Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Photo Hunt Wednesday

I recently purchased a space heater online, because both my office and my core body temperature seem to run cold.  However, there's something strange about this particular space heater...

Can you spot what's wrong with this picture? *

* Answer Key: This is not a space heater, Carrie.  This is a fan.  Which will not solve your problem of being too cold.  In fact, it will make that problem much, much worse.  But don't let that prevent you from opening the box, throwing away the receipt, plugging the fan in, turning it on, and letting it run for a few minutes, because "maybe it needs to warm up?" Then elicit laughter from nearby office-mates when you use curse words they've never heard you use before.

Monday, November 28, 2011

An Open Letter to My Credit Card Statement

Dear Branch Bank & Trust,

Mistakes were made, I’ll admit that.  But regret is a two-way street, and you shouldn’t have given me an increased credit limit if you didn’t want me to spend it, in its entirety, at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Look, I realize that fiscal responsibility is a crucial component of financial independence, but did you realize that Soda Stream was named the 2011 Product of the Year by “PB&J Mom”?  And, in the long run, it is much more cost-effective for me to make my own carbonated water and mix it with $10-per-bottle syrups that taste just as good as any generic soda on the market.  Can’t you at least try to understand that?

Credit is a funny thing.  At first, you promise to allow me the freedom to make my own purchasing decisions without question, but once I reach the dollar limit, you yank all of that away.  Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert in macroeconomics – I was an anthropology major in college.  However, I do understand basic mathematics, and I can tell you that buying something that was originally priced at $100, but is now marked down to $84, with a 20%-off-coupon, means that I’m saving almost $33 on an item that I will very probably use within the next calendar year.

In today’s era of tightening our belts and becoming more resource-savvy, I think it’s equally important to make sure that the items we purchase can withstand the test of time.  Which is why I chose that brand-name stand mixer instead of the cheaper, very-highly-reviewed alternative.  I know that the additional $300 cost might look ridiculous on paper, but that’s only because I haven’t had the chance to read the instruction manual, which is surprisingly detailed.

Nevertheless, thanks to your thoughtful emails, letters, and phone calls, I have developed a plan for getting my finances in order, which is as follows:

1. Call my parents and cry;
2. Stop having fun;
3. Pay the minimum required amount each month;
4. Cry when I realize that, by paying the minimum required amount each month, my minimum payment amount actually increases.

It is my firm belief that, by employing these four easy steps, I will be well on my way to a debt-free lifestyle within the next eight-to-nine years, assuming I make absolutely no purchases whatsoever in that same timeframe.

Thanks again for the phone calls!

Carrie             (Account #42    )

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reality Check

me:   I'm so tired of these stupid sinus infections.  I think I've been on 10 different antibiotics since January!
b:      so, does that mean we can't market you as 'organic'?
me:   [try not to laugh, try not to laugh, doesn't she know how serious this is?? ok, laugh]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Photo Hunt Friday

The new Coca-Cola winter-themed cans are here!  And just in time for the holidays!  However, I've noticed something strange about this year's designs...

Can you spot what's wrong with this picture? *

* Answer Key: If I accidentally buy one more can of regular Coke because the seasonal can looks exactly like the seasonal Diet Coke can, I am going to write a strongly-worded letter to those polar bears to tell them what's up.  I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who once said "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death, taxes, and the fact that regular Coke cans are red."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipes for the Modern, Single Lady

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is almost here!  It seems like just yesterday I was taking long summer walks on the beach, strolling hand-in-hand with my ruggedly handsome boyfriend, watching our graceful golden retrievers playfully splash around in the water, snuggling up to each other as we watched the sun set over southern California.  Oh wait, that was the Nicholas Sparks Miley Cyrus movie "The Last Song" I just watched on Netflix instant.

In any event, Thanksgiving is a time to stop and reflect upon what we're thankful for, and look excitedly toward the rest of the holiday season.  Of course, Thanksgiving is also a time for delicious food, typically of the traditional holiday variety.  However, as a young, single lady in the big city, it's been important for me to develop my own sense of tradition.  And so, this year I have decided to spice things up a bit, incorporating both classic and modern flavors into my Thanksgiving menu.

With that, I give you a few recipes that might help make your holiday a little more special.  It is my sincere hope that at least one of these "modern, single lady" dishes finds a place on your own Thanksgiving spread...

