What I'm Gonna Need to See

The running thing isn't going so well. Well, that's not entirely true. Some days it goes! It goes strong, it goes in good form and some days it's even--dare I say it--fun. The fun days conveniently seem to exclusively be the days my lil Nike app tells me to run four miles or less. And then there are the long run days...yeah...those days aren't so much bad as that they don't really happen. 

I think I'm failing at the training aspect of this race. Yes, there are moments of triumph. Yesterday I worked 9 hours, and got my ass to the gym and ran four miles. It wasn't my best time, but I didn't stop once and I did it in a little over 40 minutes. It doesn't hurt the day after anymore. My calves are starting to look like sculpted muscle, and I have been able to stick to a commitment of running every other day, or at least four times a week. I just can't seem to force myself past the four to five mile markers. This race is six weeks away. I'm getting nervous bout it. 

I was gifted the book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami for Christmas this year and it's been helping. This man and I have almost polar opposite feelings about the art of running, mainly the fact that he seems to enjoy it. Murakami doesn't drink when he's training so I'm not drinking. Murakami stresses living a scheduled life of routine and early mornings when he trains so I am getting up...earlier. The bits we don't agree on are centered around one's core impetus to run; he runs for personal discovery--void of competition--so that he can simultaneously derive pleasure and pain, whereas I feel all the pain, none of the pleasure. The only thing fueling me is the competition. And pride. I said I would do this so I'm going to do this. The only other thing that drives me as I listen to Britney Spears' "Stronger" club mixes on repeat? Why, that would be what I want to see at the damn finish line of this damned race.  

 

What I'm Gonna Need to See As I Finish This Half-Marathon

1)  Anyone I've ever kissed on the mouth/shared my cousin's HBOGO password with/conned into stopping at Dunkin even if we didn't have time/been late to dinner plans with to show up and cheer me on wearing homemade, glitter puffy paint shirts that say things like

  • "Go Bligh-thing!"
  • "Yes Bliggles"
  • "Stay strong biddie!"

2) At the halfway point, I want to be handed a warm mixed berry scone from Alice's Teacup. The butter must be cold. This is important. Actually, I'd like Alice's Teacup to sponsor snacks for my friends who've come out in support. Everyone gets a scone! But the temperature of their butter is on them.

3) After I cross the finish line I'm going to cry. As I'm wiping away perfect television tears, I want Liza Minnelli* to be singing a cover of India Arie's, "Just Do You." I would like Aziz Ansari to not only introduce me to the crowds via megaphone, I'd also like him to tell me I booked that 5-and under I auditioned for yesterday for his new show. He should also be willing to hug me because I think he's wicked cute and funny. I bet he smells nice.

4) When I run past, I want people (all people, not just the ones I know) to scream "YAHHHS MAMI!" ...because I've never been called "Mami" before and I think I can ask for whatever I want. 

5) I want my girl Whitney who is  running with me to high five me. A lot. I love high fiving. I wish we all high fived more. I also want to wear matching hats but I don't want her to say no so I'll spring it on her about 10 minutes before we start.

6) Finally, I want everyone (I mean EVERYONE) to lie and say I had a great running stride and I looked so good. Lie to me so good babies! Also, if you take a picture of me running and you wanna post it, please filter it with either "Mayfair" or "X-pro II" as those make me appear tanner.

*FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIZA:

First of all, thank you for doing this! I've admired you since I inappropriately watched Cabaret at the tender age of eight and legitimately thought Sally Bowels sings "Maybe This Time" because she lost out on a big role she was auditioning for. Then in college, a group of amazing friends and I skipped school to attend your out of town try-out for "Liza's at the Palace" in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and you blew us the fuck away! We came all the way from Boston to see you. I still talk about that concert. You did not STOP. You also didn't wear pants but instead opted for the FANCIEST black sequined men's shirt I've ever seen. Your legs were a show enough! My favorite favorite part? When you had not one but TWO encores, the first being a song entitled "Mammy" (questionable choice) and "New York, New York" where you modulated up FIVE UNNECESSARY TIMES. I was on my feet by the third and the last two were the most thrilling moments of my life. Okay, I'll stop fangirling you and therefore offer you, diva, some alternate songs you may sing if you don't have time to learn "Just Do You" although, it's a badass song and you should add it to your rep for sure. Below is the short list of suggestions. Finally, I'd like to wrap this up by saying the race is April 19th, at 9am. I hope to be done around 11am-11:15am (god willing) so you should get up to steam the gift around 8am? I'll defer to you.

- "Jolene" by Dolly Parton

- "Power" by Kanye West

- "Rock Me Baby" by Tina Turner

- "Domino" (I'd prefer the Van Morrison song but I'll settle for Jessie J's "Domino" too...you pick)

- the opening credits song from "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

- "Amazing Grace" but uptempo with a tambourine

 Babies. Skipping tap class to love on Liza. In Rhode Island.

Babies. Skipping tap class to love on Liza. In Rhode Island.

Running is for Crazy People

People are going to try and tell you running is fun and I'm here to tell you that those people are full of shit. Okay okay! Maybe that's just my opinion. There appear to be a great many people who enjoy running, as if regressing back to the cavemen era when we ran away from giant mastodon's trying to make us their dinner is EXACTLY the way they prefer to spend their free time. I don't so much not understand those people as much as I sincerely believe we live on different planets. Because, to me, running is the worst. And here's why:

1.) You can't talk while you are running. Not only does the constant movement make it difficult to catch your breath long enough to formulate a sentence but apparently, talking while running is a legitimately unhealthy physical practice. 

2.) You get cold-sweaty. Cold-sweaty is the name I give to that feeling when you get underground at a subway stop and you're all bundled up and you feel so grateful to be out of the cold winter chill and then about two stops in you realize you are sweating and wearing so many layers that the effort to take off even one on this crowded godforsaken machine would be futile. I hate cold-sweaty. I have a really bad cold-sweaty problem when I run because, well, I'm probably not doing something right...maybe I don't warm up enough (read: at all.) 

3.) My whole body turns bright red. Ahhh the joys of being a pale, Irish girl are innumerable! As if it wasn't already DELIGHTFUL ENOUGH to spend most of the summer wearing kaftans and floppy hats, covered in SPF 100 praying I don't get burned, even in the colder months while running outside I develop big, red splotchy marks all over my face, neck, and hands. Which should definitely come in handy for my fit model career.

4.) You can't eat while you're running. You can eat before, and you can eat after. But you can't eat during and that's a problem...for me anyways. 

I despise running. I hate the elitist running culture, the run clubs that come out of NOWHERE and seemingly never end, and I hate the way my hair looks after it's been in a sweaty running pony tail. Now that you know all that, you should also know that this weekend I signed up to run my first half marathon, the Women's Central Park Half Marathon on April 19th. So, with the assumption that I'll start my training today, February 24th, that means I have a little over 8 weeks to train. I wanted to officially start training yesterday but I was over served at an Oscar party the night prior and my best life choice was to sleep in and eat crackers for the better part of the morning. Why am I doing this? I don't really know. I'm not doing it to lose weight, or impress anyone, or achieve some deep, burning desire to be a runner. Everyone I tell has been confused as to why, too. But my favorite response thus far was from my Nike Training app which straight up said:

 

...the app has a valid point, and I'm thankful for the honest opinion. Eight weeks is definitely pushing it, in regards to a feasible time frame to train within. But at least the app is lookin' out for a girl. When I told my mother I was running a half marathon the conversation went a little like this:

ME: Ma! I just signed up for a half marathon and it's a women's half marathon! And it's in Central Park in April! And it's all women, the whole race! Just women! Running! ...cool, huh?

MOM: Honey great, why are you doing this again? 

...alright so yes, I don't have a reason per say but does it really matter? I thought she would think it was pretty cool, or empowering or inspiring? Maybe that's the crux of the reason why people enjoy running? Perhaps that's the secret! That when you run long, great distances you come out the other end of a finished race with all sorts of clarity and passion and inspiration?? Or, maybe, I'll be able to bounce a quarter off my ass!

