My First Ever NYC Trip

Hiii there pretty pudding pops!

Warning. This is going to be a long post. This is because I want to remember everything myself as much as I want to share it with you guys. CUZ GUESS WHAT… I spent last weekend in New York City!

I know what you’re thinking… Wait, where? Well, it’s this big city on the East Coast where approximately 703 million people live, give or take. I know this because I personally brushed shoulders/ran into/was yelled at by 700 million of them. Pretty sure I would have hit that last 3 million in our short 50 hour trip but Makenzie and I were too hungover to use the subway the last day.

Makenzie, one of my oldest and dearest friends, took the train up from her residence in Washington DC to meet me for a weekend of galavanting in New York. I absolutely ALWAYS have fun with Makenzie, so I knew I was guaranteed a good time. This is the same girl who, in high school, announced that she wore her bangs to the sides during the week for a more school vibe but would be wearing her bangs straight across on the weekends to alert others that she is ready to party. She has since abandoned this tactic but our bangs were both going to be metaphorically straight across all weekend.

This was my first trip to New York.  My mom and I have planned to go forever but, since I’ve never really had a lull in between school or working, a time to go has never fully presented itself.  Knowing that I was to start my new job in March, I leapt at the chance to take a Friday off of my current job (what is he gonna do? FIRE ME?!) (JK plz don’t fire me) to check out the Big Apple and eat everything but apples.

I realized quickly that everyone has a thousand recommendations when it comes to visiting New York. Suggestions and reviews from our friends and family helped build Makenzie’s beautiful minute-by-minute itinerary that provided us with such a good time. So, to outline the way my trip went and to help others, I decided to post my reviews of almost every single place that we went in New York to Yelp. Here I have screenshot them for easier access for my reader(s?) here.

Why not tell the story of our trip AND help others on their first ever trips to New York?! I know, I’m such a good person.

Keep in mind that any time between these places were simply filled with subway rides and miles of walking where I asked my vegetarian friend Makenzie, “Do you wanna get a hot dog? We should probably get a hot dog. Wanna split a hot dog?”

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HOTEL

ST PATRICKS

ROCKEFELLER

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TIMES SQUARE

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EMPIRE STATE

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empire state

WINE30

BATHTUB GIN

THE JANE

CENTRAL PARK

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JOE

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coffee

BUTCHERS DAUGHTER

butchers daughter

STARBUCKS 1

STARBUCKS 2

STARBUCKS 3

memorial

9:11

BROOKLYN BRIDGE

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ARMANDOS

FASCATIS

brooklyn pizza

GANSEVOORT

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gan

H&H BAGELS

MET

THE HIGH LINE

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high line

SLEEP NO MORE

FUKU 1

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fuku 3

FIRST WALKING AROUND

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Homeless in Mammoth

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I just spent a weekend homeless.  Strap in, this is a long one.

It was Nicole’s birthday weekend.  She’s now been on earth for 24 years so we decided to go up to Mammoth to celebrate her making it this far.  Originally, she told me that we were going backpacking.  I’ve never been backpacking but I’ve hiked the Hollywood sign hungover about a hundred times so I felt equipped to get the job done.  Though, when I told my mom I was going backpacking and she told me that she had a sturdy North Face backpack in the garage that she could send me.  I replied, “Oh, shit.  I didn’t even realized that I’ll need to get a backpack.”

As the weekend approached, the plans downgraded from backpacking to camping when we realized the only participants in this journey would be Nicole, Ebru, and me.  Because maaaaybe we weren’t quite backpacking trip material.  We have been known to call ahead to a restaurant to make sure their patio heat lamps were on when it was a bit breezy out.

On Friday afternoon around 2pm, we left LA with extreme gusto.  We were off!  It was happening!  The three of us!  Camping!  S’mores!  Here we go!

We didn’t arrive in Mammoth until 11pm.  Turns out, Nicole’s birthday weekend is also Labor Day weekend.  Lots of people wanted to get out of LA.  Lots of people took the highway.  Lots of people went to mammoth.  Lots of people camped.

As we pulled into town, we searched the town for campsites.  We camped last year during the Fourth of July and had pulled right into a spot on the lake, so this year we found no reason to make a reservation. Heads up – If you ever go camping in Mammoth on Labor Day, make a reservation. Turns out, at midnight the Friday of Labor Day weekend, there are absolutely no campsites available.  We drove around for hours looking.  To give you perspective, I just looked up Mammoth camping online and it says that they have “over 800 campsites available.”  I have stink-eyed every single one.

We found a campsite – #43 – that appeared to be open.  We parked, yanked out our tent, and began to build our new home.

A man from the campsite next door pointed his flashlight at us and asked what we thought we were doing.  I showed him the bags under my eyes to gain sympathy.  I was so tired. In one day, I had worked, driven for 9 hours, and learned the hard way that McDonalds is not yet serving breakfast all day.  He introduced himself as Kei (pronounced “Key”) and said that he had reserved this spot for his friends who were arriving in the morning.   We could sleep at his campsite but we better GTFO early in the morning.  (He did not say GTFO with his mouth but he did with his eyes)

That night we slept outside in 32 degree weather.  I know this not only because I have never been so cold in my life, but also because Ebru said “IT IS SO COLD. IT’S LIKE 30 DEGREES OUT.” every hour on the hour.  I didn’t even go to the much-needed bathroom the entire night for fear of climbing out of my sleeping bag and turning into a popsicle.

7am the next morning, we woke up more tired than the night before and packed up the car.  Back on the road, we once again looked for campsites.  One of the campground host’s trailer even had a sign that said, “We’re full. Don’t even ask.”  We called hotels.  Most of them were full, though one lady told me, “GREAT news!  We have one room open. $243 a night.”  For a weekend that we predicted our biggest purchase would be a 12 pack of Clif bars, $243 a night was not an option.

Ebru posted an “SOS” snapchat story where she announced to everyone that we were homeless in Mammoth and needed a place – any place – to stay.  We called everyone we have met over the years that lived in Mammoth.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, had either moved away, was on vacation, or was living on a mattress on the back of their truck.  When I asked, “What do you do when you get cold?” my truck-living friend answered, “I run.”  Like, at 4am, if he is too cold, he just starts running.  Meanwhile, I have been in head-to-toe running gear, on a perfect 70 degree day, standing on a beautiful beach trail and have thought, “Eh, not today.”

