Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Can Cook! (?)

Apparently, sometimes, I know my stuff when it comes to cooking!

Check out my recipe in action over on one of my favorite blogs, Duoly Noted.

Melissa made my dish as part of her once-a-week attempts at cooking for her husband and it looks like she did an amazing job. This is my go-to dish for all the men in my life, be it my boyfriend, my father, etc.

Sadly I haven't had it in forever because it's not South Beach friendly. =(

Monday, August 24, 2009

Catching Up: Just Friends? Part 1

To start off my new Catching Up Feature, in which I write about times in my life that were slightly more eventful than the present, I thought I'd take on a doozy: Can men and women ever just be friends, as exhibited by my friendship with Big Relationship, my ex and current best friend after 4 years of dating, and the saga of one of the most frustrating and deceptive men I've ever known, Summer Romance.

I'm going to have to agree with Harry on this one. Men and women cannot just be friends. I have two very good examples to back this up. Case point #1 involves the situation of two people who dated at first, and then tried to become friends afterward. Or, aka, Big Relationship and myself. Now, I will tell people that Big Relationship and I are best friends, and we are, in the sense that we've known each other longer than most of our other friends have known us and for five years of our lives we were as close as any two people can ever be. If you've had that, how can you do anything but remain great friends?

So we have, or at least that's what I like to tell myself. But truth be told, our relationship lacks a lot of the makings of a strong male-female friendship, if such a thing even exists. There's an unspoken rule for no flirtation, which everyone knows is a cornerstone to opposite sex interactions. [Or maybe that's just how I manage mine...hmm...] To a degree, I mean. And we just aren't as tender or emotive as we once were, from this sort of invisible wall that I guess we've, well in my opinion he's, put up since the breakup. It's really just a strange dynamic; two people who know and understand each other better than most people ever will, who have an invisible barrier between them.

I bring this all up because I'm seeing Big Relationship this Friday when he comes to see the show I've directed, and also because this summer I saw Summer Romance for the first time in eight months. It wasn't be the first time we've seen each other since we broke up in Summer 2008, but it was the first time we've really gotten to talk about everything that happened between us since. The Summer Romance Saga is a long and complicated one, but I will try to do my best to recap it in a clear, unbiased and most importantly uncomplicated manner, if that's possible:

Summer Romance and I worked together Summer 2008, and always engaged in minor flirtation, but I had heard that he was involved with someone else we both worked with, who we'll call Other Woman, and knew that it would be unwise to get in the middle. Plus, when I met Summer Romance, what is now my infamous Declare My Feelings For L. and Get Shot Down Weekend was coming up, and my mind was totally preoccupied by that. So Summer Romance and I continued our flirtation. I asked him about Other Woman, and he told me they had been hooking up in the spring but that he was single.

So anyways, as we all know I confessed my love for L., he broke my heart, blah blah. (Which, in case you're wondering, I never let him live down.) So when I returned home I was feeling a bit down, clearly. So when Summer Romance asked for my number I thought, well, why not, maybe I'll have a...yup...summer romance, at the least. We had a great connection instantly, even though he was 24, which at first I thought would be a problem. He had also just recently gotten a job as a math teacher at Big Relationship's former high school, which I also thought could be quite awkward, but no, none of these apparent dealbreakers ended up being a problem. The only problem turned out to be Other Woman.

See, Summer Romance may have thought he was single, but Other Woman certainly did not think so. And I, naive hostess who was not privy to the convoluted world of work relationships, did not know any of this. So Summer Romance and I had a few dates and they were going great, and I was (kind of) starting to feel less brokenhearted about L., although truth be told he was never far from my mind. And then the problems started. And continued. I'd overhear Other Woman talking at work about Summer Romance in a very possessive, girlfriend-y sort of way, yet whenever I'd try to bring it up nonchalantly to Summer Romance he'd completely deny all my allegations and make me feel overly jealous, etc, for wondering. So we'd go back to having another great week or so, and then I'd overhear some more Other Woman convos. Or, even worse things. I'd wake up at Summer Romance's apartment after having spent the night, have breakfast, kiss him goodbye, and happily prance (okay, drive) home only to see that Other Woman's fb status would read "Going to lunch with [Summer Romance] and his parents!"

Um, wtf?

I'd then get frustrated and try to end things with Summer Romance, he would fight with me until I didn't, I'd somehow believe him that there wasn't anything going on between them. I'd even explain away the inexplicable things, like the fact that there was mascara smudge on his pillows in the morning even when I'd washed my face the night before. Truth be told, I'm infuriated that I let it go on as long as it did. I'm a little notorious for being picky about the guys I date and ending things not so far in.

So when the hazy days of summer began to draw to a close and my returning to college three hours away from home began to loom menacingly, I begrudginly had "the talk" with Summer Romance about "where this was going." (Ugh.) I put it out there as "we had a fun run, summer fling, keep in touch, go our own ways, etc" and so imagine my shock when he said he wanted to "do the real thing," and have a legit, monogamous (or so I presumed) long-distance relationship. I hesitantly agreed, only to un-agree a few days later after my Other Woman instincts got the best of me. This didn't work, as Summer Romance has a great way of making me doubt my instincts and trust him completely, which is something that NEVER happens with me, and so after a teary, tender and, what I thought to be honest, conversation we decided to really go for it.

Stay tuned for Part Two!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Growing Clothing Collection

Well, another short-lived burst of packing momentum has ended, so here I am in need of a distraction. This is better than the last burst, which began at approximately 8 o' clock pm and ended at approximately 8:07 pm, at which point I decided to curl up on the couch and watch about seven episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

This second burst lasted for a good half-hour or so; a solid attempt, if I do say so myself. But I noticed something funny when I was packing. Somehow, I've managed to obtain about half of L.'s wardrobe.

It started like this. I went to pack up my Workout Clothes and PJs drawer, and found L.'s white t-shirt that he sent me because it smells like him and I like to sleep in it. I also have L.'s Orange J. Crew Graphic Tee, which is the softest and most wonderfully faded salmon-y orange shirt I have ever had the pleasure of stealing.

