Monday, December 31, 2007

Fantastically Disgustingly Busy 2007

Having just returned from a week long vacation centered around doing nothing and now being a mere few hours away from the end of '07, I have no choice but to be reflective of what the past year has brought. If I had to sum up the year in one word, it would be BUSY. At times it was crazy ridiculous awesome busy - more of this during the first part of the year. And other times it was crazy ridiculous "no bueno" busy - much of this occurred the later half of the year.

And I know everyone is busy and it sounds so normal to say that things are busy but let me leave you with this work story to illustrate that it really has been a busy year. Every year we have a department holiday (aka Christmas) outing. We were asked to submit ideas for what our event would be this year...ideas were submitted, a list of the top 5 ideas emerged, voting occurred and what did we do, you ask? Absolutely nada. Apparently our VP and Directors decided that we were much too busy to have an outing this year. And lucky for them, our department was given a last-minute charity invite to another group's holiday party, so the VP and directors thought they were off the hook. We were supposed to have known that the other group's party was the replacement for our department's outing...WTF? Anyway, much of my year has gone just like that...

Here's to an UN-BUSY 2008!

I know there's a big camp of folks that think it's better to be busy than not busy. I believe these people have never truly been busy or else they wouldn't say that because that's just ridiculous!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another sleepless night...

Why is it that every time Jemifus is away I cannot turn the TV off?! It's getting progressively worse...ugh! What I don't understand is when I was single, I had no issues sticking to a normal schedule and going to bed at a decent time. So why is it that just because I am living with someone, I can't sleep when Jemifus isn't home? SO WEIRD.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Review about a Site about Reviews

If you're in the know...the geek know that is, then you know that when you see "w00t", something good is going on. Yes those are zeroes instead of the letter "o". That's the whole charm of the geek world. I can't really explain it but if you ever run into AP, ask him. I liked the quirkiness of it so much that I adapted it into a verbal exclamation..."w00t, w00t!" Of course, the geeks aren't happy with me. I apparently didn't get that it's only effective in typewritten form.

But I think from now on, I'm going to have to retire "w00t, w00t" and replace with "yelp, yelp!" If you haven't yelped, you're truly missing out. A site dedicated to reviews of everything you can possibly think of...that's read correctly. How cool is that? Well I'll tell you how cool it is. It's so cool that I done got myself a yelp profile. I hope you will check it out.

Note to Tenzeau: If you yelp, you may be able to gain some of your coolness back, especially if you write a review about Crabbie kiddie pools.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fro Yo Review: Pinkberry

I couldn't resist the temptation. There was just too much hype and buzz. I practically threw my Hamilton at the Pinkberry lady. And what did I get in return? A refreshing, tasty shaved ice treat that would have been way more refreshing and tasty without the Pinkberry signature plain yogurt mucking up the treat...blech. WTF? I realize it's 25 calories per oz. That's a very big plus. But it's not good. And it's not cheap either.

For those that have not ventured into the Asian dessert world, shaved ice is a freakin' fantastic concoction of condensed milk, some sort of sweet syrup, your choice of fruits and flavored gelatin and/or red beans, plus mochi all topped with a bed of shaved ice. And you can get quite a nice serving of this for a mere $2.50 at the Old Country Time Cafe in Alhambra.

Pinkberry puts a twist to the shaved ice by adding that disgusting yogurt to it. You also have the option to just get the yogurt with toppings. My posse and I tried both and the pics are below. Please see Abul, the camel plush, for size perspective. Also included is a pic with me and one of my posse members hanging out in the ultra-sleek store. If nothing else, it makes you feel really cool to be Pinkberrying it up.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Los Feliz Outing

I really extended my bday this year and had like 5 different bday meals, some of which took me out of the 'Dena burbs. I know, it's crazy talk. It's this weird phenomenom that I believe also occurs in the "South Bay Bubble". It's like there's an invisible electromagnetic border that surrounds the Pasadena borders which keeps all residents within town at all times, excluding going to and from work.

Anyway, W & C (aka Fro Yo) and sweet little peapod took A & me out for dinner at Electric Lotus. W & C discovered a long time ago what we recently and tardily realized - Indian food is freakin' delish! So now we bond over said freakin' delish cuisine. We even drive out of zip code for good Indian bohemian turned hip towns like Los Feliz.

A couple of observations on our outing.

One, I forgot what it feels like to walk the streets among the homeless. The most exposure I get is the clean innocuous homeless folks on Colorado that politely hold out a cup for change. Here it felt authentic and real. Yes Meddlesome, another reference for your delight from our Venice days. Fro Yo's antennae were definitely up during our walk.

