Thursday, January 29, 2015

So Parenthood Ends Tonight and You Might Not Want to Read This if YouHaven't Watched the Last Few Episodes


So, the world ends tonight.

We have to say goodbye to the Bravermans, y'all!

I have a bottle of wine on deck to help me get through because I'm not emotionally ready for this. I haven't been so anguished over a show ending since 2004 when we bid adieu to Rachel, Chandler, and the rest of the gang. 

Let's talk Parenthood. What I think will happen, what I wish will happen, what I wanted to see more of. You get the picture. 


First off, Sarah will obviously marry Everybody Loves Raymond in this episode and I hate it. I HATE IT I HATE IT I HATE IT. There is no chemistry between the characters. Zero. It's like the producers wanted to end with a wedding and the emotional pull of Zeek walking someone down the aisle so, hey, let's have Hank propose to the woman who treats him like an annoying pesky younger brother! I would've rather seen Zeek escort Amber down the aisle to wed that nutjob Ryan. At least there was chemistry between the characters. (Speaking of -- will we see Ryan this episode? I'm hoping he comes to meet his son but, please, no romantic reunion with Amber.)
ONE MORE THING ABOUT THE WEDDING. Who is able to throw something - other than a courthouse deal - together in a week? And when your daughter JUST had a baby? 
 
One last thing on Sarah then I'll move on. I sincerely wish they could've ended the series with her happily on her own. The character has always been codependent on some man or the other and it would've been a high point to see her happily single. I realize that's not Sarah, but still. 
Moving on. 
Before the season started, it was built up like someone was going to die and, with the health problems, we're led to believe it will be Zeek. I don't think he'll die in the finale. I don't think anyone will die. Though I do wish Kristina would drive off a cliff and take Sidney and Ruby with her.
 
WHERE IS HADDIE? They did the whole "Haddie has a girlfriend" plot and then ... nothing. We haven't seen much of her the entire season though we did manage to see way too much of Max (he's not an asshole because of aspergers; he's an asshole because Kristina is his mother and she went to the Special Snowflake School of Parenting) and Hank's bitchy daughter. I'm sure all characters will be present and accounted for since it's the finale (and I guess Sarah's wedding gives everyone a reason to come "home" because, you know, it'll be so easy [and cheap!] for Haddie to get a ticket from the east coast with a week's notice!) but I really would've liked more Haddie this season. Ditto Drew. WE NEEDED MORE DREW. 

Drew.  Hands down, best and most level-headed character on the show.  Sometimes feel the same way about Jasmine, other times I want to punch her in the throat.  But Drew.  Drew.  All day erry day with some Drew wisdom!
Joel and Julia. Joel and Julia. JOEL and JULIA. In the beginning, I was irritated that they separated at all. They're Joel and Julia and they are meant to be together. But, despite the fact that the storyline drug on wayyyyy too long, I'm now kinda digging that they did have them separate. Because it showed real life. Seemingly "has it all couple" on the brink of divorce: it happens all the time. Their separation showed just how fragile a marriage can be. Of course, I'm glad they're back together. They're Joel and Julia and they're supposed to be together. Just like Ross and Rachel and Ted and Robin. If the producers throw in a curve ball with their relationship and they don't end up together and semi-happily ever after this episode, I'll ... I'll ... I'll do something!
Crosby needs to grow up but, really, that's just Crosby. That's his character. I don't really care one way or the other about The Luncheonette though I wouldn't mind seeing them hang onto it just to spite Kristina. 
 
Can you tell I don't like Kristina? (It speaks well for Monica Potter as an actress though because I happen to really like her.  I just want to kick Kristina Braverman in the babymaker.)             

Aaaaaand speaking of The Luncheonette, maybe this will be where things aren't tied up in a pretty bow. I'm hoping they don't come up with a perfect solution and one of the brothers has to compromise, maybe they can even end with a little residual Adam/ Crosby tension. "I love ya, bro, but I'm still pissed" type of thing . . . all while Camille rolls her eyes.

