FAQs about NYC


Hi everyone! So as many of you know, since last I wrote, I’ve gotten a new job and moved to New York. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what’s going on, personally and professionally, and what this means for me/you/my dog/etc, so today I’m gonna answer some of them! And the crowd goes wild, I imagine!


How is New York?
It’s brilliant. Busy, exciting, gorgeous, cold (I mean, by New York standards), amazing. I love it here, and I’m so happy. The water is great and my skin has never been prettier, though my hair took longer to get used to it (this has since gotten under control). I feel like my life has actually, properly begun. Now if only I had time to unpack my apartment…

Where are you living?

How is Oliver adjusting?
Oliver had a rough few days when we got here. This wasn’t just a massive upheaval for my life; everything changed in his life, too! Luckily, with the help of Jasmine and Katja from Rufflife, he was able to get back onto a schedule and he’s now much happier. He likes our neighbourhood a lot, but he’s not so sure about bodega cats.

He’s also all about the big, low windows and the wide windowsills.


How are YOU adjusting?

It’s definitely tricky, going from working from home to going to an office every day. Luckily I work with amazing people, so I like it! The biggest challenge for me personally has been figuring out creative ways to deal with my dyslexia, which gets tricky when my attention is split–for example–between articles I’m editing and the muzak in the background. So far the best thing to do has been to listen to white noise on headphones literally eight hours a day, but if anyone has suggestions, let me know.

Other than that, life’s been great. I like New York, and even at it’s MTA-worst, the subway is better than anything we have in Chicago. Google Maps stops me from getting lost too often. And I have great friends around me to make things easier, which really helps.

So what even happened with this job?
I took a few meetings with SheKnows and the wonderful team at Daily Makeover, we liked each other and they offered me a job! It was all very fast, but in a way that was good because I didn’t have time to freak out about moving.

Do you work with Sable?
I do! We sit diagonally from one another, we go to events together, we hang out socially–sometimes we see one another seven days out of a week. It’s great.

What does a senior beauty editor do?
A lot of things! I write, I help direct and hone pitches from other writers, I edit for style, voice and clarity, I help guide our very talented writing staff. I attend events as a representative of my site. I go to meetings. I work with our Beauty Director and EIC. I make changes to things–you’ll see what I mean soon! I supervise features shoots. I have ideas. I play with lipstick. I learn about analytics. I try to keep the site organised and growing. It’s a huge job, but it’s also awesome.

Why isn’t your work for Daily Makeover the same as your work for xoVain?
Many reasons–it’s a different publication with a different audience, it has a different house style, I’m a senior level editor and not a contributor, etc. I’m very proud of the work I did for Vain, but it was time for me to move on to new challenges and experiences. I wrote a post about it here and don’t really have anything else to add, save that I’m very happy with where I am and what I’m doing. And as someone who has always gone out of her way to be kind and respectful to her readers and community, I’d hope that they’d do the same thing for me (SHE SAID, POINTEDLY).

Behind the scenes of an article I shot with Sable.


Will you still be writing for (insert other publication here)?
Nope. Even if I could, I don’t have the time.

Will you be making more videos?
I will be doing a lot of cool new things in the future! Get excited!

Will you be writing here more?
I am going to try. Cross my sparkly heart.

What’s the best thing about New York?
Everything. Especially the pizza.

What’s the weirdest thing about New York?
Realising that I actually AM here, doing the thing I’ve been dreaming of for two solid years. I went to an event and sat next to a lovely person from Vogue recently, and instead of breaking out in Impostor Syndrome, I was like I belong here. It’s amazing, and I can’t believe that I have so many of the things I want.

Also: online dating. Man, is that a trip.

Do you miss Chicago?
I miss my friends, but that’s it.


And that’s it! If you have other questions, here are all the many ways that you can contact me to ask them. Please keep everything respectful; I’m a bit burned out on internet hostility.

Palentine’s Day 2013

Has it really been a full year since the inagural Palentine’s Day? It seems like the older I get, the more quickly time moves. Like I just turn around, and suddenly everything has changed.

I’m astonished at how much it’s changed for the better recently. But I’ll get to that.

The last twelve months have taught me an awful lot about love. And even though this might sound weird, nobody has taught me more about what it means to love and be loved in return than my dog.


As I’ve mentioned before, Oliver and I didn’t bond at first sight. I was worried that I might not really take to him, or he wouldn’t take to me, when I first brought him home. But within 48 hours, we became a team. And we’ve never looked back.

Oliver can be a grade-A pain in the butt. He challenges me for pack leadership on a regular basis. He demands attention when I’m trying to work. He chewed holes in a McQueen skull scarf that I got for Christmas and hadn’t even worn yet. But he also protects me from ANYTHING that threatens me, even if he’s scared of it himself. He is incapable of seeing me cry–or look sad, or even THINK about looking sad–without capering around like a loon and licking my face to try to cheer me up. And on days that suck, my little Wigglebutt is there to curl up next to me, rest his head on my leg and look at me with his eyebrows raised, like he’s reminding me that it’s okay.

