a modest rebuttal

So, this exists. And it hurts my brain. (Also, linking to that blog is painful, but is a good example of Insipid Shit That Ladies Are Supposed To Like.)

Point/counterpoint! It's worth noting that my lovely Vicious Trollops co-blogger A Lady is somewhat more, well, ladylike than I am, and will disagree with me on bits of this. (Hence why it's here and not on Vicious Trollops. But you should read Vicious Trollops, too, because in my wholly unbiased opinion, it's worthwhile! Plus there's that whole How To Date Us post already in existence.) And it's all heteronormative up in hurr, but this is genderless, I promise.

1) If you want to go out with her on the weekend, ask her by Tuesday. Do NOT ask her at 8 p.m. on Friday. This was awesome. It showed me that he was considerate of my schedule, valued my time and was serious about wanting to get on my calendar. There is nothing worse than a wishy-washy guy. If a guy is interested and respects you, he won't take any chances.
  • Not a lot of argument from me on this, actually. Spontaneity is great (a 4 pm email saying "do you have dinner plans? No? Then can I meet you for dinner?" is good); asking me on Thursday what I'm doing on Friday means that I'll likely already have other plans. Color-coded calendar, etc.- and yes, this is a bit of a pain, but for real, scheduling is just convenient. However, the whole tone of "...valued my time and was serious about wanting to get on my calendar... If a guy is interested and respects you, he won't take any chances" is just massively grating. It's not respect, it's just practicality. I might have plans to see a show on Saturday night, but if I know in advance that you want to hang out on Saturday night, I'll get an extra ticket.
2) Plan the first date. Once she says yes, take a day or two to research what you want to do and where you want to take her. The first few dates are on the guy to pull together. I HATE when a guy asks me to pick a restaurant or dating activity in the early days. I don't know what his budget is like. Even if I want to go somewhere really nice, I'll never ask for that and come off as a gold digger. A guy should take you there because he wants to take you there.
  • Pah. Have an idea, float the idea, but jesus, it's not that fucking hard. Generally "want to go to Awesome Activity/eat something good/drink something delicious" is a pretty good idea. And the whole "golddigger" thing bugs. Because clearly dating is transactional and ladies are only after anyone for money, right? Fuck that.
3) Pay for the date. This should go without saying, but I'm just going to make sure this is clear. I'll usually pay for a few little things, like concessions at the theater, if I like the guy, but a guy should always plan to pay for everything. If she wants to go halfzies on the bill, tell her to put her money away. If a girl "doesn't like it when a guy pays," she probably just doesn't like you and want to feel like she owes you anything. Even the most independent woman appreciates nice gestures.
  • Fuck that. See "golddigger", above. I expect to split the tab. If someone says "I'd really like to get this", then yeah okay, but I never ever ever expect anyone to pay for me and my admittedly often expensive tastes.
4) Pre-date banter is awesome. Send a few texts that are not overly flirty, but more fun and quippy. It shows that you're excited to see her and helps build up the anticipation. By the time Friday rolls around, the conversation is already friendly and easy.
  • Banter is always good. No argument here.
5) Pick her up at her apartment. Whether you have to walk there, cab there, train there, just do it. In this case, the restaurant was actually in his neighborhood and he still met me at mine. That gesture did not go unnoticed.
  • HELL TO THE NO. That's fucking creepy. If the date does not go well, then I have to think "shit, and now they know where I live, and I'm gonna have to hope they don't just 'happen to be in the neighborhood' in an attempt to run into me". Times when meeting at apartment is a good idea: when I invite you to do so. Otherwise, I'd find this highly sketchy. I suppose if one is picking me up in a car, then yes, that's fine, but I don't like being transit-dependent on anyone for a first date. It closes the exit window of "this did not go well, I need to get the hell out".
6) Don't go in for the kill. Treat it like a first date. One that, if it's good, will be followed up by second, third and fourth date. It takes me awhile to warm up to somebody. My date was the perfect gentleman. It was so refreshing to be respected like that.
  • Pshaw. If a first date goes well, I'm definitely making out with you, and probably in a shameless public manner. No shame in being like "daaaamn, chemistry, please to roll around halfnaked now". This whole expectation of Ladies Should Be Demure is infantilizing. I can make up my own mind about whether I want to hook up with you or not, and I shall follow through.
7) Text her right away and tell her that you want to see her again. Amazing.
  • Go ahead, but don't get all twitchy if I don't text you back. I'm probably asleep.
8) Get in touch with her by Tuesday and get on her schedule for the weekend.
  • Follow-up plans are good, yes. I shan't argue with that.
See, this RedEye blogger is not 100% wrong, just like 50% wrong. But way to reinforce the stupid idea that dating is a transactional and golddiggery affair! Oh, feminism sheds a tiny tear.


