Monthly Archives: August 2011

No Fun Zone Eating: If Oprah can do it, so can I

You guys, huge news. Maybe not huge. But if you know me as the cheesy bacon potato and corn dog with a side of milkshake queen, you will be shocked.

I’m doing a vegan cleanse.

I know. It’s totally insane. I’ve lost my mind maybe. It’s simultaneously awesome and terrible. Turrible even. I haven’t eaten cheese in any form in 8 days. I haven’t had cereal with a big tall glass of milk. I haven’t been to Chick-fil-a. I haven’t gotten a late-night corn dog from Cookout. In. Sane.

I heard from a friend of mine that he had recently finished doing this vegan cleanse with his fiance. I was intrigued. What does one do for a vegan cleanse? And how does one come up with such an idea if one is not intent on becoming a vegan?

Oprah.

Obviously. Where else do we get self-improvement ideas?! So I did some research. Apparently, Oprah discovered some famous vegan lady’s book all about the vegan lifestyle, in which she also discusses a 21-day (or 30 day or 14 day or even 7 day) vegan cleanse. In which one follows the vegan lifestyle plus a couple other awful rules: no animal products of any kind including meat, dairy, eggs, etc. No gluten. No sugar, no caffeine, and no alcohol. Yikes.

Oprah did it with a specialty vegan chef living at her house for the duration. I tried to hire him, but he was booked for the duration of my 21 days unfortunately. He was all like, “girl, I’m busy starving celebrities, call back next month.” Fine.

As you’ve read before, I’m sort of the queen of potatoes (gluten), hot dogs (piggies), and an afternoon snack of cheetos and M&Ms (um, need I specify). So I obviously decide I’m going to take this challenge on, though I also obviously wait for my fun summer trips to be over. Namely one of my best friend’s weddings at which we enjoyed awesome southern food which does not ever equal vegan or gluten free or sugar free or, duh, alcohol free. That would be just silly. I’m not a martyr.

So 9 days ago on Monday, August 22nd, I went to the grocery store (Whole Foods) (if ever there was a vegan grocery store in the southern suburbs, it’s Whole Foods) (They don’t sell cheetos in case you’re wondering) and prepared myself for what I have deemed “no fun zone” eating. I also had Chick-fil-a for my “goodbye normal food” lunch. It’s turning out to be sort of fun, in the way that getting dressed up for work is kind of fun, until you actually get to work and then you’re all like, oh wait, I’m at work, this kind of stinks.

So we’re on day 8. And never have I wanted a little bag of cheetos so badly for so many days in a row. I am craving things I didn’t even know I liked, ya’ll. It is pretty turrible. My team went to Bojangles last week on day 2 of my challenge and invited me along. And even by day 2 I was like OMG I would LOVE a Bojangles biscuit right now, with spicy fried chicken and a side of french fries. Yes please. But I shocked myself by saying, no thanks, I’m going home to eat leftover stir fry. What?!

So day 8, as I said. It’s awful, but it’s also simultaneously awesome. I actually love having a big bowl of fruit for breakfast, which I am not motivated to do when I could grab a muffin or poptart much quicker on the way out the door. Plus who would choose fruit over marshmallows for breakfast. No one, except me, post vegan brainwash. And I’m enjoying the challenge. Kickball last week was super weird without drinking, and I definitely got made fun of (obviously) but I prevailed. And I didn’t have a single nacho from the [free] massive loaded plate we get every time. I’m like the goddess of refusing temptation now. 

Try me.

Actually don’t, it only makes me sad.

Also I haven’t weighed myself (so bad for my self-esteem) (especially when I’m hormonal) but I’m pretty sure I’ve dropped a pound or two or three or so in the past 8 days. Which is good since I just received the custom made bridesmaid’s dress I’m supposed to wear for my 5th grade bff’s wedding in October. The polite way of putting things is that the dress is a bit snug. Probably because I guessed my measurements instead of actually measuring myself. Or maybe because I’m powerless against Cookout milkshakes. Regardless, this diet is doing me some good.

Things I have learned since going temporarily vegan and gluten-free and alcohol free and etc.-free: potatoes, in their natural state, are gluten free. Score. Corn is gluten free. Brown rice is gluten free. I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Butter Spray is amazing and tastes just like real butter. Side note: what the heck is this stuff made out of?? It has no fat, no calories, no sodium, no sugar, no nothing. It’s like air. That tastes like butter. And looks like butter. I do not understand but I do not question since a potato with even fake butter is better than a potato with nothing.

I’ve also learned that a potato with olive oil is delish. And that I super enjoy tomato soup even when not made with milk and without the shredded cheese on top (though rest assured when this jank is over, I will go back to eating tomato soup the right way: with milk and lots of cheese). And I actually like raisins a little bit. And I super love squash and zucchini and peppers. And I can get creative with salads. And I made home-made potato chips with no butter or oil or anything fattening. SO CRAZY.

