Archive | June, 2011

Thursday Night Link Party!

30 Jun

Here are some internet things I like:

-Alex posted this hilarious story on TTWF. It’s a look inside his soul, you guys.

-If you haven’t listened to Amy Poehler on WTF with Marc Maron yet, what are you waiting for? She is just as fabulous as you would expect.

-Lauren wrote this post about a Gary Shteyngart reading she attended. She is such a literary superstar! And if you aren’t reading her blog, get with it.

-I kind of want to make these Oreo rice krispie treats. They look like just the right combination of disgusting and delicious.

-I absolutely adore this post on beauty tips to make you feel like a queen. This weekend, I’m buying some deep conditioner and eye cream so I can just sit around with a scarf on my head, feeling fabulous.

-Listen, guys, I love Gwyneth Paltrow and I subscribe to GOOP. I know it’s the cool thing to hate her, but I don’t think she’s guilty of anything except a complete lack of self-awareness. There are worse things, you know? Today’s GOOP is about stress. Girl, I know you get stressed!

-Finally, this list of Taglines for Romantic Comedies That Will Never Exist is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

Funny Lady: Megan Amram

30 Jun

I don’t know a lot about Megan Amram, other than her funny McSweeney’s list and the fact that she was on Julie Klausner’s delightful podcast. I feel like this video gets across everything we need to know, namely that she is hilarious.

Office Style: Cher Edition

30 Jun

One needn’t relegate evening wear to evening-time! Any dress can be work-ready by adding just a few basic wardrobe staples and accessories. After your work day is through, you’ll be able to hit the town without missing a beat.


A bejeweled bikini might scream “dress code violation!”…

But wait! Cher adds a touch of modesty by layering a structured military jacket over the revealing garment. A dramatic collar draws eyes to the face and away from cleavage. A hat might seem stuffy, but a bright red feather shows personality. This isn’t your mother’s shako! Keep hair and makeup simple (as Cher does), and remember: vertical rhinestone stripes give the illusion of a slimmer figure.

Fictional Dream Dude: Ben Wyatt

29 Jun

I have a major crush on Ben Wyatt (aka The Human Disaster) from Parks and Recreation. I used to think that Ron Swanson was my Parks and Rec dream dude, because I have dark hair and I love to make breakfast. Then I realized I’m his dream girl. I mean, he should be so lucky.
I’m not totally sure if I have a crush on Ben Wyatt or if I just want to become a man and dress exactly like him. I’m 99% sure he does all of his shopping at J. Crew. He dresses in fitted versions of “dad clothes,” which FYI is my favorite style of clothing.
Look at this jacket. Just look at it!

And the skinny tie and that checked shirt? Too much! I swear I have daydreams about how much I love this jacket.

Checkered shirt, again.

Do you guys remember this scene? It’s like my heart is melting all over my keyboard whenever I look at it.

I promise I’m not going to turn this into Nerd Boyfriend, although it would probably be better for us all if I did.

Project Re-Read: Alice in Rapture, Sort Of

29 Jun


If The Agony of Alice seemed a bit more heartwarming than I originally thought, then Alice in Rapture, Sort Of is the Alice I remember. This is the book where Alice starts for real-real dating Red-Haired World-Traveler Patrick Long, and so she spends most of the book worrying about kissing him. It’s unreal to me how fraught with tension a simple kiss was for Alice McKinley, but then again, she was only going into 7th grade. Now, this seems so young for Alice to be dealing with this stuff, but when I read it in the 5th grade, she seemed impossibly old and mature.

Alice’s dad romantically declares that summer “The Summer of the First Boyfriend,” and if that sentence doesn’t excite you, then you were never a 12 year old girl. Alice, Pamela, and Elizabeth all have boyfriends for the first time, and they spend the summer getting ice cream and hanging out at the playground. When I originally read this, I thought that sounded like the most adult behavior I could imagine. It’s of the utmost importance that they all have boyfriends when 7th grade starts, because as Pamela tells them, “If you start junior high without a boyfriend, the guys will think you’re a dog, and then you’ll have to work twice as hard to be popular.” This is probably why I had to work so hard to be popular in junior high. And high school. And college.

