Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Christmas can really suck as a single adult.

First you have families wondering why you're not married (no one wants me... isn't that good enough?)

Then it's like, you're not allowed to like Christmas, because Christmas is for kids, and you're not a kid and you're not a parent so Christmas isn't for you. It's in all the commercials and cookbooks... There is no "Christmas for one."

I love baking, but too many sugary treats is not good for the waistline (and therefore not good for the aforementioned husband hunting.) And not having a brood around makes temptation all that much greater.

You have to buy gifts for other people, other people's kids, but no one is obligated to get you anything. Which sounds a bit Scroogy, but when you only have one income, it can kind of suck.

Why can't I be excited for Santa? Why can't I love decorating a tree? Why can't I like candy canes and cranberries?

It seems like single, childless adults are supposed to hate Christmas and spend it in a cocktail infused haze of random hookups and family fights, but I'd rather sing carols and drink candy cane cocoa, if that's okay.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Author's note: this is an anti-"mommy blog" not an "anti-mommy" blog. I don't see anything wrong with loving parents. But if a laundry product gets spit-up out of clothes that info doesn't help me much, thank you.

As I've said many times before, I'm not a parent. And when I say I really don't think I want to ever be a parent, people here say that I'll change my mind and that I'm just saying that or they act like I'm a horrible monster for not wanting to stretch out my uterus, skin and vagina to bring a life into this world.

Don't get me wrong, I do like kids. I think they can be adorable and it can be fun to spend time with them. But I get sick of it really easily. I don't like having to hide things from people, and parents have to lie all the time, or explain things in a dumbed down way and make things easier for a young mind to understand, and I'm not good at that. I like being blunt, putting things in a strait forward matter that maybe isn't child appropriate. I can't keep up the ruse that long, it's exhausting. And that's with well-behaved children.

Which brings me to my next point.

There was a woman in the store this afternoon who brought her two children, a boy about four and a girl about two. Cute but a little dirty (like sandbox dirty, needed a bath dirty, but not call child protective services dirty) and full of energy. She first was going to bring them in and leave her cart in the mall, but I told her she could bring it in. I showed the kids our sanitizers (which smell like hot cocoa and cupcakes... totally kid friendly).

This woman took her time looking for stuff (first mistake in my opinion) and the kids got more and more antsy. The weren't being bad, just acting like any two- and four-year-old would when their mom is taking too long in a store that doesn't really interest them and it's early afternoon on a beautiful day when you know that winter is imminent. But she kept yelling at them as if they were committing murder. Believe me, I was more appalled by her behavior than the children's.

Anyway, the woman finally decided what she wanted and made her purchase and left. After she had for-sure cleared the store I turned and said to my co-worker (who is the parent of a cute 2-year-old girl) and said "I'm sorry, I know I'm not a parent, but that woman clearly should not have children." to which she agreed. I also went on to say that we don't know all the circumstances as we are not day-to-day observers in this woman's life and we could have just caught her on a bad day... this conclusion was brought with very limited evidence.

This idea that you have to reproduce because of religious or social obligation is ridiculous. The idea that you HAVE to have kids, that a religion would tell couples they're going to hell for not having kids is a hateful, horrible thing. Some people just should not be parents, and that's okay. There's nothing wrong with being childless.

Children stress some people out. I happen to be one of them. I also realize this, which is a good thing.

So please, the next time you hear someone say they don't want kids, don't belittle them in any way. Don't try and assure them that they will change their mind. I don't question why you have children, so don't question why I don't.

I think a person who realizes they won't be successful parents before a child enters their life in a parental way is just as beautiful a thing as a person who gets the greatest satisfaction from being a parent.

Besides, I'm more the cool-aunt-type, anyway.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Check this out!

I'm kind of in the majority!

For the first time ever single people are the majority!

But not all single people are single. In fact, a lot of them are in committed relationships, they just haven't "put a ring on it."

But still, this is pretty amazing news. People are waiting to get married because then they're more adult and know that it's not all about having a bit fancy wedding, but about building a life with someone, and that means financially as well.

Even though it's important to share and take care of others, it's also important to take care of yourself. You should always bring your best "you" into a relationships, and you'll get the best "them" right back.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How to deal with a pimple

Okay, so there are a million and one websites that tell you how to get rid of pimples and only a few have got it right. I've been dealing with acne for 14 years and I've learned a thing or two along the way, so here's my best zit advice:

The first debate: to pop or not to pop. Generally try not to just pop for the sake of popping. Try a good spot treatment. I know a lot say benzoyl peroxide, but I don't like it because it bleaches my sheets. I go for a salicylic acid treatment in an alcohol-based gel form, more about that in a bit. The moment you see a pimple, put some treatment on it. Some zits can be cured this way. But when they don't, it's time to pop.

Now, you can't pop just any old zit, you need try your best to stop it, but if it grows anyway, don't pop it unless it comes to a head. You know what I'm talking about, when you're zit is about to burst anyway and all the white stuff has come to the top. It's a big red volcano with a white puss-filled top. It's gross and you don't want to be walking around like that all day.

Before you wash your face, either in the morning or at night, wash your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap. We want to keep everything as clean as possible. If you're doing this at night you might want to swipe your face over with toner to remove any make-up around the zit, and to just give your face a once over. I know most places will tell you to wash your face first, but I like to pop first so I wash the zit out, too.

As soon as everything is clean go to town. Stretch your skin a bit before you squeeze in. This will ensure you get under the junk and you don't just push it back into your skin, making the problem worse. Stop the second blood or a clear slightly yellow-orange fluid comes out. No more puss will come out once this starts happening. Now wash your face with a good cleanser. I really like Clinique 3-step, but use your favorite, as long as you get that squeeky clean feeling.

Now put on your spot treatment. This is why I like the alcohol-based gel type, it kills the germs as it treats it. Don't mess around with bacteria and zits, you could end up with an infection like perioral dermatitis, which is not fun. (It's red flakey patches around your mouth, not even your mother will want to kiss you!) Let the spot treatment do it's thing for a bit.

Put some neosporin-type treatment on top of the pimple gel. This will not only help kill bacteria, but it will also speed the healing process and protect the area. I know petroleum jelly (the base for anti-biotic ointment) seems like it would cause zits, but it doesn't really soak into the skin, and it's kind of the opposite of the oil on your face.

Repeat the steps with the gel and the ointment until your scab has healed. I know it sucks to have a scab on your face but DON'T pick it. It will just take that much longer to heal. If it happens to come off when you're washing your face, fill the hole (there will be a hole) with anti-biotic ointment and let it sit for as long as possible.

If you're doing this in the morning, I suggest trying to put some time between treatment and moisturizer. Maybe have breakfast or feed your cats in the mean time. The more time the stuff sits on your skin uninterrupted, the better it will work.

But what if you don't want to wait for your zit to come to a head? What if you KNOW that it will, but you just can't wait. What if it kind of hurts and you can't stand it anymore. Time for a needle.

Again, make sure everything is clean. Rubbing alcohol is your best friend. Repeat all steps up to the point of popping. When you're ready to pop, stretch your skin so you see the highest point of the zit. That's where you want to put the needle. Pop a hole in the middle at the point with a sterilized needle and withdraw. Squeeze any white gunk out, but again stop when you see blood or ooze. Repeat the washing and healing steps as above. These might take a little longer to heal, as you popped them before they were ready.

If your acne fails to get better over time, please see a doctor. They can give you medicine that you can't find over the counter.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A few dieting tips

  • It's perfectly acceptable to order only coffee at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. If you already had breakfast you don't need a second.
  • Just because you're getting fast food doesn't mean you have to order the unhealthiest thing on the menu. Grilled chicken sandwiches and skipping/splitting the fries goes a long way. If you must get a burger get the works minus mayo and stick to a single patty. If you can get it on a whole wheat bun, do it.
  • If you love chocolate (and who doesn't?) buy some of the really good stuff, I prefer Ghiradelli squares or Wonka chocolate, but any small, pre-wrapped chocolate will do. Spend a little more and buy a bag of the stuff. Keep it in the freezer. Pull out two peices when you have a chocolate craving or throw them in with your lunch. It will take about 15 min or so for them to thaw. This works for two reasons: the premeasured portions make it easy to control (and wouldn't you rather have two peices than one bar?) and the higher quality chocolate satisfies your craving better than cheaper chocolate. In the long run this will also save money because you're not spending $1 every day getting a chocolate bar at the vending machine. A bag of Wonka peices is generally $1 more than a bar of eight to ten peices, and contains 20 to 30 peices.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Here's the deal, I'm sick of your kids.

They might be your pride and joy but that doesn't mean I have to like them. I'm not a bad person for this, either. Just because I don't like them doesn't mean I'm going to do bad things to them. Just keep them at home or bring them to a park where kids belong. I love kids in these settings.

