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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

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Summertime Essentials. (?!)

As expected, the drizzly/rainy/cloudy/depressing 50-degree days of just last week quickly turned into 80-plus degree days in the big city. Our very sad spring went right into cheerful mid-summer. Out came the cute dresses on ladies, the sandals, the much-needed weatherpedicures for toes that appeared to have been trapped in coal mines and were used to traverse the rocks blocking them from sunlight. My poor toes. Anyway, while attempting to wrap my brain and my sinuses around the weather extremes, I’ve certainly been taking advantage of the warmth. Shaving regularly (a pause in the collection of my winter fur), pulling my own cute dresses from the closet, putting away my coat. And as we drift further and further into the summertime zone, here are a few essentials I think are necessary (for me, anyway) to deal with warm weather.

Shorts. Since I rarely wear slips anymore, unless it’s a really fancy shmancy dress, under-shorts are perfect for those summer-y dresses that are somewhat light and flimsy and could blow a certain way when the breeze hits them. At first, I thought the pair my mom gifted me with were low-key girdles, and you know how I feel about those things, but they’re not. They’re great. And when the unfortunate sweaty season hits, I don’t have to worry about the potential forest fires that could start from the rubbing together of these juicy thighs. (We keep it real here at Team Square Peg.)

Shades. I have a bad habit, you guys. Along with handbags and earrings, I buy the cheapest sunglasses. I just do. I’ve never been interested in brand names when it comes to those things. (Well, at this point, you know me and my overall tenuous relationship with brand names and trends.) Of course, needless to say, this means I run through dozens of pairs, being that my no-more-than-$5 shades tend to break and crack and basically disintegrate. Nevertheless. Summertime simply means having a nice pair of sassy shades. As much as I’ve been forgoing my shades in the afternoons–after the long absence of the sun, its return has me gulping up Vitamin D on my face like a boss–I like having my new pair (yep, another pair) right in my handbag for those blissfully bright days. They’re super cute, too. (Don’t tsk tsk at me, dear reader. I know well made means lasts longer. So you’re buying, right?)

The new shades. Falling apart in 5,4,3…

Salads. Kidding. Eat your ice cream. It’s summer. In fact, just ignore salad at all costs.

Stories. I inherently associate summertime with reading. Well, reading for me is a year-round, slightly obsessive affair, but summer also reminds me of afternoons spent lounging on the sofa in our cool basement, out of school and surrounded by novels and various magazines. There were also plenty of days where my sister and I walked to our local library, where we spent long days in the stacks, excitedly peering through books and whispering our finds to one another. These summer days, despite not having much time to lounge around, I still arm myself with my books, both digital and hard copy. Especially during my commute to and from the OK Corral. And I make healthy use of my library card, as well. Do you have a library card? Don’t you love it? Even if I don’t check out books, there’s something kind of amazing about wandering those stacks and inhaling the sweet scent of books. Takes me back to those lovely adolescent days. (SHAMELESS PLUG: if you’re looking for something to read, you can buy my latest book of short fiction here. Thank you. I love you forever.)

Ah, la vie d’été. The summer life. Long, hot days, and long, hot nights. A normal transition would have been nice, but oh, well. Enjoy it, wherever you are…

Want to share your summertime essentials with me? Pretty please?

Fabu Fashion Wednesday: Springtime Fakery.

Meteorologically speaking, it’s spring. In real time, however, a dreary cloudiness

spring5
Where are you, real springtime?

continues to cast an endless shadow over our atmosphere, bringing with it daily rainfall and cooler-than-average breezes. I won’t comment on the side eye I give anyone that tries to remind me of rain and flowers and things growing. (There goes that positive attitude. Le sigh.) Anyway, as you can imagine, dressing for work/the OK Corral can be an interesting experience. For one thing, my office must have a blood pact with cold air that states that the temperature inside must be freezing yearlong. So even if there was a warm, spring breeze outside, I would have to wear scarves or blazers or down comforters to keep warm during the workday. Secondly, it’s work. Other than having lunch outside or taking a quick walk, I don’t actually get to enjoy the lovely spring weather (when it comes) during the bulk of the day. By the time I leave, the spring temps are winding down.

