Category Archives: Random

february is the month of love[rs].

so january’s edition of the belgian dating was so popular, i decided to expand into the month of february!

and just like me, we’ll waste no time and get right into it:

guy #7: the douchebag

haha, okay this guy wasn’t really (that big of) a douchebag (yes, he was)– but when i was talking to mallory about upcoming dates i said i had one with a guy who seemed like a bit of a douchebag. she laughed that i was still willing to go.

no surprise, i met him through tinder. i really should’ve seen this ending poorly… i mean, 9/10 tinder dates don’t go in the right direction. but yeah, if you have tinder you know how addicting it is! you just start swiping- left, right, right, left, left, left, left… it’s like the contra code of hook up apps. just enter it in and get 30 free dates.

so. i swiped right on this guy who was extremely good-looking, despite the fact he had a ridiculously high pompadour hairstyle and a blue steel gaze for most of the photos. to my surprise, he immediately started talking to me. (doesn’t he know tinder is a GAME?!) apparently he had seen me walking down the street the previous week and was going to talk to me, but it was late at night and he thought that might be a little bit creepy. …he was right. that is a bit creepy.

creepy, but persistent. he seemed to be waaaay into me. i mean, i’m used to that, i’m a really amazing person with an awesome personality, obvs. but for someone who had not met me or had even talked to me for longer than one hour total, i’m guessing his infatuation mostly had to do with one minor detail: i’m asian.

he had a total asian fetish. doctor diagnosed yellow fever. i mean, he knew i was korean just by 5 photos.

*sigh* …i don’t think he cared about my awesome personality at all.

a few weeks went by and he kept asking me out. i kind of dodged it for awhile. it’s not that he wasn’t nice- he was. it’s not that he wasn’t good-looking- he was. it’s just… and i know this sounds terrible… it was almost too easy. and i don’t like that. he tried calling a few times. i hate talking on the phone. he would text me multiple times throughout the day and end them with “X.” i hate electronic kisses even more than i hate talking on the phone. especially from people i don’t know.

but persistence pays off and eventually i agreed to a date. he said he would meet me in front of the cathedral at 19:00 on a saturday. i got there and he was right on time. and geez, he was tall. (i made sure to tell him, in case he didn’t realize.) he offered me his arm and told me he had a bit of a surprise for me. fine. i do like surprises.

he was taking me to the city of deurne for the “best lasagna he has ever had.” okay, that’s pretty darn cute. we get to his vehicle and some classic rock tunes are playing over his stereo. he really likes elvis and has a elvis figurine hanging from his review mirror. we start chatting and i find that, while we don’t have a lot in common, he is fairly easy to talk to. until he makes some comments about hating muslims. that’s mighty awkward. i tell him that we might have to switch back to “first date” etiquette where don’t discuss religion or politics but just stick to the weather. he laughs. we sing the beatles.

we get to deurne and go inside the restaurant which is a cute, little mom and pops restaurant on a corner. they move a two person table in from the outdoor area so we can sit. i order a glass of wine, he orders a cola. …he doesn’t drink. well, that’s good. at least he doesn’t have that excuse to try to weasel his way into my apartment. 🙂

again, this guy is surprisingly easy to talk to, despite the fact that we have absolutely NOTHING in common. his hair is less ridiculous in person and he is less persistent and less-overly affectionate than his online persona. he is a body guard/bouncer. he’s a bit of a womanizer, admitting that he’s slept with between 100-200 women. (gross.) but he’s also a gentleman- he has opened doors for me all evening and insists on paying for dinner even though i told him i was more than willing to “go dutch” (this term is much more applicable over here, you know, being so close to… the dutch). our meal is done and he asks if i want to play a game where we ask questions and the other has to answer 100% truthfully. sure, why not. the first question he asks is, “am i your type?” i immediately answer, “no. but i’m still having fun.” it doesn’t seem to phase him. and i learn some interesting things.

i have to get up early the next day, so i respectfully decline when he asks me if i want to continue the evening. he drives me back to antwerp- i told him he could just drop me off at my place, but he wants to park in the lot and walk me home. um, okay. but we’re going to have to make a pitstop along the way because i didn’t follow the advice of my parents of just “trying to go to the bathroom, even if you don’t think you have to” before i left the restaurant. one perk of this guy is that he’s in security, so he has keys to certain buildings around town. he lets me use a nicer, semi-private bathroom in a parking garage area that the “peons” can’t use. and then… then one of the strangest things that has even happened on a date happened.

i am washing my hands and this guy knocks on the door and asks if he can come in. um… why?! because he wants to give me a massage, of course. perfectly normal bathroom behavior. you see, earlier in the night he boasted about his massage skills and told me he would give me a neck massage by the end of the night. i didn’t argue, because massages are one of my favorite things in existence. and he apparently thought the women’s bathroom was the perfect place to do this.

okay, i won’t lie. the massage was really good. or at least as good as it could be, standing up near a heat lamp and a sink in a semi-public woman’s restroom. after that was finished, we resumed our walk back to my place. along the way, we saw a few of his friends who were out and about in the south side. one was a bouncer at the door of a club where “fancy” people got let it. i’m not really sure why there was a bouncer at this establishment, but he was nice and offered to let us go inside and have a drink. um, i was wearing chucks and a northface jacket. and you’re only letting fancy people in?

the night ended at my doorstep. earlier, playing the truth game, i let him know i wasn’t going to let him up to my apartment so there were no expectations there. he kept saying through the night “well, next time, this, next time that.” sorry. also probably not going to be a next time.

