Wednesday, October 30, 2013

OOTD: Lunch with a Friend

On Monday, I had lunch with a friend at Chiwawa.

Amanda Lee is about to pop, and we wanted to have lunch before the baby gets here.
*UPDATE* Baby is here! She didn't have it at Chiwawa! Hooray!

Plus we love Chiwawa.


The weather was just perfect - about 68 degrees, sunny, slight breeze. Not cold enough for a sweater really, and since I was walking up (5ish blocks) I wanted to not get too hot. Amanda Lee always looks really put together, so I also wanted to look nice. Not that she would judge me, but I have a ton of cute clothes so I should wear them!

And I got new shoes.

I love my new shoes.

I wanted to wear my new shoes.

So this is what I came up with:

Shirt: Alloy Apparel/Skirt: Gap/Shoes: American Eagle/Necklace: Claire's
**Taking selfies is hard. Also my hair is out of control here. 

This shirt is a little blousy, but I like it. It's comfortable and casual, but the skirt is tight enough that I don't think it looks sloppy. I think there's a happy medium that's hard to achieve sometimes - clothing that is loose enough to be comfortable is a necessity sometimes, but when it's too loose that's not good either. 

The eternal conundrum. 

My shoes are actually kind of hard to see - here are a couple of better shots: 

*This is what happens when you're bad to your feet (and I'm kind of a hot mess, so lord only knows what that piece of fuzz was...). But look at that adorable heart detail!

From American Eagle. 

I'm really digging the subtle leopard patterns I'm seeing for fall, so I feel like these shoes are trendy but can be worn for years without looking dated. Anyone else have any favorite fall trends? 

Also, shoes:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Beauty Review: Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves

So I'm gonna be really vain for a minute.

Maybe more than a minute.

But basically I want to talk about my hair.

People ask me a lot what I do to my hair.

When it's curly, people say "wow you have a lot of hair - how do you get it to not be so poofy!" (Note: It is often very poofy.)

When it's straight, people say "how did you get those crazy ass curls of yours to be so straight?" (No one has said it quite like this but that's the take-away.)


The deal is, my hair is in a constant evolutionary state, and has been for the past 28 1/2 years.

It's finally to a place where I feel like I like it and know what to expect from it and it's "me," but it's taken awhile, and I still get the urge to change it quite a bit and have problem days. I think my hair is a part of my identity now.

One really great product, combined with my own rapid aging, has helped me have an easy, painless, and very "me" hair routine.

First, let's take a little trip.

*Me, with my mom (wowza, btw, mom!) when I was less than a year old. FIRE ENGINE RED hair. 

*By the time I was 4 or 5, it was a little darker blonde, but still super straight and super thick. 
**Also, can we talk for a minute about how, even 28 years later, I still cheese and ham and pose for the camera? 

*In high school, it was super long (I must have just cut some of it off - this was probably sophomore year), dishwater blonde, and straight. A little wavy, but not much. 

But then things got a little crazy. 

See, Courtney and I tried to re-highlight my hair. 

And it turned lilac. 

So I dyed it red.

*At Phi Mu Formal. And yes, I am that ridiculous. 

*Scottish Fest

I kept it in the blonde/red/strawberry blonde family for a long time, although I did cut it pretty short a couple of times: 

*With my new car in Fayetteville, in 2007.

I kept it reddish for awhile, eventually going a dark brown: 

*In 2011. My Mom is still wowza. 

This whole time, it was mostly straight unless I curled it (which took forever), and would take any color I tried to dye it. 

And then it started coming in gray. 

I had had gray coming in for a long time, but it would be like one or two pieces. I still didn't have to really straighten it to get it straight (maybe a piece or two, and when it was short I did to get it less frizzy), since it would stay kind of wavy-ish all on it's own. I did straighten it most days, though, since I couldn't get it to curl in any way that I liked. 

But, sometime in mid-2012, it really started coming in gray. 

Like, gray in my eyebrows gray. 

Unfortunately, it was only in patches (I would just let it go if it was all over, or if it was in some semblance of order). 

But it did two important things. 

1. My hair wouldn't hold color anymore. I got my hair dyed at the salon in January 2013, and then went to London in February. Here I am in London, and, despite how awesome my hair stylist is, it was already fading: 

*In January.

