Sunday, October 4, 2015

Lil Life Update

Hey, Y'all!

So it's been about... a year (yeesh) since my last post. So much to update you on! Here we go:

I GOT THE MANSUR BAG OF MY DREAMS. It exceeds every expectation, and is the current love of my life.

I was in my first wedding, ever. Ever, ever. Don't worry, I'll write another post about things I learned as a first-time bridesmaid. For example -- there was no need for me to stress unnecessarily about bringing/ordering my own bouquet. That was a legitimate question I had. So as you can see, I learned a lot.

Another thing I learned: When told to "smile" at the bride, keep your mouth closed to avoid looking like a weirdo.

I'm still working with/for my Bossmother. I've had to file about 6 insubordination claims against me, to HR. Which also happens to be me. So I may need to postpone my leaning in for a raise for just a lil bit longer.

The "This Is A Test" newsletter is no longer. Since I pride myself on having extremely smart friends/readers, I assume you can come to a conclusion about me and my co-author. In totally, definitely really unrelated news I've finished 2.15 seasons of "The Goldbergs," 2 seasons of "Quickdraw," 2 seasons of "Rita," 2 episodes of Season 2 of "Empire," 1 season of "Another Period," countless Chipotle burrito bowls, pints of Ben & Jerry's, blocks of cheese, and Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" on repeat.

I've also been looking for new hobbies, or activities that will force me to bathe and/or leave the apartment. Here are some contenders thus far:

  • Learning to code!
  • Photography classes!
  • Taking a Coursera class on Ancient Greece!
  • Watch even more TV and don't get out of bed!
I'll take any and all suggestions. Except for like cleaning my room or doing laundry.

Be on the lookout for more posts. This is a FULL promise -- I will be back! XOXOX!

No. I love YOU more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I wanted to update you all since so many of you have been so helpful, and have sent me suggestions and dupe bags. I'll take a moment to shout you out:

"Jeni! It's Michelle - ok... the bucket bag post had me going "YES! I AGREE! GAH! WANT!" and I just found one that seems to meet your criteria (if you are still in the market) so I figured I'd pass it your way!"

Link here.

That wasn't all. She then includes: "Also this is the post I found it from, so you can get an idea of the look"

Not only did she send me a suggestion, she also gave me a point of reference to see how the bag fared in the real world. I recently checked the link. BLAST! DRAT! SOLD OUT! I seem to be one of many individuals looking for a black bucket bag...

Reader Jennifer S. provided me with this gorgeous dupe. But by the time I finally had somewhat of a financial cushion IT WAS GONE!

Jesse E. posted links in the facebook comments for to two viable options:

This bag:

100% of the proceeds will definitely not not fund ISIS.

Or this one:

Seriously thinking about it.

And reader Shelby F. gchatted me:

Shelby: because whenever I see bucket bags, I think of you.

She so kindly provided me with a link to a Kate Spade Saturday bucket bag which is... wait for it... sold out.

It seemed like all hope was lost and there wasn't a black bucket bag in sight.

But! Then! Reader Blair S. came up with a simple and genius answer -- why don't you just ask the company for one? She told me that she knew someone who received swag for copywriting. I can write copy! Technically I'm doing that right now. And thus the Bag 4 Copy mission began.

It started with this tweet:

Check out that 1 re-tweet! (Thanks, Blair!)
They hadn't tweeted me back instantly, so I lost patience and reached out to them via email with the subject line: "Just Tweeted You."

I am not kidding.
Lo and behold, 3 days later!

I see. So Christian's gonna play me like that, huh. (I can appreciate the used car salesman pitch to increase social media followers and email contacts.)

Well. Christian. The color combination I'm interested in would be "Really?" and "REALLY?" Please don't think the irony was lost on me regarding the date on which you decided to deliver this horrible news.

But, I do have to give them a +1 for responding to a (potential) customer email.

I guess long story that you've already read short, I'm still Mansur Gavriel-less. Since this will be my first year celebrating Christmas, I think I'm allowed to cash in one of those Lifetime Channel miracles. That's how Christmas works, right? You say something you want out loud and then some graphics like stardust appear and there's a fairy, or an elf, or Vanessa Williams who does all the dirty work for you and VOILA you get a new bag!

