Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Eating our Way Across Atlanta- Restaurants where we overate


"We're going to Atlanta for a few days?"

"Why? Do you know someone there?"

"Probably. But no, we are just going." 

"Is there a concert?"

"Nah. We are just getting away for a couple days becase we both have time off." 

Why do people think it's so weird to go to a place with zero motivating factors other then you want to relax and explore in an environment where there is an increased liklihood you will cross paths with someone from the Real Housewives? OK. To be fair this was more my rational in choosing Atlanta for a last minute road trip destination; [Tangent: The pull of a possible run in with Phaedra Parks was too great. Spoiler: I did not run into her, but I am 87% sure that Kim Zolciak-Biermann's father referred to me as a "gentleman" when I let him enter a doorway in front of me at a store. And we had a much cooler sighting that I will discuss later.] however, we  are both fat kids in small bodies, we wanted to cram our face holes with as much good food as humanly possible. 

Because we lucked out with our AirBnb in the Old Fourth Ward area,  we were super close to everything we wanted to get into. [Tangent: Seriously, If you are going to ATL, I highly recommend staying at this place. Our hosts were the nicest possible humans, and the place was functional and super cute. I feel like I like to stay at aspirational places, where I can pretend for a minute that I live in a tidy and chic space. My home will likely never be spotlessly lean and feature Keith Haring wallpaper...but for a couple days I can pretend. Because for me travel arrangements can be a crap shoot, I was pleased that this place was actually mostly wheelchair-friendly. While doing the seach for a place to stay, I had looked into a loft that was listed as "accessible" but the bed was up on a raised platform up a flight of stairs. FAILURE!] I had asked a bunch of people on FB beforehand and hit up our hosts for insights before setting out to go on our food quests. Unfortunately, we both felt like hell multiple days and wanted nothing more than to lay on the couch and watch Purple Rain, so we didn't get to eat as much as we had hoped...but here were some of our favorites:

King of Pops: 
After stalking their cart through the streets of Bristol a few years ago at Rhythm and Roots, I have been a fan. I know Nashville has recently been getting carts, but I have yet to see them. Anyway, since they originated in Atlanta, I thought they seemed the perfect thing to curb the heat.  I needed to hydrate and a sweet tea and lemonade flavored $3 pop seemed preferable to a bottle of boring water. Their walk-up window is in a little neighborhood , which reminded me a lot of Nashville's 12South, and is located adjacent to a park...so their stream of foot traffic is steady.

Noni's Bar and Deli:
We kind of lucked out with this one because our sweet Airbnb host also owned this restaurant and it was less than a block from where we were staying. Convenience aside, it was just really damn good. They specialize in traditional Italian pastas, sandwiches etc. We each had a giant bowl of pasta (The panchetta cream was DELIGHTFUL!), Parmesan fries and delicious cocktails. [Tangent: Cream sauce + cocktails + sun = midday naps for all!] Jamie of course, fulfilled his expectation of getting the most feminine beverage on the menu. I stuck to the Brooks, which is potent and refreshing at the same time. It's also doggie friendly, which is great for a lady like me who is down with OPP [Tangent: Other People's Pooches...you sickos.]. Prices were reasonable, which I found surprising for the quality. They could seriously be charging twice the price, but I am glad they weren't. When we got home, we stalked their yelp and saw that they really pop off post midnight. Maybe next time we go, we will check out the dance parties. I was bummed that they were doing a Prince tribute our last night in town, but we didn't know about it until we were already pooped on the couch and watching Purple Rain. 
 
Savage Pizza:
 This was really Jamie's only must because it is his traditional stop before going to shows in Atlanta. It has been much hyped to me by the pizza-loving ginger. The pizza was  yummy and similar in flavor to Pie in the Sky, and  I liked that you could personalize your pie with lots of six different sauce options. [Tangent: I love having a crap ton of choices!] Probably the best parts of the dining experience were their proximity to Atlanta's Little Five Points (which has a similar vibe to Nashville's Five Points) and the fact that I could eat my dinner under an army of suspended action figures. Example: I ate my chicken florentine personal pizza under a Bee-Bop and Rocksteady.

 Sublime Doughnuts:
I am very glad I woke up one morning craving a donut and decided to google "best doughnut in Atlanta" or else I would never have tasted the glory of having a sublime orange dream star bursting all over my taste buds. Note my look of euphoria above. So. DAMN. GOOD. This place is incredibly unassuming as it is in a strip mall by Georgia Tech. Not fancy and not expensive...thus pretty much being perfect for me. [Tangent: My mother craved nothing but Dunkin Donuts while pregnant with me, so I am guessing that has some carryover into my current adult addiction.] We loved this place so much that we got a dozen on the way out of town to bring home with us. 

 The Vortex 
If a place has a skull as an entryway, of course we are going to eat there. We had both heard lots of good things about The Vortex in Little Five Points and they claim ownership on "Atlanta's Best Burger" so it was a gimme. Even though they have a crazy long beer list, we both drank mules  (mine with vodka...his with whiskey) and ate food bigger than our faces. Although I'm bummed we didn't get their famed "Coronary Bypass" (a cheeseburger with grilled cheese sandwiches in lieu of buns), we both had happy tummies when we left. I had some kind of concoction topped with blue cheese spread, mushrooms and bacon aka all the things I hold dear. Jamie got the "Fat Elvis" which had peanut butter, plantains and bacon on it. Both were big hits!

What did we miss out on? 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I'm Gonna be a Supermodel: The Fashion is for Every Body Fashion Show

AGH! I am really excited to finally be able to share a little bit of insider dish about this really cool thing I get to be a part of! Is that vague? Yep. Sorry. Here goes...