Two, it wasn't as dramatic or intense as Children of Men, but it seriously felt like the local residents hadn't seen a baby in a decade. Everywhere we went, it was like "Oohs" and "Aaahs" abounded at the sight of sweet little peapod. It was crazy! But I suppose when you are truly as sweet as the peapod, how could you not elicit such responses? Attached is a pic for your viewing pleasure.

Restaurant Review: Ketchup

My bday had the unfortunate circumstance of landing on a Monday this year so no big beach bash or K-town karaoke night this time. I decided just a low-key dinner at a semi-trendy restaurant with some family and Kid Dynomite would be the way to go. Figured it be best to keep it small - after all, I think Monday bday celebrations could possibly be worse than Sunday night wedding receptions...I threw that in there for you Meddlesome. I know how much you despise Sunday weddings!

So seeing that ketchup truly is my favorite condiment on this earth and Ketchup, the restaurant, is part of the Ashton Kutcher Dolce group, I chose this uber cool looking dining establishment. The interior is all white 60s modern furniture with lots of red accents including all red lighting. The music was a fun 70s-80s mix and the location overlooked Sunset Plaza. The menu was also very fun with entertaining signature cocktail names that included ingredients like Tang, Kool-aid and Yoohoo. But that's basically the best that Ketchup's got to offer.

The food was fine but not spectacular.

The service was no bueno! Our server forgot to input our entree orders so two hours into our "celebration", we're still muching on our apps. Let me tell you, fries don't taste good after two hours! The server's excuse was the best - supposedly our order went to the wrong printer. WTF So to make up for it, he told us dessert was on the house but then proceeded to bring out more desserts than we asked for so he could charge us for 3 of them. So WEIRD. Note to Ashton Kutcher: If you're reading this, please know that I am a big fan of yours and am very disappointed with my experience.

Here are some pics. I haven't figured out how to position the pics so I can put comments next to them so hope you enjoy them sans commentary.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Congratulations Nat da Brat!

To quote your friend Nicole, "Can you believe they gave you a diploma?!" :P

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Life is Good...

So why do I complain so much? You know how when you work in a big corporate environment, you get asked a million times a day "How's it going?" or if it's a Monday, "How was your weekend?" I think there was a time when I used to automatically say "Great!" But now I actually sit there and think about the question and my typical answer is "It was alright" or "Okay." But my life is good...I have a great husband, live in a great area and for the most part, am in great health.

Anyway, besides wondering why I am always Miss Glass Half-Empty, I wonder how people who truly have it worse off than me are always so happy and positive. Have you met those people where you don't really know for sure but are guessing they are worse off than you and they always are so dang cheerful and bubbly. How is that possible?

Anyway just some random thoughts to keep my blog active.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"I'm going to take work home with me..."

Why do I always think that I will be able to continue working at home? I always do this...I pack up a bunch of work and my laptop with full optimism EVERY night and every night, the same thing happens. I turn my computer on but then I end up doing things like checking my gmail account, online window shopping, spending countless hours looking at pictures on, etc.

But tonight must be different. Tonight has to be different. I vow I will crank out positioning statements tonight. I'll develop some rockin' positioning for all segments - general market, parents, kids and trade. Woo hoo! Doesn't my job sound fun? Oy...

Monday, May 21, 2007

The HOT DJs of Red Shoe LA

It first started with just me thinking I hired really cute DJs. (Of course I didn't tell AP at the time that that was one of the main factors for why I liked them so much over the ironically self-named Claudette Sexy DJ. I was just lucky that they were also really cool and AP was won over by their competency and non-cheesiness). Then both Meddlesome and my other hip cousin, Nat, meets DJ T and DJ IG and enthusiastically concur they are hot. Of course we are all related so perhaps we have the same taste right? But just today I receive a text from AP in Manila about how his co-worker is in love with DJ IG and speaks of him with massive reverence. And she has only seen pics of DJ IG!!

So I feel it is my duty to share my pics of the dynamic duo of Red Shoe LA with all the ladies out there.


And don't be jealous but here's a pic of Nat cozying up with both of them!!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I love Grey's but...

I really hate Rebeccah Pope. She is such a super annoying character. I don't know if it's the character or the actress but I am so happy (fingers crossed) that this is the last episode that I'll have to tolerate her annoyingness.

Please pretty please Alex Karev, do not give Rebeccah Pope any hope! Do not give her a reason to stay at Seattle Grace!

OMG I LOVE GREY'S!!!!!!!!!!! The Rebeccah Pope paragraph above was just mindless thoughts as I was watching the Grey's season finale but OH MY, did it take a turn for a gajillion times better?! Lexi Grey?! WTF! Christina and Burke no longer together?! Thank god, I was starting to think Grey's was losing its edge - between the lame Pope side story, the really obvious analogy in the last episode about not leaving a man behind and then Burke's ridiculously perfectly 'just the right amount of sap' vows. But oh yeah, Grey's totally redeemed itself at the last second!

