Friday, September 30, 2011

Annual German Traditions

Can you hear it, everyone? The slight up and down rhythm of German Oompah music?

I sure do.

It's that time of year again where K and I load up our things, load off our dog and hit the road up to San Francisco to celebrate Oktoberfest with our amazing college friends.

It's a tradition harken back to 2007 when K was living in the Bay Area for work and I was in Laguna. We racked up a lot of Southwest credits that year, let me tell ya. We tried to make the most of our weekends together since they were usually a couple weeks in between, and decided to head into the city to experience Oktoberfest.

Please note we did no research ahead of time.

We arrived at 4 o'clock, sans tickets, only to discover loads upon loads of inebriated youngsters filing out of the Fort Mason facility it used to be housed in. Apparently, they had an "afternoon family fun" portion and a "for adults only" evening. It was clear a LOT of "family fun" had been achieved with mass quantities of beer by young and old alike. In attempting to look for the ticket booth, we questioned a couple people that appeared to be our age only to be met with blank, bloodshot stares.

When we finally did find the ticket booth, we were told the event was completely sold out.

I wanted to head down to North Beach for some Italian and call it a day, but if there's two things I know about my husband, it's this: he is resourceful and loves bucking authority.

In comparison, breaking the rules causes me anxiety.

Eventually, he convinced a pair of girls leaving Oktoberfest to rip off their wrist bands. Then, he had us each chew a piece of gum and re-affix the bands to our own wrists; this was only half of the challenge, however. Since SF's Oktoberfest is broken into "two segments" due to available space and their desire to suck every possible attendee dry of any money they might possibly have, we still weren't supposed to reenter the building. They were in the process of emptying the afternoon guests, which meant our wristbands were about to become invalid.

So what did we do?

We pretended we'd lost a friend who was "worse for wear" inside the facility and "would we be able to go get him?"

They said yes, and we ended up partying the night away, sausages and beers and jump roping girls in dirndles, oh my!

For the record, I do not recommend this act of frivolity. It appears so fun and full of joy, right? Wrong if you are anyone but the girls in the dirndles. They did it around 11pm so, as I'm sure you can imagine, the floor was covered in beer and dirt, and every time they'd whip that garland around, it would spatter sludge all over the people who look so jolly and entertained.

By the time the next year rolled around, our friend Fantastic J (a nickname I've recently discovered her husband hates, so naturally one I'll be trying to use more often) was living in the city and we decided to make a group go-of-it. Small group, but still loads of fun.

More of our friends came the next year and so on, and now it is an annual tradition. This year, there will be 15 of us.

Watch out San Francisco. I hope you're wearing your party leiderhosen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Thursday Quote

"Sometimes I go about pitying myself. And all the while I am being carried on the great winds across the sky."

-- A Lakota Sioux

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Defense/Question of Nannies

I knew I would eventually talk about this, but I didn't know when... Today's the day, methinks! If you know me well, or have had some modicum of contact with me in the last three years, you'll know I was a, gasp, sigh, nanny.

A nanny, yes.

Before I delve into all I have to say on the matter, let me give you a brief history. I have spent a large portion of my life with little kids, with chubby toddlers, with tiny babies, the monsters, the angels, the whip smarts and the slightly slow choo-choos. I come from a big family, and once I reached the age of eight, I took interest in my younger cousins and their bumbly ways. My sister and I started watching the kids across the street around the time I was 10 or 11, and high school brought not only standing weeknight babysitting sessions, but an after school job at a local preschool as well.

The summer before I went to college, I had the privilege of being the nanny for a lovely girl (who is now a preteen and somewhat of a little sister). Once I got to UCSB, I started a part time job working for a family in my free time, and continued to do it until I graduated. Truly, it paid better than the average minimum wage job and I naturally excelled at the multitasking necessary for working with the under 12 set.

I can say this with certainty: I am good with kids; some might even say I'm great with kids. I have spent more than half my life delighting in the growth of these children who have become embedded in my life one way or another.

So what happened after college? I got a job with an event planning company, and then a magazine. Boy, did I feel professional. I bought a cool new wardrobe at Express (the thought of which currently makes me gag when I think of the ensembles I used to traipse into work in; oh, the shiny shirt! Oh, the cheapy pants. I'm seriously cringing). I had cocktails with my coworkers at Happy Hour, attended fundraisers and parties; I felt so grown up. And truly, working for a magazine and putting on events were two dreams of mine.

I should mention I have many dreams. Sometimes I think I drive my husband crazy with all the dreaming I do.

After a while though, my professional job was not feeding my soul. I felt stagnant and slightly lost and thought it might be time to pursue a different dream: to own and run a preschool. The timing worked out well, too. I had gotten engaged and we were moving in together (!) in a new city (!) for the first time in our six year relationship.

The city, of course, was Los Angeles, and I thought it might be a good idea to get back into nannying while simultaneously pursuing an additional degree in early childhood education. I found a job very quickly and made much more money than at the magazine.

