Thursday, December 20, 2012

Evaluating the last year

Since it's now the new year, I figured it was about time to evaluate these things (and because I'm procrastinating HARD on things I really need to get done), here is 2012 in review:

 New Year's Resolutions

1. Lose 15 pounds by my friends' wedding (May 18th). I'm MOH, and I refuse to feel like I look chubby in the pictures (or, worse, actually be chubby). Plus, I'm creeping up towards the heaviest I've been and I don't like it. It is also probably good for me to exercise and eat better, considering how often people (ok, mostly the Boy and our mutual friend at school)say to me, "I can't believe the things you put in your body." I will be using this app to help me. It's amazing, it's free, and it is basically one of the best apps I've ever seen. If you're trying to lose weight, I highly recommend it. You put in your starting weight, your goal weight, and then it gives you different recommendations on calorie limits depending on how fast you want to lose it, you can scan the bar codes on your food, it has full restaurant menus, and it tracks your exercise and progress. It's brilliant. 

This one was semi-successful. I lost about half of that, so I'm still 8-10 pounds above where I'd like to be, but I'm no longer worried about how heavy I'm getting. I'm actually pretty proud of myself for not getting morbidly obese in the last semester, because it's been incredibly stressful and I've been eating out for pretty much every meal. I also stopped exercising at all in October, because I noticed that excess movement made whatever is wrong with my stomach hurt worse. I wasn't too happy about that one because I feel kinda sluggish and gross being so purposefully sedentary all the time, but I don't know what else to do until they figure out what's wrong. They say it's IBS, but I don't believe them. I don't know anyone who has ever gone to the hospital over IBS, and the medicine they give me to help with it doesn't actually make the pain go away.

2. Go to bed by midnight ~5 nights per week. This should help with the weight loss (getting enough sleep makes people eat less). Plus, getting enough sleep should make me healthier, happier, and less stressed overall. 

HAHAHAHAHAHHA yeah, no this one did not happen.

3. Go/do/try at least 1 new thing per month. This month was Zumba with the bride from the aforementioned wedding. We burned 700 calories in an hour. I'm exhausted. My arms feel like they're going to fall off. I want at least one month to involve going to a city/state?/country? that I have never been to before. Considering I live in an entirely new area now, this should not be an issue, but you know how New Year's Resolutions go.

I don't know that I was 100% successful on this one, but I was pretty close. In the last year, I've met The Boy's family (which went way better than I expected), I went to DC (twice!), I learned how to shoot, I wrote an article for Wikipedia (and because of the semi-anonymity of this blog, I won't tell you which one), I threw/attended my first Bachelorette party, had Bestie visit me (twice!), went to Myrtle Beach, finished my first year of grad school and started my second, was in a wedding, had a really great birthday, applied to PhD programs (again...), went to NYC, switched advisors, went to Savannah and Gainesville, had a health scare, found a new restaurant that I love, made new friends with the first years, and probably 100 other things I can't even think of right now. This year was really fun, and despite the fact that there were some shitty times, I think that I'll look back on 2012 as a year of growth and accomplishment.

 4. Better time management. I want to schedule work out time at least 3 days per week and finish my work by 8 PM every night. I'm going to use this app to track my time. I think my plan is to get up around 8, exercise for 30-60 minutes, come back, get ready, catch the 10 or 10:30 shuttle, start work by 11, and finish by 7 or 8. If I am going to do a group exercise class like zumba or yoga, I will go into school earlier and finish up for the day in time to go to the class. I will work/work out on the weekends as necessary.

 Yeah, this one didn't really happen either. I think I did better in the spring, but this semester was hellish and there were a lot of 12 hour days and not enough sleep and no exercise whatsoever.

5. Recognize when it is time to say "Fuckit" and actually say it. I really need to dial back the crazyeyes. It scares other people, it isn't good for me, it doesn't improve my performance, and frankly, I'm tired of being the craziest person in the class.

This one was and wasn't successful... I did learn a lot about what I could and could not tolerate, and I made some changes, but there were definitely plenty of crazyeyes moments this past year, including one major panic attack that really lasted like a week and a half.

6. Read at least 1 fiction book per month. The roommate has me reading these books now, and the Boy (he needs a nickname, Bestie) is insisting that I read these books immediately so we can go see the movie. I'm mildly concerned about the rape scene. In general, I really hate reading/seeing people who are just cruel to one another, but rape/abuse scenes are especially hard to stomach. Anyway, I digress. I plan to read fiction books this year, because it's good for me to unwind and gives me something to look forward to.

I did pretty well at this one. I did spend like 6 months reading the 4th Game of Thrones book because it was God-awful, but the others were all fantastic. I also read all of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books, Dune, Lamb, Ender's Game, Learning to be Good, and I think a couple of others. It may not have been one book per month, but some of those books were monstrous. I'm counting this one as a win.

Anyway, here is to a year full of love, laughter, growth, and joy. I'm going to get rid of some of the bad stuff and integrate more of the good stuff and hope for the best. I hope all of you make the best out of it, too. I think I did ok at that. How was your year? Did you do everything you wanted to?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I don't have time for this....

But it's been 12 hours of working and I need a break.

When I run the world:
-You will not have to submit an official copy of anything to any graduate program until they officially want you. ETS and their $25/copy of the GRE is bullshit. Absolute bullshit.
-All applications for anything, ever, will be housed on one website. You will fill that shit out once, and send it to whomever you want--college, grad school, jobs, potential dates, whoever. All in one place.
-No one will be allowed to charge for transcripts (Undergrad Institution, with your $15/transcript fee, I'm talking to you)
          -People who want 2 transcripts are horrible, horrible people. I am poor, and you want me to spend an ADDITIONAL $30 to send you my transcripts on top of your $125 app fee?
-No one can reasonably expect you to write a 20-page paper that is going in the trash in 2 weeks when you have 8 million other more important things to do.
-WiFi will always be lightning fast and free.
-There will be student discounts on everything ever.
-Doctors who are specialists who can't diagnose your pain can't just say "not my problem" (in not so many words) and just send you on your way for another million tests.

There are other things, but that's all I can think of for the moment.


So I have a minute while I wait for The Boy to come pick me up and rescue me from the war zone that is the Roommate watching the Steelers game. That chick is crazy about the Steelers.

Anyway, I've been having some health issues for the last 4-6 weeks (I've forgotten when it started)), and so that's been fun. I have undiagnosed abdominal pain that comes and goes seemingly at random, for which my only cure thus far is Vicodin. (Hence why The Boy is coming to get me--I'm not exactly fit to drive at the moment).

School is insane at the moment. Between the 20 page neuro paper, the 10 page self-reg paper, the 20 page prospectus, and applications (not to mention the 15 hours per week I'm supposed to put in for my RAship, actually going to class, lab meetings, and little things like sleeping and eating), I don't understand how I'm going to get through until Christmas. Needless to say, if I don't finish my Christmas shopping on Black Friday, it's not getting done til Christmas Eve. If it gets done.

Although, because I have an incredibly supportive and sympathetic new advisor (old advisor being on sabbatical was just not working out), I did score us a two-week extension on our self-reg paper, so that was nice.

I miss my family and I can't wait until I get to go home for Thanksgiving. Just one more week! It'll be so nice, since I haven't been home in just shy of 6 months.

I wish Bestie would come home for Thanksgiving. Korea is too far away.

My subscription boxes have been kinda nice, but mostly disappointing, and I don't have time to blog about stuff I'm not super ecstatic about at the moment, so I let that go.

Anyway, that's all for now. Have a good day, folks, and remember to be thankful.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Things I'm Learning

This last weekend has been, shall we say... eventful. There was some shit with someone in a position of authority, and there was a panic attack, and there is still a lot of freaking out and wanting to go home going on.


I am choosing to try to focus on the positives. And I'm learning things now, about what kind of person I am/want to be, the kind of person I do not want to become, and the kind of people I have surrounding me.

1) Calling Mom always helps.
2) Hearing about Brother's ridiculousness also always helps.
3) Even if I don't believe him when he's telling me, I trust The Boy when he tells me everything is going to be ok. And I appreciate him for dropping everything to just be there for me when I need him.
4) The Boy and Superman are awesome, awesome friends, and I seriously could not have gotten through this weekend without them. They blew off a hike that they had been looking forward to to help me with my stuff, and didn't get mad or defensive when I displaced some anger/frustration/panic/general unpleasantness on them. When I tried to protest the cancelling of their plans, Superman turned to me and said "I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to [The Boy]. Now be quiet and let the men speak." They take really good care of me, and I can't appreciate them enough.
5) I get to look forward to having dinner with The Boy's parents tomorrow and Superman's mom next weekend. Not quite as awesome as it would be to have dinner with my parents, but a close second. It's nice to have parents around, and it helps me feel less homesick.
6) No matter how bad this gets, it won't be the end of the world. Things will go on, I will find something else to be successful at, and the people who love me will still love me. I asked, they promised.
7) Skyping with Bestie is awesome, even when the internet connection sucks. I am so proud of how brave she is.

