Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#22: Join A Club

I love to receive a package. In fact, my mom, being one of my very best readers (if not my very best), has caught onto the month-long celebration of my birthday and has been sending me packages at work. This, of course, I think was an excellent idea. I get so excited every time, just seeing a parcel on my desk or in my mailbox.

Packages don't just have to come from someone who's thinking of you, though. I mean, it's great when someone does send you a package, but you can't be guaranteed this will happen on any sort of regular basis. Postage, after all, can be expensive, and that's not to mention the box's contents. One way to remedy this is online shopping. As this pin on pinterest aptly put it, "Online shopping gives me a reason to live for another 3-5 business days." Amen to that. But then, there's no real element of surprise.

Well, enter the monthly club. It's like a magazine subscription in that it's a nice surprise when it shows up in your mailbox, but it's so much more! There are all different sorts of clubs, and I'll detail a few in the list below, but the idea here is that you order your subscription once, and then you can conveniently forget about it. It's not exactly a surprise because you should know it's coming, but if you're anything like me, you will not remember until you little box of goodness shows up in the mail. And voila!

Below you'll see a few popular clubs I've been hearing a little buzz about:

1. BirchBox:
          I know a lot of ladies (and some men) who subscribe to BirchBox. Basically, it's for the lady or fellow who loves a good beauty or grooming product. Aly, who sits behind me at work, recently got some hyper color nail polish in her birch box, and it was definitely worth envying. Birchbox, I think, must be the most popular one of these so far.

2. Must Have by PopSugar:
          Ok, I have to admit I hadn't heard of this one until I was researching for this post. However, I am addicted to PopSugar's website Shopstyle.com for a lot of my research at work (it has great filters). This box looks to be an assortment of...whatever they like!

3. Sock Panda:
          Now, this one is right up my alley. I once was a very prolific designer of children's socks in a very technical, involved way, and I loved it. I have never quite gotten over my love affair with fun socks, and I think everyone who receives any sort of holiday gifts from me is well aware (sorry guys!) There are just so many cute socks out there, though, and the people making them must be encouraged to make more! Bonus: If you subscribe to this one, that's one more day you can go without doing laundry. Am I right? I am.

4. Papirmasse:
          I recently got my first delivery from this club, and I am quite pleased. In each package you get a piece of artwork with a bit of writing on the back. I have a really hard time choosing and buying artwork (I can't decide if I think that's surprising or not) for my apartment, so this was a great way for me to get a collection going and to clothe my naked walls. Check out previous items here. (Also, at $60 for an entire year, I think that's a steal. That's about $5 per artwork/story.)

5. HauteLegs:
          Oh. My. Have. Mercy. This is a spinster's dream. If you spend a lot of time trying not to wear real pants, three pairs of brand new leggings a month could be just what the doctor ordered. Need further convincing? These were in their boutique.

6. ArtSnacks:
          Le Sigh. THIS is my own personal spinsterly dream. It's a monthly delivery of drawing supplies. Of course, anyone who's been in my apartment could tell you that the last thing I need is more art supplies, but...those pens, though. And those pencils and markers...just...everything.

7. For The Makers and Whimsy Box
          These two aren't the same site. They're different, but they're both for your crafty ladies out there. I say subscribe to both! What have you got to lose? Well, probably a glitter-free apartment, but if you're subscribing to a monthly craft box, you've probably already got the disease that is glitter in your abode anyway.

8. Treatsie:
          It's artisinal candy. What else do you need to know?

9. Purr Packs:
          Until your cat learns to shop online, this  might be a good option for him or her. However, it's really only a matter of tim until that cat learns how to type on the keyboard instead of sitting on it.

10. Panty Post:
          I know, we all hate that word, but this is actually amazing. Especially if you find yourself in a laundry pinch fairly often. And even if you don't, this is a great way to consistently refresh your collection, throwing out an old pair every time you get some new ones!

If you want to check out  more monthly subscription boxes, you can see more at My Subscription Addiction. Otherwise, since you're a spinster, I suggest you do what I've been meaning to do for nearly a month now, and join AAA. (That's three 'A's, not two) If you're a little older than I am, you might also consider AARP.

So join a club today and start waiting for your surprise! You've got 22 days left (if we share a birthday)!

Monday, July 21, 2014

#23: Have a Selfie Photo Shoot

Now, I know you're all completely over the word "selfie," and I understand that. However, I think that's the most efficient way to say what I think you should do today. Now that you've dyed your hair, gotten new glasses, and tried a new beauty staple, it's time to do a little self-celebration by documenting your new look! You don't have to use these as your new Facebook profile photo, but if you do a good job, you might just want to.

Now, here are a few tips avoid your selfie photo shoot looking like a late '90s/early 2000s MySpace profile pic.

1. Don't  hold the camera in your hand.
          This, I think, is probably the most important. To avoid the arm-as-tripod look, you can either use one of an array of iPhone tripods and/or mounts. Get one with a remote control or it's pointless because you still have to press the button if you don't have one of those, defeating the purpose. If you don't want to invest in a remote and tripod, you can always use the webcam on your computer. That is also an excellent choice, though the images won't  be as high in resolution. Both of these options, though, will allow you to get sufficiently far away from your image capture device not to look like you're all nose or forehead or what have you.

