Who is this lady?

Friday, August 8, 2014

The One Where It's Friday, Friday Gotta Get Down on Friday

Okay, people, first things first...

Please say hello to my new car!!!!! 

I am literally the worst at taking pictures so I cut off his nose, but you get the picture.

Awww yisssss front view

I don't know what his name is yet (he is definitely a boy). I want to name him after a character from a book or movie where something bad happened to this character (e.g., he got his car stolen) but in the end it ended up working out for the best (e.g., he now has a Civic that gets almost double the gas mileage and can FINALLY play his iPod in his car while driving... er... I mean that's just an example). Any suggestions will be appreciated and carefully considered. And, if you suggest a name and I end up picking it, you will win a very nice prize. (No, for real, I actually have an idea for a prize.)

So, long story very short, I hemmed and hawed over my options, wrote down a LOT of numbers on a LOT of different pieces of paper, hemmed more, hawed more, chewed my right pinkie fingernail to bits, woke up in the middle of the night agonizing over the decision 3 nights in a row, and finally decided to just go for it and buy the new car. 

I've never had a brand-new car. That new car smell is no joke. 

Fancy touchscreen controls. Weird to not have a volume button for the radio.

AMAZING right-side camera that comes on whenever I put my right blinker on so I can ACTUALLY see what's in that lane, not just assume I am correct in thinking I will not smash into a car when I merge.  Note: picture was taken in driveway, not while driving.

I could even fit into the back seat with the front seat all the way back!!! This bodes well for regular-length limbed folks.

I love him and I just want to hug him every time I look at him. 

Also, THEY FOUND MY OLD CAR. Not stripped, not broken, not anything. 

My actual face when I got the phone call from the police.

The Huntington Beach Police Department called me the day after I bought my new car and told me they found Jackie in some random parking lot out in HB. Given that I had signed the title over to the dealership the day prior, I was no longer legally responsible for the car, but the tags were still in my name at that point so I had to let the Honda dealership know and they took care of it. SO WEIRD. It's literally like the people who stole it took it because they needed a ride out to Huntington Beach and have never heard of "asking your friends for a ride" or "it's called the bus." So, anyhoo, I think the saga is officially over and while I still would have preferred to not have to deal with that enormous headache that is a stolen car, I love my new car so much I almost don't even care. 

So that's that. I just can't wait to see the next adventure life brings my way. Hopefully this one will have less thievery and more of a rich prince who wants to take me sailing on his yacht and buy me diamonds, but whatever. 

In other news, I took this Buzzfeed Quiz about how many summer milestones I've accomplished and I am SERIOUSLY slacking in this department. Well, I did just get a fun Barbie/neon pink mani yesterday, but other than that... 

I guess since I live in SoCal, I have more summer weather to take advantage of than just until Labor Day but considering I will be starting school right around then, I won't have summer leisure time. So, Monique and I are planning a Roommate Adventure, Summer Theme for Sunday. Actual plan TBA. I will tell you what we will not be doing, however, which is reading rumors about Beyonce and Jay-Z breaking up because I swear to god if that actually happens I will need to go into mourning for a solid 7 days. You were warned.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The One Where Amanda Got Jacked Up

In case you're confused by the title of this post, it's obvious you do not watch nearly enough Say Yes to the Dress. Because that is where you learn that when you go look at wedding dresses, the moment when the put the "bling" (... that word...) sash and the big veil and the, like, tiara in your hair is called getting jacked up. 

This past weekend, Amanda and I decided to take the bull by the horns and get out there and start looking at wedding dresses for her. Ya know, since she's engaged and all. We had appointments at 3 different bridal salons in San Diego. 

And lemme tell you... If you've never tried on wedding dresses before... IT IS SO FUN. I'm pretty sure Amanda ended up trying on about 50 dresses at the 3 places we went to. Totally got her cardio in for the day! We woke up to thunder (which I honest to god thought was an airplane since I haven't heard thunder in so long!) and a little rain, which cleared up by the time we left. Also, it's a good sign if you have rain on your wedding day (no matter what Alanis says) so it has to be good luck to be raining on your dress shopping day, right?

The first stop, The Bustle, had a very cute personalized sign welcoming us. We were the only people in the store during our appointment. Plus we got complimentary champagne and mini cupcakes. Luxe! 



We weren't allowed to take pics of the actual dresses in the boutique (so, yes, that last picture is technically not kosher), and the woman helping us was slightly robotic, but overall we enjoyed the experience. 

