Thank you so much for visiting A Splash of Sass! I hope you'll click through to my new blog for more style photos and posts!
See you at Closet 12!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lazy Daisy

One of my many sources of income is from a receptionist position at a gym.  You'd think that, with unlimited access to fitness equipment, I'd work out all the time and be pretty in shape.  You would be wrong.

I did work out for a while, back when I first started working there.  I had my upcoming vacation to Florida to look forward to and to look good for.  I even did an ok job of eating healthy and exercising once I got down there...for the first two days, that is.  Once I got back, I made an attempt to get myself back on track, but was quickly derailed by a bout with a serious stomach flu.

After being wiped out by the anti-nausea drugs and other things, I never got back into the habit of exercising.  Months passed.  I let my busy schedule become an excuse.  I gained a few pounds and started to feel unhappy with the way my clothes fit.  I decided that I couldn't go to NYC this summer looking less than my best, since it is a rather fashionable city and The Writer is living blocks from the garment district (Yay!).  I may not be able to afford couture, but I can try it on, and when I do, it better fit.

I gave myself until after his departure to return to my regimen.  After all, I was busy and didn't want to miss a single second with him. Today, in the effort of preventing dressing room meltdown, I put my butt on a bike at work and pedaled away.  Actually, I didn't really go away anywhere, since it was a stationary bike, but you get the idea.  Forty-five minutes of less than enthusiastic pedaling later, I'd burned about 200 calories and given myself a very sore rear.  It's a start.  I figure that a few crunches, a mile or two on the bike/treadmill/elliptical several times a week, and my non-existant food budget will send a skinny girl to NYC in about a month!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 29: Something You Hope to Change About Yourself, and Why?

My confidence and optimism have been lagging lately.  I have to ask myself, "Why?" Why have I let myself get depressed? I've let my circumstances get me down, which is almost inevitable when you're in a position like mine. By "my position", I mean surviving on four part-time incomes, none of which have the right combination of being fulfilling and profitable, all the while searching for my true passion and direction in life.

I would very much appreciate a change in circumstances.   I know circumstances aren't something about me that I can change, but I'd like if they'd change, nonetheless.  Why? I want to start making headway on my goals.  A simple list of my goals includes: eradicating my unsecured debt, moving out of the Midwest, and becoming financially secure and responsible.  I'm being responsible as much as I can, really. I'm saving towards my trip to NYC this summer and eliminating "want" purchases and skimping on "need" purchases.  Still, the income just isn't there to make extra payments on my credit cards and student loans like I'd like to, much less save towards moving.  My employment situation(s) must change in order for many of my goals to be met. It's just that simple.  I know money isn't everything and my passion may not turn out to be a high paying one, but money and the lack thereof is holding me back at this point in life.

I took a break from writing this post, during which I got a phone call.  This phone call led to another phone call, which led to a job interview, which may lead to the change in circumstances that I need. My heart is all a-flutter.  I don't want to say too much, but I'm excited.  It may not be my dream job, but it is pointed in that direction much more than any other full-time job I've interviewed for, and that is hopeful.

Could this be my break?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How Long Is June?

It's barely 3pm and I've already cried off all of my makeup.

I'm being a sap. I don't really have a reason to be crying. Sure, The Writer left for NYC today for his 10-week internship and I miss him, but seriously, Red, get a grip.

It's not that long. It'll fly by. We'll talk. We'll text. We'll Skype. I'll visit in five weeks. He'll still love me when he gets back. It'll all be ok.

I know this things are all true, so why am I still crying?

Review: The Carrie Diaries

Last weekend, The Writer and I were meandering through Target and I decided I wanted a new book to read. I've been working on the classics, but I wanted one of those girly novels that I don't have to concentrate very hard to get through.  I found The Carrie Diaries and thought it would be perfect, since I am admittedly obsessed with Sex and the City.

While I admit I didn't finish reading Candace Bushnell's original Sex and the City due to the fact that I found SJP's Carrie much more lovable than her original portrayal, I don't see many links between the Carrie of The Carrie Diaries and the Carrie of the TV series.  I'd thought that, since The Carrie Diaries had been published after the story had been made popular through television and cinema, the "prequel" would fit into that story line. It does not.

First of all, "The Carrie Diaries" has Carrie and her two younger sisters being raised by her father after her mother has passed away.  In Season 4, I believe, Carrie's editor at Vogue (the one who surprised her in the Vogue Closet in his briefs) asks Carrie about her father and Carrie replies, "There's not much to tell...He skipped out on my mom and me when I was pretty young." She is then shown peeking at an antique photo of her and her father that she keeps in a copy of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.

Next, in Season 5, Carrie reunites with her high school boyfriend, Jeremy, who is seeking mental health treatment in Connecticut.  "Jeremy" is no where to be found in The Carrie Diaries.  Throughout the series, Carrie mentions at least one other high school boyfriend, as well.  The Carrie of TCD has one boyfriend, Sebastian, with whom she does not have sex with. In fact, she states multiple times that she is still a virgin and spends a good amount of time whining about how everyone else is "doing it."

In TCD, Carrie talks about cooking at home from Julia Child's cookbook to provide stability for her younger sister.  I'm fairly certain Carrie never mentions siblings in the series.  She also "stores sweaters in [her] oven," "Triscuits from the mid-80's," and "an old bottle of Kahlua, somewhere."  She loves that Aiden and Big cook. That doesn't sound like someone who'd make coq au vin in high school, does it?