Driving around the campgrounds, we saw a group of people setting up a tent on the side of the road, sans campsite.  We asked them what they were doing and they replied that, because it’s a national forest, you can set up camp wherever you want and no one can ticket you.  You don’t need to pay for a campsite.  (If you’re thinking at this point – if this is true, then why doesn’t everyone do it? Then you are much smarter than we are.  Though, you’ve probably had a good night’s sleep and a shower so you have the upper hand here and can’t even compare to our desperation, so LEAVE ME ALONE GOSH.)

We set up camp on the side of the road.  We even tied up a banner to properly alert the bears we were celebrating Nicole’s birthday.

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Streamer work done by Ebru.  See more of her work at I-tie-streamers-around-trees.com.

Then, we went hiking.  We embarked on a beautiful 12 mile round-trip hike to Duck Lake, passing 3 other lakes on our way: Arrowhead, Skelton, and Barney, and somehow lived to tell the tale.

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12003241_10154205387657468_3540416196024108766_nMe looking for a place to sleep that night.

We got back into town and headed directly to Mammoth Brew Co to enjoy some well-earned beers.  That’s when Nicole started to second guess our side-of-the-road home we had set up earlier.  We asked our waiter what he thought, who laughed at us for thinking we could just put up a tent on the side of the road and think that the rangers wouldn’t ticket us.  He asked if we were at least being discreet?  I thought of the streamers and the banner and answered yes, of course we were being discreet.

I used my old friend Google to learn that what we were doing was called “dispersed camping” which has a much better ring to it than “homelessness” but is not legal in the recreational area. If we wanted to drive miles outside of Mammoth and pitch a tent on the side of the freeway, we were free to do that.  I pegged that as Plan Z and desperately hoped we could any viable option A though Y.

At this moment, Ebru received a snapchat from a username that she didn’t recognize.  He had seen her extremely desperate post and he lived in Mammoth.  He seemed to know Ebru. She didn’t remember who he was.  We discussed the possibility that he was a murderer.  I hope he never reads this. We agreed to meet him in the public and crowded village.  The three of us took our beers to go, walked up to the village, and waited.

Turns out, the snapchat username belonged to a guy that we had known from trips years prior in ski racing.  He explained that a friend of his was housesitting a 4-bedroom place and was throwing a house party and did we want to come?  Our mission became clear.  We would go to this house party and I would have to challenge everyone into a flip cup competition and bet that, should I win, I gain full access to the house and they must all endure the painful experience that is sleeping outside in 30 degree weather.  That, or we can just claim a room and be grateful to the host.  I was prepared for either one.

We told our friend that we would meet him back at the village in an hour, as we needed to dismantle our birthday-themed illegal campsite that we had set up earlier.  We bid him farewell.   As we all squealed with excitement over our new house party plans, we started coughing from the 12 miles worth of dust and dirt we still had on from our hike.  Where do you shower when you’re homeless?

The Westin is the most beautiful hotel in Mammoth.  Why we chose this one as the one to sneak into is beyond me.  We entered the hotel and too loudly talked about how “we were just taking the elevator UP TO OUR ROOM” and that we would “toooooootally get room service tonight! YUMMY!!”  You need a room key to get into the gym, but sneaky Ebru convinced an innocent bystander that we had left our room key in the pool area.  We probably looked like straight loons, covered in dirt and in hiking attire while telling this lady that “We were JUST in the pool! I love swimming laps! Gotta beat my PR!”  She swiped her card, allowing us access to the showers.  We used hand soap to scrub away the day.

That night, we arrived at a bar to meet our friend but, more importantly, to charge our phones.  Outlets, I have learned, are a true luxury that should not be taken for granted.  I no longer do that.  Since I started typing out this story, I have whispered “Thank you” into each outlet in my apartment 3 times.

Our snapchat friend had signed up to be a food model for the day, which consisted of having photos taken of him eating and enjoying the restaurant to later be posted to the Mammoth Mountain website.  Since our wagon was officially hitched to his for the night, we joined in the fun before heading to the party.  The photographer took pictures while Nicole ate tacos.  He recorded videos while we danced to live music played by a guitarist with no teeth.  It was a weird weekend.

We later arrived at the house party to a host who greeted us with, “You must be the homeless girls.”  He then very sweetly showed us a room that we could stay in for the night, squashing my need to conquer them all at flip cup and force them to sleep outside.  We partied the night away with the local mountain dirt bike instructors.

The next morning, we thanked our lovely host by helping clean the house that he was no longer staying in after that night.  So, we left the house once again homeless.  We had planned on staying in town until Monday.  It was Sunday.

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An option of places to stay.  Though, the sign “Yes on Z” felt like a sign to drive out of town and pitch a tent on the freeway.  Remember???  Plan z?? Oh, forget it.

That day, we went horseback riding because we have our priorities straight.  Why spend money on a hotel room when you can spend it on huge animals that carry you up mountains?

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Side note on how funny I think this picture is: Look at Nicole’s extreme excitement about the journey we were about to embark on.  You should know that that smile faded quickly when she later learned that her horse refused to move and stopped randomly in the middle of rocky hills.11998881_10156016542350224_7423045444933354906_n

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In the afternoon, we pitched hammocks at Lake Mary.

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In the early evening, we drove out to the hot springs and met some dude who catches fish for a living.  We had planned on setting up camp right near the hot springs but, as the temperature dropped and the pull to our beds 303.77 miles away grew stronger, we hit the road at 7pm to travel back to LA.

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We concluded that, before we left, we should make s’mores on the portable stove Nicole brought. But… We couldn’t figure out how to turn it on.  Desperate for my favorite dessert, I grabbed the lighter to light a marshmallow on fire, only to learn that our lighter was out.  It was the most perfect ending to the trip that had originated with the idea that three of us could backpack through the Mammoth mountains.

The entire ride back, each one of us burst out laughing whenever we thought of the weekend that we had just endured.  I think it took everything about our trip to go wrong to realize that, in the end, everything about our trip was so right. I was lucky enough to experience an incredible weekend and made a million memories with two of my favorite people in the world… And I do mean Kei and that photographer dude.

My Flight to San Francisco

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9am
I have all day to get ready for my flight to San Francisco, where I’m going to a mini reunion with a few of my sorority sisters from college. I have alllllll day. I wonder if I should change it to an earlier flight because I have so. much. time.

