Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Last 2-ish Weeks in 10-ish Pictures

First of all, haaaay guys.  Second of all, this picture is kind of gross blown up, unless you're into tattoo goop residue and sock indentations.  At my friends' shop they did a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Sandy where they set up a mostly Jersey-themed flash sheet of tattoos you could pick from, in various sizes and priced either $50 or $100, and all of the proceeds were donated.  It was totally packed so my friend Amanda and I waited for a long time, but it was totally worth it.  I went to Ray, who I'd never been tattooed by before, and he pulled out a couple extra stops with the shading and everything- Chuck, the owner, came in and started a little friendly smack-talking about how he knows these are supposed to be kind of quick, simple tattoos but he had just knocked one out of the park, and Ray was like "Oh that's how it is?!" and pulled out a couple extra colors.  I ain't mad.  They raised a ton of money, I'm not sure what the grand total is but there were 6 people working and I know Evan raised $1,050 on his own, so I'd say the whole thing was a success and I'm glad I got to be a part of it.
So it hasn't come up before but my family structure is a little unique, age-wise.  I have 2 half-sisters from my dad's previous marriage, and since my dad is a lot older than my mom, my half-sisters are a lot older than me and Will.  Karen is 23 years older than me and Lynne is 21 years older, to the day!  We share a birthday, and this year she had a big one- 5-0, baby.  Karen had the fucking genius idea to have her throw her own surprise party and it was perfect!  Lynne thought she was just hosting one of the bingo nights she and her friends have from time to time, but the doorbell just kept ringing and more and more people from her life kept pouring in.  She seemed awestruck and thrilled all night and it made me so happy to see.  Sarah was awesome and took the trip to Long Island with my parents and me and Lynne burst into tears when she saw our Dad- the whole night was just a lot of happy.  I got to meet my nephew's girlfriend, who seemed sweet, and see him for what's going to be one of the last times for a long time since he's going into the army.  Ugh, that's a whole other thing.  Also I saw my niece Audrey who's loving college, and my other nephew Robbie who seemed like he was doing great too.  Oh yeah and I sang a heinous karaoke version of "New York, New York" with my dad and got to realize that I don't really know that song and that weirdly I don't have the same vocal range as Frank Sinatra about 30 seconds in.  The perfect time to realize that.
Ryan, Jim, Joe and I headed to Hoboken to see one of Yo La Tengo's Hanukkah shows- they play each of the 8 nights, every time with an opening act and a special guest that doesn't get announced until you're there. We came into the city a little early and grabbed food and sangria at a banging tapas place before settling in at Maxwell's and finding out that Sun Ra Arkestra (didn't know them) and Fred Armisen (felt lukewarm about) were opening.  Well, that shit changed!  Sun Ra turned out to be a jazz band of mainly old men wearing spangly robes and headdresses singing about the solar system, and I was into it.  Check out Exhibit A up there for Duh.  They just seemed really psyched on what they were doing and it was infectious, plus glittery robes.  And then turns out, Fred Armisen is hilarious.  I mean I didn't have a huge aversion to begin with but I couldn't specifically say I was a fan, and then he killed it.  He definitely knew his audience, a lot of indie-rock/music nerd based jokes, like impressions of people trying to be polite when a boring band is playing.  Then Yo La Tengo was just so good.  You could really hear a pin drop during quieter songs, they definitely spoke quietly and carried a big stick, or whatever that one dude with polio said.  Really glad I got to see it.  Oh yeah, and then right before we left Fred Armisen grabbed my arm when I was on my way to the bathroom, and when I turned around he went from smiley to smiley-but-confused, and I was totally taken aback but quickly knew this was a mistaken identity thing so I just kept it moving.  Me moving was also related to panic stemming from a famous person touching me- I lose my mind in the presence of anyone I know from the teevee.  

I can't really summarize this time in my life without mentioning that I have been just annihilating any food that crosses my path, seemingly regardless of whether I really like it that much or not.  I mean those Pretzel Crisps up there I liked MUCH- one of my coworker's relative's works for the company and brought in a huge bag that I shit you not had about 20 bags of different flavored crisps in it, and the back room of the salon became a serious taste testing war zone.  Even though it wasn't pretty and they were about 80% of my food intake that day, that at least makes sense because I love crunchy, salty snacks.  But what the fuck is up with the chocolates I'm eating?  We all keep getting boxes of chocolate from clients for the holidays which is sooo nice but not necessarily my bag, and yet I'm totally dipping in.  Also pictured above is a pastry I bought from one of my coworker's daughter's for a fundraiser, and which I ate about a quarter of on my way home from work in the car like a sticky fingered animal and the rest that's missing by cutting off multiple tiny slivers when I got home.  Good thing I'm totally confident with my body and I don't believe in denying myself pleasure within reason and as long as I exercise I'm totally fine with it, really, and yadda yadda yadda (but seriously mama, chill.)
This past weekend was very laid back- I walked to the bar with Sarah on Saturday night to meet up with Ryan, Will and Allie and bumped into some other acquaintances, then the next morning got Vietnamese food including some really pretty Thai iced tea. It was dreary on Sunday so I mostly parked it on the couch with Ryan to watch a bunch of episodes of Boardwalk Empire.  I was about to say that "we" made baked pasta and meatballs for Sarah to take to her family's house when she went over for dinner but that would be a dirty lie since Ryan did almost all the work- he's a much more seasoned meatballer than me so I thought it best to let him go for it.

