Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get on my Internets, Chalayn.

An artistic (???) photo my stepdad took of me at the Tulip Festival this last weekend.

Say what you want about The Bachelor - it's shallow, unnatural, fake, stupid - and I won't disagree with you. It is all of those things and more, but it has two major redeeming qualities that, to me, make up for any negatives: 1) Sean Lowe; and 2) blog fodder.

When the Bachelor is airing, I'm writing at least once a week. I feel like I have an obligation to a child-sized handful of readers I have unknowingly gotten addicted to the show (hi, Heather!). In order to keep them happy I must hook them up to the life saving IV that is my recaps. I don't want to sound like I'm having grandiose delusions over here but, seriously, my recaps are LIFE-GIVING.

Aaaaaaand if you're just tuning in here, New Reader, please note that I tend to sprinkle my writing with what some may politely call "voice" and others label as "sarcasm."

Anyway, what I'm trying to tell you is that I'm looking forward to the Bachelorette starting up in May. Not because I like to be known as someone who watches that silly show nor do I especially want to be remembered as a girl who has spent way too many hours recapping a reality dating television show. But, rather, I'm excited because I will most likely have the motivation again to come here regularly and type something out to you, Faithful Reader. It gets me back in the habit of streeeeetching my brain to form coherent thoughts and then transcribe them in a way that (hopefully) makes sense to someone else. As many of you may know, it is much harder to write once you get out of the habit. And it seems like when I don't have a "reason" to religiously blog I end up only writing posts in my head. Honestly, I craft about 2-5 posts a day solely in my brain, like some selfish autobiographer.

So, yeah, bring it on Photoshopped Bachelorette Andi. You and your snarky promo line that takes a dig at ABC's estranged cash cow. Bring on the drama on drama on drama with a side of true love and Edward Cullen eyes. If not for you, then do it for me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bluragram: How to Take Terrible iPhone Photos

Sure I already shared this on Instagram, but the photos below are all new and I promise you'll love 'em.

Sometimes I am amazed that I own a handheld computer that makes phone calls and has the ability to capture beautiful photos. I remember a million years ago when I was in high school - back in the early-mid 2000s - I carried around a clunky disposable camera to capture my memories. Young Reader, this ol' fossil here had to actually use her thumb to wind up the film in order to take a new photo. It wasn't as simple as touching a screen. And after I filled up that camera I couldn't just upload them to my lap-sized computer. No, I had to go to a little ol' place called One-Hour Photo (which is now extinct). Then I paid them money - real cash, not from a plastic debit card - to dip the film strip into chemicals which magically turn into tangible photographs that I could put in a picture frame. Or just tape to my wall next to my glow-in-the-dark stars.....

Tangent: I am saddened that I just googled "glow in the dark stars" for you, Reader, and found out that Toys"R"Us packages them as a "Retro Pack". A retro pack?! When did my childhood become retro?!

.....Okay, I'm back. Anyway, camera phones are amazing now. Blah, blah, blah.

No secret to anyone age 5-103, there are all sorts of apps for making photos better. Like Grace, I lean towards Afterlight and may never be cool enough to fully appreciate VSCO Cam. These apps are great but in my opinion no filter, no false sun flare, no amount of upping the saturation can beat a good ol' fashioned blurry photo.

For example, my cousin and I asked my husband to take a photo to commemorate my impromptu shuffleboard birthday party. But, like most women, we needed to wiggle around first to fix our hair.... just as he click click clicked and captured this frightening image:

Stuff nightmares are made of.

My creepy, barely visible eyebrow just floating up there. My super long teeth - the better to bite you with, Dear Reader. And my cousin the cyclops (just in this photo!) with her extra set of teeth. This is certainly what witches look like when their youth and beauty spells wear off.

For comparison, this is what we really look like:

As you can see, we are just two fabulous ladies wanting to smile for the camera. Not witchy. Not cyclopsy. Dare I say it, not even creepy!

Another iPhoneography trick I have discovered is what I like to call The Fivehead. I discovered it when I was taking a photo of the photo on my friend's license. ("Why were you doing that, Chalayn?" you ask. I don't know why I was, Reader.... I'm just weird. But that's not the point.) With a little tilt of the photo you can create a very severe camera angle which resulted in my friend's forehead expanding like a hot air balloon.

Suddenly my nice friend with a normal head and kind eyes looks not like himself, but more like a crazed, intense, baby-headed man.

To be fair, I had to give my passport photo the same treatment:

If aliens do exist, and they look like we have assumed with their disproportionately large brains and big, almond-shaped eyes, I hope they stumble upon my blog by googling "large-headed alien queen." Then they will gaze upon my bulbous noggin and will be satisfied; thus, choosing to spare my life while they laser beam all other earthlings. Mortals.

