Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Shower, Spies and Sweat

This weekend was a live one!  I can't remember the last time I had each day was fully packed like this was, boom boom boom.  So packed I didn't even have the energy to write about it while it was still going on!  Let's go back in time, shall we?

Sunday was the bridal party for Rosie, one of my oldest friends, and it was held at what turned out to be a pretty classy and beautiful place, so I'm glad I didn't wear my overalls and dirty Nikes or something (I own neither of those.)  It was so nice!  Rosie was genuinely surprised and it was so nice to see.  She got a lot of great loot, too!  I was the wrapping paper throw-er away-er in the line of bridesmaids chipping in so I had a front row seat, and I'm stoked for her to have all the condo fixin's she could ever want.  Rosie loves fish so there was a fish/sea theme, including live fish centerpieces...

So pretty, right?  They were given away as prizes for the shower games, which was pretty cool.  All in all it was a nice brunch and I was so happy to see my friend happy.

Later in the day I headed over to Ryan's house for a barbecue and helped prepare some of the food, and by "helped" I mean turned over the ears of corn or chicken on the grill whenever he had to go to the bathroom.  It was fun to hang out with his roommates and a bunch of my friends came too, the only bummer is that I felt like we were kind of in different camps for no other reason than geography because they were playing beer pong on the driveway and we were mainly in the backyard.  

Worlds colliding stresses me out sometimes but our peoples blend really well so it's usually a good time.  Whatever, I'm lucky enough to know people who even live in a place with a driveway and a backyard rather than a parking lot so I shouldn't complain!  I hope the next hangout has more overlap though.

The next morning Ryan and I got up and headed right to DC for a quick trip!  As I think I mentioned in the "About" section of the blog, Ryan is a chef with a rotating schedule so we don't always have days off at the same time and when we do, especially a few in a row like this week, we like to do it up sometimes.  Washington DC is only about 3 1/2 hours from where we live so it seemed like a good destination for a quick overnight trip that we could get a lot out of.  And get stuff out of it we did!  After we checked into our hotel we walked around and explored a bit, stopped to grab a snack and while we were eating I did a little internet wheeling-and-dealing to get us super discounted tickets to the International Spy Museum.  Score!  Photography wasn't allowed but I absolutely loved it.  Did you know that the gown Queen Elizabeth Tudor wore in her favorite royal portrait was embroidered with eyes and ears to imply that she saw and heard all?  I know that, now, because I went to the museum.

After the museum Ryan and I went back to our room to snazz up (which on my end was thwarted a little by a toothpaste explosion on my dress, very cool) before heading out to dinner at a tapas place Ryan had made a reservation at called Jaleo.  It was good!  Tiny, tasty food, you know the drill.  The decor was pretty weird for a high end place but I was into it.  Take, for example, this table:

Pretty sweet, right?  Fancy places incorporating not-so-fancy stuff can either sort of annoy me or I can get into it, and I was into this.  Afterward we went to a speakeasy-style bar called The Gibson, which had really delicious cocktails.  Ryan and I had googled speakeasies in the area because we really liked a couple we had gone to earlier this summer in Chicago, and from the outside this one was so nondescript that for a second we thought it was the door to an apartment and we'd messed up.  But nope!  It was a small, super dark bar with a blacked out front window that served 'em up tasty, just the way we like them.  On our way back to the hotel to call it a night with some Chinese takeout (tiny food was too tiny) we stopped for a last beer at a bar with shuffleboard tables and skeeball machines, both at which I showed my ineptitude.  Who am I over here, Wayne Gretsky? (That's like, the only sports guy I know.  Daryl Strawberry?)

The next morning we woke up early with plans to hit the typical tourist-y monuments, food trucks for lunch, and the Smithsonian and the Crime and Punishment museum...and got our asses handed to us by the sweaty hot weather.  We had to sacrifice checking out all the monuments because we were doing some serious walking just to the museums, and you could practically see those wavy bacon-looking heat lines coming from the pavement.  Oh well, it's an excuse to go back another time!  The museums were awesome, I was a little disappointed that The Puffy Shirt from Seinfeld was no longer at the Smithsonian, but totally geeked out over some original Muppets being there! 