Today’s forecast, like the 1,000 days before it, is cloudy, rainy, mid-60s. So to avoid having to drape myself in my mother’s Pashmina scarves at my desk, I decided to just dress for both the inside and the outside: I pulled out the turtleneck (which I never really put away, readers, because me and spring have trust issues) and a sweater. Before leaving this morning, my sister gazed at me and asked if it was cold outside. I told her the forecast. Eyeing my outfit, she soon raised her eyebrows and nodded. “I forgot that you’re constantly cold,” she remarked. “Do I look crazy?” I then asked, wondering about my very winter-y ensemble. She insisted that I didn’t look crazy. In the end, though, it doesn’t matter if people think I’m an escapee from some sort of weather-related asylum: as a draft whips itself around me and my desk here at the office, I’m warm.

Here I am:

sprinwint1sprinwint2

That sweater with the magnificent, giant buttons was a great find from TJ Maxx. I’ve had it forever. Because of the half sleeves, that’s why I threw on the turtleneck (Ross) underneath. And for extra warmth, of course. With all the gray and black, though, I wanted pops of color. Enter my gold hoops, which always make me happy, and my new purple lippy. The latter was a fantastic part of my recent drugstore beauty haul–in an effort to not spend oodles of cash on makeup, I’ve been visiting drugstores and finding awesome colors without the pearl-clutching high prices. This is Perfect Tone Matte Lip Color in Retro Berry by Black Radiance. Here it is up close.

lippy

This ends my style offering for springtime fakery. Here’s to the good weather we will inevitably have, though. One day. At some point. In the near future?

P.S.: That déjà vu you’re feeling? It’s because we just discussed Fabu Fashion and springtime last week. When it was 80 degrees. No further explanation necessary, right?

How to Survive a Blizzard.

Last Friday, I imagine that a team of meteorologists high-fived each other and whooped giddily into the night. Why? Because all the forecasts and “models” were proven true: a blizzard was expected, and a blizzard came. For the past five days, most of us in the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic have been holed up in our homes, excused from work and school, loading up on carbs as if the things were going out of style. Which leads me to why I’m taking a break from doing absolutely nothing to present you with this post: if you’ve never experienced a blizzard, here are a few handy tips on how to get through one. In case youreeyore area sees one this weird winter.

  1. Food. As I said above, throw away any goals to maintain healthy eating during this time at home. No salads, no wheat, no spinach smoothies. (Why do people want spinach in liquid form, may I ask?) Just give in. Eat those Oreos. Eat that white bread. Stop pretending as if you’re going to do squats. You’re not going to. You’re going to hole yourself up in a comforter like Nanook and sit on the couch and listen to your stomach expand. (This may or may not have happened to the person currently typing this.)
  2. Netflix. Blizzard, you say? Time to binge-watch. Personally, I’ve been watching hours and hours of ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot, with the brilliant David Suchet as the mustachioed detective. Throw in a ton of episodes of Murder, She Wrote and the adorable British series Rosemary and Thyme, and I basically now believe that 1) I could have a thriving career as a private detective and 2) I’m 100% British.
  3. Patience. If you live with your family as I do, try your very best to remember that you love and cherish them. Because after five days together inside the same house, you will entertain pretty murderous thoughts about each and every one of them. You just will. But if you find yourself approaching one of them stealthily from behind, though, with your fists clenched, might be time to separate yourself from the pack.
  4. Laptop. If possible, force your lazy fingers to log into the network at the office and do some work remotely. Better to take care of things along the way than get back to the office to find 1,000 emails waiting to steal your soul.

That’s all, friends. That’s how I survived. May you do the same. Of course, this is the last time I intend on following my own list because I’m getting out of here. This is my last dance with snow. But we’ll talk about that later, won’t we?

Onwards and snowards…

things i currently need #7

There’s a blizzard a-comin’. My metropolitan area and the rest of the East Coast is expected to receive more than 24 inches of snow starting tomorrow. So without further ado, here’s what I currently need:

seychelles

You, Seychelles. I need you.

santorini3

And you, too, Santorini.

Maldives.jpg

Let’s not forget about you, my dear Maldives.

