Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Kiss Requirements

One of my best friends from home, Hugo and I came up with the genius idea to make business cards for tonight to solve our New Year's kiss problem. We were driving downtown to get me some sequin accessories when I started thinking aloud.

"I'm tired of kissing losers who I won't see again and guys that lie about their nonprofit job where he teaches little disabled kids surf for a living! I have standards now...I have requirements!"

Boom. Several hours later Hugo and I created business cards that we plan to pass out to guys to see if they fulfill our requirements. Actually, we'll probably just show them a PDF of it off our phone to be more cost efficient. If they don't meet everything on the list: bye, next in line. If they do: heyyy how you doin'?

Don't judge us: we are single and have no one to kiss on New Year's. Also, we were watching The Mindy Project while designing them and thought that it was a good idea to come up with an alias or as Mindy likes to call it– a warrior name (hers is Beyonce Pad Thai). Mine is "Wonder Wonton," Hugo's is "Jalapeno Schmidt." Now, observe away:

The New Year's Kiss

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The New Year's kiss is probably one of the most panicky, anxiety-inducing moments that most people can find common ground on. Right next to airplane turbulence.

Who in the world started the New Year's kiss? When did that become a fad? Why can't we have just stuck with the clinking of champagne glasses? Or the cheering and singing "Auld Lang Syne" in drunken unison? Why wasn't that enough? But no, as if us singles didn't have enough to deal with, we have to add frantically finding a kissing partner to the list.

There are basically three different types of partners that a single girl can have for the New Year's Eve kiss:

1. The girl friend. This is the automatic go-to. Shit like this is why single girls have single girl friends. I mean you won't have a magical kiss that will make your toes tingle (or maybe you will, in which case you might want to question your sexuality), but it'll do. It is also a great excuse to avoid kissing randos or creepsters that might be lurking beside you.

2.  A guy. Any guy, really. You can be dating him, or ish, or not at all and you've only met him that night and he happens to be right next to you during the countdown. Anyway, for that brief moment, you pretend that you two are an item, and are more than strangers and really care about each other. You pretend that this is a special moment and therefore that person you are sharing it with is special as well. Until January 2nd, when you realize that it is all a mind trick and that you'd rather not ever see him again.

3. The gay friend. This is a happy medium. Since he is a gay friend, and almost any college girl can say they have made out with a gay guy, this is no different than kissing the girl friend. However, it can be tricky if there are other gays around, so you might want to have a promise each other in advance to be kissing buddies, or at least have a Plan B. Very slippery, these gays are.

And that's pretty much it. Wide range, I know. All of these don't by any means promise a groundbreaking kiss that will rock your world. That's much harder to find. Or of course, there's always the other option: escape to the bathroom during countdown and miss the moment entirely. But really, who wants to spend the first moments of New Years sitting on a dingy toilet, alone?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Las Vegas: Losing Jordan

When Jordan and I drove to Vegas, we hadn't sent any requests to Couchsurfers until that very afternoon. By 6pm that night, we hadn't gotten any responses back. Ironically, we weren't worried. We were only staying there for one night, we reasoned, and it was the city that never slept– we didn't need a couch!

So we parked in the Paris Hotel parking deck, brushed our teeth and changed in the car as usual. It was Jordan's very first time in the Sin City and although I had been there about 10 times before, this was the very first that I was of age. I was excited not to be kicked out of the gambling floor for once, and actually participate in the club life. We were starving, and decided to do what every other person does in Vegas– go to a buffet. $40 and three plates from the Paris buffet later, we weren't feeling that well. Actually, that was an understatement. I was feeling sleepy, despite it only being only 8pm, and Jordan was getting stomach pains. While he spent some time on the toilet, I took my bra off at the table. It was that bad. Never again will I do buffets.

After we felt that it was safe again for us to walk, Jordan and I began our walk through all the hotels along the strip. Jordan was mesmerized– he had seen nothing like this. Although I had, it was the first time that I actually was old enough to pay attention to the kind of people of roamed Vegas. It was an odd mixture of families, young people looking for a good time, old people looking for entertainment, bachelor and bachelorette parties. Then there were the people on street corners and walkways that played an accordion for money, or flicked photos of almost naked girls in your face. We saw a girl sitting outside of Excalibur with a sign that said "I'm here because I'm a bad prostitute." I know that the sign was meant to have the element of surprise and be funny, but we didn't find it humorous at all. On the contrary, Jordan's heart broke for her. "Have some self-respect!" he said. One can only imagine what she had been through that made her resort to that sign for some pocket change.

We had walked all the way to the end of the strip– me with a strawberry daquiri and Jordan with a 40 in hand. We didn't know where else to go, so Jordan said we should go to a gay club. We searched it on our phones, both of which were dying, and asked around. All of the clubs had about $20 cover, which we did not feel like pay at 1am. Someone suggested that we go to a gay club called Piranha, though we had to get a cab to get to it. By then I was feeling frustrated and wanted to stay on the strip.

"We always to go gay clubs!" I whined, "Why don't you want to just go to one of the hundreds of clubs on the strip where we don't have to pay cabfare?!"

"Like where?"!" said Jordan.


This was the first time that Jordan and I had gotten even remotely close to a fight, and both of us were annoyed. Jordan was irritated that I was in a foul mood, which I admittedly was, but that's because I was impatient and didn't want to get a cab in the middle of nowhere. Finally, I gave in and Jordan paid for the cabfare. The moment passed and I decided to cheer up.

Piranha was exactly what I thought a Vegas gay club was like. Once we got there we bought some drinks and went on the dancefloor, where I quickly made friends with two Hispanic girls, one of which was deaf. I had never seen a deaf person out in the club before, but I realized that it actually made a lot of sense. The music was so loud that everyone ended up resorting to body language anyway, so I ended up inventing my own version of signing. While I stuck dancing with the girls, Jordan wandered around the club scouting out boys.