9am-4:30pm
No idea what occurred. Literally, I have no idea what I was doing during these hours. It is a mystery. Please send any evidence or clues of my whereabouts.

4:30pm
My mom calls and asks me what time my flight is. I tell her 6pm. She says I better get a move on. I tell her to leave me alone and let me live my life. Also, to send money.

4:35pm
A friend asks what I’m doing that night and I tell them that I’m going to San Franfishco. Then I realize……. That would make a really great seafood restaurant. San FranFishCo. I’m going to open that in the city and make millions. I will have to hire people who cook seafood because I have no idea how. Would it be a sushi restaurant? Do I serve other kinds of meat? Do I have to make it vegan friendly? Also, kosher friendly? Is seafood kosher? I google how to open a vegan kosher friendly fish restaurant in San Francisco.

4:40pm
I realize that I didn’t ever finish packing. I also never started. Maybe I should start.

4:42pm
What do I bring? Is it cold in San Francisco?

4:44pm
I look through my friend’s instagram who lives in SF to decide what to wear. I notice that she has a picture with Bridget. I miss Bridget. I wonder how Bridget is doing. I should like Bridget’s latest instagram to show her that I miss her.

4:46pm
I go onto Bridget’s latest instagram and see a photo from a few weeks ago with Ebru. I think they spent Fourth of July together. I haven’t seen Ebru in a while. I wonder how Ebru is doing. I miss Ebru. I should like Ebru’s latest instagram to show her that I miss her.

4:50pm
Oh, right. I remember that I am seeing Ebru in a few hours, when we are landing in SFO at the same time. Oh, right. My flight. What time is it? 4:50? I live really close to the airport, so it’s fine.

4:52pm
Oh, right. No I don’t. I moved a year ago and no longer live really close to the airport. I call an über.

4:53pm
I remember that I never finished packing. I also never started. What have I been doing? I start to pack.

4:54pm
Is it cold in San Francisco?

4:59pm
My über arrives. I grab random things from my closet and chuck it into a bag. I realize I probably don’t need my rainboots. I also probably don’t need three swimsuits. I also probably don’t need four pairs of sandals. I also probably should have started packing earlier.

5:01pm
I run downstairs and enter my driver Abdullah’s car. I tell him that I’m headed to LAX. He asks when my flight leaves. I tell him 6pm. He tells me that I’m cutting it close. I tell him to leave me alone and let me live my life. Also, can I use his phone charger. My phone is on 12%. Why didn’t I charge it? What have I been doing?

5:05pm
We leave for the airport. Ebru calls me and says that she’s at her gate and asks if I’ve arrived at the airport. I tell her no but that I am on my way. She tells me not to miss my flight. I thank her for that. What would I do without that stunningly helpful advice. I immediately unlike her photo.

5:10pm
We turn a corner… and it’s standstill traffic.

5:15pm
5 minutes and we have not moved from this spot. Sirens blaze and a police car passes us. I’m concerned. I hope everyone is okay. I also hope that I make my flight. I also hope that I remembered to pack a jacket. Is it cold in San Francisco?

5:18pm
Ebru texts me and asks me if I’m going to make the flight. I tell her not a chance. I laugh at my dramatics and tell Abdullah. He doesn’t laugh. I tell him to leave me alone and let me live my life.

5:25pm
We haven’t moved.

5:28pm
WE. HAVEN’T. MOVED.

5:30pm
I debate calling Delta and changing my flight. Then I remember I don’t know how I just “call Delta” and “change my flight.”

5:32pm
Abdullah lets someone in front of us. In this traffic!? HOW DARE HE BE A GOOD PERSON WHILE THERE IS A STRONG POSSIBILITY THAT I WILL MISS MY FLIGHT.

5:35pm
I’m sweating from the stress. It’s really, truly happening. Soon, my ENTIRE SHIRT will be DRENCHED with sweat. I AM GOING TO ARRIVE IN SF, DRENCHED. I HOPE IT’S NOT COLD, BECAUSE THEN I’LL BE FREEZING – Is it cold in San Francisco?

5:37pm
The traffic lets out and I tell Abdullah to STEP. ON. IT. I CANNOT MISS MY FLIGHT. GO GO GO GO GO GO

5:38
GOOOOO GOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOO GO GO GO GO GO

5:39pm
I realize that I think I want the font to be different for “San Fran” and “Fish Co.” on my restaurant sign.

5:40pm
I FINALLY ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT.

5:42pm
I ENTER THE SECURITY LINE. With no time to spare, I wink at the guard to suffice as my ID and do a cartwheel through the metal detector, accenting the landing with a hairflip.

5:43pm
I have to go back through metal detector again because apparently you can’t just wink and cartwheel through it. I advise them that, if that’s the case, they need a sign stating so ‘cause how are us civilians just supposed to KNOW.

5:45pm
5 minutes until the doors close. I make it through the security line, grab my shoes, and run towards the gate as fast as I can. I then remember that I had a bag, too, and completely forgot it on the conveyor belt. I have NO TIME. Do I really even need my clothes? Is it cold in San Francisco?

5:48pm
I run back to the security, grab my bag, and book it back to the gate. Luckily, it’s the first gate of the terminal. Luckily, I have socks on so I don’t have to run barefoot. Luckily, my bag isn’t fully zipped and everything in my bag fell out.

5:50pm
I pick up all my things and, with all four sandals in my arms, keep running to the gate. I make a mental note to get back into shape. I need to cut back on all the time I’ve devoted to the chain on restaurants I’m opening and focus more on me. The gate attendant announces that she is closing the door so I ninja slide my way in and karate chop a wall just because it feels right.

5:59pm
I MAKE THE FLIGHT. I fell into my seat drenched, shoeless, and carrying all of my luggage in my arms. The flight attendant asks me if I need water . I tell her to leave me alone and let me live my life. Also, is it cold in San Francisco?

A Rub a Dub Hot Tub

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To celebrate the New Year, I went to Mammoth.

Shocking, I know.  I go constantly and post a minimum of 5 instagrams for each trip up.  It’s just so beautiful! And pretty! And snowy!  And compatible with the Valencia fliter!