If that doesn't happen, then I challenge you, Tyra Banks, to teach me to smize because my passport photo is more America's Most Wanted than Next Top Model.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Junk Mail With Meaning


It's probably no secret, Reader, that it still hasn't sunk in that I'm a grown up. Isn't it still the year 2000?! Really though, the years are flying by and I'm still not sure what I'm doing with my life. (I'm probably not alone in those feelings though.) Typically I feel around the ripe ol' age of 23 - almost four years younger than my current age - but the other day a situation happened that made me wonder if I'm more of an awkward 12-year-old than I realized.

Like any mature 26.9 year-old, I went to the post office to mail a birthday present three days late to my best friend in London. (Or in English English, my best "mate".) I've sent her a few postcards and have had no hiccups, I've just slapped a stamp on it and it's good to go. Packages, I found out, are different. Yours truly, being of very little culture, has never mailed a package internationally before and didn't realize there is something called a "customs form" where I have to declare everything concealed in the small envelope. Oh, boy.

The postman handed me the form and I reluctantly began to fill it out. I thought about how he doesn't know me. He doesn't know my friend. He doesn't realize that there are specific meanings behind each item and that my mate in jolly old England was going to love them. And plus it all fit in a half-sized manila envelope. (Hey, postage is expensive!)

On the form I declared that I was shipping the following items 4,881 miles away:
2 chocolate bars
face wipes
With each pen stroke I felt more and more ridiculous. I mean, the postman and I both know there is chocolate in London but what he didn't know is that there's not this kind in Europe. And, yes, European stores sell lipstick but my friend's been searching for a lipstick juuuuust the right shade of dark purple.

Now the "face wipes". Can't really justify that one other than they are compact and I wasn't sure what else I should call sheets of paper that a beautiful lady uses to gracefully blot grease off her shiny forehead.

And the headband? Welllllll. At least I didn't have to write out "piece of an old shirt I cut to make a headband and then threw in to give the chocolate bars a little extra padding."

I slid the customs form across the counter to declare the junk that this 26-year-old woman was mailing to her professional, mature 27-year-old friend. I looked down trying to conceal my insecurities as the screen displayed the shipping option costs. "$54.79, $63.03, $45.38, $12.35" all flashed before my eyes.
Chalayn: I just want the cheapest thing.
Mailman: *nodded head knowingly with eyes wide*
Mailman: *sarcastically* Are you sure? *laughs*
Chalayn: Yeahhhhhhh... I didn't realize how silly it seemed until I had to write it all down and claim it to customs.
Mailman: How do you think I feel? I'm the one who has to type it all out.
Chalayn: *laughs while face turns bright red*
Mailman: *still laughing at me*
Chalayn: Yeah... I feel like a dork.
And like an awkward 12-year-old shipping "womanly" things to my pen-pal across the pond. The postman probably expects me to show up next month to declare I'm shipping my mate a box full of these goodies:
3 tampons
Bonne Bell Lipsmackers

zit cream
butterfly clips
Man. I feel like a woman.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bachelor Finale: No Quiero, El Bachelor.

I know this is old news but I'm hoping during its delay you have had plenty of time for reflection on love, like, and The Bachelor.

Alright, well, now that this season of the Bachelor is over, I regret to inform you of the prognosis for Juan Pablo Fever. Are you sitting down, Reader? I will wait........ I'm sorry... but it's terminal. It leads to a 3-hour, drawn out, painful death. Juan Pablo, the carrier of The Fever, is worse than we all thought!

The Finale:

Chris Harrison welcomed us all to the exciting finale, which was airing before a live! studio! audience! The opening montage set the tone for the whole episode: Juan Pablo was the villain.

The women were sobbing:

[all screenshots via]

And then the evil villain was revealed:

I'm the juan to make you cry.

Even his family thinks so. The plan for the episode was for the ladies to meet with his family in ay yi yi St. Lucia. Clare was first to meet his precious family and his cousin, Braces, was there too.

His family hugged Clare and were all friendly and welcoming.

Juan Pablo's mom and Clare went off to talk first. Juan Pablo's mom described him as "hyperactive", described his "honesty" as "rude", and talked about how he has often made her cry. Clare was "comforted" by this because it confirmed that she knows his personality well and she loves him even more for that. The live! studio! audience! members were not so impressed.

Open mouthed shock!

His cousin, Braces, is just as sweet as the rest of the family. He wanted to confirm that when things get tough and Juan Pablo is ready to walk away (because that's what he does when things aren't perfect) that she could stick it out. Again, this red flag was only a silver lining to Clare. Ay yi yi.

