Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Song To Come Home To ... And Intense Hydration (A.K.A. Jackfruit Smoothies and Jackasses)

Hello LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers:

It has been an amazing summer with lots of trips including Turks and Caicos, Rio De Janeiro, San Francisco, New York City, Hortolandia, Raleigh, Boca Raton, Miami, Chicago, Cape Cod ... and more!  I have thousands of pictures that hopefully will make it to some blog posts.  (Including a picture of actress Reese Witherspoon who was standing next to me at the Boston Airport, waiting for her flight to Nantucket and a picture of Top Chef Contestant Kevin Gillespie who was staying at the same hotel as me in Chicago.  All these people are stalking me!  Ha ha!) 


Unfortunately, I have been concentrating more on work, fitness and reading than writing lately.  I think everything is cyclical - so I expect I will be writing more this Fall.  (Fingers crossed!)


It has been an extremely rainy summer in Tampa Bay, so this weekend with Tropical Storm Erika fizzling out I decided to take full advantage of the sunny weather by walking the gorgeous linear parkway that is Bayshore Boulevard.  On both Saturday and today (Sunday), I walked over ten miles each morning.  I have been walking a lot as I am in constant Fitbit competitions with friends and friends of friends ... and I have a freakish competitive streak when it comes to step counts.  (I think I have won all but one of the competitions I have been involved in on Fitbit.  I am a nerd.  But a nerd with calves of steel!)


This summer, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the winner of Logo TV's reality competition show RuPaul Drag Race Season Five, Seattle drag queen Jinkx Monsoon in two shows:  "The Vaudevillians: Bringing Up Baby" in New York City and "The Inevitable Concert" in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  Check out a reel of Jinkx Monsoon moments on RuPaul Drag Race here or click below. 





In Provincetown, MA; I also saw RuPaul Drag Race Season Six winner Bianca Del Rio's show Rolodex of Hate, the best drag queen from my hometown: Miss Richfield 1981's show Cone of Silence, RuPaul Drag Race contestant Ben De La Creme and the Atomic Bombshells in a fantastic burlesque show and last but not least: Neil Patrick Harris and his husband David Burtka doing a great show of half-interviews, half-songs. (And I sat two rows ahead of the famed Harris-Burtka twins, Gideon and Harper.  Yes- Miss VIP that I am, was in 2nd row and the twin young children were in the 4th row.  Until they left the show early for their bedtime, that is.  Gideon had a gigantic smile on his face as he watched his two fathers singing on stage.)  It was an excellent show weekend in P-Town!  


Check out my Instagram @LilyOnTheLam for pictures of me with Jinkx, Bianca, Ben De La Creme and Miss Richfield 1981 ... as well as a ridiculous number of pictures of desserts that have made their way into my belly!


In my Fitbit fervor, I have been walking 5-14 miles a day at least 3-5 times a week.  Because I have the attention span of a gnat (at times), I entertain myself on my walks by taking nature pictures (see some of my pics below) and listening to podcasts.  But for my ten mile walks over the past 2 days, I was so ADHD that I could only handle listening to music. 



Bayshore Boulevard - Tampa, FL

These gorgeous flowers were at the five mile mark of my ten mile walk

I titled this picture "Little Bird in the Big City" on my Instagram

I think drag queen Jinkx Monsoon is ridiculously talented and I listened to his album "The Inevitable Album" several times on my long distance walks this weekend.  My favorite song off the entire album is called "A Song To Come Home To."  I sat in the 2nd row at The Art House in Provincetown, just knocked over by the song.  There is a live version of the song on YouTube, but the quality is not as magnificent as when I saw it in concert - so I am including links to both the recorded version (which I adore) as well as the live version.  






This haunting beautiful song has now become synonymous with me pushing through even when I wanted to turn around and end my ten mile walk early.  It makes me think of strength, resolve and the determination to make smart choices and have a better life. 

After my second of two-ten mile walks, I must have been very dehydrated because I went to the wonderful Pho Quyen Vietnamese Restaurant in Tampa and had: 1) a jackfruit smoothie, 2) a Vietnamese Arnold Palmer - half limeade and half tea and 3) a gigantic bowl of pho with a heavy amount of hoisin sauce and sriracha sauce.


Jackfruit smoothie & a Vietnamese Arnold Palmer!


Pho Quyen also gives a giant plate of bean sprouts for their pho, but I hate bean sprouts - so no go for my pho!

Lots of Hoisin and Sriracha in my Beef Flank Pho!

