January 24, 2011

The Little Things

Coming up on under a month to go until Valentine’s Day (ick, ugh, roar,) I’ve (and I’m sure, the rest of the world has, too,) been spending a lot of time lately trying to come up with ideas for small things to do. However, whatever it is, it won’t be nearly as grand and stunning as the couple’s massage/day at the exclusive gym/dinner at the gourmet restaurant that one of my friends is planning for her live-in boyfriend of over a year thanks to a hotel’s stellar Valentine’s Day discount incentives. Talk about a treat!

I’m big on spoiling my guys, be it either on Valentine’s Day, or any other day of the week that ends in “-day.” It can be little things— picking up his favorite magazine while you’re already out grocery shopping and see it while you’re standing in line and waiting for the slow check out girl to hurry up with her bagging, already, or giving a $10 gift card to someone’s favorite store to go towards their next inevitable purchase— that show that you’re invested in making someone happy. 

That’s exactly what it is— it’s the little things that tell someone you’re a keeper—buying him a drink, giving him a spur-of-the-moment back massage, letting him sleep in. Because if you’ll do those things for him on your own accord, it gets him thinking about what you’d do for him if/when you REALLY love him. Not every woman gives her guy her Netflix account password and sets him up with unlimited instant entertainment. But nearly every woman will give a blowjob. The latter is nearly expected. The former is not expected, greatly appreciated, and fucking free, with a great emotional pay-off.

Some other instant brownie point winners to set you apart from the rest of the female crowd:

- If he’s light on boxers (or briefs, or those heaven-sent and god-created boxer-briefs,) or socks, pick him up a few cheap but fun pairs. Chances are, his mom, exes, or best girl friend are the ones who usually bought them for him, and the hole his big toe is sticking out of isn’t paramount in his mind on the list of Things To Do or Get. Spoil his inner child just a little bit more by getting a few new pairs and taking that item off his plate of things to stress out about when he opens an empty drawer and suddenly remembers what he’s been forgetting to buy.

- Food really is one of the best ways into a man’s heart. A simple home-cooked meal is a favorite among guys, especially when you’re in the comfortable and slightly broke section of dating. If you let him help you prepare it— chopping the vegetables, stirring the pot, mixing the salad dressing— he’ll feel even better about the meal he helped create, AND may learn some hands-on cooking skills for the next time he’s solo in the kitchen. If you feed a man, he’ll be satiated for one meal. If you teach him how to cook, he’ll be mostly satiated most of the time you’re not around to cook with or for him.

- If he’s a frequent overnight guest, make sure than you have sufficient amenities for him in the morning. A (new!) extra toothbrush, some manly soap, and a towel he knows is “his” to use will go a long way toward making his mornings (and nights!) more comfortable. Plus, you don’t have to kiss morning breath, so really, it’s win/win. Also, if he’s approaching other roommate status, and it looks like neither of you are going anywhere else fast, carving out a drawer or a shelf in your closet for him to have a change of clothes or at least a place to leave a spare shirt and pair of boxers and socks would be a nice gesture.

- Keep a few of his favorite snacks around. If he’s partial to orange juice, keep some in your fridge. If he goes crazy over movie theater-style popcorn, get a few packs so that next time the two of you are staying in to watch a movie, he’s got something to munch happily on other than your crunchy, fruity granola.

- And possibly the easiest, more meaningful tip of all: Every time you see him, pay him one compliment to let him know how much he means to you. It can be something like “I think you’re such a babe, you know that?” or “You’re honestly one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met,” or a simple “Thank you for doing everything it is you do for me; I really appreciate it.” This is what will keep him from straying when a random chick at a bar tells him he’s hot; this is what he’ll remember you love about him next time he’s feeling down; this is what will make him want to be all those things you compliment him about, for YOU. A guy who knows how you feel about him is a guy who is content, satisfied, and clear on what he’s expected of.

Recently, I did what I preached and took him out to lunch, on me. I know that the standard and traditional scheme looks like the guy paying for everything, but I was amazed how relaxed and right it felt to pick up the tab when it hit the restaurant table. Best yet was when he reached across the table…for my hand, not the check. He picked it up, pressed it between his, kissed it, and looked me straight in the eyes and said “thank you.” Everyone, take note—- this is not only a great way to show heartfelt appreciation if you need to cop this move for your own, but it also got my heartstrings strumming a little. It struck me that I am so lucky. So, so lucky. Which is exactly why I’m bashing my brains out trying to come up with the perfect “little thing.”


