Friday, February 24, 2017


OHMYGOD.  How has it been almost four years since I've blogged?

A lot has changed.  Well, maybe?  It is hard to quantify whether I have had more or less change in the last four years than is typical.  I did finish school (so now I am a doctah!) and I did get married to that out-of-this-world, sweet boj-o-mine, Bahb (so now I am misses doctah!).

See!  LOOK!  Wedding stuffs!

But anyhoo, looking through my old posts the changes in myself are a bit more striking...

I see in my last post I indicated I wanted to live a cleaner, simpler lifestyle, and I actually ran with that.  I haven't used shampoo in over three years and I have made all of my own beauty products, toothpaste and laundry soap for a few years now.  I freaking love being able to make myself something when I run out instead of having to run to the store, but, DEAR GOD, is it ever a hassle to go through airport security with a baggy of white powder (i.e. baking soda).

One of the wildly unexpected down sides to this, however, is solely that of my own doing.  I LOVE TO SHOP.  In fact, I am Alex and I straight up have a goddamn shopping problem.  I have spent years getting little twinges of sadness that I don't get to buy adorably packaged body lotions or pricey facial serums with lofty promises of somehow shaving decades off of my face.  I shit you not, I would get a quantifiable satisfaction from purchasing an unnecessary beauty indulgence, and without that these past 4 years, I have had to turn to purchasing other things to fill that void.

Other things, you say?  OH, NOT JUST OTHER THINGS.  ALL OF THE THINGS.  With the once-hallowed halls of Sephora no longer holding anything of use to me, I turned to over-priced, hand-poured, small-batch candles, dresses from obscure designers, leopard print booties (for reals, I have nine different pairs of leopard print booties) and all of the sterling silver rings from local Navajo artisans that my little fingers can handle.  I mean, there are other things too, like my obsession with Soleri and utensil-based wind chimes (I have to just hang them around the house at this point, there is just no more room outside) and, not to mention that I have a seeming inability to not purchase a travel coffee container when I happen across one.

The point is, even though I know why I shop, it doesn't make it easier to stop.  And I need to stop.  It's not a financial thing (although that isn't terrible motivation!) but rather a piece of mind thing.  I feel goddamn suffocated.  STUFFOCATED, if you will.  

I am making concerted efforts here to get rid of some items by giving them away, however.  A lot of things can go straight to charities, but it is also deeply gratifying to match some of the amazing women in my life with clothes they would love.  In fact, I filled up a closet in a spare room with clothes I want to give away to girlfriends the other night, and I shit you not, the clothes broke the bar.  I hung up the clothes, snapped a pic to send to the gals to whom I want to give the clothes, closed the door and then heard a loud crash.  The bar had broken from the weight of all of the clothes.    


We hope to eventually give away all of the excess in our lives, and, admittedly, I find myself fantasizing about tiny home living someday with Bahb and the pups.  But going from 2000 square feet to 200 will take time.  Maybe we will shoot for 1000 square feet first...

At any rate, there is sort of a point.  I want to go from mindless online shopping to very concerted and mindful shopping. You know, only buy something if it is absolutely needed, purchase second hand when possible and do everything in my power to make sure my purchase has as little of a negative impact as possible.  I know how unbelievably fortunate I am to have had the means and freedom to purchase these items, but unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly inadmissible that there are steep environmental and human impacts on consumption.

Maybe I will blog about that, I mean, after all, I need something to do online instead of shopping...

Monday, July 15, 2013

of Shoes and Ships and Ceiling Wax, of Organic Cabbages and Kings

So I never post in the summer because it is just too hot and too sunny here in the Phoenix area. There is literally nowhere good to stand where there will be a homogeneous covering of shade to take normal looking pictures, and besides that, it's HOT!  All I wear are cutoffs and loose tees everyday, so really, what is there to blog about??

But I do hope to actually change that a bit. 

I love that this blog has been a great way of recording my life and subsequent style transmogrification (for example, I started this blog with a bleached mohawk, then went from a super cropped black pixie to a bleached bob and now here we are with the bleached pixie).  However, no matter how much I enjoy the premise of this blog, it really hasn't been enough to keep me continually posting.  