The Crime and Punishment Museum had slightly fewer Muppets and slightly more John Walsh, but it was still awesome.  I very unexpectedly felt slightly weird at the museum- admittedly, probably the majority of the media I consume has to do with true crime (the entire broadcasting lineup of the Investigation Discovery channel, books), and maybe it had to do with the contrast of just having seen Dorothy's ruby slippers behind similar glass an hour before, but it felt a little icky to gawk at John Wayne Gacy's oil painting set alongside a family from New Hampshire.  I really did enjoy it but it was unsettling in a way I didn't expect.  I did get to see and say "no thanks" to a confiscated prison tattoo machine though!

Oof, looks pokey.  All in all it was a great trip, and if you're curious to see even more pictures you can check out my TripColor page!  Do you guys know about this?  It's an app you can use to upload pictures and tag your locations so they show up on a little map.  I like it because there are plenty of you-had-to-be-there things on trips that I want to document, but I don't want to necessarily clog up everyone's Facebook and Instagram feeds with.  It's free and I've used it twice now, I highly recommend!  Here's mine, where you can also see my Chicago trip if you're curious: 

Thanks for reading down this far, what an endurance test of a post!  So have you guys shoehorned in any last minute summer trips?  Were you also caught on camera by America's Most Wanted (not pictured)?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Why I Think "TMI" is Total Bullshit

We're all cool, dude.

I try (and fail) not to think too much about what other people must think of me, but I would imagine that one of the things that might come to mind is that I'm an oversharer (or, if the person is more generous with their adjectives/likes me more, I'm "honest.") Sometimes it's an inadvertent, diarrhea-of-the-mouth sort of situation, but more often I've given it the 2 seconds of thought required to decide that I'm cool with whatever gross/uncomfortable thing it is that I'm about to say. I think the more honest that we all are about our idiosyncrasies or perceived shortcomings, the less we'll come to think of them as flaws and think of them more as just another one of the things that human beings do.

 Have you ever been talking to someone about something that's supposed to be fun but you're stressed about, and they make a remark about being stressed, and you breathe this sigh of relief and go "Oh, thank GOD" because you feel the same way? I kind of work on being the kind of person who provokes that sigh, even if there's a risk that it might make me seem dumb/bitchy/disgusting. I try not to be overly precious about my "stuff" to maybe encourage people not to be so precious about theirs. I joke and talk about how I hate myself the morning after I find myself binge eating vanilla ice cream with crushed up potato chips poured on top at 11:30 at night when I wasn't even hungry because I'm starting my REAL diet tomorrow and Oh What The Hell. When people compliment my eyeliner I might say "Oh thanks! It's so weird, I fell asleep in front of Forensic Files last night and just touched up yesterday's makeup this morning." I sometimes rush out of the salon apologizing for not being able to stay while we close up and walk out with everyone but I've had to poop for the last 5 hours so Sayonara.  I half-hate any large social gathering where there's not at least an 70/30 split of my immediate friends to strangers, so I might talk about how I drank too fast because I felt anxious when asked how a party was.

 I do wonder sometimes if it's a problem that there's not a whole lot that I take seriously, and this goes beyond the jokier examples above.  But I also think the less weight we give our issues, big or small, the less they might weigh on us (you can find that embroidered on my Feelings Pillow.)  I also sometimes wonder if people think that I'm walking TMI and that I don't realize what I'm doing, but I do.  For sure there are times that I've cringed because it was too much or I've been blunt past the point of heroic, shiny honesty. But I talk about stuff like this because...well, primarily because I usually think it's funny, but secondarily because I know that when other people are open about things that I feel some shame or embarrassment about, it kind of wipes it away a little bit and makes me feel like maybe I'm not the worst. We're all weird fuckups and we're all amazing, and I think we should cop to both. Unless you guys are perfect in which case yeah, me too, totally.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Free Drinks from Temporary Friends, Tacos and a Doggie

On Sunday Sarah, Katie and I headed to the Asbury Park beach nice and early...we left around 9, which for me as a very passionate sleeper is a near miracle, but if the motivation is there I can pull it off.  The motivation was that peaceful scene up there and it totally delivered.  Not for too long though!  The beach got steadily more and more crowded, and fate brought us some new friends- at least for the day.  A group of guys parked it in front of us and we basically laughed at things that we couldn't help overhear from each other until we were talking and introducing ourselves and they were giving us the recipe for the margaritas that they had brought in their cooler.  They were so fun and nice that by the time one of our new friends turned around in his beach chair and said "When are we going to go get mojitos?" we were totally ready to say "NOW" and head to the Beach Bar just a staircase away from our towels. I feel like it's worth mentioning that these were gay gentlemen so the creepy vibe you might get from a bunch of dudes offering you drinks was null and void.

