Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rainbow Turtle.

"It does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop." - Confucius

When I ran the Color Run in Kansas City, I ran for twelve minutes. It was an early July morning in Missouri, and it was promising to be very, very hot. They had even moved up the race time to avoid the onslaught of temperature that was going to roll in. Sure enough, by 8:30 that morning, it was already pretty sticky and miserable. I started off the race feeling pretty good, jogging along with my sister, brother-in-law, and trusty pal. I think I stopped after the first Color Zone, insisting that I needed to walk for a little bit. I'd only gotten through about five weeks of the Couch to 5K program, and I wasn't nearly in good enough shape to actually run. Could I have run more than I did? Maybe. I jogged for brief bits here and there, but I walked most of it. It was fine, it was for fun. And I knew I'd have another shot in October when the Color Run came to Des Moines, and I'd have a lot more time to train. I felt like a bit of a failure, but ultimately, I wanted to have fun and get colorful, and I didn't want to push my body further than it could go.

When I got back, I took a few weeks off. Softball was winding down for the summer, and then I went on vacation, and then to a trade show, and then it was August and suddenly it was September and I found my schedule pretty full. I had started a strength-training program that had a cardio component, so I was hoping that simply by getting myself into better shape, I'd be able to carry myself a little further. My boyfriend and I went for a "test run" in late September to gauge where I was in the 5K training... I reached our usual halfway-point marker (we didn't do the full 5K path, but it was pretty close) and was going to stop, but he told me my time and I knew I could go a little further and set a new personal record. My previous PR was 15 minutes, one day this past summer. This day, I made it to 17. I'm not sure if I could have gone further or not, I'd just gotten done with my other workout right before heading out for a run, and I'd accidentally overdone it on my legs, so I was pretty fatigued. But with that in mind, my goal for the Des Moines Color Run was to run for 20 minutes. I thought it was feasible.

There were, well, a few obstacles in my way. My brother-in-law had to work, so he wasn't participating this time. He'd been my run/walk buddy in KC after Calee had kidnapped my sister to the finish line. Secondly, my sister had promised her friend that she'd walk with her - there went my strategy. I figured that she'd be right around my ability level and we could keep pace with each other. Thirdly, Calee was going to walk it with her sister, who had sprained her ankle - there went my failsafe. If anyone could keep me running, it would have been Calee. I had a coworker who was planning to walk/jog it, and a handful of other friends, but, well... in a sea of 30,000 people, it was going to be hard to find everyone.

The other variable was that it was supposed to be a chilly 50 degree cloudy day. I've never run in the cold before - I didn't like the suffocatingly hot temperatures of Kansas City, but at least the heat kept my muscles warm. I remembered running track in high school (let me remind you[link], I was terrible) and how awful the cold days were, how much it made your leg muscles ache.

The obvious choice would have been to just shrug it off and walk with my sister or Calee and just have a fun, laid-back time.

But I'd been working too hard and I'd made too many promises to myself. I was already going to fail on my original goal of running the whole 5K, I would not have forgiven myself if I didn't even try to run as much as I could.

Running meant that I'd have to participate in the race solo. I wouldn't have anyone to walk with once I finally did stop, I wouldn't have anyone to take silly pictures of me running through the Color Zones, and I wouldn't have anyone alongside me to help me keep my pace or to encourage me to keep going.

I was on my own.

I got really depressed about this on Saturday, almost to the point of tears, which I'll go ahead and blame on some early-onset PMS, but I reminded myself that this was supposed to be my race. It was the Color Run - the only thing that ever spurred me on to wanting to run a 5K in the first place - and it was in my city. I could do this. I'd been working on it.

Race day was even chillier than I'd expected. I had made a last-minute purchase at Target of a compression top (I just wanted something with sleeves to wear under my white t-shirt - and that moisture-wicking material was less likely to hold color dust than a cotton shirt), which proved to be absolutely brilliant. I didn't really even notice until later that the tag was all "PERFECT FOR WICKING SWEAT IN COLD WEATHER" which, hey, was exactly what I needed. It was snugger than I expected, but it didn't really matter. It had a light fleece lining which I hoped would be nice and warm. I put a pair of hot pink tights on under my long socks (I had three pairs of socks on), under my shorts, and it was really, really hard to take my sweatpants off to get going... but I didn't wear hot pink tights and colorful socks just to wear a pair of black sweatpants, so off they went!

We stood in the starting line for what felt like forever. Later, I learned that it was because people kept hopping in at the beginning of the line whenever they'd send off a new wave, instead of going all the way to the back of the line like us suckers. (To be fair, after twenty minutes, we got impatient and cut ahead in the line as far as we could before the merch tents blocked us). We were in Wave 15, and I started inching over to the left side as we got closer. My sister asked me where I was going. "To the runners' side," I said. I felt like such a phony. I'm not a runner. Who was I kidding?

But they sent us off, and I started happily jogging along. Watch your pace, I reminded myself. It was my biggest bad habit - I'd start off much too fast and then burn out. I was so excited to just be going that I was going at a pace that I'd never be able to sustain. Slow down, slow down. Find your pace. Steady.

I felt the effects of the cold immediately, and I worried that I'd have to stop sooner than I wanted. I told myself that I at least had to make it to 12 minutes - the length of time I'd run in Kansas City. Anything less and I would have felt like the biggest failure on the planet. I kept checking my watch (I know, I know - it's a bad habit! But I always measure my runs in terms of time, never of distance, so that's how I keep myself accountable). I hit 12 minutes and encouraged myself to at least make it to 15. Or through the first two Color Zones. Orange and blue. Make it to the blue zone! It's your favorite color. I was chugging along and minute 15 turned into minute 16 and I told myself that I at least had to reach 17 minutes - my current record. Oh, hell. Get to 18 and set a new record!

