Who is this lady?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The One Where We Talk About Twitter

Let's talk about some hilarious things I spotted on my Twitter feed yesterday. Twitter is my social media platform of choice when I'm taking my mid-afternoon mental break at work since you get the facts so quickly. No time a-wastin' on this site.

Before I joined Twitter, I just didn't get it. Which is how I currently feel about Tumblr and Google +. I just don't get them. Now, I realize if I were to sit down and think about it for about 10 seconds I would probably understand, but the point is I currently don't so if you don't understand Twitter, I feel ya.

Anyway, whilst perusing the headlines this afternoon, I came across this Huffington Post LA tweet:

So I click on the link...  Because obviously, this is a story of interest. And THIS is what the con man looks like.

"Hey man! My teeth are the same color as my eyebrows!"

Like... What? How did Translucent Eyebrows McGee manage to talk women into giving him over $300,000?!! I mean look at him! He does not look trustworthy! HE WEARS A PINKY RING. I trust no man with a pinky ring. I don't care what kind of damn family crest you are sporting on there. Just... No. No, no, no. 

So then I decide to check out what's "trending" on Twitter. Twitter trends are phrases or people or topics that get popular because lots of people are tweeting about them. There's always at least one full of high schoolers' responses. Or at least responses that look like they were written by high schoolers... Last night's trend was "It'sCrazyHow" (because on Twitter, spaces between words are optional). So I look and see what people are finding crazy these days.

First up, this:

Which is funny and true. And makes me think of Undateable... which is also funny and true. See more of that nonsense here

Then I stumbled across this:

That is also true. But it's a little more strange because, like... THAT'S what you pick to tweet about? THAT'S what you find crazy enough to mention? Okay. Little did I know what I was in for next.

I'm not even sure what this one means. Like people got used to writing 2013 quickly? People got used to it not being 2012 anymore? I NEED CLARITY.


I think this individual needs to look up the definition of crazy. Because I don't know about you, but this does not seem applicable. 

I felt like this was my sign to finish my frozen yogurt and head to Pilates. And yes, I frequently fuel up with something desserty before hitting the gym... don't YOU? I mean, I need fuel to workout! 

Also, if you're interested in reading all the things I re-tweet, follow me @nhankel. My tweets are protected because I don't let just any hooker read my 140-character thoughts. 

In other news, my mom and my sister and her fiance are visiting me this Saturday. Except a full recap, especially since Laura's bringing her dog, Mr. Paws. Obvi, I'll have a photo shoot with him. Oh yeah, and I guess I'll take a couple pictures with the humans, too. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The One Where I Time Travel and Introduce Nalla

I swear, sometimes, there are seriously moments where I feel like I literally just time traveled. Usually, it's not very far into the past (always in the past, though... I'm not as cool as Theresa Caputo, able to go around predicting the future* with some enviably teased hair like such: 

"My nayme is Theresa Caputo and eye lyke to think of meyself as a typicawl Lawng Island mahm..." 
* - Yes, I realize she's a medium, which means she connects with the dead, she doesn't really predict the future, but I just wanted to include her in this post. So sue me.)

I have had a few particularly strong time travel moments in the past few weeks. For example, the other night I went to Trader Joe's for some groceries (since I'm so different and original compared to every other twentysomething living in the Greater Los Angeles area...) and as I was leaving with my brown paper bags (side note: what do you think they'd do if I brought my own plastic bags with me? Imagine!) and as I'm walking my car I swear to GOD I spy a girl wearing exactly this:

Hat photoshopped on to Vanessa Hudgens, who so graciously agreed to be my model, by yours truly
I mean... this is just so 2003/2004. Now, to be clear, things from this time period DELIGHT me. If I could live the entire rest of my life in the 90s/early 2000s, I would be such a happy camper. It's just so surprising to see such a complete throwback. Usually, you get the hat or the Uggs and the sweatshirt, but not the full sweatsuit. I was pleased with her commitment to the full look. 

Then, I heard this on the radio last week:

Jessica Simpson - I Think I'm in Love With You

This Jessica Simpson song and video are so good, for so many reasons. First, it's JSimp. Hello. Second, she is literally dancing in a Jeep with her belly button showing in the video. Who did NOT want that to be their life when this video came out? I sure did! Unfortunately, by the time I was old enough to drive (and I actually drove a Jeep in high school!) my desire to dance out of the roof of my Jeep had faded. 

