Category Archives: Food and Drink

My Christmas Miracle – Snowy Misadventures Part 2

Saturday I experienced a true Christmas miracle at the Subway on ‘the Corner.’  One of my roomies and I were having a severe case of the stomach growlies on Saturday. Whenever there are rumors of a big storm abrewin’, most older people dash to the supermarkets and stock up on bread, milk, and canned goods. Me, not so much. I laughed in the face of this storm. I figured people were just getting their panties in a twist because it was the first snow of the year and that we’d really end up with an inch or two. Yeah, not so much. 2 feet of snow and no ploughs in site made me and roomie’s dreams of meat bliss in our stomach out of reach. But, with some encouragement from him, I snow suited up in my holey purple rain boots and went out in the storm.

We waded through thigh-high snow across the main lawn and deserted unplowed streets in search for an open store. It looked like the end of the world out there: small clumps of people searching for food and shelter littered the streets and abandoned cars covered the sides of the streets. But, bless the stars, nestled in a small side street was an open subway, manned by a single undergraduate student. Tears well in my eyes when I think of what he sacrificed to get me that meal. I hadn’t eaten in so long, and that sandwich with its array of meat and cheeses meant so much. I will be indebted to him for life. That foot long meat missile fueled my body through the snowed in weekend.

My misadventure of Sunday involved my futile efforts trying to unbury my car with a broken broom. My main goal of the day was to make it look like there was a car there.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B: See my car burried in the far left?

Exhibit C: You can see how much it snowed!

I learned that shoveling snow is a great way to meet people.  I talked to 2 cute guys and ended up spending the day drinking Beck’s, eating juicy steak (fully satiating my meat cravings), with a guy who lives near where I park my car. After a little eyelash batting he even shoveled it mostly out for me. Of course, since the roads are still crappy I couldn’t get it out to drive home yesterday like I wanted, but, it’s better. Even though he’s an undergrad and we don’t have much in common (besides a love of bread and beer and all things yeasty), we both helped cure each other of some cabin fever.

I’m back in Charleston now. My father picked me up and we left my poor little Volkswagon behind. Hopefully there are no more big snows like that this year. Snow trumps us all.


Thanksgiving Potpourri

My Thanksgiving was a dinner with me and my parents – tricycle style. It’s kind of poopy in the sense that I feel like the point of Thanksgiving is reuniting with a large hodgepodge of relatives over elaborate spreads of food stuff. Ours was a simple dinner, turkey and a couple sides. Good stuff, but the excitement was lacking.

I find myself wondering how many turkeys die for Thanksgiving meals. I actually think turkeys are really cool animals. I can’t wait to quit eating much meat again once I leave home. I don’t know what’s changed recently, but I think about animals a lot more than I used to. And science isn’t a good profession for that….

I find that I don’t understand normal families. I don’t understand a family that spends time together outside of the day to day run-ins associated with living in the same household. When people cancel on me for family stuff, I try to understand, but I don’t actually understand. I spend most of my days here trying to find something to do that will bring me away from it. Maybe one day I’ll get it.

Reading is cool. Right now I am embarking on a book journey that I think will really make me think about my love life. The main character and I are both just hopeless. The first chapter or so mentioned that in this world there are two kinds of people – the dumper and the dumpee. Both me and the main character are dumpee, hopeless optimist, heart on our sleeve types. I can’t wait to see how he turns out and hopefully figure out some stuff in the process. The previous book I read by this author (john green, Looking for Alaska), really made me think about searching for meaning in death and moving on. This author writes really funny stuff that also takes the reader on a path to discover something about the world and themselves. It’s great stuff. I’m sure I’ll post more once I’ve read more than 20 pages. I’m just excited!

Friends are cool too. I love that I have friends I’ve known since elementary school. My homie A and I just celebrated our 11th friendship anniversary (yes, we are cool and keep track of such things)! That’s half of our lives. I love having people who have known me so long, seen me develop into the Karen I am today, and who I still rely on for guidance and fun (and lots of it!). I’m glad Christmas break is soon, because this was not enough time with them.



Giving Up Caffeine is My Own Personal Azkaban

Yesterday marked day 2 in my cold turkey attempt to vanquish caffeine from my life. Every day, another thing that has become convention in America that also makes us fat has started to bother me. Caffeine is my current target. I never used to drink the stuff. Back in 7th grade, I was pretty overweight. Fortunately, I have a lot of will power when I want to, and pretty readily lost a lot of weight over a Summer. Shame motivated me. I remember the pediatrician saying that I was fat and needed to lose weight. I knew I wasn’t thin, but hearing it come from a doctor just sparked a change in me. I’m sure doctors wished it was like that for everyone. All I really had to do was stop eating the large portions the rest of my family was, do some tae-bo every day(yes, that shit works), and eliminate soda completely. I lived solely on water. And for 8 years I was happy with that.

Until last year when I started studying late at night. Everyone started drinking soda and coffee and I followed suit. Caffeine is a tricky beast for Karen. I am highly sensitive to it. That, and the fact that I didn’t drink the stuff for 8+ years meant that a single cup of coffee was like Karen on speed. Either that or happy pills. In fact, after Brian and I broke up last year I started drinking more coffee. It made me more excited about life. It made me not care about the things that were wrong. It made me a social butterfly who could talk your ear off. It made me get over my insecurities. It was basically awesome. Make that awesome SQUARED.