So anyway, I have a lot of shit to continue to take care of now, so I should get back to it. Remember to be mindful of the way you treat people and be mindful of the way you allow others to treat you. Focus on the positive, and cultivate a strong support system. Do your best, because that's really all you can do.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Center of the Universe

Last month, The Boy and I went to NYC for his brother's engagement party.

It was pretty cool.

The Boy's brother works for some sort of real estate hedge fund thing (I'm still not sure what he does, exactly, but it involves buying malls and office buildings and stuff), and his fiance is a lawyer. They have this really cute apartment (with an actual bedroom with a door that closes!) in the West Village (which is not the same thing as being on the West side of Greenwich Village) and lead such fabulous (albeit, busy) lives and I must admit I was more than a little jealous/insecure hanging out with them and their friends. They have such cute clothes and do such glamorous things and eat at such wonderful restaurants and, well, I am poor and live in the city (town?) that I live in, and let me just say, it isn't glamorous, even a little bit.

While we were there, we stayed in SoHo (it means South of Houston St, which I had never known before), which meant we did a lot of shopping  looking at things that we couldn't afford, like the cute D&G cocktail dress I found at some sort of Last Chance store for $300, or the Italian shirt the boy tried on for $100. It was nice, don't get me wrong, but it was a button down. Not exactly worth it, in my opinion, but it was fun to browse, minus the parts where I was dismayed at how poor I'm going to be for years and years to come. I told my dad this, and he was like, "No, that's like thinking you're fat when you're pregnant. You're not fat when you're pregnant, you're just pregnant! And you're not poor now, you're just a student!" I don't think he's quite right there, but whatevs.

We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we saw some pretty cool stuff. The boy and I quite enjoy going to museums. It makes us feel cultured. There is one downside... he really likes modern art and I really, really hate it. I think it's really ugly, and have some sort of visceral, disgusted reaction to the celebration of random squiggles. I was able to convince him that we could go to MoMA on a different trip to NYC... unfortunately, I'm pretty sure he's going to hold me to it. After the museum we wandered through Central Park (it's huge!) and I was disappointed to learn that Central Perk is not a real place.

We also ate some amazing, amazing food. The night we got in, we went to this Italian place that was near their apartment, and everything was SOOOOOOOO good. So delicious. Like heaven in my mouth. We also got the requisite bagels (delicious) and pizza (delicious), and the best tacos I've had in America from this taco truck. I really wish I could remember the name--I think it was "[Some Neighborhood (I think it was the one South of SoHo)] Taco Truck. Super delicious. We also ate breakfast across the street from our hotel in a very Seinfeld-esque diner that was fast, cheap, and also, pretty delicious.

We also got to see a show off-Broadway, which was pretty exciting. We went to a discount box office called TKTS, which sells tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway shows for 30-70% off face value. We had several options, but the available Broadway shows were all things we were unfamiliar with, and since tickets were $90-100 a piece (that's half off!) we decided to see Newsical, which we were told was "Fucking Hilarious" and "a million times better than Avenue Q" (which was the off-Broadway show that we were planning on picking if the Broadway stuff didn't work out). One of the reviews said it was basically The Daily Show set to music, which it was. It was pretty funny, but not "fucking hilarious" or "a million times funnier than Avenue Q". I still enjoyed myself, though. Next time we go, we'll need to see a show on Broadway, though.

It was a really great trip, and I'm glad we went. I really like the amount of traveling that The Boy and I get to do together. It's nice to make all these memories and have all of these adventures.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Advice to New Grad Students

Grad school is harder than anything you've done before. People say this, and you'll think "how hard could it be? I was so good in undergrad. I never even had to do the reading, I just Knew Things!", and I'm telling you, it's not the same. It's very very different. You will cry in your office, or in the lounge, or in your advisor's office, or in your room, alone (or, more than likely, all of the above places). You won't understand things that you thought you KNEW. It'll be ok, I promise.

Grad school isn't very structured. You'll have to figure your own shit out, and it's going to take longer than you think it will. Everything will take more time than you think it will. Readings will be longer and more complicated. You will fuck up some minor step in your data analysis or cleaning and have to redo the whole thing, probably five times. You will be given enough rope to hang yourself with, and it will be easier than you think to get your priorities out of order and not be able to do everything you're supposed to do, because sometimes it seems like you have forever to do things. There is a reason you have so long--it takes a REALLY long time. You will eventually get things done, because that's just what happens, but you really don't want to be that one person in your cohort who is always the late one. Don't be that person.

Befriend your cohort. Seriously. You are probably far from home and people you know, and you are not going to be able to get through your program without making some good friends. Have 1-2 people who are your new besties, people who you are with more often than not (e.g. The Boy and Superman). Have a girlfriend or two to go shopping with, or to go to brunch with, or who will go see the new chick flick with you when the boys don't want to. Start a regular department happy hour once a week where you can go and laugh about how crazy your professors are. Go to the parties. Even if you have a significant other. Especially if you have a significant other, because, chances are, if you do, you will want to be a hermit and stay with them or Skype with them, and you'll burn out because you have no support system where you are. That being said, try to find a few friends outside your cohort (and even though I'm breaking my own rule), don't date someone in your cohort. You have to spend so much time with these people, sometimes it's nice to just get away from them.

If you don't like who you were before, now is a really good time to reinvent yourself. More than likely, you are far from all you know and love, and like (most) undergrad experiences, this gives you the chance to try new things and become someone you like better. Develop new habits, learn new (non-grad-school-related) things. Find new favorite places. Become friends with someone who you don't think you have anything in common with.

There is always something you COULD be doing and almost always something you SHOULD be doing. You'll need to just have to let that go sometimes, and just watch TV or bake or drink or blog or scrapbook or go on a date or just take a nap. It'll be ok. You can't let the guilt of relaxing ruin your relaxing.

Remember why you decided to come to grad school. Remember that you love what you're doing, because there will be a lot of days that you don't love it. Remember your bigger goals and the things you wanted before you wanted to go to grad school. Know when it's worth it to make a sacrifice and when it isn't. Enjoy learning. Enjoy teaching. Enjoy creating new knowledge. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

August Birchbox!

My August Birchbox came while I was in NY (after a few shipping delays--they said it shipped on like the 4th or the 6th, I didn't get it until 2 weeks later, which was much longer than the Glam Bag that shipped using the same method 2 days later and arrived about a week earlier)


Viva la Juicy La Fleur ($70)
 This stuff is supposed to be a softer, more floral version of Viva La Juicy, but seeing as how I've never smelled that, I can't attest. I like the scent right at first, but as Bestie said in her review, after a little while, it begins to smell like baby prostitute. I've worn it around The Boy, but he hasn't commented, which doesn't mean he doesn't like it, but doesn't mean he's very fond of it either. He normally comments if he thinks I smell good.
**1/2 out of 5 stars

Miss Jessie's Original Stretch Silkening Creme ($22)
This stuff is supposed to help loosen and relax tight curls. Unfortunately, my hair is only kinda wavy, so this does the exact opposite of what I would want curl cream to do. I didn't try it, I just gave it to my African-American roommate. I was pretty bummed, too, because when I was looking at the things that could be sent out this month, I really wanted basically any of the other Miss Jessie's products, as they would have been more my style.
No stars from me since I can't actually use it. 

Pixi Beauty Lip and Line ($18) 
This dual-ended lip liner and lipstick is great. I really like that it matches perfectly and that it's subtle--it gives my pale, pale face some color without screaming HEY! I'M WEARING LIPSTICK!!! It doesn't kiss off, it isn't drying or flaky, and it seems to last a while (although not all day like the promo seems to imply). They had some on clearance at Target the other day that I wanted to buy, but it was a very, very pale shade of pink that I didn't think would be very flattering.
**** out of 5 stars

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream ($16)
Yet another "miracle" moisturizer/lotion... I used it on my feet, which are super dry/peeling from all o the walking that The Boy makes me do (my vacations consist of reading by the pool and sipping fruity drinks. His include walking for miles and miles). While it helped a little last night, they are rough and dry again in the morning--not exactly what I'd call a miracle, and not really worth $16--I'd rather just use my regular Jergen's lotion and save the $9. Plus, the tube was SUUUPER small. If you're going to send out lotions, you really need them to be at least 3 oz. It has been decided.
** 1/2 out of 5 stars

Shick Hydro 5 Razor ($10)
This is a "Birchbox Find"--something designed to make our lives simpler or better. It was a nice addition, because this is the razor I normally use, so it's always good to have a spare, especially since they're kinda pricey, and the razor paid for the box.
***** out of 5 stars

Overall, I have pretty mixed feelings about this box. I really love the razor and the lipstick, but the razor isn't really why I signed up for Birchbox, and it wasn't something new that I was getting to try. I wasn't crazy about the other 3 items... I'm hoping the next few boxes are more to my liking. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August My Glam Bag!

