Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Resolution or Revolution?

Here is my Barstool article for December.. (pg 48-50) Thanks for everyone that participated.

Resolution or Revolution?

What a stark irony that one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions among Americans is to stop (or at least cut back) on drinking. I find it ironic for many reasons. One: if you actually sit back and evaluate your life, drinking is probably not even in the top 3 of your problems. Two: this revelation to cut back on alcohol comes directly on the heels of one of the most popular drinking months of the year. Think of the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s…do you or do not consume more adult holiday punch, eggnog, import beer and pinot than you usually do? Albeit, most of the alcohol is to get you through that once a year family bonding time, but a drink is a drink no matter what the force behind it is.  

By definition resolutions are a promise that usually yields an advantageous change or reform. New Year’s is a time for people to sit back and evaluate their lives and make promises to themselves on how to live a better, more productive, stress-free year. And it’s all a hoax. After a long hard year full of partying, you probably realized you partied too hard, drank too much, smoked too much, had too much sex (or for some not enough), spent too much money, didn’t spend enough time with friends and family and the list goes on and on and on. Big sigh.  

Looking back on a year in review in the life of Jayme Lamm I could have made some changes. Let’s be real..some B.I.G. changes. But what’s that Carrie Underwood song? Lessons Learned? And without all these critiques of myself, how on earth would I be able to conjure up multiple New Year’s Resolutions (aka self defeating prophesies) to give myself hope that I may not be as much of a lost cause as I once thought? I’ve also noticed in my pattern of resolution making that year in and year out, I always make the exact same resolution, which tells me one thing: I SUCK at New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe together we can start a revolution on ridding society of this secular tradition and just live life the way we want. Living day by day rather than one declarative statement ruling every one of the 365 days.  

Don’t get so down on yourself for not accomplishing your resolutions. 30% of people flush their New Year’s Resolutions straight into Harris County sewer system within the first seven days (just to clarify, that’s only a week) of making it. Along with that resolution in the toilet goes your dreams of being a skinner, wealthier, fitter, and more successful new and improved you. But it’s not all in vain.  

Top 10 New Years Resolutions 
(and how to accomplish them within Houston city limits in red):

1. Spend more time with friends and family. get a group together and visit your favorite watering hole

2. Get fit/lose weight/eat right. many of your favorite pubs now have healthy food options and a plethora of light beer selections (the only other option is to learn to be dedicated enough to incorporate gym time in your routine before going out)

3. Reduce stress by having a nice glass of wine. (for recommendations read Holly Beretto’s articles) or spending quality time with friends (also see # 1)

4. Quit smoking. shouldn’t be too hard since smoking is banned in Houston bars

5. Enjoy life more. by spending time with friends (again, see number 1) and changing your usual scenery once in a while to experience all that Houston offers. Get out and enjoy the diversity of our city.

6. Quit drinking. sorry, not sure we can help you here. But take Drunky Brewster’s advice and don’t drink and drive

7. Get out of debt/save more money. by taking advantage of all the happy hours all over this glorious city. (Also visit Bronx Bar in the Galleria for $3 Three Olives Cherry and Cokes-it tastes exactly like Dr. Pepper)

8. Learn something new. by reading Barstool every month and check out what parties are happening and new bars are opening. You could also take basket weaving at HCC if you were looking for something non-alcoholic.

9. Help others. and be a designated driver once in a while or offer to pay for a cab for your friends. Or just help an old lady cross the street

10. Get organized. by keeping an updated social calendar of all the events and concerts in the city. Or plan a work happy hour and get to know your co-workers (but you don’t really need to get to know them like that..)

And here are some of Houston’s hottest New Year’s Resolutions confessed at a happy hour at Lucky’s Pub:

Sarah Whitsett- to lose my virginity— LOSS ”not yet, still trying”

Andi Aldridge- to stop smoking— LOSS- “I chain smoke more now than I ever did”

Damian Liccketto- to give up porn— LOSS- “I failed miserably” who in their right mind wants to give that up?

Sally Gunter- not to have a New Year’s Resolution this year— WIN, easy enough

Paul Gagnon- to get my picture in a magazine next to a cheerleader— WIN, thanks to this issue

Kristi Kotsatos- to get thumb reconstruction surgery— LOSS, there’s always next year

Brittany Williams- to stop cussing so damn much— LOSS- “shit, I suck at this damn resolution shit.”

Jen Henrichsen- to cut my alcohol bill in half— LOSS- “I broke up with my boyfriend so it basically doubled.” Damn.

James Burns- to become a cage fighter- LOSS- but have you seen his muscles? There’s still time left in ’08.

Bobby LeMaine- to stop getting wasted on O’Douls- WIN, “it was pretty easy once I set my mind to it”

Jonathan Smoot- to start working out- WIN

Adrienne Davis- to continue going to school- WIN

Katherine Perk- to not drink so much on weeknights or at least still make it to work the next day— WIN, so far so good!

Rachel Bodron – to stop trying to be everyone’s friend and enjoy the company of those who love me for me - WIN

Here are a few other good-looking ladies that got a head start planning their resolutions for ’09:

Suzy – to travel through Europe for a month next year. I plan to hit about 13 countries hopefully in July or August.

Eyleen Byargeon – to stop dating bad boys (Can I get an Amen?)

Maurielle Laurenne – to elevate the intellectual, physical, and spiritual strength of my loved ones and myself!

Krystal – to pay my taxes, haha. No really, to start recycling and using biodegradable products to protect our ozone.

Shannon Gros – to quit chewing my nails and stay on the yellow brick road

Alicia Kruse – a New Year’s Resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other, so my advice is just to live life to the fullest!

Here’s one of my favorites for the upcoming year (and possibly upcoming 4 years):
Melanie J. - to learn to accept our new President and let go of the hatred for the idiots that voted for him

Hell, you still have all of December to get crazy so before year’s end so here are a few recommendations for living la vida loca…

Live a little and go spin the wheel of debauchery at Shot Bar; check out Rocbar’s Monthly Mayhem (the first Friday of the month); Houston’s original 80’s night with “The Lost Boys” live music at Pub Fiction; Union Bar & Lounge- any night of the week for any occasion; Ladies Night at Wild West (Wednesdays) with ridiculously cheap drinks and even more ridiculously good people watching; Brunch at Cyclone Anaya’s; Late night pizza at Angelo’s; Relaxing with a glass of wine at Lizzard’s Pub; $1.25 shots on Mondays at TOC bar; Saint Dane’s amazing fried oreos; Legs and Eggs on Saturdays at The Men’s Club; Happy Hour and great sushi at The Fish in Midtown; Listening to David Nuno on 1560 The Game; Cheeseburgers at Baker Street (this is a must if you’re hung-over); Heineken Light kegs at Specs; and lastly, reading the entire December edition of Barstool from cover to cover.

And let’s set some guidelines for making your ‘09 resolutions. If you’re reading this it’s probably safe to say that giving up drinking or going to bars is not feasible since this entire publication is dedicated solely to that atmosphere. So rest assured that everything is fine in moderation and we expect each and every one of you to keep Houston one of the best party scenes by doing exactly what you did in ‘08.  

Be safe and be merry. See you next year Houston.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Photo booths are my Phave.

Lisa and Kristi helped me cross #4 off my list.  They are great friends and I plan to take many more photos in photo booths.  

Dearest Lisa,

I cannot express my gratitude enough for the great lengths you went to finding a working photo booth in H-town.  

And of course, thanks to Waldo too! 


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wide Open Spaces.

I'm not talking Dixie Chicks.  When I was in Florida for Sarah's Siesta Fiesta in July, my friend Jodi and I had a good talk about what she called "wide open spaces" (WOS) and how being on Myspace, Facebook, blogging, the phenomenon of google and all that other stuff allows people to learn everything about you with the click of a mouse. She wasn't kidding.  She's a smart cookie.

I've been on Facebook for less than 24 hours and already it proved why I hate it and validated her stance on WOS.  Everything is fair game and you can learn so much..

The ex-boyfriend that I've been upset over for months has been lying to me. And let's not forget to mention that good ole Facebook just revealed he was cheating on me. Amazing how stuff like this falls in my lap. I guess this will sure as hell help the healing process. If you're reading this, and I know you are, don't ever talk to me again. Please. And thanks.

I wonder..if I had been on Facebook would he have still cheated on me? hmm..food for thought.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

3 girls. 6 bars. 1 night.

