Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Open Letter of Friendship to John Mayer

Dear John,

I think you and I should be friends. No, I don't mean "friends" as a euphemism for "lovers" or "friends with benefits," nor do I seek out your friendship for my own personal gain. What I'm proposing is friendship in its truest form, plain and simple. Here's a rundown of the benefits you'd reap if you were my friend:

1. At the risk of sounding conceited, I'm a riot. At least I think so. I mean, I'd be friends with me. I'm also pretty mellow, so if you're having a day where you're just on edge or wound up tighter than a tick, you'd end up relaxing after hanging out with me. (Aside: some of my friends have said that when they first met me they thought I was a recreational stoner, so they might try to make snide little comments about me smokin' it up. Ignore them. They are full of crap.)

2. I say stupid shit all the time. Look, I know you were probably at a different place in your life when you wrote "My Stupid Mouth," but still. I'm no stranger to putting my foot in my mouth, so if you say something weird, there will be no judging from this girl. Also, and this has nothing to do with anything, but if you decide you wanna rock the Mark Anthony look and grow your hair out again, that's okay too. No judging, remember?

3. Location, location, location. John, I live in Tampa, Florida, which is a prime location. The beaches are like half an hour away, and bonus--the oil hasn't reached us yet! So if you've been wanting a little beach time fun lately, you can still realize that summer dream! And I also know the best place to park so we wouldn't have to pay! How great is that?! If you're still not convinced, then maybe this little tidbit will sway you: I'm only about an hour or so away from Orlando, so if you want to get your Disney on, we can easily do that! But wait, there's more! I'm only five hours from...drum roll, please...MIAMI! Can you say road trip? Think of all the LOLs we'll share, crusin' down the highway, dreaming of getting our drink on in South Beach! Except I expect you to pay your share of tolls/gas money/parking money. Don't be that guy, John. Nobody wants to be friends with that guy.

4. I won't constantly reference your songs or gush over your entire song catalog. Don't get me wrong, I love your music; it's ushered me into adulthood. However, friendship is a different dynamic than that of musician/fan, which means statements like, "OMG I loved the version of 'Your Body is a Wonderland' on Any Given Thursday!" and, "Can you sign my CDs/picture/notebook/breasts?" are out of the question. I understand this.

5. You've lived in New York. I've been there...once. But I enjoyed it.

6. You like Alicia Keys. I like Alicia Keys, too! We can listen to Alicia Keys records, chow down on some pizza and share some LOLs!

John, I strongly urge you to consider being my friend. Please, be the Big to my Rob. Be the Annie Sullivan to my Helen Keller. Be the Dave Matthews to my Band! (Well, not an actual band. It's a...you know what, I'm sure you get it.) This could be the start of something good, you and I. We'll get zany, make memories, all that good stuff. There's an air mattress in Tampa with YOUR name on it, buddy. Will you be my friend?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Perfume Whores of the World, Unite!

I'll admit it: I'm a perfume whore. I own 19 full-sized bottles of scents, plus dozens more samples. What can I say? Fragrance has been good to me. My friend Jess and I initially bonded over our shared love of the stuff. It makes me feel good. It's the perfect accessory to any outfit, and you can coordinate what scent you wear with what mood you're in. Sure, some may consider my perfume collection the gateway drug to full-on hoarding, but I prefer to see it as an enthusiastic tribute to one of man's most fabulous inventions. And with that said, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites here.

Victoria's Secret Dream Angels Divine

This was my very first perfume purchase, the fragrance that started it all. It was the Christmas after I graduated high school, and my friend Meagan got me a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret as a present. I had never purchased anything from Vicki's before, and I'm not sure why I decided on perfume. Maybe it was because I thought wearing fragrance was the height of sophistication; maybe it was because The Land of Scent was beckoning me like a good-smelling siren because it knew we were soul mates (FYI, I prefer to believe the latter), but when my nose got a whiff of this stuff, it was love at first smell. Tastes change, however, and while I now find this scent a little too sweet, I still break it out sometimes. It brings me back.

Rockin' Rio by Escada

Rockin Rio, my love, why oh why did you have to be discontinued? We were so good together! Was it something I said? Something I did? I swear, I'll take it all back, just come back to me, PLEASE! Sigh...this perfume was such a sexy summer scent: warm and musky. It's dearly missed.

