Category: Random Amusements


I’m so annoyed!!

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, but I’m annoyed and need to get it off my chest. 

I was on Facebook this morning and saw that my friend, Mike Shaldjian (aka lafinguy), posted a link to a podcast.  The podcast contained John Jay, a local morning show personality, calling Mike a cheater and then (I felt) he insulted the publication that’s promoting him.  

Arizona Foothills Magazine is running a “Best of Our Valley” Poll.  One of the categories is “Top Twitterer.”  I’m proud to say that I’ve been nominated.  To me that’s a huge honor.  I’m no where near the top of the poll and that’s okay.  There is; however, a neck and neck race between John Jay (@JohnjayVanEs) and Mike (@lafinguy). 

I thought it was really cool that Mike pulled ahead of John Jay.  Mike is an awesome guy, well networked and deserving of the title of “Top Twitterer.”  He uses Twitter for what’s it’s for and that’s social networking.  We meet on Twitter and he’s actively supported all the nonprofit agencies I’ve worked for through giving and donating of his time. 

Despite being nominated for two other categories and “crushing” the competition in those categories, John Jay uses his morning show to promote himself and bash Mike’s character. All because he’s not winning the “Top Twitterer” category in the poll.  Seriously!!

I use to listen to John Jay’s morning show.  I use to follow him on Twitter, but I stopped listening and stop following him because he annoyed me.  Both on the show and on Twitter, he would talk about himself ALL the time.  He did not interact with fans and he tweeted about nothing, so I stopped following him.  I think that was over a year ago.

I’m all about healthy competition, but I feel John Jay took it too far and it’s very disappointing.  Mike embodies what social networking is all about.  He’s networking!! Networking is not a one-way street.  That’s called self-promotion (something I feel John Jay does ALL the time).  It’s about interacting and Mike has that down and actually a lot of people on the “Top Twitterer” list have it down.  Way better than John Jay and even more deserving of the title of “Top Twitterer” than him.

 John Jay has over 22,000 followers, Mike has nearly 2,000.  And it goes to show, just because you have a lot followers, it doesn’t mean they’ll go to bat for you.

All in all, please vote for Mike (@lafinguy) in the AZ Foothills Magazine, “Best of Our Valley Top Twitterer” category.  He truly deserves the title.  You can vote everyday until November 30th.    If you feel so moved, you can also vote for me as well @ireneaugustin. (LOL! Throw me a freakin’ bone)

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Today I officially started clearing out my cubicle at Crisis Nursery.  The moment was bittersweet.  I’m excited for my new position at CASS, but I’m a bit sad to leave my work and awesome co-workers. Looking back, I had an awesome 3 3/4 years at Crisis Nursery.

Over the years, I’ve collected an array of items.  Honestly, I think my cubicle is the cleanest it’s ever been since I’ve started the job.  Scary thought, right?  

I’m not that bad.  I had a big job that required a lot of information and STUFF. While I had a lot of work stuff, I also accumulated a number of personal items.  After carting out a huge box of my personal possessions, I’ve decided that in my next job I will keep my personal possesions to a minimum. To give you a sense of the random things I’ve collected over the years, I offer you a few pictures of the things I found as I cleaned out my office space.

Picture #1:  Frog Mardi Gras Beads

 

Don’t worry! I didn’t show anything for these beads. I’m proud to say that I’ve actually been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and never had to show a thing for beads. 

Anyway, these particular beads I got five years ago at the St. Louis Mardi Gras celebration and I think I traded them for a set of beads I had.  I always liked these beads, so I probably brought them to work to remind me of the fun times partying it up in Da Lou.

Picture #2:  WWE Wrestler Finger Puppet

  

This is just one out of seven toys I’ve collected by purchasing McDonald’s Happy Meals for lunch (I bought it for the smaller portions, not the toys).  I think this character is Triple H.  Anyway, I had in my drawer two My Little Ponies, a Batman toy, Spiderman, Lego Man and an iCarly cell phone lip gloss.  Most of the toys were still unwrapped.

Picture #3:  Orange Fuzzy Dice 

I don’t remember how I got these, but I think they are pretty darn cool. I’m trying to figure out what to do with them.  I don’t want to hang them from my rearview mirror because it would be too distracting  when I drive.  If you have any thoughts, please let me know

Picture #4:  Tennis Racket Magnets 

A donor gave these to me for some reason.  I think she was clearing out her garage and thought I would like them.  I stuck them on my metal cabinet and that’s where they were for nearly two years.

I have many more items, but if I posted them all we would be here forever. Some I’ll take to my new office and some I will probably sell in a garage sale. If you see anything you like, please let me know. 

