Sunday, April 13, 2014

Philly Bits: The Rest

Who was I kidding, thinking I would actually blog on a daily basis while in Philadelphia? I can't even manage that at home. Plus, that would be valuable time I wouldn't be spending with Katie and Joe, so you know, that's not happening. And so, I now bring you a condensed overview of the remainder of my Philly trip from here in the air, flying over Ohio.

Oh, while we're on the subject of flight, a quick aside. A Public Service Announcement, if you will.

I don't understand people that are comfortable farting on an airplane. Look, man, we're all in this together. We're in a pressurized cabin, sharing the same air. When you're out and about, on the ground, I understand the public fart. It's great too because no one really knows it was you. But when you're in an airplane, hold that shit in. It's not right to crop dust a captive audience. Not cool.

Independence Hall
Okay, as I was saying: Philly. Had a great time with Katie and Joe. This trip was less about seeing all kinds of Philly tourist attractions, since we really went balls-to-the-wall on my October 2013 trip when I had never been to the city before. Having packed in a ton of sightseeing on that trip, this one was decidedly less on-the-move, although as I type this, I'm still really exhausted. Here's a recap of this trip's highlights:

Holy shit, I walked, liked, almost every day I was so proud of myself for getting up early every morning (except this morning, Sundays are my rest day anyway) and going for 6.5-mile walks around the city. I walked from the apartment to Independence Hall one day, to Reading Terminal Market another day...I was all over the place, man. It would have been very easy to stay in bed, but I made it a priority to get long walks in, and I'm so glad I did. Plus, I got to see some great parts of the city, and you can really take everything in while on foot. *pats self on back*

My favorite building on the UPenn campus.
Rittenhouse Square Shopping, aka Shopping In Normal Stores 'Cause shopping is awesome, shopping with my Bizzy is even more awesome, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous this entire trip. I mean, really amazing, like, in the 70s. I was wearing a tank top most of the time. Katie and I walked to Rittenhouse Square, which was super busy on Friday afternoon (do people in Philly actually WORK? Because everyone seemed to be shopping). The stores we visited were very basic, BUT they made me very excited because I am loving being able to shop for clothes in "normal" (i.e. not plus-size) stores. H&M has some cheap shit, man. I mean, cheaply made and cheap. But hey, for basics, it's fantastic, and I had never been able to shop in there before! That was a highlight.

City Tavern We had dinner at this really fun restaurant in Old City. It's on the site of a circa-1700s tavern, and the servers are in colonial garb (but it's not cheesy). We were seated in the room that was George Washington's favorite dining room, and the lighting was very dim (only candles inside hurricane glass). I wasn't too impressed with my food—I mean, it wasn't great, but it wasn't bad—but the atmosphere was so fun, and the dessert was amazing (apple crumble with cinnamon ice cream, God, I'm still dreaming of it). Our server and the busboy for our section were chatty and enjoyed sharing post-dinner historical stories of the spot and ghost stories which was also really fun, since Katie and I love that kind of stuff. Overall, a worthwhile experience and a definite highlight of the trip.

Look at that sheet of icing. LOOK AT IT.
Tommy DiNic's, I'd like to marry this sandwich, if I may.
Reading Terminal Market is my absolute most favorite place in Philadelphia, hands-down. It's basically a huge indoor market with awesome food vendors. We headed over there on a Saturday, and it was a bit of a zoo, but we made it work. There are so many delicious choices that it's hard to try everything you want to, even if you split things (even harder with a tiny stomach). While there are still things that I want to try on my next trip, we had some really epic chow on this visit. For example, I had what is probably one of the best sandwiches I've ever had in my life (at least in the Top 5) at Tommy DiNic's. This is a super-popular spot smack-dab in the middle of the market, and the past two times that Katie and I tried to go there, they were sold out of their sandwiches. Not this time! Katie and I split the Italian brisket sandwich with sharp aged provolone and it blew my mind. No, seriously. I know the photo of it is kinda gross, because of all of the residual meaty juices, but try to focus on the sandwich itself. God, it was fucking delicious. I want one right now. That sharp prov totally put it over the top. It was the first thing that I tasted. And you know a sandwich is amazing when it only has three ingredients and that's all it needs: Meat. Cheese. Bread. Done. We also stopped at Beiler's Donuts & Salads (now there's a weird combo) for some made-right-in-front-of-you donuts. So, so, so good. Those Amish, man, they know their breads. I got a Salty Caramel donut and a Peanut Butter Chocolate donut (filled with fluffy peanut butter cream). The Salty Caramel was just okay, but the PB&C was amazing. Joe's donut was my favorite—Harvest Apple, filled with apple cinnamon filling and with vanilla icing on top. (I was really into apples this trip, apparently). We also stopped at our favorite place, Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe, another great spot run by the Amish, where I procured some sour gummy bears for friends on my last trip. They were so popular when I brought them back in October that I am always enlisted to be a gummy mule and bring a ton home whenever I visit—FYI, I bought 11 lbs of those fucking bears for friends on this trip. They put my suitcase over 50 lbs, and I had to put them in in my backpack to lighten the load. The things I do for the ones I love. I swear. :) I got some other things from the market that were lackluster, including an apple dumpling (also Amish-made) but it didn't have enough salt in it, so that bothered me. I feel that the Amish in general don't salt their food enough. And I don't even care much about salt. I never salt my food, but I found myself salting most of the Amish-made food I tried at the market. Weird. I actually had to salt the dumpling before I microwaved it. You just can't have something that's so sweet without a bit of a counterbalance.