3 girls (2 single, one happily married), dinner at Backdoor Cafe with a new-found vegan scraping the extra parsley off our plates because she just finished reading "Skinny Bitch" and was starving.  The thought of meat and tortured animals repulsed her.  This was a wonderful topic of conversation as Lisa and I devoured our delectable meats.  

We amazed even ourselves by making it to one restaurant and six bars in one night.  Dinner was followed by my new favorite bar (wait for the story in barstool for full details) Marfreless (#1) where I jacked the menu for research purposes.  This is THE makeout bar in Houston. Swear.  And you may ask what does a married chick do at a makeout bar?  Makeout with me, of course.  If it's a good friend of the same sex, it does not count as cheating.  (Note, this didn't really happen but we told all the guys it did..so damn gullible, but I guess for me that is believable.) There is no sign on the door and the door is blue.  Somehow every soul in Houston knows exactly what I am talking about when I say "makeout bar".  They had the best pomegranate martinis ever.  But back to the blue door..this started our "where's waldo" version for every bar we stopped at.  

Then off to Keneallys (#2) Irish Pub where they sadly did not serve hairy cherrys (my new fave drink...Three Olives Cherry and Red Bull..preferably sugar free).  The bar was hot as hell so when Houston gets hit with another cold front, go to Keneallys.  Somehow throughout the course of the night everyone got super excited about talks of "Celebration Station".  As a Texas transplant can I ask if such a thing ever existed?  If so, please take me now.  Oh and it is confession time..we doused KK's drink with red pepper flakes.  Too bad that was the drink that everyone unknowingly wanted to taste.  Our apologies to all of you.  This is where we also devised our plan to get wasted and order a pepperoni and sausage pizza to share with our vegan friend..

(#3) Vintage..but don't let Lisa pronounce it.  She says it like spinach and only makes it one syllable.  Terrible Lisa, terrible.  If you saw me you would have known I didn't plan on going out to the bars after dinner.  I had my ginormous overnight bag instead of a cute little clutch which is much more conducive to bar atmospheres.  Back to Vintage..Kristi refers to it as "Sintage", but said she'd take one for the team.  Since half of the remaining team is married I guess by team she means me?  She did warn us we'd see an abundance of fish belts and boat shoes.  I concur with Waldo..sintage sucks. Plus, I'm not so sure Fire Marshall Bill would have approved of the chandelier over the makeshift army tent.  We came, we saw, we went.  Quickly. But not without our waldo photo.  Notice her thumbs down in this pic?

Last night was either Ike Numero Dos or the Santa Anna's were rolling in.  Lisa had the best idea for my Christmas present..to help me cross something off my 101/1001 and go to Katz's (#4) to take pictures in a photobooth!  3 girls.  1 booth.  Extra small booth.  As we waited 7-10 minutes for our photos to print, we three genius' decided to figure out how much it cost.  We paid $3 for 4 photos.  Even the engineer couldn't figure it out.  We looked like a conversation of Heidi Montag, Jessica Simpson and a contestant in Miss Teen USA trying to figure out this math.  After 10 or so guesses our cell phone calculator application came in quite handy.  Approx $.75/each.  

(#5) Pearl Bar.  Packed.  Same as usual.  But....at 12:30am the vegan broke down and split a beef taco.  She was doing so well, but we still have high hopes for her.  

Walking to Blue Label (#6) Kristi said she needed to throw up.  I thought she drank too much but instead "I can't believe I ate that poor tortured cow.  I need to vomit.  Quickly."  Classic KK line.  I will be happy if I never go to Blue Label again. 

and I ended the night with a fourty-seven minute and fifty-two second call to the ex..not the smartest thing I've ever done.  (sorry girls.)

Oh and might I add that somehow I'm a writer for Barstool Magazine and this was my first time at every one of these bars (minus Pearl Bar).  Talk about stripping away my bar virginity in one night.  


Monday, December 22, 2008

Charm School Catfight.

Now if this isn't an oxymoron, I don't know what is.  It's no secret that I'm an avid fan of reality TV.  I don't think you can beat Rock of Love (ROL) or any variation of the show which leads me to Rock of Love Charm School.  

For those that lead real lives and don't have time for such rubbish, I'll give you a briefing. Rock of Love has had 2 seasons with Bret Michaels (from Poison) as their "bachelor" and they lured a plethora of skanky goodness to compete for his affections.  The caveat being he didn't want a "groupie".  Let's just say this Bret..if you get a chick at all, I promise it's not because of those trendy little ensembles you wear on your head..it's simply because they grew up with Poison posters on their bedroom walls and want to turn a childhood fantasy into an adult DVD. Oh how I digress...

Picture NBC's "The Bachelor". Replace the network with VH1.  The Bachelor typically has a guy with a current career while ROL features a rapidly fading career (old rocker).  The contestants on the bachelor are usually teachers, real estate agents, hair salon owners and the like.  The contestants on VH1's version range from porn stars to strippers and the occasional tramp in between.  I digress yet again...my apologies.  

As a spinoff to this deranged world, VH1 had the prowess to bring back the trailer park-drug abusing-alcohol vomiting-I have sex with blowup dolls-girls back to teach them manners.  And who better to teach the girls etiquette and moderation than the ham-slinging neighbor Sharon Osbourne?  

As rumors have it, the teacher, Mrs. Osbourne got in a hair-pulling match with one of her "students", Megan Hauserman.  Imagine that..maybe she wasn't a suitable host after all.  My money's on Megan.  Maybe you can pal up and become trophy wives that throw hams. Food for thought.  Pun intended.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

I love balls.

Cake balls that is.  I got this great recipe from Bakerella and I must say, they turned out pretty well (my only critics so far are David and Brent).  I guess balls are all the rave for baking because just last week Andrea turned me on to Oreo balls and those were money too.  (please note, this picture is from Bakerella's blog..mine did not turn out quite so pretty.)

Why do so many of my statements start with "is it bad.."?  While I'm beaming in delight over my cake balls, I must confess not everything I baked tonight turned out bueno.  

So my question is...

Is it bad if you bake something and royally f'ed it up to take them to a homeless person?  I mean..I don't really want to throw away the chocolate covered crap I just made and they are hungry, right?


Monday, December 15, 2008

My Own Brand Timeline Portrait

Jane is a cool chick with a badass blog who works in advertising.  She came up with this radical (albeit nerdy) idea to track the brands she used on a given day.  

Since I'm into branding and feel the brands one chooses directly reflects personality, I wanted to create my own and TODAY was the day. I consider most of the brands I use to be my "cultural accessories" and as you well know,  a girl can never have too many accessories!

I'm sure I forgot a few things (i.e. toilet paper), but after massive head trauma cut me some slack.  

So here's mine..comment and let me know what you think..


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Stairway to Heaven

I've been MIA lately because as the damn dark cloud overhead would have it, I was hospitalized and broke more stuff.  This experience gives the Led Zeppelin song a whole new meaning.  As if a broken tibia and cast weren't enough, I fell down the stairs at a friends house during an amazingly fun girls photoshoot and ended up in the trauma unit.  I suffered a severe concussion, fractured elbow, sprained finger and bruised kidney-
I am the Q U E  E N of C L U M S Y.

After being hospitalized, a week of bed rest and the brunt of numerous jokes and nicknames I think I'm almost back to normal..whatever that is. Thanks to everyone for the calls and help..especially Tam'ra, Patrick (so sorry), Sunshine (again, so sorry), Justin, Sally and Sati. I'm a very lucky girl (minus all the current ailments) for having such great friends.  

And yes, I rocked a McNabb jersey in the hospital. It was part of my getup for the photoshoot which hopefully will be rescheduled when all the bruises disappear!

I am now officially terrified of stairs. Swear.

Dear Santa,
Please send me a bedazzled helmet for Christmas to protect my dome.
Please and thanks.

While my life is pretty much summed up in funny little random stories, all kidding aside, this was the most traumatizing experience I've ever been through.  I was so scared without my parents and hearing all the possible talk about brain swelling and bleeding was too much. The worst part was being in the room with someone fighting for their life and hearing the doctors call the time of death. I've prayed for her and her family everyday since.  It's amazing how one little trip down a flight of stairs can put things in perspective.   


Thursday, December 4, 2008

all I want for Christmas..

is Jessica Simpson to never sing live country again. Ever.

