Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “girly stuff

On Hanging With My Family

My family is pretty great. I say this referring to both my parents, etc. and also my in-laws. I genuinely enjoy the company of most people I am related to by blood or marriage.

But since we’ve moved to New York City, I just don’t get to spend time with them. Obviously, I don’t see them as much, but also my work schedule makes speaking with them hard.

When everyone else is getting off of work, I’m just going in to work, and who would want to chat and catch up when I get off and get home at 1 o’clock in the morning?

Because we’re not having dinner and hanging out watching tv together in the evenings anymore, we spend our time planning visits. Easy and I are going to the Midwest for a wedding at the end of the month, so we’ll squeeze a lot of visits in there.

This weekend, my parents, grandfather, and I are all descending on North Carolina for my cousin’s college graduation. This particular combination of family includes my father, his sister, his father, his wife, his niece, and his daughter. So far, Easy and my brother aren’t usually there.

We get together every couple of years for graduations, weddings, and funerals. It’s because we’re spread all across the country, but I know it’s going to be so great once we get together.

There will be good food, an inevitable debate about the state of black America, and a nice amount of drinking. I’m looking forward to having a nice drink with my cousin because I haven’t hung out with her where she could legally drink yet. It’s kind of a rite of passage in my family.

My parents offered to get me my own hotel room for the purposes of freedom to wildly party with my college graduating cousin, but I kind of chuckled at the idea. I turn 30 this year, and while that’s nowhere near being old, it might be too old to hang with the coeds.

I love hanging out with my people, no matter their age. My mom was at my bachelorette party, and I would’ve been pissed had she been unable to make it. But I know that I am in the minority compared to others my age.

If my cousin wants me to go party with her, I’ll grab a cup of coffee and join in, which means I have to take some sort of club-y outfit I guess. But I didn’t think I needed an extra room for it.

I’ll just bunk with my parents like I did when we all went to South Carolina for this same cousin’s high school graduation.

I do wish Easy were coming with me. We’ve never been one of those couples who can’t go anywhere alone, but we’re usually there for the big family things. This is likely the last first cousin graduating from college for a while, so it sucks that he is unable to come.

That makes me think of another post that I’m going to call, “On Being A Musician’s Wife” where I will discuss how awesome it is to hang out with artsy types all the time now. But it will also talk about how Easy cancels our anniversary every year.

But back to my family. My cousin and I have something pretty cool planned for our moms since we’ll be together on Mother’s Day. I have no idea if my parents read this blog, so I’m not going to talk about what we’re doing. I’ll gladly talk about it after Sunday though.

When I get back from North Carolina. Where it is warmer that New York. Which is really what’s most important–the weather.

Eh, it is second most important. Most important is having a weekend-long slumber party with my parents.

Emerging From The Concrete Jungle


Did you miss me?

I’ve been gone quite a while. I didn’t take a break from blogging on purpose, but I did take a break. Settling into New York City living has been… interesting, to say the least.

But I’m pretty much all settled in now. A trip to Chicago last weekend where it was cold as hell (Polar Vortex, anyone?) convinced me that I really am A Chicago-Style Girl in NYC. The husband says I’m a New Yorker, and he feels very proud of himself for getting me home.

I have to admit, I love it here.

Manhattan is lovely, Brooklyn is lovely. And the other boroughs… well I don’t know too much about them. We have family in Staten Island, but we don’t get over there that often.

I have judged New Yorkers for years for never leaving their island(s), but now I totally get it. The idea of traveling anywhere else feels overwhelming. I have some traveling to do for my 30th birthday bucket list, which I’ll happily explain in a later post. But other than that, I won’t do any more travel outside of New York except to two (so far!) weddings I have to attend this year.

So what have I been up to in the four months since my last post? A bunch of the same ole same ole.

I still work in organ and tissue donation, pretty much doing the same thing in New York that I was doing in Chicago.

I’m still doing my volunteer work at the home for new mothers. I also volunteer at a soup kitchen in Greenwich Village on Saturdays.

I finally got my box cutter, and I carry it and my pepper spray everywhere I go. Makes me feel safe, you know?

I still have issues with laundry. I pray for the day that we’ll be able to afford an apartment with laundry in the building.

I still suck at making friends, but I have been hanging out with folks from the soup kitchen, so that’s a start. I’m also pretty friendly with some people from work, but I’m slow-playing that because it’s new for me make friends with co-workers.

As I mentioned before, my trip home was this past weekend. I went home because of one of my girl’s baby shower. Six of my bridesmaids plus myself have this little crew and we take care of each other.

