Saturday, April 25, 2009

Marriage is Awesome

A conversation I literally just had with my husband:

Me: Remember that old cartoon, CatDog?

Husband: Ha! Yeah.

Me: I knew this chick once- her boyfriend got her a ferret, and she named it CatDog.

Husband: *Laughs* That’s awesome!

Me: Yeah, but do you know what was fucked up? Her boyfriend had cheated on her and she decided to take him back. That’s why he got her the ferret. He got her the ferret to thank her for the second chance.

Husband: Really?!?

Me: Yeah. I would want a diamond… or a tropical vacation… or at least a really nice night out. I wouldn’t want a little weasel looking thing that stinks.

Husband: Yeah, you’d think.

Me: If someone cheated on me and got me a ferret, I would be like, ‘Are you serious? A ferret? Are you even SORRY?’

Husband: *After dying laughing* See, baby, this is the stuff you need to blog about! This is good.

Me: Yeah, there’s only one problem. I left my laptop downstairs. I’m trying to turn our office into an actual office. Like, one I actually work in.

Husband: But you have all your best ideas upstairs! The couch makes a perfectly good office. You can write from anywhere.

This is why I married this man. He totally “gets” me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Scary Nutritional Facts that Suck

When it comes to healthy eating, everyone knows the basics by now: lots of fruits and veggies, limited saturated fats, trans fats are the devil and will kill you where you stand. Also, it appears that everyone in the world finally understands that taco "salad" is not, in fact, good for you.

Despite vacation splurges and the occasional premenstrual ice cream binge, I always thought I did fairly well in the food department. Then I subscribed to SELF magazine a couple years ago and learned some health facts that, quite frankly, I think are bullshit. This doesn't mean I don't believe they are true- SELF magazine is one of my Bibles and everything in it is Holy Word as far as I'm concerned. I mean it's sneaky and underhanded that this shit actually happens. I think companies that practice these sneaky habits should be forced to print "WE ARE ASSHOLES" in bright pink letters on their products for duping us well-intentioned healthy eaters that think we are doing something good.

These are a few facts that pissed me off and almost made me give up and resort to living off fast food and donuts for good (almost):

1) The extreme amounts of sodium found in canned soup. Soup, especially broth-based vegetable soups, are a dieter's staple. We've all seen those commercials with the middle aged women jumping up and down and freaking out, shouting, "It's the turkey noodle diet!" and what not. And it's true, some soups are very low cal, low fat and have fiber-containing veggies and beans. They're an easy, quick, affordable lunch. They also have approximately 2/3 of the amount of sodium you're supposed to get in a day- PER SERVING. Most of those cute little cans have two servings, and really, who eats half a can of soup? Not this girl.

The simple solution would be to buy those low sodium soups, but have you tried those? I usually end up adding salt just to get any flavor, which totally defeats the purpose. My solution is to limit my soup intake to once a week and drink approximately a gallon of water afterwards to avoid bloating. Thanks a lot, soup companies!

2) Hidden SUGAR in stuff that doesn't taste sugary, like salad dressing, ketchup, and spaghetti sauce.

I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. At every wedding, I hit the cake line before the booze line... every time. All you have to do is talk about chocolate, cookies, cupcakes, or anything related and I will drool. However, I also come from a family prone to obesity, so I really have to watch it when it comes to sugary treats. So every cupcake is planned, every teaspoon of cream in my coffee is monitored.

Imagine my outrage to learn of these hidden sugars. When I allow myself sugary goodness, I want to thoroughly enjoy it. When I eat condiments, I want them to taste like condiments! Not only do these assholes hide sugar in things that don't taste like sugar, they give them fancy scientific labels like "fructose" and "galactose" and what not. Chemistry was the only class in high school I failed- my brain doesn't work that way. Well done, salad dressing companies. You suck.

I just did a Google search to make sure I know what I'm talking about and found CBS posted an article on this subject today: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/01/19/earlyshow/health/main1223039.shtml

3) Restaurants make seemingly healthy food unhealthy by drowning it in butter and oil. For years, I stayed up on my high horse, ordering grilled fish and steamed vegetables, smugly thinking I was being healthy and awesome. Turns out, I wasn't. Apparently, most restaurants douse the steamed veggies in butter and oil to make them taste good... so THAT'S why my broccoli at Outback always tasted so much better than the broccoli I made at home. The obvious solution is to ask for the veggies with no oil. I remember to do this about half the time. The rest of the time, I say screw it, enjoy my meal, and watch my portions.

