When You've Been Gone For a Real Long Time and People Are All, "Who Are You Even?"

....that's what I imagine that lil toddler-cat to the left is saying as I start to blog. "Why are you even doing this? Do you have anything to talk about anymore? Boo don't you have a podcast now? Is that not enough to satiate your narcissistic, albeit well intentioned, self? Also, get me some some damn Dunkaroos right now!"

That's what I feel (in my heart) that lil child is saying. And honestly: I don't blame her. Why bring this thing back from the dead? This blog is like the Teri Hatcher of blogs. Like, it's coming back on this salacious, hyper-sexualized and grossly anti-feminist stereotypical primetime television show but, was it really necessary? Did we really miss it to begin with?

....in hindsight Teri Hatcher and my blog have nothing in common. Or too much in common. I can't tell. I've had wine. 

The point I'm trying to make is that there is no point for me to blog again. But, truth be told, I missed it very much. I journaled more because I'm a middle class woman in my 20's and that's how we roll. In the last absent year from blogging, I've moved to a new apartment. And I did a few jobs here and there. And I went on a surprise trip to Germany. And I worked out. Every day. I look fantastic.*

You know when you start to get those horrid family recap letters around the holidays? You know, the type of letter that's designed to make you feel like you've spent an entire year of your life not doing NEARLY as much as your Smith cousins from western Massachusetts? I hate (read: secretly love) these letters! They are fascinating! And who doesn't love a mother writing in third person?!? Third person! Never not funny! I wanted to write about what's happened in the time between putting the blog on hiatus and starting the podcast. I wanted to write about the fantastic adventures, and the beautiful nights spent learning and loving, growing and thriving, living my very best life. And then I remembered: that's just not my style. So, instead, here's a VERY honest and unnecessarily detailed description of how my yesterday went. Because being honest (in third person) is important. 

Woah! Huh! What a DAY it has been! Bligh has been goin' here and a'goin' there! She has sweat out of her right armpit (almost exclusively) since 7:38am this morning when she left her new home in Harlem to go to her day job in Flatiron selling trash! WE ARE SO PROUD OF HER.

Bligh loves her new day job** and she particularly loves the long breaks her new day job affords her, where she says she is going to read up about current affairs but where she really just stalks the Kardashians on Instagram. She also enjoys using the break times to go the Dunkin on the corner of W 27th and 6th Ave and carry on a passive fight dating back to before Christmas with one of the female baristas there. It simultaneously gives her a sense of accomplishment and a mild distaste for her own stubborn behavior. That distaste tastes oddly similar to a chocolate munchkin.

After a busy and long day selling trash Bligh was lucky enough to head to a casting where a super kind lady took a few pictures of her and graciously said, "I didn't even notice the food stain on your sweater until you pointed it out." She then proceeded to head home but NOT before stopping by her new favorite neighborhood hangout, Food Universe. Rosa is currently the Employee of the Month over at Food Universe and she is KILLING it. Way to go Rosa! Bligh brilliantly stopped at Food Universe*** to pick up a few odds and ends for her impulsive, yet all together too-delish-to-pass-up, Pinterest find of the day:

http://www.thefirstmess.com/2016/01/13/creamy-french-lentils-with-mushrooms-and-kale-recipe/

So french, right?

She then watched the Vice interview of the USA Freedom Kids approximately seventeen times until she memorized every single quote/gesture/mannerism of the littlest one. You know, the one who seems most insistent that  you answer the call when freedom calls? That one. She's the best. But, click and see for yourself.

Aside from these aforementioned, ambitious Tuesday night life projects, Bligh also prepped this blog entry, ironed her jeans, and had a fight with a neighborhood pigeon. All jokes aside, shit's gotten kinda cool these last few months. She's got a podcast. She had a live sold out show. She got botox. And most importantly, she's fighting with a pigeon. All this and more in the blog/on the podcast/in the plethora of instas that will be meticulously filtered and passed off as perfectly captured, organic moments. 

So that's it. I would love if you would take a minute to go to iTunes and search the podcast "Avocados Are For Rich People." You should listen to the second, and most recent episode called "Uncomfortable: The Boozy Brunch Tapes." And you should also maybe take a lil minute to subscribe to it, rate it, and review it. This keeps me in a zen place so I don't start as many fights with Dunkin Donuts baristas or pigeons. It also keeps freedom free. And really, that's what it's all about. 

*I haven't even attempted to run in approximately three months

**I really actually love my day job everyone is really cool and they deal with me singing.

***Food Universe is no joke and easily my favorite place to hang out in Harlem. 

An artist's rendering, pre botox. I look much younger now. 

An artist's rendering, pre botox. I look much younger now. 


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?

image.jpg

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. 

 

To One It Concerns

When I started this blog, there were very few guidlines for subjects I would not broach. The rule was self-imposed so as not to get caught in a trap of writing exclusively about love, or dating, or lovely dating in New York City. I know lots of fantasticly written, witty blogs about dating in NYC (ya'll should read up about my girl Tinderella) but it's just not my pig, not my farm. 

