Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's a Wonderful Life Festival - Seneca Falls, NY: 2013

Oh. My. God.

I don't even know where to begin this post, but last weekend was the most amazing weekend maybe in my life.  (Okay: when I met Sharon, Lois and Bram and hung out in their trailer singing songs while waiting for the rain to stop? This is up there with that.)

Every year, Seneca Falls, NY holds the It's a Wonderful Life Festival.  The whole town gets involved and it's incredible. It seems to be something of a hidden treasure, and I'm slightly hesitant to blog about it because I'd like to keep it that way! But really, it was too amazing to not talk about. This was my first year, and I definitely plan on going back next year!

The town: Seneca Falls is a cute small town with quaint little shops lining the center.  Back before It's A Wonderful Life was made, Frank Capra stopped in the town to get a haircut, and happened to mention the movie to the barber.  After the movie came out, people started to realize strange similarities between Bedford Falls and Seneca Falls--the most glaring, being the bridge.  There's a plaque on the bridge honoring a man who jumped in to save a woman who was trying to commit suicide. (This detail was added to IAWL by Capra: originally George Bailey simply had a conversation with Clarence instead of jumping in to save him.)

For one weekend a year, the stores are transformed into iconic Bedford Falls stores: Antonina's restaurant becomes Martini's bar, the bank becomes the Bailey Building and Loan, the welcome center becomes Anderson's Emporium, etc.  They give horse drawn carriage rides and roast chestnuts on street corners. About half of the places we went to had live bands playing Christmas music. The whole thing is very Christmassy and picturesque.

Karolyn Grimes (ZuZu Bailey) and Carol Coombs (Janie Bailey) were there, as well as Mary Owen, Donna Reed's daughter. I got to meet them, take photos with them and get their autographs.  They held Q&A sessions and introduced the film.  While signing an autograph for me, Carol Coombs took one look at me and told me that I have a "movie star smile" and that I "should be in pictures." I'll never watch the film the same way again!


A cast performed the Lux Radio show version of It's a Wonderful Life.  There were characters on the street who were beautifully and hilariously in character the whole time.  Sara and I kept running into Bert the cop at inopportune moments--like when we were just about to jaywalk, or when I was trying really hard not to fall down some icy stairs while exiting the hotel, and instead looked like I was drunk.  "Had a little too much fun at the Gould Hotel?" He asked me.

They had a passport, which was probably the best part.  It got my shy self out and talking to everyone (in order to get stamps for your passport, you had to ask local businesses and the characters on the street for them) and the interaction, especially with the characters, was memorable.  Everyone in the town was so friendly and nice.

They hold this event every year, and this year they got probably 6 inches of snow.  This apparently never happens, so it made certain things interesting.  There were a lot of outdoor events, including the It's A Wonderful Run 5K.  (Sara and I are planning on going back next year, too, and maybe even doing the 5K. We'll see.)

My only gripe, and it's a small one, is that some events were off the beaten path and difficult to find, and they really lacked in signage. We weren't able to find the venue holding the "Dance By the Light of the Moon" event, or Anderson's Emporium (until Sunday, when it was closed) and the film was screened at the "Old Mynerse Academy" which had no signs at all to let us know we were in the right place.  It seemed like most people were locals, so they already know where everything is.

Anyway, if you're as It's a Wonderful Life-obsessed as I am, I definitely recommend checking out this event.  They don't have a Facebook page or anything (trying to stay low profile, I assume?) but you can check out there website here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Good news!

I'm happy to report that grades have just rolled in, and I passed my first grad school course with a B+! Yay!  It was a little challenging at points (the final paper kicked my ass, officially) but I think my next course will be a bit more my speed.

I also had one of the most incredible weekends of my life: I went to the real Bedford Falls with Sara.  I'm hesitant to even blog about it, since it seems like an undiscovered gem. But I will, in time, once I can do it justice.  Just know that if you love It's A Wonderful Life as much as I do, you'll fall all over yourself to get to this event next year!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Paint Nite!

My final research paper for the semester is due Sunday by midnight and it's less than half done.
This is as good a time as any to blog, right? Right!

Last night Sara and I checked out a Paint Nite.  It was her second time going and my first…a very interesting experience because I am somehow both a perfectionist AND not a very good painter.  I was paralyzed at certain points, but at least it was amusing.  My owl didn't come out TOO bad…although I have to laugh at those two fat branches I made.  I didn't even realize how they looked until I got them home! They seemed perfectly proportional at the time.
Sara added some snow to her painting at the last minute, even though it wasn't part of the instruction. I was really nervous for her because we both weren't sure if it would look good or wreck it!  But it came out good.  I feel like mine could have benefitted from some snow, too.

Anyway, it was a good time, even though the venue was a bit cramped.  I would make it a monthly outing, but to be honest, in my on-going quest for minimalism, I have absolutely no desire to collect a bunch of random paintings!  Maybe if I get better at it, I'll feel differently, but at this point I doubt it. 

I am SUPER excited now that December is here--I'm looking forward to checking TWO big events off my 30 by 30 list…and maybe more, we'll see!  Stay tuned for the updates!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

30 by 30 (Post 2)

Welcome to my second installment of my 30 by 30 list!  I'm dividing it up so that I can hopefully finish it all by 6/21/14!


5. Get a pet.
6. Go to a drive-in movie.
7. Have tea at The Plaza Hotel.
8. Buy something at Tiffany's.

I also did all of these…yay!  I'm sure you all remember Major Tom from my blog posts.  He's my big baby…no, really, he's huge though…both in stature (even though he was the runt of the litter) and in poundage.  The vet weighed him last month and he weighs 17 pounds!  I'm glad it was at least under 20…I've had him on a diet for a while.


I saw a drive-in movie for my first date with Shaun back in May of…what, 2011 was it? I can't even keep track of the year anymore.  I think it was 2011.  We've been back to the drive-in a handful of times since…we always say we're going to see everything and go a ton of times each season, but there never seems to be many shows we are interested in.

I had tea at the Plaza Hotel with Sara this summer.  It was a crazed whirlwind New York trip where I did TONS of things and spent way too much money.  (I always forget the insane sales tax in New York while budgeting…ick!)  But it was a great time and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
As you can see in the above photo, I also bought my first piece of jewelry from Tiffany's that same day.  I -almost- talked myself out of it, but I'm so glad I didn't.  I'm not much of a jewelry girl, but I haven't taken my necklace off since I bought it!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

30 by 30. (Post 1)

So some of you may remember that I was busily trying to compile my 30 by 30 list a little while ago.(You know, 30 things to do/see/accomplish before you turn 30?)

Well, I finished writing the list a few months ago, and since 30 is only about 7 months away now (yikes) I've kicked into high gear.  I thought I'd share the list with you now, but I appear to have misplaced the notebook I wrote it in. (Oh boy. Let's move "be more organized to the top of that list, shall we?)

Have no fear, I have MOST of the list saved in my phone.  I'll give you a small chunk of it for now:

1. Graduate college
2. Eat in a fondue restaurant
3. Ride an elephant
4. Eat at the Cheesecake Factory

I have done all of these things! Hurray! I graduated college (April 2012) ate at a fondue restaurant (The Melting Pot for my 27th birthday) rode an elephant (at the Big E a few years ago) and ate at the Cheesecake Factory TWICE--once for my 26th birthday (I think?) and once for my 28th.