As I have mentioned many a time, blogging has brought many cool people and opportunities into my life, and one of them is my friendship with Alicia Searcy aka the lady that is Spashionista. Unlike me, [...who is currently rocking a dress from the Target little girls department that I have convinced myself is "mature enough" even though it has pom pom trim], Alicia is extremely into the Nashville Fashion scene, Nashville Fashion Week and the Nashville Fashion Alliance. So no duh, she is fashionable. While attending her vow renewal last year, Alicia (ever the networker) asked me if I wanted to model in/help out with a fashion show that she was dreaming up. The concept was that the models would have a variety of disabilities as well as body types and cover a broad spectrum of ages to prove that everyone has the right to awesome style. It is titled, Fashion is for Every Body.

 Of course, I had the initial flutter of a thought that a disability fashion show could easily skew corny and come off extremely hokey, but I knew Alicia wouldn't let that happen. [Tangent: When anything with disabilities is ever done, I always get ultra protective. I want it to empower and not be the makings of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I want people to say "of course!" and not "awww!" Does that make sense?] My friend, the Spashionista, is the perfect person to champion this project and make people take notice and take it seriously! I  mean IT'S DAVID BOWIE THEMED, FOR GOD'S SAKE!!  Watch and learn:


There are also some legit local designers on board: Catland Forever Couture, Amanda ValentineEric Adler. Also models, like me, will be rocking clothing from Pura Vida Vintage and Opium Vintage. AndrĂ©s Bustamante is presenting is debut collection alongside my friend, John Thielman, who will also be showing for the first time. I sincerely cannot wait to wear all the pretty clothes and use all the knowledge I have gleaned from years of watching Top Model and the like.[Tangent: Reality TV wasn't rotting my brain...it was teaching me to SMIZE!] 
 The event is set for September 10th, and of course I will be giving updates when the event gets closer. For the moment, we are working to raise the needed funds to make sure it is taken seriously in this space. It is our hope that this will resonate with those in the fashion world and make our presence known! In order to make it possible, there is an indiegogo set up, were you can throw a few dollars or get your advance tickets! [Tangent: I hope you'll be there or at least spread the word! I mean...how could you miss an opportunity to see me make an ass of myself?]
  

Get excited.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Netflix (and Amazon) Hits & Misses Vol 17: March/April 2016

Maybe it's because I decided to binge on Netfix's Love and watch every season of Curb Your Enthusiasm last month...or maybe it's because the pickins are getting slimmer in my unwatched docs queue, but I didn't watch as many documentaries on Netflix as usual in March...therefore my reviews definitely carried over into April. I would just say, "Screw it!" but truthfully, I need things to keep me consistent and these reviews are the things people seem to get the most excited about. I love hearing that people bookmark the posts for their next seemingly endless browse session.



How To Survive a Plague (Netflix)- B
Let's start off with discussing the most heavy thing imaginable: the AIDS crisis in the early 80s. As expected this movie, comprised mostly of actual footage from that time period, is a lot to take it.  I was turned on to its existence by one of my favorite podcasts, Throwing Shade, and I figured since I was just a toddler in that era, an educational refresher was likely in order. Sadly, to be honest, my knowledge of the fight for proper healthcare among people living with AIDS in the early years is based almost wholely on Dallas Buyers Club. The themes and content were very interesting and upsetting, but I did zone out a couple times due to the presentation. [Tangent: Similar happens to me when I watch the history channel sometimes.] Even so, I still think it is worth watching especially if you are not well versed in the early gay rights movement or about the outbreak of AIDS in the US.  It is a must watch for those that are ignorant (like me) about all that the era entailed in regards to this disease.

Brave Miss World (Netflix)- B
Now to a much lighter topic- cases of rape injustice on a worldwide level. Just kidding...not at all lighter...equally upsetting, but still eye-opening and worth exploring. The stunning subject of this film is former Miss Israel (and then Miss World) who was raped as an adult, and then went on a global crusade to whistle blow situations where accusers were being swept under the rug. Some of the stories are BRUTAL and will make you wince, but they deserve to be heard. This one had been sitting in my queue for a long time and I'm really glad I finally gave it a watch. Unfortunately, this month I also watched The Hunting Ground (see below), which featured some of the same themes and footage..so it's really hard for me not to compare the two. I watched the other first, so I think that's why I didn't give Brave Miss World a higher score.

Crafted (Amazon Prime Streaming) - B
I chose this movie for two reasons...it was by Morgan Spurlock [Tangent: He made everyone scared of Big Macs in Super Size Me and created docu-series 30 Days...I also wrote about his doc Mansome in this post.] and it was about 30 minutes, which is a good length when I am feeling non-committal. Since I know a lot of crafters for hire and small business owners, I was a little more invested in this than some might be. The whole thing had a very "made for instagram" vibe as if the whole movie was shot through the crema filter,  but it seemed to make sense given the etsy-centric subject matter. It lacked a lot of the humor that you come to expect from Spurlock docs, but it also featured a profile on artisan knife-makers, so you can't have it all!

Autism in Love (Netflix)- A
April is autism awareness month, so it seems Netflix has several to choose from. [Tangent: It was a toss-up for me between this one and The United States of Autism, which I will likely get to next month. ] I really liked this doc a lot. It is sad and happy at the same time, and really gives you a glimpse inside people on the spectrum and their struggles with emotion and connection to others romantically. Because I work for a disability organization, I, of course, view it through that lens and can be a little critical in some areas. Example: Although the cover a spectrum of cases, they are all fairly high functioning and independent for the most part. They may not drive or live with a parent, but the majority hold jobs. [Tangent: In docs and reality programming, its pretty common for those profiled to be of higher ability levels. Some with autism are non-verbal or have additional behavioral issues. Dual diagnoses are very common.]  I really liked it and think if you love a disability love story like Monica and David, which I reviewed here, then you will like this. Also, you're gonna fall in love with the people in the doc. I am obsessed with Leonard's mom and couldn't stop staring at her large heat miser tattoo.