On Monday we walked around Metuchen, which is a really cute town that I hadn't really checked out before.  We ducked into a super crammed used book store that was just a mess with piles and piles everywhere, and I sort of loved it.  Later that night we had plans to go to my parents' to watch a movie and decided to grab dinner first at a brewery nearby, which included a beer sampler and wings- you can't really tell but I am the absolute messiest wing eater with serious Sauce Face in that picture.  My face and my napkin were a disgrace, I tried to trade napkins with Ryan so the waitress wouldn't know how disgusting I am but he wasn't having it.  It was torn up, how did I even do that?
And today I hung out at my parents' house listing a few really great designer purses of my aunt's on eBay (they're here if you'd like to see, I still love Etsy but it just seemed to be more the market for them) and putzing around.  All in all, world class weekend.  And all in all, I need to go to bed because WEEKEND'S OVER, time to make the donuts.

Monday, November 26, 2012

God, Take Me Instead!!!! : My Dog Died

So you know how in my last post I said that Harley had to take a trip to the vet but that it was okay he'd be okay?  I guess he's okay in that he's in a doggie heaven, but not thaaat okay because he died.  UGGGGHHHH.  I can't even stand much I loved that little dog.  When we took him that night the vet, who we love, told us he had bladder stones and he'd need emergency surgery to remove them right away, and that after recovery he'd be just fine.  But it turned out that when the doctor started the surgery, he realized that the reason the x-ray he'd taken of the stones was blurry (he'd had to really enhance it and up contrast and all that stuff when he showed us the night before) was because there was cancer covering about 3/4 of the inside of Harley's bladder.  He called my parents to let them know and recommended that since Harley was already sedated, they let him go.  Treatment was just too risky and it would be too painful.  I really miss him- a few times in the last week I've caught myself being excited to see him when I went to my parents', or when I was there glancing at our other dog Penny and thinking it was Harley for a quick, sad second.  I do definitely take comfort in the fact that I don't think he was in much pain- there were a few things that seemed off but even on the last day, when we took him to the vet, I was playing with him and he was snorting and flailing around and wagging his tail and generally going nuts the way he always would.  I'm grateful that we stopped it before anything really started.

As is customary, I made a short slideshow of pictures of him set to a karaoke version of "You're Simply the Best" by Tina Turner.  As is also customary, I didn't know how to save or send it so I had to just take a video of it.  Enjoy this one on Harley.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

:( / :)

With Thanksgiving coming up, I recognize that I've got a lot to be thankful for but the last 5 days were total bullshit.  Ughhhh.  I took a picture of myself before I went for a walk to visit Evan at the tattoo shop during a calm spot on Sunday, which I planned to scrap because I look pissy, but I guess it pretty much sums it up.

There's a silver lining to the cloudy things that went on: my parents got in a scary car accident but didn't get hurt, I got a worrying call from my dad and my car stalled out simultaneously (and I had to sit in a really busy intersection for 2 hours while people honked at me, and for a surprising moment I lost it and yelled that one especially bad curse word out the window) but I didn't get rear-ended, our beloved Harley boy had to have a scary trip to the vet but he's going to be ok.  But seriously, way to kick me in the nuts this weekend, Life.  I'm exhausted.

HOWEVER: Will and I rallied the way we always do when the shit gets rough, Ryan took care of my dad by picking him up when I couldn't and then Ryan's dad took care of car stuff for me, my friends kept me upbeat and feeling like they had their eyes on me with texts, when I left my parents house tonight they were sitting in their matching recliners holding hands, I'm drinking a glass of red wine in bed with a kitty at my feet, and I'm making plans with Mike to walk to a hotel bar tomorrow night and have Thanksgiving Eve drinks.  Silver linings all over the place; fuck clouds.

But I'm still going to bed before a piano falls on my head or something.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