It'll be over this evening and I'm not ready.

I don't know what I'm going to do with my Thursday nights. 

Don't gooooooo, Bravermans!  Don't DO IT.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Buckle Up Assholes

I saw this on Instagram the other day (yeah, I get a lot of content from IG ...)


It made me think. 

My initial reaction was something like, "heh. Yep. Buckle up and just wait, homeslice. Just. You. Wait."

But then I thought a little more about it. Because I'm an overthinker and, yes, I'll even analyze an e-card some random person posts on Instagram. And here's the thing: in May, I'll be officially halfway through my 30's. And the past half decade has been one hell of a crazy ass ride. Crazy. Crazy, crazy. But, on the flip side, I'm happy. I'm more content than I've ever been in my life. 

The thing with your 30's is that those decisions you made in your 20's come into some kind of fruition. Marry the wrong person on your 20's? Divorce in your 30's. Ruin your credit in your 20's? Can't buy a house in your 30's. Lived off pizza and beer in your 20's?  Fat in your 30's. Dropped out of college in your 20's?  Stuck in a dead-end job in your 30's. One night stand in your 20's? Your new OBGYN in your 30's. (I swear, that one's not from personal experience. No comment on the rest.)

Basically I'm saying, if your 30's screw you then it's probably because of the dumb shit you pulled in your 20's. And if you're reading this and you're, like, 26 or 27 and thinking, "uhhhh, no. Not me."  Well, buckle up there, asshole. Because 95% of those of us firmly in the over 30 crowd would've sworn up and down that we had our shit together too. 

Of course, there's a catch-22 in all of this (there's a catch-22 in practically everything, amiright?) We all say, "I'd go back and relive those years if I knew what I know now." The premise of that statement being, of course, that we'd do a lot of things different. But when you get into that who knows how differently life would've turned out if you'd done a little something different here or there. And different? Not always better. 

So, yeah, the decisions of your 20's are (probably) waiting to take you for a wild ride in your 30's. But you know what? It's kinda worth it. 

Buckle up, assholes. Your 30's are the new prime of your life. 

(Though all my over 40 friends swear that's when life begins. Who knows. In ten years, I could be writing about all the dumb shit I did in my 30's.)


Monday, January 26, 2015

Reversing the Reverse Divorce Diet. Yes, AGAIN.


My favorite kind of chip growing up was Guy's barbecue flavored. They were sold at the IGA and they were the best. I haven't been able to find any for years and years and years but my brother recently moved to a town that sells them at the local Alco. We had some when I was at his house after Christmas and, I swear, they tasted like pure nostalgia. Eating them was chopped ham sandwiches and my dad and Harm's IGA with the cute guy who buffed the floors and 25 cent cokes in the machine. 

Josh also gifted me my very own bag of Guy's barbecue chips and I decided - since I was going to try to drop the holiday pounds/ once again reverse that reverse divorce diet* - that bag of chips would remain unopened until my jeans fit again. J is desperate to open them and I had told him maybe for the Super Bowl ... IF my jeans fit. Well, here we are at Super Bowl week and - barring a miracle - those chips will probably (or, ya know, definitely) remain unopened. 
 
(*I've decided I'm going to continue to blame any weight gain on the reverse divorce diet until . . . I don't know.  It just seems like a convenient thing to place blame upon)

It's been harder for me to lose weight and it's all my fault. I can try to pull the "I'm in my 30's and my metabolism is slowing!" card. But, yeah, it's all me and it really comes down to two things:

1) I'm not working out like I was. There was a time when I wouldn't leave the gym until I'd melted 1000-1200 calories. And I was doing that four or five times per week with smaller workouts at home on the days I wasn't a gym rat. 

Wellllll. My gym closed and I've been working out at home. I CAN work out at home. I definitely can. Home workouts are how I initially lost weight. But once you get into the gym mindset ... I don't know how to describe it. It's different and I've found it more difficult to be motivated to workout at home. 