(fun ender: as i was recapping this date to tina she told me, “dude, don’t you know tinder is a hookup app?” i replied, “no it’s an app to find a personal trainer.” thanks, mindy project!)

guy #8: the asexual the heterosexual i can’t have, which will haunt me for the rest of my days

um, can you guess who got to pick his own descriptive nickname? i’m sure everyone knows who this is because i talk about him often enough, being one of my only actual friends here. but after my last blog post i was flipped some shit, stating that he was only mentioned a few times despite the fact that “i spent about 56% of january at his place.” which isn’t true at all. …it was more like 73%.

i just didn’t write anything about THICHWWHMFTROMD* because, honestly, our relationship is super difficult to explain. he’s my favorite male who i hang out with in belgium. in fact, i use him as a dating scale– if after a date i would rather spend time with jeroen than with the other guy, then chances are slim i will see him again.

and i see THICHWWHMFTROMD* (at least) once a week because i cook dinner at his place in exchange for the usage of his laundry machine. i make him walk arm-in-arm with me down the street. we danced around to vinyl records of ABBA and elvis. he rarely, if ever, responds to a text but claims to text me more than he does anyone else. i have keys to the man’s apartment. we’ve slept in the same bed.

but, let’s be honest. if something was to happen, it would’ve happened by now. i jokingly call him my “asexual friend,” but really, he just doesn’t date. he’s above it all. he’s got standards. (he says this in a tone that implies i do not.) and he’s already told me i’m not submissive enough, which is beyond true. also, here’s a fun fact: apparently the jerk THICHWWHMFTROMD* has convinced his friends that i’m crazy/head over heels for him so now i have to dig myself out of a hole if i ever meet them. add this to the statement that he doesn’t “enjoy” my company but he has learned to “endure” it, and i’d say no… no, nothing is probably going to happen. but despite these “facts,” he continues to let me impose on his life.

but in all seriousness, why would i jeopardize such a good thing? i get to use his fancy kitchen and laundry machine. i get to drink his alcohol and have the hookup to his sweet sound system. he gets a free home cooked meal, a driver when he wants to go out and drink, and access to my netflix account. as my friend krista put it when i was once trying to explain, “oh, it’s like you guys are married without the sexual perks.” to which i replied, “…so, it’s like we’re married?”

*the heterosexual i can’t have, which will haunt me for the rest of my days

guy #9: the surfer

being originally from a no-coast state, i don’t often get the experience of meeting surfers. especially not cute, belgian ones with floppy surfer hair and shy smiles. seriously, just from photos i could tell this guy is adorable. and very different than me- a bit introverted, someone who likes to spend his days at home or out on a secluded beach. but through talking with him i found that he makes miniature guitars in his free time (again, adorbs) and he likes the alabama shakes. and you can’t complain about a man who likes the alabama shakes.

the only problem or apprehension i had with the surfer was that he warned told me ahead of time that, in-person, his english is not the best. i have to admit, that was a little bit worrisome for me. i mean, i like to look at hot dudes as much as the next girl, but spending hours with someone and not having something to talk about/be able to communicate would probably kill me. we decided to get coffee on a saturday afternoon and play it safe. i picked a cafe near my place that also sells alcohol and vinyl records. i figured if the date was a flop then at least i could drowned my sorrows in booze and add to my (almost non-existent) record collection.

day of the date i walk into the coffee and vinyl shop (called… wait for it… “Coffee & Vinyl”) and briefly scanned the room to see if he was there yet. i didn’t see who i was looking for, but i did see a gorgeous guy standing at the counter wearing a form fitting blue button up. …but not a “nice” button up- i mean like a rugged, converse style. the type that i really dig. and, of course, me being the jerk i am, thought “dammit, why couldn’t i be on a date with THAT guy?!”

turns out… IT WAS THAT GUY.

my god, but really, this guy was incredibly good looking. i’m not sure why i didn’t recognized him from his photos, to be honest. i guess his hair was a little darker and a different cut and he had this wide, easy going grin that he didn’t showcase online.  i, however, fortunately must look similar to my photos as he was able to identify me as soon as i walked through the door. he immediately greeted me with the belgian kiss on the cheek and i tried to keep my jaw from hitting the floor.

