If anyone needs me…

I’ll be over on my Tumblr page posting and reblogging anything and everything to do with the Royal Wedding.

Kthxbai.

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Signs I’m Over 30

The things we take for granted, right? I know “30 is the new 20” but I didn’t worry about this stuff when I was 20. When I was ten years younger, I thought being 30 sounded so old and that I’d have all of my relative shit together. Joke’s on me.

Feel free to add to my list!

1. I have to use an eyebrow pencil now to fill in the gaps on my formerly lush eyebrows. They can now officially be called wispy.

2. Losing weight takes twice as long.

3. I wear flats now. From the ages of 18-29, I only cared about wearing heels/chunky shoes.

4. The skin smoothing feature in Photoshop is my new best friend.

5. I have a whole decade to worry about when the other shoe is going to drop and I’ll start sprouting gray hairs.

6. Owning real estate is now firmly planted in my goals and dreams. (I’m only 20 years late to the Lucy van Pelt party on that one.)

7. I think about whether I’m getting in enough nutrients from the food I consume. When I was slurping down full sugar Pepsi and working on my feet all day in retail in my late teens, I clearly did not worry about this concept or the fact that a lifetime of that habit could contribute to osteoporosis. Speaking of which….

8. I think about “women’s issues” like osteoporosis. Oh, and articles written in the New York Times about how a sedentary lifestyle is the #1 contributing factor to getting heart disease haunt me.

9. I assumed that if by age 25 I didn’t need glasses, I never would. I still don’t wear glasses or contacts but as I don’t go a single day without staring at a computer screen, it feels like it’s inevitable.

10. How much gas mileage my car and any of my future cars gets is extremely important to me.

11. I actually wonder about my “carbon footprint.”

12. Something that makes my day is Free Shipping.

13. I bitch about the guy who owns the car on my street whose muffler (or lack thereof) is disturbing-the-peace loud. And I bitch about it in person and on Facebook.

14. Talking about the weather is a daily occurrence amongst my friends, loved ones, and peers – local or not.

15. Clothes from Talbots and Ann Taylor appeal to me now. Perhaps Casual Corner is next. Will I one day wake up and find long, baggy, button-down cardigans attractive? Or want to drive a Buick?

16. Two words: eye cream.

Disclaimer: I do not have children (yet) or I would probably have something about motherhood in here. For those who were mothers by the time they were 30, please chime in with any nuggets of your own!

Makeup Porn

I didn’t really know what else to call it when a woman takes photographs of her makeup that looks good just sitting there, even when she’s not wearing it.

Since I am striving to kick this photography thing up a notch or two, I just decided to grab a few things that I love, place them in relatively good light and work the Manual setting on my camera. I also happened to have a nice glossy piece of white paper sitting around so I threw the stuff on there and started clicking.

Specifically, this color of lipstick called “Wannabe” that Lancome sent with my gift with purchase is out of this world. It’s very hot pink and very me.

Won’t you ooh and ahh with me?

This was excellent practice for me and I loved the final outcomes, especially of the lipstick photos. The white paper + editing in PSE really did the trick to get a more professional look.

Happy (Easter) weekend!

Lipstick and Brush

Wannabe

Frame play

Rita from CoffeeShop Blog posted some of her latest frame creations and I decided to play around with them to see what the cat would lick up. (Does anybody know of this expression besides me and my friend, from whom I got that phrase?)

Since I have been on a floral photography kick lately, two of the frames were perfect for a couple of my latest edits.

I’m just having a lot of fun exploring with Photoshop Elements and building layer upon layer of knowledge (a bad pun). Though PSE is a baby sister to big old Photoshop/CS, it has lots of features and capabilities and there are some who argue that it is all you will ever need.

Happy Sunday, y’all. Back to editing!

Drugstore Discrimination

No, this isn’t a post about being discriminated against in a drugstore. It is actually about how discriminating I (and others) can be when it comes to choosing a drugstore.

Hm, I may have lost some readers at this point since it’s not quite as dramatic as all that. I should also note that when I say “drugstore,” I really mean the shopping part of one of these places. I am not referring to small or independent pharmacies.

Anyhow, I have noticed in my years of frequenting drugstores that I became quite picky about which one(s) became my favorites. For example, where I grew up, Walgreen’ses were and are everywhere. So before I went off to college, this was my go-to place for picking up all my toiletries, movie candy, emergency supplies, etc. It was ever so much closer than the Target (and no Wal-Marts in my area at the time) so it didn’t make sense to “run to Target” when I needed stuff.

Then when I went off to college out of state, I had to get used to a whole new set of drugstores, primarily CVS and Rite-Aid. I had never heard of CVS before but by default, it became my go-to place since it was not too far from campus. It really did take a long time for me to like CVS. I think because of the layout or just the fact that I’m one of those people who hates change and so anything different was bad.