I loved the people I was working for and I loved the children I was working with.

But I had made an error in my calculations. I thought working with kids all day and owning a business was what I wanted to do. However, a realization hit me early on: I wanted to have my own children too. And watching little kids all day? Holy crap, is it exhausting. I did  not want to be that mother who came home and was a ranting, raving lunatic because she had put up with little kids all day long and couldn't handle her own children.

To some, it may seem like it's a bit much to read into the emotions you'll have five or ten years down the line when you're actually a parent, but I know myself better than anyone else, and I knew I couldn't swing both.

Another thing I hadn't considered when I got into full-time "professional nannying" was the response it would garner from my friends, my family, my peers. I understood why people were surprised at my sudden change in careers; to many, it came out of left field. However, I had friends who treated me the same as always, and those who treated me differently.

Those that are reading this probably know which category they fell into, but it was as if my job was suddenly taboo. They didn't ask questions about my work. They were embarrassed to introduce me to acquaintances because when you meet someone, the first question that typically comes out of their mouth is, "So what do you do?" and these friends of mine wouldn't make eye contact with me when I'd answer.

Initially, I didn't think it was going to be a big deal. It's like that old Schwarzenegger line from Kindergarten Cop, "Who is your daddy and what does he do?" I naively thought that people have jobs and they make money and if they are good at their jobs, they should be proud. I was clearly wrong in this line of thinking, though, because others would get embarrassed FOR ME when I would tell them what I was doing. There was always a look that came over peoples' faces, and while they thought they were good at hiding it, nine times out of ten, I would spot it.

It's a look that said, "Really? You're JUST a nanny? Why should I waste my time with you?"

You may think I'm reading into this, but I assure you, I'm not. I had a schpiel I would recite in order to make them understand why I did what I did; I'd mention the fact that I had two degrees and graduated early with honors, and that "you'd be shocked to know how much nannies make in LA."

It had a huge effect on my self esteem and I still have to remind myself (even now, even after the fact that I no longer work with children) that I am smart, thoughtful and kind, and I am worthy of peoples' time and energy.

So here it is, my (personal) take on nannies. I happen to find this to be an incredibly interesting topic, too, so share your thoughts with me if you'd like.

My opinion is, nannies deserve a lot of fucking respect.

They are the people you pay to watch your children, the ones you trust with (what is supposed to be) the most important thing in your life, the most important contribution you will make to the world. They are those witnessing milestones, and holding your children when they cry, and wiping their asses... seriously.

Something I feel I should also point out is that there are two different types of nannies. The first type are those you have working with your kids because you need someone to make sure they don't kill themselves while you're gone (they are usually paid abysmal amounts of money and they are usually  less educated, but please don't think I'm implying they don't care or do a good job). The second type are those meant to enrich, inspire and thoughtfully bring something to your children's lives (they are often college graduates with an interest in development and learning).

I feel the lack of respect for this profession is actually, sigh, a bit of a woman problem. Nowadays, us ladies have way more choices than our counterparts 50 years ago, but it also causes more internal strife. We're supposed to want and have it all: a successful career, an intensely loving marriage,  perfect and smart overachieving children, an awesomely decorated (yet not cookie cutter) home, a well trained dog (or somewhat affable cat), a banging, Pilates reformer body, and a thriving social life complete with friends who ALSO have it all.

The problem is, it's not possible. Unless you can get by on only two hours of sleep a night,  something's gotta give.

So what do families do? Understandably, they hire someone to help them. However (however, however, however), the hiring, the welcoming of someone into one's home to take care of their most precious commodity... it oftentimes creates a little kernel in moms. The kernel is a negative feeling, but a completely honest one: GUILT. Most parents don't want to miss out on the special moments, the memories you savor for years after your kids are grown, those stories that you will tell over and over and over again because they make you so happy. And what kind of parents would they be if they didn't mind?

Nannies get in on those memories whether Mom or Dad likes it or not. And I've noticed that some people use language to diminish the involvement and impact these people have on their children's lives. Ever hear someone refer to their child's au pair as "the nanny?" Would you refer to your admin as "the secretary?" No! You would refer to her or him as, "This is my admin, John" or "Meet Sarah, my administrative assistant," from which point, you would continue to use their name.

Honestly, it disgusts me a bit to hear people say "the nanny" or "the babysitter," but I understand the reasoning behind it. When you don't use a person's name in referring to them, you depersonalize them and thus, lessen the measurable impact they have in your child's life (and your psyche, career and success).

But what an impact they have. Oh, what an impact.

As I get closer and closer to becoming a parent myself, I think about this more often than before. Having been a nanny, I don't want one for my children. As exhausting as it is to figure out how we can do it and afford it and have my self esteem intact at the end of the day, the thought of leaving my future kids at home with someone to experience the joy of them without me is, well, too much to bear.

Which is why I've been trying to figure out this working from home sitch. I know I can have a career, I know I can have a family.

