Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fiscally Speaking

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-19204-013, Währungsreform, Frau mit Geldscheinen

Remember how I told you about losing my one, semi-steady writing job a couple of weeks ago, and how energized I was by the opening up of new opportunity? Well, now the abject terror has set in.

Aside from the ridiculous amount of bills we have, I fully believe that our second highest expenditure is on food. So, last night while HUBS and I were going over our monies and moving bills around so we'd have some cash for the edible stuff, I made a proposition I've been wanting to make for weeks now: We need to stop eating out.

I realize this doesn't sound like a mighty idea to many of you, and Lord knows that when I was single I barely ate out at all. But, it's become way too much of a way of life for us. Especially HUBS. I realize that he's worn out after a 10 or 12 hour day, but if he gets home and I don't feel like cooking that somehow seems to translate to FAST FOOD YAY YUM!! for him.

I'm constantly having to say No, you know we don't have much cash to work with. We can make sandwiches, make soup, eat leftovers...And then HUBS' face falls and he pouts like a child who doesn't understand money stuff and he says OK with that hangdog expression.

As much as we are both tired of the pinch, I'm really tired of having to constantly be the bad guy. So, as of last night a one week Spending Freeze is on. Here's how we're going to do this:

Spending Freeze 2011-2012

1) We will buy groceries and only eat those groceries for the next seven days.

2) There will be no fast foods, restaurant trips or convenience foods/beverages from places like Quik Trip.

3) Coffee, tea, lunches and dinners are made at home.

4) If we run out of something, say, iced tea mix, we get more iced tea mix and not a 32 ounce cup of ready made iced tea.

5) When we get through seven days, we do it for another week...And another, and another. Until HUBS and I get used to not relying on Taco Bell/Pen Station/etcetera to fill our tired bellies.

I'll be frank here, since I barely leave the house this isn't going to be that hard for me. But HUBS? He dies a little inside when he sees food on TV, even if we are currently eating something he's declared delicious. He's all about his burgers, fries, tacos and subs. So, thank you in advance HUBS, for your complete cooperation on this. Doesn't it feel better already?

What do you need to stop spending so much money on?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

5 Blogs That Rock My World


We can all already agree that the internet is awesome. Pretty much everything that doesn't involve actual human contact (and some things that do) can be done online.

With such awesomeness comes a host of favorites. My blog bookmarks alone number in the hundreds (I know!), but that doesn't mean I don't have a few sites I need to visit on a regular basis. Here's my list of recent blog discoveries that make being online a lot more fun.

5 Blogs That Rock My World

1) Eat the Damn Cake: Kate talks about her life and times in the best way possible. She's funny, frank, inquisitive, clearly a good listener and a great writer. Kate's also not afraid to talk about embarrassing stuff and body image issues in ways that make her seem like your smart best friend. Anybody who's ever cried over the size of their thighs will like her a lot.

2) Pink of Perfection: Lordy, I love this blog! I find it so...soothing. Sarah writes about a lot of things (cooking, entertaining, lovely products to try...), but mostly she writes about trying to create a wonderful life filled with more of what enriches you and less of what drains you. Honestly, if you need to feel at peace, reading this cozy confection will set you straight.

3) Pop Candy: By now you should all know that I'm addicted to pop culture. Music, movies, TV, books, magazines and celebrity morsels are my life source. I love this blog so much that it's in my Google Reader, on this blog's sidebar and on my phone via the Pop Candy app. If you want all the top info on any media worth consuming, you need Whitney and her blog in your life. Need, people. Need!

4) Stylish Thought: At first glance Fajr's site looks like your standard fashion/style blog, but it's more than that. Her tag line (rethink style, rethink life) really exemplifies what Stylish Thought is about. Lifestyle and career advice, fashion inspiration and classic quotes to keep you moving through the trials of life...It's all here folks, and wrapped up with a pretty pin-up bow.

5) Vintage Black Glamour: Alright, I'm cheating a bit on this one, since it's not so much a blog as it is a tumblr. But! It's place on this list is merited, friends. I can't tell you how much it means as an African American woman to have so many inspiring images of (often) accomplished black folks in one spot. As a bonus, the photos are usually accompanied by brief histories on those shown. Learning and gloriously fashionable black people? I'll take it!

What blogs started rocking your world this year?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holidays Come And Gone

Hello all! I trust that everyone who celebrates Christmas had a nice one.

Now, on to an important question: Does anyone else feel like they're being murdered by Christmas in a disco circa 1985 when they hear Mannheim Steamroller?

Yes? I knew it!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Just Don't Get It

Starbucks 1

After hitting the post office today, I decided to spend some of my birthday cash four doors down at Starbucks. I got a 12 ounce Caramel Brulee Latte and, honestly, I was unimpressed.

This was only the second time in my entire life I've had a Starbucks coffee creation. What am I missing, people? The prices are outrageous (I spent $4.05 on something that wasn't anywhere near as good as the much cheaper cappuccino at Quik Trip) and it isn't what I'd call exceptionally tasty. Sure, it was hot, which is nice on a chilly day, but the flavor was only OK. It's got to be more of an atmosphere thing. Though that doesn't explain all the people who get expensive brew to go.

I have to confess: Starbucks holds no power over me. It's gas station cappuccino all the way for this girl.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday Tipday: Bathing Beauties

1902 bath illustration

More than anything right now I need baths. Some of this is just my natural predisposition to want to soak in a hot tub when it's cold outside. But since I've been having a host of issues with my knees and lower back and tailbone which include the occasional shooting pain, I can tell you for a fact that it's also because of that.

I can't feel like I'm being healed by the water if I'm standing in the shower. Not to mention that standing is not so great for my back. Or my knees. Or my desire to luxuriate in a warm liquid cloud as I read magazines and sip Kool-Aid. Trust me, it's kinda hard to do that in the shower.

