Monthly Archives: December 2011

Top 5 Websites that Thrill my Girly, Retro-Gypsy Soul

Standard

Author: Kara Mae Adamo

Hello. My name is Kara Adamo, and I am an internet-shopping-addict.

They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, but I doubt that in this case. I am merely embracing the obvious: that the internet wizards have found a way to combat the original reason why I never shopped much before: I am lazy.

Now I don’t even have to get up to grab my Visa. Google Chrome and I have both memorized the number and the little security code on the back (thank god for passcode protections). I can literally sink lower and lower into my seat without so much as blinking more than necessary and I will get absolutely everything I could ever want or need.

Okay, so I take bathroom breaks.

And coffee breaks–which leads to more bathroom breaks.

My point is, internet shopping is not only mad-convenient, but opens up a whole slew of possibilities when it comes to the things you own. I live in Orlando, Florida. Mall at Millenia, in all of it’s infinite glory and splendor, sits not fifteen minutes from my house. I’m not lacking options here–but there are things you can find online that you just can’t find in any ole’ town.

I’m talking about the artsy stuff: the really spiffy things that strange people like me get all giggly and googly eyed over. Some of these sites are pretty well known–one or two of them seem to be hosted by a single artist. Either way, my closet is fuller and my apartment is getting prettier and it’s (mostly) thanks to the following websites:

ModCloth

I have a thing for vintage clothing. I just love ruffles and skirts and bowler hats. There is something so classy about it. If I look at pictures of my mother or grandmothers, I can’t help but feel they had a good idea of how to do it. I like the high waists and the high heeled shoes. If I am having an ugly day, I don a pair of pumps, a cute dress and curl my hair under and everything is somehow turned around. You can’t help but feel more cheerful.

ModCloth is filled to the brim with exactly that kind of stuff. Right now I have my eye on a red With the Breeze hat and a black and white Ruffle Your Feathers dress. I also like the Thoroughly Modern Musician Headphones in Raspberry.

The site offers free returns, shipping and exchanges and is full of some of the cutest clothing, accessories, and apartment junk I’ve ever seen.

Ragtrader Vintage

This is actually my most recent find. Ragtrader Vintage is a site where you can buy handmade indie retro accessories that are all beautifully crafted and incredibly, wonderfully unique. I love the compass cufflinks and the little pocket watch cameos. There is something so quaint and almost gypsy-like about this stuff and I think it’s fantastic.

Just Fab

Of all of the sites that have me itching for a fix, this one is probably the biggest culprit. In fact, there was a moment when I started writing this blog where I nearly typed “Hello, my name is Kara Adamo, and I am a shoe-addict.” I blame my ex, Rob, for this fixation. He bought me my first pair of Aldo’s and it’s been a spiraling whirlwind tour of high heals ever since.

Just Fab make this all much more severe by offering free shipping on items that you’re already getting a deal on. You can also buy handbags and accessories and they even give links where you can purchase the clothing the models on the sites all wear. It’s a girlie haven and I’m loving it.

The way the site works is that, when you join, you select a pair of shoes and fill out a style profile questionaire so they can create a boutique based on your likes and dislikes. You can shop outside the boutique and, if you have facebook friends on there, you can even peak into theirs.

All of the items on the site are $39.95 flat. The site is ever-growing, too. It seems like almost every time I visit, there is another collection and they are all updated every month (along with your boutique). You can even rate shoes that you do or don’t purchase so they can better cater the easily-viewed products to you and your personality. They are, in essence, marketing geniuses. And I drank the Kool Aid long ago.

Membership to this wonderous site is $39.95 a month and that amount goes toward a new pair of shoes that you can either redeem or not, depending on your preference. You also earn points by getting people interested and by buying shoes. The points add up to get credits and one credit is good for one free item on the site. You can also ask them to “skip this month” if you don’t think that you will be buying anything this month. Even if you “skip this month,” you can still buy shoes later.

One of my favorite things about the site is that you can purchase Iron Fist shoes for 60% off the retail price and still get free shipping. It’s pretty awesome–but this particular brand does sell out pretty quick, so if you join the site and they have a cute pair of Iron Fist shoes in your size, my recommendation is to use your membership credit on them immediately.

Direct From Mexico

I have a big beautiful empty apartment with no shelving. It’s a travesty. I have 1,200 sq. feet of space and all of it is occupied by books that are stacked up the the ceiling and art supplies that are backed up against a wall. I am literally that crazed artist type that lives in semi-organized chaos.