They, along with my mother, threw my bridal shower. And this six of us who are not pregnant planned this baby shower.

I made the centerpieces, which was a fun craft project. Hand-painting zebra print is not for the faint of heart.

Taking 7 solid wood bases through airport security is also not for the faint of heart. But I got through it and now each of my girls has a memento from the baby shower.

2014-01-04 13.44.05 2014-01-04 13.44.22 2014-01-04 13.44.39 2014-01-04 13.44.50 2014-01-04 13.45.10 2014-01-04 13.45.30 2014-01-04 13.45.41

I’m glad I’m back blogging and I look forward to catching up on all the blogs I haven’t been reading for the last few months. Can’t wait to see what you people have been up to. Happy New Year! Happy Holidays! and all that.

Anatomy Of A Best Man Speech

After I left Chicago, I headed to Atlanta. I left my parents’ house at 4 in the morning, but I didn’t get to Atlanta until after 3pm. There’s a good story behind that one, but that’s a post for another time.

When I got to Atlanta, I called my best friend who was the best man at the wedding I’d gone to Atlanta to attend. He, of all the people I know, is the best at coming off completely unconcerned. So when I inquired about the best way to get to the hotel, all he said was, “I don’t know. I got a ride with his parents, so I’m not sure what to tell you.”

Clearly I was on my own.

So I figured it would be fine to get to the hotel from the airport because the Atlanta airport had all sorts of shuttles back and forth to the area hospitals.

And I was super wrong.

The hotel we were at is in Peachtree City, which is at least a half hour drive from the airport. At least.

So no shuttle.

I was on my own. And I ended up having to take a $55 taxi to get to the hotel.

Then the taxi only took cash, so I had to find an ATM and pay ATM fees to get the money.

But finally I was checked in and in my room, enjoying how plush the bed was. I knew the wedding party had the rehearsal at some point that day, as it was the day before the wedding, so I figured I’d just hang out by myself and do a whole bunch of nothing.

Then my phone rang and it was my best friend asking where I was. He really can turn the concern on and off quite easily. I let him I know I was at the hotel and he came down to my room to hang out for a bit. We went back over the last few days and how crazy they were for him as best man.

The bride of this wedding we were there for is very detail oriented. She didn’t need or want a lot of input about the wedding. As such, my friend ended up only stepping in with best man duties when it was time for the bachelor party. For the party, they took a weekend trip to Vegas. That’s all I’ll say about that.

But things picked up in terms of best man duties right before the wedding. They let him know they wanted him to hold the ring, the marriage license, pick up the tuxes from the groomsmen to return the next day, and come up with fun events for the wedding party and guests who wanted to party extra during the weekend.

They let him know all of this on Wednesday for a Saturday wedding, which wasn’t a lot of notice. But he called me to help iron out some details of his best man speech for the wedding reception. And he called one of the other groomsman who helped with the bachelor party planning.

He and I brainstormed several times over the months on what his speech should say. When it came down to just a few days before the wedding, we finally hammered out the specifics. It made me think back to when we were in college together and we took all our classes together.

We collaborate really well together and it was fun trying to come up with a speech that was true to his current relationship with the groom, funny, heartfelt, and befitting of a wedding for young professionals (half the wedding was doctors).

After the speech was finalized, other issues popped up. I’m not going to put people’s business out there who didn’t give permission first. But I will say that my friend had to deal with an errant groomsman and a guest who’s “invitation got lost in the mail.”

All of that was handled before we got to Atlanta though, thank God.

Back to the day before the wedding. My friend and I were hanging out in my room when the groom called him. When he heard I had arrived, he came down to my room as well. I hadn’t seen him since my wedding last year. And it hadn’t been just the three of us in over five years. So we all laughed and had a nice quick chat like old times for a moment.

Then it was time for hanging. The guys went to a sports bar to watch the game. The ladies went to a spa for mani/pedis. I had a good time getting to know the bride’s friends. I hadn’t met any of them before, but they were very welcoming of my friend-of-the-groom self.

On the day of the wedding, it was raining pretty hard all day. Luckily, it stopped raining about a half hour before the outdoor ceremony was supposed to start and didn’t rain again for the rest of the night. Every detail was gorgeous, showing off the bride’s eye for detail.

I think I’ll put up a couple of pictures, just to give you a taste. It really was that gorgeous.

After the wedding, it was time for the reception. The food was good, the company was good, the music was good. What more could you want?

Then it was time for the speeches. The maid of honor’s speech was first. She talked about when she and the bride first met and it was sweet and kind of funny and very heartfelt. I was so happy about the length and mix of heart and humor in her speech because my friend was worried his speech was too long and too all-over-the-place.

