1. Since I’ve Been Gone…

    Hold please.

    OK, we’re done being away from one another dear readers…since I’ve been gone (channeling my inner Kelly Clarkson…hopefully the skinny version), lots of things have happened huh? Miley has licked quite a few sledgehammers, our government peaced out for a bit, and I bought a baseball hat with a puff ball on top. Like I said, a lot has transpired.

    Much to the general chagrin of the internetz, I’m back for good and like a bad case of the ebola virus, you can’t get rid of me (although my writing has not been confirmed to cause you to bleed from your eyeballs…there’s always next post!). I know you’ve probably felt the void of mediocre humor and lax writing style, so here I am, back to fill that void in this corner of the internet. 

    So everyone  about three people have asked…”where have you been girl?” Well, I’ve been off my personal writing game, but trust me folks, I’ve been clickin’ around on this ol’ keyboard a’ plenty (jury is still out as to why I am talking like a farmhand). Here’s a little update on what I’ve been up to and whether you like it or not, I’ll be back to posting once or twice a week, per usual. 

    Let’s get the personal stuff out of the way first:

    This summer, I dated a fine gent who taught me all about wine, ginormous Italian families, and what the word algorithm means. We eventually amicably parted ways, which is always hard, but then we ate copious amounts of BBQ together to ease the heartache, as any good Texan woman does. I’m back to figuring things out in my personal/past life and will update you guys when things are firmed up over here, my thighs included. (The thigh part could take a minute)

    As for work and such….some fun things have been afoot!

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    * Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson, styled and directed by your truly

    You may or may not know, but I’ve been working in PR/MARKETING for a rad furniture design company named DESIRON for the last 6 years and I totally love what I do everyday and I am insanely thankful and lucky to like where I go from 9-5pm everyday. Plus, I get to plan parties. BUT, in my spare time, I’ve been doing quite a bit of freelancing and there’s more to come on that soon. 

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    My latest projecto was with a brand spankin’ new startup named, Timshel, which my friends Phil and Sean started. I’ve been helping them on the marketing end and also helped plan bits of their kickstarter launch party which was a total b-b-blast (READ, we got people really drunk on my cocktail recipe). If you are a human being who likes people, dogs, other people, memories, and/or has an iPhone, you should check out their new product…basically it’s a subscription service to print photos (Instagram and normal) directly from your mobile device…a blessing directly from the baby Jesus for lazy asses like me. If you’re smart, you’ll go ahead and back their Kickstarter HERE. 6 days left on that bad boy people or you’ll forget your memories forever and life won’t mean anything. 

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    * A photo from the launch party, taken by Josh Goleman, stain on Sean’s shirt, courtesy of Sean

    Some other friends doing kickass things that you NEED to know about:

    -My friend Anna writes this ultra-yummy blog called The Yellow Table and now, she’s writing a book. DANG girl. Follow her cookbook journey here

    -My bestie Becky and my friend Jon (and his business partner Benj), just launched their men’s accessory line, Passavant and Lee. The party was incredible and Stifler was there, so..YEAH. Check ‘em out. I had the pleasure of doing the flowers for the party and got to see a sneak preview of the line. SO good. 

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    - My friend Nate is helping launch a new studio space here in NYC, Drift Studio…TODAY! If you’re in need of an affordable but too-cool-for-school space for shooting or rentals, take a peek HERE.

    -Did I mention that my friends from The Lone Bellow just played Carnegie Hall? STUPID good. If you haven’t met them via your ear holes…you better get into that HERE

    I think that’s all folks. 

    Did I mention that I got a baseball hat with a pom pom on top? 

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    Whatever. I’ve missed you internet assholes.

    xo C

     


  2. Be a Better…Bartender.

    It’s as hot as balls out Edition:

    If you are in NYC right now along with the rest of us suckers, I’m so so sorry. It’s a sweltering 987937598 degrees out today with about 99% humidity. Let’s just say parts of my body are sweating that I didn’t know had pores. 

    I digress. 

    Here is a video response defeat this shit weather (this is not me if you were confused) and then better than that…an excellent cocktail down below.

    This woman gets it: (NSFW for language) 

    Warning, this kind of heat isn’t the type that one or two cold bevvies help. You’re gonna need to get super drunk and then forget that you can control your sleeping and waking…it’s just that bad out. 

    Passionfruit Lychee Fizz:

    + 1 oz. Passion Fruit Puree

    + 1 oz. Lychee Puree

    + Splash of Club Soda

    + Fresh Basil

    + 1 1/2 oz. Cucumber Pearl Vodka

    In a cocktail shaker, combine purees and vodka. Shake with ice, vigorously. Strain and pour over ice and add basil to taste & garnish. Top with a dash of club soda. 

    Happy summer…f*ck.

    xo Chinae

     


  3. Be Better at…Health.

    For the last few months, I have been pretty dedicated to whipping my body into submission by amping up my morning workouts, eating super clean, and taking 80 bajillion types of vitamins so my body simply cannot fail me. I also have lessened my drinking and that absolutely is the worst thing ever. The elevated effort is working as much as I can tell, so I thought I’d share some of the new things I’ve added that have been helpful/fun/painful.

    And just a reminder…72 days until summer, people. Get your ass in gear. 

