Tokyo Story

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By my 25th birthday on September 15, 2014, I had been working hard at a job that wasn’t right–right for my career trajectory or right for me emotionally–for about seven months. But on that day it didn’t bother me, because I was 7,000 miles away.

For what was, I believe, a much deserved paid vacation, I decided to visit the city that I had always considered most exciting. Similar to the way nearly every American white girl puts Paris on a pedestal, I have always adored Tokyo and thought of it as a place where I might “find myself.” I had a little money saved, just enough to buy the tickets and still maybe have some spending money at the bottom of the barrel. So one day in late summer, via iMessage of course, I proposed to my long time friend Sarah aka Cousler aka Cousler8 that we visit together over my birthday week. I hadn’t really spent much quality time with Sarah in the last five years, but I knew that she loved the city and when I say I always wanted to visit, I mean I always wanted to visit with her. She was thrilled at the idea, as I’d hoped.

So we put in our requests for days off. I bought a the Lonely Planet guide to Tokyo and highlighted the shit out of it. Even though we could barely get in touch with one another to buy the tickets with our completely opposite work schedules (and Sarah’s signature unreachability) we somehow managed to snag two round trip seats to Tokyo Narita Airport on Delta airlines, for $1,000 each. It was the exact amount we could afford, and the lowest price we’d seen in about a month of lurking Kayak.

Although no stranger to air travel, I had only been out of the country once before. Having failed to locate my passport (did I lose it in the fire that burnt down my college residence in 2010? Is it buried somewhere beneath a heap of Lifetouch photos in the back of my childhood closet? I’ve resigned myself to ignorance) I rushed around town on my days off, procuring the necessary forms of identification, while astonishing and dismaying myself with my inability to master the basic functions of a photocopier. I didn’t believe this was all really happening until I received my passport in the mail. I take that back – to this day I am not 100% certain any of this really happened. It’s now been a month since I returned from the trip, and some details are hazy, like trying to recall a dream, so to make it easier for me and for you I will tell the story of my journey one day at a time. For more photos (many, many more) peep the links to my Flickr and Instagram in the sidebar.

Day 1: #TokyoForever #ByeUSA
In an effort to not spend the nearly 24 hours door to door by our lonesome, Sarah flew to meet me in NY the day before departure. She arrived while I was still at work, and still unpacked for that matter, so we only had time for a few hugs that evening before she fell asleep on my couch watching The Killing and I piled my life into a TJ Maxx suitcase (it’s amazing) in a full-on state of panic. I packed every colorful item I owned, every bold patterned anything. I was prepared to serve a NYC meets Harajuku look every day I was to be there. I packed my big ass camera that I never use into my Victoria’s Secret backpack, put my pink Sharper Image luggage tags on my two bags and slept for five hours. The next morning I said goodbye to James, who’d be staying in Ridgewood that week to take care of the cats for me. Sarah and I ate sandwiches in the $80 cab ride to Newark Airport.

As soon as we got there, I spent $40 more on a memory foam neck pillow. I’m telling you this because it ended up being the best $40 I ever spent. I suggest you all buy one, even if you’re not traveling. My greatest aspiration is that one day everything I own will be memory foam. My clothing, my TV, my refrigerator. My car. Cutlery. Ah, that’s when I’ll know I’ve made it. Anyway-

Our first flight was no big deal. We had a short layover in the very sexy (no sarcasm) Minneapolis/St.Paul airport, then boarded a for the 10 hour haul to Tokyo. I was mentally prepared because I had flown Delta recently, and I knew there would be S-I-C-K entertainment options in the back of the seat in front of me. The main problem was I already had a post-nasal drip that would not quit, and it was soon to be exacerbated. On that flight, I probably watched 5 movies and slept for a total of 20 minutes. Sarah was out for a good bit and I would have been very jealous were it not for the KUSH-ASS memory foam supporting my lower back, and the unlimited beverage service that kept me pretty much wasted the entire time.

Day 2 – Tita Chu and Her Generous Boo
After walking through the bizarrely deserted customs area, and waiting by the wrong baggage claim for about a half hour, we met Sarah’s Aunt, Tita Chu and her husband, whose name I do not remember, so I will call him Tito. He and I didn’t communicate much other than nods and smiles, since the only language he speaks is Japanese. Did I mention I don’t know any Japanese? Doesn’t matter. I should still know his name.

How do I describe Tita Chu? Tita Chu is a hilarious Filipino woman, about 5’2″ and gorgeous with a shoulder length haircut. Tita Chu has the cackle of a witch, if that witch was also your favorite friend to take to the mall. She has the greatest and most effective side-eye I have ever seen. Tita Chu tells it like it is. She wears 4 inch heels 24/7, except in the apartment, when we all wear slippers. God I love slippers. I never realized how gross bare feet were until I was exposed to slipper culture.

What I also didn’t realize until I actually arrived in Japan is that I am far too big for everything in the country. Immediately upon entering Tita Chu’s minimalist apartment in Ryogoku, my arms were hitting Sarah’s family members in the face and knocking over Charmmy Kitty figurines. My suitcase was the size of Tita Chu herself. It took an unreasonable amount of generosity from her, then, to let us stay at her apartment for our first night in the city. It worked out pretty well since we immediately collapsed into Sarah’s cousin’s bed of stuffed animals and slept for 11 hours. It was 7 PM.

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Day 3 – Culture Shock or Cold Medicine?
The next morning I awoke at the crack of dawn with a terrible sinus headache. Luckily Tita Chu wakes up as early as we do when we’re 13 hours ahead of schedule, and she gave me a packet of Japanese cold medicine. I have no idea what was in it, but I do know that it worked. That plus a humongous Filipino breakfast and I was feeling high as hell. I don’t think it was even 8 AM by the time we decided to go explore the neighborhood, and being that it was a Sunday morning, we were told nothing would be open. But it was a beautiful day, and we were antsy, so we set out on our first adventure.

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The view from Tita Chu’s apartment

One of the first things I noticed about Tokyo was, despite crowded streets and sidewalks, how quiet everything is. I’m used to being one of the loudest people everywhere I go, but this was different. No horns were honking, no sirens blaring. And there was no litter anywhere. This was especially confusing since there didn’t seem to be any public trash receptacles anywhere either. We quickly realized that in Japan, you own your garbage. People just abide by the social contract there. You also very seldom see homeless people. It makes NYC look like a war zone.

Down the street from Tita Chu’s, we found a mall that was set to open at 10 AM. In the hour before, teens crowded around the entrance and waited for the doors to open. Waiting in line for things to open is another thing I saw a lot in Tokyo that I don’t really see here that often. I guess people just wake up on the weekends with a plan to hit the arcade, and they are so serious about it that they will literally sit on the sidewalk for an hour to be one of the first inside. I personally hate to wait for anything. This is one of my most American qualities.

