5 Favorites for 2016

Happy New Year! I’m kicking off another year on the blog with 5 things that I’m loving right now.

Jazmine Sullivan, “Reality Show”

      This album dropped at the  beginning of the year. I live my life on shuffle so it took until this summer for me to listen to the album as a whole, but it’s been on repeat ever since. My absolute favorite song on the album is “Let It Burn”. It samples an old Babyface-produced track which feels like a long lost Debarge track.  

These boots from Target.

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    It’s cold as crap outside! Accuweather is telling me that I’m lucky, but 50 degrees feels stupid cold when you spend 9 months out of the year at 85 degrees and up. Not to mention that the office a/c apparently runs year round. I’m going to be wearing these bad boys out for the next 8 weeks!* 😀

Mozart in the Jungle

I finally broke down and got an Amaz.on Pr.ime subscription. I knew it would pay for itself in Kin.dle books alone, but since all my regular shows are on winter hiatus, I had time to try out a new show. Mozart is actually really good! It’s a nice, light, 30 minute comedy. And having spent about 10 years in the orchestra, it’s nice to hear classical music and enjoy all the quirky musicians’ shenanigans. Check it out here.

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The Awkward Yeti web comics

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Somebody shared a collection of these on Facebook and I’m hooked. They’re super cute and the misadventures of Heart and Brain just speak to my life.

Tazo Gingerly Jasmine Tea

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Hubs got me a kettle for Christmas, which is enabling my new tea habit. I love green tea but this flavor from Tazo is wonderful. The flavor of the tea mixed with ginger, jasmine and rose petals has just the right balance of floral, earthy and spicy notes. Mixed with a couple teaspoons of local Texas honey, there’s no better way to unwind after a hard day at work.

 

 

*ICYMI, Houston has 3 months of winter, 3 months of spring, and 6 months of hell.

 

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Back to the Future

It’s 2015- the year that Marty McFly traveled to in Back to the Future II. We’ve arrived, y’all. But while everybody else is worried about self-lacing sneakers, hoverboards and flying cars, I want to know where my Jetsons-style conveyor belt automatic shower/groomer is. Anyway, going into a new year always makes people ripe for reflection and I’m no different. Last year I was mostly concerned with getting my law license. This year, I really want a full time job (or a clear sign that I need to be putting my energy into entrepreneurship).  Other than that, my goals are fitness related but I’d rather expound on that in a different post. So for my New Year’s entry, I’m giving you a list of 10 things that could have been blog posts but weren’t. Enjoy!

1. I’m deeply uncomfortable with this new TMI world we live in. There’s a difference between keeping it real and oversharing. Just seems like nothing is sacred or private anymore (people take selfies on the toilet, for God’s sake). The desire to be their authentic is eroding discretion. Example:  S.ex is wonderful, but I don’ care to hear about bedroom gymnastics, or anything related to it, from anyone but my husband. You can be gay, straight, or humping a goat- I’m going to figuratively stick my fingers in my ear and yell “LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” if you start spilling the details. Sorry, I’m a retro model.

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2. A lot of stuff gets lumped under the umbrella of shaming and intolerance. And I’ve lived long enough to know there is plenty of that out in the world. But there are times when it seems that folks just can’t handle it when others won’t  validate your life choices by agreeing with them. Part of being an adult is learning that

a) You don’t need the world’s approval for everything you do, and you won’t get it.

b) Sometimes the reward for living life the way you want, is simply living your life the way you want.

3. Freedom of  speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. Sony learned that lesson when they got hacked and all the water cooler gossip they’d been emailing back and forth got out*. So did a bunch of people on this Tumblr when their racist antics got back to their employers. Some things are best kept to yourself.

 

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4. Being married is boring sometimes. But so is life. You don’t kill yourself out of boredom so why kill your relationship? I think part of the reason people divorce so much is that we’ve got too many options (Tinder, Snapchat, Match.com) and too much time to think about them. 100 years ago there were no washing machines computers, tv,  or microwave ovens. The US population has more than tripled (from 100.5 million to 320 million) in that time so there are quite literally more options out there. At some point, you gotta learn to be happy with what you got, and make it work. And if you’re bored, here’s a hint: try being interesting and see what happens.

5. Sometimes you just have to let  it go. Unless you suffer from a mental illness like depression, happiness is a choice. Stop doing things that make you unhappy. Step away from the computer screen and dance to your favorite song, call a family member, hit that tree pose, whatever. People make changes when they get fed up. If you’re not at that point yet? Shut up and stop lying to yourself and annoying everybody else.

