1. Be Better at…Life.

    Friends, Lovers, Haters…this week’s a biggie. Two of my very best in the whole wide world are getting married.

    To each other. 

    This is them. Absolutely the cutest. Meet Becky and Victor.

    Here’s my week in a nutshell:

    Tuesday+Wednesday: Gym, Tan, Laundry…and cleaningfest 2012

    Thursday: Bachelorette Party aka “The Day I’ll Get Pretty Drunk and Tell Becky I Love Her Over and Over on the Corner of Essex St. and Allen”

    Friday: Rehearsal of the best day ever and eating at a legit Chinatown restaurant (stoked)

    Saturday: Wedding Day…also know as “Crying in my Champagne Day” or “The Day I Sucked at Giving A MOH Speech”

    Sunday: Recovery and Bye Bye Boyfriend Day, also known as “Jealous I’m Not Going To A Tropical Honeymoon” Day

    So as you can see, I’m going to be a busy gal this week with probably very little time to write really sarcastic things on my corner of the internet. Forgive me? I’ll be back Monday with a wedding recap and just so you know…I’ll probably still have a lingering hangover headache.

    Here are photos of the people I am really excited for this weekend: 

    The Groom and I, Victor Paguia

    The Best Bride and Probably the Best Person I know…Becky!

    And of course…excited to see the Cali boy for some wedding time fun!

    xo Chinae

    (first photo by the very talented Eric Ryan Anderson, the rest by my best friend, iPhone) 

     


  2. Be a Better…Wedding Guest.

    My refrigerator no longer looks like a food-containing appliance, but rather, a save the date graveyard…chock full of your smiling/dramatic/lovey letter pressed selves.

    Since you are all paying lots of money for me to come and eat over-priced food and drink your open bar dry…I feel like I need to remind myself how to be a good wedding guest. Mostly so I continue to get invited to your blooming nuptials, to ensure that my future of free risotto balls is secure. 

    4 Ways to Be A Better Wedding Guest:

    -Keep All Clothes On: I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this…but I actually can’t remember a wedding I’ve been to, where someone hasn’t done something weird as shit, and inevitably takes their suit/dress/dyed shoes off. Mostly the shoes thing, but I’ve witnessed a few shirtless interactions as well. People, this is not the 1992 Middleton High School Prom, nor is this a Nascar after party. Keep your shit together. Girls, if you are wearing painful shoes, and you really want to get low, for God’s sake, bring a pair of flats. No one wants to see your HEB feet running through the halls of a chiffon-covered convention center at 1AM. 

    -Be Cool: Do not stalk the cater waiters, asking when more mini-ceviche bowls are coming out of the kitchen. Do not ask the bartenders for 37 Patron shots, your friends, the bride and groom have to pay up for your habits. Do not make out with the Mother of the Bride, yes she’s hot and newly divorced, still…NO. Do not stuff appetizers in your small evening bag that’s shaped like a shell, so you can have insta-late night food. Do not do the worm (EVER)

    -Send Your Gift Via Post: You have a year to send a wedding present according the Emily Post, after attending a wedding. Do the bride and groom a favor and send that shit via the USPS. Don’t bring the gift to the wedding because all you’re doing is torturing some poor bridesmaid, who has to cart that shit back. After all, the poor girl just needs a cocktail, k?

    -Don’t Be an Attention Whore: I understand weddings are like…YOUR FAVORITE THING EVER..but guess what? This is actually not just a party for you. This is someone’s wedding day, and you licking the parquet floor while doing a choreographed dance by yourself, isn’t helping matters.  Save the over-the-top behavior for the after party or your 30th birthday, and remember…no one’s grandmother wants to watch you grind with the MC. 

    Cheers to Lots More Wedded Bliss!

    xo Chinae

     


  3. Be Better at…The Super Bowl (Part 2 of 3)

    So last time we covered not being a huge social pariah at your friendly neighborhood Super Bowl party…but let’s be honest, you can be a huge douche and totally redeem yourself by bringing really good Super Bowl snacks.

    If you bring these things, I will ask you to leave the party immediately:

    • -Anything involving kale
    • -Anything with the word salad attached to it
    • -Quinoa
    • -Beets
    • -Crostini or anything that sounds remotely fancy
    • -Casseroles
    • -Fruit
    • -Cupcakes
    • -If the words farm-raised, organic, fair-trade,  vegan, or sustainable are involved…it’s probably not a good idea to bring to the party unless you want me to reference Portlandia about 67 times during the 3 hour time span of the game. Just saying.

    Pretty much if your food could be found on Stuff White People Like, you shouldn’t bring it.

