Wednesday, January 29, 2014

10 Things I Did This Week Instead of Writing a Blog Post

I'm stuck this week, guys. Out of ideas. Completely blocked. I've got nothing.

I guess I should feel lucky that it didn't happen sooner. I mean, this is blog post number forty. For forty weeks I've had something to say. In fact, usually I've got three weeks of things to say planned out, but this week my Wednesday deadline has drawn closer and closer, and I've just kept assuming something will come to me.

It hasn't.

So what have I been doing all week?

- I Googled historical serial killers until 2 am on a weeknight.

It's not even the first time I've done this. I'm not sure what prompted it. I sat down to try to write something, and before I knew it I was typing Elizabeth Bathory into Wikipedia. Homegirl allegedly bathed in the blood of virgins to stay young and is thought be the most prolific female serial killer in history.

Shit, Becky.

This of course led to clicking Delphine LaLaurie, and then Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova, and then La Quintrala. It f#%!ed up my dreams for days!

Bitches be cray.

- I made Ranch Chicken Enchiladas

I've been cooking pretty regularly lately, actually. It really is proving to be much cheaper to cook one big meal and then prepackage leftovers for the rest of the week. Surprisingly, it's also much more convenient. I kind of just always assumed that the time to prep an actual meal was so obnoxious that it wasn't worth it. I never factored in the time I've wasted going out every night to find something to eat for supper though.

And you know what not having to leave the house means...

I didn't love the enchiladas right out of the oven, but they made for some seriously delicious leftovers. I'm a bit sad that they're gone! You can find the recipe here (and if you're not already following me on Pinterest, what the hell are you waiting for?).

- I cleaned my kitchen.

Along with the cooking I've been doing recently, I've been actually cleaning up after myself. Typically I'd let my mess pile up until I'm pretty sure FEMA is going to have to step in. Lately though, I've started to clean up as I go. Again, it's shocking to me how little time it takes and how much stress it saves in the long run. How am I 27 years old and just realizing this?!

I was also quickly running out of room in my refrigerator, so I devoted a Saturday night to clear out that disaster area.

I found so much surprise wine.

It was much more fun than the surprise tupperware container full of moldy mussels. 

- I accidentally read a book meant for someone at a 6th grade reading level.

After finishing She's Come Undone, I needed something super light. So I grabbed a book that I picked up at a thrift store for a buck that appeared to be a gay themed young adult fiction novel. I love young adult fiction, but I'm not sure I like super young adult fiction. The main character is thirteen, and he's pretty scared about holding someone's hand...and yet I'm still reading.

Maybe it'll help me work through some of my own intimacy issues.

- I watched Elizabethtown

I don't need your judgement.

- I watched Elizabethtown again.

- I started planning my birthday party!

For the past five years or so I've been throwing my own birthday party. Before that I had a long string of really awful birthdays. It was largely because I was kind of a dick about the whole thing. I made a big deal out of how terrible my birthday was, telling people that I'd rather we just ignore it all together. Then I would punish them if they didn't ignore my specific instructions to let the day pass unnoticed, and throw me a wonderful party.

I was a really good friend.

By just taking the party into my own hands, I ensure that everything gets done exactly as I'd like. It started out with just two or three of us getting a hotel room up in the Twin Cities and going out to the bars, but it's grown dramatically since then. The past few years we've had anywhere from 15-23 people in our party, and shit gets crazy.

I. Can't. Wait.

- I reminisced over old family photos.

My mother's side of the family recently started a Facebook group where everyone has been sharing old photos. It's definitely one of my favorite things that has happened this month. Does anyone else ever find it kind of shocking that our parents and grandparents had entire lives before we came into the picture, or am I just that self involved?

My grandmother (sidenote, that outfit is fierce)
I kinda wanna party with Grandpa.

Of course, because I really am that self involved, I love seeing just how adorable I was as a baby.

Center of attention from the start

- I went grocery shopping.

