Archives for September 2014

That One Time I Had a Concave Nipple and Why I Hate Being Knocked Out

Warning: Contains a story about serious pain (and boobs). If you get squeamish when reading about pain (or boobs), this is not recommended.

Photo by Viktor Hanacek

Photo by Viktor Hanacek

When you’re 18, and you’ve ignored a giant growth in your boob for a few years longer than you probably should have (especially when the cancer runs in your family), you think it’s probably a good idea to ignore it for a few more years.

At this point, I’m going to go ahead and remind you to (and I quote), “DON’T DO WHAT I DO!”

At the age of 21, I finally went to the doctor about a lump…it was big and it hurt. Dr. Google wasn’t really Dr. Google back then, but I was pretty sure I didn’t have cancer. I sat in the doctor’s office and she recommended that I get an ultrasound.  The ultrasound, in which I laid on a table with my tit out in the open for yet another stranger to see, showed a gigantic tumor that was probably benign, but they didn’t know for sure. It was then I was told to visit a surgeon who handled that sort of thing. If it was painful, and oh my God it was, we were better safe than sorry in removing it.

So I made my way to the surgeon for a consult. My mom was in the room with me, and the surgeon asked all sorts of questions. There’s something uniquely awkward about sitting topless on a cold metal table in an exam room with your mom, a probing doctor and perky nipples, but there we all were. The surgeon explained that he was going to do a biopsy (I wasn’t sure what that meant), but he was going to numb it with an anesthetic first and OH MY GOD HE JUST WENT IN FOR THE FUCKING KILL.

I screamed bloody murder with pain as this alleged medical professional stuck me right under my nipple with a needle the size of a ruler and NO warning whatsoever. As tears ran down my cheeks, my mom looked on a little horrified at my reaction more than the doctor’s action. I wanted to yell at him. I wanted to punch him. I wanted him to stop whatever he was doing and die seventeen painful deaths.

I hated him.

Apparently, (and this is according to my mother, because I completely blocked out the rest of this memory), like 5 more needles made their way into that wickedly painful-without-needles mass under my left nipple.

I left the consult with plans for surgery. And no idea what to expect.

When I had my surgery, Mom came with me (my boyfriend at the time wasn’t really the most supportive boyfriend) and waited the whole time. I remember getting prepped for surgery and being rolled into the OR. One of the 15 medical professionals in the room told me that they were going to give me an anesthetic that was going to knock me out. Of course, I couldn’t resist asking them what would happen if I woke up mid-surgery? Or what if it didn’t put me out? And could I keep the tumor? They assured me it would be fine and the mass was not for keeping, so I cracked one last one-liner before they put the gas mask over my face and knocked me out for however many hours.

When I woke up, I was in a hallway. There were people all around me; I was shaking, freezing, and…I couldn’t move my body. My eyes popped open, terrified. I kept shaking, but I couldn’t move my arms. Or my legs. Or my head. Or (ohmygodpleaseletitnotbeso) my MOUTH. I couldn’t speak. I could hear everyone around me, talking, ignoring me. FINALLY, they noticed the shaking, panic-eyed girl on a gurney. “She must be cold.” Duh. So, they put this magic plastic blanket over me that had a large tube pumping hot air through it. I wanted to live under that blanket forever. I was almost okay with not being able to talk. Or move. Because that blanket was the heaven that I was waiting for after my body died stopped working.

Eventually, I regained the ability to speak (obviously). And to move (maybe not quite so obviously…or gracefully). And I vowed never to go through THAT again.

Once I got home, took a looooong nap, and was finally ready to rejoin the living, breathing, working world, I took a peek at my recently-sliced knockers.

What. The. Ever-living. Fuck?

There were serious stitches. And. What the hell happened to my left tit?

Apparently, the large jalapeno-sized tumor that was removed from my boob had left a ridiculous gaping hole in the middle of my breast tissue, thus inverting my nipple in the craziest way.

After I came to terms with my newly shaped booby, I decided that it was my job to share it with the world. Or at least my best girlfriends. I was a junior in college, living with 3 other girls in an apartment…I showed them and any other lady friends that were around. I’d get drunk and say, “Dude! Wanna see my concave nipple?!” And of course, the oddity that was my boob was kind of a party trick for several months. (My boyfriend at the time would not have been pleased if I was showing my boobs to dudes, so it was just lady friends). After almost a year, I figured it would never be a normal boob again.

