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Week in Review

Aug 30, 2013

1. I'm still alive. I've also made it through every episode of Girl Code.


And I made a break-up playlist on YouTube if you're going through something similar (it seems like a lot of you are).

(Apparently I like country music. This is alarming to me as well. Britneeeeey make some more break-up songs lady! We all know you've been through some stuff, girl!)

2. Lean Cuisine redeemed itself with "Delicious Rewards," a program where you earn points for eating Lean Cuisines and can redeem them for cute kitchen stuff. And okay fine, I have to admit the Chicken Enchilada Suiza ain't half bad. And I've lost 18 pounds. I take back the mean things I said about you, Lean Cuisine.

2. Task Rabbit finally made it to DC. Basically, you pay your neighbors to do stuff for you that you don't want to do and vice versa. Great at organizing other people's closets but not your own? (yeeeessss) Hate dusting and would totally pay someone to do it for you? (yeeeessss) Then sign up and start making money and/or getting those pesky chores done. You might even make a new friend, or, dare I say, boyfriend? Not in my neighborhood, but elsewhere it is surely a possibility. #StayingPositive

3. RG III is officially playing in the Redskins season opener. I now care about this because the ex(cringe)-boyfriend took me to a game last year and my Grandmother told me I needed to learn it asap because he's into it, and also probably because I'm from Georgia and it's kind of a huge paradox to say I'm a Southern Girl Who Doesn't Understand Football. Also I won free tickets to a pre-season game from Women of Washington Redksins, run by Dan Snyder's wife (he's the owner y'all, I am knowledgeable now), and got to sit on the second row.


More on that later. Long story short, I like football now. Also, I'm single, so if you'd like to take me to the season opener for a first date, I will totally go with you! Tweet me!

4.  I figured out the Tabaq Bistro closing mystery. Turns out I just needed to walk over and read the note on the door.

I'm baffled, though, why none of the DC or U Street blogs have written about it. Hopefully they'll finish the remodeling soon -- I miss my rooftop strawberry mojitos!

5. Ted's Bulletin is now open. I went with Anne Wednesday night because she was starving, and she ordered exactly 9,000 calories worth of food. Because of my 1200 calorie diet, my stomach has shrunk or something, so I literally can't eat more than 1200 calories a day now. (And the weight is just sliding off suddenly! Could also be attributed to the break-up, but what-evs, I'm excited.) I won't get graphic with you, but my stomach hated me afterwards and still hates me two days later. I won't be eating there again for a while, but it was really yummy. Get the crab hush puppies. And sit at the bar so you can watch whichever old movie they're playing. (Ours was The Wizard of Oz and I sang along, munchkin voices and all. Anne was too hungry to care.)

6. Naked Juice is being sued, and if you've ever drunk the not-as-natural-as-advertised and way overpriced smoothies, you're entitled to some cash back. Just fill out this claim form and a check will magically hopefully arrive at your door. Free mani/pedi, woo!

7. An Indian Cultural Center is coming to U Street. I've passed the beautiful, vacant building many times in the past four years and always wondered why it wasn't being used. I think this is a terrific addition to the neighborhood. Naan, y'all. Nom. Nom Naan. Also, I have two saris and I'd love to be able to wear them again!


8. Lou Lou is now open on 14th Street. Uh oh. This is not good yet is also awesome for my break-up.


9. In case you didn't know, Breaking Bad episodes are on AMCTV.com! I didn't know this. Single Girl Problem: No cable so I have money for shoes, and I can no longer feed the addiction by watching Breaking Bad at my boyfriend's place. But then I remembered I had a cord that hooks my computer up to my TV and found out that episodes were online with my super sleuth skills of going to the website and checking. Problem solved. Thanks for doin' me a solid during my break-up mourning period, AMC.

10. You already know this, but *NYSYNC reunited at the VMAs.



I had to watch the next day...and accidentally also watched the Miley twerking fiasco which I do not believe is work appropriate...and also now I know what "twerking" is. Nothing says "Young women should sexually degrade themselves in public to get attention!" like officially adding "twerking" to the Oxford Dictionary.

