Monday, December 28, 2009

NYC First-Timer

L. has pointed out that I have been negligent on the blog as of late, and for that I apologize.

But the brothers are in town and things get pretty wild when that happens, and ALSO today we went snowboarding and I feel like jell-o. We also played a lot of Wii. And if you're like me aka only do elliptical at the gym aka never lift weights ever and have no upper body strength, that makes you SORE.

C. and I are taking an impromptu trip to New York City on Wednesday! I'm driving to Connecticut tomorrow to stay with her and then we're leaving on the train early Wednesday. Now, I have something pretty outrageous to admit. Are you ready for it?

I have never been to New York City.

I know! I just have never had an opportunity. So congratulations, C. Though there have been many who have wanted to be the one to do it, you will be the first and only to rid me of my NYC purity. S'a big deal.

Now, my question to you: What should I do when I'm there??? I'd love your suggestions. All I know is that I definitely want to see Central Park and Times Square (of course). I had originally wanted to go to MacLaren's until L. and C. politely pointed out that it does not, in fact, exist. I also wanted to visit the Friends Apartment and go on the Sex and the City Bus Tour, but C. was not amused at the suggestion.


And hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas! More on mine to come.

PS: Ah! Look at it snowing in New York!!! (Love that widget!)


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Surprisingly, the DMV is Not More Joyous at Christmas-time

That's right.

Being the brilliant genius that I am, I decided to pay a visit to the DMV two days before Christmas.

What's even worse, I forced my sweet mother who only wanted to do her pre-Christmas errands and continue to bring joy and cheer to everyone in our family to come with me. They should put people in jail for that. Dragging family members to the DMV, that is. Not spreading joy and cheer. Definitely carry on with that.

We got there and I rushed like a madperson to fill out my form before everyone else so I could be first in line. Luckily they were a good stratified sample of the populus that inhabits Manchester, NH, and it wasn't hard to finish before them. You can take that to mean whatever you'd like, but what I mean is there isn't much that my college education has done for me so far besides apparently make me irresistible to creepy older dudes, so I was pleased that my speed-reading skills seem to be paying off.

Anyways, I finished my form first and rushed to the front of the line. Ah ha! Felt pretty pleased with myself, too. Got up to the little check-in/eye test place. Was informed they can't mail my license to me at Williams, aka out of state. WHY DO YOU HATE BIRTHDAY CHEER, DMV?

See, here's the issue. NH makes your license expire ON your 21st birthday--so, for me, January 21 2010. They also insist on putting a large egregious red bar across the bottom of your license that screams that you will, indeed, be under 21 until that time. NH also likes when you get your license renewed before your birthday (you know, so you actually have a valid license when you're drivin around), and THEN if you get it renewed even a day before your birthday they like to keep the obnoxious red bar at the bottom. Which means that, in turn, the bars that you try to go to in order to obtain your hard-earned first legal drink like to look at that bar, laugh at you, and tell you to go home.

So, I decided it would still be better to have a license with a dirty, lying red bar across it than an expired license on my 21st birthday, hence my arrival at the DMV. But then Miss DMV informs me that they can't mail the license out of state, which means that rather than have the red bar across the bottom I'll probably have a piece of paper that looks I photocopied it from some person's real license. Which is great.

So my mum agrees to mail me the license when it comes in, and then we go wait for a long time, and then I get called over for Mrs Photo-Taker Lady. Mrs Photo-Taker Lady gets really confused for about 10 minutes, wondering why the screen told her that I had paid my $50 fee. Here's how that went.

Mrs Photo-Taker Lady: Did you already pay your fee over there?
Me: No, I have cash right here to pay.
MPTL: But the computer says you paid.
Me: But...I didn't.
MPTL: Okay, well let me just call them over there. (Proceeds to do so.)
MPTL: So you really didn't pay over there?
Me: No. I am going to pay right now. I have the money right here. I would not give you 50 dollars again had I already given it to Miss DMV.
Her: Okay...(disbelieving)

She counts the money and puts it in the drawer, and then makes some typey type types for another 5 minutes.

Then that Chipmunk song comes on. Note: When people are in the DMV two days before Christmas, the last thing they want to hear is the Chipmunk song.

Me: Um, I think so?
MPTL: There are girl chipmunks!
Me: Huh.

More typey type types.

MPTL: Okay, how are you paying today?
Me: I just gave you cash.
MPTL: You did?
Me: Yes. I just gave you cash. Two twenties and two fives.
MPTL: Really?
Me: YES.
MPTL: Okay...(disbelieving)

More typey types and then prints out my temporary license.

Me: You didn't take a new picture.
MPTL: I didn't?
Me: No. You did not. (Guys, I look about 13 in the old one It's absolutely horrifying.)
MPTL: Ooopsie, why did I even print that! HA-HA!

I have no idea, friends. I have no idea.

But I'm telling you...I can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ten Things That Make Me Happy Award

I got this award from Date Girl's blog, which is on my list of daily must-reads. Her list was oh-so lovely, so I was excited to make mine!

The rules of the award:

Copy the award image in your post.
List 10 things that make you happy, and try to do at least one of them today.
Then, tag 10 bloggers that make you happy! (I've got quite a long list over there on my left sidebar!)
For the 10 bloggers who get the award, link back to me and spread the happiness!

Here we go:

1. Lists! How appropriate. I'll admit it--I'm a list fanatic. There's something SO satisfying about writing all the daunting things you have to do down and taking satisfaction in crossing them off. Or planning parties and writing down what you'll need while struggling through Chem class...or the types of dogs you're going to adopt when you graduate college...etc, etc.

