34: Everything I Feel About This Season of The Bachelor Can Be Summed Up With...

"Oh, honey. No, honey."

Also, I want that lipstick. Thank you, Sharleen, for being our Canadian representative. 


33. Nevena Takes Off!

Rebecca Harrington's experience on Elizabeth Taylor's diet convinced me that Liz's weight-loss book, Elizabeth Takes Off, would be instrumental in my healthy-eating January resolutions. Particularly, her enjoyment of one of Liz's oft repeated lunches:

"Sheer hunger drives me to combine cottage cheese and sour cream and pour it over fruit, as Liz recommends. (Previously I left out the sour cream.) It resembles curdled milk, and tastes similar. Absolutely repugnant. Never try it." 

That combined with the discovery that my local library had it in large print, my favourite type of print that I had only previously enjoyed with Agatha Christie novels, cemented my decision that Elizabeth Takes Off would be my first book of 2014.

Though the combination of my word-a-day calender and Lizspiration makes it seem as though my New Year's Resolutions are as reputable as a kangaroo court, I have never found such delight in such simple, manageable changes. If Liz can do it, I can do it. We are equals!*

As Liz says, humour = good. 

Elizabth Takes Off is available on alibris.com for $1.21. Shipping to Canada is $14.

If you can get past her amazing talent at humble-bragging and the ridiculousness of some of her suggestions, I truly believe that this book will do you good. Embrace those larger-than-life delusions**. 

The success of this book is in Liz's name-dropping, gossip mongering and the encouragement she gives to her readers. Though in different economic positions she has her readers, or at least this reader, believing that they are just like Liz. Not that Elizabeth Taylor is a "normal person," but that we are glamourous and practically there with Liz in a Health Spa by following her dietetic tricks and tips.

Unlike Harrington, I will never follow Elizabeth Taylor's meal plan. Mostly, because I already kind of am. I had peanut butter on my burger for dinner tonight. I have friends and family members who laugh/are repulsed by my meal combinations. I already throw things in lettuce and call them sandwiches (except now I will call them "Taylor Sandwiches"). I am the person who brings dairy and grain free muffins to work and get told they taste like "hay." These aren't changes for me.

But there are a few things that I am introducing into my new healthy lifestyle.

Things I have learned from my friend, Liz. 

1. Poor people can use her meal plan as well. For her lobster dinner you can even substitute canned tuna! Instead of squab, barbeque a chicken or a pigeon or something, you vagrant!

2. Melon! No papaya for your breakfast? Use melon! No passionfruit for your second day's breakfast? Use melon! Melon makes poor people feel fabulous!

3. Potato Skins can be a healthy side...when you take the name literally and make yourself baked skin of potato. Mmmmm. Waste the entire delicious insides of two pounds of potatoes in two weeks!

4. When someone says "children are starving in China" go the route of Lauren Bacall's kid. Ask them to name two. Don't feel pressured to clean your plate, instead make a donation to a fund for starving children (I'm not sure what the poor people's substitution is for this, but I still do like that she said it).

5. "It's important to remember how easily fatties are hurt and to remember to be supportive rather than destructive." There is actually a lot of sound advice that is worded very poorly in this book. To go with this, Liz also reminds you to not to pretend you have medical conditions, and actually go to a doctor.

6. Mix sour cream with mustard and mayo. Voila dip! Also works with sour cream and seemingly every other low fat condiment in your fridge: ketchup, cottage cheese, lumpfish roe...

7. Your meals might be small and sad, but put them on lace doilies and decorate your table with flowers in jam jars. This is more so the part that is feeding into my delusion and having me believe that I am doing exactly what Liz did to get her life back on track!

8. When in doubt, exclamation marks!

Naturally the book ends with some summarizing and generic motherly guilt-tripping: Michael's kids don't visit enough, but thankfully Christopher's do. Because not only could Elizabeth Taylor go from 180 pounds to a 22 inch waist in her fifties, but she could segue into new topics with ease and self-congratulations.
This cake is not on the two-week health plan.
Elizabeth Takes Off is glorious. I haven't been so bewildered and invested in a weird memoir since Priscilla Presley's Elvis and Me. All at once I want to be both everything and nothing*** that Elizabeth Taylor was and take the world by storm. I feel the energy from a thousand malted milk protein shakes propelling me into all of the world's successes.

