Monday, June 28, 2010

There's a reason diners are open 24 hrs right?

I've been trying to put my feelers out there about wedding stuff knowing that as soon as grad school starts in September, good ol wedding planning will definitely take a back seat for me. We have priorities people, ya know?

The wedding planning industry is really trying to break out of the mold of what is typically wedding, and embrace what is unique (hello DIY) but still there are a lot of the same things you'll see at just about every wedding; especially formal sit down dinner weddings, which is something I'm seriously looking into (I like to eat ya'll). But I don't want to do the same old chicken or fish, I don't eat chicken and the boy hates fish so...we come to a crossroads.

I was sitting with a few friends a while back and over sushi and beers we were discussing what would be a super cool wedding meal, someone said a baked potato bar, with all the fixings, there was the obvious answer In n' Out truck (holler!) and a few other gems and it all got me thinking. What do I really love to eat, what is something that would be totally unique and fun, wouldn't break the bank, and wouldn't be over the top tacky (like dominoes pizza or something...which I could totally get into just for the pure tackiness of it but I digress).

Then it dawned on me over pancakes one night, I LOVE breakfast food, I mean I have a serious love affair with all things breakfast. It's my favorite meal of the day and who doesn't love having breakfast for dinner?

I feel like we could satisfy everyone...a fancy french toast bar, an omelet bar, ham and eggs, biscuits, hash browns, mimosas...all done in a tasteful manner. We could have it buffet style so everyone can get what they want. I told the boy my idea and his eyes lit up, I think he likes it.

I think it would be kind of fun, and I've never seen breakfast done for dinner at a wedding before. Which easily checks off the unique idea.

But then the boys mom came into the picture, she's awfully traditional (meaning her head is going to explode by the end of hearing all my ideas for this wedding cause I am not) and she could not wrap her mind around our wedding being at night, and not in the morning when breakfast is usually served.

So here's my question, is breakfast for dinner at a wedding tacky? Or fun and unique and you can dig it?

Any other ideas for a fun dinner reception, that won't cost a ton of money and you don't usually seen done before?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to get myself out of this one?

Is it ok to lie to your neighbor to avoid looking like a nosy beast?

The guy that lives behind us has a super cute yellow lab and the past few mornings the dog has been yelping so loud it seriously sounds like the guy is beating the dog.

We're BIG animal people in this house, and it made me sick to my stomach to think of this poor dog back there being treated like this. So this morning I saw the guy out there; I put on some respectable clothes and marched right over there thinking of what I would say once I got to his house.

Walking up I told the guy I worked for a vets office and I had heard the dog yelping the past few mornings and he sounded like he was really hurt and I just wanted to make sure the dog was ok...

Turns out the dog. PJ, has a shock collar on cause he's still a puppy and PJ digs under the ok I guess...then the guy tells me that PJ probably just has separation anxiety because the guy is a firefighter for LA and sometimes he's gone for over 24 hours (then why do you have a dog?). This is his 3rd lab.

Ok so well I feel a little better at least he's not beating the dog while I sit back and ignore it. I introduce myself, offer to walk the dog for him, tell him I live right behind him, just wanted to make sure the dog was ok, and that I really do work for a vet's office (I really don't), cause he joked about it being a cover to be nosy.

Then he looks me right in the eye and says, "So, what vet's office do you work for?"

Secretly sweating on the inside cause I'm totally busted, I just moved here! I don't know of a single vet's office! $%&* #$%&!!
Suddenly! Genius! I remember! There's a vet's office just a few blocks away on the corner of PCH and Redondo! I calmly tell him, "Oh, just the one down the block ya know, the one on the corner of PCH and Redondo?"

He goes, "Oh, yeah! That's where I take PJ all the time!"


So now, not only am I a nosy neighbor, I'm a freakin liar...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Can you be friends with a guy?

I'm a very social person, it's obvious that I wasn't an only child cause I cannot entertain myself for the life of me. I always relied on my sister to keep me entertained, I get bored alone, and I hate it. Now that we've moved and the boy is working oh well about 10 hours a day I'm alone a lot. I've been going to coffee shops and perusing the stores downtown to no avail, there aren't a lot of ppl down here who have any interest in being friends with a stranger.

