Tuesday, November 30

Let's all take a trip to "Ex"ile Island

I had an epiphany while hanging out with my #1 homegirl, Judge Judy, yesterday. As she served up yet another dish of woop ass to someone in court, I fantasized about how fantastic it would be if Judge Judy could weigh in on all the conundrums in my life.

Sure, she's a little mean, but it's all about the tough love, right?

Judge Judy, is it okay that I'm wearing leggings?

Marie, don't be an idiot. You know the truth. It's never okay to wear leggings as pants, and you've been really pushing the limits lately. I'm warning you!!!! DON'T GET THAT CAMEL TOE NEAR MY COURT ROOM LADY!

I know JJ, I know.

ummmm, Judge Judy, what happens if I chug tequila without a chaser?

WHAAAAAAAAAT?! You're the one who drank all my tequila?!

oh yeah. that's right. my bad yo.

But Judge Judy, what about bangs? Can I please give myself bangs again?

Girrrrllllll, don't make me smack you. Do you remember what happened last time you cut bangs yourself? You almost lost an entire eyebrow and hated them within 5 minutes.

See? Judge Judy is SO wise. That's why I need her on my side for my latest endeavor: "Ex"ile Island.

It's going to be like Temptation Island, but instead of MTV producers liquoring up 20 impossibly beautiful people at a luxury resort, it'll be Judge Judy banishing all of our crazy, annoying, you really wish you'd never dated them exes to an island where they can never leave. It'll be an Alcatraz.

an Alcatraz for assholes.

On this island, the punishment always fits the crime.

Was your ex a philandering bad boy? Well then, let me introduce you to his permanent island partner. In fact, his ONLY island partner. Ms. Susan Boyle.

Who wouldn't love to see HER in a bikini?

Maybe he was emotionally retarded. He was never sympathetic and often made you cry. His punishment? A lifetime of consoling an emotionally unstable Heidi Montag

I think it has a lot of potential. Just imagine a world where you'd never have to worry about an awkward run in or late night drunk dial. You could sleep peacefully every night knowing your ex was cuddled up next to Susan Boyle's 5 o'clock shadow.

and who knows, if this whole thing really works out, I could expand into a full blown real estate company. I'll have islands sprinkled all over the South Pacific for all the psycho roommates, deranged coworkers, and nosy neighbors out there in the world.

I'm currently accepting applications for deportation. Let me know what type of accommodations you'd prefer for your guest of choice. Remember, 'tis the season to be merry, so think of this as the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

Sunday, November 28

That time I ran 11 miles and took an ice bath...

This weekend has been a big one for my marathon training. While I don't want to use the blog to monitor every single run, it's important for me to mark the major milestones and my long run on Saturday is one of them.

I am officially in double digit land.

11 miles. woop woop.

For the numerically inclined out there, my stats are as follows:

Time: 1:31:15
Average Pace: 8:17
Fastest Pace: 7:45 <-- that was during Mile 11! I could brag about maintaining negative splits, but in reality I had to pee really badly so running faster was simply a necessity.

For the normally inclined out there, my daily routine was as follows:
  • 10:00 am- wake up

  • 11:45 am- finally get out of bed and into running clothes

  • 12:00 pm- ask Sean to gently nudge me out the door, otherwise I wasn't going

  • 1:00 pm- 6.5 miles done, 4.5 miles left to go. (Why the hell did I sign up for a marathon!?)

  • 2:00 pm- arrive home to begin ice bath insanity

  • 4:00 pm- starting to feel like a human being again. Need hydration. in form of beer.

  • 5:30 pm- drink pints at the pub while kicking Sean's butt in checkers. (what's that? oh, you didn't realize we are actually 87 years old?)

  • 7:00 pm- eat a calzone the size of my head. and Sean's pasta. and garlic bread. and chocolate. and wine. (oh yeah, now I remember THAT'S why I signed up for a marathon!)

Okay, enough of that. I think it's time we get to the nitty gritty. The Ice Bath. The dreaded, God forsaken, crazy ice bath.

