The Bachelorette, According to a Bachelor

Alright, happy Bachelor Monday, yall! Hope yall had a fantastic weekend celebrating the birthday of the best nation on earth. Tonight, you can continue to indulge your alcoholism with a foolproof excuse – you’re watching The Bachelorette.

Regular readers know that I write weekly Bachelorette recaps for a great little company called STAG.  [By the way, disclaimer: this post is not at all related to or endorsed by STAG.  If you’re offended by the snarkalicious glory herein, you can take it up with me.]  Really, really “vintage” readers might remember that I started this blog writing Bachelorette recaps here on my own site.  [I was fresh out of college, with no job and more snark than I could keep to myself.  It was only natural.]

Today, I figured we could pregame for tonight’s red wine binge reality TV indulgence with something that I’ve actually never done before:

A guest post.  On The Bachelorette.  From a male perspective.

Enter my friend, Drew….

Drew and I worked together leading the First Year Experience (“orientation”) program for our university during our last two years of undergrad.  Fantastic experience, lots of funny stories, and more educational than probably 85% of my classes.
…I digress.
Part of the reason Drew and I worked so well together was because his sense of humor made mine look somewhat normal.  (And if you know me in real life, you know that’s quite a feat.)

Anyway, I know Drew sometimes watches The Bachelorette, and when I’ve shared past posts on social media, he’s had the most hilarious responses.  When I had the idea to get a guest post from a guy, Drew was the obvious choice.  Real talk: I snorted with laughter when I read his post.  It was like Miss Piggy, but much less ladylike.  Obviously, it would be unethical of me to withhold that kind of hilarity from my readers, so without further ado, I’ll hand it over to Drew…

***

He left that world behind, said he wouldn’t go back. His loved ones told him to stop: they said it was too dangerous. His friends looked away, their eyes pleading for him to keep that part of his life a secret. But on one fateful day he receives a communique asking for him to get back in the game, dutifully he returns…

I return to The Bachelorette.

Okay, so enough of my being dramatic, The Bachelorette is certainly dramatic enough already. Right? I was asked if I could provide a secondary perspective on the events of this season, both in retrospect and as a male viewer. As fellow guys can probably attest, The Bachelor/Bachelorette is definitely a guilty pleasure because in the public perception it is a bizarre dating show about “love”, but the reality is that this show can appeal to the primal man because it is at its very core a show in which we can observe Darwin’s survival of the fittest. Does this sound crazy? It isn’t. We tune in each week to watch the hunkiest/hottest people (read: virile/fertile) compete to woo a suiter by any means necessary. I wouldn’t be surprised if between the kick boxing and sumo wrestling the eligible bachelors were asked to strap on antlers and ram each other.

Two more points before we delve into this season. I promise I don’t watch The Bachelor from a weird biologist perspective, I watch because I love the awkward tension that can arise in situations like this week’s two-on-one date. How can anyone not love the awkwardness of a third person toasting to “us”? Second, I once read online that the most popular television program among the wealthiest Americans is The Bachelor; not Antique Road Show, not Amish Mafia, and not The Illuminati’s Secret to Wealth. My theory is that wealthy Americans enjoy watching the exotic and extravagant dates and use these to plan out their Labor Day weekend. As a capitalist, idealist, and romantic I also like to live vicariously through these dates.

Let us reflect on this season and see whether there is hope for Kaitlyn (spoilers: I doubt it).

In the premiere episode Kaitlyn and Britt both agreed that their husband was in “The Mansion”, I postulate that only one of these women may actually be correct. The other woman actually doesn’t know that in that house are a number of creepy, possessive, self-absorbed, smug, and or simple-minded men of varying levels of attractiveness who are candidates to be her doom. A little melodramatic sure, but please join me as we travel back in time to revisit a few pivotal moments during Kaitlyn’s journey to discover why I believe she will NOT find her “happily ever after”.

She Who Does Not Wash, aka britt

britt crying gif

I have to agree that having the men vote out the bachelorette really does steal any power from the women and completely objectifies the whole situation in a counterintuitive move for the show…but oh, man. It was delicious to watch the women squirm in the background as one woman was complimented; props to the camera people for their staging. Watching Britt be hugged while Kaitlyn awkwardly shuffles in the background was fantastic.

I also relished in the moment as men said “I’m team Kaitlyn” or “I’m 100% Britt”. Sure you are, until one of them is gone. When Tony explains “the Universe wills us together” to Britt was weird, but it was gold when he repeated his exact same mantra to Kaitlyn. I knew instantly that Tony would be what I call a “Producer’s Pick” (which is to say someone who receives Chris Harrison’s blessing and is protected by the reaping of the Rose Ceremony to be the Designated Weirdo).

If you read the above paragraph and confused “reaping” with “raping” then you might have unconsciously remembered Ryan M. (aka: the season drunk). I typically enjoy trying to guess who will have the first meltdown but Ryan M. stole my opportunity by being drunk before the show even started.

horned up and drunk

He might as well have pulled up in the back of a cab missing an earring and a little puke stain on his shirt. But, ah, the fun of “I’M HORN-DOGGING IT NOW!” as he stumbles into the pool or when he – this was the best – calls out that car-pool as “stupid” (ha, the reaction of the driver: “You don’t even know who I am!”) comes to an end as soon as he drunkenly says “I’m gonna rape you.” Woah. Somebody needs to dial Mickey Mouse’s head hunters because someone just threatened to rape on an ABC show, I think it is generally safe to say that threatening rape doesn’t go over well, particularly in a room seemingly half composed of personal trainers.

Last season I thought Britt was attractive until I learned more and more about her; that she is overly-emotional, super needy, and does not shower. Last season we learned she sleeps with full make up on, apparently she does not even need a geisha neck pillar and magically uses her pillow without it turning into a Ronald McDonald. I really appreciated the moment when Britt is given Kleenex and this happens:

Kaitlyn: “What did he give you?”

Britt: “This”, holding up a small package of tissues, “He said I needed it.”

Kaitlyn: Squinting, “Soap?” (Dang, burn! Kaitlyn instantly won my vote here.)

I did appreciate Brady being straightforward and being willing to leave the show to find his woman, he seemed authentic and sane but with enough bohemian vibe that I think he and Britt can enjoy baby-wiping each other clean.

Episode 4 / Week 3

In my opinion the best episode of the season, we had sumo wrestling, a horror room (not the rose ceremony room), Sex Ed, and a bromance.

sumo wrestling indecent exposure

Really guys? You thought you were just going to sumo wrestle each other, did you get kicked too hard during the previous week to figure you would go against real sumo wrestlers? They put on their sumo diapers, which is fun in theory, revealing in practice. Personally, I would be down to try sumo wrestling, but watching this episode I had to change my mind. There is nothing appealing to grapping with a sweaty fat man while baring everything. As Kaitlyn explained, she could see all of Joe’s goods (hmm, maybe that’s why he is still around). So I imagine – because if I were Kaitlyn, I would, too – she probably inspected each of her male suitors.

Poor Ben Z. had the least romantic date possible; he and Kaitlyn were supposed to go through a horror room simulation thing called The Basement (which is exactly where Jared would feel at home). Kaitlyn probably heard “horror room” as a homophone and got all excited, but it turned out to be a freaky locked room guarded by terrible creatures; birds. Kaitlyn has birds/mockingjays tattooed on her body but she was terrified of a pigeon! Kaitlyn must have more repressed issues than Batman because at least he was an orphan. I also really appreciated how ABC added a disclosure to explain that this horror-room does not usually contain living animals, ABC upped the ante on their own. I also do not believe that Ben Z. and Kaitlyn would have survived that room because I got the sense that they would have been hopelessly trapped until they got gassed.

