5 Rules for Eating a Banana like a Man- According to Tien

untitledJust a forewarning, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this, but on our awesome road trip to OBX (post coming soon) Tien mentioned there are very specific etiquette for men eating a banana.

All of us girls in the car were like-Stop, collaborate and listen…rules to eating a what? A banana, wait can you repeat? B-A-N-A-N-A?

Tien laughed, but was kind enough to educate us on this very serious and manly topic. Apparently these are unwritten rules that ALL men know about. A banana Bro-Code?!?

Here are the 5 rules to eat a banana like a man:

  1. Never eat the banana in one big bite. Small bites only.
  2. Eat it fast and never close your eyes while doing so. Awkward…
  3. No looking at another man while he is eating it.
  4. Don’t lick the banana. This caused me to scratch my head, who would lick a banana?
  5. Never comment on the quality of another man’s banana. I guess even if a man has a disgusting mushy banana, just let him eat it and enjoy???

The girls could not take what Tien was saying seriously, so we asked Chase and Jason and they confirmed that yes, there are strict rules.  Tien tries to eat it away from people and Chase says he breaks his in half. So complicated!

I asked where he heard these rules, he said it’s on 9GAG, but it is common knowledge among men.

Normally I would put the link for everyone, but I don’t want to search banana eating rules on Google, who knows what will pop-up.

Men, if you don’t know these rules, learn them fast or else you might end up in a throw down because you looked at another man while he is eating his banana.

After learning this…I don’t think I can look at a banana the same way again.

Introducing Karen’s Column…Advice for the Loved and Loveless

sdfdI think I met Karen right when I needed her to be my in life. She has been my support and ears for so many unforgettable, hilarious, and serious moments of my life this year. Including Cat Man, Michael Phelps, or please marry me for a Mercedes as your engagement gift to name a few that has literally brought our group to tears from the ridiculousness.

She has given so much advice to all of us girls and the one thing I love about her is she does not beat around the bush. If you are about to make a stupid move, she will tell you and if you don’t take her advice in her exact words: You’re fired!

She truly gives amazing and rational advice and I’ve told her many times that she should write it down, but she claims she’s not a writer, so I am taking it upon myself with her permission of course to be her not-so-ghost-ghost writer.

This column will help all women who are in a relationship or single with topics that she has discussed.  I think guys can learn a lot from her advice too. It’s a free look into a woman’s mind, hey if you don’t like what we say, click the X in the corner of the screen.

Not only is she a very strong, intelligent, sexy, and independent woman who knows what she wants, but she happens to work with family law as well. I think one of her strong suites is putting everything into perspective.

She has viewpoints from relationships that go really wrong from her work and personal life. Like Carrie from Sex and the City, as she gives the advice to friends, family, etc… she has most likely experienced the same exact issue.

To enjoy her column…I am tagging them under “Advice for the Loved and Loveless.”

Here is her first one about dating a project versus a potential…Click here to read.

I hope you all enjoy.

XOXO

The Ghost Writer

Dating a Project vs a Potential

demo-pearl-2Have you ever met a great person (male or female) and say in your head, they’re great except for a few things?

I’m not talking about the little things like snoring or forgetfulness because I know I am far from perfect. I spill things, snore, and fall all day every day just to name a few flaws to make you all feel better.

I’m talking about the red flags. The person has commitment issues. He’s not generous, treats your friends poorly, uncompromising, or hides pieces of their life from you.

First off, we’ve all asked that question. On so many occasions when Karen asks who I like? My reply is “Do you think I can just mesh them into one?” She laughs and says, NO!

Secondly, we’ve all made excuses to ignore the red flags. The other day we were talking on the phone and that’s when she brought up that you never want to date a project. There is a big difference between a project and a potential.

A PROJECT is similar to buying mansion at an auction without any type of home inspection contingency. They might look spectacular on the outside, but when you move in you find out that there are plumbing issues, termites, mold, and the electrical wiring isn’t up to code.

Your dream home just turned into a money pit. And to top it off, as you continue fixing the house, you find more problems. Your first mistake was NOT getting a home inspection.

