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Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Become Physically Fit


How to Become Physically Fit
Subtitle: Ok, I am not She-Ra, but I am working on it. Well, either her or Aeryn Sun. I’m not picky.  
** This is LONG because I am giving details. You might want to print this **
Step 1: The Diet Plan. Ok, not to bust on other diet plans, but that is exactly what I am going to do, bust on other diet plans.  The idea of not eating carbs, fats, proteins, dessert ever is just plain idiotic.  And do you ever watch those people? They just substitute what they can’t eat for crap that is just as bad.  You have to eat to get into shape.  Here is what you eat: (And a DOCTOR gave me this, not a magazine or an infomercial)
When it says number of servings one, it is using the Diabetic Exchange because my doctor said that those numbers are easy to find online and it was easier than creating a new system.  Smart idea. You will be eating a LOT. 
Or, most packages now have the serving on the side.  Use that. 
B-Fast - between 7 and 9
1 Starch
1 Milk
1 Protein
1 Fat 
Snack 1 - between 9 - 11 
1 starch
1 milk
Lunch - between 11 - 2 
1 veg
1 fruit
2 starch
2 protein
2 fat
Snack 2 - between 2 - 4
1 veg or fruit
1 starch
1 milk 
Dinner - between 4 - 7
1 milk
2 veg
1 fruit
3 starch
3 protein
2 fat
Snack 3 - between 7-10 
1 fruit
1 milk
1 protein 
Step 2: Water.  Now, this little tidbit I picked up from the R-MC soccer team (Thanks ladies).  Apparently the 8 x 8 plan is not enough water for an adult, we need somewhere near a gallon.  So buy a gallon jug at the old Walmart.  And decorate it with inspirational women that inspire you to be like them. I picked Princess Leia, Zoe Washburn, Daenerys Targaryen, Samantha Carter, Cara the Mord Sith, and Aeryn Sun. (Go ahead, hit Google, you are probably not as dorky as I) Oh and Daniel Jackson.  Making a face at me.  A face that says - Bri, did you drink your water? Because you want to be hot when you meet me ;) 
Step 3: Running.  Now, you don’t have to be insane like me, you can start small.  Remember that running is a cheap sport, easy to do, little equipment and that running is a community, your fellow runners will support you. Start small, like running a 5K race (3.1 miles).  It is really not that hard to do.  First, visit this website to download the Couch to 5K program: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml  Now, see how it takes 9 weeks.  Double it.  Normal people can’t really go from the coach to running that fast.  Do week one for two weeks, week two for two weeks etc.  THEN, if it gets easy, stop doubling the weeks and just follow the schedule. 
Step 4: Find a race to run and get yourself started. If you live in and around the RIchmond area or care to meet us, please comment or message me and you can join my team for the October 20th race.  Here’s the info link: http://www.ashlandharvestrun.com/ I would LOVE to have you.  
Step 5: Crosstraining. Now, the running and diet just isn’t going to do it.  Because as you get skinny to get flappy (not flabby). You get bingo wings.  Here my friends is a Bingo Wing:

So what you need to do is introduce some weights while you run.  Try this to begin. 
30 minute workout: 
Run/Walk for 5 minutes
Stop and lift for 5 minutes - Do 3 sets of bicep curls (start with an 5 or 8 lb weight) and in between each set of bicep curls do 25 yoga block sit-ups. Here are some videos to help you. 
Run/Walk for 5 minutes
Stop and lift for 5 minutes - Do 3 sets of tricep curls (again 5lb or 8lb weight) and in between do 30 seconds of plank. 
Curls: http://leylasroom.com/health-and-fitness/how-to-get-sexy-toned-arms/
Run/Walk for 5 minutes
Stop and lift for 5 minutes - Pick an exercise here for a problem area of your choice and alternate that with bicycle crunches. 
Do this instead of your running at LEAST once a week. 
Step 6: Run more, eat more, sleep more. Kick it up a notch. Here are some quick steps and links that will help you once the above exercises become too easy and you stop sweating, or you want to be a Science Fiction heroine. In which case you need to PUSH  yourself.  It takes a lot of work to be a pretend member of the Stargate program.
Step 7: Push yourself running. Register for a 10K.  Love me some cool running again.  Pick your level and click away: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_4/145.shtml
Step 8: Push yourself eating and drinking.  Double up your veggies and proteins but not your carbs unless your body tells you that it needs more carbs and you will feel it.  GO with it. Stick with your diet plan, but add if you need it.  Once I get to running 15-20 miles a week I HAVE to eat 3x as many proteins and that is OK.  And, if you are unsure, talk to your DOCTOR. DOCTOR, not some stupid overpriced gym coach that is trying to sell you fitness drinks.  Your doctor went to med school, listen to them! 
Step 9: Let’s run a (1/2) marathon: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_4/144.shtml . Pick your level.  Register.  Run with me on November 10th.  We can die together in Richmond. Maybe I can even get Shanks to give me a a good luck tweet. He has before, maybe he will think I am adorable in Chicago and do it again. 
Step 9A: Add in some variety! Try Yoga.  Get a Recumbent bike.  Try an elliptical.  And see step 10 below. 
Step 10: Let’s look at my week, shall we? 
Monday - I run
Tuesday - I bike (add 1 hr. on the recumbent bike - google those, they’re great) 
Wednesday - I run
Thursday - I cross train and then go to Yoga practice
Friday - I bike 
Saturday - I lift and do a light jog
Sunday - I rest, watch Sookie and DRINK WINE!!! Enjoy!! Because I am NOT giving up Wine. Or chocolate. Or fun things for that matter. I can just run more on Monday. 
Please let me know if you have any questions. I changed my stars.  So can you...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse


