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It's Friday! Friday! And my eye is glued shut.

Jun 24, 2011

Apparently I'm allergic to moving.  I've been sneezing nonstop since Sunday (the day of the move-out) and it only got worse on Tuesday (the day of the move-in).  Today I woke up and couldn't open my left eye.  Gross.

Besides that and my bath faucet not working (shower is fine, so I've been filling up the tub via shower head), I'm loving my new place and have even met some of my neighbors (lots of cuties, but they're probably all married or gay).  I did take out some bathtub frustration on Facebook yesterday while reflecting on "Sex and the City 2," which I was able to watch via my six free months of HBO (thanks Comcast, sort of):

             This is why I cringe when people tell me I'm just like Carrie Bradshaw.

I really was quite enraged and almost turned off the movie when Carrie ran into the bathroom, frantic because she'd kissed her ex, and squealed, "Samantha I need you NOW!" and required Samantha to get out of that lovely bath in the $22,000/night suite.  It's the worse offense Carrie has ever committed, even worse than the time Charlotte announced she got engaged and Carrie replied with, "Well I just got broken up with by a Post-It."  And don't forget the time she wore this:

Notice how none of them can look her in the eye?
Except Miranda, who is clearly trying not to spew coffee all over that shameful outfit.

Tonight I will stay at home to unpack some more, but what I'd really like to be doing is sipping bubbly and eating delicious cheese around the fountain at the Sculpture Garden whilst listening to jazz and wiggling my toes in the cool water.

If you haven't been to Jazz in the Sculpture Garden, this is what you're missing:


I want to go to there. Right. Now.

Alas, I must make it through another work day then go home, take Benadryl and figure out how all my stuff is going to fit in 623 square feet.  On the other hand, that's pretty large for a one bedroom.  So I'll quit my complaining now. 

Blog post on Moving Disaster 2011 soon, whenever I can see out of both eyes.  

Crisis(es) (crisisses?) (crises?) Averted

Jun 13, 2011

Thanks to the Power of the Blog, I am now the proud renter of a one-bedroom condo with a washer and dryer, giant closet, hardwood floors and accessbility to an awesome rooftop with grill, chairs and a-MAZ-ing view of the city.  Did I mention it's two blocks from the Metro?  And it's all because a reader hooked me up.

Dear Readers, have I told you lately that I love you?  *Cue Rod Stewart*

To thank y'all, I'd like to meet you in person and offer you a super delicious drink special at Tabaq Bistro tomorrow night. Maybe you'll even meet a potential date!  I'm talking, of course, about the happy hour I'm co-hosting with A Single Girl and Sassy Marmalade.  I'll be the redhead with the bruises all over her body from moving heavy objects all weekend (and a bike attack by my Pretty Schwinn).

Also, I have to tell y'all about the new suit I bought.  I found out on Friday that Monday (today) I was going to attend a super important meeting with super important people/local celebrities (I sat quietly so as not to say anything stupid, but I did nervously giggle a little at the end when someone asked me a question) so obviously I needed a new outfit. 

Guys, don't get all judgey on me.  I've lost 14 pounds since February and all my suits are hanging off of me except for one (Banana Republic purchase from last year, made of Genuine Italian Fabric, does not clean well) and it's starting to smell weird, but I didn't realize till it was too late to get it dry cleaned, so that's why I had to buy a new suit.

I went to The Limited because I've always been pleased with their suiting (except when I gained 20 pounds and couldn't fit into even their biggest size), but I had no coupons and there was no "buy jacket get pants free!" sale, so I was kind of panicking.  With moving expenses this month I really can't afford to spend $300 on anything.  So I sucked it up and scoured the sale racks. 

I despise sale racks -- in my younger days I only bought clothes on sale, but when I got a job and a bank account I realized that I had a lot of ill-fitting clothes in my closet that I didn't really like that much.  So now I rarely look at the sale racks.  I think it actually saves me money because I'm never tempted to buy some floral, sparkly halter top just because it's 40% off of already marked down prices and therefore I should get it "just in case".  But I guess sometimes it can pay off, because I found a lovely elbow-length black jacket with a little ruffle on the collar and a tie around the waist in my size for about 50% off.  The only problem was I didn't see any skirts that matched it.  Thank goodness for smart salespeople. 

"Let me teach you a little trick," the young, possibly anorexic man in the plunging v-neck told me when he noticed I was looking perplexed.  "See this tag that reads 'Collection'?  Anything in the store with that tag is made of the same material, so you can always mix and match."

Isn't that nifty?