Enter a new premise...

Case in point for weird pictures due to desperation for shade... this completely unnatural stance was the byproduct of me trying to completely fit into a slightly large sliver of shade by my front door. Also... THAT'S A BEAR CARVED FROM WOOD!  Bahb got him from a friend for me because I've always wanted one!

Top: Anthropologie
Shorts: One Teaspoon
Shoes Salt Water Sandals
Sunglasses: Ray Bans

But I digress.  This new "premise" I am speaking of is based on a recent health decision of mine. After almost a decade on hormonal birth control, I decided I want to get off it.  This decision, however, was not taken lightly.  For starters, I've always had problems with my skin, so I can't even imagine how bad things can become once I remove the synthetic hormones.  Then, of course, the non-hormonal options are either inconvenient or not reliable enough or super scary to think about.  But it's the latter  (THE SCARY TYPE) that I will inevitably take the plunge with. 

But enough about that, because before you know it, we will be rapidly entering that awesome... HOLYSHITIDON'TWANTTOKNOWALLOFTHISABOUTYOURCERVIX territory.  Anyway, in researching what I should do to ease my body back into estrogen production and make the whole transition as minimally horrific (both for me and for those who have to be around me) as possible, it became clear how much of what I ingest and come in contact with is mildly toxic to natural biological processes.

Now is the time where I should make it clear I'm not going off on one of those CHEMICALS KILL witch hunt tangents, because, holy shit, that is just asinine; there are bajillions of wonderful, life giving/sustaining/nurturing chemicals out there.  The scary stuff is when I realized that a Mario Badescu product I am smearing all over my face contains triethanolamine.  I find it hard to believe it is safe for me to get it in my mouth a little bit when I'm rinsing my face off, but when a kid in my lab uses it he puts the hood down and writes "CAUTION" on a bright orange piece of paper.  Stuff like that sketches me out.

So in investigating further all of my beloved products, I've found more and more of those nasty little molecules creeping in.  Basically all I've learned from packaged products is that the label is at least 79% (rough estimate) touchy feely propaganda. The governing rules behind labeling something as "natural" grant so much leeway it's incredulous and from this I decided that it may be interesting to try and find out for myself what I should be putting on and in my own body.

SOOOOO, what I'm getting at here is that I have a goal.  I want to document my slow and inevitably bumpy journey into this completely unfamiliar terrain.

Good bye, my beautiful and extensive assimilation of Mario Badescu and Renee Rouleau products. We had a good run.  


...go on now... don't make this harder than it needs to be...

...don't give me those basset hound eyes, Mario Badescu Caviar Night Cream, I said git.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


My family pretty much all hails from a five mile radius of one another in Illinois.  Growing up in Phoenix, my brother and I were always the "odd cousins out" and it's been a slow go getting Bahb to meet everyone.

SOOOO, when my grandpa's 90th birthday came around and my mom (who lives in Maryland) decided she would go out to Illinois to be with everyone, it sounded like the perfect time to drag that sweet lovin' man of mine out there to meet the whole kit and caboodle.

The first day we arrived we puttered around Chicago a bit, and it really reinforced my hatred for crowded cities.  We both are decidedly spoiled, as even though the Phoenix area is rather large, we were both raised within a mile or two from the edge of town and the start of a seemingly endless expanse of beautiful, open desert.

Perhaps if we spent more time in Chicago I would have been more enamored with the city, but as it was, we only mustered up the energy to get over to Millennium Park and see that damn bean.  But it made for what is easily the best picture of Bahb ever... look at that face!

The rain was rather relentless throughout our trek through Chicago, but on the walk back to the car we got blueberry macarons and coffee, and it helped warm our soggy little souls.

About that rain... holy hell.  Illinois was a soggy shit show.  There was flooding everywhere.  I heard on the news that 44 counties declared a state of emergency.  During our drive from Chicago on the 80 we saw the extent of damage clearly.  Every little town looked just like the last; the tops of street signs sticking out of water, ruined cars that had been long since abandoned littering the streets.  Our little destination, LaSalle, was no different.  The Illinois River reached record levels and washed into the city  further than it ever has before, and Bahb and I were left to marvel in amazement.

