Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Ataris at The Blue Lamp in Sacramento

So let me tell you a little story that may or may not be entirely factually accurate, depending on how well my memory has held up.

I was 17 (I think) and in love with a band called The Ataris. The band's pop-punk tunes of crushes, heartache and life's complications just like so totally resonated with my teenage soul. The band was coming to Sacramento and my then boyfriend, or possibly "ex-boyfriend, but still friends," John and I were so stoked. I had saved up my money and then I got grounded, per usual.

John went without me. Cue crushing of my teenage soul. I don't remember how I dealt, but I probably blasted The Ataris in my room and ranted to my friends on AOL Instant Messenger, in typical teenage protest.

Whether from lack of funds, lack of ride or permission, missing any show sent in me a ranting Livejournal rage at that age, but this one especially stung.

Fast forward in time and I kept missing opportunities to see The Ataris. I was devastated again when in 2003 they were the main band I wanted to see at Warped Tour, having seen just about everyone else I cared to before, and they ended up playing first. I was late and only caught the last few songs.

I did see the singer (and driving force of the band) solo once at The Boardwalk in Orangevale. I don't remember what year it was or a whole lot about the show, but I do recall Mel, formally of Luckie Strike, opening the show. Fun (and not at all embarrassing), mini, uber specific to the Sac scene history lesson: Mel used to give Teenage Laura love and life advice, which inspired her to start the Mel, the Punk Rock Love Doc website. But I digress.

Last year, The Ataris announced a reunion tour, playing the mainstream album, "So Long, Astoria" in its entirety, but that album just isn't my jam, at least not in the way the earlier albums are. My response was basically, "No one cares. Play Blue Skies or End is Forever!"

Well that's what the band -- and really, that means lead singer Kris Roe -- decided to do in 2015.

So on a Monday night, I found myself up front at The Blue Lamp, singing along at the top of my lungs to "Blue Skies, Broken Hearts ... Next 12 Exits." And it was glorious.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

DIY Makeup, Hair Accessory and Nail Care Organization

Generally, I like to say I'm thrifty, not cheap. I am a thrifty shopper, but I don't like to buy cheap quality clothes or furniture, for example. Sometimes, when it really doesn't matter, I am just plain cheap.

When it comes to organizing my makeup, I'm cheap. I don't need my makeup organization to look nice; I just need it to be functional and portable. I don't own a lot of makeup, and I wear even less on a regular basis. My makeup organization goal was to create a simple system that would allow me to quickly grab what I needed from lightweight, portable containers.

I've always kept my makeup in a narrow, plastic drawer from an organizational desk caddy I used in elementary school. The caddy fell apart ages ago, but I've put the surviving drawers to use for the past 20 years. I used to just toss all my makeup in this little drawer, but I got sick of digging around to find what I needed. To organize my makeup, I repurposed prescription pill bottles, Crystal Light containers and my instant coffee containers. I also use coffee containers and tea boxes to organize my art supplies.

Makeup Organization:
  • Wash and dry all containers before use. 
  • Cut Crystal Light containers down to size to hold eyeliners, sharpener and eyelash curler in one container and organize makeup brushes in the second container.
  • Toss lipsticks into an instant coffee container.
  • Sort mineral powders, mascaras and tweezers into separate prescription pill bottle containers. 

I followed the same, simple organizational system for my small, hair accessories, with the addition of a small jewelry box to hold my bobby pins. (I keep my many headbands with my brushes in my bathroom vanity drawers.)

Yes, that is a Bump-It set. When I spotted it at the 99 Cent Store, I couldn't resist.

For my nail care bin (from the 99 Cent Store), I used one pill bottle to hold nail clippers and cuticle clippers and a second pill bottle to keep all the attachments and accessories to my electric nail sander/buffer in one place.