From there we headed to Here Comes the Bride. Much larger than The Bustle, with multiple girls there for appointments. It did kind of have a Say Yes to the Dress vibe going on. And there were some insanely expensive gowns (mostly hideous... Why is that?) including a Badgley Mischka with a literal disco ball hanging down the back. 


Sorry for the poor quality. That dangly thing in the middle? Disco ball. 


Amanda tried on some great dresses here. She asked me not to include pictures in this post so whatever dress she ends up choosing is a total surprise for everyone, but trust me - she looked amazing!! She tried on a couple dresses just for the heck of it, which is a great way to learn some styles can get immediately crossed off your list while others you never may have given a thought to could actually be very flattering on you. You never know! Plus, our consultant was obsessed with us and said she wished she could be invited to the wedding because we were so fun. #donthateuscuzyouaintus 
By the time we left, we were tired. But we pressed on to the last place, Isis Bridal Boutique. Which I picked solely because one of Amanda and Ross's dogs is named Isis. 

Also known as "Crazy Beast", "Icicle", and "GET OVER HERE"
 This was my favorite place of the day. Again, Amanda tried on a bunch of different gowns and literally looked like a bridal magazine model at one point. 


I am pretty proud of how this shot turned out!


Though Amanda didn't buy a dress on Sunday, she definitely has a better idea of what she wants so when she goes shopping with her mom and sister, I bet she'll find The Dress now that she knows what she likes. I totally got teary eyed at a couple points seeing her as a BRIDE!                             

So... Then... I kept looking at this one dress. So I tried it on. Because #yolo. 


That expression on my face is a combination of "oh my god this is so weird seeing myself in a wedding dress" and "girl, you better take this dress off of me if you don't want me running out the door with it on my body." So now, when the time comes, I know I will probably want a dress like that one. I loved it! It had pockets!

After Isis, we were REALLY exhausted but a couple of giant burritos and some Starbucks later, we were ready to rally. And we went to the Dierks Bentley concert! We were 100% sober. Everyone else was not. This was amusing on multiple levels. Though we didn't stay the entire time, considering it was Sunday night. But, if Dierks mentioned ONE MORE TIME about how we were "the rowdiest crowd I've ever heard on a Sunday!" he was going to receive a strongly worded letter from me. But we managed to get a decent picture. And avoid getting rolled on by 2 people literally dry humping on the lawn. So... Success!


Finally, in other news, I went to the Honda dealership yesterday afternoon to start negotiations with them about getting a new (at least new to me) car. I felt like Meg Ryan in that scene in You've Got Mail... "It's not personal, it's business. Go to the mattresses." 

However, the manager I met with was totally cool and assumed 100% responsibility for the incident and didn't tell me to "pound sand" (his words, not mine) so that was a relief. I am still weighing my options because, as my dad says, don't be surprised when you end up regretting your snap decisions, but hopefully I'll have an update and a new car to debut here soon! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The One Where we Put the Fun in Funeral

Dearly Beloved,

We are gathered here today to celebrate the memory of one of the greatest Honda Accords that ever did live. Jackie (named after the one and only Jackie O), though you were only on this earth a short 10 years, you provided transportation to and from many fun memories and experiences and will forever be remembered as the car in which I had some of the best times of my life.

This is NOT my actual vehicle, but this is exactly what she looked like!

Aside from being a good car to get me to work, Trader Joe's, the gym, etc., Jackie was where I:

-Drove through the most insane rainstorm I've ever experienced in Oklahoma with my mom one summer

-Laughed myself silly with Kim and Erin on our way to a corn maze at Hillsdale one fall

-Broke up with my most serious boyfriend to-date

-Learned what it sounds/feels like when your transmission dies while you're driving on the freeway

-Cried and cried while my friend drove me home after I found out my grandma died while I was at the movie theater

-Sang along with Miranda Lambert's "Revolution" album for six months straight in 2009

-Prepared for (read: poured booze into Smart Water bottles) several cruises to Mexico (don't worry - we were parked in the parking garage at the cruise terminal - NOT driving!) (Does that make it better?)

You can barely see Jackie, but her butt is on the right side.

-Had the cold sweats while driving home from my UCLA interview

-Learned the importance of paying full attention when pulling into the garage at my parents' house so you don't scrape the hell out of your bumper and have to spend your entire summer's earnings on a new one... oops

-Realized the importance of not listening to your drunk friends when they say they're "fine" and "not gonna puke" when you're driving them home from the bar

-Seriously prayed I was going to make it to Ann Arbor one night when I stupidly drove there from Hillsdale to meet a friend for Thai food during a blizzard

-Questioned my sanity when I got up at 3:00 in the morning for Black Friday to drive to Kohl's to purchase a stupid waffle iron (which I haven't even used in years) when Calla was here for Thanksgiving

Another picture from the CALLA-fornia Thanksgiving trip... obvi not at 3:00 in the morning

And about a trillion other things. 