And I know I'll be a kick-ass mom.

But I'm not saying there's only one right way to manage it all. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Renegade Kitchen and The Next Food Network Star

Hola my little taquitos! Forgive me if I'm in the Spanish speaking mood, but my mom and sister return from Mexico today and it just hit me how much I completely miss them. Hurry home, ladies!

I was going to post about my future home office decor today and then decided against it (I have a feeling most of you are letting out a large sigh of relief at this point). You see, friends, I need to introduce you to someone who is pretty, well, fantastic.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Dan Kohler of Renegade Kitchen.

What is Renegade Kitchen, you ask? If we're playing the Obvious Game, it's a place of "serious food for the allergy bound." If we're not, it's a platform that Dan created after being diagnosed with his own food allergies. Aside from loving to cook and feed his nearest and dearest, he wanted to give people in similar situations something that wasn't "crunchy-hippie-rainbow-birdseed cookies," but rather delicious and downright indulgent food that feeds your soul.

The site is equal parts cooking show meets food blog meets sass. In heels.

How do I know Dan? He was Fantastic J's Man of Honor when she got married last year; thus, we spent a good week reveling with our wedding cohorts before the big event.

Things I feel you should know about him:

(1) He's an actor... in New York City!

(2) He was once a Blue Man. Yes, as in the Blue Man Group (not to be confused with the Blue Man Group Tobias Funke accidentally attended all those years ago on Arrested Development).

(3) He has blonde curly hair.

(4) Bitch gets serious when he starts cooking. I tried whipping out my skills at last year's wedding jamboree and when it came to caramelizing some onions, he was not pleased with my jokey joke attitude. I appreciate a person who's serious about his art.

(5) When he's not being Serious Kitchen Bitch Dan, he's hysterical theatrical make-you-piss-your-pants Dan. He's sharp as a tack, that one.

HOWEVER, as much as I love the guy and his site, the real reason I'm posting about him today is so that all of you can send him good vibes because... he's trying out for The Next Food Network Star! And based on this post on his own website, it looks like he's almost made it on (enjoy the inner dialogue he let's everyone be privy to... I sure did).

Here's a peek at his audition video:

FNS 8 Prime from Renegade Kitchen on Vimeo.

Charismatic, n'est pas? The part where he compares eggplant to "the creepy uncle in the corner?" Genius. Things like this fly out of his mouth on a minute to minute basis, and I for one, think the Food Network needs a personality that isn't a winking, cute, chubby girl or a self-absorbed asshole.

Finally, let me attest to his cooking right here, folks: the man is good. He whipped up Fantastic J's bridal brunch the morning of her wedding, swirling about the kitchen like a tall, lanky food dragon, and it was phenomenal.

So send out some positive vibes to Brooklyn... and hand me a piece of Afternoon Cake, please!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fresh Thai-inspired Salad

I'm preparing to do a cleanse. This cleanse to be more specific. My friend, Fantastic J, nonchalantly asked if I'd like to join her last Tuesday as she decided (on a whim) to do it the following day, but still suffering from the wrath of Tetanus and looking forward to a party on Saturday with amazing food, I told her I'd hold off for two weeks.

I did watch the film that accompanies the Reboot Your System program which is "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead," and while I think they could've shortened it by oh, I don't know, 40 minutes, it was still eye opening.

Truthfully, I eat quite healthfully already. If it wasn't for sushi and the occasional awesome burger, BLT or baby back ribs, I'd probably be a vegetarian. Whole grains, veggies and fruit are my friends, and I try to visit with them at least a couple times a day. The only thing I'm really dreading about the 15 days straight is the no caffeine clause.

No morning cup (or three cups) of coffee plain old sucks.

Last week I whipped up this Thai-inspired salad and I've been obsessed since. The thing I love about it is you can pretty much use any veggie in your fridge and it will work beautifully. The dressing itself is simple and I should warn those of you who are afraid of fish sauce that it is a major contributor to the sumptuous, umami flavor of this healthy dish. It will not be as good without it... trust me!

Thai Veggie Kaboom
(please excuse the over-the-top cheesy name!)

Any chopped veggies or nuts you want (the salad in the photo has romaine lettuce, purple cabbage, jicama, red bell pepper, carrot and chopped almonds. Last night's had chopped basil and bean sprouts as well)

Kaboom Dressing
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (or nuoc mam in Vietnamese... I like Tiparos brand and you can get it at some supermarkets and all Asian markets)
1-2 Tablespoons Water (taste after 1, add a little more water if it's too fishy... it will not taste fishy once it's on your salad)
Juice of 2 limes
Chopped cilantro
Chopped mint
Chopped red spicy pepper (only if you can handle heat)

Add all ingredients of Kaboom dressing. Arrange salad veggies/nuts on plate. Top with dressing (don't be afraid to use a lot to thoroughly coat the elements of the salad). Enjoy!