2) I'm way more social than I used to be. And, let's face it, I'm never going to be that girl who orders a salad at dinner. 

I've been working on making better choices when I do go out. A couple weeks ago, my friend and I were discussing where to go for dinner.  We both wanted seafood. Instead of heading somewhere like Flying Fish for a deep fried extravaganza, we went for hibachi. So much easier to make better choices! I skipped on the rice altogether, killed my veggies (and yeah, yeah all that butter but still ... veggies) and ate less than half of my chicken and shrimp. It wasn't a perfect choice or a "diet" choice by any means but was still better than diving headfirst into a plate of all the fried things. 

(Also, we won't discuss last Thursday and how there were margaritas. And tacos. And a shrimp cocktail thingy. And guacamole.  It was my cheat meal, okay?)
 
The point: having a social life makes it hard to lose weight!
 
I started tracking my food again last week and have logged everything since.  This is honestly the most helpful tool for me because it keeps me in check (unless it's a Thursday night and my friend's birthday and El Porton has $1.25 tacos.) 
 
I thought I would share a few things I've been eating:



 
I love Chipotle.  I love it so much and so hard and I would totally marry it.  I can't afford to eat there every day and I know I can make it healthier at home anyway.  I use quinoa, black beans, fajita veggies, cheese, taco seasoning, and lots of salsa.  It's so good and this "burrito bowl" is all of 260 calories.  And super filling!
 
I made these Skinnytaste buffalo chicken nuggets (I did strips though) last weekend.  I totally made horrible for me sides to go with them.  FAIL.  But the strips themselves were super good.  The boys LOVED them too and they'll definitely go into our rotation.
 
Another delicious one from Skinnytaste was the chicken Panini.  So easy and so delicious.  I didn't have any ciabatta bread but I think that probably saved me a few calories.  I actually made this twice last week for dinner. SO GOOD.
 
The mug cake was going around Pinterest a while back.  You mix together an angel food cake mix and a cake mix of any flavor (I used chocolate.)  Then you put three tablespoons of the mix in a mug, add two tablespoons of water, and microwave for a minute.  It's stupid easy, only 80 calories, and perfect for when you need something for your sweet tooth.  I don't love the mug cake but it's decent with some sugar-free caramel on top.
 
(I do!  I totally do!)
 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dating in Your 30's


I'm not going to write a great deal about dating and definitely no specifics (i.e.  He wore a red shirt; was only 5'6 at most; his bald spot was bigger than my entire head.) This decision is mostly out of respect to my children and the fact that they might just read this one day. But I did want to write a few things I've learned since dipping my toe back in the dating pool.

1) This. 


This is huge and it sums up 110% how you have to walk into a date. You can't go in wondering if they won't like you. Go in KNOWING they'll like you and wondering how you'll feel about them. 

2) You can't go into any date ever thinking you're going to meet your soulmate or the love of your life. 

Let's be real: (most) dating these days is done online. It's rare you're going to meet anyone at Kroger. We know from the experience known as our 20's that you're not likely to meet quality people at a club. And who wants to go to the club anyway?? So you go online. And you might have amazing online/ texting chemistry with someone that doesn't translate when you meet face-to-face. It's going to happen and it has nothing to do with YOU. As long as you're yourself, you're doing the best you can. Roll with it. 

3) Sometimes you'll go on a date ... and come out with a really good friend. 

This has happened to me twice. I've gone on dates with two different men that I'll never have relationships with, there just wasn't chemistry that way. But I gained two friends from those dates. One is the guy I can call when I need help moving something heavy or need recommendations on where to sign up the boys for soccer. The other is my #1 go-to when college football is on and I need someone to text shit talk with.

4)  (Some) Men Never Change. 

Even in their 30's and 40's, (some) men still immediately try to get you into bed. 

"Do you want to go back to my place?" or "I wish you would've come home with me last night" are immediate first date deal breakers. You're not getting a second date with that ish, buddy!

