I’ve been neglecting my one true love

Surprisingly, I’m not even talking about TV. Shocking, I know. I love more than just TV. Even if I do often refer to it as my boyfriend. And no, it’s not my phone. My phone had a chance but it just keeps disappointing me. And it’s not food either. Or shoes. Or strippers.

So who or what am I talking about? Let’s face it, it’s obviously a what. Of course I would never express my love for an actual person. What do you take me for, a normal human being? Clearly that’s not the case.

What is my one true love? Writing. It always has been, though we have drifted apart at certain times in my life. But I am always happy to reconnect with it.

I don’t know why I haven’t had the time lately. I don’t think I have any more of a life right now than I did at this time last year. And I feel like I was writing a lot more at this time last year. It’s hard to find a balance between life and writing about life.

It’s sad that when I do have free moments in time, other things will often win out over writing. Like watching TV. I guess it’s because TV requires no effort from me whatsoever and can be completely mindless. Not that I don’t often sit and write mindlessly, because I do, but it’s a different form of mindlessness. And I feel better about it. Unlike watching TV, writing allows me to be a part of the process, and to have accomplished something in the end. It doesn’t even matter if it’s good or if anyone reads it. All that matters is I’ve done something that’s my own.

Unlike shoe shopping, or any kind of shopping, writing costs me nothing. Except time. But I enjoy that time immensely. Some people think it’s a waste, but I don’t think anything is a waste if you enjoy it. I think it would be more of a waste for me not to write.

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Army & Navy Shoe Sale 2013

a&nposterIt’s that time of year again.  Imagine a room full of rows upon rows of racks of beautiful shoes.  More shoes than you would even have time to try on.  But you attempt to anyway.  That’s right, ladies, the Legendary Army & Navy Shoe Sale is only a few days away.  And I do mean legendary in every sense of the word.  On Wednesday, April 24th, Army & Navy will open its doors at 8:00 am sharp for eager women in search of the perfect shoes.  This is the 64th year that they’ve held this sale and things only get better with time.  I’ve been to this sale for the past three years and each time have been increasingly impressed with their selections.  They receive well over 100,000 pairs for the sale and are constantly restocking throughout the twelve days.

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This year I had the privilege of meeting with footwear buyer Silvio Urbani, who showed me where all the many boxes of shoes are being stored awaiting the sale.  I was in awe when I saw all the boxes and skids in the warehouse, just wondering what shoes each one held.  I almost felt compelled to grab a box cutter and tear them all apart.  But I resisted the urge, as I did not wish to be banned from the store.  Instead I listened intently and contained my excitement.

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With over 85 brands to choose from, there’s something for everyone.  Clarks, GUESS, Kelsi Dagger, BCBG, Nine West, Steve Madden, Qupid, Andrew Geller, just to name a few.  I hear that Pour La Victoires are supposed to be a hot seller this year.  But how could they not be?  They’re gorgeous.  And I’m not crazy or shoe obsessed.  Okay, who am I kidding, clearly I am.  But take my word for it anyway.  As a bargain shopper, I know what I’m talking about.  Just because you’re paying less for something, doesn’t mean that it’s cheap or that you’re not getting your money’s worth.  At Army & Navy, you’re definitely getting more than your money’s worth.  Every pair of shoes at the sale is priced at $40 or less, regardless of how much the original cost was.  You really can’t go wrong.

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Sales this massive may seem intimidating to first timers.  But don’t worry, I promise you it won’t be the chaotic, dramatic, aggressive scene that you’re picturing.  Over the years, people have actually become more pleasant.  Rather than women fighting over shoes, there is now often a sense of camaraderie among them.  Last year, I met a lot of great people at the sale.  We sat together trying on our shoes, complimenting our various choices and giving our opinions.  The staff are also amazing and baskets are provided for those of us who like to try on as many as we possibly can all at once.  Shoppers are generally respectful and the sale is a real community building event where women can share their love of shoes.

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There are usually about 30,000 customers between the 6 stores each year.  Store locations are in Vancouver, New Westminster, Langley, Edmonton, and Calgary.  I’ve only ever been to the  Downtown Vancouver location on 36 West Cordova Street.  That place is like my home away from home.  I always feel welcome there and they always meet my needs.  With over 100,000 pairs of shoes, you’re bound to find at least one perfect pair.  Last year, I believe I found eleven.  On day one.  Apparently that’s a lot?  Each person buys about 3.5 pairs on average at the sale.  So you know, there are a lot of practical and reasonable shoppers out there.  And then the few excessive and compulsive buyers like myself come along.  Because shoe sales are where we belong.

