Tuesday, January 14, 2014

DIY

Collegiate DIY and post-collegiate DIY are very different: the main difference being that one audience is generally very sober and one is generally very…not.

Let me start by saying that I am a professional DIY-er, and have been for a very long time.  My DIY portfolio includes Christmas Pageant garb, four years of sorority theme parties in upstate New York, and obviously Halloween (times three per year because, duh, college.) I haven’t purchased a Halloween costume since 2004.

That being said, my post-collegiate DIY has morphed into an obsession with apartment d├ęcor and creating a Pottery Barn feel on Dollar Store budget, and am on a never-ending quest to answer the “how do I make my frat house apartment not look like a frat house apartment?” question.  No answer on that just yet.

Additionally, being an adult has now afforded me the luxury of DIY in real life. [Real life meaning not stitching myself into a toga and calling it “sewing.”]  Now, I am hosting baby and bridal showers for women with real, expensive standards on a real, non-expensive budget. Challenge accepted.

Because of my uncanny ability to set unrealistic expectations for myself, I will share the easier DIY projects from my recent party. 

Most Recent DIY Event: Boyfriend's Sister's Baby Shower 

DIY baby banner 
Effort Scale: moderate
Price Factor: inexpensive
Wow Factor: moderate


The banner was made using thick, by-the-sheet paper found at Michael's.  I opted to use the same colors, but different patterns to make it less flat. If calligraphy isn’t your thing, you can also buy pre-cut letters…but where’s the fun in that?!




This DIY banner was super fun, and personalized the giant wall we were playing one-sie games on, but required lots of supplies, and even more glue-on-fingers.  Overall, not a show stopper.


DIY table sets
Effort Scale: easy
Price Factor: veryexpensive
Wow Factor: moderate to high


The centerpieces were simply mason jars with fresh sunflowers and assorted pumpkins.  To personalize, I created a baby photo montage of the Mum and Dad-to-be and recycled three old frames.  The baby photos were a hit, but the sunflowers were quite pricey. 


DIY Chalkboard
Effort Scale: moderate to difficult
Price Factor: inexpensive
Wow Factor: very, very high


These are so fun to make, if you enjoy doodling. All supplies, including chalk, can be found at Home Depot (but if you want chalk in fun colors, hit the CVS en route home. And, maybe get some Swedish Fish...)

If there was one highlight of the entire baby shower, it was the Chalkboard signs - the ladies simply could not get enough of them. If you like sitting on the floor and coloring while watching sports, this is a good craft for you.


DIY table decor
Effort Scale: easy to moderate
Price Factor: inexpensive
Wow Factor: moderate


Again, super cheap and super fun. I simply drew what I wanted to write in pencil, and outlined in marker.  Boyfriend and I also wrote a note to Future-Neice so that it could live in her nursery.


DIY Favors
Effort Scale: moderate
Price Factor: moderate to expensive
Wow Factor: low to moderate


No, I didn't make the wine corks, but I did make the tags!  Use a fun font, print out, and cut into circles, then simply tie ribbon into a loop and tape on the back.

This is how I tricked everyone into thinking I hosted an almost Pinterest-worthy party without breaking the bank.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Questioning Questions?

I ask meaningless questions, allegedly.

Boyfriend told me this with an accompanying eye roll immediately after I looked over at him and asked: “how often do you think someone throws up in the back of that cruiser?!” while we were watching “Cops.” [Please ignore the fact that we were watching “Cops.”]

Little does he know that I have only shared a small tidbit of the reel of questions that I actually had.

Why did the police just shove a smelly, fat, drunk man into the back of the car that they drive every day? How much booze does it take to get this giant human being as drunk as he currently is? Do they have a special transport car for those in custody that smell like perma-drunk? How do they drive a car that smells like perma-drunk man every day? What does a person that fat and that drunk even smell like? What if it is extremely hot? How do they get the smell out? This man is so drunk he is slurring. What happens if he throws up in the cop car? Do they have a giant hose to clean the car? Can they charge the drunk giant for throwing up in the police car?