And then I met someone. And he was my jam. But I didn't want to share him. When you freely share every other aspect of your silly life (remember when I shared my peeing preferences?) with readers and the general public, the things you love become clearer and more sacred than before. Maybe that's weird? I just didn't feel like sharing here, chickens! Besides, relationships end and sometimes you go through rough spells and to open the floodgate to talk about all that here seemed cheap.

And then, through the miracle of boxed wine and a mutual commitment to mornings filled with quiet time and personal space, I made it to a full year with that someone I met. Which is cool because it's been the best goddamn year of my life. And maybe, now, it's okay to share a bit about that person I love because I know they'll love the gesture. And it doesn't matter anymore (or ever, really) what anyone else thinks. What matters most is getting that someone you love to smile and understand that they are, in fact, your jam. So,

To my boy, who had the audacity to ask me to sing back up for him at MY cabaret, you've got balls...I like that about you. I'm genuinely sorry I butchered singing your back up, definitely sorry I lied about watching the youtube video to make sure I knew it the two times you asked...I was pretty focused on myself that night. Thank you for being cool about me taking another boy to your bar to make you jelaous. That was pretty lame of me, but the way you handled it made me like you even more. Which is why I want to say big time thank you for not running when I texted, "When are you going to ask me out?" instead of politely waiting for you to ask me, as a lady should. You impressed me from the beginning with your intellegence and your confidence. You made me feel attractive from the get go, but more importantly, you made me feel smart and funny and that was sexiest of all. 

To my bozo, who once said "every morning feels like dying," who can only open one eye for the first hour after waking. To my idiot who packed a gigantic shelf of books into approximately 37 small, wine/liquor sized boxes. That made moving from DC to New York super easy and wicked fun. To my boz* who derives a borderline-unhealthy, naive happiness from anyone speaking/singing/performing on the subway, most especially for SHOWTIME! You look like a kid in a candy store, it's amazing and scary all at the same time. To my guy who reminds me "Baby, this is a computer" each time I'm within 5 feet of your computer with a drink in hand. I know that's a computer...I'm aware it would be detrimental to spill said drink on/near/around that which you call computer. Thank you. That's pretty annoying, but I know you can get anxious and also, #patience. 

To my man, who read every single blog post I'd ever written before taking me on a date. You kept trying to feed me multiple meals because of this. To my man who edits everything I write, who's seen every performance, heard every cabaret, seen every show. You've been my biggest advocate. To my man who helped me move three out of five times this summer, that was a lot. You're not much of a driver, but who am I to talk? Thank you for driving me to middle of nowhere Pennsylvania and being so patient when everyone in the Applebee's stared at you for being the darkest man in the restaurant. To my man, who in this last difficult month has never once faltered in unwavering support when we needed it most.   

Listen. I don't have any money and not much of a career to speak of (read: yet). I don't own an apartment or a car. I think I have a 401K but I'm not sure, my dad takes care of that. I'm nobody's catch on paper. But I love you and I dig spending time with you. Thank you for digging me, for spending time with me.

xx 

*boz: slang for bozo, a term of endearment conceived on a Q train, inspired by a subway "artist" named Toni Macaroni.  

This will be our year, took a long time to come.

This will be our year, took a long time to come.

A Lady's Truth

Oh my but the fall weather makes me all kindsa feisty. I think it's the compounded affect of transitioning to warm, caffeinated drinks and my dislike of that "sweaty cold" sensation. You know, when it's windy and perhaps some might say "nippy" and yet, while hustling to your next destination you are somehow sweaty? I perpetually live in this state during the fall as I am naturally (and unfortunately) a sweaty lady. Sometimes I like to pretend I'm just sweatier than most other people because I'm living harder. There is no science to that. 

Catalyst of feistiness aside, I want to get back to the topic at hand which is this idea of what a lady should be. I am a sweaty lady, I am often a tardy lady, and the other day on the train a poor unassuming man got a justly deserved dose of feisty lady.

It was mid-afternoon on a weekday, on a fairly deserted Q train. I had been up since 7am, working the morning until 1pm and I was on my way to my second job, but not before a quick audition in midtown. I had calculated that to make my next job at 2:30pm I would need to leave ten minutes before 1pm from my first job, pray the trains were running smoothly, and do my makeup en route. Now, to clarify, this is not EVER my ideal situation. No lady yearns to be skilled in liquid eyeliner application on a bumpy subway car. That's like, not a goal, just so everyone's aware. But sometimes you have to factor in audition primping during travel time as a necessary evil of a busy day. But someone had feelings about this. As I sit, balancing two bags and a mascara wand a middle-aged man chimes in:

MAN: You look great, stop fiddling with your face.

ME:Oh. Um, thank you.

MAN: Yeah, you girls nowadays with the primping on the train. It's not ladylike ya know. And when I was young, a lady did this kinda stuff at home so us men didn't have to know all about your beauty tricks. 

