Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Holiday

I used to think it was cute and cheeky how the British use the word "holiday" instead of "vacation."  Oh, those Brits.  After the past week and a half or so though I might be starting to catch their drift.  A vacation can actually start feeling like a holiday very quickly.

Just the other weekend I had the great pleasure to have a weekend away in San Francisco where my dear friend Margaret recently moved to.  From the moment of buying my ticket on a Southwest fare sale the month prior, the anticipation built.  Eventually it soon became the eve before, and if it weren't for the spa night I had treated myself to in honor of Valentine's Day, I'm not sure if I would have caught a wink of sleep.  Not necessarily because my level of excitement was so high, as much as I was in a state of utter confusion over what to pack for the temperatures.  Nothing is more confusing than the range of 50s to low 70s Fahrenheit in just a weekend's time.  Scarves?  Jackets?  Tights?  Was more less or less more?  It was California after all.  Again, thankfully the massage (and facial) had wound me down...

The state of disarray that was my luggage did turn out to be the lone symbol of stability of that weekend.  I say that because all it did was sit.  My friends and I on the other hand did anything but.  We tackled the busy crowds at the market.  We waited in lines for just one cup of coffee (okay actually that was just me).  We dined on oysters and artisan sandwiches.  Sipped on craft cocktails and wine.  Climbed the steepest of hills.  Then we had to have a driver take us to Napa so we could tour wineries and have a gourmet lunch complete wines.  Oh, and the shopping.  The things we had to go through to enjoy such a lovely city. Of course I don't even have to mention the fact that we all had to deal with each other for the entire course of it.  It was simply exhausting.

A lot of work goes into holidays.  You scour the sales and put in weeks of preparation in finding just the right things and making sure the packaging is just perfect-or at least shows as little distress as possible.  Crowds are fought and lines waited out, but all in the good name of friendly faces and holiday cheer.  Sometimes you find yourself in a squabble, though only for a good meal and more help from the wine, to turn it into a fit of giggles.

The most exhausting part of any holiday though is when you sit down.  Everything before that moment you were just having a blast, even with the squabbles.  The minute you sit down though you realize your aches, pains, and general mental fatigue.  Then you get right to thinking about your next joyful holiday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Guest of honor: How to party properly at your next wedding

Last year, the manpanion and I partied in various stages of excess at nearly a dozen weddings. Drawing on our shared expertise, I wrote a column on what we've learned when it comes to wedding etiquette for a local digital magazine:

I’ve found that many questions of etiquette and expectation can be determined by your relationship to the couple. A close childhood friend, for example, has a little more leeway than say, an acquaintance from the office. But an old classmate might have less wiggle room than a long-suffering sibling who’s finally able to blow off the frustrations of 15 months of DIY wedding crafts.

What follows is a breakdown — from experience — of what’s acceptable wedding behavior based on the degrees of separation between you, the guest, and the adoring couple:

Wedding party: You helped plan the party, or at least execute it. You’ve devoted considerable hours and funds to toasting the happy couple, so you’re permitted to shed your shoes and your inhibitions. Just keep pace with the rest of the ‘maids and ‘men and don’t abuse the party bus.
Read the rest over at CultureMap Houston and let me know if we're more dream guest or hot mess. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy {Girls Getaway} Weekend!

Few things make you feel better than the knowledge that will you be getting the heck out of dodge.  If you can't make it somewhere lovely, as say, San Francisco just you know, makeshift it.  This is what Target is for.

Here's to hoping that the wine is overflowing and the laugh keeps on coming for you this weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's One Of Those...

So this is one of those kind of posts.  You know, the "do better" type.  Today is the first day of the Lenten season.  What this means is that a second chance exists for all wannabe-Catholics to make good on their New Year's Resolutions.  And let's be real here.  Any Catholic [that I know] is a wannabe-Catholic, as little to none of us fit in the actual "protocol" of the Catechism.  Being that I tend to be of type-A personality, I still try very hard [at times] to fit in the role of model disciple.

This business of "giving something up" though has always baffled me.  The theme of Lent is "sacrifice," true.  However, if you look at the story, and I mean in the most simplistic of ways, it's about sacrifice for others.  In Lents gone by I have given up biting my nails.  While my nails now may be perfectly manicured every two weeks (during ideal seasonal climates), I am not sure this made a darn bit of impact in anyone else's life.  [However, if anyone is looking for a good nail shop in the Greater Chicago and St. Louis areas, or would like a polish suggestion, please do not hesitate to stop and ask me.]  The thing is though, giving up something for the betterment of yourself just seems so...uninspired.  You really think giving up sweets is going to help you?  I don't.  If it weren't for the chocolate frosted donut(s) sitting in front of me today I would have lost my marbles.  And if I hadn't had it(them) no one's day would have been better or worse for it.