I'm so in for the 3rd season!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Unbathed Masses* of Reality TV Shows

Sorry Meddlesome...I got caught up with organizing my matte prints from Flickr and didn't pay attention to the time. So I won't have time for a long post tonight. But I do have time to be judgemental. I'm watching Maroon 5 perform "Makes Me Wonder" on the Idol results this new single...note to self - buy song from Itunes tomorrow...okay back to what I was saying...watching Maroon 5 on Idol. Who lets the audience into these shows? The cameraman was panning the audience and in the lower left-hand corner I saw someone doing the move where you have both arms out at a 90 degree angle and kind of wave your body in a squiggly motion left to right, right to left. Your head leads this motion. I know I'm doing a crappy job describing this but it's a very dated move, something you can imagine Kevin James' character in Hitch doing. I mean seriously, WTF? I should be at the darn results show. My Elliot Yamin performed tonight for goodness sakes. Elliott and Adam Levine - doesn't get much better than that!

Although why I'm surprised about the lack of audience screening makes no sense since last summer I did attend a taping of Rockstar Supernova and spent a lot of quality time with an equally unscreened audience baking in the sun for hours. uh oh... I just realized... I was PART of this unscreened audience! OMG, were people watching me on Rockstar saying how ridiculous it was they let someone like me in the audience??? Huh... noooo... not possible right? i mean after all Meddlesome was with me too...

* Btw, I learned the phrase "unbathed masses" in b-school from R Grimaldo. Gotta love RG!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The V-Train is back in the station!

I'm sure you all gave up on me. I sincerely apologize if you have missed reading my posts. I strongly suspect that there is only one person out there that has noticed my absence so I better give a shout-out to her. Meddlesome - where you at!

I recently suffered from temporary insanity. I think that's the explanation because I was abnormally, ridiculously happy. And I thought it was honeymoon glow from a beyond-my-wildest-expectations vacation but usually that glow is immediately gone after the first day back at work, right? Well I was still smiling like a goofball even into week 2 back at work!! But I think I'm finally back to my surly self so I can resume my usual judgemental posts.

Like just right now, as I'm writing this post, Enrique Iglesias is performing on Dancing with the Stars. What's that all about? Who chooses the performers? I mean really, Enrique Iglesias? Dancing is no Idol but come on. What?! His music is kind of tolerable if you don't have to see him. However I happen to be watching him and in HD no less, he is frick-frackin annoying! Everytime he sings the chorus of his song that happens to include some line about "being the one", he points his index finger in the air to indicate the #1. I can't stand when singers do that. It's so literal, obvious and really insulting to the audience, don't you think? And it's SOOOOO much worse when a singer repeats the motion each freakin' time they sing the line. Like when Jordin Sparks (of Idol fame) kept spinning her finger in the air when she sang some song about being crazy in love. Like clockwork, every time she sang the word crazy, she did the finger spinning. Be ORIGINAL people!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Am I a mean, intimidating person?

Perhaps I'm going to be sorry I asked this question. But seriously, I'm starting to wonder what people think of me. A few weeks ago, my girlfriend told me that there was a miscommunication between her and her husband which resulted in him booking a business trip on the same weekend as my wedding. Of course I was totally bummed when she told me, but I didn't flip out or anything. So I was a little surprised but really didn't think too much of it when I called my girlfriend and her hubby picked up and had a certain reaction to me. The moment he heard my voice, he said something like "Oh boy, I am fully prepared to bear the wrath and read about how you're going to tear me apart on your blog for scheduling something on your wedding day and I fully accept it. I messed up. I'm so sorry. yada yada yada."

Like I said, didn't give it much thought. And then another incident happens. I asked my friend who I'll affectionately nickname "Fro-Yo" to come to a wedding planning meeting with me. Granted 1)I did give Fro-Yo plenty of notice so he could clear his calendar 2)Fro-Yo confirmed with me the week of the appointment that he was going to make it and 3)I emailed Fro-Yo the day prior to the meeting saying "I'll see you tomorrow", I still didn't freak out on him when he was a no-show. But when Fro-Yo finally realized that he missed the appointment, he left me a long rambling message on my cell profusely apologizing, going on and on about how he confused the days of the week, yada yada yada. And then followed up with a gchat to let me know again that he was sorry. Of course I expected some sort of explanation for the no-show, cuz it was just really weird that I didn't see Fro-Yo considering he confirmed with me he was going to make it. BUT then today, two weeks later, Fro-Yo asks for my blog's URL and mentions how he's ready to read about the entry that details what nerve he had for not showing up and pretending he didn't know what day of the week it was.

