Archive | May, 2013

NYC is bad for my complexion

31 May
So not real.

So not real.

Finally realizing that New York City-based television dramas are pretty much the furthest from the truth. Everyday it becomes a much more tangent idea, and I no longer strive to be that girl who got off the bus from Iowa to make it big in NYC.

Anyone who imagines a Sex In The City reality when moving or visiting NYC, dream on.

Sarah Jessica Parker sticking her hand up in the air, balancing in five-inch heels and bouncing in a cute sun dress with the perfect makeup and styled hair … sure that can happen, but two minutes into that, it’s a different story.

One, like I have said before, if you are like a majority of people in the editorial field in NYC, you can’t afford to take a taxi for every errand, not going to happen.

So if you planning on wearing your Manolo’s, you may find that you’ll be hoofing it down the street or trekking in the subway. And that is usually a blast. If you are going to be walking, expect blisters. I don’t care what shoes they are, if you aren’t wearing something with a grandma sole and socks, or some kind of hiking sandal – yeah, your feet are going to hate you. Actually, any shoe is going to hate you. Most of my favorite pairs barely have a sole attached, with the amount of walking I have been doing. And my tennis shoes? Fugetaboutit.

And the subway. Yeah, it’s either freakin’ freezing or hotter than Hades down there. So your make-up is going to fry off your face, your hair is going to frizz and turn flat, and that beautiful frock will probably have sweat stains. You’ve been warned.

I’ve come to know that pretty well. With my baby fine hair, it will go into a bun. My makeup will melt off, and I’m going to be all sorts of stank after walking a mile and a half plus a subway ride. And after all that, your super air-conditioned office building will freeze you out. High five weather!

It’s kind of the same for everyone, though. You store extra hairspray, deodorant, a bag of makeup and an extra cardigan at your desk, and hope for the best.

Sometimes, every once in awhile, you will catch a glimpse of one of those magical unicorns that somehow manage to look blissfully perfect through the summer months. But I’ve got it figured out. They are aliens and should not be trusted.


The Notebook (yeah, I’m going there)

29 May


Hey girl. It’s okay if we cheat on our diets. But I’ll never cheat on you.  – That is what my fiancé just sent me via text. And then I knew. It’s finally time to introduce him to The Notebook.

It’s not going to be a huge surprise for him. I mean, he actually is quite the Ryan Gosling fan, and can quote many of his “Hey Girl” memes off the top of his head (and come up with some mighty fine ones himself). Yet, film after film of Gosling’s sad puppy dog eyes, we haven’t gotten around to watching the tearjerker enchilada of all of his movies together.

And honestly, I think he wants to see it. Before seeing A Place Beyond The Pines, Crazy, Stupid, Love and Blue Valentine (yes, we go to a lot of movies), he always half joked of seeing the motherload of Ryan’s movies. When discussing which stars we find the hottest, if he has to choose male, it’s always his main man R.G. (For the record, for me – always Harrison Ford (without an earring) for men and Kate Beckinsale or Rachel Weitsz for women.)

I have never been a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks’ novels, but the movie versions always seem to top the actual written word. I remember renting The Notebook, not wanting to see it in the theaters with all that “hype” (although, secretly, I kind of did). And as a chick flick, this does rank pretty high in my book. Illness, death, a torrid romance, having to choose, flowery speeches, passionate moments – it really does have all of what every romantic film checklist requires.

And hey, Jessica Simpson and R. Kelly both claim that the movie somewhat contributed to their divorces. Gosling also has heard of people breaking up due to the film. So, obviously the piece did something right (or wrong, whichever way you want to see it).

So, I loaded The Notebook as my top queue pick on Netflix, and I’m getting pretty excited about its arrival in my mailbox. It’s just one of those movies that I never thought we’d ever watch together, but after he sat down last weekend to watch a Lifetime movie – I have a good feeling about this. 🙂

The Dress: Wedding Blog No. 1

28 May


“I don’t know.”

There was a flurry of questions hurled my way while I was back in Iowa this past weekend. The biggest was, “when?” Of course, I was expecting that, but I just didn’t want to think about it yet. I have been missing my home state something fierce, and I just wanted to relax and was not ready to plan out something with infinite details.

