Goodbye, Pulp! You Will Be Missed!

I went to interview the manager of Pulp about the store's very sad closing, and then went on a bit of a card-buying bender. 

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Employees told me other people had bought more. What can I say? I love cards and this was my last chance at Pulp and everything was 40% off. They always had the coolest assortment, and the best window-shopping experience too. It's a shop that seemed very cosmopolitan to me when I first moved to D.C., after growing up as a NOVA suburban kid. This is what city shopping is supposed to be like, I thought. This is it. 

Now I need to be ok with putting these cards in the mail and letting them go. Life is change, and Meryl from Pulp had a good outlook on it: "It's ok that it comes to an end. It's difficult and it's sad and you kind of wish it didn't have to be that way, but it does."

The Gosh Gee Golly Bests of The Year

Best-of-the-year list time is my favorite time of year, so if only for posterity, I am writing one for my own blog. Here it is: 

Book: I couldn't put down Detroit: An American Autopsy. You'll shake your head in disbelief just about every page. Charlie LeDuff doesn't pull any punches, even when he's writing about his own disfunction. What will happen to Detroit? How will this story end? I also was surprised that Bourdain pretty much rehashed the book in his Detroit Parts Unknown episode, but at least LeDuff was along for the ride.

Honorable mentions:  The Interestings, The Light Between Oceans, David and Goliath, Beautiful Ruins

Music: I felt kind of behind on new music this year, so I am going with what I know. Sorry haters, Vampire Weekend is a crowd-pleaser for a reason. Their latest, Modern Vampires of the City, seemed heart-felt. I played "Step" about a million time, but that's not my favorite moment. That has to be the spoken word lyrics on "Finger Back" that goes: "Should she have averted her eyes and just stared at the laminated poster of the Dome of the Rock?" This is just the best for some reason I can not articulate.

Honorable mentions: Tegan & Sara's Hearthrob, Lord Huron's Lonesome Dreams, Thao & The Getdown Staydown's We The Common, Jessie Ware's Devotion and for single, Wale's Bad, not the Rihanna version.

Concert: This is cheating, but Coachella. I can't believe we went. I wrote here about all of our adventures, including falling in love with Father John Misty and nearly getting squished by a giant snail.

Politicians: Our leaders continued to let us down this year at nearly every turn, so I am turning to Canada for some dark comic relief. Put aside Rob Ford's crack scandal for a moment, and let's just focus on his pratfalls. Running into a camera, inexplicably collapsing when attempting to throw a football, dropping candy just out of reach of children at a parade — here's one person who actually does need a reality show.  

Blog: The Racked.com universe!

Fashion: I like that the Topshop section at Nordstrom Pentagon City exists, that the Brooklyn Flea made it to Washington, and I thought that Thread at Union Market was ambitious, lovely, and unlike anything in D.C. 

Personal: I left Mount Pleasant and moved in with Joe to a groovy little (emphasis on little) apartment on H Street. I loved living in Mount Pleasant with the best roommate ever, but I was excited for Joe and I to start a home together. I counted down the months from January until July. We fell in love with our place and the neighborhood, from Hunted House to Boundary Road.

After three years and some change of growing my hair out, I pulled a Miley and chopped it all off. I think my hair likes being short. Don't know if the world likes it, but who cares.

I took barre classes and yoga classes and tennis classes and quit my gym.

I've challenged 10 bartenders in D.C. to make cocktails on the spot with crazy ingredients like quail eggs, Four Loko, and marmite for my WCP column Remixology (!) and I've been so amazed at the results from these creative folks. So impressive and unflappable.

I still need to pinch myself about Racked DC, I can't believe it. It's been amazing and I can't wait to hit the ground running in 2014. I made some tough decisions over the past two years, knuckled down and did work, got some very lucky breaks, and help from folks around me, and maybe that's the secret, huh? Just stick around and keep plugging away.

Apartment Progress: The Closet Is The Only Finished Room

Hello! So we moved into our apartment in July and I absolutely love it. I've been making "improvements" lately. You be the judge if they are actually improvements. Or if it looks like a demented emo preteen stole Mom's credit card.

