Thursday, October 28, 2010

this is halloween this is halloween

I probably won't have time for a post before Halloween, so I decided to pre-emptively say:

Happy Haunting! Hope you get to show off a sweet costume and eat way too much candy!

If you were curious, here's my game plan for Halloween weekend:

Buy some stage makeup and liquid latex and make some fake blood
Hair test run
Fake bloody gashes test run
Make Fruity Oaty Bars to bring to the party on Saturday (which, if you will recall, is a Whedonverse party)

Work (I'm dressing up as Cho Chang) (Shame on you if you don't know who that is. SHAME.)
Reaver Costume Suit-up Montage 
Get trashed @ Jewel's

Recovering with scary movie marathon
Trick-or-treat patrol! AKA the best part of Halloween.

And, finally, here's a costume update. I was using this actual movie costume as a reference:

Since then I've been basically obsessed with replicated this costume piece-by-piece. I wasn't having much luck until my friend who is into lolita and morigirl (both are Japanese fashion subcultures) talked me into looking for some stuff online. 

I picked this black skirt on eBay because it has an asymmetrical, rumpled look that matches the picture pretty well:

I'm wearing it high on my natural waist with a cinch belt that has some metal details to give it a bad-ass corseted feel. I'm a little worried about this skirt, actually, because I ordered it in a rush and failed to notice that though it's a size 8, the waist measurement is about 2 inches smaller than my measurements. AND the seller's comments say, "NO stretch in waist. Do NOT exceed waist measurements." Oooops. Guess I'm gonna have to suck it in.

And to then I found this awesome gray capelet:

I just got it yesterday and it is so awesome. I am really tempted to take some pictures of me wearing it with the hood up, wielding a bloody weapon... but I'll wait until after Halloween so you can get the full effect. I will say that the picture was misleading because it looks like it would have bluey-brown taupe tones, but it's basically sweatshirt gray. And it's actually way too big (because it was made for a person who is 6'0'' and 50 lbs heavier than me). But I knew that when I ordered it. And it looks pretty damn cool regardless. 

So excited. 

Big listy re-cap to come sometime next week.

See you on the other side!

Monday, October 25, 2010

'tis the season for terrifying luminaries

Time for another listy-type weekend update! You know you love these. Don't lie.

Fancy steakhouse dinner with Matt
Final installment of Incredibly Depressing Movie Night (we watched Requiem for a Dream and then I cried hysterically, so we agreed to stop watching Incredibly Depressing Movies for a little while.)

Work. Meh.
Out to dinner at this Lebanese restaurant we like
Drank a salted caramel mocha at Starbucks and had a facial tic for the rest of the night.
Sudden burst of productivity due to caffeine rush. Cleaned Huxley the hedgehog's cage SO HARD.

Pumpkin picking hayride at Springdale Farms. It was awesome, but I have no pictures because I forgot to put my memory card back into my camera! Sad face.
Unsuccessful Reaver costume hunt that ended in frustration. Came back home and promptly went on an eBay buying spree. Now 3/4 of my costume is on its way to my house via expedited shipping. Pictures when they arrive!
Pumpkin carving with Matt!

First, Matt cut open and cleaned out the pumpkins. AKA the hard, less fun part. Thanks Matt!

Always such a good sport. Also, sigh. So dreamy. 

Next, I applied the pattern. 

Err. I kind of lost patience with it after a while and just Scotch-taped it into submission. 

Then I used a dangerous little spiky wheel to trace the pattern onto the pumpkin:

This was kind of annoying. But also kind of ingenious.

Then I sprained my wrist and forearm muscles by using a tiny little knife to saw through the pumpkin's very touch and thick skin.

Please ignore my disgusting cuticles. I have never been known for having healthy nail beds.

I might look happy here, but on second glance you will notice that I have THE CRAZY EYES because of how frustrated I am with the dumb little saw.

And then I broke it. Oooops.

Meanwhile, Matt, who has much more upper body strength than I do, had already finished his pumpkin.

I like it! 

And here's mine, halfway through the carving process:


So it took a lot of physical labor, but I eventually finished... and you know what? I think it was worth the frustration, maybe even worth the soreness in my right arm today! They look pretty damn cool. Check it:

Yay! Terrifying luminaries depicting faces squealing in agony and spirits from the beyond!

Then there was the small matter of what to do with all this:

Pie was out because Just No, and I felt bad throwing it all out, so I decided to roast some pepitas, yo!

Wash the seeds in a colander and pull out any pulp, then spread 'em out on a baking sheet and let them dry for a couple hours (overnight is best, but whatevs).

