Friday, December 31, 2010

As 2010 draws to a close...

I did super well with last years resolutions. Is it time to make some more? Let's see.

In addition to quitting smoking and eating meat, I also got rid of my microwave 6 months ago. It started off pretty simple. I was tired of hearing, "You can't microwave styrofoam, it'll give you cancer." and, "You can't microwave cling wrap, it'll give you cancer." Finally I just decided maybe this microwave isn't such a good thing, after all. And you know what? Google it. I actually JUST did some research on it, and it's true--microwaves are unbelievably dangerous. I'm glad mine is gone and wish I had disposed of it earlier.

I'll save you some time. Here's a summary of some results from Russian tests. (Russia, by the way, banned microwave ovens in 1975. I added the bold-face type.)

  • Microwaving prepared meats sufficiently to insure sanitary ingestion caused formation of d-Nitrosodienthanolamines, a well-known carcinogen. (Causes cancer.)
  • Microwaving milk and cereal grains converted some of their amino acids into carcinogens. (Causes cancer.)
  • Thawing frozen fruits converted their glucoside and galactoside containing fractions into carcinogenic substances. (Causes cancer.)
  • Extremely short exposure of raw, cooked or frozen vegetables converted their plant alkaloids into carcinogens. (Causes cancer.)
  • Carcinogenic free radicals were formed in microwaved plants, especially root vegetables. (Causes cancer.)
  • Decrease in nutritional value (May result in decreased immunity.)
In short? Microwaves are awful.

Sorry. Tangent.

My New Year's resolution is to keep doing what I'm doing. Stay healthy, take more vitamins... (side note, ladies, you only have until age 30 to build bone density. So if you aren't taking 1000 mg of Calcium plus D, you should start! I try to take mine every day, but can be forgetful.)...eat more veggies, and definitely get more exercise. I want to finally get my dream bike and start going on at least one bike ride a week. Ideally, I'd like to join the yoga class that's next door to me, too, but that could get costly.

And, you know, the usual. Write more, edit more, submit more, get published. At least ONE thing. (But you know, two would be great. If I could double my numbers every year? It'd be pretty sweet.) Get into that awesome creative writing college. Do well in work and school.

...and get better about mailing packages.

(Seriously though, the universe is aligning against me mailing this package. The post office is closed when I leave for work and closed when I return home. I was snowed in on Monday, so that was no good. I went to the post office Tuesday on my lunch break and guess what? CLOSED. I even took a photo of it. Wednesday I had to work (I usually have it off and mail all packages on Wednesday!) and I was supposed to get out early today & was glad I could finally make it to the post office, but NOPE. Ended up staying at work until 5:30. I'm going to walk down to the post office tomorrow, but I bet it's going to be closed due to the holiday.)

Anyway. I'm trying. And very sorry. :(

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas haul...

Every Christmas Jay and I get tired of waiting and we usually cave and open gifts early.

Last year, we opened gifts VERY early--we literally opened one gift a day for most of the month of December, but then when Christmas morning rolled around, we had nothing to open. I think Jay was okay with this, but it made me a bit sad. So this year I was determined to wait until Christmas Day.

But...last night at midnight (officially Christmas Eve) we opened stockings. And today I got antsy and we decided to share a bottle of white wine and open gifts at 9 PM.

(I was in favor of this because it meant I got to sleep in the next day.)

Here's what I gave, and then what I got:

Gave Jay:

-IBC rootbeer (it's really hard to find! I had to track down a case of it.)
-Small box of chocolates
-Fruit snacks
-A compass for his car
-Arizona Iced Tea powder in a can (much more affordable than 99 cents for a glass!)
-Ninja bandaids
-A "delete" eraser (it looks like the delete key on a computer)
-Can opener rings, because we always find ourselves out and about without a can opener!
-Sleepytime tea
-Carmex
-A book on video game careers
-A 8 bit tie from Thinkgeek
-An Xbox remote (it controls both the Xbox and the television--great for when we don't want to wait for the controller to come out of "sleep" mode!)
-Apple crisp mix and a bag of apples (because he's been craving apple cobbler FOREVER.)
-The Halo Encyclopedia.

(Not bad for a $100 spending limit, right? I shopping mostly online and was able to get some great deals on eBay especially!)

Here's what I got:

-Tea
-Toiletries (lip balm, lotion, shower gel, a toothbrush)
-Chinese Mary Janes (he gave these to me early because he didn't have anywhere to put them--I've been wearing them for about three days so far and I loove them!)
-A ton of different scented candles
-$60 in gift cards to Charlotte Russe
-$15 in gift cards to Starbucks
-A knitted sweater dress

My mom also gave us four lottery tickets a piece, but unfortunately we didn't win anything :(

What did you all get?? :D

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Don't stay silent.

(actual personalized post card I'm sending to my stylist, Sarah.)

I am learning as of late that I no longer believe in keeping things to myself. Life's too short to hold your tongue.
That being said, I'm not going to go up to someone and tell them to go jump off a bridge or anything of that nature. It's mostly good things I'm spreading.

By post.

The act of sending and receiving an actual physical letter, card or postcard has a psychological benefit that opening an email doesn't. I mean, just think of how many emails you get a day! I probably get at least 50. And in this technological world, a lot of times I'll open an email and not even remember to respond. Isn't that sad? But think of how sad you are to go to your physical mailbox everyday and to find it empty. Or even worse, to find it full of bills, and only bills. (Yep, that's what my mailbox looks like, too!)

I've been stocking up on postcards (I found 10 for a dollar at Job Lot!) and sending them out just because. My best friend helped me through a tough time over the telephone. She got a thank you post card. My stylist just gave me an amazing haircut. She's getting a postcard. And a number of months ago I even sent out a letter to a guy from my past, clearing up some...well, let's just say he was moving across the country and I decided things were better not left unsaid. (I didn't get a reply, so I'm assuming he thought things were better left unsaid. Which is okay too, but personally I feel better knowing I'm not living with secrets.)