The first race I ever ran (not including the Presidential Fitness Test in 8th grade heyoooo!) was the St. Patrick's Day 10k in Washington, DC in 2011. My life felt like it was falling apart. I was drinking too much, and dating too many different men, and spending most of my bi-weekly paychecks from Lululemon at Lululemon. I was desperate to move to New York. And I needed a challenge but I didn't know where to start. I don't even remember how I found this race, but I did, and I signed up mid-January and then promptly trained to run it approximately zero times. Zero. Then, come race day, I got on my all matching Lululemon outfit, had a banana, and tried not to vomit while waiting for the stupid thing to start. I brazenly put myself in the nine minute mile group. "You're young, you're fertile!" I thought to myself as I faux stretched with other young, fertile men and women. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a man, mid-thirties, in a wheelchair ahead of me. That's right. Ahead of me. As in the eight minute mile group. Well. Fuck. "If a man in a wheelchair can do an eight minute mile, I can do an eight minute mile!" I remember silently (dear god I hope it was inside voice and not a declamatory statement) saying. I WILL NOT WIN THIS RACE, BUT I WILL BEAT WHEELCHAIR MAN.*

That starting gun went off, and I simply decided to keep moving. I didn't stop moving, and I also did not stop listening to Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" on REPEAT because, motivation. I made sure to keep wheelchair man in my peripheral, always clocking him. If I hadn't lost my mind at some undocumented moment in my life prior, this is most assuredly the moment. I felt like he was taunting me. I developed an entire narrative about how wheelchair man had it out for me. Because that seems like something a healthy person does. Right? On the last two miles I significantly slowed down and was at what I'd like  to call a lady trot** and he passed me. He passed me. Uhhhh. Something inside me erupted like a wronged woman on an episode of the Maury Povich Show when she finds out he IS the father. I think there might have been lil flames in my eyes. I dug deep down and realized now was fight or flight time. I pretended there were turbo rockets attached to my shitty running shoes and I picked up the pace. I picked up the pace until I saw wheelchair man less than 50 feet ahead of me. And then, I turned Whitney on a few notches louder and I RAN RIGHT PAST WHEELCHAIR MAN. The exuberance! The moment of pride when I realize, I have passed him! Pure, unadulterated bliss! 

What is the takeaway?  Well, I'm a crazy person. I'm highly motivated by competition, even in unfair, highly dramatized scenarios with faux enemies like wheelchair man. I still hate running, but I need a challenge. I need something to be competitive about. I need to realign my priorities and my decision making. I need to know that I'm still alive. You know? Just a reminder that I'm here and I'm working towards something. I need to say I said I'd do it, and then I fucking did. I need a win. And what better way to hold yourself accountable than tell some people in a very public setting, like, say, ya blog?

A little warning: I'm going to be writing about running. A lot. I'm sorry. I can't always promise it will be inspiring or insightful. I can promise it will be humorous and honest and another h-word that I can't quite put my finger on at this moment. In conjunction with needing a goal, sometimes I need a little motivation to write more, although the play I'm writing about the time I got MRSA and bed bugs in the same week as Hurricane Sandy is coming along quite well, thank you for asking. Point is, this writing assignment will keep me constant, like coffee does. 

The lovely sounding Nike app woman told me I have a six mile run tomorrow. It's currently nine degrees. I can't wait to let ya'll know how that goes.    

*Just for the record, I think this man is a badass.  

**a lady-trot is the same as fast running in heels, but when you are at a lady-trot in sneakers, then you're just lazy.  

 Right after I finished the St Patrick's day 10k, my first race...I take no responsibility for what symbol I'm trying to make with my hands.

Right after I finished the St Patrick's day 10k, my first race...I take no responsibility for what symbol I'm trying to make with my hands.


No One is Alone

I've spent my fair share of time alone on Valentine's Day. And you know what, that's all kinds of okay.  I confess I'm not alone this year, so maybe my thoughts on the subject are rendered obsolete. It's certainly nice to have someone to do nice things for, but I also feel that should be an everyday occurence. My bozo* and I won't be spending this day wracking up debt and stressing over how this day should mean more. For one, both of us have more money in the Mexican currency of pesos than we do tangible dollars. We're basically gonna get all "Gift of the Magi" on each other, buying treats for each other we don't need but refuse to buy for ourselves. It'll be romantic, in that way that poor things are.  

Valentine's Day always gets me thinking about what this day was like in years prior, where I was, or who I was with, or what I was feeling. But you know what? It also gets me thinking about all the things I had (and YOU, sweet reader, have) that mean a whole lot more than one day where you might feel a tad bit lonely. So, I compiled a list of awesome stuff that I had/have as a quick reminder that we all tend to "have" a lot more than we think we do. The things we have--and bits of our lives we share--keep us from truly being alone. And if, after reading this list, you still feel alone then you can call me and I will find you wherever you are within the five boroughs and we will drink coffee (read: Irish coffees) and giggle (read: maybe cry) for a few hours, together. But let's try this first? 

WHY (MOST PEOPLE) AREN'T REALLY ALONE (Or, A List of Awesome Shit We Take For Granted) 

1.) Netflix

2.) Legs that walk you places

3.) Arms that pick things up

4.) A place outside to walk

5.) Pizzabagels  

 

6.) A friend to call

7.) A mom/dad that chooses to listen to you when you need to talk  

8.) the entirety of the movie, Up

9.) Double stuffed dark chocolate Milano cookies

10.) Oysters on the half shellllllll (get one right now, I can't stop and they're only $3) 

11.) Whistling  

12.) Skipping

13.) An animal pet that loves you (perhaps only because you feed them, but let's choose to be positive here) 

14.) A pair of jeans you look like a sexy motherf*cker in

15.) Warm socks

16.) Hand written letters  

17.) Coffee

18.) People in your neighborhood who recognize you/know you by name

19.) Tropical flavored Starburst  

20.) An old picture of your grandparents when they were in the love

21.) Ben and Jerry's Milk and Cookies ice cream

 

22.) ANY AND ALL MUSIC. The ability to hear and appreciate music

23.) Skin (Your skin is actually so badass, it's awesome, even when it's very see-through pale.) 

24.) Comfy beds

25.) The ability to read

26.) Libraries and small bookshops

27.) A job where someone relies on you

28.) Instagram (yeah, I'll admit it. I'm addicted and grateful.) 

29.) Brothers and sisters

30.) That new Rihana and Kanye and that other guy's new song  

31.) Water

32.) A photograph or a piece of art that reminds you of something/someone 

33.) Fresh (freezing cold) air

34.) The choice to go anywhere else (if you really put your mind to it) 

35.) A corner to write in

36.) An itchy item of clothing someone has knit for you

37.) Someone that worries about you

38.) Someone you worry about

39.) Incredible (and free) street/subway performances daily

40.) Your retainer box

41.) A place that you get to call home

Some years on Valentine's Day I didn't have all of these things, or even ten. Some of you might not have all of these things. Some of of them are just that: things, and funny items that made/make me feel safe. Some are less tangible, some are relationships and moments that make us feel taken care of. But here's the real thing: if you read this and have five, or twenty, or even one, you're going to be okay. If you make your own list, you'll get to look and see how much you really *have.*  Yes, perhaps Valentine's is a silly contrived holiday and yes, perhaps others don't care about it as much as you or I do. But if the only positive action that comes out of this seemingly lonely or bleak or underwhelming or cheap holiday is that you take a minute to see all that you have, then it's most assuredly worth it.


*that's my messed up pet name for my boyfriend derived from a crazy man on the subway because, love.  



