Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pop Princess

When I first found out that Britney Spears was coming to my city, I was excited but nervous. I soooo wanted to see her - but would anyone else? Despite the fact that she's a train wreck her flaws; the Britster has been with me through my entire adult life. We're practically the same age - not girls, not yet women.

So I risked ridicule and put out a request on FB. April and Lesley answered back! We booked some tickets and saw the show on Friday. See some of the highlights:

My partners in crime

Note the huge movie screen on the left - this was an orgy scene. Seriously - not a concert for kids! It was barely suitable for me!

By the way - Britney looked a.mazing. Her arms are ripped and she's completely toned. She's not "Hit Me Baby One More Time" Britney - but do any of us (later) 20-somethings look like we did when we were 17? Plus she's had two kids. What's my excuse?

Now fine, she didn't sing (surprise!) and she didn't dance quite as much as she used too (again, girlfriend's hips are almost 30). But it was a fabulous performance unlike anything I'll probably ever see again. I'm glad I could see her redeemed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Resisting Temptation

No less than 4 weeks ago, I'm sure the words, "I have no willpower when it comes to food," came out of my mouth.
A major part of FXB is the diet. It's not a terrible diet, mostly just eating healthily, balancing carbs/proteins/fats and cutting out the bad stuff (read: sugar, alcohol, simple carbs, all the things I love in this world, etc.). The only thing that keeps me committed to this diet is that each week; we get a FREE day! Absolutely-whatever-we-want-no-holds-barred, FREE! However, the rule is that if you mess up during the week, you're not supposed to take your free day. I am proud to say that I have done really well; almost perfectly.
And then, it happened. As I was driving home from work this evening, there were people with posters standing outside a nearby strip mall. When I read the posters, I saw:

Free ice cream sandwiches!!

My thoughts during the next 3 milliseconds:
Stupid FXB! I looooove ice cream and free! Oh well, ice cream sandwiches are probably my least favorite ice cream option. I can handle...WAIT A TIC, KELLY; that sign said:

FREE ice cream SUNDAES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DAMN! That could mean any number of things - whipped cream, maraschino cherries, delicious melty vanilla ice cream, caramel syrup and ( hot fudge.

It took everything I could to keep driving past the strip mall. All I could think was that my free day officially starts in 6 hours; I can fudge (mmmm, fudge) a little. But somehow, I kept driving. By the time I got onto my block, my arms were shaking and my breathing was shallow. Once I made it into the driveway I would be safe. Yes, I did consider driving past my house and going back.

But I didn't. I'll wait until tomorrow. I think.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What does happen when Chinese athletes don't win?

It is very rare that I (or probably anyone else who enjoys thinking) will pay attention to an email forward and even rarer that I send it on. I think my friends appreciate this. But every once in a while, something comes along that is so blindingly brilliant that it would be a disservice not to share it.
This particular forward was great because I have had about 99% of these thoughts at least once. It's nice to know I'm not alone. I've shared a few of my favorites below:

Random Thoughts of the Day:

· More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.
· Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.
· Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.
· There is a great need for sarcasm font.
· I think everyone has a movie that they love so much; it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.
· I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
· Was learning cursive really necessary?
· How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?
· I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!
· Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from; this shouldn't be a problem....
· I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
· Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
· Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I’d bet my a$$ everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...
· It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on and the link takes me to a video instead of text.
· I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Momma Says Mondays

My mom visit this weekend for shopping and her annual spa treatment (I get her a gift certificate every xmas just to prove that I'm a good daughter). She is one of the smartest, strongest women I know. Despite never having it easy, she has always given everything she could to her three girls. During her visit, I started thinking it might be fun to share some of mom's wisdom.

Let's kick it off with my all-time favorite:
"If you can't cook; he can't make you."