After rehydrating with all sorts of Asian liquids, I drove to Starbucks for MORE liquids while I finished reading my latest book.  Seriously, I am waterlogged ... or actually iced tea-logged.  I listened to Jinkx Monsoon's "A Song To Come Home To" as I drove to Starbucks. 

A couple days ago, a toxic guy I once was interested in but then wised up and had given the boot many, many, many months ago texted me.  His birthday was two days away so perhaps he was having some sort of aging crisis where he felt the sadistic need to reconnect to women who wanted nothing to do with him.  My eyes rolled so far back in my head at his "Oh, I just wanted to say `hi'" text that I was afraid they were going to get stuck back there! 

It was like "Dude, you were self-absorbed, vapid, misogynistic and unkind when I gave you the boot and from what I can see nothing has changed!  Why are you contacting me?"  If someone tells you they no longer want to talk to you anymore- why would you try to reconnect many, many months afterward?  It's sad.  I wanted to tell the guy to get some self-respect.  iPhone's and Gmail's blocking capability to the rescue! 

I follow "Prince EA" on Instagram and Facebook.  I find his motivational messages and videos to be inspiring and they always seem to be on topic for what is going on in my life at just the right times.  Today he posted these two internet memes which again had really amazing timing for what I have been thinking about recently.  




In trying to make healthy decisions for myself, it has been refreshingly easy to "walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy."  I listen to Jinkx Monsoon's "A Song To Come Home To" and I smile because just as the song helped me push through a ten mile walk (two days in a row!) when I would have rather been sleeping or laying by the pool; the song also serves as my anthem for taking overall care of myself - emotionally as well as physically.


It is good to respect yourself enough to make the best decisions for yourself ... and it's also good to be extremely hydrated.  Ha ha!  This summer has not only been a time of some amazing travel, but also a time of focusing on what is important and leaving all the rest behind.  I hope your summer has been amazing too, dear readers!

As always, thank you for reading!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Just A Little Obsessed ... Extending My Birthday Into December 2015

Hello LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers:

If you are a regular reader of LilyOnTheLam.com, you may have your suspicions that I may be a little unhinged.  Off kilter.  Nuts.  Insane.  Narcissistic.  Egomaniacal.  To paraphrase Billy Joel, you may be wrong but you may be right.

Last year, the super fantastic bakery Sweet Tweets Cakery in Tampa, Florida made my birthday cake.  I modeled it off Angelina Jolie's birthday cake because you know, she and I are so much alike.  It was a purple cake with the cutest figure of Maleficent the witch from Sleeping Beauty on it.  Dare I say that Sweet Tweets' replica was even better than Angelina's.  (Hey she has Brad Pitt, so I at least can get a better looking cake - RIGHT?)  See the GORGEOUS cake by clicking here.    

This year I wanted to do something equally as wacky and wonderful with Sweet Tweets Cakery for my birthday.  But I have family coming to visit at Christmas and I thought if I am going to do a big, over the top, gorgeously decorated cake - I should do it when the people I love most in the world are with me to enjoy it.  And to celebrate all things me.  

Plus my family's birthdays are all within a few months of Christmas, so basically it's like a joint birthday celebration.  Except I'm the star.  All about me.  Got it?  I'll let my family have some cake, but let's not forget who it really is all about ... me.  YES, ME!

So basically I issued a royal proclamation extending my summer birthday all the way into December 2015.  Doesn't everybody do this at one time or another?  

Next, I needed an idea to top the Maleficent cake of last year.  But what to do ... what to do ...

Photo from Sweet Tweets Cakery

I am half-Asian and my maternal family lives in Taiwan.  If you go to the Taipei airport, one of the many "Made in Taiwan" products they offer for you to take home as a souvenir gift is Taiwanese pineapple cakes.  Think a bigger "Fig Newton" cookie stuffed with a pineapple jelly-type substance.  When they are fresh and good quality, they are pretty tasty.

Also one of my Aunts worked in a Taiwanese factory that canned pineapple in the summer and mushrooms in the winter.  I was maybe 4 or 5 years old when I went to visit the factory.  I remember they gave me a cup of hot chocolate when all I wanted was to fill my greedy little hands with as much pineapple and mushrooms as I could get.  It's amazing what weird things I remember from my weird youth.

Now perhaps this love for pineapple drove my decision on what my next birthday cake will be.  Or perhaps it was really my love of drag queens ...

You see, I am an ardent watcher of RuPaul Drag Race.  On one of the seasons, there was an Asian drag queen from Minnesota named Manila Luzon.  I was instantly obsessed.  I too am from Minnesota and am Asian.  Plus Manila Luzon's real name is Karl ... and um that has four letters and Lily also has four letters, so basically Manila Luzon should be my new BFF, right?  OK maybe I'm not THAT obsessed, but I love his work.  I am definitely a "Manila Fanila."  