Now, I'm all for fancy bath potions. There are innumerable softening bombs, beads, bubbles and oils on the market and I'm proud to say that I've tried many of them. But, it's not necessary to blow your mortgage money to have a sumptuous bathing experience.

Here are my ingredients for a splendiferous soak. Mix and match as needed.

For the Bathing Beauty

1) Reading material. Any book or magazine that you love needs to be beside the tub. Simple as that.

2) Unless, of course, you've got writing to do. In that case a journal and your best pen will set you right.

3) Your beverage of choice. Yes, I really have had Kool-Aid while I was in the bathtub. Why is that so odd?

4) Something to make the water soothe all those aching muscles and troubled thoughts. Try: milk (even the powdered kind or stuff from a can work) for skin softening, epsom salt for body aches, vanilla or almond extract for a pleasing scent and essential oils for soothing the mind.

5) If you're like me the feet need some extra attention. Don't forget a foot scrubber.

6) Music for the mood. I've been taking my phone into the room to play some tunes from my Pandora app, but a solid CD on repeat that can be heard from the bathroom will also do nicely.

7) Candles for serenity. Doesn't it help to stare into a flickering flame? Yes. Yes, it does.

I know you feel better just thinking about this, right? Well, that's what I'm here for.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Music Monday: Christmas Time? Already?

Hello lovelies! Are we all as ready for Christmas as we want to be? I, for one, am not. I'm really not feeling the spirit this year. HUBS and I did all our shopping in one fell swoop back in July, but I have yet to wrap anything or put up an iota of decorations. I've failed to listen to any of my favorite Christmas music or watch any significant amount of holiday cartoonage.

What's up with me?

Even the fact that a group of carolers hit the ghetto to serenade our neighbors last night (about a half hour before we had to call the police to report hearing gun shots, by the by) didn't do much to brighten my blah mood. I don't even know if PT wants to cook this year or not. I told her it didn't matter either, way, which is true, yet I now find myself wondering if cooking the usual Christmas meal would help get me in the mood.

Maybe some songs can help out right now...




Yes! It's working! Woooooooooo!!

How do you get in a holiday mood?

*If you're wondering what's up with the sweet potato, HUBS' folks grew it and gave it to us at Thanksgiving. That thing was like a new baby...but bigger!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Television! Television! Part 2

Lordy, I just love me some TV! Sometimes there's nothing better than curling up with a good snack (Homemade popcorn, please!) and a great show on the ol' tube. Here's a rundown of my faves from this Fall.


1) Heart of Dixie: Look, I know this isn't the best show in the world. I actually don't quite buy Rachel Bilson as a doctor. Not that she doesn't seem smart enough, I just don't see her wanting to help people in such a (frequently) complex way. But, it pushes many of my Gilmore Girls/Everwood buttons. It makes me feel warm inside; like everything's going to be alright somehow. Who doesn't need a bit of that every week?

2) Ringer: Lots intrigue with rich people, down-on-their luck folks, druggies, Feds, cops, stuck up teens and lots of amazing clothes is keeping me glued. I wish the twins that Sarah Michelle Gellar plays seemed more different, and I could do with a bit more humor, but I'm basically digging it. I do worry a bit about the long-term story prospects for what's essentially a pretty cut-and-dry premise, but if they can keep it fresh I'll keep watching.

3) New Girl: One of my favorite new shows, it holds up quite nicely to repeat viewings. It's cute, funny and there's stuff to love about all the characters, not just Jess. Schmidt is comedy gold!


4) Suburgatory: This is my other new comedy fave of the season. It's a fish out of water story about a New York City girl who's forced to move to the 'burbs by her single dad. I know that might not sound hilarious, but it is; and they do it without a single one-note character in the bunch, even folks we barely see have sides to them. This is another show that's funny after multiple viewings. Also? Dallas and Dalia kill it every week.

5) Person of Interest: I've already detailed my main issue with this show, but they've got a nice over-arching mystery going and manage to bring the action-packed drama every week. It's a keeper.

6) Prime Suspect: I'll admit, I was not sure about this one after seeing those ads that made the lead character seem unreasonably hard-nosed. After weeks of watching, though, I can tell you that it works. Too bad it's been canceled!

7) Allen Gregory: I thought this show was quite funny and unique, though after looking at a lot of reviews online it seems I was the only one. This show? Also canceled. Bah!


8) Homeland: If you're looking for superb, real-world, suspense-filled drama and surprises galore, get thee to Homeland. It is, hands down, the best new drama on TV. Period. You must see it to believe the awesomeness.

So, there we have it. Unless some new things come along in the Spring to rock my TV world, I'll be down to six broadcast shows to keep up with. Do better, network television overlords. Do. Better.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Things Change And Stay The Same

I was planning to do a final Fall TV roundup for you guys today, but I'm going to be totally honest here: I'm having a crappy moment right now.

I don't feel like thinking, talking, writing, seeing or doing much of anything. I will write about television shows for you tomorrow, I promise. Now, though, at least someone should be laughing:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Person Of Interest Has a Problem...


Fall TV has quickly become Winter TV as 2011 winds down. I'm going to talk tomorrow about how the new shows are faring creatively and what I'm looking forward to in the mid-season, but today we need to discuss CBS' Person of Interest.

I basically like the show. I think it's a great premise; the idea being that post 9/11 the US government wanted a super-efficient way to track the shit out of terrorist suspects and found such a way, but that it's also being used on the sly by its creator and a damaged ex-CIA badass to stop the small-scale acts of terrorism (muggings, rapes, random homicides) that we all pray to avoid each day.

I'm enjoying Taraji P. Henson as the cop that's trying to track them down and Michael Emerson as a non-creepy scientist. There is one problem, though.

Jim Caviezel is too, too, too intense.

And, look, I know his character is supposed to be kinda intimidating and serious and a bit damaged. I get it. But I think his deadpan portrayal is turning the show into a downer.