P.S— While these are all idea slanted towards your significant other, boyfriend, or the significant man in your life, please note that with a little tweaking, similar things can be used to show appreciation for the important friends in your life, and they’d be just as welcome. I’m sure your roommate would be surprised and touched if you brought her home the latest issue of Cosmopolitan randomly, or your always-there-to-pull-you-back-together work buddy would appreciate if you took them out for Happy Hour drinks after a particularly trying day at the office. Remember, while your romantic relationships may be the ones you focus on because they’re getting you laid and potentially setting you up for the rest of your life, you’d be nowhere without your friends and family, who are always the ones who help take care of you when the romances fail or falter. Show love to all.


- Excerpt from SATCG

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Gifts Relationships SATCG Valentine's Day

February 11, 2011

V-Day Made Easy, for the Fellas.

Hi. Let me take this moment to remind you, this coming Monday, February 14th, is Valentine’s Day. I know. It sucks. I’m sorry. You may want to remember that or keep that in mind. Now let’s suck it up and get serious about this shit.

If you’re seeing a girl, dating a girl, in a relationship with a girl, playing a girl, sleeping with a girl, engaged to a girl, married to a girl, or, hell, if you even KNOW a girl, expect that she got you something. Please know that “don’t get me anything” RARELY actually means “don’t get me anything” when coming from a woman’s mouth. Expect that she will probably be expecting or wanting something in return. DO NOT expect that you have to be left in the dark about what to do, or that it has to cost you a small fortune, the price your left kidney will fetch on the black market, or your future child together’s college education. The good news is, there are some inherent things that men do that drive us ladies wild, in a good way. I’m particularly partial to the freshly washed man— a towel wrapped around his waist and nothing else on but body hair is one of my favorite sights in the world. Give me about 10 minutes of concentrated and uninterrupted staring at that, and I’m good for the day. Easy as all hell, right? (Yes, we objectify you too.) 

A few things other than the time-honored toweled man that will satiate your lady’s desire for romance and surprise on V-Day, ranging from costing you nothing to things that will cost you a little bit of dignity or a chunk of change (lucky girl!): 

- Whatever it is, first of all, surprising us with it is always a good idea. A smart woman is very rarely actually surprised. If you can pull it off, you can charm her.

- Cook for her. It doesn’t matter what you cook— you could be Anthony Bourdain whipping up lamb ribs with a mint/tarragon aioli, or you could be a college boy stirring the contents of a box of Kraft mac n’ cheese on the stove top, but whenever a woman sees a man standing in a kitchen, holding a cooking utensil, and doing something with food, it makes you look like Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone and hits us in a very primal spot. I think it’s called Instant Love.

- Clean up a little, both personally and physically. Shower. Shave. Find a fresh pair of socks. And if she finds you folding her laundry (separate lights from darks or whites from colors, and when in doubt, DON’T DRY IT IN THE DRYER UNLESS IT’S 100% COTTON!) or holding the handle of a running vacuum, I guarantee you— Best Boyfriend Award for WEEKS.

- I know some of us (myself included) will tell you that chocolate and flowers are over-played. Some women (including myself) are bullshit. What we DON’T like are generic bouquets and Russell Stover heart boxes. Go for her favorite bunch of flowers, or something bright and colorful, and Godiva. My dad got my mom and I classy, understated roses (Mom’s, red; mine, the cream-colored ones with the pink or purple tips— god, I love them,) and gourmet chocolate every year. Our abiding love for him is a good Exhibit A as to why unless she says “I’m allergic,” flowers still do something special to every girl. And if you do go for the dozen red roses with baby’s breath and red foil box, yadda yadda yadda…unless she’s a Grade A bitch, she’ll still appreciate the effort you put in, anyway.