Then it was his turn to talk. The whole room seemed to ripple with anticipation. We laughed about it later because we were like, “um, do these people even know him well enough to be this anticipatory about this speech?”

Is anticipatory a word? I’m much better at math than other things like English and grammar.

Anyway, so he gets up to make his speech to the sounds of laughter as people are already so sure they’re going to laugh, they’re starting it off ahead of time.

And the speech is perfect. The whole room was laughing, including the people who didn’t know him or the groom well. The groom had tears in his eyes. The bride was smiling a very large smile. It was a hit. I was feeling so proud of my friend and also patting myself on the back.

It was hard work getting that speech that perfect. We spent a lot of man hours over the months getting it just right, and it paid off.

So how do you put together the perfect best man speech?

1)      Take account of your personality and don’t pretend to be different.

2)      Think about what both the bride and groom are expecting and keep that in mind.

3)      Think of the main points you want to make (they belong together, I am his best friend deservedly so, and I’m happy to be here), and make sure you stick to the script

4)      Come up with a funny and a heartwarming story to illustrate each point

5)      Choose alternating story types

6)      Out of all your stories, take out the weaker ones and just make the point while only alluding to the stories, the groom will react to the inside joke and everyone else will feel even stronger how close you are

7)      Include wedding guests by name if you can, it just makes everyone feel closer

8)      Don’t forget to say, “to the bride and groom!” at the end of your speech

And probably, get some help from your other best friend to make sure it’s all coming together just right.

After the wedding, my friend needed help assisting the groom, so I went with him. We went to their bridal suite and grabbed up some important items. We took his tux, her dress, and other assorted wedding items that the groom’s parents were going to be responsible for getting safely home. I felt really special to be let in on that moment for them.

It really let me know i’d make a great bridesmaid of matron of honor for one of my friends, should they ever get married. The only two of my friends to get married are two guys, and neither is really the type to have a non-family girl stand up for them at their wedding. Plus, I’d rather have one of my girls get married so all the wedding-related stuff is girly. I guess I’m officially far enough removed from my own wedding to want to be involved in another wedding. So now I wait.

Also after the wedding, we put together a little hang in one of the hotel rooms for the people who wanted the party to continue. We ended up laughing, talking, and hanging out until pretty late. I only got a couple of hours of sleep before I needed to get up to go to the airport to head back to New York City.

And now for the pictures!

A beautiful wooden canopy in front of a stone altar overlooking mountains. You can't get much better than that!

A beautiful wooden canopy in front of a stone altar overlooking mountains. You can’t get much better than that!

The reception was so beautifully decorated, everyone oohed and aahed on sight.

The reception was so beautifully decorated, everyone oohed and aahed on sight.

They named their tables based on places they've traveled. I was at the Illinois table, where they visited for my wedding!

They named their tables based on places they’ve traveled. I was at the Illinois table, where they visited for my wedding!

This is my friend, our teacher/mentor/department head from college, and me.

This is my friend, our teacher/mentor/department head from college, and me.

The toast went off without a hitch!

The toast went off without a hitch!

Hanging out at the wedding after party.

Hanging out at the wedding after party.


I’m Done Paying People To Torture Me

Yesterday, I mentioned heading down to Greenwich Village in Manhattan. I promised I’d explain why I went down there, and I’m trying to keep my promise to you people. I went because of the horrible hair experience I had a few weeks ago.

In Chicago, this lovely woman did my hair. She kept my locs well-groomed and maintained. My hair smelled nice, looked clean, and stayed strong. She also worked hard to make sure it was dyed a color I loved. That’s no easy feat because my hair doesn’t take color well.

If you read this blog regularly, which I super duper appreciate, then you remember my first attempt to get my hair done here in NYC.

It didn’t go well.

I reached out to my Chicago hair lady for suggestions for shops here, but she didn’t get back to me because she was on her honeymoon. I could understand that, but I was in a bit of a crisis. I had to go to Chicago for the Chicago Jazz Fest, in which the husband was playing with his band. And I had to go to Atlanta for a wedding with friends from college I hadn’t seen since my wedding.

There was no way I was going out-of-state with my hair looking the way it was last week. It was fine for everyday, but not nearly groomed enough for special occasions.

Enter Google. You all may have noticed once or twice that I have a very personal relationship with Google I don’t even remember the world before Google. My brain has blocked it out because it’s like trying to remember a time before I had my best friend.

So Google and I got really comfortable as I sought to discover what to do about my hair. At a family barbeque back in July, one of my cousin’s cousins told me that I was wasting my money paying someone else to do my locs and I should do it myself.

