Sunday, August 31, 2014

Spinstergram: Labor Day Weekend So Far


This Labor Day weekend thing kind of snuck up on me. I didn't realize until Thursday afternoon that we were having a half day of work on Friday. Ever since then, though, I've been living it up. I went to have a foot massage on Buford Highway Friday afternoon, and I did some serious needlepoint on Friday evening. Keepin' it real.

Yesterday morning was the main event, though. Megan and I had a spinsterly date for donuts and the Decatur Book Festival. On the way, we discussed needlework. I'm not even making this up. I had been seeing this place called Revolution Donuts on Instagram, and it had become clear to me that a visit to their Decatur location was absolutely necessary - Gluten or no!

Spinsters, I'm here to tell you that after yesterday's Gluten time, I do look six months pregnant, but the raspberry frosted donut with sprinkles and the "Maple Cro-Dough" (a version of the cronut) were well worth a faux pregnancy.

The Decatur Book Festival was a lot of fun with a lot of free pens. We met some Authors, heard a talk about "small towns and furry friends" from some Atlanta romance writers, and best of all, there were plenty of "your face here" posters. Of course we took advantage.

To the left you'll see a photo Megan took of me next to the Romance writers' tent promoting Jennifer McQuiston's What Happens in Scotland.  I've never actually read a romance novel, but their area certainly had the best of the "your face here" photo ops. Is this guy wearing a pirate shirt or what?

For any of you who feel the need to have your photo taken in much the same way as I did, the Decatur Book Festival will still be going on today, and I bet they'll still have some excellent places to put your face....or at least your nose (I mean in a book).

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Spinster Binge: The Spoils of Babylon

Kristen-Wiig, The-Spoils-Of-Babylon, Kristen-Wiig-Face, Kristen-Wiig-Fan-Art, The-Spoils-Of-Babylon-Fan-Art
Watching the Emmys this past Monday, I found myself shocked at how many of the nominees I hadn't actually seen at all. Not having cable or HBO can actually be a problem when it comes to TV knowledge. Still, I'm not about to pay that much every month just to be in the know when I'm watching the Emmys. That's why I was quite pleased when I saw that The Spoils of Babylon had come to Netflix. As a fan of Kristen Wiig, I knew I must watch.

The premise of The Spoils of Babylon is that it's a TV miniseries based on a fictitious novel by a fictitous author, played by Will Ferrell.  The whole thing is intentionally hyper-dramatic, and it is hilarious.

And now for a few notes on why The Spoils of Babylon is awesome:

1. The Cast:
          We've all come to expect hilarity from Kristen Wiig and Will Farrell, but Tobey Maguire and Haley Joel Osment showed unexpected comic chops. Additionally, appearances from the likes of David Spade, Val Kilmer, Jessica Alba, Tim Robbins, Molly Shannon, Michael Sheen, and a whole bunch more make this a crazy all-star cast.

2. The Hair:
          This story spans several decades, and Kristen Wiig's hair, makeup, and costumes reflect all of them to the max.

3. Devon Morehouse's (as played by Tobey Maguire) Wife:
          This one is a spoiler. So don't read past this sentence if you don't want that. But Tobey Maguire's character, Devon Morehouse, gets married in this movie, and his wife is inexplicably....wait for it...a mannequin. They never discuss it. She's just there, and she's a mannequin. What's more is that she has a baby, and the baby is a real person later in the story. I can't even.

4. The Sets:
          All the establishing shots in The Spoils of Babylon are done with very obvious models. Excellent.

5. The Shots:
          This miniseries is shot in so many different ways and just sort of changes visual genres at will. You're constantly left thinking "wait what?" My favorite moment was a split screen between Kristen Wiig and Haley Joel Osment.


In case you needed to watch the trailer, I've placed it conveniently in this post!

So, if you're looking for something to binge watch this holiday weekend, might I suggest The Spoils of Babylon? It's weird and wonderful. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Fun: Queen Bey Gif

This has been a pretty long week, so I thought we should all celebrate Friday with a little bit of silliness. This looks like Beyonce as a kung foo fighter....who's also celebrating. And I think she has a reason to celebrate. It is Friday, after all!

In honor of the holiday weekend, my office is having a half day, and I'm here to tell you that I'm going to celebrate with a nap, some Netflix, and some needlework. Tomorrow, my friends, I visit the Decatur Book Festival.

Now, I know some of you are going to be mad at this next part, but I'm really feeling it today. At one of my jobs in New York, every friday morning they played this song on repeat in the cafeteria. At some point it went from being a terrible song to being somehow endearing. So, yes, I like it. Enjoy!


Does it look like that kid in the front passenger seat in the beginning has drawn-on facial hair, or is it just me? 

In case you're not feeling that video, I think you will like this next one. Because I love it. Especially because there's a Rebecca Black cameo. 



Ok, hooray for Friday! Enjoy!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spinster Screening: The Hundred Foot Journey

cooking-illustration, whisk, curry, the-hundred-foot-journey-movie
I love Indian Food, so when I saw the previews for The Hundred Foot Journey, I was thrilled. The only problem was that the previews came out long before the movie hit theaters. To occupy myself, I listened to the book on tape, which was very good, but then, I feel like the book that gets made into a movie is almost always excellent.

