September 23, 2016

Friday Links


Reading This Week...

Terence CrutcherKeith Lamont Scott. "The presumption that people of color are dangerous is deeply entrenched in American law enforcement," Bryan Stevenson. Scenes from the Charlotte protest. Arrested for resisting murder. "Everything is horrible and heartbreaking and most of us don’t know what to do," Sarah Von Bargen. What white people can do to support #BlackLivesMatter. Fifth grade students at the school the late Terence Crutcher’s daughter attends have some questions.


If I Could Have A Picnic With Any 3 People...

RuPaul
Amy Sedaris
Stephen Colbert

lulz...


Eyes and Ears...

I started watching One Mississippi on Amazon and I looooove it! Disclaimer:  I'm a ride or die for Tig Notaro. I also started watching RuPaul's Drag Race because it's on Hulu. I can't believe I've lived so long without this show. I've been finding ways to work "Condragulations" into conversations all week. I found a new podcast, Politically Re-Active, with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu. It's real good. Add it to your list. I went and saw/heard Colson Whitehead speak at Parnassus Books this week about his new book, Underground Railroad. Man, aside from Ann Patchett, this may be the most I've fangirled over an author.

Thrifting...


I noted in my fall thrifting post that I was on the look-out for a "fancy sweatshirt". Nailed it.

I Endorse...

Armadillos as comfort animals
Delayed success
Women cussing online

September 19, 2016

An Interview with Esthetician and Entrepreneur Khabra Bryant


I've known today's bitch for the better part of a decade. I met Khabra in 2006 when we were both staffers for senators in Tennessee's state legislature. Working in politics is rough and depending on who you work for, you can take a lot of abuse. It's an experience people on the outside don't understand. There is a code between staffers:  we will never talk about what happens here and I will always have your back.

Khabra was not only my friend, she was a source of humor, positivity, and Tootsie Rolls. When things got bad, she would tell me, "Something's coming, Kimmie," meaning, this too shall pass. She was right. We both went back to school, got out of there and started our own businesses. Like most busy adults, ours is a friendship that exists mostly online now, but if Khabra ever needs me, I have her back. Meet today's bitch, Khabra "KDB!" Bryant!


What do you make/do and what is the name of your business?

I am the owner and operator of Afiya Esthetics. I'm a licensed esthetician and certified eyelash extension specialist.

When did you first learn about this field of work?

In the early 2000s.

How did you know it was what you wanted to do?

I always had an interest in skin care and beauty. It started with me doing freelance make up art. I loved transforming people and bringing forth inner beauty.


What was your path that lead you to where you are now?

It all began with an interest in simple make up. Once I began to learn about the skin and different treatments that helped people feel better about themselves, I was hooked on all things esthetics!

Why did you decide to start your own business?

I was tired of spending day after day working to make money for everyone but myself.

What was the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?

No matter how you may feel on any particular day, present your brand with consistency and integrity.


What was the most difficult part of starting your business?

Getting the word out. The beauty industry is extremely competitive and it takes lots of word of mouth to really grow.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

Dealing with people is not as easy as it seems.

What would you do with 2 more hours a day?

As an entrepreneur, I eat sleep and breathe my business, so I'd probably take that time to do more work.


What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made?

It's hard to date as a business woman. It takes a special type of individual to understand how demanding an entrepreneur’s lifestyle is.

What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) related to what you make?

Working with Carrie Underwood.

What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning?

Where do you go when you need inspiration for your work?

Church.

How do you decompress at the end of the work day?

A conversation with my mom. 

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss that isn’t obvious?

The inability to turn my brain completely off.


Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?

Chopped and white cheddar popcorn.

All photos courtesy of Khabra Bryant

P.S. Meet last week's bitch:  Biology Lab Technician, Chrysa Malosh!

P.P.S. Full list of My Bitches here.

September 16, 2016

Friday Links


Reading This Week...

As an extrovert, I didn't realize how often I find myself uncomfortable around other people. This article on social anxiety in the age of social media is eye-opening. Tim Gunn on the $20.4 BILLION being left on the table by fashion designers who refuse to make clothes to fit American women. I wish I could go back and show 2014-me this article on compulsive over-exercising. The war on drugs is an epic fail. Every new TV show of fall 2016, ranked. Stephen Colbert, truly doing the people's work.

If I Could Have Dinner With Anyone...

Tracee Ellis Ross
Ashley Graham
Rev. Faith Green-Timmons

lulz...


Eyes and Ears...

This week's episode of This American Life has a hilarious story about a group of terrier owners in NYC who meet up at night to let their dogs hunt rats. One of my fave podcasts, 2 Dope Queens, comes back next week. I'm almost caught up with Jane the Virgin and can start watching Season 3 in real time when it starts in October. I tried to start watching Bob's Burgers, but fell asleep and can't bring myself to watch what I missed. Is this show really that good?