we ordered two lungos and went to sit down. he was very polite, offering me the “comfortable chair” and we immediately started chatting like old friends. any worries i had about this guy were thrown out the window. not only was he handsome, his english was superb, accent adorable, shit…. i was a smitten kitten. (which, if you really know me, is odd. none of my relationships have started with that instant chemistry, that “spark,” or immediate pull. i’m actually repulsing myself by writing it. i’m going to stop.)

and then… and then all hell broke loose. because this is the point where smuggy’s friends [from last month’s post] walked into the coffee shop. have you guys seen bridget jones’s diary? there’s a scene near the beginning where hugh grant calls her out on some bullshit and there’s just a subtitle that goes across the screen: “fuuuuuuuuuccccckkkkkkkk”. and that’s exactly how i felt at that moment. you see, they had all read the blog. and they were a bit of assholes and maybe not extremely happy about my unraving review of their friend. luckily, no words were exchanged as i think they wanted to avoid me as much as i wanted to avoid them. and the surfer was none the wiser.

no, realistically, after a few minutes i forgot that they were even there because i was enthralled with what this guy was saying. we had long finished our lungos so we changed to some lattes with honey. i offered to pay but he waved it off, saying i could pay the next time we hung out (this time i didn’t mind someone suggesting a “next time”). we talked about guitars and ukeleles. we talked about traveling. he was super easy going. i was his first online date. i laughed and admitted he was not mine. he was nervous speaking english so he had spent the last few days practicing in the shower and in the car in preparation. gah, and that grin! did i mention i was smitten?

since he had driven into town we had to get back to his car by 4:00 so he wouldn’t get a ticket. we quickly searched through the vinyl records (fulfilling the coffee & vinyl title). he got the doors and i got a joni mitchell lp. we then walked to his car (which is actually a van with surfboards and fun travel equipment) and he offered to give me a ride home. when he dropped me off, he looked at me and simply said, “i am going to kiss you now.”

and he did.

guy #10: the gent-le giant.

see, it’s funny because he’s from gent. get it? GET IT?! oh, and he’s also tall as fuck. (if “as fuck” was like 6’3″.)

the giant was the first person on okcupid to ask me what my mutant power would be. (there was a question that asked what do you spend a majority of your free time thinking about and i had replied “being a mutant- i want to be a mutant so badly.”) i thought this was a nice starter and we some good conversations about whether a power defined your destiny as a good or bad person, what powers would be the most useful in every day life, etc.

we had a higher friend percentage than dating match, which was perfectly okay with me since that was pretty much the point of the whole experiment… i mean… experience. appearance-wise, he also wasn’t really my type. for one, he was way too tall for my liking. his hair was blonde. but he did have one thing going for him. he had sad eyes. and if anyone knows me, they know my kryptonite is a man with sad eyes.

so, we planned to meet up a couple of times, but it didn’t happened right away. the first week i decided to go to the netherlands with my coworkers instead because i hadn’t heard from him. (turns out he entered my phone number in his phone wrong.) the second week we never confirmed plans so he didn’t catch a train in time.

but the third time, the third time was a charm. he was taking the train in from gent so i told him i’d meet him at the central station (the most beautiful train station in the world, for real, check it out). he didn’t really know antwerp very well and that was an area i was unfamiliar with, so i thought we could make an adventure of it.

and adventure we did. we met at the train station with the very polite belgian kiss on the cheek and set off in a direction that neither of us knew. we walked around the mier (shopping area) and  then when my little legs got tired of matching his giant’s stride, we eventually settled on a bar by the schelde. i had a kwak, which is a beer that comes in an interesting funnel shaped glass and it’s attached to a wooden handle. in theory it’s really similar to the boot at hessen haus- you have to be careful how you tip it or else you’re going to get an air bubble and have it all splash you in the face. and that’s science, y’all.

the giant was really funny and easy to talk to, but okcupid might have it right again- i was getting more of a friend vibe off of him than a real “love connection.” but he was adventurous. he had worked in montreal for awhile and decided he wants to move to there, which probably sounds as crazy as me wanting to move to antwerp. we exchanged travel tips and things that we miss about north america. bacon. mmmm. also, indian food. okay, that was a surprise. i like indian food too, but hadn’t found a place in antwerp that looked nice and authentic. we both googled places and decided to get some for dinner.

on our way to indian food, however, a topic of conversation came up that changed everything. the giant had read that the kulminator bar was ranked the “best bar in the world” and asked me if i had ever been.

…as a matter of fact, I HAD. and i had 35 tickets and only needed 5 more to get a collector glass from there (thanks, Dan!). we decided to change our plans and walk to the kulminator and get dinner in that area instead.