Danny, he of the pink shorts on the right, bought us margaritas because they were out of limes for the mojitos and we talked about all kinds of things- our pets, random Grindr hookups, gay that I think about it I think Katie, Sarah and I did most of the listening, but it was fine!  We also did a lot of the laughing and however that comes is a-okay with me.  Danny bought us a second round of drinks and we just kept talking to him and Will on the left there while their friend Vincent would come up from the beach occasionally with handfuls of the pretzels or Goldfish we had by our blankets asking if it was okay that he was eating them, while he was eating them.  It was hilarious and very okay.  Eventually it was getting late and we had to go so we hugged and said goodbyes, and not to sound cold but I thought it was kind of awesome that we didn't fake that we were all going to do this again sometime.  We had a really fun day together and we left it at that, and I thought it was pretty perfect.


The next day Ryan was off so we slept in for a while and made up for the time I had lost getting up early the day before.  Actually, I just slept in...Ryan woke up earlier than I did and tried to see if I wanted to wake up with him but it wasn't happening, so he sat in bed and read next to me for an hour or so until I roused myself.  Look, that's what he gets for having a down comforter.  We bopped around for most of the day doing whatever and then went to Costa Chica for an early dinner, which is a pretty legit Mexican spot in the town next to us.  When I saw legit, I mean both in the sense that it's awesome and that the menu is entirely in Spanish.  It's crazy good and very simple, I usually get chicken tacos which are just soft corn tortillas with chicken, raw onion and cilantro, and then I put some of the fresh salsa they put out with the chips when you sit down.  Aye caramba.

After that we went to my parents house for another round of the Lethal Weapon Die Hard Face Off.  This time Die Hard 3: Die Hard with a Vengeance was up, and it was totally sweet.  Did you know that Samuel L. Jackson was hot?  I didn't.  My brain has totally replaced any Samuel L. Jackson it used to know with the one wearing a fuzzy backwards Kangol hat and yelling about motherfuckin' snakes, which okay, is awesome.  We decided the next movie series we're going to do is alternating between Mel Brooks movies and Woody Allen movies and I'm way into it.  Mel Brooks is practically a member of my family as far as I'm concerned.  Woody Allen's got enough family stuff going on to need anything from me, I think he's good.

Today I got a lot of things listed for the Etsy store and it felt really, is it a lot of work!  I love doing it but it's definitely time intensive.  I'm really glad that I decided to bring everything over to my parents house and work on it there, my brother Will was also over helping our dad with some stuff and our mom was fooling around with her new sewing machine so it felt nice to be all sitting around the dining room table, doing our own things but doing them together.  Of course when I took this the "own things" we were working on were ice cream sandwiches, but don't worry about it.

Also this happened: 

Happy Midweek, y'all!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ruined Sheets and a New Tattoo

Yesterday I got a new tattoo and mama likey.  I decided to get a beehive- I'd been rolling it around in my mind for close to a year, getting a couple other things in between, but I decided I really wanted it and scheduled my appointment a few weeks ago.  I'm very lucky because one of my closest friends is a tattoo artist so it makes the whole thing as close to enjoyable as getting tons of tiny needles poked into you gets!  Here's what went down yesterday.

This is what Evan had drawn up before I got there.  I loved the general shape of it and especially the bees with the trails, but I wasn't super into the eye- which I told Evan and he said he wasn't sure I'd feel it anyway.  Eyeballs pop up all over traditional style tattoos and I actually do like them and might have one incorporated into something someday, but it wasn't this day and it wasn't this beehive!  I wish I had pictures of the different iterations the tattoo ended up going through, but since he was sketching on the light box the pictures didn't come out right and then frankly I forgot to take some when it was off.  Some of the things we (yeah, like I did anything) tried out were having a bigger bee in the middle of the beehive or a bigger flower in the middle of the beehive.  It just didn't look right without something breaking up the lines so we tried a bunch of different things.  Finally Evan played around with the placement of the flowers and struck gold!

