Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'll Think About That Tomorrow

I have a habit of setting perfectly reasonable goals for myself and then promptly putting it off.  For example, I wanted to have at least 90 blog posts by the end of June.  Here we are on the last day of June and I only have 87!  On days like today, I have to ask myself what happened to all my good intentions?  

The answer, I think, is simple: I'll do better work tomorrow.  You see, tomorrow I shall be great.  I will be brilliant and witty and successful.  How can I possibly accomplish today everything of which I will be capable tomorrow?  If I can't do a super-fantastic job today, why even think about it?  Sadly, I'm rarely any more brilliant when the new day dawns and I just have a longer to-do list.  I'm then more intimidated by everything I want to accomplish and realize that I need more awesomeness than I currently have to be successful.  So, naturally I comfort myself with the belief that I'll be able to tackle it all later.  Besides, there is something fun I could be doing now which will inspire me to be better!

Why do I continually get myself caught in this vicious cycle?  It's the same reason I continue to wear shoes that blister my feet.  Okay, I continue to wear the shoes because they're pretty, but that's not the only reason.  I'm not so entirely vain that I'd choose limping for days over a pair of slightly less attractive shoes.  I don't choose beauty over comfort.  When I wear a particularly impractical pair of shoes and end up blisters that make it difficult to walk, I vow that I will never wear the shoes again.  But when the blisters heal, I find myself wearing the shoes all over again.  I choose beauty over the memory of pain.  It's easy to look back and think that it wasn't that bad.  The shoes are soo pretty, of course it's worth it!  It's the same thing with procrastination.  No matter how much trouble I get myself into by waiting until the last minute, it doesn't seem that bad looking back.  What's a little stress in the future when I could be having fun now?  Sure, it was a mistake last time, but past me was an idiot!  Future me will be able to handle it.  

Future me will have to read this tomorrow.  Hopefully she'll approve; but if not, that's her problem!   

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Love to Shoot the Blue Ones, but They Gave Me the Stupid Yellow Ones

Sometimes in life, you just have to make do.  Jack just reminded me of this fact while he was playing Angry Birds Rio on my iPhone.  He plays fairly often and isn't too bad, but he tends to get distracted by the music (he likes to bust a move).  And though he takes my phone so often, I had no idea that he had a favorite bird.  Apparently, he does.  He told me today, "I love to shoot the blue ones, but they gave me the stupid yellow ones!"  He was quite disappointed in me that I was not able set up a game in which he could shoot only the blue ones.  

I suppose it's a good thing that he's learning now that things in life that aren't ideal.  For serious, sometimes the shoes you want aren't available in your size, Sephora is just too expensive, and the chocolate cake has too many calories.  Work isn't always fun.  Dreams don't always come true.  Not everyone is cut out to be a trophy wife.  I'm just saying, it's good to be realistic about these things.  Still, it's sad that a four-year-old should have to face this harsh reality.

Luckily, he's also learned that life is easier for the charming.  When I start to get upset with him for doing something untoward, he reaches out, takes my hand and smiles with all of his might.  When he was frustrated with the Angry Birds today, he said, "Aunt Jamie, could you please shoot the birds at the monkey because you're sooo smart?"  Yes, Jack, flattery will get you everywhere!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jamie's Hero and Villain of the Week #24

It's finally Friday, which means that this super crazy week is almost OVER!  And that, of course, means it's time to announce the hero and villain of the last seven days.

Hero of the Week:  Ginger Citrus Sugar Scrub
As I mentioned in my last post, I've spent a good deal of time this week painting.  Since I'm super klutzy, I end up covered in paint; for serious, it's all over my clothes, my arms, my feet, my hair, and even my eyelashes!  When I get home, it takes forever to wash it all off.  Luckily, my good friend Jessica is an Arbonne Consultant, and she gave me some Arbonne Ginger Citrus Sugar Scrub for Christmas.  It is truly amazing--in one deliciously decadent step, my skin is not only paint-fee but exfoliated, moisturized, and lightly scented.  I feel completely renewed after using it!

Villain of the Week:  Fiscal Responsibility
This weekend is my 26th birthday.  I remember when I didn't think about money; my biggest worry was getting a part in the school play.  My parents were very supportive of my school work and extra-curricular activities (they never missed a performance or an awards dinner).  They never encouraged me to have a job during the school year because school was my job.  Even in college, my only jobs were internships for academic credit.  Because of my parents' support, I was able to focus on my academics, acting, debating, etc. and was pretty successful.  Now that I am an "adult," it's not nearly fun.  Instead of being able to focus solely on creating cards, I have to ask myself questions like, "Does the increased traffic on this website make up for its higher listing fees?" "When factoring in the cost of gas and an hour-long commute, how much does my part-time job actually pay?" "Should I pay for my car insurance in installments or pay the lower lump sum using my credit card even though I may end up paying interest on it?" and so forth.  These are not fun questions, especially on my birthday, so I'm labeling the whole being-responsible-with-money thing a villain for the week.