    -Cobra Planks: I hate wasting time. So, if I’m gonna be at the gym, I want to feel on the verge of death the entire time I’m there to make it worthwhile. Enter, cobra planks. Now, I do regular planks a ton in my workouts, but these combine three moves for a gut-busting workout that may or may not make you feel like throwing up. The cobra plank incorporates a plank, tricep-pushup AND a cobra pose to give you insta-core strength. Start by laying on the ground with arms and legs extended. Go into cobra pose then place hands under the shoulders and lift into your full plank. After 20 seconds in plank pose, lower your body SLOWLY, with arms near your sides (note: tricep pushups are different than a regular push up)…take about 4-5 counts to lower back onto the floor. Do this 10x in addition to your normal workout and you’ll be seriously regretting that you read this blog. HOW-TO VIDEO

    -Training/Combat Ropes: Someone recently likened my arms to the FLOTUS. I almost died and now anytime I am feeling body-depressed, I will be googling Michelle’s arms. Get your flabby wings in shape by trying out training/combat ropes next time you’re at the gym. I was intimidated at first because I thought I would look dumb but after trying them once, I was hooked. In a slightly crouched (abs engaged, legs slightly bent-hip width apart) position, whip ropes up and down into the air…simultaneously or alternating. Start with 30-sec intervals and then progress up in time from there. Next step…we’re all gonna have Kelly Rowland arms and hopefully a Beyonce career. 

    -Trader Joe’s Freeze Dried Fruit: I’ve been a low-carb eater for years now and have lost a little more than 60lbs total. Since I’ve been trying to shred the last few months, I’ve started carb cycling to get my body burning the most it can, so 6 days I’m low-carb/high protein/moderate fat, and 1 day a week…I am high carb/high protein and NO fat. So this pretty much means I eat whole grains, ultra lean protein (usually turkey), and tons of fruit on my carb up day. To liven up these days…(they are f*ckin boring and I hate them) I’ve incorporated a couple different snacks, my favorite being the Freeze-Dried Fruit packets from Trader Joe’s.  They contain no other ingredients other than the fruit itself and they taste like Astronaut Food from the museum gift shops. Could it get better? These are a far cry from normal dried fruit and would be awesome for that upcoming trip to Jupiter or just to throw in your work bag for an on-the-go snack. My favorites are: mango, banana, and blueberry.

    -Biotin: Listen, I have no idea if this is all placebo effect, but I started taking the vitamin Biotin about 2 months ago and instantly I feel like my hair grew in Rapunsel-like ways. The bottle was 7.99 at Vitamin Shoppe so you really can’t go wrong here folks. Anyone else take this and notice a difference?

    Any new health stuff I should know about? Leave it in the comments!

     


  4. A Be Better Story…The Dung Wah Bus

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    Four years ago, in mid-July, I felt myself getting progressively stir crazy within the confines of the city so a first time trip to Boston seemed like an inspired idea during the oppressively hot summer. Having moved from Texas just two years before, I had no concept of bus travel beyond the occasional luxury charter bus rides to and from fraternity lingerie parties and other terrible events I’d cinched my boobs together for. So when my friend Allison suggested taking the ol’ Fung Wah bus for a mere $15 dollars, I of course was thrilled.

    I met Allison for an afternoon bus, and as I crossed the threshold of the waiting area, my heart sank. THESE are the people taking the bus? CRAP. I promptly told myself to stop being so damn judgy and prepare myself for a restful trip. Think of it as a moving respite, Chinae. It’s only 4 hours, Chinae. You’re gonna get to sleep and catch up on some reading, Chinae. Maybe they have a bar area, Chinae.

    We boarded the bus. A/C broken in 97 degree heat. Only seats that were open, were directly left of the bathroom. Lots of crazy looking people, foaming at the mouth (ok maybe they weren’t totally foaming, but they looked scary). We met eyes with some of the other normals and silently made a pact that if this turns into a mutiny, we were gonna be in this together.

    Allison and I settled in our seats…I tried to crack my window a few inches so I wasn’t ONLY smelling “Smells Like Drakkar Noir” mixed with the aroma of my own fear. I thought to myself…no one is gonna use the bathroom on the bus anyway. Who would do that? If they do, they totally only will pee, right?

    That day, I discovered the lack of embarrassment and shame that some people have about strangers smelling their feces. After three hours of reckless driving, and zero minutes of reading later (my knuckles were too busy being affixed to the seat in front of me), the driver announced that we’d be stopping for a dinner break. I’ve never been so happy in my life, I felt like it was my wedding day. Of course my joy was swiftly snuffed out when he added that we would need to bring our meals back on the bus due to us running late. Whatever, we still get to stretch our legs and breathe normal air.

    I quickly realized that our “dinner” spot was a friend chicken joint on the side of the highway. I considered running away into the adjacent field at this point and leaving Allison to send condolences to my friends and family. Again, people have no shame and proceeded to board the bus with 5-packs of fried chicken and biscuits galore. The following 3 hours were not a good time to be near the bathroom. In the end, I arrived in Boston…probably sans nose-hairs, but I arrived nonetheless. I vowed that day, that I would NEVER, NEVER tell a new New-Yorker to take this God-forsaken vomit wagon, even to save money.

    So, I was delighted to hear some good news this week and share it with fellow New Yorkers. Fung Wah bus service was suspended this week due to unsafe conditions and ignored safety regulations, and who knows when these assholes will be up and running again. ABC reports that Fung Wah drivers are in the bottom 3 percent nationwide in driver fitness, which measures training levels and experience. A big thank you to the Department of Transportation for saving hundreds of people from a ride on the Poopy Bus of Death.

    The End.

     


  5. Be Better at…Dating.

    Long Distance Lovin’…The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Edition:

    A typical conversation I have about 16 times a week:

    Them: “So are you dating anyone?”

    Me: “Oh yeah! I am. We’ve been dating a while now, he lives in LA. We’re long distance.”

    :: cue them giving me “the face” (usually looks like a combination of a shart face and reliving a memory of Chinese water torture)

    Them: “That really sucks. I could never do long distance, I’ve done it before and it was a total fucking nightmare.”

    Me: “Umm… yeah, well, we’re doing pretty good. Normal relationship shit but we are making do.”

    Them: “Well good for you guys, hope it works out better than mine did.”

    First off, people, this is not encouraging/helpful/kind in any sense of the word. I get that you had a shit relationship that happened to be long distance, but what’s your excuse for the other 10 failed love connections? What? Do you not date on dry land because it didn’t work out that one time?