This needs to be fixed.

I used to have bookshelves, I just didn’t like them anymore. They were cheap and they worked for a short time, but I’m not in college anymore and I’m in the market for something a little more visually pleasing. I’m also quite the bohemian, so unique is key.

I found some really really spiffy bookshelves at Direct from Mexico. They are handmade, colorful, and beautifully carved. They remind me of the gypsy cart in the movie Stardust, which is a big plus in my book because if I could actually be a romanticized storybook gypsy, I’d do so immediately. There are all sorts of beautiful pieces of furniture, pottery, etc. on this site, and each piece is completely unique as its own work of art. They even do hammered copper! It’s well worth the look.

Etsy

If you haven’t heard about this one yet, I’m assuming you live under a bridge somewhere and have only recently resurfaced to reconnect with the outside world for a short spell before starting your second hibernation in a cave somewhere.

Etsy is amazing. It is an eclectic hodgepodge community of artists that sell their stuff online. On the same page, you can buy a vintage 1960’s metal globe, a collection of blue Vespa art, and herbal salves…and those are just the first things I saw when I looked it up five seconds ago.

Some of it’s junk. Some of it’s cool. Some of it is just really cool junk. Either way, if you haven’t visited the site, I’d definitely stop in. You can even get Ragtrader Vintage stuff on there, lol.

Punk.Com 

This site is pretty cool because you can get a lot of my favorite name brands all at the same place, like Iron Fist and Betsy Johnson. Shipping is cheap on here, too. You only pay $5 on orders under $75, and anything over that is free. It’s also a pretty good spot for shopping for men, too, and they have a pretty extensive cosmetics section.

You have to love a site where you can get a Joan Jett t-shirt, a Hell Bunny Evita dress, and a pair of Chelsea Crew flats all in one swoop.

__

So yeah, these are the sites that have caught my eye recently. They thrill my girly, retro-gypsy soul and they are definitely making my apartment and closet a bit more pleasing to the eye. If you like eclectic stuff with lots of color and character, I definitely encourage all of you to check these out.

Happy New Year’s, everybody.

Advertisements

Yogi Munchkin

Standard

Author: Kara Mae Adamo.

So I decided to do some yoga today.

I used to do a little yoga every day for about half an hour (actually, exactly half an hour. I follow a Jillian Michaels dvd when I do it) but ever since I moved to this apartment I’ve managed to put it off. It’s actually not a lazy thing…at least not entirely. Kira and I were actually really good about going to the gym for a while there.

Over the last month and a half I’ve perfected the sloth position.

It’s great–you should try it–you just veg out until you can’t take it anymore.

Alas, that does nothing for my flexibility, waistline, or muscle tone, though. So today I decided to revisit Jillian Michaels.

This woman is a beast. She’s in great shape and a little scary, but you can tell she knows her stuff. She combines classic yoga poses with a bit of cardio and you’re sweating within fifteen minutes.

I actually really enjoy the routine. It pumps your metabolism and calms you down all at the same time. I also love that you’re relying on your own body during the workout. It’s just you out there–you and everything you’ve got. And when you start to stabilize and you start getting more flexible, that’s all you, too. There’s really something to be said for that. When I’m doing the routine, I actually imagine what it was like thousands of years ago, when people really didn’t “workout”…they just existed and moved and bent and lived and managed to be healthy and toned and had energy without the use of a 24-hour fitness center. I can’t help but feel like that is probably how we’re supposed to be. Ever-active, with energy flowing in and out of us in a natural, vaguely cosmic sort of way.

Yoga rocks.

You even kind of get into the cheesy way they talk during the routines. “Seal it in mountain pose…melt your heart to the sky…” that sort of thing. You actually do feel waves of energy shooting up and down your body and it feels amazing.

I’m not gonna lie, today I was not the yoga guru I have been in the past. I was on the beginner’s video (I’m always on the beginner’s video), and I was shaking like a mo-fo about ten minutes in. But you know what? My muscle memory is pretty decent. I know that if I managed to squeeze in a routine before I head to work tomorrow, I’m going to be a lot more confident and stable throughout the workout…and that alone is enough to keep me going.

I’d also like to point out that I did this in the comfort and, most importantly, PRIVACY of my own home. There is no way in hell that I am jumping back into yoga in the not-so-spiffy shape that I’m in right now in front of people. If you want to do it and you feel you need the support-group, by all means, go for it. I’ve thought about joining a class after I get a little more secure and a little less chunky-monkey-ish. I’m betting it would be a lot of fun. But right now I think I’ll stick to the DVD until I’m confident enough to go for the advanced workout…then we’ll talk peer pressure and socializing.