 

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6. “Friend” isn’t a word I use lightly. Friendship means we have each other’s backs. We tell each other the truth even when it’s uncomfortable. We can make mistakes and forgive each other. But most of all, we reciprocate. I have never been popular, and I’ve had a lot of alleged friendships that ended badly.** So I want to know that my friendship is reciprocated. We all get wrapped up in our hectic lives. But if I can look back a full calendar year and my only  contact with you was when you’re returning a call/text/smoke signal from me, I assume we’re not that close. You think about the people you care about most. If we’re really friends, at some point you should think “Hey, I haven’t talked to Lecie in a while, let me see what’s up with her.” Folks who are married and/or a parent get more leeway but at this point, most people I know don’t fall into those categories.

7. If you can’t afford hired help, being a housewife is hard. Balancing a budget, meal planning and grocery shopping, the neverending drudgery of dirty dishes, calling the bank/cable guy/insurance company to avoid bogus fees and keep from getting the runaround….not sure how I’m going to juggle once I’m working full time. As for the dishes at least, I finally said “eff the planet” and bought paper plates. Totally worth it.

8. Why do plane tickets cost so freaking much for so little? The widest economy seat today is still narrower than the smallest economy a mere 10 years ago, and boarding times have tripled. All so they can nickel and dime you with stupid up-charges. You’d think since fuel costs (probably largest variable cost for any airline) are dropping, ticket prices would go down. Nope. F*ck capitalism.

 

I could go on (rants #onfleek), but my word count is long enough as it is. Ciao!

 

 

*PRO TIP: By this point everyone should really know that you just do NOT talk sh*t via work email. Honestly, for the purposes of plausible deniability you shouldn’t write down your sh*t talking at all, but if you absolutely must, do it on your personal email, on your personal device, on your personal internet connection. You’re welcome.

**Yes, I know the common denominator is me. But given that I have very honest friends and none of them has yet to tell me that I’m an extraordinarily difficult person to make friends with, I think I just had a run of character-developing bad luck.

 

 

When Technology Goes Wrong

I’m far from a Luddite. My husband is a computer engineer so we’ve got a lot of tech playthings. Between us we have four computers, one tablet, four smartphones, three external hard drives, various spare computer parts, and a Kindle e-reader. We have our own modem (not the Comcast one) and a shared home network so we can access files from any device. I have multiple email accounts, multiple social media accounts, and this blog. I spend most of my day online- it’s where I work, play, shop, and communicate with friends.

Even so, I have my limits.

Sometimes I can be a little bit paranoid (although the recent NSA  and iCloud leaks proved that much of my paranoia is actually good sense). So as connected as I am, I don’t like to have too much brand integration. Even though all these entities are likely buying, selling and sharing my information amongst themselves, why make it easier by having my whole life wrapped up in one company? So I use different platforms for email, video chat, and cloud storage. Plus, if any given one of those platforms crashes, I don’t lose ALL my information. Still, there are some things I just can’t get with.

Wakie App

I was watching At Midnight the other week and they did a segment on a new app that lets randoms give you a wake up call in lieu of an alarm clock. Wait, what? That’s terrifying for me. That would be the WORST morning ever, not to mention an introvert nightmare. Having to get out of bed before 9:30 is bad enough, but having to do so while being forced to talk someone who I don’t know is just too much. Stranger danger and unwanted social interaction at the same time? *shudder*

Microsoft Band

When I look at this I can’t help but think about the sci-fi show Continuum. One of the plotlines was that Canada became a fascist police state, where the people are controlled through biofeedback from bracelets that are the latter day incarnations of fitness bands. Now I do have a Fitbit, but Microsoft Band ties in with the Microsoft Health app where you track your health statistics (blood type, weight, blood pressure, etc) along with your doctors, appointments, and your family history. I don’t trust it. Next thing you know you’ll be getting targeted ads about Jenny Craig or Ensure.

ADT Smart Home & Smart Appliances

This is just egregious to me. Why on earth would I want to remote control the locks on my house? If I can do it, that means anybody can do it because all this information is transmitted over some type of wireless or data network, and those can be hacked. And I suppose it’s helpful to have cameras in your fridge and text alerts when you’re running out of milk. But it’s also kind of creepy. Artificial intelligence is advancing by leaps and bounds. It’s only a matter of time before somebody f*cks up and decides robots should have choices. Whatcha gonna do when your house locks you out?

