2.27.2012

Look-a-Like.

My coworkers think Amir and I could be brother and sister.

This is me.


This is Amir.




At least he's funny.

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2.23.2012

A Surprise Party at Work! (Unfortunately, Not For Me)

Last week we celebrated a surprise birthday party for our Creative Director.

It was about a month in planning. And it was really hard to keep a secret because we're an office full of loud mouths. Also, I get really stressed out when it comes down to the wire and I always worry that surprise parties are going to suck and the guest of honor is going to get all down in the dumps because their friends don't know how to throw parties.

Luckily this one went over without a hitch.

On the day in question, one of our co-founders took the birthday boy out for a (fake) "business development" meeting. He had previously emailed him a brief rundown of this new (fake) client- working with a local fitness company who was unveiling some new (fake) workout product. In theory it was perfect because it was a great excuse to get him to the beach- where our surprise party would be waiting.

Only the birthday boy was actually really stoked on this new (fake) potential client. Which made me cringe because it probably meant he was going to be fucking saaaaad when he saw his surprise party, instead of a new badass product, waiting at the beach.

This reaction gave me nervous diarrhea for two days.

All day long, we had a private group chat going that looked something like this: "When are they leaving?? Are they going soon? I'm getting nervous!! I'm ready for the party!!" The second our co-founder and Creative Director left the office, the wheels were in motion. Everyone took turns quickly signing his gift and we all zoomed up to Malibu. After stopping to pick up some pizzas, I made it to the beach about 10 minutes before the big surprise. In that time, we set up a card table, put the food and drinks out, and laid down some picnic sheets.

Everyone was on high alert for when they would be pulling up. When we saw them cluelessly drive by, we all hid behind a minivan.

As they parked and made their way over in our direction, we jumped out and yelled "SURPRISE!!!"

The birthday boy played it pretty cool and didn't seem to shocked, despite his allegations that he had no idea what we had planned. I bet he was just sad over the realization that his new client had just gone down the tubes.

This is how we spent the rest of the day.






Cupcakes courtesy of SusieCakes


Pizza and pasta salad courtesy of Blue Table






Happy Birthday!




This is my favorite shot of the day. It makes me laugh every time.










"Let's open up this pit!"


Cocktails courtesy of The Sunset Restaurant






It turned out to be a success!
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2.21.2012

Another Endometriosis Post. I.e. Men, Look Away.

Several of you have asked me to keep you posted on the progress of my acupuncture visits.

By now, I should have had three visits. I actually only made it to two, but I'll get to that later.

I'm not sure if it's the acupuncture itself or the Chinese medicine I've been taking, but SOMETHING has made my non-period time MUCH better. Almost immediately after starting my first session, I noticed I wasn't feeling super exhausted all the time, I wasn't feeling nauseous all the time, and I didn't have the pains in my back that had been gnawing away at my left flank for the past X months. There's no question about it, I've felt considerably better since starting the visits with my acupuncturist.

However...

I've since started and ended my last cycle, or as I prefer to call it "Hell Week" (HW for short) and, MUCH to my dismay, it's been a much different story.

Once my insides kick-started this endo party, pretty much everything went back to normal in the unbearable department. -Which is why I couldn't make it to my last appointment. Extreme gut-wrenching, bowel-twisting pain on and off for three days straight. The toilet action was right on par for HW. Which was really great when it had me up in the bathroom for 30 minutes at a time in the middle of the night all three nights. The only difference between pre-acupuncture HW and post-acupuncture HW is that I had no back pain this whole time. Which is actually pretty surprising now that I'm thinking about it. That's usually a guaranteed party-killer. So I guess that's one more point for the Traditional Chinese Medicine side.

After going through both of those experiences, is it worth it?

In my opinion, yes. If I hadn't been feeling any difference and was getting a load of shit from my acupuncturist about how it will happen over time, I would probably feel differently. But I felt better right from day one. And despite the letdown I felt during HW, I think it makes up for it during the other three weeks of the month.

Since someone has already asked me about the name of the pills I'm taking (and also since I'm feeling generous because it's actually really expensive to keep getting this ish straight from the acupuncturist), I'll tell you I've been taking Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang. Like I said, I'm not sure if it's been the pills or the acupuncture that's been helping me, so don't sue me if you run out, buy a Costco-size supply of them, and nothing happens. Also, don't sue me if you start taking them and you die. I'm no doctor. I'm not prescribing shit.

Some other semi-related stuff going on...

I went for an ultrasound a few weeks back. The ovarian cyst that's been chillin' like a villain over the past several years has grown. Disgusting, right? I know. I'm totally grossed out. They also found that I now have two "tiny, tiny" uterine fibroids, "but it's nothing to be concerned about", according to my doc. Fuck you. I TELL YOU WHEN IT'S TIME TO BE CONCERNED, GOT IT??!