I bought some legit groceries. Normally my trips to the store are for a frozen pizza, two boxes of Dots, and the largest bottle of Diet Coke I can find.

This time, though, I didn't buy a single thing that could be unwrapped, heated up, and eaten. I bought food that would need to be prepared. In fact, once I finish this up, I'm going to go make from scratch.

I also stocked up on ingredients to start making Green Smoothies for breakfast. I've had quite a few friends raving about these things, and when I found a pin on Pinterest that spells it out super simply (check it out here) I had to give it a try! After day one, I think I'm a fan.

- Apparently I grew the f#%! up!

As I spent the entire week struggling to write on the topic of behaving like a mature adult...I behaved like a mature adult. I ate well. I cleaned. I stayed in instead of going out and spending money, and I only drank like three bottles of wine.

Without even trying.

So...I guess...we're through here? Blog over?

Nah, you're not getting rid of me that easy. Stick around, I've got some good stuff planned for the weeks to come!

(Hint: it's something involving this lovely lady)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pretty in Pink

I consider myself a bit of a movie buff. I keep current with what new releases are coming out, often times accidentally spending hours watching movie trailers online. I crush it at the six degrees of Kevin Bacon game (seriously. crush it). IMDB is used more than Google for web searches, and I'm not afraid to pause the movie and give a lecture if you talk during an especially important scene. I take this shit seriously.

It's because of this that people are often times shocked when they reference "classic" films only for me to shrug and say, "Meh, haven't seen it."

"You haven't seen Pretty in Pink?!"
"Are you kidding me?"
"How is it possible that you're 27 years old and haven't seen Pretty in Pink?!"
"I dunno."
"I can't even believe it! It's Pretty in Pink!"
"The extent to which you're caring about this is making me uncomfortable."

So in my search for new things to blog about, I decided that I could totally make this a thing. I could watch movies that are apparently a requirement for growing up and then write about them.

Sound like more fun than exercising.

I decided to start out with Pretty in Pink, mostly 'cause it was on Netflix and seemed easiest. I wanted to make a whole night out of it, so I bought Pink Moscato, pink gummy hearts, pink Dots, and pizza rolls (which had Canadian bacon, which is pink), and the best part of the whole thing was that I didn't even need to feel bad about it! Little known dieting fact: calories don't count if it's part of a theme night. You're welcome.

Besides, I'd been eating right for hours already that day.

**Spoilers Ahead**

I basically knew the premise of the movie already. Molly Ringwald likes a boy, and that guy from Three and a Half Men is her best friend who is in love with her, but she doesn't give a shit about his feelings because he has a stupid name and dumb hats. In the end though, she realizes that Duckie was the one who always loved her, and maybe she feels the same way. Also, she wears a lot of pink.

What I didn't see coming was the storyline with her deadbeat father, Prophet Roman Grant from Big Love. I mean I feel terrible that his wife left him, but I'm pretty sure he had like 40 more the last time I saw him. Deal with it, and get a freaking job.

I was also a bit perturbed by how mudery Molly Ringwald's (Andie's) crush, Blane, was.

Seriously, this actually happens.

Gurl, get out of the f#%!ing library! I've seen this movie, and the redhead doesn't survive!

The whole thing is super duper creepy, but my biggest concern was, how the f#%! did he get a picture of her onto that ancient computer?! I mean, I don't remember much about using those ancient dinosaur computers, but I do remember it wasn't as simple as hitting a button on your phone to upload it to your Instagram. He planned this shit out!

It was right after this terrifying exchange that my internet went out, putting an abrupt end to my theme night, and turning it into just another guilt ridden night of eating junk food and watching Elizabethtown...again.

So. Many. Feelings.
The next night my internet was still down, so I braved the blizzard to just buy my own damn copy of the movie from Target.