I still haven't heard any official word on where Jackie is now, but the 13 day waiting period to finalize all the insurance stuff is over so we are moving forward with the assumption that she is gone forever. I am sad to officially say goodbye to this good little car, but hopefully within a week or so I will have a new car or at least have a game plan for getting one. 

Anyway, stay tuned since the saga isn't over yet and in the meantime, I will leave you with this video which has nothing to do with cars, but one of the characters is named Jackie, so it fits. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The One Where We Get Inspired

First of all, before I get to the real meat of this post...


Yes, that's right. Ross popped the question and asked Amanda to marry him while they were out horseback riding in the Temecula wine country last weekend. How perfect is that! 

 I am SUPER excited for them (in case you couldn't tell by the massive font) and may or may not have already started crafting my wedding speech. Ross proposed to Amanda with her nana's ring, which is one of a kind, and absolutely gorgeous. 

 Congrats you crazy kids!!! (Who are both older than I am!)

Amanda is my best friend for many reasons, but one of them is that she continuously inspires me to be a better version of me and not settle for things just because they are easy. Though sometimes she can be a royal pain in the ass with this, I always come through the other side grateful that she pushes me and doesn't accept wishy-washy crap from me. I was thinking about this the other day and it got me started thinking about other inspirational women in my life. The list is loooooong because I know a lot of incredible women, but I wanted to highlight a few of them. If you do not find yourself below, fear not - every person I consider a friend inspires me in some way or another. Obviously. Otherwise, I wouldn't be friends with you. 

My first friend is also my hair stylist,  Mary Beth. 

I met Mary Beth at a friend's party and as soon as I spotted her across the room, I knew she did hair and I had to get her info. I haven't regretted this decision for a single second in the several years I've now known her. She knows her stuff. She definitely knows how to keep me from looking like I have a mullet (most of the time). But aside from that, I find Mary Beth inspiring because she's a single mom to 3 kids, plus she now has two grandkids (I mean COME ON... I can only PRAY I look as good as she does when I grow up!) and on top of all that, she just bought her own salon! She loves her kids and her family more than anyone I know and I always leave my hair appointments feeling happy. If you need your hair done and you live anywhere in Southern California, she is seriously worth the drive. Check out her stuff here! Oh, and if you get on her good side, she'll definitely bust out her scooter and go kick some butt for you if you need her to. ;-) Mary Beth inspires me to 1) keep my hair looking good, and 2) believe that with the bad comes even more good

My second friend, Caroline, is also a Kappa sister of mine. Though I didn't know Caroline very well when we were in college (she was a couple years behind me), I have since grown to know her more through reading her nutrition blog, Colorful Eats.

Now, let me tell you something - it takes a LOT for me to even read a person's food blog if they are touting grain-free, sugar-free recipes. I mean, seriously, barf. But I've actually attempted some of her recipes and they're all VERY good. And almost every single recipe she posts is something I WOULD ACTUALLY EAT. You can read about how she got into the whole nutrition thing on her blog, and I have to say in case I ever decide I need to eat grain- and sugar-free in the future (sorry, girl, but I'm not there yet), her website and ebooks would be the first resources I would turn to. And it doesn't hurt that she has the sunniest personality. And a cute puppy!! Caroline inspires me to make better food choices and step outside of my food comfort zone. Because a little almond flour never killed anyone. 

Speaking of cute puppies, my friend (and also a Kappa sister), Christina, has two of the cutest non-fluffy dogs I have ever seen. Case in point...

Christina graduated from our alma mater, Hillsdale, in just 3 years (no easy feat!). During the short time we had together at Hillsdale, she became one of my closest friends and I'm pretty sure I laughed more with her than almost anyone else I've ever known. While at Hillsdale, she studied abroad in England and then after Hillsdale proceeded to get her nursing degree. Since then she's been an amazing nurse in Colorado and back in Michigan and now she's back in Colorado and not only nursing, but also climbing ridiculously high mountains, taking care of those dogs, and planning a wedding to her fiance Kyle. She also pet a reindeer in Finland for god's sake, and does a spot-on impression of Olympia Dukakis as Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias. Oh yeah... and she can also parallel park a stick shift on the left side of the street in one try. (That might be the most impressive fact I know about ANYONE.)