2. My Brothers Coming Home for Christmas! I love, love the years that my brothers (1, 2, or 3 of 3!) get to come home for Christmas. I love the feeling of a full house bustling with people. I even love sharing my bathroom, aka sanctuary of cleanliness and femininity with them--though they take longer to groom than I do.

3. L. He makes me so happy I almost typed his first name in capital letters, and caught myself and replaced it with his initial at the last second. I love that he calls me baby and it doesn't sound generic. It makes me happy when he picks up little gifts for me that remind him of me (LED light shark keychain? Hell yes!) It makes me happy when he texts me throughout the day when we're apart and always, always makes sure he says I love you and goodnight at the end of the day.

4. Abby. I have the cutest pup in the world. She's 5 and still acts like she's 2. She's clingy as hell but hey, I kinda love it. She slobbers all over me but I don't mind. I like scratching her belly and brushing her because it makes her happy, which in turn makes me happy.

5. Romantic Airport Rendezvous. Even though I hate being away from L. for any period of time, nothing makes me happier than greeting him at the airport. I love eagerly watching for him to walk down the terminal, and I love jumping up into his arms and squealing even if we've only been apart for a week. Gag if you want, but it's them things keeps relationships alive. Also, we've hit a LOT of airports with our rendezvous-tendencies in our one year relationship tenure: St. Louis, Albany, Boston, Manchester, LAX. Impressive.

6. My friends! There's only a few people from high school I still talk to, including Big Relationship, who's still my best friend (don't worry, I know you probably think it's odd...everyone else does too), and they make me happy when I come home. But my Williams friends are people I think will make me happy for the rest of my life, and for that I am incredibly thankful.

7. Christmas Shopping. I know! Everyone has all these posts about how miserable shopping during the holiday season is, but you know what? Call me a masochist, but I really kinda dig it. Lines, crowds, traffic, DEALS, mobs, music, DEALS. It's invigorating! It's a deviation from every day life. People feel like they're part of something. Isn't that what people always want?

8. The Fact that Movie Theaters are Open Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I know a lot of people will hate me for this one (sorry S.!), but going to the movies Thanksgiving night and Christmas night are some of my most treasured traditions. What's better than gorging yourself on tons of food and then sitting comatose in a giant climate-controlled environment with huge screens and comfy seats? NOTHING, THAT'S WHAT.

9. My Wonderful Parents. My dad took me to get my car fixed today, spent way, way more than anyone should ever have to spend on a car for it, hung out with me for 6 hours while we waited for it to be done, took me to lunch at Chili's even though he doesn't really like Mexican/Southwestern food but knows I love it, brought me to the pet store to look at all the animals, and waited in traffic for 45 minutes at the mall to get my mom a toaster that she really wanted only because it's red and matches the rest of the kitchen. Best dad ever! My mum remembered an off-hand comment I made months ago about desperately wanting Uggs and came home with doppelganger fuggs (fake-uggs) for me, and wasn't able to wrap them and wait to give them to me cause she LOVES giving presents even more than getting them.

10. My Blog! And My Blog's Readers! Blogging is so great as a personal outlet since, because of the dawn of technology I am no longer able to write by hand, but it makes it so much better when I check my statcounter or my comments and see that people enjoy it too! Thanks so much!

And on that note, here are 10 Bloggers Who Always (or Have Recently Begun to!) Brighten My Day!

1. Duoly Noted
2. oh hay, it's kk
3. Shine Out Loud
4. Ramblings of a Fab Brunette
5. Medical School Mrs.
6. The Everyday Adventures of Me in the City
7. kissing frogs
8. Oh, Mishka
9. Girl v. The World
10. Stephany Writes

Monday, December 21, 2009


As an early Christmas present to me, my pictures from the play I directed in November, The Shape of Things, are FINALLY READY!

I spent most of my fall semester working to bring this show to life, and I had wonderful help from my stage manager Lauren and my actors...aaand that's about it. In terms of the big things, anyway, like directing, production, stage managing, lights, costumes, and sound design. It was truly one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

I'm not exactly sure what the rules are about sharing these with all of you, so I'm gonna credit the photographer and note that if he wants me to take them down, I will do so (with a heavy heart).

So, the pictures were taken for Cap and Bells, Williams' student theater group, and the show was produced with the help of the Williams Theatre Department and the 62 Center for Theatre and Dance. The wonderful and super nice photograper is Leland Brewster.

Here's a synopsis of the show. (Movie version, but it's directed by the playwright. Who is Neil LaBute, by the way!)

So much red tape. Here we go!

(This last one's my personal favorite. You have NO IDEA how hard it was to get that flat and projector working, and how much anxiety it caused me each night. But this moment, which was the final scene, brought tears to my eyes every night...and some of the audience's eyes, or so I heard!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I just found a really interesting article on Your Tango about women who refuse to date shorter men. Is this a pretty universal thing? I know that personally, I've always preferred my boyfriends to be 6'0 or even taller (I'm 5'4), and though it sounds weird, when I think of my best relationships, they were with people who were 6'3, 6'1, and 6'0 (sorry L., that last one should be is 6'0!)

How does everyone else feel about this? I think a big part of it for me is that shorter men often break my universal rule of dating--I won't date people whose thighs are smaller than mine! Another part of it is that, just like most people have those weird things that really do it for them, I'm hopelessly attracted to giants. Like towering, fi-fi-fo-fum, my-head-rests-in-their-armpit, giants. It seems to make me swoon when they're about a foot taller than me. See?:

Exhibit A:

Jason Segel.
Major crush.

Exhibit B:

Michael Phelps.
Take me now.