Dearest Jessica,

Once upon a time I truly adored you. I too thought Chicken of the Sea was actually chicken and still find the product extremely misleading. You're smokin hot, the proactive is working wonders, you're even dating a decent quarterback, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD no more country muzak. You're just not good at it and when you try to belt those darn twangy lyrics you actually sound as if you have the hiccups. I wanted to run up to you and give you water. Also, there was a man in the audience yelling at you. We couldn't tell if he said "You suck", "Play the song", or "You're a slut". Odds are it wasn't the second one. Please no more. Ever. Again. Thanks.

Yours truly,
Everyone with Ears.

Darius Rucker (from Hootie and the Blowfish) was one of performers last night at KILT's 9th Annual Ten Man Jam. This song really got to me for apparent reasons because I know it's so true.

I've never been to a "jam" and luckily my roommate who hails from the boondocks of Tejas told me that a jam is when a bunch of musicians sit on stage and take turns playing. I loooved Randy Rogers, Roger Creager, Lee Ann Womack, Hottie Hotterson Billy Currington and Pat Green. I dug it. Watching them chug beers together and make funny faces at Jessica. Especially Gretchen Wilson when you could tell she was thinking "How the hell are WE on the same stage?!" Nice.

And of course the night was finished at Wild West. Topped off with Whataburger with the world's largest cheeseburger at 230am which is NEVER a good idea. EVER.


Monday, December 1, 2008

I lalalove Monday Night Football

Thanks to my boss for the great birthday tickets to the game tonight!  And it was actually cold in Houston for once, hence the Battle Red Scarf.  

One of my favorite things to do is laugh so hard I either cry or pee my pants..in public you can probably guess which one works best. This is one of those stories you'll ask "oh, you had to be there?" But just try to picture the hilarity..Sophie and I laughed so hard..

As the Texans scored a touchdown (I'll admit they are few and far between), everyone jumped up cheering...beer sloshing everywhere and all that good stuff.  The guy (old man) in front of us jumped up and did one of those leaps where you lean forward mid air and stick your finger out screaming #1. Well, dude's feet did NOT touch the ground again..he belly flopped directly into the concrete, down the stairs and face first into a ketchup packet.  I truly cannot make this stuff up no matter how overactive my imagination might be.  

Needless to say, I was entertained laughing at this man (who by the way tried to pretend like it NEVER happened) while all the men around the stadium were hooting and hollering at the Texan Cheerleaders.  Hey, we all have our priorities and I'm not judging..

Monday Night Football is probably the best thing to do on a Monday and this was the first time in Texas history it was here!  Too bad I didn't see Erin Andrews because we all know how I feel about her (and if you don't, just ask)..

Texans 30- Jaguars 17


Friday, November 28, 2008

he sums it up

conversation with Sati just a few minutes ago after dinner and rice krispy treats..

Sati: What CVS do you have to go to?
me: The one on 59.
Sati: Your life doesn't make any sense.

even my choice of pharmacy screams random.  and I'm his nightmare..I think that's a term of endearment..


Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm a clA$$y birthday girl. Apparently.

Celebrated the big two seven last night.  
Happy Hour at Howl at the Moon.
Followed by Rockets game.
Followed by numerous bars.  
Took way too many shots.
Nasty shots.  Oatmeal cookie shots.  Really?
Drank way too many Three Olives Cherry and Cokes.
Got cut off at the bar for the first time in my life (I think).  Reasons above.
Played air guitar on my cast.  Let others play air guitar on my cast. 
Relived the night through my camera (pictures will NOT be posted).
No clue who 80% of the people on my camera are.  
Got called a cute "couple" with someone I wasn't a couple with, then asked to be a surrogate mother for the gay couple at West Gray Cafe at 4am.  
I realized I can never be a politician because of my drunken actions last night.

And according to my mom, I'm a very "mature" 27 year old by calling her at 3am begging her to sing Happy Birthday to me.  I am mature.  I love it.  

Here's to another great year.  Thanks to everyone that came out last night and all the cards, texts and voicemails (voicemails are permitted on birthdays).  

And we were so hungover we cancelled our plans today and ended up eating Thanksgiving Dinner at Lubys.  Yes, Lubys.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

got flowers?

I did. 

and thank you. It made my day.  


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm a happy camper..

literally.  The one claim to fame I adamantly refuse to give up is that I am the most random person I know.  

If you were one of the lucky ones to receive a text from me tonight asking if it was possible to make s'mores in a candle, this may explain..

As I was watching TV (a mere 10 minutes after working out) I had a huge craving for s'mores.  And this wasn't one of those cravings you could push to the back of your mind and all is forgotten..  It was the kind of craving that pulled me off the couch, broken tibia and all (I can lift weights in case you're wondering how it's possible to work out with a broken tibia), and begged Chris to go to Kroger with me so we could make s'mores

Fast-forward to my kitchen roasting marshmallows on a chopstick using my bathroom candle (unscented of course, so it wouldn't compromise the taste).  Hail the gooey deliciousness! 

I wasn't able to perfect the "campfire" taste using a candle, but it made my night nonetheless and I'm thankful for random Tuesday nights.  And of course Chris made fun of me for throwing out the "I'm a happy camper" pun.  I'm pretty sure I still have chocolate all over my face and I love it.  


Sunday, November 16, 2008

justified ("just-if-I'd never done those things")

I think we all go through times of neediness, anxiousness, frustration and the like.  It's no secret that I'm smack dab in the middle of what I'm calling my "quarter-life crisis" and I've been looking for answers in every direction imaginable.  

In my searches, these 4 things have really helped me regain perspective:
1.  New Hope Church (part of my 101/1001)
2.  Quiet Time, aka Jayme time
3.  Running (note, my broken leg is currently keeping me from this!)
4.  Friends (both old and new)

#4 led me to #1.  My co-worker Tam'ra (who has quickly become a dear friend) invited me to try her church. I've been going to New Hope for the past few months and I really enjoy it. It's one of the only churches I can recall in recent history that preaches and teaches Scripture as opposed to being a savvy, motivational speaker.  

The church hosted a women's event yesterday, called Completely His-Loving Jesus Without Limits and invited Shannon Ethridge as the speaker.  I'll be honest-I had no clue who Shannon Ethridge was, but I'm happy I got to be in her presence, hear her story, and take away some life lessons that I desperately needed.  Shannon is a best-selling author and an empowering speaker.  It's not often you can sit in a room with over 100 women of different ages, races, backgrounds, careers and marital status and reach each and every one of them, but she did. And not just reach them, but impact them in a very lasting and emotional way.  I was one of these women.

Over the years I've heard a lot of inspirational messages and quotes, but probably none that stuck with me like this.  "We may remember what sins we've committed in the past, but as far as God is concerned, we've been JUSTIFIED (which means, "just-if-I'd never done those things!").  

I'm the first to admit that when it comes to sin, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest amount of sin, I'm probably off the chart at about an 11.  Maybe even 12.  But what an enabling statement.  She couldn't have said that at a more advantageous time in my life.  I appreciate her saying that and reminding me that no matter how much sin is or was in my life, God will always love me. She reminded me that he can't love me more than He already does.  If He has forgiven me, I need to forgive myself.  

I know this blog covers arbitrary topics, but it covers things in my life and things in my head. This is something that truly inspired me and I wanted to thank Shannon Ethridge and her ministry and encourage others to be inspired by her.  I just bought "Every Woman's Battle" and the workbook "Every Single Woman's Battle" so look for updates here on how her words and stories will continue to help me see things for what they are and continue to add new perspective on life.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

one of the many reasons I can't stand (almost hate) myspace..

if you're trying to get a girl back after you've screwed her over once, you might consider changing your status from "In a Relationship" and your profile pic currently making out with another girl before friend requesting "the one that got away".  

and the fact she's your number one friend and completely accessible to me is amazing.  utterly. but don't worry..I simply don't care enough to tattle.  carry on.  this was humorous and I had to share.  (for the inquiring minds out there, I'm still in the "I don't know if I ever want a boyfriend again" phase.)

this solidifies my reasons for associating myspace and facebook with CRAP.  (already on the list of what NOT to date is "divorced". please add "myspace'er" to the list.)