And actually, now that I think of it, fish sauce is another reason I can't be a vegetarian. Sorry, Alicia Silverstone!

Also, please share your variations with me. I think flaked, unsweetened coconut or coconut curried noodles would be a great addition to this recipe... What do you think?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

f8 and Timeline Love

I'm about to geek out on all of you in 3... 2... 1...

Was anybody else excited about the changes Facebook announced today? Anyone followin' f8?


I have to admit, so far (as the summit's not over yet!), the thing I'm most stoked about is "Timeline." What is Timeline, you ask? Why allow me rip off the short demo video they've created to roll the app out to Facebook users!

Readers, let me ask you... am I the only person who's ever wanted to see their life in a 2 minute montage video of photos, footage and sound bytes backed with one of my favorite tunes?

I know some of you are freaks like me, so I take comfort in the assumption that I am not alone in this wish. I am that girl who stays up until odd hours of the morning watching home videos, flipping through photo albums or scrolling through online images that I have seen plenty of times before, but have no problem looking at over and over and over again. What is it with my obsession with the past (and the present? And the future)?!

Facebook is attempting to make itself a platform for more than just creepily stalking those whom you are no longer in touch; it's allowing us to virtually chronicle our lives and incorporate various methods to do it. I'm sure there are those of you out there who hate it, but I for one do not.

In addition, I love that social media sites are putting an emphasis on social good and change. We need more of it in the world, yes? Are we really going to complain about where it comes from or who's doing it?

I hope not.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hipster Puppies and Hipster Moe

In case you missed it, Hipster Puppies came out with a book a couple months ago, which inspired me to come up with a list of "Hipster Moe" quotes.

For those of you who don't know about this wonderful site (and now wonderful book), dog owners take a photo of their dog with or sans a "too cool for school" look, as well as a quote that hints towards their hipster nature. It's equal parts mockery, dress up and showing photos of one's cute dog, so of course you know I'm all over it. 

Here is a quick breakdown of my favorite "Hipster Moe" quotes (the last four were created by my dear friend, Matt Mong (a high falutin' lawyer, by some standards)):

“Moe would most likely never forgive Elle for sitting on and crushing his favorite fedora.”

“Moe’s favorite activity at Outside Lands was critiquing the Urban Outfitter wannabes.”

“Upon purchasing their latest LP at a concert, Moe admitted at the Broken Bells merch table that he had previously downloaded it illegally.”

“The best part of Moe’s unemployment and ultimate move-in with his parents was finding their secret stash.”

“After losing his ears in the ‘Great Vespa Crash of ’08,’ Moe took up hula hooping to Belle and Sebastian to get his groove back.”

“Moe was a lover of all things Scandinavian.”

“Moe’s go-to party trick was reciting Shel Silverstein’s ‘The Giving Tree.’ He swore to memorize ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Christmas.”

“When stressed, Moe colors with crayons and listens to Pinback.”

“Working at the co-op provided Moe with the steady income he needed to get his blog, Quaalude Junction, up and running.”

“Moe was pissed upon realizing his mooch roommate had thrown out this season’s Free People catalog.”

“Moe made it a priority to put the unopened “Franny and Zooey” dead center on his coffee table.”

“If he ever finds the balls to do it, Moe swears he’s going to move to the countryside and live in a yurt.”

“Moe walked to the grocery store to save bus fare, but spent $15 on a slice of specialty cheese from upstate New York.”

“One day, Moe was going to get a shark tattooed on the bottom of his foot.”

“If you’re not gonna dress up for Rent at the Hollywood Bowl, don’t fucking come.”

“When he’s drunk enough, Moe admits he would give his left paw for the ability to grow a beard.”

“Moe feels a deep resonance with the LGBTQ community after taking a course on transgendered youths in college.”

“Moe prides himself on his vegetarian lifestyle, but can’t refrain when it comes to exotic, handmade sausages.”

“One trip to Seattle, and suddenly Moe was an expert on all things microbrew.”

“Moe loudly expresses his disdain for republicans and Fox News, but cannot carry a political conversation to save his life.”

“For fun, Moe likes hassling Kat Von D via Twitter.”

“Should his macaron store, Biscuit Shoppe, not pan out, Moe’s considering crafting furniture from reclaimed wood.”

“Moe never drinks soda, unless it’s in a glass bottle and made with real cane sugar.”

“At the library bookstore, Moe bought a well worn copy of Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” to impress any girl who might stop by.”

“Moe enjoyed the attention wearing his D.A.R.E. shirt from the 5th grade at his local hookah bar afforded him.”

“On Halloween, Moe loves dressing up as Holden Caulfield and constantly proclaiming, ‘Goddamn money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.’"  

“Though he doesn’t have his own Facebook page, Moe enjoys stalking people through his girlfriend’s profile."

"Moe doesn't know what a Darfur is, but has been deeply affected by it." 

"Moe frequently dines at a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant in Echo Park … his favorite is the orange chicken."

