Thursday, October 31, 2013


I think the neighborhood kids hate me. I live 10 yards away from a playground in an area with several terrible kids who scream bloody murder at 8 a.m. at the bus stop 20 yards away from our house. I put up all these fun Halloween gel clings on our front door, sent Geo out for three bags on candy, turned on our front door light and waited for those ankle-biters to ring our doorbell all night long. But they never came.

The children never came.

We had zero trick-or-treaters. (Somehow, the mini Twix bars still disappeared from the bowl anyway.) Plus, I didn't even get to dress up this year.

I would like to think of myself as something of a costume connoisseur, and I really let my freak flag fly on Halloween. But this was the first year (I think?) that I didn't dress up and it was pretty lame. In previous years, I've dressed as everything from a mermaid, a head on a platter, a flamingo and an Amish girl on rumspringa to Slash from Guns N' Roses, J.Lo, and Suri Cruise complete with diaper. But this year, I didn't dress up as anything except Girl Who Watches TV And Eats Twix Like It's Her Job Before Seriously Considering Taking Up Bulimia.

So on top of no costumes, I also had no stupid kids in costumes bothering me all night. How rude of them. I have candy! And didn't they see the gel clings?! What more do I need to do in order to get some kids into my house? Buy a creepy old van? Whatever. Fine. Kids can hate me and point to my house and whisper that it belongs to a witch who never brushes her hair and always wears pajamas, but I can deal with it. You know why?

Because I probably have more candy than all of them. Oh, and I can drive. Zing. Nailed it. Dumb kids.

Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I took this week off of work. Initially, I had scheduled this time to really nest my way into Rochester, but because we've already been here for like two months, there are very few nesting opportunities that have not already been tackled. So this week has been...not productive.

On Monday, I spent the day laughing at Tina Fey's "Bossypants" audiobook on my 100-hour drive back from Chicago. But after that, I had nothing planned. Nothing. Zip. And now, I'm halfway through my big week off, and here's what I've accomplished:

* Took 2-hour naps after driving Geo to work in the mornings
* Painted my fingernails AND toenails at the same time, AND the same color AND without falling asleep and getting sheet marks on any of them
* Watched two movies
* Watched 6 episodes of "Law and Order: SVU" in a row
* Made an actual dinner (chili, cornbread and apple crumble)
* Bought ice cream...and then ate all the ice cream
* Measured a dress zipper to go buy a replacement zipper and learn to replace it. Only got as far as measuring it
* Checked the mail
* Hid from the UPS guy because I was laying on the floor in a t-shirt and one sock pretending to do crunches, but really just seeing if I could make a carpet angel
* Unpacked my china
* Put on a mud mask that I'm only SORT OF SURE was not past it's expiration date
* Went to the bank
* Bragged to the banker about my amazingly exciting staycation
* Got a videogame for Geo, but then he moved the XBox downstairs to play it, and now I can't play GTAV without walking down like 20 stairs, so I haven't seen it all week.
* Spent an entire afternoon without my phone because I couldn't find it (it was in the pocket of my sweatpants which I had ditched in an effort to complete the aforementioned crunches
* Tried to come up with some amazing blog topics...and failed

So, as you can see, it's been a suuuuuper rad week so far. Let's see if the rest of it lives up to these amazingly high expectations....

Monday, October 28, 2013


I woke up this morning and found a giant zit on my nose. Oh, nature. You cruel, cruel bitch. I am 100 years old and still battling with clogged pores and hormones. How terribly Macbeth-ian. I know that's not accurate, but I don't care. I'm too old to care about what I say anymore.

It's my birthday. I am surprised that I need to tell you this, because usually I have a good, long 12-week countdown to my birthday and I make sure to announce it as much as possible. But this year, I simply forgot. Blame it on age, blame it on Rochester-related depression, but I simply forgot that my birthday -- the most IMPORTANT day of anyone's year -- was today.

Before my amazing parents and super-fun aunt Sarah showed up tonight for an impromptu delicious, carb-y dinner tonight, I drove 6 hours back from seeing my bestie best best Madeline in Chicago. That super long car ride back from Chi-town to Crochfester was a long time to be alone on a birthday.

I tried to be cool about it and think about the awesome things that come with age. But all that stops at 25 when you can finally rent a car. After that, there's nothing important and it's simply not adorable to send out b-day invitations. After 25, birthdays are just ways of measuring what you HAVEN'T done....and then everything is dumb and over-thought.

