Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On the Pants Paradox

The other day I played a practical joke on my fiance: while he was in the shower, I stole his clean pj pants he set on the floor of the bathroom and hid them (partially due to his always leaving things on the floor, and partially because he is so unobservant that I figured he really wouldn't be able to find them). Anyway, he didn't take this very well and to smooth things over, I sent him the following email:

Dear M,

Last night you were the victim of a practical joke in which a pair of your pants was taken from the bathroom whilst you showered, and subsequently could not be found upon your exit from the shower. Through a curious turn of events, said pants ended up on my person, where you did not find them for a significant length of time.
You became a bit snippy upon this discovery, and demanded I return said pants to their place (that is, on your shelf, as you had retrieved another pair of pants for wearing). I refused, and now feel it is my duty to give you appropriate reasoning for my refusal besides "I am not your maid."
When you retrieved a secondary pair of pants, you created what I will henceforth call "the Pants Paradox." The original pair of pants, which should have been worn on your person, were on the original timeline. When you obtained the second pair of pants, this created an alternate timeline in which the original pair of pants should not have existed. As the creator of this paradox, you were the only one who could rectify the situation without the time-pant-space continuum imploding. Thus, it was wholly necessary that you be responsible for returning the original pair of pants to their location on the shelf, restoring the time-pant-space continuum as we know it.

In other words, next time don't be so snippy.



Readers--have you ever played a practical joke on your significant other? How did it turn out?
Also, how do you deal with your significant other or roommate leaving things everywhere?

Monday, February 25, 2013

On Hand Care

Last week it was so cold and I had run out of my lifesaving hand cream that my knuckle cracked and bled.  This is a common occurrence in cold weather, mind you.  However, because I stubbornly refused to walk the two blocks to the nearest Kiehl's, my knuckle stayed cracked a whole week.  It was disgusting, guys.  I jokingly pulled the skin apart and together like a mouth and made "meep meep meep" noises at my fiance, who did not find it amusing.  Anyway, it's healed up now and I bought the large size of my favorite hand cream (see below, or click here to buy).  It's pricey as far as hand creams go, but it is absolutely WORTH IT.  No more cracked knuckles for me!

On Frivolity (Nail Polish)

My current manicure.  Can you blame me?  I'm thinking of spring.  The polish is Ulta's "Island Hopper" and actually comes out more of a true Tiffany's blue than the picture shows.  Lovely!

Monday, February 18, 2013

On Siri

Real conversation I had with my iPad:

Me: What's the weather like tomorrow? (all Zooey Deschanel style in that iPhone commercial, because she is adorable and every girl wants to be like her)

Siri: Looks like you may be getting some snow tomorrow. (displays relevant weather icons)

Me: Really?!?!

Siri: I do not understand.

Er, guess my excited voice is too high-pitched for Siri to process. Awkward.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

On transient relationships

Moving away has given me a new perspective on a lot of things. It has made me realize that the wonderful thing about where I grew up isn't necessarily the World Famous San Diego Zoo or the stretches of sunny, perfect beaches...but the people I've left behind. Granted, modern technology helps me maintain these relationships in ways that are as close to being there as I can get without becoming piss-poor from excessive plane tickets, but there is also a downside to relocation.
Here's a question: How many people do you still talk to from college? High school? Are the numbers dwindling? Most people have relocated or changed schools, jobs, and social circles at least once. It's something I really value in childhood (i.e., adjusting to new social situations, peers in their classrooms, etc.), because I think it teaches children valuable skills in forming new relationships, engaging others with diverse personalities, and entering into social situations from an early age. However, I feel we often focus on the "making new friends" part and less on the "keep the old ones" portion of that famed silver and gold song.
What am I talking about? Well, let's say you get new job, move, or start school. You form new relationships and often, especially in the case of college, become very close. However, these life circumstances thrust people together and then they just as quickly fall apart. M. (my fiance) doesn't keep in close contact with his friends from college. He keeps telling me "it's a guy thing," but I still feel like Facebook and social media makes it so simple to at least shoot a quick hello to someone every other month or so. Now that I've moved, I think about my own relationships: which friends from high school will still talk to me? If I was living in my hometown still, they would be my primary social circle. But even when I was in LA, there were more of them keeping in touch than they are now. I know that I'm out of sight and out of mind, but are these transient relationships?
This is even more salient in my latest efforts at wedding planning: making a guest list. How many people, once 2015 rolls around, will still be talking to me and have an invite to the wedding? Now I have friends from high school, college, grad school, my first job, and my current job, along with my Chicago social circle. This doesn't even include family, M's business school friends...the list goes on. How many of these people are we supposed to invite?