Exhibit C:

John Krasinski
Please let me have your (tall) babies.

... I could go on and on.

So am I the only one that goes for Gigantors, or do you guys like 'em too?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Unhealthy Obsession With Change

Those of you who have been following my blog anytime in the last couple weeks or months: how are you liking the new layout(s)? I think the day I learned hmtl was a bad day indeed for mine and my blog's relationship. Ever since I've just been on my poor blog's butt, making it change everything about itself in order to please me.

I'm pretty happy with the current layout, and so I'm hoping I can just leave it at that and stop messing around. It's just this weird compulsion for change that I have. I'm always cutting my hair, used to drop guys faster than fbook friends who post really annoying statuses and clog my home page (until I met L.!) (also, to those fb friends: you're on watch), am constantly buying boxes and boxes of tea only to decide I like one kind the best...etc, etc. It's definitely a problem...and part of the reason I started this blog! The only thing worse than being a compulsive planner is being a compulsive changer...

So, how do you feel about the new layout?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Finals, I Do What I Want!!!

Finals is code for "do whatever the hell you want." It is absolute anarchy. People have no classes and are stuck here so they're all, HEY, I don't gotta study for this, I'll do what I want all week and study later!

By people, I mean me.

I finished all my papers etc. on Monday. My last final is this upcoming Sunday. That's almost a week to study and prepare.

I am SO not prepared. It is the most horrific feeling in the world. Panic has begun to set in. Don't get me wrong, I have kick ass outlines. I have the best outlines anyone has probably ever had, short of companies that actually produce and sell outlines. But have I studied them at all?


Another funny thing about finals is the way people eat. All of a sudden there's NO ONE in the dining halls. People are like, "IT'S FINALS, I DO WHAT I WANT. I'ma order dinner in EVERY NIGHT cause it's finals and I can treat myself."

By these people, I mean me. (And actually a ton of people here at Williams).

Last night at approximately 12:30 L. and I decided we were hungry. What did we do? ORDERED BBQ CHICKEN FINGERS. I'm eating them cold now. How good is cold chicken? We also got thai takeout Sunday night, went to Subway tonight, and are going to the Forge, aka the best wings and steaks and all around meat place in the Berkshires, tomorrow night. I'm celebrating the end of my 5-day food poisoning streak (and by food poisoning, I mean e.coli or salmonella, because let's face it, no one gets food poisoning for 5 days).

I really should have been studying today, but instead I blogged and (three-count 'em--three posts), watched How I Met Your Mother. And made lots of playlists.

And that is why my Con Law final on Sunday is going to suck.

Ugh, Uggs

If you're like me and have been dying for a pair of camel-colored Uggs for as long as you can remember, but don't want to shell out the $180.00 or so that they usually go for, check out what I just found:

This Basic Faux Suede Boot from Wet Seal is only $12.00! Sure, it might not be as warm...or stand up as well in the snow...or, you know, be real, but for $12, who cares! And Wet Seal often does free shipping, so I would say if you've been coveting a pair of Uggs, this wouldn't be a bad start!

Also, I started my Jenna's J. Crew Holiday Gift Picks: Michelle Can Do It Cheaper Edition post on Monday and just published it today, so it didn't appear as my newest post. Frustrating! To make sure you don't miss it, check it out here =)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

L. is Famous!

L.'s a cappella group, The Williams Octet, had their Fall Final Concert last Saturday. L. had arranged one of the songs--Fell in Love Without You, by Motion City Soundtrack, and got the solo for it as well.

Well, Motion City Soundtrack somehow found the video when the guys uploaded it on Youtube, and gave them a shout out on their twitter page!

Now the guys' video has almost 2,000 views since last night, and counting! I'm so proud of L. for doing such a great job with the arrangement and with the solo as well that the actual band the song is by gave him and the group props!

Nice job, boys!

You can watch the video below. (Also, if you don't listen to Motion City should. 'Cause they're awesome.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jenna's J. Crew Holiday Gift Picks: Michelle Can Do it Cheaper Edition

As I mentioned in a previous post, J. Crew stylist Jenna is really going to hate me if she ever finds my blog. But come on, girl. We don't all have $80 (okay, okay, I'm exaggerating...$79.50...)to spend on a ruffle cardigan! Am I right, or am I right?

Thus, I proudly present my perhaps-bitchy, definitely-useful feature, in which I post pretty pictures of all Jenna's Picks, their nasty price tags, and their doppelganger alternatives that I locate for all of you for a much lower price. Think of me as your personal buyer...except you don't have to pay me. Scratch that: you can pay me in comments and bloggy love.

Jenna's Gift Picks: Michelle Can Do it Cheaper Edition

#1. Festive, Metallic Belts

Okay, sorry Jenna, but this one is a no-brainer. Jenna's picks include the J. Crew Superskinny Satin Belt, and the J. Crew Metallic Mirror Belt, shown respectively:

Obviously, they're super cute. The silver satin belt, at $25.00, isn't gonna put you out of house and home. But the gold mirror belt, at $35.00, is asking a little too much of you. Granted, it is in "fine Italian leather," but guess what? No one is going to know the difference. Really. Unless you tell them. In which case, you're being snobby.

The clear-cut alternative are these Old Navy Metallic Bow Belts.

They're only $10.00 and they have little bows on them. Um, could you get any more cute? The answer is no.

#2: Jacquard, Sounds-French-But-It's, Once-Again, Italian Ballet Flats

Okay, I have to admit, these were really, really difficult for me to substitute. I mean, they are gold and floral, and crafted with silk, metallic threads. These people pay more attention to detail in making shoes than I do in writing papers during finals....umm...