I've created a video for everyone on my experience so you need to watch it. I'm not even going to ask you nicely, I'm just straight up telling you: YOU BETTER WATCH IT. I don't know how regular video bloggers handle it. I spent about 15 hours trying to put it together and after several attempts of zipping, compressing, and filing the darn thing, YouTube refused to play it because of music copyright infringement. (Well, Sony Records, here I am. If you want to take down this little blogger over 30 seconds of Mariah Carey then so be it)

I sneakily tried to upload it directly onto my blog but realized Google owns both my blog host AND YouTube so they wouldn't allow it on here either. Touché, Google. You may have won that battle, but you didn't win the war.

Instead, I rerouted it through Facebook. HA! Success. Facebook allowed me to embed it on here and it works. For now. So to put it mildy: WATCH IT NOW. OR ELSE. (pretty please???)

Overall, the ice bath experience wasn't too bad. On the list of Fun Ways to Spend Your Saturday, I certainly wouldn't put it at #1, but it was manageable. I woke up this morning feeling great. None of the typical soreness that accompany my long runs and the pain of the initial ice shock was nothing but a distant memory.

Think of it like drinking. When you have a hangover and you're puking your brains out, you swear you'll never do it again. But inevitably, the next weekend rolls around and you're bellied up to the bar buying a round of kamakazi shots for everyone.

Well, that's me. Except next weekend, I'll be belly up to the bathtub. Or maybe belly up in the bathtub? Wait, does that mean I'm dead? Gah. Either way, next Saturday I'll be chillin in a tub full of ice again. (Get it? Chillin? I'm freaking hilarious)

Saturday, November 27

Stay Tuned

I am going for an 11 mile run today and then I am attempting my first ice bath.

I am also going to video tape it for posterity's sake.

The video (or is it a vlog? I'm not that cool to know the difference yet) will feature me, a bathtub full of ice, tequila, and a rocking soundtrack from the mid 1980s.

Get excited. Get very excited.

Until mine is ready, please enjoy this tasty delight.

Don't worry. I will not gag myself with a washcloth. I am hardcore. I will scream obscenities at Sean instead. I also won't wear a bathing suit. This isn't the Bahamas girlfriend. This is a serious athletic endeavor. We wear sweatshirts from Victoria Secret's PINK collection instead.

Wednesday, November 24

What constitutes "The Best Thanksgiving Ever"?

To say I am homesick right now would be an understatement. What is an appropriate word to describe feeling like
curling up in the fetal position on the couch, watching ABC Family Christmas movies, and eating my body weight in raw cookie dough all while whimpering softly to myself how much I miss my friends, family, and the God given American right to slaughter a turkey and drink way too much alcohol on a Thursday?!

anyone? anyone? Bueller?

I promised Sean I wouldn't make my Thanksgiving post too depressing. I mean it is about giving thanks after all...and I know no one wants to hear the engaged girl whine about how hard it is living in London and getting her Master's degree. I have a lot to be thankful for and I am blessed. So I'm going to compress together as much of the depressing drivel as I can so we can move on to the jolly holly goodness of it all.

Ready? Here we go:


Okay. Done. Let's move on to greener pastures now shall we?

I come from a large extended family. Although I'm an only child, my dad is one of 8, which means I have a ridiculous amount of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Growing up, I always loved holiday get togethers because I got to run around with the kids instead of talking to adults. Over the past few years, as my cousins and I have all gotten older, we've deemed this holiday "The Best Thanksgiving Ever"

It has been "The Best Thanksgiving Ever" for the past 3 years and while I'd like to imagine my absence from tomorrow's festivities will send everyone into a tailspin of agony and despair, I know tomorrow will be a totally fantastic round 4. So what does this event entail? I'm sure it's pretty standard, much like your own family, if your family's traditions include drinking 19 bottles of wine and dancing around the living room. (now you are beginning to understand just why we named it as such)

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for everything I've gleened from my 3 years as a founding member of "The Best Thanksgiving Ever". I learned a lot about myself, my family and what it means to be part of something so special.