It snowballed. Once I hit 18 minutes, I told myself I could reach my goal of 20 after all. It was only a couple more minutes, and then I could stop. I ran through the Pink zone and I could see the Yellow zone, but it was farther away than I thought. Right around Minute 20, I ran into a friend/former coworker who recognized me by my (gold sequin) fanny pack. I circled back and said hello and even managed to take a picture of us - not stopping, though, let's face it, my running pace at this point was about on par with her walking pace. I said something about having reached my goal, and I think she misheard me and shooed me along, "go meet your goal!" Well, okay. I guess I could try to make it to the Yellow Zone. Everything now was kind of a bonus, and I was curious as to how long I could keep going.

The Confucius quote started playing in my head at that point. I was going very slow, indeed, but I hadn't stopped yet. I hadn't stopped at the water station (though I definitely fell off pace trying to drink water and throw it away, but I was still moving!), I didn't stop for any of the pictures I took (which is why they were all blurry), and I didn't even stop when I found a friend. I was feeling pretty good about that, even though I was almost to the traditional point in my run where I wanted to flop down and cry because it suuuuuuuuuuuucked.

We rounded the corner to the yellow zone, I went about twenty steps out of my way to not shortcut across the median like almost everyone else was doing (cheaters!), and I forced myself ahead. 25 minutes. Man, I was a bad-ass. I couldn't wait to text the BF when I was done and tell him how long I'd made it. 28 minutes. Approaching yellow! I forced myself through the Color Zone.

I wonder if I can make it to 30.

I exited the Yellow Zone and rounded the corner. I was going to have to stop soon, I was barely moving at this point, people were walking faster than I was running. Once I got on the straight part of the road, I slowed down. I thought my legs were going to collapse out from under me as soon as I started walking. It was a sensation I'd never felt before. I kept moving to keep my legs from buckling, and I pulled out my digital camera from the safety of its ziplock baggie to snap evidence of my watch. I'd stopped it as soon as I stopped running.


Thirty-two minutes and two seconds.

I was kind of peeved at my watch, apparently after it switched from 29:59 to 30 minutes, the format also switched, so it kind of looks like 32 seconds, but I know better. I'd just done something I never thought I'd be able to do.

Distance-wise... I'm not really sure. 2 miles, maybe? (Which would be another record all on its own). The Color Run is supposed to be set up so that the color stations are every 1 kilometer apart... sometimes they fudge that a little to make it work with the race route (like they did in KC), so I'm not sure I trust that... but if they did it like they said they did, that means I had just run a 4K. A 4K out of a 5K. ME! The girl who always hated running.

There was a hill going up to the finish line, and I was grateful that I was only walking it. When I reached the very last bit of the course, I jogged it in to the finish line. I had forgotten that it was cold about two miles ago. I was tired and my legs felt like jello, but in my head, I felt fantastic. I had shattered my previous record of 17 minutes and I'd gone way above and beyond my original goal for the day. I may not have run the whole 5K, but dammit, I ran more than I ever thought I could.



Then I rewarded myself on the way home with a Whopper and fries, a decision I came to regret. Oh, fast food. We used to be friends.

On the bright side, I've gotten really good at de-coloring myself. Helpful hint: MAKEUP REMOVER WIPES. I had to use three, but I got all the color (mostly blue) off my face without having to scrub. I was pretty saturated, though I think I was more colorful in KC. I think the paint powder sticks better when you're hot and sweaty and the wind isn't blowing it all away. My t-shirt is prettier this time, though.



Until next year, Color Run. We will meet again. And I will OWN you.

Please save me a pink color packet next time, though. Variety, spice of life, what not. I'd settle for purple, too.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Singing The Blues

I've been watching like a hawk for the announcement of the 2013 Color of the Year, because (a) I am a nerd and (b) it's relevant to work (we did a special edition Tangerine Tango shirt this year), and while I see no official announcement on the Pantone website just quite yet, I'm seeing lots of rumors circulating that it's going to be Monaco Blue, which is kind of an indigo/navy cross.

First of all, let me just say that that was the color I predicted when I saw their Spring 2013 fashion color report. So that means I'm awesome.

 [via]

Second, they are leaning very heavily toward blues and greens for spring.


This means that I will finally be trendy. Because the majority of my closet is in the blue-turquoise-bluegreen palette. I AM FINALLY HIP.

In case you didn't believe me.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Octobermas.


 Keep your pants on, world. We've got two other holidays to get through first.

THAT MEANS YOU TOO, TARGET.

[Photo courtesy of my friend Danielle. From when we went Halloween shopping. Three weeks ago.]

Friday, October 26, 2012

Oreo.M.G.

This is a thing that exists.


And it is glorious.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Your New Crush

In today's modern age, online dating doesn't carry quite the stigma it used to. It's more and more common for people to find their significant other via the Internets - it no longer means that they're desperate or that they can't find someone the "old fashioned way"... it usually means that they've given up on the dating scene, they're not having much luck, or they're looking for someone very specific, which is hard to find out in the wild.

There are a ton of dating sites out there. I've tried a few of them and I'm sure most of you have too. For all its conveniences and the ability to browse for a date while wearing your pajamas and eating directly from a pint of ice cream, there's the downside of these people being total strangers. Some of them could be extremely awkward, some could be jerks, and, well, some could be future serial killers. You have no way of really knowing. (Though I'm going to propose a metaphor that the likelihood of your online date being a serial killer is probably akin to the likelihood of being in a plane crash - it seems common because it's publicized, but it's actually quite rare. Meanwhile, the odds of ending up with an awkward date are on par with getting in a fender bender. Much more common and much less tragic.)

