Friday, September 13, 2013

Everyone hop on over to The Thirty by Thirty Project Blog and check out my newest project as I stare down 30 and try to get a grip!

Friday, October 5, 2012

F**k Cancer

As you know, I am a well-known hater of cancer.  I know this is a controversial opinion, so in my defense I will say: cancer is awful and sucks. You know who gets cancer?  It's exclusively bad guys who are super old and did horrible things like say close down an orphanage to build a shopping mall or something, right?  Wrong.  You couldn't be more wrong.  Geez what is wrong with you?  You're so stupid. People get cancer who are perfectly nice and wonderful friends and family members who have always been great.  Sometimes those people are only 26 and they have already beat cancer one time. 

Also, another thing about cancer is that it is very expensive, even if you have health insurance you still pay thousands and thousands of dollars out of pocket which is super cool right?  I love this healthcare system we have now and it definitely does not need to be changed or anything at all.  So first you get cancer, then you get slapped with a whole bunch of debt, then, hello, you have to have even more radiation later on which, great, also costs money.  Plus the whole having to have radiation thing.   

This is what happened to Liz.  Because radiation is awesome, she wanted to have some more, which is going to cost $7000 just in deductibles alone, plus she will have to miss a bunch of work.  Oh, and she's also trying to get married on top of all of this.  And did I mention she's only 26? 

Here's a link to a fundraising page Liz's friends set up for her:

It's been up since last night and already over $4000 has been raised by friends and strangers and it's really touching.  If you scroll through the comments, it's amazing to see the outpouring of love and support.  It really makes you feel good about humans again, especially after your grandmother told you that she no longer is interested in helping orphanages because they just take anyone these days and some of these kids have parents they're just in jail or too addicted to drugs to take care of them. (The nerve of these fake orphans!!!) This is just an example of course, not something that happened to me.

Anyhoo, if you are someone who has a little spare cash laying around and you'd like to throw it Liz's way, that'd be excellent.  Like, maybe the money you had earmarked to give to an orphanage before I just opened your eyes to the ugly truth of orphanages.

Another cool way to help would be to head over to reddit and upvote this:

Upvoting turns out to be fairly easy once you figure it out, I guess.  Not that it took me a long time or anything.  The internet is hard, guys.

A third cool way to help is to share both of these links and get the word out.  You have facebook.  You have a blog.  And I know you tweet.

And finally, if you are someone who prays, then think of Liz.  If you are someone who meditates, think of Liz.  If you are someone who sends vibes, think of Liz. 

And my aunt Susan.  And my friend Jen.  And the thousands and thousands of people beating cancer that need our help and support and care.  Because cancer really sucks and we love brave people who are fighting it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday: Fall Wreath

I would wish everyone a happy Fall, but let's get real, no one is happier than I am that it is fall!!! There's maybe 1.5% of me who is sad the vegetable gravy train is coming to an end but other than that, I am ALL ABOUT FALL.

Also this Fall, I have challenged myself to do one activity from my Pinterest "I Could Make That..." board seen here: http://pinterest.com/anna_girard/i-could-make-that/ each week.With 639 pins, I should have plenty to choose from.  The idea is that I can do these projects during while I watch Sunday football, and then blog about them on Tuesday!  But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and full disclosure, I am already a week behind.  And also this one was pretty simple and probably doesn't warrant a tutorial.  But hey, I'm trying.

So, ta da!

I didn't really have a direct inspiration for this one, but it's more of a conglomeration of wreaths I saw on Pinterest, and my neighbor's wreath which is clearly Pinterest inspired.  I do not have a picture of that because I feel like that'd be creepy and I already recently took a pallet from their garbage.  And some shelves. But this is pretty close: http://boutiqueginabeana.blogspot.com/2011/03/birthday-gift.html

 First, I gathered some supplies.  A grapevine wreath from Hobby Lobby for $4.99, Wooden Letter $3.49, small project can of spray paint in sun yellow which was $3.27 I think, and some various fabric remnants from the remnant shelf which is nerdily one of my favorite places in the world. 

Okay, here's the end result:

I spraypainted the letter yellow.  It was a bit more yellow yellow than I was anticipating but I liked it.  The fabric flowers I made following this fabulous tutorial: http://www.weddingwindow.com/blog/diy-fabric-flowers/ which I found by searching for "diy fabric flowers" on Pinterest!  Then I just hot glued everything to the grapevine wreath and suddenly it's Fall on my porch!  And also everywhere else.  Especially my heart.

Here's a sneak peek at next week's project, which is really last week's project so if you're my facebook friend and you've already seen the final result, don't tell anyone.  Snitches get stitches.  And I have a sewing machine.