My August Glam Bag came on the 13th and included 6 items + the requisite cosmetics bag.

Can I just say that I am drowning in cosmetics bags even more than I'm drowning in nail polish (which I also got from Glam Bag)? Clinique always gives me one when I get one of their "free gift with purchase" things, and now I'll be getting one every month from Glam Bag. I wish they would do more of the "clutch" type bags in the future like they've done when it's been a clubby-themed month. Although I've heard those were actually kinda crappy, so maybe not. Whatever, I can figure out uses for my 8 bajillion cosmetics bags. Maybe I'll use them to put presents in or make little "survival" kits for someone or something. I don't know.

Anyway, things I got in my bag:

Demeter "Clean Skin" Roll-On Perfume Oil: $10 for the .29 fl oz size (what we got), $39.50 for the 4 oz cologne spray. "Clean Skin is a blend of orange, lemon, white rose, bergamot peach and vanilla, making the perfect shower-fresh scent."
Umm... I'll give it a couple of days, but so far I'm not crazy about the smell. It seems a little old-ladyish to me. I might have liked the alternative better (Dragon Fruit). It also doesn't seem to last very long. I put it on 4 hours ago, and I can't even smell a hint of it now, with my wrist right up to my nose.
*out of 5

S.A.L.T.Y Cosmetics Glama-ZOID Eyeshadow: $3.95 for the sample (what we got), $14.97 for the large size (2.5g), which is a pretty dumb price hike from the 1.25g size for $4.50. You can get three of the small ones for less ($13.50) than one of the big ones... and you get 50% more product. Learn math, people.
"Glama-ZOID!, an iridescent violet pink satin has a sexy touch of light reflecting sparkle. This shadow is perfect for all skin tones and works as an amazing highlighter for brow bone and inner corners."
This stuff is good for a highlighter on nights when you'll be going out or if you need to be particularly sparkly for some reason, but it's definitely too glittery for every day use. It would have been a great addition to my fairy costume last Halloween, though.
***out of 5.

 Eclos Cellular Activator Facial Serum: $24.99 for 1.7 oz.
"This lightweight serum from Eclos helps wake up skin's self-renewal process to revitalize fatigued, stressed skin. Unique plant extracts help boost firmness and tone to smooth out fine lines and damage." 
So far, I've only used it a couple of times, but I kinda like it. It feels nice on my skin. As to whether or not it helps wrinkles, I couldn't tell you, since I've only got the one on my forehead that isn't so bad (but still makes me sad).
***1/2 out of 5

Eclos Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream: $24.99 for 2.0 oz.
"This medium-weight moisturizer with restorative benefits helps smooth and brighten for a youthful finish."
I'm not super crazy about this stuff. It feels kinda weird and doesn't glide on that well. I wouldn't buy it, but it isn't horrible. I'll keep using it with the serum until they run out.
** out of 5.

You get free shipping on the Eclos website, but only if you order more than $25 worth of products... and their most expensive products are $24.99 each. That's pretty annoying, and kind of a scam. Increase your prices by a penny, or don't offer free shipping at that price. It's kind of a crappy thing to do to your customers. 

Circus by Andrea's Choice Nail Color in Spectacle Not yet available for sale, so no price info
"This month, I'm causing a color spectacle with the newest shades from my CIRCUS collection. Join me, your ringleader, and show the world your hottest nail looks with the newest shades of vegan, cruelty-free nail polish, Spectacle and Ringmaster, from the exclusive collection curated by me, myglam stylist, Andrea's Choice".
I do not like orange, and this is a particularly hideous shade. I know neons are in right now, but neon orange is always a bad sign. Neon orange means traffic delays and escaped cons. Neon orange means the terror alert is higher and the security line at the airport will be longer. Neon orange does not look good on me. Also, I DON'T NEED ANY MORE NAIL POLISH FOR SEVERAL MONTHS. I suppose I can try it on my toes, but it will probably get given to someone who likes orange. Or I will use it to paint something for Brother, whose favorite color is orange. I haven't tried it yet to see how it goes on/if it chips. I definitely would have preferred "Ringleader", which is a hot pink color. I love hot pink. And if my sample companies insist on sending nail polish, can I get some reds, please? I have the hardest time finding the perfect red. Or what about a really awesome base or top coat? Those are always hard to find and usually expensive, and always run out the fastest, because you use them every time you paint your nails.
No stars yet, as it is unsampled.

My Glam Lip Gloss There was no info about this in the bag or the website, and I'm assuming you can't buy it online because it's a Glam Bag exclusive.  
Pros: Smells/tastes good, the color isn't bad
Cons: Sticky, not super noticeable (meaning you have to put a lot on to notice anything other than the stickiness), the color is just ok.
***out of 5. Not my favorite gloss ever, but it will probably get worked into the rotation. I like it over my Clinique Mega Melon chubby stick.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sample Society!

My Sample Society Box and Allure Magazine came this week!

I was very excited, because my Sample Society box came at the same time as some stuff I had ordered from Sephora, so I had two packages show up on the same day. So nice.

The Sample Society Box included:

Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer, Private Dancer. I believe this is full size, and retails for $18! 
I haven't tried it yet, because I am drowning in nail polish from Julep (definitely skipping next month unless I have a free month), but I love purple, so hopefully it will turn out well. Since the box cost $15, the nail polish alone paid for the box (not that I would EVER pay $18 for nail polish, but you get the idea) 
No stars yet, since I haven't actually tried it

Elemental Herbology Moisture Milk Deluxe Sample, full size $78
I used it a couple of times, and it's nice, for moisturizer, but I wouldn't say it's any better than Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, which is what I currently use, and which is approximately 1/3 the price.
*** out of 5

Phyto Phytonectar Oil Deluxe Sample, full size $30
I've only used this once (it says use 1-2x weekly for 5 weeks), but I think it might have helped my terrible, terrible split ends a little bit. I'll keep using it and see what happens. Hopefully, it will help heal some of the damage I've done to my hair and help it to grow.
***1/2 out of 5

Jane Iredale Longest Lash Mascara, Black Ice Deluxe Sample, full size $33. 
I wasn't crazy about this mascara--it was pretty dry and it took about a million coats before I really noticed it. I wasn't allergic to it, so that's good, but I won't buy it, that's for sure.
** out of 5

Arcona Cranberry Toner Deluxe Sample, full size $32
I liked the smell, and it seemed to do a good job of getting the last of the dirt and makeup that washing my face had left behind (sidenote: I am always amazed and disgusted by all the crap left after washing my face. I try to do a good job and wash for a long time, but good lord, it's always really ridiculous). It did not, however, have that familiar tingly, oxidizing feeling that I like most toners to have because I feel like that is the stuff that kills the bacteria that causes breakouts. It was nice, but not great, and I won't be buying.
***1/2 out of 5

I haven't tried that Malin Goetzl bonus packet yet either.

I'll give this one another 2-3 months, but if I don't start seeing some things that are 4-5 stars, I'll cancel. There's no point in getting a bunch of samples of things that I wouldn't think about buying anyway, right? Plus, $15/month is a little steep for stuff I'm not crazy about.

***I paid for my own Sample Society Subscription and all opinions are my own

Monday, August 6, 2012

Baby Brother is all grown up

Brother's birthday is upon us, and I want to commemorate it the way I have the last several important birthdays that I have celebrated: with a list of reasons why this person is awesome. Without further ado:

1) His work ethic. He may be a little bit of a punk, but he manages to participate in several teams/extracurricular activities while holding down a job and making the honor roll (with several honors/AP classes), and is consistently one of the hardest working people at his job
2) He makes me laugh, whether it's with his God-awful impressions, his RIDICULOUS ego, or the way he taunts mom and dad, he pretty much never fails to force me to crack a smile.
3) He wants to be a special ed teacher because he wants to work with the happiest kids on campus.
4) He volunteers with younger kids who just worship him because he includes them and makes them feel important.
5) He's been working on being more communicative lately, and will call me on his way home from work just to chat.
6) When we were little, and he would get a treat, he would always ask for one for me, too.
7) He's a cute kid, and, as The Boy says, "could totally 'slay'" (the ladies) if he wanted to, but he doesn't--he treats them well and does all sorts of romantic things for the girl he is dating (well, the girls he's dated, as he's currently single) instead of being a skirt-chasing douche.
8) Sometimes, before I moved, just because he loves me, he used to bring me ice cream at work.
9) His passion. It's hard to get him into something, but once he is, he goes all out. 
10) He is as much of a big kid as I am--we like to watch Disney movies, eat junk food, and do silly things like play with sparklers and little kid toys, and we're completely unapologetic about it.
11) Terri Guillemets said that "After a girl is grown, her little brother - now her protector - seems like a big brother." Brother is super protective of me and likes to puff out his chest and look down his nose at the boys I bring around, which is really starting to actually become intimidating, because he's now 6-3 and can bench press me. 
12) They say that even if you don't speak often or you don't have a good relationship with your siblings (I do wish we spoke more, but I think we have a good relationship), it doesn't matter what is going on, you have a short hand and they just understand you in a way that almost no one else can--they know your history, and they speak your language. All I have to do is look at Brother and he knows exactly what I mean. It's a nice feeling.
13) I can't even count the number of times that people have told me what a great guy he is--it makes me proud to be his sister, because he gives us a good name. 
14) Arguably, of all of the people in my life, I've probably been bitchiest to him, but he still loves me anyway. 
15) We both have quick tempers (at least, or especially with each other), and we can have knock-down-drag-out fights, but we don't hold grudges with each other. The next day, we're back to laughing. 
16) NBD, NBD, NBD, kiipkiipkiipkiip, wooziewooziewoozie
17) He's really good at picking friends--people with integrity, loyalty, and maturity. His friends are really great people, which says a lot considering how truly awful most teenagers are. 
18) His integrity--he strives to live a Christ-like life, and he does a pretty good job. He doesn't drink or do drugs, he isn't mean, he serves, he's kind. I'm proud of him. 