It would be great if we all had friends that could hook us up with their single friends... though if you're anything like me, your single friends are dwindling in number, and their single friends-of-friends are probably fewer and farther between, also. But at least with a setup, someone can vouch for your date and their personality and general suitability for you... (and you have someone to blame other than yourself if the whole thing goes awry).

Now, what would happen if you were to combine the relative anonymity and breadth of choices of online dating with the less risky proposition of having your friends set you up?

DING DING DING.

Thanks to an entrepreneurial dude named Chris Biggs, such a thing now exists. It's called CrushHub.

You may recall back to this summer (you know, when I sucked less at blogging) in my Bloggers in Sin City recaps, when I told you about our CrushHub-sponsored brunch where we got to play a live-action demo to fix Amber up with the single friend of a fellow BiSCuit. (It was also a test of our collective artistic skills, because we had to rely on drawing the portrait of the potential dates, rather than obtaining a profile picture.) It was meant to simulate the actual CrushHub experience, wherein your friends dig through their network of friends and acquaintances to play matchmaker for you.


After we returned from Las Vegas, we were able to test it out in private beta amongst ourselves to see how the features worked and where the kinks were and offer our feedback. I took this assignment to heart, because I am a perfectionist and like it when things work to my standards, and I fed back the beans out of it. Not once but twice was my feedback chosen as being the most helpful, thus snagging me some cash prizes. When all the tweaks had been made and the service was ready to launch, all of my questions and concerns had been answered and fixed. Which means I can officially give it the Kelly Stamp of Approval and vouch for the fact that I personally had a hand in smoothing out the rough edges to make it ready for the public.

The only reason I mention this is to not to pat myself on the back, but to make it clear that I am comfortable in endorsing it, because I have tried it out (even though I apparently have no single friends in any of the cities of my fellow BiSCuits with which to make matches for them) and I've had email conversations with Chris himself and I know they were listening and very receptive to feedback. If I was single, I would totally make my friends play matchmaker for me using this service. I wish I had more single friends that I could foist this service upon... because it's fun to matchmake!

I would just also like to state for the record that this is not a sponsored post. It's going to read like it's a sponsored post, but it's not. It's not even part of a contest, because I missed the deadline for the actual contest* due to my perpetual existential crisising and general lack of blogging.

*A while back, Chris was kind enough to adopt all the BiSCuits as an impromptu street team to spread the word when CrushHub went out of private beta mode and launched into the world. For those who weren't off the grid at the time, tweets, facebook posts, blog posts, and any other social media promotion counted for points and then there was a drawing and someone (or a couple someones, I don't remember) won $500. YES THERE WAS A $500 PRIZE AND I WAS TOO BUSY WITH LIFE TO COMPETE FOR IT. Of course I would have felt kind of bad if I'd won, because I won both of the feedback contests earlier this summer. But not that bad, because: $500.

So even though there's no $500 prize at stake here, I'm going to tell you about it ANYWAY, because I think it's neat. And also because Chris is an honorary BiSCuit, and therefore, one of my people, and I want to help him out. Also, I want to get this off my "to-blog" list because it's spiraling out of control.

Without further ado, here's what you need to know about CrushHub and how it works, including the things I was most concerned about (and most of which you'll get in an email when you sign up.)

1. CrushHub runs through facebook. You don't need to make a new account anywhere. It technically runs as an app, but not the obnoxious kind. But before you panic...

2. CrushHub games/match sessions are PRIVATE. Nobody can see that you're using it (either as a matchmaker or the person being matched) unless they are part of your match game. Granted, your friends can invite in other matchmakers (casting a wider net, and whatnot), but nothing will be posted anywhere. Most importantly, the matches that people suggest for you cannot see that they've been offered up as a match. Nobody outside the game will have an inkling of what's going on.

3. No wall posts. The people at CrushHub hate them as much as we all do. They also want to respect your privacy (cause, y'know, dating is a rather personal thing) and will not send any messages to your friends unless you authorize them or send them yourself.

4. How it works: you can start a game for a single friend OR you can start a game for yourself, if you're single. You invite in some of your friends to play matchmaker and they offer up suggestions from their friend network. The person being matched then gets to review all the options and pick which one they like best - from there, I believe it's up to you to ask that friend for an introduction to your future soulmate. There is a search function where you can sort your friends (or potential matches) by status and geographical location, but it's not 100% perfect because of facebook's privacy settings - but it's a start. (This may have been worked out since it was in beta - I haven't had time to peek in and try it recently.) There was also some buzz about being able to select a picture of the suggested match beyond their profile picture - because, you know, we're all a little shallow and if someone's picture is of their dog or something, you have no way of knowing what they look like. Again, not sure how that all worked out, it's been a while since I've tried it out.

So, there you have it. If you're still unsure and have any questions that you don't want to leave in the comments, shoot me an email and if I don't know the answer, I'll check with Chris. It's pretty straightforward and it's a lot of fun - and remember, there's no risk of someone seeing it that shouldn't, therefore eliminating the potential for Supreme Awkwardness.

Go forth, and date-ify.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Life Online vs. Life Offline

So, now that I've kind of started to get back into the swing of things with the posting of the blogs, I'd like to take a quick moment (hahahaha) to talk a little bit about why I fell away from it.

It's not just that I've been busy with work and life, though that's definitely part of it.

It was guilt.

It's been a feeling that I haven't been able to dissociate from this blog lately... but not the way you might think. I don't feel guilty about not posting, except for the fact that I was sort of letting myself down. But that's not new. I've gone long stretches of not posting before. I mean, I'm not so naive to think that it matters to anyone but me if I post or not. There are a bajillion blogs out there (as I was reminded today as I was trying to clean up my Reader).

