the windmill farm and craft market.

Let me tell YOU about this awesome farm and craft market we attended in Penn Yan, NY on our recent trip to the Finger Lakes.

It was called The Windmill Farm and Craft Market and it was awesome.

One of the gals in the group had been before in her wholesome upstate/western NY past and she said we HAD to go because we would LOVE IT and THEN WE DID.

First of all, the “farm” of this market consisted of some BEAUTIFUL PRIZE CHAMPION PRODUCE I AM NOT EVEN JOKING. One thing I really like to attend, that seems kind of weird I guess if you look at the rest of my life but try to stay with me on this one, is a county or state fair because they have FRUITS AND VEGETABLES THAT WIN PRIZES and they are OFTEN ENORMOUS and it is a wildly entertaining thing. So let’s take some time to enjoy this produce. Originally I was going to make a separate post about these called “ode to produce” but I’m going to include these HORTICULTURAL SUPERSTARS (in the Andy Warhol sense) in this post and continue collecting more photo and video coverage of prized fruits and vegetables for a future all encompassing ode.

What a bunch of beauties. I feel in awe of the earth and the fact that we can use it to grow us food and any time I see food bearing plants it makes me feel almost tearful and ACTUALLY, times I have been drunk in Vegas or LA and I have seen actual fruit trees with fruits on them while drunk I have actually shed actual happy tears over my fondness over their existence.

BUT GUESS WHAT? THIS FAIR ALSO HAD CRAFTS. So let’s explore those.

Barbies and Dolls

There were a bunch of Barbies and dolls but I didn’t see any NEW Barbies or dolls although there may have been some there. All of the ones I saw were old and creepy. Not creepy in a bad way, creepy in an “ooooo spooky we’re at a silly craft fair place in a land we don’t know and their values and customs differ from ours’ and ooooo there are creepy dolls here.” Like the creepiness was entertaining and exciting. If you feel me.

Fur

OMG THERE WAS FUR. I love fur and I’m sorry. I also love animals. But I also love fur. It’s so soft, it’s so glamorous, it’s so LUXURIOUS. No matter how many videos I see of animals in cages getting beaten (DO NOT GOOGLE THAT) I can’t resist its siren song. Yes the conditions for the animals are terrible and need to be improved…but so does any industry that deals with animals ever. I mean let’s work on all of them but the fur is here now in front of me and it’s soft. That’s not to say I own any new fur. It’s too expensive. I do have vintage fur but I feel like that’s a little more humane as I’m not contributing to any NEW abusive behaviors and I’ve taken over ownership of an existing piece of animal abuse so it hasn’t caused any additional animal abuse. This justification is how I sleep at night please don’t take it away from me.

This booth was interesting because I was just browsing and the woman kept coming over with pieces of fur like “touch this!” And I was like “oh this is rabbit…this is chinchilla…yes that feels like mink” and I identified them all without her assistance/attempts at marketing beyond “touch this!” and she was wide eyed like “WHO IS THIS FUR SAVANT I HAVE BEEN SENT TODAY?!” When you know, you know.

Ceramics

The booth most in line with my preferred aesthetic was the Earth and Autumn Pottery booth that featured…POTTERY! All of the pieces were really pretty and also functional. There were succulents hanging from the walls surrounding the booth, and the vibe was…I don’t know the vibe was MY vibe. It was very “Brooklyn” and I guess I’m being close minded by liking it best but oh well. I got a pretty ornament with a leaf on it that is not pictured below but I love it. I also got some gifts here SHHHHH.

Flamingos

OMG THESE FLAMINGOS. They appeared to be handmade with great care but I’m very gullible so who knows. That’s really it. They were just flamingos and they were adorable. I would have gotten one for my niece because she’s a real flamingo head but that gal’s Xmas shopping is DONEZO because she likes all the same things as me so is very easy to shop for. Her favorite thing to look at/search for on Instagram and YouTube is “beautiful things” so…yeah. Same.

Records

These records were cool and I liked the way they were displayed. They weren’t just records they were DISPLAYED!!! I love to shop for records but I haven’t for a while and I haven’t even been listening to music for like 6 months because I get so sick and tired of all of the SOUNDS that happen all day that by the time I get home I’m ready to straight up sit in SILENCE and I don’t really know what’s wrong with me but that’s not really what we’re talking about here so just know that I also don’t know how to modify my record player to play these smaller ones so I didn’t get any. I’m sure I could just look up a YouTube video but again I CURRENTLY CRAVE SILENCE.

Pins

Pins are great. Pins are the greatest. There are so many kinds of pins and you can stick them all over things like backpacks and denim jackets and fanny packs and I’ll never tire of them. These pins were reasonably priced at a dollar and I should have gotten some but the woman in charge of the pins looked like she would want to chat so I avoided purchasing any. I’m sorry. And now I’ll have to live with the consequences, pinless.

Sweatshirt

Okay also there were a couple of weird religious things and if you know me you know that I am FUNDAMENTALLY OPPOSED to religion especially the kinds that would support/endorse people making and selling sweatshirts like this:

Unamused. This did provide a good moment for a joke though because no one had good service within this market I don’t know if it was because it was an old building or someone’s god put a curse on us but it was kind of fitting for the moment.

Also the woman in charge of the booth was on to us and knew we were from “the city” and started asking us questions and it came out that she had spent her summers growing up in Jersey City! How weird! She was like, “yeah it was off Bramhall we stayed with my aunt and uncle and cousins” and I was like “BUT I LIVE NEAR BRAMHALL!” And she was like “yeah.” Anyway she was super pumped on the pizza down here as anyone would be. I almost forgave her for selling that sweatshirt. But keep in mind that I did not.

Random shit

So I’ll pop some other random shit in here. There were a lot of baked goods but my friend’s dad was like “Ha! Those aren’t freshly made! They just bring em from a warehouse!” And he seemed wise so I took his word for it and did not purchase baked goods. They still looked good and I’m sure they’re good I just didn’t want to seem like I fell for any kind of farce.

There was rock candy. Which for some reason is so beautiful and cool to me. And delicious but it’s really just pure sugar. I think at one point I made rock candy as a science experiment and that solidified its inherent value in my life. It also reminds me of class trips to historical sites with “general stores” that I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED.

And there were books! I could poke around looking at old books all day…all week…all month…ALL YEAR! But I just took a pic of these because we had to get to our boat after the market and didn’t have that kinda time.

Lastly there were these dogs. I was on board with their lifestyle. They just stared at everyone that walked in and didn’t move from this bed.

Last year my friend (the same friend that took us to the Windmill Farm and Craft Fair!) told me that I should stop being such a grumpy bitch about Xmas (my words not hers’) and that getting some shopping done way before Xmas came might help me not hate it as much.

WELL SHE WAS RIGHT and I really enjoyed Xmas last year, more than I have in a while. So THIS year I’m at it again and I was getting some GIFTS at this fair but I won’t reveal what they are now because the recipients may be reading and also they’re nosy as hell.

I did get my nephew a little wooden ghost because it’s that time of year and also it’s always that time of year for him because he loves “creepy stuff” and during the visit where I gave it to him he said more than once “Shan I like this GHOST.” So like, coolest aunt ever.

Do you like farm and craft markets? Have you been to this one? Is there one closer to here I can go to that I’m not aware of?! If so please tell me. Would you like to yell at me for liking fur? It’s ok, I’ll allow it. No one is perfect. Do you appreciate the beauty of produce? If not you can get the heck out.

workout wednesday.

I want to talk more/post more about working out because I do it a lot and I love it for now so this is my first attempt at that.

I used to never work out. I used to BLATANTLY FROWN UPON working out. You’re right, you’ve examined my #tbt photos accurately, I WAS an athlete in my youth, but I saw those activities as fulfilling a different type of need than the need I assumed working out would fulfill. When I was doing gymnastics and cheerleading, I was just doing something I happened to enjoy with my pals and it also just happened to count as working out. I was never very interested in working out separately from that. I would “run” or do strength training on my own sometimes, but it wasn’t a big thing to me. I was usually too tired or too bored or too busy doing something else.

I’m going to pause for a moment and let you know that the first part of this post will be a lengthly preamble about how I used to be very unhealthy. If you want to just read about workin out, plz scroll down to “this is where the workout part starts!” Thank you.

Lengthy Preamble/Personal Anecdote

I think for a long time I resisted working out because in my mind “working out” was tied up into body image/disordered eating/”watching your figure”/burning calories and I wanted no part in any of that. For a big chunk of my life, me and every single peer I spent the most time with were required to wear short skirts, tight tops, very small shorts, sports bras, and leotards and it was hard for most to not take notice of how their bodies looked and felt in these garments. To take stock and to find themselves lacking. To feel shitty because they didn’t look as good as they thought their friend or their enemy or a girl on another team looked. And that really messed with people.

