Snowy Vacations

Every single day for the last two weeks I’ve heard someone going on and on about Stranger Things. That it’s so great. That it’s so amazing. That I have to watch it. Look, I watched it. I didn’t love it. Kanye shrug.

I will, however, admit that I’ve been egregiously mistaken about Game of Thrones. HOW HAVE I BEEN SO WRONG?! I was forced to watch the first season, and two episodes in I was hooked. I’m a convert. No matter how late it is when I get home, I have to watch at least one episode.

So… Stranger Things–meh. Game of Thrones–yes. And the jury is still out on the new Frank Ocean. I’m leaning toward yes, but can’t commit yet.

It has just now occurred to me that maybe you don’t care what I think about any of those things?

Here’s something else…

I’m saving for a winter vacation. Don’t know where yet. But definitely somewhere cold and snowy where I can make snow angels during the day and burrow under thick, soft blankets at night. Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Add snowboarding, hot chocolate, marshmallows, wine, and a Scrabble board and now we’ve got a party. A pretty tame party, but still–my kind! Also, old school Chucky movies. Because it’s not winter until you watch a Chucky movie, am I right?

I know I am.

Anyway, this vacation is my top savings priority (also my robot vacuum–lest we forget).  Gonna be eating a lot of rice & beans dinners and driving sadly past Starbucks without stopping during the day. It’s okay. I’m up for it.


I worked out at 9pm last night. This is simultaneously a failure and a triumph. A failure because I was supposed to work out at 6am and a triumph because I eventually got it done.

For the last month, I’ve been working on being consistent. In everything. Exercise, French, writing, … This is not something that comes naturally to me. In fact, I suck at it.

Even after a month, when the alarm goes off on Sunday mornings, the very first thought I have is, how can I get out of playing tennis this morning? And it doesn’t matter how much fun I had playing tennis the previous Sunday and the Sunday before that. I always want to skip it for another hour in bed. But I don’t do that anymore. I bitch and moan, kick and scream, shriek into the pillow–and then I climb my lazy ass out of bed, sulk all the way to the tennis court, then have myself a really good time playing tennis.

Same with writing and French. Doing them with any regularity is a massive undertaking. But I’m always happy after I get them done.

I’ve only been working at this change for a month, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. But maybe it will? Either way, I’m adamant now about not allowing “not feeling like it” to be an excuse for not doing something. I’ve been able to skate by in life thus far, but I’d like to be better. And really, how disappointing would it be if I wake up at 50, 60, 70 years old with the same flaws I have today? I think I would really regret that.

No New Friends

I’ll be honest. I have exactly nothing to write about. I won’t hold it against you if you just stop reading here, because the rest is only going to be word vomit.

Still here? Okaaayyy. I warned you!

Did you know that people have robot vacuums? Like…I remember hearing about it in passing some time ago, but I guess I didn’t really pay attention? There are vacuums AND mops that can clean your floors when you’re not even home! You can schedule the cleanings ahead of time. Like on Saturday, you can program the robot to clean everyday at noon. I’VE BEEN LIVING LIKE AN ANIMAL!

Remember when we were kids watching The Jetsons and thinking, yeah can’t wait for the year 2000 ’cause cars are gonna fly, sidewalks are gonna move, and ya girl is gon’ have a jet-pack to get wherever I need to go! And then 2000 came and we just barely got cell phones that were no longer the size of shoe boxes.

And then we were all like, “The Jetsons–what a bunch of bullshit! My car can’t fly!” But I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that a robot vacuum is better than a flying car. It just is. Vacuuming is the worst. I humbly apologize for maligning The Jetsons sixteen years ago.

Next up…

These were two headlines in the Chicago Tribune on the same day:


A tale of two Chicagos, man.

I went to a French meetup where people who want to practice speaking French get together and eat some food. This is quite a reach for me because I’m an unapologetic introvert and new people freak me out. BUT this can’t be an excuse all the time, and I’ve come to terms with that. So I went to this French meetup. Alone.

During introductions, people were telling life stories. Like really personal shit.

“My dad cheated on my mom and, unwittingly, I picked a guy who cheated on me too.”

“My husband and I are going through a rough time. We had to file for bankruptcy.”

“I don’t have sex with my husband as much as I used to. So here I am!”

I’m silently screaming, What the fuuuuucccckkkk, when one lady turns to me and says, “So what’s your story?”

Everyone turns to look at me, and I don’t know what to say. But I finally settle on, “I’m just here to practice speaking French!” And I even tried to say it with a smile, because I’m TRYING TO BE SOCIABLE, DAMMIT.