I thought about the hours it would take and decided against it.

But when I’m on a tight budget and I’m gun-shy from my previous bad experience, I tend to see things differently.

Just like when I began doing my own nails, I was apprehensive, but ready to try it and accept the consequences.

Google told me I should get some loc butter. Most products have a ton of ingredients and scents I wasn’t really a fan of. So then Google told me how I could make my own loc butter. That’s how I ended up at the essential oils store. I found two scents that my Chicago hair lady used and I wanted to keep using: juniper and frankincense.

Then I had to go to two different beauty supply store, but I got everything I needed.

When I finally got home, I setup my stuff. I put together the loc butter, which sounds odd if you’re not familiar with the term. Basically, it’s just shea butter, jojoba oil, and mango butter. I added the essential oils and a couple other things to make it my own. It smelled wonderful and worked great.

I haven’t washed my hair since it was much shorter, I’m talking above my ears. I wasn’t at all prepared for how heavy it was. I’m used to having my neck supported in the sink in the shop. Standing up in the shower was painful. I definitely needed a neck rub after I was done.

After I towel-dried my hair, I set about hand-rolling my locs. I was nervous about how long it would take, but I was feeling a bit excited because I was equipped with knowledge from a few different YouTube videos.

I did the hair in small sections, then braided the locs so they would dry in a wavy/crinkle-y style. The whole thing took me about 2.5-3 hours. That’s not bad at all. It took longer than it would at the shop, but less time overall because I wasn’t sitting under a dryer, I just got in bed.

It turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. It’s been a week since I did my hair and it’s holding up well. I’m so excited to know that I can now perform maintenance on my hair. I’m not destroying the parts my Chicago hair lady put in place, and I am saving a ton of money. I can go from spending about $1100 a year to $300-400 a year. That’s a lot of savings!

Now that I’m done patting myself on the back, I’m going into worry mode. I do want my locks to have color other than my natural hair color, and I’m a bit apprehensive about doing the color all on my own.

I’ve been wanting to switch up the color to either a rich brown or a can’t-believe-that’s-your-every-day-hair red. It’s so difficult to decide, which means I won’t be doing anything to it yet. I can only wait about 12 weeks between colorings before I start to get angry at the new growth. So I have another few weeks to make a decision. Any suggestions?

I Just Paid Someone $100 To Torture Me

The last time I got my hair done before leaving Chicago was July 2nd. That’s not crazy by standards for those of us with locs, but it was getting rough for me. I try to get my hair done every four weeks.

That meant one of my top tasks after arriving in New York was to find a place to get my hair done. I wanted to stay close to home if possible.

All the places I looked up charged way more than my hair lady in Chicago. But there were several options close by. The first place I sought out was the very closest. It is literally right around the corner from my brownstone.

You can surmise by the title of this post that this trip to the new hair place didn’t exactly go well. So here’s what happened last Saturday.

My appointment was for 10AM. I arrived at 9:56, there was no one there. I rang the bell a few times, but no one answered. Finally, around 9:02, I called the lady I made the appointment with. She answered almost immediately to let me know that she was pulling up.

She looked out her window and me and smiled apologetically as she parked. I let them know it was no problem, and that in the future, it would probably be me that was running late.

We got inside and they offered me juice and fruit and water. I took the juice and settled down while they cleaned up. I’d never been to a shop before that cleaned up first thing in the morning as opposed to last thing the night before, but there’s a first time for everything, right?

After a while, they asked me to sit in the chair. They let me know they got a strawberry red color to dye my hair and also a honey blonde color. I had previously told them that I needed a strawberry blonde color for my hair to turn out the color it currently was.

I don’t know how much you know about dying hair, but it’s probably two more things than I know. I could barely describe what my hair lady in Chicago did, so I went with it. When they were describing to me what the different hair dye components do, I tried to let them know that all of that mean nothing for my hair.

My hair doesn’t take color easily and it never turns out the color expected. Even a trained colorist has to pull out all the tricks when it comes to my hair.

They have me all the “OK”s and “No problem”s, so I thought we’d be fine. That much confidence needs to be backed up with something right? I mean, how many people walk into a shop swearing their hair reacts unexpectedly to color and have verified this with every person who’s ever done their hair?

So anyway, she starts with the strawberry color. She applies it and I looked in the mirror and said, “this looks very very red.” She said, “I know, but when I rinse it out, it will tone down.”

When she rinsed it out, it didn’t tone down.

I sat in the chair, looking at a mirror, assessing my options.

Option #1: Slap her and then slap the other lady who vouched for her.

