35 Things I’ve Learned Over the Last 35 (Sigh…) Years

Written by Lotus on Wednesday, 7 of November , 2012 at 9:15 pm

To celebrate my birthday this Friday, I thought I’d put together a list of things I’ve learned over the years. Some are funny, some are serious.  I hope all are somewhat useful!

1. If your message in an email, text or phone call is a gussied up version of “F*** You!” don’t send it. Unless you’re willing to actually say “F*** You!”

2. It’s ok to not have plans on Friday night.

3. The average dog is a better person than the average person.

4. Rather than dieting, practice the principle of “diminishing returns.” In her book, Betheny Frankel explains that it’s ok to taste and try everything. But stop after it’s no longer pleasurable. Rather than plowing through a candy bar or steak just to finish it, stop when you’re no longer enjoying it.

5. Invest in high thread-count sheets. Mine are Egyptian cotton, 1200 thread-count from Macy’s.

6. A new outfit, haircut or eyeshadow won’t change your life. But it might lift your spirits for a few hours or a few days and sometimes that’s enough.

7. Send hand-written thank you cards within two weeks of receiving a gift or good deed.

8. Make Cheez-Its from a scratch. They are amazing. Here’s a really good recipe: http://www.cookingalamel.com/2012/04/homemade-cheez-its.html

9. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you believe, but it takes even more courage to admit when you’re wrong. One of the most difficult things I’ve done is admit that I was wrong when I denied the existence of God and the power of faith.

10. When people who love you seem to be sending silly emails or calling you for silly reasons, indulge them. They might be lonely and just want to talk.

11. Have a set of recipes that you do really well and share them with friends.

12. Twitter and Facebook aren’t real life. People aren’t as popular, rich, fun, and perfectly posed as they appear to be. Thank, God.

13. If The Godfather (I or II) are on TV just watch it. No need to channel surf as there is nothing better on TV.

14. Bangs are cheaper and sexier than Botox.

15. If you’re writing something that will be seen publicly, ask at least one person you trust to read it first. Also, be open to their corrections. Having someone edit your work usually makes you look better.

16. It’s ok to say “I don’t know.” Often people will give a BS answer rather than just admit they don’t know.

17. Use produce from Trader Joe’s within 24 hours. I’ve wasted so much money on the good intentions of using fresh fruit and vegetables. I love Trader Joe’s, but the fact is their produce comes from thousands of miles away (for East coasters) and doesn’t last as long as other grocery store produce, which is more likely to come from closer sources.

18. Manicures only look good for 48 hours.

19. Guys will tell you who they are. If he says he’s a jerk, a bad boyfriend, drinks too much, or anything else that seems like a warning, wish him well and walk away.

20. You find out who your real friends are during your lowest points in life, not your highest points.

21. Substitute butter-flavored Crisco for butter in all cookie recipes.

22. There is no substitution for Diet Coke. Or Hellman’s mayonnaise.

23. I do not respond well to people who use guilt to provoke my actions. It’s best to just state your reasons for what you want to do in a non-confrontational way and let them have their moment to sulk.

24. I wish I would have purchased pet insurance.

25. Life is too short to eat fat-free cheese.

26. You can’t take too many pictures of your dog. And don’t feel silly for backing up the repetitive photos, too. A few years ago my digital camera was stolen from my suitcase and I lost hundreds of photos of my now deceased dog, Buster.

27. Bruce Campbell is underrated as an actor… and sex symbol.

28. It’s ok to not finish a book if you’re not enjoying. If you’re not reaching for it when you have a spare moment, move on to another book.

29. Keep negative people at arm’s length. Don’t let them suck you in to their negative view of the world.

30. Do everything you can do avoid college loans. Go to school in-state, work, go to community college for the first two years. If you’re a parent, pay into the state-sponsored college fund. I’m so thankful that I never had school loans. Thanks to scholarships, working at least 30-40 hours a week, my parents paying into a college fund and doing my freshman and sophomore years in one year at a community college I was able to avoid school loans. Never taking out college loans is literally the best financial decision I’ve ever made.

31. The younger a person acquires publicity, the more entitled they feel to continue getting it. Whether it’s actors, singers, writers, or pundits once they’ve been in the spotlight they expect to stay there regardless of their own efforts.

32. Don’t wear a low-cut or sleeveless shirt or dress to the gun range. Nothing is more awkward (or dangerous) than trying to fish out a hot shell from your cleavage with a loaded firearm in hand.

33. Don’t think you’re too good to do menial office work. If you get the boss’s lunch, you’ll get a few extra minutes with the boss and show that you’re a person who can deliver on a task. Also, check that the order is right before you bring it back to the office.

34. Chick-fil-A is the only fast food worth eating.

35. Make lists. They make you feel like you can accomplish anything.

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Category: Let's Get This Party Started,Random Stuff

My Favorite Super Bowl Sunday Recipes

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 28 of January , 2012 at 1:29 pm

I thought I would share with you some of my favorite recipes for game day.  If you’re still keeping to your healthy New Year’s resolutions, these recipes will not help.  However, you could use vegetables (carrots, grape tomatoes, zucchini) as your dipping device or get a small plate and keep yourself to a small serving rather than camping out at the dip location.  Just don’t mess with the mayo.  Seriously, there’s something about the fat-free and reduced fat mayo that ruins these dips.  Rather than mess with these recipes, serve other healthier options like crudités and hummus. 

