incredible edible

Naturally, two days after acquiring and potting my tiny fire escape herb garden, the weather forecast predicts several days of freezing temperatures.

Step one: determine that bringing plants indoors and finding them a place where the cat cannot gnaw on them is a better idea than draping the fire escape in sheets to prevent my garden from falling victim to the freeze.

Step two: realize that I have become my mother.


speed freak

Once upon a time, I was a varsity* swimmer, and I swam the 500 freestyle. Why the longest-distance event in high-school swimming? Because I was incredibly slow, that's why. A great time for the 500 freestyle is 5:00-6:00. I think my personal best in my two years of swimming for the KHS Bearcats (an animal that does not like water, naturally) was somewhere around 10:00. Yup, the other girls had swum the race, left the pool, picked up their medal, and changed into their warm-up sweats by the time I finally finished my plodding 500 yards.
*Varsity, clearly, was not a great distinction of merit for the swim team. Judging by the same standards that awarded me a varsity letter in swimming, a relatively agile puppy could have been a varsity swimmer for KHS.

I haven't swam much since then, so getting into the pool these past few weeks has been an exercise in humility. Where I once did a 3,000 yard warm-up, I'm now doing 800 yards for my total workout on a good day. I've also been eschewing caffeine lately, but then I saw the article in the Times this week that said "duh, caffeine makes you do things faster, and those things include sports".

Today, before heading to the pool, I had a double espresso.
I chose the lane next to a little old lady, and I kicked her ass. Maybe it was the caffeine, or maybe it was the fact that she was a little old lady, but I lapped her like four times. I'm suddenly very appreciative of the Starbucks located next to the rec center.

I feel like I should've spiked my kickboard in the shallow end in a show of my aquatic dominance.



Yes, I am the person who laughed out loud at my mother when she swore that she'd never pay more than $100 for any article of clothing. ("What about a winter coat?", I asked, "or a suit?" She shot both of those ideas down.)

But seriously, Aldo, these are flip-flops. Made of 100% synthetic materials. You cannot seriously expect anyone to pay seventy dollars for flip-flops.
They're going to give you a blister on the side of your foot the first time you wear them, just like the $3.50 flip-flops from Old Navy, I promise.


progress report

Today is Day Three of the unwashed-hair experiment. I'm pleasantly surprised to note that my hair doesn't look utterly disgusting- a little oily, but not terrible. This might be due to the lap-swimming I've done over the past three days: chlorine is probably helping me out here.


greasy grimy gopher guts

Ooooooh-kay. I've been told for years and years that my compulsion to wash and condition my hair every single day is just the product of being constantly sold shampoo by big bad corporations, and that no one needs to wash their hair every 22 hours or so, and so forth.

But now that NPR tells me this, I might actually give it a (very short-term) shot.

I have fine, thin, stick-straight hair. It starts looking greasy when I hit the 26-hours-unwashed mark. I know many of my friends with thick, wavy, or curly hair look at me in horror when I tell them why yes, I do shampoo every single day- but c'mon, guys, you have 1) more hair, 2) more texture, and 3) less oil, apparently, than I do.
But it's spring break, and I'm not going anywhere, and I'm down for a little experiment. I last washed my hair on Wednesday morning, and since I don't have any plans that involve leaving the house or looking presentable until Sunday afternoon, I'll go until then sans shampoo.
I'm shuddering just thinking about this.

I may be resorting to jaunty hats and scarves-as-headwear by tomorrow morning.


again with the half-headless models?

Either I'm feeling especially vulnerable to things marked "sale" due to my depressing lack of spring break travel (hi! still here! in Cincinnati! UGH!), or this dress is really fucking adorable. It would be a departure from my normal black wool shift dress(es)- it is navy blue, after all. And it would go especially well with those grey-beige heels that haunted me each night until I found them on clearance for $27.
And assuming I ever get a job interview (hi! potential employers! call me!), it would be a pretty excellent not-too-fussy interview dress.

Why has Urban Outfitters followed Target on the Headless Model Bandwagon? I know the merchandisers might think "but what if her bangs are distracting from the dress?", but seriously the fact that the model's head is cut off like a bad self-portrait is what's distracting me here.


why yes, I am going to pout about it.

My spring break started today.
Actually, "spring break" starts next week in earnest, but I have no classes to attend nor obligations to fulfill that can't be done via email from now until March 31st. Two-plus weeks of freedom from academic tyranny! And I'm not going anywhere. Dammit.

I'm not the type to fly to Cabo San Lucas for beer bongs and karaoke and hotel rooms shared with seven other girls. I'm more the kind that drives across four states to visit friends and relatives along the way, or spends four days in Mexico City soaking in visual art and chilaquiles, or just walks around NYC enjoying that first whooosh of spring air. Or, best-case scenario, the kind of girl that uses this extended break to to visit the boyfriend who is currently living in the tropical climes of Asia, as she hasn't seen him since October, and he conveniently lives within a daytripping distance of some lovely beaches.

But no, I have a rapidly dwindling bank account balance that must last me through the next two weeks before my final student loan deposit occurs, and that's preventing me from doing pretty much anything fun. The most exotic experience I'm likely to have in the coming weeks will be sitting in the hot tub at the university rec center, and they won't even let me sneak an umbrella drink into the pool area.


art smart

"I don't know art, but I know what I like."

