Dolla dolla bills y’all

Life lesson #72: The dollar store may be the single greatest establishment ever.

I have a confession.

I love the dollar store.

I know what you’re thinking: Justine, this is all…so sudden! You’re too young to know for sure! It’s only been a week!

But I don’t care, I tell you! I don’t care!

I don’t know if you realize this or not, but you can buy just about anything at the dollar store. (By the way, ours is called Big D’s. Yet another reason why I adore it so.)

I know what you’re thinking now, too: But Justine, it’s the dollar store. The stuff is probably cheap generic crap that falls apart and doesn’t really work.

Au contraire! It is actually cheap generic wonderfulness that usually doesn’t fall about and usually works.

For example, my two favorite dollar store purchases at the moment are these canvas boxes I bought to store stuff under my bed and on high shelves in my closet:


And this toilet bowl cleaner:


Do you know what the namebrand version of this toilet bowl cleaner would have cost me? At least $14. At the dollar store, the generic-but-equally-effective version goes for (wait for it)…ONE DOLLAR.

Of course, “dollar store” is sort of a misnomer. In reality, not everything is a dollar. But the prices are still so low, you won’t even mind.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my friend George Washington and I have some shopping to do.

Why I’m not a cat person

I think, in general (and I’m going to get backlash for saying this), men are fairly simple creatures to understand.

Sure, they go through the same, well, similar emotional turmoil women go through, and I’m sure there are plenty of examples of the male species who are deep and tortured and I couldn’t possibly begin to get. But for the most part, figuring out the dudes is not rocket science.

That being said, from time to time I encounter some factor of the masculine brain that simply baffles me. Case in point: the catcall.


The very nature of the term is absurd: How many cats come when they’re called? And I don’t want to generalize and say that there isn’t a woman alive who enjoys having a total stranger verbally accost her on the street, but for the most part, I think catcalling makes your average girl a little uncomfortable. And more importantly, it is literally the worst way to actually get with a girl.

Think about it. When was the last time a guy in a car honked at a pretty girl and she turned around and said, “I WANT TO GO HOME WITH YOU.”?

I’ve been thinking about this recently because on my new street in Brooklyn, though it’s rather adorable and very, very safe, it’s nearly impossible to get from my doorstep to the corner deli without getting catcalled.

Although according to my roommate Erica’s boyfriend Paul, I get the nicest catcalls of anyone he’s ever heard. Case in point: Last night the three of us went out for a drink and some random guy walking by told me I was beautiful. I ignored it (as virtually every girl would, thus my POINT), but Paul goes, “Wow. That was really…polite for a catcall.” I told him that was pretty standard. I typically get that or some comment on my eyes (which are around the size of your average cartoon deer’s). I guess that is preferable to something truly filthy.

But given the ineffective nature of the catcall, why has it stuck around so long? You’d think at some point men would reach an age where whistles and muttered “compliments” would seem inappropriate.

Not so, according to the man in his sixties who called me “beautiful lady” as I walked to the park this morning.

I know this sounds like I’m bragging, but a catcall is not something you brag about. The difference between a catcall and a legitimate compliment is that a compliment is something especially for another person. A catcall is something especially for anything with a vagina. Besides, you all know compliments just make me uncomfortable.

So, my catcalling fellow humans, what’s the point? Anyone have any insight? Or at the very least, a great catcall story to share?

If you can make it there…

So I’ve survived my first week in New York.

Actually, I don’t want to get cocky, but I think I’ve done better than survive. Here’s a quick run-down of everything I’ve accomplished over the past seven days:

1. Moved in. And this is not as easy as it sounds. I had to carry very heavy objects up three flights of stairs. And then I had to FIT all of the crap INSIDE those objects in my rather compact bedroom. So, yeah.

2. Started my internship. Which I love. And which I plan on rocking so my lovely employers want to give me a salaried position.

3. Got a SECOND job. I just got hired at Aldo. SHOES! And ACCESSORIES! Of course, I can’t actually buy any of them. (Thanks, poverty.) But the point is, I will be able to afford to live here! Yayayay!

So, that’s the update. Stay tuned for more wackiness in Greenpoint, courtesy of yours truly.

TWO post in ONE day?!?

I know, I literally JUST posted, but I’m so excited. We have Internet in our apartment.

I always knew I liked the Internet. I mean, I typically spend over 50% of my day online. But the past few days sans the World Wide Web has forced me to come face to face with my crippling addiction.