We waited at the Starbucks next to the mall. If you’re wondering, Starbucks in Japan is exactly like Starbucks in America, except the menu is in both Japanese and English, the “small” size is really, really small, and there is no free wifi. I know because I figured out very quickly how to ask for a “wifi password” using my own fucked up version of sign language. When the mall opened, I was surprised at how much it looked exactly like an American mall. A lot of the clothes, though Japanese labels, were imitations of distinctly American and British styles. Burgundy plaid skirts and creeper-style loafers were in about half the stores we saw. I would quickly come to learn that the most common looks for girls in Tokyo under 30 are: Punk, Ivy League, Barbie Doll, and American Early 90s. What I’m trying to say is that everyone and everything looked great. But if I wanted to buy a pair of shoes, I was shit out of luck. When I tried on a pair of sky-high wedges and I could barely squeeze my feet in them, I motioned to the sales girl for a bigger size. She covered her mouth and giggled. I’d just tried on their biggest size.

Then it was time for our first Japanese bite. It was a little hard to choose where to go because everything looked so delicious and we had no idea what any of it was. We settled for a little ramen spot where you order from a touch screen vending machine, which then prints you a ticket to hand to your server. It was kind of brilliant, since we knew the only way we could order anything was by pointing at pictures anyway.

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Later that day, while still cracked out on cold medicine and feeling like I was in an alternate universe, Tita Chu and Tito took us to the Edo-Tokyo museum. The Edo period in Japanese history is between 1603 and 1868, which I already knew a little bit about from Ninja Turtles III. The museum tells the history of the Geisha and the tradition of Kabuki, and had original paintings by iconic Japanese artists like Hokusai.

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Afterwards, we traveled to our apartment in Roppongi, which we’d conveniently reserved on Airbnb a week prior for 65 dollars a night. On the way, we watched music videos on an iPhone propped to the dashboard of Tito’s car. Sarah and I had been talking about how much we love that catchy song “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit.  It wasn’t until the music video came on during our drive through the city that we realized it’s actually about Japan. I pretty much get goosebumps and cry every time I hear it now, officially making me the cheesiest person that’s ever lived.

That night, we bought bottles of sake and Japanese whiskey and tried to turn up. So far we’d been too weak to do it, and I really wanted that to change. But jet lag is no joke – I fell asleep in a plate of overpriced dumplings that night while ringing in my birthday at a restaurant in Roppongi Hills.

Day 4 – Kawaii Overload
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The next morning it was officially my birthday in Japan, so I set out to do all the things I’d always dreamed of, like going to a sushi bar, a cat cafe and shopping in Shibuya. Unfortunately I woke up at 6 AM again, this time with screaming back pain, and felt compelled to do two hours of yoga in the middle of our tiny apartment, next to a kitchenette sink that smelled a little (a lot) like poo. I had time to contemplate age and what it meant to be another year older and where I wanted to go in life. September 15 in Japan is actually Respect for the Aged Day, funny enough. So I tried to show myself some of that respect.

That afternoon, after dressing myself up like an adult child, we walked from a sushi bar in Roppongi Hills through Ebisu to Nyafe Melange, a cat cafe. I will let the following photos speak for themselves.

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When you arrive at the cat cafe, the girls at the front desk ask you to wash your hands and then you pay the entry fee. Admission comes with a drink, and is charged by the half hour with the option to purchase a “snack” for the cats. The snack is a small tupperware filled with katsuobushi, or bonito flakes, which are dried fermented fish flakes used in Japanese cuisine. The cats go NUTS over these, and it’s good that we bought them because they pretty much just sleep and ignore you unless you have food (same). I also noticed that most of the patrons were petting the cats in a way I had never seen before. Instead of dragging the palm of their hand across the back or rubbing the butt, they were patting the butt at the base of the tail over and over. I came home and tried the butt-pat with Kosmo and it was a major hit. Try it on your cat!

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From there we walked up Meiji-Dori to Shibuya crossing. Again, the sheer number of people that manage to coexist in one space blows my mind. Maybe it was because I was a tourist, but this equivalent of Times Square in Tokyo was nowhere near as repulsive and unwelcoming as its New York counterpart. I think it’s just because foot traffic in Japan is so cooperative. In NYC people just stand around clogging up sidewalks and waiting to get hit by cabs. Oh, America.

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That’s when we entered Shibuya 109. It’s basically a friggin skyscraper full of fashion stores for Japanese babes, and we were in shock. I wanted to buy everything and take pictures of everyone. I’m kicking myself now because I was so distracted I barely took any photos while I was inside. While the target market for many of the stores was a slightly younger girl, I did find a pretty awesome store with over the top hip hop gear called Baby Shoop. The mascot of Baby Shoop is the silhouette of a woman with an afro, and their slogan is “Black for Life.” A little cultural appropriation is tolerated in Tokyo, from what I could tell. I found a huge fuzzy sweater and the woman who checked me out had a deep tan, a grill and door-knocker earrings, not unlike a Japanese Kreayshawn. When I told her I was from New York she broke into a grin of familiarity. Fashion girls in Tokyo fucking love Brooklyn. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I technically live in Queens.

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That evening we ate at a three story hot dog stand in the middle of Shibuya, essentially a Japanese Crif Dogs, while watching a video performance by the Black Eyed Peas from 2005. Somehow Tokyo manages to be simultaneously futuristic, traditional, and just barely irrelevant.

When we got home, Sarah went out for snacks and came back with bags full of goodies, including a potato cake that she put a candle in, and sang me happy birthday.

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Day 5 – Adventures in Harajuku
The next day we had a breakfast of Curry Cup o’ Noodles before taking the train to Harajuku, because we hadn’t shopped enough already. There we found more eye-popping street cuties and a store called Spinns, which pretty much had everything we could ever want – including an adorable sales girl Yuming, who we wanted as a best friend. There is an obsession in Harajuku with American vintage clothes and toys from the 80s and 90s, and Spinns is very much on this tip. Almost every item was pastel and covered in faux fur or feathers. The walls were lined in unpackaged Malibu Barbies I recognized from my childhood. Another store called Wego decorated with spray painted old TVs and troll dolls. I was right at home…more than I even realized. This store, like many others, had racks upon racks of vintage clothing imported from the United States. I even found old UNC and NC State sweatshirts in the men’s section. It was too weird.

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After spending half our money and wearing our feet to the bone, we hit up a place called Kiddyland. It’s a four-story toy store with a Star Wars section, a Studio Ghibli section, a Nintendo section, and entire floors dedicated to Snoopy and Hello Kitty. I was in heaven, although I’d already learned by now that toys are EXPENSIVE in Tokyo (and everywhere. Being a mom must be so annoying) All I wanted was a reasonably priced Pikachu, and for some reason that was very hard to find. But I had already found some adorable socks, so I was pretty happy.

