Wednesday, November 15, 2017

repuTAYtion

On Friday, November 10th in the year of our Lord 2017, Taylor Alison Swift released her 6th studio album, available only at Target.

She promoted said album on Saturday Night Live the next day. I came for Taylor (and Kate McKinnon) but stayed for Tiffany Haddish (and Taylor).

At first I was going to rank the songs on this album and defend my favorites but then I realized that what we're not going to do is put Taylor against Taylor. And here's another thing I'm not going to do...get made fun of or belittled for "fangirling" over one of my favorite artists. Someone whose lyrics have helped me through hard times and someone who has used words and sounds to make sense of emotions I didn't even realize I was feeling. I've seen grown men punch walls when their favorite player doesn't catch a sportsball, teenage boys idolize musicians who beat up women and I think we were all guilty of blindly following Tiger Woods for awhile.

So let's remember my personal mantra "eyebrows over everything." Wait...wrong mantra. I meant "good for you, not for me." If you don't like Taylor, that's fine. Don't read this post. Re-read last week's. Or read this one because you appreciate her talent even if it's not your style. But no matter what, click ads!

This post isn't me theorizing. So she trusts Joe like a brother, well I trust her like a mother and mother knows best. If Taylor doesn't want us to know what the songs are actually about then we don't need to know what they're about. So in this blog post, there will be no speculation. There will just be reputation. (And my thoughts and opinions, as usual.)

 
A wall in my new apartment, decorated with some of our favorite Taylor Swift lyrics.

1. ...Ready for It? 
Honestly I don't think we were ready for it but we NEEDED it. Just yesterday my students asked me who my favorite rapper was and I said Taylor Swift. And also Ed Sheeran. And I guess Future. 

2. End Game
I LOVE RAPPING ED. So much gold symbolism on this album. What does it symbolize? I don't know...Joe is a beard and Taylor is secretly dating King Midas? I don't care. If she's happy, I'm happy. And if she needs a kidney, I have 2. 

3. I Did Something Bad
LIGHT. ME. UP. What I don't get is "I'd do it over and over and over again if I could" because like...you totally can. Give the universe a never-ending cycle of love albums and break up albums. Date every man in the world and break his heart I don't care they deserve it I'm not bitter. 

4. Don't Blame Me
My. Favorite. Love makes her crazy? Same. Her drug is her baby? My drug is Netflix. Using for the rest of her life? Me too! Or until my aunt cancels her account. 

5. Delicate
This song is classic Taylor being relatable by worrying if it's all happening too soon. For her what’s delicate is a new relationship and for me it’s the balance between a guy liking me and me fatal attractioning him to the point of no return, but I can relate to it nonetheless. 

6. Look What You Made Me Do
I would like to officially welcome Taylor Swift to Slytherin. Santa's got a list. Arya's got a list. Now Taylor's got a list too. Obviously, lists are in. I might even write a to do list for tomorrow and you know what would be #1? Listen to reputation again. 

7. So It Goes...
Can I just say that being "yours to keep" is so thrilling but simultaneously being "yours to lose" is so terrifying and the juxtaposition of the two...not that I'm counting or anything. 

8. Gorgeous
I hate cool people too! And I totally understand the fear that an attractive guy will be single because that makes him actually attainable (to Taylor, not me) and that means that rejection is a possibility and is there anything more horrifying than that? No. 

9. Getaway Car
Taylor said that all the fan theories about the source of these songs would be incorrect so I'm going to throw something out there...Getaway Car is an anthem urging driving rights for Saudi women. It was worth a shotgun shot in the heart.

10. King of My Heart
All of my dates drink out of plastic cups but still don't fancy me. Maybe I'm doing it wrong? Why can't I find a king for my heart? Can't even find a pawn.

11. Dancing with Our Hands Tied
I too have a bad feeling about every relationship I enter. And I'm always right. I generally recommend dancing with hands untied as it allows for more overall motion but hey, you do you girl.
 
12. Dress
Finally someone else appreciates bathtubs. Wake up America, you can't read books in the shower. I would love a remix with a Tiffany Haddish verse about the dress she wore on SNL and to all those other places.

13. This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Very Lorde-esque, and I mean that as a compliment. To Lorde. Also, I too would like to give a shout out to my mama for having to listen to all my drama.

14. Call It What You Want
Thorns are way more practical than flowers so I think Taylor upgraded. And I don't like not hearing from her for months but she's so happy guys. And that makes me happy. And this song also makes me happy. So we're all happy. Okay mainly just me and Taylor but y'all should be happy for us too.