cookie monster

At last weekend's festive holiday gathering ("let's all make a bunch of christmas cookies and eat frosting and sing along to Jingle Cats and dammit, why did the gingerbread horse not come out right?"), I made a big batch of pfeffernusse. These have always been my Festive Holiday Treat. Pfeffernusse come in light and dark versions, but I much prefer the dark one- so much so that I didn't bother to get the recipe for the light version from my grandma. Nothing personal, grandma.

It seems that everyone else at the party grew up with a different expectation of pfeffernusse than I did, however. They all wondered why mine were so small (the size of half-dollars, rather than the size of Oreos), and why I didn't roll them in powdered sugar. I'd never heard of such things, but I suppose it's entirely possible that there is more than one way to make this cookie.

Foolishness! This is My Family's Way, and thus, the Right Way.

(Why no photos of the cookies? Um, because I've eaten them all already. Oops.)

Grandma's Pfeffernusse (or "peppernuts", which is a less charming word to say)

1/2 C shortening (Yes, it hurt me a bit to buy Crisco for this recipe. But if it's good enough for my grandma, it's good enough for me. Don't judge.)
2 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbls hot water
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 C flour

Cream the shortening with the sugar; add eggs and beat until all is mixed. Add the salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add this to the dough. Add the vanilla. Mix in the flour (you'll be using a wooden spoon by this point, most likely) in 3 or 4 additions.
The dough should be smooth, not crumbly, and have a slightly tacky feel to it.
Roll out ropes of this (with a circumference about that of one's thumb) and cut into small chunks. (About the size of a thumbnail? or about the size of one's thumb from knuckle to tip? Y'know, smallish.)
Place these on a greased cookie sheet (or on one lined with parchment paper). Bake at 350 degrees for about 6-7 minutes. Watch them closely, they get overdone quickly.

These are sort of hard little cookies- some are chewy, but most are rather crumbly. The best (and correct!) way to eat them is to float them atop the hot beverage of your choice (hot chocolate, irish coffee, whatever) and then scoop them up with a spoon. Don't let them sink!



OPI's "Domestic Goddess" polish, in both matte and regular finish, disappoints. I first bought the matte, and blamed the streaks on the formula. Surely the regular shiny finish would be better, I thought!

Gorgeous perfect color, utterly shitty opacity. This is streaky as all hell, even after my uncharacteristically careful application of a base and top coat.


scarlet o'hellyeah

I think a theme song is only appropriate here. (This has totally made its way to The Creepy/Sexy Mix.)

I've had this cape nearly a year now (origin: middle-of-nowhere Nebraska thrift store, something like $15), and I don't wear it nearly often enough. I'd pass it by in the closet, thinking "ugh, I just don't want to have to acknowledge people today, and everyone feels the need to say hello when I wear this", until I realized that buying a bright fuckoff red cape with fur trim is an indication that yes, this is for looking at. (And showing off on one's blog, obvs.) Comment away, passers-by. Wallflowers don't wear winterwear such as this, after all.

Red wool cape with rabbit fur collar, vintage; opera-length
gloves, vintage; boring black tights; boots, Enzo Angiolini.

I also had a board meeting this morning and needed to wear something that said "listen up, yo". Red will do that, especially as I rarely wear red. (The dress is more a true red than this picture will do justice: a blue-red, not nearly as magenta as it looks in this shot.)

Fold-neck dress, Target; belt, vintage; Until There's A Cure bracelet; Allumonde ring; watch, vintage.


glutton for...

I don't think I've eaten a meal that didn't involve me consuming at least one pound, if not more, of meat in the past twenty-four hours.
I am completely fine with this. Mostly because this dress has an empire waist.

Sweater over dress, Uniqlo; dress, H&M; knee socks, Uniqlo;
bracelet, Until There's A Cure; shoes, Via Spiga.

I keep telling myself that I'll somehow burn off those steaks by ice-skating tomorrow morning. Right.



Thanksgiving requires a drawstring waist. (And approximately seven French 75's. I am working on my eighth at the moment.)

Vintage wool/silk dress, via A Lady; cone-heel pumps, Seychelles;
starburst ring, vintage; non-rhinestoned ring, Allumonde.

