Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's in the Bag.

Friends, I've gotta admit that I've already started buying clothes for the Fall as of this afternoon. I know I live in Charleston, and have at LEAST two more months of balmy weather ahead, but darn it, I can't resist it once my magazines start showing me the new trends.

One trend that I'm happily on board with is baggy jeans. Not SUPER baggy, mind you, but just enough that it feels relaxed, comfy, and quite Fall-ish. I bought a pair today, with the tags still on, at my neighborhood thrift store--along with a long-sleeved tee and a very wearable cardigan that will go with EVERYTHING. I'm totally stoked. I spent about $12 total, and scored three new items for my wardrobe! Now that's progress.

sportin the jeans and cardigan

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I've never been one to wear a ton of makeup. Back in college, in fact, I hardly wore any. But one product has been essential to my beauty routine since I was a teenager. I can't live without my Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers lip gloss.

This may seems a bit silly at first. After all, makeup is a luxury item and we're in a recession. Plus, Lip Smackers are for kids! And yeah, I have to admit that the bubblegum and grape glosses have never been my thing; some of the flavors are pretty juvenile. But the Dr. Pepper variety is actually useful as an adult beauty product. The red tint gives lips an understated, yet glamorous, sheen. If you don't feel like wearing any other makeup you can get away with only wearing this gloss--it brightens up your entire face. And who doesn't dig a product that costs less than two bucks?

I love this stuff so thoroughly that I once wrote a letter to the Bonne Belle cosmetics company and earnestly asked them never to discontinue their Dr. Pepper gloss. I explained to them that I'd been wearing it for years, and it's the only beauty product that has been a mainstay in my life. They never replied to my letter, but they've also never taken it off the shelves. I think that deep down, they know they've got a good thing going on. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lost Poets.

It's been an oddly solemn week. On Friday, I found out that my old friend Anna passed away at her home in Greenville, SC. Anna struggled a great deal with depression and mental illness and unfortunately, she took her own life.

Anna and I hadn't talked in over a year when I got the news. In August of 2009 she moved to New York City to begin her life as a professional poet with an MFA from Hunter College. But her sickness got the best of her, so she came home to South Carolina. Once she came home, our friendship fell between the cracks.

But for a few years of my life in Charleston, we were the best of friends. We met in a poetry class taught by Carol Ann Davis at the College of Charleston. I was immediately drawn to her air of sophistication and her great writing. Somehow, we exchanged numbers and hit it off--we started off, as many friends do, spending a lot of time at bars. But we had inspirational moments in our friendship as well. Anna was a wonderful poet, and a great poetry mentor. Her glamourous bookshelves were lined with dozens of  volumes, which she happily shared with me. She'd even give me the ones she was finished with. She wasn't really forthcoming in sharing her own poems, but the ones I did see were honest and beautiful.

Right when I moved to Charleston in 2004 I lost my first poetic mentor, Dr. Paul Rice. It was Dr. Rice who first pushed me and my poetry. I took several classes with him during my undergraduate years and learned a lot from him inside the classroom and just by chatting and trading poems in his office. When he passed away, I felt like I'd never have another person to share my poetic journey. Then I met Anna.

It seems strange now that both of them are gone. While I have other friends who write poetry and spend a great deal of time with me, none of them quite take Anna or Dr. Rice's places. I try to take comfort in the memories I have of these two writers, and how they shaped my own confidence and philosophy as a writer. It's a fact that some of the world's best poets--most of them--are lost throughout time. We're lucky to meet a few, but most we never will meet. Because of Paul Rice and Anna Moore, I'll keep believing in my poems. And I'll keep reading poems by people who inspire me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For Carly.

I didn't know Carly Donohue very well, but I was drawn to her classiness, her style, and her sense of adventure as soon as I met her. When we first crossed paths last winter at a friend's football party, I admired her outfit so I started talking to her. Next thing I knew, we were casual acquaintances and facebook "friends."

Charleston unfortunately lost Carly to her relentless sense of adventure this week, and friends are shocked at the news. Although she and I never had the chance to foster a close friendship, I also share the feeling of loss.