But I still hate tofu. Only 12 more days.

Unrelated: 4 more days until college football kickoff and the return of HOKIE FOOTBALL. Woowoo!

Advertisements

Traffic + hipsters = NYC

I recently returned from a stellar weekend to everyone’s favorite hipster city, NYC. It was an awesome time. I stayed in Brooklyn for the first time and got to experience some normal Brooklyn things instead of doing the extreme tourist itinerary on the other side of the bridge. Seems to me that life on the two sides is so different, yet so very similar. But I live in North Carolina, which some New Yorkers consider to be country-bumpkin-ville, so what do I know?

Anywho. It astounds me the amount of traffic there is in NYC. Not just Manhattan, but everywhere. Cars, cabs, buses, trucks, bikes. Not to mention the people traffic. Not only are big motor vehicle intersections backed up, but the people-traffic is horrendous as well. I guess when you have millions of people living in like 2 square miles or whatever it is, that’s what happens.

Also I learned that subway drivers are mean and ruthless people who need a hug and some sweet tea, and have a bruise to prove it. Nothing screams “I don’t live here” like getting slammed between closing subway doors. Good times.

But back to the traffic. It’s funny that every person I currently know, have known, heard of, or even seen on TV that lives in NYC in any borough, any neighborhood, don’t actually own a motor vehicle. So my question is, WHO are all these people on the road, and WHY are they driving? Obviously most are cabs, which makes sense since there are tons of people who don’t drive or have cars. But seriously. Did the rest of them just not get the message about the bad traffic?

I know I could never move up there and give away my precious Rose. Or lend her to my mother. I love driving and I love specifically driving my car. I just love her. See previous love note to little Rose to prove my point. Thusly why I could never bring her to NYC. Numerous times whilst traveling/crawling the streets of a cab I thought we might lose our lives and/or get hit by another insane vehicle. And you guys. I’m an aggressive driver. But apparently defining aggressive driver in NYC is different from any other place in these united states. Like, I think “aggressive” in NC means you drive 7 over the speed limit versus 4. But I already stood on that soap box.

Once, while on the way back to Brooklyn in the rain, our cabbie got rear-ended in bumper to bumper traffic. It wasn’t a major hit, but it wasn’t a light tap either. I sort of gasped and was startled by being hit and jostled a bit in the back seat. I’m no pansy but I mean, you know. So our cabbie grumbles quietly and calmly, puts the car in park, gets out of the cab and gestures to the car behind us. I miss the gesture because of my limited view out of the window. But I think we can all guess. Then he got back in the cab and grumbled about his car being a piece of junk. Something about how “they make dees things outta tin cans dees days!”

Rest assured if anyone bumped me in traffic, we’d be on the side of the road having a come to Jesus. Tin cans or not.

Also, has anyone looked through the Urban Outfitters catalog recently? I think they just take some cameras to Brooklyn and Queens and take pictures of the hipsters in their natural habitats. I look through the pages of that thing and think…ok maybe this pair of shoes I could wear to work but NOT with high waist parachute pants, a crop top that says “kissing is fun,” and feathered fedora. Also I would probably brush my hair. Right? It’s like going to Richmond – VCU’s Richmond – on the weekends. Or certain neighborhoods in San Francisco. Or this one art gallery in Raleigh where all the hipsters hang. In Brooklyn it’s like they sent out a casting call for all hipsters anywhere looking for other hipsters to listen to weird music and eat organic corn meal together or something. And they all responded with zest and took over the entire borough and then some.

Totally  no offense to hipsters, if you’re a hipster and you’re reading this. As I say, we’re all God’s children. This is Amurica and you can dress and do however and whatever you want. High five. I just sort of wish that “hipsters” would stop thinking they’re so original and unique and different. Because there’s kind of a lot of you, and sometimes it’s kind of scary.

Plus, just because I don’t wear a shirt that proclaims how I feel about kissing, doesn’t mean I don’t have a strong opinion on the subject.

On a serious note, I had a blast in Brooklyn, doing the local thing like I live there. Taking trains everywhere, wearing a cross-body bag, and flowery, sort of vintage/thrift looking dress (from Target obviousy, because I live in the suburbs where we buy everything at Target or similar big box store. If only there was a cool, hip word associated with being a suburbanite). Only thing that gave me away is my Rainbow flip flops. And the fact that my bag wasn’t made from hemp or some other kind of organic material that smells weird. It’s leather. Or faux leather…not sure which one is more offensive.

On a more personal note, and to reiterate the fact that I indeed had a bangin time: it was an awesome reunion with my former fellow worker bee, Queenie (who lives in Brooklyn…maybe a name change is in order) and my favorite fellow blogger Mr. Smarty Pants and his gf and my fellow shoe loving friend Miss Fancy Boots (that was a crazy run-on sentence! I don’t feel like fixing it). For the record, I am the inventor of her smoking awesome nickname.