    If you’re in a LDR (I hate this acronym but I’m not getting paid for this shit and even decent readership is not gonna pay for my oncoming carpal tunnel syndrome) you get me. Even if you aren’t, you should keep reading…you might find some nuggets of mediocre wisdom in here somewhere. (I said might…no guarantees) 

    So here’s the good: The best thing about an LDR are that the times you actually get to breathe the same oxygen are usually REALLY amazing. Like…whoa. Also, you tend to be able to appreciate your time together and don’t take your man/lady/manlady for granted. You also REALLY have to learn to communicate, whether your “I hate the phone” ass likes it or not. And you have to get over your own shit schedule and idea of convenience pretty quick. 

    And the bad: Fighting while far away totally sucks. Like…it’s the worst. There’s no kissing and making up, there’s no face to face time (other than skype), and things take a little longer to heal than in normal life. You’ll learn to navigate this better every time (although, Charlie and I still fall on our face with this A LOT). Also, being involved with someone in never never land has some major financial obligations so make sure you’re ready to take that on and work together. 

    The ugly: You don’t get to be with the person you most want to be around. Plain and simple. It gets hard (think running a marathon after a 2-day jelly donut binge), but if and when you realize that loving them well, is more important than satisfying every selfish need and want that pops into your mind…well then, there’s some potential for success there folks. 

    DISCLAIMER: By no means do I have this ALL figured out. This is what I’ve learned (and failed at and will continue to fail at) for almost a year and a half but sometimes, it’s good to share what you’re learning even if you’re not a master at it yet. Right?!

    Here are 5 ways to survive an LDR:

    -Overcommunicate: Now, I don’t just mean tell the other person EVERY SINGLE TIME you are annoyed, upset, or in a bad mood. Every relationship has “stuff” and of course you’re gonna need to bring up unpleasant topics once in a while and hash them out. But here’s a trick I learned early on…communicate the good stuff, VERY intentionally. The problem with LDRs is that you cannot treat them like an in-person relationship. That’s like playing football with golf’s rules. Get used to telling that person the things that they are great at, why you love them, things that they’ve done to make you extra happy, and encourage them on things they are working on in their personal life/work. Notice and express the little stuff, it matters. 

    Real Life Example——> “Hey, I really appreciate that you called me on your lunch break because you knew I had to get up early (my time) to get to the gym. That was really thoughtful. Also, nice abs” (just kidding about the abs..but yeah, they’ll appreciate that too) 

    -Make a Schedule: Girls especially get discouraged when they don’t feel secure in “what’s going to happen” in the future. You don’t need to pencil in your f*cking wedding date, but planning and booking your plane tickets well in advance shows that you are making a commitment to moving forward. You’ll also get to look forward to the next time you see each other which always makes the distance seem shorter. 

    Real Life Example——> Book your trips one or two in advance and talk about things you’re excited to do together in the future. Also, take turns visiting each other’s cities and plan a fun vacation once or twice a year to escape! Make an list of adventures and things you want to do together, it shows you’re in it for the long haul. 

    -Learn How to Fight Fast: I’m a verbal processer and can fight and talk things out for hours and days on end, usually peppered with some intermittent bleary-teary-eyed monologues. Charlie likes to go to his cave and process (what is he doing in there?!). You can imagine how this is a tough thing to overcome, when all I want to do is talk and all he wants to do is not talk to me. An integral part of not accidentally killing each other is learning how the other one fights, and then coming to a consensus on where to meet in the middle. 

    Real Life Example——> Charlie and I recently were bickering about something dumb, and after some frustrating banter, he was like “I gotta go”…then “recanted and said “No, I’m here. I can talk for a minute more”…well what did that do to my cold dead heart? Calmed me right the fuck down, is what that did. 

    -Put in the Effort, No Matter the Distance: LDR’s are a lot of work, and the more effort you put in, the happier you’ll be. I promise. It seems counterintuitive that putting more effort toward could bring joy, but it’s true people. Send them letters, emails, unexpected texts, small thoughtful gifts, plan surprises, and ask questions about their day/life, even when you want to fall asleep in your cereal. If you’re both trying your best, it WILL be enough. Take the time to figure out how they want to be loved, and do it. 

    Real Life Example——> As you all know, I’m pretty much a carnivore and want to be eating steak 90% of the time. Yesterday, Charlie sent me (in the MAIL) a Trader Joe’s giftcard so I could go buy yummy food for my extra long, hard week at work. See guys, it’s not just about the flowers and chocolates. Get creative…and girls, it’s not just their job to please you, return the favor.  

    -Be Normal: It’s easy to have an awesome time together when you’re sunning your mutually tanned asses in Turks and Caicos, but guess what? You are going to have to clean this person’s throw up/pee/poop one day. You might have to move apartments together, or go to Costco. Vacations are great, but try to pepper in some normalcy on your days together to get a feel for real life. Walk to the grocery store and pick up food and cook a casual lunch, go to the coffee shop and read a book together (not the same copy of a book, that’s just fucking weird), or exercise and sweat it out with them. If you can love each other while picking up dog shit, you’ll probably love each other for a long time. 

    Real Life Example——> We’ve discovered that as much as we have fun taking epic trips, we really like napping in grass. 

    I hope this helps. Like I said, we’re just all limping along here together. But it’s worth it for that “forever person” and hell, it can only go up from here. 

    Reporting from in the trenches,

    Chinae

     


  6. Be a Better…Cook.

    The Best Chicken You’ll Ever Eat Edition:

    When I got home from the gym at 9pm last night, I wavered between eating a protein bar and calling dinner a failure OR roasting an entire chicken (I bought one for the first time this weekend) due to the fact that I needed to cook it ASAP before it went bad. 

    So I started on a chicken adventure last night that I have to say, was well worth it people. 

    Some thoughts before I post the recipe:

    -I’ve never cooked an entire chicken before.

    -I had no idea really what I was doing.