Dating a project is exactly like that. They may look great on the outside: Great job, well put together, drives a nice flashy car, and throws their money at you. Once you dig a little deeper and get on the inside of the person, you find out they have issues that you can’t repair.

These can include self-esteem problems, neediness or as Karen calls it being “thirsty,” or anger issues.

A POTENTIAL on the other hand is a house that may just need to have a quick paint job and some landscape work done and you’ve got a great place to call home. The house may not be a mansion, but it’s something that is a good investment with a little TLC.

A potential doesn’t need a lot of work, they just need a little bit of guidance because maybe they don’t know better. Karen brought this up for example, if someone in their 30’s is still dressing in Aeropostale and Old Navy versus upgrading to Banana Republic, Express, Macy’s, and once in a while adding in a few good pieces from Polo or Lacoste…you take them on a quick shopping trip. Some girls focus a lot on this piece and outside looks only goes so far.

Or if the person doesn’t enjoy the same lifestyle as you when it comes to health and fitness, you can compromise and make it a couple activities to go to the gym. Many people think compatibility issues are the end all be all.  It’s not, relationships are a give and take and you have to find things you both enjoy.

Potentials are fine to date, but it’s the projects you want to look out for and here are a few RED FLAGS that you should look for immediately because in the words of Karen, “Girl, he’s a project and you don’t want him.”

  • Anger issues. Stay far away. No matter how sweet you are one day you may be in the wrong place at the wrong time and “baby, I’m sorry” isn’t going to be enough.
  • Arrogance. You like a man with confidence, but when they are overly arrogant just to show how great he is super unattractive. An inflated ego can’t be deflated with a push pin.
  • Airtight wallet. Generosity is a huge turn on. If someone is generous to you, your family, and friends, it speaks volumes and it is one of the first things I look for because I am very generous with everyone who I love. I may not have a lot, but literally as my TWIN can confirm, I will give you the shirt off my back. A man who keeps all his money to himself isn’t going to change and treat you right. I’m not saying you want a man who gives every penny he earns, but just a generous nature. He won’t lose sleep over buying round of drinks for all your friends or when you use their credit card for a new dress…hey you want to make them look good standing next to them right?
  • Honesty and loyalty. That should be enough. Projects may not trust you and they will test you. Why would you want to be tested all the time?
  • Outlook on life. If the person is always negative and critical, it’s so difficult to be with someone like that. Eventually their negativity will rub off on you and life is too short not to see the brighter things in life. You are not their therapist.
  • Thinking he’s elite. Karen’s words, “Boy bye, who do you think you are?”
  • Inflexible and uncompromising. A relationship is a give and take. One person can’t win all battles. If that is the case, be with yourself, don’t add another person into your equation.
  • Talk is cheap. Don’t break promises. Karen definitely advocates making sure that when a man promises to do something, he doesn’t back out. A man who breaks promises will continue to do so. You set the standard that he can because there is not ramification when he does.
  • Lack of communication. If they can’t relay their feelings, your relationship is doomed. Communication is the key to a successful relationship. You should be able to talk about anything and if he can’t, it won’t get better the older you get, it’ll just get worst.
  • Priorities. Everyone’s priorities are different, but the basis should be the people around you. If one makes money their priority over you, it will never change and that’s the only thing that matters in their life. Or if it does change, it’ll be much later in life when it’s too late.
  • Southern Charm? Not all men are gentlemen these days. Some girls don’t care, but if you are like Karen and I who do want a gentleman, then find one. Don’t waste your time trying to make an a$$hole into your prince charming.

Next time you come across a project, hopefully you save some time and money by not investing in them. Invest in the one who is reliable, stable, and most importantly one that treats you and everyone around you well.

A Few More Steps to Becoming an Honorary Persian Part II

This is for all the Persian’s who read Part I and requested a Part II.

Maryam would like to mass produce these posts and send it to all non-Iranianian people. #PersianLove

Plus…after having to take urgent papers for Maryam to the Iranian Embassy, she was like you are more Iranian than most. If you ever have to visit the Iranian/Pakistani Embassy…be prepared to wear a scarf, all women have to cover their hair and they will automatically speak to you in Farsi. I had to be like wait, wait, wait…All I understand is Salam and Khanoom Linda (Hello and Miss Linda).

