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Monday, March 27, 2006

It might be a quarter-life crisis, or just the stirring in my soul...

While Mr. Mayer may take much of the credit for its propagation, it was actually Canadian psychologist Elliot Jaques, that in 1965 coined the phrase "quarter-life crisis," liberally employed today by disenchanted singletons across the globe.

So what is this thing they call "quarter-life crisis" and am I actually experiencing it? A lady I work with maintains that I'm going through "the change," meaning that a woman transforms herself based on hormonal fluctuations and growth-spurts every five years. This lady is no doctor, but she's raised three daughters, leading me to believe that what she says is true, in addition to the fact that I'm a bit out of sorts lately.

According to my good friend, Wikipedia, the characteristics of a "quarter-life crisis" are:

  • confusion of identity (check)
  • insecurity regarding the near future (check)
  • insecurity regarding present accomplishments (check)
  • re-evaluation of close interpersonal relationships (check)
  • disappointment with one's job (check check)
  • nostalgia for college life (check)
  • tendency to hold stronger opinions (check)
  • boredom with social interactions (check)
  • financially-rooted stress (check)
  • loneliness (check)

Maybe I'm not crazy. Or maybe it's just a mental thing, and I'm looking for an excuse or a diagnosis of why my life, sixteen days before my 25th birthday, has not turned out like I thought it would.

At what point does my adult-life really begin? Do I have to get married or have children? Do I have to own a house? Do I have to make a certain amount of money at my job or achieve lofty rank on the corporate ladder? And what if none of these things ever happen? Does that mean I failed at adulthood? And the question I'm afraid to ask, will I become a lonely old-bag with no one to love me except my little bastardly cat (who I'm sure won't survive until I'm 80)?

I'm not questioning God's sovereign plan for my life. I have faith that He knows the desires of my heart better than even I do. But what do I do in the meantime?

I feel as thought I am making a valiant attempt to combat my "quarter-life crisis." I've not waited around to become involved in my church and community and have surrounded myself with a network of support, including friends and family. I'm saving funds as to not be a slave to rent for the rest of my life. I've picked up new hobbies to busy my time that would otherwise be spent caring for a family. I've recently made steps to pursue an MBA, researching schools, scholarships and testing requirements. But I can't help but feel like I'm biding my time until what I'm waiting for finally comes along. As if my busy-ness and ambition are defense mechanisms, so when people ask me why I'm not married, I can say, "I'm focused on my career" or "I'm so busy, I don't know when I would meet guys!"

I'd like to say that it helps to see others in the same boat as I am, but sometimes I think it makes life even more confusing. At least if I were the lone ranger, I'd know I was the diseased one and I could look to others for the solution.


I wonder if I thought that by the time I got done typing this blog post, that I would have the answers to these questions...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sephora Day Out

Friday was one for the books. I finally spent my first dime (or maybe a little more than a dime) at Sephora via Nashville. I met Amanda and Mandy early that morning and armed with our shopping-game-faces (and my list of things to purchase), we entered the land of makeup.

Amanda went to the left, I went to the right, and Mandy shot straight up the center. I took one last look at Mandy and said, "see you in a couple of hours."

The first makeup fixture I visited was Benefit Cosmetics, where I snapped up the Dallas blush and Dr. Feelgood complexion balm. The Dallas powder compliments my rosy undertones nicely, but I've learned to use it sparingly (at least until after Memorial Day weekend when I see some real live sun). The Dr. Feelgood mattifies my shiny cheeks and provides an excellent base for my morning makeup routine. I'm going to have to buy another Dr. Feelgood to keep in my purse for 3 p.m. shine touchups.

I browsed Smashbox and almost purchased their Compact Anti-Shine, but opted against it after advice from a Sephora rep. The Dr. Feelgood is the same product, but more bang for the buck.

I then made my way around to Make Up For Ever and picked up their Diamond Powder in Copper 4, after seeing a Sephora rep wearing the snazzy sparkles on her eyelids. In order to provide a shimmery base for the Diamond Powder, I hopped over to NARS and placed a Cream Eyeshadow in El Dorado in my basket.

After a lengthy loop around the back side of the store, somehow declining the body butters and anti-wrinkle creams on display, I found myself at Sephora's own collection of makeup and marked another item off my list, the Sephora Powder in a Brush. Drifting over to Too Faced, I spied another coveted item on my list, the Box of Pink Chocolates.

Twenty delectable shades of lip gloss, fragranced lightly by chocolate, is a steal at $27.50. It even comes with a lip brush, complete with a cap to minimize messiness. I found that the lip glosses are of extremely high-quality, not too goopy or dry, and the individual lip pots run deep in the case. Definitely my bargain for the day.