I don't buy the whole swim team/diving thing. I just don't. At the end of TCD, Carrie has been accepted to Brown and many of her classmates were heading for Ivy League schools.  The valedictorian of my graduating class tried to get into Brown, and failed.  Maybe it is massively different if you are the daughter of an alumnus, as the Carrie of TCD is purported to be.  Aside from that, Carrie never specifically mentions her education in the TV series, but again, Brown?!

In one of the earlier seasons, Carrie is held up at gunpoint and robbed of her bag, jewelry, and Manolos.  She says she's never been mugged before, but in TCD, her purse is lifted almost immediately upon arrival.  Also, she contacts Samantha Jones, a cousin of a high school acquaintance who's in advertising, as a last resort after having her bag stolen.  The second SATC movie states that she met Samantha while Samantha was bartending at CBGB.  The second movie also has Miranda as the first of her three friends that she connects with.

There are many, many more inconsistencies that turned me off to the book.  Nor did I find certain aspects of it believable, such as Carrie's grasp on her sexuality as a seventeen year old.  If you read it without expecting the HBO Carrie, it's a quick and easy read.  I read it in a single afternoon.

I understand differences between the original book and the TV series/movies, but once the show and movies have gained such popularity, you'd think Ms. Bushnell would think to collaborate with the stories that people are most familiar with.  I was disappointed.

Grade: D

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Outfit of the Day (worn 5/24/11)

I didn't pick the springy-est outfit to wear, but after the last night's storm, I wasn't sure if it'd look much like spring outside, either.  It's been chilly at work and I didn't feel like wearing jeans...again.

Top: Grey Ruched-side tunic (Victoria's Secret)
Bottom: Purple Side-snap leggings (Walmart)
Shoes: American Eagle Studded Snakeskin Flats
Necklace: Express
After I got the tunic and leggings on, I looked in the mirror and realized that I needed something to break up grey of the top, since both large pieces were solids.  Also, I've been feeling a little self conscious about my middle lately and the legging's waistband and tunic weren't doing me any favors in that area. Voila, necklace to the rescue! Glams up the outfit and draws attention away from the belly.
I love these shoes. They have just the right amount of character to be able to wear them without being boring or worrying that they'll take over the outfit.

That's it for my first Outfit-of-the-Day post.  I've already gotten some better ideas for photographs, and I plan on being more in tune with the season next time.

Day 28: What If You Were Pregnant, What Would You Do?

I'd most certainly be shocked.

I could never consider an abortion.  I just couldn't.  A baby would be too beautiful to do that.  I'm an adoptee, so if there was no way for me to feasibly keep the baby, I'd give it up for adoption.  I can't say that I'd want to go that route, but I'm not financially prepared to support a baby.  Nor are The Writer and myself at a place in our relationship where we are ready to be parents.  We're not ready for the stuff that usually comes before parenthood.  I know he'd be there for me, that's for sure, but I wouldn't agree to marriage, should it be laid on the table, simply because there was a baby.

I'd do what I had to do, as I've seen so many of my friends do.  Each situation is unique, so it's impossible to create a plan based on a "what if".

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!

And eat cake, we did! Birthday cake, that is.

This weekend was The Writer's birthday.  I couldn't risk spoiling any of his surprises by posting them and I wanted photos, so I had to wait to share. The waiting is over!

The fact that I made a cake wasn't too surprising, but what was inside the cake was! It must be the cars, but he's a fan of the black and white checkerboard pattern.  Until this past semester, he carried a checkered Dickies messenger bag.  I saw a checkerboard cake kit online and knew it was perfect for him.  It wasn't the easiest or quickest project, but I think it turned out pretty well.
His next surprise was also the biggest one. I could hardly wait to give him this t-shirt.  Several months ago when we were in Florida, he saw a girl wearing a t-shirt with The Catcher in the Rye cover art on it and almost had a heart attack.  The Writer loves that book and it's cover art.  I accidentally found one online, thanks to StumbleUpon and Out of Print Clothing.  Out of Print Clothing donates a book to Books for Africa for every t-shirt they sell, which is pretty awesome.
 For dinner, I took him to Steak on a Stone, a really unique restaurant a few towns away.  They bring you your steak raw and you cook it yourself on an extremely hot volcanic rock that fits into the plate.  I'm not a steak eater, obviously, but it was definitely a fun experience for a carnivore like him.
Even though it wasn't my birthday, it was still one of the most fun days I've had in a while.  It was so relaxing to spend time together, walk in the park, and just generally enjoy ourselves.

Day 27: What's the Best Thing You Have Going for You Right Now?

Some days, I don't feel like I have much going for me. I feel stuck in my two to four part-time jobs and stuck in Ohio.  On those days, I feel like I will never find my passion or achieve success, like my relationship will never take a step further from where it is now.

So what do I have going for me then?  Optimism

Regardless of my circumstances, however dismal they may feel some days, I can choose to have a good attitude and be optimistic about my future.  Without optimism, I'd be settling for the not ideal situation I find myself in, as far as my career goes.

I believe that being optimistic will be what drives me to better myself and go places in life. I can't control the economy, I can't control whether or not my bosses decide to pay me my whole check or cut it short, I can't control the length of my lease here, but I can control myself.  I can live intentionally and someday, someone may see that and allow me the opportunity I need to make it big.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 26: Have You Ever Thought About Giving Up on Life? If so, When and Why?

