclaimer some may no longer be in effect so check before going and causing a scene). Yeah,  a lot of this is gimmicy and them trying to make a quick buck but I'll take what I can and if I get cabin fever it's nice to know there are some affordable spots to hit up:

  • M.A.D. Fitness 30 minute free workout from 9-11am today across from Takoma Station  and 10% discount a La Mano Coffee Bar if you attend
  • Mockingbird Hill is offering a free glass of sherry to federal employees who show their ID as long as the shutdown lasts.
  • Pork Barrel BBQ is offering all government employees -- well, except members of Congress -- a free pulled pork sandwich each day of the shutdown. You must have a government ID.
  • Furloughed federal government and D.C. government workers can get a free burger at Z-Burger locations in Arlington, Columbia Heights, Southwest and Tenleytown. The burgers will be offered every day of the shutdown from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and from 5 until 7 p.m. You must show your government ID.
  • Balance Gym is offering free access to those with valid government IDs during the hours of 1 to 4 p.m. at all three locations
  • Go Ape is offering 50% off to Federal Employees!
  • Nusta Spa is offering 30% off all services to anyone who shows a federal ID from now until the government reopens!
  • Cork Wine Bar: Happy Hour Pricing on Wine -- All Day All Night until the Hill kids start acting like grownups and end this Insanity
  • Wisdom is doing 20% off as well if you show your badge
  • Local a cappella group The Capital Hearings are offering FREE ADMISSION to their concert this Saturday The Capital Hearings: OPENING STATEMENT for furloughed Feds! www.thecapitalhearings.com
  • Sugar Mama's Ice Cream in Fairfax is offering 20% off for furloughed federal workers that show their ID. www.sugarmamasicecram.com
  • Chef Jose Andres is offering free sandwiches for federal workers at his Jaleo restaurants in Chinatown, Crystal City and Bethesda. Andres will also offer sandwiches at his other Chinatown restaurants, Oyamel and Zaytinya.
  • DuPont Circle's Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe is extending its happy hour prices ($5 beers, rail drinks and house wines) until closing. Members of Congress pay double
  • The Phillips Collection will open as usual and waive its admission fee for the remainder of the week.
  • Cupcake Blvd. in Anne Arundel County is offering a free cupcake to federal employees that show their ID between 1 and 3 p.m. for the rest of the
  • Fibre Space in Alexandria will offer free knitting classes, which usually cost $75, between 1 and 5 p.m. for furloughed workers with a government employee ID. You can bring your own needles and yarn or purchase them there.
  • South American steakhouse Del Campo is offering happy hour prices for the duration of the shutdown, all day long, with a government ID.
  • Koons in Silver Spring- free oil change, inspection and tire rotation
  • Signature Theater- tickets to see Miss Saigon
  • DC Coast all day happy hour
  • District Commons all day happy hour
  • Urbanas has extended happy hour
  • Flying dog- free brewery tour and tastings (certain day and time)
  • Kangaroo Boxing Club- $3 screw driver
  •  Art and Soul- drink on the house at art and soul
  • Vendetta- free glass of proseco
  • Menchies frozen yogurt- 20% off and unlimited toppings
  • Original Pancake house (in Bethesda) 15% off
  • Zatinya, Jaleo, Oyamel- free sandwich from 3-5
  • there were also tons of free coffee offerings but I don't like coffee so I bypassed them but see links below for info.

    Links I got my info. from with even more shut down offers. Seriously there were so many I got tired so see more here:  http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/10/government-shutdown-2013-local-businesses-ease-furlough-pain-with-free-stuff-94710.html#ixzz2gZCUr1sW
    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Businesses-Offer-Freebies-to-Furloughed-Federal-Workers-225942371.html , www.washingtonpost.com, www.bizjournals.com, www.washingtoncitypaper.com
Okay off to go running...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Things I can and can't do while being furloughed

So I've been furloughed. You folks in Congress, revenge is mine come next voting season. It's on and poppin. Bammas.
So now that I'm forced on unpaid vacation what can I not do that I was planning to do and what can I do (or read: should be doing) with this "free time".

Let's start with the can't:

