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Hey, Halloween: Drop dead!

Where's my stationary?

Where’s my stationary?

After much thought, I decided to forgo a Fresh Friday post, since it’s Halloween — even though I pretty much despise this day… or do I? If you know me personally, you know I’m a scaredy-cat all year ’round.

I’m terrified of someone breaking into my apartment, scared of being attacked in a parking garage (or anywhere, for that matter), getting caught up in a mass shooting, etc.

But most of the time, I’m able to hide my fears and live a normal life (although I always search for the exits in movie theaters, and I stopped going inside banks)… until Halloween-time rolls around. Then, it’s really difficult to avoid the scary movies on TV, previews at the theater, people in-costume, and invitations to haunted houses.

Seriously, when did I get so scared?

As a kid, I enjoyed Halloween — dressing up in a costume, and joining my neighborhood friends down every street to see just how much candy we could get (I remember having to make pit stops to dump candy from our buckets, in order to fit more). While I enjoyed trick-or-treating, there were those few houses in the neighborhood that really went all out, and if it weren’t for peer pressure, I probably wouldn’t have gone to the front door.

At the end of the night, my friend Emily and I would sort through our piles, dividing the candy (sorting it by name, or “like” and “don’t like”), and eating as much of our loot as possible before morning.

In middle and high school, I actually loved going to SEE scary movies! Imagine that! I loved the thrill, I screamed and then laughed at myself for being so scared.

In college, I wore slutty costumes, partied, and probably drank a cauldron full of witch’s brew every Halloween.

But it wasn’t until I graduated college that I started to realize just how scary this time of year is. I remember the night it happened, I went with a girlfriend to see a scary movie. And when I got home, I spent hours pacing my apartment, looking under the bed, checking the closets, and I couldn’t sleep.

All of the sudden, scary stuff wasn’t so silly.

And sure, I do realize that the things in movies aren’t likely to happen. But, if I’m being honest here, I have nightmares at least once a week. Not little scary dreams about Casper, actual nightmares that wake me up in sweat, and it takes a snuggle with my kitty and an hour of QVC to get back to sleep.

It’s been this way for years. I’m not sure what causes it, although I’m sure stress is most of it, or perhaps it’s just a random string of thoughts that scares me shitless. Either way, I know that a haunted house or a scary movie just might send me into a weeklong bout of insomnia.

A few years ago, my office really wanted to celebrate Halloween. Someone suggested a haunted house, and I quickly opted out. One coworker simply could not believe WHY I wouldn’t want to go to a haunted house.

“I’m actually terrified of that kind of thing,” I told her. She was appalled, and said I seemed like “the kind of person who would be into it.”

Well, things aren’t always as they seem, right?

I wish I were more into Halloween, but I’m just not. And, as my mom told me a few years ago, I was even scared of costumes and clowns as a child. So, perhaps this is just me, finally admitting that stuff is scary out there… so if it’s okay with you, I’ll just stay in and watch Countdown to Christmas on the Hallmark Channel.

Own your bed head!

I wish my bed head looked this good.

I wish my bed head looked this good.

Recently, Casper, a mattress company that specializes in making outrageously comfortable latex memory foam mattresses, brought forth a good point to me — a good night’s sleep often results in a mess of hair come morning. But so what? Why are we constantly running from the bed head, instead of embracing it? So, Casper, challenge ACCEPTED!

When I got to thinking about it, I’ve been rocking bed head for a few years now. I workout after work, which means a shower (and washing my hair) is a must. Because I have colored hair, I try to keep heat away from my locks as much as possible. So, I wash my hair at night and I go to bed with it wet, leaving it to air dry.

Truth be told, I do keep a comb in my shower, but rarely do I even comb my hair before going to bed.

Before I was on a regular workout regimen, I would get up early enough to shower, blow dry, and style my hair before work at 8am. I’m not really sure who I was back then, because when my alarm goes off at 6am, not even the smell of my coffee brewing can get me out from under the covers.

But when I finally decide to shuffle into the kitchen, you can bet that my hair looks like total shit. I have wavy/slightly curly hair, so when I wakeup, it looks the same dry as it did when I stepped out of the shower.

So, there’s a few ways I can dress it up in order to actually keep my job.

Hair products

Hair products

If it’s particularly wavy, or even curly, I simply spritz a firm-hold hairspray into the roots and waves, do a little scrunching, finger through some of the curls, and voila, done!