I will come out and say that I never felt like this. I felt great! I loved wearing naked stuff! I still love wearing naked stuff! And I’m sorry. Maybe because my parents were super nice to me and inflated my sense of self (thanks parents!) but I never had body image issues. Tons of other issues yes, but I resisted having to deal with this one and that’s something I’m thankful/grateful for. Again I’m sorry.

I think we all know that cheerleading and dance can sometimes act as breeding grounds for disordered eating and negative body image. I love both of these activities and think people should keep doing them forever because they are fun and give you opportunities to make friends and be on a team and travel and be strong, but I do think it’s worth mentioning that body image often suffers in both of these environments and we should be aware of that so that we can HELP STOP THE MADNESS.

In high school but def not down with your patriarchal weight loss bullshit but I will straighten my hair every day for the next 8 years tho.

Anyway, I protested this madness by not working out or caring about how much I weighed or ate and kept up the fight against the idea that I should be eating very little and exercising a lot. I ate a lot. And I moved around very little.

This worked in college because I was still cheerleading. I worked out every day! The eating everything didn’t really affect me. The drinking everything else didn’t mess my life up that bad either. OH TO BE YOUNG AMIRITE?

Ate/drank everything BUT STILL OKAY!

This still kind of worked in my 20s because a lot of that time was spent on the road as a shooter/producer for MTV’s MADE. I was bopping all around the country and standing all day EVERY DAY holding a camera for 16 hours and chasing after unruly teenagers to get their reactions when they were running away from me crying because CRYING HAD TO BE ON CAMERA, sometimes up hills. I ate a ton still, usually scarfing down some Sonic (mmmm Sonic) in the driver’s seat of my rental car while I was on endless tedious phone calls with the producers back in the office. I think it goes without saying that being a road dog also involved a great deal of drinking, usually a bottle of sauv blanc in my hotel room at night, but I guess I just said it. It was a lifestyle.

Once I became a house-cat and got a desk job, I was super pumped to have a real schedule and actual free time and for a second I did try to work out because I knew I would be very still sitting in a chair every day but that motivation quickly went out the window.

So began 2 years of mostly sedentary behavior, too many naps to count, feasting on everything in sight until I felt sick, but not in a happy way and also in a DAILY WAY, and I ended up gaining like 40 pounds.

This would have been fine because, who cares, but I DID care because I felt like SHIT. I was so so so so tired. Every second of every day I could barely keep my eyes open. I was sad and so hot and out of breath all the time. Being overweight doesn’t mean being unhealthy for everyone, there are many people that are overweight but also healthy, happy, and active. But being overweight meant being unhealthy for me. My body could not handle it anymore. If you know me you know that I like to stay busy and do things and by this point I didn’t even feel the energy to DO THINGS and my whole personality was distorted and it was an emergency situation.

Still loved beaches and bathing suits but I was so, so so so, sleepy. You can see I’m dozing off in this pic zzzzzzzzzzz….

I went to the doctor in January 2016 for my annual thing and also because I always go to the doctor and I had even seen her a few times the previous year so she saw how much weight I gained and how quickly, and she was like okay this needs to stop. Get your shit together. I’m changing your meds.

I’m the first to admit that I have been medicated for anxiety and depression since high school. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t have plans to “wean myself off of it one day.” That is not necessary. This is what works and I will continue to use it as prescribed because it is a useful tool along with therapy and I refuse to see it as a weakness or as giving up or copping out or doing something wrong. It was medicine designed to help and it helps. I know that “pharmaceutical companies” and “insurance companies” and “doctors” all make money off these types of prescriptions in some way and maybe people are overmedicated but that should be explored on a case by case basis and get off my lawn.

So we changed some things up medication wise. And some changes started to happen, slowly but surely. I felt less sad, so I felt like I had a little more energy, so I started going to the gym, and that made me feel even better, so then I wasn’t stuffing food in my face all day everyday (it was seriously all day every day. You may not believe me but it was) to feel better, so then I started eating better too.

where the workout part starts!

And this is where the workout part of it comes in. Unfortunately when you’re trying to lose a lot of weight, or any weight, it feels like it is 80% diet and 20% exercise. And it is. You really, really have to pay attention to what you eat and it’s terrible and I hate it to this day. To this day because if I don’t pay attention it quickly spirals out of control and then I eat until I feel sick. Like a dog (what’s up, dog friends?! Wanna eat til we feel sick? K see ya there). It’s something I have to be mindful of. Just like any other bad habit that you have to work every day to stay away from except I can’t fully stay away from my bad habit BECAUSE YOU NEED FOOD TO LIVE so it’s pretty hard. Oh sorry I’m still talking about food BECAUSE THAT IS ALL I EVER THINK ABOUT.

TOP 5 FAV WORKOUTS.

But yes, working out. During this time of weight loss/renewal/revelation/personal growth, I worked out a lot! And I still do now. I try to go at least 4 times a week, but feel much better about 5 or 6.

1. JaneDO

My favorite and most consistently attended workout over the past few years is JaneDO. I love JaneDO! It was a good place to start from square one all over again when I hadn’t worked out for a long time because it was also relatively new, I knew the owners and a few of the instructors, and I had been around in the very beginning before they opened a studio and they were doing workshops and pop up classes and still tweaking their brand and class structure. I always liked the vibe there. One of my fears about getting involved in working out was that it would be cultish or super basic bitchy or ridiculous lady shit all the time but JaneDO isn’t like that and I was grateful. It feels like a supportive, empowering environment without being corny or annoying or making you feel like you’re becoming one of those people you roll your eyes at and secretly hope they trip and scrape their knee and tear their Lululemon leggings. Oh did I say that out loud? Sorry. Not sorry. Anyway those people aren’t at JaneDO so there ya go.

At JaneDO this very morning!

2. The Sweat Spot

My second favorite workout isn’t even a workout it’s a dance class BUT IT IS ALSO a workout. It’s called Sweaty Sunday, OR Wet Wednesday, and it’s at this incredible place in Silver Lake (the Brooklyn of LA) called The Sweat Spot. The dude in charge Sir Ryan Heffington (I don’t know if he’s really a sir but it says that on his Instagram and it makes me laugh so I’m including it here. It also says it on his personal Instagram which I have not yet been approved to follow so I’m linking his public insta here) has done choreography for Sia, and choreographed the “movements” on that show the OA and also choreographed the final scene in the final episode of the first season of Euphoria. This is a real deal dance man we’re dealing with here. But this is ALSO an AMAZING and INCLUSIVE class that ANYONE from ANY LEVEL of dance experience can waltz in or leap in or trip in and fall on their face and then get back up and they will have a beautiful and enjoyable and exhilarating experience. IT IS THAT GOOD. I don’t believe in god but I HAVE SEEN GOD AND IT IS HOW I FEEL IN THIS CLASS. True to the name you do get very sweaty/wet and your legs are all shaky at the end and I think that means it’s a good workout. Ryan once came to NYC to teach a class over this past summer and I was ELATED. It was one of the best ones I have attended. I also really enjoy Nathan Kim’s classes at this studio because he seems so sweet and joyful all the time. I have more to say about it but it will get its own post someday soon.

Post Sweat Spot EUPHORIA.

3. Barre

3rd fav workout is barre. Just barre, overall. I’ve been to a ton of different types of barre. Maybe it would be more accurate to say “brands” of barre. JaneDO used to have barre, there’s this other place called Local Barre I’ve tried, there’s Pure Barre of course, Bar Method, the list goes on. I think barre is great and I enjoy the workout a lot and I feel like it’s doing something even though you’re just doing quick tiny movements and that alone blows my mind and therefore amuses me. At some places barre can inch close to the lines of basic-ness and cult-like behavior that I try to avoid so one must be careful. A lot of the brands seem to have like “patented methods” which I don’t fully understand but they push hard to indoctrinate you into those methods and sometimes that’s important for safety as far as how you’re moving your body but other times it’s like okay calm down. But I still like it a lot and I’m not mad about it.

Bday ball at Pure Barre in DTLA.

4. Soul Cycle

Speaking of cult-like behavior, 4th favorite workout is Soul Cycle. I know, I know. This is the most basic and possibly the most ridiculous of all time. And I’m sorry. Not even going to @ them because like, YOU GET IT. But this is the only cycling class and also the only cardio class that I can get on board with. I hate cardio and I hate cycling but something about these classes really takes me to a higher plane of conciousness and I’m not even joking. It could be the dark or the lights or the loud music or that I’m dizzy and going to faint, but something about it just feels euphorically trancendetal. Before you say it’s the weird new age stuff the teacher is saying I will submit that it is NOT. I’ve gotten a way too spiritual teacher before and the class has been ruined. RUINED! Shut up spiritual teachers. I need the teachers that are like dancing around and moving their arms around to the beat like they’re at the club and just yelling “YEAH!” like they’re freaking pumped. That and only that will get me there.

