Archive for December, 2013

New kitchen! *hyperventilates into a bag*

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Oh God, I hate change so much. But Neenernator finally convinced me to redo my ugly kitchen that I’ve been living with for seven years. In case you don’t know, it is an homage to gray Formica. Countertop? Formica. Backsplash? Formica. Each and every cabinet? Gray Formica on the outside, peach Formica on the inside. Neenernator’s boyfriend is a spectacular handyman, so he and his carpenter friend are breaking down everything and replacing it with non-hideous cabinets and appliances. This is the Formica tomb.

kitchen1 kitchen2

(That one wooden door was where I thought about getting new cabinet doors, did one, realized how hard it is to do, and said, “The hell with this.” That was about four years ago. And I left it like that because it reminded me of a rapper’s gold tooth and therefore made me feel like a baller.)

Now my kitchen looks like this:

kitchen-empty1 kitchen-empty2

And after my recent $10,000 trip to Ikea, my kitchen will hopefully look like this (I took pictures of a sample kitchen with the same cabinets and handles):

handles1 handles2

And I’ve only considered crying about four times! Change is not a good thing for me. This is what I hear in my head when I deal with change.

It’s gonna be fine. Everything is gonna be fine. Deep breaths.


Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year! Two things I wanted to talk about. First, I designed a nice and tasteful card for our consultants. We gave them a coffee sampler. See, not everything I design is tugboats and dinosaurs. Sometimes I can be an adult too if need be.


Two, in watching the myriad of Christmas films that are thrust into our respective maws at this time of year, I have come to the conclusion that my favorite is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the live-action one with Jim Carrey. I’m not proud of that. I feel like as an avid theater-goer my tastes should be more refined. But they are not. I think Jim Carrey should win the Lifetime Achievement award at the Oscars for this film. My favorite moment is when he pulls the tablecloth off the table, nails it, and then comes back to knock all the stuff off and push it over. That in itself is a magical niblet of cinema. If you’ve met me, you’ve heard me quote this film. Go watch it again with people you love.

Festive medley.

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

1. Ghetto hikes. The explanation is at the top of the page. Enjoy yourself.


2. Also, emojis incorporated into works of art. After studying art history for a whole bunch of years, I enjoy this more than I probably should.


3. Ancient tooth bridge! I think it looks neat.



4. A few things I’ve noticed on my travels around New York:

a. There is a Victoria’s Secret directly downstairs from my job. I was walking past it and they had some fluffy useless-looking garment in the window.


Here’s the problem: for some reason I thought the puffs were teats and this was a garment made to look like multiple bosoms. You follow me? Like a dog. Like this.


And I was appalled. I was like, “Is this where fashion is headed??? That is quite enough of that!” But then I looked closer and realized I was wrong and felt pretty damn stupid. Teats at VS? Really, Jessica? Get it together.

b. In keeping with awkward intimates, I was walking through Chelsea where there is a large male gay population. Therefore, many window displays cater to that. I’m all for it. However, bigger is not always better. This store had a pair of shorts in the window that someone had attempted to stuff so as to convey a great amount of masculinity. But they accomplished that by shoving wads of newspapers in there, so what comes across is elephantiasis of the testicles combined with a potential hernia. That does not entice me to buy your shorts, store. Be more particular with your stuffing.


c. I bought a salad at a McDonald’s recently (have you had their Southwest Salad, because it is delicious) and I noticed a sign on their wall.


Oh, they did not bold-facedly rip off the Island of the Bahamas campaign, did they? Yes they did.

ads1 bahamas

They took the diagonal tear-drop-y shape thing with the turquoise tones and everything! Their graphic designers didn’t even try. I was not planning to go to this waterpark because I don’t feel like coming home with strange itches, but I certainly won’t now. Shame on you.

I made something and it turned out nicely.

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Remember when I bought those glass beads on Etsy a while back? Well, I finally finished my lava-toned lariat and it turned out GREAT. I’m so pleased especially because I made most of it up on the fly. I wanted to try a new stitch (Dutch spiral) so I did a bunch of that, and then I decided to do something snazzy at the bottoms with tassels, so I came up with something for that, and then I saw a pair of earrings on the cover of my latest copy of Beadwork Magazine, so I took elements of that and built a centerpiece. Here’s the cover.


It all came together. Two thumbs up to me.

lava-lariat1 lava-lariat2 lava-lariat3

I wore it to my company’s holiday party. I got several compliments on it. I wish I was a monkey so I could give myself an additional two thumbs up (because they have hands for feet, I wasn’t sure everyone was going to get that, maybe it was too cryptic).

party1 party3 party2

Lava lariat complete. On to the next crafty activity.

Tis the season. For charts.

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Since it is the time of year for giving, I would like to give you the greatest gift of all: knowledge. Through charts. That I had nothing to do with. I just found them on the internet. Whatever. It’s a gift.

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And my favorite graphic of recent, the United States of America by an Australian:



Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Guys, I just booked a trip to Japan in February. JAPAAAAAAAN. I’ve wanted to go to Japan for, like, twenty years. I’m going with The Moomins. I always recommend traveling with retirees. They have money and time, they’re excellent travel companions. I’m going to three major areas – Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. I’m also going to Nara to hang with the sacred deer. Here are some pics I found on the internet to give you an idea.

