Thursday, May 29, 2014

Habitat For Hottie

Anthony and I just returned from a nice Memorial Day weekend in New Orleans- one of my favorite cities in the U.S. I am pretty sure I gained 10 lbs. from overindulging in all things fried and drinking daily but still have amazing memories despite the fact that I puked in the sink on our last night. Even though our trip this time consisted mainly of partying and listening to great music, I was reminded of the times my family and I went to New Orleans to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity after Hurricane Katrina. Especially the time when Grace and I had the biggest crush on our Habitat for Humanity group leader. On the very first day we arrived on location at the site that we would be at the entire week, we met our team leader and Grace and I immediately got googly eyes. If we were cartoon characters, giant hearts would have popped out of our eye sockets and we would have transformed into firecrackers, floating into the air and simultaneously exploding in the sky spewing heart shaped confetti all over his head. But we are Demchaks so our cheeks just got all red and we looked down to the ground after he introduced himself to us. Since we were both single, we locked eyes after he stepped away and both knew that the competition was on. Operation: win over the hot guy in the tool belt.

Before we would get to work every morning, he would give us a brief lowdown on what we would be doing that day, what tools we would be using and who we would be paired with. He always asked if there were any volunteers to work with him and of course Grace and I would throw our hands up before anyone else. My arms are freakishly long (lucky for me) so he would usually see me first and pluck me out of the crowd of suckers (aka Grace). There was one day though when Grace got the luxury of working with him outside all day and as I watched them leave out the front door, she raised her finger under her chin and sliced it across her neck as if to say, ‘screw you sucker!’ Her eyes never left my gaze as the door slammed in my face. It was a good thing I didn’t bring my prom dress to New Orleans because I would have surely worn it the next day to work…“what, this old thing?” But sadly after a whole week of parading around like pathetic peacocks, both of our dreams came crashing down on our last day when he took us both aside to introduce us to………his fiancĂ©. Cartoon Erin and Grace would have fallen backwards after our pupils turned to black X’s and two tombstones with broken hearts on them would have popped up in our places.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hi, I'm Erin and I Work at CVS!

In 2007, when I briefly moved home to Maine from Los Angeles and before I moved to Boston, I worked for my brother-in-law at Jaiden Landscaping. It wasn't too bad when the weather was nice because I got to be outside all day but I dreaded the days when I had to suit up in the poncho to work in the rain. But I wanted to keep my constantly sought after 'acting/hosting/modeling/anything in the media field' desires filled so I was always looking for side jobs. Even though there wasn't too much in that field in Maine, I managed to make a few contacts and happily worked that summer as a promotional model at a few bars in Portland and Old Orchard Beach and was even in a bikini runway show (it was more like a handful of bikini models walking on a slab of plywood at a club in the Old Port). But the best 'opportunity' (if you will) that came my way that summer was a CVS training video to be filmed at an actual store in Haverhill, MA. I was excited (slightly more intrigued) but had no freaking clue what to expect.
When I showed up at the store for my call time I walked over to the 'film crew' and introduced myself. It cracked me up at how low budget this video was and how I was convinced it wasn't real the entire time. This 'film crew' consisted of one guy, his camera and his assistant. He explained to me and the other 'actors' what we would be doing and told us that the store would be open the while we were filming so to be conscious of the shoppers so they wouldn't really think we worked there. He then handed us our official CVS polo shirts and name tags and told us to go change. I remember the shoot took about 4 hours and it consisted of each of us taking turns being the CVS worker, then a customer and explaining different products to each other. "You need a great shampoo? Well, this shampoo right here on this shelf will really do the trick! It's exactly what you are looking for. Now follow me to the register!" Mind you there was no sound being recorded so we basically just moved our mouths and pretended to explain the different products that we were holding. After we wrapped I thanked the 'crew,' took my check for $200 and headed back to Maine, still wondering to this day if I am circulating around the break room at the Haverhill CVS in the new hire training video...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How Many Miles?