No, it wasn't like that.

I felt guilty when I DID post.

I felt like I should have been spending my time elsewhere - working out, cleaning my apartment, getting drinks with the girls, spending time with the boyfriend, calling my mother. I felt guilty taking the time to sit and punch keys and photoshop pictures and play online. I felt like I was being selfish. I felt like it wasn't fair to neglect them for my solo activity... because I have a hard time finding that ideal balance. I wanted to be a better [insert role here].

Okay, I may or may not have read a book about friendships somewhere in there that I've been slightly obsessing over... which is another post for another day, hopefully, if I get around to it.

I was also experiencing a lot of dissonance simply about how much time I generally spent online. BF hates the Internet. Well, that's not entirely true. He hates the Internetization of our culture - how people spend more time on facebook than they do interacting in person. How shallow we all have become. I see his point, and I don't disagree with him, not in the slightest - I've noticed the negative effects on our culture... but I've had a different experience with my life online. (Which, okay, most of which probably leads back to BiSC, which, to me, is cold hard proof that you CAN build meaningful friendships from the Internet. Which we all know is hard for non-bloggers to understand.) He, like many others, doesn't understand why I'd want to splay my life online. He's supportive, of course - he wants me to succeed as a writer almost as much as I do (if not more). He knows it means a lot to me. (In fact, as I was blubbering about all of this somewhere between scribbling it out by hand and typing it up, he flat out told me he thought I should blog MORE. It was actually an epiphany-laden conversation about all of my current hangups, but we'll save some of those for other posts, because they belong to other thought trains. But, I swear, that guy is so full of insight. It blows my mind every time. I am lucky to have him. I'll never understand why he chooses to put up with me, but I'm not going to question it too hard because I don't want to jinx it.)

The other problem is that I don't know where to focus my energy. It's been months since I've written a baking post - I don't even know if my column is alive anymore. Structure and routine is both a blessing and a curse. It stresses me out, and yet I crave it. I fear being overscheduled and stretched too thin, which I think has been part of the problem lately. Something was bound to give and it took all my energy to focus on not letting it ALL crash down.

But that's neither here nor there. It's just a random aside.

Back to the issue of blogging, writing about my thoughts and feelings... it felt almost like a betrayal... to the BF, to my IRL besties. Why should I write about all of my feelings online instead of discussing them in person, like a normal human being? I'm new to this whole Good Relationship thing... I don't know how to find a balance. I don't know what to share with who anymore. I don't know how to justify retreating to my blog - not without feeling like I'm putting my own vanity/narcissism before interpersonal relationships. I've acquired a bit of a perspective shift, in which I feel like pouring my heart out on here is misplaced; should it be a conversation I have with someone in person? I suppose I could find a Thing to write about instead; but I'm not an expert in anything and I'd get bored easily. It would feel like a job. Any subject I would pick, there's someone out there doing it better. The only thing I'm an expert at is being me, and observing what I see and expressing how I feel and knowing what I know. 

By putting it all here, online, does that diminish my relationships and trivialize those conversations? I've had several catch-up sessions that were interrupted with, "oh yeah, I read that on your blog." On the one hand, it leaves me a bit lost for new conversational bits, but on the other... it kind of streamlines those. By having outlined my initial thoughts online, we can jump right in. The backstory is online. It's like a sequel - you can really dive into the content, because the situation has already been set up.

When I almost quit the Internet that one time, I knew I'd have to adjust my MO slightly - especially when it came down to the BF. He is fiercely protective of his privacy, and I am determined to respect that. I assumed I'd just leave those bits out and not really mention much about the 'ship. But those bits are the bits that mean the most to me, and I've found that I tend to use this blog (or even facebook) as a chronicle of my life. If I needed to go back and look up a life event or find a picture, I could pretty much count on the fact that I'd documented it accordingly. Now there are gaps and holes and ultimately, it doesn't REALLY matter, but it kind of makes me feel unorganized. Feeling unorganized makes me feel overwhelmed because I feel behind. If that makes any sense at all. [Ironically enough, my blog hero and life role model Nicole posted something similar on her blog recently - so it's fully possibly to maintain a private relationship offline and not feel like I'm leaving out key elements of my life as I strive to hit some degree of openness and honesty in my writing. As she says: "I want to respect the fact that this is my blog, not his, and that just because I put my life on the Internet doesn't mean that he has to have his up here as well. The bigger reason, though, is that I'm actually quite a private and introverted person when it comes to relationships (romantic or otherwise), and I prefer to experience everything - the good and the bad - within the confines of the relationship itself." 

It's an expression of the exact sort of balance I'm trying to find. I am not the sort of person to air private grievances online because I'm not sure any good can ever come from that, only regret and hurt feelings, and also: duh, it's private. Even if there was dirty laundry to share, I wouldn't. But on the flip side, like Nicole, I haven't really been writing about the good, either. And there's been so much good. I mean, I found my other half - he complements my personality in ways I never knew I even needed. And there is no way in hell I'm letting something like a blog jeopardize that. Because as far as priorities go, this blog is not at the top. And that's not something I will ever apologize for.

(I feel like I'm walking on a minefield just writing about how and why I'm not writing about certain things. There's sharing, and there's oversharing, and then there's sharing things that aren't yours to share. It's kind of a tightrope walk some days, because I'm so intertwined with all of the people in my life, it's hard to not talk about them. This includes more than the BF - but the BFFs and the family as well.)

I don't know. This is why I've been stuck. I guess I could make craft projects and baked goods until I'm blue in the face, but that doesn't alleviate my need to connect. The Twenties Hacker column couldn't sustain me alone, when I pared back my time on ICTH this summer. Ultimately, both blogs suffered. As a supplement to this blog, I was happy to write extra things about food. But the emotional connection to this blog is at the core - without this, I collapsed under the weight of all the unwritten words.