And if you catch me rocking back in forth while standing in one place, that isn't a mental breakdown, that's an Elizabeth Taylor "leg shaper" work-out. Eat your heart out, world.

*We will never be equals.
** They are delusions for us, for Liz, that's just her life. 
*** She really had no qualms about stating that she only really loved Mike Todd and Richard Burton. Even though those marriages seem to have been the scariest, she makes them sound as velvety and satisfying as an asparagus cream sauce made with low-fat sour cream and bouillon cubes that can be used over any protein, such as fish (fresh bluefin tuna flown in from the northern coast of Australia!) or chicken (cornish game hen!)!


32: Look At Me I'm Sandra Lee...

..lousy with sobriety.

By the time that I post this I will be on day sixth of Sober Month and though I am surrounded by alcohol at work, the only time I miss drinking is when watching my stories. How have I never noticed that everyone is drinking all the time? Perhaps because previously I was drinking with them.

Photo By Food Network

Last night,  while jonsing for my post-badminton glass of red wine I became convinced that I actually had a problem. That people were worried about me. That I must be the Sandra Lee of my social group.

I was sitting on my couch watching The Good Wife: Alicia Florrick in her kitchen and on my screen and I instantly thought: "whatever, you know Florrick/Agos ain't gonna last; y'all working out of an abandoned methhouse and Carrie Bradshaw hit that first!" All because of jealously. All because I wanted what that amazing multi-faceted, glamorously dressed, well-paid fictional character had: a glass of wine. A really big one.

That's the thing they don't tell you when you decide to do a Whole 30 (or at least as close to a Whole 30 as you're really gonna do at this point in time) : there might be coconut milk for your coffee, and coconut sugar for your coffee and coconut flour/flakes/chips/oil/water/whole coconuts for the other things you need, but there is no coconut equivalent of red wine or friendship.

Yeah, you will sleep better, feel better, have less weird digestive issues and cry less, but there will be a void in your soul. You'll feel like no one understands. You'll feel like no one has felt this pain before. You'll wonder if cavemen were really healthier than Ancient Romans or Chicagoan lawyers. And you'll look for a friend. Someone to say "it's okay, brah, I know how you do."

Someone to say, "yeah, that's what two shots looks like..." For body, health, mind and spiritual growth, there's the paleo lifestyle. For everything else, there's Sandra Lee.


31: Carrie Bradshaw and Carrie Bradshaw

Carrie Bradshaw. In the wake of my New Year's Resolutioning and the continuing horror of my Word-A-Day calendar (it's trying to teach me the words 'phlegm' and 'gambol.' I'm a week of one and two syllable words away from setting that bitch on fire), I have been thinking a lot about Carrie Bradshaw.

I was (FINALLY) linked to the Emily Nussbaum article, "Difficult Women" and got really into her discussion of Carrie as an anti-hero, because everyone who has re-watched the show at least once knows that Carrie is the worst person in the world*.

The first watch-through you see the world through Manolo Blahnik coloured glasses: everything is beautiful and nothing hurts; crop tops work with tutus OR overalls and you can wear them in the coldest seasons because cabs are a third of the price that they are in Canada.  The horrible relationships are fun and cutesy, because they come peppered with puns and euphemistic nicknames.

When in actuality, she is just the friend who lets this happen. In so many less obvious, metaphorical ways and then in this exact way, where you're naked, immobile on the floor and she sends her boyfriend to help you. Because in her mind, what's the difference? And she'll cheat on that boyfriend/fiance, and she'll let a Russian hottie fall down the stairs and break her face open and she'll do countless other crappy things, but those things mean less, because those people mean less.  

Now, I have always fallen hard for awesome female friendships in television shows. It's the only thing that explains my deep Grey's Anatomy adoration. And to add to that,  I am a total fig newton. So the only way I would like Sex and the City more is if it was called Friendship and the City, but that's not as sexy an HBO title and really sounds more like what Whitney Port's MTV show should have been called.

It's the friend betrayal in Sex and the City that stings the most. How could you do that to someone who trusts you so completely, shows you herself at her lowest, and is vulnerable enough to call you and confess when she's eating chocolate cake out of a garbage can?