Here's the stencil on.  A foot or so above it, out of frame, just imagine my face being like "Ugh shit this is gonna hurt why do I think the ouchiest spots look so good ugh ugh ugh."

Here it is almost done- we had to take a break before doing the blue flowers, because the yellow ink was so fresh and light in color that it could have gotten stained by the blue.  The more you know!  The little beehive door was only red because of blood, which is disgusting. Raise your hand if you've shown pictures of your blood on the internet!  I wanna give you a gross high five.  During the break we watched a clip of Honey Boo Boo from Toddlers and Tiaras because I couldn't believe he hadn't seen her in action, even though she and her mama June are the screensaver on the shop's computer!  Have you seen their new show?  No joke, I love it.  I think they seem like a nice, loving family and I'm not being sarcastic.  Open your minds!!!

Here's the finished product!  Ryan took it for me at home after I took off that gross thing that comes in the bottom of packages of meat that they wrap your arm in.  I'm really happy with it!  Less happy that this happened to my sheets last night:

What a dumdum!  I definitely knew better, Ryan's sheets have a perfect imprint of my butterfly tattoos on them, which is both gross and awesome.  No matter!  I'm the proud owner of bitchin' ink (I don't really talk like this) and if a couple of sheets get hurt in the process, well, so be it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What the Hell is 2 Inches? Real Talk Tips on Salon Trips from a Hairdresser

nightmare material

As many of you no doubt know, working in an industry where there's a lot of interaction with an assortment of people on a day-to-day basis can be...interesting.  Totally awesome, but interesting.  Oh, the stories I could tell about near-tears at half inches, highlight-related trauma and sudden belly button ring exposures.  But I won't.  I can't betray my hippocratic oath as a hair doctor, at least until you get a couple drinks in me.  However, I can share some things that I think can benefit you as a client and make the entire salon experience as successful as possible so you come out bouncing around like a babe.  For a little context, I work in a fairly high-end salon so these may or may not apply where you go.  In fact as a disclaimer, they may not apply to anyone, though I suspect they will.

Be On Time- This may seem like no-brainer life advice, but I think it applies double in the salon.  Stylists schedules tend to work in blocks of 15 minutes, and many of us customize the time we schedule in our book for different services based on the length we know it takes us.  Haircuts are often 45 minutes or an hour, so let's say you have your haircut booked and you come in 15 minutes you 15 minutes might not sound like much, but to us a third of your appointment time has passed.  Because it's a domino effect, depending on the stylist they may still take you and be late for their clients for the rest of the day, or they may ask you to reschedule in fairness to the day's clients.  Neither situation is ideal, so please be mindful!  It's always advisable to come a little early but especially if it's your first visit, as any hairdresser worth their salt will have a good consultation with you.  It's courteous, yes, but mutually beneficial.

Another quick note on time- if you know that your hair tends to take extra time because of thickness or you're curly and you know you'd like to get blown out super straight that day, let the receptionist know so that they can book accordingly.  On the flipside, if you're unsure of how long your total appointment is going to take because you're concerned about your own schedule that day, ask when you book it- not much is worse than when someone sits down in my chair for color and says "So I'll be able to meet my husband for dinner in 25 minutes, right?" Gulp.

Bring a Picture- I think people sometimes worry that this is dorky, but honestly it's a huge help.  Some people don't have the words to get across what they're looking for easily, plus there tends to be so much magazine talk that confuses people- "Ask your stylist for side swept, inverted feather-touch bangs", etc.- that pictures really help us get on the same page.  Don't worry if it's a celebrity that you don't like, I'm barely looking at their face anyway!  Also if there's even just as aspect of a certain cut or color that you like, that's okay too- every little bit helps. 