The Barkley Marathons (Netflix)- A
Oh. Dear. God. This one is a doozie. Generally a documentary about an outdoor endurance test wouldn't appeal to me at all, but it features my home state and lovable kooks, so I was on board immediately. [Tangent: Plus my friend Rae gave it her thumbs up, so I knew I was in for a good time..and not just your average sports doc.] To preface, I don't even like to go out to my car if it's raining outside, so I cannot fathom why someone would like to do a non-stop all-weather 100 mile race through rough terrain. The race itself is bananas and a complete fever dream, which is exactly what you would expect from two dudes named Lazarus Lake and Raw Dog...probably not his Christian Name.  These men, who my dad would've referred to as "characters," are the ones who conceived of the bat shit human sacrifice known as The Barkley Marathons. I think you'll like it.

Plastic Galaxy (Amazon Prime Streaming)-C
My boyfriend loves a good toy and amassed an impressive Star Wars collection as any boy would in the early 80s and I love docs about obsessive fandom...so this movie, found on Amazon streaming, seemed like a safe bet for entertainment we could agree on.  On a whole, I dug it. There were parts, as a very casual Star Wars fan (as in hasn't even seen all the movies) that I didn't care about, but I enjoyed the story of how these toys were kind of the unlikely beginning to crazy movie merchandising. It was interested to see how many companies passed on the rights. Again, I think if I actually played with these toys as a kid, I might have been more into it. [Tangent: My brothers did have the death star and all its inhabitants, but I was off having my barbies and his WWF figures kissing and putting on productions of Cinderella to be bothered.]

Finding Vivian Maier (Netflix)- A+
I love this movie. I love anything that is a big of an unraveling mystery. The movie profiles a young man who bought a Storage Wars style lot at an auction, which included boxes and boxes of undeveloped film and slides from an unknown photographer, Vivian Maier. In development, he found her art to be ahead of its time, but could find nothing about the enigmatic woman behind the camera. Through this documentary, he is working to uncover who she is/was through travel, research and mostly interview. It was so perfect that I almost wondered if it was a setup, as I do with most things that are too good to be true. I now am following Vivian Maier on Facebook and want to go see her work in a gallery.

The Hunting Ground (Netflix)- A+
Like a lot of folks, I became acquainted with this doc after crying disgusting amounts of saline during Lady Gaga's performance at the 2016 Oscars of "Til It Happens to You." My major mistake was watching this movie when I was going to sleep, because it took me 6 days to watch it in segments (and likely caused me to have some awful dreams), but I stuck it out and I'm glad I did. The movie, about the rape culture on college campuses will piss you off. It definitely is well put together and hopefully will make some waves in universities so that they will be pushed for change. It was great to see many of these women (and men) find strength after being ignored by administration. The sheer volume of stories that all end in a faculty member victim blaming them was astounding!!  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Ravishly, Surgery and bad Adele Parody

Hello. It's me. Remember what a consistent blogger I used to be?  [Tangent: That was kind of an unintentional Adele parody. Remember when those were a thing a circa late 2015. Oh, those were simpler times.]  Terrible pop culture references aside, I have been a little busy lately and promise that I will be a bit better later. In my absence not only has some site with the term "Arab lesbian" in its URL been linking to me [Tangent: What? WHY!?], but I have been freelancing up a storm so that I can pepper all corners of the Internet with my ramblings. Manifest destiny, bitches! In case you didn't see the links posted on my Facebook, here's: 
I probably didn't make these posts too appealing, but I am actually oddly proud of myself. Who would have thunk I was an advertising major? [Tangent: And by my use of the word thunk that it was in the college of journalism.] Trust me, someone clearly approved them, so they must be decent...the garbage that you read on here is 100% filterless. 

I'm really excited to be writing here and there for The Ravishly. Earlier this month, I finally met in real life, my long lost internet writer girl crush, Winona, and she encouraged me to pitch them some stories. [Tangent: Go read her blog, The Sky I'm Under. She's bad ass and the insightful lady I dream of being.]  The Ravishly recently ran a story about super delegates called Is Ted Cruz Actually Just a Sackful of Lizards?  so I am definitely in the right realm. 

The other reason I have been MIA is because my mom had back surgery last week and my family has been in town so I barely have had the sense to pee or eat...much less write coherently. She's getting around much better now though so it's time for me to play catch up. I EVEN WATCHED A BUNCH OF DOCUMENTARIES THIS WEEK...so if that's your thing- get pumped. [Tangent: Maybe this means I will have more to write about than the inordinate binging I did on Little Women LA, a show that is exactly as terrible as a show as you would assume.] So that what's up with that...what's up with you?

Friday, March 25, 2016

My first Trip to Gatlinburg Part 3: Fantasy Golf Fantasy

Are ya'll sick of my slow ass installments about Gatlinburg yet? [Tangent: I can sense the virtual eye rolls from all corners of the universe. I am now the blogger version of your Aunt who takes 45 minutes to walk you through her 35 mm prints of her recent trip to Tucson. You'll deal. ] I would like to think that as in all great trilogies, this is either gonna win me the Oscar (Lord of the Rings style) or go straight to video and have no original magic(Home Alone style).  You can decide after and let me know.

Jamie, Travis and I had to depart the crew early because we had dumb adult responsibilities to get back to, but before we left we knew either mini golf or go carts were on the horizon. [Tangent: I have not mini golfed in likely two decades, but recalled loving it. Jamie had also bragged that he was pretty good...so I had to see my boyfriend's athleticism in action.] Rae had been really excited to go golfing at a kitcshy wonderland, aka Adventure Golf, and had been hyping it since we decided to go to Gatlinburg (You can read her gushings here.), but when we drove by it, there was nada but an empty lot. It was a bummer for them because they were quite attached, but luckily we found another fun and fanciful links, where we could pose with lots of giant weird statues and get stared at by families with rat tails. Fantasy Golf to the rescue!
 I loved the place and the guy at the counter was super helpful and gave us a group discount and didn't treat us like annoying tourists like some folks (ahem...airbrush bitties!). He even let us scope out which course we wanted while we waited for our group to convene. 