I have a VHS tape in my apartment that has "*NSYNC" written across the label in big, purple, high school handwriting lettering. I'll probably never be able to watch it again, but it has every clip I could possibly record of *NSYNC back when they were, well, *NSYNC. I don't know why I'm telling you this except that I really want you to know I am TEAM *NSYNC 4 LIFE Y'ALL.


Also, this:

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! I won't be going to Ocean City since that boyfriend perk is gone, but I'm sure I'll find a way to make up for it.

Thank you all, so much

Aug 26, 2013



After my last post, I received so many Facebook messages, comments, texts, phone calls and emails. Every one of you said exactly the right thing. Thank you for not being too shy to reach out to me.

I'm sorry if I didn't respond to you. I was completely overwhelmed with gratitude and humility. As the messages kept flooding in, with many, many mentions of prayers for me, I felt like I was getting a giant hug from this extensive and amazing support system that I didn't even know I had.

Because I'm a writer I was able to share my pain with you, and at a point on Thursday I felt guilty for being the recipient of so much cherishing. Not everyone gets that, and I don't deserve it any more than anyone else does. I mean, there were people from middle school who were telling me they loved me. Who are you people?!

It just goes to show me that God is on the throne. He has brought me in contact with the best people throughout my life, and He gave us Facebook so we wouldn't be dum dums and not stay in touch. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for loving us so much.

You are all a part of my healing process. Your prayers worked. I no longer want to die. I am so happy to be alive and excited for today and what it may bring. I am still crying a lot when I am alone, but on Thursday night, after turning down at least 15 people who said they were coming over, I finally gave in to Joanna and found out that being with people is the BEST medicine. Friday night my friend Grace brought me actual nutritious food and salted brownies. Saturday Anne and I went to a Redskins game and that is another blog post altogether. Sunday Jamie brought me Baja Fresh, wine, ice cream, melatonin and the latest US Weekly.

This is the way to survive a break-up. Now I know.

To "Anonymous" on my blog -- your words meant more to me than you will ever know. But then again, they were written with so much obvious wisdom...so maybe you do know. Particularly, you mentioned he was rude, which I didn't agree with at first. But then I thought about it, and you're right -- he was RUDE!

Thank you for your insight on his relational issues. I fear you are correct, and I fear more that the people around him will not be frank with him about this. If you are who I think you are, I hope you will have a sit down with him and slap him across the back of his head, because he royally deserves it.

And this line: "Don't wait for him to come back." That's a tough one. But, yes ma'am, I won't.

Hindsight is 20/20, and I have never understood that saying more clearly until now. Grace reminded me that, years ago, I went through a truly terrible, heartbreaking time in my life that involved a boyfriend and some other things. She told me, "You said on your blog that you'd never really known what heartbreak was until this happened, but you and I both know that's not true." And she was so right. It took me four years to really heal from that, but I don't think it will take as long this time.

I am going to be okay, but y'all already knew that.

Someone Else's Unicorn

Aug 22, 2013


Today would have been 11 months. We only made it 10 months, 29 days and 23 hours.

The end began with a non-verbal spat in the airport.

We'd just finished a week-long vacation with his family in St. Thomas. We've been on enough trips together for me to know he gets a little testy with me at the airport. I wasn't having it that day, though. Because we were with his family and I didn't want to make a scene, I locked eyes with him and silently told him to BACK OFF.

Although I was upset with him at the time, once on the plane I basked in the revelation that we had reached a point in our relationship where we could communicate so clearly with just a look. I'd never had that before.

In the taxi back to my apartment we ordered a pizza and each got our favorite things on it -- him: Italian sausage; me: banana peppers. I looked forward to ignoring my diet for one more day.

We timed it perfectly, our taxi pulling up minutes after the pizza delivery man called to say he'd arrived. Inside my apartment, we devoured it, and while I was still hurt by how he'd treated me earlier, I didn't really care anymore. All was forgiven. Pizza and a long flight had done the trick. I was happy to overlook it, as I'd been overlooking a lot of his moody behavior lately.

It never occurred to me that he might be having doubts about us.

Why would I?

In the first month of our relationship, he blurted out that he loved me. A month later he came to Atlanta to meet my family for Thanksgiving. During a drive through my favorite parts of town He asked me how many kids I wanted. I was astounded but guarded. If he's asking me this, is he thinking about our future together? The question resulted in our first argument -- I didn't want to raise our hypothetical children to believe in Santa Claus and he was adamant that we must. He won.