And then everyone's happy and I forgive Christian for his trespasses and end the 2-part made for TV special event by walking up to him, snow flurries falling, and whisper "Merry Christian Christmas, Christian" in his ear, and give him a chaste kiss on the cheek.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Accessory Odyssey

There's been something missing in my life. It's not a spiritually rewarding job, or embarking on a trip to over-pinned travel destinations. No, it's something else that affects my life almost daily: Finding the perfect black handbag.

I should correct myself. I've FOUND the perfect black handbag. The Mansur Gavriel (yes, spelling is correct) Mini Bucket Bag.

It is a thing of beauty. Rich black leather with a subtle sheen. Three gold studs adorn the shoulder strap, whose length allows the bag to hit at exactly the right spot on the hip. The top of the bucket bag cinched by a perfectly-sized bow, with a teeny tiny gold embossed logo at the bottom which comes nowhere close to ostentatious. The flaming red interior mimics my pining, and how I so yearn for this piece of art.

It's true. I've fallen in love with a bucket bag. It's time for society to finally accept the union of a woman and a handbag.

One day, you will be mine.
Alas, every good love story has that fatal hiccup. Romeo and Juliet, Pyramus an Thisbe, Britney and Justin. What's keeping me apart from my one true love (other tru luvs include Haribo gummy bears and "Suggested for You" on Netflix)? The price tag of $460.

A few weeks ago I had an internal debate. Pay off my credit card debt, or buy this bag. Debt or bag? Getting out of the red or putting me further into the hole. Creditor's calls or siren's calls. I'm only SLIGHTLY ashamed to say this was not an instantaneous decision. I went with my credit card payment, and now devote a portion of my day, every day, image searching "Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag," as I lay my head on my hand, arm propped up, and audibly sigh.

I like to pride myself on being able to comb through the internet for dupes or hidden sales or a very specific gif of geese dressed in Victorian era clothing. Just give me two data points and I can google the shit out of anyone. College thesis, social sports league membership,government job annual salary -- you name it, I can pretty much find it. I'm still surprised the FBI/CIA hasn't reached out for my freelance services. Or they're just waiting for the right moment... which could happen annnnnnyyyyyy time now. (I just checked my email, still nothing.)

I've met my binary match. Finding a bag as beautiful as the one above, for a price that is not ~1/3 of my rent. The bag may be spacious, but I can't live out of it. At least not with the size of my current duvet. Now is the time for you, dear reader, to share my frustrations. I have yet to find a bag matching the beauty of the MG with a price that doesn't make me question if I can afford eating this month.

Attempt 1: H&M

A new H&M opened up near my office, which warranted a quick pop-in. I was just about at my scent threshold of ripe polyester when I spied a teeny tiny black "leather" bag. I'm using that term loosely. Its material could most likely be melted down and used to fill potholes.

It's not thaaaaaaaat baaaaaa-yes it is.
Big enough to fit my necessary items? If I wanted to bring a license and maybe 2 keys, sure. Black? Check. Price cheaper than $460. Check check. At a sale price of $6.75 it basically cost me as much as gas station sushi. So I went ahead and bought it.

When I returned home and looked at the bag outside of its natural habitat, I was offended. The flimsy strap took the power of Zeus to re-size, the material was pretty much repulsive to the touch, and it was a $7 bag from H&M. It had to go. Plus, I kept telling myself "It's only $7! So it's your "for now" bag until you can afford the item around which your entire existence revolves." What's the point of paying for a "For now" bag when you're looking to avoid spending money. Now the tally would be $467. No. Nope nope no.

Attempt 2: J. Crew Factory

In a routine J. Crew Factory sale perusal, I spotted a shoulder bag that made me do a double-click.

Black? Yeah, most of it. Decent size? Mmhmm. Relatively inexpensive? At $78 bucks, I wouldn't go hungry.

Maybe it was just my online ocular fatigue and disappointment in not being able to find a dupe I was content with, that made me shrug my shoulders as I entered my card information. Sadly my initial accessory lust turned into a "I guess... Why not, right?" A phenomenon which coincidentally happens about 3-6 months in on OKCupid.