- Jewelry is always good. Always. I say this as a jeweler’s daughter and sales associate who watched hundreds of men pour in the shop’s front doors every year, not as a woman. Here are a few tips I learned in the trade for making sure she actually will like what you drop money on: 

1.) Take note of the kind of jewelry she wears regularly. Is she a ring person with one on nearly every finger? Or are bangles and bracelets more her style? Does she only wear the necklace her dead grandmother gave her on her deathbed, and would never think of taking it off in favor of another? Does she have an earring collection, or does she even have pierced ears? What’s her favorite gem or birthstone? Is she a silver or gold girl? What’s her style? While I may have grown up with precious stones and tennis bracelets, only a small percentage of the jewelry I wear every day is real— the rest are souvenirs from places I’ve traveled (rings from Italy and St. John’s,) a signature dichroic glass pendant on my necklace that I will almost NEVER take off, and bangles that I’ll switch in and out depending on my mood and the look I’m going for— either wood or cheap metal ones. Scoping what she wears everyday and what’s in her jewelry box will give you a good idea as to the type of jewelry she likes to wear and what she’d get the most wear out of— if she wears the same 2 rings every day, a ring may not be the road to go, but if she mixes and matches necklaces or earrings, those would probably be safe to get her something new. It doesn’t even have to be expensive— the majority of the jewelry I treasure cost under $50— it just has to be her.

2.) Make sure it’s the right size, especially for rings. When in doubt, snag a ring that she won’t miss for a day to take it in and match what you’re buying up with the right size.

3.) Get it gift-wrapped. Unless you were an origami CHAMP in elementary school, it’s probably best to get someone at the store to do it for you.

4.) If it’s in a square box— be it a ring, earrings, or pendant— give us a minute to catch our breath when you give it to us. We’re pre-conditioned about square boxes…we’re sorry, we can’t help it, just bear with us until we start breathing regularly again.

- Can’t go wrong with a few things: Victoria’s Secret gift card. Books, movies, or tickets to a show she’s wanted to see. A candlelit bubble bath drawn up and waiting for her when she gets home (cheesy, yes, but classic for a reason— this is the holiday of romantic Velveeta moments). A mix CD or playlist that you compiled for her. Dinner and a fairly nice restaurant and a move. Drinks or cocktails at a lounge— dressed up. A hand-in-hand walk after dark. Massages. Sex. Cuddling. Or going out drinking in moderately decent clothing, followed by a drunken stumble home in the dark while holding each other up, some messy foreplay, sex, and not falling asleep snoring directly afterwards. That works, too. Hey. We’re not all gooey and mushy.

- Good god, hold the plushy toys and cards, unless you’re dating jailbait. If you are, make sure to have her back by curfew. Also, please go register with your local Neighborhood Watch chapter.

- Fix something for her— her car, her computer, the floor in her apartment that needs to be redone, the old paint in the bathroom that’s chipping and needs a fresh coat. Whatever you’re naturally good at, lend her your talents.

- Tell her she’s gorgeous. The best thing you can do for us is really just to tell us that you like us. That we smell nice. That we’re pretty. That you like being with us. That you think you’re lucky. That you’d do a lot for us, like brave the hordes at a flower shop at 5 o’clock on the 14th because you suddenly remember that we love Gerber daisies. That she looks slammin’ in whatever she bought for the occasion. Laugh at the pink wrapping paper. Kiss her “thank you.” Say “thank you.” Be genuine with her, and she’ll fall for it faster than she ever would for a dozen red roses. (…It’s still a good idea to have something small. Just sayin’— don’t shoot the messenger.)

Hope that cleared some things up for you, and best of luck with getting lucky.


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May 19, 2011

Have I yet mentioned that while I was shopping (read: fulfilling my addiction) in Victoria’s Secret one day, the S.O walked out of Williams-Sonoma carrying a bag, handed it to me, and said, “It’s for you.”
It was a Darth Vader spatula.
Tell me this is not love.

Have I yet mentioned that while I was shopping (read: fulfilling my addiction) in Victoria’s Secret one day, the S.O walked out of Williams-Sonoma carrying a bag, handed it to me, and said, “It’s for you.”

It was a Darth Vader spatula.

Tell me this is not love.


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Couples Star Wars Closet Nerd Disgustingly Cute These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things The S.O Gifts

October 7, 2011

It is decided.

