Friday, December 19, 2008

I did it!

D-day was today for the haircut, and here are the before and after photos:

Wet-haired "before" -- not the most flattering of photos, but you can get an idea of how long my hair was.

A side view.

The final result!
I'm pretty pleased with it, but it will take some getting used to after having long hair for a while. It feels much lighter and freer, though, so that's a good thing. I also feel very old, '30s Hollywood glam. What's your verdict? Yay or nay?

Monday, December 15, 2008

A hairy issue

I'm contemplating a haircut, and suffice it to say, it will be sort of drastic. Right now, my hair is down to the middle of my back, and even though it's pretty, I'm beginning to reach the point where I can't manage it, so...time for a cut. Using a makeover website, I gave myself two virtual haircuts, and I'd like your opinion on which one you like better. I'm not going to colour my hair -- just sticking to the natural black. Also, even though the second cut doesn't show bangs, I'd keep mine, albeit side-swept. One more thing: either cut wouldn't be quite as short as the "originals." The length would be mid-neck length.

Anyway, 'nough said, just take a look and let me know what you think :)

Katie Holmes style bob.

Rihanna/Posh style bob.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'm the firestarter!!

Okay, no I'm not, but if you've watched the news recently, you probably heard about the wildfires in Southern California. One of the major fires is, like, in my backyard almost. Well, that's a slight exaggeration, but the major road along which the "Freeway Complex" fire is happening is actually my route to work -- Carbon Canyon Road. It's been a bit nerve wracking because the winds kick up every so often and fan the flames, and you can't always tell which way they're going to blow. Plus embers from the fire can be blown a few miles to another area and spark fire there. It's been very dry and hot, so there's no moisture in the air. Here are a couple of pictures of what the smoke looked like from Chino Hills yesterday afternoon:

The dude in blue in the foreground is actually a firefighter. I overheard him say that he'd just finished a 24 hour shift, and one of the engines was there loading up on food. God bless the firefighters, seriously.

I was at our local shopping center when I took that picture, and my house is about two miles closer to those fires. We've gathered important stuff together just in case we have to evacuate because we're literally surrounded by fire...eek!

Although, before everyone freaks out and goes "OMG WTF is with these fires every year?!" I'd like to remind/inform you that fires are a natural part of Southern California's ecosystem. There is a "fire season," and they do happen every year in some part of the area. In fact, the native plants have evolved and adapted so as to make their seeds and core parts fire resistant. The thing is that we just end up building homes right smack in the middle of places that are prone to fire.

Hopefully (inshAllah), we'll all be fine, but it's been stressful having this thing right behind my house. Not a disco inferno, that's for sure.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trick or Treat or Tag!

Happy Sunday, everyone! I'm currently up in Northern California for work (and pleasure), and I'm constantly reminded about how much I loved this place. I think I truly left my heart in San Francisco, but I think the real reason I'm attached to the Bay Area is because it's where I was tested and found out what I'm capable and made of. I think the place where you spend your formative years, whether at a child and/or adult stage, hold a special place in your heart. For example, England is also special to me because my earliest memories are from when my family and I lived there. Even though we left the UK when I was four years old, it still feels like home when I go there.

Anyhow, I'll be up in San Francisco until Halloween...speaking of which, here's a picture of one of my best friends, Sara (I'm staying with her), and me before a Halloween part we went to on Friday. A few of her friends, who were part of a larger group of friends, dressed up as various characters from X-Men:

Bonus points for those who know what characters we were dressed up as!

On another note, I've been tagged by Miss A over at Roccapuccia to answer some random questions about me:

4 Things I Did Today:

  • Made the filling for potato samosas
  • Re-packed my suitcase and duffel bag
  • Drank some really good Persian-style tea
  • Brushed my teeth? (It's been an uneventful Sunday.)