Wow, this is depressing and extremely personal...

The first half of my sophomore year of high school was really awful.  I can't entirely remember why. I was rebelling, but I can't completely remember why.  My relationship with my parents was terrible.  I was in an extremely unhealthy relationship, more so than I realized at the time.  I had several eating disorders.

Everything hurt and I didn't know why.  My dad was taking me to a counselor because of how bad things were between he and I. Or maybe it was just because of how bad I was, I don't know. All this counselor guy did was talk to me about prayer.  I don't think he even believed problems like mine existed.

It was a horrible, horrible time.  The pressure kept on building until I thought I couldn't take it anymore. I cracked.  The only good thing that came of it was that I finally got to see a real medical professional and was put on medication that helped me get back to a good enough place where I could deal with my issues.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to 


I've got all sorts of plans and surprises for his big day, but I have to wait to share them, lest I spill the beans. Why? Because The Writer now blogs, or is going to.

Read about his adventures as a CBS intern in NYC here.

Love you, Babe!

"Hello, I Live Here."

I'm sure every fan of Sex and the City says they are just like Carrie. Or Charlotte. Or Miranda. Or Samantha.

Me? I'm all four on any given day.  I'm cynical, like Miranda.  I'm obsessive, like Charlotte. I can deliver the dirty joke that everyone was thinking but no one would say in a way Samantha would be proud of.

But Carrie. Oh, Carrie.

I relate to the Carrie/Big relationship in a "big" way: the unanswered questions, the back-and-forth, etc.  I write, she writes. The shopping and subsequent debt. The good, the bad, and the shoes.

Remember the scene from the first SATC movie, when Carrie walks into the penthouse that Big eventually buys and turns arounds, enraptured, and says, "Hello, I live here"? I said those very same words when I saw the amazing closet in my new apartment.

Before and After: My new walk-in closet.

Finally, I have room to organize all of my clothes, shoes, and accessories.  I don't wear half of my accessories nearly as often as I could, because I've always had them hidden away.  Now, though, they're out where I can see them and take full advantage of them. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Very Warm Home

Last Sunday, The Roommate and I hosted an open house at our new apartment.  It came down to the wire, but we got everything cleaned up and looking presentable by the time our guests arrived.
Our living room: Before and After
The dining room area with loft above it.
It still needs some work since that's our patio table.
I met The Roommate's boyfriend's parents and I think his mom has made it onto my list of favorite people ever.  She was asking me about my nose piercing because her daughter wants one for her 18th birthday.  I was giving her a rundown of my opinions of local piercers when she flat out asks me if my nipples are pierced (they're not).  I like her sass!

The loft/office area above the dining room:
one of my favorite things about the new apartment.
The bathroom. We have the biggest tub EVER!

My room. A big DIY for this space is coming,
but I love it already.

I'd left invitations in each of the neighbors doors, welcoming them to stop by and say "Hi."  I figured most wouldn't come but, at the very least, they'd be aware that a good number of people were going to be coming and going from the building. Hey, we covered PR in college!  Only two neighbors took me up on my invite, the creepy guy from right downstairs and a sweet lady from the first floor who brought a cherry pie (my favorite!).  I quickly ran out of things to talk about with them, but I tried.

People seemed to like what we I had done with the place, or, just the apartment in general.  It still needs a lot of work, as far as decor is concerned, which I plan to cover in DIY posts.  I was just happy to get all of the furniture collected and arranged.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 25: The Reason You Believe You're Still Alive Today

Day 24 is missing, for now.  I'm supposed to have made a playlist for someone and explain my choices of songs. I'm stuck on it. Deal with it.

Why am I still alive today? Hmm, I know there has to be a reason because, if I'm honest, its a probably a small miracle.  Looking back over all the stupid shit that I did (jumping out of windows, etc) and unwholesome (to say the least) characters that I got my young self involved with, I very likely could've turned out terribly.  Without much effort, I can think up close to ten near-death-experiences.  Is this normal?   Why was I the one who survived the car accidents, the abusive relationships, the nights of excess?

There has to be a reason.  There must be something I am meant to do. I'm not just lucky. I certainly don't feel lucky most days.

I have a dream.  I dream of creating or being heavily involved with a private, non-profit organization that offers after-school care to girls.  They wouldn't have to be considered "underprivileged" or "troubled".  They would just have to want to be there.  It would be a very intentional program.  The girls would receive extra education, free counseling, mentoring, and a safe environment to grow their dreams.  I would hope that the girls would be able to be enrolled from elementary school through high school, after which college scholarship opportunities would exist.

Why do I believe something like this is necessary? One of my many jobs (four, currently. I kid you not) is to assist in an after-school enrichment program.  A majority of the students are there because their parents have placed them there to get them caught up or ahead in school.  During the school year, a smaller percentage of the students are there as a part of the "No Child Left Behind" bill.  Now, I'm not going to get into a huge discussion of the bill and it's effectiveness because it is controversial and I don't have all the facts.  What it has done for me is highlight how bad public schools are, at least in this area.  It is not uncommon to have students come in from the more urban schools reading at a kindergarten level even though they are freshman in high school.  It's so sad.  My heart aches for these kids.  As a rule, they aren't motivated to do school work. They aren't going to get anywhere with the attitudes they have now. I wish they'd believe it if someone told them that it was for their own good and they'd regret not trying later in life.

