I’m still here.

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I made a list of goals the other day (hahahahah). The list includes both professional and personal goals. A few of my goals: learn a new skill (self defense? speed reading? drinking in moderation?), support a cause and volunteer, and of course, a health-related goal. Mine is to eat more pizza. A goal that I set that is both professional and personal is to write more, and to post on this blog at least once a week. Considering my track record of posting, this is a highly ambitious undertaking. I think I’ve posted a total of 20 times since starting this blog a year ago. My plan is to replace the one hour I spend surfing the web/looking at pictures of cats with writing. This way I can keep you guys updated on the progress or complete lack of progress toward my goals. Goals is such a weird word…it rhymes with moles…moles are gross. Sorry if you have moles.

In other unrelated news, I spent my Saturday night watching what could be the dummest movie I have ever seen. I spell dumbest incorrectly because that’s how truly staggeringly dumb it was. The movie is called Bad Words and stars Jason Bateman and a little Indian boy who’s high-pitched voice makes me want to punch a baby. The storyline is as inspiring as a Paris Hilton song and the screenplay is worthy of 89 Razzies: one for every minute I spent watching it. So unless you’re a masochist, save yourself from immense cinematic pain and do not watch this movie. And that’s my tip of the day.

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XTINA MISTAKES goes intercontinental

Last Sunday I returned from one of the most – if not the most – unforgettable trips of my life, to one of the most historic cities in the world. Of course I’m talking about Beijing, birthplace of celebrated basketball star, Yao Ming and home to 11.5 million people. Prior to the trip, my knowledge of the Chinese culture did not extend far beyond cuisine and the fact that there were magical places where designer goods could be acquired at a small fraction of the price. I know more now. (Mostly more about cuisine if I’m being completely honest). Much like my life in the states, each day was planned around where and when we’d be eating our next meal. I ate a lot of traditional Chinese food, which included everything from peking duck, a famous duck dish that has been prepared since the imperial era, to bamboo shoots and dumplings. And of course, every meal was concluded with RICE! Did you know that the rice is usually served at the end for people who are still hungry (aka me)? One of the greatest challenges of the trip was using chopsticks. If American restaurants replaced silverware with chopsticks there would be an uprising. Americans are some of the most ambitious people on earth (I see you Steve Jobs), but when it comes to food, we don’t waste any time.

This was my first time in Asia, so now I can say I’ve been to 4 of the 7 continents. Can you say “cultured betch?” No, wait, don’t. I just said that out loud and now I want to throw up. I went with my immediate family (Mom, Dad, Robbie, Erik) and we stayed with my aunt and uncle who have lived there with their two boys for almost three years now. It was cool to see how they’ve made a life in Beijing – new friends (all fellow expats), new language (my aunt can speak the language! The language is mandarin and it’s pretty much like trying to speak Dothrake but even harder).

I took a lot of pictures (and an unhealthy amount of selfies). I’ll spare you the history lesson behind each sight, mostly because I will completely botch the stories. The history behind the construction of The Great Wall of China in Mutianyu is pretty spectacular….1 million people perished during the construction of this prodigious world wonder. Pictures don’t do it justice. Climbing the wall was definitely the highlight of the trip. We spent one day hiking on our own up to the “Wild Wall” which is the unrestored part of the wall. If you ever get the chance to visit, I would highly recommend it.

The one main downfall of China is the pollution. A good day for China air is four times worse than what the air is like in L.A on a bad day. That’s why the people wear the masks. You can literally feel it in your lungs.That’s why the people wear the masks. Breathing in the air in China is equivalent to smoking a cigarette. So while I’m glad I went to China, I think it may have shaved a few days off my life. The smog of the pollution really took a toll on my pictures – not even the kelvin filter could save them.