For some reason, I am mainly focusing on the closet area. It seems more manageable. And the stakes are lower than the living room. The rest of the apartment is unchanged. Here's what I've done so far, and perhaps that is enough.

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I've loved Keith Haring since high school, and I've always wanted to use wall decals. Better use wall decals before I turn 30, I thought. Thus, I bring you my closet door. Cartoon dogs, I love it! I got the idea of somehow decorating the closet door from the Dos Family house tour in Design Sponge. Their space is the coolest! This is pretty crazy, but not as crazy as their jumping tiger-emblazoned pocket door. 

I bought Blik's decals and they were pretty easy to apply. If you screw up, it can be remedied. But read the instructions first. Not sure why I didn't do that. The videos are a good place to start. 

I emailed a pic to my friend Debie and she wrote: "Your new closet is crazy but I love it!!!  The top two dogs are barking at each other but the third row of dogs look like they're barking at a common enemy." 

So I put the dogs up while Joe was out of town for the weekend. I wish I could've seen his face when he saw it, but i was behind him. "Oh my God," he said. "Are there more?" Haha, no that's it. They are confined to the closet. 

 

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I bought some basic, burlap-inspired Bed, Bath & Beyond curtains to shield our messy closets from prying eyes, and I went on a bender at the Container Store. Would you believe I carried all these boxes (and more) home on the Metro?

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The Frida Kahlo poster from my last apartment is now in the bathroom, and I bought some Jonathan Adler hand towels. I really want a headboard, but channeled that energy into $$ bath towels instead. They had cute little hooks, and I was sold.

Joe said, "Those look like some towels a baby would throw up on." Me: blank stare. I recently showed him a fancy new blinged-out forest green peplum top I bought, and he said, "That looks like a really nice Christmas sweater," which threw me into a fit of despair. But, he was not wrong about the sweater.

I will have the last laugh though, because in case you haven't noticed, everything I've been buying is pink. Poor Joe. I ended up getting the amazing floral sheets I picked out for Racked! They totally match an existing dress I have, to the extent that I'd say one of these companies might have a lawsuit on their hands. 

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Will keep you updated should I move out of the closet in my decorating efforts. xoxox

Guest Post: The Product That Saves Dying Nails

 Beauty advice interlude: My super cool friend Debie is a makeup artist in New York, and today she was nice enough to share one of her tricks of the trade. 

Ladies-- when it comes to first world problems, we know that chipped, broken nails can be one of the worst offenses.  They snag our most delicate of clothing, ruin our favorite tights, and leave us living in fear of every soda can top.  As a former nail biter (I was one of those “I didn’t even know I was doing it and oops now my nails are bleeding” die-hard addicts), a part of me wonders if the nail gods are making me pay for my once-terrible habit with the curse of weak, brittle tips.

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Fortunately for those of us not blessed with naturally fierce claws, relief is found in the form of Rejuvacote, a miracle product manufactured by Duri Cosmetics, a company operating out of Brooklyn.  This humble pink antidote has transformed my cracked and peeling nubs into healthy tips, growing stronger by the day with each slick application.  Directions suggest you apply a fresh coat daily for 7 days but I found it hard to resist applying multiple coats in one sitting to achieve a finish that’s distractingly glossy.  One brief week later and my “dying nails” might not be “to die for” as their tagline promises, but they do look and feel pretty darn good.

Rejuvacote certainly isn’t the only effective nail strengthener out there but for about $8 a pop (I purchased mine from my local Bed Bath & Beyond), it’s a much cheaper option than other strengtheners (comparable alternates are OPI Nail Envy which retails for $17 and Nail Tek Xtra which retails for $12) and infinitely more practical than indulging in a weekly manicure.  Armed with Rejuvacote and a little patience, let those fear of pop tops fade away and instead let those nails shine (literally)!

 

Beyonce's Pixie and a "Cell Phone Mugging"

Hello my lovelies! (TM Cup of Jo)

Am I crazy or did Beyonce get the same haircut as me? Yay pixie cut! Compare for yourself: Queen B's new hair and my Miley-esque cut, which has since grown out a tad. "Maybe she reads Gosh Gee Golly," Joe said. Ha! I'm digging her hair, obviously, since I'm pro-pixie. Anyway, I feel like I'm on the cutting edge today.