I digress. My point is, getting postal mail feels good. It's this little jolt of ooh, someone was thinking of me! followed immediately by: wow, someone was thinking of me enough to actually put some effort in! This is a bit of my own pay-it-forward project. I'm sending out postcards when I see fit, and hopefully one day other people will send postcards too.

Let's give those lazy postal workers* something to do, people! :)




*I'm just kidding. I know a postal worker and he is far from lazy. But I do see the post becoming extinct one day. We already have UPS and FedEx for our packages, and most bills give you the option of "going paperless". So perhaps this should be our way of keeping it in business!


Do you send "just because" postal mail? If not, will you start?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Confessions:

1. I am blogging from work. And I've been drinking. (It's okay, it was a holiday party!) My power cord to my laptop at home is dead, so you might not hear from me until Monday or Tuesday when my new one arrives.

2. I feel very guilty because I MISSED my window to mail out my giveaway! I meant to get it ot the lovely imfortyish before Christmas...but here it is the 22nd and it's STILL not been posted! Ugh! I apologize. (When I told my boss this, he responded with, "You know there's a post office in our building, right? Just downstairs?" I did NOT! Ugh!) I promise I will get it out soon. :(

3. I will have SUCH a backlog of Real*Love entries once I get my computer back!!! I already have about 10 links of adorable things I'm lusting over!

Other than this, I hope everyone has themselves a very merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate!) and gets everything they want!! I will update soon with my haul :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy early Holidays!


One of my long-distance best friends came home for the holidays this weekend. It was so great (and also a surprise! I only knew about it a couple of days in advance!) to see her, even for a short time.

We watched Christmas movies (sort of...we really just talked through them. But what else would you expect from girls who never get to see each other?), had some dinner...I had some Riesling by the fire...(and did I mention I've become a total lightweight? Only two glasses and I was feeling it!)
And we played Cash Cab with her family. (It's terribly dumbed-down! We only got one answer wrong and that was due mainly to Katie's misplaced confidence, and the confusing of the words "China" and "Japan"...all the while myself and her brother were whispering, "Katie, wait, isn't it Japan?" But she was just SO confident that we went with her gut reaction!)

We followed the evening up with a trip to a nearby cul-de-sac that puts on a light show/Christmas village type thing. It's totally cute (and free!) and is becoming somewhat of a tradition for Katie and I. Next time I'll have to bring my actual camera, as my cell phone failed at getting any decent shots.

So, now I'm ready for Christmas! This little pre-Christmas weekend totally got me in the mood. Bring it on!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Giveaway result!!!




I used the random number generator at random.org and the winner is...

entry number one, imfortyish!

Congrats! You can shoot me an email with your address to ARTWonderland [at] gmail [dot] com, and I'll get the pretty dress out in the mail to you tomorrow! :)

Everyone else, stay tuned. I have another Korean article of clothing to give away, but I think I'll wait until the end of January for that one. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My first GIVEAWAY!

Hi everyone!

With Christmas coming up, it's the perfect time to hold my first ever giveaway.

You see, I am completely in love with Korean fashion. Their dresses are just about the cutest thing ever. BUT, I am blessed with two things most Korean girls must not be: boobs and hips.

Because of these, I find it difficult to wear most of the Korean styles I lust over and buy on eBay.

What I have to offer you right now is a chiffon dress from the Korean clothing company MisoMiso:
(The one I am giving away is black, not pink. I couldn't find a photo of the black version.)

It is a size large and still has the tags on. I've only tried it on once, and that was enough for me to realize it just wouldn't work on my body type. I recommend it to someone who is pretty small up top (I'm a 36B, for reference) and hip-wise. (Not sure the exact measure of my hips, but I wear a size 10 or 11 jeans.)

So if you're smaller than I am, you are in luck.

To enter this contest, there are two steps:

1. Like me on Facebook. (The link is here, or you could click the widget that's on the upper right on my front page.)

2. Leave me a comment and let me know you've "liked" me, and that you want to be entered!

I will pick a winner on Friday the 17th and mail out the dress on Friday the 18th, so you should hopefully get it for Christmas!

Good luck!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Find me on Facebook!

For those of you who use an RSS feed or a Google reader, this is just a heads up that I've created a Facebook page for this blog/me!

If you want to "like" me (and please do, because it currently says that zero people like me...which is not fun for my self esteem!) just visit my blog and click the "like" button. It's near the upper right hand corner.

I'll update that Facebook page whenever I have something to say that might not quite be blog-worthy.

See you there!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ugh.

Not even halfway through the week yet and I am struggling with the first real cold I've had all year.

It's not awful, except some of the side effects are ridiculous. I have what I can only assume is a swollen lymph node (I've never had one before) and it's almost completely deformed the left side of my face. I swear to god, I'm afraid this will never go away and I'll be left looking like the elephant man forever.
(This photo may appear entirely normal, but my jaw is NOT normally that round--that's where the swelling is. Ick.)

Other than that, I'm not coughing or sneezing or anything of that nature. I go from feeling okay (from when I first wake up until about 11:00 AM) to feeling like death warmed over. Currently, I'm on my lunch break and cannot decide if I'm going to pass out or hurl.

Yesterday my face was all flushed and I was alternatively cold and hot, so I took my temperature--a perfect 98.6. Weird.

This wouldn't matter to me if I wasn't so goddamned busy. I have a transcription file that I tried to get through last night but wasn't able to. I'm trying to do it on my lunch break but it's too damn loud in this cafeteria. I also have a writing group meeting tonight, so I'll be going straight there from work. Then, I'll hurry home (and be home for 9:30 PM!) to finish this transcription file.

Logically, I should probably go home and get some extra sleep right now. But I won't. I can't miss any more work (I'm out of sick/vacation time.) and this writing group is a luxury--we only meet once a month and I always look forward to it. There's no way I can miss it.

So I will push on. Thank goodness I have tomorrow off. I hope I can sleep off this sickness!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Really, Coco?

"A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future." -Coco Chanel

Although in most instances I think Coco was a genius, I really do have to disagree with this. I used to wear perfume religiously--every day. Wouldn't leave the house without a spritz or two.