Another reason this song is so good is because it reminds me of my Other Half, the girl who makes up the other half of Nalla, my bestie forever, Calla. The very first day I met Calla, at college, this girl Lauren (different from the Lauren previously featured on my blog!) who lived in my dorm freshman year, went to Calla's dorm room to get a brow or bikini wax... unsure of that detail anymore. Anyway, the point is, Calla is a licensed aesthetician and so Lauren knew she could go to her without fear of death from waxing. So we walk into Calla's dorm room, and this is what is staring back at me:

And I remember thinking "... All right. I think this girl and I are going to be friends. She might be a lesbian, but that's fine." And oh, how right I was. Minus the lesbian thing. We survived our psychology major together (which included a lot of late nights and McDonald's) and we've survived living 1,200 miles apart from each other for the past 3 and a half years, closer than ever. We still talk every single day. Well, mostly text. But still. Every day. I love her so much and I'm gushing about her because I get to go visit her for a long weekend in 2 weeks and I am just. so. freakin. excited.

This is the first picture of us together ever tagged on Facebook, taken right around the time we became Nalla, when one of our psych professors combined our names while asking one of us a question:

Obvs, taken at a sushi restaurant because that's all we ever like to eat around each other. Calla does not look like that anymore. She, over the past couple years, has lost over 100 pounds, which makes her a total inspiration and even more badass than she was previously.

This is me and Calla at her bachelorette party this past September:

And, my favorite picture of us ever taken, our "Christmas card photo" from two Thanksgivings ago:

Don't be too jealous...

I hope she and I are still friends in 40 years like my mom is with her college bestie, Gail. And we're still texting each other ridiculous stuff like this:

I mean, a girl can dream. Expect a ri-DIC-ulously long, picture heavy post featuring the two of us narcissists after our Presidents Day Weekend Extravaganza. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The One Where I Went to Honda

So I promised you a story about a certain license plate holder spotted at Honda and I don't like to break promises, so here goes. First, I had to go to Honda to get a front of the car plain plate holder since my car was born in Arizona where they don't require such ridiculous things. $35 dollars later (THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS FOR A PIECE OF PLASTIC I HAVE TO PUT ON MYSELF?!) I had what I needed, along with a bad attitude. Just as I was about to leave the Honda dealership, however, I spied THIS:

Who on earth is going to pay $55 for a "Swarovski crystal" (uh, yeah right) license plate holder? Oh right, people who want to be just like celebs, since "Celebs Love Them!" Which made me think of that column in US Weekly called Celebs, They're Just Like Us! And it's like this absurdity:

So. Insane. I saw one in a recent issue where it said "They put their shoes on!" Like they'd normally have shoe slaves who put their shoes on for them? I don't even know. 

Anyway, after guffawing over that "Swarovski crystal" ridiculousness, I had to go to Costco. Going to Costco is always terrifying for 3 reasons. First, the carts are so. large. Like unnecessarily large. Second, people are crazier than normal in Costco. Like if they don't run you over with their unnecessarily large cart, there may not be anymore 24-packs of paper towels. SO THEY MUST GET THERE QUICKLY. Finally... the samples. Oh god, the samples. These are terrifying because there are so many options on a Friday afternoon and I remember someone telling me one time they calculated how many calories you would consume if you took just one sample of everything on an average Saturday and it was like eleven billion calories. You think samples would be innocuous and the calories wouldn't count since they're coming from paper cups, but you're wrong.

Worse than drug pushers

And they make you feel guilty if you don't take a sample, so I have learned the best offense is defense and I avoid eye contact and pretend to have myriad food allergies. Somehow, I made it through Costco only taking one sample of Yoplait yogurt. THAT is worth a medal just as much as finishing a half marathon is worth a medal, in my opinion. Unfortunately, there is no one in Costco to hand medals out. That's what you should get when they check your receipt at the door to make sure you didn't steal an extra Aero Bed or fifteen pounds of strawberries. 

Carrying on... last week I posted Friday Faves in my entry about carrot fries but I have decided that having a Friday Faves means I have a lot of pressure to post every Friday. This blog is a pressure-free zone, so instead it's changing to Weekly Obsessions, and if they're a little less than weekly, we'll all deal with it together. So here are my Weekly Obsessions from this week:

1) Satirical product reviews on Amazon. I've been obsessing over these for a while now, but I still laugh every time I read them. My favorite is the banana slicer. Read more here. I literally laughed until I cried.

Just a sample of what's to come.

2) This bizarre compilation of kids dressed as various celebrities at the Golden Globes. I found it on Buzzfeed, but the photographer's website is linked there, too.