Low and behold, over time, my boob went back to normal and I wished I had taken pictures of the concave/inverted nipple that amused the shit out of me for so very long. And I was okay with that.

What I learned from this experience: Go to the doctor even if you’re scared. You may find out that you’re allergic to vicodin, and that you hate anesthesia, and that the surgery changed your body for a freak-show party trick…but the initial problem will be gone. And you’ll live to show off your party trick.

Have you ever had a surgery render your body a little bit different than it used to be? Have you ever been under anesthesia? Do you hate doctors who inflict pain on you? Did you ever wait to do something because you were scared of the results?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

A Closet Full of Clothes…But Where Are Brian’s Clothes?

As my closet fills with fall clothes, I started thinking about my wardrobe vs. Brian’s wardrobe. When we moved into Brian’s dad’s house, putting most of our stuff into a gigantic storage unit, I had to pack up Rubbermaid tub on top of Rubbermaid tub full of clothes that I wouldn’t see again for another several months. I miss my clothes. Right now, I’m especially missing my Chicago Bears gear. All my t-shirts, hoodies and sweatpants. And sweaters. It’s getting a bit chilly out there. I’m definitely missing my sweaters.

How Should You Share the Closet Space?

The closet pictured was our Downers Grove apartment when we first moved in. I had NOT moved all my clothes in yet. Brian had. You can see the separation. Eventually, I took over this entire closet, plus some of the other closet. And Brian took that small portion of the other closet for his seven shirts.

Right now, my wardrobe dominates the small closet that Brian and I are currently sharing (it’s about half the size of our Downers Grove apartment closet). We’ve been in this situation before…sharing a small closet in which I only have a small portion of my clothes on display…For the first year and a half of our relationship, before we moved into our first apartment together, we didn’t technically live together. I just never went home. And we shared Brian’s tiny closet. Well…I shared his closet with him. It was slam-packed with my clothes, leaving just a tiny few inches of space on the hanging bar for Brian’s clothes.

Luckily, Brian only has about 5  fashionable designer dress shirts (which I happened to have purchased for him, because that’s what girlfriends do, right?) and maybe 3-4 other hanging articles of clothing hiding in the back of the closet, and the rest of his clothes can be folded in a dresser (or a laundry basket if we’re stretched for space, which we are). He didn’t have to pack any clothes in storage tubs. All of his clothes are hanging out in our room. But if you were to look at our closet, you’d see a whole lot of lady clothes and not a whole lot of Brian clothes.

Where am I going with this? Oh. Right. Closets full of clothes and space.

Hypothetically speaking…if we were to, say…move into a new house…and that hypothetical house were to have a deliciously sized hypothetical walk-in closet…and Chrissy were to be reunited with all her clothes (and they were to meet all the new clothes Chrissy purchased in their stead), how much of that walk-in closet would be used for Brian’s clothes, and how much of that walk-in closet would be for Chrissy’s clothes?

I mean…this isn’t a debate or anything. It’s a very serious question about very serious clothing and a very serious [hypothetical] closet.

And I’m asking for a friend.

Because that girl’s boyfriend may or may not have hypothetically told her that 50% of that hypothetical, magical-unicorn-of-a-closet would hypothetically belong to him.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the closet should be a 50/50 split regardless of the number of hangers on each side?

This post was sponsored on behalf of Sir Men’s Wear. I was compensated for my time, but this is still my story and I’m sticking to it.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Tell Me Your Password And No One Gets Hurt…

The following story about password security is true and real and SCARY. So listen up. Don’t do what I did.

While we’re here, I figured I should mention that I’m a brand ambassador representing F-Secure KEY in the effort to change the way people think about passwords and security. While I have been compensated for my time, all opinions, stories, and ideas expressed are still my own.

Password Safety KEY app

Photo by Viktor Hanacek

A story about giving away my password

A while back, I committed the ultimate password sin. My then-boss called me on my personal cell phone, while I was at lunch. “Quick! What’s your work password?!” The panic in his voice and the anxiety in my system (which gets even more GAAAHHH! when I’m put on the spot) responded immediately and completely stupidly. I gave him my password.

Not only did I give him my password, I clued him into the type of password I was, at the time, prone to using. THANKFULLY it wasn’t the password that I was using at the time for anything but my work log-in, but it was MY password. The password that I’m not supposed to give to ANYONE.

Even worse? I found out later that he was on speakerphone.

