I know I freaked some of you out with my scary report on self-dermaplaning. The first go ’round was rather brutal. During my second effort at the procedure, I fared far better. No slicing. Avoided bloodletting. Great results. I refined my technique. I’ve learned it’s vitally important to cleanse the skin completely of all oils, products, and dirt before beginning. Prepare the skin with alcohol. Keep your eye on the blade and the blade at an angle. Don’t retread the same area more than twice. The moral of the skin story is that DIY dermaplaning is sketchy as fuck at first, but with a little practice it’s completely possible to safely accomplish.
Happy Birthday Sagittarius! With the Sun shining on you for most of the month, Sags enjoy the warmth of attention and adulation in December. Not to be mistaken as self-centered, Sags now thrive in a self-focused energy devoted to physical, spiritual, and psychological wellness. Venus enters the scene to enhance your appearance and smooth the jagged edges of your personality. The darker side of this planet encourages self-indulgence and overspending. Do you seriously you want to spend January dragging yourself out of a caloric or financial hole? Can you honestly afford to go that BIG this month? The first half of December will involve a ton of chat, mostly electronic, and much of it tediously boring. Information overload leaves you feeling buried in minutia. Don’t feel like you have to respond to every text instantaneously. It would do you good to wait a beat.
December serves as a period of introspection and ego softening before the spotlight shines on you during your birthday. Rely on December’s gift of unusually keen emotional perceptions because your trusty analytical skills fail in December. You find yourself drifting away into future visions and then startling back to reality. Less expressive externally, but churning on the inside, Capricorn feels misunderstood, unseen, and unheard for much of December. If you want someone to know it; say it. Capricorn tends to guard hard-earned money, but Venus ushers in a bit of a self-indulgent streak. When you want to splurge, you find a way to justify it. Your best moments this month will be the ones you spend alone.
Pop the champers Aquarius! You are the fizz in the zodiac cocktail in December. Aquarius cultivates assertiveness and leadership in social situations this month. Knitting together friends, acquaintances, and business contacts is crucial for materializing a future dream. Achievement is within your reach if you assemble the right team. Uncertainty clouds your emotions. Use a constructive activity like yoga, meditation, or prayer to quiet the storm. Many demands threaten to drain your vital energy. Sleep often and soundly. Avoid sick people. Eat nutritiously. Any slips in self-care will manifest as inconvenient illness.
In December, you become acutely aware of your physical appearance, Pisces. More than a vain preoccupation, you yearn to be taken seriously. You understand the limitations of the rules currently binding your life and are willing to take on the accompanying responsibility. The boss notices for sure. Friendship plays a major role in December. Offer a good word to help a colleague ascend. The kind deed will come back threefold. An opportunity to pool resources with an old friend could result in material gain for you should you both be willing to overcome the short-term obstacles. Neptune’s on-going influence makes you overly accommodating. Don’t sacrifice your own agenda for the preferences of others.
You’ve got an inkling to get outta town in December, Aries. It’s not just about a change of scenery, though you crave that too, it’s more about exposure to new ideas. Consider a retreat or brief study abroad program. If you are scared to go alone, recruit a friend, just know you’ll need to assume the lead. Much of what you wish to accomplish this month requires a great deal of physical effort on your part. Take on the responsibility rather than delegate it. Mars adds an aggressive tenor to conversations which can make you and others appear pushy. When tensions arise, hold your position without reacting impulsively. For the next several months, Aries enjoys Jupiter’s influence which means fun with kids and animals.
December triggers emotional sea change for Taurus. Ultimately, your theme in December is “feel it out.” During this tumult, give due weight to another’s feelings and consider a change in your own behavior. Under the influence of Venus, you will benefit from the generosity of others. Use this energy to guide any pending negotiations. Close the deal with detailed communications and careful review. Taurus, when you sign on the dotted line prepare to follow through. The second half of the month launches a fresh palette and new discoveries. Make sure you are physically strong enough to get the most out of this time as it will require substantial energy.
Partner-up Gemini, you’re not feeling solo situations in December. Through the 11th, Venus has you all loved up, feeling closer than ever, and adding new depth to your relationship. You may decide to invest in property together or create other material bonds. A paperwork bog threatens to dampen the festive mood. Work through the thick stack with attention to detail. It’s best you handle sensitive information yourself. Gemini relies heavily on your analytical mind, but your intuition is particularly strong and clear in December. Use this heightened sense to your advantage, but play your cards close to your chest.