Next, I removed L.'s J. Crew Sherpa Fleece Hoodie in Faded Green, to which I alluded in an earlier post, from the back of my chair, and found hanging underneath it L.'s red tie. It's actually not my fault; C. wore the tie to a Corporate Hos and CEOs party that Couple Friend Guy and his friends threw, but now I have been given the task of caretaking and ensuring it reaches its home in L.'s tie collection. By the way, I've only ever actually seen him wear approximately 1/8 of the selection. I guess it's better than a guy with a penchant for silly ties.

Time to unpack the Warm Things drawer! And what do I discover here, but L.'s Navy Blue Fleece Private School Sweatpants with Said Private School's Monogram Emblazoned on Them. These I stole deliberately, as they are big, comfy and cozy for chilly winter study sessions. Plus, there's a sort of Victorian thrill of walking around wearing something clearly associated with your boyfriend. It goes back to the pin-giving days of the 50s. There was probably a custom in prehistoric times when a woman would wear the skins of her boyfriend's newly slain mammoth. Who am I to judge? Also in this drawer I discovered L.'s Green Golf Polo, which also carries with it a certain thrill of wearing conspicuously male clothing.

Unpacking my underwear drawer, I came across one of L.'s Lonely Socks. It, like me, has been without its mate all summer. How meta. I also have a pair of L.'s Comfy Boxers in here, which I love to sleep in.

Not a bad collection. Unfortunately it's taking up some much-needed space in my suitcase. Time to go sort it all out...

Proof Of My Last Post

So, if I were to do as I said in my last post and begin a blog entitled "My Boyfriend is Sweeter Than the Sucralose in the Sugar-Free Candy I Have to Eat Because of The South Beach Diet," this would be a prime first post:

This afternoon L. took two little girls aged 5 and 8 (I think, L. you can correct me on this) out minigolfing (my FAVORITE activity!) in sunny California, where it's not monsooning, and if that weren't sugar-coma-inducing enough, he sent me a picture of the three of them saying they wished I could be there.

I'm tempted to post the picture but I haven't decided if I'm going to be putting pictures in my blog yet. What do you guys think?

Things I Wish I Thought of First

So, you should all know that when it comes to sense of humor, I am a guy. Plain and simple. I have absolutely no political-correctness screen to my sense of humor. I'm nearly impossible to offend. Which is why I find it amusing that there's such a media backlash right now against Tiffanie Wong and her blog. Tiffanie's blog is titled, "My Husband is Annoying," and, well, it's perfection. Absolutely hilarious. And her husband has publicly said in interviews that he sees the humor in the blog and doesn't mind it at all. Yet so many people are condemning poor Tiffanie for having only the most bitingly clever sense of humor. I've been actually "lol"ing while reading it.

Why didn't I think of this? This is great. Of course, I could never write a blog like this. My blog would have to be entitled, "My Boyfriend is Too Nice." Or, "My Boyfriend Never Lets Me Pay for Dinner." That could be interesting, in and of itself. Hmm...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Loneliness Rut

I'm just going to come right out and say it. I'm lonely. And no, this isn't another post about how I can't stand being away from L., and all that, although that is the main reason, most likely. I just feel like I'm stuck in this rut where I'm only fulfilling one part of my life, soul, whatever you want to call it. The way I see it, we all have "x" distinct parts that we're made up of, and that need nurturing to keep us healthy and happy. For instance, my parts would be interpersonal, intellectual, physical, productive, and internal. So, to satisfy my interpersonal romantic needs, I would see L. more than once every three months, be in tune with my emotions, give and receive homemade gifts, etc. Or I would get to see my parents more often, or spend quality time with my friends. Intellectual is always well enough taken care of by being in school, but for those times when my classes just aren't doing it for me I love to check classics off my reading bucket list. Physical is anything from eating healthily, drinking plenty of water, and feeling good about that, to going to the gym, or even just getting a pedicure and making sure my hands stay lotion-ed and soft. When little things like that feel good, the rest of me does too. My productive needs would range anywhere from making a to-do list and successfully completing everything on it to having a job, earning money and feeling like I'm valued somewhere, doing something. And internal...well isn't that the ambiguous one. That's just really anything else I know I need to be happy, that I can't get from any of the aforementioned areas. For instance, reading blogs that I love, having my tea every morning, writing, both here and elsewhere, looking at pictures of puppies, cleaning and organizing my dorm room...just anything I know makes me feel great.
And this summer, I just do not feel like I am satisfying all those needs. I'm certainly not seeing enough of L. I miss my parents. I mean, during the academic year when I'm living away from home I don't see them, either, so it's not like this should seem much different. But this is really the first time, at least it feels, that I've gone off and lived on my own. Granted, I am staying in a dorm on my college campus, so it's not like it's this exotic and strange spot that I don't actually inhabit nine other months of the year. But I paid for this rip-off room myself (no laundry or kitchen...yup), my roommate has since left and I'm just, well, alone. Some of my best friends were on campus this summer and I felt like I hardly saw them, or hardly got a glimpse of what was going on in their lives. I just feel disconnected from everything.

The gym is only open in this awkward window for approximately an hour before and after I go to/get out of work, and I'm just going to make it clear now: I am not a morning exercise person. Rushing home after work, changing out of my business clothes and into my running shorts all for a 45 minute workout is just not working out this summer. That's hardly enough time for all my cardio! I am drinking enough water, which is nice. I've actually counted, and I've been going to the bathroom at work an average of about 8-10 times per day. This is because I actually have to go, not because I'm wandering around wasting time. So, yeah, water's taken care of.

The only areas I really feel like I'm fulfilling in any significant way this summer are my need to be productive, and my need for intellectual stimulation. I'm working 40 hours a week at one job and about 10 hours per week at a night job, so definitely keeping busy and seeing money come in, which is nice. My job at the art museum is really interesting. I'm actually getting to do what I love, which is edit, and I'm learning a ton of art history. But other than that, I'm feeling less than par on my brain teasing activities.