...tricks? First of all, miserly-man-I-refuse-to-call-sir, mascara and eye-liner are not "tricks" they're sacred historical tradition (thanks Cleopatra). And second of all, REALLY? You think I'm sitting here uncomfortably getting ready for this audition out of some personal, social decorum revolution I'm staging? You think I like rushing from place to place, carrying my life on my back? Do you think I really like that I know which Starbucks bathrooms are clean enough to change shoes in? I'm proud of that, but I don't like it. But...oh...I see...you do think that somehow all this beauty trickery is for you. Well, I'll clarify then: 

ME: This is not all for you. This, all this "fiddling" is more than likely for two badass gay men and maybe a dainty brunette casting assistant. And ALSO, it's not really for them either. But how can you begin to understand when your "younger" days more than likely refer to a time 20 plus years ago when you had hair on your head.*

...now that last bit was rude and unnecessary. And I'm sorry, truly. I know how particular your sex can be about the hair issue. And wouldn't it be horrible if you lived in a world where society was hellbent on deeply ingraining ideology that one of your JOBS was to keep up some preconceived notion of how a gentlemen should look/behave/dress/speak? That there was some sort of judgment put upon you as an individual because of your subsequent lack of hair? Wouldn't that be difficult!

Men of the world, the truth is women are not dressing or primping to impress you. I PROMISE. If I wore what every man I've ever dated thought I looked sexy in I'd dress exclusively in large button down  shirts and hot yoga shorts with my hair half up, half down. What's so great about that, by the way? The half up half down. It makes me feel like it's 1995 and I'm struggling to figure out what hairstyle will go with my First Communion veil. But back to the point, it's important ya'll understand how MUCH we are not dressing for you. Some women do, to be sure. But the majority, I swear to you, could care less what you think about their outfit or their hair or their makeup. We want you only to articulate how beautiful we are. That's it. But when we dress up, it's for one of the following reasons:

1.) Women dress for other women.

-You guys. This is the truest thing. Want to know why? All women are trying to impress other women. Even when we're all "Oh my gosh stop I do NOT look angelic today in this messy top knot and perfectly matching Lululemon ensemble!" we love when we get compliments from other women. There is an underworld of female to female flirting that you will never understand. And if you're a lady incapable of admitting that you've been attracted to/flirted with another woman for a variety of reasons, then I just need you to go watch any Penelope Cruz movie. Any one of them and get back to me...

2.) Women dress to try a concept.

-In tandem with the aforementioned, women dress in what I refer to as "concepts" and then try them out around their girlfriends to get a good idea of its wearability. Everyone needs a friend like my girl Whitney who's going to tell you your "top looks like a quinceanera vomited all over it." THAT'S friendship. But sometimes you see something on Pinterest that you've just got to try! Some concepts end  up really taking off and changing your style for the better. There was a whole summer I spent in suspenders and bandanas like a 70's runaway living on a cult compound, farming the land. That summer was the shit. 

3.) Women dress to "feel skinny."

-I know, I know. This is a bad thing to say, Bligh! This is anti-feminist! And yes, it absolutely is. But it's also absolutely true. Why not try to stop blaming mainstream media, magazines, model culture and the American obsession with "beautiful is skinny" and admit that WE ALL ALREADY THINK THIS WAY. Even when it's not PC to admit, if you think it, say it. Maybe if we said it more instead of hiding behind faux female empowerment and shared Jezebel articles we could enact some change about female body dysmorphia. Maybe. Because the truth is, I dress to feel skinny when I walk out the door. I want to look like the best version of my damn self and that version is the American, svelte Natalie Dormer! I want to FEEL like  the healthiest version of myself, but sometimes, that's not an option when getting dressed in the morning. I can admit to dressing to get thru my day feeling good about myself by "looking skinny." And I'm ok with that. 

So you see, there are plenty of reasons why I, and many other women get dressed every morning. Our fiddling is for ourselves (as most good fiddling is) and for a plethora of other reasons besides the ones I've noted. But the main takeaway should perhaps be: who really cares? Let's redefine a "lady" as someone who makes it work with as much finesse and grace as she can muster in her given circumstance. And let's redefine a "gentlemen" as someone who gracefully declines comment during said redefining process? It's worth as much of a try as the safe execution of an even cat-eye on a moving Q train.

 

*I'd like to take this moment to be honest and say what actually came out of my mouth in retort the subway man was something like, "Leave me alone, you are bald." Which, again, is deserving of dozens of aplogies for its rudness and overall unimaginative delivery

 

 

 

 

 

 

My brother Liam and I being idiots, me in full concept outfit.    

My brother Liam and I being idiots, me in full concept outfit. 

 

Likes This Status

Hello, my name is Bligh and I am addicted to likes. It's been...36 seconds since I last liked something. I think about liking things all the time. Like, I* like everything mostly. There's just...so much to like. The things I want to like the most usually include, but are not limited to are the following: babies, anything related to Chipotle, anytime anyone mentions Beyonce, pictures of babies wearing sunglasses, love, witty comments, and any documentation of babies wearing sunglasses eating in a Chipotle while saying something witty and executing that lil handshake bit from Beyonce's "Single Ladies" video.