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We comforted ourselves with some Thai curry, then stopped by the weird beauty garage on our way out of Harajuku to pick up some hair dye. Sarah had been talking about going purple, and because I was an expert (i.e – a receptionist at a hair salon) I offered to do it for her. We used Quis Quis Devil’s Trick hair color in lavender, because that’s all we could find. When we got back to the apartment, flavored Asahis in hand, we put the color on the blonde ends of Sarah’s hair and left it on for 30 minutes. Because Devil’s Trick is essentially just a temporary gloss, all it did was cancel out the yellow tones and make her hair look normal. She was not particularly fond of that.
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Day 6 – Temples, Towers and Being Tourists

Being on foot in one of the biggest cities in the world can take a lot out of you, so we took it slow on Wednesday and decided to keep it local for the day. Luckily there are plenty of things to do and see in Roppongi and the surrounding areas. It was a cloudy day, and we appreciated this. The weather in mid-September Tokyo is much like the weather in mid-September New York: beautiful by night, and just a little hotter than you might prefer by day.

After guzzling our carton of iced coffee that we bought at the corner store and washing our clothes in the tiny, microwave sized washing machine (why aren’t these popular in the US? I could fit it in my bedroom and do my laundry every day instead of once a stinky month), we marched up the hill to Chinese Cafe 8 for some greasy cashew chicken. Upon arrival we were more than a little bit confused by the decor, but we took it with a grain of salt (and lots of MSG…mmm)

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Zojo-ji is a Buddhist temple located in Shiba, which is just a short walk from Roppongi. The grounds are lush and mystical, even if they do partially overlap with a hotel and golf course. On the steps of the temple we could hear people chanting inside. The most amazing moment, though, was when the only stray cat I’d seen in Tokyo emerged from the bushes and sat next to me on the temple steps. I felt like I was in a Murakami novel.
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Just across the street from Zojo-ji is the Tokyo Tower, the iconic Eiffel Tower-inspired observation tower that’s nearly 1,100 feet high. I have a pretty serious fear of heights so I got a little freaked out in the elevator (I’m a loser, I know) but I will say it was the smoothest ride up I’d ever felt. The view from the top is breathtaking and doesn’t even feel real.
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On our way back to Roppongi we walked through Roppongi Hills, a gigantic skyscraping complex with luxury retail, condos, offices, restaurants, BMW dealerships…basically everything rich people need to survive without leaving their neighborhood. We’d walked through it almost every day so far, but this time we stumbled into a record release concert for a boy band called 2 PM, complete with thousands of screaming teenagers. I thought Directioners were serious, but the teens are not kidding about their boybands in Tokyo.
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The inside of Gonpachi

“Legend” has it that Quentin Tarantino got his inspiration for the set of the Crazy 88 fight scene in Kill Bill Vol.1 from the layout of a Roppongi restaurant called Gonpachi, so naturally it is a major tourist attraction, and naturally we succumbed. The inside of the restaurant was similar to the movie, although not nearly as grand or badass. And the food could be described as “aight.” Still, it was fun to overhear dumb conversations between other tourists and get to peep the open kitchen, complete with a yakitori grill. The best thing about traveling with Sarah is that she’s a cook, and it seems like she knows everything there is to know about food. After all, the dining in Tokyo is, like, 60% of its appeal. If the experience at Gonpachi taught me anything, it’s that the quality of a Japanese restaurant is usually inversely proportional to the percentage of white people inside. Roppongi is known as the “foreigner’s neighborhood,” so most of the spots are A) really expensive and B) crawling with rich people, jet-setters, and Japanese-American teens attending English speaking schools. That night at Muse nightclub, we drank cocktails while eavesdropping on two American college girls cry about their roommates. It was glamorous.

Day 7 – Delicious Mistakes
The next day started off pretty damn slowly. We knew we wanted to go to the Tsukiji fish market at some point, and this seemed like the best day, even though we woke up long after the infamous auction ended. Still, we figured the market would be operational all day, so we headed over there in the early afternoon. When we arrived it was a ghost town, and we could tell it would have been really amazing had we just gotten there a few hours earlier. Luckily we found a sushi restaurant right in the middle of the market that was just barely still open. Even though I could tell we were annoying them a little bit with our American straggler vibe, they still gave us the best sushi of our lives. Everyone was a happy camper.
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From there we headed back to Shibuya for more shopping. Most of the day was sucked away by a 7-story gift store called Loft, which has everything you ever wanted, a gift for everyone you know, and things you never even knew existed. Once we’d finally eased our guilt by finally buying gifts for all our loved ones, it was time for karaoke.

I honestly can’t even talk about karaoke night without getting a little sick, although the experience itself was amazing. We went to Karaoke-Kan, a tall building with floors upon floors of private rooms you can rent for your party that have microphones and little TVs with lyrics on them (and terrible accompanying video footage of American cities). You order your drinks when you rent your room. We started with 1 hour of singing and 2 whiskey highballs, which is like a whiskey ginger in a beer stein, I guess. Ten minutes before the end of your hour, they call up to your room and let you know its almost up. Of course, an hour of drunk karaoke with your best friend goes by pretty fast, so by that time we were just amped for more singing. We extended our stay by another hour and asked for more highballs and shots…and did this FOUR MORE TIMES before leaving Shibuya for the night, bringing our tab to $80 each. By now the subways were no longer running, and cabs didn’t want to pick us up. But I had us covered! I was drunk and I had a map on my data-less iPhone…I could definitely lead us home by foot! We walked for over an hour, in a direction that remains unclear, at 3 in the morning along Japan Rail tracks that were under construction. It wasn’t safe or remotely advisable, and my stubbornness was pissing Sarah off. We finally dove into a cab, and it took him more than 15 minutes to drive us home. To this day I have no idea what random part of Tokyo I so confidently led us into.
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Day 8 – Respite in Roppongi
The next morning is where the story gets dark. I awoke early with a splitting headache and what I can honestly claim as one of the worst hangovers of my entire life. My first thought – okay, third, behind barfing and crying – was to take a long shower to relieve some of the pain, so that I’d hopefully not have to run into traffic and kill myself. I’d been Whatsapp-ing James about how miserable I was, so I set my phone down by the toilet, stripped and stepped into the tiny tub. Like most Japanese shower heads, this one was detachable, so for about an hour I lay back with my knees bent aiming the hot water at the center of my forehead. By the end of it I didn’t feel much better, but I figured it was probably time to get the fuck out of the bathtub since I was as wrinkled as my vintage coach bag after a rainy Spring. When I pulled back the curtain, I lost my breath. I had flooded the entire bathroom in no less than two inches of water and completely submerged my iPhone for what had to have been at least thirty minutes. I tried my best to save it while my brain felt like it was bleeding out of my ears. The flashlight had turned off and for some reason I couldn’t shut off the phone, so it just sat there buzzing at its insides fried beyond repair. What was going to happen to all my photos? Would I even survive this hangover for long enough to figure this out? Was this the worst day of my life?

I strapped on my boots and forced myself out the door zombie-style to walk to every convenience store in Roppongi to look for rice. I finally found some (it came in a convenient 3 kilo bag!) and made my way back to the apartment, bent almost fully over at the waist, moaning and nearly puking on every tiny car and polite person I encountered. But first – I stopped in a Family Mart and spent $35 on prosciutto, croissants and assorted cheeses. I needed western food to get me through these times. To top it off, we also ordered a pepperoni pizza from a fucking Domino’s. Thank you based cheese god.