Part of the problem with all this is that sometimes, when situations like this present themselves, I just accept the funk-mode and don't really try to take any active steps to change it. Someone like C., for example, is always in a routine. She'll go to the gym, go to the coffeeshop and do work, find tickets to a show, make dinner plans, etc. If I'm feeling funk-ish I'll do, for example, what the plan for tonight is: take the money I would have spent on dinner and use it to buy the last four episodes of Season One of How I Met Your Mother on iTunes, and then curl up in my bed with some sugar-free pudding and do that until I fall asleep. Strangely enough, during the school year a night like that would be a dream come true! Having the time to watch tv shows aimlessly and eat guilt-free junk food is a desire I cannot often satiate. But a whole life of that? Um, no. Lethargic and boring and lonely. Which is how I'm feeling now.

I can't wait until this summer is over! Last day of work tomorrow, packing up and heading home for a week, and then L. arrives next Monday! Counting the days.

Is anyone else out there kind of in a rut this summer?

[Images from Flickr, Warwick,]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Going the Distance

I just got off yet another hour-long Skype session with L., and I've been thinking about this past summer, and how our together-every-second-of-the-day relationship has all of a sudden gone to seeing-each-other-once-in-three-months relationship, and, well, it really sucks. We've been apart for almost a third of the entire time we've been official. I'm just not cut out for this long-distance business. Big Relationship and I dated for three years in high school, and then he, being a year older, went off to college and I spent my senior year of high school wishing it away and driving down to Boston, where he went to school, to see him every weekend or two. Then, when it was finally time for me to go to college, and the distance between us, i.e., Williams and Boston, grew to three hours, we hardly made it two months before he called it quits. But he isn't wholly to blame; I had my difficulties with the distance. I think the biggest problem with that situation was that there was no end in sight; he was going to be in school for three more years, I'd just started college, and that was the way it was going to be, whether we liked it or not.

So there's really one of two situations to be in, concerning distance. You can be in a relationship with someone who goes to your college and see them almost every day for nine months of the year, and then be apart all summer and all major holidays (the best times!), or date someone from home and be with them all holidays, all summer, and sporadically throughout the year. Well, that's what I attempted to do with Summer Romance the beginning of my Sophomore year, and, let's just say it was an absolute disaster. Of course, his valuing monogamy a little more would have helped too, but I digress.Clearly I've chosen the first route, the seemingly more appealing together for most of the year, inseperably, only to be ripped apart for three long, hot, lonely months. I did see L. once this summer, for about five days, which were wonderful. But otherwise, this summer has been pretty miserable. I've been staying busy at my job, which I've mentioned before but to refresh it's working in the Publications department of an art museum, and it's stimulating and keeps me busy, but it's not quite enough to keep my soul alive with the glory of life. So then part of me feels like a victorian anti-feminist for needing my boyfriend, and feeling unfulfilled and just slightly below the level of being really, truly happy without him, but honestly, that's just how it is. So much of my experience here at Williams is inextricably linked to him, just as so many of my plans for my up and coming future are.

But, in one and a half short weeks, all that will end and finally, my long-distance relationship will once again be in arm's reach. It definitely hasn't been a fun run. We certainly haven't had deep-rooted problems, but how much is there to talk about on the phone every day for three months? And I've gotten frustrated, and I've gotten bored, and I've gotten despondent, and I've gotten restless, but I've also had some of the most affirming moments in our relationship this long-distance summer, and known more surely than ever that I'm madly in love with him. And he, of course, has been unchanging, calm, even-tempered, and constant, which are some of the things I love most about him.
Oh, and another perk to long-distance relationships? Today in the mail I got a surprise package containing two seasons of my two favorite tv shows, so I would "be able to stay busy until we see each other," as L. put it. And watching Lily and Marshall on How I Met Your Mother makes me feel more at ease, too, since I think Lucas and I are headed in the same place they ended up on the show. So, in honor of Lily and Marshall, I can't wait to see L soon. It's going to be legen--wait for it--dary!

[Update: L. is actually spending Thanksgiving with my family on the East Coast this year! There's one major holiday we can cross off the "Time We Have To Spend Apart" black list!]

[Images from Le Love, Flickr]

A Few of My Favorite Things: Jim and Pam

The next installment in my Favorite Things

feature is one I'm sure I share with many: for someone who is already a lover of love, there's no rival to the tender, amusing, suspenseful, and oh-so-similar-to-my-actual-life Jim and Pam (or Jam, or PB & J). I've seen every episode of the Office at least three times, but I was a late-comer and watched most of them online or on DVD except for the newest season, so I didn't really have to deal with the years of suspense everyone else went through with Jim and Pam, and I already knew that they were together when I started watching from Season One. But none of these things matter. What matters is that this is one of the sweetest and most realistic love stories I've ever seen, and that I'm a little obsessed. One of my favorite things in the world to do is watch Youtube videos of romantic, or, if they were made pre-season 3 finale, angsty and longing-filled songs set to Jim and Pam montages. Here are some of my favorites:

1. I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You, by Colin Hay

Such a sweet song. And so fitting. "I drink good coffee every morning, comes from a place that's far away. When I'm done I feel like talking, without you here there is less to say." Perfect.

2. What About Now, by Daughtry

This one's from Pam's p.o.v. Karma for sure. (Who could turn down a kiss from Jim???)

3. Open Your Eyes, by Snow Patrol

This has the added benefit of already being one of my favorite songs, so how much more perfect does it get? Not much, if you ask me. Also, to keep things balanced, it's from Jim's p.o.v. "Every minute from this minute now, we can do what we like anywhere. I want so much to open your eyes, cause I need you to look into mine."

and, to end the angst, the best one when they're finally together:

4. 1, 2, 3, 4 by The Plain White T's

This is probably my all-time favorite, as it includes some of the best moments from their Just-Friends Limbo days, like the teapot in Christmas Party, Casino Night, obviously; but it also has all the best ones from their relationship, from the first time he asks her to dinner in The Job, his proposal in Weight Loss, and of course most recently to when Pam finds out she's pregnant in Company Picnic!