P.S. Want to go on the Pinterest Fall Challenge either along with me or actually with me??  That'd be great!! I generally require accountability buddies to get things done.  Just let me know you're playing the home game.

Friday, September 28, 2012

An Open Letter to Those Who Failed the Bar Exam

I am a bar exam failer.  Nearly two years ago, I, like you, fruitlessly scanned the list of numbers to find that one had been omitted. Mine. 364.

“Maybe I had the wrong number!” I thought, as if I could possibly have somehow mistaken the number that appeared in literally every form imaginable in my dreams for the last 2 months. I, like you, frantically searched through my bar exam book box on which I had unceremoniously scrawled, “see you in hell” at the end of July.  Pulling out my plastic baggie with my timepiece, a thousand pencils, a small lucky rubber coyote (obviously), and a gigantic white label with my number clearly printed on it. 364.

So it was true, I had failed. 

If your day was anything like mine, it started with stress baking 5 dozen zucchini muffins and ended with lots of vodka and possibly a little vomiting.  Don’t tell my mom. In the middle there may or may not have been a part where you cried for an hour on the floor of your kitchen, then spent the next two writing back to all the inquisitive and then awkwardly encouraging texts.  I personally chose to go with the thumbs down emojii.  Or the skull.  Or the alcohol bottle. People got the picture. They stopped texting.  No one knows what to say. 

Because what can you say?  Here’s how you feel: this is the worst day of your life.  Nothing worse can ever happen to you. This is not correct, obviously, but it’s all you can think about right in this moment.  This is a total disaster.  How will you ever recover from this?  You can never go on.

But of course you will go on, you can go on, and here are some things to keep in mind:

1. This is not about you.  You are lovely, clever, smart, and interesting.  You have hobbies and interests.  Maybe you like sports.  Or you have a really nice garden.  Or you are an excellent chef.  Or you are very well-read.  Or you’re big on twitter. So you had a miss.  A bad day.  An arbitrary number does not change who you are.  You are not "the girl who failed the bar exam.You are not your score.  You are a person who struck out the first time at bat.  You studied and wrote practice essays and stayed up all night making flashcards and some yayhoo who told you at the hotel that he just hadn’t had a chance to look at Contracts yet is getting sworn in next month.  This is spectacularly unfair.  You are right, and this brings me to my second point. 

2. The Bar Exam is spectacularly unfair.  You’ve been saying it all summer, and you are not wrong: why do we need to memorize this when at work I will have books and google to find out what I need to know? (If my boss is reading this, just kidding, I never google legal terms I can’t remember.)  The Bar Exam is a terrible horrible right of passage thought up by mean horrible people who do not have your best interest in mind and merely want to torture you as they themselves were tortured by multiple choice questions with four wrong answers asking you to choose the “most correct” or an essay on corporate voting (still mad about that).  The Bar Exam has absolutely no bearing on whether or not you will be good at being an attorney.  You have many other qualities and characteristics that will make you good at your work.  You are caring, conscientious, tenacious, and thorough and no multiple choice question on the difference between robbery and burglary can discern that.  But the people you help will know that.  And they will never care if you know the difference between robbery and burglary.  Unless they are burglars.

3. You have not let anyone down.  You haven’t even let yourself down because you tried. You took the chance, you put yourself out there, and you weren’t afraid to fail.  You suffered and succeeded through three long years, culminating in the worst summer of your life (good news: next summer will be the best by virtue of sheer comparison), because you aren’t afraid to try to do something hard.  You know how many people don’t even try?  Thousands.  Millions maybe.  But you did.  And you know what?  Everyone is proud of you.  So many of your friends and family members cannot even fathom doing what you’ve done and you did it.  The Bar Exam is hard.  No one doesn’t believe that.  Your classmates that are celebrating right now fully believe, and most are correct, that they passed by the skin of their teeth and are shocked they did.  No one thinks badly of you because you failed.  No one is upset.  Your friends are still proud of you.  Your mom still loves you.  And the good news is that for the next sixth months, people are going to continue to go out of their way to be really nice to you.  Some of those are because they saw you have an absolute crying breakdown over a compliment one day this summer, or they ran into you at the library and you had eight pencils in your hair and your sweatpants were covered in highlighter marks. But all of those are because they love you.  I am now, two years later, finally to the point where I can crack a joke about failing the bar, and you know what my friends do?  They feel awkward and smile encouragingly and fall all over themselves to be nice about it.  Still.  Everyone loves you and no one sees you any differently today than they did yesterday.

