I Turned 30 in Honduras and It Was Everything

How do you want to celebrate your 30th birthday? My husband, Bill, asked me this a while back and I couldn’t come up with a good answer, so we tabled the discussion for a long time.

Then one of us mentioned it would be nice to resurrect a dream we’d had at 25. To celebrate that milestone birthday, we had wanted to take a big trip together. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out then for a multitude of reasons (a serious loss in the family, money, timing), but we found ourselves wondering if maybe it’d be feasible for 30.

We waffled. We were just about to pay off our joint credit card debt, so we weren’t sold on the idea of incurring more debt. We went back and forth and back and forth until finally we said: fuck it. We’re only going to turn 30 once and we might as well make a big deal of it. We decided on not just one but two trips—one near my birthday and one near his.

My birthday was up first, so when the right deal popped up, we booked a week-long western Caribbean cruise that would take us to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. Though we’d been to Mexico before, Honduras and Belize were new to us, so we were excited. (We’d also booked this trip in the dead of winter so the idea of spending a full week in the sunshine on the beach really appealed to us.)

The trip ended up being the perfect blend of relaxing and serene and fun and exciting. We spent a lot of time laying out in the sun, drinking, sampling food, and exploring. What more can you really ask for? Here’s what we did in each port!

Roatan, Honduras

I turned 30 in Honduras—a phrase I can’t believe I get to say. We watched the sun rise and, for our excursion, we were taken to a private island and greeted by goddamn sea lions. Bill and I broke off from the group so I could take a picture with Ting the sea lion. I ended up getting to do a couple of tricks with him, like shaking his hand, feeding him fish, and even getting a kiss.

We wandered through the “zoo” comprised of animals that had been rescued and then found the beach, which was more picturesque and serene than I imagined. Though the day had begun a bit cloudy, by the time we’d wandered to the beach, the sun was out and the water was clear and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. We got some local beers, laid in the sun and in the shade, splashed around in the water, and relaxed. As I think of it now, I feel like I can still feel the sun on my face and hear the rustling of the trees (as well as the occasional squawk of the parrots who were nearby, but that’s all right).

Midway through the day, we got some local food including rice and beans, chicken, fish, and plantains, which I still maintain was the best food we’ve eaten on the trip. After lunch, we had opportunity to feed some monkeys as an optional part of our excursion. I was in, and Bill offered to take some photos of me. When we got to the monkey cages, we learned that Bill would have to join me in the cage while someone else took the photos, and he kindly agreed to do so, even though he wasn’t crazy about the idea—especially after they said the monkeys would gravitate toward the tallest object in the cage (AKA him).

But we were set up with two bowls of food and ushered into the cage. Two monkeys jumped onto Bill immediately and eventually some jumped on me, too. The sweet little noises they made sounded just like puppies and they were a whole lot gentler than I expected given that there were tiny mammals climbing all over our heads. Bill and I laughed a lot during these couple of minutes and it was great.

After another hour or so on the beach, we explored the replica Mayan ruins, stopped in the gift shop, and then went back to the boat, concluding what might have been my best birthday ever.

Harvest Caye, Belize

Harvest Caye is a private island owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines, which made it the perfect destination for another beach day. It was truly stunning, both from a distance and up close—and, honestly, who wouldn’t want to spend the day on a private island?!

We rented a clam shell beach tent to keep us out of the sun because it was hot as early as 8 a.m. But I really loved this port and I never say no to a beach day. I even found a perfect seashell that I snuck into my bag and brought back home with me.

Costa Maya, Mexico

In Costa Maya, Bill and I (already sunburnt) opted out of spending a day on the beach and instead wandered around the shops. We caught a show featuring “pirates” (which was actually pretty good!); admired some of the Mexican wares; watched majestic dolphins playing; and drooled over some beautiful conchas. There was even a bird sanctuary featuring flamingos to check out. It was fun!

Cozumel, Mexico

How do you say farewell to a vacation that’s already been incredible? YOU SWIM WITH DOLPHINS. Yeah, you heard me.

I’ve always loved water animals and the idea of swimming with dolphins seemed like… well, a lot like magic. Bill insisted we do it, saying we’d love it, and he was absolutely right. It was the highlight of the trip!

I was so excited that I could barely keep my cool, and when we finally got in the water with the dolphin, the trainer asked, “Is everyone excited?” and I gave such an enthusiastic “YES!” that I volunteered myself to go first. IT WAS THE BEST.