Oliver loves me, even if I yell or cry or am having a bad day. He loves me even if what’s in my head is scary, or too intense, or nigh incomprehensible. He loves me whether I have no time or all the time in the world. He thinks I am totally brave and strong, and that I can protect and lead him through anything. Every day I do my best to live up to that.

My dog makes me want to be a better person.

But I also want to be a better person for other reasons.

Last year, this is what I wrote: “Every day of my life, I set my shoulders and say “Well, maybe I’ll be alone for the rest of my life and that’s okay. Romantic love might not be in my programming.” And then I talk it out and you guys whisper secrets to me and I realise that maybe, just maybe, it won’t be like that.”

And guess what. It isn’t like that anymore. I know that it won’t be.

I don’t want to talk about the specifics of my romantic life, or lack thereof, or WHATEVER, in public. It’s important that I keep some things just for me. But after a really long time of feeling like maybe I couldn’t love people, or that I could but didn’t do it properly, or that was a terrible girlfriend just by nature…well, I know now that’s wrong. I am GREAT at loving people! And sure, I do it in my own way, but that’s true of everybody. There’s no one universal way to love, or be loved in return.

Understanding that has made me a lot happier.

I don’t know that there’s anything better than knowing that I have so many awesome people in my corner. I have friends all around the world who love me. I have family who cares. I have a dog who would take on armies to keep me safe. I’m sure a boyfriend and partner who loves me can’t be far behind.

And I have amazing readers who stick with me and teach me new things every day. It’s impossible to be any luckier than I am.

Happy Valentine’s, Palentine’s and Galentine’s day to us all. xoxoxo


Wind It Up: Thanksgiving Gratitudes 2012

Today is Thanksgiving. It’s my favourite holiday, mostly because you can cook a lot of desserts and drink champagne and not have to worry if so-and-so likes the present you got them.

I also like it because it’s an actual date on the calendar that forces me to reflect on the good things in my life. And oh boy, is that sorely needed THIS year. This year hasn’t felt like anything other than a trudge down a muddy road in grey, foggy misery. You don’t know where you’re going, or even if you’re ever going to get there. It’s easy to get stuck on that, and I do a lot of the time. I forget to look at the good stuff in the world because all that’s in my immediate view is the bad. And that sucks!

So this is me being less of a miseryguts and counting my blessings. Beginning with this picture, which is both thematically appropriate and also a blessing to the entire world.

Amazing. But now I’m forced to wonder, ARE turkey fezzes cool?

  • The thing that I am most thankful for, this year and probably all the years to come, is Oliver. He is a tiny ball of sunshine wrapped up in a furry coat, and the ways in which he makes my life better are literally innumerable. He is so good for my brain. The day I brought him home from the shelter I had no idea how completely my life was going to change, or how I would change along with it. In addition to the unconditional love, cute face and constant affection, Oliver has cracked open my heart and shown me what was in there. It’s hard for me to make emotional connections, and sometimes I’ve wondered if maybe loving is just another thing that isn’t in my toolbox. Oliver has shown me that it is. I love him so much, and I can’t imagine my life without him.
  • I am thankful that I am a strong person. In calmer days I looked back on some of the more notable train wrecks of my life and thought “Man. I know all of this is probably building character, but how much character can one person possibly need?” The answer is, a lot. A lot more than I had, a lot more than I probably ever WILL have. Life really is hard! Everything that’s terrible makes you stronger and more resilient. I’m thankful that even when things are THE WORST, I know that I can count on my vast reserves of inner strength to get me through.
  • I am thankful for the results of this election, especially all the creepy “rape isn’t rape” dickbags getting thrown out on their asses. I am even more excited about marriage equality scoring decisive victories all over! The world is changing, and things like this make me feel like it’s changing for the better.
  • I am thankful for drugs like lithium and basically all the atypical antipsychotics. They help keep me sane, even though I don’t take them myself.
  • I am thankful that all of my friends and family on the east coast are safe after Hurricane Sandy. It was a white-knuckle couple of weeks as we waiting to hear if my cousin and her family were okay, and they are, even though their house was destroyed. I know that not everyone was as fortunate.
  • Now more than ever, I am thankful for technology. Thanks to skype and kik and facebook, I can keep up with the daily lives of my friends who live tens of thousands of miles away. Even though I’m not there physically to cuddle babies or go look at tiles for new houses, I still get to see videos of kids standing up for the first time and weigh in on decorative pillars. Distance is no thing anymore. I love living in the future.
  • I am thankful for my wonderful, astonishing support system. I have some awesome friends and family members. I know a lot of people say that they wouldn’t be where they are today were it not for the support of their loved ones, but honestly not only wouldn’t I be where I am, I don’t even know where I would be (only that it wouldn’t be good). I love you.
  • I am thankful for good tv, and not-so-good tv, and tv I’ve already seen and tv I’ll never see just on principle. Basically I love tv. It’s my medium of choice.
  • I am thankful for my health and my body, which does everything I ask it to and then some, PLUS it looks good in jeans.
  • I am thankful for a job that is both incredibly challenging and incredibly interesting. I am thankful for the people who look out for me and also for the ones who don’t, because both of those situations teach me those Valuable Life Lessons everyone is so keen on. I am thankful that I can support the people who depend on me and occasionally have a day off for some fun.
  • I am thankful for the new Taylor Swift album.
  • I am thankful for feminism, birth control and having rights over my own body.
  • I am thankful for sunny days and misty mornings.
  • I am thankful for long hikes outside with Oliver.
  • I am thankful that I can dance every day.
  • I am thankful for a million amazing opportunities.
  • I am thankful for this space to write in, and I am thankful for you for reading it.