Fake Halle Berry. Love it!!

3) This song. I listen to it at least 3 times whenever I work out. And yes, I found it because I went to see Step Up 4 (in 3D... the only way to experience it. I hope they release the original one in 3D. CHANNING'S ABS CAN YOU IMAGINE) so no judging.

4) The TV show Parenthood. MY GOD. I don't understand how a TV show can impact me so much. I cry ever single time I watch an episode. I didn't STOP crying at Tuesday night's season finale episode. My friend Stacy and I tweeted each other about how it seemed like a series finale almost. If NBC cancels it, SO HELP ME. 

5) Bonding with friends over unexpected shared experiences. For example, getting stuck in clothes in the fitting room. Who has this NOT happened to, but why is it talked about so little? My friend Jen and I were just discussing this today about how there's a certain point where you know it's going to go on your body, but you're unsure if it's going to come off, so you're doing the step-touch in your dressing room, getting sweaty and nervous you're going to have to ask the girl outside to help you get it off your body and you start questioning why you feel like you need to try on something you know is too small for you before you even attempt to get it on your body. Why do we do this? Who knows.

We feel ya, kid.

My friend Nicole, who blogs over at Treasure Tromp and is 100% awesome, is going to help me figure out this whole blog thing this week and maybe things'll get a little cooler around here. I know, you can hardly stand how cool it is now. Just you wait!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The One Where It's Ladies Night

Okay, so before I regale you with my tale of Ladies Night from last night, I first just have to say this. I went to Lowe's today to get something and to what do my wondering eyes should appear but two poodles wearing scarves, spreading good cheer! At least, spreading good cheer to me. And yes, they were on leashes with their people inside Lowe's, not like by themselves (although if I had a poodle, I might consider training it to run errands for me). I did not take a picture of them because I didn't want to be too creepy, but this is essentially what they looked like, minus the hats (although I wish there had been hats):

Thanks, Shutterstock!
Could he be any cuter?! God, I just HAD to share.

Anyway, on to the good stuff. So, before last night I hadn't been out-out with my ladies in quite a while. I don't even really remember the last time we properly went out, to be honest (which either means it's either my memory or social life which is failing). So when my friend Laura (not to be confused with my sister Laura, even though they are both gorgeous and small with long, blonde hair) texted me the other day to see if I wanted to get a drink soon I immediately replied "Yes. Let me round some people up." And round 'em up, I did. We started at my house, getting ready, sippin' on gin and juice, the usual.

I convinced Laura to wear my hat and then told her to look like a Hipster. She's too smiley to be a hipster.

Left to right: Sam, Amanda, Laura, Kara (sorry you got blinded by the light, Sam!)
By the way... the red and black combo was NOT planned. But was fun. And made it easy to find each other. So first stop... sushi. Um, duh. You don't start all your ladies nights with sushi? Why not? Sake bombs are almost always on the house if you know what you're doing... Which we apparently did! And Laura had a re-match with our waiter when he claimed he beat all of us in the first round (only because he was cheating).

Setting up for the re-match. Done the right way this time!


Needless to say, Laura won and we screamed. Sorry to the other patrons in the restaurant. Then we went back to my house to re-group and during the drive, had a dramatic, but AMAZING, full-car sing along to THIS:

So much Brit Brit love in one car. After our re-group, we cabbed over to this "club" kind of near my house called Oasis. Which used to be so much better, and is now small and sad and full of under-21s. But we still had a good time. 

I don't know why I cannot smile normally after I have just one ounce of alcohol.
And we terrorized our cab driver on the way back asking him to take us to Mexican food, but there was nowhere open. So we made grilled cheese at home instead. Also, mad props to this recipe for introducing me to the beauty that is grilled cheese made in rosemary butter. Delicious. 

Overall, an extremely successful evening, made even better by a hangover-free Saturday full of loungey times and yoga pants. Tomorrow, I have many things to say about a certain license plate holder (yes, there are pictures) I spotted at the Honda dealership on Friday, so stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The One Where I Joined A Choir

I have always loved to sing. According to legend (my mom) I sang before I really talked. Starting around age 7 or 8, I wanted to be either this lady:

Or this one:

I would literally pray before I went to sleep at night that I would wake up with their curly hair. Literally. Prayers were said. Needless to say, it didn't happen. However, I am still obsessed with their 90s tunes. Not a lot compares to 90s Mariah and 80s/90s Whitney. Don't EVEN lie and tell me you don't sing along every time you are listening to Delilah and she plays "I'll Be There" from Mariah's MTV Unplugged set. Don't even try. I know you are lying.