The trainer pulled me away from the group and told me to hold onto my life vest. The dolphin would then come and give me a kiss on the cheek, the trainer said. She DID. I DIED. Then I got to give her a kiss, too! The trainer instructed me to hold out my hand and the dolphin would come put her nose in my palm, but instead, she gave me ANOTHER kiss on the cheek. I felt like we were besties, obviously. Then she put her nose in my palm and I was able to pet her. For the last trick, I had to hold out both hands and touch her flippers. It was incredible and I was so, so happy, which I think you can tell from my photos.

I also loved watching Bill interact with the dolphin, too. He was so kind and gentle with her. It was sweet. And, of course, he took the best photo.

In between each trick the dolphin did, the trainer shared facts with us, let us get up close with the dolphin, and the swim wrapped with a couple of tricks. In all, we spent about an hour in the water with her, and it was glorious.

In all, the vacation was lovely and just what we needed after being vacation-free for about a year. I’d highly recommend the vacation to anyone looking for an ultra relaxing trip!

xo.

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What I Wore (and Did) in May 2018

May was a truly magical month. I always tend to love May: warmer weather, longer days, and it’s my birth month so I’m very biased.

But this May was extra great. First, I was promoted at work, and as of June 4, I’m officially back in the social media realm! I’m so, so, so excited (and it’s been fantastic so far). I also had so much fun spending time with Bill and friends and Obi.

Also: I turned 30.

And, I didn’t just turn 30. I turned 30 in style. Like, as a spoiled 30-year-old princess and I loved every single second. It started with an incredible gift from Bill—meet-and-greet tickets to see my favorite drag queen, Trixie Mattel. I MEAN. I’m not exaggerating when I say that night was one of the best of my life.

If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, or if you’re even just a fan of Trixie, then you know she’s hysterical. I’d been dying to see one of her live shows, which mixes comedy with her folk music. Bill and I had meet-and-greet tickets to one of her shows back in September but, unfortunately, weren’t able to go. So this was everything!

Before the show, WE GOT TO MEET HER. I was so nervous that I got drunk, despite having done this once before and despite knowing she’d be perfectly lovely, which she was. I was also able to give her a gift: an adorable beaded Miss Vanjie bracelet. When I handed the bracelet over to her, rambling about how I bought it for her and didn’t make it, she put the bracelet on her wrist and said to me, “You had to buy this? You dumb bitch.”

Trixie Mattel called me a dumb bitch I expect to see that on my gravestone. 

I also got to take a photo with one of my favorite local drag queens, Mia E Z’lay, who performs regularly at Drag Brunch in Holyoke, Mass., which Bill and I love to go to. It was awesome!

Then there was the show. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a really long time; I laughed until my stomach hurt, until my throat ached, and until I cried, and then I laughed some more. I laughed so hard that I made friends with the (very drunk) couple in front of me who couldn’t stop laughing every time I laughed. Trixie’s show was the perfect mix of smart comedy and terrible puns, 90s music that’s so bad it’s good, skits, high-brow jokes, low-brow jokes, drag jokes, and folk music. I loved literally every single second of it, including the time I spent inhaling two bags of peanut M&Ms in between my bajillion glasses of wine.

That alone would’ve been an incredible birthday.

But then the next day Bill and I left for a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean. I KNOW. Whose life is this?!

More details on the cruise to come, but here’s what I wore during this momentous month!

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Jean jacket: TJ Maxx
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Amelia (shortened because my lil legs weren’t built for Amelias)
  • Shoes: Payless

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How cute is this 90s kid T-shirt? It was a gift from my cousin and I have no idea where he bought it, but I wanted to include it anyway!

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Carly
  • Shirt: Marshall’s
  • Shoes: DSW

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Ya girl’s Trixie Mattel outfit. It’s not every day I rock a see-through top, but this was my favorite drag queen’s comedy show, and if you can’t show your bra to a drag queen, who can you show it to?

Outfit details

  • Bra: Cacique
  • Dress: Amazon
  • Shows: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Tieks

Cruise outfits

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Outfit details

  • Body suit: Rainbow
  • Shorts: Rainbow
  • Earrings: 25 Central

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Outfit details (me)

  • Bathing suit: Charlotte Russe
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Maxi
  • Shoes: Amazon
  • Backpack: Target

Outfit details (Bill)

  • Shirt: Target
  • Shorts: Marshall’s
  • Shoes: Nike (“On discount!”—Bill)
  • Sunglasses: “Those sweet babes are from a store in Honduras.”—Bill

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Outfit details

  • Bathing suit: Charlotte Russe
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Amazon

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Outfit details

  • Bathing suit (clearly, I lived in this): Charlotte Russe
  • Shorts: Rainbow
  • Shoes: Amazon

And, here’s a peek at what I did. (Does not include cruise photos!)