No matter what I do, I hope to see kids like this succeed.  The world can't be a better place if people don't try.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 23: Something You Wish You HAD Done In Your Life

There's a recent survey out saying that over 50% of Americans don't feel that college students get an education equivalent to what they are paying for.  I would be part of that 50%.

I know my discontent with my college experience is due, in part, to my lack of enthusiasm as a student.  I wasn't an over-the-top, hardcore studier, in fact, I don't even know how to study.  School was never hard for me, even from the beginning.  From day one, there were very few classes that challenged me and I learned that I didn't really have to try to get good grades or learn the class material.  I graduated from high school effortlessly.  I could've had a higher GPA and class ranking, but considering all the other things I had on my plate as a teen, I think I did alright to just survive.

College was pretty easy, too.  I put about the same amount of effort into my collegiate classes as I did towards my high school curriculum because that's what I was used to doing.  I didn't really have to try hard.  There were very few classes I found truly difficult and I gather that, had I put the required amount of work into them, they could've been some of the most useful.  I wasn't accustomed to having to work in my classes, so my grades and learning in those courses was mediocre.

I wish I HAD been a better student. Maybe if I had been, I'd know what I want to be when I grow up.

Instead, I have a four year degree that I finished in three and a half years with a decent GPA.  The easy classes were numerous enough to pull my average up, despite the classes that required more effort than I knew how to give.

I wish I HAD known how to study.

While I know that you usually don't get more out of your education than you put into it, I don't know that there was a whole lot more I could've gotten out of it and for this I point a finger at my university.  Some of their graduates are successful in their field, but in my area of study, they are not, at least not from what I've seen.  The Writer is getting what is essentially the same degree from a state school nearby to where I graduated.  I see what he is learning, is required to learn, and what is available to him and I feel cheated.  I paid nearly three times to go to a smaller school with much more limited course offerings and degree requirements and I feel far less prepared to enter our field.  How does that work?
I graduated without being taught the importance or the how-to's of a resume cover letter.  I feel as though I fumble around the job search.  My school had a very blase attitude towards internships, therefore, I interned at a community theatre's costume shop.  It was fun but I don't feel like it helped me professionally. The Writer has secured himself a very prestigious and pertinent internship that will surely help him in the future.  I wish they'd told me.  Isn't that what your school and advisors are there for?

I wish I HAD transferred.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Friday Night Lights

Friday night, I did something very out of character for me.  The Writer and I ventured up to the nearest H&M, which was not the out of character thing that I did.  After we shopped and I used up my gift card and then some, we met The Roommate and her boyfriend in downtown Cleveland for an Indians baseball game.

I am not a baseball fan, nor am I from Ohio, so I can't say that a Cleveland baseball game was the most interesting or entertaining place for me to be.  However, the other three enjoy the games, so I did my best to be a good sport.  I was famished after a busy shopping trip, so my mood drastically improved after some ballpark pizza.  I even managed to follow along with the game a little bit and clap when I figured something good happened.  The Indians ended up winning the game in the bottom of the ninth inning - I clapped for that part. 
Us @ Progressive (Jacob's) Field

After the game, there was a fireworks show that was quite impressive! I've been to baseball games where they'd had fireworks, but none compared to this.  The fireworks were timed to a medley of cartoon theme songs, such as Alvin & the Chipmunks, The Simpsons, and Spongebob.  They definitely made sitting in the humidity worth it.

We opted out of hanging around the town after the game, since The Writer and I were both exhausted.  We didn't necessarily get out of the city right away because we were parked on the top deck of a parking garage and had to wait for everyone else to clear out before we could go.  We enjoyed the cool breeze and view of the city while we were waiting.  He'd been so busy with the end of his semester and I with my move that we had hardly had any time to simply sit and be together.  It was a great way to end the day.

Day 22: Something You Wish You Hadn't Done In Your Life

Although I totally believe that everything happens for a reason and do my best to live my life without regrets, I do wish that I hadn't been so irresponsible with credits cards in college.

Credit cards are the reason I have to pinch as many pennies as I can. (See this post) Although my debt is nothing compared to what some people accrue throughout college, it's still a burden and something that I feel is holding me back from being really daring in regards to my future.  I've been taking steps to get out of debt, such as closing my cards and enrolling in a credit management and financial counseling program that lowers my interest rates so that I can pay the debt down faster and spend less on interest. It's an awesome program, but I wish it hadn't got to a point where I had to consider drastic measures.

It's a slippery slope.  In the beginning, I was determined to pay off my balance every month and use my card to build my credit.  I got my first card when I switched banks my sophomore year of college.  They offered it to me as a form of overdraft protection.  I had a low credit limit.  It wasn't a problem, at first.  I spent within the limit and did an ok job of paying the whole balance when the statements came.  Then I got a letter saying that my credit limit had been increased.  Consciously, I knew this was bad news that only looked like good news.  Subconsciously, I felt free, limitless, even.  I had never had as much spending power as was offered to me by that higher credit limit.

