Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Spinster's Guide To Not Being a Terrible Roommate

Nearly five years ago, I got my first apartment by myself. It's actually been only marginally more expensive, and for a cantankerous spinster like myself, it's been worth every penny. Though I haven't had a roommate in quite some time, over the past few weeks, several friends of mine here in Atlanta have voiced certain concerns about their home lives, and I thought this would make a perfect blog post. Spinsters often have roommates for any number of reasons, as they don't have a romantic partner to take up that space.

So, let's talk about a few simple guidelines to not being the worst roommate ever, shall we?

- Facial tissue is not toilet paper:
          This extends to any paper product in the home, really. I can't tell you the amount of times I woke up on a Saturday morning to find a naked cardboard roll on the dispenser and a box of tissues in the window sill. This will not do. If you use the last of the toilet paper/paper towels/what-have-you, you must replace them immediately. I do not care what time of day or night it is There are 24-hour stores.
          My first Semester at FIT, I had a three-roommate situation, and this got so bad that I started just bringing my own roll of toilet paper to the bathroom and then bringing it back to my room when done. That way, I always had toilet paper, and everyone else had to just deal with their lack of planning.

- Your roommate did not sign up to live with your boyfriend.
          No matter how much you like your boyfriend and want to cohabit, your roommate did not sign up for this additional apartment-dweller. Even if your boyfriend is nice and offers to pay rent, there still needs to be a discussion. Your roommate only chose to live with you, not your significant other. You'r putting him or her in a really tough spot.

- Ask - don't notify - when you want to have guests.
          Sure, the living space is as much yours as it is your roommate's. However, that clearly goes both ways. If you think you'd like to have guests, ask if it's ok. Don't just notify your roommate that they're coming. And, when you ask, make sure you give your roommate ample time to make plans to be out of the apartment when your guests are there if he or she so desires - like several weeks if we're talking overnight guests. This makes consenting to have guests much easier. Truth be told, if you must have guests all the time, perhaps you should live alone. Generally shared living spaces don't have extra room for more people to be there all the time.

- Don't let your guests use your roommate's toiletries.
          It has been a major complaint of several friends of mine that they suspect that their roommate's boyfriend or other guests have been using their shampoo. Just don't, guys. Make it clear to your guests which toiletries are yours and which ones they're allowed to use. Your roommate might have very special, very expensive shampoo, and it's just for them.

- Give your roommate some time alone.
          Remember that your home is your sanctuary, and it's also your roommate's. This is the place where you are both allowed to relax and be exactly the way you want to be. So, don't always be there in the common room just hanging out. Your roommate may need time to reset after being around people at work all day. He or she may not want to see anyone.

- Be conscious of your volume.
          During the day, anything goes. However, early in the morning and late at night, be respectful of your roommate. If you can't see them, and you're not having a conversation, they may be trying to sleep.

- Don't hog the common areas.
          This included the TV, the kitchen, the backyard, the living room, etc. Any space or appliance that is shared should be treated as just that - shared. You may think, "oh, well you're welcome to watch TV with me any time you like," but ask yourself - who is holding the remote control?

- Keep your mess in your room.
          I have to admit that I have been guilty of this one before - especially in the kitchen. One of the reasons I live alone, though, is that I know I'm not a good roommate. In any case, don't leave your stuff everywhere, even if it is clean laundry. It's weird, and it's gross.

- Dont' assume your roommate's food is also for you.
          You may think, "oh, well, they can eat anything of mine if they want it," but your roommate may not actually like the kind of food you eat, making this "sharing" situation a little one-sided. So, unless otherwise discussed, don't be eating your roommate's food.

I'm sure there are many other ways to  not be the worst roommate ever, but these are the ones I've recently discussed with space-sharers. If you find you're guilty of these, perhaps it's time to have a house meeting. Or, if you're like me, perhaps it's time to enter spinsterly bliss by living alone.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spinster Shopping: Beach Towels!

