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Monday, December 31, 2012

BREAK!: Hatter madness!

Have you seen the fascinators?  They're everywhere.  Especially now since the Royal wedding.
To be honest, I rather like this trend, but I fell in love with it long before some goofy pampered girl went out looking like she was wearing an anatomy diagram on her head.  That Middleton girl ruined it for me in some ways.  Here's why.

In high school, I was deeply enamored with the goth, yamanba gyaru and gothic lolita movements in Japan.  They're subcultures that cater to intricate attire, accessories, a unique philosophy about life, and a certain fearlessness that only comes with true self-assurance.  Also, they look like thrice damned fools most of the time.
 In Japan, not only is individualism frowned upon, but even though they don't rely on pieces of paper and the internet to filter people out of the workforce (at least not as much as they do in America), the stuff you do on the weekends will ultimately mess with your social and work life.  It's not enough to just randomly toss on an odd accessory and go with it.  You have to go to ridiculous extremes to avoid being recognized.  If you want to wear a big bow on your head and that's not common, you better cover you face in glitter, stickers and false eyelashes.

The true faces of bravery

Actually, the Gyaru movement terrifies me.  Their philosophy of being as fake as possible to exaggerate consumerism as a CULTURE is pure nightmare fuel.  The worst thing about their movement as a whole is that they lump tons of tacky clothes and accessories together with a easy-money-live-fabulous philosophy in a mimicry of AMERICAN TEENS.  It really makes you wonder what depths culture will sink to next and how horribly wrong it can go.  Plus they look creepy.  *shudder*  Ugh!
The kitty hat is just adorable.
Lolita and Goth subcultures sort of struck a cord with me, though.  Idolizing simpler times, recognizing the inevitability of sadness, strife and death, but maintaining low stress hobbies, and a focus on creating an idealized world of safety and comfort for ...well everyone.  It was a very productive and welcoming seeming society.  Plus, they all wore cute little embroidered and bejeweled hats/bonnets to match their outfits.

Who doesn't want to look like a living porcelain doll?
 At any rate.  All that was just to say that I shall be embarking on a fascinator/hat making experience- which I shall post as I complete projects. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

SUFFERING INTERNET WITHDRAWAL

There are those of us who are trying to switch internet service providers because of better deals and more affordable plans.  However, these service providers ask the unthinkable, that you completely free your internet lines from influence of all other ISPs and become beholden only unto them.  I have been without internet for nearly a week now.  My email is piling up, my online accounts are suffering and I'm sure that the forums I moderate have gone to the pooper. 


Friday, November 30, 2012

Hair Care Part 2: Deep Conditioning

So I mentioned in my last post that I'd take you all on a walk-through of my hair care routine.  I'm not feeling up to writing a long, metaphor laden preamble, so I'll get right to it.

It all starts with a comb:
I always start by thoroughly combing my hair.

 It helps removes tangles, dead hair, and aligns the hair shafts nicely.  This is important because you don't want to FIGHT with your hair while detangling.

The Conditioning:
I start by conditioning my hair.  Yes, before I even wash it.

This time I used Fructis
 I usually put a 'cheapo' conditioner on my hair right before I got to bed.

A huge glob of it, but this isn't even enough.

When you sleep, your body opens up all its pores.  Sleeping with conditioner on your head is an opportunity for your hair to suck in some additional moisture.

But seriously, this is starting to look gross
And I still need more...



















I usually put enough conditioner to fully coat my hair from root to tip because, well, my hair's DRY.  It needs every drop of moisture.  As it sucks in all that extra moisture, it starts to curl quite nicely.

Hair, this is what you could be...if you weren't so UNRULY.

It's even pretty like this, too bad curls are so hard to maintain.  I tried letting my hair be itself for a while, but I only managed to keep it neat and cute looking for about 3 days.  After I've fully coated it, I put it in a bun, like so.

And then I put one of those thin plastic shower caps on it so I don't ruin my pillows




The Washing:

When I wake up, I rinse out all of the conditioner, which has dried over night.  The result is a very lively head of hair.  But we are not done.  I still haven't WASHED my hair.  So, I wash my hair with a mild shampoo, usually 2-3 times, depending on how I feel about it.  You know when your hair needs extra attention.  If you've been sweating at a gym all week, it needs to be washed THOROUGHLY.  You do not want any nasty crap left on your hair when you put the good conditioner on it.

