On procreating.

“We should make a pregnancy pact. Think how fun that would be! …Or not.  It might be weird. …Or awesome. I would make Susie Jr. be best friends with Justiney Jr.”


Review: Goody Simple Styles Spin Pins

Last night, I had an incredibly stressful dream where I had nothing to wear to a friends’ wedding in a cramped mansion. (Actually, it might have just been a fancy party…no one really clarified.)

What I do know is that everyone was dressed in incredibly trendy outfits, and I was there in, like, a colonial woman’s traditional dress.

The worst part was that I finally found a dress that I deemed suitable (though, in hindsight, I have no idea why dream Justine was so pleased with a brown suede embroidered cocktail dress with brown tights…no idea at all) when suddenly I realized that my (for whatever reason) phosphorescent lime green underwear was blatantly visible through the back. After shaking off the irritation that none of my friends (all of whom were present and milling around the mansion’s foyer) had pointed this out to me, I quickly ducked into one of three “dressing rooms” made up of heavy velvet draperies that someone had conveniently set up in the sitting room in case guests needed to change before the party.

Because that’s something that happens.

The problem was, the dressing rooms were crammed with old clothing (I think someone was also moving into/out of the mansion…?), and the second I took my dress off and put it down, I could not for the life of me find it again.

I kept picking up dresses that looked like mine when they were on the floor, but as soon as I put them on, they transformed into something dowdy or just plain hideous. (You know, something not nearly as fashionable as brown embroidered suede…)

I vividly remember that every dress was this weird length on me, hitting right at that spot on my legs necessary to achieve maximum frumpiness. I vividly remember this, guys.

The worst part was that everyone was getting impatient with me, so every time I picked up a new dress, I was like, “Don’t stress, guys, I found it,” and they would start clearing away the unwanted clothes and tearing down the dressing room curtains, and then I would realize this was not, in fact, the right dress and try to stop them and grab something different, but there were fewer and fewer options the more they cleared away and my friends were starting to abandon me to go to the party/wedding without me instead of waiting.

And then I woke up. And I’m obviously still a bit rattled because when was the last time I told you about a dream I had? (Just kidding. I know the answer to that question. It was September 24, 2010. THIS IS WHY I WRITE DOWN MY LIFE.)

But the point is, I don’t understand my brain. And I may be mildly too obsessed with clothes.


SPEAKING OF FASHION AND STYLE (sort of), I have another Influenster Beauty Blogger VoxBox review to throw your way. (And so ends the least graceful segue in history.)

I have really thick hair. (On my head…I’m not a wildebeest.) It’s also pretty long and I tend to have it cut with a lot of layers to keep it from feeling like a 100-pound tapestry on the back of my neck. The only problem with layers, though, is they make it pretty difficult to create that blogger-favorite hairstyle, the topknot.

For the record, the Internet is a little conflicted about whether or not the topknot (or ballerina bun or whatever) is still in, but I say any hairstyle that gets all your hair off your face and out of the way will always be in in my book.

But anyway. Sometimes it’s not the easiest look to execute. So when I received a pair of Goody Simple Styles Spin Pins, I was pretty jazzed to see if they worked.


All you do is create a bun or twist, and then twist in the spin pins like cork screws, one on each side of the style, to hold it in place. And since they come in the same color as your hair, they virtually vanish.

I created this bun with my two:

Total disclosure: I had to use a couple of hairpins to tuck in some shorter layers that were sticking out, but the rest of the style is kept completely secure by the spin pins. And if you’re not as Type A as I am, you might not mind a few piece-y bits sticking out anyway.

So there you have it!

Anyone else use these spin pins before? Or have a dream they want to share with the class? Tell me about it in the comments.

The workshop that made me question my whole blog.

Welp, I survived the rest of American Made. It was a pretty incredible event when you think about what went into making it happen. There were also some insanely talented people from all over the country in attendance. The whole thing was pretty dang inspiring.