5) The only thing sexier than a nice guy is a good dad. 

Obviously, you can't know that someone is a good dad just in what they say but I'm a firm believer in being able to tell by how they say it. And, man, a good dad is HOT. 

6) Just because he's a nice guy doesn't mean you'll have chemistry. 

I say it all the time: nice guys are sexy! And they are. But that doesn't mean you're going to have chemistry. This has been hard for me to "get." There have been times I've told girlfriends, "he's so sweet! He treats me so well. But there's just nothing there." It happens. You're not a bitch or an asshole for not continuing to date someone just because he's nice. 

7) But you also have to be grown when it's time to end something. 

THIS IS SO HARD. Telling someone you're not interested or you don't think it's going to work, potentially hurting their feelings, is HARD. But whomever you're dating deserves to know. 

8) Men age too. 

I mean, duh, no brainer. Of course they do. Women don't look the same in our mid-30's as we did at 19. We may start sprouting a few gray hairs, wrinkles, crow's feet. We have babies and our stomachs stretch and our boobs droop. And we expect men to embrace that and be okay with it (and unless they're douches, they do!) We also have to embrace that a 35-year-old man may have a receding hairline or bags under his eyes or a beer belly. It happens. We age. 

9) Most men aren't phased by kids. 

I've never had a single person have any issue with the fact that I have three kids. And not all men I've dated have been dads. In my experience, guys just really don't care. This is surprising in a lot of ways. I can't begin to tell the number of friends I have who've said, "no one is going to want to date me! I have _x_ kids!" Nope. Not an issue, not at all. 

One other little nugget of advice I'll give: I began dating not that long after making the decision to separate from my ex. I know there are people who judge this sorta thing (heck, maybe I was one once upon a time!) but ending a marriage is different than breaking off any other relationship. You don't do it until you're done, until it's over, until you've given you're all and you know there's no chance to save it. So, yes, I started dating but that was it: dating. Having fun. Meeting new people. My mantra was "a girl's gotta eat!" and my goal was to not even think about pursuing an actual relationship for at least a year. I knew I needed a year to get Brandi back before I could ever think of any sort of relationship. And I was right! I'm glad I took a year just to date and it's something I highly recommend. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday Things

1) I legitimately, honestly HATE the Super Bowl this year.

I hate it. 

I'm not even gonna watch! 

Just kidding. I'll totally watch. 

But, seriously. The Seahawks have crybaby Pete Carroll, who is quite possibly satan, as their head coach. The Patriots have Tom Brady and are a bunch of dirty cheaters. And ughhhhh. Go Hawks, I suppose. At least your quarterback seems to have slightly more humanity than just being an overpaid supermodel humping robot. 

2) So I really, seriously stuck with my diet for a whole two days last week! Then Thursday happened and I went to lunch and even though I ordered a salad instead of fries and ate my chicken sandwich sans bread, I also had a Blue Moon. 

Basically, I suck. 

I've done better this week, though, and am back to tracking my food. I'm so much more accountable when I track. We'll see how long this lasts but at least the remainder of January and all of February are boring months without much going on (exception, of course, is the Super Bowl which I'm sure will be an all out gluttony fest.)

3) My boys got their report cards last week. Perfection for Kyan and almost perfection for J. Second grade has been much tougher on him so I'm pleased with "almost" perfection. As long as he's trying. 


4) When I was J's age, I already loved to read SO MUCH. My boy, though, not so much. He comes home with library books that are basically glorified picture books about basketball teams (hey, the kids knows his passion.) I obviously don't expect my children to be just exactly like me but fostering a love of reading is very important to me. J got Derek Jeter's book "The Contract" for Christmas. Guess who has been reading it every night?
Me. 
To Karis. 

5) On this weekend's agenda: American Sniper! Can't wait to see it. And, after I've seen it, I'll read the book. 