This gal drank the Kool-Aid. This gal gave said Kool-Aid two thumbs up.

5. Y7

5th fav is Y7 yoga and Y7 yoga EXCLUSIVELY. Regular yoga is too slow and it’s too much time alone with my thoughts. Y7 has fun music and it moves fast and it’s kindaaa hot but not so hot that I faint (this has happened to me at hot yoga before). I’ve only been to the one in Silver Lake (Brooklyn of LA) and they had a whole outdoor locker room and it was INCRED but they also just re-did the studio in Flatiron by my office so I gotta go! PS they follow NO ONE on Instagram and that is a BADASS POWER MOVE.

Outdoor. Locker. Room.

Okay! Those are my jumping off point workout thoughts. Do you like to work out? Where do you work out? What gets you up in the morning to work out? Or are you a night worker-outter? Do you hate people that work out? It’s okay if you do. I did for a long time too.

As a special treat, here is a stream of consciousness kinda non rhyming poem or weirdly structured essay I wrote for a writing club meeting where the prompt was “success” and I was like well getting in shape has been my greatest success so far, here goes –

Success – 11.13.18

In 2016 I lost 60 pounds in 7 months.

You’re stuck, you’re tired, you hate everything

You wallow

You’ve been hurt, disappointed, beat down

You tried to find comfort in things

Any noun you could find

You filled up your house

You filled up yourself

Until you didn’t recognize who you were

Those you love were worried about you

But you couldn’t change alone

You don’t have the willpower

Or the self control

Or the focus

To succeed

You needed help

You needed science, a magic pill

To make it better

The pill helped

You changed your diet

The binge-ing stopped

You woke up

Before the sun

You never thought you could

You ate vegetables

Drank diet beer

Stopped taking naps

You succeeded

Success was wearing crop tops

Success was posting bikini photos on Instagram

Success was putting all of the size 12 clothes in a bag and never looking at them again

Success was also doubting that this was even possible

That you would gain all of the weight back

That you did it the wrong way

That you would let everyone down

For this kind of success isn’t a one day thing

Once you have found it, you can never rest

You have to stay vigilant, watchful, on your toes

Every morning, up before the sun

Every evening, keeping your hands busy knitting so they’re not aimlessly shoving food in your face as you watch Netflix

Mental binges are acceptable, even when physical ones are not

Every single day, reminding yourself that this is what you wanted, this is what you needed, this is how you succeeded

flu shot season is here, rejoice.

Medicine is my god.

I love all medicines. I will take any medicine that is given to me and I will follow the instructions and maybe I’ll take like a LITTLE BIT more if my symptoms are really bad because I’m also a doctor so I feel okay prescribing myself a little extra medicine. JK I’m not a doctor but I should be. My point is I will never refuse a medicine. I feel fully confident that it will heal me and any side effects it may cause will never be worse than the actual ailment.

I have a very intense aversion to people that are like, “look at me, I’m so tough but also holistic and I don’t need medicine to feel better I just need to take deep breaths and drink water and look at unicorns to cure this cold.” It’s like, get over yourself. Just like with anything else you can do what you want with your body and I will allow it but I will NOT stand by silently while you act smug AF about not taking Advil. I’m sorry. You don’t get a trophy. Bye. Still drink the water though. Hydration nation.

Have you heard of Vioxx? You probably haven’t. This was a miracle drug. It was a pain killer but it was pre doctors throwing opiates at you for everything so I’m not even sure how it even worked and I guess I’ll google it right now but it was prescribed to me in high school because I would get The Worst Cramps of All Time (TM) (these cramps were MENSTRUAL, gentlemen) and it was the only thing that would help out of all the things. I used to miss like, full days of school (I still had to go to cheerleading practice though, holler if ya hear me) because I was in a great deal of pain. I would pace around my room and just scream. The more I live life the more I understand how in olden times before modern medicines women were throwing themselves off cliffs into the sea all the time. There was literally nothing that could help them feel better besides the deep dark deathly depths of the sea and that is frightening to imagine.

Anyway they cancelled Vioxx because it gave people heart attacks or some shit and I was like well it never gave ME a heart attack so what’s the problem here? And this was before the golden age of finding shit you need on the internet and maybe that was a good thing because I would have found that Vioxx and taken that Vioxx until my heart failed because it was just too good.

Anyway again, my mind started on this path because I went to get a flu shot today. Woo! Flu shot! Oh you don’t get a flu shot? Well that’s okay that’s your decish, let’s talk about this other thing then- oh, oh okay you’re going to ELABORATE ON WHY YOU DON’T get a flu shot because it’s some GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY and it’s also going to GIVE YOU THE FULL ON FLU and like WHY ARE ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES MAKING IT FREE, SOMETHING MUST BE UP?! PANIC!

Okay. Everyone calm down. As usual I can only speak from personal experience and I have done zero peer reviewed studies about this but I think the flu shot is fine. It’s just fine. I’ve been getting them for 10 years. Because 11 years ago in the winter I got the flu and I was delirious and half dead for at least a week and I didn’t even know what day it was and I built a blanket fort in my living room in some kind of fevered hallucinogenic state and I don’t even REMEMBER DOING THAT and my dad found me there. I thought I was going to die. I have never been so close to death. I cannot handle the flu again. I CANNOT RISK IT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

In the New York metro area everyone is constantly coughing on you, sneezing on you, BREATHING on you, and doing disgusting bullshit like spitting on the ground. We need to defend ourselves.

I started getting flu shots when I worked at MTV and they were like $5 and you KNOW none of us freelance folks had health insurance so THAT line was out the door of the conference room and down the hall, and now I get them at Duane Reade because they are free with my insurance. And free is beautiful. If I haven’t mentioned that already.

Duane Reade and its big sister Walgreens and CVS and RiteAid have all been repping the flu shot HARD since the end of August. Is the end of August too soon? It might be but I don’t know. When I asked they said “no” so I’m gonna go with that.

NOW MEANS RIGHT NOW!

So this morning I went and everyone was friendly and I filled out a form and it moved along quickly AND IT WAS FREE SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

I also mentioned to the shot giver that my doctor keeps telling me to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and I keep meaning to. The last time I told a shot giver at Duane Reade I wanted a Hepatitis A shot she said “you don’t need a Hep A shot unless you’re having sex with Europeans” and I was like BITCH YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE. But this young male shot giver was much kinder and asked if I was traveling and was that why I was getting it now? To which I replied, “no I’m getting this now because I want to write about it in my blog today!” Because I thought he was talking about the flu shot. So after he shot me up I awkwardly found my way out while sweating in shame.

Private health room? SEXY.

But now I am FULLY vaccinated for whatever flu they have estimated to be the main flu this year. And that’s a good feeling. I’m a flu fighter y’all.

Fighting the good fight.

I haven’t gotten the flu for 10 years. 10 full years of a flu free lifestyle. Sure I’ve gotten colds, I’ve gotten things where I barfed, maybe had some “flu like symptoms” but none of them were the straight up DEATH I experienced in 2009. If this living death can be avoided why not avoid it?

Of course my arm is sore. That’s what happens when you get shots. It’s a thing. Deal with it. Have any of you gotten Gardasil, the “HPV shot” the shot that protects against ACTUAL LITERAL CANCER. THIS IS A SHOT THAT PREVENTS STRAIGHT UP CANCER YOU BETTER BE EXCITED. Have some RESPECT in Gardasil’s presence, dammit! My point is that particular shot hurt REAL BAD and it was a series of 3. But I RAN to Hurtado Health Center for each of the 3 rounds of this shot and asked no questions because it PREVENTS CANCER. I felt that receiving this beautiful medicine ordained by science into my body was an honor and a privilege. Maybe I should have asked questions, you should always ask questions, but luckily this time it worked out.

This whole anti vaccine movement thing is super terrifying to me. I can see how, from their side, a comparison could be made to something like abortion, their bodies their choice, right? Or like, their kids’ bodies but their choice until the kids are old enough to make a choice. Which seems like a good argument in theory (you almost got me with that one!) but vaccines work so well and so many diseases have (had?) been eradicated because of a little something called herd immunity. The majority of us need to get vaccinated for this scientific concept to work and if more and more people are starting to cop out it’s eventually going to STOP WORKING. I know a big argument against me is like “you don’t have kids so you don’t know” but I do have kids that are related to me that I care a lot about and I worry about them when they’re sick and I’m relieved their parents aren’t anti vaxxers is all I’m saying. That shit is ridiculous.

In conclusion, stay healthy in the best ways you know how. I think that’s fine. Stay happy too.

Do you get a flu shot? Why do you think they’re important? When do you usually get it? When is too late? When is too early? If you don’t get one I don’t want to hear about it. That’s not what this is about.

