25 Drinks And What They Should Actually Be Called

In case you wanted to know where you rank on the drinking scale, check out this Thought Catalog article on 25 drinks and what they *should* be called. In case you want to know which drinks I’d be ordering, I’ll take a couple glasses of “Come Over To My Apartment To Sit On My IKEA Couch And Discuss Being 23” as well as a couple “My Tastes Are Evolved And My Teeth Are Entirely Stain-Resistant”, thank you.

Thought Catalog

1. Bloody Mary: Slutty V8

2. Champagne: Looking Incredibly Classy And Chic While Getting Shithoused

3. Andre: Looking Incredibly Classy And Chic While Getting Shithoused, Extreme Couponing Edition

4. Light Domestic Beer: My Tastes And/Or Financial Standing Have Not Evolved Since Age 19

5. Green Juice: Make Sure Everyone Sees That You’re Drinking This, And Therefore Knows You’re Healthy

6. A Trenta-Sized Iced Latte: I Need 31 Full Fluid Ounces To Contain My Basic Bitch Multitudes

7. Mimosa: It’s Brunch, I Just Finished Soul Cycle, I Deserve This

8. Barefoot Wine: Come Over To My Apartment To Sit On My IKEA Couch And Discuss Being 23

9. Cupcake Wine: Come Over To My Apartment To Sit On My IKEA Couch And Discuss Being 25

10. Whiskey Neat: Time To Prove To This Bartender That I Am Cool As Shit

11. Cosmopolitan: I Could Not Care Less What This Asshole Bartender…

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Literal Adventures: Frenchie’s First Fish Dish

While I’ve always had visions of motherhood and wifehood, greeting my husband at the door in an apron and telling him to get the kids all cleaned up while I bustle around the kitchen making dinner, the sad truth is, I was having those visions while waiting for my Lean Cuisine pasta to finish cooking in the microwave. But at the start of this year (and after finding someone who might actually want to stay with me for longer than the 2013-2014 school year), I decided that I would venture to make dinners that my parents would be proud of and any potential mother-in-law might actually be happy for her son to eat.

Tonight, when dinnertime approached, I went through my routine fridge-to-freezer check to rummage for food. When I opened my freezer, I saw a pack of frozen tilapia that I’ve had for a while (not a gross while, like a few months, don’t judge me). I felt a wild hair and decided that today was the day. Today was the day I would make fish that wasn’t just waiting to be plunked on a cookie sheet and tossed in the oven. Today was the day I seasoned and cooked my own fish just like cavemen of yore.

Step one, however: Figure out how to thaw fish.
Naturally, I Googled, and found this thawing fish quickly tip on the food blog Make LIfe Special. As I scrolled through, I found a Baked tilapia recipe at the bottom of the page. Baked tilapia? Sounds easy enough. I decided to give it a try.

Here’s a quick look at the recipe:

Ingredients
  • 4 Tilapia fillets
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, divided into 4 pieces
  • Old Bay Seasoning, to taste ( I sprinkle this liberally on both sides of the fillets)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 slices

Here are the things I had:

  • 2 Tilapia fillets
  • A whole stick of butter
  • …Poultry seasoning?
  • Garlic salt
  • No lemons. I totally have oranges, but that would be gross.

But I did the best I could with what I had, which was still a lot. I’m sure the Old Bay Seasoning adds a particular type of flavor to the tilapia, but I’m not trying to be Emiril Lagasse, here. I’m just trying to feed myself. Here are the instructions:

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish.
  2. Place tilapia fillets in the baking dish. Sprinkle both sides of the fillets with Old Bay Seasoning and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
  3. Top each fillet with a pat of butter and a lemon slice.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Here’s Vickie’s final product:

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Here was mine (sans lemon because, remember, I only had oranges):

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I decided to make some linguine to go with the tilapia and used this simmer sauce from Safeway:

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The Final Product:

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The Verdict: On a Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum scale, I’d give the tilapia I made a Yum Yum Mm. (That’s like 3 stars out of 5).
It was pretty good considering it was my first time making fish that didn’t come pre-cooked in a box. I will admit that I went light-handed on the seasoning for fear that I would smother the fish with way too much, but I think it could have used some more poultry seasoning. Also, I should probably get Old Bay or some other sort of seasoning for different tastes. But the parts of the fillets that had more seasoning on them were tastier so I’ll definitely keep that in mind for next time.