But when I started reading all about the dangers of perfume, my interest in the stuff started waning. I do still have a bottle kicking around here somewhere--but I use it only for a special occasions or if I haven't been able to squeeze in a shower and maybe feel a bit self conscious. (Hey, it happens to the best of us. Don't judge me.)

Plus, quite frankly most of the women I pass who wear perfume wear far, far too much of it. And it doesn't smell good! It's suffocating and just...gross. Really. I don't see how that's the sign of having a future--unless these stinky women just keep getting promoted and promoted so that no one has to smell them all day.

*RealLove*

Household Edition!

1. To say that I hate to do dishes is an understatement. Old soggy food, gross dishwater and wrinkly hands--complete with a ruined manicure? No, thank you. BUT, I might reconsider if I had a pair of these super cute dish gloves. This site here has SO many different options that I could never pick just one pair! I may eventually get one...just in case. Rubber gloves always come in handy, right?
2. How much do you spend on your toothbrush? The last time I went to CVS, I was shocked at the prices. What happened to 99 cents? Luckily I have found an awesome solution. The Preserve toothbrush costs as little as $2.99--but here's the really great part. It's not only made from recycled yogurt cups (and comes with an envelope so that you can mail it back to the company for recycling!) but they also have a "toothbrush subscription program" so that you'll get a new toothbrush mailed to you when it's time to recycle your old one. (Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3 months, after a cold or flu, or when the bristles show signs of wear.) When's the last time you replaced your brush? I know it's been way too long in my case. I can't wait to get my Preserve Toothbrush in the mail!
3. This super cute countertop dishwasher would be a pretty good addition to any tiny apartment that can't fit a normal dishwasher for whatever reason. Apparently it can fit a good amount of dishes, too--perfect for someone living alone or a couple.4. This is by far my favorite invention. For the price of one washer and one dryer, you can buy this LG Washer/Dryer Combo. The best parts? It doesn't need an external vent--so it's great for small apartments. The really big bonus as far as I'm concerned is the fact that you put in your laundry and soap and just leave it. When you come back not only is your laundry washed, it's also DRIED. The only thing better would be if a machine folded my laundry and hung it up for me too! Seriously, I want one of these pretty bad. It beats lugging shit to the laundry room (with machines that never quite dry fully) or across the street to the laundromat (which can get pricey!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So. Freaking. EXCITED!


I just have to share this with someone. I have that crazy excitement that just can't be contained!

As you all may know, I love, love, love Bright Eyes.

I was also severely bummed out about six months ago when I searched for tour dates and came up with nothing. I realized it had been years since they toured, and all the documentation I could find made it sound like they had broken up.

I was so upset. I wanted so badly to see them in concert, but it was just my luck that they would have stopped performing.

...guess who has a ticket to see Bright Eyes in ORCHESTRA seats at the RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL?!

That's right! I do!

For their LAST WORLD TOUR before they break up forever.

I'm so freaking excited (obviously) and the concert is in Radio City Music Hall, which I love (due to watching the original Annie over and over as a child!) but have never been inside!

Now I cannot wait for March! Fun fact: I haven't been to a concert since 2006! That'll be FIVE years! Much too long.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.


Or: not everyone will always like you.

As some of you might know, in addition to all my other spread-myself-too-thin hobbies, I am constantly writing and submitting my work for publishing.

Usually, I get a standard form rejection letter that looks a little bit like this:

Alison, Thank you for your fiction submission to [magazine title]. Regretfully, we must pass but all the best with it.

Today, I got my very first personal rejection letter. At first, I was excited. Personal letters are rare, but valuable.

But then I saw what they had to say:

The first sentence doesn't need to be there. Make sure the message is stated without actually stating it.

Okay, that's fine. I actually had debated that myself and decided to leave it in. In the future, I'll remove it. Easy.

I'm afraid this piece came off entirely too preachy. There really isn't any character progression or personal change. Nothing that happens with the characters affects any change in any form. The only change or progress is a single blade of grass that the characters have nothing to do with bringing about.

Hmm. I didn't intend for there to be any character progression or personal change, so...I guess that's okay. But the blade of grass is a sign that even in the bleakest of times, things can get better. I need to work on getting that point across I suppose.

I'm all for environmental care and stories that encourage responsibility in our world, but this one is not well done. It is more of a diatribe than a story.

Eeek, "not well done". And I'll admit I had to look up "diatribe", but here it is:

di·a·tribe/ˈdīəˌtrīb/

Noun: A forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone or something.

Err...okay, so maybe I came off kind of strong? I guess?

But here's the worst:

The story is a heavy lecture of the evils of our cancer-causing world. No attempt to even veil the message. Granny dies of cancer from our dirty world and wanton, wasteful ways. Sentimental, preachy, awful.

Awful! Really? Awful?

I'm too close to this, maybe. My grandmother DID die of cancer, so I may be rightfully sentimental...but who knows what really caused it? I'm making assumptions here that we're killing our planet. And no, I didn't make any attempt to veil the message...because the message was the point.

Argh. To be fair, I wrote this piece in 2000, and haven't really given it much of a second look since then. My creative writing teacher at the time suggested that I submit it, and ten years later I remembered that and tried to submit it.

I'm not dismissing what they had to say by any means...but I have a feeling that maybe these people aren't very green!

I'm not sure if I can save this story, but I'll try, I suppose. It's a little disturbing that I can write and re-read a story so many times, but not even realize I'm being preachy and bitter. I think I may need an editor!

(image credit)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Productivity, begin!

It's only midnight (so technically it's day one of my 5 day weekend) and I've already successfully emptied my clogged inbox and read everything that had backed up in my google reader.