Don't Get Too Hung Up On Specifics- When I say this I don't mean that you shouldn't have a good idea of what you want- although if you don't that's okay too, we'll hash it out in the consultation!  I only mean that sometimes people will get something in their head that's subjective and really want to stick to it, which isn't always productive.  For example, your idea of 2 inches could be very different from my idea of 2 inches, so I always ask people to show me on themselves where they would like to see their length to be rather than asking how much they'd like off.  That might end up being more or less than 2 inches, and that's ok!  No one ever compliments anyone on their hair being 2 inches shorter, they just compliment them on their haircut. Similarly, sometimes someone will be married to the idea of say, "chestnut" colored hair...but what does that mean?  Be open to talking about ideas and figuring out what will look best on you and what you'll love, even if it turns out to be, I don't know, "walnut"!

Don't Feel Pressured To Talk- I'm lucky in that while I enjoy being a Chatty Cathy and learning about my client, I'm also totally cool with silences and making them comfortable, not awkward.  Clients who prefer their Me Time on the quiet side have intimated to me that they're grateful when I don't press conversation and just let them chill, which makes me think this might be a common problem. It's totally understandable- a lot of people feel silence weighing on them as awkwardness and try to be polite by filling the gap.  Some cues that cause me to play it cool and just get Zen in the act of putting in foils are when clients grab a few magazines on the way to my station and start reading, have a book with them, or just don't really go into lengthy answers when I dip my toe into small talk.  It's truly, truly fine- don't worry about it being rude.  Your time at the salon is your time and if you don't feel like talking, you don't have to!  On the flipside, of course if you do want to talk, let's do this thing, I wanna hear about the weird documentary you just watched on Netflix.

Another little cue that we pick up on is at the shampoo bowl- at least in my salon, a nice scalp massage is the default because the majority of people seem to enjoy them.  But if you're the type who just wants to get on with it, keep your eyes open or start chatting a little bit- I'll assume you're just not into it and git r dun.  Again, conversely, if you do want your mind melted, close your eyes and try to keep the talking to a minimum so I can tell what mode you're in.

Know What You Don't Want- I think this is the single most important thing I learn in any consultation.  If someone comes in and I ask them what they're looking for and they say they don't know, asking this next is an automatic for me.  You know how Michelangelo said that David was already in that block of marble, he just chipped away to reveal him?  Doing hair is like that, chipping away at little facts until I get to the core of what's going to make you look great.  I am EXACTLY like Michelangelo.

Trust Us- Sometimes you may head into the salon with a clear idea of what you want, which is fantastic, but your stylist may want to steer you in another direction.  From time to time I feel the things people want might not suit them for whatever reason, but I always explain it.  For example, a client might want to go very light with her haircolor but I don't recommend it not because it wouldn't look good, but because I know that she can't commit to coming in every 4 weeks to get her regrowth touched up and she'll spend the majority of her time with major regrowth and looking less than great.  In a situation like that I'll always explain my reasoning, and if it really comes down to it and the client is super insistent, I will do it.  But she would probably be better off taking my suggestion and making a compromise, such as just brightening up with some lighter pieces around the face or going just a couple shades lighter as opposed to dramatically lighter, rather than having a dramatic change that only looks good for a few weeks every 6 months.  So be open minded!  A good stylist will be taking into consideration not only what will be aesthetically hot but what works with your lifestyle (how much time you'll realistically spend on it daily), budget and time (how often you'll be coming in for touchups.)  I promise, sometimes I may tell clients things they're not dying to hear, but it's never because I'm getting a kick out of it.  My life would be a lot easier if I just "yes"d everyone to death, but everyone would look a lot crappier.

Is there anything else you're curious about, from over on that side of the chair?  I thought it might be interesting to put some things out there than the usual magazine wisdom of "bring a childhood picture to get your best blonde," which okay, isn't half bad.  Let me know!  Having your hair done should be fun!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Corporate America Takes Facebook (and I Love It!)

Lately have you seen sly advertisements on Facebook in the form of "Your friend Joe Blablabla commented on a picture"?  Like me, have you ignored them?  You might wanna snap to because there is a whole lot of awesome going on right under our noses, if the Campbells Kitchen Facebook account is any indication.