Beautiful, huh? Well, are they as beautiful as a crisp Benjamin, a Jackson, a spankin' new Hamilton, and a handful of Washingtons? ($135.00, for the non history-obsessees in the room).

I love me some pretty shoes, but I love my boys more.

I said it was hard...but please, I pride myself on how good I am at this stuff. So I present: the Xhilaration Sheryl Floral Print Ballet Flat--Gold

Honestly? I think I like those ones better. And they have a BOW, which we've clearly already established that I love. Oh and um THEY'RE ONLY $19.99 at Target which is why you'd be crazy to spend $110.00 more dollars on such similar shoes.

#3: J. Crew Sequined Starland Tank

Jenna is a smart cookie, and she knows what looks hot. Her problem is that she can't seem to separate "spending a couple days' at work paycheck" from "omg this is so cute," which is clearly a problem.

The tank is clearly awesome, and would look great under a nice black cardigan and with skinny jeans and boots or pumps (Christmas party outfit?) But it's $138.00, and I'm guessing the Christmas bonus has to whore itself out to a lot of different places this year.

This Express Twist Racerback Top--Sequins, at $49.50, however, is much more reasonable and still super cute. I wanted to show it to you in the dark metal color, which looks more like the J. Crew one, but we all know the problems I have with the Express site (the images are on Flash so you can't save them right off the site, and they're always very small and end up being blurry), so click the link to see it. PLUS today (Thursday) they're having a free shipping day, so get over there!

#4: Sequined Cardigans

I'm just gonna admit it: I don't really find the J. Crew Sequin Tuxedo Cardigan to be all that attractive. It's chunky and a little too masculine (hence the name, I suppose).

It's also $88.00. Girl. Please. What do you expect from me?

I really like this Sequin V-Neck Cardigan I found at Martin and Osa much better:

I think the fit is much more flattering and feminine, and at $44.75 you could get it in black and grey for the same price as one of the J. Crew cardigans!

5. Cashmere Scarves

Cashmere scarves make a great gift. Here's a J. Crew one, for $78.00 (and that's on sale! It was $98.00! Sorry Jenna, but I've gotta look out for my paycheck instead of my friends on this one!

This cashmere scarf which I once again found at Martin and Osa is more reasonably priced ($64.00) and...get has little pockets in the front to keep your hands warm! Best idea ever! I really love the rich blue colored one, too.

So there you have it! I hope I managed to save everyone a couple dollars this year, whether it's on crossing items off your own wishlist (don't even feel badly about it! Treat yourself!) or your Christmas shopping list. Some of the pieces may seem only slightly cheaper but when you add it up there's hundreds of dollars worth of savings here!

Also, here's a helpful trick I learned from Cosmo: If you're shopping for something online and you're not sure if you want to get it, leave it in your shopping cart/shopping bag for a few days. The company will often email you some sort of coupon to encourage you to make the purchase! Since I have a crazy little habit of filling up virtual shopping bags all over the interwebs, you can imagine how many coupons I've gotten!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Things I Meant to Say: Never Eating Mexican Food and Raw Cookie Dough in the Same Night Again

1. It's 2:51 on the Sunday of finals week and rather than spend it being a productive member of society in the libes, I haven't yet gotten out of bed. No, I haven't been sleeping...I woke up at 10. I have food poisoning. YAY FOR ME. Last night L. and I went out to dinner with some of our couple friends, and naturally being poor college students decided to go to our friendly neighborhood Mexican cantina, Desperados. L. and I usually have a good experience when we go and the food, while not top-notch, certainly isn't terrible. However, either something at the restaurant or perhaps the raw storebought sugar Christmas cookie dough I ate last night didn't quite agree with me, since my body has been ravaged ever since. Sorry for that.

2. WHAT THE F IS THIS VEVO NONSENSE? All I want to do while confined to my bed is watch Bad Romance. But Youtube directs me to this stupid Vevo channel when I try to watch any of Lady GaGa's videos. What is this?? It lags SO MUCH and ruins my day.

3. Are the tattoos GaGa has in the video real? Also, she looks pretty rockin' from the front, but when you can see her whole SPINE? Come on girl, eat a sandwich!

4. I am IMing with P. about the Vevo situation and about how Williams internet SUCKS BUMS. I sent her the link to the opening skit of the Blake Lively hosted SNL parodying the couple who snuck into the White House. She heard all about that, but IMs me back:

"Who is Blake Lively, anyways?"

GIRL. Come on.

5. I was a bad girl and ordered some early xmas presents for yours truly from AE, including a navy fairisle sweater and a heather brown (my color) cardigan. They should be arriving tomorrow. I am overjoyed. I really wanted the AE Bling Cardigan cause, well, I'm into that kinda thing, but I couldn't justify spending $60 on it.

6. And before you're all like "Michelle, come on, you don't have the money to buy these things, you're addicted to online shopping, you fill up virtual shopping carts and shopping bags with hundreds of dollars worth of stuff that you're never gonna buy which means that you obviously have a problem, what would your mother say blah blah blah" I would just like to say that they were having FREE SHIPPING AND 20% OFF AND MY MOTHER WOULD BE DAMN PROUD OF MY SALE-HUNTING SKILLS.

7. Back to the food poisoning (cause I know you wanted to go back there), my problem with stomach viruses of any kind is that when I get them I refuse to eat since I'm terrified it'll get worse, which probably just messes up my stomach more, and I'll also NEVER go back to the place or eat the food that might-have-perhaps-but-probably-didn't-even-make-me-sick. Sun Chips free since '93...or somewhere around there. Just wanted a How I Met Your Mother shout-out.