As I'm sitting here typing this, I've tried so hard to convey my feelings about this holiday...to come up with witty yet sentimental sayings to accompany these pictures, but I seem to be at a loss for words. How can you accurately describe the feeling of your family? You can't. It's something within you. It's more than words.

It's the way my grandfather knows to give me a hug exactly when I seem to need it the most.

or the way my cousins remind me that even though we are all very different from one another, it doesn't change how we feel about each other.

It's the warmth of a household filled with outloud laughter and dancing after dinner

It's sinking into the couch after too many helpings of broccoli casserole, but being the first one to spring up when dessert enters the room.

It is the simple fact that 40+ people held dinner for me last year because I was stuck in traffic for two hours.

Every year we go around the circle and say what we are thankful for.

For me this year, Thanksgiving IS family. It's about reconnecting. Even if we lost touch over the years, or we struggle to find something to talk about. If our political views are polar opposites and we don't agree with each other's life choices. Whether you are an in-law, an out-law, first, second, or third cousin, Thanksgiving is family.

So tomorrow, I will most likely skip my afternoon class, go home with a bottle of wine, bake up a batch of Dream Bars and mentally join in the family circle. Just close your eyes and imagine Evans family, I'll be there in my trademark cardigan extending my hands to offer my thanks.

(and to my lovely cousins- this means you better go to Jeff's house after and continue our tradition. I want a late night run to Wendy's and a glass boot involved or it isn't really Thanksgiving!)

Tuesday, November 23

Sex, Drugs, and Vincent Van Gogh

Before going to Amsterdam for the first time this past weekend, I only knew two things about this city for certain:

1. You can find a prostitute very easily in the Red Light District
2. Although cafes serve coffee, coffee shops most certainly do not.

So when we stepped off the train on Saturday morning, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was surprised to say the least. Surprised in a good way though, not in the oh crap there's a really sketchy hooker all up in my space, I think I just caught an STD from looking at her type of way.

The city is beautiful!

Poor Amsterdam has such a bad rap going for it, especially coming from the United States.

Back home, it is mostly associated with hedonistic pleasures that are too taboo for the good ole New England folk that we are. I'm pretty sure my father, the former police officer, had a minor coronary when I oh-so-nonchalantly mentioned I'd be making a journey to the forbidden city.

But in reality, Amsterdam is so much more than that. It'd be like saying London is only about tea and the Queen or that Bostonians only eat lobster and hang out in Harvard. It's all just stereotypes. If you scratch beneath the surface, you discover there are a whole slew of things going on.

There were so many things we enjoyed about this city. The abundance of bikes, the happiness of the people, the beautiful canals.

But the real crux of today's blog post... is the food.

Ohhhhhhh the food. Who knew Amsterdam had such.fanfreakingtastic.food?

Let me just preface this conversation by saying the Dutch are known for 3 things this time of year: cheese, apple pie, and glüwein, which is a warm, spiced red wine.

Hold the phone. Cheese, dessert and WINE are this country's customary cuisine?! I thought I went to Amsterdam, not Heaven. Scratch that, turns out Amsterdam IS Heaven.

I ate so much while we were there. and I was supposed to run 9 miles, but I only ran 4. Want to know a secret?

I also ate apple pie. for breakfast. 3 days in a row. and you know what?

I don't even care. not even a little bit. If you are looking for me to tell you how badly I feel about it, you won't hear it. I am completely guilt free. I cannot even tell you about the hours I typically spend planning my meals, thinking about my runs, and generally being concerned about my weight. too many.

Lately there has been a shift in that mindset. As I am training for my first marathon and pushing myself to new boundaries, I am falling more in love with my body and its shape.

This trip to Amsterdam really put it all into perspective.

I had found the most amazing apple pie in the world.

