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.



Happy New Year! Hahahahaha… Ahem.

Let’s sidestep the awkwardness of how long I’ve neglected this blog, shall we?

What we can talk about is what (or who) caused me to write again. Don’t worry, don’t worry–despite the title of this post, I’m not here to give you my opinion on Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade (I think it was uh-may-zing and what are you doing reading this post when you can be watching it?!) because I’m sure the internet is sick of hearing about it.

I just wanted to check in to say that I’m starting a new workout regime spurred partially by the thirteen pounds I’ve gained (ok, eighteen! GET OFF MY BACK!), and partially motivated by Beyoncé’s new workout line, Ivy Park. I don’t normally like conspicuous logos on anything I wear, but there’s something about the ginormous, screaming logos on some of the Ivy Park stuff that make me reach for my debit card before even looking at the price.

This afternoon I went for a run, and the entire time I pretended that I was Beyoncé in that gray sports bra and leggings ensemble that she wore for “Don’t Hurt Yourself” (if you don’t know to what I’m referring, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?! Go watch it!). It almost made the run enjoyable.

Thanks to Beyoncé and Ivy Park, I’m running again. I’ll keep you updated!

Originally Published 4/21/14

I took a Claritin today so my allergies are under control. I’m not sneezing like a fiend, my eyes aren’t watering or itching, and I’m not going through an entire box of tissue. Oh, except that none of that is true except the part about me taking the Claritin. I swear I think I’ve been sold placebos as part of some twisted experiment. I’m on to you, Big Pharma.

Last week I started prepping for my 10K. Sorta. The first day I went out intending to run four miles. It was a struggle, but I suited up, hydrated, charged my ipod, and went outside. I usually run down to a high school exactly one mile from my house (Google maps!). Then I jog around their track four times because I know that equals a mile.

Tangent: is using the school’s track trespassing? I really need to know. I know they take trespassing on school property a lot more seriously these days, and I don’t want anyone thinking I’m hunting seventeen year old boys, because–barf–and also, ya know, illegal. I don’t think I would flourish in prison. Just not my scene. Nor is the sex offender registry.

Anyway… I usually run (innocently!) around the track four times to make a mile and then run back home. Three miles. Well this time, I was going to run around the track eight times, but when I got there the students were using it for practice. What a bunch of selfish jerks. I adjusted my plan and decided to run around the neighborhood a few times. I was going along just fine–struggling a little, but no more than usual–when, on mile 2.5, I came upon a convenience store.

I will save you the internal dialogue that followed and just cut to the chase, because unless you’re new here, you already know what happened next. I stopped running and went inside. I do feel compelled to explain that I honestly was only after a bottle of water. I guess I hadn’t drank enough beforehand. But somehow by the time I left the store, I was munching salt-n-vinegar almonds and sucking on a diet Dr. Pepper. Run: officially over.

I am not proud of this. Sure, I was pleased for a short time while I skipped back home, happily, snack in hand. But my lackadaisical attitude was out of control. I gave myself a firm (but kind–we gotta be kind to ourselves–Kumbaya and stuff!) talking to, and the next day I went out for another four-mile run. Of course I happened across a couple of hills and my lungs almost shut down, and of course a knife was slicing through my side the entire time, and of-freaking-course my ipod battery died. But I kept going and completed the stupid four miles. Because God only knows what my next punishment would have been had I blown off this run.

New week, new goals! My long run this week is 4.5 miles. God help me.

Originally Published 4/17/14

Today for lunch, I went to the food trucks on Howell Mill Road for the first time. I know, I know–what took me so long? I don’t know how to answer that. I guess I only learned about them a few months ago (cue Jay-Z’s “It’s a Hard Knock Life“) and am just getting around to checking them out.

I don’t know what it is about food trucks that excite me so much. Obviously, there’s the abundance of tasty food jammed into one small area, but it’s more than that. I think it reminds me of the best parts of my childhood. Block parties. Summers. Chicago (before Chicago was a hotbed of gang activity). I’m not exactly certain what it is–food trucks just make me happy. So when we pulled up to the parking lot partially-paved, gravelly, dilapidated area where other cars were parked, I became… Giddy? Maybe tickled pink? No–thrilled.