  1. Can't start buying my new work wardrobe based on what Olivia Pope wears on Scandal- seriously I was going to have my pen and paper ready to write down the outfits she wears and look for affordable versions as I work my wardrobe way to the top. Scratch that!
  2. Celebrate my birthday diva style- had to cancel my plans (cause a sista celebrates her birthday over a few days, that's how I do) because who knows how long this foolishness will last. I get heartburn every time a work hour passes and I think how much money I just lost
  3. Get my gel manicure and deluxe pedi- and a girl NEEDS one (first world problems, I know). My boss suggested I start wearing closed toed shoes. Should I be offended?
  4. Get my color and blowout at the salon- at 100 plus I just can't justify this if I'll be without a job for a long time (let us pray that it doesn't last long). Guess I'll be coloring my hair curtsy of Miss Clairol
  5. No random happy hours after a long workday- since I won't be having any long workdays (in fact we were told if we attempted to work we'd be disciplined) no drinks for me at my U St spots (on the plus, didn't need the calories anyway)
  6. No eating out as much...or at all- There goes my bday brunch plans and dinner plans, le sigh. On the plus I've been aiming to cook more so this will force me to while hopefully allowing me to eat healthier and thus lose weight. PS, some places were giving discounts to gov't workers. I wore my badge to Panera Bread today as a last treat but I got no discount...
  7. Visit my family, they live an hour a way so unless they come in a caravan to see me, I need to reserve my gas. I said my goodbyes today until we meet again. My sister, who is also a gov't worker told me she would not be coming to see me either and gave me an extra hug. Kind of felt like Celey and her sister in The Color Purple.
  8. Take advantage of those many emails I get for discount to Vegas hotels. Oh who am I kidding I wasn't going to anyway.
Things I can do:
  1. Work out...everyday, what else do I have to do.
  2. Work on putting together my self publishing plan...which I'll have to defer since well, I gots to conserve.
  3. Catch up on Dexter and Homeland series which folks were talking about while I can still afford Showtime.
  4. Do my own dang nails and toes so I don't have to wear mittens and closed toed shoes in this 80 degree weather.
  5. Visit free museums with the left over money on my smart card on the metro- oh snap, no I can't museums will be closed. Guess I'll get my cooking on.
  6. Volunteer to places with in walking distance cause a girls got to conserve her gas.
  7. Find a temp job if times get rough in tough like leather. Trying my best not to have to say "welcome to mcdonalds may I help you" or twerk on a pole anywhere as one of my coworkers joked. Seriously, this girl ain't twerky no wheres.
  8. Read! I gots lots o books and am in walking distance from the library where books are free!
  9. Go to free bar trivia nights since I don't have to work the next day, I can hang late. I'll just have a soda and make some friends who'll feel sorry for me.
  10. Continue my improve classes, heck I already paid for them.
In the end, I just have to pray that this forced unpaid vacation will end sooner rather than later. I recognize that I am very blessed and can hold out comfortably longer than a lot of other folks so I won't take that for granted. I'm grumbling about not getting my hair and nails done where others may have real life or death payments that might not be made. For not just my sake but my fellow government works as well, I pray Congress gets its act together and we get back to our business. But revenge, dear Senators and Congressmen, is a dish best served cold and you will get yours, enjoy your jobs while you have them!...Bammas

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Brussels to Amsterdam: The Final Chapter

Okay, sorry for the delay good people. Let's recap. Went to Brussels came to Amsterdam, things occurred, okay back to the story recently in progress.

Day Five
So this was a guided tour day. We roamed by foot, land and boat. Amsterdam is pretty big on diamonds and there are quite a few factories. We got a guided tour and show at the Coster factory. Diamonds are a girl's best friend but the prices were not. One day.

We checked out Rembrandt's windmill house that people still live in. Big, odd looking, cool.


We got tours of the area including the  houses. Some lopsided. Quick history lesson. Back in the day Amsterdamians had to pay for houses per width. To save some money, folks built up instead of out so the houses are usually tall as heck and narrow. So narrow that peeps have to move furniture in by hoisting them up. Therefore many houses have hoisting hooks built into them. Now why are these houses so darn crooked you ask? No ones says (or I could have just fallen asleep during the explanation on the tour). So I did my internet research and found that I was not the only gal asking this question. Here's
a reasonable explanation I found: "Amsterdam was built on the reclaimed swampland of the Amstel river and therefore they had to build all houses on foundation piles that are driven deep into the ground. In the past they used wooden piles whose quality deteriorates over time and causes foundation problems. Therefore you see a lot of crooked houses."http://www.flickr.com/photos/65546344@N07/8557418496/


We next hoped on a boat and went on the rest of the tour. Yes Venice has canals but don't sleep on Amsterdam, there are many, many. I wonder if the area is sinking like Venice, the houses seem to be. After the boat ride my partner in crime and I decided to go for a walk and search for the infamous Red Light District (aka RLD)

We got lost.

We thought we found it but it was the "gay district". Let me say this, Amsterdam is very gay friendly so technically there is no gay district, people party everywhere but there are certain areas where you can easily bar/club hop because there are more places that cater more to that crowd spaced together. Yeah, we found that area. No problem, moving on.

We found a lot of sex shops. Naturally I thought that meant we were in the RLD. Nope not yet. FYI, sex shops are just your random shop selling sexual paraphernalia and clothing. They weren't off some seedy street, they were mixed in with the coffeeshops and clothing stores, places to eat. So still looking.
The smell of marijuana meanwhile was everywhere. People were sitting in windowsills of hooka type spots looking dazed and confused like the caterpillar from Alice and Wonderland. Still this is not the RLD.
Then we find it, Chinatown that is. Interesting that there is good size population of Chinese and other Asian people here. Diversity spreads everywhere. Love it, meanwhile where the hell is the RLD? I don't want to be searching for this place at night!
I take a break and pick up some stroopwaffles, very yummy cookies that have maple syrup in between them. They are my favorite cookies ever. This will calm me. And low and behold I find the RLD!

First thing I see is a woman? in the window giving us a wink and a smile. This woman? looked like a Rupaul's Drag Race reject.  Like we just ran up on the area out of the blue and our first introduction was Ms. Not Rupaul in the window looking more like Divine than a woman (if you are a Baltimorian you know who Divine is). 
We keep walking, quickly. Next we see another gal in the window, she too is not an original she. We kept it moving and come across what we determine is an actual female standing in the doorway. She is also a sex worker.
This is the only picture I took of RLD. You just don't take pics here in my humble opinion.
For those who don't know. Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam and in the RLD is where you go. Usually the sex workers are on display in store front windows and doorways like mannequins and folks go in if they see something they like, I'm guessing. There is other stuff in the RLD, stores and cafes etc. It's actually pretty touristy and not seedy at all. (Not sure if that's the same at night, when we spoke to locals they said it was a little different at night). We power walk on and an attractive male sex worker beckons for us as we walk past. No thanks sir.
RLD ,checked off the list.

Rembrandt square
We move on to the Nine Streets to do some shopping. If you are a shopper and like boutiques and or vintage this area is for you. By this time we are dead tired and go recuperate at home before heading out for the night. We go bar hoping in Rembradnt square another area for night life.

