Thursday, July 5, 2012

reasons why you shouldn't use grocery bags as trash bags.

The other day I went to take out the trash and noticed that half a can of sweetened condensed milk had leaked out all over the floor. It's messes like these that make me want to give up on life.

While cleaning up the mess, I went over a few reasons why it's not beneficial to recycle these stupid bags for anything other than dry trash and litter box waste. No matter how many times you double bag, there might still be a hole on the bottom that you missed, and when you dump thick liquids into the trash, those will inevitably find their way out. Of course, most trash bins are solid and not wicker. But no matter what, you still have to clean up a mess.

Look, I'm all for recycling, just not when I have to go out of my way for it or when the recycling factor ends up being negated. For example, in place of one trash bag that can hole a crapton of shit, I ended up using four grocery bags for less than a quarter of what can fit in a standard size trash bag. Talk about waste. Then, if you use paper towels to clean the mess that oozed out of the bags, you're wasting even more resources.

Trash bags were invented for a reason.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Suit Up for Summer

This post is underwritten by Old Navy. Whether you're looking for a tankini, bikini, or a one piece, Old Navy has you confidently covered at a great price.

The last time I went to the beach was when I was 16 (I'm now 24), and that's how long it's been since I've gotten a new suit. It seems as if there are hundreds of new styles out there now and it's a pain to find one that suits your body type. I also have trouble knowing where to shop. Not all stores carry a decent selection, and if you don't start shopping in February their already tiny offerings will be picked over.

Cue Old Navy. Three of their suits stood out to me and I'm going to explain why.

Top: U-ring bandeau top & bottom. Bottom: Ruffled string top & bottom

For a fun beach or pool outing where I won't be swimming or taking part in any type of athletic activity, these two suits would be a cute look. Although I'm not necessarily a fan of bandeau tops for smaller women, what I like about this particular suit is that it has a strap to provide a little extra lift and shape. The bottoms are flattering and isn't cut too high on the thigh, which I don't find flattering. Although it has a little bling, it's not too pronounced.

The ruffled top and bottom are just plain cute and a nice jewel-tone green that would work with my pale skin. Triangle tops are some of the most flattering and it's what I choose to wear often. Because of the ruffles, though, I feel like you can't really get down and dirty in this suit.

Striped bikini top & boy short bottom

If we're being honest here, I'm always afraid of having a swimsuit malfunction, so if I'm active on the beach I look for a hipster/wide bikini/boyshort bottom, like this style. The color is summery and reminds me of a sunset. While the top is a little too close to a bandeau style, it's scooped on top and has a strap to provide shape and lift.

What I also like about these three suits is that they're more colorful than I typically wear. I stick to black because it looks good, is harder to see through, and doesn't stain as easily. It's nice to own a really fun suit, though, so hopefully I will be able to find one of these three in the store.

Thank you again to Old Navy for sponsoring my post. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The final chapter of my hair saga.

Remember how upset I was about my hair? Almost a week later, I still couldn't shake the feeling, so when I happened by a salon in Chicago offering 20% off for new clients, a force took over me and I found myself explaining my problems to the lady behind the counter, who could tell immediately what was wrong with my hair (it was that bad).

A tiny Kim Kardashian (I thought she was prettier, but her hair was almost exactly the same -- I'm growing out my hair now) came out and told me what she would do. After about 45 minutes, I walked out with this:

The end to my hair woes.

But a few days later, I trimmed my bangs. They look good, but I need to hide the scissors now. I don't really want bangs, I just wanted to control something (those darn anxiety issues).

So, this is the end for about 3 months. Or 30 days, at the very least.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Under The Table.

On Sunday, my mom asked me if I would go to a few stores with her. Because I've kept myself cooped up out due to a recent bout of the blues, I said alright, but only if we get coffee at some point.

Our first stop was the discount bookstore that I forgot all about. Ever since Borders closed, I've been lamenting the loss of my favorite Christmastime tradition, buying books for family, enjoying the more close-knit, familial setting of the employees than Barnes & Nobles could ever hope to offer.

I digress.

This discount bookstore was in a strip mall that I often drive by but never stop at because it's tucked in where I don't want to be -- by the bowling alley, Steak & Shake, and ABC Warehouse. But once I walked in I smacked myself on the head.

The books are all laid out on those fake brown tables that look like wood on top, but is only a heavy laminate. Some were on shelves. They had thank you notes, journals, and just about everything you can find for their full price at the B&N. So as my mom looked for the books she needed, I perused the nonfiction novels while I waited. I saw some personal tales of hiking and mountain climbing. I saw some other stuff. Then, I saw this book. It's kind of cliche - a girl leaves her day job to go into debt learning how to cook from French chefs with delusions of striking it rich as a famous chef. Of course, she's blonde. However, it's a lot better than that. You won't get a play-by-play on the inner workings of culinary school, but you do get a few tips on the different kind of stocks (brown and white; no salt; fish stock, falling into the white category, is the quickest of them all and never use carrots), which are the base for all sauces and more; why chocolate is always a better choice than vanilla when it comes to ice cream; cream puffs!

There are no pictures in this book, but there are recipes at the end of a few chapters.

