THE FAB DISASTER

just your average hot mess trying to make it in the city

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New Year, Same Me Because I’m Actually Pretty Great Already

 


Ok here we go. This is my first post of the year. And even though it’s the end of January, this makes it okay for me to still talk about things like My Plans To Instantly Become a Better Person Now That It’s 2016!

As last year came to a close, I got to thinking about New Year’s resolutions and why nobody ever keeps them. According to a 2-year-old article on Details.com (the premier source out there for sociological data/just about as far as I was willing to google) 1 in 3 people who make resolutions will give up on them by the end of January. That’s pretty depressing, since it seems to me nobody would bother to make a resolution in the first place if it wasn’t something they really wanted to do. I mean, people are really out here evaluating themselves and their lives, saying things like “you know what, I really need to get healthier,” and “this is the year I find the perfect job for me,” and “alcohol is destroying my life,” mentally committing to a change, and then four weeks later they’re hungover and eating an Egg McMuffin again on the way to their job at Stop n’ Shop.

On the one hand, this makes total sense to me. I get it – alcohol is amazing and hard to turn down, junk food is the best thing out there, and the Stop n’ Shop has surprisingly good benefits which is nothing to sneeze at, even if Donna from the bakery department is super rude to you in the break room, like, every day. And of course, there are plenty of limitations that make it harder for people to just manifest their mothafuckin’ dreams. Unhealthy food is often the cheapest, tastiest, and easiest to obtain, addictions are very real, and habits in general are difficult to just change willy nilly when you’re bogged down with So Much Life Shit. Most people can’t just quit their dumb jobs and pursue their passion of knitting cat sweaters full-time, unless they’ve somehow already tapped into the extremely niche market of people who own cats that will actually wear sweaters AND they have enough savings to sustain themselves while they crank out inventory.

Don’t even get me started on exercise. Who has $100 a month to spend on a Classpass? (And I’m not just saying this because they turned me down for a job one time – even though I don’t forgive them, and I still think I would have made a delightful customer service representative.) $100 a month for one of those passes would seriously cut into my meatball sub budget.

Sigh. Just like my fantasy Valentine’s Day vacation at an all-inclusive resort in the Cayman Islands to which I arrive by private helicopter, I guess “manifesting” is a privilege reserved for the rich.

So fine, there are obvious practical reasons why we’re not all skinny, sober Instagram fitness models who are also self-made artistic entrepreneurs with six figure incomes. But what about the emotional reasons? Many of us do have the tools to make positive changes, we’re just too lazy and mentally blocked to try. The “easiest” thing isn’t always the most practical, right?

For example, the majority of my spending money is wasted on overpriced food that is terrible for me. Name a kind of meat and I’ve probably eaten it in the last 30 days. Am I rich? Nope. It’s just a dumb thing I’ve been doing because it makes me feel good. Also, I have a gym in my building. It’s free, and I still don’t really go that often. My boyfriend pays for a gym membership even though we have one here, just to create a feeling of guilt that forces him to work out. I know lots of people who do this, actually. And it really works. The brain is on some other shit.

So when it came time to make resolutions for myself, I didn’t really want to do it. I was worried that, like most people, I’d bite off more than I could chew and eventually I’d just give up.

Still, I had things I wanted to do. Eat better, get in shape, write more, save money, film a web series, form an improv team, maybe even make some money from my writing? These things aren’t all that complicated, they just require focus, dedication, drive, guts…which, paradoxically, are really hard to constantly maintain when you’re tired from working and hungry from dieting. I could create a rigid meal plan and a schedule for my writing, but it’s not going to make it any more emotionally appealing after a hard day at my office job where I was literally thinking about eggplant parmesan for 8 straight hours.

That’s when I realized I was forgetting something crucial…I never congratulated myself for my successes in 2015! How can I be expected to be motivated to improve if all I’m doing is critiquing myself? If you’re trying to teach a dog to roll over, for example, and all you do is yell at him when he doesn’t roll over, he’s not going to learn the trick. He’ll just be afraid of you, and thinking “Man, where the heck are the Beggin’ Strips? This dude is a major A-hole, and my feelings are hurt.”

I recently watched the documentary Trophy Kids, about parents who push their kids to be the best at sports to the point of emotionally abusing them. All of these kids were ranked highly in their respective sports, but the parents would always find something to yell at them about. And the kids ended up resenting them for it – go figure! I don’t exactly know what this is like, because my parents are ridiculously supportive of me even though I’ve nearly always been a piece of shit. But I’m hard on myself, which most of the time just makes things worse. My dad has been trying to get me out of my own head since I was a kid. He tried everything from introducing me to meditation to playing “Don’t Worry Be Happy” on the way to my school in the morning. But I would still beat myself up over every mistake and inadequacy, and to this day I find it hard to shake off that mentality.

It’s a misconception that perfectionists and self-critical people are always overachieving. I can say from my own experience that fear of failure has, in some way, slowed me in pursuing nearly every goal I’ve ever had. Sometimes it would prevent me from turning papers in on time. Sometimes it stops me from initiating improv scenes. Currently, it’s holding me back from pursuing a full-time writing career. To get somewhere, you have to encourage yourself. Doubt and negativity are the enemies of success. It’s corny, but it makes sense. Why else would there be so many internet trolls?


Source: Singapore2003

Fighting your fears is a lifelong process. I’m never going to wake up one day and be afraid of absolutely nothing. Or maybe I will when I’m 150, and that will be the day I die. That would be a sick way to go out. #deathgoals. But I’ve realized that if I don’t take the time to recognize my successes, appreciate them, and congratulate myself for them, I’m never going to be truly motivated to be even better at life. After all, if I can’t be proud of myself, what is the point of any of this? Will anything ever make me happy? Where the F*CK are the Beggin’ Strips??!