Now, he didn’t think twice of it as something he was doing wrong. He genuinely did need my password to get into a computer for something. But he should have waited the 10-15 minutes it would have taken me to return and input my own password without giving it out.

After the chaos, I politely sent my boss an e-mail explaining how uncomfortable his request made me and that I felt it was a little inappropriate, and I would prefer not to be put on the spot like that ever again. It was then that he realized what he had done, and he did apologize profusely, promising not to compromise my personal security again.

Since that day, I’ve come to adopt a system of creating new passwords for different log-ins to ensure that I’m keeping myself digitally protected.

F-Secure KEY

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Let’s talk about F-Secure. I’ve been using the app for about a week and a half, and I still haven’t integrated all of my passwords yet. But I’m getting there. And oh-my-God, I’ve had to change 3 passwords already so that I could input them into KEY – but I’ll never have to change them because I forgot them again! Obviously, I’ll need to change them every 6 months or so, but with KEY, I’ll have access to all the up-to-date passwords without a whole heck of a lot of effort. THAT’S what I’m talking about.

I’m not going to lie, you guys. This app? Totally not sexy. Although I’m AM a huge fan of the delicious purple color. But what this app does? TOTALLY important. One might say necessary, depending on how many times you have to key in your password before you get it right…which for me is often quite a few. KEY stores all of your passwords in ONE place, so you never have to remember the 27 billion passwords for all the sites you utilize. With the free KEY app, you can store your passwords on a single device, but with KEY Premium, you can use the app on ALL your devices, whether you’re a PC/Mac/Android/Little i. You won’t have to try to remember all the passwords, as the app will keep them for you. You’ll only need to remember your KEY password.

So who needs another flashy app when the function is what keeps you safe?

Just for you, I’ve got a code to try KEY Premium for two months, so you can see if less than $2/month is worth it to keep your passwords safe across all your devices. Download the KEY app and use the code PREMIUMKEYOFFER14 to check it out.  And even better? A giveaway.

Free KEY Premium for a year & iPad Mini 16GB Wi-Fi Giveaway

Oh look! The lovely people at F-Secure want to share their wisdom (and give you another device for storing your passwords)! All you have to do is enter, and we’ll do the rest. The Giveaway Tools form below will be open until September 30 at 9:00 PM Central Standard Time. Good luck!

Blog Friends, have you ever accidentally given out your password to someone? How would you have handled the situation if your boss asked for your password?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Knock Knock Jokes, Domestic Abuse, and Cheese Porn: How You Found Me

Well, kids…it looks like it’s about time for another rousing episode of “What Ridiculous Search Terms Brought Your Crazy Asses Here.”

Knock Knock Jokes (1)

As an SEO in the real world (you know…that day-to-day gig that pays the bills so I can spend time hanging out on the internet with you people), I find it fascinating to backtrack and find out not only what page you landed on when you searched one of these ridiculous phrases, but how far you dug to find it. What I’ve discovered, you crazy loons, is that some people will dig into more than 8 pages of Google search results to find the random drivel I’ve produced relative to your search term. If you missed the first edition of random search terms, feel free to go read that post. I’ll wait.

And some of you are some seriously sick fucks.

The ones that appreciate my wit and wisdom

Postuniversity Slackerdom: You’re looking for advice on how to be a slacker after college, aren’t you? Well, you’re in luck. All you need is a DVD of Office Space, and you’ll be on your way to the sweet life. Just, you know, keep an eye on your stapler…and the guy who never gets cake. If you’re still in college and want to avoid reading all those books? Don’t visit my post about graduating as an English major without reading books for class that also links to an amazing book blogger (my best friend) who reviews all those pesky books you’re supposed to be reading. Because you should be ashamed of yourself. Go read a book.

Knock knock jokes with Chrissy: Well, you obviously love a little classic humor with a classic humorist. I applaud your choice in knock knock jokers. Because Brian and I have the BEST knock knock joke offs.

How to sprain my knee: I’m not quite sure you understand what you’re asking here. But if you really want step by step instructions, I suppose you can see the many ways that I’ve sprained my own knee…but I still don’t recommend it. If you’re jonesing to get out of gym class or something, cramps sometimes work…and headaches…migraines maybe? I don’t recommend actually going to the lengths of REALLY injuring yourself…weirdo.

 

It’s like you totally get me!