The Second Conditioning:
Remember what I said about using good products to take care of your dry hair's moisture needs?  I condition with Moroccanoil intense hydrating hair mask.  This stuff is full off all kinds of natural botanicals, healthy oils and proteins for your dry, damaged hair. 

Good Product
It's as thick as vegetable shortening too.  If you have less dry hair, or your hair is straighter than mine, DO NOT USE the intense hydrating mask.  It will weigh your hair down and make it look lank and stringy.  Use the 'light' or 'weightless mask' by Moroccanoil. You'll get all the moisture, but you won't look like you waded through an oil slick.


Moroccanoil is very specific about HOW you should be using their product.  On the jar, it states that you should comb the product through your wet hair.  DO THIS.  I've found that when I just glob it on there, not all of my hair is thoroughly conditioned.   In fact, some of it feels just as dry and crusty as it did before.  So, I comb it through with a nice, wide-toothed detangling comb, like a good little girl.  I let it sit on my hair for 1-2 hours, usually under one of those salon style dryers if I can manage it.  Heat helps to open your hair's pores up again and seals in the moisture.  In this case, it's a good thing.

The Rinsing:
Finally, I carefully rinse my hair so that I get all of the hair mask out.  Then, I gently massage the Moroccanoil oil treatment or intense hydrating cream into my hair as a leave-in conditioner and let it drip dry.  My end result is this: shiny, bouncy, waves of curls.  Isn't it pretty?

Until I bust out my iron comb and straighten it, that is.

My next post will be about a crafting project.  I swear.  I've got my mojo back!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hair Care for Black Girls

Not to leave any of my non-African American readers out, but this post is for those of us born with the iconic, kinky, curly and downright untamable nappy hair!  Hair has long been seen as a woman's crowning glory and everyone wants the luxury or at least the ability to grow a full head of healthy hair.  Sadly, that seems to be difficult for African American girls.  I have seen some heads in some sorry states: over processed, thinning from sew-in, glue-in, braid-in weaves that stress folicles, poor hair care practices and insane levels of breakage.
A child with traction alopecia

I've seen girls with actual bald spots, patches of hair so dry and brittle that running a comb through it means it's not there any more.  It's not just teens with their whacky fashions or older women going through 'The Change'.  It's epidemic.  Children have these problems.  It shouldn't this common.  I find it disturbing when people MARVEL at the fact that I have hair passed my shoulder blades and it doesn't look like broom straw.
I tried to get to the ah... root of the problem.  A large part of it seems to be a combination of ignorance, laziness, and the kind of miserly behavior that often leads to people with a fancy looking object that will not last long.  African American women and girls don't seem to have access to the basic fundamentals necessary to properly clean, condition, and care for their hair.  I'm not saying that folks should abandon their beauty routines, but they need to make some changes.
As a child, my mother ALWAYS stressed the importance of conditioning and properly washing your hair.  As a result, I've developed a set of rules that work for ME.  As we all know, sometimes long, thick hair is a blessing of nature and there's nothing you can do to make your genetics change overnight.  But here are some basic rules that you should follow to help ensure you have the healthiest hair you can have.

 1. Your hair is alive.  Pay attention to its needs to keep it healthy.
People sort of forget this.  Just because you want to get a relaxer this week, doesn't mean your hair feels the same way.  Touch your hair, if it feels crunchy or brittle, it's dry and needs extra moisture.  If it's limp and shiny, it needs less moisture.  If you have a lot of split ends, you need to trim it before they creep all the way up to your scalp and damage the hair permanently.  You need to make sure your beauty routine is built with your hair in mind.  If you deny it what it needs, like a good significant other, it will leave you.