There was however one misstep or amazing aspect (based on purely outlook) of this place: THE MUSIC. [Tangent: If Fantasy Golf had a DJ, he would be a sad woman in her 40s going through a bad breakup and/or loss of a beloved cat.]  When you go to a family recreation center with giant statuary devoted to mermaids and trolls, you generally assume you will hear some T.Swift or Bieber or a healthy serving of 80's pop... and not "Tears in Heaven" blasting from the speakers. While we were there, we heard several Boys II Men slow jams, "In The Arms of An Angel" and if I recall correctly "I Can't Make You Love Me". Music to cry golf to, for sure!  [Tangent: This juxtaposition would only be more surreal if it was at maybe a sad strip club.] I assume we left before they started pumping out the Eliot Smith. Though weird for certain, I feel that it only made the day more fun, because we kept taking bets on songs that would be equally and inappropriately at home here. 

It really was a great day and we were so happy for a 70 degree day in February. Besides, I almost got a hole-in-one twice...once I figured out which direction to hold the putter and stopped using my foot to kick it. I'm so athletic!!  Here are some more pics of weird statues and hot group pics of us in our much fraught over airbrush glory! 
 FIN! (Finally!)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My First Trip to Gatlinburg Part 2: Knives and Airbrush

 After reading my last post, I know you are likely on the razor's edge anticipating what else I did in Gatlinburg. [Tangent: ..or maybe not. Likely it is the latter, but I try to harness the power of positive thinking. Oh and just a head up, like all classics (from Lord of the Rings to Sharknado) this will be a trilogy. I'm gonna suck this well dry.] Aside from hanging out at our incredible cabin, or course I wanted to soak in the "big city" fun that Gatliburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville had to offer. [Tangent: I mean...how could you not? I just kept telling everyone I wanted to go to Dixie Stampede to see the psychic pig as promised on the billboard. That or Lumberjack Feud. Luckily no one listened to me.] We spent day 2 of the trip checking out downtown, which was super fun and loaded with weird moments. 

Everyone had their own agenda and "must do" activity.  Because he is a collector, Travis just really wanted to go to Knife Works, which as boasted by all their signage is the largest in the country (or something). He even offered to buy anyone that went with him a $10 gift, so of course everyone ending up going. [Tangent: To say this was not my element was a huge understatement. Jamie even made up a game called "Spot the people voting for Bernie Sanders," but the assessment was it was only the group that we walked in with. Such good people watching on a Saturday afternoon. Plus I got some replacement parts for my teeny pink swiss army knife. I am such a weapon enthusiast, right?]  


It was actually kind of fun and I learned a great deal about bumper stickers with thinly veiled (or just outright) racism and that apparently there is a thing called "Turtle Man" who is I guess something to do with knives and reality TV. Maybe one of you can help me out with that. Thankfully the outer areas of the store had weird antiques and curiosities [Tangent: Like David Hasselhoff's high school yearbook...where he was likely voted "Most likely to dance atop the Berlin Wall in a piano scarf!]


For some reason they had trays and trays of pinback buttons for under $1 so we quickly all clustered around those (and I think Crystal's hubby, Marc, fell asleep on a bench.) It was like a pool of water is a desert beckoning us. [Tangent: Also quick thank you to Rae who I stole borrowed a chunk of these pictures from!]
 Then after a weird detour where we went down the steepest mountain ever pushing Jamie's new break pads to literally burn rubber, we were in the thick of downtown and had two objective's 1. Get Jamie a donut from Donut Friar and then 2. All of us gals wanted airbrushed shirts [Tangent: ...because when in Rome...]. Both seemed like simple enough tasks, but proved to be equal parts stressful and hilarious. 

Donut Friar didn't take plastic, and by the time we found the ATM, they had sold out of Jamie's favorite donut and then the old bittes at the airbrush store were awful. [Tangent: The next day we created a backstory where they had gone to the Smokies on a girls getaway in the 70s...met some men and decided to stay forever and invest in an airbrush store. Soon their hubby's ran off and left them alone running a business...which seems like fun in theory but in actuality is a touristy hellscape.] 

One would think that selling 4 shirts without any prodding in a highly competitive airbrush market would be a dream (there is one on nearly every corner), but these ladies were having none of it. All of our questions were met with heavy sighs and eye rolls. They were irritated that one of us wanted a child's size. They were pissed that I wanted mine to say something different. They really just didn't enjoy the fact that we were even breathing near their technicolor Tweety Bird samples on the wall. [Tangent: Clearly they are not graduates of the Chick-Fil-A school of "my pleasure" customer service!]
Me: I want the same design as the other gals, but I want mine to say "Baby's first trip to Gatlinburg" and then ...
Airbrush nazi: Umm... hold on, I'm writing! You want it to say what?! (in a tone inferring that my choice of words was dumb)
Me: Well maybe just "My First Trip to Gatlinburg" ..then 2016 since there's not much space
Airbursh nazi: [insert exaggerated sigh and overzealous erasing.] So what do you want it to say? Is that the final decision?
Seriously, I just lightened her load! This was the case with each of interactions with them (and you can tell my our body language below that it was aggravating). She acted like she couldn't be bothered. The shirts were also not clearly priced and everything was additional, which wasn't really communicated but we were so frightened of these women that we just did what they said and tried not to ask too many questions. [Tangent: If answering airbrush queries on Saturday night is not your ideal, maybe Old Smokey Moonshine is hiring, lady!]

