Saturday, October 30, 2010
I shall make my weekly "triumphant" (aka lazy) return to blogging with another round of Product Picks-n-Pans.

Josie Maran Argan Oil

Honestly? This stuff does all the things it promises and more. Do I remember to whip it out when I need a cuticle softener? NO. Do I think of it when dealing with split ends and flyaways? NOPE. It's a fabulous product, it's natural, and it's good for your skin. But if you can't remember you have it when you need it, what's the point? I don't know, but I know that I love it. PICK

PocketBac Deep Cleansing Hand Gel

I am getting older. It's true. We all are, if you think about it, so when my mom put this in my Christmas stocking, I was inappropriately excited to get it. Not because I think antibacterial products are exciting, but because it's unscented - and it's from Bath & Body Works. Allow me to pause while you wrap your brain around that combination. Yes, it might be the ONLY thing in the entire BBW product line that doesn't stink to high heaven. And while I once loved BBW more than I am comfortable admitting on this website, those days are pretty much over. This product goes on and works quickly - no stink, no stickiness, no nonsense. PICK

Body Shop Tea Tree Oil

This stuff is amazing on blemishes. Tea Tree Oil is one of nature's most effective astringents - and without sounding like an obnoxious hippie, I appreciate the Body Shop's policies on community and fair trade products. I dab this onto any blemishes with a cotton swab, go to bed, and wake up to clearer skin. Word of warning: Tea Tree Oil has an unpleasant odor - it's very sharp and a bit sour. It fades, but MAN can that be a romance killer. I'm just sayin. Despite the stench? PICK

Style Saturday
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Welcome to the first edition of STYLE SATURDAY, the newest feature to this blog. I've decided that lifestyle blogs drive me crazy (and yet, I still read them, discuss my hypocrisy amongst yourselves)...I mean, they're sort of out of control. Do any of you actually know someone that is so obsessed with design and decor that they could drive unique, photographed, online content to the tune of 6-10 postings a week? Do you?! I don't, due directly to the fact that the people in my life have JOBS and FAMILIES and don't have TIME to post about how they trimmed out that Edsel bumper they found last weekend in a junkyard into a wall mantel that is now trimmed with organic gourds and raffia in autumnal shades.

I mean, really. REALLY?

So here it is: the inaugural installment of my own lifestyle section, Style Saturday. This week, we're going medieval on you.

Medieval Times, that is.

A month or so ago, my parents (who while not exactly wacky or spontaneous are rather fun-loving) decided that they would make good on a promise to my niece and nephew to attend a show at Medieval Times. And so ensued our evening experience with what I consider to be the weirdest dinner theatre in the entire world, replete with the smell of horse poop and *just enough* theatrical lighting to frighten children under the age of 8.

The economy is alive and well...inside the great hall of your local Medieval Times, that is.

Thing the first: Medieval Times is interactive. It's so sensory that I almost wonder if it's a bad place for epileptics and people on the autistic spectrum to hang out. (No judgment, just a thought) They give you crowns and streamers to use in cheering on your knight in battle, and there is no silverware and you are forced to eat with your hands. To wit: my entree -

Apparently there were no medieval vegetarians?

Thing the Second: the seating assignment is random - where you're seated determines your loyalty to a certain knight-slash-wannabe-actor-with-gross-long-hair. We cheered on the red/gold knight, who looked suspiciously feminine. (As it turns out, he's a HE - I checked after the show at the autograph signing table (by LOOKING AT HIM, not whatever you gutterbrains were just thinking, oh HEY HI MOM - the fey appearance comes from his extreme youth. I would be surprised if he was legal to drink) He lost in the second battle, but not after using all the tools in his disposal, which included a giant spear, something metal and spiky on a chain, and this other thing that I'm still having nightmares about.

Speaking of booze, they have it there. THANK GOD. You can get your medieval margarita in a pimped out glass, if you want:

Not surprisingly, I opted for the hologram cup 'o Bud Light. What can I say? I'm a renaissance woman.