This is why she says (only half jokingly) she didn't teach me or my sisters how to cook. Sure, we learned the basics; how to boil water, microwave popcorn, burn toast. But anything involving chopping, mixing or sauteeing was not in her lesson plan.
Mom worked full-time, took care of three girls, ran the house and cooked dinner. Every. Night. So to her - giving her girls a better life meant that they wouldn't have to cook. I think she's a closet feminist as well.
As Sparky and I have done more and more cooking at home, I learn more about the great things you can create with food. Slowly, I have started to see the value (and teensy bit of enjoyment) in it - as long as it's a shared task.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yes, Gifts are Expected

Recently, some of my tweeps were tweeting about how tacky it is to include registry information on wedding/shower invitations. I disagree with them but did not get involved in the convo. Normally, I would not shy away from arguing my point, but it's been my experience that normal, reasonable ladies will go bat-sh*t CrAzY over wedding etiquette. Have you ever seen the knot message boards?

Who said cash bar?!

As indicated above, I don't think it's tacky to include your registry information with your event invitation. For showers - fine, put it on the invite. For weddings - I don't necessarily think it's the best idea to put it on the actual invite. But I did (gasp!) include information on where to find our registries on an enclosure with our wedding invitations.

Here's my reasoning:
1) It is acceptable to tell people where you're registered if they ask. It's acceptable to post it on a wedding website that your guests look at it. How much of a leap is it to be proactive and spoon feed them the information?
2) Why not get what you want and can actually use. People want you to LIKE the gift they give you. How better to ensure that than to pick it out yourself! Just because you tell them what would best help you and your spouse start your lives together; doesn't mean your asking them to buy you a gift.
3) Say Auntie Maude doesn't give you a gift; you know you're going to b*tch to your mom/sister/bff. So really, you are expecting gifts; aren't you?
4) You registered for the $400 All Clad set (and if you didn't, you really should) and the $40 mixing bowl. Doesn't that imply that you would like someone to buy them? And therefore, from at least the majority of your guests - YOU ARE EXPECTING A GIFT.

With all that being said, the best gift from a wedding are the memories of having your friends and family with you to celebrate a wonderful day in your life. The stuff you registered for is definitely a close second though.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Revealing Photos

On Monday, I begin a formal 10-week diet and exercise program. It's called Extreme Bodyshaping. Just the title is enough to make me laugh at the thought of me doing it. Let's be clear, I don't do "extreme" anything. And bodyshaping, well let's just say exercise has never been a hobby of mine.
So basically, I think this thing is going to kick my butt. Hopefully in a way that doesn't involve me crying at all. But I could use a little discipline so I think this will be good for me in a lot of ways.
The worst part of it all is this afternoon. I have to take my "before" picture. In bike shorts. And a sports bra. Ya. That alone will probably be enough to make me cry. One thing I'm trying to decide is whether to suck in and look slightly decent in the picture or let it all hang out so the "after" picture has more impact.
Let's just hope the "after" picture rocks in any case- because that's the only thing that will make up for subjecting me to this torture today.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Giving Thanks

More than once (even this week), I have set a goal to write more thank you notes. We all know that we are supposed to send a thank you when someone gives us a gift. Otherwise, Aunt A tells Auntie B, "I gave Kelly that lovely macrame dishtowel holder for her birthday and never got a thank you note." Cue gossip spiral; family face-off next Thanksgiving...

But thank-yous notes should also be sent when someone goes above and beyond for you. Whether is was for business or personal reasons - hospitality, help on a project or just being a friend. Who doesn't love the feeling you get when someone takes the time to recognizes your efforts? On paper, in handwriting - not an email or text.

Besides that, I have a really hard time resisting beautiful stationery like this from Kate Spade:

Stationery stores are wondrous places where paper still rules. Plus, many have quirky items that make great gifts without being too generic. There are some great online stores but it's hard to judge the paper and print quality online. I recommend starting with brick and mortar. In my experience, most stationery stores are locally owned so you're supporting small business as well! Bonus! I like to visit Pink Fine Stationery, Pure Paper and Letter Perfect.Though it's not locally owned, you can find cute stationery at the ever-fabulous Target.

Of course, "the rules" of thank you notes can be intimidating if you want to get wrapped up in them. Ms. Post wasn't in the business of making anything easy. But the obvious ones are common sense; send within a week if possible (being a chronic procrastinator does not make this impossible), personalize the note, recognize the gift or gesture.