Next up was a group date to another horror-room, a Sex Ed classroom filled with child actors. The poor guys had no idea that the next Macaulay Culkin might be in this next room. The children asked the most awkward questions imaginable, I knew it had to be a set up because no public school has such small class sizes and no private school would outsource their Sex Ed to complete strangers without verifiable credentials (except for Hogwarts, which regularly recruits sketchy individuals to teach and has a name that does not exactly exude confidence that students will not contract an swine-related-STD).

tanner bananner

I appreciated the emphasis on known external body parts “This is the anus” – pause -“this is the anus” – pregnant pause – “this is the anus?” But Ben H. comes swinging and somehow, inexplicably, made Sex Ed less awkward and romantic. I was surprised and Kaitlyn was probably like, “Kids, want to see how sex works?”

what does a “former investment banker” do, anyway?

Oh, JJ. Your teeth look like miniature tombstones meant to grind up caveman food and your face looks like it perpetually has what I will refer to as “fratboy confusion.”

the teeth the teeeeeeth

You even have that fratboy pudge (which, hey, I certainly have no room to judge because I’m not one of the 18 personal trainers this season). “Former Investment Banker” can mean a lot of things: you Madoff’ed with a lot of money (ha, get it?), you lost your license for selling rancid batmeat under a bridge, you got caught in the office with a coworker as you gave them your floppy disc. What “Former Investment Banker” does not mean: you are gainfully employed.

brokeback or bromantic?

So needless to say, maybe JJ found a sugar daddy in Clint, but I think the reality was that JJ and Clint had a harmless bromance. Bromances are becoming increasingly common and I don’t think this is a bad thing. I think it is important for guys to have solid friendships with other guys, there is a real need for positive male interaction and affirmation. I really do sympathize for guys who grow up without a brother or close male friend because there is something about having an uncomplicated guy friendship; when you can slug someone, trust them completely, and play Halo in your boxers together. Clearly most of the guys usually get along with each other; it would be hard to travel the world with a bunch of likeminded dudes (dude, lets lift, tan, and do our hair together) and not develop friendships (even if they “hate seeing her with other guys”).

At rose ceremonies these rivals hug each other goodbye. I was not a hugger until going to a Christian college and even then I think hugging should be reserved for friends, these guys are not going to hug unless they have mini-bromances. Clint’s transformation from seemingly decent guy to all-bark-no-bite “villains got to vil” (totally stealing that line) happened overnight in my opinion and I believe it resulted from a sense of vulnerability. I thought Clint was in the lead and I think he did too until whatever happened happened, then I guess he decided to cut his losses and go full villain. Being a reality TV villain comes with notoriety, guest appearances in the audience of Dancing with the Stars and guest roles on Sesame Street so I think Clint decided to go all out. Unfortunately this meant hamming it up and working the innuendo to fuel speculation that he and JJ had a “thing.”

brokemantic clijj

I wanted to give these two a couple name like Branjelina or Rodham-Clinton, but the best I came up with was “Cli-JJ” which sounds like what Oprah would get checked at her gynecologist. I do not doubt that Clint and JJ may have assisted each other with back shaving/sunscreen/whatever in the shower, but Clint’s sly little grins tell me he wholly knew that his goal was to make the other guys squirm (I’m sure at least one guy was probably thinking “JJ, JJ, JJ. Why can’t I have a bromance?”). Their bromance was probably benign and transformed into a malignant representation of drama, but Clint was right: a “villain’s got to vil”.

The ele-faun-t in the room…

Gross, I despise Nick. He is weasely looking, not attractive, conniving, and a total tool.

nick and mr tumnus collage

In case you didn’t catch it: I DON’T LIKE NICK. Even when I was watching Andi Dorfman’s season (the prosecutor who kept saying “stop” as “stahp” and always meant “please, continue”), I hated Nick and could not understand why he was still around. Some people, I have discovered, have a sort of intangible charisma or animal magnetism that does not correlate to their appearance, Nick must have this in droves as a result of his extracting pheromones from the puppies he keeps chained in his basement at home.

(I will say, however, that when I visited Chicago I did go out of my way to visit the Milwaukee Fish Market simply because that was a hometown date on Andi’s season and it was the only place on Yelp I actually recognized. Great chowder.)

Nick appears a quarter of the way into the season but his ghost lingered from the very beginning when Chris Harrison promised yet again that “THIS WAS THE MOST DRAMATIC SEASON EVER.” In those very spoilerly why-are-there-previews-mid-episode previews the viewers catch a glimpse that Nick may return and that Kaitlyn sleeps with someone and “I’M NOT A BAD PERSON, I JUST MADE A MISTAKE.” I knew, deep down, that Kaitlyn had violated sacred bachelor rules and slept with Nick. I knew because Nick was slimy and if he could weasel his way into this season he could weasel his way into Kaitlyn’s bedroom for “conversation” (bachelor parlance).

“Hey guys, can we take a vote? Who is cool with Nick butting in and joining us?”

1 Aye (Kaitlyn), 8 Nays (Guys, though JJ’s spot in the social pecking order just improved…“the enemy of my enemy” and “the devil you know” and all of that.)

“Cool. Nick joins us next week.”

To the Camera Later: “I hope the guys will be nice to Nick.”

(I was so happy to see Crazy Ashley S. from the previous season. I am convinced she was a part of a secret government experiment code-named Mesa Verde because she kept uttering that name like she was in a trance. A hyper-violent paint-ball trance.)

No way, these guys already have a hard enough time tolerating guys spending time with you. It is as absurd as telling a pack of wolves “Hey, I decided I also want to feed this deer a piece of steak, please be nice to it.” Except this deer is evil incarnate so I really, really wanted guys to have a hissy fit (totally justified though) and leave. I wanted to watch Kaitlyn holding onto Shawn’s ankle with her mascara running down her face as he walks out on her. But alas, no, the guys do not protest. Each of them probably thinks “Well, I am mentally checking out. Kaitlyn is a waste of my time, but if I want to be the next Bachelor I need to look supportive and at least make it to the final four.”

Intrigue in Ireland

Kaitlyn and the Bachelorette crew treat us to two hours of tears because the men are getting anxious and Kaitlyn is convinced every single conversation is going to be about her and Nick playing “where is Nicky?” (Which to be clear, I can totally imagine Nick’s smug little demon face wedged through a wooden door he just axed. After all, as Kaitlyn says “It’s, like, a legit castle. There was a queen who visited and it’s supposed to be haunted.” Haunted, you say? It sure will be after Nick visits, but I digress.)

Kaitlyn totally manipulates every conversation in which she feels the tinges of regret and conviction for having slept with Nick. She cries everytime someone gets serious with her and then twists the conversation to about how Shawn(Shaun?)(definitely not Sean)(the more I type his name the less real his name looks) is being insecure. Which, yes, Shaun is being a bit of a baby, but the entire time I can see Kaitlyn processing “I slept with Nick. I’m carrying the antichrist and Shawn knows.”

gollum crying

But the moment that stood out to me most was when Kaitlyn responds to Ben H. about that “thing that happened” and she says her biggest mistake was “affirming Shawn”, really? Kaitlyn, no, what has been blowing everything (no innuendo intended) was your “Laying with a Leprechaun.”

Oh, but wait, Chris Harrison decides to “even the playing field” (aka: the production team decided other guys need to have sex with Kaitlyn because apparently Nick has the advantage.) Chris justifies this by explaining “it is important to have that intimate time with each other before moving on to the big step of meeting families.” Oh, right, because intimacy is not the bigger step or even a big step? Kaitlyn’s response really puts to words what we already know “well, intimacy is where I would naturally go before meeting families”, nice. Words I am sure my own mom would love to hear from a lady “I prefer to sex up a guy before I meet the family, gives us something to talk about.” Meanwhile, Nick smiles smugly thinking (Nick 1, Everyone Else 0).

kaitlyn and nick macking

Sidenote regarding musical men in harem pants:

Also, even though Cupcake Chris has beady little rat eyes…

creepy creepy  creepy aladdin cupcake man

…he sang “A Whole New World” Aladdin duet with you. In my book, by which I mean the Disney movies from which I have a totally healthy, holistic, and age-appropriate definition of love, a duet should seal the deal.