Also, not fish related, but I think I’ll go for a heavier sauce next time I make the tilapia with pasta, just to give a bit more weight to the meal which is pretty airy between the lightness of the fish and the lightness of the simmer sauce.

And on a college kid dinner making laziness scale rating from 1-5 (since I’m too lazy to think of a more clever rating scale), 1 being throw it in the oven easy and 5 being lots of bustling, I give this recipe a 2. Not too much prep, and most of the waiting time is waiting for the fish to come out of the oven.

But not too shabby for my first time.
Looks like I’m Mother-In-Law approved after all…or at least I will be with some more practice and dishes under my belt.

Lessons For The Emotional Handyman

My Dad is and always has been a fixer. If anything broke in our house, he fixed it. If anything came off of its hinges, he’d fix it. If a nail popped out of some hole, he could tell you what painting it was holding up, who painted it, and in what style and era. He fixed everything.

When I was a little kid, I used to think, “Wow, my Dad can fix anything. I want to be like that. I want to fix things!” But my mother bought me a kitchen set as a little girl and not a tool set (gender is a social construct) so I couldn’t fix things with hammers and screwdrivers.

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Since I couldn’t use my Dad’s tools, I had to use tools of my own. And with those tools I became an expert at fixing things, but not the things my Dad was fixing: toasters, door frames, roofs and the like. No, with a different set of tools I decided to fix different sorts of problems. I became an emotional fixer.

I was very good at being an emotional fixer. Too good in fact. SO good, that I’d often put myself behind at least three other people to make sure that they were getting what they needed. I whipped out my tools quickly whenever people approached me as an emotional fixer-upper. Patience? You got it. I’d whip it out. Time? Of course! Endless amounts. And I’d whip that one out. Regular compliments and stories to make you feel good about yourself? Right here in my tool belt! If you had a problem I was the one to fix it, no questions asks, no wait time, 24/7.

But as the years went by and the longer I dabbled in being an emotional fixer, I found myself getting worn out and tired. I started to ask questions like, “Why am I always ready to give someone an emotional jack when I can’t find someone to help me move an emotional box from one part of my brain to another?” “Why am I available 24/7 for emotional service when I can’t seem to find anyone to help me during normal business hours?” “Why do I care when people ignore the appointment cards I leave them or don’t ask me to help when I can tell they’ve got an emotional chip in their paint?” I was a fixer, but my hobby seemed to have become a job, one that I was getting tired of performing. Yet at the same time, I couldn’t seem to give it up. I’d still get up when my phone rang, pick up my tool kit, do my job, then come home and sulk. And when your hobby starts to feel like a job, it might be time to get a new hobby.

The fact is I like helping people, especially those I care about, but it’s taken me a long time to realize that it isn’t my job. It is not my life’s work to fix everything that goes wrong with the people around me. I can’t. It’s impossible. Things are going to go wrong. Their feelings will get hurt. They’ll get insecure. They’ll get sad. But it is not my job to run for my emotional tool belt and fix them.

I never realized it, but I was learning a lesson when I would ask myself why others didn’t seem to make as much time for me as I did for them or when I would talk to someone and they wouldn’t pay me as much interest or give me the reassurance and hope that I would do my best to give them. I was learning that sometimes, you just can’t. You should make time for the people you love and you should do your best to help them, but you can’t always drop everything to do that. And you shouldn’t. Because you are not at anyone’s beck and call. And you shouldn’t feel like you’ve done something wrong because someone isn’t coming to you for help. It is not your job to be someone’s emotional repairman and when they start to see you that way, you’re the one who ends up frustrated and worn. You deserve peace of mind too. You deserve a chance to think to yourself, without having to worry about what’s wrong with someone else. What’s good with you? How are you doing?

