Monday, August 29, 2011

Favorite Things of August

My friend Erin over at Alcoholics Conspicuous posted about her favorite things of August, so I thought I’d do the same. Here we go.


This has actually been a favorite thing of mine since I started working at Threadless in March. It’s a 3-minute walk from work and has amazing things such as this beautiful dress for $9.95.

Pricey for a Goodwill purchase, but totally worth it, obviously. I wonder how this dress got made in the first place. Maybe it was a bridesmaid's dress? What lucky bridesmaids!

Losing 5 lbs. or maybe 7

Your beautiful Goodwill dress might fit a little baggy, but that’s okay. Also you will probably gain them back after you stop training for your triathlon. Speaking of which.

Doing a triathlon

My mom reminded me that I mentioned doing this in high school. I have entertained the idea of doing a this since I was 14, which means it’s taken 11 years for me to get around to it. If I were smart, I woulda done it in high school so I could have guilted my parents into buying me a multi-thousand dollar bike because I was on the honor roll and stuff. Just kidding, I wouldn’t have done that. Anyway, I finally trained for and did one, the biggish Olympic distance one, and even though I wasn’t too fast, but wasn’t too slow either. Also, I rode on my old vintage Schwinn, which prolly weighed 20 pounds more than any other bike on the course. It was a lot of fun. I have already signed up for subsequent swim practices, yay.

Winning a trip to Paris

Remember when that happened? SO AWESOME. We submitted our ticket requests today so hopefully we hear back soon if we get the dates we want. Jake and I hope to be in Paris in October.

Learn Vest

Muchas gracias to my manager who recommended this email newsletter and website. It’s a finance and budget website specifically for women. If you are a lady, check it out. Lots of tips and really interesting information from a female perspective. Since I am already super cheap and save heaps of money by doing things like riding my bike to work, shopping at Goodwill (SHHH don’t tell anyone I got my prom dress there), and cooking at home, not much of their information is helping me save that much more money, but I really like the articles and thought starters it provides otherwise.


I’ve picked up some smaller gigs here and there this month. I haven’t received the checks yet, but when I do they are going straight to the Paris fund. The best meal I ever ate was here, but it’s not cheap. Thanks freelancing cash, you're really going to help me out! Can’t wait to pay taxes on you later.

Purging my closet

One of my roommates and I donated a ton of clothes to Howard Brown earlier this month. Going through my closet and getting rid of stuff was so much easier than I thought it would be. I just got invited last-minute to a clothing exchange, but it was easy to go through my closet again and pull out more stuff that I haven’t worn in forever. My style is changing as I grow older or hipper or whatever, and I just don’t wear the same things I used to.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reverbin': August Prompt

Describe an unexpected moment, activity, sighting or conversation that touched you during July.

I betcha you didn't guess this was going to come back to Paris! But I absolutely cannot think of any other way to respond to this prompt than by talking about how surprised I was by how many people helped me win this trip (if you somehow missed it, I won a trip for 2 to Paris and 5 nights in a hotel I would never be able to pay for otherwise). I'd like to think that 600 people voted for me in this thing because they know how much I love France and know I would do the same thing for them. But... I don't know 600 people that well. No way, jose. So, what really happened is a buncha people that I know hardly well — maybe once worked with or went to high school with or studied abroad with ages ago — as well as a buncha people I have never even met — friends of family and friends of friends — went and voted on this thing because someone asked them to and they thought it would be a nice thing to do.

Once again, I'll bring up that my victory was nearly derailed by a nasty cheater. Even as his number of votes continued to grow, mine kept creeping up, too. I was fairly confident he would be removed from the competition, but even so I was blown away by all the people that kept working to get me votes so that I could still win. I'm a writer, so I should have a better way to say it, but simply put, it was just nice. Really, really, nice.

A few weeks later, I'm still not finished thanking everyone I know who voted for me, and I don't even know how to thank those I don't! But all this excitement made July one of the most bestest months ever.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Wake Up Call: Biking is Dangerous

A biker got killed in Chicago on Friday night. She slipped under a garbage truck and wasn’t able to get out fast enough. The driver didn’t see her.