I'm just getting sick of people who bring their kids to the mall for an outing. It's one thing if you need something and you can't leave them at home, that's fine. I don't like it when whole families go to the mall, and while the mall is a "family place" it's not really a family place. The mall is not a park, the mall is not a playground, please stop using it as such.

If dad doesn't have to work why can't he stay home with the kids? At least the kids who don't need to be at the mall (or Wal-mart, or the grocery store or whatever...) and give mom some peace!

I get that kids will have some business at the mall, whether they need new shoes or a nice dress, they will need to try stuff on before mom buys it. But they don't always need to tag along.

The mall is not a playground, it's an indoor selection of stores offering products and services for purchase. It is not a place to let your kids run around. The people working there are not babysitters, they're there to help adults make informed purchases.

The next time you're sitting at home and want to go to the mall put the baby in dad's arms and drive over there yourself, you'll like it and so will the employees.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Ode to Liz Lemon

Liz Lemon is my new hero.

I didn't get into 30 Rock until recently. I didn't think I'd like it, actually. But I must say, Liz Lemon is amazing. Tina Fey has created a loveable loser who's not such a loser.

Liz had a dream, and while it changed a bit, she made it happen. I like that she eats junk food and wears glasses and hoodies and is willing to do the unthinkable to get what she wants.

Liz Lemon is really the next Carrie Bradshaw. She's a writer living in New York, looking for love. But I think I like Liz better than Carrie, and I love Carrie (but have not seen SATC2 yet, I don't love her that much.)

I think it's because everything with Carrie was men men Big Big men Big Big Big Aiden Big Burger Big Russian Russian Big Russian Big Big Big, and maybe a meeting with her editor once a season... if that. And while that's one part of everyone's life, it's annoying when it's the only part of your life.

Liz doesn't have a Big, she had a Dennis, but we all have a Dennis... in fact Liz's Dennis was played by the same guy as Carrie's Dennis (John in The Fuck Buddy) crazy, I know.

Anyway, Liz is much more normal than Carrie. While Carrie's obsession with shopping and labels is fun to watch, it's hard in practice and most people maybe have one status bag they got at an outlet or a pair of Jimmy Choos they worked overtime for a month to get or that awesome Gucci dress they found at a second hand store, but not a closet full of those things they bought new, much of which at retail.

Liz's wardrobe, on the other hand, is full of jeans and slacks and hoddies and cardigans that anyone can buy at JCPenny or Khol's or, if they're feeling like spending a bit, a Macy's 13 hour sale. Her glasses probably came from Lens Crafters and her haircut from a moderately priced chain, maybe a Regis or if Jenna talked her into it, an Aveda.

I know it's bad, but I love Liz Lemon's style, or lack thereof. I'm not a fancy girl. I like simple, well crafted things. I believe there's nothing hotter than a girl in a plain t-shirt, well fitting jeans and cute shoes, it doesn't even have to be heels, but they help.

The best part of Liz Lemon, she fully embodies the single-girl spirit. She might want to get married and have babies, but she's not going to do it with just anyone and she won't sacrifice who she is to do it. She's always going to be Liz Lemon, not Mrs. Soandso. She worked hard to become who she is and she's not going to compromise that.

Thank you, Tina Fey, for creating such an amazing character, one that smart, funny, nerd, awkward girls girls can look up to.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Is everyone here married?

So I'm pretty sure everyone in this town is married. Which sucks because married people are scared of single people, so I'm probably not going to have any friends.

I work with a girl who got married before she graduated high school. She's a sweet girl and I already love her to death, but I want to shake her some times and ask her what she was thinking!!!

The topper: one of our coworkers who is married and has a two-year-old was talking about wanting a second child, and the younger girl pipes in and says that God has been giving her signs that she should get pregnant. We both stopped and told her to WAIT! And she seems to have listened. I even gave her my stock pile of Plan B, which I don't need 'cause I'm too fat to have sex right now anyway.

She wasn't on the pill because she tried it once for a month and the one she tried didn't work for her. She then informed me to never go on the pill. I told her I've been on it since I was 18 and it has worked wonders for what I need it for (skin, long periods). Imagine an 18-year-old socially conservative bride giving me birth control advice! Crazy, I know! I'm a huge fan of Planned Parenthood, since they've helped me so much. In fact, if it weren't for free family planning services from blue state governments, I wouldn't have seen a doctor in more than three years.

Anyway, it kind of saddens me to see such young girls latched on to something so totally with out any knowledge of what life is like alone. And a husband is just as fleeting as any other relationships, there's just paperwork involved to get rid of him.

We'll see how my single girl journey shapes up in a town where most of the girls my age are married with a kid or two and most of the men have migrated to work in the oil fields and whom I'm told to stay away from.

And don't forget to check out my new political blog ( I realize that many of my posts here have gotten WAY too political for a cooking-cleaning-single blog) Blue State Girl Living in a Red State (I'll rename it when I think of something snazzier).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Moving... Again

This spring I moved from Chicago, the country's third-largest city because I could not find a job. I returned to the town where I attended undergrad, going back to the beginning in a way, to try and live a little cheaper and get back on my feet. After being there for about a month the ball starts rolling on a job at a newspaper, which I eventually got, which means another move to a small town about the size of where I am now.

But here's the deal, it's hard being single in a city. It's even harder being single in a small town. Hardest yet is being single in an ultra-conservative Red-State small town. In towns like this I'm an Old-Maid because I'm not married, and I'm a selfish feminist because I don't think I want kids. (Although naming a brood after Star Wars characters is almost as good a reason as any to have kids, but I'd prefer to convince someone else of this and be that cool "aunt" type figure.)

I'm scared I'll be demonized because I support fairly liberal viewpoints. I'm scared that all the men my age will be married with kids, or else they'll be skeey perverts who don't know how to treat women. I'm scared my pharmacy won't honor my Birth Control prescription, even though I'm on it for my skin and long periods more so than controlling birth. I'm scared that no one will believe in love, only guns and hate and procreation for religious purposes, not for love and nurturing.

Red States scare me, it's true. And here's the deal, I totally believe in gun rights, I love wild game and I think it's probably the most humane way to kill animals. The live the life they were meant to live, and when they're old enough we shoot them and enjoy. What's not to love? But it's the crazy irrationality of it that scares me. It's the people who attack Planned Parenthoods because they sometimes perform abortions. It's people who get angry at other people for not sharing their ideas. It's people who condemn other people to hell, when God is the only one who can do that.

This is what I'm scared of, but I'm also excited. I'm ready to jump head first into my new job and my new town, which is gorgeous and full of Cowboys ;)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Icy-Sticky Politics

I'm moving... again. What does this have to do with politics? I'm moving to North Dakota. After 25 years of living in Blue States, I'm moving to a Red State. Socially conservative North Dakota. And boy, an I scared.

I can understand socially conservative viewpoints, although I may not agree with them. It's the socially conservative blindly following any Republican ideas. Tying social, fiscal and political conservatism is disastrous if not dangerous.

Politicians have no right to tie personal values to political motives. And using religion, "Christian" religion to sell ideas of loose government, low regulations and corrupt financial markets and calling it freedom. The last I checked the Bible says nothing about selling bad financial "products" and causing a near collapse of the free world. And the Bible also says nothing about mega-"churches," but that's a different yet related rant.

If these things are what you really believe in, that's fine, I just don't like the way politicians use each other's personal lives and personal beliefs to attack each other, when those personal problems have nothing to do with they way they will govern or represent.

And the abortion issue. What ever your personal beliefs about the medical procedure you must understand the Roe v. Wade was a Supreme Court decision and your choices at the polls are indirect at best. More over local elections have even less to do with that decision. That being said, please STOP VOTING based on the candidate's pro-choice or pro-life views. They don't really effect that decision anyway.

And no matter what your feelings, making abortion an illegal medical procedure won't make them stop, it just makes them more dangerous. Think about it, what do you consider abortion? Just the medical procedure? What about a girl douching with bleach or drano to terminate their pregnancy? Or asking her boyfriend to punch her in the uterus or throw her down the stairs to end it? It's still abortion, isn't it?

What ever your social, fiscal or political views, consider them fully before you vote down party lines. George Washington warned us about political parties, it makes me wonder why America didn't listen to him, he was a pretty smart guy...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lazy, ugly women.

So, there's an old quote that goes "There's no such thing as an ugly woman, just a lazy one." And it's so true!

First of all, it takes true laziness to get really fat. Anyone can have a few extra pounds, but obesity doesn't just happen. Fat is ugly, it's true. And again, a few extra pounds is not what I'm talking about, I'm talking about trying as hard as you can to move as little as possible.