2. Choose a day when you think you're looking good.
          You know what I'm talking about here. There are just some days when you think, "I'm looking like a pretty darn good version of myself today." You owe it to yourself to document that day, especially if you're a spinster. Manage your public image, girl. You have the control.

3. Don't wear anything too crazy
          If you do this photo shoot right, you're going to want to use this photo for a while to come. As such, make sure you're wearing something that isn't too crazy or embellished or crazy. Wear something that looks like you and something you would wear. Otherwise, this will all be pointless. Now, if you do the selfie photo shoot once and decide you like it, perhaps you can get crazy with hair, makeup, and costumes the more you do it. As we all know, that is a really good time.

4. Get the lighting right.
          I have many thoughts on lighting, and I, like most of you, don't actually own professional softbox lights, etc. You can google "DIY Softbox," and there are a bunch of tutorials, but I'm not sure you want to put that much effort into this. In my experience, two desk lamps, each with tracing paper taped over their openings to diffuse the light work just fine. Don't put them too close to your face, though, or you'll look blown out, and that's not good. Really, though, the best option is to face an open window when it's daylight outside. this usually works pretty well.

5. Take lots of shots!
          No, not that kind! I mean, take lots of pictures. I mean, if you want to take the other kind, that's your affair, but you want to have a lot of photos to choose from when you're done, just like in a professional photographer's studio!

And voila! You're done! Of course I'm not in any way a professional photographer and therefore have no place telling you how to take your selfie, but you know...I'm not going to lie. I take a lot of computer selfies. I need reference images. Now, if you've done this right, you've got a new Facebook profile photo and/or one for your online dating profile. If your matches are anything like mine were, though, they won't have taken the same time and effort. That, however, is another story for another time.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

#24: Try A New Beauty Staple

As I've said many times, I love to shop for makeup. Though Atlanta is certainly leaving much to desire in the makeup sales and service department, they have most of the same excellent cosmetics you can find anywhere else. That is to say, they have department stores and drug stores and Wal Mart and Target. And it is all glorious. That is why, today, in celebration of the birthday month, I am suggesting you try a new beauty staple.

Now, what's a beauty staple, you ask? By  my definition it's a beauty item you use every day. For me, that's foundation, powder, eyeshadow, blush, eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick. I know, that's a lot more than some people like to wear, but when I really have time, putting on makeup is fun and calming. The idea in trying a new beauty staple is that you're already using it every day, but you're just trying a new version!

Most recently, I purchased blue eyeliner, but I've also been experimenting lately with new lip colors. For the longest time I have worn Chanel's Rouge Coco Shine in #54, Boy. It goes on like butter and feels like chapstick, and I love it. However, it's very neutral. So, recently, on a trip to Perimeter Mall, I purchased a tube of #91, which is a sort of a sheer red. I'm here to tell you, that I feel like a new woman with the new lip color. It's just...something different, something fun.

Now, perhaps you're not ready to purchase all that lipstick. Maybe you're not even a lipstick kind of lady. Maybe you're more into mascara or lip liner or eyeshadow or bronzer. Maybe you're a gloss girl or you prefer tinted Chapstick. Whatever your favorite staple is, try a new version today!

If you are considering a new lip product, though, I've made a box from Boxagon below. Inside are things I've tried and liked, and some of them are incredibly affordable. Just click on the box, and check it out!

Luscious Lips by Sarah Jones on Boxagon.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

#25: Make a Music Video

Growing up, my hometown didn't have all the crazy stuff to do in your spare time, like say...a water park or a huge shopping mall or even a target. As such, we had to make our own fun, and one of the ways my friend Katherine and I enjoyed making our own fun was making videos and then subjecting our parents to marathons of viewing parties. We were probably ten years old, but we thought they were hilarious masterpieces.

Later, in college, my roommate and I decided we should make crazy dance videos in ridiculous costumes. At least once we subjected our friends to watching these, and I'm not sure they liked it any more than Katherine's and my parents liked the ones we made at a younger age. But you know what? It doesn't really matter. We had fun doing it, and it was good, clean fun.

So, since you're a spinster, you may have some time on your hands that you aren't spending with a boyfriend. In fact, you may be spending it with your partner-in-crime of a best friend. These are the perfect conditions to make your own music video. I made the one you'll see here below one night when I couldn't sleep, but it was still a lot of fun. My friend Rebecca made hers in the car on a road trip using a phone mount in her car. Whatever you do, though, you should celebrate your birthday today by making some sort of video. There's no other reason to do it other than the fact that it's fun. That would be all the motivation I'd need (obviously). You don't have to share it on YouTube, but if you do, super bonus points if it goes viral.

Speaking of viral, click the video below. Maybe you can help me with my lifelong goal of meeting Matt Lauer. Now that they have the Orange Room, I feel like there's the perfect venue for me to meet him and subsequently become his best friend....even though he is a hard driving interviewer sometimes.