Riding an elephant was pretty scary, actually, but I'm a wimp who is both afraid of heights and thinks that animals might snap and attack at any moment.  I was also a little sad for the elephant--who wants to parade around in a circle all day?  He looked all dry and hot.  I wanted to turn the hose on him.

I'll be back soon with another installment of 30 by 30!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

That time I lied and gave a boy a black eye...

I remember 8th grade as being a really difficult time.  All of a sudden, our teachers were mean and our work was super hard.  And then there was the school play, and the fact that every time you didn't do well on a quiz, teachers would say stuff like, "Careful, if you get held back you won't go to high school next September."

Being held back was the ultimate threat.  No one wanted to see their friends go on without them and be forced to make friends with a whole new younger class.  

My best friend at this time, Marie*, was having a really tough time in life as well as in her classes.  She'd never been academic, and in fact got special help for some classes, but not for history.  We weren't in the same history class, but somehow I caught wind of the fact that Mr. Smith was ready to fail her, unless she turned in all her assignments on time for the rest of the year.

I didn't know what was going on with Marie outside of school, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to deal if my best friend got held back.  So I started writing out my homework assignments twice--once with my name at the top, and once with Marie's.  I did this every day and gave her the assignments to hand it to Mr. Smith.  If he recognized my handwriting, he never let on.

Some time later was the school science fair, and Marie and I had decided to partner up for our project.  She was supposed to meet me at my house one day, but she didn't show up.  I called her house, her sister's house, her neighbors house...no one answered.

Later that night, I received a call back from Marie's sister.  She apologized and informed me that Marie had been admitted to a nearby psychiatric hospital due to suicidal ideation with plan.  Apparently, a friend of ours, John*, had borrowed a jacket from Marie and found a post-it note in one of the pockets that had implied she was going to kill herself.  Marie was absent from school for maybe a month, but it felt like forever.

When she finally returned, things seemed somewhat normal again.  No one really discussed what had happened, until one day at lunch she was fighting with Paul* across the lunch table.  He kneeled on the picnic-table style seat and got up in her face.

"I wish John never saved your life," he said to her with a sneer.

I couldn't believe my ears.  Without a seconds doubt, I wound up and clobbered him as hard as I could. I'd never punched anyone before, but it was beautifully effective, connecting with his eye socket and launching him backwards off the table into the wall.

The principal had been standing right beside the table, presumably drawn by the noise of Marie and Paul's argument, so she had seen (and heard) the entire thing.  She sent me to the office, where I sat feeling justified and proud for about ten minutes.  I'd like to see them try to punish me for that.  I remember thinking.  I wasn't remorseful in the slightest...you just don't say that kind of thing to people! Eventually the principal returned, took a look at me, and sent me back to class without a word of reprimand.  I'd like to think that was a twinkle of respect I saw in her eye...



*all names have been changed.

(As a side note, this guy joined the army and is now apparently a master of tae kwon do as well.  Needless to say, I would probably not punch him in the eye again today, regardless of how much of an asshole he was being.  But who knows.)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

That time I broke someone's elbow

I'm not an aggressive person at all, although back in high school I had a bad month where this was not always the case.

My senior year, I had a boyfriend I was pretty crazy about...and one day he just seemed different.  Held me at arms length, didn't invite me to his house after school (which had been a daily ritual of ours).  I knew immediately something was wrong, and by the end of the day he had dumped me in the hall by the band room.

I didn't really know how to handle what I felt after that.  I was the "new kid" in school, and this guy had pretty much become my touchstone.  I no longer knew who to sit with at lunch, what to do after school, who to talk to...where his friends really still my friends, now that we were broken up?  I internalized all this, and eventually it started to bubble to the surface.

One day at drama class, some nerdy freshman was being a jerk.  Playfully teasing me.  I pushed him into a pile of folding chairs and they flew everywhere.  He wasn't hurt, and everyone laughed.  That same day, I punched a friend of mine in the shoulder.  I had meant it as a joke, but I did it a little too hard.  I remember thinking this isn't like me.   I tried to calm down.

The next day at lunchtime, I went to sit with a "friend" who I'll call Angela.  I use the term "friend" loosely: she was condescending, on medication that made her delusional, a bit of a faker for attention, and only friendly with me when it suited her.  Our friendship had been a bit forced, due to the fact we lived nearby and our parents saved money by carpooling us.  She was a perky preppy with a boyfriend on a hockey team, I was a sullen goth who had just been dumped by the star of the drama club.  We couldn't have been more different, and after a few months of this forced friendship, the strain was beginning to show.

At lunch, she made me "sit with her" even though there was no room available at her table.  So I had to kneel at her feet.  Like a dog.  Considering she already ordered me around, this probably just felt appropriate to her.  Sometimes a seat would clear up at a nearby table and I would try to take it, and she would whine and pout at me until I returned to sitting near her.

After probably weeks of kneeling like a dog (at least one day a week, because we had alternating lunch blocks), it finally dawned on me that this all had placed Angela in a power position...and she was relishing it.  This day in particular, she had taken her apple and banged it on the table until the apple had exploded all over her hand.

"Ew," she said.  "Apple guts!" And she wiped her hand on my shoulder.

In a split second, my brain decided that I couldn't take any more of this girl, and I gave her a shove.  I don't remember how hard it was--if it was actually hard enough to hurt her, or if she was faking--but she fell off her chair and landed on the floor.

The table of guys--all friends of Angela's, no one I really knew--looked at me, horrified and angry.  My stomach sank at the realization that not only had I hurt her, but now I'd have to deal with them, too.

She got up crying and went immediately to the nurse.  The table full of guys stared at me.  I stared back.  I can imagine I was white as a sheet.

Then, as soon as Angela was out of earshot, they all broke into applause and smiles.  Some of them clapped me on the back.  I was confused.

"Good for you," one told me.
"We were all wondering how much longer you'd put up with her," said another.

Later I found out that her elbow had been broken.  She came in the next day with her arm in a sling, on medication that made her even loopier than before.  She apologized for wiping apple guts on me, I apologized for pushing her, and we barely spoke again after that.

There was another time, years before this...where I gave a boy a well-justified black eye, right in front of the school principal.  But that's a story for another day...

Friday, October 4, 2013

That time I accidentally applied to Grad School...

Remember how I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was "thinking about grad school, but in a half-assed way"?

Well, I was doing research on a few different options, and I tried to send away for some more information from one school.  I was trying to find the application fee, but I couldn't see it listed anywhere.  I clicked an application link, figuring that I would fill in some information and it would ask me for my credit card information for the fee, at which point I could close the browser and walk away.

Except it didn't do any of that...it just let me apply, for free.  Whoops.

I've been very on the fence about grad school for a long time.  Will it benefit my career?  Is it worth the cost?  Will it be too much stress for someone who considers herself very much "non-academic"?

Well, applying to grad school accidentally is one way to push yourself off the indecision fence.  Before I knew it, I was registered (Major: English. Focus: Creative Writing/Fiction), had my FAFSA turned in,  books ordered, and was beginning classes.  It was all a bit of a whirlwind.

But I see it like this: I could sit around debating grad school forever.  All I was really doing was wasting time.  I could have my Master's Degree in a minimum of 18 months.*

*It might be slightly more than 18 months for me, due to the fact I was accepted "provisionally" because my undergrad didn't use GPAs, so I can only take 1 class at a time for the first two semesters...but still.  I think it will end up taking me a total of 5 semesters, if I want to rush.  Not bad.