While The Agony of Alice was mostly about Alice’s search for a mother and her relationship with Mrs. Plotkin, AiRSO is almost exclusively about boys and dating. Specifically, the rules of dating. Pick up the phone after the second ring because the first ring makes you seem too eager, and the third like you don’t care. The boy should always walk on the outside of the sidewalk, so if a car drives by and splashes water, the girl won’t get wet. Don’t give a boy any gift that touches his skin until you’re engaged (that rule courtesy of Alice’s Aunt Sally). And always eat 4 crackers before going out so your stomach won’t growl (this was a trick I used in high school classes, although I didn’t remember where I’d heard it). All of these rules stressed me out so much when I was a kid—dating sounded like the scariest thing ever, even worse than public speaking or gym class. Of course, if I’d only known that I wouldn’t be going on any dates for, like, a good ten years, I wouldn’t have worried so much.

This is the Alice book I think of as The One Where Alice Takes the Trip to the Beach, because her dad miraculously volunteers to take her, Elizabeth, and Pamela to stay in his coworker’s beach house for a week. This, to ten year old me, sounded like heaven. Also, Alice’s dad buys her a 2 piece bathing suit that she says makes her feel like a new person, and Patrick shows up with Lester, and overall this was just nothing like my junior high experience. Words like “2 piece bathing suit” and “beach” and “boyfriend” did not even enter into my life (instead I had words like “Winnie the Pooh spaghetti strap shirt” and “writing in my journal a lot” and “being really into Savage Garden”).

At the end of the book, Alice breaks up with Patrick because the pressure of being in a relationship is just too much for her. All that kissing! They decide to be “special friends,” which Patrick says means they’re more than friends but they can still “date other kids.” So Alice ends up starting junior high without a boyfriend after all, and as she shows up for her first day of 7th grade, all I can think is, “Good luck, girl.” 7th grade was probably the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life, which speaks not only to how generally good my life has been, but how 7th grade was an unparalleled time of hellacious despair for most people I know.

Highlights:
-Alice and Patrick look through a book called Celebrity Yearbook, where the idea is to look at high school photos of celebrities and figure out who they are. The examples Phyllis Reynolds Naylor used were Johnny Carson and Woody Allen. This was a different time, indeed!

-Alice thinks she’s found the best gift for Patrick when she gives him a miniature drum set made out of Lucite. She brags about it to everyone, until she finds out Lucite is just plastic.

-Alice says “’When you have a lot of cleavage you can wear a gold locket and it almost gets buried between your breasts.’ I dreamed of having enough cleavage some day to be able to bury a locket in it.”

-Remember when Pamela buys the Uplift Spandex Ahh Bra? And the boys steal it and make fun of her? And she gets so embarrassed she cries? This whole book is just Pamela getting embarrassed because of her boobs and then crying. Seriously, her boobs are such drama starters.

-Alice and her friends have so many sleepovers, and this put me into a serious nostalgia funk. I didn’t realize how good I had it with the every-weekend sleepovers I used to have with my lady friends. There comes a point where your friends are all getting married or living with their SOs and you just can’t do sleepovers in the same way. Like I can’t just roll up to my BFF’s place, sleeping bag in tow, and be all, “I’m here for Giiiirls’ Niiiight!” But sometimes I still want to fall asleep while talking about which boy from our class I would make out with if I had to, if there was a gun to my head and I had no choice. I’m not one of those people who’s like, “It was so much better when we were kids!” because I did not really enjoy being a kid and I like being in control of my life, but I think we need to have a Sleepover Movement. I’m serious about this. Let’s make it happen.

-Pamela’s swim suit, “a red and pink bikini and a little bra that had no straps.” How is this girl going into 7th grade? Seriously. Anyway, Pamela’s boobs once again steal the show when she gets in a splash fight with some guys in the ocean and her top comes off. Naturally, she gets embarrassed and cries about it. Those boobs!

-When Alice finds all of the baby clothes her mom saved and the love letters her mom and dad sent each other, I’ll admit it, I teared up.

-Patrick invites Alice to dinner at the country club. This was a scene that really stuck with me, because it was so nerve-wracking. Which fork to use? Why doesn’t the menu have prices? Are pay toilets even a thing anymore? Alice brings a quarter with her in case there’s a pay toilet, but I have never in my life encountered such a thing. As a kid I was like, “What am I going to do when a 7th grade boy invites me to a country club to eat chocolate mousse?” To this day, I am waiting for that date to happen.

