How Do You Measure, Measure 7 Months and Then Another 2 Months?

I have the very real prospect of going to Scotland within the next year. 9 months specifically.

Let me tell you why this is a big deal. Because I’ll admit on the face of it, it may not seem like a big deal. It may not even seem like a deal. But trust me, this is at the very least a deal.

Fun fact, “this is at the very least a deal” is the opening line of my Shark Tank pitch for my company, Uber for cheese.

I’ve wanted to go to Scotland since Spring of 2012, but my interest started growing the year before. A friend of mine asked me to make her wedding dress, which in hindsight, feels like an insane thing to ask a twenty-three year old who couldn’t find an actual design job so was subsequently working retail in the gift shop of an historic home.

But when she and I went fabric shopping, the only fabric that grabbed our attention was a bolt of navy and green tartan taffeta that, as luck would have it, was on sale. It was practically waiting for us.

Illustration for Schiaparelli

If you’re not familiar with tartan, imagine plaid but with a much more interesting and complicated history. A history involving magic and romanticism! A history involving nationalism and war! All of that, while still looking very much like plaid.

(There’s also a history of  a plaid, coming from the Gaelic word “plaide,” being a specific garment worn by the Scottish in colder months. But I feel like that’s not necessarily a fact you’ll want to share at parties. For the purposes of this blog post, tartan is typically the name for plaid fabric in the UK. Plaid is what we use in America.)

But my friend, being incredibly proud of her family’s Scottish history, saw it for the tartan it was.

Lucille Ball. Not my friend in her wedding dress, though the two are interchangeable.

Over the next few months, we made a wholly unexpected dress. She looked like royalty. And it had pockets, so she was sensible royalty. And while we purchased the fabric in a “let’s just do it” moment, in the end, I couldn’t imagine her wearing anything else. And officially, tartan was on my mind.

So the next year, when my 19th century dress professor was helping me brainstorm topics for the semester research project, she looked at me and said, “what about tartan?”

Little did she know, I would not only say, “yes,” but I would not be cool about it at all. The next year and a half of graduate research would be devoted to tartan. Tartan and the 19th century. Tartan and punk culture. Tartan production and cultural enchantment.

  1. Tartan is fascinating, guys!
  2. I’ve been informed my definition of fascinating is not always spot on.

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Do It Better: New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year’s, everybody!

Hope you had a fun but responsible end to 2017. Personally, I fell asleep at 10:30 watching the new season of Black Mirror, woke back up at 12:40, and thought, “well….it’s 2018 now.” I guess you could say things got pretty wild.

But it is now, in fact, the new year which means for many, it’s time to talk about resolutions. My 2017 resolutions were actually pretty successful.

Some of last year’s resolutions:

Pictured: Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff; Who Thought This Was a Good Idea by Alyssa Mastromonaco; One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul; and Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

  • Take a class. And I did!
  • Have better posture. I’m currently hunched over my laptop, through my knees which are tucked on either side of me in my ergonomically questionable Ikea chair. This resolution could have gone better.

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“This Will Fix Everything”: Things You Can Buy That Will Definitely Fix Everything Forever

This week I went to Target to grab garbage bags. As is Target’s habit, I left with more than garbage bags.

For one, I bought a 2017-2018 daily planner.

I thought to myself, “this will fix everything.” And I chucked it in my cart next to a new scented candle and a pack of pens. I’d later grab a pair of loafers too.

And just to clarify, all these things are not garbage bags.

As someone who is flirting with 30, I’ve realized that there’s no magic moment where “adult” happens. Where you remember to get your oil changed and you don’t forget to load the dishwasher and your desk is a clean desk and no coffee spills on your shirt because coffee is for drinking! Where you don’t worry about fruit flies because you took the garbage out and you like drinking water and you only say cool and normal things because you’re just someone who is both normal and also cool!

You don’t yell, “SAMPLES!” at the grocery store when you see there are cheese samples up for grabs. To my credit, it is cheese.

I know that there won’t be a magic moment where all those pieces suddenly click into place, but some days I have to wonder….can’t one of those things click? Preferably the coffee one? I’m ruining shirts.

I’m also old enough to know that these things don’t matter and everything is fine, but they sure could be finer. And sometimes you need tools that facilitate the fixing of everything. To not make you a type A personality per say, but someone who can fake type A. Someone who cheats on the personality test.

My new planner is going to do the job. It’s going to help me remember errands and bills and tire-rotating and writing and research and probably just general world-saving.

This isn’t like those other things I bought thinking they would fix everything, or at least some things. This planner is going to fix it all.

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Sinister Citrus: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake and Being a Grown-Up

I’ve spent a lot of time in my twenties wondering when a person becomes an adult.

Is there a magic age when you suddenly…

  • Drink enough water?
  • Remember your multivitamin, even if they’re the sour gummy kind?
  • Make the bed in the mornings?
  • Don’t spill pasta on your laptop’s keyboard? (That one just happened.)
  • Consistently wear socks that match?
  • Understand what a 401K is? (Current theory: Every month, I give away some of my money, and when it amounts to 401,000 dollars, someone gives me a burrito. But like, a good one. I don’t even have to pay extra for guacamole. And then they give me all my money back. And then they give me some extra money as an apology for taking all my money, and then another burrito.)
  • Generally just be better at things?

I usually always settle with the answer, “I am an adult, but I may just not be very good!”