Top Five Places to Cry in NYC

When did crying in public become cool again? I think it must've happened right around the time we started sharing viral proposal videos. You know, the kind that start with some sort of very determined, generic classical piece (heavvvyyy on the stringed instruments) that drums up excitement while the malefiancé  tells a story about how he's known Jenny* for seventeen years but four years ago he went to Bonnaroo and got SUPER lost coming back home and she was dating someone new when he returned and it took months of playing a painfully mediocre, yet heartfelt version of Mumford and Son's "I Will Wait" on his uke outside her window to win her back? Those ones. This is why it's cool to cry again. So, I guess, I'm cool biddies. 

I love a good cry. My very favorite cry is when I can get into pajamas, drink wine from a coffee cup, open my iPad and watch each and every sad looking trailer at http://trailers.apple.com/. Also, soldiers coming home and their dogs freaking out. Those are my jam. My dearest friends enjoy a solid cry, too. One friend indulges in a quick "get it all out" cathartic cry while watching the last ten minutes of Step Mom. Seriously, google "last ten minutes of step mom." It'll come up. I love the internet so hard.

People think New York City is the best city in the world for so many obsolete reasons. The REAL reason New York City is the best is because of the plethora of perfect places you can (if the spirit moves you) publicly cry. There are a few places you shouldn't cry (anywhere in Times Square) but everywhere else is fair game. I would like to share with you, if I may, some of my very favorite places to publicly cry. I foster the idea of a luxury public cry, not because I want you, dear reader, to be wrought with sadness and the need to cry. But more because a quick cry in a sweet setting never hurt nobody. And, like a tape worm, better out than in.

TOP FIVE PLACES TO PUBLIC CRY IN NEW YORK CITY

                                                                                            1) Central Park

Change "macaroons" to "can of dark chocolate frosting and a spoon" and this man/woman and I are most assuredly soul mates.

People are always like, "Oh my gosh Sheep Meadow! So much fun! Frisbee and shit!" but the best part of Central Park are the benches. Have you read any of the dedications on the benches? THEY ARE DEVASTATING. One time I didn't even have to cry and I made myself by reading some of the bench dedication plaques. You can sit, put your sunglasses on (please be in the park crying during the day, at night it's no longer cathartic as much as it's dangerous) and let it all out. The wonderful part is there are benches EVERYWHERE so there's bound to be a subway stop that takes you to the park and helps you publicly purge. And when you're done you can grab a big pretzel or a hot dog and live in your truth.

2) Any Greek Cafe/Diner 

 Baklava= my anti-drug.

Baklava= my anti-drug.

It's a Greek belief dating back to the first Olympics that hard crying for twenty minutes steadily is the emotional and physical equivalent to running a marathon.** See, now you won't miss that answer on Trivia Crack. You're welcome. I think Greek diners are awesome. Sometimes a lady needs four to five pieces of baklava and a release of emotion in the form of crocodile tears. You might've  deduced that the Greeks are comfortable with tears, based on their loud, emotional conversations and passionate hand gestures but they are actually very stoic people. If you cry in their establishment they will most likely leave you alone until they send over another piece of baklava, on the house. 

 

 

 

 

3.) Port Authority 

 A picture I took for you guys of Hell.

A picture I took for you guys of Hell.

Port Authority is the worst place. Port Authority smells like dashed dreams and Cool Ranch Doritos that someone urinated on and left in a corner. It feels like, maybe, it's not a real place at all but perhaps a movie set from the 1970's that someone forgot to break down after filming wrapped. The florescent lights leave nothing to the imagination. If you are tired, Port Authority knows and will expose you so hard. I caught myself crying at Port Authority recently trying to catch a Peter Pan bus (because I am LUXURY) to Massachusetts to see a therapist who believed he could cure my tension by playing Tibetan singing bowls.*** I was at that seventh layer of hell disguised as the the Authority of the Ports at 7am, on time, but was denied a seat on the bus because they overbooked. It was a perfect storm of frustration and exhaustion and it most certainly all came to a teary halt. But, here's the beauty of Port Authority crying: it never lasts that long. It's not a place that facilitates a comfortable, glamorous cry. It's the quick, dirty release that it needs to be, and then you buck up and you get your ass on the next bus to somewhere vaguely near your desired destination. You get a big Snapple and a trashy magazine and you COMMIT to being a part of that gross place while chalking over the money for your Amtrak ticket back home. 

4.) Fancy hotel bars

 The Ace Hotel or, Fancy-Town.

The Ace Hotel or, Fancy-Town.

The exact opposite of Port Authority, the fancy hotel bar gives you a comfortable, plush, crushed velvet couch that you can call your own while you sit with whatever poor girlfriend is stuck listening to you cry about having too much work, not enough work, too many men, not enough men, too many credit cards, not enough credit cards, and various other fake problems that can only be shared over drinks where at least one of the ingredients are muddled. I love a fancy hotel bar, like that library themed bar in the Ace Hotel because everyone is trying so so hard. If you're the woman/man (because ya'll cry too) crying at the Ace Hotel bar, the facade gone. You might as well unbutton your jeans and let the mascara run free, your walls are down and the pressure is off and you can ACTUALLY ENJOY what a nice place it really is. Also, ain't nobody gonna ask to share that crushed velvet couch with you crying like that, so spread out and stretch and live your life!

5.) 59th and Lexington Subway Stop

 Crying when I took this picture because, life.

Crying when I took this picture because, life.

This one might just be my special place so, please don't take it from me. Go find your own subway stop to cry at, this one's mine, I've cried all over it. For some reason, anytime my feelings are being felt it's at this exact station, most specifically in the underpass from the uptown to the downtown trains. It's so gross there, the rats outnumber humans 3 to 1. I think it wants to be glamorous, what with the Bloomingdale's and all, but somewhere between 1950 and today, the charm has been lost. But here's the thing: that charm and glamor are still alive within every single commuter passing through that station. Crying Bligh has been handed tissues, given seats on the bench, and even been gifted a free water from the bodega. Whenever I needed a bit of kindness it was always readily given by a person at this station. Maybe those people spent their fair share of time crying at 59th and Lex too, and they get it, and they want to pass along a good deed or two. I'd like to believe that because it makes me happy but maybe my pale blotchy-skin cry face are wicked scary and people are trying to avoid me. Whatever the reason may be, I implore you to find your own special train station where you feel free enough to cry. Just make sure it's a stop accessible during your regular commute and that the people (and rats) are kind. 

*Because all the women are usually named Jenny, and I'm sorry if that sounds rude of me I actually think Jenny is an awesome name.  

**This is a boldface lie.  

***these bowls are awesome. I'm sorry, but they're way more awesome than the name Jenny.  

 

 

 

Remember When I Didn't Like You for No Reason?

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I hate when there's a little piece of hair in my mouth, and I can't figure out where it is or how to get it out. I hate when humans are in line at Dunkin during my morning commute and they decide to ask questions. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW? This place has mediocre (if not excessively lovable) coffee! Move on, mama's got a Q train to catch! I hate dirty dishes because I know that if dirty dishes had a voice they would sound like Fran Drescher with those elongated, judgmental vowels telling me to "just cleeeeeaaaaannnn meeeeee alreadyyyyy." I hate one word emails, keys that don't fit in the keyhole easily and--more than anything--I hate women who do not support other women. 

Let's get one thing perfectly clear, right off the bat: I have been that woman before. I'm not proud of this. I regret two things in my life: the times I've spent being catty towards undeserving women, and the time I had the chance to hug Stephen Sondheim and I didn't. I worry about Stephen Sondheim and Jennifer Aniston every single day. I'd like to tell you more about that, but it's for another day, another post. 

As a woman who has spent too much time cutting down, chastising, and diminishing other women (purely because I was envious), I can tell you with full authority that this behavior will not make your life better. It won't help you find personal clarity. You will not be happier because you read some woman on her poor life choices or behavior. As a matter of fact, you will only be worse for the wear. You will not suddenly have all your ducks in a row, you won't immediately be in the perfect relationship, you won't be thinner, or more talented, or even have healthier hair. You will still be you, riddled with self doubt and work needing to be done. And on top of it all, you'll have wasted hours of your life when you could've been actively improving you.