(all of that aside, I find it ironic that the second you become available, the same guys that lied and cheated on you before are back swearing they learned the error of their ways.  Well guess what..I learned a few things myself.  Yet I can't help but feel bad for people.  It's such a shock to your system and so painful to realize you gave your entire self to someone that didn't do the same.  Doesn't anyone remain faithful anymore?  Note to self...There is a reason they're in your past...)


Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm in ENVY..literally

Envy is one of the best magazines Houston has to offer (and most of Tejas as of late) and I finally got an article published by them. I am so excited to have been able to write about Isabella Dean and I'm super thankful for Nicole Zaza becoming Houston's new city editor.

Envy Magazine, November issue p 104

Houston has been blessed with an abundance of boutiques and forget-me-not shops practically on every corner of the five hundred and ninety-six square mile city. Seriously, it’s one of the few cities where you can make a wrong turn and find yourself amidst an old house turned boutique. While a lot of great shops can be found on Westheimer, it is key to remember the newbies who have yet to develop a front door.

Meet Isabella Dean (ID). And owner Kristi Kotsatos. It has been twelve months to the day since Kristi K. opened the doors of Isabella Dean (the virtual door that is, located just north of isabelladean.com) and began rocking Houston, and many other cities, one piece of recycled jewelry at a time. ID is a one of a kind, earth-friendly jeweler deep in the heart of Texas with the brains and inspiration of a dreamer standing behind it.

Kristi K. attempted every maneuver possible to evade the corporate world, which came equipped with high heels, BlackBerrys, employee handbooks and the like. After graduating from the University of Texas, Kotsatos completed a grueling program at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and then moving west to Sandy Eggo (San Diego, of course). Suffering through a chaotic quarter-life crisis and wanting to continue in the pursuit of all things Oprah’ish, she created a green and UPcycled jewelry company and embraced her niche.

She has developed 3 product lines, all at affordable prices, all paying respect to mother earth. The izzy collection (rest assured, not named after Katherine Heigl) is the foremost collection of ID, and Kotsatos donates $10 from every piece to charity. She also guarantees each piece in this collection is one of a kind, with delicately hand-cut stones creating a truly unique piece. [ID]entity is a collection celebrating those affiliated with UT as a way to identify with your alma mater. Finally, Scooper Couture is a line exclusively dedicated to the four-legged friends out there creating eclectic personalized dog tags.

With stunning design and unique pieces, this big-hearted girl has got one hell of a bright future. But for now, shhh…Isabella Dean is the best kept secret in Houston. Pass it on.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

where in the world is Mariska Hargitay?

Yesterday I partook in my civic duty to vote for our 44th president (note, I did not vote for our 44th president, I simply voted).  As you may know, Houston is not the safest, most prestigious city in the nation, and my poll was at a local elementary school in a seemingly dangerous neighborhood.

I figured with the pending election at stake AND being at a public school that security measures would have been taken.  I've long been told A$$uming things is not one of my better qualities.  In order to get to the room to vote, IN THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, I had to walk through the entire school building, pass 5 classrooms filled with innocent children without having to check in, go through any security or even pass by an officer of the law.  I didn't have to show an ID to enter, nor did I have to state the obvious that I was there to vote.  I contemplated how easy it would be to snatch a child off the monkey-bars simply to make a point to administrators and government officials.  

It's sad to say with today's nation there should have been precautions taken..not for the election and/or its integrity, not for the voters, but for the children at the school.  And for the parents who probably felt confident that their children were in safe and caring hands.  During my 10 minutes on school grounds, the most intimidating employee I saw was a 115 lb. 87 year old woman on the playground for recess with her watchful eye cast over 20 or so children.  All kidding aside, I wasn't even sure if she was alive or not.  

I'm astounded with all the horror stories of child kidnappings and pedophiles out there that these children were exposed to such potential dangers.  While voting for our next president is extremely important, so is every child in every city.  To put them in such peril so we could open additional polls just seems ludicrous and a complete disregard for their safety.  

Sadly I was anxiously awaiting Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni (huge sigh) to show up. Thankfully they weren't needed.  At least this time.  


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In the Spirit of Being Thankful.. (November Barstool p 13 & 14)

In the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday (which also happens to be my birthday), let’s all share what we’re thankful for when it comes to the Houston nightlife scene.

I’ll start…I am eternally grateful for the guys that rock the front tuck because it ensures a full night of hysterical laughter. Don’t be indecisive guys…tuck your shirt in or leave it out, but not both. It’s the same reason mullets don’t work..it’s either business all over or party all over, but not both.  

I’m thankful that if I run into douche bags at one bar, there are plenty of other bars to scurry off to. I’m thankful that Lucky’s finally opened directly across the street from Lofts at the Ballpark. I’m thankful for s’mores at So Vino Wine Bar. I’m thankful for Bloody Sunday at The Wet Spot because I was born in Wisconsin so bloody marys are in my blood (no pun intended…swear). Not only am I thankful for the pizza that awaits you as you exit bars, I’m much more thankful for the bartering system of actually paying for the pizza. Sally Struthers would shit her pants if she knew just how cheap late night pizza was in midtown. (Tell me you remember Sally Struthers? The blonde crazy haired lady from the 80’s that always begged for money to feed kids in third world countries. Remember, for only $21 a day you can feed an entire orphanage.) I’m thankful for big belt buckles, cowboy hats and country line dancing at Wild West and Whiskey Creek. It doesn’t matter how many freaking times I see that Cotton Eyed Joe routine, I’ll never learn the damn dance but will forever be watchful. I’m thankful that every night in Houston is steak night somewhere. I’m thankful that hurricane IKE is over and our favorite bars are open and back in business. I’m thankful that no matter what bar you catch a football game at, there is ALWAYS some diva donning a jersey for a team she has no clue about but swears she’s a die hard fan. Speaking of football, I’m also thankful for any bar where I get to see the Florida GaYtors and Virginia Tech Hokies lose. It would be amazing if they were able to play against each other and both teams lost. ESPN and I would both be having a field day and would talk about it for weeks. I’m thankful for the big city views of downtown from some of my favorite bars even though I know downtown can sometimes look bigger and better than it really is. I’m thankful for hanging out at Howl at the Moon and just as I pick on a poor goon to make fun of, so do the dueling pianists. I’m also thankful for the word pianist. I’m thankful for my newly discovered flavored sake shots at Beer Island. I’m thankful for bars like Komodos that feel like home because lets face it..Komodos feels more like home than my apartment these days. I’m thankful for World Market because they are the ONLY place that sells Cupcake Chardonnay in town (and no, I did not mean Cakebread). I’m thankful for informing all the readers that Thanksgiving is ALWAYS on a Thursday, the last Thursday of November to be exact. So no need to ask “What day of the week is Thanksgiving on this year?” because the answer will always remain the same..Thursday. I’m beyond thankful for 80’s night at Pub Fiction and their Bacardi Fiction drink that tastes like grape soda for only $4 and always turns my lips purple. I’m thankful for an alcoholic concoction that resembles Dr. Pepper without actually having it as an ingredient-Three Olives Cherry Vodka and Coke. TRY IT. I’m thankful for bars that carry Three Olives Cherry vodka. I used to be thankful for bars that carried sugar-free redbull but according to the doc, I can’t drink it anymore, so what the hell do I care? I’m thankful for the many people that contributed to this article by supplementing my list with the one below. And in case you forgot, I’m thankful for my birthday being on Thanksgiving and all the wonderful shots my friends will buy me. But I am NOT thankful for the obvious hangover the next day.  

And who the hell could forget a city with a kicka$$ magazine like Barstool? I’m thankful for a publication like this.  