Isn't that crazy that my friends reacted that way? Am I really that scary?! I mean sure, I am judgemental, snobby and always call it like I see it. But that usually only applies to people other than my friends. Okay that's not true...sometimes I pass judgement on friends too. However I didn't know they knew that! I mean, I seriously thought my Berkeley girlfriends were kidding when they gave me the nickname "Cranky Angel" know, like it's how sometimes a football player's nickname is Tiny?

So now the bigger question that I have to answer for myself is, do I embrace the fact that people find me scary? I mean it's kind of cool to have that "Don't make the V-train angry or else" reputation. It makes me feel like I'm gangsta or something.
Oh yeah...

Website Review: Targeted Online Dating Site

Just last night I was telling Meddlesome about how a friend of a friend aggressively pursued a non-confrontational yet very successful wealthy older man, who also happens to be married. They've been dating a few years, him "promising" that he's going to leave his wife, at least that's what she thinks. Well, I'm sure you're thinking I know how this story ends. And maybe it'll end the way you think but for now, I'd say she's making out pretty well. So far she's gotten a house, car and $250K out of this mad love affair.

Where am I going with this you ask? Well the interesting thing is the woman is cute but not drop-dead gorgeous. She's definitely no Amanda Peet. Her personality is not so captivating to me either. And yet she was able to snag this crazy sugar daddy. So Meddlesome naturally pondered why she never meets men like this? After all, she's attractive, financially independent, intelligent and totally has a guy's sense of humor (e.g. she loves movies like Jackass and can't get enough of Tucker Max). Who wouldn't want to date her?

Well, I think I have a solution for Meddlesome and all the other ladies and gents looking for Millionaire Singles, a dating site for single millionaires, and men and women looking to meet them. Here's the thing though, I believe the intention of the website is good. There's no trickery to be had. The people are honest about their money expectations for a mate. But I think you're going to still have to do a lot of your own legwork in order to meet the right person among the "Date a Millionaire" members. Based on what I've seen, I'm gong to guess that most of the singles on the site are looking for the millionaires...but hey, if it weren't for this website and you aren't yourself a millionaire, how else would you meet a millionaire...especially a millionaire that's not married?! I mean, can it get any easier than this millionaire dating website?

Meddlesome, I hope you give it a shot and leave insightful comments about your experience. I'm sure a lot of folks would be interested to hear about it!

This post is sponsored by "Date a Millionaire".

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

For the record...I am NOT preggers

I had dinner with my ex-boss tonight at Senor Fred. The few chips that I had with the house salsa were delish. But since it's (as A likes to say) "crunch time," I had to refrain myself from eating the whole basket of chips. Man, I hate seeing free chips and salsa go to waste. But anyway, in an effort to cut out unnecessary calories, I only drank water while my ex-boss had like 10 margaritas. And as most of you know, it's really obvious that you're not drinking, if the person you're with is drinking. Surprisingly or maybe unsurprisingly, my ex-boss asks if I'm preggers. I'm thinking I may get this question a lot for the next 2 months leading up to my wedding.

So let me set the record straight right now, just because I'm in my 30s, 98% of my friends are married with children, I'm not drinking alcohol and am always nauseous, that doesn't mean I'm pregnant!!!!! And if any of you ask me if I'm pregnant after reading this, I'm going to be uber offended because I'm going to assume that you are mistaking my fatness for a growing fetus in my belly. And it'll be even more offensive than usual because I've just stated above that I am dieting!!!!

Another thing, just because I have stated that I am dieting, that doesn't give you the right to judge if you see me stuffing my face with a cupcake every now and then...even though I'm the most judgemental of us all!

And yes, if you are sensing that I'm really cranky, it's because I am! After all, I've been dieting for the past 2 weeks which means I've been hungry for the past 2'd be cranky too!

I think Matthew Lillard was at Senor Fred's tonight. But since I only saw him briefly, I decided it didn't warrant a separate "Star Sighting" post.

Review: Online Dating Website

Ever since my brief stint at Global Icons and meeting the Bmann, I have been intrigued by ethnic specific online dating sites. A & I got together before online dating became mainstream so I have never had the chance to try it. Although online dating is out for me, I still aim to go to a speed dating event one of these days. I'm hoping Meddlesome will ask me to go for moral support sometime but I think she's soured on the speed dating prospects. She said that there are a whole bunch of quality ladies and very few date-able guys at those events. It seems like online dating is really the way to go now, especially if you live in LA as it's so hard to meet people here.

Anyway I totally digress. Getting back to Bmann, he was an avid user of the online Jewish Dating Service sites such as I found it so interesting that not only are there Jewish men and women signed up for these sites, but sometimes also non-Jewish folks. I can't really identify why I thought it was so fascinating but what I do know is that Bmann was really happy with the women he met and seemed to go on lots of dates. I think it's because not only are you able to do searches for people that have your same interests, but you already have a baseline common interest in that you are both on a Jewish site which means that you have some sort of vested interest in the culture and/or religion. And it definitely beats the blind date or being set up by your parents, right?

