Friday, June 25, 2010

A "Fail" Experiment

So, I don’t know if this will be a regular edition to Biddy Corner, but:

I’ve been particularly irked by some too-present-for-comfort work fashion trends.

I haven’t gotten my What Not to Wear fix in a while.

And I’m a sucker for alliteration.

Thus Fashion Fail Friday was created.

So what’s been bugging me lately? The capri pant business suit. What does this look say? “Hey, I’m professional, so I’ll wear my long sleeve suit jacket in the dead of summer, but I’m not one to turn down a clambake.” It’s just weird. You might as well be wearing a tuxedo tshirt. It’s the fashion equivalent of a mullet. Business on top, party on the bottom. And when Billy Ray Cyrus makes his way into your wardrobe, you’ve crossed into a dark, dark place, my friend.

I say there are two exceptions to the capri suit:

1. It’s shiny and you’re about to answer the on-stage question of the Employee of the Month Pageant.

2. You look like one of these chicks:

I’m sorry but rules are rules. Some people aren’t allowed to wear things. I don’t get horizontal stripes, spaghetti straps, or gladiator sandals. I definitely don’t get the capri pant. Few people do. So a word of general advice: tack on the extra three inches of fabric to the cropped pants of that suit of yours. Your ankles won’t sweat that much. I promise.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

T3T: Purchases

I’d never say that I was spoiled. I would say that I have parents that have been generous when it comes to big ticket items that I’ve really needed/wanted. My car. My iPhone. My Macbook. All things I love and all things I can thank Mama Jo and Dad-O for. So if this were Top 3: Favorite Things Purchased for You, I’d be done. But it’s not, so I’m not, so let’s get to what are indeed MY favorite purchases.
Living Room Furniture

Ah, my latest investment in adulthood. Adios, couch that the parents didn’t want and slip covers to mask the horrid flower pattern and bienvenidos Cindy Crawford Collection! (Yeah, I’m a little bit embarrassed about that, actually. At least my couch doesn’t come with a mole or anything.) Although, technically I haven’t “purchased” it because that would imply that I’m done paying for it…but I’m getting closer and closer each month. I actually think the trip to Rooms to Go with my parents solidified my adult standing. I filled out the credit report. I paid the deposit. I received the sideways glances from my mother which translated to, “Do you have enough money to do this?” and I gave her the head bop in return saying…”Yes, put your checkbook away.” Granted, I wouldn’t have been able to without their financial support during that last leg between my temp job and first paycheck of the new job, but I think it still does surprise them whenever I pay for anything myself—be it a sampling of Ikea’s finest or lemon ices for the family at the tennis tournament (Did I mention Sister and I met the parents in Athens one weekend for the NCAA tournament? So fun.).


Yes this is my cat. In the sink. No, he's not special at all...

Ok, to say I “bought” Jack doesn’t sound good. It’s not like I got him off the black market or anything. But I did adopt him and that cost me some cash, so…yeah. Purchase. And he was probably the most unexpected purchase I could have made. Because I can’t stand cats. When I told my mother what I had done, I think she was more shocked than she would have been if I told her I’d dropped out of school, gotten knocked up, became a Republican and joined the Hell’s Angels. But Jack’s different. He’s socially awkward, like me, and relatively low key. And despite his need to wake me up at 4:30 for an early morning pet fest and the abhorrent amount of cat hair on my chairs, it sure is nice to come home to something breathing. (I think this is the second, and probably last, time I blog about my cat. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: There’s nothing more sad than a single girl blogging about her cat. Cat talk: done.)

Broadway Across America

In an effort of full disclosure, this purchase hasn’t been made. Yet. But it will. And SOON. I’ve been jealous of Sister’s BAA package for as long as she’s had them. And now that I live in a town included in the tour, I get to be a part of it too! And oh is my first season gonna be awesome, or what? Les Mis and Chorus Line: All time faves. Beauty and the Beast and Legally Blonde: There’s no way they’re not gonna be fun. Fiddler on the Roof: I get to learn more Yiddish. Winner. I mean seriously. So happy. And even happier because I think Sister is going to buy tickets too and be my theater buddy. Hooray!