He treated my nephews like his own. By Christmas they were calling him "Uncle Rick." I spent that holiday with his family, meeting both sets of grandparents and all the aunts, uncles and cousins. I obsessed for days about what gifts to get everyone and settled on big, glittery baskets full of homemade goodies and golf balls. His mother kept her basket on top of the hutch in her kitchen. A piece of me was in their home. His grandmother wrote me a thank you card and told me to call her "Grandma." I was becoming part of their family.

We celebrated my first real Valentine's Day, a day that had always been somewhat of a joke before. He set up a scavenger hunt in my apartment that led to various treats. The final one was a Tiffany's box with a little heart necklace inside. I rarely took it off, telling him I wanted to keep his heart close to mine. I could tell he'd made similar gestures toward  previous girlfriends and they probably didn't regard them as highly as I did. It's because they were wrong for him. They couldn't appreciate him like I did. Because he had been mine all along. He just hadn't met me yet.

In March we drove down the Pacific Coast Highway and met several of my West Coast friends along the way. They adored him. This one's different, Mary El. We can see by the way he looks at you. He is a man in love. 

We spent hours together in a car and they flew by, just as they had when we drove from Atlanta to DC after Thanksgiving. Then, 11 hours seemed like three. We hadn't even bothered to turn on the radio. On the PCH we listened to 80s music and marveled at the views. We stopped in Sonoma and shipped wine home, bottles we were saving for special occasions. Sometimes the feelings I was having for him were overwhelming. My job had been so stressful, and away from it all there was nothing but him and the Pacific Ocean. Nothing else mattered. Everything would always be okay as long as I was with him.

Alone together in the car again, he asked me questions about our wedding. Our wedding. We argued about how many bridesmaids and groomsmen we would have. We agreed that it would be really cool to have an 80s cover band. He wanted a fully stocked, open bar. I wanted to stick to champagne. He won all the arguments. I was happy to let him win. He wanted to marry me.

Soon after, my grandmother fell ill. I went to be with her and he took Noli for me. He let me cry on the phone to him and tenderly told me how sorry he was and that Noli was enjoying herself. A week after coming home I had surgery and was laid off. He told me we were "going through some s***" and it would only make our relationship stronger. He told me to let him take care of me. I had been on my own for so long, it felt selfish, even indulgent to let him. But I did. He was so wonderful to me.

In June I noticed a subtle change. We were driving to Boston for Margaret's wedding, and it felt like it took days to get there. We talked some, but mostly we complained about the traffic. I chalked it up to us transitioning out of the honeymoon phase and into mundane, real life. We began to have more arguments over stupid stuff, no longer about our future together. We always made up quickly. There's no one I'd rather fight with, I told him every time. I'd never fought with anyone, really. I just threw in the towel when things got tough or lost their luster. No one had been worth the time before him.

He was worth every moment.

In St. Thomas he seemed a little off, but I just figured he was tired or hungry. His mother had clued me into that a few months earlier. He's the nicest guy until he's hungry. He'd been working longer hours and was often exhausted, not wanting to do anything but watch TV when he got home. I would suggest things for us to do -- go to an outdoor movie, a free concert, even a weekend getaway to New York. He would sometimes agree and then back out, or he would brush off my ideas with Yeah, maybe.

 It never occurred to me that he might be having doubts about us.

After we finished the pizza, I decided I wasn't going to bring up what had happened in the airport. I didn't want to fight. The trip had been so great, and I just wanted to leave it at that. But he began to talk about it, and as I explained to him why I had been upset, the floodgates opened and I found myself pleading, Why do I feel so alone when we're with your family? I look at your brother and sister, and they are with their significant others. Why do I feel like you aren't with me?

He started to cry.

I've been a terrible boyfriend to you.

You don't deserve this.

I feel like something's missing. I've been feeling it for a while now.

I stared at him in horror. "How long have you felt this way?"

He began sobbing. "Since June."

The next day he picked Noli up from his friend who was keeping her, and he came back to my apartment to find me crumpled in a ball in my bed. I was crying uncontrollably and had been since I'd woken up that morning.

"I sometimes get ideas in my head and focus on them till they overtake me," he explained to me. "I think I just need to focus on having a good time with you."