 I've noticed, more often than not, the crux of a female cut-down session centers around a woman who has "taken" your/your friend's man. I will say this now because it's the smartest thing I have ever said and I want it written down forever as gospel truth: I have never met/dated/attracted/found a man worth fighting another woman over. They are not worth the fight, the catty behavior, the nasty digression in maturity level. This is another lesson I had to learn the hard way, but now that it's understood, please heed my advice and stop wasting energy hating some woman because she's with your ex. I would sooner justify fighting a woman over a wrap dress at the DVF sample sale than fighting over a man. Live in that truth. 

I host this lady's brunch once a month where I email a lot of badass women whom I think need to know each other and we get together and we drink and eat and laugh and listen. We share ideas and commiserate over things that aren't going according to plan. We discuss how we can help one another. Just two weeks ago we hatched a brilliant idea for a Kickstarter that I can't even tell you about because it's so smart it'll blow ya damn minds. We spent an afternoon rallying around one another, not breaking each other down. It felt nice to look at the group and know that time could stop, we really could relax and let the perpetual female guard down. I caught myself wondering why I've spent/spend so much time thinking someone's out out to get me. I am nobody's Olivia Pope or Carrie Mathison! My life more resembles an episode of "Finding Your Roots" than a television drama: there's a lot of laughing through snot-tears* exclaiming "I never knew that!" There's not as much drama or need to protect myself as I think, and that goes for all relationships, not just the female ones. 

So, as a final thought, to those women out there who think there is some secret battle being fought over ex-boyfriends and lovers lost, over work and talent levels, over who looks thinner or prettier: give it a rest. Please, take a deep breath. Namaste it out. Channel every ounce of jealously and resentment you have towards these other women and do something that makes you better. It's fucking incredible what we can accomplish when we get out of our own way. 

 

 

*snot-tears: when you're crying so hard that your nose is running but the tears and the snot are one in the same and you sort of hope those around you don't notice. Or if they do, they love you anyway. 

 

The Poor Girl's Guide to Luxurious Substitution

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July is so stupid. It’s just so stupid. Stupid July, stupid month where I’ve lost my monthly subway pass not once, not twice, but three times in the last week and a half. And no I’m not going to take responsibility for that because the moon is probably in some weird phase. So while I wait for MTA to get their lives together and refund me approximately $220.00 (hoefully before the winter of 2016) I will go back to my poor, poor-girl roots. Not the literal ones, although those are rearing their mousy brown heads, but the metaphorical ones. I took a little time, made a budget, cried, had a cup of tea and resolved to make a list of all my financial lifestyle shortcuts which manage to retain that oh so endearing air of bougie. If you’re fearing for your financial well-being like myself, I also suggest taking a deep breath and acknowledging that none of us came out of our mother’s vagina holding fistfuls of hundred dollar bills. Not a one. Without further ado here is:

THE POOR GIRL’S GUIDE TO LUXURIOUS SUBSTITUTION

Poor girl’s avocado- Eggs in every possible way they can be prepared.

Poor girl’s dessert- White toast with butter, sugar sprinkled on top.

Poor girl’s steak tartar- Raw hamburger meat.

Poor girl’s cocktail- Diet coke and Chateau Diana (I prefer the Merlot) mixed together served in whatever you own which most closely resembles a goblet.

Poor girl’s kombucha- Old strawberries in your fridge muddled in lukewarm water.

Poor girl’s energy drink: Pour a whole Emergen-C packet in your mouth, add a little bit of water and swish it all around.

Poor girl’s whiskey- Now we don't mess around here. Buy whatever you damn well please!

Poor girl’s botox- Bangs.

Poor girl’s facelift- A very severe, pulled back top knot.

Poor girl’s colonic- Coffee.

Poor girl’s manicure/pedicure- That $4 polish change from your favorite nail girl. Lest we forget Betty, remember?

Poor girl’s makeover- Sephora counter for a full beat, but buy ONLY the lip color.

Poor girl’s dry cleaning- 1 part rubbing alcohol 2 parts water in a spray bottle and go to town on anything that smells.

Poor girl’s itunes spree- SoundCloud.

Poor girl’s shopping spree- This blog.

Poor girl’s workout- Start a fight in a bar to the point where you run out fast for a few blocks (in heels).

Poor girl’s brunch- Diet coke and a cigarette.

Poor girl’s day out in NYC- Trip to go get a library card (DON’T forget that proof of address!)

Poor girl’s theatre date- YouTube the Kennedy Center Honors.

Poor girl’s movie date- Every Netflix documentary in the "Newly Added" section.

Poor girl’s fancy bar date- Wrap yourself in twinkly lights and spread a blanket on the floor and eat small pickles. This is what every bar in Brooklyn is like.

Poor girl’s Sara Bareilles concert- Drink a half box of pink wine and unabashedly cry and dance to the whole “Blessed Unrest” album.

Poor girl’s therapy session: Call a wise gay man.

My sweet sweet (first) guest blogger and India Arie enthusiast who needs YOUR help!

 
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And nowwwww for something new and different and exciting! Here is a special blog from my very first guest blogger, and dear friend, yogi-uke-goddess, Kristen Garaffo! She's raising money through an indiegogo campaign for her life coach certification and she has 60 hours left to make it happen! Read, then perhaps maybe donate? She's a lovely creature, a badass teacher, and an overall inspiring person so if anything, give this a read and namasteeee! "India.Arie is my soul sister. I wish she was my friend in real life. Her wisdom, her words, and her music are so inspiring, and when her album Songversation came out - it was all I listened to for weeks. Her music lit a little fire in my heart - it made me want to move my body around, practice yoga, and go change the world.

So naturally, I played her music in my yoga classes. I played her song, "I am Light" during savasana for a yoga class at Fords Theatre, for the cast and crew of A Christmas Carol. The song is so peaceful and beautiful - it just lends itself to yoga. And then y'all...magic happened.

I had NO IDEA the song would have such an impact. There were tears, emotional releases were happening and we were feeling ALL of our feelings. It became our mantra. It became the fam jam. (Bligh came up with the cutie name, duh) At the time, Bligh was performing weekly at LaTiDo here in DC - and she invited myself, and our friends Felicia and Kellee to sing the fam jam during her set. I'm pretty sure everyone at the cabaret OMed. We said Namaste before we sang. We listened to it every week. Along with Potbelly's cookies, Ella's pizzeria, and lots of Dunkin, I am Light kept us going through a 12 show week.

When I was trying to figure out what to call my Indiegogo campaign, I wrestled with it. I wanted to include something with light...radiate, glow, shine, something like that...and honestly, it was rough. And then it dawned on me. Why try and come up with another name when we already have a mantra, and one that is already so simple and perfect! The I Am Light campaign was created.

My name is Kristen, and I am raising money for a karma yoga leadership retreat and life coach certification. I am light. You are light. I think we forget sometimes, and I just want to remind you. You are enough, and you are exactly where you need to be right now. For real :)

...But...ya know what?

Sometimes I DONT feel like Light. (#Honesty08)

Sometimes, I don't want to talk about LIGHT and happiness and chasing dreams. Sometimes, I want to hide under the covers and eat ice cream. Or yell at someone for being stupid. It's not always happy feelings and magic. Sometimes it's shit. Sometimes I feel like shit. And it sucks. It freaking blows. There are plenty of times I've called someone a name that was hurtful - and I immediately wish I could take it back. It sucks.

One of my biggest fears, especially as I dive into coaching, and even just doing this Indiegogo campaign in the first place, is that I will come off as knowing all of the answers, that I sit in this "light" and others don't, and that we are divided into "those who offer help" and "those who need help". It couldn't be farther from the truth. The truth is - we are both!!