When we found out they wouldn't be finished until the next morning, we dreaded having another course interaction...but at least we got overpriced airbrush out of the deal! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My first trip to Gatlinburg: Dream Cabin and Essential Cabin Activities

As a native Tennessean, when I used to tell people I had never been to Gatlinburg- it was usually met with slacked jaws and incredulous expression. [Tangent: They probably thought I fell into a crevace as a child and was monitored solely by woodland creatures, therefore not going on many vacations. I mean...I'm assuming. Either that or my parents always thought it was too expensive to take 4 children to anywhere with too many touristy-type destinations...that may not even be accessible...knowing we would shape-shift into intolerable brats once we got anywhere with video games. I guess the latter is more likely, right? Oh and while we are on topic- I've also never been to Disney World and didn't go to Florida until I was an adult, and I turned out just fine. I've been to tons of beaches and Disney Land though before you call Child Protective Services retroactively.] To be fair I have been to all the areas surrounding and have driven through the Smokies on at least an anuual basis since I was born, so I get the majestic beauty aspect, but never had I gotten to experience the other part: The chalet/hot tub in every cabin/airbrushed/bears emblazoned on everything/redneck riviera aspect...until a couple weeks ago!

I'm so glad my friends invited me to tag along [Tangent: We went with Rae, Crystal and Aubrey and their fellas. I am thankful that we all get along so well. Boys and girls alike. That doesn't always happen. The fact that we were all content to keep the cabin TV on CNN all weekend so we could discuss the primaries speaks volumes! Oh and since Rae is a blogger, she of course, took a million pictures that are way better than my iPhone snaps so check them out here and here. ] so I could cross "Go to Gatlinburg" off my list of things every Tennesseean has to do. Of course, I was instantly concerned that the facilities would not be Kimmie-friendly. I know cabins generally mean ridiculous steep stairs and if they are "accessible"- it generally takes away every ounce of charm.

Well, somehow Aubrey found the unicorn of a cabin on AirBNB in nearby Sevierville that was seriously the cutest/creepiest/kitchiest residence I had ever laid my peepers on. So many quirky antiques and likely mountain ghosts hidden in every corner.


[Tangent: Feel free to ogle it here! It was actually two 100-year-old cabins that were connected with a middle living area by people that helped build up Gatlinburg. There was history and old articles hung in the kitchen that revealed the original owners built the space needle downtown!] Sure, the main stone walkway had some unevenness and would be hard for a power chair and the hot tub was down some stairs, but it was fully ramped and I was in heaven. I mean look at that amazing house...


Since our cabin was so adorable, we spent a lot of time just enjoying it and hanging out. [Tangent: I mean that kitchen...why would you not want to just live in there?!?!] Everyone was in full vacation mode, so we had brought or bought ridiculous ways to spend our time while hanging out. Here are some of my recommendations for essential cabin activities:

1. Ridiculous and Comfy clothes
We had no idea that we were gonna have gorgeous weather during the day. High 60's in February was an awesome surprise, and I was ill-prepared with my bag full of sweaters and boots. However, it got REALLY cold at night...especially in my room that was the "old part" and not at all air tight so thank goodness we decided beforehand to wear animal onesies! I am semi-angry we didn't get a group shot of 5/8 of us looking like low-rent furries!

2. Board Games

Ever since I bought HeartThrob at a goodwill several years ago, it has become an institution at any and all gatherings where people aren't afraid to embrace their inner 12 year-old girl. [Tangent: You can read all about its merits here in this older blog.] Even though it is geared towards young 80's girls, we have found that guys win almost 100% of the time.  Rae loved it so much, she bought her own copy on eBay and brought it to Gatlinburg. If we hadn't remembered games, I likely would have dug into some of the homeowners because there were some gems from the 70s and 80s in my bedroom. [Tangent: I find that on vacation if we rent a house from someone I like to embrace that person's spirit. I have been known to read their books (usually weird harlequin romances) and play their games. I remember learning to play dominoes at a NC beach house as a kid, because that was all there was to do around the house!]

3. Drinks!


Of course if you like an adult beverage, vacation is a time you go full throttle and invent a "vacation bev!" [Tangent: When Jamie and I went to the beach with my family last year, he became quite fond of Mountain Dew Dew Shine and Whiskey. This is a drink he hasn't had since, but will always be his Holden Beach 2015 drink.] For the ladies, our Gatlinburg 2016 drink was St. Germain, Vodka, Grenadine, vodka soaked gummies, marachino cherries, sliced strawberries- served in a mason jar with a giant straw. Yes, it was loaded with flair and so delightfully refreshing!

4. Odd Beauty Treatments


Ever since I  first tried Korean sheet masks [Tangent: You can read about it here when I animorphed into a tiger!], I knew that my travel-mates would appreciate them. [Tangent: You can buy the assortment on amazon here although now I kinda wanna try these!] Plus it was really fun to look down into the hot tub and see a heated conversation about women's issues taking place while those involved with wearing dragon faces on their own. Oh, and in case you're wondering in the photo above- I'm an otter. Isn't it obvious? 

Oh, don't worry- I have more silly photos and stories to share from my weekend! Be on the lookout...because this is gonna be a multi-parter like any good vacation episode of a sitcom! Isn't a photo of me in otter face the ultimate cliff-hanger? I thought so!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I got Olivia Frankenstein'd

Not to be super vain and self-important (which this is absolutely going to sound like. Apologies abound.), but I love it when creative people create something personal to me. To be honest, I get tired of looking through my own stupid face through my own eyes, so I like it when I get another person's take! [Tangent: It's for this reason that I am still so stupid crazy in-love with My blog header/mascot made by sweet Michelle at Creature Type! Although on the other side of the coin, the idea of getting a charichature at a fair or festival always turned me off completely. WHAT IF I DIDN'T KNOW I HAD BUCK TEETH OR BIG EARS AND THEY POINTED IT OUT!!! I am not ready to pay for that kind of self-awareness]

So when I got a cryptic text asking hypothetically my favorite colors from my friend Crystal, half of the power couple behind the genius brand Olivia Frankenstein, - I was intrigued. I reasoned that she and her husband Marc were either:
  1. Filling out an 'About Me' Survey on a Myspace page from 2004
  2. Making me a Friendship bracelet or
  3. Drawing me some sort of personalized creepy monster mashup that would likely make me squeal and pee my pants simultaneously [Tangent: The bread and butter of their biz is cute occult with a Nashville twist. Many of their more popular original designs feature retro horror movie characters in classic middle Tennessee scenarios. Ex: I just ordered this shirt of King Kong scaling the Batman building. 
Last night, I was dazzled to learn that option 3 was the correct one [Thank God..because I shut down my myspace and don't wear wrist jewelry much.] and I had been reimagined as this gloriously ghouly wheelchair pin-up lady.  TADA!!!