Four years ago when I was younger and much more ambitious, I decided to run my first half marathon in Miami. I had never been to Miami before and a few of my friends came up with the idea but ended up dropping out last minute so I dragged my little sister Grace along with me to accompany me on the trip. When I signed up for the half marathon I thought, "it can't be that hard right?" Then I thought a little harder and realized that not only was I not a runner but I actually hated running! Oh crap, what had I gotten myself into? It's one of those things that I felt I had to accomplish before I died so I said, what the hell, and began training. Since the race was in February and I was living in Boston at the time, I was forced to join a gym so I could run on the treadmill considering my peak training months would be the winter. I started off by running like 10 minutes, then 20 minutes and then increasing the mileage according to the handy dandy 'training for your first half marathon' guide I printed off of the Internet. But it wasn't getting any easier and I still hated running! And running on a treadmill? The worst! So my next idea was to brave the cold, bundle up and run on the streets of Boston. In my mind I was convinced that I could do it but in reality I would get through one mile and then walk. I think the most I ever actually ran before I flew to Miami for the race was 3 miles. Considering the half marathon was 13.1 miles I figured I was screwed! But who cares if I finished last? I certainly didn't! Off to Miami I went.

When Grace and I arrived in Miami, we went to the Convention Center to pick up my race bib, shirt and all the info I needed for the big day. I was so nervous and scared that I almost chickened out but figured since I was here and am physically able to do this 13.1 mile thing, I might as well go forth and conquer. That night, we went to dinner where I ate only pasta and bread (just like my high school  pasta parties before softball games) and I retired early to bed. Before I fell asleep, I checked my alarm at least ten times (we had to be at the start line at 5 AM) and said a prayer that I would be able to make it through every last mile of tomorrow's race. Yikes! 

My alarm went off the next morning at the crack of dawn and Grace and I got up, got dressed and walked outside to the designated meeting area for all of the runners. God Bless Grace's little soul for making that sign that said "Go Erin!' and sitting by herself for hours waiting for me to cross the finish line. She was the best cheerleader I could have asked for. And her reward after this was over? We were headed to Las Vegas then Los Angeles to finish up our vacation in style. I gave Grace a hug as she took her seat on the bleachers at the finish line and I walked off to meet the other runners at the start. Even though I was terrified, there was so much energy oozing from all the other runners, that I was actually excited to start the run. A wave of emotion came over me as the gun went off and I suddenly became Forrest Gump. 
The entire route was full of screaming, encouraging well wishers who would yell your name as you passed (at first I was like, "how the heck do they know my name?" until I realized 'ERIN" was prominently displayed was on my bib) and literally make you forget that you still had like 10 miles to go. Just running through the streets of Miami, looking around at the scenery made me forget what I was actually doing and even though I got passed by people who were running the full marathon, I managed to keep up with the pack that I started with, even passing a few of them myself! I don't know how I did it (a pure miracle if you ask me) but I managed to run the entire 13.1 miles (with an exception of one brief Port-a-Potty break) without collapsing. The minute I saw Grace at the finish line, I started to cry (I am so my mom) and even though I finished in just over 4 hours, it was still an impressive feat for me. 

Monday, May 19, 2014


I’m surely not the only one who had a Fake ID in college but I am probably the only one (besides the handful of SHU alumni who were with me) who got busted during a bar raid…Who Else But Erin?! I think I was a Sophomore when I drove to New York City with my friends to buy my first Fake ID- and let me tell you, I was scared shitless! We went to some seedy tobacco store on Bleecker Street where we went into the back room to get our photos taken, paid $40 and left with a Pennsylvania ID that stated we were 21 years of age. It was the most exciting moment ever and one of those situations that you could never tell your parents until about a decade after it occurred, right Mom? Sacred Heart University was a dry campus which meant there were no frat houses on the premises and alcohol was not permitted in any residence halls. We usually hid all the booze behind closed doors in our dorm rooms and scrambled to hide it when the RA knocked on the door (but who didn’t do that in college?) or left the campus to go to the off site Frat parties. But there were those lucky Freshmen and Sophomores who had older siblings who let them have their IDs or already were prepared since the first day of college with their Fake IDs. They should really add those to the Freshman Year checklist- extra-long sheets, cork board, laundry basket, Fake IDs…..Those lucky Freshman and Sophomores were privileged enough to gain admittance to the best Sacred Heart bar- The Page!