I met a few straight men there too, but mostly tried dodging them. And then I saw what looked like Jordan leaving the club out the back door. Maybe he was just going to have a smoke, I reasoned, not ready to leave yet. Then I quickly realized that not only was my phone dead, but his was too. Uh oh. The club was closing (it was 4am) and I desperately tried to find Jordan in the club to no avail. The girls followed me, trying to help out as well. I even got a guy to go into the Men's bathroom to look for his red Ked's, but he wasn't there. When we all went outside, I couldn't find him either. I tried not to panic. Where could he go, he was way too drunk to go far. We would find each other eventually. YOLO.

The girls started talking to these two boys, one of which said he worked in Disneyland as Aladdin and was here on vacation. I believed him– he looked the spitting image of Aladdin. The five of us weren't ready to leave yet so we moved onto a bar across the street, where there were about two other people including the bartender. There was a stripper pole there, so naturally we took turns on it.

It was about six in the morning when we left the bar and the sun was rising. I can't believe I was still awake. Okay, I said. Now I need to find Jordan. I figured I would start by going back to our car, since that would be the place that made the most sense to meet up at. Then, all of a sudden Aladdin shouted, "THERE'S YOUR FRIEND!!!" I jerked my head over to where he was pointing and saw him, slumped against the wall of Piranha with vomit stains on his shirt. Everyone from my group starting running across the street chanting "WE FOUND HIM! WE FOUND HIM!" and I couldn't stop laughing. I still didn't know any of their real names.

One of the girls (not the deaf one) said that she would be willing to drive Jordan and I back to Paris hotel so that we didn't have to get a cab. They were great. Once we got back to the parking lot and finally found my car (we had to stop on level one so Jordan could puke some more), I started driving towards LA, at long last. I had been awake for over 24 hours at that point, and Jordan was still belligerent. "Do you want me to drive?" he asked earnestly, when I said how tired I was. When I replied that no, it was okay, he quickly said, "Good, I think I'm too drunk to drive."

He was right.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Did you Know: Hoover Dam


This is all you need to know about the Hoover Dam: it's overrated. On our way to Vegas, we saw signs for one of the biggest sighting in the world and thought, "Why not?" After a slightly terrifying ride up a mountain, we were a bit bewildered. "Is that the dam?" Jordan and I kept asking. "Is that it? No, maybe that."

Finally, us amateurs found it. Sure I guess it was in its own way kind of wondrous and vast, but I would not go as far as to say that it was mesmerizing in any way. We could have stared at the Grand Canyon for days, but we stayed in the Hoover Dam for less than a  hour.

Apparently that was enough time, however, for Jordan to throw up.

"Don't judge meee," he squeaked out just before he vomited outside the car door as I clutched my stomach from laughing so hard. And I think that pretty much sums up our feelings about the Hoover Dam.

Some fun facts about the Hoover Dam that you may or may not be interested in:

1. It cost $49 million freaking dollars to build.
2. It's 726.4 feet high and 1,244 feet long.
3. Approximately 16,000 men and women worked on the project.
4. The dam can store up to 9.2 TRILLION gallons of the Colorado River in its reservoir, named Lake Mead. Boom diggity that's a lot of water.
5. It is the 18th highest dam in the world...yet another reason why it is overrated.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Flagstaff Part 2: Keep it Funky

Harry's featured breath spray called "DANG." Freaking hilarious. 

On the second day we met up with Annie's other couchsurfer that would be staying with her. He showed up at the arts festival in town with a hiking backpack, a full-grown beard and piercing blue eyes. It was hard to tell with all the facial hair, but he was actually just 23 and had backpacked all the way from Kansas City "just because," he said. He told us about how he had tried to hike cross country before, but ended up getting dehydrated in the middle of the desert and had to go to the Emergency Room. He was determined to do it again, however, and finish it. His name was Joseph.

That night, Annie accepted yet another couchsurfer's late request and who was driving from Florida. His name was Harry. He arrived with some cans of black beans and hot sauce for dinner, and a colorful hippie necklace. After talking with him a little bit longer, we found out that he had worked as a private flight attendant in the past, but was currently trying to run his own business called "The World Funk." This new business featured a variety of products, including his own homemade absinth brew and a herbal, mint breath spray.

I think it's safe to say that Harry is one of the most interesting people I've ever met. That said, the gang wanted to go out to a rave that night and party. I was feeling a little bit tired, however, and decided to stay back with Joseph for once. We ended up staying up talking all night about each other's life philosophies and beliefs. To this day he still is the only person that I've gotten along with from Kansas City.

The next morning, I went to pick up Jordan from Annie's friend's house where they had slept. We all went out for breakfast and the white elephant in the room was that it was finally time for Jordan, Harry and I to leave. Joseph was going to stay with his friends in Flagstaff for a few more days before heading back home to Kansas City. It was hard, however. Although it had only been three days, Jordan and I felt at home in Flagstaff. Perhaps it was because it was the first time we actually stayed with a family, perhaps it was because of the strong connection between all of us, or maybe I could see myself actually living there. Nevertheless, Jordan and I were on a schedule, and we wanted to arrive in LA soon. It had almost been two full weeks on the road at that point, and although we LOVE Couchsurfing, it would be nice to stay in our own beds and couches for once and be settled.

Annie's mantra that she posted on her bathroom mirror. I think every person should live every day by this. 

As we drove away from Flagstaff, Jordan and I were all tears. Annie and Brenna had raced us back to the house from breakfast in an attempt to keep our luggage away so we couldn't leave. They ended up slowing falling asleep, however, which is when we took the opportunity to sneak away– although not before we said goodbye to Annie's mother and grandmother first. We promised to stay in touch, and actually knew for certain that we would.

Next stop: Vegas.

Missed Flagstaff Part 1? Read it here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Be Nice for the Holidays

Don't be this guy.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Today I was in line at the Fresh Market with my mom. The cashier seemed to be taking longer than usual and it appeared to be some confusion to do with the payment method. The two ladies that were waiting were noticeably getting more and more frustrated at the cashier and in turn more vocal. One of them ended up barking orders at the cashier on what to do, blatantly rolling her eyes and pointing in the poor girl's face.

"Do you not understand that I want $50 on my card?!"