6) The weather has been fairly nice for January. Of course, that means the bottom is about to drop out and it's going to get cold again. The weekend was amazing, though. My boys spent all of Saturday and Sunday outside. Made me ready for spring to get here! 

7) Here's a sign you watch too much of the ID channel:

Six-year-old walks in: "What're you watching?"
Me: "I think it's 'Who the Bleep did I Marry.'"
Six-year-old: "Oh. I thought it was 'Wives with Knives.'"

I mean, when my kid knows the names of the shows ...

8) I'm getting a little tired of Trivia Crack telling me science is my worst category. Already knew that, Trivia Crack! Already knew that. 

9) Is Tom Haverford now in charge of naming Sonic menu items?
Lil fry fry chickies!

10) I do. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Coletta's

Coletta's is an Italian restaurant with two Memphis area locations. And when you admit to never having eaten there, you're generally greeted with shock. And something like, "ARE YOU SERIOUS? Ohhhh. We're so totally going to Coletta's!" It took me five years but I can now say I've been to Coletta's. Twice, even!

They market themselves as the oldest restaurant in Memphis and also claim to have served Elvis's favorite pizza.  Let's be real, though, this is Memphis.  Every single place here claims to have some kind of Elvis connection.  It's par for the course.

My first visit, my friend and I split an order of spinach dip. It was amazing but, let's be real, I haven't met many spinach dips I don't like. My entree was the chicken parmigiana, good but I was underwhelmed. I left after that first visit wondering what the big deal was. 

My second visit, we redeemed things by ordering a carafe of sangria as our "appetizer." I was a little disappointed in the presentation. WHERE WERE THE CHUNKS OF FLOATING FRUIT? But, it was a really good sangria. Really good. We noshed on the {super delicious} bread while waiting for our entrees. I ordered the cannelloni and was blown away when it was delivered to me. IT.WAS.HUGE. (Seriously -- I had leftovers for lunch the next two days!) It was also very, very good. Not too salty, just cheesy enough, and miles ahead of the chicken parmigiana. My friend had the veal and gave it two thumbs up. 

I will say that I tried the Appling location both times and have been told the original, on East Parkway, is overall better.  No complaints here, though, especially not when it came to the second visit.
 
Both visits the service was impeccable. The ambience is on point. Memphis certainly isn't known for its Italian food but I think Coletta's is probably the place to go in town when you're craving it. 

Next up: the barbecue pizza everyone raves about!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

#Lifegoals

So a few days ago I was perusing Instagram, bored, checking out various pics. I clicked on one because, not gonna lie, caught my eye. Why? Beautiful couple, beautiful beach in the background.

The woman was skinny and pretty and the guy was toned and the beach was pretty much out of a travel guide. One of the comments caught my eye ... #lifegoal. 

And, I though, what's the life goal?

The banging body?
The signif other with a banging body?
The dream vacation?

And that got me thinking ... why are these the #lifegoals we covet?

I'd rather have a partner that can make me laugh than one with a banging body. 
I, myself, would rather eat that piece of cake or enjoy that cocktail than have a banging body. 
I love to travel but I'd never call a beach a life goal. 

To each their own and all but what if we hash tagged #lifegoal on pictures of things like ...

... A college diploma
... A four-year-old sleeping in her own bed
... Day five of a family vacation with zero arguments or meltdowns (wait, no, that would be #dreamon)
... Perfecting a guacamole recipe
... Accepting yourself for who you are, flaws and all
... Securing a mortgage
... Improving your credit score
... Landing a dream job, or even just a job you don't absolutely hate going to every single day
... Living right next door to your BFF
...Or maybe just living in a neighborhood with people who like throwing block parties, will watch your kids in a pinch, who will collect your mail when you're out of town
... Being able to afford a vacation every summer

THOSE are the kind of #lifegoals that mean so much more than just . . . looking good and being on the arm of someone who looks good.

(Also, why couldn't the whole #lifegoals thing died with 2014?  It could've taken hashtags in general right along with it . . . )

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