This past weekend I finally made my way to the North Dekalb Mall to see The Hundred Foot Journey, and I must say I was not disappointed. The movie in its entirety was delicious. Eating popcorn in that theater would have been shameful. On the whole, there was less Indian Food in the movie than I would have liked. I expected to come out of the theater craving some Palak paneer, but I think a fine dining experience may have been more appropriate.

I won't give anything away, but I will say that Helen Mirren was delectable as usual, and her banter with Om Puri was a lot of fun. The movie does stray quite a bit form the narrative and ending of the book, but you should't let that stop you from consuming this film as if it were one of Hassan's meals. Go hungry, though, and plan to eat something really good afterward. Your palette will be inspired.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Next Level Spinstering: Needlework

Last night, while watching Wheel of Fortune and pondering Vanna White's hair because it looked like a wig, I realized I had taken spinstering to the next level. Not only was I wishing Antiques Roadshow aired on Tuesdays, but I was also working on the same needlepoint project I'd been creating since before I went to Mexico. The cherry on top? I was wearing a giant cat tee shirt.

Now, as you may know, the word "spinster" comes from the work of spinning yarn or thread, which was often done by unmarried women in order to support themselves. I wasn't spinning thread, but I was certainly using it. In fact, I had a bun on top of my head, and I was wearing glasses. All I needed, really, was a rocking chair.

Several of my other single lady friends, I have discovered, are also into needlework. This is how, on Saturday night around 9pm, I ended up at Hancock Fabrics buying needlework supplies with a friend who's into cross stitching. We went there after dinner, and when we had purchased our goods, we went our separate ways to resume our stitching.

While I'm completely aware that spending my nights and weekends pushing and pulling a needle and thread will not further any sort path out of spinsterhood, I can really understand why it became a spinsterly pastime in the first place. It's calming, it's easily done while watching TV or listening to the radio (or victrola if we're talking history), it's time consuming (what else were ladies of old going to do if they didn't have a date?), and it feels productive. Bonus: When I'm finished with the needlepoint, I can turn it into a pillow for my sofa, where I already spend most of my time anyway.

So, if you, too, are ready to really spinster out this week, perhaps you should consider cross stitch, needlepoint, or embroidery. I must say, all three are quite satisfying.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Only Thing I Made Last Night

As you may know, last night was the was the Emmys on NBC. As such, I had my night all planned before I even got home. I would make gluten free spaghetti, and then I would put it in one of the new bowls my parents gave me for my birthday (which I love), and then I would put on my bathrobe and my sweatpants and watch TV for the rest of the night. And, my friends, that is exactly what I did. Without anyone else's commentary or interruption.

I was so taken with the Emmys, I forgot to make a drawing. Or maybe I was just being lazy. I see no need to pass a judgement on that front, especially not on myself. However, because I did pay such close attention, I have five things to say about the Emmys, in no particular order.

1. How did I not know Hayden Panettiere was pregnant? She is seriously pregnant. That dress looked great, though.

2. I'm pretty sure Julia Louis-Dreyfus is getting more attractive the older she gets. For example, here she is on Seinfeld, and here she was last night. It's pretty much mandatory that you agree.

3. Zooey Deschanel's Emmy Dress was cute, but that hair was a no go for me.

4. Jimmy Fallon tried to steal Stephen Colbert's Emmy, and it made me uncomfortable. I felt like it was a little bit of a Kanye moment even though Colbert was very good natured about it.

5. I loved that Weird Al performed. And in his honor, I think I'm going to take it old school and embed one of his all time best songs:

You're welcome.

I hope you enjoyed the Emmys. I certainly enjoyed my spaghetti.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Fun: Chocolate Flow Chart Quiz

It's Monday, and you need something to get you through. Maybe you've already had your coffee, and it just didn't do the job. Well, Might I suggest you have some morning chocolate?

If morning chocolate sounds like a good idea to you, perhaps you need a little help making up your mind. That is why, my friends, I have put together today's simple flow chart quiz: Which Chocolate Should You Eat Today? You may need to click on the image to view it larger, but just in case you can't really see it, here are the chocolates listed, from left to right. Keep in mind, my theory on chocolate is much like my theory on pizza: Whatever is available will usually do just fine. I tell you this to say, I am not at all a chocolate snob.

1. Dove Milk Chocolate: This has been a staple for me since college. In fact, it may have been my original morning chocolate.

2. Mr. Goodbar: Every time I buy a variety pack of fun sized hershey bars, this is the flavor that goes first. It's not fancy, but it sure is delicious.

3. Hershey's Kisses with Almonds: This is a real desk snack staple. They're easy to find, and you can eat them discreetly because they fit in the palm of your hand.

4. Endangered Species Milk Chocolate with Cherries: This chocolate has a little bit of a darker taste to it, but the dried cherries are a really nice touch.

5. Godiva Milk Caramel Embrace (Alternatively, I really do suggest Varsano's Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt Caramel if you are in New York or care to have chocolate FedExed to you.): If you live near a Godiva, these are the best ones there. I notice a big difference between bars and the individual bonbons. Namely, the bonbons have denser, chewier caramel, which is what I prefer.

6. Lindor Truffle in Dark Chocolate: Really, though, I vote for all the Lindor Truffles. A variety pack would do nicely here as well.

7. Mast Brothers Almond and Sea Salt Chocolate Bar: Mast Brothers chocolate is fancy and expensive. It is really home made gourmet chocolate, and you pay for it. But the paper is so cute, I think it may just be worth it. Tape it in your journal to remember that delicious chocolate you had.