Either this…

Or this…

…are going on my right-hand ring finger as congratulations-for-surviving-life-thus-far-mostly-sane-and-having-not-screwed-yourself-over-royally presents to myself for Christmas. They’re Le Vian. They’re not cheap. They’re the most beautiful designs I’ve seen in YEARS.

Thank god for my employee discount and working crazy amounts of hours.

I’m diamonds material, man.


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November 7, 2011

No Child Left Behind.

When I was in high school, my mom constantly pressured me to become more involved with volunteering and charitable organizations. Whether it was because she was hoping it would help pad out what was (then) a less-than-stellar high school transcript to make me a more appealing college candidate, or it was because she herself was heavily involved in volunteer activities through the family church, I still haven’t decided. But I HAD decided on one thing— I just didn’t do community service, volunteering, or charity.

I don’t know what’s changed over the years— maybe it was finally breaking ties with the same church I grew up in to explore my own, less egocentric beliefs in substituting nature for “holy” people; maybe it was spending a thoroughly enjoyable night cooking a group dinner at a Ronald McDonald house with a group of friends who would shortly thereafter lose one of our own, leaving us with that being one of our last, happy memories; or maybe it was the fact that my mother wasn’t MAKING me anymore, but I became more interested in the empathy behind helping others, either through time, which was sometimes hard for me to find, or through money, which was sometimes even harder to come by.

Nonetheless, this is what I’ve learned: Even the most miserly Scrooge will sometimes find a cause that tugs his or her heartstrings.

Partially through our partnership with them at work, I’ve become a HUGE proponent of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The thought that they’ve helped raise the probability of a child surviving leukemia from 4% to 94% is INCREDIBLE. The knowledge that NO child is turned away from receiving care due to lack of funds is truly AMAZING. The fact that this results in it costing over 2.4 MILLION dollars to run St. Jude’s PER DAY is STAGGERING. Just wait for a second…$2,400,000. Look at that number. That’s beastly. That’s how much money it takes, every day, to give those kids, rich and poor alike, a 94% chance of to live, grow up, and achieve their dreams.

…Excuse me for a moment, I’m tearing up now, which makes typing difficult, to say the least…

Anyway, every year, we sell stuffed animals in the store whose proceeds go toward helping St. Jude’s. So, a $12.99 teddy bear, which comes to $13.90 with (Vermont’s) tax, can help one St. Jude’s patient survive today. At 22, logic states I may be too old for stuffed animals, but when I got my first paycheck, I bought a bear, and I brought him home with me. He lives on my bed now, because every night, I get to think about the fact that I helped a child live to fight another day. Every night, I get to think about that fact and dwell on the idea that my $14— a quarter-tank of gas; a burger, fries, and beer at an upscale restaurant; a tube of M.A.C lipstick— not only got me a soft and snuggly bed-buddy, but it helped a child. I just got my second paycheck, and tomorrow, I’m going into work on my day off to buy another St. Jude’s bear, which I’ll be in turn donating to a local fire station collecting Christmas toys for children affected by Hurricane Irene. And that’s what I’m going to continue to do with $14 of every paycheck I get until they run out of bears for me to buy. And then, I’ll find something else to do.

The moral is, as I stand and watch my high school classmates walk by the store with their children, or smile and make faces for a 9 month old daughter of a teenage father while he’s shopping for a birthday present for his baby’s mother; while I take my birth control pills with the stunning devotion of a born-again-believer, or nanny for the little boy who I’ve helped raise, I’ve found that children are my weakness, and I’ve acted— charitably— accordingly. You do not have to be a parent, or a godparent, or an aunt or an uncle or a nanny or a teacher to make a difference in a child’s life— you need only be a source of inspiration, hope, and means. I’m a full-time jewelry associate with college loans and over-due utility bills to pay, but to me, it means more that I help give a child I will never meet a chance at a healthy and happy life than it would to stop getting calls from debt collectors. It may not go on any permanent record that I have; the grad schools I’m applying to may not be interested in how my energy towards St. Jude’s helps my writing, but the fact remains…this Grinch’s heart grew, right in time for the Christmas season.

