Saturday, September 29, 2012

I wore clothes this week. One would hope.

Since this is ostensibly a fashion blog, I should post pictures of clothing sometimes. Here's what I wore Thursday, September 27.
Purse, Target. T-shirt is from Cornerstone Festival 2005. Jacket, The Limited, thrifted. Jeans, Banana Republic, thrifted. Shoes are Rock 'n Republic from Kohl's

The brooch on the purse is the Dunbar family crest. I got it at Irish Fest in Indianapolis a couple years ago.

The shoes are these, which I'm pretty sure are a knockoff of these.

The earrings are Candie's.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pick up your perk when you're down! (originally posted at August 12, 2009)

Blogger note: I'm going to be re-posting some of the best posts at my old career blog here, because yeah, I've decided not to work on that project anymore, but there were plenty of good insights, so they ought to see the light of day. This oldie-but-goodie might come in useful for someone. I certainly hope it does.

Fatigued or downright depressed in your job search? It's a small comfort to know that you have plenty of company. I struggled, myself, with intense depression and anxiety last year. In recent days, I have apparently joined the ranks of the happily employed, but the fatigue associated with going from a second-shift job to first-shift has been worse than expected. I wanted to get right back in high-gear as soon as I got back to Indianapolis and started my new job Monday. My body clearly had other plans. Anyway, it should be clear that I speak from plenty of experience when it comes to fighting depression and fatigue.

Obviously, if the "blues" stay persistent, or if the depression becomes severe, you shouldn't just suffer through it like I did. There IS help to fit your income, or lack thereof. The tips below, and some St. John's Wort, were enough to get me functional most of the time at my worst. But if you need further intervention, don't hold yourself back from it. You deserve better.

Even at the worst times, I had tried-and-true ways to give myself a shot of perk. Mostly, it's just about taking a few minutes to pamper yourself. Society says this is a luxury and requires tons of money. I disagree. Here are a quick few tricks; feel more than free to add your own!

- Listen to your body's call for more sleep. Make sure you're actually tired and it's not just the depression.

- Better-sleep tips: Have some chamomile tea if you have anxiety that's making sleep difficult. Brew your own teas for pennies a cup, and scoff at people who routinely pay upwards of $3 for the stuff. You can flavor it up with a slice of lemon (or some of that cheapie RealLemon juice). Or add a shot of apple juice, at less than a buck for a can of concentrate. I take some valerian root capsules with my evening chamomile. You can find cheapie-brands at Walgreens, Target, Wal-mart, etc. Be warned, it tastes GROSS, so you're going to need that budget-gourmet tea afterward. Still can't sleep? Run by the local headshop/stoner store and pick up some Morningstar brand Japanese incense in lavender. It's aromatherapy you can practically afford with couch-change. You'll be more awake and productive in the morning.

- Trade backrubs with a friend. Or your significant other/spouse, if you have one. I still have tension and pain issues from all the stress knotting up my neck, shoulders, and back. It would surely have been worse if I hadn't volunteered as a guinea pig for a friend who wanted practice while in massage-therapy school. (But even the most untrained layperson can be helpful.) There are about a million ways to get absolutely free massages.

- LAY OFF the energy drinks. They're super expensive and will actually only make you feel worse. I say this even though I'm an energy-drink addict. But I really do feel better on days, like today, when I abstain from drinking them. Try tea. Even coffee is better, if you use moderation. If you have as fierce a habit as I'm weaning myself from, you'll probably need some ibuprofen for the caffeine-withdrawal headaches.

- If you really feel that you must have an energy drink, go sugar-free at least. But Red Bull is the only brand I've found that does sugar-free that doesn't taste awful, and it's the most expensive brand. (I'd also suggest avoiding Rockstar. Here's why.)