After that I slept until about 6 PM, and the only thing we did for the rest of the day was see Guardians of the Galaxy at the Roppongi Hills Movie Theater, which itself looks like a space station. I pretty much wanted to live there. Something about how miserable I felt made me homesick as fuck, and all I wanted to do was eat cheeseburgers in a strip mall and watch cable until I passed out in a California king. No such luck, but I was in fucking Japan, and I was kind of being a pussy.

Day 9 – Death by Shopping
Suddenly it was Saturday, and it was time to check out of our apartment. This meant packing our bags, putting the keys back in the mailbox and taking the train back to Tita Chu’s. We dropped off our stuff and hopped back on the subway to check out Akihabara, the neighborhood in Tokyo dedicated to all things Nerd – electronics, anime and video games. And hentai. Lots and lots of hentai. In fact, there was so much hentai that we were actually really uncomfortable, and had to leave the neighborhood for fear of seeing anymore cartoon semen. I did see some cool ass dolls though, and I finally found that stuffed Pikachu for James. We spent the rest of the day in Harajuku again, shopping until we couldn’t take it anymore. It got to a point where if I saw one more furry purse I was going to flip the fuck out. I really needed a nap.

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That night, Tita Chu made us two dinners. Beef curry and Filipino spaghetti. We ate so much that we couldn’t move, then somehow Facetimed everyone in Sarah’s family at once across in three separate countries (don’t ask me how), and watched youtube videos until we fell asleep.

Day 10 – Arigatou Gozaimasu
When it was time to leave neither of us could accept it, but we had reached tourism overload by that point and I think we really needed a return to our reality. It was tough, because back home the two of us weren’t exactly living perfect lives and had a lot of things to sort out when we got back. And, even though we’d been close friends for eight years, we’d hit that point where we just needed some time alone. As we packed our suitcases into the car, a minor spat drove us both into tears, and we rode the whole way to Narita airport without speaking. That is, until the lyrics to Tito’s new Chris Brown album had us laughing so hard that we had to make up.

Five in-flight movies later, one being the now underwhelming Lost in Translation, we arrived at the Atlanta airport. Sarah and I parted ways and I flew back to Newark, took NJ transit into the city and met James at Penn Station. I don’t think I’ve ever missed someone, or someplace, so much.

A week later, when I’d just settled back into my routine, I was laid off from my job. It came as a shock, but sometimes the universe does for you what you’re too afraid to do yourself. I have no idea where I’m headed next, but I have some idea of who I am and what I want. For now, I’m in New York, with 25 years behind me and 75 more to go. And really, there’s no place I’d rather be. (Wink)
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Unhappiness: The Movie

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The first script I ever completed (not counting the handwritten childhood plays I put on in my living room wearing my mother’s sequin dresses for an audience of exactly zero) was as short film I co-wrote with Alex in 2007 for our group project in the Carolina Production Guild. The film was called “Unhappiness,” and starred the two of us as an even more bitter and disaffected version of our post-teen selves. Actually, I had only just turned 18 at the time. The premise, I guess, is that the two of us are best friends who hate everyone and everything and can’t seem to get anything right. I slip in the shower getting ready for school. We sit in the quad complaining about how sunny it is. We force-feed ourselves at the local sludge buffet while complaining about the food. We make fun of a homeless guy. Then, at the end, we both call our parents and cry about how hard college is and how depressed we are because we have no friends.

When it came time to actually shoot the film, the production was a huge mess. Alex and I couldn’t focus on anything and fucked around the entire time. The rest of our crew were actually interested in producing a movie, so they effectively wasted a weekend standing around disgruntled watching two totally vain underclassmen obnoxiously act out a movie they wrote about how obnoxious they are. By the time the sun was setting on the last day, we’d only shot about 3/4 of our scenes, and Alex and I waged a french fry fight in the courtyard across from the Franklin Street McDonald’s while our three-person crew sat around, equipment in hand, bored and annoyed. It was amazing.

When we got to the editing lab, we realized that in addition to not even shooting our entire script, there had also been a major audio fuck up for the scenes we actually filmed. As in, none of it had been recorded. No audio whatsoever, out of two whole days of not working really really hard. We had to re-record every scene in voiceover and dub over each individual shot. By that I mean, Alex and I provided the voices in between singing songs from Britney’s “Blackout” while Brandon, our director, did most of the actual, technical work.  Looking back, the two of us must have had major undiagnosed cases of ADD, because at points we were just blurting out lines that weren’t in the script and INSISTING they were funny enough to make it into the final cut.

We presented the movie at the CPG screening by standing up in the auditorium, giggling.

“This is a movie by assholes, for assholes” we said to the crowd.

Embarrassed by the fact that it wasn’t really a movie at all, we watched the final product while slumped down in our seats, laughing hysterically, hiding our blushing faces.

When it was the next group’s turn to present, they made their own announcement:

“Well we’re not assholes, so we decided to make something beautiful.”

The group then unveiled their film, a dramatic period piece set in the Depression, sepia toned and everything, about a man whose wife dies from Typhus or something.

It was the hardest I laughed in 2007.

Now, seven years later, and I often wonder what became of our movie. There is no record of it having ever existed – Alex and I don’t even have a copy of our original script. We never did another year of CPG, because at that point we were pretty sure they all hated us. I hope if we are ever a success someone from the Guild will dig it out of whatever old hard drive it may be in and put it on youtube for us and the world to laugh at.

In any case, we had attempted to make something funny based on real experiences. It didn’t turn out so beautiful, because we were just disorganized kids making fun of ourselves. But it was honest. And I guess if the only thing I ever achieve in life is a volume of bad but honest work, well, that’ll suck. But it wouldn’t be the worst thing.

“Scorpio and the City” & “Cray Gardens”

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By the time Alex arrived at my apartment from LA – 5 in the morning on Friday August 29, to be exact – I had been looking forward to it for at least a month. In the days prior, I had done laundry, I had cleaned every inch of my house, I had hung the paintings and mirrors that had been leaning against my walls since I moved to Ridgewood. It was of utmost importance that I make a good impression.

See, Alex and I have been close friends since 2008 when we lived together, along with two of our girlfriends, in a wooded neighborhood on the outer edge of Chapel Hill. I was 19 at the time, and thus a charming combination of messy, lethargic, drunk, manic and depressive, incidentally making me the perfect creative inspiration for Alex given his penchant for Dark Fantasies with a Strong Female Lead, though a not so perfect roommate. By this time in his life (age 21), or perhaps from the very beginning, Alex was a certified neat freak with an impressive work ethic, and with regard to his own life, he took pleasure in the simple things. The only decoration I remember seeing in his spotless room was a red silk Versace robe he hung as a curtain in the window above his desk (a desk, by the way, he used regularly, which is in and of itself a feat) that only made it off the hanger on Holidays and other special occasions. Let’s put it this way: He was the only college junior I knew who owned a Dustbuster.