Cut to the boy and I shopping at banana republic over the weekend and me making friends with one of the salespeople...a dude. I'm pretty sure he likes guys, but in this day and age and in this city you never really know. I walk by a million guys these days wearing shoes I own and jeans tighter and skinnier than mine so everyone is a mystery at this point.

So we set up a lunch date, banana boy and I, and I'm really excited. He seems really nice and I'm excited to have a friend. But what if he isn't gay? Is it ok to be friends with him?

Now at first when the boy and I had this conversation I got all pissy and called him possessive and a controlling weirdo but when he said, "If I met some random girl out and about and she and I had lunch together and started hanging out all the time how would you feel?!"

Point very well taken.

I've always had guy friends, often when I was younger I had more guy friends than girl friends, less drama, more fun, but I also wasn't engaged to be married. I have a very good guy friend from college that I still keep in touch with, the boy has met him, and he and I are still pretty close, if I could make him a bridesmaid I would. But I always made it very clear to said guy friend that we would only be friends, even when the boy wasn't in the picture yet, and even now the boy has never felt threatened by him (it probably helps that he lives in Indiana...and has a gf he adores).

So this brings up a question...can you be friends with newly met guys when you're in a serious committed relationship? If he ends up being gay is it better than if he isn't gay? If it turns out he isn't gay do we have to stop being friends?

I know that the boy trusts me, but I get it, I also see it from his point of view. When it really comes down to it though, I really would love someone to go to coffee with ya know?

Monday, June 21, 2010

That'll be $50,000 please...

Can we talk about how expensive weddings are for a second?

So I did it, I finally broke and bought a few wedding magazines. It took all of a week and a half and then I caved.

There was a section in one of the mags about budget and what real brides spent on their weddings...

The first brides budget? $68,000...

And they didn't even have to pay for a venue because they got married at her parents house. I almost barfed when I read this. Call me confused but spending that kind of money on one day is incredible to me. That is half the cost of a nice house in a lot of states and you're gonna drop that kind of cash on 6 whole hours?!

The boys best friend proposed to his girlfriend a few days after we got engaged (I think the boy inspired him) and we were talking to them this weekend about their plans, they went on and on about how they were gonna have a small wedding and be economical about it because they were paying for it themselves. Their budget? $50,000.

What is going on here? Gone are the days where one can spend $10,000 on a wedding and that seems reasonable and not cheap, women are spending $10,000 alone on their dresses these days. I could buy a car for $10,000 and I would use it for a lot longer than a few hours my friends. In an economy where there are families living in homeless shelters what happened to our priorities?

Let's be honest, if money were no object for me or I'd been saving for a long time I would probably blow a lot of cash on a gorgeous jaw dropping wedding so I am not judging here. But, I think it's a shame that the wedding industry even thinks it appropriate to charge that kind of cash to rent silverware or linens or a flipping cake, most wedding cakes don't even taste that good!

I think it's funny people quietly judge me about spending $20,000 a year tuition to get my doctorate (a lot I know, but I'm gonna benefit from it for the rest of my life) but don't bat an eye on spending $35,000 on one day, and even taking out their own loan to do it. Some people's marriages are over before they've finished paying off the wedding. I think things are backwards, and I don't see any change for the better any time soon.

Las Vegas is looking better and better.

Image from Stressed Out Brides Survival Guide

Update: I feel I must mention that there are a lot more books, websites and magazines coming out about weddings on a budget...but I don't think many ppl are getting the message.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What I've learned so far...

Things I have learned from my past 2 weeks in LA:

1) People's lives literally revolve around the traffic...and they think that's normal. Leaving an hour and a half early to go all of 20 miles seems like no big deal to anyone down here. And if there's an accident? Cancel your plans. Seriously.

2) The traffic problem is like survival of the fittest, and I'm not fit enough. It's an urban jungle out there and I get butterflies every time I have to get on the 405 or the 110. I mean how many freeways do you really need, and does each one really need 2 different names (The 110 aka Harbor freeway)? This is getting confusing! And there isn't any separation between towns, it's a continuous stream with no divide, in just 3 minutes you can drive through 5 different towns but in the end? Everyone says they're from Los Angeles.