    -This chicken was $5.00 at Trader Joes, for a 4lb bird…pretty stellar deal.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • A small/medium chicken (4-5 lbs)
    • Fresh Rosemary spears
    • 1 Red Onion
    • Butter 
    • Salt and Peps

    1) First, you’ll need to remove the giblets and plastic bag from the interior of the chicken…bc plastic tastes like shit when it’s melted into your meat. Amirite?

    2) Wash the chicken with cool water, in and out and pat dry with a paper towel.

    3) Stuff the interior of the chicken with your chunks of onion and a couple of spears of rosemary. Lift the skin on the chicken breasts and shove a couple spears of rosemary, there too. 

    4)Take 2-3 Teaspoons of softened butter and rub down the bird, then liberally salt and pepper the whole shebang. This will give you a crispy skin and will lock in the juices.

    5) Leftover onions and rosemary can sit around the outside of the chicken.

    6) Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour and half/forty five. The internal temp should be 160 degrees at least. Baste with it’s own juices every 20 minutes. 

    7) After the roasting process is done, remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. 

    Enjoy!

    xo Chinae

     


  7. The Be Better Awards!

    The Golden Globes are really the best of the bunch when it comes to award shows.

    That is, if you are so inclined to watch 3 hours of people saying a bunch of strangers’ names in a row. It’s pretty much the modern day version of those chapters of the Bible that are just like a BILLION names you can’t pronounce ..and even more similar because in both cases, they are mostly Jews. 

    I typically don’t watch these shows but I thought “Hey! You’ve actually seen a couple movies this year…give it a whirl dumbass!” So I did.

    Here are my thoughts:

    Best Sponsor of the Golden Globes: Every single speech from every single female star should have included a shout out to Sara Blakely. Who you ask? Oh, just the creator of Spanx, because GOD knows that without a certain measure of breathable spandex, Hollywood could just not happen. 

    Worst Boobs…in Every Category That’s Ever Been Established:  Guys, did I miss a People.com update where a rabid coonhound attacked Halle Berry and stole the majority of her left breast? Because surely someone who loved her would have mentioned the …uhmmm unbalanced nature of her tatas in that dress.  

    Best Death Wish: Let’s just say I was waiting for the red laser target beam to appear on Jennifer Lawrence’s clumsy little forehead after she noted so eloquently, ”I beat Meryl!”. There are a few people you do NOT f*ck with and Meryl is one of them J-Law…she WILL outlive you. 

    Worst Decision by the Producers of the Golden Globes: Can we all agree to make the speeches tweet length and then just give Tina Fey and Amy Poehler the rest of the time to make fun of the audience?!! They were SO SO good but shame on you Golden Globes for giving them such a short time to insult so many famous people!

    Best Use of Meryl Streep’s Old Dresses: Congrats Lena! You’re the ultimate hipster..you found a way to thrift your Golden Globes gown from Meryl Streep’s gown closet (you know she has one due to the fact that she’s 100 years old and is a professional award-getter)!

    Worst Use of Feet: You know when a toddler wraps themselves around your ankles and then you walk around looking like a drunk penguin? I seriously expected to lift up Lena’s dress and find the Full House twins hanging on for dear life. Good God woman, wear flats or something!

    Best Golden Globes Crasher: We all know Chris Tucker was not invited and the cameramen were certainly f*cking with us. Oh wait..he was in that Silver Linings Playbook, but also, Rush Hour 4 is being released soon…WTF. CHRIS TUCKER WAS IN AN OSCAR NOMINATED MOVIE THIS YEAR…ways you know America is dying a slow death. 

    Best Speech: The sad news, the best speech of the night goes to someone outside of the film/tv industry, wearing the exact same dress as she always wears, that just birthed a baby…ADELE. You are the cutest ever and you make Hollywood folks look like a bunch of boring idiots that have no sense of themselves outside of a script or teleprompter (I’m talking to you Paul Rudd)

    Worst Audience Participation Award: NEWSFLASH: Tommy Lee Jones hates fun…also hates Will Farrell and Kristin Wiig. Only explanation…feeling farty. 

    2013 Trend Report from the Golden Globes Red Carpet: 

    • Cover as much of your body as possible, 50% in jewels…channel Britney without the crazy.
    • Make it really hard for your arms to look toned by wearing as unflattering of a neckline as possible. In some cases, wear a dog collar.
    • If you dress does not make it seem like you have two vaginas glued to your chest…you are doing it wrong.
    • When your dress isn’t quite pitch-hitting sexy…add a whole in the center of the chest. Middle boob is the new side boob. 
    xo Chinae
     


  8. Be Better at…Life.

    How to NOT Completely Demolish Your New Year’s Resolutions by February 1st Edition:

    Did you spend the first half of the winter packing on enough pounds to embark on a 6 month tour of Himilaya’s sans food supply? Finally join the gym only to realize that you have to actually hike your ass there to lose weight (bum central)? Want to finally meet someone that tickles all of your fancies (ehem) in 2013? 

    We all make New Year’s Resolutions and SWEAR it’s gonna stick and beach body 2013 will be in check by June, right? WRONG. Fast forward to June and you still look like a member of the Boo Boo family (Mr. and Ms. Honey, that is)…and then soon after, you find yourself once again watching Ryan Seacrest’s NYE Broadcast, a little bit fatter, a little bit poorer, and still kissing Puurrrfect your cat at midnight. 