Harajuku Lovers G
Although G doesn't fully fill the void left in my heart by Rockin' Rio, it does a pretty good job, and is my new favorite summer scent. Warm and coconut-y, it reminds me of every beach trip I've ever taken with friends and family: the smell of the suntan lotion, the smell of the salt in the air, the smell of newly sun-kissed skin. If I'm in a bad mood, I'm instantly perked up with just a whiff.

Rock 'n Rose Couture by Valentino
This scent pleasantly surprised me. For the longest time, I wanted so hard to like it (I mean, look at that bottle! It's a work of art! Who wouldn't want that on her dresser?), but every time I smelled it in a magazine, I recoiled in disgust. It was just...ew. Too vanilla-y and flowery. But then, on a trip to Macy's, a very wise sales associate saw me eyeing the bottle, and the following conversation went a little something like this:

Her: Isn't that a great scent?
Me: I really want to like it, but I can't. It's too strong.
Her: It's actually a light scent. Here, let me show you...

She then grabbed my arm, spritzed a little on my wrist, and told me to walk around and let it set for a few minutes. And you know what? She was absolutely right. It actually is a light scent, but still sexy enough to wear on a night out or on a date (I actually wore it on the date I described on Pretty and Poor, and later said to a friend, "The bastard didn't deserve it."). It's the perfect balance of vanilla and rose. I never saw that wise sales associate again, which leads me to believe that she was my fairy godmother, sent over by The Land of Scent to get me back on the right track.

There you have it--my favorite scents (although I adore the other 15 I own as well). What are some of your favorites?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

More Shameless Whoring

But it's in a non-sexual way, so that makes it okay, right? Anyway, I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for one of my favorite blogs, Pretty & Poor. It's about one of my favorite subjects: horrible dates. You can read it here. I also suggest you stay awhile and check out the rest of the blog. Emily, the author, is hilarious. And show some love by leaving her some comments.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fireman Fiasco

I love firemen, and most of my girlfriends know this. So last week after happy hour when my friend A and I were walking her dog Turbo and came across a stray Rottweiler, she suggested we take it to the fire station down the road so I could get my fireman fix. I was game.

Now along with my love of firemen, I should also mention my crazy bad luck when it comes to men in general. I don't know what it is, but between bad dates and the, "he's just not that into you" scenarios I encounter, me + men is an equation that never seems to balance out (math analogy FTW!). So it really shouldn't have been a surprise that her well-intentioned plan backfired, even though it was. A surprise, I mean. Nevertheless, what happened instead was still pretty funny, so I thought I would share it here.

While A wrangled the Rot, I took Turbo back to her apartment and got a spare leash. The plan was to ask the firemen if they could call the police or animal control for us because we accidentally got "locked" out of her apartment. When we got to the station, we debated about where to enter. A suggested the garage where they keep the firetrucks since the door was open, but I thought it would be better to go around front to the office instead of just barging all up in their firehouse like we were their BFFs. So we walked around to the front and found the entrance to the office. A stayed outside with the Rot while I went in.

There was no office. When I opened the door, I was greeted by a twin bed directly in front of me, a living area (with a bangin' flat screen TV) to my left, and about six pairs of eyes staring at me over dinner at the kitchen table just beyond. I had just barged all up in their firehouse like I was their BFF. The following exchange went a little something like this:

Me (trying to be cool-as-a-cucumber and failing miserably): "Hi...sorry to barge in here, but...my friend and I found a stray dog and we were wondering if you could call animal control or something since we're locked out of her apartment..."

Them: ::crickets chirping::

Awkward, to be sure. I just knew they saw right through the whole, "we're locked out of the apartment" lie, but after a few seconds (that felt like a few hours), the middle-aged white guy at the table nodded to a short, Hispanic kid who looked to be about sixteen (just my luck). The kid hopped up from the table, and I took care to hold the door open for him, like that simple act of courtesy would show that I was really a decent person, not some weird girl who went around to fire stations making up stories just so she could ogle the cute firemen. Which I was, but they didn't need to know that. After about a minute or so of holding the door open, I was thinking that it was taking that kid quite along time to come out and get the show on the road, when he emerged--along with the other five guys who decided to abandon their dinner for the time being because this was the most action that sleepy fire station had seen all day (that was my theory, anyway).