December highlights your need to get organized in a particular area of concern like health or home, Cancer. Start with a fatty to-do list and work your way through systematically. Cancer doesn’t love manual labor and your list of chores is grueling. Get the whole gang together for a worthwhile effort like a group clean up for an ailing relative. Daily drivel like paperwork, email, and busy work require substantial energy this month, but fear not, December isn’t all mundane practicality. Venus serves to enhance and deepen bonds. Smooch under the mistletoe. Rather than overspend on frivolity this holiday season, invest in the future of your children.
Lit up like a Christmas tree, Leo brightens up the room in December. Enjoy fun silliness with the kids and animals. Play pranks and laugh loudly. Plan a surprise outing for you and your sweetie. Such gestures serve to strengthen the bonds and good memories between the two of you. Ask for help when you need it. Leo works better as a member of a team in December. The second half of the month will ground you in the more mundane details of life like home repairs, organization, cleaning, and paperwork. Leo makes the drudgery lighthearted with your gregarious go-getter attitude. Your upbeat tenor inspires others to help you cross every last task off your list.
Matters involving home improvements and acquisition of property dominate December for Virgo. Some of the changes you are inspired to make in your home are tied to your desire to find a quiet place to think. Venus ushers in a period of domestic tranquility. This month you’ll actually enjoy your family. Virgo’s best moments are among kids and animals during the last two weeks of the month. Allocate resources towards a special gift for your sweetheart. This is not the time to be cheap. Emotionally speaking, Virgos like to schedule over their feelings. Saturn’s got something to say about that this month. There’s no avoiding it; you gotta do the work.
You are busy in December, Libra. There are people to meet, cards to send, parties to attend, and presents to wrap. The first half of the month, Mercury will support this flurry of activity with a chatty and social influence. Your home will require a great deal of physical effort. Turn to your friends and family for help if you are overwhelmed. Venus makes a good fence mender, so if you are in conflict with a family member now is a good time to make peace. This is a wonderful time to start or continue a tradition with your Dad. Fight every urge to overspend this month.
In December, matters of financial security occupy the Scorpio mind. Where you live, how to make ends overlap, and opportunities for growth have all your attention as you form your agenda for the New Year. Venus greases negotiations, so if you are ready to buy or sell your home now is the time to field offers. The influence of Venus helps ameliorate conflict, so use this softening to make peace with any warring factions. Scorpio loathes small talk, but in December those seemingly insignificant daily interactions burst with fruit flavor. Just as Christmas Eve rolls in so will a wave of financial insecurity. Consume less.
I didn’t realize my mattress sucked until someone else slept on it and informed me it sucked. I had acclimated to the suck. I didn’t understand that this too soft, busted-ass, brokedown mattress was contributing to chronic pain I’ve been enduring. While I wanted a new bed desperately, shopping for mattresses isn’t fun. I don’t want to lie down where all those people have lied down before me. I can’t actually get in my sleep position because it’s so weird, so I just lay there like a corpse staring at the ceiling reassuring the solicitous sales guy that it indeed “feels great.” I’d rather avoid this undignified scene at the mattress shop. I recall when I stayed with my friend AMP for Pitchfork her guest bed was amazing. She purchased through Overstock and was quite happy with the transaction. I didn’t do a ton of online recon. I just ordered a competitvely priced fatty 14″ from Overstock. My queen arrived vacuum sealed in a box and expanded when I opened the packaging. It’s firm, but giving, quiet and cool. When I slept on my old mattress, I woke up with numb arms. I’ve experienced no more numb arm nonsense with my new bed. I’m sleeping so well now. I wish I’d done this sooner.
You won’t even believe the dumbass thing I did. I made a big ol’ batch of minestrone soup from scratch in my new porcelain soup pot. I made enough to feed all the elves through the winter. How much soup can one woman eat? I dispatched the minestrone into resealable plastic bags to give some away. When I placed the ziploc bags on the shelves of the freezer, it did occur to me as a fleeting thought that they could freeze in an irregular shape. I did not think the bags would embed themselves into the shelves during the freezing process. I was very wrong, so annoyingly wrong. The shelf wouldn’t come out, and the soup was frozen in from all angles. How the fuck am I going to get out of this one? I mulled over warming the soup with a hair dryer, boiling water, and shutting the fridge down overnight to thaw the bags. In the end I used my garment steamer to soften the underside of the frozen soup until I could loosen it free from its frozen encumbrance. These pictures are from midway through melting process. Yes, this was a stupid mistake, but I neutralized my stupidity with a clever solution. Idiot Savant.