Please, I urge you, find your own charitable foundation or cause to help support. Your trigger could be animals— humane societies, endangered animals, adoptions—, politics— campaigning and raising money and awareness for environmental issues or human rights—, or any other one of millions of issues, but please— find something to care about. Find something to donate either some of your time or money to that makes a difference in someone’s life, other than yours. You will be amazed at the difference it makes, not only to someone else, but also, to how it makes you feel in your heart.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

- Adopt. Think about it this way: EVERYONE (and my mother) want a Labrador Retriever puppy. That’s why private breeders can charge $500 for one and be picky about who it goes to. But do you know who CAN’T be picky or charge $500 for a perfectly housebroken, well-trained family dog who, while not coming with the papers, comes with a lot of other great perks? Dogs at your local humane society, ages 2 to 12. Someone out there would KILL to get that Lab puppy. Can that be said for another great, un-pedigreed dog? Your local humane society can put your $150 donation for adopting a dog to far greater use than a private breeder can. Please consider stopping by to meet available dogs before you put yourself on a waiting list for a puppy.

- If you’re a creative-type who couldn’t live without music, museums, photography, or Glee, go to Createnow.org and donate $3 toward a ticket to a field trip to a museum, concert, or play for high-risk youths.

- If you’re a patriotic, AH-MER-IKA! type, $4 to Cellphonesforsoldiers.com will get a U.S soldier stationed overseas two hours’ worth of prepaid calling minutes so he or she can talk to their families and loved ones. Or, if you’re more pacifistic and into supporting those who have served previously so you’re in no way condoning our interactions and infractions in the Middle East, $10 donated to Homesforourtroops.org will buy a box of nails to adapt a disabled veteran’s house to suit their new needs— which the organization does at absolutely no cost to the disabled.

Thank you for your time, efforts, and empathy.


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December 5, 2011

A Great Stocking-Stuffer Gift Idea For Girls:

Perfume samples. 

Seriously, go raid Macy’s for like, 5-10 perfume samples. They make the best gifts because most girls, like me, like to switch up their scents for different occasions, and owning full-sized bottles of most perfumes is way too expensive. Also, the tiny little sample bottles fit perfectly into a clutch for re-spritzing on a night out.

I live to serve you guys.


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February 14, 2012

I’m always down for a surprise.


I’m always down for a surprise.


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Comics Valentine's Day Girl Shit Gifts Surprises Truth

June 11, 2012

The Llama surprised me with one of these babies for my birthday present. Best reading/mood light ever. AND they’re boss for your health/mental health/anxiety issues.

The Llama surprised me with one of these babies for my birthday present. Best reading/mood light ever. AND they’re boss for your health/mental health/anxiety issues.


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Lights Birthday Gifts Awesome Health Glow Rocks

August 7, 2012

Things To File Away For Later Use:

My camping spot buddy for Solarfest was a guy named Dave from CT. He went to school up here, and so, nothing about him screamed “Connecticunt” until I saw his car…a brand new Volvo wagon. But besides that, his easy conversation, long ponytail, paint-streaked legs, and sharing of his greenery made us fast camping friends. 

The second morning on site, I tumbled out of the backseat/living quarters of the Civvy to find he’d nailed a hammock up between two trees in the shade by his tent. “Sweet hammock,” I told him. “Where’d you get it?”

"My brother’s girlfriend got it for me as a birthday present," he said, and I instantly filed it away as the perfect present to get your significant other’s brother/best friend for their birthday, when you know you’ll need to get them something relatively inexpensive, but quirky and useful and cool. Because really, WHO DOESN’T LOVE A SWEET HAMMOCK?!



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Gifts Smart Girlfriend Moves Solarfest Friends Clever Hammocks Furniture Awesome

August 9, 2012


This is probably my most used home brewing recipe, and the simplest. It’s an easy soda, refreshing on it’s own or tasty mixed with gin or vodka. I love to make a large batch before parties, everyone loves it and it costs less than even the cheapest generic sodas. The major plus here is once you have the basic recipe down it’s not too hard to make tweaks and changes to suite your personal preferences. This ginger ale is entirely different from most American brands (i.e. Vernors, Canada Dry), in that it’s flavor comes directly from fresh ginger root which is spicy and refreshing. The carbonation comes from a minor act of fermentation by bakers yeast as it ‘eats’ the sugar in the drink, creating carbon dioxide (fizz!). This is the same reaction used to make alcoholic drinks, just on a shorter and smaller scale (in this case the amount of alcoholic content is negligible, around half a percent).