What are you thankful for?

On dog adoption

I’m writing this post because a lot of people have messaged me one way or another about shelters and dog adoption. The biggest thing that I want you to take away from this is that YES, YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY ADOPT A DOG FROM A SHELTER. It is probably one of the best things you will ever do.

The second thing I want you to take away from this is that my experience isn’t universal. Every dog-owner pair will adjust to one another differently, depending on about a million things.

And the third thing I want you to take away from this is everything else.

The first picture I took of Oliver.

I decided to adopt a dog when everything else in my life had fallen down around my ears. I mean that very literally. I felt more out of my depth than I’d ever felt before. I was isolated and worried and scared out of my mind.

So it made perfect sense to throw another variable into the mix.

Oliver–or as he was known at the shelter, Spike–had been brought in a month before. He’d been thrown out of a moving car and thankfully picked up by one of the employees. He wasn’t fixed, had a paw injury and an eye infection and had probably never been to see a vet in his life. He was barely two years old.

When I met him at the shelter, he walked into the room, looked at me, and then totally ignored me while he sniffed every inch of the floor. We didn’t immediately recognise something inherent in the other. We didn’t immediately fall in love. But I liked his independence, his huge radar-dish ears and alert foxlike face. The adoption counselor told me that he didn’t warm up to everyone immediately; you’d have to work for it. I liked that, too.

The paperwork went through and Spike, now named Oliver, came home with me the next Tuesday. That day I learned a few other things about him that nobody had told me. He wasn’t housebroken, for one thing. He had no house manners and didn’t know basic commands, nor how to walk nicely on a leash. He was food aggressive and nipped people. He was terrified of his crate. He wouldn’t walk on grass. He’d get hysterical around other dogs. His skin was dry and flaky under the fur. He wouldn’t get so much as a toe wet. It was clear he’d been abused and neglected by whoever had owned him before.

Hell of a list, right? Correct! But every single dog in the world–even purebred puppies from breeders–has a list just like it. If you want a pet that fits right into your life with no issue right from the word go, get a fish. But if it walks on four legs and has fur, there’s going to be an adjustment process. Moreso if said four-legged fuzzbucket has dealt with trauma, because then you’re not just training; you’re rehabilitating.

You’re also taking pictures of goofy faces.

Training is a process that never ends. This is true no matter where your dog comes from and no matter how old they are when you get them. Your dog has to learn how to get along with you, and YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO GET ALONG WITH YOUR DOG. Compromises in some areas must be made! For example: Oliver eats underwear. I can’t stop him from doing this, so I don’t leave underwear where he can get it. Ta dah!

Here’s another: Oliver is a short guy. When I work at the dining table he can only see my feet, which annoys him, which makes him get all growly and crazy. You know what stops this? Sitting him on his own chair at the table so that he can see me. Then, since he’s no longer anxious that I’ll disappear through the ceiling, he curls up and goes to sleep. Compromise.

You may think I am kidding. I am not.

But as I’m telling you to compromise, you also have to know when to hold the line. Dogs are creatures of routine and habit. They don’t like uncertainty or novelty; they do like firm limits and simple cause-effect transactions. This is true for any dog no matter where they come from, but it’s especially important for dogs coming from a rescue situation: rules and boundaries and a strong, loving master make them feel safe. Feeling safe and secure is the #1 thing you have to provide, because a secure dog is happy, and a happy dog is one more likely to do what you tell him or her.

This is hard to do sometimes. It was hard for me. I was scared for a while that Oliver would think I was mean because all I was doing was saying NO and STOP like a broken record. But then I realised, dogs don’t look at things the way humans do. He isn’t going to hate me because I won’t let him bark at gardeners, he’s going to learn that it’s a behaviour that I, the boss, do not allow.

When it comes to sorting out behaviour problems, start with the worst, most potentially damaging ones and work your way down to the annoying but minor ones. For me, the number one MUST FIX issue was housetraining, because obviously you don’t want your dog using your entire house as a toilet. I put Oliver on a strict going outside schedule, and he picked it up quickly. Like, within a day quickly. Your mileage may vary.