DO THIS SHIT: Sears Portrait Studio

Assemble your crew.  Figure out an outfit theme, preferably involving something unflattering.  Haul it to Sears and get your pictures did.
I'm unclear on any copyright laws that may come into play with these watermarks, because I didn't look into it, because I desperately want to share these with you.  Mike, Sarah, Katie and I had been talking about doing a weirdo photo shoot for years so when I was browsing Groupon and a package for a family portrait at Sears popped up, I practically broke a sweat and dropped my phone out of flustered excitement.
Jeans, athletic sneakers and turtlenecks tucked in only at the front, with some sort of brooch or lapel pin, seemed the obvious choice.  Who wouldn't?  We waited until the last minute because we figured hey, when in Rome- we'll just browse Sears for outfit inspiration a little before our shoot.  Katie was meeting us there and stopping at Goodwill for pins on the way, and when she texted us "American flag pins?" plus we found this beauty of a polo for Mike not far from coordinating 'necks, an idea was formed.
And what an idea it was.  We were a little worried about not getting a photographer who "got it," but dude was loving it.  We just straight up told him we were looking for a cheesy photo shoot and that half-closed eyes or unflattering angles were not a deal breaker and that every corny pose he could think of was on the table.
We found him responsive.
It was a fairly brief but extremely prolific photo shoot, I assume books have been written about it already.  To narrow it down to the few prints that our package included we had about 150 shots to wade through and absolutely LOSE OUR SHIT over- I seriously laughed so hard.  We are ridiculous looking people.  Mike in particular fucking kills me.  Please look at his face in the fake running picture up there, please.
making hard decisions
I cannot recommend this experience more to anyone.  I cannot wait to put all the prints in one of those large, multiple picture frames.  I cannot wait to hang the 10x13 copy of the first picture above my bed, and then on a mantle in my first house, and then in my future childrens' rooms.  I cannot get over my friends.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hurricane Realness

It's been a long time since I've posted, and I can't believe how much has happened since...weddings, shows, parties, hurricanes...there were a million pictures of things on my phone that I planned on posting, like a step-by-step through a meal that was probably 2 weeks ago but feels like a month.  I feel like if I try to write about some of those things now it's going to ring a little hollow because there's either been too much time that's passed or they're just overshadowed by current events, one of them being Hurricane Sandy hitting New Jersey last week.  So let's take a look at that.
Luckily my town wasn't really hit too badly- I "suffered" super minor inconveniences, like only losing power for about one day.  My internet was down for about 5 days and continues to be a little spotty, along with my cell phone service, but I really don't feel the need to complain much when I compare it to what other people have lost.  In my area the rain was less a factor than the wind, and checking out the aftermath the next day was full of uprooted trees, power lines and branches thrown all over the place.

Monday night was when the hurricane touched down and started wreaking havoc.  I decided to hunker down at Ryan's for the weekend with his roommates Jim and Joe rather than spend any time alone in my apartment with the power out, because that shit is scary.  W were pretty well stocked with non-perishable junk food and non-perishable beer, so we got to work on that while we played cards...
Then an impressive game of Jenga (After Dark) (that's not a thing, it was just dark)...
And capped off the night by watching Back to the Future on Ryan's laptop until it died about 3/4 of the way through.  I died about halfway through, falling asleep on Ryan's lap either by natural causes or because the stink of the million scented candles we were using for light finally suffocated me.
The next day the storm had blown over and we decided to go on a hunt for warm food and warm coffee.  Luckily we were more curious about what was going on out there than we were actually optimistic about finding anything, so it wasn't a huge disappointment that hardly anywhere was open.  A convenience store in town was open but without power, and it felt surreal and a little apocalyptic to be wandering around picking up bags of chips in the dark with a bunch of other quiet, kinda freaked out people.  The liquor store across the street had the same situation going on so we got some warm beer for later.  We were thrilled when we saw that a bagel place in town had set up a little station on the sidewalk with some of the salvaged items from their fridge and COFFEE they were making pot-by-pot by boiling water on the gas stove and pouring it over the grounds in their machine, and jumped right in line.
I thought it was awesome that they were doing what they could for people and I think most everyone else felt the same way, but I would occasionally hear someone in line go "Ugh, you only have Hazelnut??" all pissy or groan when they ran out of coffee and had to wait a few minutes for the next pot to be brewed.  Are you kidding?  It made me a little homicidal, which was probably a combination of blind rage at home ungrateful and rude people can sometimes be, plus I needed caffeine.  Coffee :: Kristen as Chocolate :: Cathy.  

I headed home while it was still light out to take a shower, change, and have a little alone time reading in bed with Chloe.  The water was freezing so I took a 10 second shower like a psychotic.  It was not refreshing.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but Sarah and her boyfriend Dan live upstairs from me in our apartment building, which is directly behind a big river and next to a park, so we decided to take a walk to survey the damage there along with Mike.
I was surprised at how little the river had flooded because I think I was comparing it to Irene last year.  Now there was a shitshow, water-wise.
These were all over the place.  Johnson Park is pretty big and runs along the length of the river, it's really nice and I feel lucky to live right next to it.  It also has a small...I don't know if you would call it a petting zoo, but a small area with animals in it?  Whatever.  A section with pigs, chickens, a peacock, goats, horses and llamas.  We didn't walk far down enough to see what was up there but I'm kind of glad we didn't, because I'm not sure what they do with the animals in these situations and I'm not sure I want to.

I was going to head back over to Ryan's after our walk but I needed to pick up a couple things from the apartment first.  It had started to get dark and this is what I was confronted with when I walked into my hallway:
FUCK THAT.  I decided I could live without my chapstick or whatever it was I was stopping in for and hightailed it out of there.  By the way I was half hoping that when I blew this up I'd see a ghost or something, but no dice.