This is not good enough for them. They just stare at me waiting for more. So internally, I’m like, what can I tell these freaks to get them off my back? I’m on my period? My boobs are sore? Probably need to re-up on a box of tampons on the way home. That seems just inappropriate and personal enough to allow me to fit right in. But I didn’t. Because I’m not a freak.

“C’est tout,” I said. That’s all. They looked at me like I was withholding personal info, and I was. Like a normal, mentally stable person.

I didn’t make any new friends that night.

OK! I think that’s enough stream of consciousness for one post, yes? I mean, I could go on and on, but I gotta save something for next week!

All French Everything

Several years ago–nine, specifically–I discovered the restaurant, The French Laundry. And, yes, even nine years ago I was obsessed with all things French. I looked up the website and concluded that the restaurant was worth obsessing over, so I added it to my proverbial bucket list.

Then–THEN–I found this blog, and it gave me my love and skill for French cooking.

Hahaha, just kidding. I just learned how to cook a piece of chicken all the way through. Delicate, flaky pastries and bouillabaisses are completely out of my wheelhouse.

But I did love the blog and read it religiously, and I delighted in someone trying (and mostly succeeding!) to replicate the fancy dishes using such complicated and involved cooking methods. I mean…bard, assation, fold? WHAT DO THESE WORDS MEAN IN A COOKING CONTEXT?!

This summer, I had the good fortune to eat at The French Laundry in California. You guys! The entire meal was beautiful and delectable and rich and creative and…lots of other positive descriptors I can’t be bothered to think of right now. It was worth every single Tubman (ha!).

Back at home, I haven’t been able to forget about this meal (and the lovely, ambient French experience. Soooo… I made an exception to my rule about not buying more physical books (because of a lack of storage space), and I bought The French Laundry Cookbook.

Because it’s not available on Kindle and BECAUSE HOW COULD I NOT?

I’m going to learn so many complicated cooking methods and master so many cream-based sauces that people are gonna be like–“Oh mah gah, Kristin, did you grow up in Paris or did you just graduate with honors from Le Cordon Bleu?”

I’m not sure which lie I’m gonna go with yet. Probably the growing up in Paris one.

Bisous !

Mint and Cement

Should we keep talking about my apartment?

The alternative is listening to me spiral about almost every. single. thing. in the news at the moment. Take it from those closest to me, a spiraling Kristin is only fun for about 20-30 minutes. After that everyone starts to discuss nonviolent ways of sedating me.

When I’m feeling hurt, dismal, overwhelmed, anxious–basically any volatile cocktail of negative emotion–I like to throw myself into a time-consuming project. Some people say that avoidance is not a healthy coping mechanism, but…I avoid those people.

After making a nice dent in my Goodreads reading list, photographing and listing all of my unwanted clothes on Ebay, and binge-watching Marcella and Stranger Things on Netflix I needed something else to do.

ENTER: Decorating. Hi, old friend!

After perusing Pinterest for an embarrassing amount of time, I had a plan. It started with this gorgeous coffee table that I’ve been attempting to talk myself out of buying for months because it ain’t exactly cheap.


But this time I went ahead and bought it because 1) I love it, 2) I couldn’t find anything similar at a cheaper price, 3) I’m obsessed with concrete decor right now, and 4) WHY THE HELL NOT?!

I’m trying really hard to stop being a cheapskate. There’s a line between frugal and cheap-as-fuck, and I stepped over it a long time ago. I’ve realized I was just being cheap out of a fear of never having enough (See! After avoiding my problems, sometimes I try to deal with them!). One vestige of growing up poor, and I need to let it go.

The day after I ordered the coffee table, I went to the actual West Elm store because I was feeling spend-y. Almost immediately after walking into the store and picking up a vase I got an alert on my phone from Mint. I don’t know if you guys have heard of Mint, but it’s a budgeting and savings app. You enter your monthly budget and your savings goals and it helps you stay on track.

The alert said (I’m paraphrasing here) “you’ve just exceeded your monthly decorating budget by a shit ton.

I thought, GODDAMMIT, MINT, JUST LET ME HAVE THIS! I really wanted the vase that was already in my hands.

Alas, Mint won, and I left the store empty-handed.

However, I still had a decorating goal to accomplish so I headed to Ikea because, you know, lower prices and all that. I walked in, bought an ice cream cone for ONE DOLLAR (that really soothed the tightwad in me), then happily skipped off to find a bookshelf and desk lamp.

After an hour of deciding which bookshelf I should get, I went downstairs to load it onto my cart. Mid-loading, I got an alert from Mint: You’ve exceeded your monthly restaurant budget. Because of an ice cream cone that cost one dollar!


Guilt-ridden as I was, I bought the bookshelf and lamp anyway. BECAUSE I NEED THEM, MINT! YOU HEAR ME? I NEED THEM!