Next step, hygiene. It's not hard to shower every day, it really isn't. Or every-other day, if you can get away with it. Having a clean body and clean hair contribute so much to beauty.

And this gets to hygiene.b: Hair maintenance and removal. A nice simple, well managed haircut is easily obtained by anyone. It doesn't take $300 to have a great haircut. $10 to $15 should do it at a national chain. Even there you can find a stylist you like and trust, tip them well to treat them well and you get the salon look at the discount price. And good shampoo and conditioner and styling products can be found at Target and Walmart for economy prices. Spend a little extra time making sure the products you're selecting are right for you. Learn to work with your natural hair texture to make styling easier on you and make your natural beauty shine through.

Hair removal. The most important thing you can do for your over-all beauty is finding the right eyebrow shape. Seriously. Your brows shape and frame your face. Bushy, overgrown eyebrows says "I don't care" and over-plucked pencil-thin brows say "I'm a porn-star in training." It's easy to find eyebrow tutorials online, but if you're completely lost, you might want to consider professional help. A good eyebrow wax can help create a shape that flatters your face. Many chain salons do these types of services as well. Make your dollar stretch further by maintaining the shape for as long as you can with your tweezers at home. All other hair removal (legs, facial, bikini) are secondary to your brows, but over-hairy (in America, anyway) = unhygienic and ugly.

On to make-up. You don't need a lot. I learned this tip from a magazine years ago, and it stuck with me ever since. Put your mascara on first. The second your eyelashes are darker and more defined, everything else falls into place and you'll use less of the rest of your make-up. Spots are less pronounce, dark under-eye circles are instantly lighter, your cheeks are rosier. Most days the only make-up I wear is black mascara. My skin thanks me for that.

Okay, your body. I know this is a touchy subject these days, but eating healthy isn't really that hard. What it comes down to is eating REAL food. Cook, even if it's just microwaving frozen veggies. Just read the ingredients on the bag or can, as long as you recognize what everything is, you're good to go. The other thing that hurts us is our sedentary lifestyles. Working in offices and sitting on our asses all day really hasn't done us any good. And the dependence on cars in this country, it's a shame. It doesn't hurt to walk or ride bike to work. It's good for you and the environment.

I would never say everyone has to be a size two. My ideal body on my 5'9" frame is 150-155 pounds, solid size 8, nice toned abs, legs and arms, and that little bit of fat that sticks out when I wear a tank top is gone. And I know I can do it.

Don't let your laziness turn you into an ugly woman. More than anything, every woman deserves to be beautiful. Beauty isn't easy, but it's not lazy, either.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Okay, this might sound silly, but...

The Twi-hard in me stayed up until, well, now waiting for and then watching the Midnight showing of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. The movie did not disappoint. In fact, none of the Twilight movies have disappointed me thus far. They stay true enough to the books, making fairly wise cuts to move the story along without sacrificing major plot lines. I wish I could say the same for the Harry Potter movies, which have been disappointing me since The Prisoner of Azkaban.

But here's the best (and most girly) part of the movie for me. I didn't feel bad about love while watching it. I know, it sounds strange and kind of self-absorbed, but when I see happy couples, especially movie happy couples I usually hate them and want to rip their eyes out. Especially couples like Bella and Edward. But I felt good about it, like, it's just around the corner or something, like, I was all warm and fuzzy inside. Maybe it was just R.Patz lusciousness, but I really felt like it was just around the corner for me... maybe.

And then, to top it all off, I get in the car and guess what song is playing. Michael Bublé's Haven't Met You Yet. My favorite since I first heard it. (I liked it so much I made it my ringtone.) I know I'm sounding like a 14-year-old girl, but I think that was a message. I think it was a message that I'm not supposed to settle for someone I've already met, that the people I've met aren't it. That I'm not supposed to give up just because I have a chance with someone I kinda know, but know that I can't love. It's this fourteen-year-old girls' idea that keeps me going. What's wrong with having hope?

Why do I have to be so cynical and logical all the time? What wrong with thinking that Prince Charming is out there, you just haven't met him yet? Is this what being a modern post-Sex and the City, post-He's Just Not That Into You woman is all about? Why can't I still believe in Prince Charming? Why can't I believe in multiple Prince Charmings for that matter? Who's to say that you can't have more than one? Just because a relationship ends doesn't mean that it can't have been meaningful. It doesn't mean you have to throw away all the memories of the warm and fuzzy and turn into an über-bitch.

I think that's where I and many single post-collegiate women go wrong. We think we have to be these strong professional women all the time, that we can't let the 14-year-old girl with a crush in us out every once in a while.

Dude, stop playing, be the 14-year-old girl. Be cute and funny and sweet and flirtatious, it doesn't mean you're not strong and professional.

I have the feeling that if we don't let that boy-crazy teenage girl side of us show every now and the, we'll end up like Lori Gottlieb and our song won't be "Haven't Met You Yet" it'll be "I Never Got a Chance To Meet You Because You Were Being an Over-Tough Über-Bitch," which just isn't as catchy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A rant in one part

People weren't always so fat.

It's true!

People didn't spend hours at the gym, either.

They didn't obsess about diets, unless you count obsessing about where your next meal was coming from.

People cooked, and they cooked what they had available, and they weren't giant fat-asses like we are now.

Our food came from animals and plants, not factories and plants.

Cows and pigs and chickens and fruits and vegetables and wheat and corn where turned into something delicious and simple and digestible that fed our bodies what it needed and in turn they removed what they didn't.

Our bodies don't know what to do with chemical preservatives. What is Cool Whip, anyway? I mean, I know what whipping cream is but what is Cool Whip? What is non-dairy whipped topping? I mean, it's a four-word title! Whipped cream is just that, whipped cream.

That's what food should be, exactly what it is. Ground beef should be chunks of beef all ground up. Popcorn should be corn popped. Lemonade should be lemons aided by sugar and water.

Why have we done this to ourselves? Why have we turned sustenance into science? By doing that we've turned the formerly beautiful and marvelous human body into a lump of chemicals, preservatives and fat fat fat!

Why did we think this was better? I mean, the human race survived for thousands of years without sodium phosphate, sodium alginate, and protein concentrate. (We didn't have hand sanitizer or antibiotics either, but that's a different rant.)

What made us so cocky last century? Did we think all of a sudden we could do better? Sure, cars let us drive across a state in a matter of hours, but what's wrong with walking a mile to the grocery store? I've carried three bags of groceries a mile home. Guess what, I'm still alive.

Here's a simple solution: does what you're doing make you feel like a fat ass? Then don't do it. Sitting on a couch all day eating potato chips: does that make you feel good about yourself? Because it makes me feel like a fat ass. Driving the 1.7 miles to work when it's gorgeous, sunny and still outside: makes me feel like a fat ass.

Working little things into your day, like walking or biking instead of driving and spending an extra few seconds looking at labels to make sure you recognize every ingredient in your bread. And enjoying your food, not wolfing it down trying to get as much into your body as possible.

There's a simple solution to our problem. Stop acting like a fat ass and you'll stop being a fat ass.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Obesity in America

Check out this CNBC Documentary that premiered recently. It's a really interesting look at the present problems obesity is causing, and what that could possibly mean for the future. What it doesn't do is view obesity in a historical context, nor does it play the blame game. It's actually very interesting.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

What is sexy?

My recent move took me to a mall where the clientele is very different than that in Chicago. The customers in my Chicago store were mostly women in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties, professional, the type of women who wore button-ups and slacks most days. But here in Bemidji most of the female customers are either high-school or college students or moms. The moms are usually in a typical mom "uniform" of a t-shirt that can get dirty and a pair of jeans or shorts, something quick and easy. The younger girls often dress in what could only be described as "outfits."

And these aren't What Not To Wear Clinton Kelly and Stacy London outfits, these are outfits bordering on costumes. There was a girl would was probably very pretty in the other day, but she was wearing this "outfit" that made it look like she was trying too hard. She had on a summery white top, a pair of short-shorts, knee-high moccasin-style chocolate brown boots, a purse that matched the boots, full make-up (on a hot day) and her highlighted chest length hair was teased and sprayed and styled. On a Saturday afternoon. Shopping. In Bemidji, MN. It really did seem like she was trying too hard. (And who really knows, she was probably going somewhere else after that warranted the outfit, but still, in that setting it seemed like too much)

This prompted me to ask a male contemporary which he thought was sexier, an "outfit" like the mall girl was wearing or a hot girl with minimal make-up in a t-shirt and jeans. He opted for the t-shirt and jeans, which is what I was expecting. I mean, the "outfit" just screams high maintenance. What guy has ever said he wants a girlfriend who's high maintenance?