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Marijuana almost killed me

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I was in the seventh grade when I won the highly coveted and prestigious D.A.R.E essay award. Depending on who you ask, D.A.R.E stands for either “Drugs Are Recreational Enjoyment” OR the less probable “Drugs Abuse Resistance Education.” When my name (“Christina Lundon”) was announced my heart dropped. The first thing I thought was “Why on this day did I choose to wear this disgusting camo tank top?” Unfortunately I didn’t have time for a wardrobe change, so I strutted down the aisle, accepting some congratulatory high-fives from some of my adoring classmates before making my way up to the podium. As if the glory of winning wasn’t enough, they also presented me with a basket of goodies, which included D.A.R.E swag like bumper stickers, key chains and a t-shirt. Then I proceeded to read my essay out loud. It was one of my proudest moments. At that moment I was sure that nothing would ever compare to the natural high I was feeling as I explained the long term side-effects of hallucinogens and carcinogens (they’re not good if you were wondering). Everything was going great until I remembered the cringe-worthy statement I put in the closing paragraph: “Thank you Officer W for teaching us about drugs and alcohol and the negative impact it can have on our lives. I think I speak for all of my classmates when I say that the D.A.R.E unit is incredibly informative, and your dedication to your job and service to the community is admirable. You are an inspiration to us all.” Two words come to mind when I reread this: social. suicide. So as I neared the final paragraph of my essay I considered the severe consequences that reading this final statement could reap. For one, my reputation as a “chill seventh grader” would be tarnished, and I would forever be known as the brown-noser who idolized our butch, uptight, fun-sucking D.A.R.E instructor. Not to mention, my friends would shun me. I imagined that the most ruthless bunch of my classmates would take the ridicule a step further by printing several hundred pictures of Officer Williams and covering every inch of my locker with them. Thankfully, I stopped reading right before the final paragraph. Officer Williams was probably like: “WHY DIDN’T SHE READ HER DEDICATION TO ME? THAT WAS THE SOLE REASON WE PICKED HER ESSAY.” Sorry Officer Powell…

In 1996 my high school was the subject of an article in Time Magazine which discussed the spike in casual drug use among our nation’s youth population. The story was titled “High Times at New Trier High.” New Trier became widely known as a school where the grades are high, and the students are higher. This reputation continued to flourish like a beautiful weed plant into the new millennium. Weed could  be found everywhere – parties, sporting events,  and even on school grounds (gasp). The G stairwell was the designated weed-smoking/other unmentionable activities stairwell. It was rumored that you could get high by simply inhaling deeply in that stairwell. There were two breeds of smokers at NT: smart stoners and not-so-smart stoners. The smart ones knew how to hide it, while the stereotypical stoners would slump into class five to ten minutes late with bloodshot eyes and a sheepish grin. One time a kid came to class with a pint of Homer’s ice cream. He was subsequently asked to leave. I didn’t smoke much weed in high school, but I will never forget the first time I ever got high. Cue dream sequence…

The first time I ever truly got high (I’m talking higher than outserspace) was sometime in the warmer months of Junior year, so sometime in either May, June, July, August or September. The place was my friend’s outdoor room, which we called “The Hut.” It was basically an adult tree house, but instead of being in a tree, the trees were the thing being burned. The Hut was a stoner’s oasis – it had music, lights, a ceiling fan and comfy furniture. I have so many great memories in that hut, but none quite as memorable as the first time I got super duper high. I took maybe five hits. Everyone else was enjoying themselves and giggling like a bunch of idiots; however, my brain decided that now would be the perfect time for a full-blown anxiety attack. I started hyperventilating, and hysterically cried to my friend Em to get me to a f***ing hospital. At first she laughed at me, but then once she realized I was serious she sat down next to me and started rubbing my back. This helped a little, but my heart was still beating out of my chest and my lungs still burned. I started picking at the burn on my thumb to distract myself. I ended up peeling a lot of dead skin off my thumb. It took weeks to heal. After 20 minutes of thinking I was going to die of a marijuana overdose, I calmed myself down and experienced what it is to be “stoned out of your mind.” The Christmas lights on the ceiling dazzled me in ways I never thought possible. Everything anyone said was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. Time seemed to slow down. I went home that night and ate three ice cream sandwiches before going to bed, as I usually do. But on this night the ice cream tasted so unbelievable I wept real tears of happiness. In conclusion, I support the legalization of marijuana.

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The Mistakes I Made in 2013

So I wrote a marginally decent 500 word introductory paragraph for this post, but WordPress failed on me and did not save my work, so f*** it. It was pretty sentimental for me and went something like “2013 flew by yada yada…I had such a great year yada yada…I am so excited to see what 2014 has in store for me…etc etc.” But real talk, from the bottom of my heart, thanks a million for following this really random and crude blog of mine. Your words of encouragement keep me motivated, and as a 23-year-old who often opts out of sleeping under the covers just to avoid the simple task of making the bed in the morning, I need all the motivation I can get. So for my final post of 2013 I thought I’d do a count down of the top five XTINA MISTAKES of 2013. Originally it was going to be ten, but I ran out of ideas. And it’s actually four because one of these is a lie. Deal with it.