Anybody else wanna join in on the T3T fun? You know you do. So make your way over to Lovely Lacey's Southern in the City and get to it!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sore Biddy

I can't really move today. Walking the halls veeery slowly. If you're behind me on the stairs, I apologize. I'll be a while. Kind of embarassing. I've decided I've got to get back to working out on a regular basis. I've exhausted the "I moved/started a new job/going out of town/unpacking the bathroom/but I'm muy le tired" laundry list of excuses, so now I've got to suck it up and just do it.

And I started yesterday with trying out my new kettlebell purchase.

Now, I had an idea of what to expect from the packaging:

The handle was intimidatingly tough and manly looking. I thought my weight would look somewhat similar to the one on the package, ya know. Big. Apparently though, if you're a wimp and buy the 7lb weight you get something a little more like this...
Pink. And teeny tiny. I actually giggled as I took it out of the box. So not what I was expecting. It's like pulling out Baby Kettlebell and expecting Papa Kettlebell. Well. Baby Kettlebell kicked my ass. Never underestimate the tiny, cute and pink.

The weight came with a "workout," which really shouldn't be classified as such. The production is pretty horrible. Somehow the real people doing the exercises looked computer generated and the instructions come via voiceover. A higher kettlebell power, if you will. But despite the weird animation and the voice of the all powerful Oz, I was huffin' and puffin' after the first five minutes. I'm sure I'm not supposed to use this promo routine for the long haul, but until I make it through all the sets without wanting to throw my wimpy, girly kettlebell at the TV, I'm not upgrading.

Am also thinking about starting up this Couch Potato to 5K plan today. We'll see just how far I get...And just a disclaimer, if after a week I completely abandon this Move Myself initiative, and start counting my walks to the breakroom and parking deck as exercise, yell at me. Poke me with sticks. Or join in on the rationalization. And bring baked goods. I'm flexible. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Moody Monday Rant

Quick weekend update: I lurv my Dad-O. And this weekend we got to officially celebrate it. It was awesome. He's awesome. And my mother is an international recording star. (More on that to come when I have the album cover to prove it.)

On to the rant.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: The bathroom is not a place for chit chat. So wasn't it quite the shock when on my 3rd trip to the bathroom this morning (Don't judge. It's Monday. I have no vacation time. I do what I can to get away.), I run into a conversation between two ladies on the intricate workings of solar energy. Quoi? Seriously?

A. It's Monday morning. My brain can not handle a lecture on solar panels.
B. It's the bathroom. There are breakrooms and emailing for that type of discussion.

Because it would seem strange to just turn around and leave, I proceed to do what I came to do, and the moment the stall door closed, voices raised. I'm terribly sorry that my using this facility for its natural purpose has disturbed you. My apologies, let me treck down to the lobby and use their bathroom so you can finish this conversation. Let me also go ahead and feel bad about myself for using excess papertowels in front of the newly-formed-green-power-girl-group. Are they going to start patroling my bathroom, yanking that second paper towel from my hand, forcing me to put bricks in the back of the toilet tank and sternly lecture me on my ever-growing carbon footprint?


Thursday, June 17, 2010

T3T: Paper or Plastic?

Bienvenidos, bienvenue and welcome, one and all, to the illustrious, the lovely, the fancy...Top 3 Thursday: Retail Outlet Edition.

Disclaimer: This week’s selection truly demonstrates what a frugal, distracted biddy I am. If you’re looking for highbrow this week, I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. Feel free to click on.

