Hollywood hair, here I come.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Should I admit that I would like to order my very own bumpits? Probably not.

My hair is sort of my thing though and who doesn't want to go "from flat to Fabulous?!" I know I do.

Since I have the week off and, for the first time in four and a half years, am officially graduate school free, I have rediscovered what it feels like to have nothing to do. Let me tell you, it's been lovely... However, it has afforded me some extra time in the morning to laze in bed and catch a couple of infomercials. This is why I will soon be the proud owner of two large Bumpits, 2 free Mini Bang Bumpits and 1 free Hollywood Bumpit (the one I'm most excited about, naturally) for $19.99 + shipping and handling.

Don't even get me started on the Snuggie.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I am currently taken with ModCloth.

ModCloth is a really hip vintage inspired website that sells the most amazing retro clothing and all around super cool stuff. I am obsessed with going here and filling my virtual cart with their lovely finds just to empty it because I'm broke.

I would like one of each of the following items. Is that too much to ask?

{images via Mod Cloth}

In the dumps.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

After weeks of posts declaring to the world just how happy I am, it's high time for a post dedicated to the art of being in a funk. (My apologies to my good friend Kristin Funk. You are the great kind of Funk, lady, not the down in the dumps kind.) Things are good, don't get me wrong. There are many, many things to be grateful for and excited about, but I think I may be experiencing a bit of a downswing after weeks and weeks of deadlines, busy activity, parties, productivity, birthday celebrations, chaotic craziness and all around good times.

The last few weeks have included a little or a lot of the following: too much Red Bull, not enough Red Bull because I ran out, all-nighters (not the kind that used to be fun, mind you, but the I-saved-it-all-for-the-last-minute cram sessions that I am so good at), seemingly endless to do lists, anxiety attacks, last day of graduate school celebrations, Oh my God - I'm actually done with school forever repeated boasting, obsessive organizational spring cleaning, boyfriend who lives out of town coming into town, subsequent smooches, trips to the coast, party preparations, party hostessing, jello shots, much needed catching up with old friends and plenty o' birthday fun.

Whew, it's been a time. (* One of the best television shows of all time, if you ask me, was the short lived My So-Called Life. In it the kooky, wild Rayanne Graff says to Angela Chase, the character all women my age related to in our adolescence, and a crowd of friends about a night out, "I am telling you we had a time. Didn't we have a time, Angela? Tell them, tell them we had a time." Angela smiles and says, "We did. We had a time." Man, that was good show.)

I'm not sure if it's due to how I was raised or because I've watched too many gratitude inspired episodes of Oprah, but I always want to acknowledge just how good things are. And they really are. However, every once in a while, a fog rolls in and envelops me in a case of the blues. This particular fog = not so bad, but a little grey, cloudy and rather blah nonetheless. As a person who adheres, even when I don't want to, to the whole emotional pendulum theory - you gotta experience the pain to experience the joy crap - I've decided to welcome in the funk, invite it for a sleepover, some movies, and maybe a cup of tea for the next couple of days. (I have to be careful though because I once invited a possibly homeless, definitely crazy woman named Kiki in for tea because she looked so cold and she refused to leave until I gave her "bread, cheese and some money.")

Here are my plans for my guest's stay... Wear comfortable and terribly unsexy pants at all times. Only take off slippers when leaving the house. Try to get in a few so-bad-they're-good Lifetime movies (If they happen to replay the all time great Mother May I Sleep with Danger? starring the incomparable Tori Spelling, for the love of God, set the TiVo.) Take multiple naps and refuse to feel guilty about it. Up pizza intake because of the serotonin increase carbohydrates produce and, um, because it's really good. Read trashy magazines, because we can, and start a novel or two, because school is finally over and we can. Drink a margarita or three, as needed. Finally, and this is important, sit in the bubble bath and sing cheesy feel-good music as long as it takes to actually feel good.