As the film progressed, Blane got creepier and creepier. He takes her to this awful party with all of his friends and then keeps trying to get her alone with him upstairs, insisting that he's not trying to bang her...because I really think he's trying to kill her.

When he can't get her alone he drives her home, and they share what I think the director meant me to think is a romantic kiss in the street, but it really only made me question whether or not I've been kissing correctly.

Are you supposed to use that much hand when you kiss? I mean sure, maybe run your fingers through their hair or caress their cheek a bit, but he's straight up mauling her face in this scene. It's the most aggressive kissing I've seen since that time that guy bit me.

Meanwhile, Duckie is devastated. I can't say I blame him either. I've been Duckie. In love with a friend who doesn't return the feelings, but doesn't shy away from affectionate touching and lovely speeches about how wonderful he is. 

What a bitch.

Blane's next vaguely ominous move is to take Andie on a date to an abandoned horse stable.

Are people seriously watching this movie and thinking, "Oh, I just wish someone loved me enough to take me to go sit in hay and smell horse shit all night!"?!

Andie and Blane have now been on two dates, so obviously they're now madly in love. It's a love so strong that it can only be stopped by the threat of social ostracism by Blane's much hotter friend, Steff (I love all the gender f#%!ery going on with the character names in this movie). Steff reminds Blane that Andie is poor, and he is running the risk of spreading Poor People Cooties to their entire social circle. Blane caves immediately without even extending the courtesy of actually breaking up with Andie.

She doesn't take it well.

As we reach the climax of the movie, Andie has decided that she won't let those rich kids ruin her prom, so she sews two sort of awful dresses together to make one mega awful dress and goes to the prom be surrounded by people who hate her...

Gurl, maybe you should sit this one out? Stay in, eat some ice cream, watch a movie?

Have you seen Elizabethtown yet?
She gets to the prom, and you can see the apprehension on her face, until Duckie valiantly walks through the crowd to meet her, proving that he'll love her no matter how shitty she treats him. This is what I've been waiting for the entire movie.

I just wish he looked a little less doofy.
Is this where the movie ends though? Do the two of them dance all night? Does she profess that she loved him all along? Do they share a super romantic first kiss as some schmaltzy 80's love song swells in the background?

No. They don't.

Duckie tells her that she belongs with Blane. 



She leaves Duckie to run out to be with the guy who was mildly stalking her. The guy who has spent the entire movie trying not to be seen in public with her. The guy who dumped her just because his friend suggested it. The guy who put forth zero effort the entire f#%!ing movie!

Then they make out in the poorly lit parking lot behind the gymnasium.

This was what I've been missing out on, you guys?


Just as a side note. I spent the entire movie crushing HARD on the bouncer of the club that wouldn't let Duckie in.

So much so that I took the time to figure out what he was looking like nowadays.

So that's pretty embarassing.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The 7 Day Challenge

Last week I saw a video online where an overweight woman went to the gym every day for 100 days and totally changed her life. She was terribly depressed and had given up on happiness, until she took control of her life. The video ends with her smiling and happy...and with me sobbing.

It's the most f#%!ing inspirational thing I've ever seen.

I've been meaning to get my body situation under control for the last few months, but there was Thanksgiving, and then there was Christmas, and then there was every single other day because exercising and eating right is awful.

I really was inspired by this woman stepping up and making changes though. It made me want to do the same thing (with a motivational Glee song playing softly in the background). I did the math, and 100 days would be right around the time that I leave for Las Vegas. What an amazing way to complete such a wonderful journey!

Then I started really thinking about it. This woman obviously had a lot more work to do than I do. I mean, she wanted to change her life, and I mostly just want to look hot enough to make out with a stranger in a poolside cabana in Vegas. She wanted to get below 300lbs. I just want to get back into a size medium. I don't have that much work to do. In fact, if we're measuring me against the national average, I'm not doing all that bad.

Although, if we're measuring me by gay standards, I'm Gilbert Grape's mom.

