The week in review

November 23, 2014

Winter boots

This week, I learned that anxiety looks like spending five hours trying to find the perfect winter boots online, which is what I did last Sunday. Apparently I’ve forgotten how to cold weather? Or (more likely) I just didn’t want to deal with packing. I ended up going with a pair from Sorel after basically everyone on Facebook and Twitter recommended the brand. I feel like I’m wearing actual snow tires on my feet and am not sure if this is going to realllllly be necessary in New York. (I don’t remember the 2008-2009 winter being that snowy.) But whatever; it’s done.

After that anxiety-fueled shopping experience, I cut myself off after about 60 minutes of shopping online for a winter coat and just went with one from Land’s End. It was on sale. It looks warm. It’s not a life or death decision. It’s going to be fine.

Other highlights from this week…

Eating

I re-discovered avocado toast a couple weeks ago and it’s been giving me life. (I usually put a fried egg on one slice.) The toast plus Panera Bread’s new hazelnut coffee pods for the Keurig mean I am very happy with my breakfast situation.

Avocado toast

Also, these are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made.

Reading

Like everyone else, I’ve become completely obsessed with Serial. Like, I check Reddit at least once a day for the craziest new theory. This also led me to two fantastic/outrageous older articles that everyone should read: The Innocent Man in TexasMonthly and Trial by Fire in the New Yorker. Interestingly enough, both cases have been in the news again recently; the first because the prosecutor in the case will actually serve jail time for his wrongdoing, the second because it could be the first case in U.S. history where we know an innocent man was executed. (Also of particular interest to me: the trial in the first story was in the courthouse where Eric and I got married.)

More good reads from this week…

A Modern Guide to Thanksgiving Etiquette, Bon Appetit. This has seriously great tips/advice. (It’s for guests and hosts!)

So You’ve Finally Started Wearing The Right Bra Size, The Toast. SO funny.

Two well-written posts on Bill Cosby: Art or Humanity: Thoughts on Bill Cosby by Roxanne Gay and The Cosby Show by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Abortion Clinic Protesters: “Sidewalk Counselors” or “Sidewalk Terrorists”? on Cosmopolitan. I damn near had a rage stroke reading this article.

A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA by Sabrina Rubin Erdely for Rolling Stone. A horrible subject, but great reporting and a worthwhile read.

Why Were Three Teenage Rape Victims Bullied Out of School in Oklahoma?, Jezebel. Warning: you may actually throw your phone/computer across the room while reading.

What It’s Like to Date a Horse, NY Mag. OK, I apologize in advance for this article. I was literally shouting about it as I was reading. Know that it gets worse before it gets better. I’m sharing it for the same reason people say, “EW this smells awful. Here, smell it.” I sent it to my friend Dallas after I read it last night and she had several similar reactions, which culminated in “a pox on your house.” And…I deserve that.

Buying

ALL THE THINGS, it feels like. We sat on what felt like a million couches (because our 3-year-old couch is a piece of shit and is falling apart) but we’re not pulling the trigger on one until we’re in New York. But after sitting on an unexpectedly amazing teal velvet sofa at Dillard’s last weekend, I sort of began a love affair with jewel-toned furniture. (The things you zero on in when you’re freaking out about big life changes…) We picked out a new headboard for the apartment from Joss & Main; it’s blue velvet and very sexy and I’m pretty pumped about it.

ASOS has a pretty strong holiday sweater game; I bought this one. (It runs a little small! I normally wear a small in tops; I got the 4 and it’s totally fine, but it’s just a bit more fitted than I normally wear sweaters.) I also got two plaid scarves, bringing my plaid scarf total for the week to three. (I’m…not keeping all of them.)

I’m not the only one in need of some additional cold-weather attire; I made Chuck’s hipster dog dreams come true yesterday with an American Apparel dog hoodie.

One thing I did not buy? An AMAZING mega-oversized Christmas ornament from Home Goods. It was completely impractical on every level.

Writing

19 Things That Are The Literal Worst

This Sweater Is Big Enough For You And Everyone You Know

21 Foolproof Ways To Bring Cheer To Your Warm-Weather Christmas

The week ahead…

Phase 1 of the move to New York is this week! I’ll be spending the rest of my day today running errands packing, which I’m not looking forward to at all.

Also, Thanksgiving! Eric and I will be in New York with basically no furniture and no lives, so I’m leaning toward doing this

Gallery wall progress!

November 17, 2014

So approximately 14 months after starting our gallery wall, it’s now *almost* done. 