Except for the nail dryer, I don't really use my electric nail care kit that often as it doesn't work too well, but it has sentimental value as the last present my Grampa gave me for Christmas. Plus, there's a great story behind it that involves my Grampa randomly showing up at my door early in the morning and his dog peeing on my carpet.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Beach Boys at Sonoma-Marin Fair on June 25, 2015

I don't really have a bucket list. I guess I'm not a bucket list person. But I do have a concert list. I've been lucky enough to see most of the musicians from that list, but one band at the top of the list seemed out of reach.

Until, in insomniac daze, in a quest to find an inexpensive adventure for our eighth wedding anniversary, I Googled "county fairs Northern California" and discovered THE BEACH BOYS were scheduled to play two Bay Area county fairs, and the Sonoma-Marin Fair included the concert and all rides for the price of $15 admission.

I was so excited I nearly cried. I nearly woke up my sleeping husband.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Wedding Anniversary Celebration at Thrift Town and Hagen's Orange Freeze in Carmichael

Some people go out to dinner or to the movies for their anniversary, Aaron and I go thrifting. To celebrate 8 years of marriage, Aaron and I had some thrifting fun at Thrift Town in Carmichael.

For our thrifting date, I wore my new black pencil skirt from Sears so I could try and find another shirt or two to go with it. Plus, when I'm trying on clothes, I like wearing something I can pull off and on easily. Those cramped dressing rooms get hot.

For a new skirt, this was a steal. Shop Your Way Rewards sent me some surprise point money and also extended my membership in its free shipping program. I didn't have time to go to the store and letting free money go to waste is an assault on my thrifty lifestyle. So I did what I often do. I sat at my computer and searched until I found the item at the best price that had the best chance of actually fitting properly. I picked this pencil skirt because it's stretchy with an elastic waistband, has subtle polka dots on it, and with the sale and my points combined, the $30 skirt only cost me $5.80 with tax.

So after making Aaron stand in the hot sun to take these anniversary pictures of me, to Thrift Town we went, armed with a $10 off a $20 purchase VIP coupon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Anniversary Celebration: Concert, Concert Tee and T-Shirt Surgery with the Mr. T Experience

In our camping chairs at CIP.

Aaron and I are celebrating our 8/11 anniversary. That's 8 years married and 11 years together. Since the two anniversaries are just days apart, it makes for an extended celebration. And don't we deserve it!

This year, our relationship anniversary fell on a Friday, and not just any Friday. It was the Friday that the Mr. T Experience played the free Concert in the Park. The Mr. T Experience is originally a Bay Area pop-punk band from the 90s that through line-up changes is now three-fourths a Sacramento band. If you heard the band, they might "kind of remind you of Green Day." But poppier, nerdier and more laser focused on songs about a girl.

I love seeing MTX in concert, and I definitely have hometown pride that they are now a Sacramento-ish band. And that my friend Bobby Jordan is in the band.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Casual Summer Style

Happy Thrifty Thursday!

Today's casual outfit comes from Thrift Town. If it seems like half my thrifty wardrobe hails from Thrift Town, it's probably because it does. I used to live mere minutes from the Carmichael location, so for a long time it was my first-stop, go-to store for clothes and more.

Of all the Thrift Town scores, one of my favorites has to be these cuffed, dark-wash DKNY jeans. But as much as I love the look, quality and like-new condition of the jeans, they are not forgiving to that little more to love I'm carrying around my waist.

To compensate for the tight waist-squeeze, I paired the form-fitting pants with this black flowy tank top that ties in the back, scored at a 99 cent sale. This top is all about comfort. I especially appreciate that despite the black color, it still keeps me cool, even under a hot sun.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Accountability, Take Two: 2015 New Year's Resolutions

As a professional writer, I try to avoid cliches. But sometimes cliches are true, so why try and put it any other way?

Time flies. 

Sure, logically I know time goes by at the same same pace as always. I don't make a habit of denying basic math and science truths. I'm not one of those people.

But I still struggle to wrap my head around the fact that we're halfway into May. The less rational part of my brain (the part that says, "Buy heels. Lots of high heels. You'll wear them, really!") is yelling, "HOW DID THAT HAPPEN!?!"

