Monday, January 31, 2011

The Shenanigans That Defined My Trip to Montreal


I went to Montreal this past weekend for a Model UN conference (if you don't know what Model UN is). While my assigned committee basically blew, I loved this trip and would go back in a heart beat. These aren't the photos yet (photo blog coming, hopefully on Wednesday) but here's a summary of the shenanigans that went down. Because, let's face it, did anyone really expect me to be able to go through a weekend abroad without getting into some kind of trouble?

Actually tell the airline that just canceled your flight that you're pissed. Sitting in the same godforsaken airport for 12 hours will suck, but you just might get a bunch of meal tickets and a $600 travel voucher out of it. [You can leave your suggestions for where you think I should go next in the comments.]

You are very obviously an American abroad when you're slightly excited to have your ID checked at a bar in Canada. Yes, okay, the drinking age there is 18. Congratulations, Valorie, you look ridiculous. It's fine.

Staying out until 3 am when you have an 8:30 meeting is totally a good idea. Let's face it, everyone else at the conference was too. And it's not like you went to Montreal actually for the conference.

I may be in college, but passing notes is still fun. When you don't have phone service but *do* have people whose entire job that weekend is to pass your notes in a room of ~400 people, you will be all. over. that. 

People in Canada really do say "eh" at the end of most sentences. "This chair sucks, eh?" "Call me next time you're in Canada, eh?"  IT'S AWESOME, EH?

When you spend almost 24 hours a day with the same nine people, you will start picking up all their habits. It's fine. NBD. Anxiety attacks. Shwasted. I AM A LADY.

Subzero temperatures are totally survivable, but not easily navigable. If I had a dollar for every time I slipped in the snow/ice/slush, I wouldn't need to work anymore. Not really. But really.

No, really, it's okay to ask directions sometimes. Especially when it's 4 am, -20 F out, and you and your friend are a little drunk and have been wandering around downtown Montreal for an hour looking for "a tall building" because clearly there is only one and it must be your hotel. Screw your pride; ask the creepy guys on the corner where the Sheraton is and pray they don't follow you.

Skip your meetings. Okay, yes, you *did* travel all the way there for the conference. And yes, skipping a bunch of meetings really won't reflect very well on your team. But, I mean, you're in fucking Montreal and, let's face it, even if your resolution passes nothing actually changes in the real world. So, work hard, but skip a meeting or two; see the city, live a little. The pictures and memories you have will last a lifetime.

When the same airline that canceled your first flight also screws you over for the flight back, it's okay to start using the company name as a curse word. DELTAAAAA!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a year in self-portraits, and other insane ideas.

I wanted to see how far into this month I'd make it before I started talking about resolutions. Because, really, I didn't want to look at a resolutions post from January 1 on March 20 and be like, "oh yeah... I forgot about that... Hmm..." Which I guess could still happen, except that I don't think so because, well, I SAID SO.

Anyway, I didn't really make a whole lot of resolutions this year. Partly because I tend to not make resolutions, *mostly* because I normally forget what they are a week in. But this year, this ridiculously exciting year, I decided to make three resolutions.

1. Cook once a week. I don't mean like defrost a pizza. I mean cook a legitimate meal from scratch.

2. Wear heels once a week. I'll probably fall a lot, but I'll look hot doing it!

3. Take a self portrait every day.

This is going to be a year of realized dreams. I'm leaving for Montreal later today! I'll (hopefully) finally see New Orleans. I'm getting my Aggie Ring (April 15!). I'm going to finally study abroad. I graduate from college in December. And a hundred other things. I want to remember it all. I want pictures of all of it. I've gotten off to a decent start, documenting my move into my apartment, and I'm excited to see where this project takes me.

I'm posting these photos on Flickr. If you have a Flickr, find me so we can connect there. :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

#27: Results


As you guys may or may not remember, two weeks ago I decided to do the "Eat like a vegan for a week" challenge I put in my 101 in 1001 list. I tweeted about it a few times throughout the week, mostly about how much I wanted cheese (ah, cheese), but I was actually pleasantly surprised with the results.

By the end of the week, I felt much healthier than I had in a long time. It might have had something to do with mono finally ceasing it's constant attack on my body, but I also just felt like I had more energy.

I also learned to like soy milk, which is a huge thing for me as I'm lactose intolerant. I learned to like more fruits as well (grapefruit! grapes! bananas!) and experimented with a few fun recipes.

Stepped on the scale at the end of the week and noticed I lost five pounds, which I'm going to go ahead and take as a good sign. That also really surprises me, I didn't see that coming! Though, I guess since most of the junk food I eat is animal product-based (anything with dairy in it), that's not that surprising. That being said, I'm SO HAPPY I can have chocolate again (eating a york peppermint patty as I type this!).