If you know the person well enough that they did something nice for you, a note hardly has to be formal. Just remember your manners, and say "thank you."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Appetizer Issues

I am planning a party for my company's 50th Anniversary later this summer. This is a $2 billion company (that's sales, not profit) and the CEO wants the party to be "nice." By nice he means, lots of drinks, food and good service. It will be for our supplier executives, local politicians and other "strategic relationships."
My boss thinks that having all passed hors d'oeuvres screams classy and upscale. While I agree that it definitely lends itself to an exclusive feel, I think SOME stationed appetizers are called for in any event, for the following reasons:

1) It adds to the atmosphere. Having people serve your guests is fabulous, yes. But an fruit & cheese display or a crudite are inexpensive ways to make food look bountiful and elaborate.

2) Stationed hors d'oeuvres give your guests the opportunity to graze freely. They don't have to wait for a server to make their way around with food still on the tray. They can take as much food as they want without feeling like they're being monitored (which could be good or bad depending on your guests!).

3) Have you ever chased down a server because you had something wonderful and wanted more? I am not ashamed to say that I have.

4) Food that is better presented at a station: carving stations, mashed potato bars, hand-rolled sushi stations, etc. (OK - seriously, have you ever been through a mashed potato bar?! Hea-ven.)

5) You don't have to use a cocktail napkin as a plate.

If I don't get my way, I'll certainly make it work. But there will be trouble if anyone complains that they didn't get enough food.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What can Brown do for you?

I don't know if this counts as surreal; but I'm going to call it that anyway.
Over my lunch hour, I determined that I would run the seemingly normal errand of returning an item I had ordered from a department store via UPS. (Note: this would not have happened if there was a Macy's in Iowa. Or a Nordstrom, Anthropologie, H&M...But I digress). Because this is a normal errand that I'm sure happens quite often over lunch, you would think that the clerks in the UPS store would expect oh, say, customers...
When I walked into the UPS Store the "gentleman" working there was sitting down. Fine. He seemed to be leaning forward had his arms stretched out in front of him. Really, I just wanted to get in and out, so I wasn't paying attention.
"You have something to go out?" He asked.
"Yes," I replied.
"Just set it there with the rest of them."
"Uhhhhh," that would be me.
"Oh, you actually need to pay for it?" Him again
"Yes, yes I do, " I said, finally realizing he thought I was with a business that already had the paid sticker-thing on it.
"Oh, OK."

After he finally stood up, I realized that he had been sitting on a weight bench (the kind you do curls on). As I continued to look, I noticed that there were multiple sets of weight equipment in that general vicinity. Lightbulb! He hadn't just been sitting there.


This fact was confirmed when he came up to the register and I noticed that he had GLOVES on for the weight lifting. And he was sweating. Profusely. Gross.
To his credit - he had made a valiant attempt at an excuse for the weight lifting gear. A printed sign was posted on it that said, "We ship weight equipment." Apparently he just hadn't planned on any customers seeing that sign.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Does this mean I'm old?

My summer officially begins this weekend. I'm kicking it off with my 10-year high school reunion on Friday and Saturday! So hard to believe it's already here.
I was lucky enough to plan it with my wonderful friends, Ashley and April who live in Sioux City and Long Beach, respectively. We made it something we would enjoy so I hope everyone else does too. In any case, I know the three of us will find a way to have fun (we always do!). I have spent the past couple nights working on decor so if it all works out, I'll post pictures.
Then Sunday is my & Sparky's one-year wedding anniversary! Which I can't believe either. I'm still going through wedding withdrawals a year later. Let's just hope I remember to pull the cake out of the freezer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hope I didn't make any promises!

I am a bad blogger, I know!
I was never very good at keeping a diary/journal either. I had originally named this blog, "What Happened to Harvard?" to reflect how ambitious I had been as a second grader determined to go to Harvard law school.
But that was in the winter where everything is a little more negative, a little more depressing. Now; the sun is shining, things are warming up and I get to pull out my summer clothes. Everything has a more positive spin on it and I want to as well.
So instead of asking myself why I am not X, Y and Z; let's talk about how I can enjoy and learn about the things I like; and (bonus!) maybe get a little classier along the way!
Oh - and I'll try to update more regularly.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's for dinner?