It should come as no surprise then that we weren’t the best domestic match, seeing as my time at 151B Windsor Circle coincided with the height of Nu Rave (two words I am lucky to have never tattooed on my ass cheeks) as well as an era I now refer to as my “Opium Phase.” Let’s put it this way: When I ran into a good friend of mine from high school, Caroline, on the quad of UNC’s campus in the Fall of 2008, I told her I was spending my food money for the month to fly out to Las Vegas for a rave, to which she replied “Do you even go to this school?” I scraped by that semester with a grade point average that could be described as just barely mediocre.

To this day Alex likes to joke both in person and on the Internet that I continue to be one of the worst influences in his life,complete with assumptions that I remain as messy and disaffected as I was as a teen. He tends to fully disregard that while my blog is called The Fab Disaster, the whole premise is that, over the years, I have made great strides of improvement. I happen to be in the midst of an ascent towards a responsible, productive lifestyle!

I’d set out to prove this to him by scrubbing the grout in my shower.

Upon Alex’s arrival, I answered the door frowning and puffy-faced in pink Crocs and my late Grandmother’s bathrobe. I barely had time to give him half a grand tour before he passed out on my couch.

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California has really made this one more laid back.

Later that morning, as I had to work at 10 AM, I wrangled him along with James to take the train with me into Manhattan. Alex had plans to spend the day wandering the city, visiting Central Park and the Met then making his way down to Soho and Chinatown for a bit of a shopping spree. One of our many plans for the weekend included KUNST!, the monthly party at Verboten thrown by nightlife mogul and club kid once-upon-a-time, Susanne Bartsch. Having only seen the Facebook invite, Alex was already fully aware that he would need some very gay and very costumey accoutrements for the event, namely a collar to go with the leash (a purse strap) he brought with him from home. This wouldn’t have been an accessory of the Alex I knew in 2008, nor the current L.A. Alex I follow on Instragram, but when in Rome, dress as gay as the Romans do. I pointed him in the direction of Patricia Field’s on Bowery.

Another thing we’d been planning for weeks was our dinner that night. Alex called way ahead to reserve a table for two at Maysville NYC, a fancy pants whiskey bar and restaurant in the Flatiron district that would have been totally out of my budget were it not such a special occasion. The occasion, of course, was that Alex would be writing about the experience for his hilarious food blog, Eat Pray Shit. I brought the Vera Wang dress I got 90% off at Century 21 to work, planning to change and hop in a cab right after closing up shop to make our 8:30 reservation. I felt the outfit needed a little something, though, so while Alex was at Topshop with his friend Christine and our friend Moe, I had him look for hats that might go with the dress. He sent me a total of 7 pictures of hats that Christine enthusiastically modeled. When I found one I liked, I stressed that he try it on his head first. Most ladies’ hats do not fit my head, I’m guessing because clothing companies are sexist and thus unequipped for the amount of brain that this lady is carrying around. The hat I wanted was $70, so Alex made an executive decision to go for the slightly more affordable $48 option with a narrower brim.

At 8 PM sharp I darted into the bathroom to squeeze into my Wang – apparently my ass had gotten larger since I bought the dress back in February. I changed my shoes, had my coworker Steph zip me up, and stumbled down the front steps into a cab to the Flatiron district. I put my lipstick on in the dim reflection in the taxi window. Upon arriving at an unmarked entrance on 26th street, I hopped out, but not before my cab driver offered some sage, unsolicited wisdom: that I seemed like a strong woman who knows how to get what she wants, and I would live a happy life. Apparently cabs are the new fortune cookies!

Though I had been so worried about being late to the reservation Alex committed perjury to get, I miraculously made it there not only on time, but 15 minutes before him! It was home field advantage – my friend had misjudged his walk from the East Village. Again, this doesn’t matter in the scheme of things, just in the context of my constant battle not to even slightly disappoint Alex Rose. My not wholly irrational fear was that he’d show up a mere 2 minutes before me, have to wait, and say something along the lines of “you know you’re never going to be successful if you can’t even show up to dinner on time. Hahaha!” If Alex sounds like an asshole to you, well, it’s because he is. But we love him anyway.

He arrived in a Hawaiian print tank top and shorts, an outfit I loved simply because of how LA it was. I love anything LA. In fact, I love anything not New York, in New York. If only he’d have worn a sombrero.

Alas, we had a different conversation headpiece for the evening: the topshop hat. As I said, I’d had my doubts about sizing in the beginning, but my hopes were high. After all, the best hat I ever had in my life was a porkpie I accidentally walked out of Topshop wearing in the winter of 2011. It was tragically destroyed when I lent it to the alcoholic I was sleeping with that month and I would never be the same. Not until the new hat. This new hat could change everything.

When he pulled the hat out of the bag my heart sank a little. Sure, the brim was wide-ish and the top had a cute shape, but I could already tell at a glance it was too small for my head. It was due to blind optimism that I tried it on at all.

“It looks like it fits!”
“It doesn’t though.”
“Shake your head around and see if it flies off.”
“[shakes head] yeah but that’s because I’ve pulled it snug onto my skull. It doesn’t go over my ears.”
“No hat goes over ears, Kathryn”
“You can see my head bulging out the sides of the top. God damn it.”

This was no sisterhood of the porkpie hat. I felt like Danny Devito in Matilda, super glued to the rim of his fedora. What’s more, the porkpie of 2011 was free, and this one cost $50, which was as much as I’d budgeted for this whole dinner. It also turned out I had severely undershot that estimate, making it all the more necessary to return the hat and put the money back on Alex’s card before he headed back out west. We’d just have to zip down to Soho the next morning before heading up to 40th street to catch our Jitney to the Hamptons. Oh right, in all the fuss over the hat and the dinner, I forgot to mention that this whole weekend was planned around a Labor Day trip to visit our friend Kalee in her Southampton share.

We finished dinner at about 11 PM, and despite being able to count the hours of sleep I’d had on one hand (in Alex’s case, on one finger), we headed home to change into some goth stripper outfits for the club. I had no idea what I was going to wear, but I figured I’d throw some fishnet over a bathing suit and call it a day, per usual.Also per usual, I decided to go with the high maintenance hair option and have Hannah put in clip-in extensions all over my head. After about an hour of pulling and tugging at my skull as I wined like Quinn Morgendorffer and chugged Stellas, we were ready.

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Around 1 AM we clomped out of the house (I mistakenly wore heels) took the subway two neighborhoods over, and spent the next 4 hours standing in the middle of the pride party that never ends, overspending on shitty alcohol. Around 6 AM, we somersaulted out of a cab into bed and slept in our clothes.

I woke up 3 hours later according to plan. Jumped in the shower, packed my backpack full of Hamptons gear (a white dress? Cut offs? A turban? That should do it) and shook Alex out of bed.

It was 10:30 am. We only had an hour and half to go to the Good Deli, grab sandwiches, grab the L to the R, run into topshop, return the hat, get on the 6 train, and get to the jitney 5 minutes early before they gave away our reservation. Also, we’d had 3 hours of sleep and were feeling so sick we thought we’d die. Yaaaay!