This time, I traveled up with my friends Nicole, Ebru, and Penney.  Great gals.  The first rule about our trips to Mammoth – Never go in with any expectations.  With this company, you can only expect the unexpected.  Our idea of Mammoth is similar to that of Vegas: what happens there stays there.  We figure, we don’t know these people and we will likely never see them again.  So if I feel like convincing the Mammoth DJ that I also am DJ in LA in order to get him to let me plug in my phone only to play some country music and get booed off stage by the ungrateful ski bums, what’s stopping me?

Nothing.  And that’s where the problem lies.

The whole idea of “you’ll never see these people again!” Doesn’t really apply when you travel up to the same mountain every weekend.  We see these people constantly. We’re at the lifts every morning, the village every afternoon, the bars every evening, a house party that night, and the bar again the next day because I’m the queen of leaving my tab open then subsequently forgetting and forcing my friends to make our trip home start after 4pm when the bar re-opens and I can retrieve the card. Every night out is the same. Sure!! Keep it open!! Keep my card!! I will for sure remember to come b— House Party? Sounds great, let’s go!!

Penney told us that her friend from high school was in town and that we should meet up with him.  How did she know that he was in town, you ask?  They matched on Tinder.  The previous night, we had walked into a bar and Penney pointed to a group of guys to tell us, “Umm… I think I matched with one of those guys on Tinder.”  So, we approached the guys, thanked them for the right swipe, and allowed them to buy us drinks all night.  Penney was becoming our very own Tinderella.

As it turns out, the guys she knew from high school were really cool and we ended up hanging out with them for the majority of our time up there.  I would just like to state that now so that no one thinks I’m just bitching.  Now that I got that out of the way, I am free to tell my story.  (And bitch.)

We invited them to come over and hot tub with us but they countered with an invitation to come to their place instead, as they had an indoor hot tub.  Immediate reaction: Indoors? Who has a hot tub indoors? I was intrigued.  Confused.  Skeptical.  Most of all, cold.  Roof or no roof, just GET me in a tub.

When we arrived at the house, the guys welcomed us warmly by standing around and staring at us. Hey! Nice to meet you.  What’s your name? Where did you go to college? Oh, great! I have a friend that went there. Oh, you know her?  You two are good friends? No, don’t text her.  She won’t be excited we met.  She’s busy, I’m sure. She wouldn’t remember me. I don’t know her that well.  Okay, so I know of her.  I’ve never met her.  I just stalked her once when she was tagged in one of my friend’s photo.  She looked nice. She’s actually just insta famous. Popular page. SoooOoooOo, where’s that JACOOZ!?

The guy Penney knew, who I will rename Nate, asked us to follow him to the jacuzzi.  He walked the four of us through the master bedroom, into the master bathroom, and I stopped in my tracks to stare at what was presented in front of me: a bathtub.

I asked my new friend, “Um…. Is this the hot tub?”  We just drove from a pool-sized jacuzzi at Nicole’s condo to come to his indoor… bathtub?  There were 8 of us. Are you kidding me?

Nate started laughing. Nooooonononono, this is NOT the indoor hot tub secret garden that he had referred to.  We all had a good laugh.  He kept saying, “Seriously? You think I invited you over to bathe?”  Silly me!! How could I think so little of this Tinderfella that our very own Penney had probably made out with under their high school football bleachers?  CRAZY, right?!

Nate then turns a corner to show me….

A slightly larger bathtub.

I’m not joking.  I was still laughing at the fact that I had thought it was a bathtub, only to turn the corner to find the SLIGHTLY LARGER BATHTUB.

Sure, the thing had jets. Sure, it was already filled with water.  Sure, it was hot.  It would fit two, maybe three people.  It was a honeymoon Jacuzzi tub.  I dare to assume that our very own Tinderfella was conceived there, as it was in his parents’ master bedroom and I spotted a Marvin Gaye CD near the stereo.

Nicole and I told everyone that we would be the first to change and that they should come back in a moment to join us.  We put on our swimsuits, walked to tub, and got in.  We took up 60% of the tub.  For visual reference and as a testament to how small the tub was: Nicole is the size of a jellybean and we still took up 60% of this tub.

The guys, Ebru, and Penney came in, stepped into our love tub, and proceeded to all sit on top of each other like we were back in college with 10 people jammed in a car because we could only get one person to DD.  But this time, we were in water and wearing swimsuits.  Also, I was staring at a toilet.  It was arm’s distance away.  I flushed it just to prove that I could.  It was ja-cozy in there.

It was a nice bath.  I’ll just call it what it was: a shared soak among old and new friends.  Conversation flowed, beer guzzled, and the bathtub was left with about 2 inches left of water when we all got out.  All that remained was a bar of soap that I had not noticed when I first entered.  Unlike most people’s experiences, I came out of a hot tub feeling cleaner.

I realized, once we left, that I had not followed the #1 rule of Mammoth: Carry no expectations.  Nate told us he had a hot tub and so I expected a hot tub.  But, of course, I have also told the Dominos deliveryman that all my friends are just on their way.  We don’t always mean what we say.

So, thanks, Nate’s parents’ bathtub, for the Mammoth memories.  Or as I like to call them: Mammories. (I want so badly for that to be a thing but have discovered it sounds a bit too similar to the name of the breast gland for people to really embrace.  Yet, I will persist.)

TSA: for Normal People

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On my way back to LA from being home for the holidays, my mom flew with me.

By the way, I just typed “on my way back to school” and had to go back and change it. Also, I recently had a raging nightmare and woke up in a cold sweat thinking I had forgotten to do my homework over the break. I graduated from college 7 months ago. Someone prescribe me something. The denial is real.

Traveling with me was my dearest mother who was going to visit her friend for the New Year in Orange County (Hey Maria!). To lengthen our holiday time together, she planned on traveling with me to LAX. It would be lovely. We would bond. We would cultivate inside jokes that my sister wouldn’t understand and I could use as evidence that I’m the favored child. We would hold hands. We would hug. We would share a security bin.

We then arrived at the security line in PDX and without any hesitation my mother abandoned me.

When I turned to ask if my mother would buy me one of those neck pillows so I’d stop falling asleep on strangers, do you know what I saw? The woman who raised me was waving at me 15 feet away in the pre-checked line. As a result of traveling as frequently as she does, my mom did that “pre check” TSA program where they interviewed her and decided this blonde woman who owns 67 furry coats and a selfie stick is not a threat to America and therefore doesn’t need to take her belt off when traveling.