We catch a cab home and tell the cabbie we are at the Best Western Appollo. He instead takes us to a less fabulous Best Western. We say this is not the one we are staying at and the jerk says oh the one we told him to take us to is in the expensive area. Bamma, we didn't ask you where it was, we know. Take us to the one we told you to take us to. Makes me wonder, if we were of another race or were older would have done that. Turd

Day Six

We were out late so we miss the free breakfast. That's cool, this is the perfect time to try Amsterdam's famous pancakes. Pretty much a mix of pancakes and crepes and you eat them with maple syrup even if they are savory. Yumminess!
I am a zombie by this day but I am determined to keep it moving. We check  out the famous flower market, go to the Van Gogh museum and shop a little more. Yet another person asks me for directions mistaking me for a local. Not sure why folks keep thinking I belong here. Guess it's the natural hair.

Side note, did I mention Cece Peniston in the last recap? Randomness but her music was played so many times there I was wondering if there was a back story. I love her music too but that's like twenty years ago. Shrugs.

That evening we go out to Sumo for dinner. An all you can eat Japanese grill. We stuff ourselves on sushi, tempura, fried rice, So good. It's a must.
We then end the night at a ritzy bar called NJoy. If you are big on specialty drinks, this is the spot for you and the bartenders were very cool.

Okay, I tired now. We go home the next day.

Hope my write up helped you. This was a great experience. On to the next adventure!



Monday, September 2, 2013

Brussels to Amsterdam: Part Two

Okay good people, here is my part two of three about my overseas trip. Where were we? Ah yes,
Day Three
This is our last full day here and so we make it or duty to find the infamous Manneken Pis statute that is such a big thing about Brussels. So we stroll towards the Grand Place area, get a little lost and find the statute. It's much smaller than expected but there it is. A statute of a little boy peeing...There are several stories of why the statute was created but it's not important right now. What is important is that they dress homeboy up in different costumes.

There is even a museum exhibit dedicated to his many costumes. So the statute is advertised everywhere in Brussels. And, I must say, without the water fountain it just looks like pictures and cut outs of a little boy playing with  himself and I found it inappropriate (see chocolate made at the tour. No I did not eat it).

So now that we had checked that off our list we did some more sight seeing on our own and of course shopping. We walked so long my feet felt like they were on fire so they only reprieve was to finally, FINALLY try the famous Belgian waffles!
So we hunkered down and gave in to the fattening treat. It is not your American waffle. I mean the shape is pretty much the same but there are so many ways to eat it (no syrup). Plain, with chocolate, caramel, powdered sugar, whipped crème, strawberries, nutella, bananas, white chocolate, all of the above. It's not a breakfast treat here. Eating it for dessert is pretty much your best option so that way you won't waste your whole day in a sugar coma. You eat it by hand or with tiny forks that are given to you to annoy you and make a mess of yourself. Very good in any event.

We ended our last day in Brussels with a night out on the town. We partook in the famous Brussels mussels. On our way down one of the many restaurant rows one of the waiters, whom we met the night before, kept trying to get my attention. The night before he asked to go out with me and called himself Mr. Satisfaction. I said no thanks and kept it moving. But he remembered me the next day because he was determined to have us eat at the restaurant. Offering a free drink. I did not want to be bothered. As we walked on he said something to the effect of "come back Janet Jackson".
What the world? Now look, I have been called almost every black woman in Hollywood in my life time (Senaa Latham, Nia Long, Gabrielle Union, Kim Field's little sister) but this was a first. Mr. Satisfaction needed to go head on. Nasty Boy.
So we ended the night at a lounge and said our farewells to this fair city. On to Amsterdam!






Day Four:
We take the train to Amsterdam. Less than a 2 hour ride. Upon leaving the train station you know you are in Amsterdam because it is a bike city. And they have a system down pact for how it all works out. It's not a new thing here like in DC. They have a sidewalk for people, a road for bikes and the streets for cars. It's a pretty good set up. There is even a traffic light that goes just for the bike riders.

Our cab driver was super friendly and gave us our own little sight seeing tour as he drove us to our hotel. He informed us that it was located on the most expensive street in the area and should be a lot of fun. He was right! Wouldn't be any shopping going on for me in that area!

The hotel was nice, also free wifi and breakfast. It was a lot closer to the fun. We grabbed a quick lunch and as I waited for my food, I studied the map. The waiter noticed me studying and asked if he could help. I got him to show me all the night life and shopping areas. So far, I like these helpful and friendly Amsterdam folk!
After we shopped we headed straight to the famous Albert Cuyp flea market where I merrily and cheaply shopped away. On the way there I noticed a black hair supply store and went in. This store had everything a black girl could want for her hair. From natural hair care products like Miss Jessies to weave tracks. This lets me know there is a happening black community here.

Also near our hotel was the Heineken Factory. I'm no beer drinker but it was there. That night we walked to Leidseplein which is one of the night life areas. We walked around and checked out the sights and street performers. We stood in front of one of the many many coffeeshops (one word) debating whether to go in just to say we did. I say that because neither of us smokes and I am allergic to smoke so if you are looking for a write up on that experience you won't find it here, playa. Side note, why are they called coffee shops? They aren't some darn Starbucks!

I will say that the whole city could give you a contact high just by walking around. I mean they even sold incense with the "fragrance" of cannibus. And no we didn't eat any space cakes (aka "brownies" did you know that's what they were called? I didn't either but luckily I ask questions.) They also had weed candy and cookies. I'm sure if I looked hard enough I would have found weed cupcakes. I'm a cupcake fiend so luckily I didn't find one!