I didn't really notice it at first. HUBS pointed out his unwavering seriousness to me as we watched one night. It's too much and it's heightened by the fact that the writers give him the occasional pithy one-liner, which is supposed to lighten the mood...And be amusing. But it never is, because Caviezel says pretty much everything in monotone and with the stone-cold look of a killer on his face.

So, keep everything else the same, but have Jim brighten up just a titch. I do believe that would make for a perfect show.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recent Obsessions: Kimbra


I pride myself on finding new music and rediscovering old musical favorites. This is one of the reasons I started doing Music Monday; to help some of the artists I enjoy find new fans and to keep a curated list of songs/bands/music I love. I'm confident that something we'll never run out of is new music to listen to!

I stumbled across Kimbra last week while goofing off on YouTube. She's either from Australia or New Zealand (I'm getting conflicting Google reports on that), but it really doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is her amazing voice and unbelievably cool songs.

Right now there's only an EP available in North America, but you can best believe I'll be keeping an eye out for when her CD goes on sale here. Take a look, listen, and be awed:

Friday, December 09, 2011

Happy Friday: The Universe Speaks

I am stunned by the universe's timing today. You know how I said I'd gone out last week and laid out some story ideas for freelance work? Well, since I've been blessed with a divine combination of fear and a tendency to procrastinate, I hadn't sent out a single query letter for those ideas.

Today I checked my voice mail and had a message from my editor's boss at the place I've been doing my main freelancing for the past four years. That woman has never spoken to me before, so I knew something big was up. And it really is.

As of January 1, they're shutting down all local affiliates of the website and only using national content. What does that mean? I'm out of what is currently my only paying freelance gig (and my editor and her boss are out of work also).

When my editor gave me the scoop as I talked to her, I'll admit my heart stopped for just a second. But then, something amazing happened: I felt free and hopeful and energized.

Those types of feelings rarely hit me. I was excited. I honestly felt like providence was giving me an opportunity; pushing me to stop using my one job as a crutch and get down to generating freelance income for myself. In the first hour after our conversation I was flooded with so many ideas that the possibilities filled every corner of my brain.

Obviously, I hope everyone who's out of work now can find something they enjoy soon. But this? This is a nice feeling, people! If you've never had it, find a way to get it!

Now, some newness around the web to start your weekend off right:

1) Google's got a new app. I downloaded it today, and so far it looks pretty awesome.

2) Ridiculous uselessness.

3) Oh, shit. LL's giving the goodies away!

4) I wish Paris Jackson all the best. But this movie is probably gonna be kinda crappy.

5) Thank you, Robert California. Thank you.

That's all, lovelies. Enjoy your weekends!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Ahh...The Muse

Inspiration is a tricky thing, isn't it? No matter what you're working on (article with a looming deadline, painting, photo essay, book proposal or business plan) that urge to create is essential. So when the muse isn't with you, what do you do?

In many things getting started is the hurdle that can help. At least, that's what everyone says. Begin, the logic says, and let things flow until you find something that resonates with you and gets the juices flowing. And this is what I often do. It does help, but sometimes it feels empty.

I've never been much of a "fake it 'til you make it" person. It's not that I don't believe it works; it just usually doesn't get me to a genuine place. Say I'm having a crappy day and someone smiles at me in the grocery store. I always smile back, but it doesn't make me any happier or ease my anxieties. I frequently feel like a poseur for doing it, like I'm not being myself in the moment. And I don't like that. I don't like doing things just because I'm supposed to. I want to want to do nice things, kind things, generous things.

Maybe it's childish, but I want to create because I've been struck by an idea and moved in some way that I want to share with others. I suppose it's incredibly naive, especially for someone who's been writing, painting, playing music and dreaming up fantastical inner worlds for almost 40 years to desire more frequent light bulb moments. But, there you go.

Do you get inspired to begin, or begin to get inspired?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

Music Monday: Church Shopping Just Got Interesting, Y'all!

Well, my goodness! HUBS and I had an interesting Sunday morning. You know how we've been visiting churches to try to find one that HUBS really likes? We went to a new one yesterday, and things got...interesting.

This is a very popular modern, local church. They have two locations, over 1,000 parishioners and a broadcast on local television. We got there a bit late and the band was still playing. But, then, the main pastor's wife (who is also a pastor) got up on stage to pray or offer a blessing or something. You know why I can't remember the point of her brief talk? Because she said something so offensive to me (and HUBS) as a spiritual person that it's the only phrase out of her mouth that registered. Everything else was literally blown away.

So, what did she say? Word for word, she said:

Buddha is dead, but Jesus is still alive!

The crowd cheered and clapped, while HUBS and I looked at each other stunned. HUBS told me as we left later that he actually considered walking out right at that moment.

Here's the deal, Pastor Lady; HUBS and I have been going to church off and on for over 35 years. Neither of us have ever, ever heard a minister, pastor, priest or what-have-you insult another religion during a service! Do you know why? Because it's inappropriate, rude, unnecessary, self-important, arrogant and just plain bitchy.

Are you really such an insecure Christian that you need to openly and very publicly put down other religions? How'd you get to be a minister's wife who is also a minister if that's the case? I find it especially troubling that you picked on Buddhists, who, as far as I can tell, have never (as a group, at least) put down any other religions and seem to be some of the most peaceful people on the planet.

Clearly you didn't get the message about loving your neighbor or keeping your ignorant mouth shut when you've got nothing nice to say. I know you meant that the spirit of Jesus is alive; but so is the spirit of Buddha with his followers. If you really need to diminish other religions to make yourself feel good, then you might have bigger problems than Christianity alone can handle.


In case you were wondering, friends, the rest of the service was fine. We like her husband. He only said one thing we sorta weren't so crazy about, but that paled in comparison to her.

OK, now that I've gotten that out of my system, let's watch some videos!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Happy Friday!

Well, the weeks keep tumbling by, don't they? It's December, y'all! The year is almost gone. I'm going to try not to think about it.

Now, let's enjoy some things around the net, shall we?

