Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Previously on...

Last week's entry marked my two month blogging anniversary (I'm not mad that no one remembered, I'm just disappointed...sending flowers might help). Honestly, 8 entries is about 7 entries more than I thought I'd do. So now seems like as good a time as any to do a follow up entry letting you all know how I've been doing with the goals I've been setting with each entry.

You're going to want to lower your expectations.

Even lower...

I want to start out by saying that I really did have the best intentions, but as it turns out, just setting goals isn't good enough. Apparently I don't get to just be clever and flippant about my bad habits until they magically change. Damn.

We'll start with my successes. I'm crushing it at being thankful for shit.

Having my Pride outfits picked out a week ahead of time

20 Seasons of the Amazing Race on Hulu Plus

And I'm basically amazing at Pinterest. Look at these wonderful things I found!

More Doritos recipes!
Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha are so dreamy I could just die.

Let's be real though, I kind of had a head start at sitting around pondering how awesome my life is, and if I wanted to waste time online looking at things I was never gonna do, the internet is positively brimming with porn (too far?).

My ingenious work out routine fell apart almost as quickly as it started. I went to the gym two more times before I realized that really I didn't care about watching Nashville enough to warrant getting on a treadmill. I had every intention of going way more. I packed my gym bag every day, leaving it in the car so I could go straight from work. It's not that I ever make the decision not to go. It isn't until I'm on my way and drive right past the turnoff that I think, "Oh...well I guess that's not happening." I did make it to the gym once, and I got all the way to the locker room before I realized I'd forgotten my ear buds and left (I found them in the car, but at that point I'd already psyched myself up to go home).

I did slightly better with the Pride countdown and ab workouts. Only slightly though.

3 days til Pride and...more....links than that

You're probably thinking, "I get it, Chris, getting into an exercise routine is hard, but with your new and improved, healthier eating habits you're probably not doing too bad!"

Well...I suppose that would be the case, but eating right is super hard, guys. I'm convinced that people who eat well balanced and healthy meals without eating junk food are living lives devoid of joy. Whoever said "Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels." obviously never tasted Ben & Jerry's Half Baked ice cream. So I of course "cheated" on my diet plan for about three weeks before Pride crunch time hit and I had to start taking drastic measures...last night for supper I had Diet Coke with a Twizzler straw. You might think that this wouldn't be a filling meal, but once you get through about the sixth can it's hard to imagine fitting anything else in there. Before anyone goes and calls my mom to get me checked into a treatment facility, I feel like I should also note that I ended up eating a full box of Ranch Wheat Thins (in about ten minutes) later in the night.

I'm not faring much better on my bills. Apparently they're even easier to ignore when they are tucked away in file folders. The mail is getting opened at least (and I do mean it's literally the least I could be doing).

Perhaps my biggest failure is with the desk...that damn desk.

This desk was supposed to solve my organization problems. It was supposed to be the catalyst for changing my life and growing the f#%! up. But what was to be the symbol of my adulthood has quickly become the symbol of my failure. I never did get that desk chair, and it still sits pushed up against my bed in the perfect position to lay in bed watching The Amazing Race for hours (it's oddly satisfying watching the grueling and physical challenges from my bed in my underwear). It's littered with empty Diet Coke cans, bottles of nail polish, and that empty box of Wheat Thins. I was going to post a picture, but I'm literally too embarrassed (and I have no shame).

So I guess my journey is still just starting. Thank you all for reading, and I hope you'll stick with me while I continue to work through this. I'm sure there is plenty of ridiculousness ahead, but it's hard to feel disheartened while I type this from the comfort of my bed.

And I mean, it's not like I haven't done anything in the past two months. I did grow a patchy goatee.

Added the glittery pink nail polish to sissy the look up a bit

So that's pretty grown up.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thank you. More, please.

I try my best to be an optimistic person. I want to be the type of person that sees the glass half full. The type of person who is always pleasant and never has an unkind word to say. I want to leave people asking, "What the f#%! is wrong with that guy?!" after I dazzle them with my nearly unbearable positivity.

Unfortunately, I live my life teetering on the edge of a snarky outburst. I'm really good at keeping the string of profanity (real awful stuff) in my head and not spewing them at whoever has crossed me, but my facial expressions are another story entirely. I find it nearly impossible to censor the distaste in my face (good thing I work in customer service, huh?). My eyes roll as if I have no control over them, and my eyebrows are in a perpetual state of being raised in surprise at the stupidity that I'm encountering. It's gotten me in trouble...