"No, go over there and get the receipt– I don't know what you just did to my card!"

After the cashier (her nametag read "Allyson" I saw) apologized sincerely to her, the woman just yelled, "Are you an idiot? Just call over your manager...UNBELIEVABLE."

I think Allyson was about to cry. I was appalled at the customer's behavior. It is CHRISTMAS EVE for Pete's sake, so naturally the market was crowded with people and long lines. Yes, maybe Allyson was a bit slow but as someone who has worked in the service industry for 6 years, she probably just started the job a few days ago– judging from her lack of the knowledge of the buttons and how her manager had to guide her through the process once she finally came.

"What if that was your daughter behind the counter and some rude customer was yelling at her for making a honest mistake?" I wanted to ask the woman. I mean, come on. There is just NO reason to be that disrespectful to another human being. It wasn't like she deserved it: she was giving absolutely no attitude back, and you could tell she was really sorry. I understand that everyone wants to get their groceries and go home and out of the mayhem, but the girl sure is not making enough money to hear that woman's bad manners.

So the moral of the story is ladies and gentlemen, is to be nice for the holidays. Don't be naughty. Don't be Scrooge. Don't be a piece of shit. It make's me angry and is a complete buzzkill on my holiday spirit.

And if by chance you DO see someone being rude to the cashier, do what you can to speak words of reassurance afterwards. You don't have to exactly go up to the customer and say that they should rot in hell, or buy the cashier a Christmas tree, but just say something uplifting that will at least get the victim get through the rest of their shift.

Once the mad women had left I asked Allyson how she was doing, if she was okay, and quickly said a simple, "She shouldn't have spoken to you like that." That was it, but I think that it was enough to let her know someone is on her side.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

10 Reasons I Know I'm In the South

Welp, I'm home for the holidays and it's been a mix of relief and confusion. Relief because I needed a break from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood; confusion because SO much has changed since I was here five months ago.

The second day I was back, I spent half of the time Yelping where the heck that Starbucks went, and the other half wondering when the hell that Wells Fargo or Jersey Mikes popped up out of nowhere. Everything seemed to have changed in good 'ol Raleigh, North Carolina, but it's still awful nice to be at home.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Weird Jobs: Maternity Bride Social Media Guru

Yep, I said it. Maternity in brides that are pregnant. Naturally, these two words go together. I saw this gig on Craigslist and thought "why not?"I met with the designer at a coffeeshop soon afterwards for yet another easy interview. The funniest thing out of all this? I know absolutely NOTHING about weddings or pregnancies.

The only thing that saved me was my social media experience at my internship, and my ability to sound semi-intelligent during conversation. Thank you Communications degree. Turns out this job is pretty sweet: I make my own schedule, hours are flexible, and I get to dive into the fashion industry, maternity or not.

I designed this banner for the website for the upcoming 2013 Winter Collection for evening dresses. I know what you're thinking: this model is obviously not pregnant. Which is why our first order of business was to shoot real women with real bellies. More prego pictures to come.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Best Way to Announce a Breakup Ever

This is a bit outdated but I figured I'd post it anyways for the people out there who've missed out.

This is great. I commend this couple (Ivory King and Jonathan Mann) having enough humor during an awkward and vulnerable time to post up a song about their breakup. Yeah, it's still sad and they've gotten some bad press about posting their personal life on YouTube, but they put it out there so plainly that it's hard to criticize. And as artists, why not announce something in an artistic way that makes light of a situation that otherwise is pretty dim?

I will even go as far to say that they are challenging the taboo on breakups and are looking at it with a realistic and refreshing perspective. When asked why they chose this particular method to break the news, the Brooklyn couple (or should I say ex-couple?) Mann said to The New York Daily News:
"I didn't want to have to explain it over and over to people, because that can be really painful...And I hoped it would feel cathertic to make this together, as sort of our final act." 
 See? Honest and raw. Cue slow clap.

Death to Bras

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

I hate bras. I hate their straps that fall off my shoulders, their clasps that dig into my back, their cups that ride up my chest, and their wires that make leftover indentions; I hate everything about them. The only redeeming quality that bras have is that they boost my preteen, flat chest to at least look proportionate to the rest of my body. Other than that, they are useless to me. I am not telling everyone to practice radical, second wave feminism by burning their bras in a burning campfire (which is actually a myth), I just think that every woman is allowed an allotted time slot in their lives to rant about the things that they hate, but are stuck with.

I am choosing to be kind to the readers and not go into the bloody massacre that goes on every month, annual trips to the exorcist (otherwise known as the gynecologist), or plethora of products that it takes to make a face look "beautiful" according to society's standards. Instead, I will simply dedicate my rant to bras.

First off, I have no earthly clue why an undergarment such as a bra should cost so much as $45. If the majority of the population is not even going to see your bra, then why spend a fourth of your paycheck on 32 inches of fabric and wires? They don't even have a long life span, because goodness knows if it can survive the washing machine since it always has the most complicated cleaning instructions. The most a bra should cost is $20. It should not cost more than a shirt or top. I mean, let's be logical- those pieces of clothing are actually the ones that people see.

Secondly, there is overwhelming taboo on visibility of bras for something that takes up only the upper portion of your body. Goodness knows if your bra is peeking out, if the pattern is showing or see-through. People start to freak out or worse, tuck you in like a strict parent covering up their trashy, school-girl daughter. What is the big deal? It is almost virtually impossible to find a bra that will stay on your body and not be visible when more and more shirts and dresses are showing your whole back. Bras without backs (or else known as "sticky boobs") suck; I don't care if they are taped up- after two and a half hours in the club, sweating, and sudden movements, that thing is not going to stay on. Furthermore, the option of going braless with these backless tops is slim to none for some (especially small-busted females) because it would make it look like two bee stings rather than actual boobs.

Thirdly, who thought it was a good idea to mimic Hannibal Lector's bodysuit when they designed the bra? Let me tell you something, spending 12 hours in a bra every single day is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Picking them out is like picking out the perfect pair of jeans- there is only one that you actually really like. Most of them feel as if they are squeezing your sides together, paired with the wrong t-shirt they constantly ride up, causing you to always have to push down your cleavage or pull up your shirt to cover up the pads that are poking out.