8. Chocolove Rasberries in Dark Chocolate: I'm not actually a huge fan of dark chocolate and really do prefer milk. However, I love raspberries and chocolate together, and every Chocolove bar comes with a poem printed on the inside of the wrapper, so you can read it while you ponder what a good decision it was to eat some chocolate today.

9. Riesens: These are the only Dark Chocolate I really, truly love. Once I open a bag, it's over. I have awakened from many a late-night portfolio session to find my bed and desk covered in Riesen Wrappers. You can pretty much find these anywhere - including Michael's Arts and Crafts - so these are really good when you're in a pinch.

I hope you enjoy your monday chocolate. I know I will.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Saturday Spinstering: Roswell

So, it has come to my attention that after nearly 206,000 miles, my car may need to be replaced. So, yesterday I set out to do a little in-person research all the way in Roswell, Georgia. I think it was actually the hottest day of the summer so far, but I needed to start yesterday.

The car research process isn't the exciting part of this post. I drove some cars, and they all had miniature back windows. When the sweat pattern on my pants started to be...unsightly, I decided my auto shopping time was done for the day. I had other, less expensive things in mind.

On the way to the dealerships, I had passed what looked like a pretty nicely-sized Salvation Army, and I made sure to stop there on the way back to Atlanta. It was in a strip mall, so I figured it'd be a little bigger than the thrift shops I've seen in Atlanta So far. Ladies and gentlemen, I was not disappointed.

Inside the doors of the Salvation Army Family Store, I found the largest Thrift Store I have ever seen. And it was so well organized, too! At the front were all the beds, tables, chests, and other furniture. I have been looking for the perfect bedside table for a year now, and unfortunately I did not find yet yesterday. However, near the back of the store, I found some really splendid 1990s Wind Suits (pictured above)! Many of you may remember that it's hard to find a coordinating two-piece wind suit because they pants that matched back to the jackets were always getting holes in the knees. These babies, though, were in perfect mint condition. perfect for an amazing 90's party.

So, if you find yourself in Roswell, GA any time soon, I highly recommend the Salvation Army Family store. It is full of home decor, clothing for men, women, and children, Books, DVDs, shoes, an accessories. I'm surprised pulled myself away.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Spinster Shopping: Smart Kitty

My friends at McAfee Seminary went back to school this past week, and next week Emory starts back. And you know what that means! I'm still wishing I needed school supplies, and I bet you are, too. That is why I've made a special cat lady collage today just for us spinsters. Show your new (or imaginary) class mates just how much you love your feline friends with these excellent office supplies.

1. Cat Washi Tape: $1.25, MechaKucha808 on Etsy

2. Cat Paper Clip Magnet: $13.26, Amazon

3. Kitten Folder: $1.52, Mead

4. Fred and Friends Catwalk Picture Hangers (AKA Paper Clips and string): $10:68, Amazon

5. Kitty Bookmark Paper Clips: $3.75, QTeen on Etsy

6. Funky Catsterz Mouse Pad: $10.99 hhprint on Etsy

7. Siamese Cat Lovers Stapler: $18.95, Amazon

8. Cat Print Backpack: $42.56, Asos

9. I like Cats Mini Sketchbook: $5.11 I Like Cats Shop on Etsy

10. Wooden Cat Tape Dispenser: $20 MaigoCute on Etsy

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Fun: Possum King

One of my very favorite people in this world is my friend Leah. In fact, I think most people who meet her find her quite charming. Not only is she plenty fascinating in her own right, but she's also introduced me to quite a few other interesting people in the time I've known her. But that has nothing to do with the Possum King.

Leah, despite the fact that I think she may be one of the most eligible bachelorettes I know, is also a member of the League of Spinsters. Additionally, she has taken up needlework and has inspired me to do the same. Currently I'm working on much too large of a needlepoint project, while Leah devours one embroidery pattern after another. We are quite the productive pair.

So, now we get to the Possum King. While Leah and I were discussing embroidery patterns the other day, I was stricken with the all-too-common "I could totally make that." As such, I asked if she'd like me to make her a special embroidery pattern. And here you have it! The Possum King! What Leah wants, Leah shall get.

In case you also want to embroider the Possum King (I must admit, this is my first embroidery pattern I've made that wasn't meant to be used by a machine, so we'll see if it actually works), all you need to do is open the image in a new tab, and print it out! After that, you have to trace it on to whatever fabric you like, but it's supposed to be for an 8" hoop.

But wait! There's More!



Leah couldn't have her Possum King living alone. I agreed that he needed a queen. So, here you have it! Get yourselves to the nearest craft store and get ready! This is going to be one crazy Friday Night!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Spinster Screening: A Bunch of Movies

During my birthday month, I saw a lot of movies, but I couldn't tell you about them, because we were discussing more important things like celebrating my birthday for an entire month. However, the time for celebration passed, and the time for discussing all those movies I saw by myself in the past month has come. So, I'm going to just tell you in a couple of sentences about each of them, since I'm sure you don't have all day. Do not worry. There will be no spoilers.

1. Begin Again: I laughed, I wept (really, though, like heaving sobs), and I loved this. So good, and they ate at my favorite Manhattan brunch spot, so that made me cry more.

