Friday, July 27, 2012

An Ex of my Ex is my Friend!

Hunting Sisters (n) - Women who have dated the same man. The female version of 'Eskimo Brothers'.
I know that many people believe women can't be friends if they have dated the same person. but it is possible, and I have a few good friends who I met first as hunting sisters. Many times history, jealously, pride, and or self esteem get in the way of women befriending someone with a common ex. But if the occasion presents itself when both parties are no longer dating the guy, a friendship has a chance to ignite. 

If the women have enough confidence and possess easygoing attitudes they can get past the awkwardness of having dated the same man. It may seem bizarre, but you would be surprised how much you may have in common with hunting sisters. 
Why Women Should Befriend Hunting Sisters
1. Friendship. Dating the same guy can mean that two women share more in common than just mate selection. as guys get older, they tend to date a certain type. Therefore, exes of a guy may not be so different when it comes to personality traits, hobbies, career, and etc. Hunting sisters can quickly turn into new friends if enough similarities are obvious or discovered!

2. Insight. If hunting sisters are comfortable and close, the truth about the common ex will surface. The truth may not always be pretty but it can shed light on aspects about the man and his history. Sometimes the information will allow a woman to be certain that breaking up was a VERY wise decision :)

3. Intimidation. Nothing is scarier to guys then knowing that their exes are friends. They may act confident around individual exes but seeing them together makes them fear they are talking about EVERYTHING :) oh btw they are right!

4. Respect. Not all hunting sisters can be friends. Sometimes there are irreconcilable issues. But being civil will create respect for one another. 

5. Empowering. Women don't gain from creating enemies left and right with each other. We would rule the world if we could make friends with any woman, especially with hunting sisters. Being able to get past insecurities and jealously is a test of a good character. And other people will admire women who can see beyond differences/suspicions. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

30 Things to do before THIRTY

For many twenty year olds, we border between adolescence and adulthood. The twenties are perfect for making mistakes, forging a path, and having fun! Analyzing the statistics from the the last century, it is clear we have stalled 'adulthood' by a few years.
Statistics from the US Census Bureau show that in 2010 the average marrying age for men was 28.2 and women 26.1. Compared to 1910, (men 25 years, women 21 years), and in 1960 (men 22 years, women 20 years). Every progressing decade after the 1970s, (men 23 years, women 21 years), added about one year to both gender's marriage age.
Median age of motherhood has also risen over the decades! In 1970 the average age of a mother was 21.4 years old compared to 25.0 years old in 2006! (Mathews, Hamilton)
So, for most twenty year olds we have a majority of the decade to be young and free! This post is dedicated to all young adults who take advantage of the twenties and delay adulthood!

Check off list for your Twenties!!!
1. Go to College and Graduate School
2. Take vacations with Friends
3. Live in a crappy apartment (thrift store furniture and dishes)
4. Fall in Love a few times
5. Travel abroad (college, with friends, with significant other, alone for more LIFE points!!)
6. Adopt an animal or a 'needy' friend :)
7. Work at a Vacation destination ('lifty', cocktail waitress, surf instructor)
8. Date a few people at the same time
9. Change careers
10. Go on bad dates
11. Backpacking trip with bf/gf
12. Realize your parents weren't so crazy after all
13. Start lying about your age
14. Beerfests, wine tasting in Napa Valley, and Octoberfest!
15. College friend reunions
16. Run a maraton and get a gym membership
17. Buy cooking books and watch the Cooking Channel
18. Break hearts and experience a broken heart
19. Live out of a suitcase for a few months
20. 'Live pay check to pay check', balance checkbooks, incur overdraft fees, and file your own taxes 
21. Buy cheap food and cheaper alcohol
22. Move to a new place at the drop of a hat
23. Almost get arrested, kicked out of bars, and talk your way out of speeding tickets
24. Get homesick for family 
25. Live in an apartment with best friends
26. Throw house warming parties
27. Take up a few new sports (rock climbing, mountain biking, tennis, swimming)
28. Turn weekends into small vacations
29. Take a lot of incriminating photos from nights out with friends
30. Decide to continue some of the above list in your thirties :)