Readers--help! What was your rule of thumb for building your guest list? Do you still keep in touch with friends from all these different life situations?

On the Pitfalls of Moving Away

Today I missed a baptism for a close friends' baby.  But this wasn't the first event I've had to skip because of my choice to live over 2,000 miles away.  It hurts similar to heartbreak to know that I can't be back in San Diego for these events.  Sometimes I reflect on this move and am hurt by the timing of it all: I'm 26.  Knowing we'll be here for the next 2 years or so, I realize that I'll be missing numerous baby showers, bachelorette parties, and countless other small events (birthdays, dinners, reunions) because of work obligations and/or the high cost of plane tickets.

It's ironic, isn't it?  Your mid-twenties is supposed to be the key time that you can adventure and discover yourself; the time where you can pick up and move at a moment's notice because your ties are limited.  It also turns out to be the time where these monumental life events--weddings, baby showers--also take place.  Now I feel like I'm always choosing between saving up for my wedding 2+ years away or maintaining the ties that I cherish so much.

Frankly, it's hard.  I've already missed a bachelorette party in Vegas and a bridal shower in San Diego because I had to choose between these other events and the wedding itself.  Plane tickets to California, at BEST, turn out to be something near $200+ round trip...but are more frequently in the $320-350 range (sometimes more, with bad timing).  My early childhood education salary isn't giving me a lot of leeway to spend money on plane tickets whenever I want to go home--especially since I'm trying to pay off that early purchase of the wedding dress.

Modern technology makes it easier to keep in touch with people, but sometimes videochatting with family and friends from afar makes me miss them more.  Seeing my nephew's new developmental milestones, for example, just isn't the same over videochat than in person.

How do you minimize these feelings of missing out when you're far away?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Layering for weather part 2: colder and colder

Does anybody know what 0° feels like? What about, adding windchill,-15°? No? Me, either. That's because EVERYTHING WITH ONE LAYER OR LESS IS COMPLETELY NUMB.  No, but seriously: when it's below zero, it only makes sense to wear long underwear (see my previous post on layering for my recs on brands) and the longest coat you own.  Boots should meet the coat, or if not, wear leggings if you're outdoors for a long time.  I wear my long coat with a thick knit, long cardigan underneath to make sure I stay warm.

Accessorize: bring a scarf, hat, and gloves for sure.  Sometimes I even put my earmuffs (180s, if you read my previous post) on under my hat.  This ensures my ears won't hurt when I come back inside.

Shoes: I think this needs a post all its own.  In this weather, wear wool socks and fur-lined boots.  If it is icy, wear snow boots or Hunters.  Everyone wears Hunters.  Make sure you wear the fleece lining as well; your wool socks will NOT be enough and nobody likes cold toes.

YOUR FACE WILL FREEZE.  This is serious.  Appropriate skincare is necessary.  In California, I moisturized once a day (after I washed my face).  I have combination skin--oily T-zone, dry elsewhere.  Now I use very rich cream for nighttime, and apply a lighter moisturizer during the day.
Any other questions about cold weather?

On Finding A Place in Chicago

I think more practical posts regarding moving across the country would be useful, don't you?  So here's one about how we found our apartment.  We currently live in the Streeterville area in a high rise building with a doorman.  It is a quintessential city-living experience that we knew we wouldn't get anywhere else (since we have plans to move back to San Diego after his program is done), so we thought we would spend a little more on housing during his time here to be in the area we wanted to live in.  Plus, any housing in Chicago is still cheaper than LA (which is where I moved from, and was paying $1850 for a 2 bedroom/2 bath).  Additionally, having never been to Chicago before, concerns about security were eased with both the doorman and the proximity to touristy areas (which are usually pretty nice/safe because that's where much money is coming from).

 Before we moved, we made a list of things we wanted.  Mine included the following:

  • washer and dryer in unit
  • gym or pool (not that I planned on using the gym) as a perk
  • full walls--no studios (so we could close a door between the two of us for peace of mind, having never lived together before)
  • enough closet/storage space!  I have a lot of clothing.
  • safe location/close to attractions (attractions to me meant shopping)
  • close grocery stores
  • close to L (short for "elevated train" and sometimes spelled "El") stops for easy transportation
Once he found out he got into Booth, we booked a weekend trip to Chicago to look at places and so I could get to know the city in which I would be living for the next 3-odd years.  We planned a long weekend in Chicago (this was in July, so I could see the city in sunshine), and he booked a few appointments with a real estate agent.  Honestly, this was the best decision we could make--we used a variety of websites to browse places first, but the agent toured us around 4 different places and I liked 3/4 of them.  This was completely unexpected, because I'm pretty picky in terms of where I'm going to stay.  The best part was that we didn't have to pay the agent anything because she got a cut on the other end (i.e., from the person renting out the place), and we gave her our list of "wants" and she matched up what she could.  She also gave us more insider info on the different neighborhood options.