After being laid-up over the past few days, I made my way back into work today. Within 10 minutes of walking in, my creative director gave me a hug and asked how I was doing. Which was precisely when my face crumbled like bleu cheese and I started crying like a mega psycho. That was a pretty special moment.

I'm not really sure why I started crying, it just happened. And I couldn't stop it. For like an hour. While sitting at my desk. I guess the best explanation is that endometriosis really wears you out, physically and emotionally. Not to mention, it's kind of like the hormone capital of the body. So when things are out of whack there, they're probably out of whack everywhere. Like your brain. And your eyeballs. That's why they cry. All on their own. Even though you're like "GET A FUCKING GRIP, EYEBALLS!! WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?!?"

In other nonsense...

Boyfriend and I watched "Behind the Scenes: The Go-Gos" last night. It was pretty interesting. And all day I've had this song stuck in my head.



I also learned that Belinda Carlisle grew up like 20 miles away from me.

Weird.
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2.19.2012

Recipe: Baked Ziti with Ground Beef

Did I tell you I'm ALLLLLL over this whole "grass-fed beef" business?

I am.

I get it from my local Farmer's Market. And as cheap as I am, it's totally worth the $6.00 per pound.

What's the difference between grass-fed beef and regular-ass grocery store beef, you may be asking.

Well, regular-ass grocery store beef was probably fed a lot of corn (which bulks up the animal, but doesn't really do much in the taste/ health department), as well as anything else under the sun (including bedding and feces) and may or may not have been pumped full of hormones or antibiotics.

Now, I'm not one to get on my soapbox about eating healthy. Obviously. Because I'm actually probably the worst eater on the planet.

However, grass-fed beef actually TASTES so much better than store-bought beef. The color of the raw beef is much richer, there's absolutely NO scent to it when you open the package, and the second you start cooking it, it smells hearty and tasty. Not like rotting meat, which is something I've noticed with grocery store meat. Also, according to a bunch of endometriosis shit I've read, it's highly advised to eat organic foods because all the synthetic hormones in non-organic foods can aggravate the devil in my uterus. (Actually, it's even more highly advised that I completely cut meat out all together.) (Not going to happen.)

Anyway.

We picked up a package of grass-fed beef yesterday that was begging to be made for dinner tonight. Since I didn't have any specific cravings, I decided to consult my cooking sidekick, the Internet. Low and behold, I came across this recipe.


Baked Ziti with Ground Beef

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomato, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz of ziti, cooked and drained
2 cups shredded mozzarella



DIRECTIONS
Saute ground beef, onion, and bell pepper in a large skillet until onion is tender and beef is lightly browned.



Drain fat/ liquid. Add tomatoes, sauce, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well.



Add ziti and one cup of mozzarella; mix well. Transfer to 2.5qt casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.



Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


NOTE:
-This casserole was a little salty for both me and Boyfriend. Next time, I'd take it down to 1 teaspoon of salt.
-We added freshly grated parmesan on top before it went into the oven. I like to think that made it more "Italian" and "delicious".

Boner'ppetite.
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2.15.2012

Recipe: Mac N Cheese

My coworker let me borrow some his more successful cookbooks a while back. Which was a huge mistake on his part, because he'll probably never see them again.

Last week, Boyfriend and I tried two recipes, one of which was the Mac N Cheese.

I've only tried one other "from scratch" Mac N Cheese, and although it tasted good, I wouldn't call it a success because it ended up getting that weird grainy texture.

This recipe I WOULD call a success because it was easy to make, didn't get grainy, and isn't too bad on the "Fat-Ass" scale.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
(according to Weight Watchers 15 Minute Recipes)

INGREDIENTS
2 cups uncooked multigrain macaroni
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 ounces light processed cheese (like Velveeta), cubed
1 cup reduced-fat shredded, extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS
1. Cook macaroni in boiling water for 8 min. Drain and set aside.

2. Coat ramekins or baking dish with cooking spray.

3. Preheat broiler.

4. While pasta cooks, combine milk and flour in a large saucepan, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over med-high heat 10 min, or until thickened, WHISKING CONSTANTLY. Remove pan from heat, add processed cheese, 3/4 cup Cheddar, salt, and pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in macaroni.

5. Spoon macaroni mixture into ramekins/ baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Cheddar. If using ramekins, set them on a baking sheet; broil 3 min or until cheese melts.


According to the book, this recipe is worth 6 points.





My verdict: It had a mild flavor and was very creamy. The final product was something surprisingly similar to the store bought Mac N Cheese that comes with a cheese pouch. Which, I guess if you're one of those body-conscious overachievers or an all-organic, drum-circle kind of person, then this is probably not the meal for you.