Juan Pablo's father and Clare have a lovely talk. He told Clare that he loved her! "Te quiero" he said, which was really sweet and surprising considering what is revealed later about Juan No Quiero.

Next up was Nikki meeting his family. Nikki sat down with his kind father and he gave her a fabulous recommendation of Juan Pablo. He described his son as "not an easy guy" and someone who always thinks he's right about everything. This doesn't shake Nikki's feelings for him because every little girl's dream is to marry a guy who is a difficult know-it-all.

She sits down with Juan Pablo's sweet mother next, who also gives her shining gems of knowledge about The Pabs. Nikki described what she thinks a typical Saturday with Juan Pablo would be like: they'd go to the park, spend time outside, maybe go to the zoo, just quality time. His mother let her know what it would really be like: wake up, eat breakfast, and watch TV. "That's it. He is very simple."

His cousin has similar questions for Nikki and wanted to know how she handles "lots of fighting" and Juan Pablo walking away when the relationship gets tough. She thinks fighting means there's passion and so they'll be fine. No red flags, only rose-colored glasses.

It's official: Juan Pablo Fever has now developed into a flaming, red rash rather than the slow, steady, sexy burn that it started out as.

After the commercial break, Juan Pablows and Clare hop on a Bachelor-approved helicopter. Which reminds me that this season has really lacked in scenic air transportation.

At this point they are both feeling good. Clare said this could be the last date before she gets "engaged!!!!" to her love and Juan Pablo has similar sentiments: "Clare's very sexy. She's hot, she's cute, her kisses mmmmmm ay yi yi."

On the helicopter there was a moment when there were no cameras, no mics, just Juan Yucko and Clare. In that intimate moment he whispered into Clare's ear and said something that made her feel like a piece of meat. And I'm not talking about the delicious barbecued meat that he ate on Nikki's hometown date - more like the clearance meat at Safeway.

Clare didn't want to repeat to the camera what Juan Pablo said but she pretty much did during the course of the episode. He said, "I feel like we don't know each other. I don't know you, you don't know me, but I love f***ing you." It was probably grosser than that though and more accenty.

But could it be worse than her shorts?

Clare doesn't want to be in another relationship that is just about S-E-X, so she needed to know if there's more to their relationship. If she wasn't the juan for him she was going to leave!

Juan Perverto went to her suite for the second half of their date. Clare didn't greet him with a kiss so he said "Besitos?" She denied him and the live! studio! audience! clapped. This is a good start (I thought)! Another lady might be sticking it to Juan Piggo and might actually walk out on him! Girl power!

Let's listen in on them:

Juan Besito: Not gonna give me besitos? Ok.
Clare: I want to talk to you.
Juan Nobesitos: Good. I'm good to hear you.
Clare: You could have said anything in the world to me - no mics, no cameras, no people. And what did you tell me?
Juan Repeato: Tell me. Tell me. Remind me what do you want to know. Tell me. Tell me.
Clare: You made a comment about something that happened in private.
Juan Privato: That's fine private two of us. That's great. That's fine private. Things that happen in private.
Clare: You told me that you don't know me at all.
Juan Strangero: You got me wrong. It's that you don't know me enough. I don't know you enough.
Clare: Enough for what?
Juan Necisito Besito: Is that why you didn't give me a kiss? Ok.

Clare's intuition was flashing DANGER! DANGER! but she couldn't see the bright lights because the longer they talked the more her Juan Pablo Fever caused myopia.

Honestly, it was really difficult to watch. She seemed strong but was quickly weakened by his words. He said some crap about how he's "just bein' honest" and how he "can't lie" and how "it's so hard" for him and "who met my family? who met Camila? who met my daughter?" (umm... Nikki did.) and how all that means he wants her there and she just melted into a big, desperate puddle.

They end up finishing the date with close contact, some ear rubs, and he pulled out his iPhone to play "their song" by Jodge Krachet. And then they share mucho besitos. Some might even just call them "besos" because there is nothing "ito" about them.

Everything was happy! Everything was okay! Well... not to Sharleeeeen in the bottom left.

So, yeah, "it's ok" even though his whole family warned her against him. It's okay that he said something vulgar to her about how he only likes her for her sex. It's okay because he fed her a Juan Crappo Sandwich and that was enough salve to ease the discomfort of her Juan Pablo Fever.

The next date was with Nurse Nikki. At this point I'm too shook up I can hardly watch these loca lovahs anymore. But I picked up a few things.... Nikki got some extra points on Juan Pablo's scoreboard because she gave him instant besitos and she was also only wearing a bikini which made it easier for Juan Pablo to "Make SURE a boob WON'T pop OUT."

