February 28, 2009

I could probably spend several entries hashing back and forth the merits and shortcomings of Twilight (God knows I have annoyed friends/co-workers/The Boy about that beloved/be-shitted book). But it’s becoming a very tired subject on the internet, so I’ll send you out to do your own research. However, if I may, this site has some awesome Twilight snark.

All I can vouch for is the fact that I did not want to read the books, nor did I want to see the film, and I certainly wasn’t going to listen to the album. But I did all three and ended up feeling the same way every lover/detractor felt about Twilight: the glue used to bind those books must be infused with crack, because I cannot put them down.

Ask any literary critic (and casual fan), and they will admit – hell, even Meyer herself basically admitted – the writing in the series is damn near appalling. And word on the street is that in the fourth book, there are even continuity errors – this should not happen if you have a competent editor. You know me: I’m not one to accuse or anything, but hey, what exactly happened (or did not happen) in an effort to push this book into bookstores?

So, there’s no denying that Twilight is an affront to literature and writers – and I think Laura, Erica and I could totally spend hours supporting and tearing this book apart (yes, ladies, I am absolutely issuing a call to arms).

But the thing that I find most displeasing about this whole Twilight “thing” is that it makes me want to come out of fan-fiction retirement, “rewrite” the book and mail it back to Stephanie Meyer with a note that says, “Next time, please…just don’t.”

I had no idea I could/would ever come out of fan-fiction retirement – do you see what you do to me, Stephanie Meyer? Do you?

Nothing to Wear

I’m in that awkward clothing slump, where I’m recycling about ten or so outfits, and just hoping that there isn’t too much cat hair or stains on them.  Right now, my wardrobe pretty much consists of grayscale.

I think I was doomed to this: I spent 12 years of my life wearing a uniform where it was nearly impossible to fail at putting an outfit together.  In fact, when left to fend for myself in the fashion world when I was fourteen and transferred to a private school with no uniform, I ended up looking like Jesus: sandals, baggy pants, and ridiculously oversized t-shirts.  I made The Dude look fashionable.  I know my mother was thrilled when I transferred back in to Beaumont and had to go back to wearing a uniform every day.

I got to college, and my wardrobe was mostly jeans, and a few different items I held on to as I was coming out of my Diet Goth thing.  I did care, and I didn’t care: I liked getting dressed up but had a hard time finding an excuse to dress nicely.

I do, however, remember having an Intro to Communications class with a Fashion & Consumer Sciences major named Brennan, who was just the most impeccably-dressed woman I have ever met.  This girl was polished: she took time to make sure that she was put together, that her clothes were pressed, her outfits were chic and classy, and she never left her dorm in pajama pants or without lip gloss.  And, ultimately, I have been chasing after her seemingly effortless style since that semester.

But again, I’m a hapless schmo who doesn’t know how to dress on a day-to-day basis.  I get stuck in the "uniform" mentality where everything has rules attached, and has to match.  I’m terrified that I might wear something that looks stupid, and I end up wearing the same ten outfits.  And I end up buying pieces that I think are different, but now hang in my closet, or are folded in drawers and they all look just the same.

I’m at the point in What Not to Wear, where the victim says, "It’s too hard to shop…"  I’ve gotten to the point where I hate shopping because I know what the end game is going to be, and I just don’t have the disposable income to keep making the same mistakes.

I really wish I could go back in time and make Brennan tell me all of her secrets, and then take me shopping.

February 17, 2009

Well, making sure that this semester’s tuition got paid turned into a major clusterfuck.  While I’m sitting and waiting for Federal Student Aid that will never come (apparently, I don’t meet the credit hour requirement for the loan I was applying for – again, information that would have been good to know months ago), CSU is starting to get ants in their pants because they’re not getting paid.

My favorite part of the whole experience was calling what was introduced to me as the campus operator, asking to be transfered to the Financial Aid office, and having the guy tell me, “Well, I can help you with that.”  Not helping direct my call, but actually fulfilling my financial aid needs.  I felt like I went to the local bait shop for some legal advice.

So, here I am again, zero-hour mode, frantically trying to get the paperwork pushed for a Stafford loan, hoping that I can plead my sob story to the treasurer so that I don’t get nailed with late fees on the tuition payment.  Ugh, you’d have thought that since I’m turning 25 in a month, I would have learned to have gotten my shit together better.

Oh, and for anyone that is interested, you can check out this blog post, the subject of which is causing a little furor amongst various constituents in Cleveland.  Basically, as a CSU student, I get the privilege of paying $25 for unlimited public transit access.  Which would be cool, I guess, except that I live in Geauga county, which has no public transit, and therefore, no connection with the public transportation for Cuyahoga county, and there’s no opt-out for the fee.  …Great.

So, while I’m down at CSU this Friday, begging for mercy at the treasurer’s office, maybe I can wheedle my way out of this ridiculous bus thing.

StyckyWycket Recommends: Products During Accutane

During both courses of my Accutane treatments, they crossed through the harsh Cleveland winters.  The main focus and drive of getting through Accutane is: how do I keep my hair/skin from being so damn dry?

My first round with Accutane, I had to spend a lot of time and money trying to figure out which products were going to provide the moisture I desperately needed. It would have been great to have information collected here; and I’ve checked the stats on my blog, and have seen that I’ve been getting a lot of traffic from people who have been looking for information about Accutane.