Option #2: Cry and run screaming from the shop straight to small claims court.

Option #3: Make the best of it because I live right by here and she is just hard-headed as hell.

Of course, I chose option #3. I assessed the color they dyed my hair. I had these red ass roots and the rest of my hair looked super blonde next to it. My hair is not even a little blonde, but that’s how it looked in comparison.

As red as this hair was, it was pretty flattering next to my face. So I said, “take note of this color because the next time I decide to go red, this is the color!”

The girl laughed and looked relieved that I didn’t choose option #1.

Because I doubted whether or not I’d actually be back to this shop, I grabbed one of the empty bottles of color so I could find it again.

So after dyeing my hair and awesome yet mismatching shade of red, she decides she’s going to put the honey blonde on top of it. So she does.

Show of hands, who thinks it worked?



You’re all right. It didn’t work.

After she rinses it off, only the baby hairs at the very edges of my scalp look like they might be the right color. All the rest of my roots just looked—no not orange. My roots still looked the same damn red.

At this point, she looks concerned. Her concern increased after I told her she had two options.

Option #1: Figure out a way to fix my hair because I wasn’t leaving the shop with my hair looking like that.

Option #2: Dye all the rest of my hair this awesome red and I’d just be a redhead from now on.

She considered her options and knew that she’d have to eat a lot of profit to cover the cost of coloring my whole head red. So she decided that she could definitely fix the color.

Her first step was to bleach the hair she’d just processed two times.

I’m telling y’all, I was watching my hair like a hawk, prepared to backhand any and everybody at the first sign of my hair falling out.

I’m lucky I have strong hair, but I won’t be repeating this assault on my hair ever again.

After she bleached it, then it was orange. So off to the beauty supply store, for the third time that day, she went.

She returned with a color that she said had a swatch that was closest to my desired hair color. At this, I was even more frustrated. I had already explained that my hair doesn’t take color well.

That means whatever the swatch of hair is colored in the store, my hair won’t look anything like that when we’re done.

The actual color was this coppery color that was pretty. Just not pretty on me. You try to put a reddish-blonde color on my hair with golden undertones and it turns copper. Good to know.

After she was done with that, she said, “I see what you mean now about how strawberry blonde was probably the best color to use.”

If I were even 1% more violent that I am in my natural state, I definitely would’ve slapped her. It’s just so frustrating that she didn’t listen to me once in this whole process. That coppery color looks crazy next to my scalp line. It’s just too orange for my complexion. I can’t wait until it grows out and I can fix it.

So after I resign myself to having these coppery roots, We get down to the business of rolling my locs so they look fresher.

This part was lovely. I remember being so apprehensive because my scalp was sore by this point. All the color processing had made me quite sensitive and I was concerned I was going to be in a lot of pain.

But there was no pain. She moved quickly and efficiently. I found myself thinking I actually preferred the way she palm rolled my locs over what my Chicago hair lady did.

She put me under the dryer and then oiled my scalp before I left. I like the way my hair looked, if I ignored the roots.

I paid her the cost for rolling the locs and dyeing the roots and left. At this point, it was ten hours after I’d arrived to the shop in the first place. Ten freaking hours.

On a normal day, even with hair color, it shouldn’t take more than four hours from start to finish.

Because I’m crazy (remember my response to the virgin sacrifice apartment?), I actually thought about returning to the shop. It’s just so close to my house and I really liked the way she rolled my hair.

Then two days passed. And I realized the rolled my hair the wrong way. I’m not sure how to fully explain this. When locs are palm rolled, they are rolled between the palms. As the hair grows out, you roll the roots in the same direction while it’s wet. Then you put a hair clip in to hold it until you can dry the hair. Once the hair is dry, it stays rolled in that direction and the hair continues to lock on the same pattern.

This chick rolled my damn hair in the opposite direction!

My hair hangs to my shoulder blades. So I’ve got almost a foot of hair that is quite obviously rolled in one direction.

But she didn’t care.

All she wanted was to stick with what she knew.

She rolled my hair in the direction I assume she rolls everyone’s hair.

So now my hair is starting to look a little funky at the point where the locked hair meets the newly rolled hair.

So that settles it.

I’m not going back to that shop.

And I’ll give them the side eye when I walk past on the way to another shop to get my hair done.


I left my umbrella there.

So I’ll go back, but just for that.

Chick Moments And Not-So-Chick Moments

Not-a-chick moment: I’ve been stalking ESPN trying to find out who I should start this weekend for my fantasy football lineup. One of my leagues consists of a bunch of the husband’s friends. It’s so important that I whoop ass. This week is my first week playing someone who could potentially beat me– though he won’t– and I can’t start the wrong people.