Then add a bunch of olive oil, sprinkle with whatever seasonings you want (I did Lawry's seasoned salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder) and mix around until it's all coated. Then roast at 250 degrees for an hour. 

Then eat them all in one sitting.


How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

tasting, touching, hearing, seeing

I am incredibly bogged down with school stuff this week, but I just had to write a quick post to say:


The time had come for change around these parts. The girl who was incredibly frustrated with being stuck in neutral, who started this blog back in April is -- well, that's still me in some ways, of course, but since then I've started making things happen, engaging with the world. I've started owning my life.

So long, who says i can't? (Cause you know what? No one was saying "you can't" except me. And I'm over that.) Hello, tasting, touching, hearing, seeing. Because that's what I do, and that's what I want to share. What I'm looking at, watching, eating, reading, listening to, doing.

Definitely have to thank Tawni from Forever Design Studio, who was a total professional and listened to me rant and babble about font choices. I dunno about you, but I think she did a kick-ass job. I asked for something "cheerful" and "clean," something "with a five senses theme" and she comes up with this! Outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous.

So, folks. What do you think?

Monday, October 18, 2010

keepin' it low key, keepin' it funky

Nice, lazy weekend. Matt was at his friend's bachelor party, cavorting in Atlantic City, so I kept things low-key and had an Incredibly Depressing Movie night. Check it:

Well, Doctor Who isn't incredibly depressing. I just happened to pick that up at the library with the other two.

Precious is one of those cases where I think I actually liked the movie better than the book. They're both incredibly upsetting, but the movie does a better job of making you feel like there's hope for the world despite the fact that incest and illiteracy and domestic abuse exist. 

I didn't know what to expect with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I was familiar with the title because people at the library can't get enough of the book, but no one at the library seems interested in the movie. Maybe because it's a Swedish movie with English subtitles (though a Hollywood remake is in production - bleh). Maybe not. But enough people had told me that the movie was amazing that I just had to know what the fuss was all about. And I don't mind foreign-language films at all, so when I saw it on the New DVD shelf at work, I just grabbed it on impulse.

Anyway, I'm glad I picked it up on a whim, because I really loved it and I may or may not have watched it again with Matt on Sunday. We spent most of the movie either cringing or shouting "WHY ARE THEY RE-MAKING THIS?" in indignant tones. 

In between the two movies I took an e-mail and Facebook break and I was very excited to see an e-mail from Tawni (from Forever Design Studio) in my inbox! She started working on my new design over the weekend, so she sent me what she'd done so far -- and I have to say, it's looking AWESOME. I don't want to ruin the big reveal, and I hope Tawni doesn't mind that I'm leaking classified material, but here's a peep-show preview of what's in store:



Your turn -- how was your weekend? 

Friday, October 15, 2010

in defense of teens

I'm extremely fired up right now.

In my graduate school online class, we're having a discussion about the purpose of libraries, and a bunch of people got on the topic of teens in the library.

It's the same argument over and over -- teens hog the computers and only use them for Facebook, they talk and laugh when other patrons might be trying to get work done, they come in groups and crowd up the library, run around, cause disruptions -- plus some new ones ("Can someone tell me why libraries are offering gaming as an activity? Don't they get enough of that at home?").  

First of all, I don't even know how to respond to that comment about gaming. As someone who grew up playing video games, I totally view them as valid source of information as well as entertainment. To me, it's like someone asking, "Can someone tell me why my local library holds a Family Movie Night every month? Don't you get enough of that at home?"

But my overall point is: Why does everyone always pick on the teens? Why do people hate having them around so much? I will admit that I get annoyed at the teens who come to my library sometimes, especially when they blatantly disregard rules like "you can't have food up here" or "please don't move the furniture" -- but guess what? They're teenagers. They're hard-wired to be caught up in themselves, to not fully comprehend the volume of their voices, to be more concerned about whether Madison really hooked up with Nathan than with whether they're disrupting people. I'm going to blow your mind right now: it's not their faults. They can't help themselves. In my experiences, all you have to do is shoot them a look and ask them directly to keep their voices down, and they listen. They might not stay quiet, and you might have to ask them more than once, but they will listen.

I know I have a unique perspective because I want to be a Teen Librarian and I consider myself an advocate for teens and tweens, but honestly. People want to martyr teens when something happens like the completely pointless and tragic losses of 3 teens due to homophobic bullying, but as soon as a couple of teens come into your library you want to kick them all out because they're not "using the library for its intended purpose" (actual quote from someone in my class).