It seems like being healthy is so complicated. Sometimes I envy those I know that eat whatever they want, whenever they want, and truly don't care. Then I remember the way I used to feel when I did that (tired, lethargic, bloated, gross) as opposed to the way I feel after a nice long workout and an apple with almond butter (like a sweaty rock star who can take over the world). It might be complicated... but it's worth it. But I still think companies that trick us are assholes.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How NOT to get sick before an important event

It never fails.  The trip I've been looking forward to for months is on the horizon.  I've confirmed my reservation, made plans, started packing.... and, out of nowhere, I come down with the world's worst head cold.  If, by some miracle, I escape disease and have a lovely trip, I always sit next to some asshole on the plane with malaria who coughs and sneezes all over me.  Within a week, my immune system has given up the fight and I am rendered useless in bed for days.  My immune system has never been able to fend off all the crap you get exposed to on planes, breathing in all that recycled air.

Before my most recent vacation to Las Vegas, I decided to fight back.  I read every SELF magazine article and googled the hell out of tips for staying healthy.  Honestly, I didn't expect it to work- getting sick before or after travel was just something I decided to begrudgingly tolerate, like my big butt and the existence of the Mormon church.  

To my absolute shock, though, it did work.  I lowered my immune system for four days by drinking too much, not eating right, and screwing myself out of much-needed sleep.  My best friend got a cold on our first day (we blame this on the fact that she couldn't get a bloody mary, but that's another story) and I spent four days being exposed to her germs as she coughed into our shared hotel room.  In a weak moment of drunken forgetfulness, I even drank out of her straw.  That combined with being exposed to a billion Vegas germs (EVERYONE was sick!) and the always present man with malaria on the plane should have caused me to go into a coma.  Honestly, I wouldn't have blamed my body for fighting back after the way I treated it. Four weeks later, however, I am miraculously healthy.  I cannot stress enough that this NEVER happens.  Ever.  It HAD to have been the precautions I took.

Since I am awesome, I am going to share these tips that worked so well for me.  Some of them are odd, but trust me, they work.  I recommend beginning the preparation two weeks before traveling, but even a few days of precautions is better than nothing.  May your next big event be sniffle-free.

1) Load up on Vitamin C.  Yes, this is a no-brainer.  The trick is doing it right.  Your body only absorbs as much C as it needs, so if you take 2,000 mg at once, all you're getting is very expensive urine.  Before travel, I take three 500 mg vitamin C pills a day- one when I wake up, one in the afternoon, one before bed.  Some people say this is too much.  Maybe it is.  Some people are also coughing and sneezing right now while I remain healthy.  You decide.

2) Get plenty of sleep.  Again, duh, right?  You wouldn't believe how many of my friends pull all-nighters the night before a trip because they're so excited or just skimp on sleep the week before they travel.  This is a recipe for disaster.  Traveling is hard on the body and it needs rest. Giving your body adequate rest allows it to fight off one of the gnarly infections it gets exposed to on a daily basis.   "I don't have time" is a pussy excuse.  Go to bed earlier- at least for a week.  Be kind to your body and it will be kind to you.

3) Eat a clove of garlic every day.  Needless to say, I was overjoyed when I read about this, because I LOVE garlic.  Garlic is full of antioxidants that boost immunity and fight inflammation.  One of my best friends is Russian, and her mother would cram her full of garlic at the first sign of a cold.  If your stomach is easily upset, eat it with a meal.  And, if you're not as much of a garlic freak as I am or you're worried about bad breath, apparently they make aged garlic extract capsules that do the trick.  I wouldn't know- I just ate it raw.

4) Get a massage.  As if massages weren't amazing enough, now studies show that regular massages can boost your immunity as well.  They do this by lowering your stress level (stress = sick) and making it easier for you to sleep.  Plus, they feel amazing.  If a massage is out of your budget, check out local massage schools, which usually offer discounted massages performed by students who need practice.

5) Drink kombucha tea.  Kombucha is this cloudy looking substance found in health food stores.  It is quite possibly the most vile tasting substance you will ever put in your mouth.  It tastes like something one would be dared to drink on Fear Factor.  But it's chock-full of probiotics, those helpful little bacteria that boost your immunity and help with digestion.  Digestive health is essential for staying healthy.  So, before a vacation or when I start to feel icky, I grab a bottle, suck it up, and chug.  It's not nearly as fun as the garlic, but it works.  Try some.

6) Add a little lemon juice to your water.  Citrus helps balance the PH in your body.  As an added bonus, lemon water can help you shed excess bloat caused by too much sodium in the diet. So not only will you be healthy on your trip, you'll fit into your clothes.  Awesome.

7) Get busy*.  Sex relieves stress.  Stress = sick.  Also, it boosts your immune system.  Also, it rocks.  This one is my husband's favorite.

8) Exercise.  Getting enough exercise really does help.  It literally ties every health tip together- it makes you sleep better, it's good for digestion, it prevents illness, and it releases endorphins that make you want to get busy.  Exercise is awesome- unless, in fact, you are already sick.  If you're already sick, take a day off and rest.  Trust me.

*By the way, I do not recommend trying out tip number 7 immediately after tip number 3.  It's just not nice.