1) Never in my wildest dreams.

2) Also? Threats and cheese. Yeah, that's what I said.

3) Can women be funny and hot? (I know! Stupid question!)Here's one female writer's list. (Which I don't totally agree with, but see what you think!)

4) Look! Guys can do it too!

5) Yes. They are awesome.

6) And, finally, something practical for all you job seekers out there.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hump Day: The Revelation!

Welcome back, lovelies! I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving filled with food, fun and free time.

For the first time in over a decade, PT and I did not make our famous sweet potato pies. Mom just didn't feel like it. She also told me she didn't want to cook anything much, so I didn't go over on Thanksgiving Eve. Then, when HUBS and I got there the next night, she'd made everything we usually cook except for homemade dressing: candied yams, rolls, her mac-n-cheese and home-cooked veggies (corn on the cob and green beans with ham hocks).

Clearly she felt more like cooking then she let on.

HUBS and I spent the rest of the weekend eating leftovers, finishing up my birthday freebie food and watching movies. The beginning of this week was kind of dead; dreary, cold days that are good for sleeping late and lazing around, which is mostly what I did.

Today, though, was crisp and bright. I headed out to my local Panera Bread to get a small lunch and work on some writing ideas that have been twirling around the ol' noggin. It really was a nice time. I got some writing and reading done, including article ideas and a new screenplay that came out of watching Friends With Benefits this summer and finding it inadequate.

While I was flipping through my relatively new idea book I noticed something. All my previous entries were on Wednesdays. Then I looked through my to-do lists that I keep on my phone and noticed that quite a few of those were made for battling mid-week blues as well. Apparently, Wednesday and I have a love affair going on and I didn't even realize it!

Has this happened to anyone else? Where you've noticed that you get more done on a certain day of the week? I don't know what it is about hump day for me, but I've decided to go with it and declare it my ACTION DAY. The day when I'll jump into action every week, if not earlier.

Look at today. Aside from getting work done I even managed to work in some EXPANSION. I sat down next to a lady who was working on her laptop and we chatted a bit about the food, then did each other the favor of watching our things as we alternately took breaks or got up for coffee.

When she was about to leave I asked if she worked out of the restaurant a lot and when she said that she often did, I gave her my card and told her to call if she was planning to come over and wanted a friendly face to look after her things. She took it and then handed over one of her cards after I asked for it. So, yea! I might have a "work" buddy soon.

Hump Day is good!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Consumer Warning: Dear God, What Is Happening To My Underarms!?


I am really not that particular when it comes to beauty/personal care products. In general, whatever works at as cheap a price as possible usually does quite nicely for me.

However, with all the investigative confusion over whether or not aluminum in antiperspirants causes breast cancer, I decided to give a deodorant without the metallic stuff a try.

At around $4, which is more than I'd ever spent on underarm paraphernalia before, I sprung for this Tom's of Maine aluminum free deodorant. I got the lavender scent; usually I avoid lavender because it tends to be too strong and give me a headache within minutes, but this scent was like a gentle lavender breeze.

Here is where we get to the kicker. You see that sticker on top that says 24 Hour Odor Protection? Well, let me tell you to take the good folks at Tom's of Maine completely seriously. I have found that at exactly the 24 hour mark after applying something radical happens: your pits become deeply, deeply funky.

I know that sounds self-explanatory, but it's not. See, it isn't as though the deodorant fades away, leaving your body to it's own odoriferous devices. Oh, no. That's too easy. This stuff? It actually turns bad on you. Meaning, if you compare this scent at 25 hours with your usual scent after a hard workout, you will smell different and far, far and beyond worse.

Never in all my post-pubescent life, you guys. Clearly I should have looked at some reviews first. Once I finish this tube, I will be going back to Secret forever and ever, amen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So, This Is What We've Come To?

Apparently it's cool now to take the year's most maligned song and do a parody of it for a post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza commercial. Of course the benefit of this is that everyone who's been paying even a little bit of attention will hear the ad and go, "Wait...Oh, wow! Look what they did there!" You know, like I did.

Genius advertising? Quite possibly.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Music Monday: Post Birthday Pep!

Peeps! Did everyone have a good pre-Thanksgiving weekend? HUBS and I did quite a bit of running around in honor of my birthday, including driving almost 50 miles to obtain the four free meals I got from various restaurant e-clubs. Getting that much free food made this the most exciting birthday I've had in years. Is that weird?

Well, I think it's time for some tunes. How 'bout you?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Friday: Birthday Time!


Well, looky there. My birthday is this weekend. Honestly, it's freaking me out a bit. Not to become a middle-aged stereotype, but the fact that I'm now close enough to 40 to give it a good smack on the ass, it is making me nervous.

In other news, did you know that none of you fabulous people took me up on the contest offer from last week? I know you can use some free art, right? Here are some things you can do with my photo if you win: give it as a gift, put it on your wall, use it to decoupage, have it turned into an awesome coffee mug/mouse pad/tee shirt, masturbate to it...wait, what? Who typed that? Wasn't me! I swear!

Anyway, be sure to enter by next Friday at 5 p.m. CST. Now, let's do some looking around the internet!

1) I love Louis C.K.

2) All you avid e-book readers should try Litfy for access to a lot of freebies.

3) I admit it: I am not a car girl. I just want something reasonably priced and reliable. But, if you are a car chick, look into VroomGirls.

4) Lit heads, design fans and foodies alike can get into this.

5) If you already like GiltGroup you'll likely enjoy their new fine dining site.

That's all for today. Get thee to something fun this weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interesting Theories

In the interest of EXPANSION I've been reading a lot of books on freelancing, writing, creating an ideal life and personal branding over the last few months. Last night I was pouring over Be Your Own Brand, and some of the ideas really struck me.

I've wondered quite a bit on here (and during my general alone time) about why I procrastinate and sabotage myself. I've come to the basic conclusion that I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but this book made me think something else is also behind it.