Christina inspires me to try more outdoorsy things and simultaneously to be more of a lady. I swear, her style is better than Princess Kate's and she always looks so put together. I'm planning to see her when I'm in Denver this October for a conference, and it's about time because it's been almost 2 and a half years since we saw each other last! 

The fourth woman on my list, Zhenya, was ALSO a Kappa sister of mine at Hillsdale (what can I say... Kappas are pretty amazing) and though we didn't know each other super well at school, she makes this short list because she owns the cutest baby boutique EVER in Charleston, SC, which is one of my favorite cities in the US.

It's called Sugar Snap Pea (check out their insanely adorable website here) and, like I said, she owns it. As in, she just decided "hey, I like baby stuff. I wanna sell it." So SHE DID. And, yeah, I'm sure the story has a little more to it than that, but that's the gist of it. If you're ever in South Carolina and need a baby gift (or just like shopping... or aren't a robot) drop in. You won't regret it. I also remember being very intimidated by Zhenya when we were in college because she's very cosmopolitan and fabulous and while I still think those are 2 extremely accurate attributes of hers, I also came to learn she is hilarious and very kind. Zhenya inspires me to follow my dreams. Seriously, when I was very first debating applying for the EdD program at UCLA, one of the reasons I went through with it was because of the example Zhenya set for me (and all women, really). She knew what she wanted to do and she did it. Why let anything hold me back? 

The last woman on my list is my friend and "sole" sister, Shelly. 

I've mentioned Shelly numerous times on this blog, especially in my running posts, but she is so much more than someone I've run races with. (Although she always serves as an inspiration when I am running, whether it be for a mile or 13.1 miles, or more (Ragnar, I'm looking at you).) I am inspired by Shelly's love for the environment (she is the reason we recycle at our office!), her love for her family (she rivals Mary Beth with how much she loves her family), and her love for being adventurous. I'm sure living many years of her life in Alaska has something to do with the adventurous part of her, but I just like how she rarely says no to a suggested activity and is usually the one suggesting cool things herself. I mean, just today she went canyoneering in Zion National Park. AKA she rappelled down a FREAKING CLIFF into a CANYON. Because why not? Shelly inspires me to say yes more. And also to watch shows about Amish youths haha. 

Who inspires you?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The One Where I Had a Very LA Weekend

So I decided on Thursday that I wanted to have a Very LA Weekend. Inspired by another blog post I read that talked about the Los Angeles Flower Market, I mapped out my plan: take myself downtown on Saturday morning, stop at the flower market, head over to Grand Central Market for some breakfast, and top it off with a stop at The Last Bookstore since I'd never been there before.

Then, my friend Jessica posted on Facebook about how she had just taken her first SoulCycle class and it was like, and I quote (because this description is just perfection), "attending a Southern Baptist church service at night in the desert at Burning Man all while on a stationary bike." I mean, come on. If that's not enough to make you want to try it... well, then we obviously have very different ideas about what a fun exercise class sounds like. So I looked up where the closest SoulCycle studio is located. Of course it's in Pasadena and of course it opened after I moved from there, but that is actually probably a VERY good thing because otherwise I'd be [more] broke from spending all my money on SoulCycle classes. 

 So I added SoulCycle to my list of LA Things To Do.

And, like the best laid plans, it mostly worked out but of course there were some hitches. 

First, if you've never been to the Flower Market in downtown, let's just say the surrounding areas are... mmm... TERRIFYING. I'm 95% sure I saw a drug deal on the corner when I was paused at a stoplight. I DEFINITELY saw a woman with no legs crossing the street in an electric wheelchair, wearing a bright yellow hat, and yelling at someone invisible about a block from the flower market. However, I am stubborn as hell so when I decide I'm going to do something, I am going to do it, so I proceeded on to the market.

Now, the actual immediate block around the market is totally fine. Way fewer drug deals to be witnessed. So I  pull into the garage where it says "LA Flower Market Parking" (btw, the words on the sign are small and sideways so I had trouble finding it, but I eventually did) and it's probably like peak flower time at this point, around 10:00 on a Saturday morning, so there are multiple cars pulling in behind me. So I jab at the ticket machine to give me a ticket and it beeps and makes the screeching noise and the little gate goes up, but no ticket comes out. So I jab it about 8 more times since THAT will help. Again, no ticket is produced. At this point, I'm starting to sweat realizing all these people are waiting behind me and probably thinking I am mentally challenged. So I just pull into the garage because I don't know what else to do and go straight to the exit. Luckily, there was an actual man there and not just a little machine that would not have understood, no matter how many times I yelled at it, that I didn't have a ticket to give it to make it let me out. 