3) In relation to the traffic, southern Californians are some of the worst drivers I have come across in my life. Why do you have to tail me when there are 7 other lanes you could be driving in? And why pass me and cut me off only so you can drive as slow as the guy I was behind in the first place, and you're turning left in 30 ft anyway?

4) Vintage clothes are SO much more expensive. Like someone could have died in that shirt and you're gonna charge me how much?!

5) Lakers fans are very serious about the game, and one shouldn't mouth off about any other basketball team or you will get beat.

6) Los Angelenos will riot for just about anything (hello NBA championships). These people are frustrated and they want to burn things.

7) The people down here aren't the friendliest bunch I've ever met in my life. I feel like people think I'm a weirdo every time I smile and say hello. How do you make friends down here?

8) There are a lot of places to go and things to do down here, whether you're into museums, the outdoors, shopping, dining, movies, or a mini vacay (hello Vegas, San Diego and Palm Springs) there are a million places you can go to find what you want. Things are convenient for sure.

9) Fashion is a high priority for a lot of people, and I love that, I feel like I fit in and don't stand out like a sore thumb wearing my most of my wardrobe, but flats are a must as there is a lot of walking to be done; people really love their flip flops down here.

10) You just have to find your niches in southern California and stick with it, find your grocery store, your favorite breakfast restaurant, favorite coffee shop, good shopping and what not and things will be a lot easier if you don't have to venture too far out.

Hopefully soon there will be a lot more positives than negatives. I haven't been here that long, and I'm still getting the lay of the land but so far it ain't that bad (with the exception of that BS traffic).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

To be or not to be separate

There are a lot of couples out there who do everything together, live, work and play together.

The boy and I do not. I think we would kill each other.

Though we mesh well in our relationship we are completely different people. He builds computers for fun, and I go to vintage clothing stores for fun.

I like to be outdoors, I love the beach, hiking, going out and doing things. I love eating out, going to concerts and events, shopping, reading at coffee shops and hanging out with my friends. If there is ever anything social to do outside of the house I want to do it or I feel like I'm missing out.

The boy loves to watch tv, play video games, go to the movies, be on his computer, read the news and drink beers with his friends. He's more the techy geeky one of the family. He's much more of a homebody than I am.

We do have certain things in common, we both love to read and are both relentless in our pursuit of information and answers to anything and everything, we both like movies and we love going on bike rides together; but other than that we are split. I kind of have an aversion to technology and the media and he embraces it with open arms.

I think this is ok. I think the fact that we are completely different in our pursuits is what keeps us on our toes. I don't get bored with him because he's nothing like me. There have been times where he wishes I would play video games or I wish he would go with me to have a cocktail at a nice bar but then I realize that keeping our interests separate gives us time to be individuals.

I know couples who aside from work are together all day and every day, all the time, without a break, they identify themselves by the other person, by being a couple, and they do everything together. If there's no separation then I think laziness and boredom set in, and if you're not careful that can lead to disaster.

But maybe I'm the one that has it backward? I'm sure people think it's weird that we're so different and we have a lot of things we do on our own (we often celebrate holidays separately with our own families), that even that can lead to separation. It did take us a while to figure the other person out on what we each find interesting in life, and there are compromises, we do things for each other that we wouldn't normally do on our own, but it works for us, and so far there haven't been any complaints.

So how much time is too much, and how little is too little? Do you spend all your free time with your partner or are you very different in what you find entertaining? How do you find middle ground in your relationship?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It ain't all that bad

Ok, here goes. I saw the new Sex and the City movie and...I liked it. I actually liked it. Of course I went in thinking I was going to hate it, and while there were a few cringe worthy moments, I think going in expecting to sit there in horror actually helped me leave pleasantly surprised.

The decadence was over the top, the clothes weren't that great and there were a couple of times where I thought "what the hell is going on here..." but for the most part the story line had some deep and meaningful qualities to it that save the film. The whole message I took from it was that relationships are hard, not just romantic ones but friendships, parenting, even work relationships and that they need to be worked on to maintain the positive aspects of them.