*In February.

So I let it fade out until August, when it was kind of a dark blonde, and had this done:

*A couple of days later - now the grays can grow in with abandon!

Which leads to the second issue:

2. My hair coming in gray has completely, totally, absolutely changed the texture. 

My freshman year of high school, I had to sit in hot rollers for hours and have my mom and aunt help me curl my hair, and the curls still fell out just a few hours later.

I really like the new texture though. It's so much easier to manage, and, this is going to sound weird, but I've always felt like someone who had curly hair. 

Now all that personality is just bursting out on top of my head. 

I can still straighten it: 

*using my patented combination of Not Your Mother's Smooth Moves (which I also love!) and BB Prep spray. 

And I do every once in awhile. 

But I can't even describe, how, after decades of having to get up and "do something" with my hair, it feels to wake up, shower, go to work, and not even think about it. 

Not even have to touch it. 

To *gasp* throw it in a ponytail the night before and pull it down in the morning and the curls be even better. 

To not have to blow dry it. 

I do put some curl cream in it, just to make it less frizzy and help it hold up to the rain/heat/sun/wind/cold/drizzle that is Memphis weather any given day. 

This, by far, is the best curl product for my type of hair that I have ever used: 

Seriously, this is the stuff of the gods. 

And the best part? 

It's between $4 and $6 dollars and widely available.

No I'm not joking. 

Feel free to give me an internet hug.

*With a quarter sized amount of the Not Your Mother's, Organix Awapuhi Ginger Shampoo and Coconut Milk Conditioner. No drying, no straightening, no curling. Just shampoo, conditioner (not much), cold water rinse, little Not Your Mother's, and out the door. 

I think that Kinky Moves is the perfect consistency. It's not so heavy that it weighs my curls down, but it's not so airy that it doesn't do anything. I especially like it for my type of hair - not corkscrew curly, not super tight curls, but not really wavy either. Sort of that in-between curl that gets overlooked a lot.

Although it doesn't do anything for the fading, I think it does help me keep my color longer since I'm not using any heat.

The Not Your Mother's also smells AMAZING and is so affordable. And anything that smells good, is cheap, really makes me feel like I've finally found my real hair personality, AND lets me sleep an extra 30 minutes is a winner in my book

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This Semester.

This semester.

I finished my comps, which was awesome, but now I have to do my prospectus, and it's really hard to get motivated to present my research in less than a month when I just spent a year doing inane work not on my research.

I'm busy in a lot of organizations.

Money is super tight.

I'm going to the gym every day and seeing almost no results, despite eating healthy and really pushing myself.

I seem to not be able to catch up with grading.

I love teaching, but my days are super long, and it's really wearing me down.

Yesterday I updated my ipad and a text conversation, and a number, that I never wanted to see again was recovered, forcing me to see some stuff from the past that I didn't want to see.

Men are driving me crazy.

Girls are driving me even crazier - ladies, can't we all just get along?


I realized this morning.

None of this is dire.

I'll finish my work. I always do. And that just means I have to work more at something I truly love, and complaining about that is dumb.

I'm always busy, I just have to scale back the things I'm willing to involve myself in.

I can make more money, or live on less. But worrying about it does neither.

Results take time.

Grading sucks, but I love teaching, even when I'm tired. When I'm tired it reenergizes me, and I should value that.

And seeing that conversation? Awful. But it motivated me to get up and rage clean, and really evaluate the way I let people treat me, which led to me standing up for myself with another person.

Men drive everyone crazy.

And I can't make the girls I know get along. But I can refuse to engage them. Which I've done twice this week with, so far, great success for me.

So even though this fall is strange, and disconcerting, and really different in a lot of ways, and a lot of things are on my mind, I'm taking a minute to be thankful for what I do have, mindful of what I can change, and willing to drop the things, and people, that don't add anything to my life.

*Buy here

*Buy here.

*Buy here

Monday, October 21, 2013

Outfit of the Day: It's Finally Fall!

As my good friend Amanda Lee once said, "Some people wear clothes - you wear outfits."

That's so true.

