Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
When my friend Mary-Alice and I trekked around the world, we ended up being totally broke in Hungary. We had money before and money after, but in Hungary we were paupers. I am guessing our parents bailed us out, but Budapest just brings back memories of a stale crust of bread and a lot of walking.
Looking back, I really don’t know why we were so broke there. Are there no ATMs in Budapest? Did we spend it all on boos and goulash? I have no idea. What I do know is that our lack of money forced us to break the law. Tired as can be, we really wanted to take a cable car down this humungous hill, but we had zero cash. So we made up an elaborate scheme to shimmy under the turnstiles and hop on the car without paying.
As I subtly crawled under the turnstile and Mary-Al did her very best distraction song and dance, the 200 pound stout woman who ran the place looked down just as I was mid crawl. With the furry of Satan’s handmaidens, she started screaming in Hungarian and coming at me with her arms extended. Visions of her squeezing my head till it popped off flashed before my eyes as I backed up on all fours, stood up, and obeyed Mary-Alice’s ingenious command of “RUUUUUUNNNNN!”
We headed down that hill as fast as our impractical travel sandals could take us all while turning our heads to see if the thunderous Hungarian roar was hot on our trail. She was not. We were exhausted and broke, but we were not beaten up or arrested.
Did I learn any life lessons from this? Ehh, sure. Don’t break the law. It is wrong. But I still waited till I had $19 in my bank account to fly home that summer. And I had a blast because of it. As we all know, fun and money are not always linked and sometimes being a broke backpacker with no common sense is the most fun of all.
The charming cable cars of Budapest. Just not meant to be...
Friday, May 14th, 2010
WARNING: Estrogen fest of a post to follow!!
This morning I met with Lee Graff who founded the makeup company Cover FX. It was originally started as a purely medical company to help people with skin conditions which produce discoloration or for burn victims. But since it covers pretty much everything, it was a hit and is now available at Sephora. This of course got me thinking about how amazing makeup is (yes this is the girliest comment ever, but it’s medical makeup!) and about how much I looooove Sephora.
When I lived in Paris, the Sephora on the Champs-Élysées was open until midnight. Midnight! I can’t even begin to count the amount of products I bought while I was three sheets to the wind. My friend Mary-Alice and I would try on about 13 lipsticks all layered together, bronzers, blue eyeshadows, sometimes we would even try the shampoo or hide in a corner and paint our nails. Once we got off a redeye from New York, brushed our teeth in the street and went straight to Sephora for a “free” makeover before immediately starting to day drink. Man I miss my college liver.
But even sober, Sephora is very dangerous once the sun goes down. I have never left that particular brach with out looking like a transvestite or a woman of the night. I was painted, highly flammable, and significantly poorer every time I exited.
These days, I’m a little more sane with my Sephora purchases, but that’s mostly because I get lots of good free beauty swag at work.We did a photo shoot in Sephora for Washington Life and our model got to hold stacks and stacks of products. It was like she was holding bars of gold! Stacey and I always talk about our love of beauty products and laugh that we once toyed with the idea of writing a blog about not wearing makeup for a year. Hahahahahah. Thank the lord above that we did not go ahead with that scary scary plan.
Look at how happy I am! Sephora always brings me joy. Except that one time I overdosed on perfume.
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
Oh how I love the people who make me laugh. I mean is there anything better in the world than laughing until you’re on the ground making monkey noises and nearly peeing on the floor?
Today at work, I realized it is yet again deadline week and I will be stuck working late every night on our May power issue. To be honest, I am a tad sick of power. Who cares if you have zillions of dollars and people shudder when they hear your step? Well, for the next week, I have to care and I see lots of work and very little laughter in my five day future. For some reason this sullen fate made me think about the times I have laughed the hardest in my life. And the two moments that came to mind were with my friends Keisha and Mary-Alice.