Nothing makes me feel more like summer has arrived than buying a fresh, new beach towel. It just starts the season off on a good note. While I know it's just barely spring, here in Atlanta it is already getting pretty warm. In fact, I ordered some new swimwear this week from Aerie. They have a nice selection of high-waisted styles for this of us with a chunk sitch. And, their prices are crazy good.

As much as I love Aerie swimwear, that's not what we're here to talk about today. No, dear spinsters, we're here to talk cute beach towels. A few of these are very affordable and a no-question buy. Some are a bit more expensive than I would have expected, but all of them are very cute. 

Below are all the links as well as a little commentary to boot. I hope you find something here that'll help start your warm weather season right!

1. Dickins and Jones Bicycle Beach Towel: About $22.50, House of Fraser 
          I like that this has a little illustration of a bicycle. Most of the towels I found this season were blue or pink-based. This is a little something different. 

          I love a good ice cream illustration. When I was little, my dad used to always do this chant on our way to Baskin Robbins or Dairy Cream. Just to be clear, that wasn't a typo. There was a place called the dairy cream. It's not a Japanese takeout place.

          I just think this print is very cute. 

          This one is available at both Urban Outfitters and I like the stripes, but I also like that it's got a little fringe. Even though this is expensive, I really want it. 

          If you don't have a watermelon beach towel, you need one in your collection. Also, you could consider this one as another option. 

          I'm not sure what a printed velour towel is, but I tend to think that items from Lands' End and LL Bean are very high quality. You can also personalize Lands' End towels with your name or initials. 

          My friend Sara is from Florida, and someone stole the flamingos from her lawn. As such, I always like to keep an eye out for pink flamingo-themed things. I think this one is pretty fun. 

          Simple, clean, cute.

          If you're not too afraid to go into Walmart, they have an excellent selection of larger towels for those of us who aren't children. I like a larger beach towel. In fact, I like a larger bath towel as well. 

          I feel like this is a different sort of color combination for a beach towel. I like it.

So, if you're ready to start sitting by the pool or on the beach, go pick up some fresh towels to get this party going.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday Fun: Weekday Maze

It's Thursday. That means it's almost Friday. And thank goodness it isn't Monday. Right? I'm not really asking. I know I'm right.

Since it isn't quite Friday yet, I thought I'd spice up your Thursday morning with a little maze. Thankfully this won't actually determine whether you'll be able to make it all the way from Monday to Friday. You're almost there, but there could be any number of unforeseen events that could cause some kind of uproar or explosion. I'm going to stop myself right there. we are not spies, and I'm not trying to scare you. In any case, I'm probably the only one here who has any potential to explode. Nobody told me I wasn't supposed to eat dynamite.

So, if your brain is functioning even slightly more normally than mine is this morning, go ahead and print this one out. It will fit on an 8.5 x 11 page. You could be the maze master.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday Coloring Page: On The Beach

Over the weekend, there were a few people hanging out at the pool at my apartment complex. I was busy running around, going to Walmart, and walking Miranda, but I guess that was a good thing. The pool was actually closed, and no one knew it. They got kicked out, and it was awkward.

But this post isn't about my pool. It's about how you can print out today's illustration as a coloring page and color it in while you imagine you're on the beach instead of doing whatever it is you're doing. Whaddaya say?

Not only do I wish I were on the beach today, I also wish I looked like this little lady in her little bikini. If anyone wants to work out for me so that I somehow lose all the weight, please figure that out and get back to me. I'd be happy to be the guinea pig.

Now here's your coloring page. It will print nicely to an 8.5 x 11 page once you open it in a new tab (or window) and save it to your computer. Enjoy! It's Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Audible Spinstering: Kim Gordon's Girl In A Band: A Memoir

The first time I remember begin aware of Sonic Youth was in the mid-nineties. My family and I were at a retreat at Windy Gap, I believe. While the grown ups went to an event that was just for them, the kids and teenagers had  what I guess was a show for all the offspring. The only thing I remember about the show was that it was in a gymnasium with wooden bleachers, and that there was a magician.