"All Moe needs is an axe and a blue ox companion to officially become Paul Bunyon." 

"Sometimes, when he’s sipping a finger of bourbon and twirling his handlebar mustache, with the Victrola playing in the background, Moe forgets its 2011." 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In Hate with a Boy Named Tetanus

Yesterday was my appointment with the travel doctor as we prepare for our trip to AFRICA (in T-minus one month and one day, holy moly wow!). One shot they recommend when traveling to the southern region of this continent is a DPT shot which is protection for diptheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus.

The last time I received "the DPT," I was 14 years old. My body responded in the following way: fever, chills, muscle wrenching body aches, all over bitchery and annoyance in how crappy I was feeling.

Kind of like this:

Man, does that look unpleasant, old fashioned lady in the killer striped blouse!

I have not had this injectable since 1998. At the time, after the reaction that left me bed ridden for two days, my doctor said I should only get one if I really need it (e.g. step on a rusty nail or accidentally nick myself on an oxidized blade). However, Africa's one of those places where one's not inclined to fool around with their health.

We have muy expensivo travelers' health insurance that provides for Medivac air transport should any of us get bitten by a seriously poisonous snake or slightly trampled by a baby hippo (I'm assuming getting trampled by any hippo other than a baby won't require a helicopter ride as we'll be pretty dead at that point), but wouldn't it suck to have to leave prematurely because of tetanus?

Yes, friends, yes it would. 

When I brought up my concerns with Herr Doctor, he said my body's response shouldn't be as bad now that I was almost, gulp, double the age I was when I got it the last time (I just made the realization about the age thing... give me a moment while I recover).

So we went ahead with it, but I had to hang around the waiting room for a solid ten minutes before I took off. I'm not kidding when I say this, but I started to feel weird almost instantly... Kind of drunk and loopy. By the time I'd made it home in my car, I had a fever and aches with the intense need to lie down.

I'll compare how I felt to this:

Which I did. Apologies for no Monday post, by the way!

Snug in my bed, I had visions of old fashioned remedies and crazy medical advertisements from back in the day...

Old fashioned people are crazy, right? Cocaine drops and "injectable opium?" I've heard of injectable opium before and I'm pretty sure it's HEROIN, people from 100 years ago. In addition, I think I'd like to be friends with the dude on the right in Dr. Ham's Aromatic Invigorator; he seems to know how to have a good time.

It's the next day, and while I definitely don't feel 100% like myself, I'm not hallucinating or wracked with body aches, which is a vast improvement.

This little lady's ready for Africa, y'all.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Girl Crush Friday and Life Decisions

I'm not exactly sure how to say this, so I'll just go ahead and do it: I think I have a girl crush on Jessica Hische.

Who is Jessica Hische, you ask?

Who isn't Jessica Hische, is the real question. This wunderkind (I'm not sure if I'm using this word correctly... and upon further inspection, it looks as though wunderkind means child prodigy. She is not a prodigy, or a child in fact, but she is phenomenal) seems to be good at every web thing I love:


Getting people to give her cake! 
Illustrating and designing!

But above all else, Jessica Hische is teaching me to not fear the Internet

Remember when I started this blog all of... three months ago? I had just quit a job that made me miserable and being unexpectedly unemployed left me with the opportunity to evaluate what my next step was in life (easy and light, I know). I made lists of what I was good at and things that made me happy and even posted a quote from Jessica Hische of all things! Want a reminder without having to do the hard work of clicking on my link? It was this:

And as silly as this sounds, this quote has become my mantra. I say it to myself whenever I start to get down about how all over the place my life is right now. I need more focus and more discipline, but I already know the things that make me happy and keep me interested, the skills I have and those I want to learn... and that's half the battle, isn't it? 

As an adult (god, I keep throwing the "a" word, around, don't I? Does this mean I'm still pretending to be one? Or that I've actually accepted the reality that I actually AM one?), I've realized that not everyone knows what makes them happy; there are some that will always find the negative in everything, no matter how blessed, successful, rich, smart or beautiful they are. Luckily, I DO know what makes me happy and in that I find comfort. 

Phew, that got a little deep for a second there, didn't it? I've decided a few things in the last week. It's been jam packed, but exciting, and I apologize if the writing's been lackluster at best. 

These decisions are (and I am putting them out there because if I don't, there's always the chance I'll cop out. I have to tattoo it onto the world wide web, people!):

I want to write. Write what, exactly, I'm not sure, but I want to make it a part of my "every day." I'm consulting with Anne LaMott (ok, ok, I'm reading her book Bird by Bird), and have already learned so much about this maddening, amazing, torturous process known as writing. She has somehow managed to put into words the thoughts that manage to bombard me when I try to create, and it has been helpful and enlightening.

I want to work for myself, but with others as well.  A friend of mine gave me an amazing opportunity a few months ago that opened my eyes to a lot of avenues I wasn't aware of; for her and for that I am grateful. 