Off to an awesome start, if I do say so myself! Hopefully I can keep it up! :)

*RealLove*


1. I was really excited to see the new Dr. Who-as-John Lennon TV movie...but then I read this article and suddenly had no desire to see it anymore. But still. I love John, and unlike most people I'm pretty sure I love Yoko too. She was a self-made woman long before it was proper for a woman to be such--and instead of being recognized for it, she was put through hell for "breaking up the Beatles", simply because she wasn't afraid to use her voice. And if you love John, but hate Yoko...I mean, John loved the shit out of that woman. You really have to at least respect that. (photo from theexaminer.com)
2. I LOVE this super cool Tim Burton-ish umbrella. The curvy shape is just too cute and feminine. If I went to the beach a lot (think Sweeney Todd) I would take this with me pretty much every time.
3. Serena Williams wristlet. I was originally in love with this in a pretty mustard color (it might sound weird, but it worked. I'm obsessed with mustard fabrics lately!) but it sold out. I guess I wasn't the only one who appreciated it! I've learned to sew rosettes so hopefully I can make one of my own soon.
4. Staring at Stars Paperbag Skirt. I love that this skirt walks a fine line between looking cool and looking like a gross old couch. It's definitely falling on the cool side, but it had better watch itself. Paired with the wrong cardigan and it's all downhill from there!5. HAWKS by Geren Ford Lace Tux Dress. I love both the color and the bib front on this dress. (Bibs are the next thing I need to learn how to sew, but I've had zero luck finding a tutorial that isn't for an *infant* bib.)

I've been drooling over just about everything at urbanoutfitters.com for days now. I could show you everything I really liked but we'd be here all day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

When censoring goes too far.


Everyone, meet Alan Cumming. He's an actor. Quite talented, in my opinion. Odds are, you've probably seen him in something. He keeps very busy and has a large body of work!

Now, since I am a huge fan of Victor Garber (seriously, get a load of this smile and tell me he doesn't look like he's the nicest guy in the world! Love him!)......about a year ago I purchased Disney's Annie...even though I much prefer the original. Today, I tried to sell the DVD on eBay...and here's what I ran into while posting the auction:They CENSORED Alan's last name! And sure, I realize that in a different context it's a "dirty" word, but come on now! I really wonder if Alan knows about this and if it's negatively affected his career.

I just tried searching for any items with his name in them on eBay and proper auctions DID come up with his name uncensored, so now I'm a little confused. But still thought it was worth mentioning.

(image credit imdb and my own eBay screencap, respectively.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I can see the weekend from here!

But what I'm really most excited about is next week!

Somehow, it's worked out that I'm only working on Monday and Tuesday--leaving me with a five day (paid, thank you very much!) weekend!

I hope I can manage to get more done this extended weekend than I did during the last. Without a doubt, I really need to finish getting the bathroom painted. (My paint brushes were compromised this weekend, so I was only able to paint a big uneven splotch. Bah!)

I'll post photos once it's done and (hopefully) beautiful.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My first article :)

I just published my first article on Associated Content. I get paid based on how many people view the article, so if you could please give it a quick read and forward it, I would appreciate it. Thanks!

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6022642/bring_back_my_childhood.html?cat=7

It's about discontinued toys/foods/etc from my childhood :)

My take on this TSA mess...

(I don't usually take a stand on things like this. I don't like saying things that may make people angry, but THIS really makes me mad and I feel it needs to be said.)


I read a really lengthy blog post about someone who was (for lack of a better term) frisked during a TSA search and felt extremely violated.

I want to write that I understand, but I cannot. I want to be supportive and sympathetic, but I can't do even that.

Sure, you may be a white anglo-saxon female and look (and be) totally innocent. And hey, you may have even been traveling with children who were frisked in the same way. Your blood may be boiling that someone dared to touch your child 'there'.

Well, guess what? Consider yourself lucky. As far as being sexually violated goes, you got off pretty damn easy. Would you feel the need to be so soap-boxy if it was a family of Muslims who were subject to a cavity search? Because guess what? That's not exactly fair either--but it is done!

We can't assume that all terrorists are of ethnic decent. We can't assume all terrorists are of a certain age, gender, etc. Do you really think a terrorist wouldn't think to use a child (or an old woman, for that matter) to get a bomb aboard a plane? I am quite certain that they would.

This "frisking" is not a sexual crime. It's not being committed by power hungry, leering perverts. These are people in the service industry doing their job to assure security. YOUR security, and the security of your family. I understand that because you are innocent, this probably feels like nothing more than a pointless violation. But think for a second what would happen if they decided to slack on their job at the wrong moment--even if 'just once', they decide to let the innocent, hobbling old granny through.

And she's packed to the brim with explosives?

You should be thanking your TSA agents. I'm sure they don't want to be touching crotches any more than others want their crotches touched. They are doing this for everyone's safety.

Love and stuff, with things attached.

Okay.

So here we are, what, five days later? And Jay and I are back together. Love is hard work, people. It's not always perfect, and sometimes it's easy to lose sight of things. But in the long run, we love each other (I personally got a wake up call of a reminder about that one!) and we're sticking things out.

(On a side note, we need to learn to discuss and quarrel like a normal couple, and not just stew, let things blow up, break up and then regroup in 24 hours. The breaking up is exhausting and I feel very much like a high schooler sometimes.)

While I'm on the topic of love, I absolutely have to share with you this amazing dress!
It's from Cache and can be found here and while I absolutely cannot afford it (I saw it while browsing the mall with my mother a few weeks ago--she nearly fainted at the price tag), I am lusting over it in the worst way. I am hoping that my some Christmas miracle, the price is both reduced and I somehow come into a large sum of money.

Last Christmas, my mother surprised me with a cashmere argyle sweater that I had momentarily lusted over, and then put out of my mind completely. Apparently she had gone right back out to Macy's and picked it up for me. It was such a sweet gesture but I felt silly owning a $200 sweater. I knew that I'd be too afraid to mess it up, so I'd never wear it...so I exchanged it (with her blessing, of course) for a great multitude of clearance dresses. I felt that was a much better use of the money.

THIS? This dress I would not mind one bit if she surprised me with it. She won't, as she has decided that we're not exchanging gifts this year due to the economy. BUT, if she did, I would not even bat an eyelash and not even consider returning it for a second!

(Um, so, I'm a size medium as far as that dress goes...in case you were wondering.) ;)

Friday, November 12, 2010

25 random things

I was tagged in this note on Facebook, and since I don't feel much like blogging, I'll be lazy and do this here.