Happy belated birthday, little Bro. I love you. Also, you really need to just tell me what you want for your birthday/graduation. 

July Look Bag and August Julep Box!

Although it's been cancelled, I still wanted to review the items from the July Look Bag, which I received a couple of weeks ago.

Full Size Korres Mango Butter Lipstick in Rose-- $18.00 (for full size) Apparently, some people got a full-sized lipstick in their bags--mine was not, but was still a good size. The color is ok--I like the pink tone, but the gold undertone is kinda meh.
.08 Ultraflesh Gold Standard Mascara. value = $7.88 (.27 oz. $26.00) I actually kinda like it, which is surprising because I am allergic to EVERYTHING. It makes my eyelashes look really long. but they seem a little too individualized (? I'm not sure if that's the right word, but they seem to look kind of like the eyelashes in Nightmare Before Christmas, but not that bad) I put it in my purse for quick touchups
1ml. Betsey Johnson Perfume. value = $1.53 (1oz. $45.00) - This is quite possibly the worst perfume dispenser device ever invented. I don't know why they didn't send us the little spray bottles or roll-ons like you get from Sephora and such.
.24 oz. Bremenn Research Labs Miracle Cream (for the face). value = $9.07 (1.3oz. $49.00) 
I didn't like it very much. It smelled kinda bad and didn't feel very nice. I didn't have any adverse reactions to it, but I definitely didn't think it was a "miracle". 
"An Upcoming Trend" - each month we take to the beauty trenches and see what's upcoming trends out Look Bag subscribers just have to try out.  they sent 2 small bottle of nail polish one in blue and one in purple. value = $1.00/ea. These are clearly Bon Bons, from when you were 7 and wanted to paint your nails. They go on cheap because they are cheap. That being said, if you have a 7 year old girl in your life, they're great. I do not.

Apparently, they're going to figure things out and re-launch soon, dunno if I'll re-subscribe. A lot will depend on how much I like this month's Glam Bag and Birch Box and Sample Society. 
Julep was OK this month. Like I said before, I only did it this month because I had a free one due to referrals--I think the service is way too expensive to just have. That being said, if you use the code COLOR2012, you should still be able to get your first month for a penny. It's worth trying, and if you normally spend a lot of money on nail polishes, then it's definitely good. I tried swatching, but the colors looked weird in the pictures, so none for you.

This month I did August Bombshell, which included: 
Kim, gunmetal grey metallic.
Harley, liquid silver metallic chrome.
Julep Acetone-Free Conditioning Nail Polish Remover, a professional pump-action bottle for easy, one-handed use.
I also added Melanie, pastel indigo metallic chrome as my free add-on because I'm new.  They sent Melanie separately because it was an add-on, which I didn't like, because I felt it was wasteful--they spent extra money on shipping (which is undoubtedly one of the reasons their subscription rates are so high), and they used extra packaging, which is bad for the environment. I can't imagine that they have SO MANY subscribers that it wouldn't be cheaper for them to package the add-ons with the regular boxes instead of sending 2 separate packages.
Because it was their 1-year anniversary, they included a free "tote" which was too small to be called a tote, in my opinion, but whatevs. 

So I loved the color of Kim, but it's streaky and tacky and kinda sucks to apply. 
Harly is pretty, but it's a lighter color than I really wanted and is very similar to something my mom found me on clearance for like $2. 
Melanie was ok also, but I regret it as an impulse buy a little bit, because it's just not a color I really wear. That being said, it's still pretty. 
The pump action bottle is pretty cool, which is mostly what I was excited about because I like the pumping action. That being said, I like Target brand remover better. I plan to just keep refilling my pump bottle with Target stuff. 

All-in-all, I would say these two subscription services are OK. I'm not in love with them, but I don't think they're awful either. 

**I paid for my own Look Bag and received the August Julep box for free because I referred two other people after having paid for my first box.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bucket Listing

I know that I have repeatedly sung the praises of The Boy, but he does a really good job at making memories now. It might have taken him a few months and a little bit of instruction, but he's really gotten good at it.

For the Fourth of July, we drove up to D.C., and it was incredible. We met up with my cousin who is going to school at Georgetown and spent the day at the National Museum(s) of Art, and got to see some pretty cool pieces (Da Vinci, Monet, Van Gogh), and some pretty awful modern art that The Boy actually loved. After the museums, we got hotdogs (because it was the Fourth of July and I insisted. 'Mericuh), and then got lost trying to find his college roommate. We spent the most disgustingly hot and humid hour Of.My.Life. wandering back and forth across the National Mall trying to find the street we needed but, eventually, we did, and walked over to a bar and hung out with some of his friends. After that, we bought a couple cases of beer, which we took to a Congressional office building, where we had some ribs and the best potato salad Of.My.Life. And then.. We climbed on the roof and watched the fireworks over the Washington Memorial. It probably wasn't the best view ever (there was a little bit of roof in the way), it was definitely the most magical firework show I've ever seen.

For several years now, I've wanted to visit a lot of the major cities in the world during their big celebrations, because it combines my love of travel with my love of parties. Being in DC on the 4th was definitely on that list, and I'm super happy that I got to have such an amazing experience.

Other things on the bucket list:
-Carnival in Rio
-Oktoberfest in Germany
-Mardi Gras in New Orleans
-Holi in India
-Chinese New Year in China
-The Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque (not exactly on par with the rest of them, I know, but I <3 hot air balloons)
-Passover in Jeresalem
-Bastille Day in Paris
-The Olympics (anywhere). I'm still holding out hope that Brother will become a world-famous volleyball coach and end up coaching one of the teams, because that would be awesome.
-New Year's in Time's Square. I've heard that it's actually pretty hellish and they don't even let you pee for like 14 hours, but it's an experience, right? I'd also like to see the Thanksgiving Day Parade
-The Super Bowl. I don't really like football, and I'd miss all of the commercials, but it would still be pretty cool.
-The World Series and whatever they call the basketball finals. Samesies.

I'm sure there are several things that I'm missing, but that's the beauty of a bucket list, right? You can keep adding to it as you go on and experience new things. Any ideas?

Bestie Birthday

Bestie's birthday was last week, and because we both made terrible life choices (her following He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and me going to grad school), we've ended up on opposite coasts, so I didn't get to see her on her birthday. It was terribly sad. I did get to see my parents on her birthday, though, which was terribly happy.