Plus I absolutely died when Manila Luzon came out on RuPaul Drag Race wearing THIS number ...


It's a PINEAPPLE DRESS ... with pineapple ring earrings and a PINEAPPLE PURSE!  Seriously, is there anything better than that?  It's so camp and yet Manila made it look high fashion!  I instantly began following Manila on Instagram.  Then one day, this was posted ... a reference photo of a Manila Luzon doll on Etsy from Monoped Creations.


A gentleman in Australia sells "amigurumi" - which I have no idea what that means but I consider it to mean "awesome little dolls that look like drag queens from RuPaul Drag Race."  I love the ones of Raja, Pearl, Gia Gunn ... I love them all too much.  I knew I had to have the Manila Luzon one AND I suddenly knew what I wanted on my next birthday cake!

Yes, I am 987 years old and I ordered this little doll of a drag queen all the way from Australia.  I'm obsessed.  And weird.  But when we're talking about inspiration for a cake, doesn't the end justify the means?  Come on, people!

Manila Luzon Pineapple Dress by Monoped Creations

So Sweet Tweets Cakery, I am putting you on NOTICE!  This December, I'll be contacting you to make me a Manila Luzon topped birthday cake.  Are you up for the challenge?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Welcome To A Day of Pork, Gluttony and Lust: Orlando, Florida

Hello LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers:

I consider myself a woman of my word, except when I am making promises to myself.  A friend and I agreed to do four 5Ks this year.  She currently has three under her belt.  I have two completed and one scheduled for December, but I find myself shockingly lackluster about trying to schedule one more in between August and the end of the year.  (Hello epitome of LAZY!)  

This same friend is considering making a pledge of doing 12 5Ks next year.  This friend is bat sh*t cray cray.  (Kidding!  Maybe ...)  I am hoping I will get a surge of commitment but right now I really enjoy sitting on my couch.

However last weekend, I was more energetic and participated with afore-mentioned friend (Miss Cray Cray) in the Great American Bacon Race in Orlando, Florida.  (Which by the way, comes to Tampa on October 3.  So all of my Tampa friends who said after the race, "Oh I would have done it with you" - have ZERO EXCUSE because the race is now coming to their backyard!


The race is for both runners and walkers alike.  It is a timed race, which always spurs my competitive side.  At one point Miss Cray Cray said "Save yourself!" which is our signal that I can go ahead and pass all the people I need to in a fervent need to beat at least some of the racers to the finish line.

At each mile mark of the 5K race, there is a "bacon station" (three total) where you grab a piece of bacon and keep going.  

First bacon station!

The final bacon station!

The third bacon station is at the finish line.  They not only have bacon but a giant vat of melted chocolate and a "topping bar" with various seasonings to flavor your bacon.  
Chocolate dipping station for Chocolate covered BACON

Topping Bar

I kept my bacon "real" and didn't add chocolate or seasonings.  I will say that stopping for bacon each mile didn't exactly make my stomach happy, but it was BACON ... so I did it anyway.  I received a giant finishers' medal and a pork-themed race t-shirt.  What more could you want out of life?

Evidently the answer to that question is: MORE PORK.  Because after the race, Miss Cray Cray and I went to one of my favorite Winter Park, Florida restaurants: "The Ravenous Pig."  We met up with another friend (Mr. Happy) who was ready to get his pork on as the Ravenous Pig was having its annual pig roast lunch.  Mr. Happy also ordered the truffle fries- which are AMAZING and Miss Cray Cray and I ate our share and then some!

Pork Roast Feast at Ravenous Pig

Truffle Fries
Lunch at The Ravenous Pig was awesome as always, but my most favorite part of the meal was the bacon-laden collard greens.  They were so vinegar-y with a spicy kick.  I could have eaten a vat of them.  It's too bad this was a special one-day only menu because I would go back for more of those collard greens!

So Bacon 5K, then a pork barbecue lunch ... that's enough pork for one person, right?

Au contraire!

Before heading back to Tampa, I convinced Miss Cray Cray that we needed to do dessert and then get PORK to-go orders at Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa in the Mills 50 region of Orlando, Florida.  For two reasons: 1) it consistently gets great reviews for best new barbecue restaurant and 2) I think the owner is super hot.  

What can I say?  

I love barbecue and good looking tall men.  

Is that a crime, people? 

