We Blog – A Community

Blogging Research Wordle

Hi. Do you blog? Have you started one but haven’t posted more than a few times? Do you blog every day? Do you blog multiple times a day?

Regardless, if you are a blogger or have just started one, come meet up with a few more like yourselves (and me!) on We Blog, a new group on Facebook. That means you do have to have a Facebook account, just as a heads up.

Click this link to come over and say hi!

I have followed a couple of other wordpress-dot-commers over there and it’s a great way to get to know others and chat through a different medium other than commenting on one another’s blog posts (though that’s great, too). It is not specific to a domain – Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal, you name it. If you blog, come on in. I am not an administrator but am spreading the love to more thoroughly develop the group.

Come on in, the water’s warm!

Once again, here’s where to join.

Hope to see you there!

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Adjusting to the new James Spader

Disclaimer: this post was written in August of 2011. Despite the fact that I profess my enduring love for James Spader here, the attention it’s getting with Mr. Spader in the spotlight is garnering it more attention, and several people out there are missing the fact that a) it’s very tongue-in-cheek and NOT srs bsns and b) focusing only on the negative hair/appearance comments, which were specifically made when he was on The Office…years ago. Please keep your sense of humor handy as you read on. Thanks so much.

As we know, I am a diehard Pretty in Pink fan.

It wasn’t just about John Hughes behind the camera, or Molly Ringwald, or Andrew McCarthy. We simply couldn’t have rooted for Andie and Blane without the “best friend” who is quite the d-bag. We loved to hate the man we know as Steff: rich, entitled, playboy, snotty, pre-determined alcoholic, and utterly bored with life at the tender age of 18.

And there was no one more perfect to portray Steff than James Spader, all hooded eyes, cynical smile — and that hair! While “the bad guy” movie roles have elevated somewhat in films nowadays, Steff’s persona still exists, in film and in reality. He wasn’t just a one-dimensional character that was frozen in time. No. This guy could be plucked out from that age and dropped anywhere – just tweak the hair a little and take away the white, shoulder-padded sport jackets.

Now, I don’t harbor a crush for Mr. Spader presently, but seeing as he will be re-emerging in The Office very soon, it’s hard for me to look at him in the promos right now and not ask, “Dude, what happened?”

It’s been twenty-five years since he almost stole the thunder away from Blane. (The party scene where he’s totally trashed is actually pretty funny.) Granted, twenty-five years is a long time and people’s looks shift from one decade to another. Madonna definitely doesn’t look the same now as she did in the early ’80s, Botox notwithstanding. But she is in her early 50s and looks fabulous – no one will deny that. Jim, if I may call him that, seems to have taken a different approach towards middle-agedom.

To best illustrate my point, let’s look at some photos. Is it self-indulgent? Absolutely.


This is how he looked in Pretty in Pink, with his Farrah Fawcett locks and the gall to wear his open shirt like that to HIGH SCHOOL. But still. He’s the perfectly dressed, smoldering scumbag.


So far, so good.

Here are a couple more as he progresses through his other films, including Wolf, where he did look a little creepy but still looked like James Spader. His looks afford him the types of characters where you don’t know whether you would want to try to be friends with him or just run away screaming.


And now we get to where he’s aging a bit but still looks distinguishable (and kinda like Rainn Wilson):


Let’s get to present day. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that he is going to be working with the cast of The Office. I miss Michael Scott on the show but hopefully Jimbo here can bring some darkly intense humor to the show that was missing before. He can do it, I know it.

But what is going on with this whole look?


Again, slightly different:


Not cool. Where are the cheekbones? Where’s the smoldering?! Quite frankly, where did the sex appeal go? This is nothing like when Renee Zellweger put on twenty or thirty pounds for Bridget Jones’s Diary and looked fabulous and healthy but very much when she put the same weight back on for Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and looked splotchy, bloated, and a little constipated.

Is this new look for his upcoming role? Is he taking time away from eating a macrobiotic diet? (If so, that’s understandable. Carry on.) What’s going on with the hair? Am I the only one who thinks he needs a makeover show? Or have I succumbed to the pressures of society/media and think that a person shouldn’t look 51 when s/he’s 51? What happened to “50 is the new 40?” So many questions, so few answers.

I’m just saying, that’s all.

***

UPDATE: This post has gotten a tremendous amount of hits in the last year since I published it in 2011. I think it’s because James Spader is a popular actor, as we know, but he’s also moved on to other projects. In the fall season of 2013, he’s on a new show called The Blacklist. It looks like he plays a (sexy) sinister character and I, for one, will be watching. Methinks this is the comeback!