The authors write about the importance of authenticity when building a brand. People, they say, will trust you faster and longer when they feel you're being real with them. Which, aside from making total sense, I believe I'm good at doing. But, they also mention three important components of authenticity: purpose, vision and values.

I have the strongest handle on my values (the stuff that's important to me), a little bit less of a grasp on my vision (What do I really want out of life? To make movies? Become a pro-blogger? Make money selling my photos?) and almost no idea of what my purpose (Really, why do I specifically exist in the world?) is.

The purpose part is what really bugged and stuck with me, because here's what they say about purposeless folks: people without it have no grounding for their values, no motivation to act and nothing that inspires desire.


That's not a direct quote, but that's what hit my heart hard. That phrase pretty much describes my whole life. I've got lots of big goals and plans and dreams, but have made very little effort to bring much of anything to fruition.

The Why am I here? question has nagged at me since I was a little kid. It comes to the forefront whenever I have a deeply depressed moment that leaves me feeling like a wasted bag of useless existence. But, really? I've never had a very strong feeling of Oh! This is why I'm here!

Even when I get an inkling of that feeling, my brain stops it with But that's silly. I can't be here to help people with their screenplays. Or, How could I have been put here just to rescue stray cats?

Is this it? Is this really why I lack enough ambition to push through fear and act on what I want with few limitations? Has this been the root of my depression all these years? Is this what's actually causing my newly acquired panic attacks? Is this the root of my general passionless mood, something that's been with me for decades?

I swear. The more I read, the more I see how screwy I am.

What about you? Do you know why you're here?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Friday! New Things & The Contest*

Welly, well, well! Looks like it's Friday again, my friends. I've been working hard on Citygirl today to update some things. If you look right under the masthead you'll notice some nifty new pages that I'd love for you to check out. They'll tell you more about me and the writing projects I've completed. Plus! If you'd like to take advantage of my writing services there will be another page available shortly that'll spell all the options out for you. Yay!

Now, the contest! A few days ago I noticed something cool had happened with Citygirl; I've hit 30 followers! As a thank you for reading and supporting my work here, I'm having a little contest.

The first five people who email me at with the subject line "Contest! Woo! Yay!" by 2 p.m. CST on Monday will be emailed a photo from my extensive library of the shots I've taken over the years. Just let me know what category of pic you want (Animals, Cats, Nature, People, or Inanimate Objects) in the email.

All photos will carry a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license, which means you can do whatever you want with the photo as long as you don't alter it or make money off of it and give me credit for the image. You can check out my photo blog, A Girl And Her Camera or many of my previous posts here to see more of my photos.

Phew! Now, lovelies, on to some interesting things around the web!

1) Job seekers are getting creative.

2) Ever thought about starting a small business? These websites might help.

3) If you want to see a movie this weekend, you might not want to bet on Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill. It's getting zero love, friends.

4) Someone got inappropriately creative with a wedding dress.

5) Kate Moss has a modeling little sister. Unfortunately, "little" means only 13 freakin' years old.

6) Kim K. Just. Can't win. And I don't care.

7) Sometimes, Americans are stupid.

*Wouldn't New Things & The Contest be a cool band name? Just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Oh, Heavy D...RIP

I'm sure a lot of you have forgotten all about Heavy D & The Boyz, if you knew about them at all. But for fans of late '80s through mid '90s hip hop, Heavy D was the shit. I wish he hadn't passed away earlier this week at only 44 years old.

Want to get to know Heavy D and his ever present Boyz? Here you go...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


I've been chatting via email with another blogger about making and keeping friends, and how difficult it seems to be (for some of us, at least).

When I was a kid, I always had a couple of buddies I did things with: going roller skating or swimming, having sleep overs, heading to the movies, passing notes in class...But I was never one of those people with a gaggle of amigos surrounding me at all times. I was quiet, studious, lacking in confidence, overweight, well-mannered, four-eyed and frequently riddled with acne. Any one of those things could have knocked me out of cohort competition, but I suspect the combination was what really did me in.

I spent the occasional moment, as a young'n, wondering why more people didn't like me, but I was basically fine with having only one or two close friends. Now, of course, I've been without close friends who live nearby for several years.

It's odd. Even when I was young and thinking about friendship two things never occurred to me: completely changing who I was to fit in more and concern over my future ability to make friends. I guess it seemed like I'd always be able to run into someone somewhere who had things in common with me.

Creating and maintaining friendships is like money management, or brewing the perfect pot of coffee. No one teaches you that stuff. They all just assume you'll get it or that you'll ask the right questions and then they can help you. Clearly, it doesn't always work that way.

What have you learned about friendship since becoming an adult?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A Question For The Ladies


Do any of you stare at your boobs forlornly and then pull or push them up higher with your hands as you imagine your faded youth and the even saggier boobs to come?

Alright, fine. Don't participate! But, you know what? I've been doing that after almost every bath or shower and sometimes when I'm just changing my clothes.

I think it's mostly because this new boob low was reached just a few months ago. Actually, I had just gotten used to the previous hang level when I looked down in the bath one day and thought Oh, OK...I guess this is where they like to be now...Oh, well...

This is going to sound extreme, but the aging process does appear to be a bit like a car wreck. There's no schedule to the atrocities and when you pass a new tangle of twisted metal and confused passengers you are absolutely horrified. And yet, you cannot look away.

I'm not loosing sleep over these things: the increased ear wax, pendulous breasts, odd smells, gray facial hairs, memory loss or preponderance of whiskers. I'm just ready to feel less like I'm in free-fall. You know?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Fall Will Not Be Denied

It may be 72 degrees in St. Louis today, but the multicolored leaves decorating the ground and the crisp nights tell a very different story. It's November, y'all! We are fully into fall with its jackets, bonfires, short days and invigoratingly cool nights.