I want to volunteer. I used to do this in college all the time, but stopped in the "real world"... What's up with that?

I want to take more time out of my day to let the people I love know it. 

I want (and need... desperately) to work out. The healthy eating I've got down pat, but the movin' and the shakin' needs to be ramped up majorly. (K, babe, refer to this post every time I try to get out of our workout plan! Furthermore, this should also act as a good test to see how often my husband reads this blog) I'm not overweight, but I am over the wiggly jiggly skin where muscle used to live.

Finally (let me guess what you're thinking: sweet Maria y Jose! This is her uplifting Friday post? What happened to raving about Jessica Hische?!), in the last couple months, I've been focusing on signs; more or less, what the world delivers to you and how you react or respond to it. 

It's a circular plane, right? 

What we send out is what we get back. I've decided to put my energy into the activities, people and things that make me feel good at the end of the day. I'm done with dread and anxiety and nervousness and people who don't take the time to think about how their actions affect others.

Life is too fucking short, people, and I intend to make the most of it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Favorite Drink (Currently)

Have you ever heard of Vitamix?

It's quite possibly the best kitchen appliance in the WORLD. Granted, for the cost of the thing, some people probably think it should be outfitted in gold (or at least dipped in silver), but I'm telling you, the price is worth it.

The blade and motor on this thing could make a smoothie out of pretty much anything, and it has the capacity to not only bring food to room temperature, but warm it as well. Also, it's blades are razor sharp, meaning it can finely chop or pulverize any skin or fiber that you would normally have to remove in the cooking process.

Whole foods = Happy body.

I've been trying to whip up a delicious green smoothie every morning for the last month and I think I may have gotten the recipe just right. I wouldn't recommend using just any old blender to make it (because honestly, it won't work). I'm sure there have to be a few high powered blenders out there that aren't Vitamix though, that will get the job done.

It has kale and coconut water and banana as well as other feel good food! It's also incredibly filling and satiates my appetite well past lunch.

Maybe being a Vitamix demonstrator is next in my bag of tricks? (I can see a couple of my friends reading that last sentence with horror)

In assembling this in your machine, make sure to do it in the right order. I made the mistake of being flippant about that, and through trial and error, have figured out why it is the way it is. 

Elizabeth's "It's Not Easy Being Green" Smoothie

Place ingredients into high powered blender or Vitamix in the following order:
  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • 2 cups of kale (well packed)
  • 1 grated, thumb size piece of ginger
  • 1 banana peeled and broken into three pieces
  • 1 green apple, with core removed
  • 10-15 mint leaves
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • A lot of ice!
If you're using a Vitamix, start the variable on low and work it up to 10 speed, then flip it to "high." Blend for about 30 seconds, until everything is well incorporated.


PS For the Moe lovers out there, his surgery was a success and he is now resting comfortably at home! Here's a photo of the car ride home, as well as him luxuriating while I spoil him to assuage my guilt!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I might...

... just make this a video week. I have to say, researching videos on YouTube might be my new favorite hobby.

Here are some that I love for various reasons! You may or may not have already seen them, but I hope they evoke some sort of HAPPY feeling within you:

Skittles Touch: Cat video

Friggin' creepy and hilarious. I think my dad should have done a double mustache before he shaved his off!

Dear Sophie

I have watched this (quite possibly) twenty times in the last couple months and I have yet to not tear up when I view it. It is so incredibly touching and REAL. I had a friend in high school whose mom died, and after her funeral, she discovered notebooks her mom had written to her and her brothers filled with anecdotes, thoughts, but always love. I hope I can do this for my future kids someday.

Alabama Leprechaun

And finally, an oldie but a goodie.

"Who all seen the leprechaun, say yeah?!"


Monday, September 12, 2011

A Monday Smile

I've been spending some time in the last week researching online videos and I have to say, this one by Improv Everywhere continues to put a smile on my face.

Personally, I'm shocked Frog lost. He seemed like the underdog contender and though he put up a good fight, couldn't pull it off in the end.

I would love to be sponsored for a carousel race... Methinks it a new addition to my bucket list.

Hope you're all smiling big on this magical Monday!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

I woke that Tuesday morning at 5:45.

It was a routine in my house, you see. My dad would wake at 4:30 to get to the office before the international markets opened. My mom would get up at 5 to drink a pot of coffee while she read the paper. Since we had to be out the door by 7:10, Ginny  slept in until 6:45, the groggiest and grumpiest of the four of us.

Typically, I would check my email first thing, which is what I did this day. The sounds of the computer whirring to life, the "ping pa ping ping" of the dial-up internet, the sound of the AOL lady’s voice welcoming me back… this is my first memory of September 11.

Before I had a chance to check, I heard my mom screaming down to me from the second floor. Unlike most homes that start from the bottom, ours began at the top, a narrow three story built into the side of a hill. If you grew up in Laguna Beach, you know the architecture I'm describing.

“ELIZABETH! A plane just flew into one of the Twin Towers!”