So I asked around and here’s what other Houstonians said:

“I am thankful for…”

never drinking more than 3 blue margaritas at El Patio
being able to sit in purple, blue, green and yellow chairs on the ever-popular Taco Milagro patio
reverse happy hours (in case you missed the normal one, or just to continue the fun at a cheap rate)
$6 cab rides in the city
new bars like Union that have awesome drink specials and numerous televisions
no matter what you wear or what you’re in the mood for, Houston always has a bar for you
cheap beer at West Alabama Icehouse
margaritas at the original Ninfa’s on Navigation
that Front Porch opened up their sister bar Porch Swing because you can never get enough of that atmosphere
industry nights all over town showing love to one another
kick ass tunes on Keneally’s jukebox
steak night at The Tavern
LSU football games at Big Woodrow’s
the fine girls that gather at the fine establishments in every crevice of Houston
valet guys that don’t make you pay when you pretend you don’t have cash
ROCBAR and their Monthly Mayhem
cheeseburgers and karaoke at Christian’s tailgate
cool door guys like Jessie at Zeppelin
Dirt Bar because it’s chill and remains Houston’s best kept secret (oops)
pre-nightlife with phenomenal drinks and dining in the Montrose area
the one-of-a-kind house music and DJ’s at Zeppelin
the variety of people (mostly men) you can meet in Houston
wonderful drinking supplies that can be acquired at Spec’s (aka Drinker’s Playground of Fun)
bars with roofs to showcase the Houston skyline in Midtown
Sky Bar and SouthBeach for dancing in Montrose
free piercings on Fridays at RocBar
Warehouse Live still booking amazing shows (and surprisingly enough never cutting me off)
numerous after-bar dining options other than Taco Bell
girls in short dresses that love dancing and always forget they are wearing short dresses (especially to the YMCA)
the stalker platform at Whiskey Creek so one can see the girls dancing in short dresses
my friends that bring their cameras to the bars and get pictures of the girls in short dresses (I kid, I kid)
dog-friendly bars (especially Little Woodrow’s and West Alabama Ice House)
favorite after work cheap spot…front porch (best mozzarella sticks—drunk or sober and frozen oj drinks)
THANKS again to those of you who shared what you’re thankful for.
On the count of three, we are all thankful for Barstool Mag….one…two…three


Saturday, November 1, 2008

even crazy dreams come true

I often forget how powerful music and lyrics can be in a time of need. I went to the Carrie Underwood concert tonight at Reliant with Brittany and Jen and got more out of it than just good tunes.  I think I gained some perspective on a few aspects of my life and was somewhat inspired. 

First..Carrie Underwood is smoking hot. If anyone reading this has ever found a flaw in her, please let me know.  I need to know she's human and has at least one flaw.  

First and a half.. She talked about how she can't seem to find Prince Charming (join the club sister) which is mind easing and alarming all at once.  She basically has the ability to hand pick men from all over the country and even she gets screwed over and can't seem to find a good one. (i.e. songs about kissing frogs, the more boys she meets, the more she loves her dog.)  And the fact she did a Fleetwood Mac and a Guns n Roses cover really made me heart her even more than previously stated.  She's a bada$$ chick.  

Second..her voice is amazing.  I've always loved her music (hence going to her concert), but tonight as I sat back and enjoyed the night and listened to her, the words really struck a cord with me.  (My disclaimer for this post is that I don't often get into music and my interpretation of the lyrics may be the furthest thing what she meant when writing them.  But that's the beauty about music..everyone takes what they want or need and translates it personally.)

I can't remember the last time I spent an evening somewhere when I KNEW there would be no single, straight men there.  Out of 15,000 bodies under one roof, it truly was a girls night (with sparse couples scattered throughout).  It's so nice to be somewhere and enjoy the night for what it is.  To not worry with men.  To not think about men.  Who am I kidding, as I continue to write you'll see I was obviously thinking..

So here are some of the lyrics that hit me tonight..

Flat on the Floor..
"You can't knock me off my feet,
When I'm already on my knees"

"Don't knock on my door cause I won't come
I'm hiding from the storm 'til the damage is done"

and all of these lyrics will hopefully lead me to this point..
"'til there ain't no sign, 'til there ain't no sign, 'til there ain't no sign of you"

Lessons Learned..
"And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wondered how I'd get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I'm thankful, for every break in my heart,
I'm grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned.

There's mistakes that I have made,
Some chances I just threw away,
Some roads,
I never should've taken,
Been some signs I didn't see..
Some wounds,
That I wish I could have one more chance to mend,
But it don't make no difference,
The past can't be rewritten,
You get the life you're given.."

If you want one more, this entire song really says a lot..

and my two personal faves..

Before He Cheats..
"I took a Louisville Slugger to both headlights"
Obviously, I would never do this, I just really enjoy the line and the fact I've played softball my whole life makes it even better.  On a side note, how troubling is it that this song was apropos to the 3 of us..recently.  Unfortunately, it's a part of life that people fall out of love, which I'm still learning, but end it first.    

And I'll close with the most appropriate lyric to date (at least for me)..

Start's With Goodbye..
"It's sad, but sometimes moving on with the rest of your life,
Starts with goodbye"


Monday, October 27, 2008

PINK ladies

(caption 1-frikkin fairies)
(caption 2-the winning PINK ladies team)

Sadly, I can't cross a round of golf off my 101/1001 quite yet, but I did "participate" in the Pink Ladies Golf Tournament at Sugar Creek today and had a blast. The tournament was a 9-hole course designed mostly for beginners and our foursome, get this...WON. (And just to clarify for the nay-sayers out there, we won LOWEST score, not highest score.)

It was to benefit the American Cancer Society right in Fort Bend County and I spent time with some of my co-workers...dressed in pink, drinking pink champagne, riding around in decorated golf carts.

My favorite shirt was "I support second base". Can't wait to do this again next year as reigning champions and come up with new and improved costumes and cart decorations.

I miss Cindy Blamire.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

d i g i t s

So I learned something new today at work...which thankfully, happens often.  But this, I had to share..

When I hear "digits" I automatically think of some guy trying to get your number.  You know, the cheese ball line, "Can I get your digits" I know that doesn't only happen in Virginia..

Anyhow...a "Digital Rectal Exam" is a finger..not a Canon Power Shot Camera.  So the term digits has forever been changed in my vocabulary thanks to my recent entrance into the medical field.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cover Story #2 for October Barstool...Pigskin Pubs

Pigskin Pubs (p 14 &15)

For those of you with a 60-inch projection screen, theatre style seating and a nice lady friend to cook the perfect bite-size football snacks (or Buffalo Wild Wings on speed dial) you may not get much use out of this article.  

But for those of us without those palatial amenities, here are some of the best places to park your derriere in front of a plethora of larger-than-life TV’s accompanied by countless drink specials and a menu bigger than Golden Corral.

The Wet Spot in Midtown is the numero uno place if you dig decks, numerous TV’s and a myriad of drink specials. The bar is not only stocked with your favorite alcohol, but it also comes equipped with individual TV’s for those of you afraid of sharing. In honor of one of the greatest sports on earth, the Wet Spot has Happy Hour on Saturdays and Sundays from 11a-4p with $5.25 domestic pitchers and $1.75 domestic drafts. Load up on your favorite dogs during Dog Day Weekend with $2 hotdogs and $2.50 corndogs. Bloody Sunday is a fan favorite with $4 bloody mary’s all day. The Wet Spot is also the official watch party for the Michigan State Spartans. Just the name alone gets me excited for football…and maybe a few other things.  

Host of the official Aggie watch party, Pub Fiction is a staple in the lives of football fans. Not only did Pub just revamp their already stellar menu, but on Monday Nights the food is half off. To wash it down, enjoy $2 domestic drafts, $2 wells, and $3 jager and tuaca shots. To make the most of Game Day Saturdays, Happy Hour is extended from 11a-9p featuring $2 wells, $2.50 mimosas, $0.35 wings and $2 Chicago-style dogs. Stop by on Sundays for a liquid brunch consisting of $10 carafes of mimosas, $3 build-your-own bloody mary bar, $3.50 domestic drafts and $4.50 import drafts. And $15 allows you to ravage 50 wings. Pub has over 40 HDTV’s for your viewing pleasure and 4 HD larger than life projection screens.

By far the most eclectic place to see a game is the aptly named Beer Island located in historic Heights with over 80 beer selections to choose from. Bring your four-legged friends with you because this bar loves dogs. They’re so dog friendly they’d probably let three-legged dogs join in the festivities. Beer Island is pretty much the Lone Star Headquarters (which by the way is the number one selling beer in the Heights) with $2 Lone Star pints and $5 pitchers. So while you’re sipping on Lone Star, your best friend Sparky can enjoy a fresh bowl of H20 courtesy of the sociable staff. The sports lounge fully equipped with recliners and couches make this place feel like the comfort of home. The menu consists of drunken dogs (wieners cooked in draft beer), $5 pizza and $1 popcorn. Beer Island’s claim to fame are their Hawaiian Five-O and Wild Island Strawberry sake shots. It’s probably considered a faux pas to not try one of the flavored sake drinks.  