Thanksgiving Recipes for the Modern, Single Lady

Traditional Thanksgiving Dish:
Skillet Cornbread
Modern, Single Lady Dish:
Stale, Store-Bought French Bread
Tell everyone that you'll take care of the bread for "Friendsgiving," because you read on Paula Dean's website that the easiest part of a meal to make is bread, and there isn't a snowball's chance in Hell that you're going to be the sucker who gets stuck making green bean casserole.  Then realize that, by making Paula Dean's "sweet potato biscuits," you're basically turning mashed potatoes into bread, which is going to require you to finally buy an electric mixer.  When you get to Target, peruse the grocery section for nothing in particular, until it dawns on you that you could just buy bread and arrange it on a platter to look like you made it.  Leave Target without an electric mixer, but with a loaf of stale French bread, because that was the only thing they had that didn't expire yesterday.  When you get home, open a bottle of red wine and put your feet up - you deserve it, what with all the physical and emotional energy you've put into making the bread.

Traditional Thanksgiving Dish:
Spiced, Mulled Apple Cider
Modern, Single Lady Dish:
Straight Vodka
While you would really love to make spiced, mulled apple cider, who are you kidding.  You don't own a crock pot, and there's really no way you're going to muster enough energy to 'boil' anything.  So, instead, tell your friends to each bring over some juice or tonic, and you'll provide the alcohol.  Which basically means that you'll set your half-full bottles of Smirnoff and London Dry on the counter, with some Hanukkah-themed paper cups from last year's 75%-off holiday-clearance-section.  On your way home from work, don't forget to stop by the 'Supermercado,' since you can't be bothered to walk a whole two blocks out of your way to go to Safeway.  Choose items in the snack aisle that have pictures closest resembling potato chips, only to realize, after you get home, that you just bought four bags of dried, baked plantains.

Traditional Thanksgiving Dish:
Pumpkin Pie
Modern, Single Lady Dish:
1/2 Tupperware of Puppy Chow
Announce to your co-workers that tomorrow you're going to bring in Puppy Chow, to celebrate Thanksgiving and the shortened work week!  When they look at you quizzically, explain that 'Puppy Chow' is just another name for 'Muddy Buddies'!  When they continue to stare at you with what can only be described as confused pity, sigh and exasperatedly mutter "the recipe is on the side of the Chex box, come on!"  When no one seems particularly excited or enthusiastic, be silently confident that you'll "show them."  After you finish making a triple batch of Puppy Chow, think about what a mistake it was to skip lunch today, since you really don't have anything in your fridge or pantry.  Take out a tiny, dainty glass bowl and fill it with a few pieces of Puppy Chow to eat while you watch TV and think about what you could make for dinner.  At 10:00pm, realize that you have eaten, straight from the Tupperware, almost an entire Chex-box-worth of Puppy Chow.  When you take that same half-eaten Tupperware into work, become enraged when your co-workers look into the container and say, "You made Monkey Munch!  I used to love that stuff as a kid!"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Carrie's Record Book

I'm a football fan.  But please, let's just keep this between us.  I prefer to let people think that I have no interests outside of reality television whatsoever.

One thing I particularly love about football is the thrill of breaking 'records.'  Like this one, from last week's Denver Broncos win against the New York Jets...

"Tim Tebow had the longest game-winning touchdown, run by a quarterback, in the final minute of the 4th quarter, in NFL history"

I didn't realize records could be so incredibly specific!  Based on this standard, every day of my life has record-breaking potential!  Below are some of my most recent accomplishments...

Carrie's Record Book
Most consecutive days spent trying to convince the lady at Starbucks to re-stock the 31-ounce, 'trenta-sized' coffee cups, while simultaneously purchasing a 20-ounce Diet Mountain Dew

Longest distance traveled, on foot, to watch the fourth Twilight movie, at 7pm on a Friday night

Smallest proportion of correctly-spelled words in an email, even after looking almost everything up on

Shortest amount of time between telling oneself to eat healthier and buying a 'party size' bag of pretzel-cheddar Combos

Highest t-shirt-to-blouse ratio of any wardrobe of a 27-year-old with a job and a Masters degree

Largest amount of puppy chow consumed in a single-sitting, on a faux leather couch, while watching a marathon of TLC's Sister Wives

Most time spent deciding between Advil PM and liquid melatonin to maintain a consistent, 10:00pm bedtime on 'school nights'

Friday, November 18, 2011

Words with Co-Workers

me: I just went to the cafeteria for a banana.  While I was down there, I decided to get a muffin.  When I got back upstairs, I realized I only remembered the muffin.