Around that same time, I was working at the mall and business became sparse.  I didn't get scheduled much.  With no income to match my shopping "needs", I started relying on my card more and more.  My credit limit increased as well and pretty soon, I was at my limit with a sky-high interest rate.  In an attempt to gain control of the situation, I transferred the whole balance to a new card with a 0% interest rate for a year so that I could pay off the balance without getting any new interest added, or so I planned.  Instead of leaving the first card alone, I slowly build up a balance again.  I found myself with two maxed out credit cards and one store card that carried a balance.

I wish I'd been smarter about spending and not let myself use credit cards.  I'm hoping to pay down close to 75% of the balance on my cards in the next year.  I have a goal to move to a big city at the end of my current lease and don't want to have to worry about the cards as much.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 21: You Best Friend is in a Car Accident and You Two Fought and Hour Before: What Do You Do?

I would either rush to where the accident was, if they called me right away, or meet them at the hospital.  Either way, I'd be with them as soon as possible.  Regardless of what caused our fight, they're my bestie.

I'd make sure everything they needed taken care of got done so that they could recover with the least amount of stress possible.  I'm assuming that, in this scenario, the car accident was pretty severe. If it were just a fender bender, I'd pick them up and help them get a tow, or whatever.

Who wouldn't do these things for their best friend? Even if we didn't talk the whole time because someone was still mad, I'd still help them.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Road Trip!

I'm fighting to stay awake at my desk this morning.

Yesterday, The Writer picked me up from work and we drove all the way to Pittsburgh to go to Ikea.  It was only supposed to take us two hours, but the GPS was determined to keep us on rural roads, so it felt like much longer.  I was looking for some small items for my new apartment, like an extra end table, a lamp, and some general decor.  It was nice to an inventory other than that of Target or Walmart.  I'd started to feel like I was at one of those two stores every other day, staring at the same stuff and not wanting any of it.

First, at Ikea, they have carts with swivel wheels on all four corners instead of just the usual front two corners.  I was first to discover this and, since they took a little getting used to, was a little out of control.  The Writer took this as an opportunity to revoke my driving privileges (the Jersey jokes never get old).  I think he just wanted a turn with it, since he spent the rest of the day swinging the cart around and riding it through Ikea. I'm sure they loved us.

We wandered through the "accessories" section first, as in, not the main showroom.  I picked up a few kitchen and bathroom things, as well as some wall hangings that will serve as a headboard. I can't wait to put them up.  My walls are SO bare and my attraction to neutrals makes for a pretty bland living space at times.  After that, we made our way through the showroom upstairs, lusting after amazing kitchen and cozy living room displays.  I'm so thankful that our design styles mesh.  I'd be excited to decorate a living space with him, should we ever end up living together.

I found the end table and matching coffee table (an unplanned addition) downstairs in the warehouse, where The Writer had some serious fun with the shopping cart in the wide, concrete aisles.  I'm lucky I didn't get run over!  I'd planned on taking pictures of our adventure, since we never seem to do that, but my camera died when I tried to take the first shot. Sad. And no, I didn't have extra batteries.  I'm not an extra-batteries kind of girl.

We decided to try Bahama Breeze for dinner before heading home.  We both had the Jamaican Chicken Breast.  It was delicious, but neither of us was particularly full afterwards, so we had to hit Panera before setting out.  Thankfully, the GPS was kind to the poor, tired driver (Him) and kept us on highways the whole way back.  Once home, I, of course, had to get the tables put together before going to bed.  I did it partly from excitement, but also new that I was picking up some second-hand Ikea furniture (a loveseat and two chairs) from my old theatre and that they would need putting together today.

The Roommate and I decided to have an open house on Sunday for all of our friends in the area, so I've got a lot to do.  I want the place to look as put together as possible, because I am itching to take some photos and get them posted.  Not to mention having to plan drinks and snacks for the party.  I think I may only be more tired by Monday.

Day 20: Your Views on Drugs and Alcohol

Wellllllllllll........ I'd be lying if I said I didn't love me a couple of cocktails or a glass of wine on occasion.

In moderation.

Drugs scare me. Maybe I'm a sissy, but I won't touch them, nor do I tolerate them among my inner circle.  Is that intolerant of me? If I hadn't been burned by people who traded my love and friendship for drugs of various sorts, maybe it would be.

Alcohol, like drugs, can be extremely harmful.  I've seen alcoholism sneak up on people.  It's an easy problem to deny having, especially if those around you drink excessively, too.  The end of my last relationship, prior to dating The Writer, ended at least in part because of his unhealthy drinking habits.

Maybe it's my inexperience with drugs, but to me, it seems easier to know your limits with alcohol, even though those can get lost along the way as well.  Plus, there's the legal side of the situation. While I can't say that I always follow the letter of the law (Have you seen my spedometer?), I don't think I could justify the fines and jail time associated with getting caught with certain drugs.  A good time, to me, isn't worth a criminal record.  At least, with alcohol, if you have a few too many, you can call yourself a cab, get home safe, and have only a hangover as punishment (not that those are at all enjoyable, either).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 19: What Do You Think of Religion? -or- What Do You Think of Politics?

Aren't these the two topics that are never to be brought up in polite conversation? Sheesh.

I'm somewhat apathetic about politics, to be honest.  I try to stay somewhat aware, but it's just not something I invest a ton of time in.

