Monday Dare (and giveaway!): Rich People Ambitions

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Get outta here

As a kid, I wanted to lead the life of the rich, but not the Richie Rich kind of wealth. A robot maid and an amusement park in the backyard would have helped my popularity at school, but as the daughter of a mechanic and a stay-at-home mom, I knew I had to Keep It Real and bring it down a notch. I decided my two Rich Indicators would be a Marithe+Francoise Girbaud shirt and a trip to Europe.

Surprisingly, the first goal turned out to be easy. During after-school pickup one day, I pointed to a few kids who were already styling in Girbaud gear, and BAM, just a week later, I was the proud owner of not one, but TWO Girbaud items- a sweatshirt and a t-shirt. Turns out, both were conterfeits that my mom had picked up at a swap meet, but I still wore them around. Every day. Proudly.

When I broached the subject of Europe at the dinner table, my parents didn’t say “no” immediately. I took this as a promising sign. Instead, they insisted that I get specific about which country I wanted to visit. I picked Italy because my teacher, Mrs. Moulton, made such a big to-do about it being shaped like a boot. Her hype twisted my tiny little brain into believing that Italy was THE place to go.

For weeks, I was a one-person Italian Vacation Campaign. I sent away for free brochures and looked up facts about the country in the Britannica-wannabe encyclopedia from Sam’s Club that I got as a gift one Christmas.

I refused to eat Domino’s pizza or canned SpaghettiO’s because I didn’t want to dirty my palate with imitations when I knew the real thing was awaiting me.

After two months of looking through brochures that I had painstakingly highlighted and listening to me recite the Italian national anthem, Il Canto degli Italiani, my parents shattered my dream. “It wasn’t in the budget this year,” they said, but they wanted to make it up to me by going to a place that was almost as good as the real thing.

I closed my eyes during the car ride because I wanted the experience of Almost Italy to hit me all at once. Twenty minutes later, I heard the engine shut off, and my mother gingerly guided me out of the car.

We were in front of an Olive Garden.

Maybe this is where I’m supposed to tell you that it was a big disappointment and that I filed for legal emancipation soon afterwards. Just the opposite. That place was fucking magical. I had never been to Olive Garden before, and when they brought out the chilled plates for the salad, I nearly died. It was the gold standard for good living for the rest of my pre-adult years. I even celebrated my Sweet Sixteenth birthday at OG with my family.

Cal is now the same age I was when I first experienced high living, and I want to pass it on. Unfortunately, I spoiled her, and she’s already familiar with the unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks.

So I’ve decided to take her to Europe for several weeks instead. We leave this week for multiple stops in Germany and then Paris. Cal has diligently been looking up practical German phrases and working her French Rosetta Stone like a boss. I only know two German words- Volkswagen and Wienerschnitzel. The only thing I know how to say in French is “Why is the butter so expensive?” If Cal and I get separated, I’m fucked.

I would be grateful for your guidance. If you have any tips on how to travel smart (including jet lag tips, packing tips, and any other general travel tips), or places around Frankfurt and Paris that are a must-see, please DO share.

GIVEAWAY TIME, Y’ALL

When Dallas of Miro Notebooks first reached out to me, I was all “No thanks, thug, I don’t really do giveaways.” But Dallas sent a handsomely generous package my way, no strings attached. And I fell in love. The notebooks are not only functional, but also beautiful and sleek. And since I can’t keep good shit like this all to myself, I want you to have them. (P.S. The Journal Series is so popular, they are currently sold out. And they are part of the giveaway!)

Just leave a comment below, along with your travel tip, and you’ll be entered into the giveaway. I’ll announce the winner in next week’s Monday Dare.
Want to get the latest word on my European trip debacle? I’ll be posting updates on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page. “Like” the page and you’ll be the first to know if I end up in a European jail. If they have Internet access in jail. And they let me keep my phone.
first image via pinterest

Monday Dare: Ugh Life

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Let go of grudges

I can explain. Just hear me out…

If you ever have to start a conversation this way, there’s a good chance you’re in some deep shit. I know from personal experience because I have to start AT LEAST one conversation a day with this introduction. The people who put up with me on a regular basis go right into Oh Dear God What Has She Done Now mode. Maybe it’s from years of conditioning. Or maybe the people I know are just narrow-minded assholes. If I’m being honest, it’s probably the former, but guess what? I lie to myself a lot, so to me, it’s always option numero dos.

I’m fucking awesome at holding a grudge. If it was a marketable skill, I would be wading knee deep in large bills. Or maybe chest deep since I’m vertically-challenged. It’s probably for the best that holding grudges isn’t a usable workplace skill because then I would become TOO rich and turn into one of those disillusioned katrillionaires who blows all of her money on strip clubs and bundt cake. Side note: Why don’t they sell bundt cake at strip clubs? Degenerates get hungry too, you know.