I had put the word out to Sarah, Dan and Mike that at Ryan's the stove was working and he'd be doing some cooking so if they wanted to come over and hang out to feel free.  I also texted Will and Allie, and Sarah got in touch with her brother Tommy, so we ended up having an impromptu hurricane party.  Ryan whipped up some candlelight mac and cheese, vegetables, mashed potatoes with parsnips and salad.
We ate and then decided to hit the games back up.  What else are you going to do?  We played some more Jenga and then some game I don't remember the name of.  Too many games!  But it was fun.  It was really nice to have a lot of people all together, a good deterrent from the antsiness of everything going on.
About one minute after everyone left for the night, the power came back on.  I couldn't believe how easy we got off!  Sarah and I texted each other at the same time to tell each other, meaning it was on in my apartment too.  So awesome.  I still stayed over and the next morning Will, Allie and Mike came back to have some hot coffee and to charge up their phones.  They didn't end up getting power  back until a few days later- it's so strange that even though the town we live in is so small, the power returning was so staggered.  But there are people in Princeton, where I work, who are on day 9 without power so it really goes to show you how little control there is over those things- I would think the town is bougie enough to bounce back pretty quickly.

There's my Sandy story, I really got out unscathed but there are plenty of people who haven't...it's worth looking into donating to the Red Cross to help out people who aren't as lucky.  I'm off to Rock the Vote MTV style, hope you guys are doing the same!  But only if you're voting for Obama.  If not then I hope you're just not feeling it today, I mean what's the big deal, right??!! In which case I also hope you don't have a lot invested in the maintenance and care of your junk (ladies.)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Packed Sched. Roundup

Life has felt a little hectic lately!  I'm used to answering "nothing" more often than not when asked what I'm doing over the weekend and being beyond fine with it, so looking at my iPhone calendar and seeing little dots on the majority of my days off is crazy.  To be honest I'm looking forward to a free weekend to catch my breath, but I'm looking forward to the next activities even more- being in the weddings of 2 of my best friends next weekend, practically back to back!  While being a bridesmaid feels like child's play to me at this point (3 times in the last 3 years), I'm getting a little nervous about the one I'm officiating.  A friend of the groom and I are gonna tag-team it, but I seriously think I'm in danger of crying and flubbing lines.  I married friends of mine once before but it was small and sweet and in a living room, this is gonna be the real, crowd-present deal.  We'll see!  Because there's a dot on this day as well and I'm off to a wedding (AS A GUEST, how indulgent) in a couple hours, I want to just put up some pictures of what life's looked like lately with little descriptions.  By the way, have any of you ever had a flood of weddings all around the same time?  By the time it's all over it'll have been 4 for me in a month and a half's time!  I think maybe late 20s into 30s tis the season.  Maybe I'll go through withdrawal afterward and wear my bridesmaid dresses all stacked on top of each other and sit on the floor crying, eating wedding cake that I snuck out in my clutch with my hands and singing that song that goes "I'll be your crying shoulder..." through mouthfuls and tears.  That is probably what will happen.
The signs when you get off the elevator of the Chelsea Hotel, where we stayed in Atlantic City last weekend for Rosie's bachelorette party.  Sign 2 chilled a little bit too hard.
The decor style in the hotel was all over the place but I really liked it separately.  The first 2 pictures were from our room and the last was from the diner inside the hotel.  Surprisingly, the margherita pizza from the hotel diner sucked.  It was an outrage and I called the president.
The next day Ryan, Joe and I had a fun day in the cit-aaay.  We went to Murray's Cheese Bar, which is pretty much what it sounds like and it was amazing.  I wanted to ransack that cheese bar with my mouth, which I guess I basically did.
We also went to the bar at the Nomad Hotel for more drinks and snacks.  Check out that bathroom!  It was very fancy and delicious (the drinks and food, not the bathroom), and the day after we went it got a Michelin star.  I still only partially understand what that means, basically it's a big coup for high end restaurants and they're given out really selectively.  I guess it's like a Zagat's rating on crack.
This is from Thursday night, when part of my salon went to a kick-off party for New Jersey Fashion Week (I can't even re: this being a thing.)  Some of my coworkers did the hair and makeup for it last year and are doing it again this year.  I love having nights out with my coworkers but events like this, where there's only a short presentation and the rest is basically a schmooze fest, set my teeth on edge.  It's just not my wheelhouse, I feel self conscious and embarrassed by how seriously everyone's taking themselves.  Not my salon, which I'm so grateful for, but most everyone else...I mean, there was a mini red carpet with professional photographers.  As I said, I just can't.  But my friend Amanda and I got our jollies by photo-bombing (video-bombing?) on-camera interviews that were going on by walking by in the background and shoving a bite of cupcake in our mouth as soon as we were in frame.  We probably did it 4 times each.  Very cool. 