No volume? I use a flexible-hold spray on the roots and use a teasing comb to fluff things up around the part, and near the crown of my head.

Greasy? If it’s really greasy, I blast the blowdryer on it. But most of the time, I put a little loose bronzer in the troubled areas and we’re good to go. Dry shampoo is okay, but I found it’s expensive, and it turns my hair white and sometimes crispy. Yuck.

If I have 20 minutes, I usually straighten at least the top layers, using the bottom waves for volume, along with hairspray and a teasing comb.

Whether I rock it straight or curly, I do have bangs that often determine how I’ll style it, in the end. If they dry weird, then I’m forced to pin them back, or wear a headband. Luckily, I’ve stocked up on cute hair accessories that make it look like ALL of this is completely on purpose.

Miss Blanche Devereaux.

Miss Blanche Devereaux.

Someone who has always owned her bed head is my kitty, Blanche. Blanche is fortunate enough to sleep in the bed with me, on her side, of course. She sleeps on her back, so her long fur can blow in the breeze of the ceiling fan.

But when she wakes up, her fur, especially the longer pieces behind her ears, is often matted. Blanche, I have learned, lives by the motto, “Long hair, don’t care,” as she walks around the apartment as if this is a completely acceptable look.

And I realize, she’s not a member of society, so I let it fly, unless we have company, then I take a wire brush to her fur, and everything is smooth and fluffy, all at once.

The thing is, I know we’ve all heard or read those tricks about waking up to perfect hair… I don’t know about you, but none of that works for me. If I sleep with my hair in a ponytail, it will be flat and greasy in the morning, not “high volume,” and I have shoulder-length hair, so putting it up into one of those cute buns isn’t really an option for me.

What are your tricks for embracing your bed head?

Pictured hair products: Embellished headbands, Bronzing beads, Flexible hold hairspray,  Teasing comb, Hair clips, Cute barrettes

Pic of the Week.

Upping our carving game.

Upping our carving game.

Every year, my friend Marcy has a Pumpkin Carving Party (BYOP), and this year was pretty special because it was the 5th Anniversary of the party! So, Sunday night, we all gathered at Marcy’s, equipped with pumpkins and carving ideas.

As a kid, Halloween was a big deal. My parents really got into decorating the house, and lots of thought went into carving pumpkins — my parents would buy the most difficult templates to complete, even if it meant creating a toothpick-suture to make things looked perfect in the end.

Truth be told, I always get really pumped to carve a pumpkin, but when it comes time to actually scoop the guts out, and get serious about poking all the holes and carving tiny pieces, I’m not really big on it. I only like the part when I light the candle and turn the lights off to see my creation.

Call me lazy, but I admitted to Marcy that if it weren’t for her party, I probably would retire my sad collection of orange plastic carving tools.

This was my third year at the party, the first year I had no idea what to expect, although I heard it was a little competitive. That year, I painted my pumpkin white, and carved Jack Skellington’s (The Nightmare Before Christmas) face… it was easy, but it looked pretty cool.

Last year, I jumped on the Hash Tag craze and shaved “#Pumpkin” into my pumpkin… needless to say, it was a hit on social media. This year, I wasn’t sure what to carve.

I wanted to do something current, and relevant to pop culture, and then I realized, DUH, I’ve been watching The Fault In Our Stars nearly every night before I fall asleep, so why not do a tribute to the book and movie via pumpkin?

There is a line in the book, and a scene in the movie, that revolves around champagne: “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars.”

In the movie, the waiter tells Augustus and Hazel, “We have bottled all the stars for you tonight.”

I love it!

So, I created my own template that features a set of champagne glasses clinking, several different sizes of five-pointed stars, and letters to spell T-F-I-O-S.

While no one at the party really understood what my pumpkin was all about, I love it! I can’t wait to light it up on Halloween night!

Fresh Friday: Stella Nude.

Stella McCartney runway, Paris.

Stella McCartney runway, Paris.

I couldn’t find a picture of the perfume decent-enough for the big slot, so you’ll have to just admire the fashions (I think these are from 2010, but I’m obsessed with the blue number) of Ms. Stella McCartney, even though I’m talking about one of her fabulous perfumes.

Today’s Fresh Friday scent profile features Stella Nude by Stella McCartney.

I still have so many scents left on my bathroom shelves that when it came time to write this post, I really wasn’t sure which to choose. So, I stuck my hand in my little bag of samples and pulled out Stella Nude, spritzed it on (I like to use 3 sprays), and went out the door.