Feeling like shit once in a while is being human. Every single person on the planet makes mistakes. We are not alone, our imperfections make us whole. We are all doing the best we can, and when you know better - you do better. (That's a Maya Angelou gem. Thank you thank you Maya!)

Life isn't supposed to be all ups without downs. I'm not here to write about how the bar at Pride situation could have been handled differently by breathing or staying present or singing India.Arie. Sometimes you blurt something out you wish you could take back. And since we can't go back in time, or put words back in our mouth as if we never said them - all we can do is own up to our actions. Brene Brown says whenever we take the time to share our feelings and experiences (good and bad) openly and honestly, that is courage. I think our girl Bligh is an honest, open and courageous woman for sharing the gems in her life, the good and the bad. I strive to practice courage everyday, and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't. And that's ok. But on the good days, when I dig deep and choose to be courageous and ask for what I need, or own up to a mistake, or stand up for what I believe in - whenever we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better, and the world a little bit braver. And our world could stand to be a little kinder and braver."

To donate to Kristen's campaign click literally right here

Sorry...Sir

For most of my life I've had the great fortune of being raised by drastically dissenting opinions on just about everything from religion to politics to education to art. Mama Voth is a all KINDS of liberal, Hillary Clinton is her spirit animal, while Daddy Voth is much more conservative. It used to make me very angry that there was rarely ONE topic of conversation that wasn't argued to death, or over analyzed or picked apart and challenged. But in hindsight it's allowed for the creation of my own very strong opinions without feeling the familial pressure to conform to a unified consensus. And so when I say I am one hundred percent behind gay rights and Equality, that is all me, all my choice. I love gay men. Gay men are my best friends, and my coworkers, my confidantes, my family. A lot of gay men happen to be my ex-boyfriends. I love and admire anyone who possesses the courage to live their lives honestly, with integrity, perhaps even when it is difficult to do so knowing that others will ostracize you for that honesty.

All that being said: I called a gay bartender a queen in the derogatory sense during Pride Week and now I feel like a huge asshole. I guess...well, no no, I feel really horrid. I've never been one for intense name calling in moments of duress and anger, mostly because my brain and mouth have the blessing of only working in tandem when I'm on a happy, funny roll. (That's a nice way of saying when I think I'm being happy and funny.) Fortunately or unfortunately I am a believer in the weight of words. Recently, when I've been angry, I'm going to call you a name. Probably a lot of names. Until I find the one that really bothers you. This seems to be a generational trend. If a woman doesn't want to sleep with a man, she's a bitch. If a man cheats on his girlfriend he's an asshole or a dick. Or both. If a gay man reads the crap out of you, he's a queen or a faggot or a slew of other names. And in the moment, when we've felt slighted or accosted, it seems absolutely acceptable and downright necessary to "protect" ourselves.

The reality is, there is absolutely nothing acceptable about using derogatory names. I just keep thinking how goddamn ignorant I was that night. For goodnesssake, I've gone to THREE fake colleges, I'm in a BOOK CLUB, I read the Washington Post (only the front page, and the Style section in its entirety) and I know better than that. No, but really, all humor aside, I do. This year, I just want to surround myself with intelligent, assertive, confident people and I (too often) am not one of them. I wouldn't want to be around me sometimes. I sit and preach from my blog pulpit of self indulgence about why you shouldn't call me a bitch (read this vintage blog post) and I profess to be enlightened enough to write my observations of people in this city and I have no fucking right. Not when I possess a wellspring of language that could intelligently articulate my feelings without stooping to lowest common denominator parlances.

One of the best parts of having a self-indulgent thing like a blog is that I can use it however I want. I want to say sorry. An honest, sarcasm free, sorry to Aaron the bartender. You called my friend a cunt. And I called you a queen. And none of that was necessary or mature. I'm sorry for not apologizing on the spot when I should have. I'm sorry for having the audacity to be offended when people call me names when I'm clearly no better. I don't know where you stand on the weight of words, but I know where I do. And if I'm not smart enough to respond to you name calling with poise and intelligence, than I shouldn't engage at all.

Should we allow racial or sexual epitaphs to have this amount of power? I don't know. Maybe not. Maybe there is a lot of peace that needs to be made with the words and a lot of accountability that needs to be held over the action or impetus of the anger behind their use. I can only speak for myself. I will still falter, that much is true. I'll still swear like a sailor, but to be fair, "fuck" is the Irish verb/adjective/pronoun of choice and that is a habit which (best case scenario) will die a slow, slow death. I'll do the best I fucking can. And maybe, let's all take a minute to assess if we are surrounding ourselves with people who challenge us to do the same.

Another gem of the Contra!

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YOU GUYS. Here's a rare picture of my beautiful "boy" Xena Warrior Princess Contra partner, Sam. I love her. The older woman I am holding hands with here...I think her name was Deidre? She had weak thumbs, or so she said...And maybe it's too soon for Elizabeth Smart references BUT DOESN'T THAT BLONDE GIRL WITH THE BRAID LOOK LIKE ELIZABETH SMART?!?! Just. Saying. Also saying, it's nice to be back sweet biddies:)

Contra-Wha?

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One time my friends Shannon and Vishal and I went contra-dancing with about 200 50-somethings in the west village. I'm not sure how to continue. I suppose explaining contra-dancing would be the next logical step...but...it's hard to describe something that you yourself are uncertain of. Did it happen? Was everyone we encountered and touched in holy palmers' kiss, real? I know the post dancing trip to Chipotle was real, that much is true because Shannon taught me that one can get half chicken and half veggies in your burrito bowl if one asks politely. So, I know it happened. Yes?

In 2014 I am trying to hold myself more accountable. That's a fancy way of saying "be on time." It's very difficult for me to arrive places in a timely fashion, or, sometimes show up at all. Not because I don't care or lack respect for you: it's a deeply ingrained belief that I can do all the things at once and it only takes five minutes to get anywhere from my apartment. This belief is rooted in my penchant for bullshit. I am all kinds of aware it needs to change and so, when Shannon texted me and asked if I would like to go Contra-dancing with him and Vishal I said, "yes, and what time?"

It's important to start by saying I was still late to meet them. No matter that the dance had started, Stephanie told me as she greeted me at the front desk with her patchwork skirt and silver plaited hair. "Find someone wearing a button and ask them to dance! They'll catch you up! Oh, and tell them I sent you," she finishes with a wink and a warm smile. THANK YOU STEPHANIE! What a doll of Christ you are! I proceed down the stairs of the church basement to what, I assume will be a couple dozen people dancing and perhaps a celebratory sheet cake. THAT WAS VERY WRONG. I walk into the most luxury of indoor basketball courts filled with hundreds of people who find deodorant optional and not an air conditioning system to be found! BUT THE SPIRIT! In the far opposite corner I spot a five-piece band playing the most jovial of folk music. Next to them is a man with a feather in his cap (real life) speaking into a microphone and shouting out phrases that mean nothing to me. He is what we call in the contra-dance world, the Caller. I know this now sounds like a character from The Giver, but this shit is real. Amidst the chaos of eight lines of 40-odd people facing their partners, I finally spot my friends. Vishal! Shannon! WHY ARE YA'LL SO SWEATY?! I mean, I'm only about 20 minutes late and, to me, that's fairly on time. How did they get so worked up in such a short amount of time??

ME: You guys are sweaty. SHANNON: THIS IS SO FUN! VISHAL: Bligh, get ready for the next dance, this is Sam, she's awesome, she'll be the boy don't worry.

...it's at this moment I look up (quite literally) to meet the gaze of a six-feet tall gazelle/Amazon/Xena Warrior Princess redhead. Her wavy tresses cascade down her back in a wild mess of curls. I immediately want to straighten them for her. She's wearing what appears to be a bolt of lace held together by ribbons left over from the last Maypole Dance. She is also sporting a gigantic pin that reads, "I SWING BOTH WAYS." ....I couldn't make this up if I tried. "Hi I'm Sam, I'll be the boy." OK girllll, you be the boy. I'm just gonna follow YOU. Her hands are sweaty. She's just told me she's a boy. I decide to breathe and trust.