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: I’m totally not in shock that The Blacklist took off immediately. I’ve been a huge fan since the premiere. James Spader’s character is everything I love about what James Spader can bring to it: rakish, charming, debonaire,  mysterious…and he still has a sexy laugh. Even though his hair is gone, this character embodies what I (and many others, I suspect) adore about him and don’t find him wanting in this role. It’s a complete 180 from the one he played in The Office, where I was confused and ultimately disappointed. Welcome back, Jim!

Image: courtesy of USA Today

Image: courtesy of USA Today

Magical sleep powers

Does this happen to anyone else? I won’t be able to solve a problem or find the answer to something, I’ll go to sleep and bam – I’ll have a dream about it or wake up with the knowing answer.

This happened to me just recently over a weekend when I had to go in to the office to do some work. I was reconciling a credit card statement and didn’t have a receipt for one of the transactions. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what on earth it was and why I hadn’t saved the receipt or note of it along with everything else. I ravaged my emails and nary a note was to be found regarding this one receipt. My shoulders hunched in failure and I was dreading having to tell someone that I couldn’t explain the charge (though it seemed familiar and was bugging the hell out of me).

I finished up my work and went home, trying not to think about it. That night, I dreamt about the situation and the answer came to me while I slept: the same person to whom I owed an explanation about the charge had told me verbally a few weeks before that she was putting something on the card and there was no receipt for it. The reason I didn’t remember was because I had never done it in the first place! The relief that flooded through me was immense.

And then I was like, what the hell, brain, how come you couldn’t have figured that out twelve hours ago?

I find the power of the subconscious incredible. When it’s completely relaxed without the stressors of daily life, it becomes my own personal superhero.

I can’t tell you how often this happens to me, though. It could be that I misplace something valuable, that I’m anxiously waiting for something to happen (like a check clearing), and then for whatever reason, I will dream how I want it to get resolved and usually it comes to fruition. Am I psychic? I’m not a god and I didn’t even need twelve years of Catholic school to know that. (Please tell me a few of you get that reference.)

I will say that I only use my powers for good and that for whatever reason that this does happen to me, I like it a lot. It’s not as cool as an invisibility cape, but it’ll do.

Lastly, for your entertainment, I am linking to a particular scene in one of my all-time favorite films. Because you can never have enough Groundhog Day. Amen.

Soapbox

Bath and Body Works Soap

Photo courtesy of danabronsteter on Flickr

A couple of years ago, I made the decision that from then on out, I was going to be a “fancy” soap buyer. I was doing away with the dimestore soap. Does anybody even use the word dimestore anymore? I know nobody says “five and dime,” though I think that is just the cutest name ever for what we now call Dollar Tree. Not knocking on Dollar Tree – you can get some deal$ there.

I have tangential nostalgia issues.

Back to the soap. This morning, we ran out of hand soap in the bathroom. I know, right? Call the newspaper. That is, if you still have one in existence. Anyhow, it wasn’t just the end of the soap, it was the end of the water+soap mixture in the bottom of the bottle, as well. That’s srs bsns. If you don’t know what I just said, that’s internet speak for, “We’re not messing around.” It’s time to get thee more soap when the watery stuff is gone. I will like, freak out if I don’t have something proper cleansing my hands. (For me, bar soap is a last resort, though I will use it.)

Being the internet addicted diva that I am, I promptly sat down at my computer and browsed Bath & Body Works’ array of fine hand soaps for a few minutes and took advantage of their sale. (Do they ever not have a sale?) Five more bottles of hand soap are now on their way to me. Side note: they’re already using words like Spook-tacular and have Halloween-themed bottles of soap. Really?

Back to the point about how I purchased five bottles of soap. You wouldn’t think two people would need so much. We really do go through it faster than you’d think. At least, those of us who frequently hand wash do. Plus, the extra bottles let me decide which scent I feel in the mood for and then I don’t have to get in the car and go somewhere each time I run out. Which, as we’ve established, is at a rapid clip.

Whatever it is about B&BW’s soap, it feels “fancy.” And they know it. They have me in their Target Demographic sights and I have been pulled in. I’ve bought whatever they’re selling and I come right back to the trough for more. Some people prefer to shop at Crabtree & Evelyn or Williams Sonoma for their fancy soaps. All well and good. But I feel comfortable with the bright colors and hundreds of scents that they manage to re-create each year, not to mention the slightly-more-fancy-than-average plastic packaging that B&BW offers.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I think a person is slumming it if s/he doesn’t have fancy soap. Plenty of people are perfectly fine with a bar of Zest adorning their faucet. For a long time, the “aquarium” series from SoftSoap adorned my own sinks. Good smell, decent soap, average price, available just about everywhere. Somewhere along the way, after trying B&BW’s soap, I decided to stick with it. For a Super Smeller Girly Girl like myself, it just seemed the natural thing to do. I get to mix it up with the smells and textures and my hands will come away clean, soft, and amazing smelling. Win win win.