Also for the record, the two of them have a super awesome apartment, all decorated grown-up like with no posters or plastic folding chairs. Continuing with the record, staying with Queenie and seeing everyone’s awesomely hip apartments makes me yearn even more for my own space.

Soon, grasshopper. Soon.

Anatomy of an LOL

I was just reminiscing the other day with someone about AIM. Side note: you know you are getting old when you are old enough to reminisce about anything ever. But back to AIM. Anyone remember good old AOL Instant Messenger? I know right. I’m dating myself. And not to say that I’m dating myself like old people say it when they say something like “I graduated in 19…well it’ll make me sound old if I tell you.” I mean, it seems that of my generation (which I believe is “Y” or “the Millenials”), only a small portion of us even used AIM. Mostly because it was in and out so quickly, having been replaced by a billion other faster and better instant messaging platforms, texting, Facebook, etc. AOL couldn’t keep up I guess.

ANYhooz.

Back to the reminiscing. I think AIM (and Yahoo and whatever else…for shortness sake let’s stick with the acronym) really paved the way for abbreviations. People who had not ever taken a proper typing class were prone 2 typing like this, not using rel spllings, tking out imprtnt vwls and using #s to portray thoughts. And things like LOL and TTYL and LYLAS..no wait, that’s the yearbook sorry. We had some new acronyms to remember. I remember when LMAO and LMFAO or whatever it was became popular, I could not for my life figure out what it stood for. I was obviously teased for not knowing this, since back in those days, knowing and being familiar with various uses of curse words, especially those beginning with f and ending with uck, was how to tell if you were cool. I was SO uncool by this standard, at least until after my first high school boyfriend. He was definitely way cool.

Anyway, digressing again. LOL was always my favorite, because in the beginning I could never decide how to express my laughter or enjoyment. I went through quite a few phases of expression. One was when I refused to use LOL at all and would just use “haha.” Simple, straightforward, and in general a mostly accurate representation of my laugh. Then I decided that “haha” didn’t sound anything at all like what I sounded like when I laughed, so for a while I changed to “hehe” which probably should have been “heehee,” but that’s 6 letters rather than 4 alternating ones, which is harder to type. Then I think even “hehe” wasn’t accurate enough for me (too reminiscent of “heh-heh” which sounds creepy if you say it out loud) and I switched to simply writing “hee” or even “tee” with a smiley face after it. I remember thinking this was the most accurate typed representation of what my little giggle sounded like when I was amused.

Eventually (in teen years, a few months) I decided I wasn’t too cool for LOL and it was in my regular type-speech like it was my job. I LOL’d at everything, but I was obviously cool enough by this point to use it in lower case: “lol”…only adults who didn’t know better had to use all caps. Then I was LOLing when I wasn’t even actually laughing out loud in real life. And THEN I was using lol only when I was smiling or smirking at things, and “haha” when I actually laughed. And if I was really laughing, like sort of hard or loudly, it was just repeated ha’s – always at least 3 or 4 in a row.

But seriously, look at the difference here: LOL vs. lol. One looks really enthusiastic and one looks like “eh, that was kind of funny and I might have laughed or chuckled or maybe huffed out a laugh-breath.” Right? So you had to be careful because you didn’t want to be the weird one who overreacted to something that wasn’t actually that funny. People talked a lot of smack back in those days and you had to watch your own back.

Now times are very different. Sort of. I still sparingly use LOL. And I still use “lol” like it’s my job. I “lol” pretty much everything. If I even thought about smiling at something you wrote, I will give you an “lol” right back. Made me smirk? lol. Made me raise my eyebrows? lol. Said something that is really ironic or witty perhaps? lollllllll. Notice the repeated letter there. That means there’s an emphasis on it. Like, it’s really funny! But not necessarily so funny that I laughed out loud in real life. I also “lol” at myself, like the time I slept through an 11am exam (I know) and texed Foxy: “i just slept through my exam lol” …obviously I wasn’t laughing, but it’s funny in its own way. You see?

You’ll only be absolutely sure that I laughed out loud if I use “LOL” in all caps. I intentionally save it for actually laughing out loud. Also I use multiple ha’s for actual laughing. Typically just depends on my mood. Sometimes I will even type “I actually am laughing out loud for real” just to be sure you know for real that I am indeed laughing.

Using instant messaging in the corporate world I thought would mean no more abbreviations, necessitate correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and therefore no more LOL. But this is not the case.  Despite an atmosphere in which we speak with people of varying ages, generations, AIM experience, and technical know-how, it is almost worse than it was back in the new AIM days. “Adults” are the worst about this, if it surprises anyone. I love getting a message from one of the older ladies: “hi how r u” …I mean seriously. I LOL at that for real. Also “brb otp” is quite popular.

