Waze has got to be one of the AWESOMEST, most useful apps EVER. I finally started using it after a couple friends raved about it. It is one of the most efficient, if not most, GPS systems--it talks to you, it takes into account traffic, warns you of cops ahead, of accidents, and even red light cameras. By taking into account traffic, it truly takes you through the quickest route to get to your destination--I mean, I have seen parts of LA I never knew existed. If you live in a city like LA, I highly recommend you download this app ASAP.
I stopped using it for a few days, thinking that it wasn't really making my commute to work shorter...boy was I wrong!!
There are a few down falls though, but I think the overall effectiveness is still worth it. Here are some things you should just be aware of:
The West Coast is the best coast. I may be slightly biased…but it’s true!!! So, while half the country is freezing and covered in snow—yesterday, there was a massive pile up of more than 40 vehicles in Indiana, many of which were tractor trailers—my sweet Cali is suffering from a serious drought and wildfires.
But here’s why we all need some rain in Cali. There’s no question about the fact that all the best produce in the country comes from California. When outsiders think of Cali, they think of beaches, palm trees, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Well, have you seen our farms??? I mean, I moved all the way to Tennesse, where I assume there are tons of farms around me, just to buy $6 boxes of blueberries from my home state. I don’t actually buy those $6 boxes of blueberries, because it’s ridiculous to pay that much for a6oz. tiny little box of blueberries. None of the produce is ever as fresh either. When I go out to a restaurant with someone, and someone says, “the food here is so great, it’s so fresh!” my jaw drops a little, my eyes widen with shock, and then I let out a long, deep breath, and try to refrain from being a total food snob.
So yes, we all need it to rain on Cali so that we can all reap the joys that come out of its soil, because right now, things are so bad the governor has declared aid to the farmers. Therefore, the price of produce is likely to go up, and that means it’ll go up even more in the states that import from Cali. Not to mention, its farmers’ livelihoods at stake here, too!
On the bright side, more firefighters will be employed. But then…on the ashier side of things, the consequences of more fires are not so favorable.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
I’ve been very blessed to have traveled the world, and to have been able to do so feeling very at ease in most foreign lands that I’ve found myself in—from Istanbul to middle of nowhere America, I love it all. Since relocating to the south, however, I’ve definitely realized just how “California” I am, and I have a new found love and appreciation for my sun-kissed soul. I think just acknowledging my soul makes me so California.
Viva la California! Here are some stand out ways I've noticed, that seem to make me noticeably from California.
1) Missing salad—when people ask me what kinds of food I miss most while I’m here, I always tell them salad…and Mexican. I miss good salads, and having healthy options easily at my fingertips. I have to admit though, Nashville has changed so much in the last year, and the options are getting better. As for the Mexican food, well, I am on a hunt for at least one really good Mexican restaurant here. So stay tuned for my adventures in that escapade.
2) Give me earthquakes—when there is an intense storm, tornado warnings, and whatnot, I sometimes yell, “Just give me an earthquake, I know what to do with those!”
3) Jaw drop—when I was told that the pool in my apartment complex was closed during the colder seasons, I thought, “Wait, what?” Since when does the pool ever close? And my jaw literally dropped.
4) Double jaw drop—when I was told that the pools around here are not heated. Que????
5) Biscuits & tea—one time, when offering a friend biscuits and tea, there was a bit of confusion. Finally, I realized he thought I meant biscuits—like the biscuits and gravy kind of biscuits—and sweet tea. No dear, no. (I realize that this doesn't actually make me Californian--it's just a weird side affect of my parents' rearing, but it still makes me a foreigner.)
6) Freeway vs. Highway—I use them interchangeably, but only recently realized that “freeway” is a Californian term, while I guess everyone else calls it the highway. I don’t know, but I was slightly baffled when someone brought this to my attention.
7) Blueberries cost $6 (a tiny box!)—I was shocked the first time I moved to Nashville, to find that produce, amongst other grocery items, is ridiculously expensive. Aren’t I in the freakin’ country? Where are all the farms? The bulk of what I buy at the grocery store is produce, but I refuse to pay $6 for a tiny box of blueberries, or $3 for a bloody avocado. I refuse. I don’t get it. Cost of living is supposed to be cheaper here, but the cost of eating is not.
8) Where are you from—when people ask you where you’re from around here, it’s only because 95% of the people in Nashville are transplants. In California, “where are you from” typically means, “What is your ethnicity?” But I like to piss people off and respond to the literal translation of that question, because let's face it. Some people follow that question with a more idiotic one when they ask you where you're from, and mean what is your ethnicity.