E: Hey, it happens!  Just as long as it doesn't change our FroYo plans.

me: Um, no.  In fact, it probably makes my resolve to eat FroYo even stronger.  Also: I'm joining the work gym

E: omg. what happened??

me: I just feel gross, and guilty for not working out ever.  The mysterious way that every single pair of my jeans seems to be shrinking doesn't help.

E: You know what's annoying?  Living with someone who eats literally whatever he wants, and is a stick.

me: Guys are so lucky.

E: Yeah, the days that I don't bring lunch, I always get a salad.  And he's like "oh, I'm really full - I had a bacon blue cheese burger and a milkshake for lunch."

me: That would be an instant weight gain of 15 pounds for me.

E: And sometimes he buys containers of whole milk at the grocery store just to drink.  JUST TO DRINK.

- Guys are so lucky.
- Ladies are stuck eating salad forever.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Photo Hunt Thursday

Happy Thursday!  To celebrate this monumental occasion, I went to CVS and found you a really, really sentimental greeting card, straight from the heart, with signatures already included.

Can you spot what's wrong with this picture?

Photo Hunt Thursday *
Photo credit goes, again, to my fake boss. Which makes me wonder why he's at CVS so often.

*Answer Key: now, call me crazy, but if I received a birthday card full of names I didn't recognize, I might start to re-think some things.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Doctor Google: Check-Up

It's been over two months since I last saw my primary care physician, Doctor Google, so I thought it was about time for a check-up...

Doctor Google: Check-Up
You Searched: 
"when I woke up this morning, my wrist kind of hurt"
Internet Diagnosis: 
Did you know that symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can present themselves in patients as young as 16?  And, despite the fact that this is the first time your wrist has ever hurt like this, you've probably been unknowingly plagued by this serious condition for over 12 years!  Your critical first steps in treatment are:
1) call your mom and cry;
2) take cell phone pictures of your wrist and send them to your mom;
3) call your mom back and exclaim "doesn't that look really bad?!"
When your mom doesn't prove helpful, go ahead and search "rheumatoid arthritis life expectancy" and panic when says that "On average, life expectancy is somewhat shorter for people with rheumatoid arthritis than for the general population."

You Searched:
"bags under eyes"
Internet Diagnosis:
Have these bags been accompanied by inexplicable weight loss?  No?  How about inexplicable weight gain?  No again?  Well, inexplicable weight maintenance is the worst of all!!  You definitely have something severe, it's really just a question of what.  Ignore the 99% of websites that tell you differently, and fixate on that one site that said bags under your eyes are a sign of kidney problems.  Weren't you just complaining about minor back pain last month?!  Immediately put yourself on a 'water-only' regimen for about two hours, or until you realize you really, really need a Diet Coke.  Whichever comes first.

You Searched: 
"raspy voice?"
Internet Diagnosis: 
You need to schedule a laryngoscopy immediately.  Which is a flexible tube that goes up your nose, then down into your throat, and is held there until you tell the doctor your eyes are watering, but you're really just crying.  Then they charge you $115.  Make sure you read about people on message boards who have had false-negative test results, because when the ENT tells you there's nothing wrong with you, you're going to need a second opinion.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How Chipotle is Helping You Live Longer

Yesterday, I received the best-worst news ever.  Chipotle. now. has. brown. rice.

How could this happen?  How could they do this to me??  Don't they know that I'll use any excuse to consider something "healthy"?!  Like that time I found out dark chocolate can help lower your blood pressure???

I suppose there's no going back, so instead I've chosen to make lemonade out of this situation.  Did you know that brown rice has lots and lots of health benefits?  You can find out more here.  In the meantime, I've summarized the ways in which this latest development will improve my overall state of health and well-being.

You're a fickle friend, Chipotle.  A fickle, fickle friend.

How Chipotle is Helping You Live Longer (all thanks to Brown Rice)

1. Brown Rice Reduces Cholesterol
You know that half-pound of shredded cheese they always put on your burrito, despite your request for "just a little bit of cheese"?  Well, with brown rice instead of white rice, you don't even need to reduce the cheese!  In fact, you should ask for more cheese!  And, instead of using a fork to scoop up all that extra cheese, order a side of chips!

2. Brown Rice Helps with Type 2 Diabetes Maintenance
Which means that, after Chipotle, you can go next door to that fancy bakery and get an "oatmeal-cream-cookie-sandwich" for dessert without feeling guilty!