How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse
Subtitle: I’m not Rick Grimes. I will shoot you in your head if you piss me off. I will not keep some delinquent locked in the barn while you plot against me. And I will not lose Carl. 
Step 1: Ok, so you’ve woken up and you’re in the hospital and you’ve been in a coma and the world as you know it is gone, zombies a’roaming the halls.  (Damn, now I am worried about Charlie Harris - get it? Saving Hope joke there. Don’t know what he will wake up to? Nevermind...). Or maybe you are waking up in my house on December 22nd after my insane crazy End of the World Party (to which, again, if reading this, you are invited my dear Mr. Shanks) to realize that we were dead wrong in making fun of all of this and it’s time to be glad that Hot Roommate became a pseudo-redneck.  Our first step is to accept this reality and get the hell out of here.  


Step 2: Weapons.  Yes this comes before food.  Now, if anything, the Walking Dead has taught us that guns make a loud boom boom, so we need to go Michonne style with one of these bad boys .  And knives, lots of knives. And a bow. With arrows. Not only do we need to keep in mind the sound factor but honey, you gonna run outta bullets.  Arrows, knives and swords, you can just pull that right back outta the zombie’s head. And you can make your own arrows too; our ancestors did it so I’m sure we can figure this out.  Unless of course you want to use these bullets: Zombie Killing Bullets Click Here in which case I am sure that they are named so due to the face that they have super powers or something that makes them better than other bullets. And you can buy them at Bass Pro. Bonus! Oh and never underestimate the power of a big stick.  
Step 3: Where is Carl? Now, if you have survived this far, you have escaped and have weapons in hand there is a chance that you have picked up a kid or two along the way, maybe you are even toting your own.  That said, here’s a thought: WATCH THEM!! LIKE A HAWK. AND ARM THEM. NOT WITH A DAMN STUFFED ANIMAL OR A COWBOY HAT.  If the zombies come a knockin’ on my door on December 22nd (thank GOD I get to meet Mr. Canadian Hot Pants soon!! Just in case, you know?) you better believe that Will (Adorable Nerd Offspring) and Clare (Fashionista In-Training Offspring) are going to be armed to the teeth with the latest in Martial Arts weaponry.  And I will know where they are. At all times.  
Step 4: On the move. Now, obviously, if this has just happened, you are going to have the fortune of your choice of car and probably ones with gasoline.  Find something that can serve as your home and your mode of transportation.  Like an RV. But DON’T let some silly college co-eds talk their way into said RV. They will get you eaten by zombies and hooked up with a some crazy ass cops and a whiney lady that doesn’t watch her kid.  You’re better off with the cute little young Asian boy that is the only smart one there.  Keep him.  He’s useful. And stock up on gasoline, lots’ of gasoline. Because when you make it to the country you are going to see that horses are not such a bright idea either. 
Step 5: Carl, where did you go? Did you see him? I mean he was right here not two seconds ago!! What do you mean you gave him a gun? I was kidding about those zombie bullets being magic you idiot!! Carl, get back over here.  Give me your hand.  Yes, those are handcuffs, I’m a cop, remember, I seemed to bring everything else with me from that station. Yes, I am cuffing you to me. And putting the key out of your reach. (See Rick, how freakin’ hard was that!?!) 
Step 6: Water.  Time for me to go all Girl Scout leader on you. Believe or not, water used to come from places other than Aquafina and Dasani bottles.  Water comes from...wait for it.....it will be a revelation in your life experience..... THE GROUND!!! So, don’t burden yourself with carrying it around, what you need is a pot and matches. That’s it.  Because you can drink from just about any lake around if you just make a fire and boil it. And don’t argue with me. See here: How to Boil Water to Drink .  Paragraph 5. I know what I’m talking about.  Just pretend the website’s name wasn’t HerebeZombies.com. 
Step 7: Carl, I’m not joking around here.  Do you remember what happened the last time you wandered off? Yeah, that’s right, and I did it once and I’ll do it again and you can just pee yourself as we walk along.  Look how nice Adorable Nerd and Fashionista In-Training are behaving. Oh and that whacked out little girl with the bear.  Why can’t you be like them? 
Step 8: Food. While it may seem suspect that this is all the way the heck down at step 8 I would like to refer you to two sources: 
  1. My blog (THURSDAY) in which the BEST part of Thursday was reserved for Step 8 as sheer evidence that I have nothing against Step 8 and it’s position in the process. 
  1. We are fat.  And by we I mean Americans (because my European friends ya’ll are a) skinny and b) got better places to hide, I’ve seen the articles, you will be hiding at this step). We are so fat that we have a website totally dedicated to it.  http://www.obesityinamerica.org/ .  In fact, clicking on the statistics page takes you to at least a half a dozen sources all of which basically say “You are all Orca Whales. Cut it with the Twinkies.”
That being sad, it is the fatness that will save us. For a while.  Because you can survive a long time without food. Ghandi made it 21 days and this is NOT info from a zombie site, look, I have a legit source: See look it is Scientific American and NOT a Zombie Site. However, at some point, when your skins a’flopping like a rooster’s wattle, you’re gonna need to eat.  Here is a handy chart of foods that never (or damn near never) expire so you know what to stuff in your pack (Or in Glenn’s pack, whichever). 