Cut to: two hungover 20 somethings sweating and panting, jogging down broadway in, well, actually pretty nice weather. We got to Topshop by 11:20 and I waited for Alex on the front steps to return the hat inside.

And I waited
And waited

“Excuse me, where do you make a return in this store?” I asked the greeter
“On the third floor.”

Fuck. FUCK. We were gonna miss the bus. Just then I saw Alex sans topshop shopping bag darting through mannequins and overpriced accessories towards me at the exit-

“TAXI!” I yelled into the street as we both flailed desperately at the traffic. Remarkably, we snagged one. If my cab driver from that morning is reading this, wherever you are, know that I am sorry for emphatically screaming at you to re-route about 8 times because “first avenue will be faster, no third avenue! Noo you can’t make a left turn here GOD DAMN IT.” I really am a nice, polite girl usually.

We jogged up to the 40th street Jitney stop at 11:59. I tossed the keys to James (did I mention he’d been waiting there since 11:15 to get my keys?) greeted him with a huge kiss and and a self deprecating joke he probably rolled his eyes at, and boarded the Hampton jitney. That is, the bus that takes new york’s wealthy but not wealthiest, sometimes the not wealthy at all, the guests of guests of guests of guests, to a very expensive beach.

It was on this bus that, in the middle of an indigestion paralleled by none, I was informed that we may not have a place to put our things, much less a way to get to a place, when we arrived.

See, we were visiting a friend of ours who was in the Hamptons for the summer to work for a high-end boutique. The residence, which she shared with 4? 5 other ladies? was paid for by that company. Therefore we needed special permission to visit the house, and were expressly prohibited from being there unsupervised, ever, no matter what.

Conveniently, while our boarding approval was still TBD, we arrived at the Southampton jitney station at 2 pm, 6 hours before our host would get off work, and 3 miles from her residence. We were nowhere near the beach. This was gonna be fun.

First we checked with the Enterprise rental car people. I, being two weeks away from turning 25, was still too young to rent a car (though strangely, not too young to do any of the other age-restricted activities in America besides collect social security benefits or run for president) but Alex had us covered. That is, if we could find a car in our budget.

“We’ll take the cheapest car you have!”

“That’d be…an Escalade for 650 dollars a day.”

“No thank you!”

So we decided to walk the three miles up County Road 39 in the heat of the day, luggage in tow, for the sake of “adventure.” Also due to complete necessity, but adventure sounds so much cuter.

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“I think we’re the most interesting people in the Hamptons right now.”

IMG_9534 IMG_9535 IMG_9547We were covered in scratches (pictured above) from climbing down a hillside of thorn bushes to avoid being killed by traffic on a road with no sidewalk.

When we finally arrived at the house, there was no one to be found. Word on the street (literally Kalee texted us when we were on the streets) was that we still weren’t exactly allowed to be there…but we had beers to drink and selfies to take.

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Eventually, after relaxing for much too short of a time, we decided to go on a hike through a tick infested area as per Alex’s suggestion. Apparently everything in the Hamptons is infested with ticks. They did not mention this in Sex and the City. Alex used his powers of persuasion aka name-calling to bully me onto the trail. Luckily neither of us got bitten, because it would have ruined the gorgeous experience those trails were providing us. While exploring, we got the bright idea to follow the railroad tracks into town so we could eat at Public House restaurant.

On the way, we noticed something odd.

“Cool! Animal bones!”

We kept walking. We started noticing more and more bones, everywhere

“…cool?”

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As we continued,we saw and smelled about 10 decomposing deer carcasses,not to mention two live deer. It was disturbing, to say the least, but at least we made it to the restaurant in ONLY a 45 minute walk.

By the time we got to the restaurant it was dark. Apparently late enough for every female in the establishment to be a little fucked up…or are Hamptons girls just crazy? The lines were starting to blur. Just as we sat down two blondes girls at the table next to us just GAVE us their shrimp cocktail because they were “SO STUFFED,” then read us page after page of sexts from okcupid dates they’d had recently. Most importantly, we finally got to see Kalee and eat tons of bread before going back to the house and falling asleep to the Anaconda Fart Remix.

The next morning we hitched a ride with Kalee’s roommate out to East Hampton, where upon arrival – get this – we WALKED to the beach. Even though the water was freezing cold and it was a little bit overcast, I still got a little tan. And in any case, trudging through the Hamptons struggle is worth it just to be a spectator in the Horrible Parenting Olympics that seems to happen there all season long. Mothers lose their kids on the beach and don’t bat a single botoxed eyelid (presumably because they can’t), little kids FAR ABOVE the acceptable age of playing naked roam around with privates out. At the lobster rack, I watched a 4 year old almost jump out of a window while the mother studied the cole slaw menu. It was truly amazing.

But nothing says Hamptons Shame quite like Grey Gardens, the estate once belonging to Jackie O’s eccentric relatives. These days, it’s a lovely cottage with overgrown shrubberies out front and blue shutters. On the way back to Southampton, we googled the address and made a little detour so we could stomp around in the mulch and take a picture of the renovated property. But honestly, you couldn’t see a damn thing.

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On the jitney ride back the next morning, Alex and I barely spoke.Our feet hurt, we hadn’t slept, we’d spent every last cent of our money on lobster rolls. But I had just spent three whole days with my best friend talking shit, walking in nature, and laughing at farts, so it had been the perfect weekend. What more was there to say?

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Flashback Friday: Return to the Teen Scene

phase mom
I don’t really remember much from my most recent trip to North Carolina, which is a shame since it was probably the last I’ll make for quite some time. It might be irrelevant now, but sitting here listening to Blink 182 (shamelessly) I can’t help but get nostalgic for a time when I could ride around drunk in the passenger seat of other people’s cars with no plans or obligations but to pressure my suburban peers to smoke weed with me on my trampoline. I’m referring, of course, to about six weeks ago.

After resigning from my position as Professional Salon Receptionist I managed to snag a few days between jobs to go home to the Triangle. The idea was that I’d see each person I love for about five minutes and have a quick spa session before returning to New York to start my “new life,” all while maintaining a therapeutic yet dangerously high blood-alcohol level. I’d like to share my experiences with you using the photos I found saved on my phone from that week, since that’s the only way I can recall what happened in the first place.
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Day 1: I spent the morning drinking vodka cranberries and tanning on the trampoline at my mom’s house in Cary until Greg drove 4o minutes from his parents’ house in Zebulon so we could smoke bowls and drive around. My friendship with Greg has been going strong for about ten years and we’ve spent most of them doing exactly this. Above is a photo of us on our way out to Chapel Hill to rescue some younger friends from the clutches of our alma mater. As you can see, Greg is sporting his classic UNC hat in forest camouflage and I am sporting my classic boob being out.

