Beauty School Dropout

Monday, March 25, 2013

Basically, my whole entire life in New York has been a search for the perfect gym and the perfect haircut.  Just in case you missed it, you might want to read part one of this story here: The Impossible Dream.  To catch you 13 faithful readers up on the gym search, I just shelled out more money I don't have and am loving Soul Cycle lately.  I know.  I'm a horrible person.  But Dana's classes, which feature 40 riders singing Proud Mary and Living on a Prayer in unison while spinning, are totally worth it.  Or so I tell myself.

So that just leaves the perfect haircut then.  You may have noticed my new short hair from the Disney pics and wondered what was up...

It was about the farthest thing from the perfect haircut you can possibly imagine.  And that short hair?  Not even one little bit on purpose.  Before you read any more, please read this {the ivy project} post from November: Brave New World.

I had some big things coming up and hadn't had a decent haircut in who knows how long.  The last one was the beauty school haircut, which The Chief basically forbid me to do again and offered to pay whatever that meant.  The haircut before that was sometime in June.  A lot has happened since June people.  A whole freaking novel hurricane cross-country lot.  So new hairs were way overdue.  After tons of research on legit, magazine worthy salons in Manhattan, I determined that a cut/style and highlights would be around $400-$500.  Yes, you read that right.  Feel free to read it again.

The Chief and I had a talk, at which point I insisted that we absolutely were not going to pay more for my haircut than we do car payments.  I did a little more research, wondered if I should just suck it up and go to Bumble and Bumble, and eventually bought a deal on Gilt City, which is like Groupon but for more upscale big city things.  The deal was $180 for cut and full highlights, a $400 value.  Don't judge's a bargain in this city.  The salon had great reviews on Gilt City and Yelp, so I thought I was safe.  How bad could it be?

Here's how bad.  Within 10 minutes of being there, I had yelled at the stylist, colorist, and salon owner. Obviously, I was also crying.  So so so so bad.  Basically, the stylist told me the cut I wanted (in addition to my current cut) was horrible and she wouldn't do it.  Then the colorist told me how stupid I was for not knowing that the color I wanted wasn't a good one, or that my natural hair color is a dark blonde (which, many of you know, it absolutely is not).  And best of all, that $200 service I'd paid for was apparently only good for one particular shade of blonde.  Seriously.   I really considered leaving, except that I had already paid for the services.  I considered leaving anyways.

I finally convinced the owner to let me use the $200 I'd paid for a darker shade, but he would only do a single process color (without the caramel and espresso color blend I'd been dreaming of).  And I wanted the length just above my shoulders, with long layers framing my face.  But apparently the stylist didn't like that, and once the first chin-length cut is made, there really is no turning back.  And there are no layers anywhere to be seen.  Two hours later, I pretty much left in tears.  I did not tip those people.  I'm considering paying my favorite OKC stylist to fix it this weekend, but I know it's not as bad as I think it is.  Still.  Traumatic.

It's moments like that when I think it might not be the worst thing in the world to live somewhere other than New York City.  You know, where I can be nice and people are nice to me.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Saturday, March 23, 2013

People.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Basically, it's just as good as you imagined it might be. Magical, for sure.  One minute you're in Orlando (Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure to be exact), the next minute you're in Hogsmeade Village and Diagon Alley.  And yes, there are speakers playing the Harry Potter music while you stroll through the wizarding world...

There's the Hogwart's Express, Honeydukes Candy Shop, Olivander's Wand Shop, and so much more.  I really almost bought a wand, just because I could.  But the wand chooses the wizard, and no wand chose me.  I read all the Harry Potter books a few years ago.  I may have re-watched all the movies before leaving for Florida.  I was embarrassingly excited.

Of course, this was the first stop inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter...

Calm down people.  Butterbeer is not, in fact, actual beer.  It is, in fact, pure sugar.  One sip practically sent me into diabetic shock.  Turns out butterbeer is a sort of caramelly, butterscotchy, sugary liquid with a foam made entirely of whipped cream.  For someone who rarely even puts sugar in her coffee, it was a little too much.  But I had to try it.  And there are all sorts of entertaining things while waiting in line...