Anyway, enough digressing. Here are 23 reasons why I love Bestie:
1) She always, always, always sticks up for the little guy.
2) She wants to save the world, and unlike a lot of people in our generation, I think she might actually do it. Or at least get the ball rolling on it.
3) Even though we fight about whether or not continuing to include people who have wronged you in your life is a necessary part of forgiving them (I don't think it is), she will always, always, always give you another chance.
4) (Man Voice) "I'm not wearing a skirt"
5) She always takes care of me when I'm drinking.
6) The rockin' birthday party she planned for me
7) She is way better at sending mail than I am (like, way better). And also, being crafty and making awesome pick-me-up/encouragement cards that magically appear in my mailbox when I've been having a really crappy week.
8) She's one of the hardest-working people I know.
9) She has great taste in books and is always willing to lend me some.
10) She is infinitely creative and is always looking for ways to make things more efficient or more beautiful or more... whatever. And she's pretty good at it.
11) She will let me snuggle her when we have sleepovers, even though she hates it.
12) She gives me food anxiety.
13) She's super brave. She signs up to do things like the AmeriCORPS VISTA program and going off to teach English to kids in Korea. I'm proud of her, even if it means that she's going to the other side of the world.
14) She pushes me to keep going. When we were in high school, we studied REALLY hard for the AP US History Exam, but when it came time to take the test, I got halfway through my 2nd or 3rd DBQ and just really wanted to quit. I sat there, staring at the wall, unable to will my hand to pick my pencil back up and continue working. She turned to me, asked me what the hell I thought I was doing, told me to get back to work, and I did. I passed the test, and even now, when I find myself wanting to quit, I hear her voice inside my head, asking me what the hell I think I'm doing, quitting.
15) Maybe I got haggis!
16) She is always up for an adventure, and pretty much anything, from a short hike to a quick jaunt over to Castle Megastore to pick up a bachelorette party present qualifies as an adventure when Bestie is around.
17) She encourages me to do fun and silly things, like auditioning for ANTM that one time. We decided that they wanted that season to be about ugly girls, because fo' reals, ya'll, not being conceited, we were way better looking than EVERYONE on that season.
18) I'll take two swirl ice cream cones, and do you have anything free?
19) She always does what needs to be done, even if there is no glory or thanks in the task, and she doesn't complain.
20) She's generous--always willing to share.
21) She's so passionate--she cares so much about so many things, and doesn't let slow progress discourage her.
22) Even though we don't talk or see each other as much as I would like, when we do, it's like no time has passed at all. She's always willing to listen to my rantings and will always try to make me feel better.
23) She's always trying to make herself better, by learning a new language, or taking some class online or trying new recipes--she is never satisfied with "good enough"--she strives for greatness.

I love you, Bestie! Happy birthday!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Julep Box!

I got my Julep box today. It was just sitting there in my mailbox, waiting for me when I went home for lunch. It was such a nice surprise! I love getting mail.

For those of you who don't know, Julep Maven is a monthly subscription service that sends you 2-3 full sized nail polishes per month, along with a nail-related accessory or sample. My box was the American Beauty starter box which includes (according to their website):

The Best Pedi Cremè Ever! exfoliates with alpha hydroxy acids, hydrates with shea butter and coconut oil, nourishes with vitamin E. Apply nightly for noticeable results in just 1 to 2 uses.
Eva, juicy raspberry creme. The right balance of sophistication and whimsy.
Renee, spring lilac creme. Surprisingly ladylike.

The colors don't exactly seem like what they look like on the website, and the Pedi Creme looked full sized online (at least to me, but maybe I'm crazy cakes), but was just a deluxe sample in real life.

I'm not crazy about Renee, but I had decided that I would go with a different color than I normally do, so I wanted to see if it would grow on me. A few days later, and it still hasn't.  I'm out of topcoat, though, and it's held up pretty well, considering. Only a chip here or there on my fingers and none on my toes a few days later.

I do, however, love, Love, LOVE Eva. I think it's a really great color and I'm sure I'll be wearing it all the time. Also, my hands don't look that ugly in real life. At least, I hope they don't.

I have only tried the Pedi Creme once, mostly because I keep forgetting about it at bedtime. I don't really think it's all that much better than any other lotions, but I guess it's ok.

I like the toe spreaders, because they are the thinner, more flexible ones, so they aren't super uncomfortable to wear.

I got the package on the 18th, which was 2 days after they said they were shipping it and 5 days after I signed up. I think that's a pretty good turnaround, so I'm pretty happy with that.

All in all, though, unless I continue to get Maven credits from referrals (for every 2 of you that sign up, I get a free month), I'm going to just skip most months. While I like it, and like that you can choose what you'll be getting, I just don't think that it's really worth $20/month. If I had that kind of money to blow on nail polish, I'd be at the nail salon getting professional mani/pedis. Besides, a lot of the other subscription services regularly send nail polishes with their samples, and I'm always checking the clearance section of Target and Ulta and such to find new colors that are marked down, so usually I spend less than $20/year on new polishes.

Disclaimer: I bought this with my own money (although I did use a code that meant I got it for a penny). All opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I might have a problem....

While we were in The Boy's hometown, he was getting a haircut. I was supposed to be getting some jeans tailored while this was happening, but the tailor was on vacation, so I tagged along. While I was waiting, I picked up a magazine. In the magazine, I read about Birchbox. (If you click this link and buy stuff, I get credits for free stuff, so please do)

I tried getting a subscription, but they are currently full and I am on the waiting list. When I decided to read more about it, I stumbled on some very bad news for my Discover card balance over at The Girly Enthusiast. Apparently there are approximately 8,576,903,275 of these monthly sample subscription things. I spent the day signing up for them/other wait lists. As I get them in the mail, I'll review them on here and maybe cancel as needed. Currently I'm paying for them all myself, but if someone out there (all these companies, I'm talking to you!) wants to pay for my subscriptions (or at least take me off the waiting list!) I am ALL FOR IT. Because I am a poor, poor graduate student. And I love me some cheap stuff (free is better!)

Sample Society
Referral Code:JENK2635
They will be shipping my first order on August 1. The referral code does not get me points, but does give money to charity, so definitely use this one. Share the love.
This is the one of my 2 actual subscriptions that I am most excited about. Hopefully, they won't disappoint. Also, bonus, I get a free 1 year subscription to Allure magazine that doesn't auto-renew, so I won't have to worry about remembering to cancel it. Unfortunately, this one costs $15/month, unlike all of the others which are only $10. 

The Look Bag
No Referral Code =/
They didn't exactly specify my shipping date. It kinda said today, but considering I placed my order after 3 PM EST, I'm guessing not today.
I haven't heard of as many of the brands on this site, so it may be cancelled after one month. Or, I might love it. We shall see. 

They have cancelled the service because they've been having issues. They may rehaul and relaunch, but no word on that yet. They say that they will be sending July bags to people who have already paid for them (which I have), and that they've been shipping all week, but from what I can find on the internet, no one has actually gotten one and everyone is pissed. If I get one (I'm not exactly holding my breath--but if I don't I want my frigging $10 back) I'll post a review. My bag came today, I'll try out the products this weekend and post the reviews.

(Again, the link itself is the referral code)
I'm kind of annoyed that they let themselves be featured in a national magazine (Glamour? I think? or Redbook?), but then limit the amount of people that they allow to sign up. I feel like you need to be willing to accommodate MILLIONS if you're going to do that. I also don't like that they don't tell you how many millions of women are ahead of you on the waitlist (they also have a men's line that I thought about getting for The Boy (he has expensive tastes), but I decided against it. He can look if he wants). Work on that, Birchbox. That's strike one. If they send me awesome stuff or pull me off the waitlist soon, I'll be much happier. Also, points to them for allowing you to review stuff for points which can be used toward future purchases. Boo that they have to be used in 100 point (=$10) increments (e.g. a purchase of $16.99 would require 200 points/$20 reward dollars). It should only require 170 points. Don't scam. I know you're Harvard B-School grads, but I also know what you're up to.

My Glam Bag
This one looks like it has some pretty cool stuff, but they make you put your credit card in when you reserve a spot on the waitlist, and will automatically charge it when your turn comes. I don't like that, because my situation might change and I might completely forget about this in a few months. You can opt out of the waitlist at any point before you're called, but I don't like that they can just charge me at will. I feel like they should do what Birchbox does and say "Oh, hey, it's your turn, go order your box" instead. 

No referral code
I'm not gonna lie--I think this one might be the most all-around awesome box, because they come up with themes and include all sorts of products (including food and gender neutral items) that are all good-sized and seemingly awesome. I am allergic to a lot of skincare and makeup, so having samples of other things would be pretty cool. Hopefully they open up soon.

But for reals, y'all, I need to not be dropping $55/month on samples. If I get pulled off some waitlists, other things are gonna have to go. Probably. Maybe. I don't know. I guess it depends on the type of haul I end up getting. $55/month is worth it if I'm getting decent- to full-sized products that retail for more than $55. If not though... things will be getting the axe. And I will be doing reviews.

Now I need to actually get something productive done for today/this week. Oy.

Birthday Week Shenanigans

As most of you who read this already know, my birthday was last month.

It. Was. Awesome.

It was on a Monday (which kinda sucks), and I had to work (which kinda sucked), but our Project Coordinator brought in doughnuts!

The Boy was instructed to surprise me--I didn't care what he did or got me, but I wanted him to put effort into it. I wanted the time capital. When I told The Boy and Superman that I had asked my parents for a massage and even sent them a link for a Groupon that magically appeared in my inbox minutes later, Superman accused me of being unnecessarily harsh by instructing The Boy to come up with something special. I told them that my parents had already come up with plenty of special ideas for my birthdays past. The Boy said, somewhat grudgingly, "Dude, it's a test." I don't like to think of it that way, but whatever, if it was, he passed.

He picked me up (major points, I usually meet him at his apartment and we carpool from there because it's on the way to wherever we're going 95% of the time, and mine would be in the opposite direction, which it was in this instance). He took me to dinner at a nice restaurant downtown. We had a really nice time and I was very pleased.