5. I bought a super stylish peacoat from The Gap and within 12 hours I lost it. I think I left it in a cab or something…I hope the cab driver wrapped it up and gave it to his wife so that at least someone is enjoying it. I bought the same exact coat the next day to avoid an ass whooping from my mom. A costly mistake…and more proof that I still do not have my shit together in the slightest. UPDATE: Mom read this post and now knows about my lost peacoat. She is not pleased with me.

4. I gave my phone number to an Uber driver. One of my resolutions for this year is to give my number out less and workout more. I thought Uber drivers set the bar for what it means to be a professional chauffeur, but this driver thought that my spelling his weird foreign name correctly (it was on my receipt) made us best friends who ask each other things like “what’s going on in your world?” Oh and he was fired the next day and was venting to me about it. And here I am like “Leszek, take control of your life.” *said in Bane voice*

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3. I met Dirt Nasty at a Lollapalooza Pre-party (shout out to Johnny Schroeder for the pass). The first thing I said to him was that I loved his Vine videos…that’s like meeting Beyonce and telling her how great she was in Goldmember. He’s done so much great work throughout his career, from soft core porn to music and movies. I loved him in Scary Movie 3 and his song 1980 is a classic.

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2. Most of you don’t know that I have a small tattoo of a beautiful butterfly my lower back. It represents all the changes I went through in college, which includes gaining weight and finding my true self. Getting this tattoo tops my list of “acts of rebellion” right in front of getting a double pierce at Claires. It hurt like a motherflipper, but it’s a hit with the boys. My parents still have no idea so let’s keep this on the DL for now. UPDATE: Parents found out and kicked me out of the house. You can find me at the Best Western in Evanston right across from Nevins.

1. (This is more of a highlight than a mistake, but I think it deserves spot on this list) One of my favorite holiday traditions is the annual holiday photo shoot I do with my two girlfriends, Em and Abby. Every year we go to a “professional photography studio” and get a full-out Christmas themed photo shoot, complete with an ethereal snowflake backdrop and 80s Christmas sweaters. This year we even had Em’s cat make an appearance in some of the photos. They turned out beautifully.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! I HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS 2014!

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“He could have been the one.”

Don’t get me wrong, living with my parents definitely has it’s perks: home-cooked meals, premium cable channels, free rent, my dog…but when you live with my parents it’s pretty much like being back in high school but with a relaxed curfew, casual drinking in the house, and much more talk about the future, my career, and my love life (or lack-there-of).

When I first came home after graduating I was in heaven. Fast forward to four months later and not a day goes by where the thought of being on my own doesn’t cross my mind at least once. What triggers these thoughts? Most of the time it’s my dad yelling at me for no real reason…like the other day he yelled at me for incorrectly putting my dish in the dishwasher…yes, there is a wrong way. He’s also obsessed with health and fitness. If I had a dollar for every time he mentioned the word protein or Crossfit in the last month I’d have a stack about the size of a grande late from ‘bux.

One thing that I really miss about college is the freedom to bring home a new boy* every weekend. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is frowned upon at my house. If there were a “Ten Commandments of Living at Home” the first would be “Thou shall not bring home strange men.” I learned this the hard way one mid-summer night when I brought home a new friend after a night out at the bars. This story will follow me for the rest of my adult life, so why not share it with everyone? Like most embarrassing acts committed in my early adulthood years, this one involved alcohol, and a lot of it. I think I’m going to need a drink just to get through retelling this story.

*pizza

The night started out innocent and fun. My friend’s friend’s friend has connections at Sub51 (please excuse the name dropping) and was able to get  us a table and bottle which was an awesomely pretentious, but fun way to lead the night. After a couple drinks we decided to leave behind the loud music and Euro-esque nightclub atmosphere of Sub51 and make our way to local hotspot, John Barleycorn. This is where the night takes a sharp turn and my drinking goes from moderate to excessive. I’m standing at the bar with some friends and in walks an old fling. He’s with a blonde chick, who I immediately peg as the type who probably douses herself in “baby girl” perfume like Britney Spears’ Curious or Escada, calls her Dad “Daddy”, her instagram consists of average pictures of her cat, selfies, and selfies with her cat and other repugnant things of that nature. So when this happened I did what every smart girl would do: drink more. This lead to boring, and from what I can remember, soul-crushingly dumb conversation with some random guy who was friends with some of my guy friends. I know for a fact that the conversation was dumb because when he said he was from Minnetonka I immediately brought up Minnetonka moccasins and that’s about as deep as the conversation got…so as far as intellectually stimulating conversations go, we’re at about a 3, which was probably only slightly higher than my BAC level at the time.