"Bow to your partner and handy-hand to the left!" the Caller announces...The fuck is the Handy-Hand? The next move is called "Box the Gnat." I am trying to listen to the Caller and execute these moves I have never head of before but I can't! It's too much! I'm getting so sweaty so fast! Sam must have noticed my mounting fear. "Listen, I got you," she says, "The next step is just a fancy name for a do-si-do so just relax and have fun!" OKAY Sam. You're right. I will! To my surprise, the minute I stopped trying to perfect the dances, I got them. And, I'm not one for bragging...but...I got kinda good. Real fast. The next partnered dance had an "advanced" move called the "Courtesy Turn" which was EXPERTLY executed by Vish, Shannon, and myself to such an extent that seasoned veterans took notice. And complimented us. In our third set, a Caller chose me to dance with him. I think his name was Jim and he was about sixty and he twirled me around a lot more than was necessary. He told me I must be a professional. He also sai---you know, actually I'd prefer to keep this bit to myself as to preserve it's sanctity.

About an hour in, Anne (the head of this whole delicious Contra dance night) got on the microphone."OK guys heyyyyyy! What an awesome event, huh? It makes my heart swell to see all these new faces. Brought together by the love of dance! Thank you all for coming, this is a very old established community and it's just all about meeting people and making new friends, huh yeah? But, set to music. Lovely. Beautiful night. Now ok so Jerry and I talked and we thought, you know, let's just order some pizzas, yeah? So ok, raise your hand if you want pizza. We're just getting cheese. Just cheese. So raise your hand. Okay....I think like, I have about, it looks like around 100 of you want pizza. So I'll go order those pizza pies, ok guys? Awesome wonderful. And listen, just pay me a few dollars when you can, ok? Thanks guys, ok dance! Pizza later, dance now!"

SHANNON: That's not the most organized way to have done that. ME: Agreed. VISHAL: We are sweaty.

And we were. We were sweaty and happy. It's impossible to not giggle your way through a beautiful, sweaty night, perfecting the art of the Contra dance amongst friends. I love New York for moments like this, where something totally random and a bit odd happens that you couldn't do anywhere else. Like the time I made a frittata out of an ostrich egg, or that time I took a yoga class next to Uma Thurman and cried. THINGS LIKE THAT. As Vishal and Shannon and I enjoyed our burrito bowls after a strong, long night of dancing I was reminded how much I love them! And how, it's okay to be a tad late to everything, people will still love you back. And sometimes, they'll love you so much that they buy you pizza. But just cheese pizza. Love ain't that fancy.

Hashtag Perspective

Today, I lost my ID. This might not seem like a big deal to you, dear reader, but my ID was the only article that I've SOMEHOW been able to keep ahold of for the last ten years of my life. I've lost two cell phones, a half dozen clutches, my favorite romper EVER en route to the dry cleaners on a windy day, and years of my life and brain cells to the Real Housewives franchise. But I've never lost my ID. I took pride in that. It was always like, "My dignity has been lost in Bethesda, Maryland but I STILL HAVE MY ID!" And now? Now I can't even brag about that menial success. I was feeling pretty poorly about myself, about how I'm a shoddy excuse for an adult and I will probably die alone surrounded by empty containers of chocolate frosting and 17 cats, still sans ID, when I realized: this is ridiculous. There are real problems. This surely cannot be a real problem. I mean, yes it is, because it's an inconvenience. And I guess I'll have to bring my passport to Trader Joe's Wine Shop now. But it'll be fine. And there are PLENTY of things I haven't lost in my 25 years on this earth! Like, important things that make me happy! That matter more than a picture of me that had my weight (which I DID NOT sanction) and height written underneath a shot which made me look like I was in women's prison. Let me tell you something. The secret to being a happy person? Lists. I swear to you. Make em biddies, they will never let you down. So without further ado, here is:

A LIST OF 7 THINGS I'VE MANAGED TO NOT LOSE AT ANY POINT OF MY LIFE

1) My last name. -Still got it! Not married! Still mine! And it's scary to look at, so the fact that I've never discarded it is nothing to scoff at. Voth. It's strong, it makes a guttural sound when spoken aloud, and people pronounce it two different ways which gives me an air of mystery...in my head...after wine.

2) My grandmother's gold charm bracelet. - I love that thing, but that thing has also been a great many places it shouldn't have. Like Cabo. And college. Aside from any monetary value, that charm bracelet makes me feel very elegant and lady like and genteel and it reminds me of my grandmother. It should come out on special occasions like Christmas and the day Peeps become seasonally appropriate to carry in your local CVS. Not for girl's trips to Mexico. No.

3) My Shoe. -I have never ever been THAT girl who's like, "I lost a shoe somewhereeeeeelikkeeeeeat like, Bowery and Houston?!?" She says this when you are absolutely nowhere near Bowery and Houston. I have never been that girl. I've done silly (read: moronic) things LIKE this, but never this.....please let me claim my small victory.

4) My IPad. -Now this is a true triumph because many a many a MANY a time I have left my iPad places but I always remember where it is and quickly retrieve! Just mere months ago I left my iPad on a Megabus and the minute I realized, ran through Union Station like Holly Golightly trying to save that cat in the rain! (Side note: I had to google "top ten famous romantic movies" to find a reference I liked most. And like, A LOT of romantic movies end with a run-back-to-the-one-you-love scene! Except for A Walk to Remember....so...there's that.)

5.) My keys. -Boom. That's a big one. Lots of people lose their keys! NOT ME MOTHERSSSSS. I mean, they're impossible to lose because I carry a key to almost every place I've ever lived, everyone I work for, and at least three copies of my home key in Virginia. Daddy Voth likes to make spares for me because I tend to lose them and well shit I guess this doesn't really count now.

6.) Bobby pins. -Listen. Bobby pins are like a modern-day girl's calling card. I leave these things EVERYWHERE. Bligh's been here. Look. There are those annoyingly blonde bobby pins. (SECOND Side note: WHY HASN'T ANYONE INVENTED BOBBY PINS THAT HAVE A BIT OF A BRUNETTE ROOT?!? You know, just inquiring for a friend.) Yes, I leave bobby pins all over the place but I always have the necessary amount with me. Always. Every time. And I can't remember buying any new bobby pins since 2006, so either I'm stealing them and blocking it out or I've managed to retain a large quantity through osmosis and prayer.

7.) My credit card(s). -Many many moons ago a younger, smarter me decided to get a credit card that depicted one of those creepy/annoying Anne Geddes portraits of a baby dressed as a strawberry on a pepto bismol pink background. I love that credit card. I have NEVER lost it. The original intention behind getting one of these Anne Geddes homage credit cards was twofold. 1) She did that HYSTERICAL and uncomfortable photo shoot with Celine Dion (my spirit animal) holding babies disguised as fruits and vegetables that really spoke to me. I equal parts love and hate those photographs. I'll never forget the Anne Geddes coffee table book in my gynecologist's office that (I believe) single-handedly prevented me from being a teen pregnancy statistic. 2) THE CARD WAS OBNOXIOUSLY PINK. I thought it would always be easiest to find in a pile of cards. And, my sweet biddie readers, I was right.

I'd like to end this post by coming clean and saying it was originally intended to be a list of 10 things I had managed to not lose. But the truth is, I can only think of 7. And you know what? That's enough. I'm tired of beating myself for not being perfect, or having all the things all the times, or making sure everything is just right. Sometimes you lose things. And that's ok. Things can be replaced. Life is about the silver lining, no? So here's mine: no longer will I have to endure that almost ten year-old picture of me with flat ironed hair and sparkle glitter eye-shadow. See? Perspective is a beautiful thing. And I have no intention of losing that.