Wow, definitely should have spoiler-alerted the shit out of this post.

Part of my obsession with Jim and Pam stems not from the perspective of a crazed fan who can't keep reality and sitcom fiction straight, but from the fact that I am all-too familiar with the Best Friends Who Don't Seem Like They'll Ever Get Together saga, since that was L.'s and my situation for a year and a half before we finally took the plunge. I think what I like best about Jim and Pam is that the writers were able to contain themselves long enough to make the anticipation last for three whole seasons before finally giving them the right place and the right time. Doesn't that reflect life? The best relationships (totally my opinion--not to issue a death sentence for relationships that don't follow this pattern) are the ones in which, initially, one person can't have the other. Or both persons can't have each other. A year or two of unrequited love, missed chances, or not-the-right-place-or-time circumstances never killed anyone. At least, I hope it hasn't. I can totally see how it could. It makes you value the relationship more when you finally have it. Like, every time you take your relationship for granted, you can just think to yourself, "hey, remember those six months that I was in love with L., and he turned me down at first, and then thought I had gotten over him, and we continued to cuddle and spend weekend nights together and it was torture?" (Okay, that might just be me.) Of course, you can also fall into the trap of constantly reminding (in a half-joking manner) your other half of "that time you turned your cheek when I tried to kiss you" (infamous move by L.) or, for Jim and Pam, I guess it'd be "that time I told you I was in love with you on Casino Night and you said you were still getting married." Or, "that time you went to Stamford and started dating someone else after I broke off my engagement." It's always better if your relationship has many unrequited moments so that both people can simultaneously experience the sheepish guilt but not take one another for granted, i.e., "that time I had feelings for you when I first met you and you were dating someone else, and then you broke up with him but started hooking up with other guys and lay in my bed at night complaining about them and I couldn't say anything." (That would be L. to me.) Yup, we've definitely had a lot of missed chances and unrequited desire through the course of our two-year friendship. But it's gotten all of the would-be relationship drama out of our system. Sure, we had a rocky (read: tortorous, confusing) start, but we also have one of the most carefree, and more importantly conflict-free, relationships I think I've ever witnessed.

There are a lot of those kinds of parallels between the fictional relationship between Jim and Pam and between me and L., my "Real Life Jim Halpert," if you will. I mean, he hasn't proposed to me in front of a gas station yet, but otherwise. I guess what I'm trying to say, in a totally modest, humble, and non-overly-enthusiastic way (okayy, I'm in love, I'm sorry!), that Jim and Pam don't just have to exist in a hilarious, well-written, Emmy-winning tv show! I think it's actually shockingly easy to fall in love with your best friend out of the blue. I also think that my situation has to be more common. In fact, I know it is, because all the time I'm finding posts on FML that read somewhere along the lines of "Today, I told my best friend I loved him, and he gave me the cheek" (okay, maybe not that specific to my situation). I get a kick out of sending them to L. Just to remind him where we came from.

I can't wait to see what happens next with Jim and Pam! Thursday, September 17th!

[Update: Inspired, trying to convince L. to be Jim and Pam with me for Halloween. Best idea ever!]

[Images from EW,, a fellow Jim and Pam lover, Videos from Youtube]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Re: Betrayal

We all know the feeling.

You love someone deeply. You're committed to every success he has, and every failure he suffers, you suffer with him. When's he's happy, he makes you happy, and when he's down all you want is to stand behind him every step of the way until things start looking up. Hell, he's so good you even scream his name.

But sometimes, that wonderful, giving, two-way-street relationship can go belly up. At some point, his ego gets the best of him. He becomes erratic, temperamental. He stops performing his best, even though you know he has it in him to be better because you've, well, witnessed it. And eventually he commits the ultimate douche move: he betrays you. He breaks your heart, in the least subtle way possible, and makes sure to publicly rub the salt in your wounds whenever anyone pays attention to him long enough for him to get the chance.

And at the end of it all, you're only left with one question: What happened to the Brett Favre I used to love?Our relationship started as sweetly as any. I was young and naive, and he was successful and perfect. He did things I never thought any man could ever do. He started more consecutive games than any other NFL quarterback. He collected passing records like he probably could have collected underwear, had he not married his childhood sweetheart: touchdown passes, attempts, yards. He has the most wins of a starting QB. When he was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year in 2007, I swooned. And he was just so superior to other men. He broke virtually all Dan Marino's records in the 2007 season. And when he got hurt, my heart leapt to my throat. Things like knee injuries and shoulder separations, at his age, could have been the end of everything. He constantly kept me living on the edge.

Oh, and I loved his friends. How many women can say that about the man they love? They're great! Ryan Grant, the newcomer. He might have come late in the game but he became our secret favorite from the beginning. He's always on the go; a fast-mover. But we love that about him. Greg Jennings, the dependable one. I'll always remember the Monday night that he stole my heart when he caught an 82 yard pass from my man in overtime and returned it for the game-winning TD. Jennings is definitely not a man who will betray you. You know he'll stick around, at least until 2012 when his contract is up. He's the type who will always have your man's back and be there whenever he turns around. Donald Driver, the high-performer. The best friend. His consistency is a trait that's rare to find. He's a true leader.

And the best part about his friends? Now that he's out of the picture, I'm closer with them than ever.

See, things started to go downhill in the last couple years. We got into a sort of, well, slump. I started to question his loyalty. We tearfully decided to break it off in March of 2008, and I thought, well, that's it. It's over. He would have forever lived on in my mind as a truly great man, someone worthy of a Hall-of-Fame induction. And then, to my great shock and disappointment, he commited his first infidelity: after the whole "it's not you, it's me" speech, he chose another team. He chose another team after the Green Bay Packers, with whom he spent 16 wonderful seasons.