Here's the deal ladies, work on what's underneath the clothes first and foremost. Anything looks good on a hot and toned bod. Secondly, go ahead and put together a cute "outfit." Now take one flashy piece out and replace it with something simpler. (I'd removed Mall Girl's boots and replace them with simple strappy flat sandals, and tone down the make-up a bit) It's the over-the-top-ness of the "outfit" that makes it so much closer to a costume, which should be saved for Halloween and other such occasions.


One of the best investments ANYONE can make is a good basic classic cookbook. The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook, Betty Crocker Cookbook, Martha Stewart Classics, The Joy of Cooking, basically any good cookbook by a reputable source with a great test kitchen.

Making basics at home rather than falling back on store-bought pre-made versions cuts tons of preservatives out of your diet and gives you control over the amount of sugar, salt and fats and oils in your food.

You want a good source for basic cooking information and well-tested recipes for classic dishes. Classic cookbooks will not only have a plethora of great recipes, but it will also have great advice and cooking tips, as well as conversion and substitution charts. These books are often written for a wide audience, so recipe difficulty varies from beginner to pro.

You'll find recipes for everything from Thanksgiving dinner to simple snacks to imbibeables. And these recipes are a great starting point if you like to experiment in the kitchen. You can't make a creative new pizza combo if you don't have a good crust.

As easy as it is to find recipes online, it's best to have at least one good source of cooking information. Many online recipes haven't been run through the rigors of a professional test kitchen that The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook recipes have been. Just because something worked in soccermom1963's kitchen and she posted it online, it doesn't mean that she can write the recipe in a clear and concise way that professional chefs and recipe authors do. She might have skipped an important step when publishing her recipe.

When you're setting up your kitchen, take a swing by your local book store and pick up a copy of a great basic classic cookbook, you won't be sorry.

Cleaning up some poop never hurt anyone.

At my new job I have been introduced to the world of fake pets. We sell Webkinz, which has children going crazy. What are Webkinz? They are small stuffed animals that have a code in their tag that unlocks stuff in an online world, making kids sit on their butt all day at the computer with a fake pig in their lap (and we wonder why kids are fat?) I was also introduced to Zoo Zoo Pet (whose name alone enrages me) which are battery operated hamsters, which are just as costly, if not more, than actual hamsters, the only difference is they don't poo or die. Okay, they die, but they can be brought back to life with new batteries.

Seriously parents, get your kid a real pet, a little poo never hurt anyone. There are millions of cats and dogs and other animals sitting in shelters waiting for someone to adopt them and give them a good home, and you're wasting your money on fake pets that in the end pollute the earth? Really? What happens to a Webkinz or a Zoo Zoo Pet when your kid outgrows it? It might get donated to the Salvation Army, but you'll probably just toss it. Kids don't really outgrow pets, in fact, they grow with them. I get just as much joy playing with my cats or my parents' dog as I did 15 years ago.

So the next time your kid is going crazy for some shitty fake pet, either remind them of the real pet they have at home, or consider adopting a pet from your local shelter, or even just volunteer at your local shelter for the time being. But exposure to pets is good for kids, so please help a real pet before buying a fake one.

And cleaning up poo really isn't that bad, a little icky, but you changed diapers, right?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Why would anyone be Team Bella?

Okay, so I know I'm a bit of a Twi-Hard... I've read and love the books, impulsively bought "The Brief Second Life of Bree Tanner" and loved that, too, I own both Twilight and New Moon on DVD, and CANNOT wait for Eclipse to come out (nine more days!)

And, as they did with New Moon, Burger King is again the fat-food (oops, fast food) sponsor, and again they have aluminum water bottles. Last fall they had Team Edward and Team Jacob, this summer they have added Team Bella.

Who the hell would be Team Bella? Bella is the most despicable characters in the book. I'm pretty sure I like almost every character better than Bella. She's manipulative to all the men in her life, not only Jacob and Edward (who you know she will choo-choo-choose above anyone else in her life) but her father and Billy Black and even Mike Newton and Seth Clearwater. And while the story is told from Bella's direct perspective, I'm pretty sure she gets off on having all these men do her bidding.

Ugh, Bella sucks. No one should be Team Bella. She has no personality and no one would ever actually fall in love with her. They might take her home for the night, but they wouldn't want her forever, as both Edward and Jacob want.

And please, the girl is in high school and obsessed with aging and obsessed with forever! Give it a break, think about tomorrow and nothing else, like a normal teenager. Bella is so not relatable.

Go Team Anyone But Bella!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Moving sucks. Moving sucks even more if you live alone, because there's no one else that obligated to help you move. Luckily I have awesome family and friends that helped me move and put me up until I found a new place.

I moved from Chicago back to Bemidji, MN, where I attended undergrad. I liked it here, it's very quiet and great if you like to spend most of your time outdoors. But the thing about Bemidji is it's family-friendly. And family friendly usually means single-unfriendly, which is totally true. It's a family-friendly college town, which means that it's not the best place for single renters, especially single renters with pets.

There are very few one-bedroom cat-friendly apartments in this city. Which is partly understandable in a college/redneck town as most renters are either college students or white trash, most of whom won't actually take care of their pets, but it sucks for the rest of us who don't want to or aren't in a position to buy but still take good care of our pets.

It also sucks that the few places that do accept pets want extra money for them. Putting down an extra $20/month or a $300 one-time pet fee won't guarantee that your property won't get ruined or that your tenant is a good pet parent. In fact, making it a non-refundable fee rather than a deposit might do the opposite, I mean, the money's already gone whether the dog chews up the trim or the cat scratches the corners, so why not let them run amuck? But if you might get your money back, you'll probably take better care of your apartment.

And money again doesn't guarantee a good pet parent. I have never had a landlord ask me to see my cats' vet and vaccine records. Seriously? Don't you want to know that the pets that are living in your building are healthy and well taken care of? If the pet is well taken care of, so will the apartment. It's not healthy for the a cat to have a dirty litter box or a dog to be swimming in its own feces.

So, rentees of Bemidji, please, reevaluate your pet policies. There are good people who have/want pets, just ask for the right things, and money isn't always the right thing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why are all the good ones single?

Ever since reading "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" I've been thinking about single women, and why kind intelligent women are often left unmarried by 35 or 40, and I think we can blame our parents and teachers...

Don't get me wrong, no one was trying to make a generation of spinsters, I think it was quite the opposite.

Women's Lib did a lot of good things, but I think it put love in the background. Education and career are so important, and no one wants to see their little girl or star student get knocked up and married right after high school, so I think those of us who grew up after 1970 had parents and teachers and mentors that didn't encourage us to develop romantic relationships. Not that they discouraged them, but school and then a career were definitely priorities over love and relationships.

I think that relationships aren't seen as a serious topic, but boys turn into men and boyfriends turn into husbands and relationships become serious and life altering. Maybe we aren't programed to grow in relationships the way we are told to grow up in the rest of our lives. Boys are just these silly things that get us pregnant and ruin our lives, but men become husbands and we become dependent on them; they become our life partners.

Maybe boys don't grow up as fast as they used to. I'm coming up on 25, and I still feel that single males my age are boys, not men. That potential dates are boys, not men. Maybe we're waiting for men, and that's why we're staying single longer.

Am I sad that I went to school and didn't focus on finding a husband? Not at all. 1 in 6 married women say they were happier when the were single. I'm young, I'm not too worried yet... but ask me in 5 years.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Breakfast... at Subway?

Subway has recently added breakfast to its menu at all locations and I am obsessed. Fast food breakfast has traditionally been super greasy and heavy in bacon sausage and processed cheese and made on greasy biscuits or even pancakes in some cases. Don't get me wrong, I love greasy breakfast sandwiches here and there, especially after a night of imbibing. They're like the cheeseburger of breakfast, but with pork and egg. But to eat these sandwiches on a regular basis will add inches and pounds to your tummy.

The best thing about the new Subway breakfast, veggies. Your bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin can now be accompanied by all of those great veggies that you can get on your regular sandwiches. Don't like English muffins? no sweat, you can get your breakfast on flatbread (my favorite) or your favorite Subway bread.

The other thing that sets Subway apart, your choice of regular egg or egg whites. The eggs definitely look like they were cooked and frozen at a factory somewhere, but they're surprisingly not rubbery. Unless your doctor told you to avoid them get egg yolks because they are healthy and full of nutrients, and you don't save that many calories cutting them out.

My Subway breakfast is an egg and cheese with pepper jack cheese, spinach, green peppers, tomato and cucumbers. I might add bacon if I'm in the mood. I prefer the flatbread, but they have a special introductory price on English muffin and a coffee. Did I mention that they offer awesome Seattle's Best coffee?