A huge part of fall for me, and many of you I imagine, is the accompanying big ol' pots of warm and gooey comfort food. Thanks to HUBS' folks I got the chance to cook something new on Sunday. They have a rather large garden, and brought over several things when they visited the day before, including a butternut squash and some spinach fettuccine that they had tried but weren't crazy about (for some reason).

I adapted this recipe from Redbook where it was only meant for roasted butternut squash. I increased the recipe a bit to accommodate the greater number of veggies I used.

Balsamic Honey Roasted Veggies

1 medium Butternut Squash, peeled and cut in chunks
5 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut in chunks
8 ounces Baby Carrots, cut in half lengthwise
1 medium Onion, sliced
3 to 4 tablespoons each Balsamic Vinegar, Honey and Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Get your oven to 425 degrees. Spray a roasting dish with cooking spray and start tossing veggies in. Once you get a full layer of mixed veggies, drizzle them with 1 tablespoon each of balsamic, honey and olive oil then sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Keep layering until you get all your veggies in the pan and stir things up a bit to make sure everything gets covered in the goodness.

This will take about 40 minutes in the oven to get good and done. If you take the pan out and the juices got stuck to the bottom, never fear, my friends! Add water to the pan (with the veggies still in there) swirl it around and in a few minutes the heat and water will loosen all that flavor and create a nice sauce for the veggies. We poured the result over the spinach fettuccine and sprinkled on a little grated Parmesan/Asiago/Romano blended cheese.

HUBS' mom also brought us a portion of a homemade chocolate cake on Saturday, which we promptly finished in two days. Since I am dessert's bitch, I needed something else sweet on Monday, and made the easiest peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I've ever seen. They also turned out incredibly flaky, moist and delicious.

Don't you love cooking and baking and the St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series against all odds? Don't you?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Friday: Basically...


Apparently, when you begin going gray, any and all hairs on your body are up for grabs. After getting side-swiped with a silvery eyebrow hair earlier this year, I now have another pale demon to contend with:


I swear to FUCK, you guys! It's bad enough that I have to deal with upper-lip facial fuzz, but now that shit is turning white on me? Insane in my membrane!!

Oh well, here I go, fighting nature again. Let's get to some linkage!

1) If you like Mindy Kaling (and if you like The Office, then you do) you might enjoy hearing about her new book and website.

2) Oprah's teaching the world again. This time she's using case studies from her old episodes to try to help folks live better day-to-day. I signed up months ago and then totally forgot about it, I'll get to it eventually!

3) Need more help making your life better? Try these other online resources.

4) Anyone interested in glam shots of African-American icons of the past should head here and learn some stuff.

That's all for now, friends! Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Me And Al Sharpton? We Are Done!


Not that we were ever super-tight, but Sharpton said some ridiculous shit when he gave Tyler Perry an award from his National Action Network last week. What did he say? Al Sharpton said that Black people who diss Tyler Perry films are "proper Negroes."

What kind of idiocy is this? There's no Black Handbook, that lists appropriate likes, dislikes and opinions for African Americans. And you know what, Al? If there were, it would be WRONG.

We are just as free as White folks, Latinos, Koreans, Native Americans, and everyone else to dislike Tyler Perry movies if we want to. The idea that True Blackness = Loving Tyler Perry Movies is out-of-this-world foolish. I am a 100% positive that ALL Mexicans don't love Eva Longoria and that ALL Caucasians don't love Leonardo DiCaprio.

Life doesn't work like that, regardless of race or creed, and someone Sharpton's age should certainly know that. Will the asininity among Black people never cease?!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Chew Isn't Working


Has anyone been watching The Chew? It's the show ABC killed All My Children for. Now, I'm going to admit my bias toward soaps up front; I'd watched AMC off and on for around 16 years, though for the past two our relationship was mostly 'off'.

However, I wanted The Chew to work out. I love cooking and am a huge fan of cooking shows, even ones with stupid names. I've now watched about a week's worth of episodes and can state without a doubt that it's semi-painful to watch. Separately, all the hosts (There are five. FIVE, people!) seem likeable enough. Together, though? It's just too messy. Here are my reasons why it's not working.

Why The Chew Sorta Sucks

1) There's already four chef/food people in the house, we don't need an official moderator. Clinton Kelly, why are you here?

2) Even with Clinton, the conversations are always awkward. I don't think any of the hosts are used to dealing with a live audience...Or each other, for that matter.

3) Dammit, there's just too many bitches on stage! And they're never all doing the same thing. Two people are standing, three are sitting, someone's cooking, someone's chopping, someone else is gesticulating wildly...THERE'S JUST TOO MUCH GOING ON AT ONCE!

4) No one here is a journalist or has any real interviewing skills. Yesterday Mario Batali asked guest and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, "What do you expect from a New Yorker?" I could see Bloomberg's befuddlement and really wanted him to answer, "Well, the least you can do is not be a dick." But, he answered without a hint of sarcasm. Damn!

5) No one here is Regis. The hosts tell stories, but none of them have the right oomph to make them pop. Cue additional awkwardness.

6) Crap, I just found out they have a correspondent. Are you really telling me Clinton couldn't do the remote pieces for them? It's not like he's running a restaurant at night. Again...Too. Many. People.

7) The food looks good, but the prep work lacks even the most remote appeal. Part of this is due to the lackluster set; it just barely looks like a kitchen in there.

8) None of the hosts seem to be very well prepared. And, on top of that, they seem to be trying really hard to make us like them. As a result they come off as super desperate.

I'm not the only one thinking the show needs some major tweaking to work. Even at it's silliest, AMC was still a better, less jumbled and boring, package.

Have you seen The Chew? What do you think?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Friday: Round Up & New Stuff

Well, Happy Friday once again, friends! It's always a bit crazy how fast the weeks go by, isn't it? We are in full-on fall, and with the temps this week, it's clear winter is just around the corner.