I don't do a lot of OOTD posts because 1. I'm lazy. 2. It's hard to take selfies of an entire outfit. 3. See #1.

But on the first day when I felt like I could wear something fall-ish all day and not die of heat or cold, I think I looked pretty dang cute.

*Dress: Old Navy (probably 3 or four years ago - it came in black too)/Cardigan: Old Navy (again maybe 2 years old)/Belt: Fossil (it's actually a men's belt - I like the thicker look of them)
**This is in my office at work - thanks Amanda Lee!
***The only thing I kind of don't like about this dress is that it's a little bit in the body and a little small in the boobs, but that's the story of my life. And because the universe thinks it's funny, I've definitely seen results at the gym, but very little in any place I wanted to see them.  

And of course I had to accessorize: 

*These will forever by my Renly Baratheon earrings. RIP Renly.

*Earrings: Old Navy (they're in stores now - for $5.95!)/Watch: Fossil

And of course a cute lunch tote and purse!

*Diet Coke and Yoplait - the lunch of champions.

*This is my teacher purse - I can fit all the tests and books in it.

*Tote: Lilly Pulitzer "Tusk in Sun" Insulated Lunch Tote (via Amazon)/Purse: Sakroots Medium Carryall Satchel in "Water Nation Coral Reef" (I can only find this on the internet, but I got it at Macy's a couple months ago)

And some fall appropriate shoes: 

*Moccasins: Maurices (last year?)

Even though a lot of these pieces aren't in stores anymore, I think a floral dress, neutral cardigan, belt, and moccasins or boots is a pretty easy and versatile fall outfit. I wore this outfit on a date last year (with the Republican who brought a gun to Buffalo Wild Wings...but I looked cute while being horrified), I'm at work and teaching today, and I would definitely wear this on the weekend to a farmer's market or festival. 

I have a ton (too many - I'm a hoarder) of cute clothes, so I'm going to try to get better about posting the outfits I come up with. 

Once I finish being lazy. :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Memphis Nosh: YoLo

So I have a problem. 

A serious problem. 

I'm a YoLo addict. 

Yes, that's right. 

I admit it. 

It's just so fucking delicious. 

If ever there was an appropriate use of the f-word, that's it. 

Because it's true. 


YoLo is the brainchild of local food emperor Taylor Berger - I said this when I talked about Tamp & Tap here:

"I sort of have a celebrity crush on Taylor Berger. He runs Yolo, which is amazing and gets far too much of my money, and Chiwawa, a place I am at constantly and tell everyone about, and he heads up the Food Truckers Alliance. Pretty much anything the man does, I'm in. 

"I'm going to open an affordable, funky, self-serve yogurt place - and then add gelato and food and a bakery!"


"I'm going to open a faux-Mexican place...and serve hot dogs! In a dilapidated old building!"


"I'm going to open an artisanal coffee and local brewery beer place downtown, and be punny about it!"


And I still feel that way. 

So a couple of weeks ago I went to the first YoLo location, out on Erin Way in East Memphis, because I needed some delicious, amazing, wonderful frozen yogurt. 

*Btw, this is a great little shopping center. There's a Huey's at the end, a Pizza Hut, Ciao Bella (where dreams are made of pasta), a hair salon, and a few more stores. And it's close to the best post office in Memphis, the one right off of Mendenhall. And the Paradiso. And Whole Foods. And Muddy's. And a ton of other places. 

*I didn't mean to do this, but see how prominent the hand sanitizer is? These are my people, clearly. 

Basically at YoLo, you walk in and grab a cup (or the tiny cups for samples) and fill it with one (or more - get crazy!) of the frozen yogurt flavors. 

There are 10 flavors at the Erin Way store, so plenty to choose from. 

*Why you so blurry picture? The names of the yogurts are listed above the machines, which work just like the yogurt machines at other restaurants, including a swirl function. And they have a ton of sugar free, fat free, and no sugar added flavors. 

While the yogurt is fantastic, the best part is the toppings. YoLo charges by the ounce, not by the number of toppings, so things can get a little crazy. 

*Hello, lover. 

*One of my favorite things about YoLo is their commitment to local ingredients. They clearly mark the local toppings, and there are a ton of them. Pecans are the best. 