I think what people forget is that we were all teens once, and we were all hard-wired to be self-centered, to not consider others before ourselves. That's something you can't learn until you aren't a teen, until the cocktail of hormones causing you to do things like screech and run towards their friends when you see them, to talk just a little too loud, to be somehow both self-conscious and attention-seeking at the same time, subsides.

Be nice to teens. Because they're going to grow up and be the world one day. I know it sounds trite, but it's true. You don't have to dedicate your life to them or anything, but being a little more forgiving of them? It's a great start.

And now I will get off of my soapbox.

Monday, October 11, 2010

the great wallet debacle

Big family dinner (my sister came home from college AND my grandmother was visiting)
Stop-motion movie marathon

Dinner date with Matt at the Kibitz Room
Flyers game! (We lost. WHATEVER.)

Early dinner at the Greek Agora Festival with Scotty and Jewel
Harry Potter D&D - that's right ... you heard me.
The Great Wallet Debacle (more on this later)

My Friday and Saturday were pretty low-key; I was counting on Sunday to be the Major Event of the weekend. And. Well. I definitely got what I asked for.

So we went to the Greek Agora, which is this big festival at this Greek Orthodox Church in my town. Matt and I met Scotty and Jewel there to peruse the handmade wares:

And to eat tons and tons of awesome Greek food. These fried honey puffs were our favorite:

We accidentally the whole thing. 

Naturally, Matt and I went back to buy another container-full. But when I got to the booth, I reached into my bag and realized that something was missing. Something extremely crucial. Yes. My. WALLET. 

Now, I have had this wallet for 2 years and I have "lost" it at stores, restaurants, and movie theaters multiple times. I always manage to re-trace my steps and find it again, thanks to the kindness of strangers who don't steal it and make fraudulent purchases. But this time we were in the middle of a huge festival with dozens of vendors and hundreds of people. Devour-The-Honey-Puffs time quickly turned into "FIND MELISSA'S STUFF" time. Matt and I asked every vendor, "have you seen a ladies' wallet? Tan, leather, about yey-big?" No dice. 

We even went all the way back to the Wawa convenience store where I'd taken 20 bucks out of an ATM. We asked the clerks, they hadn't seen a wallet all day. So then -- and this is by no means my shining moment, but I'll share it with you guys because this blog is about HONESTY (and pictures of food) --

I. Dug. Through. Their Trash.

And guess what? IT WASN'T THERE. 

So I accepted defeat. Matt and I deduced that the only way my wallet could be missing was that I must have dropped it in one of the parking lots, and someone must have picked it up, thought, "Hey! Free money!" and walked away with it. A sad day for humanity. Frustrated, I whined for the whole drive to Scotty and Jewel's place. Before we started D&D, I made the requisite phone calls.

Debit card customer service.
Credit card company #1.
Credit card company #2.
My mom, asking her to get my passport out of its hiding place so I could go to the DMV.
My local bank (they were closed).

Then I settled down for some D&D, figuring it was no use fretting now that it was all taken care of.

Then the phone rang. It was my mom. Probably to tell me some more bad news, like my passport had mysteriously been in a freak shredder accident. 

"Melissa, someone from St. Thomas Church just called! They have your wallet! You can call them back at [this number]!"

I half rejoiced, half face-palmed, because hooray -- my wallet's not stolen, humankind had redeemed itself! -- but BOO -- I'd just gone through all the trouble of cancelling all my cards!

So I called back Father Emmanuel, who was very nice and told me he'd lock my wallet in a filing cabinet, and I could come pick it up on Monday. 

And here we are. I picked it up today with little incident, then I called the debit card hotline and my credit card companies, who luckily had only put holds on my accounts and hadn't fully canceled them. All my cards got reactivated instantly. And I didn't even have to go to the DMV!

To celebrate my newfound financial accessibility, I did the most cathartic thing I could think of: I bought a new wallet. The old one was obviously a bad seed. Here's Dahlia:

I know she'll never hurt me like the others did.

Friday, October 8, 2010

little steps for big changes

Things have sort of spiraled a little bit out of control in my parts of the world. So I've been putting some thoughts to the kinds of proactive things I can do to get some of that control back. As always for me, it comes down to baby steps. This week, I will... my resumé so I can apply for a Youth Services internship that opened up at another library. If I get this it'll mean working for an additional 19 hours a week along with staying at my current job and going to school part-time. And all that extra money would mean that I'd be a little bit closer to being financially independent -- a status which could change a lot of factors in my life. my blog. I've been in contact with Tawni from Forever Design Studio about custom designing a brand new layout for this litttle old blog. I've changed a lot since I wrote the first post in this blog a couple of months ago and I want to take my blog in a different direction. I think a new design will be a great way to aid that transition.