I must also share that recently I have started hearing people use “lol” in sentences when they speak aloud. As in, “I loled when he told me that.” And it’s not pronounced by using the letters like “el-oh-el”. It’s more like “lulled” like how you “lull” a baby to sleep. I draw the line here. I mean, is it not just as effective to say “I laughed” than to say “I loled.” Plus one makes you sound sort of very unintelligent.

And if I encounter anyone doing this, I will LOL to your face.

Unrelated: big huge congratulations goes out to my awesome friend Dr. P on her wedding tomorrow! Couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the celebration.

Workplace Comedy & Healthy Cheetos

Some days I truly love coming to work. The rows and rows of cubicles with their little windows at the top, the pattern of FLOR carpet squares, the little old lady who closes the bathrooms for cleaning right after lunch (highest bathroom traffic time, if you didn’t know), the sound of printers and computers buzzing, the snorting or ice crunching of your neighbor, that one guy who laughs all day so the entire floor can hear him, the woman who wanders around. The every day din of corporate America is just a little pot of gold to my Monday through Friday.

Recently I discovered a very special and dedicated worker in this building. I don’t know her but I’ve encountered her in the hallways  every so often. She carries at least 3 pad-folios filled to the brim with email printouts and yellow notepads, and an additional one to two inch thick stack of paper, including anything from additional printed emails to project lists printed on legal paper, an additional notepad or two and a special bound notebook. Minimum.

Everywhere I see her, I see her with this material. It truly baffles me. There’s no way that she needs all of that in every single meeting. There’s no way she even needs half of that in all of her daily meetings. It’s just not possible. Oh and she also has a company phone, which houses all of her emails that she also has printed in mass quantities. I love seeing her huffing and puffing and rushing around the halls from meeting room to meeting room all grouchy and barely clinging to her company memorabilia. I always try to smile and say hello; when I receive a response, if I receive a response, I always think that if she just had some kind of cart, or a backpack of some kind. Or perhaps a rolling briefcase to roll around behind her from meeting to meeting, she might not be quite so grouchy.

She does have a killer tan, though. And great hair. Bless her heart.

I really love people who buck the norm and really dress to impress for work. I don’t mean that guy who doesn’t dress down on Fridays or the girl who still wears panty hose because she thinks the men will take her more seriously that way (they’re still legs). I mean the fashion forward people. The 40-something guy who wears those fancy jeans with the designer decorated pockets because he heard someone say once that chicks dig it. The mom who wears her fancy turquoise sequin-covered strappy sandals with jeans and a tank on Fridays. Presh.

Just the other day I discovered probably the sharpest dressed man in our entire building, no sarcasm. He was wearing nice looking dark jeans with the perfect amount of fading and wear on the front, white and blue pinstripe collared shirt – sleeves rolled up perfectly and untucked obviously, except for the tiny part of the shirt-tail that was tucked into his rather large belt buckle – again some designer, and the part that tied it all together: white snakeskin loafters with the long square toe. Dude looked like he was about to roll up to Mirage and get his bottle of expensive champagne and sip on it in the VIP section. For realz.

I couldn’t help complimenting him. It made me feel like I was in 9th grade, but I did it anyway.

Also all the rage lately seem to be insane-o patterned dress shirts for men with the fancy alternative pattern inside the french cuffs and collar, Al la this designer. I have to admit shamelessly that I sort of love this look. Men who wear these shirts really must be real men. Because seriously, a man who is not 100% confident that he is a man and very manly about being a man would never be seen in paisley. Am I right? I have a feeling some of my manlier friends would argue with  my point, but whatever. And it does just occur to me that typically it’s only “the management” whom/who (couldn’t figure which was right) I notice sporting this look. This could be an interesting study in psychology or something related to human behavior or whatever. Regardless, I like them. A man’s got to have a little fun, hasn’t he?

Today I went to the vending machine (because it’s a rare occurrence, obviously…my self control is super human when it comes to resisting snacks if you didn’t know) (that was sarcasm if you’re dumb) and noticed a little sign on it for the first time. The sign reads: “Just 4U” Obviously things are cooler when we abbreviate and use letters for words. “Look for these symbols to help you pick the snack that’s right for you!” In corporate vending machine speak, “right for you” means “healthier so we could maybe save money on health care, if you would only lose a little weight, you fatty.”

The symbols with which we are to gauge our snack choices include: a blue check, which indicates snacks that have 5 grams of fat or fewer; an orange check, which means it contains 15 grams of carbohydrates or less; and a green check which indicates 100 calories or less.

There is only one check next to only one food item in the entire machine, in total containing about 30 or 40 snack choices. The check is green, and it is next to the Welche’s Fruit Snacks.

I’m enjoying my Cheeto’s.