-“Then I started crying again. Between the sixth and seventh grades, something happens to your eyes. They water a lot. I think it’s so you can get all the watering out of the way before you begin wearing mascara.”

-Alice and Patrick make a promise that on her 21st birthday, he’ll call her and make a date for New Year’s Eve:
“’What if you’re already married?’ I asked him.
‘What if you’re married?’ he said in answer.
‘At twenty-one?’ I croaked. ‘Patrick, I’ll barely even be grown!’”

Thank you, Alice.

Next up: Reluctantly Alice, a book I really don’t remember at all!

Beyonce Gets It

28 Jun

“When women don’t have friends, I’m afraid of them. I grew up around women, I believe that we can teach each other so much. I’m always thinking about how unselfish we are and the things we need to hear and how much pressure there is being a woman. I try to write songs that will bring out the best in all of us and keep us close together.”- Beyonce (The Most Beautiful Woman in the World and an Inspiration to Us All), from ShowbizSpy

Beyonce knows all about girls who hate girls. Also, is it just me, or does B look like Britney Spears on her album cover?

Green Smoothies: A Guide For You!

28 Jun

Since I started this blog less than a month ago, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about green smoothies. And by “a lot” I mean about three. People very rarely ask me for advice, much less on topics I know about, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about one of my favorite foods.

Green smoothies are a cause I’m passionate about. If I were in some sort of poor man’s beauty contest, my platform would be green smoothies. For the uninitiated, a green smoothie is simply a blended mix of fruit and some sort of “green,” be it spinach, kale, parsley, avocado, or whatever your little heart desires. I have a green smoothie almost every single day for breakfast, and, okay, sometimes for lunch or dinner.

Frequently Asked Questions that I Just Made Up:

Q: Can you taste the greens?
A: No! Especially if you use a lot of different fruits or a juice base, you will never be able to detect the spinach. Kale has a more distinct taste, so I’d recommend using lots of fruit or maybe even a touch of maple syrup/honey if you have a major sweet tooth. It doesn’t bother me, but I like things that taste kind of “healthy.” Once I went to a smoothie place and got a veggie juice (beet, carrot, celery, cucumber), so I guess take my advice at your own risk.

Q: What are the benefits of green smoothies?
A: They’ll make you crazy healthy! Seriously, I don’t mean to get too real with you guys, but green smoothies have dramatically changed my life. When you start your day with a straight shot of produce, it gives you a lightness and energy that you’re not going to get from, say, a plate of pancakes. Green smoothies are a vessel for calcium, protein, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, and manganese. Those are all things that are good for you, and now we’ve exhausted everything I know about nutrition.

Q: Will drinking green smoothies make me better than everyone else?
A: Yes! Green smoothies will give you an awesome sense of superiority.

Q: How do I make a green smoothie?
A: I’ll walk you through it.
The only equipment you need is a blender and a cup. It doesn’t even have to be a nice blender; I got mine at a church rummage sale, and I’m pretty sure it’s from the 80s. It’s so old there’s not even a “smoothie” setting. This blender is from a time before smoothies! It works just fine.
I always use the same basic ingredients, but add other ingredients depending on a lot of variables, like how long I’ll need this smoothie to last me, which green thing I’m using, or usually just what I have in my fridge.

BASIC GREEN SMOOTHIE:

-one or two big handfuls of spinach
-one frozen banana, in chunks
-about a cup of almond milk (or your milk of choice), give or take

Blend that for awhile, longer than you think you need to. Ta-da! Green smoothie!

While that’s all you really need for a green smoothie, I always add a few other things.

Cinnamon: I read somewhere that cinnamon is good for you. I don’t know why, and I don’t know how. I always add a few shakes, mostly because I like the way it tastes.

Flax seed: I typically put in about a tablespoon of ground flax seed because I spend a lot of time worrying about my Omega-3 intake. Welcome to my mind.

Other fruit: A green smoothie with just a banana is perfectly fine, but it’s much better if you add another fruit (or two. Or three). It doesn’t matter too much if this is frozen or not, but if it’s not you might want to toss in a few ice cubes. Some good choices are peaches or pineapple chunks. Strawberries are perfect, but if you add a lot you will have less of a green smoothie and more of a brown smoothie. This is not a problem for me, but I think we’ve established that my eating habits are kind of weird. Right now I’m alternating between frozen blueberries and frozen cherries, which will give you a purple smoothie and brown smoothie, respectively.

