Friday, July 23, 2010

Pause for a Girl Power Break

Okay, so there are some guilty pleasures I am actually ashamed to enjoy. Like, the whole Real Housewives franchise (along with the Watch What Happens after-show with a slightly soused Andy Cohen) for one. But some things I refuse to feel guilt over. And the Spice Girls are one.

Oh, sure, they won't be winning any Grammy's any time soon, but that was some straight-up awesome pop music that they put out there for a few years. And despite wearing truly tiny outfits, they were way more body-positive than any of today's pop princesses. It was good, old-fashioned fun. And no matter how old I am, I will alway be a screaming little teenybopper in the face of the fab five.

I missed the reunion tour because the evil overlords rescheduled the New York dates to put them smack dab after my arrival in Prague for my semester abroad. But apparently there might be a DVD of the tour on the way, because there are professional-looking videos that have leaked of a few songs. So here's my favorite for you to watch. This was the only way I could figure out to embed a YouTube video, sorry it's a little, um, sad. Look it up for the way it's meant to be enjoyed. Crank up the jam!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Big Reveal

You would think I'd be done celebrating anniversaries. I mean, how many can there be? Graduating, blogging, there are only so many things you can mark the years with. Well, there's one more thing, and it's something not everyone knows I've been doing. On July 20th 2009, I decided that while I was looking for work, there was something I could change without sending out a resume and going in for an interview.

I decided to lose some weight.

I started keeping a food diary, counted all my calories and kept them down according to what my body supposedly needed. I don't know what flipped the switch for me, but I just decided to see what I could do and give it a try. Eventually I got a Basal Metabolic Rate test at the doctor's office for the real numbers. Day by day, I just made the choice to keep going.

I didn't write about it here, and I didn't post it on Facebook. My family and some friends knew, but I wasn't really advertising it. There didn't seem to be a reason to remind people that I was fat. Especially since I had lost weight in high school and gained it back in college. That's one thing I didn't want to get from my four years at Sarah Lawrence. I created a separate blog to talk about my new way of eating, but really, after you talk about being hungry or how to get in extra steps, it seemed a little boring to tell people about my newfound love of Lean Pockets and cocoa-roasted almonds.

Today, though, I'm just going to ignore the embarrassment of talking about having been fat to talk about not being fat anymore. I mean, I'm no Kate Moss, but then, I'm not on crack. I've lost more than a hundred pounds, I can shop for clothes wherever I want, and I just feel better. I don't plan on running a marathon any time soon, but you never know, maybe I'll do one of those weird ones Austin does so well.

So in celebration, I admit my weight loss to the blogosphere. Now I just need to decide on my celebratory dessert of choice...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Is It All Felicity's Fault?

I've been wondering why I'm still so focused on college, even a year later. I also wonder why I had always seen it as the goal, rather than just the means to an end. Part of it has to be the fact that today's culture builds up your college years the same way it does turning sixteen and other hallmarks of youth. College is billed as "the best four years of your life." Not only does that make every crappy day you have in college feel twice as bad, it makes graduation loom more darkly than it rightly should.

No one ever tells you, "Oh, I miss those first few years after college searching for a job and slogging up the corporate ladder." So not only do you find yourself without your own personal map for your life, you don't even really have that great a social script to go by. There are some shows about twenty-somethings making good, but not many. But there was at least one television show that was pivotal in creating the concept of the epic years of college: Felicity. A cerebral (read: a little bit dorky) girl goes to New York in search of a high school crush, and finds herself in the process. Sure, there was a lot of wishy-washy romance going on (and a truly bizarre time-travel storyline near the end there), but the main point was clear, four years to decide the rest of your life. Once they graduated, the show was over. Add to the fact that most young adult shows take place in high school, with college as the goal, and if they make it to college, they very rarely make it past graduation, and you have a whole set of stories that map out what everything up to college means. After that, you're on your own.

Of course, I know what to do without TV Guide telling me. But in terms of the social script, I'm improvising more than usual. And I love a script. So I'm trying to write my own, through this blog and just in my own head. JJ Abrams might not be making a show out of it (though it would be a drastic shift after the final season of Lost), but I am.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Dessert Intern Tempts Again

I'm no master baker, but the act of baking speaks deeply to my love of order. Follow the recipe, weigh out all the necessary ingredients, add them together and it will equal something tasty. It's like math. Delicious, delicious math.

I like cupcakes because they are portion-controlled by definition, and easier to frost. Plus, never underestimate the cute factor. But I can't eat a batch of cupcakes on my own. Well, I could, but the results would be digestively disastrous. So I tend to bake for others as well as myself. For two summers, I interned at Freescale Semiconductors, converting their documentation into fancy XML. After bringing in a few rounds of cookies and cupcakes, DITA, which traditionally stands for Darwin Information Typing Architecture (woo!), came to mean the Dessert Intern Tempts Again.

I may have moved from 9-to-5 cubicles to all-hours retail, but I'm still armed with baked goods. So far I've brought in a few dozen cupcakes, experimenting with marshmallows (on top, in the batter, added at the last minute, etc.) and keeping everyone motivated on those long Saturday sale shifts. Potential employers should note: not only am I highly qualified and a creative problem solver with an independent work ethic, I also bake a mean cupcake, and often. Call it bribery, but I call it team-building.

Lately, my cupcake concoctions have had one theme: marshmallows. Who doesn't like marshmallows? I've been trying to think of the best way to integrate them into cupcakes. I've dropped them on top of unbaked chocolate batter (see photo), and gently folded them into vanilla batter. Next up: added to mostly-baked cakes with a minute or two left on the oven. Look out, co-workers, I'm coming, and the chances are good that I'm bringing baked goods.