...face the music and make eating healthfully, living healthfully, a priority. A few months ago when I was going to the gym regularly and had just cut meat and dairy out of my diet, I felt pretty great. I was sleeping well, I felt energetic, I felt happier. I want to get back on track, but I know from years of experience falling off the wagon that being too ambitious can really backfire on me. So I'm going inch by inch -- next week I'm hoping to just be more mindful of what I eat and when I eat.

...banish my computer from my bed. I've been having really wonky sleep patterns lately and I partially blame it on the fact that I abandoned my books-before-bed routine in favor of catching up on some episodes of Buffy or How I Met Your Mother. So tonight I officially go back to strictly reading before I turn out the light.

Anyone else working on things inch-by-inch? Or are you an all-in or all-out kind of person?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Of-The-Moment Roundup: 1st edition

For some reason I feel the need to explain this post. I consume a lot of things on a daily basis -- books, movies, TV, music, blogs, articles, food. To be honest, these things make up a lot of who I am even more than static things like my job, my location, even my relationships. So I just thought I'd do a roundup of what I'm looking at and listening to these days!

Books of the Moment:

Little Girl Blue: the life of Karen Carpenter
 I'm a closet Carpenters fan and couldn't resist picking this up when I saw it at the library.

Zombies vs. Unicorns
 This one's a Big Deal in YA Fiction right now. It's pretty hilarious, way better than Geektastic, the last anthology Holly Black edited

To Teach: the journey, in comics
I saw this on a "back to school" display at the library and it piqued my curiosity. So far: good, but I don't get why it's in the YA section.

Movies of the Moment:

Girl With a Pearl Earring
I first saw this movie as a freshman in college and I really didn't like it, but in retrospect I think I was just jeals of ScarJo. I saw it again the other day and I quite enjoyed the cinematography (read: Cillian Murphy.)

I enjoyed every minute of this movie. I finished the comic in one sitting and absolutely had to watch the movie that same day.

Songs of the Moment:

Belief by John Mayer
I never used to like this one but I finally started to connect to the lyrics recently.

i thank You God by The Western Wind
My sister did this song in All-State Choir and it continues to be one of my favorite songs of all time. This week in particular I just couldn't get it out of my head.

TV of the Moment:

Buffy Season 3
I am loving me some Buffy. I'm slowly making my way through the whole series.

Dr. Who -Ninth Dr.
My god, why didn't anyone strap me down to a chair and force me to watch Dr. Who before? I'm officially hooked, and luckily I have like 31 seasons to catch up on.

How I Met Your Mother
See above, please, except that I'm almost done season 4 and will soon have to wait for episodes on a weekly basis.

Webcomics of the Moment

D&D in-jokes FTW!

Blogs of the Moment:

A Practical Wedding
 This is my new obsession. Legit. 

New German Girl
Heather's spending a year as an au pair in Germany and I'm basically living vicariously through her escapades.

Stephany Writes
She's honest, authentic and thought-provoking. I'm really glad I caught wind of her blog, cause it's one of my favorites.

And, what the hell, just for fun:

Snacks of the Moment:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
In honor of fall! Plus I just had one of these from Whole Foods the other day and it kind of changed my life.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend Recap!

Errands (BOO)
Dinner @ Bertucci's with Linds, Dru, and K.
Late-night chatting at my place

Work (BOO)
The Kibitz Room with Matt (I briefly broke my meat fast for a couple bites of their glorious overstuffed reuben!)
Short trip to the mall in search of Halloween costume components
Bowling and game night! (see pictures)

Whole Foods with Mumsie and Pop-sicle for lunch and groceries
D&D FEST at Scotty and Jewel's YES

I knew it was going to be a crazy weekend when K told me she was coming home for the weekend. As the only member of our posse who doesn't live in the area, a visit home from her always means people tend to come out of the woodwork to see her. Maybe also because she is an amazing photographer and always takes these great candids that make all of us look like models. Maybe not. Anyway, she hasn't posted her pics to Facebook yet, so you'll have to settle for mine.

Linds and Dru.

Me and K and a carafe of sangria in the foreground.

This is our favorite game. It's called "Watch K Do Charades."

That's April (not her real name, but she'd approve) on the left and Dru on the right. We were really playing Cranium, but the whole reason we even play that game is to -- wait for it -- Watch K Do Charades.

I managed to completely leave Scotty, Jewel, Matt, and my friend Mara out of the pictures, but that's cause I was too busy hysterically laughing. 

Also, we played our second favorite game, Eat Poop You Cat! It's like Whisper Down the Lane, but a billion times more amazing. If you feel like laughing I recommend you visit the website (NSFW in some cases).

How was your weekend?