Stella Nude bottle

Stella Nude bottle

And. It. Smells. Fantastic!

The longer I wear it, I can pick of different parts of the scent — and they’re all very feminine, which is a good quality to have in a perfume.

As described by Sephora: A fragrance based on the contrast between the fresh, soft rose and the dark, sensual amber, Stella is a sophisticated scent focused on intense femininity.

The concept of the Stella McCartney bath line is driven by a passion for ecological and organic cosmetology: selecting the best natural raw materials and capitalizing on vegetal extracts, organic agriculture, and extraction methods that respect and protect the natural life force of the plants.

It really is a beautiful fragrance… I’m glad I was lucky enough to snag a sample bottle!

Pic of the Week.

Let me take a selfie.

Let me take a selfie.

Sorry that it’s blurry… I even tried to retake it a few times, but could never get a decent one, which makes me wonder if I have a serious health issue that is in-turn ruining my selfies.

Anyway, yesh, I got new glasses! Okay, so I also got new contacts… and sure, I realize this is not life-changing information, but let me just explain.

 I got my first pair of glasses in second grade, when it was completely uncool to wear glasses. Despite being terrified that my classmates might call me “Four eyes,” I got a pair of round, plastic frames that were purple on the front and green on the sides.

My new glasses!

My new glasses!

I don’t recall anyone making fun of me, but I was really excited to get my first pair of contacts in the 8th grade. I could actually see during pool parties!

As the years went on, my eyes worsened. Sure, both of my parents wore glasses, so weak eyes were inevitable. But mine were starting to get really bad — I had higher prescriptions than my parents’ combined.

In high school, I asked my eye doctor if I was ever going to be legally blind at the rate I was going. She acted like I was crazy.

“No way,” she said. “Eventually your eye prescription will level off.”

But four years ago, I went to the doctor, and not only was I informed that I had astigmatism in both eyes, but I also needed a higher prescription (-8 in my left eye) — not more than two clicks away from being blind.

I had to get a special order of contacts for people with astigmatism (a mere $80 per box), and a new pair of glasses. Without my insurance, my total was more than $800 — nearly enough to get Lasik.

After that, I hadn’t been back to the doctor in yet another four years. I was scared — scared about how much it would cost, scared they would tell me I was blind, scared I would have some sort of eye disease. So, I avoided it until I was having trouble seeing… I even had to increase the fonts on my computer.

So I went, and got an exam, had the mapping done (where they take photos of the backs of your eyes)… and my eyes are healthy. No diseases, no trouble spots, there was no word of astigmatism, and my prescription is now a -6 and -5.5 …not blind.

Sure, it ain’t great, but I faced a fear and the outcome was really good! So, I got some new contacts, and these awesome glasses (only $40, with prescription lenses, on Eye Buy Direct)!

I’m starting to see (literally) just how good things can be when you get a little bravery inside.

Dating by Astrology.

Are the stars aligned for love?

Are the stars aligned for love?

I have always been interested in astrology, although I don’t live by it, I love reading my weekly horoscope — scoffing when it’s completely incorrect, and gasping in awe when it’s right on-point. When it comes to dating, I’ve discussed matching via personality test, but what about zodiac compatibility?

Born on July 2, I am a Cancer, meaning:

  • All about home, comfort of family, maternal, domestic, nurturing
  • Loves tradition, patriotic
  • Has a good memory, is emotional
  • Quick to retreat, moody, often vindictive
  • Quick to help others, avoids confrontation
  • Devoted, romantic, listen to their gut

Cancer traits have always fit me to a T, which is probably why I love reading horoscopes and compatibility charts. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look up compatibility as SOON as I get a birthday for the person I’m crushing on. Let’s take this to the charts:

So colorful.

So colorful.

According to this chart, my perfect matches are a Scorpio and a Pisces. Hmm…

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

  • Fiercely independent, like to be in control
  • Moody, possessive, yet loyal
  • Wise in business, ambitious, determined
  • Intense, misunderstood, often secretive

I’ve actually dated several Scorpios, and obviously, things didn’t work out. I have yet to meet a Scorpio that I get along with very well. But, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, stars! If you know of a Scorpio that is single and could be a match, point me in that direction!

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

  • Needs other people to keep them positive, grounded
  • Sensitive, loyal, will go out of their way to help a friend
  • Mysterious, molded by surroundings
  • Intuitive, sensitive, treat others the way they wish to be treated

I do not THINK I’ve ever dates a Pisces (if I did, I obviously have forgotten about it), but perhaps that is my ideal match! Quick, find me a man with a birthday between February 19 and March 20!