When he sees her in her bikini he greets her with "look at youuuuu" and this creepy face wave:

Basically the whole date was Nikki telling the camera how she really needed reassurance that Juan Pabslow is in love with her. Because she's super in love with him. You know, because he's so lovable that even his family warns women against him.

Time to get those roots touched up, girl.

That night Nikki told him she loved him and he responded with.... kissing her forehead. Then her cheek. And then pauuuuuuuuse with the kiss on the cheek. And then kiss her some more. Then he said "See you tomorrow" and she walked him to the door while wiping tears from her eyes. He made out with her at the door and then I'm a goner. I'm just dead because I'm so overcome with Juan Pablo Fever and not in a good way. It just hurt.

Chris Harrison brings us back to the live! studio! audience! to announce that we are just "moments away from the dramatic conclusion" and I can't wait for this to end.

Okay, double time now... go go go! Juan Pabs has an engagement ring. Clare is so excited to get engaged to Juan Doesn't Love Her-o. Nurse Nikki just knows he's going to propose to her because who else could have a relationship as good as theirs? I don't know, but I certainly don't want one like it.

Now it's time for him to propose or not to propose. He waits for the ladies on Juan Pablo Fever Island and the first boat pulled up. Unfortunately this was not in double time because we had to see this for about 27 minutes:

Clare stepped out. She walked up to where Juan Pablo greeted her amongst a casual setting of palm fronds strewn about gracefully.

Beautiful Clare spoke first and confessed her love to him. He then said this: " are such an amazing woman ummmm... I wish the earth sucked me today because this is the hardest decision ever... I've been very honest since the beginning and at some point people gotta go home and I have to do what I think is best for me and I have to say goodbye to you." He went in for a hug because the earth didn't actually suck him today and Clare said talk to the hand:


She was upset because he could have told her sooner but he made her go through getting ready, riding on that windy boat that messed up her hair, and then made her stand there thinking he was going to propose. She said, "I lost respect for you. What you just made me go through... I would never want my children having a father like you."

Ouch. Way harsh, but kind of awesome.

He said, "Oooooo I'm glad I didn't pick her." because he doesn't want a woman who speaks her mind and then the live! studio! audience! booed and groaned.

Now the fairy tale princess, Nikki, gets to be with her Prince Charmingo. She told the camera "I want Juan Pablo to tell me he loves me. I want that so bad." She then confessed her love to Juan Pablo's face. He went into a speech about all the qualities she has that he "loves" and she smiles in anticipation of him saying those three magic words. He told her that he had an engagement ring in his pocket but he wasn't going to use it. Instead, this happened:

Juan Pablo: "I like you...

"...a lot."

A lot. He likes her a lot and then he winked. HE WINKED and made crazy eyes like he was pushing out a tough turd. It was so gross. So slimy! It made me shiver. A LOT.

He then handed her another stupid red rose instead of the 2 carat diamond ring he had in his pocket. She kept blinking and nodding her head and said "absolutely" while holding back tears. They made out and no one was happily ever after.

The episode ended without any Disney style dramatic romance music.

After the Final Rose:

On the After the Final Rose the happy couple came out. It was weird and awkward. Chris Harrison didn't attempt to hide any of his frustrations with Juan Pablo and Juan Pablo - after being asked about 12 times - would not say if he is in love with Nikki. He wouldn't answer Chris Harrison's standard After the Final Rose questions and instead stated that they were going to be "private" from that day forward. They were totally done with The Bachelor.

Just to be clear though, Nikki is still in love with Juan Pablo and, yes, he still likes her.

A lot.

She sat there in his arms like he was her captor and had instructed her to not let anyone know she was in danger or else he'd forbid her from getting her roots touched up again.

It was all very strange and uncomfortable and she kept looking down all sad. No one really understood what was going on with them, especially Chris Harrison. He wrapped things up by saying, "I'm gonna say congratulations... I hope that's the right thing to say... you guys have smiles... so... good on ya. Twelve years I've been doing this and I've never seen anything like this...

...Not gonna lie, I'm ready to move on." and then Chris Harrison announced that we are moving on to.......

Next season on The Bachelorette!

Andi is the Bachelorette. Duh.

The Assistant District Attorney who puts gang-bangers in jail is ready to find love! is hoping to find love! will potentially find love!!!! The man for her will have to be tough enough to handle her honesty and the fact that she works with gang members every day. A typical day for her is taking photos of graffiti and saying "This is just like 'Welcome to the gang!'"

"blooD JASK", "CRIP JASK", "BiLLy or Die" and "RIP POOH CURT" all mean "Welcome to the gang", apparently.

And she will hopefully! maybe! probably! be saying "This is just like 'Welcome to LOVE!" this May on ABC!!!!! Ay yi yiiiiiiii!