8. Speaking of How I Met Your Mother, L. and I are beginning to think about auditioning the Ted to our Marshall and Lily for our apartment after graduation next year. We've got a couple good boys lined up. It should be great times.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Guest Post: Adopt-a-Pet (Help Work to Save a Life!)

Recently, I was contacted by Jeff Howard, from Adopt-a-Pet, a non-profit website that works to find homes for over 125,000 needy animals from over 8,000 animal shelters and human societies in the United States. He works on their blog, (you should check it out! It's great) and asked if I'd be interested in working together to promote the work they do.


I love dogs. I love them more than people, most of the time. They always want to be wherever you are and think that whatever you're doing is the coolest possible thing anyone has ever done. Since I've now resolved to have no children and only have lots and lots of dogs (think Robin from How I Met Your Mother,) I'm going to need a shelter that can provide me with a ton of dogs.

(PS they also have lots of cats and hamsters and rabbits, too, if that's your thing)

To get started, here's some info from Adopt a Pet about pet adoption, itself:

Commonly Asked Questions About Pet Adoption

Q: Although there are literally millions of pets in shelters, pounds, and other 'temporary housing,' many pet owners-to-be don't think about adoption when they're looking for their new four-legged friend. Why do you think that is, and what can be done to turn that around?

A: Many people who want to get a pet just are not aware of how many pets are available at shelters. They might also have the misconception that pets are shelters might be there because there was a problem with the animal. In fact, most pets end up in shelters not because of any problem pet behavior, but because an owner died, moved, or simply didn't have the time or money to care for the animal. In some cases animals are lost and never found by their owners. These animals are healthy and very eager to please. Rescues pets are wonderful- just ask anyone who has one.

Some people are seeking purebred animals or puppies and think these are not available in shelters. In fact, nearly a quarter of all animals in shelters are purebred. Often someone buys an expensive purebred animal and then attempts to breed that animal to recoup their money. Often these puppies or kittens are not placed in homes, and end up in the shelter. Puppies and kittens often up in shelters as well, but it is important to note that your animals, especially puppies, require a lot of work and training and can be quite destructive (peeing on the carpet or chewing shoes). Puppies are great but often people are much happier getting a dog who is older, and whose size and temperament is a known quantity.

With and without even leaving their home, people can search all their local pets and see pictures and descriptions of the animals. This way, they can find the exact pet they want, call the animal shelter or rescue group, and get information on how to adopt that specific animal.

Q: What are the 5 most important things a potential adopter should consider when choosing their new pet?

A: We actually have a blog post on this highlighting the top 10 things we believe are important when adopting. Here are five, the rest can be located by visiting this page.

1. You need to make a real commitment to care for your pet for its entire life.

2. Verify in advance that you’re allowed to keep a pet where you live.

3. Never adopt a pet on a whim or because you feel it’s love-at-first-sight

4. Provide sufficient exercise and stimulation during the first few weeks, this will help the pet adjust.

5. Make any necessary modifications to your yard and fence to provide for your pet’s safety.

Q: What are 5 positive aspects of pet adoption, and why is it a good option?

A: 1. When you adopt an adult animal, you can see his/her size and temperament. This helps ensure that the pet is right for you and your family.

2. It feels great to know you have saved an animals' life and everyone you meet will give you kudos for that for years to come.

3. Adopted pets are very loyal and know they have been given a new home.

4. Adopting a pet can be an important lesson to teach your children-- both about the value of life, and also about civic responsibility and even recycling- in this case recycling a living and loving animal into a new home.

5. Choosing a mixed breed animal can help avoid many of the genetic health problems that have developed in purebred animal due overbreeding and inbreeding.

Q: If someone reading this isn't in a position to adopt a pet right at this time, but still wants to help homeless pets, what are 5 things he or she can do to get involved?

A: 1. People can do Social PETworking! They can run a search on, find a pet they want to help get exposure for, and use the share tools on our site to post the pet link on their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or other social network page. Or, they can email the link of a pet in need form our site to their friends.

2. They can place a link/graphic or even a search widget for on their personal website to encourage they users to see pets in need at local shelters.

3. People can add their info to our volunteer database so shelters who need volunteers can find them.

4. People can search to find a local shelter, and make a cash donation to that shelter to help them with the costs of housing, feeding and medical care of shelter animals.

5. People can encourage other pet owners to spay or neuter their pet to help prevent unwanted births.

Stay tuned for the next post with some information on what Adopt-a-Pet does to help and some highlights of their organization!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

If You Find Yourself in Need of an Orange Wool Pea Coat

My friend P., having read my previous posts that are becoming a feature of sorts where I find really cute clothes...and then find versions for all of you for a hell of a lot cheaper (such as I did here and here), asked me if I would do the same for her with a gorgeous orange pea coat she had found, but was hoping to find for a lot less. I accepted the mission.

Since we already did the prowling of the internets looking for other versions that I have to normally do when I write these little features, I thought, well, I might as well make one, and see if anyone needs an orange pea coat!

Thus, Michelle's Cheaper Finds for the Karmaloop Breathe Easy Jacket by Joyrich:

P. found this beautiful pea coat in orange and decided, naturally, that she had to have it. But at $118.00, she wondered if she could find something comparable for a better price.

I set out in search of a coat I had spied when I may or may not have been ordering some cute sweaters for myself at American Eagle (25% off and free shipping! Come on, what do you expect from me?), so I directed her to the AE Warm Pea coat:

The color insists that it's "red," even though to me it's definitely an orange-red--or perhaps even a red-orange. It's super cute and slightly less than the Karmaloop coat, at $89.95. But P. was convinced we could go even lower, and that's when I realized she was looking for a Christmas miracle.