All of the above. It was just so exciting! Straightaway, I cursed myself for not bringing my camera. There were picnic tables all around and signs with pretty, swooshy handwriting. Braniacs and showoffs might refer to it as cursive. Whatever. There were about six, maybe eight, trucks. Meatballs, barbecue, and other things I didn’t give two craps about. I’m not really a meat person. Then, to my left, I saw this big, blue (my favorite color) truck. And do you know what they were selling? Crepes! Oh yeah. That’s right. Delicious, sweet, warm, creamy, comforting, stress-numbing… I may be drifting into a weird place here. What I’m trying to say is… Crepes, yo!

Aside from the lip-smacking deliciousness of crepes, I’m also kind of obsessed with them because I’m merely consumed with all things French. Dems just the cold, hard facts for me these days. And as such, this will come as no surprise to you–I chose the crepes.

Crepes Suzette (the crêperie, obviously) had a tempting assortment of sweet crepes, but I’m trying to run a 10K and to stop being so jiggly. With those things in mind, I thought it best to forgo all the sugar and choose a savory crepe. I settled on the Alpine crepe, which is simply spinach and goat cheese.

The friendly lady in the truck took our orders and told us that her “Papa” would be back in a moment. He takes the money. No problem. We wait for a few minutes, and she was right–Papa came back. And guess what? Papa had a French accent!

OH EM GEEE, I thought! Here’s my chance to practice my French skills! Ask him which part of France he’s from! Okay, here goes… Wait, how do you say that in French? D’ou venez-vous. No! That’s where are you from’! I know he’s from France! How do I say it?! Où en France… Laquelle… Quel… Oh my God, HOW DO I SAY IT?!!! DEAR GOD, WHY HAVE THOU FORSAKEN ME?!

I may have an inclination toward the dramatic sometimes.

I drew a complete blank. Actually, I don’t think I can even call it a blank because I still don’t know how to say it. There’s just a big hole in my conversational abilities. I never even thought of learning “Where in ___ are you from?” Now that I have my wits about me, I guess “Where are you from?” works just fine.  Jeez, what is wrong with me? Le sigh.

I gave him the money and settled for a “merci beaucoup” in my best French accent. I could tell he appreciated it, which only made me feel worse for not being able to communicate with him in his native language. I skulked away like a dirty, rotten language failure.

I started to eat my crepe. ‘Twas delectable, by the way. I watched my could-be French friend and thought about other things I could say to him. There had to be something that I could recall.

Maybe I should just leave it alone? He’ll probably think I’m a freak. Just leave it alone, Kristin.

Well, if I could leave well enough alone, I wouldn’t have so many ridiculous things to write about, would I? After I finished my crepe I walked right up to that truck, knocked on the window, and when Papa answered, I said, “Tes crêpes sont delicieuses!

And he very graciously laughed and replied, “Merci beaucoup! Tu es très sympa!” He was so friendly about it! I was happy that I risked looking stupid.

I came, I spoke French, I conquered! It was time to say goodbye!

Ok, here goes… Wait, how do I say goodbye? À bientôt! No! That’s ‘see you soon!’ I’m not gonna see him soon! À plus tard! Nope, not gonna see him later. Everyone in the free world knows how to say goodbye in French! Why can’t I remember it?! DEAR GOD, WHY HAVE THOU FORSAKEN ME?!!

I truly couldn’t think of it. I had to settle for frantically waving goodbye like an idiot.

I think we can take away a couple of things from my afternoon:

1. If I had gotten the nutella crepe, the creamy, chocolatey sweetness would have melted away all the anxiety I felt about speaking French, and I wouldn’t have looked like a freak.

2. When teachers tell you “practice, practice, practice” they’re not just trying to fuck up your weekend.

3. NEVER pass up a nutella crepe.

4. And lastly, if you’re in Atlanta, go to Crêpe Suzette and get you some!

Au revoir (oh, now I think of it),