February 2012


As busy as The Man and I are, it’s a rarity to find time to stop; even more rarely can we work it out to get time off together.  This past weekend we were lucky enough to sneak off to San Antonio for a couple of days.  The nearly constant rain and cold didn’t even bother us so much as we were just thrilled to be doing anything other than studying, working, choring, and/or stressing.

We didn’t have a set schedule.  We slept in.  We drank wine in bed and watched SNL.  We walked the river, ate a ridiculous amount of good food, visited the zoo (SO much fun!), window shopped (and actually shopped), and basically just enjoyed being kids for a moment – we enjoyed running away.

Day 1 back in OKC – walking in wind gusts up to 60 mph, cramming for an Arabic exam, piles of laundry to be done, responding to an inbox full of student emails, plowing through a never ending stack of grading, blah blah blah.  I know all that sounds like a whole bunch of First World Problem whining (and it is) but I can’t help it.  Taking a moment’s pause is so refreshing.  But dammit if the moments immediately after aren’t completely exhausting by comparison.

The Man managed to take this amazing shot of a rain droplet about to fall.

photo credit: viniciousknibb

I keep staring at it.  It feels like the entire photo is holding its breath, waiting for the action to resume but not really wanting it to because the image is too appealing the way it is.  It kind of perfectly sums up how I feel about this weekend.  And I want to go (back) to  there.

That’s right, I said it.  And in my title, too.

But before I lose the members of my audience for whom that biology doesn’t apply, don’t forget!  You owe a lot to that particular body part, so maybe show it a little respect and keep reading for a moment.

V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women.   Now, assuming you’re not an abuser or a victim of abuse yourself, you might be tempted to think this has nothing to do with you.  Sadly, the odds are that this issue has directly effected someone very close to you.  According to the UN, in the United States alone, a woman is beaten every 18 minutes. Globally, one out of every three women will be abused at some point in their lifetime:

“V-Day was born of the belief that until these themes are addressed, these violations named and taken up by whole communities as an unacceptable desecration of human dignity, the violence will continue.”

What does that have to do with Valentine’s Day?

Since Valentine’s Day is considered a day of love, a time to honor the beloved women (and men) in your life by showering them with expressions of romantic devotion, this makes it a perfect time to reflect on how we would want them treated the rest of the year.  What started as a single day event in 1998 has grown to include annual events taking place over a span of three months, February, March, and April, where performances of “The Vagina Monologues” and “Until the Violence Stops” occur all over the world.

 

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area, the University of Central Oklahoma is hosting a performance of “The Vagina Monologues” on April 19, and a screening of the documentary “Until the Violence Stops” on April 18 (times TBA).

Funds raised at both events will benefit the YWCA of Oklahoma City.

So maybe while you’re making your last-minute Valentine’s plans, you could schedule time to take him/her/yourself to see one of the V-day performances.  The benefits will last longer than roses and no one has to worry about the effects of too much chocolate on their waistline.

Work outings.  Yep.  They happen.  It’s a strange thing to be required to spend your free time with people you normally don’t like, doing something you normally wouldn’t do.  In my case, it’s a party in downtown OKC with free beer (read: Bud Light) and half-naked women dancing in cages whilst a DJ spins club jams.  Oh yeah.  Sign me up.

As if that weren’t enough, there’s a dress code that is, according to the flyer, “strictly enforced.”  Helpfully, said dress code is clearly outlined in the following ways: “Dress to impress.”  Right.  Obviously.  (According to the other, much more knowledgeable girls who are also required to participate in the Mandatory Fun, this means I need club wear.  Sigh.)

Now, as a professor and part time waitress, naturally my closet is bursting with all manner of trendy, club-ready clothing.  Yeah, not so much. After a good deal of closet shopping and improvising, I managed to find a dress that I thought would be workable. All I needed was a key piece of jewelry to bring it all together, give it some punch.

Since the dress is navy and black, I decided I needed a bright red bracelet.  I wanted something that had the heft and color of these beads:

from Sino-Treasure.com

but also had the cuff-like quality of this:

from Shop Ruche

Unfortunately, I’m not interested in spending $45 for a bracelet that I’m not totally in love with (à la Shop Ruche), and for an event I couldn’t care less about.  And, in order to buy enough of the Sino-Treasure version to make a cuff, it’d still cost about $42.  Pretty sure I can do better.