I actually really empathized with Carrie in her fear of losing the romance in her relationship and her fear of losing the fabulous life of a single woman. I think about that sometimes. When I got engaged one of my closest friends, my night out on the town buddy said, "Well, I will look back on all our fun single girl nights with fondness..." And while I smiled and hugged her, inside I was wondering why all of those fun nights out had to stop now that I was getting married? I worry about getting lazy as a couple, I don't want to turn into that couple that stops talking and doing things together and just watches tv in silence all the time, or have completely separate lives because we're so different in what we want. It takes work to maintain the "sparkle" and I understand that fear that she harbors.

But in the end I appreciate that Carrie realizes that it's not that her life; in settling down with Big, is changing for the worse and she should fight it, but that it's merely changing, and that she needs to embrace it for all the goods things and not look on it with dread.

I still want to be able to hold on to all the fun nights I have with friends, and I think I can do that. I think that both the boy and I want to maintain the romance in our relationship and not get lazy about things (though I do have to admit maybe that's more me than him, he thinks settling down and watching tv on the couch is just part of being in a relationship and I wholeheartedly disagree...but that's a different post I suppose...).

In the end I left the movie much happier than I thought it would. I think that it actually mirrored the television show more than the critics gave it credit for. It was all about the trials of being a wife, a parent, a woman, a friend, and career woman all in one film. If you can look past some of the ridiculous side stories and crappy jokes, it really did have some redeeming qualities.

I may have even liked it better than the first one...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who asked you?

I've been thinking a lot lately about how often people are completely incapable of being happy for others. I've struggled with this a lot lately in myself and I'm really trying hard to change that. I remember right after I lost my job last August, the weekend after I had to move out of my very first apartment I rented on my own with my own money and had moved in to a house on the charity of my boyfriend and his brother I had to move the boy's sister into her second home that she and her new husband had just purchased. This was needless to say very hard for me. I had just gained my independence, felt like it was ripped away from me, the little bit that I had made on my own, and here I was moving some chick my same age into her second brand new home. I remember going through that day numb, trying to make it to the very last moving box, and driving to have lunch with my best friend and upon sitting down burst into tears feeling so very sorry for myself. It just didn't seem fair.

Then halfway through my third margarita I had a revelation (margaritas will do that for you), her life was not mine, and her decisions were not mine, and that was not the life I wanted anyway, to own a home; I had other plans, plans that were right for me and not for her. One day maybe I would own and home but I wasn't ready for such financial burdens and responsibilities; I had a lot more planned for myself than to just settle down. But maybe that was the choice she wanted to make and I should at least try to be happy for her and let go of the burden of comparing my choices to hers, cause it was getting me nowhere.

This has been coming up a lot recently for me, now that the boy and I are engaged. I've been more wary of the stigma of marriage. For the girl, it's all I should ever want, to get married and have babies and for the boy, it's all downhill from here. There is no support for the institution of marriage; in the media it's portrayed as being the pinnacle of ones personal life and also the root of all misery, sometimes in one single episode of whatever you may be watching at the time. Even in the new Sex and the City movie (something I haven't seen yet) I know now that Carrie and Mr. Big are married (she sure chased that man for a long time)and now there's no more sparkle; like as soon as they signed that marriage contract the balloon deflated and things started to really get boring. Really? I mean when was the last time you saw anything on tv or in the movies where there was a good, fulfilling, happy marriage? Where's the support?!

I mean why would anyone be getting married if it sucks that much?!

The boy told his boss the day after he proposed that he had gotten engaged and the boss' response? "That's a HUGE mistake" (He's in the middle of a divorce).

I was watching Kate Gosselin talk to a bunch of wedding dress models on tv today, and after asking if any of them were married and all of them replying no, she gave them a thumbs up and said, "good! You should all stay that way, don't do it."

Listen people, your mistakes are your mistakes, the choices you made were yours alone, so please don't go crapping on mine. I will be 27 years old and have completed the first year of my doctorate program by the time I get married and I can tell you right now I will have thought an awful lot about the commitment I am making before I make it. I won't know what your choices were, or what personal mistakes you made walking down your road but don't use them against the choices I make for my life. Please try to be happy for other people and the decisions they are making that will make a future for them and if you can't do that...fake it...or walk away. I'd be a lot better off not having you in my presence than giving me words of advice I certainly don't need nor did I ask for.