That awkward moment when someone is staring at you and you pretend not to notice: OMG I hate that moment too! I mean…not that I’ve ever creepily stared at anyone…low whistle

Professional contest winner: I love that you people search for this. I especially love that this is one of the top searched topics for this blog. Just the other day I won a free dinner for Brian and I from Whole Foods. I love winning shit. Hopefully my year as a professional contest winner can help you achieve your dreams.

Scattergories fights: This was searched quite a few times, as well. It makes me feel a little better about myself that I’m not the only one who can’t play Scattergories without fighting…

I don’t know if you’re going to find what you’re looking for here…

Fuck my corduroy jeans: I’m not sure whether you’re looking to do something naughty with a pair of pants or if you’re really angry with them…either way WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? I Googled that shit to find out why you might search for that…and there are some very dirty Yahoo message boards.

I can wipe my own ass: And we’re all very proud of you.

Girl chug vodka: Okay, fine. You might find what you’re looking for here.

Vodka Chug

I really liked cheap vodka when I was 18.

Now, I really like good vodka.

Now, I really like good vodka.

You sick and twisted humans.

Cheese porn: Don’t worry. I already Googled it so you don’t have to. This is actually a thing. Not my thing, but it’s a thing.

Fucked up scary bathrooms for Halloween: Fret not, dear fucked-up friends, I can help you with my Halloween bathroom decor.

My bare ass: Are you looking for MY bare ass or your own? I’m confused. Please explain.

Stop Googling this shit and go get help. PLEASE.

Someone tried to suffocate me: Call the police. Tell someone. I searched for this and the first page results are for domestic abuse and, well, me. So if your husband, boyfriend, friend is trying to suffocate you  (with or without a pillow), get help.

Can my boyfriend suffocate me with a pillow?: No. Why? Did he try? Were you laughing and joking about it or is this a serious query resulting in the aforementioned search term? If so, get help. If you’re laughing, well…I can’t blame you. Brian and I laughed about it too. (*I have to add that I, in no way, condone domestic violence. I only condone weird and random conversations with your chosen partner in life.)

What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve Googled? If you own a website, what’s the weirdest search term you’ve come across that led to your site?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Living Proof That I Don’t Have to Wash My Hair Every Day #mc #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Living Proof. I received free products to facilitate my review and to thank me for my participation.

Living Proof is co-owned by Jennifer Aniston, who truly believes in the products and uses them for herself.

Living Proof is co-owned by Jennifer Aniston, who truly believes in the products and uses them for herself.

So you know how sometimes you just do NOT want to go through all the trouble of getting in the shower, washing your hair, drying your hair, stylish your hair and doing ALL THE THINGS that encompass hair care every. single. day of your life? I know I’m not alone here, people. Not to mention, with my fake ginger mop, I need to wash it less often just to keep the color alive. Well, when Mom Central came to me with a campaign for Living Proof, a hair care system that makes it easier for me to wash my hair less often AND grabs my hair by the ponytail (or double ponytail) to get it under control, I was absolutely in.

I’ve done all sorts of things to combat needing to wash my hair, from baby powder to remove some of the oil to testing out that dry shampoo phenomenon (am I doing it wrong? Is it even working?), I figured trying a new hair care brand couldn’t hurt!

I received my Living Proof PhD shampoo, conditioner, and styling products in the mail last week, so I’ve had a little time to test them out, but I’ll be back in a few weeks to give you a full report on how well it works for my hair. But I CAN tell you about my first impressions and observations.

Living Proof

So far, I’m loving the  smoothness and frizz-reduction which I noticed immediately. I love sulfate-free products because they’re also fab for colored hair. I haven’t used heat on it yet (because I don’t often have time to blow dry my hair when I’m racing out the door to work), but I will soon. Scout’s honor. My hair feels lighter (and I have a LOT of hair). The products have a light citrus smell (probably some type of orange or tangerine), which I don’t love (I’ve always had a weird aversion to citrus smells), but Brian insists that my hair smells really good. PhD doesn’t keep those pesky allergens out of my hair, so I still need to wash every other day to avoid the allergy death match with my eyes.

I’m going to keep it up and keep you posted in a few weeks.