Thrifting...


Remember last week when we all thought it was funny that I bought a gold-framed unicorn? Well, now I own a 3 ft tall, plush, handmade Mr. T doll.

I Endorse...

Head scarf emojis
Strange Women Society
Moving to Copenhagen
#TrumpMe

September 14, 2016

Thrifting List for Fall


After reading the September issues, I made a "To Thrift" list. There are a lot of trends for fall that I'm interested in.

Formation jackets
robes and kimonos
animal print
herringbone

And I see a lot of this stuff at the thrift stores. I'm confident I can pull off thrifted versions of most, if not all, of these trends. The real trick will be finding reasons to get dressed and leave the house as I work from home and rarely change out of my pajamas.


Thrifting List for Fall:

1) denim jacket
2) cute clutch or interesting purse
3) military blazer
4) animal print
5) silver shoes
6) silk scarves and bandanas
7) fun, ironic t-shirts
8) silk robe / kimono



First up, the coveted, thrifted denim jacket. I can't believe I found one. It was at Southern Thrift on Charlotte Ave buried amongst the ladies blazers. The jean jacket of my dreams would be boxier and faded, but this one works. Plus, thrifted denim jackets are really hard to find. There's a follow up post coming on patches and enamel pins, but rest assured, I've bought all of them.



I still carry my beloved Cambridge Satchel, but a lot of times if I'm going out at night, or on the weekends, I want something funny and/or weird to carry. I'm seeing a lot of basket, or woven, style bags on Pinterest. I haven't come across any yet while thrifting, but my eyes are peeled.


Military jacket, Formation jacket - tomato, tomahto. I own the two jackets on the left, both thrifted. The two on the right are from the September issue of Vogue. In the past, I've seen these jackets styled with jeans and a button-down, but I may try pairing them with black pants this year. You know, or a black leotard.


[Left]

Oy, animal print. I hilariously own a caftan that looks exactly like the one in the picture on the left. It's enormous, but maybe I can make it work. The dress I'm trying on (top right) was Faded Glory and had a corset v-neck that I just couldn't get on board with. The caftan in the bottom was awesome, but it was a pull-over. If it had zipped all the way open, I would have bought it.



As I get older, I realize there are trends I've never let go of. Metallics is one of them. I've been wearing metallic shoes for well over a decade. I thrifted the silver booties in the bottom right picture. Similar to this Who What Wear picture, I've been wearing them with frayed-hem jeans. I don't look quite as pulled together as this fancy lady does, but I'm an overachiever, so I'll figure it out.



I own a million silk scarves and bandanas, but every time I wear them, I think, 'I am not cool enough to pull this off'. In related news, I'm on the lookout for a stylish grey sweatshirt.



I don't have a lot of patience for thrifted t-shirts, but I strike gold every time I make myself sort through them. My general idea is to wear them with a bandana around my neck and under a jacket of some sort. The top right picture is mine. That horse t-shirt says, "Special Riders of Sumner County," which I'm not 100% sure I can wear, but the jacket will cover up the words, so... Maybe?



I saved the best for last:  silk robes and kimonos! OMG, so many style inspiration pics. I'm so into all of this. That pink kimono over a green hoodie? Yes, please!


These are the two robes/kimonos I've thrifted so far. Do I need more than two? Probably not. I haven't worn them yet because it's still hot as blazes, but the minute I can pull off a multi-layer outfit and not spontaneously combust, I'm wearing these.

P.S. I found most of these items during my summer of thrifting.

P.P.S. Follow me on Instagram for more thrifting finds and #OOTD pics.

September 12, 2016

An Interview with Biology Lab Technician Chrysa Malosh


I met today's bitch in 2014 when I attended my first TWCP Monday Night Ladies Ride. Chrysa was the ride leader on that fateful, kind of a disaster, first ride. We got chased by dogs, got lost, couldn't get cell service, it got dark, and none of us had lights. Chrysa kept a cool head and got us back to our cars safe and sound. I was so impressed by her, on the drive home I thought, "I'm going to make her be my friend." And I did!

The same qualities that make Chrysa a great cycling coach, make her a great friend. Chrysa spent the first part of her career working as a drug discovery chemist - information she mistakenly shared with me while I was binge-watching Breaking Bad. Chrysa is one of my favorite people, and not just because she answered my one million questions about mobile meth labs. She is kind, patient, funny, and suuuuuper interesting to talk to. Meet today's bitch, Chrysa Malosh!


What is your job title and where do you work?

I'm a Biology Laboratory Technician at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, TN. I manage all of the biology labs and some of the chemistry labs at the four different campuses. I am a professional cat herder, logistics and efficiency expert, accountant, and fixer of all manner of problems from “why does it smell like skunk in here” to “this experiment isn’t working”. 