The group of us walked over to A and the Rot, and a few of the guys commented on how the stray must have had a home because it had a collar and looked to be well taken care of. We explained we thought so too, but when we found it, we didn't see anybody wandering around who might be looking for a lost dog. The Rot was by itself. After a few more seconds of chatting, one of the firemen who was inside on the phone with the police station (who was the captain, I later learned) asked for "one of the ladies" to come inside. Since A was with the Rot, I went inside. And this was where the plan backfired: A was outside, talking to the firemen, while I was inside with the middle-aged captain who was dialing numbers, trying to help us figure out what to do with the dog. The captain was nice, and I definitely appreciated him trying to help, but like I said, he was also middle-aged and not cute, so the wait for him to get off the phone with the verdict as to how to handle the situation was mind-numbingly boring for me. And when he did tell me the verdict, it was more bad luck: since we couldn't find the dog's owner, one of us would have to take the dog and wait for animal control to call. It couldn't stay at the fire station because if the guys got called out, it would be left alone. It couldn't stay at A's because she already had a dog, and although the Rot seemed friendly enough, she wasn't sure how friendly it would be with her dog. That only left one other option: I would have to take the dog.

So to recap: I didn't really get to talk with any of the firemen because I was inside with the captain, giving him as much information as I could so he could help us, and it looked like I would be stuck having to take the stupid Rot home temporarily. Just. My. Luck. The captain gave animal control my phone number and sent A and I on our way with animal control's after-hours number and good luck well-wishes. Then it was over. The firemen went back to their dinner, and A and I were alone with my new four-legged companion.

We ended up finding the owner. He was walking around with a leash and a dog biscuit, and was very grateful that we found and returned Miles, his Rot. So while I didn't end up having to take the dog home with me, and I didn't get to talk to any firemen, A and I wound up with a good story to tell, which was better in the end. And hey--there's a fire station in my neighborhood, so there's always another opportunity for me to make up a story just to ogle some firemen.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Blast From the Past

Last month, my friend Ali turned 25, and she thought it would be funny to celebrate by hosting a good old-fashioned skating party. Yes, you read that right. A skating party. At a skating rink. The kind we all used to frequent when we were thirteen. And since it'd been about that long since I stepped foot inside a rink, I thought it would be fun to relive this blast from the past and excitedly sent in my RSVP. Just the thought of going skating again conjured up all sorts of memories: playing the hokey-pokey and hoping to win a rabbit's foot key chain instead of the crappy plastic skate one that always seemed to break within five minutes of my touching it; hoping my crush would ask me to skate during the couples' skate; agreeing to "go out" with a boy during a sixth-grade class field trip and then "dumping" him ten minutes later when I had a change of heart. As a fully-grown (well, almost) woman of 26, I wondered what the skating rink experience would be like now, and I was also curious to see if I would fall on my ass.

The scene of the birthday festivities was United Skates of America on Armenia Avenue, a rink, I was told by Ali's father, that had been around since he was a kid. And lemme tell you: for a rink that old, it was bangin'. Seriously! There's no other word to describe it. The floor was polished wood, much like in a basketball court, and skating on it was like flying. Honestly, I feel like I got gypped as a kid, because the rinks in Tallahassee and Perry were nowhere near as nice as that. In fact, they were the complete opposite: ghetto as hell. The floors were made of this gross blue concrete mixture, and I know for a fact that the floor in the Perry skating rink had chunks missing. They weren't huge chunks, but if a kid hit it just right, he'd be ass over heels in no time. And the skates you could rent at both places were a safety hazard in and of themselves: brakes missing, loose wheels, fraying shoelaces. But this place on Armenia? Skating paradise.