 

 

Thanks, May, for being dope. And thank you, Bubby, for making my birthday extra, extra special.

xo.

Living Without Fear in 2018

The end of 2017 is here, and I imagine there are many of us who are pleased to say farewell to the year. While I had many moments of personal triumphs, some days, it was hard to exist as a woman of color in Trump’s America. Nevertheless, I persisted. Nevertheless, we persisted.

As a society, we were challenged by this year—at times, vexed, angered, exhausted, overwhelmed. But we were also determined, committed, disciplined, hopeful, and driven, and that’s got to count for something.

I’ve been seeing so many resolutions for 2018 and, perhaps it’s just me, but they seem to be much more thoughtful than I’ve seen in years past. Resolutions to be kinder, to live more meaningfully, to be patient, and one I’ve seen again and again is to live without fear.

As someone living with anxiety, living a life without fear simply isn’t possible for me. But I do think I often let fear hold me back from pursuing things I’m interested in. I’ve gotten better about that in recent years and, as I get ready to look 30 in its face, I’d like to try to adopt a modified version of that motto for 2018: live with less fear. It doesn’t sound as pretty, but it feels more achievable for me, so I’ll try to embrace it.

I spent 2017 trying to live a life I could look back on and be proud of, and I think I mostly achieved that. I traveled. I went on adventures. I laughed. I cried. I persevered. I took leaps of faith. I challenged myself. I tried new things. I said goodbye to things I loved. I said hello to things that scared me. I loved. If I can do all of that again in 2018, it will be a good year.

Here’s to some of the lovely (and not-so-lovely) things I experienced in 2017*…

*some of the captions below may not make sense because they’re part of old posts, but just roll with it!

 

…And to a 2018 with less fear.

Happy New Year, all.

xo.

Portsmouth, NH Might Be My New Favorite Place

Sometimes you fall in love with a city, and that’s what happened with Portsmouth.

Last December, Bill and I decided that we would forgo traditional Christmas gifts and instead try to gift each other memories in the form of weekend getaways. We would each pick a place that we felt the other would enjoy visiting and, as part of the gift, hand-pick a few places to visit that we thought the other would enjoy.

Bill knocked it out of the park.

While I gave him a weekend in Portland, Maine, Bill gave me a weekend in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a place neither of us had visited before but that we had heard good things about. As part of his gift, Bill actually put together a presentation (!) showing me all of the reasons he thought I’d like it, including quaint gift shops; delicious places to eat; and books, books, and more books.

He knew I would love it and he was right.

It started with breakfast, which technically wasn’t in Portsmouth, but that’s okay. We stopped at Eat, in Springfield, Mass., where I ate a grilled blueberry muffin and drank pumpkin coffee and everything felt right in the world. (There was also a delicious omelette and hash browns but I’m really here for the muffin, guys.)

The drive up was as foliage-filled as it could be. It’s no secret that the foliage this year was subpar, but the drive up to New Hampshire at least gave us a small taste of what the foliage looked like.

And what’s not to love about downtown Portsmouth? It felt like a quintessential New England town, living up to all of its to-be-expected descriptors such as “quaint” and “darling”, while managing to be eclectic, weird, and witchy (yes, witchy).

We visited so many shops that had interesting items for sale and I spent way more money than I intended, but by and large my favorite thing we did all weekend was spend time at the Portsmouth Book and Bar. Its name speaks for itself—it’s part-bar, part-used book store and I was obsessed the moment I walked in. I scoured the store and ended up with an armful of books, enjoyed a glass of wine, ate some delicious food, and Bill taught me how to play chess. I lost, but it was so much fun that I didn’t care. We spent hours there on Sunday morning and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it anywhere else or with anyone else.

Some of my other Portsmouth favorites:

For Sight-Seeing

  • Portsmouth Athenaeum—A 200-year-old library that every book lover or enthusiast absolutely must visit because oh my god it’s a 200-year-old library!
  • Prescott Park—A beautiful park by the water, which I imagine is even better in the summer. Be sure to stop by the docks (for views of the water) as well as the garden.
  • Pickwick’s at the Banke—Technically a store, but it’s also part of Strawberry Banke Museum and you don’t have to pay to get in. The best description of this place comes from its website: “[A] shopping experience reflecting Portsmouth’s colonial maritime heritage, welcoming visiting schoolchildren as well as museum visitors and local shoppers with a uniquely theatrical shopping experience.” Also, you can buy a giant pickle if that’s the kind of thing that you’re into.