After these plans are accomplished, I'm going to politely kick out my guest and take my mother's sage advice and "pull my socks up."

Post Birthday Post
(random thoughts on age included).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"

There is almost nothing I love more than my birthday. After a certain age, you probably aren't supposed to admit to this little narcissistic fact, but, um, what can you do? In my mind, your birthday is the one day of the year when you get to make all the rules and map out your day any way that makes your heart happy. You guys aren't a big fan of crepes? I'm sorry, but it's my birthday. We'll go out for Vietnamese food on yours. Oh, you want to stay out for drinks? I'm sorry, but it's my birthday and I just want to go home, put on comfy pants, crawl in bed and watch VH1's Tool Academy. We can always have drinks back at home. (See? I can compromise.)

A few days ago I turned 31. Now I am not usually a person who is scared by age and the passing of time, but this particular number - 31 - just seems, well, kind of boring. The picture posted above is me on my sixth birthday. I'm wearing my favorite red gingham dress with Big Bird on the front and blowing out candles on the strawberry cake my dad used to make me. Maybe if I currently had a red gingham dress (with or without Big Bird on it) and my dad's strawberry cake, I could muster up some excitement about the sound of this new age and the unpleasant number attached. Maybe...

I have always considered myself lucky that my parents had me when they were older. There are both advantages and disadvantages in having older parents, but in doing this, they gave me a different template for growing older than a lot of people have. In some ways, they gave me a certain freedom around the idea of age and this freedom has liberated me from having to be that whiny gal who bemoans invisible wrinkles and says variations of statements like, "Can you believe I'm 30... and not more successful, not married, don't have kids, etc.?" Ugh. I actually cringed when writing that because it's so far outside my experience and seems to be such a limited, and dare I say sad, way for women to look at their lives. This whole attitude conjures up one dreaded image for me: the Cathy comic.

* To me, one of the most hilarious lines of six seasons of Sex and the City is Miranda making the insightfully snarky comment that "the only thing sadder would be if I had a Cathy comic taped to my fridge." When Carrie then snaps "never say Cathy comic to me again," smart women everywhere are in on the joke. *

I may have digressed...

Last year, I had a really fabulous 30th birthday party at a gorgeous, modern hotel suite downtown. My latest birthday did not call for the same bells and whistles that the previous year required, but it was absolutely lovely. My roommate and my boyfriend took me out to breakfast followed by an appointment at the spa and a delicious nap. During dinner later that evening, I looked around the table at my family and my friends and felt what I hope everyone feels on their birthday, loved.

What I love most about birthdays is that they afford us the rare opportunity to celebrate ourselves and our growth. One of my best friends recently told me that I'm weird about birthdays. She later apologized for her wording and more than made up for it in her always amazing annual birthday card (although it's really a disservice to call it a card when it reads more like a really funny novel). Along with many, many loving sentiments (including "you have the wit and charm to bring Hugh Grant to his knees"), she wrote, "You always make it so special for me, and everyone else, on my (weird) birthday... Something that actually deserves more recognition than you get for it. I mean, who doesn't want to be celebrated? That is what is so wonderful about you, you want to celebrate everyone." This really touched me.

This last year has been my favorite so far and if birthdays are any indication of what's to come, I think the future looks good. I have a theory that life gets harder with age, but it gets better. So, while the number 31 may not have the most exciting ring to it, I'm confident this will be one exciting, happy year.

"If you'd never been born, well what would you be? You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree! You might be a door knob! Or three baked potatoes! You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes! Or worse than all that... why, you might be a WASN'T! A Wasn't has no fun at all. No, he doesn't. A Wasn't just isn't. He just isn't present. But you... you ARE YOU! And now, isn't that pleasant!" - Dr. Seuss, from Happy Birthday To You!