JCAST 2019

I’d like to begin by saying I know nothing about art. I’m not an artist, I didn’t take that Art History 101 class that everyone else took freshmen year at Rutgers, I don’t have it in my budget to be a collector of art at this point beyond some prints and stickers of said art, etc. But I do love to be around some art and look at it and maybe talk to some random super stoned guy with long hair next to me about it and also to support galleries of folks I think are great with my presence and my social media. If that’s wrong I don’t want to be right.

There’s a word I first heard/thought about/pondered just a few months ago and that word is “democratize.” I went to a writing “salon” (Novella plz come back I miss you I’m begging you) and the speaker Harling Ross, of Man Repeller fame, was praising Instagram and saying that it has “democratized fashion” and my head exploded right there and I had to scrape pieces of my brain off the ceiling at the Lively underwear store because yes that is exactly what Instagram has done and I am fully pumped and fully on board.

I think that Instagram has also democratized art, but I think that art is pretty democratized on its own in Jersey City. Maybe Instagram helps but it seems like the Jersey City art world was pretty open/fun/friendly even before that. Like, these people are pumped AF about art but also they’re not dicks about it. People are welcoming, inviting, friendly, excited to share their thoughts/stories/ideas/motivations but they’re definitely not condescending “art people” as I would have understood “art people” to be before I started to check this stuff out around the town.

You may or may not know that I am a very awkward and anxious person and sometimes I’m good at hiding it but always in my head I struggle with feeling “cool” or like “worthy of peoples time/consideration” so going to art shows has always caused me a lot of stress because everyone is going to have something insightful to say and I’m just gonna be like “I love the bright colors! And the textures!” Because, in fact, I DO love the bright colors and the textures, but in the past that was sometimes lame/not okay or at least I was made to feel that way but MY POINT IS I have never been made to feel that way in Jersey City and there’s another reason to add to the top of the huge pile of reasons I am in love/obsessed/forever grateful for this land I call home.

ANYWAY this past weekend was the Jersey City Art and Studio Tour and it was super great and I’m going to tell you a little bit about my personal experience with it and I took a lot of notes so I’ll try to get my facts straight but again I am no expert and this is just personal reflection (please find me worthy of your time and consideration I am begging you).

Opening night

First up was opening night! Woo! It was held in a large cement looking space at 2 Shore Lane in the Newport neighborhood of JC, the “Shorehouse.” WTF is the Shorehouse you may ask? Well that’s funny because we were all asking that too and everyone got lost on the way there and there was mass confusion and maybe a few almost breakups of friends and lovers happened because of it. I’m saying just maybe that happened.

Opening night lewk.

I’m not sure why they chose this location and I’m sure there is a good reason, but when we saw it was (vaguely) in what we would affectionately call the “nerdy part of town” we were like why the heck?

Once we found the place and walked in and wiped the sweat from our brows and eventually found each other, it was good times! They had drinks for sale at reasonable prices and free snackies (I’m going to keep using “snackies” and can’t be stopped. I’m sorry). I personally saw some very good looking cupcakes but was steered away out of my boyfriend’s own self interest. <glares at boyfriend>

The art I liked best were these flamingos by Britt Ford because I am 100% obsessed with flamingos and I know they’re like a “thing” right now but I have always been obsessed with them. Just like owls when they became a “thing,” I had already proven my allegiance to owls for many years. I just need you to know that. If it’s a bird I have been obsessed with it and it has been a “thing” to me since birth. Birds are mine. Bye.

Also I AM a flamingo.

Also bird related, I loved this pigeon with a spray paint can head by Will Power. Pigeons need more respect and that will be explored fully someday in another post. Get excited.

#respectpigeons

There was a spaceman thing by Erin Ko Studios that had a cool interactive thing that if you looked at it with their app a FREAKIN WHALE SWAM OUT OF IT and it was badass. Art and technology together make beautiful art-technology babies, it’s true. I didn’t get to take a pic or a vid with their app but I still really liked the space…people. Sorry I said man up there. Ugh I’m terrible.

There was a ton of great art there but I came across this child’s drawing below in a guest book and I was really excited about it, specifically the alligator and giraffe. A budding artistic genius! GET IT, BRENDAN.

GET IT, BRENDAN.

I went home early and didn’t drink because I’m living a new lifestyle where I try not to feel like shit during the week and it’s really working out for me thanks for asking.

Deep Space

When Friday night came we went first to Deep Space.

Deep Space is my fav and I have gone there the most often in regular life, not just for this studio tour, and I will continue going in perpetuity as long as they will have me. They have fun new openings every few weeks and also closings and also you can go there any time (I’m pretty sure) and shop their art and vintage clothes and records and other trinkets and treasures. They also have a roof you can stand on and look at the world and now there’s a light sculpture on it by Sunil Garg so that takes it to an even higher plane of excellence.

Rooftop light sculpture!

I went on Friday night for the opening of RU8ICON1, and Scott Free was DJing, and later on Ian Kenselaar played some music and it was a full on artistic experience and I loved every minute.

My fav piece of art by RU8ICON1 was this and if you know me you know that I don’t need to explain WHY but after I stood and looked at it for a minute I had to stoop down and mop up the puddle of drool I left on the floor…

I’d never say “see ya later”…boy. (heart eyes emoji)

One of the things I really like that they do there is keep around the art from past shows and put it on display and for sale in the shop part and when I see it there it gives me happy memories from shows past and someday when it’s in my budge to buy arts it may even be soon enough from now that I can buy one of these arts from a show I enjoyed so much, a girl can dream.

Overall Deep Space is a fun, relaxed, welcoming place and they’re excited to see anyone and everyone there, even if you just come to hang and commune with art and artists. The folks in charge there are in the most recent issue of Eighty Mag and I think they just look so damn cool and like badass art bosses on the cover and I couldn’t be more proud.

Go to Deep Space if you know what’s good for you.

Six Columns

Six Columns is home base of Norm Kirby and if you like to casually peek at art in Jersey City you may know it’s him I’m referring to if I tell you “he’s the fence art guy.” All around the town, seriously all around, not just in the expected places, and Jersey City is huge, there is like a silk tape material, I think that’s what it is, woven into fences to make different designs, people, animals, buildings, quotes and song lyrics, all kinds of stuff. I love it.

From last fall, yet seasonally appropriate.

There wasn’t much of that at this particular show because it was inside and not on fences around the town but I did see a photo or two of the fence things and I was like, “Hey! The fence things!”

He also makes drawings of places around the town and I love those but I didn’t see any at this one. But here are some from the last show I went to.

Drawings of Storm King and Ghost of Uncle Joe’s…two of the BEST THINGS IN THE WORLD.

Finally, he makes these wire figures in frames that are super cool and I saw some in the bathroom but I didn’t take a pic but here’s a pic from another of his shows.

Miss New Booty. JK that’s not what it’s called.

In addition to Norm’s work there were some photos by the gal known as @queenmary_no_no on Instagram, her debut! She was proud/amused to recall that one of the photos was a picture she had taken that got zero likes on Instagram when she posted it long ago. It was a nice lush green summery picture and I was appalled no one noticed it on social media but now it is ART and hangs in a GALLERY. SO THERE

Blaze has some art there too and I didn’t get a good pic but I always like his stuff because anything made with a 3D printer blows my mind because it’s like there was nothing filling that space in the world and then you just make it on a computer and PRINT IT OUT and then it fully exists as a three dimensional object and that is INSANE and I’m still making my peace with it but in a positive way if that makes sense.

I apologize for not taking any photos at this gallery and instead posting photos from old shows but I was talking to people and having fun EVER HEARD OF IT?

Blue House aka The Lighter Side of Darkness Metal Sculpture Garden

I’m going to call this Backyard Sculpture Garden by Jerome China, featuring Jerry Gant, Patricia Talbot, and Saffell Gardner, “Blue House” because it took place in the backyard of a beautiful blue house off of Bergen (alliteration!) I arrived and no one else was there and there were signs to go to the back and also a sign to NOT OPEN one of the doors into the house so I followed the rules because I fear authority and I went to the backyard and OMG THIS BACKYARD.

I’m already a sucker for a backyard because I grew up feral and free in the forest and now I have to compete for space with literal cockroaches all day but I was even more pumped about this one because it was just so nice and peaceful and had great sculpture art by Jerome China. Some of the sculptures even had plants just casually, naturally, growing around and on to them and it was beautiful.

I sat on a bench and stared and took deep breaths and really just felt great for like 20 minutes. I liked these pieces that were made out of discarded parts of tools best.

Unrelated to art but there was also a skunk trap in this yard! I’ve never seen a skunk trap and found it interesting. I wonder if he’ll catch the skunk or if it will coyly evade him forever.

As I was leaving the dude in charge (China himself!) called to me from the porch – “there’s more inside!” Whoaaaa. Don’t mind if I do, sir. I went inside and his house was awesome. I’m talking BAD. ASS. I was barely looking at the art at this point (sorry). There were like, lamps with fringe, old wood, rich colors, posed portraits of ancestors, carpets with cool patterns…the whole thing. I didn’t get any pics because this wasn’t a HOUSE TOUR it was an ART TOUR but I do wish it was both.

