Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Shoehorned In

Hi Blogland!

A woman of her word, Galen is not blogging the rest of the week. She has quit the rest of February, and is lost in a delightful time warp where Hugh Jackman still hosts the Oscars and her hand doesn't look like the end of The Departed. While she's away, as her loyal Roomie and Mama Mandi, I have offered to fill her big (And yet, IRL, incredibly small) shoes and blog for a day or two.

Today is Thrifty Thursday, and so I thought I would talk a bit about a second hand taboo: Shoes.  I won't go bowling because I'm scared of wearing someone's old sweaty shoes, but that fear goes away when I see a great pair of heels at a thrift shop. I can't explain this other than the fact that I have an unquenchable thirst for shoes, but live on the meager salary of an actor. Behold, a stunning pair of red patent leather pumps that I acquired while on an educational tour in South Georgia at the Thomasville Goodwill.

If you click your heels three times in these you end up in Carrie Bradshaw's closet.
They have a slight marble effect to them, and are gorgeous with an LBD and pearls.

As much as I love a great pair of used footwear, I'm not the marathon deal hunter that Galen is. I'd rather sing along to Mackelmore while sitting on my couch, surfing the internet pantsless. And so, I have found another great way to get second hand shoes in Ebay. I've gotten into some epic bidding wars over a great pair of used designer heels. Here are two of my favorite Ebay shoe success stories.

The first is a pair of faux lace up boots that I bought to be a costume piece, but they ended up having too high a heel for the show, so I kept them for personal use.

They have both a zipper and stretchy material around the boot, so they have the benefit of a lace up without the time and effort it takes to put them on.

I Love the 70s: Volume Shoe (Don't hate me)

I bought these as show shoes as well, and they worked perfect for the role. (Not to mention the fact that they look like a Donna Summers song in shoe form) Alas, they are not real vintage, but who cares? I am obsessed with the colorful straps and the floral print on the heel and insole.

The final thing I want to share today is not a pair of shoes that I thrifted, but a pair that you, lovely reader, might find in your friendly neighborhood second hand store soon.

And lately, I've been wondering. Who will be there to take my place? 

I bought these shoes new (On sale at Marshalls) a few months ago, to match a previously unmatchable dress that I've had for years. I wore the ensemble to an opening night gala.

Boyfriend, boyfriend, I have a boyfriend

I was really pleased with how the outfit looked, but the shoes are really too small for me. They are a small size 7, and I have the same shoe size as the incomparable Dolly Parton- "I wear a size 6, but a 7 feels so good I buy an 8". I suffered through them for a night, but when my plans to cut off part of my foot a la the ugly stepsisters in an effort to wear them again was deemed "extreme", I had to come up with another plan for them. The next time I make a donation to the Salvation Army, these suede beauties will leave my closet forever. If one of you finds them someday, know that they come from Roomie with Love.

Whiny Wednesday: Breaking it Off

I am officially breaking-up with this week. Sorry to be so blunt about it (announcing it on the Internet isn't very classy, I know) but I can't pretend anymore, and I won't live a lie. I'm going to mentally hibernate until Sunday, at which point I will rejoin the human race. Sayonara, friends - it's Netflix and naps for this chica. See you on Monday!

Oh, and here's today's word:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: My Eyes are Green 'Cause I Eat a Lot of Vegetables

The last week has been insane. Between the Anne Frank show in the mornings and tutoring at night, I'm feeling like a walker - shambling through the afternoon, crashing into things, gnawing on whatever food I can find. 

And, in the true spirit of a tired lady with a lot on her mind, I cut myself while cooking my dinner - tee-riffic. Nothing to be alarmed about (the bleeding stopped quickly, and the wound has been cleaned, iced, and dressed), but I will be taking a long nap before I reenter the kitchen. 

Here are some pictures from some happier kitchen times...


Fresh-squeezed juice:

Carrot, apple, and orange - absolutely delicious.

The juice was meant to compliment our breakfast, but it ended-up accompanying my other beverages.

Shout-out to Roomie's beautiful teacup.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a callback tonight, and I have to finish getting ready. That's right - neither sleet, now snow, nor minor bodily injury shall keep this lady from auditioning. 