Well I'm going to start getting ready for today: I have a flats vs. heels war being waged in my head, I'll keep you guys posted on any developments.  I'm thinking flats because Mike and I are going to leave the reception a little early to race to Princeton because Sarah's family 80s cover band, The Emulators, is playing a show!  Since it's right by the salon some clients are coming in addition to coworkers, family and friends, and I feel like it's gonna be a big love fest of people having fun and supporting them- I don't know if I've mentioned it but Sarah's the receptionist at the salon, and when I told a lot of clients they seemed all about it, not just because it's a good time but because who doesn't love Sarah?  Warms my heart.  Ugh I need thicker skin, if I cry at an 80s cover band show because of a swell of emotion I dont know where to go from here.  

p.s. Sorry about the different photo sizes/text alignments, I really tried but I'm still not pro.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

YouTube Kinksters, Parking Problems and Psychopaths

I talked a little in this post about the podcast my brother and friend (pictured with me above looking all good) do weekly, Will and Bobby Know Everything.  In this week's installment I'm the guest host and things get nuts!  We zig zag all over a wide range of topics including the web of video dominatrixes I stumbled on, what mundane, normal stuff drives us crazy and a story about a woman I know who's got a touch o' the evil to her (seriously.)
 I'm thinking it's going to be as fun to listen to as it was to record- I crack up in it a LOT.  I listen to podcasts a fair amount now because it's basically like listening to talk radio, but you get to decide what's on.  It makes me a little more productive because boring chores become a little less so with something interesting on in the background. So check something off your to-do list with my new episode of Will and Bobby Know Everything!  You can find it and a lot of other cool stuff by clicking right here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Why I Think "You Look So Skinny!" Isn't the Best Compliment

If you've read the "About Me" section of the blog, you might remember my saying that I used to write things in Gmail and save them in the drafts folder, just because I enjoyed it.  I'm copying and pasting one of those things below, and because I wrote it a while ago and in a different context it sounds a little more article-y than blog-y.  I thought of it because I spoke to someone today who was telling me about her teenage daughter who was trying to lose weight by doing Weight Watchers, and that she was only eating half of her daily points.  I said that she should probably be eating more because if she pushes herself too hard she's more likely to regain the weight she lost, on top of it probably not being super healthy, and the mom was kind of like "eh, she looks great, if it's working I'm not going to discourage her."  It got me wondering if maybe the girl could sort of feel that and how she felt about it- kind of getting positive reinforcement on maybe not-so-positive behavior.  I don't know them personally but I have enough context on their family over the years and know the mom's a little appearance driven- what if the girl doesn't even give a crap about losing weight, but feels like she should?  Again, reading a ton into it, for all I know I'm way off.  But it made me think of this thing I wrote and I thought I'd share it here.

Cheers to good body images! (Ok it's a stretch but I couldn't think of an apropos picture to post)

I'm having a hard time taking a compliment.

Like many women, my weight has fluctuated most of my life. I've been primarily chubby, occasionally tipping over to the not-as-cute "chunky." This isn't a new story. My weight has gone up and down, and my attitude along with it- sometimes as a teen twisted up in my sheets late at night, face puffy, red and wet, crying at the injustice and irony of my giant fucking Jncos not fitting in the hips, other times more ambivalent. Rarely feeling more than fleetingly good, but sometimes feeling not so bad. Until recently.

In about the last 2 years, a shift started to happen and I started to accept myself. Rather than swing from "ugh" to "eh", I started to swing from "hmm..." to "daaamn." This has been a change independent of actual weight, one I can only assume has been brought on as a result of wisdom through age and the confidence (or "fuck it" 'tude) that can bring. I wasn't becoming the kind of person who was wearing defiant, roll-exposing crop tops or anything but I was eating what I wanted and saying things like "maybe this is just the way I'm built and I'm fine with that", even if it was sometimes in a voice that was just a little too loud and sounded like it was a little more for my own benefit than others. 

And then I hit a downswing. All this eating what I wanted and not doing any exercise that wasn't incidental, while delicious and fun, caused a weight gain that I tried to ignore but my jeans wouldn't let me. When I found myself crying in the shower like a living Lifetime movie I decided it was time to face some facts and make some decisions. I weighed myself, found I had gained 20 pounds and decided I'd like to lose it. As someone who had been waving the fat flag, albeit at half mast, it felt like a tiny betrayal to want to lose weight but one I realized was necessary to feel better about myself.

Through eating more carefully and exercising on purpose/witchcraft, I've lost most of the weight I'd gained and I've gotten a lot of complimentary encouragement along the way that I've found a little internally confusing. As a hairdresser I see a lot of different people regularly but not necessarily on the daily, and those people have a tendency to say variations of "You look great! Have you lost weight?" when they see me at their monthly appointment. And while, yes, I have, and yes, I'm trying to, and so yes, it's a compliment...a small part of me doesn't completely see it as one. I don't resent the individual paying me the compliment and looking at me expectantly, but I do resent the fact that it's an assumed positive, that since I'm chubby I must, of course, be trying to lose weight. EVEN THOUGH IT'S TRUE. There inlies the conflict, as well as the awkwardness.