Sure, he asked me to take him back, but I had already found a younger man, the oh-so-incredible Aaron Rodgers, to deal with the heartbreak of his decision to leave. Now, before you call me catty for being super into Aaron, let me just remind you that Brett Favre was a father figure to him, a mentor. And it was the team, which Rodgers had no control over, that made the decision to not offer Favre a place to return but instead bump Rodgers up to QB. Reportedly, Brett Favre hasn't spoken to Rodgers for over a year after the whole thing went down. That's catty. When Brett found out there was just no place for him on the Packers anymore, he did the unthinkable and went to the New York Jets. Um, rebound? Of course they didn't have what he needed (who does?) and I'm not surprised that he began having, er, "problems performing" with them too towards the end. It's that arm of his. Like Helen of Troy had the Face That Launched a Thousand Ships, Brett Favre has the Arm that Earned the Record for the Most Interceptions by an NFL Quarterback. So like I said, I wasn't surprised when he left them too. Good riddance, thought I; but the end was still on pleasant terms: the Jets released him from his contract, and I told him we could still be friends.

Well, that was then. Today, it's been confirmed by the Vikings that Brett Favre, indeed, will be trading his Packer-Green and Jet-Green jerseys in for Vikings-Purple. This comes not more than three weeks after he told coach Brad Childress he was staying put in retirement-land for real this time.

Betray me once, shame on you. Betray me twice, shame on you even more and, p.s., you're so in the doghouse. Inter-division cheating? That's like breaking up with me and dating my best friend.

If I sound bitter, I don't mean to be. He was once the great love of my life, and I'll always have great memories of our time together. But now, I don't even know who he is anymore.

Brett, we're so over. And it's not me, it's you.


[Images from, The River Reporter,]

Making the Cut

Is anyone else obsessed with haircuts?

I know that you're supposed to cut your hair relatively often (every six to eight weeks) to keep it healthy. I get mine cut more like every three weeks. What is wrong with me??

I'll definitely admit that, like everyone, I have some strange little quirks, and this is one of them. (Another is my complete repulsion by dry skin. I put on lotion probably every 15 minutes. The feeling of my dry hands or feet is like nails on a chalkboard to me! If L. has dry hands I can't even hold them. When I bus tables at my hostess job at Applebee's, I have to put lotion on every time I take the cloth out of the hot water because it dries my skin out like crazy.) I've gotten four haircuts this summer (so four haircuts in two and a half months). And in each of those haircuts, I've gotten one-to-two inches snipped off. But my hair always grows back to the same length. In, like, a week! Hyperbole aside, it's out of control. And this little habit of mine is racking up the costs.

For the first week or so after I get it cut, I'm happy as a clam. It feels lighter, healthier, shinier, and it's more manageable. When I let it air dry, it does so nicely. My bangs take their rightful shape (I've been sporting side bangs since way before they were trendy, starting c. 2003.) Then suddenly, around two weeks in, things begin going awry. Layers that used to curl in so nicely now rebelliously flip outwards and become curly (?), even when I have sleek, straight hair. Highlights seem to come out of nowhere (I got blonde highlights last summer, hated them, and dyed my hair chestnut again to cover them. It's been a year and all my stylists say that I should mostly have regrown my natural hair color by now, but mysteriously I seem to have begun growing blonde hair directly from the root). By three weeks in, I'm obsessing. I go back and forth on deciding if the expense is worth it. I browse websites of my favorite salons and compare prices for services. Basically I think about it constantly until I finally go and get another haircut. This means I spend half my year thinking about getting haircuts.Is this all in my head? (Ha-ha) I don't think so. I don't know how I'm getting ridiculous levels of this hair-growing-super-vitamin, since half the time I forget to take my multivitamin supplement. The same thing happens with my nails. I play guitar, and so I have to keep them short, but some days I'll go to grab my guitar and look down and wonder why the hell my nails are back again. I suppose this means I'm healthy, or something, but it costs too much to be healthy!

Anyway, I'm off to go compare prices. I want to resist the urge to go to Williamstown's only salon, which is the feed-you-swiss-chocolate-while-massaging-your-feet-type, and will basically cost me half a day's worth of pay...

[Images from Salon Bogar, Beauty3sixty5]

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fresh Fall Finds of the Weekend

A big part of C.'s and my weekend was taken up by, not shopping, but browsing, which was torture. We sampled the fall collections and discovered that we loved just about everything. I was looking for staple collegiate pieces for the upcoming chilly Berkshire months, and C. was looking for pieces that would fit into her Paris wardrobe for her upcoming trip. Here were some of our favorite indulgences and steals:

Funnily enough, we both agreed we seemed to find more to love in the Gap Fall Collection than in J. Crew, which is funny since we're both confirmed J. Crewiphiles. But the J. Crew fall collection is, in C.'s term, "very delicate," and I agree--I could get a lot more use of some of the pieces from Gap in my Massachusetts-college-town Fall. The Gap collection definitely integrates the delicacy of the styles this fall but does so in more robust and wear-a-ble pieces. I'll probably pick up some staples that seem sturdier (and cheaper) from there and accentuate them with some J.Crew splurges.

C. and I both really loved Gap's boyfriend sweater, seen here in "plymouth rock," which also came in a mustard color that tempted me. (I resisted!) It's made with cashmere ("with" being the operative word) so it's supersoft, but cheap at only $39.50. C. tried one on and walked around the store for a bit, while I admired a royal blue colored-version, but ultimately neither of us got one. C. needs to break out of a navy, black, grey, blue color pallate, while I need to adventure past (mustard yellow?) a predominantly brown, cream, and black one, but I do really like this color.

I also eyed the Gap sailor boy T, although both C. and I have a problem with an over-affinity for nautical strips and really don't need to acquire any more. But I couldn't help but think that this T, which is short-sleeved, would be a great partner to my mustard-colored cardigan this fall. It's only $15.00 online although I thought I remembered it being around $19.00 in store. And who doesn't love yellow accents on navy nautical stripes? C. found a black double knit hoooded jacket for $88.00 that would be perfect for her Paris trip and I have to admit, I really liked it too. She put it on with a lightweight scarf ($24.00) and looked tres chic, as usual. I have a problem with coats in that I never want to shell out the money for them but then end up with the same boring one all season long. Ugh!