While I was talking with him he let me know there is a Newark Arts Tour that many of the JC artists will be participating in next weekend. I think I may try to go Sunday! Saturday is Double Parked Fest, can’t miss that y’all. SRSLY I BETTER SEE YOU THERE.

Snapdragon

After Blue House I headed down the street to Snapdragon. I have followed this place on Instagram for a while but have never made it there as a customer. I still technically have not made it as a customer because I wanted iced tea and they were out but I guess that just means I have to go back!

They had arts by Kelsey Reilly displayed upstairs and…I really did love the bright colors of these. Sue me.

They also had super cool chairs and tables and rugs and it just looked like they collected a bunch of random furniture and housewares and threw them all together and it was perfect. It was also nice and quiet upstairs. I really prize quiet in my old age.

Additionally there were some treats on a table but none of the other 3 people up there were consuming the treats and there weren’t napkins or utensils by the treats so I worked myself up into an awkward personal crisis over whether or not I should consume the treats so I didn’t try any and I regretted it later but just know they looked delish. I believe they make treats there but don’t quote me on that. Like I said I need to go back for a better look, okay???!

This table also was a piano…like what?!

CB I Hate Perfume

After Snapdragon I tried to find an exhibit on the St. Peter’s campus but it looked like it was in a large student center type building and the door was locked and I tried to open it and a security guard started to walk over to open to door from somewhere on the inside but I didn’t feel like interacting with anyone so I scurried away. And I’m sure I missed out due to being a weirdo but it was just not a good time to talk to strangers. I just didn’t feel like it. Leave me alone.

So I hopped on a Citibike in McGinley Square and cruised down Montgomery to Downtown JC. I had read on the map that there was an “olfactory exhibit” and I was like holy shit if it’s smells I need to go. Super into smells. It’s how I judge everything. Every place, every food, every person, every single situation I judge by smell. I could have gotten this from my best pals, which are all the dogs that have ever existed. Anyway I was very interested to see how smells could be presented as an art exhibit so I rushed right on over.

As I approached CB I Hate Perfume there was a tour crowd outside. I didn’t realize they did tours for this! Actually I lied…I knew but I forgot. Sorry.

Inside I was having a little trouble finding where the smelling was supposed to happen and I’m awkward as hell as previously mentioned so I was standing there feeling like a total weirdo and finally a nice gal with very excited blue eyes came over and was like “has anyone spoken to you about what you’re experiencing here?” And I was like “um no thanks just browsing heheh” and she was like “um cool” and then started telling me more about the smells and the exhibit and I was like oh, she’s in charge here, this is valuable.

This jacket literally said what the artist likes best about perfume and what he likes least about perfume and I felt seen.

So she told me all about the artist Christopher Brosius and the Aesthesia project which involved breaking down smells from nature into vibrations that come from the plants that make the smells and then using those vibrations to make music, which was also part of the exhibit. So it was like sounds from vibrations that lavender plants made at some point playing next to smells of lavender plants and also a lavender plant image, for example. It was super cool and I don’t know if I’m explaining it well so maybe you should just go look for yourselves.

In the back they had more smells! All kinds of smells you could test out and smell and think about what kind of place they took you to. I was just smelling and smelling and smelling. There was a dude back there that assists in making the smells and I was like “what are these smells even made of?!” And then I felt dumb because like, duh, chemicals, and then I was like “oh yeah, chemicals!” And then I felt guilty for referring to the smells as “chemicals” because that seemed rude and potentially implied they were healthy and unnatural in some way so then I felt hot with shame and regret and then he was like “yes! Organic chemistry!” and then I was like “science!” And all was well.

SCIENCE!

In the back they also had an exhibit/art piece/environment that was felt balls that were made to look like snow balls and they smelled like snow! It was one of the smells the artist had created and I swear IT SMELLED LIKE SNOW. So much so that it made my nose and the back of my throat feel kind of cold when I smelled it, in a psychosomatic way. Not like a menthol way. As I was smelling the snow and lost in my thoughts I overhead the artist talking to someone and I only heard parts but it seemed to be about trying to get this piece set up at a gallery and the powers that be at said gallery were like “okay what is this going to smell like because we don’t want it to take over the whole gallery and we def don’t want people to barf.” And it was cracking me up.

SNOW!

As I was leaving the tour group came in and it was a CROWD so I dove out of there and speed walked down Newark Ave to the next place.

Village West

I came across Village West gallery by surprise as I didn’t have it circled on my map for whatever reason, but it’s up a staircase I have walked by one million times on the way to shows at White Eagle Hall and I’m always like I wonder what that staircase is and now I know. Full circle.

Staircase.

It was cool in here, I liked the look of it overall and all of the art was nicely displayed. Honestly there was a tuxedo gallery cat there and I’m such a sucker for a tuxedo cat I basically just took pics of him the entire time (they’re all “him,” even though I googled it and I was disappointed to find tuxedos are 50/50 male/female, they are still all “him” in this blog and for all other purposes in which I’m involved)

Dress code is black tie.

They also had those kinda supermarket brand bakery sugar cookies that are so moist and delicious that you’re like how did a straight up basic-ass supermarket make this? But you’re glad they did.

Oh and one more thing was this really cool couch that instead of reupholstering with new fabric an artist painted over some parts of it with fun colorful paints (BRIGHT COLORS) and I think the little info box next to it said the artist got it for like $27 or something and I was into that.

Painted!

Piersanti

Last on my journey was Piersanti studios. There were other works/studios there in the Merseles Studios at Jersey City Theater Center building (that’s a mouthful and I’m still unsure what to really call this place) but I particularly wanted to see this one. I really like the work of his that I have seen around the town and I think it’s super cool/fun/very Jersey City that it’s a cast of characters of people he has come across. At least that’s what I was led to believe…I could have made that up. Anyway it’s great and bright and portraits of people and I love it forever. He had a lot of stuff on display in the studio and every corner had pops of color and faces looking at you and it was a lovely experience.

He was in there working on a painting (of one of those hairless cats! Cool!) and I didn’t want to disrupt the artistic process, duh (JK I was crippled by awkwardness and tiptoed around so as not to make a sound lest he hear me and then say hi to me and then I would have to think of something to say. He seems perfectly nice this is my issue not his), but I was grateful that I was allowed to lurk in his studio and check things out for these few moments. Thank you!

So as you’ve read and seen above, if you’ve made it this far, it was a great great time. I enjoyed exploring a couple of different neighborhoods before heading downtown. I moved to “The Hill” in May after living downtown for 8 years so it’s been a huge adjustment finding different places to hang out but it’s also been hugely fun and eye opening and I don’t know why I never ventured far from downtown before and I AM SO SORRY FOR BEING SO BASIC.

JCAST 4 life! Did you go? What did you see? What did you like best about it? What did you like least about it? Didn’t it seem like there were so many places on the map and you couldn’t possibly visit them all?! Do you feel that art is democratized in JC or do you think they’re a bunch of snobs? Well, they’re not. Go out and enjoy the arts in our awesome town! Woooo!

to ride the rails, and to be glad.

Riding the rails is my most favorite form of transportation. Hands down. There is nothing I like better. I’m speaking mostly of a longer distance rail ride like Amtrak, but I’ll take an NJTransit (if it’s on time), a SEPTA, and even a PATH train (again if it is ON TIME) over a car any day.

Riding the rails, and glad.

Cars make me nauseous and they are also terrifying death traps. Tons of people die in cars every year. I’ll look up the actual number at some point but it is EXCESSIVE DEATH. These are huge, dangerous machines left in the hands of barely trained human beings who are all inherently and statistically accident prone and things are going to go wrong at some point. Things are going to go very wrong.

I think the whole “we built trains to go across the country but we’re over trains and obsessed with cars now” had something to do with like, Eisenhower being super into building an interstate highway system and also capitalism. And cars made things rocking for Detroit for a while and I love some Detroit so I’ll give them that one thing but now cars left Detroit and totally screwed them over so I guess they won a battle but lost the war. The war our planet is also currently losing because cars cause so much pollution. I mean my opinion doesn’t count because I’m not the czar of US transportation bullshit but I’m just saying. Seriously though go visit Detroit you won’t be sorry.

The other problem with cars is their motion. As a passenger it makes me have to barf unless I have the window down and focus on the horizon the entire time. Cars do have some good qualities too. Not gonna talk about those now because I’m talking about riding the rails, gang.

As mentioned above I’m going to keep this riding the rails tribute Amtrak/long distance specific. They have the most perks and the best ride. Of the rails.

The seats are HUGE. You have so much room and they are soft and comfy and you can stretch your legs out and you still get a little tray table for drinks and snackies or to put your laptop or a magazine or book on and it’s delightful.