Nothing is more chic than getting dressed in whatever was clean that morning, and donning a flimsy, hair-flattening paper crown.

What's most stylish of all, really, is quality time spent with my family - medieval in nature, or not. Spend some time styling it up with YOUR family this week, and enjoy. (with or without ye olde Heineken)

In Which I am Characterized by Repeating Unpleasant Events
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
There is the small matter of that half marathon that I ran with Sean a couple weeks back. I'm not sure I can do it justice (the good kind) in such a quick post, but I can share one strong memory of the event with you. My iPod nano (which I hastily procured prior to the event b/c running with my Touch seemed annoying despite the fact that I've done it numerous times, and which prompted me to have to upgrade to Snow Leopard the night before we left omg stabby stabby evening) nearly crapped out on me in the middle of the race. I'd never run without music before - I consider it necessary for any race - and the prospect of running without it left me cold. So I stopped waking up the nano to switch songs, and just let it play itself out.

That was right before I realized that the shuffle feature was not enabled. Seriously?! Stupid new nano. It was, admittedly, a hasty oversight on my part - in starting up my Nike+ workout, I must have neglected to turn the shuffle feature on within my new "Disney Half Marathon" playlist. As a result, my half-marathon consisted of every song I had from A to roughly K.

It was weird and distracting - even though, by the end of the race, I was laughing at Elton John popping up where I would normally need Rihanna, it could have been better. Argh. So instead of listing all the random crap I had to endure, I'll give you my top 25 songs to run to:

(in alphabetical order, OF COURSE)

Eat the Rich - Aerosmith
Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo) - B.o.B.
She's No Good (feat. Eli "Paperboy" Reed) - Basement Jaxx
Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
Break Ya Neck - Busta Rhymes
The City is at War - Cobra Starship
Fresh - Devo
'Til I Collapse - Eminem / Nate Dogg
Freak (feat. Kardinal Offishall) - Estelle
Jesus or a Gun - Fuel
Get Involved (feat. Timbaland & Missy Elliott) - Ginuwine
Sexy! No No No - Girls Aloud
Vacation - The Go-Go's
Tightrope (w/Big Boi) - Janelle Monae
Give a Little More - Maroon 5
Heartbreaker (feat. John Legend) - MSTRKRFT
Gifted (feat. Kanye West, Santogold, Lykke Li) - N.A.S.A.
Super Freak - Rick James
Filthy Gorgeous (Original Radio Mix) - Scissor Sisters
Talking in Your Sleep - Space Cowboy
Feel It Now - Tonic
Giving Up the Gun - Vampire Weekend
Panama - Van Halen
Blue Orchid - White Stripes
Check It Out - will.i.am & Nicki Minaj (ed. note: Buggles sample FTW!)

I rounded out the half-marathon with my new favorite song, a rediscovery of sorts, "Can You Feel It" by the Jacksons. I don't care who you, where you come from, or what your age is - if this song doesn't make you feel like you conquer the damn world, then your heart is made of stone. It's only a matter of time until someone huge in the hip-hop world smartens up and uses this as the sample track behind their newest song. Nerdy as it might sound, this song literally sends goosebumps down my spine. That's why I'm naming this song as the 26th on the list - the best song to which a person can cross a finish line. Running.

As it Turns Out, You CAN Buy Happiness
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Happiness can be found virtually anywhere, so why do we spend so many of our waking hours complaining, grousing, or otherwise unsatisfied with ourselves? Given that my last entry was a tad...erm...heavy, I committed to opening my eyes a little wider over the past week.

I have spent the last several days staying in our family's condo downtown - a small, casual nest located 31 floors above the city. It's been a welcome reminder of both why I love living downtown (and resultingly, miss my condo), and why I left the city (parking and crowds). Plus, high-rise living is inherently novel: sleeping in a glass box with the city outside is much like camping under the stars. I do so love it here.