But the questions popped up basically wherever we went, and we finally had to make a few general decisions – first choice venue, who we would like in our wedding party, food, music – of course, very basic and nothing set in stone. And honestly, it felt great to list out a few ideas and have some consensus with family members.

Although, there are quite a few unknowns when it comes to planning my wedding, there have always been a handful of certainties. One, music. It has to be good. If live music is available (and awesome), even better. Food. I want a fantastic spread available to all my party attendees. Fun. I hate stuffy events. I don’t like a lot of fanfare and presentation, instead, I want it to be just a big party. Sorry for no details, but until I get some things figured out and definite, I’d like to knock on wood and not detail my dream wedding.

But there is one thing that has always been pretty obvious in my mind: The dress. I’ve watched all those reality wedding dress like the next girl, but I have never really wanted to go to a fancy shop and try on crazy amounts of dresses. No, I have had my dress pretty much picked out since I was 19. That was the year I was introduced to “Funny Face.” An Audrey Hepburn fan to the core, that was my dress and haven’t considered anything else as an option. Yes, I know that tea-length dresses are pretty much all the rage right now, but it isn’t just a trend I have to adhere to. No, I’ve tried to use Audrey as a model for most of my clothes when I have gone shopping in the past decade. WWAW (What would Audrey Wear?) Is it classic? Is it chic? Has she worn it in a movie? Then there is a likelihood that I have some kind of variation of it in my closet. No joke.

So on my first day back to Iowa, jetlagged me headed over to a local dress shop with my mother, niece baby Quynn, and my cousin (and wonderful friend) Elizabeth. I had a triple espresso Americano, so I was okay. I needed to try on a bridesmaid’s dress for E’s wedding. After the fitting, my mom casually mentioned to the owner of the shop that I recently became engaged. “Oh, yeah?” she said. “What are you looking for?” I kind of sighed, being so tired and not wanting to start this whole wedding hoopla so quickly. But I told her what I was looking for, and she opened up a book. And after flipping through a few pages, my mom stuck her finger on one of the pages. “That one.” Just a quick glance, and I knew she was right (she knows me so well). A 50’s style strapless sweetheart dress with a full tulle skirt, plus a tight lacy boat-neck top that completes the ensemble. I could see a long veil with a bow, my hair back in a classic bun. I knew exactly what shoes I would wear with it (navy spiked heels). So when she asked, “Do you just want to order it?”, I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t need to try it on, it was exactly what I had envisioned. The dress shop owner had tailored dresses for quite a few weddings in my family, including my sister’s, so I knew I was in good hands. And after she told me that she could make a toddler version of the wedding dress for my funky flower girl Quynn, I knew that I had come to the right place.

I’ve never looked forward to planning my own wedding, but I’ve definitely had some ideas on how I want it to be. And after this one decision, I realized that this whole planning biz isn’t so bad. Especially when I have awesome people to help. And if already having an Audrey-esque dress catapults the whole process, then I know it’s all going to be good. Real good.

Small Town Iowa

22 May

I will be taking a break from writing for the next week as I head back to Iowa. So I will re-post some of my favorite blog posts and columns from the past few years.

iowatravel_1348849654_600I am so glad to be going home for so many reasons. But, I think one has been obviously glaring in the past couple days. A 15-year-old girl, Kathlynn Shepard, has been missing since Monday afternoon. Her abductor was later found dead, having committed suicide. Michael Klunder, of Stratford, was a Tier 2 sex offender and had committed quite a list of horrendous crimes. He was released from prison on Feb. 25, 2011, after serving half of a 41 year sentence. He kidnapped Kathlynn and an unnamed 12-year-old girl, who was able to escape.

This story is shocking and absolutely sickening. I remember seeing Klunder’s face regularly, when I was a reporter at The Daily Freeman-Journal. I would check the sex offender list quite often, to see if there was new faces or charges. The fact that he served only half his sentence, well, I could go on quite a long time about that, getting pretty angry, but no.