Food
How long before bad
Twinkies
Never - See “Zombieland”
Honey
Never - But can crystalize. You’ll need those matches. 
Hardtack
About 20 years. This was on a zombie site, no lie.  Where in the hell does one get hardtack nowadays? And if you don’t know what that is, pay better attention in history class, ok?
Booze
Decades - Now you can use this for sterilization too but remember booze has lotsa calories.  Don’t believe me? Take a look around. Thems 19 year old girls have bigger tummies than me and it ain’t because they’ve had two kids. 
Can Food
A few years as long as it is closed. But you need a can opener. That might be a problem.  Use that knife I told you to get, just be careful and for the love of Athena don’t let Carl do it. 
MRE’s
5-10 years.  But really, who wants to eat an MRE? My army friends say they suck. (Unless of course I am off world and sharing one with Daniel....sigh...nice dream....). 
Anything from McDonald’s
Never. It never goes bad. Because apparently McDonald’s is so bad for you that it never rots. Ever. Ever. Someone send me a counter study on this, please. I’m kinda freakin’ out here...
The bad news is that once the above options are exhausted, you’re gonna have to learn to hunt, forage and grow stuff.  I suggest spending some quality time watching “Dances with Wolves” starring Kevin Costner.  That should give you the basics.  
Step 9: Give Carl back to Lori.  The kid has a death wish. Worry about Adorable Nerd and Fashionista In-Training. 
Step 10: WTH - There’s no wine in the zombie apocalypse!!  Once again, I turn to the lovely food section of the HuffPo for help: Wine Pairing for the Zombie Apocalpyse. Got that Glenn, a Riesling? Bring a bottle of that back too.  Because if someone’s gonna eat my brain, I’m going out tipsy and tasty.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Run a Girl Scout Troop


How to Run a Girl Scout Troop
Subtitle: Don’t even laugh. I do this and I do a damn good job too.  Well, I think so anyway...
Step 1:  Make a plan.  Like just about anything else in life you need a plan of attack.  See why Athena is my patron??? You need to lay out from day one a calendar of the entire year (which runs on the school year) from September to June and include every food sale (probably cookies and peanuts) and every time and day you would like to meet and every single Girl Scout holiday or event (They are a lot of them, they are important and patch worthy). Don’t worry about everyone else is doing, if you only want to see the little buggers twice a month, see them twice a month.  Some other leaders are going to use this as their entire life.  Don’t be one of them. The children will hate you. They have other things to do even if you don’t. 
Step 2: Find some girls.  Now, the council can assign you girls, but unless you are me and are the luckiest person on planet Earth and get the BEST LITTLE GIRLS EVER OMA I LOVE THEM SO FREAKIN MUCH NO JOKE HERE AT ALL, you might get stuck with some crazies.  Take your list TO your council representative and say, here are some girls that want a troop and I will do it. Then, when they pull out the waiting list of girls that need a troop either you don’t have any room or once they meet you and your friend’s kids, they will either embrace the crazy or go running for the hills.  
Step 3: Get that book. For each level of Girl Scouting, there is a book that lays out EVERYTHING.  Sure, it is annoying to have to shell out more bucks for a supposedly free all inclusive activity, but this book is worth it.  For starters if you are not super creative it tells you exactly what to do down to buy this number of supplies and/or exactly what to say with a script, but it also has nice little charts to guide you (and we know how much I like charts). 
Step 4: Learn your badges.  The number one thing that girl scouts love are those little patches that decorate those ADORABLE little vests.  SOO CUTE!!! (Having a moment here, sorry).  You need to learn these badges from top to bottom so you can plan activities and figure out when things can count for more than one item or when something you were going to do with the girls already has a patch (Wee for accidental re-readings of the book). Because these little boogers want their vest/sash/tunic to be so heavy that can barely walk from the car to your meeting.  And so do you. Makes you look all cool and stuff.  
Step 5: Trash the dried pasta! Seriously, it is 2012, you think these kids still want to play with dried pasta!?! I tried the craft thing for about 5 minutes and the girls looked at me like “Uh, we do this crap in school; I thought this was supposed to be fun.” So, I went for what I know and love, travel.  Which brings us to step 6...
Step 6: Field Trips.  Girl Scouts love a field trip. Probably because politicians have taken the fun out of school and don’t let teachers do this anymore and need to stay the heck out of education and let us do our jobs!!!! But I digress.... These little chickadees will go anywhere and do anything.  Even make worm bins (for free!!). Even practice yoga (not free but super cheap!). Even go off-roading in the belly of a rock quarry (free again!!! I am good at finding free and willing to share). Yeah, they’ll do that.  They’ll do all of that. And ask for more. 
Step 7: The more.  Now, the downside to getting the travel bug into your girls is that now they want to go everywhere.  They even want to go to Busch Gardens. And these little boogers will move cookies like nobodies business in order to do this (see step 8 about cookies), even if that means each girl has to sell over a hundred boxes each (They will do it, they are relentless little demons, it is quite amazing.  Remember that army we needed some posts back to take Canada so I could have Michael Shanks all to myself.  Dude, I’ve got them, I just need to arm them). Just beware at Busch Gardens of the Clydesdales.... Innocent horses you say???? Oh no, oh no no no.  