Look, it’s leg room!!!

Speaking of laptops they have free WiFi. It’s not like the GREATEST WiFi or as fast as the custom fios pipeline you had installed in your office and the installer guys probably killed some roof dwelling birds in the installation process, but it’s good enough to get a little work done or a little surf on or to help you not completely use your whole data plan on your phone during one train ride. It works. And it’s fine.

When you’re not monopolizing the whole train’s bandwidth you can also go to the foods car to get foods and drinks AT ANY TIME. I mean sometimes they close it to clean it or if it’s 4am or something but that puppy is back within the hour. The snacks aren’t bad and they have those premade sandwiches that would be questionable at a gas station but they’re fine here. Trust me okay I’ve eaten them.

It’s also the best place to nap of all time ever. The gentle rocking of the train and the soft sounds of it moving along the track are the sweetest lullaby. I can’t even stay awake right now thinking about it. And then you awake and feel comfortable and refreshed and warm and your neck and actually ENTIRE BODY doesn’t hurt like when you sleep on a plane and also you didn’t wake up dead from a fiery automobile accident.

I began writing this a day before my last Amtrak trip and when I boarded the train at Newark Penn there were NO SEATS AVAILABLE. This has never happened! The tickets are so expensive and they clearly say “Reserved Coach Seat”! That means there is a seat that is reserved for you. Just felt I needed to explain that clearly to you since that isn’t what happened.

This screenshot shows that the proof is in the proverbial pudding, Amtrak.

I expressed my outrage to Amtrak in an Instagram story and we all KNOW that is the most efficient way to receive customer service and in my case a phone call is completely out of the question. I told them I still love them but I was just “disappointed” and I hope they felt shamed like a little kid that got in trouble at school or a dog that ate your shoes but then they give you that dog face like they know they screwed up and they hate themselves for it. That’s how I want Amtrak to feel. They better feel it.

After I finally got a seat things improved. I got some “work” done for this blog and for some other shit and I have to say I didn’t realize writing a blog would be so much work but it now sucks up all of my free time. It’s fun and it gets me pumped up but it’s like whoa. I was so naive about this whole thing. As per usual.

“Doing work.”

Anyway enough about me. Do you like to ride the rails? Do you hate the rails? Do you have children and do they get excited to see people arriving via the rails like my niece and nephew do? Do you even care about the rails or are they not even on your radar because you were brainwashed by automobile-centric Eisenhower era propaganda?

when you have to cut and dye and style your own hair.

I’ll start by saying I respect and admire hair stylists. I really do. Also if I’m using the wrong word for that let me know. I’m not sure, there could be a new word for it. As in the profession, the vocation, the trade, the career of hair stylist.

I wouldn’t be aware if there IS a new word for this profession because I haven’t been to one in a few years. And the reason I haven’t been is that my hair is my least favorite part of my body to spend money on. I think we all deserve that, right? The ONE PART of ourselves we don’t want to make the effort on or the financial commitment to? I mean give me clothes (oh gosh give me clothes), give me jewelry, makeup, household wares, shoes (actually shoes I’m not super into because I live within the confines of a walking culture and most cool shoes hurt your feet) and I will pay any price! But give me highlights and a haircut and I’m like “EXCUSE ME HOW MUCH?!” This doesn’t apply to laser hair removal which will be explored separately and enthusiastically at a later date.

I’ve always struggled with this. As a kid I was like “mom I wanna go to the NICE place for a haircut” (foot stomp) and she was like “um no you’re 11.” And she was right. The nice place wasn’t going to do any better than Supercuts at that point (shoutout to Supercuts). As I got older I experimented with a “nice place” or two but never found the drive in my wallet or my soul to return as often as I needed to. Not only was it SO EXPENSIVE but it took SO LONG and I LOST AN ENTIRE DAY SITTING THERE

Once Groupon and Living Social and “buy expensive shit for cheap” stuff came on the scene I would get vouchers for cuts and highlights and it was fine price wise I guess but the experience of getting a haircut, which in my opinion should be the epitome of self care and relaxation, turned into an anxiety ridden sprint through a gauntlet of pushy up-sell opportunities blaring from the mouths of the stylists at every point in the process. It was a nightmare. I am already anxious about spending money and I’m trying to relax and I don’t feel like haggling, as haggling is one of my top 3 LEAST FAVORITE SOCIAL EXPERIENCES, and I will be tipping you in cash (as commanded by the front desk gods) for the full price of the service. Please calm down and leave me alone. Seriously please I just want to sit and read this year old magazine.

I realize there is probably some kind of “social contract” where when you buy a Groupon your punishment for getting it so cheap is that you have to go through this incessant up-selling but I was DONE after like the 4th appointment. They also would go off on a tangent about how I shouldn’t switch hair stylists and should stick to one and there’s probably merit in that but that wasn’t what I was doing and I made my choice and I was already there and they had a service to perform and I didn’t want to hear it.

I think I’m someone that needs a close friend that is a hair stylist and will do it in their kitchen for a reduced rate and maybe even just be paid in wine and my friendship and I’m currently accepting applications but for now I am that friend because I use a little product called Madison Reed and also am not afraid to use scissors on my own hair because again I care about it but not enough to spend money on it so do with that what you will.

The dye and highlight materials come every six weeks or something and I know when it arrives it’s time for hair doing. Then I wait a few weeks after that so I have to delay the next delivery but by then I am ready for the box that has already collected dust. I block out a few hours. It takes a while but this is in my own house so I can do whatever kinda junk I want and I can also just wear my underwear. And I do.

You can do laundry, read a book, read a NEW magazine, balance a checkbook (haha does anyone do that?), literally bake a cake, install a questionably constructed closet system all by yourself, the opportunities are endless.

I swear I’m not sponsored by Madison Reed (YET.) but they make it easy AF to figure out something quite complicated by breaking it down into steps and also having a full library of videos AND a live chat support person and/or robot. You can probably also call but I would NEVER. I’ve recently been told they started advertising on podcasts and that says to me that they’re reaching out to those of us that 1. Are smart 2. Think for ourselves 3. Are self sufficient. And that makes me proud you guys.

The hair CUTTING isn’t part of their suggested process and I’ve added that on my own but please see a time lapse below of my hair cut and first round of dyeing skills.

And here is me in the cap.

And then magically I have this hair I had at lunch today!

I mean not magically. It took a few hours and I made sugar cookies and peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread. It was that much time.

I realize my hair doesn’t look perfect but the fact is that I do not care. I gave up on caring too much about my hair a while ago, when I stopped straightening it every day and then stopped straightening it ever at all. I’ve found products I really like that smell nice and I feel good about them so screw it. I’ve got all I need.

Anyway, I cut and dye my own hair and you can too, if you want. Or not. Whatever. I have coupons for Madison Reed for first timers, just ask. Again not sponsored (YET).

How often do you get your hair cut and/or dyed? How much is too much to pay for this service? Do you think I’m a bad person for taking business from hair stylists?

chili.

Last summer I aquired a roommate that had been married at some point and so she brought along with her all of the “I was married and therefore had a bridal shower at some point” appliances and one of those appliances was a Crock Pot and I was like “OMG CHILI.”

The last time I had been involved in chili making, and only as a bored witness, was in 2008 or 2009 when I had a very bossy know it all boyfriend and he made the chili as he mansplained the whole process to me and then I was forced to watch football while the chili was consumed and I wanted to jump out the window but the chili was still very good.

Me in 2008. In the process of looking for this photo I went through many other old photos and I wish I knew how much fun I would have in the entire decade following this so I wouldn’t have been so sad when bossy chili mansplainer and I broke up a few months later. Hindsight.

THIS TIME it was my turn to commandeer the chili construction and I was so pleased with how it turned out that I Crock Potted my pants off all of last winter. Now that I live in my own apartment I have been provided with my own Crock Pot and now that it is finally maybe going to be chilly I made some chili.

I got some vegetables to use in the chili at the Grove St Farmer’s Market on Monday and they were quite beautiful so let’s take a moment to reflect on the pristine and unaltered beauty of produce…

Thank you.

That’s pretty much it. I made some chili. I loosely used this recipe but Target in JC was out of ground turkey because that place is always picked clean. I don’t know who goes in there but they lose their minds and stock up on everything until the shelves are empty and it’s like there’s a hurricane coming I wasn’t aware of. I used turkey burgers instead and just mashed them up. It was fine. Everything is fine.

I also say “loosely” because I pretty much just throw a bunch of stuff in the Crock Pot and turn it on for 6 hours and hope for the best. I think this is the true beauty of the Crock Pot, the ability/freedom/poetic license to just throw stuff in it and see what happens and it more often than not comes out okay and you didn’t even have to do that much work. It’s a beautiful life.