An actual conversation I had with my boss:

"Chris, I just got a call from a customer who said that you...made a face at him? Do you remember making a face at a customer?"
"Well I don't remember it, but it sounds pretty plausible."
"'s what we're gonna do. I'm gonna get a mirror, put it up behind the door here, and you're going to practice your 'customer service face' before you talk to our customers."

I've grown too accustomed to letting the negatives dictate my outlook and ignoring all of the wonderful things in my life. It's not the type of person I want to be when I grow up.

There is a scene in the movie Happythankyoumoreplease (written, directed, and starring Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother) that really spoke to me. One of the characters is talking about being told, "Bliss is your birthright. You have great potential in this lifetime, the key to your life is gratitude. You do not give enough thanks." She is told to say, "Thank you." and after saying thank you say, "More please," because with gratitude the universe is abundant.

I loved this idea so much that I've been working to do it more in my own life. Why focus on the bad things in life when there are so many wonderful things? Recognizing these good things can only improve our attitudes and invite more positivity into our lives. I mean, it's not always easy. There are some idiots in this world that seem to exist solely to piss me off, but why should I focus on their idiocy when something really great is likely coming right around the bend?

This week I've been keeping track of the things I've been thankful for, and I wanted to share some of them with you (and I also wanted an excuse to play with Instagram filters).

- That moment when the sun peeks through the clouds after a week of rain

- This fountain 

- An evening spent sitting in a garage, drinking sangria, not getting any work done, and watching the rain

- Sunday afternoon in the park with a good book

- This cartoon of an anxious beaver dressed as a dental hygienist taped to my phone at work

- Knowing that even though I live in a shoddy apartment above a bar, I can smell lilacs through my open window

- Diet Coke on sale

- Stove popped popcorn and a new favorite movie

- Laying poolside ignoring responsibilities

- This chair where I throw my pants as soon as I enter my apartment

- Sunburn relief

- These magnets

- That time I found Diet Coke in my shoe...seriously

- Finding the perfect theme song

- Working with people who I can have moments like this with every day

- That moment when I remember that there really are good people in the world

More, please?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I'm not sure what I was thinking when I decided to join Pinterest and then write a blog post about it. I mean, I had heard all of the warnings: "It will consume your life," "You'll never get anything else done," "I pee in a mason jar by my desk now so I don't have to stop looking at DIY jewelry organizers." I already have a hard enough time getting shit done! Hell, since starting this entry I've watched a cute baby panda video, checked Facebook three times, and created a new Spotify playlist. But Pinterest seems to be all the rage for the grown ups in my life, so here goes nothing.

I joined Pinterest months ago, but after about ten minutes of "not getting it," I was over it and moved back on to watching funny videos of drag queens on You Tube. After my friend Emma pinned one of my blog posts a few weeks ago, and I saw how many page views were being generated because of it, I decided to give it another try (page views are how I measure my self worth now).

Clearly I still wasn't grasping its full potential
I deactivated my old account, I started a new one specific to my blog, and I dove in. I set aside three hours to play on the site, thinking it would give me plenty of material to write a complete post from.

I spent those three hours looking at sangria recipes...

You guys, I spent THREE HOURS looking at recipes for sangria. Do you know what I learned about sangria in three hours? Basically I learned that you can take any kind of wine you want, mix with whatever the hell else you want, cut some fruit up in it, and you get to put it on the internet and call it sangria. I finally had to shut my computer down and try to live some sort of a normal life. 

My mistake was going into it without a plan. I needed to have clearer goals, a time limit, possibly some of those water wings that keep kids from drowning, and most importantly, an exit strategy. I consulted with friends who I consider to be experts on the subject. I was told by everyone that organization was key. I needed to get my boards set up before I started wildly pinning. I set up all of the standard boards (food, drink, humor, fitness, etc.), but I was also advised to set up boards for more specific topics that I'd be pinning a lot of. One friend, for instance, has an entire board dedicated to Harry Potter. I set up a few specialty boards of my own focusing on some of my favorite things: Joss Whedon, glitter, and drag queens.