Beautiful night for some ball!
Phillies game at Citizen's Bank Park The game itself was boring as all get out (the Phillies, God love 'em, aren't the best team right now, and they were playing the Marlins, who really, truly blow) but I really wanted to check out the stadium and just enjoy opening week of baseball season. (Aside: I can't believe I actually like baseball now. I always found it so boring until my friend and raging Giants fan Heather introduced me to games at AT&T Park and how awesome our Giants are, now I truly enjoy it). Anyway, the weather was gorgeous, perfect for a 7:15pm game, and we just bought cheap seats, ate some ballpark food, and hung out. It was more fun to watch the drunken Philly fans than the actual game. We had several rows of people in front of us that were obviously really enjoying their $8 beers and would yell inappropriate things and harass one another (and the players) until the usher had to threaten to throw some of them out. My favorite insult yelled by a drunken fan occurred during a Marlins at-bat, and was rather tame, yet effective in its simplicity: "I HAD SEX WITH YOUR MOM!"

Watching TV with Katie and Joe This is just a simple, nostalgic pleasure that makes me so fucking happy every time. Katie, Joe and I just watch bad reality TV (in this case, we also sprinkled in some Full House and the movie Tangled). Watching Toddlers & Tiaras with them makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. It reminds me of when they lived in my building, and I would head up to their place to watch Toddlers while Joe made us burgers and we laughed and made totally inappropriate comments throughout each episode. Sometimes, the simplest things are the best things. And watching pageant moms exploit their idiot children is just one of those heart-melting things in life that really makes you proud to be an American.
Oh, look. It's Buster!
It was a great trip, and a nice break from the mundane, everyday activities that are waiting for me back in the Bay Area. I was trying to pinpoint what it is that makes me like Philly so much, and I think I finally figured it out. I love NYC, and while I'm not fond of SF, it has some endearing qualities, but Philly is wonderful because it's unpretentious. It's a blue-collar town for the most part, and it feels real. They have an honest-to-fuck 'hood, and it's not too far from the bougie part of the city. There were girls in front of row houses playing double dutch. There are more dollar stores than there are Starbucks. No one freaks out if their food isn't local, organic, free-range, blah, blah, blah (I'm giving the disparaging side-eye to you, San Francisco). On my walks in the mornings, I passed a number of blue collar guys, smoking cigarettes and chilling on benches with their Igloo coolers, hardhats on, just doing work. It's refreshing to see people living their lives more simply, without being bougie hipster asshats. I applaud you for that, Philly. Thanks for the reality check.

Anyway, I'm heading back to CA now (Hey! I'm now flying over Michigan!) and have to get ready to restart my everyday routine of work and gym. It'll be a bit easier to get through this (rather hectic) week knowing I'm going to a Giants game on Tuesday, and will be headed to Disneyland on Friday (yay!) I feel like I'm constantly on the move lately. And that's not so bad.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Philly Bits: Day 1

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.
I could write a bunch of paragraphs about how much I love Philadelphia (I do) but not as much as I love my friends Katie and Joe (true story) and how I yet again had a weird experience with a black guy in a McDonald's today (seriously, WTF), but instead, I'll just show you some photos. Because really, photos are fun, and it's 11pm and I'm really fucking tired.