"Celebrate good times, c'mon."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The last few weeks have been crazy. I have learned many things during my very long stint in graduate school and now that it's officially over (hooray!), I think it's safe to say that the biggest lesson I learned had very little to do with what I studied. Instead, I learned that I make things much harder on myself than I need to. A born procrastinator, I have a rare talent for prolonging even the most basic task. Due to this tendency, there was a whole hell of a lot (sorry for the wording, Mom, but you know it's true) to finish and wrap up before I could graduate. I am very, very happy to announce that I somehow managed to accomplish everything I had to do and that weeks of celebratory drinking are now in order. Just kidding... sort of.

This last Saturday, my roomie Katie and I threw a party. Even though a party doesn't need a point, the two of us had many things to celebrate and this party was a long time coming for us both. We called it our "Ch-ch-ch Changes" cocktail party because we are both anticipating big changes in our near future and wanted to celebrate the great fun we've had living together (not to mention being friends for the last ten years). The fact that I had just finished school only made the many jello shots I consumed all the sweeter.

Due to the fact that so many of the people I love have children who I also love, we decided to have an early party start time for some of our invitees. Upon reflection, 7:00 (while late for people with kids) is a little early for me to bring my party A game. This seemed rather obvious to the friends I greeted at the door with half a head still full of curlers. Oops. I also learned that numerous adorable children are slightly less adorable (although just barely) when throwing pool balls across the room. Crazy chaos aside, I can't imagine having a party that the little people I love can't come to. It's the auntie in me, I can't help it.

After the children left and Auntie got all her little people snuggles in (I told my dear friend Maggie that I would like her to consider giving me custody of her baby, Lilly), I really started partaking in the aforementioned jello shots I had been passing around.

One thing worth noting is that I take party throwing very seriously. I put many, many hours of thinking into furniture design, food and drink selection, mood lighting and music. (The one party snafu, if you will, was the music. While not a complete disaster, I wasn't able to put my usual obsessive-compulsive time into it in the way I normally would, but let's move on. Thinking about this little hostess misstep takes me to my dark place.) You see, I believe it's the little things that make your guests feel good. For example, serving little appetizers to your friends on pretty trays seems to make them happy. I know it works for me. My now famous magic party punch I invented years back doesn't hurt either.

In the end, what makes a party great is good friends. In this regard, I don't know if I could have a bad party because I have really great friends. It broke my heart that my best friend and her hubby couldn't make it, but there will be many parties in the future (whether her sometimes anti-social, always sweet self likes it or not!). With all of the craziness of late, I was just so happy to kick back with my family and friends and eat, drink, (laugh!) and be merry.

Just a small town girl and a city boy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just a small town girl, livin in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit
He took the midnight train goin anywhere
- Journey

A very special first recently occurred in my life. After thirty years, I finally took a boyfriend to my hometown to hang out with my family and see the house and the town where I grew up. Anyone who knows me knows how very close I am to my family. While I have brought many, many friends to relax at my mom's house on the bay and drink her obligatory several glasses of wine, I have never felt inclined to bring home a boyfriend. There are several reasons for this. I'm sure it is partly due to the fact that, overall, I date somewhat less than the average bear anyway. (What can I say? If a relationship can't better what is already a really lovely life, why bother?) It has also been mentioned here that while I love the simplicity of where I grew up, I have mixed, complicated feelings about the small town. Lastly, my family is sacred to me and the people I choose to share them with are few and far between. My mom's house is a bit of a refuge for me, a place where the stresses of city life and the real world seem to fade away. Relationships that have an obvious expiration date are not welcome there.

Interestingly enough, my last graduate school course, aptly titled Internalized Oppression, asked me to look at many of the class and cultural issues that color the lens I look at my hometown through. Bringing home my boyfriend, Jenner, was both special and somewhat scary because I wasn't sure how this feller born and raised in Las Vegas would see the tiny logging and fishing town I called home for eighteen years. Luckily, the trip surpassed even my highest hopes because a) we had so much fun together, and b) our jaunt to the coast allowed me to see myself and my history through new, more loving eyes.