Obviously, I'm neither.

I ate the food. And I liked it.

And I would definitely make it again.


Worth Noting:
-I greased my baking dish with butter.
-I couldn't find "light processed cheese", so I bought the normal one.
-I used regular old full-fat Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese.
-I used Vitamin D milk because that's what I buy.
-I may or may not have used a little extra Cheddar to sprinkle on top.

Maybe the trick to this Mac N Cheese turning out so edible is that I didn't really follow any of the diety stuff. I don't know, I'm not really one to get into details. Regardless, it seems like a solid recipe for easy, creamy homemade Mac N Cheese that can be made as a full-fat recipe, or lighter version if needed.

Boner'ppetite.
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2.12.2012

Let's Talk About Ballet For a Second.

When I was in college, I took ballet as one of my physical requirements. I fell in love with it because it was a great way to get in shape, involved low-impact movement, and would eventually result in a super hot ballerina body.

-However, I only fell in love with it long enough to finish my one semester.

I've been thinking about reigniting the old competitive Swan Lake flame in me and taking it back up again. After looking into some local places to see which classes were available for adults of my caliber, I decided to go to my first class this past Friday night.

This is how it went.

Friday afternoon: Brag about my new ballet class and how totally fit I'm going to be.

Friday 5pm: Start to get nervous about all the primo ballerinas that are going to eyeball my thunder thighs the instant I walk into the studio.



Friday 6pm: Arrive at class and introduce myself to another newbie. She replies that we actually already know each other. Smooth first impression: Check.

Friday 6:20pm: While doing my first grand pliƩ, fall over on the floor. As I'm not sure how I actually looked while falling over, I imagine it was something similar to a cat when you put a sweater on it.

Friday 6:30pm: Sweat like a pig in a 400 degree oven.

Friday 7:15pm: Instructor asks me what I'm doing (as I'm attempting to imitate the flamboyant bouncy movement across the studio). Reply with "I have no idea. I think I'm making up my own dance."

Friday 7:30pm: Thank the instructor and swear I'll be back next week.

Friday 7:45: Rehydrate with a White Russian.



Friday 8pm: Get grease stains on my tights thanks to the El Pollo Loco sitting in my lap.

I should also mention ballet is tough as shit. My legs were quaking within 10 minutes of barre work. By the end, my legs felt like someone was jamming a liposuction vacuum straw up and down my muscles. That's not an exaggeration, by the way.

Since then, my leg muscles have been going through varying degrees of pain. And at night I pretty much just sleep in the same position all night because it takes too much effort to move.

I should also mention, everyone in my class was super nice. No one gave me the up-and-down. Except for my own eyes when I caught a glimpse of myself from behind in the mirrored walls and thought it was Bruce Vilanche.

I'll keep you posted on how super fit I'm getting.

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2.09.2012

Pay It Forward. (The Real Life Thing. Not That Movie Shit.)

Today on my way home from work, I stopped at my favorite bakery. Although I was feeling a little guilty about my post-lunch Whole Foods Oreo cookie binge, I reasoned that I actually had a cupcake order to place for an upcoming party, and therefore, HAD to stop at the cupcake shop. Also, we had Pearl over for dinner tonight and I thought a mini cupcake would be a nice way to end the night.

After drooling over the display window for a couple of minutes, I ordered three mini Red Velvets. As I walked up to the counter to place the party order and pay for my cupcakes, I passed a gentleman who was next in line. I had noticed him when he and his teenage daughter walked in because the staff at Susie Cakes always announces a big HELLO to every customer upon entry. To which he replied "Live long and prosper."

Of course I was like "WTF" and looked back to check the weirdo out. He was wearing some kind of Affliction type shirt (For those of you who don't know Affliction by name, it sucks.), expensive baggy jeans, and a big diamond earring. His face looked a bit like Fred Schneider and based on my rough calculations, I guessed he was about 55. He looked like the typical, old douchebag indigenous to the area.

After ordering, it ended up that the Fred Schneider guy and I were both about to pay for our treats at the same time. As I pulled out my wallet, Fred said to my cashier "I'll take care of mine and those" while pointing to my three mini cupcakes. I thought I was hearing things and said "Whaaaaat?" And he was like "Yeah, I'll get those." And I was like "Wow, really? That's so nice, thank you." And he was like "I try to do something nice every day." And I was still stunned and was like "Wow, thank you!"

Even though it was only like $3 worth, it was still a really kind thing to do. Especially because he didn't know me. It's not like I was out with my mom or my friend or my coworker and they offered to spot me. We were total strangers and he offered to do something nice for me.

And it totally made my day.



Then I felt bad for making fun of his outfit in my head and pretend calling him a weirdo. I guess it's true what they say about judging a book by its cover. Don't do it. Because one day that book just might buy you some mini cupcakes.