    So what should you bring then? Here’s an acceptable foods list and three easy Super Bowl recipes that will ensure that you will be the belle of the Super Bowl Ball. 

    Acceptable Foods:

    • -Anything chip related
    • -Meat
    • -Cheese
    • -More meat
    • -Nachos
    • -Pizza
    • -Meat wrapped in dough
    • -Things cooked in a crock-pot

    Buffalo Chicken Dip:

    • 6 large chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
    • cup buffalo wing sauce
    • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese , softened
    • cup blue cheese dressing
    • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
    Heat up your pre-cooked chicken and buffalo wing sauce in a pan over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and blue cheese dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in 1 cup of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a motherf*cking crock pot. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low until it’s hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks, crackers, or pita chips.
    TOASTED RAVIOLI:
    •  (16 ounce) package meat or cheese ravioli thawed
    • eggs , beaten
    • ¼ cup water
    • teaspoon garlic salt
    • cup flour
    • cup plain breadcrumbs
    • teaspoon italian seasoning
    Mix your water and eggs and beat em’ well. In a separate container, mix your Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and breadcrumbs. Flour in the third bowl. Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer for you fatties that have a deep fryer, or skillet to 350 degrees for deep frying.Dip ravioli in flour then in the egg wash then in bread crumbs and carefully place in hot oil. Fry these until their golden brown and then place on a stack of paper towels to soak up the grease and get crispy. Serve with marinara sauce!

    Sausage BALLLLLLS:
    •  (12 ounce) package extra-sharp cheddar cheese , grated
    • lb mild pork sausage or lb spicy pork sausage
    • cups Bisquick baking mix
    • 1 -2 dash hot sauce
    Let sausage come to room temperature. (this is very important or it’ll be too dry). Mix all ingredients together well using your hands and shape into small balls (stop giggling like a 12 year old). Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 375 or until lightly browned.
    Happy Super Bowl, don’t have a heart attack!
    xo Chinae
     


  4. Be Better at…The Holidays.

    Every night during this time of year there seems to be ANOTHER f*cking holiday shindig to attend. Now, I’m not complaining…but you’ve really gotta make stopping by your event worth it for people. I can’t count how many holiday events I go to and end up wishing that I could crawl back into my non-existant time machine and forget that I ever went. 

    Here are some rules to make your holiday party NOT suck:


    Invitation Protocol: Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Facebook. I would kiss Mark Zuckerberg on the mouth if I wasn’t dating the love of my life, AND if he didn’t look like a sweaty fish all the time. If you want people to come to your party, Facebook is fine, but if you want to really get on people’s calendars…you’ll need to email them. Just saying, DO BOTH. Yes, it’s very fun to see that list of people accepting your invite and making you feel validated and like you actually have friends, but most people, myself included, are RARELY going to accept or look at a FB invite. Plus, all that time you spent designing the invite photo will be wasted when you can’t even click on the photo and it just becomes an ugly unreadable icon of non-information. 

    Party Playlist Management: Christmas carols are awesome. I have danced in my underwear to Mariah Carey’s yuletide magic many a time. BUT, three hours of Christmas classics is too f*cking much. Do not let Pandora take the reigns on this. DO NOT. Mix in some Christmas favorites with modern good-ass music and you’ll be better off. If I wanted to listen to non-stop Amy Grant Christmas Edition, I’d go to the grocery store, or my parents house. To avoid your guests going on a Christmas rampage, really give that playlist some time and effort.  

    No Dress Code(i.e. Christmas Sweaters): We are no longer in college (well, some of us)…there’s no need to wear an ugly sweater to be ironic. Maybe in a Pre-Hipster society this was a funny indicator that “yeah! we are cool and hip and aren’t afraid to be different!” but now…it’s just plain dumb and I refuse to invest in a purposely hideous piece of clothing. Also, all the ugliest sweaters in the Tri-State area have already been ravaged by the entire population of Williamsburg, as everyday wear. 

    Don’t Invite the Borings: OK, so maybe you have to invite them, but you’ve got to ensure that you are going to have a couple key players in the room to keep people’s spirits up. Make sure you get THOSE people to your event and it won’t matter how boring everyone else is. 

    Don’t Go Into Sad Girl Mode: Alright, I see that you’ve been baking all day and slaving over pinecone napkin rings. It’s party time and half the guests just plain aren’t coming. The regretful texts start rolling in and you are almost ready to cry in your raspberry-cheesecake cookie muffins. Get over it. People have other places to be and you didn’t lure enough bozos in with your promise of home made shit. IT’S OK. Focus on making the time intimate and special for people that are there and please wipe that disappointed look off your face, apron+crying=not cute.