(Seriously. Most Amazing in the WORLD. I am not even kidding. I would really appreciate it if you could all take a minute, book a flight to Amsterdam, and head straight to Winkel's Cafe and try it for yourself. In fact, I need to digress a moment and just share with you what makes this pie so special. First there's the warm, flaky crust. followed by apples, cinnamon, and raisins. topped off with fresh, homemade whipped cream. I die. I die a thousand times over. multiply my love for Cadbury Chocolate by about 1,000 and you've got an inkling of an understanding of my devotion to this apple pie)

I was in Amsterdam. on vacation. I was experiencing things many people in my life have never had the chance to. and I was going to do it right. So apple pie for breakfast we had. Not once, not twice, but three times in a row. On the last day, Sean and I sat in the window of the cafe, surrounded by people speaking Dutch, drinking cafe latte and tea and just taking it all in bite by delicious bite. Directly outside the window there was a musician playing the violin and an organic food market.

This was more than just a food to be consumed. This was an experience to be had. One that I may never get again. Why would I deprive myself of that? I can always run 9 miles and there will forever be plenty of bananas and greek yogurt in my house, so what's the point in avoiding something so special just because of the calorie content? Suddenly, it all seemed so silly to me.

Life isn't about calorie consumption and miles logged. Experiences aren't determined by the size of your jeans or the amount of junk in your trunk (besides, I'd like to think a little booty bouncing never hurt anyone). It's about living. and so live I did this weekend.

I came alive by riding a bike for the first time in years.

devouring cheese laced with cinnamon, raisin, and walnuts, washed down with a fresh baguette, bottle of Prosecco and a bubble bath.

drinking mulled wine in the middle of the afternoon

and following it with some Belgium beers

and last, but certainly not least, I experienced a food-gasm of When Harry Met Sally diner scene proportions at a small cafe Saturday night, where I feasted on hand made cannelloni stuffed with spinach and ricotta and baked in a rich cheese sauce.

Did I mention I love this city yet? because I do. a whole lot.

I am hoping I can keep the Amsterdam mentality going with me through the holidays. (well minus the whole legalized prostitution thing. No one likes to receive a nasty case of gonorrhea under their Christmas tree)

We took about a zillion and a half pictures over the weekend as tourists often do, so I created a slideshow of all of them. I didn't add any fancy music though. Perhaps you can hum along to it. I personally enjoy When the Saints Go Marching In. Enjoy!

Spread the word and let's fix this city's global reputation. Amsterdam isn't just the slutty cheerleader who makes out with the entire football team. She's also the one who plays board games with her family and cooks dinner on Sunday evenings.

Thursday, November 18

Would you like a side of Freedom Fries with that wine?

Last night Sean and I participated in the honored time old tradition of soccer. England v France to be precise.

Hence tonight's blog title. I may love me some wine, but I don't love me some Frenchies. (tonight's total generalization and stereotyping brought to you courtesy of Quarterlife Quandary)

I got us tickets to go see the match at Wembley Stadium as part of Sean's birthday present.

Having never been to a professional soccer game, I was looking forward to all sorts of shenanigans. Other people didn't seem to share in my enthusiasm though. As I spread word to my classmates that I'd be attending a soccer game that evening, I was met with a lot of lackluster replies. Turns out there is saying here in the UK:

Rugby is a hooligan's sport played by gentleman
Soccer is a gentleman's sport played hooligans.

So apparently last night Sean and I were hooligans, but we were okay with that; it meant there was room for plenty of shenanigans and tomfoolery. (I think I should win some sort of vocabulary prize for being able to use all of those ridiculous words in one sentence). Unfortunately, we did not realize this also meant that no drinking is permitted.


within a mile radius of the stadium.

for real.

We hopped off the train hungry, our throats parched for the quenching taste of a cold pint only to be brutally rebuffed at the first pub we came across. They were shutting down. at 7pm. We didn't understand it so we went to the next one. They, too, turned us away. What the heck guys. This is not cool.

We attempted to rally our spirits and push the thought of tasty, delicious beer to the back of our minds. We didn't need alcohol to have fun. Noooooo. Our love will sustain us.

and then we spotted some guys drinking beers out of cans on the sidewalk. SCORE! Forget the love, we'll always have that. But beer before a sporting event? Now that is what dreams are made of.