Remaining Contenders:

Evil Incarnate, aka Nick
Seriously, he smugness is unmatched in television villainy. He literally appeared on a couch with like two women draped over him. He might as well have been petting a white cat and asked Frau to activate the “laser.”

Innocent Joe
Joe thought he was signing up for cable when he met with ABC, poor guy.

joe has more chemistry with his horse

Frankly his lack of crazy is probably the only reason he hasn’t been kicked off. I think Kaitlyn keeps him around so she can believe she is a good person, they have zero chemistry.

Serial Killer/Pet – Jared
Even though I’m a firm believer that beards are cool and most guys are, Jared your beard needs to go. It accentuates your face by making you look reptilian and like you were unable to shave because Kaitlyn doesn’t have a vanity in the bushes outside her window. I give you props for being the smallest guy in the boxing ring and taking a beating like a champ, seriously, but you are Kaitlyn’s pet. She even lets you ride shotgun in her Mini Cooper on the way to lick a rock.

creepy shotgun rider

Which I always imagined the Blarney Stone to be more like a meteor with ancient inscriptions, not a wall you’re supposed to kiss upside down. Swapping spit with thousands of people is even less cool when done upside down, then again I’m sure all of the Bachelor contestants have already resigned to using the same toothbrush because they already taste each other’s meals left behind on Kaitlyn’s teeth.

Elongated Ryan Gosling
Shawn Listen, we get it. You’re ripped with icy blue eyes and swoopy blonde hair.

145677765IB014

You’re also really tall. Your personality, however, means that a husky with frosted tips, on stilts and a weight lifting regimen has you beat.

My Last Horse in the Race – Ben H
A normal guy without the weird idiosyncrasies.

ben higgins plaid normal

Even if you do look like young Donny Osmund, you are the only person I would trust to… teach Sex Ed to my kid. Sure, because you survived child actors and Sex Ed while also making a move on Kaitlyn, bravo.

My prediction:

Final two: Jared and Nick.

Kaitlyn has to explain to Nick that his hypnotism no longer works on her because she replaced her contact lenses. He freaks out and goes all psycho killer like he did on Andi’s season, Jared pushes him off a cliff but keeps a lock of curly hair to add to his “trophy collection”.

Kaitlyn then decides she can’t settle for a pet like Jared and calls Brady hoping he changed his mind.

Brady and Britt get married and become spokespeople for Axe Body Spray.

***

Alright folks, was that the funniest thing you’ve read all year or what?  Show Drew some love in the comments below, and let me know who your predictions are!

If you’re tuning in tonight, add me on snapchat (@maggiegetsreal)! I’ll be snapchatting live while I watch…and yes, you know what I’ll be wearing!

Hot Yoga: A Play-by-Play

This morning I took my first hot yoga class in…

[momentary pause while I try to calculate how long it’s actually been.  Ok, make that a long pause, because I got my B.A. in English, and it’s not like I’m actually good at math.]

…holy mackeral.  Two years.  It’s been about 24 months since I took a hot yoga class.  Back then, I was still in college.  Back then, I was still straightening my hair.  Back then, I was still a naive little child-woman who thought she’d get a full time job straight out of school, that paying bills would be a piece of cake, and that dating after college would be a grand adventure.

IMG_20130523_220457

Chipmunks ain’t got nothin’ on those cheeks.

(So far, I’m 1 for 3 on that.  And since I have to work part time at Starbucks and break out in a cold sweat when people mention “student loans,” I’ll let you figure out which one I got right.)

Two years…Yeah, that could explain a lot.

Anyway, back to yoga.  After two years, it was an interesting reintroduction to studio practice.  Challenging in some ways, and almost natural in others.  Weird, but mostly a good weird (like a lot of things have been lately).

In case you’re thinking about trying yoga, or if you’ve been there/done that/want to commiserate…here’s a play-by-play.

04:30 – Wake up.  Check phone, see time…still have 30 minutes until I need to get up, but I’m feeling almost wide awake.  Checking my new messages doesn’t help me get back to sleep, just FYI.

05:00 – Oh hey, I actually did fall back asleep.  Get up, change into yoga-y clothes, pat myself on the back for remembering to shave my legs and give myself a pedicure the day before.

Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset

#hobbitfeet

05:15 – Brush teeth, braid hair, try to avoid eye contact with myself in the mirror.  A naked face this early in the morning is something else…praying they dim the lights in yoga class.

05:35 – Arrive with 10 minutes to spare.  I sign a waiver, present my free pass, and am instructed to turn my phone all the way off and leave my sandals in the lobby.  Hear deep breathing coming from behind the door to the main studio.  Someone needs to get homeboy an oxygen tank before he starts asphyxiating.

what's updog funny meme

05:45 – Set up my mat towards the back, as close as possible to the window.  Observe the interesting variety of granola-types, suburban moms, and random middle aged men…and the Buddha statues and elephant paintings (or maybe that’s a Hindu deity? I couldn’t tell you one way or another), which are in a little cluster up front.  This naturally inspires an internal debate over whether I’ll be able to pull off the crop top + harem pants combo this summer.  (My love handles vote “NO.”)

05:47 – The teacher starts class by saying he knows there is one new person in the class, and asks who that is.  I raise my hand sheepishly, like I’m a Portland native admitting to driving a Dodge Ram.  Thankfully, the teacher comes over to welcome me and is super hospitable.  This is what they call “good vibes,” right?

05:50 – Class starts. It’s warm in the studio but not hot, I’m feeling somewhat confident, and my deodorant seems to be working.  Yasss.

hot yoga smells funny

06:00 – Things start picking up…and heating up.  I’m feeling toasty, but enjoying the class.  Practicing yoga at home has definitely been a game changer.

06:15 – OMG. Between the vinyasa-ing and endless Warrior II/Cresent Lunge flows, I warmed up.  And so did all 40 other folks in class. By now it’s hot and it’s humid as all get out.  I may as well be doing downward-dog in the bayous of Louisiana.

so hot omg wtf

06:17 – Nearly kick the girl next to me during transitions.  I probably should have hired a lawyer before trying something that requires so much coordination and athleticism, both of which I clearly lack.

06:20 – Panicking.  It’s so dang humid.  My lungs feel claustrophobic.  Wonder if this is a symptom of asthma?  Maybe that doctor I saw in high school was right when he said I had exercise-induced asthma.  If I shimmy across the room and slide out right now, will anyone notice??

06:22 – Look around and realize everyone else is sweating like a mofo, too, and feel a lot better about myself.  Try not to think about how I’m breathing in the sweat of everyone else in the room.  And why didn’t I bring a water bottle???

sweaty pig meme

06:25 – The teacher guy tells us to hit it in child’s pose for a minute.  Hell yeah, buddy.  I can rock child’s pose like nobody’s business.  Also, a good chance to practice breathing without wheezing.

06:30 – Back on our feet doing some Utkatasana (chair pose) and thanks to my massive legs, I can do this portion without wanting to die.  Which, judging by the sound of my classmates’ heavy breathing, is exactly what they want to do right now.

06:32 – Seriously, what’s with the breathing? I know that yoga’s about “finding your breath” (um hi, it’s in my lungs, where I like it) and weird stuff like that…but do yall have to be so loud about it? It’s like taking a class with Sandra Bullock’s character from Gravity. 

06:37 – Ok, now even my shins are sweating.  It’s like once I decided I was going to embrace the heat (rather than army-crawl out the back door, which is a very legitimate option I’d been considering 25 minutes ago), my body decided to cope by trying to make me look like Britney in her “Slave 4 U” video.  Except unlike Britney Spears circa 2001, this is not at all sexy and I have way less backup dancers.

not sexy hot yoga

06:38 – Realize I do have something on old-school-Britney…I can sing badly without autotune.  Suck it, Brit-brit.