So what do you think? Did P. find her miracle, under-$50 (yes, that was her parameter...girl knows what she wants!) orange pea coat?

Why yes. Yes, she did.

The Forever 21 Chelsea Wool Blend Coat:

I'll admit, I lost faith for awhile there. I did not believe that P. would be able to find her orange pea coat for under $50. Plus shipping.

The Forever 21 coat?


Even with shipping, she'll still come out under $50.00

And now I kind of want it...

Stay tuned for Jenna's J. Crew Holiday Gift Picks: Michelle Can Do it Cheaper Edition, coming soon!

(Wow, Jenna's really gonna hate me if she ever finds my blog...)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Open Letter to Amanda Bynes and Whoever Designed the Cover of This Month's Cosmo

Dear Amanda Bynes and Whoever Designed the Cover of This Month's Cosmo:

What happened? Did all the other steps of layout take so long that you had to throw the cover together 5 minutes before deadline? Did you really think
that bright pink, bright yellow, and SUPER FAKE bright-blonde hair went well together?

There's not even a picture of this monstrosity up yet that I can include so that people can see what I'm talking about. But I can assure you that nex
t time people go to the grocery store and are at the checkout line, they'll probably get a strange craving for lemonade, and then have to go home and rest with a cool facecloth over their eyes due to the splitting migraine this awful cover gave them.

What went wrong, Cosmo? Your December Fergie cover was beautiful. The colors were great and winter-y. The clothes were classy. The layout was aesthetically pleasing:

The clothes. Oh, don't even get me started on the clothes. You have Amanda Bynes on the cover of the January issue wearing an ugly pink tank top and...jeans. ...Where did this come from?! When has there ever been a Cosmo cover featuring jeans? I'm sure they're probably $200 dollar jeans, but we like the awesome designer dresses that we'll probably never be able to afford and like to gawk at anyway!

And, I'm ashamed to say that this is the most touched-up, fakest looking cover to date. We obviously understand that there's like 66 billion Photoshop tools to digitally touch up photos, and yeah, we know you use 'em all on your covers. But usually it at least somehow comes out looking like a real person. Her hair looks like it was painted on. Literally.

Plus, haven't we had enough Amanda Bynes covers already? She was January 2009, for pete's sak

Are we just recycling celebrities now?

Don't take it personally, Amanda. I don't have anything against you. Well, I don't really think you're funny. And your head kind of looks like an alien's. But it's really not you. I just don't understand how someone can put together a pink and yellow cover for a winter issue if they've had any sort of layout or design training at all. Maybe I should do the next cover...



Edit: I realize there was also the unfortunate Ashley Tisdale denim cutoffs situation on the April '09 cover. I maintain that that, too, was stupid.

Update: HERE IT IS! I FOUND IT! Now you can all see it in all its ugly glory:

Makes No Sense

I begrudgingly got my lazy bottom out of bed this morning about a half hour before my 11am class--a class I absolutely cannot stand, moreover, and started walking over at about 11:05.

Holy fuck, was there a lot of snow outside.

My wet hair instantly froze and began beating me mercilessly in the face. I trekked across the tundra and avoided getting hit by the 2325 snowplows on Route 2.

--Distraction: boyfriend just walked in holding my former life (I was an editor) and recent disillusionment, our college paper, and announced "Whose d do you have to suck to get into the paper around here!" Needless to say, it got my attention. (Our writers have a nasty little habit of reviewing theater shows but leaving about 3/4 of the cast out, concentrating on only a few and suspiciously the same people every time, making me wonder if there aren't some people sucking some d's around here after all.) This has happened to L. twice so needless to say, ANNOYING. Vicariously.


There's a sign on the door that says, "Class canceled. Be careful out there."

Okay, first of all, I appreciate the cautionary sentiment. But I am SO CONFUSED.

If my professor was here to put a note on the door, wouldn't we have class? If she wasn't here to put a note on the door, who did, and why was it in her handwriting? If she put the note on the door late last night, when it started snowing, in anticipation her not being able to make her commute today, what if it hadn't snown (yes, snown) and then she wanted to have class but some little jerk had already seen the sign and broadcast it to everyone?

Or, the biggest question:


Speaking of that, is it worth going out in the 6+ inches of snow and "ice pellets" to obtain more Christmas Tea from the food store?

I think yes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Save a Dog

I don't know how I didn't hear about this when it happened, but recently I read about Guillermo Vargas's art exhibit in Nicaragua. For those of you who managed also to miss it, the exhibit apparently featured a stray, malnourished dog tied to one wall of the gallery, with a bowl of food just out of his reach. Spectators were instructed not to feed or otherwise assist the dog, and it has never really been confirmed whether the dog was shown as being malnourished during gallery hours but then fed and properly cared for at night, or if the whole thing was as extreme as some news outlets have made it out to be.

It has also never been confirmed if the dog actually died or ran away from the gallery. Vargas has been quoted as saying that the purpose of the exhibit was to expose the hypocrisy of people focusing the center of their attention on a starving dog in a gallery as part of an exhibit, but merely walking by or ignoring starving dogs on the streets.