Chick moment: I’m fretting because my nail polish chipped and I don’t really have time to do it before the wedding Saturday. I may be pulling out my last purchased Sally Hansen pre-designed nail polish strips. But then that will change my whole outfit plan for the weekend.

Not-a-chick-moment: I’m dying at work because the last few days, there have been nothing but women in the office. And we are fully staffed right now. As I type this, there are 10 of us in this office. You know how much freaking estrogen that is? We ran out of useful “chick” talk weeks ago. I know who prefers Asian men, who prefers tall men, who thinks green nail polish rocks. Now it’s all childbirth, menstruation, a divorce tales…

Chick moment: I just finished watching the Season 1 finale of Scandal. I know I’m late, but that Shonda Rhimes is my hero. It seems she can do no wrong when it comes to drama. Just thrilling soapy goodness. If she had started writing for All My Children, maybe the soap opera I grew up on would still be going on.

Not-a-chick moment: Kerry Washington is freaking gorgeous. As she ages, she’s getting even better looking. That whole cast is very attractive. I can watch any show where all the pretty people are smart.

Chick moment: The husband read the blog post I put up yesterday and has promised me not-from-a-can soup. He’s going to get it for me before work tomorrow so I can have it for dinner. That soup will probably be the only thing that gets me through work tomorrow, even more so because the husband is getting it for me. Though Tamara’s idea of hydrating has worked amazingly well. Thanks Tamara!

Making Time For Romance

Making time for romance used to be a no-brainer. As in, the husband and I didn’t even have to think about it. But not even five months into our marriage, we’ve forgotten how to make time for each other.

We spend time together, but only in a very narrow set of circumstances. 1) right before or after I get off work and so I’m rushed and tired and not very present. 2) when we’re with our friends or family, so we’re still us, just not “alone us”. 3) when we’re doing something for his music, which I’m super supportive of, but it means he’s not present.

There isn’t much time left in a given week for just us. I don’t remember the last time he and I just fell asleep watching a movie on TV. The last time we went out to dinner just us, we were searching in Greek town for any restaurant with a kitchen open past 11 because his sister duped us on when she’d be back while we were babysitting her kids, so we only had 40 minutes at the restaurant. And since the husband is a morning person, he was sleep as soon as we got back home.

Even trying to make plans to spend time generally doesn’t work out because something pops up with our family, or my work, or his music, or with the pressing need for one/both of us to take a nap.

We had a big talk about it right at the end of June. And the first day we could think of to schedule “us time” was a whole week after the conversation. I was working 4 days out of 5, he was playing at and out of town jazz festival, and then for the 4th of July, we both had different plans.

I have to remind myself that this is the life we signed up for. We knew we’d be busy and we knew that we were never gonna be one of those couples that spend 10-24 hrs out of every day together. But making sure we keep making our relationship a priority is harder than it seems.

It’s so easy for me to think, “Oh, I’ll see him when I get home from work, or we’ll grab dinner when I wake up from my nap. It’s so easy for him to think, “Oh, she can come to my gig, and then we’ll spend time there. Mission accomplished.”

But it’s not so easy to truly set aside time that both of us keep free. Something always comes up. Neither of us are even firmly established in our careers yet, so I can’t imagine how hard it will be once kids and more career stability comes along.

At least we were smart enough to decide to not have kids for a few years. We’ll get to enjoy what little time we have left over to ourselves before it all disappears.

Maybe I should plan a picnic. Back when we were first “dating,” I took the husband on a romantic picnic to show him how life would be if he picked me over the other girl he was dating <—– long story, another time. That picnic was so much fun. Anytime you involve good food and public drinking, I’m in.

Today is actually the day we are supposed to me making time to spend together. This post will go up before we wake up, so we’ll see…

Any suggestions for how I could make some time for romance?

Trying To Stop Drooling

As an 80’s baby, I entered my adolescent/teenage years addicted to TGIF. Step by Step, Family Matters, Boy Meets World, I loved it all. I remember Corey and Topanga getting married on Boy Meets World. I remember Alex growing boobs on Step by Step. Most importantly, I remember when Steve Urkel became Stefan Urkel.

As a young girl, I damn near melted. Drooling in front of my TV set was a regular occurrence, and I was flabbergasted when Laura ultimately ended up with Steve while Stefan became a model in Paris. Seriously, to this day, I’m like what the fuck?!

But this is not about my childhood, this is about my adulthood. And as an adult, my lust for the character Stefan Urkel has been transferred to Jaleel White the adult. He’s on Dancing with the Stars this season and I can’t get enough.