When I get overwhelmed, I shut down. And that's kind of why there's been such a prolonged radio silence. I didn't know where to pick up again. Then I go stir-crazy inside my head if I don't get the thoughts out. And it's not enough to just write it. I need to share it. I need to feel like someone is listening, that someone can hear me, and, with any luck, can relate. Maybe even offer some insight back at me.

My kindred spirits are spread across the country. The world is smaller because of the Internet, but in some ways, it feels bigger. Underneath the big Midwestern sky, I feel a little isolated. I love it here, I don't want to leave... but I want to be connected to the rest of the world, too. And sometimes it's nice to not have to burden my close friends with my perpetual and often redundant woes. They've got their own lives to live too. Sometimes it's nice to just reach out across the void and throw my thoughts to the bits and pixels, and maybe someone, somewhere, is up late thinking about the same things. The only way to connect to those people is to park my voice somewhere that they can find it. And I know there are shady people out there, and I've been pretty lucky. I've tried to be as careful as I can, but from what I can tell, my little corner of the Internet is pretty safe. Knock on wood.

I feel a little better, already - sometimes writing is better than therapy, I swear. I kind of feel like I'm draining the dam a little bit... instead of water, though, it's words. Hope the Internet has flood insurance.

Friday, October 19, 2012

These Boots Are Made For Blogging

 [Still shot from "Shoes" aka "Shoes. OMG Shoes."]

I never really used to be a "shoe person." I liked shoes as much as the next gal but it was never an obsession and I never really had to worry that I would spend excessive amounts of money on them. I wear my shoes until they wear out, unless they're really awesome shoes in which case I get afraid that I will wear them out so I don't wear them very much. Whenever I found myself with a surplus of cash, I would always joke about buying shoes, but I'd probably go buy books I don't have time to read or simply go to Target and that would take care of the problem.

Up until recently, I had one pair of cute boots. I had acquired a pair of what I lovingly called "hooker boots" from my college roommate - I was constantly borrowing them to the point where she told me just to keep them. They had a 2.5" heel and came to just above my calf and despite the fact that I am challenged when it comes to walking in heels, I could navigate these boots perfectly.

Unfortunately, as tends to happen with footwear, they started to wear out a bit. I made a mental note that I would need to find a new pair of black heeled boots to replace them, but instead, I kept wearing them. It was a vague thought that I never pursued.
And then, something happened.

I suddenly fell headfirst into a full-on boot obsession.

Not snowboots (though I did finally get a pair of those a few years ago, which was a long time coming since I live in THE MIDWEST WHERE IT SNOWS A LOT and all), definitely not Ugg boots, but... cute boots. "Fashion boots" as Target calls them.

I'm not sure how this happened, though on some level I'm sure Pinterest is to blame, or Target, maybe both of them, I don't even know. But I find myself staring at strangers' feet, whispering to whomever I'm with, "I love her boots!" and refraining from accosting said stranger and demanding to know where she got them. I've done the unthinkable and I own not one but TWO pairs of jeggings, which, I don't exactly have the body for, but it's the only way to properly showcase my boots.

My first foray into the fasionable boot category was this pair. It came from Target (natch) and were surprisingly comfortable and easy to walk in. So I bought a second pair in gray.


By the time boot season was winding down, I decided it was imperative that I have a pair in black, also. Unfortunately, by this point, my size was sold out, so I had to look elsewhere. I bought a pair on clearance at the mall (I am rarely at the mall, so how this happened, I don't even know) which seemed like a great idea until I tried to wear them and made it as far as the bottom of the stairs leaving my apartment before I wanted to saw my feet off. I can't return them but I think I might sell them to a consignment shop. Or something.

Last February was our annual local adult charity prom, and the theme was superheroes, and I still haven't posted about that OR put my pictures on facebook, which I realized the other night, which is... a failure on my part, but anywho, I needed red boots (obviously) and eventually landed on this pair on eBay and then bought them.

They were a bit snug, to the point where I even had to verify with the seller that they were the right size, but I made them work. I don't wear them often, but they look awesome with a black dress, an idea that I may or may not have stolen from my friend Maria's engagement pictures. I admit nothing.


And I was content in my land of boots and all was well and merry until Target sent me an email a month or so ago that was all BOOTS. HEY KELLY YOU NEED SOME MORE BOOTS DON'T YOU and I was like, NO I DO NOT, but it won't hurt to look.... maybe a little... OMG THE CHANCE HAS COME TO BUY THE BLACK VERSION AFTER ALL, BUT WAIT, WHAT'S THIS?



And so it came to be that I now have a black pair for my collection.

In the interest of full disclosure, I own about ten pairs, though one of which is the aforementioned college-era pair which really needs to be sent to the Great Shoe Closet in the Sky, but I can't bring myself to part with them. My collection consists of a pair of flat black boots with no heel (though I suspect their lifespan is almost up, given that there are tiny holes forming on the bottom), a pair of black snowboots, a pair of gray suede boots with no heel that are pretty worn out but great for days when it's icky and I don't care about what happens to my footwear, the matching pair of gray and brown boots from Target last year, a pair of black boots that I was hoping would fill the void of the hooker boots but isn't quite there (though they are pretty comfortable) (also a clearance purchase), that red pair for special occasions, and then the new 2012 pair which SHOULD be a suitable pair for the "black boots with heels" category. Oh, and a pair of rainboots. And the pair that I need to sell but I don't count those because they're perpetually on their way out the door.