*'Delayed Childbearing' - Mathews and Hamilton (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db21.pdf) and www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/marriage*

Thursday, July 5, 2012

9 things not to do on a Trip

This is a compilation of things that have gone wrong on trips throughout the years. And yes they are all real stories :)
1. At border control don't get overly nervous and elaborate on unnecessary details about your birth place. My actions tipped off the border control officer and I was ushered to a private room for further interrogation.

2. If you are staying at an expensive hotel, (Ritz in New York), don't say you have two kids when there are four. At cheaper hotels it doesn't matter to squeeze in a few extra kids, but swanky hotels have impeccable service and that is a recipe for disaster. When a bell boy knocked on our door to deliver our suitcases, two kids were elected to hide. And if you don't follow part A of number 2 don't under any circumstance pick hiding in the coat closet! We hadn't anticipated on a fancy bell boy hanging coats in the closet. We gave him a large tip, and he never told the Hotel.

3. Don't go to a Restaurant where the menus have no prices and the waiter brings food without you ordering it specifically. At a restaurant in Sicily, we paid over 100 euros for regular spaghetti and strange appetizers.

4. Don't allow yourself to believe that transportation is free in Europe. The people of Rome only click off tickets when a transportation cop goes on the bus. So, we didn't see anyone using tickets all trip until it was too late. A cop came aboard on a bus and everyone wildly clicked their tickets in the machines. We were kicked off the bus and my mom explained our confusion to the cop, but he still slapped us a 50 euro ticket.

5. Be careful if you want to buy fake name brands in big cities. If you find yourself in a basement and with 5 people watching you browse through merchandise, you better buy something. Nothing is scarier than an unhappy seller of illegal wares. And be sure to not venture at this alone!

6. Make sure when you are in Europe you have both pieces of the electrical converter attached to your device The surge caused the breaker to flip, and our power went out. The owner promptly came over to see what the Americans had done. If you fail at part A make sure someone is good with part B and get rid of the evidence. My dad threw the fried blow drier in a dumpster outside before the owner arrived. Our quick thinking saved us when he looked through all the apartment trashes.

7. Some places in Italy serve ice cream to the kids, and it isn't for free! We thought the ice cream came with the meal when the restaurant served our family it. We later discovered their ploy when we were also served it on our bill.
8. Don't attempt a long hike unless you've packed enough water. When we (kids) were a lot younger, my parents didn't think we needed more than one bottle of water for seven people. Our hike, in Hawaii, quickly turned into a mini survivor march with the hot sun beating down on us and my mom portioning out the water ration.

9. Don't drive late at night when you are tired. My dad was driving in Scotland and pulled out of the gas station onto the right side of the road. He was too tired to notice that he was driving on the wrong side of the road. As we were rounding a corner we nearly had a head on collision, but instead clipped each other's side view mirrors. Oh and part B is always get renter's insurance. We escaped unscathed, but later paid the price in the form of an expensive bill. 

If you have a dad who isn't good with directions, a mom who is constantly paranoid about everything, and strange things happen to you on every trip. Then you might be the Griswolds! So, just be prepared that things will happen and all you can do is laugh about it later :)


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My favorite places in England

Next time I go back to England I'll be sure to revisit these wonderful cities/towns. I couldn't have anticipated which places I would fall desperately in love. For many of my favorite places, I wished I could have spent weeks exploring everything it has to offer. 