She isn't as mean as the Amazon reviewers make her out to be. To me (I'm halfway through the book), her narrative reveals her inner dialogue, which is always more raw and honest than most of us will ever reveal to the world. She's blunt. Although you get the sense that she's playing the role of a caricaturist in the descriptions of her fellow classmates, like a caricature painting it's just a more enhanced version of their true self. Aren't we all a little dramatic?

Her writing style draws you in and isn't overly twee or dramatic. She just is what she portrays. When you're in a high pressure setting, it's easy to doubt yourself. Then, you pull yourself out of it and, even for a brief moment, think you are the most amazing person on earth. It's not false humility, it's human nature.

Anyway, as with all reviews, take them with a grain of kosher salt. I'm going to keep reading.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nothing is certain but death and taxes.

And you most definitely cannot ever be certain of getting a good haircut. Observe:

Nothing is sure but death and taxes.

It looks passable now that I've fixed it a little, but it a) doesn't look quite like that style should look, b) looks almost, but not quite, entirely unlike what I wanted, and c) looks nothing like the picture I brought in.

I cried. There is no point pretending like I'm not that girl. Usually, I give myself a week before deciding how terrible a haircut really is, but this was just horrible. Here is how it began:

I arrived at the salon on time for my appointment, which had already been pushed back half an hour due to a previous customer whose appointment ran long. Instead of having to wait an extra half hour (which worked out for me), I ended up waiting more like a full hour before said customer was finally finished.

The owner asked another stylist to please get me started by washing my hair. She gave me a really nice scalp massage that I normally don't receive from my usual guy. (For some reason, I expect guys to give better haircuts than women. Yeah, I know.) My hair was looking pretty good after that, I noticed.

After the blonde with long hair left and the remnants of her scalp were swept off the chair, I sat down and showed him a picture of my desired cut. It was shorter than I have ever gotten before, but he gave me a great haircut last visit so I wasn't worried. He pointed a little less than halfway down my neck and said, "According to the picture, this is how short it will be. Is that okay?" Yes, it was.

Only, when you cut wet hair you have to account for the fact that it shrinks as it dries. Right? Even I knew that. Strike one.

Instead of cutting the blunt layer, then a top layer a 1/2 inch or so shorter, texturing the ends to lie softly, he ended up cutting and texturing graduated layers so my hair would round itself, like so. Big strike two.

By this point, I just wanted to jump out of the chair, but found myself paralyzed and gazing into the mirror in a frozen state of panic. You'd think that would be the end, but it gets worse. He was styling it so that my hair would poof out instead of lying flat like the picture I showed him (think soccer mom bob). When I kindly asked him why my hair poofed out like that, he said, "Oh, that's kind of what I do!" I just didn't know how to respond to that. You'd have thought he hated me. Yes, I tip well. I even praised the guy on Yelp. STRIKE THREE.

Yet, I still tipped him. Our final conversation went something like this:

Him: "Do you like it?"

Me: "Uh huh-sure-great-here's your tip-no, I'll call-gotta go!"

I'm amazed I didn't cry in the car. Somehow, I managed to save my tears for when I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror.

Finally, we get to my hair in the first picture. I parted my hair deeply off to the side and smoothed it out with the flat iron I thought I broke because I had smacked it against the counter a few hours earlier in rage. (I never do that.) I kind of have a butchered Katie Holmes 'do now (in fact, if you Google image search "soccer mom bob", a picture of Katie Holmes' famous bob, and the ex wife of Jim Carrey, is one of first images) only not as intentional and, I repeat, not at all what I wanted. It needs to be fixed but I don't want to go back to this place ever again, and I'm too cheap to pay for another haircut so soon.

Such is my life.

ETA - Now that I'm a little less hysterical, I realize I'm making a much bigger deal out of this than the situation warrants. It's less about the hair and more about the lack of control. I actually think the style looks kind of cute in a 20s bob way, though I can still see faults with the shape. Who knows, I might even keep it this way if I don't like how it grows out.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What I want to know is... And hair musings.

Why my package was shipping on a Sunday, but not at all on Monday. Hmm? It's as if they realized they were ahead of schedule and had to slow themselves down. I'm looking directly at you, USPS.

So, I'm getting my haircut on Friday. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do, though I've (sort of) decided to cut it much shorter than I ever have before.

And then I see pictures of myself with long hair (like the outdated profile picture) and I question my sanity.

The thing is, my hair is already short (hits my shoulders) so if I wanted it long again, it will take a while. And as cliche as it sounds, I WANT A CHANGE.

Here's what it looks like now. I'm looking at this picture hoping that its hideousness will propel me towards drastic changes.

my hair, currently.

I look sleepy without any eyeliner.

My first step towards being a drastic person was dying my hair "natural blue-black" in May. I've always been curious as to what I'd look like with black hair. Well, it wasn't the worst thing that's ever happened to me, but far from my best look. It has since faded and looks a little highlighted. My roots (half an inch of light brown) are beginning to show and I should probably do something about it, like a dark chocolate brown.

Anyway, I've rescheduled this appointment thrice, so it needs to be Friday already.