That's all for now.  I hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing weekend!

A Fresh Coat of Paint

I've been doing a lot of painting recently.  I am certainly not an expert house painter  or even very domestically-inclined, but apparently my experience (I painted my room in college and my room when I moved back to Stephens City) make me a valuable commodity to someone who has never painted before.  I have such a friend, and she suggested that I post a how-to article to help others who find themselves unprepared for the treacherous journey that is home beautification.  So here it is:

Jamie's Foolish-Proof Guide to Painting Your Room
The other three walls were Spring Green
Step 1.  Pick out a super-pretty color!  My personal favorite is Key Lime Pie Green, but I realize people have different tastes.  You can, however, choose multiple colors.  I have painted a single room with as many as five different colors.  It was awesome!  

Step 2.  Get supplies.  You need paint (of course), drop cloths, rollers, brushes, paint trays, tape, a paint edger (recommended), and a step-stool or ladder unless your a million feet tall.  Oh, and those wooden sticks they give you when you buy your paint are used to stir the paint. 

Step 3.  Move all the furniture either out of the room or well away from the walls.  This isn't like when you're dusting and you just kinda swish the duster around all the little knick-knacks on your dresser without moving them.  It's way more obvious and you'll probably get paint on your furniture.

Step 4.  Take the pretty blue painter's tape and tape the edges of all baseboards, doors, windows, and ceilings.  I know not everyone tapes the ceiling, but if you have the klutzy factor (like me) it's super helpful.

Step 5.  Lay down the drop cloths to cover every single inch of the floor.  For serious, if you leave a tiny little space exposed, it will get paint on it.  I think it's a law of physics or something.

Step 6.  Find some awesome tunes and rock out!  This is a really important step, so don't skip it.  It's way more fun to paint when you're dancing around and singing into a paint brush.  

Step 7.  Open the paint, stir it with those fancy wooden sticks, and pour it into the paint tray.  Really complicated, right?

Step 8.  Get a nice coat of paint on your roller and start throwin' that stuff up on the wall!!!

Step 9.  Keep singing and dancing.  I told you it was important!

Step 10.  Use smaller paint brushes to get the hard-to-reach areas like corners and around doors and windows.

Step 11.  Use the paint edger to get the top of the wall by the ceiling and the bottom by the baseboards.

Step 12.  Add a second coat if necessary.

Step 13.  Remove the painters tape.  Hopefully, you'll see nice crisp lines!  If not, proceed to step 14.

Step 14.  Touch-ups.  If the paint bled through the painter's tape or peeled off with tape removal, use a small brush to touch up these problem areas.  Of course, the amount of touching up you do depends on what you can live with.  Personally, I see the imperfections as proof that I didn't hire someone, and I can live with a LOT of imperfections.

Step 15.  Finish up.  Clean your equipments, remove the drop cloths, and move the furniture back.

That's it!  All that's left now is to completely pamper yourself as a reward for a job well done.

This may not be the most helpful or accurate guide to painting, but it works(ish) for me.  If you actually are good at painting and think I'm an idiot, please keep it to yourself.  I prefer people to blindly agree with me. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Child's Tale

I spent some time earlier this week helping to babysit a group of kids earlier this week, and they taught me some things about storytelling.  Many of the children, mostly the little boys, were so excited to tell all of their friends stories during snack time.  Their tales were so insightful that I felt I must share their storytelling genius with you, dear readers.

Tip 1:  Good stories are rooted in truth.
    Example:  One night, my dog was barking really loud.  And do you know what he was barking at?  It was a possum!!!

Tip 2:  If you frame your story well, nothing really has to happen.
    Example:  Once upon a time, my dog barked at 6:42. 

Tip 3:  If you're being upstaged, the truth is less important.
    Example:  One night, my dog was barking really loud.  And do you know what he was barking at?  It was a bear!!!!  And when I went outside, he had eaten the bear's head!  And arms!  And body!

Tip 4:  When in doubt, just make something up.
    Example:  This one time, I saw a crocodile and I killed it with a sword.

In honor of these children, I'd like to share a story about my week thus far:
    Once upon a time, at 8:30 am June 20th, 2011, my alarm clock went off.  I hit the snooze button lots of times!  When I got out of bed, I found out that a spell had been put on my kitchen that made everyone in it speak French, even if though there was no French toast.  It turns out that an evil dragon had cast the spell because it hates America, so I killed it with throwing stars.  The End.