So, this is just a reminder as you navigate the rest of this year to be kind to yourself. You’ve done great so far. Take a minute to look at yourself from the eyes of a younger you. I bet the 14 year old version of yourself would be beyond impressed by where you are today. And if not, you can at least be glad that you’re alive and breathing, and you’ve got time to turn things around. If you get your headspace right, then you can focus on the work. And that’s when the change will come.

And I should know. I’ve been to rock bottom. I have a timeshare there.

To get us started, here is my favorite song about self love from the past year 💖💖 Enjoy!

Mom Blogger Pie


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Disaster Chef: If I Made A Damn Pumpkin Pie Then You Definitely Can Too

Mom Blogger Pie

As some of you know, I low-key aspire to be a Mom Blogger and frequently exhibit traits of this particular breed of human (besides, you know, having human kids)  – sometimes ironically, sometimes not.

After spending the years from 2006 to 2013 drinking my weight in malt liquor, missing my alarm in the morning, ignoring my goals, messing around with drugs, encouraging my own body dysmorphia, smoking, willfully participating in shitty relationships, and eating beans out of cans, I DISCOVERED, as it turns out, that I actually need, enjoy, and thrive on the following things:

  • A clean home with some nice items in it
  • Food that doesn’t come from the bodega
  • A full time job with benefits
  • A solid relationship with a person who also has a good job and a very minimal set of issues
  • Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night
  • Doing things that are healthy for my spirit, such as ignoring the haters, having a positive body image, focusing on my dreams & using my time wisely.
  • Enjoying substantial quantities of top to second-from-top shelf vodka only one or two days a week.

Now, I am not saying I regret the past, nor am I trying to tell anyone how to live. I am a sex-positive person who respects personal choice and unique lifestyles and bucking the status quo when you feel like it. I’ve definitely made some questionable decisions in the name of exploring myself, my needs, and this crazy-ass world we live in. I encourage anyone to do the same.

That being said, I also feel like much of my early twenties were spent saying to myself “Why am I putting myself in these situations? How do I stop feeling this way? Poor me, and also, I am the worst,” when what I really should have done was break up with whoever-the-fuck, get off the internet, and get a damn job.

I think some people were surprised when I started adjusting my priorities. Maybe it was a letdown, because I wasn’t going out and peeing between parked cars with them every night. But there were a few things motivating me. The first is, I had found a respectful, funny, trustworthyunaggressive, and down-to-earth man who loved me. And after dating every make and model of loser imaginable, I was not about to fuck that up with bad decisions. The second is that I was getting older, and past a certain age it’s hard to make messy look cute. I’ve talked about this before. I never was the kind of person who could stay out until 4am, still make it to work the next day and NOT want to throw myself out of a ten-story window. I was just like, “I want to be happy and stop feeling guilty all the time for being fucking irresponsible.” So I’ve been working on this for the last year or so.

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The start of every Childless Mom Lifestyle: getting your first pair of Uggs

This is one of the reasons I love being a domestic goddess from time to time. Just like in high school when that girl Rebecca told people she was shocked we got into the same college because she thought I was dumb (don’t think I forgot), I take pleasure in doing things well that are not expected of me, or that I don’t expect of myself. A self-fulfilling prophecy will get you every time. I also like providing nourishment for others and cultivating a comfortable environment for the people I love, having grown to understand the significance of those things in my own life.

So that’s where the pie comes in.

You see, I’ve been in the dating game for about ten years, and out of all twenty of my boyfriends I think maybe three of their moms have actually liked me. It’s just always been this way. I guess I took a couple virginities when I was younger and I was never churchy or blonde, but I wasn’t a bad person, so I don’t know what their damage was specifically. But they sure had damage. In tenth grade one mother actually referred to me as “the spawn of Satan.” I was fifteen – I hadn’t even done anything awesome yet! High school was rough for me.

Given my past experience, when my adorable current boyfriend invited me to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving I was pretty nervous. I’ve never been to a guy’s family home for a major holiday before, and I wanted to make a good impression. A GREAT impression. The kind of impression that makes them happy that I live with their son. I’m not a master chef, but I do have some basic skills and the even the ability to improvise from time to time. Last year around Christmas I brought over a card and some homemade body scrub (which was kind of a flop but they were nice about it) and these Oreo cheesecake cookies I made from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Those were divine (I’m the kind of person who says divine now) so I decided to go back to the source.

If you haven’t accepted it already, Pinterest is the shit. It just is. It’s my guidebook for cleaning my act up. Even though they DO have some heinous DIY shabby chic country sorority bullshit on there, I also feel like I’m in control over my home, my body and my mind when I’m on that app. It makes adult life possible for a ne’er do well, and you can imagine how useful that is for me.

Follow me on Pinterest here! Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 12.42.04 PM

So naturally, I turned to Pinterest when it came time to prep for Thanksgiving. I knew I wanted to make a pumpkin pie, because it’s not Thanksgiving without one. And I’m all about doing holidays right. Plus, it’s a southern staple, so I figured it would be a nice addition to their Long Island spread.

I’m not sure why I decided I needed to make the pie “from scratch,” since I’ve never done that before in my life. I was raised in a household where store-bought pie crust and filling from a can is quite fancy enough. Hell, a pre-made pie would be just fine. And James’ parents aren’t snooty either. I guess it was just one of those situations where I was being a teacher’s pet (his mom is a teacher, no pun intended though) doing extra credit even when I already had an easy A. Plus, holidays are just ridiculously important to me. I’m the girl you’ll find frantically buying packs of hot dogs on the 4th of July, dragging my friends to Central Park on a cloudy Memorial Day or flipping out about a serious lack of margarita mix on Cinco de Mayo. To put it simply, I need to chill.

