Friday, December 28, 2007

Chick Lit

I really should write a book and call it, "Another Book About A Girl Whose Friends Are All Getting Married." I think it'd be a real page-turner.

It could be a journal of all the details that I get sucked into (happily): I could chronicle the outfits I wear and report on how well they were received (5 dance invitations, 2 phone numbers, 3 requests to borrow it, etc.). I could turn into a sort of restaurant critic, but review the menu choices at each reception. I can do side-by-side comparisons of the most romantic and/or effective sand ceremonies. I could make a list of the top [insert appropriate number here] songs played, as well as a list of songs that should never, EVER be played (I already started this one: Butterfly Kisses).

It probably sounds like I'm complaining, but I am completely serious (and excited, mind you) about this possibility. While the book will be about yet another bridesmaid/guest, it will actually become the quintessential tool for brides the world over. I can see it now, "OMG, Billy, this Nina girl says that our cake topper of me dragging you by the collar is tacky and overdone! We have to get a new one!"

My angle will be completely new, too, because instead of being the protagonist that just got brutally dumped by what she thought was her perfect partner and doomed to an eternity of singledom, I am a girl in a ridiculously happy relationship that already resembles a marriage (or so I've been told). I am a girl without a diamond on her finger, but with complete confidence in the future of her relationship. Instead of being bitter and jealous of the happy couple, this protagonist is loving and overjoyed that her friends have chosen to make their commitment recognized by the state, and, in some cases, an omniscient being.

I say, bring on the brides! Let's say 'I do' to a book deal, shall we?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Exmas Recap

So Christmas was a success! Steve's family wasn't too awkward, though I will say that opening presents was certainly an experience. Between his mom getting me extremely gendered kitchen towels, "Born to shop; forced to cook," and his sister being incredibly ungrateful "A mug. Okay." (not from me), it was a bit tough to get through. BUT, I did get some awesome stuff like a delightfully cozy bathrobe (I've been wanting one), the same mug his sister got (which I loved because it says: "I'm tired and I want a cookie"), and a coat rack from Steve and Rob-- finally! My family got me awesome stuff, too, like a crock pot and corresponding cookbook, some amazing makeup I asked for, and some oh-so-glorious money.

The highlight of the presents, though, was a pair of earrings from Steve. They're little hoops that are mobius strips, which symbolize eternity. "It's a lovely way to say forever," is what the little card that came with them said. I've been itching for a symbolic token of commitment for some time now (no, not an engagement ring), and I'm really pleased to have gotten one. Unfortunately, the earrings are posts, which I can't wear comfortably because of my super-sensitive skin. What's amazing though, is that the little hoop fits perfectly onto my finger! So I've made it a promise ring and am going to see if a jeweler can put some (inexpensive) finishing touches on it to make it more of an actual ring and not a make-shift one (some melding and sizing, if necessary).

A mobius strip:

Oh, and because I don't believe that I should be the only one to get a token for a mutual commitment, I got Steve a pin, circa 1989, of Bret Michaels. I asked him to be my Rock of Love. He wears it on his favorite hoodie. Haha.

Bret Michaels:

In other news, I got a TERRIBLE cold over the holiday and had to stay home from work yesterday. I wish I could have today, too, but my 90 days aren't up until Saturday, so I don't have any sick time yet. It's cool though, I'm taking all of my sick time that doesn't roll over to 2008 on Monday to prepare for the New Year's Eve party at our house. Hollaaaaaaaa!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve, chilluns!

So I am waiting for breakfast to start...I made my family's traditional Christmas egg and bell pepper dish this morning and it's currently cooling, making the house smell delicious. We're having it today because Steve's mom has to work all day on Christmas. We're also doing Christmas dinner tonight and...PRESENTS!!

After breakfast (I think), Steve is taking me somewhere for one my surprises. I don't really know for sure because he isn't giving me ANY hints. We did agree to exchange gifts between the two of us tomorrow when we get pack to our house, but there's one from him, for me, under the tree here at his parents' house! I wonder if it's another little something he has up his sleeve or if his mom bought it for me and thought it should be from him instead.

I love the suspense of this holiday. I need a Hitchcock-esque soundtrack following me around.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Yesterday afternoon was my office holiday party. We had a tacky gift exchange (the bacon wallet I bought was a hit), where I ended up with a golden henny bank. I had been eyeing it from the beginning and got to pick last, so that was pretty sweeet. Afterwards we did karaoke, where I sang Hard To Handle by the Black Crowes, Short Skirt, Long Jacket by Cake, got suckered into I Will Survive, and finished with Manic Monday. I should also inform you that the party was a luncheon, and alcohol was NOT served.