I'm also currently obsessed with this supersoft heather brown/purplish robe at GapBody, but it's not available online! There go all my dreams of stalking it down from its current $50.oo price range to a more reasonable price...

I really, really loved this berry-colored ruffle-lined cardigan and it was on why didn't I get it! Don't you hate when, in the moment, you convince yourself that not buying something is a wise decision, only to obsess over it for days afterward? Luckily it's still available online and so I still have some time to man up and not cry over the $39.99 (steal? steal!) and just get it already because I know I'm going to keep thinking about it. Plus, I go to Williams. Purple is always called for in the wardrobe.
Speaking of purple things, this finally brings me to the one thing I actually did buy this weekend! I'm really happy that I controlled my impulses long enough to find's perfect. It reminds me exactly of the purple dress that Ginnifer Goodwin wore to Justin Long's party in He's Just Not That Into You (did anyone else notice that purple comprised 97.8% of her wardrobe in that movie?)I found the belted party dress at American Eagle and, since it was on a rack that proclaimed $24.95, I thought it was a steal and snatched it up immediately. There were only a couple left, and one was my size! C. said it looked great and I actually agreed, amazing as that is. It has removeable straps so that it can become strapless (like Ginnifer's!) and really it was just all-and-around perfect, so okay, thought I, I'm getting it!

I marched up to the register with my find and laid it lovingly on the counter, only to be horrified when the price came up as $44.50. Ironically this had just happened to me in Old Navy, where I found an adorable green dress with a frilly neckline, brought it up to the register and sadly walked away from it when I learned it was $11.oo more than I had thought. I didn't think I could handle leaving another dress behind and so I sucked it up, put it on my American Eagle credit card and have since decided that it was a marvelous decision. And I already have an occasion in mind to which to wear it-- one of the nights of my play I'm directing in November! Also, as a note, the pattern on this dress is amazing, and makes the whole thing. It's fuzzy diamonds in navy--they are much more bold than shows up on the picture above. And hey, it's not brown, light brown, black or cream! I did pretty well, I think. It was also available in navy but I think my distress at not having bought the berry-colored ruffle cardigan led me towards my decision on the purple.

Ahh, but how much more there was before I made my decision about the purple dress! Pre-purple dress C. and I went to see the fall collection at J. Crew. (I actually just got an email from J. Crew enticingly advertising an additional 20% off their sale and "free" shipping--on, you guessed it--orders over $150).

I'm currently in love with the tissue beaded necklace tee, which is the softest cotton with a beautifully intricate beaded neckline set on tulle. Plus, the name (heather oatmeal) has "heather" in the title, which I've already established is my go-to color. I'm toeing the line of waiting for it to go on sale, which I know it must soon, or just snatching it up now before it's gone. C. isn't much of a tee-wearer and even she agreed that it was gorgeous, although delicate. Still, I can't justify spending $49.50 for a tee, especially when my GapBody robe is exactly the same price and I'll get a lot more use out of it (like, every day). But it's probably my favorite piece of the day from J. Crew.
Also, it would look amazing with the berry-colored cardigan. Why do I torture myself this way?

Since it is fall and that means chilly, crisp New England weather, I could almost justify picking up a sherpa hoodie for myself--they're oh-so-soft and gorgeous. The antique stone color is so feminine and pretty. I'd feel bad actually wearing it to any fall activities--homecoming, tent parties, football games--because at $69.50 I wouldn't want to get it dirty. That's why C. and I feel that the collection is too delicate. Especially the ivory-colored one. Where could I even wear that? Inside, doing work. That's about it. I've also started to notice that everything in my highlights of the collections seems to be in the same color family. In trying to break out of my usual color traps I've just slipped into another one. Typical. I think I'm also attracted to it since L. has one in a faded green that's really his trademark clothing item. When I think back on when I first met him I can't picture him without his J. Crew sherpa-lined faded green hoodie. It's actually in my possession now but if I were to get my own antique stone one he could actually have his to wear (what a concept!) Solid reasoning, I think.

In other, related news, I'm starting to forget what being around my boyfriend is actually like. Not cool. I know this because he has this laugh that, despite the fact that I always mock him for it, I actually really love. He does it at the end of almost everything he says that's not serious. For all my fun-poking, I'm really starting to forget it and therefore miss it. Three months is just too long! Only two more weeks of this nonsense...

[Images from Gap, J. Crew, American Eagle,]

Saturday, August 15, 2009

She Said Yes: Away to Connecticut

This weekend, I've accepted an invitation from C. and gone off to Connecticut to stay with C. and her family in her hometown and have a lovely, relaxing weekend full of great food, shopping, and friends. I'm simply having too much fun to stay and write so I'll say adeiu for now. More to come later!

Well it's Monday and I'm back at work, after arriving back in Williamstown after 10 last night. I had a lovely weekend with C. Friday night after having a yummy summer dinner with her parents we went to see Julie and Julia. I feel much more inspired after seeing it, and my hopes of being discovered here in my own little corner of the internet, as Julie puts it, have been raised, but it was also a lot easier in 2002 when no one knew what blogging was!

I loved C.'s hometown and the surrounding greater Hartford area. The houses are so beautiful! There's lots of English manor houses and although I've always considered myself to be contemporary in my design and architecture tastes I really love the mixed stone and brick. C. and I had a great time driving around and creeping on houses.
West Hartford Center itself is so funny-- like C.'s friend H. said, it looks like a movie-set-city that was just plopped down. The area is surrounded by beautiful houses with lots of land and then suddenly there's a few blocks of a squished city that are so well-planned, clean and perfect they look fake. We went to a restaurant called Max Burger for dinner and I was really disconcerted by all the pictures of live, happy cows on the walls as I sat down to order my burger. How funny is that?

This trip was definitely exactly what I needed to break up this summer. It's just been so long and lonely being on campus without the life of having everyone else here. "Yes" is doing wonders for these last few impossible-to-get-through weeks!