15. New Year's Day
No way am I going to trick someone into liking me by New Year's. Dating for me is a long con. And the idea that someone would love you enough to hang around for the morning after the party? Sounds fake but okay.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Root Canal of All Evil

Today I am writing to you full of heart and numb of face. I just got home from the dentist where I had not 1, not 2, but 3 cavities filled. Some people always get As. Others always get in the fastest checkout line. I always get cavities. It's a medical mystery. I brush at least 3 times a day. Floss at least 2 times a day. Drink less than 1 soda a day. I'm sure my dentist thinks I'm not telling the truth about any of that but it's my therapist* I lie to, with my dentist I'm an open book.

In any event, I had to get the cavities filled sooner rather than later because before you know it I will be 26 and off my father's insurance forever. So I found myself sitting in a dentist chair instead of a  pedicure chair. Why do bad things happen to average at best people?


Luckily, my aunt is a nurse so I regularly rely on her for medical advice.

Dental problems have plagued my family for almost as long as acerbic wit, dry humor and dashing good looks. My mother has nightmares where her teeth fall out. Growing up I remember hearing horror stories about the dentist from my Aunt Julia. And since we're basically twins, of course I inherited the cuspid curse.

  
Sisters in Christ. And dental dilemmas.

And Halloween costumes.

I had the pleasure of my first root canal during my sophomore year of college. The root canal combined with some last minute class changes meant that for the first 2 weeks of spring semester I had been to like 1 actual meeting. That made for some interesting exam 1 scores.

Before the procedure my pain wasn't bad at all so I was expecting the procedure to be similar to a filling. The shots would hurt. I would be sore for a few hours after. And then I would go on my merry way. Boy was I wrong.


The root canal itself wasn't too bad. At least not compared to the laundry list of minor aches that I regularly compare to medieval torture methods. You know. Stubbed toes. Hangnails. Paper cuts. But once the numbing agents wore off the pain kind of rushed in like scorned women at a Miranda Lambert concert. At this point in my culinary career the only frozen food option I had to ice my poor aching face was blackberries.


The next morning I was still in a lot of pain but I assumed that my suffering was purely internal. Until I went to the suite bathroom that I shared with 7 other coeds and my friend Hannah greeted me with "oh my gosh your face" which, for the record, is NOT what girls want to hear.


In this picture you can see how the swelling has not gone down. And I know that this picture was taken at least 3 hours later because you can tell my hair is completely dry. I know what you're thinking. Give it time! Surely it got better soon after this?


It didn't. I went to class like this. Open apology to everyone who took POLI 208: The U.S. Supreme Court with Professor I. Forget in the spring of 2013. The good news is that I noticed a change soon after this picture was taken.


The change was that the swelling moved from my cheek to my eye.

I call this picture Finally Back to Nornal? Wait...was I this ugly before? I don’t think so but it’s entirely possible. Friends confirmed I was still swollen here, thank goodness. 

My next root canal experience was much better. The pain leading up to the procedure was terrible. But I was placed on a healthy regimen of pain killers. Gotta stay ahead of the pain, that's what I always say.

My friend Taylor dropped me off at the endodontist because my situation required a specialist. During the procedure the dentist got me a blanket and a pillow and afterwards she prescribed me a criminally negligent amount of Vicodin. But the real fun happened when I had to make my way home fresh off dental surgery in a part of campus where I didn’t know the bus routes. I mainly remember walking past Walgreens a lot but eventually thanks to a group chat I got some helpful information and made it to my bed.


I did need to keep an ice pack on my mouth for the better part of the next 24 hours. I learned this the hard way when I decided it was a good idea to go to the mall 2 hours post-op. In my defense, candles were on sale at Bath & Body Works. In this picture it looks like my lips are swollen but they take up 50% of my face on any given day.

 
But as you can see from this picture, I recovered just fine. There's that smile my parents paid thousands of dollars in braces for!


*Just kidding, please don't lie to your therapist, bad idea.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloweekend

Happy Discount Halloween Products Day! I hope you all forgot about this holiday so that I can score even better deals this weekend. 

Thanks so much for all the feedback last week. Many of you commented on my use of Kit Kats as utensils but the results were split. Half of you find me incredibly inventive and the other half of you find me to be a disgusting amalgamation of lard masquerading as a human girl. Can’t win ‘em all. 

 While we're all recovering from yesterday's festivities (as a working adult with no children, my festivities included writing this blog and watching American Horror Story), allow me to regale you with my Halloweekend activities.

This year I chose to save the drama for your llama and dressed as Yzma. I had a lot of fun making my costume and only a little carpal tunnel. Thank goodness for my sewing machine and hot glue gun. Without them I would be forced to buy a costume and in doing so would save hours of my life and honestly, probably money too knowing the way I shop at Michaels.
  