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It’s recommended that you go early to make sure you get the deals.  I mean, everything’s a deal, but the nicest pairs go fast if you don’t hurry.  Doors open at 8:00 am on Wednesday, but people start lining up as early as 5:30 am.  Yes, while the rest of you are still asleep, a few crazy dedicated shoe lovers are out bright and early beginning to form what eventually becomes a massive lineup along Cordova Street.  Rain or shine, nothing gets in the way of a a new pair of shoes.

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If lineups and ridiculously early mornings aren’t your thing but you don’t want to miss out on first dibs at shoes, don’t fret, there is another way.  Contests!  I’m not just a bargain shopper and a shoe lover, I’m also a contest enthusiast.  So I’m going to go ahead and tell you about the ways in which you can possibly win VIP access to the shoe sale.  Because knowledge like this is too good to keep to myself.  First off, what is VIP access?  Pretty much, you get to skip the line, enter the store before it opens to the public, and go try on shoes before everybody else.  So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

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To win VIP access for you and 3 friends, plus a $250 shopping spree, simply click here and fill out the entry form.  I wish you luck!  Because we all deserve a new pair of shoes.  And the only thing better than a new pair of shoes is a free new pair of shoes.  There’s also a contest on the Army & Navy Facebook page where you can win a $100 gift card by uploading a 30 second video clip about your favourite Army & Navy moment.  I may enter myself, but there are too many good moments to choose from.  And you can win VIP access through their Shoe of the Week contest.  You can also win a new pair of shoes plus VIP access through Vancity Buzz.  It would also be worthwhile to tune in to your local radio stations and see if they might be giving away any VIP access prizes as well.

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If you’re unable to make it first thing in the morning on day one, it’s okay.  New stock fills those shelves everyday.  There’s room for 30,000 pairs on the shop floor and staff keep busy filling them throughout the day.  Every two hours or so is a good time to hit the sale, in between the spurts of crowds.  There is more selection this year than ever before and always something for everyone.  It’s not just all about heels.  If you prefer comfort, you don’t have to sacrifice style, as there are plenty of great flats, sandals, athletic, and walking shoes to choose from.  If you’re anywhere between a size 5 and a size 11, there’s sure to be a pair for you.  And while men’s shoes aren’t advertised as part of the sale, the store actually does have a great selection of them at reduced prices.  Literally something for everyone.

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So next Wednesday, I will be at 36 West Cordova Street at 7:00 am.  Because clearly I had to book a day off work for this.  It’s become a bit of a tradition for me.  It’s like a sign that spring is finally here.  And with spring, comes an excuse to buy new weather appropriate footwear.  Which in Vancouver is sometimes rain boots as opposed to sandals.  But Army & Navy has plenty of both so they got you covered.  The sale runs from April 24th to May 5th.  Hope to see you there!

What kind of phone should I get?

It’s getting to that point.  Well that point was here like a year ago.  It’s way past that point now.  But I have to get a new phone.  It’s ridiculous the amount of times I attempt to do something and that little clock icon is in the middle of my screen and everything is frozen.  It’s finally time.  I don’t have to put up with this anymore.

But because I’m so indecisive and clueless about technology, I still have no idea what phone to get.  I was thinking an iPhone.  But then there’s also the Samsung Galaxy.  And I’ve even heard good things about the new Blackberry Z10.  Although the only reason I like Blackberry is because I like the keypad.  But the new Blackberry is a touch screen phone.  So what’s the point?  Take away the one thing I love about it?  No thank you.

But what the hell should I get?  What’s the easiest one to use?  I need something very user friendly.  What phone will I bitch about the least?  That’s the phone I want.  One that will cause me to never again write another blog post about how much I hate my phone.  Does such a phone exist?  Or will I just never be happy?

My parents are following me on Facebook

Yeah.  So a few years ago, when my dad got Facebook, he sent me a friend request.  Which I declined.  Because I didn’t want him seeing all my stuff.  I felt it was unnecessary.  This year, my mom decided to get Facebook.  She pretty much just wanted it so she could enter a contest, so she barely ever uses it.  Soon after getting it, I received a friend request from her as well.  Which I had to decline also.  I’m not going to accept one parent and not the other.  That just wouldn’t be fair.  It’s either all or nothing.

Last week, I received a notification on Facebook that my dad was following me.  My immediate thought was “Oh shit!”.  And then I looked at my list of followers and realized my mom was following me on Facebook as well.  Crap.  The only reason I got notified about my dad is because we have one mutual friend.  At first I cursed the fact that we had one mutual friend, because I think that’s how he found my profile a couple years ago.  But now I’m grateful, because if it weren’t for that friend, I wouldn’t have even been notified about the fact that he is currently following me.