I’m also all healthy-feeling now, so I’m downing water left and right and even eating a healthy meal for lunch. Yoga kinda does that to you: brings about that feeling of positive energy, cleansing and change.

It really couldn’t have come at a better time, either. If you’ve never tried it, I encourage you to go ahead and do it. Stop with the “I’m not flexible” bullshit, too, because the beginners stuff is less about flexibility and more about stability. The flexible stuff comes later. You work your way up…and it comes about faster than you’d think.

Well, that’s all for now. Happy holidays, everyone 🙂

Nameste
🙂

Dead Things, Part 3.

Standard

You know what I like about that movie? It's a movie.

Author: Kara Mae Adamo. 
Okay, now I’m just upset.

This is relatively “old news,” but I’m going to complain about it anyway.

My last two “Dead Things” blogs revolved around the disposal (or the lack thereof) of peoples’ remains. Apparently, ashes make a great snack when you’re not wearing them around your neck and matching them with bracelets and high heels.

At least, at that point, we’re really just dealing with charred carbon. It all turns intoplant food anyway, right?

But what about before all that?

Death freaks me out. It’s not the people disappearing part—I’ve kind of squared with that one for the most part and, with a few exceptions, I know I’ll generally always be able to handle it.

I have this huge secret paranoia that I, at some point in time, am going to be stuck with a corpse.

I’ve felt it coming since I was a youngster—searching the elderly with a wary and distrusting eye, always convinced that if I let my guard down they were going to stroke out right there in front of me.

I’m fairly certain it has something to do with growing up in a retirement-focused town where we played yahtzee and went golfing and bowling as teenagers.

Either way, it’s always lurked in the back of my mind. Some soothsayer part of me also must have known I was going to accumulate some terrible karma in the next ten to fifteen years, too, because I was also always worried I’d be blamed for said demise.

Moving on.

Evidently, this fear is not shared by everyone (probably not even most). In the case of Robert Young and Mark Rubinson, being stuck with a corpse appeared to have been the coolest thing since sliced bread.

Please allow me to explain why.

So Young was a 43-year-old dead-beat living with his old college buddy (Jeff Jarrett…more about him in a minute). He’d recently fallen on hard times and began couch surfing with Jarrett to get through it while partying it up with 25-year-old Mark Rubinson.

So at some point, Jarrett stops moving around and talking. Young, in a streak of brilliant observation, decides something is probably wrong and makes a phone call.

Here is where paranoid-me would stray from his path: would have called the cops and made them fish a corpse out from the couch or lazy boy or what-have-you because Idon’t like touching clammy things—especially clammy things that once had a pulse and are suddenly lacking one.

Young and I, as it turns out, are different people.

Instead of calling the cops or even a freaking relative, Young called Rubinson (who was just finishing up a shift at the bar he worked at). I’m sure you can already imagine this, but Rubinson did not exactly arrive at the scene with a gurney.

These two geniuses lifted their friend up and carried him out of the house.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…okay, well, maybe since they’d fallen on hard times they didn’t want to pay for an ambulance…they’re still trying to get him help. 

This would be stupid even if it was true.

As it happens, it isn’t true.

Instead, the two of them decide to reenact the movie Weekend at Bernies and take Jarrett’s freshly cold body on a joyride all over Denver…on his dime.

You know one key thing I really like about that movie? It’s a movie.

They went and drank at a place called Teddy T’s for an hour and a half…then went to Sam’s No. 3. Jarrett didn’t want to go in—he was content just sitting there in the backseat of the car. Don’t worry—he was cool enough to cover the bill, though.

Deciding that it was time for Jarrett to get some rest, the two of them took him home and laid him down in his bed before taking off for a quick bite to eat at Viva Burrito and then hanging out at a strip club named Shotgun Willie’s. At some point they let it leak to a valet (and, subsequently, a police officer) that there may or may not be a dead guy at their friend’s house.

But, you know, no guarantee or anything.

So, naturally, the police raise their eyebrows for a minute or two before arresting the two Larry Wilson and Richard Parker wannabe’s for identity theft, abusing a corpse and criminal impersonation.

And their response?

We didn’t know he was dead.

I’m sorry…what?!

You didn’t—I—ugh.