Please observe my intense Yzma lashes and earrings. I used a filter in one of these selfies.

But I won't tell you which one.

Emily and I spent all last week trying to get our new apartment ready. We decorated. We cooked. We made it nice. I used my chalkboard that was originally created to keep score during the Rio Olympics as a festive welcome sign. I presented the mini pumpkins that my roommates and I marbled with the help of rejected nail polish shades. And of course I had a fall candle burning. Not the black flame candle, don't worry.


Lupe was the first to arrive and was promptly greeted slash attacked by my doggie Kuzco. I did triage and gave him the necessary amount of side-eye.

We had some snacks. Mummies in a blanket. Eyeballs made of powdered donuts and cake. Crackers for my vegan cousin. #Inclusive #IsDr.Peppervegan? There is honestly nothing scarier than planning a meal for a vegan. But it's only hard to feed if a vegan if you take their dietary restrictions into consideration. I did not. When Drew showed up I just let him read the nutritional information of everything in my pantry. Emily and I offered him every vegan product we owned because if there is something vegan-friendly in this apartment it was a mistake.


We took pictures, played Loaded Questions, did makeup and ended the night with Blackfish because documentaries are the realest horror movies.

The next day we cemented our costume ideas for next year. My twisted sisters and I will be going as Marilyn Manson band members. They all have the first names of famous starlets and the last names of infamous serial killers. It's genius. I'm going to go as Olivia Newton Bundy.

Picture it. Long brown hair parted down the middle. Leather pants. Red heels. Black off the shoulder top. Arm in a sling. "Tell me about it, Ted."

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Queen of Halloween

Today's post is a simple Halloween costume quiz because A) 'tis the season and B) I moved last weekend and I may never feel well-rested again. Here are some highlights:
  • I almost decided to relocate mid-move when Emily trash talked Austin Mahone. Luckily for her, I decided that thanks to all the manual labor involved, moving again wasn't worth it.
  • I used a Kit-Kat bar as a spoon for ice cream. I'm here for a good time, not a long time. 
  • Remember a few weeks ago when I got dumped and how fun that was? In my new place, I get to drive past where we had our first date not just once, but twice a day! And they say dreams don't come true.
  • I decorated my bathroom around Bath & Body Works stress relief aromatherapy line and I'm not sorry. It's my new aesthetic.
 

1. What is your favorite thing about fall?
A. The weather and clothes!
B. Halloween!
C. Knitting and other crafts!
D. Cuddling and candles!

2. Which movie do you want to watch on a chilly fall night?
A. Hocus Pocus
B. Saw (or a Saw sequel)
C. Let the Right One In
D. The Corpse Bride

3. What's the best fall food?
A. Candy apples
B. Anything with fake blood
C. Mummies in a blanket
D. S'mores for 2

4. How do you feel about football?
A. I love it! Go Panthers!
B. I'd rather watch a horror movie
C. I'd rather watch literally anything else
D. I love tailgating with my bae.

5. What would you NEVER be for Halloween?
A. A fad character
B. A princess
C. A non-costumey costume
D. Something scary

6. What's the best Halloween candy?
A. Reese's pumpkins
B. Candy cigarettes
C. Candy corn
D. Wax lips

7. What's your Halloween party style?
A. Throw a simple party, like I do every year.
B. A horror movie marathon with my friends and snacks.
C. Go to a few different parties, each with a different Halloween craft.
D. A bonfire with my sweetie.


Mostly As - Classic
Costumes: Jessica Rabbit, Witch, Disney character
You appreciate all the traditional fall things...cooler weather, football, scarves and pumpkin spice. Get ready for your annual Halloween Insta post by suiting up as a beloved character that never goes out of style.

Mostly Bs - Scream Queen
Costumes: Zombie, skeleton, any gory makeup creation
You really lean in to the guts, blood and glory of All Hallow's Eve. You value a costume that invokes screams and winces rather than Instagram likes. Make sure to stock up on the red costume makeup before stores run out.

Mostly Cs - Quirky
Costumes: Melisandre, David S. Pumpkins, Snapchat filter
You like to pick a Halloween costume that's totally you...even if no one else gets it. I've been there. Last year I went as Tzipporah, wife of Moses. Everyone thought I was a belly dancer. Somehow I don't think that's what the high priest of Midian had in mind for his daughter.

Mostly Ds - Romantic
Costumes: Elizabeth Bennett, ballerina, couples costume
You think Halloween is the perfect excuse to get all dressed up with your sweetheart...or attract a new one. Embrace the seasonal Snapchat filters and costumes that call for duck lips.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Keep Calm and Bake On

Meet Chelsea.