I'm trying to like less as I'm aware it's just a manifestation of the bigger addiction to social media. But the LIKES man! I need to click the like. It feels so good. It makes me feel like I've done something worthwhile with my day, regardless of the fact I'm still in pajamas youtubing "how to cornrow" ad nauseum. I've liked shit. I'm spreading love, one like at a time! And mayhaps, I'm like, the Buddha of Likes. I'm an Enlightened Liker! (This is now a thing. You should probably like it.)

And there's the word like. It's completely perfect. So many different, distinct meanings and phrases wrapped into such a wee, overused, generational trend of a word! Sometimes a like is all, "thank you." And then you see a friend's funny quip and you want them to know, "good one" so you LIKE all up on it! Another friend is with child? Fantastic! I LIKE that so much for you! Not for me. I'm good. But YOU. Namaste to you and your babe in the womb! Sometimes, a like simply means, "I saw that." I'm trying to avoid these likes...but...the temptation to make sure I catch every single thing every single person I've met once at a Wicked ECC says/documents/does is just...too much for this addict.

I know I like too much. In order to work on this little problem of mine, I've devised a plan of action. For each impetus I have to "like" something on social media a friend of mine has posted, I take a deep breath, and if applicable, I call their number. The first victim? My younger brother and Draco Malfoy impersonator, Eamon Wall Voth. Our interaction went something like this:

ME: HEY! Eamon! What's going on in your life today? How're things? How's that girl you met on OkCupid who manages that froyo store at home I like?

EAMON: ...that's over...

ME: But it just started?

EAMON: Yeah, she wasn't the one.

ME: ...Okay. And ALSO, I want you to know that I really like  your new profile picture.

EAMON: Thanks, it was taken on a rooftop.

ME: I LIKE THAT. I LOVE roofs! Awesome Eamon, really great.

EAMON: Are you doing alright? Go get a Dunkin, you'll feel better...

Based on the above interaction, I think it's time to find a different way to combat the addiction to like. I can't like it all. No one can. That's just silly. And there are things outside to do! And air to breathe! And books to read! And hair to cornrow! And human beans* to truly interact and connect with. I know this might not change overnight. Addiction is a strong and rude biddie that will vomit on your favorite pair of shoes and not even apologize. But we keep trying, every day, a little bit more. And the dream? The dream is we'll all "like" ourselves enough to not feel obligated to like or be liked by anyone else. That's the dream. I fuckin' love it.

*"human beans" is a reference from the awesome awesome book The Borrowers which I read at least three times while part of my Catholic school's elite (read: dorky) Battle of the Books Club right around the tender age of 11, and I think you should take a minute and read it, too, if you haven't already. Boom.

 

The Poor Girl's Guide to Luxurious Substitution

photo copy

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.

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.

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.

How to Deal With This Winter and Stop Binge Watching Netflix/Crying

I'm not one for profanity. That's a lie. Well, now I might as well tell you. I'm a liar with a penchant for profanity. And this weather....this winter...deserves a gigantic "fuck you." Some will read this and think, "Bligh! It's winter! It's a cold season! Don't be so overdramatic!" And to whoever is thinking like that, know that I would LOVE to give you a solid "fuck you" too, but I won't because I'm a lady. And because I might've gotten kicked out of cotillion but I remember that a lady doesn't swear at strangers. Yesterday whilst cleaning my closet I found a box of sun dresses and started crying. This is a true story. I wept tears for sun dresses yet to be worn and appreciated. I can't anymore. I can't bundle up like I've willingly chosen to move to the Ukraine. I can't continue to eat all the bread and excuse the behavior as my "building a protective layer against the wind." I want to wear my transitional coats*! I want to do that thing white people do where we wear shorts way before it's acceptable to do so! (#86 on Stuff White People Like) I want to live!

It might be getting warmer soon, who's to say really. I stopped checking the weather on my phone four weeks ago when I realized my morning lookup for the day's temperature coincided with time in line at my Dunkin and I was throwing unnecessary anger and sass at the people I love the most. Now I just dress exclusively in layers and large swatches of colorful fabric. I look like a retired high school theatre teacher in head to toe Chico's 2013 fall/winter line. And you know what? That's FINE! I've embraced it! And I've also developed some habits to fight this winter and think/live positively for the impending spring. Please, let me share with you:

HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS WINTER AND STOP BINGE WATCHING NETFLIX/CRYING

1) Secret It. -I've never read "The Secret" but I have heard it works. Or maybe it doesn't. Maybe it's just bullshit New Age spiritual philosophy that we all pretend to believe because Oprah says we should. I DON'T KNOW. Let's just try it? The process of "secreting" (to me) involves singing a simple jingle written by three luxury ladies and I five years ago in a dressing room. I wish you could hear it, but the video no longer exists. Just sing, "the secret works!" I suggest a vowel modulation for "works" so that it comes out more like, "weurks-uh!" I also suggest getting a few friends together and singing this jingle in a three part harmony. But, you do you.

2) Get an obnoxiously happy nail color. -See below. This is annoying mostly because no one feels like this is a color that exists anymore. But the sky used to be this color. Remember? It did. And every time you look at your nails, you'll smile. Promise.