Tonight, I had no special place to go after a post-work appointment so I hit State Street. Official story? I need a dress for the company holiday party. But I think we all know that I have at least 4 dresses that would work, and do I really need to spend that money unnecessarily? NO. So instead of diving head first into the petites section, I spent an hour aimlessly wandering through my favorite place in the city: the bookstore.

It was unexpected, unhurried, and unbelievably lovely. It was! It was LOVELY. Nowhere to go, no one to answer to, nothing to do but ponder the purchase of a running-related hardback and have an internal debate about whether or not to spend $24.95 on something Sean is likely to buy eventually on his e-Reader anyhow. So I spent about half what I would have on a party dress, and walked out with some holiday gifts and treats for me:

If I am Missing or Dead
In Defense Of Food
The Power of Giving
On Gratitude
A Gate at the Stairs
Then We Came to the End

And now? Now my only problem is deciding which one to read first - which in my book is an embarassment of riches. Best. Tuesday. Ever.

(Please Don't Really) Send In the Clowns
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Just got off the treadmill, and as it turns out I AM STILL OVERWEIGHT. Despite my wishes, a 3.3 mile run/walk session did not (a) eliminate all my cellulite, (b) make my pants look any better, or (c) make my ankles skinnier. Ah well. Someone once told me that regular exercise and a healthy diet are the key to weight loss. I'll have to look into that.

I've been thinking a lot about myself lately (shocker!) but not in the normal, vain, woe-is-me-and-my-first-world-problems way. Someone recently told me that I am mean when I've had too much to drink. The B word may have been tossed in there, too, and while I assure you this was said in the most straightforward, diplomatic way possible, it was still said. And it still hurt my feelings. Because, on occasion, I suppose it's true. The sting has, for the most part, worn off now but the message is stuck like glue to the inside of my brain.

So imagine my arched eyebrow when I read Moose's inspiring post which was derived in spirit from this post by Brene Brown. Sometimes it's good to remember that not everything is perfect, and that despite our inadequacies and faults, life will shake out just fine. I need to remember this more often.

So here's mine - the good and the bad:

I'm not entirely sure I'm doing the best I can. And I'm not entirely sure I care.

Sometimes, I drink too much. Not often, and before you ask, no - I'm not concerned about it, but it is a hard fact - and one that probably isn't helping the whole weight loss thing.

People compliment me on my skin and hair.

Everything I'm thinking shows up on my face. I can help it sometimes, and I do try (when appropriate) to remain discreet. But mostly I just let it fly. I'd rather be remembered/appreciated for being genuine than for being polite.

I'm judgmental and critical, most often of myself.

I can make almost anyone laugh.

I am afraid that if I slow down too much, I'll never get going again.

The phrase "if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life" is annoying to me - not just because I find platitudes like this convenient and cloying, but also because I'm jealous that can't say I've ever done what I loved for a living.

Saying no is not easy for me, but as life gets more complicated, I'm learning.

I am relatively well-traveled for my age.

I am concerned that if I don't start soon, I won't be able to have children.

Jobs that I used to dream of having are: ballerina, morning radio DJ, high school english teacher, professional organizer, life coach. I'm sure that last one would be the best option, as I'm GREAT at giving advice to others but never applying it to my own life. Hehe.

I still harbor fantasies of moving to another state, even though I've already done that and it didn't turn out well.

Asking for help scares me.

I am jealous of my friends who got married right out of college and had their children young. I know they missed out on the things I've done and might assert the "grass is greener" response, but still. I feel like they're ahead of me somehow.

I need to remember that life is not a race, and that we are all on our own tracks.

(deep breath)

Now you can all do me a huge favor and put one of your own in the comments field - make it anonymous if you wish - just so I know I'm not the only one out here with a case of the crazies. Thanks for listening.

Friday, October 08, 2010
Dear Youth of America,

What is with the super long skateboards? Are you surfing a concrete wave? Please help me understand.

On second thought, don't.

Sincerely, Jamie


In other news, how DO you solve a problem like China? Can you send 2+ billion people to therapy for denial?