2. Spend Some Money on Good Products.
Not all hair care products are created equal.  Chances are if you're only paying $5 for your shampoo and conditioner, they're filled with harsh alcohols, drying agents and sulfates.  African American hair can't really afford to lose moisture to poor hair care products.  Try a sulfate free shampoo (It's going to cost you) that includes natural plant extracts to cleanse and nourish your hair.   The same goes for conditioners.  Often times the one that makes your hair smell like berries and sunshine doesn't nourish it the best.  I've found that the best conditioners include natural oils.  The only problem with using these products is you'll have to wash your hair more often.  Natural oils have the tendency to go rancid.  You don't want to stink. 

3. Be Gentle to Your Hair.
Chemical treatments, coloring, heat-styling, blow drying, teasing and hair spray all take their toll on hair.  But the way you handle it when you wash, comb and sleep on it also play a part.  My mom always tells me to comb my hair out before I wash it, to be careful not to tangle it when I wash it and to be extra careful and patient when combing it out before wet styling.  Wash your hair like you wash your panty hose or how you lather up a sponge.  Squeeze and release it while it's full of soap so you don't tangle it.  Wash your scalp too.  Massage it gently to help break up dandruff and clogged pores so new hair can grow in full and healthy.  Do not yank your hair.  Always comb starting from the tips and work your way up to the roots.  Remove harsh tangles with your fingers to avoid ripping out your hair.

4. Deep Condition and Air Dry as Much as Possible.
Deep Conditioning is when you let your hair soak in the conditioner for more than 2 hours.  It's a pain to sit around with a wet head, wrapped up in saran wrap, but trust me, it works wonders on your follicles.  You'll notice an immediate change, even if you use a cheapo conditioner.  Air drying also helps your hair to regain some of its natural vigor.  With blow drying, the oils and moisturizers from your good conditioner get blasted right off it, leaving it dryer and more naked.  For the sake of expedience, sometimes you have to blow dry your hair, but when you can, give your hair a break.  Spend a day inside and catch up on chores instead of getting ready to do a ton of running.

And that's it, pretty much.  Check out my next post for my personal deep conditioning routine.  


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Product Review: Shills Black Mask

A while ago, I was hunting for some sort of remedy to help with my skin's sudden tendency to explode with nasty cystic acne and I stumbled upon a sort of facial mask that peels off and apparently purifies.  The product is created and marketed by Shills an Asian beauty company.
Many Americans are insanely enamored with Asian countries and practically scream, "OOOH ASIAN PEOPLE!!" like poorly educated otaku in crappy cosplay.
But not Sailor Bubba, his Cosplay's ALWAYS Awesome!
Knowing this, I was skeptical of the reviews that read like a dating column for a mail order bride instead of detailing an experience with the actual product.  But hey.  I've got nothing to lose, so I bought a tube.
Price:
With any product one of the first things that folks look at is the price of the item.  No one wants to shell out an arm and a leg for something that may or may not work.  The cost of the Shills Black Mask was pretty reasonable considering its a facial in a tube.  Only about 3 bucks with free shipping.

Appearance:
The outward appearance of the product was pretty basic.  An all black box, and all black tube, a slip of paper inside detailing the ingredients in the product and what each of them does.
 ...Written in Gothic-style type face befitting a horror movie poster.  Should I really be using this?  Is the real cure for my bad skin or a rabid vampire leaping from the bottle and gnoshing on my neck?  Hmm...

Upon squeezing out the product on my hand, I found that it looked a lot like ...tar.  It was THICK and I mean thick.  I've used peel off facial masks before and all of them have a viscous, sticky texture that dries to a slightly stretchy film.  This stuff was in  a category all its own.  First off, it was BLACK.  When you read the package, you expect something that's dark colored, possibly semi-transparent, but no.  This stuff is as blacker than the bottom of the Mariana Trench at midnight.  It was also VERY sticky, literally strong enough to stick my fingers together.  How was I supposed to get it on my face?!  ...Luckily I managed,  with these results!
Looks like Black-Face not a purifying mask!
Final Review: Well, I didn't experience any extreme skin changes like all the folks posting macro photos of millions of gross blackheads attached to the shills mask, but it was very benificial nonetheless.  My skin was SO SMOOTH, my pores weren't as clogged, the blemishes that remained dried up and flaked off, AND alarmingly, my dark spots were a lot less dark.  I also learned that you should never get this stuff in your eyebrows unless you want to lose them when you peel it off.  My whole face felt like it had been plucked!  Ow!
At least I won't have to get my eyebrows waxed now. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Prophetic Ducks