I forgot where I was going with this other than I think this post is a cry for help.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Buffet Curls

Today, I am going to teach you how I do my Buffet Curls. I call them "Buffet Curls" because I did my hair like this at BiSC and in the recap post where the following picture (from one of our buffet nights) was featured, Germana commented with "I love your buffet curls" and so now I just call them the Buffet Curls. Obviously.

(Ok, upon actually checking it, I guess she said "buffet hair" but potato, potahto.)


This must be prefaced with: I kind of suck at doing hair. It's one of the reasons I have long hair, as counterintuitive as that may sound. Short hair, for all its proclaimed ease, still requires a degree of styling, especially with the thickness and natural wave that mine possesses. Most of the really cute short hairstyles out there would require me to flatiron it every day. Whereas right now, the messy curls thing is (mercifully) still in, so I can sleep on my hair while it's damp and wake up and I have lovely tousled waves that somehow are "in" so I instead of looking unkempt, I look stylish.

My younger self would be very pleased about this.

My basic hair styles are thus: ponytail, twisty bun, half-up, and down. Down generally consisted of (a) the "leaving it up to chance and hoping I don't sleep on it weird" wave-curls (wurls?) and (b) the "spending so long with a straighTening iron that I start to break a sweat which then starts to negate the straightness because humidity and moisture makes my hair curly and frizzy" option.

But then.

One day I was at Target (like I tend to find myself on any given day) and I ended up in the hair appliance aisle and I found...the curling wand.


I've never been good at curling irons, though I've been blessed with the type of hair texture that easily takes curl and hangs onto it. And I've always been soooo jealous of the long, loose curls that I've never been able to figure out how to do. But this curling wand seemed pretty idiot-proof and I figured I'd give it a try.

It was magical.

Pictured: first attempt. 
I was so pleased I took a picture so that I could blog about it. SIX MONTHS+ LATER.

First of all, it's stupidly easy. You grab a piece of hair and start wrapping it around the thick part of the wand down to the narrow part of the wand. (They even give you this weird three-fingered glove so you don't burn your fingers. Which was really awesome so of course I've lost mine.) Hold it there for maybe twenty seconds and then slide the wand out.

Kind of like this Amazon product photo is doing.

Or this one. But maybe with less enthusiasm.

BAM. CURLS. SHINY WONDERFUL CURLS.

But the thing that has amazed me is how many compliments I've gotten. Every time I've done my hair like this (which really hasn't been often, for as easy as it is), people respond positively. I think the first time I tried it out was my third or fourth date with the BF and we went somewhere fancy so I curled my hair, and he really liked it.

Up to that point, I'd been straightening it, because for as much as a pain as it is to do, it's the only way I can guarantee how it will turn out. You'll notice that in most of my pictures it's straight - because I plan ahead for the days where I suspect there will be photo-taking activity. (Hey, I'm a planner. It's what I do.)

In hindsight, I'm really glad he liked the curly hair better... because that means I don't need to go through all that hassle of straightening it all the time. VICTORY.

Since then, though, I usually only curl it for special events - weddings, mostly. I curled it up nice for my sister's birthday party and her friend inquired as to how I did it and I explained about the Magic Wand (not a euphemism). One time I got ambitious and did it for work, and lo! More compliments and inquiries. (Full disclosure: I had a meeting that day that I knew the president of the company would be attending also, and she's always so stylish and pulled-together that I decided I should at least try to look nicer that day.)

Seriously, for as easy as it is, I should do it every day. But I guess it wouldn't be as special, then. I don't know.

Aaaaaaand this entire post sounds like a commercial for the Conair Magic Curling Wand 2000 or whatever it's actually called, but it's actually not sponsored at all (though I did throw in an affiliate link to Amazon, should you feel the desire to own one and want to, y'know, help me out), it's merely the result of an avalanche of compliments and people wondering how I did it.

Because I apparently don't subscribe to having beauty secrets. I WILL TELL EVERYONE.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Auntie Files: Chapter One

I can (finally) announce... that I AM GOING TO BE AN AUNT!!!!


It was very hard for me to keep this a secret. Well, okay, it wasn't hard to not TELL people (except it kind of was, especially at my friend Maria's rehearsal dinner when we were talking about our friend Meredith [who is henceforth to be known as Stalker Meredith because she stalks me on here and facebook but doesn't actually TALK to me ever - that's right, Meredith, I'm on to you!] who is expecting her first baby in February, and in my head I was all GUESS WHO ELSE IS PREGNANT but I am a good secret-keeper so I didn't say anything), but it was hard to not make a Pinterest board full of baby shower ideas and fun little projects to do with the kidlet when it arrives and ideas for my sister for announcements and photos (omg, there are so many cute announcements out there!) and so I quietly filed them away for when I could officially not be secretive anymore. I mean, I suppose I could have randomly started a baby-themed board, but that would have raised quite a few eyebrows, especially since I've been all NO BABIES since, well, all of adulthood.

Seriously, thanks to Pinterest, I am going to be the best aunt ever.

It's funny, though. As baby-crazy as I've become in regards to my sister's future spawn (I may or may not have purchased a onesie or two already)... I still don't want any for myself. Babies are cute and wonderful, for other people. And, let's face it... if this kid is even half as cute as my sister and I were when we were youngins, it's going to be one effing adorable child.

The best part about being an aunt, as far as I can tell, is that you get to do all the fun stuff and spoil the kid rotten and then hand it back over to the parents. All of the good stuff, none of the gross stuff. WIN!

I mean, on the Kelly Junior front, I'm not saying "never" because, who knows, maybe after a while my maternal instincts will kick in and I'll change my mind. (If I even have maternal instincts. Which I kind of think I don't. I have kind of shitty pet owner instincts and that probably doesn't bode well for a tiny person.) Aside from that, I think I'd be an okay parent. I mean, it's possible I'll spend too much time trying to be a "cool mom" and thus embarrass the everliving hell out of my offspring, but, oh well. I'd much rather have them drink in the house if they're going to drink anyway.