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3)Drink like it's the summer. -This one is so easy! Eschew your dark liquors and Hot Toddys! Drink something that needs a wee umbrella to be considered properly garnished! And, although I call tequila "wanna know my secrets" I have warmed up to it again. Life is too short to not actively pretend you're on a tropical island, ten pounds lighter, drinking an unnaturally colored drink served in a fish bowl while making friends with a small monkey who you caught trifling through your beach bag. So order that Mai Tai and drink like it's the summer!

4) Lie to a stranger. -Okay. I do this a lot. But recently, I do it more because I've been walking less and taking more buses (read: cabs) and there seems to be more opportunity to socialize with humans you will NEVER meet again. People on the bus are chatty! They want to know about about ya life! They do not want you to be talking on your phone, but they would like you to engage them in conversation, especially the ones over the age of 95. I've been doing this for years: making up elaborate stories about myself and my background and what I do for a living. It used to be exclusively an airplane practice. Whomever was lucky enough to be my assigned seating partner on long plane rides would hear about how I graduated high school at sixteen and was taking a few years off to travel the country searching for a long lost aunt who had joined a cult in 1973. But now I do this ALL THE TIME. The other day a lady on my bus ride heard about how my lucrative hairdressing career was about to propel me to young entrepreneurial status as I was just about to open up a salon. My cab driver last Tuesday thought I was an opera singer. Just try it! You will never see that person again, and it'll keep you on your toes. You might colossally embarrass yourself and get caught in a fib, but then you'll probably blush and get heated and then it's kind of like summer, no?

5) Go on a very short, brisk walk. -The trick here is to walk far enough so that you might not feel your fingers, but your lungs don't hurt from the intake of frigid air. It's a fine line, but the exhilarating feeling that you are ALIVE is worth the gamble. It's also a nice moment to look around and acknowledge no one is smiling. SO smile at them! They might smile back, or they might tell you to "fuck off," I don't know I'm not in charge of that.

The end is near. It's got to be. I don't mean the end of the earth, although an old man did tell me it's all over for us in 45 years. But even if that is the case, that means we're looking at approximately 44 more winters like this until life as we know it ceases to exist. So, let's practice some positivity, let's drink something infused with an exotic fruit, and for all that is good and true in this world let's lie to a stranger.

*transitional coats: light jackets that you buy with the intention to wear for the three and half days every fall and spring where the weather is really lovely but there's a slight, chilly breeze.

I'm Not Your Friend, I'm Your Mother.

Today is "Homage Friday." I just made that up. Because I do what I want and because today is my Mom's birthday. At first I thought: will she like this? Will she like being called out publicly on her birthday? Of course she will. She's my mother. When entering my intensely precarious teenage years, my mother made it very clear we were not friends. She was my parent, I was not to be her best friend, confidant, or equal. It seemed extreme and unfair at the time. Why couldn't we be friends, Gilmore Girls style? She was from New England like Lauren Graham and I had porcelain (read: translucent) skin like Alexis Bledel! But now I'm glad we aren't friends because without our relationship rooted in brutal honesty, love, and a little bit of fear I don't think I would be the kind of woman I am and still strive to be.

Thanks, biddie. Thank you for always surrounding yourself with smart, funny, assertive women who taught me what to look for in friends of my own. Thank you for being part of a mom club who referred to themselves as "Moms on the Loose," or MOL's. It's kinda cool you're in an acronym group. It's like a gang. But with less violence. Thank you for teaching (through effortless example) how to throw a dinner party on a whim with whatever's in your pantry and a prayer. Thank you for instilling in me the healing powers of hot cheese and raw brownie batter after a hard day. Thanks for loving Mexico and going so often that I always have an emergency and questionable z-pak in times of need.

Thank you for being a hard ass. You're right, most allergies are fake. And sleep away camp is for rich kids. Now, I know you don't think asthma is real, but some people do suffer from this respiratory condition. But it's your birthday, let's not fight. Thank you for always telling me it didn't matter if I was pretty, it mattered if I was smart. Thank you for introducing me to the calming qualities of diagraming a sentence. It still remains the quickest way to soothe my soul.

Thank you for always having my back. When I wasn't allowed to enter that 8th Grade Inter parish dance for NO REASON, you told that vile woman who kicked me out to "fuck off." Thanks for that. In the moment, I was mortified. But looking back, it was really cool of you. Speaking of being mortified, the day you and Auntie Nina locked me in the car to impress upon me that " giving oral sex is FINE, just so long as you always date a man who gives it back" was revolutionary. I was twelve. So...that was a lot. But, um, thank you?

Most of all, thank you for having the invaluable tool of finding the humor in any situation life has ever presented you. The longer I write, the more I write, I think about how much my voice is a product of yours. Not your physical voice. Love you so hard, but you have a tendency to sit on your chords. But your humor. Your distinct view of the world and people and your ability to be uniquely yourself, even when it's not necessarily the main stream. You are not my friend, you're my Ma. It's your birthday and I love you.

