Help Me Figure Out The 30 Things I Need To Do Before Turning 30

Just to clarify: I’m 29, and in 10 months I’ll be 30.

I have always looked forward to turning 30. I had this idea in my head that turning 30 would mean that I’d enter a totally different stage of my life. Like, all of a sudden I wouldn’t be so clumsy, and I’d have my shit together, basically.

But I was talking to a friend the other day about turning 30, and much like me, she’s right on the cusp of it. When I mentioned that I was excited for the change, she said, “Really? Because I think that turning 30 is going to be exactly the same, except I’ll be 30.”

The problem is, she had a point. My 30th is only 10 months away and, really, why would that age make my life drastically different?

Turning 30Much like any other birthday, the only thing that truly changes is your age. And yet, I can look back at 25, 26, 27, and 28, and remember if it was a good year, or a bad year. I’d really like to make 29 a good year. So good that by the time I’m 30 I really do feel different.

There are a lot of “30 things to do before you turn 30” lists out there, and they have suggestions like travel, volunteer, write a book, etc etc. All of those are great things to do, but realistically, I probably won’t be able to backpack through Europe, and I wouldn’t really want to, at this point in my life. My thing is this: I’d actually like to make a to do list of what I should accomplish before 30 that are actually accomplishable. A list of 30 things to do before you leave your 20s, basically.

With the help of E, I came up with some things that I’ve always personally wanted to do, and I think I could get done in the next 10 months:

  1. Eat an entire cheese pizza all by myself in one sitting. This has been a goal of mine ever since watching Curly Sue do it as a kid.
  2. Finish writing the musical I’ve been working on, and have it put up in New York.
  3. Go on a totally spontaneous, spur of the moment weekend trip.
  4. Learn how to make sushi! Which is also a bucket list item of mine.
  5. Read Anna Karenina 
  6. Go camping/glamping, because I’ve ever been.
  7. Spend a day at a weird food festival, and don’t feel guilty about not doing any work that day. (Maybe the LA Street Food Fest?)
  8. Watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Because I’ve actually never seen it.
  9. Learn Italian. Or rather, begin to learn Italian. So, maybe a goal of 200 Italian words in 10 months?
  10. For the next 10 months, have some kind of dinner party with friends once a month.
  11. Finish decorating and painting our new apartment so that it feels complete. (E said, “I feel like a few more rugs would really tie the place together!”)
  12. Beat E in a game of chess. He’s really good.

I’d like to get this list up to 30, and I’m curious if anyone has suggestions? If you’re already 30 or older, what are some things you would have liked to have done? And if you’re under 30, what are some cool and realistic goals I could set over the next 10 months to make me a more well-rounded person? Help me turn 30!


Happy Caturday: The Weirdest Cat Video You’ll Ever See

Know what happens when I drink whiskey? I look up cat videos. So, last night my friend Tom came over (he lives downstairs, so coming over is literally just walking up the stairs), and we had some whiskey, which meant that the cat videos commenced.

I looked up this video I hadn’t seen since college, but I remembered that it involved men brushing their cats and saying”She’s a talker!” over and over again. All I have to say is: you’re welcome, and happy caturday.

Why Being Ladylike Is Overrated

Truth time: I swear a whole fucking lot. Like, all the time I’m dropping f bombs, and s bombs. Basically, if there’s a bomb to drop, then I’m letting it fly.

I don’t know exactly how I got this way. (SPOILER ALERT!) The only time I’ve ever heard my Mom swear was after I told my little brother that Santa didn’t exist. My Dad swears more frequently, to be fair, but certainly not at my level. So somewhere along the road of life, swearing just became a large part of my vocabulary. I don’t even realize that I’m doing it most of the time.

But the other month, we were out to dinner with some friends and one of them prefaced a sentence with, “Excuse my language” before saying the word “Shit.”

In that moment, I realized that I’d spent most of the evening dropping my usual bombs, and that this girl was likely offended by them, but too polite to say so, and that her prefacing the sentence was a subtle way to let me know that I needed to shut the fuck up.

So for the past month, I’ve been trying to watch my language. After all, I’m getting older and, I don’t know, I certainly don’t want to offend people. So I brought the idea up with E the other night, and here’s how that conversation went:

Me: I’m going to put a swear jar in the house somewhere, I think.

E: OK… why?

Me: Well, I swear a lot. You know? So, I was thinking of putting money into a jar every time I fucking swear, so that I, you know, stop doing that.

E: Why?

Me: Because I watched this BuzzFeed video about signs that being ladylike isn’t your forte, and they showed this girl cursing every other word, and I realized that’s ME. Like, I do that.

E: So what?

Me: Well, I mean, doesn’t it bother you?

E: No.

Me: Really?!