Plus! If I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to trudge up to the mall to face society and consumerism, shopping online in my pajamas affords me the luxury of having the soap brought to me, not to mention the fact that I don’t have to talk to any sales clerks or wait in line behind the woman trying to return used antibacterial hand gel.

All pluses.

All of this having been said….Are we amazed at my ability to discuss something as innocuous as soap yet? Fancy soap on my sink is like Folger’s in your cup. If ya know what I mean, and I think ya do.

Lists for an Anniversary

balloon love

Photo courtesy of raspberrytart on Flickr

Come Monday, Zoe Says turns three! Wheee! August 8, 2008 was the inception of my storytelling via weblog and it’s been a heck of a ride. I began with the intention of seeing if I could blog for a year and the fact that it’s been three and I’m still going strong gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. Thanks to all who have been with me and enjoy reading what comes from my head and heart.

I don’t know if I have spoken very much about my love for lists and stats but I have a secret passion for them. For a creative person, I am “right-brained” enough to have a hard love for numbers. (Or is it left-brained? Anybody know?) I’m not saying I like to solve mathematical equations or anything à la Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, but I enjoy working with numbers/figures as they pertain to money, and statistics as they pertain to blog/website hits.

I don’t have any stats for you today but for those readers who have just recently (and very kindly) subscribed to this petite blog, I decided to put together two “Top Ten” lists. One is very simple and lays out the top blog posts that have gotten the most reads. The second is a batch of my personal favorites. This way, you can catch up if you want over the weekend or just marvel along. It’s kind of cool to note what the public prefers over what my favorites are. Here we go!

Top Ten Twelve Zoe Says posts of all time based on pure stats:

  1. The Obligatory Courtesy Smile (by far – not even a competition)
  2. May: the month of a gazillion birthdays
  3. Let’s focus on what’s important: Britney’s comeback (This one has stayed strong and steady since 2009! The power of Britney.)
  4. Baker’s Dozen: We Know It’s the Holiday Season Because… (My very first Freshly Pressed post!)
  5. Sebastian Maniscalco: stand-up comedian, funny, Italian, metrosexual  (I have no idea what’s going on but this dude is POPULAR. People search for this guy DAILY and find this post.)
  6. The Acceptable Man-Purse: a.k.a. The Messenger Bag  (I get so many searches that end up hitting this post.)
  7. Literally, the most misused word
  8. My one-time experience at the Bloomingdale’s makeup floor
  9. Bottom line, these are awesome  (One of my personal favorites so I love that it has gotten all the way up to the top!)
  10. My Very Personal Relationship with HGTV (This one is in the top merely because another article has a link back to this and people flooded my page once reading about my thing for House Hunters and Mike Holmes.)
  11. Minty the Candy Cane – Obsessed! (Warning: the theme song will get stuck in your head!)
  12. Total Rant: to the people at Xerox who make my copier/printer/scanner/fax machine (People love reading a good old-fashioned rant and this one is no exception. I think it has to do mostly with the photo I put up from Office Space.)

Zoe Says a few of her favorite posts from the past three years in no particular order because she loves them equally:

  1. The Psychology of Tuesday
  2. Those Three Little Words
  3. VERBOTEN! Day 2
  4. Kringley, Jingley, Cookies and Trees, Gluttony, Family Gatherings and Obligatory Gifts: sounds like Christmas!
  5. Onions? Or…B.O.?
  6. If you don’t know what Tremors is, you’re insulting Kevin Bacon
  7. Please Reheat Responsibly
  8. My Stereotypically Midwestern Yet All-American, Comprehensive & Inappropriate Relationship with Ranch Dressing
  9. Signs I’m Over 30
  10. Sick Pen Obsession
  11. My primal, Sunday baking urge
  12. No. You didn’t SEEN anything.

Cómo se dice “nylons?”

Today’s post is a two-parter! Ooooh, aaaahhhh.

The first thing I’m going to do is put up a photo of Lady Gaga. I still love this girl, what she stands for, her music, all of it. Such an inspiration for just being who you want to be and not giving a damn what people think about it.

Courtesy of Lady Gaga Daily

My thoughts on this photo are: if I could get away with wearing something like this, even for just an hour, I would totally try it. That would mean a LOT of things would have to be different in my life, including having a body like Lady Gaga’s. So no worries to anyone reading this who knows me personally – it’s not happening, now or ever.