- Get a bicycle. Craigslist, thrift, or get one at a yard sale for $40 or less. Use it whenever you can. Biking to the store doesn't just save you lots of gas money, it feels REALLY good. Get a nice-size bike basket and wear a backpack, so you'll have room. I've also seen people use those little behind-the-bike trailers that are advertised for letting toddlers ride in. That makes more sense to me. I'd rather break an egg than a kid if I hit a bad bump. These little trailers get costly, though, even on Craigslist.

- Finally, my favorite: Jam out. Everyone can come up with at least 3 to 5 songs that ALWAYS put them in a good mood. Capitalize on this. Here are some that do the trick for me:

"Glad to Be Alive" by Cowboy Mouth (WEIRD slide show, sorry, it was the only video I could find for this song.)

"The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World (video probably NSFW--underwear)

"Robots" by Flight of the Conchords

"Hook" by Blues Traveler

"This Much Fun" by Cowboy Mouth

Go forth, rock out, feel better, and re-gain your edge.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Music Monday: We Are Pilots (blah blah depression blah)

I've pretty much just stopped trying to verbally describe the effects depression has on me to people. I mean, it's abundantly clear that if you've never been there, you're never going to understand. And if you have been there, there's no explanation needed.

Especially the "I'm making sense of shattered dreams 'cause I want you to be proud of me" line? NAILS it. So much pain in just a few little words. Just about as good as Reznor's The Wretched, "It didn't turn out the way you wanted it, did it? Now, you know, this is what it feels like."

You could say today's a rough day so far. I always get down on myself when I feel like I'm not accomplishing enough, and I don't have time to right now because I'm working 56 to 60-hour weeks right now. That's barely enough time to stuff my clothes into the hamper, or closet, or toss 'em on the floor, and get an almost-adequate amount of sleep before doing it all again the next day. My paycheck is gonna love me, if I don't drive myself into the ground first. I'm so glad I will most likely have a new script for my antidepressants after Friday, y'all. I'm tired of surviving. I'm so ready to live. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The iPhone is gonna kill me, y'all.

In the event of unholy amounts of overtime, these do NOT suffice in lieu of a shower. No, not even the Chanel.

Okay, not really. But I *will* have done sixteen hours of overtime by the end of this week, and I’m signed up for eighteen next week. I’m gonna be tired, but my credit-card balance is going to be nearly nonexistent! And I’ll have my emergency fund built back up. It was entirely deflated when my car (henceforth known to my dear readers, as she is to me, as Artemis) had to get a new starter, battery, and… er, headlight/turn signal switch-thingy.

I really should make a note to stop reading the blogs of people who enthuse over their new Balenciaga handbags until after I’m back in the black financially. Which… if I counted student loans, would be approximately once I hit age 47. If I don’t get a mortgage, or have kids, or anything stupid like that! Yeah... so not happening. Will just have to focus on minimalism, investment pieces, wardrobe a la Parisienne (rather than a la Imelda Marcos) etc.

This week, I’m proud that even with my hectic, busy schedule, my apartment still looks pretty much exactly the same as it did last week. Also, weirdly, I’m actually looking forward to doing the laundry tomorrow. God. I’m old!

Actually, I just love my clothes. And they’re dirty. And nobody likes to hang out with the smelly kid, so I guess I gotta wash up before I can look cute. But yeah! Relatively little clutter! Winning!

CLUTTER! Kill it with fire!

Pro tip to any other clutterbugs out there, I think there’s something to that line my grandma always says, that if you just make a habit of making your bed daily, the rest comes more easily. Of course, Grandma also thinks I’m going to hell because I’m not a Church of Christ member. Your mileage may vary.I re-uploaded that atrocious video from Tuesday. When Youtube tells you it wants to fix your shaky video, don’t let it! It’s a trap! I’d rather have shaky than headache-inducingly blurry. You can look at my apartment tour vid without dying now.

So yeah. I have piles and piles of photos of my favorite runway shows from NYFW, and now London Fashion Week is on, and I hope to get that belated favorites-of-the-show post up by Sunday. I’m psyched about it, just very busy fixing first-world problems for sweet moolah.