"No," I said. "Do not put that kind of pressure on me. Take a couple of days and figure out what you want to do. Don't drag me through this with you."

"I never wanted to do this to you," he said before he left.

I love you, but I don't know if I'm still in love with you.

I called my sister and filled her in. I could barely talk to her. I couldn't bear to tell my parents, so she did it for me. I turned off my phone and counted down the minutes till I could go to sleep. I didn't want to be conscious. I couldn't comprehend life without him. I couldn't figure out how he couldn't be in love with me. Nothing was making sense.

The next three days I waited to hear from him. The anger was setting in. How could he do this to me? How could he lead me on all these months? What was I going to tell people? What would I tell my nephews who already think he's their uncle?

How will I recover from this?

By Wednesday I couldn't take it any longer. I texted him. How much longer Rick?

He texted back that he was at a family dinner for his granddad's birthday and would call me afterwards. I was supposed to be there. What excuse had he given them for why I wasn't? What would Grandma think of me?

I contemplated not answering the phone. Anne called to check on me and told me that I deserved for him to talk to me in person. I didn't tell her that every day since he left I had expected to come home and find him waiting for me, because that's the kind of guy he is. But now my value had been diminished to a phone call after dinner. It was time to end this. I knew what he was going to say, and I didn't want to prolong the inevitable. When he finally called, I answered immediately.

Hey.

"Hey, how are you doing?"

I paused. I had always been honest with him. It felt cheap to say Okay. "I'm doing horrible, how are you?"

"Pretty bad. Can I come over?"

It was after 9. It would take him at least 40 minutes and I had an important meeting in the morning. I didn't want this to go on late into the night.

"Do you know what you want to say?"

"Yes."

"Then just say it, Rick."

I don't want this to be over, but this nagging feeling won't go away.

I don't think we're meant to be.

This is the hardest decision I've ever had to make.

I've been on the other end of this. You will be fine. It's going to suck for a while, I won't lie. But you are one of the strongest people I know. You will find yourself again.

I couldn't believe he was trying to console me.

"If you think you know what I'm feeling right now, then you don't have a clue how deeply I love you."

I've been in love before, Rick. I've had my heart broken before. And I didn't have a clue what heartbreak was until now.

I could hear him choking up on the phone. I went on.

How could you lead me on all these months? How could you talk about our wedding? How could you make me and my family and everyone expect a proposal? What am I supposed to tell them? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?

I am so broken. 

I sobbed. I wanted to say so many things. The rage had been building up inside of me and now it was mingling with utter despair.

"Maybe one day I'll realize I'm an idiot and come back, and it will be up to you if you want to take me back," he said.

The hope vanished before it could even appear. I loved him for wanting it to work and ached for him to be able to resolve whatever he was feeling. But he was tearing my heart apart even more.

I'm so sorry, Mary El.

He rarely called me "Mary El." It was either "babe," "Mary Eleasah," my full name that almost no one calls me, or, during our most precious moments, "baby." I knew it was over.

"We are already oceans apart," I said. I imagined him moving on, meeting some other girl or somehow ending up with the girlfriend he'd had before me, the one that had done this to him months before we met.

We both cried. We stayed on the phone but didn't say anything for a couple of minutes. Finally I cried out, "I don't want to get off the phone with you because I will have to say good-bye. You do it. You hang up."

And he did.

Good-bye, Mary El.

The wine bottles from Sonoma sit on a dusty shelf in my apartment, reminders of the special occasions we never reached. We would have opened at least one on our one-year anniversary in September.

But I can't worry about that now. It's 7 a.m. My alarm just went off. It's time to get up and get ready for work.

It's time to move on with my life, and I don't have the slightest idea how to do that. 

As I willed myself to stop crying last night, fearing my eyes would be puffy in the morning (they are), the Lord gave me a song, from Psalm 25.

Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
O, My God, I trust in Thee.
Let me not be ashamed.
Let not my enemies triumph over me.

Somehow, it's going to be okay. And I know the one man I've always been able to fully trust will never leave me.

Boy Band Bonanza! (Part 1: NKOTB2M98D)

Aug 16, 2013

This was supposed to auto-post while I was on vacay last week but apparently I have not yet mastered the techie part of blogging and now blogging is dead so I should probably throw in the towel but I enjoy rambling too much and blogging is cheaper than therapy so expect a lot more to come, players. (I thought I should throw in at least one comma. I believe I chose wisely.)