I saw that my friend had commented on a picture of dip and clicked to find it.  I never did find his comment...maybe he got shy at the last minute and deleted it?  Maybe the attention heaped on him by Campbells Kitchen put him off?  These guys do play it personal.  Whatever the case, I'm grateful because it caused me to plunge into the depths of the comments (and the dip.)

My contribution is pictured above.  And look, yes I am hilarious and YES it's a big deal, but let's move on.  Above my comment, Campbell's refers to someone as being "chip-deep" in their dip.  Eyebrow raise.

I've noticed that depending on your perspective, Campbell's Kitchen could kind of be coming off flirty- "extra delicious with your special touch"? Come on- or like a desperate, clingy friend- "Of course, Julie! :)"

Things turned a little dark on the comment thread when friend of Campbell's Janice Hebert got excited about the dip, but moments later realized she would never be able to enjoy it herself...

Until the the clouds parted for Ms. Hebert and Campbell's Kitchen offered some alternative scrumptious dips!  A little more customer interaction and what looks like a King Charles Spaniel at the bottom there round us out.  I wonder if they ever did find out whether Tfaith will be testing the dip soon.

I'm so curious as to who's manning this account...maybe it's an intern writing goofy responses while a bunch of other interns look over her shoulder egging her on and laughing, or maybe it's a guy in a cubicle just trying to do a good job.  Maybe it's Campbell himself!  All I know is I'm hooked and I want more.  Do you know of any other corporate Facebook accounts really going the extra mile to stay connected?  It just occurred to me that Ben and Jerry's might warrant a look...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Weekend

Working in a salon makes my schedule different than the typical Monday-Friday 9-5, so my weekend doesn't line up with the weekends of a lot of other people.  This may seem like a strange time for a weekend roundup post but just roll with it!

On Sunday I went to the bridal shower for one of my best besties, Katie.  It was great and very much "her", which was awesome!  She's not the type for lots of games or that bonnet made out of wrapping paper so it was nice and simple- beautiful restaurant, great wine and food, and awesome decorations.  Katie works part-time at a restaurant so for the last few months she'd been collecting empty bottles from the bar to use as these centerpieces and it totally paid off.  I got to bring home a root beer bottle with little papery purple flowers in it- me gusta!  I'm actually going to be performing her marriage ceremony (online ordination, it's very real) in October and I got a little teary just looking their names on the menu, so I might be one blubbery Reverend of the Universal Ministries on the big day. 

Later that night Ryan and I went with our friends Meg and Joe to get drinks and snacks at Due Mari, a restaurant nearby.  We're super lucky to live within walking distance of a lot of good restaurants and bars, so that's what we did- walk over even though it was sweaty-hot, and then watch through the window as it rained cats and dogs!  Luckily the rain let up long enough for us to walk to a bar with cable that we could mooch off of to watch Breaking Bad- it's a little loud there but the show is so good that I'm content to just get the gist in exchange for seeing it in real time.

On Monday I wanted to hit a few thrift stores and Ryan had seen some on his way to work that I didn't know about, so we decided to get some lunch and then go together.  The one above was crammed full and had a weird employee who just kept standing in one spot and staring at us, or peeking his head around the furniture-created aisles at us if we were out of view.  Ryan was engulfed enough in a crate of VHS tapes of Demolition Man or whatever to ignore it, but I was totally weirded out and wanted to split tout sweet!  I think I kind of let myself get overcharged out of the primal urge of flight but oh well.

I looked to my left, saw this and died.  Dead now.

At night my brother and I went over to my parents to continue the movie night series we're deeply invested in at the moment.  We watched the first Lethal Weapon one week, then the first Die Hard the following week to compare/contrast, and this will continue throughout the sequels to both.  I'm going to go ahead and call this The Die Hard/Lethal Weapon Face Off, which I understand is confusing because of the movie Face Off.  Nevertheless, it is a completely badass thing to do with your parents.  Could have lived without that chick's nipples in Lethal Weapon 2 while sitting next to my parents last night though, if we're nitpicking.

And that brings us to today!  Since I'm not really going out for public consumption I'm wearing my gym clothes as an optimistic gesture.  This is the kind of outfit shot people get inspiration from, right?  Just keeping it real.  

What are you up to?  Did you enjoy your weekend, which in all likelihood was days ago?