I Tried ‘TheMoth’ Again – Theme Envy

Some insight into my youth: I was never, nor am I now, a cool chick. Not cool at all. In fact, probably the opposite of it, and probably because I wanted to be cool so badly.

With age comes wisdom, and wisdom is basically knowing that you’re not cool and not caring about it. I’m really wise, guys.

Anyway, the theme of the evening was “Envy.” I wrestled with the theme because I try not to be envious of anyone, except Beyoncé. (I think we can all agree, she’s pretty much ruling the world, and even with her 8th grade education, she’s still cooler and smarter than us mere mortals.) But aside from that, I’m pretty OK with who I am.

However, that’s not always been the case, has it? And when I dared to look back into my past, I realized I was really jealous in middle school. Below is a short (less than 5min storytelling) story of one of my darkest moments, and also, how I learned my lesson.

the moth logo


You may not be able to tell by my Olympic physique, but I was – am – terrible at sports.

And ALL I wanted to do when I was growing up was be in my school’s volleyball team. The girls in the volleyball team were the coolest. I had some friends in the team, and every year they just seemed to get cooler. They had developed a short hand; they had specific uniforms, knee-pads, and special sneakers they got at Foot Locker – not like my cheap frilly ones from K-mart.

My parents had refused to invest in expensive sportswear for me, and for good reason. I have absolutely no hand-eye coordination, no depth perception. If a ball was going left I went right, just absolutely clueless when it came to any sort of sport. If there was a speed reading competition, watch out. I would own that!

I had no concept of shame. I tried out for the team every year; I wanted to be cool like all the other girls. You know, when you’re in elementary school everyone is kind of together, there’s no real clique yet. But every year that passed it became clearer that I was not sticking with my cooler friends who were making it into the volleyball team, they had tournaments, they were let out of class early to make it to games across town on time, and they complained about being tired because they got home from practice soooo late.

Ugh, I wanted to complain about being tired!

They also looked cool. They had cool pony tail accessories, cool sneakers, and VB Rags. If you don’t know what VB Rags are, you are really missing out. They look like a cross breed between MC Hammer pants, if they were shorts, and Magnum PI Hawaiian prints on them. Yeah, hindsight. But they would bring the new collections to school, and they weren’t cheap pants, contrary to what they looked like. And the girls on the team would be let out of class so they could pick out their colors and buy pants for the season. I really wanted VB Rags.

There was an unspoken rule at my school that 6th graders were allowed in any team, even if they hadn’t participated in any sports prior to that. 6th grade was the equivalent of high school seniors at my school, and they wanted to give us a chance to be in a team sport. We were a charity case. But again, I stress, no shame. So, I tried out, and this time, I made the team.

First order of business, get my pudgy self into those VB Rags, a children’s extra large team t-shirt, and convinced my parents to take me to Foot Locker. I am in the volleyball team, I repeated this several times at the store.

Now, again, in hindsight, I should have picked up on some of the clues at the store, but I had fallen in love with a pair of sneakers, and no one could talk me out of them. They were green, black, with white piping high top court sneakers. It’s the early 90’s take it with a grain of salt.

The day finally arrives, the first tournament where I’m going to participate. I had a scrunchy that matched my VB Rags and my freaking awesome sneakers with the knee-pads coolly resting on top of them. Everyone knows you don’t pull up your knee-pads until you’re going to play! I had been practicing my volleyball-girl attitude and look FOREVER! Aaaand I spent a good 2/3rds of the game warming that bench real nice.

Finally, when we were so far ahead and there were maybe a couple of minutes left, I was allowed to go in. I played. Well, looked at the ball go back and forth. Whatever. I was in the winning team, and it went to my head real fast.

We went to sit at the bleachers to watch the boys’ part of the tournament begin. I did my best to imitate the cool way the other girls were sitting, because they knew how to sit on the bleachers. I was really uncomfortable. When 3 boys from one of the other cool schools walked in front of us, AND THEY WERE WEARING THE SAME SNEAKERS.

I was wearing boy sneakers. There were red flags at the store, but I hadn’t picked up on them.

And just like that, my cool moment ended. I was never going to be a cool girl, in middle school, there’s no way to bounce back from wearing gender bending footwear.



Aesthetics Matter

Admit it, you judge. (Even if it’s a little, you judge.) Which is why aesthetics definitely matter.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you and themselves. I’m not saying that you have to be god’s gift to eyesight, nor am I promoting vapid and superficial behavior. My argument stands on the fact that how we take care of ourselves speaks volumes on how we want to be perceived. We grew up being told by our parents not to care about what other people thought or said about us. While I generally agree with this statement, as I entered the workforce I got a completely different message: “dress for the job you’d like to have.” So, quite a conundrum… but not really. The message is: find who you are, independently from what anybody else wants to categorize you as, and then portray that image. It all starts from within, it’s all an internal struggle to figure out who we are. In the end, most of the things we spend our lives trying to figure out are clearly displayed for everyone else to see in the way we dress, smell, apply make up, and look in general.