Every time he comes on screen, I’m thankful that the husband isn’t nearby so he can’t see my face. I know when he sees this post, he’ll be able to imagine. He’ll just imagine the face I usually reserve only for Will Smith. But I had forgotten how much I love me some Jaleel White.

He’s no conventionally attractive, at least all my friends keep telling me I’m alone in finding him so damn irresistible. But I don’t give a damn. I likes what I likes. And when I finally got around to watching Monday’s episode of DTWS online, I melted again.

He danced with his partners to Babyface’s For The Cool In You. Everything I loved about the 90s was personified on my computer screen. And what’s more, it was all grown up.

It actually reminded me of one of my favorite things about the husband. He was some random boy I had a crush on when we were kids at the same music conservatory. I didn’t know him then and didn’t care too. I just liked watching the cute boy with the big afro play his saxophone. And now he’s all grown and sexy and everything I might’ve imagined he would be all grown up, if I’d cared to imagine such things as a child.

Jaleel White is all grown up. And I will be so sad if/when he leaves DWTS this season. There’s no Olympic athlete, the football player is just so-so, and there’s not a standout dancer that’s got enough fans prior to the start of the season to be ahead with no chance of catchup. That bodes well for his chances. We’ll have to see.

Now, please excuse me while I watch this dance on repeat for the thirtieth time.

A Lipstick Comparison

I care a lot about makeup. I care enough that I wear it almost everyday and I spend a good amount of money on it. Every now and then, I go on a search for a specific thing, be it mascara or lipstick or eyeshadow. I figure since I’m a versatile blogger, I can blog about my journey. My oh-so-important makeup journey.

I was looking for a lipstick I could wear everyday. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go neutral or have a big punch of color. So I bought four tubes.

What do you think?

I tried purple first. It’s my go-to color when I’m going light on the eyes, which isn’t often.

Then I tried a neutral color. I always have trouble finding neutral colors because my skin has strong yellow and red undertones even though my skin is dark brown. Add to that the fact that my lips are darker than my skin, and we have lots of issues. I finally focused on matching my skin instead of my lips, and I did pretty good.

I switched t a darker bown. Browns always look red or orange on my lip. This was just another attempt at finding the right shade of darker brown for me. I’d love to find something that looks like Nia Long in Love Jones. No luck yet.

Last, I tried red. I’ve struggled to find the right shade of red. Not too dark, not too bright. I liked this one a lot, though I felt it could use a little shine. A touch of lipgloss would make this work. Who knew a more pink red would be the ticket?

So what do you think of my four colors? Are any of these good enough for daily use?

A Refreshing Story, Part Two

I wrote a post not too long about about a story a friend told me. This story was refreshing because it was about a man who was persuing her without all the bullshit. He was just interested and didn’t make her guess how he felt. So many of my friends deal with men who are at varying levels of full of shit, so it’s nice to hear about a man who’s not full of shit.

Well, she’s given me an update about her situation. Turns out this man has raised the bar on being not full of shit. He knows what he’s looking for in a wife, and he’s decided my friend is it. He told her he’s very interested in getting to know her further specifically for the purpose of making her his wife one day.

He told her “you’re on the fast track. Expect a proposal in 6-12 months.” Who does that? Certainly not any of the men my friends date. The husband kind of pulled that with me. But his declarations of intentions of marriage were mixed with a lot of bullshit, so it’s not quite the same thing.

The only response I could give her was that when the husband told me that, we were engaged three months later, so she better be thinking about engagement rings and wedding dresses sooner than later.

I hope this man who seems to not be full of shit is actually not full of shit. Then I can help a new friend with wedding planning. I thought I was so over wedding planning because I don’t care to discuss it with anyone I know who’s engaged. But I guess I just didn’t care about it with those people. I’m excited for my friend.

She’s decided she doesn’t necessarily want a diamond engagement ring. I’m all for the colored stone. My engagement ring has a pink sapphire as the main stone.

I wonder what would happen if all the women in the world decided to stop dating until they found a man who was honest and upfront about his intentions. Some men are so confused they don’t ever know what they want. So I doubt a shortage of legitmate women to date would make men get it together. Or maybe it would work.

Oh well, no way to know for sure because I can guarantee that all the women in the world will not stop dating men who send mixed signals and don’t know what they want.

A Refreshing Story From A Girlfriend

Did you ever watch Sex and the City? If you did, you know Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda spent a lot of time analyzing the motives of the men they were involved with. They hemmed and hawed over mixed messages, stumbling and bumbling their way to their own happily ever afters.