Bangin' skating rink

How nice the rink was caught me off-guard, but I really wasn't prepared for how...asshole-ish (I'm going for it) some of the kids were. They had no skating etiquette whatsoever! Since it had been awhile since Ali and I had skated, it took us some time to re-master the basics, like slowing down, braking, and steering, and until we got completely comfortable, we looked like two hunchbacked old ladies who were about to fall at any moment, trying to warn people by flailing our arms. It was wonderfully moronic, and it was a shame that Ali's mother didn't capture it on video (yes, her parents, two nephews and grandmother were there as well, and her mom videotaped us like we were ten). Considering how inexperienced we had to have looked, it would stand to reason that if you were a child, or simply anybody who skated frequently, you would steer clear to avoid a collision, right? WRONG. In fact, I think our lack of skating talent served more as a magnet because those little bastards would decide to dart out in front of us at the last minute, and then skate a little too close for comfort around the turns. And one idgit who almost caused a collision decided that it was our fault and declared war. After we all almost fell, he exclaimed, "Not cool!" and then would skate a ways, stop suddenly and turn around right as we approached (almost causing another accident) and say things like, "I'm watching you!" People, I shit you not. He looked to be about all of seven, and I swear to God had it not been time for him and his little friends to eat their pizza lunch, I would have tripped him, feeling no remorse whatsoever. He pissed me off that much. While he was the only kid to declare war, he was not the only kid with poor skating etiquette. I felt like I was in a weird, real-life game of Minesweeper, having to avoid hitting the children lest I get asked to leave for "being a bully."

Bangin' skating rink after the asshole kids arrived

But despite the asshole kids, Ali and I had an absolute blast. Some things were still the same, like the games and prizes, the food (best nachos ever) and those one or two people who liked to show off their mad skating skillz and do little tricks to make the rest of us hate them. We killed it in the arcade room, winning enough tickets so that each of Ali's two nephews could pick out a "good" prize (you know, the kind that takes hundreds of tickets to get). And, yeah--we fell on our asses. Hard. Then we just sat there on the skating rink floor for a minute or two, laughing them off, another moment that Ali's mother forgot to videotape. And after we left the rink that afternoon, we headed over to Ali's parents' house, where we celebrated Ali's birthday like actual grownups: with cocktails.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More Disney Misadventures

Ah, Walt Disney World. The theme park that loves to give me the big ol' finger every time I decide to visit. The last time I set foot on Magic Kingdom grounds, I got sick and projectile vomited in the parking lot. The trip prior to that, which just so happened to be my very first visit (I was four), I crapped my pants on the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. And while this latest visit saw neither projectile vomiting or crapping in pants, it did see every possible way one could get screwed over by The Mouse.

Earlier this year, my sister and I did some volunteer work in order to get free Disney tickets, and we decided to use them when she came down to visit Memorial Day weekend. We decided to go to the Magic Kingdom because Laura was hell-bent on seeing some Disney characters. The fact that she never saw "any good characters" (her words, not mine) on her prior visits coupled with the fact that I saw every major Disney character within thirty minutes of stepping foot inside the theme park on my last visit drove her insane, and she was determined that, come hell or high water, she would see some good characters. So on Saturday, armed with my camera, we made the trek to Orlando to experience some good old-fashioned Disney magic.

The day started off promising...

The day started out promising. We arrived right when the park opened, and it was sunny and clear. We started off in Fantasyland and got in about two good hours of riding attractions before it started to rain. But even then we got lucky because when it first started raining, we were in line at the tea cup ride (which was under cover), and after we were through riding it the rain had stopped. So we ventured over to Tomorrowland and got in line for Space Mountain, and afterwards emerged into a downpour. Since neither one of us had an umbrella or a poncho, we at first decided to wait it out. But after a few minutes, the rain showed no sign of letting up, and we were really itching to ride the Buzz Lightyear ride, so we decided to chance it and darted out in the mess. By the time we got in line for the Buzz Lightyear ride, we were water-logged. Our clothes were soaked and our feet were cold and wet because we managed to step in two of the deepest puddles on that side of the park. And the bad luck just kept coming.

Soaking wet after getting caught in the rain

On our way to Adventureland to get some Dole Whip later that afternoon, we made a pit stop in front of Cinderella's castle. It was 2:10, and at 2:15 a performance of "Dream Along With Mickey" was scheduled. Since my sister was so determined to see some "good" Disney characters, she wanted to stay for the show, so we parked ourselves right up front, got the camera ready, and waited for it to begin. By this point it had stopped raining again, but it was still overcast, and I jokingly said, "Watch, the show will be cancelled because of the weather." No sooner had the words left my mouth when the announcer came on and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, due to the inclement weather, this performance has been temporarily delayed." My sister gave me the stink eye as I started laughing, and I assured her that there were two performances scheduled for later and we'd just go to one of those.