***

I'm caught up with some other stuff this week, so in lieu of a Week in Review post, I offer you a picture of Jordan Knight without his shirt on. You're welcome!

***

Boyfriend Perk: Can get me free tickets to a lot of stuff

Usually the tickets are for sporting events that I care little about (but I'm learning, just as my Grandmother instructed me to do), but every once in a while it's something that I love and he pre-announces that he will not be attending with me. I've been to two of these lately:


AND

(look for this recap in Part 2)

Two years ago I missed the NKOTBSB (New Kids and Backstreet Boys) concert because AJ went to rehab and they had to change dates, and I already had tickets to Britney the night of the rescheduled concert, so obviously I chose Britney. I do love the Backstreet Boys, but I've always been Team *NSYNC, and Britney represented that better than BSB because of her *hand quotes* romantic relationship *cough it was all for publicity JT is like her brother cough* with Justin Timberlake. Let it be known, this was one of the hardest decisions of my life. 

Anyway, when NKOTB went on tour again, I was dying for a chance to go. I was delighted to find out Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees were opening for them. I took my friend Anne for her birthday so we could relive our childhood and I could give her the gift of music via shirtless men. 


Our favorite act was Boyz II Men. Those guys are seriously talented. 


They were real-singing and hit all the notes and harmonized like angels and it was amazing. A few months ago they played a show at the Howard Theatre, and if they every come back, I am definitely going, free tickets or not.


98 Degrees was a lot of fun to watch, but I have to admit it was pretty cheesy. And I knew every word to every song. Amazing the things your brain retains...


NKOTB was everything I'd hoped they'd be and more. Too much more. (see Jordan Knight pic above) Donnie also spent a lot of time shirtless, and he also kissed a woman in the crowd and held it for 7 seconds longer than anyone was comfortable with. You'll see no pictures of him in this post because it was traumatizing and we all felt dirty. Danny and Jordan's brother whose name no one can remember are clearly just enjoying the paycheck by not offering anything but their presence. 

But then, Joey McIntyre (excuse the misspelling on the photos -- I'd fix it but it's Friday, and this close to the weekend I don't care enough to) saved the show...


...then crushed us all.


After that, we'd had about enough. Pining after our respective New Kid for 20 years is exhausting. 


Fun fact: We found out that if we plugged our ears, we could carry on a conversation by speaking in normal voices, I'm guessing because the frequency in the arena was so much higher. Yay for science!

Giveaway: TOTES! by Choke Shirt Company (UPDATED WITH WINNER!)

Aug 14, 2013

Like super soft graphic tees?

check.

Like tote bags with extinct animals using antique Walkmans?

I'm not sure...

Like companies that advertise they enjoy mid-afternoon frozen treats?

Okay, I'm in.

Choke Shirt Company (www.chokeshirtco.com) specializes in those yummy soft tees that I, personally, can't get enough of (and yet I still hold onto the old, thick cotton t-shirts from all the jobs I held in high school. HELP ME I DON'T WANT TO BECOME A HOARDER!). And now they're making totes that are just as comfy...as comfy as a tote can be, I suppose.


Each tote, and t-shirt, for that matter, is hand-screenprinted in their Seattle shop. The totes are based on their most popular tees:

  1. Fahantay features and elephant made up of lots of tiny elephants.

  2. Anchor is a handrawn anchor and has red interior for that total nautical feel.

  3. Extinct is a dodo bird listening to a Walkman. (Now you get what I was talking about.)
To celebrate the launch of the new product line, Choke is offering Cupcakes & Shoes readers a $5 off promo code: CUPCAKES. The code is good from August 14th-28th. The totes are only $22, so $5 off makes for an even better deal.

So what's the giveaway, you ask? Well, it's not a tote, BUT it's a double promo, $10 off your order. And you won't find that deal anywhere but here, because I worked that out just for my lovely readers. (I probably need to work on my negotiation skills, but STILL y'all. I'm not even eligible for the $10 off promo.) Here's how to win:
  1. Comment on this post about which tote you want and why.
  2. Get a second entry by tweeting a link to this post. Make sure to cc @CupcakesDC and @ChokeShirtCo.
  3. Entries must be made by August 21, 2013.
  4. I'll use a random generator to pick the winner, which will be announced August 22, 2013 on this post as an update.