The bag came, and THAT BAG WENT. OH THAT BAG HAD TO GO. I really couldn't get much further than this:

BLECH. Be gone foul creature! Go back to the J Crew Factory from whence you came!!!!!!!! There is no way you could ever replace the bucket bag-shaped hole in my heart.

Attempt 3: The Internet

You're probably thinking "How hard can this be?" Well, you're asking the wrong question. What you SHOULD be asking is "How picky is this chick?" in which I would respond "Very."

Here are some other options I found, and my insanely critical and irrational opinions of each:

The Kelsi Dagger "Benedetta Bucket Bag":

Oh, this looks promising! Price? $188, OK can do. Ehhh the strap is a little thick. What about a body ratio picture?

Oh no. Oh no no no. That's all wrong. Look how big that is! Also look where the top lands -- you'd have to bend your arm into an awkward bird wing just to get in there. Or you'd have to take the bag off and it's impossible to look through a bag without some sort of table or surface, but you'll most likely be outside and there's no way I'm putting this on a grimy sidewalk, no matter how cool it is for the kids to get "grimy" nowadays. I won't do it. I refuse.

Urban Outfitters "Cooperative Structure Bag" Online Exclusive

I mean, I don't hate it. It seems stiff. Not crazy about the apparent seam on the bow, which looks cheap:

$49, is a tough price to beat. But then I keep looking at this picture:

She's just SO SAD. So sad. Because she knows this is a poor imitation of such a beauty. NEXT.

Mango "Pebble Bucket Bag"

Why am I even entertaining the thought?

BAGGU "Leather Drawstring Bag"

You think I'm being narrow minded?

NOT AS NARROW AS THAT OPENING. How am supposed to get in there? Moving on.

David Jones "Drawstring Bucket Bag"

I loathe you.

Maybe if I combine this year's Hanukkah with next year's birthday I can con a family member into buying me the Mansur Gavriel. Until then, my chin is firmly planted on top of my hand, head cocked in longing.

This bag comes with that BMI, correct?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In Which I Try to Cook

Money is a funny thing.  Namely I laugh every time I open up my Bank of America App [sponsorship opportunity available] and review my account balance.  In an effort to save some money, I have finally decided it's time to cook my own meals.  This is a big move, because I've never had confidence as a chef.  I'm actually kind of scared of cooking; thinking about it stresses me out.  You're doing many things at once.  Too many things.  In my case, literally putting out multiple fires.  I AM great at sous-chefing.  I take direction well, and years of pouring and measuring at Montessori school really puts me in this calm zone where I'm hopeful there's naptime shortly after the meal.  But helming my own skillet ship was slightly daunting.

This past Sunday night I decided to just go for it and found a recipe online that basically contained one main ingredient -- chicken.  So my challenge was to cook, AND cook something healthy.  Not sure if you remember this previous post, but let's just say I didn't win the challenge.  Or come in second.  Or place. any. number.  Basically I got the "Total Body Transformation" memo, but went in the opposite direction.  Come on, that many boot camp classes was just too many.  It's outrageous.  But I'm back on the healthy living bandwagon and even went spinning the morning after my 10 year high school reunion.  Ultimately it was the wrong decision, but I felt smug walking around in workout gear and THAT felt wonderful.

Don't worry, I have pre-lowered expectations.

Step 1: I wrote my grocery items on the back of an envelope, because it turns out I'm one of those women who pays for groceries with a check, or just asks their local grocer to add it to their tab.

Step 2: Buy food.  Armed with my reusable grocery bag, because I'm full of love for the earth and myself, I headed to the neighborhood Safeway.  Before entering, I got a call from one of my baes and attempted to maintain a conversation while in mental life delay from spinning.  And alcohol.  Mainly alcohol.  And while searching for very specific items on a list.  This is going to be fun.  The conversation went something like this:

"Yeah, it was so much fun... so much... where the fuck are the toasted sesame seeds?  No, No, I was talking to me... and now I'm talking to --SIR!  SIR!  Hi, hello.  I'm looking for toasted sesame seeds-- no, I'm still here, sorry, yeah that's so funnnnnnaisle four?  And nine?  OR nine.  No, I'm here, four?  OK, you know I'll try them both thank you!  You still there?"