There were also places called smartshops. I had no idea what those were because just life coffeeshops weren't places that specialized in coffee, smartshops weren't, for instance stores that sold gadgets to further your education. Because I like to stare in window stores like a burglar plotting out my heist, I was able to determine from the outside that a smartshop was a store that legally sold drugs and paraphernalia. I'm not talking hardcore meth or heroin but psychedelic drugs like ecstasy, "energy drinks" and shots of coca (and I'm not talking Coca-Cola). Pass, no one is taking my behind because I'm dancing around high like some club kid in the streets!
No thanks!

Moving on. We had a great dinner at a place called Blinq, which also turned into a club later on, and did some bar hopping. One of the notable spots was a live jazz place called Café Alto. It was a diverse place in race and age and I really liked it. So far, day one of Amsterdam has been fun and interesting!

Final post, shopping, the red light district and Cece Peniston.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Brussels and Amsterdam trip: The ReCap Part One

HI Good people. Yes, yes, I know, it's been ages since I wrote on my blog. I am a bad blogger. I will admit it. I aim to do better. Especially when I set all these goals for myself. I must keep me accountable. I have done a few things that I said I would do and will write some blog updates on those goals/dares met. However, I first need to share with you my wonderful experience traveling in Brussels and Amsterdam. I will try to stick to the main points to keep your attention and break up this write up into more than one post. So let's get right to it.

BRUSSELS
Day 1:
I arrived early Tuesday morning. For those who may not know, Brussels is 6 hours ahead of us and I don't sleep well on planes. Translation: I was exhausted. We stayed at an Ibis hotel. The location was, eh. The hotel was fine enough. Free breakfast, free wifi. Random ironing board in the hallway that I guess the floor was to share
roomie demonstrating ironing in hallway

I was underwhelmed by the location because it was not where the fun was at and I am a walker and like to explore so I was worried I'd made a mistake. If you are going to go, I suggest staying in walking distance of the Grand Place. Our hotel was about a 25 minute walk from there. We did the walk to that area every day but took cabs in the evening because we found the men a bit sketchy and sometimes aggressive in our area. Once again, my dad does not have a special set of skills and if I get taken I am just another little black girl lost.
Our first venture into food and drink was pretty good. We had the famous fries (bet not call them French fries, that's frites to you) which they insist on pairing with mayo or anything but ketchup. I mean there are tons of condiments they give including something called American (something with mayo, yuck) and Samuri which I did try. Yes it had mayo so once was enough for me. I did enjoy the curry ketchup which tasted exactly as it sounded.
 
Now what I did like was the cherry beer, also known as kriek beer. Now if you aren't a beer drinker then this is the beer for you to try. It tasted like soda! If you are a beer drinker, you might be disappointed. I also had an apple flavored beer which pretty much was like cider. Anywho, I wish they sold kriek in the states because I'd drink it all the time and- never mind no I don't . Who needs the beer gut, le sigh, it was fun for the time.

Speaking of le sighs, if you know some French, you'd probably fair better in Brussels. In typically American fashion, I believed most people spoke English when actually I found many did not speak it so well.

One thing I noted of interest was the diversity. There were many people of African and Middle Eastern descent living there. When I researched it (okay looked it up on Wikepedia) I found that about 36% of the population there are of that ancestry.

Day 2:
So we officially hung out in the grand place/market square. This used to be the town center but in the olden days but now it's used for touristy stuff with chocolate shops, restaurants, museums, hotels.
Part of the Grand Place


Me in front of the Atomium
We did a tour to see how chocolate is made since Belgium is big on chocolate. We also went sight seeing to check out some other notable Brussels sights like the Atomium (built as part of the 1958 world fair) and some other stuff (it was a bus tour and I fell asleep on some of it, okay).
Also to note, the Belgiums like their comics.  A lot. And did you know that's who created the Smurfs? Me either. They also did Rin Tin Tin. And they have a comic strip museum there. You will find, if you look, that there quite a few buildings with cartoon drawings on them. Some cute, some not so cute. I saw one nightmarish one that I refused to take a picture of.

That night we hit the town and had...Italian for dinner. Sorry, I'm not a big fan of the Brussels diet. Meat and potatoes only takes you so far. And after I had a salad where they, you guessed it, put mayo on as the dressing, I was too through.

We checked out the night life like Celtica and Delirium but I'll pass. To me this is a bar town for big beer drinkers and I am a cosmo/lounge type o gal. And I didn't find a spot like that until the last night.

One thing to note: Cab drivers will charge you whatever so ask how much before getting in the car. I literally had one driver charge us 15 euros for one way and another charge us 5 euros for the same way. On average the ride was 10 euros.

Some interesting insights: We were speaking to some Africans and they were telling us about where they originally came from. They asked us where we came from and we gave them the dumb look. Outside of America, who knows? They understood and said as much, giving us the pity face. Never occurred to me that other cultures might pity us because we aren't able to trace our history as fully as they are due to the monster called slavery.

Another thing, we watched the news every morning trying to stay connected with current events (and okay, because there weren't many other English speaking channels) and heard about the woman who prevented the school shooting in Atlanta. After the story coverage the reporters, both British, discussed how scared they would be to send their kids to school in America. Again, never occurred to me but now that I think about it, if I saw all of the stories about school shootings I'd feel the same way. It's not as if international news is reporting on all of the good times in American schools just as we don't report on all of the good things going on in, say, India. If we just went off the news we'd think it's a country dealing with an epidemic of food poisoning issues, unsafe buildings and rape. And so I guess foreigners would see America as dealing with a huge problem of gun violence in school.

