Mighty Life List
May 29 2012

Packing Light: Oahu

So this is (almost) everything I packed in my carry-on for the press trip I took to Oahu. There was also a photo of me in a bikini that I took with my cell phone the hotel bathroom mirror. As you might imagine, it was a little… much. So this is everything I packed for four days in Hawaii except the photo of me in a blue bikini with ruffles. If you’ve already seen me naked, I will totally send that to you. Otherwise, use your imagination.

For trips to warm places, I try to pack mostly one-pieces (dresses, rompers) because they pack smaller and you don’t have to waste any time worrying about whether you’re packing stuff that matches everything else.

I wore this dress to travel, with a yellow slip underneath so my skin doesn’t show through the perforations. It’s poly, so you can pretty much roll it into a ball and it doesn’t wrinkle, and it also unzips all the way down the front, so you can layer it over things in interesting ways.

Here’s a full shot of the dress, which I also wore on our tour of the Turtle Bay Resort where we were staying. I look so happy here because the dress cost six bucks. I’m genetically unable to shut up about that.

I wore this to the luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center, the dress is Urban Outfitters, and the sweater is thrifted. I’ve since shrunk the dress to half its original size, so look for it as a shirt in future posts.

This romper is by a San Francisco designer whose brand I forget, of course. (She’s in the Mission, tiny shop on one of the numbered side streets between Valencia and Dolores. Anyone?) Anyway, it’s an oddly functional piece of clothing. I can belt it, wear it with tights and a long sleeve shirt, add something with a collar to switch it up. It’s become a bit of a uniform, but ultimately it’s a romper. For romping.

There, that’s better.

This is me in a ruffly dress from H&M, wielding a machete. Machetes are apparently still a thing in Hawaii.

Here’s the full dress with one of the vintage cardigans I brought. I used that sweater constantly, by the way. It was warm, but the breeze at night was a little chilly and there was some rain while we were there.

To save space, I try to pack jammies that can double as clothes if I need them. This is an Old Navy tank, and a pair of workout shorts from American Apparel. Can you imagine how bad the aforementioned bikini shot has to be if I’m willing to post this? Exactly.

Beach coverup! I wore this Urban Outfitters romper over my swimsuit when we headed down for surf lessons at Turtle Bay.

I got the sunglasses at a flea market. They’re made for shooting, and they feel heavenly because of those little side shades. Our trip lead, Mike, said they make me look like a 70-year-old man. I told him to get off my lawn.

American Apparel high-waisted side zip shorts and a random transparent shirt I’ve had forever. This shirt is an awesome suit coverup, so I wore it kayaking because I knew it would fit under the life jacket.

Like so.

(Aside! Holy crap, have you ever seen a sea turtle? These sea kayaks had glass bottoms, so you could see them swimming around, and I didn’t expect to be so affected by them. One looked right up at me, and it was like I could feel my heart beating in my mouth. Please put “see a sea turtle” on your Life List.)

This is my American Apparel bikini top, which I bought for a trip to Jamaica. The bottom is super high-waisted, which is convenient if you have stretch marks from baby havin’.

You can also cover stretch marks with a lightweight scuba skin, which is excellent for snorkeling. And sexy times.

May 28 2012

10 Fruits to Try Before You Die

My Taste 1,000 Fruits Project began as part of my Life List, but my mom passed on an interest in botany, so fruit has always intrigued me. Plus, it’s pretty much all I ate as a kid. Here’s a little background on the project from an interview with Bon Apetit:

My childhood home was on a half acre of land in California, and my mom was always planting fruit trees. I’d help her dig and say, ‘Could this tree be mine?’ She always said yes. So all that fresh fruit early on taught me that grocery store varieties of apples and lemons and other fruits were just terrible. Practically inedible, really.

Around the time I was making the list, I was reading Fruit Hunters by Adam Leith Gollner. I found it so inspiring, the idea of people obsessively pursuing new flavors. Once you’re an adult, you have so few opportunities for genuine novelty, to feel something you’ve never felt before, or taste something you’ve never tasted. The book said there were over 1,000 varieties of mango alone, which sounds so mythical doesn’t it?

I started tracking the fruits I was trying in 2009, nerd-style, and on a recent trip to Hawaii, I crossed off my hundredth fruit. Of those, these are the ten you must try if you get a chance. Do it. Put them in your mouth:

1. Mountain Rose Apple
One of the nicest things about trying all this fruit has been the surprises you find under mundane exteriors. Mountain Rose Apples are among my favorite fruits just because they’re so gorgeous. The unusual color makes you think more about the flavor. I love that about food, how eating better focuses everything and makes it easier to stay present. Maybe that’s why some of my happiest memories are of great meals.