Oats: If I’m not eating toast or something else with my smoothie, I’ll dump in 1/4-1/2 cup of rolled oats. These make the smoothie thicker and keep my stomach from growling for at least a few hours.

Peanut Butter/Other Nut Butter: I add a spoonful if I’m just using banana sometimes.

Fruit Juice (instead of or in addition to milk): This will make your smoothie significantly sweeter, but it adds a lot of sugar. Is this important to you? Look deep within your heart to find the answer.

A tablespoon of cocoa powder: Do you need to have chocolate for breakfast? You know yourself better than I do.

Greek yogurt: Sometimes a girl just wants more protein.

Some tips:

-Try using vanilla flavored almond or soy milk. Also, try coconut milk (the kind in the carton, NOT the kind in the can). OR chocolate soy milk. Go crazy.
-Break your banana into chunks before you freeze it. This might seem like common sense, but for some reason I always get lazy and just stick the whole thing in the freezer. Don’t do that. I keep a big Ziploc bag in the freezer so I can toss any browning bananas in there, and then I’m ready for a smoothie at a moment’s notice.
-It’s important for the banana to be frozen. This gives the smoothie a more milkshake-like texture. In a pinch, a non-frozen banana will do as long as you add lots of ice. It’s not as good, though.
-While I’d recommend starting with spinach, kale is a nutritional powerhouse that you should definitely check out. As everyone in my life knows, I can talk about kale all day, and for good reason! It’s really good for you, and you won’t even know you’re eating it! Just remember that it has a slightly stronger “green” flavor than spinach.
-Green smoothies can be a great source for calcium, but not if you’re using spinach as your green. This is because spinach contains oxalates, which inhibit the body’s absorption of calcium. So look elsewhere for your calcium, or choose kale.

If you decide to give green smoothies a try, let me know how it goes! I predict you’ll be hooked.

If you want more green smoothie ideas, here’s a great site for recipes.

Drive-By Pervs: A Follow Up

27 Jun

I feel like I should expand upon my thoughts on catcalls in this post. Although I did find that particular incident kind of funny, that was mostly because of the circumstance and the particularly confusing nature of the perv’s comment. In general, I find street harassment (because it IS harassment) embarrassing, disgusting, and sometimes terrifying. This comic does a pretty fantastic job of summing up my feelings on the topic:


If you are so inclined, you can check out Hollaback and get proactive.

Lady Style: Stevie Nicks

27 Jun

Like previous Lady Style icon Prince, Stevie Nicks has a clearly defined look all her own. “You look like Stevie Nicks,” is cultural shorthand for “You’re wearing something drapey, lacey, or vaguely Ren Faire-y.”

Where can I find these sunglasses/that jewelry?

White dress, flowing sleeves, weird zip-up proto-Uggs, totally blown-out hair, pet cockatiel: only Stevie could tie all this together in one outfit.

Obviously the best fashion accessory is a tambourine.

Or a feathered beret.

Crochet is pretty big in Stevie’s wardrobe. Fun fact: did you know crochet, unlike knitting, cannot be done on a machine? That means every atrociously ugly crocheted top on sale at Forever 21 for $9.00 was painstakingly hooked by hand! But back to this shawl: delightful.

Lady Inspiration: Anne Lamott

26 Jun

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Anne Lamott on perfectionism:
“Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground – you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it’s going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.”
-from Bird by Bird

I’m rereading Bird by Bird right now; I think we should all be rereading Bird by Bird, every day of our lives. Anne Lamott is generous, wise, and funny. Above all, she’s encouraging.

I went through a phase (I like to call it “college”) where I read a lot of books about writing. Obviously, there are mnay different kinds of books with different things to say, but you can roughly divide them into two camps: books that encourage and books that discourage. Books that discourage seem helpful, because they list so many rules, and we love rules. They make us feel like if we do the “shoulds” and don’t do the “should nots,” we’re guaranteed success. But they present writing like this joyless chore, like an unsmiling burden we’ve taken upon ourselves because it is our calling.

Don’t read books like that. Read books like Bird by Bird. You’ll feel happier and you’ll get more writing done.

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