4. There will never be anything worse than failing the Bar Exam.  The Bar Exam is easily without a doubt the most public way you can fail at something everyone knows you were trying to do.  Your facebook statuses all summer have been about your horrible miserable exam anxiety.  You went the whole month of July without seeing another human being that wasn’t delivering a pizza.  “Can’t do (insert awesome fun activity), I’m studying for the bar,” you told countless numbers of people this summer.  And then they go and post a damn list on the internet.  Even your grandma can read that, if she’s particularly good at computers or you have a mean cousin.  But the good news is, this is the worst that can happen.  Let’s face facts, for a lot of you, this is probably the first time you’ve really failed at something. You’re probably going to be pretty gun shy and the idea of trying things is not very appealing to you right now, I get that.  But when the smoke clears you’ll see that, why the hell not?  If you try something (a job, a relationship, a new city) and it doesn’t work out, so what?  You’ve failed before.  You can handle this.  You will not die because you failed the bar and you will not die if living in Trenton, New Jersey doesn’t work out.  Which, let’s just face it, it’s Trenton.  Maybe give that one a pass.  Try and succeed?  Great.  Try and fail?  Oh well.  Move onto the next plan. 

5. There will be many many things worse than failing the Bar Exam.  I know it's impossible to see right now, but at the end of the day, it is just a test.  A stupid, horrible, evil, dark test, yes, but a test.  In life, awful things will happen, sad but true.  Your marriage may end, you will lose beloved family members and pets, you may have an illness or an accident, your house may burn down, they may cancel Mad Men.  Most if not all of these things will be worse than the day you failed the Bar Exam.  You will get through those, and you will get through this. 

Mostly anymore, I don’t even think about it.  I have given up glazing over the details of why I didn’t get sworn in until the Spring after I graduated instead of the Fall.  I’m not even upset when I’m facebook stalking and see pictures from the swearing in that should have been mine.  I stopped wondering if things would have been different if I passed.  Sometimes I’m even glad that I failed the bar on my first go round.  It’s not a wake up call or a warning sign or any cliché people will throw at you in the next few days and weeks.  All it is is something that happened to you once.  A small glitch in your life plan that was undesired and unanticipated, but ultimately overcome. 

The good news is, the second time is quite a bit easier.  It’s winter, so no one will be tempting you with fun activities, and if you get snowed in, it might as well be with a day full of barbri lectures.  It’s hard sure, but you’ve already proven that you can do hard things.  And ironically, when you do pass, you’ll probably end the day with lots of vodka and possibly a little vomiting.

So wallow this weekend, then put it behind you and onto the next one.  Because what’s the worst that could happen, you could fail? Please.  Bring it on.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summa Summa Summatiiiiime

Well, summer was upon us.  But as the mornings have gotten colder and the nights darker, and we are all once again forced to share the road with the horror that is school buses (busses?), it's hard to argue that it's fading quickly.  With Labor Day right around the corner, it's undeniable that 2012 is on its slow death march to winter.  Soon we'll all be over raking leaves like we're over the heat now or we were over spring rains.  Hell, I'm already over snow.  I'm kind of a seasonal affective hipster like that.  "Oh... wintry mix?  Yeah, I was really into that in like June but it's so mainstream for November.  I'm getting pretty into tornadoes and spring flooding these days." 

I know what you're thinking (other than, "wow, that weather hipster joke went on pretty long") "But Anna," you're saying to yourselves, which is arguably a little weird since you're alone in front of a computer screen, "you love Fall!"  And to you I say, "Well, you, friend, are right.  And please don't forget that I am still trying to make A-boogie catch on as a nickname."

But.  I DO LOVE FALL.  Seriously, what's not to love?  You get to drink beer that tastes like cinnamon, everything is made of pumpkins, hayrides are real, sweaters exist, and on Sundays you get to watch football.  All day.  Fall.

I don't love summer.  Don't get me wrong, we're on speaking terms and all but on the whole it sort of blows.  Who wants to be hot all of the time and then suddenly freezing when you enter any public building?  Masochists, probably.  Definitely Nazis.  Most noted Racists.  If you love summer and you're still reading this, you may or may not be a communist.  Summer.

That being said, this was a great summer.  First of all, the OLYMPICS happened.  I was pretty subtle about it while it was going on, but I truly and deeply with every fiber of my being love the OLYMPICS.  The worst thing about the OLYMPICS being over is everything.  The best thing about the OLYMPICS being over is that it is a mere seventeen months until the NEXT OLYMPICS.