And then I’m also going to hang out and possibly bathe with the snow monkeys! More pics for clarity.

Here’s a list of all the places we will be going.

Todaiji Temple  ///  Kiyomizu Temple  ///  Nishijin Textile Center  ///  Gion (the old Geisha Quarter) and Pontocho  ///  Kenrokuen Garden  ///  Seisonkaku Villa  ///  Matsumoto Castle  ///  The Plum Blossoms Festival in Atami (they bloom in the winter)  ///  Kamakura Daibutsu (The Great Budhha)  ///  Hachimangu Shrine  ///  Tokyo Tower  ///  Imperial Palace  ///  Sensoji Temple

How frikkin’ amazing does this sound?!? I also get to see a 1,000 year old gingko tree, bathe in a traditional Japanese spa and stay in a traditional Japanese inn. I already anticipate spending all my money. I love Japanese artwork something fierce so I am going to have a problem. I intend to pack a bag in my bag for all the purchases I will be taking home. There will be gorgeousness like this:

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Ooohhhhhhh dear. And did I mention kawaii? Kawaii means cute in Japanese, and if you know anything about Japan, you know they do cute better than anyone.

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One specific artistic item I really want to purchase is kanzashi. Kanzashi is name for the hair ornaments primarily worn by geishas. They used to be made out metal or ivory or lacquer, but I want to get a set made with fabric, like these:

kanzashi kd-04 ajisai

So I was doing a bunch of research on where to shop for them (I found three stores in Kyoto, so wish me luck) but in the process of hunting on the internet, I came across someone who makes the most exquisite kanzashi. Her name is Sakae and she dips wire into resin. The wire has been made into a loop so when it dips in the resin it forms a skin, not unlike a bubble wand in bubble solution. Then the resin dries that way. Her work, there are no words. She is amazing.

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Ugggggghhhhh. My heart hurts looking at her work. Unfortunately, Sakae only sells her wares on a Japanese auction site, not in any stores. So I friended her on Facebook in the hopes that I will be notified if her work is up for sale (not that I’d understand a damn thing on the site, but a girl can dream).

Long story short: Going to Japan in February. Can’t wait. Gonna be awesome.

Using my skills for good, sort of.

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

My department here at Publicis, New Business, likes to send out a Christmas card to our friends in the other departments every year. Since I have the most advanced Photoshop knowledge, I am the one to build it every year. I was given absolutely no instruction this year, so I thought about what I wanted to convey. And I remembered, hey, Ceelo came out with an Christmas album last year, I remembered thinking that the cover was a hoot. And indeed it is.


I decided we should take is a step further, so instead of a sleigh I went with a tugboat (because tugboats are my favorite of the seafaring vessels) and instead of horses, I went with the most jacked-up-looking dinosaur I have ever seen. Then I had to find individual qualities to highlight for each person. Børkke suffers from various skin ailments so I gave her a giant tube of Aquafor to cuddle in her arms. S. loves the Jersey Shore, so I gave him my favorite picture of Pauly D. Nessa has perpetual angers, so she got a thundercloud with Grumpy Cat in it. A. loves to cook and is from a particularly Polish part of Pennsylvania, so he got to be the Pierogi King. And J. loves raves, so he got swirly rave lights. He also happens to look rather stoned in the picture which helps with the rave thing. And my picture I took recently while wearing reindeer antlers and making the most disturbing face ever. That is not photoshopped. That is my natural freakiness. I didn’t add anything to that pic. I figured it was magical enough as it was. I found a silver bit online, created the leather bridle and added some silver skulls I found on etsy and poof! A weird and wonderful new Christmas card is born. We’ll see if my co-workers like it.

Concerning the comment in the lower right-hand corner: We’re seated in a quarantined area near the mailroom because we are unfit for the rest of the agency. It’s for the best. We sing a great deal, loudly. Makes it hard for some people to work.



Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

I just went on a business trip! Like an adult! I went to Atlanta for a total of 22 hours. So before you even think to ask me, “Hey, did you go to the-” unless the next words are “the Sheraton near the airport” or “the airport,” then no, that was the extent of my exciting visit to ATL. I had never been there before and I learned a few things during my time there. One, sweet tea. It’s big. So is fried chicken and biscuits. Up here in the New York emphasis is not placed as high on those food items, but down there it’s like the core basics. The most important thing that came to my attention during my almost-an-entire-day stay in Hotlanta was how unerringly friendly and gracious and chatty people are. And, more importantly, how much I hated it. Oh, I hated it so much. I’ll explain. I have lived in the New York area my whole life, and the way things work up here is if someone is having a long, one-sided conversation with you in the middle of the street, there’s a solid chance that person is not right in the head and you should move away, slowly. Down southerly, people share. Really share. It reminded me of this commercial.

I’ll give you some examples. At the airport (almost all these examples will involve people at the airport since that’s mostly where I was, but I imagine this is a universal trait) there was a woman herding us into two left and right rows. Simple, right? Here’s what her soliloquy should have been:

“People walking in this direction, please move to the left! People walking in this direction please move to the right! Thank you for your cooperation!”