 

Basically, I’m not here for the Internet of Things. As connected as I am now, all I have to do is turn off my devices and I’m back in a mostly analog world. Neither my Zune mp3 player (yep, I’m riding that horse into the sunset) nor my Kindle Touch have to be connected to the internet for me to use them. Every part of your life doesn’t need to be automated. We’re getting to the point where the convenience of emerging technology is far overshadowed by price we pay in privacy and autonomy. Stay woke.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

For the first time since 9th grade or so, I’m celebrating Halloween. I loved playing dress-up as a kid, Halloween or no, so I always went hard in the paint. My favorite costume of all time is still the Tinkerbell costume my mom sewed for me when I was 3. I probably drove my parents crazy running around the house in my little tutu and slippers with the white pom pom ball. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t fly! Other highlights include the time I dressed up as every character in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  In college, I was as stumped as Cady when I realized that apparently, Halloween was all about being sexy.

Well, at 26 years old I’ve lost some of my self-consciousness. This year my friends and I are headed to Austin to do the bar crawl, apparently Sixth Street is legendary. And I’m bringing back the good old fashioned, homemade Halloween costume. Tex is going as part of the SAMCRO crew from Sons of Anarchy, and I know his flannel shirt with the iron on patches is going to be worn well past tonight. I’m going as Alice in Wonderland. I’m putting together the dress below (in the picture it looks purple but it’s actually navy blue) with a half apron, white tights, mary jane flats and a black bow headband.

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However, it also occurred to me that it can be hard to come up with low maintenance costume ideas. So here are a few that you can steal from me, some of which are particularly black girl friendly. (Because you don’t want to be the killjoy who goes as Rosa Parks. I’m just sayin’.)

 

1. Janelle Monae

Everybody has black and white in their closet. Add a red lip and a pompadour (or a bun/afro puff in a pinch) and you’re good to go. Bonus points if you’ve got some suspenders, saddle shoes or a fedora!

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2. Beyonce

You can go a few ways with this. I personally think the Single Ladies version is played out. How about Flawless (cut off denim shorts, flannel & boots)? If you have poufy prom or bridesmaid dress to recycle, you can grab a first place medal and tiara for Bow Down.

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3. Han Solo

I’m a nerd so I’m thinking about doing this next year. Tuxedo stripe pants, a white blouse, a vest, and a fake spacey looking gun from the Dollar Tree are all you need.

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4.  Suzy from Rugrats

This is for all my 90s kids. Grab some purple leggings, a yellow tunic and red Chucks. Plait your hair and you’re all set.

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5. Hogwarts Student

Recycle your college graduation gown and add socks and a scarf or bowtie in matching house colors. My favorite is Ravenclaw.

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6. Oliver Twist/Annie Hall/Steampunk

Oliver Twist was actually my Halloween costume circa 7th or 8th grade. It consisted of a pair of capri pants (for the knickers), knee high socks, a button down shirt and one of my dad’s vests, plus the piece de resistance: a newsboy hat. A flat Kangol hat works too. I used a terrible Cockney accent the whole night, to the amusement and eventual annoyance of my family. The picture below shows the high fashion version of this. You can use similar clothes to create an Annie Hall look; just straighten your hair and use a fedora. Or you can sub in a corset/bustier and add  fingerless gloves, combat boots, a chain belt and a pocket watch to make it steampunk.

 

 

 

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7. Hipster Disney Princess

I saw some of these pics floating around Pinterest and thought it was a hilarious idea. The great part is that there’s no wrong way to do it. It works great as  group costume too.

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8. Michael Jackson

An oldie but goodie. If you don’t happen to have a red leather jacket floating around, you can use his outfit from The Way You Make Me Feel. Rolled up jeans, white Hanes undershirt and a denim button up- easy as pie! If you don’t want to get embarrassed, make sure you know all the lyrics and can do at least one move from the video. Authenticity, ya know.

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9. Cheshire Cat

Put a spin on the typical cat costume by wearing pink and purple. The makeup is what will really sell the look. A pair of cat flats would add some extra sweetness.

 

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10. Wednesday Addams

No effort required. All you need is a black dress, the blankest of blank stares, and the full force of your sarcasm.

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Houston vs. Atlanta

There are some very, ahem, unique things about Houston. It’s a totally different experience from living in Atlanta for sure. Below are a some of my observations about my new home state.

Patriotism. You can’t drive more than a 2 or 3 miles without seeing a flag. And please believe that wherever you see the American flag, you’ll see the Lone Star flapping proudly next to it. There’s a reason why everybody knows the phrase, “The Great State of Texas”.  People here are Texans first, Americans second. Get with it or shut up.

The food. It’s EVERYWHERE. There must be 40 places to eat within a 2 mile radius of our house, and that’s a lowball estimate. And they take their meat seriously here. You can’t go two blocks without seeing a barbecue or burger joint. Fortunately, there are also a good number of gym chains, no doubt in response to the growing tide of gluttony.