Next: Final day in Brussels, a proposition, a peeing statute and travel to Amsterdam...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

If I were a boy

Things I learned from guys that I would so like to be able to do when dating. Now I know these are generalities but bear with me here:
  1. Get in an argument and not obsess over it after
  2. Be on my own schedule
  3. Not sweat the allegedly "small stuff"
  4. Not be bothered with spending money on cute under garments and night gowns
  5. Call you back hours later after telling you I'd call you right back and not care that it would make you mad
  6. Say whatever's on my mind and in the way I want to say it
  7. Wear flat shoes when I go out at night and still feel sexy!
  8. After I eat too much, unzip my pants and sit on the couch and not care
Things I like about being a girl and dating:
  1. Playing dress up
  2. Not always fitting the bill (I will from time to time)
  3. Being looked out for
  4. Sometimes getting my way just by smiling (or wearing the right outfit)
Although my girl list is shorter, I still think I prefer the girl style of dating but I am working on the good things about the boy style of dating to take for myself. Man, what my world would be like if I stopped caring if a guy called me back. Do guys stare at their phones willing their girlfriend to call them like they show women doing in the movies? And if not, how do they just turn it off and not care? Seriously though, how? It's a mystery...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Psst, fellas

I'm no expert on dating but as a woman who has dated for more years than I care to share if I had to give advice to men, both superficial and deep, about what women want, like and need, I'd have to share this list. Again, this is just me and I am pretty sure a good amount of women, although not all:
  1. A good suit- not just any suit, not some baggy suit, not some maroon or lime colored suit, not some long jacket Steve Harvey suit. I'm talking about Justin Timberlake "Suit and Tie" well tailored suit in black, gray, navy or fine (not those wide) stripped suits. I mean, darn, a guy in a well tailored suit just looks awesome. So if I'm at a happy hour and you just came from work in your Suit and Tie, I might give you a few double takes. I like it, I like it a lot.
  2. Follow through- it's so darn simple but so hard for some folk. If you say you gonna call, CALL! If you are running late, let me know! I don't care what you say, must I say it? ACTIONS speak LOUDER than words! If you are a man of your word, trust she will have less to complain/nag you about.
  3. Plan something- If you call a woman for a first date, the day of, and say "hey baby, let's go out to dinner at 7" and it's 6pm! Uh-uh, not going to happen. I am worth the planning, especially for the first date! And to assume I don't have anything else to do but wait for your call is insulting. If you are interested in me so are others so you shouldn't assume I have nothing going on. Make a girl feel special.
  4. Arrogance v. Swag- Arrogance- no. Swag- yes. It's a fine line but a line none the less. Let's be honest, you think Beyoncé would be married to Jay-Z if he had no swag? But cockiness is not cute on anyone. Have confidence but don't be rude or annoying. Be a gentleman and don't come with the games.
  5. Attention- we women need it. Obviously if you are watching the game (any game) and we decide to talk to you about how much our friend Becky pisses us off when she keeps talking about her bad behind kids you might not be interested. But if we are out on a date with you and you are busy checking your text and email or checking out the girl who just walked past, you have lost me. If I have to say "are you listening to me", it does not look well for you.
  6. Grooming- teeth- fix em, nails- file em, hair- trim/cut it, body- eat a veggie or two and hit the gym once in a while to at least keep a healthy heart (you don't have to look like Dwyane "the Rock" Johnson...unless you want to, I mean I won't try to stop you)
I can probably think of some more but I think this is good for now!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

You know you are getting older when...

I've been going out a bit more recently with new (and old) friends and I've come to realize something about myself and nightlife...I'm getting old. And although I don't look it (no laughing) sometimes I just feel that, like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, "I'm too damn old for this s%$#". Some things I've noticed that have highlighted my more "mature outlook" on life:
  1. Crowds- I don't like em. When people bump against me I feel like fighting, especially when they don't say sorry or excuse me.
  2. RSVP tables- So I got to pay $300 plus to have a darn seat? I can sit for free at home so that is where I shall go. My feet hurt.
  3. FMH shoes- Known as F&*% Me Heels. I have some high platform pumps but I will only wear them on a date where I can sit down. I see all these young chicks coming in the lounge with high heels and short dresses and I all I can see is the pain forget the cute look. Give me a kitten heel or boot and I'm good and if I dare wear a heel over 2 inches then I'm packing foldable flats. #bunionsaintcute
  4. Loud music- How can you have a conversation and meet people? Gone are the days where I'm going to give my number to some dude simply after sharing a dance or two. I want to talk to you and engage to help me determine whether I like you or not. A smile and a two step is not enough. Turn the music down!
  5. Taking Pictures- I used to do this all the time when going on and if there is a special occasion or I'm on vacation then I will still remember to do so. But now if I'm going out "just because", I don't take pics anymore, no matter how fierce I look. But I want to. I need to keep documenting my fabulousness so I can prove to my future kids that at one time I was the hotness!
  6. Parking- I don't like having to walk blocks and blocks from my car to get to the bar/lounge. I will gladly pay valet now to avoid that pain filled walk at the end of the night in my heels to my car. I'm grown, I can afford it...within reason.
  7. Late night noshing- can't do it anymore. Gone are the days where I can grab a slice after a night of partying and not expect to look like a contestant on the Biggest Loser. Party's over, and so is eating until the morning!
  8. Young boys- I am now old when I am not concerned about getting hit on by a "dirty old man" but instead a little boy (aka 20 something). Yes it's flattering but come on! I just got hit on by a Chris Brown looking child the other day and I was so astonished I called him boy. Okay, I know it was wrong and I'll do better but he looked like a child. "Ain't nobody got time for that".
  9. Saturdays- So some of my friends and I have determined that perhaps Saturdays are not for people over 30 unless we are out on a date. If you don't want to be drowned out by 20 somethings drunk and stepping on your toes then maybe the night for you is a Thursday or a happy hour on a Friday into the night. I just don't want to be the angry chick in the club holding her coat and purse tight to her because she isn't feeling the crowd. Sometimes you gotta know when to call it quits. (Side note, I asked my mom what night is good for the 50 and up crowd now and she said Monday or Tuesday, haha, makes sense, many of them are retired now so they can party any night!)
  10. 12am- That's my goal. Yes, I now have a goal to how late I will force myself to hang out because my old behind is quite fine with falling asleep by 10 on a Friday night, which feels a bit sad. I don't feel like a loser if I get home by 12. I feel I have accomplished my goal of being cool by getting home that time. Any earlier and I am officially old. (As reference, my mom said she was out hanging late when she got home by 9 soo). It used to be that if I was in bed before 2am on a Friday or Saturday something went wrong. If that happens now, well I've had one heck of a night!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Winter time blues