She explained this to me while she was already halfway through the line and told me to meet her on the other side. Right before she turned a corner I saw a TSA agent hand her a margarita and offer her a massage.

I was left. Alone. I had already snapchatted a picture of us traveling together. Five minutes ago. It now felt like years ago. I didn’t add it to my story so I couldn’t even watch it again. I started to forget what she looked like.

I headed into the general line with the rest of the abandoned, peasant children. Even the sign looked different. The pre-check line sign was new, pretty, and offered a joke. It read: “You can keep your jacket on, you busy traveler, you.” Clever. The general boarding sign was old, slanted, and covered in weird moisture that I concluded was tears from travelers who had missed their flights. I was on the real trail of tears.

I awkwardly stood in line shoved up against the other peasants like we were sardines, and got squeamish off the horrific overuse of gifted Christmas perfume and cologne.

6 hours later, I arrived at the place where they check your ID and boarding pass. The man looked down at my ID, back up at me, said “Good morning, young lady” and he was instantly my least favorite person on the planet. I hate that greeting. Young lady? Yack. I think it’s because someone told me they thought I was 16 in Mammoth last week and wouldn’t serve me my IPA. Like the beer, I’m bitter. I’m not that young, okay? I know 16 couples that got engaged this season. Meanwhile, I got 5 new tinder matches and I’m extremely hopeful that at least one is employed.

He highlighted my boarding pass and waved me through. Another line. I’m not positive but I think enough time had passed by this point that my mom had walked her way to LA and my sister birthed 5 more children.

This is the point right before you get to the belt where everyone just starts chugging their water/coffee/tequila.

Eventually, I reached the conveyor belt. I always forget to grab one of the bins so I just threw all my things on the belt and offered the security man a wink. Carlo, it’s fine. I know someone over at pre check. We have momentarily separated but will reunite soon and she’ll tell me everything that goes on over there. Let me keep the jacket on and I’ll let you in on the secrets. It’s like 55 degrees in this airport and I prefer 72.

Fine, Paul Blart. I’ll take the jacket off.

Next, shoes. I was wearing the heaviest boots I own because they are as cute as they are bulky and would surely bring my suitcase past the 50lb limit that I always nail. I unzipped, yanked, struggled, collapsed, fell, cried, yanked again, enlisted Carlo to help, got up, wiped my tears, apologized to everyone, sang a Taylor Swift song to brighten the mood, and plopped the shoes on the belt.

I was almost in. I could already smell the hot, gross food that people would buy 5 seconds before boarding the plane.

I had to take off my FitBit. I reminded myself to add about 12 more steps to my final count today that would be missing. I mean, or 1200. Or 5000? Who KNOWS how much I move while it’s off! I would never hit my goal now!! This day is a wash. I’ll eat a pizza later to stay consistent with this day’s failures and start over tomorrow.

My bags went through the x-ray and I prayed that they just see if there is metal and not that all I keep in my purse is 600 Starbucks receipts and a huge tube of Vaseline because I’m convinced it’s better than Chapstick.

I walked through the spaceship; literally steps away from the end (of course, we’ll never know for sure without my wristband) and the machine started beeping at me. Carla, Carlo’s counterpart, wands me down and tells me it’s my bra because it has an underwire. What the hell!?! This would ONLY happen to me and ONLY on a day like today. I know this because I’ve worn the same bra for twelve years and have never encountered this problem.

So at this point, I was naked. Of course, no one in Portland thought it was weird.

I then streaked through the spaceship, deducted 5 more years off my life due to the cancer it will one day bring me, and grabbed everything off the belt while the person behind me glared at me for going too slow. Do you know what I just went through? I seriously need a shopping cart to carry all of this and I’m doing it with only two arms and a mediocre-to-average attitude. Most would consider this IMPRESSIVE. Your crocs will still be on the belt when I’m finished. Cheer up. Go buy a graphic novel from Hudson News

When I finally got to the end of the security line, I reached my mom. She had a glow about her and I’m convinced the pre-check line had a spa somewhere in the assembly line. I crawled towards her, completely disheveled, naked, carrying boots, a jacket, my entire outfit, a carry on, my purse, those crocs I stole, and a car tire. And then she asked me, “What took you so long?”

FREEDOM, mother.

My Thanksgiving Flight

thanksgiving

I just returned from a Thanksgiving weekend at home.

Going home is the best.  I get to play with my niece and nephew, see old friends, experience rain again, buy non-sales taxed stuff, and find out that cute boys from middle school are even cuter now.

The only downside?  Things keep changing.  I ABSOLUTELY hate change.  That might sound weird coming from the girl who moved away from home and flipped her life upside down for college, but I knew I could always count on Beaverton to be the same.

When I was younger, I balled my eyes out when my mom got rid of our blue mini van.  My sister, meanwhile, threw a fiesta.  The thing really needed to retire, but I was a complete mess over the loss.  It wasn’t so much that I had some connection with the car, but rather I had a connection with the familiarity that the car possessed for me.  I would now have to get to know some NEW car.  We’re talking new door handles! New SEATBELTS! NEW CUPHOLDERS!  What if I got confused after school and accidentally got into a blue mini van only to find a kidnapper inside? My mom was basically setting me up for abduction!!!

Because of my extreme disdain for change, visiting home can get weird.  I always expect everything to stay exactly how I left it.  I am aware that this is a very unfair and impossible request that I’ve posed: I’m allowed to change, but home isn’t.  I’ve since learned it doesn’t work that way.  For instance, my hometown has a WHOLE FOODS now.  I saw it and called Natasha immediately expecting her to picket with me but she had already been inside and bought almond milk.

Aside from the Whole Foods and some other foreign additions, my time at home really was truly wonderful.  Come Sunday night, it was time I returned to La La Land.

On our way to the airport, my mom and I stopped at Costco (Heaven) so that I could request (make her buy) the least fun thing to buy with your own money: tampons.  Sorry dudes, but I actually cringe at the thought as much as you do.  Spending that $15 once a month is a truly tragic transaction.  My mom bought me the largest pack Costco offers so that I would shut up for a while and maybe stop calling her every month from CVS saying “UGH MOM, WHY DID YOU MAKE ME A GIRL, IM SERIOUSLY SO ANNOYED WITH YOU RIGHT NOW. ALSO, WHY IS CHEESE SO EXPENSIVE.”