I made a timelapse of the chili making to fully capture the fun. I’m wearing a sports bra because it wasn’t chilly in my house or in the world at this point. So maybe we can call this Sports Bra Chili and start a revolution.

Additionally here are some fun screenshots of the video to really break down the process because I’m very into the whole timelapse thing right now, it’s almost as if I only just realized I can make them on my phone, but they do move very fast.

And here is how the Sports Bra Chili turned out:

Again I’m not a food photographer or any kind of photographer this is just supposed to act as a VISUAL AID because we are a VISUAL CULTURE and SEX SELLS.

Do you like to make chili? Do you like to eat chili? Do you like to boss people around and mansplain how to make chili while you’re making chili? Or are you a better person than that?

wineries of qka.

One of the main reasons, or the main reason, we went to the Finger Lakes was to drink their wine. I enjoy wine a great deal but I know zero about wine because every time I go to learn about wine I drink too much wine and forget everything the wine teacher says. It never fails. I do know I prefer white and I MOST prefer bubbles but like the sweeter bubbles like Cava or Prosecco or (plot twist!) Lambrusco (THE PERFECT PIZZA WINE!) so I don’t really like champagne at all but if you give it to me and it’s free I will drink it.

Anyway this will be a novice, layshan recap/interpretation of the wines of the Finger Lakes and Keuka Lake in particular because that is the lake we were by and those are the wineries we went to so deal with it.

PALS

First on the list is PALS. This was not a winery but the van service we hired to drive us to wineries so we didn’t have to drive. This was the responsible adult thing to do and if you don’t do this I think you’re a dumb dumb because I’m pretty sure 90% of people driving drunk get DUIs up there. This is not a real statistic I just made it up but don’t drive drunk because DUIs are expensive and inconvenient AF. I don’t know from experience but I don’t judge you if you do. I read about it on the internet. The expense and inconvenience that is.

ANYWAY, PALS was a great service to use and they gave us a snack and water bag “Survival Kit” and it had a cute little wine charm as a closure at the top and everyone loves a cute little wine charm closure. If you don’t you can get the heck out. Our driver’s name was Stefan and he was great. This is going to make us sound like bitchy millennials but we really appreciated Stefan’s discretion and judgement when it came to chatting. As in, he didn’t try to make too much conversation with us but asked us where we wanted to go while also making good decisions for us and giving us some interesting information from time to time but didn’t try to chat too much with us beyond that. We were friends trying to catch up! We didn’t want to make new friends! Why do I feel like I have to defend myself on this?! Stefan was great. Thank you, Stefan and PALS. You are truly pals.

Cute!

Ravines

Ravines was the first winery we stopped at and Stefan took our pic there (thank you, Stefan) and it was great! They asked if we were “Ravinous” AND WE WERE. We had heard they have the best cheese plate but we weren’t yet ready for cheese so we missed it so now we have to go back, it’s the only way. We did a tasting and Carolyn poured for us. She was cool because she teased my one friend for being the mean drunk even though we weren’t drunk yet and my friend isn’t mean but the irony was truly side splitting. That’s sarcasm which I hate but UN-sarcastically Carolyn was great. I think she gave us the most info out of any of the wine teachers. Or maybe she was just lucky that I paid the most attention to her because I was still not drunk yet while under her tutelage.

(thank you, Stefan)

We did a tasting of 5 wines at most of the places but at Ravines I sprung for a 6th and tried the sparkling which is my JAM but the bottle was out of my price range (not even that expensive but I was trying to keep things under control since I had been spending like a maniac) so I got a small bottle of Ayre that has a cute pic of a hot air balloon on it and Carolyn said I could make a mean wine slushee out of it. A. WINE. SLUSHIE…SOLD!

At Ravines we were most offended by the rose. That sounds dramatic but we were appalled by being shown the sulfuric taste it has before it “decants” (SEE THAT WINE KNOWLEDGE?!). They provided a glass of the decanted (!!!) rose for us to use for the sniffing step of the tasting of the rose and that smelled fine. But the rose we were DRINKING smelled like SULFUR and we couldn’t get away from it. It tasted fine and I’m sure it’s fine but we had a traumatic moment.

Rose to smell, rose to taste.

There was also a great view from Ravines and the view could be seen right behind Carolyn as we were tasting.

Domaine LeSeurre

Next up was Domaine LeSeurre and if you didn’t already realize it was Frooonch. There was something with the Finger Lakes and similarities with France but looks like I already forgot it. This one had an awesome view as well, with cute little cafe tables outside. As you did the tasting inside you could look out at the view of the lake but it wasn’t right over the shoulder of the wine teacher like it was at Ravines. But that’s fine.

I think I liked the Gewürztraminer best here and I believe I tried a Gewürztraminer at each place we did a tasting because I had never heard of it before and in my mind that day it was 100% invented in the Finger Lakes but I didn’t feel like piping up and asking a question because that is one of my worst nightmares so I’ll have to google it and get back to you. It’s a white that’s not too sweet and also not disgusting, barf inducing, “buttery” (RETCH) like Chardonnay.

Gewürztraminer

This was the one place I noticed the snacks and cheeses very nicely on display and I enjoyed that so thank you. They may have been nicely displayed at other places but I was too far gone into a wine induced stupor to take notice.

Weis

We rolled up to Weis ready to meet my one friend’s family friend Sherry. SUP SHERRY. We had been receiving tips and ideas on places to go from Sherry and she was pretty much a legend among our group at this point and we were pumped to meet her. As we walked in she was finishing another tasting but the other wine teacher was like “oh I’ll let you guys wait for Sherry” and we were like “THANK YOU SO MUCH SHERRY IS OUR WINE GOD.”

Gang with Sherry, Dionysus of the Finger Lakes!

We settled in for the tasting and Sherry chatted with us and gave us some info but at this point it was the 3rd winery on the tour and I was just straight partying so I don’t remember the education part and just remember Sherry being fun and cool and our wine goddess and then I got a bottle of Perle which is a white that is a little bit bubbly and I found it delish. Sherry let us know she would be making her sons serve this at their weddings. WATCH OUT FOR THE PERLE TO RAIN DOWN AT YOUR WEDDINGS, SHERRY’S SONS.

Weis also had a SUPER NICE barn area that I believe is brand new that will be used for events in the future. It was so very nice that it made my friend reconsider her wedding venue. She texted her fiance and everything.

Barn that dreams are made of.

After Weis we were MORE THAN READY for that cheese plate and Sherry had given us some ideas but we ALSO had some ideas but time was starting to run low and we began to get a little panicked BUT Stefan saved the day because he knew just what to do and he took us to McGregor.

McGregor

McGregor…HOME OF THE CHEESE PLATE. McGregor was one of the highest-up seeming wineries as far as altitude and it had an awesome view. They had rocking chairs on their porch and the chairs had perfect cheese plate sized tables next to them. I think I got the Gewürztraminer here again because we didn’t do a tasting, just each got a glass, and I didn’t feel like thinking so I was just like “Gewürztraminer! I’m here for the party!” (there was not a party).

The best thing about McGregor was that…THERE WAS A DOG! I take pride/interest in identifying dogs (unlike wine, I do remember what I learn about dogs, I’m sorry) And I drunkenly identified this dog as what one would call a Cur Dog but if you know more about dogs let me know if I’m way wrong. I took this opportunity to take out my new tripod I’m obsessed with for a moment and take pics of myself with it.

I didn’t finish my glass of wine because I spent too much time at the dog/tripod party but I do remember that I enjoyed it. The meat and cheese plate I remember very clearly because it was LIFESAVING but my approach to cheese is similar to wine and everything I learn about it goes in one ear and out the other so I don’t know what cheese it was but I do know that it was delicious.

After McGregor we had time for one more so Stefan took a quick pic of us (thank you, Stefan) then loaded us into the van and took us to…the next one…

(thank you, Stefan)

omg what was the last one…I’ll call it “Tripod”

Because at this one I REALLY busted out my tripod.

We arrived, quite drunken, and didn’t have time for a tasting so got a bottle of white. I’m assuming it was Gewürztraminer or Dry Riesling as they seem to rule the roost up there. This could be just my perception and not fact-checked and therefore wrong. But it was a white and it was good and we got a bottle.

The others started to play cornhole (see my thoughts on games here) and I set out on my own with my tripod to take pictures of myself spinning around in the scenery. I finally convinced the others to also take pictures with me but their enjoyment/tolerance was short lived. They were good sports overall as far as photos for the whole weekend though, not everyone thrives on narcissism and I recognize and appreciate that. I swear.

We sat at a picnic table to finish our bottle of wine and looked out at the badass view. We thought about how lucky we are, to be 4 gals that have the time and the means and the ability to go on a gal trip and frolic around giddily and carelessly for a few days in a bucolic setting, and we were glad. We cheers-ed to our friendship and our good fortune, but I would not cheers to cornhole.