But if I can be honest with you guys for a second (and I like to think I can), I am what you might call “le tired.

My boss actually gave me and our Assistant Digital Editor (who was covering the event with me) today off. BUT GUESS WHO HAS LIKE SEVEN MEETINGS TODAY, ONE OF WHICH IS WITH TWO PEOPLE VISITING FROM CANADA THAT SHE CAN’T RESCHEDULE?

So…I’m going to work today. But I’m using my free day on Monday, goshdangit.

A three-day weekend! Such luxury. I’m already trying to plan all the things I want to do on the day off. I’m cleaning the apartment tomorrow, so I won’t have to worry about that. I’m thinking a run and maybe some crafting?? Since I’m so inspired by the crafting event I just went to?

I know, you guys. I live fast and loose. You either keep up or get left behind.


The event ended with a panel of bloggers who I have admired a looong time who were all giving advice on what it takes to be a successful blog. The one thing I wish they would have said is that, while great content is incredibly important, sometimes you just get lucky. You happen to know the right people and make the right connections, and you get a following. Sometimes that part does just happen. (Gosh, bitter much, Justine?)

But I’m not really bitter. My blog is not my full-time job. (At the moment…) It’s a side thing I do to keep myself writing. Heck, I don’t even think my blog knows what it is yet. Ya know, three years later.

There’s probably a metaphor about me and my life somewhere in there that I should be acknowledging, but I’m too tired to get all meta on you at the moment.

But the point is, the blog kind of inspired me to figure my blog (and, fine, me) out in the next couple of months. Is it just going to continue to be a random pseudo-diary with the occasional how-to? Should I go back to giving unsolicited advice more regularly? SHOULD I HAVE A THEME, YOU GUYS?

Two of the main themes of advice I heard over and over were:

1. Know who you are and make sure it’s something that isn’t out there already.

2. Take better pictures. Invest in a camera. WE LIVE IN A VISUAL WORLD, Y’ALL.

The second one takes fundage that I’m not ready to cough up yet. But I guess I also need to stop taking crapping pics in crappy lighting. (The trials of a working blogger…)

The first one I feel like I can actually do something about. I feel like the thing I have that isn’t out there already is, well…me. My voice. But maybe I’m just flattering myself.

I don’t know, you guys. And this is getting ramble-y, and I have to sign off and head to the train. So…help me out? What do you come to this blog for? Why? How did you find it? What do you think I should do with my life…er…blog?

This isn’t as life or death as I’m making it sound. As I said, my blog is not my main way of supporting myself, so there’s not nearly as much pressure. I’m just curious.

On the things we’re afraid of.

An email exchange between Annie and me:

From: Annie
To: Me

Want a peak into my weird brain that ends with a question for you….
So Al and I have been running in the mornings – but its pitch black, but i’m not afraid of running because I’m with someone.
You run in the mornings, and Joey doesn’t go with you….is it still pitch black?  Are you all “on alert”
Then Annie brain goes to – well scary people aren’t awake at 6am so I shouldnt be worried…unless they are so crazy they dont sleep at all…or all totally nocternal so they are actually at peak time of crazying.
So….do you run alone in the morning dark?

From: Me
To: Annie

Haha funny you should ask!

Yes, when I run in the morning it is dark. I tell myself much the same thing you say, that the crazies aren’t up yet. There’s actually a really hilarious scene from 30 Rock that I repeat to myself a lot, where Elizabeth Banks’s character gets back from an early run that goes like this:

Jack Donaghy: Where were you?
EB: Jogging.
Jack: Who else is out at this hour?
EB: Almost exclusively women who look like me. God help us if the pervert community ever gets wind of morning jogging.

So that is what I TELL myself, but I also know for a fact that there is a homeless man who sleeps under a bridge I have to run over. I know this because, while he is still asleep when I start out, he is ALWAYS just waking up and shaking out his sleeping bag when I’m on my way home. We made eye contact last time I ran. Obviously, this is how I’m going to die.