Good times!

I am so tired that it’s even hard for me to type, but I have to get my blog in for the day.  Maybe this weekend, I will get some sleep and feel rested enough to catch-up and write blogs that I can put more thought into.  So here’s another freebie for everyone.  This is a random night of nothingness.  I am going to post the My Top Ten List of Randomness.  These are in no particular order. And I apologize in advance for what I will produce in my slap-happy sleep-deprived state.

10.  Celebrities who cheat on their spouse or significant other making news headlines–Why are cheating celebs news-worthy? I don’t see why celebrities even get married.  They are just going cheat anyway and at this point, it should just be a given that they cheat.

9.  Celebrities who go to rehab after they cheat on their spouse or significant other–Honestly, there’s no therapy/cure for being a dumbass.  And just because you go to rehab, doesn’t mean I’m not going to think any less of you. Well, I really don’t care.  Save your money and just stay out of the limelight. Your spouse is going to take everything you own in the divorce settlement.

8.  Bald People–When I was younger, every Sunday (out of boredom) I would sit in church counting all the bald people.  I went to St. Gerard Magella in Kirkwood, MO and I would count, on average, 25 bald men sitting in front of me.

7.  Farts–Farting is pretty damn funny.  I always have to laugh.  I don’t get disgusted unless the fart is so bad it clears the room, but other than that farts are pretty freakin’ hilarious when someone else does it.

6.  Mullets–Party in the front, business in the back…that’s all I have to say about that. (I’m a poet and didn’t even know…HAHAHA!)

5.  Patti Stanger of Millionaire Matchmaker–She tells it like it is to multi-millionaires who are unlucky in love.  She’s blunt, yet funny and always cracks me up.

4. Ann Coulter–Crazy ass bia bia and I don’t understand why political news channels ask her to serve as a commentator.  Even though I think she’s an idiot, she makes me not only giggle, but laugh out loud at her stupid comments.

3.  Hamsters–They are so cute.  I had about ten of them after I graduated college.  Binky was one of my hamsters who jumped out of his cage and made it into the wall of the apartment I lived in when I was 22.  My landlord lived next door.  I heard scratching in the walls and the next day I had a notice on my door saying the exterminator was coming around.  Needless to say, I never heard scratching on the walls again. RIP Binky.

2. iCarly–I know I’m old, but I don’t mind watching iCarly on Nickelodeon.  What can I say?  It’s entertaining.

1.  Crime Shows–I am fessing up.  I have an addiction to crime shows like Law and Order and CSI.  I can watch hours of the Law and Order marathons on TNT and USA.  These shows have warped my mind.  Every time I see a garbage bag on the side of a highway, I think to myself “there’s probably a body in there.”

Yes, it’s very random, but please don’t hold any of this against me.  I’m tired!  And I’m going to bed.  Please come back tomorrow, I promise I will have a much better post.

My last trip out of town was less than a week and a half ago; however, I am so ready for another vacation.  My last day at Crisis Nursery is April 14th.  I’m taking a short break before I start my new job at CASS on April 19th.   Once I start CASS, I can’t take any vacation days until after my 90 day probationary period.  Wow!! How will I survive?

While I’m excited to start my new job, I am tirelessly working to wrap up any loose ends at Crisis Nursery.  I don’t know if 2 1/2 weeks is enough time to get it all done, but I’m doing my best to leave my position in good standing.   Even though I will have to put any vacation plans on hold, that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about my next adventure.

Ideally, I love vacations where I can just take my time and walk around to explore my surroundings.  I typically love cities where it’s easy and safe to get around by public transporation or on foot.  Recently, my boyfriend and I visited San Francisco and had an awesome time.  I know for our next trip we are looking into cities that we can take our time and enjoy exploring.  The following is a list of places we would love to visit next:

New Orleans

New Orleans

Portland
Portland
Austin
Austin
Seattle
Seattle
Denver

Denver

My boyfriend and I are always looking to add to our list, so help us out.  Please comment and give us more ideas.  I’m not sure where we will go next.  I think we might just have to put all our options in a hat and pick randomly. Hmmm???

 

What a day?? As I am wrapping up my last few weeks at Crisis Nursery, I find that I’m working a lot harder than I’ve ever had to before.  This day has been so mentally exhausting, that I can’t think of a thought-provoking topic to write about.  So in keeping with My 30 Day Challenge, I’m going to write about Monday Night RAW (it’s a great mind-numbing topic).  

As some of you know, I love the WWE.  I wrote about it in my last 3o Day Challenge.  (Check out my last wrestling post by clicking here.)  