Try explaining THIS to a group of seven year olds. I couldn’t.  The one dad on the field trip took them outside.  We moms took pictures.  
Step 8: The cookies. Now, no Girl Scouting experience is complete without the sale of the cookies.  And this racket is so well organized and thought out that not only is somebody making BANK off of child labor, but these cookies are SOO anticipated that they are also saving millions on advertising.  And the kids will sell the hell out of the damn things no matter how much they cost.  So, take my advice.  Get your girls orders in and then triple it.  Order THAT much from council. Otherwise you will be going to the cooke cupboard every freaking weekend. And still need more.  In fact, while you are at it, dedicate an ENTIRE room of your house to the sale of said cookies.  Because they will overtake your life and STEAL YOUR SOUL..... (In fact, I am considering an entire post on this topic alone). 
Step 9: The peanuts.  Think of them a “Cookie Light”  Now, these are a bit difficult since no one seems to know what they are even though the scouts have sold them for years.
The girls will still hustle them, but since they do not have drugs inserted into them like Thin Mints do (just kidding everyone, kidding) and you can buy peanuts everywhere, it’s a tougher sell. A sample conversation may look like this:
Scout: Hi my name is SUPER CUTE BROWNIE and I am selling Peanuts.  
Customer: Peanuts? When do cookies go on sale? 
Scout: The peanuts are our fall sale and cookies are in the spring. But we have a lot of great choices if you would like to see.
Customer: Do you have any cookies left? Can I place my order now? 
Scout: Sir, it is peanut season and we are selling peanuts for our camping trip.  
Customer: (Looking at peanuts and their crazy high prices) Do they come in Samoa flavor!?!?
But, since people love them some Girl Scouts and this sale usually raises money for camping which makes everyones heart sink again, you will sell them.  For this, buy 1.5 of what the girls sold and clear about 1/3 of a room.  Oh and avoid those chocolate covered almonds with the candy coating. They are like crack. Expensive, fattening crack.  For a good cause of course :-)
Step 10:  Ok, so for this step I googled “Wine Pairing for Girl Scout Cookies” with Hot Roommate just to be silly.  And I got hits. LOTS of them.  Thanks especially to the HuffPo for the best article: Cookie and Wine Pairings   Fantastic! So make sure you saved some cookies.... apparently you will need them.  If not, next year I recommend ordering a case (or two), storing them in the freezer, and popping out a box (or two) each month.  And don’t forget me! I will be taking orders as soon as the cookie police tell me I can! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to Treat your Man/Woman