They should come up with a holiday where all women don't wear bras. It will be a set day on the calendar, everyone will know about it and women will be able to move freely and without constraint doing their everyday activities. They won't have to worry about pulling straps up, crude indentions on their sides or even about a guy's ability to successfully unhook their bra. And that my friends, is my true Utopia.

Burn bra, burn. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Best of Craigslist: Issue III

It's 12.12.12...let's celebrate by making fun of America's funniest Craigslisters. 

1. Female only! Ill pay you to give you a massage. (HB)
Ill pay you $50 to give you a massage.
Please reply with picture. 

What? How does this make sense? I know that I don't get massages often but I'm pretty sure the person getting the massage is the one who is supposed to pay the massager. Are you just an awful masseuse? Or is "massage" a codeword for something that I am unaware of? Like if I just wanted a massage on my elbows, would you accept?

Also, I think it's odd that they wanted a female only and asked for a picture. Are only attractive people allowed massages? Or am I looking at this completely wrong and you simply just need to know what kind of surface you are dealing with?

Date: 2012-12-05, 8:42AM PST[?]
seeking massage and companion for three da a week two hrs per day
20.00 perhr call 626 765 9403 I know there al kinds posting abot me but threr other
ads the same PostingID:3457073565.

Some of the most hilarious posts on Craigslist are the ones that call other people out. This one sounds like the title of a thriller– cue Phantom of the Opera theme song. Now, I realize that you had a bad experience– I really do (considering your of all caps), but I just can't help but think this is funny.

To be fair to the guy, I could guess that he was a psycho from his ad alone. I mean just look at it! It's filled with red flags! There's a million spelling errors, he even warns you that there are "al kinds posting abot me," and the only excuse he can give is that there are other ads that are doing the same thing. He doesn't even outright deny that the postings are about him! If you can't tell that there's something that is not all there and still respond to the ad, then you need to raise your job standards.

My favorite part? "He is a really sick puppy (no insult to dogs meant)."

3. Awesome stuff when your high We are looking to interview people about awesome stuff/places to go when you are high. Do you get high? Would you like to share some of your awesome blasted experiences with the rest of the world. Hit us up. 

What kind of operation are you running here? Is this a documentary? Maybe a YouTube series? Was this perhaps inspired by Colorado and Washington getting permission to smoke it up? Are you jealous that California wasn't included? I'm sure all of us were.

What I want to know is what people say in the interview. What is the ultimate place to go for a pothead? Los Angeles is filled with interesting places. Magic Castle, perhaps? I'm sure all the magic tricks would seem even more supernatural on some Mary Jane. The Hollywood Sign would also be a good one, or as close as you can get to it anyways.

I wonder what they'll call the series of interviews when they're done, if anything. The Weed Diaries perhaps? 

4. Beautiful women with pretty feet needed-

We are searching for foot models for a popular fetish site. Models can make a 1000.00 / week without leaving home. Very flexible. Please contact with photo. 

Easiest. Job. Ever. Seriously, all I need is one pedicure and I could just make money by submitting photos of my toes. What I don't get is the title– "Beautiful women"? That doesn't matter considering the only body parts that you are concerned with is below their ankles, right?  And what qualifies as "pretty feet" anyways? Like no toe should be longer than the big toe? No crooked digits or chipped nail polish? 

What I really want is for Big Foot to submit a photo. That would be the biggest irony of all. 

5. Do you shake you booty well? (Los Angeles)
Then why not get paid to do so.
We are starting a booty shaking website with big money making opportunity.
Send head shots,full body shots,and short shaking video.
(if you do not send these you will not be considered for the site)
All Ethnics Okay
Nudity is Okay in the photos and video.
If your video is good we will set-up a way to pay you from the views you get on the website as well
(this means you can make money monthly from you video posts). 

I want to proofread this so bad. Really, I should start up an editing business just for Craigslist users alone. I would have so many clients. That aside, since when did twerking becoming the new online fetish? What constitutes as shaking your booty well? I mean shaking it at a club for two or three hours is enough credibility to make me an expert...right? 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So LA: My 5 Favorite Coffee shops

As I up until just now was unemployed for a bit and thus had nothing to do, I have become a frequent member of coffee shops across town. Seriously, they should be considered my new work place. Who needs a cubicle and a desktop computer when you can dabble across Los Angeles and get a fresh cup of coffee every time?

Plus it's a great place to people watch. Here are my reviews of some of the best coffee shops that I've encountered thus far:

1. Audrey Cafe (Hollywood)

Quaint but classy, this cafe is for all Audrey Hepburn lovers who want great coffee and a nice atmosphere. Even though it is right off of Hollywood Boulevard, the place is not as touristy as others, and also offers a nice selection of sandwiches, salads and soups for lunch. When you walk in, there is a whole wall dedicated to black and white photos of Audrey Hepburn and it constantly echoes crooning ballads from Old Hollywood.

One of my first days in Los Angeles, an old man walked in here and promptly asked me if I was writing the "next great screenplay." If only.

I go here when I'm feeling classy and refined. 

2. Bru Coffeebar (Los Felix)

A bit pretentious and reserved for coffee snobs who are willing to pay $7 for a cup of coffee. That having said, the place is very simple, is two-stories and littered with chairs and tables. I'm convinced everyone goes here to write their next screenplay, blog or what have you.

I go here when I need to get out of Hollywood and want to admire good-looking men in horn-rimmed glasses. 

3. 10 Forward Coffee & Tea Lounge (Hollywood)

For some unknown reason, this is one of my very favorites. I think it might be because of the barista, who I talked to on and off during my first visit there, and who gave me two punches on the frequent buyer card instead of one. Because it is in the heart of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, however, you do tend to get a few randos walk in.

Some guy with matted hair and reeked of week-old piss came in once for example, and asked me for some money really quickly before the store owner told him to get out. Also the chairs are a bit rickety and uncomfortable, but they still make the best Spanish Latte I've ever had.