You know, I do make things some times.  The recent baby surge has inspired me to make baby things.  Unfortunately, I have this horrible habit of ...not remembering to take pictures when I get down in the dirty dirty of sewing or crafting.  I know, I know.   It's a horrible, terrible habit- or lack of habit I should say.
However, I have something else interesting to post that's sort of related.  A while ago, my friend Shannon and her husband Tony had their wedding reception- delayed about a year after the actual wedding due to her shyness and to ensure that their first year as a couple was not fraught with financial woes brought on by the fairytale, debt-swarming party most people splurge on.  I, the pitiful sod that I am, was unable to make the wedding, send gifts, or anything else as I was unemployed at the time.
At the reception, I made sure to bring them gifts.  I brought three gifts, representing their past, present and future together.  Something silly and nostalgic to remind them of their long, happy history together (A small sentimental plaque.), something fun and interesting to encourage them to continue to work and play together (A trivia game featuring one of the bands they listen to), and finally, something to make them look favorably upon the future (a pair of handmade sock ducks).
BEHOLD!  THE PROPHETIC DUCKS!

The future I joked about in my card hinted at a dream I'd had when I'd fallen asleep whilst crafting the ducks.   I dreamed that I was swimming in a bubbly pond full of fish.
If you've ever had a strange prophetic dream, you'll know that bubbles and fish always mean that there will be a 'new arrival'.  Months later, Shannon found out that she was pregnant.  My other friends became terrified of my handmade sock animals.  No matter how cute they were, they wanted nothing to do with them.  Apparently, a gift of cutesy sock critters means babies will happen.  It's like I have a super power or something.  *eyebrow waggle* 

At any rate, I have to finish these buntings and quilts I've been making for my new babies (My cousin went into labor this morning, so there will be another bundle of love for me to coo at.).  Hopefully, I'll remember to take pictures.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I am so full of angst!

With my jewelry inventory bursting, my Etsy store practically dying, and my need to make room/money, I looked up some boutiques that I could sell my things to.  Many of the shops in my neighborhood shut down because of poor sales during the recession.  Of course, a lot of these small boutiques were where I would sell off my jewelry items after a big convention.  I had a big problem.  So I had to search for new places to hawk my wares.

I did what any intrepid Gen Yer would do.  I turned to the power of the internet!  I found a place called Buffalo Exchange.  It wasn't too far, just a train ride away in Wicker Park on the north side of Chicago.  There were tons of positive reviews about the place too, so I felt it could be trusted.  I packed up my things and headed down there Monday, October 22nd.

 I'd called the boutique earlier to get a feel for what they'd be up for buying- to save myself and my back the trouble of dragging suitcases of crap there.  The sweet young lady on the phone stated that they would buy old clothes, Halloween costumes, jewelry- pretty much everything- store bought or hand made.  Good.  She stated that I would get 35% pay out in cash OR 50% payout in store credit.  Sounds fair.  That's how the merchandise things in big retailers.  I was pretty confident that I'd come away with at least $200-$300 if the boutique was as great as people were saying it was online.    I lugged my stuff down to Wicker Park.

Image Cred: Broke and Chic.com


Now, I'm a smart girl.  I know the signs of a struggling boutique that won't give me much pay out.  There won't be a lot of people inside, the racks will have tons of 'on sale' or '30% off' on prominent display and there may even be a side show clown spinning a sign outside the shop to lure buyers in.  There was none of this at Buffalo Exchange, so I walked in with confidence.

I wish I hadn't. 

It took them a long time to look through all of my stuff.  A very long time.  I brought a lot of stuff, you know.  I brought old clothes I couldn't fit, Halloween costumes I was...bursting out of, and a few accessories that I just didn't like any more.  Only the good stuff, though.  Bringing bad stuff is just bad business.  In the end, I came away with about $150 expected cash payout OR a $225 store credit.  WHAT?!
I was flabbergasted and I asked the nice ladies if the jewelry I'd brought wasn't trendy enough to make the cut because I saw that they'd heaped up a lot of clothes and hadn't finished going through the jewelry yet.  That wasn't the case at all.  They loved the jewelry- just about all of it, in fact.  They loved the details, every little thing about it.