Seeing as I just rage-quit filing my taxes because I hated it and the website was getting a little too cute with me and while I remember most of the lyrics to “Come Sail Away” by Styx, I don’t remember last year’s adjusted gross income, it’s pretty safe to say, I think the answer holds up.

I’ll finish them. I promise. Talking to you, IRS! (I’m sure they’re big fans.)

So yeah, I’m working on this adult thing. Being better about vegetables, posture, bills, showers (JUST KIDDING!), and while it’s hard to keep all the bases covered all the time, one small thing I’ve found that starts the day on the right foot is always making sure you have breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I just made that up. Just now. That was me.

This week’s recipe is curtesy of Smitten Kitchen‘s Instagram. I then immediately googled how to save things on Instagram. Because I wanted to save that recipe, and also, I am bad at being a millennial.

Being-a-Grown-Up Breakfast: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake (with some edits)

I’m a sucker for a blood orange. If you’ve never had them, they’re a little bit tangier than an orange, and they have a deep crimson color.

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I like my Face Masks an Unsettling Grey

Earlier today I posted a rant about Windows 8 trying to start conversation with me. I decided I shouldn’t be the absolute grumpiest* person, and deleted the post. Then I decided I was overthinking things, and reposted it. (I’m really fun to be around right now)

So in an attempt to dig myself out of my mood, I decided to try a new face mask.

And can I just say, what’s the deal with these paper face masks? They’re suddenly all over the place, but at the same time, terrifying. There’s going to be a new horror movie about a gang of young women in their 20s, that roam the streets inciting violence wearing paper face masks and leggings as pants.

One is a famous character from horror movies. the other is cleansing her face. i cant tell which is which either.

I did not use a paper mask. I used Que Bella repairing charcoal mud mask. My In-Target logic: “Charcoal. Science. I’ll take it.”

I started buying Que Bella face masks because I have a habit of talking myself into buying everything when I’m in any degree of a bad mood. Que Bella masks are not expensive, and they are not something I would buy in my normal routine. The damage is minimized.

The latest needless purchase: plaid tissue boxes because they are plaid.

See! I can adult! Budgets and stuff!

I was disconcerted from the moment I opened the packet. I know anything with charcoal in it is not going to be the typical face-mask-pastel, but I tend to grow wary of putting things on my face that are the same color as smog.

Hexxus: Doesn’t not look like my face mask

 I continued to be disconcerted when basically Hexxus from Fern Gully my face mask smelled like toothpaste.

So I’ve got something that smells like toothpaste and has the consistency of toothpaste gone bad. Am I rubbing toothpaste on my face? I mean…possibly.

But you know that old phrase: There is no bravery like covering yourself in grey toothpaste!

  1. Application – You start applying the old-eraser-color-face mask, and you can feel the menthol starting to work immediately. And by “feel the menthol starting to work immediately”, I mean, your whole face burns off, Indiana Jones style. Say goodbye to your eyeballs because this stuff is strong. Reading the description on the back of the package, calls it a “refreshing sensation.” I call it immediate regret. But to Que Bella’s credit, the stinging starts to taper off. And you realize you are a wuss you prevailed.
  2. Wait for 15 minutes – A suggestion for ways to spend your 15 minutes: think of different names for the color of what’s cooking on your face. Sickly fish? Dead man’s toe? Angry elephant baby? Yes, that one.
  3. Rinse off and pat dry – My personal technique is spend ten minutes cleaning my face off because the mud mask has hardened into actual cement. I’m actually part mud mask now, you guys.

Ultimately the mask is pretty refreshing when all is said and done. Only minor face-burning-off-potential. I will mention however, I will be cleaning my sink after this because what once was white is now a striking splotchy grey.

But you know that other old phrase: A splotchy grey sink is the sign of a lazy 27 year old who may or may not have a face left.

Recommend? I would probably recommend other Que Bella mud masks before the charcoal, but all in all, not a life-ruiner.** Try their Deep Sea Mud Mask.

Where? Your nearest Target


*That honor should be reserved for my neighbor who got to hear me sing along to the soundtrack of The Muppets. That doesn’t mean I’m not laying claim to the absolute coolest person. Because I’m all over that. Just ask my neighbors.

**A top notch qualification for face masks.


Someone get me an intern! November edition


Now looking for an intern to perform the following duties:

  • High five me for the little things. Put on pants that aren’t made for yoga? High five! Answered all your emails? High five! Folded all your laundry and can now use your chair as a chair and not a closet? High five!
  • Heat up my dinner from the big batch of food I made the Sunday before.
  • Heat up a Red Baron pizza when I realize the dinner I made isn’t very good.
  • Research the origin of the Red Baron as a pizza mascot. Get to the bottom of this important issue. You’re doing it for all of us.
  • Figure out why my mouse isn’t working while I keep writing this blog post on my phone.
  • Clean out my refrigerator and also stock my refrigerator.
  • Figure out why my car is making that noise. You know the one.
  • Find something better for me to watch on Netflix.
  • Convince actual busy people that I do need an intern and just leavemealoneaboutit!
  • Make major life decisions. Warning: You’re fired if you decide incorrectly.

Benefits include: stale gummy worms, white rice, me singing you the Newsies soundtrack, and college credit.*

*I’m not totally certain how to grant college credit, but I’m pretty sure it’s like getting knighted. “You have been credited collegially!” I’ll declare as I tap your shoulders with a pool noodle because who an afford a sword these days?