Not only will I fix those poor schlubs' iPhones! I will look damn good doing it! (scarf is Kirna Zabete for Target. Only twenty dollah!)

What I’m REALLY psyched about is the fact that I’m psyched about anything! Fellow depressives are totally understanding that one. It feels good to feel something that doesn’t just make me want to go back to that void-place where you wish you could feel. It’s been either sad or just blah for months. Which gets you into this dangerous zone where you’ll try some pretty stupid, self-destructive shiznit just to feel alive for a few minutes. Or else you just sleep for days because well, what’s the difference? But I have an appointment to get back onto my happy pills on the 28th, I don’t have to worry about money right now, I’m going to see my FAVORITE BAND the first week in October, and my job may not be glam, and it may be hectic as hell right now, and yes, everyone’s pissed over the Facetime thing, but I am freakin’ good at this stuff. My stats are off the charts, and I’m mostly handling the stress, which is amazing since I’ve been out of Klonopin for months. *crosses fingers*

 Life ain’t bad.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Viva Video: Welcome to my newly-less-cluttered home (plus: the top 5 things to wear when Aunt Ruby LePeriod visits, so you look fab even if you don't feel it)

Guess what! The clutterbug apartment is now much more streamlined, though still not nearly to the minimalist levels I would like. And my six-legged roommates have officially been given the boot. I've gone from stressed about the whole thing, to showing off just a lil' bit.

(Re-uploaded for slightly less blurry action!)
And, happy Tuesday, we've got two blog posts for the price of one! Today only! For anyone who's ever been made miserably by that other, less-awesome Shark Week, here are...

the top 5 best things to wear during your period!

Under even the best of circumstances, this time leaves us cisgendered ladies feeling vaguely icky in the lower abdomen, fatigued, bloaty, and cranky. But, seeing how we’re grown-up, independent women, life demands that we hitch up our grown-up panties (in all their granny-sized, back-of-the-undie-drawer glory) and soldier on. So… it’s time to pop the painkiller of your choice, hydrate like crazy, sneak an extra candy bar in your purse and strategize. With a little care, but not too much fuss - because UGH, who feels like it right now! – you’ll look fab anyway, and you’ll probably feel better too.

1. Loose dress and leggings. I go for whimsical, but not too bright. Yellow would probably make me feel like a schoolbus, but your mileage may vary. A neutral legging with flats or wedges and your favorite knee-length, slightly shorter, or trendy high-low hem number. Wink at yourself in the mirror. You’re ready to roll! Pro tip? You probably want to avoid control-top. I know the temptation, you feel like a bloated mess and you want ‘em to hold you in. But seriously? Ow.

2. BRIGHT lipstick and/or blush. Coral, fuschia, magenta, fire-engine red? Name your poison. I thought I was too pink-toned for coral to work, but some Maybelline in Coral Crush really makes my face go from “somebody kill me and put me out of my misery!” to “hel-loooo there!” I layer on the lipstick, then smear a little onto the apples of my cheeks, finishing with a simple eye. Just some shimmery champagne shadow and lengthening mascara.

3. Wide-leg pants in a jersey knit. Maybe even drawstring or elastic waist. Slip a color blocked tunic on top and nobody will even tell. I love this. Even with a tunic instead of a crisp button-up, I feel a hint of Katherine Hepburn-esque sass in this getup. Pants like this are every bit as comfortable as sweats or PJ pants, but without the “I give up!” vibe. Never, ever surrender.

4. The most outrageous jewelry you own. “Don’t screw with me” spikes and leather? Earrings that look like cupcakes? Rhinestoned into oblivion? Rock it with no apologies. If you giggled like a little kid when you got it, it’s probably going to elevate your mood every time you notice it gracing your person.

5. Strategic scent. Lavender if you feel like you’re going to go hormone-rage and rip someone’s head off, or something that smells like candy or cake if you just need comfort. Wear what works for you. For me, the first day is usually the worst day, so my secret weapon is a delectable lemon-mint salt scrub I got on clearance ages ago. It’s like slathering a mojito all over your body. Lovely-smelling, relaxing, and invigorating all at the same time. I follow that with Bath & Body Works Coconut Lime Breeze lotion.