Also, if you'd like to get me the Fahantay tote, I'll give you a third entry. *winkie winkie*

***

And the winner, chosen by a random generator, is...

Illana! 

Email me at cupcakesandshoes [at] gmail.com for details on your special promo code. Thanks for entering!

Week in Review

Aug 9, 2013

If you're a regular reader, you may have noticed I've been blogging a lot more lately than in the past year. I started blogging to give myself a creative outlet for storytelling, but over the years it's grown into a place to share ideas, happenings, reviews, etc. So I'm going to try something new -- nothing groundbreaking here, but each week I'll post a round-up of interesting reads, trends, videos, tips, promo codes, and so on, in case you fell into Netflix and called in sick every day until you got through an entire TV series. Hope you're still employed! (*NOTE: Battlestar Galactica is on Netflix now and I'm terrified of watching it solely based on this Portlandia clip.)


  1. Co Co. Sala is now at Union Market!!!!!! I've been to Union Market once and loved it. Will have to show y'all pictures the next time I go. So. Yummy. Try their Earl Grey and/or PB&J chocolate, you won't be disappointed.


  2. Tabaq Bistro is still missing in action. I met up with a couple of friends there for a happy hour two weeks ago, only to find a note on the door that it was closed that evening. A week later the sign was gone. I haven't been able to find out anything about it...have you?

  3. Shark Week.
     
    I want to live in this house.

    I don't have cable and I don't much care for sharks, but if you want to make the little emoticon on Facebook that is a shark, here it is: (^^^)
     
    *NOTE: This will not turn into Jaws on mobile devices which, with all technology in the world, is baffling to me.
     
  4. The founder of Amazon bought the Washington Post. And The Atlantic, which last week lost Justin Smith, a print media game changer, published a bittersweet article about what this means for journalism. P.S. Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder, paid $250 million in cash for it. Here's what that looks like, according to i-am-bored.com:

  5. Speaking of Amazon...Storage Wars is on Amazon Prime. This is life-changing for me, in that I no longer have cable, as I already mentioned, and now I can watch Storage Wars instead of incessantly checking Netflix's "New Releases" and "Recently Added" only to find nothing's new or recent. I discovered Storage Wars over July 4th whilst at The Boyfriend's parents' beach condo (#boyfriendperk!) and was delighted to find there's also a Storage Wars: Texas and Storage Wars: New York. For the record, Texas is my favorite, mainly because of Moe and Ricky. 

  6. There's been a lot of buzz about the blossoming of 14th Street, but its neighbor Shaw has been quietly planning a restaurant boom of its own. See a list of upcoming openings here

  7. The DC Department of Transportation announced a new visitor parking pass program on Thursday, giving residents a parking pass for visitors so they don't have to move their car every two hours. They haven't rolled out all the details so I'm not sure why they issued a press release, but what-evs. Good to know. (I'm sure they'll still find a way to give you a ticket.)
Coming up...
  1. Ted's Bulletin opens on 14th Street this month, just in time for me to go on my final beach trip of the summer and quit my diet! Pop tarts, milkshakes, doughnuts, and open at 7 a.m. YAY. Here's a sneak peek from City Paper's Young & Hungry blog.

     

  2. Breaking Bad starts back up with the second half of the final season. Get caught up on Netflix or, if you only have 5 minutes, here.

  3. City Dogs Rescue is holding a fundraiser on Monday, August 12th, and you'll definitely want to participate. All you have to do is go eat at a participating restaurant, and 15% of your bill goes to them. One of my faves, The Pig, is on there, as well as Logan Tavern, Commissary, The Heights and Grillfish.
     
  4. BYT is hosting a Cookies & Cream tasting party at Penn Social on August 24th. Leave it to DC to keep the baked goods craze going strong! Get your tickets here.


  5. Petco is coming to Columbia Heightsbut it seems they're keeping a tight lip on when they're opening. Should be soon since they've put out "hiring now" signs. 
That a wrap! Have a great weekend, y'all!

Chopsticks with Thai Food: Yea or Nay?