Another bit of advice I received from nearly everyone I asked: Your wedding board is inevitable, don't be a crazy person, make it private until you're actually getting married (my future husband is going to be SO pleased with my level of preparedness).

I was advised to be sure that I have my About Me section filled in and a picture included on the site. I linked my profile to my Facebook page to make connecting with my friends easier, and I started following my Pinterest mentors. With my boards set, my profile complete, and a jumping off point for browsing in place, I was ready to start.

First of all, I wish someone had told me I was supposed to be saving all of my old wine corks. I seriously had no idea how many ugly things you could make with them. If I'd known, my kitchen may have a completely different design aesthetic. 

I decided early on, while browsing the food sections, that I would be disregarding any recipes that contained ingredients that I didn't comprehend. Cilantro Thai Grilled Chicken looks delicious, but "2 Tablespoons Asian Fish Oil?" F#%! that. I did find a few that I can't wait to try though (I also discovered a slight obsession with asparagus)!

Garlic Pesto Chicken with Tomato Cream Penne

Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries (and I totally even know what Panko is now!)

Hours will no doubt be spent on the humor boards. Just typing this paragraph is hard knowing that in my other browser tab there is an entire page of eCards that have loaded and are waiting to be browsed so I'll keep it short.

Preach, Emily Gilmore.

Honey Boo Boo gets me

Laughing hysterically by myself in a coffee shop right now.
I can't even with this lady.

After a lot of practice, I closed my window filled with glitter related pins, and ventured back into the booze section with new found confidence. I wasn't going to be distracted in my quest to find an easy white wine sangria to make for Pride. I did pretty well for myself actually, and I can't wait to give them a try (and maybe do a few practice runs beforehand). 

You can all find me on Pinterest under user name "ChrisGrowsUp." Follow me, and share your favorite pins, especially if you've tried them and failed miserably! I ADORE Pinterest Fails (In fact, I'm not really interested in the success stories, I get can cook). And if you have any suggestions of good boards to follow with easy recipes or craft ideas (or drinks that will get me good and drunk for cheap), let me know!

For now I'll be looking for adorable ways to decorate the mason jar I'll no doubt be peeing into in the near future.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Let's Get Physical

Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time in over six months. It was pretty humiliating when I didn't know where the locker rooms were anymore. In my defense, they had recently (6 months ago) completely renovated, but it concerned me that I've been paying for a membership to a gym whose locker rooms I was having trouble locating.

This return to the gym was prompted, as it is every year, by the approach of Twin Cities Pride. This time honored gay tradition of exercising coupled with a crash diet usually takes place the month of June. It ends promptly on the Sunday of Pride when I come home and gorge myself on all the foods I'd been denying myself (and I usually look forward to it almost as much as Pride itself). It's occurred to me that this maybe isn't super healthy. I'm handling things differently this year.

I wish that I could say that I'm now magically completely comfortable with my body, but there is still work to be done before I reach that point. It's my approach that is going to be different. In years past I've set a ridiculous weight I plan to reach before the big weekend. All month I obsess over the scale, weighing myself twice a day (and even going so far as to chart it), skipping meals if I'm up, and feeling validated about skipping meals if I'm down. It makes me insane all month. Then, when I've finally reached my goal, I start to slack, and before I know it I've gained everything back.

This year I'm putting away my scale. I won't be stepping on it for the upcoming month. I'm hoping that not focusing on the number will help to keep me from stressing about it. Instead I'll be focusing on getting to a point where I'm fitting comfortably and feeling good in my clothes. I have all of my outfits picked out (I've got more costume changes planned than Gaga at the VMA's), but most of them are just a bit too tight.

I've already come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to stick to a super restrictive diet, so I'm just going to try to replace some of the not so healthy things that I eat with some not so, not so healthy things. Instead of ice cream, I'm picking up frozen yogurt. Instead of chips, I'm choosing plain popcorn. And instead of an entire frozen pizza, I'll eat an entire personal sized frozen pizza.

I have this issue with buying personal sized pizzas. I always feel like the cashier is going to judge me for eating a whole pizza by myself; so I buy a full sized and pretend that I have friends who will be sharing it with me (similar to how I try to work the words "we" or "us" in when I'm ordering half the Taco Bell menu).

I could make some therapist very rich...if I had the money to pay a therapist. Wine is just so much cheaper.