Today I felt like actually challenging myself.  What do I actually over-indulge in that affects my ego-sphere?  Wine?  Sushi?  Retail?  That just sounds like a fabulous night in, and separately they are all completely harmless.  For the most part.  Now talking that is something that I enjoy, but that I can tend to take too far in the wrong direction.  And unfortunately that other direction is always in someone else's way.  So what if i just stopped trying to go that way?  That route of vocalizing here and there some tarnished comment about someone else?  It's so reflexive sometimes, but in the same jagged way as always grabbing a chocolate from the candy dish even when you're full.

I like to keep things moving, always.  That doesn't mean things don't deserve a second or two to sit on. This Lenten season I am really going to try and not vocalize anything negative about anyone.  Since I am not perfect (and again, believe me, I try VERY hard to be) I will inevitably leave behind some remarks.  Hopefully I will be able to recognize that, and for every one had I will donate $1 to The Bully  Project.

By the way, this isn't a "religion" thing.  It's a "people" thing.  Sometimes it's just nice to have a reminder.

As always, be well.

Note:  At the very minimum a $100 guaranteed donation will be made to The Bully Project.

{Image via Pinterest}

Monday, February 11, 2013

Party Crashers

In case you've been exploring the great outdoors (and let's be honest, you haven't), we're in full blown awards season.  The races are tight, and the guest lists seem to be surprisingly open.  While many celebs are a welcome treat to every evening, quite a few posers exist among the likes of Nicholson, Julia, and Clinton (Hil or Bill).  This awards season more than any other it seems two in particular have canoodled climbed their way to the top of all the big red carpet evenings.

Here's to hoping these faces don't turn up at "The Big Show":

Taylor Swift

Really, it's getting to the point where I almost feel bad for the Kennedy-robbing lost little girl.  And by "little girl," I mean seriously act your age (ahem, 22) not your upper arm's width size.  That includes knowing you will end up as another meme on the Internet after every big night.  So just sit, and...

 Jennifer Lopez

And it is definitely not you, J. Lo.  Class is one thing that Beyonce has that you will never have.  Ellen too for that matter.  The only thing that you proved last night in that awful window fixture you donned is that this is why we no longer see you nominated at these shows.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy {Why Not} Weekend!

Why not order a big new flashy Kate Spade ring...on sale?

Why not just stay in every free minute and watch Homeland?

Why not eat sushi for most dinners?

Why not suggest $275 per head meals to your friends?

Why not listen to The Judds?

And why not just take some leaps.  Have a crazy weekend, kids!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happy {Wild} February!

It's that month when the crazy starts coming out a little bit.  Winter blues have you run down, and Valentine's Day is smack dab in the middle of it all.  Oh, and don't forget Mardi Gras.  Making sure to set the correct tone for the month I have decided to spend Super Bowl Sunday in with a sushi feast.  Go wild!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Going Gaga

This week, my boyfriend got last-minute tickets to see Lady Gaga at the Toyota Center.

Although every fiber in my being compelled me toward ripped fishnets, hot pants, sparkle and faux bodily deformation (it's this which separates Gaga from Ke$ha, in the pop star rolodex of my mind), I had to show some restraint.

The tickets came courtesy of an engineer at The Boyfriend's firm. We'd be in a company suite, amongst associates of the professional sort. I had questions. Questions like: How much glitter is too much glitter? How much pants is too little pants? And on the sliding scale between vigorous and suggestive dancing, where to Naomi Campbell walk, Naomi Campbell walk the line?

In the end I hit up Forever 21 (at 26) for something shiny but with appropriate cover. Turns out I needn't have worried: If there is such a thing as too much self-love, Lady Gaga fans have it. There is a lot of self acceptance in the room, and not a lot of shame. Compared to the other attendees — some of whom were in caution tape-as-pasties, others in full light-up body cages, and all in an array of body types — I wouldn't have made an eye bat, much less a jaw drop.

If the fans weren't distracting enough, there was Gaga herself. Proclaiming herself ruler of all for having birthed the audience via her "mother monster pussy," crawling out of an inflatable womb (complete with spread-eagle legs) and delivering, in turns, disarmingly genuine thanks and speeches that were as utterly nonsensical as they were bizarre.

"I wouldn't be here today without you." Makes sense enough.

"You are me." Wait, what?

"I am you." How... would that be possible. You just said I was you. WHO AM I

"Thank you. You're welcome." I... don't have a polite response for this. You've used them all.

Even if Gaga's mother monster/alien super-race rebellion message didn't stick, her near-constant IDGAF proclamations may have rubbed off a little.

Where everyday workday annoyances might have gotten to me pre-Gaga, on this fine Friday I was feeling a little less this

And a little more this