Regardless, there I was in the Union Square Whole Foods two days before Thanksgiving, zigzagging between rich hipsters and trying to find nutmeg. Of course there was none, presumably because every damn Thanksgiving recipe calls for it, so I settled for this thing called “Pumpkin Pie Spice,” a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. I picked up a pie pumpkin, threw it in my tote and prayed that that day was not the day that I finally get pushed down the stairs boarding the L train, because it would have been a shame to squash that gourd (do you even see what I did there?)

I had already made a crust the night before. It was a graham cracker crust, so not made from “scratch” per se, however, it did not start out as a crust and then it became one, so I happily gave myself credit.

Making a graham cracker crust is super easy. You take 10 graham crackers (usually how many they include in a pack), crush them up, and mix it with 6 tablespoons of melted butter and 1/3 cup of sugar.

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Since I don’t have a food processor, I tried to use a regular blender to crush the crackers, which didn’t work very well. When the machine starting smelling like smoke (wtf?) I stopped and crushed the rest with a potato masher. Then I mixed in the butter and sugar (I used brown sugar because it’s what I had and it seemed just as good if not better) and pressed it into the pie plate. You can use something flat like a measuring cup to press down the center, and use your fingers around the sides.
It ended up cute and tasty looking, and I was impressed with myself. Find the full recipe for a graham cracker crust here.
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HOW CUTE, right?
Since I was going to bake the pie anyway, I didn’t need to pre-bake the crust. I just put it in the fridge overnight and came back to it the next day.
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Having made it home alive after my Whole Foods excursion, I was ready to make my pie goo. Everyone kept telling me this was the most annoying part, the most delicate process and the main reason why nobody likes making pumpkin pies from scratch. But I thought it was pretty straightforward and fun.

I got the full recipe from here. Y’all, I cannot stress the beautiful and sometimes frightening normalcy I am able to witness on these Pinterest-ass blogs. I adore them.

Essentially, you cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and the stringy stuff. Then you place each half on a cookie sheet “flesh-side down,” which I figured out means “round side up” even though I thought flesh and skin were the same thing and that the skin was on the outside…but ANYway…

Then you roast that shit at 325 for an hour. Once it’s done, you’re able to to pull the skin off the outside and just have the pumpkin mush, which you have to mash up really well. This is where I had a problem, because my blender was smelling like smoke, I don’t own a standing mixer or a food processor, soooo I just used a whisk. I whisked so hard n fast, and of course, no matter what it was still a little chunky. But I was like, “Whatever. It’s 10PM and I need to go to bed soon.”

I dumped in the rest of the ingredients, (eggs, milk, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice) and made the gorgeous barf-colored mixture pictured below.

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mmmm

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Above is what it looked like in the crust before I baked it. A little chunky, sure, but I was already like 80% done making my first pie ever, and it actually looked like a real pie!

So obviously I patted myself on the back way too early, failing to realize that one of the easiest ways to fuck up a baked good as an amateur is by burning it. I put the assembled pie in the oven at 325 and was planning to leave it in for another hour. But somewhere around 45 minutes I started smelling burning crust.

See, this is what I can’t deal with when it comes to ovens. They’re all different and confusing and none of the knobs make any damn sense, and you need to buy a fancy thermometer to actually know what the hell is going on in there. Plus, I’m always just afraid I’m going to fall in and permanently disfigure my face.

You’d think I’d be way too simple and anxious to even survive in a kitchen, but again, there I was, creatively navigating this potential disaster in my own stupid way. I unbent a paperclip to do the “toothpick trick” to figure out if the center of the pie was done. I moved it from bottom rack to top rack to bottom again. I changed the oven temperature. And eventually I just took it out, let it cool and hoped the damn thing would stop jiggling.

The next day, I carried the pie to work on the L train, placed it in the fridge with a big DO NOT EAT sign, then cradled it in my lap on the LIRR (with a can of whipped cream in my purse, of course.)

As it turns out,  James’ mother doesn’t even like pumpkin pie! This was awesome news! But it was a hit with the men of the household, and I fuckin’ loved it too, so that was enough for me. Plus, I think I mentioned once or twice that I MADE IT FROM SCRATCH, so I’m pretty sure I get some points for that with the whole fam.

The next week, as I was roasting the leftover pumpkin seeds, I started imagining myself as a mother, hosting my own family gatherings and feeding pie to my little babies. I had fantasized for about a minute when I smelled the pumpkin seeds starting to burn.

“Yeah,” I thought. “One thing at a time.” And I poured a glass of vodka.

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PS – This is the appropriate pie-to-whipped-cream ratio. Thanks.

 

 

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Stream of Consciousness of a Woman While Jeans Shopping

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I am a 26 year old woman. The following is a complete account of my thought process before, during and after I recently purchased two pairs of jeans.

At home

Shit. I really need new jeans. Ok, yes, I have a drawer full of them already. But what’s even in here? A pair of H&M low risers I bought a couple years ago that don’t fit anymore – they say they’re a size 28 but that’s a damn lie if I’ve ever heard one. Two pairs of momjeans that I made the mistake of getting tailored BEFORE Thanksgiving last year. Needless to say my butt has swollen a little since then. They still look good, don’t get me wrong, but it wouldn’t exactly be work appropriate to wear something with this much of a risk for camel toe. Another pair of H&M jeans, with the back pockets I studded in 2012 before I lost those ten pounds, stopped wearing them, and then gained the ten pounds back. I used to wear these when I worked in the dairy section of Whole Foods. They actually don’t look so bad, except that some of the studs have fallen off. I’ve been saying I’ll remove them for months now, but instead I just wear them to work with long shirts and sweaters. Why am I so lazy? I don’t even like studs anymore.