When did you first learn about this field of work?

I had almost failed Organic Chemistry during my sophomore year. I went back over break to work with my professor to learn what I was missing, and then spent the summer doing research. Organic was the first course I really had to work at to understand. Once I figured out how it worked, I fell in love with the simplicity behind flowing electrons. I spent the following two summers doing undergraduate research and working on two different grants that involved science education. One was a grant to help develop laboratory exercises for K-12 teachers, while the other was to develop a course to help train first responders within the Army National Guard to deal with chemical, biological and nuclear attacks.


How did you know it was what you wanted to do?

I love solving problems, so research was a no-brainer. Weeks go by where nothing seems to work, you hit a dead end and then wham, you figure out the problem. The implications of finding that solution can be inspiring. I spent the first eight years of my career as a drug discovery chemist. I worked on projects that dealt with finding treatments for conditions that so far are not available. It was really rewarding. I also like to help people and realized this when I started teaching. While working on those two grant projects, I really liked figuring out ways to help the students learn, understand the material, and apply it to their jobs. I got to see the difference I could make in other people’s lives. 

What was your path that lead you to the job you have now?

I graduated with a Masters of Science in Biological Chemistry in 2006 and spent eight years in the drug discovery field. Due to downsizing and funding issues I moved from one company to another and ended up in Nashville. I bought a house, got married and decided I wanted to stay in one city for more than four years. I spent a year teaching as an adjunct professor when this full time position opened up. With my science background and organizational skills, or as I like to refer to them as OCD qualities, it seemed a good fit for me while I tried to figure out a new career. I had decided that I was done with research and wanted to transition to a more stable career.


Favorite piece of advice, business or otherwise?

Never give up because the consolation prize isn’t worth all the effort you already put in.  

Failure you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?

Not so much a failure as it was a change of attitude. In my current job I’ve met a lot of people who have struggles going on in their own lives that I’ve never had to deal with or relate to. I used to be a very black and white person. I’ve learned there is way more gray and I’ve adapted to accommodate it.


What would you do with 2 more hours a day?

I know I should say something that doesn’t include work, but honestly I would try to get more work done. I’d also take an extra slap at the snooze button and sneak in another 30 minutes in bed. I love to sleep but never have time to do it. 

What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your professional life?

My greatest success actually works alongside me. Last fall I got a new student worker. A nice young woman who is bright and energetic. When she started last year she was very quiet and waited for me to give her detailed instructions and tasks. This past summer she was hired on as a temporary employee to assist when we lost some other personnel. I was traveling to another location where an emergency broke out. I asked her to set up some computers for exams later that night and headed out for the day. A couple hours later I called her to ask how the computer setup went. She responded that one of them did not work properly and that she then thought, “What would Miss Chrysa do?”. She went over to IT, found someone who could fix it and got it fixed. I was so proud. Instead of calling me to ask what to do, she showed initiative and solved the problem on her own.


What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning?

OverDrive so I can listen to a book on the drive into work. I have a tad bit of road rage and I find that “reading” helps take my mind off all the other drivers. As traffic does what it will do, I get to find out what happens next in the story. 

How do you decompress at the end of the work day?

My work day blurs into my after work day since I started a cycling club for faculty, staff, and students at the college. Most of our riders didn’t own a bike or consistently exercise when I started leading rides two years ago. Check out these folks now! New riders for this year alongside seasoned veterans. Cycling is my decompression followed by a long hot bath with a book and my cat, Homeless. He likes to hop up onto the side of the tub and hang out with me.


What’s the hardest thing about your job that isn’t obvious?

The hardest thing starts with trying to give everyone what they want. There is no way to get everyone what they want so there has to be some compromise, yet everyone dislikes compromise. So I have to figure out how to formulate these compromises with the bigger picture in mind and present them so they don’t look like compromises.   

What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?

A picture is worth a thousand words. (Insert the picture of me blowing something up.) 


Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?

Favorite TV show has honestly taken the most time to narrow down. I think I am going to go with two series. One that has ended, Revenge and a current one, Frankie and Grace. I am completely addicted to edamame hummus. I eat it straight out of the container with a spoon. Why dilute the flavor with something so mundane as a cracker or chip? 

All photos courtesy of Chrysa Malosh

P.S. Meet last week's bitch:  Priest, Kira Schlesinger!

P.P.S. Full list of My Bitches here.

September 9, 2016

Friday Links


Reading This Week...

Stacy London on turning 47, how society treats women in their forties, and "finding my trouser pockets are filled fewer and fewer fucks". Do you guys Hygge? I don't either, but I'm about to because it involves all of my favorite fall leisure activities:  socks, coffee and baking. Speaking of fall, I don't watch sportsball, but I do live and die for snacks. So if you're having friends over for The Big Game, and there's going to be dip, please call me. Now seems like a good time to bring up leggings as pants, and wearing whatever in the hell you like, plus size fashion rules be damned.