How to Care for your Man/Woman
Subtitle: Stop watching Romantic Comedies.  Here is the hard core truth.  Trust me, I’ve been married for a while. 
Step 1: Find a man or a woman.  In order to have someone to treat well, or to be treated well by, you have to find someone.  Because you absolutely cannot live without a significant other. At all. In fact, it is quite literally impossible for you to survive on your own so you need to do whatever it takes, scour bars, do 1-900 party lines, beg friends to set you up with someone, anyone, go to cheesy singles events, well, you get the idea. Point is... YOU NEED TO FIND A MAN (or woman...) 
Step 2: LIE to your man (or woman). They don’t want you for who you are.  Chances are, they want you because you are good looking enough to sleep with or you have money. For the initial hello, not much else really matters.  So as you chat, just keep lying.  Hell, tell them you were asked to attend the FBI academy but turned it down.  Tell them that you are a black belt in some crazy martial art that they have never heard of so they will not check in to to see if it is real.  Tell them that you can do the splits.  ;) Just lie your ass off.  Oh and remember to stick to your lie.  Once you have told your lie you will need to keep track of your lies.  Keep a note on Siri, she’s helpful like that.  
Step 3: Oh, and while you’re at it, keep talking. Talk and talk and talk and talk. Relate everything to yourself because, I mean, that’s why they are here, right, to talk about you. Talk about every pet you have ever owned, each and every bizarre medical condition you have and about the strange relationship that you have with your mother.   And don’t forget that everything they have ever done or accomplished, you have done it too and done it better. And probably more often. Which brings us to step 4. 
Step 4: Pick your poison.  In a real relationship there is no such thing as working together. Equality is a myth of the modern media. Do you ever see woman on TV with wrinkles? How about men? Yeah, thought so.  Back to relationships,  one of you need to be the dominant partner and the other is the submissive.  That’s just the way it is.  And it is not always the man as the dominant and the woman as the submissive, in fact some guys get off on the reverse. With whips. And chains.  No one will think less of you whichever you pick, but just pick one so you can move onto into your plan for a perfect relationship.  
Step 5: I pick dominant!  B$&ch get ready to roll.  You need to make sure that your man (woman) is there to cater to your each and every need whether that be rub your feet, clean your toilet, pay your bills or bail you out of jail.  Remind them each and every moment that they would be nothing without you and that they need you in every way imaginable.  If they don’t believe you, add that you chose them because no one else wanted them, so even if they leave, they can’t get anyone else, much less that non-existent better.  
Step 6: I choose submissive.... I mean...if that’s ok... Alright my dear, you will need to change everything about yourself for your man/your woman. Change your life completely to match what your man or woman wants. Stop seeing your friends, stop seeing your family, stop your hobbies, etc.  You need to do exactly what they say, when they say it, and be who they want regardless of what you did in steps 2 or 3.  Because, you want to keep them, right? If you don’t they are never going to want you and no one else ever will for that matter so just stop your damn crying and get up and make dinner right now. And bring me a beer!  And if your best friend calls this house one more time you’re out!!!
Step 7: Special occasions.  Now, remember, you really don’t love someone unless you spend insane amounts of money on them that you don’t have just to keep their affections.  And a trip to Chicago to meet the man of your dreams (do I really need to write his name anymore people...but that gets me hits....hmmmm... I love Michael Shanks - look I got him in this one too, even though he is not mine.... yet...) doesn’t cut it.  We need diamonds.  Rubies. Emeralds.  F-250’s. Seasons tickets to the Lakers. (Or the Canucks xoxox Shanks again). Trips to Paris. Can’t afford it?  I would like to introduce you to my friend Visa.  She is there when you need her the most.  (Or is that Mastercard???)
Step 8: Now post every intimate detail of your entire relationship on Facebook.  Be sure to pick the status that best represents what you are right now, whether it be complicated, in an open relationship, in a hidden relationship because he is still trying to figure out how to tell his wife that he has another woman or at least that is what he is telling you when he comes over at 2 a.m.  And make EVERY single status about your man, what he bought you, what he made you for dinner, how much you love him/her, what color shirt he is wearing, how he still hasn’t called today, how you want other people to butt out of your personal life that you broadcast all over the internet.  Remember, Facebook was created to share just this kind of information, so please, be detailed. 
Step 9:  Don’t believe the hatas. People gonna be jealous and b*%ches gonna hate.  They gonna call you and tell you that they saw your man at Wal-mart walking around the electronics department with some ho and then send you a picture of them that was clearly photoshopped with their Boost Mobile Blackberry or that sow that called claiming that she your man’s baby mama and he’d better start coughing up some paper or else she’s gonna call the 5-0.  Thems hatas. They gonna make you wanna take your earrings off.  Ignore them.  Get pregnant immediately.  
Step 10.  Spend every waking moment with your man..... Gotcha.  I hope you figured out around step 3 that I started in with the Spanish wine at step 1. It was that kinda day.  Go ahead, get yourself a glass and start back at the beginning.  It’s funnier the second time around.  And if you were looking for serious advice, again, reread. And do the COMPLETE opposite of every step.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to Change Your Stars