I hope you enjoyed my story!  As you can see, I learned a lot from these kids.  I hope you find their lessons as helpful as I did!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Jamie's Hero and Villain of the Week #23

June is already half way over, and this week is OVER!  As we do every week, let's celebrate the close of this Friday by looking back at the hero and the villain that made this stretch of time so memorable (?).

Hero of the Week:  Dunkin Donuts  
No, I didn't go on a donut binge this week, although that would have been yummy.  Instead, I ordered an iced coffee since America supposedly runs on Dunkin.  The coffee was decent, but what makes it amazing is that I got a free travel cup.  True, I didn't need another travel cup, but this cup has magic powers that enable me to get a $.99 refill for the rest of the year!  I do realize that it's a little bit ridiculous that I'm this excited to be paying a dollar for a cup of coffee that's mainly ice, but with the price of my beloved coffee skyrocketing, I'll take what I can get.  And if it comes in a cute reusable cup, so much the better!

Villain of the Week:  Insomnia
Ohmigoodness, I'm so tired!  I have not slept well this week, mostly I think because I'm bad at timing the taking of my allergy medication.  Whatever the reason, I'm tired and grumpy and unproductive.  I'm so groggy during the day that I can't focus on my work; then at night, I can't sleep more than a few hours.  One might think that I could get work done during the wee small hours , but no, my thoughts are not nearly coherent enough to accomplish anything.  I feel like Insomnia is a person who sits in the corner mocking me, all like, "Oh, you think you need to sleep every night?  What's that aboot?"  Insomnia happens to be fuzzy, blue, and Canadian.  It's also most definitely a villain.

I'm going to try to sleep before too long, so that's all from me for now.  I hope you all have a lovely and restful weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Fever

I am so proud of Kristen for finishing her first year as a third-grade teacher.  She worked so and had to put up with truly atrocious little children who whined and yelled and couldn't sit still.  I am so glad that she finally has a chance to rest and take some time for herself.  

Unfortunately, I don't have the summer off and all I want to do is hang out with her. Although I haven't worked nearly as hard as her all year, I still feel like it's time for me to have a break.  I think that I have a case of severe summer fever.  Summer fever is a very serious condition characterized by restlessness, increased daydreaming, lowered productivity, and intense craving for iced coffee.  Spring fever gets all the press, but I assure you that summer fever is just as real and very dangerous.  There should be a celebrity telethon to raise money for those suffering from this condition.  I'd plan it myself, but it sounds like a lot of work.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I really hate those little plastic bead containers.  Every time I try to open it, the tiny glass beads go shooting everywhere.  They get all mixed together and discombobulated which makes it much more difficult to find what I'm looking for when embellishing cards.  Consequently, I spent over an hour today sorting teeny tiny little beads into their individual compartments.

This experience brought to mind the Harry Potter books, because I wish I had a singing hat to do all of my sorting for me.  I could just set it on the desk, and it would sing a fantastic little song, then all of the beads would be back in the appropriate place.  Instead, I just have a pair of long skinny tweezers.  It doesn't even have a British accent!  Just a lame Canadian accent which does nothing to help my mood.

I hope you all have had a less frustrating and more productive Monday than I have!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Jamie's Hero and Villain of the Week #22

Happy Friday everyone! Today's blog is a bit of an experiment since I'm trying to post it via email through my iPhone. We'll see how it goes, but please forgive any formatting and/or auto-correct issues until I can get to an actual computer.

Hero of the Week: Kittens
I mentioned last week that we have feral cats living under our front porch. While this is a source of endless frustration for my father, I'm delighted. Yes, Mamma Cat has the crazy eyes and is a little bit creepy. But the four little kittens are the cutest things ever! I go outside three or four times a day to look for them. I don't try to feed them or anything (I promise, Daddy); I just watch them run around and play. There are two black kittens with bright blue eyes that always play together; I call them Thing 1 and Thing 2. The little gray kitten stays very close to Mamma Cat, so I call it Rory. The forth kitten, which is gray with black stripes, is the bravest. He is most likely to wander into the open on his own. I feel like I might actually have a shot at getting to know this one, so I call him Fox (for serious, you need to read The Little Prince). It's my plan to spend more and more time outside every day so that they will get used to me and not spaz out and hiss like crazy Mamma Cat. Sure, it's highly possible that they'll remain afraid of me and either and leave for good or gang up on me like the hyenas in The Lion King. But for now there is hope, and while there is hope they will remain my fuzzy little heroes.

Villain of the Week: Writer's Block 
As you can tell, I haven't written much this week. And by much, I mean anything. I have, however, spent many hours staring at a blank computer screen. I wrote and erased many opening sentences and even stories, but for some reason, my thoughts would not gel. Then I couldn't even come up with a topic. My brain turned into a mushy boring pile of goo. Since I'm trying to make a living as a creative type, writer's block is one of the scariest villains I've faced in a while. Here's hoping that my brain comes back to life over the weekend!