Then, the real kicker--he had gotten us tickets to see the live stream of "One Man, Two Guvnors" from the London National Theatre (featuring the original, Tony-winning cast) that was playing at a local theatre. He took the time to find something that was so me that I would really enjoy. The show started out a little rough--we weren't sure it was going to be good for the first 5-10 minutes, but it picked up pretty quickly. It ended up being hilarious, and we were really glad we got to see it. He did so well, and everyone was so impressed that he did such a good job planning something that worked so well for me.

The day after my birthday, Bestie came and spent almost a whole week with me! It was awesome, and I was so glad she did. She and Superman had planned a sunset hiking adventure for me that was so beautiful (even if I almost died...twice) and included a lovely (if illegal?) swim and a picnic with margaritas. They took me to this lake that was so pretty, but had gates around the main beachy part, so we just decided to take a little detour through the woods and get in on the "wilder" side. After that, we hiked up to this beautiful observation tower that gave us the most amazing, breathtaking views of the mountain and nearby town, and the last vestiges of sunset. We would have seen more of sunset if I wasn't SUUUUUUPER out of shape and if it wasn't a mile and a half of stairs straight up the mountain (and maaaaybe I have sports-induced asthma. I don't know because I don't do enough sports to really notice, but all I know is that when I do a lot of cardio, I feel like I'm breathing through one of those tiny coffee straws, even for a while after I stop doing cardio). On the way down, Bestie, The Boy and I all walked within less than a YARD of a baby rattle snake and completely missed him. Could have stepped right on him and not even noticed. We were all shocked when Superman stopped us to point him out. It could have been disastrous because 1) We had all left our phones in the car, assuming that someone else had one 2) We were at the very top of the mountain (and let's face it--I certainly couldn't have carried any of them down) 3) It was very quickly getting dark, and 4) It was a baby, and if it hadn't just eaten, it would have dispensed a whole crapton of poison into whomever it might have bitten. BUT! We were all fine.

After we finally made it off the mountain (just as it got too dark to really see), we tried to leave the campsite where we may have been parking illegally. I say "illegal" in the loosest sense of the word, because, really, it was just frowned upon. Unfortunately for us, they had locked up the campsite before we had made it down the mountain, meaning we were locked in. Right as we were getting out of the car to see if we could somehow bust out, some hic state trooper pulls up behind us and gives us this big lecture about reading the signs. We read the signs, Mr. State Trooper, we just chose to ignore them. It was ridiculous. 

Bestie threw me a birthday party the next night, which was awesome and included delicious salsa (mine and Ms. Congeniality's*), delicious hamburgers (courtesy of The Boy and Superman), and delicious, if inappropriate, Funfetti cake, ala Bestie. I may have had too much tequila. Maybe.

The next night, Bestie and I met her mom in Myrtle Beach for her high school reunion. She went to school in Germany, because her dad was in the Air Force, and all of the Military Brats that went there have these annual reunions, which seem to me to just be a weekend of drunken debauchery and older people feeling like they're 18 again. Bestie's Mormon mother didn't drink, nor did she engage in the debauchery, but she did shake it on the dance floor and sing Hot in Here (which was HYSTERICAL).

I got to see/swim in the Atlantic for the first time, which was pretty cool. Also, the Atlantic is approximately 80 degrees warmer than the Pacific. I do not know how this is possible, but it is. It was lovely.

I had a great birthday week, and I really appreciate all of my family and friends who made it so great!

*The nicest girl in our program. Who may rank among the nicest people in the world.

Friday, July 13, 2012

More subscription madness

Hey y'all...

If you go to Julep and use the code COLOR2012, you get the first month of your subscription for A PENNY. DOOOO IT! You know you want to.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Future is So Bright, He has to Wear Shades

Or some such cliched, inspirational nonsense.

Brother graduated from high school this year. It makes me feel old, having a baby brother who will be starting college in the fall.

He wants to major in Special Ed and minor in ASL, because he wants to work with the happiest kids on campus. I feel like this makes him a pretty good (if naive) person. I admire him a lot.

He's been working like a boss lately--he just got a job installing fire alarms in local schools and he has been doing such a great job that he got promoted after like a week. He's one of the hardest workers on the team and consistently gets the most done. He seems to really like it and I'm really proud of him.

I think he's going to do well. I think I will try to convince him to not live with Mom and Dad all 4 years, like I did, because I think I missed out on a lot of the "college experience" that I hope he gets. I want to convince him to do a study abroad, because I didn't, and everyone I know who did, said that it was the best thing they ever tried. I hope he grows. I hope he learns, and doesn't just get an education. I hope that he meets people who will challenge him and change him. I hope that if he meets a girl, that I will like her (don't judge--you all know you want to like your in-laws, too). I hope he will find something that he's looking for. I hope he remembers who he is, even through all of the changes. I hope he has to work hard, but that he finds joy in that. I hope he loves it.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

To Have and to Hold

Although Summer has barely begun, I have already had several adventures, and I have been remiss in documenting them. This is the first of several posts about my recent trip home.

Cupcake recently wed Mr. Cupcake on the beach in sunny Oceanside, CA. It was a lovely ceremony with about 25 people, short, sweet, and beautiful. I think that they are going to be so happy together. They compliment each other well, as Cupcake noted in her vows, and I think that they both have the strong level of commitment necessary to make a marriage work. When they were taking me to the airport after the wedding weekend was over, they were telling me that they had agreed to never mention divorce until and unless every other option had been exhausted.

I think that that is an important agreement to make when you choose to marry someone--you make a vow to your spouse and God and yourself, and you don't break it. Things get hard, life gets messy, but you commit to Making It Work, even when you don't want to, or the dopamine has worn off, or you are so busy that you have to schedule sex (which, you know what, shouldn't be such a bad thing. Anticipation and all that), or when they're being a jerk, or when you're being a jerk. You just do it.

In my role as MOH, I took a minute before we started getting ready to ask Cupcake if she was sure--it was close to wedding time, but there was still more than enough time to bail. She didn't have to do it, but once she said "I Do" there would be no turning back. She looked at me and said "I never had a moment of doubt." Their ceremony was beautiful, despite the fact that the groom was "near death" (his words, not mine--he woke up with quite the cold and Cupcake and I debated taking him to Urgent Care instead of their wedding dinner after taking pictures on the freezing cold beach).

Mr. Cupcake's dad was hysterical and inappropriate. Like a lot. One morning he asked me and a few of the other young people staying in the beach house if we ever "cyber." (As in cyber sex, which he thought was when your brain has sex with someone else's brain over the internet). 

Their reception in our hometown was also great--we got to dance and drink and laugh. The Boy let me dress him up in bunny ears, giant sunglasses, and a lei for the guestbook photobooth and danced with me all night, even though he hates dancing, because I love it. He also spent the better part of 2 days helping us to set up for the wedding and didn't even complain. We ate s'mores and drank margaritas until 1 in the morning.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Things that would be more fun than appyling to PhD programs...Again

Readers, this fall will be my third round of PhD. applications. The first time, I was trying to graduate a full year early and had a letter of recommendation from a woman who was going through somewhat of a breakdown that I understand was not very favorable. I did not get any interviews or acceptances. The second time, I had more experience and a new letter and I got 2 interviews (both eventual rejections off the waitlist) and 2 acceptances. One acceptance was to a PhD program, but I ultimately felt that it wasn't the best fit for me. The other was to a Master's program that was perfect for my research interests, which is where I ended up. Unfortunately for me, that means that in order for me to get that ever-elusive "Dr", I need to apply again, so here I sit, with The Boy, researching programs. He is still not quite certain about what he wants to study within clinical psychology and is looking for a heuristic to narrow the field. He asked me, "Is it wrong to judge people based on their pictures? Some of these people look like assholes and bitches." My response, "It's probably bad to do that, yes." His response, "What if they're just hideous and I don't want to look at them every day?" Me: "Yeah, that's probably bad, too. Although, I have occasionally thought to myself, 'These pictures are open for the whole world to see. Couldn't you have used a brush?'" As you can see, we aren't enjoying ourselves.

Also, when looking at US News rankings of the best programs in the country, we discovered that almost all of the schools that we want to apply to are in the top 20. Awesome.

While I'm looking Boston College, he says to me, "Baby, Boston is cold as fuck. You should hear Boss* talk about it. He says it's cold as fuck. It's really, really cold."

Me to him: "Can we just go be beach bums in Hawaii, instead?" His response: "We could be drug dealers. We're probably smarter than most drug dealers."

Him to me: "[Your undergrad, in your hometown] has a really good clinical program." Me: "Yes, I know." Him: "They're nice, but we aren't living with your parents." Me: "Definitely not."