With Mary-Alice, it was when we were traveling from Hong Kong to Paris overland. We were in Venice and on the broke side so for kicks, we took a little boat around and pretended to only speak a rare clucking language. Anyone who would try to speak to us, we just clucked at them and then laughed like two mental patients. We even stole the boat’s safety buoys and wore them around to look even more insane. Then, as night came, we took turns fake proposing to each other in the middle of Piazza San Marco and crying our eyes out. We were just slightly fueled by several small bottles of vodka that we stole from the airplane. Ah, poverty can really be hilarious.
With Keisha, we were just back at Vassar, visiting friends who were still in school. Nothing much was happening except us lying on the floor hungover when Keisha decided to reenact the antics that got us to that state in the first place. She seriously had me snotting on myself from laughter. It was just one of those nothing days that becomes one of the best you’ve ever had. And I know with those two in my life, I will have many many more.
The funnies! No one can make me laugh till I pee like these lovelies.
Thursday, March 11th, 2010
I waver between feeling like I want to hurl and being really excited when I think about turning 30 this August. I’m excited because I feel like I liiiiived in my twenties, and am sure I can do even more in my 30s, since I have a little more cash and am a tad less moronic. But still, 30. How did this happen? Have I really been on planet earth for almost 30 years? It all went by so fast!
As I’m not one for big birthday parties, I’ve decided I want to be doing something really zany when I hit the big 3-0. This will either be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or grappling to Base Camp One of Everest. I’m leaning towards Everest. I mean, the highest mountain in the world?
While I now have a desk job and report on high society, I used to live a rather different life. One of a filthy curious gypsy. This existence really flourished when I traveled with my partner in ridiculousness Mary-Alice, from Hong Kong to Paris overland. The highlight of this trip, besides managing to escape jail time, was our romp through Mongolia with two Dutchmen and a Scot. We met them on the train from Beijing to Ulan Bataar and decided to join forces through Mongolia’s enormous countryside.
It was nothing short of amazing. They were cute, hysterical, and could carry the really heavy stuff. It was a group marriage made in heaven. And what a country to be in. If you ever find yourself marooned in Central Asia, go to Mongolia. Say Karin sent you. You’ll have the most wonderful trip, but not as good as mine. Unless you can wrangle the best traveling buddies on the planet – Toine, Rik, Gregor and the fabulous Poop McPoopface Mary-Alice.
Hotel, motel, hostel, ger! Though goats licked my feet at night, I have very fond memories of my nights in a Mongolian ger.
The five of us on Sükhbaatar Square or Сүхбаатарын талбай for you locals. We spent most of our time in Ulan Bataar right on this terrace chugging beers and gabbing about our treks.
Dress up night in Outer Mongolia!! Red thong, pigtails and way too much makeup. Definitely the way to go when backpacking. Bonus here is our driver Ogi, who is next to me.
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
This week is deadline week at the magazine, which means I have to be at work far too long for my own good. I just hate hate hate the last week of the month. But when I come home battered and bruised from writing about $1000 moisturizer, I put on my tattered Vassar College hoodie and it’s like I’m back in the womb. I have had the old gross gray sweatshirt since the year we all feared Y2K and have probably worn it more than any other item of clothing in the last 10 years. It’s seen me through breakups, hangovers, illness, major sporting events, and I even had sex on a Japanese beach wearing nothing but the prize piece of clothing and a grin.
While this beloved sweatshirt is my favorite possession from the Vassar College store, it is only one of about 100 other items that I own with my alma mater’s logo printed on it. I have even bought some historic sheet music since I graduated to brush up on our school song.
While still a wide-eyed co-ed, my friend Mary-Alice and I so adored the school store that we implemented a program called “Friday present day, hurrah!” where we bought each other gifts on our parents’ dime. It was the most wonderful plan ever invented by two 21 year olds. We never went overboard and bought each other the much coveted $450 rocking chair complete with school seal, but we did present one another with an overwhelming amount of artery-clogging snacks, made to measure tee-shirts, and copies of poorly rated romantic comedies.