I haven’t talked to them about it at all.  But I did immediately update my Facebook status to “My parents are following me on Facebook.  This is the beginning of the end.”  Which I’m sure they would have read, since my posts should now be showing up in their news feed since they’re following me.  I’m not sure how often they check it.  I think my dad probably checks it more often than my mom.  I think he uses it to check up on me.  Maybe it’s a sign that he’s worried about me?  Because I’ve been going out so much lately?

Whatever the case, I haven’t yet decided what to do about it.  I can a) Do nothing and let them keep following me, b) Block them (Except I’m not actually sure how to block people from following you on Facebook. Is there an option for that somewhere?), c) Admit defeat and just add them as friends, or d) Add them as friends but with a limited profile (which I think is stupid, you may as well not add a person if you’re not going to let them see anything).

I’ve asked people if they think I should just add them as friends and most of them have told me no.  But I mean I feel like I’m at a point where it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if I did.  I never post anything THAT bad.  I don’t think I’ve posted anything that bad recently while they’ve been following me anyway.  Although yesterday I may have posted about how I missed out on winning gay porn at Celebrities bingo.  But what’s wrong with that?  It’s not like I asked for that to be one of the prizes.  So it’s fine.  Probably the worst thing actually, is the fact that my profile picture right now is of me strewn across the laps of male strippers.  I’m guessing that’s probably not a photo you want to see of your daughter.  Oh well.

I’m wondering if I do add them as friends, would I end up having to censor myself?  I mean, more so than I already do.  And if I did, would that be so bad?  I remember someone once told me that a good rule of thumb is to not post anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.  But my grandma would probably let more things slide than my parents.  Speaking of which, I just found out my grandma also has Facebook, but I’m pretty sure she never uses it and isn’t sure how it all works.  I have not added her either, because I generally don’t add family on Facebook.  But I’m considering it.

I was thinking maybe this year, I should just give my parents my friendship on Facebook as a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day present.  That’s probably worth more to them than whatever I might buy them, right?

What do you think?  Would you add your parents on Facebook, or am I crazy for considering it?

I saw male strippers with my grandma

Yeah, so the title of this post is self explanatory.  But I’m guessing you want details?  Like how and why?  More like how awesome was it and why did it take this long for me to write about it?

Thunder From Down Under

Obviously this appealed to me

While in Vegas, I went to see seven shows.  Thunder From Down Under was one of my favourites.  We were looking through the different shows that we could potentially go to and trying to organize our time, figuring out which days we would do what.  I was staying at the Luxor, which has a connection to the Excalibur.  They had a deal at these hotels where you can attend two of their shows for $75.  So naturally, I went for this deal.

I wore my best looking shoes to the show

I wore my best looking shoes to the show

I commented on how I wanted to see it, and to my surprise, my grandma said she would go with me.  I had to make sure she was serious.  She was.  I wanted my cousin to come too, but she was only 18 at the time.  But lucky for us, 18 year olds are allowed to go as long as they are accompanied by an adult over the age of 21.  Done and done.

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My cousin and I, awaiting the show

We had some time before the show started, so my cousin and I went back to our respective hotels to get ready while my grandma did some more gambling.  Before we met up to go in, my grandma asked someone where the Thunder From Down Under Showroom was.  Apparently they replied with, “YOU’RE going to Thunder From Down Under?”  To which she replied, “Yes, I’m going with my granddaughters,” in a way that suggested that it was a perfectly normal thing for her to be doing.

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They’re so good, they have their own Showroom

My cousin and I were so excited for the show.  The novelty of it wasn’t so much the fact that we were going to see strippers.  It was the fact that we were going to see strippers with our grandma.  Who does that?  Who else can say that they’ve done that?  I’m probably the only person who can say she saw male strippers with her 18 year old cousin and her 79 year old grandma.  And more importantly, that I enjoyed seeing male strippers with my 18 year old cousin and my 79 year old grandma.

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My grandma bought me a thunder cocktail

My grandma’s awesomeness does not stop with the fact that she agreed to come with us.  She also bought me a drink.  And not just any drink.  A giant fishbowl drink.  I was still trying to finish it at the end of the show.

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My giant fishbowl drink

This was my first time at a male strip show.  Because sadly, there are no male strip clubs in Vancouver.  At least none that I am aware of.  Are there?  In Nevada, apparently there’s a law where they’re not allowed to remove everything.  So no full frontal.  But my grandma mentioned to us that back in her day, they took everything off.