1. Bath
Amazingly, this entire city is honored with being named a World Heritage Site. Which is remarkable because most Heritage Sites are historical monuments such as the Pyramids and Stonehenge. Upon arriving, I quickly understood why this city has been bestowed with such a prestigious title. The looming Georgian stone architecture draws from ingenious Roman design to create an awe-inspiring atmosphere. The city is nestled in a slopping valley with houses dotted across the hillside. The Roman Baths had once been a place of healing and worship in the Roman times, and then again restored in the Georgian times for the aristocracy. The city is the most eye appealing in England. Streets are clean, people are friendly, and it feels like one steps into a Jane Austen book.
                                                                                          The Royal Crescent
Must see sites:
The Royal Crescent, The Circus, Roman Baths, expansive parks, and shopping.  

2. York
The city has always been an important stronghold since Roman times. It has been the location of many important historical events such as: when Constantine declared himself Emperor in 306 AD, once the prosperous viking city of Jorvick, Battle of Stamford Bridge (the last viking attack on England) in 1066, site of The Peasants' Revolt in 1396,  and in 1644 (Civil War) was besieged by the Parliamentarians. The city is a collection of pieces of time over the last two thousand years. Its history is exceptional because it has been the first defense against 'barbarians' from the North and the Seas. Some of my favorite features were the original cobble stone streets and towering medieval walls which stand upon original Roman foundations (almost completely encircle the city). York Minster is one of the largest Gothic Medieval Cathedrals in all of Europe. The city hosts many famous museums that are world acclaimed such as Jorvick Viking Center. The streets meander and weave you back into the Medieval period. The city is also famous for its many ghost stories. There are as many as eight ghost tours that operate daily from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm. We partook in a ghost tour by a man dressed in a Victorian physician outfit, and some of the stories were very chilling.
                                                                                          Medieval Wall
Must see sites:
York Minster, Jorvick Viking Center, Medieval Walls, The Shambles (medieval butcher street), and Ghost tour.

3. Cotswolds
The many villages that make up the Cotswolds are a trip in themselves. The famous stone architecture was constructed by the wool merchants in the 1400s, 1500s, and 1600s. They create a picturesque vision and induce a feeling of stepping into a fairy tale land or specifically into SnowWhite :). The villages are surrounded by even more gorgeous pastures of sheep grazing in hedge lined plots. The villages have been the backdrop to many motion picture films such as War Horse. Cotswolds also offers many great shops and opportunities for antique shopping.
                                                                     Castle Combe
Must see villages:
Bourton on the Water, Bibury, Castle Combe, Burford, Upper and Lower Slaughter, and Stow on the Wold

4. Rye
Rye was once an important port city in the Middle Ages. It became an important city for ship building during the Medieval times and boasts helping build the Armada fleet for Queen Elizabeth. The river silted up and so the town is no longer located at the Sea. It has cobble stone streets, jutting buildings, meandering street, and many antique shops. Johnny Depp used to own a house on the famous Mermaid Street, called 'the house opposite'.
                                                                                           Mermaid Street
Must see sites:
Mermaid Street, Mermaid Inn, St. Mary's Church, Antique shops

5. Cambridge
Established by students from Oxford in 1209. Ever since its beginning it has been a world leading university. The head of Cromwell is buried in the grounds of Queens College and is only known by two people in the world (England) at one time. The University is known for its famous bridges and architecture. Cambridge is one of the only punting cities, besides Venice, in the world. Our family had a punting tour of Cambridge which gave an exclusive look at the magnificent University.

Must see sites:
St. Johns college, Trinity college, Kings College, Queens College, and Punting on the River.

*all pictures taken by my Dad

Think Left

My England trip was not a leisure holiday. It was a mission to see and experience all the historical sites in as much time as humanly possible. Our most trusted guide was the British GPS we named Tammy, the female version of TomTom. We changed the accent of Tammy a few times on the trip. For awhile she was an Irish woman, Australian male, and most of the trip a British woman. Without Tammy our British adventure would have been circling roundabouts. My dad, being a typical guy, was always challenging Tammy. If Tammy didn't bring our car to the exact desired spot, my dad would announce himself the true navigator. However, Tammy would get us to the destination, just on the wrong side of the building or something. A few times when we had trouble getting Tammy to work, an acute panic fell upon our flock. 