06:40 – Realize that mentally competing with Britney Spears is not only pathetic, but probably the opposite of what you’re supposed to do in yoga class.  Oops.   Om?

06:42 – The lights are now completely off, and we’re all supposed to be in frog pose.  Naturally, I have to have the teacher come show me how this amphibian-inspired contortion works.  He’s all up in my personal bubble, and I’m basically sitting on my neighbor’s mat (because nearly giving her a roundhouse to the spleen wasn’t enough) so he won’t end up in my lap.

06:43 – Frog pose is…weird.  And in this case, not good weird.  Like “50 Shades” weird, which is about all I can say about this because my relatives read this blog. But suffice to say, it’s probably worse for my poor neighbor, who’s got a lovely view of my bum. (Definitely rethinking the little shorts I wore to class. Thank God the lights are off.)

hot yoga sight regret

06:48 – We’re thankfully finished with froggy time, and now we’re savasana-ing ourselves silly.  The assisting teacher comes over with some lavender-scented lotion/goo and starts massaging my temples.  I’d forgotten about this end-of-class ritual, but I’m all about it. Normally I’m not big on strangers touching me, but you get a free pass to get up in my bubble space anytime you bring smelly-good-stuff.   Namaste indeed….Namastay-right-here-and-enjoy-the-free-massage.

06:50 – At last, this shindig is done.  We sit up and do one final “ommm” (well, they do. The mouth-breathing is weird enough for me.).  Wonder if they would have let me take the class if they knew I’m a practicing conservative.  Oh well, doesn’t matter – time to blow this popsicle stand.

06:52 – To my surprise, neighbor girl starts chatting with me as we’re rolling up our mats. Glad she’s not holding frog pose against me.  And look at me, making new friends before 07:00! For us introverts, that’s an achievement.

07:00 – Arrive at Starbucks to return someone else’s apron that I accidentally took home…and to grab a quad espresso on ice. (Thanks James and Lex!)  Because you have to hydrate after yoga class, you know?

Snapshot_20150310_6

07:10 – Get home, dump some protein powder and almond milk into my espresso, and drink my protein shake like the yoga-doing lady-bro that I apparently am.  Sure, it’s got enough caffeine to put down a small horse, but I can handle it.  After all, I just survived hot yoga.

come at me bro yoga

And there you have it.  More details than you ever wanted to know about what goes down in hot yoga.  I probably won’t get a membership at the studio (I just checked and the pricing doesn’t really jive with the whole student-loans-and-being-poor-and-possibly-having-more-student-loans-after-grad-school thing), but I could see myself dropping in once in awhile when I need a good stretch/mental challenge.

At the very least, I’ll keep wearing yoga pants.  Those suckers get me.

Your turn to share!
Best, worst, or most memorable hot yoga experience?  
Anyone else get nostalgic when you think about pre-2007 Britney?

“Taking Fire” – A Touching Collection of Brian Williams Memes

Poor Brian Williams.  The man is clearly suffering from  deficiency of n3 fatty acids and DHA.  What else could explain the level of neurological dysfunction that would lead him to “misremember” that ride in the black hawk that came under fire?

Really, I want to sponsor him like a little World Vision child from Guatemala.  Maybe he just can’t afford the fish oil supplements, you know?

Borderline offensive snark aside, Brian Williams has made some great contributions recently – mostly, being fodder for internet memes.  And because I love people who can laugh at themselves (you are laughing with us, aren’t you, B-Money?) and I love politically relevant humor, I’m sharing the wealth with yall…much like Brian shared a seat in the black hawk.

I’m sorry.  Well, not really.

will ferrell elf meme

But I am done. I’ll let the memes do the talking from here.  (You’re welcome in advance.)

Brian Williams Meme 3

brian williams maverick meme

brian williams nasa meme

left shark brian williams(In case you don’t know who Left Shark is – ahem, Mum, Dad, the eight strangers reading this in Taiwan – please proceed HERE for a 30-second briefing. And for the love of all that is good, stay on top of current events from now on, will ya?)

Brian Williams Meme

brian williams trekkie

brian williams abe lincoln meme

brian williams jfk meme

brian williams meme again

brain williams rosa parks

brioromir williams

Best for last, of course:

brian williams enola gay

Of course, this is but Part One of a saga.  After all, it’s only a matter of time until that “leave of absence” announcement turns into a “no longer employed” situation…which, with any luck, will morph into some kind of cameo on Dancing with the Stars.  (Or, you know, The Dick Van Dyke Show.  That Brian Williams is just everywhere.)  But from “taking fire” to the inevitable “being fired”…There’s just too much potential there. This wit cannot be wasted.

In the words of Ahhhnold, “I’ll be back.”

Oh, wait, I think it was actually Brian Williams who played the Terminator. My beej.

Monday Motivation (with Mama June)

Just a couple things to share with yall today.  I know – it’s Monday.  Mondays can be rough.

mama june hair done

…But you’re tougher than Monday.  With the right perspective, Monday isn’t an imposition but an opportunity for excellence.

And, you know, an opportunity to laugh at yourself.

Like when you start talking to your dog in a voice that resembles an Italian-accented Cookie Monster.

(At which point you should probably seek more human companionship and/or professional help.  Or at the very least more caffeine.)

Apologies, I digress.

I wanted to pass along a couple things I came across lately, because I think they would make your life – or at least your Monday morning – much better.

First off, this fantastic article from We Got Real “The Real Bod: Sags and All.”  Tara’s perspective is one that we would all do well to adopt.  Bodies are real, and they are imperfect, and they are beautiful, and they are not the source of our worth.  My favorite part:

“…health encompasses the entire body, not just our physical bodies….a healthy person is healthy in the mind, body, and spirit.  They eat well, but don’t let it control their lives.  They are not afraid of food.  A healthy person does not hate their body. They do not see it as the enemy.”

Amen to that. Your body is a gift, NOT a burden.  Cherish it as such.

On a lighter note, this song has been stuck in my head for a couple weeks.  It’s fitting, because it’s fitting.  As in literally. As in I’ve got a berdonk-with-a-capital-B wider center of gravity.  As in I can relate so hard.  But I kind of can’t stand the song itself.

This version, though? I’m all about that bass those harmonies. “Please, sir(s), can I ‘ave so’ more?”

And finally, if it’s been One of Those Mornings for you, I have a cure.  At the very least, it’s a Pepto Bismol and a bandaid for whatever ails you.   Seriously.  Try not to laugh.  If you’re offended…well, you do know whose blog you’re reading, right?

Now yall go out and attack the day.

Seriously. Pretend you’re Mama June and this week is a bottle of ketchup.  Or something like that.

mama june ketchup attack

Bits and Pieces No.2

Last week I shared some “Bits and Pieces,” just a collection of the most interesting and most helpful and most hilarious links I’d found throughout the week.  This week brought another batch of really splendid internet finds (and a couple lovely real-life ones, too), so once again, I thought I’d share with yall.  Who knows, maybe this will become a weekly thing (let me know if that sounds wonderful or dreadful!)…

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Pre-workout brewskis with the broski last week. Let’s just say the workout that followed was not exactly my finest.

Fitness

One-Dumbbell Workout —> Great option for at home (sub a Swiss ball for the bench if needed) or when the gym is crowded!

The Olympic Weightlifting Squat —> One of the best squat articles I’ve come across in a long time.  If you squat, you should read this.

CrossFit Bodyweight Workouts —> My friend sent this to me after seeing my post on my Angie-ish WOD.  Great resource to keep on hand for days when you want to spice up your training with something new and need a little help getting that mojo going.

Nutrition

 Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Mug Cake —> This is delicious, and pumpkin-y foods are a requirement these days because it’s September, which is almost autumn, and apparently it is already starting to look all lovely and autumn-y in some areas. (Not that I would know…California’s summers last far. too. loooong.  Check back with me in November.)  If you’re not into gourd-flavored goodies, there’s always the chocolate version.

