Glitz & Grammar

Life and Times of a Wannabe Writer


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April Was a Good Month

April was a good month, a really good month.

First, though I’ve tried to keep it on the DL (people still use this terminology–“Down Low”–correct?), I think it’s become fairly obvious that I have been dating a new dude. This may seem abrupt to any non-friend/family-member-readers of my blog (shout out to the two or three of you!!!) but the truth of the matter is it was not. Though I love my ex with all my heart, we were over a long time before actually calling it quits. I still don’t have a single bad word to say about the man–he was, without a doubt, one of the best human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. We just weren’t right for each other. For starters, he deserves someone far less crazy. And I? I desire someone far more crazy.

Enter my new boyfriend.

I’m not going to write about how happy this guy makes me, for fear of jinxing whatever the hell weird thing it is we’ve got going on. To be honest, it makes me nervous to even mention the fella at all. Who knows where we’ll be in a couple of months? All I know is that right now I am having the time of my life with someone unlike anyone I’ve ever met before.

Anyway, whatever. One of the reasons April was so dope was because I got to spend a weekend in my favorite city on planet earth, San Diego, with the aforementioned new dude. We bar hopped downtown, took a ferry to Coronado, saw not one but TWO Padres games, AND…one of our friends even got so drunk she actually peed her pants! It was awesome! I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard and had so much fun. Not just when this chick peed herself, but like, the whole trip in general. Here are a few pics from that glorious weekend:

GoPads

Coronado

GoPads2

You may have noticed that I’ve censored my new dude. Again, just trying to avoid any potential jinx-age.

In addition to our San Diego getaway, New Dude and I attempted to cross off a bucket list item of mine: banging at a drive-in movie theater. Although we were unable to bang (who knew drive-ins were still such happenin’ venues?!), I did enjoy my first drive-in experience. We saw Captain America 2, which kinda sucked (#DCgirlforlife), but whatever. The company and Jersey Mike’s sandwiches we snuck in were GREAT.

IMG_5366

April is also the month of Easter. You probably already knew that. But the special thing about this particular Easter was that it happened to fall on the same day as Greek Easter. In my family, Greek Easter was always a way bigger deal than “Real Easter.” And even though I wasn’t near my family to celebrate in our normal fashion, I kept the tradition alive by making tsougrisma eggs for my own enjoyment. I think it made my YiaYia pretty proud.

GreekEaster

Other cool stuff that happened this month:

I dyed my hair blonde! Like, hella blonde. Not just the last few inches, wimpy ombre shit I normally rock. We’re talkin’ root-to-split-end BLONDE, yo! Check it:

Photo on 2014-04-30 at 13.51^FYI, that’s not a duck face. It’s just how I smile when there’s a camera pointed at me. If you don’t believe me, you can consult the 12-years-worth of yearbook photos I’ve got that prove so. Don’t be a dick.

I started working out! No, seriously! I got a membership at Las Vegas Athletic Club and have actually been going there and attempting to utilize their scary exercisical machinery! In addition to frequenting this particular meat market a few times per week, I’ve been seeing a personal trainer at City Athletic Club. It’s only been a few weeks, but I’ve already noticed some improvements in my slightly chubby, 13-year-old-boyish figure.

IMG_5384^Oh yes I did just post that!

I found a ukulele teacher! Here’s a quick vid of the few cords I learned during my first lesson with him:

There’s been some other cool stuff to happen this month, too. I went to my first Vegas Foodie Fest! (Sushi Burrito, where you been my whole life?!) and booked a flight to Reno next month to watch my baby brother graduate from college. I finally got to check out the Container Park in Downtown LV that everyone’s been hyping, and went clubbing for the first time since I can even remember. News flash: I still suck at clubbing.

So that’s a long blog post that has nothing to do with writing and everything to do with me, me, ME! Sorry ’bout that. But also kinda not sorry. Because as much as I love writing to share stories with other people, I also sometimes write to get the good times down on paper so that years down the road, when I’m down and blue, I can reflect on the times when I felt happiest.