To the left (to the left): A cannoli from Varallo Brothers Bakery. The cannoli itself was good. Here's what wasn't: The apathetic broad that "helped" me, the fact that I couldn't get just one butter cookie with a chocolate center (they're pretty small cookies, and I was informed I had to buy at least a quarter pound), and that they didn't take debit card, so I had to withdraw $20 from their bullshit ATM with a $2 fee. Will I be returning? Mmmmnope.
Locust Walk, University of Pennsylvania campus

Was pretty proud of myself this morning as, on about 5 hours of (poor) sleep and jet lag, I still went for an over 6-mile walk today. Captured this lovely moment on Locust Walk, and wound my way with the help of Google Maps to my destination: The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Why? Because I wanted the thrill of running up those damn "Rocky" steps in the morning. And it was awesome. The last time I tried to run those steps (October 2013), I was able to do it, but it was so much easier this time. Kind of cool to have that as a reference point of how far I've come.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Snapped a photo from the top of the museum steps, and while I had originally intended to get a cool shot of the downtown skyline, these three gents quickly came into view. They were working out on the steps, and here's the crazy, bad-ass part: One guy was hopping up each step on ONE LEG. It was both amazing and hilarious, the latter only because it reminded me of this.

Took a detour from the suggested route home because I'm a rebel like that, and ended up on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which looked really beautiful in the morning light. Love those flags and the pops of color they provide in the shot below.

Rocky never ran the steps one-legged, bitch!
I'm planning on getting up early tomorrow for another walk before Katie and I go to a personal training session at her gym. Yes, people, this is a big deal: I'm working out while on vacation. That's kind of amazing, even to me. It'll be good to get my ass handed to me, as I've missed that daily occurrence while traveling (Sidenote: apparently, David, manager of the gym at home wants me to start doing a combination of circuit training and the machine strength training when I get home. I'm going to be miserable, and I'm going to love it).
I have some more photos to share, but it's pretty late and I'm exhausted. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I hope our loose plans of heading to Rittenhouse Square won't be foiled. We're also going to City Tavern for dinner tomorrow in Old City, and we're pretty excited about that. Tried to get there on my last trip but ran out of time.

More tomorrow...if I'm not totally passed out in the evening. :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Same Old Song & Dance

Do you ever feel that, as you age, you, in some ways, become more like your childhood self? That is to say, while in certain respects, you become more mature, you become more responsible, you grow up, in some ways—in your most vulnerable moments, in things that hurt you the most back then—you linger on them a bit longer now, you think about them more deeply, you let them affect you more than you should?

I knew that my weight loss surgery would likely amplify existing (or in some cases, present new) emotional difficulties. The more I lose physically, there is one thing in particular that is harder for me to come to terms with. For years, I blamed my fat for my lack of dating, romantic relationships, for the almost complete lack of interest shown to me from men throughout my adult life. Now, here I am, 90 pounds less of me. I look...normal. I mean, normal, physically. At least I think so. I don't look grossly overweight. Here I am, working so hard, dedicated, committed to changing my lifestyle and rebuilding a body I neglected for so long.

And romance. No interest. No...nothing.

It's really terrifying.

That means that it may not have been the fat at all that made me...undesirable. Unlovable. It appears that it's Me, inside. It doesn't matter if I'm 300 pounds or 200 pounds or less. I've garnered as much attention now as I did before. Which is none.

I'll repeat: It is terrifying to come to the realization that something inside of you is broken. Something about you fundamentally as a person is a deterrent to the opposite sex. I can't fix who I am. I don't know how to change me. To be honest, I don't want to. Does that mean that I have to accept the possibility that I might just be one of those people who never experiences real, honest, genuine love?

When I was a kid (and I have mentioned this in a past post), I remember playing Barbies with my best friend, and she would talk about her future husband, how many children she wanted...I remember it as clear as day, I was sitting on my knees, staring down at my blond-haired doll, and thinking to myself, "But to be married, someone has to want you. What if no one wants you?"

A self-fulfilling prophecy, it seems.

I run on the treadmill, I cry sometimes. The tears blend in with sweat and no one can tell. I'm running to exhaust myself. To wear out my brain and drain the sadness and drown out the feelings of inferiority and shame and self-loathing, and the person inside that has never been enough to warrant second dates, has been toyed with and rejected and treated like garbage and lives only to serve as the unwilling sidekick for beautiful friends. I wish I could remember every time I've watched as my friends get approached, hit on, flirted with...and I'm next to them, right next to them, but I'm invisible. I watch friends date, enter relationships, cry over broken hearts, find someone new right around the corner, and do it all again. They're living. It's not always easy, but it's life. That's life. I feel like I'm missing out on this amazing part of life, something that makes it so exciting and beautiful and special and I won't ever have it. Not only will I not have it, I haven't even come close in my 33 years in existence.

