Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Needful Things: July 2013

Every now and then, I find myself just excited and happy and squeeing with delight over something. I'm not a particularly material person, but I am distracted easily by shiny things... but there are some things this month that have just made me particulary super happy. And I thought I would share them.

1. Short hair. I regularly chop off my very fine, thin hair and then let it grow out and then cut it short again. But This year, I actually have a defined jawline and the short hair might be a keeper. Plus, I despise the feeling of hair on the back of my neck.

When I was trying to do my hair for the first time after I got this cut, I thought "holy crap, I look like my mom!"

My second thought was "I have Justin Bieber's hair."

Then "Why does Justin Bieber have an old lady's haircut?"

I wanted to put that funny thought on Twitter but didn't. I've seen those with the Bieber fever go all gangsta on the haters, and I don't need the wrath of a bunch of per-pubescents on my hands. But seriously--my own kids are smack dab in the demographic and they don't even like his music. Who are all of these fans of his? Hmm.

2.  Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques, 200 Recipes, A Cook's Manifesto. Now that I'm no longer working at the magazine and have some free time on my hands, I've been thinking a lot about cooking, wanting to sharpen my skills and maybe even go to culinary school. Or at least take some lessons. Or a few classes. Well, really, I just want to make a killer sauce for now. Hey, doesn't that one book have some info on sauces. Holy crap--a whole chapter? Score.

I found this book when I worked at the magazine, was so impressed by it that I went out and bought a copy. It's divided into chapters by technique and will teach you pretty much everything you want to learn about cooking. It's a lost art. I want to find it. I love to cook because I love to eat. 'Nuff said. They even have an e-book version, but I'm not a fan of the e-book cookbook. And now I'm fixin' to fix some sauce. And who knows what else I might learn? Now I just need to actually read it and learn it. I swear I'll do it.

3. ELF slanted eyeliner brush. Really. This is my must-have. I went through and purged probably a thousand dollars of makeup products, spanning back maybe 15 years? So it wasn't like I was pitching anything that I should be keeping. But as I'm filling up this trash bag with old makeup and remembering fondly the whens and wheres of how I came to have amassed such a collection, I couldn't help thinking to myself: "this is why we can't have nice things." Sigh. And I couldn't help but notice that even though I adhere to a very neutral palette of colors, there were a lot of recently-purchased "what the hell was I thinking?" items (orangey-red lipstick. purple eye shadow palette) that were purchased because some fashion magazine convinced me that said product would change my life.

Well, they would change my bottom line. Not my life. But this little $3 gem is fantastic. It's a pet peeve of mine when eyeliner isn't right there up against the eyelashes. Because if it's not it makes one look like a crazy person. Enter this slanted brush that makes it possible to get that close with minimal effort. A match made in heaven.

4. The return of the Music Mamas. Once upon a time, there was a collaborative blog called the Music Mamas. I loved this blog, I would stalk visit and comment and just basically commit mad hero worship. These ladies were my tribe; my age, loved music and didn't let the whole family-having get in the way of their love of good music.

Then one day, I was asked to join the club, and that would be my way cool retro avatar there on the left. And I squeed, I did. I squeed. I posted and commented and helped to start a kids music page and pretty soon, everyone else took their Barbies and went home. [tap tap] Hello? Is this thing on?

As is the way of life, it got in the way of fun. The Music Mamas fell by the wayside. But the Mamas are back and excited about sharing music once again. And I totally squeed again, for what it's worth. You need to go check it out because these women are hard-core, music-loving badasses whose collective music collections could totally kick your ass, but in that good way that makes you want to come back for more.

5. Audible Audiobooks. I am a runner. But lately, on the track, the music has been a distraction. It's hard to get out of your head when you are focusing on the songs. It's hard to zone out when you're brought back to consciousness every three to five minutes when a new song starts. I'd signed up for an Audible audiobooks account when it was cheap and figured I'd give that a try--for a flat fee, you get a "free" book every month.

And it was amazing. Motivating. If I want to find out what happens next? I have to hit the track. I quickly ran my way through The Fault in our Stars and then The Good House. Faltered when I chose The Great Gatsby (thought the audiobook version would make me better like Hemingway, but ... no) and also in the plodding The Hangman's Daughter, which I eventually had to give up because I found that it was making me avoid running because the book was just boring me to tears. So I switched to Silver Linings Playbook, which I am currently loving, and mentally high-fiving Pat and our shared dislike of Hemingway and not questioning the fact that the books that I've liked best have had sick central characters (be it cancer, alcoholism or mental illness).

So, that's what I'm loving this month. None of these items are sponsored. All opinions are my own. This is just all the stuff that's making me happy right now.


  1. 1. I'm loving your new "pixie" cut. I refuse to think you resemble Justin Bieber.
    2. Please cook for me ANY TIME.
    3. I'm wearing a purple palette of eye shadow right NOW.
    4.This mama can't wait to check out Music Mamas!
    5.I miss commuting because I listened to books on tape in the car. Found stories I'd never have read otherwise.

    1. 1. Thank you and thank you!
      2. I can cook for you. Shel can vouch for my lasagna.
      3. Damn! I should have saved mine for you.
      4. Come check us out. We welcome groupies.
      5. I miss commuting because I like music with swears. The kids in the car totally put a buzzkill on that.

  2. Fault in our stars is on my list. I need to do this before the movie.