What else? The mid-rise jeans I got from the gap – now, these are a true size 28. I say that because they actually fit. Just the right amount of stretch, too. But I wear them almost every day, and they’re not exactly sexy, just average. So I only wear them to work. And every time I wash them, the little pre-distressed hole in the leg gets bigger and bigger. Soon I won’t be able to wear them anywhere.

Ok, these pants are yellow so they don’t count. And these…sigh. My American Apparel easy jeans. With the waist right up to the belly button, super stretchy…they make my butt look great. But they’re so flimsy. The fabric has worn thin and faded substantially. There’s little knick marks from where the cats have pawed at my legs. And then, oh no… There are all these little holes near the crotch where my inner thighs have rubbed together.  How have I never noticed these before? Ok, I really have to throw these away. I mean, they were 70 dollars, 70 dollars for essentially jeggings, but I’ve probably worn them a good 300 times in the last two years. Shit, maybe more. Regardless, should a pair of jeans really fall apart like that? That’s never happened to me before. Have my thighs really gotten that big, or are the pants just cheaply made? I mean, just because American Apparel is sweatshop free doesn’t mean it’s worth the money. Too bad they’re the only store I know of that actually makes jeans for my buttshape. Large and in charge. With a high enough waist that my legs don’t look too short, which they are. Ugh, I really don’t want to go jeans shopping.

At work

I wonder if people can notice that I wore these jeans yesterday. It was probably a mistake to throw out the American Apparel ones. Okay, no it wasn’t. I have a full time job. I don’t make a lot by any means, but I certainly make enough to not wear clothes with holes in them. I need to get it together. I got paid today. I’ll just look online and get a sense of my options. Okay, what’s a nice, affordable place for a girl my age to shop? Besides American Apparel. Zara? Ugh I hate Zara. Zara is the place ex-sorority girls shop when they want to look like hipsters. Where’s the place ex-party girls shop when they decide to become young professionals? Cause that’s what I need. Fine, I’ll look at Zara.

Wow! These jeans are surprisingly affordable. Stretchy looking, high-waisted. And for only 40 dollars? Maybe I shouldn’t have been so harsh. Ok, I like these; and these…but I shouldn’t buy them online. I can almost guarantee they’re gonna be sized weird. I wish they said what size the models were wearing. I could just upsize by three, okay four, and that would probably be my size. Who am I kidding, I’ve played this game before and lost every time. I’ll just go to the store this weekend.

Shopping

Ugh, my boyfriend is late to meet me at lunch, which never happens because I’m always the late one. Can’t reach him, must be a problem with the trains. This could take a while. Hmm…how close is Zara? Oh, there’s one only six blocks down Fifth Avenue! I’ll just tell him to meet me there. This way I’ll know I have a deadline and I can’t spend forever trying on  a bunch of crap. Gotta be decisive.

Damn, it’s windy today. Should have worn a scarf. Why is it taking so long to walk only six blocks? Damn tourists. Wait, is that an American Apparel? Yep. God, they’re everywhere. I am really cold. Fuck it, I’ll just go here.

No. No. No. Too expensive, too light of a wash, too similar to something I already have. Oh snap, a sale section? Let me check this shit out. 30% off? Seems like a pretty good deal. Let’s see if they have anything my size. If I remember correctly, the last time I tried on a size 28 at American Apparel I couldn’t even get them above my hips. Let’s try and avoid that trauma. Okay, dark wash jeans. 30% off. Size 29, this looks promising. They’re 90 dollars before the discount so they’ll be within my price range. That is, if they even fit.

Fitting room

Ok, moment of truth. No matter what happens, I’m not gonna hate myself. It’s not me, it’s the store. They run small. The sizing is wrong, and that’s why they’re on sale. Yeah, I can always go with that if I need to. Oh my god, they’re going over my hips! I was not expecting this! The fabric isn’t even stretchy! Ok let’s see if I can button them. I’ll suck in a bit and – nice! A little tight, a little mom-jeanish, but definitely fashionable enough to wear to work and casual occasions. Plus, when I start working out, they’ll fit perfectly. I hope these aren’t cheaply made, cause they’re final sale, and it wouldn’t be the first time my butt burst a seam. Dear god, that was mortifying. Please don’t let that happen to me again.

The party

Jesus fucking Christ I am an idiot. Why on earth did I wear my most painful heels when I CAN’T SIT DOWN IN THESE NEW JEANS? That was not a smart move. Oh look, tiny sandwiches. I wonder how many of those I can suck down before my super-high waistband snaps in half, sending the button flying through the air and into someone’s eye? I’m not even going to risk it. I don’t have insurance for that shit. Now I see why women were so skinny in the corset-wearing age. What age was that again? Maybe I should get a waist trainer. They make cute ones, I’ve seen them on Instagram. But are you supposed to wear them all day or just when you work out? Fuck it, it sounds terrible either way.

Ok, I have to leave this party, get out of these shoes, and put on sweatpants immediately.

At work

God I feel amazing today. Good thing I wore these leggings. Or I guess they are technically jeggings because they look like pants but are secretly way more awesome. You know, I really hate the word “jeggings.” Whatever happened to the term “stretch pants?” I used that word all the time in the nineties. I fuckin’ crushed stretch pants. These stretch pants I have on right now are particularly awesome because they have back pockets and a FAKE BUTTON in the front that does absolutely nothing except trick people. Plus, they’re gingham. Super cute, and work appropriate.