I go here when I want to people watch. 

4. Bourgeois Pig (Franklin Village)

Inside the "trunk" of the tree. 

There is a tree house inside. Really, that is all I need to say. This place is like stepping into an scene from Lord of the Rings. At first it seems like your standard coffeeshop with mismatched chairs and worn, faded colors on the walls. But when you go in the back room, there is a freaking tree house lined with twinkle lights, a fake owl and hidden, random little nooks between branches. Last time I went, I was sitting inside of the "trunk," where they managed to fit a small desk, two chairs, and a corner shelf where you can set your coffee on. AMAZING.

I go here when I am feeling creative and artsy. 

5. Solar de Cahuenga (Hollywood)

This coffeeshop is literally right down the hill from me and therefore the one that I go to the most. It has terrific food and is open late at night, so I don't have to worry about walking down any sketchy streets to get home. I literally go so much that I think I know every barista by face and vice versa. They also have an inside and outside with a heater whenever it gets cold. The only bad thing about this place is that it is crowded ALL THE TIME. There is a mix between writers, students, artists, but all mostly locals. This is also a great place for celebrity sightings.

I go here when I'm lazy and don't want to walk. 

Flagstaff: Family Couchsurfing

At the Arizona Snowbowl.

The F in Flagstaff should stand for Family. Flagstaff wasn't even our original pit stop in Arizona, but after we couldn't get any responses back from Phoenix, we tried different cities surrounding the area. Jordan and I hadn't heard of Flagstaff before, but luckily Jordan found a Couchsurfer who had an unusual situation. Her name was Annie and although she already had someone staying with her at her apartment, she offered up her mother's house instead.

Since we didn't have any other people reply to us at that point, we said yes. We got to the address and was greeted by Annie's mother and grandmother. It was the first actual house that we had stayed in during the trip, and I instantly got homesick once they gave us the tour of the place. Jordan and I even got our very own room with twin beds. After sleeping on couches in living rooms, this was a nice change.

Once we got settled, Jordan and I sat at the kitchen table and talked to Annie's mother and grandmother while they made us food. I asked them how they got into Couchsurfing, since we apparently weren't the first strangers to stay in their house before. They both said that Annie never liked saying no to Couchsurfing requests, and they were more than happy to take her surplus (she stayed at her own apartment in town). They even had five international kids stay there earlier in the year for months while they worked in the U.S.

I instantly felt at home and it was as if they had adopted us not only into their house, but into their family– no questions asked. Annie and her friend Brenna showed up later in the night after we were fed  and settled. They wanted to show us Flagstaff's nightlife, so we all went downtown to a brewery and bar. Annie was lively, vibrant, and was in the marching band at her university. Brenna was a spunky blonde that had the same bubbly personality. Jordan and I immediately clicked with the duo, and we fed off each other's vibes the entire night.

The next day they took us around town so that we could experience Flagstaff for all that it's worth. Jordan and I decided to pick up a present for Annie's grandmother, since it was coincidentally her birthday. We settled on some purple earrings since they were her favorite color. The best part of the day, however, was when they took us to the Snowbowl, which is infamous for their skiing and snowboarding resort in the winter. Since it was still technically summer, however, we had the chance to admire the greenery and beautiful aspen trees.

Out of all the couchsurfers we had stayed with, I think that Jordan and I connected with Annie and Brenna the best, from day one. I don't know how to explain it really, but sometimes when you meet certain people, you just know that you are cut from the same cloth. What is more, her family embraced us with open arms, and made us so comfortable that Jordan and I found ourselves lounging by the dining table or living room loveseat to talk with Annie's mother and grandmother.

We were home.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Possibly the Worst Birthday Card Ever

Photo via Twitter. 

Seriously, how did this even get into print?! I saw someone post this on Facebook and had to write on it. There are about a bajillion things wrong with this birthday card, I don't even know where to begin. For one, it is for a 13-YEAR-OLD'S BIRTHDAY! 13! I'm sorry, but I thought this was the 21st century, where marrying underage girls is illegal.

Not only is this promoting the fact that all young girls need to worry about is to find a "rich boyfriend" to support them, but the only way that they will be able to get said boyfriend is to have "bigger boobies." Since when did young girls need diamonds and rubies?! I wouldn't even trust myself at 22 with that kind of jewelry.

This photo went viral over the weekend, when a mother from the UK posted this photo that she found at Hallmark. It got even more attention when American author Maureen Johnson reposted the picture on her Twitter page.

Screenshot via Maureen Johnson's Twitter. 

Hallmark immediately responded with a message that said that they agree that the card is not appropriate and apologize on behalf of Arnold Barton. David Dean, Managing Director of Hambledon Studios, a subsidiary of Hallmark UK, also issued this updated explanation for the card:

"This card was produced by Creative Publishing prior to Hallmark Cards acquiring the company in 1998. We are as surprised and horrified as anyone else to have discovered that there are still copies in circulation. The card has not been produced for over 15 years and would never pass our own strict guidelines of taste and appropriateness. We would like to assure all our customers that we will do everything in our power to track down remaining copies."   

 Let's just hope that no one is evil enough to buy this for any young girl's birthday until then. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

So LA: Celebrity Run-Ins

Nicho shot this really quick on his phone before Mr. Boone drove away. 

Living in Hollywood pretty much guarantees that you will run into celebrities. The problem is that they are most likely B-List actors– the kind that you will recognize their face but won't know their name. Seriously, I need someone to invent a Shazam equivalent for celebrities that will tell you who the hell they are if you take a picture of their face. App creators out there– I'm talking to  you.

Now I'm not one who goes up to the actor/celebrity and asks them their name, but I am a quick Googler. I just want to know why their face looks so freaking familiar, when it comes down to it. However, if I saw Grace Potter, Sara Bareilles or Gloria Steinem at the grocery store, I would go jack crazy.