So, anyway, I sang in choirs from elementary school up to college when I had to stop due to the song choices the choir director made (was forced to make?). After college, I took voice lessons just for fun during grad school, but those are expensive so once I no longer had my student loans to fund such adventures, I had to stop singing again. Until last Tuesday. When I became one of the D'Vines of Rancho Cucamonga, California.

I am a busy person. I don't like not having stuff to do, and I was getting restless not having a creative outlet of some sort, so a couple weeks ago I was perusing the city website for community classes in photography and came across the D'Vines, an all-women, no audition necessary, community choir. I'm pretty sure my eyes literally lit up when I saw this as an option. And rehearsals for the season hadn't started yet. Perfect. I paid my fee, and waited eagerly for the first meeting.

And it did NOT disappoint. It is me, a girl in high school, and about 14 ladies who have many, many more moons of life experience under their belts than I. We're talking a LOT of orthopedic sandals here, folks. But it's just so much FUN. Since it's a community choir, it's not all serious like high school choir and it's all women. Sisterhood, sisters doin' it for themselves, sisterhood of the traveling pants, d'vine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood (see what I did there?)... basically, this:

Our theme for this season's concert is "girl groups" but we're working with a loose interpretation of this theme since one of the songs is The Rose by Bette Midler (the director proclaimed Bette to be a group unto herself) and another song is The Star Spangled Banner (...). At any rate, it's a fun 2 hours to sing out with you bling out (I came up with that just now... also, I don't have any bling, so that hardly applies to me).  

And don't worry - my friends have all promised to attend our final concert and document accordingly, so stay tuned for updates. I don't know if it'll be as awesome as this...

But I sure will try to get us there! It has always been a dream of mine to inspire overall-bedecked youths with the power of song... Also, mad props and shoutout to Sister Mary Patrick! God, I love her!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The One Where I Ran 13.1 Miles... For the Second Time

I hope you're ready for an inspiring story. Not like "homeless to Harvard" inspiring or "beat Stage-4 breast cancer" inspiring. Just your average, everyday, garden-variety inspiring, but you might still cry if you're PMS-ing. (You were warned.)

Not so long ago, I was one of these people:

Like, seriously, I did not run AT ALL EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If I was in the same situation as the McAllister family in Home Alone, I would have missed that plane to Paris and probably realized my son was not with the brood as he should be due to the fact that I would have refused to run to the gate and then the movie would be very boring and short. 

There were multiple reasons behind this. First, I thought running was for skinny people. Or at least, in-shape people. (Spoiler: it's not. Everybody starts somewhere.) Also, I was self-conscious. Example thought: "Oh my god, everyone can SEE me while running. Embarrassing. Better stick to the elliptical." (Spoiler: Nobody is looking at you while you're working out. Also, you look pretty much the same on the treadmill vs. the elliptical.) Finally, I was just plain scared to try running because it was going to be hard, and hurt, and I'd be out of breath and I wouldn't be very good at it. I didn't like doing things I wasn't positive I was going to be good at. Then... I met this lady:

Me and my previous trainer, Ange, just being us.
Her name's Ange and she's a very super talented personal trainer. With her help and encouragement, I went from literally not being able to run a quarter mile without stopping to the point where I was yesterday when I ran for seven and a half miles without stopping. Now, I wasn't running very fast, but still. Seven and a freaking half miles is a long time to go without stopping. Spoiler: it's almost all mental. Ange helped me learn that I CAN do things, even when they're scary and even if I may not be good at them the first or second or even fifth time around. You just have to keep trying. We don't train together anymore, but until the day I die, I will credit her with helping me realize at least part of my potential as a human being. (Sappitty sap sap.)

So, now, these days, I kind of like to run. I am now kind of like this:

And as a result, my friend/running partner/sole sister Shelly and I completed our second half marathon in less than a year together yesterday. We also ran our first 5K together less than two years ago. Which was the first time I ever ran that far because in training for that 5K, the longest I ran was about 2.5 miles. 

Shelly and me after the OC Fair 5K!
Anyway, Shelly's awesome. She is the funniest person I know, which makes running with her always a good time. So we completed the OC Half Marathon last May, and about ten seconds after crossing the finish line (before I felt like puking) we agreed we'd sign up for another one. And we picked the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland. (Which, BY THE WAY, definitely earns the award for most organized race we've ever attended. Over 11,000 people ran and I only had to wait 5 minutes for a porta-potty before the race. THAT is an achievement.) 