Religion: First, I have to say that I think faith and religion are separate.  Ideally, religion would exist to further people's faith, however, I think that religion has become a way for certain people to manipulate other people.  Like government, it is an easily corrupted system.  Religion played a large part in destroying my faith, or rather, people in leadership in a religious organization.  It wasn't until I removed myself from that environment that I was able to discover a faith of my own.
I also hate that each religion is so certain of it's own correctness that it becomes hateful towards those of other belief systems.  History has record of so many wars that have begun because of one group's religious persuasion.  I'm not just talking about Jihad, here, I'm looking at you too, Crusades. No one is guilt free.  World peace is a lofty goal, one that I personally believe to unachievable, but don't use your god as a reason to destroy other people.  What gain does that bring anyone? What higher power is glorified by the death of people who are killed for being different?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 18: Your Views on Gay Marriage

The short answer: I think that, constitutionally, gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights as heterosexuals. From that perspective, I'm all for it.

The (short) long answer: I am not against it, but I think that it is a very complicated subject.  In college, I took a philosophy class titled Love, Sex, and Marriage.  It didn't turn out at all the way I expected a class by that name at a small, religious university in the Midwest to turn out.  I expected what I think most people expect from a religious institution when those three topics are brought up.  My professor, a Protestant who'd turned to Catholicism, challenged the way I considered relationships in a really great way.  My ideas of marriage changed.  I wasn't against gay and lesbian marriages going into the class, but I didn't know they "why" of it. What follows is a short summary:
There can be no denying that a male and a female partner are needed for procreation. So, if procreation is the intent of marriage, than homosexual marriage is pointless.  However, we are not animals who's only concern is the continuation of our species.  We are emotional beings.  We are attracted to people who meet our needs best.  Some people find their needs, whether sexual or not, met best by someone of the same gender as themselves.  If an individual has been "born gay", as some say, than homosexuality is a natural path for them.  Although, if some traumatic event, such as sexual abuse or abandonment, led to the person's feeling of homosexuality, than I believe that they ought to seek counseling and therapy for that event before deciding if their sexual orientation is a part of who they are or if it is a reaction to an external occurrence.  My heart hurts for people who have suffered in that way.  I don't think that you can un-gay someone through therapy, but I do think there are sometimes other issues to be cared for, much like premarital counseling for a heterosexual couple.  A lot of people, whether gay or straight, have hang-ups that need working through before they are in the right place to commit to a long term relationship.
Until science can confirm whether or not there is such a thing as a gay gene, or what have you, I think this will remain a touchy subject.  Even then, some people will not accept it.  I won't be one of them.  Like I said, this is the short version of a very long and complicated idea.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I'm looking forward to seeing these lovelies on my balcony all summer long.
Aren't they so pretty?

Day 17: A Book You've Read that's Changed Your Views on Something

I used to read a series of books by Marion Zimmer Bradley religiously.  I was at a point in my life where I was disgusted by the church I'd been taken to as a child.  Although these books, beginning with The Mists of Avalon, are fictitious, they opened my eyes to the world of neopaganism and a different idea of "God."
The Baptist church very much promotes the idea of God as a masculine figure, the "Heavenly Father." Women in the Baptist church are minimized behind their male counterparts who are, ideally, their husbands.  Marriage is expected and the male is the "head" of the family.  Sexuality, both private and interpersonal, outside of a marital relationship was scorned.  The female figure was something to be hidden (they called it "modesty") because it was the source of male lust and therefore sinful.

It didn't feel right. Why did I need a man to legitimize my existence and a group of religious people (and the government) to decide that I was "married"?  My body had done nothing wrong by just being my body. No, according to the philosophy of the Bible, I had been created in God's image.  Who were these people to tell me that I was sinful just for being a woman?

Bradley's books present the goddess, a triune deity representing the three stages of a woman's life.  There is a masculine deity, however he is more of a removed, heavenly being while the goddess is more along the lines of Mother Earth.  Women were powerful in this situation.  They, and their bodies, were the bringers of life and men were lucky to be chosen to participate.  Sexuality was viewed as a beautiful expression of life, not a shameful thing.

While I still attend a non-denominational, Protestant church, my personal spirituality has been enhanced by a broader view of God.  I believe that there is one God, however, I don't think that he is of any particular gender.  The idea of the masculine God, and therefore human male superiority, is, I believe, a corruption of the original intent of the Bible.  I could expand on this for hours and pages and would be more than happy to share with you if you want to know, but I'll keep it short and sweet for the blog.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Have you ever searched high and low for something, only to never find it? Isn't it frustrating?  I went through that feeling a while ago with Sephora's Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover when they were changing the formula/packaging and stocks were low.  My hair stylist got me hooked on a product last time I had my color done.  She'd been using on my hair every time I saw her for a few months, but I finally broke down at bought some.  Since my hair is colored, long, and frequently straightened, it's a constant battle to keep my ends looking healthy.  I admit, I loose this battle far too often, so I started using Paul Mitchell's Hot Off The Press flat iron spray.  My hair was most definitely more glossy and my ends were healthier.
I began to run out right about the time The Writer and I were in Florida.  I hadn't been able to find it in any stores in Ohio, so we looked in this beauty store on South Beach that carried every single Paul Mitchell product except this one.  The sales guy had never even heard of it.  I was sad. My hair was sad.

Yesterday, I found it. I passed by the tiniest salon with one stylist and there it was on the shelf.  I almost died in excitement! This means, that when I finally go back to get my hair done again (I'm at least a full month overdue) I won't get yelled at quite as badly for abusing my poor ends.