At least now I’ve told someone? If I disappear on a morning jog, it was probably the homeless man under the bridge on W******* Avenue over S****** Highway. [Ed. note: See? I’m too paranoid to even tell you the roads near where I run!]

…I’m probably not helping your crazy paranoia, am I?

From: Annie
To: Me

ummm….i almost turned around this morning because there were two weird looking people just standing in the street ahead of us……
…….kids with backpacks waiting for the bus…….

From: Me
To: Annie

I just chortled out loud imagining that. Mostly because, this morning, when I was driving to the train station, these two girls walking to their bus stop passed in front of my car, and one made a point of waving at me until I waved back. It wouldn’t have been weird if she hadn’t been, like, 13. All I could think was, “WHAT IS SHE UP TO?”

This is why we’re friends. (Also, I’m for sure blogging this.)

How embarrassing.

I’ve mentioned before my phobia of being embarrassed. It’s probably the thing I am most afraid of, that gives me the most anxiety when I imagine encountering it. (Well, that and cockroaches. I’ve often said — and meant — that if I found a cockroach in my apartment, he would get the apartment.)

My fear of humiliation manifests itself in bizarre ways sometimes. For example, even if I know the answer to a publicly asked question (and know that I know it), I’ll usually keep quiet on the off-chance that I’m somehow wrong anyway and don’t want to be called out on it.

Another situation I can just barely stand? Going around in a circle and introducing yourself in front of a group.

Yup, I’m saying that one of the most anxiety-producing situations I can experience is having to say my name.

Told you it was a little weird.

As long as I can remember, I’ve dreaded that moment on the first day of school, the first meeting at a new company, etc. the bigger the circle and the longer I have to imagine what could go wrong, the harder my heart pounds.

Why am I so freaked out? I’m worried I’ll say the wrong name or mess up my own an everyone will laugh at me.


It’s a little pathetic, right? I mean, I don’t consider myself an insecure person. I should be able to handle misspeaking and everyone getting a little chuckle out of it.

I was going to say, “I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? I stutter over my words, everyone laughs, and we love on.” But the fact is, yeah, that’s the worst that could happen. I can feel my face burn and my stomach fill with butterflies even just thinking about it happening.

Why am I dwelling on this (somewhat ridiculous) phobia? Because yesterday, my entire department had to introduce ourselves to the head of our company, a woman whose name I can almost guarantee you know, a woman who’s a celebrity in her own right and whom I admire and respect and am more than a little intimidated by. And not for nothing, but she’s also a woman who has made it clear she suffers no fools and doesn’t have time for people blathering all over themselves trying to string a few words into a sentence.

So, yeah, I was a little nervous.

I’m going to throw out a spoiler here and tell you it all went fine. She was very nice to me, and a managed to spit out my name, title, tenure with the company, and what I was working on without any embarrassing stammers or awkward phrasing. (I know, you guys! Someone should really get me a medal.)

Unfortunately for me, I think this is just one of those phobias that will always be in the back of my mind. The trick will just be learning to overcome it. (Hint: I’m a big fan of practicing. You know I had rehearsed my little “what I’ve been working on” shpeel.)

Ok, now. Let’s go around the room an everyone say what they’re afraid of so I feel better about my own fears.


But seriously. Spill!

How to: Create “Disney Princess” Curls

how to disney princess curls

So my friend Kristin has been asking me how I curl my hair for months now, and I always promise I’m going to have her over for a tutorial, but it never seems to happen.

After discussing this conundrum with Kristin and our other friend Stephanie on Tuesday night, I finally decided the simplest way to share my oh so vast knowledge would be by posting a video tutorial on this ‘ere blog.

My first video tutorial! (Actually, I think this is my first self-made video on the blog ever. Big day for the blog, folks. Big day for all of us.

Fair warning, I have a very basic knowledge of iMovie. I literally had to google how to add every effect you see here (including that super awesome fast-forward effect and the background music…which is…not the greatest, but it was free, so…yeah). The point is, this video won’t be winning any awards any time soon. But it gets the job done. Win some, lose some.