To Grand Plié Is One's Personal Choice

My friends are fantastic. I think everyone must think that about their friends, but, my people are the real deal. They are smart, funny individuals. They listen when I talk. They've learned to tell me all social events start hours before they actually do so I am on time. They stick up for me. And they have inspired me to write about topics that move me, that I find pertinent, that I emotionally connect to.

 So now let me tell you about the cleanest, safest, most luxurious places to use a public restroom in New York City. No no no, let my friends and I tell you. Below is the direct transcript from family dinner a few weeks back, after I made my friends Tarragon, Epiphany, and Hashtag* this fannncyyy desert, from scratch: 

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ME: Alright. I'm recording this. Favorite places to pee in NYC. Go.

HASHTAG: So I'm super horny---

ME: Focus please, this is business. Tarragon, go.

TARRAGON: My favorite place to pee is Eataly. 

ME: Why Tarragon, why? 

TARRAGON: Because it's cleaned every hour.

ME: Do you know that to be true?

TARRAGON: Yes, positive. Every time I got they're cleaning. And I've seen the check list. They clean every hour. I know this. You also don't feel any pressure to buy anything because it's really big and there's lots of stuff. There are three different entrances. And, get this. Best part? TEN stalls. Ten. All of them cleaner than the last. 

ME: Yeah. I hear you. I'm taking in this information and your passion. Love and light to you but...it's not so so luxury in there. I want like, individual rooms and eucalyptus towels and--

EPIPHANY: Champagne. You want Beauty and Essex.

ME: Yes I do, thank you Epiphany.

EPIPHANY: Yes, but Tarragon means in a pinch, where would you go when you're in Flatiron.

ME: Ok ok ok. So where do you go then in Midtown?

HASHTAG: The Marriott. Everyone chooses the Marriott. 

EPIPHANY: The Marriott is so standard. 

TARRAGON: The Marriott is tricky though because their bathroom's have closing hours. 

HASHTAG: No they don't girl.

TARRAGON: Yes they do. The second floor Marriott bathroom has closing hours. The ones near the box office.

HASHTAG: You're talkin' about the second floor. I'm talkin' about the lobby. I do the LOBBY girl. I get in and I press 8J or whatever and I go to the 7th floor--

EPIPHANY: 8th floor. Obviously the "8" stands for the 8th floor. 

HASHTAG: OKAYYYY 8th floor. And I go to the 8th floor and I use the fancy bathrooms and...sometimes...I get a drink. 

ME: Before or after you use the bathroom?

HASHTAG: Same. Time. 

ME: Epiphany, favorite place to pee in New York City and why?

EPIPHANY: I would have to say...Bloomingdales...

EVERYONE: MHMM. Yes. But of course!

EPIPHANY: Oh. I know. The one on east 59th or whatever. That one. And let me enlighten you as to why.

ME: By all means, please. 

(at this moment, all discussion stops as a wee little puppy does something so cute that we can do nothing but make noises of sheer delight and revel in her adorableness.)

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EPIPHANY: Ok. sorry for the break. The reason why I choose Bloomingdales is for its cleanliness, its proximity to Forty Carrots, and its location on the bedding floor so when you're looking for new quilts you ca---

TARRAGON: Why would we be looking for new quilts?

EPIPHANY: YOU KNOW! For winter, and things like that....Beauty and Essex really does have a great bathroom though.

(The group murmurs agreements whilst EPIPHANY dreams of quilts.)

ME: You know what I'm over? This like, fancy town restaurant or bar experience where there are only small, tiny mirrors with some antiqued shit on the corners so you can't REALLY see anything. Over it. How're you supposed to check your eye-liner? Or tease your hair? You can't. I'll tell you what. You simply can't. Rant over. Also, I like that nail color.

TARRAGON: Thank you. I forgot what it's called.

EPIPHANY: Wicked?

HASHTAG: NO ONE MOURNS THE! 

ME: Stop. This cannot go further. Ok, what's the name of the brunch place I got kicked out of?

EVERYONE: Co-Op! 

ME: Yes, Co-Op. I'll tell you why I don't care to return to that establishment anyways, they have those silly co-ed bathrooms. What is that???

EPIPHANY: UGH CO-ED BATHROOMS ARE SO DARK! 

ME: You feel strongly about this!

EPIPHANY: Well I can't SEE! And I like to clean a toilet before I go in, is that so much to ask?

TARRAGON: You sit down? Like, actually sit down?

EPIPHANY/ME: Yes, yeah. You clean it off, and then you put some toilet paper down and you sit. It's very simple. Straightforward. 

TARRAGON: Oh no. I never have time for that.

HASHTAG: Nervous you never have time.

ME: Tarragon, so you hover? 

HASHTAG: She does like a grand plié. 

TARRAGON: Most women do this, yes.

EPIPHANY: No. 

ME: Not most women.

HASHTAG: Why don't ya'll just sit down. Like why don't you just---(at this point Hashtag gets cut off because he's in a room with three opinionated women and a lady pup who, even at the mere age of six weeks old is demonstrating opinionated tendancies. He might have had really useful information or suggestions, but the world will never know. This is his plight.)

ME: I FEEL like, the grand plié style is torture. Like a barre class after a big-night-out. Just seems like a lot of work.

TARRAGON: IT IS. You use your core. Your balance. And you have to hold the lock too. 

ME: This has reached a level of paranoid peeing that I will not stand for or engage in conversation any longer. 

TARRAGON:...I do have a really good power squat. 

ME: Now you're bragging. 

HASHTAG: Wine's out. 

EPIPHANY: Let's open another bottle and I'll teach you all how to pee in a leotard.

 And what an informative night it turned out to be! What I want ya'll to take away from this nonsensical entry is: 1) Alcohol and a tub of chocolate frosting do an evening make! 2) The crux of friendship could possibly be finding people who have their own, specifically beautiful definition of a pleasurable public restroom experience. It's important to surround yourself with people who grand plié and sit through life. 3) Going to the bathroom in a leotard is not for the faint of heart. Namaste.   

 *Sometimes my friends request a little anonymity. And that's ok, so long as I can give them horribly trendy, children-of-west-village-independently-wealthy-artist-parents pseudonyms.  

The most luxury at Rose's Luxury.

20140207-133424.jpg A few months back I broke my phone after a very rowdy girl's night. So, I lost a lot of older pictures. But this is a pretty adorable recent picture of me, Ma, and the daughter she wishes she had birthed, my girl Shayna. I think everyone in the greater Washington, DC area needs to go to Rose's Luxury on 8th St today, get the lychee salad situation, and toast my Mom! Happy Birthday! xx

The Color of the Pepper is Inconsequential

Winter is a tricky biddie. This winter has been the trickiest biddie of them all. For whatever reason, I cannot stop eating. I'm eating because it's cold, that much is understood. But I'm eating like it's so cold and I'm preparing for a reality television show "The Donner Party Revisited" and I must put on the necessary weight so as to avoid eating my grandmother. Or getting gangrene. (Do not google image that.) ...you google imaged gangrene, didn't you. WHY DID YOU DO THAT? I told you not to! No matter, the problem I was getting to is that for a woman with an insatiable appetite for all food, I lack the required cash monies to support the habit. And it's causing me to do a lot of...questionable things. Like, last weekend at my home in Virginia, I may or may not have "borrowed" roughly $20 in quarters from a jar labeled, "Father Cosmos' Kids." That's right. I stole money being raised for orphaned children in Africa. And for the record, I am NOT proud of this. I'm horrified. But I have every intention of paying it back. AND my favorite guilt-ridden lapsed Catholic friend Rob told me that all is well if I pray the Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary on the next Friday or Tuesday. He knows things. He also has the special knack for locating a Croatian mass that DOES serve coffee and donuts within a five mile radius. Which is truly, a lost art.