Here is a list of the celebrity run-ins that I've had so far:

1. Main actor in Diary of a Mad Black Woman: Kimberly Elise
I saw her the other day at a coffee shop across from my apartment building called Solar de Cahuenga. I recognized her as she was standing in line with her fierce hair and hoop earrings. I instantly googled "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" on IMDb and compared images until I was certain it was her.

2. Man with crazy hair from Sons of Anarchy: Mark Boone Junior
Homeboy was just standing at the front of a market in Franklin Village on Grilled Cheese Wednesdays night. I didn't even notice that it was him until several people from my group pointed it out (they are a bunch of actors themselves). And then he just hopped onto the back of his Harley and revved off.

3. Guy from The Office: B.J. Novak 
I saw  B.J. standing in line at Starbucks where my cousin works. She says that he comes in all the time at that location. Again, I Google imaged him to assure that they were the same person at my coffee table. He was right in front of me at that point so it was pretty easy.

4. Main actor in Footloose (2011): Kenny Wormald
Kenny was my first-ever celebrity sighting in Hollywood and oddly enough it was also at the Solar cafe. He was wearing a hoodie and some fresh Nikes (very different from his attire in Footloose), and I did a double take. It took me a full 24 hours before I realized what movie he was in.

5. Dylan in Modern Family: Reid Ewing
The only one from the bunch that I've talked to, but that is only because my cousin is friends with him. She said that she met him on the street walking his dog Racky, and asked if he was the guy from Modern Family. He said "yes," and then she invited him to see our roof. Best pick up line ever; I really need to start using it to lure famous people into my apartment. Then again, the chances of that working on other celebrities are probably slim to none.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Weird Jobs: Club Crawl Host

Yeah, this happened. I feel so stereotypically LA that I did this, but after a week of unemployment I caved and decided to get a weekend gig that I never, ever thought that I would ever do.

A week earlier, my cousin and I had an itch to dance. So we looked online and stumbled on this tour called the Hollywood Club Crawl on Yelp, which brought a large group (30-100 people) every Friday and Saturday night out to four different clubs with no cover fees. We thought that it sounded like a pretty good deal, so we paid the $20 fee and showed up. It turned out to be an awesome time and in the end we definitely did what we had set out to do: dance.

That weekend, I looked on their website again, which said that they were always looking for new people to guide the group around. I emailed the founder of the club crawl on a whim and said that I was interested in being a host. I ended up interviewing with him (the easiest one I ever had to go through) and he said that I could start right away.

Boom: I was a host of HCC. I don't think I've ever tried less than on this job. I literally get paid to get drunk and my only job requirement is to lead people from club to club. That's it. I'm basically a professional people herder. That hour at the club, however, is all mine and I'm allowed to do whatever I want to with it: drink, dance with the guests, eat tacos, whatever.

Some random people I met at club crawl the night of, no big deal.  

Oh, and here's a bonus: I get free drink tickets. FREE! Do you know how much drinks cost in Hollywood?! You can get charged $14 for a house vodka and ginger! It's ludicrous. I had promised myself that if I took this job, I would not spend the money that I'm making hourly and it turned out to be easier than I thought.

Plus I get to meet all the doormen/women, bouncers and managers of each of of these clubs. If at all else, I now have an "in" at all of the bars around Hollywood, since the crawl changes venues every day and week. I seriously wish I had thought of applying to this sooner. I could have used this when I was standing, waiting in line or paying a cover to get into a club. Obviously it is a part-time gig and hardly doing anything to my bank account but nevertheless, the networking opportunity is amazing.

Of the guests, I have met all sorts of foreigners, from a group of 40 Australians for a bachelorette party, to a couple of Englishmen who thought that America's national anthem was "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus. My response: "It's not, but I did play that song on Independence Day."

The other hosts are all great too. One of them said he works as a TV marketing manager at the CW Network, but he does this on the weekends because it's fun. The head honcho and founder of the company trained me on Friday, and at the last club came up to me to say that we were off the clock so there was no need for me to "work" anymore. At this point I was on stage at club Eden with the Englishmen and doing gangnam style. "I'm not working!" I yelled back at him over the music.

On Saturday, I got to work with different hosts. The first thing that the guy in charge said to me was, "A forewarning: I work a lot more differently than Jason. We like everyone to just get fucked up, and everything stays between us." He's been working for the company for two years.

Best. Job. Ever.

Well Looky Here...

I love it when my cousin and I cross-post. On Monday she put up a post titled "Feminist In LA" (that sounds familiar...) with a couple of photo shoots that we did a couple of weeks before. You can see her post and her blog, Mel From the Nidohere.

On a side-note, photo shoots are a LOT more awkward than it seems. Some things that I've noticed:

1. There most likely is some person right up in your grill, shining a huge reflector so the photographer can get you in the best light as possible. It's hard to ignore them but you still have to pretend they don't exist.

2. I have no idea what to do with my face. I started just thinking of random adjectives like "bored," "skinny" and "super serious" to give me inspiration. These are also the words that I imagine the women from America's Top Model think of when they decide which facial expressions to use.

3. You're constantly thinking of your love handles, that weird birthmark on your neck and what side of your face looks better. And then you realize that just the opposite is true. I try so hard not to care but when that is the center of attention, I just can't help it.

4. I have no idea what to do with my hands. There's only so many one-hand-on-the-hip pictures that you can take before it starts getting old.

5. You definitely have to be comfortable with the photographer. The first time I did the photo shoot with Nicho was the first time I actually met him. By the second time, however, we were established neighbors and had hung out more. I was more comfortable and energetic and so was he. The ratio of pictures of me that looked like I had just swallowed a snake's eye decreased considerably. It really does make all the difference.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Four Corners & Grand Canyon: Scenic Overload

Never have I ever been surrounded by so much natural beauty in my entire life. Until the Grand Canyon. The Four Corners was another story. When I lived in Wilmington I worked at a sushi restaurant and one night, the sou chef drew me a sample route for my road trip on a napkin in the kitchen. He told me that I should go to the monument so that I could say that I was in four states (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah) at the same time. "Why not?" I said in response.