This dress has a fantastic geometric knit pattern of diamonds and dots, and it was just LANGUISHING
in a suitcase under A Lady's bed. Thank god she is generous and gave it a good home, eh?

Of fucking course I took these photos before gorging myself on roast quail, dressing, cocktail shrimp, and sole meunière. I have some pride, after all.



That doesn't look safe, D.

You might have a point there, but I was seized by the idea that I had to replace the homemade chandelier in the living room with something more light-diffusing. I am getting very picky about flattering lighting in my increasing age, see, and then I saw this how-to for a ceiling-mounted drum shade, and yes, I got a little fixated.

one $3 drum shade, two yards of grey fabric, one yard of muslin (I think it was muslin? I don't know, I found it in the bottom of my fabric box in the closet and I have no idea what I bought it for), fabric glue, spray adhesive, two yards of twill tape, and four huge hex nuts.

How to:
Cut the drum shade down to the preferred depth if it's too tall. Mine was too tall. I was all ready to get crafty with the x-acto knife, but no, scissors worked just fine.

Iron the muslin and cut out a circle of fabric around the bottom of the shade, leaving a little bit of overlap. Glop on some fabric glue and adhere the muslin to the outside edge of the shade.

Aleene's Tacky Glue is like childhood in a squeeze bottle. I spent a goodly chunk of my childhood in the craft store/ in the basement gluing sequins to things/ covered in tempera paint.

If, like mine, your shade was not very pretty and had a bunch of odd stains on it, you'll cover it with a pretty fabric. This grey stuff was on sale, hooray! I ironed it (note: ironing TWO THINGS IN ONE NIGHT? My god, my ironing board has not had that much use in months. Seriously. I refuse to iron.), and then, in a direct contradiction of the spray-glue instructions telling me to use it only in a well-ventilated area, I just sprayed the lampshade with the adhesive and smoothed on the fabric. Is it perfectly smooth? No, but I don't really care. After all, it's like eight feet above my head, so screw it.

Hooray, almost done! Glop some more fabric glue on the twill tape to cover the bottom seam of muslin+glue+other fabric and edge the bottom of the shade with it.

(At this point, you may notice that your cat is freaking out and starting to throw up. This might be because you just used a bunch of spray adhesive in your un-ventilated kitchen, or might be because cats are weird and puke a lot. If you're me, you'll just say "ah, as long as I don't get dizzy or fall over, it's probably fine". Avoid stepping in cat puke.)

Take off the ugly glass dome cover of the light fixture and save the finial to screw it back on. Thread the metal post of the fixture through the lampshade's hanger part thingy, and shove three or four hex nuts onto the post to make the shade closer to the ceiling. Screw the finial onto the bottom of the post to hold it all together.

Yes, I am standing on an Ikea stool on top of my coffee table to get at the light.
No, I don't own a ladder. Yes, this seemed easier than acquiring a ladder.

Look, you have a new ceiling light, and it's rather pretty!

Man, I hope the cat stops throwing up soon.



Although this ensemble is, in fact, boring, I was strutting in it all day long. Something about these jeans just feels awesome (not the lycra-ed out skinny jeans, sort of slouchy in the right way), and in my head, I looked amazing all day. In reality, I just looked like a girl in jeans and leather wedge heels.

Dunno, somehow the combination made me feel six feet tall. Or maybe that's because in these wedges, I am pushing 6'1".

yeah, I should swiffer.

Satin-trim cardigan, Old Navy; tank, Uniqlo; jeans, +J for Uniqlo;
leather wedge heels, really old and of uncertain origin.


case of the mondays

I woke up this morning (late, which has become so normal that it nearly doesn't count as "late" any longer) with that awful scratchy throat and swollen glands feeling that says "surprise! it's fall! and you've got a cold that will make you miserable!"

I felt juuust not-deathlike enough to go into work, but not so well that I was willing to make much of an effort.
Shift dress: flowy like pajamas.
Cardigan: cozy like pajamas.
Thick tights: warm like pajamas.
Beret: disguising my dirty hair.
Bright red wedge boots: eh, these are just for straight-up vanity.

Wool beret, origin forgotten; shift dress, Ann Taylor; cardigan, Target;
boring tights probably also from Target; red wedge boots, Aerosoles.

Yes, I am standing next to a new phrenology head print. It says "The Picture of Good Health". Blargh.