I've got pretty decent genes, it would only be fair to pass them on, right? And I've got a pretty solid work ethic and good morals and acceptable hygiene standards (listen, showering every day is bad for your hair, I read it somewhere) and I can play catch which is useful for a boy OR a girl, and I have an awesome collection of Disney movies. Oooh, and I'm good at craft projects. I should be a professional aunt. Is that a thing? Maybe it's a thing. I'll add it to my entrepreneurial agenda right after Professional Bridesmaid. This is the stuff I'm good at, folks. Basically, I'm a real life Best Supporting Actress. And I say this with the utmost sincerity - I like being helpful and useful. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.

Also, I just cut somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 words from this post because I digressed HORRIBLY and I will post those some other time but it's basically a reiteration of why I'm currently a card-carrying member of the No Babies For Me club. Including but not limited to: babies are terrifying and all the good genes in the world will not change the fact that I'm ill-equipped to be in charge of another human life, especially a tiny one that happens to be somewhat fragile.

But that detracts from my point.

Which is: OMG OMG OMG I'M GOING TO BE AN AUNT AND IT'S GOING TO BE AWESOME.

ALSO HOLY SHIT WE'RE OLD BECAUSE MY SISTER IS PREGNANT AND IT'S NOT WEIRD BECAUSE WE ARE LEGITIMATE GROWNUPS.

Ish.

So, congratulations to my sister and congratulations to me even though I didn't even do anything to contribute to this current situation except be born before she was and to the same parents.

I did help with her announcement photos though. And by "help" I mean I found ideas on Pinterest and then I made the props and then we recreated them and I took the pictures. AND I even made up my own "Aunt Announcement Photo" which you may recall from the beginning of this post. See how helpful I am being already? (Though, let's face it... I'll be more helpful at taking pictures of Baby than at things like changing diapers, because, ew.) Again, another post for another time, re: the photos and props and such. (Is auntie blogging a thing? Is it as profitable as mommy blogging? Can I make it be a thing?)

So, in conclusion: SQUEEEEEEE!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Years, and the Passing Thereof

Today: an ode to my sister. Because it's her birthday.

We've always had good taste in eyewear.

My sister and I are two years apart. These days, people always have to ask who is older. Most people think it's her. I'm not sure why this is... it could be that she has that married-living-in-the-burbs vibe, that she dresses better than I do, that she carries herself like someone who's got their shit together. And me? I'm still battling through my flaky-free spirit-postgrad-design-major days. Also I'm about a quarter of an inch shorter.

Whatever the reason, she takes great delight in this. I, myself, will take great delight in this when we're in our forties and people think I'm the younger one.

And now: a brief retrospective.

I must have been excited to get a little sister. I don't have the best recall from being two, but I have a remarkable amount of trace memories from those early years... though I'm not sure how many are "real" memories and how many are pieced together given the various photographic evidence lying about. (Though there are certain things that I know went undocumented, like the Christmas that we only had a clump of snow in our backyard and I was looking down at it from our living room window - which was upstairs, we had an elevated living room, I don't know. We also had green astroturf on our front porch which I got many a rugburn from. These are things that I can probably verify through pictures. I also remember the first time I had puppy chow - my parents had friends over and us kids were playing on whatever swingset/jungle gym thing that was in our backyard, and I was adamant that I did not want to eat it, because clearly it was for dogs. They laughed and then I tried it and it was glorious. But I'm getting rapidly off track here.) My point is, I have enough memory from those days to remember that I was looking forward to having a sister and I was excited when she arrived, two years and not quite a month after myself.



There are lots of pictures of us in those very early years to indicate that I enjoyed having a sister and that she enjoyed being a sister. It was when we started to reach the upper single digits that that novelty wore off. Sibling rivalry took a human form in both of us. In addition to fighting about normal stuff that kids fight about, we were constantly trying to be better than the other. Long story short, it would be kind of an understatement to say that we didn't particularly get along growing up. I mean, we didn't fight all the time - one of the perks of having a sibling is having a built-in playmate. At least until you get to the age where you're suddenly too cool to have your little sister following you around and you and your friends try to ditch the shadow. (Sorry Min.)

Then there was high school and I found that it wasn't completely horrible sharing it with your sister. You got to do events together and go dress shopping together for prom and make fun of her mercilessly on the bus ride home from some band event that she spent chatting with a boy that would eventually someday become her husband. I remember how excited she was for me at my graduation, proud of me for reaching the finish line.

Then I moved away for college. We wrote letters (because letters are awesome) and she came to visit me, which I think was a highlight for both of us. I got to show off my campus and she got to feel pretty grownup and badass for spending a weekend on a college campus. Our relationship improved dramatically after we weren't sharing a roof... so as long as I don't end up living in her basement someday, I think we're set now.

Together we survived adolescence and our parents' divorce and college and finding jobs and wedding planning (hers) and the woes of perpetual singledom (mine) and, all of a sudden, we're in our late twenties. Both of us.

We were talking the other day and she mentioned being 26 and, well, it startled me. First of all, if she was 26, that meant that I was older than 26, which was not a pleasant thing to dwell on. Hadn't I JUST been 26? Where the hell did those two years ago? And for some reason, in my head, she's perpetually 23, maybe 24. None of this "26" nonsense.

So I quickly pointed out to her that, no, she was still 25. For some reason, it made me feel better.

But, alas, the gig is up, and as of today, she is now over the hump on her own downhill slide to 30. (Muahahaha). Though I'll grant her the same logic I granted myself: 20-23 = early twenties; 24-26 = mid-twenties; 27-29 = late twenties. (Feel free to borrow it for yourself, too, if needed).