Santorini1

What was that, my sweet Santorini? Come back? Of course I will.

Le sigh. I’ll be thinking of these places–and many lovely others–as endless snow assaults the poor ground and ultimately leads to the worst of enemies: ice. Be safe, wherever you are.

(All photos courtesy of Pinterest.)

laughter in the rain?

This morning, a cold, unrelenting rain descends onto the atmosphere. The skies are dark, overwhelming, and sad. And I’d like to swim in a pool of French fries and cupcakes while I sob myself to a fitful sleep. Needless to say, it’s obvious that I loathe days like this. I’d love to tell you that I’m someone who doesn’t allow the weather to dictate my mood, but that would be quite the lie. My name is This Square Peg, and precipitation is my master. And on gloomy, rainy days like this, I reflect the color of the day: gray. (I also want plenty of carbs and starches, as seen above.)

A friend of mine recently asked on Facebook if anyone had suggestions on how she could change her attitude about rainy days. I thought that was such a genius question, for one thing, and above all, I highly appreciated her eagerness to find a silver lining behind the murky, pea soupy cloud. A lot of the responses were nice and positive, cute. (One friend suggested imagining Gene Kelly’s routine genekellyin Singing in the Rain, for example, which I thought was a fun idea.)  So, as I hurried through the rain this morning, clutching my umbrella and casting my eyes warily toward the heavens, I wondered the same thing: how can I change my attitude about rainy days?

It Doesn’t Last Forever. Even though it’s been raining since yesterday, and per the quacks meteorologists, it will continue tomorrow, it won’t rain for the rest of my life. It’s going to end eventually. So I need to focus on the end game and stop shaking my fists at the sky.

Perspective is Everything. Yes, it’s raining, and yes, it’s stinkin’ cold, but something is growing somewhere. Something is benefiting from the moisture. If not me, then something/someone else. Right? Riiiighhht?

Funerals, Heartbreak, Etc. Perhaps my rainy days will be less morose if I don’t think of all the terrible things I associate with rain, such as the latter. I literally imagine funeral processions and sobbing in the rain over a splintered heart. Yep. That’ll have to change, huh?

Just Background, Really. It’s raining, it’s pouring, my love life is boring me to tears…(if you got that Barbra Streisand/Donna Summer reference, then you and me are besties 4 eva). Anyway, lyric gold aside, the rain isn’t the reason behind what I may be going through that day. It’s just the background. Not the cause, not the catalyst. It’s just rain.

So, in the end, I figure that changing my mindset will significantly improve the dark moods I tend to nurse when the weather is like this. No, you may never see me dancing in the rain, but you just might catch a tiny, unbothered smile.

About your Author: It’s Hot.

Apparently, winter hijacked springtime and then we went headfirst into midsummer. 
Yeah, tell me about it.

How are you handling it?
Lots of sundresses and sandals. But since the atmosphere at the OK Corral tends to be below zero, I still wear sweaters over my dresses and closed-toe shoes. It’s very confusing.

I can only imagine.
Speaking of confusing, you’re being like super normal and not sarcastic with me. Are you all right? Did you fall on your head? Is the heat somehow making you completely different and–shudder–nice?

Here you go. I’m trying to be good, trying to have things in common with you. Are you ever satisfied?
Nah. But you being nice seems like the calm before I’m-kidnapped-and-stuffed-into-your-trunk storm so I needed to check.

No comment. What else have you been up to lately this summer? Still writing? Where’s that third book?
Still writing. The third book is germinating. So far my life is work, my life outside of work, writing, graduation parties, and trying to avoid bread. So basically nothing new under the hot, unrelenting, summer sun.

Still doing the health/fitness thing?
It’s not a “thing”, dear. It’s my life.

Not "almost."
Not “almost”, my friends.

Sheesh, simmer down. We journalists are supposed to ask the hard-hitting questions, aren’t we?
Well, I’m not Nixon and you’re certainly not David Frost. And no serious journalist has ever uttered the words “simmer down” to the person they’re interviewing.

Speaking of that, why in the world are we conducting this interview? You’ve said nothing of substance and I’m too hot to keep this going. 
That’s the point, isn’t it?