But on the flip side, it makes my brain work so fast sometimes that I can’t really focus on anything. Take last week for example when I was so strung out I couldn’t make 62 cents change to buy some peach rings. It also makes me quite obnoxious. Without it, I’m foggy and blah. I don’t want to be dependent on something like that.

So I tried to go cold turkey, I really did. But today, 48 hours later, I just couldn’t take it anymore. There was free coffee in the lobby and I took my girly frog mug and made a half decaf half caf concotion to at least cut back a bit. 15 minutes later I was having hot flashes, sipping coffee through the stirrer like a weirdo, and saying obnoxious things. It was seriously like drugs. And I basically embarassed myself in front of a semi cute boy by being a total nerd. Yeah, I like to think I’m a cute nerd, but you can’t show your nerdy side TOO early.

I’m pretty distraught over it. But, maybe it’ll give me added motivation these coming days. I think cold turkey is the key. JUST SAY NO JUST SAY NO!

Consumerism Doesn’t Taste So Bad…

starbucks-psl-thumbAbout a month ago, my Twitter feed was ABUZZ with joy of PSL’s (pumpkin soy latte’s) being back at Starbucks for Fall. Ever since, I’ve been cautiously curious about the hype. So yesterday, during a bout of siesta period induced yawning, I decided to trek over to Starbucks and check out the situation.

Honestly, I don’t drink coffee for the experience. I drink it because there are moments when zombie Karen makes her debut and I NEED coffee. Yes, I add some milk and sugar to take off the edge, but I usually just hit up the nearest pot or vat of coffee around me. Starbucks was a different experience from the fluorescent Engineering Cyber Cafe at Penn. There was low ambient lighting, wood paneling, homey stuff on the walls, and a neat stack of New York Times in the corner. I could imagine myself sitting at one of those small cozy tables with a coffee and vanilla scone getting a dose of Will Shortz crossword love with a kindred spirit.

I loved how even though my drink wasn’t complicated. The set of instructions communicated in the Starbucks code made my drink seem all the more exciting.

I loved waiting for my drink to be made, building up the anticipation.

I especially loved how my name was written on my cup in red curly girly script. ‘Karen.’ This is my coffee, made with love especially for me.

I always avoided Starbucks, because when you don’t really care about coffee, why would you pay more for it? But yesterday I entered a world where getting coffee was an EXPERIENCE, not just a beverage. Unfortunately, I liked it. I really liked it.


It started off like it always does. It was a social thing. I would be curled up on the couch watching gossip girl with my sorority sisters and one of them would ask if we wanted some. I didn’t want to feel left out. I craved the acceptance of the pack. I succumbed to this drug, thinking I was in control. One time wouldn’t hurt? After a couple times I promised myself that it was a social thing, nothing more. I could quit whenever I wanted to.

But pretty soon I was crawling upstairs to my friend’s room begging her to to join me in my shame. It got to the point that I had to have it every time I came home in the afternoon just to get through my day. Life seemed slow without it. The drug made my life more exciting.

I experimented with other forms…seeing how it changed my high. I turned to stronger and stronger concentrations…even stooping so low as to engage alone.

I’ve become what I never wanted to become. I need it to get through my day. My life – my mind – is slow without you, my precious.

I’ve tried turning to your less concentrated cold fizzy brethen, but they do not pack the same punch. Will I ever be free from your clutches?

I want my life back.

Damn you coffee….Damn you.



When Life Gives You Lemonade Flavored Beer….

This past weekend was my older brother's wedding. I traveled with my friend Billy (or Ben, or my 'boyfriend', whatever!) and my immediate family up to Dayton, Ohio to witness and celebrate the event. During the weekend I also lost my bridesmaid-inity and IKEA-inity, both of which are pretty exciting.

I can safely say after the wedding that I feel no where near ready to get married, myself. That was one freaky thing about witnessing my brother get married – he's only 4 years older than me. I couldn't help but imagine myself in this position in 4 years time. But perhaps until you REALLY fall in love with someone it is impossible to imagine yourself in this situation? That is one hypothesis. The other hypothesis is that I greatly enjoy so many freedoms that come with being single. For one, I want to live on my own as long as I can get away with it. I also greatly enjoy having a bed to myself to roll and kick around in at will.  But if we are getting technical this belief is probably just a coping mechanism and a product of the fact I haven't been in any 'good' relationships. Wow, being smart and over-analytical sure is fun…. And I guess, four years is still a longish time. Although, I won't even be done with next degree by then. 

I also imagined what I'd want my own wedding to be like, should the day come. And at this moment I'm not feeling traditional at all. A big part of me imagines I would like to just get married on my honeymoon and spend the wedding money on a really great trip (Also, I could really use a getaway right now…). Afterwards, maybe I'd have a shin dig where everyone gets drunk off cheap champagne (re: Andre) and dances to radio gems like the Ying Yang Twins, Kanye West, and Britney Spears (playing off an iTunes playlist, of course). 
Speaking of lady alcohol, what else can you do after a wedding but drink into oblivion (yes, oblivion is an exaggeration)? You can't really get through one without some kind of emotional anomaly. So after the reception, Billy/Ben and I pulled up the nearest Walmart (conveniently across the street from the hotel) and bought a very adventurous six-pack of Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. It's a lemonade flavored beer, not lemon, lemonade! It was surprisingly refreshing. It tasted like all the good things about summer swirling around in my mouth simultaneously. I think I will look forward to it every year (like Sam Adams Oktoberfest). I recommend you check it out before the season ends. Life is too short to drink bad beer (Re: Milwaukee's Best, PBR, Natty…….). 

Feb Club Days 4-8 Video Update!