These are all questions I had asked myself that I opted not to ask.  Really, he was lucky that I only asked one.

It was then that I realized that I may be the only person who contemplates these types of questions while watching reality law enforcement television, which leads me to my next question: how does no one else think about this?!

I had a similar experience last weekend when I realized that I am the only one who finds favoritism in Pottery Barn magazine extremely distracting.

For Pottery Barn and wasps everywhere, the monogram is an interior decorating staple, and thereby is a feature in every magazine. I find the monogram to be extremely distracting and have to investigate it with every PB mag I look in. Want to know my question?  Who has the monogram CME? CME is sewn onto something in every single Pottery Barn magazine, a close second being MHK. Go ahead. Look. My questions begin:

Who is CME? Does some big-wig Pottery Barn executive have a wife with the monogram CME? Does she get everything? How many monogrammed pieces can a single person own?  Who are the other monograms?  Where do these monogrammed products go after their use in the magazine?  Is there an employee rotation? Do they play psychic and assume someone with those initials will buy it and ship them used goods? Can I be put on the list of monograms?  Who gets the dog bed that says “Coco?!”

For a moment, after Boyfriend called me out on asking pointless questions, my feelings were hurt. Am I really that abnormal because my brain continues to ask? I’ve decided no. I’d rather be overly questioning than overly boring.

Dessert Was A Bad Idea...

Sometimes I have this weird moment where I say: “Self, maybe you are just a giant Hypochondriac and don’t have Celiac Disease after all. You should eat something with wheat in it…just to be sure.”

Then, days like Christmas Eve happen, and I re-learn that I never want to eat gluten ever, ever again.

I am super aware of what I put into my body.  Gluten hides in everything and I’ve learned that being a tad more relaxed on food research, especially during the holidays, always results in my curling up on the floor, wondering if I am actually going to die.

The floor is no place to spend your Christmas.  Trust me.

This year, our Annual Mother/Daughter Christmas dinner occurred on the Eve of Christmas Eve.  Second to Christmas itself, this tradition is my favorite evening of the year where my mother, our two friends, and I meet at a super-fun restaurant and laugh, drink, and eat delicious food together. This year, while we certainly laughed, drank, and ate; I opt to omit the “delicious” descriptor from our meal; our service was rushed, our waitress was distracted, and my scallops were burned.  I should have known then that dessert was a bad idea, but upon receiving the dessert menu, the words Gluten Free Chocolate Cake immediately got my attention.  Yes, just yes.

Usually I skip dessert, but because it was advertised specifically as gluten-free, we decided to get a slice for the table.  To be sure, as always, I confirmed with our waitress that the cake was actually gluten free, to which she said yes.  She even mentioned that they had a regular chocolate cake with gluten, but I reminded her of my allergy to wheat and she confirmed.  I should have known then that dessert was a bad idea, but went against my better judgment and trusted the waitress. 

I continued to ignore my gut when the cake arrived: it was the most beautiful slice of cake I had seen in a long time, partially due to my thinking I could eat it. It was delicious, and addicting, and I found myself devouring it with my usual self-control seemingly missing.  I should have known then that dessert was a bad idea.

Fast forward through my evening, I was restless and uncomfortable but thought nothing of it - usually gluten poisoning hits me soon after ingestion, so the thought never crossed my mind that she could be the culprit. In hind-sight, I’ve never willingly eaten something so saturated with flour: now, I think my body was in shock.

It wasn’t until the morning where I realized the searing pain shooting through my body was gluten, visiting for the holidays without an invitation. As it stood, I was due at my parent’s house for pre-Christmas festivities, so I made my way there, fighting the pain, pretending it could go away. It didn’t.

I’m sure my mother appreciated my holiday arrival which was something along the lines of: “Hi. Merry Christmas. Iamgoingtothrowupmovemovemove.”