Let me give you a little background on The Page. It was a tiny, dump of a bar in the ghetto of Bridgeport, CT that was packed with Sacred Heart kids every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. You could order these grain alcohol slushy drinks for like $5 that were so strong you would only need one all night (you would regret having two the morning after, trust me!) and then dance your butt off on the dance floor.  The best part about The Page experience was actually getting in. Since our college was in Connecticut, it was snowy and cold for about five months out of the year meaning we had to hop out of the cab in our skirts and tube tops, run to the entrance of the bar and wait in line in the freezing cold until the bouncer let us in. I would get so nervous every single time I handed him that Pennsylvania ID with my picture on it (just a different address and birthday) but had memorized every detail on that thing that so I was good to go every time. Well almost every time…

One Thursday night (the most popular of the three nights at The Page) we were all partying like normal when the lights suddenly turned on and the place was swarming with the Bridgeport Police Department. Uh-oh! The details of the night are a bit hazy since I think I had two slushy drinks that evening but the next thing I knew, we were all sitting on the floor, waiting to be individually ‘interviewed’ by the cops. I remember they asked for our IDs and we had to give them our fake ones along with our real driver’s licenses. They took our Fake IDs away, wrote us up a court summons and led us out of the bar one-by-one. Now that I look back and can actually laugh about this, I remember how terrified I was to tell my parents…I can’t recall for the life of me what they said but I made sure to emphasize the fact that there was about 50 of us who were busted. I think we even made the local paper! Not that my parents would pat me on the back for that or anything….

About two weeks later, we all had to go down to the Bridgeport Court and sit in the courtroom all day among the hard-core criminals (Bridgeport wasn't the safest place back then) until the judge called each one of our names to approach the bench. One-by-one we stood up, walked to the bench and plead guilty to our petty offenses (don’t worry, it never went on any sort of record) and agreed to pay the $140 fine for possessing a Fake ID. I think at that time I was about 3 months shy of my 21st birthday so I just waited it out and didn't return to The Page until I was legit. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

B&E Designs

Back when I was earning peanuts for a living at the advertising agency, I had to get creative as to how I was going to earn extra money. So, I teamed up with my friend and co-worker, Beth and formed 'B&E Designs.' It sounds so fancy in theory but in reality it was the two of us and a BeDazzler making t-shirts at our desks while working at the switchboard. Our job consisted solely of answering the phones for the ad agency and since we were wearing headsets, our hands were free to do anything. We were actually encouraged by our boss to bring in books, movies and anything that would keep us from spiraling into a deep dark hole of boredom.

We would buy tank tops and t-shirts, hand make stencils out of plastic and paint and BeDazzle the shirts ourselves. We were really into skulls and cupcakes at the time (this was before they blew up and got popular) and were convinced that we were the ones who had started that trend. We used to buy our tank tops at Target in packages of three and one time, after we had already stenciled a skull on it, we returned it in the package....oops! A few months after that, the whole skull and crossbones trend was suddenly everywhere and we were certain that the person who bought our package of tank tops was the head designer at like Ed Hardy or Forever 21 and we are still looking out for our residual checks. But that's another story...

Our 'mascot' at the ad agency was the skull and crossbones so we decided to make black t-shirts and stencil on the white skull design and add a few jewels on the eyes. They turned out pretty great and we started to get more attention. And by more attention, I mean we had two loyal customers. I think we sold them for like $15 each and we would take custom orders from our customers for different colors and designs. We thought we really had something going and in our heads we were the next Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor of Juicy Couture. But soon enough, our dreams were shattered when the agency decided to put on a giant craft fair. Beth and I worked our butts off to make at least 25 t-shirts (and some chocolate chip cookies to add some flair to our table) for the craft fair but didn't sell a single shirt. We couldn't even give away a dang cookie! And just like that, B&E Designs was caput! Oh well, maybe it was for the better...I'm sure the office was happy they didn't have to smell fabric paint all day anymore!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Memories...Talking 'Bout Food Memories