3. Brown Rice Can Aid Cancer Prevention
I'm not really sure how this all works, or how brown rice aids cancer prevention - I was a Political Science major in college.  But what I suspect this means is that you should probably go to Chipotle 3-4 times a week, especially now that they opened one right across the street from your apartment.

4. Brown Rice Can Aid Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
To translate this into layman's terms, after you eat your one-pound-burrito-bowl, you really don't need to go to the gym or do any form of physical exercise.  Because the brown rice is doing all of that for you!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Breaking News

This just in...

Christmas is cancelled.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Internal Monologue of My DVR

It's no secret that my DVR and I share a bond breakable only by power outages.  We just "get" each other, you know?

However, something very strange happened this week.  As I was flipping through my shows, I noticed that my DVR had recorded something called "Cry Baby Lane" on the 'Teen Nick' channel.  I didn't program it, had never heard of it, and didn't think too much about it...until I realized.  Maybe my DVR knows me so well that it's recording shows it thinks I'll like.  You know, like Netflix, only a lot creepier!

Below, I have summarized the likely internal monologue of my DVR during this unusual incident...

Internal Monologue of My DVR:  The "Why I Downloaded a Teen Nick Horror Movie Without Your Knowledge" Edition

1. The 'Made-for-TV' Genre Is Your Lifeblood!
I haven't forgotten about that dark day when you made me record "William and Catherine: A Royal Romance" and "The Pregnancy Pact" simultaneously.  Let's not pretend like a low-budget, made-for-TV movie on the 'Teen Nick' channel is outside of your comfort zone, Carrie.

2. You're Paranoid About Everything Anyway!
Because I know that often, when you can't sleep, you lay awake thinking about whether it's possible that someone could have snuck into your 500-square-foot studio apartment, unnoticed, and hid somewhere, unnoticed, only to wait until you're asleep to murder you.  And I thought it might be fun if you inadvertently watched a horror movie, thinking it was a new sitcom you forgot about recording!

3. You Love 'Tween' Crap!
You don't think I know how big of an achievement you thought it was to download the entire "Hey Dude" series last week??  Oh, I know.  I know, and I'm judging you for it.

4. I'm Tired of You Stifling My Creative Freedom!
Throw me a bone, here.  I spend the majority of my day recording shows like "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant!" and "Sister Wives."  At least allow me a tiny shred of creative liberty.  I mean, God forbid your memory card contain something that wasn't broadcast on TLC or The Lifetime Network.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Recent Topics of Conversation with My Mother

My mom and I talk almost every day on the phone.  It usually goes like this:

me: hi!
mom: hi.
me: what's up?
mom: not much.  what's up with you?
me: ohhh nothing.

Followed by a recap of the latest issues and events.  I've taken the liberty of tracking the most recent subjects that we've touched upon, to serve as a valuable historical record for future generations.

Recent Topics of Conversation with My Mother

1. Did you see the Bed Bath and Beyond coupon in today's paper??  Those things never expire!

2. Carrie, I know fresh produce doesn't last long, but that's not a reason to stop buying it.

3. Oh yeah?  You and Dad went to hear a live band with friends last night?  No, I stayed in and watched season 1 of Downton Abbey again.

4. OMG, I KNOW!  Lacey and Chaz totally deserved to stay another week!!

5. Mom, just because I've made Scotcheroos the last few weeks doesn't mean I plan to make them every week.

Friday, November 4, 2011

And Then This Happened.

I was having a self-righteous day today.  You know, in a good way.

"Carrie," I said, "you aren't actually that lame, you just do a good job of down-playing your awesomeness!  Like, when you go home after work tonight, seriously consider going out for drinks, and then ultimately decide to stay in?  That's not lame, that's cool."

And Then This Happened.

Words with Strangers

Yesterday, a man I'd never met came into my office looking for my co-worker.  Our exchange was as follows:

him: hi there!
me: hello.
him: do you sing?
me: like, in general?
him: yeah...
me: not really.
him: I have a musical ear, and you should sing!
me: um.
him: next time you're in the shower, cut loose!
me: [awkward silence]
The End.

1.  I'm going to pretend like the shower comment never even happened.
2.  Wha?!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Emotional Calorie Counter

Managing your weight can be hard work.  You have to pay attention to every little detail -- like, did I just eat four or five hand-fulls of that "candy corn salted nut roll mix"?

Part of managing weight, of course, is monitoring caloric intake.  However, if you're like me, you get frustrated by all the websites out there that seem to have different calorie counts for the same foods, making it hard to determine the 'right' answer.  It can also be difficult to balance healthy eating and weight management with our emotional well-being, which as we've seen before, are intrinsically linked.