So it’s okay to hang up your emotional tool belt for a day or two. It’s okay to tell someone “you’ll talk to them later” or to say you aren’t available right now. It’s okay to see someone having trouble but they don’t want to talk to you about it even though you asked. All of that is just fine. You aren’t selfish. You aren’t a bad friend. You don’t have to wear that fixer hat every day. You were not chosen by your loved ones because they assumed you would fix all of their problems. After all, let’s face it- we all have those loved ones that are impossible to fix…
You were chosen because they wanted to be around you – the person you are without that fixer hat. And it’s okay to just want to be that person. It’s okay to just be that person. It’s okay to take off that tool belt (or at least take a few breaks).

Unapologetically Lady Thoughts

As we say goodbye to March and hello to April we may be quick to forget that March was National Women’s Month. And while it’s flattering to know that there’s a whole month dedicated to my XX chromosomes, I, personally, like to live every month like it’s Women’s Month. What does that mean? It means unapologetically being my womanly self, emphasis on the words unapologetically and my.

When it comes to talking about women and gender equality in our society, it’s common to come across people who have a particular picture of what being an unapologetic woman means and what beliefs that woman will have. Sometimes, some people think it means being dedicated to crushing the patriarchy and squeezing the balls of Man with your bare hands until they explode, thereby finally giving women the power they deserve. To others, being an unapologetic woman might be wearing and sassily walking in high heels and lifting and separating our sweater sisters while smiling at guys through red painted lips because we can.

But being an unapologetic woman doesn’t have to mean being an extreme (or being a caricature for that matter). Being a woman unapologetically means being yourself, being the woman you are, regardless of what others (male and female) think “being a woman” means. It means wearing yoga pants to class every day among girls in tight jeans and skirts. It means wearing tight jeans and skirts to the grocery store. It means buying twelve packs of beer from the grocery store, regardless of dress. And it means drinking those twelve packs of beer on the couch while watching a baseball game and burping loudly in front of your TV.

It means wanting to be married and raise a family. It means never wanting to change a baby’s diaper.
It means believing it’s wrong terminate a pregnancy and it means believing that everyone’s body is theirs and that they have their own choice.

Unapologetically being a woman means unapologetically being the person you want to be and standing up for being that person.

We as people, and especially as women, need to remember that while we are similar, we all are not all the same. We share the same title – woman – but we all have different wants and needs and beliefs and desires and we aren’t always going to agree with each other. But we won’t get anywhere by putting each other down just because we don’t see eye to eye. Conversation is what solves conflict, not insulting the validity of one’s being. I’ve known women who have dismissed others because they didn’t feel as strongly about a gender issue as they did, saying that they should be ashamed of themselves as women for being on the wrong side, making the disagreeing women feel like they aren’t “correctly” being women. But the thing about it is there is no correct way. The correct way is your way; the correct way is the woman you are. You don’t have to be your neighbor’s woman or your mother’s woman or society’s woman. The only woman you should be or have to be is the one you want to be.

The take-away is this: If I had to list some of the things about myself according to other peoples’ standards of womanness, I’d have a two to three item list. But I refuse to reduce myself to that:

  1. Despite my semi-perfectionist tendencies, my room is always a mess.
  2. I could live off of burritos and pizza my entire life.
  3. I stick my hair to shower walls and am sometimes impressed when it’s still there the next day.
  4. I rarely wear pants.
  5. I have a weird voice that isn’t very girly.
  6. I love kids but they terrify me at the same time.
  7. I fight for what I believe.
  8. I’m bad at spending money/I hate spending money
  9. I care a lot about people that are close to me. Too much, even.
  10. I’m weird and unconventional. I’m all over the place, mentally and physically. I can be absolutely ridiculous…

And that’s the woman I am. A weird, awkward, pizza obsessed woman. And I’ll shout it from a rooftop, just like you should. If you reduce yourself to what is expected from you or what you’re told to be, you’ll hide the things about your womanness that is the most important part: who you really are. And we as women are stifled enough by our society. Why stifle yourself? National Woman’s Month might only be 31 days long, but the other 334 days of the year are all chances to show what kind of woman you really are, without remorse, without apology, but with womanly pride.

Who are you? What are the things about your womanness that you are unapologetic about? How do you show the world the kind of woman you are?