This actually became an issue, if you can call such a thing an issue, before I was even interested in losing weight. I'd wear a dress that was a little less flowy and people would excitedly tell me I looked thinner, and I didn't want to say "Thank you." Not to be bitchy, not because it made me mad, but because I wanted to somehow get across that it's not a compliment across the board and that I wasn't actually trying to lose weight, that I was happy where I was. There were a couple times that I just went "Oh really?" in reply to "You look so skinny!" but it felt like being rude by omission. I usually caved and said "thank you" out of politeness, and because they were paying me.

Now that I actually am trying to lose weight, I find the issue complicated further. I thank them because I am happy to hear it, but almost always clarify it with a rushed "...but I just want to lose the weight I gained, nothing more, I'm cool being chubby," still just a little too loud and a perhaps still a little bit too directed at myself. What's the best way to accept a compliment you're not sure you want to be paid? It's a question I don't have the answer to. But I'm trying to answer it as graciously as possible.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Weekend for the Books, if the Book's About Cheese

This weekend came in like a lion and out like a lamb who's got a sore throat.  Since last night I've been all scratchy and crappy, so for today I've pretty much laid low and cleaned my apartment like a madwomen, taking frequent hot flash breaks.  But earlier in the weekend!  Oh, the fun.  Come join me.

Katie's bachelorette party was on Saturday and pardon my french but it was the TITS.  Mike, Sarah and I took the train into New York to meet up with everyone else for Scott's Pizza Tour, which was a 3 hour jaunt around the city to 3 different pizza spots with a lot of pizza knowledge dropped along the way.  This dude knew his stuff and was so infectiously enthusiastic about it!  And I didn't realize it was possible for me to get much more enthusiastic about pizza.

I learned how to tell coal fired pizza from electric oven cooked pizza, fresh mozzarella vs. low moisture mozzarella on sight, what makes a margherita pizza a margherita pizza, and why the idea of New York water making the pizza better is a myth!

We also detected the safest pizza temperature to avoid top-of-the-mouth burnage with the aid of a lazer gun, and Scott offered up a pocket-sized fresh pepper grinder to garnish our slices...very profesh.  Scott is so into pizza that the tour has become his full-time job, he's appeared as a pizza expert on a couple of tv shows and I think he should be handed his own- he's super charismatic, I'd watch the hell out of it.  Seriously can't say enough good things, if you're in the area and so inclined definitely give Scott's Pizza Tours an afternoon of your time.

While we were at one of the stops my friend Kitty took a jokey picture that was supposed to be of me being blah and disinterested in the middle of a bunch of people, and it came out very fashion-y.  Just want you to see my big debut, look for it in an issue of Bust coming soon.

After the tour we headed to The Blind Tiger for a beer, and it might have turned into a couple of beers if it wasn't crowded as hell.  In some small ways I get spoiled by working on Saturdays- I forgot how crowded places get!  Especially places in the city.  After that we went to our room at the Carlton Hotel to hang out for a bit, which was way swanky.  I wish I had taken better pictures but Katie's sister basically laid out a full bar on the dresser and put bachelorette paraphenalia all over the place, my favorite being the "Caution: Wild Girls!" tape criss-crossed over the windows.  We hung out, had drinks and girlied up for our next destination.  This was one of my favorite parts of the day, just jammed onto hotel beds with my friends, bullshitting and semi-dancing and using each other's hairspray.  I spent so much of the day giddy, I already feel nostalgic for it.

The next destination was a speakeasy-style bar called Bathtub Gin that you enter through a backdoor in a coffee shop- Katie didn't know where we were going and her sisters and friend Holly gave everyone 20's style headbands as a clue.  Seriously, bridal party nailed it.  It was great!  I got a Sloe Gin Ginger Sling, which was strong and tasty, and Sarah and I split a cheese plate.  There was a big copper bathtub in the middle of the room that you could take pictures in, so duh, we did.

After Bathtub Gin we had our eye on McSorley's, which is an Irish pub that only serves beer and only 2 kinds, light and dark.  It ended up being packed though- Saturdays, am I right?- so we improvised and went somewhere else.  This is around the time my light started to dim- I was still having a good time, but starting to feel the effects of that bitch who hovers over my shoulder and tortures my uterus monthly, my period.  I was trying to hang but I felt like I was starting to give off a weird half-assed vibe amongst my party mode friends, and I decided to take the train back that night with my friend Susan rather than tough it out for a couple more bars and stay at the hotel as I originally planned.  It definitely gave me a little of a "womp womp" feeling- I was not thrilled about leaving unexpectedly and felt vaguely guilty, even though I know Katie didn't want me toughing out something that's supposed to be fun.  I'm still a little regretful, truth be told.  But seriously, before that I had the best fucking day I've had in a long time, so I plan to keep those 12 or so hours strong in my memory and try let the last couple take a hike.

Ryan and I had the last couple of days off together and spent them the way I like them- with a cheese plate, wine, and a lot of reading.