TURNS OUT the kulminator is closed on sunday nights, which is absolutely ridiculous. and sad. but whatever. we swallowed our disappointment and went to find some food. conversation continued to flow with ease and we started comparing the difference between ‘american’ names and ‘european’ names. he started saying my name with an “american” accent. i hated it. people with accents need to say my name with accents. sounds much better. in fact, everyone, just start saying my name with an accent.

after we were done eating i walked him back to the train station. we made (non-concrete) plans to hang out again and go to the kulminator when it was open. i also need to visit gent again because it is such a beautiful city and not that far away. i’m positive i will see the giant again, but maybe not in a romantic context. but who knows? his sad eyes and easy-going nature was enough to get him the bronze medal in this dating game.

updates from last month:
#1: don’t really see not-evan anymore, although we still text occasionally and make plans to see each other, where i ditch out on last minute because i’m a terrible and lazy person. in my defense, i’ve told him open dates a few times as well and haven’t heard anything back.

#2: hang out with the texan on a pretty consistent basis, although we are definitely just friends. i can’t handle that man’s drama. 😉

#3: i go out with my pho-phriend about every few weeks. he’s pretty cool, adventurous, and funny. although i realized last time we hung out that he looks like reid, and i can only hang out with so many look-a-like ex boyfriends before wondering if i’m just recreating the wheel.

#4: the unexpected is undoubtedly my favorite of january. we try to hang out once a week or once every other, but not at a stage where anything is serious or exclusive. or sexclusive. (did i just make up an awesome word?)

#5: haven’t talked to him since the night he texted me that he “liked the blog, but his friends will now never stop calling him smuggy mcsmuggerston.” shame. he was funny. but i guess if i ever get the hankering to see him or his friends i can just return to that coffee shop. …so there’s that.

#6: male me and… me… have gone on a few dates. i was interested to see where it would lead, but i am pretty much over it now. he’s fun to talk to and intellectual, but there is just no physical chemistry on my side. (hi, mom! you can stop reading… now.) truth be told, he’s actually a bit awkward when it comes to being romantic or sexual in any way… proving that he’s definitely not the male version of me.

(okay, mom, you can start reading again)

just a forewarning, i probably won’t continue this blog (or at least, this series of the blog) after february. there are a few new people who i’ve lined up to see, but i feel by now i have established a good base of people to hang out with. and of the #10 i’ve mentioned, there are a few i’m legitimately interested in romantically seeing. though i’m a fantastic juggler and multi-tasker, the thought of dating a bunch of people at the same time is not super appealing to me, but rather more tiring and… well… shitty. to add more to that pile sounds even more tiresome (and shitisome). but if anything interesting happens with anyone (or any of the new ones really jump out) i will be sure to let you all know. i’m an open book, after all.

march madness

i’ve been talking march up for months now. how good the month is going to be, how much i was looking forward to it…

well, march. you didn’t disappoint.

here are some highlights from my month of march.

  • i got to spend the first day of march hanging out with two of the coolest cats that kemin has to offer. jim, frank, and i went and toured around st. petersburg. we went to two cathedrals and had lunch at this really great indian restaurant. (it was also frank/my niece’s birthday!)

  • i got to return to italy. though it wasn’t as great as i had anticipated (i think the rose-colored glasses are coming off for the country for me), it was still an amazing time. and i got to see my favorite sad-eyed scientist, who looks just as good as ever.
  • made it home just in time (literally, just in time, i arrived in dsm at 4:30 on this day) for carl’s karaoke. i stayed up until around 1am in hopes it would cure my jetlag. yeah… that’s why i stayed up that late (anyone else buying this?)
  • my niece/goddaughter turned 5. i was out of the country for her actual birthday, but we had a party for her that weekend. she’s ridiculous, a handful, a whole lotta trouble… and i love her for it all.
  • bonus checks, what what? well, a small part of our bonus checks leftover from 2011, but i’m not going to complain about extra money. i just won’t.
  • double karaoke? how did a girl get so lucky? one of sarah’s coworkers was moving back to england, so they threw him a going away party at our local favorite, carl’s place.
  • speaking of moving away- my good friend meredith, member of the #PartyRockCrew, moved away to san diego. she got another job with the non-profit group invisible children and couldn’t turn it down. we had a great going away party for her too. …at carl’s.
  • evan. evan was great this month. i got back home to find the house clean (which is a feat in itself), new stairs to the basement, an automatic garage door opener installed for my mini, and lots of hugs and kisses. he then taught me how to drive a stick (hehe, if you know what i mean) and volunteered to play my favorite board game… which he got addicted to.
  • st patrick’s day. ’nuff said.

  • two words: MARCH MADNESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. i’m a tar heel born. i’m a tar heel bred. and when i die i’ll be a tar heel dead. rah rah carolina-lina–rah rah rah! and they definitely would’ve been in the finals if white hadn’t broken his wrist. i won’t fight you about it. it’s just a fact.
  • “draw something” app for the iphone. oh gawd. newest great find. i’ll have to make a  post in itself of funny photos sent through draw something.
  • The Hunger Games midnight premiere.

medifast – week 1

Day 1 –
Weight: 132 or 133 (Okay, I’m guessing, I don’t own a scale)

since i ordered my products but they had not arrived yet, jen gave me a bunch of leftover things she didn’t really want. these didn’t really consist of the actual meals, but rather the snacks and drinks. i have a feeling my first few days might be a bit miserable. 🙂

“Meal” #1: Chai. {9:00AM}
Ugggggggggh this was terrible. I was in the office before Jen because she had a meeting, but she had given me a box of the chai from the day before so I knew I could get started. She did warn me ahead of time that the chai did not stir up well and she had a special little mixer ball thingy to give me, but since she wasn’t here I mixed it with extremely hot water, stirred for an extremely long time…

…and had an extremely miserable breakfast.  Luckily, I’m not normally a breakfast eater anyway so I was able to choke down most of it, diluted the leftover stuff at the bottom and have some more. The taste wasn’t terrible, but the consistency was enough to almost make want to give up on the diet.