Q: why are you blogging when you are sick-like, hmm?
A: shut up and make me a hot toddy.



Donating one's post-mortem skeleton to my apartment- now that, in its odd way, is wondrous friendship.

S: If I die early, not of head trauma: you may have my skull.

me: Yesssssss! In untimely death, you will complete my living room décor. I will not hasten your death for that purpose, promise.

S: Best not.



A smattering of the reasons I am newly, truly obsessed with PBS' new "Sherlock" (courtesy A Lady's generous hosting / having of a tv to re-hook my brain on the shiny moving pictures):
  • intro by Alan Cumming
  • art deco + Edward Gorey
  • tiltshift
  • possibility of severed head in the fridge
  • villain wearing Vivienne Westwood
plus that whole "socipathic genius" thing, plus the "limps, has cane" thing.

...well, we know my triggers, don't we?


née theodosia burr goodman

Arab Death, with snakes. (Formerly with much more eye makeup, but this was taken at the very end of the evening.)

Costume success, finally. The inspiration photos:

A loose inspiration, obviously, but one cannot really create an eight-foot train of peacock feathers on a nonprofit salary.

Costume components:
-black velvet dress, purchased at thrift store and altered from long-sleeved down to sleeveless/backless
-three rubber snakes from the dollar store, spray-painted gold
-long fake pearl necklace
-lots of gold ribbon to tie things to my head
-$3 fan from Chinatown
-loads of gold braid
-58 peacock feathers
...put together with Matty's sewing machine, a surprising amount of dental floss, and more hot glue than is healthy.



This is twee as all hell:
Therefore, I really really want it.


work in progress

In my excitement about making a fantastic Theda Bara costume for Halloween, I seem to have overlooked a few key facts.

1) I can't really sew.
2) Especially when I have no pattern.
3) Stubbornness cannot, in fact, conquer all.

This is what the costume looks like, to date. It is not pleasant.

Yeah, that face sums up exactly how I feel.

But! I do have a can of gold spray paint, and fifty-eight peacock feathers (much to the delight of my cat), and three plastic snakes. Should this, realistically, give me any hope at all? No, but I am ignoring the futility of the endeavor and counting on hot glue to save the day.

Oh god, this is going to end badly, isn't it?



Do I even need to tag this "predictable" any longer, or do you just expect it?

Hello, new artwork for my bedroom:
Momento Vitae, Alexander Beeching

And via Helen, the most wondrously morbid bird-feeder ever to exist:

liquid diet

I am trying to be responsible and keep track of what I actually ingest so as not to become morbidly obese (we're going to ignore those post-bar grilled cheese sandwiches from Sunday night, Tom), and so am keeping a list of Things I Ate. This is done with the hope that it will make me think twice before eating cheese grits for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
(Yes, that happened. What? It was, um, Columbus Day. It's a holiday. Sort of.)

I noticed that the "snack" column on this Things I Ate for the past two weeks contains the following:
  • red wine
  • scotch
  • gin
  • bourbon
  • champagne
  • bourbon
  • scotch
  • High Life
...and nothing else.
Oh. Oops.


it puts the lotion on its skin

A scene in the life of whatever:

Last Tuesday night, I was at a fancy dinner party, enjoying wine and a string quartet (!!!) and food and hospitality and trying rather hard to impress those in attendance. I'd been mentally repeating "be a grown-up, be charming, don't make an ass of yourself", and it seemed to be working.

I excused myself after dinner to use the bathroom, and as I approached the sink, went for what I thought was a hand-pump of soap on the sink. No, it was a hand-pump canister of lotion, and that lotion shot out and splotched across the lap of my black cocktail dress.

Of course it did.

I stood there looking at myself in the mirror for a few moments, sizing up the gigantic white glob of lotion, and thinking about how utterly unsurprised I was that this particular thing happened to me. Typical, really.

I managed to scrape off the lotion, mostly, and wet the dress to rinse off the remainder. So then I walked back into the dinner party with a large wet spot on the front of my dress, but that was much preferable to an awkward goopy white stain.

Next time I leave the house, I'm just going to pour something on myself as I head out, to save the universe the trouble of finding new things to maim my appearance with.


bronze medal

This is why I love vintage shops.

My stress-inducing quest for a black-tie-worthy gala dress was solved rather handily by walking into a consignment store and seeing something bronzy and bias-cut and 100% silk and, most importantly, floor-length hanging on the rack next to the door.
It fit wondrously. And was 50% off, on top of being massively cheap in the first place.