April 2014 was definitely one of my happiest times :)


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Vow of Sobriety, Savings, and Skinniness: Progress, Week One

Today is day 7 of my carb/gambling/booze ban and guess what, I’M KILLING IT.

Full disclosure: I had a few half-sips to sample our new beers at work (Give me a break, I sell alcohol for a living) and I did eat a carrot, which I later learned has carbs in it (WTF).

Overall, I’d say the hardest part has been avoiding carbs. Bonkers, right? Here are a few things that have helped get me through this week:

San Pellegrino
The bubbles trick me into thinking I’m drinking a cocktail, and ordering it at restaurants makes me feel like a member of the elite, sparkling water drinking class. Sure it’s like $7 for a bottle of something that comes from the ground, but that’s still cheaper than the glass of wine or three I’d normally order with dinner so I find it justifiable.

Going to Places Other Than Bars
Shocking as it may be, there are things to do in Las Vegas aside from eating, drinking, and gambling. I took my boyfriend to his first First Friday, a monthly festival held in Las Vegas’ Art District that disproves the common notion that this city has no culture. We also went hiking with some friends to check out Mary Jane Falls up in Mt. Charleston. Although the waterfall isn’t much more than a trickle this time of year, it was a beautiful hike that we will probably revisit next spring. I just hope by that time I’m in better shape than I am now.

HikingIsHard“Guys, can we take a quick break for breathing and whatnot?”

Putting Avocado on Essentially Everything
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Avocados are the Barrique de Ponciano Porfidio of the veggie world. (Barrique de Ponciano Porfidio is a $2,000 bottle of tequila that I dream about pretty regularly.) They are delicious gifts of culinary perfection that have made my carb-less meals worth eating.

Watching Other People Lose a Small Fortune
I witnessed a guy lose 5 grand playing video poker the other day, and all within the matter of less than an hour. It made me sick to my stomach to see that many hundred dollar bills, one after another, being slipped into a machine/oblivion. And I’ve done it before. Never again.

Being Creative
Not only have I been writing every day this week, but I finally drew up my cross stitching idea in Photoshop and had it turned into a pattern using this super cool, free online program. I can’t wait to have the finished product hanging above our bed!

ThugLife(Dope, right?)

I’ve also been doing some research on Ukuleles and decided to go with a Lanakai for my first. We made a trip to Guitar Center the other day, but they didn’t have the one I wanted and rather than being normal, impulsive me and buying the one they did have for twice the price, I made the clear, conscious, and responsible decision to look online for the exact uke I had in mind.

Treating Myself
I allowed myself to use some of the money I saved by not gambling or buying booze on a super sick new burse. A burse is a book that’s been transformed into a purse. Since books and purses are two of my favorite things, I bought it for myself guilt-free, something I wouldn’t normally do were I in the hole however many hundred dollars that week from gambling away all my tip money.


Burse
(Want a burse? I got mine at First Friday, but you can get one here.)

Finding New Guilty Pleasures
I’ve never been all that big on TV. I always thought it was expensive and rots your brain.  (Ironic, huh?) The only time I ever paid for cable in my life was when I moved in with a couple who’d already had it and they were like, “Well, if you want to live here you have to pay for half of all the utilities and that includes cable.” I did, even though I never watched a single TV show since I didn’t know how to work the remote. But now I’m just like, TV IS SO COOL! I’m up to date on current events. Want to get into a heated debate about the suspected Al Queda terror threat? Exchange ideas for fixing prison overpopulation in California? Discuss all the ways in which A Rod is a douchebag? I’M YOUR GIRL! But mostly I have become obsessed with TV because TV has True Blood on it. Yeah, I’m a little late to the party, but I just discovered True Blood and I’m completely entrenched. And since I can’t spend all day getting drunk by the pool, I spend it watching vampires have sex instead.

Anyway, as you can see, my life hasn’t changed dramatically or anything in the past week. But I can feel myself thinking more clearly, and my self-confidence is slowly finding its way back into my soul. I’m not as crappy a person as I sometimes allow myself to believe. I’ve got a lot to offer this world, but it’s going to take more positive choices like the ones I’ve made this week to finally put it out there.