    5 Be Better Tips to Keep Your Resolutions:

    DIETING: I don’t care if you are The Bundchen herself, I KNOW you still aren’t totally happy with that residual gut you may have gained during your sudden interest in Gingerbread Home-Constructing this holiday season. I get it. As a recovering fatass (Jesus take the wheel), I can honestly say these are a couple pointers that keep me in check daily and have ensured keeping off the poundage:

    • Tell Everyone: No, not in an annoying “look at me, tell me I’m not that fat” way (you are actually huge, btw). Let those closest to you know the details of your diet plan. It’s way harder to cheat when you’ve got a couple people checking in with you and lovingly examining your ordering skillz. You find it’s a sure fire way to deter your casual suggestion for splitting that family-style Brownie Explosion while out with friends.
    • Be Militant: Make a list of approved foods and stick to it like glue. Write it in your phone. Save it to your desktop. Tattoo it backwards on your forehead. I don’t care. There is an awesome amount of freedom in this sort of discipline and having little choice in what to eat…and yes, I know it sounds contradictory and yes, I can see you rolling your eyes. If you bend once, you’ll bend again and again so just stick to it in detail and it’ll become easier by the day. 
    • Stop Lying To Yourself: Making excuses of why you’re allowed to go off the bandwagon is utter and complete bullshit. “I had a hard day”, “I was travelling and there were no options”, and “I’m on my period” are no longer in your food coping vocabulary. Deal with it.

    EXERCISE: Now, as much as I hate waiting for a grown man to do 10lb sets on the leg extension machine (complete with the soundtrack of clanging weights from over-zealous/too easy lifting), I really feel hopeful for people getting their butts in gear and getting active in the beginning of Jan. Some easy gym-motivators:

    • New Music: When new tunes comes out, I make myself wait to listen until I get to the gym. That way, pop pop gets a treat AND I’m focused on something other than my quads burning with hellish fury on squat set #3.
    • Look Good: Now, I’m not saying to put on a full face of makeup before a tough workout, because we all know that that’s a big waste of Laura Mercier’s* time and efforts (*a brand of makeup for my male readers). BUT I am saying pull your shit together…you DO know you are in public, right? You’ll be more motivated to push yourself you don’t look like a dog giving birth in the mirrors of the gym, TRUST ME. Buy workout clothes that are slim-fitting (so you can see your body working and moving), swipe a coat or two of waterproof mascara on before hitting the mats, and for God’s sake gentlemen…buy a new pack of Hanes V-Neck T-shirts and run a damn comb through your hair. 

    DATING: I love the newfound hope a calendar-shift can bring. I really do. But girl/duder, if you think that by doing the exact shit you did last year is going to bring the love of your life to you, I think you might be mistaken. Make a plan to do things differently this year, mix with different circles, ask to be set-up through friends, join groups or find new interesting places to meet people. A hot/smart/downright hilarious girl is not going to walk into your decrepit living room, turn off your Law and Order SVU marathon, and sweep your Olivia Benson-loving butt away for a romantic vacation in the Alps. Get off the couch and make an effort, because expecting different results from the same action is insanity..and no one wants to bring an insane person on their mid-February beach getaway. 

    MONEY: Ah, saving money…SUCH an annoying concept. This one’s my personal resolution this year and man, the prospect of letting my split-ends just sit there and rot due to budgetary constraints is downright depressing. Here are some ways I am gonna try and beat my budget into submission:

    • Make a monthly goal: I’ve made my monthly goals and have to stick to them, or else I get no treats the next month. If I hit my goal mid-month…I get to treat ma’ self! This month’s treat is a hair cut and color…now all I have to do is save, save, save. 
    • Buddy System: Share a copy of your goals and progress via Google Doc with a friend/loved one/spouse/therapist….give them the responsibility and freedom to check in on it whenever they want (this will keep you updating the document and sticking to writing in specifics), and also set up a standing check in every three months to track progress.
    • Drink Less, Cook More: Ugh. Yeah, I get it…

    WORK: Want to be more positive at work and not plot your ballsy escape every afternoon? Want to feel less like you want to kick the water cooler over after a meeting? A couple tips for a great work/life balance:

    • Stop Eating At Your Desk: Chances are, if you are scarfing down your tuna melt while glued to your computer, you are overeating, you are more tired and less satisfied, and your day feels like it lasts an eon. Get up, stretch your legs, insist on eating out or at least get out of your seat and relocate. Even if it’s 15-30 minutes, you’ll feel more productive the rest of the afternoon and less like you want to slam your forehead into the keyboard to see if it would really hurt (it does). 
    • Arrive On Time: This is easy. If you start your day off rushed and off-kilter, that feeling will follow you all the live long day. Get up early enough so you’re not channeling a Cathy comic by the time you get to your desk.
    • Leave On Time: Be clear about what time work is O-V-E-R. You’ll feel less burnt out and you now have NO excuse not to get to the gym/happy hour/date night. Voila! All New Year’s Resolutions are met!

    Happy New Year and Here’s To Being Better in 2013,

    Chinae

     


  9. Be a Better…Bartender.

    Eggnog Drunk Edition:

    There is nothing I love more than Christmastime. The photo above depicts me at age 3…I should say…really not much has changed since. 

    When I was growing up my mom always stocked our refrigerator with half gallons of pre-made eggnog, starting around Thanksgiving through the New Year. Of course, when I was 8, I was not dipping into my booze collection to spike up ma’ nog.

    Obviously I did not know what I was missing.

    In other news, kids this age are complete idiots. 

    So, now that I’m a full-grown adult human being, I can make my own damn eggnog and live the life I’ve always dreamed of! 

    Here’s a recipe for you people that actually eat sugar…for me, I’ll be trying this with a whole lot of granulated Splenda and Atkin’s prayers. 

    BE BETTER NOG:

    • 12 large eggs (separate them out, yolks and whites)
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar (or granulated Splenda)
    • 2 cups whiskey (I like bourbon)
    • 2 ounces rum 
    • 2 ounces brandy
    • 6 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • Freshly grated nutmeg (for garnish and for yums)
    1. In a big bowl, beat your egg yolks together; then mix in sugar/Splenda with a whisk until all incorporated. 
    2. Gradually whisk in whiskey, rum, and brandy (take a small sip of each to make sure they haven’t gone bad).
    3. Keep whisking…then slowly add 4 cups heavy cream and stir until fully mixed. 
    4. Pop that baby in the fridge for 2 hours.
    5. With an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff and then fold into chilled boozy concoction bowl. 
    6. Add the last 2 cups heavy cream to mixer and whisk until soft peaks form then fold into liquor mixture. 
    7. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with nutmeg before serving.