With these things in mind, I've compiled a partial list of feelings, along with rough estimates of their caloric values, which I hope can serve as a useful reference point...

Emotional Calorie Counter

Feeling: Mild Existential Crisis
Value: 1,295 calories
Detailed Breakout:
-- A hearty, balanced breakfast of fruit and cereal: 300 calories
-- What am I doing with my life, I'm so bored and nothing even looks appetizing: 0 calories
-- A full log of herb chèvre, paired with an entire sleeve of Club crackers: 1060 calories
-- Regret, followed by riding the recumbent stationary bike for 19 minutes at 0% incline: -65 calories

Feeling: Stressed OUT
Value: 2,253 calories
Detailed Breakout: 
-- Are you kidding me with this "working late" crap?!: -20 calories
-- Getting home at 9pm, changing from disheveled business casual into workout clothes: -2 calories
-- Not actually working out: 0 calories
-- Eating everything in the freezer: 2,400 calories

Feeling: Everyone is Getting Married and Having Babies Except for Me!!
Value: 4,823 calories
Detailed Breakout: 
-- Homemade White Wine Spritzer, with equal parts White Wine and sparkling water: 45 calories
-- You know what, make that two: 45 calories
-- Laugh-crying while watching videos on -7 calories
-- Screw this busted spritzer, where's that Bacardi I just bought?: 190 calories
-- "Scotcheroos sound really, really awesome right now": 450 calories
-- Deciding to bring some Scotcheroos into work tomorrow: 0 calories
-- DID I EAT THAT ENTIRE PAN OF SCOTCHEROOS?!  Those things are like 90% corn syrup!!: 4,100 calories

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Hallow-neen!!

Yesterday was Hallow-neen!  You know, the centuries-old tradition of celebrating the day-after-Halloween??...
(photo credit goes to my fake boss)

I'm sure everyone has his or her own special way of marking this important holiday.  For me, it included:

1. Dressing in business casual
2. Eating the entire bowl of candy leftovers brought in by co-workers
3. Regretting that decision
4. Shopping for 50%-off Halloween candy
5. Eating an entire bowl of said sales candy
6. Ruing the day I allowed myself to buy generic "candee corn"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gift Ideas for Your Lamest Friends

Do you have friends who are really, really lame?  So lame that they won't go out on "school nights," which they still call "school nights" even though they've been out of school for a long time?  So lame that they record their favorite shows not because they're busy, but because they want to go to bed at a 'decent hour'?

Well, lucky for you, I have spent the last several years impersonating a lame person, and product testing some incredibly lame items.  You know, just so I could provide you with gift ideas for your lame friends!  Not because I really, really wanted them, or because that lady at Bed Bath & Beyond told me I could still use my 20% off coupon even though it had already expired.  The fact that the following three items are the three most recent purchases on my credit card statement is merely a testament to the level of dedication I have to my craft...

Gift Ideas for Your Lamest Friends

1. A Bath Pillow.  WHAT?!  You've never heard of bath pillows??  Well good thing I caught you in time!  How else will you comfortably slump down in the tub for hours at a time while reading The Hunger Games literature??  And, let's just hypothetically say that you wanted to bring your laptop into the bathroom, put it on the sink, and watch the ABC Family original series 'Switched at Birth' while taking a bath.  Again, just purely hypothetically -- how else will your neck remain comfortably propped up through an entire episode?

2.  A Lazy Susan.  Yes, yes, we know you had one of these in your kitchen cupboard growing up.  They were great for finding the Lucky Charms in the middle of your mom's fiber cereal crap.  But did you know that a Lazy Susan is a versatile, efficient way to solve some of your most pressing household conundrums?  Such as, how to watch The Golden Girls from bed, rather than walk clear across your entire studio apartment to the couch!  It helps to buy the 'heavy duty' one, which will easily hold the weight of that 32" box TV you bought from your friend's old roommate when he "upgraded" to a "flat screen."

3. A Soda Stream.  This amazing invention has the potential to really up the lame ante.  You see, while your friends are busy brewing their own homemade beer, you can be busy carbonating your own water!  But the fun doesn't stop there -- you can even add generic soda flavors to your newly carbonated water!  Including caffeine free Diet Cola, for Sunday through Thursday nights, and regular Diet Cola for Friday and Saturday nights.  If, however, you accidentally drink the regular Diet Cola on a school night, fear not -- you can easily counteract the caffeine's effect by taking a swig of that liquid melatonin you just bought!