*They even have local fruit! I always put strawberries on my yogurt to make it feel like I'm being a little healthy. 

*Seriously - they have every topping you could want. 

*YoLo also has a selection of sodas, Izzes, water, and root beer. I'm a Diet Coke kind of girl. 

*Once you pay for your yogurt, you get to sit in this adorable dining room with great paintings for sale by local artists. I love all the cheery colors. Also, they always have great music on.


*I got vanilla bean and chocolate delight yogurt (I'm 99% sure those were the names, or my sugar addled brain could have made them up) with Reese's Pieces, chocolate chips, pecans, almonds, bananas, and strawberries. 

*Action shot! And hello, Diet Coke.

*I absolutely HATE melty yogurt. This will melt, but it doesn't get melty too quickly. So good. 

I usually get the frozen yogurt because I have a toppings problem, but when my mom comes to town, we always go get gelato.  


They have gelato too. (And a bakery at the Overton Square one, but I haven't ever had anything from it - it looks good though!)

See, my mom developed a serious gelato problem when we were in Wisconsin the last time, and I got the bug in Prague. So having gelato 3 blocks from my house at the Overton Square YoLo is dangerous. 

But deliciously dangerous. 

YoLo also does catering. 

Just so everyone knows what I want for my birthday. 

They have a converted Airstream trailer that they take to festivals and can cater out of, and they do parties in-store and pre-packaged things as well. 

And it's pretty reasonable. 

For a minimum of 10 people, in-store before or after hours, it's $12.00 per person, and that includes unlimited refills and toppings. That would be such a cute idea for a kids party or baby shower, or even a bridal shower or birthday party. (HINT HINT). 

They also put up their menus for each location online, as well as little blurbs about their local suppliers. 

And they have a loyalty program, which basically gives you points every time, and every 30 points, you get $3 off your purchase. You just give the cashier your telephone number and you get a text with how many points you have and then one with a code when you get 30 points, and you just hand your phone to the cashier and they apply it. Really simple, no cards or anything to keep up with. 

There are 10 YoLo locations (Erin Way, Midtown/Overton Square, Collierville, Jackson, Cary NC, Asheville NC, Owensboro KY, and inside the Paradiso, the Malco Cordova, and the UM Bookstore). And yes, I always get YoLo when I got to moves at the Paradiso. 

I have a problem. 

*Also I think YOLO is a dumb phrase and for the longest time I couldn't understand why people were talking about my beloved froyo so much. I'm not hip with the kids. Despite my agedness and general displeasure with young whippersnappers, YOLO did give us this, which is pretty close to being as awesome as YoLo is:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In Defense of Miley Cyrus

So, let's talk about Miley Cyrus.

I was NOT a fan of Hannah Montana. She was fine in it, but the underlying story, to me, went something like this:

"I'm a pretty but normal girl with dark hair and a kind of odd family who nobody pays too terrible much attention to. But when I put on this blonde wig and pretend to be somebody else the WHOLE WORLD LOVES ME."

I wasn't a religious watcher of it or anything, so I'll absolutely debate that story with anyone who was, but it just seemed like the story was that, yes, you could be anything, but you were really special if you pretended to be someone else, a more sexualized and stereotypically popular version of yourself.

That's healthy.

Flash forward a few years, and this happened:

So a lot has been said about this performance.

I think the number one thing is that that's exactly what it was. A performance.

Celebrity, the act of being a celebrity, is a performance.

Cyrus herself has brought up some good points about it, like how she didn't intend to be "sexy" - she wanted to be shocking. She also made the excellent point that everyone is judging her for her performance, but no one has said a word about Robin Thicke, who, while he didn't "twerk" (Thank God) did gyrate against Cyrus and was completely complicit in the whole thing, from the looks of it.

But, maybe most importantly, whether you liked it or not, you have to APPRECIATE it.

For several reasons.

First, from everything I've read, Cyrus seems to be really in control of her own celebrity, and incredibly conscious of how and why she does things.

Second, the whole thing was genius. It was the VMAs, which are supposed to be shocking and cutting edge. And, love it or hate it, Cyrus was the only person we're still talking about from that night. The only one. Lady Gaga (who I generally dislike and see as an example of someone being controlled by their fame rather than the other way around) didn't even shock as much as Cyrus. I couldn't even tell you, without looking it up, what she did/sang/wore.