Here are some of the basic deets:

 PhD Shampoo and Conditioner

  • PhD (which is OBVIOUSLY short for Perfect hair Day) includes a shampoo, conditioner, and 5-in-1 styling treatment designed to do all the things! It’s supposed to deliver smoothness, volume, conditioning, strength, and polish with one simple routine
  • The PhD shampoo and conditioner are designed to keep hair cleaner, longer  so that lazy busy girls like me don’t need to wash our hair as often
  • The products are sulfate-free, oil-free and silicone-free, giving you the freedom to use them without worry about less-than-awesome ingredients 

 PhD 5-in-1 Styling Treatment

  • After using the PhD shampoo and conditioner, applying the styling treatment to damp hair (with or without that pesky blow dry)  will  pretty much accomplish everything you want from a hair care product from creating smoothness, boosting volume, and strengthening hair to providing heat protection, UV protection, and static control
  • The styling treatment is oil-free and silicone-free
  • Blow drying with a round brush will enhance volume and body
  • Blow drying with a flat brush will create a smooth, polished blowout

You can take the PhD challenge with me by signing up on the Living Proof website.

Blog Friends, what products do you use to keep your hair under control? Have you heard of or tried Living Proof?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Wine-Paired Dinner at Seared Petaluma

I’ve been dreaming of wine and cheese lately. I’m not sure why, since I happen to have a pretty decent stockpile of both wine and cheese in my fridge. But it happens.

#PetalumaMade Wine Paired Dinner

 

Remember back in July when I was all over social media with some of my new blogging buddies telling you how fantastic Petaluma, California is? Well, I absolutely HAD to tell you about the wine-paired dinner that we had at Seared. It definitely hit the level of meal-amazingness that our Disney dinner at Cat Cora’s restaurant had.

After a day of boozing and wining through the Petaluma countryside, we made our way back to Seared, a fine dining establishment in downtown Petaluma for dinner. We were greeted by a lovely collection of Petaluma business owners, wine growers and farmers.

Seared Wine Paired Dinner

While the 5-course dinner itself was exquisite, the experience was what truly made this meal magnificent. Brian couldn’t stop bragging about how awesome it was that the chef came out and described each course in detail, followed by a short description of the wines by the wine owners and growers, and in one case, the farmer who raised the quail. It was the ultimate in dining style.

Grilled stone fruit soup

The first course was a stone fruit soup garnished with baby greens, creme fraiche made of Purple Haze (a lavender and fennel pollen chevre goat cheese from Cypress Grove), preserved lemon and black pepper. The flavors melded together perfectly for a phenomenal soup.

Grilled Stone Fruit Soup with Purple Haze Chevre Creme Fraiche

Paired with the soup was Lelarge-Pugeot Champagne, which was represented by the lovely Clémence Lelarge, whose family vineyard produces this delicious Champagne in France.

Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

This course was absolutely delightful and refreshing. Have I told you how much I love arugula? The cucumber was sliced thin, the tomatoes were amazing and the burrata complemented the salad perfectly.

Heirloom tomato and cucumber salad with arugula, burrata and basil vinaigrette

This was my favorite course of liquid joy, featuring the Fogline Vineyards 2013 Chardonnay with a lovely introduction presented by winemaker, Evan Pontoriero. This wine was sunshine in a bottle. Brian and I came home with a few bottles of this brightly flavored wine.

Crudo

This delicious raw dish featured a flavorful albacore and a unique combination of accouterments to create a delicate balance of complementary flavors. Brian (who, as you may remember, despises seafood) and the vegetarians all received a similar dish with a trumpet mushroom instead of the albacore. The culinary geniuses in the kitchen made every effort to accommodate our entire group and all their dietary restrictions.

Crudo with albacore, avocado puree, grapefruit, pickled fennel, breakfast radish and Fresno chili

 

This dish was paired with the La Cruz Vineyard Pinot Noir from Keller Estate, as introduced by the delightful Anna Keller, who I had the pleasure of sitting next to during dinner. I love a good pinot, and this wine was decadent and delicious.

Devil’s Gulch Quail

Our main course was this amazing quail, stuffed with a rib eye chorizo boudin surrounded by a smoked tomato broth and topped with spinach, pine nuts, and golden raisins. After the chef discussed the course, we were treated with a short presentation about the quail and Devil’s Gulch Ranch from owner, Mark Pasternak. As I gently tried not to make an ass of myself, eating the quail with a fork and knife, both Anna and Mark were found teasing me for not just picking it up and going to town like everyone else. I was pretty proud of myself and the fact that not once during this meal did I dribble, spill, spit or splash!

quail, stuffed with a rib eye chorizo boudin surrounded by a smoked tomato broth, spinach, pine nuts, and golden raisins

The quail was paired with that tasty Luma-Rouge from Corkscrew Wines that we sampled earlier in the day at Azari Vineyards. A perfect pairing for a fine meal!