And in this case, I like free or cheap art. It's more than enticing- it's brilliant.
The Fine Art Adoption Network is exactly that- a site that matches artworks up for adoption with potential new owners. For free, really. (Ok, if shipping is involved, it's only right that the adopter pays for that, but seriously, FREE.) I acquired a lovely black-and-white abstract piece on vellum a few years ago, and all one has to do to adopt the art is to apply and wait to be approved by the artist. I love the idea of FAAN using a "gift economy" to get works of art out to a new audience and expand their exposure, and I really love the idea of being able to collect new original works without having to 1) pay, or 2) worry about the whole "how do I buy art?" code of transactions.
(I am kind of in love with this Teseo Fournier West piece at the moment.)

The forever-cool Laia tipped me off to 20x200. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, a new piece is introduced in limited print runs, and in various sizes. Prices start at $20 and go up to $2000, depending on the size of the piece and the number of pieces produced, and oh my god I'm going to end up with a kick-ass art collection thanks to this site. Maybe starting with this print by Carlo Van de Roer. Or Tema Stauffer's ode to Minnesota.

Oh, and if you're in the Twin Cities, you probably already know about the Minneapolis College of Art and Design's annual student art sale and have November 20-21, 2009 marked on your calendar. Race you to Azia afterwards!


do you really want to hurt me?

I had "McQ for Target" blocked out on my calendar for a long, long time before today finally arrived. The preview shots with Blythe, the Wide-Eyed Doll hadn't given me a great idea of what the pieces would look like in person (those zig-zag leggings on Blythe must've just been a styling prop, right? they can't have been actually produced!), so I scooted to my nearest Target this morning to paw at the McQ racks.

That was disappointing. Now, my Target didn't have every piece in the collection in the store, but what I saw was uniformly subpar. Some of the pieces are just fucking bizarre, such as the unflattering jumpsuits with the weirdly-placed waist (jumpsuits? SERIOUSLY?) and those fugly electric-pink-and-black zig zag leggings that I had the good sense not to wear in 1989, because I knew better even then. There's also a serious disconnect in the line: some pieces that seem to be the spawn of a 'roiding bodybuilder's favorite mesh workout tee and the kinds of shirts you bought at Express in 1999 to go clubbing in, while others (like the buttoned-up Catholic elementary school uniform shirt and the high-waisted calf-length full skirt) are something I'd expect to find in the closets of a fundie compound.

I tried on three pieces that seemed to have escaped the mesh-application factory: the grey skinny studded jeans (alas, no grey denim motorcycle jacket in sight), the harness tank, and the one-shoulder graphic grey dress.
I wanted to love these, really. Per usual, the sizing is odd for the collection- but the fit of these went beyond "problems fitting a non-junior's body into a junior's-cut pair of pants". The legs were perfect: tight without being sprayed-on, and the rise wasn't obscenely low. But: the waist. Or, specifically, everything above the legs. These pants had a built-in pouchiness. Now, I've got a sad amount of built-in pooch on my own body, but these had enough room for my "I love cannoli" belly with room to spare. So much room to spare that I could fit a fist between the waistband and my stomach. Anything north of the crotch on these pants seems to be cut from a completely different pattern- a mom-jeans, the-heck-with-slim-fit, must-have-room-for-a-marsupial-in-there pattern. And it was sad.
Especially since the grey is excellent, and the pockets are well-placed, and the studs are interesting without being ostentatious. Dammit, Target, I wanted to love these jeans and buy them.
Good things about the tank: the shoulder/back harness detail is awesome and not made of a squicky synthetic fabric. Big huge awful thing about this tank: it's see-through. You could've seen through this to identify the maker of my bra and probably pick out a mole on my abdomen, had I left the dressing room to see just how much a perfect stranger could determine through my shirt under flourescent lighting.

This dress was almost a hit, really. The design is gorgeous (and I'm not normally a one-sleeve kind of girl, but the power of McQueen compelled me) and the fabric is pretty good: silk overlay, synthetic lining.
However, I believe that the fit model for Target has some seriously wacky proportions. I think she was involved in a freak accident that chopped 4" out of her femurs, thus shortening her upper legs and making everything she puts on look to be of a normal length, so they produce it to those specifications. We know this is a lie: what looks normal on our maimed model looks tunic-length on other people whose femurs are intact. This shit is shoooooooooort. "You're not leaving the house in that, missy!" short. "I can't sit down" short. "Tights are not pants!" short.

I left Target with a jug of delicate laundry detergent, some hand cream, q-tips, toothpaste, and a pout. Dammit.


Navy wool cape, vintage; brown leather gloves, vintage; boring clothes otherwise.

(Two things I love dearly: capes (or capelets) and long leather gloves. Coincidentally, these are two things eBay provides in relative abundance.)

Nothing under the cape is particularly interesting or fashionable, but I guarantee you that more people thought I was well-dressed today because they're not used to seeing capes than because they felt any particular attachment to the dingy brown sweater hidden by this cape. It's like a surprise attack of wardrobing: if you're not expecting it, it's probably going to be something that elicits a compliment.


je voudrais...

These are far, far more elegant than the chipped pink melamine teacup sans saucer that I'm drinking out of at the moment.

Bestow Boutique clearly has me pegged. See also:

"keep me" bracelet

shiny black bud vases

gothically awesome glasses

...and other sundry items I now believe I cannot live without, but sadly cannot afford. Those vases are on sale for $12, however, and I'm pretty sure I can find $12 worth of change under my bed/ in the seats of my car/ in the coin purses and clutches scattered in my closet to make this happen.