[Images from AOL Real Estate,]

Friday, August 14, 2009

Away I Go: Chicago

Welcome to my first of a to-be-multi-part series of posts in which I muse, fantasize about, rip on, and hopefully help myself decide upon which of the potential cities in which I'm applying to grad school (in one short year!) should be my new home. I have about six in mind as of right now and have already researched and selected schools in them. It's a huge decision because, although in the end I may just end up packing up and moving along to whichever city the best school to which I'm accepted is located, I know that I need to find a city with an energy that makes me feel at home. After all, it is for the next four-to-six years, or possibly for the rest of my life. The first city up: Chicago.

I've got to admit, a small part of Record Campus Athletics Editor Michelle has always wanted to pack up, move to Wrigleyville, and spend my days freelance writing and one day editing sports articles while living in a fantastic apartment and going out to meet my sports-oriented guy friends for drinks after work. Okay, well that's actually the synopsis of the TBS show My Boys, but you've got to admit that the fictional P.J. has the life that non-fictional me wants! She's cute, funny, self-assured, has an enviable job at the Chicago Sun Times, and lives in a great neighborhood with great friends. What else could anyone want?

It's funny that the sports-lover in me feels that Chicago is the place to be to pursue that interest, considering the biggest con of moving there would be that it's the home of two of the most insuffrable sports franchises in existance: the Cubs and the Bears.
I'm not as big on baseball as I am football, but since L. was born and raised in neighboring St. Louis, MO and took me to my first MLB game at Busch Stadium, home of his (and now my!) Cardinals, I've learned a thing or two. #1, for example: C.U.B.S.= Come Undone By September. It could be a travesty to move to the city that houses the two main rivals to my teams (the Green Bay Packers are my NFL, in case you couldn't tell from the Bears animosity). On the other hand, it could be great fun. I'd get to see my teams play often, and I'd get to be the dissenting Chicago-ian (Chicagoite? I should learn this) rooting for my team at Wrigley Field and Soldier Field. This seems like a silver lining if I've ever seen one. And the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry is just so much more easygoing and amusing than, say, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry of my native Boston suburbs. I don't know if I could handle that for another 4-6 years, as New York and Boston are up-and-coming potential cities to be profiled.

One foreseeable flaw of living in the Windy City would be the landlocked claustrophobia that very well could result of someone who grew up bi-coastally and has never lived more than 30 miles from the ocean. I don't even really like the beach that much; I enjoy the beach at dusk in summer or a fall afternoon, but I really dislike the crowded, hot, miserable experience that is the beach mid-day at the peak of summer. Would I miss it that much? I'm definitely an options person; that is, even if I don't think I'll do, use, want, need, etc. something, I don't like when it gets taken off the table, either. When L. and I stayed in St. Louis for a week at the beginning of the summer, it was my first time in the midwest and I definitely felt the difference of not living near an ocean, in the sedentary humidity. But I don't think it would be a dealbreaker.

A really attractive aspect of Chicago is the nightlife, and the hip vibe I get from it. I feel like it's so much more cool than other cities! While other cities can seem either grimy or, on the other-hand, infested with young professionals and I-Bankers, Chicago seems to have that perfect mix of history and modernity. My Chicago-obsession may have started with the 2004 movie Wicker Park, which is not only one of the most suspenseful and touching (you never get those together!) movies I've ever seen, but also has a cinematography that gives Chicago a lot of credit. The real Wicker Park, located in West Town, is apparently the place to be if you're young and like music, art, and nightlife. And for someone who loves hot dogs as much as I do, it seems like Chicago would be the place to get them. Although, apparently "true Chicagoans [yes!] never put ketchup on a hot dog." Uh-oh.Another drawback: snow. I'm so over snow. After the 11-day-power-outage of last Christmas and my subsequent departure to Santa Barbara, I decided as soon as I graduated Williams I was off to a city where snow would never find me. Snow is okay for the three or four times a year I go snowboarding, and that one magical ice-skating, hot-chocolate-drinking, nose-nipping night. Otherwise, it's hazardous, cold, and infringes on my fashion choices. But it is pretty at Christmas. And as much as I hate it, I don't remember a time in my [semi-recent] life where I didn't live in it four months of the year. Does the end of fall even feel the same without that winter air coming in?

Other alluring tidbits:
Chicago may be hosting the 2016 Olympics! And I would be there for it!
The Magnificent Mile. Need I say more?
Hyde Park
Coast of Lake Michigan

Any Chicagoans want to contribute thoughts/persuasive arguments/insider tips?

[Images from PlaneBuzz, Desination 360, Skyline Pictures]

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things: Christmas Tea

One of my favorite things in the world is Christmas Tea. You can have it all-year round, and in that way carry the joy of Christmas around in your ceramic mug no matter the month! This tea actually smells the way Christmas smells at my house. It's a mix of orange peel and rose hips, red and black currants, cinnamon, clove. Mix that with the smell of warm, freshly-baked blueberry muffins at 6 a.m. and that's Christmas, in my house.

When I went to visit L. in Santa Barbara last New Year's, what I had thought was going to be the worst Christmas had just passed. We lost power at our house for 11 days preceding came back on the day we had decided to cancel our annual Christmas Day party, after we had to throw out most of the food we had been saving.
It was a long, dark, and cold week-and-a-half leading up to Christmas, and so on Christmas day L. and I decided it was time I got out of New Hampshire and went to Santa Barbara for New Year's. I was so glad to be somewhere warm and to be able to be on the beach and in the sunlight, and, of course, with my Goose. I thought I would forget about the Christmas-That-Almost-Wasn't and just fly away. But one morning L.'s dad brought me a cup of Christmas Tea (isn't that lovely?) and as soon as I smelled it I remembered how much Christmas at home means to me, electricity or no electricity. Now whenever I drink it I have two-fold memories: Christmas morning at home with my parents and dog and the blueberry muffins, and New Year's with L. and his wonderful, caring parents. Lovely.

[Images from: Most Beautiful Darling,Imperial Tea Garden]

She Said Yes: Children's Theatre

Monday night was my first yes-inspired event; it was an event which I'm not particularly sure I would have said "no" to, but may have found an excuse to not attend.