They say you can never go home again. They're wrong. It's just that home changes as we change and we never go back the same person.

* A big thank you to Jenner for taking the most beautiful pictures of a place I can't always find the beauty in. I would love to post all of his pictures here, but they are his and not mine. They are stunning though. (I'm sure I'm embarrassing you here, baby, but I can't help it. I promise to start taking my own photos again soon, but they won't be nearly as pretty.) Also, one more thank you to Jenner is in order for loving me even after seeing the very large high school senior picture of me framed and prominently displayed at my mother's house. You know, the one where I'm posing next to a {long pause...} wheelbarrow. Yep, that's the one.*

It comes right in on time.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Saturday marked the last day of my graduate school career. I have been waiting for this day for what feels like forever and, I've got to tell you, it was just as emotional, amazing and exhausting as the whole journey has been. (At some point, I may want to write an ode to my education, because it is not lost on me how very fortunate I am to have had the unique undergraduate and graduate schooling I have, but let's save that possibility for a post down the road and relish in the moment that I'm finally done!)

One of my favorite Van Morrison songs, Brand New Day, has the line: "I see my freedom from across the way and it comes right in on time." I couldn't have said it better myself.

On Saturday night, my mom, two sisters and brother-in-law went out for a celebratory sushi dinner. It felt so good to be surrounded by the people who love and support me the most. After all is said and done, I am really proud of myself and really, really ready to start the next chapter of my life.

At dinner, my family gave me a card that I'll keep forever. Michael, my crazy and wonderful brother-in-law, congratulated me on now being the most educated person in our clan (this will obviously not last, but I'll enjoy the title for the short time I hold it) and my mother made me cry by writing how proud my father must be. My sister wrote down the same Brian Andreas quote that I put on the card announcing the completion of my BA degree seven years ago:

"She came to sit and dangle her feet off the edge of the world
and after awhile she forgot everything but the
good and true things she would do someday."

Seeing this quote again reminds me of what a circular path life can take you on. This full circle has left me dizzy and deliriously happy.

Just because...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I should be doing my homework and catching up on the million and three things that need to be done before Saturday, but, um, Reese Witherspoon makes me (and you and your Grandma Rose) smile. Who doesn't love to smile? You gotta love this picture. End of story.

Okay, back to work.

It's called equality.
Maybe you've heard of it.

Just around the corner.

I have a new life waiting for me, just around the corner.

I have been in graduate school since 1812. Okay, not really, but it sure feels like it. It has been a long and very rewarding (and very long!) road. My last class, however, is this coming Saturday. I really can't believe it. This has been such a long time coming and my family and I are going out to celebrate Saturday night. Sushi and sake, here we come!

While this post is certainly celebratory, I have to admit, there is much to be done before Saturday. I have no other choice but to pull out my best eye-of-the-tiger attitude (my sister sings this song to me when I need inspiration), hunker down and get more things done in the next five days than is probably humanly possible. I can do it though. This week will be challenging, but what waits for me around the corner is the longest and best exhalation of this small town girl's life.

As much as there is to get done, there is also lots to look forward to in the upcoming weeks. I will repeat this to myself over and over in the next five days as a reminder of what's to come.

What is to come? As previously mentioned, my last day of school ever. (Dear friends, if I ever mention that I am thinking about going back to school and getting my Ph.D., I give you my full and heartfelt permission to slap me hard across the face.) What else? My boyfriend is coming to town and, as with every trip here and there, I am more excited about this than I can say. I am throwing the party to end all parties with my roommate/great friend, Katie. (Scratch that. We actually threw the party to end all parties a couple of years ago and after the police arrived, we decided not to repeat the magnitude of that fantastic night. Great fun will be had nevertheless.) Finally, my birthday is approaching and I am looking forward to the mandatory cocktails, cake and celebration this *holiday* entails.

Whew, life is good. I just have to get through the next few days. My life is waiting, just around the corner.