Anyway. I’m obviously stalling because I’m mildly embarrassed about putting this into the public sphere. I’m a dork, as you will see. In a single 12-minut clip, I manage to drop things, hit things around me, and at one point one of my hair clips flies across the room. (Okay, I cut the flying clip out of the final video.) But anyway. You guys already knew I wasn’t smooth, right?

Without further ado, my first video tutorial on creating “Disney princess” curls:

How my brain works.

As much as I love freelancing, it sure does put a cramp in blogging.

Especially when my freelance assignment is to blog. About my life. (I know, guys. Sometimes I can’t believe people would pay me to do that either.)

Because while I’m super thrilled someone wants me to do that, it’s difficult when I’ve already promised the most interesting part of my day to someone else. Because it means I can’t share it with you guys for a couple of months. Which means I just sound super boring, when really it’s just that my interesting parts are a secret for the moment.

I could probably word that better, but I think you get what I mean.

A lot of it has to do with our apartment, which has been getting a lot of updates recently. So while I can’t share all the specifics, here’s something interesting to discuss: I think I’m finally figuring out how to use the space we have most effectively.

I mean, sure, I would still love that extra room, but considering we’re going to be in our current place for another nine months (oof), it would be silly to sit around for almost a whole other year pretending like we do have that extra space. So I’ve gotten a little more creative.

It started with reorganizing the closets. (What? Only I’m interested in organizing closets? Well…this is going to be an uncomfortably boring post for you then.)

I spend what you might call an unusually substantive amount of time mentally reorganizing our closets/apartment. As in, I literally picture our closet space in my brain and shuffle (and re-shuffle) things around imagining where I could tuck the few things that still haven’t found an official home in the apartment. (i.e. suitcases, laundry baskets, sewing supplies, etc.)

While it would be swell to have an actual office or laundry room to put these things, for now I would be pleased as punch if I could just find a place for them that wasn’t the strip of floor between my side of the bed and the wall. Because waking up to clutter is, you know, bad for your brain. Probably.

So anyway. I do a lot of organizing in my brain. I’m a freak. Moving on.

But the biggest perk to being such a Type A weirdo mentally organized person is that when I finally have time to physically move things around, it’s a fairly straight-forward process. I just do the things I’ve been thinking about.

For example, last week, I had an afternoon to go through both of our clothes closets (there’s on in the hall and one in our bedroom), remove clutter, reorganize the clothes, and replace the clothes-warping wire hangers with new, matching hangers. Yeah, it was a little Mommie Dearest of me. But minus the psychotic screaming. Mostly.

I also finally got around to reorganizing the shoe explosion in the closet. (Okay…they were my shoes. Sue me.)

And, you guys. The closets looked SO much better. I even color-coordinated Joey’s side. (He was thrilled, naturally.)(Okay, he just thought it was neat.)(LITERALLY.)

Doesn’t that just make your brain feel calmer? I should have taken more pictures of my side. (WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T CARE WHAT MY SIDE LOOKED LIKE?) I don’t know how long it will last, but just knowing it was there once gives me hope for the future.

Then last night, I took things to the next level by clearing out the top shelf in our bedroom closet to create just enough room for…the suitcases! The very same suitcases that have been living in that narrow strip of floor between my side of the bed and the wall! Huzzah!

I can’t tell you how much better it is for my brain to wake up and see clear floor space instead of giant clunky suitcases.


Anyway. I guess the point to writing all of this out is to ask the question: Am I the only one who does this? When you need to reorganize a closet or room, how much forethought do you put into it? Or do you just dive in and hope things work out in the end?

My next goal is to straighten out the top shelf in our front closet. Because I just know we’re not using that space as effectively as we could. AND THAT’S A BIG DEAL, YOU GUYS.

Sigh. #Firstworldproblems, amiright?