Union just opened in Midtown and is going to be a prime destination for football with $8 domestic buckets and $11 import and the best Sangria this side of the confederate flag and 9 high def LCD ginormous screens. Swing by and grab a spot on the patio.
Lucky’s Pub is one of the best new spots to watch any sporting event, especially football. With party rooms big enough for alumni groups to horde, there is sure to be a motley crew of fans. Savor $7 Bud Light pitchers all-day Saturday and Sunday or $15 Bud family buckets. They feature a half price appetizer every weekend as well.

Kentucky Club has managed to get on the radar of many football fans as of late, and for good reason. It’s a chill little bar in a strip mall with enough TV’s to make you go cross eyed and drink specials so good the AA members should be warned ($4 pitchers of beer for crying out loud!).  

All the bars listed above have foregone noise levels during football season so if you’re the loud obnoxious fan that just can’t cheer loud enough, come on in. Just like Journey, they’ll welcome you with open arms. And if you’re the fan that just sits there with your tail between your legs, grow a pair and watch football with your mom.


Cover Story #1 for October Barstool...Calling all Creepers

So both my articles for the October edition of Barstool Mag were the cover stories.  I love this mag!  Check 'em out.

Calling all Creepers..Halloween Happenings (p. 49 &50)

“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” Probably one of the most eloquent statements to come out of Lindsey Lohan’s mouth. Ever. (It was in Mean Girls for those of you unfamiliar with the teenybopper movie.) And probably the main reason every girl takes the opportunity to dress up and every guy takes the opportunity to stop playing rock band and head out on the town. It’s also the one night of the year where guys can be overbearing and throw out the worst pick up lines. I mean if it doesn’t work, you can just blame it on the costume and say you were in “character”. Seriously, every guy gets a free pass on Halloween.  

Halloween is to Houston what gold medals are to Michael Phelps…effing exciting and everyone wants to be a part of the action. It doesn’t matter if there’s a recap about the event a few nights later, you can’t miss this night. And you just can’t get enough of Halloween, which is exactly why many of your favorite bars have created an entire weekend dedicated solely to this holiday. Houston knows how to party every night and thankfully Halloween is no exception. Last year Michael Vick jerseys with stuffed pit bulls hanging from the neck were all the rage. If any of you can pull off a fake 5-foot torso, a Michael Phelps costume may top them all. With the upcoming presidential election, I foresee a sexy Sarah Palin being a hot commodity this year, along with an X-rated Miley Cyrus. Frilly dresses from the ever-popular Sex and the City cast members will also probably take up a lot of space on the dance floor.  

In honor of the scandalous celebration, bars are gearing up for a great weekend full of costume contests, drink specials and even haunted houses. This year’s nominees for badass Halloween parties in no particular order are:

Mark your calendars for Roctober where crazy costumes and Halloween will be celebrated every weekend during October at Rocbar/Mosaic. You heard it here first…5 weekends of insanity and intoxication. The fierce lineup starts on Friday the 3rd with Horror Film Classics (Nightmare on Elm Street ring a bell?), and on Friday the 10th with Reservoir Dogs. DJ’s John Huntington and K-sly are bringing the music inspiration on the Black & White party Thursday the 16th with Dusk til Dawn the next night. Be prepared to party with Natural Born Killers on Friday the 24th, but don’t be too alarmed even though they are celebrating real-life historical killers in lieu of the pansy fictional ones we’ve watched on TV. If you’re a bed wetter, consider yourself warned. Devil’s Night will take place on Friday the 30th and the highly anticipated Beetlejuice Party will be on Halloween night. I wish every month was Roctober so be sure to maximize their party schedule.

Bronx Bar has been the apex of theme parties and costume parties in our area codes for quite some time and this Halloween they are sure to keep the trend alive so put on your big girl panties and get ready to raise the roof.  

The Galleria Bronx Bar will be partying with a Heaven and Hell theme. Come dressed in your best angelic costume or your worst devilish costume and bring the good/bad mentality along with your outfit.

If you’ve ever been to Bronx Bar, you know the staff will be stiff competition in the costume department. I don’t know where they come up with this shit or how long they take to plan their attire, but they are never short of amazing. Stop by either location Thursday, Friday or Saturday to enjoy drink specials, a few of your favorite DJ’s spinning scary tunes and best of all, no cover charge.  

If you haven’t been to Bam Bou in the Village yet, then Halloween is the perfect excuse to take a gander. Come experience their hot new set up and their mock movie stages featuring “The Ring” and “Michael Myers” on Halloween night. Don’t forget your costume, because first, second and third place prizes add up to over $1500 in prizes. There is a $10 cover before midnight, but the scary bottle discounts before 11 and other drink specials all night will be worth it.  

Celebrating their one-year anniversary, Lucky’s Pub is going to party like it’s 1999, except of course it’s 2008. The 12th Annual Pimp and Prostitute Ball is set to take place on Friday, October 31st from 8pm until close. Sports Monkey always puts this party on and every year it gets better and better. Costumes get skimpier and funnier, drinks get stronger and taller and the crowd gets crazier and crazier.  

Tickets are required for this shindig and are $15 in advance (http://www.sportsmonkey.com/Events/pnp2008.asp) or $20 at the door. If you plan on dressing up (and hence the holiday, there’s no reason you shouldn’t), consider the ticket prices an investment. Almost like 401(k). If you sign up for the costume contests by 10pm, you could win $4000 CASH if you’re rockin’ the best digs. Lots of cash and prizes to be won, so dress to win Pimp of the Year, the oxymoronic Classiest Ho, and Best Overall Costume. What other bar can you knock back 40’s plus $3 beers and $3 wells all night? Per their website, “Round up yo bitches and grab yo gold. Wrap some fishnets around that fly booty, cuz it be time to go out and Pimp N Ho it!” You still have some time to practice your pimp stroll so start working on it. Oh, and buying tickets in advance keeps you from waiting in line, and with over 1000 people expected, not waiting in line is a damn good thing. There will be a backdoor marked especially for you VIP pimps (the ones that purchased tickets in advance). The backdoor could come in handy because dressing like a pimp in downtown Houston can be easily mistaken. I highly recommend pimping it inside Lucky’s rather than outside.  

Pub Fiction will be celebrating Halloween all weekend. Invitations have already been extended to Dr. Seymour Bush, a slew of home wreckers, gold-digger’s and Victoria’s Secret Angels to make the party even hotter. They are planning a Halloween party so ridiculously ridiculous on Friday and Saturday night that they’ve felt the need to extend the bash into the parking lot. Note to self, there is tons of room for those of you with the larger get-ups that sometimes find it a tight squeeze on the dance floor. Between the inside and outside bar scene, you’ll have plenty of room to navigate all the dance floors or make your own.  

Still a mystery to all of us, Pub Fiction will feature a special live performance on Saturday night from one of your favorite Texas country artists. Drink specials are yet to be determined, but any drink at Pub is a special one. The drinks will be plentiful as will the cash prizes for the best costume of the night so come dressed to impress.  

Here are some other notable mentions for hair-raising Halloween hotspots. Pearl Bar will be devoting an entire weeklong celebration to Halloween. There is never a cover and they will have frozen scary lemonades and other tantalizing libations. I can see it now..animated costumes battling it out at a frightful game of flip cup. May the best costume win! Seeing as Pearl Bar hasn’t really designated what the winnings will be (if any), the winner may only receive the ability to bear the title “Pearl Bar’s Best Costume”. Pretty sure bragging rights would suffice on their own.

Whiskey Creek is always a safe bet for Halloween as they somehow consistently manage to get the hottest girls and guys in the craziest costumes on one dance floor year after year. Located directly next door is another fun venture, Escobar. Add risqué costumes to the traditional scenes and dancing at either of these locations and you’re sure to have one hell of a Halloween.

Regardless of your Halloween bar of choice (hopefully plural) or preferred alcoholic concoction, we have enough confidence in our hometown bars to know you’ll have a badass time wherever you go. Just remember to dress to kill because cameras will be in full swing during this freaky holiday. And remember, because we’ve been blessed to celebrate this on a Friday, most bars are extending the fun-loving costume shenanigans for at least three days and in some cases, one scary month. I’m a firm believer that every holiday should include costumes. 