So after a grocery trip that took me around 45 minutes for ~8 items, I came home and set up my laptop in the kitchen.  First thing's first, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. OK, done, didn't screw that up!  Yet!  Now time to prepare the chicken.  2 pounds.  2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I decided to make the suggested 6-person serving for the entire week because I'm going to plan ahead and bring this chicken and my prepared red quinoa (because I am REALLY taking control of my life) to work every day, like a woman who has her shit together and has skincare regimes and has that little purse inside her purse of things you never realized you needed and when you ask that friend for one of those things, SHE ALWAYS has one.

Back to work.  I was tasked  to cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, very subjective, OK but I'll err on the size of small.  Done.  Now what do I do with all of these pieces of raw meat...?  Let me elbow mouse my computer awake.  OK... chicken... done... put the chicken in the mixture of--oh.  You were supposed to make a mixture.  Alright, let me just put this 2 pounds of raw chicken back down and turn on the sink with my elbow.  Ugh I have to grab the soap with my salmonella-y hand -- note to self, Clorox wipe the soap.  Clorox wipe EVERYTHING.  Alright, hands dry, time to make the flour mixture.  1/4 cup flour... pepper and done.  Now, I just need to put the chicken in the bowl and mix this...'s a littlllllllle sticky, OK I think it's coated?  Most pieces have flour so I'm going to round up and say yes, coated.  Let me wash my hands, I think there's still flower on my--no that's chicken.  That's gross, that's chicken.

This is when I realized I was supposed to use the soy sauce, chicken broth, sesame oil, rice vinegar and brown sugar for something...  Something.  Oh, right.  The sesame aspect of the sesame chicken.  I start to panic, and my roommate swooped in.  This was after I audibly, instead of mentally exclaimed "OH SHIT."  "Phoebe -- garlic -- minced -- now!"  No, that's not how I asked her, but if I were a ball-bustin' clog-kickin' chef that totally would've been my command.

As Phoebe calmly chopped the garlic, I dumped the 2 pound mound of chicken into a pre-sprayed pan (see, I was on top of SOMETHING) and ran over to grab a bowl and frantically measured each liquid item while peering over at the pan to assess any potential damage.  This may just work.

I finished mixing the sauce and poured that on top of the chicken.  Everything was going according to plan muhahahaha-wait.  Why is the oven on and set to 400 degrees...?  I remember doing this, but I can't remember why...  I Cloroxed my laptop mousepad (most likely not advisable) and keyboard, and scrolled through the recipe.  Ah, I'm supposed to transfer the skillet to the oven to bake the chicken for 20 minutes.  I look back up at the pan and its rubber handle.  Now, I don't know much about science and heat and atom expansion and liquidation, but I do know what happens when you put a plastic measuring spoon in the dishwasher, turn it on, leave for work, have the spoon adhere itself to a heating coil, and your super calls you because your neighbor smelled something burning and called the fire department.

Phoebe could sense my panic, kind of like service dogs and seizures, and I told her we needed a new chicken vehicle for the oven.  She calmly found a Pyrex dish (Why is she so calm?  There are too many things!  The flour bowl, the chicken board, the sauce bowl, the 5 forks strewn about, why did I keep taking out forks?  The pan, the laptop, am I sweating?  I'm sweating.) and helped transfer the almostcookedallthewaythrough(and would be the best diet ever if ingested now) chicken to the dish.  I then popped that in the oven, and took note of the time.

Phoebe and I moseyed to the couch just in time for "Cosmos."  Who else is watching this show?  I hope it's everyone reading this, because my mind hypernova'd at last week's episode about star collapses, big bangs, and black holes.  If you're not watching it for the science, then definitely watch it for the cartoon re-telling of the scientists' greatest achievements.  Or NdGT's final line of the episode "We... are all star dust."  BOOM. BANG. UNIVERSE. STAR DUST.

Speaking of explosion, how about that chicken?  I scurried over to the oven, opened it up and VOI-THE FUCK-LA, it was a thing of beauty.  I (with the help of Phoebe) am chef Phenomenally.  Phenomenal chef, that's me.