This weekend, the Valley was invaded by wrestling fanatics from all over the globe.  They all descended upon Glendale last night for Wrestlemania 26.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend :(.  

But tonight, thanks to my friend, Deonne, I was able to attend Monday Night RAW tonight.  And honestly, I think I saw the best match-up ever.  Yes, last night the Undertaker took on the Heartbreak Kid and the Undertaker won his 18th straight Wrestlemania match.  I’ve never really been a Shawn Michaels fan and honestly, it wasn’t a really good match-up against the Undertaker.  So I don’t think I missed much.  But tonight, my three favorite wrestlers were all in the same ring.  Randy Orten, John Cena, Batista…oh yeah, and they were also joined by the All-American American, Jack Swagger (he was just an add-on; they needed someone to complete the foursome) in a tag team match-up.  Batista paired with Jack Swagger and Cena with Orten.  In the end Randy Orten pinned Jack Swagger and Orten/Cena won.  That match alone made my night, not to mention my WWE decade 🙂  

Here are some pictures from my tonight’s Monday Night RAW.   

US Airways for Monday Night RAW

US Airways for Monday Night RAW

  

Batista "The Animal"

Batista "The Animal"

  

Randy Orten posing after his win.

Randy Orten posing after his win.

  

Farewell to HBK

Farewell to HBK

  

This was my first WWE event and I’m very happy I got to go.  Hopefully next time I’ll be able to go to Wrestlemania.  We’ll see 🙂

Big House

Big House

Today, college football season kicks off.  What does that mean for me?  That means that every Saturday, my boyfriend will be glued to the tv.  It also means that I will be rooting for the University of Michigan.  I’ve never gone to that school or have even set foot in the state of Michigan. But it’s my boyfriend’s team and I support him, his interests and more importantly his team.  

Now I don’t characterize myself as one of those girls who loves everything my boyfriend loves.  We do have similar interests and have introduced each other to our hobbies.  He introduced me to bowling and I introduced him to hiking.  I tried to get him to watch the WWE and to try out salsa dancing, but he wasn’t interested in either one.  He has tried to turn me into an avid college football fan with little success. 

I can watch maybe one game, but really, I don’t have the attention span for it.  What I can basically do to support my boyfriend’s football addiction is to watch his favorite team.  And that’s about it.  One game a week is good enough for me.

Honestly, I don’t get the fascination with college football.  And from my understanding, it’s a guy thing.  Really! It’s not like their professional football players, but whatever.  

Both my undergrad and graduate colleges did not have football teams.  And that could be where my lack of understanding lies.  Creighton and SLU’s main sports were basketball, soccer and baseball.  Creighton and SLU’s soccer teams are actually huge rivals.  I had no idea what I was missing out on until I went to an ASU game.  It was really exciting and the school spirit was awesome.  You don’t get that same effect with soccer.

At the beginning of our relationship, he warned me about his  love of college football.  I didn’t understand what that meant until he blew me off to watch a game.  At the time, I was livid.  He apologized profusely and told me it won’t happen again.  That was nearly two years ago, and it hasn’t.  He now records all the games he wants to watch and DVR is probably what saved our relationship.   

So I say, bring on college football.  I’m ready.  And if worse comes to worse, my boyfriend can DVR it! :p

I’m mesmerized when I watch home design reality shows.  I love to watch HGTV and shows like Design Star, Divine Design or Design on a Dime.   I am amazed at the things decorators can do.  They make it look so easy, but to me, easy it is not.

I think the decorator gene skipped me.  Both my mom and sister can take an empty room and make it look like the room was made up by a professional designer.  My sister was able to turn my parent’s basement room into a cute little studio apartment.  She even worked with the small space to create an adorable nursery for my niece.  Take a look at what she did.

HPIM1009

Nursery 1

My niece's room

Nursery 2

My mom is a bit like Martha Stewart.  She can probably make something totally cool from straws, string and duck tape.  My mom is also a great bargain shopper decorator.  She can find clearance deals at home decor stores, put them together and somehow it all works.  Here are a few pictures of the potted faux plants she arranged. 

Floral Arrangement 1

Floral Arrangement 1

Floral Arrangement 2

Floral Arrangement 2

The pictures don’t do it justice, but time and time again I’ve had people ask me where I got them.  I would also go to stores and similar items would be listed $150 and up.  If my mom ever wanted to get out of nursing, she definitely would have a great second career. 