Walking was much harder because it involved more crazy-triggers. Other dogs, squirrels, trucks, strollers…almost everything made Oliver totally flip out. Plus he’d yank my arm out of the socket and drag me everywhere, wouldn’t respond to commands, would chase things, etc. Some of this was breed-related (high prey drive) but still, it was awful. I started to hate walking him because he was so uncontrollable.

The terrier in him means he is on HIGH ALERT all the time.

I know I talk a lot about The Gentle Lead, but this thing honestly did save me. The first time I put it on Oliver, he was a different dog. Because he couldn’t pull against it, he wasn’t aggressively posturing at other dogs, which meant they were nicer to him, which meant he was nicer to THEM. Bye bye, scary dog aggression. Also bye bye pulling, dragging and sudden stops. He very quickly–and by that I mean “within two days”–learned how to walk next to me and how to listen to my commands. Things I hadn’t been able to teach him in WEEKS with a collar or harness lead. It felt like a miracle.

It’s been six months since I brought Oliver home, and in that time he’s fallen in love with his vet, learned to love his crate, learned a bunch of basic commands (and some not-so-basic ones like “HIGH FIVE!”), made friends with other dogs, gotten used to being alone for periods of time, cuddles of his own volition, tolerates baths and learned how to swim. When I think about the progress he’s made I want to explode with pride. He’s a happy, healthy, well-adjusted boy and you can see that in every wag of his tail and flick of his giant ears.

I had no idea what I was doing when Oliver came home. I’ve never had a dog before, let alone one that needed so much care. But I figured it out, and you will too. And I know this sounds lame, but he gives me so much love every single day that I feel like my input was nothing compared to what I get back.

Right now he’s sprawled out next to me, head resting on my knee. It makes me so angry to think that somewhere out there there’s a person who threw this little guy away like he was garbage, when all he wanted was someone to be kind to him. If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, know that it’s not always easy. But oh my god, is it ever worth it.

Wind It Up: Ten things I love about life (in the second week of August)

It’s been a hot minute since I posted. I know you guys better than to think you’d pest me about it (she said, congratulating people on desired behaviour), but I’ve been busy. Life is really stressful! I am only barely surviving! Honestly I’ve been holding off posting so that I don’t end up going all AAAASDFGHJKL across the internet and having “Alle goes crazy” as a permanent event on the internet. Plus, how am I meant to be talking about BEING AWESOME and HAVING A FANTASTIC LIFE when so much of my own revolves around trying to persuade adult people to get out of bed/take their medication/that frisbee golf is not a valid career choice? Shit can be rough sometimes.

But none of that affects the person I am except for the better. This is what I tell myself. I’m being subjected to intense pressures and heat until all my organic matter burns away and I am left hard and glittering and beautiful. Transformation, yo. Nobody ever said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.

Anyway! Let’s wind up this week with a happiness list! Happiness has been a little light on the ground lately, so that makes taking stock for what I am grateful for even more important.

  • Shark Week. You may remember my post last year about this, the holiest and most awesome of weeks. Well, this year I wasn’t the only one who got excited about seven days of non-stop sharky excitement…
    I mean, if you have a little shark costume and you have a little dog, you’re morally obligated to put the latter in the former. It’s science. (No Olivers were harmed in the making of these pictures. He was bribed very thoroughly. So don’t worry!)
  • Memory foam. Fun fact: I have a weird spine. Basically my lower back curves out more than a normal person’s does and hyperextends to a circuslike degree. The things you learn in physical therapy! It’s mostly okay, except that all the pressure goes on my lower vertebrae and it hurts. A lot. Fed up with sleeping like shit because of it, I caved and bought a memory foam mattress. Guys. AMAZING. It’s like sleeping on a million angels made of rainbows! I don’t want to tell you all to run out and get one, but RUN OUT AND GET ONE. Thank me later.
  • RIP glasses. So this didn’t make me happy exactly, but Oliver chewed up my glasses. As in, ruined. Kaput. Done. Now I have contacts while I take my sweet time trying to figure out what new specs to get, BUT THIS ALSO MEANS regular, non-prescription sunglasses! For the first time in like ten years! I picked these guys…They’re basically your classic Wayfarer, only bigger and without that weird, angled-in-towards-your-face thing. I love them.
  • Crazy dog ladies. I have some great friends with some great dogs, and this week saw a serious uptick in the number of cute dog pictures I sent and received. I’m so lucky to know so many people with cute pups of their own! There’s nothing I like more than sitting down for a lazy couple hours on Saturday and texting my friends about their canine companions.
  • Bacon pancakes. Listen to this song once and it will never leave your brain.

    Adventure Time is the best.