We eventually get to the airport, I find my way onto my plane, and arrive at my 13A seat for the next 2 ½ hours. I attempt to shove my bag into the overhead compartment, but it won’t fit due to the bulging pockets full of my recent Costco purchase.

The flight attendant tells me that I have to empty out the pockets so that the carry-on will fit.  I look deep into her soul in hopes of finding any ounce of compassion.  Instead I find pretzels and envy for that rapping flight attendant that ended up on Ellen.  She tells me that I have to empty out the pockets or my bag will be checked and I will have to wait with the hundreds of others at baggage claim on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  No, thanks.

So instead I proceed to pull out the 100 Costco tampons (Only $16, such a steal) and shove them into my North Face.  The pockets become so full that I then pull the bottom drawstrings on my jacket tight so that I could use the interior itself as a holder.  I plop down into my prized window seat without any witnesses.  No one aware that I am currently a Pillsbury Doughboy.  (I guess Doughgirl is more appropriate, given the situation.)

It’s one of those small airplanes.  You know, the ones that often crash.  I quickly decide that if we find ourselves in LOST-like situation, I will step up as the group leader.  We will name the island Carolisland and my followers will rejoice when they see I adequately prepared for such an event by packing some Cheez-its in my carry on.  We will live among the trees! I knew those rock-climbing birthday parties would come in handy.  Then, in times of turmoil, I will entertain them with what I remember of my Hawkette dance moves.  When we’re finally rescued 397 days later, we will have lost a bunch of weight and will look tanned and toned when we do our first post-island interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show.  Al Roker and I will say “Here’s what’s happening in your neck of the woods” in harmony.

A guy, early twenties, sits down next to me. Hello, 13B. He looks really nervous, turns to me, and asks if this plane is headed to Los Angeles.  Um… Are you serious?  You bought a ticket, checked in, found your gate number, and boarded the flight, all without confirming that the flight was headed to Los Angeles? I retract my statement earlier.  If he’s any indication of the intelligence of this group, they’re on their own when we land at Carolisland.

2 hours and half a Lena Dunham book later, we arrive in LA (The location our tickets we purchased were heading.  Shocker.)

To get to the outside cars from the terminal gates at LAX, you have to walk through this long tunnel.  I call this my Teary Tunnel.  Every time I walk through this tunnel, I get teary.  Literally, every time.  I walk through it like 7 times a year.  Now that LA is home, coming through this tunnel means that whatever I just came from is now over.  Whether it was going to Oregon or on vacation, this trip that I probably looked forward to for months has now officially come and gone.  For those few minutes, I forget that I have this amazing life on the other side of the LAX doors and can only think about what I just flew away from.

I don’t know why I build such strong emotional responses to airports.  The PDX carpet makes me giddy, the tunnel at LAX makes me cry.  I’m obviously someone you want to travel with.

Walking through the Teary Tunnel, I start to think about how much home has changed this year.  People and things keep changing without my permission.  I want things to STAY how they were so that I selfishly have an unchanged home base to come back to whenever I’m feeling off and need to recharge.  Everyone needs to stay alive, cancer needs to go away, and we don’t need Whole Foods, DAMNIT.  WHY WON’T THINGS STAY HOW I WANT THEM TO!?

I start to get hot and flustered, as I always do in the Teary Tunnel, and the tears start to flow.  So, I unzip my jacket.

Yep. You guessed it. Tampons fell EVERYWHERE.

It honestly looked like someone had hit a piñata but instead of candy it was my lifetime supply of tampons and instead of a cute paper-mache dog it was a red, puffy eyed me standing in the middle of the rummage.

You learn a lot about yourself when you drop hundreds of tampons at an airport whilst weeping.

Many people just stepped over the debris and looked at me with “that poor girl” expressions and only appeared concerned when they realized I had tears running down my face, as if it had anything to do with the tampons.  I informed my audience of strangers, “No! You don’t understand!! I can handle this!  I’M CRYING BECAUSE THERE’S A WHOLE FOODS IN BEAVERTON NOW!!”

None of my island cohorts would help me.  13B looked down at me with pity as he strolled by.  You got on an airplane without being entirely sure where it was going and you’re pitying me!?

Eventually, this nice old man helped me pick a lot of them up.  I think I might marry him.  I actually said, “Will you marry me?” which I usually reserve for any guy I first meet at bars. However, this time I actually meant it.

After my new fiancé and I gathered the majority of the tampons, I salvaged what was left of my dignity, held my head high and walked out of the teary tunnel to a bustling LAX.

I’m incredibly lucky to have two homes that give me entirely different feelings.  Beaverton gives me comfort; LA gives me excitement.  I guess I can’t force Oregonians to live in the stone ages just because I can’t deal with it growing (not that I have any say in it, clearly noted by the now lengthened Weir Road that I did not sign off on.)  It was then I knew what I had to do: Call Natasha and apologize for un-friending her on Facebook just because she went to Whole Foods.

The better news?  There’s no way I’ll ever cry in that tunnel again, now accompanied with the shocking but hysterical memory of dropping 100 feminine products after one swift zip of my jacket.  From now on, I think it will forever be my Tampon Tunnel.

Maybe change isn’t such a bad thing, after all

My Camping Trip

camping

I went camping this weekend.

And when I say camping, I really just mean I slept outside. Not like I got too drunk and passed out on my doorstep sleeping outside, but I actually planned it. So as a result I apparently I get to call it camping. Cooking burgers? Guitar around a campfire? None of that. We went to mammoth, set up a tent, laid down some sleeping bags, and then went out to eat at a nice restaurant.

My friends and I go to Mammoth all the time in the winter. It’s excessive. I’m talking almost every other weekend. It got to the point that someone asked in one of my classes last year if I was taking the semester off to ski. No, I just choose to drive 5 hours every weekend. Well, I don’t drive. Nicole usually drives and I instagram pictures of the scenery along the way.

We always had the LMU ski house to go up to because we were on the ski team, but now that we are distinguished alumnus, we have no Mammoth home any longer. Thus, the decision to go camping*. (*sleeping outside)

My friends originally thought it would be a good idea to illegally camp. Just like put up our tent anywhere and call it good. We drove by a patch of trees and they were like, “That looks like a good spot.” What the hell? Looks like a good spot for what? A murder? Where do I pee? What if there is a bear? Where do I plug in my straightener? No. We are going to a real campsite.