The houses of my aunts and uncles and grandpa and cousins all fared well luckily, save for some slight flooding in the basement, so our trip, along with my Grandpa's birthday celebration commenced as planned.

Bahb and I had some family activities to attend to, like my Grandpa's birthday dinner, a large family BBQ on Sunday and an all-day all-women (plus one very understanding and patient Bahb) shopping excursion, but besides that, we were mainly left to explore on our own.

We drove around county roads, getting lost and thrown all around by a wonky GPS.  We stopped in little ice cream shops and found a soccer field and soccer ball to entertain ourselves.

I showed him all of the places from my childhood, like my grandmother's house.  My Noni passed away on Christmas this year, and it ached way more than I thought it would to drive by her house and know I can't go inside and that her fabulous chocolate chip cookies aren't sitting there waiting for me.  That house always made me happy; that field on the  right could occupy me for hours, whether I was just laying and reading or catching fireflies as the sun set.  We would always joke that we flew 1500 miles to sit on a porch, because when we would visit we always found ourselves sitting on the porch in rocking chairs for hours.

But on that day, we just drove by and I took a few pictures.

We also paid a visit to another place nearby that I have found myself surprisingly fond of over the years, Lock 3 of the I&M (or is it Hennepin...) Canal.  That particular area did not fare the deluge well, however. The parking lot was flooded, the water levels were at least twice as high as usual in the canal and the influx of flow had taken its toll on the sidewalks which were, at least partially, washed away in areas.  Lock 3 is usually lush and overgrown and has a meandering, paved path that practically begs for it to be leisurely strolled upon.  Although the weather had yet to warm up and restore the area to all of its green, leafy glory, we still ambled along the path lazily until we were brought back to reality by the amount of ticks we saw and hurried back to the safety of our economy rental car.

Another area not even remotely restored to an iota of its potential beauty is Matthiessen State Park.  When the leaves fill in, I can't imagine a more striking place.  The waterfalls and vines and dense covering of leaves makes it as close to a rainforest as you can get in the middle of goddamn nowhere Illinois.  Maybe its due to me being an Arizona kid who sees very little green at any given point in time, but this place is a fucking sanctuary in summer.

During the tail end of winter, however, it leaves a little bit to be desired.  Meh... But we still wandered around and saw some waterfalls.  It was oddly reminiscent to hiking in war-torn Poland, at least as near as we could figure.  It is remarkable the difference a month will make to this place...

So Bahb and I had some crummy weather (some snow, quite a bit or rain, temperatures in the 40's), some crummy scenery (dead trees as far as the eye can see and endless amounts of mud), a bit of family drama (as can be expected when seven female relatives are thrust together for five days), an astoundingly low-quality rental car and a GPS possessed by Satan, but I love the time we got to spend together.  

A man who is willing to enter with you into a veritable treasure trove of familial issues and weirdness just to make you happy and get to know your relatives is such a goddamn keeper it's not even funny.  

But next time... we're probably going to pool our resources for a bit longer and head to Spain... :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Buen Viaje

So after a good six weeks or so of working on my comprehensive every night until I passed out on my keyboard from sheer exhaustion (maybe a bit from boredom too...) only to jolt awake moments later and immediately resume frantically working, they are finally over.

They went as well as they could have, and I am now an official doctoral candidate and I received my masters in passing, so... sweet!  But it was a huge endeavor, not only on my part, but also on Bahb's part.  He was there every step of the way to bring me food to the lab or proofread my paper and he was even the only other person in the room besides my committee members when I took the examination. So first off, let's hear it for that guy (he best guy, you see) whose support makes all the difference in the world to me.  Second, this whole comprehensive thing, needless to say, really put a cramp in our babby hang out time, so the light at the end of the tunnel for us?  A weekend in Mexico on the beach, just the two of us, and Rosie, of course!