Yeah, you heard me right. I love the Dollar General. I love that everything you buy there will come with a fluorescent yellow price tag built into the product. There’s no hiding that you shopped there. You must wear those consumer products proud, and oh do I. Sadly, since the move to the big city (heh), there are fewer and fewer DGs to be seen. So far I’ve only been to one in town and it was a little on the, um, dingy side. Hands down, Tuscaloosa had the best Dollar Generals. Troy’s was good, but lacked the selection. Birmingham, like I said…a little cramped. A little brown. A little sticky. But oh the selection of stuff. And I use that word with love, “stuff.” Discounted “As Seen on TV” products as far as the eye can see. On one aisle, cotton balls. Turn around and you’ve got the dehydrated noodle dishes. And truly, one of my favorite DG discoveries are the Girl Scout cookie knock-offs. They’ve got their version of Thin Mints, Samoas (the best) and Tag-a-longs. At about 1/15th of the price. Winner, winner.

About a month ago I noticed a vacant building in a shopping center right down the street from me sport a “Big Lots Coming Soon” banner, and oh, my heart was just filled to the brim with excitement. I’ve missed Big Lots so much the past few months. When I was still living in Tuscaloosa I would make an afternoon of wandering around Hobby Lobby and then hitting up the BL. Yes, my social events were impressive, I know. Be jealous. Again, another establishment chock full of wonderful, wonderful stuff. Discounted make up, $3 movies (come on, that’s just awesome) and tubs of caramel corn for a penny. (Ok, maybe not that cheap, but it was close.)

Sister was actually with me in my first trip to my new, local, fancy Big Lots. Ok, ok, she was just on the phone with me, but it felt like she was there. I actually happen to show up on grand opening day…On a Wednesday, I believe. Which seems strange. This should have been an event. With balloons and clowns and live radio remotes. Come on, Big Lots; know your worth! I digress. Anywho, Sister was there for each of my purchases that day, and spent a lot of time trying to talk me down off of my buying ledge. “Sister. Do you really need that little fan? Are you still walking around with that door mat? There is absolutely no more space on your wall. You don’t need that mirror. Your walls are going to be giant clusters.” Ok, ok, I get her point. But all of this stuff is under $10. It’s almost physically impossible to say no to it. And to answer her questions, yes I need that little fan. I get hot when I sleep. No I’m not walking around with that doormat, I finally got a buggy. And yeah you’re right about the mirror…Fine! And before you ask, no, you can’t stop me from digging through the movie bin. They’re three bucks and I want all of them. Mmmm Big Lots.

I complain that I have a throw-away wardrobe. Nothing of any real value or sustenance. But it’s my own fault because I shop at Ross. And. I. Love. It. I bought three dresses just last week. And yeah, they may fall apart after three washings, but until that time I will love them. Sus came down to visit last week to have a lazy weekend and hit up the Miss Alabama Pageant. In true Mellie-Susie tradition she flipped through my closet for anything new (and bless it, she always gets the short end of the stick. Her closet is always way better than mine.), and the conversation went something like this. “Mel, where’s this dress from?” “Ross.” “What about this one?” “Ross.” “And this one?” “Ro—oh to hell with it, they’re all from Ross.”

Anyway, besides the clothes, I love that once you’ve made your selections you can wander around the rest of the store for other odds and ends like cheap Nine West purses, Ed Hardy hand mirrors, dining room chairs, lime curd and funky lamps. (And I’ve bought four out of five of those items in the past two months. And if you’re thinking one of the four is anything Ed Hardy, I don’t think we can be friends. Freaky Lisa Frank knock offs.)

And there we have it: My favorite budgetary conscious, delightfully stuff-filled stores of wonder. Shop, drop and roll, people.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Comedy of Errors

Hi, my name is Mellie and I’m socially awkward.

Now, not in an Asperger-I-have-an-excuse-and-medication-to-handle-it kind of way, but in a occasionally-funny-but-a-little-sad-at-the-same-time kind of way. It’s just my lot in life and I’ve come to embrace it. I’ll be the first to trip, sneeze on someone or get my wallet caught on my purse strap and in turn spill all its contents on a hard marble floor, so you don’t feel bad about yourself if the same unfortunate circumstances come your way.