So the next time you leave the house without breakfast stop at Subway, they're everywhere. Get a veggie-packed breakfast sandwich and a coffee for $2.50. Enjoy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me...

Okay, so maybe not, but it's easy to feel like that when you're under-employed or unemployed. You can tell yourself to stay positive and it's just the economy but when you send out application after application and put so much effort and get excited about new positions that pop up and when you never hear anything it can be so heart breaking after months and months and months of it. Feeling like a loser comes easily when potential employers don't tell you otherwise.

It's so hard to stay positive. What it if it isn't just the economy, what it if it's me? What if I suck that much? And being under-employed can take a hit on other parts of your life. I'm scared to even try dating because who wants to date a chick who works at a store? Who wants to date someone with a ton of student loan debt? The truth is, in most states you marry someone you marry their debt, so why even start something with someone who has a ton of debt? My lack of money combined with my ridiculous school debt and my small fortunes worth of credit card debt make me feel even less attractive than my 15 extra pounds or perioral dermatitis could.

Sometimes you just need to stop with the job applying for a week or two. New positions will be posted and it's two rejection-free weeks. But I keep telling myself this old adage a professor at Bemidji State used to tell us, "If you apply for it, you probably won't get it, but if you don't apply for it, you for sure won't get it."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bella Swan can be a good role model

She's pale! We've been a tan-obsessed country for almost 50 years, and while it's started to wane, characters like Bella Swan help us embrace the pale.

I love tanning. I love being dark with my hair all bleached out from the sun, or the tanning bed. In fact, I have tanned every spring since I was 16, at first in preparation for prom (you just couldn't go to prom pale in my hometown) and then just for summer. But this spring, I'm not going to. I'm going to embrace my pale.

Having pale role models like Bella and all the other stars of the Twilight Saga makes it so much easier for this new trend to take off.

So please, everyone, embrace the pale!

ps: the new healthcare reform will include a 10% sales tax on indoor tanning. I'm not sure this will include spray tans or not...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Is Bella Swan good for young girls?

***Spoiler Alert***Spoiler Alert***Spoiler Alert***
***Spoiler Alert***Spoiler Alert***Spoiler Alert***

After reading the Twilight books (twice) and re-watching Twilight and New Moon last night I can't help but wonder what type of girls look up to Bella Swan, the series' main character and narrator. She's obsessive and codependent upon Edward AND Jacob, after Edward leaves. She has no real personality traits (clumsy isn't a personality trait) and she isn't even that pretty (per the books, not Kristen Stewart) and yet she has two guys (plus Mike Newton) fall head over heals for her. Will girls get the message that they don't need try to fall in love? (I believe that cute and charming are a must to attract any decent guy.)

And then, after careful consideration ***Spoiler Alert*** she does agree to marry Edward, when she's 18. I'm not saying that you can't find "the one" in high school, but more often than not to marriages end in divorce, or become loveless marriages. I'm worried that a whole generation of young readers will think they have to get married right out of high school. I think that love is often left out of life lessons for young girls. You can fall in love with more than one person in your life. Maybe parents don't want to bring this up because they don't want to think of their little girls having sex with more than one partner (or any partner, for that matter, they want grandchildren via immaculate conception), or maybe they feel that love by example is enough, but it's not. Every love is different.

**Spoiler Alert*** And then, to top it all off, Bella becomes a teen mom. Not a single or unmarried mom, but a teen mom just the same. Does no one see the danger in this? It's one thing to get married and have a honey-moon baby when you're in your late 20s or early 30s, but in your teens it could possibly present all sorts of problems later in life.

I think this is where the author's world and Bella's world get mixed up. Stephanie Meyer grew up Mormon, which is a faith dominated by large families, and in that culture it's not uncommon for couples to marry young and start families early. Meyer herself was married and pregnant before she finished college, and has often said she loves being a mom, and looked forward to that as a career. Which was her choice, and she finished college before she completely settled down.

Bella, on the other hand, grew up with parents separated by divorce because they rushed into marriage at an early age. Which is a major struggle and why Bella doesn't want to marry Edward. But she gives in and the topic of safe sex is never mentioned. Granted, who would think you could get knocked up by a vampire anyway, but still, condoms or the pill or something should have been mentioned, at least as an after thought, at some point in Breaking Dawn.

I guess my biggest fear is that girls who read Twilight and love Bella will think they don't need to develop into an independent person.

I think older readers, such as myself, strongly dislike or hate Bella. I don't like her because she gets everything she ever wants and more. And no one good dies. In Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books, everyone close to Sookie dies. She has to deal with loss in a real way, and it's related to her relationship with a vampire, to pull the similarities.

Bella Swan: fun to read about, bad to be like.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


does anyone do that anymore?

I was talking to a friend of mine who recently joined the dating scene, and we both agreed that no one seems to want to date anymore. It's either no-strings-attached sex or relationships, or no-strings-attached sex that magically leads to a relationships. (rarely happens, pregnancy is usually involved if it does, and it often ends in divorce)

I want to go out on a date. I want to know the person a little, but I want to get to know someone outside of my apartment in a safe environment without too much pressure to force it into something more, but the possibility that it could.

And I don't need to eat a fancy meal or to see an expensive show. I would love to walk through a museum on a free day or picking up a coffee and just chilling and getting to know one another.

I don't quite like where the dating world has gone. Dating is gone and it sucks because I don't want to fuck you before I know you, and I don't want to automatically be your girlfriend because we hung out once... or you called me and then decided that you didn't want to hang out but now you think that calling me at midnight is acceptable and will make you like me but it doesn't in fact it makes me queezy so I had to block your number. Or something like that.

I don't want to automatically become someone's girlfriend, and I don't want to be just another notch in your belt. I want to be that cute girl that becomes that charming girl, and either you fall for the cute, charming girl, or you don't, but there are no hard feelings either way. (Why are there always hard feelings when love was once there? I guess maybe it wasn't love?)

So, can we hang out, maybe you can get me flowers and make me fall head over heels, I'll put out after an acceptable amount of time and then we'll live happily ever after, or not? I think that sounds like a good plan.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sarah Killen

Everyone's up in the air about Sarah Killen (@LovelyButton on twitter) because she is the only person Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) is following on his recently created twitter account, and she's been getting all sorts of swag because of it, including lots of free stuff for her wedding.

This does not bother me, what does is the fact that Ms. Killen is only 19, and she's getting married, to a 21-year-old. Why has no one said anything about this and how crazy it is. Yeah, she didn't have anything planned because she's fucking 19! What the hell do 19-year-olds know about wedding planning?

I guess an old spinster like me is a bit jealous, but if I could go back to 2005, change a few things, and get engaged I definitely would not.

I guess I'm surprised the media isn't questioning her (and her fiancé's) young nuptials. I thought that mid-to late 20s was becoming the standard first marriage age, with early thirties in a close second place for the more career-minded.

And maybe Ms. Killen isn't planning on getting married for a few more years, anyway. We really don't know that much about her. Who knows, maybe that free wedding dress won't be her style when she does get married.

Best of luck LovelyButtons!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Get slim quick scheme

Okay, so this one's not a guarantee to make you drop a size in a weekend or anything, but this a safe and healthy way to counteract bloating caused by eating salty foods.

Those chips were so good; the pretzels, to die for; the giant tub of popcorn, couldn't have been better! But now, you're super-skinny jeans are feeling awful snug, and are your eyes playing tricks, but did your tummy get bigger overnight?

The best solution for this isn't a pill, but a fruit. Bananas! Eat a banana with every meal and bring a banana for a snack... eat 4 or 5 in the course of the day, with at least two or three liters of water (no soft drinks!).

Why does this work? Sodium causes your body to retain water, which will cause bloating and make your slim-fitting clothes a little too close for comfort. The potassium in the bananas will counteract the sodium, and the extra water will tell your body not to retain water, because you're getting enough.

Bananas are also full of vitamins like the B-vitamins, and are sweet enough to possibly curb any candy cravings.

So, next time you overdose on salty snacks, pick up a bunch of bananas on the way home, you'll thank me later.

Healthcare III

As the healthcare debate heats up and is about to boil over, I'm writing about it once again. My generation is the most likely not to have health insurance. Old codger Republicans say it's because we don't want to spend the money, but the truth is we don't have the money. Old codger Republicans made sure of that when the allowed the so-called "free market" run rampant selling things that don't exist. While I'm not a financial wizard, I know that if you sell people a bottle of nothing, people will want their money back and your bubble will burst.

You call us 20-something college graduates who are living at home or with support of our parents lazy or entitled but most of us just want that first job we were promised when we started college. You don't want to give us something for nothing, but you expect us to work for free and think it's okay because you're calling it an unpaid internship. Is minimum wage too much to ask for?