Anyway, this weekend is going to be pretty awesome. Tomorrow I'm helping out at the Philly's biannual Punk Rock Flea Market. My friend sells vintage clothing, so I'll be at her table along with some of my own vintage clothing and jewelry that it's time to say goodbye to. After that, Steve and I are heading into Jersey where we'll stay until Christmas afternoon or so. The only plan I'm aware of is a party on Saturday night-- other than that, Steve claims to have a couple surprises up his sleeve. Hmm...PRESENTS!!!

Well, I'm freezing because I'm using the computer in the basement (because Rob was using my computer upstairs in the office and I'm too much of a pussy to kick him off-- I'm actually am doing everything in my power to try and get that utilities check from him ON TIME this month), so I'm gonna end this riiiiiiiight now.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Allow me to show you something interesting...

This picture of me and Jay was taken last weekend in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum:

This one was taken nearly 2 years ago, when he visited me in Cali:

I think our form has improved over time.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My AMAZING Weekend

Last weekend sure was great. And because it was so great, I'm tired and not interested in paragraphs. Instead, I will write in list form:

[] Work was actually pretty fun, despite having all-day training on abortion. We got to play with Koosh balls and Play-Doh while we learned.
[] My coworker, Diana, and I went to an awesome store called Pistachio (like Black Ink for my Boston folk) after work, where I found a gorgeous (and inexpensive) pair of silver hoops as well as a gift for our Tacky Gift Exchange at the office party on Thursday. It's a wallet with a bacon print.
[] Diana and I met up with Steve for dinner and then went to a play in the middle of nowhere. Dinner: surprisingly fabulous Mexican fare; the play: not horrible.
[] AND THEN...Jay and Bobbie arrived that night (around midnight or 1:00, I think), as Steve and I watched The Sarah Silverman Program and other time-killers on Comedy Central On Demand. We stayed up and talked/loved on each other like old times.

[] We got up, enjoyed some coffee, and eventually left for Philly. We had trouble finding parking near the Art Museum and we were HUNGRY, so we ate the museum cafeteria (not great). The museum, however, was better than I expected/remembered (especially since I didn't really remember anything but the Rocky steps from when I was there in 8th grade). Some stand-outs: Monet's Japanese Footbridge, Chagall's ginormous Wheat Field on a Summer's Afternoon, and several Dalis and Miros.

[] Moving on, we then got crazy-lost in Philly because the Art Museum District is confusing as all hell. But, eventually, we found Fabric Row where Jay attempted to find the non-existent black silk (or silk taffeta) with black stripes. He was directed to a store in Boston.
[] We then made our way to South Street for some cheesesteaks at Jim's (delicious) and coffee at Starbucks (also delicious, though extremely delayed). Neat location, though...all of their seating is upstairs, so you get a pretty cool people-watching view of South Street.
[] After going to Target to find some pajama pants for Jay (unfortunately not camo) and touching everything in sight like children, we went back to my house and watched-get this- SPICE WORLD in celebration of the Girls glorious reunion. Majah.

[] LAZY!!! We went to this little breakfast joint near my house that has freakin old Trivial Pursuit cards on the tables. Our waitress was feisty and our food, delicious.
[] Jay cut my hair. It's ADORABLE.
[] We sat around.
[] We exhchanged gifts. I got the ridiculously cozy boot-slippers (blipper/sloots) from Old Navy. I gave Bobbie gnome-y pajama pants and a pretty mug, and Jay a book on napkin folding.
[] I made nachos with this odd-tasting cheese I bought. It tastes way better melty.
[] We went to dinner in Old City at this Belgian place we found for Steve's birthday. Upon arriving, about half of the amazing menu was missing. Turns out they got a new executive chef. Bastards. Dinner was still tasty enough.
[] We went back home and ate ice cream, sat around, and watched Family Guy. I fell asleep on the couch and eventually had to force myself to get in bed.
[] I freakin love those freakin guys.

The End. Pictures coming soon. Right, Bobbie?

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Do You Know Gym?
So I joined a gym last night (slightly later in the week than intended, but I had been paralyzed by a killer headache each evening before). Steve and I went to Bally's to check out their too good to be true offer of $18 down, $18 a month AND give a friend a free membership deal. It was, in fact, not true. They did have a pretty reasonable deal, but Planet Fitness had a better one, and the salesman/personal trainer/nutritionist/crazy man that gave us the tour of Bally's was scary. He seriously could have been a character on SNL. He wouldn't let us get a word in, he couldn't pronounce "big" words like "initial," he messed up all of the calculations when it came to membership fees (he almost got a pass on that one, since I'm terrible at math, but this is his JOB), and he would go on diatribes about diets and working different muscle groups. He also revealed that he was 19 years old and had been going to that gym for 4 years. I seriously suspect he dropped out of school to work out. Hey, more power to him: I can't mention that I have four certifications 12 times in one conversation!