❤ ❤ ❤

Oh! I looked through my records (crumpled up fliers and tasting lists of wine at the bottom of my backpack) and remembered. This final one was Keuka Spring. Ur welcome.

Have you ever been to the Finger Lakes? Or the “FLX”? What about Keuka Lake? Or “QKA”? Are you a gal that likes to frolic with your gals? Do you like wine? What wine do you like? Do you hate this whole idea and think I’m ridiculous and offensive with my blatant disregard for wine knowledge? Oh well.

finger foods.

I have returned from my Girls Trip to Keuka Lake, a “finger lake,” and I probably will put off unpacking for the next two weeks so first let me tell you about all the things I stuffed my face with while I was away. This doesn’t include wine because that will be another post so keep in mind there was significantly more face stuffing than what you’ll read below. Just want to make sure we’re on the same page. Also I’m not a food photographer just a food stuff in my face-r so these pics are just to give you an idea not to make you like “feel an artistic experience.”

sheetz.

Anyone that taught cheerleading camp with me via UCA Staff (woo!) knows that Sheetz is a little slice of heaven in random pockets of Pennsylvania. It would remind my Philadelphia/South Jersey pals of Wawa (also a slice of heaven, perhaps even a higher heaven, and I don’t even believe in heaven, that can be explored in many paragraphs but we’re talking about Sheetz right now so calm down) or my other parts of New Jersey friends of Quick Check but Quick Check is garbage convenience and I regret even bringing it up and I apologize.

Sheetz has the ordering with the screens thing, they call it MTO, aka “Made to Order,” which is my ULTIMATE FAV because if I never had to speak to another person at a store again and could get everything done via robot I would be happy forever. Not naming names because I was already ordered not to name names on my “blog” but two of my “travel companions” were very confused by the MTO process and as I often feel when others are confused about things I know how to do, I didn’t understand didn’t want to try to understand so I walked around and looked for candy bars instead. They had Nutrageous with mini pieces inside! I TOLD YOU IT WAS HEAVEN.

They eventually figured out how to MTO their lives and all was well until they bit into their sandwiches and hated them. I am a bad friend and should have helped but I was too busy KILLIN IT picking out my turkey, tomato, pepper jack, spicy mayo, and maybe some other shit I forgot ON A PRETZEL ROLL.

union block.

Union Block was the joint we planned to go to all along for our first night in town fancy lady dinner. We originally planned to go to the one in Hammondsport as my friend had been and loved it, but a few days before we left we saw they now have one in Penn Yan, which is where we were staying…SERENDIPITY.

I started with a mocha cold brew martini. If you knew me when I was at Rutgers and 20.5 years old you may recall that I was OBSESSED with chocolate martinis until at least a few months after my 21st birthday. This was a nice walk down memory lane and also delicious and also pumped me up a little because I was tired AF from the journey up there.

We all shared this giant appetizer situation and I know there was bread and cheese and tomato-ish materials and also these scallions which were full on scallions with their long leaf things criss crossing across the plate and that looked pretty cool and ricotta with local honey and also deviled eggs! We enjoyed this and were glad we made this choice.

2 of the gals got a salmon spesh that looked great, one got a spicy sausage and pasta situation that they said was VERY spicy but it was like EXCITING SPICY so they were into that. I got a tuna steak over alfredo dish that was VERY GOOD. I opted for their homemade pasta as half of the pasta in the pasta portion and it was delightful. I will take this moment to say that there are many who frown upon the mixture of dairy and fish but I think dairy should be dripped and draped and dropped and wrapped around every single piece of other kinds of food so there you go. This alfredo was also very light and lemony so it went perfectly with the fishes. Cows and fishes can be friends and frolic happily across the plate together I SEEN IT.

windmill craft fair – apple cider donut.

I know you were hoping to hear about the dessert I got at Union Block but I was way too full so I’ll tell you about this tiny little apple cider donut I got the next day.

It was at the Windmill Farm and Craft Market in Penn Yan. I have a lot to say about the crafts and overall vibe of this market but this post is about the foods so I’ll just say that the donut was very small and tasted more like funnel cake than an apple cider donut which is fine with me but I’ll still have to seek out other apple cider donuts during this season.

burgers & beer.

We went boating one of the days and our tour started early than anticipated and we missed the lunch time we had planned so we were STARVING when we disembarked. It wasn’t pretty but we made our way to Hammondsport Burgers and Beer and gradually calmed the rage within.

I got a mahi sandwich and shared some truffle french fries. I was drunk and dying of starvation so of course it was delicious but I think it was also delicious despite my state of mind. Mahi anything and I’m sold. Mahi plus cheese DOUBLE SOLD (this didn’t have cheese…I don’t think? Just going full circle with the cheese. Thx.)

ice cream.

Somehow we made our way to Mac’s Dairy Bar and I say “somehow” because it was seemingly in the middle of a straight up children of the corn situation cornfield and I honestly don’t know how we ended up there. Besides my friends yelling at me for cursing in front of children (of the corn?!) (eye roll) it was a delightful time. Delightful is going to be my most used adjective in this post. It is written.

I got some kind of peanut butter and banana sundae and it had a peanut butter ice cream base which deviates from my very strict chocolate ice cream base at all times for any sundae rule but it was really, really good.

smores.

When we got home after the ice cream we lit a fire on our beach and made smores. That’s pretty much it about the smores. Although it did seem super hard to make a fire (I never made one and I didn’t this time and I probably won’t next time, I’m terrified of fire and just watch others do it from a safe distance).

so gooey.

suspicious frozen pizza.

At some point we made this frozen pizza from Aldi and it was not good at all and not fully cooked and we were especially offended by the meat but we continued to consume it anyway. Consumed it so heartily, in fact, that we all awoke with drunk roof of mouth pizza burns and scratches the next morning.

the olney place.

Two different women of Lake Keuka authority told us the owner of The Olney Place is “hot,” but we were too busy search for stuff to shove in our faces that we honestly can’t confirm or deny. We did see someone very tall holding fresh cinnamon rolls but again we were laser focused on those baked goods and couldn’t be bothered.

We got one cinnamon roll and shared it and it was SO GOOD. Don’t tell my mom because she makes these every year for Xmas but these were like the best I ever had.

I also got an egg and cheese on a roll which sounds pretty basic and I also wanted pepper jack cheese and they didn’t have it available even though it was ON THE BOARD which was disheartening but it was actually very tasty. Oh and strawberry juice! They had places to sit outside or in front of a big window looking at the lake but we took it to go and eat at home in front of our own big window looking at the lake. Because we had one.

mcgregor cheese plate.

We went on a wine tour one day which will be described in full but I would like to focus on the cheese plate here. We went to a couple of wineries and really started to get hungry for cheese and it was getting later and we didn’t know if we would get this cheese plate but then SOMEHOW WE DID and there was also a dog and it was a fantastic moment. It seemed to me that McGregor was one of the more high up in altitude wineries with a really good view of the lake and also the trees or vines or whatever wine grows on. They had really nice rocking chairs with little side tables PERFECT FOR CHEESE PLATES and all was right with the world.

Don’t ask me what kind of cheese or meat that is, just know that I enjoyed it.

taco night.

On the last night there we made tacos! At first when my one friend was like “Let’s make dinner one night!” in my head I was like “ugh…’make dinner’? WHY.” But then I really had fun and enjoyed the tacos we made. And I was like “why do I have to be such a dick all the time? Why can’t I just make tacos with my friends and think it’s a cool idea because it is? WHY.”

They were just ground turkey with peppers and onions, we got a jar of queso and added hot sauce and put it in the microwave, store bought salsa and guacamole, nothing fancy.

It was fun to cook together and we also danced around and I made a timelapse of the whole thing and I’m working on permission to share it. Permission from my friends. They told me not to but I’m going to keep asking. Cool good talk.

wegman’s sub.

FINAL MEAL OF THE TRIP…was a Wegman’s sub. I don’t have a Wegman’s close to me in JC because I don’t have a car. I COULD drive to one in Bridgewater if I did but why would I drive all the way to Bridgewater? OH, FOR WEGMAN’S? YES I WOULD.

Don’t really know where that random piece of popcorn came from.

This was a large everything roll (EVERYTHING…ROLL!) with turkey, spicy ham, salami, pepper jack, tomato, cucumber, and sriracha spread. WHAT?! IT WAS INCREDIBLE THAT’S WHAT. I don’t know why I got a large because it was enormous but then I had dinner for later. I also got jalepeno kettle chips, a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, and a fountain drink but it wasn’t any normal fountain drink it was a COKE FREESTYLE MACHINE which I will never stop being obsessed with even if it turns me into a freestyle coke machine.

And that’s it! Have you ever been to Keuka Lake/Penn Yan/ Hammondsport? Did I miss anything? Am I wrong about anything? Are you able to operate the MTO machine at Sheetz? Just checking.