Which is why I’ve decided to decicate an entry to the superficial, the aesthetics of morning rituals.

I love make up, I love perfumes, and I love products. I am unapologetically a girl when it comes to all of this. Call me high-maintenance… I don’t care.  Just don’t call me selfish, because I’m going to share my beauty finds with you now.

I have developed a new obsession with the Stila in the Garden palate.

Stila in the Garden – Eye Shadow

The outcome: A light color, spring ready look. Did I mention that the eyeliner is water resistant? It washes out easily, but with the wind gusts in Chicago it’s perfect! Doesn’t smudge and stays in place. I was addicted to black eyeliner, and I love a good cat-eye, so this was quite surprising… but in a good way.


Continue reading Aesthetics Matter

The Things You Do To Me, Spring

Blame it on the sudden furor of Pinterest or the many shows on HGTV my mother made me watch (that’s right it always goes back to blaming the parents) but my subconscious has suddenly re-awakened my need for DIY projects.

Most of the blame might actually fall on the lovely sunny days we’ve had in Chicago, and the fact that Alyson and I live in a garden level apartment. That’s right, the change in the air has made me… optimistic and bright! Ugh, Pollyanna is unleashed again! I spent an hour an a half at Home Depot choosing colors, flowers, and other DIY necessities. (I could’ve spent more time, but I was hungry, and I calculated how much money I was actually about to spend. I am no longer aloud inside Home Depot without supervision… same thing happened with Sephora, Blick, and Staples/Office Depot.)

Some of my Home Depot loot.

Funny story: Back hurts miserably because we found out that the tree is all shallow roots followed by a pretty sweet layer of stone. Can’t dig very deep… flowers ended up in outdoor pots. Hands got dirty, job well done. (I’m only showing the pretty pics on the blog, though – I don’t sweat. Or there’s no evidence of it, at least.)

I also got some flowers for inside the apartment. I got really into “The Secret Garden” when I was young and have been unable to shake off the fascination with English gardens.

AH, darn literature (*shaking fist in the air*)

After shopping, cleaning, planning, and planting I cooked myself a nice lunch. Well-deserved, may I add, and with those gorgeous flowers for a lovely background. How can you not be happy with flowers?

Ah, painting the bedroom. That will be left for the upcoming week… there are other pressing matters coming up this weekend like eating cheese and drinking beer (both of which I gave up for Lent.) I’m such a bad Catholic this is the time I choose to make up for it – or it’s when the guilt kicks in, whichever comes first.


After the back breaking manual labor of the last 2 days (we really took “spring cleaning” seriously) I woke up today for an extra personal training with Monique and Mike. I agreed to it, totally my fault, by the way. So, up early on a Saturday morning, Mike decided the nice weather meant we should do a little boot camp-style section in the kids section of the park. I. Will. Never. Look. At. A. Kids. Park. The. Same. Way. EVER! I’m in pain, I better be gaining a lot – and not in pounds! It all comes back to maintaining weight, food, and wedding parties, doesn’t it? Oh well,I guess there are worse things in life.


Down with Downton

I could’ve easily called this post “What is a weekend?” and gotten the same point across. The point is I’m obsessed, and 1) I don’t care who knows it, 2) frankly, I’m concerned if you’re NOT obsessed!

If you don’t watch because of the great story lines, their ability to seamlessly transition between the historical drama and references, or the very least their AMAZING costumes… then you should AT LEAST watch for the incomparable Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess Grantham!

The woman is the epitome of perfection in this role. Not to take away from her illustrious career, of course! But as the Dowager Countess she blends the air of superiority with the minor nuances of a woman of her time with such ease that it is easy to forget she is NOT actually a Dowager Countess from the turn of the previous century!

Always remember: “Don’t be defeatist, it’s so middle class!”

With that said I leave you. I’m on my way to meet some great young ladies and try to put on some funny sketches together!

Wish me luck!

Mid-Morning Snack

Just a quick note: mid-morning snacks = GREAT!

I’ve developed a dependency on VitaTop Muffins. Just 100 calories and 100% flavors. I also wanted to take the chance to highlight the doodle on the background. It’s by Ike Barinholtz from Mad TV, doodled to raise money for my former teacher Judy Fabjance. I have it on my desk at all times to remind me why I moved to Chicago!

Along with a copy of USA Today, we just started receiving it at the office. Not exactly sure why, but now I feel like I’m having a snack at a hotel! Fancy that!

Podcast Obsession

If you LOVE movies, and you LOVE games YOU NEED to listen to the Doug Loves Movies podcast.

Playing the Leonard Maltin Game has become an obsession, and I don’t think I want therapy for it!