2. Get On Up: It's hard to walk away from this movie without loving Chadwick Boseman. Oh, and obviously James Brown, his music, and his dance movies. He was a straight up gangsta, and I like that.

3. Frances Ha: (I watched this on Netflix) Once in new York, I heard someone say that Alex and I reminded them of the friends in this movie. I hope they meant at the beginning. But also, this movie is great and a little too real. I'm understating it when I say "great." Also, why is this Adam Driver guy in everything all of a sudden? Because...I know they call him attractive in this movie, but I'm just fine with Ryan Gosling, thanks.

4. What If: If you didn't already find Daniel Radcliffe impossibly charming, this movie will probably do it. I wept in this one, too, but not really because of the brunch restaurants. It was set in Toronto, and I've never been there so...

5. Step Up All In: You know, these movies kill me. I absolutely adore watching people dance. It makes me happier than most things, especially when the dancing is upbeat. When I'm sitting in the theater, though, I wonder why they even had to bother with a story line. The acting is terrible, and the dancing is great. We don't really even need the acting. Why not cut the talking scenes and add more dancing? Eh? Eh?

Now, go forth and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spinster Shopping: Luscious Lips



Perhaps you're looking at today's collage and thinking, "oh my goodness! Is it already February?" I must confess that when I saw this trend popping up everywhere, I thought the same thing. However, I guess if these things were out and about for Valentine's Day, perhaps they'd be a little too literal. For fall, though, I think they're just a big old bunch of fun!

I think that it is important to note that I may be a little biased where all these lips are concerned. When I was about thirteen years old, I needed a lip phone (a la #5) in the worst way. There was an actual telephone store for landline phones in the Sumter Jessamine Mall, and I would go visit the phone quite regularly. As you can imagine, I was absolutely giddy when my parents gave me the lips for Christmas one year, though to this day, I'm not sure what the ultimate end was for the ol' lip phone.

So, now, if you need to get yourself a kiss kiss bang bang wardrobe for the new season, here's a list of where to find all these items!

1. Critter Statement Lip Earrings, $33.98, Betsey Johnson

2. Dolce Vida D.C. by Day Flat, $39.99, ModCloth

3. TonyMoly Kiss Kiss Lip Scrub, $8, Urban Outfitters

4. Smoking Lip Sock, $8, Urban Outfitters

5. Lip Phone, $16.99, Amazon

6. New Look Lip Print Infinite Scarf, $8.71, Asos

7. Riccardi Lip Clutch, $25, Aldo

8. Lip Sweater, $400, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel at Myer.com

9. Asos Lip Cross Body Bag: $34.82, Asos

10. Betsey Johnson Metallic Kiss Closure Box, $54.95, DSW


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spinster Shopping: Perfect Pastels

Once again, it's back to school with all the kids, and I'm left wishing I had a reason to buy a new backpack, set of pencils, trapper keeper, and first-day-of-school outfit. While I've been out of school for some time, this time of year really makes me consider going back. The supplies are really a draw. However, since I've missed the application deadlines for this semester, I figured I'd live vicariously through all the elementary, middle school, high school, college, and grad students and do a little online school supply shopping sans purchase.

I wish I could tell you that just one online shopping post was going to get this out of my system, but this, I'm afraid, is going to be one of a few. Today's theme is the very-popular-right-now pastel color palette! It may look like spring to you, but I'm absolutely sure we're going to be seeing some pastels all through the winter this year. Mark my words!

So, now that I've made you read two paragraphs while you itched to know where, exactly, you could find all these scholastic sensations, I'll give you the list! See below links galore!

1. Rule the School Ruler: $1.95, Cotton:On

2. Pastel Sharpies: $6.27 for 4, Everyday Pens

3. Written Off Pen: $2.50, Cotton:On

4. Kate Spade Erasers (set of 4): $14.95, Paper Source

5. Moleskine Cashier Journal (set of 3): $8.95, Moleskine

6. Flower Thumbtack Pushpins: $3.99, Perfect Posies on Etsy

7. Pastel Mini Binder Clips: $3, Fresh Blue Mornings on Etsy

8. Aqua Scissors: $11, Poppin

9. Daily Pencil: $2.95, Cotton:On

10. Solid Pastel Washi Tape: $3 for one, Paisley Handmade on Etsy

11. Mint Stapler: $14, Poppin

Happy Shopping!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Spinster Binge: Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

Friday night I came home from work with every intention of going back out to see The Hundred Foot Journey, Magic in the Moonlight, or What If. Once I was inside the door, though, it was a pants-free zone, and I knew I would not emerge until the next day. So, I donned my bathrobe, reheated some Indian takeout from Cafe Bombay, and basked in the glow of my laptop screen.

I had every intention of doing a little illustration for the coming week while I watched something from Netflix on my TV, but once I started googling, I realized I had been meaning to watch Jerry Seinfeld's newest brilliance, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee for some time. And just like that, my Friday night was planned.

The premise of the show is this: Jerry Seinfeld gets a really cool car, and then he picks up another comedian so they can chat and have coffee, all on camera. I'd like to say I had doubts, but I didn't. I love Jerry Seinfeld, so I was all in.

I don't even want to think about how many episodes I watched Friday night, but I know for sure it was at least an entire season. Almost every episode is like getting to hang out with two amazingly cool people you'd like to have as friends without having to deal with the self consciousness that they're both much cooler, funnier, and more successful than you are. Also, you can wear your bathrobe. So, in short, it's my dream come true.