Ignore Brendan. (As usual.)

My best friend.

A 64 pack of crayons.

WITH a sharpener.

Who keeps me laughing.

Last week, Chelsea came over for some much-needed BFF therapy and as always, she gave me everything I needed. A pizza, her full attention and most importantly, she introduced me to The Great British Bake Off (and the national treasure that is Norman).

It could have very well been our LAST pizza even though I don't remember selecting fava beans and a nice Chianti as toppings.

After we survived the pizza delivery we watched The Great British Bake Off or as I like to call it, the last show on Netflix actually worth a crap thanks to the great purge of '17. Allow me to offer some thoughts...

First off I get that this is the BRITISH bake off, but can we ditch the British numbers? Or at least get some mathematical American subtitles. 10 grams means nothing to me. Is that a pinch? Is it a whole box? Who knows?

Secondly, maybe we should do American subtitles for everything cause I have some bad news for y'all about what constitutes a biscuit.

Thirdly...if that is a word...y'all use wayyyy too many flavors. Lavender AND cardamom AND basil? Calm down. Although the Brits do seem to have a healthy appreciation for lemon. I respect that.

Now we come to my final point. I made the promise Thursday that if Norman got voted off, the whole show would be dead to me. And I take this stuff seriously. I haven't shopped at IKEA once since the Swedish women's soccer team beat Team USA in Rio. Luckily I selected IKEA as the scapegoat for that debacle because I could never boycott ABBA. Hey, why do the Swedes capitalize everything?

Unfortunately for me, the unthinkable happened. Norman was kicked off the 5th season during episode 5, pies and tarts. Here's what makes me so enraged about that, other than the fact that Norman was a completely adorable retired naval officer with the cutest Scottish accent.

1 - Another contestant left right after episode 4 due to a serious head injury. They didn't have to eliminate anyone that week. That's what Tyra does sometimes on America's Next Top Model and I did some research. ANTM: British Invasion premiered in 2012. And while the ladies didn't actually travel to England during Cycle 18, the door was open for international relations regarding reality show best practices. I'm filing that one under missed opportunities.

2 - The very next episode, they didn't eliminate anyone. Not a one. So if you're going to have an episode where everyone is safe...you use that to save Norman. I'm not a producer but I'm fairly certain Andy Cohen and Ryan Seacrest would back me up on this.

So why am I going to continue to watch this show after everything they've put me through? I decided to let them off on a technicality. During the Showstopper Challenge, Norman used an ingredient that I think we can all agree is despicable. With the exceptions of mushrooms and perhaps human flesh...there is no ingredient more disgusting than haggis. Now I love this man. I love his Scottish accent. I love his little Scottish hat. But I have to draw the line somewhere. And I just cannot in good conscience endorse a pudding made of sheep liver, lungs, heart and worse...suet.

So thank you Norman, thank you Mary Berry and thank you Chelsea.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Never Want to Die...t

I had already written a post for today because I thought I had a date tonight. Change of plans...I got dumped instead. So...much like my relationship, that blog post got shoved into the scrap heap and I decided to start fresh. Here we go.

My father and brother recently celebrated birthdays but if I were them I would celebrate every day because they're both in the best shape of their lives. How did they do it? Exercise? Yeah. Diet? Yeah. Metabolism so fast it makes Allyson Felix look like...me? Yep, they are genetically blessed with that too. In terms of inheriting traits, Patrick got my dad's teeth and metabolism and I got my mom's chronic anxiety. Fair trade?

But the main change they both made that helped them lose weight...for my brother it was the freshman 15 that was actually more like 7, for my father it was - nothing, he hasn't gained weight since before I was born when I guess I started hogging all the resources...was paying more attention to what they were eating. This was bad news for me because I am not a naturally observant person and I'm willing to bet that most people would agree that if I have some extra attention to spare I should really lend it to the driving sphere of my daily life, not my diet.

My dad and brother downloaded apps on their phones to track what they ate and they learned to make better choices and eat smaller portions. I said that seemed really difficult to have to log everything you eat and they assured me that it didn't take long and you can find most packaged foods easily. And I'll admit...I almost believed them. Until last night, when I witnessed the unthinkable. My father POURED HIS SKIM MILK INTO A MEASURING CUP.

I was almost too ashamed to type that. I looked at my mother, incredulously. Could she believe this was happening? My father was measuring skim milk! And not because we didn't have any clean glasses but because he actually needed to know the volume of the milk he would be drinking. Y'all. I cannot stress this enough. It was SKIM. MILK. That's essentially diet water because it's water mixed with some of the nutritional value of milk. All of the good parts of milk with none of the bad. I'm no scientist but it's got to be negative calories like celery or grapefruit.