Prior to the afore-mentioned tips, all someone had to do was sneeze within 25 feet of me and I was screwed.  Now, my immune system has gone from Clark Kent to Superman.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to Vegas in a few days (again) and the garlic is waiting.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New beginnings

We all know that what happens in Vegas does not actually stay in Vegas.

Blisters, stories, and photographic evidence return with you. I personally know of two children who were conceived there. The only thing that really stays in Vegas is your money.

M.A.D.D taught us not to drink and drive. “Knocked Up” taught us not to drink and bone. And a recent trip to Sin City taught me not to drink and network.

After too many rounds at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesar’s Palace, I handed out my business cards to some random dudes in an attempt to look cool. When I sobered up, it occurred to me that not only was I not cool, but my blog address was printed on the cards. These were not fellows I wanted to share my thoughts with. I knew my blog had to go.

It was a blessing is disguise, though. That blog sucked.

In an effort to offend no one and compile a pristine list of G rated writing samples to prove to various magazine editors that I am a fiercely talented writer, I wound up with a generic list of bland little restaurant reviews and such. They were OK. But they weren’t in my voice.

I am an intensely passionate, fiercely opinionated woman. But have you seen what the internet does to women like me? Scary right wing nut jobs and teenagers on power trips bash the shit out of their writing and say things so mean, the devil himself is like, “Whoa. Too far.” Despite being intensely passionate and fiercely opinionated, I do have a fragile little ego.

Eventually, though, your voice has to come out in your writing or you aren’t going to enjoy it. I have heard that if it’s boring you to write it, it will bore others to read it. So, this is my new blog, and it’s all me. Because, let’s face it- every good writer is bound to stir up controversy sometimes. You haven’t lived until someone tells you that you should’ve been aborted. Yes, a critic actually said that to a columnist whose work I enjoy. Ouch!

I’m a bit offensive at times. I cuss too much. I am the queen of sentence fragments and over-using words. I’ve been known to beat a dead horse (not literally, of course. Horses are rad). If I ever do show this blog to an editor, it probably won’t land me a writing gig so much as get me committed to an asylum. But if I don’t start writing in my own voice, I’m going to give up on writing, which is all I’ve ever really wanted to do with my life. When it comes down to it, all I really know how to do is be myself.

Here are some facts about me, the girl who sees the world through blue eyes (thanks, Dad):

I am twenty seven. I like to pretend that this is still considered “mid twenties.” Humor me.

I am the epitome of girly girl. I love the colors pink and purple. I love dresses. I love make-up. I do not think this makes me weak or stupid. It makes me a girl.

I consider myself a cat person, but I am the mommy of a six year old boxer who has stolen my heart. Dogs really are cool, although this one is kind of a diva.

I have an intense, passionate love of garlic. I was thrilled when I found out garlic was so healthy because I would eat it anyway- and in mass quantities.

I go to Vegas approximately every 45 minutes. Vegas is amazing. You can go a million times and still not experience everything- believe me, I’ve tried.

I love my husband more than I ever thought it was possible to love another human. He is an amazing man and extremely intelligent even though I actually have to remind him to eat.

I have a unique, crazy, beautiful, wonderful, jackass group of friends. They’re the perfect support system while at the same time just flawed enough to give me excellent stories for my relationship column. Oh, my relationship column can be found at http://jessicalee.pnn.com.

When it comes to politics, I’m as liberal as they come when it comes to social issues but I am far from a bleeding heart. I believe in the death penalty, being punished for mistakes, and getting the eff off welfare and being a productive member of society when physically possible. I just happen to think gay people should be allowed to marry each other and that abortion should be legal and safe.

I love wine almost as much as I love garlic. I’m actually not a big drinker (except in Vegas) but I will rarely turn down a good glass of Syrah or Riesling.

I have a very unique ability to get along with people with whom I have extreme fundamental disagreements. I consider friends and family my loved ones, no matter how much we disagree. All bets are off, however, when they try to preach to me. Thankfully, they typically don’t.

I love to travel. Travel is right up there on my favorites list with wine, garlic, and my husband.

The first place to ever move me to tears simply by existing was Isla Mujeres, Mexico. I love the entire Cancun/Riviera Maya area of Mexico, but Isla Mujeres gets the gold star for beauty.

I wrote my first story at the age of six. It was about a king named George. George was a cat.

I have been known to make huge decisions very quickly. Salespeople love me for this reason. When I worked in sales, it used to frustrate me to no end when people had to “sleep on it.” I’ve never had to sleep on a decision in my entire life. Sleeping on it is for pussies.

I’ve been known to break into song at random times, like in musicals.

I have blood sugar issues so I have to eat very often or I turn into Satan. This works out for me, because I love food.

I am distantly related to Mark Twain. True story. So, if I don’t make it as a writer, I will know that I don’t have enough Twain blood in me to matter.

I must be really boring because I just asked my husband to name a unique of mine and he couldn’t think of anything printable. Awesome.

So now I guess I just have to get the word out. How does one pimp out a blog?
 
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