I miss being able to charge things like gummy worms to my parents. I miss having retail therapy available to me every time I bombed a quiz. But luckily, in this world of internet wizardry, there is an online store! I think I’ll just slap on that gray hoodie right now and make some much needed purchases.
I don't own this loveable giraffe (yet), but if it had been sold between 1998 and 2002, I sure would!
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
Yet again I am writing my post while watching an ice skating event. This time it’s the wonderfully schmaltzy ice dancing final. Too much makeup, ridiculous outfits, facial glitter, and polka moves on skates. It’s the kind of thing I would love to watch with one of my best friends from college, Christian Gabriel.
I don’t know what it is about Christian, his lust for life or fabulous imagination, but he really inspires the silly in me. During the fall of 2001 we spent weeks perfecting a move called “Octopus Boy” where we taped ourselves together and wiggled our arms and legs in sea creature-inspired motions. Yes Mom and Dad, that’s what I was doing with your $150K tuition!
Living one room apart, we committed ourselves to the art of improvisational dance to the vocal stylings of Lenny Kravitz and then pounded caffeine to finish our work between the hours of 3 and 6 am. And when we weren’t in and out of Moulin Rouge-worthy ensembles we were busy working on our short film, “Hello Ridiculous.” That’s right. While others readied themselves to be Rhodes scholars or applied to grad school, I spent my days with Christian and our friend Mary-Alice making a film about being absurd. My favorite scene is when we are all drunkenly dancing on a roof in various states of undress lucky not to fall six stories off a historic building. Ahhh, common sense.
While I love living in Washington and all the buttoned-up intellectuals it’s exploding with, sometimes I really miss the nonconformists I cocooned with in college. Why shouldn’t we tightrope walk in Vivienne Westwood getups between classes? Or eat cigarettes for breakfast? Where are the people like that in Washington? Well, they are either ice skating in Vancouver (love you Johnny Weir!) or they’re in New York. Luckily, I still have wonderful friends like Christian who are just a train ride away.
Fall 2001, Christian and I are dressed and ready to stay in and watch TV! That's right! We put on black tie to study for finals too.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Rain. Vodka. Baby Land. Security pulling our legs – literally. A synchronized pantomime to Celine Dion. These are the memories that come flooding back to me when I think about my trip across the Aegean Sea with my wonderful partner in crime Mary-Alice. It was the summer we decided to drop everything (including our boyfriends) and travel across land and sea from Hong Kong to Paris. Clearly we had a few mishaps along the way. But when I look back, all I can remember is the good stuff. Isn’t selective memory lovely that way?
One of the most r.i.d.i.c.u.l.o.u.s. legs of our trip was when we took a boat from Athens to the idyllic island of Santorini. As it is rather expensive to travel from Hong Kong to Paris we tried to do everything as cheaply as possible. This included crawling under turnstiles at a cable car station, being chased by a mustachioed woman from Budapest, me trying to forge my Eurail pass and being threatened with jail time, and a slew of other completely idiotic and often times illegal moves. So with this mentality, when we were faced with a boat across the Aegean, Mary-Al and I decided that we didn’t need to pay for a bed because we were going to stay up all night long partying on deck and would be so drunk that sleeping on a cold plastic bench outdoors would be fun! And it might have been a real rocking good time if the skies hadn’t broken into a torrential all-night-long downpour from hell.
At first vodka took care of our pain. Some creepy Dutch tourists gave us an entire bottle of Absolute and we were very very excited to warm our hearts with the blinding elixir. But a few hours later we were frozen, exhausted and preparing for horrific hangovers. If we had slept outside, I would probably be floating in the Aegean. Thank god we had the genius idea to break into “Baby Land” the children’s daycare center, and fall asleep inside a plastic castle. But we were soon kicked out. So we took to passing out in hallways in front of the broiler room, stranger’s cabins, and a few other comfy looking nooks. Security tried to drag us away, but we persisted, literally holding onto the rug and making fake snoring noises. And wouldn’t you know it, they finally gave up. What a wonderful staff!