Needless to say, that method just isn't going to work for me for a variety of reasons. First of all - for one week a month I am just going to eat everything in sight, even if it's not edible (Hello Starburst wrappers! I only have 24 hours in a day and I refuse to spend 20 minutes unwrapping a teaspoon of caloric content.) Second of all, I don't own that many measuring cups. And imagine if I ate something homemade like a casserole or dessert! That would involve some John Nash level mathematics. (1/3 cup vegetable oil in this cake, split into 12 pieces so divide by 12, add the icing and sprinkles. Can't we just count it as a vegetable?) Also, here's something a lot of people don't realize...I drive right past 2 different McDonald's every single day. That means for about 40 minutes of commute time every day I can smell french fries from my car. I'm only human.

I've tried different diets in the past. My favorite was the sleep past breakfast diet. The less bread diet lasted one meal. I'm also more than willing to try the chocolate diet I saw on MTV's True Life. Just yesterday I heard of a new one. It's called self-control and I don't think it's for me.

I'll keep searching for a diet that I can commit too without neglecting my long-term relationship with bread and Butterfinger cups. I refuse to believe that a society capable of flight, space travel and elevators doesn't have the scientific wherewithal to make asparagus taste more like garlic bread and less like sadness.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Therapy, Therayou, Therame


In honor of Mental Health Awareness Week, I wanted to write a post about therapy. I think that a lot of people see going to therapy as a sign of weakness and that can discourage people who need help from seeking it. Facing mental illness and having the self awareness to find treatment shows a lot of strength. And many of the issues people see therapists for are much more common than we think, check out this article.

I've had some wonderful experiences with therapy and some terrible experiences with therapy and a LOT of humorous experiences as well. Sometimes I cry in therapy but mostly I laugh. My therapist laughs too and I'm pretty sure it's with me. I wanted to share some of my more lighthearted thoughts on therapy to raise awareness, shine a little light on the process and hopefully help some people start a dialogue.

  • Sometimes your best friend is your therapist and sometimes your therapist is your best friend and that's okay.
  • I've always disliked sororities and fraternities because it seems like paying for friends but how is that different than what I do with my therapist? And I only have one therapist, they get a ton of brothers and sisters...maybe it's a really good bargain?
  • My therapist offered to write me a note explaining why I can't do something and now she might be my maid of honor.
  • My therapist might be relocating. I see her for abandonment issues.
  • Here's a thought. Uber but for therapy. Instead of splitting the fare with fellow riders you can split sessions with whoever should be paying for it. $10 charged to my mother for my need to micromanage, $20 charged to middle school bullies for chronic anxiety, a $50 bill for my ex for the inability to trust.
  • One of my therapists still had the DSM-III sitting on her bookshelf. I swear horror movie music started playing when I saw that.
  • I used to want to be rich so I could afford to not eat off the kid's menu at Disney World and maybe get a beach house someday. Now I want to be rich so I can afford a therapist that makes house calls. 
  • They say Millennials are ruining the diamond market and the housing market and the furniture market and kind of everything, but I think we're doing wonders for the therapy market.
  • With the money I spend on therapy, I almost can't afford to do all the impulsive and reckless shopping to make myself happy. Which is part of why I go to therapy in the first place. So...I guess it's working? 
  • I kind of want to bring my boyfriend to therapy with me but what if we break up and he gets her in the settlement?
  • When I was little I used to tell my parents when other kids were mean to me. They thought I would grow out of tattling but now I just tell my therapist.
  • Whenever I go to therapy my goal is to make my therapist laugh but it should probably be to tell the truth.
  • The older I get, the more I realize that the one area in my life where I truly can’t afford NOT to splurge is therapy. 
  •  I see approximately 4 "my husband is better than yours" posts on social media every week and I just think "my therapist is better than yours." 
  • I love to say "my therapist says" before statements so I don't sound too assertive. "My therapist says that the way you communicate is unhealthy."

If you're ever in need of a therapist you can use this site to search by insurance provider, gender, sexuality, age, faith and any other metric you can think of. However, between insurance plans and work arrangements, attending weekly therapy can be expensive. Sometimes local psychology programs will provide free or discounted therapy through clinical interns, like at this site. One of my friends created a mental health awareness initiative to benefit Club Nova of Orange County. You can find more information here

The important thing to remember if you're ever experiencing any mental health concerns, anxiety, depression or something you don't know how to deal with is that there is always someone to talk to. There are numbers you can call, friends online and in real life you can reach out to and adults you can trust. Find your people and know that you're never a burden. You are loved and needed.