After perusing Stila, CARGO, Tarte, Bare Escentuals and LORAC, I decided it was time to check out. I had been saving a giftcard I received for Christmas and was satisfied with my wise, practical purchases, accompanied by a couple of fun splurges. My only impulse buy of the day was Smith's Rosebud Salve, and at $5.50 a pop, I can afford to indulge.

I was overly satisfied with my 2 hour experience of the new Sephora Nashville. I will say though, I wish they would remove Clinique and Lancome (sorry Lana) for some more obscure and hard-to-find brands, such as DuWop, Paul & Joe, Delux Beauty, Pop Beauty, Urban Decay, Hard Candy and Laura Mercier. I can buy Clinique and Lancome at a department store any day. Or from you, Lana.

After a good browsing of the Mall at Green Hills and a few additional purchases later, we headed over to Jackson's for lunch and a really hot waiter with Emily, Sarah & Lana. Sharing Jackson's famed Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Eggrolls was a free-for-all. At least Amanda gave up chocolate for Lent....i.e. more dessert to go around.

Saturday, I headed to Murf to spend the day eating, shopping and movie-ing with two of my bestest, Amy and Ashley. I don't realize how much I miss these gals (or any of the Menagerie crew) until I see them again and the giggles commence. We went to see Failure to Launch, and I must say, it exceeded my expectations. After Sarah Jessica Parker's last movie, I was just hoping for the best with this one. Yes, it was the exact same plot line as How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (plug in different heroine and coastline), but since I loved that movie (and Matthew McConaughey), I was duly entertained.

Our day didn't end there though. We trekked over to Old Navy and on the way there, witnessed a crazy jogging man weaving in and out of Murf traffic. Old Fort Parkway is nothing short of a busy thoroughfare and to see this man working it out in the oddest of places was hi-larious. We followed him through the Old Navy shopping center until he stopped at the S&K to window shop.

It's been awhile since it was just the three of us out together, and a reminisce of our Daytona trip surfaced, including "Chikn Fangers & Grey-vy" at the DQ and the "Dawg Races." Too bad Amy can't remember everything though...she needs to take her "binko kiloba." I love these girls!

One last notable nugget to cap off the weekend---I got home Sunday afternoon from church, flipped on the tv and began to make lunch. I looked up at the current NCAA game and Bradley and Pittsburgh are duking it out, with the score box reading "Brad" then "Pitt," one on top of the other. I laughed out loud and recorded the moment in history for your viewing pleasure. Here tis:

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sephora VIP

My mom and I decided to get together and have a girls night. I was invited by Sephora (along with the rest of the free world) to a VIP shopping party the night before the store is set to open to the public, so I dragged my mom to the Mall at Green Hills to be one of the first to experience beauty paradise, Nashville style. We made our way down to the store at about 5:40, and already a long line was forming at the door. I told my mom, "now you know I'm not the only obsessed one!" At the stroke of 6, the mall foyer became eerily silent and the entire Sephora staff began to chant and cheer, S-E-P-H-O-R-A! Before I realized what was going on, the large glass doors were thrown open and a mass influx of eager gals (and a few guys) proceeded into the store.

It's going to sound really maniacal and maudlin, but as soon as I glided through the entrance, I became awash with euphoric emotion. Amanda and her sister, Laura, were also there shopping and I turned to her and said, "I almost teared up!" A Sephora employee overheard me and said, "It's okay, We've all cried today!"

To label the teeming store a madhouse would be the understatement of the year. You could barely turn around inside the store or take a step forward or backward without running into someone. Arms and hands were flying in every direction, grappling for lip gloss and eye shimmer. I knew my mom didn't have the desire, or the patience, to hang out for long, so I had previously decided I wouldn't make an attempt to purchase anything tonight or play. I'm saving it all for tomorrow.

I did manage to embarrass my mom in the process though. My mom has beautiful skin and looks very young for her age. I only hope that someday my skin will look as good as hers (now that I'm purging the fake-n-bake from my life, maybe it will be). Anyway, my mom had a blemish surface today which is an extremely rare occasion. I had mentioned to her at dinner, "what a better night to have a blemish than the Sephora VIP party!" I wanted her to consult a Sephora representative to recommend an appropriate concealer. As we are snaking our way through the store, I tell my mom we're going to do something about that blemish and she panics and says, "Don't you dare! They're gonna make me buy something!" Well of course, I proceed to immediately flag down the first employee I see, all the while my mom is turning a bright shade of crimson. We found a girl that was very helpful, directing us to NARS and having my mom apply a concealer suitable for her complexion. She doctored that blemish and with one last contented look over my shoulder, we exited the store.

I'll be back tomorrow, armed with my camera, giftcard and hit list. I'm gonna sleep like a child on Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's called The Cheesecake Factory for a reason...

And it's not called The Food Factory for a reason as well...