How cool is that? It was too good. Big butt, bony shoulders,  ballet flats canoe tattoo...it's all there! If the idea of a gal in a chair clutching a skull seems familiar, it might be [Tangent: I mean other than your fever dreams!] because they were inspired by the weird photo I bought at the flea market a while back of a Barbie holding a skull Hamlet/death metal style. [Tangent: You can read about that nonsense here in this blog post, but here's a photo to jog your memory.]

I am obsessed with it and can't wait to hang it side by side with the bizarro Barbie picture...because I am a sensible woman in her 30s and that's how we do. It means even more because it came from Crystal and Marc, who are seriously two of the nicest people on the planet. So I encourage you to go buy all their stuff and make them stupid wealthy! 

In fact I know they are probably incredibly embarrassed how hard I am about to pimp out their business. So here goes: They are doing a $20 presale through the week of their brand new shirt designs!! GO GET THEM ALL! Go to OliviaFrankenstein.com

Oh yeah... Follow them On Instagram and Facebook too!! Support local awesomeness!

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Tweet from A.C. Slater

Yesterday something laced with insanity happened, I shared my most recent piece for Elite Daily entitled 5 WTF Moments All Wheelchair Users Have Experienced At Least Once on this blog's FB page and in less than 24 hours it had gone a bit viral and That Girl in the Wheelchair had over 100 new likes! The obvious conclusion is that several of you are now reading my little blog for the first time and it will likely be only a matter of time before I completely alienate you. [Tangent: It's not all gonna be wheelchair blog type stuff. I am actually the worst excuse for a disability blogger there ever was, which is actually fine by me and why I have never assumed that role 100%. I get bored if I just write about one thing all the time, so be on the ready to read lots about crappy daytime TV, weirdos on the Internet and Netflix documentaries.]  I might as well let you know the caliber of material you are dealing with. Here is a tale that happened last month...or what I like to call a Valentine's Week Miracle featuring a Saved By the Bell star.

A couple weeks ago, Jamie came over bearing gifts...and because our relationship has never been a flowers and jewelry kind of love- he gave me what any gal might deem romantic- an A.C Slater Funko pop figure [Tangent: To be fair, he gave me the Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski figures as part of my Christmas present and I ever since I have been thinking I needed to throw a Slater in the mix to cause some TNBC level sexual tension on my bookshelf.] Because I was in the middle of working on something for Hello Giggles and was under deadline-I propped him onto my laptop to supervise...you know as any 33-year-old would do. And naturally I took a picture, because I liked the look of a teeny mulleted Mario Lopez keeping watch on my freelance. 


I decided to tweet it out and tag Mario Lopez and was shocked that within minutes he replied wishing me luck on my writing. [Tangent: Real quick- let me set the scene of what else was happening concurrently. While all this happened on the twitterverse, Jamie and I were watching The Bachelor, and it was the episode where they were on "Pig Island"...running around a beach feeding pigs hot dogs (because that's a normal date activity.) To say down was up and up was down would be a vast understatement. I just assumed this whole series of events to be a fever dream. ]

Yep. There it is. In all it's 15 character glory. 

True, I always been on #TeamPreppy, but this was still pretty damned thrilling...I mean Slater doesn't have to know where my allegiance lies. [Tangent: As a consolation prize, he should know that I will forever call sitting on a chair backwards "slatering" and  know all the words to the song Jessie sang at his pet lizard's funeral. That's something, right?] I then posted this bizarro tweet on FB and within a few hours I had over 150 likes.YES 1-5-0!

I daresay, people were happier for me about this cursory contact from the host of Extra than they would be if I had posted a picture of a baby bump or an engagement ring. Clearly, those I love have their priorities aligned with mine. As the congratulatory text buzzed through, I realized my friends were even maybe more excited than me...which is hilarious. It made my heart happy that I had truly found "my peeps."

Social media is such a funny thing, and if you aren't using it to reach out to the Mario Lopez's in your life...then you are missing out. 

Also, as a footnote- the same week as these shenanigans, the account I run for work got two random new follows from "celebrities" of years gone by.

 



 
 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Jib Jabbin' from The Afterlife

When you lose someone, there leave all kinds of reminders scattered about for you to find years later. They pop up in really weird and unexpected places sometimes, and instead of making me scared or sad- they usually make me laugh or smile. When we found out my dad was not going to get better, my brother Mikey asked him to haunt me...specifically. So, I guess I feel like this is just my dad following directions. [Tangent: Which is super bizarre because following directions was something my father never did when he was in the land of the living...so it felt strange that he would get obedient in the grand beyond.]  

I can only assume when my oldest brother, Chris, passed away that he followed suit. Since their deaths, one of my favorite places those two pop up is in my junk mail folder...specifically in solicitations from JibJab.com. Yes, let that soak up, the perveyors of political satire cartoons and dancing elf videos are bringing the dead to life (at least for me)...and the results are ridiculous. My family always had a strange sense of humor, so seeing a deceased family member in a cross colors jacket and door knocker earrings seems like a fitting tribute. 