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I think sometimes people forget I’m not really Persian. The other day we were at a party and there was a traditional dish called “kashke bedemjan.” I asked what it is and Taban said, come on you’ve had this, you’re Persian. I said, I do not remember this dish that sounds like cashews and you forget, I’m Vietnamese. May it be that I am a poor representation, but I am still Vietnamese.

If you missed Part I, click here.

Over the years my Sanam(s), Maryam, or Shari have all laughed and corrected me on one or maybe all of these aspects that are very stereotypical of Persian. Debbie was intrigued to see if my experience is similar to Shahs of Sunset being an outsider looking in.

So here are a few things for you to know to help you fit in and a few of my mistakes that I’ve made.

  • White BMW. Persian men especially drive a BMW and it must be white. If you are Persian and it’s black or grey…what were you thinking? And wait, it’s only a regular 3 series not an M3?
  • ***C relayed from other sources that they prefer black BMWs and not white. I have heard both, so we agreed that it is either black or white, but it is a BMW only in either case. custom-bmw-m3-e92-auto-wallpaper-115
  • High heat tolerance. I swear Persians have a genetic mutation where they become heat resistant, especially concerning food. They can drink tea at any temperature and it does not burn their tongue. I on the other hand cannot, I either have to let it cool or when I am super impatient (Always), I will put ice. I was having tea with Shari’s family…she and her dad gave me the oddest look and said you cannot do that. I said, but it’s hot, she tasted it and said no it’s not. Again, Asian heat tolerance is a 2 versus a 15 on the Persian scale.858914_10100154449868311_8224174690941244995_o
  • Persian Rugs. Persians make the best rugs, hands down. Don’t you dare buy any other rug…Ok I have to admit, I don’t have one because I cannot afford it, but Maryam actually had her engagement party at a huge Persian rug store. It was very cool.persian-rug-choose
  • Black on black. If you ask them what they are going to wear, the answer will always be something black. I was at the store with Sanam A the other day and she tried on a really pretty green shirt and she said no because she does not like the style or the collar. I looked at her and said, No Sanam, it’s because it’s not black. We bought the same shirt at Nordy’s and you loved it. Hence, look at this outfit that C has on.   C claims he does not even own a white shirt and in almost 100% of our pictures he has something black on, so do both Sanam(s). #Blackonblackhowpersiansroll
  • ***I was also informed that over the past few months, C has added some colored shirts into to mix and 2 white shirts. I know, I can’t believe I am that out of the loop on his shopping life.  I am dismally ashamed as his deemed fashion advisor and social planner. But both Sanam’s still prefer black.1922101_10100137470639821_1017002521_n
  • Swear to God. Honestly, this is a phrase that everyone says. Next time you are around a group of elderly Persians, listen. My friend’s parents say it ALL the time. I also hear Maryam use it at times too. When I am at the mall and I hear “swear to god,” I can turn around and sure enough, the person is Persian.
  • Persian food. Learn the basic food names. The first time I tried to order at a restaurant, I was trying to impress someone; unfortunately, I was trying to order baghali polo, but called it boogili boogili. Yep, I was an embarrassment. My suggestion…Read the menu and just point. The servers look at you like you are an alien.  This is one example of them making fun of me.sdf

*Persian Food- Kabobs, Kubideh, Tadigh, Yogurt Sauce,and ALWAYS Chae (Black tea)10484031_10102792439351008_3090449729979387193_n

  • 13Bedar. I learned the hard way because I kept calling it 13Bedar…nope, the official name is sizdeh bedar. This is a big event 13 days after the Persian New Year, where you spend the day outside and come in your house after midnight as a way to start fresh.  Sizdeh=13 in Farsi. Maryam was laughing so hard when I called her and said…Happy 13Bedar my friend. She was like…OMG…why hasn’t anyone corrected you?  471296_736471139061_900390205_o