Cue my move to New York City, which is riddled with drugstores (and independent pharmacies, for that matter), where CVS, Rite-Aid and Duane Reade dominate. What’s that? Never heard of Duane Reade? Yeah, I hadn’t either. I didn’t “get” it. For those interested, the chain’s first store was at the corner of Duane and Reade in Manhattan, and thus the franchise was born. What sucked about Duane Reade was that for four out of the five years that I lived there, it was this horribly laid out, ugly drugstore. Red, white and blue were its colors (shockingly hick) and they ranged from being squished and cramped to lavish, two-story deals. One of these was close by to my last office building. Unfortunately, it was still very tight and all of the important stuff one needed to buy (cards, pharmacy items, greeting cards, girly stuff) was all on the second floor. To make matters worse, it was a no cell phone zone. That is to say, if you were to have AT&T and an iPhone, you were pretty much screwed if you tried to have a phone call or even text someone whilst you shopped. Ain’t happening.

(If you’re REALLY interested in knowing which Duane Reade this was, lemme know. Not a surprise it was in Midtown, where cell phone “traffic” led to epic Call Failure.)

It wasn’t until I lived in Astoria, Queens that they opened up a fabulous Duane Reade with new colors (lavender and white, ahhhh), a sleek, cleaner layout and “extended hours” (10pm!), that I really got into going. Up until that point, all I could choose was Rite-Aid and let’s just say they don’t put their best foot forward there, mkay? DR even got on board with their points program. At first it was really kickass because every $100 you spent there, you’d get a $5 coupon to use on anything in the store. Then they caught on that that was a fantastic deal and they changed it so that you had to earn 500 “points” before getting the same thing. Lame. My friend Meg and I both lamented over the shift in program after we were earning points like hotcakes.

I was happy to throw away my key card doohickey for Duane Reade when I moved, let’s just put it that way.

However! CVS’ points program I actually really really like, and to me, that is their saving grace. Not to mention, their stores (in the Midwest, at least) are rather grand sizeable. My eyes were as wide as saucers when I first walked into the gigantic CVS that is right up the street near me now and they not only sell hard liquor but it’s an entire liquor section with low brow to high brow spirits, wine, wine coolers, imported and domestic beer, mixers, etc. They even put the bags of ice right at the entrance to that section. Pretty handy. I don’t even buy liquor but once or twice a year but when I told folks back in New York about it, they were all, “Some what?” It’s clean, laid out well, they have a fabulous selection of pretty much everything, it’s open 24-hours, and you get coupons and CVS bucks when you are a frequent buyer. I really have nothing bad to say about this place.

Insert heavenly music.

My best friend Helen is an avid shopper at CVS. She lurves her some CVS. She emphasizes the “C” and says it like, “At the CEE-vee-es.” She shops there for sales and other goodies and the checkout people know her by name. Although, to be fair, most people know her by name because she’s awesome like that and chats everyone up. Some of her best stories are from CVS, as are her finds.

Another good friend of mine who lives out in sunny LA told me that he, too, is a big CVS fan. They only just got Walgreen’s out in his area, and I believe his exact words were, “It just seems like [Walgreen’s] stepped into the game too late. We already have CVS and Rite-Aid. Who’s this new bitch in town?” And to be fair, Walgreen’s doesn’t do a frequent buyer program or anything, so you have to go just because you like it. They do sell Hallmark cards, are generally large, have a drive-thru, usually have good hours, and are laid out well. They can be a little pricey but they do send out weekly coupons and have sales. They’re not all bad. But if you are like him and myself, change is bad. Plus, there is something to be said for saturation of the market.

However, Walgreen’s has recently re-entered my life as well, and there is one not too far from my house and one within walking distance of my office. My love for Walgreen’s is being renewed, if only by default. They are slowly regaining favor in my heart.

Rite-Aid I really can’t speak for – like, at all. Are there any Rite-Aid fans out there? Toot your horns!

Pretty much my view of Rite-Aid.

As for purchasing toiletries from Target, Wal-Mart and now Bed, Bath & Beyond, I totally get that. I really do. When I have a toooon of stuff to buy, because toiletries usually all run out at the same time, I make my way over to one of these fine establishments and stock up. I’m not forgetting about you loyalists to these places. They definitely have merit. And you can buy absolutely everything else while you’re shopping there, too.

Last but not least, the concept of shopping at a drugstore was apparently foreign to my sweet other half, who didn’t understand what I meant about “going to the drugstore” when he and I first got together. He was like, “What do you mean?” He actually thought I needed to go there for OTC stuff. I had to gently correct him that that is where I shop for my things. He was a bit perplexed, to say the least. When he and I lived in NYC for a year, though, he caught on quickly, since they were some of the only places open and close by. He grew up in a Wal-Mart and Target culture, so I can’t fault him. But it sure was cute.

So, in summation, in order of preference:

1. CVS
2. Walgreen’s
3. Other

I’d love to hear back. Do you shop at drugstores? If so, which is your favorite? What do you like about them? Or do you shun them and only go for the bigger places that may have more value?