So a hundred days is probably a bit much. I could probably do some medium level life changing in a month though. That seems a lot more reasonable.

Well maybe not a lot more reasonable. A little more reasonable maybe. Or sorta kinda reasonsable. Actually, not very reasonable would probably be more correct.'s unreasonable, there's no way I'll follow through on working out every day for a month.

So, last Thursday I started my seven day challenge. One week of no excuses, no whining, low level life changing (getting over my fear of the elliptical machine is probably about all the change I can hope for).

I planned to kick it off by heading back to the gym that night. I hadn't been in months. I got home, packed my gym bag, filled my water bottle, and opened up my laptop to update my iPod, and that's when I noticed it...

The internet was connected.

I've been stealing internet for years, and for years it's been pretty dependable. But recently I've gone days on end without being able to get a connection from my usual source, and I can't very well knock on the door and politely ask if I can reboot their router. So I just go without, and then I binge on it when I do get a connection.

I was faced with a decision. I could go work out, or I could take advantage of this rare occurrence. I did make a promise to myself, but who knows when this will happen again? And if you think about it, I'm paying for Netflix, and I hadn't been able to use it for at least a week. It was financially irresponsible for me to not sit down for a marathon of What Not to Wear.

It didn't occur to me that I'm also paying for a gym membership until I was twenty minutes in and halfway through a frozen pizza.

After a few hours I started to feel really bad. What does it say about me that I can't even get through day one of this challenge. What's going to happen when if I ever have kids?! "Ugh, potty training is exhausting! Just shit your pants, Daddy's watching the Kardashians."

Going to the gym was out (I'd already taken my pants off for the day), so I decided to go with my old stand-by "fun workout.": Dance Dance Revolution.

I'd set up a playlist of sorts a few years ago when I was working out a lot more. I used it when I didn't feel like going to the gym, but still wanted to feel like I'd done something. It was fairly easy, so I figured it would be a good way to kick off my week.

What I didn't account for was how out of shape I've become.

This is a game that children play, you guys. This isn't a legitimate workout routine, and I was struggling. I didn't think to grab water beforehand, so I was frantically trying to get a glass in the five seconds between songs, and still make it back in time to start the next one without missing too many steps (because those bitches will boo you). Parts of my body were jiggling that I didn't remember jiggling the last time I played, and I managed to sweat through my deodorant during the half hour routine. I landed a perfect score on the last song though. I was basically Natalie Portman in that f#%!ed up ballerina movie.

And then I almost puked.

Apparently eating an entire pizza beforehand was a bad idea. The important part is that I finished though. I was proud of myself. I got off my ass and did something. It wasn't much, but it was a start.

1 day down.

The high only lasted the night because I completely forgot to work out on Friday. I actually forgot entirely that I'd made a goal. It wasn't until I was laying in bed that night that I remembered. I briefly considered doing some in bed sit ups before thinking, "F#%! it, no one is going to expect that you'll actually pull this off."

1 of 2 days. Eh. Could be worse.

Saturday was a busy day. I had a date that evening. It was a second date with a guy who I was seeing some real potential with, so I really didn't want to screw it up. I got a haircut, I bought a new outfit, and I made sure my apartment was know, just in case. With all my running around, I couldn't really find the time to do any real working out. I managed to convince myself that if I ate well all day, I could call the day a success because I spent so much time out and about. I mean, it's better than my typical Saturday plans of renting 4 Redbox movies and falling asleep on the couch at two in the afternoon.

The date was awful. Like really awful. It's a story for a different post, but when I got home I was having some feelings, and my good intentions for the day went right out the window.

1 of 3 days. Not great.

Sunday brought a new sense of resolve. The events of the night before clearly proved that I was still going to need to hook a husband. I had all morning off. Plenty of time to get up and go to the gym. I planned to set my alarm for 9, go to the gym, and still have plenty of time to finish the book I was reading and relax before I had to go to work. But as I was getting ready to start my day, I got a call from work asking me to come in early.

