Archive | October, 2013

Are you nervous? Are you excited?

25 Oct


There are just a couple more days before my early-morning flight to Iowa. Right now, I have thank-you cards to write and a beauty store trip planned, but other than that my weekend will hopefully be pretty … normal. Well, sort of. Our neighborhood throws an annual Halloween kids’ block party Saturday that we are volunteering at, and we have a reading and pub crawl planned later that night in NYC. Sunday – we will most likely have some friends over for a big vat of chili and some sweet, sweet cinnamon rolls. Oh yeah, I should probably start packing sometime, too.

The problem with being in a different time zone than the wedding event is that I’m pretty removed from it all. Not only from the assembly of constructing the event, but emotionally, as well. Which is hard – mostly on my mom. She has to plan a lot of it on her own, and while I can say what florals and colors I prefer – the bulk of the work has been on her. I’m incredibly grateful for someone in my life with that much motivation to making my day special. But it wasn’t until last month when I flew back for my shower when I saw most of the decorations and table setting fillers. Everything is incredibly hard to picture, even when you have the Skype tool to work with.

Emotionally, I have been going about my normal everyday business, besides having a bit of a to-do list each day for the past month. I go to my 40-hour a week job, watch television, walk around town, grocery shop – the norm. It’s been fun putting together a mixed-CD playlist, going to our Skype pre-marriage counseling, etc., but it seems all a bit surreal still.

I’ve been asked by everyone, “Are you getting excited and/or nervous about your big day?” Um … yes. I mean, I’m normally a heavy sleeper, and this week the slightest sound will bounce me wide awake. Nate needs to get up at 5 a.m. to grade papers, I guess I better get up too! And while I’m excited to see people and celebrate the occasion, but I still can’t wrap my head around the whole concept. I can’t wait to see family and friends, I can’t wait for some snuggling time with my niece, I can’t wait to be in old surroundings that feel so familiar.

When I think about the wedding, I think about this: I love the guy I’m with. I don’t want to be with someone else, and I can’t wait to be more permanently settled and start a family. But we have already started our lives together – living in an apartment, having our weekly date nights, cooking for one another, exploring a new city – for me, it’s confirming our commitment to one another, which is completely exciting for me.

So I have to keep reminding myself that in almost a week, this whole marriage thing goes down. So the answer to the “Are you nervous?” and “Are you excited?” questions? I’m pretty happy, that’s for sure.



What’s In A Name?

24 Oct

sign check(1)Through this whole wedding process, there really has been only one looming question. It’s not, “Should I get married?” or “Is this the right guy for me?” or something in that realm. No, it’s whether I should change my last name or not.

I’ve never been a huge fan of my first name, but it has definitely grown on me and I can’t see myself changing it in my lifetime. In high school, there was a period of time when I toyed with the idea of changing it, but that was just me testing my parents’ boundaries, really.

Last name, though, was another story. I, like many girls, would write my first name with a boy crush’s last name in my journal, saying it out loud until it sounded real. Sometimes I would laugh at the way it came out, and other times I would think, “That sounds perfect.”

As the years have flown by, I’ve definitely been okay with my first, middle, and last names. It’s me, that’s who I am. To the point, that I am not totally willing to change it. I’ve thought about hyphenating – but the combination of my name with my fiancés’ sounds a little weird.

Perhaps my hesitation is due to my feminist beliefs or perhaps it’s because I’m not one for “big change.” I definitely do not begrudge anyone who decides to take their spouse’s name – female or male – I just don’t know if it is for me.

My future husband has said that he would love for us to share the same last name, but would understand if I would like to keep the name I was born with. He’s pretty awesome.

On the other hand, I do see a single last name as a symbol of unity, and something that I was happy to have in my childhood. I’m not sure I want to have a different last name than the one my future kids have. I don’t think that is for me.

So while I try to decide this week what my answer will be: 1) Change it; 2); Hyphenate it; 3) Leave it be; or, 4) Leave it be and change it in the future – I’m taking all thoughts into consideration. I don’t think changing your last name is for everybody, nor do I think that leaving your name as is after getting married is either. I just need to weigh what I’m comfortable and go from there.

And hey, if that’s my biggest problem – I’m doing okay!

(Sidenote: If I decide to not change it, I will totally be okay with people calling me by my husband’s last name. So, so fine with it!)

“The Five Year Engagement” holds truth

23 Oct

Since the whole wedding thing is happening in almost a week, I thought this was definitely worth a reblog.