The issue was their pricing model.  They were pricing things that I would sell for at least $60 at a potential retail value of about $30. That's just a little over cost of materials and doesn't even pay for the hours I put into each piece.  It felt like someone was offering me $100 bucks for my left kidney.  Granted, I don't need the kidney to live, but do you realize that this thing is worth 200 times what you're offering me?
F*ck that noise.  I bargained with the ladies of Buffalo Exchange and they were surprisingly amicable about the whole thing.  No one got nasty and they understood the situation.  They even went back into the system and recalculated the items' worth.  In the end, after examination of what they wanted for their store and what I wanted for my work, I came out a little bit above cost of goods sold.  That is, for those of you who didn't have to take accounting and finance classes, BREAKING EVEN.

In the end, I came out with about $70 in store credit and $150 in cash.  It doesn't sound like a big difference, but in total, that's right in the modest $200-$300 payout range I was initially going for.  I would have liked to be paid out MORE, but well, I broke even on my costs and labor and I got a few jazzy clothing items to boot. 

Now, I have to get myself ready for another week packed with job interviews.  Catch ya later.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You Should Be Watching: RuPaul's Drag Race

There's a lot of stigma about drag queens and crossdressers in general.  The majority of the attention is negative.  People spend time fixating on the sexuality and sexual identity of the cross-dresser instead of taking professional cross-dressing as the artform it is.  And it is an artform.

Before 2009, I had no real experience with professional cross-dressing, or Drag.  Sure, I'd watched Too Won Foo, cosplayed as a feminized version of a male animal character and seen the odd older gentleman dressed as a woman on the train, BUT, I knew nothing of REAL Drag.  One summer day, I happened to be watching a hilarious comedy on the LOGO channel and saw an ad for RuPaul's Drag Race.  I was completely mesmerized by the bronze, golden haired beauty telling me to tune in for reruns of the first season.
I saaaaid, tune in.
Curious, I did.  AND I was not disappointed.  Now, as I've said before, loads of people get hung up on the fact that Drag is men dressing up as women.  But what I got hung up on was the amazing amount of work, prep and artistry it took to turn this:
into this:


My first thought wasn't "Ew!  That man is wearing a dress!"  It was "Oh wow!  I want to be that pretty too!  And I want to sew my own high fashion clothes!  And I want to be fearless and FIERCE!"  And how can you not when you're seeing guys transform themselves into elegant, out-of the box 'women' in the span of an hour?

Just like on project runway and face-off, the contestants have to complete challenges involving strange goals.  One episode they had to make garments by incorporating real, off the vine fruit, as accessories.  Another required them to create a look inspired by the apocalypse.  And in yet another, they had to transform straight guys into drag queens!  And don't get me started on the spin-off series RuPaul's Drag U, where they take ordinary women and make them into extraordinary divas, boost their self-esteem and leave them with a new outlook on life.

From these feats and the mind-blowing results, I get inspiration for everything from the hair, makeup, clothes and jewelry.  A show about drag queens taught me about plucking and thickening my eyebrows, applying make-up and how to make my waistline look slimmer using nothing but contrasting colors.  Each episode has the added bonus of campy jokes and random silliness too.
You never know when you'll see this.

One thing that has upset me about more recent seasons of the show is how catty the Drag Queens have become.  Technically, RuPaul's Drag Race is a reality TV show, but the first two seasons were pretty classy.  If someone had a disagreement, they took a break and then came back and worked it out like adults.  The second and third seasons featured drag queens outright insulting each other's art and being downright nasty.