I honestly can’t believe it’s ok for me to wear something so comfortable. Jesus, that’s like, some internalized sexism right there. I doubt any man has ever said, “wow it’s crazy that I’m even allowed to wear this item of clothing because it doesn’t hurt, or leave a mark, or constrict my body parts or bunch up into my asscrack at ALL.” Not to mention that feeling of true SHOCK we women feel when our pants have pockets that are actually functional. A REAL woman should be physically encumbered at all times. Lol, kill me. I wish I owned cargo pants.

Hmm, if I remember correctly, Uniqlo had these STRETCH PANTS in several other sizes and colors. Perhaps a dark denim? Sounds good to me. I’d be perfectly happy never wearing a pair of real jeans again for the rest of my life. Real jeans don’t allow for the number of times my butt changes size in a given year. More importantly, real jeans don’t feel like pajamas and leave me with a pleasant surprise every time I finish peeing and realize I don’t have to zip or button anything. Real jeans are not for the busy modern woman. This is what I’ll tell myself.

In fact, I’m gonna walk to Uniqlo right frickin’ now and buy some more fake jeans.

Shopping

Okay, I don’t have much time. Break is only supposed to last an hour and I just had to walk three whole blocks down Broadway. Fucking tourists, I swear to god. Still, it’ll be good to be hurried, that way I won’t have time to talk myself out of buying more pants I really didn’t budget for.

So where are the stretch pants? This store has really rearranged a lot since the last time I was here. I bet these sales associates work their asses off. Fuckin’ retail, man. God this place is huge. I’ll probably work off a pants size trying to find a pair. Ooh, look at this fuzzy sweater! God damn it, Kat, FOCUS.

Okay! Found the motherlode. These are the exact pants I was looking for. But oh, what about these?! Actual jeans, stretchy, super dark wash, mid-rise, and $39.99? OK, I’m trying these on, too. I know I said I only wanted to wear leggings but I think these might actually make me look like I spent some money on my appearance. At 26, you have to actually fake it ’til you make it. How am I doing on time…? Oof, not so good. To the fitting room!

Fitting room

I promise no matter what happens I will not beat myself up about the shape of my thighs. Or my ass. Or the place in between I used to call my “second butt” but I realize now is just called “saddlebags.” If neither of these pairs fit, I will not stomp out of this fitting room and walk directly into the Broadway traffic, screaming. Conversely, I will also not resign myself to becoming obese and immediately pick up a burger with a side of mac n cheese and proceed to eat my feelings. Well, I might do that, but I promise to not do it because of this.

Alright, alright, the stretch pants are a good look. I think I can get away with these, maybe, after a few squats. They just make my butt look so HUGE. I’ve really got to stop tying my self worth to the shapeliness of my rear end. Really. Like, by the end of the year. This is unacceptable and it WILL NOT STAND. Ok, next pair.

I…I just…Wow. Just, wow. These are amazing. I look great. I look responsible. I look like a person who has a full-time job and used the money from that job to buy smart jeans that young professionals buy. Wait, let me cuff the bottom. YES now we’re talking. All of my wardrobe problems are solved. It’ll be so easy to get ready in the morning with these as my go-to. People will probably even respect me more! They look so much more expensive than they actually are. This is fabulous. I’m buying these right away. Wow, what a find. Go me!

At home

I literally. Have nothing. To wear.

it follows


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13 Horror Movies to Watch and Talk Shit About This Halloween

Every October it’s tradition that I attempt to watch one horror movie for every night in the month. And every year, this one included, I make it about halfway down the list. I really tried to do better, but like most people I’m limited to after-work hours and weekends, and it turns out it’s pretty hard to watch a movie every single day. I did my best.

Because I was limited what I could stream on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, find on demand, or purchase using someone else’s itunes account, not every movie I watched had excellent ratings. In my house, we’ve established a general rule is that if the rating on Rotten Tomatoes is over 70%, then the movie is worth watching. If it’s free AND we’ve heard of it, you can’t really ask for much more than that.

Here are the 13 horror movies I watched this month. Some great, some not so great, all fun to talk during.

1. The Babadook, 2014 (Rating 98%) Ok, this one is kind of cheating because technically I watched it in September when James and I were in the Catskills. If you can find one, a log cabin in the woods is the perfect setting to watch this Australian movie about an exhausted single mother and her son who are both struggling emotionally to deal with their shitty lives (and each other) so much that they become haunted by a mysterious children’s book (or is it?) This movie is a nice combo of jump scares, suspense and psychological thrills. The scariest part, though, was after the movie ended, when James woke me up in the middle of the night by saying “Baba…dook…dook…dook” in his sleep. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen to you. The Babadook is currently on Netflix

2. 28 Days Later, 2003 (Rating 87%)I first saw 28 Days Later in ninth grade and proclaimed it “the scariest movie I’d ever seen.” This wasn’t saying much as I was only 14, but it wasn’t saying nothing either as at the time I was  very much horror-obsessed. I’d pretty much been raised on the John Carpenter Halloween films and had seen every installment of the Friday the 13th franchise by the time I was 8 years old. I was even familiar with zombie movies, but they were the slow, dragging Night of the Living Dead variety and not the animalistic, spitting/growling/running faster than humanly possible breed you see in this movie. Watching it now, I’m way more desensitized to the whole zombie thing (thanks, better part of the last decade) so it hardly feels as shocking as it did at the time. But it’s still pretty darn intense. And the whole Cillian Murphy bewitching eyes/luscious lips combo doesn’t hurt either. 28 Days Later is currently on Netflix.