Thanks to my pleading and useful snapchat blackmail that I keep stored in my phone; everyone agreed to go to a campsite near Lake Mary. Low and behold, there was a bathroom right near where we were to set up our tent. Lord knows that this wouldn’t end well if there wasn’t. I thanked God. He is a nice guy. Or girl. Sometimes I picture God as a girl. Or Oprah Winfrey. So thanks, Oprah.

Like I said, we decided to go eat dinner and hit up a few bars in the village before we “camped”. When I say a few bars, I mean one. There is literally one bar in Mammoth. So, we went there.

Another thing to note before continuing is that I’ve been doing this new thing where I don’t really drink that much. I’ve decided that I hate hangovers more than I like being drunk. It will probably only last a few weeks until I decide hate being sober around drunk people even more than I hate hangovers. But as of this trip, I was committed to being a sober sally and enjoy water all night long.

Throughout the night, Hanna and I were making the best water jokes that no one thought was funny but I thought were hilarious. “More water, please. I know… I need to be cut off.” “When’s last call for water in this town? Don’t worry, I know a guy.” “I’ve had so many waters… I can’t even taste it anymore.” So funny, right? Whatever, hater.

When we arrived back at the campsite, Lindsay alerted us that she would actually be sleeping outside. Like, not in the tent but in a hammock that she had brought so that she could watch the stars. It’s weird because I like to watch stars, too. That is, on Sunday nights at 10pm while I keep up with the Kardashians. Not here. In the elements. With the bugs. I’ll be in the tent.

Little did I know, I would be waking up three hours later due to one a bladder full of my many rounds of water. Damnit. Why couldn’t I just drink alcohol and pass out cold like my friends? Why did I have to drink 16 gallons of water at the bar and continue with the water jokes? No one was laughing! Can’t I read a room?! I then remembered that Oprah had put a bathroom right near our campsite and climbed my way out of the tent.

Upon exiting my humble abode, I could see absolutely nothing. Nighttime in the wild is incredibly dark, FYI. As I started to make my way towards the bathroom, I heard it. It was frightening. It was the sound of a bear growling. Or a squirrel. But we’re going to say it was a bear. It was close.

Immediately, I had a life or death decision to make. Run to the bathroom and perhaps get mauled by a bear or pee wherever I was and make my way back to the plastic tent, where I would surely be safe from furry enemies. But couldn’t the bear smell my pee? Or is that sharks? Or is that blood? I have no idea! College failed me.

If I didn’t relieve myself now, there was no way of escaping a bear chasing me while carrying 80 pounds of pee inside me. My current location would have to do.

As I emptied my bladder, I heard it again. The growl! But this time, it wasn’t a bear. It was a person and it was snoring. It was Lindsay, sleeping in her hammock. And I was peeing under her.

Oh. Shit. The hammock was so high and Lindsay is so small that I did not realize that I had now urinated all over the part of the ground where she would need to step to get down.

How was I going to explain to her that I was too scared to walk 100 feet to the bathrooms so I decided to get the job done right under where she was sleeping? I had been the one to insist on a campsite with a bathroom. Not only would she definitely stop making me flower headbands but I had had the coveted role of riding shotgun the entire trip. I would lose this privilege if she was aware of what I had just done.

I decided it was one of those things best left unsaid.

When we woke up in the morning, I chose to stay in the tent and did not witness Lindsay exiting her hammock. I like to imagine she found a way to fling herself 5 feet away from where she was to land safely on uncontaminated ground.

On the 5-hour drive home, I rode shotgun in Lindsay’s car, complete with my guilty conscience and water hangover.

It’s back to alcohol for me. I’m never drinking water again.

My Trip to Stagecoach

stagecoach

I went to stagecoach this year.  Stagecoach really hits home for me because I grew up in Pacific Northwest and now live in California.  When they sing about southern girls, they’re singing about me.

They charge about $400 per beer at stagecoach and since I had to do unfathomable things to pay for my ticket in the first place, my friends and I decided to cheat the system and buy tampon flasks off of Amazon.  They look like tampons, but they are actually just filled with alcohol. GENIUS.

For the weekend, we rented a house that is mostly likely the nicest place I’ve ever been in. It had 4 bedrooms, a guest house, a pool in a courtyard in the middle, and probably 17 flat screens.  I was officially going to be Karoline Kardashian for the weekend. Minus a black husband.

Before we left the palace, I did the necessary prep work.  Teased my hair to perfection, kissed each TV, and frolicked around the house naked pretending it was my own.  I decided I would make everyone fall deeply in love with me by providing a blanket that we could sit on at the venue.  I grabbed a blanket and figured I would just wash it before we left.  The owner would never know.  He had a waterfall, he could spare a blanket.  Come on.

We taxied over to the venue.  I then had everyone walking behind me use my phone to take candid pictures of me and my friends walking into the venue while we had no idea it was happening.  I filtered Valencia.

Once we entered the venue, I headed straight to the beer line to pay the equivalent of my monthly rent on a beer so that I would be loosey goosey up for my boyfriend Luke (last name Bryan – you may have heard of him).  I then walked over to our spot on the grass and was reunited with my newly countrified friends.

I whipped out the blanket.  Everyone oo’ed and ahh’ed.  It was the best decision I’ve ever made.  They waited patiently while I pulled it out of my bag.  It was the perfect size to fit everyone.  We could all cuddle on it. I had finally proven that my major in screenwriting made me just as smart as my rational-majored friends.  I did not major in unemployment.  I majored in remembering to bring a blanket to a music festival.  This was my moment.

I laid the magical blanket down on the grass and sat down to begin stretching in anticipation of when Luke was surely going to call me up on stage… only to spill my entirely full beer all over the blanket.  Shit.

I returned back to the beer line with $10 that a friend gave me because he felt so bad that I am me and I do things like spill full beers ten minutes after I buy them.  When I returned back to our spot, everyone was staring at me.  It was an intervention.  You guys, I haven’t even drank my tampons yet.  I am pacing myself.  Chill.

Oh no, it wasn’t about my pseudo feminine products… It was about the blanket.  Turns out, the blanket I took from the house didn’t belong to the house at all.  It belonged to one of the girls staying in the house with us. It was knit by her mother to celebrate her grandmother’s 50 years of sobriety and she brought it because she can’t sleep without it.  It was now on the ground of stagecoach.  With my beer spilt all over it.