I will spare you the details, because Google, but after trying to fight through the family dinner …and failing, I gave in to the Gluten Gods, and realized my Christmas wasn’t going to be the usual church-going, carol-singing, Santa-filled night. No lights, no carols, no laughing, no ho-ho-holiday spirit. Just me, my miserable self, and my rockstar boyfriend. Missing church on Christmas Eve was my ultimate nightmare.

Luckily, this Christmas, I was also witness to a true Christmas miracle.  As quickly as the poison came, it seemingly left.  That’s not to say I felt good by any measure, but on Christmas, I was able to co-exist and ingest food like a normal human without looking sloth-like. [Yes, that is actually what it looks like.]

I have taken small memories from this past Christmas Eve, and tucked them away to remember in times of Celiac Doubt, for the days when I’m just unsure if I am actually capable of lying to myself. No Kristin, you aren’t faking.  No Kristin, you can’t eat that roll. No Kristin, Christmas Eve 2013.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What I've Learned About Men After Living With Them...

One of the biggest transitions of this past year was not moving in with my boyfriend... it was moving in with his roommates. 

Evidently, I knew nothing about the male population prior to this.

Thus, I have compiled what I have learned in the past year so that you don’t have to learn the hard way…like I did.

1. Men are messy.
Remember, the term “clean” is a relative term and used loosely based on personal interpretation.  To some, “clean” dishes may be those that have been run under water sans soap and a sponge, but to me, those dishes are called “dirty.”

2. Patience is a valuable virtue.
The shoes in the middle of the hall will eventually be moved, but only after someone needs to wear said shoes or someone trips over said shoes and is in enough pain to alert the entire apartment about their stumble.

3. Selective hearing exists.
It has been widely rumored that men don’t listen.  While at times this is accurate, don’t get caught assuming they aren’t listening when they actually are. Side note: selective hearing isn’t one sided, so don’t be a hypocrite.

4. The importance of picking your battles and letting things go.
Men don’t do drama like women do, but they do observe and retain. Learn your breaking point, and understand what is and isn’t important enough to get upset over.  If you constantly complain, you’ll lose your audience (See #3), but if you are tactful and direct, your point will resonate.

5. Some men are clean.
Confused?  Yes, I know.  It turns out that some men are actually neat freaks. There is a strategy here: align yourself with the clean one – he will be your voice in the battle against dirt.

6. We have way too much stuff.
Maybe it is just because we have a shoe-box-sized closet for two people and two cats, but it has become very apparent that we just have too much stuff. The problem?  I can’t seem to figure out what we do not need.  What we do need? A large apartment with vast amounts of storage.

7. Don’t ask questions you already know the answers to.
It seems simple, but avoiding this passive-aggressive tactic will save everyone the frustrations (see #4).

8. It is completely possible to play videogames all day long…
…and only that. There will be a day when you leave in the morning and return in the evening to find all male roommates exactly where you left them in front of the television.  Do yourself a favor, and don’t ask what they did all day (see #7) and then get upset when you’ve learned they’ve done nothing (see #4).

9. Men have feelings.
Our apartment has been filled with immense joy, utter sadness, complete disappointment, and total confusion over the past year. Unless you surround yourself with uneducated, heartless men, you will know and embrace the many emotions you’ll see from them. There is another lesson here: women can be cruel.

10. I have a very supportive boyfriend.

Moving in together was never a formal step for us. One day, I woke up and realized that all of my belongings were in his apartment, and I decided it was fair to start paying rent. Every day, K continues to amaze me in how he can handle my over-sensitivity and completely rational irrational anger without missing a beat.  

BONUS. A Dishwasher: you either have a functioning one, or you are one.
A dishwasher is one of those apartment luxuries that I will never take for granted again.

Don't think it's just me that's learned a thing or two since I've moved in. No one is allowed to be afraid of tampons in our apartment anymore. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Janu-angry

I am not making a New Years Resolution, because no one actually keeps resolutions…

I do, however, believe in the concept behind setting a goal and achieving it, so this year, I am implementing two lifestyle changes that I hope will help improve my 2013.