I can't take it!!!
This cold weather, unaccompanied by any fun snow (translate: enough to close the office for a day or two), is driving me mad.
All I can think about are all the things I miss and would do when the weather gets warmer.
To help me through this cold weather blues I will comfort myself with thoughts of the following things about warmer weather that I can't wait to do:

  1. rooftop happy hours
  2. jogging/walking/hiking outdoors
  3. dinning al fresco (and people watching)
  4. SANDALS and open toed shoes
  5. summer dresses with no stockings
  6. windows open/down
  7. smoothies (I know I can drink them now but it's too cold for cold drinks)
  8. THE SUN
  9. shopping outdoors (ex. Georgetown area)
  10. MOTIVATION/INSPIRATION (yes I am just crazy lazy in the cold weather and uninspired)
  11. WARMTH (tired of the cold air burning my nostrils and causing me pain)
  12. daylight savings (tired of waking up in the dark and coming home in the dark, although it's getting better now)

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Make-up Must haves

Every once in a while I like to alienate any men who might read this blog and do a posting strictly for the ladies. So, if you have read some earlier posts you know that I am a bit of a makeup junkie. I've tried to tone it back because make up really does expire after a few months to years so I don't want to keep investing without throwing away so I've become very particular about what I buy.
This lead me to think up this post. When it comes to make up, here are the must have products that I don't mind buying again and again:

  • Mascara- I am a big mascara girl but since you are supposed to trash it after three months (and remember don't pump mascara just take the wand out, otherwise you are exposing it to more bacteria) I don't like spending a lot on it (my fav expensive brand is Benefits Cosmetics They're Real). So I am always in search for a good drugstore brand mascara. Right now I'm loving Photo Ready 3D volume. Gives me great volume and length without the high cost and stressful false lash application.

  • Powder- I have oily skin so I'm always looking for a great powder to set my makeup to avoid the "just went for jog" sweaty look. Makeup Forever HD Microfinish powder sets my makeup wonderfully without giving me that ashy face that sometime doesn't pop up until you see the picture of yourself looking like a ghost. A bit pricy but worth it (found at Sephora)

  • BB Cream- ever since I heard of the Beauty Balm, first made famous in Asia before hitting the states, I was sold. An all in one cream that cuts down on the many products that I would apply on my face, thus saving time and money? I'm in! My department store option is Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream. It moisturizes, has SPF, primes and controls oil. Two good drugstore options are Garnier and Rimmel. Garnier just added one for oily skin which matifies, protects, minimizes pores, evens out skin and few other things. Rimmel does the same.

  • Lipstick- I love a long wear lipstick that doesn't make my lips dry and peel. Loreal Infalliable lipstick is my go to for that. They have a large selection and I always get caught up trying to find a shade to buy.

  • Eyeliner- I'm a liquid liner girl all the way. Your eyes Will pop with liquid liner, you don't even need eyeshadow and you will have a "notice me" look. But when I don't feel like steadying my arm to get that perfect line, I go to Maybelline Eye Studio Master Drama Eyeliner. It gives the staying power and bold black color a liquid will without the hassle.

  • Blush- Ahh, the power of the blush. Many women sleep on this essential makeup. But I am telling you- don't! It will transform your face. Just don't go heavy, or you Will look like a clown. I'm no expert on blush so I like the easy go-to when finding the right color. I like Cargo's blush because it comes in several shades in one can which can serve as a bronzer, blush and highlighter (I'm not so great at contouring but I swear if I could I'd be one fierce drag queen). I also love Bare Minerals blush. For a more sensible budget, I go to NYX blush (they are also good for eyeshadow)
Well hope this helps anyone out there looking for some makeup brand ideas. If you do try these brands or have tried them in the past please let me know how you made out with them.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Health-ish and it taste good too

So in my quest to keep my calorie intake low I am struggling to find foods that will not make me mourn pizza, French fries, hot wings, cupcakes, twizzlers...I'm sad now.

Moment of silence for high calorie foods.

Okay, back on track. So I've been searching high and low for lower calorie and/or healthy foods to eat that will help me get this 10 pounds off. Exercising has not changed my world so it is very apparent that calories are the key. So, exercise, low calories and extra water together make the difference. I am aiming for 64 oz a day of water intake. Not hard during the weekday, very hard on the weekends. I lost weight last time by increasing my water intake so why not try it again? If you do this, stay near a bathroom.