Really, it's not that much to dish about; it literally is just purely made for bragging rights. That and it happens to be a part of Navajo Country, which means that the location itself is very remote and there were tents surrounding the monument. Visitors can buy Navajo jewelry from vendors and artisans while they're at the monument. I bought a pair of turquoise studded earrings from a woman who looked like she had been working there for about 60 years, and Jordan bought a bracelet for his mom.

The Grand Canyon, however, was breathtaking. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, after all.  And the best way for me to describe it is through pictures. Just a forewarning, however: this is only about half of what the real thing is like.

Best of Craigslist: Issue II

If you look for jobs on Craigslist you need to be an expert about weeding through the BS. This is a compilation of the latest BS on America's favorite website.

1. Fix My Talking Yoda! (Norwalk)In 2002, I bought a talking Yoda doll. It was the bomb. Sent it to friends around the world and he has had his pics taken aplenty.
Moved to a new house, unpacking him, and he doesn't work!
This is what he would be like if working....

Can you fix him?

Is this like the Traveling Gnome remix? Who are you– Travelocity? Or maybe the Sisterhood of the Traveling Yoda? And did you ever think that if you bought him a decade ago, he might not be working because he needs new batteries? I mean, Yoda can only talk for so long. He's probably tired of you shipping him to all corners of the world and needs to retire. Give him a break– he's only human after all. Oh wait...

2. get paid to go to high end club tonight$300 (hollywood)Hi I'm Chris and I'm going to a club tonight and getting bottle service and have fun looking for a good looking girl or two to join there will be some friends that are girls with me just for fun and I can pay you 300 you can also bring a friend this is for tonight if you can send pics and I will get back to you with info thanks

Hi Chris,

I don't mean to be rude, but how lonely are you that you will pay $300 for a woman to just hang out with you at the club? What's wrong with you? My first thoughts are that you might be disfigured, handicapped or terribly mangled in some way, but even then people can be sympathetic to the less fortunate. So this makes me think that it is your personality. Do you just want the women to hang out with you or are you really paying them for something more? If you want an orgy you should just say so.

Also, who are you trying to impress? Is your high school arch enemy going to be there? Do you want him/her to think that you have got it made in Hollywood when you really are just paying hundreds of dollars for company?

I'm sorry that you are so lonely but maybe you deserve it.

Bye Chris.

3. Public restroom location needed (L.A.)I'm looking for a public restroom location as close as possible to the one from this scene from Due Date-

Yes of course there is pay, but I need the perfect location. Please send pics and rates.

When I first read this, I thought that it was just some random man looking for a place to pee. I was like "you don't need to waste you time making a craigslist ad, there's an app for that!" But as it is, did you see that bathroom in that video? It basically defines every dingy public restroom in Los Angeles! Easy peasy. I bet he/she could just walk down their street and find at least five restrooms that fit that description. 

4. Hot, Hotter The Hottest Chick Needed (LA)
I am looking for one sexy gal to have an on going mutually beneficial arrangement with. I am looking for a Latina or white gal. I'm nice and chill and white please send pic thanks

Here we go again with this Latina preference again. And why did this person think it was necessary to say that he was white? Did he think that that would exemplify or prove why he is "nice" and "chill"? I would think that he was one of those "white is right" supremeist people if it weren't for the fact that he saved room for the Hispanic crowd too. How thoughtful of him.

And then there's the title. I'm glad to know that you know your adjective functions, but is that really necessary?! We get it, you'd like her to be attractive. Point noted. Sometimes I would just once like to see someone mix it up and post an ad that says "Smart, Smarter The Smartest Woman Needed (LA)."

5. i need a pass on smog (sf valley area)

I need help passing smog. My car has an aftermarket CAD. Converter, and its not going to pass. I can't afford a market CAD. Converter. Looking for someone that can pass me

I would like to do pay and barter. Offering $100, and a free deep tissue massage. I'm a licensed professional, specializing in deep tissue corrective massage. CAMTC licensing, skilled and will give you a great, long, healing session. To you or a loved one. 

So, I'm offering $100 + barter services.Please let me know. December is my last month, they won't extent me again. Please help. 

If you didn't know, Los Angeles has a smog problem. Therefore cars in the state of California have to undergo a smog test to check their emission. This person cracks me up. He/she not only is willing to pay for someone to illegally pass their car, but threw in a free massage into the package as a bonus. They even gave the person an option to give the massage as a gift for someone else too! If that isn't great bartering skills, I don't know what is.

Missed Best of Craigslist: Issue 1? See it here

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Durango: Fire Dancing Under a Full Moon

    When Jordan and I first planned out our route, we knew that we wanted to stop by the Four Corners and the Grand Canyon. This in turn meant that we would need to stop at a town nearby, which for us turned out to be the town of Durango, Colorado.

    I had secured a spot with a guy named Kelsey there a few weeks beforehand, and we were only going to stay there for one night before heading to our scenic destinations the next day. We arrived late in the afternoon and met Kelsey at his house. He had a very laid-back personality, quiet demeanor and lived with three adorable dogs and his girlfriend, Donitza. I knew from his profile that he loved the outdoors (I think this was required from anyone who lived in Durango), was a long-time fire dancer and liked eating s'mores.

    Kelsey took us to the restaurant where he and Donitza worked, where we all chatted and gave us a nice break to rest after the long drive. He promised us that he would take us to a fire dancing event that night, where a whole bunch of people around town got together to practice every week. Jordan and I were ecstatic– we had never witnessed fire dancing live before and weren't even quite sure what it all entailed.

    When we got back to his place, Kelsey quickly grabbed his stereo, speakers, and an assortment of fire dancing props that resembled viking weapons. He drove us to a nice little park by the town museum. There was a big open space in front where he started setting up his equipment. Meanwhile, Jordan and I laid out on the ground and stared up at the full moon that was right above us. It was so incredibly peaceful and I never felt as serene as I did at that moment, halfway across the country from home.

    People began to show up with their own various props so Jordan and I got up to look on in on the action. There were a two girls who both had fire "poi," which is a pair of lightweight wicks linked to long, steel chains with handles on the end that the dancer can wrap around their wrist. The girls switched on and off dancing with each other and independently, doing a variety of tricks and moves.