Either way, whether you agree with the exhibit or not, there's no denying that animal overpopulation is a horrible problem that doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. Of course not everyone wants to adopt a dog from a shelter, when it may not be a purebred or when they can't instill their own training in its upbrining, but buying dogs from pet stores is unacceptable and people should either buy directly from breeders or adopt stray dogs. Pet stores get most of their dogs from puppy mills which essentially stack cages one on top of the other, allowing the animals to defecate all over one another, interbreed their animals with members of their own litters, and are sometimes even killed when their fertility wanes. [Sources]

That's why I wanted to encourage everyone to visit Save a Dog, Inc. It's a Massachusetts-based humane society that focuses on abandoned dogs. On their website, you can sign a petition in support of the MA state bill (H.344) to end devocalization, a terrible process by which dogs' vocal chords are cut or otherwise altered to decrease barking.

Or, if you're thinking of adopting a can do that too ;).

If I had somewhere to keep him, I personally would bring home Jeff...he melts my heart:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Double Date: Reunited

You may remember me having mentioned that C. and R.L.D.H. (Real Life Dan Humphrey) have started dating again and are trying to make it work long-distance (three hours from Williams to Boston). Not only am I incredibly happy for them, but L. and I are overjoyed as well, since they were our best couple friends! C. is one of my best girlfriends individually, and D.H. is one of L.'s closest guy friends, so the four of us together is pure bliss.

This weekend, we got to have our first double-date reunion since they began dating again. The last time we were all together was last spring, before D.H. graduated and moved to Boston to work at a consulting firm, while C. and L. and I are still at Williams. I MISSED COUPLE FRIENDS SO MUCH. L. and I are totally Marshall and Lily from HIMYM. We are sickening and the same person and above all love having couple friends. Well, I know I do. I'm pretty sure he does too...

Friday night we headed over to C.'s building and met up with Baby Zumbi, D.H.'s brother who also goes to Williams with us and is a year younger. The nickname is a complete inside joke and impossible to explain. We had a great time having drinks and catching up and enjoying each other's company for the first time in a long time.

Once C. and I were sufficiently ready to dance (let's GO! WE want to DANCEEEEEEE!!!!), we had to drag the boys away. We had no problem mobilizing Baby Zumbi, who decided to "clean up" the drinks that we hadn't been able to finish...including the rest of C.'s handle of smirnoff and the rest of my Captain Morgan. Needless to say, we only had about 15 minutes of dancing before we spotted D.H. guiding a poor-form Baby Zumbi toward the door.

THEN we had a little incident where L. and I went to find our jackets, and I discovered that my black North Face fleece was NOT in the location wherein I had left it. Being in high spirits, I proceeded to throw a tantrum and then cry. While ridiculous, my response is justified in my opinion.
A: I LOVE my North Face fleece.
B: It is warm and comfy and stylish.
C: My mom bought it for me as a gift after MUCH hinting.
Unfortunately, every other Williams student also has a black North Face fleece, and proceeds apparently to GRAB whichever one they see on their way out. My phone was thrown to the ground a few feet away from the where I had left the jacket, which made me even angrier, and then I found a black fleece in my size completely not in the place where I had left mine, but L. helped me investigate it and we affirmed that it smelled like me, had hair of the same length and color as mine on it, and that one of the ties on the zipper was hand-tied, so we were 99% sure it was mine. I am still so annoyed that people on this campus will grab the first jacket/umbrella/laptop/gloves/ETC that they see and take it for their own, but I guess that's another blog post.

Saturday was much better. First off it was the annual Williamstown Holiday Walk, which involves hundreds of dogs dressed up as reindeer being walked down the street, among other things, but honestly, who are we kidding? I'm in it for the dogs. L. and I watched from the window while we did work. Then C. and I got pretty and D.H. and L. took us out to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner, which was super sweet of them. After we gorged ourselves on Mexican food we basically repeated our Friday-night pregame, but C. felt sick so we played beirut with the boys drinking beer and C. and I using Vitamin Water, while Baby Zumbi smartly refrained from drinking altogether and wrote a paper. We laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation and thought about how funny it would be if security came to break us up.

D.H. left this afternoon and we were all pretty bummed about it, since the next time we'll all get to spend time together probably won't be for another month or so. But L. and I are just thankful to have our couple friends back.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Layout: Columns? Help!

So, I really like my layout. It's pretty simple and effective. I would like a cuter header, but I suppose I can deal.

What I would like, though, is to keep the same format but with a skinny column on the left side as well as the right, and to stretch out the main and would-be center column so that my pictures and posts overall can be wider.

Does anyone know how to do this? Is there a way to modify my existing html rather than get a whole new template?

Something like this! But prettier. Obvi.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gorgeous Cheap Coat Steal!

As you might remember from my Wishlist post, a couple weeks ago I was salivating over this J. Crew Wool Duffle Coat in camel:

It's gorgeous and looks super warm, but for $298.00, it was going to have to be a Christmas miracle.

And then, one happened.

It wasn't even on Black Friday-- it was on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and I was shopping in-store at Old Navy. That's where I spotted this beauty, the Old Navy double-breasted wool blend coat:

So the color might not be as rich, and it does have the brass buttons. But guess what? It was originally $99.50, but that day Old Navy was having a 50% sale on outerwear.

Yup. I got my adorable wool winter coat for $49.50. It doesn't have the hood, but I would have taken that off anyway. It's super flattering and has a gorgeous silky magenta lining:

I'm not really a big fan of the funnel neck, so I wear mine folded down for the double-breasted look. I'm so happy with it and have gotten so many compliments already--and I've only gotten to wear it once so far! It looks great with skinny jeans and my Bandolino Castalina boots, and I can't wait to wear it with dresses, tights and flats.

In other fashion news, though I've never been a lucky person in the least, I won my second blog giveaway a couple weeks ago on So About What I Said... for a really pretty ModCloth purple scarf. I was so excited! Their Blog Coordinator emailed me to tell me that the scarf was so popular it had sold out, and after looking over the alternative choices I decided on the ModCloth In The Loop sapphire-colored circle scarf, which just arrived today!