So if Mama Voth had a Facebook or Twitter or an Instagram or some version of social media, I'd tell you, dear reader, to find her and wish her a happy birthday. But she doesn't. She sneaks on my brother Eamon's accounts. So, like, friend him. She'll see it. She'll deny she saw it, but that's just part of her charm. Wish I could be there with you today Ma, but I'll power-clean the apartment to Peter Allen's greatest hits. I'll stop for a quick cry during "I Honestly Love You," chug a TAB, and buy a large piece of art no one likes but me. All in homage.

xx Bligh Blue

PS: a GIGANTIC THANK YOU for never letting me go to a prom or a Homecoming dance dressed like a miniature hooker...and that's all I really have to say about that.

5 Amazing Awe Inspiring Ideas That Actually Aren't All That Revolutionary and Have Nothing to Do With Beyonce OR Cats Making Silly Faces

You see that title there? That's a title of an article I would probably click on. And it states, quite clearly, that it is:1.) not that great 2.) not about Beyonce 3.) there aren't any cute cat pictures

....but I would still click on it. Because I'm a procrastinator. And because I am product of a generation that's petrified of what they truly have to talk about if we haven't clicked on, "read", and shared the latest Buzzfeed article depicting all the Disney princesses with unibrows. Why do I know and/or CARE about the opera singer who can't stop farting and lost her job? And, most importantly, should I actually be living in Chicago? The internet says I should. But what does Jennifer Lawrence think and--- the fuck is wrong with me?

Do you remember when you were little and your mother would tell you to go out and play? I grew up in a city where the teenager at the end of the block had his nose cut off in a gang fight...we still went outside every day. My neighborhood friends and I would play wiffle ball between the hours of 3pm and 4pm, as that was when General Hospital aired and Mama Voth could not be bothered to parent while the saga of Luke and Laura played out. Who was Lucky's real father?! And would the evil Cassadine family be returning from their private Greek island to Port Charles this season? These questions deserved answers and therefore, took precedence. So I got real good at wiffle ball. Not that cheater's red bat wiffle ball either. Old school, yellow bat, big white plastic wiffle ball, wiffle ball. First base was a fire hydrant. Second base was oncoming traffic. Third was the old Toyota Corolla that our hoarder next door neighbor had NEVER driven in, as far as I was aware. And home was right back where you started. Your best shot at a home run was to aim for the second story window of any row house to the left or right because then the defense would have to hop a wrought iron fence and dig around in a bush or a flower bed to retrieve it. If you were really lucky, the house had a planter out the window and you could aim to lob the ball into that. Remember how you smelled after playing all day? Like a cross between sweat and an open scrape on your knee, mixed with dirt and triumphant exhaustion? Maybe you even smelled like a wet dog, or old towels that didn't quite try dry correctly? No? You didn't? Yeah, me neither.

Buzzfeed thinks I should know about "35 Strange Doritos Flavors From Around the World (But Mostly Asia)", Upworthy wants me to know that 300,000 people die each year eating ONE of those flavors, and gosh darn it's time we ban together for the sake of mankind and address that problem, and Huffington Post just wants us to take them seriously (insert picture of HuffPost sad-eating a large bag of Cool Ranch Doritos because they're depressed we know they're fake.) I can laugh and judge this type of journalism all I want, but the truth is, it's successfully sucking me in and keeping me invested. I rarely read anything not entitled with the following equation:

"(Ambiguous Number) Types of (Over the Top Adjectives) (Noun) That Leave You saying '(INTERJECTION)!'"

WHAT HAPPENED TO OLD BLIGH? Old Bligh used to be brazen. Old Bligh used to walk into bars with her expensive fake ID and proclaim, "Who's going to buy me a drink?" That girl was fun! She wasn't binge-clicking through pictures of a slow loris eating a rice ball! She was LIVING.

I'm nervous times. I'm nervous that we are becoming accustomed to bits of news and information, and we are losing the capacity to retain information in any other form besides captions and laundry lists. I'm nervous because "apparently" I've spent 32 DAYS on Facebook since 2006?!? And I'm incredibly nervous at how long it takes me to finish my guilty pleasure teen literature lately. I spend so much unnecessary time taking quizzes, watching videos, and reading lists that I've forgotten how much I used to enjoy living my goddamn life, making a bit of mischief now and again.

Do me a favor? Tomorrow morning, wake up whenever you damn well feel like it and try not to reach for the phone, or computer, or Ipad to scroll a newsfeed or read an email or check your favorite "news" sites. Maybe, instead you wake up and chug a cup of coffee and poop and then go outside? Go try a new breakfast place? Read a real book? Go converse with friends? The Halal Guys on the corner of 14th and 3rd are some of the kindest new friends I've made this week. Go out, let a stranger buy you a drink with your real (or fake) ID? And, PLEASE do not hesitate to call if you're in the New York area and you'd like to do me a solid and play a pick up game of wiffle ball.

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.