I want more support. I know that relationships are hard, being single is hard, being alive and living and making decisions every day is why make the moment harder for someone else by making them feel bad about their choices? It just doesn't make any sense.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An open letter to Martha Stewart

Dearest Martha,

I have tried; I mean really tried to use your recipes. Your whole living website is great for healthy recipes that sound edible and delicious and I really do appreciate that; but, we need to have a chat. After multiple attempts to use your seemingly delicious recipes I have one main observation; girl, your recipes don't make any sense. I mean seriously...

When something like this:

ends up looking like this:

THERE.IS. SOMETHING. WRONG. And that took 5 ppl to try to interpret the recipe and we still failed.

I have a quiche in the oven right now that I had to scramble the eggs just to make them stay in the crust (a crust I have to mention I had to cook twice, because do tell, how does one make a crust with wheat germ, flour and chard alone? No wet ingredients at all?!) I now have egg soup under my quiche scramble...

So...Martha...dear Martha, I think you're fired. That is unless you decide to make your recipes more user friendly; cause I am not magical my friend. It's a good thing I have a taqueria with some killer mahi mahi tacos right around the corner.

Yours Truly,


Monday, June 7, 2010

Our engagement story

We haven't really spread the news like wild fire about our engagement, most of the announcements have been made out of necessity or force by our parents. We're kinda private about our relationship and I know what it feels like to have to hear someone rub all their personal love life info in your face all the time so I try to avoid doing that. I hate those people.

Things pretty much have gone like this convo the boy had with one if his very good friends the other night...
Friend: "If wedding bells are sometime in your future then..."

Boy: "Oh, yeah, I guess I didn't mention it...we're engaged..."

Friend: "Oh, wow, you guys are doing things super low key. I had no idea, I like your style."

Boy: "yep."
But I wanted to share the engagement story because it's exactly what I would want, private, quiet and just the two of us.

I have never wanted some huge over the top proposal, I would just die, plaster my face on the videotron at the basketball game and I'll leave you, cause you don't know me at all. I would be so embarrassed having tons of people watch me try to make a decision that's going to affect me for the rest of my life, not to mention the pressure to say yes...sigh. There are a million videos online of public marriage proposals gone right and wrong, and even in front of family members I would have been mortified. For me it would take away from the moment and I would be more embarrassed than excited, though I admire the girls that can go with the flow in such a situation, I'm not sure it would be me.
I drove to Long Beach from Carmel on Wednesday and it took me 7 hours to get here. I hate long drives alone, I get bored too easily and fidgety and with no one to talk to I start to lose it. For me long drives alone are the driving equivalent of water boarding, I just can't take it. Two of those hours were spent on the 101 South and the 405 in direct sunlight, never going over 20 by the time I finally arrived I was sun burnt, had a migraine, starving, sweaty and irritated. I knew we were going to a nice restaurant for dinner to celebrate my belated birthday so I took a nap to chill out before we went out to eat.

When the boy got home from work he suggested we take the dog on a bike ride through town, something he and I enjoy doing together and do quite often, so I agreed and off we went. When we moved all of our stuff down here he had had to take his bike apart to fit in his car and put it all back together again when he got here, so while on the ride he started complaining about the chain and said something must be broken; but it was ok cause he had brought some tools with him just in case.
So we stopped and he handed me the dogs leash and got off his bike so he "could fix it." While he was rooting around in his pocket he casually asked me what I planned to wear to dinner ( I should have known something was up then, cause I could wear sweatpants to dinner and he couldn't care less...) I mentioned some ideas and he says, "Well I think you should wear this..." he gets on one knee and pulls out the ring and asks me to marry him, right there, on the street, just the two of us. Of course my reaction is to ask, "Why are you doing this right here?!" and then I proceed to burst into tears and say yes.
While he's on one knee putting the ring on my finger a big black SUV full of girls drives by with the windows down and starts cheering, and clapping, and "awe-ing" down the street. He got back on his bike and away we went. It turns out our dinner was a birthday/engagement celebration and there was champagne for toasting when we sat down to eat.

I think he did a pretty good job.

Friday, June 4, 2010

"I faked a sonogram today...can you do that?"

While we're on the topic of milestones I suppose I should announce that I'm engaged.