My friend C.'s family friend invited her to attend a performance put on by the Greylock Theatre Project, an organization that brings professional theatre-makers together with local children to get them involved in the arts, specifically, creating their own ten-minute-plays. C.'s family friend was directing one of the shorts and thought C. would love to come along, and in turn C. thought I'd love to come along, since we're both a little obsessed with children. The way she pitched it to me was "It's adults acting out plays that are written by little kids." How could I have said no, even if I wanted to?

The event was being held in Goodrich, our campus coffee bar, so C. and I made our way in along with parents, siblings, and friends of the playwrights. I'm not sure the same demographic that the Williamstown Theatre Festival attracts showed up at this particular performance. The theme for the night was "On Top of the World!: Plays With a View," and included six plays written by four 11-year-olds, one 10-year-old, and one nine-year-old. Sample titles included "Fancy & Houle Sneaking Out of the Farm," "The Pirate Treasure of Togetherness," and my particular favorite, "Stem." Stem was written by a hilarious 11-year-old girl, and the plot line was, essentially, that a beautiful flower that looked exactly like Leighton Meester didn't want to be picked by a crazed mad scientist who looked like a gray-haired Kramer. My favorite line was probably the following:

Leighton Meester Flower: "What is that you have?" [It was a beaker]
Kramer Scientist: "It's a beaker. It's a scientific method for doing science experiments, duh, so don't ask again!"

Oh, duh.

All-in-all, it was really probably the most I've laughed in awhile. Little kids are just so weird. I have no clue how they come up with the ridiculous things they say, but honestly I wish my mind still worked like that a little, since self-editing is the bain of all writing endeavors.

I'm pleased that my first yes-inspired event was a grand success, but I'm hoping for a juicy disaster. Those are always more fun to write about.

In other news, L. is on a plane right now, and of course I'm freaking out. It's going to be a long three hours.

Image from [Frugal Fe$tival]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Michelle's (Cheaper) Picks for Jenna's Picks for Fall

Ahh, it's that time of year. The summer sun is setting just a few moments earlier each night, the ocean water suddenly makes our ankles numb, and hot days turn quickly into chilly nights. We all know what's right around the corner. No, not football season (although I can't wait for that either), but the J. Crew fall collection has arrived! If any of you are on the J. Crew mailing list you've seen Jenna's picks for the fall, and they're splendid. But, as I reminded myself last night when a friend tried to think of reasons to justify purchasing the schoolboy blazer in the new collection, which would set her back $188 hard-earned Williamstown summer dollars, not all of us can afford to look as chic as Jenna will this fall.

Or can we? Of course you know the answer to that. Which is why I'm here to present:

Michelle's Guilt-Free and Checking-Account-Sustainable Picks for Jenna's Picks for Fall!

Let's take a look at my favorite piece in the collection, the
Merino Maya Cardigan in deep amber. I've been going through an All Things Mustard-Colored frenzy as of late, and it just so happens that I have already found my own cheap (and wonderful) version of the Merino Cardigan. Here's the comparison:
J. Crew Merino Maya Cardigan in deep amber:
Cost: $88.00
Plus ShippingOr, we have the Wet Seal Basic Cardigan in mustard (sorry the quality is so poor):
Cost: $12.90
Shipping: Free! Until the 14th!

I can testify to this cardigan because I happen to have purchased it myself. It's comfy, cute and I plan to remove the buttons (plastic, mustard-colored) and replace them with some dark brown wooden ones to give it a little push (fashion-) forward. The material may not be as soft but it will certainly free up your checking account to make a few other fall acquisitions!

Next up we have the
enticing Wool Flannel Schoolboy Blazer in pearl gray. It comes with metal buttons and soft wool flannel, which is no doubt super in this fall. But the price is enough to make you a little nauseous as you put in the order...Here's the comparison:

J. Crew Wool Flannel Schoolboy Blazer in pearl gray:
Price: $188.00
Plus Shipping
To take the edge off the guilt of this would-be splurge, try instead the Gap Shrunken Schoolboy Blazer. It's almost half the price and although you're sacrificing on the wool flannel you get the same basic look for a lot less--complete with the wonderful metal buttons.

Gap Shrunken Schoolboy Blazer:
Cost: $98.00
Shipping: FREE for Gapcard members

Next we have something even I'm having to hold my reins in for: the
J. Crew Silk Evening Primrose Brynn Dress in burnished olive. It's strapless, falls at the knee, a-line, and purple...everything a truly great dress should be. The question is, is it worth a couple work days' pay:

J. Crew Silk Evening Dress in burnished olive:
Cost: $158.00
Plus Shipping

I've found both a solid and patterned alternative to this dress, both from my favorite place to find great dresses, Forever 21: The Ruffled Petal Dress... Forever 21 Ruffled Petal Dress in purple
Cost: $27.80
Shipping: FREE with a purchase of $75 or more

and the Forever 21 Dainty Flower Chiffon Dress in purple:

Forever 21 Dainty Flower Chiffon Dress in purple:
Cost: $24.80
Shipping: FREE with a purchase of $75 or more

And of course after all these staple wardrobe pieces, no fall collection would be complete without the jewlery, which Jenna advises should be "piled on" (and I agree!) Here's a sample saving when accesorizing:

J. Crew Golden Orb Ring was pretty enough to grace the prime image spot for this post, and I fully intend to buy my alternative version!

J. Crew Golden Orb Ring:
Cost: $50.00
Plus Shipping

I found this Snow White Glass Pearl Ring on Amazon for a good deal less than the J. Crew ring, and still think it's gorgeous:Glass Pearl Ring:
Cost: $19.87
Shipping: $2.50

Clearly these alternatives aren't exactly the same as the J. Crew items, but they're pretty close and not much lower in quality...and certainly just as cute! And the fun is that, at least what I would do, is pick one of these items to splurge on (the dress! the dress!) and actually buy from J. Crew, but get the rest cheap! (Hint: that means you get more!)

[Images from J.Crew,Wet Seal, Gap, Forever 21]