They only had one black skirt to match, but it was just fine.  In the end I spent about $140, which still hurts but is much more manageable than a full  priced suit. 

Also, The Limited has a bridal collection, and this is what I want to wear if I get married this summer (dangit, it's totally on sale now! Must resist urge to buy for just-in-case purposes):


Oh, and one more thing.  Sassy Marmalade made these cards for us to hand out to people on the Metro:


If one of us should hand you a card, don't be offended. We really just want to help all burgeoning fashionistas flourish in this cut-throat town, one coat/skirt tack at a time.

Happy Hour Alert!

Jun 7, 2011

Summer is upon us, and to celebrate I'll be requiring mojitos.  Sound delicious?  Then join me at Tabaq Bistro!  (You may remember my CitySearch article about their strawberry mojitos from last summer.) 

I'm co-hosting with fellow bloggers A Single Girl and Sassy Marmalade, and since we're single, we really hope you'll bring your single friends (preferably male, muscly, straight and employed).  All are welcome, so RSVP here and come out the U St Corridor (you know it's my fave) for some drinkies on the best rooftop bar in town.  It's right off the U St. Metro (make sure you exit 13th St) on U between 13th and 14th.  Couldn't be easier to get there.  Plus, Tabaq Bistro is hooking us up with extended happy hour prices until 9:30!

Also, this:

"I wear cammo and I love me some Louis Vuitton, so don't make fun of me or I'll kick your butt!"

I gave this to Sassy for her popular "Fashion Friday" post (she refers to me as "Cupcakes"), but it was just too good not to share with my readers as well.  DC Fashion is just, so, eclectic.  I really can't keep up.

UPDATED: How apartment hunting in DC made me a Strong White Woman

Jun 2, 2011

It's been a while since I've written a blog post, mainly because work has gotten incredibly busy (in a good way) and I've been trying to find a place to live.

AGAIN.

*UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH.*

When I found out The Roomie was moving out of the country in June, I thought, This will be okay.  Students will be graduating and going home for the summer so lots of one bedrooms in the best neighborhoods in DC will be opening up.  And since I'm 30 and have job stability (sort of), it's time to be a grown up and live on my own.  Perfect timing!

But as I began my search, I found it was way worse than the past two times I've gone apartment hunting in DC. O. M. G.  I will have moved THREE TIMES in TWO YEARS

The first place I looked at was an English basement near Saint Ex.  Terrific neighborhood, I thought. Maybe I can convince myself not to be claustrophobic in exchange for the location.  When I arrived six others were waiting. Ten minutes went by and the crowd accumulated on the sidewalk (final count: 11).  The landlord, who required photo IDs to enter and had our names on a list, herded us down into the basement, which does not fit 11 people comfortably.  I willed myself not to be claustrophobic, to think it was a steal and to write that $50 application fee check on the spot so I wouldn't have to do this for the next month.  But alas, the mirrored walls did not make it feel "open," and the bathroom smelled of vinegar yet was not clean.  I made my way to the exit, pressing my body against the wall as others squeezed past me to the large closet, er, I mean bedroom.  On my way out I passed two girls with applications in hand, waiting in line to give them to the landlord. 

Just wait, Mary El.  There'll be something better, I told myself.  But deep down I feared this was one, big, vinegary omen.

Over the next couple of weeks I cancelled all my social engagements to focus on finding a place to live.  I scoured Craigslist, Rent.com and local realtor websites.  I went to see a "surprisingly sunny" English basement in Dupont that was neither sunny nor should be considered an actual apartment.  The landlord cheerfully suggested I not use the backdoor and push my bed up against that wall instead so I would have room to walk.  For $1850?  Uh, no.  (It's still listed if that sounds appealing to you.) 

I rode my bike to the outskirts of my neighborhood comfort zone and called every building that I passed, but most of them didn't accept dogs.  Just when I'd begun considering a studio, I found a truly charming one bedroom across from a park with hardwood floors and arched entranceways and plenty of space for $1650 a month, utilities included!  Was it too good to be true?  I put in my application, about two minutes before someone else did, and the leasing agent told me she would hold it for me since I applied first. 

So, for the past month, I thought everything was cool.  They put me through the ringer, as if I was buying the place, but everything was checking out fine.  Which of course means something bad happened.

Yesterday the leasing agent emailed me: "I'm sorry to inform you that the landlord has rejected your application.  Let me know if I can assist you in finding another place."

My head began to spin.  Was something wrong with my credit?  No, couldn't be.  My credit is better now than it has been in years, and I've never been rejected before.  Did they do a background check and find out I almost got arrested for walking through the fountain at the Sculpture Garden?  That would just be stupid.  What could it be?  I make enough money to cover the rent, I've proven I can pay bills on time, I'm living in a really nice building now, so why in the world would they reject me?