Black Pepper Panna Cotta

I had never consumed panna cotta until this event. I didn’t even know what it was. Cake? Pie? Pastry? Jello? Pudding? It was its own magical sweet dish that made me want to pick up the plate and put tongue to remnants. But I refrained. Because I’m respectable.

Black pepper panna cotta with aztec chocolate and red wine-blackberry compote

 

The panna cotta was finished with Enriquez Vineyards Tempranillo, which was the happy ending of an amazing meal. Cecilia Enriquez, wine owner and maker briefly spoke about the wine, which we had the joy of tasting earlier in the day, and she thanked everyone for their participation in this wonderful trip that was her brain child.

One of the most amazing aspects of this meal was the introductions from the winemakers and owners (and the rancher who supplied the quail!) describing their wines and their stories. This was an experience that could not have been matched, and I can’t wait to visit my friends in Petaluma again soon.

Blog Friends, what’s the best meal you’ve ever had? Have you experienced a wine paired meal? Tell me about it!

 

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Why You Should Never Lie: A Cautionary Tale

A few months ago, I was returning a pair of shoes that I had bought on a whim. I knew that the return policy was really short and that I was outside the policy window, but I really wanted to return the shoes. So I lied.

At this point, I should probably give you a big fat heads up: I’m not a very good liar.

A blog post about lying...and the ridiculous rampage that ensues

I figured if I went in there with the story that I received the shoes for my birthday from my mom that it wouldn’t be a big deal, and the return would just go through. Or not. Apparently this particular shoe store is all up in your business, and they want your information left and right: phone number, e-mail address, home address…I’m surprised they didn’t ask for my social! So here’s what I did:

PS: Don’t do this.

So I walked into the store with a box of shoes and no receipt.  I didn’t even have the shoebox in a bag because a gift wouldn’t have come in a store bag, right? I know. I’m not always a genius. When I walked in, there was nobody standing near the door…and my first thought was, OMG – they’re going to think I’m stealing. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. there it was weird because I was like well they’re going to think I’m stealing.

Obviously, I wasn’t stealing, and I didn’t want them to think I was stealing, so I walked right up to the service counter and informed them matter-of-factly that I was returning a pair of shoes and was there a return counter?

She directed me to the regular line, which I sauntered over to. As I was waiting in line, with the shoe box and no bag and no receipt…now my thought process was, OMG. They’re going to think I want to buy these shoes. Again. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.  When I got to the counter, I told the girl that I received the shoes as a gift from my mom, and they didn’t fit. And it was a shame because I really liked them, and my mom even knew my size, and I really wanted to love them.

One of my (probably very evident) problems with lying is that I tell way too much of a story, and I make it a whole big thing…Because I’m an absolutely terrible liar. So if I have a plan, I can maybe (okay, probably not at all) make it work.

So I continued rambling to this poor girl who must have been ready to stab me with her 3 1/2 inch heel… I told her that my mom bought the right size, but they just didn’t fit. They were too small for my feet (FINALLY! Truth!) and I didn’t have a receipt.

So the girl interrupted my pointless blathering with, “…no worries. If we can’t find her in the system then we can just do like a store credit. Do you want to find something else?”

“Yes, please.” So I left the shoes with her and proceeded to find a pair of shoes that actually fit me. I found a pair that looked cute, and discovered they were about the same price as the pair I was returning. Except they were on clearance. So I did what any normal girl would do and picked out lovely infinity scarf…because you know scarves are cute.

This scarf, actually!

This scarf, actually!

Then it was time to do the exchange. I put my game face on (badly…we all know how well I lied the first time), I walked back in line, and found myself at the register of the original cashier.

Her first question was something simple…She asked me, “Well, do you know the that your mom used? Not knowing whether or not my mom had a card with this shoe store, I gave my old home phone number from the days of landlines. I’m not even sure why. There was nothing under that phone number.

Then she asked for my mom’s name. OK another one I should definitely know. I stumbled trying to think quickly, and it sounded like I couldn’t even think of my mom’s last name. Eventually I responded, like, seriously, oh yeah I do know my mom’s name. Oh my God, Christine. You sound like a moron.

I continued on this rampage, because I was there now;  there was no going back.