9) Overdressed in bright colors—the dress code here is generally very casual. My business casual here, versus when I’m back in L.A. is like the difference between going to a BBQ and going to a funeral. And sometimes I get annoyed that I have all these awesome outfits with nowhere to wear them, but I just wear them anyways. You can take the girl out of L.A., but not without her shoes! Also, when I first got back, I was wearing this very colorful, summery dress out to lunch with a friend, and he told me I needed to put the bright colors away, because it's autumn. I laughed. He said we Californians, especially southern Californians, have no sense of seasonal wardrobes. 'Tis true. But then an old lady at church, who was in awe that I had come all the way from the best coast, said, "No dear, keep your colors. We could use a little bit of California here." I love her.
10) Abbreviations—apparently it’s a very California thing to speak in abbreviations. I’m from L.A.—I swim in the Pac. Oc.
11) Green—I hate that recycling is not regular here. And I think people look at me weird when I walk into a regular grocery store like Publix or Kroger’s with my own shopping bag. At Trader Joe's or Whole Foods it's not as weird. They get me. But I don't think I've ever seen anyone else bring their own bag.
12) Sarcasm—apparently not a universal language.
13) Friends and foreigners—people here are very nice. It’s that whole southern hospitality thing, I think. It’s great. I love it. But it’s funny, because sometimes I can’t help but wonder why someone is being nice to me, or feel like it’s weird. I mean, I don’t think us Californians are cold people…we’re not New Yorkers! (Just kidding, I love New York, and New Yorkers). But here, people aren’t just nice; they’re really friendly. Not everyone is of course, but it’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been long time friends.
Wherever you hail from, and wherever you've picked up your quirks, just remember as different as we all our, we are all also quite similar. So love. Just love.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
I read an interesting article on BBC News that discussed a finding that war is not innate in human nature. I thought it was interesting, because I’ve been thinking that it is. When you look around at all the countries going through wars right now, and then you look back at Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI, the revolutionary wars of many countries, the Napoleonic Wars, the Thirty Years’ War, and so on and so forth, it seems like war is just a part of human nature—or man’s nature.
The article was based on a study by researchers from Abo Academy University in Finland. Patrik Soderberg, an author of the study, said: "This research questions the idea that war was ever-present in our ancestral past. It paints another picture where the quarrels and aggression were primarily about interpersonal motives instead of groups fighting against each other." In other words, murder, but not mass murder.
Based on studies of isolated tribes from around the world over the last century, the research team analogized these tribes to the hunter-gatherers of thousands of years ago, because of their similar lifestyles. What they’ve found is that, as “hunter gatherers made the transition to farming, groups became more territorial and with a more complex social structure.” Thus, war followed as humans settled down. Ironic, huh? We settled down just to get rowdier.
Needless to say, this article really caught my curiosity, because it’s nice to think that war, and mass violence, and bloodshed is not something that is innate in us. And then it’s also somewhat daunting to realize that if it’s not innate in us, then bloody hell have we really become a bloody mess.
On that note, God bless our soldiers. May they all come home safely.
Here's the link to the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23340252.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
I had been craving pork pies for weeks, and upon a little internet search, I discovered there’s a Brit store right near my house. Whaat? How did I not ever know? Mostly it’s souvenirs, sweets you can buy here in your regular grocery store, and some other small things. BUT, to my delight, there is also a refrigerator full of meat pies.
So of course I bought a few, and finally had one, and it was divine. I mean, so divine I started raving about my pork pie to a vegetarian Jew until I realized the irony in that. But seriously. I had a Stilton pork pie, and what’s better than meat and cheese wrapped in a succulent crust. Of course, it was the most meat and salt and dough that I’ve had in weeks so my stomach was definitely in a little bit of a shock, but it was sooooo wonderful. Definitely not something I could eat everyday or I’d start to look like one.
But you know what I love about meat pies as much as I love eating them…I love that so many cultures across the world have their own variation of meat pies. The Brits obviously have a variety, the Chinese have a variety of variations, the Russians have their pirozhki, the Latinos have empanadas, the Greeks also have a variety, and the list goes on and on…so see, we’re not so different after all, are we? We all love meat pies. Well, not the vegetarians, but you know what I mean.
So cheers to the person who made the first meat pie! We’re all united, because of you, and we don’t even know it! Until now, that is…because I’m going to create an international meat pie day…if there isn’t one already, because these days there’s a day for everything.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
My friends and I were planning a movie night, but then one of them got an invitation to a Murder Mystery Dinner at Maggiano’s the same night we had planned to have movie night. So of course, we ditched our plans and signed up for he Murder Mystery Dinner! We’re a group of entertainment geeks, so what do you expect?
I’d never gone to one before, so I was very excited. When we got there we checked in and were handed a gift bag, plus a rolled up scroll of instructions. When we walked into the appropriate dining room there were already people inside, so we found our table, read the directions, and tried to figure out what we were supposed to do. Eventually the host came in and told us to mingle, talk to people, and pay attention. I have to admit, for the first probably 20 minutes, my mind was more preoccupied with when the appetizers were coming out, because I was hungry. This part was a lot of fun, because basically you’re trying to figure out who is an actor and who is a real guest at this dinner, and they fill the room with red herrings to throw you off.