My name is Justine, and I’m addicted to the Internet.

I’m not even ashamed.

Also, everything in my life is good, minus the fact that I still need a job that will pay my bills. You’re welcome for now having that Destiny’s Child song stuck in your head.

IKEA (n.) Swedish for “test of wills”

Life lesson #66: IKEA is not for wimps.

In fact, nothing about moving would serve the faint of heart. Whether you’re shlepping 90-pound boxes up three flights of stairs or hoping desperately that the new sofa you just bought will stay securely tied to the roof of your car as you coast along a Brooklyn freeway, when it comes to moving, pantywaists need not apply.

Which is why it’s so fortunate that I am a moving warrior.

Today was my first trip to an IKEA. I mean, I was familiar with the custom: giant warehouse, loads of inexpensive furniture, Swedish sensibility, etc. What I didn’t know is that IKEA is not just a store. It’s an experience.

When you go to IKEA, you’re not just going to walk away with a cheap futon. Oh no, it’s a place where you can find yourself the proud consumer of a streamlined living room and a streamlined view of the world. The IKEA experience includes dining on delacacies in the cafeteria (including Swedish meatballs and a free breakfast during the Memorial Day Weekend Sale!!!) and learning why clearing your own tray is not only better for the wait staff, but better for the world in general.

The only real problem with IKEA is that you want everything. Literally.

Emma and I had roughly two hours to scour the gigantic kingdom for a couch, coffee table, bookshelves and a dresser—the feat was almost too much, even with my loyal parents by our sides. The real challenge, though, turned out to be getting our Swedish treasures home. Fortunately, my dad is a wizard with twine, and we got everything home without a hitch. (Again, literally. We’d already returned the U-Haul trailer we’d rented to get the rest of my crap to New York.)

The only thing left to do was somehow put everything together. Emma and I conquered these bookshelves: (sorry they’re sideways)


But the real victory, my magnum opus, is this:


Go ahead, you can ooh and ah. I’m impressed with me, too.

I BUILT that thing with my BARE HANDS. I don’t know if you’re as excited as I am, but the point is that Ty Pennington better watch his back.

Long walks on the beach, etc.

In honor of my last night in my Des Moines home, I’ve decided to make a list of all the things I’ve learned to love about this city:

1. My friends. I’d list you all, but I’d undoubtedly forget someone, and then I’d have to deal with that fall out. No thanks. You know who you are.

2. Everything is about 15 minutes away. As someone facing a 47-minutes commute to work, a 23-minute commute to church, and at least a half-hour subway ride to just about everything else, I’ll miss the quick trips.

3. Prices. Everything in New York is effing expensive. Seriously. Everything.

4. Smash T-shirts. I bought two today. Des Moines-themed sarcasm? Sign me up.

5. Van Dees Ice Cream

6. Just driving around

7. “Landmarks” from my childhood

8. Fourth meal

I feel like there is probably more than that, but for some reason that’s all I can come up with right now. Thanks for the laughs, Iowa. Take care of yourself.

Thinking Outside of the Boxes

Life lesson #58: OMG packing is boring.

But seriously. I’ve even got my iTunes on random, so you’d think that would be entertaining me.

The best thing about shuffle-mode is that you hear songs you’ve either a) forgotten exists or b) you would normally be ashamed to listen to, even though you secretly love them. Which is why I’m glad I’m the only one home. (Hel-lo Britney, Mandy, and all things showtune. I’ve missed you.)

But the point is, of course, that I’m procrastinating. It’s not that I don’t want to be all packed and ready to go (ON THURSDAY! EEK!), I just can’t get motivated. Well, to pack.

My friend Michelle and I were recently discussing how when we’re putting something off, we suddenly feel motivated to do everything else we’ve been putting off or would put off. So, in the spirit of optimistic procrastination, here’s a list of things I’ve accomplished today:

1. Exercised. I ran four miles and walked two around Gray’s Lake. Champ.

2. Lunched. Now that my days in Iowa are limited, I’m trying to cram in social meals wherever I can. Today, Tyler and I ate at Jason’s Deli and TCBY. (And since I have no food in the house, I have to make these meals count.)

3. Packed. (ish.) I mean, my sweaters, long-sleeve shirts, dishes, shoes, purses, belts, and some kitchen stuff are now in boxes whereas they weren’t before. So get off my back.

Plus I graduated a couple of days ago. So that seems like a big enough accomplishment to warrant me a few minutes of laziness.


Sigh. It will all get done. …right?