For one of his tricks, the magician called a teenager named Jay Richardson from my K-12 school down to the floor. I remember Richardson as wearing an open short-sleeved plaid button-down, loose jeans, and Airwalks, but this could just be my own historical fashion projection. The magician asked Richardson for a dollar, and then gave him a marker to write something on the bill. In all caps, Jay Richardson wrote, "SONIC YOUTH."

Google hadn't been created yet on that night in Windy Gap, and I think that's probably why I remember his writing "SONIC YOUTH" so clearly. My older sister probably wasn't into that, so I was left to wonder what that meant until, probably, sometime in high school. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't actually listen to any of Sonic Youth's music, though, until last week. Color me deeply uncool.

What sparked all of this reminiscence? Well, you might have heard that The girl in Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon, recently published her memoir. Having just written that sentence, I feel the title is going to seem redundant, but I'm too lazy to go back now. The book is called Girl In A Band: A Memoir, and I listened to it on Audible last week. Kim Gordon actually reads the book herself, and I quite enjoyed it.

Like a lot of memoirs, this book kind of jumps around a little and can be hard to follow. For Sonic Youth enthusiasts, however, it may be a little easier. Despite my total ignorance at the outset, I found it quite enjoyable. Kim Gordon speaks on art, feminism, California, the Midwest, New York, 9/11, CBGB, fashion design, music, and a host of other things I feel like I should actually be researching before I speak any further.

I'm not going to recap the entire story here because I think you really should read it (especially if you ever watched and enjoyed VH1's Behind The Music (side note- I didn't realize that was still on!)), but here are a couple points I thought were really interesting and/or cool.

- Kim Gordon was so creative.
          Kim Gordon talks about having been really into dance and choreography. She also - and I assume this is more well-known - went to art school and continues to make and show artwork. So cool.

- Kim Gordon was really into Joni Mitchell and Karen Carpenter.
          I liked this little tidbit. Until recently I wasn't all that into Joni Mitchell, but now I've seen the error of my ways, and she's lovely.

- Kim Gordon had a fashion line.
          Yep, that's right. It was called x-girl, and it was purchased by someone in Japan and still exists today. Please enjoy all of these photos of Chloe Sevigny modeling for X-girl while Gordon was still involved. Apparently Sofia Coppola was also in on this?

- Kim Gordon had some *things* to say about Courtney Love, Thurston Moore, the woman who broke up her marriage to Moore, and Lana Del Rey (of all people). Apparently there's no love lost on any of these people.

- Kim Gordon knows Carrie Brownstein.
          I don't know how I didn't put this together. I always forget Brownstein was a musician first.

So, if you're looking for an interesting read about a creative person, I say go for it. I kind of want to listen to it again.

Monday, April 13, 2015

An Old Illustration and some Atlanta Artist Links

Yesterday, instead of making a new illustration for today's post, I cried my eyes out while watching Beginners. Honestly, I think it was the dog, mostly. Now that I'm fully and openly obsessed with my dog, every dog that follows someone around their apartment makes me just crumble with the cuteness.

This is an old illustration from an accessories portfolio. I don't even know when I made it. I think it was inspired by the Marni jewelry of the time - wood and beads and layered shapes. I'd probably still wear it if it actually existed. 

So, today, I think we should link to some Atlanta Artists. I'm not, by any means, part of the "scene" here, but I do think it's cool that there are some people who are making a living with their art in Atlanta. I'm not sure whether all of the people I'm going to list below are doing it 100% full time, but still...these will be some fun links to visit on your Monday morning.

So let's get to linking. 