I refuse to actually admit how old I am today. I do. Not because I am crazy or vain, but because I never want you guys to think of me any older than 25. That way, my lazy showering habits and ratio of bottles of wine to nights in the week remains firmly rooted in the naivete that is the mid-twenties. I feel comfortable there. I expect zits there.

So, without the fanfare and giant publicity stunt that usually comes with my birthday, I had this weird, uncomfortable, disgusting feeling. I do believe I'm growing up. But my God, how gross is this: I'm more worried about the aging eggs shriveling up in my body than the number of beer bongs I could do on a regular birthday night (answer: 5). This has never happened before.

A lot of people hit some magic age and think "I am this age, I need to be doing these things." But in my case, I've been coasting comfortably on "OMG, as long as no one knows I'm 100, I don't have to deal with real life." Age, to me, is only about how you feel. And I've always felt 25. Even when I was 21.

I loathe getting older as a woman. It's downright garbage. We are always supposed to be at some "phase" in our lives. If we're not mothers, we're supposed to be aspiring mothers, or soon-to-be wives or some such garbage that will always make women feel like whatever we are doing to just be cool at life is bull. At my age (which is 25), you start to realize that people are the worst. There is no magic age that you're supposed to be doing anything. Period.

Today, on my drive home, I thought about what I have built in the last 238592375810348673486 years. I thought about my family, my parents, my siblings, my husband, my in-laws and my friends. I thought "Is there any person on the planet luckier than me?" And I know there isn't. For the first birthday ever, I thought more about the people I have in my life and less about how many people showed up to a birthday party.

Tonight, I will be celebrating the fact that, despite being older, I am zero percent wiser. I still want my parents to tell me how to do things, and I still expect Geo (who is now my husband) to treat me like the clueless girl who sometimes shows up to overcook his chicken. But, it is my birthday, so here's my birthday wish:

I wish that you all could be half as lucky as me and twice as appreciative, but possess only a fraction of the neurosis.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kate. Spade.

I had an awesome weekend, which was very crucial because I won't lie to you: Adjusting to living in Rochester has been a little rougher than I thought. So this weekend, I headed back to the Cities for a girl's night with Kim, wine and Center Stage on Friday night and on Saturday night, we went to an Oktoberfest party with a bunch of other pals I haven't even seen since our wedding.

But the most revitalizing thing I did all weekend was to hit up the BRAND NEW KATE SPADE STORE! It just opened in Edina at a mall just 1 mile away from my old apartment just weeks after I moved. (I am trying not to take that too personally.)

Going to the Kate Spade store was much like going to Disneyworld. It was bright and beautiful and it had a billion things I wanted to take my picture with. But, much like Disneyworld, there was a massive sticker shock that came when I wanted to get on the rides. And at the end of the day, it was just a little overwhelming.

I peeked into display cases of jewelry, ran my fingers along the pristine clothing and tried out bag after bag commenting to Kim (my shopping buddy) how much I just loved every single one more than the last. I didn't want to leave.

But unlike online shopping for Kate Spade, I couldn't filter out things that would cost me an arm, leg and soul. So I got stuck falling in love over and over again with $50 socks, $500 watches, $700 coats and $900 bags that I knew I would never own. It was rough. I wanted Kim to take my pic in front of the store, but I thought even that would cost me my grocery money for the week.

And then it got super crowded. The checkout lines snaked through the store, full of Edina hockey moms buying a couple of those $900 bags while chatting to a friend on their phone about barre classes and not wearing mismatched socks. I suddenly felt very out of place. The customers and the girls working in the store were all perfectly shiny and pretty and wearing ironed clothes. Shoppers picked out whatever their little heart desired and the girls behind the counter would gently tuck bag after bag into the colorful Kate Spade boxes I put on display at home in our china cabinet.

Then there was me. I had gotten more dressed up to shop at Kate Spade than I did for my own prom. I was clean, had styled my hair and actually had clean, cute clothes on. But inside the bright, beautiful store, everything on me just kind of seemed....dull. I clutched my own Kate Spade bag that I had snagged last year at a sample sale online, fiddled with my Kate Spade necklaces and scrolled through my email on my Kate-Spade-case-protected phone to find a 30% off coupon. It's like I was wearing the right uniform, but I was at the wrong school.

Maybe it was the overly-chipper staff or the non-chalant way that other women were picking out bags without even peeking inside at the price tag or the bright paint and decor inside the store, but I suddenly had the feeling that I needed to buy EVERYTHING in the store to feel like I am in the same league as the other women.

Luckily (or not), my bank card seemed to yell at me from inside my Kate Spade wallet, screaming out reminders to me that I am NOT in that league, but that was okay because MY Kate Spade purchase would not just be another bag in a garage-sized walk-in closet full of designer labels and diamond shoes. These people may have the goods, but they'd never love Kate Spade stuff like I love Kate Spade stuff.