So yeah.  I applied to grad school by accident, which is so like me.

...of course, I didn't put that part on the letter of purpose they had me turn in later.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

That time that two strangers walked into my house.

OMG.

So I'm shaking like a leaf right now but I'm going to try to compose myself enough to get this all down.

At maybe 10:00 tonight there's a knock on my front door.  I'm not expecting anyone, but I figure it's probably one of my neighbors reminding me that the community "parking lot party" is coming up soon.    I open the door a little, just enough to see out, and there's a guy there that I don't recognize.  I still have my hand on the door handle, and he tries to open the door further and I stop him.

"Oh," he says.  "This isn't Rebecca's* place."  He immediately turns around and leaves.  "No," I call out after him.  "Sorry."

(I have no idea why I apologized.  For not being Rebecca?  I don't know.)

This didn't bother me too much, and I went about my day.  So I'm sitting at my computer for literally the rest of the night, working on my manuscript and some homework, and it's almost 1 AM now.  When all of a sudden, my cat gets all excited and runs to the door like he does when he sees my mom or Shaun coming.  I hear some noise outside, but it sounds like someone going into Rebecca's place, so I ignore it.

Then I hear the unmistakable sound of my outside door being opened (I have a little hallway outside my main door) and then, before I even have time to investigate, THE DOOR TO MY APARTMENT IS OPEN AND THERE'S A MAN IN MY LIVING ROOM.

My brain was able to comprehend that there was a stranger in my house and that I needed to take action, but it had no idea what type of action to take.  It decided to have me put out both my arms (as though I was warding off an attacker) while shouting as loud as I could, "WHOA! WHOA! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!"  (very effective, brain.)  The poor guy, who had just mistaken my apartment for that of his friends across the way, between his shouts of, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" managed to get out, "Do you know where Paul* lives?"

I slammed the door on him and locked it, but then opened it a crack when I realized he was just looking for his friend.  I apologized (here I go! apologizing again! wtf!) and he assured me that he would have reacted exactly the same way.  I tried to tell him where Paul lived, but my brain was still so panicked that I couldn't even remember who Paul was.  Eventually it sounded like Paul came outside (summoned by the sound of my panicked screaming?) and they left together.

Once he was gone, the rest of my nervous system realized that I had just had a massive adrenaline spike, so I've been shaking uncontrollably for maybe 20 minutes now.  It's 1:30 now and I've finally calmed down a bit.

I cannot believe this happened not only once but TWICE today.  I'm triple checking the lock on my door from now on!


*names have been changed.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Oh and also...

Got my second novel rejection today.  Not that that is exactly good news, but as far as I see it, each rejection brings me that much closer to an acceptance!

Part of their rejection letter:

We are a small, nonprofit literary publisher of six poetry and ten prose titles each year. The limited size of our list requires that we look for an appropriate fit between our editorial vision and that of our authors. After careful consideration, we have decided that your work is not what we’re looking for right now, and we suggest you try another publishing house. Our decision is not an indication of the merit of your manuscript or your ideas; we’re simply not the best home for it. 


Oh well. Onward!

Crooked.

As I mentioned, I was super excited to view an apartment today.  I was really nervous, too.  I dressed up and brought all my required paperwork, figuring I'd be signing a lease today, since the location was completely perfect.

I got there 20 minutes early (it was really close to work) and sat in my car for a little while, waiting.  The week before, I had spoken to the landlord and he had given me the option of checking the place out that week with the superintendent, or waiting until Monday and meeting with him personally--that way he could tell me more about the place and really "make sure I love it" or something.  I agreed to meet him on Monday.

5:25, I get out of the car and go to wait outside the main entrance. I think it's good form to be at least 15 minutes early for meetings, but no one is there yet.  I wait for a while, and at 5:35 I consider that maybe there's a back entrance that they're waiting for me at, not realizing I'm at the front.  So I call the landlord (let's call him Steve) and it rings about 10 times and goes to voicemail.  I leave him a message that basically says, "Hi, Steve.  It's Alison.  We had an appointment at 5:30 for you to show me [address].  I'm just wondering if there's a back door I should go to...? I'm standing out front if you're looking for me. Call me back."

About ten minutes later my phone rings, and it's Steve.
"There's no one there to let you in?"  He asks.  "Are you sure there's no one around?"
I'm literally standing completely by myself on an empty block.  There's street parking in front of me, but my car is the only one there.
"I'm sure."  I tell him.
"I told Bob that you were coming at 5:30 so that he'd show you the place!  Let me call him and call you right back."

...despite the fact that I had made an appointment specifically with STEVE and not Bob.

Steve calls me back in a few minutes and tells me that Bob isn't answering his phone.  Awesome.  Steve doesn't know what to do.  I tell him I'll wait in my car for 20 more minutes while he tries to get in touch with Bob, and if he can't get to him by then, I'll leave and come back tomorrow.

About 20 minutes later Steve calls back.
"Bob should be on his way now.  I'm going to text you his cell phone number."

I'm not sure why I need Bob's cell phone number, but I accept and go back outside to wait by the door. Another 15-20 minutes later, Bob still hasn't shown up, so I text him that I'm going to wait for him in my car.  He says, "Okay.  Be right out."

??????  Be right out?!  What has he been doing this whole time?

About 5-10 minutes later, a guy looking like Kevin Federline with a heroine problem (and that's a compliment) comes towards my car with a friend of his.  Awesome.  He lets me in the building and as I go up the stairs I notice there's been a leak in the ceiling and the soggy tiles have caved in.  Awesome.

"So, how many bedrooms did Steve tell you this place has?"  Bob asked me.
"Oh, I'm looking at the one bedroom."  I say.  He laughs.
"I'll let you be the judge of that."  He says.

He lets me into an apartment that has a decently sized kitchen but...surprise, is not the apartment that was advertised.  The photos showed a big bright living room and a bathroom with a huge window and a tub...this place had trash strewn all around it, broken glass on the floor, and things left behind by the last tenant.  Instead of the tub, there was a tiny triangular stand-up shower.  Instead of the living room with the big windows and a separate bedroom, there was a dark bedroom with a messed up carpet.  It looked, in short, like the kind of hotel room that people check into just to off themselves.

"What's your pet policy?"  I ask.  He laughs again.
"People in this place have pets."  He says.  "I won't tell if you won't.  The landlords never come up here."  (OH that sure inspires confidence.)

In a word, YUCK.  The whole experience was so disappointing.  I had crafted a virtual palace in my head, and it was nowhere near that.  The interior of the complex sucked and was creepy as hell, but if the place had had a living room as promised (and windows on more than just one side of the house!) I MIGHT have considered it, even though the landlord sounds shitty.  As it stands, BOOO.  Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy lots of things!

All of a sudden this year blew up a little with craziness, so I'd like to say congratulations to my friend Stina, on her Hawaiian wedding!  You know those old friends who you don't see nearly enough?  Stina is definitely one of those!  I got to see her at her bridal shower though, I'm very glad she invited me.


Also, I just found out yesterday that another friend of mine is pregnant with her first child, but they haven't made the "official" announcement yet, so I won't mention their names here!  Let's just say I'm super excited for them and will definitely be stealing their child and cloth-diapering it.  I might give it back when they ask, maybe...