This post is sponsored by

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Star Sighting: Amanda Peet

I've decided since I live in LaLa Land, why not write about my surprisingly consistent celeb sightings? Well, they used to be way more regular when I lived in LA proper but now that I'm in surburbia, it's not as common. But don't fret, I'm as they say "in the business", so I still have a good dose of, if nothing else, B-celeb sightings. And I'm really only peripherally "in the business" but it's fun to say "in the business" because it's so obnoxious, isn't it?

As some of you know, my life has been consumed by wedding planning. But I try not to really talk about it, unless it relates to something more how Meddlesome and I saw Amanda Peet yesterday at La Conversation in BH. I was also fondly reminded that I was in a soooo LA kinda place when a very thin leggy blond and her thin kinda average looking male companion sat down behind us and she immediately said to the waiter, "He can't have carbs." Boy oh boy, and here Meddlesome and me not only were dipping our baguette in soup, but we had two humungous sandwiches on the way. I wonder what they thought of us.

Anyway, Amanda Peet was super cute in her casual yet you know it was designer expensive "weekend garb" of white long-sleeved tee with magenta linen-like pants and of course, flip flops. And if you don't watch Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, I'll mention for your benefit, that she's probably 7 months pregnant. But of course, she's all belly. Even with her belly, I think she's thinner than me.

So Amanda and her hubby leave, Meddlesome and I stuff our faces with evil carbs and then walk across the street to B2V salon for my trial make-up application. If you're reading this Mihm or Wendy, yes that explains why I had crazy eye make-up on at 10am for Sunday morning breakfast at Le Pain. Did you notice my extra-long fake eyelashes too? I couldn't bear to wash off the make-up yet since I paid an arm & leg for it and didn't even go out to dinner sporting my ridiculous Hong-Kong actress face paint. I think the best part about the experience was witnessing the 40 year-old Jake Gyllenhaal hair stylist look-alike primping himself. For an hour, Meddlesome and I just sat their watching in puzzlement at wannabe Jake blow-drying his chin. It was the weirdest thing ever. So I finally had to ask the make-up artist what was up with that guy? Well apparently he's getting gray in his beard, so he applied some sort of coloring lotion on it but the color wasn't coming in fast enough for him so he was heat activating it with the blow-dryer. Who does that?!?!

Anyway, keep tuned for more star sightings. I may retell some oldies but goodies.

Website Review:

Seeing that it's just a few days away from V-day, I thought it was an apropos time to write about an eCard service. If you are like me, you probably have dabbled in sending eCards before and have probably received more than you sent. And what does that mean if you've received more than you sent: does it mean you are really popular or that you are really inconsiderate? Anyhow, I stopped sending eCards because I got tired of sending the same ones over and over again and didn't like the idea that it wasn't unique anymore. Because even though Hallmark or American Greetings had a gazillion free eCards to choose from, there really were only a handful that I deemed worthy of sending along. It's kind of like going to an actual Hallmark store.

So I think is really onto something. They do offer a selection of free eCards but most of their eCards are available via a subscription service. You can get a free 30-day trial membership to send unlimited eCards and if you like it, you can get a yearly subscription for $13.99. So basically you can be assured the eCards you are sending probably haven't been seen before and it's way cheaper than buying actual cards and mailing them out. is known for having funny, risque, animated eCards for all occasions. All eCards on the site can be personalized with a message and pictures. Some of their current popular eCards include birthday eCards like "Birthday Cleavage" or the funny new Cupid pickup lines eCard "Cupid's Pickup Lines" or "ABC's of Valentine's Day" valentine cards.

And when you do check out, don't forget to send lil ole me an eCard!

This post is sponsored by

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Drama Mama

As anyone who I've spoken to in the last month knows, my stress level has been extremely high and is directly correlated to wedding planning. There's so much mama drama in my life, which I know is not unique for anyone who's planned a wedding. But it always feels like my family takes it to another level - can you say passive agressive? So my cousin, who I'll refer to now on as Meddlesome (I may explain how she got that nickname in a future post) tells me that my aunt, Nancy, told Meddlesome that my mom is mad at Meddlesome because Meddlesome is making all the wedding decisions and my mom feels left out. Of course my mom didn't tell me this and Meddlesome didn't hear this from my mom. And my family tends to be hyperbolic and gossipy which makes for pretty funny stories but can be really stressful if it applies to you.

So knowing how my mom feels, some good friends recommend that a fabulous way to involve my mom, who I'll refer to as Lils. They say to narrow all my decisions to two good choices and let Lils make the final decision...that way, whatever she decides will be something I'm okay with. Genius, right?