3. Scream, 1996 (Rating 78%)This trilogy is classic as fuck, which is why they make up three of the movies on my list. Again, they were films I hadn’t seen since the days I used to crush Blockbuster VHS. Re-watching them today, I was legitimately confused that something with so many levels of irony could have ever been parodied as much as it was. But what do you expect from the Wayans brothers, I guess? Scream is so meta that of course it’s Wes Craven, although maybe you didn’t know he was the man behind it all (I didn’t either until recently). If you haven’t watched them recently, give them a revisit. At least the first one, if for no other reason than to watch Rose McGowan be perfect, even while being bisected. She should really be on this poster.

4. Scream 2, 1997 (81%)

 A killer is haunting your fav teens again, but this time – they’re in college! AND SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR IS HERE. And a movie called Stab just came out about the murders in the first Scream movie. And maybe that movie is inspiring the current murderer?! What do we do?? I guess we just lol in awe that Portia de Rossi is in this movie and we never knew!

5. Scream 3, 2000 (36%)
This one is shittier than the others, but is still fun and goofy. Plus, my all-time love Parker Posey has a main role as the actress that plays Gale Weathers in the on-screen movie version of the movie. How could I not at least give it a chance? That, and sometimes you just have to watch a movie to remember what the year 2000 looked like. Wow, and we thought we were so advanced.
All three Scream movies are currently on Netflix. 

6. Rob Zombie’s Halloween, 2007 (25%)

Fuck this movie. Obviously since it had terrible reviews anyway I shouldn’t have expected to enjoy it. But I was drinking and Hannah was bleaching Reid’s hair in the kitchen so it’s possible I was affected by the fumes. Rob Zombie’s Halloween is a bastardization of the original that focuses more on grotesque, violent images, and fucked up drama than anything truly scary or even suspenseful. The whole time I was like “I just want everyone in this movie to die,” except during the painfully long, gratuitous rape scene, when I myself wanted to die. I think I watched this on Amazon Prime, but it doesn’t really matter.

7. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare1994 (77%)
If you’ve already seen Scream and the original Nightmare on Elm Street, you know what Wes Craven is about. In the same vein, New Nightmare plays with the blurred lines between reality, fiction, and the world in our dreams. While this movie is hilariously dated and ridiculous, I could see how it may have been somewhat groundbreaking (no pun intended – there’s an earthquake in the film!) in pre-Scream days as a self-referential horror. Heather Langenkamp plays herself, as the actress who starred in the original Nightmare, trying to fight off Freddie Kruger – who’s escaped from the movie world and is haunting her and her son IN REAL LIFE! It’s definitely got some layers to it, and almost enough camp to excuse the melodrama/all the pickled oak in that damn house. New Nightmare is currently on Netflix.

8. It Follows, 2015 (96%)
Widely regarded the best horror movie of the year/in fucking ever, It Follows is the story of a teen who contracts a SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED HAUNTING. It’s a pretty unique story, the actors are great, and it’s beautifully shot. The concept is so thrilling, in fact, that my brother and I stopped the movie halfway through to hypothesize on how the mystery would be solved. Without spoiling anything, the end didn’t exactly meet our expectations. Or the whole third act, really. But plot holes aside, I was legitimately terrified almost the entire time, and very visually stimulated. And that’s pretty much what makes a horror movie great. It Follows is on iTunes, aka you gotta pay. But it’s worth it.

9. The Nightmare, 2015 (71%)This “horror movie” is actually a documentary on night terrors (and the big, faceless monsters that attack you during them). It’s a concept that, even after watching the movie, I don’t really find all that scary. It kinda seemed like most of the people they interviewed were a little out of touch with reality to begin with, some positing that they were observing another dimension in their terrors or being actually visited by aliens – and the director, who suffers from these nightmares himself, validates these concerns. Cue a lot of eye-rolling on my part. One thing I found pretty strange/interesting though is how common these visions are, and how similar they are from person to person. Some of these hallucinations are even thought to have inspired horror movie conventions, like the mysterious scary man in a hat that comes out of the shadows (Freddie Kruger? The Babadook?) or the alien face (you know the one. It’s identical to a 90s temporary tattoo). The Nightmare is available on Netflix

10. Honeymoon, 2014 (70%)

I can’t tell you too much about what this is about without giving anything away. Suffice it to say, two newlyweds go on their honeymoon to a cabin in the woods, and one of them starts acting…real weird. It seems like an intense indie drama until towards the end, when you find yourself yelling “WHAT THE FUCK! WHAT THE FUCK!” I actually really liked this movie, and thought Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) was super captivating and great at being strange as hell. Watch this one, if just for the shock factor. Honeymoon is available on Netflix

11. Oculus, 2013 (73%)

This one is about two siblings seeking revenge on an antique mirror that possess people. The movie begins by unloading the backstory and exposition in a tangled mess, and flips between past and present so much that James and I kept calling it Oculus 2. I get what they were trying to do, and there’s a substantial amount of jump scares with a few solid mindfucks here and there, but they aren’t held together with enough logic for me to call the movie “good.” Still, I recommend watching it because it’s SO fun to make fun of (I mean, what’s up with the main characters’ hair?). Then afterward you can watch a very satisfying youtube video that lists all the things wrong with the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV4MnmOi5KI 

Oculus is available on Netflix

12. Let the Right One In, 2008 (98%)

Finally, something actually worth it’s weight in good reviews. Let the Right One In is a Swedish movie partly about vampires and partly about young love, and somehow manages to handle these both in a non-corny way (can you believe it??) In some ways, it’s more of an indie drama/love story than a “scary” movie, however, it has some pretty badass attack scenes and one spontaneous combustion, so it served up the excitement I craved. Also, it’s just freakin’ gorgeous to look at. Best enjoyed with a bottle of red wine. Let the Right One In is currently on Netflix