4 Things On My To-Do List:

  • Get back into my work out/eat right routine properly so I can run a 5K (and eventually do a full marathon...that's if I find some discipline in me somewhere)
  • Start work on my business idea (currently in stealth mode because I don't want anyone to jack my idea)
  • Make biryani and samosas for Sara today
  • Scope out Loehmann's in SF and see if they've got the epic leather jacket I saw at the San Diego Loehmann's

4 Guilty Pleasures:

  • The Hills although half the time it's not a pleasure because I want to smack Spencer really hard for his a-holery
  • The Pussycat Dolls
  • McDonald's Southern Style Chicken biscuit and sandwich
  • Looking at shoes online

4 Random Facts About Me:

  • I've lived in six different places in my life (the UK; Libya; Cleveland; two suburbs of LA; and San Francisco).
  • I can drive a stickshift.
  • I have two astrological signs (Aquarius and Pisces) because I was born on the cusp.
  • One of the best dreams I ever had was being on Project Runway, and when I woke up, I sketched the dress from my dream.

I'm tagging Cybill, SuperKawaiiMama, and Princess Poochie...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Mehndi

Diwali is coming up for the Hindu community, and if I've got it straight, Karvachauth, the day when wives fast for their husbands' long lives commences the countdown to Diwali, the festival of lights. Women get mehndi (henna) done to celebrate and as good luck, so I'd been doing that for them on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Here are two ladies' hands. My neck was completely a wreck on Friday from being hunched over for most of Thursday, but everyone loved their mehndi, so it was (kind of) worth it. Part of me wonders if I'm putting too much effort into the designs given that I don't charge that much...yet!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Good Canvas

On a (much) lighter note from my last post, I'd like to get some of your opinions on some foundation I purchased. I went into Nieman Marcus to get the Chanel Kaleidoscope nail polish (totally overrated because I have a Revlon nail polish that's pretty much the same thing), and I ended up stopping at the Armani counter. The intention was to give the Face Fabric tinted moisturiser a go, but somehow the lady got me to try the fluid foundation. I know Armani's foundation is THE best out there, but my concern was that perhaps it was a bit more coverage than I needed. Thankfully, my skin has cleared up a lot in the past few years, and its tone is not too disastrous. Below are two pictures, one take with minimal makeup (but post-haircut) and one with full makeup, including the Armani foundation. What do you think? Admittedly, the lighting is a bit off in the second one, so I don't know whether you can really tell the difference. I think I'll also test out the foundation in daylight and see how I feel about it. In the meantime, comments and suggestions are appreciated :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Who blames who?

Ramadan is almost over, and with the end of the holy month of fasting and reflection for Muslims comes a day of celebration, Eid-ul-Fitr. Depending on the sighting on the moon, it can be September 30 or October 1. It's an important time for Muslims, and it is supposed to be peaceful, yet recent attacks in various locations seem to shatter this notion: the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the bombing of a market in Iraq, and now an attack on a mosque in Dayton, Ohio. Right here in the United States of America, a place supposedly "the land of the free" where freedom of religion is held sacrosanct, a congregation of Muslims praying was attacked by someone spraying a "chemical irritant" into a prayer hall where women and children were gathered.

Here is a link to the story:

Now this makes me wonder who the terrorists really are? Does this make whoever attacked these innocent women and children, many of whom are refugees from Iraq, better than the crazy Al-Qaedans? Are they really upholding national security and protecting us from another bombing by targeting little kids? On top of all this, it turns out that there is a propaganda DVD circling about entitled Obsessions: Radical Islam's War Against the West, which is being produced and distributed by an obscure organisation, Clarion, and is supposed to help Senator McCain's bid for the presidency. In addition, it is also endorsed by the chair of the counter-terrorism department of the US Naval War College. But that's not all; Clarion is also tied to a very pro-Israel organisation, Aish HaTorah (source:

All of this brings me to back to the numerous assertions that Iran should not be allowed to develop or acquire nuclear weapons because of Ahmedinijad's threat to "wipe Israel off the map." This point was also brought up by McCain during the debates last week, and he claimed that we need to avert a "second Holocaust." My concerns with these stances are threefold: 1) nuclear weapons should not be developed, acquired, provided, or sold AT ALL; 2) Iran really will not be so foolhardy to nuke Israel because it is home to the third holiest city to Muslims -- Jerusalem; and 3) there have been more holocausts since the one against the Jews in World War II.