Those of us want to break into the professional world strattle on to our retail jobs because, as much as it can suck, retail pays and you old codger Republicans don't. You don't want to share your money, even with people who will work hard and long for you.

Don't judge us because we want our government, who takes and takes and takes from us and refuses to give unless we've popped out a kid or two, to help us out and let us see a doctor with out it breaking the bank.

fucking old codgers

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The White Coat

We're looking at 40˚F this weekend, and 50 isn't far away, so this seems a little late, but white spring coats make an appearance, too.

So, here's the deal: That super cute white coat seemed like a great purchase, didn't it? You would be able to walk around in a blizzard an no one would see you! And white is so classy, isn't it? But guess what, you need to wash that white coat a little more.

White shows EVERYTHING, if you didn't already know that. That little bit of strangeness that rubs off from you fingers to your sleeve ends? I see that after you've worn your coat two days. The big smears from where your boyfriend hugged you after eating cake? I notice that. And your make up? I see that, that one shows up the first time you wear that. Maybe I'm a little pickier than most, but you really need to wash that thing like, once a week. In BLEACH.

So, if you're thinking about buying a white coat, think twice. Because no matter how good you look with your Coach bag and Ugg boots, you look like shit with your make-up and fingerprint stained white coat. It looks cheap to wear a dirty white coat. See the identical black one on the next rack, or the cute navy blue one, or, if you want something light, go for a gray or red or pink or yellow or a cute print or ANYTHING but that stupid white coat.

Unless, of course, you're actually willing to wash it once or twice a WEEK, yes, per week.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Healthcare II

So, I'm having some minor dermatological problems, nothing major, just some redness and discomfort from what I'm pretty sure is perioral dermatitis (redness, dryness and some bumps near the mouth, mine is on my chin) paired with angular cheilitis (small lesions at the corners of the mouth, caused by bacterial, viral or fungal infections). Basically, it hurts a bit to talk and take big bites when I eat.

How is the related to healthcare? I don't have regular insurance, so I can't go to the doctor to know for sure if this is what I have. And even if I did, a lot of insurance these days, especially the packages people my age are being offered, won't cover a visit to the dermatologist. From what I've read online a round of antibiotics will clear up perioral dermatitis, which I think is causing the angular cheilitis.

So you're probably thinking, so what, you have red, dry, flakey skin on your face, who cares? Use a better moisturizer and some cover-up. Guess what, that'll just make it worse, or so I've read.

And that's another thing, I'm an educated person and I'm relying on google to diagnose my problems. This sucks! I mean, I know I should go to a doctor and figure out is what's going on for sure, but I simply can't.

So, if you see me and see my bright red chin, please don't laugh. I'm trying my best to clear it up on my own by removing irritants from my routine. And who knows, I maybe wouldn't get any antibiotics anyway, they're not exactly good for the environment. But still, what if it's not perioral dermatitis? What if it's something worse? I may never know.

So, if you see a chinless blonde running around Chicago, you know it wasn't perioral dermatitis.

PS (3/6/10): So I guess my whole point is that when Republicans start calling single-payer healthcare socialism and say that no one will be denied health care, it's not true, because I am being denied healthcare, it's just my wallet that's doing the denying and not doctors at a county emergency room. I mean, if I were to go into an emergency room complaining of angular cheilitis and some strange dry-red patch on my chin, I'd probably get laughed at and sent away so people with real emergencies can get much needed medical attention. I mean, if you saw some girl in an emergency room complaining about redness on her chin, you'd think what a flake!

PPS (3/6/10): I found this link to the $70 "cure" this dude has been selling online, and I tried it, and it worked! Not only on my lips but it seems to be clearing up my chin as well. The cracks are completely gone, but the area is still really dry and a little sore, but getting better constantly! I also removed as much Sodium Lauryl Sulfate from my routine as possible. I still am using my regular toothpaste, because I really can't stand any other type.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Single Girls Eat... Chili

I know, you're thinking, chili? Really? Chili? Isn't that for fat old fire-fighters and other dudes with beer bellies and mustaches? Not really. Chili is a very healthy veggie-packed way to warm up on cold days.

I like to use lean turkey meat, because turkey is better for the environment, but lean beef is okay, and so is chicken. If you want to keep it vegetarian, use edamame in place of the meat. It'll blend in as another bean and add a ton of protein. I love tomatoes, specifically large chunks of stewed tomatoes, so I use those. If you're not as excited about big chunks of tomato use diced tomatoes.

I use mild peppers, because I'm a wimp. Use your favorite peppers, whether you like it hot or mild. Start with a little bit of olive or canola oil and sweat half a large onion with some garlic. Once the onion becomes limp and transparent, add your peppers, just to heat through. If you're using meat, add it now, salt and pepper to taste, cook thoroughly.

Season your chili with chili powder or any other spices you think would work. It's pretty mellow. If you want sweet chili, add some brown sugar. Next, add your beans. I like to use black beans and kidney beans, but use your favorites, I find that two regular cans work well. If you're using edamame instead meat, add it now, too. Stir everything together until heated thoroughly.

Gently add your tomatoes. I used one giant can of crushed tomatoes and two regular cans of stewed tomatoes (or one big can). Stir it all together and again, heat through. Taste and see if anything is missing, if it is, add it.

Now your chili is ready to eat. You can serve it over chips or pasta, but I like it with a bit of sharp cheddar sprinkled and melted over the top or a spoonful of sour cream.

This veggie-filled lean protein dish is great for a full meal, has the satisfaction of a cream soup and couldn't be better for you.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Marry Him: The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough

So, this book just came out at the beginning of February. (Not a bad plan Lori Gottlieb, to release your book right before Valentine's Day, when all the single women of the world would be crying their eyes out because no one had bought them a bouquet that would die in two days.)

And the title and much of the book is very scary. But it's not really about settling or Mr. Good Enough, its about approaching dating with the idea of getting married and not the idea of dating. This book is like a chocolate center wrapped in deep-fried broccoli. The outside is kind of weird and off-putting and probably not good for you despite it's somewhat healthy parts but the inside is okay, but could have been presented in a much better way.

Ms. Gottlieb wants to get married, bad. But somewhere down the line she was told she couldn't be a smart professional woman and get married before a certain age, which she doesn't specify but is around 30. So now she's 41 and a single mom to a baby with a frozen father (artificial insemination). She blames the way she was dating in her past for her lack of life-long love now. She was a classic check-list chick. She had a checklist for men she would even allow to go on dates with her.

I'm sure there are a lot of women like her out there, but I can't think of any. I don't think I'm one of them, either. I know a lot of girls (and guys) my age (or younger) who are either married or engaged. Acquaintances change their facebook profile pictures from head shots to close ups of their engagement rings for a month, until it changes to their official engagement pictures and then their wedding pictures.

Maybe it's a generational thing. She is 41 and kind of grew up during the 1970s, the height of the feminist movement. Maybe women in her generation really did think that they couldn't get married young and have a good professional life, but somehow these things would come together if they waited until they were thirty.

Maybe my generation is different. Maybe we realize that your life isn't over once you get married.

Or maybe it's a regional thing. A lot of her stories were about people on the coasts, New York and LA. Maybe it's a midwestern thing to get married before 30, and a coastal thing to wait.

One thing I didn't like about her book was that she assumed we were all getting dates and rejecting great guys for bad reasons. I know that's not the case for me, and it's not the case for some of my friends. Women aren't always the ones doing the rejecting. Men do a lot of rejecting.

But Gottlieb does get a few things right:
  • don't have a list, you never know what you're going to fall in love with
  • love isn't just a noun, but a verb, too
  • don't have a "type" women who have types just date the same guy over and over, he's just got a slightly different set of DNA
  • be open

Okay, great. But I'm glad I got the book from the library, and I'm a little sad I read through the bullshit to get these four points out of a book. Gottlieb's general thesis is great, but it's presented in a way that's made to scare, not teach. There were times when I read this book that I thought, I'm going to be just like her, but I know that's not true, because I'm not going to fall for her scare tactics.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Single Girl Spirit

I was thinking I write a lot about the single girl spirit, but I've never really defined it.

The single girl spirit isn't about being single at all, it's about loving yourself first. You need to think about what's best for you. And what's best for you might be a loving husband and a few kids. It might be devotion to a dog. Staying true to yourself is the most important factor in single girl spirit.

Being able to support yourself emotionally is one of the hardest things to do, but that ability is key to the single girl spirit. That being said, it's totally okay to look for emotional support in friends and family and even boyfriends or husbands. But know that there might be a moment that you need to get through where no one will be available to help or call. The ability to get yourself through is key.