  • Laughing until you cry. You know how sometimes you talk to your best mate about exes, and then somehow that turns into a weird riff on the idea that everyone you know and everything you do is just a figment of your imagination? And then you both end up laughing so hard that you can’t breathe properly and your sides hurt and you’re crying everywhere? THAT IS THE BEST. Way to make an entire shitty week better, Michael Davis!
  • Harry Potter. You guys, Harry Potter turned 32 recently. That means we are OLD. To celebrate, I reread the whole series and it doesn’t matter how many times I do it or that I know what’s coming, the whole thing with Snape and Lily makes me cry SO MUCH. Easily the most moving thing in the entire series.
  • Friday Night Lights. I started watching the show because I heard Riggins gets a dog who looks like Oliver.
    It’s a miracle I like the show, though, because football is boring as fuck to me and it isn’t like I’m desperate to relive high school. I chalk it up to Coach Taylor’s awesome speeches and the music from Explosions in the Sky.
  • Cool off, cool off. It’s like I can’t stop obsessing about the weather. I was psyched when it got summertime hot here, and I mostly stuck to that enthusiasm…even as we hit a million days in a row of surface-of-the-sun temperatures. Ugh. Now, though, it’s getting cooler and rainy and oh man, I am so all for it.
  • Getting shit done. I finished a big fat (no pun intended) project this week. I don’t know how long it’ll stay finished, but it feels really good to have it submitted.

What are you happy for this week? If I can find ten things, so can you.

Wind It Up: Ten things getting me through this awesome heatwave

The end of another week. I can’t believe it’s only the beginning of July; it feels like it’s been summer FOR-EV-ER. Chicago is having it’s worst heatwave since 1911 and I’ve been dying by inches all over the place. It’s not so much how hot it is–I can do hot–it’s the humidity. You know, the kind of thing that makes you feel like you’re breathing in warm soup. Yikes.

So with this sweltering spirit in mind, I’ve made a list of my ten favourite things that are making this endless summer tolerable. I want to hear how you’re surviving, too–give me your top ten in the comments or on Twitter!

1. Butter London nail polish in Cheeky Chops. Basically the best summer yellow EVER, whether you wear in on your fingers or your toes. It’s like sunshine in a bottle; no matter how sweaty you get, you’ll be able to look down at your bright yellow nails and smile.

2. American Apparel jersey crossback bras. As you’ll eventually find out, in the summertime I like to wear shirts with low armholes and open backs, which means quite a bit of my bra is on display. These in bright colours and fun patterns make it look more like a deliberate fashion statement than outright laziness, although to be honest it’s a little of both.

3. Rose gold earrings. Rose gold is my jam this year. I don’t even know what my issue is, I just suddenly love it. I especially love the shape of these earrings; they’re fancy but not overpowering, so you can wear them with anything.

4. Jorts. I’ve professed my love of jean shorts many, many times on this here blog, but oh man, this summer that’s been taken to a new level. Three weeks ago I chopped up a really old pair of kind of boyfriend-y style jeans and they’re my new favourite thing. I like my jorts a little longer and kind of baggy, and I usually leave the hem frayed–though wide legged shorts rolled a couple of time is cute too.

5. Ballet flats. Since I don’t wear flip flops or sandals, ballet flats are my warm weather shoe of choice. I have only two criteria for them: They must be very soft and flexible at the heel, and they must be cheap. The former is to stop me from getting insane blisters, and the latter is because I will wear these things to death for about five months. There’s no point in investing a lot of money in something that’s going to be in tatters come September. I’ve had good luck with the fabric ones by Steve Madden and the leather ones from a brand called Mix no. 6. Just a hint from me to any other narrow footed, high-arched ladies out there.

6. Baby Lips lip balm. Maybe I mean gloss? I have no idea, but I love these things. They smell delicious and have a tiny hint of colour, which makes them perfect for days where you’re so sweaty that even thinking about lipstick is a chore. My favourite is probably Cherry Pie (red) for the gorgeous colour, but Pink Punch is pretty amazing too.

7. Pellegrino. Oh, I know, how bourgeois. I mostly have these listed for the green glass bottles, which you can refill and carry around in your purse on hot days. It’s important to keep hydrated!

8. Gentle Leader. If you have a four-legged friend, you need to get one of these. When Oliver was at his crazy worst and I was hating taking him on walks, this head collar saved me. It fits a little like a horse’s bridle; a loop goes around the nose, and then the second part clips at the base of the head behind the ears. Goodbye, pulling and lunging. Goodbye, aggressive behavior. Hello, peaceful, wonderful walking. GET ONE, I’m so serious, this thing is worth it’s weight in gold.

9. Neon sour gummi worms. I took a break from these guys, but I’ve got a taste for them again. I went to see Magic Mike with Wondertwin last week and ate a whole bunch of them. Something about the sour-sweet and the hot men just went so well together…

10. Drapey tank tops. Like I said, I like mine a little oversized and slutty-looking. I bought a whole bunch last year from Target, and they’re still my favourite thing for sweltering days. Bonus points if they have pockets. I love a good pocket.