“Meal” #2: BBQ Bites {12:15PM}
These weren’t so bad. I don’t think I would’ve eaten the whole bag (even though it was relatively small and hadn’t had much in my stomach before) if I didn’t already know I was going to be starving for the rest of the day. They are puffy snacks that have a bit of a BBQ flavoring to them. Overall, I’m glad I also bought these because I think they would be good mid-day snacks (I really like to snack during the day). I am already craving meat, though.

“Meal” #3: Hot Chocolate {3:04PM}
Jen gave me the little mixer ball thinger. I used it with my hot chocolate. I wasn’t watching my hot chocolate and let it spill over a bit (unfortunate), but now our office smells like a giant chocolate cookie. This stuff is really good. I am also apparently behind schedule, I need to get my fourth meal in before my “lean and green” meal.

“Meal” #4: Parmesan Cheese Puffs {4:00PM}
No, no, no,  no, no,  no, no,  no, no,  no, no,  no, no,  no, no,  no, no,  no, no,  no, no,  no, no,  no, no,  no, no…

Ahem. Um, I don’t like these very much. Jen says people either love these or hate them, but she hates them. And I concur. I couldn’t finish the bag.

“Lean and Green” {6:15PM}
I had a 5oz chicken breast (skinless, which is unfortunate because the skin is the best tasting part) and about 1 cup of broccoli and some carrots. I also had two pickle spears because those were in the “additional snacks” list I looked up.

“Meal” #5: …Eggs.
Um, I forgot my additional meal at work and didn’t want to go grab it, so I fixed up two eggs and removed the yolks from one. Then I scrambled it up, added two tablespoons of salsa, and devoured. It was only like 150 calories, 160 tops, so I think I’m okay.


Day 2

Meal #1: Pancakes. {8:00AM}
The pancakes were actually pretty good. The box said it made 3-4 mini pancakes… and it would, if you were expecting tiny pancakes that a toddler could eat. Instead I made 2 small pancakes, heated up the sugar-free maple syrup packet, and enjoyed a nice breakfast. The pancakes also made the house smell pretty good.

“Meal” #2: Cappuccino {10:00AM}
Also pretty tasty, seems like a normal cappuccino to me, although it feels strange that this counts as a “meal.” There is a bit of extra foam as well, I don’t know if it’s because I overshook the powder or what.

“Lean and Green” {12:00PM}
Everyone at work is eating at the lunch table together and since Jen didn’t provide me with any “real meals” I decided to take my lean and green at lunch time. Since our office is right above Noodle Zoo, and they have the best salads in town, I got spinach caesar salad with sun-dried chicken but without Romano cheese (ugggh I love cheese, this is the hardest part).

“Meal” #3: Cold Orange Drink {3:00PM}
This looked kind of weird, but tasted just as described- cold, orangey, and drinky.  I still feel weird that these are considered meals.

“Meal” #4: Chicken Noodle Soup {6:00PM}
Again, don’t judge me for not following this plan…. I need a real meal, I can’t just eat puffs and drinks and feel satisfied. I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup from the cupboard. It had about 220 calories total and I didn’t drink all the broth.

“Meal” #5: …my first “real” cheat
It was Joey’s birthday party, and I really couldn’t NOT go. And if I couldn’t NOT go then I couldn’t NOT drink a glass of champagne while I was there. That would just be rude… especially when the event was called “Champagne Showers.” I also ate a bit of ground beef and pasta, 3 grapes covered in cheese and walnut, and 3 tiny meatballs. Sue me.

Day 3

A full day of cheating. Once a year Baconfest comes to Des Moines– this year the event sold out in 20 minutes and there were 4,400 attendees. I couldn’t get tickets, but was told by a friend I could get in for free if I dressed up as a zombie and agreed to pass out samples. Um… done and done. But you can’t be on a diet at Baconfest. You have to eat bacon and drink booze, it’s almost a requirement.

And then I had a flippy cup tournament that night. Our team is still undefeated. But we played with light beer, so it all cancels out. 😉

I know, I’m really stretching it here. Today was a bad day for diet… but a good day for life.

Day 3 (Day 1?)

“Lean, the meatless option” {11:00AM}
I took part of my “lean and green” for breakfast and ate 3 scrambled eggs, but only with one of the yolks. I also added two table spoons of fresh salsa, because that is delicious.

