Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gothy Girl Bloggers Unite under Inclement Conditions... (and why Sleepy Hollow was both sleepy and hollow)

fashionably prepared for the weather
I’ve always enjoyed stories that begin at the end and make their way back to the beginning.  If I started at the very end, the story would be about a very tired but happy girl falling asleep around 10pm last night after a whirlwind of an adventure… but I’m going to back it up a bit. First, I have not read Jade’s review. I’ll do that after I trash it in my own way (okay, okay… I’ll be fair. There were some parts that I liked). I did, however, read her write-up of our meeting. She’s being terribly generous and sweet when she writes that it “was a bit hectic to try to get her and her man to the train on time”.  Ummm, let me set the scene. 

It’s 6:15pm and we (Jade, my fella, and myself) have been hanging out discussing the performance and life, taking fun pictures, and enjoying some after performance light fare when we realize that we need to get a move on to get back to Union Station to catch our 7pm train. Fast-forward a bit to us realizing that the Metro Red Line is having major delays and we’re now down to about a half hour to make the train. Fast-forward some more (and wow, I wish we had footage) to the three of us deciding to catch a cab in a city that is being blanketed by snow and frozen slush all over the roads and sidewalks. We were running down the sidewalks (and sometimes in the streets) trying to hail a cab to no avail for a quarter of an hour. Jade could have simply waved us off because she didn’t need to be anywhere at a particular time but she didn’t and for that I know she is, what we call in the south, a *good egg*.   

Eventually, we caught the cab that got us to our train with less than ten minutes to spare… and upon the departure time we learned that there would be a delay. I’m sorry but I have to laugh because that is just how life goes sometimes. But, for the record, I wouldn’t take it back for a second because in hindsight running through the city with the two of them was pretty fun!

When Jade let me know that she would be going to see the Washington Ballet’s Sleepy Hollow and wanted to see if we could meet up, I figured that we would get along just fine. I hadn’t imagined how much fun we would actually have though. I don’t take myself too seriously and sometimes it’s difficult to get to know someone fully in an online world. And since we were meeting AFTER the show, I was already feeling guilty that she bought a top-level higher priced ticket since the show wasn’t so great. You never know to you try…  I know my expectations were super high. I went on and on about how amazing the Washington Ballet’s Dracula production was

During the Act 1, Sleepy Hollow felt more like something that I would see at a university… During Act 2, it became bad community theater. The topper was that while we were chatting after the performance in the Kennedy Center cafeteria (wine is my excuse ha ha) the Artistic Director Septime Webre was standing inches from me while we were basically trashing the performance. (To be fair, I've included the message from the artistic director that was in the program below.) 

Oh no! There's the Artistic Director! oops!
I understand creative license and wanting to create something new but "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving could have made a fine ballet.  There is even a dance in the story which didn’t need to be replaced by some dancing children in pumpkin costumes (clears throat *elementary school dance recital*).  Not only did we not see the actual storyline (Ichabod Crane competing with Brom Bones for the affection of Katrina Van Tassel) but we hardly got to see any of the scary-pumpkin-throwing of the Headless Horseman, who while talented was somewhat annoying for his special effects that were literally blinding. This brings me to the overuse of media throughout the production. Was this a ballet or an American Blockbuster? The introduction opened just like a movie with the title being illuminated. While there was script that helped viewers understand how the story of Rip Van Wrinkle, for example, was being incorporated, I learned from Jade that those with more pricey tickets in balcony seats couldn’t read the text. What in the world?!?

My fella, who was an actor and appreciates the Arts in general, actually drifted off. He was mortified even admitting it to me.
So what did I actually like? I enjoyed the added cemetery scene with the ghost women dancing. They looked like they were floating in the way that ballerinas can stand on their toes and move in uncanny ways.  I liked the pop of red fabric under the female characters’ costumes but overall, I’ve seen better costumes. Overall, I think it had the right aesthetic. The horses were somewhat steampunk and eerie with six legs to accommodate the dancers. They moved in a way to demonstrate slow motion and it actually worked quite well.