And now I ask you: How are you surviving summer? Or, if you’re in the southern hemisphere, how are you surviving winter? And could you send a couple cool breezes our way? We’d appreciate it!

Wind It Up: Ten things I love about life (in the first week of June)

End of the week! Finally!

Getting shit done. This week I had some crazy-ass deadlines, including one for a story that turned out to be very hard to write. The research I’d done bummed me out so hard that I couldn’t bring myself to put it all together. But I did. And I’m really, really pleased with the way it’s turned out. No spoilers on the subject, but you’ll be able to read it next week!

Blue Steel. The cutest baby in the whole world, King William, is now four months old and serving up some serious Zoolander realness.

As I said to Bee (also pictured and also gorgeous), I am gonna cuddle him SO HARD.

Beautiful weather. I grew up in the Australian desert, and I’m always really happy when the temperature starts nudging ninety. The humidity I could do without, but alas, it is the price we pay in Chicago. I’ve been living in my “just leaving dance rehearsal” summer outfit for the last week: dark grey jorts, a too-big tank top and a bright sports bra, and I couldn’t be happier.

True Blood. It’s back, and I’m really optimistic after last season’s suckfest (no pun intended). Wondertwin and I are such perves, we’ve been sending each other pictures of shirtless Alcide for weeks now. We can’t help it. Boy is FIIIIIINE.

Plus he’s in that Magic Mike movie as a character called Big Dick Richie. So, uh…yeah, I’m going to have to see that.

Bread. For some ungodly reason, I woke up this week and decided to learn how to bake bread. Yeah, I don’t know either. Anyway, after getting frustrated at the internet, and I suppose at bread itself for being so fucking hard to make, Melissa sent me a recipe for refrigerator bread. It’s like 90% easier than even the simplest other recipe I found, and I am determined to make it. I’ll report back on Monday.

Red Mango. Fuck you, Pinkberry. You don’t have exploding liquid Mango balls.

Heh…balls. (I never said I was mature)

Big decisions. So if you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I’ve got some Important Life Choices to make. A lot of the time I’m not super-psyched about change, as ‘change’ basically means ‘the unknown’ which is scary. But, I don’t know, I’m kind of excited about it! I get to make pro/con lists, for one thing. That’s pretty good news.

Flowerstagram. This tag is my jam, yo. I am all about flowers!

If you’re down for a lot of colour, you can follow me on Instagram: helloalle.

Writing, writing, writing: All year I’ve told myself that I have to write more fiction, and I’ve finally started. It’s awesome and recharging in a whole different way! I have an entire book planned out in my head, and seeing it on paper is an awesome feeling…but I suspect it’s going to be even more awesome-feeling when it’s done. Who knows, maybe somebody else will even want to read it? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

And now, the Week In Oliver: Little Sweet Potato has not been loving the hot weather, although I probably wouldn’t either if I were always wearing a black fur coat. He’s also been trying to get very involved in work, and by that I mean “trying to prevent me from doing any.” This generally means stealing my chair when I work at my dining table, or flopping across my lap so that I can’t use my laptop if I’m sitting on my bed.

Hmm…why can’t I get into my iTunes? I’m gonna have to take this in to the Apple store.

Right now he’s sitting at the foot of my bed, protecting me from a spider he saw on the wall last night. Best dog ever.

And that’s the week! What’s been making you happy in the last seven days? Tell me all about it in the comments, or drop me a line on Twitter.

Wind It Up: Ten things I love about life (in the last-ish week of May)

It’s the end of a beautiful week, weather-wise, but I am feeling extremely sorry for myself so it may as well be storming. But there’s no better way to cheer myself up than with a happy list! Isn’t that what these are for?

Spending time with my best friends. Working long hours and being constantly stressed makes it feel like having a social life is totally impossible. At the end of the week, I’m tired and worn down and I just want to flop on my bed with my dog and watch tv. But this week I made some serious time to get together with Charlotte and Lorelei and catch up. It was so fantastic, and it’s reminded me of how much strength I draw from my friends.

Street art. Wander around Wicker Park for ten minutes and your eyeballs are spoiled by all the awesome stuff to look at. A couple favourites:

Birthday! Birthday! May 19th was my Mama’s birthday! We all went out for martinis and way too much delicious Italian food, and then had icecream cake for dessert.

Dairy Queen, man. It’s the best. I’d kill a man for the frozen whipped cream alone.

Material Girl #1. I ordered this awesome bracelet last week and basically could not wait for it to arrive. It’s a silver engraved cuff from House of Harlow (I KNOW, I was surprised too) with two curving claws and OH OH OH. I love it so much.

The best part about it is that even though it’s heavy and the metal is thick, you can still shape the cuff. I like to wear bracelets midway up my forearm–I HATE when they bang around my wrist–and so being able to custom fit it is amazing.