Meal #2:  BBQ Bites {2:00PM}
Had a bag of the BBQ bites on the car ride up to Mason City. I also probably lost a lot of calories performing a concert in my car. 🙂

Meal #3: Cheese Pizza Bites {4:30PM}
These are about the same as the BBQ bites- both puffy and slightly flavorless with a hint of what it’s supposed to be. I don’t mind them, they are filling, but what I’m really craving is an actual cheese pizza. From Casey’s. mmmm…. Casey’s pizza….

Meal #4: Chicken noodle soup + salad {6:00PM}
Again, don’t have my real meals yet. Had a can of condensed chicken noodle soup, a total of less than 180 calories and it was “heart smart” (Thanks, Campbells!). Also had my “greens” from my lean and green; had a small salad with cucumbers, toms, and shrooms.

“Meal” #5: Cappuccino {10:00PM}
I had my  cappuccino and 20 pistachio nuts as my snack. Evan and I cuddled up on the couch and watched this weird western movie called Blackthorn. The movie was okay…. the pistachios were glorious.

Day 4 
Weight: 131 – although to be fair, I don’t know if I really lost any weight yet because this was the first time I stepped on a scale

“Meal” #1:  Hot Chocolate {9:00AM}

Meal #2: {11:00AM}
My last package of pancakes… I really hope I get my real order pretty soon. I’m really gonna start cheating with cheese and bread for meals pretty soon. 🙂

Meal #3: Cheese Pizza Bites {1:00PM}

“Meal” #4: Cold Orange Drink {3:00PM}
…the strangest thing. It’s only been a couple of days, but I am not as hungry as I would normally be having had this little of actual food in my stomach. Having said that…. my next meal will be shameful.

“Not really Lean nor Green” {5:30PM}
Aggghhhhh real food. So, I cheated bad here… last night Evan made a cheese quesadilla and my mouth started to water. Since my meals still haven’t arrived (tracking says by tomorrow) and I am working out tonight I decided to make myself a chicken and cheese quesadilla. I also added mushrooms and salsa. And I’m going to run for a half an hour out of guilt and shame.

[half an hour later] Oh gosh. I’m so full. Seriously. This might have been a mistake.

I went to work out the Y- ran for about 15 minutes, walked 25 minutes. Around 300 calories burned.

“Meal” #5: Cappuccino {9:00PM}

Day 5

“Meal” #1:  Hot Chocolate {9:30AM}

Meal #2: {11:30AM} Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
My meals have arrived!!! Under the direction of my good friend Jessica (I do what Jessica tells me to), I picked the chicken and wild rice soup to try first. It was pretty good, though it didn’t look the most appealing. It also didn’t seem like there’s a lot there initially, but I’m learning to eat slower since this diet and I found I got full (enough) from it.

Meal #3: Peanut Butter Crunch bar {1:30PM}
Full enough, sure, but my stomach was still craving more substance. I got myself out a crunch bar and cut it up into small pieces (like the directions implied). I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew that I loved chocolate and I loved peanut butter…

…these are really good. Score one for Medifast!

But I still took my snack (pistachios) because I wasn’t quite full.

“Meal” #4: 55 French Vanilla Shake{3:30PM}
These are not bad and shake up pretty easy in the mixer- but I have to remember to use cold water. It tastes strange lukewarm. Although it’s time for my next “meal” I put it in the fridge so it’ll be a bit more frosty when I get to it. It would definitely be really good blended.

Lean and Green {5:30PM}
Mmmm, salmon. I love salmon. In the summer time Evan and I throw salmon on the grill all the time. Seeing that winter weather in Iowa are not really conducive to grilling, I decided to bake the salmon (he was frozen with a glaze/seasoning and didn’t want to fry it off). I also had a small side salad with mushrooms, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Meal #5: Apple Cinnamin Soy Crisps {9:00PM}
I’m so excited with all of my options now that I had to make sure I got a little bit of everything today! These are pretty okay. The actual pieces don’t really have much taste to them, but I enjoy the cinnamon and sugar.

Day 6
Weight: 129.6

“Meal” #1:  Hot Chocolate {9:30AM}
I mixed it with a bit of a leftover Americana that Evan brought home– my baby likes his coffee like he likes his women– strong. and bitter.  🙂

Meal #2: {11:30AM} Beef Vegetable Stew
This soup is thicker than the other and the taste is okay, but I like the chicken and wild rice more. I will say this one seemed a bit more filling, though.

“Meal” #3: Vanilla Shake + Sugar Free Dr. Pepper {1:30PM}
I gave up on pop a long time ago because it was either pop or alcohol and, well, let’s be real. But in reading drinks that I can have while on this diet alcohol is a no-no (shhhh about Saturday!) but sugar free pops are okay. I read online about a girl who mixed her shakes with pops and thought that sounded like a pretty good idea…

…it’s an okay idea. I don’t know if I like it yet or if I just made both of them worse.

