Monday, July 28, 2014

#16: Get a Blowout

No, I'm not talking about a sale! Although, perhaps you should visit a blowout sale while you're at it. Today's illustrations not quite what I mean by "get a blowout," since many of you probably do blow dry your own hair every day. I, for one, try to avoid it as much as possible, but that's another story for another time.

Today's installment in our "31 ways in 31 days" to celebrate your birthday is to go to a salon and have a blowout. Most salons now offer blowouts as part of their menu of services. You can get a blowout without even having a haircut. I must say that I've only had this done a few times, most times in relation to being in a wedding party, but it is always really enjoyable. My hair is naturally wavy to straight, but my friend Alex has very tight curls. One of the crazies and coolest things I've ever seen is when she and her sister went to have blowouts together just for fun. It's crazy how different people look with a different hair texture! Even if your hair is naturally straight, though, it does always feel more glamorous to have a professional style your hair.

So, today, make an appointment to have a blowout! It's cheaper than a haircut or a salon dye job, and it just makes you feel a little bit more fancy. Bonus: if you happen to actually get your blowout today, it may actually make Monday a little more manageable.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

#17: Contribute Something To Your Favorite Publication

One of the coolest things about the internet these days is the ability for everyone to contribute. There are plenty of places to have your own site all on your own, but perhaps you'd like a larger readership. Perhaps you have an idea, but you don't want to have a whole website to yourself. That's what today's post is about!

Today think about something you might like to add to conversation at large. It could be an article, an illustration, a list, anything! Whatever you feel like needs to be said! Below you'll find a list of places you might consider.

1. RookieMag:
          RookieMag is always accepting submissions, but keep in mind it is an online magazine for teenage girls. I have submitted things several times and still have yet to succeed. However, you may have better luck. This month they're taking submissions for the theme, "Enchantment."

2. Buzzfeed:
          I love Buzzfeed, and I'm sure you do, too. Only recently did I realize that they have a "community" section where anyone can submit articles!

3. McSweeney's:
          This is for serious writers, I think. This is a proper literary magazine, and I must say I'm too shy so far. However, if you have the guts, here are the submission guidelines.

4. Illustration Friday:
          You've probably seen me write about this before. I love illustration friday. All you do is submit your illustration on the week's theme, and voila! You've been posted on their website! It's a lot of fun to think about how you can illustrate the week's topic in a fun and creative way.

5. Reader's Digest:
          This is a mainstay. You can submit article proposals, but it looks like they're pretty tight on what they accept. However, they do like a good joke! Here's how to submit.

6. Southern Living:
          If you're from the Southern United States, and you have a store that's specific to our region, then Southern Living might be the place for you! They accept submissions, and here's how you can send them.

7. #MyFriendsAreMarried:
          If you love gifs, this is the place for you! Click "Submit," and add your snarky gif and quote.

So, whether it's a joke, and article, a list, illustration, or gif, submit something today! How fun would it be to see your stuff in print!?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

#18: Whiten Your Teeth

Hey hey! It's Saturday! What a day! I tried googling those words to figure out where they came from. There was a song when I was little whose lyrics went something like this "Hey hey it's saturday! What a day, oh what a day! Hey hey! It's Saturday. Sleepin' 'til noon, watching' cartoons. Nothing can go wrong. 'Cause it's Saturday all day long!"  If anyone can help me out with that, I'd be much obliged. I can remember the tune and everything but just not where it came from. But enough of that! On to today's Birthday task!

Today's task is to whiten your teeth. This may, in fact, already be part of your beauty regime, but it's not currently part of mine, so I'm adding it to my birthday list of self-improvement/self-celebration. I drink a lot of dark soda, and I think it would probably be a good idea for me to life my a brother shade during this birthday month.

Now, there are a quite a few ways you tooth whitening can be achieved, as I'm sure you probably know from television. However, just in case, I'm going to lay out a list for you below:

1. Go to your dentist:
          At your dentist, you can have custom bleaching trays made for your teeth, and you are in charge of squirting the syringe of bleach in the trays every day and wearing them. I daresay this is probably the safest and most effective way since it comes from your dentist, but I'm not sure if it's the most  cost-effective.

2. Mall Teeth Whitening Kiosks:
          There are a lot of reasons I'm shy about doing the mall teeth whitening kiosks like White Science. Firstly, you're out there in the middle of the mall having someone work on your teeth. That seems strange. Secondly, they don't have the greatest reviews on Yelp. However, they must be making a lot of money, because I've seen quite a few around.

3. Whitening Strips:
          The ones I've heard of most often are Crest 3D White Strips. I think this may be what I try this time.

4. Paint-on Teeth Whitening:
          This seems like it'd wash off, but its' cheaper than white strips at Wal Mart, so...who can say?

5. Natural Remedies:
          Dr. Oz recommends a baking soda mixture which I'm sure works but probably tastes horrifying. I've also heard about a stawberry and baking soda mixture as well as just straight up hydrogen peroxide...but is that a natural remedy? I'm not sure that counts as natural.

Anyway, if you want to try any of the at-home remedies, and you want more people's opinions, I've discovered that everyone on YouTube is happy to help!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 25, 2014

#19 Make Some Art

We're into the teens, ladies! And might I say, that I think today's illustration is a little funny because it is about making art, but somehow my face went a little awry in the illustration process. Please excuse that blunder. Now, onto the good stuff!