Tomorrow I'm going to do something nice for someone else.
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2.07.2012

This is What I Do at Work.

My coworker Jessica picked this little guy up at Ralph's the other day on her lunchbreak.

A helium tank and a pretend "Jaws" attack later, we mastered the art of swimming through the office.


video

My coworker Melissa calls him Bitey. I call him Sharkface Killa.

Did I mention we also sometimes use the T-Pain app to autotune ourselves when we're reading boring-ass shit for projects?

A flying shark, a T-Pain app, and a cabinet full of booze...

I love my job.


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2.02.2012

Today I Went to the Acupuncturist.

Remember that time I told you I had endometriosis and grossed you out with a bunch of TMI details?

I still have endometriosis. But this time, no gory deets.

I will, however, share my experience of my first visit with an acupuncturist.

So.

I saw a specialist a couple weeks ago to inquire about getting a laparoscopic surgery to remove all my shitty insides. He said I may be jumping the gun and to hold off for a bit. Which was kind of fine with me because I wasn't exactly chomping at the bit to have a tube rammed down my throat, while they stick Hoover accoutrement through my abdomen.

But in the meantime, I wanted to do something about my ongoing pain/ exhaustion/ general lackluster feeling. And I wanted to try something different from my usual Tylenol/ hot pack combo.

My friend Rachel had recommended an acupuncturist whom she'd heard great things about, who happened to specialize in conditions like mine. Since I didn't have anything to lose except some uterine lining (Hey-O! Snuck that one in there!), I gave him a call.

I had no idea what to expect and was a little nervous when it came down to the thought of actually paying someone to turn me into a pin-cushion.

Today was my visit.

The doctor I met with was very nice and soothing. He asked me a bunch of questions and listened to my answers, instead of rushing me out the door like some of the previous doctors I've had. After about 15 minutes of chatting, he handed me a gown and told me to change down to my undergarments and gown. I had no idea this is how shit went down at an acupuncture visit and I was glad I'd made sure to shave my legs that morning.

While I was lying on the exam table, in my hospital gown tied in back, I realized why his office was heated like a disco inferno. It's because people pretty much get naked. And if they're anything like me, their knees are knocking out of nervousness and their hands are clammy and their feet are so cold they're about to amputate themselves.

When he came back in, he pressed on some spots on my tummy. A few spots in particular were so uncomfortable they caused me to flex my rock hard abs. He made note.

Then he brought out the needles.

He started with my lower left arm, rubbing up and down with some pressure. Maybe I'm such a weakling that when I'm just touched it hurts, or maybe the pressure was his trick to not get my to notice that he was putting in a needle. Either way, I didn't feel a thing.

Before I go any further, let me first say that these needles are tiny. They actually look more like fishing wire. They shouldn't even be called needles. Unless they're in your shin and you accidentally flex your foot. In which case, they hurt like a son of a bitch. More on that to come.


He continued on. Two on my left arm. Two on my right arm. One near each knee. One in each shin. And I think two in each foot.

The only one I felt was the left shin. That one pinched a little.

After they were all in, the doctor said we were going to do moxibustion. He explained that it's the burning of moxa, or mugwart, to stimulate blood flow to the desired acupuncture areas. He then used a blow torch to light each little moxa thing and stick them close to the acupuncture areas on my legs. As they burned they smelled like a cross between incense and weed.


At first, I didn't feel anything. And after maybe about 30 seconds it started to heat up. And then quickly after that it started to burn. As each one started to burn, I named which location was done cooking and the doctor removed it. We did three rounds of this.

Then he left me in the room for about 10 minutes with the just the acupuncture needles in me. I was fine with it because I couldn't feel them anyway and aside from that, he'd put a heat lamp right next to my feet and it was making me go all sleeptime. Also, there was soothing music on and I was pretending I was at the spa.

At some point during my relax sesh, I made the mistake of wanting to get closer to the heat. So I FLEXED my left foot closer to the lamp.

Did I mention it was a mistake...?

A pain that can best be described as "giant hypodermic needle being stabbed into your shin by an evil crackhead nurse" went shooting up and down from the acupuncture site. My keen observations told me I shouldn't have fucking done that, so I relaxed my foot and laid completely fucking still for the rest of the visit.

When the doctor came back in, he removed all of the needles. -Which was just as easy as when he put them all in. He brought with him a little bag of Chinese medicine that looked exactly like Biscuit's doggy kibble.

The instructions were to take 12 pills, 3 times a day.

I'm serious.

That's 36 pills per day.

I took my first set of twelve at lunch time and thankfully I didn't die.

I have another appointment with my new best acupuncturist friend next weekend.

I'll keep you posted.
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