I Miss College (Or I Sound Like an @$$#%!* Post)

If I’m being honest with myself, I’ll admit that adulthood has been a colossal letdown. No part of my adult life has lived up to the promise/greatness of college.

Sure, it’s nice to have your company pay for your sushi and your room at the Four Seasons, but I miss the days when my only responsibilities involved learning new things and, on occasion, laundry.

If I’m being really honest I rarely did laundry back then….

I usually brought it home to my parents who missed me so much they took care of it without question — even when I was in grad school.

I realize it’s ridiculous I flew 3,000 miles across the country with a suitcase full of dirty clothes, but my parents needed to feel needed. (Or something.)

I had a chef and a cleaning lady in college (thank you Pi Beta Phi), and now I handle most of that business for myself.

It’s a bummer.

Well, actually, I love cooking so I don’t mind THAT part, but the cleaning could definitely disappear and I wouldn’t be devastated.

I DO miss the not learning part of college, though, desperately.

Living in LA, I fear my brain is atrophying at an alarming rate.

I try to read books and listen to NPR regularly, but even that isn’t as awesome as staying up until 3 am writing a paper on postmodernism because I need intellectual masturbation like my dog needs chicken.

Even though I’ve become proficient at laundry, I still miss the safe womb of college. I miss looking at a catalogue of courses filled with possibilities. I miss cramming for finals, and I miss 4 am dill pickle deliveries.

Somewhere in this sad lament I should probably give you a recipe or tell you about the amazing DIY Halloween decorations I found on Pinterest, but I’m not sure I can. The best I can do is show you this…

it’s a picture of my dog.

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He is the only thing that makes adulthood acceptable. 

The truth is: I could have had a dog in college, though, so that brings me right back to… missing college.

 

 

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Still #4 (Or Michigan Defeated Wisconsin)

I’m back from Michigan, and I’m pleased to report that the Wolverines are still #4 after (barely) defeating the Badgers in Ann Arbor.

Even though the game almost made me die of stress (I still can’t talk about our kicker), I had sooooo much fun!

See?

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My Panda and I reunited to party like undergrads.

Tailgating is our favorite. We had pulled pork and Doritos for breakfast. I’d show you pics of that situation, but I was too busy eating it.

(Pro tip: Slows Bar BQ in Detroit knows pig. You need it in your life.)

When I wasn’t stuffing my face, I was meeting up with old friends.

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Including my old buddy, Dhani Jones. 

Even though we hit up four tailgates, we still made it to the Big House well before kick off because we’re professionals.

Angela spent half the game pacing the stadium (see earlier kicker criticism), but here we are in our seats for a minute.

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She love Michigan as much as I do. 

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I dare say we like it more than most of the 110,000+ people pictured here. 

After we won, we kept the party going.

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I may have had to pop an extra bottle to celebrate. 

And Angela used it to chase her victory tequila because she’s a gorgeous beast….

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And my kind of Wolverine. 

On the way to our next celebration we ran into some serious fratastic action.

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College never changes.

And somehow I find that comforting.

Maybe that’s why I keep going back.

That’s all I have for now.

I’ll tell you all about my Nana’s 90th at the cottage later.

Michigan Men and Wolverine Women (Or How to Make Peet’s Maple Latte)

OK, this post has to be kinda quick because I have A LOT to do today. I’m on page 50 of my script rewrite, and I need to finish revising it this weekend. I also have a whole bunch of Grey’s Anatomy episodes to study for story structure, and I really need a massage because my body is a mess.

Oh, and I think I’m coming down with a cold.

In the spring. When it’s like 95 outside.

Whatever.

SO…

I usually limit my caffeine intake to one latte at dawn, but today I’m really dragging so I decided I needed a little more espresso in my life. Peet’s Coffee is by far my favorite in LA, and they have this totally amazing maple latte that I sometimes sip for a special treat. It’s actually made with real maple syrup (I asked), so it’s not as crazy on the glycemic scale as a Torani syrup. (This makes me happy.)