I've been updating Citygirl, as promised. My About Me A Lot page (up top) has totally changed and I'll likely give it a new title as soon as I think of one. I've also added some of those ever popular social media buttons and a cool version of my resume under my profile on the right side. Before long I'll also be adding pages for links to my writing projects and the services I offer as a writer. So, Yea! EXPANSION!

On to some Friday fun links:

1) Apparently, folks are getting hot about the Dr. Pepper TEN ad campaign. I don't know why, I thought it was silly and funny. What do you think?

2) People are also pissy about this British singer, since she admitted that her image was manufactured by managers and the like. I think a lot of musicians have images that aren't completely in-line with who they really are. So, what do you think is bothering people, that she allowed the manufacturing or that she admitted it? More importantly, if you like the song, should it matter?

3) Steven Seagal just managed to get weirder.

4) Want to get your internet bookmarks anywhere? Try Instapaper.

5) Do you have a back-log of online videos you need to watch? With Radbox you can see those anywhere, too.

6) The TSA hates Afros! Honestly, would you hide something you didn't want found in such a conspicuous place?

Off with you, my lovelies! Enjoy a blessed weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Recent Obsessions: Scott Naturals

I know it seems odd to become obsessed with a roll of paper towels, but dammit! These are awesome!

HUBS and I had been using generic paper towels after becoming addicted to Viva but giving them up to save some household supply dough. I was shopping at Walgreens and saw that they had a six pack of Scott Naturals for $4, so I figured trying them out wouldn't be a big deal.

I was wrong. It was a huge deal! I've found the perfect paper towels, people!

At first, I hated them. They are as hard as the day is long, my friends. But, it turns out that that's a feature instead of a bug. I'd advise against wiping your mouth with them unless absolutely necessary, but they are amazing for:

1) Hand washing dishes
2) Scrubbing the stove
3) Cleaning cat barf off the carpet
4) Wiping down dirty kitchen walls
5) De-grubbing baseboards
6) Carrying cat kibble

I'm sure there are more uses that I haven't thought of yet. The key thing you should know? You can wet them and scrub away for several minutes before the barest hint of a tear will appear.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Am I Still Depressed?

My Monopalooza 2011 fog cleared a bit last night (finally) and today I've been able to stay awake all day and even had enough energy to leave the house.

At some point early this morning a thought about my general personality crossed my mind: could my life long lack of ambition really just be depression?

Don't get me wrong, I've had times where I've worked extremely hard to prove myself and done things I didn't really want to in order to show employers/friends/family that I was serious about work/opportunities/connections. But? I've never had the kind of drive that makes people mention 'ambitious' as one of my attributes.

It occurred to me that, instead of a character flaw, my semi-drive-less state could be my depression hanging around. I know for a fact that I've been dealing with depression since I was around 11 or 12 years old. Isn't that about the time kids start wanting to accomplish things on a higher level? Thinking about their hopes for their college-bound and adult lives?

All I remember thinking is that I wanted to finish school and go to Georgia Tech because my godmother lived in Atlanta. That was it. I had no dreams of how I wanted to live my life (none that were realistic, anyway). And there was, throughout college, no idea of how to get from point A to point B. In fact, I was so focused on getting out of college that I graduated without the barest hint of an internship or career in journalism.

Granted, college was one of what I'll call my depression 'peaks', but I totally flaked on my own future. Was it just stupid laziness, or was it depression? I don't know how to tell the difference.

The thing I'm having the most trouble with now is networking. Back in June, prior to Monopalooza, I was able to go to two networking events even though talking to strangers without context is hard work for me. Since then, though, I haven't had the energy for socializing. Is it the mono? Laziness? Or, am I still depressed even after years of therapy and medication? Or...Oooh! New Thought! Or, is my lack of ambition something that's been leading to my depression all these years?

Crap. I could stand to go back to therapy, couldn't I?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Music Monday: Mono Is Kicking My Ass

Well, y'all it's been a chilly, grey, rainy day (totally unlike the photo) and my Monopalooza has clearly turned into something much more evil. I've now been sick (That's me being gentle so you folks don't have to think about me being trapped in the bathroom for three hours at a time...Oops...) three times in about a month. The last two incidents happened yesterday *yowza* and this morning *egad* when I was this close to getting my assignment done super early.

As much as I hate to go back to the doctor two months after getting my mono diagnosis, I am obviously not well. Who knows, maybe she can give me something to settle my stomach, or at least give me some ideas for natural, at-home remedies I can use.

In much better news? The Cardinals are headed to the World Series! We got enough free lunch this Sunday to feed both HUBS and myself! We wet to church again! I made peanut butter cookies with chocolate and peanut butter chips, ate four of them and didn't throw them up!

Now! On to the music! I'm still on an oldie kick, so enjoy the past, lovelies!*

*It's possible I've used one exclamation point too many.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pardon My Dust...

I'm taking a teensy blog break to straighten up some things around the old blogging homestead and make some cool additions.

I know! You came here for entertainment, so...How about watching Tom Hanks' son sing in a music video? He's actually not bad! Though, I do see why folks are making fun a bit.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Music Monday: Why Waste Time?

I could write scores about our exciting weekend of sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, going to IHOP, sleeping, sleeping, taking PT to Bandana's for her birthday and then sleeping some more. But, you'd likely feel just as enthused about that as Miller looks in the above photo. I know you'd rather just get straight to the tunes. Here we go!

Does anyone else think Taraji P. Henson looks like her?

Friday, October 07, 2011

Happy Friday: Except For The Part Where I'm Irritated


I was puttering along just fine a few hours ago: I'd sent out some networking letters, made a list of things to get done and signed up for some networking events. Then, about an hour ago, I tried to make calls to set up interviews for next week's stories. Every time I placed a call it cut off as soon as someone picked up the phone.

I have now tried each restaurant twice and HUBS three times at two different numbers. He's also called me a couple of times, and there is only one conclusion I can come to: SUDDENLY, MY PHONE NO WORKY. Gah!