You tell I'm not used to composing blog-y, pretty pictures yet- keys and wallet in the picture?  Tighten it up, Rog.  But seriously, that was our jam this weekend- we spent a lot of time separate but together, reading outside on the deck of his house or comfy inside, usually accompanied by something delicious.  Right now I'm reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn because this summer I ripped through her book Gone Girl (along with most of the Princeton population judging by my clients' book clubs' selections) and wanted something similar.  Ryan's been blowing through a lot of chefs' autobiographies.  We went to Wegman's for the above cheese and accessories, and passed my brother and his girlfriend Allie pulling in while we were pulling out- my mind was as blown as it can be by something so small because I didn't even know there was a Wegman's by us!  Oh god, that was the most boring anecdote ever.  Moving on.

The first hints of fall have gotten me entirely too excited and I find myself dressing too warmly almost every day.  It's seriously stupid.  About 10 seconds after I left the house in this yesterday I ditched the scarf and wished I'd opted for a t-shirt or something instead of the Canadian Tuxedo, stylin' as it was.  The Ry Guy and I went to the Spanish farmer's market downtown because they've got great deals, did more reading on the couch and then decided to walk to a bar nearby that has a really great rotating selection of beers for a cold one.  I got something yummy, then a pumpkin beer after that?  Even though I've grown to love beer, I still don't know a ton about it, but there are now keywords here and there that I've picked up on so I generally know what to order or not.  I hope the vocab grows on me a little more in the sneaky way that food stuff has- before I met Ryan I already really liked food (duh, who's like "Yeah no thanks I hate food"?) and knew a good amount about it but I've definitely learned more about the fancier side of it since we've been dating.  Recently I said something that prompted Ryan to go "aww, you know about foi gras!" or whatever it was in a voice like a proud preschool teacher and I think I punched him in the arm and told him to shove it but I have to admit, dude has taught me some things.  Like how to love again.  RALPH, kidding.

That's pretty much it!  As I said, I'm feeling a little like a cold is oncoming so I've been trying to hold it off with what seriously must have amounted to gallons of Gypsy Cold Care and Echinacea tea all day while I cleaned my apartment and started to put out some fall decorations.  In about 2 weeks I'm going to roll out the Halloween goodies...can't wait!  For now I better get back to uh, Masterpiece Theatre, definitely not Pretty Little Liars season 3...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pretty Little Liars/Black Tar Heroin, Same Diff

That little grey box on my big grey box (my tv, it sticks out a foot and a half from the wall and let's call it "old school") has got me pretty cheezed.  And I wish I could tell you it was because I'm on the edge of my seat over something cool and adult like what Walter White is going to do to Tuco or what whoever Steve Buscemi plays on Boardwalk Empire is going to do to...prohibition?  Is that what that show is about?  No, in the last 3 days I've gotten hooked on Pretty Little Liars.

 And when I say "hooked" I mean hooked, blowing through 10 episode in a way that feels more like a compulsion than something that I'm fully enjoying for the pleasure of it- although there is that, too.  I imagine that hitting the button for the next episode is satisfying the same nagging need that trichotillomania sufferers give into by pulling out their hair.  And I'm none too pleased that the episode I'm super annoyed I don't get to watch has a description that says the girls go "glamping."  OH, UGH.  What have I become?  Maybe I'm regressing because one of the witches from Charmed plays a mom on it (I'm 100 years old) and since that show was my preteen jam it's soothing to me on the same subconscious level that sleeping with your childhood blanket might be.  Or maybe I'm over thinking the fact that I'm into a show where attractive young people are caught up in a mystery- duh, I love anything spooky or who-dun-it-y.  I could probably get into a show where people just mouth things to each other so I can't hear or understand, but I'm pretty sure someone's been killed.

I got started on Monday when I was feeling a little couch-bound after my friends Evan and Emily's wedding, which I figure I'll probably write about a little more when I have more pictures than these:

The next of the 4 weddings I'm attending this fall is in 3 weeks...I hope I don't keep spiraling further backward and develop an iCarly obsession afterward. Or do I?  I don't even know myself anymore.  I need to go do something really intellectual and pretentious, like read a book written in Latin for fun.  Or maybe I'll just try to refresh Netflix.

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Mom and I Know Everything

My brother Will and our friend Bobby do a weekly podcast called Will and Bobby Know Everything where they have a different host every week and basically just talk about whatever- sometimes it's a specific topic, like crime, and sometimes it's just something the guest host has going on that's interesting.  Even though it's my brother and friend so I'm biased, I think it's a really, really funny show and I listen to every single one the day it comes out. Which brings me to my point- this week's guest host is my mom, and I pop in for some of the action too! I was actually just stopping over at Will's apartment to drop off a bag that sold from the shop because my mom helps me out with shipping, and they asked me to stay and talk. Unfortunately the first thing that came up was an incident involving a bag of Raisinets and grocery store security guards from my teenage years, but oh well. Check it out if you're interested!

Will and Bobby Know Everything

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Shower, Spies and Sweat

This weekend was a live one!  I can't remember the last time I had each day was fully packed like this was, boom boom boom.  So packed I didn't even have the energy to write about it while it was still going on!  Let's go back in time, shall we?