25 Random Things...


1. I was born three months premature and my parents weren't sure I would make it.

2. I was home schooled for years. My mother pulled me out of Kindergarten halfway through after some trouble (a girl kept threatening to stab me, a boy kept breaking all my rings and throwing them in the trash, and I also got very ill) and I didn't rejoin the public school system until 4th grade.

3. I was a little socially awkward and did stupid things, like kissing a boy and assuming the girl who sat down beside me would automatically be my best friend. (This had happened in a book I had read. She hated me at first but eventually caved and we WERE best friends for years.)

4. I am allergic to cats, yet I have a kitten. Never underestimate my stubbornness.

5. It's rare for a day to go by without me doing any writing, whether it's blogging, poetry or work on stories.

6. My life would be infinitely better if I was out of debt. I am tremendously held back.

7. I am very, very hard on myself.

8. I've lost a lot of weight over the years, but still feel huge and hate my body. I'm much healthier now, but ideally I'd like to get down to a size 8 or 6, maybe somewhere around 140 pounds. (At my largest, I was a size 22, weighing upwards of 220 pounds.)

9. Spelling errors really bother me, and finding out that I've made one that has slipped by unnoticed really embarrasses me.

10. I love the building where I live, but wish it was closer to my job/a major city so I could get rid of my car and ride a bike everywhere.

11. I'd do just about anything to get a MacBook.

12. As a little kid, I never fantasized about a big wedding like most little girls. But really, I want nothing more than to get married and have a family. (That's not entirely true, I do want a career as well.)

13. I miss my red hair, but I got sick of dying it. It was bad for my health, my hair and the environment. I feel pretty gross as a brunette, but I know my hair is at it's best.

14. I also really miss manicures and pedicures. While the chemicals are still bad, I've given up on these only because I can't afford them.

15. No matter how bad my day gets, a Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks always makes me feel better. Or sushi, that works too.

16. I would love to have a wardrobe consultant.

17. I like making lists and I do so daily.

18. I really wish I could afford to get my wisdom teeth removed. They don't hurt, but they are negatively affecting my life.

19. Tina Fey is my hero. If I'm even half as awesome/successful as her one day, that's good enough for me.

20. I am on the search for the perfect winter coat, but I can never find one that is feminine yet warm.

21. The stupidest crap ever makes me happy, and I love little details that many wouldn't notice.

22. I was engaged once. It didn't work out, but that's probably for the best.

23. The first short story I ever published was in Boink Magazine. They ripped me off and never paid me what they owed me.

24. I have two tattoos, one large, one small. I have at least four more planned out in my head.

25. I love Polaroid photos and the iPhone "hipstamatic" photos.

TWLOHA


Happy To Write Love On Her Arms day, everyone.

I apologize for the crappy cell phone photo. But I hope you all celebrated in your own way.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oh, boy.

Well, I am going to begin by telling you what I don't want to hear.

I don't want to hear that you are sorry. That it will get easier, that things will get better, that I'm better off. I don't want to hear that there are more fish in the sea, that you did or did not see this one coming. I don't want to hear any of that. Not really.

Jay and I broke up today after three years. It was kind of my doing, but it's still so fresh that I'm not sure that I want it.

I'm also not sure that I don't want it.

I'm all kinds of confused, but I do know that we have entirely different personalities, interests and life agendas. We tried for a long time, but in the long run we weren't very good for each other. We tried to make the other happy but it only resulted in everyone being miserable. And no matter how each person would explain 'this is all it takes to keep me happy', the other person just couldn't get it. Neither of us could.

I do believe that love is hard work, and relationships can be tricky. But when you're really unhappy and every time you try to see the "silver lining", a big old hole gets punched right through it...well, something has to be done.

I think we're okay. There's no hurt feelings it seems, and we somehow managed to do this entire thing without either one of us screaming or crying. A first.

I'm not sure what happens now. We're going to stay living together for the time being, as it's the best thing financially, and since we've been existing as friends/roommates for some time now. It shouldn't be such a big change.

This is not what I meant to happen when I came home. In a way, it's a relief, but in a way I also feel like I made a mistake. It's hard to just walk away from someone after three years.

Only time will tell, I guess.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hello, Daylight Savings Time.

I had thought this extra hour of sleep would refresh me, but I'm still pretty worn out. I haven't put any work into NaNoWriMo in a couple days and I feel super guilty about it.

Luckily, I have a four day weekend ahead of me (it's okay to be jealous). I hope I can get some rest, finish painting the bathroom, have a mini-photoshoot with Mary (and maybe Theo and Major Tom, too) and catch up on my writing.

Not to mention, now I have some transcripts to get into the *great* college in Vermont, and an essay to finish. I'm super excited about that.

But right now? Right now, I am exhausted. I want to go to sleep until I am so refreshed I wake up looking like this:

(Yes, that's me at around 4 or 5 years old. Please excuse my bangs. You know how kids like to be sneaky and cut their own/their friends/siblings hair sometimes? Yeah...that's the butcher job I did on myself after I was finished with my Barbie dolls.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday!

I'm in the middle of a transcription file right now and after that I have to go right to bed and wake up hella early because I am going here...

Oh, yeah :) I have been looking forward to this for a few months now. Kinda excited for a road trip (it's been way, way too long).

Unfortunately this means I won't get any NaNo work done tomorrow OR tonight, so I'll have to really bust my ass on Sunday. I am SO behind. I'm writing consistently every day, but I can't keep up. I'm so busy! This may not have been one of my better ideas!

I leave you with me, and Major Tom :)


He is a little bit camera shy, but he says hello.

Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

(Vermont image credit)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

...and here we are!

Thanks to the help of my super-helpful friend Craig, we have arrived at alisonleeds.com!

Yay!

How cute is this?


(Photo credit)
(Bag available at City Lights Books.)

(Okay, so it's not really cute, it's a little plain. But I love it for obvious reasons!)

Working from home makes me TIRED.

(I work 10 hour days and then sometimes am given some freelance transcription work through another agency. Today is one of those days. I also had a writing group meeting that lasted 2 hours AND a commute that totaled 2 hours. LONG.ASS.DAY.)