It's amazing how fast I went from being fine to feeling cutoff from the world and unable to concentrate on the tasks at hand. What's killing me is that my phone was fine yesterday, and I had meant to make my interview calls then, but got lazy and waited until today. Dammit! My fuck up + technological woes = LOTS OF FUCKING CURSING!

Let's move on to some interesting things online, shall we?

1) Ok, winos, whatever you need to do.

2) I'm not crazy about Charlize, but this trailer has me intrigued.

3) Speaking of trailers, Beavis and Butt-head, anyone?

4) Enjoy a little bit of life advice from writer Anne Lamott.

5) I'm all about the trailers today! You will never love Elmo more than you will after watching this.

6) If you enjoy the Diablo Cody, Red Band Trailer should float your boat.

That should hold you for the weekend. I hope all your cell phones are working as planned! Good day, my lovelies!!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Citygirl Bites! Smashburger

HUBS and I have been having what I'm going to call mono flashbacks this week, and Lord knows the last thing you want to do when you're headache-ridden, weak and racked with dizzy spells is...Stand. So, cooking anything major is out for a few days.

I drove us out to Smashburger for lunch today. It just opened a few months ago and still has that new restaurant feeling inside. The first thing we noticed? Their little corner of the strip mall smelled amazing as soon as we opened the car doors. That's always an impressive sign of quality, I must say.

The small (1/4 pound) Spicy Baja Smash with sweet potato smashfries and chili was my choice. It was topped with guacamole (which I passed on to HUBS), lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and spicy chipotle mayo on a chipotle bun. What else can I say about it...Oh, yeah. GOOD! Juicy and spicy without being killer, meaty and crunchy and really just perfect.

The fries were covered with rosemary, olive oil and garlic, which was a nice change from your traditional cinnamon-sugar topped sweet potato fries. There was a lot of nice crispness in that basket, too. Yummy (said with guttural growl).

Their Angus chili was truly some of the best I've had. They laced it with onions, jalapenos and cheddar cheese. It was really meaty, which usually gets on my nerves, but the sauce was so good I just wanted to suck the whole thing down. My only gripe is that I wish they'd chopped the jalapenos so I could have skipped that step while eating.

HUBS enjoyed this production, which is a St. Louis Big Smash with chili cheese fries. His burger was on a nice pretzel bun (good, though it didn't taste as pretzely as some of the other pretzel breads I've had) with grilled onions, sweet peppers and garlic mushrooms, and provel cheese. He, of course, loved it. And, in case you're wondering, the standard fries are great as well.

I can absolutely see us going back; it's about a 20 minute drive away but it's worth it. Yea! New food!

What new food have you enjoyed lately?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Clearly, I'm Worried About My Boobs


Isn't it funny how our minds work? For the past couple of weeks I've been having a very brief recurring dream: I'm right out of the shower and looking down at my breasts. They are pitiful. Completely deflated, lying flat against my chest and as droopy as the day is long. It's a short, unattractive sight...And then the dream is over.

I just had the dream again last night, and I have to say, I had no idea I was worried enough about my boobies to have dreams about them. A quick Google of "sagging breast dreams" turned up meanings that made no sense for my life at all.

Is it possible I just need to do more wall push-ups and wear sturdier bras during my down time? It's. Possible.

What do you keep dreaming about that you didn't realize was that big of a deal to you?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Music Monday: Ahh...Fall!

Unless you slept through the weekend you know that we've hit October. That's right, friends! Now is the season of changing leaf colors, warm and gooey comfort foods, and holiday planning. We've only got about a month until we turn the clocks back one hour and night falls when most of us are heading home from work for the day.

HUBS and I had yet another EXPANSION weekend. I actually cooked our big weekend meal on Saturday morning, something I'd never, ever done before. Usually I wait until the last possible moment of Sunday evening to do any major cooking. This time, though, I'd been putting off the prep work of chicken and dumplings for about four days. I like cooking, but honestly? Whenever it involves a lot of cleaning and chopping of veggies or the handling of massive amounts of raw meat I always hesitate.

When I woke up Saturday I had the distinct feeling that if I waited any longer to make this dish, I'd end up not doing it until all the veggies I'd bought for it had gone south. And who wants to waste food? So I bit that bullet, scrubbed, chopped and boiled my little heart out. Our Sunday dinner was done by 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

I got the recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Mad Hungry, and it's really rather simple:

Chicken & Dumplings (adapted from Mad Hungry)

1 3 to 4 lb whole chicken (neck and giblets removed)
Half bag Baby Carrots
3 Small/Medium Turnips
2 stalks Celery
1 half Onion
3 Green Onions
3 Parsnips
5 or 6 springs fresh Parsley
Salt, Pepper & Sage


1 cup Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt
3/4 cup Milk
2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Chop the veggies coarsely, except for the baby carrots which you leave whole, then put the first set of ingredients in a big pot and barely cover with water. Bring it to boiling and turn it down to a simmer and cover. The recipe said to leave it for 50 minutes, but I cooked mine for about two hours to make sure and it still turned out juicy.

Take out the chicken and veggies and when the chicken has cooled enough, take the meat off the bone and shred it.

To make the dumplings combine the dry ingredients and add the wet ones. Drop the dough by tablespoons into the simmering broth, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. When the dumplings are done, put the veggies and shredded chicken back in and viola! You've got chicken and dumplings.

I made the mistake of stirring the pot after putting my veggies/chicken back in and the dumplings, though done, all fell apart except for one. It just served to thicken the broth and was still tasty. Serve with your shredded cheese of choice and either hot sauce or soy sauce (really, HUBS liked the soy).

We also we to church for the first time in about a year and a half on Sunday. HUBS and I have been looking for a church that's modern, but doesn't try too hard to be hip. This church has only been open since August, but the group seems nice and the only knock against the minister is that he said (I kid not) "Peace Out!" when he wrapped up the service. I can still see myself going back, but HUBS isn't sure yet.

Now, enjoy some churchy, comfort foodie sounds!


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