In "me" news, I am looking at an apartment next week that I am pretty excited about!  It's in a location that couldn't be more perfect, I just hope I'm not disappointed my the interior.  We'll see!  I said one year ago that I didn't want to spend another year in this apartment, especially not another winter, and maybe I won't have to! That would be a relief!

I'm also thinking about grad school but in a sort of half-assed way.  I'm still not sure if it would really benefit me career-wise, and how the cost would work out.  If student loans are forgiven after 20 years of on-time payments, would that make grad school essentially free?  I mean, if that's the case, shit.  Sign me up for the most prestigious grad school around!  If not, eh.  I might do my masters online!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Hardest Part About Writing Is...


1. Writing every day. I'm tired. I'm hungry. I should clean the house. I'm not feeling well.  My brain is tired. My blog needs updating. Even though I love writing, I seem to always have a million excuses.
2. Finding the right words.  (I probably spend 75% of my writing time with the thesaurus out, because I want a word that means "touch" but it isn't the word "touch" and I can't remember it, although it's on the tip of my tongue...
3. Feeling good about writing.  The more involved I am in a story, the more I think it's complete and utter shit.  For example, right now I hate my novel and cannot wait to put it aside and start writing my new MG fiction manuscript.
4. Sticking to one project at a time.  See above.  I used to allow my mind to go wherever it wanted, but that just left me with three boxes full of unfinished work.  Now I know I have to follow through on projects before I start new ones.
5. Talking about your work.  It's your baby, and talking about it makes you vulnerable and opens everything up for negativity.  Not only that, but you're so close to it that it's hard to explain.  I took part in a twitter pitch contest the other day and it was unbelievably hard to pitch my novel in UNDER 140 characters.  I had to enlist my best friend for some help, and of course, she kicked way more ass than I had.
6. Finding out things you don't know. I literally just sent an email to a company that produces uniforms for big companies.  Why?  Because I have no earthly idea what the ushers wear at The Met, and I need to know this desperately because my main character IS ONE.  Would you believe that NO amount of Googling, YouTubing (or asking my friends) has unearthed an answer?  I need to see a show there, obviously that is the "easy" answer, but it's not in my financial cards right now.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Not sure why I blog.

I know the most successful blogs have a theme, but I'm never quite sure what the "theme" of this blog is.  95% of the time it's me whining, right?  And the other 5% I talk about hair and makeup and cool things I found online.  Ho hum.

Anyway, I'll attempt not to whine right now.  Here's what's going on with me:

-I took on some new responsibilities at work lately, which in a nutshell has been talent scouting for our upcoming video podcast.  It's been really fun!
-At the end of August I vowed that September will be the LAST month I am allowing myself to work on novel revisions.  I have a list of things that need to be attended to, and on October 1st, no matter what state I -think- the manuscript is in, I will be sending it out to a test audience for feedback.  It's currently the 5th and I have 11 more spots that I need to work on.  If I can commit to working on one piece a day, I'll be in good shape!
-Speaking of being in good shape, I weighed in at the gym after month three of busting my ass, only to find NO numeric change.  This sucks, of course, but I am seeing some changes in my arms and legs, and I'm starting to feel "solid" rather than...well, squishy!  So, I'll take what I can get, I guess!  It also helps that one of the girls at work told me she can see my results.
-I applied for an unpaid internship with a publishing company and I am positively on pins and needles waiting to hear back from them!  I really want the opportunity to work for them.

That's all for now!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hair update!

I might have made progress on saving my henna-hair disaster.

After I washed my hair last night--three times--with my clarifying shampoo, my hair was officially the worst it has ever looked.  I looked like someone dumped a bottle of olive oil right on my head.  It was sticking out in crazy directions from the grease...it was awful.

I wore a hat to work, it was so bad.

Today I decided I meant business.  So I filled up the tub and soaked my hair as long as I possibly could, until the water started to get pretty cold.  Then I drizzled a bunch of apple cider vinegar on my hair and let it sit for a while.  After that, I used a little bottle of Axe (yes, men's!) shampoo that my boyfriend had left here for when he stays over.  (Sorry Shaun! I'll buy you some more.)

The reason I used Axe rather than any of the pricey shampoos that I have?  Axe has sulfates in it.  In addition to sulfates having a pretty bad reputation, I'm also allergic to them--and have been for years, before I finally figured out why I was sneezing all the damn time.  (This is pre-owning-a-cat years.  Now I just sneeze all the time from the cat!)

So, as you can imagine, the shampoos in my house don't have sulfates in them.  Which is usually a good thing.  Until it comes to fighting Henna.

I blew my hair dry and straightened it as usual, and it looks about 90% better.  It pretty much looks exactly like my normal hair, there's just a slight greasy spot on the left hand side that no one would notice except me.

I guess I'm going to have to run out and grab myself some sulfate shampoo until the Henna mess settles down, and hopefully it will continue to help!
---------------

While I have you: What the hell is up with LinkedIn constantly suggesting you add people that you've already tried to add except they've denied you?  I didn't even notice they were doing this, so I figured, "Hey!  There's Joe.  We aren't friends on LinkedIn, I'll have to fix that."  But then when I logged in a few months later (I've been a sporadic user, up until lately) I'd see Joe AGAIN, and try to add him again, because I completely forgot that I had tried to add him before.

Ugh.  Way to go, LinkedIn.  Using my poor memory against me.  It's not bad enough that these people have already decided not to connect with me for whatever reason--now you have to make me look like a crazed stalker who tries to add them every month.

"HI! ME AGAIN! DO YOU LIKE ME NOW? HUH? HUH? WE SHOULD CONNECT!"

Ugh.

And on the other hand, what reason would you use to NOT connect to someone on LinkedIn, if you knew them professionally?  Isn't that the whole point?  It's not like I request people who I don't know.

I don't get networking.  But I'm working on it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Don't dye over your henna: A Public Service Announcement

So, here's the thing.  With my uber pale skin and my blue eyes, I was sort of meant to be a redhead.  While throughout the years I had come to accept my natural hair color (brown), whenever I wasn't a redhead, I felt like there was something missing.

For the past four(ish) years, I'd been a full-blown brunette.  I had vowed to use fewer chemicals in my life, so along with quitting smoking and drinking Diet Coke, I said goodbye to my beloved red hair dye, too.

But recently, I gave up. I wanted to be red.  I wanted to be Christina Hendricks, Karen Gillan RED.

I tried to be "healthy" about it at first.  I used "Rainbow" brand Henna (I had also used LUSH Henna years ago) but the red was nowhere near as vibrant as I wanted it to be, and it washed out quickly.  So after waiting 3 months, I headed to the hairstylist.

Even though I told her that I had dyed my hair with Henna, she didn't argue when I asked her to color my hair.  Personally, I knew there was some risk involved, but I figured three months was plenty of time for the Henna to grow/fade away.

Not true.

1) The color had some trouble "taking" to the thicker pieces of my hair.  I'm not sure how much of this was due to the fact that she applied the hair color backwards (to the roots first!) and how much of it was due to the Henna...
2) Even though my hair seemed fine at first, after the first few washes I quickly noticed a new problem--my hair WILL. NOT. DRY.