Freelance work isn't bad in general, but I'm behind on a deadline (not my fault, the supervisor thought she had assigned me a file that she hadn't! So I got started on it about three days too late.) and rushing to get this file in. I'm just about halfway through, which means I'll probably be crawling into bed at about 2 or 3:00 AM. YUCK! Thank goodness tomorrow is a day off.

Taking a small break right now to post this awesome vintage find from the thrift store the other day. I don't know what era it's from (my mother says tie fronts were very popular in the 60s, and it feels like a 60s dress to me) but it's super comfortable, well-made and so cute! This, in case you're wondering, was my third (and final) Halloween costume. If I'd have had some white go-go boots to wear with it, it would have been perfect.

(But it's okay, since I wore it to Six Flags under my coat and not a single person saw it, anyway!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Revisiting the past year

I know the year isn't quite over yet, but I stumbled across my "New Years Resolutions" that I had posted online last year, and thought I'd take a look at how I had measured up.

-Quitting smoking: Done it, cold turkey! I had a point where I kept an "emergency pack" to smoke when I was having a particularly rough day, but that didn't last too long. It definitely helps tremendously that Jay has quit smoking as well. No one to bum smokes off of! Sometimes, when things get really bad (rare), I really wish I had a smoke--but I refuse to buy them now. That helps.

-Becoming a vegetarian*: Did it as of November 2009, actually. It's been pretty difficult finding foods that are okay to eat (everything has "surprise" meat in it! Most soups--even "vegetable" are made with meat stock! Not to mention gelatin in yogurt!) but I feel so much better and more healthy because of it! (And only really feel deprived when I smell bacon.) The thought of ingesting all the hormones and everything makes me ill. (In a related note, I also gave up milk for the most part. But not cheese. Never cheese.)

-Joining the gym: I joined the gym in December '09. Went religiously for a while and felt pretty damn good...but then I started my new job and my free time became non-existent. I kept it up for a while, but eventually got sick and took a week off. After that, I kept telling myself I'd go back...but then we got a kitten, and I simply couldn't work a 10 hour day with a 2 hour commute AND go to the gym. Twelve hours with no kitten chow is just too long!

-Keeping the apartment tidy: Er. So, we have a new apartment now and have reduced our belongings down by more than half. But, the new apartment doesn't have ANY closet or storage space. So...yeah. It's still a work in progress. But at least we have less stuff.

-Downsize my belongings: Ah ha! See last question. I've done pretty well with this. Got rid of all of my books (except for the autographed ones) and most of my DVDs. Now when I get a new DVD I throw out the case and keep it in a multi-case. Barely takes up any room!

-Paying off my debt: As I mentioned previously, I've managed to bring my credit score up from "very poor" to "poor". It's not a huge difference, but it's a process. I only have one creditor calling me currently, which is a nice change from the 4-7 I had calling last year.

-Reading more: Hmm. Nope. I started out very strong at the beginning of the year, but I cannot remember the last book I read. It's been a long time.

-Finishing school: Nope.

-Finding a good college for 2011: Well, I got accepted at SVA. It's up in the air at the moment due to being prohibitively expensive. I am investigating another much more frugal and responsible option next weekend. (Although it breaks my heart to be even considering something that isn't New York!)

-Getting published: My poem, P.S., was published and won Honorable Mention ($75 for me! woo hoo!) in Freshwater Poetry Festival. So far nothing else has been accepted anywhere else, but I keep trying. I have six pieces out at the moment, and I have a good feeling. Something's gotta stick, it's about time.

Wow. All in all, I seem to have done really well (and all without referring back to this list--ever--so I guess these were things I had drilled into my head pretty solidly!).

I'll have to sit down and figure out what I want 2012 to bring for me. More of the same, of course, but I know there are some specific other areas I can improve upon.

How'd you do with your New Years resolutions?

(Image from case.edu)

(* when I say "vegetarian", I really mean pescatarian. I never use that term, even though that's what I am. I know a lot of people probably don't know what it means, and I don't want to confuse/alienate anyone, nor do I want to have to explain myself countless times)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Apologies.

Please accept this photo of me dressed as a bunny. (Yes, I had three Halloween costumes this year.)

I am in the middle of trying to move my blog from here to my domain at alisonleeds.com (don't worry, you don't have to change your links if you don't want to. As far as I know everything should forward.)

Things are a bit messy at the moment, though. You may not have been able to access my blog for most of today. I fixed it now so it can still be accessed from the old link. (AlisonLeeds.com is not quite ready yet, I guess.)

I apologize! I'm still here.

I began NaNoWriMo today and reached my daily quota. (Surpassed it by a little, which is great since I know there will be days when I am super busy and maybe can't bang out the full 1,667 that are required!)

Please enjoy the regularly scheduled posts. (I had one auto-post today, but due to technical difficulties, those of you using blog readers might not have seen it. But don't fear, it's there now!)

Who's the face/heart/soul of your music?

Heart:
I was driving home the other day listening to Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. While they aren't awful, they are nothing to me compared to Bright Eyes. Conor just doesn't do it for me when he becomes all poppy. Maybe the lyrics are there, but the feeling is gone.

(I was going to post some Bright Eyes lyrics here, but I just can't find anything that does him/them justice. Go listen to Waste of Paint. Or, Lover I Don't Have to Love. They are beautiful. I will wait.)
Bright Eyes is most definitely the heart of my music.

Soul:
It's hard to draw the line between heart and soul, as far as Tom Waits goes, though. This man is incredible, with a distinct voice to match. I could overhear him ordering a sub from Subway and just the sound of his voice would make me think I was in a dark, smoky bar in a bad part of town. I could smell the whiskey he'd be leaning over and see the blonde hooker who had refused to sit with him...or whatever. You get the idea.

I've always said that Tom Waits sings (and I'm now realizing, talks!) the way poetry should be read.His lyrics are incredible, too. I intend on getting some of the text of 9th and Hennepin done on my arm as my next tattoo. If you want to check out my favorite Tom Waits, I recommend the album Rain Dogs. I don't own it (yet!) but 9th and Hennepin, Gun Street Girl and Jockey Full of Bourbon are all on it, and they're awesome.