To the Batmobile!

(Photo courtesy of Tyler Core)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Make-it-Monday: Making a Table Runner

Guys, I'm the worst - I've had a button on the right sidebar for weeks, but I haven't yet mentioned what it's for. You know the one I'm talking about? This one?

Chantillysongs Blog hop

Click on that button, and you'll see ALL the blogs featured in the Totally Awesome Blog Hop. I'm one of them - number 83! A lucky octogenarian. Now pretend I announced this weeks ago, click on that button, and support some other blogs. Thnx.

How did y'all like the Oscars last night? I was less than impressed - especially with the opening number. Seth MacFarlane has a beautiful voice,but the structure was a mess. The meta, "your jokes suck!" thing didn't play for me at all. The boobs song? Awesome. Flight sock puppets? Perfect. But watering them down with the framing device was a boring and took the fun right out of them. If you want Seth MacFarlane to host your show, let him be an ass. If you want someone who's gonna be nice, get Hugh Jackman.

Actually, just get Hugh to do it regardless - he's a killer host. Remember this?

The Reader song gets me every. single. time.

Now, about today's craft:

Two months ago, I bought a two yards of fabric at JoAnn's. A month ago, I set up my sewing machine. Yesterday, I used the two in conjunction to create a table runner.

We have a great dining room table. My roommate's parents have loaned it to us - it was a wedding present, and functioned as their main dining table for years. Now, they're letting Roomie, Very Excellent Boyfriend and I use it while we play house. 

Domestic bliss.

I'm pretty proud of our dining area - it's small (and usually much dirtier than it is in that picture), but for the three of us (four, including Roomie's Boy Toy), it's perfect. Still, it's always felt incomplete. We've contemplated a table runner, and when I ran across this fabric, I figured I'd give it a go.

Isn't it lovely? The pattern is what sold me. When I bought it, I wasn't quite sure if it would match our design scheme, but it actually looks great. We accidentally fell into a blue/green color palate with the kitchen, and I like how it extends into the dining room. That wasn't the initial plan (we'd contemplated a purple or gold accent wall when we moved in), but it sure is nice. 

If you're going to make a table runner the way I did, here are your steps:
  1. Cut off a section of fabric about 1 inch wider than you want your table runner to be. 
  2. Iron the heck out of it. 
  3. Iron 1/2-inch seams into the sides (see, that's why you made it a little too wide)
  1. Sew down the first side seam. 
  2. Start do do the second side, and then panic because this happens:
How in the...???
  1. Get really pissed, but take a deep breath, remove the bobbin, cut away all the lose thread, and try again.
  2. Repeat steps 5 and 6 three more times. 
  3. Throw your hands in the air, storm away, eat a tortilla pizza, and drink a glass of wine.
  4. Google "what on earth is wring with my sewing machine?"
  5. Flip the bobbin around in its casing.
  1. It works!
  2. Sew second seam. 
  3. Decorate your table!
Fruit optional. And delicious.

In case y'all didn't know, sewing machines...are machines. If something simple is off, the whole thing shuts down. I have a feeling that over the next few months I'm going to learn exactly how easy it is to mess-up a sewing project. Thank goodness for the internet - otherwise I'd still be flummoxed. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fashionable Friday: War Paint

Gentlemen and Ladies Who Don't Care For Makeup: THIS IS YOUR WARNING. The following post is devoted to Sephora, a.k.a. Straight Man Hell. Leave this place. 

Do it now.

Are the dudes gone? Good.

LADIES: Sephora just announced their newest Disney line: The Jasmine Collection. I can hardly contain myself - my favorite store featuring pretty things based on my favorite princess? Genius. I am a sucker for pretty things - especially when they have the Disney Princess endorsement. Especially especially when that princess is Jasmine.

She's just the most.

Right now, none of it is available in stores. But if you're a Beauty Insider member, you can order it from the website. I'm going to wait for the line to come out in stores - I want to see it all in person.

The first thing anyone notices about Jasmine are her boobs eyes, so naturally there's a liner set.

(Photo courtesy of

Once you have the perfect, dramatic cat-eye, it's time to color in the lines. There are two eyeshadow palettes in the collection - the deluxe Storylook...