So she took my driver’s license, which was fine because it was a return. Totally protocol. So she told me, “Well I can look you up; what’s your phone number?  SHIT. I used my phone number to buy those damn shoes; I couldn’t let her look my account up.

Thinking somewhat fast (like 9 second loading website fast), I decided I could use my Google Voice number…except that I don’t know my Google Voice phone number and I had to look for it…and I didn’t know where it was so I had to try to find it…and I was nervously scrolling through my phone like I didn’t even know my own fucking phone number.

I told her that I just switched to Google Voice, and I wasn’t actually sure what the number was and maybe I should probably call my boyfriend to find out what that number was (hey at least in this story he was my boyfriend…sometimes when I’m thinking fast, I just call him my husband–don’t tell him that).

“Don’t worry about it.” she told me, “I can look you up from your address.” Facepalm.

Well, thank goodness the address on my driver’s license is still my parents’ address, so I didn’t really have to worry about her finding my account that way. Then she says, “Okay, well, we’re just going to sign you up. That way, if you need to make any returns or have any problems, you won’t have to worry about it again.”

So, she signed me up for another rewards card, even though I already have an account. The return went through, and it was fine…but the whole time I was nervous, and it was ridiculous, and don’t do that.

Blog Friends, have you ever had one of those experiences, where you found yourself caught in a REALLY stupid lie that you couldn’t get out of? I felt a lot like Becky Bloomwood. It wasn’t fun. It gave me just as much anxiety as reading the Shopaholic series.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

My Brother’s Menagerie: In Which my Little Brother Flexes his Creative Muscles (and Something About Pets that aren’t Dogs or Cats)

My brother is a crafty, creative genius. Long before Etsy was a thing, my brother was hand-making jewelry, whipping up delicious creations in the kitchen and helping me build the most elaborate indoor forts known to man.

Most recently, he’s been found hand-making hamster cages.

Hamstervision: Homemade Hamster Cages and Other Pet Palaces

My hamster spent his entire life trying to create his own condo in my dresser. My brother turned an old television into a hamster apartment so his didn’t have to. He called it “Hamstervision.”

We grew up with hamsters. We started with a gerbil named Axel Rose, followed by a hamster named Jon Bon Jovi. The string of hamsters in our lives ended with my little furry lover, Romeo, who ironically ended his own life by trying to escape his cage, Houdini-style.

My brother’s menagerie was always a little more exotic than mine, though.

  • The chameleon that I may have terrified into losing it’s tail… (Seriously, this was the most horrifying thing on the planet. My brother told me to hold the damn thing by its tail…so I did…and the next thing I knew, I was holding a tail…but no chameleon).
  • The sickly turtle that couldn’t get used to living in a terrarium, even under a heat lamp. It was part rescue mission/part lost cause.
  • The hamster that we mated with our cousin Rachel’s hamster…who proceeded to eat all of the babies (Rachel’s hamster, not my brother’s hamster…or Rachel.)
  • The cannibalistic snail that ate my snail…and my replacement snail – jerk.
  • The pair of hermit crabs that lived in various seashells in the short time we had them.
  • The spunky dalmatian that was born in a thunderstorm and captured all of our hearts (including the old-man dog and old-man cat that dominated our household zoo).
  • The frogs that I apparently have zero recollection of whatsoever (but my brother assures me that they existed).

You can see, he’s always been quite the animal lover. Me?

Okay, fine. I loved animals too.

I haven’t had my own pet since Sammy Fish (my finned college bestie, who hated car-travel but had to suck it up at least four times a year). And according to Brian, I won’t have one for quite some time. Sad face Although we have discussed our very own exotic menagerie…and maybe a bunny named Bunnicula.

My brother, on the other hand, has had a string of delightful pets, including several hamsters and my newest little furry nephew, Biscuit the Hedgehog.

Biscuit the Hedgehog

Biscuit the Hedgehog – My spiky nephew currently lives in a cage built out of storage cubes

Whenever my brother gets a new pet, he feels the need to really create a home for it. But those store-bought cages just don’t do it for him. So he BUILDS HIS OWN PET PALACES. He builds cool toys for them to play with. He basically does some crazy juju magic to create these genius inspired homes for his fur babies. I absolutely adore him.

homemade hamster cages

Roxxi the Hamster lives in this china-cabinet-turned-hamster-palace. Note the details…like the cork cabin and the cork bridge.

So there you have it, my friends.

My brother is a creative genius and has the coolest pets around. With the coolest pet palaces around.