Face:
This is not to say that he's "no more than a pretty face", but I'm not entirely sure that I've ever really sat down and thought to myself, "No one [sings/writes/etc] like David Bowie does."
I mean, I love him. He is my favorite, and has been for, what, at least nine years now. And while sometimes a line will strike me, I'm not often wowed or moved by his lyrics. I've seen him in concert twice and loved every second of it, but I think he appeals to a less deep part of me. Maybe a part that's a little more concerned with looks and mannerisms. (And he was all about mannerisms! Watching his music videos is like a little timeline of "Oh, and right now David is obsessed with smearing lipstick. And now he likes this little dance move. And now he likes to pretend he's chewing." (Don't believe me? Watch the videos for Fashion, China Girl, Boys, Dancing in the Street and (maybe?) Time Will Crawl. I love the Till Will Crawl video. You should watch it regardless. This group of dancers literally throw David around like a rag doll the entire time.)

Also, the fact that he's British definitely helps.

As far as his music goes, my current favorite song is Seven Years in Tibet...probably because it has a darker sound. I want to make a music video out of it.


Well, there you have it! The heart, the soul and the face of my music. Probably my three favorite performers/writers ever, and a constant source of inspiration to me.

Who are yours?



(all photos yanked from Google images)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Never underestimate my ability to have fun on a budget.

My friend Mary wanted to go to Six Flags this year, but I couldn't afford the full price tickets.

Then they went on sale, but I couldn't really afford the sale price tickets, either.

Then a lady at my office had three tickets she couldn't use this year. I snapped them up today for $10 a piece! (They retail for $42.99, I just checked.)

So that's how Mary, Jay and I are spending our Halloween. And here's what I dressed up like for work on Friday:
No one knew I was wearing a costume, and even once I explained who I was, no one got it. Can you guess? I'll give you some hints:

-I'm wearing Chuck Taylor's (not shown). And no, I'm not bi-curious.
-There is a curved scar on my cheek
-You're all nerds!
-I've found a hairstyle that works, as long as it's not too humid
-I should have never gone with a hippie to a second location.
-The shirt is a major hint. But you can't see it with the suit coat on. Muahahahaha. (Maybe I'll tell you.)

Anyone? (You aren't allowed to guess if you know me and I've already told you who I was!)

(Also, ironically, while wearing this outfit my cat decided to gauge my face. So now I have a fake scar on one side and a gash wound on the other. Awesome.)

Here's our caricature from Six Flags :D


What was your costume this year?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

eBay ban!

I've decided today that I need to put myself on an eBay ban, maybe for the month on November at least.

I very much have a love/hate relationship with eBay. I love it because I can want the most random thing ever, and all I have to do is type it in and (in most cases) Buy It Now.

I am a champion eBay shopper. I can find just about anything for like 95% under retail, which is both a blessing and a curse. Because I tell myself, oh, I'm just going to browse. What harm can it do? And then I proceed to find an amazing offer that I simply CANNOT pass up. And the auction ends in an hour. Augh!

eBay has made me a picky shopper. In stores I see things and think, I can find that for much cheaper. And it's true. And I do.

I haven't spent a whole lot on eBay this month, in the grand scheme of things. I was able to get Mean Girls, Baby Mama and Date Night on DVD for under $10 altogether. (They were almost $20 a piece in the store. And yes, I love Tina Fey. Got a problem with that?)

I also got my lovely Crosley record player for $9.99.

This past week, though, I've gone overboard.

It started with a record that I KNOW I'm never going to find anywhere. I didn't even know anyone had heard of the artist before. It was more than I was willing to spend, but I figured I was getting paid on Friday so it was no biggie.

But then I found Spanx pants (and I need new work pants SO.DAMN.BAD. My current ones fit all weird and make me look like I have a FUPA like you wouldn't believe. SPANX TO THE RESCUE.) for sale for $29.99. This is pricey, yes, but they retail for about $80 and it's IMPOSSIBLE (even on eBay!) to get them for anywhere under $70. (This pair was previously worn, but I really don't care!)

Those two items together were just too much. I paid for them, but I have other bills to pay that I'm now concerned about. Giving myself a slap on the wrist for that one! No more eBay for a month, unless it's ME as the seller!

But for now, I'm breaking in my new record player. See:



Love. :) Now I'm off to a concert/Halloween party. Have a nice weekend, everyone!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The newest member of 20 something bloggers...

My membership in 20 something bloggers was approved today! (And just in the nick of time. As the lovely guy training me at my new position had to point out today, I am ALMOST 30.)

It started with a simple sentence.

Him: I've known him for 20 years. We met as children.
Me: Oh, cool. I've known [co-worker] for...I can't remember. Maybe 15 years now. We met in high school.
Him: You were in high school 15 years ago?
Me: Yeah, no, [thinking] that can't be right.

(It was right)

It ended with me pulling out my birth certificate to prove to him that YES, I was really 26 years old. (No one ever believes me. I've been told that I look as young as 16--a fact I will probably be happy with 10 or 20 years from now, but it pisses me off now!)

Me.
Being NOT 16.

Needless to say, I got a little bummed out after our conversation. He is three years younger than me but way more successful. I couldn't help but feel a little developmentally behind, and it wasn't a good feeling. I never thought of myself as a "late bloomer" in any respect...I was the first one of my friends to do...practically everything.

I was also the first to get into credit card debt. YAY. (sarcasm.)

I cannot wait to dig myself out of this financial hole I'm in, (I've already raised my credit score from "very poor" to just "poor", so I'm on my way.) get into a good college and get my life under my control--completely.

I'm doing infinitely better than I was doing a year ago today, and even (more) better than I was doing about four years ago. (Unemployed, living at home, with a junk food habit, a nicotine addiction and an enabling--but well-meaning--mother!)

You just have to keep moving forward and looking forward. And one day I'll learn not to constantly compare myself with others.

I have done the absolute best I can with the hand I have been dealt, and that's all there is to it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 and me


To be perfectly honest, I've heard about NaNoWriMo before. Lots before.

