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!

_______________________

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.

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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!!

Think back to a time in your life when you just dominated. Call it a “win at life” moment, if you will.  That time you felt as if you owned the world, that the stars were aligned just for you and nothing could touch you.  Let that feeling creep back in for a moment, allow your confidence to grow, relish the taste, the thrill of assurance that things were going to work out and nothing, NOTHING would ever change that.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s how they felt, too.

Until they ended up my local thrift store.

For $ .99.

With a 50% off sticker proudly displayed on the back.

Dear readers, I’ve begun to notice a serious condition that is plaguing students all across our fine state.  It is a rampant, growing epidemic that is so invasive, it threatens to reach into your school and take possession of your children.  It seems that many college students, who are engaged in their class discussions and lectures, are suddenly and without warning disappearing.

Yes, it’s true.  Students all over the state are vanishing before our educator’s very eyes.  One minute, they are there, sitting attentively, taking notes and engaging the instructor in meaningful conversation. The next, they are gone.  It’s as if they evaporated into thin air, leaving no trace of their former presence.  Or so one would think.  Just when you grow comfortable in their absence, they abruptly re-appear, frightening their fellow classmates and instructors with a random question, comment, or concern.  It’s as if their spirit remained in the room, observing all the goings on yet their bodies choose to remain unseen by the rest of the class.  It is a terribly frightening and chilling phenomenon; one that requires all caution to avoid.

Ok, maybe students aren’t actually disappearing in class.  But that scenario seems to make more sense than the reality of what goes on with some students in some classes.  How else am I to explain when students fall asleep, watch You Tube videos on their laptops, text, doodle, or complete homework for other classes, all during class time and in plain view.  It’s a phenomenon I’ve referred to as the “invisibility effect.”  Something happens when a student sits at a desk and faces the front of a classroom – they forget that just as they can see their professor, so can their professor see them.

Maybe this is the result of too much television or the fault of online chatting, where people do remain unseen by their digital audiences.  But this is real life now; the instructor you’re looking at isn’t digital.  You are visible.  Recognize.  I see those cell phones hidden under textbooks and table tops.  I know you’re not taking notes on your laptop when your face reveals muffled laughter and you elbow your neighbor, pointing at your computer screen so they might share in your glee.  Pull your hat down over your eyes all you want; just because you can’t see me, I can still see you, sleeping peacefully in the back row, head leaning back against the wall.  And ma’am, I understand that bras aren’t always the most comfortable of clothing.  However, if you would be so kind, please refrain from grabbing the tops of your cups and vigorously hoisting them upward during my lectures. It’s distracting, at the least. At most, it’s going to cause some chafing, and that’s not good for anyone.

So students, a word to the wise.  Remember that game your parents played with you as a baby?  Peek-a-boo?  Well, consider that your first and possibly earliest life’s lesson.  I. See. You.

You know how your favorite TV shows end each season on a cliffhanger?  Like “Game of Thrones” or “True Blood,” they make you wait months and months to find out what happened to characters for whom you’ve invested your time, energy, and attention.  Will Lafayette be freed from Antonia?  Can Sookie finally make up her mind about Eric/Bill?  Who are the White Walkers?  And will winter ever arrive in Winterfell?!  By the time you get around to the new season, so much time has passed that you’re a little lost trying to remember precisely what was going on when last you saw them.

To that end, I offer you a quick summary of events in the life of super shiksa, since last we spoke:

I started teaching at another university, bringing my total number of jobs to three.

I got engaged,

planned an out of state wedding,

went back to school,

bought a new car,

got married over fall break,

 

honeymooned in New England,

combined households and fur kids,

  

and did it all in time to celebrate three Thanksgivings,

and four Christmases.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Remember Juno? Not the movie about a pregnant teenager. I’m talking about the mid-90’s email phenomenon, wherein a user would periodically dial-up their inboxes on a FREE account and check their non-attachment bearing, no-bigger-than-35-kilobyte messages. Juno was the first chance many average American families had to access the wonders of email in their own homes. As long as you had a computer and a telephone line, you had email. Uh-mazing.

The funny thing is, I don’t recall anyone questioning whether email was actually something we wanted. I just remember wanting it, needing it,  knowing we couldn’t afford AOL, agonizing that all my friends were visiting new places called “chat rooms” and doing exciting things like “IMing”. I knew getting to talk to nameless strangers at all hours of the day and night was something only the lucky (and wealthy) few could enjoy. But email? FREE email?! I could do that.

Oh, youth.

I’d give almost anything to eradicate the need for email in my life. There are few things more frustrating than cleaning out one’s inbox, only to have it stuffed with scores of new messages, most of which are pure garbage, in a matter of a few hours. My fragile, neatnick, and hyper-organized psyche doesn’t do well with that sort of thing. Bad enough I can never seem to keep my house or my office as clutter free as I’d like.  I can forgive myself this mess (to a degree) given how stupid busy I am most days. But, in an environment where all I have to do is push “delete” to make the offending debris magically disappear, I allow myself no excuse.

Then, there’s the expectation that we all sit around waiting for new messages to appear, that our lives are somehow as empty as our mailboxes and we have nothing else to do but immediately respond to any mundane correspondence that comes our way. Not to mention the fact that it’s often more efficient to “shoot off an email” asking for answers rather than to go looking for whatever information it is we need.  This means, a large part of my day goes something like this:

What homework is due?

– It’s in the syllabus.

How long should our chapter responses be?

– It’s IN the syllabus.

I wasn’t aware we had an attendance policy…

– IT’S IN…THE…SYLLABUS!! Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop emailing me for obvious shit and then emailing again, wondering why I haven’t responded to your previous email, when the information was easily available to you this entire time and it’s only been 1 hour since your first email! >*&*%!(@!I@(!*#&!*%!!!!!

So in closing, email, that promise of tomorrow, blesses our todays with clutter, impatience, and sloth. Thanks for that.