Girl Of The Corn

“We were almost perfect for each other …”

“The Five Year Engagement” is a love story. Violet and Tom, a couple that love one another very much, have grandiose plans to marry. The wedding date keeps moving further back as their lives change. They change. Resentment builds, they start testing each other, and the bond breaks. The question of “what if” lingers, and eventually, they do find their way back and renew the relationship.

It’s beautiful, funny, and incredibly sad. For me, it is a bit depressing and too close for comfort. Not the called-off wedding or premise, but the emotional content that keeps this film so fresh.

I have seen this movie too many times, yet refuse to buy it. Perhaps I don’t want to compare my relationship too much to theirs, as I so often do with other movies and couples.

My own love story started 10 years…

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I Heart MST3K

21 Oct


I bought a stockpile of “classic” Halloween movies a week ago. Unfortunately, I accidentally shipped them to my parents’ house in Iowa.

So I guess I won’t be seeing them until after the fact. Last year, I was too broke to consider purchasing “The Addams Family” movies, “Hocus Pocus”, “Beetlejuice”, or my sister’s favorite television show “The Munsters”. I couldn’t fathom spending a few bucks on a pre-owned copy of the ’80s magic that is “Teen Witch”, without thinking about my empty bank account.

So what’s a girl to do without these masterpiece videos? Netflix, of course. For a thrill, we’ve gone through Hitchcock’s classic “Psycho”, delved into “Paranormal Activity” for a sleepless night, and “Blair Witch Project”-ed myself.

But what about the humorous, the lighthearted that my trick-or-treating self enjoyed so much in earlier days? I looked no further than what is absolutely near-and-dear to my heart: MST3K. For those of you non-nerds that haven’t immersed yourself in a 24-hour extravaganza of Mystery Science Theater 3000, you are missing out.

Introduced by my dad, we never could get enough of this Minneapolis-based show when it first appeared on Comedy Central. The Thanksgiving holiday wasn’t devoted just to turkey, no, it was also about “Gamera”, “Zombie Nightmare” and other D-rate movies. Listening to robots and humans make fun of the horrors of cinema made us have such gut-wrenching belly laughs, there was nothing like it. We had quite a few of them dubbed on VHS tapes, and after school or on Saturday afternoons, my two siblings and I would spend hours rewinding the parts we found the funniest. It got to the point where we would find old movies on television and try our hand at sarcasm – sending us in a fit of hysterics over our own humor.

The best were the shorts – 15-minute films that were obviously shown to the youth of the ’60s in P.E. class. My personal favorite was a half-hour black and white promotional flick from Iowa State University. In an effort to recruit the female persuasion to their home ec studies program, the college created one of the most sexist and hilarious films of all time. Add in the snark of Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot, and you have got just the best thing around.

My fiancee has been subjected to my family’s humor time and time again, and he has been forced to watch a couple of our all-time favorite episodes. Instead of watching a traditional holiday movie last Christmas Eve, we chose “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” – it just seemed fitting.

We were able to find a few of the episodes on Netflix a couple nights ago. We chose “The Final Sacrifice” on Saturday evening. On Sunday, neither one of us could stop repeating some of the more memorable lines from the show. So imagine my surprise, when Nate and I sat down to watch an hour of TV and he suggested, “Um, could we watch another one of those?” I didn’t even suggest the beloved series, he did it all on his own. How ’bout that?

I knew I picked the right guy.

Make-Up Must-Haves No. 2

17 Oct
I also recommend anything Tarte - it's great stuff, great packaging, and just a great company.

I also recommend anything Tarte – it’s great stuff, great packaging, and just a great company. (Not being paid by them, just have a ton of their products.)

A few months ago, I wrote a blog blabbing on and on about my favorite beauty products and so much has changed (not really) since that day. Well, a few trips to Sephora, some birthday gifts, and a couple flash beauty sales – that’s what.

With the whole wedding day coming up and a couple Sephora gift cards to splurge on wedding makeup with (give me a break, it’s going to be stuff that I’d wear anyway), this list will probably change again – but whatev’s. I’d rather spend my paycheck on magnificent packaging and fantastic beauties than food and rent any day. PB&J’s FOREVA! (I do pay my rent and I do eat more than sammies, just so we’re clear.)

MAC ‘Haute and Naughty Lash’ Mascara

mac mascara-24
Don’t hate. But I’s got some connected friends. This was a present from a dear pal that is lucky enough to get freebies (legally) every once and awhile. Lucky me. I have been stuck with Lancomé – which I still love – but never thought I would enjoy another lash thickening-lengthening blend for as long as I lived. Was I ever wrong. This stuff is more than my jam. It’s my jelly. It does the trick, and although it’s not waterproof, it sure acts like it. (I also really enjoyed the hot pink and purple topper – makes me think that Jerrica from Jem And The Holograms would have worn it.)