The Love Doctor is In: 5 Tips to Being With the Right Person

As someone who’s had a total of two, count them, two boyfriends, I know tons about dating and relationships. But being with someone for this past year has taught me a lot more about finding and knowing if you’re with the right person.

The world of dating and relationships is filled with questions (which I know because I’ve Googled them all):

How do I know he/she likes me?

When will I find the right person?

How do I know if he/she is the one for me?

Will I ever find someone who likes Cheetos as much as I do?

Before I started dating my current boyfriend, I remember having all the questions and none of the answers (because Yahoo! Answers is worthless). But in this past year of girlfriendom I’ve relationship-ed my way to the answers I was looking for. Some of the answers turned out to be a lot simpler and more obvious than I thought they’d be. Others I never thought I’d find the answers to, but here I am, sharing my wisdom (you’re welcome). So for those currently Googling “How do I know my boyfriend/girlfriend is right for me?” while their significant other is in the bathroom and for others reading an article in Cosmopolitan titled ’12 Ways to Tell If He’s Into You”, take peace – the expert is in.

First, let me state that most importantly – you are a strong, independent woman (or man) that don’t need no man.

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Sometimes I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be in relationships, to be with the right partner, to be coupled. Sometimes we see our friends or peers in relationships and we start to think, “What’s wrong with me?” But the answer is nothing. Regardless of what magazines, movies, books, tv shows, and your mother say, being in a relationship really isn’t that important. What’s important is you: understanding you, knowing who you are and what you need, being with you, loving (or at least liking) you. Because at the end of the day, when everyone is gone, you’re left with you. And if you don’t like being with you, how will you convince someone else to? We’re all messes regardless but before you start looking for someone to mesh their mess with yours, learn to love your messiness first, which can take a while, but that’s okay. It’s cool to wait!

Just kidding. Waiting is the worst. I’ve spent plenty of nights alone eating animal crackers and watching Law and Order in my bed. And I’ve kissed dozens of frogs (not that all of you boys were frogs, some of you were lovely). But it wasn’t always fun and sometimes it felt lonely. But I waited. I kissed frogs. And then a prince showed up and all that waiting was worth it. All the waiting and complaining and crying and listening to friends say, “I can’t believe you’re not dating anyone yet, you’re like PERFECT!” was over. And that will come for you, which I can only say because I know it will, because it happened to me when I was convinced it wouldn’t.

And it’s thanks to the guy who came along that I’ve learned these five things to look for while trying to find someone to be with or when trying to figure out if you’re with the right person.

Find/stay with someone who:

1. Loves your quirks – My boyfriend thinks it’s cute that I have an obsession with eating ice cubes (did I ever mention I have an obsession with eating ice cubes?). Most people think it’s weird. I think it’s weird. But he accepts it. Because he accepts me. And along the accepting lines, find/stay with someone who…

2. Loves the things you’re insecure about – I always thought I had weird thighs. For a while, my legs reminded me of tree trunks. And not like long, Rihanna leg tree trunks. More like stumps. That is until my boyfriend gave me a little perspective: “They’re perfect set-ups for your butt. And I like that butt. But you couldn’t have that butt without those legs.” Okay, while completely true, that’s a fairly silly example…wait, here’s a better one:

I have vitiligo on my lips that I developed when I was 14. And I hated it. I thought it made me ugly. I did everything I could to hide or get rid of it. But it wouldn’t go away. Sometimes I would look in the mirror and feel miserable because of it. One day, I mentioned that I was ashamed of my lips, that I hated the way they looked. And all my boyfriend said was, “I like them.” “Really?” I asked. “Yes. They’re different. They remind me of a calico cat. And I like calicos.” And he smiled at me. And every so often, when I’d take off my lip color, he’d say, “You don’t have to hide them you know. I like them.” Over and over. “I like them. I like them. I love them.” And now, my lips are no longer a feature I’m ashamed of. I don’t try as hard to cover them up. I go to school with no lip color on. I run errands. Because someone said that they loved something that I struggled to love myself.