Last night, I took Gladys, the woman at the CWJC that I mentor, to The Cheesecake Factory in Green Hills to celebrate her belated birthday. I've had the signature dish from the CF before, that is, their cheesecake, however, I had never eaten at one of their restaurants. We didn't wait long for a table and they put us in a booth where we could admire the beautiful decor of the restaurant. I immediately noticed that the CF severly misuses their available restaurant space. The ceiling of the restaurant is very tall and it's possible to build a glass-railed loft area for additional seating in the already overcrowded restaurant. It would be nice of CF to utilize that space, so maybe we all wouldn't have to wait three hours to eat.

Anyway, that's not the point. The point is the food. The CF menu is a book. Literally. In this book, you find a splattering of meat, pasta, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, appetizers and desserts, all boasting various flavors of international cuisine. For instance, you could order egg rolls as an appetizer, a hawaiian salad, spaghetti for your main course and finish it off with a NY cheesecake. Don't get me wrong---I like variety. But when you have too many irons in the fire, it's hard to give each the individual attention they deserve.

I ordered a Chicken Pesto Pizza in big hopes that the ingredients would be fresh and tasty, the portion large enough to make a second meal, and I would leave the restaurant with a positive experience with the CF menu. What I got was a pizza where the ingredients were processed and gross, the portion diminutive, and a disappointing experience with CF. My pizza had green alfredo-like sauce on it. I guess that's what CF call's Pesto. That's what Queen MAB calls vom.

I realize now the significance of the CF name. They don't make any claims about their menu. Just their cheesecake. And rightfully so, because the piece of Tiramisu cheesecake I consumed was divine.

On my way out of the mall, I floated down the escalator to the new location of Sephora Nashville. The windows on the store front were all taped up with brown grocery paper, but through some hastily constructed cracks and crevices, I was able to peer through to see the promised land. The countdown is on---less than 48 hours! I'm already making my list and checking it twice...

Monday, March 13, 2006


I'm going cold turkey on the tanning bed this year. March arrives and all of a sudden, I have this desire for the beginnings of a golden, summer tan. I only visit the tanning bed during the month of March and slightly into April, however, this year will be different. I'm concerned about premature aging, skin cancer and a general unattractiveness that comes when one exposes their skin to UV rays for extended periods of time.

I've never been a huge "fake-n-bake" advocate to begin with. I resisted the temptation for years, but broke down my sophomore year of college due to peer pressure and a looming sorority semi-formal. The thoughts of lying down on someone else's naked butt print with the smell of burning flesh drifting through the air doesn't exactly appeal to me. But it's been a trade off for some March "color."

Alas, no more tanning bed for me. I'm welcoming myself to the world of self-tanners and/or spray tan. I'm more than a bit skeptical, but for the sake of my skin, I'm willing to give it a try. My problems with self-tanners span from their nasty smell and their difficulty in application to the greasy film they leave behind on the body, clothing, bed linens, towels, etc. Now granted, I haven't used a self-tanner in years...since probably high school. My mom and I tried a Clinique-brand self-tanner and I can remember how stinky we smelled while wearing it. And I'd inevitably end up with streaky legs and splotchy feet.

So, I'm enlisting the help of the Queen MAB faithful. I'm in need of a self-tanner, whether it be a cream, gel, aerosol spray, etc. for my body and face. I'm also open to opinions and recommendations for spray tanning. Let's hear it!

Monday, March 6, 2006

Oscars 2006: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I arrived home last night a little later than expected, missing the first half of the Academy Awards, along with my favorite part, the red carpet entrances. Praise the Lord for the Internet! Overall, I was a bit disappointed with the fashion turnout this year. A couple of dresses were notable, but most were safe and boring, with a slight absence of color adorning all of those pompous celebrities. As a result, most of my fashion picks contained a splattering of color. I will say though, the highlight of my evening was when the highly deserving Crash was presented with the award for Best Motion Picture. Here's the good, the bad and the ugly, compliments of Queen MAB.

Michelle Williams: I'm not a huge fan of this chick. I've just never taken her seriously before. She has a tendency to blend into the crowd. But last night, that all changed. Michelle literally popped off the red carpet in her orange-pineapple sorbet, Vera Wang frock. It's a bold statement, but she proclaims it with grace. Her vintage-inspired jewelry, loose chignon and red lips complete her ensemble beautifully. No doubt though, the masses will hang her for her choice.

Felicity Huffman: Could the lady look any classier??? Her hair and makeup are absolutely gorgeous. And the Zac Posen accoutrement is a perfect combination of allure and demure. Felicity is definitely aging gracefully.

Jennifer Lopez: While I don't really love the style of her dress, the color is magnificent! Not everyone can pull off the color green, i.e. Charlize Theron, but with her complexion and glamourous personality, JLo doesn't disappoint.