Sunday was the bridal party for Rosie, one of my oldest friends, and it was held at what turned out to be a pretty classy and beautiful place, so I'm glad I didn't wear my overalls and dirty Nikes or something (I own neither of those.)  It was so nice!  Rosie was genuinely surprised and it was so nice to see.  She got a lot of great loot, too!  I was the wrapping paper throw-er away-er in the line of bridesmaids chipping in so I had a front row seat, and I'm stoked for her to have all the condo fixin's she could ever want.  Rosie loves fish so there was a fish/sea theme, including live fish centerpieces...

So pretty, right?  They were given away as prizes for the shower games, which was pretty cool.  All in all it was a nice brunch and I was so happy to see my friend happy.

Later in the day I headed over to Ryan's house for a barbecue and helped prepare some of the food, and by "helped" I mean turned over the ears of corn or chicken on the grill whenever he had to go to the bathroom.  It was fun to hang out with his roommates and a bunch of my friends came too, the only bummer is that I felt like we were kind of in different camps for no other reason than geography because they were playing beer pong on the driveway and we were mainly in the backyard.  

Worlds colliding stresses me out sometimes but our peoples blend really well so it's usually a good time.  Whatever, I'm lucky enough to know people who even live in a place with a driveway and a backyard rather than a parking lot so I shouldn't complain!  I hope the next hangout has more overlap though.

The next morning Ryan and I got up and headed right to DC for a quick trip!  As I think I mentioned in the "About" section of the blog, Ryan is a chef with a rotating schedule so we don't always have days off at the same time and when we do, especially a few in a row like this week, we like to do it up sometimes.  Washington DC is only about 3 1/2 hours from where we live so it seemed like a good destination for a quick overnight trip that we could get a lot out of.  And get stuff out of it we did!  After we checked into our hotel we walked around and explored a bit, stopped to grab a snack and while we were eating I did a little internet wheeling-and-dealing to get us super discounted tickets to the International Spy Museum.  Score!  Photography wasn't allowed but I absolutely loved it.  Did you know that the gown Queen Elizabeth Tudor wore in her favorite royal portrait was embroidered with eyes and ears to imply that she saw and heard all?  I know that, now, because I went to the museum.

After the museum Ryan and I went back to our room to snazz up (which on my end was thwarted a little by a toothpaste explosion on my dress, very cool) before heading out to dinner at a tapas place Ryan had made a reservation at called Jaleo.  It was good!  Tiny, tasty food, you know the drill.  The decor was pretty weird for a high end place but I was into it.  Take, for example, this table:

Pretty sweet, right?  Fancy places incorporating not-so-fancy stuff can either sort of annoy me or I can get into it, and I was into this.  Afterward we went to a speakeasy-style bar called The Gibson, which had really delicious cocktails.  Ryan and I had googled speakeasies in the area because we really liked a couple we had gone to earlier this summer in Chicago, and from the outside this one was so nondescript that for a second we thought it was the door to an apartment and we'd messed up.  But nope!  It was a small, super dark bar with a blacked out front window that served 'em up tasty, just the way we like them.  On our way back to the hotel to call it a night with some Chinese takeout (tiny food was too tiny) we stopped for a last beer at a bar with shuffleboard tables and skeeball machines, both at which I showed my ineptitude.  Who am I over here, Wayne Gretsky? (That's like, the only sports guy I know.  Daryl Strawberry?)

The next morning we woke up early with plans to hit the typical tourist-y monuments, food trucks for lunch, and the Smithsonian and the Crime and Punishment museum...and got our asses handed to us by the sweaty hot weather.  We had to sacrifice checking out all the monuments because we were doing some serious walking just to the museums, and you could practically see those wavy bacon-looking heat lines coming from the pavement.  Oh well, it's an excuse to go back another time!  The museums were awesome, I was a little disappointed that The Puffy Shirt from Seinfeld was no longer at the Smithsonian, but totally geeked out over some original Muppets being there! 

The Crime and Punishment Museum had slightly fewer Muppets and slightly more John Walsh, but it was still awesome.  I very unexpectedly felt slightly weird at the museum- admittedly, probably the majority of the media I consume has to do with true crime (the entire broadcasting lineup of the Investigation Discovery channel, books), and maybe it had to do with the contrast of just having seen Dorothy's ruby slippers behind similar glass an hour before, but it felt a little icky to gawk at John Wayne Gacy's oil painting set alongside a family from New Hampshire.  I really did enjoy it but it was unsettling in a way I didn't expect.  I did get to see and say "no thanks" to a confiscated prison tattoo machine though!

Oof, looks pokey.  All in all it was a great trip, and if you're curious to see even more pictures you can check out my TripColor page!  Do you guys know about this?  It's an app you can use to upload pictures and tag your locations so they show up on a little map.  I like it because there are plenty of you-had-to-be-there things on trips that I want to document, but I don't want to necessarily clog up everyone's Facebook and Instagram feeds with.  It's free and I've used it twice now, I highly recommend!  Here's mine, where you can also see my Chicago trip if you're curious: 

Thanks for reading down this far, what an endurance test of a post!  So have you guys shoehorned in any last minute summer trips?  Were you also caught on camera by America's Most Wanted (not pictured)?