Miss Cray Cray and I were very excited that Pig Floyd's offers two delightful sounding desserts that we could share.  They have the Black and Tan which is chocolate chip blondie chunks, Mexican chocolate sauce, cookies and cream pudding and then topped with a generous cap of whipped cream.  The other dessert is the Cuban Banana Bread Pudding - homemade cinnamon and lemon custard, bananas, Nilla wafers and topped with whipped cream.  

However Pig Floyd's was out of the Cuban Banana Bread Pudding when we arrived!  Waaaaah!  So we each had the Black and Tan which was decadence in a little mason jar!

Black and Tan Dessert at Pig Floyd's

The ├╝ber handsome Pig Floyd's owner was standing at the bar while I tried to tone down my CRAZY STALKER EYES.  For those who don't know, I tend to have insane stalker eyes when I am around people like comedian Margaret Cho, Season Five RuPaul Drag Race drag queen Jinkx Monsoon and really hot barbecue restaurant owners.  

Miss Cray Cray laughed at me - which I know secretly meant "You can try to tone down your crazy eyes all you want, but you're still screaming CRAZY STALKER EYES!"  

The owner did come over to see how we were doing - and I think I said something like "fabulous and delicious" in a ridiculously over the top, falsetto, enthusiastic voice.  (Tone it down, crazy stalker!)  I have zero game ... but I did have a really great dessert.

For take-out, I tried Pig Floyd's pulled pork, brisket and their version of "street corn" grilled corn on the cob with chili, lime and cotija cheese.  I would like to go back and try their take on a barbecue bahn mi sandwich.  I would also like to go back and continue staring at the adorable owner with my crazy stalker eyes.  The pulled pork was delicious, but of the meats the brisket was my favorite.  (Although I have to say that Four Rivers Smokehouse's brisket is better if you like more of a fatty mouthfeel.  But if you like leaner, more smoked flavor in your brisket - go with Pig Floyd's.)  

But the CORN ... oh my God, my favorite "street corn" is from Casa Tina Mexican Restaurant in Dunedin but Pig Floyd's grilled corn was insanely amazing.  I seriously would go back just for more of that grilled corn (and the dreamy owner too ... but primarily the corn ... well sort of.)

So basically last weekend was all about Orlando, Florida; pork products; gluttony and lust.  That's a pretty darn good weekend in my book!

As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Peeps for Fall and the movie "The Gift"

Hello LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers:

I cannot believe it is August already!  This summer has just flown by!  I am gearing up for my next great adventure, trying to savor every last moment of summer.

Last night, I went to an advanced screening of the movie "The Gift."  The invitees were "press and tastemakers."  So I guess I am a tastemaker?!  I am going to start handing out business cards that say "Lily On The Lam, Tastemaker."  (That will make me even weirder than I already am!)  Well I loved, loved, loved the movie.  Joel Edgerton plays "Gordon" a former high school classmate of Jason Bateman's character.  But evidently Gordon was known as "Gordo the Weirdo" and instantly latches on to Jason Bateman's character and his wife.  Then mayhem ensues ...

I was impressed that star Joel Edgerton wrote, directed and produced the movie.  He's more than just a pretty face (although in "The Gift" he is more creepy than pretty.)  My friend and I screamed twice during the movie.  Psychological, suspense thrillers freak me out - but I kind of love it too.    There were some nice twists and turns in the movie.  I definitely did not guess the surprises ahead of time.  

At the end of the movie, each guest was presented with "a gift."  The movie was so psychologically jarring that I turned to my friend and said "Is it weird that I am scared to open this?"


But some tiny part of me is brave and I opened the box, bracing for a tiny severed head or a monkey (see the movie and you'll know why I thought it might be a monkey).  But turns out it was four pieces of chocolate - which was the perfect dessert after jumping in your seat screaming during a movie!

So thank you, fine folks at AMC for the free screening.  My friend and I very much appreciated it.  

In keeping with the "what sugar can I put in my belly" theme, I was very excited to read The Huffington Post's review on the autumnal Marshmallow Peeps flavors.  The Caramel Apple and Pumpkin Spice sound intriguing.  The Candy Corn ones do not.  I will paraphrase my friend Miss Ohio: "Why do food companies keep trying to make one food taste like another food?  Maybe they should just make food that tastes like it is supposed to ..."  (Examples:  root beer float-tasting chocolate chip cookies and candy corn flavored Oreos.)  True, true but I still want to get my hands on some of those fall flavored Peeps!  Have you tried any of them?  Share your feedback on Peeps or the movie "The Gift" below!  

And as always, thank you for reading!