Obviously, the whole Wizarding World of Harry Potter leads straight to one thing...Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  

There are a couple of rides in the Hogsmeade village, but obviously I had to ride the one inside of Hogwarts.  To be honest, I didn't know what the ride was, but I just wanted to go inside of Hogwarts.  I really should have known better when they made me put my purse in a locker for safety reasons.  And I will admit that I did know better when I passed 12 motion sickness warning signs on the 45 minute line to ride.  Just to clarify, the 45 minute wait that led me through Hogwarts was totally worth it.  Tricks and magic and all sorts of fun everywhere you look.  It looks just like the movies.  They don't actually tell you what the ride is until you're about to board, so it's pretty much too late to turn back.   So there are these cars with four sideways seats that don't stop moving for you to board.  You just have to sort of run and jump, then pull the shoulder harnesses down over you.  Another bad sign.  And for half an hour (or, you know, 4 minutes), you twist and spin and flip upside down and do other motion sickness causing things while the 3D ride whirls you through Hogwarts adventures with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  I remember almost all of it, except for the parts when I was squeezing my eyes shut and praying for it to end.  Not a good move after the butterbeer.  Also not a good move before I had to get on a plane and fly home through a thunderstorm (when I pretty much did the same eyes/prayers thing).

But The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?  Pretty spectacular.  And the result of my four-day higher ed/student affairs conference is the realization that I want to work at Hogwarts...

When You Wish Upon A Star

Friday, March 22, 2013

Seriously, someone told me to... "have a magical day!"  How could things possibly go bad after that?  Now, you should know that the last time I went to Walt Disney World was 15 years ago.  The Chief, Baby Sister and I made two trips when I was 13 and 14 and Baby Sister was 9 and 10.  We were wee little things.  If I was in Oklahoma, I would dig through all the pictures in the china buffet and share that  flashback joy with you.  Maybe The Chief can send us some...

So just to clarify, I did give a conference presentation about learning institutional culture, playing the game, and leading through complexity.  I wore a suit and everything.  But as soon as that was over, it was shorts and sunglasses and Disney time.  And it was a great day for the happiest place on Earth...

The only thing that would have made it happier was if The Chief, Baby Sister, and Just Matt were there.  Oh man, it would have been so great.  Maybe we'll take a family vacation this summer?  Also, ironically it is 28 degrees in New York today.  At least I enjoyed that 82 for a little while.  First stop?  Epcot.  

It was the HGTV Flower and Garden Show, so lots of Disney characters made of flowers and plants and such.

See?  Monsters University.  Totally counts as a work trip now.  

Now, the best part of Epcot is the trip around the world.  Eleven countries in an afternoon?  Good plan.  Obviously, we started in Mexico.  I needed some enchiladas real bad.  I may also have tried on all the hats in all the countries.  Sombrero was definitely my favorite.  

Next stops?  Germany, China, Japan, Italy, Morocco, France, United States (um...), Canada (which, as it turns out, is a lot like everywhere else), something pretending to be Africa, England and Norway.  It was a pretty productive afternoon.

Now, I couldn't leave Epcot without a trip to see Figment.  Figment was Baby Sister's absolute favorite.  Nine year old Emily loved Figment a whole bunch.  So I made my friend ride the Figment of your imagination ride.  It was equally as exciting at 29 as it was at 14.  Even bought Baby Sister a stuffed Figment, just for old times sake.

So we headed on over to the Magic Kingdom, because what's a trip to Disney without Cinderella's Castle?

Turns out Epcot is a little more grown-up friendly than the Magic Kingdom, mostly because it has better food.  But still, it is a pretty happy place.  Lots of It's a Small World and flying Dumbo and jungle rides.  Also lots and lots of children.  

So overall it was a pretty great day.  Would have been better with my favorite Disney fans, but still.  But eight hours at Disney?  I'm still tired people.  It's a whole lot of happiness.

Just Like Paradise

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ah, vacation.  I really, really, really needed a vacation.  I'm not sure if you're aware, but it's been a rough winter in New York.  I've been wearing the same coat (because it's my warmest one) and covering up every possible inch of my body for the last six months.  It never stops snowing.  So it was way past time to get out of town and get to a little bit of paradise.  Or you know, Orlando.  Whatever.  I'm still living on a grad school budget.

So my early morning flight from JFK started like this...thank you 2012 craziness that led to elite status that led to a the complimentary first class upgrade.

Turns out, this first class business does a lot to help with my fear of flying.  Convenient, right?  

Did you know they have super helpful coat hangers at your seat?

And seats that lay all the way flat?  I wanted to ask the flight attendant to take a picture of me napping in the flat seat, but I thought that might be a bit much.

And fancy breakfast on real dishes while enjoying the movie of your choice...

So armed with the knowledge of what I've been missing all the way back in coach, I landed in Orlando to sun and warmth and the reminder that trees are in fact supposed to have leaves on them.  Who knew?  And green grass?  Totally foreign concept in my New York City life.  And mostly, there was this...

Seriously, New York is overrated.  I am an Oklahoma/Texas girl.  I need the sun and warmth.  Of course, I will leave New York right around the time it starts to get warm and totally question that decision, but for now I'm good to go.  Literally.  