After getting that little lecture from my checking account, I plucked out what was possibly the smallest bag in the store, pulled out my $48 gift card I had from an old return, and flashed my 30% percent coupon before paying about half-price for my newest best friend.

It was such a deal that I went home and ordered a pair of earrings from

Anyway, I loved shopping at the new store and will definitely be going back again and again, even though it made me question my values and doubt my self-worth. But really, doesn't that happen in any love affair?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CustomHer Service - Ipsy Edition

There is nothing I like more than giving Customer Service a piece of my mind. I love it. I crave the opportunity to give feedback, both helpful and spiteful. So I have decided to regularly bless you all with my wisdom. That's right. I'm going to relay my experience with Customer Service with different companies on a very regular basis because I am an expert and I want to help you all avoid the same nightmare companies I have battled (Comcast) and encourage you to work with companies I love (Zappos! Hooray! Gold standard!)

Listen, I have gotten married, moved, cancelled cable, and shopped out of spite, anger, depression, excitement and happiness lately. I've had a LOT of experience with the folks over at CS lately.

So yeah, I'm going to start regularly reporting on the good, bad and ugly side of dealing with the dreaded Customer Service.


Today's inaugural edition of CustomHer Service is focused on Ipsy is a monthly subscription deal that you pay $10 for and every month, you're supposed to get a bag full of beauty products you might never purchase but end up either tossing or loving. It started as pretty fun and a little confusing (what is "lip liner"? What am I supposed to do with this soy "hair wash"?) But I grew to love it.

Then August came. I was getting married and getting ready to move. Needless to say, I was not focused on whatever nail polish and body lotion I was supposed to get in the mail. So, I missed the fact that Ipsy had totally neglected to send me my bag o' pretty. In fact, I didn't realize it until like 3 days ago. My sister Padrin, who also subscribes to Ipsy, assured me that their CS rules and I'd receive an apology, a free package, AND a reimbursement for the month I missed. So I emailed Customer Service.

"Hi. I didn't get my August Glam Bag." (I know, I also hate the term "glam bag", but what can ya do?) "I know I should have realized this sooner, but I didn't because I'm an idiot. Can I get it resent to me?"

Response (paraphrased): Sorry, we have a 45-day return policy so there is nothing you can do. But hey, don't you just still LOOOOOVE ipsy?! Keep on not cancelling us!

I was unsatisfied with this response and centimeters away from straight-up cancelling. I was reading their email before I was about to get into bed. Geo looked at me with my glasses on, my lips pursed and my hip jutting out as I stood in our bedroom doorway, furiously typing on my phone. He was all "Uh oh, this can't be good."

See, I'm kind of known for letting CS have it when I'm displeased (but also when I'm thrilled!). When I feel cheated, I hurl the phrases "disappointed," "I expected better from you," and "You have no idea what I'm going through" like they are common salutations. I want what I want when I want it, and I don't want to overpay for it. So if and when I get pwnd, I get SUPER annoyed.

In this case, I gave ipsy the benefit of the doubt because I actually do LOVE their service (they send SUPER cute stuff and really fun products that I'd never even think to buy, but then decide that I simply can't live without...even though they've sent me 3 of the same nail polishes in a row. Bygones). Instead of launching a full-fledged "I'M NOT PAYING FOR YOUR CRAPPY SHIPPING PRACTICES" attack, like I would normally do, I instead opted for the "Well, I'm unhappy with that result. Can you reimburse me for the lost month of product?"

I waited about 5 hours before I was informed that they would, in fact, send me that $10 package that I pathetically wait for every month. I had won. It was a success, but it was not one I'm proud of. Ten bucks? That's what I was fighting for?

I'm annoyed that ipsy made me fight even relatively hard for the stuff I pay a tiny fee for every month. I want tiny eyeshadows and adorable shampoo samples as much as the next guy, but I don't want to have to get all dragon about it. I don't want to have to hip-jut my way into not being robbed of $10. That's just poor form.

So, I will end this first installment of CustomHer Service with this: ipsy is great, but their problem-solving is terrible. If your whole business relies on people giving you money every month to send them adorable things, and then you DON'T send those adorable things? Apologize, fix it and make it easier to recommend the service to others.

My Take: ipsy is okay, but may consider Birchbox.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to Commute

Today was my 2nd trip to and from Rochester for work. It takes an hour to get to the office and 4 days to get home, I think. Or, at least that's how it feels. But I will go ahead and consider myself an expert in commuting to work and have decided to give you all some helpful tips.