    Happy Holidays from the Be Better Blog and Santa! See you all in 2013!

    xoxo Chinae

     


  10. Be a Better…Groom.

    Groomsman Gifting Edition:

    So you’ve tricked some floozy into marrying you huh? Well, now you’re gonna need to buy some prezzies for your studly groomsman and you better make them GOOD because they are the ones deciding if your bachelor party begins and ends at Chuckie Cheese or not.

    Typically, gals are WAY better at buying gifts, so to assist you, future groom, I’ve locked and loaded my lady parts and will guide you on this groomsman gift guide journey. You’ve probably already thought of getting them a personalized flask, or monogrammed money clip…not terrible but I think we can do a little better here.

    The average price range for a groomsman gift should be between $50-150 bucks (best man gifts should be around $150) and they don’t all have to match, just stick to the same price range. Individual gifts are especially perfect if you’ve only got 3-4 dudes in your party. 

    Here are 5 of my faves:

    image

    -Handcrafted Leatherhead Football or Baseball: Even if your groomsmen aren’t typically the sporting type, most every dude likes to go to the park/beach/backyard and throw around a ball like they’re in some godforsaken Land’s End Catalog. Some Spalding bullshit is not going to do for a gift though…so get them these handcrafted Leatherhead Footballs (or baseballs) and give them the gift of showing off. Football $120, Baseball $38.

    image

    -Ernest Alexander Tucker Shave Kit: Now, this one’s a LITTLE more typical, but it makes the list because every guy needs a good shave kit to take on the road with him. No need to monogram, this Tucker Shave Kit comes in a variety of waxed canvas colors and will no doubt last a lifetime. Just think, every time he reaches for that jumbo-sized bottle of Gold Bond…he’ll think of you. As a bonus, it’s made in America by awesome people. Tucker Shave Kit, $90.

    image

    -RC Copter: Who says your gift has to be practical? Lighten things up by giving the gift of boyhood dreams with an RC helicopter! It’ll be the most unique groomsman gift they’ll ever get and they’ll be thanking you for not getting them another stainless steel flask with YOUR wedding date on it. And bonus, you’re giving the gift of annoying their significant others all at once, because naturally these need to be flown toward their gal’s head. Syma Apache Helicopter, $40. 

    image

    -Best Made Co. Japanese Higo Knife:  Go beyond giving just a normal Swiss Army knife and get them something truly unique. This Japanese folding knife from Best Made Co. comes emblazoned with the word Courage and is a handsome addition to someone’s growing arsenal of items to defend themselves during a back alley fights. Best Made Co. Japanese Higo Knife, $60.

    image

    -Dinner + Activity: Another option is to forgo materials gifts all together and create a special night for you and “your boyz” by inviting them to a manly dinner and activity after as their groomsman gift. Nothing says, “stand by my side” like a giant steak, perfectly-made Sazerac, and an hour or two at the shooting range. Or basketball game. Or Disney On Ice™. (depending on your groomsman’s tastes) Get sappy and make individual toasts or write handwritten notes to each one and pass them out at dinner. 

    All of these things can and probably should be supplemented with their favorite bottle of booze because…whiskey.

    Happy Shopping Assholes,

    xo Chinae

     


  11. Be Better at…Friday.

    Because it’s Friday and I have the attention span of a gnat on Fridays…I have a few things I want to discuss that have been on my mind but perhaps don’t warrant a typical long-winded post where I write for way longer than people want to read. Here we go. 

    The Best Acorn Squash You’ll Ever Eat:

    A mini recipe for today…pretty low carb and the PERFECT winter dessert.

    Baked Acorn Squash:

    • 1 Acorn Squash
    • Granulated Splenda
    • Butter
    • Cinnamon
    Step 1: Cut (very little) off the tips of the squash off so when you slice it in half, it sits steadily in your pan. You are basically just giving it a flat surface. Don’t cut all the way through, you’ll want to keep your two little squash bowls intact.
    Step 2: Layer slices of butter, then a layer of Splenda, then a layer of cinnamon, and repeat until the squash bowl is almost full. 
    Step 3: Bake at 400 for 45-hour…you should be able to tell when it’s soft enough
    Step 4: Scrape the insides of each squash down into the buttery/sweet/spicy goodness and enjoy. 

    Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain Sucks:

    Mainly I have a bone to pick with L’Oreal for taking away Beyonce Red Infallible Lip Color…I went into the drugstore one day to get my Beyonce fix and it was just…GONE. Like…NOT EXISTING ANYMORE and was replaced by some orangey red that made me look like I just went cannibal on a bloody oompa loompa. It was not a good day and certainly a low point with me shrieking to the Rite Aid employee that “They can’t just take it away!” 

    I digress. 

    A few weeks later, after my meltdown…(let’s call it my Blue (Ivy) Period) I dragged my ass back to a different Rite Aid (because I think I am banned from the first one) and picked up a Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain in the color “Flame” to help fill my Beyonce void. I took it for a Friday night test run and at first it was AWESOME. Rich color, ridiculous staying power, and it was cheap as hell. Then…shit hit the fan. Suddenly, the next time I went to use my new magic wand, it was as dry as the Sahara and the tiny bit of color I got to my lips suddenly made my lips feel like they’d been in a Ronco Food Dehydrator for two weeks.

    BULLSHIT I tell you! To add insult to injury, the “balm” end of the stick just fell off the second I tried to apply it. It’s like an over-extended chapstick…we all know what will happen. This just proves…you can’t just replace BEYONCE. EVER. 