Instead, I want to focus on why I love central Iowa so much. Local media coverage, especially the Dayton Leader, have done a fantastic job getting the information out to the public. Law enforcement has done a spectacular job, and local businesses have been helping as much as they possibly can. The town and surrounding communities have poured all their resources into one task: Finding Kathlynn alive. According to the Dayton Leader, food, drinks, bug spray, you name it has been provided to search teams from a barrage of individuals. Yet, this is not unexpected out of small town Iowa. No, it’s kind of a given.

When a tragedy strikes, everyone gets together and tries to solve the problem. Whether it is someone dealing with an illness, a tornado disaster, or a kidnapping – as hard as it is to imagine happening in this area – people pull up their boot straps and get going. I love that about central Iowa.

While I wait for good news to pop up on my news feed at my desk in NYC, I thank all the people who are doing all that they can to find this little girl.

I and Love and You

20 May

marriage-proposal“I don’t want to play with GIRLS!”

“Well, I don’t want to play with you,” I muttered, my arms crossed in front of my body. This boy who lived a couple blocks down, decided he could just join our neighborhood capture the flag game, a summer tradition, and rewrite the rules. Not on my watch. I mean, I wrote up rules on a piece of paper, put it in a “Capture The Flag” binder – I don’t remember putting this kid through our strenuous vetting process. And now, he wants to play this game without girls. Huh. Since I was the admin, it just showed how ignorant he was to the whole shebang.

I disliked Nate from the start. He was a know-it-all (so am I), and so in elementary and middle school when we crossed paths, I kept my distance.

In high school, we meshed again. This time, we became friends when I started dating his best friend. Band geeks to the core, we were always thrown together in jazz, marching and concert band. From my vantage point on the floor where the first clarinets would sit, I would glance back from time to time to Nate sticking his drumsticks up his nose for my amusement. I would roll my eyes, and this exchange would continue until our band teacher would sigh and scold us out for not paying attention.

We worked together at a local grocery store, and I would always look at the schedule, extremely excited when we would work the same shift. Slashing boxes and putting up canned goods, we made every mundane chore fun.

Things started to change, and I thought, “No, no way. He’s my friend. I don’t like him like that.” Also, I was going to college soon and he would still be in the whole high school scene. But still, this lingering feeling took hold.

Finally, the week I graduated high school, I did the mature thing. I asked my cousin Elizabeth to ask Nate’s friend Adam if he liked me. This process usually takes awhile, but when it was confirmed, I was ecstatic.

It was puppy love all summer. We’d hold hands on walks through our town’s cemetery, to awkwardly stop, extremely shy of one another. I don’t think we even kissed until a few months later. And then there was the time we declared our “love” for one another.

“I, um, you know, feel really good around you. It’s, like, really this feeling, of you know? You know?” I feel that this rambling speech went on for a few minutes.

“Me too.”

Throughout the years, we have argued, laughed, split up, gotten back together – the gamut. At times, we should have never gotten back together, but we did. We were horrible for one another, and then we’d be each other’s greatest advocate.

Last fall when we took that big leap and moved to New York, it said a lot to our determination to make this work. And it has. Our relationship isn’t perfect, but we try really hard. And the benefits have been worth it all. He’s my best friend.

So were we ready for the next step? Maybe. We talked it through many times, and I always thought he would propose on one of our many trips to Central Park. I kind of suspected something was going to happen soon.

So on Friday, when I took off my coat after coming home from work, his asking, “How was your day?” followed by my, “OK”, didn’t seem extraordinary. “Do you want it to be better?” Confused, I spun around and there he was on one knee with a diamond ring in a box. It definitely wasn’t what I had expected (which is good, because it’s nice to be surprised).

It didn’t take me long to let out ‘Yes” after he popped the question. And while I was flooded with emotion, a reel of our past – the good and the bad – started to play out in my head.

I never thought I’d end up with the stubborn little boy who didn’t want to play tag with me, but I did. And I’m glad.