    Keep It Casual: You’re stressing people out. Yes, you. You with the intense invitation, 16 follow up emails, list of what to bring, list of what not to bring, links to google satellite of how to get to the event by plane/train/foot/hovercraft, and the promise of treats. We are overwhelmed and if your shindig is anywhere as annoying as the process leading up to it is, I’m going to RSVP a big, fat, NO.

    Christmas Booze: BYOB is totally cool. Having no supplies at the ready, just in case, is not. Sure, there will be those losers  guests, who come empty-handed, but they were gonna come that way anyway. If you don’t want to spend a lotta moolah, make a signature cocktail or a big batch of hot-boozy goodness (recipe coming tomorrow!) for everyone to partake in. A dry party is a stupid party, so grease the social anxiety with some adult juice and I promise your guests will be happy to stay all night long. 

    All I want for Christmas is a fun holiday party,

    Chinae

     


  5. Be Better…at The Day After Halloween.

    It’s the day after Halloween. If you went out, you’re probably exhausted, hung-over, and wondering what the hell you are going to do with that “Naughty Paula Deen” costume (complete with buttery Slip n’ Slide). If you stayed home, you probably had one trick-or-treater like I did (who was handsomely rewarded with an Atkins Chocolate Chip granola bar)… then ate all the entire bucket of candy yourself and watched Jamie Lee Curtis not die in the original Halloween movie.

    And here we are…stuck with a headache/stomach ache, owning a shitty costume and living with a stoop full of more decorative gourds than you can shake a stick at. What the hell do we do now?

    HANGOVER CURE: HERE ARE MY 3 TOP PICKS OF WHERE TO GET YOUR POST-BINGE NOSH ON IN THE HOOD.

    • MOIM (206 Garfield pl. at 7th ave): Nothing kicks a hangover like a hot, steaming bowl of spicy, soupy goodness. Go to Moim and order the Kimchi-Jjigae and a side of Kimchi Man-du and you’ll see that hangover melt away.
    • BONNIE’S GRILL (278 5th ave between 1st and Garfield): Get the wings, pulled pork, or a burger and fries, add copious amounts of water….and you’re going to be just fine.
    • DRAM SHOP (339 9th St. between 5th and 6th ave.): One word…BURGER. Add a decent IPA as your “hair of the dog” and wait it out.

    ***Halloween Hangover Pro-Tip: Next year, plan to wear a homemade coconut bra as part of your costume, and save the coconut water for the next day’s hangover! 

    After consuming that 32nd Fun-Size Kit Kat (Fun-Size means you can eat until you stop having fun, right?), and hiding all the wrappers at the bottom of the trash can so your significant other/room mate doesn’t judge you…you feel like butthole. Now what?

    STOMACH ACHE CURE: TRY MY HOMEMADE GINGER BREW

    Cut up pieces of fresh ginger into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick, until you have about ¾ of a cup of sliced ginger root. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil and add the ginger to the pot along with 5 cinnamon sticks. Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes and then let it cool.  Strain out the ginger pieces and cinnamon sticks before drinking. This is great served hot in the winter and then put into popsicle form in the summer to keep on hand for instant stomach ache relief.

    NOW THAT YOUR BODY IS STARTING TO FEEL HUMAN AGAIN, YOU’LL NEED TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE LEFT OVER PUMPKINS…

    • USE YOUR PUMPKIN FOR GOOD: Do your part in supporting local farmers and take your janky-ass jack-o-lantern to a composting drop-off site: Park Slope’s location is at the Grand Army Plaza Green Market at the Grow NYC booth on Saturdays from 8am-4pm at the NW corner of Prospect Park. More informationHERE
    • USE YOUR PUMPKIN FOR YUMS: The obvious answer for post-Halloween pumpkin usage is for fall-centric treats. The pumpkin “meat” can be used for all kinds of baked goods and sh*t (don’t use the carved ones)…and the seeds are the easiest thing to take to work and brag about: “Of course I roast my own pumpkin seeds in my spare time”.

    Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

    2 cups of washed pumpkin seeds (dried for one day)

    2 Tablespoons of butter, melted

    1 ½ Teaspoons of Salt

    Mix butter, seeds, and salt together. Bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes in a 250-degree oven.

    • USE YOUR PUMPKIN TO GET HOTTER:

    Pumpkin Face Mask:

    2 Teaspoons cooked or canned pumpkin, pureed

    ½ Teaspoon Honey

    ¼ Teaspoon Milk/Soymilk

    ½ Teaspoon of Brown Sugar

    Combine all the ingredients together and apply to your face for 10-15 minutes. Relax. After the time is up, wash your face as normal and moisturize. This works bitches.