Out of all the episodes I saw (I still haven't seen all of them yet, but it's only a matter of time), there were a few I found particularly amazing and/or charming. Firstly, Aziz Ansari, even though he's not always my favorite, seemed like the coolest, most charming person when he met up with Seinfeld. Plus, he's from South Carolina, so obviously, I must love him. Secondly, Jay Leno, but mostly because he has his first cup of coffee on camera and feels the same way about it as I do. It's always good to know I'm in good company. Thirdly, there's Tina Fey who I have to love because I love her. I know that doesn't even make sense, but just go with it. You love her, too.

I know I just called out only three episodes, but I really highly recommend you watch them all. I want to be friends with all the comedians. For now, though, I'm just going to be happy Jerry Seinfeld put this series in motion. You know, so I can pretend.

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Spinster Shopping: Holo There!

I have to admit something before this post gets under way. I follow Miley Cyrus on Instagram. I know. Anyone who knows me in person may find this shocking, but I am, after all, a fashion designer, and there is no denying that Miley is quite trendy these days. So, I've got to stay on top of things, and these days, things most certainly include both Tavi and Miley.

One of the things I've been noticing as I follow both of these young ladies along with other trend forecasting, pinterest, and a few terrifying tumblr (for example, this one) accounts the trend forecasting websites have suggested to me, is that the 90s are back in a huge way. "Duh," you might say. And you'd be right. I've seen the Doc Martens, the overalls, the crop tops, and the sort of flowy/saggy button front floral dresses a la Elaine Benes. I'm sad to say, however, I was not prepared for what I saw last week. And it was this: smiley faces, neon rainbows, alien heads, and holographic clothing. In short, my childhood.

But I ask you this, friends: Who among us did not have at least an iridescent pencil? Who among us did not have that folder for our very important fourth grade homework?

So, in honor of holograms, holographs, and iridescence being revived by those younger and cooler than I am, today I've put together a list. Below you'll find links for all the lovely finds in the collage above!

1. Meta Skirt: $67.80, Dolls Kill

2. ASOS Dockland Sneakers: $38.69, Asos

3. Hologram Iphone 5 Case: $32.00, Nasty Gal

4. Kate Spade new York Small Square Stud Earrings: $38, Shopbop

5. Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn x UO Mini Remy Tech Crossbody Bag, $19.99, Urban Outfitters

6. Hologram Nail Polish: $10, Urban Outfitters

7. French Connection Tamara Irridescent Flat Sandals: $48.99, Saks Off 5th

8. Holographic Earrings by 416 AM: $26.28, 416AM on Etsy

9. Metallic Clutch: $66.99, Need Supply Co.

10. Gammaray Pack: $98, Dolls Kill

Happy shopping all of you! First one to buy and wear something iridescent, holographic, or hologram is officially cooler than I am!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Spinstergram: Some Vacation Photos

Well, friends, as you know, I went on vacation for my birthday. While I was on the plane back, I thought about how, before social media existed, people would make scrapbooks of their travels. If they were really into sharing the experience, though, they'd have their negatives developed as slides and invite all their friends over to see a slide show. That's a thing that actually happened. I know, crazy.

Now that the internet does exist, I'm just going to share a few photos here. Don't worry. I didn't include any photos of the chunk sitch stuffed into a swimsuit or photos of every single thing I ate. Instead, I'll just show a very view of the interesting things I saw in Mexico.

Above you'll see the amazing lavender sunset in Puerto Vallarta. It's a little blurry/low res because I took it in the dark with my iPhone, but how amazing is this!?


Here is a view from my dinner table one night. One of the resort's restaurants overlooked the ocean, and at sunset, it was just incredible. Off to the left, the hotel's portion of the beach ended, and that part of the beach was populated by people who I took to be locals. You can't really see it in this picture, but there were always lots and lots of pelicans over there, right next to the people. And the people and the birds were fishing together, side by side, in harmony. I'm not going to lie. That would have terrified me.



A short cab ride away from the resort was a market for the tourists, and yes I went. On the side, though, there was this iguana, and I thought he was quite nice and textural. However, there was also an iguana who hung out at the hotel pool (for a little local flavoring, I'd guess), and I did not like that. Other people liked to feed it flowers, but I swam away like the gringa I am.



And of the most excellent things I saw at the market was this awesome painting. I've cropped it into a square, but how weird/amazing is it? It was a steal at something like $10, and I can't decide whether or not to give it away to my friend Sara. If you look closely, it's all faces.



Lastly, I thought you might like to enjoy something that I saw near the end of my trip. Of course that pun was intended. Did you even have to ask? You're welcome.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Spinster Shopping: Kitties for Your Coffee

Well, hello! I'm back home from a fabulous vacation, and you know what that means. I'm also back at work. After a relaxing escape from everyday life, though, it takes a little extra caffein to get the morning started. So, in honor of my severe need for that extra little oomph, today I've got a list of some kitties for your coffee! See below a list of some extra precious kitties to make your coffee or tea just that much better.