If I Could Have Dinner With Anyone...

Elizabeth Gilbert (!!)
Julie Klausner
The Duffer Brothers

lulz...


Eyes and Ears...

You guys, John and I finally finished watching Stranger Things. Whoa! Okay, I'm ready. Let's have all the conversations. I sped-read Amy Schumer's The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. If you're the least bit interested in reading it, I highly recommend you do so. I loved it. I like to watch documentaries while I paint my nails and I watched a really good one, The First Monday in May. (It's on Netflix.) It's a behind-the-scenes look at how the annual NYC Met Ball comes together. It's fascinating! If you want to feel really good about your life, might I recommend Anna Faris is Unqualified featuring Courtney Love? Holy shit, you guys. Whatever you think about Courtney Love, it is one thousand times worse.

Thrifting...


I bought this glorious unicorn at Goodwill for $2.50. It was 50% off of $4.99. Not that I wouldn't have paid $4.99 for it. As soon as John's not looking, I'm going to hang it over our bed.

I Endorse...

New York from behind
Right to bare arms
This teenage bat

September 8, 2016

September Issues


A few weeks ago, I woke up and it was just barely not hot, so I threw some chili in the crockpot and drove down the street and bought the September issues of Vogue and Marie Claire. I'd like a one-way ticket to fall-town, please!

I used to buy the September issues of a lot of magazines, but I've found anything over two gets repetitive, plus Vogue is $10 this year and I wasn't in the mood to drop $30 on magazines. I like Elle and Harper's Bazaar, but Vogue and Marie Claire consistently deliver, so I went with those.


Who knows if anything I flagged is actually on trend - I mean, probably, it's in a magazine - but I flagged things that would work with pieces I already own, or feel like I could own, hashtag:  WomenBeThrifting.


This year's September issue of Vogue costs $10, weighs in at 800 pages and comes with a fold-out poster of Kendall Jenner for your dorm room. So... worth it?


You can call these whatever you want. I'm calling them Formation jackets. And luckily, I own a few. Back before they were trendy, I would pick them up at thrift stores, drawn to the bright red and gold. I have two or three. These jackets were in all the magazines last year too, but they're styled differently this year, more formal, and I like it.


I would almost, almost, go back to Corporate American just so I could wear a full-length, velvet (?) animal print skirt suit. It may surprise you to learn that I do not own anything animal-print. I try, but it's tricky because there's good animal print and bad animal print, and I can usually only afford the bad kind. But I'm on the prowl! (Prowl, heh.)


1.  Suuuuuper into patches. It had previously not occurred to me to put them on anything besides a denim jacket.

2.  Love a retro secretary blouse. They're a dime a dozen at thrift stores, but the fit is boxy. I'll keep trying.

3.  This is a Dolce & Gabbana "sack coat". You can't tell, but the polka dots glitter. I love this coat. I also love the punk styling:  the exaggerated safety pin earring and the knee high silver combat boots.

4.  I don't pick up what Kate Spake's putting down, but I would rock the shit out of this black swan bag. Believe that.


I flagged this first picture for the messy beach waves I will never get right, but I also like the eyeshadow story. This Chanel ad I love - the eyeshadow, the bright red lip - yes!


A much more wallet-friendly magazine, Marie Claire cost me $5 and has 316 pages. Totally worth it.


A full page of Formation inspiration. I'm into all of this. That red cape (Saint Laurent)? YES. That red and gold square bag (Dolce & Gabbana)? Yes.


This Longchamp ad is meh, but I'm interested in figuring out a cool way to tie silk scarves and bandanas around my neck. This isn't quite it, but it's a reminder to figure it out. Oh hey, silver boots. I thrifted a pair of you this summer for $5, which thank God because these are $1,190 from Proenza Schouler.


Upon first glance, these pictures are crazy. I mean, there's a monkey. But if you look at them as a sum of their parts, there's a lot of good stuff there:  silk robes/kimonos, animal print, houndstooth, mixed patterns, large clutch, etc. There's a translation of these outfits that I would wear, and I would 100% carry that monkey.


I like the dark purple lip on the first face and the eyeshadow and lipstick on the second. I've bought three different kinds of purple lipstick and I have yet to figure out how to wear it. You won't beat me, purple lipstick!

Pinterest! Every year I make a new fall inspiration board. Here is my new one for this year. I'm still adding to it, but it's real clear what direction I'm headed in, and that direction is crazy. Stay tuned!

P.S. I wonder if I followed through on any of my 2015 fashion promises. Probably not. I never did figure out that black and white manicure.

P.P.S. Are we following each other on Pinterest? Know that I will text you to mock your pins, but it's done in love. I mean, someone has to tell you that you can't make pizza out of cauliflower.

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