I love riding my bike everywhere and wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the exercise and the freedom to get from point A to point B without having to wait for a train or bus or pay oodles of money for a cab. And even though I am one of the safest bikers I know — I always wear my helmet, have bright front and back lights, and anticipate that drivers won’t see me anyway so bike proactively — it’s still dangerous. This biker’s horrible death reminded me of that.

The following night, I was biking to meet up with friends and feeling a bit skiddish for obvious reasons. I was being extra special careful, and just as I was about to pull up to the bar, a cabbie suddenly pulled over and cut me off. Stuff like this happens all the time. If you’re paying attention, as I was, it’s not a big deal. He didn’t come close to hitting me, but that’s because I knew if I didn’t get out of the way, he would.

I was perfectly fine, but annoyed and angry. I’ve had much closer brushes with injury, but his lack of concern pissed me off. He’s a cabbie, I know. I can’t expect otherwise. But because of the recent death of the biker, I felt especially irked. Normally I would forget about something like this, but this time I decided to say something to the dude. Before he had a chance to zoom away, I walked up to him and said calmly, but sternly “Hey. You just cut me off. You can’t say you didn’t see me, because I know you did. I’m trying to be careful out here. You need to do the same.”

He said he was sorry. I said “Okay. Well it’s my life. And ‘I’m sorry’ won’t save it.”

I didn’t really feel better after giving the cabbie my two cents. Maybe he’ll be more careful for a few hours, but it’s his job to get places fast. He’ll forget. Also, he’s only one cabbie in a city of thousands. I’m not going to stop riding my bike, but I’ll do my best to be even more careful, if that’s even possible.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

!! On #WINNING !!

As you probably already know if you follow my Facebook or Twitter or know me in real life, I WON the Air France USA contest. When the contest closed, I had more than 600 votes and the second place person was somewhere around 250. The cheater dude, skeezy Eric P. was disqualified a couple hours earlier for his magical ability to instantly acquire 750 votes. Shortly after voting closed, I received an “official” congratulatory email from Air France USA’s social media people. They said: “Internally you were easily one of our favorite candidates and we are thrilled to see the way that the votes fell in your favor, congratulations again and thank you for participating!”

So what do I win? I win two round-trip tickets on Air France to Paris. And I win five nights in Pullman Montparnasse (initially I thought it was Montmartre. I was wrong, but this hotel looks pretty swanky). Pets are allowed so I can bring Libby!!!! She does love Paris. I am hoping to go in the fall sometime and will be taking Jake, who ever so patiently maintained his cool this past week as I was literally freaking out 24/7 about winning this thing. If Jake can’t make it because the Cardinals are playing, I’ll take my sister. If my sister can’t make it, I’ll take my aunt. If my aunt can’t make it, I’ll take my mom. If none of them can make it, maybe I’ll take you. Let me know, and I’ll add your name to the waiting list.

I still can’t believe I won, and I really can’t believe how many people helped me do it. First off, for my entry I have to thank coworkers Nikki and Alex for helping me out. And then, once I made it to the top 10 I contacted every single I person I knew asking for votes, but I certainly do not know 600 people. I had so many people rallying for me. My whole triathlon club voted. The Threadless community voted. My neighbors voted. My whole work voted. I am pretty sure a lot of my old coworkers voted, too. My aunt asked people she knew on her train, my sister’s boyfriend asked his coworkers, my dad asked everyone at his favorite restaurant, Jake’s mom asked all her friends. Once the nasty cheater revealed himself and jumped ahead by 200 votes, I was so surprised by how many people were pulling for me and asking everyone they knew to help me out. The cheater kept going, but so did my fan club. I was somehow able to pull in 100 more votes yesterday, and that was long after I had asked everyone I knew. I’m fairly certain those last 100 people didn’t even know me. And I don’t know them, so I can’t even thank them.

If you voted for me, thank you. If you got your friends to vote for me, thank you more! You have no idea how excited I am. Paris is my favorite city and I am so excited to go back.

Everyone's asking me about the cheater, and I don't know much about his tactics. All I know is that he had about 50 votes Sunday morning, and suddenly had 400, gained 200 more overnight, and by the time he was removed from the competition Monday afternoon, was up to 800. I personally think he wrote a script or code or application or something that was automated. His votes wouldn't move for hours, then would suddenly shoot up in a short amount of time. He was a very unintelligent cheater, and I am happy for that. :-)