Ever since I was a kid, I have been in love with food. Most of my memories I have as a child revolve around food and it's pretty much the same today. What can I say? I love to eat! My mom always teased me because I would relate certain family trips with the food we ate during that vacation. Our summer trip to DC? Oh yeah, that was when we stopped at that IHOP along the way and I had those chocolate chip pancakes with the strawberries on I remember! And I have never been picky like my older sister Amber who during high school would only eat rice with soy sauce. Even at the early age of two, I would eye those giant pickles at the deli counter while grocery shopping with my mom and would be rewarded with one if I was good. And the only thing I ever asked for (besides a pickle) as a reward if I was well behaved while shopping? A large salad at the salad bar! People must of thought I was crazy during the Miss Durham pageants when the announcer read that my favorite foods were asparagus and spinach at age eight. I can even remember sitting in a booster chair at Hart's Turkey Farm in New Hampshire eating radishes (and then dropping one on the floor causing a waiter to fall) while Amber complained about eating her green beans. I am pretty sure I was the only Kindergartner who wanted (and ate in its entirety) a Whopper from Burger King while school shopping with my mom. 

Apparently, the very first time I stayed in a hotel with my family during our summer road trip to Virginia, I walked in and asked my parents where the fridge was. I was very concerned how we were going to eat. My mom, Amber and I used to go over to my Great Aunt Rena's house when I was little and the reason I used to get excited was because she was the one who used to feed me the crab meat sandwiches. Ding ding ding, now you're talking! And my other Great Aunt Mary Risska? Now I remember- she was the egg salad sandwich and Andes candy Aunt. I distinctly remember helping my Grampy pick veggies in his garden when I was little and sneaking a few bites of Scallion before putting them in the basket. What child eats raw Scallion? Erin does. I was like Mikey from the Wheaties commercial- "give it to Erin, she'll eat anything!" I would eat anything he pickled, his homemade smoked kielbasa and even sauerkraut before I could even ride a bike. The best memory though, that still makes me laugh to this day was when my mom would read my favorite book to me every night before bed. I don't even remember the name of the book but the little girl would go to the market to buy a pickle with her mom (it should have been titled 'Erin's Trip to the Market). I always got mad because of the way the picture of the pickle was positioned in the book- it was directly in the center crack of the book obstructing my view. My mom's solution to that nightly problem? She would bend the book, almost cracking it in half at the spine just so I could see the pickle. She's the best! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Just Call Me Big Juliet...

One of my personal mottos is ‘Live life to the fullest’ and if you also live that way, I advise you to visit the Playboy Mansion at least once before you die. I was lucky enough (or was I?) to visit Hugh Hefner’s pad twice in my life. The first time was to attend the Kandyland Party and the second was to deal poker at a charity event. I’m sure you can guess which time was my favorite though. Obviously, the party where I didn’t actually have to work! The whole process to ‘apply’ to be a guest at the party (unless you paid a ridiculous amount of money for a ticket) was a bit self-deprecating, but worth it nonetheless. You had to submit a picture of yourself (clearly the bigger the cleavage, the bigger the chance) and tell them what kind of candy you would be. It think I said something like a Skittle because I was bright and playful…that’s the best I could do without feeling creeped out. Then, once they reviewed everyone the lucky girls would get an acceptance email and would be asked to donate $25 to some charity and you were in! My friend Mary and I went through the process, waited for our acceptance letters (it was like college all over again) and finally we were both accepted!! University of Skimpy Lingerie, here we come! : )

On the night of the event, we got dressed in our brightest lingerie, chugged a few confidence shots of tequila and took a cab to the random parking garage in Century City where the shuttles would depart from. It was very strange considering that during the day, Century City was a bustling corporate atmosphere and now it was full of wandering party-goers. Once we got to the said parking garage, we got in line, checked in, got our bracelets (they were similar to electronic devices that actually scanned and displayed our identity) and boarded the shuttle to the Mansion. This was no joke! I assume it is easier to get into the White House. The excitement was overflowing on the shuttles as almost everyone was checking off an item on their Bucket List and when we arrived, it got silent. We were actually there!!!! Let the party begin!