Independence is also key to the single girl spirit. Even if you're married, you should be okay going to a museum or getting coffee (as in, sitting the coffee shop and drinking it) by yourself here and there. Not with your boyfriend, not with girlfriends, but by yourself. Julia Child moved to France with her husband, and while he was at work, she struck out on her own and eventually started an empire. She didn't pout and hide in her apartment all day waiting for him to come home. This is exactly the type of behavior that embodies the single girl spirit, even though she was married.

Embodying the single girl life isn't about staying a single girl, in fact, it's far from it. It's knowing you can do it by yourself if you need to, because you never know when you're going to have to.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A few money saving tips

Monthly bills can add up quickly. $10 hear and $30 there and before you know it those small monthly payments are eating up your hard-earned money. Here's a few tips to save on common monthly expenses.

Power Bill:
  • We've been hearing for years that we're not supposed to leave lights on and switching to energy saving bulbs will cut down on but it's true.
  • Try to only have the lights on in the room you're in.
  • Keep the lights off for as long as possible and open up your blinds and curtains. Natural light is not only free but better for you. If you like to read in the afternoon set up a cozy chair near a window. Place a lamp nearby so you only have to turn on one light to read rather than the lights for a whole room.
  • Let your laptop battery completely drain out before charging. This is not only good for your power bill but it's also good for your computer battery. Make sure you unplug the charger when your computer is not connected to it.
  • Use power strips. These are easy to switch off so you can power off all TV or computer related appliances and so on. It works great in the kitchen for all your breakfast stuff too. Keep the toaster, coffee maker and bean grinder plugged into the same power strip and remember to flip it off before you jet out of the house.
Cable/Internet/Phone Bill:
  • Don't let the cable company jerk you around, they're always offering great promo prices for new customers but treat their loyal customers like shit. Call and ask for a discount. Threaten to go to their competitor, especially if they're advertising against them. If you have Comcast, threaten to go to AT&T. They usually will give you the new customer pricing or something similar. If they don't, go to the competitor and get their new customer price.
  • Completely drop your cable TV. With resources like Netflix and hulu and the new free digital TV you can get caught up on almost all your favorites, even Jersey Shore. MTV offers all of it's shows online for free. I've watched so much TV on DVD that when I do get into a show on regular TV I can barely stand waiting a whole week to find out what happens next.
  • You don't need a landline anymore, unless you live in a VERY rural area where cell reception is non-existent. There's no reason to have more than one personal line.
Wireless Phone:
  • I had a BlackBerry and I loved it, but it wasn't very practical for me. So I downgraded to a simpler phone with a cheaper plan. Take a second look at your phone bill and compare it to your usage. Many services via mobile web are also available via text. In Chicago CTA bus tracker recently became available through text messaging. Each bus stop has a code that you text with ctabus to 41411. Use online bus tracker to look up the code. I have my most used stops saved as quick texts and make a list of other stops I might use in a note in my phone. And Google has been offering a KGB-like service for years for free via text message. Just text G-O-O-G-L-E (466453) with something like temp 60605 to get the weather for Chicago.
  • Minutes and texts: Most of us text more than we talk these days, and with services like those mentioned above, it makes sense to have unlimited messaging. But with increased texting comes decreased talking. Most people my age can get away with the fewest minutes possible, especially if you take advantage of free night and weekends and the"my circle"-type services offered by many carriers. And all major cell companies offer free mobile-to-mobile, which means that all calls to friends that use the same carrier are free. If a good friend or significant other isn't happy with his/her service recommend your company, especially if they've expressed interest in your phone. Your carrier will most likely give you a discount for recommending a new customer.
I hope these few tips help. If you have any other great tips share them in the comments!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Government Assistance

It's no secret I'm addicted to "Teen Mom" on MTV. I'm glad they did this follow-up spin-off of 16&Pregnant because it really shows that having a baby is not all flowers and candy, even if you give that baby up for adoption. On the show Amber ends up going on government assistance (food stamps and what not) and it makes me a little annoyed.

I get that there are people out there who need help, and Amber was certainly one of them. You can tell she genuinely is doing this as a last resort and is using it as a step up, not a step to sleep on for the rest of her life. But at the same time, it can be frustrating to be in my position and see someone in her position have more than me.

Growing up in the '90s a certain protocol was set forth for the children of my generation. You go to school, graduate, go to college, graduate and get a job. Somewhere in there you fall in love and get married or at least move in with someone, but not until after you've secured that degree and job. Then babies come somewhere after that.

If you didn't follow those steps, you fucked up along the way. It feels like people are rewarded for fucking up, and it sucks. There are times when I'm balancing my checkbook and I feel like it wouldn't be so bad if I would have popped out a kid somewhere along the way because I'd have child support and government assistance coming in, too. That lasts for two seconds, because then I realize how much I hate scooping the litterbox and I know diapers are much much much worse. And I always cringe when I hear babies cry at work or on the train. And I can't stand the little bit of fat I have now, stretch marks and baby fat would probably send me over the edge.

I know that people on assistance don't get much, and they can only work so many hours before they are not qualified anymore. But they are still getting money for essentially doing nothing.

And then there are the problems with the food stamp programs themselves, which most states dole out money via debit cards. This money can only be used on items in stores classified as grocery products. Ice cream and chips are classified as grocery items. During college I had friends who worked at grocery stores and would see people buy as much junk food as possible with their food stamp card and then pay cash for things like DVDs.

I'm not saying that just because you're poor you shouldn't get ice cream or chips every now and then, but rather than giving a monetary allowance set amounts of food items should be allowed. Like a family of four can pick out two bags of apples and two gallons of milk and so on and so forth per week. And cooking classes should be part of the program as well. Do you really think a 16-year-old mother is going to know how to cook anything other than mac and cheese and frozen pizza? Teaching people to cook quick nutritious meals with their food allotment would also help out healthcare cost and lower obesity rates, which are higher among people with lower income. And who can blame them when you can get cheeseburgers and fries for $2 from fast food places?

I've done the education part, and I'm sure that job part is somewhere around the corner, same with that love stuff. But right now, I'm struggling with the whole money thing. Yes, I abused credit cards a bit and took student loans, but I also worked through college and grad school and didn't live what anyone would call a lavish lifestyle with said loans and credit cards. The plan was to have a job and be able to pay off that debt in time, while saving money and contributing to society.

It sucks because I really just want to do this life thing on my own, and when I see girls way younger than me that fucked up getting a leg up on me I just want to curl up in a ball and hide in a closet somewhere.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Single girls eat quiche

Mmmmmmm, quiche. It made a splash in the '70s along with fondue, and is amazing. Quiche is a simple dish that looks fancy, and can be served for any meal. Basically, it's filling and egg baked in a pie crust. Its cousin is the frittata, which is the egg and filling without the crust and a few other modifications.

Why is quiche such a good single girl food? Because of it's simplicity and versatility! You can pretty much fill it with anything. I love spinach, feta cheese and mushrooms, but there really are no limits and it can be tailored to any taste.

  • Pick your fillings, a good flavor base is onion and garlic sautéd in butter or olive oil.
  • Cook the filling together on the stove in a large pan and make sure anything that needs to be cooked through is (like bacon), mix in anything you don't want to melt last (like cheese)
  • Put your filling in a deep-dish pie crust. I use the frozen kind because pie crust scares me. You can use the pre-made roll-out kind in a tart pan or a round cake pan or make your own, but don't look to me for a recipe. Leave space to pour the egg over
  • Take 1 cup of diary (milk, half&half, cream) and four eggs and whip them together with a balloon whisk.
  • Pour the egg mix into the crust and place into a preheated 375˚F oven for 20 minutes.
  • Top with your favorite melty cheese, like cheddar or mozzarella and bake for 30 minutes more. You actually want it to get crispy to create a crust.
  • Let it set after you take it out of the oven for a bit and viola! a beautiful impressive meal.

The next time you want to impress someone, make them a quiche. It works for snobby friends as well as nit-picky parents and that new guy who wants a hearty breakfast after... well, you know.

Everything up until putting it in the oven can be done ahead of time, or assemble the filling, throw it in the fridge and put it together right before baking. It's one of those dishes that are hard to mess up.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Martha Stewart

It's no secret that Martha Stewart is a huge influence on me. I have loved watching Martha since I was in junior high. How many tweens are obsessed with Martha? But I have good reasons, she is a goddess. Nay, the leader of all domestic goddesses everywhere.

Now, not everything Martha does is practical for everyone, but for basic recipes and tips she's the queen. Her flourless chocolate cake is simple and ANYONE can make it. But this is about her cleaning tips, which anyone can use.

And I know that Martha doesn't do most of this stuff herself and her staff are the real brains behind everything, but her name is stamped on everything.