1. Cat Mug by Becky Baur: $21.03, Not On The High Street

2. Ceramic Cat Mug Set: $48 (for two), The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Shop

3. Miya Mask Red Cat Mug with Lid: $21.68, Amazon.com

4. One's Cat Mug by Prey: $20.95, Not On The High Street

5. Homee Zakka Stackable Animal Mug: $19.99, Amazon.com

6. Jamie Shelman Cat Mug: $28, Jamie Shelman on Etsy

7. Jonathan Adler Utopia Cat Mug: $32, Jonathan Adler

8. Tabby Hour Mug: $19.99, ModCloth

9. Cat Mug by Ana Morales: $15, Society6

10. Kitty Mug by Coolrista: $15, Society6

11. Plum & Bow Cat Face Mug: $12, Urban Outfitters

Happy Friday and happy shopping! I hope you found a pretty kitty to keep your coffee cute and cozy!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

#1: Celebrate!

Hooray! It's my birthday!

If you're following this series for ideas on how you could celebrate your own birthday, today's the day to celebrate! I hope you've taken the day off work. If you haven't...maybe you're going to have a little - ehem - birthday sickness. Just kidding. Don't do that. Unless your office allows "mental health" days.

Whatever you do today, it should be something you absolutely enjoy. Don't do anything today you don't want to do. I, for one, will be sitting in the sun today, having a Mexican coke Additionally, I'll be taking a little break for the next couple of days so I can really enjoy the little vacation I'm taking in honor of...myself. I highly recommend it.

I'll see you all soon! Happy birthday to you and to me!

Monday, August 11, 2014

#2: Eat at a Fancy Restaurant

Now that your birthday is less than 24 hours away, it's time to start thinking about what you'll do on the blessed day. You can either complete today's task today or on your actual birthday...or any other day, really, since you should probably make a reservation.

Last year on my birthday I was still living in New York, and it was a work day. Of course I didn't want to be at work on my birthday, so I took the day off, and I made a lunch reservation at the Russian Tea Room. Of all the fine restaurants in New York, that may seem like a strange choice, but I'd always wanted to to go the Russian Tea Room, and my birthday seemed like the perfect occasion.  So, I put on a nice dress, and I took myself 57th street for some elegant dining.

I sat in a booth against the wall to the left of the entrance, and they treated me like  queen. That, my friends, is exactly what I was looking for on my birthday. I had chicken kiev and some tea with sour cherries. A girl who came in sometime after me had a steak and a chocolate pyramid. In hindsight, I really wish I'd saved room for dessert. So...when you do eat at your fancy restaurant, don't be like me, and save room for dessert.

Today, if you don't already know what fine establishment you'd like to visit, do a little research and get a reservation. Whether you eat by yourself, spinster style, or you eat with friends, fine dining is an excellent way to celebrate yourself and your birthday!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

#3: Make a New Friend!

First, let me say that I think today's illustration got a little out of hand and kind of freaks me out. You can't win 'em all, I guess. Especially when you're making a new illustration every single day. So, if my "new friend" in today's illustration looks scared...well, maybe it's because i'm a scary spinster.

Aside from today's weird illustration, today's assignment may be a bit tough. The task is this: make a new friend! Obviously, if you do achieve this goal, your life will be enriched, and hopefully your new friends' will be, too. But where will you meet a new friend? Let's review some options.

1. Ask for an introduction:
          Does one of your current besties have a friend they always talk about? Does that friend sound interesting? Well, perhaps you should ask to meet them! My friend Kelly when I lived in New York was always planning brunches with people who had yet to meet, and I always enjoyed her friends. In fact, I decided to graft many, many of them into my own circle, and Alex was one of them!

2. Go to a party:
          A little too shy to straight up ask to be introduced? I understand, that could freak some people out. A more subtle way to meet new people, then, is to go to parties you're invited to. OR, you could throw one yourself, asking your guest to bring a friend!

3. Go to a meetup:
          There are lots of different kinds of meet ups, and lots of different websites host them. One of the most common ones is actually called Meetup, and their tagline is "Find your people." Meetups are a great way to encounter people who share your interests. There are all sorts of categories, but instead of just explaining it to you, I would encourage you to explore the website. A lot of my friends in New York used to go to Reddit meet ups, but I'm not going to lie. I still can't figure that website out. Does that mean I'm old or a dork? Or both? Or neither? Who can say?

4. Set up a friend date:
          So, maybe you've already met someone you'd like to know better....but not that way. Get in some sweet hang time by asking your potential new friend to coffee or brunch. Why knows? You may just follow each other on Instagram later.

5. Take a class:
          This one requires a little more time and effort, but I've met some of my coolest friends in class. I took a class at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York and met my friend Kelly (the scientist, a different Kelly from the one above). Kelly was another thrower of cool parties with cool people. Her parties always included board games or nerds. In other words, she was right up my alley.

So make a new friend today! However you do it, it'll be great! Just, please don't post an ad on Craigslist. That's weird.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

#4: Order a Cake

Now that your birthday is in just a very few days, it's time to start earnest preparations. One of the things you know you'll need is some kind of celebratory treat. It can be a cake or a pie or a box of cupcakes, but whatever it is, it should have the capacity to hold at least one lit candle for celebrating your day. I recommend a cake. I mean, if you're gonna go, go all out. You can eat the whole thing, or you can share it. I say eat as much as you can possibly hold and then share the rest.

But if you're ordering a cake today, then you probably won't also be eating it today. Cakes have a bit of a lead time, so the sooner you order the better. If there's a bakery you particularly like, then call them straight away! Otherwise, I suggest figuring out who can deliver one to your doorstep. On your birthday, you want to be served. You don't want to have to actually stop by and pick up your birthday treat.