Third, yes, it had some questionable cultural appropriation and racial issues. I don't know enough about those fields to make a really academic comment, but Cyrus has noted, time and again, that she's incredibly aware of her privilege (and, as she told Rolling Stone, a very "strategic hot mess" - girl knows what she's doing). And I can't really fault her for that.

Finally, it was just a GOOD performance. She very clearly has talent, and her handling of her fame, her image, and her music since then has been spot-on.

Basically, what this article says better than I ever could:

"What is it about Miley Cyrus that aggravates so many people, but also makes her the biggest pop star in America right now? The biggest reason is probably that she makes a lot of people feel very old.
Cyrus, who is about to turn 21 in November, is young enough that her frame of reference for pop music has always been dominated by hip-hop. She’s also from a generational cohort that has grown up on social media and is conditioned to share culture in a performative way. Think of it like Tumblr’s reblog function — where what you share with others represents how you want people to think of you, even if what you’re sharing isn’t necessarily who you are. This mentality disrupts a lot of the self-consciousness earlier generations have had about cultural borders. Miley — and many, many, many other artists and music fans around her age — aren’t “not seeing color” as Jay Z says, but they’re not seeing race as a boundary they can’t cross, or something they can’t freely integrate into their own identity. Miley isn’t actively trying to be a cultural imperialist, and she has no statement to make other than “I really like this!”
This approach to art and culture isn’t without its problems. Her enthusiastic appropriation of trap and ratchet isn’t automatically racist, but it does come from a position of privilege, and it’s not difficult to see it as exploitative or condescending. But you could say that about a wide range of white artists who have been influenced by black music over the past several decades. Miley’s hip-hop makeover gets under people’s skin mainly because she doesn’t seem to have the slightest bit of interest in what makes it potentially insensitive or opportunistic on her part, though she seems very aware of the transgressive quality Jay Z touched on. She knows that it will freak out a lot of people — older people — if the precious little white girl goes black. It’s good old-fashioned rebellion, and something many of her fans can relate to, or enjoy vicariously...
...Miley also makes people feel old simply by being a pop star who up until very recently was just not on their radar, though she’s been a major star among teens for years. Her notorious performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in August was shocking for a lot of reasons that have been discussed at length — Miley using black women as props, her grinding on Robin Thicke’s crotch — but in a less obvious way, it was jarring because from the perspective of pretty much anyone over 25, she wasn’t supposed to be the biggest star of the show. Miley stole the spotlight away from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Kanye West, and made them all seem bland and overly self-referential. It was a sudden, unexpected changing of the guard: Now, whether you like it or not, Miley is the most provocative star in pop, and all the people you expected to be pushing the envelope seem old and boring. And even still, in the aftermath of the VMAs and the massive success of “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball,” there’s still a lot of denial of Miley being as popular as she is. It won’t last much longer."
"This approach to art and culture isn't without its problems." Of course not. No approach to art or culture is. The best art is offensive in some way. 
I think my biggest problem with this whole thing, with people hating on Cyrus (who I'm not a huge fan of all the time - this is not a "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE" post), is that they are missing the point. 
She's pretending, people. 
That's what celebrities do. 
And she's laughing all the way to the bank doing it.

And you're paying her to do it by talking about her. 
Plus, even if you can't get behind that logic, her stuff right now is insanely good. 
Her recent SNL performance: 

Also her comedic work on SNL was hilarious:


Also, let's all be honest. "We Can't Stop" is a hell of a song.

I like this version the best:

And Cyrus has a hell of a voice:

*Even if you dislike the song, or the video, and the fact that Cyrus is not listed as a writer on it, damn she can sing.

Here's the thing: I dislike a lot of things I recognize as being good.

I don't like, for example, jazz music.

I recognize, however, that it's a form of music with a lot of merit.

So let's not hate on Miley Cyrus, who is clearly talented, just because we don't like her getting naked and licking a sledgehammer, or grinding on Robin Thicke, or sticking her tongue out.

Because, let's just get to the heart of it here.