If the tray comes out and the rest is a keepsake box, I will faint.
(Photo courtesy of

...and the more modest Magic Carpet Ride:

(Photo courtesy of

I've gotta say - for the money, Storylook seems like a much better deal. But either way, the colors are based on the movie's animation, which makes me want to weep.

(Photo courtesy of

If you're a nail polish junkie, then this is your poison:

(Photo courtesy of

I'm still recovering from getting the entire Muppets OPI collection, so I'll probably pass on the lacquers. But I love the light blue (excuse me, "Blue Oasis").

I don't feel like royalty unless I smell like it, so fragrance is very important to me. Of course, there's a perfume to complete the Eastern ambiance. And don't worry - it is not jasmine scented (whew!). I don't do floral perfumes; they make me feel like I'm allergic to myself. It does seem to have some floral topnotes (carnation, orange blossom), but it's over a base of vanilla and sandalwood, so there's hope.

(Photo courtesy of

Or, if you are a diva and love beautiful things, you can get the perfumed body shimmer, which has the same scent, but will make you sparkle like the beautiful desert diamond you truly are. Also, it comes in a gorgeous old-fashioned bottle with one of those air puff things that Greta Garbo totally used. I just know she did.

(Photo courtesy of

Very Excellent Boyfriend is pathologically afraid of glitter, but I really don't care. He can suck it up while I swirl around like a diamond in the rough.

When you're all dolled-up and ready to go (or whenever you feel like checking-in with your favorite lady), you can take a gander at yourself with the Palace Jewel Compact Mirror:

(Photo courtesy of

Uugh, so beautiful. It hurts.

Sorry if this all sounded a bit like bad copywriting - when I get excited, I tend to wax corny descriptive.

I'm a poor kid, so I don't know if I'll be able to splurge on any of this stuff, but I will definitely go to the store and play around with it all, and when I do there will be pictures and words about the experience. Actually, I have a coupon for a free 45-minute makeover - maybe I'll get Jasmified by a professional!

I'd better get on that, actually - Aladdin is going to Broadway, and this little white girl wants in.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: My Best Find

At the end of the summer, I was teaching an acting class in Dacula (i.e., Very Far Away). It was a very long drive from my apartment, and by the time I got there I was usually a little road-raged. One day, during lunch, I decided to hit-up the local Goodwill to calm my nerves. It was a good decision.

In all my years of thrifting and consignment-shopping, this is easily the best garment I've found. 

It's clearly handmade, and the construction is flawless. 

It's simple enough for an audition, modest enough for work, dressy enough for Date Night, and flirty enough for a day in the park. 

And it's my go-to when I pretend to be a Disney Princess. 

So tell me: what's your most versatile piece? Let me know in the comments - brownie points for including pictures!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: Post-Racial America

I'll admit this right off the bat, just so there's no question about it later: I have only seen one episode of Girls. But for the last year I've been hearing a lot about the show's "racial problem." This season, in an effort to address her criticism head-on, Lena Dunham featured the wonderful Donald Glover as her character's love interest.

This article
is a review of the episode, and it isn't particularly favorable. That seems fitting, since I don't look favorably on the review. This quote especially ruffled my feathers:

"What Dunham's latest well-intentioned disappointment makes clear is that it will never be enough for white writers to simply try harder in their depictions of non-white characters. Some may produce keenly observed, authentic-feeling portrayals, but even those who have spent their whole lives surrounded by people of diverse backgrounds will never know first-hand what it's like to be a person of color in America."

Are artists only allowed to present people who are exactly like them? That seems awfully limiting. Not to mention insulting. We're all human, after all. I may not have felt the rage of racial discrimination, but I have felt both rage and discriminated against, so I can comprehend how another person might feel pain. I've played mothers, pregnant women, Christians, and men onstage - I am not, and never have been, any of these things. But that's acting. Art isn't literal. If that's what you want, then you should stick to documentaries.

Shakespeare was a man, but he wrote for women. I'd argue (and I think a lot of women would agree) that his ladies are often fully-realized. But there are also two-dimensional women in his plays. Just as there are flimsy caricatures of men. I think there's a serious lack of female playwrights (and composers!) but I'm not about to argue that Sondheim shouldn't write for women since HE MALE. HE NO GET IT.