Overall, this is a pretty harsh review but it in no way merited the cost of the tickets to the show and certainly wasn’t worth Amtrak tickets on top of that. Thankfully meeting Jade and our own little adventures made the trip worthwhile. She was a gorgeous human and also she had one of those amazing personalities to match. I enjoyed hearing all about her internship and her studies. I do fear that my husband may have interviewed her a bit too much but he was genuinely interested in her. 

Fortunately, she’ll be in the area a bit longer so that we can have some more adventures which hopefully will not include running through the snow.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

... Thursday ramblings about new hats, hair, dresses, and flowers in bloom...

Eeeek! Y’all tomorrow I will be standing in the BRRRRR -3 degrees at the train station. I’ve been getting by with scarfs wrapped around my head like I’m a babushka. It has worked just fine but while running errands this evening I spotted this Betsey Johnson Veil stocking cap and thought “Hmph, if I have to have hat-head, I should at least get the added benefit of a birdcage veil!”

I got my hair trimmed and my stylist always styles my hair super straight while I never do because I have wavy hair and I’m sort of lazy and rarely use product in my hair… and curls just seem easier. But here’s a not-so-good picture of my hair but I still love my sunglasses so there ya go.

My Jamberry Black Bats nail wraps arrived and I tried them out tonight. They’re nail wraps similar to the Sally Hansen Salon Effects that I’ve used before… but they’re thicker and are supposed to last longer. It was my first attempt so I know I didn’t do a very good job at cutting the wrap to fit my nail (you can see that mostly in my middle finger in the picture). I think this will be an in-progress activity; and, heck I’m all about a little project.

Other than that, my Sleeveless Iconic Coquette Banded Fit and Flare dress from White House Black Market arrived today. I was hoping that it would arrive in time for the ballet so yay! Jade from Daughter of the jaded era and I will have my fella take pictures of our outfits.

Oh, here are the tulips blooming in the sun! 

Is it me or have my blog posts been especially rambling lately? Geez. ‘Tis the season, I suppose.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

... a snow day reflection on transportation, nails, and flowers ...

snow covered whirligig hearse

It’s a snow day both here in Ashland and in DC which means YAY! I got to stay home. I’ve actually been working from home via computer since early this morning but just like my sabbatical, I was able to work while in pajamas. Soon I’ll have to dig out my car but the sun is high in the sky and I’m watching the snow slowly melt away from my car. That’s my kind of shoveling :D

I’ve mentioned before that I take the train to work. Yesterday the commuter trains didn’t run because it was a Federal holiday. Driving in wasn’t so bad but I left the District in the early afternoon to beat the inclement weather. Of course, everyone else had the same idea AND the snow started just miles into my 100-mile commute. Thankfully this typically only occurs once a semester.

This has been on my mind because this weekend my fella and I have tickets to the Washington Ballet to see Sleepy Hollow. While I’m excited about the performance, I’m super excited that I will get to meet fellow blogger Jade from Daughter of the jaded era. But, this also makes me anxious because the weather forecast calls for more snow and y’all, I’m from Virginia. Snow-driving isn’t in my genes. Yes, I lived outside of Boston for a bit but I don’t like snow one bit (unless I’m inside and don’t have to go anywhere… then it’s alright if it melts quickly). While I was fussing to my fella about how much I wish we could just take the commuter train but that it doesn’t run on the weekend, he suggested that we take the Amtrak. (Sigh. Why didn’t I think of that?) Parking in DC is a pretty penny and the gas to get there is a whole other story… so while Amtrak tickets cost a bit more, we won’t have to worry about traffic and I won’t have to be anxious the entire way up and back. It will be much easier on my nerves if I can relax and simply board public transportation. So this morning, I bought roundtrip tickets! Yay!

This weekend is going to be so much fun. I have the ballet AND I have the Horror Book Club meeting on Sunday where we’ll be discussing NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. By the way, I loved it! Vampires and Christmas!?! It’s like the book was written with me as the target audience!