    If anyone has any lip stain faves in a bright red, let me know…I’m still on the hunt.

    iMessage is Confusing as Shit:

    I am convinced that no one knows what iMessage vs text messaging is unless you’ve looked it up (which I did and now I kinda get it after 2 hours of research). It is mondo-confusing and only works about 60% of the time and now I’ve just turned it off completely. Figure your freakin’ shit out APPLE. Fix those fracking maps and make iMessage less confusing..ok? Also, I love you pleasenevergoaway.

    Foam Rolling to Heaven and Back: 

    I have tight IT bands apparently. They are making my knee feel like my patella (knee cap) is going to pop off at any moment when going up and down stairs. I live in NYC, so this feeling happens about 645 times a day. I am trying a lot of different things including not running anymore and looking like a complete douche trying to give myself a good, hard, workout on the elliptical before I lift at the gym. 

    Side Note: You cannot use the arm things on the elliptical and look like a normal human being. Just don’t do it.

    Anywaysssss…Jon’s brother Dave who is now offisshhhh a Dr. said I need foam roll the living crap out of my IT bands (located on the side of my thighs) to get some relief.

    Does anyone else foam roll and have noticed these things?

    1. It hurts like someone steam rolling your leg.
    2. You always look like you are having weird gym sex.
    3. It makes any small bit of leg-meat fat look super gross because of all the squishing. 
    I don’t have any advice or anything about it…just general whining here.

    Alright, that’s enough blabbing. See you guys next week for more coherent posting.
    xo Chinae
     


  12. Be a Better…Cook.

    Frick.

    It’s been too long people. Lots of things have been happening in life so I’ll give you a short update on all things personal and if you could give two shits (most of you) go ahead and scroll your pretty heart on down to the next section, k? 

    K. 

    First, I went ahead with my sexy pot roast costume for Halloween. I was met with mixed reviews but I assume it went over decently when men in the bathroom line were telling me they got hungry after seeing me. Not sure if I should be insulted or delighted. All I know is that I needed guy-friend protection from these borderline cannibalistic creeps. (Thanks Jon)

    Secondly, there was a f*cking hurricane followed by an almost blizzard. It totally sucked for most people (I kinda lucked out with no loss of power and a week off of work), but NYC was and still is a moderate shitshow. Also, lots of folks are STILL without power, heat, food, and water so that totally blows and you should find ways to help through DONATING or VOLUNTEERING. Yeah…YOU.

    Other than apocolyptic weather conditions, I finished off a cocktail table that a friend started, drank a LOT of whiskey, and worked out less than I should have with that much time off. I also made some yummy food, one of the recipes is what this post is ACTUALLY about (after I get my rambles out of the way). After weathermaggedon was over, I headed to Texas to stand next to my gal, Lindsey, as she walked down the aisle to a rad guy named Wes. (Note the weird two finger jab I am for some reason giving Linds in the below photo)

    I always love time in my home state and of course I made sure to ditch low-carb long enough to eat my weight in chips and salsa. They come free with the meal but I will be paying a long time at the gym as penance for being a very very bad girl.  

    Oh, yeah…I have a new addiction to report…bored as hell on my plane ride home, I somehow got suckered into watching a show called Storage Wars on A&E and now I’m hooked on the 2012 version of Antiques Roadshow. This is a cry for help people. At least this might be better than than serial killer documentaries I was watching before bed previously.

    Other than that, I’ve been doing some freelance writing for this brand new tech/fashion startup, LOOKCRAFT. It’s a fun gig and I get to write about all things menswear which, I love. 

    Alright…enough recapping now to the blog post for today. 

    Cooking with Pumpkintown:

    I really don’t tend to like mixing salty and sweet flavors and pumpkin is one of those veggies that I ALWAYS associate with a sugary taste, but alas…I wanted to make a low carb Fall soup and ventured into a savory new world armed with cans of organic pumpkin. 

    This soup is a total mouthgasm. 

    Autumnal Pumpkin-Sausage Soup:

    1/2 Cup of Diced Onion

    1 Clove of Minced Garlic

    1 TSP Ground Sage

    1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning

    12 Ounces of Breakfast Sausage (Jimmy Dean or the like…not links) or Hot Italian sausage (without the casing)

    2 cups diced Fresh White Mushrooms

    4 cups of Beef Broth

    1/2 cup of Heavy Cream

    1/2 cup of water

    1 bay leaf

    Step One: Cook the sausage in a large pot and drain off the grease (I left a little for additional flavor)

    Step Two: Add onion, garlic, seasonings, and mushrooms to the pan and saute until onions are lightly browned

    Step Three: Throw in your pumpkin and stir

    Step Four: Add broth and bay leaf and mix well.

    Step Five: Simmer for 30 minutes on low-medium heat

    Step 6: Stir in your heavy cream and water and simmer 15 additional minutes.

    Season with S&P and serve!

    This is enough for 4-5 people and is the PERFECT dish for a chilly night in with friends…or you know…for a hurricane. 

    I missed you guys.

    xo Chinae

     

  13. Hurricane Incoming…an updated chart for Sandy!

    See the original one I made for Irene HERE. 

     


  14. Be Better at…Halloween.

    We had just moved to a rich, ultra-fancy neighborhood in Dallas (we were probably the poorest people in a 10 mile radius) and as an effort to make friends, I ventured off to trick or treat. 

    Prior years, living in a middle class hood meant a pretty mediocre ratio in the old candy sack…60% stupid candy, 38% awesome shit and 2% weird items that I threw on someone’s front lawn before returning home. But this year…this new place was different and ruined every Halloween to come. 

    First off…I was shocked to see most houses inviting kids INTO their homes, and the kids were actually going in…DUMMIES! Don’t you know that’s how you get chopped up in little bits and stuffed in a donkey piñata for the next serial killers anonymus meeting!?

    I soon learned that you don’t need to be scared of rich people.