#ThugLife


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The Thing About Hiking

Yesterday I went on a hike with one of my favorite people in Las Vegas. She and I both needed to clear our minds, and amidst the fresh air of Mt. Charleston seemed like a fitting place to do so.

It was the first time I’d hiked up anything since the canopy walk through Kakum when I was living in Ghana in 2006. My legs and lungs burned just the way they did when I climbed past coconut vendors who’d set up shop on the side of the hill in the African rainforest. The whole thing was very nostalgic—nostalgic and also therapeutic. I started to understand why those weird nature-y people always seem so much happier than those of us whose primary source of exercise comes from walking to the fridge and back for snack breaks during ten-hour Game of Thrones marathons. #epiphany

My attitude wasn’t so glass half-full at the beginning of our hike, however. Like, when Lauren said we’d just be doing the “moderately difficult, less than two-mile hike up Cathedral Rock,” I didn’t quite envision Mount Doom. Which was exactly what she pointed to the top of when we first got to the trail. I asked if she was joking because I assumed she must have been joking.

And she was like, “No.”

And then we did it. We made our way to the top of Mount Doom!

Most of the hike was steep and rocky. (I hear that’s pretty standard for hikes.) I slipped a few times, stubbed each of my toes at least a thousand times, and had to stop to catch my breath approximately every two minutes. When I say “approximately every two minutes,” what I really mean is “precisely every 15 seconds.” But it’s embarrassing enough to admit I can’t do something as simple as walking for two minutes without feeling like I’m going to die. So I’m not going to come right out and be all like, “Actually walking is so hard for me, I can only do it for 15 seconds without needing to take a break.”

The point is, I’m clumsy and out of shape and there are reasons I went seven years without going on a hike. It just doesn’t sound like something I’d be good at and therefore enjoy.

But here’s the thing about hiking…Turns out I really DO enjoy it! Like, even though I couldn’t breathe, my legs were on fire, and my toes bled through my socks, I had one of the best days I’ve had in a really long time. From the top of Cathedral Rock, I felt at peace for the first time in years. It was as though I left all my problems at the bottom of the mountain and, if only for an hour, I was completely free from the worries and responsibilities that consume my daily life. I even got to feed a squirrel some nuts, for which Lauren (who is a health freak nursing student) quickly reprimanded me. Here is a video of me trying to hand feed the squirrel some nuts after Lauren is just like, “You are for sure going to get rabies”:

And here are some photos from our hike:

someone left me a note

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Mount Doom

back sweat

lonely tree

did it

This morning when I woke up and rolled over to kiss my boyfriend, I screamed in agony as I felt the result of every step taken yesterday shoot through my butt muscles like a million tiny samurai swords. “Moderately difficult” my ass. (Get it?)


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Video Montage: A Year in Vegas with Jess and Kim

It’s no secret that I’m head over heels in love with my roommate, Kim. (And if this is news to you, you obviously never read this post. Why not?) Throughout a lifetime, we only come across a few people who understand – and genuinely accept – us for who we are. Kim is one of those.

Thank you for one of the best years of my life, Kimberly Ann.

Oops. Jk, jk. Check it out here instead: THIS LINK OUGHTA WORK, YO


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An open letter to Las Vegas drivers

Okay Las Vegas, here’s the deal. It’s looking like it might rain again today so I figured I’d better take a sec to let everyone know that everything is going to be all right. Yesterday’s sprinkle seemed to have sent you people into a tizzy, but I’m hoping we all learned a thing or two about precipitation and how it doesn’t really fuck your life up as much as you all apparently think it does. Please remember you can still drive the speed limit. It is not necessary to do 35 on the highway just because a little bit of water is drizzling from the sky. Just make sure to give yourself a little extra braking room and I promise you we are going to make it through this.

If you insist on driving like an idiot and that’s just kind of your “thing” or whatever, please do me a favor and get the hell out of the way of those of us who grew up driving in real weather because you people are making me absolutely bonkers. And late. You’re making me very, very late.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

Peace and love,
Jess

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