My workplace dignity, it seems, can be maintained for about $70.

Dress: vintage Carmen Marc Valvo; jewelry, vintage; terribly unflattering
and glazed look, 20-hour workdays and a bottle of champagne.


tastes great, less filling

Good things about the candles I bought recently: they are pretty, they smell good, they burn for a long time.

Bad thing: I keep mistaking this candle for a glass of beer on my dresser, and as I walk by, I keep reaching over to drink it.

character sketch

In high school, my friend John once said "I think your goal in life, D, is to grow up and be Eurotrash."

He was trying to insult me, but I am still trying to achieve that goal to this day.


closet case

I do not have the greatest track record with closets.

For someone who owns approximately five metric tons of clothing, I keep living in places that are otherwise lovely, but that require me to cram everything into one or two smallish closets. My current apartment, thank god, has a large front closet and a smallish bedroom closet, but:

This is the front closet. It has no doors. My stuff is just spilling over into the hallway, unfettered, and unprotected from the onslaught of cat hair that comes with having a sheddy obese cat.
(Also, I have no linen closet, so this includes towels, laundry supplies, etc., all hanging out with my coats and shirts and pants. Yes, the other closet is devoted entirely to dresses, and no, I will not apologize for that.)

Six yards of mid-weight cotton duck, a borrowed sewing machine, and a trip to Ikea later:

It is absurd how grown-up and accomplished storage boxes make me feel.


queen of denial

Progress, such as it is, on the Theda Bara costume:

- one borrowed sewing machine (thanks, Matty!)
- some gold chiffon, but probably not enough to make anything with
- a folder on my desktop full of Theda-as-Cleopatra images
- two laughably bad sketches

Ahahahahahaha. I have no skill at either drawing or patterning. Also, I am very likely terrible at draping as well, but as I don't even have a dress form to drape on, we won't find out how bad I am at legitimately draping (as opposed to the "let's just swoosh this fabric around my torso and hope" draping I will end up doing).

Not pictured: extreme amounts of stubbornness and inability to admit defeat. Also not pictured: the hot glue gun that will very likely figure into this project quite heavily.



I swear, I did not to to Target today looking for more head-themed decor. But when you're heading down the escalator at Target, holding your curtain rod and laundry detergent, and out of the corner of your eye you see a rack of black glitter skulls...

well, you know I am powerless to resist.
What would I do with a melamine skull diagram plate, you ask? Hush. We do not question the drive to acquire more decorative disembodied heads.



For once in my life, I do not want to go shopping.

I have just been informed that I need to acquire a floor-length formal gown appropriate for a black-tie affair. Oh, and I have to get it within the next two weeks. (It's a work-related boring story, but the takeaway is that I'll be at a black-tie gala with a bunch of federal judges and other assorted Very Very Important People With Corresponding Expectations for Decorum and Formal Dress. Oh, and it's in the South, which adds another layer of formality. Gah.)

Everything I've read indicates that for a black-tie event, women may wear knee-length dresses and be fully appropriate, so that was fully my plan. However, I mentioned this plan to my boss, who looked utterly horrified, and who told me very clearly that if I wore anything other than a floor-length gown, I would be judged very harshly. As a big part of my job is Making Friends, I want to mitigate the things that people are going to dislike me for. Thus: the search for a formal gown.


1) these things are ridiculously expensive.
2) most of them are strapless, which I have a feeling will be judged, in a professional setting, as harshly as if I showed up wearing a minidress.
3) this is clearly the kind of dress you only wear once.

This is, for the record, the first time in my life that I am truly worried about being underdressed for an occasion. Overdressing is what I do. But this web of "must be black-tie formal/ must be Professionally Appropriate/ must involves straps or sleeves/ must be floor-length/ AND OH YEAH I REALLY DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES TO BUY SOMETHING LIKE THIS*" is freaking me out. Sigh.
*(The dress-rental boutiques, I briefly thought, would be my salvation. Until I saw that there's a waiting list much longer than two weeks for anything in my size.)

Contenders, which we'll pretend do not come with a price tag:

Sigh. On to scour vintage stores this afternoon in the hopes that I'll run across a gorgeous-but-not-too-"interesting" dress that fits like a glove, requires no repair, and will raise no "goodness, that's inappropriate" eyebrows.

I don't wanna go shopping.


red or dead

Things that would make my life complete:

Yeah, these. I'm a EU shoe size 39, for those who may be interested/generous.