Anyway, I ended up joining Planet Fitness, which is between work and home, for $59 down, $10 a month, no contract. Pretty sweeeet. They also give away free bagels every so many Tuesdays, and free pizza every so many Fridays (kind of funny for a gym, I know, but it is the "Judgement-Free Zone"). They also have tanning and massage chairs (which I could have gotten unlimited use of with another membership, but I'm going to assess my needs first. I can always upgrade). AND they're open 24-hours during the week and have decent hours on the weekends, too. Nice to know you can go running if you can't sleep. Haha.

Skin Update
Last Friday, my skin was SO BAD, that I went to CVS and spent too much on new products. But I can't really say "too much," since this stuff is working absolute wonders! My new skin-care lineup:

1. Cetaphil (or CVS knockoff) face wash. It softens as it cleanses!

2. Cetaphil moisturizing cream (on my face).

3. Whole Food Daily Multivitamin (which I should have been taking all along).

4. Evening Primrose Oil gel caps (with breakfast and dinner).

Why is it only when you have an "after" product to show off that you think to take a "before" picture? Oh well, that just means I have no evidence of having horrifying skin.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Go, Australian Scientists, Go!!!

I found this today on-- where else?-- Broadsheet:

Someday, bras will be writing this blog
Bras have been on my mind lately. (Also, on my back. Bah-DUM-dum.) I recently wrote a story about getting fitted for a bra. And today, what crosses my glittery pink desktop but a story about the "intelligent bra," a futuristic brassiere that has sensors in the fabric and adjusts for maximum comfort and support. Whoa, welcome to the future: No jet-pack, but supersonic lingerie! Women of all cup sizes can get behind this. The intelligent bra sounds like one of those Sharper Image chairs, but for your boobs. Ladies and gentlemen, I am so in. Now, whether you consider a healthy 33-year-old woman complaining about her giant rack to be interesting or totally annoying, you cannot argue with me that it makes exercise more difficult. As for running, I think I speak for large-breasted women everywhere when I say: "Ouch."

This exciting news about jet-pack bras follows a story from October about doctors in the U.K. working on a bra that actually detects cancer. This means that, in the future, my bras might actually be smarter and more supportive than 80 percent of the men I have dated. Huzzah!

In the meantime, one benefit of writing about having big boobs is that people e-mail you thoughts on where to shop. Tips for my big-busted sisters (and brothers!): The Le Mystere Dream Tisha Bra and the selection at And with that -- ta-ta for now.

-- Sarah Hepola

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

When Words Aren't Enough

I went to a professional training yesterday that was supposed to teach me methods to connect with adolescent girls by using more than words. (I bet you thought of that Extreme song just now, didn't you?) I instead enjoyed a nice, 3-hour group therapy session because the training taught me nothing I can use professionally, but a whole bunch of stuff that might come in handy personally.

Anyway, the wine and cheese party was a great success. I like Gouda and Pinot Noir. I also got majorly hit on by a designer with red hair in front my oblivious boyfriend. So sassy. A toast to more social times! In fact, I'm thinking about throwing a New Year's Eve party. The theme: Party Like It's Going Out of Style--everyone wears something that's out of style, whether it's dressy or casual. I'm looking for a horrible cocktail dress complete with sleeves to the heavens and sequins that will make me fight gravity with all of my might.

Perhaps something like this,

but its horrible-ness is awfully debatable (which is why it would be a worthy investment).

Some final news:
+ Today is the day I buy a gym membership. I'm going after work to scope out the place and ask the necessary questions Whoo!
++ Word about Frakenbra has gotten out, and many, many people are interested in ordering.
+++ Bobbie and Jay are arriving on FRIDAY NIGHT!!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

It Had to Be Me

I am giving myself a gym membership for Christmas. I found one in between work and home that is running an amazing deal. Perhaps it will cure my crankies/exhaustion.

Tonight, Steve and I are going to a wine and cheese party. I'm excited! It's being hosted by our friend Ryan who splits his time between PA and China. What he does in each location, I'm not sure, but I bought sparkly tights for the occasion! Tee hee.

And tomorrow I plan to go to an art workshop for families of any size and artistic ability because a) it's something to do, and b) I can scope out the gallery for and outing with Bobbie and Jay. I'm going to try not to sleep in too late or chicken out because I'll be a one-person family.