Our expensive maps, we bought in America, couldn't help our right minded brains when we experienced meandering roads and strings of roundabouts. I've never been in so many near accidents in my entire life. My dad would not always time merging into the roundabouts correctly and would either cut people off or barely squeeze in. On top of it all he hadn't driven a manual in years. 

Driving in the villages and towns was even worse! Cars parked on both sides of the streets which reduced the street to a single lane, forcing both sides to drive down the middle. And most of the time we were forced to play a dangerous game of leap frog. Cars would dart in and out of gaps where cars weren't parked, and alternately allowing traffic to either go or stop. Driving around corners meant driving through a bottleneck and hoping the oncoming cars weren't going to play Chicken. 

Parking was made easier by finding parking structures. We didn't dare rent a car when we were in London and utilized the subway (Tube) and buses instead. 

On our last day in England, we almost succeeded in truly becoming a Griswold Family. We had spent the day exploring Cambridge and decided to drive to the small town of Saffron Walden to eat dinner. We were still unsure of which street lines meant park or don't park. But we drove up a side street and parked behind a line of British cars all parked on white zig zag lines. So, we were certain we could trust local Brits to park in the appropriate spots. Oh we were so wrong! After we finished the best Italian food we had all trip, we walked back to our awaiting fate. 

                                                              Saffron Walden
My dad was the first to spot a cop next to our parked car. Right away the police officer came off as indifferent and irritated towards us. He announced, by pointing at the white zig zag lines, that we had parked in an illegal zone. My mom was on the verge of tears as she explained that we parked behind other cars in this same street. But to my mom's horror, all the cars had magically disappeared between the time we left for dinner and the time we came back. The officer didn't seem surprised by our explanation and said that Brits are known to park illegally all the time. 

My mom pleaded and we (kids) tried looking as pathetic as possible. He informed us that a tow truck was on its way. My mom did not give up, she presented her case with perseverance. She invoked our 'foreigness', confusion, and desperate situation of leaving tomorrow morning. Whatever she said struck a cord with the officer. He promptly got on his radio and cancelled the tow truck simply stating 'American family showed up'. 

We thanked him profusely and ended our trip free of a horrible disaster! 


*pictures from Yahoo images

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Queen Putting Kate in her Place

Even though the English royals don't have any real power, the rules of etiquette are the last powers they grasp to. In a new surprising move, the Queen has formally changed the Order of Precedence to accommodate the princes marrying 'commoners'. 

Telegraph.co.uk announced the changes made by the Queen. Princesses by marriage must curtsy to other princesses by blood when they aren't accompanied by their husband. Rumors say that it was spurned by Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie being snubbed by Kate. 

It's an interesting move for the Queen to make. With all the popularity that Kate is getting, one may wonder if the Royals are getting a wee bit jealous. The Queen wants the encompassing royal family to know their rightful place. And those who were lucky enough to be joined by marriage must show reverence to those who were born into it. 

The rule of succession has been changed to make the first born, regardless of gender, the heir to the throne. But the Queen draws the line to 'commoners' stepping over their boundaries.  

I'm not British, but if I were, this makes it clear that the Royals still see themselves as superior to 'commoners'. 

What do you think? Do you think it's an attack on Kate?

Monday, July 2, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...

It's only two days until 4th of July and in my own unique act of patriotism I made this comparison of different economic systems described by the famous quote 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade'. 

When Life Gives you Lemons.....explained by different economic systems. 

Anarchy.....only a select few get 99% of the Lemonade

Capitalism.....you make a profit on the Lemonade

Socialism.....select few tell everyone how much Lemonade they get

Caste System....only some people have the born right to drink the Lemonade

Imperialism....Lemons were taken from other countries to make Lemonade

Happy Early 4th of July all ye fellow Americans !!!