People often forget or simply do not know that Jerusalem is as important to Muslims as it is to Christians and Jews. That is what the Crusades were fought over, after all, but the reason it is important is because it holds a high place in the development of Islam. It is where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ascended to heaven from a certain rock (now housed under the Dome of the Rock) and met all the previous prophets, including Moses and Jesus. Backing up from this point, many people do not realise that Islam is a progression of Judaism and Christianity...Judaism 3.0, if you will. (Yes, I know that's going to ruffle some feathers, but if one actually reads the Qur'an, the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, the Israelites in Egypt being lead out by Moses, Joseph, Jesus, etc., are all in there. In fact, there are numerous references to "bani Israelah" (nation/children of Israel) and what was decreed to them by God. Islam built upon the principles revealed to all of those prophets and was the last version, according to the teachings.) Going back one more point, since Islam is a progression of Judaism and Christianity, God is the same for all three religions, but He is just referred to with different names. Shakespeare had a point when he said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Krishna, Rama, Buddha, whatever...all names for the same deity.

Fast forwarding to today, it does not make any sense to arm Israel to the teeth with nukes (no one bats an eyelash at that), fighter jets, missiles, tanks, and other state of the art equipment when their nearest opponents have rocks, dinky rocket launchers, or suicide bombers driven to despair. No other country in the region can match Israel for firepower, nor will the presence of American military forces allow those countries to attempt to match Israel's military capabilities. Iran is the rebel in this regard, and the only reason it's rubbing America the wrong way is because it's not acquiescing to the status quo. I don't agree with Ahmedinijad's statements because Israel is there, and it wouldn't be fair to the people living there either to destroy them. I have nothing against Jewish people because I've met quite a few, and most of them are pretty cool. However, where is the balance in this situation? Why are American officials so adamant in the protection of Israel against some bogeyman of potential threats? Why is it okay for Israel along with the US, Russia, France, England, and China to have nuclear weapons, but cries of alarm go up when anyone else tries to acquire or develop them? We already saw the destructive capabilities of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII. We should never, ever have to live with that threat.

The Holocaust was a horrible, horrible event marking a very dark period in human history, and no, it should never be forgotten. In that same spirit, though, current day holocausts should not be allowed to happen either -- Darfur, Rwanda, Uganda, Iraqi civillians, victims of HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, poverty, disease, etc. The difference here is that none of these areas are of "vital interest" to the United States. Millions have died and suffered in Africa, but unless there is some vital resource involved, i.e., oil, no American intervention takes place. As Bono said, $25 billion can send all of the world's children to school, yet here we are debating a $700 billion bail out for failed banks. That is an almost astronomical amount of money. Imagine if all that money was channeled into development programmes, medical care, education, infrastructure...the possibilities could've been endless.

This world...I try to keep hope alive, but recently it's been very, very difficult to believe that humans are not hellbent on destroying themselves. At least in this time of high holy days with the end of Ramadan, Rosh Hashannah, and Diwali, to name a few events, I hope that all of us reflect and pray for a better, more peaceful future. If not for ourselves, then for our children.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


No, not that cheesy soap opera, but things that we're passionate about. The boy asked me today if I'm happy with my job, and I said yes, I am. And it is a good job with cool people dealing with interesting things. But then the boy hit the nail on the head by asking if I could do something I was passionate about, would this be it? I laughed and said, no, it would be something else entirely. Something creative. Business development v. creative stuff. Go figure.