The other day, via facebook the Martha Stewart Living fan page posted dishwashing secrets. Which lead me to search through all of her homekeeping solutions.

Dude, whether you're single, married, divorced, living with roommates you need to clean, and why not clean like Martha?

And what about Martha and the single girl spirit? She was a model in the '60s, and probably read Sex and the Single Girl with a different book's jacket wrapped around it. And when she got divorced she didn't crumble, she built and empire. She went to prison and is more successful now than before her sentence. Martha Stewart is a single girl at heart, always has been, always will be.

And don't forget that single girls need to clean, too!

Friday, January 29, 2010

An Open Letter To Heidi Montag:

Dear Heidi:

Your new face is scary, as are your new boobs. You look like Jenny Lee, the plastic surgery addict who's been featured on E! and Oprah and the like. She is not pretty, and now, neither are you.

Do you ever watch episodes of The Hills from seasons 1 & 2 and think, damn, I was cute? Because you were. Cute girly personality, a great best friend, you really were the girl next door. You worked from 9 to 6 and were proud of it!

We watched you as you changed from that cute girl with an adorable haircut with school-girl highlights to the bleached-out bimbo who married Spencer, but up to that point most of what you had done was undoable. The first boob job and the nose job were pluses. Not that there was anything wrong with your born nose, but the new nose flattered your face well and your new boobs looked bigger, but natural-ish.

But your recent procedures have gone too far. You don't look like a human anymore. You look like a humanoid creature from another planet. Why why why why why? Do you realize that a) you're only 23 and 2) what has been done can not be undone? Your face will never be the same. Your boobs sans implants will be nothing but saggy empty sacks of stretch-mark stained skin.

Congrats on being the next media freak; I used to like you.

PS: Heidi's behavior does not embody the single-girl spirit. Drastically changing yourself is not empowering.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

quick tip

I hate these commercials. Butter substitutes are some of the worst products for your body. But, they do spread much easier than butter. To make a healthy spreadable butter take equal parts of softened butter and olive oil and blend together. It's healthy and there are no weird plastic-like substances in it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Elliptical Girls

What are elliptical girls, you might ask yourself?

They are the girls who go to the gym solely to use the elliptical machines at ridiculously high speeds that no mere human can maintain.

Think about it, you know you've seen them at the gym. They're usually they type of woman that looks like a model and she's got a huge diamond engagement ring (they all have amazing fiancés) and is dressed in gym clothes that are usually far more expensive than your regular wardrobe.

Sometimes these females are alone, but often they come in groups of twos and threes. They often come prepared with the latest iPod, one no mere human has access to yet, and tabloid magazines. After beginning the gossip session in the locker room they stroll out looking better than you ever could on your best days and saunter with purpose to the row of ellipticals, and that's where the magic begins.

They get themselves set, magazines in place, iPods ready, settings on the machine optimal for whatever it is these goddess-like women think they need and they're off. Legs move so fast you can't figure out how they do it. With speeds that high you expect them to peter out soon, but they just get faster and faster. Your work out ends and you're sweaty and gross and feeling pretty proud that you did two miles in less than 30 minutes and they're still going, full speed and there's not sign of sweat.

These are the elliptical girls. There's nothing wrong with them, I'm sure they're lovely people, but they fascinate me. How do they do it? Will they ever share their secret?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Natural Food

I'm impatiently waiting for "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan to get to my local library branch so I can finally read it. I've seen Pollan interviewed on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and I can't wait to dive into it. The basis of the book and Pollan's new book "Food Rules" is that we don't really eat food anymore, and instead we consume food-like products. Dr. Oz basically says the same thing. Your body doesn't know what to do margarine (which is like, three molecules away from being plastic... or something like that) but it does know what to do with butter, which is the fat from cream which is the heaviest part of milk which comes from a cow which eats grass which grows in the ground...

Which got me thinking, you really shouldn't eat anything unless you know the basic story behind it. Like, mayo is a blend of oil and eggs, oil is pressed from olives and eggs are laid by a chicken. Miracle Whip is...????

Try it with your lunch today. I'm having sweet potato fries and spinach salad. Sweet potatoes grow from the ground and spinach does too! Feta is a cheese that is made from milk which comes from a cow. Raspberry vinaigrette is made from raspberry vinegar which is fermented from raspberry juice which is pressed from raspberries which grow on a bush.

I think you get the picture.

For bread and other products that you don't completely make at home, do the same thing for each ingredient. If you get to something you don't recognize, put the item down and find a version that all the ingredients are recognizable.

happy hunting!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Sex and the Single Girl:" why you should read this book

In the 1960s Helen Gurley Brown made it cool to be a single girl. Living by yourself, dating men, having sex before marriage... all thanks to Mrs. Brown. Have you heard of a little magazine called Cosmopolitan? She was the editor-in-chief for YEARS and turned the magazine from a failing family magazine to the premier women's magazine.

If this book was written in the '60s, why should we pay attention to it 50 years later? Because I think that we've lost the single girl spirit. With shows like "The Bachelor" and "Rock of Love with Bret Michaels" the strong, empowered female has gone by the wayside to the husband obsessed skank. Those girls are not looking for love, they're looking for a husband, someone to pamper them and f*ck them, but not someone to love and to care for.

Mrs. Brown rocked the world when she said that it was alright to have sex outside of marriage. She also said it was okay to have sex with a married man. These things were happening (it was the "Mad Men" era) and she spoke out, said yes, we do this, everyone does and ITS OKAY.

I've been looking this book over again and realize that while I was reading "He's Just Not that Into You" I really should have saved myself $15 and read a book I already owned.. Mrs. Brown is blunt, says you're ugly, and then says it doesn't matter, because beauty comes from the inside. The book is written like she's speaking to her best friend who trusts her opinion the most and she's not afraid of hurting you feelings.

Do yourself a favor, visit the library or go to your favorite bookstore, get this book and read it cover to cover. It might be going on 50 years old, but it still holds true, despite a few outdated references.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frozen Food

and I'm not talking about Lean Cuisine or Nutrisystem or any of those shitty frozen meals. Ugh, Lean Cuisine is alright, but having them for most of my lunches for a while has totally put me off them. And they only taste like pepper. I like pepper, but I don't want it to be the only spice in my meal. They smell good when they're in the microwave, but all I get is pepper. But I digress...

I'm talking about other offerings in the frozen food aisle, specifically frozen bagged veggies. These gems are often overlooked as being unhealthy, but the only preservative is the cold, and frozen veggies are fresher than what you'd find in the produce section, as the are frozen within days or even hours of picking. Fresh vegetables have a few days to even weeks journey to your grocer and are often picked before they are ripe, and are then chemically ripened as they travel.

One of my favorite grocery products are the bagged mixed veggies. California blend (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) is probably my favorite because it's so basic and versatile and goes with everything, but I will buy anything without celery. (I don't like celery) Best things about bagged frozen veggies: they're cheap, easy to prepare, super healthy and very low calorie.

My favorite way to prepare veggies is with a microwave steamer. I put any liquid seasonings (Worcestershire, soy sauce, hot sauce) in the water in the bottom, place the center tray down, dump the veggies and top with any dry seasonings. Place the lid on and throw the thing in the microwave for 10 to 15 minutes. When it's done you have a great side dish or even a meal. A little cheese garnish is welcome, too. But only REAL cheese... please stay away from the mom favorites of Velveeta or Cheese Whiz, they are not food!

If you don't want to purchase a steamer, the same principle can be used in the oven. Drizzle some olive oil along with seasoning over the veggies in a 9*13 pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the veggies are hot. Or use the stove and cook in boiling water.

The next time you're at the grocery store contemplating another frozen pizza (if there's spinach on a pizza, it's healthier, right?) take a few steps and visit the frozen vegetable section and do your body and your wallet a favor.

Sophia Petrillo: The Ultimate Guidette

While waiting for it to warm up a bit before I go to the gym this afternoon, I got caught up in a Jersey Shore mini-marathon. I blame Sunday morning/afternoon's lack of decent TV. I've resisted thus far, but I admit, I got a little hooked.

But, the Italian guidos and guidettes got me thinking of one of my favorite television Italians, or Sicilian, rather: Sophia Petrillo, portrayed by the lovely Estelle Getty on the 80s classic, Golden Girls.

She's got the big hair, the attitude, the accent, the tough Brooklyn New York background and the mob connections. She's the inspiration for the hit MTV reality show, whether they want to admit it or not. Women like that have to be tough to give birth to boys with such spikey hair. (that stuff has got to hurt coming out).

Sophia Petrillo is a goddess, and the girls of Jersey Shore would be so lucky to be her and the boys would be lucky to marry a girl like her. Next time you watch Jersey Shore, check out Golden Girls afterward to fast forward the picture 50 years.