No, neither of them are of the lose-weight, gym-more, be-a-better-you category, for two reasons:   
  1.  If I were any more aware of what goes into my body, it would be unhealthy
  2. My body, and its relationship with gravity, is involved in almost every decision I make.  There is simply no need to add a sham resolution to my already keenly-aware lifestyle.
With that, here are my two 2013 lifestyle changes that I am going to really, seriously, honest-to-God try to implement in my day-to-day life…which is why they aren’t exactly mind blowing.

Have less road rage.

It’s no secret that I have my fair share of car-related peril/anger/grudges, which in the past have all been completely necessary unnecessary.

It’s a new year.  I have a new car. I need a new attitude to match.

So I ask this: “self, how do you transition this resolution into a life change?”  Why sure, I’ll tell you.
  • Stop aggressively honking.  If I have time to honk to prove a point, I have time to avoid the dumb driver.  In April 2010, I didn’t have time to honk: I was too busy braking, swerving, and thinking I was going to die. Stop honking unless its completely necessary.
  • Stop yelling at people.  They can’t hear you, they really can’t.
  • The whole “throwing your hands in the air to really drive the ‘I’m annoyed’ point home” needs to stop. Seriously. Plus, everyone in the car with you is looking at you…and judging.
  • Use your blinker.  No really, use it.  Yes, even when switching lanes when no one is behind you.
  • No more blogs about road rage. I know, I am as disappointed about this as you are.
The good news is that I have never, nor will I ever, flipped someone off in a car. So, I already have that going for me.

Notice how my resolution doesn’t completely eliminate road rage?  I mean, lets be realistic: I live in Boston – the capital of texting-while-driving, whatsa-blinker capital of America - there has to be some sort of geographically-sensitive grey area...

Take better pictures. 

This one is easy to explain.  2012 in pictures was mediocre at best, its not hard to improve when my photography looks like that of a six year old.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

TGIT


Good: we, as in my hunky boyfriend and I, own 2 quirky yet slightly lovable cats.

Bad: they are slightly lovable....

TGIT: this is what happens every time I try to take a photo of Sally. I find it annoying that I have to surprise-photo-attack my cat so that I don't begin a photographic collection of her forehead.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

#thisisalongpost

Twitter serves as my one-stop-shop for statuses, complaints, victories, and most recently free stuff [thanks McDonalds, Hooters, and Trident Gum!]  You should follow me – I am pretty witty.

At any rate, college students nationwide have been pouring their college realities into the Twitterverse, and it got me thinking: what would my twitterfeed have looked like during my college days?

I obviously couldn’t stop at thinking, and so, I have constructed my what-would-have-been collegiate twitterfeed, had I had this during my time at St. Lawrence University.

FRESHMAN YEAR:
@kristindacey: just saw the dance team body roll parallel to the grass at matriculation. Welcome to college.  #whenaretryouts

@kristindacey: clearly, it is no longer cool to go to bed at 10:30PM on weeknights. Body clock, please adjust accordingly #butilovesleep

@kristindacey: I live in the dorm so far on the outskirts of campus that it is faster to walk to the supermarket, than it is to eat in the dining hall. #smartfoodfordinner

@kristindacey: I MADE THE DANCE TEAM. #happydancehappydance

@kristindacey: nightly 6:00 dinner date with @maryewood, @bassettbaha, cyn, sar, and sarah…then off to Lee North to try and re-create a rum and grapefruit juice drink made by Cyn’s mama

@kristindacey: I just fell down the Pine Street staircase…again…and why is there sand all over the floor?! #frathouseproblems

@kristindacey: encounter with football boy in the dining hall. Played it cool by gasping and speed walking in the other direction #smoothmove

@kristindacey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60og9gwKh1o you are welcome.

@kristindacey: Copem find me inn the bachk bar of the tickr tock!!!!

@kristindacey: I woke up with a door knob from Phi Kap in my purse, so all evidence points to us having a good night? #whereisthegatorade

SOPHMORE YEAR:
@kristindacey: On the ferry en route to SLU. Moving into the block with the S6! #cantwait #sorryneighbors

@kristindacey: Update: our room is the size of a shoe closet…this should be good.