I am working on getting a mehndi (henna) venture started, and I've got my first job coming up next month for a bride and her friends and family. I've done mehndi for friends and family before, including for a couple of my friends who were getting married. For those of you who don't know, mehndi on a bride is an elaborate affair where the designs usually go up to the elbows on the arms and adorn the feet as well. I will update with pictures when I'm back home tonight. Anyhow, my close friends have been telling me to charge people for years, and I know some ladies who make quite a bit of money doing mehndi for events and brides. So now, I'm finally making that move myself, and part of me wonders if I'm answering my calling.

The goal in launching is to make it unlike any mehndi service currently being offered. I envision creating a brand and a professional version of what the "aunties" already do. Without going into lots of detail, there's a whole marketing plan in the works (with the help of my fabulous consultant friend, Nazneen, and the rest of my very supportive girl friends). The long term goal is to open some sort of loungey retreat for brides to relax in the midst of wedding planning and preparation or for a group of girl friends to have a fun day/night out. In my mind, it sounds like a good idea, but will it work out in practice? We shall see, I suppose...

The thing is that I have a vague feeling that life will take some funny turn or move forward in an unexpected way. I'm not opposed to that; it's the twists and turns that make life interesting and help us grow. I just wish I knew when that crazy loop in the life rollercoaster was coming.

As promised, here are pictures of some mehndi I've done. You'll see that there's a lot of detail involved, but that's one style. The design aesthetic and level of detail change depending on geographic area (South Asia, Middle East, North Africa). North African designs are geometric; Middle Eastern designs are more floral with more subtle variations in Persian designs, which include knotwork; and South Asian designs have floral, paisley, and intricate designs.

That's a recent bride's mehdni, which, as you can see goes up to the elbows. Front and back.

Same bride's feet.

Mehndi for my friend Nazneen's engagement party.

Bridal mehndi for my friend Seema.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sell out! With me oh yeah...

Okay so this is a cop out of a post, but I needed to write a new one, and something is better than nothing:

1) Do you like blue cheese?
No, too pungent.

2) Have you ever smoked heroin?
No, I have not.

3) Do you own guns?
I got guns...on my arms! Nyuk, nyuk *ahem* No, I do not own firearms.

4) What flavor do you add to your drink at sonic?
Never been to Sonic, and their drinks all look like knock-offs of other chains' drinks.

5) Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Nah not really. Although I might wig out a bit before getting the rest of my wisdom teeth pulled.

6) What do you think of hot dogs?
They need to cool off?

7) Favorite Christmas song?
Yuck, none. Okay maaaaaybe "Last Christmas," but that's only because I love George Michael.

8) What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Something liquid.

9) Can you do push ups?
Girlie ones.

10) Can you do a chin up?
I try keeping my chin up, but you know, things get tough sometimes.

11) What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
Oh gosh, I have lots of great jewelry, but I'll say my San Francisco-Peruvian earrings.

12) Favorite hobby?
Sleeping...and shopping. Not necessarily in that order. Eating comes in a close third.

13) Ever been in a car wreck?
Yes, but nothing too serious, thank God.

15) What’s one trait that you hate about yourself?
I have to pick one?? Fine. Crying when I'm angry.

16) Middle name?
No tengo.

17) Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
My hair is so freakin' long!
This place is a mess.
I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toooes.

18) Name 3 things you bought yesterday?
Frozen yogurt
That's it

19) Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
Diet Coke

20) Current worry?
Bills, bills, bills. And losing weight.

22) Favorite fruit?
I have lots. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples, guavas, pomegranates...

23) How did you bring in the New Year?
I think Liz and I were commiserating about how crappy our New Year's Eves were.

24) Where would you like to go?
Where do I start? San Francisco, England, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia -- the list is quite long.

26) Do you own slippers?
Indeedily -- leopard print ones -- but I rarely wear them.

27) What shirt are you wearing?
An Old Navy cerulean blue tee-shirt with dark navy flower print on the sides.

29) Can you whistle?

30) Favorite color?
Turquoise and emerald green.

32) What songs do you sing in the shower?
Whatever pops into the broken radio that is my mind.

33) Favorite girl’s name?

32) Favorite Boys name?
I'm not sure.