Shoes … I like them

17 May


If there is one thing I love more than makeup, it’s shoes.
A pretty common answer among girls, and I am totally okay with that.
When I was younger, I always looked forward to school shoe shopping. Each year, it was a new pair of athletic shoes. Oh, I always had a couple pairs of brown and black boots to accompany my leggings, but it was all about the Nike or Adidas sneakers. What color was in? Was it white or was black in this year? And another question: What length of socks was trending in the Midwest? Was the Champion sock calf-length, ankle-length, or were we finally hitting the no-shows (which was incredibly hard to get used to).
When college came around, my parents didn’t pay for my shoes anymore. And while, I felt that athletic shoes were appropriate for sports, my new school shoes had advanced a little further. I had discovered Gianni Bini and the world of fancy shoes.
Since familiarizing myself with high heels and having the knowledge that I can sprint in them quite easily, my feet have become used to the wear and tear – the blisters, bloody scars, infected toenails – the gamut of problems associated with uncomfortable footwear. Yes, my vanity is pretty high on the scale. No pain, no gain, right? 🙂
After moving to NYC, that shoe obsession hasn’t stopped. In fact, it has grown. On the subway, out on the street – someone has some kind of shoe that I covet and need. There’s just one problem: While walking around Iowa in painful heels was okay, at least I had a car or a place to crash nearby. I was always walking to a nearby destination. Here…well, there is always a commute. And always more walking than I have ever dreamed of doing. So wearing those cute heels or those straw wedges aren’t always possible. Oh, if you were only walking to a taxi and out to your destination, it would totally work. But when you are on a budget like me, that’s not possible. So yeah, if you think the Carrie Bradshaws of the world are out there, they are, just not all girls have money or capable of such long-standing pain. I see girls in spike heels out and about, and while they look cute, all I can think of is, “Oh God, that must be painful.” That idea of being That Girl, has all but left my silly little head.
I live in flats now, and even then, it isn’t super comfortable. Some don’t provide a lot of support and while cute, kill your arches. And it rains a lot. So, yeah – one torrential downpour and you can kiss your Steve Madden ballet slippers goodbye.
I have quite a collection of cute shoes, but most are unwearable when you trek as far as I do.
Yesterday, I broke down and bought my first pair of Aerosoles. I walked past the store, found some that didn’t look too old ladyish and took out my credit card. My feet thanked me although I feel somewhat disappointed in myself for giving in. I won’t give in and wear tennis shoes everywhere with my dresses, but I do have to think a lot harder when purchasing shoes. I can’t buy anything super cheap and I really have to try on and walk in a pair before buying at a department store. The “they’re so cute!” standard doesn’t hold up as a marker for buying shoes anymore.
So now, when I see that pair of coral pointy kitten heels on the girl on the PATH train, I think, “Yes, I want them. But how much support do they have?”
I’m getting old.

Home Is Wherever I’m With You

15 May

Yesterday was one of those days.

It started off okay, but went downhill from there.

I mean, I woke up in a pretty good mood, besides tossing and turning in bed all night – so I guess I was a tad tired.

And then all the little things just seemed to add up. One after the other. By the end of it, only one word described my mood: Shitty.

While I headed to my train, I texted my boyfriend with this: “Want to grab a beer? LITM, Lucky 7 or Barcade? Like right now? I will buy.”

That is all I wanted right then and there, other than to crawl in my bed and wait for the next day to appear.

So when I hurried to our favorite neighborhood watering hole, low and behold, there he was standing there listening to his IPhone. For the first time all day, I smiled. I didn’t know a tall guy in a plaid shirt could cause that reaction (well, maybe a special one).

When we ordered our happy hour drink specials (he wouldn’t let me pay), he just said, “So what’s up? Did you have a bad day?” He then listened to my list of everything bad, my worries, concerns. Only asking questions or offering words of comfort. Wow…I really like you, I kept thinking.

I had planned on cooking a big pasta dinner with tons of fresh veggies, and had my work cut out for me. “Let’s just order some food here,” he said. So we did, and continued to talk for a couple of hours. By the time we left, I was pretty unsure what had gone wrong that day and just realized how much I truly loved this guy walking by my side. He had put aside grading papers, watching his beloved NBA games to listen to my problems. It wasn’t forced upon him to listen to me whine and complain. He just did it.

Today is definitely better. I couldn’t help but think I found something really, really good. And I could not stop listening to this hit by the Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. I had grown tired of it long ago, but now I listen to it and smile. It’s definitely my soundtrack today.

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