Most bakeries that deliver now have their own websites, featuring images of cakes they've already made. This is a great help in choosing what kind you'd like, of course. While you're ordering, why not ask that "happy birthday" be written on top in their finest cursive? They don't have to know you're ordering this cake for yourself!

Once you've placed your order, all you have to do is wait and be sure you're in the right location when it's delivered. Then, my friend, you can actually have your cake and eat it, too. Bon a petit!

Friday, August 8, 2014

#5: Buy Yourself Something Nice

So, yesterday's post may or may not have been quite expensive. But it was a very grown up thing to do. Today's post, I am sorry to say, may not be inexpensive, either. Today's assignment is to buy yourself something nice.

Why should you rely on everyone else to buy your birthday presents? One of the best ways to celebrate yourself is to buy your own birthday gift. And you know what? If you buy it for yourself, you get to pick it out!

Perhaps there's something you've had your eye on for quite some time. Perhaps there's something you haven't been able to justify spending that much money on. Well, my friend, today's the day to make that purchase. After all, you've already put money in your savings account this month, and as long as you've paid all your other bills, you're free to do whatever you like!

The illustration for today's post is actually of a necklace I bought more than five years ago - maybe even seven years ago. In fact, I did not buy it for my birthday. However, I think this necklace is a perfect example of the sort of thing you should buy yourself for your birthday. It was far more expensive than I could afford for costume jewelry at the time. However, I loved it, and now, years later, I'm still wearing it, and I am telling you the truth when I say that I still get compliments on this one every single time I wear it.

More recent years' self-purchased birthday gifts have included a pair of jade-and-turquoise teardrop earrings, a pair of morganite studs, and a handbag that cost much, much more than I care to divulge. But you know what? I love them all, and I wear them all. So, today's the day to splurge and buy yourself something nice. If you love it and you have the money, treat yo' self!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

#6: Plan A Trip

I used to sit around, jealous of my friends who were married or otherwise in relationships, jealous that they always got to take trips abroad because they had a travel buddy. They had someone to share a hotel room, and they had someone to hold hands with while they walked around a city or someone to take pictures with at the tops of mountains. I love all of my girl friends, but the truth is a lot of them are married by now, and even when they weren't, I wasn't sure we'd make ideal travel companions. I am a very...particular (re: strange) person. That is why, after all, I live alone and don't have a roommate.

I thought I'd have to wait until I was in a relationship with someone I knew I would not murder or would not murder me before I ever went anywhere exciting for anything other than work. However, after a work trip to Hong Kong when I was 23, I had caught the travel bug. It took  me a few years to plan another big trip, but eventually I made my way over to South Korea to visit my friend Katherine and her husband who were living there. After that, it was London, and pretty soon, in celebration of my birthday, I'm going to Mexico. Once, when I lived in New York, I even booked a suite at the Sofitel for a night by myself and ordered room service, watched tv, and had a king size bed all to myself.

While I was meeting up with people in Seoul and London, I did travel alone. I must say, there's something really satisfying and grown up about knowing that you paid for your trip, you took the plane by yourself, and you didn't need anyone's help to do it. There's no reason to wait around for the perfect travel companion when you've got yourself.

Alex, knower of all things and constant source of knowledge, even introduced me to the "explore" function on Kayak.com. This is a cool way to see what kind of trip you can take by entering in your budget and dates. I believe this is how Alex decided to go to Lisbon a few years ago. As always, she is an inspiration.

So, start your search today! You should absolutely not be waiting around for anyone else to do the traveling you'd like to do!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#7: Put Money in Your Savings Account

The last time I did a "31 Ways in 31 Days" series, #25 was "Make That Paper, Girl." While I fully stand behind making the paper, today's assignment is about what to do with that paper once you make it.

On of the things about being chronically single is accepting the fact that you may, in fact, never meet "Mr. Right." I mean, he may be out there, but you can't count on it. If you do meet him, though, he may not be rollin' in the dough. So, you gotta look out for yourself, girl. Put some money away, and let it grow.

I know today's illustration is that of a piggy bank, but I'm thinking larger scale. If you already have a savings account, maybe open a Roth IRA. Either way, today's a day to put a little extra in whatever account you have. It's a way to reward yourself by looking ahead. You're looking out for your future self and making sure she has enough money to keep being fabulous and having a good time.

So party it up today by being responsible. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

#8: Research Something

Now today's assignment may actually seem like one you would have gotten in school, but chances are you're already doing this one on a daily basis anyway. Today's assignment is to research something.

Now, I know this image is the kind of research we had to do when I was getting a history degree in college. However, you don't have to actually go tot he library for this one unless you want to.

You know how sometimes you decide you're going to google something because you've got a burning desire to actually find the answer to your question? Then, of course, that inevitably leads you down an informational rabbit hole that ends with your watching videos of Vikram Yadav. Girl, you do not even have to tell me about that. I know. It happens to me all the time. However, that's where I've learned a lot of cool stuff...just researching and letting one thing lead to another.

If you're new to this concept (thought I'm not quite sure how you could be if you use the internet), you may want to start with Wikipedia's "random article" button. This button is near the top on the left hand panel and will literally lead you to some of the most random information you've ever learned. If you find something you like, you can just go ahead and dig deeper.