35) What’s in your pocket?
Je ne l'ai pas.

36) Last thing that made you laugh?
A comment Rahil made about a robe being the ultimate in slacker wear.

37) Best bed sheets as a child?
These pastel ones that had sort of a quilt pattern, but they were uber soft.

38) Worst injury you’ve ever had?
Slicing off a tiny part of my thumb with the Superslicer (aka a mandolin). That thing bled for like six hours.

39) Do you love where you live?
Love? No.

40) How many TVs do you have in your house?

42) How many dogs do you have?
Zero. Not everyone has a dog...sheesh.

45) What is your favorite book?
Also have many of those, but among the favourites are Harry Potter, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

46) What is your favorite candy?
Chocolate. Dark. And Cadbury's Turkish Delight from the UK.

47) Favorite Sports Team?
I don't really have one.

48) What song do you want played at your funeral?
Hm, we don't usually do songs at our funerals, but maybe "Jaan" by Talvin Singh.

49) What were you doing 12 AM last night?
Falling asleep in bed with the headache and toothache of doom.

50) What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
Stupid sun. I can already feel the heat in my fingers.

Monday, April 21, 2008

eBay Update

So I got all three shoes I won, and sadly, the '50s vintage ones do not fit. Well, I can get the black ones on, but then my circulation gets cut off about three minutes later. The cream/yellow ones are totally a no-go, which is a shame because they are totally adorable in real life. I didn't think my feet were that wide, but I guess women had very narrow feet back then. Either that or it just so happened that ones I got were tres narrow. I'll probably put them back on eBay, but if any of you have got long, narrow feet and fancy the black "deco" or the cream/yellow shoes, let me know, and we can discuss.

In hat news, there was an all out last minute bidding war over this one slanted burgundy fedora with feather trim. However, I won. I also won a cute, floppy navy blue hat with grommets, and that arrived today. I'm not so sure about how it looks on me, though. Perhaps I'll post a picture of me in both hats when I get the burgundy one, too.

I never thought of myself as competitive, but oh my, eBay brings out the mean, cursing-like-a-sailor competitor in me. This means more care will be needed in what I choose to bid on because a) I don't really need more stress in my life, and b) those last minute bidders are sneaky. And that drives prices up, which then almost defeats the purpose of eBay. Ah, such a catch-22.

Stay tuned and watch this space!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I hate you, eBay! No wait, I LOVE you!

So, as mentioned in my last post, I started digging around eBay for vintage stuff. Sadly, I lost out on my first bid at the very last minute by one retarded dollar. I was devastated because I really, really, really wanted those shoes. They were way too hawt. Check it:

That's why I thought I hated eBay. I was at a family event when I checked the status of my bid through my crackberry, and needless to say, when I found out I lost, I was not happy. I was surly, even. But then *cue angel choir* I won these babies:

I was pretty pleased with that because a) they were relatively cheap, and b) I was totally digging the green. Green is one of my absolute favourite colours, and though I own maybe three pairs of green heels already, one more pair can't hurt. Unless my mom flips out, but she loves shoes, too, and I got the shoe gene from her. So it's not my fault. Really! Anyhow I thought that was victorious shopping, and then it turns out I scored again. Jebers. I ended up winning these:

My sister thought they weren't really my style, but I thought they were also way too cute to pass up. In addition, they were unworn, new vintage. Score! You don't see too many people out there wearing yellow shoes, which is exactly why I got them. I like to go against the grain a bit...perhaps what you call off-kilter. Actually what ends up happening is that I start wearing stuff that becomes trendy a year later. But back to the shoes because the yellow ones aren't the end. I made an offer to the seller of the very first pair of shoes I bid on, which were these:

Granted, next to the new shoes, these look all scuffy, but I loved the deco design on the side and the totally wearable heel height. I have a tendency for picking out really high heels that have me limping around the office even though I only really make runs to the break room or bathroom. Not like I walk miles and miles everyday. So yeah, because I was bitter about losing out on that first pair of shoes, I made an offer to the seller, and she accepted. Hurray!