I’m going to take you on a little side note for a minute and bring you back a few weeks when I was at the Century City mall with my friend Beth. I was wearing my fake, black framed ‘dorky’ glasses and as we headed up the escalator to the movie theater, I spotted Lil Romeo (the rapper who was currently on Dancing With the Stars) by one of the kiosks. He turned to me and commented on how much he liked my glasses and of course I got all giddy. He may have been almost a decade younger than me but he was adorable ( and I was single at this point in time mind you)! The next evening while I was watching him on Dancing With the Stars, he wore the same glasses he saw me in and I was convinced that he was sending me a message.

Cut to a few months later at the Playboy mansion when we were all partied out and ready to head home when I spotted who else but Lil Romeo outside while we were waiting in line for the shuttle. Because I was a little tipsy and had all the confidence in the world, I walked right up to him and told him that I was the girl in the glasses at the mall. Like he remembered, right? Well apparently he did and he asked if I wanted to hang out. At this point Mary was headed back home so I dragged our other friend that we were with by my side and told him we would love to hang out! Screw the shuttle, we were hopping in Lil Romeo’s blacked out Suburban with a few of his buddies and some other random girls. I hopped in the back with Romeo (I decided to drop the ‘Lil’ at this point since we were buddies) and his driver took us to his house in Calabasas…and by house, I mean mansion- he was the son of Master P after all! Did I mention we totally made out in the back of the Suburban? Anyways, after a few hours of partying, I passed out in his bed (ALONE) and was awakened when he came into the room saying everyone had to leave because his grandpa was coming over. Big Romeo? I woke up so confused as to where I was and why his grandpa would be coming over at 5:00 in the morning but we all grabbed our things and piled back into the Suburban. I was freezing at this point because we were all still in our lingerie, so I swiped a Nike hoodie from his bedroom (I still have it to this day, thank you very much) and we headed back to Century City to that random parking garage. It was the worst walk of shame I have ever experienced as we hailed a cab at 6:00 in the morning back to my apartment. 

I think I texted back and forth with Lil Romeo once or twice and that was it. Occasionally I will see him on a billboard or an ICDC College commercial rapping his little heart out (I die laughing) but other than that our relationship was over. But my one night of being ‘Big Juliet’ will live in infamy with my family and friends. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

First Impressions

You know how they say that first impressions last forever? Thank goodness that quote wasn't true in my case when I met Anthony's sister Sarah for the first time. It is highly likely that she probably doesn't even remember this incident but it is stuck in my brain for sure! When we  first starting hanging out, Anthony invited me to go to The Edison downtown for Sarah's birthday party. Of course I was a little nervous meeting his only sister but I figured that I could handle it, right? It was a chilly night but I didn't want to wear a coat, so I wore a cute long sleeve shirt with a fur vest over it. I was heading downtown alone and meeting them inside so I was already nervous when I pulled up to the valet. I underestimated the size of this club as it was literally the biggest, most overwhelming place I had been to in a while. And of course it was so dark and loud that I figured my chances of finding Anthony were slim to none. After what felt like an hour of roaming around the club, I began to sweat my ass off because of that damn fur vest and all the body heat coming off the millions of people inside. Great, now I had pit stains.....
I eventually got a hold of  Anthony on his cell phone and he tried to direct me to their table. When I finally found the group, I was surprised to see that Anthony's mom was also there...ACK! This was my first time meeting her too and I'm pretty sure I looked like a sweaty bear at this point. He introduced me to his sister, Sarah and his mom, Sylvia and left me for about 10 minutes while he went to the restroom. I attempted to small talk with them over the loud music when Sarah asked me if I would watch her drink at the table while she went to the bathroom. Sure, no problem, we seemed to be getting along great so far- this was a piece of cake! I swear I took my eye of that damn drink for one second when the waitress rushed over to our table, picked it up thinking it was empty and threw it in the trash. Oh my gosh, Sarah was going to kill me! I might as well leave right now. As I was planning my escape route and sweating even more profusely now, Sarah came back to the table and asked where her drink was. Shit, shit...I tried to explain to her that the waitress was a doppelganger for Flash Gordon and took it off the table right under my nose and as she listened, I was convinced that she hated me. Thank goodness Anthony came back just in time and when I told him what had happened, he laughed. He must have had good things to say about me after that and convinced his sister that I wasn't a spacey, irresponsible, sweaty beast because her and I are as close as ever now! Phew- I dodged that bullet...