I have a mental shit list. I pencil people in for a variety of offenses. Some are bigger crimes. Others, not so much. When I run into these people again, I tend to err on the side of acting like an animal rather than conducting myself in the ladylike manner you’ve come to know and love over the course of our friendship.

Back in the day, I had an unfortunate encounter with a man who didn’t think I met the basic requirements for dating his best friend. I wasn’t pretty enough. I wasn’t smart enough. And I was too wild for his tastes. He shared his views with anyone who would listen, including me. Luckily, I didn’t date his best friend for long, and I didn’t see him again after that. Until recently.

We crossed paths in a seedy bar. Instead of going about my business like a non-grudge-holding person might do, I made eye contact. And maybe a hand gesture. He returned the favor.

I can explain. Just hear me out…

Apparently, pushing people in the face is not the proper way to deal with angst, but I don’t know who came up with such asinine rules. I did it because, well, fuck that shit, sometimes words aren’t enough to express an emotion.  If I wasn’t so refined, I would have used a fist. Instead, I used my open palm. What we need to focus on here in my restraint.

We were asked to leave. And by “asked to leave,” I mean we were forcibly shown the door.

Once outside, he did something I could never have anticipated. He apologized. I totally believed that he was sorry. So I apologized. And then, because any situation in my life has to get weirder before it gets better, we hugged it out.

I’ve seen him out and about a few times since our Thug Hug. I don’t think we’ll ever be bosom buddies, but this encounter has made me realize that holding a grudge and being angry takes up a lot of goddamn space in my soul.

This week, I will try to remember this:

Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future. -my homeboy, Deepak Chopra

Are you a grudge-holder? What makes you hold on? And how do you let go?

P.S. I’m working on a new piece for Huffington Post. If you want to get the first word on the street when it drops, click this link for my Huffington Post profile and then the Facebook “Like” under “Get updates from Elizabeth Jayne Liu.” You’ll get a notification in your news feed when it goes up.
image via pinterest

Monday Dare: Cha-ching, bitches

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the full list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Don’t lose my shirt by trying to save some dough.

I like to save money. I also like to spend money. So I guess those two things cancel each other out. Probably not evenly since I spend a lot more money than I manage to save, but what is it those wise people say about progress? The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

I’ve also heard people say Everything happens for a reason. But sometimes things happen because you’re stupid and make bad choices.

When I try to save money by clipping coupons, both adages run through my head simultaneously. It gets confusing at times because the words tend to mesh together, and I’m left with a single quote that makes no sense.

A while back, I decided to start saving money by clipping coupons. It seemed like a smart move. Who doesn’t want to take home TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF GROCERIES FOR A MERE THIRTY SEVEN CENTS?

Because I’m all about committing fully to a new endeavor, I decided to do this coupon clipping The Right Way. Stuff all my coupons in a miniature accordion folder from the Dollar Store? Oh, no ma’am, that’s not the way sanity works in this house. I invested $24.99 for a deluxe coupon binder with a velcro closure. And another $18.58 for see-through storage pages with special coupon-sized vertical compartments. Then another $18.58 for pages with HORIZONTAL compartments. I mean, really, can I be bothered to tilt my head forty-five degrees to read the wording on a coupon when I can BAM have everything in a quick and easy-to-read layout?

Upon receipt of the velcro binder, I felt it needed a personalized touch. So I wrote CHA-CHING, BITCH in large block letters on the cover with a black Sharpie. I admired my handiwork for a whole afternoon before it dawned on me that, since I’m Asian, the phrase looked kind of racist, especially if you didn’t notice the comma right away. I spent a good eight minutes coloring in most of the cover with the same Sharpie. Side note: That Sharpie smell is motherfucking strong. I think I got high a little bit.

I spent a whole afternoon carefully perusing the Sunday newspaper for deals and steals. It was fun at first, deciding which categories I should place each coupon, cut to perfection with a heavy-duty paper trimmer (another $26.00). After fifteen minutes, I got tired and started stuffing everything in the “Non-Perishable Boxed Groceries” section.

By the time I actually made my way to the store, my eyes hurt from the strain of reading so much goddamn fine print, my senses were still a little dull from the Sharpie high, and my coupons were a mess because everything was in one section.

I saved a grand total of seven dollars. Well, actually, it was more like $6.75, but I’m rounding because I think I deserve that much.

Clearly, I’m doing this all wrong. But I’m willing to give it another go because my initial investment of $88.15 for the supplies still haunts me at night.

Do you clip coupons? Any tips, tricks, or secrets of the trade? Or…coupon horror stories? I suspect there are some out there.

P.S. Do you Facebook? Me too. Let’s get all friendly and shit on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page.
image via blueq.com