I'm feeling quite accomplished today for two reasons. One is that I suggested a song for my coworker and fiance's first dance at their wedding, and they're taking it! They had been stressed about it for some time. (It Had to Be You, Harry Connick, Jr.'s version.) And the other is because we recently submitted an application for an anti-homophobia grant that includes a mini-bio of yours truly that totally provides a nice little pump to the ego: "Nina is a Community Educator and Outreach Worker with a background in teen HIV/AIDS education as well as experience in advocacy for HIV-positive individuals in New England. With a bachelor of arts in Public Communication from Boston’s Northeastern University, Nina wrote and produced a sexuality-themed talk show for the campus television station and has delivered presentations to groups of all ages, from a handful to hundreds of people. Her role in the implementation of this grant will be through giving presentations on the topic and doing outreach throughout the state of Delaware." Damn.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I COMPLETELY forgot to talk about how Frakenbra (great name, Bobbie) feels in my last post!

Let me put it this way: I certainly had a certain glow when I wore it yesterday. Unfortunately, though, because my extreme level of frugality, Goliath's cup is more than just a little too small. But the creation is still a vast improvement from what I had been wearing and what is on the market right now.

Under clothes, I think the asymmetrical essence of my goodies is slightly more noticeable in Frakenbra (if you know what to look for), BUT, when I take it off at the end of the day, my breasts don't breathe that sigh of relief (I swear I hear it) associated with sweet freedom. Seriously-- I could have been using duct tape before, and it would have felt the same.

I should give Vick's a try...I have used some Aveeno with menthol in the past and don't recall it's effectiveness. The best product I have found so far is Vaseline's Intensive Care Advanced Healing Lotion. The CVS knock-off is also great, although they were out last time I went, so I got another CVS imitation of Vaseline, and have not been very happy with it. The real quest is what to use on my face. Augh.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


It worked!!

As you can see, the stitching isn't the prettiest work in the world, but I figured function must prevail over fashion-- at least in the early stages of a project such as this. I like how it kind of looks like a Christmas tree in the front.

I need more practice (and perhaps some of those mini roses made out of ribbon!) before taking orders.

In other news, my skin has been horrible lately because of:
1. Eczema (hands and legs)
2. Perioral Dermatitis, I think (face)
3. Acne (face)
Sorry, this is probably too much information, huh?

Auuuugh, I'm almost 23, isn't acne supposed to have gone away by now??? Maybe I'm being punished for all the years I had flawless skin. But I worked for it!!! It's not like I just HAD it, jeez! Anyway, here's a nice one of me messin' around with Proactiv's Refining Mask (the only worthwhile part of their system, if I may play Oprah for a moment also):

Perhaps all will clear up when the sun comes out again (the only treatment that has been proven to work for me). Maybe I can get a prescription tanning membership from a dermatologist....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

An inconvenience of Biblical proportions

Yes Laura, that was the perfect snow. And I have just enough money left on my Starbucks card for one last tall drink. And I think a peppermint mocha, or even an eggnog latte, is where it's at. I will raise it in a solo toast to you and perfect winter days.


I have embarked on a new endeavor that is very close to my two ways:
1. It is an issue with which I have struggled since puberty, and
2. The proximity of this issue and my heart is very close.

I am talking about my asymmetrical breasts, David and Goliath. I understand how common my plight is (an estimated 99.something% of women), yet bra manufacturers do not seem to be taking this stat into account, and I continue to buy brassieres that fit one breast and is either 2 cup sizes too big, or 2 cup sizes too small for the other (I try to settle for a not-so-happy medium of a bra that fits neither breast individually, and is one cup size too big for David, and one cup size too small for Goliath).

So after finally becoming completely fed up with my sub-par bra, I decided that it was time for a plan. I:
1. Purchased a bra that would fit if I had two Davids.
2. Purchased another bra that would fit* if I had two Goliaths.
3. Will cut each of them in half, right down the front, in between each cup.
4. Sew the proper halves together to form a garment with different-sized cups: one that fits David, and one that fits* Goliath.
5. Find someone with the exact same sized breasts as me, but reversed so that I don't feel like I'm wasting a bra.

*This particular discount store did not carry a cup size quite big enough, but given this is my first attempt at my creation and I've been wearing the wrong size for over a decade anyway, no big whoop.

And that's my new project! I'm going to begin the sewing process tonight, given nothing goes awry between cutting the bras and threading the needle.

I've done a bit of research on this subject, and while there is the ability to have your bras custom-made, they are extremely expensive (nearly $200/pop), and the necessary measurements only scratch the surface of the issue (i.e. each breast length, from nipple to rib, but no individual width measurement, etc.). I did, however, find quite an ingenious patent for the exact solution asymmetrically-breasted women like me need, but have yet to discover where and how to get one.

I'll be sure to keep each and every one of you abreast on my progress. HA! Get it?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

White Christmas


My yard is covered with dried-up leaves, and they're crackling away with all of the flakes falling on them. The snow's not really accumulating on the ground, but from my second-story office, I can see that the roof of the sunroom is turning white!

I made a fantastic batch of wassail, and plan to wrap a couple presents for my guests arriving in LESS THAN two weeks!!!

Hooray for winter!