How to Change Your Stars
Subtitle: I didn’t like me. At all. So guess what? I did something about it. 
This entry is a little more serious and in homage to my anniversary this summer. One year ago, on July 17th 2011, I decided to change my stars. Here’s how and why I did. 
Step 1: The deterioration.  It will happen to everyone. Everyone.  There is no one root cause but mine was quiet simple: I got comfortable.  I had Hot Roommate after three stupid years of NOT letting myself be attracted to him and finally admitting everything to him because of my good friend José. I had a cute little house in the country that was super pretty despite the insanity of building it myself. I had two little perfect demons that were happily driving me insane. Ok, you whiney brat, if you were so damn happy that we are about ready to click off of this blog, what in the heck is wrong with you?!?! I stopped caring about me. Which was stupid, because she’s kinda important. To you know, the three things (4 if you separate the demons above).  Read on...
Step 2: The realization. Ok, if we read the 10K entry you know part one of this story already.  Let’s recap, Clare was little, she thought I was a man because I was fat and dressed like one.  She even said she had two daddies.  Ouch.  I don’t have a problem with two daddies, that just wasn’t the look I was going for. Then, there is the fact that Hot Roommate laughed at the idea of me running. At all. Or finishing anything for that matter.  What!?! I used to be THE go to girl to get things done and now I’m the half-ass person who just exists? And my own husband thinks so? Oh hell no! 
Step 3: The motivation. Next, you need to throw fit, scream at everyone using a plethora of profanity in a variety of languages and lock yourself in your bedroom with your computer. Turn on your computer, plug in your headphones and cue up some cinema on Netflix.  Watch Star Wars first and cry, because when you were a child Princess Leia was your hero.  Fat, unmotivated, depressed chicks can’t be Princess Leia.  Upset, flip over to Legend of the Seeker.  Have same reaction watching Cara and Kahlan. Get mad, change program again.  Finally watch that Stargate show you missed while in grad school your friends keep telling you to watch. Watch about 30 mins of first episode. And fall completely and totally in love.  
Step 4: The situation. Shut off the computer.  What happened to you? If things like the Stargate really existed, you really were cool enough, smart enough, everything enough to be a part of something like that (and get that PERFECT MAN - hell, you got Hot Roommate who is awesome and even he thinks you’ve turned into a monster).  Go look in the mirror. Realize you are huge, have a constant frown on your face, and dark circles because you don’t sleep, you just lay around feeling sorry for yourself. That’s not you.  In fact, I have no idea who in the hell you are girl, but you’ve got to go. Now. 
Step 5: The transformation.  Now, keep it all inside until you find the right person to break to. Otherwise, you just end up blubbering like a drunken fool (perhaps drunk indeed) to anyone and everyone and no one will take you seriously. I recommend breaking-down to a professional. It might be a shrink, but for me it was my Ob-Gyn.  She let me sit there, blubber like an idiot and then handed me a folder.  I am not sure the name on it anymore, but I know it was politically correct way of saying “How to not be a Fat Ass Anymore and Actually not Die of Type 2 Diabetes,” or something along those lines.  There was no explanation, just a “Look, I know you are a smart person. Read this. Call me if you have any questions. I’m glad you’ve decided to do this.” 
Step 6: The frustration. Ok, I’m not gonna to lie.  Running hurts.  Lifting weights hurts.  Eating right is killer.  Don’t give up.  You’re gonna sprain ankles while leaping over furniture like a gazelle and have to have the cute Redneck ambulance drivers carrying you down the stairs in the skimpiest workout clothes ever because you were working out before the kids got up and oh yeah, they’re up now, on the phone with 911 talking about how clumsy you are.  You’re husband will get promoted and leave you with the children 24/7 so you have to improvise like crazy and ride your bike while lifting weights at the same time so you don’t lose workout time.  It’s gonna to be frustrating.  Don’t give up.  
Step 7: The dedication. Get right back up after each of these.  So, you go 21 days without running? Lift weights until you can and start running as soon as you are allowed.  Now, you’re not gonna run miles right off the bat, but be dedicated enough to work your way back up.  Don’t listen to naysayers.  I’ve been told, well you don’t run that fast or it’s not like you’re a REAL athlete.  These people are asshats and they are just jealous that YOU don’t hate your life anymore.  Let them keep hating theirs.  You just keep going and do what you gotta do to succeed.  
Step 8: The destination. Ok, this is not even about meeting Michael Shanks anymore. (Although words cannot describe how excited I am to be able to just touch this man!!!) It’s about realizing that I can finally do anything I set my mind to, even if it is something as crazy as meeting your celebrity crush.  Riding everything at the local theme park that you were ever afraid of.  Trying Hot Yoga. Belly Dancing in front of a crowd.  Writing a story, a novel, a blog.  Putting yourself out there. Because remember, you were pretty cool. And you still are.  
Step 9: The dispensation.  For this to truly work you don’t just going flouncing around bragging.  I get a lot of compliments and the first thing I say is “Thanks, but anyone can do it if I did.  Just let me know, I’m happy to share.” And be there for those people when they hit steps 5-7.  Be there when they tell you what THEIR step 8 is and don’t laugh (cuz come on YOURS is to HUG Michael Shanks, does it get sillier?? I thought not). Be supportive and caring and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. 
Step 10: The celebration. Wine time!! Hey, wanna know the best part of this? It takes less wine to be happy when you are smaller.  So you can either save the money or buy more expensive wine. But drink up and drink well! You deserve it.  
Happy Anniversary! And if YOU ;) are reading: I’m not one of the crazies, I just wanted to thank you for helping me change my stars even though you weren’t even aware that you did.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to Furnish your Home