To say it was a relaxing weekend is an egregious understatement.  There was not a single moment of cell reception or use of electronics to speak of.  The most high tech aspect of the weekend was our virtually nonstop listening of Billy Joel's smooooooth 80's hits on cassette.  I mean... Uptown Girl?? Tell Her About It?? You May Be Right?? It's Still Rock'n Roll To Me?? Come ON.

We played rummy and drank Dos Equis and smoked menthols and ate ridiculously awesome tacos and got massages on the beach and slept 12 hours each night and walked around collecting seashells and had a bon fire and mainly just took naps on the sand under an umbrella.  In short... we were really busy guys!

And Rosie was such a good girl the whole trip.  I love that dog, and I am infinitely glad she is in my life, but make no mistake... she's a terrible dog.  She will look you dead in the eyes and hate-piss all over the carpet.  She will claw at your face at 3 am because she wants "fourth dinner."  There have been nights where she would literally not let me sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time.  And, given her age and her diminished faculties, there is no real way to discipline her without seeming cruel, because she has zero idea what's going on.  It's been a slooooow, rough process but I've more or less learned how to work around her needs to make sure I sleep most nights while making sure she's always my happy little girl.

BUT... in Mexico that was all different.  She never ran off, she slept the entire time we did at night and even politely scratched at the door when she wanted to go potty.  What. The. Fuck.  

Bahb and I kind of think it has something to do with her acute awareness of how far from home she was.  She knew she had to be a good girl if she wanted to come back with us!

Oh and she HATED the ocean.  HATED it.  It was hilarious.

But we didn't torture her too much with water fun, we mainly just all curled up in the sand and snoozed the afternoon away.

The trip was beyond wonderful.  It was relaxing and rejuvenating and restorative. It fully enabled me to turn off whatever bullshit I ordinarily allow to fester in my mind most days and just be truly present, and slightly drunk, I was always slightly drunk.

Buen viaje is right.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

You KNOW I hate your hats...

I was told that once by my roommate. For some reason she hates this hat I'm wearing. Whateva, refrigerators gon' refrigerate. That's the saying, right?

I love this hat simply because it is ever so slightly reminiscent of a cloche, and goddammit, there is nothing I love more than the 1920's.  That decade was my shit. In high school I read EVERY PUBLISHED WORD written by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I read letters he sent to friends, his largely hit or miss short stories,  his literary masterpieces... everything.  I could not get enough of the man's tales of the Jazz Age. 

But I have always been drawn to the 1920's.  I mean, a girl like me?  I can really get behind a decade devoted to short hair and flat chests.  Me, my perpetual pixie cut or bob, and my 32As would have been the pinnacle of hotness, I tell you what.

In fact, me and the Roarin' Twenties kinda got a weird thing going on.  Bahb and I were driving in Mexico once on a long, deserted stretch of highway with sand dunes on either side; there were a few worn billboards, and besides that, little else.  After a while of contemplation, I turned to him and said, "I've been here before, but it was in the 1920's." It just came out, it felt right, but seriously, what the hell.  Bahb gave me a non-committal response on par with, "that's nice, hun."

I mean, is there anyone else out there with an unhealthy obsession with a particular decade?! That's normal, right?  RIGHT?

Dress: Dear Creatures
Sweater: Scrapbook
Hat: Pins and Needles (Urban Outfitters)
Purse: Vintage Coach
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell

Yeah, so anyway, it's starting to look like Rosie is probably going to be popping up into all of these posts from here on out.  She is one curious little bean and always wants to know what's going on... and, well, between the deafness and the cataracts, she legitimately needs to get within inches to feel out a situation.  Aww, my dear, sweet, geriatric boxer puppy!

All of this talk of my 20's fixation makes me want to revisit the Beautiful and the Damned. While there is currently no time leftover for leisurely romps through imaginationland with my friend, Reading, once my comprehensive is over I intend on making much more time for leisurely reading.  There is little more depressing than reading research publication after research publication.  Where is the whimsy in that?! 

Have wonderful days anyone who may or may not stumble across this.
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