    (Me in my mermaid costume with Andy Warhol)

    AND LASTLY — WHAT TO DO WITH THAT LEFTOVER COSTUME:

    • DONATE THAT SHIT: Drop off your costume at the same Grand Army Green Market location as the composting site. More information HERE.
    • SELL THAT SHIT:  Take it on over to BEACON’S CLOSET and see if they’ll throw you a couple bucks for your costume. Though you’ll probably have better luck at the Beacon’s in Williamsburg (see: my new favorite time-waster website, HALLOWEEN OR WILLIAMSBURG
    • REUSE THAT SHIT: Sounds like you need to get on with planning a mid-winter costume party!

    xoxo Chinae

    p.s. this post is also over on the Brooklyn blog I write for: www.fuckedinparkslope.com

     


  6. Be Better at…Partying.

    Going to a Fancy Party Edition:


    Last night I took my pal Janelle to Kim Kardashian’s Welcome to New York Party. Yeah, that sentence sounds really lame, I know. Janelle went for the Kim, I went for the unlimited waterfall of free Stoli and overdecorated snacks. And of course…to gather new material for the Be Better Blog. 

    I’ve come to the realization, that after 4 years of attending events in NYC, people are doing it wrong. I mean, some of this party going behavior was down right embarassing (including some of my own). 

    Let’s unpack, how to be a better party-goer.

    DON’Ts:

    -Don’t Stalk the Catering Staff: Some people have a gift for eating food at parties. Last night was no different. You spot them, a bloodthirsty look in their eye for mini crabcakes, mouth watering, eyes peeled…and then they get the visual of the location of the catering entrance. They focus in and start their attack on the staff. They strategically place themselves in direct proximity to where the catering is coming out and plant their feet in the ground with tenacity.

    When the cater waiters start to avoid you, dude…you need to calm down on your lamb meatball warpath. And mark my words…every time, they act surprised and ask what they’re serving…Sir, I just watched you consume half a tray of the SAME damn shrimp kebobs, don’t act innocent. Just commit to the fact that you are there to compete, Kobayshi style for “Most Hors D’oeuvres Consumed in One Hour”.

    (Me with said Stoli, in hand)

    -Don’t Act Like this is the First Open Bar You’ve Ever Been To: Well…it’s confession time lovies, I was THAT girl last night. But so was Janelle. I go to a lot of events and rarely let myself get out of hand in the alcohol department, but last night, for some strange reason…I momentarily teleported back to high school and had tasted the kool-aid for the first time. And by Kool-Aid…I mean Stoli. As a reminder to myself and the world, let’s act like we’ve been outside before and not go all Ke$ha when there’s an unlimited source of booze. 

    -Don’t Try to Trick People into Thinking You’re Young: I would venture to say that 60% of the women at the event last night were Real Housewives of New Jersey dopplegangers. My question is this…Ladies, just because you got yourself a fancy blowout, wriggled into your finest Spanx, liberally applied self tanner, and donned a dutchess satin mini dress..it doesn’t mean we can’t tell how old you are. Why can’t you just age like the rest of America? I don’t mean you need to invest in Chico’s stock or anything but seriously…I can see your aging wonderbits and I’m grossed out. Please, get it together next time. 

    There are some good starts to being a Better Party Goer. Enjoy your next event Cougars!!!!!!

    Here are a few more pics from last night’s fete!

    Partyin’ partyin’,

    x Chinae

     


  7. Be a Better…Host.

    Engagement Party Edition:

    There are few occassions more exciting than one of my male friends puttin’ a ring on it. Especially when that ring is: a) ridonkulous 2) perfect 3)going to be attached to one of my bestie’s fingers.

    One of my favorite things to do is put together a lil’ celebratory shindig, and Becky and Victor’s engagement was the PERFECT time to flex my hosting muscle this weekend.

    While Victor was off wining and dining Becky, and popping the question on the High Line…me and a team of friends were at Becky’s apt…revamping and decorating the space so when they walked in an hour and a half later…that we’d be set for a huge SURPRISE and have a 30+ person party humming along. 

    So you want to throw an engagement party for some friends? Here are some tips and tricks to get the job done without too much worry:

    1) Delegate: Know what things to handle and which things to outsource. Example…I am not a baker. I hate baking. I don’t eat carbs. Therefore, me making all the desserts for the event…worst idea ever. Me providing a signature cocktail? MAKES PERFECT SENSE. When you are delegating for an event keep it simple for people to jump on board with what you’re doing. Be specific about what you need from them. Instead of: “bring something to share with the group”…try “please bring desserts and one bottle of something bubbly”. No one wants to have a melt down in the grocery store about what to bring to a party. 