First Experiment with “Twitter Blackbird Pie”

 

 

Sorry I’m A Safe Driver, and: I Hate Minivans

I have a bone to pick with minivan drivers. What is the deal? You either drive way too fast or way too slow. Can’t you just drive normally? I can’t help but feel like some of the rude driving I’ve seen happen with these vehicles is because there is pent up rage from owning one of these ugly things. I’m in the minority in that I am a woman who has no desire whatsoever to have one. My male counterpart couldn’t want one more, inexplicably.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve been on road trips and the cars that are going 85 and being obnoxious are minivans (usually male drivers). I smiled the other day when I was coming to an intersection and saw that a minivan had been pulled over, presumably for speeding or having just run the light. I couldn’t help but feel vindicated for what had transpired earlier that same day. Shall I relay the story?

So that same morning, as I was sitting in the left turn lane at a busy intersection – and I was the first car in the turn lane, mind you – there was no chance for me to turn left against the regular green light, so I knew I was going to have to sit through another cycle before I got the arrow. Right as the light was about to turn, a minivan drives around me from being in the turn lane and proceeded to go out into the middle of the intersection, turning left against the red light. Thank God s/he had the turn signal on or it would have been REALLY obnoxious.

You can bet your sweet bippy I honked at this foul offender, whilst also spewing some choice epithets after him/her. (I’m assuming it was a man but who’s really to say.) Pretty much, this was my face:

When I told my boyfriend the same story in a really appalled tone, he took the opportunity (after agreeing that it had been a dick move) to say, “But you know, if you’d been pulled out into the intersection, he wouldn’t have done that.”

What ensued after this statement was a huge debate about whether or not it’s illegal and/or courteous to pull out mid-intersection to turn left. This must be a “Champaign thing.” Where I grew up in St. Louis, there are very few lights which do not have green arrows, so we know exactly when we can turn. Having to sit at a busy intersection with no green arrow is not only infuriating, but basically encourages this crappy driver etiquette. And this was a light where we had a green arrow! It only lights every other cycle for some odd reason, though. Being rush hour traffic, I really had no opportunity to turn.

Anyway, although we are both good drivers, the boyfriend and I disagree on several driving habits, this being the main one. Apparently I’m the jerk for not pulling all the way out and waiting for the light to turn, even if it’s when the light has turned red and I just have to get out of the way; whereas I can’t help but feel like an a-hole if I pull that stunt. It happens so often here and yet, I still hate doing it. I feel like I’m basically running a red light when I do this. Kevin insists it is perfectly legal. I have not been swayed. Our debate escalated to the point where, in a very frustrated moment I blurted out, “Sorry I’m a safe driver!”

You just never know who is going to do what when crossing an intersection and I don’t like sitting in the middle of the action when I can sit behind my safe little white line that was designated for this purpose. Am I right or am I right or am I right?

Okay, back to my original diatribe about minivans. I find them ugly, bulbous, and too similar looking. They’re everywhere. Plus, I don’t want to turn into Shitty Minivan Driver. I understand that if one has lots of children, these are probably Dream Modes of Transportation. Since I have zero children, this definitely accounts for the strong bias. I just don’t understand what a minivan has that say, a nice-looking SUV or crossover doesn’t have. I’d really like to know. Being the aesthetic person that I am, it’s more of a looks thing than it is a stereotype thing, but the stereotype does play into my dislike. I also know that there are folks out there who SWEAR by minivans and would never drive anything else. I’d like to hear from you!

For whatever reasons that Kevin adores minivans – all of them practical, I assure you – we have actually gotten into a heated debate about why we may or may not purchase one in our future solidified life together. I am adamantly opposed (has that been made clear?) and he is insistent on changing my mind. He finds them to be the pinnacle purchase in adulthood, I think. Strangely enough, Kevin’s best friend is also the one in his relationship who prefers to have a minivan and his wife is the one that has the same knee-jerk reaction I do: Yick! So they have that to bond over, which is cute and funny.

If anyone out there can shed some light on the intersection debate or tell me all the merits of owning a minivan, I’d love the feedback! I can’t fathom changing my mind about ever wanting to own a minivan but never say never, right? I think Justin Bieber never says never. Or he just says, “Never Say Never.” One of those.

In the meantime, I will bask in the glory of sedan ownership.

**Edit March 2017** — a couple of weeks ago, I was at an extremely busy intersection during the 5 o’clock rush home. I needed to turn left across two oncoming lanes of traffic, and the intersection is quite wide. It’s easy to underestimate how much time it takes to cross those lanes with two lanes of traffic barreling down on you. Because of the heavy traffic, I stayed behind my little white line at the light. A woman raced up behind me and, when she realized I wasn’t going to move out into traffic, shook her head at me. She was older, perhaps in her 50s or 60s. I saw her grimace and shake her head in my rearview mirror. I decided to fight her crankiness with silliness and I happily waved at her. She saw me waving and lightened up (slightly) and half-heartedly waved back at me. (I like to think that she felt a little embarrassed, perhaps thinking I knew her, and she is only comfortable doing that to strangers instead of people she knows.) The light went red and we sat through another cycle until I was able to safely cross with a green arrow. My husband still asserts that he sided with the lady behind me but I like to think that being cautious saved myself and possibly the woman behind me from making a poor driving decision and getting into an accident. The “Sliding Doors” theory, if you will.