Here’s what it was:

“People, c’mon now! I know y’all can hear me! If you’re goin’ this way, move to this side of the hallway! If you’re going that way, move to that side of the hallway! I should be the only person in the middle! Well, hello Captain, I bet you’re glad to be on the ground. Did you see that game, I couldn’t get over *some complicated sports reference that I did not understand.* Have a blessed day now, y’all. I don’t understand people sometimes. I know y’all have educations, it’s simple, just step to the side I’m pointin’ to. *to a co-worker* Sometimes I really rely on the power of prayer to get me through this job. Wow, that’s a cute baby. How old is he? My goodness, mine turned…”

I had walked out of earshot at that point, but I’m positive she had kept talking. I assumed she was a bit wonky and brushed it off. Then I got to the hotel, checked in, and went down to the conference room by myself to set up the laptop, projector and speakers. There I met the AV guy. He came in and asked me if I needed anything. I smiled at him, said I did not and thanked him for looking in on me. He then proceeded to talk about the Metro-North train crash, the fact that both his college-age daughters visited him this Thanksgiving, his last visit to New York and how much his five-bedroom house cost eight years ago compared to the real estate market in New York (it cost $290,000, it’s on a cul-de-sac). DUDE. I’m trying to get ready for a rehearsal meeting in fifteen minutes. The president of my company will be there. This is not happy conversation time. Shush yourself. Later on a hotel attendant came in and commented on these red carpeted walls we travel with to show boards on. “What are those?” he asked enthusiastically. I stepped up to the plate and explained them to  him, how they fold down accordion-style, etc. He said he would love those in his home, it’s decorated completely in red and black, those are his favorite colors. I felt like he was waiting for some kind of, “Oh, really? My favorite colors are green and blue, but I mainly use neutral tones in my home decor,” and then we could have talked forever and ever until our mouths dried up or we used up all the oxygen on earth, whatever final outcome he was looking for. I just smiled at him and kept working, refusing to engage.

The meeting happened early in the morning, everything went smashingly, we all got in cars and went to the airport. I was standing in the security line where you strip off your metal stuff and get scanned. We were in three lines, and this time a man was herding us. This is, word for word, a chunk of what he said.

“Alright, y’all, the only thing you should have in your hand is your cell phone. We won’t need boarding passes or identification after this point for a while. Sir, you’re wearing a Saints shirt, I’m really hopin’ for them to lose in the next game. Now, everybody turn your head to the right. See that man holding up that line there with the buckets? He should have taken off his belt in here. We don’t want you to yank your belt out like Zorro, you might hit someone. Take your time, take it off here. Only vital blingy-bling, like tooth fillings. Take off everything that is metal. After you get past the security, you can get a snack. Last trip I took, I brought a whole rack of ribs on the plane. Wooo, the whole plane was mad. I was goin’ to Korea, and when I took out them ribs and all that maple and bourbon smell filled up the plane, people were so mad. But whatever. I had ribs.”

First of all, shut up shut up shut up. Secondly, what jerk-face takes a rack of ribs on a long international flight? It makes me think of Patton Oswalt’s piece on flying (from about 49:00 to 50:00 of this clip below):

Then (oh, I bet you thought I was done, didn’t you?) I had to get to Terminal A to meet my co-workers for a post-meeting drink at the airport P. F. Chang’s. I asked a nice lady driving one of those beeping golf carts where Terminal A’s P. F. Chang’s was and she said, “Hop on, I’m going there!” So I got to ride on the fancy beeping airport golf carts, which was nice. What wasn’t nice was her non-stop jibber-jabber the way there. “I once ate an entire appetizer plate at P. F. Chang’s, but that was before I knew there were all those foods in the freezer section of my supermarket. Honestly, though, those freezer portions aren’t big enough-” HOLY CRAP WOMAN, CLOSE YOUR CAKEHOLE. WHAT PART OF MY BODY LANGUAGE SAID TELL ME ABOUT YOUR APPETIZER-BUYING EXPERIENCES AND YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THOSE APPETIZERS BECAUSE I WILL CHANGE MY CORPOREAL STATE TO WHATEVER MAKES YOU STOP TALKING.

I got on the plane and went to sleep. When I woke up, we were approaching LaGuardia airport. We landed and I went out into the terminal and Glory be to God! Everyone was a dick! No one made eye contact or smiled! I could have cried, I was so happy.

Long story short: If I’m not in your will, I do not want to hear your boring-ass stories. And I’d like to actually see the sights of Atlanta sometime.


P.S. I thought I was done complaining. Then I remembered something. I don’t take a lot of non-international flights, but are the seats really really small? I’m a Chubby Chubstein, but I swear when I was in the middle seat going to Atlanta my spare tire o’ fat was trying to eat the armrests on both sides. I couldn’t stop thinking of the video of the ravioli can getting consumed by lava. Here, an animated gif for clarity:

It was ridiculous. If I had to fly all the time for work like some of the account people I know I would take a far greater interest in maintaining my physique only so I could fit in the tiny seats without feeling like I was wearing a corset of plane.