I tried this strategy with the wedding favors because seriously, who cares about the favors, right? I mean as long as the wedding favors has a big picture of Jemifus and me, who wouldn't be happy, right? Anyway, so Meddlesome and I come up with a few good authentic items from Vietnam that Lils can pick up on her trip next month. Like how personal and cool would that be, right? Well...when I gave Lils the options, I didn't anticpate that she would say, "Hmmmm...I'm not sure I like that idea. But if you're looking for something 'Vietnamese', I have a great idea. How about dolls?" So I say "Whuuuuut? Dolls?...I don't think I understand. I'm having a hard time visualizing? Did you say dolls?" Lils says "Yeah, dolls. We could have dolls in traditional Vietnamese dress. We'll place the boy dolls on the place settings where the a man sits and the girl dolls where the woman sits." And so I say "Oh...well...I don't really think men like dolls" know trying to be nice but firm that dolls probably aren't a good idea...but Lils says in her oh how silly of you voice "Of course they are not for playing, they are for display. People will take the set of dolls home and put them up in their house" Anyway I tried to get Lils off of the dolls but consider this a forewarning, in case you're expecting a porcelain swan filled with jordan almonds as a parting gift.

Out of curiousity, I did a google search to see what "Vietnamese dolls" look like and they are growing on me. Whaddya think?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Can a home equity loan pay for a wedding?

So Jemifus and I have been evaluating different options to fund some of the wedding. We could always accept some aid from our parents, sell one of our cars, apply for a bunch of 0% credit cards or take out a Home Equity Loan. I used to be a loan officer and most my clients took out home equity loans to consolidate their high interest credit card balances and a smaller percentage used it for home renovations. The benefit was that my clients got a low interest rate and some tax deductions. It's a pretty good deal if you have equity in your home. I would just advise you to make sure you evaluate all the costs that go with taking out a home equity loan to see if it financially is beneficial versus your other options. It's definitely something we are considering to fund the wedding, but we may wait and take out a heloc (the acronym for those in the know) to finally put in those hardwood floors that we've been talking about for 3 years. However now that we've spent 2 weeks installing a two hundred pound weightlifiting system in the guest room, we aren't that motivated to do anything that requires removing items out of our place. Because that makes sense right? We're too lazy to move around things to improve our home, but we'll spend all day standing in place lifting a heavy metal bar.

This post is sponsored by Personal Home Mortgages.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A bit depressing...

At the time, I felt quite superior and justified making fun of the owner of this car. I, mean, seriously who does this? The car was filled with stuffed animals. They were coming down from the rearview mirror, hanging off the sides of the windows and littered to the brim on the back window! And it looked like the kind of plush that you win at carnivals or those jumbo-claw vending machine things. Anyway, my cousin also thought it was noteworthy and therefore took pics. I am always fortunate to have her in my life as she always carries her camera with her.

Anyway in retrospect, I'm kind of depressed because this car was in the same parking lot as my car on New Year's Eve, which means we were both doing the same thing on New Year's Eve, ergo we are both pathetic...? I'm not even going to tell you where we were because it was practically the same place we were last year too!

I hope my cousin doesn't get offended when she reads this. I'm sure she won't b/c like me, she has high self-esteem and realizes that even though we didn't have the most exciting New Year's this time, we are still uber cool peeps.

Proud Member of Audubon Society

Some of you may not know this about me, but I have been a member of the Audubon Society for many, many years now. As an avid bird watcher, I must have high-quality binoculars that are optimized for spotting that rare ivory-billed woodpecker, even rumored to be extinct! So naturally my binocular supplier of choice is Eagle Optics. They have the best selection at the right prices. Not only do they have the products I need, but they deliver outstanding customer service. And if you've read my previous post, you'll know I highly value good service. They'll even finance your larger orders (anything over $200). And don't forget to check out the Hot Deals page on their site!

This post is sponsored by

There's a reason why DIY rhymes with die...

Okay so I know that's a little about DIY rhymes with cry? If you don't know what DIY stands for, consider yourself extremely fortunate. I have been entrenched in the world of Do It Yourself for the last couple of weeks and on more than one occasion, I was either praying (and I'm not even that religious) to be transported to outerspace or holding back my tears.