@kristindacey: starting rush…and spend an unhealthy amount of time on my nametag.  Don’t judge me - the nametag could be what gets me in…

@kristindacey: RUSHING GIVES ME EXTREME ANXIETY. Just had to peel myself off my dorm room floor after sobbing to my mom. Am I six? #justturnedinmybidcard

@kristindacey: DELTA DELTA DELTA!!!! BID DAY! #bestdayever #canteventweet #ohmygod

@kristindacey: What? Pledging? What is that?

@kristindacey: The three blind mice are confused why the bodypainted girl opted to do so in the rain. #youarenaked #thepaintisrunning

@kristindacey: can’t I just take whatever classes I want and call it a major? I hate my life #mymajorisbeingawesome

@kristindacey: Boy #1 just walked by in the red pleather pants he had on last night, and Boy #2 is in a light blue high-calf bathrobe.  Not sure my day can get much better, and its 11AM.

@kristindacey: that groaning that we thought was two people having sex in the shower all the time? No, no, just the big lunky football guy that lives down the hall #dontusethatshower #ew

JUNIOR YEAR:
@kristindacey: moving into Delta with Lisa and Sara. WOOP WOOP! #whyisntmarymovinginwithus

@kristindacey: tell me how I’m supposed to breathe with no airrrr, aiirrrr @essceebee http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvABw3j844k

@kristindacey: I have pretty much moved into the fourth floor of Whitman. #sorryimnotsorry

@kristindacey: I’d tweet more, but I can get better internet connection in Southern Africa than I can in this sorority. #1connecting

@kristindacey: #LIBRARYRAT #bringcaffienetothebackleftcornerofthelibrary #stressed

@kristindacey: everyone is going abroad.  If I don’t get into London, I will be drinking alone in my dorm room until next Fall. #pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease

@kristindacey: LONDON OR BUST!

@kristindacey: getting on the plane, and I am already homesick? #maybemilkwasabadchoice #iloveamerica

@kristindacey: dear mom, call the dean. #welivewithswingers

@kristindacey: okay, so we don’t know how to turn on the hot water or the lights in the bathroom.  #coldbathbeforenightfall

@kristindacey: Stonehenge? Not so exciting. The spicy burrito for dinner? Pretty exciting.

SENIOR YEAR:
@kristindacey: moving into the suite. Goals for the year: making it out with all appendages and graduating…in that order.

@kristindacey:  Copem find me inn the frnt bar of the tickr tock!!!! #bettedaviseyes

@kristindacey: the moment after you frantically run to the bathroom hungover and exit to find the entire SLU football team sitting on your couch watching ANTM, waiting for a haircut…and judging you.

@kristindacey: @maryewood: come in my room.
@kristindacey: @maryewood: no, you come here.
@kristindacey: @maryewood: no, I am more hungover than you.
@kristindacey: @maryewood: fine. I’m coming.

@kristindacey: Senior Thesis-ing.  Don’t talk to me until end of December. #iminthecomputerlabofthelibrarybringcoffee

@kristindacey: “You taking two dance classes in one semester is like me taking two skiing classes” – Gabe Cohen #sorryimnotsorry #bestacademicsemesterever #deanslistorbust

@kristindacey: Should we talk about what happens if someone gets jello in their eyes during jello wrestling? No? Okay then.  #mom

@kristindacey: you can tell who was invited to Delta formal by whether they have blue glitter all over their pants. Hahahaha #festive #deltalovescrafts

@kristindacey: hungover. don’t talk to me.

@kristindacey: Poll: will anyone notice if I wear the same dress to Delta, Kappa, and Phi Kap formals or will everyone be equally blacked out all three nights?

@kristindacey: Apply for a job? What? What is a job?! #maybeishouldfailadanceclass #neverleaving

@kristindacey: I am sitting at graduation and I just realized I never took off my shower shoes… #myparentswillbeproud