This shit literally only happens to me.

Not only had I stolen this girl’s blanket, I single handedly tarnished her family heirloom. I contemplated getting on the ferris wheel at the concert and jumping off it at the top.  Quickly after I decided against that idea.  Not because it was foolish, but because the ferris wheel cost money and I had spent all my money on now spilt beer.

We rolled the blanket up immediately.  Needless to say, I am going to be buying this girl a house later in life. She was so cool about it and even bought me another beer because I was so distraught from my wildly unthinkable actions.  So at this point, two friends had bought me pity beers in one night.  Karoline was killin it.

A few hours later, I was feeling a little better, most likely due to the free beer, and my husband Luke Bryan came on stage asking me to shake it for him.  Babe, I can’t shake it for you right now.  I am too busy looking up knitting classes.  How long will it take to knit a replacement???

Luke and I ended up breaking up because he kept mixing in rap songs with his country jams.  He rapped “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz and there was nothing dynamite about it.  Is this you trying to connect with the California audience?  This is a country music festival.  Do you know what you get when you mix Country music and RAP? CRAP….  Get it?  He certainly doesn’t.

Overall, my stagecoach experience was definitely one to remember.  It was the best way to end my college career with great friends and good music. I sang, I danced, I frolicked, I destroyed hand-made treasures… but mostly, I just drank a lot of tampons.

My Week as a Mob Boss

I went to Cabo for spring break this year because I’m really original.

My Cabo roommates and I decided not to participate in the “all-inclusive” part of the hotel we stayed in and instead used that money towards a direct flight home (money proven to be very well spent when my complete hatred for life only lasted the 2 hour flight home instead of dreadful layovers).

When we arrived at the hotel, we were strapped with different colored bracelets than the royalty who did pay to ensure that we were NOT allowed to eat or drink anything and to occasionally be spit on by the workers. We did, however, pay for the “bed and breakfast” and assumed we would get to partake in the buffet spread like those that surrounded us.

Wrong.  When we awoke freshly hungover the first morning, we rushed down to the buffet to fill our plates sky high of quesadillas. MMM… Cheese.  This is when we met the Breakfast Nazi.  He must not be referred to anything but the BREAKFAST NAZI.  That’s all he is to this world.

He informed us that we were NOT to eat the buffet but we only get fruit or juice for breakfast.  Can we have both? No.  We have to choose to either drink or eat?  Fruit or juice.  But that doesn’t make sense?  He just stared at me.  Ok, turd.

He grabbed my plate of 27 quesadillas, swiped one out of my mouth, and reached down into my stomach to take any nutrition I received from the stolen food. Then, he started filling up my plate with fruit and I thought… Ok Breakfast Nazi, (BN for short) maybe you’re nice. I mean, you’re serving me.  How polite.  Maybe we got off on the wrong foot.  We can be friends, BN.  Maybe you’ll slip me a quesadilla one day and wink and we’ll banana boat together and watch the sunset later and gossip about our exes.

NOPE. BN informs me that I am NOT ALLOWED to serve myself.  BN only.  I am a second class citizen in this hotel.  He starts filling up my plate with honeydew melon.  Yack.  Uh, can I get some more of that cantaloupe instead? No.  Please?  He just stares, “Fruit or juice.” and stacks my plate with more honeydew.

Immediately, I turned to my all-inclusive friends and we nodded at one another and knew what had to be done: they had to become my quesadealers.

You can never underestimate the power of great friends.  I have great friends.  I am certain that if there is ever a point where I need my friends to commit a crime for me, they will do it and tell no one where the body is buried.  They proved this to me when they spent our entire trip sneaking me black market quesadillas and sips of their drinks behind the back of my arch nemesis: BN.

Every time he would turn his back, every one of my new mobsters would hand me their food and I would chow until BN turned around.  There were some close calls.  BN would stare me right in my eyes as if to warn me: “I’m watching you.  You look too full off of just honeydew melon. Fruit or juice.  I will take you to prison and you will rot and never have cheese again.  Your new fringe bathing suit is so cute, though.”  He couldn’t actually say any of this to me because he could hardly speak english, but I’m just speculating here.

I tricked the other hotel employees by hiding my poverty colored bracelet by sitting on my wrist, putting it behind my back, or hiding it in my bikini and just let everyone believe I was groping myself.  I could face the rumors that would follow from this action but not an empty stomach.  What lengths would you go to for a quesadilla? I don’t mess around with mexican food, especially if I’m in Mexico.  Especially when quesadillas are involved.

One of my quesadealers proved to be too good of an employee.  Things got out of hand.  She bombarded me every hour on the hour with a plate of quesadillas.  “I got you quesadillas.” Great, thank you. I love you.  Let’s make out later.  One hour later, “I got you quesadillas.”  Thank you, great.  I guess I’m a little hungry again.  One hour later, “I got you quesadillas.”  Girl, I can’t.  That’s all you.  One hour later, I DON’T NEED THESE ANYMORE.  YOU’RE FIRED.

Turns out I’m a really bad mob boss and my employees really got out of hand.  I wasn’t disciplining them and quesadillas started coming out of no where.  I got home after a long day at the beach, took off my bikini, and found a quesadilla that one of my mobsters had stored for later in my bottoms while I was probably eating another one.  I knew I had to draw the line somewhere when I had gained 12 pounds in one day.  As much as tortillas, cheese, and sneaking behind BN’s back gave me pleasure, the time had come to step down as godfather.

I called a gang meeting the alleyway of the hotel, AKA the hot tub, and expressed my concerns.  All the mobsters were all very sympathetic and understood why I had to call off the mission.  They assured me that the extra cheesy weight I had gained only took me up to being kinda plump but not yet chubby. See?  They were lying.  I was huge.  And I truly have great friends.

When the departing day arrived and I was able to cut off my bracelet/handcuffs, I was once again a free woman.  I waved goodbye to BN and it was clear we both knew I had won the battle, as the weight I had gained was evident and would have been impossible had I followed his rules.  When I get back to LA, I’m going to have BOTH fruit AND juice.  Asswipe.

Writing this, I have now been home from Cabo for over a week and haven’t had a quesadilla since I’ve re-entered the country, in fear of losing control again… But I will probably make one for dinner tonight because, let’s face it, I’m a quesadiva and I always will be.