Now that you’re properly armed, go forth, keep your fierce face on, and conquer!

EDIT: Behold! Entirely relevant! Here are more tips, excellently laid out, for how to make your period suck less! Written by Gala, who incidently also wrote the above-linked piece on products to help you smell like cake. I think I have a blogger-crush, y'all.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A nasty barrier between me and domestic bliss

I was going to write about New York Fashion Week, and then something decidedly un-fabulous happened instead.

I have a bug problem. It's ugly. We may need to enlist higher assistance here. Maybe magic? Maybe an exorcism? I don’t know. But things are getting desperate.

I've done plenty of research. I know more about the roach lifecycle than anybody could care to know. I've come to know, intimately well, the joy of nailing one of 'em with a direct line of bug spray and watching its frantic run become a dying twitch. And, I mean, I'm not exactly a germphobe or crazy when it comes to bugs. Generally, if you have a house, you're going to have some bugs in it.

I have a really nice symbiotic relationship with spiders, for example. They eat pests. They keep to themselves. We don't bother each other, and as long as the critters stick to the deal, they can live. The roaches, though? I can't leave dishes in the drainer for even ten minutes, because the damn bugs scurry all
over them in an instant. This isn't their space, it's mine, and the penalty for screwing with that is death.

I’ve been keeping my dishware and my food in plastic bins, right on top of the kitchen table, for at least three months. All right. I’m not the cleanest of people. In fact, I’m quite the clutterbug. We’re not talking nastiness here, just clutter. I have a minor hoarding problem. I’m working on trading in the keep-everything-in-case-I-needit mentality for a minimalist one. This battle, in itself, is fodder for a post if not a whole series.

The bugs, though? This is war. Freaking nasty little roaches. I think they’re the German kind? In my past cockroach sightings, they’d always been big, ugly bastards. These are less than half the size I was used to seeing as a kid. The ones that lived in my dad's old trailer when I was ten? They could have devoured me if I let my guard down. *shudder*

My landlord said he was going to bring some of those roach motels. That was before I even started getting ready for GenCon, so it must have been over 3 months ago. Still none have arrived.
I have bombed. I have sprayed. I have wiped every speck and crumb from all my cabinets. I have rid myself of that habit of leaving the breakfast dishes until after I come home from work. I wash up immediately, or, if I don’t have time, I put the dirty dish in the fridge. Weird, I know, but the little creeps can’t get in there and I’m not late for work, so it’s a win-win.
I’m doing another deep-clean and bomb on later today, after I take my most recent purge’s worth of reject possessions to Goodwill. (It’s sick how many things I have that I don’t need.)

It was finally to the point where I was almost never seeing the critters. I thought our time together was at a close, and maybe I could finally put my dishes where they should be. Then, the day before yesterday, I opened the empty silverware drawer and a HUGE roach practically flew out at me. I screamed like a little girl. He fell to the floor. I reduced him to a smear with my Candie’s boot. I saw, in the drawer, an unholy collection of tiny roach droppings and egg sacs.

I love old buildings with kitch and character. I also HAVE to rent old places with kitch and character, because while I have Louboutin tastes, I earn a Payless paycheck. I really thought I lucked out when
I found this apartment because it’s alarmingly big for less than $300 a month. And the flooring in the kitchen! Holy crap, it’s amazing. The kitchen chandalier is ugly as sin. It looks like a friggin’ wagon wheel. But the kitch factor is through the roof, so it stays. These dang bugs, though! I’m pretty sure they have been here all along, just lying in wait for the first opportunity, when the clinical depression hit again, and I just plain didn’t feel like washing the dishes up right away, or taking the trash out immediately. So they could slink out through cracks, from behind walls, and take over MY kitchy, cluttery paradise.