I guess it was something in the southern air or possibly the fact that I was WASTED at 4 pm but I really wanted to have a party that night. I made a huge deal about it on twitter and everything, which was sort of hilarious since it was the middle of the week and the only way I was going to get my friends out to Cary was to drive them myself. When most of them opted to stay in Chapel Hill, I googled “rude clip art” and sent these out via text:
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Day 2: My relationship with my mother sort of amazing in that I can be whiny and annoying to her almost all of the time and she just finds it amusing. I’m like The Simple Life to her. Above is a picture of me standing in my mom’s backyard after I forced her to give me braided pigtails and she totally surprised me by giving me this tiara! But don’t get it twisted. I may be the princess, but my mom is the queen. There’s a reason she just had one lying around. Later, Greg picked me up because he had to go to Zebulon to do laundry or something and I had literally nothing else to do but ride around with him. I hadn’t been home for 48 hours and I was already bored. Why did I think having nothing to do would be a luxury? Here’s a picture of how high I had to get to make up for it.

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If you didn’t know, Zebulon is a town in North Carolina made up entirely of fast food restaurants. We went to three of them.IMG_7424
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The next day there was like a hurricane or a tornado warning or something stupid, so I wrapped myself in one of the Ritz Carlton robes my mom lives in and treated myself to that spa day I’d been looking forward to all week. If you thought I was exaggerating about my mom being a queen perhaps her taste in bathroom decor will convince you. I proceeded to send my future boyfriend as many elegant nudes as possible, use every bath and body product in sight and get so drunk in the tub that I sliced the shit out of my leg with a venus razor. I’m proud to say it looked pret-ty gnarly.
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That night I was planning to attend one of the few events I used to look forward to back in NC, #NB4R. I was excited to see my boo Jermaine and of course hear what Luxe Posh was spinning these days, but the flash floods were putting a serious damper on my vibe. To lift my spirits I put my hair in my mom’s rollers and decorated my nails with some cheap stickers that just ended up falling off after I got Bojangles grease on them. IMG_7586
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At the party we spent most of our time either in the bathroom or outside talking shit. Apparently I was acting like a Teen Bitch to everyone all night, which seems accurate I guess. A pretty bold choice for someone who was camped out on the floor of the men’s room all night, but I stand by it.

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Anyway, it turns out airplanes aren’t time machines. Things have really changed in the last year and most of us have grown up and away from our old scene. This trip made it very clear that the North Carolina period of my life is dead and buried, or at least cryogenically frozen, and I’m totally okay with that. Still, it’s nice to get out of the city every once in a while and remember why I moved here in the first place. No shade on the old stomping grounds, but you gotta grow up sometime.

I’ll always miss Laguna Beach High School.

Beauty and Dis Bish

Okay so before I start rambling on about the exciting/exhausting events surrounding my social life, I thought I’d explore a different facet of my routine that is becoming more and more relevant, HaIr MaInTenAnCe

This is meant to be a sincere apology to my poor, once-fucked locks, in the form of a photo montage.

I am currently in the midst of trying to grow my hair out to what will hopefully be a free and unmanageable length. That will officially mark the first time I have had long hair in about four years.

^The last time I had long hair it was 2008, the summer of the American Apparel Bodysuit. Yes I am 18 in this picture so feel free to look at my vagina.

I should also mention that before I went short in ’09 (and for quite a while after) I was cutting my own hair with kitchen scissors and sometimes thinning it with a disposable razor.


^I cut my bangs using crayola construction paper scissors and ate nothing but amphetamines for a month because I wanted to look like Alice Glass

I was hacking at my head so regularly that I was left with almost nothing.


^Here I am at a cut copy show rocking the asian lesbian look

^This cut was based off of the brunette Agyness Deyn look. I literally used a venus razor to make the top thin enough to stick straight up and it still barely ever did. I would show you the one picture of my attempt to pull that off, but I look like a dead straight guy.

Then my brother started dating a hair stylist and I was able to take advantage of her kindness enough that she shaped what became my signature look, the curly ass top mop with the buzzed back and sides. We used to have buzz parties at 506 Church when all the boys and Jesi and I had slightly different versions of the same haircut. I would still refer to it as “The Official Haircut of TBT.”

^I cannot even begin to describe the amount of cool I correctly believed I was at the time of this photo. As cool as anyone can be in the study lounge of UNC’s Koury residence hall (not very).

I held true to that asymmetry, knowing how awkward it would be to grow out (I tried once and wore a beanie for about 6 months before buzzing it again).

^In the fall of 2010. You can see how Reid and I have the same basic shape to our hurr. You can also see that I’m wearing a children’s faux fur from Limited Too and that Reid is carrying a Coors Light box as a purse. Anthropological gold mine, this photo. 

So, fine. I was stuck with the same hair well into 2011. But I got to have that cool topknot all the boys think is soooOOo hot and original these days.


^shout out to patrick, kraft, candy necklaces and of course, me.

In the Spring of 2011,  I had Hannah dye chunks of the brown purple and blue.


^Uncontrollable excitement in Chapel Hill’s Rec Room due entirely to something called ~Loaded Tater Tots~. Also what’s up, Austin.

When I decided to go blonde that Summer the color she’d used for those chunks was impossible to be bleached out and we had to darken that section to a light brown.


^me n Sass posing for our live webcam banner ad

When Winter came along, I wanted to go even lighter and for reasons I cannot recall chose to darken that chunk in contrast. It was sort of a goth-tramp look.

In April I went blonder than I had ever been before. The blondest of the blonde. I felt like my brown hair had emphasized my accountability, indulged my realism…you know, helped me give fucks. I was so obsessed with my new hair I could hardly remember my reason for living before the transformation. Being blonde gave me LIFE.


^despite the fact that I look pissed and that I couldn’t manage to successfully straighten my hair, this is the best picture I have of the initial blondeness.

My decision to go crazy with Manic Panic in all-over magenta only a month later came suddenly. I was moving to New York. I had just gotten dumped. Sarah Sassafrass was right there with an array of semi-permanent colors. I went for it.

^Me v pink, giving face at myself in the mirror. The usual.

It washed out by July and left me with honey blonde locks that, while my ideal color, felt entirely like straw. I had always used cheap shampoo and conditioner until this year. Probably for the same reason I used to cut my hair with kitchen scissors. Probably for the same reason I boycotted blankets in the Winter of ’05. I am very good at rationalizing laziness.
^V bored and emo. You can kind of see that I straightened the ends here, which I fell into the habit of doing for the rest of the summer. It also destroyed about half of my hair as it had been zapped of its nutrients from all the coloring in the first place.

So I had a haircut that, okay, it didn’t suck I guess. But I was struggling to figure out how to grow the short brown sides while still blending them with the long blonde ends.

Last month I started working part-time as a receptionist a hair salon (as you know, I don’t like to use proper nouns until I can’t get fired from those proper nouns). It allows me to afford my apartment, which at 725/month is about 2.5x what I used to pay in North Carolina and considered a steal for most of habitable Brooklyn. Despite the fact that I have been taking better care of my hair recently–Redken extreme antisnap treatment, seriously it’s the shit–a large part of my job involved stylists looking at my hair and saying “what are we going to do with this…?” or “wow, you’ve got a situation” or my personal favorite, silently running their fingers through my hair with their lips pursed while I work. Luckily I have a good sense of humor and irrationally high self-esteem. But the other night I decided to bite the bullet and have Hannah cut me a reasonable adult haircut that doesn’t look like Daffy Duck after his head got smashed in a piano. She blended the regrowth with a reddish brown tone, and I was left with a what I believe to be very chic version of Juila Stiles cut in The Prince and Me (a movie I have not actually seen).