For Shopping

  • Portsmouth Book and Bar—A perfect (YES, perfect!) place for book and booze lovers.
  • Bull Moose—A must-visit music, video, book, and video game store. I scored a “Hocus Pocus” DVD for $5 and the entire “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” series for only $45 and yes, it was worth every penny, thank you.
  • Gus & Ruby’s Letterpress—The shop is a bit pricey, but the wares are really cute, especially if you’re into office supplies like me. My $16 Beyonce mug was absolutely worth the cost. I use it every day!
  • 20 Below Boutique—Who doesn’t love affordable clothes? This is like a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s in that it offers name brand clothes at a steep discount, but without the florescent lights and chaos. I scored two beautiful sweater dresses from Ann Taylor for just $40 total.
  • Diversions Puzzles & Games—If you like games and/or puzzles, definitely stop in here. I’m not even a huge game or puzzle fanatic, but it was so great inside! Bill and I picked up some new dice for our ongoing Dungeons and Dragons game that we play and I also snagged a Harry Potter Christmas puzzle, which we absolutely will be assembling before the holidays.
  • Off Piste—Another pricey, but very cute shop that’s worth checking out. They offer an eclectic mix of things for your home, books, pins/patches, and more.
  • Macro Polo—We wandered into this shop not knowing what to expect and we were laughing at how weird everything inside it was. They offered everything from joke mugs to butterfly hair clips (yes, from the 2000s!) to books to miniature plastic hands. It was great.
  • Pickwicks Mercantile—A very cute shop with books, jewelry, perfumes, and more. I loved it, especially its Harry Potter section.
  • Deadwick’s Ethereal Emporium—A witchy shop featuring all things related to folk magic, crystals, and more. If you love witches or Halloween (which I do), this is worth checking out.

For Food

  • La Maison Navarre—An unintimidating, modern yet warm place to stop for a bite to eat. Bill spotted this place and when he saw that they served crepes, he knew we had to visit. (I love crepes!) We got one with butter and local maple syrup, so it tasted like a pancake. We also got half a dozen macarons and they were delicious!
  • The Friendly Toast—This place has weird decor, but the food is on point. We went for breakfast and we both loved our meals. Bill got MAAAAAAAAAA, Meatloaf Benny and I got the French toast (on cinnamon raisin bread) with caramelized apples and bacon. So good! Service was a little slow, but the food made up for it. Go early to avoid the long wait!

In all, it was an incredible weekend in a fun little city and I can’t wait to go back. Portsmouth, we’ll be seeing you again soon.

 

There were a surprising amount of great signs in Portland, too. Here are some of my favorites.

 

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in October 2017

What a great (but busy!) month. In October, I…

  • Decorated pumpkins with friends
  • Decorated pumpkins with Bill
  • Visited my brother in Boston and spent the day at New England Aquarium
  • Spent time with friends
  • Celebrated Bill’s 29th birthday (I outdid myself this year with the gift, which was entirely Star Wars themed and included a weekend of watching all of the Star Wars films—in machete order—and tickets to the midnight showing of the newest movie, out in December)
  • Went to a show featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race queens
  • Celebrated Halloween

It was a good month.

Here are some of the outfits I wore.

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Marshall’s
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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(Photobombed by my furry child, Obi.)

Outfit details

  • Sweater: Forever 21
  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Pants: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Fashion to Figure
  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: H&M
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Doing my best impression of the 90s with this one.

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Outfit details

  • Dress: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Kohl’s (They’re by Lauren Conrad who, as you know, I love!)
  • Boots: DSW

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Sometimes you gotta do a joint outfit pic. We took this pic on the way to dinner for Bill’s birthday! (Photobombed by Obi again, too.)

Outfit details (for me)

  • Dress: Amazon.com
  • Shoes: Tieks

Outfit details (for him)

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Target

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And one more double outfit photo. For a friend’s Halloween party, we went as “casual Princess Leia and Han Solo”!

Outfit details (for me)

  • Dress: Amazon.com
  • Belt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

Outfit details (for him)

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Vest: Amazon.com
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: Target

And, some things I did this month!

Things I Wore (and Did) in September 2017

September makes me think of new beginnings. For that reason, the month brings me comfort.