1) Make sure you start your journey at the butt crack of dawn. I choose somewhere around 6:15 or so in order to make sure I can see the sunrise on the way to work. Makes for a lovely trip and is a brutal reminder that you have showered, made coffee, put on matching shoes (hopefully) and driven halfway to work before the sun even comes up.

2) Try to break up the trip by giving yourself mini-rewards at regular intervals. Like, 15 minutes in? I start drinking my coffee. And 30 minutes in, I get to turn off my I Heart Radio app and tune in to real radio stations again. At the 45-minute mark, I roll down my window and spit sunflower seeds out of it. By the time I'm making the final turn into the office, I feel like I've really accomplished some things.

3) It is important to be prepared for a long commute. I bring: A water bottle, coffee, snacks, sunflower seeds, and a Go-Girl in case of emergencies. (I kid!) But most importantly is the mental preparation. It's going to be a long time before you actually get anywhere, so don't be a jackwad and try and stay connected with your phone. Put that guy away and refrain from texting, Facebooking and generally being an idiot. If you absolutely must speak to someone, bring along a friend or get over it and just be quiet for awhile.

4) Podcasts can be a real treat. They can be very interesting and funny and an excellent way to pass the time, if you choose the right ones. I recommend the Nerdist, Comedy Bang Bang, How Did This Get Made, This American Life and Ted Talks to get you started.

5) Okay, cruise control can be your best friend or it can be the devil. In the afternoon, it's lovely. But in the morning, setting your car to cruise and zoning out can be a super bad idea. Keep yourself alert by constantly changing speeds. Try slamming on your brakes before accelerating up to 90 every once in awhile. Keep it interesting.

6) Temperature is tough. Right now, it's freezing cold in the morning and warm and sunny in the afternoon. In the morning, a warm car is as risky as driving after slugging back some NyQuil. Keep it chilly. Plus, the teeth-chattering will give you something to do. In the afternoon, you can roll down your windows and chillax. This will, however, make it very noisy in the car so turn up your talking podcast super loud. Other motorists will be jealous of your diverse interests.

7) It is unavoidable: Every person on the road will be annoying and terrible at life. They will cruise at 2 mph under you and hang out in the left lane right next to a semi. Fight the urge to GTA your way through the situation. Instead, drive pretty close to them and extend your middle finger up in the air very aggressively while yelling helpful suggestions out the window such as "GET OUT OF THE LEFT LANE, @(*$)(%*#*%$*@&!!!!" Expert tip: Turn your podcast down before doing this so they can hear you loud and clear.

8) Go ahead and play the alphabet game by yourself on the drive. Because guess what! No one is around to call you out for cheating by counting the K in "Kwik Trip" as a Q because it's not your fault they spelled it wrong. Bonus? You win every time.

9) Speed can be a conundrum. On the one hand, you want to get to your destination and OUT of that godforsaken car so bad that you may be tempted to go way too fast. On the other hand, you may be so afraid of getting a ticket that you play it like a nerd and drive the speed limit. My tip? For every 5 cars you pass, let one pass you. I don't know how or if that works, but it sounds about right. Almost scientific. Right?

10) Finally, when you eventually get home at the end of the day after sitting in a car and sitting at a desk and then sitting in a car again, find yourself inexplicably exhausted and lay down for a nap. Then wake up and play a driving video game because you are insane.

There you go! I figure if you follow these 10 tips, your commute will fly by!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Let's Go Crazy

"Get ready. You have 15 minutes until we are leaving."

Those were the instructions from my sister Prinna last night. I had had a really rough Friday night at home by myself in Rochester for the first time ever, so I went back home and spent the rest of the weekend with my parents and sister. Turns out, Prinna had the skinny on a supercalifragilistic event. Prince - PRINCE - was having a surprise concert at his Paisley Park recording studio. Those were all the details we had. There was the concert of a lifetime and it would only cost me a $50 donation and some serious soul-searching.

See, it turns out, I'm not the spontaneous kind of girl I'd like to think I am. Without a schedule, advance ticket sales, assigned seating and a firm parking plan, I was less-than-enthusiastic to spend my Saturday in chaos. But Prinna was adamant...this WOULD be a fun night. Whether I liked it or not.

So I put on my leather skirt (yay! It's already come in handy!), a white tee and jean jacket with some freaking high wedge boots. I slapped some makeup on and came out of my parents bathroom in 7 minutes. Prinna was all "Let's go...crazy."