The jury is out on whether buying my own bargain invitations was a good idea but the instructions on the box did imply that printing them at home would be easy as 1-2-3! After 5 hours of Jemifus, the tech wiz, trying to get it to work on our printer, we had to bug our nearby friends for use of their computer and printer. Getting it to print the right size was a snap but we didn't anticipate it taking a long time to figure out the wording and font. Btw, MACs rock - they have the best font selection ever! But then we still had to actually print all 125 of these babies. It turns out that our friends' printer wasn't grabbing the invitation due to the card stock, so we had to manually insert each invitation. Also the invitation kept getting dirty at the top, so my brilliant marketing/engineering friend came up with a snappy solution that required applying a small post-it to each invitation where the dirty spot was happening. And then we had to periodically give the printer a "cleansing" cuz the invitations would get smudged after about 20 run throughs. Are you just dying right now reading all these mind-numbing details? It took 4 people and about 12 manpower hours. And I still gotta tie the ribbon, print the RSVP cards and envelopes and assemble the whole kit and caboodle for mailing.

You see, DIY should rhyme with die!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Family: You can never get away from them!

And for some of you, that's a bad thing but for most of you, family is the reason for being. Most of my friends have followed the baby-making trend of the last couple of years and Jemifus has always been interested in his family lineage. So that got me thinking, is developing a family tree difficult? For me, for sure because I share a last name with about a gazillion folks. Well, I guess it wouldn't be diffcult, but my tree would be very large, like those crazy Hawaiian banyan trees. I did find a cool online site, ZOOOF, The Family Network, that makes family tree building pretty easy. And it has features that make it wiki-tastic! My geeky Jemifus is all over it. It's in beta right now going live Feb 14th, but if you want to to give it a try before that, you can email your name, e-mail address, country and gender to and they will send you a personal invitation.

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Baby-Talking Men

Is it ever appropriate? I was reminded of this yesterday when I bumped into A and thought it'd be funny to say "Sorry" in baby-talk in front of my cousin as one of her co-workers who is madly in love with her would baby-talk to her. I'm not sure if he did it verbally or only through instant message. I almost think via IM is worse e.g. "I'm sawwie :)" Yes happy face included!

And is it really appropriate for men to use happy faces in their emails and text messages? Sure once in a while is understandable. But continuously? Again another one of my cousin's admirers is a big-time smiley face offender. He uses it more than I use the ellipsis! ... :) ...

A Friendly PSA: Online Coupons

Before you hit that "Buy Now" button, remember to check to see if there are any promotion codes because there is a good chance there will be. For example, as usual I was shopping for wedding stuff and found some great invitations on that were a bargain. But I'm not in it for just a bargain, I must find the best bargain! So I did a quick google search for any coupon codes and found this Target discount: 10% off your purchase, no minimum. How great is that?! You can find online coupons for all kinds of merchants just by visiting the sites that keep track. Happy Shopping!

This post is sponsored by Coupon Chief.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Would you like some Gatorade with your 'Gator steak?

Reading this article about Ohio markets stocking up on alligator meat brings back fond memories of my 2004 New Orleans trip.

I was dining at, Jacques-Imo's, a favorite among locals for authentic Creole cuisine. The group I was with ordered Shrimp & Alligator Cheesecake. Naturally me being the out-of-towner was offered the first slice. It was one of those quick game-time decisions: do I offend my gracious hosts and say no way Jose? So as the wheels are quickly spinning in my head, I remember when I perused the menu, I also saw that they had Godzilla Pie so logically I figured since the Godzilla pie couldn't possibly really have gorilla in it, then there most certainly wouldn't be real alligator in the cheesecake.

Jemifus, formerly known as A, did not accompany me on this trip so of course I told him all about this experience when I got back and he, as usual, started laughing. For some reason, everytime I tell him a serious story, about 80% of the time it results in him laughing...or more like smirking! There are more details to this but due to laziness, I will spare you. (Maybe Jemifus will kindly leave a comment to this post and tell you about the Godzilla article he left in my organizer or the conversation he had with my cousin who also vouched for me that Godzilla was absolutely a gorilla...hint hint)

Anyway, it turns out that Godzilla is not a gorilla!!! AND that I ate REAL alligator! Why the heck is his name Godzilla then? That is really misleading. I will add this to my list of Festivus grievances.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Festivus Grievance: Selfish Parkers

I can't tell you how much bad parking makes my blood boil. I live in a 30+ unit condo building with only 3 guest parking spots. These spots are highly valuable because as I mentioned in a previous post, Pasadena does not allow cars to park on the street from 2-6am! Well, you can but you need to either have a permit. But in order to get a permit, you have to provide evidence that your place of residence doesn't provide enough parking spaces, which is ridiculous. Or you have to call a hotline to leave a message for a temporary overnight exemption, which you can only do 6 times a year. Anyone with a mild social life will reach this 6 night quota quite quickly so that leaves you to duke it out with the rest of your neighbors for the 3 guest spots. So it really bothers me when a jerko will take up 2 spots with their bad parking job. There are times when I've seen cars park diagonally to take up 2 spots. Who does that?!

I am proud to say I think I've single-handedly resolved this problem at my complex. I leave polite but strong notes on these jerko cars regarding their selfishness. It seems to have worked! So I suppose I really don't have a Festivus Grievance after all. Life can be good sometimes.