So I have nothing to eat. Well, that's not true I have this:

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That's a picture of basmati rice, spaghetti, one red pepeper, one onion, one tomato, an egg, garlic tomato sauce, 5-layer dip from Trader Joe's, and this magic asian remedy syrup I swear by called (I think) Nin Jiom Pei PA Koa. Here it is, expertly staged, up close.

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...So you can get this at most Asian markets. Just ask for "family size honey loquat" and see what happens. If that shit costs more than $5.50 and they DON'T offer you complimentary acupuncture in your right foot, you need to leave, and fast. I wish I could tell you more about Nin Jiom, but the entire packaging is in another language and the ingredient list is just a picture of herbs that, I assume, are in this concoction. Just buy it. Take it. And thank me when your skin starts to glow as bright as the sun and you sing like Jesus.

I digress. Back to my hunger. These are the things I can cook with tonight. My ginger bunny roommate and best friend Whitney has decided to make us chocolate chip cookies so I return that kind gesture with a BOX OF WINE. Yes, that's right. Only the best for my friend.

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The man at Trader Joe's said that it was the best boxed wine he'd had all day. And who am I to argue with that? So we each get a healthy pour, save for Jackson, the dog, as he was really going through it a while back and spent most of 2013 in this wicked, alcohol-induced stupor. Bless his heart.

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I found this website supercook.com where you put in the ingredients you have in your kitchen and it spurts out what you can cook. It's kinda awesome. Apparently I could make Spanish Rice?!? Well isn't that something! And it gets better because I can ALSO make over 199 recipes with my paltry pantry. God is real.

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As I click on the recipe for Spanish Rice, I first hone in on the "1 hour cook time." Nope. No. It takes approximately four minutes door to door to get dollar pizza. But I guess if Donna Moore says, "I've had this recipe for awhile. It is very easy to make," then I can suck it up and wait patiently. We get it Donna, it's easssyyy for you to cook. Good for you! As I go in for my second glass of the wine that is boxed, the following conversation transpires:

WHIT: Hey, um, I see you're busy with the wine, but would you mind if I just prepped the cookie dough mix for us?

BLIGH: Ohmygodno! You do you!

WHITNEY: Also, why are you procrastinating?

BLIGH: I think I need a green bell pepper instead of a red and I have to be very quiet and mediate on that right now.

'Twas true. I was becoming increasingly stressed about the color of the pepper. Whitney dismissed it as a non-issue stalling tactic (which it was) and so I made her cut the pepper. And then I made her cut the onion because I have sensitive eyes.

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All ingredients cut, oven pre-heated to 400-degrees and not the prescribed 350 because ain't nobody got time for that when I realize...I don't have enough tomatoes. I didn't even USE canned tomatoes like they asked! Will a teaspoon or two or three of tomato sauce suffice? Why not, it's worth a try! Let's add that egg in there too, for good measure.

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I then added red pepper flakes and garlic powder because I do what I want. And then I prayed. Here is the before:

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And what I busied myself with in between for forty or so minutes:

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And here is the after.

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And here it is being all presentational and fancy times with a baby bed of mixed greens and a homemade white wine vinegar/dijon mustard/garlic dressing.

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It was good. But you know what was GREAT? The seemingly unnecesary (at the time) 5-layer dip purchase at TJ's earlier in the week. Because Donna was right, it was an easy recipe, but it lacked spice! Or it did until I put allll the 5-layer dip on top of it. There was a TJ's seven-layer dip option which I abstained from because five is a luxury unto itself. And as Jo March says as she gives the rag money to silly Amy for that damn orange, "We are not destitute, not yet anyways." So get your dip, however many layers your heart so desires! Use what you have in your pantry! Cook with and for the people you love! And never hesitate to accept a glass of boxed wine from a friend, even if they are gangrenous because I looked it up that shit's not contagious.

Tis the Season...to Look Better Than Everyone Else: A Lesson in Holiday Picture Posing

The thing about the holidays is people want to take a lot of pictures. And then they want to post all about them over the internet. And so, you sweet biddie reader, need to be ready. Family is sneaky. Family is like, "Oh hey everyone get together for a picture all of us! Let's use this florescent lighting over here! OH and let's make all the women squat! GREAT IDEA! Flattering and incredibly simple to do in that holiday dress, yes?" No. I don't play when it comes to picture taking, and neither should you. Can I break it down for you? Thank you much. THE FIVE CARDINAL RULES FOR PICTURE POSING

1.) It's going to hurt. Namaste it out.

-The thing about a luxury picture is, it will hurt you. Natural posing does not exist. You think all the fancy times models are comfortable while posing for Vogue? No they are not. They are uncomfortable. You need to be ok with this because the final product is worth the momentary pain. Try to cultivate friends with quick flash cameras because no one wants to sit through some 1995 Canon PowerShot long exposure bullshit whilst holding a show bevel. No. Not today, Geraldine.

2.) Find your side.

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-My friend Whitney has an incredibly strong left side. Which is perfect, because I can give you a strong dimple and mischief half-smile on my right. WE POSE PERFECTLY TOGETHER. (See above, what a beautiful little ginger bunny she is, no?) I'm not saying pick friends with a good side different than yours, but I'm saying pick friends with a good side different than yours. Practice your side. Spend a little time in front of the mirror figuring that shit out. Additionally, it is imperative that you are living in truth about your weak side because during the holiday season, one's fam-jam may do sneaky things after the third or fourth bottle of Yellow Tail has been consumed. Family has a blatant disregard for your good side at this stage of the night. WORRY NOT. Just collect yourself, and finagle your way to your good side. Everyone will make fun of you. But know that history will remember this moment through the strong Instagram filter chosen. And it will remember that you look good.

3.) When in doubt, get in the middle.

-The Divine Queen (Beyonce) has made it clear time and time again that posing in the middle of a strong group of women only makes you more awesome. There's not a great deal of science behind this next statement but I FIRMLY believe that years of middle-posing with Destiny's Child is the crux of her solo career confidence. Take that as you will. I've been to three fake colleges. Below is a picture of my LUXURY show sisters at our opening night party for a show, me giving you a solid rule #3 in full effect. See what I mean here? They look great, yet, I'm winning. BUT to my right, Kellee's strong "clav-to-arm-to hip" stance is fantastic and brings me to the next rule...

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4.) KNOW AND LOVE YOUR BODY.

-Kellee always gives you a strong contoured arm to hip stance. This is just one of her many gifts. Me? Clavicle FAH DAYS. No matter what. Even those days (read: weeks) where I decide dark chocolate and rose is a normal and acceptable breakfast. My dearest dear, Mike needs to teach a master class in the half-smile. He might've invented it, it's so good. But the point here is: when you know and love your body and your assets, you will always have the posing upper hand. Even at family holiday parties where your Mom nonchalantly mentions that, "last year Bligh was sadder but she was also thinner." That cannot phase you when you have that brilliant clavicle. And an Irish-coffee in your hand.

5.) Just enjoy your damn life.

-A few weeks ago in the lady's dressing room I ran this blog entry topic by the women and we laughed and posed for a good long while, just enjoying how ridiculous this all actually is. Then, last week in NYC I had luxury diner breakfast with Alex and Whitney and we further discussed the posing techniques, and laughed at ourselves all over again. I wish someone had been there to take a picture of us. Because from where I was sitting, they were both so beautiful. Same with my dressing room loves: they are most lovely when we are all just laughing and enjoying our lives. Joy is stunning. Be joyful all the time, and once in a while, take a picture to remember that joy. I am fucking brilliantly lucky to have spent the last year of life laughing with my honest and funny family, my kind friends, and my energetic and talented colleagues. Rule #5 is a picture-posing technique, but it's also my rule for the company I keep.

...feelings. Ugh. With all that being said, I need to go shower and finish Christmas shopping. So I leave you biddies with this: this holiday season, love your life. And try out this next pictured pose which I call "The Dead Rag Doll." Just do it. And Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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