Gallery wall

It’s actually been really close to being done since the beginning of this year, but we left space for a large wedding photo and, uh, still haven’t ordered one. Then when I was in Michigan this summer, antiquing with my mom, I noticed that a lot of the merchandise I had liked when I was in that antique store in May 2013 was still there. I wandered off to see if I could find a framed photo that I had loved a year prior—a black and white photograph of the 1930 Flint Northern High School varsity football team that I thought would look perfect in our living room, but that I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on. It wasn’t in the same spot it had been in 2013, and then I ended up getting distracted by a lot of vintage beauty products and sort of forgot about it. A bit later, I told my mom I wanted her opinion on the vintage beauty products; as we were looking at them, I looked up and noticed the framed photo I had been looking for was now actually hanging right above the beauty products! And it was 50 percent off! “Grim, I lost her once! I’m not going to lose her again!” I shouted as I rowed my boat furiously. (The lover I did not know was actually half fish = the antique photo in this situation.)

After a couple months of waiting for my mom to ship the framed photo to me in Houston, I finally had the perfect piece to complete our gallery wall. So naturally, I let it sit in our living room for several weeks because I didn’t feel like taking 20 minutes to hang it and the other photos I’d framed over the summer. But yesterday, I was getting shit done around the house and I finally took care of it.

And I’m so glad I got it done JUST IN TIME TO MOVE OUT! But since we’re basically moving in phases, and phase 1 doesn’t include all the breakables from the living room, it just made sense to hang the remaining photos up now. At least when we do take all the photos to New York, we’ll know exactly where to hang each one?

Brooklyn-bound

November 4, 2014

Photo: Gane Kumaraswamy / Flickr Creative Commons

Life update: we have an apartment!!!!

The National Museum of Funeral History

November 1, 2014

There aren’t very many things on my Houston bucket list, but I really, really wanted to go to the National Museum of Funeral History before we move. I know it sounds a little out there, but I find American funeral culture pretty fascinating. And after going to the museum today, I’m so glad we did, because it was completely legit.

National Museum of Funeral History

I mean, macabre, sure, but legit.

National Museum of Funeral History

The museum has a huge display of hearses, with some dating back as far as the 1860s. There were horse-drawn hearses, super-fancy hearses, sleigh hearses for the winter months, a lovely mint green and gold hearse (I was like Book that one for me, plz!), and celebrity hearses (the hearse that carried the body of Grace Kelly, and the hearse used for the last two presidential funerals). There was also a hearse party bus.

Hearse party bus | National Museum of Funeral History

Apparently, someone back in 1916 was like, “Hey, guys! Why not just have the casket and all the mourners all travel together in one huge vehicle?” (I’m kind of imagining him as the startup dudebrotrepreneur of the early 20th century. “Book a Hrse.co for up to 20 of your friends! Hrse is totally gonna disrupt the funeral industry!”) Anyway, the hearse bus was a perfectly fine idea until the bus tried to go up a hill and was too heavy in the back and…tipped, flinging all the mourners around, and causing the casket to overturn. No one was really injured, but it was retired from use.

It’s a shame that the hearses were so hard to photograph (it was hard to really capture their size, elegance, and ornate details, plus there was just a ton of glare throughout the museum) because they were all in fantastic condition and were just really cool, especially the older ones.

There was also history of embalming, complete with kinda spooky artifacts…like embalming makeup, chemicals, and equipment, handwritten instructions for embalming, and antique embalming tables.

Embalming instructions | National Museum of Funeral History

National Museum of Funeral History

National Museum of Funeral History

There was also a good amount of 19th century mourning ephemera, including hair wreaths and hair jewelry (gahhhhhh I KNOW), along with mourning attire and accessories.

National Museum of Funeral History

There were several caskets on display, including a huge casket built for three that was never actually used. Which is good, because I have no idea how one would lift or transport such a thing. (The story behind it was pretty interesting though. A man and a woman had it built after their child died; they planned to kill themselves and be buried in it with their child. But they changed their minds and it was never used. Years later, after her husband died, the woman tried to get her money back and the maker said no.)

There was also a section of the museum dedicated to the life and death of popes. To be honest, the first half of this was reallllllly boring, but the second part, which was all about the papal funeral and burial rites, was fascinating. (There was also an actual popemobile, which was neat!) This was followed by a section that focused on presidential funerals and included (among other things) a bunch of the final bills for them. The museum also had a bit of one Abraham Lincoln’s actual hairs…but sadly, not enough to make a hair wreath out of.

Other things of interest at NMFH…

– A large collection of memorial cards from celebrity funerals.

– A smaller exhibit on Día de Muertos.

– A collection of “fantasy caskets” from Ghana.

– Funeral home and casket advertisements and other funeral home artifacts. I was really into the small models of caskets that a funeral home might use to sell a particular model.

National Museum of Funeral History

National Museum of Funeral History

Despite the topic at hand, the museum wasn’t terribly sad or particularly gross. The only thing that kind of caught me off-guard was when I turned around and saw two children’s caskets in the back of one of the first hearses; that was…unsettling. But aside from that, the entire experience felt very…detached. It was more about the funeral business and the history of funerals, which felt appropriate. It was definitely one of the coolest museums I’ve been to!