I put myself on a 1250-1300 calorie limit during the weekdays with Friday and Saturday being my cheat days. I ran through my local Giant and Trader Joes and have found the following foods/meals:

Dry seasoned kale chips- Gross, don't eat 'em
Dried ginger- eh, I did not care for them, best to just drink ginger
Dry seasoned green beans- yummy, they can come close to replacing my chip need
Pita chips- yummy but I can easily over eat these
Dried mango- yummy, if eaten according to serving size. This can fill my sweet tooth void.
100 calorie snack packs- helps limit my portion issue and sweet tooth
Weight watchers or smart ones ice cream desserts- again, limits my portions and satisfies the sweet tooth without that bitter sugarless sweets taste
Fiber one or Special K cereals or oatmeal with walnuts and bananas (or even banana chips)- makes it filling and is yummy. Good for breakfast or a low cal dinner (lunch is my biggest meal)
Salads- I actually love salad but typically hated the salads I made at home until I made these two options:
1)Salmon salad- an ex put me on to this- grilled salmon with lettuce or spinach or some green, with a homemade dressing of part olive oil, part lemon and a bit of substitute sugar. Yum!
2)Southwestern salad- I mixed spinach salad with cut up jalapenos, red peppers, cucumbers, southwestern style salsa (from Giant in the fresh produce section) and chopped southwestern chicken cut up (can do prepackaged), use any dressing you like (I used a sesame dressing I had in my fridge)
Low carb wrap- I have made many snacks/meals with this. First it's important to use the low carb tortilla wrap, high in fiber. Then I:
1) spread a bit of peanut butter on then pour a bit of honey over it, fold it and eat it, sweet and low carb/calorie,
2)pizza- spread marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, any toppings you'd eat on a pizza. I use red bell peppers, jalepeons. Heat for bit in the oven or toaster oven,
3)use as the bread for a grilled veggie (like squash, zucchini and pepper)/melted mozzarella sandwich or turkey burger

That's it for now but I'll share more ideas as I come up with them. I just found a recipe for lower calorie cupcakes and real sized cookies and I'm hearing more and more about the dietary benefits of nettle tea so to be continued!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Me and my girls

Just finished watching one of my all time favorite friend movies, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. I adore a good gal pal movie. Maybe it's because I've never had friends on the level I see in these movies. Not to say my friends aren't great but there is a level of closeness or "ride or dieness" that I haven't had with my friends since probably college. As an adult I still need my girls but the reality is there are more distractions as adults. We have jobs, move, get married, have babies. And we just don't remain as close anymore.
So, when I see that a god girlfriend movie is on, I have to stop and watch and smile. Here are some of my top ones and why:

  1. Romy and Michelle's High school Reunion: they were two peas in a pod and had each other's backs. Even when they had a spat it ended quickly when one of them was in trouble. They got over the judgment and accepted each other as is. True friends don't hold grudges for long.
  2. Sex and the City: so the sequel sucked but the first was still awesome to me. I loved how they dropped everything and came to Carrie's aid when she got left at the alter by Big. Even leaving to go out of the country with her. And who can forget Carrie getting out of bed on NYE night and taking the subway all the way from Manhattans to Brooklyn to be with Miranda when she was feeling blue from her separation from Steve.
  3. Waiting to Exhale: I can't recall, did these women ever fight with each other? They were there for one another and that was all that mattered. And who doesn't love a good glass of wine, some music and some girl talk with your friends?
  4. Steel Magnolias (the original): young or old, rich or poor, these women were true blue and tight like glue and were there for each other when tragedy stuck.
  5. Thelma and Louise: drove off a cliff together, nuff said (btw- I wouldn't do that for my closest gal pal)
  6. The Color Purple: Not sure if this was meant to be a girlfriend movie but it is to me. It shows how through tough times and bad situations the strength of female friendship can triumph. And who doesn't cry at the end when the sisters hand clap in the field. sniff sniff
  7. Beaches: they were friends as kids, fell apart, came back together and were with each other to the end.
Any movies I'm missing?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bite Sized: The Randomness of it All

Stream of thought:

If I stick to my calorie restrictions on my new diet but a good portion of those calories come from junk food, will I still lose weight?

This commercial makes me laugh every time:

Did Beyoncé lip sync at the inauguration? If so, does it really matter?

I really want to see that new horror movie Mama, especially because it was number one in the box office this past weekend. But now that I live on my own I am not inclined to watch many horror movies which is driving me crazy because I LOVE scary movies but I also have a strong imagination and two cats that make noise in the night...

I would never wear a sew in weave while traveling overseas because if, like in Lost, my plane crashed on a mysterious island and I was stuck their for months or years who would take out my weave?!

Goodnight

Monday, January 21, 2013

Are we desperate?

Had to start my post all Carrie-from-Sex-and-the-City like by posing a question. Here's what promoted me to ask this question. Was told my a male associate that it's easier to tell a woman in her thirties what she wants to hear because we are all desperate to get married. Therefore all a guy has to do to get what he wants from a woman is to lead her down the marriage road even if he is not seriously in love with her but, instead, might have other motives. In sum, the 30 something woman is easier to attract because of her ticking clock.

This bothered me because regardless  of my desire to get married I am not desperate. I've been through a lot in my relationship history and I'd like to believe that I can now see through the BS someone throws at me. My senses are no longer drowned out by some booming biological clock.

Further, my standards don't need to take a dive off a cliff just because I'm in my third decade of life. I am finding that males seem perturbed that I am slightly picky in my dating life. What, because I'm in my thirties I should take whoever comes to me? Fortunately, times haven't gotten that tough for me. But it seems some men think it has simply because of my age group...grumble grumble

Monday, January 14, 2013

How to lose weight without even trying

Seriously, how do you do that? Just as I was beginning to think I was making some headway into weight loss, I go to the doctors only to have her tell me what I already know, I'm overweight. Now by looking at me you may not think so, I'm a size 8 (on a good day a size 6), I jog and lift weights, blah blah blah but my body mass index (bmi) puts me in the overweight category.