Aug 6, 2013

I thought I was so cool. I've always prided myself on my ability to use chopsticks properly -- that includes NOT rubbing them together before eating with them. Amateurs. Here, in case you fall into that category:

Hoping to enjoy dinner (HA!), last night I ordered from my favorite local Thai place, Sala Thai. I decided to try the Pad Thai since I almost always get the Panang Curry. They didn't include chopsticks, as usual. Ugh. Why do I always have to request them? I thought as I begrudgingly grabbed a fork.

Today I was logging my calories from last night, and the pad thai I found in the database showed that I ate my entire day's calorie budget in one sitting. Horrified, I googled "Sala Thai Nutrition Information," hoping I'd only ingested half that amount. 

While I didn't find the nutrition info, I did find their business plan. Thinking some kind of information might be in there, I scanned it for "Calories: only 300!" when this caught my eye: 


A few things to note here:
  • When I was little, a Thai guy rented our basement and made us food all the time. I'm fairly certain he taught me how to use chopsticks. Was this also a concession to an American expectation that his culture uses them?!
  • It clearly states that chopsticks will be in the carryout bags. That has never happened. Hmph.
  • Still can't find nutritional info.
  • They liken their delivery service to Dominoes more than once. 
  • Oh wait, I just noticed this is in Detroit and not DC. It doesn't matter. I'm still confused.
Can someone please clear this up for me? For the record, I am in no way dissing Sala Thai except that I have to ask for chopsticks in my carryout. But now I feel really dumb asking for chopsticks in my carryout so I guess they were actually doing me a favor.

My Yearly Blog Overhaul

Aug 2, 2013

Probably about once a year I get the itch to redesign my blog. My first header was literally a cupcake and a shoe around the title. After a while I realized my blog wasn't just about cupcakes and shoes, so I needed to convey it a little better with some graphics. A friend, Sarah, threw something together as inspiration for the direction I might want to go:


Using this, which was completely done in Microsoft Paint, by the way (you can do amazing things in Paint!), I asked readers for help and came up with something that was a cross between Sarah's and this:


I wanted to include Noli in there because she is a big part of my life and was going on the journey with me. This graphic ended up on business cards that I still have a few of, but over time, as much as I loved the "wistful" look to the header, I realized it wasn't quite hitting the mark. I was reading a lot of Jen Lancaster at the time and was finding my voice was a lot snarkier than it was wistful, and when "Trendy Fall Hair Fail" became wildly popular (and remains my most popular post), I knew I needed to lighten the mood.

A couple of years ago a fellow blogger's friend offered to re-do a few of the blogs in our circle of blogger friends. (I was going to try to mesh "blogger" and "friends" together so the sentence would read better and also so I might come up with a new, catchy phrase that would go viral and make me famous, but it would either be "blends," which doesn't make sense, or "floggers," which is not okay at all.) For a very small fee, she came up with a redheaded-city-girl themed design that was better than anything I could have done.


But, within a year, I was bored again. Having found the perfect shade of red for my hair and having run out of cash with which to redecorate due to my unexpected move, the only reasonable style I could change was my blog. So I bought a few images off of Stock Photo, pulled up Paint, and came up with something new. 


It wasn't the most awesome ever, but I thought it conveyed what I wanted to say pretty well. I knew the tagline needed to change -- I was no longer wistful but rather, after five years living in DC, I felt grounded, focused and inspired. 

So here I am, a year or so later, and I'm ready for a change again. This was mainly prompted by me trying to add social media "follow" buttons, and although I triple-checked the html code and everything is correct, only the Instagram button will appear. The more I messed with the layout, the more things got jumbled. I needed a professional again.

I took a shot on Etsy, and very happily I found someone willing to redesign my blog for only $25! Even if it's not amazing, anything will be better than it is now. (P.S. You can buy templates for around the same price or less, but I wanted something custom.) 

In the meantime, I changed the header and layout to make it more readable since the layout changes had made everything, including the header, wonky. Plus, I got a little "fix" of redecorating something. #winwin


Ehh, it's okay. It will be replaced soon. As you can see, I'm playing around with the tagline again. So, dear readers, I'm asking once again for your suggestions. What is Cupcakes & Shoes to you? Do you have any ideas for the design? Is there anything you'd like to see more of or less of on here content-wise?