It’s the type of thing where you hear it and then you get that feeling in your brain like when you eat ice cream too fast and everything blacks out because of the pain in your head.

Dearest friends, here is my published and written out consent: if I’m dead, charge whatever the hell you want on my bank cards. I don’t give a shit. But please–please–don’t take me with you. If I am dead, I am going to be in no mood for partying, I assure you. I will be silent and smelly and probably very antisocial. Do yourselves a favor. Tell the cops. I may be small, but lifting me dead-weight is still going to hurt in the morning.

Which brings me back to their response…you didn’t know? You carried him, for godsakes.  How could you not know he was dead? And even if he was passed out (explaining away his sudden escalation in heaviness), wouldn’t he have moved or had a pulse or something?

Actually, scratch all of that. If he was passed out, why would you drag his butt out of the house? I once passed out at a party about five years ago and my jack-ass friends drew all over me with permanent marker. I woke up on the ottoman in the front yard covered in dew.

It wasn’t cool then—and they knew I was alive.

Sooo, what have we learned? Here, tell you what…I’ll set up some simple guidelines for you.

Number 1: Check for a pulse if your buddy isn’t moving or breathing.
Number 2: Call the authorities and a close relative.
Number 3: Back away from the corpse.
Number 4: Stay away from the corpse.

See? It’s so easy. Just keep these four steps in mind and we won’t have to go through this again, okay?

Also: stop using comedies as guidelines for what to do in sticky situations.

Jiggly Puff

Standard

So I finally peeled my lazy ass out from underneath all of the Reeses and Kit Kat wrappers, put down the milk shake, and walked the whole twenty feet to my apartment’s gym.

I felt accomplished the moment I laced up my Reeboks…which I then had to fight because the last three times I did that, I figured it was enough to put the shoes on and sat down to watch another episode of Secret Circle.

This can’t be good.

There was a time when I out ran the boys and pushed 200 lbs on leg presses—I did yoga—I did P90x, damnit!! I even ate vegan cheese!   I now think about my inhaler when I go up the stairs…and I’m not sure, but I think my ass might qualify for a separate zip code.

My 21 year old self would hang her head in shame.

And so, it appears that I have a decision to make…as Patton Oswalt says, I have two options: I can either do something about it or I have to start becoming fascinated by what is happening to me physically.   Since I’m supposed to be in my prime, I have decided to do go with the first one.

I’m a vegetarian, so while I’m slender, I’m soft and squishy and I have a looming fear that those are not new dimples on my upper thighs (you’re welcome for the visual). I am aging, and I am not happy about it. When did I authorize this? I don’t recall signing any contracts saying that I’m allowed to sprout gray…we’ll call it “tinsel” in the name of the holiday season (look, mom, I’m festive.)…from my head or that I am to start getting all worried about gravity!! I swear, I’ll sue.

My idle legal threats aside, I’ve decided that, since lately I’ve been so terrible about sticking to my blogs, I’m going to force myself to keep a workout journal online. I figure, why not—at least this way if I allow myself to indulge in my much-needed chocolate martini’s the rest of you can kick my ass about it later when I don’t post something.

That’s right. The pressure is now on you—see how I did that?

The truth is, I’ve been in kind of a funk lately and I need the endorphins and the confidence boost. If not, I’ll wallow in my own self pity in a dark and secluded corner surrounded by popcorn and whatever the hell that minty chocolatey frozen wonderment is that Kira’s mom left in the freezer for us when she visited this weekend. And, trust me, we don’t want that.  It’s not a pretty sight.

So back to the basics, then. No more Ramen noodles because I’m too lazy to make something else…no more desserts without cardio to burn it off. It’s time to get back into shape so I can emotionally shop instead of emotionally eat. Shoes have been convenient because they always fit—but being frumpy with awesome shoes is never in style.

Today I didn’t do anything crazy—no cardio—just some free weight routines and worked on my legs and abs a little. I know, I know—you’re supposed to exercise in muscle groups—but I don’t pretend to care about that…I just want to be toned and doing it my way does always seem to work for me.

I do already feel a little better, which is always good.  Working out has always been a good way to temper my innate craziness, and with a 24-hour gym right outside my door I really don’t have an excuse.   So, yeah, working out again…perhaps I’ll do some yoga tomorrow :).

**Just as an update…not five minutes after I originally posted this, Kira the Enabler served me a cup full of said minty chocolatey frozen wonderment. All of my efforts are in vain.**