“Meal” #4: BBQ Bites  {3:30PM}

Lean and Green {5:30PM}
Ugh, I cheated again. I’m not going to lie– I crave real food. And it’s National Margarita Day, who can turn that down? I had 3 small enchiladas with shrimp, crab, and cheese, lettuce, and mexican rice. I didn’t eat the shells or the mexican rice, though, so really it was my protein and veggies… and two margaritas. C’mon. They were $2.50 a piece!  I had to see my friends before I left the country, I mean, what if I never returned?!

Meal #5: No meal number five. I’m stuffed.

Day 7

“Meal” #1:  Cappuccino {9:30AM}
I also spilled some scalding hot liquid on my pants, so that’s fun.

Lean and Green: {NOONER} 2 Eggs + half a salad
I also added some mango salsa to the egg, which is extremely HOT so I got out my diet root beer (see next meal). I love eggs and they say you can do 3 eggs as a substitute for meat once a week. I did two and a half a salad thinking I might have my last egg and salad later in the day.

“Meal” #3: Vanilla Shake + Root Beer {1:30PM}
I can’t have real beer, but I can have sugar free root beer!

… I drove back to Des Moines after this (a storm was a brewin’ and didn’t want to get stuck in Mason City and miss my flight) and about half way home I realized I forgot my stuff.  Looks like the diet is officially over, for now. Let the vodka be poured.

Conclusion: I’m fairly certain that this program works- if you can stick to the diet. I definitely cheated on it and still lost weight. And if I was more overweight or really needed to drop some poundage I would consider continuing the program. But… I really like food and I was missing a lot of my favorites through this diet. All in all, it was good and a good experience. It helped me count calories easier and break meals up into six small meals through the day. But my mouth is watering just thinking about the real food I’m going to consume soon.

Starting weight: 133 (estimating)
Ending weight: 129

february is for <3ers

forget philadelphia, it’s february that’s for lovers! ❤

oh, february. with only 29 days (leap year!), it seems our time together flew by so quickly. i feel like i barely got to know you. but here are some things that i will always remember about you:

  • evan successfully did not propose to me on valentine’s day, which was my only request for 2012. (i have no problem if other couples want to get romantic and sappy on february 14th, but that holiday honestly means nothing to me. i’d rather have romance and affection happen spontaneously rather than forced.)
  • i officially made it through a month of “a photo a day.” it was even more boring than i imagined or anticipated.
  • experienced the most pain in my life– got my side tattoo updated and expanded.
    (how lovely are your branches?)
  • evan decided he was selling his old toyota camry to grant for 2k. after having his heart set on a station wagon, he finally changed his mind and bought himself a 2009 toyota matrix. it’s a burnt orange color and super cool. it also only had 24,000 miles on it. now i have to learn to drive a stick so i can take it out too.
  • i tried to diet for about 1.5 weeks. i cheated miserably. still lost around 2-3 pounds though, so not completely unsuccessful.
  • baconfest! 4,400 attendees this year. i didn’t get tickets in time, but because “i know people” i managed to score free tickets by being one of the few “zombie helpers” during the baconapocalypse. basically i handed out bacon for about 15 minutes and then ate and drank away the rest of my day.

    (mmmm…. brains bacon)
  • basketball season is officially over.  😦  we ended with a record of 4-6, which isn’t bad, but isn’t great. we really should have won another game against a certain team, but oh well. while i’m sad it’s over, it was fun while it lasted. hopefully see you next november!
  • got my federal and state tax return and with it paid off all my credit card debt. now to build it back up for 2012. 😉
  • i will get to spend the last week of february in st. petersburg, russia. stressful (leading up to it), cold (while we are there), but extremely worthwhile and fun (i imagine).

while february really was a great month, i still stand by my statement that i think march may be the best month of 2012. stay tuned to see if my premonition is correct.

mad about march

i know i might be calling it a bit early, guys, but march just MIGHT be the best month of 2012. let me tell you why:

  • for one, i’ll start out the month in russia, then italy immediately following after. who can say that? i’ll get to see cinque terre, the one place above any i want to visit in the world (besides australia. australia is in a category by itself). 
    (^ and yes, i get to see sexy, sad eyed scientists as well. but that’s just icing on the cake.) 
  • in the us, our company pays their employees bi-weekly. this means most months you get paid twice and you pay your bills accordingly. two months of the year you get paid three times. march is one of those months. and while it is NOT actually “extra” cash, it sure as shit feels like it. 
  • on top of that, we get the last 25% of our 2011 bonus in march.
  • …and most likely i will get my federal and state tax returns as well. ROLLING IN THE DOUGH.
  • um, two words for you: march madness. i like college basketball much more than any straight-female-whose-boyfriend-doesn’t-enjoy-watching-sports-on-tv should. but march madness makes me happier than most things in the world.
  • my lasik is paid off. i can see! 
  • sarah is thinking about taking some vacation. if it is a short time and doesn’t require much planning or effort on my part, i may join.
  • i love spring time. march is usually when it starts to get warm, although this winter was nothing to complain about when it came to snow. 

mo money… mo problems

i don’t make a lot of money.