It's really the exercising part of this plan that I'm most concerned about. I'm terrible at sticking with a routine (unless the routine is come home, take pants off, watch Battlestar Galactica for five hours, eat peanut butter with a spoon). But this is a part of growing the f#%! up, making a plan, sticking to it, and not allowing yourself to turn into Gilbert Grape's mother.

I've planned a campaign on three fronts:

1. Return to the gym

This one is obvious. I'm paying for a gym membership, I need to be using it. I've been twice this week so far.  I was feeling really great about myself after the second trip, and then when I went to throw away a tissue in the locker room garbage can I noticed someone had left their empty Dairy Queen Blizzard cup in the trash. It was probably the meanest thing anyone has ever done to me at the gym.

My routine at the gym is 50 minutes on the treadmill, I'm not a jogger, but I set a fairly quick pace and crank the incline up fairly high. I follow that up with 30 minutes on the bike. I need to be constantly entertained or I give up early, so I have been watching TV shows that I will only allow myself to watch at the gym to hopefully keep me motivated to come back (the 6 month hiatus proves that this plan has failed spectacularly). The treadmill gives me just enough time to fit in an episode of Nashville, and I'm on the bike for long enough to watch Community.

I've got a 67 hour work week this week, so between the two jobs I won't really have time to get there much (the first person to suggest I wake up early and go before work gets slapped on their face...I will drive to wherever you are, and you will be expected to chip in for gas). This is where the other two parts of my plan come in.

2. Get off your ass

I have a horrible habit of climbing into bed right after work to watch just ONE episode of whatever TV show I'm currently working through (Currently Samantha Who? Hilarious). One episode turns into two, which turns into three, which turns into me falling asleep at six in the evening (every time I fall asleep in front of the TV I wake up with a sense of dread that I'm turning into my father). I'm not going to let myself keep falling into this trap.

I used to go on an hour long walk every night, and it was always my favorite part of the day. I fell out of the habit in the last month or so, but I'm going to put forh the effort to walk every night again. Also, I'm trying to be more conscious of where I'm driving and if I could just as easily walk the same distance. Sure, I can save fifty cents on almost any product by driving to Wal-Mart to get it, but Walgreen's and HyVee are in walking distance.

This goes for what little time I have for socializing as well. Instead of settling in for a movie, why not play a game of tennis? Why belly up to the bar when we can go dancing instead?

3. Ab f(l)ab!

Ab work outs are literally the worst. I mean sure there's war, and famine, and inequality in the world, but that's all forgotten when I'm 30 seconds into a plank, shaking, and praying for it all to end. The problem is that my mid section is what I want to work on the most, and I don't think that the little bit of cardio I'm doing is going to help that much.

I found a 30 day ab challenge online awhile ago. Each day is a mix of sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts, and planks with the number required rising each day (I skipped the leg lifts after trying them the first few days and feeling super inadequate). I did it for about fifteen days before I started getting cocky about it and thinking I could start skipping days (and by skipping days, I mean skipping the last 15 days in a row). I'm starting over now, and I'm using it as my 30 day countdown to Pride (well actually, like a 27 day countdown to Pride, I suck at exercise, but I'm GREAT at procrastination).

Doing a countdown also gives me a chance to do my favorite arts and crafts activity. Paper chains. Remember the red and green ones that we did in elementary school to countdown to Christmas? Yeah, I never stopped doing those. Tall Corn Days? Green and Yellow paper chain. Birthday weekend? Pink paper chain with glitter glue. And now, the crown jewel, a Pride Rainbow paper chain.

My supply of paper strips was running low (yeah, I keep them on hand), so I needed to cut some more. It was too gorgeous of a day to stay cooped up in my apartment though, so I walked down to Sibley Park (see #2) and set up my work station there. After cutting the strips down (and fielding a few strange looks for sitting in the grass playing with constructions paper and an x-acto knife), I wrote each day's workout on a strip and assembled the chain. I could have gotten the same results by writing them on a calendar and crossing the days off, but this is so much cuter!

So there it is, my plan to look fabulous, fit, and fierce for Pride!

You know, at least until the part of the night where everyone is a sweaty disaster.

Oh, and here are a few of the exercise plans that I ended up passing over.


(Full disclosure, I bought the Lisa Rinna DVD. I just don't have the floorspace.)