13. We Are What We Are, 2013 (85%)

Ugh, gotta love a horror that centers around hyper religious psychos. As a fan of cult stories and talented young actresses, I loved this movie about two sisters trying to escape their family’s…unconventional…tradition of cannibalism. It was tough to watch at times, but I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. And I wasn’t disappointed. Also, Julia Garner and Ambyr Childers are mesmerizing and I want them to be my new best friends. Hooray for human meat! 

~~~

So, tomorrow night after your Halloween party inevitably disappoints, take off your wig, plop down on the couch and queue up one of these spooky movies. Then call me up after so we can make fun of them! 

Happy Halloween!


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Kinda funny: This map proves we still don’t know wtf East Williamsburg is

East Williamsburg

I work in admin at a design studio, and from time to time people will share interesting interactives on Slack. Today, someone shared this map that shows neighborhood borders in NYC based on where readers think they are.

Of course, my first idea was to check out the mythical “East Williamsburg.” Just as I thought, the guesses span from my current neighborhood (Greenpoint) all the way to Evergreen Freakin’ Cemetery (so totally not Kansas anymore). The general consensus seems to be that East Williamsburg is somewhere around the Grand L stop, which I would tend to agree with, but for a long time I was very confused.

Those of us who live or have ever considering living off the L train have probably experienced being misled by the overuse of the term “East Williamsburg” to describe a broad range of locations in North Brooklyn, with a clear intent to raise the property value in the eyes of the buyer. Sometimes the apartments were reasonably close to Actual Williamsburg, the veritable real estate Mecca of NY (for now). Other times, they were located in less trendy (read: less gentrified) areas more than a stone’s throw away — God forbid, somewhere only accessible by the JMZ!

My experience with this tactic took place mostly in 2012, my first year in New York and still a somewhat early stage in Bushwick’s now fully developed trendiness. Just a few years ago, Bushwick was considered the lower-rent alternative to the first few stops on the L, and though I was naive, that appeared to be true at the time. You could get a room on the Jefferson stop for around $700 a month and have a reasonable commute to the city, but it was clear there were fewer “hipster” amenities and upscale establishments than its counterpart further west, and certainly many more locals remained.

Depending on who you ask, by 2012 the glory days of Bushwick as an artist community were already over. However, it wasn’t quite considered “coveted” real estate. Which, I assume, is how the term “East Williamsburg” began to magically encompass those less attractive areas and fill real estate broker’s pockets everywhere. That is, unless the buyers decided to look at a map.
Now, of course, you can actually see tourist groups (with a guide and everything!) wandering up and down Wyckoff Ave, and the Jefferson stop is one of the highest in demand of the whole L train. People are happy to tell the truth about where Bushwick ends and begins, because living there is now a point of pride, and thereby a whole lot more sellable. I haven’t lived there in almost 2 years — hopefully the rat population has improved since then.
But no matter how much things have changed, it seems like us North Brooklyners have been so thoroughly duped that we may never know what East Williamsburg actually is. To be honest, as long as I can afford it and it’s not an hour away from work, I don’t really care what my neighborhood is called. Any way you slice it – Greenpoint, Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, Bushwick – we’re lucky if we fit on the train in the morning.
girl doing yoga eating a cheeseburger


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Things I Would Rather Do Today Than Go to the Gym

yogaburger

I need to go to the gym.

I need to go to the gym because I haven’t since before I hurt my arm, and it’s been healed for over a month. I’ve been losing weight in some areas, which I’ve used to tricked myself into thinking that working out is actually what makes me bigger. This is a lie. I am just losing muscle mass. I know this.

I need to go to the gym because last night I got high and drank ciders and Reid ordered Domino’s at midnight and they have a thing called Bacon Jalapeño Cheesy Bread, which I dipped in ranch and marinara and garlic sauce, and got so full that I fell asleep face down on the couch and missed the end of Housebound, and now I have a stomach ache

I need to go to the gym because in the last two years I have become extremely aware of any fat around my jawline and chin, to the extent that accidentally opening my selfie camera can ruin a good chunk of my day.

I need to go to the gym because when I told Alex about the fried chicken burrito I ate the other day he told me that he knows of young people who have died from heart disease. I also read an article the other day in Real Simple magazine (which I shamelessly subscribed to via a $5 Groupon as a way to manifest organization in my life) that drinking increases your risk of breast cancer. I love alcohol, boobs and not having cancer, so I need to keep my body otherwise healthy in order to have peace of mind.

I need to go to the gym because just wearing leggings and putting my hair in a ponytail makes me feel so confident and empowered to be “one of those girls” that I actually feel like a better person.

Here are just some of the things I’d rather do today than go to the gym:

1. Order Chinese food from the mediocre, stingy place by my apartment that only includes one duck sauce per meal

2. See how nice of a day it is outside, feel guilty about staying in, then take a nap

3. Look at pictures of the Paramus Park mall online

4. Clean each cat litter box, wait for one of the cats to poop, and clean it again

5. Get a pickle from Anthony’s Deli. This could take up the whole day

6. Watch my boyfriend watch NFL Red Zone and have one-sided conversations with him about what’s going on.
“Why do they call it Red Zone?”
“Because…………it’s only games that are in the Red Zone.”
“Is that where the stuff happens?”
“…………………Yeah.”

7. Finally watch that recording of Back to the Future 3 that I’ve had on my DVR for 3 months (I can’t actually do this because football)

8. Clean out my fridge. By eating everything.