Schadenfreude, my friends. One of my favorite words. Schadenfreude. Definition: Happiness at the misfortune of others. I am the butt of Schadenfreude’s joke.

This by the way is from Avenue Q, one of my favorite musicals, and recently viewed live and in person by yours truly. The best birthday present ever, courtesy of Sister. It’s my Red Ryder BB Gun.

But back to the point at hand: The working world has opened a whole new outlet for situational awkwardness. And we’re kicking off this spiel with a trip to the accounting department. Seems easy enough right? You had to buy a plane ticket and reserve a few nights at a Drury Inn in Baton Rouge since A. You didn’t want to drive seven hours and B. You didn’t want to sleep on the ground, so you had to fill out an expense report. And take it to accounting. The story should have ended there. There shouldn’t even have been a story.

Unless you’re me.

The making it to accounting was fine. They’re on another wing of our building, but I felt my way there A-OK. I even found my accountant who will handle all of my expense reports. Was feeling quite proud. But somewhere along the way back…I made a wrong turn. Just to give you a mental image, picture gray cubicle walls to the left and right of you and beige walls in front and behind. Occasionally insert a gray wall in the foreground. That, my friends, is what every route I could possibly take looked like. Now, we do have artwork hanging on the walls. Virginia College students excelling in examining bones, operating X-Rays or creating sugar art. These should be able to be used as guideposts. Except we have about five of each of those pictures scattered throughout the floor. So If I turned left at the graduation photo thinking it was the other graduation photo where I actually *should* turn left…I’m officially effed directionally.

Because of my years of experience being quite awkward it doesn’t show in my face that I’m a lost 25-year-old. Like I said, this is my lot in life. I can handle it. So I use the old standby: Follow the Exit signs. Surely they will lead me back to reception area that serves as middle ground between marketing and accounting and I’ll be good to go. The exits lead me in a circle. I literally circled around a block of cubes. Now I’m starting to get frustrated. Not because a two minute errand has turned into a 15 minute excursion, but because in case of a fire, a visitor would be totally screwed. And burnt to a crisp.

At this point I’ve run into the same man (that thankfully I hadn’t met before) twice. At least I have a folder, a prop, to act as a ruse, a distraction, that might make this man actually believe that I’m on a mission, and not, in fact wandering around aimlessly. But I know I can’t run into this guy a third time. This is his territory. He doesn’t know me. He’s going to start asking questions. But then I see it: a beacon of hope, a stairway. This will definitely get me out of here. Yes, I’ll have to walk down to the bottom floor, but at least then I’ll be able to find my elevator bank and make it back to my office.

If only it were so easy. I walk down to the first floor and have two options to exit the stairwell. One is an emergency exit, so my choice was easy. I pick the one that won’t kick off an alarm and attract even more attention to me. Exiting the other door led me to two more options. One door I assumed led outside and the other I recognized it to be a door that would lead to the main lobby on the first floor. Winner.

Except not.

Like I’ve said before, you need your ID card to get anywhere in this building, which I actually had (mini hooray!), but my card wouldn’t work to open the door to the main lobby. Come on! So I’m stuck using the door leading to the outside. Fine. Whatev. I know I can definitely find my way back if I start outside. There are more colors than gray and beige out there. And you know, a parking lot and fountain to direct my path. I open the door to yes, find the outside as I had suspected. But I also find mulch. And bushes. And lots of grass. Not a sidewalk or pathway in sight. There is a tiny concrete stoop just outside the door. I’m assuming it’s a smoker’s hide-away. Now it shall be known as the bane of my existence. I close the door. Reflect on my ratardation for a moment in the cool stairwell. And open the door once more and step out confidently and purposefully into the mulch. I meant to come this way. I like a little all-terrain in my life. The bushes slap the side of my thighs, the recently watered grass leaves a trail on the bottom two inches of my pants, but I’ve finally made it to the sidewalk. I see the Motherland. And I realize why my card didn’t work. I had somehow wandered into Healthsouth territory (we share the building), and I don’t get to roam in their land without a price. The price of course being that when you leave, you have to leave through bushes with wet pants.