After our rendezvous in Adventureland, we decided to get an early dinner (it was around 4:00 by this point, and we hadn't had an actual meal since breakfast). After consulting the theme park map, we decided to eat at Cinderella's Royal Table, since the Disney characters were guaranteed to make an appearance there. We trekked back over to Fantasyland and got in line at the restaurant when the question of reservations came up. I whipped out my BlackBerry to look it up and was disappointed to find out that not only were reservations required, you had to make them a whopping 180 days in advance. We ended up eating pizza at some hokey Pinocchio-themed restaurant, and by this point, my sister was walking a fine line between being disappointed and fully pissed off at her failed attempts to see Mickey and his friends.

After dinner, we went back to Tommorowland, and ended up getting stuck on The Carousel of Progress. If you don't know what The Carousel of Progress is, I recommend watching this somewhat crappy quality video to familarize yourself:

As you can see, it's a pretty cool attraction, but it's also one that has the ability to make you want to kill yourself if you get stuck on it, like we did. We were watching the very last scene--the modern-day scene--when the announcement came over the loud speaker: "Please remain seated, as we are experiencing technical difficulties." The animatronic family wrapped up their little spiel about progress and started to sing about the great, big, beautiful tomorrow, as the room rotated to take us away to the end of the ride. But it didn't rotate. The family kept singing. We stayed still. The family finished the song. We still hadn't moved. The family started their spiel all over again, and we were forced to watch it a second time.

When we finally got off The Carousel of Progress, we went to ride Space Mountain for the second time, where we endured a sixty-minute wait. When it was finally our time to board, I noticed an eerie silence. The ride had suddenly gone quiet. I remarked to my sister, "Watch, I'll bet the ride broke down," and again, no sooner had I said it when the lights came on and the announcer said, "Attention, space travelers, due to technical difficulties, the ride has been temporarily delayed, which might add to your wait time." Again, I doubled over in laughter as my sister glared at me and said, "You just need to shut your trap. You keep jinxing us!" Luckily, we didn't have to wait too long before the ride was fully functioning again.

After our second foray into Tomorrowland, we made it back to Cinderella's castle just in time for the final performance of "Dream Along With Mickey"-- which ended up being cancelled because it started to rain again. At this point, my sister had given up all hope of seeing the "good" Disney characters, so we decided to do some souvenir shopping, get a treat at a bakery on Main Street and call it a day. Laura originally wanted to stay for the fireworks and light parade, but decided that with our luck, both would probably be cancelled because of the weather. And good ol' Disney World, not quite finished with screwing us over, put the icing on the frigging cake as we were driving out of the park--fireworks that illuminated the night sky while simultaneously flicking us off.

You know what though? With everything that happened, this was still one of the most fun trips to a theme park I've ever been on. Our luck was so ridiculously bad that we couldn't help but find it amusing, and by the time we left, my stomach was hurting from laughing so hard. And even though my sister labeled the trip a "Disney disappointment," I knew she had just as much fun as I did, characters or no characters.

Additional Amusements We Saw

1. I counted a total of six leash kids while at the park, three at the Dumbo ride alone. I'm not sure what it was about that particular ride that parents felt the need for extra restraint, but it was hilarious (and a little sad) to see those poor little tykes on leashes. Some parents were up front about the fact that they were leashing their kids and used the straight-to-the-point, no-frills wrist models:

Other parents, however, utilized harnesses shaped like animals (monkeys were a popular choice), as if the cutesy animal somehow made up for the fact they were leashing their kids. I hate to break it to you, but if it looks like a harness, functions like a harness and fits your child as snugly as a harness, it's a fucking harness, NOT Mikey the Monkey, your kid's jungle pal. And just for the record, a harness is only cute if it's on a puppy or small dog like this:

NOT on a human being, like this:

2. It's always funny to see a Disney cast member get aggravated yet try to restrain him- or herself because they have to maintain that cheerful, sunshine-out-of-my-ass Disney attitude. Laura and I witnessed this firsthand on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. We were on a boat with a group of teens from either Spain or South America--they were clearly not from this country, and this was made blatantly obvious when they didn't understand a word the man operating the ride was saying. It went a little something like this:

Flash (one of the teens took a picture)

Man Operating Ride: No flash photography!


Man Operating Ride: (getting a little frustrated) No flash photography!


Man Operating Ride: (visibly aggravated, yet trying to maintain his Disney composure) PIRATES, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

3. My sister did end up seeing some pretty decent Disney characters, even if they weren't Mickey, Minnie or Cinderella: