Monday, June 30, 2008

Mustard's Guide to Beach Fashions

Mustard and I went to Ocean City, MD on Saturday for Maria's birthday bash. The day was hot. The waves were amazing. The chocolate-banana shake I got was out of this world! I'm a Pro-Beach Goer, so I know a spectacular beach experience when I see one. And THIS was a spectacular beach experience.

As a PBG, one of my sacred duties is to make sure that you, fair readers, make the most of your beach trips. By and large this is a pretty easy duty since simply being at the beach will guarantee that your quality of life just went up around 300%. But still, I want to do what I can to make sure you really relish your time there. And I'm sure you'll agree with me that if you're not dressed appropriately for the occasion ... well, it kinda ruins the whole thing.

So, Mustard, being the philanthropic guy that he is agreed to help me model some of the most stunning beach fashions.

Here I am, in a Whoops-I-Ate-Too-Many-Cheeseburgers-This-Week One Piece bathing suit and matching board shorts. All jiggly parts should be restrained if at all possible. Double-knit Lyrca is your friend, ladies.

Mustard caught a ride with me as we cruised the Boardwalk seeking the best fashions The OC has to offer.

We were certainly not disappointed.

Perhaps you'll recognize the designer ripped jeans below from the Spring Fashion Show in Milan? They were all the rage there, and now they've come here for us to covet. So chic! So trashy! So in love!

Haute Couture isn't for everyone though, I understand. So here are some perennial beach fashions that even the most fashionably backward of us can easily don:

The Shell Necklace (Shark tooth can be substituted for the shells, if you want to convey a tough-guy image):

The Beach Hair Wrap:

Both are completely ESSENTIAL to proper beach accessorizing. Don't leave your beach mat with out them.

Some people just have an innate sense of Beach Fashion. Don't you just hate them!??! This fellow has got the whole package working for him: Flowing shirt, fanny pack, glasses dangling artfully from their lanyard, almost concealed knee-brace, fishing hat dangling casually from that gorgeous fanny pack, and socks pulled up as high as they can go? YES! And PLEASE! C'est Magnifique! Iloveyou! MUAH!

One of the great things about the beach is that if you only have clothes from the 80s you'll fit RIGHT IN! This is the land that time forgot. So pull out that banana clip and wear it with pride. You'll feel right at home surrounded by the 80s fashions below:

Here we've got some v. fashionable sunglasses.

For him:

And for her:

Wish you had somewhere to wear your terry cloth sweatband? What about your day glow footwear? Check, and Check.

And of course, no beach wardrobe is complete without an evening look. Sophisticated, glamorous, sparkley, laced up, AND coordinates with your beer cup? Perfection!

I need hardly mention that the one thing you should always be wearing at the beach is a smile! A perma-grin, like the one Maria is modeling here is your best option.

Now go out there and get your Beach on with confidence, my little fashionistas!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Useful for Fancy Women and Cross Dressers

One of the main reasons I read chick-lit is so that I can get the information my mother and older sister failed to relay to me when I was a teenager. Of particular interest are the grooming tips. Don't get me wrong, they both continue to be great role models ... but they dropped the ball when it came to teaching me how to tease my hair and put on liquid eyeliner. Can ANYONE put liquid eyeliner on evenly?? Chick-lit is fabulous for divulging these little tips.

I hope that none of you were similarly neglected by your mothers and older sisters. But on the off-chance you were, you can consider me your gorgeous older sister and I'll share with you the most recent tips I learned while reading Lauren "Devil Wears Prada" Wiseberger's latest: Chasing Harry Winston.

First, I had to give myself props because at one point one of the girls puts lemon-scented baby powder in her hair to get a sexy-just-tumbled-out-of-bed look. I have been using baby powder in just this way for years, and it's great! It can be a little tricky if you have dark hair because if you put in too much you look like you're wearing a powdered wig. The Regency Look is sooooo 1783; don't do it. Years of practice ensure that I've got the technique down pat, but I have no idea where one gets lemon-scented baby powder. This is definitely a must-get! Down with old-lady baby powder scent, Up with fresh and sexy Lemon scent! Sadly, a Google search comes up with nuthin. I'm starting to suspect that it might be one of those highly desirable, but ultimately unattainable fantasies, like an affordable non-shared apartment in New York City, that is so popular in fiction these days.

The second tip was used a couple of times in the novel and everytime I read it I thought, "Eeeuw! Gross!" But obviously, I'm not the expert around here, and so when they say that using lip gloss on your cheeks will give you a dewey rosey glow without making it look like you've got any make up on, I for one am willing to give it a try. And so I promptly pulled out a tube and started wanding away.

I'll admit the results are good: A nice pinky, dewey Nicole (Kidman, not Richie) look. It'd be a big winner - if I could get over having goopy circles on my cheeks! It's amazingly annoying. Especially if you consider how much bigger a problem the usual "lip gloss + unbound hair + wind" situation would be if three quarters of your face is sticky with gloss. You know what you'll end up being? A Woman with Mutton Chops. That is a bad, bad, BAD look.

So there you go. Two tips. One is great, but impossible to find the ideal supplies, while the other is a breakout waiting to happen. I knew there had to be a reason why they categorized chick-lit as fiction.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just Put It On My Tab

My little chapel is right smack dab in the middle of a lovely residential neighborhood. So every Sunday I feel really guilty that I have to park in front of somebody's house. The parking lot only has about 20 spaces, which means that the other 500 of us that come to church between 9 and 2 have no other choice than to invade the neighborhood.

Poor neighbors. Its gotta be a trial to have all of your discretionary parking taken over by a fleet of minivans and Honda Accords every single Sunday. I feel for them, I really do.

This past Sunday, they made an announcement from the pulpit reminding us to be considerate of our neighbors and to not park illegally. They will do this when the cops are seen in the neighborhood writing up tickets, its the church friendly way of saying, "if you parked like an ass go fix it before you get a ticket, idiot."

I thought back to my own parking job ... close to a driveway, but not blocking it -- wasn't as close to the car behind me as I'd thought and so I probably could have moved further back but was too lazy to get back into my car, start it, and reverse 5 feet ... and concluded that I was not in violation.

If you are ever parking in Residential DC, let me share with you a little fact that I learned when I returned to my car. You need to be five feet away from any turn out (including driveways) or else you will get a $50 parking ticket.

Le sigh .... If I had a boyfriend for every ticket I've gotten I would be Pam Anderson right about now.

Two other points of (mild) interest:

1) They made the original announcement about parking (which I suspect meant "there are cops out there") at about 9:30 AM. I didn't get my ticket until 11:50 -- TEN minutes before I left. grrr. Were they just out there handing out tickets for two hours I wonder? Perhaps they ran through a whole pad of tickets and had to come back to make sure all of us serial parkers got what was coming to us.

2) I turned in my monthly tithing check that day too. Made it quite an expensive day to be Mormon.

(Do you think I could deduct it from the next tithing check? Seems like a grey area that should be explored. What if I just deduct 10% of it? Would that work?)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wherin DC Rules

If you can overlook the violent thunderstorms and penchant for tornadoes we've seen so far, June is turning out to be a delightful month! I took advantage of the perfect, low-humidity 80s we had this weekend to do all kinds of outdoor activities. It's always nice to be outside without feeling like you're wearing a cellophane suit.

On Friday afternoon I went downtown to get my haircut and since I was just a couple of blocks from the Mall I decided to pop into some of the Galleries to see what they were exhibiting. It wasn't until I hit Constitution Avenue and saw the swarms of fanny-packed families that I exclaimed, "Egad! How could I have forgotten Tourist Season! Take evasive action QUICK!!" And I sprinted into the Hirshorn Gallery - which houses the modern art and is therefore most likely to be empty(ish).

I, for one, am glad that most of the peeps don't understand modern art because the Hirshorn is my favorite gallery and I'm always happy to have it uncluttered with people saying, "my three year old could paint that." I won't go into how irritating that is, because people that get it get it, whereas people that don't get it will not be convinced by any arguments I could make. But basically, the Hirshorn is good for great art that doesn't take itself too seriously. I can pretty much guarantee you that you won't see a painting like this anywhere else on the Mall and I love that!

However, one cannot spend too long being a pseudo-intellectual art snob; its way too tiring. And so I braved the crowds and headed out to the Sculpture Garden which was about to have their Friday after-work jazz concert. I was lucky to find a bench with a view of the fountain and the sangria line. After all of that snooty art, I was happy to sit back and listen to the Brazilian jazz band while critiquing the outfits (good and bad) of the passersby. This has got to be one of my favorite things to do in life.

But all good things must be replaced with other good things sooner or later. And so Camie came to pick me up and we went to get sushi in Dupont. To my great happiness, Camie discovered that she loves sushi. This will make picking a place to eat much easier in the future since I am ALWAYS up for sushi.

Unfortunately, we finished off the night by going to the Singles Conference dance ... which was a massive mistake, and should be expunged from my memory immediately lest I dread being old and single enough to actually do something about it. I cannot even comment on the horror of the event. But you know what they say, Trauma + Time = Humor. So maybe in a decade or so I'll tell you about it.

Saturday was just as action packed, if not quite as high-brow. I spent the afternoon at a Golf Clinic. I haven't picked up a club for about 10 years, but I slipped right back into my old habits and before I knew it had fallen into my old pattern of slicing, chipping, swearing, putting, swearing, putting again, and cheating. It's nice to know that all of the skills I had honed all those years ago were able to resurface at a moment's notice.

After the golf, I went to the Nationals baseball game with some friends. As usual, most of the game was spent walking around the concourse looking for the perfect hot dog stand. Don't even doubt that I found it. The rest of the game was spent trying to get The Wave started. I love stadium sports!

I have to admit that all of that big-city living left me feeling pretty proud of myself. Generally, all I can manage to do on the weekend is go to the grocery store and the gym. And even that is negotiable. It was pretty great to be out in the city all weekend taking advantage of all of the wonderful things it has to offer. I never forget how much I love it here, but its weekends like this that remind me why I love it and why I have no excuse to ever use the words "I'm bored."

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Earlier this evening my cellphone beeped to tell me I'd gotten a text message. I automatically groaned. Mustard looked up from the model plane he's building and said, "What was that for?"

"It's my text message stalker. He sends me the most pointless texts. I Haaaaaate it." I replied. Mustard just shrugged and turned back to his model, but it occurred to me that I need a little bit of advice on how to squelch this stalker. Ruthless advice would be best. And who better to give ruthless advice than our own dear Mustard?

"Listen," I said, "you're a guy, er ... sort of. Maybe you can help. This is the fourth text I've gotten from him today. Every single one of them said, 'Morning' - even the one I got at 8:45 at night. What am I supposed to do with that?"

"Did you respond?" he asked.

"No. He doesn't give me anything to respond to! What am I supposed to say back? Hi? I have to pay 10 cents a text, and I don't want to say hi to him at all, let alone pay 10 cents to say hi. In fact, ALL of his texts are a greeting of some sort: 'Hey', 'Yo girl', 'What's up?' A couple of times I tried to get some conversation going by responding back with 'Hey, what are you up to?' and do you want to know what he said to me? '6 2 200!' Which took me about 5 minutes to figure out means 6'2" 200lbs."

Mustard raised his eyebrows.

"Yeah, I know. RETARDED, right?"

"Mentally" he agreed.

"I finally started being mean to him and saying things like, 'Do you ever say anything beside different variants of hello?' and do you know what he wrote back? 'Yes.' That was it! Just 'Yes.' And he's still sending these hello-style texts. Its been about two weeks now. I don't respond and he won't stop!" I concluded.

"Well, Gretchen, I'm glad you've come to me for advice." and he drew up a little closer. "You think you're being mean by sending a nicely worded message subtly highlighting that his texting style is irritating, but what you don't understand is that giant morons don't understand subtle. You're essentially saying, 'tee-hee-hee, silly boy, you say hi a lot.' but what his giant moron ears hear is, 'You are clever and charming and I love it that you say hi all the time because I'm as needy as you are!' This form of female-male conversation is pretty common. I'm surprised you don't speak idiot-man fluently by now."

I grinned. This is exactly what I needed to hear.

"But it looks like what you've got on your hands here is actually pretty rare. Looks like you've got a genuine ass face loser. Can I say ass face? No? Well sorry. You might need to get a little more comfortable with profanity if you want my advice in the future. Anyway, the point is that this guy seems like he's a real tool. A doofus. An idiotic twit. A ..."

"Right, I get it. How do I get rid of him?"

"You've got to spell it out for him. Don't let there be any room for confusion or misunderstanding. You've got to idiot proof it. Obviously.... Because he is an idiot." he clarified, in case he hadn't spelled it out well enough for me.

"I see." and I did. His logic is irrefutable. "And what if he keeps texting me?" I asked not relishing the idea of the straightforward message I would have to send.

"If that fails then you think, What Would Mustard Do?"

I looked at him expectantly. What would Mustard do?

He looked back with a "no-duh" look on his face and said, "Swear at him. Then block him. Then swear again, for emphasis. Man! It's like you don't know me at all!" And he turned back with a humph to glue the propeller onto his plane.

I sighed, picked up my phone, and chanting "WWMD, WWMD" sent a VERY straightforward text.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hello My Future Girlfriend

Although I love this little video for a million reasons, I can't help but wonder if this little boy grew up to be a creepy lurker. He's got the mullet for it.

Bye. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Different Strokes for Different Folks

There are some things in this world that constantly surprise me. Not because they are surprising things, but because they are just far enough outside of my sphere of normalcy to catch me off-guard whenever I hear about them. And I'm always like, "Really?? You do that? That is SO WEIRD to me!"

Like when people that are not in high school or college smoke pot.

Or when people go to the Emergency Room.

These aren't uncommon things, but it just surprises me when I hear about it. I'm not judging, and I'm not saying people shouldn't go to the ER, I'm just saying its weird to me. Just like I think its weird that people want to go to the National Museum of the American Indian. Not wrong, exactly, just not something I'd ever consider doing.

What normal things are weird to you?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wherein I'm Blessed For Going to Church

I go to church regularly, but some days its a real struggle. 9 AM is such a HARD time for me to be anywhere. Especially because I love to stay up late, as I think I've mentioned before. And Friday and Saturday nights are sacred because they are the only two I can really stay up as late as I'd like. So this morning there was the usual battle with myself over whether I should stay in bed or get up and go to church. It was a long and bitter fight, but in the end I got up and went. That's the nice thing about church, even when I don't want to go, I'm always glad when I make the effort and go. It's always worth it. (Plus afternoon naps are so delightful.)

So anyway, after church I was standing in the hallway talking with some people when this guy came up to me and said, "Is your name Gretchen?"

And I was like, "Yes" on the outside, but on the inside I was like, "Oh crap. Do I know this guy? I don't think I do, but I wish I did because he's crazy cute!"

And he said, "Do you recognize me?"

Unfortunately, I had to say no. Oh WHY!? WHY did my answer have to be no?!

But he pressed on, "I don't look familiar to you at all?" He seemed so disappointed that I didn't know who he was that I considered 'fake remembering' him. But I didn't; I just apologized and asked his name (hoping like crazy that I'd recognize it). Which was when he told me that he was the brother of one of my favorite roommates from BYU. A roommate that I've been looking for for years! I Google her about every 3 months, but I can't find her. Do you guys have friends like that? They get married, change their names, and just seem to drop off the map. And HERE! - here was her handsome and very cool brother delivered neatly into my life to solve this mystery. He should have come with a bow on his head.

As we talked, all of these little details started creeping back. Things like the names of the other members of the family, what their parents do and where they lived, and oh yeah, that he and I went out on a date or two once upon a time. He reminded me that we went to a Thai restaurant that had really slow service and was named "Wok Right In" (naturally). He obviously has a top-notch brain because that's a lot of detail to remember about a date that happened 13 years ago! (I can barely remember the event at all - but I don't blame myself. That was like a century ago. Geez!)

So anyway, I can't decide what I'm more excited about. Getting back in touch with my long-lost friend, or renewing my friendship with her brother.

But, as excited as I am, I'm also a girl and so I'm just a tad self-conscious that he was able to recognize me so easily. I know I look young, but do I still look just like I did at 19? I don't consider my college years to have been my most attractive years. They were full of frumpy clothes, bad skin, and other horrors like feathered bangs. I hope I'm not having a relapse.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Let's Take This Relationship Online

Chatting with a guy at a party this weekend:

"So. Are you on Facebook?"

"Yes, I am."

"Under what name?"

"My name. Gretchen Hanson."

"I think we should be friends."

"Facebook Friends?"

"Yeah, Facebook friends."

"OK. Send me an invite. I'll confirm it."

That being decided we immediately stopped talking to each other face to face.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Rochester is the New Darcy


In my very educated opinion, I think we are finally coming into a new era of BBC man lust. Mr. Darcy reigned for a solid 15 years as the dreamiest dreamboat to wear breeches, but I think he's just been overthrown by the surly Mr. Rochester. Watch the new version of Jane Eyre, and see if you don't agree with me that Rochester is a hunka-hunka-brooding-manlitude. All of that scowling and grumping around? Yes! And PLEASE!

(If you need more convincing, you should know that he's Dame Maggie Smith's son. And crazy hot when he's had a haircut and is smiling.)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wherin My Vacation Ends and I'm Sad

Beyond this fence are the wild ponies of NC.

I'm in deep mourning tonight because my vacation is ending. I've had 10 days off ... and each one was a perfect pearl of fun.

I completed all of my plans for Memorial Day -- pool, pedicure, slurpees, and general frivolity with the girls -- followed by my trip to the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

I spent the rest of the week in one of the large beach houses there, named Sea Splash. The owners always name their houses lame things like "Life's a Beach" and "B-lo C." If I ever have a beach house I'm going to name it "Juicy Juicy Mangoes." Anyway, this is the house I stayed in...

I started out the week with some people that I knew from Church, who were lovely, but secretly, I was super excited to be alone. I figured I like being at my house alone, so how much BETTER would it be to be at the BEACH alone!? I could do all of the stuff I do at my apartment, but AT THE BEACH! And I was right. It was bliss! Absolute bliss!

It was perhaps the most perfect vacation ev-ah! The weather was perfect. I read three books. Slept in. Stayed up late. Ate cheeseburgers and peach pie for dinner and blackened fish tacos for lunch. Discovered a shipwreck on the beach. Took long walks. And really really didn't want to come home.

If there is any icing to be put on this perfection of a vacation cake it was the price. The whole trip INCLUDING gas cost me about $100.

And now?! NOW I have to go back to work. It's beyond depressing. I guess it has to end. All good things must end. Right? That's what everyone says anyway, AS IF that makes it any better. I'm here to tell you ... IT DOESN'T.