2. Chico
This was actually my hundredth fruit, and I’ve never seen one outside of this fruit stand in Hawaii (you?). I described it as eating a baked apple plucked directly from the tree, and that’s the dominant memory. It tastes like fresh brown sugar.

3. Lemon Cucumber
Last year, my sister grew Lemon Cucumbers on her farm. So far, they’re the only kind of cucumbers I crave — very crisp and much less dense than the supermarket variety. Also slightly salty.

4. Feijoa
I tried these for the first time in the backyard of my childhood friend Liz Carter (hi, Liz!). This photo was taken in New York, where my friend Sarah Brown said they smell like a scented plastic babydoll. Feijoas taste a bit like kiwi with a pineapple edge.

5. Kiwiberries

Kiwiberries still seem magic to me. They’re grape-sized Kiwis without the fuzzy exterior, and you can just pop them in your mouth. It doesn’t seem like they should exist.

6. Mangosteen
It used to be that you couldn’t get Mangosteens in the States, but recently the laws have relaxed so it’s not necessary to take a trip to Asia to try one. Click through on that link to see the interior, Mangosteens are gorgeous. The purple outer shell is like a thin layer of carrot over a wide hunk of red pith. The white sections inside taste like juicy, peach-perfumed pineapple candy. The flesh is a lot like a very ripe peach.

7. Passionfruit
Tendrils attached to orange goo with bright green crunchy seeds that pop when you chew them. The goo tastes a little like a perfectly ripe, tart mango, but with more depth of flavor. With the pleasant crunch of the seeds, it reminded me of orange flavored Pop Rocks.

8. Guineps
I tried these in Jamaica where they’re called Guineps and in Puerto Rico where they’re called Quenepas.You smash or bite the outer shell, which cracks open to reveal a jelly-like fruit inside with a large pit. They taste like citrusy peaches. You suck the fruit away from the pit, and the texture is a little like slimy algae. Much of the fruit pulp will stay on the pit. I’d love to freeze a bunch and use them as ice cubes in a tropical drink.

9. Tamarind
Tamarind grows in a hard pod with paste-like brown fruit around its seeds. It doesn’t look particularly appetizing. The fruit is very sour, but not like a lemon, there’s sweetness there too. It tastes almost like Crystal Light powder, but less chemical of course. You suck the fruit away from the seeds.

10. Cherimoya
Cherimoya is one of my favorite new fruits, which is good because you can often find it at fancy grocers in California. Like a cross between a banana and a pineapple with texture a little like a peach. The flesh inside is white with large brown seeds in it. If you see one anywhere, try it.

May 25 2012

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Oh, hey you guys. I’m just over here reading this book by my friend Jenny, which hit No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list Ican’tevenbreatheit’ssogood. Gah!

Did you ever have a friend who you like so much that when she succeeds, it feels like you’re succeeding? Seeing Jenny make this happen just cracks me open.

I underlined nearly the entire book, so what follows are the best of the best parts of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Who is totally a New York Times bestselling author:

I’m from the South, and in Texas we offer drinks to strangers even when we’re waiting in line at the liquor store. In Texas we call that “southern hospitality.” The people who own the liquor store call it “shoplifting.” Probably because they’re Yankees.

And this is exactly what being a mom is like. You’re just going about your day, thinking about how awesome it would be to make nachos, and suddenly you’re all, “Holy shit, I have a baby. I should, like, feed it or something.” And you do, but then a half-hour later you forget again, and you hear her giggling in the other room and you think, “WTF? Whose baby is that?” and then you remember, “Oh, yeah. It’s mine. Weird.”

Special notes for people reading this book who were born after 1990: (1) I kind of hate you. Please stop looking so good in shorts.

I can’t really go into details, because my mother will probably read this, but basically he had a bunk bed in his dorm room (because he’s an only child and only children are obsessed with bunk beds for some reason), so we were on the bottom bunk and I tossed my hair in what I envisioned would be a total porn-star move, except the wooden beam of the bunk bed above us was too low, and so I violently head-butted the wood plank and totally knocked myself out, which is pretty much the least sexy thing you could ever possibly do. Like, if I also lost control of my bowels that would be worse, but not by much. Then when I’d recovered, Victor was all, “Sex concussion, motherfucker!” like it was something to be proud of.