Material Girl #2. Apparently I’m the only one calling bandage dresses “slut dresses”? I mention this because when I got excited and told everybody that I got a really great slut dress, they were universally confused. Here is a picture so you can decide for yourselves; please pay no attention to the mess going on behind me.

Although this dress is great and fits like a dream, I really need to complain about vanity sizing for a minute because this shit is out of CONTROL. I know what my measurements are, and I am fine with them. Designers and stores don’t need to lie to me about what dress size I wear. This dress that I am wearing, for example, is a size zero. And okay I’m thin and I’m tall, but ON NO PLANET am I a legit size zero. I modeled; I know what that looks like. I think I speak for all women when I say GET SOME CONSISTENCY, PLEASE. All we want is to pick up a dress in a size we know will fit us, rather than having to consult a fucking oracle to discover what random number should be on the clothing we want to buy. Thanks!

Liquid luck. I was out looking for a good makeup primer (which I found) when I saw this…

I bought it without really knowing what it’s for, because it looks like a really chic vial of Felix Felicis. I’m pretty sure that when I put this on my face (as a highlighter, maybe?) I will win ALL the Quiddich matches!

Summer neons. It’s no surprise to anyone that I love me some superbright nail polish. I wear it year round, but the especially awesome colours come out in the summertime. Essie, who seriously makes most of my favourite polishes, has (mostly!) knocked it out of the park this season.

Lights is a neon fuschia. Camera is a super bright coral red-pink (I’m wearing it in the picture with the Felix Felicis). Action is a seriously, seriously bright yellow-orange. Bazooka is…fine. It’s a red-orange, not really anything special. But for real, get the first three. You’ll love them enough to rock them year round, I assure you.

Climbing trees. There are some things that you outgrow as you get older. Pigtails. Playing house. Dolls (I hope you outgrew dolls anyway, they are scary). But there’s one thing that I’ve never outgrown, and that is the desire to get as high up trees as possible. I’m a really good climber, which surprises a lot of people. They don’t know that it’s basically how I spent my entire childhood…and my teen years…

This tree wasn’t especially high–the branch I’m in is maybe seven feet off the ground?–but there weren’t any branches to hold onto, so I had to awkwardly pick my way up the trunk and hope I didn’t slip and knock out all my teeth. And speaking of things one probably should have grown out of, I got that tshirt all the way back in 1998 for a dance contest my school was entered in. Rock Eisteddfod, HAAAAAAY! Teenage dream steez!

All my shows are over. OH WAIT THIS DOESN’T MAKE ME HAPPY AT ALL. My only consolation during this difficult time is that Pretty Little Liars is coming back in like two weeks, and True Blood after that. And there’s still some Mad Men and Game of Thrones left. But ugh! Bereft! Mama needs her stories!

Guess who? Here is me trying to take a not-horrifying picture of myself…and here comes Oliver, who decides that it cannot POSSIBLY be a good picture without him.

And you know what? He wasn’t wrong. I love this little wiggle-butt.

So what’s been making you happy this week? Alternately, what’s made you want to hide under the covers and yell “LEAVE ME ALONE TO DIE”? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Wind It Up: A bunch of lists about the ONE BIG THING that I love (in the first week of May)

It’s Friday! Instead of doing a Ten Happy Things this week, I’m going to make some lists about the number one best thing in my entire life…Oliver.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a dog blog. Hopefully.

Things I call my dog other than his name:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Pupster
  • Wiggle butt
  • Mister Wiggles
  • Boo-boo
  • Handsome boy
  • Mister Handsome
  • Little face
  • Little feet
  • Big ears

Commands Oliver knows and percentage of time he obeys them (approximate):

  • STOP, 100%
  • SIT plus treat, 100%. Minus treat, or minus feigning treat: 50%
  • COME, 80%
  • STAY, 80%. If I am leaving the room, 30%
  • QUIET (non-verbal), 75%. For longer than ten seconds, 30%
  • BED (non-verbal), 90% at night, 20% if I’m leaving the house during the day (panic ensues)
  • UP (on bed or couch, etc), 100% before 8pm. After 8pm, 0% (must be picked up & carried)
  • OUT, 90%. If raining, 0%
  • HIGH FIVE, 100%

Things I do with Oliver that I swore I’d never do to a pet:

  • Use silly voices to talk to him.
  • Alternately, talk to him like he’s a college professor.
  • Make up songs about him (including one where he’s a pirate).
  • Buy clothes for him (including a raincoat, because he hates getting wet SO MUCH).
  • Kiss him on the face, but not on the mouth because that’s gross.

Things my dog will eat, surprisingly:

  • Plain greek yogurt (prescribed for an upset stomach, now LOVES it).
  • Romaine lettuce.
  • Heartworm medication.
  • Goose shit.
  • Raspberries.
  • Scrambled eggs.
  • Pasta noodles.