Nothing about this picture reflects the night, besides the fact that it was taken at a bar.

Nothing about this picture reflects the night, except the fact that it was taken at a bar.

When we stumbled out of the bar, hand in hand, clearly in love, I had a choice to make: leave with my dignity still partially intact OR do I fight my inner voice of reason and do something in completely wreckless and out of character…obviously I chose to do the later; after all, I am the girl who has a blog about making mistakes. I decided to invite him back to “my place” aka my childhood home owned by my parents. We took a cab all the way back to my house 20 miles north of the city…a long enough ride for me to sober up and realize how bad of an idea this was. The whole cab ride I was trying to remember his name – he’d told me several times and each time I forgot it immediately after. When we arrived at my house I directed him to the basement (this is starting to sound creepy) and told him to stay there while I went upstairs to check in with my parents. My dad asked me who else was home and I slurred “no one, go to sleep dad.” He knew I was lying by the high-pitched inflection in my voice. I was screwed. Everything that happened after is a bit of a blur (I’d rather not remember/I don’t remember), but my mom said that she went downstairs and found my friend hiding in a closet. I tried to reason with them, making some ludicrous arguments like “it’s not a big deal, he just needs a place to sleep,” and I definitely tried to appeal to the fact that he went to my parent’s alma mater (University of Colorado) AND that he also hailed from the great state of Minnesota, which is also where my Dad is from. This guy could have been a the Prince of Monaco – it didn’t matter who he was because to my dad he was the enemy.

Would I ever see him again? Probably, and maybe we’d share a laugh over this…or maybe he wouldn’t find this at all funny (Update: we’ve both decided to pretend it never happened). My mom told me the next morning that the last thing I said before storming angrily up the stairs was “HE COULD HAVE BEEN THE ONE AND YOU SCARED HIM AWAY.” And that about sums it up.

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Reflecting on Undergrad: Coding and Bullshitting

My college diploma. For one piece on paper, it sure carries a lot of meaning. It’s a symbol of possibility and opportunity, among other things – while also serving as a quiet reminder of my current situation as a 22 –  almost 23 year-old – college graduate who still lives with her parents. It also represents the successful completion of 128 credit hours. Of these 128 credit hours, there are a handful of classes that – for one reason or another – have left a lasting impression on me. There is one commonality between these classes: I had no business taking them in the first place.

CLASS 1: CSA 151 Computers, Computer Science, and Society with Dr. Uckan (class description)

My freshman year academic adviser must have been high on meth when she recommended this class to me. A class with a title that includes the words “computer” and “science” together? My worst nightmare come true. But as we all know, scheduling classes for the semester was always a stressful ordeal, so when I saw this class was still open, I clicked on “register” and that was the end of that.

My teacher was from Eastern Europe and I probably understood half of what he said during lecture. I spent most of the 50 minute class on my laptop scrolling through TFLN.com (it was cool back then) or Facebook chatting with high school friends (this was a new thing to do on Facebook – also cool to do). I had one “friend” in this class, and one arch enemy. I don’t remember her name, but I imagine it being an old lady’s name, like Judith or Gertrude or Beth. Everyday I’d stare at the back of her head with the most intense hatred. The reason I hated her? Where do I even begin? She never did anything mean to me, but her repulsive habits provided enough fuel to ignite this roaring fire of hatred. She bit her nails and spit them out on the floor, and picked her ears like a baboon. But what really got me going was the way she drank from her water bottle. It was infuriating. It was one of those water bottles with a sports cap (which by the way should only be allowed at the gym and at sporting events). She would guzzle it like it were her first drink of water in days. This girl was an embodiment of everything that pisses me off about people – just zero concern for the people around you, and distracting in the most horrible way. One day I had the pleasure of having her sitting right next to me. This was my facial expression for the entire duration of that class:

urlThe semi-cool thing about the class was that I learned how to write Java and HTML code. I felt so accomplished when I successfully created and linked my own web page using HTML coding language. <p> — that is code for the end of a paragraph.

Even though I got a D on the first exam, I was able to finish out the class with a solid B, and with my pride unscathed…this class had the potential to be a major xtina mistake, but I persevered and made coding my bitch. If I can pass a college-level computer science class, then anything is possible.