    It was mesmerizing and nothing like anything I had ever seen before. Both of the girls had these elaborate costumes much like a cross between belly dancers and gypsies. One of them said that she was a costume designer and liked making differently themed outfits when they did public shows. There was also one other male fire dancer besides Kelsey who also had poi, but danced in his very own style. His moves were more abrupt, aggressive, and had a lot more force behind them so that you could tell he was very strong. Some hoopers even made an appearance, bringing an assortment of hula hoops that lighted up with them.

    Finally, a song came on and Kelsey went to center stage to perform. Everyone else stepped off to the sidelines to watch. He had been doing it for about five years now he said, and was a veteran amongst the group. He had what I think he called a fire "meteor." It had a much larger head than any of the poi's and came as a single rather than a pair. Seeing him dance was unbelievable. I'm not quite sure I could even lift the meteor for very long, not to mention throw it around like it was a a yo-yo. And the fire. I didn't understand how they didn't burn themselves!

    When he was done, we all headed back home smelling like gasoline. We went to bed early because Kelsey had work in the morning and we wanted to get an early start to the Four Corners.

    On to the next one, on to the next one.

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    Denver Part 3: Sam is Not Our Man

    Freaking Sam.

    As planned, Jordan and I said our goodbyes to Constance and then headed over to the address that Sam sent. He had been texting Jordan the entire day about us coming over and just said that he was going to make tacos for us for dinner. Score. 

    I started to get confused when the GPS led us to what looked like a dorm apartment building. 

    "Is this....?" I said to Jordan.

    Yes, yes it was. Unbeknownst to us, Sam lived in a dorm. As in college dorm. Now on Couchsurfing there was a spot on each person's profile where you could describe your living situation for surfers, including how many people you could comfortably fit, whether you had a bed or couch and so on. It would have been perfectly fine had we known Sam lived in a dorm, but it caught us by surprise and we instantly wished that we had stayed in Constance's cozy apartment. As it were, however, we were already there and we might as well saw it through. We parked and then waited awkwardly in front of the double doors, which you obviously needed a campus ID to enter. Then Sam came out to greet us. 

    Just to give you a visual, he was wearing a Cookie Monster hat, white-washed blue jeans, and a green tank top that revealed an uneven patch of chest hair.

    A picture that Jordan drew of Sam. It's more or less pretty close to the original. 

    Now just to give you the short version of the night's events from this moment on, here is a list of red flags of why we should have stayed with Constance or Aaron instead: 

    1. He was the first host that Jordan and I didn't hug. 

    2. We had to our licenses checked at the front desk for 20 minutes and had to hide our beer, even though we were all of age. 

    3. There was another CouchSurfer still there that Sam also did not care to mention on the phone. He was from Kansas City, a comedian and had a crude sense of humor. He made a joke about the recent Colorado shooting, saying that the dorm was "so close to the Aurora theater that you could probably still hear the screams." Needless to say we did not take a liking to him.

    4. The dorm room included two bedrooms and a typical common room with a small couch and loveseat...which meant with Sam's roommate and Mr. I Like to Make Fun of Horrible Tragedies, Jordan and I were going to be sleeping on the floor. Also not mentioned. 

    5. It was the first time that we that watched TV instead of having a conversation with a host. It was at this point that I got a text from Jordan that only said "Gotta go." 

    6. Sam saying that he wanted to "go get drunk" and "party hard" about 20 times in a hour. I'm sorry, but was our host a cast member of Jersey Shore?

    7. When Jordan and I tried to reason with him that we wanted to hang out tonight, but we were probably going to go stay the night at Constance's afterwards, since it was obvious he lacked space to have us and we didn't want to be an inconvenience, he didn't have any of it.

    He then acquired this new know-it-all tone and said that he knew that we were new to CouchSurfing, but he had to give us a tip: "when you say that you are going to stay with someone you should stay with them." I felt like he was forcing us to stay because we had a car and he wanted someone to go out with. In the end, Jordan and I begrudgingly agreed to stay with him and put up a jolly face because we didn't want a bad reference, which is pretty much like CS suicide. 

    8. He lacked all perception of personal space when he got drunk. It was like babysitting a drunk freshman who had whiskey for the first time. He would get less than an inch away from my face, was socially awkward (Aaron even confirmed this), and was just an overall mess. 

    9. He punched a standing sign in the lobby when we finally got back from the bar and consequently almost got in trouble with the security guard that was there watching him. 

    10. He spit when he talked. 

    Really, need I say more? If it wasn't for Aaron showing up to the rescue and being there the entire time, I might have pushed Sam into incoming traffic. Thankfully, however, we had a decent good bit of fun making a game of exchanging looks to each other every time Sam did something inappropriate or stupid throughout the entire night–which was a LOT. 

    Once we finally got back to his place, I got my pillows and sheets from my car and laid them out on the living room floor and went straight to sleep without changing clothes. I already couldn't wait until morning and when we could leave. 

    Only until we were on the road that next morning did Jordan and I breathe huge sighs of relief. And then we burst out laughing. It was the only thing to do, after that experience. It was true, we were new to CouchSurfing and didn't know what to do in that situation. Aaron however, shined some light on us last night and unlike Sam, I actually valued and trusted his advice. He said that when it came down to it, if you weren't comfortable, then we didn't have to stay at a host's place. Simple as that. Given, our situation was not nearly as bad as it could have been, but it also could have been avoided too. Jordan, apparently, had to deal with Sam even more than I did. 

    Turned out that when I went to sleep, Sam lured Jordan into his room for another drink, insisted on closing the door so as not to wake up his roommate, and then busted out his ukulele. After the fifth poorly sung Florence and the Machine song, he proceeded to pull out his poem titled "Sunday Sex" and do a poetry reading too. 

    By this point in the story, I was in hysterics. 

    "Welp," I said to Jordan as we drove to Durango, Colorado, " At least we didn't get a bad reference." 

    A beautiful view of Colorado.