So that threw a wrench in things. Once again I was able to talk myself into spending the time that I had reading a book and drinking tea rather than going to the gym, reasoning that I was going to be on my feet all afternoon which is basically the same as working out (it's not).

1 of 4 days. F#%!.

I spent Monday evening drinking wine and catching up on Downton Abbey at a friend's house.

But I walked there. 25 minutes each way. It counts.

2 of 5 days. I'm back in the game!

Tuesday came with a burst of motivation I really don't understand. I got off work, I cleaned, I organized, I did a bit of writing, I did laundry...and I went to the gym.

I actually did it! I got home from the laundromat, and instead of flopping down on the couch with a bottle of wine and no glass (which is what my horrible day at work warranted), I grabbed my gym bag and I actually followed through on this stupid plan! I went, I got on a treadmill, I stayed on it for an hour, I fought the urge to "reward" myself with pizza, and I went home feeling better about myself.

3 of 6 days. That's half of the days, you guys.

Today's my last day of this silly little challenge I gave myself. I'm working 13 hours today, so honestly I'm probably not going to do anything else, and I don't really even feel bad about it. Yeah, I'm sitting at 50% right now, and sure that's a failing grade by any standard grading scale, but those three days are three more than I've done in months. It's a start. A slow start, but a start nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In the Kitchen With Chris: Cooking for Warmth

It was -50 degrees yesterday, you guys. Negative. Fifty. Degrees. I don't think the word "bullllllllllllllllllllllshit" even begins to cover it.

So maybe it wasn't technically that low, but I don't understand windchill and all that meteorological, science crap, so if you tell me it feels like -50 degrees. It's negative f#%!ing fifty degrees.

What the hell am I doing in Minnesota?

Sorry. I've been holding that in for a few days for fear of becoming that person on Facebook.

So I bundled up. I wore gloves, mittens, and a stocking cap (hat hair be damned!) when I went out, and I wore my coziest sweaters, sweatpants, and slippers when I was home, but I couldn't shake the chill. My heater was working overtime, but it really wasn't enough. So I decided that this week was the perfect time to get back into the kitchen...mostly just so I could have the oven running.

I'd been pinning a number of recipes on Pinterest that I've been wanting to try, but never had the motivation to actually do it, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to knock a few of them out. I invited my friend Katie to come over and join me, mostly because cooking for more than one person is so much more enjoyable.

Also, when I'm cooking for myself the process usually goes something like:

Step 1: Pour a glass of wine to drink while I'm prepping the meal.
Step 2: Don't actually cook anything.

I planned out a whole meal. Like a main dish, a side dish, and a dessert. The whole shebang. I even went through each recipe and made notes about how much time it would take in the oven and at what temperature it would need to be set so I could plan out at what times I'd need to cook each item. It was f#%!ing exhausting. 

I knew my side dish would need the most time in the oven, so I figured I'd pick a main dish that I could cook in the crockpot. I went with a simple Barbecue Honey Mustard Chicken recipe. You can view the original pin here.

Sidebar: How adorable is my new crockpot?!
When I say simple recipe, I'm talking like a super simple recipe. Three ingredients, minimal stirring, almost no effort. As soon as I got home from work I threw four chicken breasts into the crockpot on high and left them there to cook for three hours. At that point I drained the juices and added in a cup of honey barbecue sauce and a cup of honey mustard, and let it cook for another half hour on high.

Boom. Done.

(I didn't take more pictures of the process because it was a super not photogenic dish. Definitely yummy, but equally ugly.)

After I got the chicken in the crockpot, I moved onto getting the dessert ready. I'd decided to bake a cake, and I picked another super simple cake. The original pin (here) calls it an "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" Cake, but people who use caps lock make me want to beat them senseless with their own keyboards, so I'm renaming it "Easy as Pie" Cake. Once again, it only has three ingredients.