Kelly and Dad (Not sure what this unamused picture of my dad was about)
Years ago, I used the site to make things like this funny Halloween Monster rap video using my family's photos to amuse/annoy aforementioned loved ones. Apparently Jib Jab now uses those uploaded personal photos, from years ago, to personalize their spam. [Tangent: Even though I am doing my damndest to clean out and streamline my inbox, I can't bring myself to unsubscribe to this.]

my brother Chris, my sister, me, Jamie and my dad...
I'm almost 150% certain unwillingly participating in a disjointed Justin Bieber cover is not my brother or father's ideal legacy...but they make me happy and I think that is something they could get behind. For that, I'm not sorry. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Netflix (and 1 Amazon) Documentary Hits & Misses: Vol 16 (February 2016)

February is a short month and an over-scheduled one for me! In addition to family visits and trips, I also had things to get me off track of doc watching like rediscovering the X-Files and keeping up with The Bachelor and The People Vs. OJ Simpson. [Tangent: I just realized I start all of these documentary preambles apologizing for not watching enough...or in some way shape or form, explaining why the post may be a let down (and we all know TV is the third wheel in my relationship)...Ugh...being raised a Catholic really sucks sometimes.] Fear not, in a Shamylan twist to my standard apologetic opening paragraph, I want to share that the ones I watched this month were kind of amazing...some of my favorites to date! So suck it...no apologies for only watching 6. Quality over Quantity, bitches! Here is your must watch list for documentary viewing! 

Cyber Seniors (Netflix)- A

As I've stated time and time again, I love a movie about spry and sassy old folks, so when this popped up in the queue, I was watching it within seconds. The movie profiles a group of teens who go into assisted/senior living facilities and teach the residents the basics of the Internet and social media. It's adorable and heartwarming to see the way these lessons open them up to a whole new world where they can stay in touch with friends and family (and maybe look for love!) The end of the sessions results in a competition where each "adopted grandparent" has to make their own YouTube video. Spoiler alert: One octogenerarian writes and performs an original rap about having her own teeth! HOW CAN YOU NOT WATCH THIS!??!?!

All-American High Revisited (Netflix)- A+

I finally got around to pulling this from my "to watch" list and I'm severely pissed at myself for hesitating so long. IT IS MAGICAL! The premise is this- a group of filmmakers followed around a California High School senior class for a whole school year in the early 80s, mainly focusing on an exchange student from Denmark, who was having a bit of a cultural awakening. Everything about it was so perfect like holding prom inside a mall and having a long haired surfer dude sing "Against All Odds" at graduation. I loved every minute and loved reuniting with where the different students were with their lives in present day. The movie was under 90 minutes, and to be truthful...I could have watched it for at least another 90. 

Amy (Amazon Free Streaming)- A

In a quest to watch as many Oscar contenders as possible, I was ecstatic that this documentary about Amy Winehouse was free streaming on Amazon. [Tangent: Lately Amazon has been dropping some real turd nuggets as far as streaming programming. I mean Mordechai?!?! Hot Tub Time Machine 2?!?!? Blergh.] I had heard from many that it was understandably depressing. and that was definitely THE TRUTH, but it really was a great homage to her talent and life cut much too short. Ive always loved her music, but more in a "had her song as my myspace song for a month" kind of way, so a lot of the movie was new information. The archival footage collected was super impressive. It was definitely eye opening and heartbreaking and everything you might expect from a doc about the decline of a star on the rise. 

Bible Quiz (Netflix) - A/A-

When I saw this added, my heart got 12 kinds of twitterpated because it reminded me of Jesus Camp. In my wildest dreams if it was 1/10 as good as Jesus Camp then it would be magic! It wasn't as great, but luckily I live for teen angst especially from real goody goody children, so I still enjoyed it thoroughly. [Tangent: Because as stated at the beginning of this post, I am a fallen Catholic, so this whole world of memorizing bible verses competitively is a bizarre universe for me. I must have said 20x aloud "This is really a thing?!"] I loved the students they chose to profile. You guys...this movie included not only a makeover sequence and sheltered teen flirting, but also prophetizing to people on the streets (who were NOT having it)! It had EVERYTHING!

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, True Story of Canon Films (Netflix)- A

I love bad movies. A Lot. In fact I first heard about this doc when it was mentioned on my favorite podcast, "How Did This Get Made?" which is about the worst of the worst movies. [Tangent: This week, HDTGM is doing Teen Witch and I'm beyond excited. Top that! ]  The subject of the movie, Canon Films, made a line of very hastily produced low-medium budget films from the late 60s to early 90s. Among them: Over The Top, Death Wish and a bevvy of Chuck Norris films. The "Masterminds" behind the production company were a pair of Israeli cousins who took a very unorthodox approach to film making, mostly due to not understanding the language 100% and knowing very little about the movie industry. This mixed with complete fearlessness is a fun combo. [Tangent: I dare you not to keep a list of "movies to watch" during viewing. \We watched The Apple not long after because it looked so incredibly opulent and insane.] Basically, all you need  to know before you watch this documentary is- PREPARE FOR  BAT SHIT! Also, be prepared for LOTS of boobies! [Tangent: If you are a tit-a-phobe or don't love seeing weird violence and sex scenes with little explanation, then maybe this won't be your scene!] It's a must for anyone with an appreciation for cinema...good or bad.

The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne (Netflix)- A

Many of my friends have been pushing me to watch this film since it first popped up. Apparently my love of twisty true crime is obvious. Also, in case you suffered a concussion since paragraph two, you know I LOVE spry and kooky old people. This doc is about a 86 year old jewel thief, who may or may not still be active. To her, crime was more or less a fun hobby and watching her talk about it was incredibly engaging. [Tangent: It reminded me very much of my obsession with the book (and later the movie) Catch Me if You Can, which I read 4x in between high school and college. You start rooting for her because you like her so dang much!] Her life was so glamorous and interesting, and I am so glad it is being made into a movie. I can't wait to see Halle Berry as Miss Doris. 

