Saturday, December 29, 2012

Florence + Christmas = Joy.

I just got back from Christmas in Florence for six whole days, which was absolutely wonderful. I spent ample time with really old friends, saw all the members of my family and even made a fancy dessert from a Christmas magazine for the first time.

cake roll

I mean, really, who knew I would be so excellent at rolling up angel food cake? Not I. The recipe made two cake rolls, so I brought one to Christmas dinner at my dad's house and the other to supper that night at my uncle's house. I thought it went over well in both locations. 

Abbey and me
Besides rolling cake, I also feel like I bonded with my cousins on my dad's side a little more this year. I've always liked two in particular--Anna and Abbey, who are my first cousin Tammy's young daughters. Whenever we see each other on Christmas day at my dad's, we talk about planning something else before next Christmas. But this year I think we actually will. 
My oldest friend Gayden and me
I suspect one of the reasons I enjoyed Florence so much this year is because I was completely alone, with no boyfriend, and I was able to submerge myself into feeling 12 all over again. I feel like I got back to my roots.

Now I've got the post-holiday blues, which typically happens to me after an exceptional Christmas. There isn't much going on this weekend and I just woke up a little while ago, wondering if it's warm enough to sit out in the driveway and read books and magazines. 
I crave other people's ideas for the new year. Everyone can use a little inspiration now and then. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DIY Beauty Blunders.

Tonight I decided that because I'm going home for Christmas in a couple of days, I needed to exfoliate my skin. So I whipped out my smart phone, searched for the words "oatmeal face mask" and started reading recipes. I already had plain oatmeal in my cabinet from the time I tried to make oatmeal raisin cookies. It was an utter disaster, so I can't imagine why I thought anything related to that accursed container of oats would go differently.

 I found a simple recipe that said to mix oatmeal with milk and rub it all over my face. I got out a bowl, mixed the oats and the milk at the kitchen counter, took it upstairs to my bathroom and tried to plaster it to my mug. Oatmeal went everywhere--by the time I got finished, it looked like someone had ralphed in my sink. Not pretty. Plus, the oats were not sticking to my skin.

Concerned that I was accomplishing nothing other than clogging my drain, I finally gave up and rinsed. Buttercup, my roommate's feline, got the leftover milk.

"I'm not sure what went wrong," I announced to Genessa, our neighbor Aaron, and Genessa's boyfriend Randy.

That's when I realized...I didn't cook the oatmeal first. Duh. 

So, I guess my skin will just look the way it always has this holiday season.

At least the cat is still hanging out in my room.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

No Rain on this Parade.

Sunday was the Mount Pleasant Christmas Parade, and it was my first time ever riding in a float. It was awesome, besides being entirely too warm outside for a "Christmas" parade. Nevertheless, I wore a green shirt, drank champagne afterward and watched our group of elves hand out magazines to our adoring audience. It was quite the spectacle. Here's a picture; you can see my boss, Bill, standing behind me with his obnoxious megaphone.

But megaphone or no, it was an interesting night. With the unseasonably warm weather we had, everyone was worried about rain--actually, it did drizzle for a few minutes before the shindig actually got started. But by the time I was comfortably seated on the float and waving like a pageant winner, the rain threat had passed.

Oh, and we tied for first place in the "Media Float" Competition prize from the Town of Mount Pleasant. We all feel fiercely honored, especially since our float was thrown together at the last minute. To be honest, I think it was our spirit that won the prize. I know I did a lot of shouting.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I Wish I Could Handwrite This Blog.

This morning I started my day with an interesting piece from Slate, on handwriting and its disappearance from culture. The author muses about how her own handwriting has evolved over the years, and it made me think about how mine has changed as well. You can read the article here.

In elementary school, my handwriting was awarded a "C" by my strict Catholic instructors. I had straight As in my classes except for my handwriting grade. Bother, right? But by public middle school, surrounded by preppy, cheerful girls with bubbly script, I decided to reinvent my handwriting to make it more girly and readable. I succeeded, and my teenage handwriting probably lasted me until, oh, my mid twenties? Nowadays, my handwriting is more like a hybrid between the original C-earning-letters and remnants of my training.

My handwriting a few years ago, as seen in a pocket notebook. 
But one thing is for sure; I still handwrite a lot of things. In fact, the other day I told Brian (my now somewhat famous coeditor) to handwrite an interview because his computer was acting weird at the time. I told him I always handwrite my interviews first. But he didn't want to. And luckily his computer got its act together in time.

In college and graduate school I handwrote every single paper I turned in before typing it. Friends wrinkled their brows at this information and asked if I felt like I was doing "more work" that way. No, I told them. I just like writing it out with a pen. And of course, I have handwritten journals and little pocket-sized notebooks all over my house...even a few in Litchfield.

There's something about that pen-to-paper action that gets my brain jogging in a different way than a blank computer screen does. I think it might be the ability to scrawl notes in the margins. Or it could be the paper smell. Or it could just be, as this Slate writer says, "nostalgia." After all, I come from a long line of almost ridiculously nostalgic people.

Here's to ridiculously nostalgic people, and here's to handwriting. Happy Monday, y'all.