Things my dog will not TOUCH, no way no how don’t even think about it:

  • Raw chicken.
  • Raw meat of any kind, actually.
  • Spinach.
  • Anything flavoured with peanut butter.
  • Bacon, or anything bacon-flavoured.

Things I have learned about dogs since having one that nobody ever tells you about:

  • There’s a reason people take their dogs to groomers.
  • Dogs have gross habits and no sense of self-preservation.
  • Squeaky toys get annoying after about three hours.
  • Dogs imitate other dogs. ie: the other day, Oliver tried to Beagle-howl. It was adorably misguided.
  • Training isn’t just for the dog, it’s for the owner too.
  • Training is more than “don’t chew my shoes.” SO MUCH MORE.
  • Dogs don’t just bark. They have a very big vocabulary, even mostly silent pups like Oliver.
  • They can also scream and hiccup. The latter is adorable.
  • No matter what medicine you use, your dog WILL get the occasional tick.
  • Ticks are DISGUSTING.
  • Cats aren’t the only animals that stare at nothing and freak out at it.
  • Cats also aren’t the only ritual-obsessed animals in the domestic kingdom.
  • Dogs would rather make a nest out of the tshirt you wore than sleep on their memory foam bed.
  • You will learn so much patience.
  • You will have sleepless nights.
  • It’s totally awesome.

They also don’t have any concept of personal space.

Oliver is so great. Why I haven’t had a dog all along, I’ll never know.

Happy weekend! Am I the only person who gets really psyched for May? It just feels like summer is right around the corner, you know? It’s the best.

Wind It Up: ONE BIG thing that I love about life (in the last week of March and for always)

I know that my Friday list usually has ten things in it, but honestly? There’s one thing that is truly so awesome that it blows away everything else. And here he is:

Meet Oliver Blackwell, Esq. He’s a two year old Minpin/terrier mix who I adopted last Tuesday. He’s twelve pounds of black and tan kisses and cuddles, as long as you aren’t a squirrel or look like you want to hurt me. In which case, he’s the most ferocious guard dog. With gigantic ears.

Oliver’s story is a sad one. He was thrown out of a moving car onto a busy street by his previous owners. Luckily, someone saw it happen and stopped their car to pick him up. He wasn’t hurt, but it was clear to the shelter that he’d been neglected and abused for a long time.

I’ve never had a dog, and although I was set on adopting an animal from a shelter, part of me was a little worried. I didn’t know if he’d have behavioural problems from being mistreated. I didn’t know if he’d like me, or if I’d bond with him. I didn’t know if I’d be able to teach him how to behave. So I spun my wheels and stressed out and made some lists.

Turns out that my worries were baseless, as they almost always are.

Oliver cuddles his favourite stuffingless toy. This is the only soft toy that has lasted longer than 20 minutes; highly recommended for the discerningly destructive terrier.

He is the best. I know most people say that about their animals, but I really mean it. Within the first day, he was housebroken. Within two days, he was crate trained. I’m still working on the whole “walking politely on a leash without freaking out over squirrels” thing, but hey, some stuff takes time. Every day he learns new commands, sometimes without me even explicitly teaching him. I’m constantly amazed.

The silliest thing of all was that I worried he wouldn’t like me. He put THAT to rest within twenty minutes. Oliver’s prime directive is “Never let Alle out of your sight, not even for a second” and now I see why people name their dogs Shadow. If I’m working, he’s laying next to me. If I get up for a glass of water, he follows me to the kitchen. If I’m having a shower, he’s outside guarding the bathroom. Yesterday I was working out and he pushed opened the door–I, mid-plank–and was SO HAPPY TO SEE ME AFTER TWENTY MINUTES that he headbutted me.

Headbutts aside, he’s sweet, he’s loving and he makes my life better in so many ways. But, you may be asking, is he also hilarious? OHO YES.

I honestly didn’t realise dogs slept so much or in such weird positions. The things you learn.

Sometimes I get really angry at whoever threw this little guy away like a piece of garbage. How could anyone be so horrible? All that Oliver wants is a soft blanket to cuddle in, a person to follow around and the occasional treat. But at the same time, I’m so happy that he’s here with me. I love him so much, and I know I’m going to give him the best life imaginable.

But I still hope the people who hurt him get anal prolapse because fuck them, seriously.

There are far better advocates for animal adoption than me, but I’m sharing this story with you guys in the hopes that if you ever do want to get a dog or a cat or whatever, you’ll look at a shelter first. Not only will you get a great friend–and Oliver is a GREAT friend–but you’re giving an animal a shot at a good life.

The first night I had Oliver, he wouldn’t sleep in his crate. He slept pressed up against my chest, waking up with a start every few minutes to make sure I was still there. As I write this, he’s the definition of content; sprawled out at the end of my bed, dreaming twitchy little dog dreams. I’m happy because I know he’s happy. There’s precious little of that to be had lately, so I’m taking it where I can get it.