I’m not gonna lie; I had no clue what the Twin Towers were. I didn’t even know where they could be found, what made them so special. Were they in the United States? Yes, plane crashes are not the norm, but honestly, I thought it was an unfortunate accident. I rolled my eyes that my mom was making a big deal out of it.

“Wow, Mom, crazy!” I said, full of condescension. I was seventeen… what can I say?

By the time I’d gone upstairs, had breakfast, gotten dressed and brushed my teeth, my mom had left for work. The TV was off and my car’s radio didn’t work, so my sister and I drove to school in silence; we hadn’t seen or heard anything at this point aside from my mom’s shocked cry an hour earlier.

My first period was photography. I had a project due that day, thus in the moments before class began, I was in the dark room rushing to develop some film.

I missed out on the usual chitchat because I didn’t get to my seat until the bell rang and at that point, my teacher had started talking. He was a tall, gangly man with salt and pepper hair who spoke slowly and methodically, mulling over every word that passed his lips.

“Well, students, this has been an unbelievable and historic morning. You’ll never forget where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. Things are going to change; things already have changed. If you want to work on your projects, talk to one another, sit in silence, go ahead; I’m making this a free day.”

I sat on my stool stunned. What was the big deal about this plane crash? How many people were on it? Was there someone important who’d died that I hadn’t heard about, a group of school children? I continued to work on my project in the dark room until the bell rang and we moved to second period, which for me was English.

We had a test that day and our teacher was all business; nothing was mentioned.

There was a ten minute break between second and third and out of habit, I headed over to use the ladies’ room. As I was entering the bathroom, a classmate exited a stall with a indescribable look on her face.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” she said.

“What’s happening?”

She stopped and looked at me like I had just stabbed a puppy. “The World Trade Center?!” It was all she said to me, but clearly those four words were meant to have an effect. I had still yet to figure out what was escaping me. Had the plane hit the Twin Towers and the World Trade Center? 

I didn’t realize they were the same thing.

“Oh, yeah, that. Crazy, huh?” I was trying to save face. 

When the bell rang, I headed to my third period class. This was to be my moment of enlightenment, the moment I’ll never forget. My Calculus teacher had the television on and wasn’t even attempting to create some semblance of a normal class (he did this quite often which is probably why I got a “1” on my AP Calculus test).

I’ll never forget the look on his face because it’s what I saw before I followed his line of vision to the TV.

I remember going cold. Numb. I felt the blood drain from my head to my feet, pool in some unknown imagined area. I stood frozen, mouth agape, horrified at what I was seeing for the first time.

I hadn’t heard about a second plane or a second tower. I had not heard anything about the Pentagon. Up until this point, I had no clue the act was intentional. Genuinely, I had simply thought for the last five hours that it was just a plane that had hit a building.

People were throwing themselves out of 90 story windows to escape the flames that licked the glass and metal from the inside out, accepting death as inevitable and desiring to embrace it sooner than later. Over and over and over, on repeat every news station was showing the second plane shooting into the south tower, thick black walls of smoke billowing into the sapphire sky. Video, images, commentators, back and forth, back and forth, from New York to the Pentagon and eventually to an open field.

Men, women, children covered in soot. Crying, shell-shocked, bleeding, dead. Anger, revulsion, sadness, helplessness. In California, it felt like there was nothing we could do but watch.

It was a horrific day. And it had started out quite innocently.

After that third period class, I don’t remember much.

What I do remember is that in the weeks following, I had never felt more patriotic or been more proud to be an American. We were bruised as a country and needed to heal, but we relied upon each other to help get us back to an awakened, less naïve place. The terrorists succeeded in hurting us, but they did not break our spirit.

And they never will.

Photos courtesy of New York Magazine.

Friday, September 9, 2011

10 Years Later

I had intended to write about 9/11 today. The power went out all over San Diego county last night, and unfortunately, I wasn't able to use my computer. Thus, this Sunday, I'll be sharing my experience on the actual anniversary.

It's hard to believe it's been 10 years, isn't it? I had just begun my senior year in high school that September and I remember thinking after it happened that it was my generation's assassination of JFK, the signing of the Civil Rights Act, our landing on the moon.

Each of us can remember the precise moment: what we were doing and where we were when we heard. The shock and horror when we saw. The sadness and united hope we felt as Americans in the aftermath.

It still makes me sick when I think about it. I can't believe it's already been a decade since. But we are stronger for it.

And we will never forget.

Image courtesy of Seb Jarnot via

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pit Proud: The History of the Pitbull

Let me take a gander at what you're thinking (please note I'm assuming the voice you hear in your head is that of a crotchety old man)...

"Burberry baby dresses one day, pitbull videos the next? What the hell is this blog about, anyhow? Why am I here? Where's my medication? All I want are some bran flakes, stewed prunes and a good healthy dose of Andy Griffith, for Pete's sake!"

Calm your marbles, will ya?