Excellent Customer Service: Pier 1 Imports in Pasadena

One of my biggest pet peeves is bad service. I find it so offensive, especially at big retail establishments. So I am delighted to be blogging about one of the greatest customer service experiences that I have ever had, about 2 weeks ago at the Pier 1 Imports on Lake Avenue in Pasadena. As some of you may know, I am looking for every way possible to keep the wedding budget in check. So when I learned that A gets a great deal on Pier 1 giftcards through his Discover Cashback Card, I went searching for wedding decor there. I found these awesome gold mosaic hurricanes. The catch was they were on promotion and a seasonal item that would not be replenished. So time was of the essence. A wasn't going to be able to get the giftcards for a couple of weeks and I had to buy the hurricanes before that in order to get all the hurricanes needed to outfit each table. Sean, the assistant store manager at the Pasadena Pier 1, was so awesome. He was so patient and understanding when I came in with all my receipts from driving to every possible Pier 1 in LA to get the 25 hurricanes and asked him to credit my credit cards and re-purchase them with the giftcards. It took forever to do but Sean was super nice the whole time and I guarantee that I will be back buying unnecessary things like overpriced giftwrap and candles just because Sean gave some outstanding service. Should you need some home accents, I hope all you Pasadena residents will show your support also.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Wedding Shoes

In about a month, I need to start my quest for wedding shoes. The two criteria are mega-height and as-comfy-as-possible. I suppose I'll throw a third criteria in there for my fiancee's benefit - affordable. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to look? My maid-of-honor has come through again with a very unique idea - stripper shoes. Her rationale is that since strippers are on their feet all day, their heels must be comfortable. And even if you've never been to a strip club, I'm sure you can guess that strippers wear very high heels. If noone else throws out other ideas, look for my plastic clear stilettos come April 14th!

Movie Review: The Queen

The Queen is a really interesting look into how the monarchy reacted to Princess Diana's death. And there's also some cool insight into how tough Queen Elizabeth II is. But that's basically all the movie is about - don't expect a lot more. If you don't know much about how the Prime Minister and the Queen interact with each other and/or want another interpretation on the reaction/response to Princess Diana's death, this is the movie for you.

I can't say I'd recommend this movie over others currently out in theaters right now. If you are debating between this and something like We Are Marshall or The Pursuit of Happyness, this is definitely one that you could wait for the DVD release. We're still within the Holiday window so go for the uplifting movie!

Movie Review: We Are Marshall

This was the perfect movie to lead up to the college football filled viewing day that I just had. All the teams that I was rooting for lost - Arkansas Razorback, Nebraska Cornhuskers and Tennesse Volunteers. But if you read my Rose Bowl post below, you know my day ended up pretty swell.

We Are Marshall is a solid feel-good movie. I almost always like inspirational sports movies based on true events and this movie fits that bill. It wasn't as good as Miracle, but Disney really excels in these kind of feel-good movies so not really fair of me to compare. However it was absolutely better than the more recent release, Glory Road. I highly recommend it - you'll pick up some really good metaphors by Matthew McConaughey's characterization of Jack Lengyel.

Book Review: Prep by Curtis Sittenfield

I haven't read a book completely in a long time. I have a bad habit of starting books and losing interest about halfway through - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, Blink by Malcom Gladwell...the list goes on. So I surprised myself that I finished Prep. It's the kind of light popcorn book that makes me embarrassed to read it in public and also a little uncomfortable to admit on a blog that I finished in 3 weeks (a record for me). But there was something really appealing about it...I think the whole teen angst thing was spot on and I could really identify with the main character, another embarrassing admission. I'm now pumped to give Catcher in the Rye a shot, but I have a feeling it'll suffer the same consquences as all the other "quality" books that I've attempted to read oh so many times.

Rose Bowl - Granddaddy of them all

Oh yeah! I won't go into specifics, but my game day rituals proved to be helpful in 'SC's victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl game today. I can't tell you how elated I am. My only regret is that Lloyd Carr will now face mad scrutiny and he seems like such a classy man that I hope everything works out okay for him.

On a side note, I am so happy that Pasadena is the old-school, traditional city that it is. Something that I normally would not like, the resistance to change, is something I actually really appreciate about the city of Pasadena...well except for this weird law that you can't park anywhere in Pasadena from 2-6am. But in general, I love that Pasadena always says no to things like the NFL, freeways going through Pasadena and now another thing to add to my list: that the Rose Bowl committee does not let the sponsor take over the name of the Rose Bowl game. I like that it's still the Rose Bowl and not the Citi Rose Bowl. I find it utterly disgusting that all the other bowls have caved...Nokia Sugar Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, you get the picture. Go Pasadena!