Oh, but that's not it, my friends. Not at all. My mom, sister, and I went on a frantic round of Nordstrom Rack before sister had to head back to San Diego. I knew full well i should not be looking in the shoe department, but I did anyway. And I'm glad I did because I found a pair of shoes I'd had my eye on for-ev-er:
And they were way cheaper than their original price of $140. Woo! Oh so of the happy =]

Now my ADD has taken me on to hats, but I actually have a real need for them. The sun ends up being on my left side on my drive to and from work. My little Z4's sun visor doesn't swing to the side, so that leaves my left side exposed to the scorching Southern California sun. Definitely some really good sunscreen (any suggestions?) and hats. Sunglasses are a given -- my eyes are almost a bit too sensitive to bright light, especially after the LASIK. I'll keep you posted on the hat victories and losses as well. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bygone Eras

Lately, I've been very into vintage shopping, and by "vintage," I mean stuff from the '20s-'50s. I've always liked things from those time periods, but I never really looked into purchasing anything until a couple of weeks ago. Now, some people have a funny view of vintage, likening it to "crap." But really, it is entirely possible to find things that are either in great condition or completely unworn. I love the hats, even the ostentatious ones, but I'd feel slightly self conscious wearing them now. Even though I always get compliments when I wear my slanted fedora from H&M, it seems to be the land of baseball caps and beanies now. Boo. I don't think the clothes that are available for sale would fit me because women were much smaller and more fit, but I did score a couple of absolutely beautiful patterns. And the shoes...oh my. They were amazing back then, but good lord people had small feet! I did, however, find some great shoes here and there on eBay (also a newfound fascination), which I am bidding on. No, I am not telling you which ones. I want to WIN. Dangit.

Oh, me and my profound weakness for great shoes....

Why vintage though? There was something just innately elegant and classy about clothes and dressing back then. People cared about their appearance, and sweats weren't even invented. I don't know about you, but I cannot operate in bum mode for too long. I wore flip flops to work for two days in a row this week along with jeans and corduroys, but by the end of the second day, I was not comfortable. Imagine that. Not comfortable in bummy clothes.

Whereas most people will wax poetic about something ugly (*ahem* Crocs *cough*) that is soooOOooo comfortable, I'd rather feel good in what I'm wearing even if it's not yoga-pant-comfy. Generally, I feel better about how I look when I'm a bit more dressed up, and that doesn't take much more effort than putting on jeans and a t-shirt. Hell, given a big ol' budget and a great body, I'd dress like this all the time.

God bless Spanx, vintage, and style in the meantime.

I've also developed a mesmerising interest in the vast world of fashion blogs. Perhaps that's my true calling -- fashion blogging. However, then the dilemma of "what will I really contribute to the fashionista blogosphere?" ensues, so maybe I'll have a think about that. There are links to some of my current favourite blogs on the right hand side, and I'm sure I'll be adding to them.

Parting thought -- Thomas Jefferson had the concept of fabulosity down way back in the day:

"Some ladies think they may, under the privileges of the deshabille, be loose and negligent of their dress in the morning. But be you, from the moment you rise till you go to bed, as cleanly and properly dressed as at at the hours of dinner or tea."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

"America runs on Dunkin."

There's a Dunkin Donuts commercial airing these days where there are a bunch of people standing in line at some Starbucks-esque coffee shop with confused expressions on their faces. The jingle then goes -- "My mind can't form these words. Is it French? Or is it Italian? Perhaps Fritalian?"

Now, I'm no loyal devotee of Starbucks (or as I call it, "Starjunks" or "Starblech"). Heck, we don't even have Dunkin Donuts in California. However, given that millions of people go to Starbucks everyday, sometimes multiple times a day, it's a bit late in the day for Dunkin to be ripping into the vaguely Italian feel of the chain. Most people who order coffee can, in fact, pronounce "macchiato" or "espresso," and that is usually the extent of drink name complexity. French terminology is generally not used in coffee houses unless it's a French cafe or restaurant. Then you'll get cafe au lait versus cafe latte. Even then, because French and Italian both stem from Latin, words in both languages are similar enough for someone to deduce what a coffee related word means.