Sephora Precision Pore Cleansing Pad

Sephora+Pore+PadSo I have this thing for beauty and lifestyle blogs. A year ago, jobless and bored, I spent hours each day poring over xoJane online. The It Happened To Me section was my delight and I savored each one – until I ran through their entire stash. Lately though, I’m pretty sick of a lot of their content – “I’m shamed for this.” “I’m shamed for that.” “I’m more special and unique and here is my sob story.” Ya di ya di ya. BORING. Yes, I love a good place to be selfish (here) like everyone else, but still – get’s old. There is one fashion/beauty blogger named Alison Freer who pretty much keeps me coming back for more. She recommended this little $5 number in a blog months ago instead of spending the big bucks on a Clarisonic (which I still want.) It seriously cleans out your pours while washing your face with any gritty scrub in the shower. It does the job. Don’t get lunch, get this instead.

Chanel lip gloss

This was a birthday gift – which is now probably one of my favorite birthday gifts of all time. I’m a fan of lip gloss, especially the more natural-looking kind, but always have a problem. Stickiness. I’ve bought tube after tube of Smashbox’s kind, and although I love the color, I feel like my lips are glued together. The cheaper brands seem to leave a plasticky taste and feel. This was not only a great color but the first time ever that I felt like my lips weren’t going to stay trapped together in a perma-thin-lipped smile. So worth it.

Benefit’s Watt’s Up

I’m a big believer in all things Benefit. Not because of the cute packaging (which is super adorable), but because I have never had an issue with any of their products. (I’m planning on buying High Brow this week.) This is a little shine stick that I got with a Benefit mascara for a Birthday Beauty Insider’s Gift from Sephora. (Probably the best b-day gift I have received from that store.) I have gone through three pots of High Beam (a liquid highlighter), but this is one that I can store in my purse, blends easy, and is just pure awesome.

L’Occitane Jasmin perfume

I used to babysit on the Upper West Side, and would sometimes arrive a little too early for my sitting job. So I’d wander around Central Park and to this block of amazing stores. After too many visits to the MAC store, I happened to receive a free sample of this perfume outside. I grabbed the free sample, said “Thank You”, and went on my way. A couple blocks later, I smelled the scent. It was natural, it was beautiful, it was … for me. I was about to run late to my job, but I had this sudden urge of “I HAVE TO HAVE”, so I went back to the store. I bought the perfume and wear it basically everyday (sorry Origins, you have been replaced). It’s my go-to store for gifts, as I can’t imagine anyone would hate this store’s products.

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector

This was a find at a flash sale. I wouldn’t have normally bought this for it’s usual price, but man, what a deal. I have found many, many foundations and tints that I could use – and this just edges all of them out a bit more. It has a tinge of shimmer (not too crazy, goes on smoothly (like a face lotion), isn’t at all heavy and has an SPF of 25 (which is pretty important for my everyday face care.) It’s a large bottle, so I don’t think I will be going through it very fast.

First Aid Beauty 5-In-1 Face Cream

I love face lotions. This was, again, from a flash sale, but it was definitely a steal. This is the creamiest, loveliest of lotions I have ever had. It’s anti-aging, has an SPF of 30, and moisturizes better than any I have ever owned before. So good.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge

I was recently in a wedding and had my makeup done by an artist (she’s AMAZE-BALLS!) I haven’t had this happen since I was in college plays, and loved the experience. It feels so good, it makes me want to fall asleep, and the “Before” and “Afters” are pretty damn amazing. Anyhoo, she introduced me to Aqua Rouge (on one side is the lipstick, on the other is the gloss), and it stays on like a Mo-Fo. Does not come off, even when you try. So for an event, it’s a must. I purchased a really dark berry color, and plan to buy a nice red for my big day. I also want to try out their liquid liner and other cool products. Love things that don’t melt off my face right away.

So there ya go. Another list. Do what you will with it, but seriously, I would tell you if I hated the product. Oh yeah, another list. I can definitely get behind a “Which Make-Up Products Do I Hate” list. I’ve had more than enough misses over hits.

A Playlist For Now

15 Oct


For the wedding festivities, we decided to make mixed CDs for our party favors. Not only because we are huge music lovers, but burning  discs on our parents’ heavy desktop computers was a big part of our courtship early on.