Now, I know astrology won’t answer all of my dating woes… but at this point, I’m open to try just about anything.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

—Julius Caesar

 

Coolest Fan Mail… Ever!

Cover idea from a reader!

Cover idea from a reader!

Monday night, I received some fan mail from a reader in Indianapolis. She, Samantha, drew this after reading my first book, How I Fell, and then she transferred it to Photoshop.

Umm… how cute is it?! I actually like it better than my original cover, but don’t tell anyone. Without even knowing it, Samantha drew me wearing a pair of heels that look like some I actually have!

Recently, I’ve started getting notes, and links to articles and blogs you (my readers) think I need to see — I love this!

So, if you think there’s something out there I need to see, please send it my way via the comments, Twitter, Facebook, or feel free to email me directly at Wittywriter7@gmail.com

Thank you for my drawing, Samantha! And thanks for reading!

Pic of the Week.

I'm old school with the radio.

I’m old school with the radio.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a new morning radio show had taken over one of the stations I listened to (104.1 New Orleans). The show was a syndicate, Johnjay and Rich.

It’s two guys and a girl, and the show revolves around calling people, although each day, it’s a different bit.

  • Monday: Machaca — This is any reason to call someone that doesn’t fall under the categories of the other days. In the past, they’ve called someone pretending to need a job reference to see what the person would say.
  • Tuesday: Second Date Update — Someone calls in, they’ve had a great first date, and can’t figure out why there’s no second date, so Johnjay and Rich call and get the scoop.
  • Wednesday: Humpday Dumpday — Someone gets dumped, and doesn’t know why, so Johnjay and Rich call and find out the real reason for the dumping (are you catching a trend?).
  • Thursday: War of the Roses — This is their signature show. Someone calls in, suspects their partner is cheating on them, so Johnjay and Rich call, disguised as a flower shop saying “Congrats, you just won a dozen free roses, who should we deliver them to?” And they either get a bust, or the person delivers them to the original caller.
  • Friday: Fiance Friday — Very similar to War of the Roses, only they call saying “You won a free couples massage” and obviously, it’s an engaged couple involved.

I really love the Machaca, because it’s always something different, and the theme song gets stuck in my head. But my all-time favorite show is Second Date Update, I think probably because that’s where I’m at in my dating life right now… just going on a lot of first dates (not saying that’s a bad thing).

But really, all of the shows are enjoyable, and often shocking. Sometimes I wonder if the calls are staged, but I kind of feel the same way about that as I do about all the reality television I watch: as long as it’s entertaining, I don’t care how “real” it is.

The point of this is all to say, that these past few weeks, this show is what’s been getting me to work on time! As sad as that sounds, the shows usually start about 20 minutes before I need to be at the office — just enough time for me to get there. It makes for a pleasant drive to work, and I can get a good laugh in before my work day begins.

Once I get into work, I listen to the rest of the show using my “I Heart Radio” app. And no, I wasn’t paid to say any of this, but if someone from the Johnjay and Rich Show ever reads this, I would DIE to be a guest.

Find out if a station near you plays the show, and/or check out their podcast, or listen live on their website!

Why are men obsessed with their jobs?

Yep, always working.

Yep, always working.

I’ve dated several men who are obsessive over work. I’m talking always working late, working on the weekends, using work as an excuse as to why we can’t meet for lunch or why it takes him 8 hours to respond to a text message.

And while the men of my past are probably horrible examples (because I think most of them hated me), I notice it even when I’m just “talking” to a guy.

Yes, I do appreciate a man who works hard, and who’s got goals — let’s face it, none of us would be dating a guy that didn’t have a job!

But isn’t there some sort of balance? While I do work hard and get my job done, I’m not obsessive. My career is different from my job. And at my job, hard work doesn’t pay off. So, I obsess over other things instead, like blogging, or freelance writing, or drumming up new ideas for books.

YOLO, folks. And I know that at the end of my life, I’m sure as hell not going to be wishing I worked harder.

So how can us ladies deal with our overworked men?

For starters, it’s important to understand that men are wired to be providers. Work means money, and working hard, could mean a promotion or a better job down the line, which means he can give a comfortable life for his family (which could mean YOU)!

However, there does have to be a balance, especially depending on what stage the relationship is at. An article on CNN.com explains that a workaholic is definitely different than someone who just has great work ethic and/or who loves their job.