Awkward Account #2

I stepped in a puddle. In Target. In the freezer section. Right pant leg was freezing for the duration of my visit. I mean seriously. How many people don’t see a giant puddle in a grocery store and proceed to not just step in, but stomp through the unnatural body of water? Sadly, was not at all phased by the event. We all know why.

Awkward Account #3

On a recent trip to Memphis [sidenote: Birthday Palooza 2010 was awesome. So much lurv for my people. And I finally made the pilgrimage to my Mecca. Yeah I’m talking about Graceland and I’m not at all ashamed. It was wonderful. Still basking in the afterglow nearly two weeks later. Ahhhh.], I forgot pants.

Yes. I forgot pants. And despite coming straight from work on “Jean Friday,” I did not wear jeans. Mellie decided to wear a dress. Crap. Now, I did bring casual dresses as options for Saturday-off-to-meet-Elvis-daywear, but I’m, um, modest. And I enjoy cardigans or jean jackets to pair with my sleeveless things. Of course, this happens to be the one trip where I don’t stockpile 3 cardigans for just-in-cases and decided to just wear the jean jacket if I wear the dresses.

Unfortunately the jacket wasn’t an option come Saturday morning. Yes, it was a little warm, but that’s not the reason…And for the sake of the party involved I’ll just shut my trap now. The jacket was out of commission that weekend. I don’t learn of my lack of pants until shower time Saturday; I knew my jacket wouldn’t be an option for the weekend on Friday, so I’m totally ill-equipped to start the day. And this is Elvis Day. Nothing must ruin my Elvis Day. I run down to the car hoping my pants had magically grown legs (Strike that. They have legs.), I mean, grown animated legs and walked out of my bag. No such luck. But because I’m an awful mover, I still have boxes and bags of stuff I didn’t want to carry up stairs to my new apartment in my trunk. Could there be a cardigan? Could I be so lucky? No. But there was a plaid button up shirt that had belonged to my grandfather. And it just happen to be in—not the same, but at least the same neighborhood—of my dress’s color palate, so there we go. Rolled up the sleeves, tied under the bust and continued with my day of Presley Perfection. I think BopBop would have appreciated the ingenuity.

I may have looked a little off, but like I said…that sort of stuff is old hat to me now. At least I brought shoes. That would have been a trickier situation to deal with.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Illegal Immigrant

I'm gonna fail my Corporate America green card test. I just don't belong there, and I think folks are starting to pick up on it... First day on the job I was issued a Blackberry and Netbook. Some say, "Oo fun, new toys." I say, "No. These shall become my paperweights." I don't like knowing that at any given moment someone from work can reach me. It's just too involved. I still don't know my work number.

I live in a padded cubicle with walls of gray. I've yet to decorate because I can't figure out how to stick anything to the walls. Push pins fall out. Am I supposed to use tape? Rubber cement? Needle and thread? I might just start a cross stitch project on the wall to my left for kicks and giggles. I find the mazes of cubicles confusing. (Story to come.) It's like I'm in my own duller version of the last half hour of the Shining every time I feel my way back from the mail room.

All work and no play makes Mellie a dull girl.

My ID card (that must-be-on-your-person-at-all-times-to-enter-parking-deck-elevators-and-stairways)'s holder is stained with chocolate. It's gotten in the crevices and without the aid of a toothpick...It's not coming out. This is not something one would classify as "professional." I don't even know how it happens. Ok, I'm sure a part of it has to do with keeping Virginia College swag chocolate in my purse, but still.