    2) Plan ahead: This takes a little bit of work…but I promise, in the end it will save you time and energy. Sit down and think about the overall vision for the event. Number of guests, theme, color scheme, menu, things you’ll need to DIY, shopping list, and a myriad of other small details. Getting it on paper (or on Polyvore if you are a huge douche like me) really will make you feel more prepared on the big day!

    3) Details: Pick 1-3 special aspects of the event. Whether that be a particular food or drink that you know they love, a gift for the couple, or decorations that echo who they are…you want to remember that this is FOR THEM. This is their day to celebrate, and it should be memorable and have elements of their personality included. For Becky and Vic’s engagement…I added silly details like a ring pop installation to show the light, fun nature of who they are as a couple, and left them with a box of notes I had every guest write to them with well wishes on their engagement for them to read through after we all had left. 

    4) Let loose: EVERYTHING WILL NOT GO AS PLANNED. Know it. Love it. Learn to appreciate it. If you are so hung up on the fact that things may not be going to plan, you will end up making an event about love and joy…more about stress and perfection. Your guests and honored ones WILL feel your tension and the number one rule of being a party planning aficionado is making sure people are having an amazing time.  

    Congrats again to my besties, Becky and Victor. 

    Martha Stewart’s Evil Stepsister Signing Off,

    Chinae

     


  8. Be a Better…Bartender.

    Tejas Michelada Edition:

    I have an ongoing battle with a couple of friends. We all insist that we make the perfect Michelada. Some of them say that a beer with some lime and salt is a Michelada. I don’t think so lazy ass. That’s actually just a beer with salt and lime. Also called a Chelada, which is cheating yourself out of deliciousness….and that’s pretty irresponsible of you.

    Here is my recipe for the PERFECT Texas Michelada:

    -1 12oz Beer (preferably XX, Tecate, Indio, or another mexican beer)

    -A couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce (can’t pronouce this…like…ever)

    -Juice of one lime

    -Cholula or Tabasco to taste

    -A splash of dill pickle juice (my personal addition to the recipe)

    -Quater Glass of CLAMATO (clam and tomato juice cocktail) 

    -Course Salt for the Rim 

    Directions:

    Rim your glass with the course salt, put a couple ice cubes in your glass, pour your favorite beer over the ice and add the other ingredients. Mix gently and garnish with a gerkin, olive, or lime. 

    You better thank me later for just improving the quality of your life by 200%.

    x chinae

     


  9. Be a Better…Host.

    Listen, I love dragging a bottle of vodka from the ol’ freezer, opening a packet of crystal light and having a makeshift cocktail party as much as the next girl…but some occasions are worthy of a little more effort and the addition of wearing real clothes while drinking (cue putting on pants).

    Another thing you can do to spice up your next soiree is to add some decorations…yeah i’m getting all crafty on your asses.

    Recently, I constructed these lovely streamers, and pinatas (holla tejas) for an event at work…they didn’t take long to make (i suggest also hiring 1-4 interns if you need to make them in mass and you can set up a little fiesta sweatshop, Ole!)

    Mo, Abbey, and Roxy covering up my beautiful decorations

    Here’s what you need:

    -Tissue Paper: all sorts…stick to a monochromatic color scheme so you avoid your guests thinking they are having a minor acid trip from whatever liquid concoction was in your punch bowl/trash can/trough 

    -Rope: all sizes

    -Metallic Spray Paint: stick with gold and silver (this is for the aforementioned rope)

    -Fancy Silver Duck Tape (find this at your local hell hole..ahem… Party City)

    -Glue Sticks

    STREAMERS How To:

    Step 1: Fold and cut the tissue paper into strips leaving a one inch section horizontally uncut,  so your sh*t doesn’t go flying everywhere

    Step 2: Roll this into what looks like a tassel, and secure with flashy silver disco duck tape

    Step 3: Spray paint your rope so it doesn’t have the country casual look it came with and secure the tassels on the rope with more disco duck tape

    Step 4: Hang in random array until it looks like you gave a bunch of six year olds some margaritas and told them to go hog wild

    PINATAS How To:

    Step 1:Build random cardboard shapes with duck tapes and some math/measuring skills (insert intern/boyfriend/token asian friend here)

    Step 2: Using glue sticks, cover cardboard shapes with similar tissue paper shapes in layers

    Step 3: Hang in a cluster  with the rope streamers

    Done and done.

    Ole and until next time,

    Chinae