What should I watch in March?!? 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Tasteless Tastemaker

Lately I have been SUPER busy with self-imposed writing deadlines. It turns out being a shut-in with that bout of winter weather got me all inspired. [Tangent: Did you know last week, there was a movement called "National Visit a Shut-In Day"? I know I'm not the foremost expert on appropriateness...but do you think Shut-ins like that title? I'm indoorsy by nature, and think it's weird.] Sometimes these creative bursts make one feel a little introspective.

Sometimes I think my personality is hard. I find the humor in most situations even ones that aren't conventionally funny [Tangent: Example- I giggled aloud when I heard the phrase "National Visit a Shut-in Day."]  It's for sure a coping mechanism and most people don't get it. I've definitely come to terms with that over the years. Those that know me know that I'm not a complete A-hole [Tangent: ...at least I hope so. Even though I will fully cop to being an ass from time to time.] Even still, it's very easy (even for someone like me with zero filtration system or shits to give) to feel disappointed when you disappoint people...or worse yet, when people think you're a monster. 

 OK. Wait, what am I talking about? Well, as mentioned at the get go, I have been freelancing like a lunatic lately [Tangent: ...even though some pieces which were much fraught after were never published...and others are in limbo till the time is right...which is a bitch for someone who thrives on instant gratification.] Just before V-day, I had this piece published in Hello Giggles about the baffling way the Internet, and etsy sellers especially, have latched onto the two defense attorneys in Making A Murderer, the dad jean dream team of Jerry Butin and wild thang Dean Strang. You can read the article here where I talk about how all the Valentine themed goods that were there for the buying! To me it seemed a slam dunk because I was blending something pop culturally zeitgeisty with a timely Halmark holiday.

 Anyway, when the article was shared on the Hello Giggles Facebook page, more than one HG fan was disgusted by my post. They said it was "tasteless"...which I knew I can be from time-to-time, but didn't feel I was being in this case. When one person mentioned that I was inconsiderate to the victims and their families, suddenly I felt both sad and super defensive. [Tangent: Instead of defending a potential criminal...I was somehow defending my write to commentate on artists and illustrators obsession with the most unlikely of subjects- potentially the most generically midwestern idols of all time. The criminal in question was barely actually mentioned, but yes...I could see why people would feel strongly given the subject.] I wondered if they had read it even. Would various editors sign off on it if it was so bad? [Tangent: Meanwhile I am more upset by the typos that are blaring at me!! Yikes! Don't even point them out to me. I know they are there.]  It was all supposed to be light and fun, which made it a juxtoposition becasue the documentary series was decidedly not. Oh well, I felt bad for about 5 minutes because I felt misunderstood.  I have learned that to be true to myself means having people not get it so I tried to remind myself of that. I tried to brush it off quickly, realizing this was just the opinion of a small portion of the readers. 

The next day, I awoke to a smattering of thank-you tweets from various sellers whose shops and designs were profiled in the piece. 

They were surprised flattered and excited because they had awoke that morning to a heap of new orders. It was the ultimate Snoopy band-aid on top of the prior days paper cut. These people had gotten some free press and felt validated in their creative pursuits. When I was discussing the whole ordeal with Jamie, he put me perfectly at ease with the whole situation- "I guess you're just a tasteless tastemaker."  Yep, there's my future book title. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Korean Sheet Masks made my Tiger Dreams Come True

I have always secretly wanted to be Asian. [Tangent: Being that my folks met in Honolulu, it is not a huge leap of logic that they both dated Asian people before finding love with each other. Not that I would want any other parents (not by a mile) but I loved the idea that I was so incredibly close to being exotically ethnic. I mean being half Polish and maybe 1/16 Native American is cool, but no one has ever looked at me and thought "what an otherworldly beauty." Instead, people are generally just offering me stuff really white people need...like mayonnaise or sunscreen with 35+ SPF.]  I can only assume that is why I was so thrilled when my friend Aubrey, who actually happens to be half Asian and writes the blog Adventures in Aubreyland,  told me she was dropping off some Korean facial sheet masks that I had been coveting from her instagram. [Tangent: Yes. I realize that by using them, I won't actually be Korean...but a white girl can dream, right?]

Within minutes of pulling them out of my mailbox, I knew which one instantly needed to adhere to my face. Behold: Tiger MASK! 



[Tangent: Yeah, Maybe it wouldn't make me Asian, but it would make me a tiger...which was somehow even more exotic. That's some Island of Dr. Moreau shit! Dreams come true, guys.]

Of course I kept it on way longer than the 10-20 minute mark because I didn't want the fun to end. It's a wonder my face didn't dissolve off my skull [Tangent:...or since it was anti-aging that I peel it off and look like a toddler.]. Instead it just made me all smooth and moisturized; now my skin is more satin glove and less catcher's mitt. 

After the initial bout of laughter, Jamie was a bit leery of my face hidden beneath the layer of gooey paper because he said I looked like the Ripley's Believe it or Not story about the dude enduring 100s of body modifications to become a tiger. I'm sure that if tiger man is a follower of my blog (which I hope to god is a reality) that he is having a "bitch stole my look" moment and is a little irritated that I achieved that same jungle cat euphoria in a simpler and less expensive manner. 



 After I posted the picture of my stripey feline face on IG, of course some of my friends (who are like-minded weirdos) wanted on board. If you wanna get them at a cheap rate, buy in bulk on Amazon here on this link and you too can be a manimal or womanimal every night of the week for under $20! Trust I already ordered more (PRIME THAT PLEASE!). They came in today, and I am so excited to be a otter or a panda or A DRAGON!!!! 

Oh...what the hell...here's one more insanely creepy and not at all flattering picture of me in full tiger glory! 
Sweet dreams, ya'll!!



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