Two years ago; Sparky and I realized that we needed to start saving for our wedding. We decided that a good way to but back would be to stop ordering pizza and eating out and (gulp!). The problem was; Sparky had hardly cooked anything but hashbrowns in his life and cooking is just one of the areas where my nesting instincts fail.
Fortunately, Sparky soon discovered that he really enjoyed cooking. And menu planning! On Sundays we began digging through cookbooks (I owned one; the others we got at garage sales) and websites to choose meals; make our shopping list and buy our weekly groceries.
We still went out to eat occasionally; got frozen pizzas; etc. but the majority of our weekly meals were made at home. We've been going strong with only a few lapses. Until recently.
The past few months, weekly meal plans have been few and far between. Sparky's picked up an extra project at work that takes up evening hours and well, there's my whole cooking issue. Add in all the great restaurants that have sprouted up in DeMo and we have been slacking. We started back in this week with a menu that we are excited about and hope that will inspire us to start again.
Monday - Chipotle Sloppy Joes
Tuesday - Roast Pork Tenderloin with Orange and Red Onion Salsa
Wednesday - Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
Thursday - Salmon with Maple Lemon Glaze
Friday - Quick Barbecue Flank Steak
Saturday - OK - it's not a full week - we're planning to go out to eat Saturday.
Sunday - Sausage Stuffed Manicotti

I really hope this works; because just thinking about eating more pizza is making my hips bigger.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Stucky Situation

My husband, Sparky, and I have two great dogs that make up our small fam. One is a Boston Terrier named Max and the other is Flynn, a German Shorthair Pointer. Max came from Mid-America Boston Terrier Rescue ( and Flynn from Heartland Humane Society ( Max is full of personality and always wants to be the center of everyone's attention and will bark to make it happen. Flynn is more on the shy side but is very loving and has the sweetest, most understanding eyes you will ever see.

One morning last week, while I was getting ready for work, I heard some odd noises from downstairs. Max snored rather loudly at one point and I heard him rustling around quite a bit.
There was a thud which I thought came from the garbage trucks picking up trashcans. No barking or whining ensued so I thought everything was OK.
As I was finishing my morning make-up routine, I heard an weird bark/yelp that obviously came from one of the dogs. I went to check it out. They both looked at me like everything was normal. Typically Max gets up and runs over to me when I come downstairs, but he didn’t this time. I couldn’t see much of him because he was on the floor between our coffee table and couch. Sparky's fleece was also on the floor.
I realized that the thud I heard had been Max falling off the couch. Since he didn’t come over to me; I was afraid that he was hurt. I walked over to check him out and realized that he couldn’t move at all. He was stuck in the sleeve of Sparky's coat!!!! Only his head and one leg had found their way out of the armhole.

It was pretty tight around him and he was definitely uncomfortable. Being the tough little guy he is though - he didn't make a peep. You could even say he was acting like nothing was wrong. I worked his other front leg out (the photo was taken after this). That's when he got a little squirmy and excited. The sleeve was too tight around him to keep pushing him through it.

Insert irrational moment of panic here.

"How did he do this? How disappointed will Sparky be if I have to cut open the sleeve of his fleece? Thank goodness I was home when this happened! What if I can't get him out?!!"
After struggling with the fleece briefly (it's tough to find the armhole opening with a squirming dog stuck inside the sleeve) I began to gather the sleeve. I was able to turn the sleeve inside out, pull it over Max and back him out of it.

It took a few minutes but I got lots of kisses afterwards. He was a little hesitant before crawling under any covers, but he's starting to get over it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Everyone's Doing It

I believe it's official that almost everyone and their dog has a blog by now. So many people have one that blogging is almost passé. Now, you're supposed to "micro-blog" on Twitter. I tweet, but I'm generally to wordy to say anything of substance in 140 characters. Good thing I got that degree in journalism.
So maybe I'm late to the party but I'm starting a blog. One thing that prevented me from doing it earlier is that I am not an expert. In anything. The only thing I could even claim experience in is event planning but can't hold a candle to ladies like Hostess with the Mostess and Lollipop Events. So really,you should take anything I say with a grain of salt. I have no idea what I'm talking about.
On top of that, while my life is great, it's not that interesting. I doubt anyone wants to read about what my husband, Sparky, and I watched on TV last night or how I can't keep the house clean.
So how about the trials and tribulations I experience trying to go from being a Klassy Lady to an actual lady? Let's give it a shot!