The men. Yes, I’m married (and happily so!) but I still get hit on.* And as a person who likes aesthetically pleasing surroundings, let me tell ya there’s a lot of eye candy around here! They’re taller (sorry but tall men in Georgia are in short supply**), muscular (must be all that Grade A beef), and know how to talk to a woman. By that I mean, they’re polite and full of compliments. Not in a sleazy way, but in a “we appreciate women” way. Husband says that over here, guys figure out that talking to a Texas woman the wrong way could you slapped in the face so they come correct. HA! Atlanta is a totally different story. There male/female ratio is skewed in the men’s favor and it’s diluting dating market. I keep saying I’m going to find Sunny a job here so she can move and land her a nice strapping Texas cowboy. LOL!

The weather. Texas (well, Houston at least) is not the dry desert that many people think it is. There is PLENTY of rain. And unlike the multiple flash thunderstorms that sweep across Georgia, often lasting an hour or less, rain in Houston is consistent. If the day starts out raining you’re probably stuck with it. One time in November it rained for 4 or 5 days straight :-/ And there’s humidity too, unfortunately, so rain doesn’t always mean that things cool off. I have yet to experience the legendary Texas summer heat, but I’m told it starts in a few weeks.  O_O

Fences. Texans mean business about property lines. But given the fact that they have almost the same Stand Your Ground law as Florida, it’s helpful to have an obvious visual cue as to whether you’re on someone else’s property or not. Because otherwise, you could end up dead.

Lack of trees. There’s a good amount of grass and scrub brush, and a few palm trees, but no real trees in sight. The beautiful fall foliage is entirely absent from the landscape. On the other hand, that means pollen is minimal and I can breathe all 12 months of the year. I’ll take it. Who needs real trees when you’ve got screensavers?

Gas prices. Being in oil country means that gas is cheap! My jaw dropped when we crossed over the state line and I saw the price per gallon started with a “2”. GLORAAAYYYY!  *\o/*

To be continued….

*This may have something to do with the fact that Husband and I both forget to wear our wedding rings at least once a week. We’ll get the hang of it eventually 🙂
**Pun not intended, but I giggled anyway.

Life after law school

I’m still here. I’ve had a lot of life…stuff to catch up on, quality time with Tex being number one. Socializing would be second except for the fact that half my friends are in bar study purgatory, and the other half are, happily, gainfully employed. (I’m still working on that.) So, I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and also wedding planning. Now we’re down to the nitty gritty details of decor–bouquets, tablecloths, centerpieces, the whole nine yards. Also, waiting on invitation RSVPs.

Bridezilla break- Can I just say that I hate logistics? Contrary to what my law degree would have you think, I’m a big picture person. I’m concerned about the feel of the day. Will I be a pretty white dress? Check.  Is it a nice place and do we have an ordained minister doing the ceremony? Double check. Will my groom, family & close friends be there? Triple check. I’m pretty much done after that. I don’t give a flying [expletive deleted] what kind of bouquets the bridesmaids have. In fact, after looking into florist prices and perusing the craft shop, I decided to chuck the whole thing and have them wear corsages. My sister almost had a heart attack when I said I didn’t want to carry a bouquet. It’s completely useless, other than the toss, but Tex said I couldn’t just show up with one at the ceremony so he wore me down on that one. We’re also going to buy some nice seasonal flowering plants that the fam can take home rather than drop a grand on floral decor we’re going to have to throw away.  If people come to my wedding and the only thing they take away is that they didn’t like the food, or the centerpieces weren’t fancy enough, then screw ’em! I don’t know, I’m just not that person who goes to a wedding and says, “Hmm, beautiful couple, but the walls were a bit bare”. That’s never what I take away. I remember doing the “Thriller” choreography with my brother on the dance floor, stifling laughter as my preacher uncle hijacks the prayer into a sermonette, and hoping my own special day will be half as much fun.

Oh well. I’m praying to find a job soon; living life as a “kept woman” seems appealing but it does get boring.There’s not terribly much to clean in a 1-bedroom apartment with two adults who generally pick up after themselves, and we don’t have the budget for me to spend all day alternating between mani/pedis, massages, a personal trainer and shopping.  I’ve given myself the project of brushing up on my Spanish on Duolingo (it tests your translations backwards & forwards as well as your pronounciation via the computer mic). I may be a casual Type A, but I’m a Type A nonetheless and I like to be doing stuff….But not for free. I’ve got two degrees now and in the words of Flavor Flav, “They gots to pay me boyyyeeeee!”