Friday, September 19, 2008

no power in the tower..take a hIKE

LEFT: what used to be a soccer field
MIDDLE: heinous gas station lines
RIGHT: will my Sam Adams still be good?

hurricanes are like hangovers..after suffering through a category 2 hurricane (cat 2 for the veterans) or higher, you find yourself equipped with an ironclad excuse for pretty much anything in the subsequent weeks. You’ll wait in line 17 cars deep at McDonalds, you’ll drive around town (due to debris and curfew, your time is rather limited) just to see what’s open, you’ll use all the gas you have for this joyride and then want to punch yourself in the jaw to have to wait in line for more gas, or even worse, realize there is NO MORE GAS. Even if your offices are open, no one really goes to work because you can’t shower, or you can’t find childcare or you’re so incredibly lazy you just can’t bring yourself to do it.

Hurricane Ike hit the Houston area on Friday, September 12 around 11pm and I’ll fully admit we got hit a hell of a lot harder than I thought. Laying in bed hearing the 90 mph winds and stronger, I was beyond confident the windows would burst and the glass will fill my pretty face. I sat in bed with pillows on my face simply trying to protect my dome. I am one of the lucky ones having weathered through it fairly well. Aside from no power in the tower for almost a week (and still going), having my first ever cruise cancelled, and losing all the food in my refrigerator and freezer, there are many other Houstonians and Galvestonians that lost much more than I and I can only offer my prayers and condolences to each and every one of them. Having lived in FL for over 2 years and experienced some other bad ‘canes, I realize the difference is Floridians don’t freak out AS MUCH as Houstonians. Maybe it’s the Rita and Katrina era and people just don’t ‘ef around anymore.

Some peculiar things I witnessed during Ike..

Gas Lines. I’m talking Disney World on opening day, free to the public, which also happens to be perfect weather and a school holiday. Packed. Gas station attendants were actually directing traffic at the stations. I’m talking backing up the entire exit off a freeway, with a double line of cars. The broadcasters on the radio said that people were waiting over 3 hours in line for gas. I mean, when nothing is open and there’s nowhere to go, WHY do you need gas?

News Propaganda. One of my BIGGEST pet peeves in the entire world happens to be how newscasters react during a tragedy such as Ike. While I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of Ike and the havoc it wreaked on our town (and still is), the news reporters treat this with as much drama as an episode of The Hills. The editing is eerily similar too. Take for instance, a gigantic uprooted tree that is so large it’s almost unfathomable how any amount of wind could have done that. Rather than showing it from one angle and saying “Look at this one tree located on Main St.” the news reporters get sneaky and show 3 different angles of the exact same tree to make the viewers think there is an entire forest uprooted and we’ll soon run out of oxygen supply. As if my mother and father weren’t spastic enough (not to mention all my lovely a$$hole friends), seeing the news sends them into a tailspin. They were back in VA and not able to get a hold of me for a while, so you know Joey T. was set on The Weather Channel. We had the opportunity to drive by some of the highly broadcast places and what we actually saw and what we saw on the news differed greatly. At some points, I actually thought they were doing more harm than good. They were sending our already delicate Houstonians into a panic and making them freak out more than was necessary. So don’t believe everything you see or hear.

I’m going to approach this next paragraph with EXTREME caution, but hearing this sent me well over the edge. We were in the car (on a one hour venture looking for donuts…who knew, everyone craved donuts after a hurricane like I did?), and 93.7 The Arrow (may not ever listen to this station again because of this) mentioned that the Houston Police officers were working crazy hours and didn’t have any food or water. They asked if any of us had extra we should take it to them. First of all, it’s hard for ANYONE to have to work during this time, but just a few months prior the Houston Chronicle released an article that police officers in Houston were getting fingers points because they more than doubled their salary with unnecessary overtime. The officers are obviously making overtime to patrol the streets and help the city overcome the aftermath of Ike; therefore, I am a firm believer they are being more than compensated for their time. At the time this ran on the radio, NONE of us had food or water so why on earth would the officers get free radio time to beg for freebies? Why not the hospitals, local neighborhoods, or senior centers get this plea? Police officers are some of the few folks that will be paid during this mess. Take for instance those hourly workers whose places of employment are closed for days, weeks or possibly even months. They aren’t making ANY money, but yet the radio station feels the need to ask the citizens to stop by the precincts and drop off essentials? I heard on another station that looters set a local Wal-Mart on fire and a mother of 3 was employed at Wal-Mart. The manager had to call all the employees and tell them to find new jobs until it is rebuilt. What about posting a bulletin to help out that woman or other similar situations? Wow, my blood pressure got dangerously high just writing this!

Food. After you’ve gone through a hurricane, you eat like you have a hangover. There aren’t many options, but of course you are craving something. One thing I did notice was that a lot of mom and pop restaurants were open quicker and longer than some chains taking every opportunity to seize the day and make a profit. Just another reason I want to start visiting more of these local places. I also lost some confidence in my dear friends at Chick Fil A. Boy are they wimps! Every one of their locations boarded up from Thursday through Monday without even knowing how bad the storm would be. Bring on the chikin! I already knew you were somewhat lazy for not being open on Sundays when I need you the most, but this took the cake.

Could you even imagine if you had planned a wedding during this horrendous time? Flights were cancelled so some of your out of town guests may have been SOL. I heard of one wedding that got relocated to Dallas (4 hours away). Talk about one hell of a commute. Lets hope if it was open bar that the guests got a hotel rather than a cab back to Houston. Another wedding that was supposed to take place on Saturday (the night of Ike) got bumped to Friday. I can’t fathom having to change my wedding date because of something like this! Note to self; don’t plan a wedding OR A CRUISE during hurricane season. Yes, my first ever cruise set to take off from Galveston two days after Ike landfall was cancelled, as the port was closed indefinitely.

Big Brother. Picture watching an entire, fun-filled, drama induced season of reality TV only to lose power and miss the final 2 episodes of one of your favorite shows?! It seems so cruel to have to google “who won season 10 of big brother?” after such a long season. I guess it’s true what they say…desperate times call for desperate measures.

Still no power in the tower. My apartment complex is comprised of 3 buildings..one large tower in the middle (where I reside) and 1 midrise building on each side. Oddly enough, BOTH mid-rises have power restored, but the tower is pitch black. I live in a “true loft” which basically means no windows and super high exposed ceilings. My entire complex is so dark, I have to use my cell phone light to guide the hallways and even that isn’t bright enough.

A special thanks to Paul and his family for taking the teacup and I in during this time and to all my friends and family for checking up on me.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

first time in ink in houtex...i heart barstool

so here is my first article published since I've been here in Houston (I know...long overdue...story of my life).
Barstool Magazine, September Issue, pgs 56 & 57
(soon to be on www.barstoolmag.com and special thanks to Andres D for the great photos for the article)


Located deep in the heart of Midtown you’ll find the mother ship of liquor stores. It’s a staple in the lives of most fun-loving Houstonians and is a prime destination for tourists visiting the area. After all, who in their right mind would pass up a chance to visit 48,000 square feet dedicated to all things bar and party? Spec’s, located across the street from Pub Fiction, has been Houston’s central supply of beer, liquor and wine for nearly 40 years.

With over 3,000 customers daily, 170 total employees, and “aisles” that are aptly named streets, it’s not hard to get lost in this place. And it happens quite often according to the staff. It’s a city within a city. Maybe people aren’t actually getting lost; maybe they are in awe of the store and all its glorious wonder. Maybe the largest walk-in cooler in Houston mesmerizes them and their indecisiveness gets the best of them. Debating between the 1,655 ales, the 232 lagers, hundreds of kegs, or the umpteen specialty and domestic choices for the steadfast beer lover can be quite a task. The walk-in cooler alone is comparable to picking out a piece of wood at Home Depot.

The plethora of potions is beyond one’s wildest dreams. White sangria. Red sangria. Frozen sangria. Peach sangria. Italian sangria. Restaurant-style sangria. Sangria recipes. Don’t forget the sangria-scented candles. In tequila options alone there are over 900. No wonder tequila makes her clothes fall off. Luckily the staff at Spec’s prides themselves on customer service and is there to help you find the perfect beverage to suit your mood. If your cash flow is limited they’ll help you find a budget-friendly choice. Those that aren’t budget-conscience can treat themselves to Louis XIII diamond series cognac for $5263.15 a bottle. If you need a particular size they can do anything from supersize to mini-me bottles to stuff in your cargo shorts. Folks blessed to bear the 713, 281 or 832 area codes should stand up and take pride that the largest liquor store on the planet is right in your backyard. Only Houstonians came claim that. Just one of the many reasons Houston is the #1 place to live, work and play according to the most recent poll of US cities. This mother ship also boasts the title of the #1 seller of Crown Royal above any other store in the world. That’s right. Numero uno. Second to none.