For extra credit…

If you haven’t read it yet, Mary Roach’s Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers is the best book on funeral/death culture. So fascinating and funny!

I’ve been wanting to read Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory ASAP, but I think it might be a good audiobook to listen to with Eric. I’m torn!

I will definitely be checking out this exhibit once we move to NYC!

Halloween 2014

November 1, 2014

This was the first year in a long time that I didn’t dress up for Halloween. I know, it’s out of character for me, but as I’m trying to coordinate a move across the country right now, it just wasn’t in the cards.

However, I still did a little decorating (including hanging up my trusty wooden bat sign, above) and got into the Halloween spirit in some other ways…

– I scared the shit of myself reading tons of the comments on the Jezebel scary stories contest (plus going back and reading several of the comments from previous years). Seriously, last Friday night I read them for like three hours; it was great. (See the best ones here and here and then read this one from a couple years ago and try not to piss yourself.)

– I read Witches, Midwives, & Nurses: A History of Women Healers, which is a very quick read (it’s only 98 pages long) and is pretty interesting.

– I wrote this post about IRL witches for BuzzFeed. And now I’m so excited to read The Penguin Book of Witches!

– I started listening to the Serial podcast which is SO GOOD. It’s like the best episode of “Dateline” you’ve ever seen—a truly intriguing mystery told in the most gripping way over a series of episodes. I’m not totally caught up, but I plan to listen to episodes 5 and 6 this evening so I can go further down the Serial rabbit hole on Reddit.

– Eric and I went to the perfectly creepy National Museum of Funeral History; more on that to come!

Small fish

October 26, 2014

I spent last week in New York, starting my new job at BuzzFeed!

NYC Oct 2014

New Balances | The Rewm

NYC Oct 2014

NYC Oct 2014

NYC Oct 2014

I really can’t say enough good things about BuzzFeed; everyone is incredibly nice and friendly, and the company takes really good care of their employees. I am SO excited to be a part of it all, but I was still pretty nervous last week. At my last two jobs, I’ve been the only writer at a very small startup, but now I’m in an organization with so many people, most of whom do the exact same thing I do (and do it very well). That’s not a bad thing at all (and I had a ton of wonderful Oh, these are my people! moments), but it’s still pretty intimidating.

But you know what experience actually best prepared me for this first week at BF? Greek life. (Yeah, remember this story the next time you hear reports of a fraternity buttchugging whilst wearing blackface!) There were so many times last week when I had the same overwhelmed/excited/intimidated/new girl feeling I had during my first year in Sigma Kappa; it’s a feeling of being proud that you were chosen…but then actually getting there and seeing exactly how many people are in the organization, and realizing that they all have these pre-established relationships, and not many of them know who you are or what you’re all about. The recurring thoughts of “Do I belong here?” “Yes, I surely belong here!” “But maybe I don’t!” coupled with the oddness of being around a ton of people who totally speak your language and all kind of dress alike…plus the onslaught of activities, information, new friends, new gear, and food (SO MUCH FOOD!)…was all just very, very familiar. And that familiarity was reassuring! Knowing that I became such a part of it all by my senior year at MSU was so helpful when I felt like a small fish in a big pond this week.

Despite my small fish feels, it was a pretty great week overall! I had a lot of fun with my new coworkers and published my first official BuzzFeed post. (On vintage vibrators, no less!) I think this job is going to be amazing, plus I got to see some of my old friends, and Eric arrived in NYC on Wednesday. He’s only been to New York once, on a class trip, more than 10 years ago. (Does that even count? I don’t think it does.) The weather was pretty nasty on Wednesday and Thursday and his days were really filled with interviews, which meant we couldn’t go out and do quite as much as I’d hoped. That said, I think we did OK!

Whenever we go to a new city, Eric always ends up with a little time to go what we call “urban hiking”—basically just walking around the city and exploring on his own. This time, he did that en route/in between to his interviews and he kiiiiiiiind of overdid it; according to his Fitbit, he walked more than 20 miles over the course of two days. (Even in the rain! Which: Is he crazy?!) The downside is that he wasn’t walking through the most charming/lovely parts of NYC, and it got dark so early that our evening adventures weren’t as good at giving you that “Oh, this is why people love New York City!” feeling. (The other downside is that he ended up with shin splints and blisters and is now basically immobile.)

Here were some of the non-work highlights (which, unsurprisingly, mostly involved food) from the trip…

– Drinks/foodstuffs/catching up with a friend at Parker & Quinn.

– One too many margaritas with a friend at Teqa. I experienced my hangover not the next morning, but between approximately midnight and 4 AM…I’m not sure if this is a better or worse way to do it? Ugh.