Vegan Banana Cream Pie Blizzards —> Dairy-free soft-serve goodness for those us who can’t have dairy and aren’t exactly experiencing autumn right now.  (ahem…)

Diet Research, Stuck in the Stone Age —> Dr. David Katz reacts to the recent study of low-carb vs. “low”-fat diets.  He does a good job of explaining the (glaring) problems with the study, and with nutrition science in general.

Life

“Unexpected Compromise by the NFL…”  —> Well, I’m officially a Bengals fan now. (Also, pray for the Still family…I can only imagine how awful that must be.)

What Women Need to Say to Each Other to Shatter the Dark —> Voskamp always has me on the fence.  Some posts I read and find myself nodding and thinking “Preach it, girl!”  Others I read and can’t help but grumble, “Daaaamn, hippie, can you just tone down the feels for a sec?  And what is with your syntax??”  But this was mostly a winner.

Anatomy of Songs —> Hilarious (and spot-on) chart.

7 Awesome Smartphone Photography Tips —> The underwater photo trick is my favourite.

Men Holding Kittens for the First Time —> Let’s be honest, I didn’t just watch this for the kittens.

When IKEA Outsmarts Apple —> Yest, this was clever, and yes, I am a sucker for a Nordic accent, but mostly I like it because it reminded me to disconnect a little.  Pick up a real book instead of spending my reading time on PubMed or WebMD (My name is Domi, and I have a problem.).  But really, yall, go read a book this weekend.  A real one, with pages.  And honestly, the IKEA catalogue probably doesn’t count.

 

Have a splendid weekend, yall.  I’ll catch ya back here Monday…and you won’t want to miss what I’ve got coming next week.  It’s a little, shall we say, feisty?

Bits and Pieces

Well, it’s Friday, and even though most folks may be coming off of a shorter-than-usual workweek (thank you, Labor Day!), I’d wager that we’re all still ready for the weekend.  Can I get an amen?

So on a day when we’re all hankering for some jack on the rocks, a good book, and a hammock – I know I’m not the only one – I figured I’d share some of the best links I’ve seen lately.  Some are health-related, some are life-related, some are just hilarious.  In short, I’m giving you some easy reading to enjoy while you drink your whiskey with your pants off.

You can thank me later.  (I’d say invite me over, but that would conflict with my introverted nature.  Plus, I’m working all weekend.  So, there’s that little issue.)

Fitness

How to Get the Bar Into Proper Position During Hip Thrusts  –> I love hip thrusts, but I don’t love getting pinned under the bar because I have quadzilla thighs and no bumper plates.  Bret Contreras solves that problem.

Squatting Specifics – Which Technique Is Best for Your Sport? –> Not every body should be squatting the same (and a few folks think some bodies shouldn’t be squatting, period), and this article helps you figure out how to make the most of your time under the bar.

9 Tips for Dedicated Lifters –> There’s a lot of good in here, even if you’re not in complete agreement with every item.  There’s also the fact that I love his no-bullsh*t style.  (Thanks to Tara for pointing me to this one!)

Nutrition

The Truth on Truvia –> Found this after googling Truvia when I came home in incredible pain (and a little bit preggo looking) after a couple hours at a cafe where I’d had iced tea with some Truvia mixed in.  Now I know why.

Is a Low-Carb Diet Ruining Your Health? –>  If you’ve ever cut back on carbs or “gone Paleo” (or thought about doing so), this would be worth a read to make sure that your nutrition choices are actually beneficial to your health.

Forget weight setpoint. What’s your sanity setpoint? –> Sanity + health > obsession + a 6-pack.

The Rising Epidemic of “Hidden” Eating Disorders –> I’ve had far too much experience with this – both personally and with loved ones – and it’s a crying shame that this kind of disordered thinking/eating/exercising is so rampant.

Life

Infographic Shows the Difference Between Diseases We Donate to and Diseases That Kill Us –> Thought-provoking.  Also, I heart infographics.

6 Types of People that Build Your Mental Toughness –> It’s not a matter of if you’ll encounter difficult and ornery folks, and not necessarily when either…like so many things, it’s about how you respond to them.

Two soldiers playing/singing a song they wrote –>  This was pretty impressive, and God knows my patriotic little soul could hardly handle the combination of country music, men in uniform, and ‘Murica.

Warped Childhood, Restoration Hardware-Style –>  So on point, and hilarious.  Reminded me slightly of The Hater’s Guide to the Williams Sonoma Catalogue, but with less sass.

Our Use of Little Words Can, Uh, Reveal Hidden Interests –> Fascinating little bit on words, psychology, and why your manner of speech can predict if that first date will turn into something more.

Here’s What Company Slogans Would Look Like If They Were Honest –> Check out the Honest Slogans website, too…my personal favorites are Hollister and Trader Joe’s.  Too accurate.

 

Well, folks, that’s all I’ve got.  Enjoy your whiskey-drinking/hammock-sitting/pantsless-hanging or whatever you’re doing this weekend!

Discuss:

Doing anything fun this weekend?

What’s the best thing you’ve seen/read online this week? Link up in the comments below!

 

 

What You See vs. What You Don’t [Instagram Edition]

My friend sent me a link to THIS blog post the other day, and I loved it.  The blogger talks about how social media is a highlight reel of our lives.  It’s the rose-colored montage at the end of a 90’s TV special rather than the .  And even if everything you post on social media is authentic, it doesn’t tell the whole story.  (And often, that’s a good thing.  Discretion and privacy are underrated these days.)  For better or worse, social media posts can only give you a glimpse into the lives of others, not a panorama.

But today, I thought it would be fun to widen the lens and give a bit of a more realistic look at my Instagram feed.  I do my best to be pretty authentic on social media – my captions are fairly blunt (if not bordering on oversharing), and I post more than my fair share of “no makeup” and “no filter” photos (although I typically don’t tag them as such because 1) it makes me feel like a major douchenozzle, and 2) you probably don’t need a caption to realize there’s no eyeliner or lipstick on my squinty little face).  Even so, the blog post that inspired this was too good not to replicate my own version.  So lest my Instagram activity give anyone the impression that my life consists solely of fabulous workouts, delicious food, and big hair (ok, the last one is true), here’s a little peek at the panorama behind the pictures.

Before 2

What you see: We are excitedly getting ready to run a 5K-that-turned-into-a-10K (full story on that HERE), because we’re athletic and we’re patriotic and we live in America and that’s just what we do on Memorial Day.  I also have a really rachet-but-effective phone case made out of a sock shoved in my sports bra (more on that HERE).

What you don’t: My grey leggings that most definitely do not hide the crotch-sweat action that would start happening approximately 5 minutes into the race. It’s 93°F and rising at 9:00 and I have no idea who thought it would be a good idea to plan the race course in the middle of a mostly-shadeless wildlife preserve.  You also don’t see all the really inspirational people running, like the man who was a triple-amputee and raced in his wheelchair…and he finished before us, which means he’s clearly a badass and I’m clearly more pathetic than you thought.

 

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What you see: I’m doing yoga in my office, because I’m cool and zen and yoga-y like that.  #namastebitches

What you don’t:  Me scurrying to the window between poses to make sure my boss isn’t walking into the building about to catch me getting my asana on.  You also don’t see me checking twitter and reading PubMed for 20 minutes before deciding to do a little crow pose and some handstand practice because OMGi’msoboredandthisjobsucksthelifeoutofmyverysoul.  So glad I don’t work there anymore.  Otherwise I might have turned into Voldemort by now, from the whole soul-got-sucked-out-thing.

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 What you see: My cute dress and my 12-pack of bro-beer.  I’m just one of the guys, but I’ve still got that cute girl-next-door vibe going on.

What you don’t: My makeup-less face, air-dried hair, and unpainted toes.  Also, the fact that I did not end up drinking any of this beer – I was bringing it to my dad (per the request of my mother, who seems to think all males speak the same love language called “booze and nicotine”…she’s not too far off base, I’d say).  Also, the fact that I had to take four different shots to get one where my hand didn’t look like an old-man-hand clinging to the case of frat boy juice.