But let's not let this post become just a dirge. My real point is that, all day long, the menial activities that I face on Thursdays--listening to my boss randomly bark orders at me, eating too many french fries at Five Guys, paying my car taxes--have seemed particularly important. The ironic thing about death is that it reminds us of life, and how full of wonder it can be.

In the biography I'm reading about E.B. White it describes how, even when White was a child, he was acutely aware of the danger involved in human life and the fragility in each day. When I initially read those words in the book they made sense to me. But today I've lived the words. Thankfully, I'm still here to write this despite death's constant grip on my shoulder. I'm glad that Carly had the opportunity, and the foresight, to make the best of her life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Didn't Your Mama Ever Teach You...

...not to talk negatively about other people's food?!

I'm seriously fed up with this garbage, y'all. It seems to be getting more and more common--or I just know a bunch of finicky eaters who are rude to boot!

It all started in the first grade. I'm serious. That's my earliest memory of it. This girl I knew literally chased me down on the playground to shout at me, "EWW GROSS!" when she saw my lunch. I think it was a deviled egg, which she proclaimed was disgusting. Go fig.

Nowadays, I expect folks to at least be cordial if I'm eating something they don't care for. After all, it's not first grade. But over and over, I've observed people dissing other people's food. Today at work, I had my leftover tomato pie (which was awesome--see my previous post) and my boss wrinkled his nose when I told him what I'd made.

"I've had that before...I don't like it at all. It's too...runny," he said.

Uh, thanks. You aren't the one eating it. 

And the other evening, at a friend's birthday dinner, the whole table was making fun of the entree that one girl ordered.

"That looks poo," said one woman.

That time, I looked up from my own fish n' chips and asked them if their mamas ever taught them that it's totally rude to talk about other people's food. They apparently didn't have mamas, because they never answered me.

But really. I urge you NOT to gossip about what your friends, coworkers, and classmates are eating. It ruins their meal, and it's just not a nice thing to do....even if they're eating a peanutbutter and butter sandwich, which is what my boss eats sometimes. And he wants to crack on my tomato pie?


Monday, July 18, 2011

Open your Pie Hole.

Tonight I made tomato pie, a dish inspired by my stay at a good friend's beach house. She made one, and it was so scrumptious I decided to try it myself. It has all the good stuff--red onions, fresh tomatoes and basil, and lots of cheeeese.

I scouted out this recipe, and made it tonight for the first time. It was so delicious, I almost forgot that I made it. Ha.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chef Zucchini.

When I was a little girl, my mom drove this white Pontiac wagon-thing. It was not cute. It also did not have FM radio, only AM. Luckily, I was still just a kid (not yet old enough to shout things like, "This obscure jazz SUCKS! Where's the Soundgarden?") so I was okay with listening to pretty much anything that my mother thought was worthy.

This one radio show in the morning is really the only thing I remember clearly. It was called "Chef Zucchini" and it was a comedy skit of sorts. It came on early, as my mom drove me to school, so it was perfect for the ride down Hoffmeyer Road.

I thought about "Chef Zucchini" tonight while making dinner. See, while Stefan and I were in New Orleans, Jenny and Joy's dad, Frank Peterson, served me the best zucchini ever when we went over to his house. I saw Frank the other night at trivia (he and Rose, Jenny and Joy's mom, were passing through Charleston during their own travels) so I got the recipe. I cooked a zucchini tonight, along with a rather childishly-simple dish of angel hair pasta, grated Romano cheese, butter, and garlic. It was tasty but extremely basic. Which, as y'all know, is about all I'm capable of in the kitchen.

(Y'all gotta 'scuse my blurry pic--I don't have a dang iphone)

Anyways, I haven't heard from Chef Zucchini himself since the 1980's. I hope where ever he is, he's eating well tonight.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Story Behind My Favorite Story Ever.

Right now I'm reading the book The Story of Charlotte's Web: E.B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic. It's been a cloudy afternoon so far in Charleston, perfect for curling up with a book.

For those of y'all who don't know, Charlotte's Web is my favorite book of all time. I appreciate not JUST the clever plot (a spider who writes? a talking goose? heck yeah!) but also the philosophy behind it, which is something we can all learn from. If you've never read Charlotte's Web, it's the tale of a pig and a spider's friendship: the unlikeliest of creatures forming an unbreakable bond while they spend their days on a farm.  It reminds me of the importance of unity, cooperation and friendship between vastly different people.