Thank God it’s a new month, guys, and Mint is off my back for now.

I’m starting August off slow with one paintbrush and a bottle of gold leaf. Got big do-it-yourself plans for them.

I also just received my new coffee table and it. is. everything. Totally worth the digital harassment.





That has nothing to do with this blog post, but I just—I—
I don’t know that I’m able to survive in a world where that type of thing can happen to a partially decent person.

Something else that has nothing to do with this blog post is how I’ve taped up the peephole on my front door. DID YOU KNOW THAT PEOPLE CAN BUY AN APPARATUS THAT ALLOWS THEM TO SEE INTO PEEPHOLES FROM THE OUTSIDE?

Yeah. Thank you, mediocre Netflix horror movie. I wasn’t neurotic enough.

So many unsettling things to process at once.


For the past several months, I’ve committed myself to improving my homemaking skills. Actually, no–not improving. Developing. Developing my homemaking skills. I had no skills! The extent of my cooking repertoire was omelets and avocado toast. I’ve killed every plant that I’ve ever been responsible for. By the end of the week, every week, my place was in shambles and I’d have to spend two hours every Sunday putting it back together.

Look, I don’t like to brag but if you’re looking for someone to completely wreck your house, you’ll never find anyone more qualified than me. I have thirty years of experience. I don’t know how my mom abstained from killing me when I was a kid. She would scream at me for soaking the bathroom after taking a shower, tripping over my shoes when she walked into the house, slamming her head into a cabinet door after I’d left it open, never cleaning underneath the toaster when I cleaned the kitchen counter. Seriously, what thirteen-year-old thinks to clean underneath things?

When I got my own place, some of it– most of it–continued. I took my shoes off as soon as I got into the house (and left them wherever I was standing). Depending on the day, I’d take my bra off immediately and throw it down. Same with my purse, keys, sunglasses, mail, etc. I’d wash clothes and leave them in the dryer until I needed them instead of putting them away. I’d open cabinet doors to get something and just leave them open (I stopped this only because when I later noticed the open cabinets I couldn’t remember if I was the responsible party or if there could possibly be a ghost in the house. See? Neurotic.)

But now… Now, kids, I’m like Louise freaking Jefferson. Wait, she had Florence. But you know what I mean. I cook, I clean, I organize. I live at Ikea at the moment. Decorative storage baskets, baking pans, shower caddies, shoe organizers–THEY HAVE EVERYTHING. I can now cook (baked and fried) chicken, seared salmon, and baked ziti. But I really shine at breakfast because I love me some eggs. So many egg dishes to master. They could keep me busy for a while.

I take my shoes to the closet (almost) right away now. I put things back immediately after using them. I dry off a little before stepping out of the shower. Who knew that was the secret to a dry bathroom? WHO KNEW? I put my clothes away when they’re done drying. I watch YouTube videos about cleaning and organizing. I’m soooooo adult.

My next big grown-up project will be preparing a three course meal for a dinner party.

You’re invited.

But don’t bring your bad-ass kids because my house is a GD museum.


A Non-Writing Writer

Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, “So what.” That’s one of my favorite things to say. “So what.”     –Andy Warhol

I’ve forgotten how to write.

(See, right now I’m thinking, should I make that sentence its own paragraph? Do people do that? IS THAT OKAY?!“)

Writing for other people and profit changed my feelings on writing. It has, for some time now, been stressful and tedious. I had come to resent it.

But writing is very important to me and has been since I could read and write. I have logged into this blog every week and attempted to write something, but would invariably overthink it, then delete it, then grow more discontented.

I love writing. L-O-V-E. I’m always thinking up absurd stories when I’m in line at the bank, when I’m vacuuming, when I’m pretending to be asleep because I don’t feel like having sex falling asleep. I’m always thinking, I should write about that or I’m gonna blog about this. And then I sit down in front of the computer to write and get caught up in grammar and format and other stuff I never thought twice about. Part of it is my own fault for being judge-y about other people’s rampant and excruciating mistakes on, say, their Facebook posts. Look, I don’t want to be a stickler but commas and periods MEAN SOMETHING! You can’t just put them anywhere, gah!

Or maybe you can.

That’s kinda what I’ve settled on for the time being, because I love writing and I want to write, and I don’t want to have to think about it until I’m ripping my hair out. I’ve forgotten how to write. So what.

Life is hard. We lose people we love. Ice cream makes us fat. Friends and family hurt us. In the midst of all that, we hopefully have things that bring us happiness. And, for me, that’s writing.  So… I’m gonna write and keep on writing until I remember how to write for fun again.

ADDENDUM: But, really, you can’t just place commas and periods anywhere in a sentence. Don’t do that.