I spent 4 hours blowdrying my hair one night, only to finally admit defeat and go to bed with wet hair.  Apparently, the Henna (which bonds to the proteins in your hair, I believe) and the hair dye are having a not-so-pretty chemical reaction...which in the end, leaves me with hair that will not dry, and then ends up looking greasy the next day.  Yuck!  I have NEVER had greasy hair or skin--if anything, I'm usually a little on the dry side.

I've found a bit of relief by using hair masks (some people claim that mineral oil will strip Henna out of hair, but I didn't have any handy) but it is short lived.  I now have a very strange phenomenon: hair that looks cleaner when it's actually dirty, and looks greasy once it's clean!  Gross!

I'm hoping frequent washes will eventually get what's left of the Henna out of my hair.  When I dyed over my LUSH Henna years ago, I do NOT remember having a reaction like this (although I do vaguely remember posting on Facebook "WHY is my hair so greasy?!", but it seemed like a short-lived thing!)

So ladies, my advice to you: If you're thinking of dying your hair with Henna (but plan on dying it again later) or dying OVER your Henna---STEP AWAY FROM THE HAIR DYE!

You're welcome.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Quiet month of July...

I just realized I didn't post a thing for the month of July!

I was super busy, spending the first week on vacation in Maine with my best friend Katie and her family.  It was a fun time with lots of swimming, boating, fishing, shopping and, of course...a sunburn for me. I got a lot of work done on my novel (not having the distractions of home was great!) and did a lot of research, seeing as my main character grew up in Maine.

July was also my mom's birthday.  We went to the mall like we usually do and I paid for her manicure and pedicure.

And last weekend, Sara and I went to New York City.  I usually try to do NYC somewhat frugally, but this time all bets were off!
We had tea at the Plaza, went to Tiffany's (I bought a necklace), The Raines Law Room, the MOMA...and then on Sunday when Sara had a conference to go to, I ventured out on my own and grabbed a latte (with latte art!) and went to see Jersey Boys on Broadway.  I had a great orchestra seat and I loved the show!

Now I have to forgo spending for a little while (when budgeting, I didn't take into account hidden hotel charges and New York's massive sales tax!) but we definitely had a great time so it was all very much worth it.  I can't wait to go back...I've finished up writing my 30 by 30 list (I'll tell you all about that in a later entry!) and there are still a ton of things in NYC I have yet to do!

Oh, and a question for you guys: What are you using to read blogs with, now that Google Reader has shut down?  I loved Google Reader and feel so lost without it! In truth I think that's why I haven't been blogging...I feel like what is the point, if Google Reader is gone? Do people even read blogs without it?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Real*Love (CityBlis Edition!)

I was recently asked to join a fashion website, which made me laugh a little because I'm not exactly super fashionable.  But, since it's been a long time since I've done a Real*Love post, I figured I'd check out their site and show you my favorites.  Here we go!

Black Asymmetric LeMuse Blouse with Buttons  $85- I love the ruched sleeves on this and the fact that it looks pretty hip (do people still even say "hip"? Seriously, I'm stunned these people asked me to join their group.) while not being constricting or uncomfortable looking.  I like how the buttons on the back give it a little extra sparkle, too:



Ashley dress in gray $180- I really wish flapper-style dresses would come back in...well, style. I drool over what the ladies are wearing in Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey! I especially like the Peter Pan collar on this one.


This is my second pick from the brand LeMuse, so it's probably safe to say they're worth checking out. This one has cute back buttons too, sort of like the black one, and I'm liking the black-and-beige color scheme these days.  Something very European about it.

That's all I have for now, but I'll be taking a look at CityBlis now and again and hopefully posting more Real*Love soon!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

29 tomorrow, yikes.

So tomorrow I turn 29 which is 365 days away from 30, which is a little scary.

My boss and coworkers took me out to the Cheesecake Factory today to celebrate, which was fun.
I also got some pretty flowers. :)

I've come a long way in the past few years: finding a good relationship, a good job, graduating college. (Practically) finishing my novel.

I just need to make a list now of the 30 things to do before I turn 30.  Anyone have any good ones?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day One.

Today was my first day back at the gym after a long absence.  I think it's been six months since I was last seriously "checking out" gyms, and this time I just ran right in, paid up, and spent the next 3 hours working out.  The girl at the counter laughed at me for having my gym bag with me.  

"I'm determined."  I told her.

And I am.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Ushering in June with my late May ipsy Glambag...

Guys, my first bag just got here yesterday and I'm already so glad that I switched.
First of all, the little bag it comes with is super convenient.  I do a lot of traveling and the bags I currently use just weren't cutting it, I needed a slightly bigger one.  This one is perfect, and has a light colored inside so that darker items won't be so easily overlooked.

Immediately upon opening the bag I was presented with coupons--$110 off hair styling tools, and a list of all the deals I could get on the ipsy website.  I like this a lot better than Birchbox, who was just spamming my mailbox occasionally with sales that generally were either not relevant, or expired as soon as I went to use them.

Island Vanilla Perfume Roll-on by Pacifica: Well, I have to say one thing--even though I'm not thrilled with perfume samples, I'm somewhat more okay with getting a full size roll-on!   The scent is really strong right out of the bottle, but I'm told it mellows after putting it on.  The scent reminds me of those cheap body mists everyone used to douse themselves with in high school...
Remember them?
I was partial to the cotton candy variety, myself.  Whenever I walked into a room people would almost instantly react "ooh, I smell cotton candy!"

I digress.  

Zoya nail polish in Gie Gie:  Pretty and sparkly, but I've never been one for pinkish nails.  (Currently wearing OPI Suzi Loves Cowboys on my fingernails and OPI San Tan-Tonio on my toes--both varying shades of brown.)  I think my biffle might find this nail polish in a care package...

Mini Brow Gel by Anastasia: SUPER excited about this stuff!  I have wavy/curly hair and although my eyebrow hair is straight for the most part, it can get really unruly on the edges near my temples.  I've used this once already and although the "crunchy", hair-gel like feeling will take some getting used to, it does hold my eyebrows in place like a charm.

Color Sheers Lipstick by Mirabella in Pixie: Super excited to get a lipstick, but not thrilled with the shade.  This stuff goes on more like a balm and is super moisturizing (without a yucky lipstick taste) but this dark coral color (even though it went on sheer) collected around the edges of my lips and nothing else.  You know how if you eat a spicy meal the edges of your lips swell up and darken a little?  It looks like that.  I've tried it twice, but I'm not a fan...wish I got a nude color.  I want to see how I look with lips like this:
Probably pale and sick and washed out...but, we'll see.

Concealer Refill by yaby in buff:  Hmm. A teeny, tiny, magnetic (I think it's meant to go in a big case/palette like this, but I'm not spending the $20ish on the case!)  I've only tried this quickly but so far I don't like it--it goes on very thick and doesn't seem to blend without getting flaky.  It might work better on someone with oily skin.

All in all, I'm still incredibly picky when it comes to beauty products, I guess, but ipsy turned out to be way better than Birchbox.  All along, I was looking for more fun products to play around with--not things like chocolate, hair ties, toothpaste, and pens.   Ipsy's Glambag seems way more my speed!