I always joked that my kids are going to be confused because they would go to school and say Happy New Year three times (Jan 1, Vietnamese, and Persian). I loved it because I expect 3 gifts for each New Year!  I thought this was adorable, but Maryam and I we always wish each other Happy New Year, this year we even did it at the same time!Pers

  • Fire Jumping. Everyone knows that every year, there is a huge party where people jump over the fire. The first year I went, no one explained the purpose of jumping over the fire, so I thought it was a game to jump over as many as I could. I think I jumped over 10. Technically, when you jump over the fire, you are getting rid of all the bad memories and starting new.   The celebration is called Charshanbeh Soori. It’s probably one of the hardest words to say, I used to mumble it. When I asked the translation, originally I was told “Happy Wednesday.” To learn more…here is the link to Wikipedia!fser
  • Gold. They love gold. Everything has to be gold and preferably real gold.$(KGrHqR,!osE63YP0)2GBO64Pzep,Q~~60_35
  • Doogh. This is a carbonated yogurt drink. They love it. I’ve tried it and it has taken nearly 10 years to become ok drinking it. I will drink a glass here and there, but it is definitely an acquired taste.  20140615_130659
  • Dress Code. People asked why I had so many party dresses. Well, it’s because they always dress up and especially for parties. Even if it’s a house party, you have to be glam.  Even just a night out at a local bar becomes an dress up type of night.  And of course they are gorgeous…Look at Nammie in the black. She could easily be a model.PhotoGrid_1392683625544
  • Evil Eye. Everyone has an evil eye. It’s a sign of protection against “bad juju.”  I have one in my house and I wear a bracelet every day. I also give it to my best friends as gifts too. I gave one to Yasi Joon for her bday and Aline took mine off my wrist to protect her. Sanam A does not leave the house without it. One night she was at a hotel room and wouldn’t leave until she went back up to get it. Laugh all you want, but the day I got in my accident, I forgot my bracelet because I rushed out of the house. That’s all I’m going to say.fsdre

A few other things to know:

  • Iran Pride.  I felt badforthe the place we were at, a few non-Iranians walked in, I’m sure they were like OMG where am I at? Look at how much they supported Iran in the World Cup!  And totally off topic, but they have the most adorable babies.  Look at this little man…isn’t he the cutest?

Hopefully you learned a little, laughed a little, and know enough to become an honorary Persian as well!

Almond & Cranberry Quinoa- Delicious Hot or Cold

IMG_20140622_135148A few months ago, I went on a purchasing spree at my local grocery store. They were having a clearance on cranberries and almonds, I got overly excited and bought all the bags, but I don’t really eat them.

I am a secret hoarder (Ok not that bad), but I do like to keep things stocked at my house.

I had to figure something out, so I decided to mix it with quinoa. I made a few of my friends taste it and they loved it. It’s good right off the stove or cold from the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa
  • Cranberries
  • Sliced Almonds
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil

Instructions:

  1. Cook the Quinoa as directed.
  2. Turn on the stove and put the frying pan on and add some olive oil.
  3. Make sure the pan is hot and throw in a bunch of cranberries and sliced almonds. You can lower the heat because the almonds burn quickly.
  4. Add in nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, a pinch of salt and anything else that you think will add flavor and start stirring the almond and cranberry mix.
  5. Now add the quinoa. Give it a quick stir and add more seasoning. Keep mixing until you get the flavor you want.
  6. Turn off the stove and eat! Or you can put it in the fridge and have it cold as well.

The recipe is great because it’s healthy and it is different just because you have a sweet and salty combination for your taste buds! As an FYI, Costco has an amazing mixed bag for salads, if you want to do this recipe in bulk.

Light Italian Summer Salad

CYMERA_20140701_123910This past weekend I went to a pool party and so I threw this salad together since I knew we needed something light and refreshing as we tan.

This recipe was a hit, affordable, quick, and extremely flavorful. I made a huge bowl there were only a few bites left at the end of the day.

Even a few of the guys wanted the recipe. Your wish is my command. Here you go!