I've increased the intensity of my workouts to get better results and see that my arms and legs are more toned than ever but the weight has not come down as much as I would like. The doc is telling me if I lose 10-15 pounds then I'll be at a normal weight (side note, that's normal weight not average weight as most of the U.S. female population averages at around 160ish pounds).

I'm secretly hoping its a thyroid issue which is what my doctor is mildly considering based on some other symptoms I gave her when I saw her. So I'll be getting tested for that. I mean I did gain most of my weight AFTER I took up running.

But the reality probably is that since I crossed over to the dirty thirty my diet has not. My love of all things carb is just not dying down but it needs to because my metabolism has apparently decided to go on strike. So, le sigh, it seems that this workout warrior must now also become a diet diva. I have got to change my eating habits to include less carbs. But it's so hard. I only have time to cook on Sundays and I usually make two dishes and rotate between that and some healthy choice/lien cuisine/smart one type meal. Then I mix in a couple of salads. I need help shaking it up that doesn't involve more of my time in the kitchen.

And when I see a piece of candy or a cookie, I break out in a sweat. My will power is better during the weekday but the weekends? At least I cut down on fast food successfully (I had some Chik-fill-a the other day and it made me feel sick so I think me and grease are pretty much strangers again). And don't get me started on cocktails. I do a two drink maximum when I go out but I like my fruity (aka sugar heavy) drinks. But they gotta go. I was recommended doing white wine or vodka/diet club soda. ZZZ boring but, it seems,  that must be the way I go. Because by spring, this girl plans to have dropped at least 10 pounds and I WILL fully run a 5k. If you have any tips, please share.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Whould you?

Go to a therapist to repair a friendship? There is relationship counseling and family counseling but what about friendship counseling? I heard on the radio that more people are going to counseling to mend friendships and I've seen this done on TV shows (Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Golden Girls) but I wonder if its really worth it.
People go to marriage/family counseling because there are things at stake, a marriage, a parent/child relationship, that if broken could cause long standing harm. But if I have a problem with a girlfriend do I want to shell out dough to be friends again? I mean isn't there something to the saying about being friends for a season? At what point does a friendship become worth mending?
Well, I venture to say that a friendship is worth working to maintain if the friend was like family or even held the role of family if you are living somewhere with no family (I mean how would those Sex and the City women survive in New York without each other, rarely did you see their family in all 6 seasons, same with Friends).
It's also worth it if you've known each other for a long time. A long time could be decades or a few years but whatever is enough for that person to have been planted long enough in your life to have many long lasting memories and whose presence could not be replaced quickly or easily.
It's worth it if what broke you up was not something serious. If your home girl cheated with your boyfriend, well, I don't care if we've known each other since elementary school; the friendship is dead. But if it was a misunderstanding, an argument, I think it's worth working on. If you'd work on it with your man, then work on it with your girl.
One thing to note is that if a friendship feels like it has run its course, just naturally, then don't force it to stay close or find another way to keep in touch. Sometimes we have friends that we relate to differently. I have friends that I was joined at the hip to in college and we aren't now but I we still connect via Facebook and we might meet up once in a blue moon, maybe with years passing by. I have friends that got married but that doesn't mean I don't invite them out or do different types of outings with them (everyone loves a good brunch!)
In sum, I do think, for the most part, that friendships are worth investing in, even for a therapist. Because like a good man (or woman) they are hard to come by and unlike family, we DID have a choice to have  a relationship with them, so we might as well work it out!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Cathy Project

A little over a week into my resolutions and I'm going semi strong. Dropped five pounds but my eating could be much better. I just have an addiction to chocolate and salt that cannot be denied. It was suggested that I try grapefruit to snack on but that seems just wrong. So, yeah back to the drawing board.
My working out is still hardcore, for me that is, but it's not getting easier. At what point does running stop being exhausting, I'd like to get there now please! I mean the other day I had to do an internal pep talk and do boxing jabs to keep myself from falling out during my jogging. Then I got nasueas on the ride home. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong...

On the going out alone front I did go to a bar alone...for like 15 minutes then I met up with a friend. Ok so maybe I didn't give it my best effort but I have to say being at a bar alone is a lesson in awkwardness. You sip your drink, look around, check your smartphone, rinse and repeat. A friend told me not to go to a bar a
One on a Friday or Saturday or during happy hour. So I go...on a Friday at happy hour. My failure to listen to her only made me feel like a sucker. The theory is to go when it's slow and chat up the bartender or another soul out there alone. When I went I was surrounded by a bunch of groups of friends and pairs. So I just looked sad. But I won't give up. I will try again. This weekend, on a Sunday.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Bite Sized: One of those days...

Today was a rough one for me. Woke up too early for no reason and by the time I fell back to sleep the alarm rang. Got to work and today was a rough one, dealt with angry, rude and bothersome situations all day. Got to the gym for a much needed stress reducer only to have my ipod not work. Went to the apple store, low and behold, it started working as soon as I walked in the door. Decide that since I have gone out of my way to go to the mall for the apple store, I might as well look around. Ended up going to a salad shop and ordered a very tasty salad. When I got home, found out that I was given the wrong salad. Tried to eat it, it was gross. Le sigh.

But I know I'm being tested because of my new goal to think positive so all in all, I can say this about my day: I got out of work on time (which is a rarity for me) and had a lunch break (also rare) and hey, my ipod still works, money saved - ching ching!