We drove in her minivan to Paisley Park where a line had been forming since 10 a.m. The lady told us "You can't park here. You either have to go to Target and walk 1/4 mile back to get in line, or park at a remote lot and wait 1 1/2 hours for a shuttle."

Strike one.

Obviously, we weren't going to walk because we are not stupid. We parked and waited in a line of about 30 people in a Lifetime Fitness parking lot. (The attendant there was like "Are you here for the Prince concert?" And I was all, "No, I'm coming to work out...idiot." He laughed and sent us towards the line. An hour later, a ginormous shuttle and luxury van showed up.

[I should note here that Prince explicitly forbids alcohol AND cellphones at these shows. So, while everyone was calm and sober, we were downright lost without our phones. It was like being naked...and sober.]

So as Prinna and I start to board the bus, the bus driver stop us and are all "Sorry, all full." We were pissed. Strike two.

But then they directed us to the fancy shmancy van behind the bus where we waited with 15 other people who were equally uncomfortable without phones. Oddly enough, we all started chatting and it turned out to be amazing.

Forty-five minutes later, we left the parking lot. I was SURE we'd be at the end of the very long line only to find out that we weren't getting in. I was like "Well, at least I saved $50. Someone's buying some new shoes tomorrow."

But we drove to Paisley Park...and then we PASSED BY everyone who had camped in the rain and waited in line since that morning and drove right through the gate. To the front entrance. We were dropped off RIGHT AT THE FRONT. We had skipped the line in a luxury van.

I kept thinking "This can't be happening. Coming to see Prince at a surprise concert could NOT be this easy." I kept waiting for someone to come over to us and be like "You're at the wrong concert, dummies," or something because it had all been way too lucky so far.

We wait in line again for another half-hour or so and then the doors open. Prinna and I ended up being like the 20th and 21st person admitted inside. We paid our donation, and went into this enormous room with this incredible stage. And when I say we got close, WE GOT CLOSE. There were no more than three people between me and me licking Prince's mic stand.

Then more waiting.

But I totally didn't mind. Some warm-up musicians came on and sang with a little 18-PIECE BAND known as New Power Generation and Prinna and I were IN AWE. There is no way to explain how amazing these musicians were. And even the 50-year-old idiot who tried to smoke pot right next to us and then got kicked out couldn't ruin the vibe. And even though my feet were bloody stumps inside my 5-inch wedge boots, I felt amazing.

The doors opened at about 9:15. At around 12:15, my life changed forever when Prince sauntered up on stage with absolutely no fanfare. He just came on during a warm up song, wearing the most amazing 'fro and heeled-boots ever. Then he broke into song and it was all I could do to not weep during "Diamonds and Pearls". He was the show-stopping, top-of-his-game singing musical genius I had always hoped he'd be. And then he'd talk into the mic in this tiny, quiet voice that made me want to crawl up on stage and get inside a Baby Bjorn that he'd carry around stage.

He played for TWO HOURS. My ears have never been happier. If it weren't totally gross and probably a medical emergency, they would have wept with gratitude that I had given them this experience. Prince sounded AMAZING and the band? The band was the best band on the planet. And would probably win every Battle of the Bands competition on Jupiter.

The best part of the night was when Prince whisper-talked into the mic that Purple Rain was Minneapolis' song. Prinna said "I felt like I was on acid during that song. It was unbelievable." And I would have agreed with her if the lump in my throat wouldn't have been there. It was the most indescribable musical experience I will likely ever have.

He played some standards that I sang along to (quietly, because I didn't want to miss one note that came out of that tiny, beautiful man's mouth) and then a bunch of others that I had never heard. But it didn't matter. They were all my favorites. And if you have forgotten, I was THREE PEOPLE away from a musical icon. I could see his sweaty brow, his fingernails, the bedazzling on his tulle cape and I felt like I could feel his breath on my face. It was absolutely surreal. For $50 bucks.

Two and a half hours later, Prinna and I were heading back to the car (after another amazingly-lucky line jump) and in la-la land. It's like we were high on the music. We got home at like 3 a.m. and I fell asleep with "Nothing Compares 2 U" in my head and a smile on my face.

This morning, I was reliving the whole experience to my parents. I tried to explain everything to them, and just wanted to show them pictures of Paisley Park and Prince and NPG, but I couldn't. I didn't have a concert tee or a hand stamp. I had nothing but the images and notes smashed inside my brain. And while I feel a little bad that I can't share it with others, I feel amazing that I got to have it all to myself.

And to think...I would have missed it all if Prinna hadn't insisted that I buck up and try something new for once. I guess some pretty amazing things can happen when you leave your scheduling, phone and inhibitions behind.