I've been engaged for approximately 31 hours now and I don't feel any different.

I'm happy and I know I wouldn't want to be with anyone else but I'm not giddy. And I think that's ok. At first I felt guilty about it, that I wasn't jumping up and down with joy (I did cry with happiness when he asked me) even when everyone else was but I've come to grips with it.

Does anyone remember the Sex and the City episode where Miranda finds out she's having a boy and fakes how excited she is so the doctor doesn't think shes a freak?

I think there is some expectation that I should be jumping up and down and freaking out and furiously thumbing through wedding magazines but I'm just not there. All the ladies I have talked to about it are thrilled, maybe even on the verge of freaking out and I feel like I should act that way or they're gonna think I'm a weirdo or unhappy with the decision I'm making; not the case at all.

I think for me I'm still in shock and mildly overwhelmed with all the changes that are taking place in my life, it's still taking a while to sink in for me. I'm also more focused on the lifetime commitment I'm making to someone and less on the dress, cake and DJ. Getting married is a huge commitment and that responsibility overshadows what colors I'm gonna make the tablecloths.

To top it all off I know NOTHING, I mean NOTHING about planning a wedding. I don't even know what I'm supposed to do next (other than enjoy this and let it all sink in) and neither do my friends (that's why I love them so). So here we go, the wedding blind leading the blind.

Did you have any surprising reactions to events in your life that surpassed the traditional expectations of emotion?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Yesterday was my birthday...I am officially 26 years old.

I don't feel 26. Not even close. I feel like I just graduated high school yesterday much less college a few years ago and now on to my doctorate in a few months.

I have to wonder when I'm supposed to start feeling or acting my age. I still like to do cartwheels in the park. My sister is graduating college in the next week and I remember when she graduated high school how emotional it was for me, more so than my own was. I think I was in shock at the fact that I was growing up but hadn't really taken notice. I judged my own growth by the fact that she was growing, until I saw her walk across that stage in her cap and gown I had forgotten I was doing my own growing and changing. I can't imagine seeing her in her college cap and gown will be any less emotional for me.

Sometimes I feel like we gauge our own growth by the milestones of others (don't tell me you weren't shocked when one of your oldest childhood friends got married or had a baby...). We forget that amidst everyone else's changes we too change and grow.

I like to spend a few minutes or so on my birthday reflecting on all the changes that have taken place in my life in the last year, so I feel accomplished and proud that I'm one year older instead of looking upon it with dread.

I lost my job

I moved from Sacramento (somewhere I loved) to Stockton (somewhere I hated)

I moved 3 times

I moved in with my boyfriend and his brother, something I never thought in a million years I would do or enjoy.

I celebrated 2 great years with said boyfriend

Got a pro bono position at a new job where I gained so much in knowledge and patience that it was almost worth not getting paid for

My mom moved back to Carmel from Kansas City

My sister is graduating college

I made new friends, lost old ones

gained weight, lost it, gained it again

I learned to cook, joined a gym and learned to garden and enjoy it

I started my own vegetable garden and learned how to compost

I was involved in my own lawsuit with my old landlord and won

I started this blog

There were weddings, divorces, births and deaths

people moved, came back, moved again

I watched others peoples lives change and move forward for the better while I felt that I was stagnant after having lost my job and I learned how to be happy for others when I wasn't happy for myself

I traveled to places never been before and wish I had traveled some more

I took the second GRE and got into graduate school

I moved to Southern California, and got the boy to go with me

I learned how to trust someone, and let them love me without needing a reason to

I read books that have sat on shelves for years waiting to be read

I became an NPR junkie and love it

So many things have changed for me and I have learned invaluable lessons from my experiences in the past year. I'm proud that I made it through. I have to be honest as a brand new baby career woman I had a hard time envisioning success in the midst of being laid off. I feel like I handled it like a grown up, and I'm proud of that. I learned a lot about myself and other people and I can't imagine with all the changes the next year will bring that this coming birthday year will be any less of a growing experience for me. I'm looking forward to looking back on the next year and seeing how much further I've come from where I am now.

And with that I pack up my suitcase, shove it in my full to the brim volkswagen bug and head to LA. I can't wait to see what happens next...

Have a lovely day.