Plus, I’m half Canadian and everyone knows Canadians are genetically obligated to like maple syrup so there’s also that.

I didn’t want to schlep all of the way to Peet’s and shell out $4.75 for maple goodness when time and money were precious today, so made a maple latte at home.

See?

Here it is in my Michigan mug.

Here is my happy maple latte in my happy Michigan mug.

I made that vase for a Michigan Alumni Club event I threw last year, and the club gave me this mug as a thank you for my efforts. (Cute, right?)

Here’s another look at the latte up close — in case you don’t know what coffee looks like.

I love Michigan. And espresso.

I love Michigan. And espresso.

I know you’re probably all like, “Of course you love your alma mater. Whatever,” but I need to be honest with you.

I didn’t want to go to Michigan.

I was super, super angry my parents made me go to a state school for budget reasons, and I was very ungrateful for the opportunity to study at a top-rated university because I thought it was beneath me — and because I didn’t want to be surrounded by people from my high school who had lower test scores and lower GPAs than I had.

I also wanted to run away from my past and everyone from my high school who knew about it — only they were everywhere on campus. There were 324 of us in my graduating class, and 75 of us went to Michigan. At least 15 were in my dorm, and seeing them was hard for me at times.

In retrospect, they weren’t the problem.

My anger was.

I eventually made peace with Michigan, and now I’m also making peace with my past. Writing has played a huge part in my healing, and I’m so grateful God gave me the ability to express myself in this way.

I’m grateful I had to sit in my discomfort for four years in Ann Arbor because it made me stronger. And now I’m grateful for the opportunity to give voice to my story.

This quote I found in the Michigan Alumni magazine sums up how I feel about Michigan, and it means so much to me that a Michigan football player said it since writing a football script has helped me heal.

And that quote is held up by a magnet given to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends from high school who knows my past.

It’s held up by a magnet given to me by Kristy one of my oldest and dearest friends from high school who knows everything about my past.

I may not be a Michigan Man like that guy, but I am a Wolverine Woman, and not a very well-behaved one at that.

I never have been…

These magnets were given to me by Nicole and Sarah, two other warrior women who just happen to be Wolverines like me.

This photo of mouthy little me is held up with magnets given to me by Nicole and Sarah, two other Wolverine Women.

And by the way, I will never be well-behaved because I’m fighting for myself and for what matters to me.

So bring it on, world….

God, my maple latte, and I have got this!

Oh, and if you want to make your own maple latte to face whatever battle you’re facing, here’s how I did it:

Maple Latte

2 Espresso Shots
1 T Maple Syrup, Grade B
2/3 C Whole Milk, Steamed

Add maple syrup to espresso. Pour in steamed milk and enjoy!

Hail.

Friday is College Football Eve (Or Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad Bliss)

It’s Friday! And back in my Academy Awards days that meant blasting that Rebecca Black song on repeat until all of the other site producers had no choice but to sing along with it. (I had NO shame about hazing them.) These days, though, Friday is most notable for being college football eve.

It’s the day when I’m filled with anticipation… and absolute dread about my alma mater’s impending match up.

See, I went to Michigan, and I was there when we won the National Champion in 1997. So that means I have HIGH expectations. Those high expectations lead to devastation when we lose… and a laundry list of criticisms even when we win. Our season started off promising with decisive wins over Central Michigan and Notre Dame… then the Akron atrocity happened.

Now I’m basically rocking back and forth in a corner trying to tell myself it’s okay that we’re THE WORST 5-0 team in college football.

Instead of going on a tirade about Devin Gardner’s interception to touchdown pass ratio, I’m going to go to my happy place instead.

My happy place involves bacon.

Lots and lots of bacon….

Before our season hit the skids, I went back to Ann Arbor for the final meeting of the Wolverines and the Fighting Irish in the Big House, and I made bacon and blue cheese potato salad for the tailgate festivities. Because #duh.

The tailgate was all kinds of fabulous.

See?