Friday, May 6, 2011

DIY: Moving Part 1: Before the Big Day

During my move last weekend, I found myself saying, "Where did I put the ______," "Ugh, I still have to do ______," and, "Do I really need to take this with me?"  I can't imagine that I'm the only one that this happens to, either.  Moving is stressful, so I made a list of tips to make it easier.

Pre-move To-Do List

1. Make a Paper Trail.  Get at least two file folder, one for your old place and one for the new.  The file folder for the new apartment should contain any preliminary lease agreements, new utility contracts, change of address receipts, and confirmation numbers and receipts for new cable and internet hookups.  As you get closer to moving, you'll add to this folder. Save any receipts for moving related expenses (packing tape, UHaul rental, etc).  If you're relocating for work, these may be tax deductible.  If you're renting, make sure you do a thorough walk-through of the new place and write down anything that's less than perfect.  Make a copy for your files and turn one in to your management company.  You don't want to lose your security over something you didn't do.  In the file for your old place, keep receipts for returned cable equipment, utility disconnects, and receipts for professional cleaning services that your lease stipulates (we had to have the carpets professionally cleaned), so that you can prove you took the necessary steps to moving out.  Keep all your paperwork (organized) and you should be able to settle any dispute that might arise.

2. Clean House! If it's still in the box from the last time you moved, haven't worn it in a year, or you just don't like it or use it, get rid of it! There's no use packing up things that you'll never unpack.  You've heard the saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure"? Donate unneeded and unwanted clothes to Goodwill.  Check out Habitat for Humanity's website for Restore locations and donate furniture and household items there. Keep any receipts from donations - they're tax deductible (see #1).
Read your new lease or homeowners association agreement carefully to see if there are any prohibited items.  My new apartment is on the third floor, and my new lease stipulates that only first floor apartments are allowed to have motorized workout equipment.  I was able to sell my treadmill on Craigslist before the move.  Not only did I score some extra cash for moving expenses, but I saved myself the trouble of lugging a treadmill up three flights of stairs only to have to move it out again.  I also got rid of a mini-grill that wasn't allowed because my patio has PVC soffits that could melt.

3. Point A to Point B. Moving costs money.  It's sad but true.  Perhaps the expense of moving is a main contributor to the stress of moving.  Before you move, make a budget.  Plan for truck rentals, cleaning supplies, boxes, tape, meals for you and whoever is helping you, light bulbs, box cutters, tools, to name a few.  This way, you'll know how much you should start setting aside, so that you don't find yourself sitting in a sea of boxes in your new home, flat broke, because there are things you will need to buy for your new place, too.
A note about moving trucks: UHaul is the cheapest.  They charge a flat rate per day based on the size of the truck, about $.99 per mile driven, and require you to return the truck with a full tank of gas.  Use GoogleMaps or another mapping site to plan out the shortest route from the UHaul pickup location to your old home, from there to your new home, and back to a UHaul drop off.  Not only will you have a set of directions that you can copy for anyone who's helping you, it will help you avoid a costly wander around your new, and probably unfamiliar, neighborhood.  It can also help you find the gas station closest to where you're going to be turning the truck in, so that you avoid the charge for a less-than-full gas tank (it's bad).

4. Necessary Items. Pack a Moving Box and Moving Suitcase.  In the suitcase, pack enough close to get you through the move, plus a few.  You will probably not have a fully stocked kitchen immediately upon arrival and your new base camp and will need to eat out, if for no other reason than to get away from the clutter.  You won't want to go to dinner sweaty and in your moving outfit.  Also, pack toiletries that you use daily, like face wash, travel-sized shampoo and conditioner, and makeup.  Include any daily prescriptions, such as birth control or blood pressure meds, and basic things like ibuprofen and PeptoBismol.  The suitcase should have towels, your shower curtain and rings, and hair dryer.  These are things that you will need and don't want to dig through a million boxes to find.  Make sure you pack nail clippers and a nail will break at least one nail during your move, I promise.
In the box: Both of your moving files (#1), cell phone chargers, address book (trust me), tools, first aid kit, toilet paper, hand soap, plastic cups and cutlery, paper plates, and paper towels.  The goal of the suitcase an box is that you will be able to eat a meal, use the bathroom, take a shower, and have a clean change of clothes without completely unpacking. Make sure you have a few pens and a notebook to make shopping lists and to write down anything important.  You'll be tired and don't want to forget anything.  Keep an envelope of coupons for local home improvement stores and eateries, including pizza places.  Having a pizza delivered on moving day is probably the easiest way to eat.  That pizza guy that shows up at your new place with a hot, discounted meal is going to be the dreamiest guy you know for about 30 seconds. Note: You will probably be sweaty and disheveled so he probably won't want you to hug him. Resist the urge.