Would you build unique homes for your pets? Do you have any cool pets? Do you have any ridiculously crazy pet stories? Am I the only person in the world who de-tailed a chameleon?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Something Looks Different…Did You Change Your Nails?

Good morning, blog friends!

You may have noticed a little something new around here…perhaps a few little aesthetic changes…

You’re probably asking yourself,

Hey Chrissy, did you change your hair?

image

Well, now that you mention it, I did visit Catelyn, my friendly local stylist, for a refresh last weekend…but that’s probably not what you meant.

Hey Chrissy, did you change your nails?

image

Have I mentioned my Julep obsession?

In July, I signed up for a free Julep maven box with a few polishes and some other fancy beauty goodies…with just one box, I was hooked. The nail polish lasts for a week (ONE COAT my friends. Okay, one color coat – with top and bottom coat, of course), and the colors are AMAZING. They treat mavens like gold (read: all the discounts and mystery boxes). I’m getting away with myself. This isn’t even a sponsored post. Of course, because I’m a Julep affiliate, if you were to click on my link and order a Maven box, I might receive a tiny monetary incentive…but I can promise you it’s worth it. Right now, you can get the City Lights Welcome Box free to try Julep for yourself.

Whoops. Totally got off track here.

Back to your probing questions…and the reason I showed off my freshly painted digits.

Hey Chrissy…did you seriously paint your nails to match your new site design?

Is the Pope Catholic?

Of course I did. Would you have expected anything less ridiculous?

Well, shoot. You’re practically my hero!

Man, you guys are seriously awesome in my head.

I bet you paid someone to make you site look this fancy, didn’t you?

And just like that you lose faith. Rightfully so, of course. Yes, I paid the LOVELY Carol of Pink Haired Pixels to make my site look amazing. I met her at BlogHer, obsessed over her hair and did way too many Twisted Shotz with her before singing karaoke. I’m also thrilled to pieces with her work.

Now that I’ve rambled, what do you think of the new digs? Are you as smitten with pink and teal as I am?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Londonberry Lane

My mom wrote this story 13 years ago. It was published in local newspapers and came quite close to being published in Chicken Soup for the American Soul. This is her story; not mine. But on today, a day of remembrance, I think that it’s important for everyone to share their stories. 

Londonberry Lane

by Patricia M. Wojdyla

The sky is blue with pale yellow clouds, slowly turning pink. As the sun sets, there is no sound. The date is September 12, 2001. One day after the Attack on America. One cannot express the mortification we all feel.
 
At forty-three years of age, I am a typical American suburban wife and mother. My husband of nineteen years, Larry, owns and operates our family business. It has been the local bar and grill on Main Street for the past twenty-two years. Our children are typical suburban teens. Chrissy, a freshman, attends Bradley University. She has always been involved in school functions, cheerleading, and civic volunteer work. Brian is a senior at Glenbard East High School. He, too, actively participates in football, wrestling, and he has volunteered with church. We work hard, and are parishioners of Christ the King Church. We care about our community. 
 
Our neighborhood is a very diverse one. Many people from many nations live on Londonberry Lane. We are White, Black, Hispanic and many new Americans. They have come to the United States from India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan. Our faiths include Christian, Islamic, Mormon, Hindu — whatever we want. This is America. Each day, our street bustles with the sounds of children laughing, screaming, playing, riding bikes, and rollerskating. People walk around the block daily. The teen boys playing basketball is a common sight.
 
Not today.
 
Not yesterday.
 
The sky is empty. No planes. What an eerie feeling. Having lived within a few miles of O’Hare International Airport my entire life, I have never known this phenomenon. Airplanes are a part of life. Through all sunsets, sunrises, blue skies and cloudy days, planes fly unconsciously by. 
 
Televisions blare endlessly on, airing the latest accounts. We see horrific images again and again. More buildings are falling as countless lives are lost. War is a real threat. It is beyond belief. This is the United States of America. New York, Washington, Pennsylvania. So far away from our house. But it is our American family that has been killed. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, kids, friends, lovers. Altering the lives of millions of people forever. Entire companies wiped out. The whole scenario is completely mind boggling.
 
We will continue to go to work, our children to school. Our prayers will take a little more effort and time. 
 
As the sun sets on the American flag, it brightens our house on Londonberry Lane. 
 
So quiet, one could hear a pin drop.
 
No children playing.
 
No women walking.
 
No laughter.
 
No planes. 
 

We remember.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!