Other than that, I've been busy working. And reading crime stats in local blogs, which is one of my more perverse hobbies. I can't find the link, but there was a story recently about a woman who had her bike stolen, then she saw the thief on her bike the next week and took out her cell phone to call the cops and the same guy stole her phone. Maybe that's an urban legend, ha. Just to give you a baseline for my neurosis, when my dad found out that I was moving to Mount Pleasant, he told my mom, "Her chance of survival is slim." 

Yesterday, I sat in the car while Joe ran and grabbed his dry cleaning. It was a nice day and I had the window down while scrolling through Twitter. Sddenly, a hand shot through the window and I heard someone yell, "Give me your phone." I realize now that my reaction time is very,  very slow. It was like being underwater. I found myself screaming "No!" and lunging towards the driver seat. I looked back at my assailant and... it was a friend of mine. It was all a joke. I wasn't going to end up on the pages of a Capitol Hill blog after all. Anyway, my life flashed before my eyes a bit there, but maybe it was a good drill for the real thing. God forbid.

New Apartment: Before Pics

I promised I would post pictures of our new space, and now I'm making good on that promise. Please keep in mind, these are before pictures. Before. That's why it is so messy and haphazard. Yes, that's why. Hopefully it will get better.

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When you enter the apartment, the "gear wall" greets you. It's basically a particle board wall and then different hooks and baskets that can be rearranged. I don't know why the management company considers this such a big selling point for the apartment, but they do. Of course, Joe actually does have mountain climbing "gear" but I'm not sure if that's what they had in mind. "Here is our gear wall," I told my friend Haerah when she came to check out our apartment. "Ahh," she said. "It's a really nice stuff board."

Stuff board, gear wall, same difference. The question is, can it be made pretty? I will say it is convenient.

 

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The closet is similar. I loved the concept, and it's pretty spacious. There is storage above the two bars. Joe and I need to work on sharing this space though, since I want to hog it all. Check out those sexy acrylic CB2 bar stools. I got them via Craigslist last weekend from a couple who bought them to stage their home to sell it. So they are practically new. They'll hang out in the closet until I can muster up the funds to buy the matching table.

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The kitchen is on the wall with the door, and comes with open shelving and tomato red accent paint. It's pretty cute! I hung up my  Instax photos via the Fred Flare Birds on Wire set that Joe's sister gave me for Christmas. I think I'm going to do a black and white theme in the kitchen area. My plates are ugly, but the glasses are mismatched (all the wine glasses have winery logos), so I don't think I should put them in the open shelves. What do people put in open shelves? Purely decorative items or things they use a lot so they can be lazy and not open doors?

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The TV is along the same wall as the kitchen. A coffee table is acting as a makeshift entertainment unit. I don't think there is anywhere else to put the bookshelves, but I'm not sure what should go above the TV and between the bookshelves in terms of wall art. Maybe a gallery wall. Would that look dorky?

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Speaking of looking dorky, here is a chair directly in front of a couch. Ha. Our apartment is small and this works for the moment. The orange couch has a place of honor. There's a very Japanese-looking glass wall that can slide back and forth to separate the bedroom from the living room. Here you can see where the kitchen table is currently, not a lot of space for that either. BTW I got a new Air Macbook. That's the reason why I can't afford any furniture. I almost started sobbing when the guy rang my credit card, which is not a normal reaction. But I do love it so far.  When I walked into the Apple store, I thought it smelled like body odor. Maybe it was from the geniuses, or maybe it was the customers' flop sweat when their credit cards are charged.

Oh yeah, and that cool little round grey table is new. I got it at the very inspiring H Street mod vintage furniture store, Hunted House. I was convince to buy it by the proprietor who told me that the coffee table would look at home in Roger's office on Mad Men. Sold! 

He probably says that to everyone. No matter. It is the perfect size and I think it's going to look groovy. 

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The bed is squished up against two walls, which doesn't look great, but there's so much more space for my dresser this way. I think it desperately needs a headboard. Remember last time I tried to buy a headboard and gave up? Why are they so expensive?

There are a few interesting other touches, but I'll save them for another day. God willing, it won't still look like this in a year!