Friday, June 13, 2008

one man's trash another (wo)man's 600 bucks! I always talk mad smack about yard sales (because seriously, it sucks having one), HOWEVER, it was pretty awesome walking away from six hours of sitting around telling people how much things cost with tons of cash in my wallet. I'm having the second installment of my yard sale extravaganza tomorrow. My parents have been super enthusiastic about this whole project and my dad keeps taking stuff out of storage to add to the sale. Hopefully I make a few more hundred tomorrow, that would totally rule. I seriously had no idea I would make this much money from stuff I don't want/need anymore.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

itunes lies

ITunes has a new commercial out that plays every 20 minutes featuring sexy, sexy Chris Martin singing Viva la Vida from Coldplay's new CD. As a general rule, I love any kind of Apple commercial. I don't know what kind of people they have in their marketing department, but they're seriously geniuses. That whole Mac guy VS. PC man thing? Classic. Well, that aside, the Coldplay commercial is a total lie. At the end of Chris Martin's little jig, a black screen appears with the words "exclusively on iTunes." Really? Is that why I tried to order it today and was informed that it would not be available for download until the CD release on July 17th? Thanks, bitches, for totally bursting my lanky-white-British-musician loving bubble.

new banner

To be fair, I'm actually not IN China yet, but I got the idea for a clever cartoon-y looking image of a Chinese food take-out box filled with strawberries the other day and have been wanting to change my banner for a while so I decided just to make the leap. That and the fact that I spent three hours taking pictures of strawberries in take-out boxes, cutting them out in Photoshop, then learning how to make them look like a cartoon. I hope everyone likes it, because I promise I am not changing my banner for a long while. Slight adjustments, maybe, but I really like this image and I worked very hard on it, so it's here to stay.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

it's only wednesday?

Things I am looking forward to this week: Friday (dinner with Bebe downtown then ogling over the hunkiness of Edward Norton in The Hulk), tonight's Top Chef finale, moving to SoCal on Sunday, shopping for clothes for China, mani/pedis, depositing graduation gift checks.

Things I am dreading about this week: Friday (hosting a huge yard sale in order to get rid of a bunch of stuff and make some mad money for China), Saturday (yard sale continues), packing for SoCal, leaving Tater Tot, waiting in line at the DMV.

I'm super psyched for tonight's Top Chef finale. I don't really care who wins, as long as it's not Lisa. Okay, so I guess I kind of care who wins, but seriously, she is such a whiny bitch I can barely stand watching her. My mom and I had a Top Chef party tonight which wasn't so much a party as it was me cooking a new and adventurous meal for my parents. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it, but Rod is Persian and of course introduced me to the wonder that is Persian cuisine. I absolutely love it but have only cooked it once and it was a total fail, I halved the entire recipe except for the salt and so the dish was total sodium overdose, gross.

Well, this was a Top Chef party and the whole point of Top Chef is to push your boundaries, so I gave Persian food another go and this time is was actually quite delicous! I made zereshk polo which is basmati rice with barberries and I even successfully managed to cook it with tadig and everything! Tadig is this hard layer of sort of fried rice that forms on the bottom of the pan after cooking the rice and it is so freaking delish. I also made chicken sautéed with onions in a lemon and saffron sauce and a very simple, fresh salad with avocado, cilantro, lemon juice, and olive oil. I would include the recipe for the rice, but it was seriously over 10 steps long and also took over an hour to prepare, so just enjoy the gorgeous picture of my first edible Persian meal.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

a HUGE test of will power

I am not even joking, there is a giant vat of cream cheese frosting in the fridge here.  What is wrong with these people?  Are they moonlighting as Keebler elves or something?  I don't get it.

a test of will power

My mom's best friend and her husband went out of town for a few days and their housesitter bailed on them last minute so Strawberry to the rescue!  I offered (for a price) to watch their house and cute mini poodles for them, not knowing that their home is the personification of temptation.  I walk into the kitchen, set down my housesitting gear (laptop, gossip mags, toiletries, pillow & blanket), and immediately spot two home made pies and two plates of freshly baked cookies.  And it didn't stop there, the fridge is stocked with tons of delicious not diet drinks like IBC rootbeer and pure pomegranate juice, and they have about six boxes of the best cereal selection ever.  Good thing I came prepared with my not-so-appetizing 240 calorie Lean Cuisine pasta meal for dinner.  Also, I got on the scale this morning to make this whole "losing 10 pounds" thing more official, and I weighed 4 pounds less than I thought I did!  Total score.  That's almost as good as finding $20 in the back pocket of some jeans you haven't worn in a while.  Actually, who am I kidding, weighing four pounds less than you thought you did is way better than finding any amount of cash.

Monday, June 9, 2008

what was i thinking?

I already regret giving up sweets. It's only been an hour and I'm going through withdrawals. Must. have. chocolate.

Speaking of food, I don't know what my dad eats when he's watching TV, but the remote is always greasy when he leaves and I take the remote to switch channels. It must be his way of marking his territory, y'know, wiping his Swiss cheese nom-ing fingers all over the place. It also might be his way of hinting that I need to stop camping out on the couch and actually 1. go do something during the day or 2. hang out in my own room instead of taking over the family room.

strike on sweets: take two

Way back in April I made a post about giving up sweets for a while, then I promptly forgot about my mid-year resolution and continued eating dessert like every day was my birthday. Thankfully, I'm somewhat exaggerating or else I would be a total lard-o by now, but either way I completely did not follow through with my goal of avoiding all things sugary and delicious. Well, the time has come. I have managed to give up both soda AND alcohol completely, the next step naturally seems like it would be dessert, so that is my new summer resolution: no dessert until China. Luckily China is not a country known for having irresistible chocolate and pastry concoctions (like, say, France), so I'm hoping to make this a semi-permanent change.