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Me and my fishbowl

Before the show started, there were videos on the screen with various clips of the men from Thunder From Down Under.  In one of them, it showed them all hanging out in their dressing rooms, and one guy was playing guitar, and one of them was straightening the other guy’s hair.  I was like is that what they do when they hang out?  Sit around straightening each other’s hair and serenading each other on the guitar?

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Our seats weren’t half bad

Like any good male strip show, there was a fake orgasm contest, where the host brings three ladies onstage to do their best fake orgasm to win prizes.  I’m kind of glad I didn’t get picked for that.  It would probably be horrifying to have to do that in front of my cousin and my grandma.  And I’m even more grateful that neither of them went up.  I can’t even imagine.

It was thrilling walking through those doors

It was thrilling walking through those doors

I loved their dance numbers.  And their bodies.  It’s actually quite intimidating how insanely in shape they keep themselves.  There were a bunch of times when they would invite a girl on stage to get some private one on one time with one of the guys.  Sadly, I was not chosen.  It’s usually girls who are there for bachelorette parties and birthdays that get to go up.  Or whichever girl screams the loudest.

It was all so exciting

It was all so exciting

They don’t stay onstage for the entire time.  Sometimes they come around out into the audience.  Which was great for us because we had a couple of them pass by our table a few times.  One guy came around and he gave my grandma a hug and he gave my cousin a hug.  But he completely ignored me.  I was feeling rather neglected.  But the later, another guy came by and sat on my lap.  So it was all good in the end.

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The Showroom

After the show, you get the chance to get your picture taken with the guys onstage.  No, sadly my grandma did not get one taken.  But she gave my cousin and I $20 each to get them for ourselves.  Would your grandma give you money to go sit on a stripper’s lap?  Yeah, didn’t think so.

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Next time, I’m buying some merchandise

They showed us different poses that they could do with us.  For one of them, they said it was for your ex-boyfriends, and they were all giving the finger.  My cousin, being the classy girl that she is, decided to choose that one.  So she, along with the guys, are all giving the finger to the camera.  She said it was a message to all the guys who have hurt her, that the Thunder From Down Under guys support her.  I thought that was pretty awesome.

Girl's night outback. How clever.

Girl’s night outback. How clever.

I went for something a little less harsh, and just positioned myself across their laps.  Still keeping it classy as always.  Clint, the guy with the pink hair greeted me on the stage and said he liked my outfit.  He was my favourite.  He had dyed his hair pink to show support for breast cancer awareness.  I also liked Matthew, the guy who hosted it.  At the end, he does some stripping himself, which is awesome.  And then I sat on the young guy’s lap and we talked about how they had done a show at the River Rock the previous year and how I’m from Richmond.  I was still talking to him and didn’t even realize my time was up.  I totally could have sat there longer…

My classy as hell photo

My classy as hell photo

Because we’re awesome, we checked our coupon books for coupons for a free poster from the merchandise shop.  But in all our excitement, we forgot to claim them.  Luckily our hotels were right near the Excalibur, so we went back to get what was rightfully ours.

Yay for free posters

Yay for free posters

There was a 9:00pm show and an 11:00pm show.  We went to the early one.  Grandma likes to party, but she still needs to be in bed at a reasonable hour.  You have the opportunity to get your photos and posters signed at the end of the show, but for some reason we didn’t.  But I was determined not to miss out.

Woo hoo

Woo hoo

After leaving my grandma and my cousin and going back to my hotel, I went back to the Thunder From Down Under Showroom to wait.  I dropped stuff off in my room first and my dad asked me where I was going since it was quite late by that time.  I informed him I was going to go get my stuff signed by strippers and went on my way.

Waiting to get my merchandise signed

Waiting to get my merchandise signed

I had to wait a while.  A lot of girls from the second show were getting their photos taken, and taking their time doing so.  But it was well worth the wait.  What’s better than a Thunder From Down Under photo and poster?  A signed Thunder From Down Under photo and poster.  Plus further interaction with the guys, however minimal it may have been.  I made sure I was visible enough in the crowd to push through and get each one of their signatures.

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Is it worth more because it’s been signed?

This experience was probably the most memorable of the trip.  And one of my most memorable experiences in general.  For some, Vegas may be all about getting wasted in some high end nightclub.  But for me, it was all about strippers with my grandma.

What happens in Vegas ends up in a blog post

vegashollywoodLast summer, I went to Vegas.  With family.  When I tell this to most people, they are initially intrigued by the fact that I went to Vegas.  And then soon disinterested when they find out I went with family.  Almost as though they feel sorry for me.  As if it’s so disappointing and such a waste of a trip.  For most people, a trip to Vegas with your family isn’t as fun or glamorous as a normal Vegas trip would be.  But for me, it was.