I kicked off this month with a visit from my mom, who was in from California. It was so nice to see her, though hard to say goodbye! With her and my grandma, Bill and I visited my little brother in Boston. We wanted to see his new place (beautiful) and also to see him because we don’t get to see him enough. It was a fun day in the city and he was an awesome host.

In September, I also spent time with friends eating good food and drinking wine (obviously), for which I was grateful. Bill and I visited the Big E—him for work, and me to watch him work. The Big E is a giant fair with tons of food and it’s essentially mandatory for everyone in the Connecticut/Western Massachusetts area to attend at least once every year. We did and, for the first time ever, we watched a burger-eating competition. The winner ate 52 burgers in 10 MINUTES. It was so gross and I don’t ever want to watch it again, but what an experience, right? (Fun fact: I was once in a buffalo wing eating competition for charity! Our team lost.)

And, of course, Bill and I visited DragCon NYC and spend the weekend in New York.

Here are some of the outfits I wore.

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The only appropriate thing to wear on Beyonce’s birthday is a #LEMONADE-inspired dress.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

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I didn’t actually wear this dress yet, but COME ON. How great is it?! In October, Bill and I will be attending a spooky rendition of Sleepy Hollow and I’m hoping to wear this AMAZING Halloween dress.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon.com

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Outfit details

  • Blazer: Target
  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Shoes: A gift from my beautiful grandma

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Aside from my Converse shoes, I’ve never had a pair of sneakers I felt super cute in. This solved that! I splurged on some Nike Rosche Twos, which are stylish and comfortable. (The only problem is they got dirty quick. Wish me luck in trying to clean them!)

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Nike

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I love, love, love this RuPaul’s Drag Race dress from RedBubble. It was the perfect outfit for DragCon NYC, and the queens I met all seemed to love it.

Outfit details

  • Dress: RedBubble
  • Jacket: Marshall’s
  • Shoes: DSW

And, some things I did this month!

 

Thanks, September, for being good to me!

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in August 2017

Sometimes life goes by faster than you realize and, before you know it, it’s mid-September and you haven’t posted your August outfits yet. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In truth, August is not one of my favorite months, as by then, summer has gone on a touch too long for me. I get tired of the heat and find myself getting antsy for some cooler weather. Also, politically, life is a real shit show right now, so I’m just trying to make it through.

Work-wise, August was a busy month, a month in which I started to really sink my teeth in at my new job and lead my first big project. It was exciting, terrifying, stressful, and rewarding, and I’m glad to have done it.

Bill and I had a few adventures, too, the most notable being our wonderful weekend getaway with our dog, Obi! We also ate some delicious food (as we always do), celebrated our two year anniversary in our beautiful home, and made the most of the rest of our summer. Independently, I met up with my old colleagues and enjoyed the incredible solar eclipse that reminded me that it’s important to look around and appreciate the world around you every now and then.

Here are some of the things I wore and did, in photos!

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I became obsessed with these dresses in August, so much so that I ended up with three of them in different colors. This hot pink, Barbie-inspired dress is so flattering and easy to wear. I love it!

Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon.com
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Top: Amazon.com
  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Shoes: DSW
  • Cranky expression: Yours truly

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This dress is Barbie pink dress’s best friend! Isn’t it lovely in navy, too?

Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon.com
  • Shoes: Target
  • Necklace: Target

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Not quite a traditional outfit pic, but I do love this dress. It served me so well this summer.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Target
  • Shoes (not pictured): Target

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: LuLaRoe Perfect T
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Cassie
  • Shoes: DSW

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This is an Eeyore onesie because I deserve it.

Outfit details

  • Eeyore Onesie: Target

And, some things I did (in photo form!).

xo.

It’s Not Personal—It’s Drag(Con NYC)

I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: I. LOVE. RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE.

In April, I was lucky enough to attend my first-ever RuPaul’s DragCon, where I experienced the magic of drag in person and got to meet one of my favorite queens, Trixie Mattel.

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Met my fave queen, Trixie Mattel

It was also my first real convention experience, so it was overwhelming in all its beauty and excitement and taught Bill and I a lot about what to expect for DragCon NYC.

We splurged on the VIP option and honey, ohhh honey, it was worth it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself because we kicked off the weekend with another drag-related event: the Hater’s Roast!