Here we are hiding illegally under the sturdy plastic roof on the deck. It would have been so warm and cozy here! If only we had paid the $15 extra.
Ahhhh, here we go. Random man, bottle of vodka, incredibly drunken expression. And this was about 12 hours before we made our getaway to Baby Land for a little snooze.
Saturday, January 23rd, 2010
I never thought a story about gay cowboys could get me, a heterosexual woman, laid. But it did. In 2005 when the movie came out, I was invited to a party thrown by flamboyant homosexuals with a Brokeback theme. Naturally, I replied yes. But what was I to wear? My quick thinking friend Mary-Alice immediately went online and ordered a vinyl “bounty hunter” costume complete with plastic pistols, a sheriff’s star, and a breast revealing vest. Brilliant! Of course I was in a costume conundrum until I remembered that I was the proud owner of assless chaps!
Now don’t be misled, these chaps were never used for anything but to ride a horse, a real horse. They served as my riding chaps in college and had been lying unused in a box for three years. Finally, they had another chance to see the light of day. So I gussied myself up in a gingham shirt and the winning chaps and Mary-Alice and I sauntered down to Brokeback country.
Now the problem with being outfitted like a slutty cowgirl at a gay cowboy party is that no one hits on you. Mary-Alice and I had to keep complimenting each other between whiskey shots just to keep the morale up. Finally after we had had enough of being ignored, Mary-Al whispered, “it’s just a little too brokeback in here,” and we slipped past the boys who like boys and hit the town in our pleather and chaps combination.
Needless to say, I got laid that night. I didn’t have to smile coyly or make small talk. I didn’t have to let someone buy me a drink and pretend to care about what they had to say. All I had to do was walk into a bar in assless chaps and the deal was sealed. It really is amazing what gay cowboys can do for your sex life.
What is hotter than a cowboy? Well for some, a same-sex oriented cowboy.
Mary-Alice and I at the Brokeback Mountain party. She is wearing the vinyl "bounty hunter" ensemble she bought online, and though you can't see them, I am sporting assless chaps.
Friday, January 1st, 2010
New Years Day! A time for laundry lists of resolutions you won’t keep, two a day gym sessions, and declarations to weigh the same as your birth weight.
Over dinner in tiny town Vermont, I made the most absurd resolution list of 20 things I will definitely not keep including giving my life savings to charity, becoming fluent in Spanish and reading a dictionary-sized book a day. I also vowed to go to the gym 100 times a week, publish a dozen books and learn to play the clarinet. Why the clarinet? I don’t know. All of a sudden, in the heat of champagne and a geriatric Vermont jazz band, the instrument really appealed to me.
With resolutions meant to be broken fresh on the brain, there is no one on earth with whom I have made more resolutions than my friend Mary-Alice. We were joined at the butt in college, and still are as much as adult life will allow. Over the years we have promised to do a laundry list of things so ridiculous that some of them have come true. We’ve gone on diets where we only ate condiments, diets where we drank cheap vodka, attempted to travel solely by boat, tried to sprint the Great Wall of China, etc, etc. Mary-Alice is amazing in so many ways, but one of my favorites is that she is a doer to the nth degree. If I suggested we try space travel, she would frolic over with some moon boots and oxygen.
We traveled all over the world together and I hope 2010 allows us to do a little more exploring. We still need to test the limits of international waters and brush up on our international clog dancing act.
As I break almost every resolution I made tonight, I will think of Mary-Al and all the promises we made and broke together. Considering all the fun we had, they amount to nothing. Here’s to an antic-filled fun-loving 2010.
- This is “Kathryn Stacey” Mary-Alice’s and my love child that we made on a morph your mug site. What a beauty!!
- Ah, college. Only the finest wines were consumed, as evidenced by this photo where we fell on the ground drunk, my hair became a mustache and my boob fell out.
A sort of recent photo where we are trying to become one with our oval heads. We decided that this is the best camera pose for people with spud-like noggins. I can't wait to see the antics 2010 inspires for us.