          I met Julie Ann McKevitt at a funciton for her nonprofit organization, Paint Love. Next door to the main event, McKevitt was also having a little gallery opening, and I purchased one of her paintings. It is a fun little painting of cacti, and though I keep forgetting to hang it, it's going to be cute in my apartment. 

          I think I started following this guy on Instagram because he does Free Art Friday. I'm not sure, though. In any case, his stuff is really cool. He does a lot of amazing murals, and he posts them on his Instagram.

          If you're decorating your house, and you've got some cash to burn, I think you should go for one of these. I got one of her prints for Christmas from my mom, and I still haven't had it framed. On my "to do" list for this week.

          I don't know who this guy is - just another #FAFATL person-, but I think this @lanta tee is pretty clever. 

          Minimal and accessible. The use of basic color reminds me of Rothko but not.

- Hense (AKA: Alex Brewer): 
          Come paint my life, please. Just, please. 

Ok, enjoy your Monday morning perusal! I must go to work.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Links and Ramblings

Last night I had what I like to call an "interesting people party." When I lived in New York, my friend Kelly used to throw parties where, essentially, I met almost all of the interesting people and friends I had there. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I definitely had fun, and I got to debut my new painting (see above). So, the theme of today's post is some things that happened in relation to my preparations for this party. Let's just bullet point them.

- I made a painting with that giant canvas I bought at Binders.
          There are a few things I should say about this. The first is that I didn't even think twice about what would be going on this 60" x 48" canvas. I knew for sure it would be a giant portrait of miranda.  I used to paint a lot of portraits when I was in college, and I've considered starting to do it again many times. I've had a lot of requests since I started showing work-in-progress (WIP) photos of this in Instagram. Unfortunately, though, I'm afraid a portrait this size would price itself out of the market. I got a great deal on this canvas, but if I hadn't, it would have been $175 (ish) without any paint on it at all. When you add up just the hours (somewhere north of 12) that went into the painting, well...and that's not to mention supplies. Sigh.
          However, smaller paintings are always up for negotiation.

- When I woke up yesterday morning, I knew I needed to add a few more things to the menu. So, I went into my Pinterest Recipes board, and I found this recipe for Mini Deep Dish Pizzas. When I had finished the jar of pizza sauce, I thought I could stand to have some more little pizzas, so I switched to pesto as the base sauce, and I really liked that. I'm going to venture that both kinds were a hit.

- Lee's Tokyo Sauce
          One of my favorite restaurants here in Atlanta, Seven Lamps, has an appetizer called Cottage Fries. I decided to add that to the menu for last night. At Seven Lamps, they serve the fries with mayo, and it's excellent. However, I decided to be a little bit like Bareburger and serve them with a few different dipping options. Unlike Bareburger, though, I didn't make them myself. One of the sauces was one I ran across int he international aisle at Publix the other day. It's called Lee's Tokyo Sauce, and it just might be my new favorite condiment. Go get some ASAP.

- Walmart Shopper
          I had to get my car serviced yesterday morning, and while I was in the area, I just decided to do my party grocery shopping at Walmart. I know, I know. In theory, I should hate Walmart. The truth, though, is that I just don't. I find it wildly convenient. While it's not as snazzy as Target, I am not mad at it.
          While I was inside the behemoth that is the country's largest retailer, I had to peruse more than just the grocery section. That is how I found myself in the pajama/loungewear section. Well, that and the fact that I'm a spinster and want to wear all loungewear all the time. Ladies, I just have to tell you that Walmart has stepped up their pajama game (yes, I did that on purpose) this season. White Stag has those long sleep tees that pretend to be sleep dresses but have sleeves so the straps don't slip off in the middle of the night. I bought one. Stop being jealous. They're under $9, so you can just go get one of you own. Faded Glory also had some cute printed sleep shorts (some of the prints are much cuter than others), and I Appel had this cute matching set. In short, you need some Walmart pajamas.

I hope you all enjoy your Sunday! If you do nothing else, consider buying new pajamas.