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Even our photographer was having fun. #blurry

We kicked it with our old crew — our old crew with National Championship rings.

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They took the field when we didn’t seriously suck.

I may have even stolen the baby belonging to one of those guys.

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Because honestly? Who could blame me? #lookathim!

Babies are awesome, but I had to give that one back because I’m not a felon.

I digress….

Back to bacon, which may be my only reason for living if we lose tomorrow.

Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad from Dogs Dishes and Decor #bacon #football #tailgate

Behold the life saving goodness.

Basically all of our apps were wrapped in bacon because we’re beasts… and because Jesus died so I can eat pigs.

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This is how Victors eat. #baconforever

If you want to make the potato salad yourself, here’s my recipe.

Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)

1/4 C apple cider vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
2/3 C olive oil
1/4 C minced shallots
2 T fresh, minced parsley
4 lbs of small red potatoes (unpeeled)
4 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 C crumbled blue cheese
1/2 C whipping cream
12 slices of bacon
3 T fresh, minced chives
Cracked pepper, to taste
Mix vinegar, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil in a thin stream. Whisk in shallot and minced parsley.
Steam or boil potatoes until just tender. Cool slightly. Cut potatoes into 1/4″ slices. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Gently mix a 1/2 C of dressing into the potatoes.
Cook bacon in a frying pan until crispy. Crumble bacon and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together the whipping cream and the blue cheese. Mix the cheese and cream mixture into the remaining dressing. Spoon over potatoes. Add chopped celery. Top the salad with crumbled bacon and chives.

Go blue and stuff.

 

It’s Time to Talk About Elephants Part 1 (Or How to Make Elephant Favors for a Baby Shower)

Last March I threw a baby shower for my friend Katy. She and I grew up five miles away from each other in East Lansing, we both went to the University of Michigan… and we were both born August 3.

Kinda crazy, right?

Anyway, I didn’t write about the shower at the time because I was in a super huge funk.

But now?

I’m better. So it’s time to talk about the baby shower. Plus? These days her son is this darling little man who wore his Michigan onesie on August 3 just to wish me a happy birthday.

See?

Baby on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Finn knows what’s up in this Michigan business.

So anyway, the shower. Katy’s sister and I put the whole thing together.

And honestly? It really was one of the highlights of my spring. The whole idea for elephants started with this invitation and just exploded from there.

I’m going to start the Elephant Shower Series with the favors today. And then I’ll get into the menu and decorations next week.

Sound good?

Here it goes.

The favors were inspired by this DIY soy candle from Ruffled blog.

Since Katy’s not all that into scented stuff, I decided to make lemon curd instead of soy candles. I found this recipe from Ina Garten and got to work peeling lemons for days. (Just a heads up: if you do make the lemon curd, use a fine lemon zester instead of a carrot peeler and put the zest in the food processor. TRUST ME.)

I found this fabulous elephant thingy from Martha Stewart while I was wandering the aisles of Michael’s and decided to use it for the tags to make them super elephant-y.

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I used watercolor paints to replicate the look of the tags on the soy candles.  I punched the elephant shapes out with the craft punch thingy. Then I glued them on pieces of cardboard.

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When the favors were all assembled they looked like this.

Lemon Curd Favors for a Baby Shower on Dogs Dishes and Decor #elephant #babyshower #babyboy

Just in case you’re wondering about the fabric, it’s Amy Butler that I had leftover from Connor’s baby shower.

That was the owl shower that didn’t happen because he arrived five weeks early…. on August 3.

It all comes full circle.

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Connor turned one… on August 3.

Bloody Mary’s in the Land of Badgers (Or How to Make the Best Bloody Mary)

My senior year of college, my roommate, Becky, and I went to Madison for the Michigan vs.Wisconsin football game. I made many more trips to Madison after that one, but having Becky by my side for that wild weekend is one of my favorite college memories.

Barry White tunes, tasty Bloody Mary’s, late night burritos, and beating the Badgers were basically the highlights of the trip. To this day, I can’t listen to What Am I Going to Do With You – or drink a Bloody Mary – without thinking of the fall of 1999.