Haters Roast

Haters Roast took place at the Beacon Theater on Friday Night. The event featured queens as they shaded, insulted, and joked about one another. (Think Comedy Central roast.) The event featured Jinkx Monsoon, Trixie Mattel, Thorgy Thor, Kim Chi, Phi Phi O’Hara, Darienne Lake, and Ginger Minj as host. Latrice Royale, who was supposed to be there, was unfortunately stuck, but safe, in Florida due to Hurricane Irma (but she Facetimed in during the show to say hello!).

We’d been to one other Murray & Peter show before, War on the Catwalk, and we loved it. Haters Roast was amazing, too! We loved seeing the queens say horrible things about one another. The RuPaul’s Drag Race episodes that feature roasts, as well as the show’s Reading is Fundamental challenge, are some of my favorites, so this was an event made for me.

I was expecting solid performances from most of these queens, and they all delivered—but Thorgy Thor stole the show! It was her first time performing in this type of format with the other queens and she was going on 40 hours of being awake, but she killed it. I could not stop laughing at her very clever jokes.

Other fun things about the show:

  • It was great hearing Trixie’s scream-laugh in person.
  • Latrice Royale missed the show but was able to FaceTime in, which I loved.
  • Several queens who were going to attend DragCon were at the show in the audience, including Ivy Winters, Jiggly Caliente (who was invited up on stage to sit in Latrice’s empty seat), Mrs. Kasha Davis, and Naomi Smalls.
  • I stood RIGHT NEXT TO Naomi Smalls in the lobby, but I drank too much and got too scared to go up and say hello so tripped my way back to my seat.

It was the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

DragCon NYC: Day 1

There’s nothing better than being VIP at DragCon. Nothing! Although VIP at the NYC con was quite a bit more expensive than VIP in LA (which we did not get), it did include several additional perks, including a tote bag with a sweatshirt, enamel pin, button, patch, VIP lanyard, and a surprise that I didn’t even realize was part of it until I got home… scroll down for details.

As VIP, you’re allowed into the con 30 minutes before everyone else. If you use your 30 minutes wisely, this can easily be the best part of your day!

But before we were let in, we waited in line and anxiously watched queens as they arrived: Ongina, Acid Betty, Cynthia Lee Fontaine, India Ferrah, Mariah Balenciaga. They all looked stunning and each queen I saw made me more nervous and excited to get on that pink carpet.

Then they let us in. The thing about being VIP is you’re there so early that lines to meet the queens don’t really exist yet. Which means you can just walk up to a queen’s booth and meet them—incredible and terrifying!

We walked right by a few booths to sort out our nerves before finding Bob the Drag Queen’s booth and hopping in line. While most queens required a purchase in order for you to meet them, Bob didn’t require anything for VIPs; you could just get in line and meet him.

But with Bob’s assistant, Luis, in charge of the merch table, how could you not buy something?! My husband and I ended up with two Bob pins; a Bob shirt; and a Luis print. Luis was so, so sweet and graciously signed a print for me and the shirt for my husband. I wish we’d thought to ask for a photo, but we didn’t. Instead, we got in line to meet Bob and about 10 minutes later IT WAS OUR TURN.

Meeting Bob the Drag Queen was magical. First, her outfit was on point, and she was serving beautiful, mesmerizing clown realness. Second, she was hilarious and amazing and stunning and I’m gushing and I don’t care.

Bob called me beautiful and said the dress I was wearing was fierce and asked me what it said. I told her it was a dress from RedBubble that depicted the iconic Aja/Valentina fight on Untucked. (“You’re perfect, you’re beautiful, you’re a model…”) and she laughed and said she loved it.

I told her I loved her nails and she said, “Do you want to hear a story about these nails?” And then told me the nails were the ones Alexis Michelle wore in her promo video for season 9. Bob asked to borrow them and never gave them back, to which I said of course because they really were dope nails. I asked her to sign a photo for me and she did, then apologized for her writing looking like a serial killer’s. I love Bob.

It was my husband’s turn to meet her next and she greeted him by saying, “Hey, I heard you were Crystal’s husband?” which made me die a thousand times because BOB KNEW MY NAME.

Bob and Bill talked about signing merch and how it’s weird that some fans ask queens to sign merch that actually represents other queens. Bill was equally thrilled by his interaction with one of his favorite queens.

Meeting Bob left us both flying high and we took a few minutes to recover before wandering over to Cynthia “Cucu” Lee Fontaine‘s booth. Given that it was still within the VIP-only window, her line was relatively short. We bought a bracelet and a drink koozie, which Cynthia branded as a #cucuzie (amazing). 