All right, we’re done. We’re done.
Whew. Back to your old self again. ‘Bye, my angry love!

Word.

Springquote2

If this quote doesn’t describe the current state of the weather in Somewheres, VA…

And so I continue to await the first spring day with bated breath, gloves, my winter coat, and a giant scarf (sometimes two scarves).

Yours in Still Stuck in Winter,

This Square Peg

About your Author. (Again? For real?)

Why, oh why, are we doing this again?
Oh, you’re in rare form today, huh?pussycat

Have you been living under a rock? It’s cold. You can imagine what living in the frozen tundra does to a girl’s mood.
Hey, I’m cold, too. But I felt like it was time for another chat.

Totally disagree.
Yeah, well, you kind of have to do what I say.

Oh, flexing the muscles, huh, since you’ve been working out like crazy?
Well, I still have virtually no upper body strength, so you’re safe from the “flexing.” But, yeah, I’m loving the regular exercise. It hurts, yes, and my abs cry out for justice, but I feel healthier than I have in a long, long time.

What do you do at the gym?
By and large, I get on the treadmill for 60 minutes and do speed walking with occasional running/jogging. Of late, I’ve been ignoring my distaste of the wannabe bo-hunks hanging in the weights and head back there to also do strength training after my cardio. On days I don’t get a chance to go to the gym, I work out at home.

I thought you were allergic to the workout at home thing.
I feel more motivated now. No videos, though, because that’s just an excuse for me to sit on the couch and watch Jillian Michaels do her thing. Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve come up with some nice routines that I can do.

Are you like a exercise nut now? 
Nah.

Thank goodness. 
What if I were?

Look: I get that you’re obsessed with dying seasons and Lupita and other things, but I cannot take you as a workout nut. Like I cannot.
Would that be so wrong?

Yes. Yes, it would.
Don’t worry, pussycat. Everything within reason. I’ll keep dying seasons and Lupita at the top of the list. It’s just nice to have an active routine and feel better. For someone with a Master’s in Couch Potatory, it’s kind of amazing.

All right. I suppose I can accept that. How have you been dealing with this disrespectfully cold weather?
Double scarves, ear warmers, hats, giant coats, gloves. Like, there’s nothing more to say. It really is disrespectful.

We agree on something. Alert the media.
Oh, the sarcasm rears its head. Good times.

Anyway. What else is new in your life? Started that novel yet?
Um, no. A girl is busy.

So we’ll wait another 10 years for that, then?
Have some faith in me, will you?

Got it. 10 years. Seen any good movies?
The frozen tundra has me in the house. No movies lately.

Hmm. Seems like being in the house should give you plenty of time to be writing that novel.
All right, honey. We’re done here.

Honey? Pussycat? Oh, yeah, we’re so done.
Good. ‘Bye, sweetie.

Umbrellas.

Unlike Southern California, it really doesn’t rain in West Africa. With the exception of the Harmattan season, where I have sweet memories of my mom gently rubbing lip balm across my lips to protect against the dry, windy weather outside, nothing really disrupted the hot, sunny days back home. Imagine the interesting reaction me and my sister had when we witnessed actual seasons upon moving to States. Months after we arrived, we saw our first snowfall. There’s a picture somewhere of the three of us (me, sis, and little bro) outside our first apartment, bound in tight, wool coats and knee deep in snow. Anyway, all that said, snow wasn’t rain.

Oh, rain. Like this lady, I don’t care for it. Not only because it’s wet and messy and sad and wet, but because every rainfall reminds me of my issues with the umbrella. I recall my bestie watching me struggle to close an umbrella while trying to get into her car one afternoon–without getting wet–and, after finally getting in, hearing her say, “Aw, you don’t know how to use an umbrella, do you?” I know how. I just don’t do it gracefully. I fight it. I grapple with it. I get wet. Can you blame me? I had to get used to a brand new object! Come on.

This morning, as I prepared to head outside, I almost shook my fists at the heavens. Rain. Which meant the umbrella.

Care to read up about that pesky item you carry in your purse (or murse)? Here you go.

Umbrellas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Umbrellas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

 

 

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