It's been a week since the end of that challenge. In that time, I've noticed myself craving meat less (though I do still eat it, because meat is good) and craving fruit and veggies more. I'm never going to go all-out vegan again -- It's too hard, I missed cheese way too much -- but I see myself making healthier choices at home, perhaps eating more vegetarian like here and only really eating lots of meat when out. Also, trying to be a vegan in restaurants is a pain in the ass. I mean, how do you full time guys do it?

If you're ever looking for a good body cleanse, I would recommend this one. It makes you feel healthier, you'll probably lose weight, and when you tell people what you're doing they'll say, "SERIOUSLY? THAT'S SO COOL."

Up next on accomplishing my list? Starting a yoga class Monday, going to Montreal Wednesday, the LSAT on February 12th, leaving for China May 20th. Live Free and Do Epic Shit.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Project All Natural

I've mentioned a few times on here how passionate I am about ending human trafficking. And while it's a huge problem, there's still so little awareness about how many millions of people it effects, and how it's not just in developing countries, but it's in our backyard; it's happening in our cities, in our neighborhoods, sometimes even in the businesses we frequent.

And yet, we stay so quiet on the subject.

We shouldn't.

Today, January 11, 2011 is National Human Trafficking Day, a day to raise awareness about the victims of this terrible crime. So, today, we're going to say something.


By going without makeup for a day and choosing to embrace our inner beauty instead. There is a beauty within all of us that no one can sell, that no one can take away from us. That's what we're trying to tell these survivors because chances are, no one else has.

By participating in this project you are…

•Choosing to be confident in your naked face
•Choosing to show your daughters that they will always be gorgeous no matter what
•Choosing to raise awareness for the 12 year old being raped about 20 times a night (stats from the A21 campaign)
•And most of all you are choosing to love the face that was specifically given to you.

So, here is how we're going to do this:
1. Tweet about this project. Talk about your experiences going without makeup. Use the hashtag #ProjectAllNatural. Use the link and use the photo above (courtesy of the previous link).

2. Talk about this to people! Tell them what we're doing here! Blog about it, talk to strangers at the grocery story about it, etc. Explain why you're going without makeup and challenge others to join in and raise awareness.

If you choose to join in, tell me about how it goes! I'll be posting a photo of myself without makeup, so feel free to do the same.

edit:// Here's my photo from today. Have you guys taken photos without make up?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

#27 - Eat Like a Vegan for a Week (Or, What was I thinking?) (Also, help!)

I'm not sure what was going through my head in September '09 when I thought this was a good thing to put on my list.  Maybe I thought it would be healthy? Maybe it was a "Walk in someone else's shoes" thing? I don't know, but considering that my main food groups are meat, cheese, bread, and coffee (Why yes, those are now food groups, by the way), this was a stupid idea.

Nevertheless, I'm determined to do it, no matter what. No matter how hungry I go all week! Even if... Even if it kills me!

Okay, NOT if it kills me.

Still, I'm going to do this starting Sunday, so I'm asking y'all for a little help. Do you guys know any good Vegan-friendly recipes? I mean, I know, I KNOW, SALAD. I've already got that and miso soup. But I'd like to eat something other than that and endless amounts of apples next week, so help me out here. I'm willing to try pretty much anything! And if you don't know any good recipes, please spread this around to others who might. Crowdsourcing my menu for the win!

Thanks guys. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In Which I Manage to Bitch About Both Willow Smith and Shitty Nicknames in the Same Post (Impressive, really.)

I'm one of those people that has like a thousand nicknames. I'll respond to pretty much anything. Valorina. Valorayray. Rie. Rie-rie. ValPal. The list goes on and on. But the nickname "Val," is kind of like nails on a chalkboard to me. No, actually, it's the sound that makes me want to punch babies.
It's kind of like that song "Whip My Hair" or whatever the fuck it's called by Willow Smith, which is the song that makes me homicidal. I mean, really Will Smith? You allowed your daughter to come out with this crap?


Please tell me that song makes your ears bleed.

Hearing someone call me "Val" makes my ears bleed too. It also really makes me wonder what he or she has been doing the 28484029 times I've mentioned that Val is a MAN'S name and last I checked I have a vagina, thanks.

So, you know, stop calling me Val, or I'll be forced to tie you to a chair and make you listen to I WHIP MY HAIR BACK AND FORTH on repeat until your brains melt into a useless mess, like Will Smith's obviously has.