E: Yeah, I mean, I think being ladylike is overrated.

Me: Oh thank God, because I was really fucking worried that you were offended and I’d have to stop swearing and stop being, well, like myself.

E: Be yourself. I don’t ever want you to change.

Me (in my head): You are the best boyfriend ever, and thank the stars for you.

So, yes, I suppose the truth of the matter is that I am not ladylike. I curse a lot. And it’s part of who I am, and that’s OK. It’s great even. Don’t be afraid to let your un-ladylike flag fly, because while some people may poo-poo your potty mouth, there will absolutely be someone who loves you for being the offensive you that you are.

That was convoluted, but it’s nice to know that being ladylike is overrated, and I was really glad to hear E say it. Oh, and if you’re curious about that video, check it out below. (It’s basically my life story.)

Slow Cooker Magic: Honey and Soy Crockpot Chicken

Up until this point, I’ve used my crockpot exclusively for booze. I always thought, Someday, I’ll use you for food that isn’t liquid, and then promptly poured some wine and cinnamon in.

But over the weekend, I used it for actual food. Like, stuck some chicken and things in there and just let it sit. A few hours later, we had some seriously flavorful chicken. And putting it all in that pot to cook took me roughly 15 minutes. I’m a food crockpot convert!
Crockpot Chicken

I knew that we were going for a long hike on Saturday, and I also knew that we had to cook the chicken breasts in the fridge at some point. But I kind of wanted something to be ready for when we got back from hiking in Griffith Park. So, as I sipped my coffee, I started rummaging around in my cabinets. I didn’t have much, to be honest, but I did have an awful lot of soy sauce and honey. Luckily, I found some crockpot recipes that called for exactly those things, (plus a few things I didn’t have, but I improvised, and the results were pretty fab.)

I used two chicken breasts (about a pound), honey, soy sauce, red chili flakes, half of an onion, four diced garlic cloves, and dried basil leaves. That was it! That was all I needed! A lot of the recipes called for rice, to serve the chicken over, and I think that would be super yummy — especially since there’s a lot of soy/honey juice that you can drizzle over the rice. We didn’t have rice, however, so we used tortilla chips to sop everything up. Which also was a nice plain counterbalance to the super flavorful chicken.Slow Cooker Chicken
Here’s what you’ll need, and get ready for this to be ridiculously easy and yummy:

Crock-Pot Honey Soy Chicken:
  • 2 chicken breasts (though, if you want leftovers, use three, and no need to double the ingredients, there is seriously a lot of yummy juice to go around)
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 3 dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes
  • 1/2 of a large white onion, sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, diced
    Soy Chicken Slow Cooker
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, honey, and red chili flakes. Stir until well mixed.
  2. Slice and dice the onions and garlic in a separate bowl.
  3. Cut the chicken into medium cubed pieces.
  4. Pour the soy/honey mixture into the bottom of the crockpot first, then add the onion and garlic, followed by the cubed chicken pieces. Top it all off with the basil leaves.
  5. Combine all of the ingredients with a large spoon, and make sure each chicken piece is well coated.
  6. Turn the crockpot to low heat, and cook for 4-5 hours over low. The kitchen and your house will smell amazing, and when it’s time to take the lid off, you’ll see why!
  7. Serve the crockpot chicken over rice, or with chips (like we did.)

Happy Caturday: Here’s Fish Playing With A Spring

I haven’t taken as many videos and photos of Fish as I should, and that’s mainly because I’m usually too busy playing with her. She’s a year and a half, but it feels like she still has the energy of a kitten. She REALLY loves chasing things and subsequently sitting on them until she’s ready to chase again. I can’t imagine where she gets that from…

Blogging Is 20 Years Old, And Here’s A Vintage Post Of Mine To Celebrate

Did you know that blogging turned 20? It had a birthday. Which is kind of strange to think about. When I was 9, blogging started. And there are people younger than me who don’t even know what it’s like to live in a world without blogging. (Blasphemy!)

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that blogging changed my life. I started blogging in grad school, just on the side to build up a portfolio so that I could get freelance jobs and make extra money. And now I work at BuzzFeed, in large part thanks to my blogging jobs.

My first blog was called La Rosa Knows. I don’t know why I named it that, it just seemed appropriate, and it became a bit of an identity for me. People who knew me and my blog would say, LA ROSA KNOWS!, if I said something funny. It made me feel so proud of that blog, which started in 2009. I blogged about stuff I found funny, traveling through Utah to chase polygamists, and cats, of course.

Erin Circa 2010

This is a photo of me that I put on my blog in 2010. I was a big fan of selfies and the photobooth app.