…but i don’t make a little amount of money either.

the weird thing about me, and i’ll be the first to admit it, is that i like paying bills. i find it soothing- like the money i’ve collected has a purpose. i pay the mortgage, student loans, car payment… and then i assess.

my problem comes after the assessment. i simply do not know what to do with my extra cash. i want to spend it. and usually on stupid things.

now, before we dive into this, do not judge too harshly. i’m not just frivolously throwing around my money (so back off, mooommm). i have a 401k set up through my work and i also contribute 6% of my earnings to it. i donate money every month to my sponsor child in Sri Lanka (his name is Nandakumar and he draws me awesome photos), and i am in the process of setting up a roth ira. i pay more than required on all my loans per month, and my credit score is better than average.

some people i know, my parents included, do not own credit cards because they don’t want any loans. i think that’s completely understandable and very smart. live within your means, don’t make extravagant purchases you can’t afford. work to be come debt free.

but the one thing i simply cannot comprehend, however, is not living now because you are afraid you do not have the cash. people want to save up for retirement, and i get that. they work to pay off student loans, house loans, work to becoming debt free. they want the security, they want to know that they will have the money to do fun things when they get older.

but what about fun things now? i would rather go and test limits, to experience life while i’m in the prime of it. before i have children or any major responsibility that is holding me back from doing exactly what i want, when i want to do it. not that those responsibilities are bad. but they are life changing.

and i am a person who craves instant gratification.

and these are the things i am wanting most right now:

1) a new tattoo. it’s been years since i got a tattoo. i have an appointment scheduled for february 9th- i plan on getting my side tattoo expanded up past my ribs. and then screaming and crying a lot at the pain.

2) little martin guitar. i’ve recently started taking guitar lessons, but i’m not really improving. (granted…i’m not really practicing either, but i digress.) i have really small hands, making it difficult and frustrating to play certain chords. originally i didn’t want to get a smaller guitar because i thought they might look silly. but i’m not delusional. i’m not going to be a famous musician someday. i want to play for my own enjoyment. so i will buy a guitar that i can maneuver. and then i will play.

3) vacation. i am going to belgium for work in april. while that is not the most exciting news ever (though it’s close), what makes it even better is that evan is coming with me. we are taking a few extra days ahead of time to see the country- evan says that he thinks belgium is his “dreamland.” he imagines a lot of biking and beautiful country scenery. i imagine beer and chocolate. i think it’ll be a win-win situation.

a january hymn

i’ll start with a sidenote: there are three songs on my computer with january in the title– january wedding (avett brothers), january hymn (the decemberists), and january 1979 (mewithoutyou). considering i’m not getting married and the other song is quite screamy/harsh, i thought the phrase “a january hymn” was quite beautiful and a wonderful title for a post.

a few years ago i was ambitious and tried to blog every day, covering everything from the grand and fun to the mediocre and average. i may try to do it for a week straight some time later in the year, but for now i thought it would be best to have a monthly post to summarize the feelings.

these are the things i remember most about january 2012:

  • the new year started as a complete shit show. it was a blast, though definitely reminded me that i cannot and will not be doing this every weekend in 2012.

    (starting the night, looking fairly sober)

    (free rides on the down town trolly)

    (this is where the night starts getting hazy…)

    (better than the traditional ball drop)

  • my year-end review at my place of employment went very well. in fact, i couldn’t have made it gone better or more “my way” even if i tried. the praise came at a very good time, i was feeling overwhelmed with workload and a bit bitter… made it all a lot easier to deal with.
  • i got an iphone, officially making me at least 4.7x cooler than i already was.
    i can now instagram and play words with friends with the best of them. (my WWF ratio is  currently 1:10. i have won one game.)
  • my friend jesse just got back from afghanistan. a few of us met in our hometown area to say hi and catch up. it was pretty low key, but very fun.
    ( brennan)
    ^ as a follow up of something completely wonderful and unexpected, the next day a couple of us went out for breakfast. a lady who used to be very open about not liking me (and to be fair, i was the same) served us. we were extremely nice to each other, which made me happier than i anticipated.

…i hope she didn’t spit in my food.
….i am choosing not to think about it.

  • one of my close des moines friends lost his father. he was on vacation in california and his dad and mom were on vacation in the carribbean when it happened. i can’t even start to imagine how that feels, but my heart goes out to the entire family.

so that is my january in a nutshell. it hasn’t been overly exciting in the grand scheme of things, but it has had a lot of ups and downs. a friend of mine has recently pointed out to me that i like to reflect and look back, that i ponder more than most people. i think this is true– and not necessarily something about myself that i want to change. but i do want to make sure that i’m there in the “present,” that i’m making the most of what i’m doing now. i find the easiest way to do that is to look back and see what i would like to change, to be better at, to experience, and then go do that.

decide what to be and go be it.

watch out, february. i’m coming for you.