Turns out that crap happens to real women too. And, at least for me, that shit goes on without the accompanying self-awareness needed to navigate the trenches. It wasn’t until a chat a work that I realized how taxing dating can be.

I’m not talking about double dating like my recent post. Double dating is stressful only because you’re juggling four schedules. No, I’m talking about ordinary, I’m-single-and-so-are-you-let’s-see-where-this-goes dating.

I catch up with my girls (i.e. basically my bridesmaids plus a couple others) and they tell me stories of their men. I’m the only who’s married, so there are always lots of stories. The big theme seems to be mixed messages.

There are the boyfriends who seem ready to propose never but love talking about marriage. There are the guys who are jealous at the thought of you spending time with another man, but they make it clear you are not their girlfriend. There are the guys who love talking about a life together and taking care of you but don’t have shit to offer besides love.

I don’t know how to get a boyfriend to propose because the husband proposed every damn week; I just said yes when he finally did it with a ring in hand. I make a point of telling men how to achieve exclusivity, and they all were informed that jealousy wasn’t the way. And since I fully intend to always have my own shit, demanding the man I’m with have ambition is a reasonable request. So I’m there more to listen rather than to offer advice because my girls all have such different personalities and motivations.

After listening to all that, I’d thought I’d heard it all. But then, at work, one of the chicks I chat with was giving me the latest update on the man she’s dating. He’s so honest and caring and really straightforward about what he wants and what timetable he’s on to get there.

I was so pleased during that conversation that I actually paused to figure out why. It was because there were no games. There was no one-foot-in-one-foot-out going on. He was just there. Both of them are the type of people who take things at a slower pace. They’re getting to know each other and their emotions and tendencies.

And he’s just… honest. She knows where she stands with him. She doesn’t have to hash it out and guess with her friends. She always knows because he makes it clear. Even with the tumultuous course of his past relationships, he’s still being a grown up and treating her with the respect she deserves. He’s not punishing her for shit other women have done.

He’s just being… him. And that’s so refreshing. So refreshing.

Playing Dress Up, Big Girl Style

I’m getting married. Have I mentioned that. Yeah, I know, I mention the fiancé in almost every post Don’t judge me.

Anyways, one of the things we’ve been doing with our time as an engaged couple is having tons of official and unofficial pre-wedding events. Our awesome Friday night a couple weeks ago is the perfect example.

A semi-official event I’ve got going is the makeup party for my bridesmaids. My six girls who live in town along with the fiancé’s Maid of Honor aka sister join me to play with makeup. I have a friend who sells Mary Kay and we’ve been having fun. The first time we just learned about foundation and skin care.

The second time, we played with makeup application. We began to develop our palette for the wedding. Each girl is getting her own special designed makeup palette that works for her skin tone, the color of her dress, the time of year, and the time of day. If that sounds pretty serious, it is. It’s this serious.

Okay, maybe not that serious. This cracked out look is courtesy of Mary Kay's satin lips mask. That shit works!

Anyway, We played with makeup for hours and hours. I ended up buying a whole boatload of stuff and I have been playing with it since. I’ve been trying dramatic, classic, neutral, you name it. I usually wear makeup everyday, but not all the extra pieces like blush, bronzer, etc.

I’ve made some great choices, and I wanted to share them because I’m proud of my mixing skills. I’m a good mixer for a couple things:

1) Alcoholic and non-alcohol drinks.

2) Makeup.

3) Cookie recipes.

I’m a terrible mixer at other things:

4) Playlists on the ole iPod.

5) Hot dogs and roller coasters.

6) Business and pleasure.

Now that I’ve added the obligatory list that seems to pop up in each of my blog posts, I can get back to the point. My makeup mixes have pleased me. I’m still getting adjusted to looking in the mirror and seeing blush and more dramatic eye makeup. But it sure photographs well! Wanna see?

This might very well be my wedding makeup. Sexy and classic, right?

I love how this turned out. It only took 5 1/2 hours to get there. Not because of layers, but because of trying different options.

Lots of different shadows, liners, blush, etc.

Yup, I bought all that stuff. Yup. I love me some makeup.

Green shadow, copper lip, peach cheek.

It’s not easy being green.

Plum eye, pale pink cheek, pink lip.

Not sure if I love this with my red hair, but it’s gonna look great when I dye it brown for the wedding.

Copper eye, copper cheek, bright pink lip.

Mixing it up to see if I could blend too different looks. It photographed waaay better than I liked it in the mirror.

Boys have their toys, I think this makeup will be my new toy. No batteries needed. Wink.