Sally Hansen I Love Lacey
Tonight, I’m *attending* a Jamberry Nails Party. It’s an online party so really it’s just some posts and purchasing the products which I’ve actually already done. I had never heard of Jamberry Nails before. They’re nail wraps similar to the Sally Hansen Salon Effects that I’ve used before. I usually use the French noir manicure but I bought these red and black I love Lacey ones that cover the entire nail. If you’ve been a reader of this blog you know that I’ll do my nails and then go out within an hour and put my hands in the dirt. I don’t have much patience for being a girly girl although I like for my nails to be done. I don’t make any sense people! Anyhow, the Jamberry nails are supposed to last a bit longer than the drugstore brands. I’ll give anything a try especially if there are bats! Sally Hansen had a Batty for You version that was pretty similar but they only came out one year during Halloween. Just be aware if you like these that the black bats from Jamberry, they are being discontinued at the end of this month L There are some really interesting designs so once my products arrive, I’ll try them out and do a post.

So a busy week with a leisurely snow day… and I suppose I should get some reading done. For now, I’m dreaming of warmer weather and flowers. Here are some that are growing inside.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

... Vampires vs. Valentines...

This morning I woke to a Facebook feed filled with Valentine's Day posts... Some were quite angry, individuals who clearly hate the holiday; and, some were loving, individuals who were embracing the day. Today isn’t only Valentine’s Day but it is also National Frederick Douglass Day; National Library Lovers Day; National Cream-filled Chocolates Day; Pet Theft Awareness Day; and, International Quirkyalone Day described as “a do-it-yourself celebration of romance, friendship, and independent spirit. It’s a celebration of all kinds of love: romantic, platonic, familial, and yes, self-love. International Quirkyalone Day is not anti-Valentine’s Day. It’s NOT a pity party for single people. It’s an alternative–a feel-good alternative to the marketing barrage of Valentine’s Day and an antidote to the silicone version of love presented in shows such as Hooking Up and The Bachelor.” I kind of like the idea of this day because even if one is coupled like I am, it is a reminder “to value yourself and develop your individuality even when in a couple.”

And, of course today is the 4th Annual (and my first) Vampire’s Day Soiree. Described as, “no longer a day to dread, when it's all about the love of the undead!” Hmm, I guess I’m in the minority who don’t dread February 14th.  And to those who say it’s easy not to hate the day because “you’re so lucky that you found your guy” I don’t try to hide that I’ve been divorced TWICE and it was a long road to get here. Plus, when we met, I was perfectly happily planning my Happily-Ever-After with MYSELF! There was a slight grieving period (and he knows it) when we started dating because I had big plans for ME being ME… and in many ways, these plans have come to fruition but with a fella by my side… one who is in the other room (gasp! It’s Valentine’s Day) watching some superhero movie while I am in the office typing this post. 
To be honest, I’m usually sick with some sort of sinus infection which is not sexy or even remotely attractive but is a reality in this climate for me. I actually think of love and vampires every day... and my fella loves that I love vampires. He even gives me dorky vampire books including a few Valentine's Days ago he gifted a Vampire Haiku book

Vampire Haiku
My fella and I don’t have over-the-top celebrations. He often brings me planted flowers because he understands that this time of year is hard for me—not much garden time and dreary weather. Last night, I discovered that I could order a heart-shaped pizza and completely dorked out and ordered a vegetarian (undead!... well, I suppose vegetables were alive so never mind) one. For the record, heart-shaped pizzas are difficult to cut and handle. But then I spent time with my fella sharing pictures from the Uncanny Party (aside: more dorky fun! And unfortunately while I can share pictures of me, I need to cut out colleagues and our students so in the end, I can’t share much).     
Cobwebs had me in the creative spirit yesterday while I was attempting to make Origami Vampire Fangs after her link dumps post. Yep, there is a reason that I’m not including my own picture. An aside: one day I will learn that origami is not a skill that I possess. Until that time I will continually become excited and attempt these little projects. But I teach a vampire course and in my introduction to literature course, we’re finishing Dracula so lately I’ve been feeling a little like a cliché. I mean, I do have OTHER interests!
Vampire Me
But today for Vampire’s Day Soiree I’m going to try to do a few fun I-Heart-Vampires activities while loving the fella I’ve chosen.