You know how sometimes you think, "If I were to die tomorrow, would I be happy with the life I led? Will I have experienced everything I wanted to?" And for most things you might think of, they're things that you can make happen. You can quit your shit job and follow your dream. You can travel the world and embrace new experiences. You can mend broken relationships. You can eat better, change your body, truly transform if you really work at it.

What I want—love, someone to love me, the one thing I want, and have not had—I can't make it happen on my own. I need someone else. For someone as fiercely independent as me, this is a very humbling revelation. Humbling and heartbreaking. And the years go by, and nothing changes. No one comes. No one calls. I'm used and discarded, emotionally. Because of this, I become more angry. I become more cynical. Bitter. Jealous. Sharp. So fucking furious at the world. I am so angry lately, I don't know what to do. I'm rude and impatient and nothing and no one makes me happy, and it's all because of so much hurt and fear that no one can see, and no one can really understand.

I don't know what to do about all of this, so I work out. Hard. I push myself. I try to exercise as much control as I possibly can over the only thing I feel in control of anymore: my body. And I watch it change, and shift, and morph, and grow stronger and stronger on the outside. And inside, I just feel smaller and smaller with every day without someone to love.

And there's nothing at all I can do about it.

OMG, I'm in a short dress.

Showing leg. And arm. A new world for me.

I mean, whoa. Really whoa.

I bought a new dress over the weekend from a cute new shop in San Mateo, Hourglass Boutique. It was on sale for under $40, and it has pockets. It also has a unique neckline, and as I just bought like, the world's best strapless bra EVER from Nordstrom, I was excited to try it out. The dress is WAY shorter than any dress I've ever worn. I mean, above the knee? I'm no prude, but I have always wanted to spare those around me the sight of my chunky thighs.


I thought about wearing this with leggings, but then thought, "No, dammit. You're going to wear this short-ass dress and own your Yoncé thighs." I also feel like it's so short that the...cross breeze, if you will, is a bit disconcerting. I'm afraid I'll have a Marilyn moment and flash a floor of engineers.

All of these things went through my head this morning before I threw on a belt to cinch my waist, stepped into some heels, and went for it. And I am very, very proud of me!

Back of the dress! Love that bow.
My selfie skills are atrocious (I only have one full-length mirror in my apartment, and it's skinny, and it's in front of my bed, which is currently stripped because tonight is laundry night). I also have my adorbs silkworm cocoon mobile from Kyoto hanging above the mirror, so every selfie looks like I have a weird origami bird fascinator on. It's just the mobile. My point is...I'm glad I captured this poorly composed full-body shot so that I can be proud of the work I've done in the gym and at home. Yesterday, David, the manager of the gym I go to, made a point to come over to me on the treadmill and tell me that I looked good, and he could definitely see a change. That made me feel good. It's hard to tell you're changing when you look at yourself every day (AND when you continually obsess over the wing meat dangling off your triceps, or your ever-present jiggly stomach). Point is, I've come a long way, baby. Still need to ditch those last 8 lbs. to get me to my current goal of -100 lbs. lost...then I still need to lose about 50 more. It's not getting any easier, but I'm staying committed!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Pies & Muffins & Meth Heads, Oh My!

Sexy Cross Section: Chocolate Marble Pie.
First things first: You wanted to see Lexie's Chocolate Pie all sliced up, didn't you? Okay, you've probably forgotten all about it, but it's a cool photo, so I'm sharing it. Clearly my "marbling" skillz need work. I mean, that big blob of whipped cream isn't exactly marbled. But look how FLUFFY the pie is. In order to have a sweet-lookin' marble, you need two liquid-y components (which is why marbling works so well in brownie batter or cheesecake). Anyway, the pie was good, I suck at marbling, and I post photos way after people would be interested in seeing them. That's our lesson for today, folks.