I'm not sure why, but to me it always seemed like the kind of thing non-writers did. I don't need a special month to write a novel, I would think. I'm always writing anyway.

But as November approaches, I'm looking at NaNoWriMo with fresh eyes. I mean, sure, I have a million (so not exaggerating!) projects currently in the works and I'm crazy for taking on something else. But as far as I see it, why not? This might be the last November that I'm not slaving away at college. And while I don't have any ideas brewing that I haven't already started, I'm sure I can come up with something. The real challenge is finishing it.

50,000 words a month boils down to 1,666 a day. Provided I am diligent enough to actually work on this specific project daily. (I like to jump from project to project.)

This may mean blog posts get thrown to the wayside. (I just learned how to "schedule" posts, so I may do that so you all don't get bored and abandon me!) This may mean I get less sleep and drink more coffee. The house may get messier, the kitten may get angry that I'm typing and not petting him. (He get's very jealous of the keyboard.)

But I am going to try it! And you should too!

If you sign up on the website, please leave me a comment here or email me at ARTWonderland[at]gmail.com and let me know so we can be "writing buddies"!

(Although I detest the word "buddies" so hopefully you don't mind if I call you something else)

Monday, October 25, 2010

And I could be just an idiot, but at least it don't bother me none

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am currently leasing this car:


Sexy, no? No, that's not actually my car or me driving, but you get the idea. But as lovely as this car is, I simply cannot afford to keep it. In truth, I cannot even afford it at the moment...but that's beside the point.

The point is, in December of 2011, I believe, my lease is up and the car goes back to the dealership.

Having no more car payments is a lovely idea. But being without a car? Not so much.

I honestly wouldn't mind at all if I didn't have an hour commute every day. I do not need a car for any other reason. I would be quite content tooling around town on the bicycle I posted previously. Yet, duty calls and I must get to work.

So, here's what I'm considering:

1) The hybrid. If I'm going to go into any more debt or spend the equivalent of a college education on any more cars, it's damn well going to be an eco-friendly, super fuel efficient, as-green-as-possible car. (I have even considered doing a conversion on an older model car to make it run on discarded cooking oil, like Jay Mankita's great Veggie Voyager Van!) Ideally, I absolutely do not want or need another car loan or lease payment.


2) The filled-with-personality, yet-completely-unpredictable clunker! This is a Dodge Aries, which was my first car. It was only four years younger than I was. I bought it from one of my bosses at Blockbuster for $500 and drove it for just under a year before it stranded me less than 500 feet from my second job. See, but "stranded" is not a word that I want to use often ever again, though. But, on the other hand...
















3) HOW CUTE ARE THESE? I cannot help but want an older model car that I could make artsy (hello, super glue and random knicknacks! I've always wanted a decoupage car, ever since I used to see them in the city as a child). I really wish I had a really-good-mechanic friend who would constantly come to my rescue. It would make buying a "personality car" so much less frightening.

I do know that the rates to i.n.s.u.r.e leased cars are absolutely through the roof, so my thought is that with the money I save by buying a car for under $1,000 I could be putting it aside for repairs. Right?

(Except remember what I said about "saving" for a Macbook? Yeah. It just never works out that way.)

Anyway, I have some time to think about it, at least. We'll see what happens.

What is your "dream car"? Or are you like me and wish life would allow you to have only a bike?

(And how do you like the new blog lay out? I like it!)


(All images: Google image search)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekend? Where?

What a tiring weekend I have had!

It began with waking up bright and early on Saturday to go in to work. I had to make up 5 hours from a Thursday shift that I had missed.

Then, this little pumpkin... ...turned one year old!
(see this post to vote for him in the Gap Casting Call!)

I spent the entire rest of the weekend toiling away at a mammoth transcription file, with my only salvation being a lovely breakfast sandwich, caramel latte and a jazz band break at a cafe near my house. I should have taken a photo, but I was far too ravenous by that point and not thinking clearly.

I finally finished my transcription file about an hour ago and now I'm watching The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, (featuring my future husband, Tom Waits!) which I've been wanting to see for a while.

I start training for my new position tomorrow, so hopefully it will be a easy week. No more paid on production!
I hope everyone's weekend was a bit more laid back than mine!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lusty McLusterson

It's beautiful fall night outside right now. Cold, but not too cold for a short walk. Someone's using a woodburning stove, a scent which I absolutely adore and that screams "fall" to me.

I thought I'd share with you some of the items I am currently lusting over.Men's Schwinn Windwood Cruiser, $149.99 from Target.

I've wanted a vintage bicycle for years now, and after many unsuccessful searches on Craigslist (you want HOW MUCH?), I finally decided that a vintage-LOOK bicycle will be good enough. And this one's my favorite! I know it's a men's bike, but it's much more appealing aesthetically to me than the woman's version. I will add a basket and headlight on the front and ride it on weekends until it snows.

(Does anyone really know a lot about bikes? I'm wondering if there are any true reasons that I should "steer away" (pun intended) from getting a bicycle built for a male, like if my center of gravity would be off or anything of that nature.)

Demeterfragrance.com, $20

Who didn't play with Play-Doh as a kid? I still love the smell and also have been lusting over this cologne spray for a long time. I'll wear it when I'm feeling silly, playful and creative.
Kenzie Girl French Terry Romper
ShopStyle.com
This one really burns me. I've wanted it so badly for YEARS and now it's sold out EVERYWHERE. I've even emailed the company in a desperate attempt to locate some backstock or factory defects, but they haven't responded. I just love it and I MUST own it some day.

Macbook Pro & iPhone
(flickr)
The Macbook Pro I've been "saving" for, for years. (read: putting some money aside, and then having an emergency come up and spending the Macbook money. Repeat times a million. That's what always happens when I try to "save" for anything!) The iPhone hasn't come to Verizon yet, so I'm still waiting for that one. My BlackBerry suffices in the meantime, but I am salavating over the many iPhone apps.

That's really all I can think of at the moment. I mostly have everything I want, I guess! Err...except a car...but that's a different post for a different day. (I'm currently leasing and my lease is up next year!)

Goodnight everyone!