 

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What you see: Look at all my goodies for recovery day! I have a foam roller and a yoga DVD and a yoga mat and a croquet ball and a whole book on trigger points and self-myofascial release techniques…I’m recovering so hard, because I’m, like, an athlete or something.

What you don’t: I’m scooching around on that croquet ball like a paraplegic walrus, and swearing like a sailor the whole time.  That sh*t hurts.  Plus, I didn’t even get to the yoga DVD that day.  I did about 10 sun salutations before I got hungry and decided breakfast sounded better than bhujangasana.

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What you see: I’m balancing on my head and forearms like the graceful human that I am, with my toes pointed and legs quite artfully splayed out.

What you don’t:  It took my sister about 2 straight minutes to get a decent photo that wasn’t horribly backlit, didn’t have my dog running through it, and actually caught me doing something that looked like yoga.  My face was redder than a tomato from the bloodrush of being upside down for that long.  Also, I still have a bunch of outtakes on my phone that look like this:

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Moving on…

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What you see: I have big hair, and I clearly like big buns.  And this moment deserved documentation because I was all decked out and actually wearing eyeliner.  Look who’s a grown-up now!

What you don’t:  The enormous fuzzball of hair that I had coerced into a somewhat-spherical shape a few minutes earlier, and the enormous fuzzball of hair that would erupt when I took my hair down later that night.  Also, the part where my hair permanently smells like coffee now.  It’s really cute.

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What you see:  My fake-pregnant belly. No baby inside, just bloat.  This one’s pretty real.  A little too real, according to some.  Yes, beans do make me look fat.

What you don’t:  I was still semi-bloated like on the right for two days after that…and during those next 48 hours, I wore those yoga pants every second I was not at work.  No shame.  (Just another reason yoga pants are man’s best friend!)

hip thrust bench garage gym (1)

What you see:  I’m up in the (garage) gym just working on my fitness.

What you don’t:  My ghetto attempts to keep my yoga mat wrapped around the bar while I get it up on my hips, or the part where I made the mistake of sitting all the way down with the bar still in my lap.  It took me a full minute to unpin myself from under the bar.  You also don’t see the bruises on my hip bones from where the yoga mat was clearly insufficient padding for such a heavy weight.  Or maybe I’m just hip thrusting too enthusiastically.  I don’t know.  Now this is getting weird (sorry, Dad, if you’re reading this…).

Sorry for the douchenozzle selfie, but this is just for full-disclosure.  Definitely not a bikini model, but I feel damn good in a bikini.  (And at a buffet.)

What you see: My tired little eyeballs blinking under the florescent lighting at 4:00 while I stand there in my skivvies.  Also, serious bedhead that I was too tired to fix, but I’m assuming that’s a forgivable offense.

What you don’t:  I tried about 5 times to get a photo where my hands didn’t look like raccoon claws, and nothing worked.  I gave up and counted myself lucky that this was not a close-up photo, so at least no one will see the pillow lines on my face.  But still, why do I have such large claw-like paws?? This is such an issue for me.

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What you see: A kitchen full of delicious, healthy food for the week, because I am clearly a domestic wizard.  Think Gandalf in an apron, without the beard (or, sadly, the robe), but a bit more sassy.

What you don’t: All the panic beforehand as I tried to decide what I would be eating, and subsequently, pre-cooking, that week.  You also don’t see the sink full of dirty dishes that I would dread cleaning, like always, until I actually started…at which point I would find myself, as always, belting out Broadway tunes and thoroughly enjoying myself.

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What you see: I’m going on vacation and I have bikinis and a boarding pass and even a little straw hat, because I’m just cool like that.  But whatever, it’s no big deal, I travel all the time.  Isn’t everyone this sophisticated?

What you don’t:  The usual panic attack I have anytime I have to pack for more than a weekend.  Trying to cram everything I’d need for 9 days into one medium-sized suitcase was like some kind of high-stakes game of Tetris. My saving grace was that I banked on not wearing more than a bikini most days, and decided to be a carefree hippie and not obsessively pack food for the trip so I’d be guaranteed to have something “healthy.”  This was a good thing because those dinners of chips + salsa + margaritas were pretty wonderful.  Or the part where I had to wear that damn hat through the airport and on the plane so that it wouldn’t get smushed.

 

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What you see: We’re at a Padre’s game because we’re the kind of broads who are into sports.  You can also see that I have weird little hobbit feet that are pretty much like 2×4’s stuck on the ends of my legs, but that’s beside the point.

What you don’t:  I have no idea what’s going on.  How many touchdowns do we have? Where are the cheerleaders? Why the fraaack does a little box of trail mix cost SEVEN DOLLARS?  What good are baseball pants if I can’t even see them from up here? (To be fair, we had good seats, I just had not brought my glasses.)

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What you see:  I have this glorious view and the whole pool to myself.  Luxury is my middle name.  I am like an upper-middle-class land-mermaid.

What you don’t:  My sad attempts at lap swimming.  It was more like lap dog-paddling.  For all my extra fluffiness, I’m surprisingly un-buoyant.  Also, this is not my pool.  It’s the private community pool in my aunt and uncle’s neighborhood (they had generously let us stay two nights at their house).  And also, because I didn’t have a key, I had to hop the fence to get in after I walked out the gate and realized I’d left my sandals behind.

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What you see: Look at this green juice I’m drinking because I’m healthy. Doesn’t it look delicious?  Am I not a cool kid for jumping on the juicing train?  Also look at my cute dress (ignore the goosebumps on my knees, because I’m not the kind of peasant who gets cold from drinking a cold juice in February), let’s pretend I’m fashionable.

What you don’t: My dad treated me to that juice. I’m not one to shell out FIVE BUCKS for a 10 oz. cup of liquefied kale.  Mostly because I don’t have that kind of cash (sidenote: now accepting sugar-daddy applications…), but also it just feels wrong to spend that kind of cash on drinkable vegetables when it could be spend on something like…oh, I don’t know…gas? sports bras? Lindt chocolate? ridiculously expensive German power-steering fluid for my ridiculous German car?  And don’t worry, the cute dress was balanced out by the bright yellow sweater I was wearing on top.  I looked like the lovechild of Mr. Rogers and Big Bird.

 

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What you see: My very clean and very wet hair.  I’m like a shampoo-scented mermaid.  With legs.  And I can’t really sing.  And sadly, I don’t know any talking crabs, drug-using seagulls (what, you really think Scuttle was sober?), sinister gender-flexibile octopi, or dashing princes named Eric.  So mostly you just see that my hair is clean, and, as my caption says, this is the first time in 5 days that it’s been so.

What you don’t see:  What my hair looks like 8 hours later, air dried and finger-combed a bit as I tried to fling it out of my face.  The bangs might be grown out, but my hair is apparently still trying to channel Catherine Hicks circa 1998. Really, it’s like I have panda fur growing out my head.

air dried hair panda fur

 

Well, it’s all in the open now.  Go ahead and judge me.  But let’s still be friends, ok?

 

For more snapshots without the gory details, find me on Instagram (or Twitter)!

 

This Is Why I’m Not a Runner

I’ve made it clear before: I’m not a natural runner.

I mean, does this look like a face that was born to run?

fat runner

In fact, running is something that intimidated me for a long time.  These days, I’m not scared of running – heck, sometimes I crave a good, sweaty run – but I still am far from being “a runner.”  So when I decided to haul my venti-sized ass around the block go for a run this weekend after not running for more than 2 months, I had an experience with which I’m sure every non-runner can empathize.  Maybe this is all part of the learning curve, or maybe it’s further proof that the good Lord never meant me to move faster than a hasty stroll.  Either way, here’s the ugly, honest truth of what happens when a not-so-natural runner attempts to run.