If you don't want to get a real estate agent, we used some of the following websites:

  • Craigslist
  • Housing Maps - this website uses Google maps and applies a really useful interface over it.  I used this a lot to map these locations on a personalized Google Map, where I put links to the Craigslist ad, etc. and any notes (e.g., old bathroom, lots of storage space)
Some of the places we looked had some great perks (washer & dryer IN the closet?!  Genius idea!!), but we ended up renting a place that is in a condo building.  We rent from the owner, who lives elsewhere.  The perk of this is that the Maintenance in the building is FANTASTIC--we email our landlord (i.e., the owner) and he often gets someone here to fix anything we need in the same day!  The building also has an amazing gym with a sauna, indoor pool, and weight room.  Pretty nice!

In terms of my list, we ended up giving up on the washer/dryer in unit.  Everything else on the list is pretty much hit--including close to shopping.  We are two blocks down from the Gap on Michigan Ave. (Magnificent Mile), and there are a number of Anthropologies within walking distance, as well as Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, and (my favorite!) BHLDN (the Anthro wedding brand).

One key discussion we needed to have with locals before our move (which we didn't have) had to do with "neighborhoods."  Chicago is comprised of a bunch of neighborhoods, all with their own distinct feel.  Streeterville has a very "downtown" feel, with downtown pricing (if you catch my drift).  Lincoln Park, on the other hand, has more of a homey vibe with brownstones/brick buildings, young post-college people, and cute shops.  I think it's also slightly cheaper, but I wouldn't really know considering I don't live there.  Old Town is an area that has also been recommended to us frequently; it's cheaper than anything more in the heart of downtown, but is close by the L.  Wicker Park is the more hipster area that is much cheaper living, close to a vibrant nightlife with bars and the like, but also a little less clean/sterile than the downtown area.  The Loop is a little more busy, with many residences mixed in with the downtown office buildings.  River East (New Eastside) is more subdued (and south of the river), with some beautiful lake views and access to a lot of big parks.  Fulton Market has a stretch of super nice expensive foodie dream's restaurants, but the places to live are tucked away and less of a neighborhood feel (this is where the meatpacking district used to be, so there are a lot of warehouses).  Anyway, I'm sure you get my point.  Like any city, you have to find the right place for you so you are happy there.  If you haven't found it, you won't like your stay.

Another consideration is parking: if you plan on bringing a car to Chicago, be prepared to pay a lot in parking.  We are renting a spot in our building for $200/month.  Anything downtown is pricey, especially hourly parking.

Readers--any other questions about living in Chicago or moving here?  I'm happy to answer any questions about prices as well.

On Dry Shampoo

I finally got around to making something off of Pinterest! I am making a concerted effort to save money because 1) I am poor and 2) I will be made considerably more poor after 2014, when I am in or attending a number of California weddings. I think my last count was 5. 

Anyway, I found this site on Pinterest and made my own simple dry shampoo. It's a simple combo of cornstarch and cocoa powder, which makes me smell delicious and also feels better than inhaling all that aerosol business in the commercially sold dry shampoos. I bought a fluffy brush on eBay and brush it onto my roots all over my hair and it does its job quite effectively.

I also found another one to make my own mineral veil, which involves cornstarch, baby powder, and a hint of tinted powder. This also came out wonderful and if I apply too much of both of these mixtures I smell like a baby who got into the chocolate. I don't really mind this.

You can find the recipe here:


Saturday, February 2, 2013

On Snowing Up

Somehow living on the 24th floor means we are up high enough for the snow to be caught in swirling eddies. This makes it look magical, because it looks like it's snowing UP!!
However, I keep trying to take pictures or videos of the snow falling with either my phone or my point & shoot, but none of them are coming out. Any camera tips?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Arwen's first snow

It is currently snowing out and I'm cozy inside after another failed attempt to make a good snowball (seriously, you have to pack those suckers tight. That's what she said). Here's an adorable video of my puppy eating snow out of my hands. This is her first snowfall where there's enough to gather on the ground without struggling. Magical!