The Bloody Mary at State Street Brats is particularly fabulous, and it was a staple that weekend. They garnish the cocktail with a dill pickle, and as a result I am convinced a pickle is a prerequisite for a Bloody Mary.

My love of pickles is well documented, by the way. Becky will tell you. I used to roam the halls of our sorority looking for someone who wanted to order a sub sandwich just so I could have a pickle delivered to Pi Phi. She’ll also tell you lots of other things about living with me – like how I used to make her dance to the Beastie Boys in our bathrobes, how we’d read each other’s course packs aloud so we didn’t have to do our own reading, or how I’d use a pile of clothing on the floor as a pillow during all nighters so I wouldn’t fall asleep.

She could also tell you other things that are not fit to print. This is a family kind of blog.

Or something.

Let’s just let this poor boy sleep in blissful ignorance. He doesn’t need to know I used to dance on furniture. K?

So, anyway, back to Bloody Mary’s.

I experimented with some recipes I found on the Absolut site, and riffed a bit based on what I had in the house. I came up with this version I like. You can find more Bloody Mary recipes here.

Bloody Mary
Makes one small drink

4.5 oz vodka
4.5 oz V-8
1 dash of ketchup
2 dashes of soy sauce
2 dashes of Worcestershire
2-3 dashes of salsa picante
1 dash of olive juice
2 dashes of pickle juice
1 pinch of black pepper
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1 olive, finely diced
1 jalapeno slice, finely diced

Dill pickle for garnish

Place all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake. Pour the contents into a glass and garnish with a dill pickle.

The ratios are approximate and can be adjusted for personal taste. I add more pickle juice because I’m obsessed with pickles (see above). The ketchup sounds redundant since you’re adding V-8, but it’s not. It adds a hint of sweetness that nicely compliments the spicy and sour elements.

What is your favorite Bloody Mary recipe?

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On Football and Eating My Feelings (Or Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches Are Kind of My Consolation)

I eat my feelings during football season.

I grew up in East Lansing, Michigan. About five minutes from Michigan State University and Spartan Stadium, to be exact. Much of my childhood was spent in that stadium with my dad, watching his Spartans suck at football.

See, my dad went to MSU, and he’d lose his religion each time his team took the field. My dad was a usually a super polite protestant, but the minute the ball was snapped he’d become another person entirely.

The White Anglo Saxon Protestant code only allows emotional outbursts during sporting events and while behind the wheel of a car, so we have to vent a lot of frustration in short bursts. The rest of the time we’re required to drown them in alcohol and baked goods.

Luckily for us, MSU served amazing ice cream sandwiches in the stadium in the ’80s. Given the serious Spartan suck factor back then, my dad and I ate a LOT of them.

Even though I packed my bags for Ann Arbor, became a Michigan Wolverine, AND made my poor Spartan dad pay the enemy’s tuition, those memories of game day cookie sandwiches in East Lansing will always be fond.

This past weekend while I was watching my own alma mater fail at football, I made some ice cream cookie sandwiches to soothe myself. (Michigan is basically going through a rebuilding decade, and I’m kind of inconsolable about it.)

We played Notre Dame, and our quarterback, Denard Robinson, basically handed the game to the Fighting Irish.

If one more announcer says, “Denard is an exciting athlete,” I may hurl something at my television. He’s “exciting” like it’s exciting to date a musician with a meth habit. Sure, he’s an explosive runner, but he can’t do the other half of his job, which is to throw the ball to his own teammates. I can’t take much more of it. I mean, it’s like I’m watching the Spartan teams of the ’80s when I watch the Wolverines these days.

So, anyway, that’s my rant for this week. I’m done for now. It’s time to tell you about the ice cream cookie sandwiches I ate to console myself after the horror I endured on Saturday.

I used these chocolate chip cookies and some Hagen Daas for the center.

You should make some for yourself if your football team is breaking your heart. Or even if it isn’t.