To make a 2 liter bottle of Ginger Ale you will need:

  • A cleaned out 2 liter plastic soda bottle with screw-on cap.
  • A fine grater or zester.
  • A funnel.
  • A 1 cup measuring cup.
  • A 1/4 cup measuring cup.
  • A 1 tbsp. measuring spoon.
  • A 1/4 tsp. measuring spoon.
  • 1 cup sugar (raw or cane is fine)
  • A chunk of fresh ginger root.
  • Bottled lemon juice or  1 medium lemon.
  • Active baker’s yeast.
  • Water.

To make the ale first combine the dry ingredients inside the 2 liter using the funnel; 1 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp. yeast. Next grate the ginger until you have at least 2 tbsp., depending on how flavorful and spicy you want your drink to be, you could use up to 4 tbsp. Pour the ginger and then the lemon juice (1/4 cup of the bottle stuff or the juice of 1 fresh lemon) into the bottle as well. Then fill the bottle the rest of the way up with lukewarm water within one inch of the top, using the water to rinse any remaining ingredients from the sides of the funnel into the bottle. Cap and shake gently until all of the sugar is dissolved. Find a warm place to stash the bottle, I think the top of  kitchen cabinet is a good place and let the bottle sit for 1-2 full days checking periodically to see how firm the bottle feels. Once the bottle no longer gives at all when you squeeze it’s ready! Move the bottle to the fridge (this will stop the fermentation process) and wait until the ale is chilled to serve. If you don’t like chunks of ginger in your drink wrap a piece of cheesecloth over the neck of your bottle when you pour. The chunks will mostly settle to the bottom of the drink anyways.

Further options:

I love adding extra flavoring to my ginger ale by making my soda with an herbal tea instead of water. My favorite flavors are hibiscus, lavender, or peppermint but there are many other options as well (pretty much any edible herb you’d like!) I make the tea ahead of time, using boiling water and dried herbs to taste making sure it’s cool to touch before add it to my other soda ingredients (if it’s too hot it will kill the yeast!) The hibiscus is especially nice because it gives the soda a striking magenta color. Consider making a number of smaller bottles of ginger ales with different flavorings, experiment with different colorful and medicinal herbs.


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September 21, 2012

Yet Another Excellent Character Study:

I drank absinthe for the first time this past weekend with my best friend while I was up visiting her. I ended up making Chocolate Turtle Brownies (caramel, cashew pieces, and chocolate,) at 1 AM. Someone apparently didn’t like me enough at a rugby party to let the air out of my two rear tires and force me to call AAA from the middle of East Bumfuck Nowhere the next morning and have them come out and fix me up. (I KNOW I can be a bitch sometimes, but really, other than casually commenting, “Oh, look…a Sasquatch,” when that one guy appeared on the lake island shirtless to go swimming, I was downright charming and well-behaved.) I also Apple-license-officially named my new iPhone 4S “Jarvis.”

…I am such a ridiculous human being. Help.


P.S— Looking for a romantic and practical gift for your girlfriend or loved one for an anniversary, birthday, or holiday? Sign them up for a AAA Plus membership. Free towing, free roadside assistance, and they’ll bring you free gas if they run empty anywhere, and all you have to do is pay the yearly/monthly membership fees.

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December 17, 2012

If this is a ring, YES PLEASE.
Santa, I haven’t been good this year, but that’s ok because you like it when I’m bad, anyway.

If this is a ring, YES PLEASE.

Santa, I haven’t been good this year, but that’s ok because you like it when I’m bad, anyway.


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February 14, 2013

I dream a dream that one of these Valentine’s Days, some man will be emotionally connected to me enough that he feels obligated to get me something.

…Until then, I’ve bought myself my favorite bottle of more expensive wine, and chocolate-covered strawberries and have a violent murder mystery to watch and a vibrator.

I think I’m set for now.


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February 21, 2013

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

- Mary Oliver, The Uses of Sorrow.


(Source: memereve)

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