Today's assignment is this: Make some art! Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking, "I can't draw or paint or anything like that so...this is painful for me." Well, I certainly don't want you to do anything that's painful, I assure you. That's why, I'm not specifying what kind of art you should make. It can be a drawing, a painting, a potato cut print, a collage, or whatever else your heart desires! Remember collages? Tavi certainly does. You could even get some glitter Mod Podge! That was my favorite in high school.

I understand that a lot of you may approach artwork with a fair amount of trepidation, but my question to you is 'why.' It doesn't have to be perfect. You're just doing this for your own enjoyment. Take it from me. You have to make a lot of awful art before  you make anything remotely good. In fact, I like to think about what I heard Billy Collins say on NPR one time: "We're All Born with 200 Bad Poems in us." I feel this way about art, though I may have more than 200 bad pieces of art in me. But perhaps you've gotten all of yours out. In any case, don't be self conscious! Just make something.

Once you've made your work of art - be it bad or good - I then challenge you to frame it and hang it on the wall! I did this earlier this week, and it gave me immense enjoyment. The good news if you don't like what you've made, though, is that you can always take it out of the frame after a week or so and put something else in that frame. Voila!

So, get creative! It's friday, after all! I, for one, will be making an illustration sometime today so you can look at it here on the blog!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#20: Get Some Tickets!

get-some-tickets, purchase-tickets, buy-tickets, buying-tickets, holding-tickets, girl-holding-tickets, ticket-illustration
Today for your birthday, you should consider buying yourself a gift, and the gift is a gift of experience. Concert and performance tickets may be a little pricey, but you can't put a price on a really fun experience. My friend Joey and I recently purchased tickets to see Paul McCartney when he's here in Atlanta, and my coworker Aly just saw Katy Perry in concert and said it was great. After I watched Katy Perry's Part of Me, I am convinced that all her concerts are the most fun!

But, you don't necessarily have to buy yourself concert tickets. You could go to a play or the ballet or a broadway show or a sporting event (I guess) or even to Disney World! The choice is yours. Grab a friend and get yourself set for a fun time...because, why not! You're alive, and you should have some fun. Just do me one favor. Don't get a speeding ticket. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#21: Have a Consultation

When you're a spinster, sometimes it feels like everyone thinks they know how to do you better than you do. They have opinions on your hair, your clothes, your makeup, your weight, where you hang out, and countless other aspects of your life that are, frankly, none of their business. And they are really open with their suggestions. Girl, I know.  But the same thing happens to newlyweds, pregnant ladies, and new moms. So we spinsters are not alone in this. When people start making me uncomfortable, though, I like to remind myself to consider the source. What are they basing their "expertise" on? That is why, whenever possible, I like to consult a real expert.

Today's Birthday task is this: have a consultation! There are a few things in my life I only want to hear about from someone with ample qualifications. This list includes but is potentially not limited to the following: My hair, makeup, wardrobe, fitness regime, financial planning, career trajectory, weight, mental health, and (of course) relationships. Things like what movie I should see this weekend, what restaurant I should try, or what's a cool new nail polish are all fair game for lay-people. Otherwise, I will set up a meeting with a professional.

Now, what are the kinds of consultations you could consider for today's task, you ask? (I said that because it rhymes.) Well, whatever you can think of, really. If you need a little help, here are some things I thought of. However, I feel I should say that I am not, in fact, an expert myself on anything but eating talent in my bathrobe in my kitchen. Let's proceed.

1. A Personal Trainer:
          I mean...I'm not gonna lie to you. This doesn't really sound appealing to me. The truth is I just don't really enjoy working out. However, I think it could be worth my time to see a personal trainer to see how I could be working out more efficiently (re: less) while getting better results than my current walking to the kitchen to get a snack.

2. A Hair Stylist:
          Lots of hair salons now actually require new clients to come in for a "consultation" before their first appointment. While I generally don't have time to have two separate hair appointments, they do often allow you to have your consultation at the beginning of the appointment. I like the idea of someone who's really up on hair stuff telling me what's best for my face, my body, and my life. Plus, I assume this involves some relaxing hair brushing and potentially shampooing. Always a bonus.

3. A Personal Stylist/Shopper:
          A very small part of me is glad that What Not To Wear is no longer on the air just because I now know I no longer have to live in fear if Stacy London hopping out of the bushes to rip apart my wardrobe and self esteem. I have heard tell of kinder, gentler versions of Stacy, though, in the form of personal shoppers at stores like Nordstrom. In fact, a quick search for personal stylist/shoppers in my area shoes a plethora of results. So...that's a thing. I'd much rather hear this from someone I'm paying than from someone with whom my relationship might become contentious depending on our levels of differing taste. After all, if you don't like your personal shopper, you can just fire him or her.

4. A Financial Planner:
          This seems like an excellent person to see, especially if you're a single lady. You can't count on there ever begin another person in your life that will strengthen your finances, so while you're makin' that paper, girl, make that paper work for you!

5. A Home Organizer:
          Some people really get off on organization. I, for one, do not. I love it when my home is clean and organized, but I don't really like doing it myself. So, for this one, I'd be more likely to hire a home organizer than take one of their classes. When you get someone to organize your home, though, there is an initial consultation in which you get to tell them what you want. And then they make it happen. And afterward they explain it to you. However, if you are into organization, and you'd like more tips and tricks, most home organizers also offer classes.

So, today, when someone makes a remark they may or may not realize is rude, first consider the source, and then consider having a consultation**. And, if the commenter has especially annoyed you, perhaps you should recommend that they, too, have a consultation.

**Please note, however, that all the advice in this article has not come from an expert know, take it with a grain of salt.

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 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)!