    So on the 3rd or 4th house, I waltzed in like I owned damn the place. I then discovered that these idiots had probably spent more than my current yearly income on transforming their mansion into an ACTUAL haunted house and had hired actors to lead kids through a maze of cheap thrills like touching brains and eyeballs (which this sassy jaded 6th grader knew was obviously a jello mold and peeled grapes). 

    After an overpriced 10 minutes they led us into the foyer (rich people LOVE a motherf*cking foyer) staffed by a couple actors who asked us to open our bags (for the record, other kids had monogrammed candy bags…I had an Albertson’s paper sack).

    Let’s talk about the haul…each of us got 4-5 king-sized candy bars and a ten dollar bill. This type of treat-gifting pretty much continued through the night and contributed to my journey into being a real spoiled brat… which I’m sad to say has followed me into adulthood. 

    All that to say, this Halloween don’t be the dumb house that gives away the wrong kind of candy…

    To aid in your shopping here’s a quick guide:

    -Reese’s: A perfect give-away unless little Tommy has an unknown peanut allergy. You didn’t go crazy and buy king-sized treats but you did a respectable job this year. 

    -Loose Candy Corn: ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL SOMEONE? Loose, unwrapped candy? You expect me to put my hand in that pumpkin-shaped bowl of swarming bacteria where 85 other poop-coated miniature fingers have been to get such a measly reward? Have you tasted candy corn lately? It’s pretty much like sweet butter-flavored wax. STOP. 

    -Tootsie Rolls: Oh, you’re too cheap to buy ACTUAL chocolate so you are going to try and skate by with cocoa-flavored treats? No one is fooled. 

    -Coins for Unicef: WTF. You want me to do what with this rusty penny? What the crap is UNICEF? If you give coins away, check your birth certificate as you must be over the age of 68. 

    -Snickers: YES! Best house ever!!! But hey, stick with fun size…not minis, ok? My mom slaved away on this two-person horse costume…make it worth our while. 

    -Dum Dums: You are what you serve. Also, these don’t even have gum inside.

    -M&M’s: Better go with a peanut or new pretzel option here IMHO.

    -Pencil: Really? This is going straight in your lawn.

    -Almond Joy: Don’t ask me, I didn’t taste one until I was 25 due to my mom always taking these as her payment for driving my ass around.

    -Apple: Sigh. I feel sorry for your children. Also, unless I’m bobbing for $20 bills…don’t make me stick my face into a bucket of water to get my treat. 

    -Sorta “peanut flavored” chewy candy in solid brown or orange wrappers: Terrorist candy if you ask me. If anyone can find a brand name for these, I’ll give you all my candy. 

    Happy Halloween y’all!

    xo Chinae

     


  15. Be a Better…Family.

    Raising JUST One:

    When I was 6-7 I told my mother that if she had another baby, that I would run away. This was the beginning of my only-child saga…

    Only children get a bad wrap, I know…because I’ve been dealing with being one for 27 years now. It’s an interesting thing these days, more couples are stopping at one or at least considering having a single little mouthbreather…so here are some tips, tricks, and insight about only children, straight from the mouth of the beast. 

    -Holidays Are Weird: Christmas and Thanksgiving in most households are days filled with noisy ruckus, family football games, endless bad holiday movies, and half-pajama clothed kids running amok. Cue holidays at my house…quiet Christmas music, mimosas, lots of open napping spots, and an 8 person table set for only three. I used to be jealous of people’s large scale celebrations and then one day I realized…wait, small holidays are f*cking awesome. No fighting (except that one time I cried because I got too many pairs of shoes, yes I am aware I am the WORST), no messy cleanup after Noni throws up after finding out she’s allergic to jellied cranberry sauce, no sharing attention/toys/food, and having access to all the medium-priced champagne my body could ever want. Think about effortless, relaxing holidays from here on out…ah yes, one child can be a good thing. 

    -Sharing Sucks: Alright, so here’s where things get a little dicey. I suck at sharing. Don’t touch my plate, don’t wear my clothes, and no, I don’t want to split the meal. This is one point that I’ll concede…I am an asshole about sharing. BUT…and here’s a big BUT, I am awesome about giving things away or just buying you, your own thing. I’m not gonna be generous with my own shit, but I will find a way for you to get yours! In my opinion, that’s way better than divvying things up. 

    -Making Friends Is Easy: I moved every 3-4 years of my life and you’d think I would still be recovering from that mental trauma as we speak. Here’s the thing…moving a lot and being a solo kid taught me to be a Terminator of meeting buddies. Unless I wanted to just be friends with my parents and their dumb amigos, I had to figure out ways to meet other chitlins’ and convince them that I was normal and would be an amazing addition to their game of Disney Merry Go Round *. (Note: this is a game where you make a younger weaker child push the merry go round as fast as they can while singing disney songs, meanwhile their knees were turning to ground beef from the gravel) Needing to meet people for your own sanity makes you learn social cues, be fearless when talking to strangers (except the ones in vans with free candy), and eventually helps that flirt game y’all. 

    -Miniature Adult: One thing to be wary of…only children typically mature WAY faster because we are constantly hanging out with grown-ass people. I remember laying in bed as a 10 year old, staring at my ceiling fan planning out evac routes for when that serial killer eventually came to my house. Every detail was planned including: how I would negotiate my parents out of the hostage scenario, getting Candy the German Shepard to a safety zone, and which of my Barbies were going to make it in the “go-bag”…sorry Asian Barbie, you did not make the cut.  Make sure to keep your only-child around plenty of other kids…that way they stay dumb and compliant. Otherwise, they WILL figure out how to outsmart you. (NOTE: DO NOT GOOGLE ADULT BABY TO FIND PHOTOS FOR YOUR BLOG POST…THAT IS ANOTHER THING)

    Look, I know having siblings was probably mind-blowing and you guys are all well-adjusted and shit…but someone’s gotta make a case for having just one.

    For more insights on being an single kid…check out this post on the Thought Catalog that inspired today’s Be Better.