Off once more to the hobby store.  I found some lovely, rich burgundy beads that were exactly what I was looking for.  Thankfully, the sale gods were smiling on me again, and I managed to snag them for 50% off.

I bought two packages, giving me 4 strands of beads to work with at a total cost of only $5.34, including tax!  I already had stretchy beading thread on hand, but even if I hadn’t, it still would’ve only added $2.50 (plus tax) to the overall cost.

Rather than trying to figure out some way to fashion a single cuff (I’m a jewelry-making newbie, after all), I decided to make three individual bracelets that I would wear as bangles to get that cuff look I was going for.  In order to string them all together, I used a ribbon needle and double threaded the strands to give extra support for my bracelets. Wouldn’t want those guys breaking apart with all that exuberant rump shaking I’m sure to be doing.

A quick double knot on the end and I was ready to string those beads!  This was a fun project to do during commercials while I enjoyed a Law & Order SVU and red wine fix.  (I ♥ Det. Stabler. And a good Cab Sav.)  It’s pretty much goof proof.   Thread needle.  String beads.  Tie ends together.  Repeat.  Before Benson and Stabler had their first suspect in handcuffs, my cuff was good to go.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

Beads:  $4.99 @ 50% off x 2 pkg. = $5.34

String:  already had on hand = free!

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My total cost:  $5.34

Average of internet inspirations:  $43.50

TOTAL SAVED:  $38.16

Bring it, Mandatory Work-Fun-times. I’m ready for you.

Ladies, gird your loins, cause this shiz is about to get real.

A friend of mine already commented on the following ridiculousness here:

I know right?!  I couldn’t believe it either.  How in the world this stuff continues to infect our lives is seriously beyond me.  Thankfully, articulatethelimb offers a sane and intelligent response to this rancid idiocy.  There’s not too much for me to add to her commentary, which does fantastic job deconstructing the ideas line by line.   Still, her words inspired me to create an image that captured the righteous spirit of her rant in a way that could be shared quickly and effectively.  And so my friends, I offer you my version:

photo credit: supershiksa

Feel free to ‘like’ and ‘re-pin’ this on Pinterest here.  Don’t let that old narrative permeate our lives or define our standards.  Let’s make this the new standard.  Come on, ladies, let ’em hear you roar.

Little known fact about me: I am an obsessive DIYer.  Most of the furniture in my house has been thrifted or garage saled and then refinished.  I like the satisfaction of working on something that’s been thrown away or outcast and turning it into something fantastic. I’m also uber-thrifty (read: cheap) and while I love the finer things in life, I don’t like the price tags that are typically attached.

My most recent project: a vanity tray for my dresser.  I’ve got far too many bracelets, rings, perfume bottles, and other paraphernalia cluttering up my dresser. Organization, please! My inspiration piece was this beauty from Urban Outfitters:

I loved the scroll work of the metal and the gorgeous (albeit faux) patina. And although it was priced at only $24, which was reasonable compared to some others I’d seen for $100-$200 or more (!!), I still thought I could do better cost-wise.  I made a quick trip to my local thrift store and, after rummaging through a bin of old picture frames, I found an antique frame with a comparable filigree:

The frame’s velvet stand had long since broken off and the glass pane was split in two.  But the $.99 price tag and the additional 50% off sale meant I couldn’t pass it up.  The poor little broken frame came home with me.

I thought at first about trying to replace the glass with either a mirror or a new pane and then maybe spray painting the frame a fun color, but since my goal was to keep this refurbish under the total cost of its Urban Outfitters equivalent, I decided not to replace or paint anything. Instead, I bought a single sheet of pretty, scrapbooking paper from Hobby Lobby. Of course, the paper was 50% off (woo!) so it only cost me another $.14.

Once home, it only took a couple of quick coats of Mod Podge to seal the paper to the glass, one coat on the back to seal the broken glass together, a few hours to dry and blamo!  My new vanity tray was ready for action!

Pretty gorgeous, right? I actually like my version better than the Urban Outfitters’ one.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

Frame:  $ .99 @ 50% off = $.48

Paper:  $ .29 @ 50% off = $.14

Mod Podge: already had some left from a previous project

_______________________

My total cost:  $  .62

Urban Outfitters’ version:  $24.00

TOTAL SAVED:  $23.38

Mission Accomplished!!