Vry ‘chic’ for work, still slightly asymmetrical, and I think it will look even better crimped with some butterfly clips.

THIS IS A MAJOR STEP FOR ME. I feel like I can be taken a bit more seriously now with semi-norm hair, which may have been a necessary adjustment? It’s also important to start making investments at this stage in life. I have no excuse not to buy the proper treatments for my hair just because they cost 20 dollars, when I would spend that much on a Monday night buying a personal deep dish pizza that will ruin my entire week. Spending money on things you actually need feels really good. In the end I’ll probably waste the rest on food and alcohol, but if i’m going to be broke with a fat ass I WILL AT LEAST HAVE THICK, HEALTHY, LUXURIOUS HAIR.

ugh.

I’ll tell 2001 you said hey.

Triangle Tribute Sesh

(Rose Garden circa 2006)

Do you ever feel like you spend so much time worrying and freaking out about bullshit that you miss all the fun? Lately I have been so consumed with moving to New York in FOUR WEEKS and trying to find an internship, a job, an apartment, my mind… that something very important completely slipped my mind: in four weeks I will be leaving the place where I’ve lived the last 22 years of my life–FOREVER. I shouldn’t be spending these days inside tethered to a computer and having panic attacks. There is only so much of this endeavor that I can control. I don’t want to wake up next month in Greenpoint and realize I never said goodbye to the place I grew up. So I came up with a plan.

THE CHALLENGE: complete every task on the list and document it
WHERE: the Triangle, baby
WHEN: between now and May 31st, 2012
WHO: me + whoever else will join me

1. Drink 40s at the Rose Garden
If you grew up in Raleigh, you know this is one of the safest and chillest places to drink illegally.

2. Dance on a chair at Neptunes
There is a 1 in 50 chance I will miss this. I don’t want to risk it.

3. Do a puzzle at Cup a Joe
Back in the early 2000s you could smoke inside of Cup a Joe. I was a very rebellious teenager without a license for most of those years  and sometimes this was the most fun any of us could think of having.

4. Drink at Top of the Hill
I graduated from UNC and I have still NEVER done this. While I am not ashamed of that fact, I still think I should try it to, I don’t know, have a point of reference when I’m old.

5. Pop Champagne on the steps of the new 506 Church
506 Church street is the address of the house that Team Big Things/Fruity Rebels LLC and I lived in from August 2009-February 2010 when we all first became friends. On March 1 the house burned down. It was, to use an obnoxious but totally appropriate word in this case, epic. Brought us closer together than ever before, blah blah blah. Point is, I think some chicks on the UNC softball team or something live there now. Before I leave for good, I would really like to complete this one.

6. Swim in The Lake off of Estes
This is a private lake in a neighborhood off Estes where they have a tiny beach and tetherball and some canoes. We always look really out of place because we clearly don’t live there, but my alibi is always to say I’m “Ruth’s neice from Portland” if anyone ever says anything.

7. Drink rum and Cheerwine and go to Cook Out
They don’t have Cheerwine or Cook Out in Brooklyn I’m pretty sure so this one needs no explanation.

8. Spend the day thrifting at Father and Son
I have been like 439826 places in  my day and never have I seen a vintage store this badass. I’m really going to miss all those weird manequins and polyester underthings.

9. Go to Pullen Park
*Sheds tear for childhood memz*

10. Go to the Ihop on Hillsborough in the middle of the night
*Sheds tear for high school and college memz and also bad service and incontinence* There is a chance I will go to the Waffle House on Hillsborough bc there are just as many memories and it is equally shitty but cheaper.

11. GO TO CRACKER BARREL
I realize they have these everywhere except New York City Proper. If I don’t get around to this one I have convinced my boyfriend to help me find the nearest one in Jersey or some shit.

12. Smoke on Bolin Creek Trail
Slash Windsor Trail and that trail behind McMasters. Chapel Hill has really amazing ~walking trails~ and many of them are well kept secrets.

13. Go to STIR
Let’s be honest, ~Jermaine Landon~ (twirl) and the Mix and Mingle events were the only thing that kept me sane during my time in Carrboro.

14. Go to FIRST FRIDAY and DIRTY MEGA without getting in a car accident 🙂
This one is a given.

15. Go to the flea market
I actually think you have to wake up really early for this and I work on the weekends so this will probably not happen but we’ll see.

16. Drive out to my favorite spot on Jordan Lake
Don’t quote me on this, but unless I find a place JUST as beautiful by the time I die, scatter my ashes on the bridge by the corner of Farrington rd and Martha’s Chapel

17. Smoke a cigarette at Longview
This was reallllllllllllly cool in high school

18. See a movie at the Varsity/the Rialto
LANDMARXX

19. Drink an LIT at the station
This one will be really easy.

20. Go the Big Chairs
If you drive the back roads through Carrboro, past Maple View farms and go almost all the way to interstate 40, there is a nursery that has a GIANT ROCKING CHAIR AND A GIANT ADIRONDACK  next to the road. It makes absolutely no sense, it is awesome, and I love it.

21. Sit at Open Eye and talk shit
That’s what you’re supposed to do at Open Eye, right?

22. Visit Goldsworthy and Trillium
These are two places on UNC’s campus where people smoke weed outside. I cannot tell you where they are or I would have to kill you. I have never done drugs.

23. Go Explorin’
I used to have a Ford Explorer. I turned the trunk into what we called the “Interior Illusions Lounge,” but it was just a bunch of beanbags and pillows and stuff. I used to drive stoners around and listen to 93.9 KISS FM. Now I drive a Civic, but I don’t think it would hurt to try and recreate this as best we can.

24. Break something at Brewer Lane
I have gotten into a lot of trouble for this in the past so maybe I will just like, play foursquare and drink boxed wine in the courtyard.

25. Get swiped into Lenoir
I hate UNCs campus more than anything on earth but I’m sure they will have that big breakfast thing before exams again and someone will have extra swipes. Once they had a lifesize Pillsbury Dough Boy. I was not sober. It was amazing.

26. Get HARE KRISHNA
FREE FOOD IS AMAZING SUPPORT WORLD RELIGIONS WHATEV

27. Have an outdoor meal at Duke Gardens
The word “picnic” is racist. Look it up.

28. Go to the Art Museum
This place is rad. I love it. The last time I went was for like 5 minutes and I didn’t have time to do anything but get in a fight with my (now ex) boyfriend. It sucked. Let’s do it over again and cross over that bridge that goes to the Beltline. I’ve never done that.

29. Crash a frat party
Someone help me do this I don’t know what a frat boy is and they will not talk to me I think

READY, BREAK