Taraji Henson: Her contribution to Three 6 Mafia's Hard Out Here for a Pimp was lacking, but she sure redeemed herself by arriving in this fabulous dress! The cerulean blue color is deliciously springy and the floral embellishments are very pretty.

Terry Pheto: I've not seen the award-winnng Tsotsi yet, but this dress deserves an award of its own. It's a loud, proud dress with elegant detailing. I've never seen this gal before in my life, but she has certainly made a classy entrance on the red carpet with this scarlett-shaded number.

Reese Witherspoon: All hail the Queen of the Oscars, 2006! She looks divine in her Dior gown, albeit she played it safe after that tragedy of a dress at the Golden Globes. Her acceptance speech was humble, her smile warm, and I couldn't be happier to see her succeed.

Terrence Howard: This man is fiiiiiiiiiine. He oozes class and style. He's wearing a diamond brooch, yet he still looks manly. I don't think we've seen the last of him.

Derek Zoolander: Blue Steel is always, always, always, a fashion "Do." "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?"

The Ghost Patrol (Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman): Please, please please---can we let the ecru/eggshell/cream/ivory/pearl dress trend die off?!?! The three of you look frigid and ghastly in your unfortunate choice of dress. Naomi, while your Givenchy drapery is quite interesting, I can count on both hands the number of previous award shows and premiere's where you don a dress that matches your skin tone. Nicole, need we any reminder that you are an ice princess? And Uma, you look like death. Seriously.

Three 6 Mafia: In a desperate attempt to attract viewership, the Academy allowed Three 6 Mafia to conduct a circus show on their stage. As if their performance of Hard Out Here for a Pimp wasn't embarrassing enough, their acceptance speech left me wondering if these gentlemen were sober enough to realize what they had just won. While amusing, for a moment I debated whether I was watching the Oscars or MTV's VMA's. On the upside, thank goodness Jordan Houston didn't forget his teeth bling.

Jamie Fox: The man is a tool. A big tool. As if we needed any reminder that he is indeed "a black brotha," he never fails to make race an issue. Jamie, your lame attempts at name dropping, remarks about how "your people" need to stick together, and your overall arrogance is a huge turnoff. The look on Queen Witherspoon's face says it all: Security! Remove this man from my presence! C'mon dude, have some class.

Liberal Hollywood, I wish I knew how to quit you!

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Happy Anniversary to the Aspen Bungalow!

Today is the anniversary of a couple of monumental occasions in my life. The most obvious being that today is the one-month anniversary of the Queen MAB Manifesto! What is it that they say about forming good habits? How long do you have to practice something before it becomes second nature? Anyway, I'm well on my way to establishing myself in the blogging universe. And I must say that I'm enjoying the journey quite a bit.

Today is also my two-year anniversary of living in my apartment, a.k.a. the Aspen Bungalow. Two whole years! Quite a bit has changed in the course of one year in living there, much less two years. Two years ago, I didn't know a single soul on the southside of town, wasn't active in a church or my community, and certainly didn't have that chic crystal chandelier hanging from my bedroom ceiling. The Aspen Bungalow, as well as Cool Springs, have become my adulthood home.

As Amanda touched on in her recent Diva Domain post, I'm the "adult" now. It's fun being an adult most of the time. I am my own boss, and for anyone that knows me well, that's a good thing. I love having the freedoms that come with adulthood, but there are certain days that I miss having parents to take care of me. I experienced these feelings earlier this week when a nasty cold willed me to bed for two days straight. By Monday afternoon, I needed meds and sustenance, but couldn't find the strength to actually get in my car and drive myself to the pharmacy a mile down the road. Somehow I managed to acquire drugs, chicken noodle soup and gingerale successfully, but was completely spent by the time I arrived back home. All I could think was, "if Mom were here, she wouldn't even have to leave the house for supplies because she'd already have it all stored away in the pantry for a time such as this!"

So today, I'm back at work for the first time this week, realizing that another day at home spent on the couch, alternating between Lifetime movies and Full House reruns, means one less sick day to spend at my discretion throughout the year. Now that's being an adult!

On the upswing, today marks the beginning of MLB exhibition games, including some exciting interleague play! Da Cubbies don't officially begin play until tomorrow, but the spirit of hope is already welling up inside me! The Nashville "Big Wigs" have finally approved a new downtown minor league baseball stadium, meaning the city might actually play host to future exhibition games and MLB events. Greer Stadium held exhibition games in the past, but the facility has not exactly been accommodating for such in recent years. Despite the unnecessary drama in acquiring stadium approval, the future stadium is going to be a blessing to Nashville. Not only will it clean-up and revitalize the SoBro area, but it will open the door for urban living, trendy restaurants and bars, upscale shopping districts, and it lays a brick in the foundation of Nashville's sporting arena.

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