We popped into the "off-licence" (convenience store) and grabbed some tasty pints (Stellas in a can. but a big can. bigger than in the US, so that counts for something).

At this point we had our beers, but we still lacked in the food department. We didn't want to eat inside the stadium because they charge ridiculous prices. For a £20 hamburger, you better be serving it with a side of Botox and a little liposuction.

Since all the pubs were closed, our options were severely limited. We opted for a greasy burger joint that had a line out the door. except by the time it was our turn they were sold out of pretty much everything. Sean wanted a hamburger. gone. a "chicken burger". gone. fish and chips. gone. Finally he settled on the sausage. Only to find out the man literally just took this giant rod of meat and slapped it on the plate (ohhh stop it. get your minds out of the gutters please). Sean took one look at it and said "no thanks-I'll just stick with chips (french fries)"

You may ask why I'm telling you all these details. Well, it is because they are important. Many of you have expressed envy over my life here in London and while I'm sure you are envisioning leisurely afternoons of tea, red telephone booths and me schmoozing it up with royalty, in reality I'm standing outside a convenience store in the rain chugging beer from a can and eating french fries for dinner. (Mom? Dad? how proud are you? I bet loads)

However, this experience really allowed me to interact with the local culture, the "natives" so to speak. One guy asked me where in the States we were from and when I answered Boston, Massachusetts, he replied "Oh, is that next to California?"

ummmm no. not even close. but thanks for playing, better luck next time.

I had a rousing discussion with this group of gentlemen (actually no, scratch that, they were definitely hooligans) about the British culture's use of the "c word". I know in American culture it is very very very inappropriate to use that word, especially around a woman. I couldn't even bring myself to say it last night. I just kept referring to it as the "c word" and they'd laugh and say "oh you mean c---? C--- is fine!" and laugh even harder. I'm still not sure if they were laughing with me or at me. (I'm pretty sure it was at me.)

The best line I heard all night though? As I was eavesdropping on their conversation (what? how can you not?), Guy A said to Guy B: "You know what I need? A good shag" pause. wait for it. there's more. "with someone I do actually like" bah ha ha ha ha. Maybe I'm just a dirty old lady who takes pleasure in the sadness of others, maybe it's because it was said in a British accent, I don't know but I found this to be hi-freaking-larious.

All in all, it was a fantastic night out in the UK. I'm so glad I got to interact with some different types of people and experience the city in a new way. huddled under an awning in the warm fluorescent glow of the local off-licence.

oh yeah. and the soccer game was fun too. Even though England lost, it didn't really matter to me. I was too busy staring at all the guys in their short little soccer uniforms- Olé! or Pelé! or whatever it is they shout out during soccer games.

Wednesday, November 17

The Blog Monster

In the darkest corners of your mind, the Blog Monster lurks. He waits quietly, ever so patiently, for his opportunity to strike. Then suddenly, as if out of nowhere, he seizes upon you, bringing with him a feeling that grips you to the core.

What is this creature? He is mysterious. He is elusive. And he is dangerous. The Blog Monster can appear in many different forms- it's different for everyone. Mine prowls around in the thinly veiled bouts of jealousy and inadequacy disguised as self-righteousness. and every once in awhile, after too many sips from the Haterade, he breaks through in outright anger and disgust, terrorizing everyone in the process. Poor Sean is usually the first victim to my Blog Monster's reign of terror as I storm around the flat ranting

What the "f"!!! (I may have a nasty beast inside me, but that doesn't mean he likes to drop the f-bomb over the Internet) How does a picture of soggy oatmeal accompained by the literary brillance of "I ate this oatmeal for the 900th time in a row. It was epic." qualify for 159 comments!? Seriously!? Maybe I should redo my blog. I will post things like: Here's the toilet paper I used to wipe my ass. and Look! A sinkful of dirty dishes and an unmade bed! Then I'd probably get my very own book deal."

Haterade. Big time.