And while these are fairly superficial examples, the principle for any insecurity is the same. It’s important to be with someone who will embrace the things you’re insecure about and who won’t just gloss over your insecurities with a compliment or a “Don’t be silly”, but will do their best to help you see yourself in a brighter light and help you learn to love the things you’re insecure of until you can get to the point where you say, “You know what? This thing I was insecure about isn’t that bad. And I do like this about me.”

3. Who is nice to you – Now this one seems obvious but it needs to be said. I have seen too many individuals, myself included, forget that one of the most fundamental qualities in a partner should be that they’re actually nice to you. Somewhere along the line, we started to allow not responding to text messages and acting uninterested and being disrespectful to be acceptable. “That’s just how guys are now,” or “Maybe it’s me,” or “She’s just playing the game” started to become our excuses. And when something nice was done for us, we immediately think the person doing it is weird or clingy (God FORBID someone wants to talk to or even hang out with you) as opposed to thinking, “Hey, maybe this is how I’m supposed to be treated”.

Fun story: During the time when my boyfriend and I first started hanging out, there was an instance where I was texting him about my day, which had been a rough one – long and tiring. After getting home late that night, I walked into my room and saw a bouquet of flowers on one of my pillows. And I started bawling. Literally. On the floor, crying.

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It was then that one of my best friend’s greatest lines was uttered in the doorway to my bedroom: “You know, most girls would be thrilled to have flowers brought to them after a rough day. You’re on the floor crying.” To which I responded by half-crying/half-yelling, “WHY IS HE SO NICE?” I couldn’t even compute it. After being so used to being used or manipulated or ignored or forgotten, someone genuinely showing, not only that they’re interested, but that they cared about me, literally fried my circuits.

Looking back on that day from where I am now, happily in a relationship with the guy who brought me flowers that made me cry, it’s hilarious to think that at one point, a boy being nice to me was such a crazy idea to me. Because, duh, I deserve someone who’s nice. I deserve someone who wants to brighten my day when I’m having a rough time. I deserve someone who wants to be around me and wants to talk to me. I deserve someone who will treat me like they cherish me. And so do you. And the best thing about dating someone who’s nice to you from the get-go: they stay nice to you. You can tell when someone is just being nice to get what they want out of you or to keep you around. But you can also tell when someone genuinely cares and wants to treat you the right way because they want to be with you. And those guys/girls don’t change.

4. Makes you better – Relationships aren’t just about having someone to steal french fries and blankets from (although those are pretty important too). The best partner is one that accepts you for who you are but wants to see you be even better. The best partner  wants to see you achieve your goals and wants to help you achieve them. They want to see you make choices that will better you as a person. They want to see you succeed. And they’ll be there when you feel like you can’t do something or when school is too hard or when work is getting you down and they’ll pick you up because they know you have it in you to keep going. They believe in your ability to be amazing, to be the best you can be. And that’s what they want. They believe in you.

5. Makes 365 days go by in a blur – Or makes a day go by in a blur, or an hour go by in a blur, because you’re too busy living in the moment with them to keep track of the time. When you’re with someone who you love or are head over heels for, you can’t believe how quickly the time passes. One minute you’re taking a walk in the park at noon, the next thing you know the sun is setting. (One day, he’s giving you a ride home, the next, you’ve been in a relationship for a year.) And at the same time, a day without them, without hearing from them or seeing them, feels like a week because all you want is to be with them.

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As I stated previously, I know all of these things are true because I’m practically a relationship expert. But I also know they’re true because, after a long time being in the dark, feeling my way through the dungeons of dating and douchebags, I found a light at the end of the tunnel. And he’s been my light for the past year. And I never thought I’d find him. Which is why I decided to write this post, as a reminder to those with people to cherish and as a hope for those who are  feeling their way through the dating dungeon and hook-up catacombs. I never thought I’d find someone like the one I did. I thought I was destined to be discouraged and dangled on strings forever. But here I am, happier with someone than I’ve ever been.

It’s achievable.

It’s worth it.

And if you hang on long enough and find it, it’s absolutely wonderful.

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You’ve Got Something On Your Thigh…

Quick Survey:
What’s wrong with these two pictures?:

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Stumped?
I’ll give you a hint!
Peep those crotches.