CLASS 2: English 440 with Dr. Anita Wilson

When I signed up for this class I was under the false impression that it was a class on Major American Authors, meaning I’d be reading books by more than one author. I was wrong. When I received the long list of books to purchase for the class I was also made aware that the class was all about literature from Charles Dickens. Now, I have nothing against Charles; in fact, he’s probably one of my favorites when it comes to classic literature. But an entire class devoted to studying his work seemed pretty daunting and way too mature for me. Luckily my professor wasn’t some pretentious douche, but a cute old lady….she looked a lot like Mrs. Puff from Spongebob, but in human form. She tried so hard to get the class to participate, but usually ended up spending the entire hour and 15 minutes having a one-sided discussion with herself. Most of the class relied on Sparknotes, which explains why our discussions rarely went deeper than names of characters and basic plot points. She was an easy grader, so for my final project I decided to make a Facebook page for David Copperfield (no joke I actually did this). I made an album with screenshots from the movie, and came up with extremely cheesy statuses that tied in with the plot and mentioned various scenes and characters. Basically I made David Copperfield sound like a schoolboy bitch and mocked classic literature in the process.

Such a sweet lady. Thanks for giving me an A.

Dr. Wilson – Such a sweet lady. Thanks for giving me an A.

Well said, Mr. Dickens.

Well said, Mr. Dickens.

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Tina’s Book Corner

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When I’m not flirting with boys or shoveling pizza down my throat, you can often find me with my nose in a book. There are few things that satisfy me more than finishing a book cover to cover. Reading is the best kind of nourishment for your mind and it’s an easy and cheap way to temporarily escape from reality and live vicariously through made up characters.

Have you ever met someone really smart who does not read? Probably not. I’ve got the stats to back it up. Good news for all you fiction fans: A recent study found that reading fiction actually increases people’s emotional intelligence: their accurate awareness of themselves and others, and their ability to create positive relationships with others based on managing their own reactions (huffingtonpost.com).

I think I may be the only 22-year-old to still use the local public library to check out books. Reading a book the traditional way (printed on paper binded between two covers) gives me a much needed break from technology. Books don’t pester you with the latest software upgrade or ask you to rate them every time you crack them open. Books don’t ask much from the reader, just to return them by their due date and not write obscenities in them

I enjoy all types of literature, from chick lits to historical fiction, but my favorites are memoirs. I like light memoirs that don’t require much thinking…pictures are a plus. Memoirs by comedians tend to fit this criteria. Comedians go through hardships just like everyone else, but a comedian can write about the worst time in his or her life and still somehow make it funny. Here are some of my favorite funny memoirs in no particular order:

Bossypants by Tina Fey

bossypantsThis cover gives me the creeps, but the book is fantastic. My favorite chapter is the one with a marked up script from SNL. It’s a sketch with her as Sarah Palin and Amy Pohler as Hilary Clinton. It was cool to see the changes she made to the script. Fey got her start at The Second City in Chicago. I took a class there this summer and we got to see old footage from when Fey and Rachel Dratch did shows there.

Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler

chelseaIn her most popular book, Chelsea lays it all out for her readers, revealing everything about her life in the most explicit and honest way. She covers everything from the day she realized she had big boobs, to life in New Jersey in a predominately Jewish neighborhood, to the time she dated a ginger. I admire and appreciate Chelsea’s “no bullshit” approach to writing. She writes with the same tenacity and gusto that she brings to her show.

American On Purpose by Craig Ferguson

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I love Craig Ferguson. He’s a Scottish silver fox with a goofy and raunchy sense of humor. I actually sat in the audience for one of his shows when I visited LA and it was a blast. He was super nice, too. I used to watch his show all the time, but now I can’t stay up past 11…I’m not even sure if it’s still on the air to be honest. In his memoir, Ferguson talks about how his alcoholism almost killed him, and how he was finally able to get sober and turn his life around.

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin

offical-book-club-seectionThe queen of d*** jokes and the self-proclaimed “mother goose” of the gay male population brings her A-game with this memoir. My favorite chapter is the one where she talks about dating Steve Wozniak. She shares emails between she and Steve that are absolutely hysterical. I love her show My Life On The D-List. Her mom, Maggie, is precious. Everyone should watch the episode where she spends the day with Paris Hilton. It’s just as good as it sounds. I put the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggKvqF4t2Po

On my list of what to read next: Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford and Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. by Rob Delaney.

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