How to Furnish and Decorate your House
Subtitle: Avoiding sawdust and glue. One should not have a house full of sawdust and glue. Unless you are in college.  In which case I’m shocked you can afford furniture at all.  If not, well, here is your survival guide to antique stores, which are what we will be using to decorate.  Long subtitle, huh? Going for a record maybe?? Does Guinness have a record for this? Quick someone get on Google! Longest subtitle to a pointless fake advice column blog.  Might bode well for my celeb status...
Step 1: Measure your living space.  I cannot stress how important this is. As an impulse antique buyer, I often buy anything that appears remotely Victorian and pray to Athena the entire way home that it will fit into my house.  The result is that I have had, at various times, so many antique tables and chairs that it looks as if I am running a one room school house rather than decorating home. And it annoys Hot Roommate. We like to keep him happy, I kinda like having him around.  
Step 2: Know your decorating style.  Now, if you haven’t selected a style yet sweetie, now is the time.  Seriously. This all goes back to my advice about being grown (which we probably need a post about, you know, the grown thing, kinda important).  Because despite the fact that we have already talked about how the other parents will judge you, well, it just looks plain stupid if you have a floral couch with a leather ottoman and then pictures of birds on the wall.  You don’t need to hire a decorator, but at least pick a color scheme.  Oh, a normal one too. Some colors are just a no-no.  Like pea green. Because, any color that was shot from Linda Blair’s mouth should not be used to decorate. Ever. If you don’t know who she is, google “What came out of Linda Blair’s mouth” on images.  Then, to get that picture out of your head google “Michael Shanks.” That will erase image #1. Promise.    
Step 3: Scout the shops before you go. First, you don’t want to burn gas, and at $4 a gallon or Athena knows what you people in Europe are paying, you can’t afford to waste money here.  You need to have a plan and know where your shops are, the hours, and what they specialize in.  Here is where you dear friend the internet comes into play again.  Google and start a list.  Plan them out and map them on your phone.  Because you don’t want to a) be crawling through trash like a picker and b) nor do you want to be tailed by some snotty little old lady through her crystal department like you are there just to let the hell loose on her breakables. 
Step 4: Dress like a bum. This is my little secret, and it works every time.  See, when you come into the antique shop dressed like a bum, or to be honest looking like me all pierced and tatted, the antique shop owners usually leave you alone because they think you can’t afford anything.  If you go in there like you live in a gated community those same little biddies hunt you down and try to suggest every crocheted doily within three feet of where you step.  Remember, look like you are broke or a member of a female punk band = Quiet peaceful shopping.  (Look, MORE math!!) 
Step 5: Speak a Foreign Language. Now, if you shop alone, this doesn’t work, because then you are just talking to yourself and you sound like a crazy person and when you need real help those biddies will call the cops.  However, if you took the time to learn a foreign language and only communicate with said friend in that language not only can you confuse the old biddies, but you can then have another reason for them to leave you alone.  I’m probably confusing you, all this leave you alone mess, it’s because of step 6 and 7. You want to be left alone.  Here’s why:
Step 6: Tap, poke and prod and be generally annoying. You need to make sure that you are not buying a fake and that what you are buying is made of real materials and not that wonderful stuff we now get in the good ole US of A (i.e. sawdust and glue.  You get that, right? Go to the big name furniture store. It’s not wood.  It is LITERALLY sawdust glued together and then painted.  No lie.  Why do you think we have to replace this crap all of the time).  We want wood and cotton/wool.  We want copper and not tin foil.  So, if you did your research then you will know what it real and what is not.  DO NOT BUY THINGS THAT ARE NOT REAL WOOD.  STOP!! Put that down.  That is fake crap!! I am here to teach you not to babysit you!!
Step 7: HAGGLE.  There are a few approaches to haggling so I feel we need a chart.  

Method Name
Instructions for Haggle
Special Precautions
I am broke method
Act like you came today on a budget and that you are unable to spend a dime more. If they want to sell then they will accept it.  
Well, you look broke and they may just decide that you are not worth the trouble anyway. 
My spouse will kill me method
Works great when the shop owner has a spouse that might kill them.  Simply say, “Ugh, if I spend more than $x then my INSERT SPOUSE will kill me” 
This makes you look like they own you, which can be problematic in the future, especially if you bring in said spouse to the shop and then they get the stink eye...
The know it all method
If you have done your research, you will know how much things are going for.  You simply refer to these sources as you haggle.  
This makes you look like a douche bag. For real. Only do this if the person there was a complete asshole. 

Befriend the owner method
You are in there so much that you just ask, hey, can you do any better on this
Works the BEST! Trust me! I get stuff less than tag price ALL OF THE TIME! 
Step 8: Oops!! I forgot to mention to measure your car!!! Yeah.... let’s just say that nothing is more embarrassing then buying a huge bookcase and have the nice gentleman wheel it out to your car only to find that it doesn’t fit in your car at all and here you are, bookcase purchased, out of the antique shop calling your mom crying because you are the only idiot in rural Virginia without a truck and she has a freakin’ monster truck all the while your husband is standing there going, “See, this is why we need a truck.”  Yeah, it makes you feel stupid after you have been so smart with this purchase. Just measure the car in advance.  
Step 9: Hide it from your spouse and/or place it strategically.  Now, if you have gone without your spouse and quite possibly with an enabling friend (*Cough * Michael *Cough* - Oh and that is NOT Michael Shanks - But Holy Crap I think Mr. Canadian Hot Pants would be fun in my antique store smartassery!!!! ; That is a dear friend of mine who enables me and does not stop me from buying bad things) you need to figure out how to get these things into your home. Then, you need to make them fit in a manner such that your spouse will not notice and think it has been there all along.  I did this with a recent purchase of a Victorian chair.  It was red, like the sawdust and glue chair I was replacing.  It took Hot Roommate a week before he noticed.  By then, he decided he liked the new chair better. And never asked what it cost.  Which wasn’t much.... I used the hubby will kill me method. 
Step 10: Did you buy a wine cabinet? I probably should have mentioned that earlier, but if we are going to keep this up, you probably should have bought a cabinet.  Oh well, you can go antiquing again tomorrow. Here is a picture of mine, it’s a dresser from the 1940’s and it holds LOTS of Spanish wine.  




Oh and moonshine!  But, since this lack of a wine cabinet is partly my fault, go pour yourself a glass from your tiny little rack and I’ll owe you one.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

How to Have a Memorable 4th of July


How to Enjoy your 4th of July
Subtitle: We’re gonna get arrested...
Step 1: Prep Work. My husband has perfected his 4th of July fireworks collection system in that he has incorporated it into our family vacation drive home. Every year.  And each and every year he takes it a bit more over the top.  This year his destination: South of the Border. Oh my Athena.... This is what this place looks like. 


