Ché's Guide

Ché’s Guide To: Surprise Birthdays

My S.O, as weirdo women on dating forums would have me refer to him, turned 30 last week. As a longer-term girlfriend and a decent human being, it was my job to make sure he had a great birthday. After the 30th, for most people, the colossal aging parties are over until 50 (40 if you’re high maintenance or dying). Unfortunately for me and other non-rich people, the 30th birthday is a bit of a deciding factor on whether or not you’ll even be there for the 50th, so you need to pay attention and do a good job. To do a good job, you need to get your act together. I learned this lesson after trying to “whip up a quick cake” for his 29th:

Pictured: Me not having my act together.


The mainest, most stressful part of throwing a surprise party is not being able to afford to throw a surprise party. That’s why it’s very important early on in your life to learn how to coexist with other people. What’s expensive for one may be very reasonable when split between two. So I latched on to one of his friends and nonchalantly asked if he wanted to help me plan the party. Pro Tip: Lure possible party-funders with booze and the promise of bringing your really easy, drunk friends.

After you have a party-funder on your side, immediately discuss what you are willing to spend. If they can match that, you now have what is called a budget. An agreed upon budget is really important, because otherwise you will get screwed out of money, or they’ll spend more than you can, and you subsequently will become the screwer. Both scenarios suck. Once the funder and I decided what we were willing to spend, we used our words to entice other people to party too.


We invited everyone way before we paid for anything. Maybe you’re supposed to invest in your own ideas before spreading them, but maybe it’s dumb to plan a party no one can come to. I created, shamefully, a private Facebook group to spread the word. I know, Facebook groups are lame as hell, but a 30th birthday without any guests is lamer. It wasn’t until I secured yeses from a good group of people that I got out of bed and actually planned the party. Note: Securing a good group of people means actually speaking to those who are “attending”. Don’t go off of the group alone, or you’ll be alone, forever.

With a few friends helping me with the party, a bunch more wanting to come, and the resolve to get my boyfriend really drunk, we successfully threw the kind of surprise party you would want someone to throw you . Dancing, drinking, gambling, more drinking, too much drinking, a diner, and one quick dance in a cage was all it took to usher in 30 painlessly. Most importantly though, and if there’s a moral to a story about getting people recklessly intoxicated it’s this; he was able to spend the night toasting with a group of really good friends he hadn’t seen in a long time, and that was the best part. As it turns out, it doesn’t take a lot of money to be good at life.

Cabinet Cooks

Cabinet Cooks: Bread-Free Chicken Parm

carb free chicken parmesean

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minutes

All Together: 35 Minutes

I am supposed to go on vacation in 4 weeks to an island, with a beach, wearing a bathing suit. I am not (nor have I ever been) in bikini shape, so the least I can do is cut back on the carbs. This might not be as mouth watering as Mom’s dish but it’s still delicious.

Things You Definitely Need

  • Boneless-Skinless Chicken Breast (1 per person)
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Oil (Preferably olive)
  • Cheese (Preferably mozz)

Things That Would Be Nice to Have

  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese, 1/4 cup
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Pureed Tomatoes
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste


Cut your chicken breast into strips, or bite size pieces. You can leave it whole, but I personally don’t want to waste time by cutting into my food before eating it.

Dice your onions and garlic. How much garlic and onion depends on you. I personally like more garlic and will use 2 cloves.

Coat a large skillet with olive oil and saute your garlic and onions until the onions turn clear.

Add your tomato sauce. Now, this is tricky. If you only have canned tomato sauce, pour that in. If you have crushed tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, and tomato paste, you’re in better standing than me. Just remember, the more paste, the thicker the sauce.

Once you have poured in your tomatoes, add in all your seasonings (all to taste).


Let the sauce simmer for as long as you can. The longer the better.

While the sauce is simmering, saute your chicken until the juices run clear in a separate skillet.

Place your cooked chicken in the skillet with the tomato sauce, and lay thin slices of mozzarella over your chicken breast. If you cut the chicken before hand, like I did, then place the mozzarella over several pieces of chicken.

Once the cheese has melted move the meal into a bowl (if the chicken is cut up) or a plate (if the breast is whole) with the tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, then the chicken, and then more spooned tomato sauce on top.

Garnish with shredded Parmesan and enjoy.


Entry Level

Entry-Level Woes: Use Your Words

Today I sent an e-mail to a coworker, asking him to fix some broken links. We don’t have the closest relationship and I know he likes the Internet, so I took the opportunity as a chance to also become friendlier.

Subject: Broken LINKZ


Hi [redacted],

On the [redacted] archive, the first 2 links are broken. I need to access the second of these two. Do you haz fix?

The fix ended up being out of his hands and my request had to go up the ladder to Development. Included in this ladder is my boss, my boss’ boss, and my boss’ boss’ boss.

Senior Management x 3 now knows that I used to look at cat pictures on the Internet, because my coworker simply forwarded the e-mail on, rather than erasing my pathetic attempt at creating a friendship through meme-speak .

The Lesson: Some people are mean, and some are clueless, but the consequences of both can be minimized if you choose to talk like a grown-up and leave the faux funny e-mails for non-work related talk. Plus, only the coworkers who send you equally as dumb e-mails are trustworthy enough to receive your attempts at humor, and you can’t salvage a failed work relationship through cat talk anyway, so don’t bother.


Entry Level

Forever Disappointing

For the past several weeks, minus the one week of work Sandy stole from me, I have been tediously looking up the author names for the over 6,000 articles on our company website, and plugging them beside the article titles within this massive spreadsheet I proudly “own”. It’s been slow moving, frustrating and at times completely infuriating. Thoughts such as “I’m not a secretary, I’m not a Data Administrator, and I certainly am not an intern” have swarmed through my clouded cerebrum over and over again for the past 2 months.

But, I’m almost done. Thank God. And, in almost being finished, I am one step closer to creating an author database, which is another project I “own”. I also “spearhead” it.

Adjectives aside, I am also a part of the Author Engagement Program, the Social Media Team, the Newsletter Team, and the Production CMS Training Team. That, along with maintaining the site search’s Synonym Table and slowly training to manage Product, is a lot of responsibility.  I went to Chicago last month as the Marketing Liaison, and two weeks ago my house was hit by a hurricane.

All of this to say, I hope you forgive me for having been a non-blogging blogger. Sometimes you simply need to keep the laptop shut.