Also worth noting, I made another amazeballs recipe from my new favorite website, Sally's Baking Addiction. This time, I used her recipe for Very Berry Muffins, and they were SO DAMN GOOD. I used blueberries and raspberries, and made my own streusel topping, 'cause streusel = duh. The muffins were dense but moist, great crumb, not overly sweet (even with the topping) and were a big hit with my friends. This isn't the best photo, and I think that in addition to the poor office lighting and tacky-as-fuck brown paper napkin (#ghettomuffin), something is lost in the stump. That's right. I actually unearthed one of my old muffin pans with troughs shaped like roses. It's a great NordicWare pan—pretty sure it weighs a million pounds, give or take–and cooks things beautifully. Unfortunately, the pretty rose shape makes these muffin stumps look a bit...bulbous, i.e. not the most photogenic. Oh, well. They were delicious, and I'll totally be making them again. Thanks, Sally! (That girl). Bonus awesome points if you know that reference.

So berry! Much yum!
Moving on to my relatively uneventful weekend—it was pretty mundane, but that was fine with me. Took a long, ass-kicking walk to the San Mateo Farmer's Market and picked up some killer jam, went to the optometrist for my yearly eye exam (spoiler alert: my eyes have remained the same), and ordered some kick-ass new frames (hella cute, hella expensive. Someone tell me why, when presented with a bunch of frame options, the ones I like the best are fucking Gucci, when I couldn't care less about designer brands? Jesus). They're awesome frames, though, kind of basic but fun. I'll post a photo once I receive them. You've missed photos of me, haven't you? Instagram was where I did all of my selfie whorin'. Not so much of that these days. Being off of Instagram is very liberating. And I also take fewer photos, which is a good and a bad thing. Good because I'm spending more time in Realityland, bad because I do love taking photos in general.

My cradle-robber crush: RJ Mitte.
So, the highlight of my weekend, besides having dinner with some friends on Sunday night, was that I finally started watching Breaking Bad. I know, I'm like, insanely behind the eight ball here. But I just recently downgraded my Comcast to basic cable to instead focus on the plethora of amazing TV shows that my friends and family love and that I've never seen because it's easier to watch DVRd episodes of Honey Boo Boo (I will not apologize. I have accepted my shame).

So...this show is good. Really fucking good, in fact. I realize that's no surprise to pretty much everyone, but I'm really enjoying it so far. As a friend cautioned, you have to get through some boring bits in Season 1 to get to Season 2 and the "big payoff" as he calls it, which is totally true (thanks, Bassmaster). I'm in Season 2 now, and loving it. I also find myself crushin' hardcore on two cast members: RJ Mitte, who plays Walt's son, and Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse Pinkman. I meannnn...what does it say about me that I'm lusting after an actor who's 21 YEARS OLD, FOR FUCK'S SAKE, and a guy who plays a meth-addled moron degenerate? In my own defense, RJ Mitte has like, the most gorgeous face ever, with those high cheekbones and those black eyes and that tousley hair...ugh, I think I just vomited in my mouth at how Tiger Beat that sounded. And Aaron Paul, when he's not Pinkmanfied, is so hot in a Californian surfer, let's-go-count-stars-and-cry-listening-to-Dashboard-Confessional kind of way. So really, I mean, these crushes are fine. They're totally fine. They're fine and I'm definitely in need of at least a good makeout session or something. #sexuallyfrustrated
My hot-ass meth head crush: Aaron Paul.
And finally, I entered a weight loss challenge with 9 other coworkers last week, and am serious about this shit. Each of us puts in $50, winner take all. Plus, I've been bouncing up and down in The Stall That Wouldn't Die for the past several months, and it's driving me insane. I had made a reward chart for myself prior to surgery, with rewards for every 20 pounds lost. The closer I'd get to my goal weight (140-160ish), the better the reward. Of course, my 100-lb. loss reward is a trip to Disneyland with a stay at the Disneyland Hotel, which is the best reward ever, which is, of course, why it's taking me for-fucking-ever to hit it. I'm at 209 lbs. right now. Need to get to 200. I'm hoping that this weight loss challenge will provide an extra bit of motivation, although I already feel like I spend every spare moment working out. I've also started juicing again, and let me tell you, green juice is not the tastiest thing. I also add chia seeds to be extra hippie, and those suckers are gross. The slime factor is not fun. They had better be helping me, or cleansing me out, or giving me magic powers, or making my blood into glitter or something. Because eating something I'm used to smearing on a terracotta sheep's body ain't cool, man.