Well, the man standing there didn't really get what I was saying either.

Him: "Ticket."

Me: "The machine didn't give me one. I just pulled in here."
Him: "Where's your ticket?"
Me: "The machine didn't give me one, so I just pulled over here."
Him: "Why didn't you pull it out of the machine?"
Me: (deep breath) "Nothing came out of the machine. There was nothing to pull out of the machine."
Him: (staring down the garage at the machine) "You didn't get a ticket?"
Him: "So what are you doing? Are you trying to park?"
Me: (totally OVER IT) "No, I think I'd just like to leave." 
[I don't care WHAT kind of deal you're giving me on succulents; it is not worth it to me at this point!] 
Him: "Go ahead." (Gate goes up)

Okay, fine, Part I of Very LA Day did not go according to plan. Moving on. Next stop: Grand Central Market, which is basically a bunch of food stalls and mini produce markets. You can get tons of different types of food. 

And jewelry?

I was planning to get a sandwich from this place called EggSlut. Along with approximately 100 other people!
I tried to take a picture of the line without looking like a stalker.

All those people, plus about 12 more around the corner, were waiting in line for EggSlut sandwiches. No, thank you. So I found another place that would give me a breakfast sammie. And then I came across a place that sells ridiculously overpriced pressed, organic juice. So I bought some. Because when in Rome...

Pretty tasty!
 Right across from where I was sitting was this cute craft place called Little Junebugs. If I had kids, we would go there!

After eating, I walked over to The Last Bookstore. Which is not just a bookstore with a Wooly Mammoth head in it.

No, they have a bunch of weird art pieces all over...

And a REALLY cool tunnel made entirely out of books. Awesome! And creepy!

Then... upstairs... there's a huge selection of books that are all ONE DOLLAR. 



Sign me uuuuuuupppppp.

I found quite a few gems, including:

We are focusing on The Girl Who Trod On A Loaf, which is apparently a book about "opera, adultery, and murder."
If I remember correctly, University of Central Florida took the #1 spot.

And, finally...
I don't even know.

I did not purchase of the above books, but I still got a few for myself.

For the record, bring your own bag when you go there because if you ask for a bag, you will get a brown paper sack without a handle. Which is difficult to carry and not look like an idiot when you're walking back to your car. Lesson learned.

After that I had a little time to kill before SoulCycle, so I headed to Whole Foods (in keeping with the theme) to grab an iced tea. And apparently the girl from The Grudge/The Ring was trying to escape from the parking garage...

Seriously, what is this if it's not an unfortunate balsamic vinegar leak?

And then, of course, what better way to prepare for a strenuous workout than to get a little treat from the bakery? But here's what I find funny. I ordered one cake ball and the amount of packaging/labeling they're required to put on it is absurd, especially for a place that preaches recycling and not wasting resources.

I know, can you even find my treat??
But then... 

SoulCycle time. If you've never been, just go. I can't really adequately explain how awesome it was. I hadn't been to a spin class since about last September, so my... I guess sit bones (to borrow a phrase from yoga) were sore this morning, but not too bad. I was SO SWEATY afterwards. I tried to take a picture adequately capturing my sweatiness, but... it's surprisingly hard to capture sweat on an iPhone camera.

I swear, I was like dripping sweat here.

After that, I went home and tried out these cool new nail "wraps" from this company called Jamberry. My friend Jolene sells them (you can check out the website here) and they're like nail stickers. Same concept as Sally Hansen nail polish strips, but Jamberry has a ton more color/pattern options and so far they seem to stick to my nails better than the Sally Hansen ones, especially around the edges. Plus, I found them super easy to apply.

I had a Sephora gift card burning a hole in my pocket so I headed out last night to get me some treats.

The product in the middle is the Sephora Collection CC cream. Tried it today. So far, big thumbs up.

Today, I decided what the heck... I'll just go whole hog with this Very LA theme and I hit up the farmer's market for some flowers (and hummus...) and then went to a yoga class at a new (to me) studio.

This is usually the image I try to channel when I'm in yoga.

And I just got home from a baby shower for one of the women in my choir! She's due August 1 and looking just beautiful. Check out this adorable outfit one of the women got for her!

Baby overalls... adorable.

And the woman who hosted hand cut these cool animal silhouettes and put them around big candles. How cool is that?!

And tonight I will be reading for school... Moral Leadership: Shifting the Management Paradigm. Are you asleep yet? 

I hope you all had a great weekend! Only 6 days until I can start finalizing things with my car. :-)