And the rush of testosterone is so great that I had to leave for fear over being overtaken like a yuppie female tourist lost in West Virginia (Deliverance anyone?). I was scared.  I left. And bought a taco. 
Step 2: Go to a local parade. Local parades are the best because not only do they throw candy, which remember about 1/3 of your kids are not old enough to eat yet and you get to sit and enjoy. (Wait, you haven’t tried that trick yet? What is wrong with you???) BUT they are also just plain funny.  Our local parade has more antique John Deere tractors in it than people, at a ratio of approximately 3:1 (Who is driving these mystery tractors you may ask? They string them in rows like Christmas tree popcorn) and it is full of animals.  However, the BEST part of all is the clueless people who drive out to the country to see these things.  My sister, each year, walks her animals in the parade. (Told you were were rednecks). And each year, she has to answer a stupid question, because apparently people don’t know what animals look like anymore.  This year she walked this: 

About five people asked her what kind of animal it was. I told her she should have said ‘It’s a Cheetah.’ 
Step 3: Lunch at Granny’s with stories. If you are fortunate like me to still have your grandparents alive even though you are in your early 30’s, this MUST be part of your ritual.  Because, 4th of July lunch when your grandparents are in their 80’s and your aunts and uncles don’t care because their kids are grown any more, you can learn all sorts of interesting things about your family, and your parents.  Like how your mom had mastered the fine art of sneaking out of the house and hung out with the pot heads in high school after making herself sound like Laura Ingalls to you everytime you did something stupid as a teen.  In fact, the entire insanity went down like this: 
Someone put on some hippie rock fest documentary on the TV UNRATED and UNCENSORED which lead to my 85 year old grandfather laughing at the swearing and how high Jim Morrison was which someone lead to a room discussion on the film Apocalypse Now (which I would like to mention is my love Michael Shanks favorite film  ;-) ) and how it affected the music of the time period which lead to yet again another discussion of pot which led to stories about how my mom got her fake teeth.  She knocked them out. At the State Fair. Impressing a boy.  When she was 17. After sneaking out.  My Granny was ALL OVER giving me this dirt.  If this is the 4th, I can’t WAIT until Thanksgiving!!
Step 4: Booze in a bag.  Now, what 4th of July is complete without some alcoholic beverages.  This year’s du jour: Booze in a bag.  It is exactly what it says, a malt based daiquiri that you freeze that comes in a bag. Ok, let’s forget for a few minutes that I dissed all such beverages only a few months ago.  This stuff is good and it’s only two bucks a pop. And if you buy six and smile cutely at the cashier, he will key in the wine discount even though this stuff clearly never saw a grape.   
Step 5: Food. Now, it’s July 4th, so as good GOD FEARIN’ AMUHRICANS we are supposed to eat hamburgers and hot dogs.  But me...dude, I just got back from DisneyWorld at 2 freakin’ a.m. and had to get up and deal with this insanity.  Burgers and Dogs it is... we can discuss grilling gourmet later. 
Step 6: Waiting....waiting.... till dark. This is just that much better with kids.  Is it dark enough yet? (Sun is still up at this point) No.  Ten minutes later, Is it dark enough yet? (Sun starting to set but sky is still pretty dark light) No. Five minutes later, Is it dark enough yet? (Sun is the exact same freakin position because it has only been five minutes) No.  Brianne, you really need to tell Jack to get the fireworks started (Now my mother is weighing in as it is still light out).  Where was I? Oh, sitting at my computer, writing all of this insanity down for your people. Oh, wait! Be right back.  It’s dark enough now!! 
Step 7: The Fireworks. Remember that trip to South of the Border.  Bad idea.  Let’s skip the written step and just share the link, shall we?? (Please don’t turn me in...) 
Step 8: Watch out for your neighbors. They will walk through the woods, in the dark, no flashlight, almost a mile no less, to ask you if you think it is a good idea to shoot off those fireworks. I don’t but Hot Roommate did.  However, Hot Roomate did have a point, since it sounded like a war was going on all around us, it was not only stupid for said neighbor to walk through the woods in the pitch black with no flashlight, but really?? Our little pops and cracks were what you were worried about. Come on dude, b$*ches next door are firing canons. Get your priorities straight. 
Step 9: Hide the evidence. Because the cops might come, remember the crazy neighbors, but be creative. The cops will look in the back of your truck, the shed, your trashcan, so you gotta get more inventive.  Try the grill! No one will ever think to look there.  I didn’t.  So, the next day when you go to clean out the grill and open the lid to discover all of the smoldering evidence chillin there like grilled chicken, don’t be surprised.  That was a good hiding spot.  
Step 10: Wine. Because there is ash in my hair.  I still think the cops are coming. Hot Roommate has hidden the fireworks in my grill.  My best friend (the guy BF, not the awesome amiga in Texas) has jetted out of here leaving me to my fate.  My kids think Hot Roommate is a superhero because he didn't blow himself up but made our backyard look like DisneyWorld. 
I’ll be in my bedroom.  With wine. And Stargate DVD’s.  Thanks...