If you need an extra reason to do this, I'll tell you what on of my college professors, Dr. Willis, used to tell us. He used to say that a good reason for learning pretty much anything was that it made you a good conversationalist at parties. I cannot disagree with that.

Monday, August 4, 2014

#9: Make a New Playlist

We're in the single digits!!! I can't believe it's only a little over a week until my birthday. For some reason I'm nervous.

Now that that minor freak out is finished, we'll move on to today's assignment: make a new playlist. When entering a new year of life, you may want to refresh your music collection. Maybe you're trying to get more into dance music or soul or hip hop. Maybe you just want to be able to sing all the songs that come on when you're in the car. Whatever you decide you want to hear, just throw that into your new playlist! I feel like music is the best mood-setter for me, and I know I'm not alone in saying that when I hear certain songs from certain periods of my life, even if they have nothing to do with what was actually going on at the time, they definitely evoke the feeling of the time. So, kick off this new year with an excellent mood-setting playlist.

Now, of course, I've made a playlist for this. Mostly I've put newer music in it, but since the Atlanta radio stations do have some favorites they like to play, I added some old school Nelly in there. You know. Gotta do what you gotta do.

So, If you'd like to listen blindly, click here. Be forewarned, for some of these songs, I couldn't find the radio edit. So...you know. Language.

If you want to build this playlist in your library, here's the list!

1. "The Wire" - Haim
2. "Classic" - MKTO
3. "Must Be the Money" - Nelly
4. "BO$$" - Fifth Harmony
5. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor
6. "3005" - Childish Gambino
7. "Come Alive" - Chromeo
8. "Wiggle" - Jason DeRulo featuring Snoop Dogg
9. "I Will Never Let You Down" - Rita Ora
10. "In Da Club" - 50 Cent

Obviously I had to add that one...

OR you can just listen here!




31 in 31 Birthday Playlist by jonezee85 on Grooveshark

Sunday, August 3, 2014

#10: Donate Something


So far this countdown has been mostly about celebrating and doing fun things just for yourself. Today, though, is something that's good for you and someone else. If you're anything like me, you've got some things in your closet you haven't worn in years. Mostly, I haven't worn them because of the chunk sitch, but some of them fall in the "what was I thinking" category. You know. You win some, you lose some. Today, do yourself a favor and do a little closet clean out. What better way to usher in a new year of you-ness than by making space in your closet for all sorts of fabulous new things...or maybe just the fabulous things you already have and can actually fit into.

So, get yourself a big bag, and clean out that closet! When you've got a good little (or big) pile of things, take them on down to your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or clothing donation drop box. You'll be helping someone out who is less fortunate than you are, and you'll also be helping yourself! Donate something today!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

#11: Have a Massage

I don't suppose I have to twist your arm to get you to fulfill today's assignment. Massage are excellent, and I'm not even going to specify which kind you should get. Well, I will say you probably shouldn't have a "happy ending" massage. Those aren't legal, and I will not be held responsible for your wrongdoing.

If you live in a larger city, there should be a great many different places from which to choose when scheduling your massage. If you're like me, you might take your chances just walking in somewhere, but I have found that doesn't always work. Sometimes they are actually booked solid. However, if you happen to, for some reason, be reading this post at a shopping mall, the chances are good that those guys in the middle of the wings can fit you in.

I am only slightly ashamed to admit that I have had massages in all sorts of weird locations. I've had a chair massage (more than once) in a tarp-covered market in NoHo. I've had at least ten chair massages in the middle of various shopping malls. And who could forget that terrifying experience I had while waiting for a chair massage at Queens Relaxation Center? (Click the link, though, if you did, in fact forget.) I've also had a chair massage at more than one street fair.

All this is to say, I will not judge the type or quality of the massage you choose. Just make sure it's safe, and you're good to go! I think you'll thank yourself afterward.

Friday, August 1, 2014

#12: Send a Care Package

Earlier in the countdown, I talked about how much I love receiving care packages. But when it comes to gifts and mail, you can't always be on the receiving end. Sometimes you need to let someone else know you're thinking of them, especially if you know they really need it.

Today, think of someone you know who needs a care package. Do you have a friend who just broke up with her boyfriend? What about a friend who really hates her job? Maybe you know someone who broke their leg. Perhaps you know someone who just moved away. Whatever the reason, sending a care package will brighten their day!

The contents of your care package are what's most important. Anything delicious is usually very welcome. Whatever you include, though, it should be personal and special and fun. For heaven's sake, don't make them cry. You're trying to cheer your friend up.

Once you've selected all the wonderful items for your care package, add some extra touches, like wrapping all the items individually in matching tissue paper with little ribbons. Or perhaps you've had to bubble wrap everything. In this case, wrap your package in brown paper and decorate the outside with stickers, glitter puff paint, and/or drawings. Receiving a package is, in itself, cause for celebration, but why not make the experience altogether rapturous? (or should that be WRAP-turous??? Get it!? Sorry. I couldn't help it.)

In any case, put together your care package today, and when you think it's perfect (don't spend too much time, since the whole idea is to actually send it), package it up, send it off, and wait for glee upon its receipt.

Happy Friday!


*** Update! Today, my first post on YourTango.com went live! It's a little bit of kitty-shopping. check it out! 10 Quirky Cool Ways to Decorate Your Home With Cats.