I feel like this year has been sped up, and I don't have enough to show for the nearly five months of my Year of More.

I've been avoiding checking back in with my New Year's resolutions because I haven't committed to them like I know I should.

Everyday life seems to get in the way of tackling new challenges and finding time for people, places and things out of the ordinary.

I know, I know. If I want a better year, I have to put in the effort. I will try harder.

I held myself accountable for my first five resolutions in April, and now it's time to do the same for the rest of the list.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Rockabilly Staples

If you snuck a look inside my closets, you'd find a lot of the same colors and prints -- blacks, reds, blues and teals, polka dots and stripes -- but one single style wouldn't be so obvious. I've got DIY punk rock tanks hanging alongside date-night blouses and character screen tees. And cardigans, so many cardigans.

I like what I like, and I'm not easily swayed by trends.

Some days I try and dress a bit more my age: blazers and blouses. And some days I really don't care if my "Muppets" Animal tank top is for a child; it's cute and I'm wearing it.

On the most consistent basis, however, I would say my style is subtle rockabilly. I'm just too low maintenance to go full on victory rolls, eyeliner and heels on a regular basis.

I'm a sneakers and flip flops girl who drools over pretty heels; I just don't love actually wearing them so much.

Finding a pair of cute heels to fit my dainty feet is always a problem. Even with heel grips, I slip right out of the backs. The toe boxes of the same heels I slip out of will rub and squeeze my toes. I just don't believe fashion should hurt so much.

(I have tried stretching out the toe boxes of a pair of heels with socks and rubbing alcohol, and I think it actually worked and is not just in my mind because I want to believe.)

On my recent shoe-shopping excursion, I was hitting store after store without luck. Then, at ATLAS Thrift in Carmichael, I found the pair that screamed my name.

Red. Polka dots. Bows. Lace. Backless.

And they fit.

At $3.99, how could I resist?

For Thrifty Thursday, I paired the heels with a 99 cent sale blouse from Thrift Town and my $11 jeggings from Ross. When it cooled off, I let my hair down and pulled on a light-weight, aqua-colored cardigan, also from a 99 cent Thrift Town sale.

It's a simple, stylish and actually comfortable look that's a staple in my wardrobe. And I put it together for under $20.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

John and Craton's Wedding

Saturday, April 18, 2015 was a special day in our lives; Aaron's best friend finally got hitched.

Aaron and John share a friendship spanning roughly 25 years. I first met John nearly 11 years ago, and I am so happy he has found his perfect match.

John wed his beautiful bride, Craton, in a lush green, backyard ceremony. After a barbecue dinner and many sappy speeches, everyone let loose -- really loose -- on the makeshift dance floor. Sure, a couple ladies had too much to drink, but what's a wedding without a little drama to laugh about years down the line? It's tradition.

Congrats, John and Craton!

And welcome to the Mr. and Mrs. Club.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Accountability: Checking in on My New Year's Resolutions, Part 1

I don't have the best track record of keeping new year's resolutions. But really, who does?

Since we're a third way through the year, I thought I'd share my progress in an attempt to keep myself motivated and accountable.

In January, I proclaimed 2015 "the year of more," and shared 10 resolutions.  I've definitely been working to achieve that more, more, more goal, but alas, I could be doing more. (Shocker, right?)

I also need to add a goal to that list: Be a better advocate for my health and health care. This has always been a new year's resolution, but I was shy to share it. Plus, I already had a perfect list of 10, and 11 goals irks my obsessive-compulsive nature. But it's an important goal, and one I've been neglecting.

Progress on My First Five Resolutions

1. My first goal was to walk the dog five days a week. That definitely has not happened; however, I am walking more often than I did in years past. More importantly, my walks are now double to triple the distance they were at the start of January. I've built up a lot more stamina and really miss walking when I skip a few days. Walking -- rather than driving -- to pick up prescriptions or return a Redbox is becoming the norm. (I just wish I didn't sweat so much while I wait in the pharmacy line at CVS!)