We both worked at the same Fareway grocery store, and I’d be so excited for my four-hour shift after school because it meant stocking shelves side by side. N and I saw enough of each other in school with jazz and concert band, but this just gave us another excuse to hang out. We weren’t official during this time period and we didn’t need labels in order to justify anything to our friends – just hanging out, sticking labels on cans. He had long hair, wore “skateboarder-inspired” ensembles, including black rubber bracelets and his beloved Converse sneaks. And I thought that was so hot. On the days I worked and he didn’t, I would venture out to my ’91 Corsica at 10:30 p.m. to see a taped piece of paper with a note and drawings. A lot of time that was accompanied by a burned CD with a very carefully picked out playlist. (This was not at all creepy, we both lived three blocks away from the store. IT WAS ROMANTIC, DAMMIT!)

When I ventured off to college while he played out his junior year in high school (I was such a cougar), I always seemed to bring back to school with me a new mixed CD. Each one had a different feel – perhaps it was just really, really good music that he was excited to share. Other times, it was as if there was hidden messages in each of the lyrics just for me (when you are 19, everything is about you.)

So we had a great time picking out 18 different songs from our present, all currently on our Spotify going-to-work playlists for our party favors. Some remind us of the peaks and valleys of our relationship, and others are just super awesome listen-to’s.

One will be our first dance: “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young. And you know what? It’s not really a conventional love song at all – it’s more of a breakup song of longing, if my interpretation is correct. But damn, it’s good. And at times during our relationship when we were broken up, all we did want was what was best for both of us. And that still holds true.

Andrew Bird, Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam and Josh Ritter sing of love – break-ups, make-ups, happiness and tragedy – things that I feel are important in creating a solid relationship. Hopefully, the songs in our future playlists are as diverse and as interesting as the ones we want included in our special day.

Favorite NYC Pastime

14 Oct
My closet is pretty similar, but I like to think that it's somewhat coordinated and not a complete clusterfuck.

My closet is pretty similar, but I like to think that it’s somewhat coordinated and not a complete clusterfuck.

Yesterday was one of those perfect fall days – a walk around Soho, pumpkin-caramel latte in hand, scarves, finished by a hike through the park. And as glorious as listening to Ella Fitzgerald croon “Autumn In New York” in my ear buds was, my wandering eye kept me from thoroughly enjoying the day. No, I wasn’t gawking at handsome men with my fiancee at my side, no, instead I was cheating on my wardrobe.

Forgive me, I don’t have much to complain about in that department. I know what I like, what my style is, and I buy accordingly. My clothing selection used to be filed with binges – items that I would never wear more than once, but in the last two years, I have really cleaned that kind of spending up. While in some boutique or a place like Macy’s, I try hard in my mind to rack up different options – how often would I wear it, what in my current closet could be paired with it, etc., etc. In years past, it would be “this would look good for this event” or “someday I will buy the boots, pants, whatever, that will go with this outfit.” After a gigantic purge before I moved east, it’s a bit easier to know what is in my closet and what I might possibly like in it in the future.

While on a budget, NYC fashion is always tempting. There is always someone somewhere – on the subway, in the park, walking to work – that has a garment that I covet. I will fixate on this item, today a navy pleated midi skirt, thinking of all the different outfits I could coordinate. Maybe we are going out for lunch or to a reading – I can’t concentrate on anything other than that beautiful item. Sometimes I am able to forget about the pair of strappy heels or the vibrant green scarf, but a lot of times, it continues to be front and center. I NEED IT! I WANT IT! I HAVE TO HAVE IT NOW!

My birthday recently came up, and a few of those “needed” items were given to me as presents. THANKS! And a few others sit on a wishlist, for whenever I am able to afford those purchases. Unfortunately, I work near Century 21 – a department store mecca for all things fashionable and at a cheaper price than most places (so it claims). So after a marketing exec walks by my desk wearing a beautiful light-grey cashmere sweater, at 6 p.m., I run to the fourth floor womens’ department. Or I will take the train across the water to the three-story mall that is too, too close to my apartment. Most of the time, I won’t find the exact item, but I will come close. And if I haven’t bought something in a while and the garment is in my price range, I might go in for the kill.

Once that NYC outfit is fully assembled, I will don it proudly out and about. Maybe some other girl will see something she likes in my ensemble, so I hope. And then it happens. A girl in my neighborhood walks by in a leather jacket and boots, closely resembling things that I currently own. She is also wearing a ’90s-inspired baby-doll dress and looks oh-so adorable. Where did she buy that? It it vintage or purchased at a little boutique? Here I go again.

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