(I prefer the lemon-lime flavor if you're wondering)

Now I'm not proud of my monster. It's quite the opposite, in fact. I am trying my best to tame and train him. (We've just enrolled in couples counseling. It's on Tuesday nights. I've also promised him a long weekend in Bermuda if he behaves) The real key to taming my inner demon though lies within myself. I need to come clean with how I'm feeling. I need to own it and work past it. So I'm just going to put it out there...wooo-saaah. okay...deep breath...and.here.we.go.

I get jealous of other blogs. I judge them. I judge them like the mean girl in 8th grade who made you cry. and then I compare mine against theirs. Most of the time I think I am a better writer than them and I become bitter. I become bitter and jealous and a little bit self-righteous and that is a lethal combination. (and if we are being painfully honest here, which I should be, I'm only self-righteous because I feel woefully inadequate in comparison)

okay. so. there it is. that wasn't so bad. Although I do need chocolate. STAT. I actually feel a lot better now that its "out there" simmering amongst all of you. Raise your hand if you still want to be my friend?

Blogging is supposed to be fun for me. I don't monetize my blog on purpose- there are no ads on my page, no sponsors with their CPMs, it's just me and my flowing stream of crap consciousness that I spew. and I like it that way. It keeps the pressure off and reminds me that this is a hobby, not a job.

or does it?

Lately, the Blog Monster has been rearing his ugly head more and more. It wasn't until today that I truly realized what a huge problem this has become. Life is funny that way. It's like a mirror. You can try to hide the negative feelings, dress them up as a different version of yourself, cover them in sarcasm and snarky remarks, and hope you're fooling everyone. But no matter how hard you try to ignore that part of yourself, something or someone will enevitably come along with their mirror and force you to take a look. No make up, bed head, and all. My mirror came in the form of my college friend, sorority sister, and fellow blogger Elizabeth who gave me an innocent enough shout out over Twitter this morning.

and while I'm sure this tweet was intended to have more meaning for her than myself, it really struck a chord with me. As I reread the promises I once made, to not conform to other people's blog identities and to above all else, write for myself and my own happiness, I realized how much I've lost sight of that. I've been letting the Blog Monster have far too much control.

I started this blog as an outlet for myself. After years of being painfully shy and constantly feeling misunderstood and misinterpreted, writing on here has given me a voice. It gives me an opportunity to express who I am and share all of these things with the people who care to learn about them. and this is where the remedy to my monster truly lies.

with the people who care to learn about them.

There are a hundreds of thousands of blogs out there in cyberspace. There are blogs that get a million hits a day and those who may only get ten...and honestly, what does it matter in the end? Is my life really going to be worse off if a girl in California doesn't comment on my latest post? No. What matters more to me is whether or not I made my Dad laugh and that my blog has opened doors to conversations with friends from high school and college that I thought had shut long ago.

I'd be lying if I said notority and number of comments or hits are completely insignificant to me. That I don't stop sometimes and think, huh? how? when I see yet another book deal on the horizon for someone else. but I am trying to gain my perspective back. I could very well lose readers once I hit PUBLISH POST today, and with every keystroke I make, I am becoming more okay with that. You can't please everyone and I don't want to.

Today, my Blog Monster has met his match and it is of David-and-Goliath proportions...except this time, I've got the upper hand. I have the most powerful weapons on my side: inspiration, motivation, and a newfound sense of inner peace. For the first time in a long time, I am inspired to write. I want to lock myself in a room and just let the words flow from the tip of my pen without hesitation. I want to write and write and write (and write). and no person, place, or thing can steal that feeling from me. *Now before we get too touchy-feely up in here, I will let it be known, the sarcasm and snark are definitely here to stay. Those, my friends, are ingrained in my personality. Plus if my willowy inspiration fluff won't slay the Blog Monster, my verbal cut-downs certainly will.

and so I have renewed vigor in my blog daliances. I am going to kick this thing. Metaphorically, I mean. Not literally. that'd be violent. and I'd look a little crazy trying to physically fight my figurative inner demon. I wish I could kick something though. It'd probably be the guy who lives below me. He plays his music too loudly in the morning.

See, there I go again with the Haterade. But he doesn't even have a blog, so I think it's okay this time.
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