Addendum: Below is my current list of TV shows I have to watch. Am I missing any? Which series should I start after I'm done with Breaking Bad? Comment with your recommendations if you have some! (And no judging if some of these shows are super old. Like I said...I'm a bit behind-the-times here). :)

American Horror Story: Coven
Boardwalk Empire
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Once Upon A Time
Sons of Anarchy
The Sopranos
The Tudors
The Walking Dead

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

...The Tough Bake Cookies. (And Pie).

This weekend was a bit of a clusterfuck, and today after seeing my therapist, I was once again emotionally drained. And dude, I am such an ugly crier. I mean, for real. I'm as blotchy as an Irishman on St. Patty's, but instead of whiskey, I'm usually cookie drunk.
Currently planning a Rod Serling tattoo. True story.

Anyway, as you know, I've been having a rough week, and this afternoon really challenged me. I came home, cried, then finished a book I started months ago, then cried at the end of that book (for the record, it's a beautifully-written memoir entitled As I Knew Him by Anne Serling, youngest daughter of Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone and a truly amazing human being. If you're at all interested in him & his impressive body of work, it's worth a read). Then I tried to doze for a bit but it was around 4pm which is when I feed the Po Beast his beloved stinky wet food, so he was meowing incessantly until he was fed, and I had to break my gleeful teeter on the edge of dreamland to feed the little bastard. Then, of course, I couldn't go back to dozing, so I decided to bake something. Plus it's raining outside, and I LOVE baking when it's raining.

I attempted two new recipes today. Details below.

Recipe #1: Lexie's Marble Chocolate Pie
Affectionately referred to as "Crack Pie" by those who have tried it (i.e. the Sibby's crew), this pie is truly sinful. Super rich and just a solid, old-school dessert consisting of a salty homemade crust and a fluffy, marbled filling made of semi-sweet chocolate, rum, meringue and homemade sweetened whipped cream. The actual name of it is Marble Chocolate Pie, but as the recipe was so generously bestowed upon me by my dear friend Lexie, I'm renaming it. Boom. Artistic license, people. That just happened.

I know, not much to look at, right? Good thing it's tasty.
So, this pie is a bitch. I say that with love. But it's an old-school recipe, so it contains a lot of steps, requires a lot of babysitting, and also involves lard, something I haven't used for baking since childhood. You make the crust, chill the crust, roll it out, bake it, then make the chocolate filling which requires a double boiler, unflavored gelatin, beating egg whites and sugar until stiff, making homemade whipped cream, and pretty much every other painfully antiquated, dish-dirtying baking technique known to man.

While I haven't actually tasted the completed pie yet (there's not much tackier than delivering a pie with a piece missing), I'm excited to try it tomorrow (and make my coworkers my guinea pigs). I did taste the filling in it's various stages, and that was delicious, so that's a good sign, right?

Recipe #2: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Before I share my success with this recipe, I'd like to preface it with a special poem I've written. It's an ode to my oven, and it goes something like this:

My oven sucks balls.
Tiny, shitty, bargain basement, ball-sucking oven.
Fucky, sucky, poopy, pissy, piece-of-shit oven.
Fuck you.

Brilliant, no? That's two English degrees right there, folks. Fuck yeah, Liberal Arts degrees.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
I attempted a recipe yesterday for a similar kind of cookie, sans peanut butter, and while the recipe itself wasn't very good, it didn't help that my oven has apparently morphed into a fucking blast furnace. The cookies came out hard as rocks, and the oven was only set to 350 degrees. I tossed that whole batch of cookies (I hate wasting ingredients, especially expensive chocolate chips) and decided that in the future, I'd have to cut down any baking time by a few minutes at least to accommodate the Fires of Mordor that now reside in my shoebox-sized kitchen.

That being said, today's new recipe was delish! You can find it here, many thanks to the blog Sally's Baking Addiction for this winner. I didn't have Reese's peanut butter cups on hand (and let's face it, if I did, they wouldn't be "on hand," they'd be "in stomach," AM I RIGHT), so I just used Guittard milk chocolate baking chips instead. Coupled with the oats (of which I only had a little over a cup, oops) and the peanut butter (nostalgic Jif creamy FTW!) these turned out wonderfully. Nice and soft, good peanut butter flavor. The dough is very greasy, FYI, and I was worried that they wouldn't bake well, but they turned out great. Can't wait to share them with my officemates tomorrow. Did I mention that I also sometimes bring treats to the trainers at my gym? I know, I'm such a bitch, right? I'm trying not to do it too often anymore since I know it's, like, against the gym code or some shit. My thought is, if you're a trainer, you work out for a living. You are literally working out ALL DAY. A few cookies isn't going to kill you. (I'm such a pusher). Okay, so, all tangents aside, these cookies are bomb, particularly with a cold glass of milk, and some reruns of your favorite childhood sitcom.