This half was a totally different mental experience from the OC half last May. We both agreed that the miles seemed to go much faster and we both just felt amazing (mentally) throughout the race. Physically, I was definitely stronger thanks to my current trainer Ashley, hence the nonstop 7.5 miles, and mentally I just kept telling myself "I can DO this." And I did it. No questions asked. The night before the race, I really had doubts I'd finish since I didn't run as often as I did before my first half, but maybe that was better? I honestly don't know. 

Anyway, one of my favorite things about races are the signs spectators hold up during the race. Some of my favorites include: I Bet This Felt Like a Better Idea Three Months Ago; Running: Not Just From the Cops Anymore; and DLF>DNF>>>DNS (Dead Last Finish Is Better Than Did Not Finish Which Is Immensely Better Than Did Not Start.) I didn't take pictures of people's signs along the course, but I found pictures that other runners took and posted on the Facebook page for the Tinkerbell half. Here are a selection of some other good ones:

Full disclosure: this pic was taken at a race in NYC, but I saw people holding signs that said both of these things yesterday.
Left: You've trained longer than Kim Kardashian was married!
Right: Your feet are hurting because you're kicking so much ASS

I did not see this sign, but I wish I had!

So, I crossed the finish line for this race, found Shelly... and promptly burst into tears and clutched at her like a small child. I was just so PROUD of us for doing this race when we both had our doubts and proud of us for coming so far in general. We are proof that if you want to, you can do it. 

After, with our SWEET medals!
My friend from college, Jill, was also in town to run, but we somehow did not get a picture together. However, I did take this hilario pic in Buca where we all went for pre-race carbo loading:

Why is this cat sitting in a spoonful of pasta? And why is it so happy?
Jill had a PR yesterday and I am proud of her, too! Especially since I KNOW she stopped to take pics with the Disney characters that were posted along the course. :-)

Anyway, don't worry - I'm not going to talk about how awesome I am in all my posts. But the moral of this story is if it scares you, do it anyway. And you are capable of more than you imagined. 

And finally, always eat a cupcake the night before you run. It'll make you happy.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The One Where I Make Carrot Fries & Friday Faves

Oh lordy. TGIF, for realz.

This weekend, my running partner Shelly and I are running (well, more like run-walking, at least on my part) the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland. I should be as excited as this baby...

but instead I feel more like this guy:

This mainly has to do with the fact that I have barely been running during my training during these last few months. I've been doing cardio, true. And lots of strength training. But not very much running. I may be dead come Sunday morning. Divvy up my belongings amongst yourselves accordingly.

In other, less depressing news, tonight I made carrot fries and holy sweet Mary mother of baby Jesus they were SO GOOD. I saw the recipe on Pinterest (where else?) and decided they were easy enough so I gave them a shot and I'm so glad I did. I had to stop myself from eating all of the ones I made since I cut up 6 whole carrots. And I'm not expert, but even though they're carrots, I still think eating six entire ones is probably not a wise idea. Below are a couple pics I took during the carrot fry making process. (As you can tell from the quality, and off-centeredness, of these pictures, this will never be a food blog with pretty, Photoshopped, fancy pictures.)
The olive oil I drizzled over top. Yum!

This picture is way more aggressive than I wanted it to be, but there you have the final result!

 Also, since I like to end the work week with a bang, I've decided I'm going to do a Friday Faves section on here every week. Well, every week that I post on a Friday. So, hopefully every week. We'll see! Without further ado...

Friday Faves, Version 1.0

Basically, I want this section to be stuff I am digging this week. 

Number 1) Obvi, the carrot fries. They taste almost like sweet potato fries but will remain on your hips so much less than sweet potatoes! 

Number 2) My friend Calla, who has lost a ton of weight in the past few years, suggested I set goals with rewards for meeting the goals throughout my weight-loss journey. So my first goal will be to lose 20 pounds by May 1st. And my reward will be this bag (drool) 

You may purchase this beauty here

Number 3) This picture:

It is important to me that I find out WHY this child was forced to take this picture.

And finally, Number 4) Cosmo had a psychologist analyze Jennifer Lawrence's and Anne Hathaway's Golden Globes acceptance speeches. I wish they did this every time! Read here. I am 1000% Team Jennifer Lawrence these days and -1000% Team Hathaway. I mean... you can't beat this:

Any celeb who can admit to shaking like a chihuahua before an interview gets 2 thumbs up!

My friends Shelly and Sam are coming over for movie night any second. Better eat the rest of the carrot fries before they get here...