***

Buffalo Chicken Dip
3 – 12.5 ounce cans of all-white meat chicken (drained)
3 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
1 cup of ranch dressing
12 ounce bottle of Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce (NOT hot sauce)
12 ounces of shredded Mexican cheese blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large pot or skillet, mix chicken, cream cheese, ranch dressing, and wing sauce on medium-low heat until combined and smooth. Mix in 1 cup of cheese. Transfer to 9 by 13 pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Serve with bite-size tortilla chips.
(Note: The original recipe I pilfered from a friend’s ex-boyfriend included diced celery, so feel free to add a cup if you’re a fan. I am not.)

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
1 package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (press through colander several times until all water is removed)
1- 12 ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients until combined and there are no large chunks of spinach. Transfer to 8 or 9 inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges start to brown.

Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips or crusty bread.

Hot Crab Dip
4 ounces of softened cream cheese
½ cup of mayonnaise
½ cup of sweet onions, chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
½ teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning
6 ounces of fresh or canned lump crabmeat, drained
5 crushed buttery crackers (like Keebler’s Club crackers)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Caramelize onions in small sauté pan with olive oil. Drain off any excess oil. Combine with cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Old Bay and crabmeat. Mix until all is incorporated and there are no big lumps of cream cheese. Transfer to small baking dish or crock. Sprinkle crushed crackers on top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cracker topping is golden brown.

Serve with your favorite crackers. I like the Townhouse Flip Sides with this dip.

***

If you want to give your guests an entree in addition to appetizers and dips, go with something that is easy to make in large quantities.  I like chili with fixings (cheese, onion, Fritos, sour cream, etc.) or pulled pork with small potato rolls and cole slaw.  People will be filling up on appetizers all day, so no need to go all out on the entree.  Save some money by doing an entree that allows people to have as small or as large a portion as they want.

If you want to offer dessert, go simple.  A perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies beats most desserts.  Get a few pints of ice cream and have guests make their own ice cream sandwiches.  For a healthier option, make a fruit salad and let guests make it as bad as they want it — chocolate syrup, whipped cream (or Cool Whip), shortcake or biscotti.

Enjoy the game (and the commercials)!

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Category: Food,Let's Get This Party Started

A Playlist for All Occasions

Written by Lotus on Thursday, 26 of January , 2012 at 7:13 pm

I’ve been doing a lot of cardio lately, so an upbeat playlist is a must.  My current playlist is about 70 minutes.  I always start with a song I’m obsessing about at the moment. It makes me look forward to a workout.  I hope you find some new (or old) favorites!

“Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn

“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus (Don’t make fun! It gets me going.)

“The Cave” by Mumford and Sons

“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey (I actually skip this one sometimes. Cliche.)

“Party Hard” by Andrew WK (if this song was 6 hours long I could probably run a marathon… in theory)

“Precious Declaration” by Collective Soul

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

“The Boxer” by CarbonLeaf

“Waiting for the End” by Linkin Park

“Already Gone” by Kelly Clarkson

“F**kin’ Perfect” by P!nk

“Gives You Hell” by The American Rejects

“Hollywood” by Michael Buble

“In the End” by Linkin Park

“Life Less Ordinary” by CarbonLeaf 

“Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons

“Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac

“Let Your Troubles Roll By” by CarbonLeaf

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Category: Let's Get This Party Started,Random Stuff

An Evening with GOProud and Margaret Hoover

Written by Lotus on Monday, 25 of July , 2011 at 9:46 am

Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending a book party for Margaret Hoover hosted by GOProud, the only group representing conservative gays and their allies.  I am proud to serve on the GOProud Advisory Council.  They always have fantastic parties because they bring together a diverse crowd of conservatives.  Young and old.  Gay and straight.  Conservatives and Frum staff members. 

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From left: GOProud Board Chairman Chris Barron, GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia, Margaret Hoover

Margaret Hoover is the great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover and a frequent contributor to Fox News. Margaret’s book, American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party, is a must-read for all candidates and policymakers who want to reach out to millennials (those born between 1980 and 1999). 

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Photo courtesy of Gabriel Malor

The event took place at Hotel Monaco and included two D.C. staples — open bar and mini crabcakes.  Woohoo!

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From left: Danielle, Andrew and LOTUS

It was great to see former ACU interns and CPAC volunteers at the party.  Though I may not be working in the conservative movement now, I am so thankful for all of the wonderful people I’ve met.

Thanks again to Jimmy, Chris and the GOProud interns for putting on a fantastic event!

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Category: Let's Get This Party Started

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LOTUS lives in Northern Virginia. NOTE: The views expressed on LOTUS blog are the author’s alone. Organizations listed on this blog are for identification purposes only.