This will definitely be more difficult than giving up soda and alcohol, because I love sweets way more than any beverage, so keep your fingers crossed for me. I also feel somewhat obligated to go on a summer diet, since pretty much every female blogger I know is dieting right now. I think it's dumb how everyone suddenly feels the need to slim down when the weather gets warm. From February to August you can't pick up a magazine without it having some kind of feature about getting bikini-ready. Are people really eating that much in the winter months that they have to detox in May and June? I don't get it. That being said, I'm totally going on a diet. I'm such a conformist. I'm not going to take measurements or anything like that, but I suppose I'll check in occasionally for accountability reasons. My goal is to lose 10 pounds by the end of August. Ready...go!

trouble at the OK corral

A couple months ago I mentioned that my family has a opossum that comes to our house every once in a while to eat cat food that we have sitting in the front if the house. Well, it somehow slipped my mind to share that we also have a raccoon that frequents our yard in search of cat food and small animals to harass like Tater Tot (who he enjoys bullying by standing up on his hind legs and hitting the glass door, as seen in the grainy cell phone picture to the right). Smokey the Bandit (as my dad has since named him) will eat pretty much anything and lately my parents have gotten into the habit of getting "Raccoon Bags" from restaurants rather than "Doggy Bags". Over the past several weeks Smokey has enjoyed a variety of food, including, but not limited to: cake, focaccia bread, pasta with marinara, burritos, banana bread, oreo cupcakes, pork chops, and most recently, my dad's prized koi fish.

Six years ago when we moved into this house my dad bought four koi fish for a pond in the front of the house that he built for my mom. We never gave them names or anything because I'm usually the one who names pets and I didn't really care about the koi fish too much, but they were a pretty big deal to my dad since he bought them when they were barely 6 inches long and watched as they grew to nearly three feet long over the next six years. While I was in Mexico with my mom, my dad called us somewhat upset and told us that Smokey the Bandit had gotten into the pond, eaten half of the largest fish, then left the body on the side of the house. He told us he was going to put some kind of netting over the pond so Smokey couldn't get in, but when we came home from Mexico we found that Smokey had eaten ALL of the koi. As a side note, my dad drove to Cabo San Lucas in his truck to surprise my mom for her birthday, so he was a little pressed for time and clearly didn't make Smokey-proofing the pond a priority.

On Friday of last week my dad took us out to a koi pond supplier in the country and we bought 5 new, baby koi fish. Koi fish are expensive, and for large koi like the ones Smokey consumed you will easily spend several hundred dollars per fish. We opted for the $10 dollar fish. This time I decided they needed names so they felt like true members of the family, so I named them after Disney characters: Cinderella, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Jack Sparrow, and TJ, the initial's of my mom and dad (my dad's idea). I bet you're wondering, did my dad learn from his mistake in the past and put some kind of protective barrier between the pond and the outside world? No. Not more than three days later all the fish were gone once again. So, my dad insists that he is going to makeover the pond and dig it deeper so Smokey won't be able to get to the fish. At this point, the pond is only about two feet deep, and according to some koi site I found on Google they should be at least six feet deep. How embarrassing is it going to be to have to go back to that koi pond supplier and tell him the raccoon ate our fish again? I guess he probably won't care since every time a raccoon eats someone's fish he makes money by selling them a new one.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

back to the future

Okay, I am FINALLY back from Mexico and have fixed my internet connection after six long, boring days. Lots has happened in the nearly three weeks since I last posted, but I'm going to try to take it all in stride and not overwhelm you (or me) with 29 new posts at once.

Perhaps the most exciting thing that happened during my blog absence (save my awesome new domain name which I LOVE) is I finally received my internship placement for my year in China and I will be living in Shanghai!!! All of my Chinese friends told me to try my best to get a job in Shanghai because it is such an amazing city. According to people who have been there it's like walking into the future. I mean, look at the place!

Totally makes you think of Bladerunner, right? Just looking at pictures of the city makes me anxious. I know I'm going to have an amazing time, but I also know that it is going to be a huge transition, especially considering the 15 million people that live there. Woah. Luckily, I already "met" a girl who will be going to school with me in Southern California through Facebook and she is also going to be teaching at the same high school with me in Shanghai. AND she drives a Jeep Wrangler. We're totally going to be best friends, just watch.

Everyone keeps asking me if I'm excited about going but it still doesn't feel real yet. Honestly, I don't think it will fully sink in until I board the plane for my flight over there at the end of August. Well, maybe when I start to pack it will hit me, but for now it doesn't even seem like my life is going to change at all. I know that it will though.

Another question that people inevitably ask is: Wow, 10 months? What are you and Rod going to do? I don't know if it was denial or what, but neither of us ever considered the fact that we might have to actually do something with me being on the other side of the world until we were asked the question 40 different times. The short answer is we're not going to officially "do" anything. We're going to keep things how they are right now and see how it works out with me being 100 million miles away (seriously, that's how far it is). We're not stupid, we both know that it is going to be very difficult, but we're also optimistic that we will be able to maintain a happy and healthy relationship despite the extreme distance. I'm hoping a webcam will be a good investment in this uber-long distance relationship experiment. Perhaps seeing each other in real time will make the distance seem less extreme. And hopefully he will come visit me.