Wearing anything resembling what Lady Gaga is in New York will get you attention but not as much attention if you live in a much smaller city or town, especially in the Middle States. But I dig the boots and the fact that she’s made an “outfit” out of a bra and pantyhose. Oh and presumably a thong. You go, girl. Can we all take note, though, that no matter how tiny you are (and she is tiny), pantyhose still comes up over your belly button? This photo just proves to me that they are meant for people with incredibly flat stomachs and no one else.

The second thing I’m going to do is ask about the word pantyhose. Is that a dated term? I really like the word stockings but I’ve heard that’s antiquated. I know many women prefer to say “tights,” though for me, that seems incredibly outdated and those are what I wore when I was eight. They were usually white or pink and were thicker than ‘hose.

In order of which terms I prefer to say, it goes stockings, pantyhose, nylons, tights.

So instead of debating it with me, myself and I, I’m putting up a poll. I’m fascinated that there are so many different words for stretchy nylon material in the shape of legs. Which term do you prefer? A secondary question for those who care to comment would be, do you wear these things? I think it’s quite clear I do not.

The Summer Blues

I don’t know if any of you out there have experienced what I have dubbed as The Summer Blues but it’s basically the three hottest months of the year just not turning out how you thought they would.

I have vivid memories of being a kid and having summers off, watching my mother go off to work and having absolutely no clue why she couldn’t take off the same amount of time. I remember thinking that it seemed so silly that everyone didn’t have summer vacation. It’s hot and icky out, who wants to go to work? Answer: no one. (I would probably be writing a different kind of post if I’d grown up in Europe, where traditionally many countries take off the entire month of August. Lucky ducks.)

The last time I was able to experience having three months off was in the summers between college years. Most students find jobs. I really did try. I applied for cashier positions at Bed Bath & Beyond and the like. Nada. Not one phone call. And I had retail experience and administrative experience. I was unemployable, apparently. Despite being flat broke and having nowhere to go, I made the best of it and enjoyed some lazy days off, looking forward by August for the school year to recommence. I didn’t know then how much I would later wish to have absolutely nothing to do or nowhere to be.

Despite not working from May to August, no two summers were ever the same. Some I spent at my mom’s house, visiting with my dad, some I spent staying with a then-boyfriend of mine. I don’t come from a family with a lot of money so luxurious vacations have never been a part of my life. When my brother and I were kids, we had the occasional road trip to see grandparents and my mom was able to give us a trip to Disney World once. I was around 17 and I got severely sunburned. It wasn’t pretty. Still, Disney means it when they say they provide you with some lifelong memories.

In the summer of 2003, I had a chance to do something totally different. I got to spend ten days or so in the south of France with a friend of mine from college and it was one of the best times I ever had. Lots of sun, beach, swimming, good food, laughs, French speaking, memories – no sunburns. I still have the unfinished scrapbook, waiting to be completed. I haven’t been abroad since I studied in Paris in the spring of 2004, either. I dream about traveling more, though. Visiting Seattle this year and going for almost a week was a Big Deal. I travel a lot in my mind and daydream constantly about places I’d like to visit.

In 2010, I moved out of New York City to where I am now in Illinois. Needless to say, that summer went by insanely fast because we were so busy with packing, moving, and getting settled in. This year, the summer is moving along at a brisk clip, as well, but less eventful since we’re all settled in. The things I look forward to most are having people come visit and enjoying two whole days off in a row (read: weekends) with Kevin, without one of us worrying about work/school/obligations. Once the school year starts up for him, the task of occupying myself falls to my feet once again.

This particular summer feels more “bluesy” to me because we’re in this odd transitional-yet-static place in life. We’re not planning a wedding, we’re not saving up to buy a house, we’re definitely not family planning (hell to the no).  It’s just insanely hot outside and I still have to go to work everyday. My best friend Helen always likes to say, “I survived childhood for this?” Haha. That’s a little dramatic but you get what I’m saying.

Oh, have I waded into the Pity Party for One at the end of the pool? I’m not trying to say life is bad or anything like that. For the most part, all is well. In this moment in time, there is stasis, and there is something to be said for that. But it will be short-lived and we’ll be moving towards the next goal, the next occurrence, the next thing, (the holidays? God…) really soon. I’m looking forward to autumn for many reasons – the weather, mostly – but also trying to slow down and enjoy each day for what it is without getting too impatient.

This is the first calendar year since 2001 that I haven’t moved. (I consider each move-in and move-out of college a move. Holy cow that was a lot of stuff.) And moving, as we all know, is a bitch. I moved so many times in New York City that I don’t think my brain has fully processed that in the year 2011, we’re not switching residences. Weird, but nice.

Just one more month left before it’s Labor Day, Back to School, football season, and the colors change. We’ll all be restocking on our cinnamon scented candles in no time. Well what do you know – I just cheered myself up.