I hope it will get easier once I’ve pared my belongings down to a more monastic level. I’m actually selling off some furniture and preparing to take on a cozy little studio for my next abode. Something newer, with cleaner lines and probably less character. If Zach and I were still getting married, this place would be too small for us. But it’s too big for me. Ain’t big enough for me and all of these six-legged roommates, though. I hope Friday’s Bugpocalypse takes the rest of them out. Otherwise, we’re talking Thunderdome levels of carnage here. No bug left behind. Balls-out, cage duel, bloody, free-for-all time.

Please. Tell me if you've ever had a similar plague, and what fixed it for you. I really want to actually be able to live in the space I'm paying for. To have those cabinets for storage, instead of wondering what horrors I'd see next if I dare to open one.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The triumphant hero limps home after a Pyrric victory and re-learns childish hope

Almost a year by my count, it's been, since I put down the electric pen because I really didn't know what to do with it anymore.

A lot has happened, a lot has changed, and I write scattered ADD-addled thoughts, not epics. So, in brief, the identity of this blog has changed right along with me, and now that things are finally a little less psychopathic in my life, I think I can sort out my thoughts enough to start sharing them again.

I think the last thing we talked about was Occupy. It was still kind of nascent in November 2011. I was all fired-up about it, I went up one weekend to participate in Occupy Indianapolis, and in two days I watched it turn from a vibrant, energizing, change-hope-full place with a sense of community into a den of infighting, prideful jockeying for agenda control, and, finally, so toxic an environment that one woman kicked another woman, who was pregnant, in the stomach, caused her to go into premature labor, and shortly thereafter everyone in the group who had a clue about decentralized governing was driven out, for their own self-preservation's sake, because apparently the common-held view was that putting out folks who are hijacking the movement for their own gains, or just plain downright violent, wouldn't be right because "everybody gets a voice here." Welp, game over, folks. Part of the game, from the get-go, was to not condone violence or forced hierarchy, but whatevs, it was a nice idea. At least on the national end of things, some people are still having some good conversations.

I was burnt out for a long time after that general time-period. Not saying it was in any way Occupy that caused it, but the general undertone-lesson of "fight like hell and you'll still lose and it will still all fall apart" has kind of been a thing in my life for half a decade anyway. It got very, very hard to shake. For several months, I just gave up, and let life happen to me, and was miserable, and figured well, maybe all that stuff about dreams was pure fantasy and it's just supposed to be this awful. Know what? Screw that false inner monologue. I don't care what it takes, I'll get there.

Oh, what else... Well, I only went to design school for a semester because I didn't want to take out any more debt. 30K plus the credit-card debt I took on while I couldn't find a full-time job is enough, thank you. So I got on at AT&T, I've been in Evansville for six months, and I'm finally starting to catch up on things. Six to twelve more months, and I'll be a little ahead. For the first time,w ell, ever in my adult life, and that hope feels damn good.

I also got un-engaged. Tomorrow would have been our five-year anniversary, but I just wasn't all in it anymore, and neither was he, and it just needed to happen, so it hurt like hell, but I let him go. I wasn't really ready to commit to being an "us" because I still am not anywhere near a point where the creation known as "me" is stable enough to even ponder something like permanence. Honestly, I still haven't even gotten out of the Midwest yet, and it's a lot easy to pack up and mobilize one person than two. So yes, I'm OK.

I've started writing poetry again. It's been at least two years, maybe three, since I actually finished one, so that's cool. And since I don't know if I'll get back to Indianapolis in the next year, or ever, I've squared with the fact that this isn't going to be a street-style blog anymore. There are plenty of other things for us to share. It'll be fine. I still want to talk about fashion. I'm just also a nerd for poetry, politics, sci-fi, and really fun local events when I can afford to go, so the next time I sit to write a post and I'd really talk more about, say, what Mayor Ballard screwed up this time instead of what Balenciaga put on a runway, I'm gonna go with it!

Awright, y'all. Let's do this.

"Hope," by Joanna Hoffman. Also known as my new mantra.