If you're interested in signing up for Ipsy's Glambag yourself, feel free to use my referral link!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ditching Birchbox. (Boxes April and May)

I got my last Birchbox the day of the marathon bombing, and I didn't feel it was appropriate to really blog about makeup on a day like that.  Unfortunately, putting it off meant I forgot to post it for the whole month of April.  Here's the short version:

We have...
Beauty Protector, Protect and Detangle:  It smells good but is nothing I would buy--I use it to help with heat styling, but it weighs down my hair.  It's not exactly sticky, but I definitely can't run my fingers through my hair after I use it.  The only bonus is that it doesn't seem to set off my allergies like most hair products due.

Caudalie S.O.S Morning Eye Rescue: I put on a few blobs of this dark circle/puffiness remedy and immediately broke out--and my skin is pretty tough.  No, thank you.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream:  I didn't feel or see much of a difference when I put this on, but man, did it STINK! It smelled like an overflowing ash tray in a closed-up hotel room.  Bleh!  I tried it twice, once alone and once under makeup.  I read on the site that you "definitely don't want to fall asleep with zinc on your face!" so you should make sure to take this off before going to bed.  I didn't do so, and my skin was fine, but I was pretty freaked after that.  I mean, I know we're supposed to take off all our makeup before bed, but...why zinc specifically?  What is supposed to happen if you don't?  I'll let you know if my skin starts coming off in chunks or something.

Yes to: Carrots/Grapefruit/Cucumber:  Tiny samples of a scrub and dark spot corrector.  I don't have dark spots, but I used it anyway.  Nothing exciting to report.  I also got a Cucumber Mint chapstick which was as boring as your average chapstick.  I was really disappointed in this stuff specifically because I can run down to Target and pick up this brand--I thought the point of Birchbox was to introduce us to brands we might not already use or find on our own.  Bah.

Out of everything in this box, the only thing I'm going to actually keep using is the detangling spray. Everything else was a bummer.

------------------------

May Birchbox:

amika Obliphica Nourishing Mask:  I was excited at first until I realized this is simply a conditioning mask for your hair.  This would be all well and good except I still haven't used the leave-in hair treatment from my March Birchbox.  I wish they would shake things up a little.

Marvis toothpaste:  Again, I was excited at first to see an imported italian toothpaste.  Sounds fancy, right?  Unfortunately, one of the ingredients is Sodium Laurel Sulfate, and that bothers my gums.  Can't use it.  Bummer.

COOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face:  Not really a moisturizer, but a sunblock. Which is, surprise, just what they sent me in March, which I still haven't used.  Again, shake things up a little, please.

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner: (in black) A waste for me, as my eyeliner is tattooed on.  I have no use for eyeliner.

Pilot Corporation of America Acroball PureWhite pen:  Yikes.  Talk about a reach, Birchbox.  How is a pen a beauty supply? The Birchbox reviews are pretty amusing--everyone is equally pissed.  And it writes in pink ink, so it definitely won't get used much.  Boo.

Isaac Mizrahi FABULOUS Eau de Parfum: When I see a perfume sample I pretty much just throw it out. So, that was equally wasteful of Birchbox.
------------------------------------------------

So after all this, I've cancelled my Birchbox subscription and moved on to ipsy's Glambag.  The one good thing about Glambag is that each subscriber gets the SAME bag as everyone else does every month--so it won't be like looking under the Instagram #birchbox hashtag and getting envious because everyone else got better products than me!  (And honestly, with Birchbox, they did!  Lipsticks and blushes and foundations and mascara...things I actually would have used!)

Plus with Glambag you get a cute reusable makeup bag every month! I'm excited about that.

Birchbox could have been a lot better if they simply had a better system!  If I could have checked a box that said, "Don't send me perfume" or "I don't wear eyeliner", it would have been really helpful.  Of course, ipsy doesn't have such a box to check either, but at least their bags look more fun.  We'll see!

Same as before, if you'd like to sign up for ipsy's Glambag, please use my referral link!  (Katie, this means you.) ;)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I did it!

It took 11 years of frustration, sacrifice and sometimes tears.  But I did it.
Now I have a really expensive piece of paper, a really large mountain of student loan debt, an alumni pin, a novel looking for a publisher, and that persistent nagging feeling, What's next?

I'm really glad I was able to meet one of my major goals--I wanted to get my degree before I turned 30, and I squeaked by just 2 months shy of 29.  Not too shabby.  And my senior presentation went really well, although my graduation speech could have gone more smoothly.  (They made me go FIRST. Worst idea ever.)

Anyway, I'll be back soon with tales of my life as a new graduate.  Ta ta!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Oh, Boston.


I don't even know what to say about today.  I'm rocked by this tragedy more so than Newtown (although that's not to say I wasn't bothered by Newtown) because I grew up in Boston.  I was right in that area last month and the month before that.

There are so many conflicting reports coming in: was it a terrorist act? foreign or domestic? A single person or an organization? An isolated incident? If it was political, what were they trying to prove? At this point, no one can even seem to agree how many injuries and causalities there are.  I don't even know what to think, except that this one hit way too close to home.

I've been able to get in touch with all my friends, thank goodness.  But I'm still uneasy.  I hope we get some answers, soon, and that they aren't the kind that send us into war.  I'm not ready for the post 9-11 fear all over again.

I hope everyone is safe tonight and knows where their friends/family are.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Junk food fail?

For anyone who has been following my medical saga:

Since gluten was ruled out, I figured I'd give the chiropractor a shot.  It didn't work, and I had something like five attacks within January and February alone.  I asked my doctor if it could be something to do with my gallbladder, and he thought it could be possible.

I'm reluctant to say it is for sure, since before I was SO convinced it was gluten...but, we'll see.

My ultrasound is scheduled for tomorrow, and my plan was to eat all my "trigger foods" tonight so I'd have an attack, hoping that when they scanned my gallbladder the next day, I'd light up like a Christmas tree.  Or, you know, whatever happens when you get an ultrasound.  I want there to be no question in anyone's mind.

My worst trigger foods seem to be Dunkin Donuts croissants (although they don't set me off all the time, only most of the time) and pretty much anything at Ruby Tuesdays, although I can only remember it specifically happening when I've had the Zucchini Mini Burgers and their mashed potatoes.

So my plan was to eat 1 croissant mid-afternoon, and then the Zucchini Minis as close to the "cut off time" (I can't eat for 8 hours before the procedure) as possible.

Guess who was out of croissants today?  Dunkin Donuts.  (I had to drive a good 30 minutes out of my way to get one.)

Then, guess who was out of Zucchini Minis?  Yup, Ruby Tuesdays.

So much for that plan.

If it is in fact my gallbladder, the "gallbladder attacks" would be triggered by too much fat in the food I eat. (Which doesn't entirely make sense to me, because things like ice cream, fast food and pizza don't ever seem to set me off. And Ruby Tuesdays Zucchini Minis were touted as being one of the more healthy menu choices.) So I picked up a hamburger and ice cream on the way back home.

Anyway, I hope this ultrasound tomorrow will help me finally get to the bottom of this, because I'm really tired of people shrugging their shoulders and telling me I'm perfectly healthy.  Don't get me wrong--I like to hear that I'm perfectly healthy--but I'd love to know what I'm dealing with here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Graduation: T minus 20

I graduate in 20 days, and today we received word that my advisor, poet laureate of New Hampshire, Walter Butts, had passed away yesterday.

None of us knew his illness had taken a turn for the worst until just recently, and as soon as we were notified I went out and bought him a card.  I didn't even get a chance to mail it yet, before I got a second email telling us of his passing.