When it was my turn to meet Cynthia, I told her she was beautiful and I loved her and she gave me a hug. She thanked me for coming and also told me she loved my dress (!!) and pointed at it and said, “Ooh, I see Valentina!” and I showed her Aja and said, “Yes, it’s from their fight!” and she was so so sweet. She gave me another hug and then we posed for a photo and she asked if I was going to be back the next day because she was really, really excited about her outfit. I said yes, that I couldn’t wait to see it, and thanked her for being such an incredible, supportive queen. She hugged me again and said it was her pleasure, proving that Cynthia is the most deserving Miss Congeniality of all time.

When it was my husband’s turn to meet Cucu, she grabbed his chest (!!) and said, “I just love touching…” and then posed with him like they were at prom. IT WAS AMAZING.

We were both reeling from the excitement of meeting two queens we loved, so we spent the rest of the con walking around, buying merch, ogling over queens, and checking out the runway. We stopped by Ru’s booth (but the line was so, so long) and admired all of her beautiful gowns on display and her Emmy, which I took a photo with.

We also saw the entrance show by the winning queens (and as they left the stage, a ton of queens walked right by us, including the nearly-nude Violet Chachki) and we caught Joanne the Scammer‘s show on the runway, which was honestly truly ICONIC.

No panels for us, but we did do a few things after leaving the con:

  • We visited Wrecking Club, a demolition room which allows you to smash glasses and break things FOR FUN while your favorite music is playing. We loved it and smashed a bunch of things while listening to Frank Ocean.
  • We trekked along the High Line, a “linear park” that takes you above the city and lets you see it from a new angle. Beautiful views and it was nice to check this one off our bucket list!
  • Ate dinner at Shake Shack because of course.

DragCon NYC: Day 2

I MET PEPPERMINT, Y’ALL.

She is just as stunning and perfect in real life as you’d imagine.

Her booth was lovely and candy-inspired and her staff were honestly really funny and energetic and fun. But it was all about Pep. We hopped into her line first thing (although I wandered around while my husband graciously waited in line and met a few other queens, which I’ll get back to in a minute) and her team told us she’d be there at 10, which was “a drag queen’s 10:30.” She ended up arriving closer to 11 but IT DID NOT MATTER BECAUSE PEP IS PERFECT.

Watching her walk in was like what I imagine it’s like watching an angel descend from the heavens, except Pep’s hair is bigger and her outfits are more fierce. Obviously.

I was third in line to meet her and she was SO sweet and warm and welcoming and gave me a big hug, called me beautiful (this is all going to go straight to my head), and I told HER she was beautiful. She gave me a hug (!) and then we posed, dahling, while the wind whipped in our hair. As you can see from the photo below, my hair was not loving the wind but not a strand in Peppermint’s is out of place because she’s fucking Peppermint. I thanked her so, so much and THEN SHE GAVE ME AN AIR KISS.

The best part was probably Pep’s interaction with my husband. We bought her album earlier and he got her to sign it to “Bubby”, a nickname we both call one another, so that was very sweet. But Bill was respectful and didn’t want to touch queens without asking, so would stand away and take a photo next to them. Pep laughed and told him to get closer and then put her arms around him! The smile in his photo is everything. (Our professional photos will be available soon, too.)

As I mentioned, while we were waiting for Pep, I slipped out of line and met with two other queens. First was Jaymes Mansfield, who was adorable. When I told her she looked beautiful she said, “Thank you, but I know.” Perfect.

Then I visited Mimi Imfurst‘s booth. I was obsessed with her outfit! She was dressed as a handmaid from The Handmaid’s Tale. I told her her look was one of my favorites of the weekend and she laughed and told me she could hardly see a thing—then let me try on her hat!!! It was so surreal. Mimi was very sweet and down-to-earth and I honestly loved chatting with her. After I purchased a poster from her, she even through in a personalized signed a photo for me and wrote “Peace be with you” (a phrase from the book). It was great!

After meeting Pep, my husband wanted to go grab something to drink, so I got in line to meet Kimora Blac. Kimora is fucking stunning in person and she told me she loved my dress! She said she loved the material it was made out of it and I told her it was from Amazon.com and she high-fived me and called me Prime Fish, which is my new favorite thing. She was very personable and gave compliments freely!

Lastly, we checked out autograph alley, where I met none other than Britney Spears Derrick Barry. Derrick changed my life forever by telling me that when people ask how to spell my name, I should just say, “Crystal—like Swarovski.”