If you can stomach the shouting matches, put aside your prejudices and just tune in for one or two episodes, I'm sure you can find a lot of inspiration as well.  If you're trying to get creative and find motivation, you should be watching RuPaul's Drag Race.  The Allstars season starts next Monday!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Babies: The Invasion of Cute

I've noticed something odd and I'm sure that you have too.  Recently, there's been a great rise in the appearance of miniature humans.  Every day you can see them.  You don't even have to go out of your house.  Just peek out the window for a while and you'll see a caravan of pastel colored frippery, being pushed down the sidewalk by a tired, but happy adult as they march to the tune of squeaky toys, jangling sounds and the clicking hiss of rattles.
I'm talking about babies.   Toddlers.  Rosy-cheeked little ambassadors of high-pitched squeals and huge, toothless grins.  Tiny, little humans.  They are everywhere. They're infiltrating the nuances of daily life!  For a while, it was common to see a few strollers while you were out.  On public transportation you could count on seeing at least one baby,  but all of a sudden, whenever I find myself on CTA, I see no less than 3-5 infants in strollers, snuggle carriers or car seats.
When I look out my window, I see parades of nannies, Mommies, and sometimes Daddies all walking along with their caravan of babies.
Just like that.

When riding on the expressway, every other car has a baby or evidence of a baby in its back seat, advertised with glaring pastel banners, baby Winnie the Poohs and stuffed teething rings.  They're everywhere!  It's like a never-ending Parade!

EXACTLY LIKE THIS
I like to think about why things are the way they are, so of course I thought about this.  What changed in the last few years?  I mean, we're still in a recession, folks shouldn't be having babies.  Then, it dawned on me.  I'm in my mid-twenties.  Most people are planning the arrival of or have recently brought forth their first or second child.  I'm also part of one of the largest generations there is.  Generation Y.  The Echo Boomers.  The Millenials.  The Peter Pan Generation.  95 MILLION PEOPLE BETWEEN THE AGES OF 19 AND 34!  Prime baby-making age.

Well, that was easy to figure out.  But, you'd think that with about 20% of us still unemployed, most of us working a series of temp and part-time jobs because of budget cuts, and our extended stay with our parents we wouldn't be able to care for children.  But some of us are having babies.    It may look like lots of us are doing it, but I'm pretty sure if you play the numbers game, the rates are low in comparison with the rates of previous generations.  There's just so many more of us that it looks like a lot.

Babies.  They're the future of our nation.  It's important to make sure they have a good start in their lives so they can grow up to be the game-changers we need them to be.  Recently, a cousin and a couple friends of mine announced that they are expecting adorable little girls.  I'm excited.  Especially since my realistic assessment of my life has led me to the conclusion that I'll be baby free for a while now.
I  must live VICARIOUSLY.  That's why I'm going to start making a bunch of baby-themed stuff!  My babies (read: babies belonging to people I know) will have hand-made blankets, dolls, and butt covers- because I love them and because I'm living vicariously.  Whatever.  They get to feel special and loved.  The parents don't have to pay a ton of cash for unique baby items and I get to exercise my creativity and create spoiled monsters.

That's right, little diva.



Everyone wins.  Yaaaay! 

Now let me get busy.  


PHOTO CREDITS:
Google Search:  Poor Mojo's News Gallery, B*tch media, Mommyish



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Need a pick me up? Have heart to heart with your strict mom.

Yesterday, mom and I got off to a strange start, with her asking me to make sure I scrubbed the pan from the baked chicken breasts I'd made to put over salads (I should probably post that recipe.)  Of course, at the time, I was in my room on the phone with an admissions counselor for a university offering courses that would lead me to a job, certifications, and licenses to mentor, teach, and tutor special ed students as a real job.  I couldn't answer her question about that stupid pan!

Of course, she came to my door with that patented expression of maternal annoyance and, 'you'd better not be ignoring me!'  I pantomimed that I was on the phone and this sparked a whole conversation in silent, expressive gesturing, silly faces and random pointing to objects.  She went back to her laptop to mind the queue for work, granting me enough time to finish with the adviser.

When I exited my room to clean that pan, I wasn't the happiest camper.  College is expensive.  Universities are expensive.  Graduate degrees, even when you're taking all your coursework online, are even more expensive than the four years you spend in a university getting your bachelor's degree.  Even with the scholarships I was eligible for, I still wouldn't be able to afford school without incurring EVEN more student loan debt and I also wouldn't have the cushion of a part-time job helping with my expenses. 