1 box of cake mix, a can of pie filling (so obviously my new name makes more sense), and three eggs is all it takes. Mix that all together, and cook in a greased 9" x 13" cake pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. 

I chose to go with a lemon cake and  raspberry because raspberry lemonade Chapstick is my favorite, and for some reason I thought that flavoring would transition nicely into a cake. 

It's not a super pretty cake, but it turned out really well! The original recipe says that it doesn't need to be frosted, but I'm a firm believe that most things would be better if they were frosted, so I went ahead and did a cream cheese frosting on it. The pie filling makes for a super dense, moist cake. The raspberry pie filling isn't the best choice if you're not into raspberry seeds, but I really liked it, and I'm excited to play around with other flavor combinations!

After I got the cake finished and set aside to cool, I moved on to the part of the meal that I was most excited about. Smashed Potatoes. (Original pin here)

This one was a bit more "involved" (as my mother would tell me disparagingly), but with the ease of the other two, I needed to challenge myself at least a bit. The recipe called for:

2lbs small red potatoes
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste.

The instructions said to preheat the oven to 500 degrees, and set one oven rack at the top position and the other at the bottom. My oven, however, is basically an easy bake oven (but not as cute), and it only has one rack, so I was going to have to do some switching around. I started it at the bottom position.

Scrub the potatoes, and put them on a baking sheet with 3/4 cup of water in it. Cover that with aluminum foil and bake on the bottom rack for 30 minutes. After that, you'll pull them out, remove the foil, drain, and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Then toss them with 3 tablespoons of olive oil (although I imagined "tossing" anything would end in disaster for me, so I just rolled it around in the stuff). Smash the potatoes with the bottom of a glass until they are about 1/2" thick, and drizzle 3 more tablespoons over top and sprinkle on the thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.

It was at this point that I realized how important it was that you choose the smallest of the potatoes in the bag. Some of the larger ones weren't quite ready to be smashed and ended up flying across the room when I pushed down on them (the olive oil made them slippery as shit). 

From here you'll pop them back in the oven on the top rack for 15 minutes before moving them back down to the bottom rack for another 25-30 minutes.

Om Nom Nom
These were probably my favorite part of the meal. The skins got super crunchy while the insides stayed nice and soft. Katie and I both agreed that they were super tasty, but could possibly use a little kick of some kind. We brainstormed different seasonings, and I about climaxed when the idea of ranch powder was brought up (I'm really into ranch).

It was probably my most successful turn in the kitchen since I started this blog. Everything turned out exactly like the internet promised me it would (unlike that time it told me I could get rid of blackheads by smearing egg on my face...that was mean). Everything was delicious, and it made me excited to play with the recipes and try different variations (so this is what being inspired to cook feels like)!

The whole evening made me feel super proud of myself. Like maybe I could be getting a handle on this grown up thing.

Until Katie left, I finished off the wine straight from the bottle, and took a fork to the cake pan. 

So close.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Barbie Grows the F%#! Up

This past week I spent some time back in Iowa for the holidays. Every time I'm home my mom asks me to go through all of my drawers and closets in my old bedroom to get rid of the stuff I don't need. I'm convinced she's trying to erase all proof of my existence from the house. Each time she asks I tell her I'll do it, and then I go read a book until she forgets about it.

This time though, it occurred to me that I could use this as a blog post. Something about revisiting my teenage bedroom. I've saved all kinds of stupid stuff that it would be hilarious to revisit. I was already coming up with snarky witticisms about Teenage Chris's weird obsession with professional wrestling and Spongebob Squarepants t-shirts.

As I looked into the closet I was to be organizing I started to doubt my decision. There was a lot of crap in there, and it was looking more like work and less like fun. I got started with a small suitcase that was tucked off to the side. I vaguely remembered using it when we went on family vacations (overnight stays at Casino Hotels), but I hadn't seen it in years. This suitcase is also where my productivity for the day ended.

