Things I’ve Bought that I Love

Yes, I stole the title of this post from Mindy Kaling‘s amazing (and now, sadly, defunct) blog. And it’s a little bit of a misnomer, because I haven’t bought all of these things, but since I feel like I’m constantly accosting strangers on the street – as well as my own friends – about them, and because I remembered I had an open forum in which to express my love, I present to you the things I’m currently obsessed with.

As always, none of these are Affiliate links. I’m not that fancy.

Podcasts
Like everyone else in North America, I was and continue to be obsessed with Serial. But unfortunately Sarah Koenig is telling stories that, at least for now, have some sort of resolution or ending; these provide a regular giggle:
How Did This Get Made?
Do you love bad movies? Do you love excellent comedians? Do you love excellent comedians talking about bad movies? From I Know Who Killed Me to Hercules in New York, the movies reviewed are literally garbage and there is something for everyone.
Gilmore Guys
These fellas have a major in girls and a minor in women and think Kelly Bishop is queen. Enough said.

Books
The Best of Enemies
I Tweeted that the only issue I take with this book is the fact that it isn’t a movie I can watch, repeatedly, right this very second. Funny and heartfelt and begging to be read in one sitting, I love the voices Jen Lancaster gives to two very different but very engaging and likeable women.
Oh! You Pretty Things
A book that will transport you to (or back to) Los Angeles. Shanna Mahin has such an observant and perfect and perfectly sardonic voice that I just want to hang out watching trashy TV with her.
Luckiest Girl Alive
I’m usually great at seeing a plot twist coming – honestly, it’s what makes me so very irritating to watch movies with. But Jessica Knoll managed to both intrigue me and to trick me and to do so with such a shockingly funny, sharp voice.

Misc.
Washi Tape
I’ve recently begun scrapbooking again, and since I am the kind of person who cannot see a roll of tape (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) without wrapping some of it around my fingers, I’m delighted someone finally thought to print patterns on masking tape and sell it for $2 per roll. (That sounds like sarcasm, but it isn’t, as I would gladly be suckered into paying at least double that.)
The Wildlands Prints
As I may have mentioned, I have a small goddaughter, and that small goddaughter has a pink(ish) bedroom. And because it is my prerogative, as an adult, to decide she loves zoo animals, I adore these fun print sets from The Wildlands, which looked even better in person.
Paper-Mate Flair Pens
Are you almost anal-retentively organized? Me too. And being able to color-code my daily notes and to-do lists at work is way more fun with felt-tip pens in bright colors.

Granted, I have also recently purchased an iPad, but since I’m currently in a fight with Angry Birds and bought the damn thing the day before it dropped $100 in price, we don’t need to talk about that.

I’m a Big Girl Now

Happy Friday, chickadees! Has it been one of those intermindable weeks for you as well? Where nothing terrible happens and there are no disasters (natural or otherwise) in your life, but Friday seems farther and farther with each passing second? It has been for me, but personally I’m chalking it up to something in my lizard brain reverting to wanting summer vacation.

As I may have mentioned, I moved back in with my (exceedingly generous) folks a few months ago to save up for a long-term home. While I love the fair city in which I lived – and still work – I’m literally saving thousands of dollars a month not dealing with rent, repairs and the siren call of Uber.

(Self control: I can haz none of it.)

And while I considered moving home to be a very adult decision, apart from the fact that it was made while I stood, crying hysterically on speakerphone while attempting to stem the literal wall of water raining into my apartment’s living room due to a 30-foot ice dam, as it turns out, I have a few things to learn.

Particularly about buying furniture.

Since I plan on moving within the next year or so, I figured the bed I bought to fit into my new room at the folks’ would be temporary. Something inexpensive, that could be recycled/donated/etc. when I’m no longer using it. So I secured for myself a pretty and attractively priced wooden frame, had it shipped home and congratulated myself on my $125 find.

Yeah. As it turns out, my low-slung platform bed? Was made for children.

Specifically, children under the age of 10 or under 70 pounds.

Which I maintain to this day was not noted on the website.

(It’s been fantastic for my self-esteem that the damned thing has lasted this long, considering it’s made of balsa wood and hope.)

And because I’m incredibly cheap when it comes to everything but clothes, it has taken me five months to come around to the fact that I should probably look into a new bed. The frame of my sad little guy is sagging, as every time I put my 10-pound tote bag on it, it replies with a generous creak.

The problem is, I’ve never really bought a piece of furniture. It’s expensive and it’s terrifying and people have always been getting rid of a couch or a chair the exact moment I needed one.

But, at the age of 26, it’s a bridge I have to cross. And so thanks to Wayfair (hello, best site ever), I will once more be sleeping in an adult bed on or by August 19.

Baby steps, chickadees. Baby steps.

Love,
Your Gal

Tiger, Tiger

It’s been nearly half a decade, but 2010 still stands as one of the best/worst years of my life. It was the year I graduated college, began my first real job and moved across the country (and back again).

I come from a small town. An insanely small town. A town that would barely take up the full head of a pin if you were to mark it on a map. And it’s an idyllic place, the sort where you can keep your car doors unlocked and the worst crime spree we ever experienced was when a classmate of mine started stealing change of out said unlocked cars. There was a murder a few years ago, but since it didn’t involve anyone who actually lived in town, we didn’t think much about it.

(Of course, we’re still talking about it, so take that with a grain of salt.)

And so when I decided to move clear across the country in my senior year of college, it was a big deal. I hadn’t really spoken to anyone from my high school in a few years, but suddenly there was a Facebook outpouring of questions and support, which was rather lovely. I was completely exhilarated, and there was no room in my head or my heart for practicality.