And how about America, amirite?  We've had the best summer.  We kicked ass at the OLYMPICS.  We landed on MARS and our spaceship (rover?  Marscar?) is live tweeting.  Tweets in space.  2012.

Ladies are having a great summer too.  We won something like all of America's gold medals (no need to fact check, I'm sure this is right).  Plus many of us went on vacations and most of us got tans.  Sure, we can't be president, but we did all get to read erotica about kinky sex and we didn't even have to go to literally any website to do it.  No no, we made them put it in a book.  Because we like our bondage porn with a side of classy.

But more importantly than that or any of your summers, I've had a great summer.  I've wiled away many a crafternoon.  See below:

And I've canned vegetables like it's going out of style (40 years ago). 

I also took the opportunity this summer to get really snobby about community supported agriculture and Farmers Markets.  I have eyed many a Kroger tomato with disdain, and I went through a pretty sizeable cabbage phase.

Now sure, my own garden was sort of a disaster.  My plants got very tall.  But as many among my vast readership are gardeners and surely know, tall wasn't really what I was going for.  Yes, I was in fact hoping that these plants would produce vegetables.  For eating.  But this was not to be.  In a strange turn of events, those plants I was sure were bell pepper plants even turned into zinnias.  Ever the experienced gardener, I waited weeks for peppers to grow from the fist sized orange and pink flowers.  "Maybe it was just a new type of pepper," thought I.  Spoiler alert: it wasnt.

Note the subtle differences.

So yeah, I didn't get to go on a vacation or buy any fancy new things, and I worked some long days, but among the weddings and the cookouts, to the glow of the fireflies and the beauty of my favorite wild orange tiger lilies, I was open to new experiences, and since this blog is your life advisor, you should be so this fall.  Just say yes.  Even if it's to something as trivial as trying all the types of cheeses at the Farmers Market or something vastly important as getting together once a week to play a children's recess game.

Change is scary but the excitement is greater than the fear.  And sometimes, if you're very lucky, you get zinnias where you're expecting bell peppers.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

DIY Lamp Makeover!

Saturday morning, I picked up this gem of a lamp at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore  for a mere $10.

It's not exactly... modern.  Yes, that's orange glass.  The good news is, only place to go is up, right?

So how did we get here?

Lovely Lovely Lamp 
Spray Paint (I chose Krylon Gloss White)

Hot Glue Gun

Step One: I started off by feeling slightly remorseful about painting over the colored glass, because it was fairly nice.  But then I thought, hey, this was $10 and from the condition it was in, it was clearly being stored in someone's garage before it came to the ReStore, so I made my peace with it.  I really appreciated everyone who supported me through that difficult time.

Step Two: Spray paint.  Eat delicious salad of CSA lettuce, bleu cheese, walnuts, and craisins. Yum.  And paint.  Eat Ben and Jerry's Frozen Greek Yogurt.  Yum.  And paint.  It took me 4 coats, with a bit of craft paint touch up.  For you, I will only post the final coat picture.  I am really impatient and like to shortcut so I didn't prime it.  It probably would take less coats if you primed first.  But then that's a whole other step.  Yikes. 

 Step Three: Shade time!  It could be argued that you could work on the shade in between coats of spray paint, and while that is technically true, eating the frozen yogurt is a very integral part of the process and you have to allow time for that.  Also, if you fully coat then work on the shade, it gives the spray paint time to dry.  But it's up to you.


This is the shade.  It's not special.  It came with the lamp.  First I ironed the fabric, which is weird for me since I hate that part, like to skip steps, and basically everything I make with fabric has big creases in it.  BUT I ironed this.  I really needed to tell everyone that because I'm pretty proud of myself.  Then I used the glue gun, pulling the fabric taut and gluing it to the actual shade.  I didn't take any pictures of that.  Sorry.  Please try to get over it someday. I understand if you need time.

When I was done, it looked like this.

A note about the fabric: It came from Hobby Lobby and was $8.99/yd (don't forget Hobby Lobby has 40% off coupons on their website) and I grabbed the last yard and a quarter.  I have been eying this fabric, because it reminds me of the Blue Willow china pattern.

I am glad to finally have a reason to use it. It took me slightly less than a yard.  I added a teal ribbon, also from Hobby Lobby, for $3.99/4 yards.  As you can probably see from the background in these pictures, teal is a theme in my living room, and adding the ribbon tied the lamp into the room.  I also attached this with hot glue.

THEN, the best part.  I brought in the lamp, I added the shade, I took 1000 pictures, and then I rested on my laurels. 

And no, I can't explain the weird bird collages in the background. I put a bird on it! Just accept it.