It was full of Barbies.

Growing up I was always afraid of going near my sister's Barbies, no matter how much I loved playing with them. I don't think I was ever told specifically that I couldn't play with them, but I knew very well that those were girl toys, and I wasn't to play with girl toys. So I'd have to wait for an invite from my sister. Then I could make a show out of asserting my masculinity while still agreeing to join just to keep her company, and then rip off the hideous dress that she had put Barbie in and dress her in something more fitting for a ball.

Coming upon them now, I still felt a bit of that same anxiety. It was like I was a teenager who had just stumbled upon a box full of Playboys, except playing by myself with a box of Playboys would probably still be more socially acceptable.

I reminded myself that I was now an out and proud gay man who gives zero f#%!s about gender norms, and started planning outfits.

I remembered Barbie being more...glamorous. But with the weird 90's clothes, the amateur haircuts, and nothing but hot pink heels, she seemed to have lost some of her sparkle. I mean she was still technically the same beautiful girl as I remembered, but she just seemed more tired. A bit defeated. Like life had taken the wind out of her sails.

Like she was in her late twenties.

Looking at these sad dolls all these years later, I couldn't help but start to imagine what their lives probably would look like today.

Helen lived a life in Barbie's shadow. Truthfully I'm not even sure that her name is Helen, it just seemed more polite to make something up than to call her "That Brunette Girl Barbie Used to Hang Out With." She desperately sought the attention denied to her because of her dark hair. She regularly got too drunk, and made choices she knew she'd regret the next day, the biggest of which was marrying Brunette Ken while on a weekend bender in Vegas

She now spends most of her evenings at the local ski lodge trying to pick up a rich second husband, often waking up the next morning with the taste of Pinot Grigio still in her mouth, missing her skis, her shoes, and her dignity.

Brunette Ken would really prefer it if you'd call him "Kenneth." He's desperately trying to lose his frat boy image, working nights and weekends to prove to his boss he's ready for that big promotion. No one's really sure what he does exactly, only that he works in an office that is apparently fine with him wearing one piece suits with suspenders. As hard as he works to change, his party boy side does shine through from time to time.

Especially when he gets cold water on his hair and his frosted tips begin to show.

Barbie's kid sis, Skipper, went off to a small liberal arts college on the east coast where she cut her hair, declared a women's studies major, and started going by "Kip."

When she's not busy organizing a protest or working her part time job caulking tubs, Kip enjoys hiking, collecting dream catchers, and going out for craft beers with her intramural softball team.

After he drunkenly (and tearfully) come out at that kegger at Barbie's Dream House (and then crashed Barbie's Dream Car into a tree), Blonde Ken (Kenni...with an "i") spent quite a bit of time "getting to know himself." Sure, he had his slutty phase, but how else would he have met the love of his life, Lyle? Lyle is 49, is always out of town on business, and most importantly, is f#%!ing loaded.

Bankrolled by Lyle's deep pockets, Kenni began a moderately successful career as a drag queen. His lack of testicles make tucking a breeze.

Life hasn't been kind to Barbie. Considering the gay boyfriend, the multiple failed careers, and the overwhelming student loan debt (it's not cheap becoming a vet, a teacher, a pilot, a surgeon, and a Canadian Mountie all in the span of a few years), it's really no surprise that Barbie suffered a severe mental breakdown.

She doesn't leave the house much anymore, only throwing on her pink housecoat to run to the store when Mr. Whiskers needs more kibble. She spends her days buying collectible dolls from QVC, looking at old yearbooks, and pondering where her life went wrong.

The hoarding seems to help take the edge off.

FYI, this is only about like a third of the photos I took (with the horrible green suitcase serving as the backdrop). I had beach looks, night club looks, and sports apparel all planned out. I finally stopped myself after two hours when it dawned on me that I really was having an alarming amount of fun.

Lord help me if I ever lose my phone and a stranger goes through my photos.