Target is getting lots of heat over their spectacular photoshopping job, done with the intent of giving the model a “thigh gap”. Assuming that you, the reader, don’t have a tumblr account, here’s an FYI: a thigh gap is gap or space that is visible between the thighs when a person is standing with both of their knees touching. “What’s the point of that?” I hear you and a brood of mothers asking. Answer: there isn’t one. The popularity of and obsession with the thigh gap was, for a long time, banished to deeper parts of tumblr where teenage girls reblogged black and white picture after black and white picture of thigh gaps. But the thigh gap has been creeping its way into more of the mainstream through models in magazines, hipster blogs, and now, Target advertisements.

Look, we know that models and celebrities are constantly photoshopped on magazine covers and storefront posters. Is it unfortunate? Yes. Is it a contributor to our obsession with perfection and a driver of our need to hold up to an ideal beauty standard? Totally. But at least other magazines try to fool us by not doing a crappy job of pretending that Taylor Swift has no back rolls in this dress and that you could balance a dinner plate on her collar bones:

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It’s one thing to know you’re being lied to by a glossy magazine ad, but it’s another thing to see a blatant attempt gone bad. Because it’s that ad-gone-bad that takes the problem out of the back of your head and puts it in front of your eyes: there’s a standard for what beauty or attractiveness is and try as you might to forget it, designers and clothing companies will try their hardest (or not their hardest) to remind you. “This is beautiful and this is what goes on magazines. Not your totally normal thighs that are the right size for your body shape. These thighs with this thigh gap that’s SO REALISTIC, we had to photoshop it onto a model who also doesn’t have it. She’s probably 5’10, 125 pounds. And we STILL had to give her one. So you TOTALLY have a chance. And when you achieve that thigh gap, then you can be sexy in these (actually pretty ugly) bathing suits.”

But maybe that’s where the silver bikini lining lies in this whole thing (and I don’t apologize for that pun). Maybe we needed to see this 8th grade level photoshop job to remind us that people are trying to pull wool over our eyes, to remind us that we live in a time of war against our bodies. We’re living in a society where beauty is only skin deep and if you want to be beautiful, you have to look the way society says you should, even if you can’t achieve it. But the problem is that we still try. We starve ourselves and run for days on end hoping for a result that might never come because some things just can’t. But we’ll push and we’ll push and depress ourselves, hoping to reach a standard that isn’t even a realistic one. And for what? To look like a picture? A picture that doesn’t have the capabilities that our bodies have – the ability to give birth, the ability to move gracefully, the ability to rock a mini skirt at a bar!

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We all have our body struggles. But this can be good for us. What I hope the public, especially teen girls and young adults, take away from this snafu is the reminder that perfection isn’t a real thing. That even some of the most “perfect” bodies in the world aren’t perfect enough to be in magazines and need to be chopped up in Microsoft Paint to meet the standards society’s decided on. I hope these Target ads are one of the last straws for girls and women struggling with the perception of their bodies, girls and women who pull at the skin on their bones, wishing it would disappear. I hope they look at these and say, “You know what? I’m sick of being sold perfection. It’s time for real to be beautiful.” I hope they walk around in their bathing suits, thigh gap or no thigh gap, jiggle or no jiggle, and I hope they march through the streets, thighs swinging and confidence high. It’s time to put an end to the influence that crummy photoshops and ridiculous body expectations.

It’s time to take a step towards embracing ourselves and the amazing bodies we walk around in.
Because have you seen some of the bodies walking around lately? They’re spectacular. They’re thick, they’re thin. They’re lean, they’re petite. They’re different and unique and are as good as anyone else’s as long as they think so. And it’s taking us women and girls too long to realize that. I know it took me too long but I’m here and I’ve realized and others should too. The time to realize it is now. The time to stand for our beauty is now – on our own two thighs.

And you know what, I might save these Target photos for the day my daughter comes to me and says, “Mom, why don’t my legs look like the girls in the magazine’s?” And I’ll pull out these photos and show them to her and say, “Because you’re a real person who’s supposed to have thighs like you have. And you’re supposed to have crotch where these two girls don’t.”