Believe it or not, I was actually there for a conference.  It was a great chance to reconnect with old friends and meet new friends and just generally remind people of my awesomeness.  I gave a great presentation, networked with potential employers, and secured a few key people for my dissertation.  It's a fun and games and student affairs kind of conference, as indicated by the random directional signs throughout the convention center...

Of course, there was also a lot of Baylor time in there...because they are the best of all.

And what would Baylor time be without Sing faces?

Next up on {the ivy project}, the happiest place on Earth.  Too bad I'm back in the land of snow and on call for the rest of spring break.  But at least now I can remember what the sun looks like.

So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way

Thursday, March 14, 2013

If I have high expectations for life in New York, it is a direct result of one thing and one thing only.  Monica and Rachel had a totally normal Manhattan apartment, right?

Check out these artists' floor plans of my entire knowledge of big city living until I stepped into my own place, which shockingly did not have giant city-viewing windows and a cute little terrace...

Given that Chandler is the only character who consistently went to work, just kind of curious about how the Friends friends didn't get evicted, even with rent control...

How I Met Your Mother...where's my fire escape to the roof, people?

Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Maybe more believable given the decade.  Maybe not so given Holly's "job."

Will and Grace (and Jack)...are you kidding me?

And the most normal, realistic one of all, unless you know the neighborhood and the fact that Carrie Bradshaw wouldn't have made much as a Starbucks-bound writer...

Now, just for comparison's sake, here is mine.  I only get the gray part (the rest shows pieces of the apartment on either side).  Please note that the windows face directly into someone else's apartment, not out onto a sweeping view of the New York City skyline.  Also note that only one room in the entire place is large enough for actual furniture.  And the roof access is locked so that people don't jump.

So there you have it.  I'll just be here, dreaming about what would be like if I could actually see the city I live in...

Six Months of Snow

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sometimes I can't imagine leaving New York.  I love it here.  Especially when it's warm, sunny, and allows for entire days spent in Central Park or the Boat Basin.  If you haven't experienced that version of New York, it's impossible to resist.  All you need is a beach towel, a book, a little Shake Shack, and a friend.  I get excited just thinking about it.  It's on those days that I think I could stay forever, as long as my family was a little closer.  

Here's a little Boat Basin flashback, just to prove my point...

But let's be honest.  It has been winter for six months here.  Six months.  Snowed every single day in February and, so far, a good part of March.  I have worn a coat and boots every day for six months.  For most of that time, it's gotten dark around 4:00 p.m. every day.  Depressingly dark.  Did I mention the snow?  I love the snow, I really do.  It's just tough when it never stops and is mixed with rain and never gets warm.  And then there are days like yesterday, when you find yourself in midtown in a total downpour with a broken umbrella ten blocks from the subway.  After taking shelter in Sephora and spending unnecessary money on tiny little bottles of things that promise to make your hair prettier, you brave the rain again.  So then you're soaking wet on the subway, late for work, and stuck for two train delays.  And when you finally get to work, you're wearing yoga clothes instead of work clothes because you didn't have time to change, and you're still soaking wet.  And you didn't even have time to stop for a doughnut.

And maybe it wouldn't be so bad to live in a nice quiet little place with a car and a dog.

So the job search is on people.  My current job ends May 31 and Hotel Katie is closing.  Three weeks of class in June, maybe a little vacation with Baby Sister, and a not-so-little birthday follow.  But after that?  A job would be nice.  Potentially exciting things in the works.  I mean, exciting except for that none of them have called me back yet.  Hopefully big changes coming to {the ivy project} in the next few months.  Stay tuned for sure.

Of course, by the time I actually leave New York, it will be all Boat Basin days and I will absolutely question that decision.

In the mean time, this girl seriously needs a vacation.  Four more days...

One Year Later

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Did you hear?  We had a wedding.  I mean, last year, but still.  Baby Sister and Just Matt have been married for one whole year now.  Which means we've known Just Matt for almost two whole years.  Feels like forever...what did we do before someone watched ESPN on our TV and fixed stuff for us?  It's been a bit of a whirlwind since then and I don't remember much of October or November, so it feels like just yesterday.

Here are some of my favorite images from the day...there are about a thousand more if you want to come over for coffee and photo time.

I considered posting all the photos of me with a strange look on my face.  When there's a photographer around all day, there are bound to be odd photos.  Of course, there are no odd photos of Baby Sister.  Just me.  But it's my blog, so I don't have to remind you all of those lovely photos.  They can stay hidden.  So I'll just be heading over to Kansas for some traditional first anniversary wedding cake then.  No?  Oh yeah, apparently I wasn't invited for frozen cake?  Fine then.  Happy anniversary anyways!