Here is a list of things I would like more than doing this again:

-Being a Vampire and silvering myself a la TrueBlood (season 4--I just watched it. It's the one with the witches)
-Eating habenero peppers straight
-Zombie Apocalypse (I'm getting to be a pretty good shot)
-Chinese bamboo torture
-Chinese water torture (the Chinese are a cruel folk)
-Watching Golf
-Eating nothing but broccoli for a week
-Drinking black coffee

I'm kind of just hoping that my advisor will know someone and they'll just take me. That would be nice. And they they would also just take The Boy, too. And that they give good stipends. And are in one of the three states that we agreed that we want to live in. A girl can dream, right?

*His childhood best friend.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Raising our standards

Recently, the Switcher* lost her boyfriend suddenly, tragically, and oh-so-unexpectedly. When I called to offer my condolences, she told me about what a great guy he was, and how he treated her so well, yada, yada.I realize this sounds very blase, but it isn't. I'm really sorry and sad for her and I hope that she's getting through this tough time as well as can be expected.

The things she was telling me were the things that, realistically, shouldn't have been all that special. He did things like actually taking her on dates and calling when he said he would and telling her how much she meant to him.

These things started making me think about The Boy and why I am so fond of him and how well he treats me. Because he does things like picking me up from the airport and refilling my glass without being asked and cooking me dinner and giving me a crapton of music when I want new stuff.

And then I started to think: are The Boy and The Switcher's Boy really that awesome, or have our standards just gotten incredibly low based on our past experiences and the experiences of our friends? (My conclusion: Yes for The Boy and undecided for Switcher's boy, because I never met him). I mean, Bestie's ex, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, pretty much never did things like that. When she came to visit me, instead of taking her to the airport, he made her take the subway and like 2 bus transfers. Because that was the kind of shitty boyfriend behavior that I had vicariously (and somewhat from my own previous shitty boyfriends and boyfriend-like-things) become accustomed to, when The Boy took me to and picked me up from the airport for Cupcake's bachelorette party, I gushed my thanks. Repeatedly. It was actually pretty ridiculous. Granted, he did have to come get me at midnight, and he had to leave a lab meeting early to take me to the airport, but it wasn't that big a deal, objectively. After the 500th time I told him thank you, he said to me, "I really need you to stop thanking me. It's making me feel like you didn't expect me to do this for you." But to me, it wasn't a small thing. It was a big deal that he wasn't selfish. It was a big deal that he was willing to use his gas to come get me in the middle of the night so that I didn't have to pay for parking and drive home after spending 7+ hours traveling.

But also, I think our standards have just gotten really low.  I think it's important to be grateful for and acknowledge when our SOs do selfless things, no matter how small or insignificant, but at the same time, I think that we all need to start expecting a certain degree of selflessness from our partners. I'm not saying that we should all take advantage of the people we're dating or that we should subjugate ourselves, but I think some courtesy on both people's parts is pretty important. It shouldn't be surprising that my boyfriend is willing to pick me up and drop me off, because my boyfriend and all of my friend's boyfriends should just do those sorts of things. And if they don't do those sorts of things, we should kick them to the curb, because their selfish asses do not deserve the lovely, selfless people that we are, and  I think that tolerating that sort of behavior not only harms us personally, but harms relationships everywhere. If my boyfriend's friends all treat their girlfriends like crap, and their girlfriends don't leave them, for whatever reasons that girls have for not leaving their shitty boyfriends, eventually my boyfriend might learn that that sort of crap is acceptable, and it so isn't!

/end rant.

*Best friend from Middle School

Friday, April 20, 2012

Things I find douche-tastic

So this girl that I went to undergrad with (and whom I should really just defriend, because she's super annoying and acts like an immature 15 year old (meaning immature for even a typical 15 year old)) posted some nonsense on Facebook about a Vegas weekend, followed with "YOLO", which is quite possibly the douchiest phrase ever invented. Freakin' Drake and Tyga. (I am purposely leaving out the link for the song because I don't want to encourage that crap). So I started complaining about YOLO and douchey people, and my friend, Carp*, who introduces me to all the best shit on the internet (like the hairpin), told me about this video:
Warning: NSFW, but freaking hilarious. If you're reading this at work, email it to yourself and watch it at home. You'll thank me. Also, watch "Pregnant women are smug". I wish I had a closer pregnant friend to whom I could send that video, because I don't think any of my pregnant acquaintances would appreciate it.

And I decided to write a whole post about douchey people/places/things/ideas 
-People who complain about how much time they spend on something that is totally voluntary and optional. Yes, I'm talking to you, douchey Wikipedia editor(s). STFU about the DYKs already. If you don't like it, stop doing it. 
-The new Prius commercials about the douchey people who drive Prius'. But that's kinda meta-douche, so I don't know if that really counts. 
-Academic journal articles that are presented as some sort of meta-analysis or lit review that are really just one or two authors citing the crap out of themselves in order to get their citation indices up.
-People who think The Onion is real news
-People who think that Pintrest is gospel.
-People who get too hung up on details (yes, sometimes I am douchey. Making this list also probably makes me douchey). 
-All things Ed Hardy
-Drunkenly yelling out of car windows
     -Basically everything from this song: 
      Also, I am in love with that weird skirt/pants thing they have going on. Especially the futuristic fabric. 

-Women who hover when they pee and leave pee all over the seat.
-The women who write Cosmo and who tell me that that effortless-looking Victoria's Secret hair really is effortless, and then proceed to have a multi-step article spelling out how to do it that actually involves several expensive products, a lot of effort and would take approximately an hour and a half.**

*As always, names changed to protect the innocent.
**Especially frustrating since the Boy and I recently had a conversation about how he finds me most attractive when it doesn't look like I've put any effort in. What I fail to make him grasp is how much effort it takes to make it look like I haven't made any effort. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Relaxing, Internet Trolls, and Finishing Strong

I've been in a pretty crappy mood since Spring Break. I think the fact that I had such an awesome break is partially to blame--while I was gone, I was fully present in the moment, I got to sleep in, I got to stay up late for fun (and not because I have homework/a paper/an exam the next morning, like I've been doing a lot lately), I was with enjoyable company doing enjoyable things. And then I get back to school and hear the terrible, horrible **SQREEEEEE* of a record stopping.

I was in pretty bad shape for a while, but I think things are starting to turn around a bit. I finally got a weekend where I didn't have to do anything (well, I kinda did, but it wasn't anything super important or pressing, so I didn't do it) or have to be anywhere, which was nice, because it had been 6 weeks since I've really had a low-key weekend. Between Spring Break, Bestie's Visit, Cupcake's Bachelorette Party (and yes, that is a proper noun), Easter (which was at the Boy's family's/the Boy's brother's fiance's house, with a quick detour to the local amusement park for some roller coasters), I am traveled out and pretty exhausted, so it was nice to just relax and lay like broccoli (please, for the love of God, know where that quote is from).* The Boy and I drove out to a nearby city on Saturday to exchange a shirt, because our town is too small to warrant having a J.Crew.** On the way, we stopped at a farmer's market, where we sampled some delicious strawberries and cinnamon honey and bought some even more delicious beef jerky. We shall go back. Sunday, we ate Mexican food and watched Game of Thrones with Superman, which is where we were when we heard about our Wikipedia troll.

So for our Personality class, in lieu of a typical research paper, we have to contribute a new article to Wikipedia. I go back and forth between thinking this is a pretty awesome assignment and thinking it's actually pretty awful. Anyway, part of the assignment was submitting our articles to "Did you know?", which is a feature on Wikipedia's front page that directs you to cool new articles (supposedly. I've never used this feature before), and these submission are then evaluated by outside editors who deem you worthy or unworthy on several levels, including notability, neutral point of view (not arguing for a particular side of one issue), sounding like an encyclopedia instead of a personal reflection/essay, etc. So a bunch of us all submitted our DYKs at the same time because we had a due date, and this one editor lady totally jumped all over us. She nominated Roommate's page for deletion (way harsh and unnecessary, not to mention unwarranted) and called Advisor, the class, and our wiki ambassadors all incompetent. She is being mean and nasty and should really just get a freaking life. We do not like her. Advisor and our class ambassadors are taking care of it, but seriously, this lady needs to chill the eff out.

In other news, there is only about 2 1/2 weeks of school left. I don't know how it's possible that my first year of graduate school is almost over. I can still remember (*vividly*) getting lost the first time I was here alone and ending up sobbing in not the best part of town. I can also vividly remember being incredibly lost with Mom and being 30 minutes late for a lab meeting and being so, so tired, and so, so sick of getting lost, and the two of us having a bit of a nervous breakdown driving around in circles on campus, laughing hysterically (not in a "oh-this-is-so-funny-we're-lost-again-sitcom-type-of-hysterical, but in a "we've-completely-lost-it-and-probably-need-meds-we-sound-like-the-joker-type-of-hysterical), calling the Project Coordinator and having her tell me I just need to turn around, that the building I'm looking for is right there. I still remember the first time I met the other people from the program at trivia night. I was so nervous, and I wore a blue top. I still remember the party Roommate and I had to get to know everyone. We spilled pomegranate martinis on our beige carpet. I still remember my first day of class, where we learned Allport's definition of social psychology (which I still don't remember). I still remember my first not-a-date-date with the Boy, and the first time we had a stats party (note: not an actual party) and my first assignment and my first good grade (which was NOT on my first assignment, just FYI). I just can't believe I'm almost halfway done. I never would have imagined myself here, doing this thing, but I'm doing it. And as much as I consider quitting, I'm going to tough it out. Build character and all that. Learn things, about life, and psychology, and myself. Figure out how to be a grownup.