How I Got a Faux Boyfriend at Trader Joe's

I don't know if anyone has told you, but this week in the New York of Cities was a cold one. No one's been talking about it, so, in case you were wondering. It was cold here. But that's alright because Downton Abbey is back on, I'm a wanted woman in the state of North Carolina due to a reckless driving ticket and failure to appear in court (exciting!), and my mother gave me a Trader Joe's gift card. That's right. I'm 25 and I got a gift card. Gift cards are the nucleus to living the most bougie life possible in NYC. I know this in my heart to be true. I'd like to preface by saying that while I wanted to spend the entire card at the Trader Joe's Wine Shop, I refrained from doing so. A lady has to eat once in a while, and how does one even BEGIN to entertain without a fridge stocked with a variety of cheeses and cornichon? I fucking love those little pickles. So to Trader Joe's you go. With your gift card. At 5:30pm on a Monday. In 5-degrees. Fahrenheit...that's the measurement scale that's supposed to be a big number.

Now the thing about the Union Square Trader Joe's is that, once in a while, you have to wait to get inside. Like it's some hip speakeasy that you shouldn't "know" about but was written up in TimeOut, so everyone does. And the thing about waiting outside on a Monday at 5:30pm when the temperature is in the single digits is that you start to lose your mind. Or any semblance of sanity you had possessed earlier in the day. And it was at this precise moment when I proclaimed to the entire line, "This is Russia. We are in Soviet Russia I think." "Yes," says an elderly woman in front of me. She knows because she was probably there. The NYU student behind me just giggles, but I know she agrees. She's probably hiding her copy of Animal Farm in her backpack and trying not to create waves, I get it.

We wait. And we wait some more. Four come out, and two are let in. What is this fuzzy fucking math going on here?!? It's FREEZING. I hallucinate how I need to rush home to care for my ailing grandmother. She needs new shoes, she needs a new coat. I must provide. In my mind, my grandmother sounds like Angela Lansbury and we are playing with this little music box. She tried to catch my hand and hoist me onto the train, but I hit my head and OKAY I know this is now embarrassingly historically inaccurate. But again, it was so cold.

Finally, I get allowed in. It is warm! I can start to feel my toes again! Life is so good. But then, I see the line. It's easily distinguishable because it starts forming the minute you enter. And then it wraps around the circumference of the entire store. Men and women carrying large flags that read, "LINE STARTS HERE" in obnoxiously bubbly font want you to join the line. I don't want to join this line! Where is my choice? I want to wander around the aisles searching for those dark chocolate covered marshmallows! I want to grab four packages of Inner Peas, not because I NEED THEM but because everyone else is grabbing them and they might be gone and then when I do WANT them the moment will have passed me BY. I think about revolting and joining the damn line when I'm good and ready...but I'm not trying to be in this Trader Joe's for the next four hours of my life. So I join. Reluctantly.

As we wind at a turtle's pace in and out and around each aisle I start to notice a common trend. Couples. Couples in Trader Joe's are killing the game! They start together, as a family, by joining the line at the beginning of the store. Then, one stays with the cart while the OTHER ONE GETS TO WANDER. The cart person collects the groceries easily accessible from the line and gets to check their Facebook and send emails and read Buzzfeed articles. This is some brilliant new-age hunter/gatherer shit and I want in. I noticed a single man behind me. Would me maybe wanna...I don't know...couple up with me in this Trader Joe's? A biddie doesn't know until she tries. "Heyyyy," I say while smiling and displaying my good dimple, "I don't know what your plan is in here today, but what say you to sharing a cart with me and you tell me what you want from those middle aisles and I'll go run get it for you? Before we make this commitment to one another I think it's fair I warn you: sometimes I run, sometimes I hide, sometimes I'm scared of yo---" "Omg!" handsome man shrieks, "I'm so gay stop quoting Britney lyrics to me! Let's do this!"

Something magical happened to me during this Trader Joe's excursion. What originally appeared be an inescapably long night, alone, fighting for the last Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip turned into a beautiful partnership. Shawn has long-term boyfriend and a fancy-town apartment on Irving but that didn't stop me from dreaming about our adopted Asian daughter who we would name Perestroika, but call "Roika" for short. She would take tap on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but if it got in the way of her Suzuki violin training, we would pull her out. Every Monday night we would go to the Trader Joe's in Union Square, all three of us, shopping together in perfect harmony. Taking only what we need, leaving what we don't. The reality? I may never see Shawn again. But what we shared, the camaraderie we felt will never fade. We'll always have Roasted Garlic Hummus. Do svidaniya, my love, until we are back in the U-S. Back in the U-S. Back in the U-S-S-R.

The Love of My Life Does Dirty Things for $9

There were two self-imposed rules for this blog when it began: 1.) only write what makes you laugh and 2.) never write about people you're in a relationship with. And so far I've been able to keep both. But with my move back to New York so close I can taste it, I'm getting antsy. Why is time apart and distance so telling? Every day for the last two months I wake up, look at my hands, and need you to hold them. I want you to smile at me and giggle when I speak too quickly and you don't understand. I want you to squeeze me into your busy schedule, simply because you know I can't have anyone else. I will not be silent any longer. Betty at Top-A-Nail on 14th and 1st, I am in love with you. I left you, and that was a mistake because no one has ever taken care of me the way you do. I knew I loved you from the moment I walked in the door. It was a busy weekday. I was new to New York, and you could smell my trepidation from a mile away. Do girls in NYC wear feminine pastels or bold primaries? Do I get a shellac manicure AND pedicure? Do I need to get my brows waxed too? "No," you say to me in calming hushed tones, "You have good, full brow. Don't touch it."