When we were all asked to be seated, the host started picking on people, and for some reason they loved our table. When I was asked to stand up and answer questions, I was in the middle of answering questions when two people came storming in with guns, and eventually the first victim was shot. The second guy was the “detective,” who essentially ran the rest of the show.
Throughout the evening, clues were picked up, notes slipped to people, and all the while you’ve got to pay attention to what everyone is doing and saying around you, even though we’re all seated. It was funny, the whole time we were convinced one of the waiters had something to do with the whole thing, because he was the only one with a different vest, and every time he walked behind me I got nervous and tensed up. When we got freaks for mingling, we’d get a chance to check out the evidence and talk to more people. At one point we suspected an elderly woman from Bel-Air at our own table, and we tried to compare her handwriting with that of one of the pieces of evidence. It was too funny. My friend, Joanna went around the table pretending like she wanted to keep in touch with everyone, so asked each person to write down their email addresses. That was so funny. After the mystery was over, we confessed to her, and she cracked up so hard. It was very fun. We had a table of teachers and attorneys…can you get brainier than that? Ha.
More people died throughout the evening, and more people were questioned. Eventually we had to figure out with our tables the who, what, when, where, and whys of all the events of the night. Our table was so close! We came in second place.
All in all, it was a successful night—great friends, great entertainment, great fun, and a great amount of carb-overload-Italian food. Yum!
If you ever get a chance, go!
BIG LOVE & HUGS
I’ve found most language apps (well, free language apps), to be quite inefficient. However, recently I discovered “Duolingo,” and I totally love it! First, it includes German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese, which is nice because then I don’t need to download a new app for each language I want to learn. Secondly, it teaches you more than just words and phrases. If I wanted a mere translator, I would get one. And actually, I already have Google Translate downloaded on my phone, which I know can be a real lousy translator, but whatever. Hence, the need for something easily helps me actually learn and practice languages. The lessons are organized by level of proficiency, and they’re fun. They’re structured in a way that reinforces what you’re learning by having you translate to English, translate to the foreign language, and even practice verbally speaking it. I haven’t gotten far enough to see if there are grammar lessons, per se; but I’ve found that if you just pay attention you start to recognize the grammar rules involved.
If you’re planning a trip somewhere, or you just want to learn new languages, try it out! I think you’ll enjoy it, and find learning languages to be lots of fun.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
As my Spanish professor did roll call one night, he called on a chap named Ricardo. Suddenly I thought, if Desi Arnaz’s character in “I Love Lucy” was Ricky Ricardo, was his name really Ricardo Ricardo?
My Spanish professor laughed after I decided to voice my question aloud. He had only seen the show a couple of times, so he didn’t know. And then I was appalled that he had not seen every episode countless times like I have.
I’m still in shock.
Have some spare time? Do your soul a favor and feed it a little Lucy. The world is just a better place when Lucille Ball is in it.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
People search the most interesting terms and wind up on my site. This month's top five search terms:
1) Got splinters
2) My brother got spanked
3) Dating someone in law school (I wonder what kind of answers they were looking for...)
4) I love Justine (uh duh!)
5) all the searches that have to do with Coco Chanel (makes me proud)
BIG LOVE & HUGS
I really don’t like delivery people knocks. First, they knock on your door like there’s an emergency, or like they’re going to break down your door and burglarize and kidnap you. Then, 3 seconds later they do it again as if that was 3 seconds too long for you to whisk across your house. I get that they have a job to do, and time is of the essence, but is that really necessary?
I think I also just have an adverse reaction to unnecessarily loud and obnoxious sounds. Things that should be loud and obnoxious include: concerts, fireworks, airplanes, and space shuttles—not door knocks. Besides, what the hell is the doorbell for then?
I’m not sure what proper knocking etiquette is, but I’m going to go with something like this: 1) Ring the doorbell (if there’s no doorbell, then knock, but not like a crazy person); 2) wait an appropriate amount of time for a person to get from the farthest corner of that house, to the door; 3) if there’s still no answer, then ring or knock again; 4) and if there’s still no answer, then in the revolutionary age of the mobile phone, call the person, but only if you’re supposed to be there and the person is expecting you; 5) otherwise, assume that no one is home, or that the person is ignoring you; and 6) stop wasting your time and scurry on.
The only other time you may knock obnoxiously loud, is if there is a loud party going on inside. In that case though, you’re better off with the doorbell or probably just walking in. OR, if you see someone passed out in the car, most likely drunk, then knocking loudly on their window is okay if you’re trying to be a humanitarian by making sure they’re okay and that they don’t vomit all over themselves.
BIG LOVE & HUGS