It's been a rough day, everyone. Moe was scheduled for a leg surgery that should have him out of commission for the next two months. He was supposed to spend the night, so you can imagine the tears that were shed this morning when I dropped him off at this facility. They told me he was going to be sedated the whole time, but I still worried.

They called two hours later telling me he had a nearly undetectable infection that needed to be treated before they could operate. Poor little bugger had already had a catheter inserted as well as an IV before the discovery was made, so you can imagine how shell-shocked he was when I went to pick him up.

To say I feel like a guilty bastard is an understatement. He was supposed to be drugged when I arrived to get him, not lucid and feeling betrayed! He's snoozing by the window now, but for a good three hours he get shooting me a look that was equal parts "Why do I feel funny?" and "How could you?!"

Please note his delicate pink bandage. I think he would've preferred red.

Anywho, I realize I've been doing quite a few dog posts recently and I apologize if it's a bit Moe overload. This surgery threw me for a loop and it's been on the forefront of my mind for the last month.

And then, of course, a friend (thanks, Sadaf!) posts a video titled Pit Proud: The History of the Pitbull and you know I couldn't resist. 

There are a two things I loved about this short film: (1) I'm a sucker for anything that promotes the debunking of pit myths and (2) it did a good job of running through the history of this misunderstood breed. Check out a couple of my favorite pittie spotlights from the 1920's, 30's and 40's:

SGT Stubby, the most decorated war dog of WWI
Petey from The Little Rascals (who Moe occasionally gets compared to)

And of  course, some Life Magazine covers portraying these special guys
There is a reason old people have such a fondness for my dog when they see him, and it's because when they were growing up, pitbulls were known to be GREAT FAMILY dogs. Many don't understand how this breed's loyalty to humans has also led to their downfall in today's world. With the wrong people, they can do harm because their OWNERS have taught them to; if those they love and trust the most in the world want them to attack, they will. 

It's sick and it's sad, but it's true.

People who don't know much about pitbulls always comment about Moe's ears and ask if he was born that way. The answer is no; he was not. When he was a little, itty-bitty, helpless puppy, someone cut his ears off with a pair of scissors. Yup. Someone wonderful, obviously.

Luckily, this same human ditched him and he was found by a couple who didn't judge him for his breed, but by his loving personality and spirit.

If you have 10 minutes to burn this afternoon, please, please, please watch this. It was produced and featured by Dog Files, and the filmmakers are trying to turn it into a full length film. If you'd like to donate to their goal, here's your chance!

I should warn you that this video does have about 10 seconds of some pretty disgusting dog violence. It was hard for me to stomach, but sometimes ignorance is not bliss.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
            Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thinking Pink

When my husband and I got married a few years ago, we were the first of our friends to take the leap and seal the deal with a ring. In comparison, the next year, we attended six (and were invited to eight) separate weddings.


However, this year, only one peep on the bride and groom circuit. Might we have cashed in most of our chips in 2010? Are we possibly over the first boom of weddings that won't occur again until we're in our early thirties? I'm sure you know what's coming next...

That's right. BABIES.

The first of our dear friends are expecting! Yup, it's really happening and today they discovered it's a girl. A GIRL! A wonderful, sweet, adorable (sure to be toe-headed) baby girl. I have been excited about it all day and can't stop smiling. Thank goodness I'm by myself. I'm pretty sure I look like a complete idiot and you'll have to forgive me for my excessive use of exclamation marks today; I just can't help myself!

Baby Girl Brewer, we cannot wait to meet you!!!

So naturally, I'm thinking pink. And by thinking pink, I mean I've been roaming around a few sites looking for some goods for BGB.

She's due in winter, but every gal needs a go-to dress for spring!
Burberry Gathered Dress

Baby Girl's parents lived in LA when we did, so I feel it only befitting she has an outraged onesie.
Sara Kety Onesie

 Ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles!
Little Ella Moss Romper Dress

 It's chilly where she's gonna be living, so some stylish bundling is in order!
Ralph Lauren Infant Down Jacket

 Tootsies will stay toasty warm with these puppies!
UGG Australia Infant Booties

What can I say? Mama and Papa-to-be were children of the 90's. The kid's gonna need some leggings.
Splendid Littles Tunic and Leggings

Polka dot onesie grey and pink romper? Even snarky hipster babies can agree on its deliciousness.
Gap Polka Dot Romper

Baby Bear Brewer? I could just about die...
Gap Bear Onesie

Too bad Auntie EJ's feet can't fit into these sassy shoes.
Gap Kitty Ballet Flats

 If you know any parent with a baby, they know who Sophie the Giraffe is.
Sophie the Giraffe

 Trojan gear for Mama...
USC Infant Cardinal Dress

 Rebels paraphernalia for Daddy...
UNLV Rebels Bodysuit

And I might sneak on some Gaucho booties when Mommy and Daddy aren't looking, little one, just a heads up!
UCSB Booties

February cannot come fast enough...
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