Why did I doubt these feelings? Even after that first encounter, sometimes, I would go to Nina instead of you. BUT TO BE FAIR, often you were...busy. I didn't know what kind of gal you were. My emotions are fragile. Was I really as special as I felt? Did I dream our entire connection? But then, one busy Saturday morning, you fit me in. Didn't think I caught it? Yeah, I saw. I saw you move some scheduled appointments around to accommodate my hasty polish change. And then I had the audacity to pay you in Sacagawea golden dollar coins, like an asshole, and you didn't even bat an eye.

Betty, I'm scared. I'm scared that you might be mad at me. I left abruptly, I know. And I've seen some...other people here in DC. But I didn't even learn that girl's NAME at Golden Nails. She meant nothing to me. I just couldn't hold out any longer, I needed that muted champagne mani for a social engagement. Do you understand? I didn't even enjoy it and I haven't seen her since. I swear. Check my phone. Read my disappointed Yelp review.

It's been 2 1/2 years and you are the most consistent relationship I've ever had. You like me for me. You know I'm not going to return those flip flops after my pedicures, and yet, you let me take them home as false promise after false promise pour from my lying mouth. Often times you let me have that quick-dry top coat for free. And, sometimes, when you cradle my palm as you file each nail into a perfect square cut shape, I know we are actually holding hands.

Take me back. You can do no wrong. I will write you 365 letters. I will write you every day for a year, and read each letter to you, while my boom box blasts whatever shit Peter Gabriel song you need to hear! I will make space for you on my raft! You had me at "complimentary paraffin wax." For, till that moment, I never knew myself.

I Spent Two Hours In a Hot Tub, And Now Everything Makes Sense

In 2008, I did a show that changed my life. I got to tap dance whilst singing about lesbians, dressed as Jerry Springer. But more importantly, that show became my impetus to stop people pleasing to the extreme. I decided to be honest. Or, at least try. That summer, with the help of some of the most brilliant friends, Honesty'08 was born. And so was a summer where I was fucking infallible. No, really. Without going into humble brag detail, I did mostly everything and anything I wanted. Like, I had a day job where I watched True Blood from my desk....AND GOT PAID FOR IT. I did a show that I was/still am proud of. I produced and directed a cabaret that I cast all my friends in. I had ridiculous calf definition (thanks bougie desk job gym membership!) Life was good. And it was incredibly honest. I love my ridiculous yearly mantras. I love how people have been contacting me about what 2014's will be, and therefore I've decided to do a lil recap of each mantra since then.

2009: GO GREEN '09 ....This one. This one was riding the coattails of Honesty'08 like a lil biddie. It was not thought through. But I was unsettled by the state of recycling in this country. I think I had read an article while heavily medicated...To this day my three most irrational fears are 1.) I'll die without being remembered 2.) I have a mustache that no one's telling me about and 3.) The earth is destroyed beyond repair. So...I still believe in a more "green" form of existence, but perhaps not as a full year's mantra.

2010: ORIGINAL PROJECTED COLLEGE GRADUATION YEAR '10 Well, when you do two freshman years, you can get prickly about when you "were" supposed to graduate and when you "did." This year had a lot of mantras actually, but this is the one that has stuck with me. Honesty '08, this is the year I started to get a bit lost.

2011:..... Did 2011 even happen?!? I can't remember! There seems to be some thought that, perhaps, the mantra had something to do with love. "Lovin' in 'leven?" Who's to say, really. This was the year I got fired from like, four jobs. Let's just forget it, as a family.

2012: TICK TOCK '12 The Mayans ya'll! Remember that? The world was supposed to END in 2012 and, like sand through the hourglass, so were the days of our lives! 2012! I loved 2012. Even though it was the end of the world, I did a lot of excessive, passionate living. Thanks, bullshit Mayan doomsday for helping me up the stakes.

2013: RISKY '13 This last year has certainly been a risky thing. My favorite blonde-secret-time friend Mike and I were the only two who actively referred to Risky'13, so perhaps it didn't quite catch on as we had hoped. But it did live up to its name. I took a LOT of risks. Not like, scary times active things (although I did watch my brothers jump out of a plane and by sibling default I feel like I did it too) but risky things nonetheless. The riskiest thing I did? I fell in love with my goddamn self.

Last night in a hot tub at 4am, a few dear friends and I figured out all the things over ONE Mike's Hard Lemonade and questionable eggnog. We discussed our plans and hopes for the next year and expressed how much we mean to one another. There was no talk of grandiose New Year's resolutions that will go unfulfilled. There was no guilt or remorse for the past year. Just fantastic conversation. Today, I can't stop thinking about what made last night with them so lovely. And what made this last year so beautifully brilliant? I think, all of a sudden, I have an undying sense of self-belief. I think I have found people who also have undying self-belief. And it's pretty fucking wonderful. So, my biddie readers, whether you care or not, I urge you to take what you loved from last year into the next, leave what you don't. Let it go, do the next thing. Work towards and keep that undying self-belief. And then, in 2014, lock it up.