Perhaps mother ship of liquor stores is an understatement. Maybe mother ship of all things amazing is a better fit? Spec’s has a ginormous deli with sandwiches so big that the bouncer at your favorite bar will probably need a doggy bag. They roast their own coffee daily on premises and pop their own popcorn. Looking for a specialty cheese? They have a larger selection of cheese than Brett Favre and the entire state of Wisconsin combined. All kidding aside the annual Cheese Festival is September 14, 15 and 16 so go see for yourself. Looking for flavor? Don’t miss 2 entire shelves devoted solely to hot sauce. A chocolate truffle bar manned and operated by Officer Larry. Over 1500 cigars and a cigar connoisseur to help differentiate them all. On the hunt for the perfect tailgating accessory for the upcoming football season? Try a full size blender with an AC adapter to plug into your car and pick up a margarita mix for the game. Invest in an alcohol breath detector to ensure optimum safety. Or splurge on a new grill. Seriously, your challenge if you choose to accept it is to find something Spec’s doesn’t carry.

If you happen to forego a night on the town and throw your own soiree instead, the staff at Spec’s are party planners in disguise. If you are lacking creative juices (in the drink department of course), they’ll help conjure up drink recipes and the perfect pairing of food to make your shindig a hit. They even sell post-party clean-up supplies to hide the evidence from your wife or roommate. They’ve also got you covered with disposable cameras so you can take pictures of the jacka$$ of the party. (Just be sure to publish them online so everyone can enjoy them.)

When it comes to parties and tailgating, Spec’s has it all. But they also service 1200 bars in the local area providing beer, wine, bar supplies, furniture, and even hand dryers for the bathrooms. You name it, they’ve got it. Or they’ll get it. That’s what they strive for-to make each and every one of their customers happy. And satisfied customers for Spec’s mean a lively and entertaining nightlife for all of us. Which of course makes our job at Barstool better everyday.

So we not only salute our bars and bartenders for keeping Houston’s nightlife going, we also thank Spec’s and all the phenomenal things it brings to our city.

(And for those partiers that never leave home without their A-game, they even carry a full stock of hangover meds.)


Monday, September 1, 2008

maybe one day..

I'll be good enough to get on this list..click on the AdAge icon to see what I'm talking about..


Monday, August 18, 2008

red rover red rover, send a VITAMIN WATER vending machine right over (please?)

To add to my Christmas list already equipped with a bedazzled sweater vest, I'd like to top the list with a Vitamin Water vending machine. Although I consider myself intensely hilarious, this is not a joke. Aside from the fact that Vitamin Water is pretty much amazing, if you've ever seen a Vitamin Water vending machine you know what I'm talking about. The look is so cool...and yes, trendy. I said it. I love trends.

(Side note, my mom recently started reading my blogs...scary...but she's amazing and she gets me everything I want since I'm an only child...so mom, please bundle this up with a fragile sticker and send it on over. You mustn't completely fill it with Vitamin Water..maybe just half. Thanks.)

I must be honest with all of you.. I only started drinking Vitamin Water because of their marketing. Being in the industry, I had to give props to Vitamin Water (aka Glacuea, aka Coke) and they deserved to sell an extra bottle based on their hard work. After doing research on their grassroots marketing, I am beyond inspired with their tactics. And you know I did my research..

First is their website. No wonder I love this stuff...they have a section labeled "Our Friends" and Carrie Underwood who is smoking hot and a great singer is one of them. My fave is Donovan McNabb..the quarterback of the greatest football team..Go Eagles! I'd love to be friends with either, so since I drink the water, can I call them cronies?

Check it out...www.glaceau.com..the colors and layout and other fun things are countless. They really found what their target audience was into and hit a homerun..but not a Barry Bonds kind of a homerun..a legitimate one. They have Vitamin Water buddy icons for instant messenger. If you are saying "who the hell would have a Vitamin Water icon?" please add me to your buddy list. Yup, I do. And I'd venture to say a number of others are sporting it as well.

Let's move on to Direct Mail (DM). For anyone that's ever dabbled in Direct Mailings, you know how expensive they are. Just to create a 5 x 7 postcard on 80 lb. card stock and mail out is ridiculous in price. You are usually paying for a mailing list, the printing, packaging, not to mention the postage which seems to increase with every baby Britney Spears has. Their DM piece is prodigious. Not only is it a large boxed mailer (I won't even guess on the weight and postage), but they included 2 of their biggest competitors...Red Bull and Monster...sitting along side Vitamin Energy so the consumer can compare on their own. I looked for numbers on the ROI of the campaign, but came up empty handed.

Since I looked so amazing at the SATC movie premiere on the maroon (not red) carpet, let's tackle the subject of product placement. Not only were Vitamin Water bottles seen throughout the movie, but they did a number of print and tv ads prior to and even flavored/labeled a drink after Carrie called "XXX" with the tag "Get Carried Away." Genius.

Vitamin Water teamed up with Mobile Marketing Agency EnMobile to tap the Generation Y consumers and increase brand awareness. They created a text message campaign where the winner could win an entire year of Vitamin Water. I wonder if they'd let the winner trade it in for a vending machine?

Balls to the wall marketing. Literally. We all know how unbalanced NY fans are about their hometown teams, right? Vitamin Water's media agency placed a billboard of David Wright next to a billboard of Big Papi DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM YANKEE STADIUM. No need to reread, I'll repeat...they posted two billboards of Wright and Ortiz across from Yankee Stadium with this headline "Best in NY". Are you kidding me. I feel like Michael Phelps saying I'm at a loss for words even though I keep talking!

Their tv ads are pretty catchy too. Just the mental picture of Shaquille O'Neil as a horse jockey is an oxymoron but they gave us an actual picture that aired during the Super Bowl. If you want to see the ad, check out YouTube...my favorite part is the kid in the stands picking his nose. Nothing to do with Vitamin Water OR horse races, but I'm a fan nonetheless.

Deep Focus is the Interactive Marketing Solutions Agency Vitamin Water chose to test a brand awareness campaign via the social web, where the idea was the distribute ideas virally through such mechanisms as Top Friends. In a period of 8 days, they ran a campaign where you could send a "virtual drink" to a friend and within this time frame, they saw approximately 10 million "buy a drink" actions on the web. I got too tired to find out what the "buy a drink" was all about, but 10 million hits is commendable for website!

Vitamin Water's retail sampling program is known as "hydrology". More than 100 highly energized, company-trained "hydro-logists" promoting the brand. Not to be confused with Abercrombie and Fitch "brand ambassadors" only wearing flip flops and Abercrombie cologne. Seriously, have you seen them? Nothing else.

Other notable faves to give Vitamin Water kudos on:

On every stop of the Carnival Tour, Carrie Underwood takes the Electric Yellow-colored Energy flavor to continue the branding efforts. How often do you see a drink named after the headliner? Adoring fans spend $47 on a pink wife-beater that says "before he cheats". I'm sure they'll spend a few bucks on a refreshment.

Air Tran now carries Vitamin Water as their in-flight drink and has it printed on the napkins and ticket jackets. I flew Air Tran for the first time a month ago and was jazzed to have a Vitamin Water on the flight! (Be sure to ask for a full one or they'll poor you a dinky cup that splashes everywhere.)

Vitamin Water set up a sampling station at popular spring break destination, Panama City, Florida. Behind a tiki bar you could be served a free 10 ounce sample to quench your thirst..or hangover.

mcnabbisback.com --"journey of passion, courage and hydration." Need I say more?

My personal fave: "Every day needs more" is another benefit of the drink. "Like enabling the visually challenged to focus better at strip clubs." This is part of their marketing and I love a sense of humor.

Another ad displays a plumber fixing what looks to be a desperate housewives' sink. Ad reads "Drink Power. Lay More Pipe."

Vitamin Water's advertising agency as of 2/2/07 is Berlin Cameron United so a big round of applause to them and everyone else that has played a role in Vitamin Water's wild success. My fridge is always stocked (waiting for my vending machine) and my favorite is Defense.

And I am an only child, but was just kidding about being spoiled. Had to throw that caveat in case my dad started reading this too :)