5:45am, getting ready to run:  Spot my sister’s Harry Potter tank top on the bathroom floor.  Oooh, I’ll wear that.  Maybe it will help me have a total-body transformation like Neville Longbottom when he lost the man-boobs and became a hottie.

5:55am: Remember that my phone case is broken.  Decide I am too accident-prone to let my phone ride naked for this adventure.  Concede to using a jerryrigged case, which consists of my phone shoved in a (clean) athletic sock, shoved into my sports bra.  It’s surprisingly functional.

HP & sock

6:00am: Out the door.  Say a prayer, cue up my Kelly Clarkson pandora station, and reluctantly trot to the street.  Begin considering what to make for breakfast after this ordeal

First 50 yardsI’m flying! This is perfect running weather! (Note: I live at the top of a steep hill, so at this point I am running down a 65° slope.)

200 yards: This really isn’t so bad.  I should train for a marathon! I could totally do it, and then I’d get really skinny and hot and have a cool medal to hang on my wall.  (Note: By now, I’ve turned onto the street, which has a slight decline.)

1/2 mileEff that. I’m never running a marathon.  WHY AM I ALREADY OUT OF BREATH?! (Note: I have turned a corner and am headed up a street that has maybe a 5° incline.)

3/4 mile, passing the local fire station: Look cute, look cute, look cute….Dang, it’s really hard to suck in your gut, run faster, and try to breathe casually. 

1 mileOk, this is cool. I got this. Straight road, mostly flat, and shady.  I can handle this.

1.1 miles: Remember I’m wearing a Harry Potter tank top.  I love life.

1.2 miles: Look down at the Harry Potter tank top.  Realize Neville Longbottom probably had bigger boobs than I do.  How’d you do it, Neville? TEACH ME YOUR SECRETS.

1.5 milesIt’s uphill and sunny now. What is this?! And great, I’m rocking some major cameltoe right now.  Plus I’m getting a blister on my instep. And I’m sweating. Ew. I hate running.

2 miles: Hallelujah. Back in a shady neighborhood and Jason Aldean just came on.  Begin wagging my butt back and forth to the beat as I run.  Quickly stop upon realizing that is not only making it more difficult to run, but probably is giving passerby the impression that I’m having a minor seizure.

2.2 milesBut this is my jam!! Begin butt-wagging again.

2.5 miles: If I can make it home without passing out, getting lost, or falling, this will be a success.

3 milesThese pants are a little bigger than they used to be.  They are also falling off, so I attempt to hike them up without stopping. Turns out sweaty legs are akin to superglue, and these leggings are not moving.  Waddle-hop-Riverdance for 1/4 mile as I try to yank those suckers back up to where they belong.  Consider that forceps might be helpful in a situation like this.

3.1 miles: “Cowboy Cassanova” comes through my headphones. Oh hey, I like this Carrie Underwood song.  And I guess I like her, too.  Except she probably doesn’t need forceps to get her leather hotpants over her skinny little legs before a concert.  Hooker.

3.25 miles: Begin imagining what this run would be like if dinosaurs were still alive.  Could I outrun a velociraptor? Probably not.  Maybe I could outsmart him and climb a tree or something? That might not work though, what if velociraptors can fly?

3.3 miles: Decide that velociraptors cannot fly, based of their highly scientifically-accurate portrayal in 2000’s animated tour-de-force, Dinosaur.  (Which may or may not have left me terrified to be alone at night in any room of the house until roughly 2002.)

3.5 milesGrey leggings were a poor choice. Can you say, ‘crotch sweat?’

3.75 miles: There are blisters on my blisters. They’re spawning. And I’m still sweating.

4 miles:  How do people manage to do this for hours on end?? My entire body hurts. Maybe this is how Helen Keller felt.  At this point,  describing my forward trajectory as “running” would be too generous.  “Slowly lurching” would be more accurate.  This would be so much easier if I had aid stations  like real runners do at races.  I could probably run forever if I were rewarded with free gummy bears and Gatorade every 1/4 mile.

4.3 miles: I think God is controlling my pandora station right now. Jordin Sparks’ “One Step at a Time” starts up, reminding me to keep shuffling forward until I reach home and the misery ends.  This alone keeps me from lying down on the sidewalk and waiting for death to overtake me.

4.5 milesWhy do I have to live at the top of a hill???  The steep slope that made me feel like I was flying less than 40 minutes ago is now making me feel like I’m falling. Uphill. And not in a poetic way.

Finally, it’s over.  I turn around and trudge down the block to shake my legs out and continue trying not to start dry heaving.   I notice that the inside of my arm is sore, and look down to discover that I have a little raw spot where my bicep must have brushed against my sports bra as I ran.  I try to convince myself it’s because my boobs are getting bigger and not because my arms are getting flabby.

As I turn to head home, an older fellow comes walking in the opposite direction.  I mutter a breathy G’mornin’ while doing my best to look calm, collected, and not completely winded.

He chirps, “Hope you brought you’re umbrella, it’s raining on the other side!”

Slightly confused and moderately horrified at the thought of having to actually make conversation with a stranger, I attempt to appear somewhat interested.

Really?

(Not sure it worked.  Pretty sure it just sounded like I was the operator for a cheap phone-sex hotline.)

“Nah, I’m just teasing,” he chuckles as he walks away.

Half a minute later, it dawns on me that he was teasing me because I’m currently dripping sweat and in danger of being mistaken for a drowned sea otter.

Dirty bastard.

As I finally haul myself up the hill for the last time, I realize a new song has come on pandora.  The chorus is immediately recognizable as Natasha Bedingfield’s chart-topper from my highschool days:

“…Feeel the RAIN on YOOOUUUR skin!….”

Now even my pandora station is mocking me.   Can’t a girl catch a break?

***********************************************************************

PS:  This run was Saturday morning; I’m writing this on Tuesday night. My ankles, knees, and hips are still killin’ me.  Needless to say, mama will be buying new running shoes this week.

Men, It’s Ok…

Over the past week, I’ve had a few conversations, seen a couple of social media posts, and read a few articles that all centered on today’s changing landscape of masculinity.  Now, I’ve already been clear about my thoughts on cowboys, chest hair, and chivalry.  I’ve also done my fair share of poking fun at men, particularly those who play dodgeball or ride in hot-tugs or get in catfights  or tweet too openly (really, it’s too much…).  But I figured that after spending the past couple weeks soliciting help from most every guy I know for this “Menfolk Confess…” series (don’t yall worry, the “Dames Confess…” series will be here in a couple of weeks!), it would be nice to write something for them.  Because giving them free reign to wax poetic about women’s bodies wasn’t enough payment in and of itself…

So here’s a little Man-Talk Monday for the gents out there.

Men, it’s ok to be men.

Cassidy and Kid

Paul Newman, you sexy rascal, you.

Men, it’s ok to grow out your beard.  Actually, it’s kind of nice.

Men, it’s ok to be cleanshaven.  Especially if all the beard you can grow is patchy scruff or weird neck hairs.  (Please no weird neck hairs. They’re creepy.)

facial hair

Men, it’s ok to shave your legs...if you’re a swimmer.

Men, it’s ok to have chest hair. Preferable, in fact.  Ladies don’t like feeling like they’re spooning with a prepubescent boy. (Can I get an amen?)

Men, it’s ok if you don’t have chest hair.  I hear there are plenty of ladies out in Humboldt County who have plenty to share.  But really, unless you’ve got a magic carpet going on up there, leave it be.

Men, it’s ok to be chivalrous.  Open a door, offer a hand, give up your seat, or let a lady go first.  I promise you, it is appreciated.  And if it isn’t, well, you’re that much more admirable for doing it anyway.

Men, it’s ok to buy straight-leg jeans from the men’s section.  You’ve seen Free Willy and/or Blackfish, right?  Unnecessary imprisonment is bad news for everyone.  Shamu was made to roam the ocean wilderness, and men were made to wear jeans with…ahem…”breathing room.”