As for me, I have no such luck in interior design.  When I moved down to Maricopa, I decided to tackle decorating the bathroom.  I thought it was a great small project to start off with.  I discovered Ikea and after looking at the display room, I thought anyone could do it.  Boy was I wrong.  Let me have the pictures speak for itself.

Bathroom 1

Bathroom 1

Home 006

Bathroom 2

Yeah.  I can only imagine what you are thinking.  When my mom saw it she asked me, “What did you do to that room?”  I tried to explain that I thought the room needed some color and that I liked the color red.  The room is so red that when the sun sets and shines through the small window above the tub, it makes the room glow red.  I guess that’s not the right way to decorate.    I’m sure it’s a decorator’s nightmare.

Obviously, I have a lot to learn about home decorating.  I will continue to watch HGTV to gather tips, but I think at this point I’m a lost cause.

Foodies Unite

I didn’t realize how picky I was about eating out until I started dating my boyfriend.  Early on in our relationship I made it known to him (in a round about way) that I favored eating at local restaurants. 

We were hanging out one afternoon and it was getting close to dinner time.  He asked me where I wanted to eat for dinner.  I (being both passive and indecisive) offered no suggestions.  All I offered to him was “It’s up to you.”  My boyfriend then said, “What about Applebee’s?”  I responded, “Ehhh…I don’t really like Applebee’s.  There’s one by my parent’s house in St. Louis and they go all the time.”  He then said, “How about Chili’s?”  And I told him, “I don’t like Chili’s either.”  After much frustration, he was said, “I thought it was my choice.”  At that point, it clicked.  I’m not a big fan of chain restaurants.

Don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with chain restaurants.  I like Ruby Tuesday’s and Cheesecake Factory.  But in the whole scheme of things, I prefer to eat at local spots.  Coming from St. Louis, we have our fair share of chain restaurants, but a big part of what makes St. Louis so unique is their huge selection of locally owned restaurants. In St. Louis, you can find a local spot to appeal to any appetite.   Going to our favorite local eateries was a ritual that my friends and I enjoyed.  We would grab a burger at Blueberry Hill or indulge in the yummy tapas and sangrias at BARcelona.   We also enjoyed trying out local spots that were either new to us or restaurants that had just opened.  I didn’t realize how much I missed this until I moved to Phoenix.

The Valley is home to hundreds and hundreds of chain restaurants.  But as I’m slowly finding out, there are hidden local places that I’m dying to hit up. I love the Bowl of Meatballs at Lisa G’s or the Caprese Salad at Va Bene.  Coronado Cafe’s yummy Thursday Salmon Special can’t be beat and FEZ, Ticoz and Switch all have great happy hour specials. 

A few years ago, my cousin told me to join Yelp.com.  I joined, but didn’t know what to do with it.  My cousin actually disowned me as a Yelp friend because I wasn’t posting anything.   For the most part, I used Yelp to get ideas of places my boyfriend and I could go to on our dates.  A few months ago I decided to be daring and I started posting my local eating experiences.  You can follow me here at  http://ireneagustin.yelp.com.   And just so you know, my cousin added me as a friend again when she found out I was posting reviews 🙂 .  Aside from finding great local places in the Valley, Yelp is also helpful in gathering ideas for great places to eat when I travel. 

To gather additional intel, I use Twitter.  I follow my favorite restaurants as well as other foodie resources.  Here’s a list of great  foodie tweeples you should follow.

AZ Tweeats @az_tweeats http://aztweeats.wordpress.com/

AZ Restaurant Week @azrestaurantwk http://www.arizonarestaurantweek.com/

Crave Arizona @CraveAZ http://cravearizona.com

Phoenix Rail Food @PHXrailfood  http://phxrailfood.com

Phoenix Cooks! @phoenixcooks http://phoenixcooks.com

Foodies Like Us @foodieslikeus

The Valley has some great local spots if you are willing to look for them.  I hope these resources are helpful and I am open to hearing other suggestion and resources.  Happy Eating!!

Coffee

I am here at 5:36 on a Saturday morning writing my blog.  Dude, what’s wrong with me?  I’m actually up because I’m getting ready to head out of hell (oops, I mean Phoenix) to head up to the Grand Canyon and then to Flagstaff this weekend.  I wanted to get Day 23 of My Challenge done before I left because I will have no internet access today.  And God forbid I miss one day of My Challenge.

Anyway, I’m stoked to go, but if you looked at me right now, you wouldn’t guess it.  I’m having some trouble getting going, but I’ll be okay.  I consider myself a morning person.  But when you HAVE to wake up at a certain time to be somewhere, even the best morning person has trouble.