Anyway, it'll be a stressful couple of weeks, but then it's off to the beach for Cupcake's wedding and back to the hometown for Brother's graduation and Cupcake's hometown reception. The Boy will be joining me and gets the unique pleasure of meeting everyone in my family and most of our family friends all at once at Brother's graduation party. When I asked him if he was sure, he said "If not now, when?" He's braver than I am, but that's ok, because I'm confident that everyone will love him.  Bestie did, and I'm pretty sure she's harder to please than even Dad. Or Godfather, who is pretty impossible to impress.

I am so excited to go home. I'll get to see all of the people I love the most, go hiking in the beautiful red rocks with the Boy, eat real Mexican food (and my favorite pizza, and my favorite chicken fingers, and the froyo by my parents' house.... apparently I'm going to gain back all the weight that I still haven't finished losing for the wedding), and just enjoy my family and friends. I can't wait. I don't have a definite departure date yet (if my freaking professors would give us due dates....), but  it is definitely in less than 30 days. I can totally make it 30 days, can't I? Dad is always preaching to me about finishing strong around this time of year. The other students and I have been cursing our parents a lot lately for giving us a work ethic. We all need to dgaf a little more. Whatevs, our reward for surviving the next month is milkshakes, which I think is a pretty awesome reward.

*I super need to work on my parenthetical interruptions.

**The Boy spends way too much on his clothes, but he looks damn good in that shirt. It bring out his pretty blue eyes. Also, wearing a $4 t-shirt and $20 jeans and Old Navy flipflops in a J.Crew will make you feel like a hobo next to the girls in their obviously-real-and-not-cultured-pearls, $300 flats, and Chanel purses. True story. Also, I wish I could justify paying $80 for a cotton sundress, but I just can't. I just can't.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Boo Boo Hole

This past weekend, I was able to go home to throw a bachelorette party for my other bestie, Cupcake. It was a whirlwind and I am still exhausted. Because her sister and I (co-MOH's) both are in school in other states, she bought several bridesmaids' dresses for us to try on with the hopes that we wouldn't actually have to go shopping. These hopes were in vain. For some reason, pleating is really "in" right now. My childbearing hips do not know why this is the case. Pleats are cruel and unforgiving (although they aren't as bad as bandage skirts/dresses, which somehow make skinny girls look curvy, and heavy girls look thin, and me (slender, but curvy (read: T & A), well within the normal weight range for my height) look like a beached whale). 10 stores and ~25 dresses later, we finally found a teal-ish/aqua-ish one-shoulder number that's gauzy and beachy and cute without making me look a little pregnant.

We had a lingerie shower at her house, where we did jello shots, played games (get the dick in the hole*, among others), and opened naughty presents. Hilarity and inappropriateness ensued. When I did my shopping, I made the Boy come to the adult store with me, because while I am not terribly prude (I mean, I got her a vibrating cock ring, for goodness' sakes), there is some weird shit in those places (like the dildo that was 4 inches in diameter and if it was physically possible, would have gone up to my boobs if fully inserted, and no, it wasn't a two-way, because it had balls at the end). When I told this story, Cupcake's other friend (who was the only one who got a dirtier present than I did) laughed at me and said that she not only is willing to go by herself, she has a frequent customer card and "wanted [her] points, dammit!"

After the shower, we went to a club in the clubby part of town and danced and laughed and drank overpriced drinks and were mildly dance-raped by strangers. Cupcake was suuuuper drunk and, when shot a look of mild horror, would push the dance-raper away and yell at him for assaulting her friends. A bouncer finally had to tell her to stop it. It was hilarious and wonderful, and I am so happy for her and her fiance. I love them both dearly, and I'm glad that she is with someone who so clearly adores her. I think they'll have a long and happy life together, especially if he keeps paying the cleaning lady. Their wedding is going to be amazing, and having that light at the end of the tunnel is seriously what is going to get me through finals. Four days on the beach with friends, food, and booze? Yes, please!

*It is a relay race in which you tie a hotdog to a string around your waist so that it dangles to your knees, and then without using your hands, try to get the hotdog through the top of a milk jug. Hilarity ensues. The first team to all successfully and quickly get their dicks in the hole wins.

Best Friend Shenanigans

The Bestie was here two weekends ago. It was so lovely to see her. Three months is far too long to wait to see your best friend.

The beginning of her trip was a little rough, because she was flying standby and got bumped from the second leg of her flight, meaning I had to drive to the airport 2 hours away to pick her up instead of the smaller, regional airport 40 minutes away. It was nice, though, because we had 2 hours in the car to catch up. The Boy and our friend Superman* made us a lovely dinner of chicken sandwiches that were ready when we got there. They even waited for us, which was super nice of them, because 1) dinner was 2 hours later than I promised them it would be and 2) I also promised them that I would do most of the cooking. After dinner we went to see The Hunger Games, which was pretty good, but cut out a lot of things that I think made the movie kind of confusing if you didn't read the books. I read a review that said that the "hunger" was practically eliminated from the movie, which I thought was true. There were a lot of scenes where Katniss and/or Peeta "weren't hungry" or "done" without having eaten very much at all. Not so in the book. After the movie, we went  back to the Boy's apartment where we taught Bestie Nertz. I don't know how it's possible that we've been friends for so long and I still haven't taught her Nertz, but she kicked our butts. It was insane.**

Saturday, we went to a "darty" (read: day party) at the home of another friend. There was frisbee, day drinking***, corn hole, roof-sitting, failed drunk tests (Superman and I have the bruises to prove it), videogames, Bang!****, and being told yet again how amazing mom's my salsa is. Afterwards, we went back to the Boy's and watched Man on Fire, but Bestie and I fell asleep halfway through. Not really sure what happened, but I woke up to a very violent and confusing ending.

Sunday, we went to the mall, because we both love pretty things, even if we are poor (underwear sales! Free Clinique! How could I say no?) and I showed her the campus and we went to Superman's for dinner and Illuminati, which is a game designed to make you hate your friends. It is essentially conspiracies and backstabbing, and I took to it like a duck to water. It is a good thing that the Boy likes how competitive I am, because pretty much no one else does. It's not my most attractive feature, but he shares my dislike of people who can never seem to give a damn about anything.

I miss her dearly, and I really wish that she could come visit me every month, at least, but alas, we are both poor, and even buddy passes are expensive when you're poor. Next year, when she's done saving the LAUSD, she's gonna get a J-O-B and then maybe she can visit some more. Or, alternatively, since she is no longer saddled with He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, she can get a J-O-B here and we will live happily ever after. She can fall madly in love with Superman or Captain Optimism***** and we can have adventures and it shall be lovely. Just consider it.

*As per usual, all names have been changed to protect the innocent. Which, clearly, is obvious, because I am, unfortunately, not friends with Superman. (Holy parenthetical interruptions, Batman!) Also, it should be noted that Superman originally suggested the name Clark, as in Kent, but since no one gets actual names, he shall henceforth and forever be known as Superman. Which is "what [he] really wanted, anyway."
**For those of you who don't know, Nertz is essentially multi-player solitaire. You start with a "nertz" pile of 12 cards face down, with a 13th card face up. The object of the game is to get rid of your nertz pile. Any cards left in that pile count as -2 towards your score. You cannot lay any cards on top of your nertz cards. You then deal 4 cards face up to be your "well"(? I don't know what else to call these cards), upon which you play other cards in descending order and opposite colors (for example--if you have a black 7 in your "well" you can lay a red 6 on top, just like in solitaire). Only you can play on your well cards. When you come across an ace, you play it in the center.  Everyone is able to play off of the cards in the center of the table, which are played just like the aces in solitaire--same suit, ascending order. The person who lays a king on a pile in the center turns it face down, indicating that the pile is dead. Each card played in the middle counts as +1, any cards in the "well" area are neither positive nor negative.The first person to call "Nertz" wins the round, and everyone counts their score for the round. The first person to 100 wins the game.
***Bestie and I were able to create a delicious cocktail by salvaging and combining a strawberry margarita that had too much strawberry and not enough tequila and a screwdriver with too much vodka and not enough orange juice. It tasted like summer and freedom.
****Like mafia, but harder and less fun. 
*****I did not ask him for input on his name, but it is highly fitting.