Now that we've got that pesky business of growing up out of the way, we can move on to the next batch of challenges - kids (probably her), another wedding (hopefully me, someday), wrinkles and gray hairs, menopause, picking out nursing homes, etc. (Okay, prom dress shopping was way more fun.)

Happy birthday, not-so-little-anymore sis!

Worth noting: for the first time ever, our hair finally matches.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Traffic Roundup

I’ve been collecting my blog search terms for quite a while and have been meaning to do a followup post similar to this one but quite frankly, it’s gotten away from me. As I get back into the swing of things on ye olde blogge, I figured now would be as good a time as any to provide some assistance to all those poor souls who land here from, well, probably Google, but who really knows? Also, it makes one less thing on my massive blog-to-do-list.. (to-blog list? You know what I mean.)


Without further ado... here are the most recent and/or most frequent searches that have somehow or another led people to this corner of the Internet. Some of them might have found what they were looking for. Others... uhhhh, probably not.

jennsaidwhat
Well, kiddos, I hate to disappoint you, but Jenn lives over here. She is quite delightful, though, and I don’t blame you for searching for her, but I’m a little surprised you ended up here instead of there.

To get your Jenn fix, though, here’s a pic of us from the last time I was in Atlanta.



smitten kitten
I guess you must be looking for this post here. Or maybe this image, via this site:



blonde oreo
You’re all wrong. I mean, blonde Oreos are okay, but have you considered, oh, the pink Berry Burst Oreos? 



Or the Mint Oreos? 


Or, the best ever, the Double-Triple-Death-By-Oreo double-decker Oreo that has a layer of mint crème and a layer of chocolate crème? Because, DAMN.

 

birthday cake oreo
Now we’re talking. After I went through the ordeal of ordering them online out of sheer desperation, and then never posted about it again, we occasionally found them at Wal-Mart a few months later. Not both our Wal-Marts, no no. Just the old one that I’m surprised they didn’t close after they built the new one. They're a little bit too sweet for me... and I tried to make a recipe from Pinterest that were cookies that use crumbled bits of Birthday Oreo cookies and, well. My verdict was a solid "meh."



Also, did you know they have a fudge-dipped version? Which, in hindsight, I think are actually better?

pimped out silver chevy cobalt
FIST PUMP for Chevy Cobalts! However, my Cobie is kind of a beige color and she’s really not pimped out at all. Unless you count my “ISU Alum” license plate frames. Which I don’t.


Ryan Gosling no shirt/shirtless Ryan Gosling
RELENTLESS. But here you go. I am nothing but a shameless traffic-grubbing attention whore.


Those things take a pounding/ why do people say grow some balls betty white/ vaginas take a pounding/ betty white vagina quote
Ah, we all love us a Betty White quote, don’t we? She’s pretty bad-ass. The post you probably stumbled upon is here, but I’ll save you time, because the image you want is right here:



Angry Cy/ISU
GO STATE! Here you go.



Color Run Des Moines Route
The Des Moines Color Run is over, and it was fun (although chilly), and this was the route:


The color zones are all out of order - it was orange, then blue, then pink, then yellow, and I think the yellow (zone 4) spot ended up on MLK near SE 7th once you went around the median, but all in all, it looks accurate. I'm glad you asked, because I was going to go find this map so I could figure out exactly how far I DID run that day.

hedgehog hat
Do you mean a hat with hedgehogs on it, or a hedgehog wearing a hat? I assume you mean a hedgehog wearing a hat, because that’s cuter.


Okcupid horror story
I think you’ve come to the wrong place. Despite the fact that it seems like an obvious place for things to go awry, I did not have any bad experiences with that site. Quite the contrary, actually…

Ryan Reynolds/Ryan Reynolds shirtless/Ryan Reynolds shirtless Green Lantern
In case anyone is curious, the Ryan Gosling searches are starting to outnumber the Ryan Reynolds searches. I’m not saying it means anything, I’m just merely offering up my observations.



perky ass in small shorts
HAHAHAHAHAHA you have totally come to the wrong blog. I… I don’t even have anything I can give you. Shoo. Move along.

Peter Campbell
I suspect you want Ameena’s guest post, here.



insert clever title here
YAY! You found me! I… hope it was me you’re looking for.



breast cancer facebook status 2012
If you want my rant about pointless facebook statuses, go here. Then go donate some money or buy something from here. That will help more than a status update will.

teen padfolio
What?

clever title for a story about what mom taught me
Email me and tell me your story. I will come up with a clever title for it. And then I will send you an invoice. Everyone wins!

homecoming queen
I was not a homecoming queen. But I do have a tiara. I hope this appeases your search.



how to be lucky on ok cupid
Don’t be a fake or a liar or an asshole. You can go ahead and apply that to other dating sites and/or real life, too. You’re welcome.

how to make blue glitter shoes
KATHERINE. YOU FIND KATHERINE.



hott naked girls
Not here. Even if we served naked girls here, they would be “hot” not “hott” because “hot” only has one t in it.

limbo stick man bathroom stall
I don’t even know what that means. For which, I am thankful.

5k color run seattle/ color run 5k minneapolis
YAY COLOR RUNS! Seattle was here and Minneapolis was here, but my post about doing a Color Run is here.


As a bonus, when I was running a search for the Cy logo, I found this, buried in the results:


My CyPod!!!! Wooo! It was funny to see it out in the wild.

I also found this, which is completely ridiculous but I MUST OWN IT. It's a Cy loofah. Because: who knows why, but it's adorable.


And that concludes today's traffic report. Back to you, Barbara.