Let's stop slut shaming Miley Cyrus.

(Actually, let's stop slut shaming everyone.)

She wants to be famous, in a way that previous generations can't understand - even I have a hard time with it sometimes. And yeah, there are other ways, but why should she be shamed for choosing this one? In which she isn't even, publicly, actually a "slut," but is expressing her sexuality, which, not shockingly, everyone is buying.

Let's stop saying that her sexuality is bad, just because we remember her as a fresh-faced tween on a Disney show.

In fact, let's stop saying that anyone's sexuality is bad, because, really, that's killing feminism and propping up the inequalities women face.

Sexuality is not a bad thing.

And saying that Cyrus' is, just because it's offensive or loud or not our cup of tea, is slut shaming. Even if she's not a slut (I don't know her, obvs), saying that what she's doing is immoral or wrong or slutty is wrong.

Stop it.

Because when you say "Miley Cyrus is so nasty!" what you're really saying is "Women who express their sexuality or show their bodies in public are wrong!"

And, y'all, fuck that.

Now, if you just don't like her, that's fine. Realize that you don't dislike her personally, just the performance of fame that she is selling, and move on.

But let's stop hating on her for doing what we all wish we had the guts, or personality, or character, or wherewithal to do.

And fall in love, all over again, with this cover of "We Can't Stop":

*I write about fame and celebrity for my actual research, but rarely about modern celebrities (I'm an early modernist), so excuse my limited knowledge of modern celebrity theory.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Memphis Nosh: Kooky Canuck

Before The Lumineers concert Tuesday, Kirby, Courtney and I went to Kooky Canuck.

We wanted something relatively fast, downtown, not super expensive, and we knew we would be HUNGRY.

So, obvs, Kooky Canuck was a shoe-in.

Plus, I'm a sucker for any place that has a really active social media presence and really, genuinely, seems to care about their image and their customers.

*Also, I love that they use "eh" ironically so much. The "Veg-eh" Burger is a great example. 

Also, Canada:

*Oh Canadians.

We started with an order of poutine, which is basically the carbiest most heavenly food ever:

*Via We wolfed ours down too fast to get a picture.
**But for reals, they really look like that. 

The poutine is hand cut fries smothered in gravy (think the consistency of turkey gravy almost, and more like a sauce - I don't like regular gravy, but this is great) with big hunks of cheese curds. 


True story: Every time I go to Wisconsin to see my sister, I have to eat cheese curds as soon as we cross the border. It's a thing. 

Mostly because this is actually my life: 


We got the poutine for an appetizer, and then ordered our food. Kirby got the Provincial Pear Chicken Salad, which is "a delectable blend of fresh greens, topped with grilled chicken, pear, walnuts, blue cheese and dried cranberries with a raspberry vinaigrette." It looked amazing:

*This was after she had started mixing it up. I'm a bad photographer. 

Courtney got the "The Canadian," which was insane. It was a burger with canadian bacon, cheddar, grilled onions and BBQ sauce, which she declared to be the "best barbecue sauce" she had ever had: 

*This thing was a beast. She ordered it medium well and that's how it came. So good. Also, I just noticed that she's a really good hand model. 

I ordered the 4 Cheese Burger, which has American, Swiss, Jack and Cheddar.

I love cheese, y'all.

*And carbs, obviously. 

My only (no seriously, only one) complaint is that my medium burger was super super well done. We were in a hurry, and it was still really good, and juicy, but I find that my burgers are often over-cooked at Kooky's. The service, friendliness, and deliciousness make up for it, but if you're super particular about the doneness of your burgers, make sure to tell your server/check it when they drop it off. 

We were way too stuffed for dessert this time (I took half my burger and a ton of my fries home) but next time I'm doing the s'mores. 

We also had a really nice table visit from Shawn Danko, the owner of Kooky Canuck, who was awesome - seriously, this is one of the friendliest restaurants in town, and I've never had an even less than stellar experience there. 

Also, the ambiance is great - really feels like a cabin, and has some interesting wall decor: 

*From Courtney's Instagram. He was kind of staring at us. 

Kooky Canuck is on Second Street, right across from the Peabody. I always park at the Peabody Towers garage, and it's an easy walk from there.