My boyfriend is a night owl.  Recently, though, his scheduled changed.  He use to work from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  He could stay up late and sleep in until 9 a.m.  He loved his schedule.  But his job functions changed a few months ago and now he has to wake up like the rest of us to get to work at 8 a.m. Needless to say, he’s not loving this schedule liked he did his 11 to 8 time slot.

When I first started dating my boyfriend, we had some issues concerning sleep.  He liked to sleep in and I didn’t.  Some mornings I would jump out of bed and be like “Oh, it’s beautfiul morning.  What do you want to do? Let’s go explore the city. Woohoo!! It’s morning.”  My boyfriend wasn’t having that.  I think one morning he threw something at me.  He doesn’t normally do that, but he can be a cranky morning person.

One day he asked me why I get up so early.  I told him that generations of my family owned rice plantations in the Philippines and it’s in my genes to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to go pick rice.  Okay!  So not PC, but still funny. 

At heart, I’m just a morning person.  Right now, I’m dragging.  I was up at 5:00.  I need to get going so that I can drive up to my boyfriend’s place to get in a car to drive to the Grand Canyon.   After my first cup o’ joe and my shower, I will be ready to go with my happy, morning person attitude. So don’t hate, APPRECIATE!!  HOLLA (LOL!)!!

Da Lou

The Arch

The Arch

I didn’t realize how much I loved St. Louis until I moved away.  I was born and raised there and of course, I took it for granted.  I wanted something more, something bigger and I found it in Phoenix.  However, the small town feel of this mid-size city has me yearning to one day go back.

Don’t get me wrong.  I really like the Valley.  I love the mountains and the hiking.  I also love the glitz and glam of the Valley.  It’s kind of like a little L.A., but without the L.A. prices.   It’s cool to walk around Scottsdale Fashion Square or Kierland Commons with the possibility of running into a celebrity.   It’s also in close proximity to some great cities.  This makes it cheap to go to Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco and Rocky Point for just a weekend. 

Despite all the advantages of living in the Valley, I still get quite homesick.  There is a certain charm to St. Louis that I miss.  I miss my friends some of whom I’ve known throughout grade school, junior high and high school and remain friends to this day.  I miss St. Louis’s small town feel.  It’s not unusual for me to attend a major event such as baseball game or concert and run into at least three people I know.  It’s kind of funny when I run into a St. Louisan in the Valley.  The first question you always have to ask them is “What high school did you go to?”  It’s a weird question, but it’s one we always ask and know the significance of. 

There’s no other place in the country where you can get such great local fare.  The closest thing to St. Louis food in the Valley is Frasher’s in Scottsdale.  They have St. Louis Style Pizza, Gooey Butter Cake, Toasted Ravioli and much more.  I highly recommend going there if you would like to try what foods St. Louis has to offer.  Of course it’s better to go to St. Louis, but Frasher’s represents.  But I do miss my favorites:  Cunetto’s, BARcelona, Imo’s Pizza and the list goes on and on.

I love the many places St. Louis has that you can walk around and chill.  University City, Central West End, Maplewood and Washington Avenue are all great locations to  stroll around, shop at local stores/boutiques and catch a quick bite to eat.  There are so many local cafes that you can sit outside; some even have live music and it’s an awesome just to chill with your friends and have a drink.  Phoenix is working to grow in this area.  With the light rail and the developments going on along the route, local business is booming in Phoenix.  I’m excited to see what’s in store for Phoenix in the next few years.  But until then I will enjoy my day trips on the light rail and continue to visit the local fare.

I love the various recreational opportunities St. Louis has to offer.  There is free admission to the  Science Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, History Museum and Zoo.  Honestly, the St. Louis Zoo puts the Phoenix Zoo to shame and what makes it worse is that you have to pay $15 to get into the Phoenix Zoo.   One of my favorite places to go in St. Louis is to the City Museum.  That place rocks!  The Children’s Museum in Phoenix pales in comparison.  Everytime I go back to St. Louis, I makes sure I hit up the City Museum.  I feel like a kid again when I go.

City Museum Outside

City Museum Outside

City Museum Inside

City Museum Inside

When times are hot here in Phoenix, I get very homesick.  It could be that I lock myself indoors as the temperature rises in the Valley.  As soon as it cools off though, I’m out and about in the Valley.  I’m back to my old routine of hiking and hanging out with friends at outdoor cafes and restaurants. There are only a few more weeks of summer left and I’m looking forward to cooler weather.

I know I love St. Louis, but I love the fact that I live in the Valley right now.  When I settle down more in life, I know that St. Louis is more my speed.  But until then, I will enjoy all that the Valley and Arizona have to offer.