Side of Ginger came about because I felt that I’d moved into a different phase of my life, and wanted to be able to reflect that through my blog. But in honor of blogging’s 20th birthday, I wanted to share an old post of mine from 2010. (I would’ve done one from 2009, but a lot of my old posts were eaten when I switched from blogger to Tumblr, sadly.)

So, without further ado: Here’s a post I wrote in 2010, when I briefly flirted with the idea of taking Spanish classes…

Beginner Level 1

I decided that since I have the summer off, and I “love to learn” that I would take some language classes to brush up on my skillz. First I called my mom to tell her about my idea, and she asked me what language I’d be focusing on. I threw out some ideas, “Well, I was thinking French or Italian because those are really hip…” to which my mother replied “Who do you know that you’ll be able to speak those with? People speak Spanish here. Take Spanish.” Obviously this was not the response I was looking for. I wanted her to say, “French, why, they speak that in France! You should move there for a year and eat baguettes and ride a bike and write novels while drinking wine!”

But the thing is, she had a point. I took Spanish all throughout middle and high school. When we went on a family trip to Barcelona I was the one who ended up ordering tapas at dinner and asking directions from the locals in their native tongue. That trip was three years ago. I now live in Los Angeles and plenty of people speak Spanish here. I’m from Florida, where most of the billboards and store clerks are purely conversing in Spanish at this point. I should know Spanish, and a brush up course would be helpful.

So, I put a call into the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute. A nice woman named Eva with a slight accent answered, and once I informed her that I had taken Spanish and was essentially not a beginner she proceeded to ask me some questions.

“How do you say ‘I have a dog’?”

“That would be ‘Yo tengo un perro.’”

“Very good, and how about ‘I left the book on the table.’”

“Oh, huh, well, okay now let’s see… I know the words for book ‘libro’ and table ‘la mesa’ but I cant really…”

“Okay, not a problem! How about we conjugate a bit, how do you say ‘I am.’”

“Yo soy.”

“Good, and now ‘They are.’”

“Eeee, yikes, um… not totally remembering now…”

(Eva laughing slightly) “We’ll move on, let’s try ‘We are.’”

“Yup, not gonna happen.”

(Eva really laughing) “I think let’s start at beginner’s level for now, and if you get bored we’ll move you up. Okay?”

And so it seems my eight plus years of Spanish have completely failed me. If I had any knowledge of how to conjugate verbs, that apparently scrammed out the door immediately after our trip to Spain. I can tell you I have a dog, but ask me to say ‘They have a dog’ and you’ve lost me.

I start my beginner Spanish class when I get back from my vacation in Florida. It will meet once a week and I have to buy a textbook for it. My hopes are that I will be the brightest in the class… We’ll see how that goes.

Our First Week With Fish The Cat, And That Time She Pooped Everywhere

Here’s a conversation I had with E the other night over a large glass of wine:

Me: Hey, remember when we didn’t have a cat?

E: No.

Me: Me neither.

It’s only been a week with Fish, but it feels like she’s been here forever. And I mean that in the best way possible. Here’s how the week has gone…

Fish and E

Day 1: A woman from the adoption center comes to our house to make sure it’s cat friendly. E and I nervously fidget while trying to hide all of that anti-cat propaganda we secretly have. After roughly three minutes have passed, we sign a contract saying that we’ll be taking Fish home, and she leaves. HOORAY! ALL IS GOOD IN THE WORLD!

We get the OK to pick up Fish that day, so I run to Petco to pick up a litterbox, litter, and a totally unnecessary amount of cat food, which prompts the checkout boy to ask, “How many cats do you have?” To which I’m forced to reply, “Just one.” Humiliating.

Then I head to the shelter to pick up Fish. When I walk in, I see this actress who I recognize from The Newsroom and more importantly, from that one time when she tweeted a topless photo of herself. Alison Pill apparently volunteers at the shelter… and she clapped when she heard that I was adopting Fish. Everyone loves Fish. Even nice actresses with Twitter accounts.

So, I take Fish out of her little cage, and ever so gently nudge her into the cat carrier that I also bought at Petco. She doesn’t like it, and basically spends most of the car ride home mewing about it. But IT’S OK! BECAUSE SHE’S COMING HOME! HOORAY!

That first day at our house, she didn’t nap. Or sleep. She ate a little, and mostly went from room to room, trying to sort out if there were other cats hiding somewhere. She was edgy, (and rightfully so), but she also sat with us, and purred a lot, to basically say, I’m terrified, but let’s be friends! She ended up sleeping on our bed that night too, which was pretty freaking adorable.

Pensive Fish

DAY 2: It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and we’re cooking up a lot of food. And Fish wants to help, or eat it all, or both, so we spend the day training her not to go on the kitchen table, or the kitchen countertops. She seems to be understanding that going on those places means we’ll pick her up and say, “No!” And she doesn’t like the word “No.”