Going back to the commercial, it is slightly amusing at first, but it's also a bit disturbing because, the way I see it, this commercial is a microcosmic reflection of American society. Everyone else in the world is bilingual, learning their native language and at least another language to function in the wider, global business world. That other language is usually English. However, most average, non-immigrant Americans can barely speak English, let alone another language. We get the option in high school to learn another language, but usually there's no real effort to really learn the language; the kids just take the class to fulfill a requirement and graduate. There's no real retention of the language learned.

The problem compounds when Americans venture abroad or encounter people who, though intelligent and capable of learning English, may not be very fluent. The usual image foreigners have of Americans are fat, sneakers-, shorts-, and baseball hat-wearing tourists who think that speaking English slowly and loudly counts as being able to communicate. This, coupled with fantastic flubs in foreign policy, has lead to a general disdain for the American public. Yet, people are still bewildered as to why the world doesn't hold America and Americans in high regard.

Hello? It just takes a bit of effort, people. If rest-of-the-world can make an effort to learn English, it's not asking much of us to learn just one more language. Sure, we can start the public education system blame game, which is a whole 'nother can of worms, but just a little effort goes a long way. It's not that hard, really.

So Dunkin Donuts' whole tag line plays into the "America! F*ck YEAH!" mentality, yet they still serve lattes. Go figure. America runs on Dunkin, indeed.

Meanwhile, I'm off to get a nonfat, upside down caramel macchiato and practice my French.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New year, new me?

So it's that time again. The wee days of January, which means a new year, and, invariably, a slew of resolutions. I'm not one to make new year's resolutions per se, but I suppose now is as good a time as any. There are a few things I want to work on, but they all have the common thread of instilling more discipline in myself. Not the spit polish, bounce a quarter off the bed, drill sergeant type of discipline, but enough to stick to a plan to accomplish a goal.

For example, the one thing that I've always struggled with for as long as I can remember (well since I was nine years old anyway) is my weight. There are a whole host of reasons why I gained weight -- emotional eating, food as comfort, rebellion, exercise averseness, etc. -- but the effort to lose weight has always been one fraught with stops and starts, success and failure. Frankly, I'm sick of people telling me that I'd be so pretty if I just lost the weight. In addition, my weight has been a major sticking point between my dad and me, which adds to the whole complexity of the situation. Add to that the frustration of having to hunt high and low for clothes that will fit me (not my ten year old cousin) and that will be stylish. Oh, and one more thing, one of my best friends is getting married at the end of March, which means I'm one of the bridesmaids and have to look presentable. That's an automatic 20-30 pounds to lose.

For those fortunate enough to have either good genes or the discipline and motivation to eat right and work out consistently, being overweight is simply a "mind over matter" issue. In many ways, it is. To me, however, it's more of a mind over heart issue because the heart, lovely and full of feelings as it is, is sometimes the grand saboteur of success. The heart is what will tell me whether something feels good or bad now, whether something is fun, whether that piece of chocolate will make me happier or not. The heart is right most of the time, but often, when hard work is required, it turns into a wuss. That's where the mind should kick in, take over, and push the body further than the heart wants to take it.

This whole situation brings to mind a quote someone told me many years ago: "Discipline without love is rebelliousness; love without discipline is anarchy." Do I love myself enough to not let myself descend into anarchy? That is, can I instill some modicum of discipline in myself so that I get where I want to go without rebelling against the self-imposed restrictions? It will definitely be a constant struggle, and one I wish I did not have to endure. For my health's, satisfaction's, and inner fashionista's sake, however, it's a struggle I must undertake will all due fervour. Or else I'll be doomed to make this same resolution on January 1, 2009.