[A brief detour: the friend I had margaritas with was actually the friend who was the recipient of this email. And who, in 2012, texted me that he was hanging out with his friend who I didn’t know, but who had just been telling him about this funny blog she read—my blog!—and then they realized he knew me IRL. So then they were looking through my blog together and suddenly he texted me “Lesson #103…?” and I didn’t even have to check; I knew exactly what lesson he was reading BECAUSE OF COURSE HE CLICKED ON THE ONE THAT WAS ABOUT HIM. I texted back, “UM, BULLSHIT THAT YOU JUST ‘STUMBLED UPON THAT POST'” but he stood by his (OBVIOUSLY FAKE) story. Anyway, I saw him last fall for the first time in four years, and after a couple drinks, we addressed the elephant in the room and it was totally fine. Now I’m married, he’s engaged, we’re friends, and the moral here is that things have a way of working out, even after you confess your love to a friend, he responds by saying he thinks you’re really “fun” (Twice! He called me “fun” TWICE!) but he’s not feeling it, and then you tell the entire Internet about it.]

– Meeting up with one of Eric’s oldest (and funniest!) friends to watch the Royals game on Wednesday night.

– Taking a long walk through the city with Eric after we visited an apartment on Thursday night; it was way too far to walk back to the hotel, so eventually we hopped in a cab and then ate (delicious!) steak sandwiches from Tavern29 in bed when we got back.

– Lunch from Eataly (uh, twice).

– Having coffee with my former coworkers at the Ace Hotel.

– Having lunch with my new coworkers at CraftBar and drinks with them at 1200 Miles.

– Pizza with Eric and my friend/former NYC roommate at Motorino, which is actually just a few steps from our old apartment. This was probably the non-work highlight of the trip; dinner was so fun and Eric and I were able to walk there and back without getting drenched. It was the perfect way to end the trip.

Candy corn trail mix

October 18, 2014

It’s that time of year again: time to make the Halloween trail mix I love so much!

Candy corn trail mix | The Rewm | To make, combine equal parts candy corn, peanuts, dried chopped dates, and dark chocolate chips

To make, just combine equal parts candy corn, peanuts, dried chopped dates, and dark chocolate chips.

Candy corn trail mix | The Rewm | To make, combine equal parts candy corn, peanuts, dried chopped dates, and dark chocolate chips

It’s delicious, and it’s the only way to make candy corn even remotely edible.

Pioneer Farms

October 16, 2014

Last weekend, it was quite nice in Houston and I was craving some fall activity. Since the pumpkin patches are all geared toward people with children and there isn’t a cider mill within a half-day’s drive of here (when I did a Google search for cider mills near Houston, Google—who knows my exact location and everything about me—told me to go to Uncle John’s in Michigan, to which I responded, “DON’T YOU THINK I WANT TO, GOOGLE?”), Eric and I took a little road trip to Pioneer Farms in Austin.

Pioneer Farms

From what I saw on the Pioneer Farms website, I was expecting (or hoping for) something like Crossroads Village, which is like Colonial Williamsburg lite in Michigan. It’s loads of historic fun (or at least it was the last time I went there, in 1995). In reality, Pioneer Farms was…not nearly as good as Crossroads. It wasn’t terrible, and Eric and I had a lot of fun on our trip, but the place just sort of strange and disorganized. When we bought our tickets, the guy told us that he was also the blacksmith, but he was done for the day. (The website said the blacksmith demonstrations were from 10-3. It was 1:30.) And one got the impression that maybe the defunct farm machinery and the items and furniture in the restored houses weren’t exactly historically accurate…like maybe someone went to an antique store and was like, “Oh, that looks very pioneer-y!” and grabbed a bunch of kitchen stuff that was actually from the 1930s, not the 1870s. (If you think I’m being too harsh, consider that the master bedroom in the first house we went in had a mirror like this—still in the cardboard packaging!—leaning up against the wall in the master bedroom.) Their motto seemed to be “DGAF;” it left a lot to be desired, but that was all part of the adventure!

Pioneer Farms

Pioneer Farms

Pioneer Farms

Pioneer Farms

Pioneer Farms

It wasn’t all bad though. The highlight of the farm was, hands down, the collection of buggies and carriages from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Pioneer Farms

Well, that and the look on this naughty little donkey’s face as he decided to really make his presence known to us.

Pioneer Farms

I told you: DGAF.

Foodstuffs: Pumpkin Honey Butter

October 15, 2014

Photo by: The Kitchen McCabe

If you’re craving pumpkin foods right now, might I recommend this whipped cinnamon pumpkin honey butter from The Kitchen McCabe? I made some this week and it’s so good!

“The coffee that tastes like a candle”

October 13, 2014

I have been loving “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” lately, and his new segment on pumpkin spice lattes is no exception.

(I actually would love to drink a cable knit sweater spice latte.)

In other timely-segments-from-John-Oliver-news, How is Columbus Day still a thing?

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