"Your good friend has just taken a piece of cake out of the garbage and eaten it. You will probably need this information when you check me into the Betty Crocker Clinic." 
- Miranda 4.04 What's Sex Got To Do With It

And so I have fallen in love with The Carrie Diaries. It's all the whimsy and fun fashion choices without the heft and righteous indignation. Friendship... and screencapping outfits!**

Angry Carrie! and look overalls! Always a good choice.

She's wearing a rainbow slightly off shoulder tee with floral overalls and pastel blue nailpolish in a scene where she is suffering from food poisoning and yelling to her ex-boyfriend about her broken heart.  Because why not? It's not that serious. Of course, it's the most serious thing in the world, because it's Carrie Bradshaw's love life and she's a classic narcissist, but it's also not.

The Carrie Diaries embraces all the parts about Carrie that you saw in that first viewing. She's open and assertive enough to get the things she wants, but she's still calling Gossip columnists to retract the hurtful rumours she started. She goes after the things and people she loves and for the first time she is actually totally into a guy who MAKES HER A BETTER PERSON! She's Kelly Ripa and June Colburn and every optimistic person you can't help but love and wish you could be more like. She's a tiny spitfire with electric curls.  She likes her friends and she likes her 'enemies' and she... just likes everyone and is super swell to them all! Her bratty little sister has sex in her bed and it turns into a bonding moment.

The Carrie Diaries is not trying to be game changing television or equal to its prequel/sequel/whatever Sex and the City's relation is to it. It's the marshmallowy soft parts. It isn't canon, but it's using Sex and the City plot points wherever it's fun to do so. I don't care that Carrie Diaries Carrie didn't lose her virginity to Seth Bateman on a ping-pong table in a rec room like Sex and the City Carrie and yet I care a whole hella lot that she lost her virginity to Adam Weaver on a foosball table in a rec room. It's just enough to cement her as Carrie, no matter if it's Purse Carrie or Necklace Carrie.

2014 Nevena wants to have that carefree Carrie Bradshaw spirit.  So, I bought a pair of overalls and I'm gonna forgive that little sucker for today's "catchpole". I guess I have been using it in the wrong context.  

*slight hyperbole.
** it doesn't fit into the topic of discussion, so as not to detract from that I will put it in a double asterix afterthought. The true shining moment The Carrie Diaries is actually that there is a character called Donna LaDonna. Naturally she is Sam Jones' cousin and naturally she is fabulous. 


30: "The air smells of graupel and opportunity." - Using January 2nd's Word of the Day!

It is already the coldest day of the year, but I am still idealistic about my new year's resolutions. I could choose one gift to open early before Christmas (Orthodox, January 7, lightyears behind everyone else) and I chose my Word-A-Day calendar. I didn't want to get a week behind on becoming the person 2014 deserved me being.

Whitney Cummings. I've liked her hair ab initio.

Day One: I was watching the Comedy Central roast of Donald Trump and brainstorming ways in which I could use my first word: ab initio - from the beginning. To whoever called on the phone, "Whitney Cummings  killed it ab initio." Then later as I pictured myself a comedian on the dais, "Whitney Cummings has been sucking dick for fame ab initio. She has been gobbling cocks straight outta the womb!"

Alan's January 1st involved eating all 31 chocolates I had neglected in my 2013 advent calendar, but the plastic wrap and the cardboard openings were slowing him down. He only got through eleven. Maybe it's something about turning 25 and 30 that makes me conscious about dates and times.

This year we are going to be on top of things. Spending December in a frantic holiday retail working daze made me realize the importance of knowing which day of the week it is. I am gonna be accomplished this year, I am going to do things, be somebody, change the world and know whether to say "have a good weekend" or "have a good week." I ain't gonna mess shit up no more.


Tomorrow's word is "zillionaire," and I think I might boycott knowing my dictionary calendar has already anticipated my day one and two failures. At this rate day four is going to be "pony."

noun [countable]  /ˈpoʊni/   A pony is a small horse. (Equus ferus caballus).

Used in a sentence: "Nev wishes she had a pony."
Etymology: "Pony, originating from the Outsider's protagonist Ponyboy."
Fun fact: "Nev's parents would have gotten her a pony for Christmas if they were ZILLIONAIRES."

Suck it Merriam Webster, you don't know me. I could do this forever.