I had SO MUCH FUN at DragCon and I really, really hope Ru continues to bring it to NYC. I loved being a VIP so much and would absolutely do it again next year, especially because I went through the swag bag when I got home and discovered AN AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO FROM MAMA RU HERSELF. I can’t wait to hang this up in the house!

I love you, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Thanks for loving me back!

xo.

Weekend Getaway to the Connecticut Shoreline with Our Dog

Summertime gives me a serious case of FOMO. I scroll through everyone’s lavish photos from their elaborate vacations and I want to be there, too. That feeling has been elevated lately with the current political climate keeping my husband and me at our wit’s end, and with new jobs for the two of us (AKA no time off in the foreseeable future). We found ourselves both almost surprise-booking a weekend getaway on the same day. So we decided we needed to just do it and try for something low-key. One caveat: we wanted to take our dog with us.

We managed to cobble together a dog-friendly weekend on the Connecticut shoreline, which made for our dog’s first vacation ever (!).

I think the weekend was exactly what we needed. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect (despite the forecast in the early week calling for thunderstorms all weekend) and we got to try a few new things, too.

On Saturday, we left the house early and went straight to New London, where we caught a ferry to Fisher’s Island (part of New York). I’d never heard of it before, but it was recommended on BringFido.com as very dog-friendly, with shops, places to eat, and beaches to walk along, so we figured: why not?

The ferry ride over offered some beautiful views, as did the island. But Fisher’s Island is a very small town… which unfortunately means there’s hardly anything to do. The walk to “downtown” took about 20 minutes and, when we got there, there was only one place to eat (a market and not a restaurant), a couple of shops with knick knacks in it, and an ice cream shop. It was super residential and not so tourist-friendly. Overall, the island is very pretty, but doesn’t offer much substance.

Once we were back in Connecticut, we drove to Mystic, where we stopped at the Jealous Monk for dinner and drinks. We take our annual anniversary trip down to the Niantic/Mystic area and we’d been waiting for this place to open for two years, so it was exciting to finally go! Their beer garden was awesome, the food was delicious, and they even offered a make-your-own s’mores option for dessert (which is always a resounding HELL YES in my book). Then we settled into the hotel and called it a night.

We started the next day with some breakfast at Muddy Waters Cafe, where we got breakfast sandwiches, a bagel and lox, and a cinnamon bun because it was vacation and we deserved it. The views of the glittering ocean from the patio of the cafe did not hurt one bit.

After breakfast, we went to Harkness Memorial Park, which is easily becoming one of my favorite places to visit. It’s part park, part conservatory, part beach, and it offers views of beautiful gardens, too. When the weather is good and there’s a beautiful breeze (like it was today), it’s everything. Doesn’t really get much better than being with the person and dog you love looking out at the ocean.

We wrapped the afternoon with a picnic lunch at Jonathan Edwards Winery. Then we went home, I took a long nap, and now we’re binge-watching “Insecure.” I’m about it.

Here are some photos from this weekend.

xo.

Outfits of June 2017

June is one of my favorite months. It’s still the not-quite-too-hot part before summer starts, but there are plenty of warm days that are perfect for lounging around outside or going to the beach.

Plus, my anniversary is in June. On June 17, my husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary and our eleventh year being together. I did a lot of other things in June, too, some lovely (met a friend’s new baby; got an exciting new job (details soon!); accomplished a huge writing goal) and not-so-lovely (said farewell to my family’s first dog, Tiny).

Here is a glimpse into what I wore.

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The most important thing to know about this outfit is that this skirt has pockets—and I can fit tons of things in them, like staplers and notebooks and tumblers. (Pockets get me so excited I spent the whole day in the office showing them off.)

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy (looove the low back on this; will take pics next time!)
  • Skirt: Ross
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Marshall’s
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Maxi
  • SHoes: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Dress: 25 Central
  • Shoes: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Cassie
  • Shoes: DSW

Also, peep the way my toenails and nails match my skirt and shirt.

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon.com
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: LuLaRoe Perfect T
  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Payless

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This is tied for my favorite outfit of the month. I felt so confident in this look!

Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Julia
  • Kimono: Amazon.com
  • Shoes: Payless

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Also tied for favorite outfit of the month, and another I felt beautiful wearing. I wasn’t a big fan of the cold shoulder look, but this dress is so beautiful I got it in two colors (this dusty rose and a cream color; I also dyed a third version of this dress red, not kidding).

Outfit details

  • Dress: Target
  • Shoes (not pictured): Target

Here are some photos from my life in June, too.

xo.