My Uncle Philip had a copy of the book on his massive bookshelf when I was a kid. I somehow got the idea I was going to read it one afternoon...and I was hooked for life. The tattered edition from the 1950's was returned to the shelf as soon as I received my own copy.

I now own about three versions of the book--including one in large print so I can still read it when I'm old--along with the original and the remake of the movie. And yes, the movie is great (particularly the cartoon-animated original) but the book is outstanding.

I'm loving reading about E.B. White's life so far, although I'm only on page 50. It now makes sense that he wrote this story. He was a child brought up in a prosperous family who gave him everything--yet he still craved the simple solitude of nature. He felt most at home among the tiny critters on the ground, the birds in the sky, and the peacefulness that a lack of society brings. He somehow understood, even then, that the universe is full of important lessons.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Social Media Mania.

It took me a while to get a blog. It even took me a while to get a Facebook. I EVEN had to be talked into getting a Myspace--back when Myspace was rad. Poor ole Myspace.

Once I started Facebook, I was hooked. I now have about 700 friends--and only a couple of them are worthy of calling in a real crisis. The 700 faces are comprised of mostly acquaintances, work buddies, other writers and bigwigs in the Charleston area, and so on. Eventually, I started this blogspot, but I've only had it for this year. I like it so far, I must admit.

Then, I purchased the Blackberry. The social media mayhem continued. Suddenly, updates and emails and Facebook were all at my (quite busy) fingertips.

I've always drawn the line at Twitter, but AGAIN I was talked into signing up, this week, by a guy I met who clearly thinks social media is the best thing since coffee creamer. Now I'm tweeting with the best of them, even though I only have a few followers so far.

But right on the heels of me signing up for Twitter, I realized that ANOTHER social media outlet had reared its head. Google Plus! (Otherwise known as Google+. ) Of COURSE a few of my friends wanted to try it and invited me, so I went against my better judgement and checked it out this evening. It's pretty much like Facebook with a few variations. But I don't think I can handle anymore social media.

What does everyone else think? Have you jumped on this new social media bandwagon?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Thrifty Summer.

Between the trip to New Orleans, and bouncing from one technical college to another (I got laid off and had to make a switch-a-roo), AND paying taxes, it hasn't been the most..wealthy summer of my life. I've been living check to check, and budgeting carefully. Yet, I've figured out a couple of good things about being broke.

One--the grocery store. I've had no choice but to hit it up. These are not the days for eating lavish lunches and dinners at restaurants and drinking top-shelf booze. Instead, I've been actually (drumroll, please) BAGGING my lunch for work. A typical lunch this summer? A turkey sandwich, chips 'n salsa, plus a piece of fruit. Very substantial, and very cheap.

Two--the public library. I've recently re-discovered how fab it truly is. There are a few books that I've been wanting to read, so I put them on hold, and lo! they're now available for me to pick up. Wayy less expensive than a trip to Barnes & Noble, right?! Tonight Stefan and I are having a cheap evening at home, watching movies that we scored down the street at the West Ashley branch. And, you you can never be sure who you'll run into at the library. Just the other day I had the joy of seeing the twin girls I used to nanny in graduate school at the Mt. Pleasant branch! Everyone loves the library, man. I even got a free bookmark.

So yeah, there are good things about pinching pennies. And summer is a great time to do it. Tomorrow, for example, I have plans to go to Folly Beach. Free admission, y'all.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Poem Cash?!

 I am astonished to report that today, three of my own poems actually made me a few bucks. The poetry site Strong Verse is generously putting up a few gems I wrote, namely "Loss," "The Old PC," and "Dryer." I'll keep everyone informed when they pop up on the site. (It's not a journal; it's a site that continually publishes work every few days.)

Totally exciting! So what should I do with my poem-money? It seems that money from a poem ought to be spent on something more noble and interesting than, say, a handbag. Should I invest in a felt beret? (ha.) Or perhaps purchase a book of verse by a little-known author? Maybe I should just buy a nice bottle of booze and share it with my other poet pals. After all, they help me foster my poet-ness. Hmm. Any other ideas?