When I was in Vegas a few weeks ago, I got sucked into Slednecks, a reality show on MTV profiling the weather-beaten drunken youth of Alaska. The doughy-ass boys aren’t cute, but they are endearing. What’s the saying? The odds are good, but the goods are odd. You’d think with the Alaskan guy-to-girl ratio the girls would have some slimmer pickins. For real, these dudes give whale blubber new meaning. Somehow most of the women remain bronzed, hard-bodied goddesses proving the technology of the spray tan has crept all the way to the Arctic Circle. The women of Slednecks are fucking tough. Like blow your couch up, crack a beer bottle over your head, push you down the stairs, knock you the fuck out tough. All drunken shenanigans aside, the true treasure of the show is master boat-maker Leonard who dispenses old bear Alaskan wisdom like Yoda. I love him. I want to go to Alaska just so he can tell me I’m trouble.
Went out for Trentemøller and it was like stepping into a total 1980’s New Wave Joy-Division-Depeche-Mode moment, a moment I was grateful to experience since I was barely old enough to remember the first time around. Anders is touring with a band which I didn’t necessarily expect, but sure appreciated for the dimension it added to show. The performance wasn’t pitch-perfect-polished, but it did organically build to ultimately bond the small (but devoted and mostly gay) audience.
Just got back from a baby shower. Said my Hellos. I stayed 30 minutes because there was nothing for me at this party. First, it was one of those invite the whole family type showers and I don’t have a kid or husband to reluctantly drag. The mutual co-worker who was supposed to attend with me cancelled (ugh, 4th time in a row this bitch has bailed on concrete plans). I showed up with my thick stack of Dr. Suess books elegantly wrapped. I dropped the present off at the designated table occupied by several medium-sized gift bags. I greeted the mom-to-be who was dressed in a tight, fuchsia, cotton, ruched tube dress. She looked like a raspberry. I told her as much, which in hindsight she may not have appreciated, but I love raspberries so I didn’t intend the comment pejoratively. Dad-to-be and I chatted for awhile, but I noticed the side-eye of the older ladies when our conversation extended beyond 5 minutes of appropriate small talk. Who is that predatory single woman circling the dad-in-waiting? Please. There are no secret yearnings. Excuse the blatant bitchery, but if I wanted him I could have him a year ago when we first met and he was drooling all over himself.
After I was done talking to the two guests of honor, I wandered around a little bit and introduced myself to a few other folks standing solo. Nobody seemed very interested in small talk, and it’s not my strength anyway. When in doubt, hit the buffet, right? Well you already know that I refer to buffets at barffets and am never in the mood for a group feeding. This spread was particularly bleak. Two circular trays of Subway-style sandwiches of dubious origin and questionable content. The fold-out tables lacked proper placards describing the menu. Just down from the sandwich wheels where huge bowls of standard potato chips. Why do people do this? Put out enough potato chips to feed and army just to watch them soften into stale after the first hour. Plate of pickles, ok, I get the nod to pregnancy cravings. A couple of large bowls of mystery potato-salad glop remained untouched. The beverage options included electric yellow “lemonade” and something that looked like soda. Not a cupcake in sight. Killing time with mindless eating would not be an option at this shindig.
The one activity provided for the children was butcher paper on the tables and crayons. I made a doodle. I met a couple kids. I drank some neon lemonade. Then I split. There was nothing left for me.
To that end, if you want people to stay at your baby shower for more than the obligatory 30 minutes, consider the following:
1) With regard to length. 2 hours maximum. This one was scheduled for a tedious 3. I like the idea of a short and sweet 90 minutes.
2) Delicious food. Lots of options. Baked goods. Simple non-dressed salads. Fruit. Cheese. Crudites. Readily available sweets. Warm offerings. Coffee. Tea. Iced Tea. Water. I personally prefer an elegant seated brunch.
3) Make introductions. Reign in loners. Ensure everyone feels included.
4) Create intimate seating arrangements to encourage eating, drinking, and conversation.
5) Designate a separate (but within eyeshot/earshot of helicopter parents) fun space for the kids.
6) It’s fine if you aren’t into “baby games,” but do provide some sort of entertainment or fun. Music. Dancing. Karaoke. Ice your own cupcake. Whatever. These activities start conversations and save people from dreaded awkward mingling.
7) Attentive hosting takes work, the preggo shouldn’t be hosting her own baby shower, but these two did it as a couple. Designate a host devoted to socially lubricating the shower. Mothers and mothers-in-law love this job.