Which is probably why, just before I left, I managed to give myself a second-degree burn on the arm with my flat iron. Of course it hurt, but it was a little bit worth it when, later that night, I was with friends at a diner and the waiter asked if I’d been clawed by a tiger. It became a great joke with my friends – the night Your Gal got clawed by a tiger.

The Scab, as it came to be known, accompanied me to LA, and its sheer size was enough of a curiosity that it helped break the ice with my coworkers at my new internship. They were (and remain) a great bunch – funny, sharp and immensely creative as well as being kind and welcoming. I’ve lost contact with most of them, but they remain 90% of the reason I was sad to leave.

Which brings me to my first High of 2010: moving across the country, by myself. And the low? The resulting raw homesickness, abject fear of your terrible salary and mild-to-moderate emotional breakdown that made me move right back six months later.

There were other highs – seeing my writing garner positive comments, meeting people whose work I so admired, being recognized for being a hard worker and a leader. Lows came, too – the first car I’d purchased by myself having issues right after I drove it off the lot, realizing that the salary negotiations you see in the movies are kind of bull$hit and finally understanding that there are truly people who just don’t want to be good.

I graduated college. I fell in and out of love. I discovered Yogurtland.

And I felt fear. When I realized I wasn’t ready to be on my own and more than 3,000 miles from my entire support system, it was the first time I really, viscerally felt fear.

Through it all, in hot and sunny Los Angeles, people continued to be fascinated by the scar. When they asked, in that forthright, charmingly gregarious way of musicians and artists and Californians, I told them I’d been clawed by a tiger; we’d laugh and I’d tell the real story of my bumbling.

When I moved back to the East Coast, it continued to be a conversation piece – I was job hunting in the heat of summer, and it was always exposed when I went to interviews. It was with me when I ended up stranded in a strange city for the day with a direct marketing company, on a “practical interview” and in four-inch heels; it was with me when I found a job that seemed perfect for me.

It was with me when I realized that said perfect job was a ticking time-bomb. And it was with me when I reconnected with a friend from college, who over the past five years has become someone who understands me better than I do myself.

The scar was there when I realized I couldn’t live with my parents anymore. It was there when my brother and I began to grow apart. I carried it with me through four car accidents that year.

And then it began to fade.

In the successive years, I’ve made friends and lost friends. I’ve reached a level of professional success and satisfaction that I couldn’t have conceived of when I was that small-town girl. My life is my own to guide, and thankfully, luckily, blessedly (and despite my insecurities) I’ve realized my instincts are good. And that they’ll take me as far as I’m willing to go.

As I’ve become more confident, more grounded (and, hell, more adult), the scar has faded. I’m not sure when it disappeared to the point where even I’m challenged to identify it, but it’s happened. And I’ve barely noticed. It will always be there, I’m sure, because that’s the nature of a scar.

It’s also the nature of fear. And while I’m long since past feeling it every day, that fear that came with being an adult, that crept in when I realized I wasn’t invincible, that I could fail, it’s still there. It’s always going to be. But I have the tools to deal with it now. I don’t need my tiger to start a conversation, or the funny anecdote to hide behind. I am who I am, and the core of me probably isn’t going to change. I’ve made my peace with that.

And I’ve realized that’s what’s important.

Trust yourselves, chickadees, and the rest will follow.

Love,
Your Gal

The [Gal] Show

My face this week.

I am a ridiculous person.

Well, let me clarify: I am a person to whom ridiculous things happen. And fairly often. Generally it’s nothing major or life-shattering or even that important, but in nearly twenty-six years of living, I’ve yet to make it a week (in my own memory) without experiencing some small yet noteworthy event.

But occasionally, my week is less “wayward skirt in the wind” and more “I’m living in The Truman Show. Aren’t I?”

This has been one of those.

It all started Monday morning. Monday morning at 3:44am, to be exact. To backtrack, I have always loved living in old buildings. I feel out of place in a modern high-rise, and the few months I lived in one made me feel itchy somehow; consequently, I live in an old building. The sort of old building that sports a fire alarm that will not only rouse you from sleep, but do so with all the volume and urgency of an air-raid siren. The sort that not only invites you to leave your bed, but tosses you to the floor and kicks you out the door without letting you stop for your shoes.

But these things happen. Does anyone enjoy meeting their neighbors at the crack of dawn in 30 degree weather? No, but the fire department arrived quickly, determined it was a false alarm, and we were back to bed within half an hour. I recounted the tale for my coworkers, and laughed it off.

Until it happened again at 4:12am on Tuesday. And let me tell you, if you think a fire department is mildly annoyed by having to turn off an alarm in the middle of the night because someone was brilliantly smoking in the hallway (our working theory at the time), guess how excited they – along with residents – are to discover the culprit is actually a dying old warhorse of a smoke detector?

You can tell me this is an isolated incident; I would agree with you if it weren’t for Wednesday’s paper cup explosion and today’s incidence of a stranger grabbing a fistful of my hair on the train and telling me how good it smelled. Or the fact that what should have been a package of ladies’ athletic socks arrived today in the mail as a pair of toddler overalls (thanks, Big Box Retailer!)

Can you really blame me for being wary of falling can lights?

Love,
Your Gal

Quote of the Century: “I love purses, and that doesn’t mean I’m not a feminist, either. I’m a damn feminist who loves purses. Where else am I supposed to keep my feminist writings? In a purse, that’s where.” – New Girl