Ingredients:

  • *This is enough to feed a party of about 10
  • 1 Box of Veggie Penne (It is orange and has a whole serving of veggies in it)
  • 3 Green Zucchini Squash
  • 3 Yellow Squash
  • 3 Cucumbers
  • 2 Vines of Roman Tomatoes
  • 2 Cans Pitted Black Olives
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1 Large Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, other Italian seasoning

Instructions:

  1. Cook the penne as directed. Then rinse with cold water and throw it in the fridge or freezer if you are short on time while you chop all the veggies.
  2. Use a peeler to peel the skin off all the squashes to throw away. Then use the peeler to shred the zucchini. I am sure there is a real word for it, but just keep peeling and watch out for your fingers.
  3. Dice the cucumbers.
  4. Dice the tomatoes.
  5. Dice the onion.
  6. Cut the black olives in half.
  7. Throw off of it in a bowl and mix with the dressing.
  8. Chill in the fridge.
  9. Pack it up for the party and serve. I did not expect it to be that big of a hit, but it certainly was!

Dressing:

  • *This is all up to your taste.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice into a glass
  • Add in extra virgin olive oil. I tend to add in half the amount of the lemon juice because I like the taste of lemon.
  • Add in half the amount of the lemon juice worth of balsamic vinegar
  • Add salt, pepper, oregano, and other Italian seasoning to taste. I added some rosemary, fennel, lemon salt, parsley, thyme, and basil.
  • Mix it altogether and you have a light and refreshing dressing.

What a Budget Analyst Really Does? More than make pretty Excel sheets?

I guess it’s time to fess up what I really do. My best friend Sydney asked this the other day about my job. She’s like I was trying to explain to a friend what you do, but all I know is that you do some important work with numbers.

I sent her the article about 12 things to know about Budget/Finance peopleIMG_20140308_163817.

First off, surprise, I know it’s hard for some of you to believe, but I work. Just because I don’t brag about my degree, job, and let my job define me like so many others on the East Coast does not mean it’s any less difficult. Don’t let this free-spirit, care-free, extroverted, fun person who does a lot of different things and is easily distracted by sparkly things fool you…I might love clothes, shopping, and make-up, but I do have a brain in my head.

I really do have a job and a real “grown-up” job. I’ve been in a grown-up job going on 10 years now. I know a decade. I started in the corporate office of the bank when I was 19 and never stopped working.

My last job in marketing was exciting, fun, and sexy to be in the social media atmosphere. The reason why I joke that all I do is make Excel sheets pretty is that my job doesn’t match me.

Budgets aren’t sexy, innovative, nor is it exciting.

Here is a simple overview of what I do, but our tasks and challenges change daily. Again, you’re not going to be sitting at the edge of your seat saying, shut the hell up, that’s so cool. Actually you’re going to say, wow, her job sounds stressful, how does she not have more white hairs by now?

  • Manage the travel team. We have over 10,000 travels that go through our shop. We review every single one of them; this does not include issues when they try to voucher. We resolve them.
  • As part of travel, we have to provide guidance, disperse policy changes, and answer questions from anyone. And because they have deemed me the “travel expert,” many of the difficult ones come to me.
  • Any type of purchase from a small paperclip to a $3 million software purchase that goes through us. Thousands of them a year.
  • Manage budgets. This sounds fun, but it’s not. You have to run burn rates, determine if you’re short and if you are short, how you’ll beg for more money or what programs you’ll cut. Not only do you monitor current spending, but you need to project future spending.
  • Reporting. There are a lot of reports. Daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports. My life is turning in reports in all the time.
  • Program reviews. We review all of our programs very closely. My main responsibility is the healthcare unit.
  • ROI. We have to consider the return on investment on everything we do.
  • Reviews. Since we are in budget, there are 2nd and 3rd level reviews for everything. One wrong move and no internal controls means we will be pulled in an audit and being pulled in an audit is the worst news of the day.
  • Building programs. One other great thing I get to do in my job is to control and design our internal webpage, help build and maintain electronic systems for travel and other processes.
  • Making Excel sheets, presentations, and policies pretty. Not only do you make pivot tables, pretty sheets, create pretty presentations, but also write policies and a lot of polices.

This is just a quick overview, but see, isn’t it so much better that I just tell you all I make Excel sheets pretty?