I really feel for Lena Dunham - she's a young, adventurous writer and artist who has worked her rear off to have her own show on HBO. And now every armchair director in the country wants to influence her work. She's damned whether does or doesn't include multicultural characters. People cried, "Racism!" last season, and now they're shouting, "Write what you know!"

I want to buy her a glass of wine and thank her for working so hard. I also want to ask her to write me a part. Just a small one, though - I'm not greedy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Bean salad

When it comes to daily recipes, there are two essential criteria I stick to: Cheap, and Easy. This recipe is courtesy of The Billfold, and it is maybe the cheapest and easiest dish I know of. It's endlessly customizable, so you never have to eat it the same way twice. The key ingredient is the mother of all spices, Cumin.

I LOVE CUMIN. Let me shout it from the rooftops! I don't think there's any spice I love more, and it is the glue to this black bean salad.

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • 2 tbs cumin (to start with)
  • 4-6 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • Optional: 1 can garbanzo beans, 1 cup frozen edamame, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1 tbs fresh cilantro, 1-2 cloves minced garlic (pick and choose your favorites!)

  • Strain all the canned ingredients and dump them into a big Tupperware. 
  • Put everything else in there with them
  • Snap on the lid
  • Shake it all up!
I guess you could use a spoon to mix the salad, but that's no fun. 

This time around, I wanted to go for a chili-like consistency, so I didn't drain the beans or tomatoes. I also left out the cilantro, garbanzo beans, and edamame. And I just plain forgot about the onion. But that's the beauty of this combo - mix up the canned goods with some lime and cumin, and you've got yourself a meal.

But like I said, I was aiming for a bean chili, so I thought I'd top it off with some cheese.


Yeah, that's the stuff.

 Nuke it a bit...

Okay, bye, I'm gonna go eat lunch.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Make-it-Monday: Blue Skies, Blue Heart

I'm a little down, everyone. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson closed yesterday, and I've got the post-show blues. Six weeks is a long time to run a musical, and it's wormed its way into my life in a significant manner. I'm going to miss the cast, the crew, the set, our themed mic checks, the goodies always waiting in the kitchen, and smearing blood all over a friend's arm every night. Rachel Jackson is quite a lady to inhabit - I'm gonna miss her most of all.

Rehearsal moment.

The Jacksons, incognito.

Merry Effing Christmas from the Jacksons
(Photo credit: BreeAnne Clowdus)

Hashtag, TheAmericanDream.
(Photo credit: BreeAnne Clowdus)

Final preview, a chemical explosion forced us out of the building.
The show still started on time.

Final notes session.

Sexy tour guide.

Sexy Andrew Jackson.

If illness is not metaphor, then why do I feel sick when I look at you?
(Photo credit: BreeAnne Clowdus)

"I choose you." / "Thank you."
(Photo credit: BreeAnne Clowdus)

Don't fret - I'll be back to normal in a few days. I'm running a children's show, after all. Being Anne Frank will lift my spirits.

Courtesy of Caleigh. 

I promised I'd show you all the Valentine's Day present I made for Dan - but I forgot to take pictures before I left the house. Oops. Instead, I'll show you the infographic that inspired the project:

Click pic to see the full post on P.S. - I made this...

I was smitten with this idea from the moment I saw it - such a simple, personal gift to give my Very Excellent Boyfriend! I bought a lovely frame from TJ Maxx, kissed away, and now it sits on his bedside table. I'll share a picture of the finished product when I get home.

It was a frugal Valentine's for Very Excellent and I. I'm very low on discretionary income, and he's too polite to shame me with expensive gifts when I can't respond in kind (how sweet). But I can't say I minded. There's something special about a low-key V-Day. I don't need him to spend money on me - I just want to spend some time together. He made that happen with a surprise oyster dinner at home, and a few episodes of Friday Night Lights.


No V-Day is complete without candy.

Gracie Bell!

The baby's eyes in that screencap are making me feel a lot better. Maybe I need to spend some time watching baby videos on YouTube - that'll chase the last of my melancholy away.