My wardrobe is atrocious. I have shiny shoes. I don't wear heels. Business casual doesn't exist in my closet. I have one suit and it's what I wore for my interview. My dress pants are the same I've had for Lord knows how many years. Yes, I got new work clothes when I started working at Lewis Communications, but guess what. That was in January. And wearing wool pants and heavy sweaters is simply not acceptable in Alabama June. Sadly, I've yet to make enough money to go all What Not to Wear and get myself appropriate Spring work attire. Until then, I look like a frumpy house frau. Except for my nails, which are, more often than not, purple. Again...not something usually deemed "work appropriate," especially when they chip and I'm too tired to fix them.

But here I am, in it for the long haul. So somebody grab me some sensible shoes and a pencil skirt, and I'll do my best to conform.



Probably not.

Coming Soon: "A Comedy of Errors: Tales of a Comfortably Awkward Girl"

T3T Returns (and on time, no less)

So, this evening I came home with full intentions of skipping out on T3T...Ashamed? Should be. But. I'm muy le tired; I post recipes kinda-sorta-often...Or maybe I just feel like I do because I read so many cooking blogs. I dunno, and I digress. The point is, I come home to find that T.Nance, my dear man friend has actually participated. How oh how can I maintain my high culinary status if I let a boy beat me?

So here I am: Inspired by Julie and Julia in the background to share some of my faves. I've got the recipe box to my right, and I'll try to share more than baked goods. But I'm not making any promises.

Mexican Cornbread

Delicious. Quick. Easy. If you can ask for better just let me know. It's a standard we've made for years in the Bassett house. A go-to. A winner.

2 lb ground beef
1 lg chopped onion
4 hot peppers
8 oz grated chedder
1 c cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
2 beaten eggs
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c oil
1 can creamed corn
1 can Mexicorn

Brown beef and add peppers and onions. Combine dry ingredients and mix with egg, buttermilk, oil and corn. Pour half of mixture into greased casserole dish. Add meat. Top with cheese. Pour remaining mix and back at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Best Caramel Frosting Ever

I'm only including the recipe for the frosting because, who am I kidding--You could cover a tire with this stuff and it'd be delicious. Forget the cake and eat it with a spoon, I won't judge ya.

1/2 c butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c milk
2 c sifted powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

In small sauce pan, melt butter. Add brown sugar and bring to a boil. Stir one minute or until slightly thick. Take off heat and add milk. Beat until smooth. (That's what she said. Or maybe not. Sounded good though.). Beat in powdered sugar until desired spreading consistency. Rub in face and go nom, nom, nom.

Wedding Cake and Frosting

If I ever have a wedding--Which after years of intaking Say Yes to the Dress, Bridezillas and a Wedding Story, I can't think of anything I'd like to do less--The only reason I'll do it is for the cake. It's the best part. Spending thousands of dollars: Boo. Wearing Spanx: Boo. Crying in public: Boo. Cake: YES. But maybe I won't have to now, because I found the perfect wedding cake recipe. Make them in cupcake form and it's like little bites of heaven. You'll literally want to draw them a bubble bath, buy 'em roses and spend the evening spooning in front of a Project Runway marathon.

The Cake

1 pkg white cake mix
1 c flour
1 c sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 c water
1 c sour cream
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp almond extract (this is what does it)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites

In large bowl stir together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt until well mixed. Pour in water, sour cream, oil, extracts and egg whites. Beat on low for about 4 minutes. Back at 325 for 25 minutes. Breathe aromas heavily for they grant everlasting life.

The Frosting

1 c shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract (there's my man, again)
1/2 c water
8 c sifted powdered sugar

Beat shortening, water, extracts and half of powdered sugar for 5-10 minutes. Add rest of powdered sugar and beat just enough to combine. Add additional water or sugar for desired consistency. Taste test excessively. Go to store for more ingredients because you accidentally ate it all. Repeat.

Seriously. Who needs love when you have this in your life? No one with a palate, that's who.