All these thoughts were zipping through my head as I woefully pulled up Craigslist to see if any new places had been listed.  And there it was, right at the top of the page, the apartment relisted for $150 more.

All I could do was say the word reserved for token black guys in teen movies: "Mutha F***a." 

My back-up plan of desperation was to find a roommate, and I had one in mind.  It would only be four more months till my lease was up, and then I could renew with her or go through all this again.  I stopped by the leasing office after work and inquired about keeping my apartment even though we'd given our 30 days notice of vacancy.

"Sure, no problem!" the girl behind the desk said.  "Oooh, except I see here we've already rented it.  But you can move into another two bedroom, just will be $400 more a month than what you're paying now."

Mutha...

"Or you can move into a one bedroom, we have two right now that are only $1800." 

Tail end of my price range, but doable, I thought.

"Oh shoot, we already leased those out.  But we have another one coming up for $2300!"

F***a.

I was supposed to go to a happy hour with Sassy Marmalade, A Single Girl, Date Me DC and Dating DC, but instead I cried.  They weren't tears of sadness, defeat or even frustration -- they were tears of anger.  Deep down I knew the Lord would work it out, He has something better, I just need to depend on Him...but I was still angry, for two reasons: 1) I'm tired of this character-building life lesson and 2) I'm pretty sure that greedy landlord is breaking some sort of DC real estate law and he/she thinks he/she will get away with it because I'm not privy to what is going on.  Oh I'm privy. I'm ALL kinds of privy.  I have lawyer friends and Google on my side, and I'm about to get my PRIVY ON.

While I was still crying, before all the priviness, I suddenly decided going for a run was the best thing to do.  I haven't been on a run since last summer when I sprained my ankle.  The ankle still hasn't healed and I figured I'd never run again.  But this was one thing I had control over, and I desperately needed to be able to control something in my life at that moment. 

Ankle be damned! I cheered in my head.  It's going to be messed up forever anyway, might as well burn calories while I still have my knees!

So I dug my running shorts out of my "rarely wear" bin, found my Nikes in the back of my closet and got to the elevator before I could think it through.  As soon as my foot hit the sidewalk I went for it.  I ignored the pain in my ankle, then my other ankle, then my shins splitting apart, then my compensating knees screaming in protest and my back immediately following as I forced my shoulders back, and soon after the cramps set in, in my abs.  I ignored it all.  And you know what?  After a while I didn't notice it anymore.  When I got home I was dripping sweat and felt totally empowered to take on this housing situation.  Plus I swear my abs were tighter and my arms and legs looked more toned. 

I promise to never make this face again, but it felt like the right thing to do at the moment.

She's smiling because she's afraid of how insane I'm acting.

So anyway, the point to all this is to let you know why I've been kind of MIA, and also to not mess with me when it's 100 degrees outside, because I will break out the Strong White Woman on you too.

I just need to catch my breath first.

*NOTE* Sassy Marmalade asked "How many pictures did you have to take to get these?" 
The answer is eight.  :)

****************************************************

At the request of a reader, Shozzle, I'm clarifying the "Strong White Woman" part of this blog.  You see, my dear friend Yves-Marie, who happens to be a Strong Black Woman, often makes fun of me for having White Girl Problems.  The first time I complained to her about my sprained ankle, she replied, "You know what happens when a black woman's hand gets cut off?  She says, 'I don't have time for this; I gotta go pick up my babies.'  You need a shot of SBW (Strong Black Woman)."

(I looked up #WhiteGirlProblem on Twitter today, and here are a few others to put it in context:

@mepper (that's me): I have to choose between #NKOTBSB and @britneyspears this summer. Worst #WhiteGirlProblem EVER.

@fulpakru:  I'll pack tomorrow because I want to drink wine tonight and drunk packing NEVER works out well for me. #whitegirlproblem

@ghostcatmusic: Wahhhhh it's raining today.....my horseback ride's been cancelled! #whitegirlproblem

@M_Ruddriguez: I just spent way too much money on flip-flops, but it's not my fault! My feet literally reject anything but Havaianas. #whitegirlproblem)

So when I got so angry that I ran on my main white girl problem, I decided I am a Strong White Woman. 

The kicker is she called me this week sounding very sad: "I have a white girl problem.  I sprained my ankle while running this morning."

HA!  Now she knows how hard it is being a white woman.  So I think she needs a shot of Strong White Woman.  No?  Yes?