Naturally, my mother's mom sense was tingling!  She asked me what was wrong and I started weeping all over the place.  "Stop that crying!"  She said.  I was too busy being upset with all my short-comings and unemployed status to actually think about what she was really saying. Since we've reached this point where we can seriously talk to each other, she explained herself.

School is expensive- you know that.
Jobs are hard to come by- you know that too.
That job you had wasn't a good fit for you- You were always uncertain of your performance what you were being asked to do.  You recognized that.
It doesn't mean that you're broken or that there is nothing out there for you.
It doesn't mean that you can't find a good or a better job now that it's over.
It just means, you have more time to analyze yourself, to grow into a better and stronger person, and to expand on your strengths.
Don't worry about things.  Stop being sad.  It hurts me when you're sad.

This whole little speech/laundry list of how I should be conducting myself was both uplifting and made me feel a little guilty.  While I was being sad and making ugly faces, I was troubling my mom AND preventing myself from recognizing what's actually good for me.  Jobs are a means to an end, that end being, self-actualization, financial security and overall happiness.
If it is not creating one or more of those ends, it's not worth what you put in.  If it marginalizes your existence, your loves, and your self-esteem, it is completely worthless.  Sobbing over it is also worthless.  Dwelling on what might have been and what you could have done and why you weren't able to be Office Jesus will block out the room you need to seize your real blessings.  Thanks mom.  You're the queen.

I gotta remember this next time I get a application rejection letter. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Um Hiatus break... Right.

I suppose I lied when I said I'd stopped being on hiatus.  Bad Ren!  Bad! 
There's a good reason!  I swear!

First, I was looking for job.  Then, I had a job, a contractual job through the Department of Human Services.  Then I had THREE jobs: Macy's, private tutoring, and working as a contractual worker for DHS.   Then I exchanged TWO of those jobs for ONE job that was immensely more complicated than initially described.  And THEN, my contract with DHS expired and I was down to one job, that was becoming depressingly more complicated and frightening.

I was considering resigning as the work load of the One job shifted to financial filing and reports to grant officers in addition to administrative assistant duties.  I am not a finance major.  I can work with simple to intermediate spreadsheets, but if you give me the year end report and say "Make it happen." without instructions, I fair about as well as a paralyzed fish stranded on land.  Which is to say: Not good.  Not good at all.

I got away from my crafting as I began slipping into a nasty funk while trying to study up on what they wanted me to do.  To be honest, I really wanted it to work.  I consulted everything from real people via yahoo answers, finance and accounting blogs, self-help websites like Livestrong, and the company's parent organization's regulations for these new assignments.  Sadly, reading up on this stuff at home didn't help me much. 
The work I was given was like a hieroglyphic puzzle that I needed to solve so I could get out of a sand pit full of angry snakes.  Oh and, I'd apparently left my handy-dandy hieroglyph translator on CTA and had no hope of getting it back, ever.  WHOOPS! 

Now, I have no job and I'm dealing with the feeling that I'll never be good enough at any thing to actually make a living and be a real live grown up.  Oh and I worry about how I'll pay my student loan debt and other things...and this stupid computer. 

I spent a week being physically ill over all of this.  I'm fairly certain that I lost 15 pounds while my breakfast, lunch and dinner were making forcible resurgences.  I'm also sure that my self-esteem (Darn it, it was already pretty low!) will never been the same again.  But as much as I can villainize and victimize myself, I can also see there's no point in dwelling on it now.

Here's to biting off more than you can chew and getting your butt handed to you!  Stick to what you're good at, what you love, and what you aren't terrified of. 

Me?  I love people.  I love crafting.  I love making people feel like they can be winners and helping them achieve their goals.  I'm going to get my certification to be a special ed aide and tutor...and then I'm going to get my Masters in Education.

Just might take me a while.  I gotta figure out where I can get 30,000 dollars...without incurring more student loan debt.  *sigh* 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hiatus Broken

I've been on an unannounced haitus.  Now I'm breaking it.  Things are looking brighter for me.  I have a new job as an assistant business office rep, I'm recovering my finances and thanking my lucky stars that my parents always stressed me being resouceful.

You know, kids really ought to listen to those old people who always nag them.  Sometimes, they know useful stuff.