I've never had a circle scarf before, and it's a little tricky to figure out. I've been playing with it and am hoping to put my work outfit together tomorrow around it. (It's so fun to be able to dress for work at school, otherwise I'd probably just wear jeans, moccasins, thermals and puffy vests all day!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Things They Should Teach In College, aka, What I Really Do With My Life, aka, Things I'm Terrified Of

It's not uncommon for me to glance up at the clock while on my computer "doing work" or "studying" and find that it's three hours later than the last time I've looked, and I've gotten no papers written, and no reading done.

In fact, it just happened now.

So, I figured, if I'm going to spend all my time looking up these things that I have no real reason to presently know, I might as well be useful and blog about it. I can't help it--it's the student in me. But here's the thing. I don't spend all my procrastination time on the fbook, or on celebrity gossip sites, or online shopping. I read about a lot of things that interest me and some of which are actually if only they could offer classes about these things:

(Note: I'm morbid and terrified of everything, so a lot of them reflect that. This post could also probably be titled "Things Michelle Is Scared of Dying From.)

1. Supervolcanoes

Supervolcanoes don't get any credit. Sure, the chance of them happening is only really once every million years, and Yellowstone last erupted 640,000 years ago. There's no way to predict a pattern and therefore when the next eruption will be (the last ones before that were 1.3 million and 2.1 million years ago), but that ALSO means that, really, it could happen any time! Hello! That's terrifying!'s not like it would happen overnight. There'd be warning signs, like earthquakes, minor eruptions, earth bulges, etc. But there are a lot of supervolcanoes around the world, and the results of their eruptions, while doing enormous damage to the immediate surrounding areas, could affect global climate. AKA it snows a lot and then my brothers in California won't be able to say "Hey, it's 70 degrees and sunny AGAIN here today, wouldn'tcha know?" And then I'd mock them...and then we'd all die.

2. Asteroids on a Collision Course With Earth

So I guess I wasn't as obsessed with all things that may-or-may-not be out to kill me in 2004, or maybe in my high-school prime I wasn't watching the news as often, but I didn't hear about Apophis when it was discovered in 2004. Good thing, because I probably would have had anxiety attacks for years to come. (Even though I guess I'm in the same place now I would have ended up?) Anyways, Apophis is a nasty little chunk of rock that initially was predicted to have a 1 in 37 chance of hitting the earth in 2029. 1 in 37. To put that in perspective, your lifetime, averaged odds (so not counting how often you engage in a particular activity, where you live, or any other outside variables) of dying from other things are:

1 in 38 from hospital infections
1 in 63 from the flu
1 in 197 from resistant bacteria infection
1 in 5,051 from a plane crash
1 in 60,453 from a shark attack

So, for a short time in 2004 a giant asteroid hitting the Earth and killing millions of people, possibly changing our global climate and plunging the earth into an impact winter had a greater chance of occurring than, well, anything else. I don't see how it's possible that this didn't cause mass hysteria/a panic attack for me. But shortly thereafter the collision odds were reduced to 1 in 45,000 and then afterward to 4 in 1 million. The threat of a collision in 2029 has been ruled out but a possible collision in 2036 still exists, depending on the way the path of the asteroid is changed when it enters into the Earth's gravitational pull in 2029. SCARY SHIT.

3. If a Zombie Apocalypse is Actually Scientifically Possible

Okay, let's get real here. Obviously the most extreme, Hollywood-zombies...the ones that come back from the dead...are (probably) not possible. But this obsession with the idea of zombie-types created by some sort of medical malfunction began to take root in my phobia-prone mind sometime after I read The Hot Zone, a fact-based account of the Ebola virus and how it almost killed everyone in the world (I hope you've noticed my penchant for hyperbole by now), which actually resembles zombies in a way, and the movie I Am Legend. Anyone who knows me just a little, and knows my tendency to become obsessed and terrified of pretty much anything remotely scary, and my complete inability to watch scary movies without having to revert to 5-year-old behavior for weeks afterward, knows that I should not have been allowed to watch this movie. But I was told it "wasn't scary" (wtf? Was The Descent (my #1 pick for scariest movie of all time) not scary? Was It not scary? What IS scary, if I Am Legend isn't?!) and so fell victim to obsessing about zombies for weeks afterward. says that there's five scientifically-based ways zombie outbreaks could occur:

(1) Brain parasites
(2) Neurotoxins
(3) The Real Rage Virus
(4) Neurogenesis
(5) Nanobots

You can read the article for yourself (and you should, if you're not prone to bouts of anxiety and unjustified paranoia like I am), but it's not completely ridiculous.

4. Stockholm Syndrome

Being obsessed with Stockholm Syndrome is probably more morbid than being obsessed with death, but there's something about it that's just so unbelievably chilling to me. For those who don't know, it's the phenomenon by which a victim pledges loyalty to, refuses to see the bad in, or sometimes even falls in love with their captor. It isn't common, and 73% of victims never display any signs of it. But the idea that there are people who not only don't take the opportunity to run away from their kidnappers when afforded it, but actually choose or at least attempt to remain with them in the face of rescue or even reuniting with their parents or family is simultaneously horrifying to me, yet I'm not judgmental about it at all because clearly it's a really, really messed up psychological disorder.

So, there we go. I've gotten absolutely no work done, but still feel productive, since I've managed to share with all of you the crazy things I spend my time reading about when I'm supposed to be studying. It's much more gratifying than simply wasting time with nothing to show for it. Maybe I'll make this a new feature...