It wasn’t really that [Victor’s parents] disliked me. They just seemed uncomfortable around me. They were polite and kind, but baffled. It was as if their son had unexpectedly shown up with a neck tattoo that read “MAKE ME SOME BASKETTI.”

“I don’t like mimes. I don’t like the fact that they fake a disability.”
“Right? Why stop at mimicking the mute? Where are the clowns pretending to have polio?”

“Do you ever get on the subway and think, ‘Who is that guy in the back? He looks familiar. Did I sleep with him?’ That happens to me all the time.”
“No, that’s never happened to me. Whore. But it has happened to me on the bus a lot.”

Chupacabras are monsters from Mexico that suck blood out of goats. Bizarrely, spell-check is perfectly fine with the word “CHUPACABRA!” in all caps, which makes no sense at all. Unless it’s because it recognizes that you’d use that word only while screaming. Touché, spell-check.

Vocab

Human parvo: “slap cheek syndrome”, virus that causes a rash.

Ed note: On page 188, there’s a photo of me trying to murder Jenny with a cleaver. So please turn to that page first, because I am wearing a jaunty neckerchief.

May 24 2012

Take that, Science

This is Amber Doty. You may not recognize her because she’s wearing a cocktail dress, and you’re probably used to seeing her in a swimsuit in Times Square for Good Morning America. Strumpet.

Amber is quitting her job as a mad scientist to join Team Mighty, so please welcome her. Jet packs for everyone! Right, Amber?

May 24 2012

Lifescoop: 5 Ways to Discover the Latest Music

I have a new post up at Lifescoop: Music to Your Ears: 5 Ways to Discover the Latest Music

Remember when emerging music just fell in your lap? Your best friend was a part-time DJ, your show-going roommate made you mixes, you’d occasionally spend an entire Saturday slackjawed in front of the internet? But the time we make for new music sometimes gets nudged out by the trappings of adulthood.

Fortunately, if you have a few minutes a day, it’s easy to bring new music into your life. Here are five simple ways to find music that’s actually new, not just new to you. Read more…

May 23 2012

Eat 1,000,000 Hot Dogs

Two weeks ago, I was at ease onstage in front of 600 people. This morning I woke up with a sore jaw from teeth-grinding stress dreams — about my talk for preschool career day. This is most of what you need to know about my subconscious.

On the ride to school, Hank looked similarly worried.

“You okay, little guy?”
“Yes.”
“You seem anxious.”
“Yes.”
“Why are you worried?”
“What if they don’t like you?”

Preach it, kid.

I explained to Hank that people are mostly just worried about whether you like them. So if you smile, and seem comfortable, everything will be OK.

Also, I brought balloons.

May 22 2012

Lifelist: Taste 1,000 Fruits, No. 100!

Hawaiian Fruit Stand

Thanks to the Kahuku Land Farms Fruit Stand in Hawaii, I’ve officially hit 100 fruits. Milestone! Bam.

I told Mike, our trip lead, how close I was to being centufruitarian, and he went out of his way to find new fruits to try. Thanks to Mike, and the rest of the Hawaii Five Oh team for being so patient and enthusiastic with my quest.

These are the fruits that pushed us past the 100 mark:

No. 99 Cherry Guava

There’s something about bite-sized fruit that just makes me happier. Snacks!


Cherry guavas are such a pretty color, like a sunset. They’re tangy, and the round seeds have a pleasant pop to them when you crunch down.

No. 100! Chico

When I asked the woman at the market what Chicos tasted like, she said, “brown sugar.” She had a bit of an accent, so I thought I’d misunderstood her.

She was exactly right. They’re soft inside, the dominant flavor is brown sugar, and they even seem to have little crunch granules in the flesh.

It was like eating a baked apple plucked directly from the tree.

No. 101 Apple Bananas
No. 102 Ice Cream Bananas

More tiny snack fruits, hooray! These bananas are about as big as my palm, maybe a third of the size of a banana you’d find at the grocery store, and much, much tastier.

The ice cream banana is light and creamy, apt! The apple banana has a pleasant tartness that offsets the sweetness.

Both were fun to eat because you can shove the whole thing in your mouth, and then walk around beating your chest like King Kong. Which I recommend.

No. 103 Mountain Apples

These are a lot like Jamaican Apples, only smaller and tangier.


And this is an Edvard Munch Mountain Apple. Scream all you want, apple.

They’re less dense than a conventional apple, the crunch is more like a really crisp, seedless cucumber. Mmm. Quenchy.

This Friday, we’ll celebrate the century mark with a roundup of my top ten favorite fruits so far. You cannot wait. Fruit nerds, unite!