It feels so odd.  Walter was the first person I ever met at Goddard, when I went to Discover Goddard Day back in...what was it now, 2010? 2011?  He was there representing the BFA program--he sat down with me and another student and answered our questions.  I wish I could remember his words now, but regardless, they were enough to draw me to the school.

And as things tend to come full circle, Walter was also my advisor for this final semester.  Both the man to welcome me and to usher me on to better things.  I'm very saddened by his passing and regret that I won't get to hear him speak at graduation.

It seems selfish now, but I wanted to buy his books and finally get his autograph.  But like with so many things, I waited.  And now the chance is gone.  I don't know when I'll learn to stop waiting. I make the mistake of frequently thinking there will always be more time...

We'll all miss you, Walter.  You've been an inspiration to us all.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wet blanket attends (another) concert.

Remember roughly two years ago when I went to see Bright Eyes at the Radio City Music Hall and decided that I was, in fact, too old for concerts?

Well, I've been going to concerts since then.

The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie, Leonard Cohen, Afghan Whigs, Gin Blossoms...
and last night...
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Concerts grew on me a bit, especially the outdoor arenas where I could just lay back on the grass and wander up front if I wanted to. (The Decemberists was the best show ever.  I want them to come back every year.)  Really calm, no one shoving and sweating all over me... but after last night (although it was a great show, don't get me wrong) I'm back to my I'm-too-old-for-this mentality.  I sat in a cramped seat next to a girl who kept rubbing her butt on me as she danced (even after I gave her a warning jab to let her know that wasn't the chair she was bumping into!) and by the end of the show both my coat and my boyfriend's hoodie were covered in $13 worth of mystery beer.  (But hey, at least it wasn't pee.)

The good news is, I have seen almost every band I've set out to see.  I only have Tom Waits left on my definitive list--and he apparently keeps his tours annoyingly in the mid-west, so that might be a hike.  I'd also like to see Transiberian Orchestra one of these days, but they come around every year so it's not as much of a novelty.

But yes.  All in all it was a good show.  I had no idea Nick Cave was that much of a rock star, but he had a ton of energy and was grabbing everyones hands and playing it up.  They played Red Right Hand which is my favorite--I would have paid money to just hear them play that over and over.  Super glad that I got to go, despite my friendly-butted neighbor and the beer bath.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"David Bowie influenced my fashion sense..."

I was driving home listening to the new David Bowie album, and despite being a big Bowie fan, I'm not exactly liking it so far.  Which to me, after years and years of fangirl obsession and seeing him in concert at least three times, felt awful.  I felt like I woke up next to someone after years of cohabiting/marriage whatever and just realized, Huh. I don't love him.

So I'm doing what any (sane?) Bowie fan would do--putting the album on repeat until I love it.

Anyway.  I got to thinking about the evolution of my Bowie obsession:  It started the summer before my Senior year of high school when shopping for school clothes.  The store I was in had ChangesBowie on repeat, and I realized that I recognized a lot of the songs (and really liked them) but had no clue who was singing.  I asked a salesgirl, and within a few hours I was on my way home with ChangesBowie in my Discman.  (And no new school clothes.)  That's all it took.  Before that, I had only seen the movie Labyrinth maybe once...

I apologize for this horribly pixelated image, but Bowie influenced my fashion sense, too, which is hilarious when you consider the fact that I don't mean glitter makeup, shaved off eyebrows (although, I did that my junior year of high school--not intentionally!) and platform boots or anything of that nature.
Yep.  I stole the whole loosely-tied-tie-around-the-waist-as-a-belt idea from his Reality tour.  (And okay, I was in the cheap seats.  Now that I can examine these pictures on the internet, I think it ACTUALLY is a belt, not a tie.  But whatever.  I wore a tie because it looked like a tie.)

And.... Chucks!  Everyone in high school seemed to have a pair of Chucks, but it wasn't until the Reality tour when I saw Bowie in them that I actually started considering them.  If he could wear them, I could wear them...

But yeah.  Other than that, David Bowie hasn't influenced me at all...I swear...

(I've been going through old photos lately, obviously...)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's not me it's you.

UGH.

Looking for apartments has to be one of the most stressful things in the world.  You know what you want and what your price range is, but nothing seems to match up just right.  If you find something in your price range, it's too far from work.  If you find something close to work, it doesn't allow pets.  It's really hard.

I've gotta get out of my apartment soon, though.  My neighbors are becoming disrespectful (they came in at 1 AM on a Wednesday night/Thursday morning and proceeded to have a loud party, complete with blasting music and a drum kit, that lasted for at least four hours, possibly even longer) and when I left them a note informing them that people live here and they should be more considerate (not many people actually live here: I thought it was reasonable to think they might not know anyone can hear them) it was responded to with the following:

"The drama llama says balls. Ha ha!"

Which, y'know, is rude to begin with, presumably NOT written by a fourth grader--despite how mature it is, and also just...the bad punctuation just infuriates me.  I think after everything that might, in fact, be the offense I'm the most upset about.

I've been here for three years and I've never made a peep to anyone, so they probably assume the note was left by someone else (there are some notorious note-leavers here) but...honestly.  I'm so annoyed.  I hope I can find a nice, normal place soon with people that keep normal hours.

Until then, I'll be curled up with my newly downloaded sound machine app.  It might not block them out, but at least it helped me fall asleep eventually!

Monday, March 18, 2013

March Birchbox!

After I changed my settings from "low maintenance" to "I know what I'm doing when it comes to makeup", I was holding my breath for my March Birchbox.

Drumroll, please!


I think changing my settings was the way to go!

Top row: Whish shaving cream:  This stuff smells like blueberries and has a lot of air whipped into it.  It claims to be (and so far, seems to be) super moisturizing, which is great for dry winter over-shaved skin!  I'm a fan!

Benetint!!! I have to admit that I've been lusting over Benetint for probably years now, but I've always felt too frugal to pony up the money for a bottle--I think it's around $30.  I squealed when I saw a sample in my box! I'll probably buy it now that I can use a Birchbox coupon and earn points.  (For those of you who've never heard of it: Benetint is an awesome lip and cheek stain that looks super natural and has pretty decent lasting power.  I didn't know this until I read the package, but Benetint was actually created for a exotic dancer who wanted something to paint her nipples with to make them more pronounced!  So, I guess it's a great all-in-one item! 

(That little piece of paper was just an announcement for a new product, not a sample or a coupon.  Boo.)

Bottom row:

Macadamia Natural Oil: Healing Oil Treatment.  It says on the back that you can use it as a masque, leave-in conditioner, or for "styling and finishing".  I've only used a tiny amount of it on dry hair to smooth down some fly aways, and to give me some added moisture while blowdrying, as I don't use conditioner.  It smells really good, a little bit musky and nutty but in a good way.

SuperGoop Everyday Face and Body Lotion:  Confession!  I know I'm supposed to use sun block every day, but I usually don't.  My tinted moisturizer has SPF 15 in it, so I wear that sometimes, and my lipstick also has SPF 15...but other than that, I don't usually wear it seperately unless I'm going to be outside for an extended period of time.  BUT, that being said, there are definitely times when I've been caught outdoors without it when I've really needed it!  So keeping these little packets in my purse will save my butt (well, my face...) on a sunny day!