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My grandma turned 80 years old last year.  And she had never been to Vegas before.  So we thought it would be fun to take her there.  She loves gambling, so I was shocked it was her first time there.  Even I had been before, and I hate gambling.  Mostly because I’m so terrible at it.  But my grandma is more of a risk taker and has more luck than I do, so Vegas was perfect for her.  I’m more interested in the shopping and the shows.  And the food.  And the drinking.  You know, there’s always something for everyone.

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Apparently my grandma is afraid of flying in an airplane.  This fear manifested a few years ago, when some idiot made some remarks about how flying was unsafe an whatnot.  I think that was the last time she was in a plane because whatever the guy said on that flight must have freaked her out.  So my aunt and uncle had to drive down to Vegas with her.  I can’t even imagine that long and painful drive.  I’m just so glad I went by plane.

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So what’s there to do in Vegas with your family?  So many things!  Despite what many might think, Vegas isn’t just all about the pool parties and the night clubs.  I mean I wouldn’t bring kids there.  Although some people do.  Which is ridiculous.  Walking down the strip at like 11pm, you see families with kids.  And wonder why are you out, shouldn’t you be in bed?  Why are you here?  But anyway.  When you’re with family members who are old enough to appreciate it, Vegas is awesome.

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The shows are amazing.  I really wish we had more shows here in Vancouver because I miss it.  I went to a total of seven shows while I was there and they were all spectacular.  I saw Terry Fator, Mac King, Nathan Burton Comedy Magic, Frank Marino’s Divas, Tournament of Kings, The Beatles Love by Cirque du Soleil, and Thunder From Down Under.  Did I mention that I saw Thunder From Down Under with my grandma?  They’re Australian strippers.  Yeah, that happened.

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I also went to two buffets.  And I went crazy both times.  You know I love food.  And I tend to have no self control when that food is essentially limitless.  So you can imagine what my plates looked like.  I definitely ate too much, but I have no regrets about that.  I also loved being able to drink in public during the day.  I’m pretty sure if I lived in Vegas, I would be a morbidly obese alcoholic with a lot of debt.

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I also hung out by the pool and did a lot of walking along the strip.  And shopping.  I did my fare share of shopping at Ross and at the outlet mall.  I did gamble a little as well.  But as I said, it’s really not my thing.  I lost a bit and then gave up.  I just don’t have my grandma’s luck or perseverance.

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Stay tuned for future blog posts about the shows, food, drinks, and fun I had in Vegas…

I don’t always take pictures of my food, but when I do, I post them on Facebook

Don’t you just hate those people who take pictures of their food?  It’s so unnecessary, right?  I mean the food is there for you to eat, not to look at.  I used to judge those people.  And lo and behold, I became one of them.  I don’t always take pictures of my food.  But when I do, I post them on Facebook.  I’m not one of those people who has to instagram every single thing she eats.  I don’t even have instagram actually.  Which is probably for the best.

If I’m eating something bland or unexciting, then I see no reason to have to share it with the world.  But when it’s some sort of unique concoction that I know people would either be jealous of or judge me for eating, then I feel it’s somehow justified.  So I just wanted to share with you the fact that I had a pizza burger the other night.  I love when you can get two things in one like that.  The pizza burger is the newest addition to the Boston Pizza menu.  I opted for the pepperoni and bacon one.  Because why wouldn’t you want the extra meat?

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Pepperoni & bacon pizza burger at Boston Pizza

I used to be one of those people who always felt compelled to finish everything off their plate.  But on occasion I now find myself bringing home leftovers.  In this case, it’s understandable, because the pizza burger was pretty much like eating a pizza and a burger.  So really it was two meals in one.  Literally, because I ate the rest of it for lunch the following day.

Did you know that Boston Pizza actually puts instructions on their take home boxes as to what to do with your leftover food?  They tell you how long you have before you have to refrigerate it, how to store it, how to reheat it, and how many days you have left before you have to eat it.  And so I put it in the fridge when I got home, as it says to do so within two hours.  When I entered the kitchen, my dad looked at me, saw that I was wearing my boots and my jacket, and said, “Where are you going??” because it was late.  I then informed him that I’d just gotten home.  Apparently he didn’t realize I wasn’t in the house up until that moment.

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Thanks for telling me what to do with my leftover food. I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

I also abided by the instruction of eating the food within one to two days.  Obviously.  Why would I leave it for three days?  I don’t have that kind of willpower.  I didn’t bother to divide my food.  It wasn’t a large amount.  And I completely ignored the reheating instructions.  I ate that pizza burger cold.  Because I’m a rebel like that.