Oh wait.  The quinoa.  Right, the quinoa.  OK, side of the box, how to prepare... gotcha.  "Add 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to pot, bring to boil," whatever, yeah yeah, got it.  But I only wanted to make 1/4 cup dry quinoa because I am a lady with the willpower to suppress her appetite.  So, if my Algebra 3 math is correct... (real class, did so well my parents suggested I apply to MIT.  Good one, parents with an over-inflated sense of child's actual academic ability) I would need to put in a 1/2 cup of water for 1/4 cup of quinoa.  Done.  Dumped that thing in there, brought it to a boil, then brought it to a simmer, and slapped on the lid and went back to the couch.

After about 10 minutes I got up and checked out the quinoa.  "Phoebe, how do I know if this is done?"  I looked at the box: "You will know the quinoa is done when the germ of the kernel is exposed and the red becomes semi-translucent."  Aight Wordsworth, didn't get any of that.  Phoebe and I hovered above the pot and took a small taste.  "It's kind of... crunchy."  "Yeah... but that kind of tastes cool."  "Yeah."  And done, I'm done.  It's done.  I took it off the stove, forked it into a Tupperware container with 3/4 cup of the chicken (sans sesame seeds, damn you Safeway) and was good to go for work.

Before shot:

After shot:

I'm a monster.  A monster who can kiiiiiinda cook.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Olympics Wrap-Up

Click here to listen to my coverage of the 2014 #Fauxchi Olympic Games!

And alll y'aaaalllll should subscribe to the "Fortnight on the Internets" podcast here.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Fortnight on the Internets somehow scrounged up enough rubles to fly me uber-economy to Sochi to cover the Olympics!!!


Be sure to follow all my inevitable kooky and zany mishaps via twitter -- @jenisue

Or just follow the hashtag #fauxchi!

(Please note: I am faux-liveblogging.  Nothing to get twisted, because this is not real.  Like when friends thought I was actually attempting to get impregnated by all of Mumford & their Sons when I was faux-liveblogging Coachella, because our offspring would have British.  Fun idea, never really happened.  Please Mom, don't panic. I didn't actually leave the country without telling you.)


Monday, February 3, 2014

I'm Challenged

I've been challenged by Gold's Gym (Note: Gold himself did not personally invite me) to undergo a TOTALLLLL BOOOODYYYYYY TRAAAAANSFOOOOORMAAAAATTTTIIIOOOONNN.

12 weeks
36 boot camp training sessions
(aiming for) 24 loads of laundry
And at least 4-6 people who will incur the wrath of my hangry outbursts

I am DOING THIS.  I mean, look.  Look at Steve:

I can only hope to look half as good as Steve, and Steve's beard.

So far, I've executed a 10-step plan.

Step 1: Sign up.

Step 2: Take the before/after ransom picture

Oh, you thought I was going to post that picture? BAHAHAHAHHAHA...HAHAHA...hahahahh...hahaha...haha whewww haha, no.

I call it the ransom picture because the Fitness Director positioned me next to that day's paper tacked to the wall as proof of life(CHANGING RESULTS!!!!!!!!!).  I was told to dress in a sportsbra (personal/physical preference is 2) and shorts.  I chose the most unflattering short shorts and my best mug shot face to really achieve the look of "Infinite sadness at not being in peak phsyical condition."

The Fitness Director conducted the photo shoot in his office, and I appreciated the privacy.  I appreciated it until I looked to the side and saw that his window facing one of the main weight lifting areas -- which was "covered" by a desk calendar, was larger than said desk calendar.  I found myself making direct, intense eye contact with a guy in a cut-off frat tshirt most likely listening to Fall Out Boy.  Or the podcast of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!"  I don't know his life!  Except for the parts I do know because they are so blatantly obvious.

Also noteworthy -- the Fitness Director took these photos on his phone.  So that'll be a fun NSA data-mine found object.  If the NSA manages to connect the photos with this blog, please note that I am not actually being held against my own will at the Gold's Gym on 19th & L.