Do I even have to say where I'm going with this? Okay, okay, all I'll tell you is that Jesse and Becky are about to get married, if someone can bail him out of a Tomato Country jail after a pre-ceremony skydiving attempt gone awry.

You're welcome.

Monday, March 31, 2014

What a Weekend.

Pulgas Water Temple, Redwood City
Normally, my weekends are pretty low-key. I keep them that way on purpose, since I feel like I spend most of the week bouncing in between home, work and the gym like a frenzied pinball. This past weekend was looking to be pretty relaxed—but that didn't last long.

On Friday morning, I headed over to the beautiful Pulgas Water Temple in Redwood City to be a witness at a quick wedding ceremony for my friends Chuck and Cass. They were married this past fall in Florida, but they were visiting my friend Heather here in the Bay Area (Chuck is her cousin), and as we've all met before and get along famously, Heather asked if I would like to be present at a quick CA exchange of vows. It was super casual (both grooms were in jeans) and took about 5 minutes, but it was lovely nonetheless and the Pulgas Water Temple was so cool. I love it when I find new places to explore in the Bay Area. As a native, it's hard to do. After the ceremony, I had to hotfoot it down to San Jose to deliver a cake for, and then I rushed over to a doctor's appointment in Mountain View. After that, I rushed home to do some work and then headed out to meet up with Chuck, Cass and Heather again at Jack's Prime, a delish local spot for burgers and shakes.

Saturday morning, I awoke at around 7:30am to find a text that Sibby had sent me the night before at 11:30pm, asking if I were able to work at all on Saturday as she had food poisoning and they had a super busy day ahead. I brushed my teeth, washed my face and headed over, and it was a madhouse in there. Tons of orders, several people out for a myriad of reasons, and we just couldn't work fast enough. At 12:30pm, I had to blow out of there, as much as I hated to leave them. I have to make sure I make enough time for myself, and more specifically, my workouts. I walked to the local mall where I spent WAY too much time (and money) at DSW (I got some killer shoes, including some crazy gorgeous black and white heels by Michael Kors). Then I walked home and had another dinner with Chuck, Cass and Heather—this time at B Street & Vine, a delish Italian spot specializing in the best bruschetta on Earth.

Cue Sunday—up and at 'em at 5:15am to be at the bakery by 6am. Another crazy busy day, and usually Sundays are pretty relaxed. Not so this past Sunday—lots of custom orders. I left at 2pm and had to rush home to make myself presentable for Meg & Jeremy's fiesta-themed picnic at Golden Gate Park, which was a super fun affair. So glad the weather held out for the event, which included a mariachi band (uhhh...they were AWESOME) and pinata. When I got home, I realized that it really, really hurt to get up off the couch and walk. All of the bending over and being on my feet at the bakery really did a number on my lower back and legs. Oh, and did I mention that I also got my fucking period? Because it always shows up at the best time ever!

For a good time, call my future husband, Quintin.
This morning I headed out to get my walk in before it started to rain, and I met my future husband outside of a McDonald's. True story. I was walking by a McDonalds on El Camino Real, with my headphones blaring and texting away, when dear Quintin, a rather ballsy black man probably in his early 30s, reached out to get my attention. He commented that he liked my purple hair, asked me my name, shook my hand, then told me "we should workout sometime." Uhhh...what? He fumbled in his jacket and said something about "I need to get professional business cards" mixed with "You look really awesome" and handed me the pictured scrap of paper, a deposit slip with his name and phone number on it, while mentioning something weird about working out again.

Here's the deal—it doesn't look good when you already have PRE-WRITTEN scraps of paper with your name and number on them, Quintin. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it might convey that you're a big, dirty manwhore who spends his time picking up women when he's not double-dipping a 20-piece McNugget meal. This is my life, ladies and gentleman. No attention from men except fine, upstanding gents like Quintin, who's always prepared to provide his contact information to anything with a vagina.

I've spent the rest of my day doing laundry, working, and baking (stay tuned for the next post to find out what it is). Oh, and I'm watching Full House, because DUH. It's my life now. #havemercy