Macadamia Natural Oil: Deep Repair Masque.  Seeing as I quit dying my hair years ago, I don't really need these "deep repair" kind of things like I used to.  But I will give this a try! I'm just not sure if I want to use it now or wait until I get my dead ends snipped off...

And then at the bottom, a Madewell nail file.  Nothing terrible special about this, except for the pretty design.

All in all, I'm much happier with my Birchbox this month. I think I'll stick with it and see what else they have to offer me!


As always, this is not a sponsored post.  But if you'd like to sign up for Birchbox for yourself, please feel free to use my referral link.  Thank you!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

#AWP2013, oh my!

Well, today was my first day at the huge AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference.  And whoo boy! I am exhausted already!  This stuff takes a lot out of me, I don't know how people do it all the time.

For those of you going to the remaining days of the conference, I have some pointers for you.  I was a newbie this time around and I wish someone would have told me this before today:

-Bring a cell phone charger.  Your battery WILL get dangerously low (especially if you're taking photos and video of panels! I had to refrain from using Instagram as much as possible!) and there are outlets that you can grab a quick charge off of.

-Get to your panels EARLY.  Especially if it's something that you can see a lot of other people going to.  (For example, "Keeping track of your novel" was so full that there were probably a good 20-30 people sitting on the floor.  Most people recommend getting to each panel 15 minutes early, but I had the best luck when I got there 30 minutes early.  Also, if you want a seat, don't be timid.  It's okay to sit on the floor, so just waltz right in there and sit.

-Boston in March is cold, snowy and windy. I really wished I had packed a scarf and some rain boots.  If you need a scarf, there is a woman in the book fair selling beautiful Guatemalan fair-trade handmade scarves for $35-$45.  WAY more than I wanted to spend, but depending on how cold it is on Friday and Saturday, I might just be persuaded to scoop one up.

-Don't use cash on the bus.  NO ONE uses cash anymore and you will look and feel like an idiot when your dollar won't go in the machine and you hold up literally everyone.

-There's a Trader Joe's right across from Hynes Convention Center.  WAY cheaper (and better for you!) food than the restaurants and concession stands inside!

-Travel light.  I made the mistake of wearing a dress that DIDN'T have pockets, and I was shuffling my debit cards/cash and business cards from pocket to pocket of my purse all day.  There is a coat check ($3) but it was totally worth it to not have to cart my coat around!  I think I'm going to go as far as to leave my purse behind tomorrow and just bring my tote bag...by the end of the day, your back will be killing you.  Trust me.


That's all for my tips from today!  I'll check in again later with more updates on how the conference went!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Worst possible thing to say.

Today I went to the doctor and had some bloodwork done.

Now, for some reason I have teeny tiny little flat veins.  Which  means, you basically can't get any blood out of my arms--you have to go in through the back of my hand with a butterfly needle. (I usually tell the phlebotomists this up front.)

Well, today my phlebotomist was like, "Let me see if I can just find one in your arm..."

She poked around desperately.  Nope.  Nothing.

So she reluctantly went in through my hand.

And said...

"UH OH."

There's a Bill Cosby skit about the worst thing to hear a doctor say during surgery--"oops!"--and needless to say, I was scared to death.  I can't handle needles well, so I couldn't turn my head to actually LOOK at what she was uh-ohing...so I'll never know...

She made me run my other hand under hot water for a few minutes to warm it up so she could try again.  I guess my cold hands and tiny, flat veins just don't make a good combination.

Needless to say, she got the blood she needed and I didn't bleed out all over her floor.  So it was a good day.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February Birchbox!

I vowed I'd give Birchbox THREE chances to really "hook" me.

My January box, the first one, was so-so...I loved the shampoo, and I'm using the lipgloss even though I'm not a huge fan.  I at least could give the products a SHOT...

My February box arrived a little while ago, and, well...


It's safe to say, I'm still disappointed.  Even more disappointed than the first box, actually.

1. Ghiradelli chocolate: Really?  This is a BEAUTY box.  I think the only time chocolate would be appropriate at all would be if it was one of those 75% pure cacao ones that actually has health benefits, antioxidants and such.  If I wanted Ghiradelli (which I don't!) I would go to the store and buy some.

2) Color Club Fiesta Collection Nail Polish: This was a good try, in theory.  It would have worked if a) I don't get my nails done professionally and b) if it wasn't such an ugly color.  I personally don't like it, so I'm giving it to a friend...who, honestly, probably won't like the color either.  But it's worth a shot.

3) Skin & Co. Sicilian Body Gel:  This sounds super fancy, right?  Essentially, it's just a bath soap.  I was at least excited to try this one, and it smells really good out of the tube--like oranges--but I didn't notice any major difference with my skin.  I don't feel cleaner or softer or more moisturized or anything, and the smell doesn't linger.

4) Lancome Bi-Facil:  This is an eye makeup remover.  Which is totally pointless to me, because the only makeup I wear is my eyeliner--which is TATTOOED on and doesn't come off.

5) a twistband Headband (not pictured): My friend Katie and I made these headbands ourselves when she came up for winter break.  All it took was some fabric, a glue gun, and a hair elastic.  I have probably ten of them. The twistband I got is in a hideous pink shade that I will literally only wear around the house.

The overall verdict?  I really wish Birchbox allowed us to customize our options more.  If they did, I could tell them straight up that I hate the color pink, that I don't wear nail polish, don't like chocolate, and don't wear eye makeup.

That being said, I DID change my settings for the next box.  I had put down that I was "low maintenance", and I changed it to "adventurous".  I also had selected previously that I knew "the basics" of makeup...I changed that to "I am well-versed" or something to that degree.

I hope these changes will shake up my next box a little!  If not, I'm definitely heading over to ipsy and their Glambag!


(If you would like to try Birchbox yourself, feel free to use my referral link!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Seriously.

Dear Ladies,

This is a Public Service Announcement.

Don't date assholes.  Seriously.  Even if they're an asshole to everyone else except you.  Even if you think they're kinda just like a rude comedian, but at least they make you laugh.  Because guess what?  One day, you're going to be on the other side of that fence.  One day, you're going to be "everyone else".  And man, is it going to be a doozy.  You are not going to know what hit you.

Also, don't date Underdogs.  Okay, that's not quite right...don't date Underdogs who blame everyone else for their problems.  It's okay to be down on your luck sometimes and feel badly about it--but you pick yourself up and make things work.  If you frequently hear things like, "The universe is against me", "I have the worst luck in the world" and "Everyone is out to get me", RUN.  When you do terrible things in life, there are repercussions.  When you have a nasty, negative attitude, you attract negative situations to you.  When you look for the bad in everything, YOU.  WILL.  FIND.  IT.

Don't be that sad-sack sympathetic girlfriend.  Don't make excuses.  Don't say things like, "He's a really good person...he's just had some shitty luck."

Because guess what?  When the chips are down, he WILL screw you over without a seconds thought.
If someone does terrible things to other people, don't think for a moment that they won't do terrible things to you.

They WILL come back to haunt you.

And at the end of it all, and for years afterwards, you will shake your head in disbelief and ask yourself--was I really that blind? Did I really date someone who could possibly be so awful? 

And you were that blind.  And you did date him.  Somehow, for some reason.  Whether he had you thinking no one else would ever love you, whether you were afraid to be alone, whether you thought you could "fix" him...

And all you can do is move forward and try not to make the same mistakes again.

This has been a public service announcement.