Step 3: Buy a Pedometer (This step not required, and I'm not sure it's entirely recommended)

During a trip to Target last weekend (that resulted in a ratio of 5:1 things I didn't need, to things I originally planned to get when organizing the Target trip) I purchased a Fitbit Flex.

This lil guy tracks number of steps, calories burned, active minutes, and quality of sleep.  THIS IS THE FUTURE.

I set my goal to number of steps (10,000xday) and check it roughly... every 30 seconds to see my progress.  The display shows a dot for every 2,000 steps taken.  I've found myself marching in place to get to the next dot.  I now have a compulsion to win at a game I've created where I am the only participant, and I win a 10 second vibration indicating I've hit my goal.  AND PRIDE.  SO MUCH PRIDE.

Step 4: Take a Zumba class

This was not my first Zumba.  But this IS the first time writing about Zumba.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, Zumba is the Latin music dance class popular with housewives, mothers, and other very, very white people.  Below is an example of a Zumba class.  For your reference, I was Randy.

I entered the dance studio and took an unassuming position in the back left, right behind the person in front of me.  This way I could avoid all self-eye contact and glimpses of my body somehow resisting any attempts to stay on the beat.  Here's the rub -- I can dance.  In my mind.  But not physically.  Physically, my body makes no sense whilst moving to music.

We started with a "warm-up" which I initially thought was high-impact cardio.  Moving into the next song, the instructor shouted "I HOPE EVERYONE REMEMBERED TO DO THEIR HOMEWORK!"  Homework?  What homework?  This was my first class.  I didn't even get a syllabus!  WHAT WAS THE REQUIRED READING?!  I suddenly felt like John Cusack:

It seemed like every single person had memorized all the choreography to every single song.  I just remembered the instructor's words at the beginning of class "Even if you don't get it, I want you to keep moving."  OK, keep moving.  KEEP MOVING.  This included a hell of a lot of toe tapping, pointing, clapping, and random hip shaking in an attempt to blend in with the Salsa-ly aggressive mid-level bureaucrats LETTIN' LOOSE!

I think the most frightening part of the entire experience was when the instructor would introduce a new move such as the "Step, step, step, STOP."  I step, step, step, stopped only to find myself FACING THE SIDE MIRROR, WHERE I WAS NOW IN THE NEW POSITION OF FRONT OF THE CLASS.  All I could see in the mirror, other than my frightened face, was the entire class looking at my ass for guidance and instruction.  Unfortunately all they got was a few half-assed (literally) thrusts and a pleading face that read "ONE, TWO, PLEASE MAKE THIS STOP SOMETIME SOON, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT."

Once the class was righted back around, the instructor reminded us that "Everyone has their own Zumba!  So as long as you're workin' it, you're doing it right!"  OK!  This was good news!  I was workin' it!  Maybe part time.  Freelance.  Trial period.  Internship.


After an hour of slight dehydration and Latino tinnitus, I walked away knowing my hips don't lie.  And the truth they are telling me is that I am incredibly mediocre at shakin' dat ass.

Step 5: Buy weightlifting gloves from Marshalls.

I'm an aspiring hand model.  I'll most likely aspire for the rest of my life, but you never know when a scout will pick you up at the nail salon, Mahjong tourney, crotchet club, etc.  That's why I can't run the risk of calluses.

So this happened, and here they are:

And yes, they pretty much look equally, or more ridiculous than they do here, in real life.

Step 6: Buy new running shoes you've yet to use.

These shoes HAVE been in motion.  From the box to my bedroom floor.

SIKE!  They've been on my feet:

(I took them off shortly after this photo was taken.)

Step 7: Start realizing that you have no money.

Shit.  I have no money.

Step 8: Want to win.

IIf I win, I'll have money!  $6,500 to be exact*.  (*IF I win the NATIONAL competition.)  I tend to be somewhat secretly competitive.  I guess it's not so secret since I'm broadcasting this to my readers, so yes, I'm competitive.  ALL THE GLORY, ALL THE MONEY, MINE.  MIIIIIINE!!!!

Step 9: Realize that if you do win, that "Before" picture will be in every Gold's Gym location.  Every.  Location.

Step 10: Shoot for 2nd Place.