5. Parking. I know it sounds like a no brainer, but you want to know where the best place for the moving truck to park for ease of unloading.  Know if your new apartment building has assigned parking, and if so, how many and which spots are yours.  Ask if your new municipality allows parking on the streets and, if so, is overnight parking allowed?  The last thing you want during a move is to have a vehicle ticketed, or worse, towed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 16: Someone or Something that You Definitely Could Live Without

"April showers bring May flowers."  Not in Ohio, they don't.  Where I grew up, in New Jersey, we had some pretty fickle weather, although it is nothing compared to Ohio.  Here it can be hot and sunny one day and you could need to break out your parka the next day.  This weekend was a teaser weekend.  It was pretty warm, didn't really rain while we were moving, and was just pleasant in general.  Once the week started though, it was cold and rainy every day. Take today, for example:

You can see from the forecast that I'll be lucky if I see 60 degrees by next week.  I also happen to know that it has been raining every Tuesday for the past month.  I teach an art class to elementary students on Tuesday afternoons, and it has never been sunny when I go to their school.  I'm always dodging raindrops on my way in.

I could definitely live with out this weather.  I know rain is necessary, blah, blah, blah, but I'm ready for some sun!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 15: Something or Someone You Couldn't Live Without, Because You've Tried Living w/o It

My Boyfriend.


I am not THAT girl.

I don't want to live without him, but I know I could go on if I had to.

I'm going to go with the "Something" on this one.  It's going to seem shallow, but this is the first "thing" that came to mind.
photo credit

I think some people overlook eye makeup remover which is an absolute tragedy.  It's a must have if you don't want to wake up with raccoon-eyes, or worse yet, have your eyelashes break off. I've tried so many of these products, most of which weren't worth using.  I guess if those products are what you think of when you think of eye makeup remover, than no, I guess you might as well not bother.  

I came across Sephora's Waterproof eye makeup remover a year or two ago and I cannot let it go! It's often difficult to find in the stores, which makes me think a lot of other people must love it too.  It isn't cheap. Oh no, it's almost $10 for 4.2 ounces, but it lasts a long time, is gentle, and gets the job done.  

I tried living without it a few months ago when I couldn't find it in stores and was more poor than usual.  I tried a certain product by Maybelline that claimed to be "America's #1" or some lie like that, and absolutely hated it. My face was an oily mess and there was still mascara stuck to my lashes.  Yes, it was only about $3, but I used less than an 1/8 of the bottle before I cast it aside.  It was a waste of $3.  Even though Sephora's formula uses oil and you have to shake it up to mix it before using, it doesn't leave the skin around my eyes overly oily or irritate my eyes.  

I love it. Plain and simple. A trip to Sephora isn't worth it unless I can get this product. Since it takes me about an hour to get to the nearest Sephora, I get pretty darn depressed if I get there and have to leave empty handed. 

I won't even put makeup on if I can't be sure that I'll have this little bottle to help me get it off. I can't live without it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Move It, Move It!

I haven't posted a Day of Truth entry since last week.  I've been too busy dealing with the truth of moving to a new apartment.  Even if I'd had internet access or the time to sit at Starbucks and write, I was too exhausted.

Although I'd had some things already packed, Thursday was when we really started to get going.  Thursday night, The Roommate went and bought some new, super soft towels (that I plan on reviewing soon) and I got a few kitchen boxes packed.  The Writer  then came by to pick me up for the midnight showing of Fast Five.  The Writer is also a car guy and the Fast and Furious movies are a guilty pleasure of mine.  After the movie, I went home and slept for about two hours, then did my best to catch the highlights of Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding.  I didn't do such a great job at that.  I dosed for a bit more, then officially woke up for Moving Day 1.

We'd originally been told that we'd get the keys to our new place Saturday (May 1), but The Roommate forked over another day's rent to get in early, since she'd committed to going to a wedding from Friday night through Sunday. Don't get me started on how much that thrilled me.  We packed all morning, then went to pick up the keys at 1pm.  The new place is so nice and much homier than our old condo.  Once our third roommate moved to England a few months ago, the three bedroom, three story condo was just too much for two people.  Not to mention that it had begun to really show its age and our old landlord wasn't quick to do routine maintenance  on the place.  Our new apartment had undergone plenty of renovations after the last tenant moved out and we were excited about the new fridge and stove as well as the brand new carpet and shower tile.  It was so clean!  We moved a lot of boxes that day, since I'd reserved a UHaul for Saturday to get the big stuff.  Even though a lot of stuff was new and the apartment was pretty clean, I still wanted to wipe everything down and put drawer liners in.  My mom wonderfully did a lot of the cleaning at the old apartment, since she can't lift heavy boxes.

Saturday, my dad and I picked up my UHaul and got all of the big furniture loaded.  Six and a half carloads plus one truck and I was moved. Or, my stuff was. I still had to unpack the rest of it.  We'd gotten most of the kitchen done Friday, but a lot had to happen Saturday and Sunday.  The Writer arrived just in time to unpack the really heavy stuff.  He'd been scheduled to work and couldn't get out of it.  I'm so glad my parents were around to help, otherwise I'd have been all alone!

It's amazing how many things you end up needing to buy when you move.  I felt that way when I moved last year, since I was moving from what was essentially dorm living, even if it wasn't a dorm, to a full-sized condo.  This time, we're looking to add the little stuff that we hadn't bothered with in the condo.  It's getting expensive, but it'll be worth it.  I'm still trying to save where I can, and I'm not replacing anything that I can still use with the exception of bath towels.  Heck, we didn't even have a real kitchen trashcan in the old place!

I spent yesterday unpacking and am pretty satisfied with the kitchen, my walk-in closet (that I love!) and the living room.  I'm still exhausted, though, and the unpacking isn't finished.  I'm hoping to have all but decorating finished by this weekend so that I can finally relax!
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