Day 3: I go to work, and E is home with Fish. We’re both a bit concerned, because Fish’s eyes have been twitching every few minutes, to a point where it almost looks like her eyes are shaking. The woman from the adoption center tells us that this often happens in Siamese breeds and it could be nothing, OR it could be a tumor. Because I’m a pessimist, my mind immediately goes for the worst possible scenario, and I make an appointment for Fish to go to the vet later in the week. I spend a lot of the day googling Cat Shaky eyes. Nothing good comes of it.

When I get home from work, Fish is sitting in E’s lap and loving life. It’s pretty adorable. It occurs to me that if Fish does have a tumor, I might actually drain my savings to get her whatever treatment’s necessary. E and I have a talk about what we’ll do if it comes to that, and it kind of broke my heart to think about.

Day 4: Fish has now learned that if she doesn’t jump on the countertops, she gets a treat. So whenever we go into the kitchen, she follows and dutifully waits to be rewarded for her good behavior. Meaning that she equates the kitchen with treats. We figure out that Fish is possibly too smart for her own good, and we are possibly not smart enough.

Day 5: I have to go to work, and since E is working from home, he takes Fish to the vet. It’s a really stressful morning, because I assume we’re going to find out she has a tumor, and am basically preparing for that. I text him all throughout the visit, and he says that she hates the carrier, the vet, and him for bringing her there.

About an hour later, we find out that Fish doesn’t have a tumor. Her eyes are twitchy, like other Siamese cats. And we don’t have to worry about that. But she does need a rabies shot, as it’s the law. So E and Fish leave the vet with a rabies shot and a big case of flea medication. It is a good day.

Day 6: Fish is sick from her rabies shot. She won’t eat. She didn’t sleep in our room the night before. She has a fever, or what we assume is a fever, because her fur is oddly warm to the touch. She doesn’t leave her cat bed the whole day, and we both feel like terrible cat parents. Why did we take her to the vet?! Will she ever be the same?! WE ARE BAD PEOPLE.

Fish High

Day 7: The rabies shot wears off, and Fish has returned to her old self. She experiences catnip for the first time (see photo above), and stares off in some kind of drunken cat stupor for a solid hour.

Then we go out to dinner with friends and brag about what an amazing cat she is. We’re proud kitty parents, and it feels good to have kept her alive for a full week (minus a few hiccups).

When we come home, the place smells undeniably of cat poop. Just a big wave of it when we opened the door. Then we see brown cat paw prints that lead to Fish’s litterbox. Turns out, while we were out to dinner, Fish relieved herself, stepped in that relief, and proceeded to flaunt it all over the apartment.

So, needless to say, we’re getting rid of Fish.


Just kidding! We love her so much that we stayed up till 2 a.m. cleaning the poop floors, dumping out her litterbox, and airing the place out.

Day 8: We buy Fish new litter, because we’re convinced this Feline Pine mess isn’t cutting it. So far, no cat poop paws to be seen.

Happy Caturday: Creeper Edition

I really love creepy cats. I do. I can’t help it, they just speak to a level of creep that I can appreciate.

I hope everyone’s Saturday is as creep-tastic as this dude’s. (I seriously re-watched this a solid 5 times. 10 times. Whatever.)

My Man E’s Life Is About To Change

If I had a nickel for all of the life changes that happened this week, I’d have two nickels. Because this week not only gave us a cat, but it also gave E a new job.

For the past year, E has been a staff writer for Teen Wolf on MTV, which was a lot of fun. (I got to be a hanger-on and go to viewing parties, premiere parties, and well, lots of parties, basically.)

But a pilot that he sold to the CW is now being ordered to pilot, and now that will be his full-time gig. (!!!)

E's pilot newsGetting a pilot order is kind of nuts, to be honest. Basically, the CW buys some pilot scripts, then they read those scripts and decide which one they’re going to film. Once they film it, they decide if it will actually go to air. And if it does go to air, that’s when the public gets to watch it. So, right now E is in the “WE’RE GOING TO FILM IT!!!” stage.

But there are so many steps in between all that. Like right now E is figuring out who will direct the pilot. Then he has to help find a casting person, and when they have one, they’ll start filling the roles on the pilot. And the list of things to do goes on for a good long while.

E will be a co-executive producer, which means that he’s important enough that he’ll be privy to most, if not all, of the small details that go into making a pilot. His last day on Teen Wolf was yesterday, and now he’s gearing up for about two months of non-stop work. It’s really exciting. And kind of nuts. But mostly, it’s just plain exciting.

Fish the CatAs for what Fish thinks of E’s new gig, when E got the news he texted me this picture of Fish. “Kitty is not impressed,” he said.

Typical fish.