That's all for now. I hope you all have a weekend that feels like school just got out for the summer!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Jamie's Hero and Villain of the Week #21

Happy Friday!  It's the first Friday of the unofficial summer, and it's beautiful outside!  This week's picks feature heaping helping of whimsicality and an oppressive weather pattern.

Hero of the Week:  The Little Prince
The Little Prince has been one of my favorite books since I first read it in high school French class.  I've read it in both French and English multiple times, and it always makes me feel better when I'm sad.  I was thrilled to find a gorgeous deluxe pop-up edition of this classic in Anthropology.  I love Anthropology anyway, but now I adore it.  I had the best time rediscovering my favorite story with the characters literally jumping off the page.  So this week, the Little Prince is my hero for his musical laugh, hair the color of wheat, and ability to love a selfish flower.  

Villain of the Week:  Heat 
The weather may be nice now, but the week started off ridiculously hot!  I'm not opposed to heat altogether, but it was simply way too hot for the last days of May.  When I was out on the ramp at the airport waiting for a plane to arrive, I thought I was going to melt.  Really, the weather should have the decency to wait until late July or August to that abominably hot so I have a chance to mentally prepare myself.

That is all for this week.  However, please check out my updated version of Asia in the City.  It has been updated per Audra's request and I added some photos!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Asia in the City

June is my birthday month.  As such, it is awesome.  In order to celebrate the beginning of this spectacular month, my friend Audra (also born in June!) and I took a mini road-trip today.  Our aim was to eat delicious food and celebrate all things Asian.

First, we went to the Peking Gourmet Inn where we ate the most delicious Peking Duck!  It was a really fun restaurant with gorgeous painted lanterns hanging from the ceiling and pictures of famous people posing with the chef covering virtually every inch of wall space.

Then we went next door to the super-classy 88 Oriental Market where we purchased such delicacies as Hello Panda cookies, aloe juice drinks, and jasmine tea.  The aloe juice looks pretty disgusting because it has chunks of aloe pulp floating in it, but it tastes really good and is incredibly refreshing.  I discovered it while in Singapore last year and was super psyched to find it today!  Audra also got some tamarind candy, which is pretty weird.  Tamarind is a really sour fruit, and the candy is chewy pieces of fruit coated in sugar, salt, and chili powder.  It wasn't bad, but I've never tasted anything like it before.

The last stop for our "Asia in the City" day was the Super H Mart, which is a truly magical place.  There are tons of fruits I've never heard of and an entire aisle of nothing but noodles!  Audra was horrified that I'd never tasted lychee (aside from an icky lychee soda at the Coke Museum in Atlanta, so she bought a bag.  We went out to the parking lot to enjoy the sunshine and the fruit.  I was surprised both at how crazy good it was and at the vast amounts of juice that baptized me once I tore the skin.  I was ridiculously sticky for the rest of the day!

We finished off the day at Reston Town Center with a visit to Sephora and Anthropology.  They might not be Asian stores, but they are awesome and not located in Winchester.  All in all, it was a lovely beginning to my birthday month.  

My next outing will be "Greece in the City."  Any suggestions for awesome Greek restaurants and Greek-themed activities in the NoVa area would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Don't Feed the Feral Cats and Other Hard-to-Follow Tenets of Adulthood

A beautiful feral cat with huge glowing green eyes has taken to hanging out in the flower bed in front of my house.  Then three adorable kittens showed up!  They are for serious so cute, all fluffy and blue-eyed.  However, it's been so hot that I've been really worried about the poor little things.  I really wanted to put out food and water for them, but my dad (and to a lesser extent Kristen) was adamant that I not encourage them to stick around.  While I totally understand that it's very practical to refrain from feeding them because they'll become dependent and I'll have to keep feeding them forever and yada yada yada, it's still really hard to let it go.  Refraining from inadvertently adopting wild animals is one of the tenets of adulthood I've had to adopt.  Unfortunately, it's not the only unpleasant truth I've had to learn.  Some others include:
--Sometimes you have to work on holidays.
--You can't always take a nap when you need one.
--The ATM is not a magic money machine.
--Health insurance?  Kinda a big deal.
--Good self-esteem and a positive attitude is not all you need to succeed in life.  You actually do need some sort of talent.

Goodness, this is depressing!  To make up for it, here are a few positive things about adulthood:
--You can use a calculator with impunity.
--You can actually rent a car if you want to go on vacation.
--You don't have to eat your vegetables.

Hopefully the kittens will do alright without my help.  I guess it's just as well since the mommy cat would probably feel the need to tell her kittens not to eat food from strangers.