Cutting to the chase, if the guy is obsessed with his job, and the relationship isn’t worth saving, then don’t. I dated someone for years who always chose work obligations and even weekend functions over spending time with me. It was hurtful, and I often pictured us years down the road, being married, and him still ditching me for an office crawfish boil (for which I was never invited to).

But if the relationship is serious, and worth saving, there are some things you can do to compromise.

  • Communicate. If there’s a project that needs overtime hours, perhaps that can be the night you go out with the girls.
  • Plan ahead, and keep them! Breaking vacations or an important dinner with the parents is where things really get rocky — plan ahead for these events, so your guy can work around them.
  • Get busy. When a boyfriend used his time to work, I used my time to do ME. Read a book you love, get a manicure, finish a project, visit the museum. Whether or not the relationship works, you’ll have improved yourself and not wasted a drop of time.

Pic of the Week.

Yes, that's a leopard-print glue gun.

Yes, that’s a leopard-print glue gun.

Hobby Lobby has officially dumped the contents of its shelves into my apartment — and it is a beautiful, sparkly mess — which, is actually really exciting for my kitty, Blanche.

After that crappy week I told you all about, I was really excited to get involved in a good craft project.

Every year, one of my best girlfriends and her boyfriend compete in a Gumbo Cook-off. Three years ago, they asked me if I wanted to join their team. Let’s see, tons of Southern food, gumbo, beer, and people-watching? HELLS YES.

So now, it has become an October tradition to pack up our cars, drive an hour away, and spend the weekend cooking (and eating) delicious food. It’s something I look forward to every year.

While our team is smaller than most of the teams we’re competing against, we’ve stepped up our game these last few years — selling out of gumbo, sporting matching shirts and aprons, and this year, I volunteered to decorate our booth!

Every year, the Gumbo Cook-off has a theme. In previous years, it’s been things like “America the Beautiful,” or “Choot ‘Em” (Swamp People). This year, the theme is “25th Anniversary.”

Umm, because of course the year that I decide to decorate, they would have the theme be something un-fun, and really freaking difficult to figure out.

At first, I was just thinking I could have silver decorations (since 25 is year of silver). And then I decided that was lame and boring. Then I was just thinking about gumbo itself — chicken, sausage, bell peppers, onions, etc. I was imagining strands of faux veggie garland.

But… turns out, plastic veggies are super expensive. So, fail.

Over brunch, one of my guy friends suggested a play on words: Twenty Fifths…as in, 20 bottles of alcohol.

At first, I wasn’t sold. But once I got to Hobby Lobby, I went down every aisle and starting seeing some different options where I could make the “20 fifths” thing work.

So, two hours later, I had my cart filled with hot glue sticks, scrapbook paper, twine, bottles, mason jars, faux plants, mini martini glasses, and small Solo cups, among other things.

It took me all week, but I made:

Table Banner — “Cheers to 20 Fifths” using the scrapbook paper. I used 20 sheets of scrapbook paper, traced bottles of Jack Daniels and wine on them, painted the bottles black, and trimmed the paper into equal rectangles. Then, I used the twine and tiny clothespins to make it a hangable banner.

Table Decor — Hobby Lobby had these giant cardboard-ish numbers, so I bought a 2-0, and then a large glass wine bottle, which I painted “5ths” on it, and filled it with faux hay and glittery, silver sticks (to signify 25). To add a little something extra, I found a stockpile of beer bottle caps, which I glued to the numbers. Finally, a use for the things I hoard!

Cocktail Garland — I used the small, red Solo cups, along with the tiny, plastic martini glasses to create a cocktail garland (using the twine). Holes were poked into the cups and strung, then I used hot glue to secure it (I didn’t want the cups to move). I hot glued the twine to the martini glasses, so the garland would be Solo cup-tini-cup-tini, etc. To add some detail, I hot glued toothpicks with tiny faux olives on them (I made these) into the glasses.

Tent decor — I used the mason jars to fill with faux hay, glittery silver sticks, and other flowers, along with wine corks. I know this doesn’t have a direct relation to our “drinking” theme, but I really just wanted something that would decorate the sides (the legs) of our tent, and I couldn’t think of anything that would really catch people’s eyes.

While I’m not sure if we will be in the running to win the decorations-portion of the competition, I think people will at least appreciate our love for booze. If you’re indoors crafting this week, good luck! Make something beautiful.

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