Men, it’s ok to be bold.  Say hello, start a conversation, ask for her number, invite her to dinner.  Chicks dig that.

Men, it’s ok to be straightforward.  Tell her when you’re interested.  Tell her when you’re not. Be upfront about what you are or are not going after.

Men, it’s ok to have emotions.  Be overjoyed, be heartbroken, be infuriated, be twitterpated, be scared, be passionate, and express it in a healthy way.  (If that involves a leotard and body paint and interpretive dancing to Barbara Streisand hits…well, that’s your call.)

Men, it’s ok to not be emotional.  You can be stoic and taciturn and John-Wayne-esque if that’s more your jam, and that’s just fine.    You don’t have to have all the feels.  If you’re crying over the latest rose ceremony on The Bachelorette, that’s not cute.

Men, it’s ok to be violent.  Go shooting.  Put on some boxing gloves.  Play tackle football (what is this with grown men playing “two hand touch?”).  Wrestle.  Hunt.  Swing a damn kettlebell.

I don't exactly know what's happening here, but obviously it's manly and possibly violent.

I don’t exactly know what’s happening here, but obviously it’s manly and possibly violent.

Men, it’s ok to be dirty.  Get some mud on your boots and grease on your hands. Go play in the dirt.  Rip holes in in your jeans.  Dig a hole. Get sweaty.  Earn some callouses. Break out of that cubicle and tear up some earth.  Break something. Build something.  Just shower at some point after all that.

funny russian

This has no real bearing on the topic, I just found it hilarious.

Men, it’s ok to not be fashionable.  As long as you aren’t a nudist and aren’t just being lazy, it’s fine.  In fact, it’s kind of endearing.  (And if you need to impress, remember- it’s hard to go wrong with some clean jeans or slacks and a white button up.)

Men, it’s ok to care about how you look.  Dress well if you want to. Practice good hygiene, take care of yourself, and enjoy what you see in the mirror.  Just don’t be a douchenozzle, and don’t steal your girlfriend’s hair products.

Men, it’s ok to be assertive.  Disagree with your boss.  Confront your girlfriend.  Say “no.”  Speak up.  Know what you stand for and stand for it.

Men, it’s ok to eat a salad.  You don’t have to prove your manhood by demolishing a 3lb filet mignon.  (Although if you know your way around a barbeque grill, you might earn some extra points. The way to a girl’s heart is sometimes through her stomach.)

Ron Swanson

Men, it’s ok to eat a steak.  You don’t have to go gluten-free/vegan/macrobiotic just because Oprah did.  On the other hand, if you’re a vegetarian or following a special diet for a good reason, that’s great. Do you, and don’t apologize for it.

Men, it’s ok to smell like tobacco and leather and WD-40 and aftershave and pine and all manner of manly things.  It’s highly recommended, actually.

Men, it’s ok to not look like Gerard Butler or Hugh Jackman or Zac Efron.  It’s ok to not be the biggest or strongest or fastest.  Do your best, figure out where your strengths lie, and take pride in what you achieve.  You can look like a champ and still be an asshole.  Act like a champ, and you’ll be known as a champ.

Men, it’s ok to be burly.  It’s ok to not have a 6-pack, to not be lean, to not have veins popping out of your abs and calves and shoulders.  Lift big, eat big, be big and strong and brawny and barrel-chested…and embrace your big ol’ burly self.

strongman

Yeah, I’m sure there’s no 6-pack happening here. And I love it. (Also, this came from a website called masterrussian.com, so there’s probably a good chance that Putin is reading this. Or at least I’ll be under close surveillance from Russia’s version of the NSA.)

 Men, it’s ok to be “a guy.” Spend time with your brothers.  Eat hot wings. Tell dirty jokes.  Watch the big game. Play World of Warcraft, or play Just Dance, or play poker.  Enjoy “bro-time.”

Men, it’s ok to be men.

20 Signs You’re From a Culturally-Blended Family

Something I’ve always taken for granted is being biracial.  My mom is a Pacific Islander, and she was born and raised on Guam:

mom

This is my mum, when she was in her 20s. Clearly she’s in her natural island habitat.

My dad, on the other hand, has Scandanavian and Irish roots and grew up in a Southern Baptist family.

20140427_123624

This is my dad, looking happy because he survived living in California throughout the 60’s and 70’s.

I never thought about it much as a kid, not because I lived in a particularly diverse neighborhood (which I did from 6 to 16), but because no one made a big deal out of it.  Admittedly, I did have a short stint in 1st grade where I was absolutely convinced that I was 1/3 Korean.  Don’t ask me why.  I wrote about it in my diary, including drawings of pie charts for visual reference.  It’s no wonder people always said I was a “unique” child.

Then I started high school at a very small private institution where the other kids had no qualms about asking, “So…what are you?”  (Needless to say, this was again a frequent inquiry when I went to college at yet another very small private institution.)  Suddenly I was hyper-aware of my biracial status, and it took awhile for me to calm down and accept the fact that I’m as blended as a Frappaccino.  To be clear, I have never felt “discriminated” against for being biracial or being a “minority.”  Actually, one of the perks is that I have the exemption to make potentially offensive jokes about minorities because, technically, I’m one of them.  (Although obviously it’s always lighthearted and in jest.)  The biggest difference I’ve ever noticed has been at home.   Were it not for these telltale signs, I may have grown up thinking I was just your average suburban white kid.

20 Signs You’re From a Culturally-Blended Family

20140427_123556

We don’t always take family photos, but when we do, we bring our pipes, cowboy hats, and foreign brides. Also, apologies if you, too, are traumatized by the mutton chops.

  1. There are multiple rice cookers in your kitchen.
  2. Strangers will try to guess your ethnicity.  Apparently these people do not consider it offensive.  You don’t see me trying to guess the natal gender of “Pat,” your sexually ambiguous spouse,” do you?
  3. As a kid, you were taught to call genitals by friendly euphemisms…in a foreign language.
  4. In any photo with your extended family, you stick out like a sore thumb.
  5. When you go to the beach with your white friends, you end up four shades darken than them.  Even though they were greased up with tanning oil and you slathered yourself in SPF 50.
  6. On the flip side, sunburns are a foreign concept to you.  But when they do happen, you feel like your genetics have somehow failed you.
  7. Fried rice for breakfast is not a strange concept.
  8. You are significantly taller than most of your relatives on one side of your extended family and/or significantly shorter than those on the other side of the family.
  9. As a kid, you always felt a special fondness for Pocahontas and/or Jasmine.  Mulan was so surrounded by traditional Chinese culture that you – with your cultural upbringing being so thoroughly mixed, like the product of a metaphorical Magic Bullet – found it hard to relate.  (And really, you were really more interested in the Spice Girls by the time Mulan came out on VHS.)
  10.    One of the biggest challenges in your life is teaching your parent(s) that SPAM is not a food group.
  11. You often find yourself explaining the geographical location of the obscure country/territory where your parent(s) were born.
  12. Growing up, anyone older than you was called “Auntie” or “Uncle.”  Later in life, you would learn that these people are technically second cousins, relatives by marriage, exchange students, and/or housekeepers.
  13. People are particularly shocked when you tell them you are from the South.
  14. You have relatives who do competitive hula dancing, and relatives who make coconut bras.  Yes, people wear them, and no, not in an ironic way.
  15. Your less-brown side of the family has sometimes remarked about how exotic you are/look.
  16. Your less-white side of the family has sometimes remarked about how “haole” (white/whitewashed) you are/look.
  17. People will often ask if you “speak another language?”  (Yes, because all brown people speak another language.)
  18. But really, you could be blindfolded and still tell which side of the family you’re visiting just by hearing the language and/or accents.  And the smell of SPAM cooking, obviously.
  19. Sometimes you wonder how people who are not biracial can tell the difference between both sides of the family.  Don’t they all look alike?
  20. And, of course….one of the most frequent questions you hear is, “So, what are you?”