9. Browse through all my old magazines and decide which ones to recycle

10. Put together my Halloween costume while watching horror movies

11. Read the entire Wikipedia page about the life and work of Wes Craven

12. Listen to EDM, both ironically and unironically

13. Watch fail vids and Ru Paul’s Drag Race on Reid’s couch

14. Potentially order more of that jalapeño bacon cheesy bread, tbh

15. Look at pictures from my past and be like “dag, yo”

16. Go to Vanessa’s Dumplings and order 6 things pretending I’m taking it all home to share with a group even though I’m totally, totally not.

17. Figure out how to get that thin layer of water and soap residue out of my kitchen sink

18. Figure out a budget to afford a cleaning lady

19. Talk about the two nightmares I had last night (One: that I had a pet ferret who turned into a bleeding snake. Two: I was having a party and there was a problem with the music)

20. Clean out my makeup case by trying on every product I own and deciding which things I don’t like anymore. And perhaps discovering a lip gloss I forgot existed!

21. Lint roll the cat hair off of my Pikachu stuffed animal

22. Lay on a couch and describe tattoos I want while Hannah draws pictures of them

23. Make Photoshop art of a cat on a beach wearing a pair of Umbro shorts and drinking a mai tai

24. Do acid?

25. HGTV

26. Paint my nails, presumably with a color I found during my makeup case cleanout sesh

27. Give my toilet bowl a deep scrub (I really like a clean house)

28. Come up with a dance routine and teach it to my friends, film it, put it on Youtube, instant viral video

30. Burrito

31. Send these free postcards I got from the Sierra Club to people I care about

32. Oo! Planning my Christmas card!

33. Try to make a recipe using only the ingredients I have in my cupboard, fuck it up, eat it anyway, and make a huge mess

34. Netflix and Chill

35. Get a tattoo that says Netflix and Chill

36. Call the Chinese food place and find out once and for all why they are so stingy with their sauces

37. Margaritas!

38. Remember that Snapchat exists, then Snapchat every 5 minutes of the day, then forget again

39. Look up how to clean an oven, then definitely not do that.

40. Watch iconic Celine Dion performances on Youtube

41. Livetweet Titanic

42. Do a thorough pass of all my social media profiles to make sure they are perfectly curated

43: Watch this video on loop http://frankenfemme.tumblr.com/post/129033519794/cubik808-willlaren-this-performance-art

44. Make a list of the best fashion montages in movies, then watch them all

45. Call my parents, which I definitely should do right now ugh why do I keep forgetting to do that??

46. Go to the dog park and look at other people’s dogs and think about how sad I am that my apartment is too small to have a dog

47. Look at Kos n Gonny and think about how no cat could ever possibly compete with their beauty and adorableness. Adorability? Kiss them 100 times.

48. Put on some uplifting music and some workout clothes and pretend I am in a pivotal transformation scene but only do dance moves that require very little physical effort, like the cabbage patch.

49. Quote the entire Sex and the City Movie from start to finish

50. This.

Fried Chicken Burrito Mission Cantina LES


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A good thing I ate this week: Fried Chicken Burrito

 Monday night, while waiting at my office for an improv show to start and NOT getting any writing done like I had told myself I would, I decided to use the promo code I’d received in the mail to try Caviar (the service, trycaviar.com)

I had been briefly introduced to the concept of Caviar when trying to order catering for a workshop I organized two weeks ago. It’s essentially the same thing as Doordash and UberEats, whereby a delivery service brings you delicious food from places that wouldn’t otherwise deliver. Since Ubereats still doesn’t deliver below 14th street (so then what is the point, exactly?) I’ve never tried it. Caviar, on the other hand does deliver downtown, so I decided to take advantage. 

I couldn’t decide what I wanted at first, so I searched for “fried chicken.” The usual options came up, things I was familiar with that for some reason didn’t look satisfying. I was hongry. I’m always hungry, but there’s something about being at work after hours that just makes you want to stuff your face like no one is watching. It’s like a free zone, a time warp where anything is possible. It would be a waste not to order something messy, fattening and delicious. Plus, I had salad for lunch.

So I searched for “burrito.” That’s when I discovered something I’d never known existed or it would have been over a looong time ago: the Fried Chicken Burrito from Mission Cantina. 

Mission Cantina has a solid three-star Yelp review. That is to say, almost all of their ratings have been really good, or really bad. Most of the bad reviews I read were just that the food was “weird” and the staff are “hipstery,” so I found them pretty easy to ignore. But I’ve had a string of mediocre takeout incidents recently, causing me to retreat into a sad, scary state where I struggle to silence the voice that says “Don’t order from there! You’ve never had that before! What if it SUCKS??!” 

I hate this feeling. I can’t stand people who always order the same thing out of fear of being disappointed, even if I did know that dissatisfaction all too well. So I took a chance, I put in code for $10 off, paid the extra 7 dollars (including tax & service fee), and waited, watching my delivery man on a GPS tracker as he traveled to my office.

I don’t remember them asking for a tip at checkout, so I assumed it was taken care of by the service fee. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure that I shouldn’t have slipped the delivery guy a few extra bucks. But I wasn’t thinking about it at the time. I was thinking about this:   

Behold, a terrible picture of one of the juiciest, dankest, most filling (in both stomach and arteries) fusion burritos OF MY LIFE. 

So, there you have it. That’s it guys. Maybe since it’s raining this week you can try Caviar yourselves (full disclosure: this post was not sponsored by Caviar but I would not turn down money or food if they offered).

…I was going to write a much longer post this week about embarrassment and getting older and like “truth” in “comedy,” but, meh, I felt much more inclined to talk about a burrito instead. 

Have a great weekend!

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