So, today make a music video! And if you need some inspiration, check out the one I made earlier this week. I hope it makes you giggle.

Friday, July 18, 2014

#26: Dye Your Hair

Now, before you get all bent out of shape here (because I do get bent out of shape when someone suggests I dye my hair), let me first say that you are beautiful just the way you are, and I wouldn't change a thing. This has nothing to do with what I personally think about your hair color. You look great in every way, so don't forget that.

Now that that's settled and you know I'm not sitting here thinking your look horrible with your current hair color (because again, you look magnificent), let's talk about why you should dye it. Basically it comes down to this: sometimes making a drastic change to your personal appearance is just really fun. Dying your hair fortunately does not require any serious lifestyle changes, just a bottle, a shower, or potentially a hair appointment.

A lot of girls I know grew up dying their hair for fun. However, I was always too afraid to do it myself. For the first time, though, this season I have tried it out, and it is, in fact, quite a lot of fun. In high school, I was dying for pink hair like Gwen Stefani, and right about now I wish I was as brave as Nicole Richie with her purple hair, and in all honesty I could do that in my industry without fear of repercussion. This summer, though, I've settled for a little John Frieda Lightening Spray, and I think it's turned out quite nicely.

The thing about dying your hair is this: it's a drastic change you can make that, I think in most cultures, not considered morally wrong. Additionally, it is reversible. You can use color oops, dye over it, or just go to the salon and have a professional take care of it. After all, it's just hair.

Not quite ready for such a big step? I understand. That is why, my friend, I have two suggestions for the faint of heart. The first is that you could buy a wig. To some of you who grew up in less...shall we say...wig-intensive cultures, I can assure you that you can find a pretty good wig for $20 and under. Even if you don't buy one, a trip to a wig shop is an excellent time to play dress up and potentially try out new hair colors before you take the plunge. My second suggestion is hair chalk. This is essentially a way for you to add some fun non-traditional color to your hair without the commitment of actually dying it. This is top on my list of purchases for this weekend. This way I can pretend I'm Nicole Richie without actually having to bleach and dye or have a tramp stamp. Yeah, remember that?

So, get to it, girl! Have some fun with your look. This is a time for reinvention as you celebrate yourself for the whole month of your birthday! (But if you are dying it, I suggest you do it on the weekend...in case it goes horribly wrong).

...Aaaaand...if you need more shopping inspiration for this, click on the Boxagon Box below! There are all kinds of non-permanent options!

Color Your Hair! by Sarah Jones on Boxagon.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

#27: Change Your Sheets

wash-your-sheets, change-your-sheets, sleeping-girl, sweet-dreams
There is little in this world that pleases me quite so much as sliding into an envelope of fresh, clean sheets after having had a shower. It is the absolute epitome of relaxation to me. In fact, when I leave for a trip, I like to clean my sheets so that when I come home I'll have a fresh bed waiting for my inevitable collapse. 

Today is Thursday, and I suggest you pop your sheets in the washer before you go to work, so that when you come home, you can dry them and then put them on your bed. The more dryer sheets you use, the more you'll feel like you're in a freshly-laundred wonderland. 

Now, during your month of birthday celebration, I say change your sheets as often as possible. Sunday night, though, may just be the best time of all to change them. At that point you have, no doubt, eaten at least one meal in your bed during the weekend. If you're me, it's at least three...or perhaps six if I didn't eat out at all. By cleaning your sheets on a sunday night, you'll be able to usher in your work week without any sharp and/or potentially dangerous crumbs in your bed.

That being said, I still know it's thursday. I think you should change your sheets today and then again on Sunday night because...why not? This is your birthday month, and you should allow yourself as many of life's pleasures as you can possibly handle. Sleep is one (obviously), and clean sheets is another. So do it up!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#28: Sing Karaoke

girl-singing-karaoke, karaoke, mr.-b's-goodtime-karaoke-explosion
You may think that singing karaoke on a wednesday is a little strange. However, if you, like I, were a devotee of Mr. B's Goodtime Karaoke Explosion in the early 2000's, it seems like the best day of all. Wednesday nights, my friends, were when Karaoke was at Columbia, SC's Art Bar. Sigh, but that was then, and this is now.

I know some may think it's strange that I love karaoke so much. It's not that I'm a particularly gifted vocalist. No, in fact, I just enjoy performing, and the older one gets, the fewer opportunities for appropriate performance arise. That is to say, I'm not going to be singing in your living room because I know I'm not a gifted vocalist.

But enough about me. If you don't love performing in front of a group of strangers, there is always the private room kind of karaoke where you and your friends can liberate the songbirds within your spinsterly hearts together over snacks, etc. In my opinion, there are far too few occasions for singing Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears as it is. You must grasp ever opportunity to remedy this situation. After all, during a birthday month, you must seize the moment. You must sing Lil Mama's "Lip Gloss," or  Fiona Apple's "Criminal," or Carly Simon's "You're So Vain." You absolutely must.

Now, go forth and sing! Sing your spinsterly heart out!