In this entry, I’ll cover the products that I’ve used that I think have helped me greatly.

1. Basic Skin Cleansing and Moisturizing

During my first round of treatment, I was using Clinique’s Comforting Cream Cleanser, but it’s a little pricey and doesn’t last terribly long ($18.50/5oz). This time around, I am using Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleanser ($11.49/16oz), which I think works great: it breaks up my makeup, cleans without stripping, and a single bottle will last you through a standard six-month treatment (really! I am the queen of using way too much product).

I used to moisturize with Clinique’s Moisture Surge, but again, it’s pricey ($46.50/2.5oz) and I was re-applying a lot. On the upside, Moisture Surge can be applied over makeup without having to worry about it smudging.

This course of treatment, I switched over to Cetaphil’s DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion For Dry, Sensitive Skin ($10.79/8oz), which I think is actually body lotion, but all of Cetaphil’s products are non-comedogenic, so there is are no worries that this ultra-moisturizing cream will cause any pore-blockage. Using the moisturizer means that I only have to moisturize once a day, instead of re-applying several times a day to cover flakes of dry skin. No tightness, no flakes. It gets an A in my book.

The only awkward side effect? My nose sweats. Just my nose. I don’t know if this is standard for this moisturizer, or just me. It’s not uncontrollable, but I do have to wipe my nose before meetings.

2. Body Wash

Very simply, I use Classic Ivory soap. It’s inexpensive ($1.99/3 bars) and there are no detergents or fragrances in it. The only other thing that I would steer people towards is maybe vegetable glycerin soap, which also has no fragrance or detergents.

3. Shampoo/Conditioner

I’m fairly lucky because I have a water softener, so that really helps to keep my hair from getting fried. But, in my first course, I used Aveda’s hair products. I still recommend Aveda’s Dry Remedy Moisturizing line. They aren’t inexpensive, but I honestly believe that when your hair is falling out because of the Accutane treatment, you need products that are as natural as you can possibly get. Aveda does that.

The Ritual Kit has the shampoo, the conditioner, and the moisture mask all-included for $74.00, which is $10 off what it would cost to buy each of the products separately. Of course, though, you can buy them separately and not even get the hair mask and be just as well off.

And, as is true for all of Aveda’s products, a little goes a long way.

4. Body Lotion

I only really need lotion when I shave my legs, but my go-to product that delivers a lot of moisture and soaks in really well is Vaseline Intensive Care Total Moisture, Dry Skin Lotion. It’s very good for hands, too, and a huge bottle is relatively inexpensive ($7.00/24,5oz). I have a feeling that you’ll carry this from your Accutane treatment through to all of your body/hand moisturizing needs through the year.

5. Lip Treatment

If any of you are having the same experience that I’ve had, the first thing that dries out and the last thing to get moisture back is your lips. I would honestly say that I would take all of the other symptoms twofold if only I could have the lip dryness not happen.

During my first treatment, I used Carmex for chapped lips ($2.49/.5 oz,) but I know that it’s cheaper at Wal-Mart, Drug Mart and CVS). I really liked it’s staying power.

This time around, I’m using Blistex Lip Medex ($2.19/.38 oz). I think it has the same softening, moisturizing, and staying power, but I feel like it warms up better with your body heat and doesn’t feel quite as thick and sticky.

You’ll notice that I took a lot of time to find products that you can get in your local drugstore. And I think even in some cases, you can use HSA dollars to pay for these items.  I’m pretty lucky in that my prescription coverage is very extensive and my prescription for the generic brand is only $10. However, my first course of treatment cost $100 month, and that didn’t count the co-pays or the blood tests. The point is that you don’t need really, really expensive products to provide the moisture you need to have a comfortable experience while on Accutane.

I really hope that this helps: please feel free to leave a comment letting me know how these recommendations worked for you.

Floral Moratorium

The Boy and I pretty much use any holiday as an excuse to get each other gifts, but over the years, it’s become more about getting something that the other wants, as opposed to the vestiges of a commercialized or faux holiday (I’m looking right at you, Sweetest Day: you know what you are).  I know I really like to get him something fun, unique, and in some cases, useful.

I want to say that I was the fine, upstanding, green individual who placed a moratorium on Valentine’s day flowers.  This is not true, though – The Boy has not purchased flowers for me in years, so really, he’s partially to blame for my lack of flowers.

But really, when I got down to it, I realize that his laziness is my blessing.  Instead of having flowers that die in a week, I could have the same amount of money spent on me and get to keep it for a lot longer.  I guess I have my priorities in the right place.  In addition to putting the kibosh on flowers, no candy, either: I end up throwing a lot of them away.  I’m just not that into chocolate.  (Zebra Cakes, however, and I think that would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  It’s the simple things, really.)

I just don’t know what to do with a stuffed puppy holding a heart that says “I Wuff You.”  I’ve always had this problem personifying inanimate objects.  My heart just rips out of my chest when I look into those soulful, lifeless, button eyes, when I even think of throwing it away because I have no room for it.  I just die.

So, the Valentine’s Day gift has been bought for The Boy, and he bought his gift for me.  I was good, though, and haven’t ruined this surprise, like I’ve ruined a thousand surprises before.  Neither one of us knows what the other bought, but both of us got something the other has wanted for a while, and we know will go to good use.